Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Hello..... is anybody out there?

I was sitting in bed this morning trying to learn Chinese when I thought about this blog. That may seem like an odd connection, but sometimes when your mind is concentrating on one thing it can suddenly flip to another...

So there I was, learning the days of the week, when this old Secret Housewife blog popped into my head.Its been a long time since I was over here. I had almost forgotten about it, but not quite. And I thought to myself, "Am I going to give up that dear old site?"

This blog has been with me since my boys were 8 and 6 years old. I started writing it when I was alone on New Year's Eve, feeling sorry for myself - a housewife with not many interests and little confidence. Now my boys are 18 and 16 and my life has changed exponentially...

I feel like a butterfly who has spread their wings and flown into a warm, sunny day.

As I write this blog I am a fully qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapist with my own business. I have worked hard to get where I am and, to be honest, I don't think that I could ever have guessed that I would be here if you had asked me about my future on that New Year's Eve 10 years ago.

Isn't it funny how life can take you in so many different directions and no matter what happens to you there seems to always be something one can take from the ups and downs? 

If you have followed my little blog over the years then you will have read about my thoughts on whether I should go back to study for my Degree at the OU.....and then the subsequent years which saw me eventually graduate. You will have read about Post Natal Depression and about my father's death. You will have read about my dream to run the London Marathon and my elation when I crossed the finishing line. You will have read about being nominated for awards and about my anger over injustice....a bit of a hotch potch really....but its been my little hotch potch.

As time has gone by I have learnt that learning never ends... that trying new things, throwing oneself into life wholeheartedly brings huge rewards... not monetary rewards, but the reward of growth and joy. Don't get me wrong...I don't spend my days singing "The Hills are Alive..." as I frolic over fields. Some days are hard and I doubt myself often...but I am so fortunate to be where I am now....at the start of a new adventure as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist. My dream is to be able to keep doing this, to grow and learn to be the best therapist I can be, and to help as many people as I can.

I may well come back here from time to time to update the old site on what I am up to...but for now, thank you for following me.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Studying Cognitive Hypnotherapy at The Quest Institute.

I have just clicked the send button on my computer and sent through the first part of my HPD to be marked. This is the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma. I am now half way through my ten month long course and absolutely loving it!! The paperwork for the HPD is not due in until the 4th September, but I really wanted to get ahead of the game so have worked hard to get it done - 10 short answer questions (300 words each max) and an essay (1300 words max). When I first opened the paper I did gulp rather, but I stayed calm and worked on one or two questions a day. Fingers crossed that I have done ok...

Its always a bit daunting when you send work like that off to be marked. I always wonder... "Did I put my name on? Did I do all the questions? Did I delete it all as I sent it??" It is, however, a weight off my mind to have it completed. And I did check that I'd put my name on it!!

There are 3 further parts to be completed over the next 6 months, including more essays and a case study. I shall just take them one at a time as they arrive. I trust in my training absolutely.

My training is taking place at The Quest Institute in London and I could not be happier with my choice. I had found the institute online in my search for a place to train and although I looked at lots of schools, I kept coming back to this one. I am so glad that I did. The professionalism, organisation and all round wonderfulness of the place is more than I could ever have hoped for. In the last 5 months I have learnt so much and met the most amazing group of people.

I shall write more about my course in the months to come, but for now I can safely tell you that Cognitive Hypnotherapy, as taught by Trevor Silvester, is superb. I love finding out about the workings of the mind and spend my weekends there learning, laughing and loving every moment. I have discovered things about myself that I had never realised and I am sharing the time with a group of people who are so supportive, so honest and have such positive ethics. I am extremely fortunate.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Check Out That View. Sunsets at Alsancak and Girne (Kyrenia) Northern Cyprus

I haven't been here for ages... I seem to start lots of my post with those words these days!! I have been busy working on my Cognitive Hypnotherapy, which is going very well indeed, and also on my photography which I am loving. All in all life is good and I am very grateful.

Today I am linking up with Emma from @crazywithtwins and her weekly photography meme #CheckOutThatView If you click on the box at the end of my post you can see more photos of landscape and maybe... join in!!

My first shot was taken from the Silver Rocks restaurant near Alsancak in Northern Cyprus.

This second shot was taken on our last night from the Kervan restaurant in Girne (Kyrenia), again in Northern Cyprus. The sunsets there are just beautiful and we sat watching this kite surfer sailing back and forth for ages. It was beautiful!


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Instagram Tips for Beginners.

I have found myself becoming more and more interested in my photography over the last few weeks. This has led to me seeing a surge of new followers on my Instagram account and, in turn, I have discovered a great number of talented photographers. My rediscovered love of photography coincides with my rediscovered love of gardening and walking. I have neglected to blog recently because I have been outside, enjoying looking after my allotment and walking through the countryside. Obviously I have been home at times too... I haven't been wandering like a nomad...

The thing I have realised about Instagram... durrrr.... after being on it for years... is that it is an interactive place. For a long time I sat waiting for people to come and find my photos and shower me with love and admiration. Yes... I know... sickening. And stupid. Because you have to show love to get love. This does not mean that you should follow everyone in sight, no matter what their photos are like. No. But you do need to find people whose photos you like and you need to tell them that you like them. And you need to follow them. Then, hopefully they will follow you back and you can appreciate each others photographical endeavours! (I'm not sure photographical is a real word, but I'm going to use it...)

