Category Archives: Relentlessly Positive

Agent Burlieque: Paint the town glitzy with burlesque!

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According to Sapphire Rox, the creator of Suffolk-based burlesque outfit Agent Burlieque, Burlesque can transform our vision of ourselves, bringing confidence and an inner sparkle to anyone who takes part – as well as those who watch the group’s fantastic cabarets and performances.

You can find out for yourself if you’re in Suffolk around 6th and 7th  December – the Christmas Burlesque Cabaret is hitting the town and painting it unashamedly glitzy. Starring the internationally acclaimed Hot Cake Kitty and hosted by songstress extraordinaire Lili La Scala and more, the show will be full of Christmas glamour and celebration.

I spoke to Sapphire about why she thinks burlesque is such a fabulous show both for the entertainers and the audience.

agent burlieque

For those of us who might not know, what is burlesque about?

“Burlesque has many different faces. Mainly it’s an art form used to express a theme along with femininity; done well it is a tantalising expression of the female and sometimes male form.

“At Agent Burlieque we like to work with highly expressive performers who can captivate audiences and  keep them on the edge of their seats. Burlesque appeals to women on a grand scale as it inspires and empowers them.”

What was it that got you fired up to start your own troupe?

“I’m a Londoner born and bred, but I moved to Suffolk to raise my young family and I had to leave the creative scene in London behind.

“I expected  Suffolk to have an established burlesque scene and was blown away when I couldn’t find anything like burlesque at London standard. I took it upon myself to do something about it, and that’s how Agent Burlieque started. We’re a burlesque troupe and also a booking agent, an events company that holds hen nights and workshops.”

The outfits are amazing – where do you get them from?

“Thank you! Each performer carefully selects costumes that reflect the themes of their acts; and of course they need to be easily removable! We all scout high and low for pieces, in vintage markets and car boot fairs, burlesque swap shops and high street stores. Then we customise! Burly girls are known to stay up all night carefully rhinestoning and glitzing up outfits, trimming with beads and making props by hand.”

Agent Burlieque is made up of women from many backgrounds – can you tell us a bit about them?

“The core troupe of Agent Burlieque changes, as does the burlesque scene. We have around 40 performers from all different walks of life, most of them with day jobs. We currently have a call centre worker, a hairdresser, a fire fighter, a tattoo artist, a mum, a prison officer and a stay at home father!”

Let’s be honest – women who are big, curvy or fat are derided constantly in the media. Do you really think that burlesque can help a bigger woman feel more confident in a fat-phobic world?

“I think it’s terrible that we as humans are made to feel constantly terrible about ourselves. And it’s not about being different; we all know size 16 is the average woman’s size in the UK and yet women of this size and bigger are  singled out and encouraged to be ashamed of our body shape. Burlesque fights that to the very core. The following burlesque has I think is largely down to the sheer love of the human body and the empowerment found by both men and women when they watch burlesque.

“Burlesque has the ability to transform current thinking about body shape and what we should look like.”

What’s your take on the way fat people are bullied by the media?

“You know I really am up for celebrating curves, but also thin people, gay men, everyone. None of us should feel ashamed of who we are simply because the advertising agencies want to make a mint out of us. To be ashamed gives the diet, media and fashion industries a financial gain.

“There is a different way to live and that is to accept and celebrate who you are as an individual; and sometimes it can be hard to do that. But find burlesque and you will find you are happy just the way you are.

“I think it is the only industry I know of that can positively transform the media’s harmful message about the female form.  After shows both men and women thank me for bringing them peace…peace that they are just right however and whoever they are.”

Do you have any advice for curvy girls on looking and feeling fabulous?

“Yes!! Show it off! Be confident in the way you dress, don’t hide. Put your red lippy on, do your hair, wear high-waisted skirts and show of that backside! Put on your heels when you go out and paint a ‘look at me’ expression on your face.

