Reading Time: 5 minutes


It may seem these two disparate concepts are hardly related, but they often go hand in hand.

Many of us are labelled at birth by our parents, as the ‘clever’ one or the ‘creative’ one or even the ‘hopeless’ child, which is merely based on how they want us to live their lives.

I had a phone call last year from a close friend, distraught after her elderly Mother had thrown out some of her favourite clothes and childhood possessions.  Marianne had recently moved back in to look after her since her Mother’s physical and mental health had deteriorated, but had taken a short break away from the daily grind of being a constant carer.

On her return she had found her wardrobe and chest of drawers invaded, with half of the contents given away to charity.  My friend who already suffers from anxiety and self-doubt, was thrown into a major frenzy – and it took her several days to return to any sort of normality, blaming herself for abandoning her Mother.

This was however, the turning point for Marianne, who realised after several months of counselling that it was in fact her Mother’s way of getting Marianne to carry the rage and anxiety she had been feeling herself prior to her outburst.

Added to this Marianne had always been told that out of all of her siblings, she was the one who was the major disappointment, and would never make anything of her life.  On the contrary, she has been a high achiever, even more so than her two sisters, but who constantly seeks her Mother’s approval, which is never recognised in spite of her major accolades in her successful career in the City.

How many times do you hear in a marriage or relationship breakup, that the man or woman has to leave because his partner is ‘crazy’.    This always sits uncomfortably with me, because you can bet that they will go on to meet someone else and evoke the same pattern of behaviour in their new relationship.

Therapists and psycho analysts call this ‘projection’ as they are in fact again getting their partners to carry their anxiety or feelings of hopelessness so that they don’t have to.

If this is hard to digest, let me give you a very simple example of how it works and how toxic this type of ‘projection’ can be.  A close friend who is also an exceptional therapist had a new client several years ago who was suffering from depression, so badly that he wanted to end his life.  My therapist friend David spent the entire session baffled by his account of what had happened since his wife’s departure, and at the end of the session told her he felt he was carrying his partner’s feelings of desperation.   He left feeling a lot happier.

Two hours later his estranged wife called him saying she was feeling suicidal and wanted to give the relationship another go!  He thankfully declined, and as far as I know, has remained anxiety free ever since.

I hope this may be helpful to those of you who are suffering with anxiety and depression, because if you look closely, you may find some of it may not even be yours to carry.

If you or anyone you know are struggling please check out the following websites for
help or just for someone to talk to

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


We have recently been introduced to this spectacular new magazine called EQUAL by the King of Introductions, Richard Selwyn-Barnett (see recent article).

EQUAL is published online and also as a magnificent high end journal that you can read and keep, showcasing Fashion, Art, Culture, and Music with a heavy emphasis upon diversity and uniqueness.

The charming and down to earth Shelley Rodgers, who is at the helm of EQUAL lives in a sleepy coastal village in between Dublin and Belfast with her musician partner Kieran Sherry and her daughter Maya.

Her stunning photography is shot through her own creative eye and embraces all aspects of our Planet and its people, from sub-cultures to those who have been excluded, with a particular emphasis upon the environment with cruelty free makeup, recycled jewellery and eco fashion.

EQUAL is also the perfect platform to promote both established and up and coming artists to showcase their work while also nurturing their talent.  They have live fashion shows in iconic and historic buildings.  Their most recent was held in Belfast Castle in February of this year, where they presented artists like Skyler Jett (the Commodores) with a life time achievement award for his career in music and other emerging creatives.

On Saturday 19th October at Belfast Castle there will be another ‘alternative’ fashion show with live music and a captivating catwalk featuring some stunning new designs like the new Bruno Tilley collection of T shirts, models from the LGBT community and those with severe injuries – the physically challenged.

Our very own Dee Anderson will be walking the catwalk and modelling a jean jacket in glittering Swarovski crystal, which has been designed by Rachel and Dean Mayhook, and their son Josh at

Dee will be performing her new song written especially for EQUAL entitled ‘You are Unique”.

Ticket sales will be announced in the next few weeks – watch this space and keep a close eye on EQUAL magazine.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes


As we come into our ‘prime’ we often have a bit more determination to fulfil our dreams, whether it be to visit that far off destination, run naked through the woods or learn a musical instrument.  Well, I am talking about the latter, and how fulfilling would it be to pick up a guitar and start strumming at a party or even among close family and friends.  How many times have you been mesmerised by the funky guy or girl who is able to do that, and has the talent and ability to write their own lyrics and their own songs.

