anxiety, Uncategorized

Bullying – No Way

Here in Australia it is March 16. That is Bullying- No Way Day. 

Bullying has been around forever; we all know that. However, with the advent of social media, it seems to have achieved a far greater impact on our young people.

Perhaps it is the anonymity of the Internet that inspires people to be so vile and cruel. Kids are being made to feel worthless and unwanted even as they sit in their own homes. Every time they look at the screens of their phones, tablets, laptops, or computers they are seeing messages deliberately crafted to wound and destroy confidence.

bully-655660_1920 copy

Take a Stand

This is a scourge on our society. Nobody deserves this sort of treatment. When I read about young people taking their lives because of bullying, it breaks my heart. Another young life wasted – before it has had a chance to blossom into full potential.

This is unacceptable. We must all stand up and speak out against bullying. However much our voice shakes, we must speak out.bullying-3096216_1920 copy


My contribution to speaking out comes in the form of a series of books for young readers (7-12). I call it Gummshoes because the main character’s name is Frankie Gumm. He and his best mate, Olly, have been the victims of bullying for most of their school lives. They know how it feels and, so, they set out to protect younger students from the school bullies, the Boneheads. They also solve weird and mysterious happenings at their school. They are detectives, gumshoes – but because Frankie’s name is Gumm, they have made themselves Gummshoes.

There are two books so far in the set.

Mission #1: The Nobbled Numbskull where the school’s star soccer player, who is also the chief Bonehead, is being prevented from playing. The boys set out to find the person who is sabotaging the team effort.

Mission #2: The Medal Muddle where the latest craze, MODO (Masters of Deimos One), is sweeping through Carson Road School. Everyone is collecting the cards and medals. Excitement is everywhere. But something weird is also happening. Nits, the school bully, wants to be friends with Frankie and Olly. He is actually being nice. Will Nits become a Gummshoe – or will Frankie and Olly become Boneheads

cover G1                        Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 2.15.30 pm


The books are available through if you live in Australia or through Amazon for overseas readers.

My aim in writing the books is to develop in the readers self confidence and resilience. At one point in the second book, Frankie says to himself,

“Just because they’re loud, doesn’t mean they’re stronger than you are.”

We have to teach our kids that they are loved, that they are valuable, and that they are strong enough to deal with any nasty people who may try to make them feel otherwise. Nobody has the right to make someone else feel less valued.

Each and every child deserves to be able to enjoy a life unthreatened. 


bullying-3096216_1920 copy

Please, do not stand by and watch or allow bullying.







anxiety, mindfulness, organisation

Thursday’s Question

Thursday’s Question

Thursday is Question Day, so here is today’s question.

What is your favourite essential oil?


My Answer:

I have two faves.  Lavender and Wild Orange. I use DoTerra oils. I do not sell them but I appreciate the quality of their oils.

Lavender was my Nanna’s perfume. She wore Yardley Lavender every day. Even today, a half century she she passed away, the scent brings her back to me.

lavender-2395071_1920 copy

Lavender has been used for centuries to relieve tension and insomnia. It is a most versatile oil and is a must in my house. Uses include:-

  • soothing skin – acne, razor burn, skin nourishment (masks, moisturiser)
  • cuticle care
  • deodorising the home – a few drops of oil in a spray bottle of water – blissful.
  • sleep promotion – add to the bath or diffuser
  • cooking – lavender cake -yum
  • easing stress and anxiety – apply topically (dilute with fractionated coconut oil) or diffuse


Wild Orange

Wild Orange is strongly scented oil. It has an immediate uplifting property that I really like, almost like it is energising the air. I love diffusing it in my office. It gives me the energy and focus to work on accomplishing my goals.




What is your favourite?  Please comment below, and don’t forget to say how you use your favourite oils to enhance your wellbeing and lifestyle.




anxiety, organisation, productivity

Planned Clean


When it comes to keeping my house clean and tidy, I like the K.I.S.S. method of attack -Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The routine has to be relatively quick and easy. I have other things to be doing besides cleaning.

This method of doing the cleaning ensures that the tasks do not become so big that they seem monumental which would cause me to become anxious. Then I would be too busy worrying about the house being a mess (thus making myself a wreck) to actually be able to take care of the mess.

