Mental Health Resources and Wednesdays.

First of all it is fair to say I am not too keen on Wednesdays. For me it means early starts leaving home at 6am, and late finishes, yesterday it was 7.30pm before we arrived home again. With chemo in between and over 40 tablets to take I am pleased when Wednesdays are over. Being the first day of another cycle however I had my monthly appointment with my lovely consultant. The news yesterday was good with the latest MRI showing that the mass around T12 in my spine is shrinking. I won’t know the para protein results for a few days but the signs are all good. So the plan is to continue on this path, completing a total of 6 cycles of the three chemo drugs, so I should be finished sometime in July and then we shall just have to see what happens next.

Meanwhile, now that the BrainBox resource is out and available, I am passionate about building a website and business that provides mental health resources that will help make a difference to both children’s and adult’s mental health and emotional well-being. It is sometimes quite difficult to find the right resource for the job so I want a site that reviews the resources and promotes the best product to meets the needs required. During my career I have been lucky enough to meet up with other creative and innovative health professionals at awards nights etc, that have designed and produced resources that are really making a difference to their clients. Hunting these products down can sometimes be quite a challenge so I would love to have a one stop place which provides reviews and information about products that work. Marketing and web design are challenges in themselves so there is quite a lot of research to be done yet but it’s something to work on. Any marketing tips will be much appreciated.

So there’s lots more to do, you haven’t heard the last of me yet, as my passion for improving mental health continues.

Have a great day

Deborah x

Busy week ahead

Sometimes I wonder how I managed to fit work in. I was often up and out of the house by seven, nowadays I am lucky to get out of bed before nine. Not that I’m complaining, to be honest, I am starting to appreciate the extra lie in, especially as I am usually doped up on sleeping tablets.

This week we have quite a bit to look forward to, starting today with a lunch date, with some good friends in the village. I am also trying to get some actual work done today on the leaflets and the BrainBox manual, and have a coaching session possibly arranged for later this afternoon.

Tomorrow I have a business meeting in the morning and hoping to catch up with a friend and colleague in the afternoon. Then Wednesday and Thursday are long chemo days, leaving just Friday free at the moment. I have a spa voucher from mum to look forward to booking and my vouchers to spend at John Lewis, although I am not too excited at going back into the Welwyn store. There is little time to get bored.

Presently I am feeling so much better both mentally and physically. It is quite remarkable as a week ago I was starting to think I may be crippled for life, being in such agony with my back. The trouble with Myeloma is no one knows just how long the good moments will last, or what effects the toxic treatments will have on your body. As I have said before, Myeloma is such an individual cancer, that although you can look at other peoples experiences you never know if you will have similar symptoms or responses to treatment. That’s why I am grabbing the good times whilst I can and when I have to take it a little more easy I shall be prepared.

My creative juices are flowing and work awaits.

Have a great day despite anything they may have told you on Daybreak!

Deborah xxx

A year on…

…almost to the day, here I am back in the red ‘Big Brother’ chair.

Jan 2013

Jan 2013

Jan 2014

Jan 2014

Maybe not looking quite so much like a grumpy teenager but more like a wiser old lady who knows what’s coming.

I can’t say that yesterday was one of my best days. We left the house extra early and arrived at the hospital by 7.30am so I was first in the queue to get my blood tests. It was then a wait until 11.30 for my appointment with the consultant. The bonus was that Colin was able to get on with some work during this time, as he wisely brought along his lap top.

The doctor was his usual professional and empathic self who, along with my lovely new research nurse Diane, carefully explained the procedures and reassured me, once again, that it was very unlikely that I would have a cardiac arrest during the administrating of the new drug.

The results from my recent MRI scan were clearly explained and it became clear why I was having such excruciating back pain. Apparently the myeloma is growing around the base of my spine, close to the spinal cord. It’s because of this, that during my physical examination the doctor casually told me he would have to put his finger up my backside! (Sorry for the detailed information, I hope this hasn’t put you off your breakfast). As tears rolled down my eyes, I thought could this really be happening to me and wondered how much worse it could get. Still on reflection it was only a short process to check for any nerve damage and I was able to grip his finger quite tightly so all was well there.
I asked for his reassurance that I wasn’t going to become paralysed and that I had a good chance of living many years yet and he smiled kindly, in a fingers crossed sort of way, and said we have a long way to go yet.

