Creative Industries

How to Write a Book

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How to Write a Book

A few years ago I had an idea. A very powerful idea. One that kept me awake at night and gnawed away at me from the inside. It was an idea for a book that my inner being told me I simply must write. Write a book! It sang to me. Write a book! So on long nights of insomnia I would lay awake plotting and planning. And that’s how it began.

Of course, it took me almost a year to actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start writing. Because my mind was clouded by my own limiting beliefs. I can’t write a book! I haven’t studied creative writing! This idea is silly. I don’t even have the whole story planned out in my head yet. My head was so full of self doubt that it took the influence of my BFF writing her own first book to finally get me into action.

One thing is for sure. If I’d known how long it would take, how many re-writes I would do, how many adjustments I would make and how many bouts of self doubt I would have to tackle, I probably would never have started.

But now, here I am, with a completed young adult, modern fantasy novel of 85,000 words, ready for the literary agent query process. I have written a book. So how did I do it?

How to Write a Book: Step 1 – The Idea

You could be anywhere when it comes to you; gardening, at the supermarket, stuck in traffic or my personal favourite – listening to Radio NZ and doing the dishes. Out of nowhere it descends upon you. You can almost feel it settling on your shoulders like dewy mist. You have an idea. A great idea. An idea so amazing it gives you goosebumps.

Getting an idea is like a spiritual experience for me – like being graced with the presence of a deity or divine being. It sends me into a sudden sweat and causes me to mutter “fuck” under my breath.

In tarot, the ace of wands symbolises the exciting energy of a new idea. The spark of inspiration that floods you with motivation and oomph.

The trick is to hold onto the power of the idea long enough for you to use it. Sometimes that power can be fleeting; if you don’t sit down with it immediately its energy will float away to someone else. But other ideas are more persistent. They need you, and only you, to bring them to fruition.

As Elizabeth Gilbert explains in Big Magic, an idea is the very beginning of the creative process. Without it the creative process simply doesn’t exist. But Ideas, as wonderful as they are, are not complete in themselves. They need us to bring them into the material world.

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I had my idea for two years before I finally accepted that it wasn’t going to leave until I used it. Or until it found someone else willing to take it on. After two years of hanging out with my idea I couldn’t just let it float off to someone else! Someone who didn’t understand it. It was mine!

I made a deal with the idea that it was us together. Two peas in a pod. We were going to do this. But that’s when the my inner critic decided she had something to say…

How to Write a Book: Step 2: Tell your Inner Critic to Fuck off

My inner critic was not chuffed with me and my idea getting cozy together. She was concerned. She had our reputation in mind, our time and energy. She didn’t want me spending all that time trying to write a book only to fail! What if you find out you can’t do it? What if you never finish it? What if you tell everyone and then lose interest and it becomes just another one of those things you never achieved? What if you do finish it but it sucks and no one will publish it? You could make a fool of yourself! I think it’s best if you just clean your house instead. A clean house never hurt anyone.

I would like to say I found it easy to ignore her. But I didn’t. Her messages of self doubt were loud and distracting. It took me a long time to realise that she was always going to be there but I had the power to tell her to shut the fuck up.

How to Write a Book

How to Write a Book: Step 3 – Decide if you are a Plotter or a Pantser.

Plotters are writers that plot everything out before they even start their book. Pantsers are writers who just dive on in with their idea and ‘write by the seat of their pants’.

I am a plotter, open to some pantsing in between. Personally, I highly recommend doing some basic plotting before you start writing. Knowing your setting, season, characters and basic premise BEFORE YOU START is super helpful. I only know this because I dove in with most of these things undecided and every time I got to a place where I had to make a decision I was halted in my tracks, forced to go back and do research and make decisions.

However, maybe you have to write one book the wrong way before you can learn what kind of writer you are.

How to Write a Book: Step 4 – Start Writing

This is actually the easiest part of the whole process. Just fucking start. If you’ve committed to plotting give yourself a time limit. Set a date on the calendar. But the thing is if you don’t actually start you’ll NEVER have a book.

How to Write a Book: Step 5 – Allow Yourself to Fuck it Up/Learn

I have a saying I tell my kids when they are doing something for the very first time: The first time’s the worst time. Basically, you’ve gotta start somewhere and, while you may be impressed with how you’re going straight off the bat, remember – the only way is up. You can truly only get better from here on in. It’s both comforting and terrifying but you have to accept it to allow yourself to begin the learning process.

How to Write a Book: Step 6 – Cry

I feel like at this stage, if you haven’t already, it’s probably time to have a cry. Trying new things is scary and hard. There’s a whole monologue of self doubt voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it. If you’re lucky, that magical Ace of Wands feeling will be strong enough to drown out the doubt. But for most of us those nasty inner critic voices are loud and mean. If you feel them slowing you down, telling you to quit or forcing you to overthink every word, stop and let it out. Cry. Let them tears roll down your cheeks. Let that shit go so you can move forward. There ain’t no point holding on to those tears – there will be plenty more to shed later on in the process.

How to Write a Book

How to Write a Book: Step 7 – Commit to the Shitty First Draft

Being able to commit to the shitty first draft is the most important part of truly committing to your project. In my opinion the best approach is to smash out that shit. It’s like ripping off a Bandaid. The quicker you do it the easier it is. Bang. It. Out.

Set yourself a daily word count target and do whatever it takes to meet it. I find getting up at 5am to be my most successful writing time. My mind is still in the world of dreams and my kids are still (hopefully) asleep. I can smash out 3000 words before breakfast – but not after.

How to Write a Book: Step 8 – Keep Writing

In order to complete the shitty first draft, you must KEEP WRITING. There will be times when you feel confused, tired, doubtful. But under no circumstances are you to give up and stop half way through. Believe me, a complete shitty first draft is 10 times better than a half-finished shitty first draft.

In my opinion the best thing to do is set aside six to eight weeks to write your first draft. You must finish the whole thing in one go but it is okay to leave some gaps if you must. Then, once it’s done, stick that ugly baby in a drawer for six weeks and fuggetaboutit! Under no circumstances should you re-read what you have written until the six weeks waiting period is up. It will only make you cry again – which is far too soon.

How to Write a Book: Step 9 – Read Shitty First draft

This could very well be the hardest part of the process. There is a reason we call it the shitty first draft. After reading it you will see about 90% shit and 10% gold. You will doubt your abilities as a writer and as a human. Which leads to Step 10…

How to Write a Book: Step 10 – Cry

Yes. It’s that time again. Cry. It is okay to cry. You are sad because you hate your work and you obviously have no idea how to use basic grammar because you found so many ridiculous errors. But that is okay. It can only get better from here. This is the worst it will ever be. The very fact that you have found so many errors and awful sentences means that you have the skills to make it better.

How to Write a Book

How to Write a Book: Step – Polish that Turd

The best way to polish a turd is in real life, so that means print that puppy out, in double lined spacing and sit down by the fire with a stiff drink and a highlighter. It’s time to polish your baby turd.

-Make the first page a slap in the face
-Get rid of needless words
-Adverbs are not as cool as they seem
-Show don’t tell
-Don’t repeat information to the reader
-Keep them on their toes
-If it doesn’t progress the story, develop characters or conflict, do you really need it?

I found some awesome tips in Self Editing for Fiction Writers and Stephen King – On Writing.

How to Write a Book: Step – Make Changes then Give it Another Coat of Polish

Yep, that’s right. Once you’ve made all the changes it’s time to read through it all again. It can also help to read it out loud – that way you can hear when things don’t sound quite right.

How to Write a Book: Step – Cut the Emotional Chord

I understand how hard it can be to let go. But in order to make this book the best it can be you are going to have to learn to distance your self from your work. The next step in the process is going to involve opening yourself up to feedback. Honest feedback. Feedback basically means telling you all the things that are wrong with your work. All the mistakes you have made. And all the silly things that don’t quite make sense. But feedback is the THE MOST IMPORTANT AND HELPFUL THING YOU CAN GET.

So before you set out to get feedback, remind yourself that this is something you created but it is not you. The bones of it are the magic, now allow the universe to help you do that magic justice.

How to Write a Book: Step – Beta Readers

Now it’s time to send out the call for beta readers. Some people use friends and family but I would select people who are interested in the genre and market of your book. I wouldn’t ask my Dad to read my YA fantasy book because he would hate it regardless of quality. The best beta readers are people you don’t know because they are more likely to give you honest feedback. Try people from your book club, writers group or your High School English teacher friends. Select at least five beta readers so you get a wide range of opinions.

How to Write a Book: Step – Receive Feedback/Cry

Even though you previously cut the chord it is still hard take feedback on something you have given your soul to. It is okay to cry. It is okay to give yourself a day of Netflix binging to process all the things that are wrong with your book. You probably can’t get your head around them right now and have no idea how on Earth you will fix the problems. Don’t panic. Just relax and get back to it tomorrow.

How to Write a Book: Step – Implement Feedback

Now, you do not have to implement all feedback. Some opinions come down to the individual and at the end of the day this is your book. If one person suggests something you don’t agree with you don’t have to use their input. If 10 people suggest the same thing, you might want to consider it.

How to Write a Book: Step – Proof Read that Sucker

This is where you can ask anyone and everyone to read your little bastard of a book. You don’t really care if it’s their thing – because you are officially detached emotionally. Now you just need to make it tidy and tight. The more people read over it the more typos they will find. You want that bad boy looking as spick and span as possible.

You could at this stage hire an editor to check and format your book perfectly in prep for the next fabulous stage….

How to Write a Book: Step – Query Literary Agents

Now that brings me to my current nightmare stage; the agent query stage. If you thought writing the book was hard, try dealing with the slow and painful waiting game of querying agents! I can’t really complain. I’ve only been in this stage for six months and I’m less than 20 submissions deep. I’ll keep you posted!

How to Write a Book: Step – Start your Next Book

So this is where I’m at. My first book is currently complete and awaiting representation and publication. We have now learnt that writing books is not for sissies. It is hard and painful. But because we are silly and sadistic we can’t help but do it all again! So why not start book number two!?

