Monday, 30 April 2012

Mary Portas – Bottom Line

Some of you may have watched Mary Portas’ TV show on Channel 4, “Bottom Line”. If you did you will know what I am talking about, but for those who didn’t here is a quick explanation about the program from

“Britain was once a manufacturing colossus, renowned for its world-class clothing industry. But today, most fashion is manufactured cheaply abroad and, across the UK, vast, bustling factories and skilled manufacturers have simply ceased operation. So when and why did we stop buying British? In Mary’s Bottom Line, Mary Portas wants to boost the UK clothing industry by starting her own production line to manufacture a key staple in any woman’s wardrobe – knickers.

So for this three-part Channel 4 series, Mary heads to Middleton near Manchester, where past generations used to thrive on a booming manufacturing industry, but these days many factories are closed and unemployment is rife. Mary will recruit eight apprentices, get them trained up, and start a knickers production line.

Mary is re-opening the sewing room floor at a factory owned by British nightwear manufacturers Headen and Quarmby. It was one of 11 thriving textile factories in Middleton, now it is the only one that remains. Established in 1935, the factory used to employ 60 machinists and produced thousands of items a week before competition from cheap imports forced the Company to send production abroad.

But can she really make pants cost-effectively? Can she find a retailer prepared to stock her knickers and, crucially, can she convince shoppers to pay a bit more for a British made product? Or is it really the end of the line for the UK’s textiles heritage?”

We have always been told that one person can change the world and this program showed me that it’s true. Although Mary Portas may be well connected and has many years in the fashion industry behind her, she is still just one person with an idea. Mary puts her heart and soul into trying to rebuild this industry and helping the local people come back to work. I was surprised how touched I was as I watched the program. We are rightfully becoming more and more aware of where our food is produced. So many of us make a conscious effort t to support British farmers who treat animals with respect, but we don’t always seem to give ourselves the same respect. It has become accepted, almost a joke, that all our clothes labels state “made in China”. We have forgotten about the industries that Britain used to thrive on.

You can watch the series now at

I am proud to be British, and try to make a conscious effort to support us Brits. I know times are hard at the moment as threats of another recession loom and every penny counts, but becoming aware of how we, little us, can affect so much is a wonderful thing to realise; we really do have the power to change things. Maybe we are not able to set up something on the same scale as Mary but we can choose where we spend our money and what we talk about. Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to have the confidence in your convictions.

© EKTherapies 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Can we Change our Perspective?

Can we change the way we look at things? Does it really make that big a difference? How come you can feel really low and then a good song comes on the radio and by the end of it you feel all uplifted with a spring in your step? Does what we say to ourselves really affect us that much?

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right.” Henry Ford

It can be hard to keep a sense of perspective in our lives. We are constantly bombarded with seemingly urgent things, like phone calls, texts, instant messages, emails, tweets etc. It can feel that we live each day in a constant rush against time with an endless list of things to do. We tend to focus on the negative, what we have to do, what we haven’t achieved, rather than focusing on the good in our life. Changing your perspective can be incredibly refreshing, it can help you see the good in life and calmly tackle any challenges that come your way.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

It sounds almost too easy to be true but if we work with The power of The mind we really can change how we think and consequently how we feel. Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can help you to learn the tools to let go of the past or those niggling thoughts and enjoy life. Here are a few simple ways to change your perspective; give one a try today and see how you can feel calmer and more positive.

  • Open your eyes and see the world around you. It can be all too easy to focus inwards, and whilst it is good to look at yourself it is also important to notice the world around you.
  • Ask “Will it matter in five years?” Almost always the answer is that it won’t matter in a week let alone five years. Some moments are life changing but most of what we worry about, with hindsight or clear thinking, is really not worth any stress.
  • Write down how you are feeling. By putting pen to paper you help to clear your mind of all your thoughts and you can start seeing the situation more clearly, understanding where you need to focus your energy in order to change it.
  • Stop and take stock. It is good to strive for goals but it is also just as important to stop and breathe, to enjoy what you have created. When you go home tonight, look around you and smile, say thank you for what you do have in your life.
  • Go for a walk / break state. When you are feeling like everything is getting on top of you or your mind is wearing away, try going for a walk, break the state, change what you are doing. Walking helps you to de-stress and gives you a chance to clear your head and gain a clearer perspective.
  • Be in the moment. Whatever it is you are doing, whether it is housework or sending an email or even walking in the park, be in the moment. Enjoy that moment for what it is. Absorb the world you are in, look around and take it all in for this moment.
  • Ask “why” and keep asking. Next time you are struggling to get a perspective on something ask why you are doing it. Challenge your inner self for the answer. It may be that you are pushing for something that you don’t really want.
  • Have “downtime”. Think about how much time you really give yourself in a day to de-stress. Even if you find just ten minutes in the day give these to yourself to sit and breathe, maybe go for a walk whilst being in the moment, or read a book. Allow yourself this down time.

