One small step……….

Hi! How are you? Remember me?! To be completely honest I wouldn’t blame you if you’d picked up your ball and gone home! I mean, it’s been a looooong old time since I graced these tinterweb pages.

 

I thought it was about time I offered you a little explanation as to why I’ve been so quiet, and to be honest, I thought it might help me a little bit to write it all down too. I’m a big believer in the power of journaling and so here I am, putting my money where my mouth is in order to explain a little bit of what’s been going on in my world over the last few months.

 

Some of you will know that back in 2016, shortly after turning 40 I was diagnosed with epilepsy. It all came very much out of the blue (a huge seizure in the middle of Hyde Park during a weekend away with my husband saw the start of it) and it’s something that, I’m the first to admit, I’ve really struggled to come to terms with. In fact, for the first 8-10 months, I was in total denial and even insisted on more tests and a second opinion. As luck would have it, the second opinion was no different to the first and I finally realised that I really was stuck with the bugger! Epilepsy was confirmed and medication was recommended so that my chance of seizure was reduced to the same as the average Joe, therefore giving me the best shot of holding on to my driving licence once I finally had it returned to me (you have to be 12 months seizure free before you’re able to drive again – complete torture!)

 

Living with epilepsy and the daily medication I take to keep it in check has done a number of things to put a fairly sizeable dint in my self confidence.  In the first instance, the thing that I found the hardest to deal with was the fact that after having spent such a long time working on building a happy, healthy, trusting relationship with my body,  in one fell swoop I felt like epilepsy had gone and crapped all over it! Body positive you say?! Ha, take that, you crazy bitch! I’ll see your positive body image and raise you a totally unreliable brain………. Well, Cheers for that body. Excuse me if I feel just a tad let down won’t you?! I mean, piss-take or what!?

 

I also struggle with the fact that the threat of having a seizure is never far from my mind. Get me in any crowded situation and my thoughts start running wild…… busy shopping centres? The middle of my children’s school concert? That new, low-key  restaurant and bar? Visions of myself uncounscious at the feet of strangers fill my mind, foaming at the mouth, limbs twitching, eyes rolling….hell, if I’m really unlucky, I might even wet myself!! There are over 40 different types of seizure, and some can even go unnoticed by the casual observer, but going by my past record, I’m not so lucky. My body and brain definitely want to cause a scene. Of course they bloody do!  So what’s the big deal? Well it constantly makes me want to hide in the background, just to be on the safe side. To stick to the sidelines, just in case my epilepsy forces me to inadvertently draw attention to myself in the worst possible way. It has me looking for exits and escape routes wherever I go, just in case I start to feel “funny” (some seizures come with an warning or an aura – The Hyde park one did, I just didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time!)

 

And then, there’s the final problem. The one that’s been the root cause of my blog-writers- block. The medication that I’ve finally relented into taking (it took me a while before giving in!) comes with a number of pretty unpleasant side effects. But the ones that I’ve allowed to become the monsters that sit on my shoulder are the issues I sometimes have with “word recall” and a feeling that my brain just sometimes isn’t working at quite the same speed that it used to. Every time I’ve even thought about updating this blog, that evil little monster of self doubt – the same one that used to rejoice in telling me I was too fat to take part in life – now gets busy telling me I’m too stupid to write; that my words won’t come right; that I won’t be able to string together an interesting, amusing or coherent sentence.  At times, I also struggle with this anxiety in Real Life social situations, but it’s fair to say that blog writing is far easier to dip out of than Real Life is. So, that’s exactly what I have done. My laptop has stayed shut shut and my blog has remained out of bounds….. Until now! After some words of encouragement and a gentle bit of cajoling from my coach and friends in my yoga class (cheers ladies), here I am. Tapping away in the hope that sharing my story might help me, and who knows,  maybe even someone else out there who’s struggling with confidence wobbles at the minute.  