Full Time Unicorn



Body Image

What Does your Self Esteem Depend on?

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Self Esteem

What does your self esteem depend on?

Perhaps you have a pretty face, pert booty or awesome boobs. You know this because other people have told you. They’ve complimented you and narrowed their eyes at you in feigned, or genuine, envy.

You kinda like that people wish they had your face/butt/boobs because it makes you feel good about yourself. Even in your darkest moments you can mutter to yourself “At least I have a smokin’ ass.

But what if one day you look in the mirror and no longer like what you see? What if your booty starts to sag, your babies suck the life out of your awesome boobs and your face becomes pitted and creepy with time’s gentle touch? Will you know that you’re still amazing, that you’re still the same fantastic person? Or will you feel lost, worthless, like your one shining star has been snuffed out?

Self Esteem Defined

Self esteem is defined as: Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self respect. 

But where does this worth come from?

In order for us to inhabit true self esteem it must not come from external sources. If we allow our self esteem to depend on things like our job, looks, possessions or wealth, what are we left with if due to some means outside of our control we suddenly lose this thing that seems to define our worth?

Self Esteem

My Self Esteem Dependence

When I was around 21 I liked how I looked. I knew I looked good because people told me so. I also knew I looked good because when I went out on the town with my girlfriends, guys would hit on me. They’d buy me drinks, ask for my number, or grind up against me on the dance floor. 

Sometimes I would roll my eyes at their advances and run off into the night giggling with my friends. Other times I would go home with them. But one thing was certain: Every time a male showed an interest in me I felt good about myself. It was a subtle ego stroke, a pat on the head, a gentle reminder that I was still hot, so therefore, valid. 

Self Esteem Dependence Starts with Lack

So where did this need come from? This desperate urge to receive male approval? Well more often than not we seek to rest our self esteem on the very place it has been lacking. 

For me it was my looks. Due to a history of disordered eating and poor body image, largely inspired by my father’s ingrained beliefs, I craved the attention and approval of men. If they thought I was beautiful and attractive then I was worthy. I had merit. 

On the nights where I went out and did not receive attention from men, I had failed. I had obviously gained weight or chosen an unflattering outfit. Suddenly in my eyes I became unattractive and therefore a fat and ugly failure. 

Learned Behaviour

I know it sounds crazy but when you are raised to believe that thin people are better than fat people and that the worst thing a girl can possibly be is unattractive, then this becomes your reality. When you are told that any woman with a brain and an opinion is a “cunt” then you dare not be like them. You do your best to become “cool girl” and allow yourself to be the object in all situations around men, instead of the subject.

Self Esteem

True Love

Childhood trauma aside, eventually I met an amazing guy who I am still in love with today. He held completely different views to the ones I had be raised with, and slowly I began to realise that there was so much more to me than just my looks. 

However, after a few years of living in domestic bliss I realised that I had lost confidence in myself. I was still happy but I had gained a little weight – the love-puff – and this made me question if I was still “good enough”. I wanted to be my my lover’s “hot girlfriend”, you know, the kind of girlfriend that makes his friends jealous. But now I was becoming The Girl Who Got a Boyfriend and Let Herself Go.

Love Cocoon

I had been so wrapped in our love cocoon that I’d lost contact with the outside world. I’d stopped going to the gym, stopped painting and doing plays. I’d also stopped going out clubbing with my friends which meant I was no longer receiving the approval of other males. I mean, I didn’t need that anymore if I had a boyfriend, right? Having a boyfriend meant I was hot. 


Then it dawned on me. Not only had I lost confidence because I was no longer receiving attention from a range of men every weekend, but now I was allowing my self esteem to rest upon the fact that I had a boyfriend. Suddenly it all fell into place in my mind. Believe it or not, I had been completely oblivious to the fact that my self esteem had rested so precariously on these external sources. 

The Danger of Resting our Self Esteem on External Sources

When we allow our self esteem to depend on external factors we are potentially setting ourselves up to fail. The new car will get old. The money may get spent. The beauty possessed by a young woman will fade. The high paid job can disappear in a financial recession which can force us to sell the Big House and pull our kids out of the Best School.  

Self Esteem

Our worth, our true unyielding power must come from within. And it does. 

Everything we are, everything we do, say, imagine and create is 100% unique to us. We are a one off masterpiece. There is no one on this planet exactly like us. Our true authenticity is our power! 

Most of us waste this power by trying to be somebody else, by finding a mould outside of ourselves and trying to force ourselves into it. We compare ourselves to others and then feel worthless because we are different. OUR DIFFERENCE IS OUR POWER.

When we allow ourselves to pick holes in who we are, we then feel the need to plug those holes with something, anything, to make us feel whole again. In my case I smeared plaster over my poor body image, in the form of approval from drunken horny men. I let them make an object out of me and I let it define my worth. 


The Solar Plexus Chakra

The Solar Plexus chakra, known in Sanskrit as Manipura, is located in the upper part of the abdomen, near the diaphragm. Manipura, which translates as ‘city of gems’ or ‘seat of jewels’ is associated with the colour yellow. It’s element is fire and it symbolises the sun. 

Manipura governs personal power, will, self esteem, independence, personal identity, self assurance, confidence and self discipline. It allows us the confidence to learn, make decisions and voice our opinions.

Self Esteem

Manipura: The Shining Sun

Basically, Manipura is a bright shining sun in the centre of your body. It is your inner jewel, your key stone, the symbol and physical embodiment of your self esteem. 

Manipura Blocked

When Manipura is blocked or disconnected we can suffer from low self esteem, depression and/or anxiety, we may become codependent and needy, we also begin to lack self control which makes us more susceptible to addiction. 

The real concern about having a blocked Solar Plexus Chakra is that we may try to correct the blockage with numbing agents or outside sources – such as money, clothes and other material possessions.

Unblocking Manipura

Manipura can be unblocked through meditation and diaphragmatic breathing. 

Manipura Meditation:
self esteem
Image Credit:

Sit cross-legged with a straight spine and your palms facing up, resting on your knees. Take 10 slow deep breaths, counting one on the inhale and two on the exhale, three on the inhale and so on. 

In your mind’s eye, visualise the Manipura Symbol (above). See a warm shining sun emanating from your upper abdomen. Feel the warm, healing energy fill your whole belly, then spread upwards, outwards and downwards. Allow this sensation to fill you with power. If you would like to use a silent mantra try: “I shine like the sun.”

This meditation may only take five minutes and can be a great, worthwhile addition to your morning routine.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Stand with your feet wide. Bend your knees and lean forward pressing your hands on your knees. Take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm so that your upper abdomen expands. Opening your mouth and take five fast short breaths: out-in, out-in, out-in, out-in, out-in. Allow the diaphragm to work like a pair of fire bellows – as soon as one breath leaves, another is sucked in almost automatically. After the final in-breath allow the last breath to blow out long in a gentle ‘ha’ sound. Repeat this exercise three times, taking a small break in between each set. 

Food and Gems

As Manipura is associated to the colour yellow it can be activated by eating yellow foods – pineapple, mango, turmeric – and by wearing yellow crystals – citrine, tiger’s eye. As it is also the sun/fire chakra, sitting in the sun and gazing indirectly at the morning sun can also help to restore its balance. 

Finding my Inner Self Esteem

Now, I no longer let my self esteem rest on things like my looks, my clothes, my house-keeping standards or the attention of men. 

I no longer need those things to remind me that I am amazing. In fact, when I go out I find myself actively avoiding the attention of men. Where once I intentionally tried to attract it, I now despise it. The male gaze irritates me as it reminds me of the object I used to allow myself to become. 

Isn’t it ironic? When we’re young we seek the attention of men. We groom ourselves, we compete against other women for it. We assume those painfully beautiful girls revel in it; the wolf whistles, the advances. But, once we’re older and comfortable in our own skin, we realise what a hinderance it is. We’ve got shit to do. We’re taken. We don’t have time to let you down gently. We don’t need your approval anymore.

Our Inner Power Never Falters

When we allow our Self Esteem to come from within it becomes reliable and steadfast. It no longer wavers or fluctuates like the stock market. It shines bright like the sun. Every. Single. Day. 

You are not your beauty. You are not your money or your cool shoes. You are a one of a kind gem, mined from stardust. You are a fabulous collection of atoms, animated by a pure soul, connected to source energy. You are awesome. You are a fucking unicorn. 

Full Time Unicorn

Full Time Unicorn

Fighting Fear

How to Use Your Failure

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use your failure




noun: failure

  1. Lack of success. “an economic policy that is doomed to failure”

2. The neglect or omission of expected or required action. “their failure to comply with the basic rules”

What is Failure?

Failure is defined by not achieving desired results. This means that when we set out to do something for a specific reason and are unsuccessful in that mission it could, if we were so inclined, be regarded as a failure. 

But failure and success are very binary things. They are black and while. Right and wrong. When experiences are defined by either failures or successes we miss out a whole bunch of important grey area that makes up the fruit of our lives. 

When we set out to achieve a specific single result we are closing ourselves off to the myriad of lessons we can learn by simply engaging in the exercise of taking a chance and having a go. So too, having a rigid image of success can big on a fear of failure which makes it very hard for us to commit to starting anything. 

There are always things in life that don’t go as planned. 

Every Event that Does Not Go as Planned is a Learning Experience

When I was younger family friends of ours bought a restaurant. They were so excited to start something new and fun and their energy was alive with the magic of a new project. They were eager to make big money and live the life. 

A few weeks into the restaurant business they had changed. They seemed stressed and tired and short with their kids. They complained about the early mornings and the stress of the impending lease payments. They were not happy. 

Not surprisingly a few months later they were forced to close the restaurant. They hadn’t made enough to pay the lease. They were devastated. In their eyes they had failed. They had wanted to make big money and they hadn’t. They had lost money. The restaurant was something they never wanted to think about again. 

Does it Make you Happy?

