7 January 2014

Pathway to Success!

The reason I enjoy social media so much and implement it into my business strategy is because it makes it easier and more instant for me to communicate any ideas that I may have, it's also a great resource of inspiring ideas by other people. Ideas, communication and interaction are delightfully combined in the Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and all the rest of them are the perfect platforms for creative women in business, no matter whether at home, on the High Street or out and about. That's why I had the idea to create The Ideas Station, specialised workshops for women. It was only today, that I became truly aware of how I develop an idea of mine from the first thought, or concept, right to the end and completion. For me focus, is the most important first step that I take to bringing my ideas to fruition.

Focus is one of the most truly useful skills we can develop.

I am generally rubbish at that but each time I apply myself and consciously focus on the challenge or action I have to complete, it works. I complete successfully and my vision comes to fruition.

I am sure that you too, like me have lots and lots of thoughts and ideas zooming round your head, about everything. I'm sure you have some amazing ideas and then because of distractions, no action is taken, which means your idea floats away forgotten.

Ideas to me are such valuable celestial inspirations, they seem like bursting stars of gifts from the universe to help me through my life. I am blessed to be extremely rich in ideas, sometimes overwhelmingly rich, which can lead to inaction, as one idea after another causes it's own unique distraction.

When I have an idea, it floats around in my mind, with all the other ideas and constant background chatter that we all have about things we must do, need to do, don't want to do and so on. However, when I choose to focus on one idea, a very strong image is formed in my mind, it is so extremely powerful that it leads me to take each action necessary to implement the idea.

If I could paint what I see when I choose to focus on one idea in particular, there would be a pathway in front of me, with deep perspective, wide at the beginning, where I am standing and my ultimate goal right at the end of the path, where the lines converge. The pathway is edged with light, it could be blue, or yellow, or any other colour, or a kaleidoscope of different hues. The image has straight lines only, like the tunnel that people believe you may see when you die, with the sparkling star of the idea at the end. This visualisation wasn't taught to me, it wasn't a concious decision to use it, initially but as time goes on, that is what I do.
I purposely conjure up that image in my mind and when I say, I'm focussing on this project at the moment, I mean absolutely that. This image protects me from any other distractions, other ideas or obligations are clouded in a misty fog.

It was only today, that I absolutely wholly consciously understood what a powerful technique I have honed over the past nearly 5 years in business. It's a really reliable pathway to success. The biggest tip I can give you for 2014 and beyond is:

Focus on that future point, where your dreams are reality and come to fruition and you will find everything falls into place as you move towards your special light and your ideas transform into reality!

If you want to know more about The Ideas Station inspirational social media workshops for women, then you can read about and book them here.

5 January 2014

Facing Fats!

Since moving to Shepton Mallet in August 2013, I have been rushing around, doing many, many things. Things like, well, moving to Shepton Mallet in the first place! Running backwards and forwards to London, to run The Ideas Station, inspirational social media workshops for women, with +Cathy Underwood , leading us in a yogic introduction and meditating on believing in ourselves and nurturing our businesses and +Eve Tudor, teaching social media secrets. I've been trying sell my London flat, to make our move absolutely complete, prepared and then opened our 2nd My Coffee Stop, got the Children into local schools, got myself elected as Town Councillor, got heavily involved with the Tadley Place campaign, helped to support Danny the Collette Park Gardener's Mum and won extra funding for Ideas Station workshops in the evening, for the Lower Edmonton area of Enfield.

Do you think I ate healthily in that time?

No! I didn't, I didn't have time, I couldn't focus on food, huh, even though our shop is a coffee and health food shop! The irony of selling protein rich bags of quinoa, whilst scoffing high carbohydrate pasta at home, didn't completely pass me by and the pasta and other high carbohydrate goodies that I've been enjoying didn't pass me by either, they have resolutely stuck to my hips, thighs, bum and breasts. Some of the parts that attracted extra weight from the carbs, also attracted extra attention from my partner, Gunter Hollenstein. I'll leave it to your imagination as to which parts he most enjoyed!

Today, my 10 year old son and I were talking about healthy eating and how it relates to weight and in that discussion, he said, 'Mum, you have let yourself go a bit, you still look lovely but you were a bit more streamlined before.' Hmmmm! I looked into his big wide eyes and felt happy that he could tell me what could be taken as quite a hurtful truth. Telling the truth in that way was good, I kind of knew it myself but had hoped it wasn't noticeable! Ah, that hope was finished.

