Posted in Personal Development

Checking in With my Goals

Spring is fast approaching… seriously though where did January and February go?!! I swear as I get older time is moving faster or maybe I’m just busier than ever… now were officially in March I will be checking in with my goals for the first time this year!

Checking in with my goals

Checking in With my Goals: March 2019

So like many at the very beginning of the year I zealously compiled a list of goals I hope to achieve this year. I sectioned my goals into eight categories (see below). You can also check out my original post here.

But there is no point making these goals if we don’t check in! For me when something goes down on paper it makes it more official, it has to happen. This is why you should always write your goals down. I think looking at your goals around about quarterly is where it’s at… monthly is just too much for me – hell, give me time to breath!!

So let’s look at some things I have achieved or scheduled so far off my goal list…

1. Fun & Adventure

Skydive – holy crap, I actually booked a sky dive!! Let me tell you I am terrified but it is something I always wanted to do… as I’m getting older I’m kinda going off the idea a bit so what must I do?! Get it locked down. Yup… I’m going to throw myself out of a plane for charity – yikes!! This is happening in April. I’ve booked with the company www.skydivenorthwest.co.uk

Under this section also was go to three places I’ve never visited before… this is totally getting smashed. With four trips impending it’s safe to say I will go to way more than three! How exciting?! Watch this space to hear about my upcoming trips!

2. Career

Firstly let me just tell you what I do… I have a dance school; I teach dance. On my list was start a YouTube channel… this was also on it last year. Has progress been made? Hmmm not exactly. Maybe this goal was too much to chew… I’m a busy girl and that’s going to take commitment.

What I have done is upped my game on Instagram. Remember goals are totally adaptable… I’m now posting every day to my dance insta and I’ve braved doing videos on there. This is a big step for me! Remember to celebrate the smaller achievements too. Will this lead to YouTube… maybe! It’s a step in the right direction!

3. Friends & Family

A simple goal – to spend more time with them. Am I achieving it? Very debatable… am I making it a priority? Definitely not… I’m so absorbed in my dance business that I don’t spend enough time with loved ones. Let’s see if I can change this for my next goal review!

4. Financial

Stay out of debt – I paid off what I had last year and so far I’ve not took out anymore – go me! However with said 4 trips impending this is going to be tricky… I will remain optimistic but we will see.

Another financial goal I have FINALLY achieved is starting to save a pension… I left it way too long but better late than never!

5. Spiritual

Definitely time to check in with this goal, I can’t lie… it’s not going great. I’ve managed to write in my gratitude journal a handful of times only… I just forget!! Meditation is definitely lacking… I’m also having trouble sleeping of late. I think I am being more mindful though so that’s something I guess. Spiritual goals definitely need more work.

6. Fitness

Yoga every day? Erm not quite ha ha! Oh my… I definitely over committed on this one. It’s not going to happen. I’m soooo active in general with my job, I also go the gym too. I’m managing yoga 3x a week and loving it! You know what, I’m okay with this.

7. Personal enrichment

Okay so a big goal here was to learn more about blogging and develop mine. I have definitely committed to this… it’s a big blogging world and there is so much to learn! But I’m enjoying this journey so far. Since January I have done a few free courses, made upgrades to my blog, dipped my toe into SEO (what a mind field)  and committed to a posting schedule – every Sunday.

Read every day? If that includes internet research and blogs absolutely… books… no. Perhaps I can improve my sleep by reading more again… food for thought.

8. Self Care

As far as self care goes I’m pretty good… as in I have a facial a month, a massage, nails maintained and my hair. But self care is so much more. How about taking time out, knowing when your over working and learning to say no. I’m not great at this… I’m still trying to take on the world, this needs to change.

Smoothie a day? I’ve managed maybe 4 a week… not a bad start. What I’ve learned with smoothies is simple is better. Don’t over complicate them and I’m more likely to make them.

Body brush 3 x a week, no problem! This I can proudly say I’ve achieved. Small victory but none the less important… have you read about the benefits of body brushing?! Hmmm maybe to share in another post.

Yeah so that’s it guys… I’ve checked in on my goals for the first time this year. There are some I don’t mention as this post would be way to long… but point is I’m reviewing them!