So here’s how I do it.

Make the bed straightaway.    It’s a little thing, but having the bed made makes the room look much neater and gives a sense of accomplishment. I know that may sound silly, but it’s true. Leaving the room looking “done”, with the windows open so that fresh air can come through (weather permitting, of course), sets me up for the day. One job done – check!

hotel-room-1447201_1920 copy

Load the washing machine. 

Next, I gather up the dirty laundry and get the washing machine going before turning on the coffee maker. It can be doing its job while I have breakfast.

Unpack dishwasher. 

During the day, dishes are rinsed and put into the dishwasher so that it can be run in the evening.

dishwasher-449158_1920 copy

Pick up and Replace

After breakfast, I do a quick sweep of the living areas, picking up anything that has been left lying around. These things are then put back where they belong….or in the bin as the case may be.

One Big Chore

This might be vacuuming, or cleaning the bathroom, mopping the hard floors, dusting, changing bed linen etc. You know the regular jobs that have to be done on a regular basis. Doing one a day means that you aren’t left with a mountain of work to do on the weekend. When I was still going out to work (I was a teacher for many years), I saved changing the beds for Saturdays because it took the longest to do. Otherwise this part of the routine would be left until I came home from school. Nowadays, I can get it done before I come down to my little office to get to work.

kid-2586010_1920 copy


Laundry Part 2

Transfer laundry from washer to clothes line or dryer. All that is left then is to fold the clothes as they come out of the dryer or off the line. DO NOT just bundle them all into the basket and think that you’ll fold them later. That is just adding another job and it often doesn’t get done. Then you have a basket of crumpled clothes. I hate ironing. If I fold right away it cuts the ironing down to virtually nothing.

folded-443509_1920 copy


How Long? 

This whole routine takes less than a hour most days and enables me to keep on top of the mess and mayhem. Bear in mind that here are only two humans and two fur kids living in our house and that for larger families, it will undoubtedly take longer. Believe me, I remember the battles I had getting kids to pick up their stuff and put it away. My kids didn’t mind being part of the process as a rule but we certainly had our moments when it came to cleaning their rooms.

So, that is my K.I.S.S. cleaning routine. It helps keep my mind calm and my home clean and organised.

Planned Cleaning – Love It.

Here are some stickers for your planner to help you organise your routine.

                          Download them here.

Cleaning Stickers





anxiety, organisation, planning, productivity

What’s On My Desk.

Happy New Year! 

To start the new year, I thought I would show you my workspace.

As you know, my husband and I have recently moved into our new home. I have a little office on the ground floor. It is a lovely place for me to work. The walls are painted a soft grey (like the rest of the house) and the trims are white. There are French doors which open out onto a little courtyard – at least, they will one day when the retaining wall and courtyard have been completed. As I write this, I have a view of the rock wall and the upper level.


I have shelves along one wall, complete with television (The Big Bang Theory is my fave show.) and all my reference books. Can you see my broom in the corner? I think it is a Nimbus 2000. The teal baskets store everything from small books to things like hole punches, camera cables, and CDs


Then, there is a small work bench which carries my printer, paper trimmer, and laminator. Underneath (thankfully cut out of the photo because they are a bit messy looking) are my paper supplies. The whiteboard is where I scribble ideas for upcoming books and works in progress.  The Medal Muddle is the children’s book I am working on at the moment.

IMG_1140On the other wall are my desk and another table placed at right angles to it. I don’t like my desk to be too cluttered, so the extra table allows me to have everything I need close to hand but not crowding me. I always scribble paper and pens and pencils beside me to make quick notes that are later transferred to my planners.

My laptop is on the side table. I always back up my book files to the laptop so that a) I have an extra copy and b) so that I can have them with me when we travel.



Also on the side table are my Silhouette machine and my planners.

Mini Happy Planner: Gratitude Journal

Erin Condren Life Planner:  2017 Planner

Kikki K Gold:  This year’s daily planner

Kikki K Black and White:  Business planner

Mint:  Useful bits and pieces

Blog Planners x 2

The Kikki K ones are usually on the desk when I am working.


And finally I have my diffuser which sends delicious vapour through the office. Today it is providing calming whiffs of Balance Blend from Doterra.