For around 5 months, I have eaten what I want, without consideration and now I'm considerably more unfit than I was before. I haven't done a Zumba class since August and I really, really miss it!
So, today I have decided, it's back to good clean healthy eating again! Yippee!

I have signed up to a very special online nutrition programme called New Skinny Me run by the ever knowledgeable and caring Amrit.

I'm looking forward to getting rid of my sugar cravings, of feeling pains in my lungs when I drink milk, of getting rid of stomach pains when I eat gluten and of getting rid of the extra weight I'm carrying around, which is making me feel tired and making my back hurt.#

Yes, I'm looking forward to this.
I'm getting myself ready to Attack that Fat!
The change to my eating habits should be for a lifetime, not just a few months, so I want to do something I can stick to.
I have tried low carb and paleo type eating regimes and I love that way of eating food more closely connected to nature.

Do you stay off gluten, or dairy? What are your favourite recipes?
Do you practice clean eating? What tricks have you got for eating out?
Please share your ideas and comment here!
I hope, maybe if you're feeling a bit unfit, that I can help to inspire you to follow my lead.

Be happy and healthy in 2014,
Love Karen. Xx

2 January 2014

Prince Charles and David Vagg invited for a cuppa with Shepton Mallet Town Councillor

So, I've been a Town Councillor in Shepton Mallet, for less than a month and I find myself immersed in a cause that I feel passionately about, working together with other Councillors on the team, from all the parties but especially +Garfield Kennedy who got me involved in this whole thing, in the first place!

Shepton Mallet Town Council and several residents from Tadley Acres have teamed up to oppose the building of over 40 houses on a gorgeous piece of green land, enjoyed by the community for several years and promised to the residents as being earmarked for community use.

This is the story of Tadley Place, as I understand it, so far:

Once upon a time, a beautiful housing development was designed and then created, the people involved in creating the ethos and ideals of this 'Village within a Town' concept, worked intensely hard on creating the dream and bringing it to fruition.

The Prince of Wales' Duchy Estates, our local farmer David Vagg and Bloor Homes, were just some of the stakeholders in this project and it was their hard work and collaboration that created a new housing development with soul and a strong sense of community. This article in Shepton Mallet Journal, 2011, states that, ' More than 90 per cent of the land on which the estate has been developed was owned by local farmer David Vagg.

The rest of the property belonged to the Duchy of Cornwall, headed by Prince Charles.

The site was planned meticulously, with frequent consultations between the Vagg family and the Duchy.

Back in 2001 Robert Adam, project architect for the Duchy of Cornwall, was reported in this newspaper saying: "David Vagg and his family wanted to give something to Shepton Mallet that they could be proud of in years to come.'

In the centre of this amazing. award-winning development, there was a glorious patch of green space, which the residents have enjoyed ever since they first moved in and continue to enjoy this day. This green space was a very special green space as it was contractually agreed that it would be used to build a school, a community centre, or other community asset, or it would not be built on at all!

Unfortunately, promises and contractual agreements seem to have been forgotten when Somerset County Council stated that the site would no longer be required, as no school would be built, as reported in this edition of The Shepton Mallet Journal, in October 2013. The article states that in a meeting on September 10th, a spokesman for CG Fry & Son said: "The site was originally reserved for a new primary school as part of the planning permission and Section 106 Agreement for the wider housing development.

"Somerset County Council has recently confirmed that the site is not now required, so the landowners have quite properly considered alternative uses with a land value to them."

Surely Somerset County Council have made a big mistake, didn't they need to say that the land needed to be kept for community use? This was stated in brochures at the time and residents have told me that they have this land reserved for community use, mentioned in their household deeds!

And look at the website of the Architect Robert Adam, where a village green, new school and community building are all mentioned.

Frustration is now building (did you like that?) for the residents of Tadley Acre, where stones with hardly visible signs on saying 'Private Land' have suddenly appeared and CG Fry & Son, want to push through plans to build 40+ houses on the site, that was originally earmarked for community use. Residents affectionately refer to this area of green land which they have collectively enjoyed for several years as Tadley Place and you can help their campaign by liking their Tadley Place Facebook Page and following Tadley Place on Twitter.