Checking in with my goals, sky diving

Are you checking in with your goals? I would love to hear how your doing… let’s celebrate our achievements as we go.

Rachael x

Posted in Personal Development

36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Years…

I’ve had a blogging break. Not intentionally but life has been so busy as usual! I’m feeling slightly inspired this morning so here I am. This Saturday just gone I turned 36 years old, happy birthday to meee! The past few years I use to dread being another year older. I’m so over that now… a quote I read had a really profound effect on me…

I am fortunate enough not to have lost anyone my age that I’m close to. But I know of people I went to school with, friends of friends my age who didn’t make it to the age I am now. Sure when I take a selfie I might try a million angels so the light hits right and round my eyes look better! But who doesn’t?! It is an absolute privilege to grow older and we should never forget that. Cliche it may sound but every day is a gift and you never know what tomorrow may bring. I am grateful for every one of my thirty six years. My life has been the winding road that it’s meant to be… lessons have been learned but memories have been made.

I feel like it’s only in the last two years I have really become comfortable with being me. I was far too worried about what others think and afraid of looking bad. Whilst this does still bother me occasionally I’m so glad most the time I’m confident enough stay true to myself. This is my life and I realise I must do what’s right for me… I value others opinion but I’m the one holding the pen to my story. You will never keep everyone happy. So here’s 36 things I’ve learned in my 36 years so far…

1. One of the best things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood

2. If you know what you want to do when you leave school then you are lucky, I’m still doing now what I did at seventeen and I love it just as much now as I did then

3. Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life… so true… when the thing that you do to get money doesn’t feel like work you are living your best life

4. Child birth was the most excruciating pain ever and maybe you will forget but I certainly haven’t

5. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do. It’s basically giving up the life you know for a completely new one

6. There is no love quite like being somebody’s mummy

7. You will discover your parents were always right even though you probably still won’t admit it to them

8. Don’t strive for perfection in everything you do, it’s just an illusion. Striving for perfection will leave you in a constant state of frustration

9. Travel will make your soul soar, money spent on holidays is never money wasted

10. A few good genuine friends are better than many. As you grow older you will learn which ones are in it for the long haul with you. Cherish them

11. Not everyone has the same heart as you but don’t let that change yours

12. Know what you need and be unapologetic about caring for yourself. Self care is not selfish it’s necessary to your wellbeing

13. Gratitude is the way forward. Wake up every day thankful for all the amazing things in your life. Remember there’s always something to be thankful for

14. Forgiveness is a super power. Forgive others not because they deserve it but because you deserve peace. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned

15. Learn the art of growing without loosing your inner child… some of my favourite days now are still spent colouring, going to the zoo, building sandcastles or playing on swings

16. Never ignore the feeling in your gut… trust your vibes… energy doesn’t lie. I have learnt to listen to my intuition more as I have got older

17. What you say about other people says more about you than it does about them. Be kind with your words, never gossip

18. Protect your energy… surround yourself with positive people who lift you higher

19. It’s never too late to start over in any area of life. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Yes you can! You can do anything you put your mind to!

20. It’s free to dream but dreams only come into reality with hard work. When you look at people who seemingly have it all, respect the hustle they went through to get there

21. Your reality really is a projection of your thoughts. Keep them good, positive and inspiring.

22. Good manners will take you far in life

23. Always Smile… smile when you wake up, smile to yourself, smile at strangers – better to be the one who smiled than the one who didn’t smile back. Smiling makes your eyes sparkle…

24. Having love in your life is everything… family, friends, relationships. Without love… there is nothing

25. Look after your body… it’s the only place you have to live. Nourish it with good food but don’t deny yourself treats. Keep it moving… remember your only as young as your spine is flexible

26. Read… the more you read the more things you will know. A good book is a wonderful way of escapism

27. You can never take too many photos! Snapshots of moments gone by will make you smile in your future, even when you ‘weren’t looking your best that day’

28. Practice mindfulness, savour the moment you are in. We live in a fast paced world… remember to pause and smell the sea air, the cut grass, savour the taste of the food you eat, hug someone a little longer

