SOCIAL MEDIA SUCKS! AGREE OR NOT?

I know I have spoken out on this topic many times before, but each and every day it never ceases to amaze me how much influence social media has on all of us.

An example: I came across someone on Instagram about a new product, which I am trying out for them and of course once connected, my Instagram has had daily posts and stories from said person. I can only say how flabbergasted I am about how much this person (and I will not name them) shares about their life on social media. It never stops. In less than a month, I know where this person lives, I have had a guided tour around their apartment, I know the place, the location, what the weather is like, and almost an hour-by-hour account of literally everything going on in their life. Isn’t this strange then that the same person complains when inundated with messages and comments, they really do not want to hear. So much so, that I feel that I have to write this blog, using them as an example on how irresponsible it is to post so much. It really is believe me.

Recently said person is in a new relationship and I know just everything there is to know. When and where they meet, their holidays, the food they eat, what they did on holiday. And even worse I know all the holiday plans for the rest of the year because they both made a big announcement about it. Now isn’t it really dumb these days to tell people online that you are going to be away and the exact date? You might as well leave the front door open and tell everyone to help themselves, because as I said in the first paragraph, the location is absolutely no secret whatsoever.

What makes me really sad is when children get involved in the social media frenzy too. And we get every tiny piece of information about their progress (or not) and that is wrong. People do not realize that behind the scenes there is a very evil dark web collating images of children for reasons none of us want to think about. Personally, I never share images of my own family, mainly out of respect for them, but definitely never of my grandchildren, having been scammed myself when someone stole images and published them out to all my contacts. You know the famous saying: ‘once bitten, twice shy!’ If you have had this happen to you as well, then you know exactly what I mean.

But back to the subject. As the new relationship was someone who has had their photos stolen by scammers and complains daily on their own social media about it, it was an absolute foregone conclusion that this would open the door for ‘hate messages’ and people claiming that they are in the same relationship too. They think they are because they are being scammed by someone else. And as sad as it is, one must raise the question, isn’t it their fault if they post so much information?

Last night, I was flabbergasted to read in a discussion that said person is going to have her eggs frozen for future use. This really is the limit; I feel that this is such a personal thing and why shout it out on social media and then of course get inundated with good advice and good and bad comments. Why discuss at all? Surely this is something to talk to your partner about. It is particularly disturbing when a normal healthy young woman is carping on about this nonstop for those who have great difficulty getting pregnant or are undergoing IVF treatment which is a long, hard and often sad and disappointing road. Not always, but certainly the stories I have heard from friends and such like is that it is a project where you have to be ready for the ups and downs.

Isn’t it just too amazing for words that there are doctors in the world who recommend that you start saving your eggs and have them cryo-frozen just in case you want to start a family at a later date? Now I know technology has come a long way over the past years, but to me this seems rather unnecessary when basically you are a normal healthy young person and have already had one child, albeit from another relationship. 

The point with social media influencers is that we all know it’s big business. Look at Ronaldo Christiano, one of the biggest social media earners, by appearing on a few billboards here and there and posting out about a product, brings in a very substantial extra revenue. One then asks the question when it is ever enough, as one of the highest paid footballers in the world. Same for actors and  stars who just happened to be in the front line at the gene pool. A few sprays of Boss Bottled gives Chris Hemsworth a huge extra annual income especially when you are the leading person for the brand, worldwide. Does he really need the income as one of the highest paid actors in the world? Yes/no? Everyone loves seeing his handsome face beaming down from billboards across the globe, but hmmm …. it makes you think doesn’t it? I just wonder if it might be more fulfilling/rewarding to donate the earnings to charity and then feel it had been worthwhile, or to those with less? But it seems that the old idea, the more you have the more you want, applies here.

People of lesser status also generate income by promoting and selling brand names. Advertising is an expensive business, like a full-page ad in the dailies, so anyone who is willing to post out on social media non-stop, often goes into a ‘paid partnership’ for a brand, clothing, an energy drink and so it goes on. These are the smaller fish in the sea compared to the big well-known names. But all the same, it’s a very lucrative business, for the company selling the product and the one who posts. Also offering discounts to others using their special codes, all very interesting if you want to boost your followers, but in the end who is actually following you? Do you really know. The figures look good, but do you want 50 million followers when you know a large amount belongs to the scamming world?

I often find myself asking the question: at what cost long term? And do you really want to share every waking hour with everyone around the globe, making yourself so susceptible to people who then steal photos and use them in scamming. Scamming as I have written about many times, it a global problem, not only for the people who are actually scammed but also the people whose photos are stolen in the first place and people really believe they are in a relationship with this person. For those of you with Netflix I highly recommend that you watch a short new series called Clickbait. It a real eye-opener and exciting right through the last few minutes of the 8th episode. 

So, to end this blog, my only conclusion is to say to people, post less, no matter how much fun you think it is to share everything with everyone. Be more selective, you can share things with your personal friends through other media, encrypted WhatsApp for example but again and only when it is to people you know personally when it concerns sharing personal things.

The person I used at the beginning of the blog has had a really hard time over the past few days and although she thinks she is helping people by talking about it even more, I can only say, if you keep adding fuel to the fire, it will never go out. Enjoy your life, your relationship and your posts, but stop posting personal things, like for example, the freezing of eggs. That is far too personal and you end up with loads of people commenting. Do you really want that? It may be advice well-meant but come on …..

A while ago I wrote about how open the apps are on our smartphones, tablets and laptops. Check it, check if you are giving out your location 24/7, whether your camera and microphone is on or not. Hackers are brilliant people who can be in your space in literally seconds and taking control of your life, your family and your friends. Be warned!

Stay safe everyone.

A RANT ABOUT THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT!

This year there were General Elections on the 15th March 2021 for a new Government in The Netherlands. This was actually the first time that I was eligible to vote having taken Dutch citizenship a while back. Now normally, one would think that the Government had been formed (a coalition) by now, but sorry no, it’s now 10th September 2021 and they are still squabbling like a bunch of very irritable children about who wants to govern with who?

