What does it feel like when you have to give up a beloved career due to health issues? How do you move forward positively? If you are thinking of changing career or have challenging health issues currently, I hope you will take inspiration from Emma’s amazing story.

Changing Career

 

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years.

I was loved by my family and bullied by my peers. It made for a difficult childhood but as I grew it created a strength in my me I would have not had without such experiences.

What was your first job?

I worked a number of jobs through my college and university years, incredibly, being a police officer was my first real career. I went to university thinking that I wanted to work in the social care field.  During my university course one of my fellow students was a police inspector. I was impressed that the police service were paying and giving him time to complete a degree and began to ask lots of questions about his job.  He invited me to spend a few days with his shift, I took him up on his offer, went out with his team and became hooked.  I knew there and then that being a police officer and serving the public was my future.

What did you learn from your time with the police force?

Being a police officer is an honour. Often through no fault of their own you enter the most personal part of people’s lives. Being a police officer taught me that life is precious, it’s a gift to be cherished.  No one rings the police to tell them about the amazing things that have happened to them. Instead, you only ever hear the bad. For many police officers this taints your vision of life and has done mine on occasion but now I understand that having seen such darkness I can appreciate the light and its brighter than ever.

Please tell us about your health challenges? What was the impact on your police career?

I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called chairi malformation. It is basically a hernia in the hind brain, it causes the bottom of the brain to extend into the spinal canal causing an obstruction of brain fluid.   I collapsed at home one evening and was told that I needed to have brain decompression surgery.  It took about a year before I could have the surgery because of the NHS waiting time.  The added complication came from needing both a ward and an intensive care bed, if an emergency took the intensive care bed, my surgery was cancelled.

Throughout this time my symptoms progressed. I had intense headaches that are so far away from any standard headache I had experienced. It was a pulsing in my brain that extended out into my temples causing searing pain and constant fog.  My hernia affected my arms and legs which would collapse without a moment’s notice, often leaving people ringing an ambulance for me.  My eye sight was affected, leaving me feeling dizzy with blackouts and I could permanently see black spots, in the way you see small midges in the summer.  Work put me on reduced hours and I would attend when I could and often didn’t manage to get in at all.  I had had my driving licence removed by this point and was reliant on public transport and an electric bike to get to work.  It was difficult but I managed the best I could.

The day of my surgery eventually arrived and I prayed as I was put to sleep, I contracted meningitis following my surgery so my recovery took much longer than expected. I walked with a stick for many months following my surgery and slowly started to regain my strength.  The police sent me for medical testing and it was decided that they would release me early from my service due to my medical needs.  My surgery saw them remove part of my spine and skull and clearly the risk associated with that was too great for me to return to full police duties.

How did you feel to lose your career in the police force?

I am a very optimistic person, I like to find the silver lining wherever I go. Once I had acknowledged that my career would come to an end I started to plan my exciting future.  I had been through hell and back but that brought with it a spark of light.  It was a light so bright that I knew I had my future in front of me.  Not many people get to start again but that’s exactly what this situation had done for me.

How did you decide what to do next?

A great friend who owned a training company invited me to attend the coaching and mentoring course they were running. I was instantly hooked.  Coaching felt very natural to me as many of the skills were similar to what I had developed in the police service.  I was an advanced interviewer, as I worked in the child protection team and interviewed people about complex cases.  Coaching and interviewing seemed to go hand in hand for me.  I had also been a trainer in the police, they had allowed me to study for my post graduate certificate in education and I delivered police management and diversity training for about 9 years of my service.  With that my friend offered me a job delivering their coaching and mentoring course.  I loved it.  Delivering and enhancing this training made me feel alive and I eventually made the decision to start my own business.

Who supported you through this challenging time?

My family and friends were hugely supportive to me, practically, physically and emotionally. But one organisation who helped me beyond belief was the Ann Conroy Trust.  A charity supporting people with brain hernias.

What do you do now?

I now am the director of my own business, considered coaching and training. www.emmacoller.co.uk

I teach people how to be coaches and mentors, partnered with the CMI who approve my courses. I also deliver bespoke training programmes as well as covering diversity training and specialising in trans awareness, work which I started in the police service and vowed to continue with.  I have just been to the middle east teaching negotiation skills and conflict management training. I get all over the place.  I also empower people to live the life they want by coaching them to create new patterns of thinking so they can power through the blocks that hold them back.

What words of wisdom would you give to a woman who is facing a huge health issue?

