March 22, 2022

How long does it take before you begin to feel like you belong in your own skin?


by Alison Bale

Once upon a time there lived a little girl who did not like being told what to do. And did not feel she fitted in.

To find where she does fit in has taken many years, four career changes, and one change of continent.

How long does it take before you begin to feel like you belong in your own skin? Mid fifties for me. But I get ahead of myself, so let’s fast backwards 25 years.

To a world I barely recognize as I write.

I used to be the woman on the 6am train, putting on her make up on her way to a consulting job in London. I started in publishing, morphed into communication consulting, and now had a job in the city, with a red sports car and a house in the home counties.

But I wasn’t happy. The crux was that the team I’d joined was based 30 minutes from my house. Then we were moved, and the commute became two hours each way. And I wasn’t enjoying the job. What to do?

I only appreciated with hindsight that moving me to London was the best thing the company could have done. It made me so uncomfortable, it forced me to consider what I did want, and make changes.

Specifically, it gave me the impetus to accept I might have to retrain, and I gave myself a deadline – decide what I wanted to do and get it done by the time I was 40. And as if by magic, I chanced across an article about chiropractic for horses.

When I applied, it was as though everything I’d done in my life, from aged 7 onwards (when I started horse riding), had been about being on the road to being here. The poet David Whyte writes that when we look back on our journey, it’s as though the only way we could have traveled was the way we had come. It certainly felt like that.

But retraining as an adult is a huge leap. I had to go freelance from my job – giving up the regular salary when I was the name on the mortgage and was about to get married (I don’t do things by halves). The funny thing is, I discovered that when you commit to a ‘leap of faith’, the universe moves to support you. I’d been asked to have lunch with a former colleague, who’d gone into PR. I still remember sitting opposite her as she said she had a magazine contract to fulfil and asked if I knew any good editors. ‘I’m going freelance tomorrow – will I do?’

Working for myself suited me and somehow the work kept flowing. And the changes in me had a ripple out effect for my husband, who decided he would train in therapy, too. And found a job he loved and has stuck with longer than any other job he’s had. Another lesson, the things you do can have beneficial consequences for others.

But I digress, four years study and I was a human chiropractor, so onwards to the animal course. Well yes, except I didn’t enjoy the animal work when I finally got to it. Strange that the thing that got me onto the path was not what I wanted when I got there. But that was OK, because I love the human work.

That should have been enough big change, eh? But no. Have you ever had a sense that you must do something, and that however risky, if you do not act, you’ll regret it the rest of your life?

In a nutshell, that’s how I came to move to India. I arrived intending to stay three years then go home. That was in 2006! The roller coaster of the last 15 years has seen lots of travel, and lots of work offering chiropractic care to a population with almost no access to it (eight chiropractors for a population of 1.4 billion.

It has been a much more challenging experience than I could have envisaged. India is a very different culture to the one I grew up in – much more chaotic – and I have changed as a result. I used to be an arch planner – less so now.

I’ve gone through peri-menopause and into menopause in India, and with it has come quite a radical change of thinking. For a while I fell out of love with chiropractic. Combination of joint pain, hot flashes, poor sleep, brain fog – none of which help you show up as your best for other people who are in pain.

But there was also a sense that I wanted to do more – specifically move away from a passive intervention towards one that gave people more control over their own minds and bodies. So, in my latest incarnation, I’m teaching mindfulness. And looking to return to the UK.

There’s a lot of talk today about ‘knowing your why’. Mine is ‘leave this world a better place than I found it’. Once you know your ‘why’, I think you can get through anything to deliver it. But I also think how you deliver it can change over time.

I’m ready for my next adventure, my next challenge. I love learning and growing, and am excited to see where the next version of me goes from her.

I’ll close by returning to the poet David Whyte, who says that

"The person who sets out on a journey, the person seeking, is not the person who arrives "

That’s very much true of me.

#midlifewomen #sharingstories #outofthebubble #lifeafter40 #inspiringwomen #personaljournals #stepoutofthebubble #midlifeblog






February 14, 2021

Stepping Out of the Bubble with the ‘Queen of podcasting’ Anna Parker Naples

Out of the Bubble with Anna Parker Naples

Anna is a global bestselling author of ‘Podcasting with Impact’ and ‘Get Visible’, both books of which I can highly recommend. She's also the host of an no.1 international podcast ‘Entrepreneurs Get Visible’. Anna has developed a real passion for helping ambitious entrepreneurs and coaches get seen and heard.


Who is Anna Parker Naples?

Good afternoon, Anna. Thank you so much for joining me. I feel slightly under pressure today because I do have you on the pedestal of podcast Queen.

So, no pressure. I didn't give myself the acronym, that title, but it definitely works to help kind of position yourself in a field. I didn't ever set out to help people with podcasting. It's just one of those wonderful things that's unfolded as I've uncovered the things that I'm really good at.

You have had quite a journey, which I'm really looking forward to sharing today for people that don't know you. How do you describe and Introduce yourself?

I help ambitious driven entrepreneurs who feel that they have an important message to share, work out how to be heard and get more visible.

The being heard part is about helping you to have a podcast that's a powerful front end for your business. The get visible part is about how you pull together all of the authority pieces so that someone might see you on social media. They might read your email. They might come across you because you've written a book.

How do you pull all of that together so that you can have greater impact and influence on people so that we can affect more change? So that's the kind of really long title, but I help people impact different people. Purpose driven people to reach more ears. I love that this is what someone wants to try to do with the podcast and encourage people to find their passion and purpose.

The Journey to Success

You’ve definitely found your passion and purpose, but it has been quite a journey hasn't it?

Let's take a few steps back to how this all started.

Right now, Rachel is looking at me and I'm sitting in what looks like a very posh, proper recording studio. I've got all of the padding on the walls. I've got a very posh microphone and what I'm actually sitting in is in the center of my house, in what used to be a long time ago my airing cupboard. This airing cupboard actually has a lot of meaning for me.

If I take you back about 11 or 12 years ago in my final pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my son, I suffered some complications and they told me to expect that I would never walk again.

That's pretty devastating, but I had three very young children, a newborn on the way.  I had always expected that after I had this third child, I would return to acting and stage, which is what I’d been doing before my pre-children life. I felt that everything had been snatched away from me.

I was massively resentful, bitter, fairly twisted and in a really, really dark. I have a natural exuberance and a natural energy, so for me to go down for me to go down that far and hit that hard. It was quite shocking for people around me, but I always, even then, when I was really dark and depressed, I still felt a responsibility to put a bright face on it.

My bright face actually was full of bitterness. You know, the jokes we make about ourselves, the things we try to lighten with humour that actually are really just quite depressing and sad. I basically got to a point where I knew I had to do something about it.

Overcoming life changing hurdles

I went to see a hypnotherapist, who was also a neuro-linguistic programming professional NLP.

It was my first kind of experience into the whole world of mindset and personal development. That day, that decision to go there in my wheelchair at a point where I hardly ever left my bed helped me suddenly realize that there was way more to me, there was possibility, there was future.

It started a massive, massive journey for me.

I’ve heard you say that it was your positive mindset that really helped you change physically.

 What I want to say. It's not just positive mindset, as in, I'm just going to pretend everything's happy.

That's not actually positive mindset for me. It was about undoing a lot of the damage that I was doing to myself over and over again with the things I was saying about myself. I came to realize that, and this didn't just happen in one session. This was a period of unraveling things I had been telling myself for a long time.