The thing that was so blatantly obvious to me was that they had learned pretty early on that the restaurant business was not making them happy. It wasn’t what they’d thought it would be and they really didn’t enjoy it. Sure they lost the business and endured plenty of stress but they learned that they didn’t enjoy the restaurant business! So that, in itself is a win. 

They could now cross Running a Restaurant off the list of things to try in life, now enlightened with the knowledge that they really didn’t enjoy it. 

Why are we so quick to judge ourself as failed or succeeded? Why do we shun memories of things that didn’t go as planned instead of finding a way to use our “failures” as wins?

use your failure

Learning from my Own Failure

Just before my nineteenth birthday my best friend Mariana moved to Wellington. It was exciting. I’d moved to Wellington from Hamilton four years earlier and we’d kept in regular contact – on the phone or in person when one of us would make the 10 hour journey to stay with the other in the holidays. 

We quickly decided that we would go flatting together. Mariana was enrolled to go to University and I was all set to start drama school. Mariana’s starry-eyed boyfriend (now husband) had decided to make the move with her so we had three flatmates. Two more (friends of his) quickly appeared and we were ready to roll!

After spending a few hungover Sundays partaking in Competitive Flat Hunting, we finally won out and signed the lease on a place not too far from the city. Mariana and the boyf. would share the large bedroom downstairs and the other three of us would take a room upstairs. I got the second biggest room.

Flatting = The Coolest Thing Ever!

All throughout our teenage years we had dreamt of flatting. We’d lay on my bed smoking cigarettes chatting about how cool it would be when we could finally move out and be free over our parents’ rules and expectations. 

“You’ll have to cook,” Mariana would say. “I don’t really cook. I can but I don’t. 

“I can cook,” I reply. “You can make the tea.” 

“I make really good tea. And give good shoulder massages.”

“You do,” I agreed. “You have tiny mighty hands.”

The thing is flatting in New Zealand is kind of a rite of passage. When you finish High School and are about to go off to Uni it’s just common place to go flatting.  A cliche that has been glamorised buy a bunch of Kiwi films like Scarfies (oddly a horror) and reality T.V shows like Flatmates and Big Brother. It was cool to go flatting. Flatting meant you could be your true self and party every night. It meant you were never alone and always had fun exciting people in you house. It meant you could do bucket bongs in the lounge and eat chocolate cake for breakfast!

I would have the best time. I would make my room look awesome. I’d cover the walls in foil like Andy Warhol did in the Factory and fabulous people would engage with me in midnight conversations. I would love it!

Or so I thought. 

Learning About Who I Am

I am an only child. Up until the day I went flatting I had never had to share a bathroom with anyone. I had never had to fight over the T.V with anyone (other than my Dad) and I had never had to share a bedroom either. People always say that only-children are spoiled rotten. It may be true that they get more than kids with siblings but what is true is that they are definitely spoiled with solitude. 

Except in my case solitude did not spoil me at all. As a highly sensitive introvert, having regular solitude nurtured me. It allowed me to dream, to read, to paint and recharge. Of course at the time I didn’t realise how much I needed this time and just how great it was for me. I yearned to live in a home with action! With comings-and-goings, with noise and drama. 

use your failure

My Dream Vs My Reality

At first flatting was great! We threw a dress-up party for our flat-warming party and ordered a keg of beer.  Mariana and I decorated the house with bizarre pictures we cut from old copies National Geographic. We played flat games of Gin Rummy and smoked inside. 

But slowly things became not so fun. 

Ash trays over-flowed with cigarette butts. The smoky air burned my eyes. The stench of it wafted all throughout the house and stained my clothes and bedding with a sour tang. We’d decided to chip in for food all together but it soon turned out that $100 between five did not go far. I craved a decent home cooked meal. The shower grew impressive mould and the toilet was feral. But the most distressing and the most surprising issues of all was: There were always people around!

All my life I’d been sure that being in a flat full of people would be awesome. I had dreamed of this, so why did I feel so miserable? How did living in a house full of people make me feel so lonely?

Partying Every Night Was Not Me

On top of all this was the fact that I was required to be at school every morning by 830am. If there was a party raging in our flat all night long I couldn’t sleep. If I couldn’t sleep it was unlikely I would get up on time to make the bus, or have the focus to do my best in class. 

I was also paying good money on rent. Money I could use on other things if I just moved home and lived rent free with my parents. My parents’ house was the same distance from the city but just in the other direction. 

After much persistence I decided to move home. 

Failing at Flatting

I felt like a failure. I felt like a was too weak to handle the real world and had to run home to mummy and daddy. Why hadn’t I enjoyed it? I was so sure the flatting would be the best, most fun thing I’d ever done. What was wrong with me!?

I allowed this situation to form into my mind as a failure. 

I let myself believe that I had failed at flatting, thus failing to see that instead this had been a major learning opportunity for me!

Learning from It

It wasn’t until much later that I realised that the Universe had been trying to tell me that I was an introvert and that this kind of environment was never going to suit my needs. The fact that I figured that out and decided to move home was actually a huge win. I had not only learned what did not work for me but I had been brave enough to try and then decide it wasn’t right, then make a step to improve my position. 

This and many other situations can easily be viewed as failures. If you assess that you did not quite do or achieve what you had intended to when you began you could well decide it is a failure.  But what if you learned something else? Something truly insightful about yourself that then allowed to live a more authentic life? Would that not be considered a triumph?

Seek the Gain other that the Lack

At any time we have not achieved what we intended we may find ourself only seeking out the lack in the situation. But why not try and seek out the gains? 

I believe that every challenging situation in our lives in The Universe’s way of getting us to learn something about ourselves. Gabrielle Bernstein calls this a Spiritual Assignment. When things don’t go as planned it is the Universe guiding us toward learning something new about the world but mostly about ourselves! The important thing is that if we do not learn the lesson The Universe will keep providing us with similar situations until we do!

I learned from flatting that I did not necessarily like living in home with comings-and-goings after all. I also learned just how important having my own space was to me and that if I don’t sleep and eat well I am not at my best. 

What Have You Deemed a Failure?

What recent situation have allowed yourself to colour as a failure? Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write it down. It can be anything. Maybe you decided not to go to the gym today and then felt bad about it. Maybe you burned the carrot cake you were baking. Maybe an article you submitted to a publication was rejected. What ever it is, write it down. 

use your failure

How can you instead see that situation as a successful learning experience?

Write down any positive learning experience you can take away from this situation. Perhaps you learned that you were really too tired to bake the cake and would have been best served to take some time to relax. Perhaps you didn’t realise that using gluten free flour would make the cake cook so fast – but now you know, you won’t make that mistake again. 

If you didn’t go to the gym perhaps you just didn’t want to but did you spend the time joyfully or were you grumpy for not going? In which case you learned that simply going to the gym makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, which in itself improves your mood. Maybe you’ve also learned that you tend to scold yourself a lot which is not a great way to show yourself love. This could be something you focus on next time in meditation. 

So your article got rejected from one publication. Congratulations! You have now learned what kind of articles that particular publication does not accept. And from listening to your inner self talk you’ve also learned that outside approval and disapproval has a huge bearing on your self esteem. 

The Only True Failure is a Failure to Embrace Learning

When we become so focused on setting goals and making perfect plans, we close ourselves off from the creative process – the state of flow that comes from exploring through doing instead of planning every move. When we become so set in stone about what we want to achieve we can become off-set very quickly when things don’t go as planned. 

We need to be flexible in order to move with the changes, to think outside the box and find creative solutions to road blocks. 

When we are afraid of failing we will often become to afraid to even try. And if we become to emotionally attached to the possibility of failing, we are less likely to be open to any helpful feedback we might receive from others. 

Learning how to use our failure means learning how to learn from it.

Full Time Unicorn

Fighting Fear


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Law of Attraction Do Nothing

Children are innately impatient. We come into the world demanding life. We scream at the top of our lungs with any minor annoyance. I am hungry! Feed me NOW! I am wet! Change me NOW! 

Now. Now. Now. 

When we are tiny this urgency is understandable. We need to be cared for intently in order to stay alive and to thrive. As we reach childhood we learn, slowly, how to first prioritise our needs and then ask for what we need in a polite manner. If we are about to fall from a tree we scream for help because that is a pretty pressing issue. If we are a little hungry and want a snack and are still too small to get it ourselves, we ask nicely and wait for the snack to appear. 

Learning to Wait

As we reach adulthood we are required to ask and then wait. Sometimes for quite a while. When we order at a restaurant, when we arrive for a doctor’s appointment or when we have submitted our manuscript to an agent or publisher (Mmm hmm). Sometimes we have to wait for these things for much longer than we would like but because we are not children anymore we just have to suck it up and wait. 

Waiting is Boring!

The hardest thing about waiting is that it’s boring. There are places to go, people to see, cats to pet and books to write! We don’t have time to just sit down and WAIT! I have goals! I have things I am desperately trying to manifest! I can’t just sit here and read about the God Damn Kardashians while my doctor runs 20 minutes late!

Interestingly though, you can wait. Because when it comes down to it waiting is simple: All you have to do is nothing. 

Law of Attraction Do Nothing

Learning to do Nothing

The other day I was making pancakes with my boys. We’d made the mixture, placed the pan on the element and we were waiting. We were waiting for the pan to heat up enough to melt the butter because only then is it the right time to pour in the batter. If you do it too soon the pancake won’t catch on the pan quite right and it won’t spread around nicely. The butter also won’t be hot enough so it won’t brown the pancake. What you’ll be left with is a flappy, sad pancake (or pandy-cake as my sons call them). 

“No no, it’s not hot enough yet,” I said after my youngest had once again, tried to ladle in the mixture too soon. “All you have to do is nothing.”

As I said the words I realised how valid they are for every one trying to understand the Law of Attraction. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS NOTHING.

Law of Attraction: All You Have to Do is Nothing!

No, sorry, this is not an invitation for you to sit around on the couch all day as a way to achieve your goals. What I mean when I say this is that action for the sake of action does not bring about faster or more desirable results!