“We’ve been told by the media that people only want to look at us when we are thin and model like, but we want to look at them because they are confident and happy in themselves, not because they are thin.

“Once you start showing off your curves instead of hiding them under loose clothes you will also attract the positive attention you deserve and you’ll be sending out the positive message to other curvy people that curves are sexy!”

If you want to find out more about Agent Burlieque, contact Sapphire via the website, or like on Facebook.

 

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Filed under Celebrity, Fashion, Lifestyle, Relentlessly Positive

Raindrops on Roses…

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I was inspired to write this post after a very enlightening chat I had with a friend this morning.

Somehow, through a lot of hard work and practice, and while going through a situation that made looking outside for happiness difficult, she learned to look inside, and to somehow change her perception of everything to see it through a rose-tinted super sparkly filter. It’s all about perception.

I can’t begin to explain what she did and how she did it but I want me some of that. Imagine being able to feel happy when your bus is late, your feet hurt and it’s just started to rain.

I want that!

She told me she’d managed to somehow alter her brain chemistry to see and feel everything as exciting, an adventure, and notice beauty in absolutely everything too. I couldn’t help laughing and telling her that there were people who would pay good money for a chemical that does that to their mind, and there she was getting it for nothing.

Anyway, she gave me a few hints about how to do it. Clue: it involves a lot of writing down positives and reading Byron Katie. But one of these days I want to see diamonds where the raindrops are…

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Extreme Self Care

selfcareIt’s a bit of a buzzword at the moment, or should that be a ‘buzz-phrase’?

Extreme self care sounds like it’s probably way over the top. Too much. Not for the likes of us, but for hippy types who have nothing better to do than sit around chanting and meditating.

I kind of thought it was a bit self indulgent, to be honest. Selfish even. I mean, the thought of being selfish, putting my needs first and just doing things for me – like I’d have time, right?

Well, after having a lovely chat with Donna Highton, otherwise known as Donna on the Beach, I realised that I had it all wrong. Looking after yourself is vital, and even more so when you’re busy as hell and don’t think you have the time to go for a wee, let alone indulge yourself and chill out.

Don’t think so? Neither did I until this week. But Donna explained to me in words that even a stressed out copywriter can understand. I came across Donna via The Amazing Biz and Life group, and I love her for being down to earth, practical, funny and even a little bit sweary. If you have a car that you need to get you to work and back, you make sure it’s filled with fuel, serviced and taken care of. If you try and run the car on vapours and neglect it, eventually it will just stop running and won’t be in any state to get you anywhere. Well, the same goes for your body and soul. All the time you’re not taking care of your body and soul, running on empty, not making sure you get what you need, you’re just buying time until your body just says, “Sod this, I can’t go any further”

That’s when you get poorly, catch a cold, have a bit of a meltdown, and if you’re actually listening, you’ll realise that you’re being told to sit the hell down and rest. Eat some decent food and watch TV, dammit! If you carry on, and on…well, you’re going to crash.

I realised I’m at the “Listen to me, will you?” point. I’m trying to deal with the symptoms of lots of little pesky ailments, but the underlying cause is stress. And funnily enough, much as I REALLY hate to admit it, my diet. I’ve cut wheat out of my diet as an experiment, after reading ‘Wheat Belly’ – and I haven’t needed to take acid reflux pills for two days, my tummy has settled down, and I think my skin rash is clearing up…the one I’ve had a YEAR which hasn’t responded to anything yet. This makes me SO happy.

Even if I miss cake. Anyway, the food experiment was just a part of my self-care routine. I’ve also been trying to do something nice for myself every day, whether it’s an hour reading a book, going for a walk in the park, or listening to a meditation MP3. It’s working, I feel happier, more creative and more productive already. I think I’ve gone from a 2 out of 10 in the “How cared for do you feel?” to at least a 5.