 

Ever one to search for the positives,  I’ve been wracking my addled brain trying to figure out whether I’ve managed to gain anything from this crappy chapter? Well, I guess that the main thing is that I now really, truly realise that body positivity is 100% more than merely making peace with your reflection. I feel as though I’m having to work my wotsits off in order to learn to love a whole new version of me. From inside, out.  An Amy 2.0  And let’s not beat around the bush, most of the time this particular update has not felt welcome or necessary. But it is what it is and I’ve had no choice but to accept it. 

 

I’ve also been reminded (and this is where I’m praying that I’m not going to fall flat on my arse after pressing go on this piece…..) that there is huge value in sharing your feelings and telling those around you what’s really going on in your world. For a long time, I’ve kept most of these worries and concerns to myself. Why? Well, I’m not really sure. It all made me feel far too vulnerable I guess.  But once I started opening up and telling people what was going on in my head it was like that old chestnut about shining a light in the darkest corners –  the bogey monsters had less space to hide!

 

So here I am, gingerly easing myself back into the saddle. For a while back there, I thought my blogging journey was over forever so I’m hoping that this is at least one small step in the right direction…… aaaaand that I haven’t made too many glaring mistakes! 

 

Jog On!

Jog On!

Something monumental has happened in the last few weeks, but I think I need to whisper it for fear of bursting the bubble……come closer……. I think I might have rediscovered my running mojo!

 

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while may remember me talking about my, errrrm, complicated relationship with running in the past (feel free to check out the posts here and here) but I’ve been attempting to up my exercise game recently, mainly because I haven’t been feeling as though I’m the best version of me at the moment, and I am ready for change!

 

I’ve been relying on my daily walking as my only source of exercise and I’ve realised that it just isn’t enough any more. I’ve dabbled with some Barre3 (which is actually really great, and boy, can you feel it working your muscles) and a little bit of kettle bell action, but I never really felt fired up enough to turn either of them into a regular, committed practice.

 

 

Then a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly started feeling really anxious. While “putting myself out there” with the blog is ridiculously exciting, it can also leave me feeling a bit vulnerable, and last week I allowed the demons to get in and take over. You know all of that “ditch the inner bitch” stuff I bang on about? Well, I’m usually pretty good at it, but last week must have been my regular skinny bitch’s week off, because it wasn’t her tormenting me about the size of my bingo wings. Oh no, no no!! It was a new kid on the block who sounded exactly like the most heinous type of school bully. You know the one…..”you’re so stupid”, “you aren’t cool enough”, “you can’t be in our gang – you’ll ruin our cred!” Try as I might, I was finding it unbelievably difficult to bounce back from the internal insults, and I knew that I was going to have to try something different to pull myself out of the hole.

 

So I asked myself what advice I might give to a friend or client going through a similar experience. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the first pearl of wisdom that sprung to mind was EXERCISE. Now in the past I’ve been guilty of procrastinating my way out of exercise, so I decided to act immediately. As soon as the thought popped into my head, on went the trainers and I headed out to my office in the garden where my dreadmill  treadmill sits. I didn’t have any plan, aim or goal, I just knew that I needed to work up a bit of a sweat. I also decided that rather than listening to my default loud music (as I usually do when I exercise), I would instead listen to something I could get more absorbed in. I checked my podcast list and found that I had an un-listened to episode of Laura Thomas’ Don’t Salt My Game, where she was talking to Chloe Brotheridge about her best selling book The Anxiety Solution. Now if that wasn’t the universe sending me a sign, I’m not sure what it was!

 

After doing a bit of brisk walking for 5 minutes, something really odd thing happened……..I suddenly decided to crank up the speed and have a go at jogging. And do you know what? It felt REALLY BLOODY GOOD! When I’ve jogged in the past, even when I was doing 5k regularly, the physical effort of it was so intense that I actually despised every step. But not last week! Even though I could feel that my body was working hard, I felt as though it was flowing far more naturally than any of my other attempts have done. It was nothing short of a revelation!