These are just a few simple suggestions, there are so many more ways that you can change your perspective and how you feel about the life you are living. Even though nothing has changed in your life, if you change your perspective then it can feel like you are living a new happy life.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 16 April 2012


Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment. Although Mindfulness seems to be a new thing in the Western world it is an ancient practice found in a wide range of Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga. So what is it?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that helps us to live in the moment, wake up, connect with ourselves. To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judging yourself. It is the art of conscious living.

"Paying attention in a particular way:on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” Marlatt &Kristeller

Consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience, with openness, interest and receptiveness.” The Happiness Trap

How to Try Mindfulness Meditation

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.

2. Try to put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present

3. Become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different

4. Watch every thought come and go, whether it be a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts come up in your mind, don't ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor

5. If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. Remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens. Just notice that the feelings change overtime

6. As the time comes to a close, sit for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are. When you are ready get up gradually

Mindfulness helps people to see their situation, thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way so they can stop themselves from reacting impulsively. It gives them time and space to consider a new way of acting, to break a negative cycle of thinking and doing, and to feel more in control of their actions.

Try it now and see the benefits for yourself.

Hypnotherapy, CBT & NLP can hep you to become more aware of yourself and your feelings. To find out what else this amazing combination of therapies can help please click here.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bob The Busking Cat

I came across this article written by Richard Godwin, writer for the London Evening Standard and it filled my heart with a big smile.I thought it would be a great article to share. Enjoy.

If you've never noticed James Bowen playing Nirvana songs around Covent Garden, or selling the Big Issue in Angel, or minding his own business on the 73, thenyou’ve probably noticed his pet. It’s a ginger tomcat. On a lead. (Or sometimes James’s shoulders.) His name is Bob — and he has entranced London like no feline since the days of Dick Whittington.

The first thing you notice about Bob is he’s not like other cats. Dogs do notfaze him; police sirens do not startle him; he’s cool with the Tube (in fact, he has his own Travel card). “It makes you wonder what he did before I found him,” says Bowen, who first met Bob five years ago, when he turned up as a stray on the threshold of his flat in Tottenham. When Bowen tried to leave the house, Bob followed him onto a bus. “I thought,‘My goodness, what is going on here? Somebody’s decided they like me.’ Isn’t that right, Bob?”

Bob says nothing, just twitches his whiskers.

“He knows we’re talking about him,” says Bowen.

The second thing you notice about Bob is that he’s irresistible. Curled up on a chair outside a Covent Garden café he attracts a steady stream of admirers. Paul McCartney once stroked him, apparently. Today, a young Swedish couple say,‘How you doing, Bob!’ while an Australian girl wants to take a picture of his tiny scarf. “People bring him presents from all over— and he doesn’t mind wearing them,” says Bowen.“That’s the thing. He really thinks he’s a person. When I put his scarf on, he gets all proud, he’s like ‘Great! We’re going out!’ He’s one of the boys for sure. Aren’t you, matey?”

Bob keeps his counsel.

He hopes that his new book, A Street Cat Named Bob, which he wrote in collaboration with the writer Garry Jenkins in an Islington café, will challenge some misconceptions. He got the book deal through a literary agent, Mary Pachnos, who used to pass him each day outside Angel station and was curious enough to ask about his life story. “It’s a pretty damn good story, isn’t it?” he says. “And it’s the truth, every word of it. Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting life Bob and I have led.”

Bowen was born in England but after his parents divorced he moved with his mother and stepfather to Australia. He loathed his stepfather and, with the family moving regularly, he found it hard to settle. He was often bullied at school, becoming a “tearaway kid” with a glue habit — and was diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia and manic depression.

In 1997, he escaped Australia for England, where he moved in with his half-sister in south London, but her husband did not take kindly to having a volatile teenager hanging round in black clothing and he was eventually asked to leave. He spent the next few years in a spiral down, from friends’ floors, to squats and finally to the streets, where he spent the best part of the next 10years.

“It became a bleak haze for a while, until I got my s**t together. It was a long, long trek — I spent many years in hostels and in cold-weather shelters, Centre point, St Mungo’s, all that sort of stuff.” It wasn’t long before he started using heroin. “In the hostels, everybody was either a druggy or an alcoholic, so it was such an easy trap. Once you’reon that path it becomes a real Catch-22.”

Bowen broke the cycle, he says, with the help of a strong support network, including his on-off partner Belle (herself a former heroin addict), as well as charities, including Connections at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He has developed a philosophy of self-responsibility. “People who go to these NA [Narcotics’Anonymous] programmes and say ‘I am powerless, God has made me like this’ — I don’t believe that. I believe everybody is in control of their own destiny,” he says. Still, it was touch-and-go until he moved out into the Tottenham flat, which he found through the Peabody Trust and Family Mosaic. The cat showed up on his doorstep a few months after he moved in. Bob (whom Bowen named after the psychopath in Twin Peaks) was injured— a nasty-looking wound on his leg was leaking pus — which meant Bowen had to take immediate action.

