Free to be me…! a workshop for mums

Free to be me“Free to be me…!” is a workshop for mums  on Saturday 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton.

This workshop is for all busy mums of children at any age who spend their time juggling their own lives as well as their children’s lives.

I focus on how, as mums we can:
• Learn to change our thinking to become happier with ourselves and how we parent
• Learn new ways of coping with the inevitable challenges
• Tackle and deal with comparison and guilt
• Motivate ourselves to do whatever it is we need to do!

I have taken some of the latest psychology findings and made them easy-to-use on a stressful Monday morning when everything is going pear shaped.

The topics I have included have made a real difference to me, to find out more about this read my letter to mums

Cost: £25pp with 10% off until 15 September.

To book your place, please go to:

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For mums, it is the small things in life…

Free to be me!Thank goodness the new school bag arrived this morning, I now have one happy teenage daughter who is now looking forward to going back to school so she can show it off to her friends.

I would say it was an example of “pick your battle” but I think I probably just gave in to daughter pressure, the rucksack has plastic straps and is not in the least bit waterproof i.e. looks pretty but is totally impractical and I don’t expect it to last more than a couple of weeks.

But, my daughter loves it so if that is what it takes for her to be happier going back to school, then that is something I’m just going to have to live with (I still think it was a rip-off…).

Sometimes as a mum, it is the little things which do make a difference, staying calm, being positive and realising that it is not the rucksack which is the issue, it is about going back to school. But, it isn’t easy when we are also juggling 101 other things.

Which is why I am running my “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums  on  4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton Village Hall, the cost is £25pp with a 10% if you book before 15 September.

Oh, by the way, she has just seen a photograph of herself when she was 7 and asked “Why did I have my hair like that, fashion crisis or what?” – I simply reminded her I did suggest it wasn’t the best look but decided not to fight that one too!

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A personal letter to all mums from a mum!

Dear mums,

Last Saturday I began listing all the pressures on mums today, by the time I got to 50 (from money worries, pressures on time, coping with school to worrying about our children not to mention “Facebook and the smug mum”) I now think it is amazing we all have the energy to get up in the morning to face the next day. But we do and we cope because that’s what we have to do for our children.

As a mum I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy over the years (we only ever had 1 dressing up outfit which covered all events from Romans to Victorians and I never did manage to bake a cake in time for the school fair) and at times it can all get too much.

Then I started writing my Building Resilient Teenagers workshop using the latest psychology research on brain development, self-esteem, thinking and motivation. What I read challenged and changed how I think about myself.

If we are going to parent our children to the best of our ability, we need to have the energy to do this. Guilt, fear and negative thoughts drain us unnecessarily – don’t we have enough to cope with!

This is why I have written my “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums of children at any age, I know the difference what I have learnt has made to me and I think you will find it both fascinating and liberating. We can change our thinking about ourselves and our circumstances and I use the latest psychology research to help us understand how we can do this.

I will be covering:
• Growing your belief in yourself and how you parent
• Tackling the twin challenges of comparison & guilt
• Motivating yourself to…
• Learning how to build your resilience to help manage and cope better with your day-to- day family life

My workshop is on 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM at Ruishton Village Hall. To find out more, click on this link or email me at I have limited the places to 12, the cost is £25 pp and if you book before 15 September you can get 10% off.

I hopefully look forward to seeing some of you on 4 October.



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I want my children to be happy…

HappinessAsk any parent what they want for their children, the majority will say something about wanting them to be happy. But, what is happiness? Where does it come from and what influences it?

I have been trying to answer the question “what makes us happy?” over the summer and have discovered some fascinating research which I will be building into my future workshops.

So,  I am starting my new programme of workshops with a “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums on 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton Village Hall.

As a mums, we have a huge influence on our children so I think we need to invest in ourselves more so we are better able to cope with our personal challenges as well as those of our children and partners (if we have one!).  To find out more, click here.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in my latest findings*, based on years of international research, are that if you want to lastingly raise your level of happiness you should do the following:
1. Live in a wealthy democracy, not in an impoverished one
2. Avoid negative events and negative emotions
3. Acquire a rich social network
4. Get married
5. Get a religion

And, as far as happiness and life satisfaction are concerned, however, you needn’t bother doing the following:
6. Make more money (money has little or no effect once you are comfortable, more materialistic people are less happy)
7. Stay healthy
8. Get as much education as possible
9. Change your race or move to a sunnier climate

Whether or not you agree or disagree this has certainly made me think.

* Martin Seligman 2002

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Happy holidays!

Hols with teenagers
As a working mum with teenage daughters relaxing, enjoyable family holidays are essential! I don’t want a miserable or stressful family holiday so I tried to prevent issues before they happen to make sure that we all have a great break.

Here are my top 5 tips for surviving and enjoying holidays with teenagers!

Tip 1:  Remember that your teenager also needs a holiday – try to think about your plans from their point of view. If they hate walking, a walking break in the Lake District probably wouldn’t result in a harmonious family holiday!