The pancake put in the pan too soon does not cook any faster. It takes the same amount of time but just comes out not as good as it would have if YOU’D JUST WAITED. 

The Perks of Doing Nothing

When I’m paying for groceries I tell my kids to please, just stand their and do nothing for five minutes. Do they? No. Usually, as soon as my back is turned they decide to knock over a display of toilet paper or something, getting in trouble from the staff and then having to help clean up the mess. So now the five minutes has turned into 10 minutes, with a touch of frustrated energy thrown in for good measure. All they had to do was nothing.

Action taken in a Negative Vibration is Detrimental

So no matter if you are manifesting a new home, a better job, a lover or five million dollars, there is only so much action you can and should take. 

So you’ve written a book. You’ve done six drafts, you’ve had it assessed, you’ve made changes, you’ve sent it to a bunch of New York literary agents and now you have to wait. And wait. But let’s say you get sick of waiting. You start to doubt that the Universe is going to front up with the goods you’ve requested. Maybe I’m dreaming, you wonder. Nobody gets published the old fashioned way anymore! You decide, to hell with it, you’re gonna do it your own way! So you send off your manuscript to a bunch of vanity publishers who jump at the chance to publish it – at a fee. 

You’ve Done it! Or Have You?

Months later, you’ve done it! You are a published author! Except you didn’t realise that proof reading was not included in the deal, so there are some typos you missed. You also didn’t realise how much work would be involved in marketing your own book. It takes time. Time you would rather spend working on your next book. You’re happy with what you made happen but you can’t help thinking that it’s not quite what you wanted and perhaps if you had waited and submitted to the Universe perhaps your book deal would have appeared in divine timing.

When we act from a place of urgency, from a vibration of lack or fear, we are not using the Law of Attraction to our benefit. When we believe deep down inside that we will never get what we desire, unless we work like a pig and force it, then that is the energy we are projecting. So no matter what we do, in that state we will never get what we truly want, even if we do force it. 

Law of Attraction Do Nothing

Sometimes all we have to do is nothing 

Sometimes the most important thing we can do is not act but instead focus on our faith and our trust in The Universe. 

This is not to say that you can’t hustle, or send follow up emails, or push yourself out of your comfort zone to network and spread you work out into the world. Hell no! But remember that if you are acting from a place of lack, you will only attract more lack. 

I am always in the process of manifesting amazing things into my life. But you know what? I spend MORE time getting into an awesome vibrational state, than acting from a place of lethargy, doubt or fear. 

If I’m writing and I feel doubt, fear and self-judgement creep in, I stop right there and do something to lift my vibration IMMEDIATELY. There is no point trying to create from a place of negative vibration!

What Can you Do to Change Your Vibration?



-Play an instrument

-Dance around the room to Taylor Swift

-Listen to a podcast and clean

-Paint a picture or do crafts


-Go for a swim

-Walk in nature

-Eat Cocao/dark chocolate


-Laugh with a friend

Lifting your Vibration Increases Productivity!

Even if you are a dedicated type A who struggles to take time out from “achieving”, giving some time to lifting your vibration will not only increase your productivity but also your ability to manifest what you desire!

Full Time Unicorn


F#!K You, Mercury Retrograde!

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mercury retrograde

If you’ve recently felt like you’re head is full of porridge, like all your motivation has buggered off to pick daisies, or like speaking requires conscious effort, then you Dear Unicorn, may be feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde.

What is Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury retrograde occurs when the planet mercury appears to be moving backwards or away from the earth, (hence the term retrograde). But it’s not actually moving away from us, it’s just an illusion. It’s kind of like when you’re sitting on a train waiting for it to leave the station and when the train next to it starts moving it feels, for a split second, as if it’s your train that’s moving instead. And much like mercury retrograde it is jolting and a little un-nerving.

Mercury: The God

The Roman God Mercury, also known as Hermes by the Greeks, was known as the messenger of the Gods. With his winged helmet and speedy sandals he flitted around delivering messages. Mercury also governs commerce, eloquence, luck, travel and absolutely everything communication including technology and even divination – yes fellow voyants, that means you might need to give your crystal ball and extra good polish!

Mercury: The Planet

Thus the planet Mercury is said to govern communications. This is why all things related to communications can become very clouded during Mercury Retrograde. Emails don’t get sent somehow, letters get lost in the post, writers get writer’s block, people misunderstand each other and get into fights, directions and instructions get muddled and some people even feel mercury’s effects so bad that they struggle to even communicate simple thoughts in their heads. It can get ugly!

“People with strong and erratic personalities are often described as “mercurial” described as unpredictable, quick, and even a bit restless, by those who know them. A mercurial person is a person who is hard to predict.” –

mercury retrograde

Mercury Retrograde and the Throat Chakra

Not surprisingly, I feel Mercury’s effects very strongly in my throat chakra. I feel like there’s mud in my brain and every time I try to speak the words simply won’t flow. It’s as if I have to consciously form each word and will my brain to recall it. This probably explains why I prefer to stay in during M R and paint, garden, perform spells and plan projects.

Mercury: The Trickster

The whole thing is made worse due to the fact that Mercury, the little blighter, is known as The Trickster. He is said to be witty and humorous and to like a good gag. All of these wonderful attributes come out to frolic during the fabulous three weeks of Mercury Retrograde! So while we’re booking the wrong flights, he is laughing.

Mercury Retrograde and the Zodiac

For some reason, not all retrogrades are created equal. Some pass by generally unnoticed and others are a real punch in the tit. This depends on where mercury hits in your astrological chart and what tasks you are required to perform in this time – If they’re super stressful and involve organising lots of people; may the force be with you.

My Mercury Retrograde Mayhem

One year I swear M.C almost ruined me. I was a mess. Everything I wrote was garbled and clumsy – or at least I thought so, which is creative suicide for us writers and artists. It took me hours to put together simple articles. This filled me with a thick black cloud of self doubt for at least 20 days. I questioned everything I thought I knew about myself. I Do I even enjoy writing? Am I even any good at it? Probably not. Maybe I should just get a normal job and try to blend in a little. 

Mercury Retrograde Thoughts

Interestingly, all of these thoughts were retrograde thoughts. These are all old beliefs that I used to struggle with but have since spent a lot of time and hard work releasing. I had no idea it was Mercury Retrograde at the time so I could not understand why I was going backwards.

Technical Difficulties

On top of all this mental and emotional mayhem, there was the technical/communications side too. My computer was on the fritz – I discovered a whole bunch of emails I had sent the week before had  not been sent. And as replying to emails swiftly is a point of purpose for me, this drove me pretty crazy. I had multiple disagreements with all aspects of technology – Blue Screen of Death et al – and also struggled to string a sentence together when speaking to people.

Funnily enough as soon as Mercury went direct again, the cloud of misery and confusion lifted as quickly as it had arrived. The change was so sudden and obvious, it was like a veil had literally been lifted off of my face.

mercury retrograde


Mercury Retrograde Survival

So how do we survive the next Mercury Retrograde? Personally, my best advice for surviving Mercury Retrograde is A) be aware of it and B) Don’t fight it.

If you know mercury is in retrograde then you’ll understand why you’re having trouble thinking and unlike me you won’t think you’re having a midlife crisis.


So things are going haywire and nothing can get done? Don’t panic. Sit with it. Just have a break. So your office computer crashed again and you can’t do any work until the tech guy arrives? Meh. Go grab a coffee. Stop fighting against the river and just go with the flow of the current.

Finish Old Projects – Don’t Start New Ones

If you have terrible writer’s block and can’t seem to move forward in an article or story take some time out from the writing side of things and instead maybe do some research, do some editing or simply list some ideas for articles to write in the future.

Mercury retrograde is not a great time to begin creative projects. But it is a great time to plan, gather ideas, and go over old project that you never managed to finish. The latter makes the most of the retrograde aspect. You may even find that old things you never finished simply jump into your mind – that’s a cue from the Universe to go back and settle old scores.

Embrace Nostalgia

Due to the back-glancing nature of M.R, you may find that you bump into old friends and reminisce over the good times. So too ex-lovers. This can be a great time to get closure on faded friendships, but it’s not a great time to try and talk out old annoyances as things are highly likely to get miss-interpreted and cause great arguments.

Over the years I’ve learned to use Mercury Retrograde to my advantage. I love pulling out old projects, organising my drawers – in true Kondo fashion. I also Meditate, read, go for walks, bake and paint. Basically, I try to take the pressure to “hit targets” and “achieve goals” off my shoulders. I try to allow myself to wander and meander.

Truth? Mercury Retrograde is a Bitch

If it sounds like I am trying to portray Mercury retrograde through rose tinted glasses, then, you got me! When it really comes down to it, Mercury retrograde is a total See You Next Tuesday. If you’re used to crossing things off your To Do list with gusto, think again. For these three weeks, you’re gonna feel slow and groggy. It will suck.

Things to Avoid During Mercury Retrograde

It’s not a good time to publish books or magazines (unless you’ve proof-read like a boss), close big deals, travel or sign contracts, as important details are likely to get muddled. If you can’t avoid it, take your time to check you’re aware of what you’re booking/buying/signing/publishing.

Ditto with communicating with friends over email or text. If your messages don’t get lost in the void and manage to get through to the recipient, they are very likely to be misinterpreted during M.C and cause a fight. It is best to talk over the phone, or better yet, in person over a nice cup of tea and some pie!

mercury retrograde

Mercury Retrograde: A Cosmic Holiday

I like to think of Mercury Retrograde as a compulsory cosmic holiday. It is astrology’s way of saying “slow down, have a break, take some time to recharge”.

Of course in this day and age it is not always an option for us to go AWOL from life for three weeks at a time. If this is the case, then just knowing it is Mercury Retrograde can help. Instead of getting down and annoyed at the madness, try to laugh. Try to wink at that pesky Mercury when he manages to muddle with your emails or lose your thesis. Just laugh!

