Hello my lovelies!

This time last year I did the first self esteem and confidence workshop of it’s kind at the Green Rooms in Chester. The memory just popped up on Facebook.

Is she having a hot flush? Is she bursting for a wee? Or is she about to break into song and dance?

Nope, that’s just…

Posted by Marie-Claire Ashcroft on Sunday, 12 January 2020


I remember the run up to the date clearly.

I’d booked it in and in all honesty, the date was coming closer and I really wasn’t feeling it – the second half of 2019 was really hard for me personally. And to put that into perspective, it was the kind of year that made 2020 seem pretty manageable!

I just didn’t have a lot of oomph in me. And in that moment of weakness, the doubts, the resistance and that voice were all creeping in.

It was just after the new year and not many people had booked on for it.

I thought maybe I’d misjudged the timing. Part of me was definitely dragging my heels about it.

But at the same time, those people who had booked on, did want to come to my event. They wanted to learn whatever I had to share about confidence so I went ahead and did the workshop despite all the things I was feeling.

Out of the 5 people who had booked on, only three actually turned up on the day. The ‘business side’ of my brain was trying to chatter away – “you’re barely going to break even, maybe this is a waste of time, this is stupid, who are you to teach confidence when you’re doubting yourself right now, you imposter”.

But here’s the funny thing. I told that bit of my brain to shut the hell up and showed up completely for the people there that day. And I had a great time.

The small number meant the people there really got my attention that day and really benefitted from the work. They left me great feedback after the session and one of them went on to work further with me. The work with me that day made a huge difference in their life – and they tell me this regularly.

The funny thing is that by committing to something that day is that a load of great stuff all came about because of it:

– Despite the low numbers, I noted just how much the people that did show up that day enjoyed it and benefitted. I went on to book further events after that, and they ended up selling out. Now obviously corona had other plans about that a couple of months later so I wasn’t able to continue them but whatever – I know it works, I know it’s popular and very much in demand. I’ve seen first hand the difference it has made for people.

– Someone had seen me promoting the event over social media and was secretly becoming a bit of a fan of my approach to this type of work. The day after the event, they got in touch and asked me to come in for a meeting about possibly doing a talk for their employees and service users at an upcoming event they were putting on.

– I went in to do the talk a month later and again the feedback from everyone there was great. I got plenty of hugs for being so vulnerable and even made a few people cry because they really related to my story. I decided that the talk I gave that day would be my signature talk because of the effect it had on people there.

– Doing this talk lead to an email from their head office asking me if I’d do a team away day for all their staff on confidence and creativity a few weeks later. Again corona has put that on hold but the planning has already been done so it will be super easy to rearrange this at future date.

– I’ve ended up making a great connection with the lovely people at this company and despite postponing the Team Day with them, they’ve let me know about other projects they’re working on that they would like me to get involved with in future.

Now imagine if I gave in to that voice of self doubt when it reared up?


Imagine if I let myself talk myself out of it because I was feeling a bit of resistance?


Imagine if I just thought fuck it after not many people turned up that day and decided not to do any more of these workshops?

I would never have helped ALL of these people…







I wish I could say, after years of doing this work, that the voices and the heavy energy do eventually go away.

They don’t.

They always find that little crack of weakness to work their way in and bring you down.

It’s usually when you’re tired, burned out or feeling a bit vulnerable about something.

You just have to learn how this little SOB works and give it a run for its money.

Obviously listen to your body when it needs rest and recuperation – don’t push when you’re REALLY not feeling it.

And listen to your intuition when something doesn’t feel right or when someone feels off – we ALL know what happens when we don’t listen to that one.

All of this IS a fine line. Your brain can be pesky, but it’s all conditioning and BS and the job here is to tune in to you, your natural state and your needs so you know which bit is you and what YOU need to be doing, and which is the bit that is trying to trick you and keep you all safe and small.

This is the stuff I help people with.


If this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!




Hello love.

It’s no secret that I have a history of anxiety and depression – both of which are symptoms of complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD). And extra cherry on top for me, this all lead to living with low self-esteem too.


Anyway, I thought I’d write something for #mentalhealthawarenessweek – because I know first hand how easy it is to let any diagnosis become an identity or a new label to wear, and how it can all add to feeling broken and unable to do the things in life that you dream of doing.


I know this is post is aimed at business owners but in all honesty, it applies to anyone who wants to sort their shit out and grab life by the balls.


It can feel overwhelming at times when your creativity is your source of income.

The pressure to always have fresh ideas, see the world in a different way, and to come up with new and engaging content and ways to help people with your creations.

There’s also the added pressure of being someone who is often told they’re inspirational and an influence on others so…


What if you’re not feeling it today, this week, this month?


What if you feel like a fraud?


What if you’re not actually feeling very happy at the moment?


What if self-doubt and inner resistance is taking over?


The struggle feels very real as it is when you’re a creative or visionary business owner or leader, and it gets tricky too with the mental health issues running in tandem with this.


To be a business owner, or a creative, or anything that involves pushing past your comfort zone – you need a solid foundation to build upon. Otherwise whatever you’re building will likely topple down – just like a house.

The thing is though, a lot of the solid foundation building is done in childhood, and if you’re living with any of the conditions I mentioned, it’s likely you’re missing the odd key piece or two and it’s up to you to work out what’s making you wobble and put it in there yourself.


That thing for me has been routine. I know, I know – not very rebel that, is it?!


Yes, my rebel nature fights this. Really fights it.

But the thing about working through this is about knowing yourself enough to know what you do need, and how to approach it your way – to make it work as an act of kindness and discipline instead of the shouty and incredibly unhelpful ‘wtf is wrong with you, you douchebag?!’ – which is never going to make any new habits, good behaviours or progress stick.


