Resuming studies

Anyone who has had a break from their studies will know it can be quite a struggle to get back on the learning horse and regain one’s focus.

Even the most positive and ethusiastic students can find themselves delaying the inevitable. This week I have found myself in this very same situation, so I did the sensible thing and rang one of my support tutors to have a general chat and confess where I felt I was at!

Distance learning can be daunting but I have had a very positive experience these past few years receiving great encourament and support from the BSY Group. As I revealed yesterday to a new tutor, the personal comments I received on previous coursework always inspired me to press on. Whatever age we are – receiving praise for our achievements is always well-received and makes it all worthwhile.

My chat albeit perhaps not terribly focused (for me) nor containing any specific questions to be answered, helped me to appreciate my chosen projects this year had indeed been advance homework rather than causing delay starting my course. Working with the elderly and the young in mind has provided valuable research for my latest Psychology studies as well as giving me an opportunity to make ultimate use of my varied skills and qualifications gained with BSY. I have even ressurected gems from running a writers group many years ago within reminiscent and sensory work.

In life, I always maintain nothing should be a waste of time, even the bad experiences hopefully teach us something. Reflection gives us an opportunity to grow..if we just make time to do it.

So for any students mature or young on the run down to resuming studies; enjoy the break you have had, keep healthy and be inspired to meet the next challenge.


End of exams..where’s my flip flops

The examination period is finally coming to an end for invigilators and students. It has been a long hot summer for many and I am mindful for all students as they now have the anticipated wait for the results of said exams. You have done your best (hopefully) and remember if you don’t get that first option at university the second may end up being the better option for you in the longer term.

Now is the time to recharge those batteries, wind down and have some fun. I say that with a degree of caution reminding students not to over do things, after exams one can feel run down and it is easy to feel unwell.

I think we have all experienced the holiday flu as our body sighs a relief that it is starting to relax…prime time for bugs to creep in. I am telling myself the exact same things as I wind down for a well deserved break away in Cornwall. The nature of my work, which although an enjoyable challenge takes its toll and I will try to practice what I preach about taking time out to do the things we enjoy.

Packing goodies for my retreat, plenty of treats and good reading material, last three months writers news (never get time to read that!!)..just incase the weather is unkind. Who knows I may even get time to write some poetry – I am inspired by a lovely new writer friend who is a talented writer of Haiku works.

No broadband at my cottage; so off line for emails and away from the blog but will return bursting with energy and full of cream teas!

Keep healthy and be happy fellow bloggers and my lovely followers – life is short so have that naughty ice know you want to.








World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day: How could I go without posting a few lines from one of my own poems? Yesterday being the first day of spring I have chosen something romantic..everyone loves a fool in love. Inspired by a very special guy albeit a cad!

The Stranger’s Garden

Last Summer a butterfly drifted into the stranger’s garden. Enticed by his flowers and well kept lawn. She was caught unawares in his net.

She’s happy it is a sunny place to be. There are new things to see every day. She wants to stay – she likes it there.

In the house, and from a safe distance, He watches her beauty. Still uncertain of her colours.

He believes he has captured her. Her flutter-like moods amuse and intrigue him.He’s gentle so as not to damage her delicate wings.

Annie Manning  February 2003

Oh the madness of love eh time to reach for the kettle and  choccy biccy or two.

Drat..the beauty of mobiles just had a message from my dentist a check up due…somebody loves me!

‘A Mother’s Love’

My publication ‘A Mother’s Love’ My Mum said…gospels according to Dorothy is now available from Amazon kindle £6.99 to download.

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, for those of us that no longer have their mothers around it is a time often to reflect and remember their love and hopefully the amazing relationship we had and the love they gave. I hope in reading this my story and hers will resonate with many.

Mine was a great mentor and knew all about NLP, CBT and mindfulness she was a natural master and I hope my followers, friends and family will enjoy reading some of ‘Dorothy’s Gospels’.

With my jacket illustration provided by my great nephew Paul Manning it is a family project made with love. Photograph is mum in her ATS uniform and the handwritten note across the photo was presented to me by my daughter when she was very young.


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Saying goodbye

This week our family have said goodbye to a lovely man who I described as an epitome of a gentleman and he was. Meeting his family and his extended family ‘friends he had made’ I soon realised this man had touched many people along the way and had not just adopted our family but others too. 

His funeral had been sensitively planned with tasteful yet beautiful music and of course poetry, ending with ‘Gone fishin’ by Delmar Pepper and fitting for a man especially fishermen.