What I hear you asking? The people have voted haven’t they and the Government should be formed accordingly. Yes, agree it sounds simple doesn’t it, but believe me they have not made it so far. It seems that the actual votes are really irrelevant, because before the voting has even taken place, parties are already stipulating about who they would be willing to form a Government with (or a Cabinet for that matter).

The Netherlands boasts the fact on a worldwide scale that this is a democratic country. Modern thinking and all the rest. Well, that is quite disputable I am sure you will agree when a group of adult politicians are still arguing in an infantile way. It is shameful really. The problem is that there are so many parties to choose from, some a simple one or two people parties and spin-offs from other parties too. One would seriously begin to question why these people get a salary, which is quite decent and they act so badly.

The Dutch Parliament building in The Hague

There have been several people called up and taken out of the cupboards to help form the Government (and then the Cabinet – which really means who is Minster of what and who is Secretary of State). And so far, they have all failed miserably. Scandals about leaked documents when one minster was caught on photo by the press holding confidential papers under her arm, of course any fool can zoom in to read the content and this caused the resignation of the minster concerned.

And so, it goes on and on and on. We, the public, are totally bored to death by the whole subject and you begin to ask yourself why you actually bothered in the first place to go and vote at all. Maybe that is the answer that next time around no one turns up to vote. Now that would give them all a big wake up call.

It seems to be in the times in which we live, when the aim of society is to work together in a democratic and fair way, that all the Dutch politicians, from the Prime Minster to others have completely lost the plot and it has become a game of egos and they act like naughty toddlers all throwing, at some stage, their toys out of the playpen.

We are just (almost) coming out of more than 18 months of Corona problems, lockdowns, businesses shutting down, people working from home, schools, offices, universities, theatres, cinemas and such like all closed and this has had a really disastrous effect on not only the economy in general but the livelihoods of people as well. Lack of, or no income at all for months and many have not survived this financial crisis.

It is just one blunder after another as far as the Government are concerned and basically the Dutch one has become the laughing stock of Europe.  6 whole months wasted with ego based, bad decision making.

Isn’t it time they all grew up and listened to what the people voted for? Does that sound too simple for words? I wonder.

To me it seems the only way forward and the coalition government should be formed as soon as possible in order of the votes. No more ‘namby-pamby’ about who wants to get what position and talking about things like not wanting for form the Government with this or that party. Getting on with the job they are paid to do! Seriously get on with the job, form the Government and rule the country.

It is not that difficult, is it?

THIS IS BY THE WAY: the motto of the United Kingdom of The Netherlands, and it means ‘I will maintain’. Good advice all you politicians, read it and get on with it.

Images: Google

A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Isn’t it strange that sometimes things are right in front of you and you have not seen them? My horoscope has been saying, for several days, that I would be thinking of memories from the past, particularly childhood ones, with the idea of ‘cleansing all unwanted thoughts’ and ready to move onto the next part of the journey. That seemed strange to me, because in the main, and certainly the years at primary school, were happy ones. 

I lived in a small village called Shepperton in the then county of Middlesex, south-east of London. It was a small village which grew over the years, but as I actually lived directly opposite my school, I was, so to speak, right in the middle of the hub.

VERY CUTE DON’T YOU THINK?

In England you start primary school at the age of 5 and I remember the date was 8th September. My first day at school. Strange at first being away from home and in a class of children I did not know at first, apart from those who lived in the same road as me. But the teacher was sweet and kind and I remember the first afternoon, having gone home for lunch, riding a tricycle all the rest of the afternoon, around the what then seemed large playground.

Basically, as we got older we were a firm group of friends and all our parents knew one another too. After school and afternoon tea, as the majority of children had warm school lunches there, we would go off and play on the local recreation ground.

I actually enjoyed my time there a lot and one of the teachers had a pretty huge impact on me and inspired me to be the writer I am today. It was a man called Vernon Goslin, a historian, ex-Army man, who had the most amazing stories to tell, which he did every day just before the lunch break. All about an army soldier called Fatty Montford (of all names).

Sadly, at the end of my time there, my father decided to move the family away to another place and I did not go on to Grammar School with a lot of my friends and lost touch with them, apart from one or two. I often wonder, what would my life have been like if we hadn’t moved and I had gone on to school with them. My father in all his wisdom (and goodness knows why) did not choose a grammar school close to where we went to live, but one miles away meaning that every day I caught the 8am train to Farnham, and then the 4pm one back being out of the house for a long day. Then of course there was the dreaded homework in the evenings and that was my life Monday to Friday, getting up early, walking to the station (just over a mile), going by train, a walk uphill to school and the whole process reversed in the afternoons. Five days a week.

Just by chance I came across a page (on Facebook) about my old primary school, filled with old photographs and you remember how many you all have too in your collections as every event was marked with a class photo including the teacher and the head of the school. I was surprised as I scrolled through, how many faces I recognized and had to rack my brains for the names. One of two people had filled in the gaps and there I was transported back to my children memories, just like my horoscope had said.

It was compelling to scroll on and on, and I found one or two names, including one from my ‘bestie’ at school. It was quite easy to find her on the socials and I sent a screen shot of the photo of us, where we are looking sweet and innocent, saying remember this?

Over the weekend we got into quite a chat, via WhatsApp to catch up and another extraordinary thing, she had been in many of the places I actually visited over the years. I remember her wedding well, in our local parish church, where I was actually baptized myself, and then her leaving for a new life with her husband (of course!) in Europe. It all seemed romantic and exciting at the time, and I never imagined that I would end up only one year later leaving the UK and moving to The Netherlands.

The reason was my job as I was working locally in England for a Dutch company and because I was an English native speaker of course, they transferred me to head office in Delft to work there. Supposedly for only two to three years, but I am still here would you believe? Even though I left my job when my daughter was born in 1988.

Learning to speak and write Dutch was obligatory, and even in the beginning when I thought I would never learn such a difficult guttural language, I did and I remember after about 6 months here I was able to have simple conversations with people. Seems strange now as I am totally fluent and never think for a single moment about switching between languages. 