This is how routine is good for the hand I’ve been dealt with my own mental health:

Anxiety – this helps me by knowing that there’s a set of things that happen each day. Even though I couldn’t bear to have my whole day controlled and regulated, by doing an amount of regular, non-negotiable shit each day, it brings a sense of ‘this is what happens here’ – which feels safe, even though parts of me do try to resist the hairy balls out of this.

Depression – this helps me by giving me a sense of achievement. Even when I’ve been at my very worst, just sticking to routinely making my bed and a cup of tea has been a fucking win in the past. Don’t knock the simplicity when you’re in this mental head space. By pushing through when the heaviness tells me not to really can make you feel so much better. There is a fine balance though – see above about self-flagellation and make sure the pushing and discipline is done in kind parenting voice and not the one of your judgey and shaming psycho grandma.

cPTSD – this helps me by helping me create new habits. New habits eventually become new neural pathways to undo the faulty coping mechanisms my mini me created all that time ago.

Self Esteem – This again gives me a sense of achievement, proving to myself I can do things, even simple things and assists in overcoming the pushback of my old identity (the one that tries to prove I’m a useful piece of shit) in the form of resistance.


So this is my current routine. I’m 1000000% aware that this list is quite a bit longer that most of us have time for usually but I’m doing more during lockdown, because again, this is a time of much uncertainty and change. Plus, there’s not much else to do right now anyway!

#1 – Have a set time to wake up.

I know this sounds simple, but for me this is a huge one.

I have a huge amount of resistance to getting out of bed in the morning. And it’s not just because I’m a lazy bastard.

I first became aware of this unusual pattern when I lived in Berlin in 2001. By staying in bed, I was telling myself that nothing bad can happen to me here. It was my way of self soothing and a way to keep me ‘safe’.

When I went self-employed, my rebel brain tricked me into keeping this in place – cos “aint nobody telling me when to get out of bed and shit.”

It’s taken almost 20 years to spot this sneaky mind trick and try to correct it – so yeah, when I say this one is a biggie for me, I mean it!

#2 – Tea.

Clearly, it’s a fucking warm and comforting hug in a mug on a cold morning – with the added benefit that it doesn’t poke you with a stiffy as soon as you embrace it (not that that’s a bad thing, but you know, this is about productivity and getting out of bed and doing shit and shit 😉

#3 – Journaling.

Empty your brain. Literally vomit out all of your thought loops, patterns, beliefs you didn’t know you had onto that page and out of your head. By doing this you don’t take all of this stuff into the day with you.

I liken this to skimming off the scum inside your brain – doing this helps you find out that you have the solution underneath all the noise, you just have to make space for it to come out instead of looping around your brain incessantly.

The added bonus of this task is that you start to spot ideas you’d not normally notice too. It’s all about making space, making the unconscious conscious and lightening the mental load.

This takes 15 minutes each morning. I do this whilst my tea cools down.

#4 – Reading.

Something positive. Like a biz book or something. Just a cheeky 10 pages before you even dream of picking up your phone and falling into a scroll-hole. Honestly the difference to my day in doing this and the other things above before even picking up my phone is HUGE. My day is much less reactive and adrenaline fuelled. Put good shit in your brain before you put bollocks in there!

#5 – Exercise.

I’ll be honest here. This is a new one for me, but I’ve embraced daily exercise since lockdown.

Typically I go to the gym on occasion and pole dance class once a week but I resist the hairy balls out of doing something regularly. But changing my mindset from ‘go do some exercise’ (never happens regularly) to ‘go do a self discipline challenge’ (i.e I fucking dare you, I bet you can’t stick to it) has really helped spot the way I try to talk myself out of things. It’s also helped me see how you do one thing, is how you do all the things and as a consequence of this simple mindset tweek I’m now exercising twice a day.




Oh and as a reward for doing some exercise in the morning, I come home and have tea number 2 – because some of us can’t function in the real world until tea number two has happened!


So that’s my current routine and it’s helping me loads. There are other things you can do as routine and that I’ve toyed with in the past.

I am a fan of today’s hoorays (gratitude), meditation, dancing and ‘I’ve done lists.’ If you’ve ever done my happiness challenge, you’ll know these well 🙂

Writing this post has made me realise that I do other things to manage mental health which includes what I eat and my self awareness journey. But that’s probably for another post. Maybe I’ll write a part two soon.

I know this seems a lot. To me it did for a long, long time. But as Elizabeth Gilbert said in one of her posts quoted below, the stakes are far too high if I don’t take the time to do it:


“The reality of my life is this: Managing my mental health is very nearly a full-time job. I don’t take it lightly, because the stakes are high. Like many of us, I have a mind that is a very dangerous neighborhood. Left unattended, my mind will fester, rot, and roll me over the brink into anxiety and depression. I have a particularly muscular storytelling instinct — and the world has rewarded me generously for that! — but the dark side of my gift is that my mind is also capable of generating terrible, frightening, life-annihilating stories about myself and about the world. I can scare the living shit out of myself, and—in the process—destroy my life.
The battle begins quite literally the moment I wake up in the morning. With the first moment of consciousness, the insanity begins. The terrorist who lives inside my mind begins bullying and threatening me.
But I’m not powerless.
Over the years I’ve adapted practices to keep my mind flourishing and my life contented.
The first thing I do every single morning is pray. (Specifically, I pray to be relieved from the bondage of self.) Then I meditate. Then I dance. Then I write myself a letter from Love. (This is the most important part of my day, when I connect to Love herself, and ask her what she would have me know today.) Then I do a The Work of Byron Katie Worksheet on a stressful belief. At various times in my life, I have gone (or will go) to therapy, to yoga, to 12-step programs. I’ve taken medication at times. Whenever I see a church door open, I walk in, take a knee, and pray. I try to reach out to somebody every day with a message of Love, which ends up helping ME. I practice generosity, which also helps ME.
It’s an all-day job. It’s why I go to bed so early, so I wake up early, and begin tending to my mental health!
It’s a lot.
But nothing matters more, and nobody else can do it for me. I accept sacred stewardship over this mind.”


