How to Work from Home..set some goals!

I LOVE setting goals and do it all the time now but that wasn’t always the case! In fact my previous work from home life was so chaotic and badly organised it is a miracle that I actually ever got anything done at all!

In this blog post we will look at how you can avoid ALL the mistakes I made when I was a mere work at home amateur (!!) and have consistently productive days that lead you to achieving some seriously ambitious and brilliant goals. (as opposed to ending up swimming in paperwork, stressed out and in a constant blur of non-achievement!)

Here are seven ways that setting goals can really help your work from home lifestyle become a huge success:

  1. Declutter any self limiting beliefs that you have around whether or not working from home is going to work for you. If YOU don’t believe it will work then nobody else will including prospective clients. Be authentic but most of all be human!
  2. Set goals for the amount of hours/days you plan to work from home each week and put them into your calendar as Work from Home segments. Makes these working times non-negotiable and set them as short term goals that are easily achievable.
  3. Then decide what you will do during each of your work from home time segments and set specific goals. You need to look at things like admin/accounts/PR and marketing/Social media updates/scheduling blog posts/taking part in online courses/CPD, networking,  and so on as well as actually DOING the work!
  4. Set some medium term goals around getting new clients/business on board and then mind map how you will achieve that.FullSizeRender (8)
  5. Set goals around what YOU want your working life to look like from now on. If you want to take a yoga class twice a week then set that as a goal. If you want to be able to do the school run every day and spend time with a friend on Friday lunchtime then set that as a goal.
  6. If you plan to move out of the broom cupboard and into an artisan Shepherd’s Hut then make that a long term goal and start making a plan for how you will achieve it.
  7. Set some goals around income. It is perfectly OK to enjoy your job AND make money doing it so adjust your mindset and set some positive goals around how much money you would like to make in the next 12 months.

For more advice and to sign up for the How to Work From Home online course please email

How to make space to work from home

WE have all heard tales of people who work from home, and personally I have also lost count of the number of cards, memes, text messages and comments that I continue to receive that suggest I spend all day in PJs watching TV!

NOT TRUE! (but don’t stop sending me stuff-I LOVE it)

People who work from home (whether all the time or some of the time like my lovely friend Shaz who has adopted the perfect work/life balance) work harder! And generally this is because we tend to be happier more balanced people who have made a conscious lifestyle choice to adopt the work from home culture.

Many of us are ‘slashies’ or people who have multiple income streams like me: journalist/author/blogger/coach etc, others have one business model and some have used their genius to negotiate flexi working with their boss. However you come to end up working from home one thing remains the same for all of us-we need SPACE to do it properly.


So here are seven things to think about when you are setting up your work from home space:


  1. Can you realistically work from home right now? Is there a spare room, a garden shed, a shepherd’s hut or a log cabin that you can either squat in, move into, buy or acquire so that you can create a dedicated work from home space?
  2. If you are going to commandeer a space in your home where will that be? Is the kitchen table an option or have you got a little nook under your stairs that you can occupy (that’s how I started out-first a bedroom then the space under the stairs which is now a shower room…it was YEARS before I moved into my dream garden studio but heck…we all have to start somewhere!)
  3. If you have allocated your space, spend a day decluttering, cleaning and clearing an getting organised.
  4. Keep it real…can you seriously guarantee that you have enough space and peace and quiet to be able to work effectively? Are there going to be optimum times when the house is empty? If this is the case then keep your work equipment to a minimum and set up shop at the kitchen table to start with. Set your schedule to always coincide with the quiet times. Don’t do what I did and try and work when your house is busy…(see comment below about Gin…!)
  5. Consider  buying a hideaway office cupboard like this one from IKEA great for storage and it looks pretty stylish too-just don’t junk it up with bottles of Gin or takeaway menus…fullsizeoutput_1ab6
  6. Make a list of all the things you will need to buy-set a budget and start researching
  7. Consider signing up for our online course-Working from Home and make the first investment in your new work from home life!

To receive FREE tips and advice and to sign up for our online course please email


How to work from home…living the dream!

It is estimated that in ten years time, at least one third of us will be working from home. There is no doubt that being able to earn a living working from home with just a ten second commute to our home office is always going to be preferable to struggling through traffic, dealing with public transport delays and arriving at work stressed out and demotivated. And in any case-research continues to show that those of use who work from home are a whole lot more productive and offer much better value for money!

But how easy is it to work from home and is it for everyone?