There were things I couldn't do because I was now a mum that I couldn't be an actor and be a good mum. I couldn't be a good mum and make money I could. And on and on and on these justifications for why I'd left my acting career behind five years earlier that were full of. I mean, to be honest, it was just rubbish, but where had those limiting beliefs come from?

To then be in this situation where, well, what if I never walk again? I can't have that life that I thought I was going to go back to. But realizing its kind of more than that. So then starting to tap into, well, as an actor, what did I, what did I really want? What was that all about?

He said to me, well, what would happen if you could be globally recognized for your work and earn great money and be at home with the kids and be disabled, what would that look like? I just remember saying to him, well, that's not possible. He said, well, what if it was? What if over the next month you thought about how it was possible?

It was like something just shifted in my brain from this door being completely closed to all of a sudden there's all of these opportunities and the opportunities that came up for me, whether I could work from home as a voiceover artist, initially doing commercials, and then later specializing in radio drama and audio books and video games.

The Road to Recovery

I started on that path quite quickly from bed learning how to edit, I'm not a techno geek. I don't love all of that stuff, but I learnt it all because I had to, to get my voice out there. I ended up becoming one of the UKs leading British voice actors and going on to be a finalist in Hollywood, seven times with the best of the best.

I was fully recovered, and I really believe the reason I recovered was because I changed how I felt about myself.

Changed how I felt about myself and by throwing myself into something which was audio, where I could express myself. Alongside this I trained and became a master NLP practitioner, and I had this massive breakthrough, a kind of awakening moment as I was completing that training. It coincided with my final award in Hollywood, where I'm standing on the red carpet in Hollywood, in a pair of heels, the most glamorous I've ever been within six years. In that moment when I’d thought it was all over and I felt in that moment, Rachel, I have to get this out there. I don't know what it looks like, but I have to reach other people like me, who somewhere deep inside of them thinks and know on some level they're supposed to be doing something more and show them that it's possible.

Dealing with Limiting Beliefs

It's amazing. During that time, did you struggle with imposter syndrome because you were reaching these highs of getting all these accolades in quite short space of time?

I absolutely felt like I could own it.

It's such a huge thing and what we uncovered from going back into some quite traumatic things that happened in my early years when I was 16, I was brutally attacked by a gang of girls and it was arranged by my best friends. So that sense of not being able to speak up, I told my truth.

I told my version of the truth, and then this awful thing happened to me. I had to have surgery on my face and all sorts. At that point I had kind of limited myself.

It's understandable why I did that, but I'd been limiting myself. I think once you realize those limiting beliefs you've created; you can then do anything.

I'm not waiting for anyone else to give me permission. If I give myself permission to be the best, I can be not the best in the world because that's not even achievable, but the best I can be and achieve whatever I want to do to the 9th degree.

What happened next?

I remember flying home and my dad saying to me, well, what next? People around me could see I'd just been on this massive trajectory.

I started with a couple of clients at home in my office, but the light bulb moment came in the February.  I remember having this moment of, I have to create an online business that could have global reach and I want to inspire people. I want them to understand some of the stuff I've understood. What am I going to do?

Female Leaders Rising

I actually think Rachel that there's more and more female leaders rising, and I think it's a really powerful time to be a woman. We have all the things that used to be barriers that, how do you run a business when you were at home? Well, we now have social media. We now have podcasts. We can reach anyone.

It's exciting to see so many more powerful women realize their own potential and start to achieve it and then reach down and help other people up that mountain. The podcast became a way of doing that.

I actually started my first podcast when I launched that Inspiring Mummy Club business, because somebody said to me, you should do a podcast, so I went okay.

I’d never listened to a podcast, but I knew I could recreate one, I had no understanding of the mechanics and even three and a half years ago, podcasting isn't like, it is now. Now it's a major vehicle. Over 50% of the world's population, regularly tune into podcasts.

What makes me tick is the idea that someone somewhere could listen to your podcast or one of my client's podcasts and you don't know what life that's going to touch. You don't know what difference that's going to make.

Celebrating the Wins

How good are you at celebrating your wins, acknowledging them and allowing yourself space to celebrate your wins?

That’s been slightly more challenging during lockdown. Two or three weeks after I launched my second book Podcast with impact, which gained 37 number ones globally was just insane.

That week I was high as a flipping kite all week, even now, I'm still just getting back in touch with people to say, thank you for supporting me. I couldn't do a thing that week, but then comes the crash. I think that's normal as well to acknowledge that if you're going to have highs and you're going to celebrate that hard, there’s going to be a lull as well.  I had at a bit of an energy crash rest, I can't be bothered. What am I doing? But that's part of it too.

It's not always going to be easy and it's not always going to be plain sailing. There's going to be days where you cannot be bothered and there's going to be days where you think, how could I do anything other than this? It's the ebbs and the flows.

If you could pay yourself one compliment, what would it be?

“Anna you are doing more than enough. That's probably as far as I'm going to go. “

It was great to hear Anna’s, honesty, sharing how she's got to where she is now. It’s not always plain sailing, but we can all learn from that. Hopefully Anna’s own story can give you some inspiration because if you are struggling, it doesn't mean to say that's a fixed state. You can't get past this and work towards your goals.

A timely reminder that we mustn't let our fear of failure stop us from trying, because that fear of failure can often stop us from just getting started.

You can listen to the full interview here-

To find out more about Anna please visit here website 

You can also follow Anna. on social media- InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Keeping being fabulous x








February 12, 2021

Midlife Inspirathon- Spreading midlife positivity

A 13 hour live marathon day, interviewing inspiring women, spreading some midlife positivity.

Wow what a day to remember!

Where the idea came from

When I first had the idea to celebrate the launch of the new Out of the Bubble podcast series  I never imagined it would grow into such a big event. During the last 14 months my modelling work had obviously dwindled due to the pandemic,  so having the podcast to keep working provided me with a sense of purpose.

I knew I wanted to create an event where I could give something back, as women supporting other women, is at the heart of my personal brand, so creating a fundraising event seemed like the perfect fit.

What is a Midlife Inspirathon?

The Midlife Inspirathon is a full day of live interviews. over on my Instagram page , interviewing 22 women all with inspiring stories to tell, whilst raising money for two women's charities to support.

Women Supporting Women

The Motherwell Cheshire charity, CEO Kate Blakemore has become a familiar face on the podcast.  I am constantly blown away by Kate and her teams dedication to help girls and women from all ages and backgrounds offering a wide range of services.

Last year I started to build a relationship with the Smart Works Leeds charity after joining them as a guest on body confidence panel so I was delighted to have the chair Helen Oldham join me for an interview.

Who joined me?

What a pleasure to interview 22 women all with inspiring stories, live on Instagram starting at 8.30am and finishing at 9.30pm. From midlife body confidence activists, authors, midlife mavericks and every day women all with amazing stories to tell. The message that age is not a barrier to following our dreams, reinventing ourselves and finding new passion and purpose was loud and clear. I was left feeling inspired for the next decade and motivated to keep stepping up and removing my self made barriers to make sure I achieve so much more.





A celebrity line up-

When women support one another incredible things can happen.

I was so grateful to have everyone join me and for celebrities , including BAFTA winning television and radio presenter Katy Hill who is now stepping in to a new arena after training as a personal development and empowerment coach supporting the event.

Well known Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton who has also had a successful solo career, along with actress, singer, presenter, podcaster and founder of the lifestyle community The Capsule Natalie Anderson.

Sally Carman interrupted her busy Coronation Street schedule to talk to me about her role as an ambassador for the Motherwell Cheshire's Believe project. A project that supports women who find themselves in a vulnerable position, often homeless, with children whom are taking way from them into care or placed for adoption. Sally took up the ambassador role after her character Abi Franklin had a very similar story line.