I love that I actually listened to Donna on this! She has a fab e-book you can download for free if you sign up to her blog; and also the 110 Steps to Heal Your Money e-book is free this weekend. I’m working my way through the money e-book because, well, I have a wedding to pay for… I’ll keep you posted on how the wheat-avoidance goes, but if a little bit of diet-tweaking can cure three ailments in one go, I’m gonna be a happy girl…

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Filed under Amazing Biz and Life Academy, General, Lifestyle, Relentlessly Positive

Magic

Optimized-MagichandI just had to share this.

On Monday, I was not a happy camper. I was really struggling, worrying about money. I was a bit worried as I’d spoken to a client who told me they were changing the way they worked so I didn’t think I’d be getting as much work from them. Having already lost SpaSeekers, this was more than a bit of a worry and I got a bit stressed.

Then I had some other news that made me worry about my other half’s job too.

I didn’t sleep well Monday night. I got up first thing on Tuesday morning, I’m talking 2 am, and started registering with more freelance work websites, even the ones that paid rubbish money. Then I decided to try a technique that worked for me before, just after SpaSeekers told me they didn’t need me any more. I got this technique from the brilliant ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch’ by Denise Duffield Thomas.

It’s dead easy. All you have to do is make a spreadsheet of everything you have, money wise. Take it as far as Boots Advantage points, Tesco Club Card points and Costa Coffee club points. I did it; I wrote down what was in every bank account, old savings account and my purse. I counted what was on my credit limits for the accounts I have and even included my overdraft facilities.

I added in work that had been commissioned, and outstanding invoices.

Then I looked at it, and the number wasn’t too bad after all.

The next day, through bleary eyes, I took stock. By lunchtime I’d had a commission for two articles. Then another one came in for a bigger article. Someone got back to me from one of the freelance sites I’d registered with and offered me another two articles with a potential ongoing writing job. I had a message overnight last night to tell me that I’d been paid commission by Leonie Dawson through the affiliate scheme, money I hadn’t expected.

Today, I was asked to do another four articles this morning and one more this afternoon. And I had another unexpected offer of some money for helping someone out.

It’s all flying at me and I’m not complaining.

I’m using another one of her techniques as well, and I keep going onto Rightmove and eyeing up gorgeous houses, saving them to my folder and ogling them. At the moment I’m in love with a spectacular 5-bedroom house in Ipswich with the most enormous bathroom I’ve ever seen. I’m looking at it regularly, I’ve talked to Moley, and also my stepson about how when I have this big house I want, he can have his own bedroom, with a desk and room for his own stuff. I’ll have my Victorian cottage, you wait and see.

It’s not just money. I haven’t spoken much about this but my dad has been ill. Very ill. To the point where a few weeks ago he was so poorly and miserable that he had people praying for him at his church. All his friends and our family have been hoping so hard he’ll start to feel better, even though the illness is terminal. One night my mum also prayed really hard for him, she was so upset at him being so ill and distressed. After she prayed, Dad slept. And slept. He didn’t wake up for almost a full day and Mum was beside herself. When he woke up properly the next day it was like there’d been a miraculous transformation.

Since that day, he hasn’t been sleeping during the day (he had been going for a sleep 2-3 times during the day). He hasn’t been so exhausted he’s been nodding off while he’s talking. He forgot to take his walking stick with us when we went out for his birthday two weeks ago. Forgot! He managed to walk around town the other day without getting breathless and to top it all, he’s feeling so much better that he and mum are booking a holiday.

The last day he was in hospital, at the end of May, doctors didn’t expect him to live very much longer, he was upset, very very ill and weak. Coming out of hospital saw him improve but he was still ill enough to need overnight care, and we didn’t like leaving him on his own for too long in case something happened.  Even three or so weeks ago we thought he was deteriorating and so did he. Whatever you believe, something amazing happened. All those prayers, all those people hoping so hard for him, it seems to have had an effect. Call it God, The Universe, Source…I don’t care who or what it is that’s caused Dad to go from death’s door three months ago to booking a holiday, but I love it.