 

But the best bit? I couldn’t quite believe the amazing affect that it had on my mood. I know that the scientific research behind endorphins and physical exercise is well reported, and my best friend swears that exercise is the best anti-depressant, but from a personal point of view, I was very aware of how the act of pushing my body managed to get me out of my head for a while. Instead of continuing to get myself lost under a pile of negative thoughts, jogging made me really focus on the brilliant work my body can do. It also made me realise that I am actually a lot fitter than I give myself credit for (HAES anyone?!) and that in itself gave me a bit of a buzz for the rest of the day. In fact, the buzz was so good, that I decided to make it a regular part of my routine and since that day I have made time to hit the treadmill (and even to follow it with a cheeky bit of yoga) 3 times a week.

 

One of the things I‘ve realised is that my number one concern is no longer about losing weight, or running a particular distance in a certain amount of time. Instead my aim now is to make myself feel good. I’ve realised that connecting back to my body is a really important thing for me to do and that I definitely need periods of time where I am able to get out of my head and into my body.

 

So am I going to keep it up? Well, all I’ll say at the minute, is that I am actually looking forward to my next session….. in fact, I might even go so far as to say that I’m excited about it.

 

Now who’d ever have thought that was a possibility?!

 

How to Build a Positive Social Media Party!

How to Build a Positive Social Media Party!

I’ve just read a crazy statistic –  the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime. And that’s just the average, so it’s safe to assume that *some* of us are spending a lot more time on-line than that.

 

I’m as guilty as the next person, and absentmindedly picking up my phone and indulging in a little PS (Pointless Scrolling) happens more times during the day than I’d care to admit. But, like it or not, it’s where a lot of life happens these days, right?  And it’s certainly not showing signs of disappearing any time soon.

 

Now while I’m not saying that it’s OK to opt out of Real Life in favour of the wonderful, shiny world of Instagram and Facebook, I am suggesting that if you indulge in more than a bit of social media, then it can be a great way to enable you to build a virtual community that supports and helps you to become more body positive than the mainstream media would have you believe is possible.

 

One of my on-line faves, Lucy Sheridan (see below) suggests that when trapped in the compare and despair cycle that we all fall into every now and then (and which is often perpetuated by all of those very carefully curated social media feeds), it is sensible to treat your social media as you would a guest list for a house party: don’t follow anyone who you wouldn’t be happy to have dancing on your dining room table at 1am!

 

I love this analogy, and realised quite some time ago, that there is great power in curating an inspirational and positive social media party. If following a certain person is triggering you into feeling crap about yourself, go ahead and unfollow them. It’s really no big deal. I mean, why spend your days getting wound up, or even worse, filled with self doubt, just because of the “stuff” that that certain person constantly posts? Remember this is your party, so feel free to “remove” the drunken bum with the offensive views! 

 

I’d take this one step further, and alongside deleting those who drain you, I’d also suggest that it’s well worth while actively searching for accounts that are going to lift you up and make you feel fabulous when their words of wisdom or inspirational images pop up on your time line. 

 

So in that vein, I thought I’d use this blog post to share with you some of the people who make me feel great when my finger hovers over that Instagram button once or twice (ahem!) a day:

 

@bodyposipanda – after a hard fought battle with anorexia, Megan Crabbe has now dedicated her life to promoting body positivity and body love across the globe and is just poised to publish her first book on the subject. She is a positive ray of sunshine and I love seeing her gorgeous belly roll pictures posted with such confidence and happiness.

 

@louisegreen-bigfitgirl – Louise smashes the old stereotype that big women can’t be fit and she is striving to “create a world where every ‘body’ can realise their athletic potential, regardless of her size.” In her own words she is a “plus size trainer and athlete” and is another who has recently published a book which is next up on my ‘to read’ pile – “Big Fit Girl”.