29. You get what you pay for. Quality over quantity every time

30. You can’t change other people… you can only change your reactions to them. Walk away from people and situations that no longer serve you

31. Keep an open mind… it takes all kinds of people to make a world and what a wonderful thing that is

32. Never make a promise you can’t keep

33. Disappointments are part of life but never loose hope… keep pushing forward

34. Mistakes are our greatest teachers. Don’t linger in regret about them, acknowledge them and move on

35. Not everybody will like you or understand you and that’s okay… they are not your people

36. Happiness is an inside job. It’s letting go of what you think your life should look like and embracing every moment. Always strive to find joy in the day to day.

So that’s it! Cheers to me and my 36 years… let’s see what lessons my next 36 will bring me – I hope I’m blessed enough to see them.

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise!

Well it’s 2019 and I bet plenty of you have muttered these words… ‘right that’s it after Christmas… I’m going to get fit/loose weight/diet. But come February is your determination wavering after the usual hum drum of life sets back in? Your so tired after work, the kids need you, you’ve not got time, blah blah… we’ve all been there. So how can you start and more importantly stick to a new you fitness routine? I was thinking about this on the treadmill the other day. What sparked me to is knowing that January will be a manic month in the gym but come February it will trail off. So here’s my advice on how to stick with fitness this year.

1. Make it a health mission

Firstly I think it needs to be just that… a health mission. This is about you feeling better, brighter, more energetic and full of life. That needs to be your on going goal to feel good… notice how I say ongoing… there’s no end goal here this is your life and you should strive to feel the best you can through out it.

2. Find something you love

You need to find something you love. You can’t make this a chore! If you know you hate the gym don’t pick that!! Maybe you could go swimming? Walking or jogging? Tennis? Zumba? This is all about committing to exercising. Don’t let you mind just jump to the gym… what did you enjoy as a child? Could you join a local team? Bottom line… if you don’t enjoy it it’s harder to stick to it.

3. Get the right gear

What ever you choose get the right clothes to wear. You want to look the part even if you don’t feel it. Also if you buy yourself a new fitness outfit it will spur you on into going to… I mean you don’t want to have wasted your money! The wrong gear can also make you sweat more. I once had some trainers that I swear made me hotter when I trained… they just weren’t breathable enough.

4. Find the right place to train

So this doesn’t apply if your exercising at home but if you are doing it out the house not all places to train are the same. Just because you didn’t like one gym doesn’t mean you won’t like another… some are large and spacious, others more intimate. Some are women only which might appeal, some are aimed at body builders/heavy lifters. I wasn’t a fan of swimming unless it was on holiday… pools are not warm enough and I’m always cold in the changing room after. I recently changed fitness club and guess what? I tried the swimming and I loved it! The pools not busy, temperature is good and the changing rooms are lovely.

5. Find the right instructor

Much like the right place to train an instructor that is good at what they do and train at a pace you enjoy is worth their weight in gold. Personal trainers vary massively I’ve learnt over the years… yours should really make you feel at ease and listen to you but also motivate you to go that extra mile. Instructors of fitness classes styles will vary too. I’ve found this a lot though in yoga. I once went to a class where the teacher literally whispered what we were doing through out! I struggled to hear and kept having to crane my neck to see what she was doing! Some people may have enjoyed that but I preferred to hear the direction clearly. If your trying a fitness class, try several! Find an instructor you like.

6. Don’t set unrealistic goals

I love goal setting, goals are great as they motivate you! But try not to set super challenging ones. You will only be disappointed when you don’t achieve them. Instead set goals in bite size pieces… if you are just starting out running and your aim is to run a marathon keep it in mind but maybe write down run 5k first and keep upping your goal. Another one is promising yourself you will go the gym five days a week when you know it will be a struggle. Why not aim for three which is more manageable and if you go any extra it’s a bonus.

7. Schedule your workouts

Life is busy! Get those work outs in the diary like you do with work appointments and drinks with friends. If it’s in the diary it has to happen! This is my mentality anyway. If it’s right in front of your eyes as you look at your day/week which is bound to be full of non negotiable stuff your exercise regime becomes a part of this too. I also find finding fitness classes where you have to book in helps. I’m on the fence about exercising with a friend thing though… if you do this be careful who you choose as their just not feeling it tonight can rub off on you. If you come dependent with going with someone.