I can’t explain any of this…but it proves to me that there’s something in this law of attraction/prayer/positive thinking malarkey. have any of you ever experienced anything like this?

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Do you want to know a secret?

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Well, come closer, then.

If you’ve been following me a while, maybe even before my Gorgeously Full Fat days, and you might even SHOCK HORROR know me in real life, you’ll have noticed I’ve really stepped up the blogging, social media and generally getting-myself-out-there side of my personality in the last year or so.

I haven’t had a complete personality revamp. Underneath all this bravado I’m actually a bit shy and self-deprecating. My beloved Moley will tell you that. But I’ve developed a new business Mojo, partly because I have had to, and partly because I discovered the powerhouse of creative and supportive awesomeness that is Leonie Dawson.

I’ve talked about her to other people – some of them love her to bits and others think that the Biz and Life Academy is a pile of hippy woo-woo, but for me, it’s really given me the knowledge and support to start being real, authentic and actually writing truthful stuff on blogs and forums instead of what I think you might like to hear. I’d never have had the guts to pour my heart out in my Life Story posts (I haven’t finished that yet) without a  supportive butt kick from the group.

I joined mostly for the business resources, and I’ve also downloaded the fabulous Creativity e-course too, to flex my muscles a bit more. Too many hours spent writing IBS copy for a pharma company can dull a girl’s sparkle. I haven’t gone through the course yet but it’s dang well on my to-do list.

Leonie is a HUGE believer in sharing too, and she runs an absolutely spankingly generous affiliate scheme that gives you a cut of any money you make for her. I’ll be totally honest and say I’ve more than made back the cost of my membership in the year I have been part of the gang, and I was so chuffed that I signed up for another year. Yep, it’s that good. You can download some fabulous freebies if you fancy a quick looksie at what the courses are all about (I worked out you get over £2300 worth of goodies for £120 roughly, and you get to make that back if you join the affiliate scheme too) and I’m going to be blogging a bit more about it so’s you can all find out about it if you’re interested but still not QUITE sure.

Leonie’s a hugely successful business owner who’s created her own half million dollar a year company in the space of a few hours a day (she’s a mama + really honours work-life balance). What’s more, she’s heart-centered, honest, a bit of a swear bear (okay, a LOT of a swear bear!) and a total open book about what works and what doesn’t.

Her Amazing Biz and Life Academy is something that just hasn’t been done anywhere else before – she gives away her business, marketing, meditation, spirituality, creativity, health and home programs for a ridiculously tiny price – all because she wants to help as MANY women as possible have their own amazing lives and businesses.

There are some fabulous tools for anyone who wants to learn to meditate, or use energy healing techniques. motivational videos and LOADS more. I love it, and it’s so freaking huge that if I didn’t have to pay bills I’d sit on the laptop all day chatting to like minded people and coming up with business ideas. I think of it as my version of LinkedIn for hippy chicks…

Here’s a bit of Leonie on learning stuff, overcoming what’s holding you back, and why luck doesn’t come into it – you have to DO stuff.

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Filed under General, Media, Relentlessly Positive

Being positive can be a drag

Positive

…but it’s SO worth it.

I’ve made it a bit of a mission of mine over the last six or seven years to become a positive person. Sometimes this annoys other people, but I don’t actually care.

I invented Relentlessly Positive. I started surrounding myself with positive people, some of whom have totally changed my world and my life in ways they would never have believed possible.

I wanted my own freelance writing business. I talked about it for ages, I knew I could do it but I didn’t have the money to get things started. Wouldn’t you know it, I got made redundant and got a pay off to help me set it up. Plus six months with no actual job to do but a salary coming in, and an internet connection on my work computer which meant I could research freelance copy writing jobs all day and get paid for it. Fan-bloody-tastic!

I wanted to write a book and fate, luck, Kismet, God whatever all got together and conspired that I had an idea for a story at the same time SASSY Books were taking on new authors, and I got a contract, just like that.