I think maybe the years when my father was working in Paris for UNESCO, helped me a lot as we were there during all school holidays (and there used to be a lot those days) and I was fluent in French, talking my O and A levels in one go and passing with ease. I think because I am so fascinated by words, that languages are a natural thing for me. This winter I am going to pick up on my Italian course again and finish it. Once you have got over the nervousness of making a fool of yourself when you try to speak another language, it is plain sailing from then on. And people respect you for at least trying. Basically the English are lazy expecting everyone to speak their language, but it is not the same.

Of course, once you start delving into the past in your mind you suddenly come across other things too, and would you believe it I found an envelope with some of my old school books and reports (and we will not talk about those!). I know that I could read and write before I even started school, but finding one of my exercise books where we wrote a story every Monday morning about our weekend, mine are filled within a couple of weeks, whereas others had the same book for the entire term.  I also came across a ‘certificate’ where I won a national writing competition for Cadbury chocolate. I remember that, and of course being a huge fan and having such a sweet tooth it was easy to wax on lyrically about chocolate in general. But there you go writing even at that tender age and still doing it all these years later.

So, I asked myself this morning, what are the childhood memories that I need to clear up then? The majority are very happy ones. Picnics in the summer, swimming in the gravel pits (goodness just imagine that we were allowed to do that unsupervised as they are extremely deep), playing at the Watersplash with a huge swing across the water. It was all just fun and we were a tight knitted group of friends. Strange though how you lose contact with them and why? Obviously, we grow older, move on, make new friends and in my case actually leave the country.

I found an old school photo of myself which I posted onto the site and immediately people started to react. They remembered me. And I asked myself then, why not? I remember them too.  Even other siblings reacted to the post and I found out that a boy in my class now lives in Sydney in Australia and I have been there too! 

Ah, happy days ! I will puzzle on about what memories I have to release? No idea at the moment.

BEAUTY IS … IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Wouldn’t it be a nice way to start this new week with something positive. Something interesting.

In these strange times when social media offers every opportunity to comment and often shame people about their appearance, everyone seems to have forgotten this famous phrase. Fat-shaming for example for those of us who may carry a few extra pounds than someone else. Shaming people for their sexual preference. Shaming people for what they say or ridiculing them. It seems as if social media has become THE platform to be absolutely horrid to people sometimes. Not always, but I am often really surprised myself when I read comments and the suggestions people feel they have to make to people they don’t even know. Why? Live and let live is my motto!

We have been taught from a very young age that beauty is everything and from about the age of 20 plus, reminded every day that we need to preserve our good looks, our skin, our hair and just be beautiful. You are only a success if you are. Well, I don’t believe that for starters, as to my mind, beauty lies within. You may look like a Hollywood star, but it is the person you are inside that is important.

So, social media reminds us constantly of all the products that are available and in copious amounts too, to just make ourselves ‘a special kind of wonderful’. I may go so far as to say the suggestion is made that if we are not beautiful, we no longer count! This is complete nonsense in my opinion.

Writing this makes me think of my paternal grandmother. A sweet woman who used only Nivea cream her entire life. You know those famous blue pots of cream. She lived in the north-west of England, Cheshire to be exact, where the chilly winds blow off the Penines and it often rains a lot. She would get ready to go off to the village every day to get her groceries and before leaving apply Nivea and rub it into her face. Roughly. Not with small gentle circular movements, but literally smear it all over her face. Then apply a quick coat of lippie (lipstick) and go out. As she was the biggest chatterbox in the village, as the pastor’s wife, would then be out for hours. To the day she died she had the most perfect, wrinkle free complexion I think I have ever seen. I use it too, with a bit more care than she did.

For those who care about their skin, their hair, their general appearance there are so many products available on today’s market that it is overwhelming.

But today I want to talk about a product I discovered just by chance and that is a Lash Serum, made by Gran Cosmetics and invented by Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach and Iqbal Gran (hence the name). 

Our eyelashes get a battering over the years with the daily application of mascara, because come on, we all want amazing long fluttering lashes, don’t we? This serum was developed over a period of 2 years and contains wonderful products which have been clinically tested, hypoallergenic and non-irritating, vegan friendly.

No animal testing either. And containing ingredients such as biotin (vitamin B) aloe vera, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. So, I am having a go and see what the effect is for my own lashes.

Well to say I am flabbergasted is putting it mildly! I ordered and the product arrived really quickly in a beautifully designed pink box and wrapped in delicate tissue paper. The serum packed in a similar color tube and proper well written notes about how to use it. And it is so simple. After removing any eye make-up, which I do with Micellair Water, and the lashes are completely dry, then apply a thin line (like an eye liner) above the upper lashes and go to bed. That is all you have to do. During the night, miracles happen. Really.

Just within a couple of days my lashes are thicker, and longer. Yes, honestly! It is not my intention to make an advertising pitch, but to truthfully say, try this product right away. If you are a person who has lash extensions every few weeks and it is costly, then stop. Treat yourself to a present of this amazing product. You will have a natural look within several weeks and one thin coat of mascara has an incredible effect. The eyes are, as we all know, the windows of the soul, and often the first thing you notice about people. Eyes are our first impressions about someone, the color and the attraction or not. Similar maybe to why butterflies are attracted to flowers of a certain color and perfume.

I love this product and I am so glad that I just came across it by chance. Well not true really because it was meant to happen (as coincidences don’t exist, they say). Everything happens for a reason. I saw this on social media and believe me I am not a big user of Instagram, but there you go. Thrilled that I did take note of this post. Something positive at long last!

Beauty is in the eyes (or lashes) of the beholder!

www.grancosmetics.com

Instagram: @pilotmadeline or @grancosmetics

Images: Google (Gran Cosmetics)

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? 8th August 2021 may well be the luckiest day of the year. Why?

As we are fast approaching the so-called Lion’s Gate Portal on August 8th, 2021, I thought I would write a few words to explain its meaning and why astrologists across the globe are predicting that this day will be one of the luckiest days of the year.