Have you got any routines that help you manage your mental health?


If this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!





So if you’ve been following my blog for a bit you might be noticing a theme at the moment.




Specifically the BS ones. We all have these patterns in our brains, neural pathways, running the same shit over and over – mainly because our brains are lazy. Why dig out a new path in the snow when there’s already one just over there?!


These old pathways though, repeated stories which have created your sense of self, play on repeat like an old stuck record, way more than you can begin to believe. Trust me – I’ve been learning about this stuff for over 3 years now – I’ve practically studied for an unofficial degree in happiness, confidence and self awareness. Actually scratch that – I’d gonna go out on a limb and upgrade that to an unofficial PHD – there’s been a metric fucktonne of reading and learning as it’s my special interest aka obsession.


When these stories on repeat really outgrow us, they contradict our dreams (or our life purpose – whether known or unknown) because their main job is to keep you safe (i.e. not moving or doing anything in some cases if yours is particularly loud and booming) and over time, they dim the little light that shines inside us.


When we have that fight going on inside us for too long, the pressure can become too much to bear… when you don’t acknowledge that spark inside, that feeling in your gut, your inner knowing, or the little voice that wants the best for us (the one we make quiet by listening to the loud one that sprouts all the BS) your body eventually steps up to the job and tries to tell you you’re off track, that can be in the form of depression, anxiety, something nagging away not right. I mean, how awesome is that – all of us, with our own sat nav to guide us the right way… if we only just bloody listened!!!


But it’s the pesky old stories keep that keep us stuck, unhappy, wanting one thing then doing the opposite (think diets and slices of cake, ahem). It’s our habits that keep us doing the same thing day in day out, and it’s fear about stepping out of these safe patterns that prevent us from taking that first step outside your comfort zone. Team up your lazy brain along with the huge part of you that is a fear mongering scaredycat fun sponge and you’ve got a right job on your hands when it comes to making any changes to feel happy or good about yourself.


We can either stick our fingers in our ears whist shouting la la la to the end and numbing ourselves from it all or we can do something about it before it’s too late and we’re all old and regretful and shit.


The thing I learnt is that we have to listen and do those things that mean a lot to us – even if you have to spend some time working out what it is in life that have a meaning for us. Yes it can feel scary, but is it really worth spending your life doing things to distract us and numb us so we don’t feel so out of place?


The thing that stopped me from following some of my own ideas through for so long was my own sense of self – who am I to do this? None of my friends are doing anything like this. What is the point? I’ll only fail. People are going to think I’m stupid/weird. Why bother? It’s not going to make a difference. I’ll look a fool… blah blah blah.

But I was telling myself an old story. A really old one. One that was written when something upsetting happened to me and I was too young to see it objectively and so instead of thinking “I can’t believe people could be so cruel” or “What on earth happened to these people in their life to make them act like that?”, I created a meaning that something was wrong with me and I was unacceptable, that people only really want to hurt you and belittle you even if they act like they like you at first, that I would only be accepted if I acted a certain way etc etc.


As soon as did anything that triggered those old stories off, cue feelings of depression, anxiety, what am I doing with my life, I’m not happy, I can’t do this etc.


I decided that I needed a tool to help me. I was good at finding tools… only once it got too much to bear obviously… but isn’t that always the case? It’s only once we get so tired of our own bullshit that we actually take action.


I’d used photography to combat my memory issues after some sad childhood stuff. I used that in a way to remind myself that my life wasn’t as bad as my head made out to be. Maybe I needed something to remind myself that I’m not as bad as I seem to think too!


I created “The Big Book of I’m Awesome” to remind myself that I was more capable than my head was telling me. And I had to look at it every day to positively brainwash myself so I step into the identity of who I am living life as and being, not as the stories I made up about myself when I was little and feeling hurt by the world.


After stepping out from my first business, FlukePhotography to begin working on Professional Rebel combining photography with confidence and wellbeing experiences, I found it really hard to move forwards with it at times. It was a big challenge, because something inside me was clashing and keeping me afraid and self sabotaging to protect myself from moving forwards so I had to do something to help me be the person who did this.


You see I believe that you have to be ready for when that thing that you want happens so you don’t fuck it up.  You have to believe you are the person that does that, has that, is that. If you want one thing but your head is telling you you’re a sack of shit excuse of a human being, even if you work your lady balls off to get it, you will snap right back to who you think you are and what you believe you deserve. After a few years of smacking your face against your own internal glass ceiling, you either give up or realise you’ve got to do something different.


We wouldn’t have these ideas if we weren’t supposed to do something about them. I know we keep our dreams a secret and it’s hard to share them never mind do something about them.


My ideas have helped many people in all sorts of different situations. And it took a long time for it to really sink in so I could see it and receive it. Creating my Big Book of I’m Awesome helped me do this.





Sometimes we have to get out of our own way. Sometimes we have to know that other people are going through these things too so we don’t feel alone, weird, lost.


What things do you need to do? Do you even know?


What are the stories stopping you? Do you even have any idea? Is it sending you batshit crazy?

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!




When we have BS stories in our heads, like about who we are and how we are allowed to show up and have in life, they end up driving the bus. Even if we want to go one way, the big BS belief bus will take us somewhere else and we don’t always see that there’s another way we can go. We get so used to our own patterns by thinking a certain way, we totally can’t see that there are other modes of transport and other destinations.