A few months ago, I started talking about wanting a magazine. I wanted to drop the Inspired Magazine work as it was causing me a pain in the butt, and I really REALLY wanted to edit a magazine that was positive, included plus size women, was intelligent and fun. Looks like I’ve got that coming to me too, and coincidentally only because of someone I met way back in 2006 when I started getting positive!

Lucky Bitch

I do genuinely believe I’m lucky. I also believe that you’re only lucky as you think you are, which tends to get people who think they are UN -lucky really pissed off. In the last few weeks I’ve had the news that my dad is terminally ill and been told I probably won’t have children. I can’t pretend I haven’t cried myself hoarse and drunk way too much wine, eaten my bodyweight in chocolate and more. I’ve been very upset, and had  days where I haven’t wanted to get out of bed. Both of those things are pretty life-changing and hard to deal with. But I’m only human. When I’m having a good day, I think myself blessed to have had such a wonderful dad for as long as I have. That I can go and see him and have a laugh at the moment. That he knows I love him, and I won’t have any regrets when the time comes. I escaped my ex-husband, who made it hard for me to see my family, and I’ve been closer to my parents than ever for the last five years. THAT’S lucky.

I’m in denial about kids. Yeah I’m 42, and I’m a chubby. But according to the experts the major problem is my age. Sod that, I’m going to keep practising and prove them wrong. If there’s no actual reason, why not? I have to stay positive about it. I’m lucky as there’s no real reason why I can’t have what I want. If it doesn’t happen – well I’ll be sad, and have to go for Plan B. I just haven’t got that far yet.

Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms

People don’t always like it when you’re positive because it makes them feel as if you’re judging them, when you’re not. It’s a pain Rainbowswhen people think you’re talking shit, saying that things will get better. But G-friends you HAVE to believe it. All the times I told myself I was going to get more work in and it would be OK back in 2009, I did. It might not have been much, I don’t think I have the whole ‘ask and you will receive’ thing perfected yet, or I would have asked for more. but I scraped through. My Mum is a Christian and she believes in prayer. I think it’s pretty much the same thing. She also kept telling me things would be OK, and they always were.

The times when I didn’t really believe it, I didn’t get what I wanted. I thought I wanted a man, for a long time, but in all honesty I only really wanted one I couldn’t have, and so nothing happened. When I made peace with that, wrote down exactly what I wanted, decided to trust that it would happen and leave it to fate…guess what? He appeared. And I’m still with him now. But all the time I was bawling my eyes out to my mates that I’d never find a man and the one I wanted didn’t want me, and life was a bitch…well, you guessed it. I stayed stuck in the same old same old.

So, I guess what I’m saying – being positive isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s REALLY freaking hard. Shit happens. Life throws curve balls your way and people can be mean. It’s not all glitter balls and cupcakes. But nothing worth working for is easy. So if you’re having a run of bad luck, cry, scream, shout, blame karma, do whatever feels right. But then try something different, just for me?

Try finding ONE good thing to concentrate on. It doesn’t have to be about the situation that’s had you hitting the vino. It can be anything. You’ve been dumped? Well, without him, you might not have gone on that holiday last year and seen that place with the amazing sunset. Lost your job? You wanted to do something different anyway, and while you were there you got sent on a training course that will make getting a job in the area you really want MUCH easier. Your overdraft has been called in? Oh crap, there’s nothing positive about that. OK, so if you hadn’t had it in the first place you wouldn’t have those amazing shoes. Get the shoes out. Wear them and give the bank manager a one finger salute from the bottom of your heart.