As someone who has spent most of their career working at home at one point or another over the last 30 years,  I can say it is the very best way for me to work although I also know it does not suit everyone and many of my friends do question how I can make a (very good) living without being distracted by the TV or the fridge or the housework (crazy people!)

I know that the following are some of the reasons why it works for me:

  • I was a single parent for years and it gave me flexibility
  • I  work when I want to and set my own hours and manage my own diary
  • I have a portfolio career-I am a journalist, blogger, author, media consultant, lecturer, digital content creator and a life coach. I combine all of my skills to create a lucrative work from home income.
  • I work from a beautiful studio in my garden
  • I love my job but I also love being at home with my family
  • I have recognised the need to outsource some functions that my business needs and that are too expensive for me to do myself. I would much rather pay to employ a graphic designer than to have to struggle with InDesign for days to create something!

So, as I am a great believer is sharing my knowledge and experience, and following comments from people who want to embrace on the work from home dream but don’t really know where to start, here are seven ways to start make working from home, work for you:

  1. Decide WHY you want to work from home. What’s the REAL reason behind this decision. What’s your motivation? If you are hoping for a life wearing PJs and having coffees with friends then that’s great but you might want to think about creating a passive income stream first!
  2. Decide if you plan to telecommute for your existing boss or start working for yourself and then decide WHAT you will/can do to earn a living. What skills have you got? What’s your passion? Do people want what you can offer? How do you know?
  3. Look at your space-have you got room for an office? WHERE will you work? You WILL need a defined work space. The bed and the sofa are popular but they will not help you with focus or motivation! Using local coffee shops is fine and a popular option for many newbie homeworkers as well as being good for tackling isolation, but you will need to find a proper space in your home for this to work properly.
  4. Declutter! Seriously! Get rid of the crap and make space for the new YOU! This means emotionally and physically. A clear desk and a clear mind will give you a clear plan!
  5. Look at your schedule and make a plan for WHEN you will start to work from home. if you are going to do this then let’s darn well do it! Grab that diary and get on it!
  6. Look at your finances-does it all add up? We all have to pay the bills-be sensible. Financial induced stress needs to be avoided.
  7. Set some short, medium and long term goals for WHAT you want working from home to give you. set SMART goals, doing the SWOT test and take it from there.

Feeling inspired?

GOOD! I now offer 1-1 coaching packages for anyone who is thinking of working from home and an e book and online course will be available soon.

To sign up and receive FREE email tips and advice as well as a discount for the online Working From Home Coaching Course please email


Empowering women to make positive change

Can a pillow change lives? A Secret Pillow can.​

Founder Fritha Vincent in a bed of Secret Pillows

Founder Fritha Vincent in a bed of Secret Pillows

The Secret Pillow Project is a social business set up to train and empower women in India through making and selling Secret Pillows. Making these pillows mean women can feed, clothe, and send their children to school. Secret Pillows offer a future.

The project is the dream of social entrepreneur, Fritha Vincent, who was determined to find a way to empower disadvantaged women. She remains driven by the statistic that 80 per cent of children in institutions are there because their parents can’t afford to take care of them.

She said: “By empowering women and providing them with access to an international market to sell their products, Secret Projects believes it can be part of the solution to help keep families together.”

​The business started out as an experiment called Secret Pillow Project and through a series of successful crowdfunding  campaigns a commited, global customer base grew. With the launch of their second product, Secret Sari Dress, the business was relaunched Secret Projects.

Secret Projects Makers are paid double mimimum wage per hours they work. Through the Training for Empowerment Programme funded by the sales of the products, Makers are trained, helped to professionlise and develop, with the ultimate goal being independence.

Secret Projects sells fashion and home ware. Their trade mark is that all their products fold up into themselves and unfold women’s power as they are sold.

• Secret Pillows cost £50 + £5 shipping UK / International shipping is possible and prices depend on location
• Secret Pillows are made from 100% cotton with 100% polyester wading, they are easy to wash and dry –
perfect for everyday use
• Secret Sari Dress cost from £35 – £40 are sold in three sizes
• Secret Sari Dresses are made from vintage cotton and synthetic saris and cotton, synethic and silk blend saris• The vision of Secret Projects is a world in which all women have the confidence and resources to make choices for themselves and their children. 80% of the world’s children living in institutions are not there because they don’t have any parents. They are there because their parents cannot afford to feed, clothe
and educate them. Secret Projects exists to help reduce this statistic and empower women everywhere.
• Secret Projects is working with women in India who face social and / or economic challenges and who live in areas where there are little or no employment opportunities.
• The project provides training in how to make a Secret Pillow and teach them the POWER mantra (‘We believe in
ourselves. We support one another. We persist. We think and think again. We trust our instinct. We trust
our instinct. We work with joy. We take pride in everything we do. We pretend until we know how.’).
• The project also provides a route to market for their products and, as well as training and support, they receive at least
twice the minimum wage for the products they make.
• The ultimate goal is for the women to become financially independent and have the confidence to make
the best choices for themselves and their children.