Just like me and my history of low self esteem slowing down my achievements or even Hannah from my last post, with her “I can’t” story. I honestly believe if nobody had said anything to her to correct that story for her, she probably would have gone through life with not so much belief in her own abilities, and I’m certain this would then affect choices she made and opportunities she took later down the line.

This time I’d like to share a story from someone who took part in one of my free challenges in the I Dare You Project a short while ago.

So, this super sweet lady had felt quite down for a few years. She had a lovely husband, a lovely home and some awesome doggy companions too. But she really wanted a family. They’d been trying for years but no joy.

When you’ve tried something for so long and it doesn’t happen, your head can start to tell you you’re a failure. You can start to think you’ve let people down around you. You cringe at anyone asking you about it. You look at people around you, your friends, your colleagues, people you look up to and even in the messaging around you in films, magazines, just everyone.

Feeling like a failure isn’t really something people want to talk about, you feel ashamed and that feeds your head even more and it can go further and further downhill into a pit of your own despair.

Now I don’t know the thoughts of this lady in particular but I have had feelings of being a failure, or things taking much longer than you had hoped or having to give up something because it just wasn’t right. I have felt ashamed and I have felt like I didn’t know who to talk to.

If you don’t have something to snap you out of that train of thought, your own pattern, you continue on a downward spiral.

You need a pattern interrupt. Something to inspire a plot twist.

Sometimes it’s just knowing that there are other possibilities, other options, other ways of thinking about it – a reframe.

I had no idea how this lady was feeling until I received a heartfelt message thanking me.



Something I did, or said and put out there, planted a seed in someone’s life and changed it – not just for them, but for a little girl too.

Sometimes you don’t need to turn your life upside down to make it better, you just have to have something (or someone) to remind you there’s another way.

I’m not telling you this to blow my own trumpet. I’m telling you this because the idea I had to do the I Dare You Challenge scared the living crap out of me for ages. I procrastinated and I couldn’t tell anyone about it for ages.

It felt silly, I felt like I would be judged. But I worked through it and it’s an idea that evolved and is helping people. So it’s things like this that we have to come back to when self doubt kicks in.

Sometimes there are things bigger than ourselves that we feel called to do. We have dreams and ideas for a reason. We have to come back to why we are doing them and not listen to our heads which only want to keep us small and safe. Every time I get scared, doubt my ability or listen any other silly thing my head tries to come up with, I come back to those things – why I am doing it and how is it being of good service to others. Seeing how I’ve been able to help people is always a good reminder to keep going. By not listening to the part of myself that told me my idea was silly, I was able to help someone in a way I could never have imagined.

And I’ve been helping people like this lady ever since.


p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!




I’m a step mum to three children.

I call them my bonus children. Find one good man, get three kids free 🙂

It’s not been something that has been easy at all.

I’ve never wanted children of my own – though I fully appreciate that hormones may take over my senses at some point in the near future. All I wanted a nice bloke to share my life with and to touch (ahem grope) his bottom occasionally.

But it happened, I got mildly stalked by an interesting chap who I ended up quite liking and falling in love with. He came with baggage, an ex wife and three kids. Whilst I’ve never been of the Disney Princess happily ever after ilk, it’s definitely not a situation I ever expected to find myself in.

After waiting a good while to meet them, wondering whether or not they’d take to me and whether or not the ex wife would hate me, there was a lot of getting my head around what this would be for me. Was it a chance to experience the freedom of having children in my life yet being able to give them back / head out to the pub when they did my nut in or would this make me feel trapped, like I had to make compromises and consider many other people in any decisions I made.

After many instances of it being quite the head fuck, eventually I decided to just be me and if anything came up with them, their mum or anything, I could deal with it just like everything else that has come up in my life that I have dealt with. We always forget that we do have epic coping skills and that we do get through all the shit life throws at us.

When I stopped being preoccupied with all the stuff in my head, my issues, me me me ahem (as we all do) , I started to notice something really that bothered me.

The youngest, a little girl, who was about 6 or 7 at the time of this story, had a big thing of saying that she can’t – you know, “I can’t do it.”

I know it’s nice to have her dad do something for her now and then, I mean who doesn’t like people doing stuff for them occasionally, but she had a distinct tone of not really being very capable or believing in her abilities.

It probably doesn’t help having two older brothers who enjoy playing with one another more, who tell her that she is annoying or stupid because she has less experience on computer games or whatever than they do.

Whether you hear something once or often, there are some things that stick in our heads. Especially when the person saying the thing has some authority in your life at the time – your big old grumpy dad, your older brothers and sisters who you look up to or your lovely teacher who is normally very nice but had a bad day and took it out on you.

These things, which sometimes can be fleeting comments as well as things said regularly by your siblings eventually become the voice in your head. Honestly, if you spent a day writing down all the negative things the inner voice comes out with each day, you would start to notice it sounds like someone important in your early years like your mum, grandma etc.

If you repeat a story in our head enough, it actually becomes a belief – something we deem to be true and once we take this story to be true, a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which acts like a big filter, only starts letting in things that support that belief.

The purpose of the RAS is to stop your brain from blowing up from system overload from all the things coming in through all of your senses at each given moment.

It takes a heck of a lot of re-programming to untangle that story, realise it’s a false opinion and that we can tell ourselves a new story. Our brains aren’t half down with a bit of habit and repetition.

It worried me that this little girl was constantly coming out with things that implied she wasn’t very able. I decided to have a go at nipping this in the bud in a fun way.

One morning when she was at our house, she said ‘i can’t’ about something so I hopped in with a little ‘game’. We had to repeat something over and over again.