“We’re two injured souls looking for someone we can trust — and we trust each other. I still have a hard time trusting people. But one thing about Bob is that he never lies to me. Even if he’s not hungry, he won’t pretend to be, like most other cats do, just to be greedy.” Bowen is not religious, but he does believe in karma. “I think I must have been doing something right for him to come along,” he says.

As he describes in the book, Bob changed his life. “I believe it came down to this little man. He came and asked me for help, and he needed me more than I needed to abuse my own body.”

Although the recession has made life far harder for street performers, Bowen discovered that when Bob accompanied him, he picked up a lot more money from busking. More than that, however, it is his pride in the animal that helped restore him. But the is at pains to point out — often pleading — that he has not exploited the animal. “There is nothing you can do to force a cat to do anything. You have to make that clear.”

Bowen still lives in the flat in Tottenham — it is the longest he has ever spent in any one place — and it has been six years since he used heroin, though he still relies on “scrips” (prescription drugs) to deal with his mental health problems. Despite the turn-around, his relations with his family remain complex, while Belle’s family refuse to speak to him.Whatever pain remains, Bowen is as optimistic as he has ever been.

“It’s nice to know people will be able to sit down and read the story in black and white instead of just assuming things in their mind,” he says. “And also, with the money that I’ll be making from it, it will be nice to make up my flat nicely. It’s not a hell of a lot of money, but it’s enough so that I won’t have to work seven days a week, I can work five days a week. That’s the plan. To have, you know, a normal lifestyle.”

He’s busking at the moment (his signature song is Hurts by Nine Inch Nails, in the Johnny Cash version) as it’s easy to fit around promoting the book. Eventually, he will return to his main source of revenue, which is selling the Big Issue. As for the future, he is thinking of registering Bob as a Care in the Community animal, so he can take him to old people’s homes and care centres. “Animals are great for calming the spirit when you’restressed,” he explains. “He certainly helped me in that way, and I’d like to help other people in that way. Maybe I’d have to take some courses in community care or something like that.”

The first thing he would do if he makes any money from the book, incidentally, is to buy Bob some pet insurance. “I can’t afford it at the moment, I’d love to be able to do that.”

I shudder to think what he would do if anything happened to that cat. “He is what I wake up for every day now. It will be horrible when he leaves me, cos I know cats don’t live as long as human beings…” he drifts off. “But he’s definitely given me the right direction to live my life.”

It’s like a love affair, I say.

“You could say that,” he says, half-laughing, through gritted teeth.“Are you my lover, Bob? You little secret lover? What’s your answer to that?”

Bob’s response is inscrutable.

“He is special. You’ve got to make that clear — that he’s a special little man.”

Article from

Such a wonderful story of how two lost souls found each other in by doing that found their direction and love for life again. I hope it gives you a little spring in your step as you think of little Bob, and if you walk the London streets you might just see him and say hello.

© EKTherapies

Monday, 2 April 2012

Everyone Has Ups and Downs, it is What You Do With Them That Sets Us Apart

It is easy when we see successful people to think that they are just lucky, that they haven’t really had to work for it, that they don’t know the meaning of being poor or having to dig themselves out of a mental pit.

For a few people fortunes do just fall in their laps; since the creation of the National Lottery there are the lucky few who become millionaires overnight. I am sure even this wealth, although amazing, comes with big demons that if not confronted could mean the old ways are not far away.

For most of us though we get to where we are through hard work, sometimes hitting rock bottom, learning what we needed to learn and then building ourselves back up again. A great example of this is J. K. Rowling.

This is her story, I hope it inspires you and gives you hope that you can find happiness.

Before she became the world famous and wealthy author she is today, things were very different for Rowling. Separated from her husband, living in a rented flat in Edinburgh while looking after her young baby, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression. During this period she sat and wrote in cafes while living on social security; she even contemplated suicide. Yet at every turn, Rowling found inspiration. 

The death of her mother gave her a clear insight into loss, causing her to rewrite Harry Potter's experience as an orphan. Her experience of depression brought her the idea of the Dementors, soul-sucking creatures that feature in her books.

Even with what we now know is an amazing novel in her hands, seven years after graduating from university, Rowling saw herself as "the biggest failure I knew." She managed to learn from this feeling too. Rowling recalls: "Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free... I was still alive... I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

Even with her novel completed, and getting ready to become a teacher, she still had her setbacks. Amazingly, "Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone" was rejected by 12 publishers. Then, the daughter of the chairman of Bloomsbury read the first chapter, found it utterly compelling and demanded to see the rest.

This was the start of the turnaround in Rowling's fortunes, and as they say the rest is history.

Sometimes in life we need to recognise when we are heading up the "wrong" path and help ourselves to learn what we need to learn before we embark on the "right" path. Hypnotherapy, CBT& NLP can help you to release negative emotions, let go of old beliefs, forgive yourself for what has been, and help you to walk on the "right"path. The "right" path will still have highs and lows on it but we are working with ourselves, our knowledge, our passions, and striving to achieve what we want to achieve, making life worth living.

© EKTherapies