All the interviews are now available to watch on IGTV here

Thank You!

The event has raised £1380 so far and I have say a huge thank you to all the sponsors as without them it wouldn't have been possible.

In no particular order-

Bridge models, Clair Mackenzie, The Business Revolution, Clockface Beauty, Copper & White, Susan Esco, Dye2befree, Mandy Taylor- founder of Charity Angels, Cloud9, Nima marketing, ChocolatePR, Jacynth Bassett, Jo Cusden, Audrey, Annie Stirk, Wear My Freedom,

Final Thoughts

We can not allow our fear of failure stop us from pursuing our dreams in this next chapter of life.

All the women I interviewed are grabbing hold of midlife and making sure that they are certainly not invisible.

There's a real sense of midlife community, women who are supporting one another and reaching down to others who may need a hand up. I only hope we can build on this and hope that the media , fashion and advertising companies start to truly reflect the real power of women over 40 who are shining brightly later in life.

Don't forget you can also find lots more inspiration over on the Out of the Bubble podcast.

I'm just getting started!

Keep being fabulous x



January 22, 2021

Woman of the Week- Michelle Sparman the founder of FIT SW11 Apparel

Sharing my woman of the week whose left me with that #feelgoodfriday feeling.

My women of the week is the fabulous Michelle Sparman.

Michelle is a fitness instructor and personal trainer based in London and the creator of this fantastic initiative. I love that she's seen the need to help other women have free access to fitness gear that might otherwise not feel they can get out there and be active right now.

This week has been a hard one, the grey, wet Yorkshire weather hasn't helped but seeing some blue skies really lifted me this morning. I couldn't wait to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise.

I came across a fantastic new initiative called FIT SW11 Apparel which helps women access free good quality, second hand fitness clothes to empower training. It's such a great idea so I had a good clear out and headed to the Post Office happy to donate. How many pairs of leggings do we really need to have in our wardrobes?

It always feels good to do something positive and help support others. Women supporting women is at the heart of my Out of the Bubble brand so I definitely got the #feelgoodfriday feeling.

I've been fortunate to have worked on some fantastic fitness and healthy lifestyle campaigns and with that came the added bonus of keeping some of the fitness clothes on a regular basis.

From Tescos FF Active wear with Davina McCall, Rohnisch activewear and most recently Sweaty Betty. It's a real luxury and it's easy to take for granted that I have access to lots of different fitness wear.


So many people are struggling financially over the last 12 months because of the pandemic and buying new fitness clothing will definitely not be a priority. We all know the benefits on our mental well being that being active brings. Not having the appropriate clothes to wear can be a huge barrier for some women and really knock their confidence.

Next time you're clearing out your wardrobe why not take a look at Michelles Facebook page or you find FIT SW11 Apparel on Instagram.  

Women supporting women is the future!


January 20, 2021

Midlife Inspirathon- 12 hours of midlife positivity

Sending out a positive midlife message with 12 hours of live interviews, raising money for two women's charities.

Join me on Monday 8th February over on Instagram where I will be hosting a live Midlife Inspirathon of interviews. Twelve hours of sharing a diverse collection of women, all with inspiring stories to tell.

I have been busy preparing for the launch of the 2021 Out of the Bubble podcast and I can't tell you how much I have appreciated all the women that I've interviewed over the last year. Like everyone else I have been missing that human connection and I gain my energy from being around people so zoom interviews have been a huge boost to my daily routine.


With this in mind I knew I wanted to give something back as I'm hugely grateful to the women that I get to talk with, who share their stories with such honesty. To all the women that listen and support the show. Women supporting women is at the heart of my Out of the Bubble brand so what better way to show this than to organise a fundraiser, doing what I love and raising money to support two women's charities.


Midlife Inspirathon with Rachel Peru



We have seen a huge increase in women finding themselves out of work during this pandemic and Smart Works is a national charity which supports women from all backgrounds get back in to employment. Providing coaching to give them confidence and self belief to succeed in the workplace. As well providing high quality interview appropriate clothing which can be a real financial barrier for some women. I am raising money for the Smart Work Leeds branch.

Please visit their website to find out more-

After interviewing the CEO Kate Blakemore on the podcast I was blown away by her and the whole teams dedication to helping women of all ages and backgrounds through a wide range of services. Offering a safe place , free from judgement to often vulnerable women. Supporting them to re-find their confidence, improve life skills and access the services they need.

Please visit their website to find out more-

You can listen to Kate's interview here.

Stepping out of my comfort zone!

To be honest I'm half excited and half daunted at the thought of being on Instagram live from 8.30am until 9.30pm and it's definitely taking me out of my comfort zone. I've committed to going on Instagram Live every morning just for 5 minutes so I can become more comfortable using it and get used to the set up so if you see my name pop up please come and say hello! As Out of the Bubble is all about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zones I am determined to practice what I preach!

I don't know why the whole IG live thing feels uncomfortable , especially as I more than happy joining others and interviewing women from all walks of life that I've never met before. From listening to other women it seems we are good at hiding behind others and keeping ourselves out of the spotlight and I think I have been guilty of that with the podcast. It's much easier to shine the light on my guests each week than place myself their when the time is needed. Perhaps it's something we've been taught from an early age, not to be show too much confidence for fear of being called a show off or seen as seeking attention. I've come to the conclusion at 50 that if we don't blow our own trumpets no one is going to do it for us!

What are you working towards that takes you out of your comfort zone? I'd really love to know.

You can always email me at or leave a message on the Facebook page @stepoutofthebubble


Who will be joining me?

Luckily I have some amazing women joining on the day that will keep me company and my energy levels high. Here's a little taster of some of the guests who will be joining me-

Natalie Anderson- Actress, presenter, podcaster and founder of the lifestyle brand The Capsule.

Natasha Hamilton- Singer, podcaster and founder of Live Better with Natasha

Jo Gardiner- Contestant in Series 2 of Race Across the World

Misba Khan- Adventure walker and explorer who was part of the 2018 12 woman expedition to ski the last part of the North Pole

Stephanie Hirst-  Award winning and one of the UK'S biggest radio stars and BBC Radio Leeds presenter

Katy Hill- Well loved television presenter , Personal Development Coach, Speaker, Podcaster, Broadcaster and Writer.

and so many more surprises! #watchthisspace

How you can donate?

I have set up a Just giving page so if anyone feels they can donate, no matter how small, every penny matters to these charities right now.

(Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.)

I hope you can come and take a listen and watch the show, please drop by @rachelperu1 and say hello. You're support on the day will be hugely appreciated!




September 2, 2020

Out of the Bubble with Susan Burrell.

I'm delighted to be joined by the inspiring American Author Susan Burrell. Susan is also a podcast host ‘Empowering Lives’, a presenter and guest speaker and is really helping people who are at a crossroads in life through her own intuitive healing.

After digging a bit deeper and reading more about Susan’s story, her journey really resonated with me and I'm sure lots of women will be able to gain some inspiration and relate to this one.

How do you describe yourself when you wear so many different hats?

I see myself as one of those carnival people of the last century with the poles and they're spinning plates and they're juggling. It's about creative freedom for me now in my later years. In my earlier years, I didn't think I was good enough or believe in myself. I was taught very carefully to not believe in myself in a very subterfuge clandestine way. As I got older, especially in the third chapter of my life, I really want to get out of that measurement of feeling less than and devalued and I did some very deep inner work.

Rachel I'm in the divine flow of life for the first time in my life and I had to work really hard to get into that flow of life. There’s days where I get sidetracked or I feel less than again, I mean, even though you do the work, it's an ongoing thing, right?