It was then a trip to the chief pharmacist, who printed out a complicated list of drugs and procedures. Some days I will be taking 46 in all, so I need to be on the ball. I have found a new phone app that plays a lovely little tune when the next dose is due.

This was followed up by a long wait on level 2, my Parallel Universe. It was comforting to see Familiar faces who remembered my name and welcomed me back like an old friend. My cannula was inserted by my favourite, and expert at finding a suitable vein, nursing assistant. Then it was another wait for the drugs to be made up to my particular specification. They have to take my height, weight and recent blood counts into consideration, it really is quite a science and once again I am so grateful for the NHS.

Eventually the time came and I was given a 15 min bone strengthener drug (Zometa), some IV steroids and an anti sickness drug, all followed up by 30 mins hydration before the new chemo drug. This required the nurse to stay by my side and watch out for any immediate adverse reactions. It was a great relief when it all went through very smoothly, so after another 30 mins of hydration, the cannula was removed and I was free to go.

Unfortunately we hit the rush hour but we were home safe and sound by 6.45pm.

Once home, it was very important for me to carefully unwrap and organise my drugs, as I knew I had to take the next chemo drug 30 minutes after another stronger anti sickness tablet, and on an empty stomach. Having eaten very little that day and with the tempting smells coming from the slow cooker I was in quite a hurry to get the next process over with.

Last nights medication included, 10 tablets of another (new to me) chemotherapy drug called Cyclophosphamide, 20 Dexamethasone (40mg of steroids) sleeping tablets, drugs to prevent stomach ulcers, others to protect your chest and kidneys and another to warn away viral infections, pain killers in various forms and most importantly a strong anti sickness tablet. This all requires carful monitoring, so Colin double checks everything. I don’t want a repeat of last years overdose!

Finally when we did get down to eat I didn’t feel hungry anymore so I just nibbled on one of the delicious biscuits mum had kindly left behind. This was party due to my fear of possibly being sick despite all the preventative medicine I had taken.

So yesterday was a pretty full on day. Today, however shouldn’t be quite so bad. We don’t need to be in London until midday and if we plan it well we may miss the rush hour in both directions.

Thank you for all your lovely comments via this blog and Facebook, it really did help knowing you were there, by my side.
Scores on the board
PH = 5
MH = 6


PS. For anyone interested, the BrainBox is being put together in an easy, alternative format and will be available for pre-order very soon. For those of you who need to get invoices in before the end of March, or would like further information please contact us by email, or leave a note in the comment box.

Today is …

..NHS Change Day, and I am feeling good.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Today I pledge to continue to honour my profession and use my skills and passion to improve the mental health and emotional well being of all I come in contact with.

I pledge to support my organisation in improving the mental health of our staff in order for them to act as good role models, feel comfortable to talk to patients about mental health and in turn improve the general health of our community.

Hertfordshire Community Health Service can feel proud of its staff who really want to make a difference to the health of their community.

As a patient I pledge to talk to the staff, who are treating me for myeloma, about my mental health and emotional well being. I shall demonstrate it is good to talk about mental health and the difference it can in turn make to physical health.

Today I appreciate all that life has given me and YES that does include Cancer. I thank the cancer cells for the challenge to become stronger and the opportunities that have been presented to me since the diagnosis. I thank it for teaching me how better to live in the moment, for inspiring me to write the blog, for the wonderful people I have met on my journey and for opening my eyes and ears to all that is good in the world.

I appreciate life and thank God,The Universe ( including the Parellel one!) science, human kind, evolution, dinosaurs, consciousness and whatever made , brought about, contributed to life today.

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

So who wouldn’t want to help others to feel emotionally healthy, what a privileged position I am in.

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up.

Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise. Remember the blog about the importance of looking after yourself.

Here are a few tips for improving your mental health today:

  • Do something today that has a positive impact on someone else. (I am sure you all do this everyday anyway , just become more aware of it). Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover something new today. Think of it as “exercise for the brain”.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Physical exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

As we know, everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people.

Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel good.

The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give yourself a boost today you never know you might fancy doing it all again tomorrow!

I will get back on track tomorrow about ….which therapy, I just wanted to honour and share in the NHS Change Day today.

If you are a health professional or patient please make a pledge today by visiting:

A Special Request…

I would really appreciate it if you could share your pledge with me through your comments on this blog – Come on i know a lot of you read the blog now it’s your turn – Thank you

Scores on the board:

Physical health = 5.5 ( the leg pain is improving or at least kept at bay with the pain killers)

Mental Health = 2 It feels good to have my positive mentally healthy head back on!

The Oxford Dictionary definition of courage is…

…the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave.

I must be brave and continue with my treatment remembering the end goal, which ultimately is life, and I do so love life.

I need, must and will have courage because I am not alone. You give me the strength to continue on my journey – Thank you

I have also been given the gift of optimism and resilience, something I really must not take for granted, even when it appears to be trying its hardest to hide itself from view..

Thank you for allowing me to use this blog to be honest.

It has been a pretty tough weekend and I expect I will have a few more of those to come, but I can do it. For a start I have Village Secrets coming up, my scarves to deliver and of course most exciting of all the Summer Party to look forward to.

Thank you to my family and friends who worked around my aches and pains to make Mother’s Day very special and a big Thank you to Pollyanna and Jem for the wondefully thoughtful gifts. ( hot massage oil for aching bones, favourite bath soaks, perfume, ice creams,and all the toppings etc).

Now let’s get back on track, where were we?

Oh yes the minefield of therapies on offer.

So let’s get the ball back rolling with – Mindfulness (mind, body connection)

Mindfulness has grown in attention and interest in the recent years, thanks to a rapidly expanding evidence base demonstrating that it can be helpful for many mental and physical health problems, as well as for improving well-being more generally. But Mindfulness isn’t new, it had been applied for thousands of years by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.

Mindfulness is the integration between the mind and body. The true body and mind connection.

Training our brains to become more mindful helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

Mindfulness exercises or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.

MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the prevention of relapse in recurrent depression. It combines mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and stretching with elements from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help break the negative thought patterns that are characteristic of recurrent depression.

Neuroscientific studies have found differences in the areas of the brain associated with decision-making, attention and awareness in people who regularly practise Mindfulness meditation. People undertaking Mindfulness training have also shown an increase in activation in the left pre-frontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with positive emotions that is generally less active in people who are depressed.
Regular meditation also results in increased brain size in areas linked to emotion regulation, such as the hippocampus, the orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal lobe.

Almost three-quarters of GPs think mindfulness meditation would be helpful for people with mental health problems, and a third already refer patients to MBCT on a regular basis. (Source: ICM survey June 2009 of 250 GPs). With the increase in talking therapies being instigated across the UK this is something that you can raise and discuss with your GP.

Mindfulness can also help you take control of your eating habits by amplifying the volume of your body’s cues so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full.

Eating while multitasking, whether working through lunch or watching TV while eating dinner, often leadsus to eat more. On the other hand, eating “mindfully,” savoring every mouthful, enhances the experience of eating and keeps us aware of how much we take in.

Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).

Mindfullness does take some practice, and I must admit I certainly need more practic!

To find a course near your visit you GP of take a look at this link:

One more thing here is a funny,but quite long (you have been warned) little animation that explains all so it back relax and enjoy.

Has anybody experienced mindfulness they would be willing the share?

Tomorrow we will explore Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Thanks again for sticking in there

Deborah x

Blame the tablets ….

…for the lateness of this blog! Sorry folks I know many of you like to read it with your morning cup of char before heading off to work. But last night I had eight hours sleep, that must be a record, and no psychotic symptoms to note. Now I will have all the energy I need to enjoy the day ahead. My kitchen blackboard calendar has against today’s date In large capital letters REST DAY. Well it’s my calendar and I can rub it out if I like. 🙂

But I may stay in my jimmy jams today (so be warned if you pop by), throw a couple of logs on the wood burner and tick off a few of the items on my to do list for today.

