Reading Time: 4 minutes


As I landed in Denmark several years ago for a very special music conference, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of warmth from the people, in the restaurants and bars, with a general feeling of wellbeing.

As I strolled along the canal on a freezing January afternoon, the sheepskin rugs that adorned every chair outside the bars and eateries, and glow of the outside log burners and heaters filled the air with a feeling of comfort and welcome.

So when I started to learn about Hygge, which is the Danish way of keeping that feeling of warmth and security, in spite of the temperature outside, it brought back all those memories.

It is not surprising therefore that Denmark has again been voted one of the top three countries for happiness of its inhabitants.  This is not to do with money, and in fact Denmark has a stable government but very high taxes.  But the people are happy to pay, as they feel it will just add to their own economy and provide even more security and comfort.


After some research, the best summary of this philosophy is depicted in Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg.  As one great review says ‘Others books will tell you how to be hygge. This is the only book that will show you’ and this is true.  Read on to discover the outline of the book in a nutshell, as the description does not disappoint the reader, and I fully recommend that as we are struggling to find solace in these post festive Winter months, there is a way of overcoming and even relishing the colder climes without drinking too much wine or spending too much money with retail therapy.

‘Though we all know the feeling of hygge instinctively few of us ever manage to capture it for more than a moment.

Now Danish actress and hygge aficionado Marie Tourell Søderberg has travelled the length and breadth of her home country to create the perfect guide to cooking, decorating, entertaining and being inspired the hygge way.

Full of beautiful photographs and simple, practical steps and ideas to make your home and life both comfortable and cheering all year round, this book is the easy way to introduce hygge into your life.’

So are you ready for a big hygge, I know I am, and I am going to make it my business to try it for myself, and bring some joy into my home this Winter – the Danish way!




Reading Time: 4 minutes


As we are all looking for inspiration and light during these dark and gloomy months, we have decided to rehash some all time favourites of which you may or may not be aware.  But classics always stand the test of time and these are no exception.

Whether you are looking to feel more confident, have more income or wanting a complete life makeover, look no further, these books have it all, and are a ‘life’ companion.

These are our all time favourites, and our ‘bible’ to consult if any of us are feeling down.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

This is a best selling book based on the law of attraction which claims that thoughts can change a person’s life directly.  It has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 languages.

Rhonda provides quotes and examples of people whose lives have been transformed by this ancient but contemporary philosophy and she herself has turned around her own life when going through trauma with the ethos ‘ask and you will receive’ along with ‘gratitude and visualisation’.

You can never read it enough, and whenever you go back you discover something else you have missed or forgotten, to add to your valuable brain bank of life.

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield

This self-help book is 20 years old but can become a bible for people looking for a life or career change.

It is constantly being updated and even has a website www.chickensoupforthesoul.com  relating to the first book which has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Some of the guidance is always a constant, which ranges from utilizing all of the tools in our kitbag however inappropriate they seem at the time, taking action, learning a new skill today, spending less time on the phone or watching mindless television to healthy living but eating ice cream if you want to.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker – Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

If you have a British mindset and have a problem discussing the acquisition of money or getting rich, get over yourself, because we all need it and this charismatic (and you may say crass) speaker and writer has some brilliant advice for the more reticent among us to get off our butts and create some wealth.

As well as pragmatic tips and guidance, based on his own experiences, Mr Eker is surprisingly spiritual and believes in self belief and visualization to change our inner blueprint around money, as well as good old fashioned proactivity.

You can also see him online, and his videos are incredibly inspiring when you need to be reminded of certain business strategies to bring you back to basics and to stay on track.


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Reading Time: 5 minutes


The word ‘retirement’ would always conjure up images of sweet old couples downsizing from their family houses to move even further into the country or seaside location of their dreams to live a simple life of quiet and calm whilst playing bowls at the local club or strolling along the promenade having planned their ‘twilight’ years long before their ‘sell by date’.

The entire concept of ‘retirement’ is really dying out, especially with folk living longer and being given the opportunity to explore the world after the ‘nine to five’ or selling their own company to explore new pastures.