8. Create the ultimate playlist

It’s amazing how much music can motivate your work out. Obviously if your going to a fitness class they are mostly done to music. But that music is carefully selected for a reason. Get together a playlist of songs you love but ones that make you want to train faster and harder. Also if you’ve got headphones in people are less likely to speak to you and interrupt your work out – BONUS!

9. Take progress photos

Okay so you may well hate this at the beginning if your unhappy with how you look… but take the photos trust me. You might think your not progressing or changing but you can miss these little changes as you go along. Progress photos will help you to notice better and will serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come. That said I’m a big advocate of its about how you feel as much as how you look.

10. No such thing as a bad work out

You’ve heard this before but it’s totally true. I’ve had days where it’s just not happening for me, I’ve done half a work out and literally left the gym! Then the next day I’ve come down with a cold. Listen to your body… it knows. However be realistic with yourself… make sure it’s your body that’s not feeling it and not your mind. If you really feel unwell don’t push it. Any form of getting your body moving is better than none. Also if you have a bad day don’t let it set the tone for the whole week!

It might not be easy at first but persevere. In my experience there will come a point when it is part of your routine and you feel almost guilty if you don’t go/do it.

Any other tips you would add here? You’ve got this… in 2019 your going to feel amazing!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Personal Development

What’s not to love about January?!

I have to confess… I’m a total lover of January! I know this month is not favoured by many… so I thought I would sell it to you. Let’s look at the first month of 2019 through rose tinted glasses, let’s have a positive start to the year!

1. You get to put away the tree, decorations and all the Christmas presents and other bits of random crap that have gathered through out the festivities. You can’t deny it… there comes a point when you just want your house back. Bonus – your living room feels huge now!

2. Normal life resumes… now you might challenge me on this but I love my job, I love working (I know I’m lucky) I love to get back to routine. None of that ‘what day is it even?’ If it’s not got a name (Christmas day, Boxing Day etc) we have no bloody clue.

3. It signals the start of a brand new year! You can put the past year behind you good or bad and think about your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Added to this is the fact you can start using a brand new diary (sorry – stationary lover here! I still adore a paper one)

4. GOALS… I love to plan, try to be organised and set goals. What are your plans for 2019? Don’t just saunter through life from month to month with no direction… go plan those goals… you will feel great when you achieve them. Make this a great year to look back at!

5. New year, new me! Post Christmas it’s time to get fit! Everybody loves to make January the month they commit to fitness, motivation is at an all time high and it’s great to see! Be a cheerleader for your friends and offer support as they start out on a new fitness journey… help them to see it through… not just in January.

6. Everyone is skint in January so nobody will be wanting to do much therefore you will be able to save money by staying in. Which is only a good thing after the hectic month of December where endless nights out and activities with the kids are sure to have left your bank account crying… not to mention the gift buying. Embrace the cold dark nights with a new Netflix series.

7. You can actually see things in shops… no but seriously… I love to shop but December is torture, saying excuse me every few seconds as you navigate yourself through crowds to find what you want and don’t get me started on the queues!! Added bonus is the sales if you can be bothered rummaging through (I fast lose patience!)

8. With Christmas done and dusted January is a great month to look at holidays. Where do you fancy going this year? Planning a holiday will give you something to look forward to.

9. It’s my birthday! Ok so that’s a reason for me to love it not you unless you are a January baby too! If so Happy Birthday!

So that’s it… is there anything you would add here? Happy January guys! Make it the start to a fabulous year.

Rachael x

Posted in Personal Development

New year, new goals… How exciting?

So with 2018 drawing to a close like many of you my thoughts are turning to the year ahead. Apparently this is a late post for 2019 goal planning as a quick google told me a lot of people were writing such posts back in October. But in my opinion it’s better late than never and technically were not even late as there’s still two days of this year left!