 

@carolinehirons – Nothing to do with the bo-po community, but Caroline is THE skin care blogger to turn to if you have any skin issues or queries about new products. She is the font of all skin care knowledge……  And the added bonus is that her instagram stories are often very funny.

 

@donthatetheshake – a fabulous feed filled with videos of followers dancing with their wobbly bits well and truly on show! Just the summary itself is wonderful: “dedicated to the ever amazing #DontHateTheShake videos. 100%Body Positive. No bullying. Safe Place for all!” Contributors with belly rolls are very much encouraged to get them out in the name of joyful dancing and I love it (but haven’t submitted a vid myself……….yet!)

 

 

@bodyimagemovement – for those of you who watched the wonderful Embrace, you’ll be very familiar with the founder of Body Image Movement – Taryn Brumfitt, the lady behind the movie. This is a feed which documents many aspects of Taryn’s life, including her global travels to publicise Embrace and her amazing, dancing quest to be invited as a guest onto the Ellen show!

 

 

 

@deliciouslyella – OK, OK, I know that the whole “clean” eating thing is pretty hackneyed now, but there are no two ways about it, I love Deliciously Ella’s food and am often inspired to try new recipes thanks to her Insta page.

 

@lucysheridan– As mentioned above, Lucy is one of my faves! She is a crazily successful coach (the Comparison Coach), public speaker, and one half of the duo behind the book “Higher Selfie”. As well as having an incredibly beautiful feed, Lucy often hops on to Facebook and Instagram live to share her words of wisdom. I don’t know how she manages it, but she always makes me feel as though I’m listening to sage advice from one of my closest friends. She has  a gorgeous, warm manner and always has something encouraging or inspirational to share. 

 

@eatingpsychology – this page very much appeals to the health coach geek within me! While I trained with Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) I have long since had my eye on following up my initial training with a course from The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I need to earn quite a bit of cash before that becomes a reality (!), so until that point, I will continue to enjoy the free, little nuggets of wisdom that they post on their page.

 

@fullerfigurefullerbust – the gorgeous Georgina is a plus size model who proves without a shadow of a doubt that larger ladies can 100% be as sexy as hell! As well as posting amazing shots of herself in swimwear and underwear, she also posts videos of her training like a boss and is now contemplating becoming a plus size fitness instructor (which I think would be amazing) so I am extra keen to follow her journey.

 

@allisonkimmey – Allison calls herself a “Global Self Love Expert” and her wonderful tag line is “Just Do You!” She is another coach who strives to help women believe that diets and self loathing are not the path to a healthy or happy life and she posts frequent swimwear shots of herself in a bid to normalise a larger, post 30, post baby, body  – Hallelujah!!!

 

@happilicious.co.uk – obvs! 😉 

 

I’d love to know if any of this rings true with you. Do you find yourself seething every time a particular face pops up on your news feed? Or have you had any experience of culling your friends list in a bid to improve your self esteem? Why not pop on over to the (closed) Happilicious Living Facebook group to share your views, or drop me an email if there are any other wonderfully inspirational women who you think I should know about. 

Stuck in a Funk

Stuck in a Funk

 

For the last week or so, I’ve been feeling a bit rubbish. I’ve felt overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” I have to do; I’ve not been listening to my body and as a result have been eating quick, easy and not particularly nutritious food, and as an extra added bonus, I’ve been letting that inner bitch get louder and nastier with each passing day.

 

I’m not entirely sure what’s brought me to this point. I think its been a culmination of a number of different things, but what I do know is that rather than wallowing and allowing myself to descend faster and harder into a downwards spiral, I need to pull up my big girl pants and start working on finding my little miss positive once again.

 

After mentioning feeling like this in my Facebook group this morning, a few other Happilicious ladies said that they have been struggling recently too, so I thought I’d use this week’s blog post to share some of the ways I’ve pulled myself out of a rut in the past.