I personally feel the 'Private Land' signs should be replaced with ones saying 'Tadley Place' as in the picture above and have a wonderful picture in my mind of Prince Charles and David Vagg unveiling the new signs, happy that their original vision hasn't been destroyed!

Do you know Prince Charles, or David Vagg? I really would like to have a chat with them both. I was thinking that it would be nice to discuss over afternoon tea.

So, here is my invitation to Prince Charles and David Vagg.

Dear Prince Charles and David Vagg, you are both cordially invited to enjoy a cup of tea with me, maybe even more than one, if we get on well!

I'll provide the fair trade organic Yogi Tea.
Prince Charles, please bring some Duchy Originals biscuits for us to enjoy.
David, I'd like you to provide the milk.

Time and Date to be decided between us.

Location, Either somewhere really posh where Prince Charles is the host, maybe in a farmhouse David, or you could both come along to my little Shepton Mallet coffee and health food shop, if you wish.

Failing that, we could meet at Tadley Place but it might be a bit cold for that.

I look forward to speaking to you both about Tadley Acres and making sure that your vision for a gorgeous community, village-like development is NOT destroyed by building on the green known affectionately by residents as Tadley Place.

RSVP: cllr.k.mercer@sheptonmallet.info

Thank you. xx

If you know how to get this invite to Prince Charles and David Vagg, please do present it to them and let me know.

Are you battling against developers too, what have you managed to do to keep your treasured green spaces?

1 January 2014

The Day Michael Eavis told me NO!

2013 was the year that +Michael Eavis  successfully booked the Stones for Glastonbury Festival and it was the year that I first met Michael. He has such vitality, energy and wit about him, he is definitely no ordinary old age pensioner! 

I asked Michael if I could have some free tickets to Glastonbury, as I had never ever been before and he said something along the lines of,'Wow, amazing, incredible, gosh that is so very unusual, not many people can say that, you've never been to Glastonbury before? I quite admire that, it's quite amazing, different, yes, yes, very admirable, I respect you for that.....'

Of course I just knew he was going to give me some freebies to welcome me to Shepton Mallet, the nearest town to the festival and get me to realise why I would absolutely have to go every year....
He continued....

'It's a wonderful thing, you've never been before....' I'm nodding away, thinking...'this man likes my independent thinking, he knows I'm discerning, I'm special and once he's won me over, he knows that I'll be telling everyone how wonderful it all is, after experiencing it for the first time ever!' I was smiling at him, he was smiling at me, we both chuckled and nodded our heads at each other happily and he said....
'Let's keep it that way!'

'What?' I asked, not believing my ears, thinking he's joking.....
'I think it's a wonderful thing that you've never seen the festival, let's keep it that way!' All the while he was chuckling and smiling an impish looking smile.

This must have been the nicest way to be refused a freebie ever, ever, ever.....with smiles, laughter and jovility but my heart sank. Here I was, after just 30 minutes or so, thinking that we were best pals and he understood my quirky, eccentric ways because he too has quirky eccentric ways and oh, I was just a traitor that had never supported his vision. 

I felt bad and tried to remember why I had never ever wanted to go......wellington boots, muddy fields, too many pop stars and big egos, (my ego is enough for me in a wet, muddy, cold field) I didn't want to stand in the cold, not hearing the vocals properly, or hearing people sing flat because they can't hear themselves through the sound system. I didn't want that disappointment when you hear the talent live and compared to the tight studio sound, it's as if all the notes have been mixed up in a blender, thrown into the air and only vaguely resemble the music you know, when they come back down again. Yes, I admit, I am a Glastonbury sceptic but the reason I want to go is because I live right next to it and I love local and I love supporting local, so if this is a local initiative then that is fab and I want to join in and experience the fun! Then when I've experienced it I want to shout about it.
I'm just going to have to save up really, really hard if I want to get some festival tickets!

The reason that I went to see Michael with  is because I wanted to ask him to support me in my campaign to be Town Councillor in  and he did and I won the election with a landslide victory! So a massive thank you anyway to Michael for supporting my campaign and of course to Garfield and  for supporting me all the way! 

Did you ever ask a cheeky something from someone? Did you get what you requested, or did they say 'No' and have you ever had a 'no' as nice as the one that Michael gave to me? I'd love to know, please comment here.