The important sentence related to this moment:

GET READY TO MANIFEST YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY

If you are thinking er right, sure, what is she talking about then I can only say read on:

For those of you who are interested in your zodiac sign and regularly read pieces about either your daily or yearly horoscope and you can be really honest and say I do or I don’t? The Sun is the ruling sign of Leo season which started on 23rd July and runs through until 23rd August, then please allow me to tell you that on the 8th August, the Leo sun (which is in fact the Sun’s favorite place to be in his or her own sign) will create an annual cosmic alignment with the bright star Sirius (Canis Major). This will be extremely intensified this year thanks to the new moon in Leo on the same day. An amplified spiritual intensity. When you consider not only the stellar event but also the numerology behind the date 8/8 then you will only be able to agree that this seriously may be one of the luckiest days in the year 2021. Whatever your preferences are, astrology or numerology, then you do not want to waste your time sleeping with the special opportunity to dream big (or even bigger) and literally manifest abundance of any kind.

What is exactly meant by the Lion’s Gate Portal, which is an annual occurrence, but this year it is extra special. The sun, as I said is in its own home sign in the zodiac, Leo and the star Sirius begins to rise in the skies becoming visible (as it the brightest star after all) and this all happens on the 8th August. Together with the numerological meaning of the 8/8 both factors contribute to vibrate a special energy making this a lucky day for success and literally being able to manifest your dreams. Nothing is either too small or too big. It is your dream after all.

Many New Age people celebrate this portal with new practices but in actual fact this has been a spiritual date for literally thousands of years. Sirius’ rising and alignment with the Sun was always considered to be a major event in many ancient cultures too. Civilizations as far back at the Dogon Tribe in Africa, Sumer and Ancient Egyptians tracked this star across the skies without any help whatsoever from modern instruments, like the Hubble Telescope for example. 

The alignment of the star with Earth coincides with the Orion constellation (one which we all know and recognize easily in the night skies) and the position of the three pyramids in Giza, Egypt (the belt of Orion). Thereby this creates a trinity of alignments on the same day and is enhanced even more by the August New Moon on the same date. So, the portal will be opened with an intense wave of extra special energy. Spiritual potency some are saying!

This year, 2021 on August 8th, brings a sparkling window of opportunity for all the zodiac signs to set intentions, embrace abundance and create new beginnings and if you understand the actual meaning of the Lion’s Gate Portal itself, this can help you to take advantage of this very special moment.

THE ASTROLOGY OF THE LION’S GATE PORTAL

First of all, let’s look at the astrology. The fixed star Sirius is the second brightest star in the sky, next to the Sun. Sometimes called the ‘spiritual sun’ in spiritual and mystical practices. It is known for lightening up the spirits and illuminated higher-minded goals and ambitions.

And this happens every year, smack in the middle of the Leo season. Sirius rises in the skies and is easily visible on the Eastern horizon.

When the alignment of Earth and Sirius occurs, the Lion’s Gate Portal opens, as the sun is in its own happy place, Leo. Leo energy can be defined simply in a few words symbolized by the lion, courage, pride and regality. In its own ruling planet, making it feel even mightier during this very special period of the year. Loads of creative and confidence enhancing power is set free.

So August 8th is the peak date to harness the mystical energy of the lions’s gateway. Some say that in actual fact the portal is open for several weeks before and after the date too. However, this year the gateway is even more interesting to spiritually level up and create change in our lives. With the New Moon, this will align with the Sun and herald a fresh lunar cycle, bringing passion to the forefront and supercharging our ability to start anew.

THE NUMEROLOGY OF 8/8

The number eight is considered to be one of the luckiest numbers and corresponds to wealth and abundance. Visually the 8 is the infinite symbol turned upright, expressing unlimited potential. As I said, 8 is the number of abundance and prosperity. Being then the 8th day of the 8th month of the year literally charges the date with the energy of success and then combined with the astrological magic, gives us a special moment to set clear intention. It all just comes together if you like, the numbers, the astrology and the moment! In fact, it’s pure synergy, all associated with wealth, passion, honor and even fame. Whilst the Sun itself is the planet of confidence, willpower and self-expression. That Sirius aligns with the Sun in Leo is important. Leo is a fixed fire sign and its energy can attract all it desires comparable to ‘a moth to a flame’.

This success attracting celestial bodies together with the energy of the numerology, blend together to make a cosmic creation and thus a magical powerful moment to put your intentions straight out into the universe and the extra magical aspect that you can actually manifest your dreams.


Make the day extra special because the opening of the portal, infused with the Sirian energy, will flood down upon the Earth. Make it a day to do a special ritual in some way. Ask for abundance. If you don’t no one else is going to ask for you. Take the time to make this special day, yours’s and yours’s alone. Yes, you can also ask for the greater good, but really this moment is about you and your dreams.

So, what is a good ritual to do on this special day? Well, I think I will write a list of my dreams and everything I would like to manifest and after the sun sets and the magical night sky is visible (hope it is not cloudy or raining!) then have a fire ritual and offer the piece of paper into the flames. It may sound strange to actually burn a piece of paper with all your intentions, dreams and desires written on it, but the idea behind giving it to the fire is to intensify it in the flames. Turn up the heat so to speak.

I personally have always been fascinated by the constellation Orion and Sirius is after all, our brightest star in the sky once the sun has gone to bed. Look east and see if you can see it, you can in fact hardly miss it.

Make it special. Even though you may think this occurs every year on this date, which is in fact true, but the New Moon is making it even more special this year and I think we all deserve the idea that the tides are turning; we can finally manifest something positive in the world, personal or for the greater good.

Enjoy!

Images: Google

CONFUSED WHO ISN’T ? part 2

Last summer I wrote a number of blogs with a friend, because he had such interesting things to say and such good advice and during a recent conversation about the state of affairs in the world, some more ‘advice’ came to the surface which I would like to share with you.

This person is extremely well-known and virtually the entire world follows his every move, that it why I will keep the source anonymous because it is about reading the words in this blog and not reading it just because of his fame. Behind every famous person, the real one is often not in the spotlights or on the world stage. Just think about that. They too have their own problems and worries, just like the average man or woman, or even child in the rest of the world. Often people expect them to play a role continually, but it doesn’t work that way at all. This is a fellow human being who struggles with the same things that we all do, and I think these words are very inspiring. I will write in bold italic script when I get to it.