Full Time Unicorn

Creative Industries

Who is Your Inner Critic of Creative Anxiety?

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Creative Anxiety Inner Critic

How do you beat the Inner Critic of Creative Anxiety?

I used to love painting portraits. For a very long time it was my main creative outlet. But somewhere along the way I became filled with a deep creative anxiety which was fuelled by the voices of my inner critic. All of a sudden my art was shrouded in a veil of judgement, expectation and fear. I was so afraid of making a mistake, I couldn’t even let myself try.

The Inner Critic

We all hear voices. That doesn’t make us crazy. It simply makes us human.

In every area of our lives we face self judgment and criticism. And for each area of our lives we hear a voice telling us we’re doing things wrong. That nagging nasty voice in your head is known as the inner critic.

Personally I have a whole bunch of critics in my head. I have one voice who judges my housework and one who hassles my parenting. I have a critic who tells me I’m fat and one who tells me I’m stupid. Personally, my critics are based on people from my childhood or teenage years. It’s quite common for the voices of your inner critics to take on the tone of family members, teachers, ex boyfriends or even your personal trainer! But sometimes, the voices come from nasty little beings that aren’t even human!

Creative Anxiety

If you’ve ever experienced creative anxiety this scene will sound familiar to you…

You sit down, ready to work. You start. Then all of a sudden a black cloud of doubt wafts above your head. Everything you do is rubbish! Says the voice in your head. You want to ignore it but maybe it’s right? Now, the paragraph you have just written is stupid. The picture you have started is silly and childish, and though before you thought the imperfections were charming, style defining and just abstract enough, now they are judging you and calling you out on your short comings. You suck! screams the voice.

The poem you wrote is flat. Its intentions are too obvious. The blog post you started is passée and has totally been done before. Argh. Your stomach is now in knots. Twisting and turning. You want to work through this but you can’t. Now you are too afraid to make a mistake and are over thinking everything! It is all too hard. Why bother. Stop. Cry. Give up.

When it comes to your creative work the inner critic can cause damaging creative anxiety. It is evil, brooding and nasty.

Creative Anxiety Inner Critic

My Inner Critics of Creativity

Personally, I have two inner critics that govern creativity. One is an aged crone whose only mission in life is to clean her home; she sees any act of creativity as self-indulgent, selfish and lazy. Her moto is “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

The second creativity inner critic is an evil pixie who has come to loiter on my shoulder. The pixie, Morag, has sat on the shoulders of many an artist but she’s never been impressed. She has very high expectations of art but they’re so high that she’ll never ever be satisfied. Morag doesn’t understand the concept of learning, of growth or persistence. And unlike the aged crone, she’s just plain mean.

Morag whispers cruel nothings into my ears. She pollutes my mind with doubt. She wants me to give up. She works on a contract basis for the Ego; whose job is to protect me from embarrassment, shame and disappointment. But Morag doesn’t know that. She’s just getting paid to call me names.

The Inner Critic Senses Fear

The funny thing is that Morag isn’t always around. Yes, there are times when she pops up when I’m writing. But once I get my flow on she can’t keep up. She also buggers off when I get out the clay. When I’m working with textures and varnish and wax she is nowhere to be seen. But as soon as I pick up the pencil she flutters back into my life telling me “You suck at this!”

She doesn’t stop there. Oh no. She keeps it up. Even if I try to block out her taunts by listening to Joni Mitchell on my Ipod, the nasty little chestnuts she hurls still penetrate.  “You did the nose wrong!” she jeers. “Now, you’re going to get it wrong over and over again!” Then finally once I’ve fought through to the end. “Yikes, I wouldn’t bother painting that one!”

I ignore her vigilantly. I have learnt to now. I used to listen. Now I tune her out and keep going. “Shut up Morag!” I yell. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. On the occasions when I get to the painting stage it all gets much better. Painting is my safe zone; it is free flowing and calming. The pixie is bored at that stage – she knows she has lost the fight. Her heart is no longer in it so off she flutters – she has other dreams to crush elsewhere.

Creative Anxiety Inner Critic

Fighting the Inner Critic

So how does one fight the Inner Critic of creativity? It doesn’t matter if we’re playing guitar, knitting, baking, painting or writing. If our mind is filled with nasty, doubting, judging voices, nothing is going to run smoothly. So how do we get thought it?

Give them a Name

If you name the inner critic of your creativity it makes it much easier to ignore their nasty voice. What’s more, it separates the voices of self-doubt from your own mind – they are not your thoughts or your doubts, they are the voices of your inner critic. Now, when I hear Morag’s nasty jibes I smile and laugh. She’s so awful she’s actually quite funny.

Tap it Out with EFT

If your case of creative anxiety has already began to prevent you from even attempting your creative work, then it’s time to get serious! We’re calling in the big guns to tap out that anxiety. I love tapping. I use it all the time for all kinds of anxieties or ailments.

If you haven’t yet heard of EFT or tapping, put simply, it’s a cross between acupressure and hypnotherapy. But tapping on the body’s meridian points at the same time as speaking through affirmations, the brain is able to release some of the anxiety associated to the specific issue. Check out the video below to get you started on your tapping journey.

To tap on your area of creative anxiety you first need connect to the issue of concern. You might like to start with a script along the lines of “Even though I have this creative anxiety, this fear of painting portraits (or whatever is stressing you out) I love, accept and forgive myself completely and utterly. Even though every time I start drawing I hear the voices of my inner critic telling me I suck, that everything I do is terrible, that there’s no point in even trying, I love accept and forgive myself completely and utterly.”

This will get you emotionally connected to the issue we are trying to correct. Once you feel completely connected, it time to start the cycle of tapping.

Once you’ve completed a few cycles take a few breaths and see how you feel. Are there any memories or thoughts that have come up for you? These can be a helpful clue to where these limiting beliefs were formed. You may wish to focus in on them: Even though someone told me I could not draw when I was little, I love accept and forgive myself completely and utterly.

For the final round of tapping – you will instinctively know when this is – start going through the process of letting go. “Even though I have this creative anxiety, these memories from childhood, I choose to let go now. I am letting go now. I trust in the universe, I trust in my unique power and I choose to let go now.”


I harp on about meditation all the time but it really is a game-changer. Before you start your creative work take a 15 -20 minute guided meditation. Taking this time to clear your mind before you start will greatly help to quiet the thoughts and free the mind.

Shake it out

This is a big one for me. When I engage in cardio for over 30 minutes, something explodes in my head. I can feel all doubt, sadness and disdain melt away. In it’s place I am left with an abundance of inspiration! Most of my art, blog, and play ideas come from an exercise endorphin rush. So remember to stay active and pump out that stagnant dust.

Creative Anxiety Inner Critic

Don’t Stop!

Flip that pixie the middle finger by hitting it everyday. Don’t let that anxiety keep you away from what you love doing. And definitely do not let it make you dread it like I did. If you persist, soon the Pixie will bugger off and leave you to it.

Pick up that guitar, pen or paint brush and keep at it. Soon, you will find that what once was challenging is now a natural function. When things become more familiar, the fear goes away – learning to drive is a good example of this. The first time we get behind the wheel can be scary but eventually it becomes second nature.

Embrace the Learning Process

We never ever stop learning. Wouldn’t it be sad if we did?

Every time we start something new we are going in blind. We have no previous knowledge to work with so realistically there is no way we can master something at the first attempt.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the 10,000 hour rule. He explains that in order to become a professional in any field one must simply spend 10,000 hours on it. Natural ability has very little to do with it, because if you simply put in your 10,000 hours you’ll become pretty damn good regardless of whether you could bend a ball like Beckham when you were two.

It can be helpful to keep a work log so you remind yourself how far you’ve come. When I look back on my very early blogs, poems and stories, part of me winces – the other part of me is so proud that I never gave up. I wrote and I learnt and I learnt as I wrote.

Look at your old work and how it has developed. Give yourself props. You are doing well. Remember – The first one’s the worst one!

Replace the negative voices with positive affirmations

Take a breath and tell the voice in your head to bugger off. Instead replace that nasty quip with a positive affirmation like “I am a passionate, skilled, artist.” Tell yourself you are doing well. Be kind to yourself.

“I say “Out” to every negative thought that comes to my mind. No person, place, or thing has any power over me, for I am the only thinker in my mind. I create my own reality and everyone in it.” – Louise Hay

Have a plan

It can help to have a goal, theme or purpose for what you are doing. It doesn’t need to be huge. It could just be that you are looking at exploring portraiture emotion, you could be aiming to write a novel for publishing, a play for a festival by a given date, perform a song at a friends party. It could be anything. All you need is something to give the work purpose and drive and also inspire more work to come.


It is absolutely essential for creative women to surround themselves with other creative women. Whether it be to bounce ideas off of each other, to support each other’s projects, to inspire each other, whatever.

Sometimes the best way to work through a creativity snag is to talk it out, and if like mine your partner/spouse/lover is somewhat creatively un-opinionated then it is vital to find someone to talk with about art and creating.

My bestie is my main go-to for creative conversing. We pitch all our ideas at each other and help each other cut a clear path in our projects. It is totally invaluable.

Full Time Unicorn

Fighting Fear

Envy: Understanding the Green Eyed Monster

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Overcoming Envy

Envy is a human emotion so old that it is noted in The Bible as one of the seven deadly sins. Nestled amongst wrath, greed, pride, lust, gluttony and sloth lies envy. The green eyed monster. The evil eye.

When it strikes it is enough to make you roll on the floor and wail. Your eyes feel hot and there’s a hard ball forming in your stomach. You want to procure the largest tub of ice cream available and wallow. All because you looked at someone’s Instagram Story and watched them unpack a massive free PR Haul. Why do they deserve all that free stuff? Doesn’t she have enough as it is? That is so unfair! Why can’t I get free stuff!

Girl, Envy is Rife

In these modern times of Social Media envy is rife. If we’re not feeling it and directing it toward others then we are actively attracting it. We post only the most flattering photos of ourselves doing exciting activities or receiving beautiful gifts from our admirers. But despite knowing that we are prone to only highlighting the good in our lives online, we fail to realise that everyone else is actually doing the same thing.