People think that once you get to this state of finding your way, of really finding the true self, that it's a done deal and you don't have to do any more work, but it's an ongoing journey.

Isn't it? Ongoing journey in this lifetime and probably many lifetimes, it's just an ongoing journey.

Life After Divorce

You’ve turned some really negative situations, emotions , feelings and gone through a similar experience to me with your divorce that really is life changing. How difficult did it get and how did you find your way out of it?

I've been on a spiritual quest since I was 17, 18 so I already had accumulated tons of skill sets. Working as a counsellor for 20 years with skill sets that I would use with my clients, I just used all of them on me.

I thought I had almost escaped the divorce debacle, you know, Oh, we've made 28 years and aren't we great. No!

All of a sudden, these women who had been divorced, came flooding into my life, you know, because if I'm not married, where's my tribe?

My girlfriends who were still married couldn't understand what I was going through.  I started hanging out with other divorced women and I noticed after a bottle and a half of wine later, they were still embittered after having been divorced 15 years ago. I'm like, I don't I want to be like that because I knew I had a second path in life.

I knew I wanted to live fully since it felt like my first half, I wasn't living my life as me. I was living my life in conjunction with someone, in partnership with someone. It was time to give Susan her turn and I think that happens a lot with women.

We give ourselves permission all of a sudden to really think about ourselves and what we want to achieve in life.

Divorce kind of kicks you out of the nest, right? It throws you out of that comfort zone, so for me I didn't realize it was happening until I actually chose to file.

What I mean by that is I kept trying to make it right and it wasn't ever going to be right. It probably wasn't right from the beginning of the marriage and I stayed 28 years, I was shattered. My understanding of who I was, was completely shattered, like shattered glass.

Different colours all over the floor. I felt like during the divorce, it was so contentious. I felt like I was crawling on my belly through that glass almost every day. After a while of feeling sorry for myself and running my story to friends and crying and sobbing and going through several box of Kleenex, I thought how do I want to come out of this?

I want to come out better than I've ever been in my life.

I am so surprised I'm saying this, Rachel, but the gift for me was to really dig deep into my spiritual practice again. Opening up that toolbox that I had and then applying it to myself. The gift really was the divorce because I came out loving and respecting myself more than I ever had. I came out respecting the work that I do, which I had always just kind of fluffed off. I gained the insight.

That’s the heart of what self-love is about, about accepting and loving yourself.

So many people don't know how to do that. We haven't been taught that at university or kindergarten, or we haven't necessarily even been taught that in our family of origin. I know I wasn't taught that. The good news is you get to make your life up however you want and if you want it to be a good, healthy, empowered, fun, creative life, you get to have that.

Facing Fear

How did you stop the fear from eating away at you and step into your new life?  I think so many women that I talk to have dreams and aspirations and they want to try and take those next steps forward but then the fear blocks and stops them from doing that.

That's a really good question. I think that was the gift of my divorce. I had been affirmed over and over that this is the work I'm supposed to do, not go be a sales clerk somewhere, or a waitress again. The fear showed up , Oh my gosh, where's my income, you know, but I began to learn that in order to come out whole loving myself more, I had to face the fear.

I attempt to do that now, when it comes up, I have to face it. Often times when you face that fear you can see that it's really just a small part of you that's trying to keep you safe. It's not a big bugaboo guy. It's a small little thing within you that's saying I'm scared. When you can recognize that, or when I do, then I can comfort it or say, well we're still going to do this anyway, but you're going to be okay. I do a lot of that kind of work in meditation or journaling.

I've just started doing that. I started writing a gratitude journal at the end of every day and I think it’s really made a difference. It has kept me grounded with in reality and given me a better understanding of what’s truly important to me in life.

A good journaling prompt you might ask yourself in the morning is what do I need to know today? I just do stream of consciousness writing. What do I need to know about my day to day and see what happens?

Live Your Empowered Life

You’ve now used all your experiences, your spiritual practice and your intuitive gift that brought you into the forefront to be able to help other people that are at the same crossroads in life. How has your work evolved into an inspiring book?

I had several clients and colleagues say, Oh, 'I can't wait to get your book. I'm going to read it'. I'm like, Oh, it's not a self-help read, you might get a gem but it's a let's go on this journey together and hunker down and do the inner work.

There's lots of affirmations in the book to work, I crafted it so you're going to begin on a gentle ride and then you're going to dive deep and then you're going to come up for air and then you're going to dive deep again.

Until you can get to a place where towards the end of the book, you get to rewrite your purpose in life and come out of the book with a real conscious purpose, which is a spiritual purpose.

I mostly work with women who have gone through divorce or are going through divorce and they really want to heal.

Most of my clients re reflect what I went through, they don't know themselves. I have a stellar client who said, I never knew that I had a choice about loving myself.

Feeling Lost in Midlife and Finding your Way Back

Why do you think we do lose ourselves in society? It does seem to be a common theme that women get to the forties and fifties and come to this point where they need to find themselves.

I'm praying and knowing that the current generation of women will not go through that, that they're going to know themselves sooner. I think what we're witnessing now in our generation is a closure of an old story, an old paradigm. The patriarchal that women should be seen and not heard, women stand behind their man, women stay at home, Or if you go out in the workplace, you come back and you do the laundry and cook the meals and clean up and put the kids to bed.

Inspiring women are the ones that are going to lead us into the light in and are the ones that are going to lead us into how the new way of living. I'm not saying men aren't going to be a part of it, but it's going to be awakened men, not men that continue to do the good old boy club thing, because it's dead and they're still beating it with a stick.

Women would hit midlife with society's description of how women are supposed to be in the world was complete. Get married. raise kids, maybe go to university, find a job, but now halfway through it's like, NO! and that's why women wake up and go holy moly, who am I? I'm tired of doing what everybody else tells me to do.

I had a yearning; I had a divine urge within me to be more than I was. I got battered mentally, emotionally, and energetically to wake up and stop with the old. I think a lot of women go through that.

That really resonates with me and that yearning for knowing that actually deep down inside you, there's something that was trying to get out, someone to be who you could be. It’s about finding your way through that.

Finding your way through is different for everyone, but I believe a consistent focus if you allow it. That focus is what we were talking about earlier, focusing on that divine urge, not what your head's telling you, but what your heart's telling you.

Allowing that to begin to inform you your wisdom within, because all the answers we are asking for reside right within us.

If you align with your higher self, if you align with the infinite then all your answers are right inside you. That's why journaling and meditating, silent meditation is so important because that's how you can hear.

Finding Inner Peace Through Meditation

Let’s talk about meditation. I know how good it could be for me, but I do struggle to switch my brain off. What tips can you recommend helping beginners learn to let go and meditate.

Meditation insight is a great ap. If you've never meditated, you can set it for five minutes. You don't have to worry about what else is happening and build up the amount of time you feel comfortable. What I encourage people is to start a meditation practice and start a journaling practice.

The journaling practice can happen right after your meditation, because then you're more open and you can write down insights. But what you also said, Rachel, starting a gratitude journal. That works a lot for people, especially if you're feeling a little down and out. Writing down the things you're grateful for is a very simple process to move you from despair or fear into love and light.

I have a guided meditation that I'd love to give them. It's called out of the box thinking and they can download it

Self Love

My last question is if you could give yourself a compliment, what would it be? Women are notoriously bad at accepting compliments we always try to pass it off and push it aside or make a joke of it.

Wow, that's going to make me cry. I think I would. I, Oh, I can't even get the words out.

