Quick-Fire Questions

I thought I'd do this quick quiz for anyone who would like to get to know me a bit better. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Sweet or savoury?
Savoury... I think...

Run or cycle?

Staycation or vacation?
Vacation, but I'd like to visit more of the UK in the future.

Rain or sun?
I'm one of those weirdos that actually likes the rain. I find it really comforting to watch and I love the sound of it.

Summer or winter?
Winter. I don't care if I should like summer because I was a summer baby. Winter!

Early bird or night owl?
Early to bed, early to rise.

Glass half full or half empty?
If you only filled it half way then it's half full. If you filled it up and drank some then it's half empty. The point is it's refillable.

Chocolate or vanilla?
If we're talking ice cream then vanilla.

Books or movies?

PC or Mac?

Ketchup or mayonnaise?
Ketchup. Mayonnaise is the work of the devil.

Tattoos or piercings?

Cats or dogs?

Bourbons or custard creams?
BOURBONS! The great bourbon shortage of 2016 was nearly the end of me.

Marvel or DC?

Saver or spender?
Spender, but I save much better than I used to.

Silver or gold?

Christmas or Halloween?
Well I wish it could be Christmas everyday, when the kids start singing and the band begins to play...

Harry Potter or Twilight?
I am a Slytherin and I won't hesitate in hexing you if you ask such a ridiculous question again!

Dancing or singing?
Singing. Usually in my car. Could give Christina Aguilera a run for her money let me tell you!

Hugs or kisses?
Hugs heal anything.

Sausage or bacon?
Sausage, but bacon is syn-free.

Scrambled or fried?

Bond or Bourne?
Bourne #sorrynotsorry

Money or fame?

Sunrise or sunset?
I prefer to be asleep for both, but probably sunrise. New day, new start sort of thing.

Multiple choice questions or essay questions?
Multiple choice as long as the answer I want is there. And by that I mean magazine quizzes that try to work out your personality, but don't have an answer that you would pick.

Long hair or short hair?
On me, long. On guys, short. Unless it's Thor. He can wear his hair however the hell he likes.

Facial hair or clean shaven?
Don't mind either, but not a beard like Dumbledore because that would just be weird.

Smoking or non-smoking?

Paying a mortgage or paying rent?
I would prefer to pay a mortgage, but I'm living with my mum so have a very good deal on rent.

Shower in the morning or in the evening?
Morning otherwise I'd be walking round like a zombie.

Call or text?
Text. Calling people sets my anxiety into overdrive.

Glasses or contacts?
Glasses, but contacts for special occasions/when I can afford them. 

Pen or pencil?

Washing dishes or doing laundry?
Dishes. Every. Single. Time!

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. Just. I like the new Star Treks.

Dark chocolate or white chocolate?
Both with milk chocolate in a bar of Milka Triolade.

Cake or pie?

Chinese or Italian?
Italian = Pizza

Smile or game face?
Resting bewildered face

A Letter to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self

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Dear Tracy,

I thought I'd drop you a (probably not so) quick note to wish you a very happy 16th birthday on what is, confusingly yet aptly, your 32nd birthday. I know you are extremely excited about your joint party with Sarah which is happening on Saturday. You’ve got a gorgeous red dress that you feel really grown up in and you’ve had a fringe cut in. It’s already annoying you because it keeps parting and you’re worried it will look silly on the night. Quick tip: Next time you decide you want a fringe (and there will be a next time) get the hairdresser to make it heavier and it won’t do it so much.

The party is going to be amazing! There will be lots of Five and S Club 7 played and that boy you like who sits at the back of the bus actually said he’d try and come when you invited him, but don’t get too excited because you’re only 16 and there’s a whole wealth of guys out there for you to crush on. You'll get lots and lots of wonderful presents which you are extremely grateful for, but the one that still sticks in your head will be the bag of Millie's Cookies that Rachel brings from work. It will pass by in a blur so take lots of photos.

It’s been a pretty shitty year for you so far, but in time you will see that what you thought was the worst moment of your life was actually the best. Well that exact moment wasn’t, but the outcome was. From just having a family on your mum’s side, a whole new family has been presented to you. A dad who has always been there can now share with you another mum, two brothers, a cousin who you will soon see as a sister, three grandparents and a whole bunch of extended family that you love to pieces.

Ironically I’m sitting here a lifetime (for you) later experiencing what is turning out to be a difficult year. Don’t get me wrong, there have been truly horrible moments between your time and mine, but this year is really knocking me for six. I’m getting there slowly, but surely. Knowing you got through everything that 2000 threw at you is one of the things that makes me sure I will get through 2016. Thank you for showing me just how strong we are capable of being.

Just as an aside, when everything came out you said that you were happy as you might get the chance to be an auntie one day. Well, spoiler alert, but you become an auntie to, not one, but four gorgeous pickles. They are all unique in their own way and you are so proud of each and every one of them.

