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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If you are reflecting on buying a family dog or puppy this Christmas, before you go down the road of expensive designer breeds, please consider a ‘Rescue’.

If you are not familiar with your local Animal Rescue Centre, you will be welcomed with open arms, and not just by the owners.  Nine times out of ten a dog will adopt you.  It is a magical phenomenon I have witnessed over and over, with friends and neighbours who have taken in rescue dogs who have then become part of their family.

Take Taffy for instance, who looked a bit like Tramp in the famous Disney film.

A very good friend Jan rescued him from a fate worse than death when he was tethered for several months on a farm, and almost given up for dead by the cruel owner who had discarded him.  Taffy had a bad foot infection which had not been treated, due to neglect, and Jan spent days nursing him back to good health with the help of the Blue Cross, the Animal Charity, as she was on a limited budget.  Taffy became her soul mate for many years, and they both really did live Happily Ever After.

A very good friend who is happily well-heeled was introduced to rescues over ten years ago, and has adopted several dogs ever since.  Lizzie is fortunate enough to be able to transform an entire room and conservatory area for her five rescues, of all shapes and sizes as their own domain, whilst allowing them to surround her and her husband in their living room in the evening.

Lizzie is convinced that since adopting rescue dogs, her depression has decreased ten-fold, and has written articles and appeared on numerous radio programmes, championing the ‘Rescue’ breed, and how rescuing and owning a dog can support and even cure a big part of mental health issues.

Visiting an Animal Rescue Centre will open your eyes to so many wonderful dogs and you will also be creating such value with these poor discarded and often abused animals.  There is bound to be one near you, just check it out and go along.  You will know immediately when you clap eyes on your new family member, and it is strongly believed that they will too.

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We have been reading a lot about the importance of getting checked out for early signs of breast cancer, and there has been immense coverage on television, which is commendable.  But very little coverage on the scariest part, which is the wait after the mammogram to be given the results.

So I would like to talk about that openly, and you the old saying ‘if you look fear in the face’, and in this case I would urge you to do the same.

As someone who has breast cancer in the family, I had been putting off having a mammogram, which I do know was not my best decision, but apparently a very common one.

Several friends urged me to go year after year, saying that they would come with me, and we could make a day of it afterwards either shopping or going to the local cinema.  But I just couldn’t face it.    I couldn’t even bring myself to say it to my nearest and dearest, but the mammogram itself didn’t scare me – but the wait for the results did.

Why I didn’t seek counselling or at least talk to someone about it I have no idea, but over ten years passed until I plucked up the courage to go.  It was a random letter from the local Healthcare Breast Screening Unit with an appointment was the offer I couldn’t refuse.

I went for the Mammogram alone, and the practitioner asked me the obvious question and when I told her it was just over ten years, she said she would put me down as having my first one, as the film would have been destroyed after ten years.  She also advised me that I may be called back for an ultrasound as they would have nothing to compare it to.

I then received a letter to say I had been recalled.  I was naturally panicked, but read the letter carefully and apparently 4 in 100 women are recalled and only 1 in 4 are diagnosed, so the odds are 75% in favour of a good outcome.  Did that make me feel better, perhaps a little, but I still went to those dark places until the day for the ultrasound arrived.

My very closest friend offered to come with me and I agreed this time.  I needed a friend as it was a bit like going back for a second interview for a job, but this time I didn’t want to be selected.

The ultrasound was uneventful and they had spotted an area of concern, but couldn’t diagnose until they had done a biopsy.  This was then done and was uncomfortable but not painful, and I was then told there would be another short wait.

In the meantime, I prepared myself for the worst, and spoke to girlfriends and family members who had been through breast cancer and discovered that even if I were to be diagnosed, the chances of survival were extremely high.  Also, the progress of the treatments in the past few years had made everything a lot easier and with incredible results.

This was probably the most anxious time, waiting for the result, but fortunately for me it was in my favour, and I resolved to have annual mammograms, although they offer them every three years.

I am telling my story because the fear of the outcome is almost scarier than the diagnosis itself, good or bad.  But as someone who had avoided being checked for so long – I could have avoided putting myself through such angst by a simple test and living with the short discomfort of waiting for the result.

I also wanted to share it even though it wasn’t a walk in the park, so that those of you who share my concerns about waiting for the results, and haven’t had a check for years, if I can do it so can you.

So I am urging all of you ladies out there who are sweeping it under the carpet.  Please take advantage of all the wonderful support we have today, and whatever the outcome you can do this, and chances are it will be a routine check with a positive result.

For help, advice and support check out https://www.macmillan.org.uk/
And look out for one of the macmillan coffee mornings near you
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