Work on my painting
Try out my new dry cleaning unit
Shop on line for my paper bags
Prepare clothes and shoes ready for sale
Finish the Village Secret invites and email out
Make labels
Ring my pension lady
Enjoy a cuppa with my work colleagues.
Watch another episode of 24
Catch upon all the recorded TV programmes I have missed
Work on PR strategy
Reflect on my meeting with my new friend David who I have the upmost respect for and can’t wait to see playing the lead role in Phantom of the Opera, I may just have to keep hold of one of my recently required designer gowns!

I also want to appreciate today that I have been blessed with courage. I think courage comes with confidence and gives the possessor permission to step outside the normal rules that sometimes dictate today’s world.

According to my online dictionary, courage is:

1) The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2) The heart as the source of emotion
3) To have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

The 6 C’s is a new compassionate, caring vision for nursing that has been recently launched. The vision is based around six values – care, compassion, courage, communication, competence and commitment. I was pleased to see courage being one of them.

It takes courage to stand up for the things you believe, especially if it appears to be at odds with the people around you. In my experience however, I have found there are many people who are often thinking and believing the same but lacked the courage to speak out.

So I am grateful for the gift of courage. Courage has helped me to believe, to follow my dreams. Yesterday I met David in real life, (instead of just through the powers of technology). It felt good to have a hug from a fellow ‘Courager’ (ok I know there is no such word in the dictionary but I’ve just made it up so they can make space for it now) Couragers are role models who by example can demonstrate courage and share stories that can inspire others to take the first step. I think there are any Couragers out there, seek them out and ask them to kindly share their stories it may just change your life. I think courage could be catching.

Do you know any Couragers? Is there another word that describes people that demonstrate courage, that speak out , follow their dreams? Maybe the word is Hero?

Come on Libi this ones for you. I need a noun that fits otherwise I am sticking with Courager.

Go out and be brave today


Measuring Success

Some days there seems so much to write about I wonder where to start. The challenge is to put all my thoughts down in the few words available to me in a blog. Oh I could write streams but surely I would lose a few of you along the way and I wouldn’t want to risk that.

I am excited about writing more about parenting, today’s education system and navigating adolescence (the lovely singer who is performing at my Summer party got me going!), but I think I will start today with how do we measure success?

When would we know we got it right?

In today’s society and in our culture in particular, success is often measured by the amount of money we have, the size of house we own or the car we drive and occasionally by the number of exams we have passed.

I consider myself successful, but I am useless with money ( I haven’t even started to pay off my mortgage yet) , so I don’t actually own my own home, I haven’t got a flashy car and I only managed to scrape through school with one GCSE (ok I collected a few more as a mature student), however I do consider myself as being successful, because I am (most of the time) happy and content. Yes even though I am considered as having an incurable cancer and experiencing a few not so pleasant side effects at the moment including insomnia!

If one is happy and content in life then what does anything else matter?

I think most of us would agree that happiness and contentment are the primary factors when it comes to measuring success.

Here is a little story I found which I think illustrates success perfectly.

An American businessman was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.”

“You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your Expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, senor?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions, senor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal Fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Food for thought?

Don’t wait for success to happen in the future, have a think about how you would measure success today. How am I going to make today successful? Enjoy the moment and the journey.

You could put your new found visualisation skills into practice and go and visit the place right now.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous poet and philosopher defined success in a life as:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of
intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the
appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in
others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social
condition; to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

I think the Mexican fisherman would have agreed with Emerson and so do I.

Life is short so get out there and have a successful day TODAY, don’t wait for it to happen in the future. Yesterday has already gone so there is no point in worrying about it now and tomorrow will come again, it’s today that’s important.

Ooh, look at me Miss future focused is really getting into the here and now. I really must do a piece on time lines!

Have a good one


The map is not the territory

Before sharing tips and ideas on the power of visualization I think it may be useful to explore together a bit about maps, oh I do hope I haven’t lost you already! This is not meant to be a geography lesson but you just wouldn’t believe how life changing knowing a little bit more about internal maps can actually be. I am afraid, however, that unless I start writing long essays for which I am sure none of you would be particularly grateful or want to read over your morning coffee, I won’t be doing this subject justice so I therefore recommend that those of you who do want to take it further, investigate more about Neuro- Linquistic Prorogramming ( NLP). The best way to do this is to find a local practice group or training programming but here is a wealth of information available on the internet.