But that’s enough about a future that seems so far away to you right now. You’ve completed your GCSEs and you’ve done your work experience at your old primary school. It’s time to enjoy a relaxing summer before going back to school to do your A-levels. Yes, you’re going back to Wilmington. You will strengthen existing friendships as well as make new ones that I still have and cherish now. The whole applying to university thing won’t go entirely to plan, but it definitely works out for the best. You’ll see why…

Around the time you go back to school, the head of sixth form will make you find a volunteering role to take on so you contact your old Guide Leader Mandi to see if you can return to your unit as a Young Leader and of course she welcomes you back. You have some many amazing experiences coming your way and it’s all down to guiding. There’s too much to go into here, but it’s safe to say that it becomes a huge part of your life. In fact I’d say it becomes a way of life. I truly believe that guiding and university are responsible for who we’ve become.

Never stop being you. One of the things I love about you is how you are totally happy to be yourself and enjoy the things that you enjoy without being bothered about what others think. For example in my time you have an unwavering love for both Harry Potter and McFly. Your family and friends may lovingly mock you, but you never falter in your dedication to them. They bring joy to your life and that’s all that’s important to you. Just as it should be.

Another thing that I love about you is that you’re not afraid to admit when you’re wrong. When the whole Harry Potter hype took off, you didn’t understand why everyone was so fascinated with a bunch of children’s books. In fact you point blank refused to read them. I can’t remember what made you change your mind and buy that copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but after reading it in just one day, you were hooked.

Similarly when McFly started up you thought they were just Busted wannabes and weren’t interested. Then you saw the music video to ‘Room on the Third Floor’ and thought it was really clever and gave them a chance. It was once you heard ‘All About You’ though that they found a place in your heart forever.

The same goes for people. Everyone has first impressions of someone and you feel perfectly comfortable in being able to say, “Do you know what? I got you completely wrong when we first met. I’m sorry. Can we start over?” Don’t instantly dismiss your gut instinct though. It’s pretty accurate and, more often than not, serves you very well.

And try not to be so hard on yourself. You are an amazing person. You have come through so much. You will go through so much more and come out the other side of it. You will make plans that will never happen and that’s OK. Who knows what the future will hold for us, but I can’t wait to find out.

I love you awesome nerd!

Tracy (aged 32)

P.S. Just to warn you, you're going to have a huge crush on someone on at university. You are going to find the courage to actually go and talk to him when you see him at the union. It will transpire that you are talking to his twin. FAIL!

P.P.S. Cut back on the chocolate and pizza. It’ll come back to haunt you as you approach 30!

Barefoot Coaching Cards for Every Day: A Review

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Usually when the latest issue of Pyschologies magazine falls on the door mat, I'll have a quick flick through and in all honesty never get round to reading it properly. When the August edition arrived I actually decided to snuggle up on the sofa and read it from cover to cover and I am so glad I did because towards the end I saw a page announcing that Kim Morgan's Coaching Cards for Every Day would be launching on the 1st July.

As a Trainer for Girlguiding I am always looking for new resources that I can use in my sessions so I was excited to see that a limited amount were being given away on a first-come, first-served basis. Not one to pass up the opportunity of a freebie, I applied immediately. 

They landed on my door mat on Friday morning in between a trip to the hairdressers and going to get my eyebrows waxed ready for my friends' wedding so I wouldn't even let myself have a sneaky peek at them. Instead I put them in my suitcase to take to the hotel so that I could peruse them at my leisure that evening while the pampering continued.
I know they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but as it is usually the first thing that draws our attention to a product I would like to address it. The deck is presented in a simple aqua box which is enough to protect it and keep all the cards together. I actually found the colour of the box very soothing and it includes a couple of examples of the types of questions you find inside.

The pack consists of 50 cards, each posing a question or suggesting a task. They can be used by individuals or with others as a way of starting meaningful conversations. The cards themselves are extremely good quality and will last for years to come making them a great coaching companion.
Within a training environment I would be most likely to use these during an icebreaker activity, but depending on the topic of the training it would also be feasible to select certain cards and spend more time on them. 

Personally I can see myself using these in a variety of different ways. I have several sets of cards (a mixture of affirmations, oracle and tarot) and often I will choose a deck and pick a card to focus on for that day. This deck will definitely be added to those. I also hope to use these along side my cognitive behavioural therapy as I learn more about it and complete my exercises. 

Sitting here looking at them I am also reminded of the discussions that we used to have over family meals. While not all of the cards would be suitable there are definitely some that could stimulate interesting conversation and maybe even help you get to know members of your family better. The cards would also work well as journalling or blogging prompts for the writers out there or just someone who is trying to write more. 

Coaching Cards for Every Day are so versatile and I will definitely be getting a second set so that I can keep one on my bookshelf and one in my training box. 

Find out more about Barefoot Coaching:
Website: http://www.barefootcoachingcards.co.uk/
Twitter: @BarefootCoaches
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