 

1. Starting my day with a green smoothie

 

I know it sounds like such a cliché, but starting my day with a green smoothie makes a huge difference to my mornings. If I start the morning with with rushed, crappy breakfast, I can pretty much guarantee that the rest of the food for the day will continue in the same vein. When I crack open the Nutribullet, I feel far more positive just as a result of the knowledge that I’ve filled my body with some tip top nutrients before the day has even begun (my smoothies usually consist of spinach, frozen berries, banana, cacao powder, been pollen and almond milk). In my book, taking the time to make myself a smoothie also counts as an act of self love – I’m proving to myself that I’m worth the effort!

 

 

 

2. Booking a wax and whacking on the moisturiser

When you’re feeling like shit, faking it til you make it is definitely where its at! And for me, when my limbs are flaky, dry and hairy, even faking it it damn near impossible. So, in order to give myself an extra helping hand, I’ve booked myself into a salon to get a good old wax and then I’ll be using the beautiful moisturiser that I usually save for best (Jo Malone – a great 40th birthday pressie from my best mate) and I’ll be slathering myself in the stuff until I feel like a beautifully scented goddess!

Self care is so important and yet it’s often overlooked. We spend our days so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else, that we let ourselves slip to the bottom of the pile, and then we wonder why we end up feeling like a wrung out rag! I say it’s time we start a self care revolution!

 

3. Listening to podcasts that amuse and inspire me

 

I do quite a bit of walking every day and when I’m not with the kids, my ear buds are well and truly lodged in. Now while I LOVE music, it sometimes makes a really welcome change to listen to a podcast or two and over the last few months I’ve discovered some new favourites which keep me entertained and amused. My only problem when listening to podcasts is dealing with the bemused stares I get from people when I’m giggling out loud or nodding along in agreement!

 

Just in case you fancy having a listen, I’m currently loving Cherry Healey’s Letters to my Fanny; The Whole and Healthy Live podcast with Laura Agar Wilson and Kezia Hall; Don’t Salt My Game by Laura Thomas PHD – admittedly the last two are about me getting my health coaching geek on, but I’m pretty sure that you’ll find them interesting too.

 

4 Stepping away from social media and getting my head in some books

I’m going to write a whole post entirely about this issue, but I thought it was worth touching on here any way…..When you’re feeling a bit crap, the last thing you need is to be dealing with the inevitable comparison that occurs when you spend an age pouring over other peoples’ perfectly curated social media feeds. So why not think about giving yourself a Facebook/Instagram break for a day or two? If you find your fingers twitching over your phone grab a paperback and remind yourself how lush it feels to read actual, real books again instead! (I’m currently LOVING “Big Girl” by Kelsey Miller).

 

 

5 Having a hibernation day at home

 

While I’m writing this list extoling the virtues of taking action to get yourself out a hole, I’m also a big believer in occasionally going with the flow and allowing yourself some guilt free time to indulge in a pity party for one! There are times when we really are just knackered and burnt out and what we really need to do is give ourselves permission to do nothing but hibernate under a blanket in front of Netflix for a while! If you are able to take a day/half a day/ and hour or two, where you can truly switch off and chill out, then plan it in.

Make sure that during your allotted time slot, you do nothing but look after numero uno and treat yourself with the same comfort and care you would a child who was having a sick day off school. Use the time to recharge your batteries, and once your allotted time slot is over, then start working towards putting a positive plan into action.

 

 

6 Gratitude

I know that some of you are probably bored of me banging on about this, and I included it in my 7 day challenge, but I really do feel passionate about how powerful a practice it is. Take 5 minutes, every day to remind yourself of all of the good stuff you’ve got going on. It is so easy to get bogged down in the internal lists of things that aren’t going well that the positives are easily overlooked, so make the effort to remind yourself of them.