When you look back recently, we as humans have been seriously challenged. Things we took for granted have now be put in an entirely different light. Simple things like shopping, going out for a meal, meeting friends for a drink in a bar … yes all of that and suddenly we were restricted and basically ordered to stay indoors in our own little bubble. That meant not even being able to visit family, particularly parents and grandparents. When in your life have you ever been told that? 

It was strange for all of us to suddenly have a life which was dictated by others. Experts who suddenly appeared out of nowhere and knew how we should all behave. Political leaders became rulers (read here dictators) and we all succumbed to it, often not questioning the facts, but just doing as we were told. Now a little discipline in the world is not wrong, we need it or at least some people do, but we suddenly all became part of a herd of sheep, nodding and doing what we were told. And we were confused. Confused and frustrated. Under pressure, not having a free choice and it was almost like being launched back in time to dictatorship regimes. And we did not like it at all.

So, how do we make a change, or make a choice? Suddenly things became easier and this last week has seen, rules and regulations re-applied just as we were getting used to our new freedom. That was a bitter pill to swallow and many people are basically fed up to the back teeth of having to live this way. Haven’t we been hearing for years from spiritual leaders and inspirers, that we should follow our heart? Dare to make changes and choices? Give our souls the freedom they so desired? Exactly ! 

So, when you live your life in the spotlights, like my friend, everyone expects something from you all the time. You almost live your life with a permanent mask because the press and spotters are very cruel and one wrong move hits the headlines like a tornado. How do you cope? How to you even manage to keep certain parts of your life on a personal level, but at the same time, thrilling your fans, because after all they are the ones who help to put you in the spotlights in the first place. They ensure that you become almost a household name and appear literally everywhere all around the world with expensive partnerships for watches, perfumes etc. You become, whether you like it or not, the example that many want to follow. Many are jealous when they see the luxury lifestyle you have, but behind the scenes it may not be the rosy, pink little cloud that we are often led to believe.

And then, boy are you confused or what?

He said:

Be strong and smile at life even though it hurts sometimes ….

And it does hurt whether you agree or not, because restriction causes pain.

I always try to be amazing. Strong and smart. But the most important thing is to be myself.

Yes, it is, because no matter what is happening to you or happening in your surroundings, the moment you take on a role and stop being yourself, then you know the confusion starts big time. You begin to wonder if you can actually live your truth and be authentic? Can you? Or does the world determine this making you merely a puppet whose strings are pulled by the masses? That is an awful way to live and you may disagree with me, saying the wealth, fame, glamour and glitz is all worth it, mainly because we may want that for ourselves, but remember glitter fades. Wealth disappears in today’s economic climate. Fans are fickle when someone younger, better and more appealing appears on the scene and we all could probably write a list of people we looked up to who maybe are no longer here, or we hear nothing about anymore. True?

Small minds cannot compromise big spirits. To be great you have to be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood. The only thing is to stay strong. You know sometimes a smile does not mean that a person is happy. Sometimes, it means that they are strong enough to face their own problems. Right?

Big spirits mean power and power on the one hand can create fear when used in the wrong way, but when you have power as a person, it is purer. And so right, often we all play the role or wear a mask to hide our true feelings and then people don’t ask too many awkward questions. I mean if someone asks you: ‘How are you?’ Do you answer truthfully and tell them perhaps that you are finding things hard, or you are overtired or overwhelmed, or do you take the easy way out and just answer: ‘Everything is fine thanks’. Even when you know it is not. A smile can be alluring but also hides the truth.

Every pain makes us stronger, each betrayal more intelligent, every disappointment more skillful and each experience wiser.

Sometimes things go wrong so that we can grow strong. Sometimes things go bad so we can grow better.

It is certainly true that we learn lessons from things that maybe just don’t go the way we want them to. I mean if you make a mistake and it costs you dearly, then you will not make the same mistake again. This could even go so far as losing your trust in someone. Do you then make the right choice to break away? Or do you just keep accepting it? This is life. You make your choices and you don’t have to explain why to anyone, only yourself. You are not accountable to others.

You are only given the life you are strong enough to live and if one day you don’t feel strong enough, then you are given friends. I am strong because I know my weaknesses. I am alive because I am a fighter. I am wise because I have been foolish. I laugh because I know my own sadness.

I think this is (or was) an important part of our discussion because it is all about being humble enough to accept that everything is not that perfect all of the time, even if the illusion you create gives that impression. Friends are so important and by this, I mean real true friends and not hangers on. Fortunately, I am not confronted in my life by hangers-on because I lead a quiet normal life. I don’t stand in the spotlights continually. It is not that I am afraid to stand up and say what I think and if needed in front of everyone. I have my values, my truths, my beliefs and my choices are made based on that. I have an example which perhaps makes this easier to understand: How do you deal with a so-called friend if they virtually cut you off and ignore you. The answer is painful but simple, I think. They are not really a friend, just a saboteur who crosses your path for their own good. Personally, I think I can count my real friends on one or two hands. People that I know will be there if I need them and then a lot of your so-called friends, acquaintances, colleagues, even family for that matter, fall to the wayside. Saboteurs are challenges. They come across your path either to confront or mislead. The best way is often to step aside, let them pass and then continue on your journey. Your own journey and not a journey that others expect of you.

But it is not always negative, as I have described above because:

I try to be thankful for every person in my life, past, present and future because in the end they will make me stronger, kinder, wiser and they are in fact, the people that make me who I am today.

You remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about gratitude is attitude? This really applies here. On the one hand some people are the saboteurs but on the other and its important here to look on the positive side, but all the people you encounter and certainly like-minded souls, help you to grow. That is what we all came here to do in the first place. Grow. Some roads, as I have said many times before are bumpy others are smooth. But each experience, each person, each spoken word, each thought all has an influence on how you grow as a human in this present world.

So, even if you are feeling frustrated by how things are going at the moment on the world stage, remember that everything is always happening for a reason. Sometimes this is hard to comprehend especially when things happen like natural disasters, or people are killed, or people are fighting and demonstrating on the street for their rights. 

It is confusing for all of us. The only advice I think is relevant is that you be yourself always. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t stay in a sticky web that continually brings you down and in the wrong place. Be the person who dares to stand up and stick up for what you believe in.