My name is Hannah. I am awesome. I am strong and I can do what ever I put my mind to.‘ – her face lit up with delight and her whole energy changed. We made this into a little morning routine for a bit and even made some little cards she could keep by her bed and do by herself.

Time passed and to be honest, I completely forgot about it until my other half received a text message from his ex with a photo of her practicing her hand writing one evening.



If you can’t read it, it says: “I am Hannah and I am incredible. I believe that I can do abslootly everything if I put my mind to it.

Obviously I had a bit of a moment about it – you know, making an impact on someone young and impressionable made my eyes get a bit moist. It was a lovely surprise.

The good thing was though, that after being reminded of this little ritual we had and how she was still practicing it, her dad and I both notice a something about her recent behaviour. Neither of us hear her saying she can’t do anything any more. Matt caught her almost saying it one time playing a computer game but then correcting herself saying “this level is a bit tricky isn’t it?”

It’s amazing how little things like this can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Imagine if we all stopped spinning round in our own heads.

Imagine if we all started saying nice things to ourselves instead of being mean.

Imagine releasing the trap and being less self absorbed about our own issues to be able to really see that we can help someone with something that could be getting them down.

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way to be able to see things like this and to have the self belief that what we have to offer is of value to other people and to  have the courage and to act upon them.


p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!




The way I felt about myself fuelled my anxiety and depression.

And depression and anxiety fuelled how I felt about myself.

I’d brave it and make some big changes in my life, like get a new job or move house, and it helped for a short while – like as a nice distraction and something to focus on for a bit but then this empty feeling would eventually creep back in.

It went on for years.

Little did I know that picking up a camera would be the start of putting this life long cycle to bed.

You see I never planned to become a photographer – it just sort of happened… a happy accident, a fluke.


Due to childhood trauma, my little yet awesome brain developed a little differently and the connections to my memory kinda got jumbled up. This left me unable to remember huge parts of my life – not only the bad bits but also the adventures, the experiences, the stuff worth living for.

As well as being an epic tool to remind myself of all the good things in my life, like a visual gratitude diary, I started using photography to explore emotions, like spotting patterns in my thinking or using it as a way to express how I felt, like when I was going through a painful break up. I wasn’t really a ‘talker’ back then.

I never expected the camera to take me on an adventure escaping the 9-5 and setting up my first business (FlukePhotography) – it was a success… well, for a few years anyway.

It wasn’t until I realised I’d slipped back into feeling deeply unhappy again that I knew I had to work out what was going on.

How could I be unhappy again? Was there something wrong with me?



I worked out that I didn’t trust myself.

I didn’t believe in myself.

And I couldn’t see myself for who I really was.

When it boils down to it, the truth was that I didn’t accept myself.

I thought by stepping out of the into the world of self employment that I’d be taking life and stuff more into my own hands, but that couldn’t have been further away from the truth.

You see when you do a thing, if all of you isn’t aligned to that thing – your words, your actions, your beliefs, you soon find yourself bumping head first into walls and you won’t know why. It will start to drive you insane.

Taking the plunge and doing a brave to follow my heart only highlighted just how bad I felt about myself. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t believe in myself enough so I just starting doing what I thought I should. No one teaches you how to run a business, so I looked at what everyone else was doing.

And then it hit me smack in the face.

I had slipped back into exactly the same cycle I thought I’d broken free from.

Doing what I ‘should’ be doing – what was expected of me.



This is probably why most people stick to the path mapped out for us. It’s less uncertain. It’s less likely to have us rejected and questioned by our loved ones. The thing is though that this path also fills us with so many thoughts, possibilities and anxiety about all that we have to do to keep up.

We can never do enough, be enough – there’s always something we should be doing to lead these perfect lives expected of us. Everyone else around us seems to have it sorted.

By following this path we loose touch with ourselves. We get crippled by the things we think we should do and stop listening to ourselves and what we, as individuals, want and need in life.

We have stories playing in our heads, some almost as old as we are, clashing with what we dream of and stopping us from getting to where we want to go. We keep looking on the outside for acceptance and approval that we’re doing the right thing. We keep pushing and pushing, losing touch with who we really are and what we need. Doing what we should until we don’t know who we are any more – this is what’s fuelling our depression and anxiety.

I realised that when we hop on the should train, it causes us anxiety. Our heads go into overdrive.

And when we keep doing what we should and not what we want and need, we get depressed.

It’s the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.

But we don’t listen.

We keep going.

Until we don’t know who we are any more.

We try and fit ourselves into roles and boxes. But what good is it playing so small, squeezing ourselves to fit and live false lives?

We stop feeling. We listen to our heads instead of our bodies.

Picking up a camera initially to help me remember things lead me to on a path to really reflect upon my life and the lives of those around me..

When I realised what was happening to me, I wanted to step out of it. I wanted to stop listening to the voice in my head and start living from my heart so my life would mean something to me.

You see, I believe the world we live in today tries to make us feel bad about ourselves.

When we feel bad about ourselves, we keep looking for something to fix it – something outside ourselves to make how we feel go away.

Constant messaging about not being good enough keeps us inside our own heads, beating ourselves up like there’s no tomorrow, comparing ourselves to other people, feeling like we’re never quite where we should be.

The longer we stay in our heads, do as we’re expected and ignore our true feelings, the more pain we cause ourselves leading to things like anxiety, depression – but it can become too much to bear so we do things to numb out, activities, more thoughts, more doing what we think we should.

And repeat.

It’s madness.

Honestly, if anyone actually heard the utter bollocks going on between our ears, we’d all be living in a mental hospital.

And nobody talks about it.

Which is why I DO talk about it.

I want to help.

You see I’ve realised that stopping all these behaviour and thought loops, we give ourselves a sense of freedom. No longer are we too worn out by our thoughts and trying to do everything we think we should. We get the headspace to live more purposefully and do more things that have meaning for us.