A good way to find people and to enable them to find you, is to use hashtags. When you post your photo, add a little description and some hashtags. For example... for the photo above, my most liked photo, I put descriptive tags such as #daisy #macro #flower Then people interested in those things can search and will find your photos! Easy! And look at other people's hashtags too... If you like what's clustered there... use the tag for your work!! Its a simple way of finding like minded Instagrammers.

Some people recommend following as many Instagrammers as possible, randomly, but I think this is silly advice. To be following 2000 people when you have 100 followers smacks of desperation to me. The most important factor in all this is ... the photographs. Why be on Instagram if you don't love finding interesting things to photograph? And why follow people unless their photos fill you with joy? Equally I am unlikely to follow someone who has 10,000 followers, but is only following back 200...I'd rather find someone who has 50 followers, but takes great photos and will interact. I am a bit needy... I love it when people follow my Instagram account. I will look through their photos and follow them back if they are good.But if I look at their page and its full of selfies and cats... then I'm afraid I won't follow. Its all about individual taste.

What I would say is that if you click on lots of someone's photos and obviously like what they are doing... why not follow them? I have had people who like 20 of my pictures, but who don't follow, don't interact. It galls me!! I don't mind if you don't like my photos and don't want to follow me, or if you only like one or two, but to like loads and not give me the courtesy of a follow is just... well, I could say rude, but I will say "mildly irritating" instead. After all, this is not the UN here.

My husband doesn't "get" my obsession with Instagram. He thinks the whole "follower" thing is silly, but I don't!! I love scrolling through someone's photos clicking "like" and gasping at the beauty in that little square box.I love it when someone I admire follows me back. I love it when I find a new angle, a hidden gem, and know that it will make a good photo. I know that I am not in the league of professional photographers, but I am in the league of people who take pleasure in snapping away with their phone. That's part of the joy for me... that I only use my phone... no special lenses, rarely any filters.

So... what I am trying to say is that Instagram is a place of huge variety. From flowers to food, from selfies to seascapes. Whatever your photographic preference there will be something for you to enjoy, but to enjoy Instagram fully... interact!! Post your best photos, think about your composition, make sure they are in focus ( note to self: always wear your specs to check!!) and follow people whose work you like. If people comment on your photos... comment back, thank them. Its great when someone takes the time to say they like a photo you've posted, so give them back some love!! Another good idea is to check out the photos your followers like. Its a great way to find new Instagrammers and the chances are that if your followers like your stuff, you will like the other people they follow. Its also a great way to find inspiration and to learn new ideas.

Whether you have a few followers or lots, quality always wins over quantity. Maybe I'll see you over there!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Check Out That View!!

This time last week I was well into my first day, studying Cognitive Hypnotherapy. The university where the course is based has beautiful grounds and gardens so I couldn't resist taking photos of the flower beds!! If you look at my Instagram account for the summer time I do tend to become a tad obsessed with flowers in all their glory and I think that perhaps that time is drawing near again.Anyway.... my choice for this week's Check Out That View, hosted by the lovely Emma is the photo below. As you can see it shows one of the university flower beds looking rather glorious. I hope you like it and if you do then maybe you can click on the button below and visit some other Check Out That View participants... or maybe take part yourself!!


Friday, 1 May 2015

Retraining to Become a Cognitive Hypnotherapist.

I have worked in my current job for over 11 years. I love working as a Teaching Assistant, but since I completed my Degree in 2013 I have had my eye out for my next step. I knew that it would present itself to me. I just had to be patient. I was looking for something that would stretch my mind, be rewarding and at the same time be about giving back, helping other people. I wanted to find something that would inspire me. The solution came, as these things tend to do, out of the blue. Cognitive Hypnotherapy is my future and it found me by taking away my fear.

I had been more and more fearful of a certain situation and had decided to visit a friend of mine who is in practice as a Hypnotherapist. In one session she changed my life, or at least she enabled me to change my life. My fear was gone, no longer debilitating and I felt inspired to study hypnotherapy myself. How wonderful, to be able to help people live life as they want to live it, without fear.

I started to research courses and discovered that in the UK there is no one governing body for hypnotherapists. It is still seen as outside of the mainstream. However, I was drawn again and again to one place - an institute that is proud of its cutting edge approach to Cognitive Hypnotherapy. When I have completed my course I will share with you more, but for now I am going to keep that titbit of information private! I hope you don't mind! It will give me a reason to write again about my course, because if it continues the way it has started I am going to be raving about it!

I had my first study weekend last week and I don't think I have ever felt so positive,so inspired or excited. The weekend was fantastic from start to finish - the organisation and communication, the support given by our trainers and assistants. I learnt so much in two days. By Saturday night my mind felt like it was about explode. But in a good way. If there is a good way for your head to explode!! I went home excited and full of enthusiasm. The second day was, if anything, even better, and this time my mind felt relaxed and open. We were taught theory and then two techniques which we practised. And I can tell you .... they work like magic. Magic!

So now I have to wait a month before our next study weekend. This month is going to be spent reading and practising the techniques I have learnt. My youngest son has so far avoided my attempts at relaxation therapy or anchoring, but my eldest son has proved a brilliant subject! I have started close to home, but am gradually branching out to friends and neighbours in the quest to hone my hypnotherapy skills!

It is a little bit like being a magician. To watch someone go from being awake, nervous and unsettled to being relaxed totally and then back out the other side, awake and alert yet refreshed and calm, is truly wonderful. I have so much to learn, but the learning is awe inspiring. To be able, at the age of 51, to retrain in something which I can continue for the rest of my life, is just brilliant.