NLP is a bit like an ‘owners manual’ for your brain! It is a tool to understand how the language of our mind creates and runs the patterns we have in life. It is built up on a number of pre-suppositions or beliefs and “the map is not the territory” is one of them.

NLP doesn’t hold that these beliefs are ‘ultimately’ true, but we pre-suppose that they are. In NLP, whether a belief is ultimately true or not is not as important as whether or not it’s useful.

As human beings, we can never really know reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us primarily through our sensory representational systems. It is our ‘neuro-linguistic’ maps of reality that determine how we behave and that gives those behaviours meaning, not reality itself. It is generally not reality that limits us or empowers us, but rather our map of reality.

There are a couple of problems with this. The first, it’s easy to forget that what we believe to be reality is actually only our representation, or map, of it. The second is that everyone has a different map, or perception of reality.

Everyone sees the world differently. We all have our own map of it depending on our upbringing, our attitudes, beliefs, prejudices and individual perceptions at any given time. Everything we see and hear is adjusted to fit these experiences.

So I may see the world quite differently from many of you. This is important to bear in mind when sharing tips and strategies if they are to be of any use to you. I have a very visual mind, whereas Colin and perhaps yourselves may have an auditory (hearing) or kinaesthetic (feeling) thinking style or preference, so please do excuse me if my language is very visually focused.

After all that here goes for some tips on visualisation

1) Put some time aside, this is important as visualisation can dramatically change your future and you want to get it right, so don’t hurry it. Creative visualisation is best used when you are truly relaxed and feeling positive. A good idea is to take a nice long hot bath, especially at night, then put on some relaxing music, and meditate for a few minutes.

2) Start to visualize what you want. Close your eyes and visualize a mental movie of what you desire. For many people it may be hard to visualize to begin with so have a go at trying this first:

Let’s visualise going to the beach. Start off with the feelings , feel the warmness of the beach and the light breeze from the sea. Then imagine hearing, hear the seagulls, the kids laughing, the people talking, the waves. Next see, notice all the people enjoying the beach, see people sunbathing , swimming, laughing, making sandcastles, see the sun and the blue sky and the waves, and people surfing. Now visualize yourself, with all these senses, walking to the beach, sitting down on the golden sand and doing what ever you would do at the beach for as long as you like. Enjoy being there soaking up all the different sounds, smells , tastes, pictures and feelings. You have transported yourself in time to a place you desire and enjoy, without moving from your armchair and at no cost. How amazing is that!

3) Practice this daily, maybe visualising being in different places to start with, remembering to notice all the sensations around you.

4) Now once you have got good at doing this you need to work out what it is you want in your life. Have good clear goals and outcomes and put your new found visualization skills into practice.

The secret is knowing what you really do want so that you can focus your and the external worlds attention on it. But that’s another whole challenge all together so you had better get your thinking caps on.

I think it may be useful to share some examples of how visualisation has worked in practice for me.

The Dream Job.

Personally , this involved drawing out on large sheets of flip charts all the things I desired in my dream job. I wanted to share my mental health knowledge and training, to create resources, speak at conferences, reduce stigma surrounding mental ill health and improve communication skills. I knew there would be some challenges as I don’t have the academic qualifications that some of my doctorate fellows have but I was able to visualise my way around these. I started to see a path forward. I visualised achieving awards, creating a whole service and really making a difference. All of this is exactly what I achieved. I haven’t always been a confident person, and there have been times when I started to doubt myself but I knew that if I didn’t believe it to be possible no one else would either.

A Dream Home.

Perhaps I needed to try harder at visualising making money but I feel that my desire for financial wealth has not been strong enough to achieve this. Both Colin and I did however dream of the perfect home in the countryside. A little detected house surrounded by fields with barns to host our VW campervan and collections of shabby chic furniture, art easels and craft projects. How about in the village just down the round from my dear sister so she should could ride over for breakfast surely this would be too good to be true?
So here we now are in that exact home. Was it just chance that led us to notice the ‘To Let’ sign that had just been posted up on the very day we were passing on the way back from a delightful team event delivered by my sister. Was it pure chance that in order to rent this dream home you needed to own a business (the BrainBox) ?