I would tell myself that I'm very proud of who I am now proud of the courage and the strength that I am and proud of the love and the value I bring. I'm very proud.

I'm sure you will agree Susan Burrell has really been inspiring and giving us all a lot to think about.

If you'd like to find out more, please go visit

You can listen to full audio interview here

#podcast #outofthebubble #inspiringwomen #divorce #sharingstories #conversations #confidence


June 12, 2020

Out of the Bubble with Melissa Tolago, founder of the Walking group Glamoraks

As many of us have turned to daily walks during lockdown I thought you might like to hear how previous Out of the Bubble guest Melissa Tolago found her new passion and purpose through walking.

Where did your love for walking begin, how long have you been walking as a sport/hobby before starting Glamoraks?

Not that long, I used to walk but when my kids were little it was more of a lesson of how many Haribo’s could i give out at any point to try and encourage them to walk! So I had a weekend free, I think it was about 2015, and my kids and husband were away. I thought you know what instead of going to a spa I’m going to go to a hiking shop, buy some boots, a backpack, waterproof jacket and I’m going to walk a stretch of the North Yorkshire coast. I was very excited about my plan and the forecast was for horizontal wind and rain with amber warnings, but I thought well I don't care I’m going to do it anyway. So I did, I had this clifftop path to myself, not another soul, no one else was stupid enough to go out in the weather! I stayed in a hostel overnight, in a shared room, which I hadn't done for years and years, then the next day I walked back again. I just absolutely loved it, it made me feel completely alive, I just thought this is incredible, I want to do more of it! So I started to do more walking with my friends, and it just became slightly more of a regular occurrence.

Having that sense of freedom must of been liberating, especially whilst having young children?

Yeah, so they were sort of ‘tweens’ at this stage and just at that point where they really weren't too fussed about doing anything with me, at all! So I’d done a lot of dragging them out to historic homes, that kind of thing and they were kind of over it. I thought well I can go and do something for me now, and I did; it was just such a brilliant, liberating experience that I just wanted to do it more and more. I didn't have any designs to become a keen, ardent hiker or take on incredible challenges, I just wanted to get out walking more.

How did you fit that in because you’re a busy lady, you're running your own PR business, mum of two children, how did you start fitting in longer walks at weekends?

I just put it in the diary, so I’d say to my husband, ‘right I’m going to go away this weekend, can you be here for the kids’. He worked away from home a lot so he was quite happy to come back and just stay at home, while I was desperate, because I work at home, to get out of the house. So I went off, I would just put it into the calendar. It was easier because I work for myself, I had the flexibility.

What tips could you give to other women to learn to take the time out?

If you can get someone to go with you it’s far more difficult to pull out then. I love walking on my own, there’s a real sense of liberation and it's slightly more adventurous when you go off on your own. I know a lot of women don't actually like walking on their own, they find it either scary or lonely, and I don't find it either of those things. But, when you have someone else to walk with, it gives you company it makes it slightly more fun. It also makes you stick to your plan, you can’t suddenly go ‘oh I don’t want to go anymore’ because you’ll be letting that person down. So if you can find someone to go with, all the better.

So you started walking with friends, and then from what I’ve read you didn't just do short walks, you gradually built up to some really quite epic walks across the UK, so what was the first long distance that you did?

The first one I did was the coast to coast, and that is 192 miles, and I got the idea for that after reading a book called ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed. It was a story about a woman who had a fairly rubbish life and decided she was going to walk the Pacific Crest trail, which is a really really long way in America, all on her own, and it just to me sounded like the most amazing adventure.

So I bought the Coast to Coast book, took a photograph of the book, put it on Facebook saying ‘does anyone want to do this with me’, and my cousin who lived in South Africa said ‘I’ll come’. So she flew over, and we decided to walk it together! We had no idea what we were doing but it was brilliant.

A lot of people would say ‘ok we’ve achieved that, that’s fantastic’ and kind of leave it at that, you went on to then climbing Kilimanjaro which is on my bucket list of things to do, What was the of inspiration to do that, had you always wanted to do it?

No, it hadn't even been on my radar! So my friend fell of her horse a few years ago, she broke her neck, and she survived. But she was rescued by an air ambulance, and her local air ambulance was doing this climb Kilimanjaro fundraiser so she wanted to do something to give back.

Another friend of ours was turning 50 and she wanted to do something to celebrate her 50th so they said do you want to come with me and I couldn't think of a good reason why not! I just said sure, and just did it!

It was a challenge to get the training done because I live in York and the surrounding area is flat and I needed hills. I looked like a complete idiot, I used to go to Sutton Bank the one and only hill near me and I used to hike with a full pack on my back, I used to have a mask that I put over my face that restricts your oxygen flow so that you can get used to walking in high altitude. People would be out for their day stroll and there was me puffing my way through this oxygen mask! But it was the most incredible experience. I loved every minute of Kilimanjaro except for probably the last half an hour on summit day which was supremely challenging, but really worth it.

What did you learn about yourself doing that, I would imagine there is lots of soul searching during such a big challenge?

I learnt that if you keep a positive mental attitude, you can do anything. The minute you start doubting yourself, you will fail, and it is as simple as that. I’ve been riddled with lack of self-belief and low self-esteem for probably most of my life, but I decided on this that I was going to do it, I was going to get to the top, and there not for one second going to be a thing where I thought I can’t do this.

We were in a big group of 25, and quite early on there were people who started moaning, ‘ah I’m tired’, ‘I feel sick’, ‘I’m really feeling the altitude’, and they funnily enough didn't make it. Every time I felt the symptoms of altitude sickness and sort of breathlessness or anything like that, I just told myself this is your body’s natural response to it, it’s normal, you just keep on going and you’ll get there, you'll be fine. It made the world of difference! I didn’t have really any severe symptoms, I got there, it was absolutely brutal and exhausting but I did it. I think that's what I learnt, that if you focus on the positive you can do it.

Do you think that experience has changed your whole outlook and your self confidence?

I think it has, and it wasn't that I set out with that intention, I just came back thinking ‘of course I can do that’, and you know people saying ‘oh my goodness you climbed Kilimanjaro’ but really it wasn't that big a deal. It was hard, but it felt like yeah something that you can go and do.

I think my whole thing with setting up Glamoraks was to try and help other women realise that just because you’ve been doing whatever it is you’ve been doing, for however many years, whether it’s a career, or being as stay-at-home mum or raising kids, or looking after elderly parents, or whatever it is, you get stuck into a rut and you get shoe-horned into this way of thinking that you can’t challenge yourself. For some people going for a walk is the challenge, for others going for a walk with someone they don't know is the challenge, for someone else it’s going for a multi-day walk is the challenge, for someone else it’s wild camping. It doesn’t matter what the thing is, if it’s pushing you out of your comfort zone then its a challenge and all I would say is start small and keep on going.

I can completely relate to that because the women I’ve been talking to on the podcast have all said the same thing. It’s taking that one step to do something small and then you just build on it don't you, which is what you’ve obviously done through your walking, you’ve been building slowly the momentum of everything you’ve been doing to this point of then getting the idea of Glamoraks.

Yes exactly. Glamoraks happened by accident, it wasn’t something that I’d planned. I sound like a complete crazy woman that just lets life happened to her! But I didn’t plan it, because my background was in public relations, I saw a press opportunity that said ‘I’d like to talk to women about walking’. So I put myself forward saying ‘yeah I walk regularly’, and they wanted to interview me, they were going to do a big double page spread on me about all the walking that I did.