From confusion to clarity. We may not fully comprehend it all right now, but when you maybe look back, you will know that it happened for a reason and it helped you to become who you are today. So that you know the reason why you are here and what you came to do?

You don’t have to be a well-known person or stand in the spotlights to do this. Radiate your own personal light, this benefits everyone in the end. Especially you!

Images: Google

CONFUSED … WHO ISN’T ?

I don’t know about you, but I am finding things confusing. Particularly in respect of events going on in the world. From sport, from racism, from comments, from judgment, from blame and so the list can go on and on. 

After a difficult time when the world was under the ‘Corona pandemic’ it sort of comes as a surprise to me that despite the vaccination programs that right on the edge of the summer holidays, things are changing so rapidly you can hardly keep up with it. New restrictions, new rules, health passports, QR codes on a health app etc. Having had virtually everything cancelled last year and probably rightly so, when restrictions were lifted people wanted to book holidays and have a change of scenery. Not that surprising is it really? Having been cooped up for a long time, working from home, not being able to go to restaurants, pubs, cafes or bars or even things like the cinema or theatre or museums, the human was craving for more freedom. 

I don’t think it is so much about not being able to do anything, more so the idea that you can’t. I mean have people really missed the freedom that much. Probably a lot because they find it hard to amuse themselves maybe? If you think that every single person is an individual and different, it’s not really fair to make such a comparison, based on what you personally have or have not missed.

But come on let’s get the facts straight. As all the virologists predicted there is a new wave whether you think it or not. Statistics of people infected by this virus are still rising, so the relaxation of the restrictions was too premature then? Certainly, the Government in The Netherlands think so, and have apologized for not really getting things right. That is no help whatsoever to anyone. What do we really want, well clarity for starters! A clear and advising policy so that we know how to make our choices. What is the policy in Europe now? And why is it so hard to get into line with one another. Some countries are coded red, others yellow, others orange and what can you and what can’t you do when visiting? Is there anyone anywhere who really has a clear overview? Answer no! That is the trouble when too many ‘experts’ start expressing an opinion and then the ego comes into play. Leaders and influencers make statements, others say something completely different and we are all confused. Yes, all of us.

What do you decide, if you are really looking forward to your family vacation in France then? To go or not? Where new restrictions have stated that people who have not been vaccinated are basically unwelcome. They don’t say it that simply, but the bottom line is – it’s true. Children who have not been vaccinated will have to be tested every 2-3 days and no one will be allowed into restaurants, without either a health app, or in other words, vaccination proof, or a negative test. But a negative test is a ‘moment’ thing. No visiting museums or such like without this proof either. So, the whole spontaneous idea of a family holiday seems to have blown up like a cloud of smoke. A smokescreen of confusion as opposed to a clear view.

Then half the fun has gone and not then to mention the idea of a 10-day quarantine on your return.

Thing is I feel that commonsense should be in the forefront. If you don’t want to subject yourself to the risk of maybe getting the virus, (and the deciding factor may have to be here, whether you are fully vaccinated or not), then maybe the best thing is to stay in your own country, after all, there are plenty of lovely things to do there as well. The weather may not be a guaranteed non-stop full on sun vacation, but all the same, it all comes down to possible risk against possible safety.

All in all, it is chaos, it is confusing and no one seems to know anything and people are hanging in the air, waiting for someone somewhere to bring things into line. But that is tricky as each and every world leader has their own opinion, probably highly influenced by the so-called experts, like the ‘Outbreak Management Team’ here in the Netherlands, but I begin to wonder isn’t it more about continually sowing the seed of fear more than anything else. And you all know that ‘fear’ translates into ‘power’. 

I probably could write on and on about this subject and many of you may or may not agree with me. But when I was a child and I lived in the UK, all my memories are about holidays at the sea and as England has a massive coastline, there is plenty to choose from and that applies to many countries too with coastal boundaries.  Quite by chance I saw a photo today of Woolacombe Bay in North Devon and I have many memories of being there and the ‘tingling fresh sea’. Having cream teas by the beach and building sandcastles on the miles of sand. A long shot from party islands, cocktails and disco’s which seem to be the criteria for many people (mostly young) for a perfect holiday experience.

Of course, it is human nature to want a change of scenery but maybe now you have to ask yourself this question: how desperate am I for said change? Weighing up the idea of maybe choosing for safety as opposed to taking a risk. We sometimes take risks to actually induce change, this is a perfectly normal thing… but somehow it has taken on another meaning since Covid-19 became daily news.

As I said with this title: confused who isn’t? That is so true. My advice make the choice that feels totally right for you and your family. A choice that you stand behind for 100 percent. Any doubts or deliberations, then adjust your choice, that is the only sensible advice anyone can give. Sometimes the old saying: ‘home is where the heart it’ is more applicable than you think.

Keep safe and happy holidays!

IMAGES: Google

GRATITUDE IS ATTITUDE OR IS …. ATTITUDE SOMETIMES NOT GRATITUDE?

I am on Day 9 of my workshop and I read these words. GRATITUDE IS ATTITUDE. It resonated because of several things. Your attitude is so important and the right attitude is a reason for gratitude. But there are two sides to the coin and sometimes attitude can be something negative. Still with me? 

That is why many people say, and rightly so, that the way you begin your day, sets the theme for the rest of it. If you are one of those people who jumps out of bed, rushes into the shower and gets dressed in a hurry, grabbing a coffee and something to eat as you run out of the door, then you can be sure that the rest of your day will continue in this same rush.

Thankfully, I personally left the rat race a long time ago. This does not mean that I stopped working, as I worked from home. Something which was quite new for a lot of people during the recent pandemic, but with today’s technology, working at home is so much easier. No travel, no distractions, peace and quiet, but at the same time, no social interaction. No chats over coffee or lunch. Basically, you are alone with your laptop or computer and working with the WiFi, your phone and Zoom (the latest trend for meetings).  It works well and taking breaks is actually easier, as you do them when you want and not when others expect you to.