I could go on with more examples but I fear this blog is much longer than first anticipated and I don’t want to take up any more of your valuable time.

Although these appear as dreams they are grounded in reality which does also require hard work, grit and determination, but without the initial visualisation one might be blind to the opportunities around.

Happy Sunday and very happy visualising.


Call out for lemon sherbets ……..and the BrainBox

Tonight I am feeling just a tad sorry for myself.  Last night our good friends brought round a lovely Thai supper but unfortunately I have lost my sense of taste, apparently a common side effect of chemo.  My imagination yearns for delicious foods so I prepare myself treats like banana splits and pancakes with maple syrup but alas I am disappointed.

Last night I wanted a cold fosters and packet of cheese and onion crisps but it really wasn’t worth it as it as I could hardly taste a thing other than cardboard.  So I am putting a call out for fizzy sweets, if anyone happens to be passing Hinxworth with such a delight.  Cold foods like ice cream, milk shakes and sweet and sweet sour fizzy sweets I think may be the answer?

Self pity over, let’s move on to more exciting stuff, so please allow me to introduce……. The BrainBox.


The BrainBox is an innovative resource designed to show what is happening inside the brain when we become highly emotionally aroused.  Having worked therapeutically with both children and adults I recognised the need for a tool that could be used to explain irrational behavioral responses.

Using the computer as a contemporary metaphor, the BrainBox encourages adults & children to seek help from therapists and mental health professionals in the same way they would seek expert advice to sort out a computer problem.   If we imagine the brain as being the most complex of computers, like a computer, it is bound to slow down or even crash at times.

Based on neurologist Paul MacLean’s, “Triune Brain Theory” the BrainBox represents the three brains that co-inhabit the human skull. These three brains pass information backwards & forwards through numerous neuron-pathways directly influencing each other. This interplay of memory and emotion, thought and action is the foundation of a person’s individuality.  The triune brain theory leads to a better understanding of the survival instincts such as the fight or flight response and its ability to override the more rational neocortex.

The resource has been used successfully with both adults and children for over five years now and has been well evaluated by therapists, educational psychologists, teachers and school nurses. It has won a national award for innovation and I can honestly say it is the resource that I am most proud of.

The BrainBox uses three recycled computer components to represent the three brains. It clearly demonstrates how the emotional brain (limbic system) disconnects from the thinking brain (neocortex) at times of high emotional arousal. Each part is there for you to use as a way of opening up a dialogue with a class, small group or an individual. It is a way of relating today’s technology to the workings of the human brain. Once understanding about the working of the brain, in particular the fight or flight mechanism, has been achieved, remarkable progress can be made.  It helps the client take control and provides an opportunity to explore ways to quickly reconnect to the thinking brain.

I believe the BrainBox works because of its simplicity. It is always a privilege to see the realisation and relief on many of my client’s faces as it all seems to drop into place for them and they start to feel empowered to do something about their particular issues.  Following on from the explanations about the brain, the BrainBox provides the opportunity to share three different ways to re-connect the thinking part of the brain.

1) Vigorous exercise (although I usually tend to skip past this one)

2) Breathing – Using relaxing breathing techniques slows down the para-sympathetic nervous system letting the brain believe danger has been removed and allowing it to re-connect to the thinking clever parts.

3) And most powerful of all is visualisation. Using your own powerful resource, the imagination, can take you to places and times when you felt calm and relaxed. This in turn will slow down you’re breathing and again allow the brain to believe it is in a safe place.  Once the thinking clever brain is reconnected it becomes easier to rationally sort out your problems.

I hope that gives you a taste of what its all about but it makes much more sense when you see it in practice.  Follow these links to the BrainBox website and a few published articles to find out a little more.

Unfortunately Colin and I made only about 100 BrainBoxes in our back room and they have all gone. We need to find an investor to further develop and produce more. We just can’t invest anymore of our own money into the product. This is such a shame knowing how well it works. I know lots of people have suggested the Dragons Den, but this isn’t a moneymaking business it is just a tool that I know can and does make a big difference.