You can find more information here

Retreat and find your calm with Sweet Yoga

A New Year’s resolution to mark the new millennium has become a way of life for Justine Farnworth.

She is now on a mission to share her love of yoga through her own health and wellbeing business and divides her time between her homes in Buckinghamshire and Portugal.

After seeking out a yoga class to help with pains in her back, neck and shoulders which were symptomatic of years of working in the corporate world as an Executive Assistant, Justine quickly became hooked on the whole, calm and centred feeling that comes from practising yoga and was soon in teacher training and on a life and career changing journey.

Justine now runs a retreat set among the pines of Portugal where she welcomes guests who take part in Vinyasa, Yoga Therapeutics and Restorative Yoga. Her life is a million miles away from the high stress and hectic corporate world that she once worked in.

Whole, calm and centred

Justine said: “From the first class I attended I remember feeling whole, calm and very centered afterwards. I know now that impression was my spirit coming home. My first teacher introduced me to the concept of transformation, before long I was in teacher training with Yogacampus in London and by 2006 I was fully qualified.

“I studied with world famous teachers like Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Judith Lasater, Scott Blossom, AG Mohan and more. More recently, my calling has shifted towards therapeutic applications of yoga and I’m currently studying Integrative Yoga Therapeutics with Bo Forbes. Personal and non-personal experience of trauma, stress, illness, suicide, anxiety, grief and depression place me well to teach this style of yoga. I also bolster my expertise with insights gained from a biomechanical osteopath because I like to look beyond the original texts of yoga to apply a real-world approach.”


Justine teaches Vinyasa, Yoga Therapeutics and Restorative Yoga. Vinyasa means mindfully flowing through sequences combining movement with breath – using the main muscle groups and connecting with deeper subtleties. Restorative means total body support with no movement – first aid for the nervous system leaving you nourished and well rested.

She added: “By exploring and pausing in postures we can view our internal dialogue and bring about a more meditative quality. That way we experience a whole mind-body practice not only growing physical strength but mental resilience too – by releasing old tensions we can oust old beliefs about ourselves. I teach both active and dynamic practices plus passive and restorative classes always tailoring it to the needs of the group or individual. My class atmosphere is one of safety and guidance primarily, then space for students to honour their personal journey becomes second nature as it did in the beginning for me. By nurturing growth and community, students can embrace the practice and make it their own.

Holistic experience

“Refining my own practice and teaching is an ongoing process. My students say I have a sensitive touch and good awareness for their needs. My goal as a yoga teacher is to help people read their physical and energetic bodies. I think yoga should be a holistic experience where you draw on life experiences and trust your intellect and intuition. For me yoga is much more than the poses. ”

With nearly 20 years mat time, Justine respects the roots of traditional yoga but integrates modern day findings for a unique experience.
She added: “My passion is to reveal the wonder of yoga through practices with good breath flow and body smart movement. With guided mind-body connection and mind-mood output, the journey back to the body wisdom is inspiring and energising. My non-dogmatic teaching style and sensitive touch gives me a good awareness for my clients needs. Delivered in English and Sanskrit with demonstrations and safe adjustments.
My practice gives me space for self-work where I can search, feel and embrace what my body is holding that my mind cannot express.
“Our retreat is set in a luxury country villa in the pines of Portugal, to give you all you need to self-restore through yoga, heavenly food and a spacious natural setting. By adjusting to a new rhythm you will unwind residual tension to invite a greater sense of vitality in your life.”

By taking yourself off on this retreat and pulling away from your busy life, you will be creating time for self-understanding through yoga. The morning practices are of vinyasa style and the afternoon are restorative, reframing and releasing. The practices are carefully choreographed to give you an intimate but fun experience. Much of what you do will raise your curiosity about what’s beyond the poses whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a newcomer to yoga. As you plug-in to your own body’s wisdom you will be less inclined to un-plug. Through that interconnection you will be shown how yoga can infuse your life and not just be limited to your mat.