So I’m on a mission to do help people feel good – about life, about themselves, about who they are so the can send ripples of awesomeness and joy out into the world and make it a better place.

If I can help people feel better about who they are and do more things that matter to them, then so can you. It’s bloody life changing. And you don’t have to move to the other side of the world to do this… unless you want to ovbs!


p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!



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Have you ever wondered why you feel different to everyone else around you? Like you don’t quite fit in? Like there’s a piece missing? – you’re almost empty at times.

Do you ever ask yourself why you don’t feel happy? Why, as you go about your day, there’s this irritable feeling inside you but you’re not really sure what it is. You can’t understand why because it’s not like you have a bad life or anything. If you’re like me, you probably think that something is wrong with you.

Do you ever feel like there’s more to life? That what you have isn’t it but you don’t know what else you can do. It feels like something is holding you back, disconnected, like you’re separate to life around you.

This was me, from as early as I could remember and for most of my 37 years on the planet.It was constant and it was really shit. There was no peace from all these thoughts. And if you have been there too, then I just want you to know you’re not on your own.



All my life I felt like I was different. Like I didn’t fit in. I felt I was somehow disconnected from the world and felt more like an observer of life rather than a participant.

Instead of seeing my difference as a good thing, my child’s mind told me I was flawed. I felt deeply ashamed of who I was.

Feeling this way from a young age lead to really crappy self confidence as you can imagine.

Over the years this developed into anxiety and depression.

I was desperate to know why I felt so bad all of the time. I wanted to know why I was letting life pass me by in some weird passive state.

I spent 30 years of my life doing what I thought I should until one day I didn’t feel anything at all.

I was used to depression and not feeling happy but one day I realised I couldn’t feel anything at all. I’d stopped feeling. I’d gone numb.

It was terrifying.

This was no way to live life.

I decided to sort this out once and for all.



It took some time (and some lady balls) but I untangled the knots that kept me tripping up and making the same mistakes over and over again.

I stepped out of my head and back into my body.

I learnt about who I really was and began to look at my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

Over time, I became more confident and stepped into who I really was.

Suddenly there was a heap of peace I’d never felt before.

Fewer fucks were given.

I felt happier and I started to create a life that I was a part of.

I met like minded people.

I met the love of my life.

I had better relationships with family, friends and everyone.

I redesigned parts of my life to fit with who I was, not who I thought I should be.

I started to make peace with my ‘bad’ bits and learnt to work with them instead of fighting to continuously get rid of them.

Over time my individuality became my super power and lead me to where I am today with a business I love that helps so many people.

It’s not a one and done process. There’s always stuff to uncover and I still have shitty days now and then – being happy isn’t the absence of feeling bad, it’s knowing that whatever life throws at you, you’ll be able to handle it. It’s about developing bouncebackability!


p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!


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So last night, every speaker’s nightmare came true…

Actually, scratch that, last night, every person who fears public speaking’s nightmare came true.

My mind went blank.

That’s right.

I got up on stage, delivered a few lines, got people giggling, then boomph, nothing.

No words, no thoughts, nothing.

I froze.

Rabbit à la headlights.



I’d get it if I were supposed to be giving a talk about Celtic coins or current SEO trends which I would have had to learn about in advance, but I planned to talk about myself and my experiences – something I talk, write and teach about regularly. It’s my own life FFS, not rocket science!

Well the good news is, I didn’t die.

I think that’s what most people fear about the whole public speaking thing. But I’m still here to tell the tale and I wasn’t swallowed by shame either and this is what I’d like to talk about – sometimes the Universe delivers things to show you how far you’ve come.

Last night, I got up on stage, introduced myself and started telling the tale about growing up with low self-esteem and having no confidence and how that can contribute to things like depression and anxiety. I’m guessing the small vulnerable part inside me was feeling, well, small and vulnerable opening up on this occasion, so my protective saboteur hopped right in and took over the controls of my brain.


There’s a part of your brain, your ego (what I call the headcunt at times) doesn’t like you stepping out of your comfort zone so it gathers the ‘protection’ crew to throw in something like shame to stop you making a tit of yourself and as a result, you either do make a full on tit of yourself, or you go and beat yourself up afterwards. Ego loves that:

“Ha, look at you, getting too big for your boots.”

“You made a right fool of yourself. You’re not going to speak in public again.”

“Everyone was laughing at you.”

Except this time, that didn’t happen.


I’m honestly pleased to say that the biggest ‘negative’ feeling I had was disappointment. I had a chance to tell around 100 people that they’re not alone and share the work I do and I messed up, got in a fluster, all out of breath as my lungs are still recovering from whooping cough.

I did feel a pang of shame, but it went away quickly and so, I actually found this whole experience profoundly healing.

I know I’m a fucker for silver linings and sprinkling positivity everywhere but even this took me by surprise.



So I just wanted to share with anyone who gets fed up and frustrated by life, the universe and everything throwing a spanner in the works when things are going well but there’s always a reason – it’s there to show you, you either haven’t fully learnt your lesson and it’s giving you more work to do or, in my case last night, that you’ve come a long way baby.


I didn’t judge myself, I didn’t let the negative inner chatter steal the show, I didn’t give up. I treated myself with respect and kindness, because you know what, we’re all human, we all fuck up and it’s what makes us relatable and likable.


And whilst my nervous system perceived this as a threat, and still threw me into a freeze response, it was so refreshing to see the inner work I’ve done pay off where I not only didn’t think unkind things about myself, but also that I didn’t die of shame afterwards either.


I was kind to myself and will continue to do so until my nervous system catches up to see that speaking on stage is not the same as a big grizzly bear.