Good stuff

The more you try and think about the good stuff, the more good stuff happens. I don’t know why. Some people try and explain it with energy, vibrations, physics, spirituality. All I know is that it really DOES work. I was told ten years ago that I’d probably never be able to work full time again because I had a nasty type of RSI that made my hands hurt, a lot. BUGGER that. I threw everything at it, I tried splints, drugs, osteopathy, Reiki, and positive thinking. Something worked because here I am. If I’d believed the consultant when she gave me that serious face and bad news, I wouldn’t have tried any of the above and I might never have got back to work. They would have signed me off permanently instead of promoting me and I wouldn’t have been there in 2007 when the redundancies were handed out.

So you see what I mean? What I DID made the difference but if I’d been a negative person I wouldn’t have tried any of it and their prediction would have been right. The actions made the difference but without the positive thoughts there wouldn’t have been any actions.

Don’t give up. Promise me….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After the epiphany….

doughnutsIt’s all very well having the knowledge, but actually doing something useful with it is another thing altogether.

I was totally and utterly convinced by the end of 2006 that the reason I couldn’t lose weight wasn’t because I was stupid, lacked willpower or had some bizarre metabolism problem that made me stack on pounds whenever I saw the word ‘doughnut’. It was dieting and the way it affected my brain that was making me turn into the Cookie Monster at the mere mention of calories or fat restriction.

I worked my way through the course and at first I felt an immense sense of freedom. I was elated. I didn’t feel tempted to eat entire packets of biscuits, or finish a bar of chocolate just because it was there any more. I could take crisps or leave them, and mostly I went off them. I discovered delicious new things I hadn’t tried – hummus, full fat mayo, tuna in olive oil, and it was a revelation that I didn’t have to always go for the low fat, low calorie plastic version of food. I ate really well and felt like I’d turned a corner.

I weighed myself after a couple of weeks – something Sue advises not to do, but I’d lost weight! Oh . My . God.

So what went wrong?

Me.

If I’d carried on, told myself I really could eat anything I wanted, stopped stressing about my weight and followed all the confidence, self-esteem boosting tips I had learned, I would have cracked it. but the problem was, I still found it hard to accept that I was OK as I was, and that I could eat like a normal person and not gain weight. I hadn’t lost the obsession.

York 2007It didn’t help that Husband #2 thought it was a load of old crap. As did ‘L’, and anything she thought, he automatically agreed with. She refused to believe there was any other way than Weight Watchers, and couldn’t understand when I told her I was eating anything I wanted. When H#2 did the Tesco shop with me, I’d have him nagging away at me not to put anything ‘naughty’ in the trolley because he’d eat it, and if I did, he’d say “What are you putting that in for, I thought you were supposed to be on a diet?”

I hid food from him, and so I was just as screwed up as I had been before I’d done the course. But I was in even more of a muddle now because even though I believed that dieting was pointless, the methods I learned in the Food Philosophy went to the back of my mind. There was no way I could do what I wanted with the Food Philosophy because the people around me made it too hard. If only I had my Big Girl Pants on back then and wasn’t such a wuss, who knows where I’d be now, but I was a chronic people pleaser and just accepted my lot.

Phew.

So anyway, I carried on as I had been for a bit longer. I started my Relentlessly Positive website and ditched reading crappy magazines like Heat and Closer because they just got on my nerves. I vowed never to go on a diet again or buy a diet magazine or book. But I spent my spare time with three people obsessed with body image and food who whenever we went on holiday together (yes, we really did, every sodding year) dieted for two weeks before we left and then arranged the entire holiday around where we were going to eat next. It was abso-bloody-lutely exhausting. My brain was fried!

I chucked the scales out in 2006 and I think I stayed around the same size for a while. I talked to Sue all the time and started to immerse myself in positive psychology, books on self-esteem, the Law of Attraction and read everything I could on positive body image. The Relentlessly Positive website was really doing well, considering I set it up on next to nothing and did all the work myself.

I was changing – but everything around me was staying the same. I was surrounded by negative influences who made me feel bad about myself, made me doubt my beliefs and left me feeling uncomfortable and conflicted. I had to change, I just didn’t know how.

 

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Filed under Food and diets, My weight story, Relentlessly Positive