More and more people are fulfilling their dreams, and even if you are not going to be the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent or the X Factor, (and stranger things have happened), it is guaranteed to be one of the most therapeutic things you could possibly do.

I can talk from experience, as I have recently achieved a life long ambition to learn guitar, after having found a teacher locally, a young funky guy himself, who resides on the outskirts of Beaconsfield.  He is a musician through and through, with waist long silky hair and an equally smooth voice, but with a sympathetic ear for my early stumbles on my favourite musical instrument, and after the first couple of months I am learning fast, and have just written my first song, which I am going to try out at my next social gathering.

It also came up as a result of a life coaching experience that I should give this as a present to myself after a lifetime of bringing up a family, caring for an ailing Mum and being a very committed wife and Mother.  But you don’t have to wait until the kids have flown the nest, this should be a gift as a recognition of your own self worth and courage as it takes that to even start to explore the options of living your dream or at least one of them.

It sounds crazy now, but my main fear was knowing how to tune the instrument – but with iphones and apps, this is the most simple aspect of learning to play.  So if your fear is holding you back from achieving one of your life goals, whatever that is, look at ways to overcome the obstacles and move forward.

My other reservation was that I am always ultra busy, as I run a demanding business, and wouldn’t have the time.  Another simple solution, I now get up half an hour earlier in the mornings and put aside that time to practise, and mission accomplished.

Hopefully this will have inspired you to weigh up the options of ticking off something on your bucket list whatever that may be, even if it takes a few months of procrastination, after all how bad can it be?  You may say, ‘well I have waited this long’, but my advice would be ‘there is no time like the present’ – and the present is definitely yours for the taking.

Check out this easy beginner guitar lesson and give it a try


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What Makes a Seemingly “normal” 40-Year-Old Man Consider Wanting to Drive His Car into a Brick Wall?

What Makes a Seemingly “normal” 40-Year-Old Man Consider Wanting to Drive His Car into a Brick Wall?

Reading Time: 10 minutes


As a public speaker on PTSD, this is one of the questions I am always being asked. Some of the other questions are ‘what makes me an expert? How does PTSD manifest itself in the workplace? What makes a seemingly “normal”, well-adjusted and often “super” salesman/woman suddenly and inexorably crash and burn, often ending up taking their own life and leaving everyone, including their nearest and dearest, scratching their heads.’ I hope that the following article will help you understand these issues.

First thing, let’s try to establish my credentials. I’m not an expert or a trained counsellor — I’m a survivor and I hope the following background will go a long way to explaining why I’m so passionate about making more people aware of the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I was born on the 8 May 1958 and had two loving parents, an older sister and a younger brother. Looking back, I realise to many I had a privileged background. Not that my parents were wealthy, but we lived in a large house, and my mother, was always looking for ways to earn extra money to subsidise my father’s income, and for a time she was one of the bestselling Avon ladies in the business.  She then created the first ever mail-order company selling collectables and was seen for many years as the foremost expert in this field. My sister was a gifted student with an excellent memory and became a solicitor.

For the first 14 years of my life I had a great time. Yes, I failed my 11 plus, but wasn’t traumatized, and I was lucky that my parents decided to send me to a private school, and after this closed down, I attended a Secondary Modern.   In the first year at this school, I made friends and joined the athletics squad, as I could throw the discus further than most. Then when I returned to school in the September, aged 14, my life turned upside down.

One of the school bullies realised that I was Jewish, and the reaction was a huge shock to me as the year before some of my class had been at my Bar Mitzvah and there hadn’t been an issue!  Nevertheless, this discovery led to me being on the receiving end of a daily barrage of name-calling. Unfortunately, Anti-Semitism, along with other forms of religious discrimination was and still is a huge problem.

In addition to this and according to my class mates, I had committed a far worse crime than my religion, which was to have secured a Saturday job at the local hairdressers.  I had also stopped throwing a discus, and gave up my paper round and going to football.  This all added up in their book to me being gay, which was actually not true, but illustrated how much prejudice there was across the board.

As anyone knows who’s been bullied, once you’ve given up trying to stand up for yourself, you learn to hide your pain and brush off the dirt from your clothes or recover your property, which often would be used instead of a ball in a game of ‘piggy in the middle’. Some of the bullied become jokers, or in some cases become bullies themselves. Those that are bullied find it very hard to let people know the pain they’re in for fear of what will happen if they reveal or stand up to the bullies.