I totally love having goals, it makes me feel excited about the future. But it’s rare I write them down… it’s usually all just in my head or in the notes of my phone. But I read somewhere that a study revealed that by writing your goals down you are more likely to achieve them. So I spent yesterday afternoon finalising how I want my year to shape up by actually getting them down on paper.

I’ve always loved drawing and colouring so there was something therapeutic about cracking out my felt tips and making my 2019 goals oh so pretty!

For optimum goal planning I found it’s helpful to break them down into categories as oppose to having a long list. I decided to divide my goals into the following eight categories as I feel it covers all areas of life. But choose categories that you feel are relevant to you.

  • Fitness
  • Family and friends
  • Personal enrichment
  • Fun and adventure
  • Spirituality
  • Self care
  • Financial
  • Career

For each of the eight categories I wrote 2-5 goals down. Some could have fit in more than one category but I just put them in the one I thought they were most relevant too. Just to give you an idea here’s a few of mine…

Fitness – To do yoga every day

Family and friends – spend more time with my adorable nephew Noah

Personal enrichment – develop my blog

Self care – Have a green smoothie a day

Fun and adventure – sky dive!

Spirituality – meditate every day

Financial – stay out of debt completely

Career – finish setting up my clothing company for dance and cheer

These and several of my other goals could be further explored. For example read more often – I could then write a list of books I want to commit to reading. The sky dive could be pencilled in my diary or even booked. Look how you can further develop your goals to make it more likely for you to achieve them.

Finally I made sure my list had space still so under each category as I may decide to add more. It’s important though to not overwhelm yourself initially so remember your list is adaptable. Who said goals are just to be planned at the beginning of the year? Goals can be set at anytime but January is obviously the perfect month to look at the year ahead with optimism and excitement.

So off you go to plan your goals! I hope I have inspired you if you haven’t already done it… I hope in 2019 you achieve all you want to.

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m Just a Dance Teacher…

Much like stay at home mums do I get the phrase said to me ‘oh your just a dance teacher’ this is of course after asking me what else I do. I know people think I’m just off all day. This couldn’t be further from the truth… Now let me start by telling you that I have my own dance academy. I don’t own a premises but I do rent several buildings to teach in. Not being in one base means I have over 220 pupils at present. That’s a lot of kids! My classes range from 10-18 children each, no more, thank goodness. So that’s 220 pupils I manage, 220 parents.

In any one day I can get up to say 30 texts ‘*insert name* can’t come today’ ‘what’s the song they are dancing to?’ ‘Have you seen *insert name* coat/water bottle/school bag) ‘I have this friend, can she start’ You get my jist… this is time consuming. On top of this there are the new starter enquiries which are constant and worse still the ‘I’ve been on the waiting list a year, how far along am I now?’ Which always make me feel awful. I am also contactable via email, phone and WhatsApp. I have a very active Facebook page too and a relatively new Instagram (that actually I keep failing to post on, is it any wonder why? ha ha!) I play constant catch up replying to people.

I teach 22 classes in total in a week, 8 cheer, the rest dance. I work 6 days out of the seven… yes I just teach after school but all these dances need choreographing. At any one time I can be choreographing over 40 dances if classes are learning more than one routine. That’s ALOT of dance ideas to churn out and remember! I do some on the spot but I do have to take out at least 15 hours a week for choreography. Also the music doesn’t download itself and certainly doesn’t edit itself… one track can take several hours for cheer.

Then there is the admin side. Registers, enrolement forms, emails keeping parents in the loop, slips to hand out in class. Don’t get me started on keeping up with accounts too! Keeping up with UKCA information for the cheerleading. If we’re doing merit awards they all need filling out and medals ordering. It’s not unusual for me to be doing admin till 1am in the morning at times.

Then there is the annual show… for dance this is every May. The show whilst not until May gets prepped by me from January. Not that people realise… it takes me a whole five months of graft to put together that two hour performance you see on stage. Endless planning, letters, staffing – plus chaperone licensing. Costumes… I sort all the costumes… everyone has two. Yup… that’s around 300+ costumes I kid you not. Some just simple t-shirts etc but they all still need sourcing and sorting. Ticket sales, seating plans, lighting plans, props, running orders, dressing room arrangements, rehearsal arrangements… the list is endless.