Having a huge health issue is frightening, for you and those around you. However, it is often not until you have seen the darkness that you see the true light.  Stay strong because when you look back you will see that the difficult time you have had will bring many new opportunities, but you need to keep looking and you can’t do so with your head down. So, keep your head up and feel the light.

What tips would you give to a woman who wants to set up a business but lacks the confidence to do so?

I always ask my coaching clients, what is the worst that could happen. The reality is never anywhere near the story we create. Situations don’t have meanings. We create meanings in our mind.  You are the master of your own story, so tell yourself a new story, one in which you achieve and shine in this world. Then you will live the story you have created.

Is there anything you would recommend to a woman to inspire and motivate her?

I love TED talks. They are inspiring, educational and motivational.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” Anais Nin. Take time to step into other peoples shoes so you can see through their eyes and by doing so you will develop compassion so strong and deep people will want to connect with you. This guides my rules of life, we are all here for the same reason and if I can help people with that goal then we all feel good. Open your heart and live your life with passion.

Have you considered changing career? Are you inspired by Emma’s story?

Do you have an inspirational woman in your life?

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

 

My Random Musings

When it comes to your child moving out of the home to go attend college, there’s nothing that can really prepare you. Their first year, of course, will be a breeze – they will likely live in student accommodation, be able to meet friends, and in some cases won’t even have to worry about cooking. Their first year leaves you with less to worry about than their second, because it is in their second year that they finally move out on their own.

 

Living in student accommodation is entirely different than renting a house or apartment. It means they have to learn how to co-habit with their roommates, how to clean, how to cook, how to pay utilities bills and rent and how to be independent. Student accommodations are a great first step, but it is only once they move into their first rented apartment or house that your children will have really experienced adulthood.

 

As a parent there is quite a lot that you can do to help them make this transition, starting with the move. It is important that they are the ones who choose their roommates, contact a local real estate agent, and choose their property. These are very big steps to take and should be taken on their own. It is after they arrange viewings that you can start to help:

 

Give Them a List on What to Look For

Viewing properties on your own for the first time is daunting enough, and it can be easy to miss very key details. That is why you should give your son or daughter a list of what to check for that they can have on them when they house hunt. Flushing the toilets, checking for mold, if the windows are doubled paned, and so on are all crucial when it comes to deciding a flat, and having a handy checklist in front of them can help them make a good decision.

 

Help Them Move In

When it comes time to move in, there are so many possibilities. You can likely move in furniture from home, along with more personal belongings from their room to make their new accommodation homelier. Rather than stress yourself out on how you will move, say, a couch, you should hire professionals from Suddath Jacksonville. They can pack up everything that your child needs from your home to make their new home feel like theirs.

 

Explain How to Pay Bills

Though utilities companies aim to make paying bills as easy as possible, it can still be daunting as a young adult, which is why you should work with your child so that they know how to pay these bills. This includes suggesting signing up to third-party companies so that you can pay rent or bills equally amongst the rest of his roommates, so that no one will ever owe anyone else money.

 

Moving to your first real apartment is huge. It can also go horribly wrong if you choose the wrong place. That is why you as the parent should help your child out to make the transition as smooth as possible.

My Random Musings

Many of us dream of entering Masterchef and showing what we can do in the kitchen. Today, I am speaking to Angela who became a finalist on Masterchef following the loss of her beloved mum. She also tells us about her exciting skincare business.

Masterchef

Tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years

I was very lucky – I had a wonderful childhood – brought up in a loving family and got on brilliantly with my family. I still have great friends from my childhood and teenage years too.

What was your first job?

I started off working in marketing and PR. My first job was working for the Prince’s Trust

What led to you entering Masterchef and how did you find that experience?

I entered Masterchef just after my gorgeous Mum lost her battle with cancer. She loved watching the programme as much as I did so I only applied in memory to her. It was a fabulous experience and one that I would do again in a flash.

Masterchef

Please tell us what led to you setting up your skincare business?

It started as a hobby but essentially I was living in Spain and was made redundant and at that time (it was quite a few years ago) I couldn’t get the products that I normally used as I wasn’t coming back to the UK as often. I had plenty of time on my hands and I thought I could possibly make products myself so I started experimenting and then went on a course. That course led me to other courses and I loved everything that I learnt and eventually this led to me setting up my business.

Please tell us what is wonderful about your products?

I research each and every ingredient that goes into every product. I use the best ingredients I can and use high levels of active ingredients from nature’s larder so not only are the products good for your skin, I get amazing feedback from customers who tell me what an improvement they see when they use them.

Who supported you in setting up your business?