But back to my title: And I have an example of something that happened to me only yesterday. Concerning attitude. This may be controversial for a lot of you to read, but it’s purely an example and not criticism (well at least I will try not to criticize).  A lot of my neighbors are Germans who have houses in this region and the pandemic kept them away for a long time. It was lovely to be honest, peaceful and quiet and not that overpowering energy that I feel when they are here. Why is this energy overpowering you may ask? I think it’s attitude. A lot are what is commonly referred to as ‘senior citizens’ and to be honest why the hurry, why the rat race, why the attitude?  But, in some or other inexplicable way, the attitude is still going. Even all these years later. The Netherlands was invaded by the Germans in the war. They just took over the country. They loved the sea, missed it being a basically landlocked country with only a sea border in the north, but it is that attitude that it still is theirs, which I find – irritating!

Even though the younger generation and even I was not born during the war years, are different and more modern in their thinking, but the older ones are still stuck in that negative energy and I wonder why? I don’t have an answer, but it is still there. I was coming back with my dog having taken him for a walk and would you believe it, I haven’t seen them for months so I just said: ‘Hi’ and they both turned their backs on me and said nothing. No nothing! Not even a polite greeting. It could be that this is caused by the fact that there is something happening in my own family which makes people react in the strangest ways. Really the strangest ways and what is the reason? Is it because they don’t know what to say, are afraid of saying the wrong thing or what? Or are they just downright rude?

Well, my experience with the Germans here is that they are very overpowering, very loud and literally take over the place upon arrival. They have had homes here for years and still do not make any attempt to speak the language, just blurb on with their hard sounding own one. They just take over and its boring! Yes, it really is, and it surprises me that they still behave this way. Certainly, when I go to another country, I not only try to speak a little bit of the language even if it’s only good morning, please and thank you. And I adapt. I adapt the best way I can to their culture and their rules. Then I ask the question why doesn’t is happen the other way around then?

It’s attitude. Pure and simple, just attitude. Ingrained generation karma which they still carry and very empathetic people and people who are susceptible to energy, feel it, big time, just like me. And this is what I mean about the negativity which can connect with attitude.

Find the right attitude and gratitude should happen automatically, shouldn’t it? It all depends on you and the way you act, think and present yourself to others. The right attitude leads then to gratitude and life in general seems to go a lot easier.

It is quite an interesting exercise to write something down every day for things you are grateful for. On a small piece of paper and then fold it and put it into a glass jar. My friend Liz Gilbert calls it ‘her happiness jar’.  When it gets full and you empty everything out and read all the notes you made, you realize how much gratitude you have and had, even for really small things in life. It is not about the size but about the feeling it gave you. If you ‘counted your blessings and felt gratitude’. Do you? Could you write down something every single day? I know I could and it may be something so simple as the ‘smell of new mown grass’ or the ‘birds singing’ or the ‘smell of fresh bread baking’, or well … just anything that gives you that feeling of gratitude.

When you have gratitude, you then have the right attitude. 

Food for thought, isn’t it?

IMAGES: GOOGLE

THE NUMBER 13: LUCKY OR UNLUCKY?

Over the centuries there has been so much speculation about the number 13 and whether it is unlucky or not. In the main, people are superstitious and often avoid this number. So much so that in sports for example, this number is avoided. Floors in buildings go from 12 to 14, the number 13 being avoided at all costs. But how lucky or unlucky is it actually?

Thing is many hundreds of years ago, people connected much more with it, like the 13 moons in a year. The cycle of 28 days and feminine energy.

Today is the Summer Solstice and believe it or not it’s pouring with rain here. The official start of the summer, even though there are several other dates, seasonal, calendar and astrologically. The sun moves from Gemini (The Twins) into the emotional dreamy sign of Cancer (The Crab). Interesting when you think about a crab who spends a lot of his or her life in a shell, hiding. Moving only when necessary and the moment any danger appears, they retreat as fast as they can back into the protection of their shell. Sharp pincher claws to attack anyone who threatens them. Hmmm interesting, when often the sign of Cancer is portrayed quite differently. But there will always be opinions.

To me personally I don’t think that the number 13, which is what this blog is supposed to be about, has never been a number that I felt was one I had to avoid. On the contrary and it’s interesting to see that over the years, 13 has been connected to several very significant things like: the USA was originally formed with 13 states. 13 stars and 13 stripes on the flag to name but a few.

13 colors in the spectrum and even though you may disagree and say no, only 12, this is not true. The first and foremost color is white or clear. White light shone through a prism gives the three primary colors, blue, red and yellow. Mixing these gives both the secondary and tertiary colors, completing the spectrum at 13 not 12.

So, there are also 13 rays of color for incarnation. People have argued for centuries about which color was the first but to my mind, the white or clear. The first speck of light that shines even in the pitch black.

Numbers have and always will play a big role in our lives and a lot of people are suddenly noticing a lot of ‘communication’ appearing in the form of numbers, from car number plates to double numbers on a digital clock. That feeling of ‘how coincidental’. No, not really, it’s like a subtle message for you.

Yesterday evening, I was reading through the many astrological emails I get every day and one caught my attention in particular. It was based on a summary of personal numbers which are reached when you add up several things. Your date of birth, your name, the vowels in your name and guess what mine was 11, 1 and 11. A repeat of five one’s. Now one thing I know for sure is that 11 is a master number (like 22 and 33 too). It means: An angelic digit and the spiritual meaning is considered to be the gateway to enlightenment. It represents change, a new vision, a new chance, and in the Tarot it’s the Justice Card which is the symbol for balance, decision making and fairness. Not bad and I have five in a row. Of course, curious as I am, I had to look up the meaning of five one’s in a row … and this is interesting. ‘You are in the right direction and attracting everything you are focused on and paying attention to. It can be either negative or positive. That is irrelevant. You are just attracting things and people, through your intense and immense vibration and energy. Also known as the Law of Attraction.’

All in all, it’s a sign for sure, from the angelic realms (and many people have told me that I originate from there) or a message from the so-called Ascended Masters.  They are telling you it’s time for change, new choices, new challenges and new beginnings. OK I hear you clearly.

What is relevant today is that I have started a 21 day online challenge with the quite controversial title : Unfuck Yourself. It is being run by a friend of mine and this morning, day one, I wrote down all the major points from the past year. Just by leafing back through the past year in my diary and believe me it was quite depressing. Personal things and the one thing that has ‘fucked’ us all up over the past few months – The Lockdown!