“Don’t worry, or feel sad for me,
I’m fishin’ with the Master of the sea…

To all of those that think of me,
Be happy as I go out to sea.
If others wonder why I’m missin’
Just tell ’em I’ve gone fishin’ “

To any of my followers this week who may have lost loved ones remember we keep them alive in our heart and by talking about them and remembering the good times. I am reminded by the famous ‘How do you live your dash’ poem which sets out quite clearly that it is not how we die but how we live that dash between our date of birth til we die. This is why we must celebrate their life and continue living our own…just as they would wish.

‘A Mother’s Love’

This week I am busy doing the final editing of my own tribute to my amazing mother.

‘A Mother’s Love’ (Gospels according to Dorothy) A work of love which I have been working on the past few years giving a small insight into how a woman left widowed with five children selflessly raised them to be positive caring individuals. This will be available shortly from Amazon so keep following my blog. A little taster:-

‘They say there is nothing stronger than the bond between a mother and her children and for the really lucky ones amongst us aside of that bond may come a lifetime of the best mentoring one can receive and, of course, a beautiful friendship.

The advice given selflessly by a mother is based on her own wisdom, life’s experiences and driven by pure love and a desire to help you reach your potential safely and feeling secure in that love.’

Being a mother is such a rewarding if not challenging role.




Writing is therapeutic

Writing as we know can be extremely therapeutic even if nobody reads what you have written. In writing down your thoughts and emotions you are starting to let them go and you will feel lighter.

Over the years I have run writers groups and been amazed at the honesty as well as the talent apparent ‘non-writers’ have and how well they express their emotions when given the chance.

Poetry is often a fun way for some as they can keep their thoughts limited to a word count or pattern of their own choice. However, the emotion and personal message will come through strongly, even irony and comedy when applied can help us make sense of what previously may have been too painful to discuss.

Keeping a journal and/or writing a blog is a great way to have a rant and start collating material to reflect on at a later date. Additionally writing down happy thoughts and reasons to be grateful can help us keep a positive balance and be mindful on a regular basis.

The Little Book of Kisses

My kindle book about kissing…yes that’s right kissing will be available from Amazon by the 15th of January..a month before Valentine’s  and an ideal gift to make a loved one smile and who know’s maybe encourage a bit more kissing. Contents include: revealing the many secrets and advantages of kissing, butterfly kisses and  burning off calories.

Published by Credo Publishing written by Dolly Christmas a little taster follows:-

‘Maybe I am just an incurable romantic but there’s nothing more exciting than those first tender and/or passionate kisses in a new relationship. Coupled with the idea that he/she may ‘be the one’ there is often a fear of the unknown; can they kiss you the way you like to be kissed, want to be kissed or even let’s face it more importantly how you deserve to be kissed.’

‘The Little Book of Kisses’…coming soon.


Get them reading and visiting the theatre whilst they are young…

Earlier this week I attended a talk on the history of pantomime and we discussed how taking our children to Panto may indeed be the first experience they have of attending a theatre.Such a shame the ‘elf and safety/fun Police’ stopped sweeties from being thrown into the audience.

It is never too earlier to introduce children into live theatre or musical events. I remember taking my own daughter and friends to the panto and local am dram shows and they always enjoyed the magical experience. When our children were studying for exams with ‘An Inspector calls’ as one of their books on the reading list –  an afternoon at the theatre to see the production on stage was a great help to the students in understanding the plot.

Actor Simon Callow is quoted in a daily today revealing it was his Grandmother who introduced him to ‘The Pickwick Papers‘ age just 13. So inspiring your child this way you may just be raising the next great actor as well.

Not sprouts! Yuk

On a Christmas inspired note… ‘The Daily Mail’ reports that brussel sprouts…yes that children’s favourite are indeed healthy for not just the body but the mind too. University research is being conducted into vegetables rich from vitamin A – could well be a positive element in the fight to find cures for Alzheimer’s. Here’s hoping the proposed trials prove fruitful.

Play nicely over Christmas fellow bloggers and followers and don’t over indulge too much..except perhaps on the vegetables.

Bereavement -supporting children

The bereavement journey is indeed a difficult one and never more so than for children. Death of a close relative may come at an early age and before a child has yet learned the adult vocabulary with which to express how they are feeling.

I am advised it is Grief Awareness Month for Children and my advice is not to struggle ensure you get help for yourself and your children. There are also excellent books available to help children understand in an age appropriate way. One of my favourites being ‘Badger’s Parting Gifts.’

I have a project of my own A Ragdoll for Nanny’ which I am hoping to use to help a bereavement charity at some stage.  Having lost a parent at an early age and helped my own daughter with loss of grandparents very young I can speak from personal experience.

I always advise parents to let their children’s school know what is happening to gain as much support as possible. For children at senior school please look at my piece on Innovate My School’s website.