 

 

 

Life is all about the ebbs and flows. I’m totally aware that this is a feeling I’ve experienced before and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll feel it again. But appreciating that this is an inevitable part of life which will pass, and being able to use it as a stepping stone towards positivity, makes all the difference. I’m not suggesting that these same tips will work for you, but I hope that they will at least give you a little inspiration next time you’re feeling a bit meh!

 

If you have any other fail safe tactics that you go to when you’re wobbling, I’d love to hear them!

Self Love

Self Love

 

So Valentines Day has been and gone for another year; the foil wrapped chocolate hearts have left the building and the crème eggs are filling up the shelves as we speak!

 

I have to say, I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentines day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, but I don’t like being told when to be romantic, and I hate the idea that romance has only one day designated to it annually! However, one thing that I did love about V-day this year, was the widespread encouragement to pay more attention to self love in the midst of all of the teddy bears and over priced flowers.

 

Now, for many of us, self love is an alien concept which is tricky, if not downright impossible to grasp. Loving ourselves is something we just do not do! From the shaky days of adolescence when our bodies morph into something which feels uncomfortable and unrecognisable, we often continue to foster a difficult relationship with our bodies as we grow and mature. We’re forever being told how important it is to make our bodies look the same way they used to when we were young, carefree, (child-free?!) twenty-somethings. We’re encouraged to chase an ideal which for most of us, just isn’t attainable. Because guess what, our bodies are constantly changing. Its what they do!!! Time of the month? Pregnancy? Post pregnancy? Winter? Summer? Menopause? An ever changing reflection is an inevitable part of life and yet we’re all fixated on looking like a younger/slimmer/more toned version of ourselves. And worse, we’re told that’s absolutely how we should look……. and if we don’t? Then we’re just not good enough!

 

We’re encouraged to fixate on the us of yesterday rather than being happy and content with the us of today.

 

It’s safe to say that we have all been brain washed. The media is constantly telling us that in order to be accepted by wider society, we must all look a particular way, and that if we don’t, then we damn well need to be doing something about it – sharpish! Hence forests worth of magazine pages, filled to the brim with the latest quick fix diet fad promising to make us all look like Jennifer Anniston.

 

But then they take it even further, because the next thing we’re led to believe is that if we attempt the latest diet (the one that promises a “bikini body”) but we don’t achieve it in the same way that Jennifer Anniston has, then it is definitely, undoubtedly, 100% OUR FAULT.

 

So now look at you….. not only do you not have a bikini body, (and are therefore, by default, a hideous mess)  but you’re also a failure because everyone else manages to stick to this diet and achieve wonderful results – if you don’t believe us, just look at the before and after pics………..

 

Bloody hell, it’s no wonder we’re all struggling in the self love department. I’m surprised we manage to get out of bed in the mornings! The truth of the matter is that, of all of the people who lose weight on a diet, 95% will go on to regain the lost llbs , and then some….. 95%!!!!!

 

When you look at numbers like that, I think it’s pretty obvious that the problem is with the diets, rather than the dieters. But here’s the the big secret; diets are designed to fail! They are intended to be a short term fix, because guess what, keeping you coming back for more, time and time again is how they make their money.

 

So I say, its time we stick two fingers up at the diet industry and make a change ourselves. Let’s sack off the diets and stop trying to turn back time (damn you Cher!) and instead, put in the effort that it takes to start loving our bodies as they are today.

 

Given time and encouragement, we can all find something we like about ourselves, but for some of us, the battle has run so deep, for so long that it can feel like an insurmountable task. So in a bid to get the ball rolling, I’ll go first……..

 

Ok, I may not look like a supermodel (who does?!), but I’ve got two strong legs that allow me to walk my children to and from school every day; oh and those two children….? I grew them in my belly (how amazing is that?!!) So I guess I’ll excuse it for being soft and wobbly!!! I’ve got two brilliant ears that let me listen to the latest Elbow album REALLY LOUD and a cracking voice that lets me belt out the amazing choruses……see, absolutely no room for false modesty round here!