Regardless of our age, we brush ourselves off and stand up, dry our tears and get on with life the best way we can. That’s how the majority survive.

Unfortunately for many, when they leave school and make their way in to the world, they seem to have developed an aura that a bully picks up on. How do I know this? Because it followed me as my working life progressed?

There came a day, shortly after my 39th birthday. As a family, we’d been through a great deal of trauma, and I suddenly became overwhelmed by the pain of my life. I sat in my car looking at a brick wall, trying to decide what speed I needed to reach if I were to drive my car at it so I could stop the pain. I started to write a note, but then I began to think of the ripples that my action would create and shoved the pad in the glove compartment, dried my eyes and went to work.

By this stage, I was on autopilot. My work was suffering, and I was receiving daily encouragement from my bosses to either shape up or shape out. It was only when one of the directors needed to use my car that my half-written letter was found, and the cat was out of the bag. Between them and my wife, I was dragged kicking and screaming into counselling. It was this action that saved my life, as I was forced to face the many demons that had haunted me.

Whilst counselling was the start of the healing process the journey from despair to happiness took many years. There were times when I could have easily slipped back into desolation, but with the encouragement of others I have reached a ‘Happy Place’ knowing that whatever happens in life, it cannot take me back to the where I was. So yes, I feel I am an ‘expert’.

I hope that you now have a better understanding that PTSD is not solely the preserve of the military or emergency services, but it can and does affect far more people than we realise.

So what are the signs we should be looking for as an indicator that someone is having an emotional crisis? The problem is that, as we know, every person is different, and therefore the triggers can be too numerous to fully understand.

However, warning signs can be seen, if you’re prepared to look for them.

  • Has the person changed from someone who’s happy to someone who’s going through the motions?
  • Does the person display swings in personality?
  • Has the person begun to drink slightly more?
  • Has the person’s family been involved in any emotional situation — for example, death of a ?loved one (including a pet), an illness or maybe an accident?
  • Have they suddenly been confronted with an unexpected bill?

All of these, with the exception of drink, did affect me at one time or another. However, as I’m not a clinician, I can’t list every conceivable situation. ?So what should you do if you become aware of any changes? ?Start by being human. Suggest that you have a coffee together and chat. If they don’t want to or feel they’re unable to discuss what is “going on”, as they can’t articulate why they feel like they do, suggest they speak to a counsellor. If they are a work colleague, speak to your line manager or boss and advise them of your concerns. Make sure you make time to spend a few moments every day with them until they feel ready to confide in you. If and when they do, there are at least three things that you can suggest:

1) Recommend that they see their GP.

2) Direct them to our website, where we have an ever-growing directory of help and advice.

3) Contact the Samaritans tel 116123 or visit their website


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Cannabis-derived oil goes mainstream, but is it all smoke and mirrors?

Cannabis-derived oil goes mainstream, but is it all smoke and mirrors?

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Chances are, CBD oil is already on your radar. There has been a huge buzz about it recently, due to its reported benefits – health journalism has been awash with stories of this potential remedy for a wide range of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, skin conditions, epilepsy and arthritis. But what is the story behind the hype – and is it all too good to be true?

The first thing to clarify is there is a huge difference between CBD oil and medicinal cannabis. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant – it has attracted interest as it seems to have a wide range of therapeutic properties. One of the other compounds in the cannabis plant, prevalent in the marijuana variety, is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive, and this is what gives users the famous cannabis ‘high’.

CBD oil is now in mainstream use – Holland & Barratt were the first UK high street retailer to stock it, with sales doubling in 12 months, and the health company Naturopathica has recently launched the first CBD lozenges. There are also increasing numbers of UK cafés serving up coffee and snacks containing CBD, to help customers combat anxiety and stress!

A recently retired colleague of ours, a lady in her mid- seventies who is caring for her husband who is suffering from dementia, has noticed a marked difference in his anxiety levels since she has been including CBD oil in his diet.

Cannabis is still illegal for recreational use in the UK, but the medical use of cannabis was legalised in November 2018. However, this is only when prescribed by a registered specialist doctor, and notably the current guidelines do not recommend the use of medicinal cannabis oil – which is ironic, given that the UK is home to GW Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s largest producers of medical cannabis, and the company behind the cannabis-derived products Sativex and Epidiolex.