When we longingly lurk the halls of Facebook, narrowing our eyes at photos of our frenemies enjoying tropical holidays, it doesn’t make us feel good. In fact a study carried out by the University of Copenhagen found that when people, who are prone to bouts of envious depression from browsing Social Media, take a break from it, their mental health improves dramatically.

Envy Vs Jealousy

But what exactly is envy? And how is it different from jealousy? Well according to Psychology today envy is different to jealousy because it is a feeling directed at one person, usually over a something they have that you want; like their size 8 booty, their shiny new car, or their invite to that exclusive party. Jealousy on the other hand requires a third party. It is the third wheel situation where your bestie invites another friend along to an outing, leaving you with a fear that this new interloper may compete for your title of BFF.

The Truth about Envy

When I was in High School, there was a beautiful girl who was in a few of my classes. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was eye-catchingly gorgeous; she turned heads wherever she went with her long legs, great figure and pretty face. So not surprisingly a lot of people adored, envied and despised her.

I wish I could say that I was immune to the envy she stirred up in people but alas I was not. Just like many other people, I didn’t bother to speak to her, I simply stood back and glared at her and felt my heart grow cold and hard towards her.

Envying her didn’t feel good. It felt awful. It’s not a nice feeling when you want something someone else has, even more so when it’s something you can’t have; such as her lovely long limbs, straight white teeth, or the attention of all the boys in the school.

It would have been easier if she were a bitch. Then we all could have been justified in hating her just a little bit. But she wasn’t a bitch at all. She was shy so she didn’t tend to spark up conversations with people around her but she was never mean. This didn’t stop people from writing nasty quips about her on the walls of the girl’s toilets or spreading rumours involving her and the 1st 15 rugby team.

We cursed her with Envy

In our final year of high school this beautiful girl started to unravel. First her parents separated, then her sister went wild; drinking and partying, then she got sick. Really sick. I heard from her friends that she couldn’t even lift her head off the pillow and that she had a red blistering rash all over her back. The doctors didn’t know what had caused it or what was wrong with her.

Instinctively I knew. We had done this. All of us. We’d all envied her so much that we had forced this dark emotion onto her. The worst part was that I felt a strange sense of glee at her misfortune.

Overcoming Envy

Envy and the Evil Eye

Envy in Judaism

In Judaism, it is believed that people have the power to place a curse or hex on others, simply by looking at them wickedly with evil in their heart. The affected person can then become ill, suffering from vomiting, lethargy, fever and chills. It is said that envy has a large role to play in the work of the Evil Eye, with many practicing Jews choosing not to brag or talk freely about their finest possessions, good fortune, or the love they have for their children, as “they wouldn’t want to tempt the Evil Eye”. If they do speak of these things, it is common for both parties to say something like “b’li ayin hara” (Hebrew), meaning “without an evil eye”.

Envy in Islam

In Islam a similar saying is used to ward off evil. When speaking of any good fortune or blessings in life, it is customary to end with “Masha’Allah” – God has willed it. This statement somewhat separates the good fortune from the receiver, implying that it is merely God’s blessing, not theirs, making it less likely to attract the envy of others or that pesky Evil Eye. Interestingly, in Arabic the term used for Evil Eye actually translates to ‘The Eye of Envy’.

Envy in Asyrian Culture

Asyrians are such strong believers in the Evil Eye that they will commonly wear a turquoise or green bead around their necks to ward off evil. Interestingly, Assyrians believe that the power of the Evil Eye is more likely to be possessed by people with blue or green eyes. This is possibly because green and blue eyes are far less common in Assyrian countries. But this could explain where the term Green Eyed Monster came from.

Envy in Greek Culture

In Greece it is thought that the Evil Eye comes not just from others wishing you ill but also from those who are in awe of you. Whether they envy your beauty, you lovely children or your home is beside the point. It is believed the very act of converting what someone else has is enough to place a hex on them.  If someone has felt a pinch of envy or admiration it is customary to utter the Greek saying “I spit so that I do not give you the eye!”

Warding off the Evil Eye

The use of spitting to ward off the Eye is also used in Judaism, where women will spit three times in a row to ward off the curse that could be afflicted after offering compliments.

Interestingly though, it is not just the receiver of the Evil Eye that is cursed. In the Jewish text, The Chapters of the Fathers, Rabbi Eliezer wrote the following:

“A man with “an evil eye” will not only feel no joy but experience actual distress when others prosper, and will rejoice when others suffer. A person of this character represents a great danger to our moral purity.”

Overcoming Envy

Understanding Envy

I’d been writing for about three years when I decided I would start trying to get my work published in literary journals, magazines independent blogs, et al. I sent in poem after poem, pitch after pitch and story after story. All of which got sent back to me with a polite rejection letter.

Meanwhile my dearest friends were getting published all over the show. With every excited text message I received from my friends, I‘d become more and more consumed with resentment and misery.

Why am I so unlucky? I would ask others. Is there something wrong with my writing? With my name? Why can’t I get anything published? My friends all shrugged. “Your writing is great. I don’t know why it won’t get published. Maybe just focus on the joy you get from it, not on getting in published.

So I tried to focus on the joy. I wrote and wrote. But now every word I typed felt heavy with my own judgement. Is this the right word? Is this the right style? I questioned everything I wrote and quietly resented the friends who had suggested such a foolish exercise. Finding joy in your work is easy when the outside world tells you it’s good!

Spiritual Bathing for Envy

Overcome with this dark and heavy misery that had permeated my work, I called upon a healer I had met called Samar Ocean Wolf Ciprian. I had previously seen Samar for physical healing work but this time I knew the help I needed was more spiritual. I explained how I was feeling and Samar revealed, “It sounds like envy”.

At first I was appalled. I didn’t want to be envious of my friends, I wanted to be happy for them! I really was excited for them, but in the way of that excitement was a heavy burden; a large black monolith blocking the light from their good fortune.

She talked me through the practice of spiritual bathing, a Mayan healing technique that uses plants, water and prayer to remove negative energies from the body and soul. In my case the negative energy was envy.

I was instructed to first go for a walk to collect beautiful (non-toxic plants), then place them into a large bowl with water. Whilst breaking the plants up with my hands, infusing them into the water, I repeated a prayer or mantra, nine times. The prayer calls forth the goddess of water and the spirit of the plants to cleanse you of envy, then asks for any negative energies to be sent straight to the light where they can be of no harm to any living being.

The prayer can be to whomever you like, whether it be to a god, goddess or personal divinity is completely up to you. Simply ask them, along with the goddess of water and the spirits of the plants you have collected, to help cleanse you of this envy.

Once you have blessed the waters with the prayer it is time to start the bathing. If it is warm enough you could do this outside, if not, the shower is also a great place.

Remove your clothing and begin to rub the blessed potion all over yourself: Arms, legs, body, and face. If you like you can repeat the prayer again as you do this, or you can say it silently to yourself. Once you have rubbed it all over your body, tip the remaining potion over your head. Stand in silence for a few moments before taking a shower and washing yourself clean of envy.

Sage and Palo Santo Cleansing

An alternative to full spiritual bathing is to simply use either sage or Palo Santo smoke to smudge yourself. I personally prefer Palo Santo for its woody delicious aroma. All you need to do is undress and wave the smoke all around your body whilst repeating the prayer nine times.

I tend to use this method more frequently to remove envy, unless of course I am completely overcome with envy, then I will practice spiritual bathing and smudge my whole house!

Letting Go of Envy

Once I had rid myself of envy I felt so much lighter. I hadn’t realised just how much energy I had been using up on that awful snarled emotion. It was as if light were now able to shine on me and that big black monolith, that had been blocking my ability to feel truly happy for others, had shattered. Now not only could I share in celebrating the successes of my friends and focus fearless energy into my creative work, I could also attract abundance into my life.

Overcoming Envy

Nothing Blocks the Flow of Abundance like Envy

When we allow ourselves to be overcome with envy we are not choosing gratitude for what we have. We are instead choosing to focus on lack and rue those around us who appear to have more. The best tools for attracting abundance are love and gratitude and envy promotes the exact opposite!

Next time when you are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and you start to feel the heavy twinge of envy forming in your gut, take a moment. Put down your phone and take some deep breaths. Look around you and find three things in your vicinity that you are grateful for and tell yourself why. This can help you to see quite quickly that you too have abundance all around you. And remember, the next time feel yourself directing envy toward someone else, do you really want to inflict that on them? Do you really want to curse them with the Evil Eye?

Full Time Unicorn

Body Image

How Past Experiences Cause Limiting Beliefs

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Full Time Unicorns

Painful issues are a part of life. Everyone at some point in their lives has been hurt. Maybe you lost a loved one or struggled when your parents divorced as a child. These things can stay will us but sometimes it’s the little things – an infinitesimal moment in which we learn a negative belief about ourselves – that stay with us for life.

Most of us will have been told at some point in our lives that we can’t do something. It’s usually a parent, teacher or childhood friend who tells us that we are not good at something in an offhand comment, completely unaware of the damage they have done. It could be something as simple as being told we can’t sing, draw or dance as a child. It could be an adult casually telling us we’re a bit dumb or chubby. Whatever it is, this flippant remarks can plant a seed of doubt in our minds that can grow into a whomping willow.

The issue is, a lot of the time the things we are led to believe about ourselves are not actually true.

A Limiting Belief Around Weight

In my case I was led to believe from a young age I had a weight issue. The truth is I have never in my life been considered overweight on the BMI. The idea that I was overweight was one enforced on me by my parents, who due to their own limiting beliefs around body image and self-worth, were concerned that I would potentially become very overweight, then struggle with myself esteem and go on to live a lonely, loveless life. In their minds when they told me I should “avoid peanut butter” they were doing so from a place of love..