I used the money from my redundancy to fund and set up my business. My partner, family and friends have been (and still are) very supportive, offering my advice and encouragement.

What would you say to a woman who wants to try something new but lacks confidence?

Don’t think too hard about it – if you want to try something new, just do it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you’ll succeed. Also just doing something new can lead you to amazing things you would never know about had you not taken that first step.

What tip would you give to someone who wants to set up a business for the first time?

Research well and do something that ultimately gives you pleasure and that you love. I spend a lot of time working but it doesn’t feel like work because I’m passionate about what I do and I love it.

Angela Langford creates organic, vegan, cruelty free, mood-boosting skincare products by hand in Somerset. This highly effective, affordable, natural range harnesses the finest ingredients from natures larder to feed your skin – with no chemical nasties. Suitable for even the most temperamental of complexions, Angela Langford Skincare offers a tailor-made solution to each unique skincare concern.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

Lucy At Home

Insomnia is one of those things that can affect us at any stage in our lives. The  more we stress about it, the worse it seems to get. Lack of sleep makes life’s challenges so much more difficult to cope with.  What causes insomnia?

Physical and mental health issues

Physical health issues can lead to insomnia especially if you are experiencing pain. To make things even more complex, insomnia can be a side effect of some medications. There are also specific sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea. If you are in any doubt as to the state of your mental health, contact your GP as soon as possible.

Depression and anxiety don’t help when it comes to trying to get a restful sleep. Sadly, lack of sleep can also worsen these conditions. Treatment is readily available so speak to your doctor and improve your waking and sleeping life. Talk to someone about how you are feeling and things will start to get better. If you find it hard to say out loud, write it down.

Drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can play havoc with sleeping patterns. You might feel incredibly thirsty or the hangover starts to show up not long after you hit the sack. Caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your body for up to eight hours.  It is not a good idea to go to bed over-stimulated.

Food

The nearer to bedtime you are the lighter you should eat. Heavy meals will cause discomfort. Spicy foods can lead to heartburn which is not at all conducive to sweet dreams.

Smoking

I am assuming you know it is a bad idea to smoke as it is a huge risk to your life. It is also not at all good for a good night’s sleep so give it up and do it today.

Work

If you work erratic hours as a blogger, freelancer or shift worker, it can be difficult to establish a good sleeping pattern as you are confusing your body clock.

We all have our own ideas of what to do when everyone else is asleep but we cannot switch off. Although not everyone agrees, I find watching television really does seem to help me relax and make me forget any worries. I have always had a bit of a fantasy about having a bed with a telly so was thrilled to find out about TV Beds and their range of products.

What causes you to stay awake at night? Is it ever a good thing and could you welcome a new TV Bed into your life?

What Causes Insomnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnettes

It’s such a relief to be able to talk about warm temperatures and to think about getting  outdoors with the family. Spring is definitely here and it’s time to make the most of that sunny garden.

Barbecue

There is something very special about eating outdoors perhaps with a picnic laid out on a tartan blanket. However, as we all know there is nothing quite like persuading the men in our lives to get involved in cooking than suggesting a barbecue. You can make it a social affair with extended family and friends too. Break away from just meat and look at fish and veggie options to add to the menu. Barbecues are fun whether you use disposable ones or invest on something more pricey.

Reading

When I am indoors I always feel like I should be jumping up to do something usually housework sadly. Funnily enough when I am in the garden it seems more holiday-like and that I can give myself a proper break. I think most of us women and  mums need to do this with increasingly busy lifestyles.

Paddling pool

When it gets hot, there is nothing more fun than splashing around in a pool. Most UK households do not have a swimming pool in the  garden but much like barbecues, there are pools for any budget readily available. My advice is not to watch the children but to join in. It’s OK to be silly sometimes and we need to remember that.

Garden furniture

It’s always a good idea to have at least a table and some chairs outside the house. Barbecues are better when you have somewhere to put the food. Chairs are essential for that afternoon snooze or when indulging in the latest summer read. Check out the latest trends and I love the look of modern teak garden furniture and can see myself sitting in a chair with a comfy cushion as the family play.

Trampoline

If you have the space, invest in a trampoline. It is such good exercise to jump and dance around. There are different sizes available and you can get some good bargains out there. Make sure you have a camera handy to take some action shots as they happen.

So there are just 5 things to make the garden ready for summer fun. Do remember to stay safe in the sun and also ensure you cook food appropriately.

Get outdoors a lot and make memories because that really is what life is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum Muddling Through