On top of my usual working six day week I quite often work a Sunday too doing dance parties. Which whilst I love them are probably the hardest of all. You see little *insert name* loves to dance so she’s having a dance party… this doesn’t mean all the other kids do though so you have a hard job keeping everyone interested and involved. Add to this the birthday child might be turning 7 but she’s got several 2-3yr old cousins that are running wild and make sure you bring your loudest voice because your not only shouting over the 25 party kids also the chatting parents. I’m not gonna lie… after a party wine usually follows ha ha!

Some weekends we enter cheer competitions which takes over the whole day (usually a Sunday) these take a lot of preparation for. Through the summer months we sometimes dance and cheer at local carnivals.

Like many kids activities I stop for school holidays… ahhh rest time! Ermmm no… if I’m not working I don’t get paid and whilst I do have some school holiday time to myself I also run holiday club to keep my wages coming in. This consists of me entertaining up to 25 kids all day. Dance, crafts, sports, games etc. I’m paid to play, I love it but this all needs planning.

Now all this sounds like I’m moaning about my job… but I’m not. I absolutely love it! Not so much the admin side as the actual creative side but I live to dance. Dance is life for me and without it I would be half a person. I am blessed to teach so many children and be part of their lives… I am grateful every day for that. I don’t go to work… I go to dance! I like to think of us as one big dance family. I pride myself on actually knowing the children as well as just teaching them. I like to know what’s going on in their lives and hear about what they’ve been up to (Some of the stories I hear are hilarious – I know everything about you parents ha ha!)

But no… I’m not just a dance teacher… I’m a business owner, marketing expert, girl boss, choreographer, administrator, accountant, stylist and events planner… does that that cover it?… and you know what… I wouldn’t have it any other way 💕

Rachael x

Posted in Must do days out!

Alpaca Walking in the Lake District

I love a good animal experience… every year I search out how I can get closer to animals. So you can imagine my delight when a friend posted on Instagram about walking alpacas in the Lake District. I immediately went online and booked a private walk for me and my son Lex with the company Alpacaly Ever After – cool name right?!

We headed to the lakes, just on the outskirts of Keswick to meet our new friends. Alpacaly Ever After is located in the Lingholm estate. It is right next to Derwentwater and centres around a large Victorian country house within private woodland and gardens. Before meeting the alpacas we took time to look in the walled garden which we later found out inspired Beatrix Potter when writing Peter Rabbit… it’s easy to see why…

You could also take some of the gardens produce and make a donation if you liked… I thought that was lovely but didn’t take any as I was heading away again the next day.

Soon after we went to meet the alpacas and let me tell you what characters they were! Lex and I were each given an alpaca to take out. Mine was white and called Boo, his was brown and called Dudley. We were so excited!!

Once they were on the leads along with our guide, off we went. You walk through the estate and past the country house. Which of course provided the perfect opportunity for a photo stop.

We walked through a cherry orchard and along through the woods. The alpacas stopped a lot to graze on the lush green grass. They also bizarrely loved to walk over short trees as apparently it tickles and scratches their tummies – so cute. They didn’t pull, sometimes we had to give them a little tug to encourage them to walk! (enough grass already!) but they happily trotted along with us.

All the way along the walk we were stroking down their necks and backs. You can understand why Alpaca wool is expensive… they were so soft. We reached the edge of Derwentwater and apparently sometimes they like to go in the water, but not today (I was slightly relieved given we had forgot our wellies) my son got the coolest photo by the lake with Dudley.

Soon after we walked back through the woods and past the house again, back to the field they call home. I learned that altogether they have around 50 alpacas but not all of them are at the Lingholm estate.

Time to finish the experience with some hand feeding. Lex wasn’t keen but of course I loved it! The only problem was they all wanted some.

Altogether we were with the alpacas about a hour and a half. We loved every minute! I would definitely recommend this experience if you love animals. It was great to get up close and learn more about these funny quirky creatures and the setting was sooo beautiful. I struggled to pick photos for this blog post as we had so many!

Now what animal experience will be next? Any suggestions?

Rachael x

To book an alpaca experience go to… www.alpacalyeverafter.co.uk