Technically, the weight issue was theirs as they were the ones who created and enforced it.  But nonetheless their need to remind me that I “should not eat so much candy” inevitably made me feel like I was already overweight and that I should feel ashamed of myself for even liking candy. This led to bursts of starvation and food obsession, followed by binge eating and self loathing. All of this at the ripe old age of 10.

By allowing someone else’s belief to become my own, I went through my tweens and teens feeling bad about myself. By 12 I was purging. By 20 I was just plain starving.  If I’d had greater self esteem, I could have simply shrugged my shoulders and moved on, confident in my self perception. Instead of hiding away in baggy clothes and spending my summers sweltering in long boardshorts, I could’ve rocked the bod I had by wearing whatever I goddamn liked. I’d have known that regardless of my size, I am valid and I am a fucking unicorn.

A Limiting Belief Around Creativity

My friend Megan was told at a young age that she wasn’t creative. This was possibly because she was very good at maths, writing and everything else that was easily graded or marked. It was obvious to see how clever she was when it came to logical subjects, but creativity is something that can’t be graded.

She was pushed into the subjects in which she clearly excelled but was not often encouraged to try creative subjects. She was taught to perform well and she did however there was little room to simply test the waters or try new things.

I was 12 when I met Megan. I knew of her  because she was the 24 champion of New Zealand. If you weren’t born in New Zealand, you may not know that 24 was a maths game that became very popular through kiwi schools in the early 90s. The basic gist of the game is that you have a deck of square cards which have 4 numbers on them. A small group of kids sit in a circle around a one card and the first kid to make these numbers equal 24, using any equation, places two fingers on the card and says “got it”. They then have to explain their working to the group. If they get it right they keep the card. The kid with the most cards when the deck is finished is the winner.

24 was kind of a big deal in 1995 and so Megan was basically a Maths celebrity.  This was huge in my mind because maths was not my strong suit at all. I was in love with art and story writing and performing one woman plays to my cat.

I, and many others, made the same assumption about Megan. If she’s that good at maths, she cant be very creative. She has a logical mind. That’s where she excels. She was surely too good at writing essays to also be good at fiction. She was too good at science to bother pursuing art. She was mathematical, not creative.

So when we, her friends, laughed at her attempts at drawing, she learnt to laugh along with us. But in doing so, we were perpetuating her own limiting beliefs around her lack of creative ability.

Little did we know that creativity doesn’t require a membership card. Nor does it strictly relate to art. Being artistic is not the same as being artistic. There are a million ways to show your creativity. Like Louise L Hay explains, you can be a creative gardener, cook or even bed maker. 

It wasn’t until her late teens that Megan realised that she not only loved writing fiction but she also enjoyed the process of drawing and painting. She followed her curiosities and allowed herself to enjoy the process. Today Megan is a published author who paints almost daily.


Limiting Beliefs That Self Perpetuate

Funnily enough, while Megan was living with the belief that she was not creative I was dealing with the belief that I was not good at maths, so therefore, dumb.

While I enjoyed art I did not enjoy maths. It bored me to tears and no matter what I did I could not get the hang of it.  I preferred to paint and draw and write poems. When I was 10, my teacher, aware that my mathematical ability was below average, sent me off to do a back up class in the afternoons with another group of kids who were also struggling. The trouble was that the afternoons were when we usually did art class.

I’d sit in my second maths class of the day feeling miserable. My head throbbed as I tried to make sense of concepts that I could not understand – and did not care to. My heart ached for paint and paper-mache. But I knew what they were telling me. Or at least I thought I did.

Art is a waste of time. Your talent in that area is not important to us. Stop spending so much time painting pictures and you will be a better person in our eyes.

I did my best. I worked hard memorising times tables and mastering the basic rules of sums. My parents even bought a video training programme so that I could study at home after school. Everyday. So after school instead of painting I watched my maths videos and did the exercises, determined to do better, to make my parents and my teachers happy.

However, no matter what I did, the maths wouldn’t take and now every time I sat at my desk to paint my heart felt full of anxiety. This is bad. I heard in my head. Painting is a waste of time. It makes you a bad student.

Looking back this makes me so furious! I am still bad at maths. Terrible in fact. I still find no joy in using that part of my brain. But guess what? I don’t have to. If at any time in life I need to do some quick maths I can pull out my goddamn phone and use the calculator!

By the time I reached high school (yep, you guessed it!) I was still bad at maths. But now I was also average at art. My creative advantage had dwindled.

I was placed in a low level maths class, which was widely known as Cabbage Maths. When others learnt that I was in this class they started making jokes about me, saying that I was ditsy and dumb. I played into this joke because I genuinely believed the fact that I was not great at Maths meant I was dumb. So, if I got average grades in others subjects – like science or social studies, what else would I expect – I wasn’t very smart, remember.

By the age of 15 I’d pretty much given up at school. I went to class but I did the bare minimum and failed more tests than I passed. It was easier not to try – what if I tried my best and still failed the test? That would mean I really was dumb and my belief would be justified.

The only subjects I did well in were the creative ones. Not surprisingly, I excelled at painting, sculpture, photography and film studies – all the subjects that I let myself believe I could master.

The limiting belief that I was not smart led me to assume that was what other people thought of me too. I’m became highly sensitive of anyone undermining me or implying that I was not intelligent. I tried my best to appear smart, to “fool” others into thinking I was clever. But if anyone ever questioned something I’d said I would get mad and upset. Because not only had they made me feel stupid but they’d obviously seen through my ruse.

This limiting self belief made taking feedback on my work very hard because I saw every critique as someone telling me I was stupid and that my work was bad. If someone gave me grammatical corrections, they thought I was dumb. If someone explained something in great detail, they thought I was dumb. If someone rolled their eyes at me, they thought I was dumb.  In my head, I was a dumb person trying desperately to appear smart. Smart enough to be taken seriously. Smart enough to matter.

It wasn’t until years later when I took a Menza test on a whim, scoring highly, that I realised that intelligence comes in many forms. There’s mathematical intelligence and then there’s thinking creatively. Sure my mind may not remember how to do long division and my brain may ache at simply trying to carry the ones, but when I want to, I can learn something new. I taught myself basic coding skills when I started blogging. I learnt how to edit audio footage for my podcast, then I figured out how to convert sound files. I even managed to write a 85,000 word book of fiction. So, turns out I’m not dumb after all!

Limiting Beliefs

What are your Limiting Beliefs?

My experiences are not rare. Most of us believe things about ourselves that limit us in ways large and small. It could be a simple belief that if you are not great at something then there’s no point in doing it. Or it could be that just because in high school you didn’t have a huge group of friends that means you ‘have trouble making friends’. On the flip side I knew a girl who was very popular in high school, so went out into the world with the belief that she was better than everyone. This ultimately led to people disliking her.

It’s these preconceived notions passed down to us that we need to shake off in order to be free. It takes deep self reflection to realise that we hold these limiting beliefs about ourselves and it takes constant work to prevent ourselves from playing into them. 

Limiting Beliefs and The Law of Attraction

When we let these old beliefs play like a vintage vinyl in our mind, we are sending these messages out to The Universe. We are literally vibrating with the energy of what we don’t want! The only way to stop these beliefs from perpetuating, is to change our thinking. 

Once we identify them as limiting beliefs that are not actually true, we can consciously choose to inherit new positive beliefs.

What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself? Where do you think you learned them and what belief would you need to learn to turn the old belief around?

Food for thought!

Full Time Unicorn


Fighting Fear

Unicorns Defined: The History, Symbolism and Deeper Meanings of the Unicorn

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Unicorn Definition

Throughout history the unicorn has been depicted as a pale white horse with a single grooved horn extending from its forehead; a feature that is not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Sure, there are narwhals – the large arctic porpoise with a single long eye tooth extending from its mouth. There’s the rhinoceros and the aptly named unicorn fish; with a large fleshy horn-like growth on its head. But there’s no animal quite like the elusive and mysterious, rainbow farting unicorn.

The Unicorn in History

For a supposed legendary creature the unicorn appears a lot in documented history. Images of the unicorn were found etched into stone seals unearthed in areas previously inhabited by the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, estimated to be from as long ago as 2500 BC. And interestingly, the unicorn doesn’t make an appearance in ancient Greek Mythology but it does feature in the Greek records of natural history.

The Unicorn not only appeared in the bible, translated from the word Re’em,  but it was painted, sculpted and woven into various scenes depicting the virgin Mary. The famous bronze statue Virgin Mary Holding Unicorn is still on display at the National Museum in Warsaw today.

The Virgin and the Unicorn

The unicorn has always had an association with the virgin. Perhaps due to its symbolism of purity. Even Leonardo Di Vinci wrote about the unicorn and the virgin in his notebooks. Legend has it that only a female virgin could attract and tame the illusory creature. The tale went further to include that said virgin would then be made to tame the unicorn so that hunters could slay the beast in order to retrieve its horn. The seven part story of the Hunt of the Unicorn was woven into tapestries which still hang in the Cloisters of the Met.

Unicorn Horn and Alicorn Powder

For millennia unicorn horn was considered to be a prized commodity. Kings were gifted cups said to be carved from the horns of the creatures, which were said to protect against poisons. The throne chair of Denmark was believed by many to be made from the horns of unicorns.

Ground unicorn horn was known as alicorn powder and it had many medicinal uses. Up until around the 1800 it was used to purify potentially contaminated water, taken to protect against plague and administered as a treatment for most ailments. Some even believed that it could bring the gift of eternal life. The price the powder fetched was so high that alicorn was a substance only reserved for royalty.

 The Unicorn as a Totem

My first encounter with unicorns was as a young child. I wasn’t out in the forest or in a deep dream, nope, I was watching a very young Tom Cruise in Legend. When the unicorns trotted onto the screen I was transfixed. My whole body shivered with goosebumps – the way it still does today when I am confronted with a heavy realisation or a spark of inspiration. I knew right then that the unicorn was important. That it was to be my guide and my totem for life.

I didn’t quite know how or why at the time but I knew in the deepest part of my soul that one day the importance of the unicorn would present itself to me, and many years later, it did.