I just want to say that most people prefer someone bumbling along but having a go rather than someone all polished who looks like they have all their shit together. It’s much more relatable and shows that we’re all human.


I’m really proud that I didn’t let one whoopsie cloud over all the other successes I’ve had lately – old me would have almost died of shame and gone into hiding. I’ve done remarkably well lining up opportunities and sharing my message since the new year and I guess part of me didn’t feel safe there and wanted to knock me back into my comfort zone. And that’s ok. I see it. I allowed it. I’ve let it go.


TLDR: You won’t die if you fluff up on stage. Pinky promise!


p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!


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I never planned to become a mentor.

Well, except for that one time at Uni when me and my friends signed up to every society meeting that had free food at the meetings.

Yes, I left pockets filled with sausage rolls and biscuits and no shame whatsoever. And a couple of weeks later I had a CB check through. Nothing ever came of it though – they must have realised we only came for the food and not the mentoring.

Anyway, I digress.

So, this mentoring stuff – it sort of happened by accident, which in my experience is always the best way. Creative flow at it’s finest. Its whenever my life works best. And with the gift of hindsight, Ive been able to see just how much Ive always done this for people – I even recently came across an old letter from one of my teachers praising me for giving up my time to help younger pupils at school. Cheers Miss Fry.



Anyway, about a year or so ago, I received a call from one of my biz buddies, Joanne who works at Chester Voluntary Action – about a girl who had just dropped out of 6th form and was looking for some volunteering opportunities. She was interested in photography so Joanne asked if I would take her along on a shoot or two to build her confidence. 

We met for cake and tea and to have a chat. 

I saw a very lovely, yet totally unsure and timid girl. I saw a lot of myself in her – the not feeling quite like you fit with everyone else around you. Except this girl had bigger lady balls than I did at her age – she actually had the courage to drop out of 6th form because it was making her unhappy.

First thing I did was say how awesome she was for actually listening to how she felt and taking action. Some people go through their whole lives knowing something isn’t right but they don’t have the strength to do anything for themselves. They don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to stand out and be different. They don’t want to be judged. So they carry on regardless.

It felt like this was music to her ears. After all, there’s a set path after finishing school and some adults haven’t really cottoned on to how the world has changed since they were in that position.

I gave her a couple of dates to come on shoots with me and off we went.

In the car we talked about life, the universe and everything.

I felt really wise! She would often say, ‘oh my goodness, that makes so much sense’ or ‘wow, I’ve never really thought about it like that’. I’d remind her that I had many more years under my belt, had made enough of my own stupid mistakes and have also spent the past few years working on myself, working on personal growth and healing many years of shitty thoughts and trauma, as well as judgement from others about wanting something more for myself.

Since coming on to do a couple of shoots with me, she went and made a heck of a lot of connections around town, set up her own meet up group for other teens with self confidence issues and is soon to be jetting off to Australia for a few months. We still meet up every now and then for cake and tea. I still help with new perspectives on dealing with parents and boys but mainly it’s nice to know that in a way, the ups and downs of my life and my own issues with self confidence have been able to help someone else so much.


“When I dropped out of my A-Level’s-due to being completely unhappy – I thought I had totally lost my way. I felt as though I had failed at life! Marie-Claire helped me to see that it was only the beginning of the journey to my happiness and it definitely wasn’t the end of the world.
It’s been about 8 months since I met Marie-Claire and I am the happiest I’ve ever been! She has a wonderful positive energy that when I leave her presence I feel as though I could take on the world. She helps you to see the important things in life and to fulfill your potential. She is bouncing with self confidence and has helped me and many others to feel the same way about themselves.
She just has an overall gift for making people happy. I feel honoured and privileged to know her and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank her enough for the huge impact that she’s had on my life. “
Gaynor B. January 2017


I fell into this by just doing what I’m naturally good at and have helped hundreds of people since mentoring Gaynor. Sometimes all we need is someone to see us for who we really are. To validate us. To encourage us. To know we’re not alone.

If this resonated with you and you want to do something about it, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need! A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!




Just be yourself – words we’ve heard millions of times.

Hellooooo… But how?

It’s not like anyone actually teaches us how, is it?!


We spend our youth paying homage to the high school hierarchy; fit in, or get the crap beaten out of you.

And after that it’s freak out about the future time; not a bloody clue – let’s just look what everyone else is doing, eh.

Oooh, then it’s onto the proverbial box ticking: career, relationship, marriage, babies, mortgages – and if we’re not there yet*, we don’t half go hard on ourselves with the shitty end of the stick, do we?

*before our friends / before 30 / when our families expect us to / when think we really should have our shit together.


It becomes a huge rat race, a race to someone else’s finish. The more we push towards it, the more disconnected we feel from who we really are – and we wonder why we’re acting a little bat shit cray cray.



I 100% believe that this is what makes us feel lost, confused and insecure as well as fueling the ‘oh so friendly’ fire of anxiety and depression. Especially seeing as we try to look like we’ve all got our shit together.


According to Martin Seligman, an American Psychologist dude, major depression is seen in 10 times more in people born after 1945 than in those born before. Seeing as we don’t tend to evolve THAT quickly as a species, maybe, just maybe, the root cause of most depression isn’t just a chemical imbalance?


And, to highlight that point a bit more, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) reports that the number of people diagnosed with depression has increased by 450% since 1987.


Could it be that simply pursuing someone else’s path in the modern age is actually making us unhappy?

I would like to share some insights from my own experience with depression – I had zero self confidence growing up, ‘shoulding’ my way into a life that was at least two sizes too small, feeling utterly lost, anxious and terribly unhappy. I’ve also included heaps of awesome blogs and content by other people which I think you will enjoy.