With my PR hat on I thought I can’t waste this PR opportunity, it’s ridiculous, its just mad. I had been thinking for a while that it would be great to have some kind of community that got more women out walking, because the Glamoraks, the original Glamoraks, were my friends, the mums at the school gate, and the reason the name is Glamoraks is because they're not your typical hikers. They were quite glamorous women, business women, we go out for cocktails and I see them all dressed up. I got them into hiking gear and I just gave them a nickname, I said you're wearing anoraks but you're really Glamoraks.

I thought well if l’m getting these women out, and we’re all having a great time, what if i just extended it and said who else wants to go out walking? That’s when I set it up, purely off the back of having a press opportunity. I had no plan for it, nothing really, it just sort of happened.

Have you been surprised by the positive response you've had to it?

Yes it's been quite overwhelming. I started in 2017, it started as a Facebook group originally and I encouraged people to share pictures of where they went walking and if they wanted to find people to go walking with. I found that people were having a hard time finding other people near them because Facebook didn't allow them to search. So I did some research and I thought well I’ll create an app, but it was going to cost me £60,000, and I was like funnily enough I don't have £60,000! So I found a company that you can use that enables communities to find other people near them, I moved people off the Facebook group onto to this new platform. You can use the Glamoraks app, search for members near by and it’ll show you who’s near you so you can connect with people with similar interests.

If you're a beginner walker you can find other beginner walkers near you, or if your a complete adventure seeker you can find people like that. The whole aim of it is purely to encourage people to set up their own walks, it’s not like a ‘on this day we’re going to be having a walk from this location’, it’s more ‘hey guys I’m going to go walking in the North Yorkshire moors this weekend, is anyone free to join me?’

What has been incredible is the number of people who join and they all say the same thing, they say ‘I want to go walking but I haven't got anyone to go with’, or ‘none of my other friends are interested’, or ‘my husband doesn't want to’, or ‘I’ve moved to a new area and I don't know anyone and I just feel as though I want to try something new’, or ‘I want to get fit’. It’s the same kind of messages that come up time and time again, and it’s just fantastic for me to see that it is around the world. It started in the UK, that’s obviously where it is largely based because I’m based here, but there are people in America , New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa and all over, and I would love to get those communities growing.

What’s the average age of the women?

I would say mid 40’s is the average age, but there is no age limit anyone can join. There are other groups that are aimed at younger, sort of 20 and 30 somethings that are slightly freer, ‘The Ramblers is an organisation , I know that they're changing, but they typically have an older demographic, whereas this is just the bit in the middle.

Which is actually the age group that I think often gets left behind, that kind of middle age group, so it’s refreshing to have this kind of group together working, I think it’s fantastic. Quite a lot of women I think would relate to this more because people are scared of starting a new exercise like going to a gym or throwing themselves into a swimming pool, whereas walking is a bit more relatable isn’t it, it’s an easier thing to start. What kind of equipment do you recommend people, if they want to go out walking tomorrow, what are the basics that they need?

If they’re going to be walking in an urban environment, or just in their local park or something like that, honestly just a pair of trainers and warm layers basically, and a waterproof jacket is probably all you’ll need.

If you’re going to go and do more of the beaten track type of walks, any of the national trails or country footpaths things like that, you’re probably going to need a good pair of boots. You can start with something reasonably affordable if you just want to give it try and you’re not sure if you're going to commit to it. It’s funny, people think that walking is a very cheap, free kind of exercise, and it is, but once you start looking at the gear you can get quite carried away. But honestly a pair of boots, ideally waterproof, because in this country it’s wet and muddy. If you want some basics, I mean a pair of either leggings, like warmer leggings for winter, or some walking trousers. You can get waterproof outers if you're likely to go out in the rain, if you're going to be a fair weather walker then its not necessary.

A little backpack, again doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but just something you can just carry your lunch in and a nice wooly hat. Ideally if you’re going to go out somewhere, that you haven't been before and it’s not an obvious way marked path, then you should take an ordnance survey map with you, or go with someone who knows where they're going.

See that’s the thing that puts me off, because I love walking, I’ve got a dog I walk everyday. But on longer walks, my sense of navigation is absolutely useless! Am i right in thinking that at Glamoraks also hold events where people can go and learn a bit more about that?

Yes, I team up with a bunch of different walking groups and companies and one of them is a chap in the Yorkshire Dales and he runs navigation courses. I did his straight to silver course, where they teach you first of all how to read a map, and how to get more advanced and actually read the land so you can look for valleys and dips and things and figure out where you are. I’m still no expert but it does give you a little sense of confidence.

But I don't want people to get put off, and think well I cant read a map so I’m not gonna go walking. Honestly, there are so many walks that you can do that you can just Google and download. The other thing you can invest in for anyone who wants to go walking more is, ordinance survey have got an amazing app and you can just put it on your phone, plot your route before you go, and as you're walking it'll tell you if you're going off track.

Wow that’s clever, I like the sound of that, I could manage that I think! Where does your drive come from, because you’re already running a successful business and a family home, and now you've got Glamoraks to contend with. Where does your inner drive come from because it’s a lot of work isn't it?

I think I’m just one of those people who doesn't like to sit still, I mean right now actually I'm in the process of separating from my husband, I’m selling my house, buying my new house. I have got a job and I’m moving back into full time employment, so I’m giving up my normal marketing business but I’m keeping Glamoraks going, so it is a juggling act you know, I’m doing all of it at the same time.

We’re coming towards the end of the year now and if I look back over the course of the year, if I look through my photo scroll, I wanna have a look and see lots of things that I've done, places that I’ve visited, and places that I’ve walked. If I look back at my year and I haven't done anything I feel like it's a waste. I suppose the drive comes from wanting to make sure that every year I'm making the most of it and packing it full of things that will make a really good story at the end of the day, rather than another day in front of Netflix.

What would you go back and tell your younger self?

I would say dump that idiot boyfriend when you were in your early 20’s, and go on a massive gap year and do a lot more of this adventuring because you're so much more capable than you think you are. Honestly, it’s taken me years and years and years to realise that I can go and do this.

I mean, it first started when I was 36 and my son’s were 3 and 5 and I decided on the spur of the moment that I’d had enough of doing the laundry and I signed up to do the clip around the world yacht race and I sailed from Hull to Rio, for 6 weeks, 18 strangers on a boat and I think that was the thing that gave me my kickstart, I thought I can do this, I can do what I want.

You don't know what will come from everything that you do, you don't know what it leads to. By trying something different, you might find that you get talking to somebody on a walk that wants to go off and do a slightly different adventure or a wild camp out and then you find yourself with a different group of women. I can imagine it opens up a whole free world really for women.

It does, but also more than anything it puts your life in perspective. I have never been on a walk with Glamoraks where I haven't been absolutely kind of jaw on the floor astounded at some of the life stories that I hear, you know the things that they're going through, the challenges they've faced, what they're doing, how they're feeling.

It just sort of puts your own life into perspective, and you go ‘oh gosh I’ve actually got it really easy compared to what a lot of people have’, and it’s so humbling to hear their stories and so interesting to hear their stories, I leave with a sense of being connected like we’re all in this together.

That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to set the podcast up, women supporting each other and hearing from lots of different women doing different achievements, it’s inspiring and it really helps motivate me. What advice could you offer to women who might have an idea in their head but might be lacking in confidence to take that first step to get it going, in business or a plan in life?

Just do it. Honestly, say yes and figure out the details later, that’s the only thing I can say. You don't have to know how to do everything, I didn’t know how to sail across an ocean and I didn’t know how to climb a mountain and I didn’t know how to set up a business and I didn’t know how to set up a global community for women who walk. I still don't even know how to read a map properly, but it doesn't matter. It’s just about the start, and you can figure it out, and be honest with whoever you're doing it with, that you don't know everything but you're there to try and learn and people can’t argue with that really.