 

Now it’s your turn. It may be your gorgeously thick hair, your dimples when you smile or your perfect sense of direction! Whatever it is, notice it, appreciate it and be grateful for it!

Once you start making your list of positives, try reminding yourself of them regularly and then adding to them each time a new aspect of your fabulous self becomes apparent! Once you start making small mind-set shifts like this, you’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make to your general sense of wellbeing. 

 

Replacing the negative self talk with some positivity is a big, bold step towards a brighter future and if you’re looking for more help and support, why not sign up to receive my FREE 7 Happilicious Days challenge where you’ll find more small ideas which can lead to big change!

 

I’d love to hear about the positive shifts you make in your life, so please drop me an email or pop over to the facebook group to spread the positivity!

 

 

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

Happy International Day of the Girl!

I have to be totally honest with you, I didn’t realise that there even was such a thing until I stumbled across a Marie Claire article about it online last night! While my late discovery has meant that I haven’t been able to do anything radical, high profile and exciting to promote this awesome day, it has nudged me into sitting back and really thinking about how bloody kick ass us girls are!! And it has also fired up my belief that given the current state of high profile girl hate that seems to be out there in the big wide world (Trump the chump anyone?!) we need now, more than ever to stand together in proper female solidarity. As Michelle Obama put it “When they go low, we go high!”

I don’t know about you, but at the moment I feel really energised by a new wave of feminism which is gaining momentum at a crazy pace. There are a lot of women out there who are embracing their feminine spirit and harnessing it to go after the life that lights them up. This of course causes an inevitable ripple effect, lighting up others around us and inspiring other women to go out there and do their thing, whatever it may be! Increasingly there is a shift towards “Mind Body and Soul” careers with a huge number of women who are coming out of the spiritual closet and striving to change the world in a far more gentle, spirit lead way rather than the old school ego bearing, chest beating way that we’ve been encouraged to use in the past. Women such as Rebecca Campbell (Light is the new black, Rise Sister Rise), Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic, Eat Pray Love), Lucy Sheridan & Jo Westwood (Higher Selfie) are all writing books and running programmes which encourage us to step into our light, and away from our ego in order to change not only on our world, but also the world of those around us.

With easy access to the internet and social media “getting yourself out there” and connecting to a worldwide audience has never been easier. Thanks to online blogs such as Hurrah for Gin there is now a very prominent and often very funny online conversation based around the very real every day trials of being a mum. They’ve opened a dialogue which didn’t really exist before. The concept of the competitive, uber mum is dying a death and in its place is a feeling that we are all in this together, often with a tantrum ringing in our ears and a poo-filled nappy in our hands.

Not only this, but blogzine Selfish Mother have done truly amazing things in terms of bringing women together virtually, but also in real terms – the Selfish Mother #goodtees campaign has to date donated £250,155 to ace charities around the world including mothers2mothers (m2m), an Africa-based, global nonprofit organisation that unlocks the potential of mothers to break the cycle of paediatric AIDS and create healthy families and communities. All the while enabling the rest of us to look pretty cool and able to spot a fellow #sista a mile off!!!

From my Happilicious point of view, this new wave of sisterhood is also strengthening the message that the time has come to reclaim our bodies and stick two fingers up to the universally approved “way that we are supposed to look”. We need to truly believe, and to prove to younger generations that we are about waaaaaay more than a number on a scale or a dress size. We have a message that we should be allowed to share regardless of how we look or what we weigh. We need to steer the conversation away from appearances and instead towards the way we feel and the principals that we believe in and live our lives by. And we need to back each other every step of the way. Let’s not do each other down. Instead, lets cheer each other on. In the words of my rather fabulous new badge:

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A few weeks ago, I spotted the following meme on girlganguk’s insta feed and it hit me like a ton of bricks:

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I want to be THIS person. I want to be an inspiration and an encourager and an enabler. I want to help young women to step into their light. I want to help change the world with my #sistas by my side! Who’s with me?!