I am fully committed to the next 21 days, because come on, what is 21 days really in a lifetime when it could be that all important life changing moment? 

So, in I go, diving into the deep for the next 21 days when one of the things coming up is a social media detox as well. I intend to take that seriously and go offline as well. One of the best phrases in the information today was a sentence that really resonated with me which I mentioned in my last blog, but I will repeat as it is so important: When referring to constantly ‘liking’ on social media … maybe the best thing you should like is the image of yourself in the mirror every morning. Good advice.

Happy Solstice!

Images: Google

THE INCESSANT NEED TO COMMENT

Hey, all you Disney fans out there, remember that tear-jerker film – Bambi? And that famous line that his friend Thumper (a cute grey rabbit) says:

‘If you can’t say nothing nice about anyone, don’t say nothing at all!’

Everyone should write these words on their bathroom mirror with an indelible marker pen and read them out aloud every single day! Every single day!

This blog is about the fact that virtually everyone (and of course there are a few exceptions) has the incessant need to always comment about literally everything. Our favorite topic is the weather because it is never right! It’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy – you begin to wonder why other people never say – ‘oh what a perfect day!’ Is the reason that it’s too positive?

Transport is too busy, too crowded, too late and so it goes on. But the thing that is really troubling me at the moment is this incessant need to make really shitty and horrid comments on social media. Get a life and do something more positive. Yes, we all love to ‘like and comment’ and do it incessantly, but to me there is no justifiable reason why you then have to launch into people about their own personal lives.

A good example this week was a friend of mine, who just happens to be gay, posted a photo of his wedding several years ago and made the (loving) comment that he had no regrets and was still as happy today as he was then. Pretty normal don’t you agree? Sexual preference is accepted almost globally. What happened next was downright disgusting, all these petty, small-minded people made the most awful comments. Even though I fully accept that some religions frown upon ‘same sex relationships and marriages’ basically everyone else has accepted this. What annoys me the most is the people who feel the need to quote from the Bible – and come on let’s face it, this is a 2000-year-old book – and often the quotes are not entirely correct either. I certainly don’t remember myself that Jesus condemned this topic, on the contrary he preached about ‘loving everyone equally’ – remember ‘love thy neighbor’ etc. 

A basic rule is, treat others how you want to be treated yourself. Remember Thumper’s words. If all you can say is negative or make a horrid cutting remark, then just shut up!

Another story I heard was on one the recent hot perfect summer days, a mother collecting her child from school received a remark about her choice of clothing. Yes, nearly 30oC and it is perfectly ok to have more skin showing than normal. A lady from Somalia wearing about three tablecloths, sissed and commented: ‘This is a school, not a whore house!’ Well lady, get this; this is The Netherlands, a free and democratic land. You are here for a reason and you have been accepted into our society, so just shut up. It may not be your norm, but we don’t comment about the fact that you cover yourself from head to toe, even when the temperatures are really hot. It is expected that if you choose to live here for whatever reason, then please adapt yourself to our ways and culture. If you don’t and can’t then please just go home. If we are in your country, we are expected to adapt ourselves to your rules.

And this is what I mean. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, everyone feels the incessant need to comment about absolutely everything.

Another thing that happened this week was to someone who forgot to wear a mask in the supermarket. After being snapped at by the cashier, she remarked: well, you can always say you have some deadly illness. The person remarked, well actually I do; I have terminal lung cancer. Just imagine the red face and the feeling that she wished she had shut up. Very embarrassing. Would you like to change places? And anyway, a few days later it was announced by our PM that wearing masks will end on the 26th of this month. So, what the hell?

It doesn’t matter whatever the subject matter is, we as humans want to express our opinion, which is perfectly ok, as long as it is something positive and something which contributes to the subject. Slagging it off, being horrid, bitchy or downright rude is a no-no!

If you can’t say nothing nice about anyone don’t say nothing at all. Remember?

Maybe you would be better off paying more attention to your own life and perhaps your own shortcomings? Make a better, more loving, kinder version of yourself? Someone who is more positive, or do you prefer to remain stuck in the old 3D mud and carp on about absolutely everything?

A well-known friend of mine told me this week that the news is about to break about the end of his marriage. This is painful enough, especially when young children are involved and I remarked to him that he should hold his head high, stand by his (or her) decision and not read all the thousands of comments which are bound to appear. It is fodder really for the journalist world, the fans and the never-ending speculation about the why’s and where-fore’s and then not to mention that ‘the hunt’ will be on to be his next partner! I can almost imagine now what will appear and the blame will be shunted from side to side about whose fault it is.

I suppose really that social media is to blame. We all seem to have copious amounts of time to be online, we don’t have anything else or better to do than be scrolling, liking, commenting and so it goes on. Does anyone out there remember the times pre-Wi-Fi and smartphones or tablets. We just had a landline phone at the house. Of course, it is all very innovative and extremely handy to be online 24/7 but maybe once in a while we should just turn the whole damned thing off. Just be ourselves and do something completely different.

A friend of mine who will be running a new online workshop next week said something which really resonated with me about liking posts: He said, maybe the thing you should be liking the most, is your own reflection in the mirror every morning. Now, that is food for thought, isn’t it? Do you ever stop and do that? Never I bet. Maybe you should and remember the way you start your day, sets the pattern for the remainder of the day as well. If you wake up, grab your smartphone and start bitching online, it will go on all day and nothing will go right. Everyone will join in the energy wave and you will go to bed exhausted later that day. Maybe set the alarm earlier and do a small calming meditation before you jump out of bed to get into the rat race? 

Please remember that some comments are really awful and very hurtful and people can become very depressed by the never ending stream of nonsense. We all want to be liked but we should all remember, practice what you preach. Treat others how you want to be treated too. Not that much to ask is it?

TATTOO THESE WORDS INTO YOUR MIND:

IF YOU CAN’T SAY NOTHING NICE ABOUT SOMEONE, DON’T SAY NOTHING AT ALL!!!!

IMAGES: Alamy Stock Photo and Google