Last three questions, what song or piece of music motivates you?

Well, it’s probably not an uplifting piece of music, but the piece of music that really makes me feel like heart bursting is Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’, classical piece of music and I’ve always loved it. When I was climbing Kilimanjaro, I was walking along on my own and battling with lack of oxygen and I looked up and as I looked up the clouds cleared and the peak moved into view and at the same time that song came onto my headphones and it was just the most awe-inspiring incredible moment.

I thought wow I’m actually here, I’m actually doing this, and the music is just so soaring that it lifts me up. So now whenever I’m in a beautiful place and I need a pick me up that’s my go to piece.

What about a book that inspires you? I know you’ve mentioned ‘Wild’, is that one of them?

That was definitely the book that got me started, that got me into the walking bug and tapped into my sense of adventure, so I would definitely have that one on my list. There’s another one right now called ‘Roar’ by Cecilia Ahern, and it’s a collection of 50 short stories about women and finding their inner strength, and that’s a really good book as well.

Who inspires you?

There’s no one person I don’t think but anyone who’s prepared to just try things. Some of the mums who were at my kids school, who were in their 40’s and 50’s, rowed across the Atlantic 2 years ago, and they didn’t know what they were doing and they had every reason to say no, but they said yes and did it anyway. So I think anybody who is prepared to just say yes ok i'll give that a try and it doesn't have to be rowing the Atlantic or climbing Everest it can just be something that is a challenge for them and their prepared to give it a go. I think that's inspiring.

You can listen to the full podcast interview which took place in 2018 here -

Visit for more information and you can find Melissa on Instagram @glamoraks and Twitter @melissatolago

Keep being fabulous x

March 29, 2020

Top 10 Podcasts by Inspiring Women

How’s everyone coping with being at home? I’m trying to keep busy and plan each day with some structure to help keep me motivated. I’m a huge fan of listening to podcasts and now is the perfect time to catch up on some of those missed episodes. There are so many podcasts out there now and I’m glad to see so many female content creators.

I can guarantee there will be a podcast covering almost every subject you can think of, from finances, death and divorce to love and fashion, detective and thriller stories to gardening and cooking. I think there’s something special when women come together and have a good chat; quite often, listening to another womens’ story or experience can make such a difference to your day and leave you feeling inspired.

Here are some of my favourite podcasts to keep you going and hopefully help fill the odd hour or two each day.

Get ready to start downloading now!

How to Fail

Elizabeth Day switches things up a bit by celebrating the things that haven’t gone right. Weekly podcast where guests explore how their failures taught them how to succeed better. Famous guests share their failures candidly and you will be surprised to see how many of them you can relate to.

Conversations of Inspiration

I’ve only recently discovered this podcast with Notonthehighstreet and Holly & Co founder Holly Tucker, I have binge listened so many episodes. Holly really is a woman to be admired after spending the last 15 years building small businesses and helping empower so many others across the UK.

Conversations of Inspiration sees Holly invite founders of small businesses to share the highs and lows they’ve encountered whilst building their business.

Hashtag Authentic

Sara Tasker’s podcast was the very first one I listened to and I’ve been hooked ever since. If you are a creative person this is the podcast for you. Hashtag Authentic is a weekly podcast exploring the secrets to online success for dreamers, makers and creatives. With practical tips and inspiring stories that will leave any small businesses, bloggers and online creatives feeling inspired.

The Capsule

Keeping it local with the lovely Leeds based actress and presenter Natalie Anderson who has built a successful lifestyle brand called The Capsule and has now launched her own podcast to talk all things Fashion, Beauty, Business and Wellbeing.

Natalie is joined weekly by The Capsule editorial team Fashion Editor Anna Mewes and Travel Industry Expert Lyndsey Thomas. Series one has just finished, and I thoroughly enjoyed listened to the variety of guests.

Happy Place

I’ve always been a fan of Fearne Cotton and I’ve loved watching her career change direction.

Fearne is not one to shy away from any subject as her guests talk honestly about their lives, love, loss, and everything in-between as she reveals what happiness means to them.

In The Dark

If you love serial investigative journalism, then this American APM podcast hosted by Madeleine Brown and a team of reporters will get you hooked.

Investigating murders, kidnapping, following trial and re-examining evidence is fascinating.

I’m Absolutely Fine

If you’re not familiar with these two ladies who formed The Midult then I definitely recommend you look them up. Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekan founded The Midult back in 2016 and provided a refreshing change to what’s been put out there for grown up women and really celebrate the power and potential of women. The podcast looks into the glamour along with the indignity of being a grown up.

The Naked Podcast

I recently had the pleasure of joining BBC Radio Sheffield hosts Jenny Eells and Kat Harbourne for their latest Naked Podcast series and it’s a brilliant idea. Hosts and guests strip off and enjoy honest and topical conversation; it’s surprising how liberating it feels!

Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

Oprah’s podcast is a firm favourite of mine. Full of insight, food for thought, clarity and inspiration. At a time like our current one I think this is the perfect podcast to help you keep grounded, sane and calmer.

Out Of The Bubble

I hope I can be forgiven for including my own podcast in this list as it’s something I’m very proud of and am enjoying the opportunity to share some amazing women’s stories. Women who have re-invented themselves in later life, overcome hurdles, changed directions share their journey and leave you with inspiration and motivation.

Start downloading now!

Keep being fabulous
Rachel x

March 8, 2020

International Women’s Day 2020

International Women's Day* is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women's rights and is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

This years' theme for International Women's Day is #EachforEqual and I was delighted to be involved in the Chantelle campaign as part of their celebrations.

"An equal world is an enabled world.

Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

Let's all be #EachforEqual" #IWD

I loved reading all the positive messages of support to other women shared on social media yesterday and although it seems a shame we have to dedicate a special day to do this, it's a great reminder to us all. I'm often saddened when I read or hear women judging other women and not showing support. I think we all have to be more conscious of the fact that it's ok to be different; to have our own opinions. But in world where women are striving to be seen and heard with equality, the least we can do is be supportive of each other. That's what made this Chantelle shoot so special, the mix of women they chose was amazing. We are all so different and some I'd never met before but we bonded quickly, and by sharing our own stories, this helped create the most beautiful and natural images. These are the kind of images that I want to see out there in fashion marketing and media. All ages, sizes, backgrounds and colours together.

"Chantelle has always been all about empowering women with different body shapes, making them feel positive in their body and mind. More recently, our goal has been to redefine the way lingerie is portrayed, reflect better the world we live in, and drive the lingerie industry into a new area of creativity, avoiding stereotypes and bringing meaning to it all."

IWD remind us all that: "We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society.

Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world." I'm a huge believer in women helping each other and when we work together we become so much stronger, it's one of the reasons I seek out female collaborations so much.

Modelling lingerie is now one of my favourite jobs, it's when I seem to be at my most comfortable for some strange reason. If I'd have been told I would be having days like this, modelling lingerie with a group of women I've never met before, I would have run a mile. That's the beauty of being comfortable in my own skin as I approach fifty.

It's also the beauty of spending the day with four amazing and supportive women, all with very different backgrounds and stories to tell, all equal in value.

(It helped that we spent the day in the Chantelle #softstretch range which is literally so comfortable you forget you're wearing it!).