How many times do you hear of someone ‘retiring’ and achieving their life long ambition to give up work entirely and to then suddenly expire themselves the following week!  Sorry to be so morbid, but it is a fact, and explanations for this demise range from the ‘sudden lack of stress’ to ‘having nothing to live for’ having fulfilled their ambition.

So it is not surprising to learn that it is fast becoming a trend, once the kids have flown the nest or reaching a certain age, that people are moving into town to enjoy all the amenities of city living with the amazing variety of restaurants, theatres, shopping and culture centres literally on their doorstep.

It may be you haven’t reached that stage yet, but are thinking about a life or career change, as the concept of life employment is also changing, with the uncertainty of the economy and diverse career paths on offer.

It is also a belief that living in a town can work out more expensive than living in the country, but our research has revealed the opposite, as with careful planning you can ditch the car in the City and opt for free transport or walking everywhere if you live centrally.  You can also obtain less expensive deals on eating out and entertainment if you shop around or acquire memberships.

The first example is a female freelancer who had decided that marriage and kids was not for her, so at the age of 55, cashed in her pension early, relocated to the East End of London, and now works from home just a few hours a week.  The rest of the time she catches up with exhibitions and theatrical productions, and eats out at least twice a week, all within her budget.

Another is a writer who has relocated to the centre of Birmingham, after his kids left home, where he walks to his office space (as writers never retire) and enjoys all the amenities of the City with its trendy restaurants and bars, shopping and art galleries.

Both are good examples of where focus is changing when it comes to retirement or early relocation, with choices in town outweighing those of rural climes.  So whatever age or income the possibilities are endless.

So if you live in the country and are being deafened by silence, consider your options, and don’t rule out the opportunities that are waiting just a heartbeat away, in the centre of your nearest City.


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Reading Time: 6 minutes


We begin every new year with good intentions, and some of us see them through and others waver as the year or even January kicks in.  Well don’t beat yourselves up because we are human after all, and with the pressures of everyday life, other priorities take over.

The most common goal after Christmas in the Western World is to lose weight, and that has become a constant challenge with growing obesity and ill health as a result.

As someone who has tried most diets, both successfully and unsuccessfully, I feel qualified to give some sound advice based upon a great deal of experience.

Top of my list for instant weight loss is Slimming World www.slimmingworld.co.uk, which is definitely the diet I could maintain, as the portions are still substantial and ‘snacking’ is allowed, which we need to sustain our energy and sugar level, if our days are busy, either at work or at home with the family.

With this diet, you never go hungry and it is affordable at only £5 per week, with an introductory free offer online in January.  It is based upon a low fat intake, and this does not mean you have to deprive yourself of the very basic foods that you love like fries and yoghurt, these can be modified and combined with other foods which can also include a variety of carbs like pasta and potatoes.   So a win win for every palate, and comes with some great recipes.


If you want to dig a bit deeper, you could look at a nutritionist, and I know I have spoken about her before, but Gudrun Jonsson www.gudrunjonsson.com is definitely life changing in her approach, and has saved my life on many occasions.

Gudrun believes that a ‘healthy gut equals a happy healthy life’, and since I was introduced to her by a friend, I have lost two stone in weight in just over 14 months, and look ten years younger.

Gudrun is also nutritionist to the stars and the rich and famous, although it took me a while to fathom that, as she is extremely confidential and compassionate.  She is also very reasonable and will not cost you an arm and a leg, although you will see improvement in both areas almost immediately, as well as the rest of the body!

Here is a little more about Gudrun and her treatments taken from her website:

Gudrun Jonsson believes that if you can understand your digestive system, you can and will leap towards health.   In fact, she believes everything changes and moves, and therefore we can reverse symptomatic issues.  Her unique philosophy focuses on a combination of the traditional healing arts from the subcontinent, biopathic treatments, and the latest advances in scientific health, ageing and wellness. 

Based in London and Morroco, Gudrun visits and receives clients worldwide and enjoys both learning and teaching. Before establishing her practice in London, Swedish-born Gudrun trained and qualified as a biopath at the Institut for Biologisk Medicin in Copenhagen. Gudrun has written two bestselling books – ‘Gut Reaction’ and ‘The Gut Reaction Eating Plan’ – and has made numerous television appearances. Her success has earned her the respect of complementary and medical practitioners alike, and a devoted following among her many clients. 