This has frustrated many, including the parents of seven-year-old Alfie Dingley, an epileptic boy from Warwickshire who suffered up to 30 seizures a day due to a rare genetic condition. He hit the headlines in 2017 when it emerged his family had moved to Holland, where medicinal cannabis oil was legal – with treatment, Alfie’s seizures reduced to just one a month! The family returned to the UK and petitioned the government to make it legal in the UK. Since the change to UK law last November, Alfie now has regular prescriptions for his condition, but the family subsequently launched another petition to encourage doctors to “prescribe full extract oil without fear”, as the guidelines mean that few doctors are actually prescribing it.

While most of the compounds in cannabis are ‘controlled substances’ under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, CBD is not. It is currently illegal in the UK to have products with a THC level of over 0.2%, but by using cannabis plants with lower than threshold levels of THC, and high levels of CBD, manufacturers are legally able to sell products – although these are not officially authorised as medicines, so manufacturers cannot make any medical claims on the packaging. Despite this, many people swear by their therapeutic qualities anecdotally.

Any internet search will lead you to an abundance of anecdotal material about CBD. It is widely known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it keeps your body in a state of equilibrium, making it useful in treating medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain. It is easy to take – there are e-liquids for vaping, sprays for under the tongue, CBD capsules and CBD balms to apply to the skin.

Oxford University is carrying out a £10 million research programme into the medical use of marijuana, so hopefully it won’t be long before science and legislation catch up with what the public already seems to know.

Meanwhile the popularity of CBD oil grows daily, and if the coffee and cake at your local café includes this magical ingredient to reduce stress and anxiety, might you be tempted…?

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Reading Time: 6 minutes


If you are looking for a bit of escapism in these turbulent times (didn’t even mention the B word), and if you can get the kids farmed out if you have any, or want to get away with a loved one.  Then you should seriously consider a City Break in the number one destination for adventure and diversity – London.

I am going to give you three options only to get you started, with some linked suggestions – ranging in price so that it does not pull too hard on your purse strings, or could equally cost you an arm and a leg if you go for broke.



I have a rather interesting suggestion for you if you enjoy an artsy boutique hotel with an edgy interior.  40 Winks, which has housed both Hollywood Royalty and the more ‘under the radar’ glamorous guest is run by the charismatic but cosy Interior Designer David Carter who welcomes his guests as if they are family.

40 Winks is situated in the trendy eclectic East End of London but is only three minutes’ walk to the tube and only a 10 minute ride into the City Centre.

Each room is artfully designed and just stepping inside the door take you into another World.  Perfect for the quick getaway.  The prices are incredibly reasonable too, coming in at around £115-150 per night.

A great boarding platform in every way as it will set you up for the great venture into town, where there are a plethora of places popping up to explore and immerse yourself to finally sweep away those Brexit blues.



The Karaoke and Bao Restaurant which is opening in May should be your first port of call.

BAO is the great Taiwanese restaurant that took London by storm with its funky, animated steamed buns that have been plastered all over Instagram. So everyone is talking about the latest opening coming to Borough in May which will join the other outposts including BAO Soho and BAO Fitzrovia, XU Teahouse and Restaurant, as well as the original BAO BAR stand which remains at Netil Market.

Oh, joy of joy it’ll have a karaoke room named BAO KTV?!  This is incredible, as normally with Karaoke and bao never the twain will meet, although you can see why because Karaoke is incredibly popular in Taiwan so it all makes sense.  It opens on May 6th.  I have already made my reservation.




Lyaness has recently been reinvented from Dandelyan which was voted best bar in the World.

The bar rebranded as Sea Containers remains in the Thames-side ground floor position it’s been in for the last few years. But everything inside is different. Named after Chetiyawardana’s 2018 International Women’s Day pop-up that ran at bar Super Lyan, the interior is a gorgeous palate of powder blue, greys and golds channeling a 1920s chic and a 1970s retro. The work of creative director Jacu Strauss, and the team at Lore Studio, who also created Amsterdam’s Super Lyan with Chetiyawardana’s, Jacu.

There is also a sensational view across the Thames.

The cocktails are incredible as you would imagine from this great mixologist and you will relish both the drinks and the ambience in this mini paradise.


If you are a fan of jazz then why don’t you come to the legendary Pheasantry in King’s Road on 9th June to see our very own Dee Anderson perform with her band Topsyike.  They are a funky Jazz fusion band of some notoriety, and will be performing their own compositions as well as some jazz standards such as Don’t Explain by Billie Holiday, Put a Spell on You and Amy Winehouse’s Love is a Losing Game.  You can listen to the music whilst devouring a very tasty Pizza and a glass of wine as this iconic venue has in recent years been taken over by Pizza Express.

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