Midlife women have been dismissed by the media and fashion industry for too long, particularly when it comes to lingerie and swimwear campaigns. I feel like I've found my voice and I want to make sure I'm heard. One of the joys of hosting my own podcast

Out of the Bubble is being able to share other women's stories and hopefully inspire others. My IWD2020 pledge is to continue using my platform to champion other womens' achievements and help share their story. What's your pledge?

"The five influencers in the campaign are all from backgrounds that empower women, they talk about and promote body positivity, femininity, inclusivity and everyday life as a woman. They all support women's rights in one way or another. They are all real women and all have incredible stories to tell."

Please give these fabulous ladies a follow over on Instagram because they are such an inspiration Kaz Foncette, Emma Smyth, Rachael Sealy and Grace Latter.

Keep being fabulous!
Rachel x

February 23, 2020

How an image coach can renew your confidence.

Listen to your inner voice and don't be afraid to question her" by Sara Marsden-Shreeve

This weeks Monday motivation comes from award winning colour, style and confidence consultant Sara Marden-Shreeve at The Image Tree. Sara is not your average image consultant, using her degree in psychology and coaching qualifications , Sara helps women build their confidence from the inside and out. I love her motto "Rock what you've already got" and this weeks post is a reminder to us all to be kinder to ourselves and to listen to that inner voice too!

"There I am aged 12, stood in the gym at our schools’ annual Christmas country dancing seasonal treat in darkest deepest Winter...yes you heard right bizarre eh? When I think about it now, I still feel a little gip in my stomach.

It was the usual scenario of girls one side and boys the other in which the popular "lotharios" got to strut their confidence and choose their bottle green clad damsel in a pencil skirt. How romantic?

I was usually one of the stragglers at the end, awkwardly looking at her scuffed shoes whilst the remaining boys chose with equal embarrassment and shame. You know... the usual demeaning stuff on the mean road to adulthood.

Everyone got to dance with everyone else as you’re passed from pillar to post and got to swing around and do the ‘dosey- doh’ and so on.. it beat sitting in lessons on a Friday afternoon I guess!

Well, towards the end of the afternoon I moved up the rows and eventually got to partner with one of THE top lads in the year, Mr Popularity himself. I literally gulped in my very soul. At this point, he quite loudly scoffed to his surrounding mates and groupies on my approach, whilst the teacher was pratting around with the stereo system, that it would be best that he not get too close ( to me) in case he caught and I quote “ugly disease”.

I remember feeling an inner burn; something had fizzled inside me.. the remnants of my self-confidence died and as you well know, there isn’t much to go around anyway in teenage-dom.

The rest of the remaining hour felt like an eternity and I wanted to go home and shrivel up into a ball of nothingness and as fast as possible. Fingers were being pointed and whispers were rife in that gym hall that day.

Needless to say, after that I felt the same sad void for some good ooh 18 years and the 'uglyness' tag continued to hang, plus, what with the acne, the scarcity of boyfriends and the body changes it was all an even slower burn. I think it would be fair to say that I “fell out with myself”, didn’t like me as it were, felt pretty well “flawed” somehow. One stupid comment from one moron took my spark! My arch nemesis ‘the negative belief’ was born. Boom!

As with most of us, life deals you a few shitty hands that seem to scar, but yet we are also delivered great stuff with the other but, we just don’t seem to relish them as much, you know like your first love, trying new things and feeling accomplished at something. Instead, we hang onto the negative, the poisonous things that bury themselves into our very core and stop us becoming truly happy or doing/being…you know ‘that thing’ we’re supposed to do or be. We all have it we just sometimes choose to ignore it because of fear of failure and getting sucked into believing it's all true and we can't or we're not worth it.

So you know what, out of nowhere, at the age of 35, I decided one morning that I was not going to return to Civil Engineering (my current job at the time, which I loved actually) and I was going to do something about me for me, but what?! Whether an angel had whispered these thoughts in my sleep or the universe had taken me by the hand in my dreams the night before, I do not know, but I was about to experience a shift!

I was still on maternity leave with my second child at this time and I felt I was drowning in nappies, housework and monotony. A time that I now see gave me unconditional love partnered with true reflection and the time to see what life can actually bring... family. To be honest, our journey to having a family was straught with miscarriage and loss so you can see how making the decision to do something in life was so inherent. No more victim, I needed to start listening to those crappy inside voices and tell them to shut the hell up and sit down, I'd brought lives into the world for god sake.

So to cut a long story short I realised that my future had always been there, sitting right under my nose, but had not really seen it or even looked for it.

I loved colour, loved fashion, loved people and how they ticked (I have a BA Hons in Applied Social Science) so I was going to learn how to build confidence through learning how to like me and my body again and give it the blummin respect it so deserved! Well-fitting clothes, my own style, flattering colours and love for just being me were my agenda. That way I could pass it on to others whom I know shared the same feelings about themselves and they too would be able to do something about it. Plant those positive seeds as it were...

I qualified via First Impressions in Warwick, first just as a Colour Consultant and then later on as a fully- fledged Image Consultant, I then went onto set up The Image Tree back in 2013. I built my own website, went on fab courses and learned to Blog, use Social Media and get myself out there and join networking groups full of inspiring women.

Through listening, acting on and meeting fabulous people and clients, I now sit on the Style Guru team at Henpicked, frequently speak on BBC radio , work with many local businesses/ larger corporates, collaborate with confidence building brands, present at seminars and even won some awards. Heck I'm even one part of a trio of women entrepreneurs who set up a local networking group with a twist WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) to help support and teach other women in business.

A few years ago I also added NLP to my skillset so that I can provide a Coaching string to aid Positive Mind-set further and provide the whole top to toe, inside and out services to any woman who wants to start their Style and Confidence journey. I'm also a massive lover and user of Positive Psychology and have truly niched myself by supplying an holistic approach to Image, because of it's proven powerful effects on myself and other women. Most of my closest colleagues are all practitioners and specialists within the Health, Wellness and Self Care Industry so we all bounce and support off each other. Cool eh?

So if you thought the whole Image Consultancy thing was a shallow, materialistic based service, which those not in the know think, then you'd be hugely mistaken. For me, being an Image Coach educates and delivers you and your confidence back to you on a plate, with a side order of ‘Love’. That’s just the catalyst that starts the ball rolling and hopefully sparks other things.

My personal experience combined with my learnings, new friends and my message throughout social media in general has become ingrained in me for the positive and continues to do so.

So the moral of this story,... remember to take the time to stop sometimes and enjoy your lot, listen to your inner voice and don't be afraid to question her. Once you start practising saying kinder things to yourself and appreciating what you do have, the crappy stuff eventually quietens down. ...learn to love the shit out of yourself.

Did that last phrase make you feel uneasy? If it did, then you've probably developed a block and feel you don't deserve to do it or may feel it's a tad "vain"? You know, it's ok to feel like that because we're not used to doing it, heck we cant even received compliments half the time, so you see it isn’t narcissistic at all and no one even needs to know you give yourself a hug at night or look in the mirror and give a cheeky wink. “Small tweaks tailor transformations”.

Cherish the positive stuff about you and try to brush the self-sabotaging stuff aside, a bit at a time. Your beliefs are just beliefs and aren’t even based on fact, heck they've probably been planted there by some moron at a country dancing lesson in bleak winter, so don’t let them rule you they mean nothing.

By the way before you cast your mind back to that fateful afternoon, I've since seen Mr Popular and I can hand on heart say that he is still a moron only much much bigger and yes I do believe in Karma. The aging process has not been kind."

Sara Marsden-Shreeve

The Image Tree
Award Winning Image Consultant, Coach and Body Positive Advocate

Original article

Keep being fabulous
Rachel x

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