Modern Symbolism

These days unicorns are everywhere! The unicorn has become a symbol for individuality and authenticity. It’s used as a term to describe a startup company worth over a billion dollars, a symbol for gay pride and a urban dictionary term for a sexually experimental person who enjoys sleeping with couples! 

The Full Time Unicorn

Personally, I believe a unicorn is anyone who chooses to embrace the magic in life. It’s a person who follows their heart and follows the yearning deep inside them to do what they are called to do. It means having a voice and choosing to use it. It means honouring your quirks and understanding that your true mighty power resides in your weirdness, not in your ability to camouflage it.

Being a unicorn takes bravery. It takes big sparkly to be your true authentic self and boldly step into the world owning your awesomeness.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you think differently to other people; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you have strange and wonderful gifts to offer the world; you are a unicorn. If you’ve ever felt like you’re connected to something bigger, something magical and something wonderful, then you my friend are a unicorn.

It’s time to stop pretending to be anything other than what you are.

Your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams, they are the stuff of legends. Stop holding back and holding yourself in* it’s time you stopped apologising for who you are and started letting that magic free.

Do the world a massive favour and be yourself! Please! We can’t wait to meet you and experience your gifts!

Full Time Unicorn

*Unless you are a bigot or a murderer. Feel free to suppress that shit.


I Quit Sugar! Then Didn’t

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I quit sugar, then didn't

Sugar is my kryptonite.

I’m not a one biscuit kind of girl. If I snap that Kitkat: It’s. All. On.

All my life I’ve been a sweet tooth and all my life I have harboured shame about it. So much so that for years if I felt embarrassed or ashamed I could swear I could feel my bum growing bigger. If was as if instead of my cheeks blushing, my butt was expanding.

Candy is Dandy

As a child candy was dandy and I’d go nuts for donuts. But I also didn’t have luxury of being one of those willowy armed children who get told they have “hollow legs”. Nope. I was a sturdy kid with ringlets and a pot-belly. Because of this my love of all things chocolate covered was seen as an issue. It was surely to blame for my perky bum and doughy little arms, which were officially *shakes head* “not good”.

A Fear of Sugar

By the age of ten I had an associated fear of sugary foods. A love hate relationship. I wanted them. I loved them. But if I had just one bite I had failed myself and my family. I had succumbed to pleasure. I had let myself down and I was to blame for looking the way I did – which was actually fine by the way but supposedly the act of sacrificing candy would make me look better.

Sacrifice. The word itself says it all. Give something up. Going without. Depriving one’s self for the greater good. A trade of sorts. If you don’t eat that cream-egg now, you’ll feel better about yourself later.

I learned to try and deprive myself of sugary food. I go all out, living on celery and eventually, resentful that I should have to deprive myself in the first place, I’d fall off the wagon and eat all of the treats out of sadness and frustration. Like a big candy cry-wank.

Numbing through Sugar

Throughout my teenage years sugar was my go-to-sad-food. If I had a bad day I’d smash a bar of chocolate. If my boyfriend broke up with me – a bag of Pineapple Lumps. It was like I could escape the sadness and instead live on a puffy cloud made of marshmallow and sing along to Katy Perry songs. I knew it was bad for my health but I think that was why I did it; as a form of self-harm. One part comfort food, one part self-punishment with a pinch of self-sabotage.

As I grew into adulthood I noticed that other people were starting to turn to alcohol as a numbing agent. After a stressful day with the kids my friends would reach for a glass of wine, then sometimes the whole bottle when things got really hard.

For me it was always chocolate biscuits. Fuck, the kids were hard work today. Time to smash a packet of Squiggles. Then, in a sugar coma I would space out and watch T.V, waiting for the come down and the inevitable headache and regret. The next day I’d do it all again.

Sugar Addiction

I could not eat sugar in moderation. After speaking with my friends who have battled addiction I realised that my sugar consumption was a kin to their alcohol use. If I started could not stop. It was all I thought about and my motivation for going places and getting through the day. What was the point of going to the park if we weren’t going to get an ice cream? If there was no chocolate after the bed time routine what would I have to look forward to all day?

After eating sugar I would feel sick, tired, irritable and anxious. I was addicted to sugar and it was having a detrimental effect on my health.

I quit sugar, then didn't

Reducing Sugar

So, slowly but surely I started reducing my sugar intake. Instead of eating treats every night it became a weekend affair. I noticed that my skin looked better. My stomach felt better. I was less gassy and could no long compete in fart battles with my kids.

That’s when I watched That Sugar Film.

It was enlightening. I realized that I’d previously been eating a shit ton of sugar each day. When I included things like P.B.J sandwiches, cups of tea with honey, white pasta and bread I was shocked. My daily intake was easily around 20 teaspoons a day. Adults should only have around five.

Sugar’s Impact on my Hormones

Around the same time I began researching why I was feeling so hormonal. I had massive mood swings twice a month, horrendous abdominal pain, headaches, bloating and back pain. More and more I was having to pull of cool events because I was too tired, sick or sore to attend.

I saw and acupuncturist, a cranial osteopath and finally an Arvigo Therapist who realigned my uterus, recommended vaginal steaming and gave me incredible nutritional advice which was:

  1. Avoid gluten
  2. Reduce sugar as much as possible
  3. Eat good quality fats and proteins
  4. Eat as many plant foods as you can
  5. Drink water

The Sugar Detox

So I went for it. I cut gluten completely and slowly started cutting all sugar from my diet. The gluten was not too hard to cut out. I simply started using an organic, gluten free, sour dough bread and I switched to drinking earl grey tea which didn’t seem to need sweetening. At this stage I would still eat occasional sugar but I was getting better at limiting it. It was no longer a binge fest.

I started to feel so much better. My hormones normalised. I no longer had mega-PMS. My stomach stopped bloating. I had much more energy. I liked how things were going so I went even further and cut all processed sugar out of my diet.

Going Refined Sugar Free

This part was harder. The only sugar I would have, came from fruit and two pieces of very dark chocolate. I learned to love the sweetness of banana and my daily banana cacao smoothie was just as good as any other sweet treat.

I committed to my sugar free diet for a trial period of one month. I downloaded a sugar free app to my phone to count how many days I had been sugar free. If I ate any sugar I would have to restart the counter. At the times I really wanted to quit, I would check my counter and think about if I really wanted to re-set it.

On those days that really wanted a treat I would make avocado and banana chocolate mousse or gluten free banana bread. I thought they were delicious but my kids were not sold.

The Benefits

After the month was up I felt amazing. My skin was glowing. I’d lost body fat and increased muscle. My joints felt better. I no longer woke in the morning feeling achey and dopey. My mind felt super clear and I was less likely to lose my shit with my kids. I decided to keep up the sugar free awesomeness.

The really interesting change was discovered when I went to my hairdresser for a cut and colour. “Wow” she said, looking at my scalp. “Your psoriasis is completely gone! What did you do?”

“Is it?” I replied, slightly in shock. All my life I had had scalp psoriasis. I’d done everything I could to get rid of it. I’d applied oils, creams, smelly tar and steamed dock root. I’d taken disgusting skin tonics and used EFT. Nothing had ever worked. Until then. “Oh wow,” I went on. “I quit sugar!”

Soon the whole salon had converged around my head. They’d all seen my scalp. I’d been going there for years. They’d all offered their words of advice to treat my issue but to no avail. They were all speechless. “Maybe we should all quit sugar too?” said my hairdresser.

I was glad my psoriasis was gone but the news was bittersweet. I now had sound proof that one of my longest ailments had been caused by my diet.

I quit sugar, then didn't

Taking it too Far

As I left the salon that day I was excited by this new revelation. What if I stopped eating all sugar? I wondered. What if I reduced fruit too? What if I even stopped having my delicious clean food protein bars? I mean, they are made with dates. Dates are sugar. Yes. I best cut them too. All of it must go!

So basically I went a bit nuts. I got carried away. I cut all of the things. If I ate a piece of fruit I felt a bit naughty because somewhere along my research journey I had read that ‘sugar’s sugar’ so all of it was bad.

The thing about sugar is that we actually need it. We don’t need twinkies or M&Ms but we do need glucose – found in grains and root vegetables – and due to the fiber content of fruit we can actually digest the fructose in that banana without harming our liver. But I had forgotten this information.

Basically, I became obsessed. My mind was on sugar patrol 24/7. I didn’t feel awful in my body but I was craving sugar. I wanted something sweet but I would scold myself for baking my famed banana loaf.

A Sugar Free Obsession

The penny dropped when I found myself in the confectionery isle staring at the candy bars. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been there. Suddenly I realised that what had begun as I mission to become more healthy was slowly becoming an eating disorder. I was becoming food obsessed and I’d been there before. I had a flashback to my early 20s when I’d starve myself all day then binge on candy. I knew that if I didn’t get a handle on things pronto that I’d be headed right back into that cycle.

So. I took a block of chocolate off the shelf, marched to the checkout, paid and ate that bastard right there in the carpark!

Did I feel sick afterwards? Did I crash and get a headache? Absolutely!

But d’you know what? I didn’t die. The world did not end. I just ate some fucking chocolate and went about my day.

Now, sitting here in my post-holiday February bod, I am slowly once again trying to reduce my sugar intake. I can feel the soft tickly claws of the sugar demon closing around my neck. I am tired and grumpy and my skin looks a bit shit and yes, my psoriasis has returned. But one thing’s is for sure, I am not going to go for broke. I am not going to cut out all pleasures. I am going to enjoy my banana loaf and look forward to my night time fix of dark chocolate.

Keeping your Head Healthy

Obsessing over anything is never healthy. Just as the Law of Attraction says – the key is in relaxing and submitting. When we live in fear of failing we are actually self-perpetuating that so called failure.

I don’t want to feel obsessed. I just want to eat well and feel good. I want to find a healthy balance that allows me to enjoy life in all its imperfect glory.

Full Time Unicorn