Drawing upon her extensive knowledge of the healing properties of plants and foods, Gudrun’s treatments lead her clients to have a more alkaline and balanced digestive function that impacts on their overall health and wellbeing. Her treatment also includes plant-based serums, oils and balms that can heal skin conditions ranging from acne to psoriasis and can balance acidic constitutions and heal inflammation. 

The one thing I would say about Gudrun is, she does not take any prisoners, and you have to be ready to take on her remedies and advice, but if you are serious about a life change, then just feel the fear and do it anyway.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes


As we enjoy copious amounts of food and wine over the festive season, and generally push the boat out and abandon ship where our diets are concerned, let us spare a moment to think about those less fortunate, whose only hope of a Happy Christmas is the generosity of a friend, neighbour or complete stranger.

Friends of mine who are very well off spent half of last Christmas day serving food to the homeless at their local Shelter, and said it was one of the best festive holidays they could remember.  You don’t have to turn up in person to help, just donate what you can to the Charity as the money will go straight to a counsellor or family and could turn around a life in a heartbeat.  If you go onto the Shelter website, there are numerous cases of how lives have been destroyed, often by unseen circumstances, but can be turned around by our own contributions and good will.

I have recently been aware of the food banks in my local supermarkets and am pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and gifts that generous shoppers have donated, but it isn’t enough – we could all be doing more.  Perhaps like me in recent years, you have been so hell bent on a perfect family Christmas, you have forgotten to consider how others are suffering with little or no hope of any sort of celebration at all.  Guilty as charged, but it is not too late to change.

I am not saying we should all take ourselves down to the local food bank, but remember what Meghan Markle used to do in LA with the leftover food from a film shoot – which was quite a pioneering gesture at the time.  She has now extended it to helping to support victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy by cooking with its charity members in their multi-cultural kitchen.

We all know that Princes William and Harry have carried on Princess Diana, their mother’s legacy, of supporting the homeless, and are regular visitors at Centrepoint in London.

It doesn’t even have to be someone who has lost their home, It could be an elderly neighbour who is too proud to tell you they will be lonely, or someone suffering from depression who could benefit from even a phone call, let us all give one minute of our time. So never mind Brexit or our own economy, the world would be richer and a far better place if we just paused for a moment amidst all the mayhem, and considered how we could help improve someone’s life this festive season and extend it well into 2019.



Reading Time: 4 minutes


The Queen in Alice in Wonderland also said ‘Sometimes I have believed in six impossible things before Breakfast time’.

Mark Twain famously said ‘eat a live frog before breakfast’ as that will be the worst thing that will happen to you for the rest of the day.  A little extreme perhaps, as we would expect from this notorious progressive, but it does illuminate something I have been observing for some time.

A recent study at Harvard University in the States concluded that high achievers complete a number of tasks before breakfast, because the morning brings new feelings of opportunity and achievement, and we are more likely to break through barriers with energy and optimism.

It is also true that the most successful leaders and entrepreneurs have always had one thing in common, they are reportedly early risers and do their most important (and perhaps most dreaded) tasks first thing, rather than delaying them for later in the day.

So I decided to put it to the test.  The first thing I would say, and perhaps it is not the best time of the year to say this, but an alcohol free ‘night before’ helps to give you the energy in the morning to tackle your tasks.

As a writer I understood this theory, as I always do my best work between 6am and 8am and it is downhill all the way after that.  I put it down to being an early riser and not being a ‘night bird’, but reading this report it does seem to work across the board.

As someone who is involved in a number of projects, and juggling a family with young kids, I tend to write everything down and prioritise as best I can, but as you know if you are in a similar position, this does not always pan out, with other more urgent factors rearing their head throughout the day.

So armed with this freshly confirmed revelation, I have put it to the test, and have been writing down three tasks to achieve as soon as I wake up in the morning, that are important or urgent, and that I can realistically achieve before breakfast.

Has this made a difference to my day?  Absolutely!  With key tasks being completed so early in the morning, it reshapes the day and affords you so much more space to achieve your goals so that it is a guaranteed win win all the way to Supper time.








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