Memories, emotions and longings

Justine added: “Our bodies house memories, emotions and longings so to process-through-practice is a wonderful way to find greater freedom. Through movement and stillness our two yoga sessions a day create space to embrace what shows up ~ strength or weakness, overwork or neglect, joy or sadness. The most effective laboratory for self understanding is through the body. In my opinion yoga is the perfect discipline to improve awareness – the more you practice, the more you become aware. You won’t leave empty handed. Apart from all the wonderful memories spending time with like-minded people, you will naturally gather a sustainable repertoire of techniques and tips on how to regularly release tension from your body. You will also receive a gift from me to help you with this for your onward journey through yoga.

We only use high quality mats, props, bolsters, blankets and belts and few personal additions I’ve created along the way.”
There are 6 luxury large bedrooms all ensuite, air conditioned with balconies overlooking the vineyard and surrounding woods.
Justine added: “The rooms have comfortable seating inside and out for quiet time alone or to read your book. All beds are king size except for one twin room. We do not charge single supplements because most guests prefer a room of their own but should friends/couple want to share we will give you a 10% discount each.”

The villa overlooks its own garden and positioned perfectly for sunrise or sunset on the horizon. It has a pool with sun loungers and a tennis court but just a few minutes walk away is a beautifully kept river beach where you can dip your toes in the crystal blue-flag waters, try a spot of safe and easy wild swimming, or simply watch life at a slower pace from the cafe.

An experienced masseuse can be booked to visit during your stay along witha manicure or pedicure in the comfort of your own room.

Guests can also chill out at the villa in some of the comfy social spaces or sunbathe and swim in the pool. There is also a tennis court and a multi-media room and bicycles (you must bring your own safety helmet). From the villa there are many country walks or if you prefer to wander through the well serviced village you can sit at a cafe and watch rural life go by.
Food is inspired by recipes from River Cottage, Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi all with added flair giving the meals an abundance of colour. A abundance of really fresh local produce is used and guests can stroll through the garden and help themselves to figs, apples and grapes. Homemade preserves, relishes, nut butter, sourdough and kefir milk are a speciality, along with Portuguese olive oil and pasteurized local cheeses.

Justine added: “Food is such a big part of our retreat and we enjoy serving our predominantly vegetarian/vegan menu. We also have many wheat free dishes available too. If guests have other dietary requests we will be happy to accommodate. There are two large interior kitchens; the ground floor is the main kitchen with a canopy covered outside eating area. Both lunch and dinner are served here in a homely way. We serve various homemade fruit waters but if you would like to try Portuguese wines and beers we have a selection available to purchase at local prices. On the second floor is the breakfast kitchen where you will help yourself to bircher or cook up eggs – if you like to start your day quietly you have an option to eat on your balcony or as a group at the kitchen table. At anytime during the day you can help yourself to cold/hot drinks, fruit and snacks.”
A quality yogi breakfast with bircher muesli, fresh fruit, eggs, toast and homemade jams is self-served from 8am. The morning yoga session starts at 10am with time afterwards for discussion and individual questions. Lunch is served at 1pm then guests are free to relax until the afternoon yoga.
Justine said: “The most popular afternoon activity is a massage which we organise and is an additional cost as is a manicure and pedicure in your own room. On top of all that you can also enjoy the atmosphere at the local river beach and go wild swimming. We regroup for the afternoon yoga session at 6pm and your evening meal is served at 8pm.”

Visit  Sweet Yoga this summer

If you would like to visit Sweet Yoga this summer and recharge your batteries, available dates are as follows:

16-22 June 2018, 7-13 July and 8-14 September
£649 per person / £585 per person if sharing includes:
o round trip airport-to-venue transfers from Lisbon airport
o full-board ensuite accommodation with your own room
o vegetarian-vegan breakfast, lunch and evening meals freshly prepared, locally sourced
o yoga twice a day, pace set just right for the group (newcomers to experienced)
o afternoon excursion to a beauty spot
o fruit, snacks, spring water and homemade healthy cakes
o lovely, tranquil environment with pool, sun loungers & local river beach
o Sweetyoga gift to enhance your practice
o quality yoga equipment of a high standard and clean!
Excludes flights, massages, manicure & pedicure and incidentals.

Contact Justine for more information and to book.

What are you waiting for…get your best knickers on!

A lot of my clients are women. Not all, but many are. This doesn’t mean I don’t like coaching men, because I do, it just seems that more women contact me than men. Simple!