Tip 2:  Have a positive attitude to going on holiday with your teenager, tell them how much you are looking forward to spending time with them even if this gets negative comments and strange looks!

Your attitude to going on holiday will set the tone for the holiday so try to be positive and don’t expect a challenging time with them.

Tip 3:  Try to introduce some holiday rituals and routines – we have just been away to the same place we have been several times and there is a certain ice cream shop the girls love so whenever we go there, we buy ice creams and reminisce about previous holidays!

Tip 4:  Discuss mobile contact whilst away, will they take their phones with them and stay in touch with their friends and if they do? Sometimes teenagers need a break from their friends and the pressures of constant social networking I know I do not particularly want to take all their friends with me 24/7, so rather than arguing on the holiday I do talk about this before we go.

Tip 5:  Get a balance between what they want to do and what you want to do, for example, give them a day each when they decide what you all do and eat. We have done this over the years and the girls love dictating what I do and eat.

I do think the most successful holidays do take a bit of pre-planning and discussion. Also, do not pre-judge your teenager and they might just surprise you.

Happy holidays!

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Let’s do something different for parents of teenagers

TeenagersI love being part of a Ladies Business Action Group, we all have small start-up businesses and meet once a month on the Blackdown Hills. I look forward to it every month, but why?

These ladies are so encouraging, every time I come away feeling built up and ready to face the various challenges I need to deal with as well as lots of ideas on how to deal with them!

Is this what parents of teenagers would like, ideas and new ways for dealing with their parenting challenges, lots of encouragement (don’t we all need this!), accountability for making changes they want to make as well as someone just to listen to them.

I want to find out what would help you parent your teenagers.

Parenting courses are traditionally delivered over several weeks, however I know as a working mum it is hard to commit to one night a week over 5/6 weeks. Also, coming along to a workshop is easy, making and sticking to the changes you want to make to your parenting approach is far more difficult.

To tackle this, I am thinking about setting up a group for parents of teenagers that would meet either weekly or every other week which provides this ongoing support and encouragement.

To join the group, parents would need to attend 1 of my workshops, they could then come along to the group whenever they felt they needed some extra support to make changes or just get new ideas.

Is this a good idea or not? Tell me! :

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As parents of pre-teens and teenagers, what are your biggest issues?

I am now planning my next few workshops, they are going to be on Saturdays from September so I want to make sure I deal with the issues and challenges you find the hardest, so please let me know. Thanks!

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Fearing the unknown? Discover how to successfully parent teenagers.

managing teenagers

I have decided to repackage my 16 June workshop – the content is the same, however you can now choose to come for just the morning session, the afternoon one or all day.


This workshop is ideal for parents of children aged 10-14 years and there is a 10% discount if booked before 25 May (CODE: FTU1606).  I will be covering the following topics in the workshop:

Morning session   9:30 AM-1 PM (£28pp)
• Insights into the teenage brain – this explains a lot!
• Communicating with your teenager
• Managing behaviour & boundaries

Afternoon session   1:30 PM-4:15 PM (£24pp)
• Building your teenager’s self-esteem
• Managing their friendships and peer pressure
• Managing their online world

Cost: Day: £45pp or £75 for 2 adults. All costs include refreshments and an information pack, the full day ticket includes lunch.

If you would like more information, email me at

To book you place go to:

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Secrets to successfully parenting teenagers!

Secrets to successfully parenting teenagersMy final workshop before the summer is ideal for parents of children aged 10 – 14 years.
It will be on Saturday 14 June, Ruishton Village Hall, Ruishton 9:30 AM-4 PM BOOKING LINK

This workshop will focus on preparing for the teenage years, helping your child through change including the transition from primary school to secondary school and positively prepare you for the challenges of Year 9!

The feedback from similar workshops I have delivered has been very positive and I do know that other parents would definitely recommend this. The workshop will cover:

• Insights into the development of the teenage brain – this explains a lot!
• Understanding why teenagers behave the way they do
• Understanding how you can build their self-esteem
• Managing change with your child e.g. Primary to Secondary school, Y7 to Y9
• Understanding why Year 9 is so challenging and tips for dealing with this
• Keys to communicating with your child throughout the teenage years
• Learning how to successfully manage behaviour, conflict and boundaries
• Surviving their friendships and peer pressure
• Helping you and your teenager survive their online world

Cost: £45 per person, £75 for 2 adults including: light lunch, refreshments and information pack
10% earlybird discount if booked before 5 May

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How to help you and your teenager survive GCSEs

Please click on this link to book your place for the session at Heathfield School on 2 April, 7PM – 8.30PM on How to help you and your teenager survive GCSEs Places are limited.

This session focuses on the practical suggestions to help you and your teenagers and includes:
1. Communication with your teenager, or at least trying to!
2. Different approaches to revision and how to get your teenager to revise
3. Preparing for exams and managing stress

Any queries, please ring Ruth James on 07718178111study for exams

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