My office space makes me fell serene and motivated. I love coming down here everyday.

There is room in the middle of the room for my yoga mat so I start my mornings in a positive and invigorating way.

I think having a work space that is comfortable, welcoming, and which holds things that appeal to your eye is most important for your productivity. My office provides comfort, invokes inspiration and motivation, and definitely makes me a more productive person.

It also makes me happy and that, to me, is the most important thing. If I am happy and smiling, I am calmer, less anxious, less reactive to negative stimuli. That is a huge positive for me.

I love my office. I hope you have enjoyed seeing it.






anxiety, mindfulness, organisation, planning, productivity, yoga

Planned Calm for 2018

Endings and Beginnings:

Each year at this time it is usual to ponder the experiences of the last few months. The television is overrun by programs of retrospectives and the women’ magazines are full of “Your Stars for the New Year”.

My mind runs along several paths. Have I made any progress? What worked for me? What didn’t work? How did I deal with challenges? How do I want to move forward?

Have I made any Progress?

The biggest step forward for my husband and myself has been the completion of our new home. we signed the contract with the builders at about this time last year and finally moved in on November 8 this year.DSCN3736

There were times when we thought it would never be done. There were so many delays and glitches. It was, at times, a completely delightful process and, at other times, hair-searingly frustrating. But, now, as I sit in my lovely little office in the new house, I feel truly blessed to have such a peaceful and comfortable place to live and work.


Personally, my progress has been medically assisted. In March I had a long (teary) chat with my doctor. I told her I was not coping. I had no idea why I was so worried and anxious about everything. She, God bless her, listened, helped mop up the tears, and helped me to understand that this was actually not a new thing for me. I had been living with Anxiety Disorder for years without realising that what I dealing with was not normal, everyday stress. Tests, medication and lessons in self care have led to a stronger me.

What Has/Hasn’t Worked for Me?

Writing this blog, researching how to take steps towards a calmer mental and emotional existence, has been really beneficial. My mind has not been in the right space to work on writing my children’s mysteries but I still needed something to work on. My mind needs order and routine to relax.

Basic yoga has helped my body to stretch and make the most of my breathing. I know now that when I feel myself tensing up, when my muscles start to feel tight, that I can ease those sensations by focussing inwards and settling into a series of yoga poses.


Meditation does help and I am finding it easier to let myself “release” as I count my breaths and listen to whatever piece of music I have chosen to accompany my quiet moments. For me, sitting quietly in nature or silence doesn’t work. Silence sends my mind racing. I actually become more alert. The fight or flight thing kicks in really strongly. Not what I am trying to achieve at all.

Another big clean out also helped me. When we left Queensland for the move South, we had a major cull of our “stuff”. Just before we were able to move from the rental house to our brand new home, we did the sell, donate, toss again. It was wonderful. I felt as though the new beginning was really happening this time. My eyesight did suffer again as it did when we went through the clear out the first time. Exactly the same symptoms popped up, but this time I knew what was happening.

How Did I Handle Challenges?

So this time, I knew I had to stop, reflect, and breathe. What was I feeling? Where was I tensing up? How could I ease the tension? I told myself that as I created space by clearing away things we didn’t use or need, that I making room for new and wonderful things to come into our lives.



How Do I Want to Move Forward?

It may not surprise you to know that I have my 2018 planners set up and ready for the pen. They look so beautiful it is almost a shame to desecrate them with my scribbles.

I have two planners – one for my personal day to day planning and another one for my author self. I have added a section in each planner for budgeting as this is an area I mean to keep a closer eye on in 2018. I feel organised both in my home and my mind. Phew!

I don’t want to confine myself to a rigid schedule but I like to have a plan to guide my forward steps. That way, when I am lacking in motivation or direction, the plan is my safety valve. It resets my mind and brings me back on track, thus restoring the calm.

IMG-1131 copy

In recent weeks, my books have been selling strongly (yay! Christmas holiday reading!) and other exciting opportunities have also been negotiated – more on that as things progress. I have a lot to look forward to and I am ready to get back into my writing.

I wish you all Joy, Hope, and Peace for the Season and send you my very best wishes for a wonderful 2018.