One of the things that I find time and time again is the reluctance for the women I work with to put themselves first and value themselves highly. I ask them in the first session to promise me they will put themselves first on their list of priorities and values and many look at me as if I am mad. They roll their eyes, they look to the heavens and I know what they are thinking. (Some even laugh at me…)

I get this. I really do.

But, I am not asking anyone to be selfish, a diva, a showoff, a nasty, uncaring person and I am not asking them to ignore their responsibilities or stop loving or caring for people. I am simply asking them to look after themselves better.

For many of the women I work with, this is an alien concept and not a request that necessarily goes down well. The reality is that if we don’t practice effective and authentic self care we are not really going to be working at our optimum level and therefore have the potential to not be much use to those around us anyway.

When I explain my request in those terms, it is like watching a series of lightbulbs gradually flicker on-particularly in a group workshop when they all look at each other as if to say, ‘yeah…ok..maybe she’s not mad after all.’

Then they stop laughing and start smiling.

So the process begins to help people get over those barriers and encourage them to think highly of themselves so that they can work towards becoming the best possible version of themselves as quickly as possible. Because it doesn’t matter how much I believe they can make big changes, THEY have to believe it too.

We have all been guilty of neglecting ourselves, thinking there are other priorities that are more important and convincing ourselves that we are not special enough to have time to ourselves, or indulge in a treat every now and then. Mostly we feel like this because of our limited self belief systems. Limited because we have chosen to believe what other people have told us about ourselves and those beliefs have gradually become our reality.

Small steps can make a big difference to how we feel about ourselves and how we believe we should be treated. Simple actions such as taking some time to read a book for a few minutes a day can have a big impact.

Just being quiet and still can be a great way to gather our thoughts and be calm and in the moment. How many of us have been given lovely sets of beauty or bath products as presents and never opened them? They sit there in the bathroom gathering dust because we are saving them for a special occasion. We have clothes that we are saving, we have ideas to do things that we will get round to one day. Well now is the time! Crack open the bubble bath, read the book that has been gathering dust and put your best knickers on my friends  because life is short!


I love a beauty product as much as the next person, and I used to buy them, get given them and basically hoard them away-ridiculous behaviour!

No longer! My current favourite is this lovely stuff from Tropic Skincare. I am definitely not saving it for a special occasion and my skin has never looked better!

You can order some for yourself from the lovely Michelle French because YES you ARE worth it.



Celebrate every step

Setting goals is a big part of the creative coaching that I offer clients.

I set them for myself and encourage my clients to set them too. After all-that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Setting goals, making a plan and achieving great things

One of my major goals for this year (when I reach 50!) is to get that damn book written! In fact-I have two book ideas on the go, both of which WILL happen this year. The reason they will happen this year is actually quite simple.

Firstly-one of the books HAS to be written because it is a handbook for a course that I am already delivering and the second reason is because I have actually already written them both….confused?!

Well the reality is that I have been so fixated on writing the book, making plans, lists, mind maps and inspiration boards and creatively visualising my book signing…all leading to my ultimate goal that I have totally overlooked the very basic fact that I have already written hundreds of thousands of words over the last couple of years that would probably fill several books-let alone a meagre 2!

Let me explain….! (for my own sanity if nothing else!)

I am first and foremost a writer and a journalist. I have come to coaching in the last few years as part of my role as a university lecturer and as someone who works in challenging and hard to reach communities with vulnerable people.

I started using personal development tools to help my students, became very interested in the whole thing and then studied for  a level 7 diploma as an accredited life coach.

I have worked in the media industry for 30 years and during that time I have written a lot of stuff. My coaching programme Write Your Life revolves around writing!


I LOVE the products from they really do help me stay on track and give my productivity levels a much needed kick up the arse!


I have now realised (why it has taken so long is anyone’s guess!) that while I have been panicking and putting myself under pressure to write the damn book-I have actually been writing it anyway. The words are already there-they just need a bit of organising and sorting out. I have more than enough material to well and truly finish two books this year.

I feel slightly cheated that I haven’t taken time to stop and realise this before now! I have been so focused on the end game, that everything that has been happening in between has been largely ignored.

When I coach clients-individually or in groups-I am always keen to remind them that the goal is important but so is the journey and that we MUST celebrate every single step-no matter how small we think that step is. All those small steps make a BIG difference and if we don’t celebrate them all and acknowledge we are making progress then we will just arrive relieved and exhausted rather than energised and lifted.

So…if you are setting goals then please do carry in doing that but make sure that you know WHAT is going on WHEN with each step of the process. I am off to listen to my own advice and finish those books….coming soon to all good bookshops!