I know it’s a cliché but I learnt that it took truly going inside to find joy, inner peace, self-confidence, have better relationships and lead a life you really do love.

Looking outside didn’t work, well, not for me anyway.



Knowing and being yourself lesson no1:
People like you more.


I know this totes sounds counter intuitive – getting people to like you, but the fact is, you’re not getting them to do anything. You don’t have to work at it. Woohoo!

If you think about how flowers just attract bees without ever really trying; none of this getting fake petals or slagging off the snowdrops – they just grow and do their thing. The point I’m trying to make here is that by being you, in all your shiny awesome youness will attract your tribe – you don’t have to be anything other than who you are and the right people will find you.

By dropping the mask you will save yourself some precious energy and you will be more present, which means being a much better friend.

By the way, this whole getting to know yourself helps in the finding your soul mate department too.

Being yourself = all round relationship upgrades. 


Be yourself – No one else really cares that much

Embrace your Weird

How to always be yourself

Finding my tribe

Date someone you can be yourself with



Knowing and being yourself lesson no2:
You like you more.


I think we can all agree that the feeling of being ‘not enough’ in any situation sucks big hairy donkey dick. When you start knowing yourself and hanging around more with people who really value you, something awesome happens. You start to notice your strengths instead of where you don’t quite cut it. Suddenly you appreciate yourself a heck of a lot more and your self-worth goes up a notch or two! Aaaand when you know what you’re good at and you feel good about yourself, you’re not actually that bothered about what you’re not so good at any more.

The negative self-talk eventually pipes down and you realise that comparison can fuck right off, to put it mildly.

Being yourself = hello self-confidence! 


How to overcome social anxiety

Unique, not perfect.

Be yourself and go all the way.

Why you need to let yourself be yourself

Know yourself, know your worth

Know Your Worth: 5 Small Ways To Build Up Your Self-Esteem  



Knowing and being yourself lesson no3:
Fewer fucks given.


When you knock the old incessant mind chatter and comparisonitis on the head, something utterly awesome happens – you’ll find yourself with a whole heap of clarity and headspace.

Shutting the inner headcunt up makes way for the tiny voice deep inside us to step up and seem a little louder than before – you know, the one with the answers, the one that just knows what to do. Yep that’s right, you’ll step out of your head for long enough to get back in touch with your intuition, your gut feeling, the connection to you really are.

Suddenly the word should becomes a word you laugh at. There’s a freedom in that.

Being yourself = a sense of inner peace, ommmmmmm.


A psychologist shares the 10 qualities of the most authentic people

Free yourself from what you should be doing

Being true to yourself

Finding yourself

6 tips to find yourself



Knowing and being yourself lesson no4:
You know who is driving the bus.


Feelings can be fucking scary man, it’s no wonder we end up blotting some of them out – particularly the ‘bad’ ones. But carry on for long enough and you end up not feeling anything. Yep, that’s right, you numb out completely until you don’t really feel anything any more.

You have no enjoyment in things, you can’t be bothered and everything seems like such a huge effort. You might even start acting like a dick and blowing up about all sorts on inane crap.

But this is what happens when you live your life for other people. Something’s got to give, eventually. If you open up and learn to feel the full range of emotions, life becomes better, fuller, and more dynamic. You can’t have the good without the bad. To feel pure joy, you have to let yourself feel sadness – cutting one off completely will only mute the other.

Once you become aware of your emotions, you can then be a better person, partner and parent – you know what sets you off, you can drive the bus instead of your emotions.

Being yourself = Living the fullest of lives.


5 ways to find yourself when you feel lost

Accepting your darkest emotions is the key to psychological health

Unprocessed Emotion

Harvard psychologist – we’re getting happy wrong

4 steps to align your life with your true self

Happiness means being seen



Knowing and being yourself lesson no5:
Superhero life skills.


It takes a heap of courage to step out, drop the mask and be vulnerable. It’s like being naked all of a sudden – it doesn’t half tickle your shame switch. It’s totally no wonder why a lot of people opt for the easier option of ‘not going there’ but as Anais Nin once wrote:



Which I read as: you’ll only come out of your shell when you’re utterly exhausted from your own bullshit.

But once you dare to do it, you feel a sense of power – and not the Donald Trump kinda ‘power’, it’s a real life force energy coming from within. It’s like someone turned the volume up on life – you really will shine like a fucking star.


Just like she says:

In a way, you’ll become a leader, giving others permission to do the same – to take control of their lives and live life to the full, their version of full.

Now not everyone will like this and it can hurt when old friends ghost you but you’ll start to care less, you’ll be happier in your own company, you’ll meet your own tribe, you’ll have more strength to say no to what isn’t right for you and you’ll be able to handle the toxic energy vampires in your life.

You won’t fear new experiences and you’ll be able to see your past in a new light. But I think the best thing about it all is developing what I call “bouncebackability” – true resilience, because life will still throw shit at you, you’ll still have wanky days – you just wont fight them, you’ll let them flow, knowing you have the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on all shiny and awesome and shit.

Being yourself = Realising just how fucking strong you are.


Take back your power

The courage to be yourself

Getting to know yourself what you like and what you want in life

How to become the unique and wonderful being you were born to be

The day I met a Happiness Ninja

Do this instead of being positive when everything falls apart



Now I know sometimes people don’t want to go there – what if you find out you’re a massive knob? Maybe you’ll really see that you’re not really that special?

All of us find things we don’t like at first and I’d be lying to you if I said that wasn’t a kick in the teeth. Nobody smiles at the thought of being jealous, angry and competitive but as the author of this post says “when you can remain standing when you feel your weakest, then you are truly stronger than you think.”


Running from the inside – the journey back to me



As someone whose life has completely changed by getting to know themselves, I’d love to invite you to come along for the adventure. Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!


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