3 Pockets- The Untold Story


I was born in the year of the horse, according to Chinese astrology, but that has almost nothing to do with this post. Read on and you’ll see….

During my first trip to Santorini in May of 2015, my husband and I came across this handsome devil every day on the way to our hotel from the main beach road.

Grecian friend

We always said hello and managed to catch this image.  I’m not sure if horses smile and he doesn’t appear to be.  Perhaps he’s happy and enjoying the land, visitors like us and the weather, but he’s not running free… something that made me rather sad each time I passed him on the hill.   Is he grateful for what he does have?  Does he have friend’s, a mate or even a comfortable place to live and sleep?  I don’t know, but he is there and he looks healthy and well cared for.

Next photo victim.. Me

I’m smiling, the sun’s on my face, I’m in paradise and enjoying a wonderful vacation with my one true love.  Everything is wonderful and I’m full of life.


All of this is true, or is it? (scroll down for more)







It is true however; no one really knows what lies beneath.

I’ve been smiling since the day I was born (nearly) and I enjoy being happy and doing pleasurable things. I counsel friends who are down, have a playful sense of humour, have taken care of my family and husband when they weren’t well and take pleasure in finding perfect gifts for everyone in my life for special occasions or “just because.” I give a lot, probably more than is healthy for me.

I have 3 pockets.  I stuff each pocket with things that I don’t need or want while I’m enjoying life and happiness. My first pocket is close to my heart and holds the sadness of losing my father, the second pocket holds my worries… for everything and the final pocket holds my fears.. fears of health and fears of future.

The moment that I walk through my front door after a relaxing and enjoyable vacation or fun event, it’s there again. Me, the “me” that I tucked away in those 3 little pockets.  The me that has been struggling “inside” with trauma that has taken over my persona.

My outside (public self) stays positive, optimistic and playful. Nobody realises, I am a great actress and my smile hides a lot of stories.

With love-Hands-On

Optimists…we’re only human


A letter to Daddy



CollegeGrad-DadDear Dad,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written you a letter, but I think of you every day.

A lot has happened in my life since you left and the piece of my heart that you took with you on your journey is still felt. I didn’t think it would be this hard… not to hear your voice, tell you about my life and hear your stories (even for the 10th time), but it is.

Your pride, your unconditional love, support and general inquisitive nature…it is a part of what’s missing in my life, my routine and my being.  I am not the same person without you, I have lost the one person who made it all better just by listening and being my father.

Life is funny in a strange way…as a child, I never saw an end to anything, only seasons,the last day of school and maybe an ice cream.  Those are moments that are enjoyed but their end does not leave a lasting mark.

As I reminisce about times past and the holiday season, I am reminded of how time changes things.. circumstances, people, events and myself. All of this leaves me searching for something and I haven’t put my finger on what it is yet. So this letter .. I’m an optimist but sometimes even an optimist falls. I resisted writing this, for fear that my readers would doubt my optimism, but I’m only human.

I’ve been watching videos I’ve taken of you and it’s almost like you’re here. I wish you were. I have a heavy heart writing this because I have changed since you left. I know that I was lucky to have you in my life and I have wonderful memories of all of the times we’ve spent together. Somehow I feel selfish… selfish for wanting everyone to understand my loss, but I still keep these feelings tucked inside.

I’m in a foreign land, with a man that I love however, my heart is missing family and familiar places to ease my sadness.  So I listen to songs that remind me of moments, people and places and sigh.

I’m trying Dad, but there are few that understand my dreams, wishes and wants.

I hope you are safe and not worrying about me. I will bounce back but you dear father have left an large empty space.



“Who’s the optimist?”


I must admit, I was tempted to use the title “Who’s the Daddy”, but I held back.

It didn’t quite fit and I wanted to communicate a unisex attitude.  Let me make a list of optimistic traits and please feel free to feedback and add a few of your own.

Hands-on’s 10 traits of an optimist

  1. Cup half full (I’m sure you already know this one)
  2. Focuses on what they have, rather than what they don’t have
  3. Positive thinking, even during the most challenging of times
  4. “Good ideas” person and sticks to their beliefs in a constructive way
  5. Trustworthy,honest and genuine
  6. Tell’s it how it is, in a gentle and supportive manner
  7. Take’s on a challenge with a smile and determination
  8. Listens first, responds second
  9. Lends a hand  without being asked
  10. Builds someone else’s self-esteem when they are down

I’m sure the list is much longer but I’m conscious of the amount of time my reader’s have to review blogs that they subscribe to.

How about a tune you say?  Sure!

Here’s a classic that will set the mood!

Stay happy!

Hands-on 🙂

People who need people

happy employees

Curious title… yes!

I’ve always been drawn to people, both in life and as part of my career.  They interest me, intrigue me and yes, sometimes disappoint me. As  an optimist, I am not here to focus on the negative, but I do want to raise the awareness of the “good stuff” for those who would benefit from a little self-awareness and improvement. I’m the observer and the people watcher, which  has served me well over the years.

Let’s talk about the “good stuff”, respect and admiration for just a moment. Over the course of my career, I have encountered many types of people:

  • genuine
  • curious
  • helpers
  • Loyal
  • competitive
  • Driven

For me, I prefer working  with the first 4 types. Don’t get me wrong…being competitive and driven can be great but there is a time and a place for it and you need not forget about the people you work with.  Cut-throat is not my style and it drains my “good energy”.

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn, quoting the type of work practice and ethos I’m into, so I shared it.


  • together
  • everyone
  • achieves
  • more

It’s that simple and so true. Let’s use Sir Richard Branson ( inspirational  leader) as the example… he’s an extremely successful and powerful entrepreneur who develops ideas into businesses that for the most part, have excelled. Did he do this alone? No. He sought advice, created his support team and ensured that everyone worked together for one common goal>SUCCESS.  He motivates and rewards his teams too, which is why and how he has done so well.  So the next time you hear a story or read a story about dear Richard, know that he picked and lead his teams well to get where he is today.

When you consider how much time we spend at work each day and week… our rituals and experiences need to be positive don’t they?  Yes there are targets and yes there are objectives but for me, a business cannot and will not succeed if their people do not support one another. Would you like another  benefit of working together? Okay… what about learning from one another? Each person that you encounter in  your  workplace  has a different style, level of knowledge and expertise in a company or if they’ve been doing it a while, their sector. It’s not a competition, it’s a learning experience. I myself have learned from people 10 years my junior and 20 years my senior.  Make someone feel good and ask how they would go about doing a task you’re about to do.  You will probably learn something great, but you will also make your co-worker feel needed and trusted.  Everyone started somewhere, everyone needs help and guidance no matter the level and people do genuinely need people.

Thanks for reading! Hands on 🙂

Rock of ages


There comes a time in your life when you sit back and reflect on your various life phases.

This is that time… memories, moments and the magic of music.  Do you remember your first concert? My first concert was as you may have guessed.. Aerosmith.

I had just turned 17 and was in the prime of my teenage years in the most wonderful decade of all! (at least to me it was and well.. a lot of my friends and perhaps even you)  I wasn’t exactly frantic to see them but my friends and I would sing their songs at the top of our lungs together and use their quote their lyrics, while relating them to our lives (as you do.) Boyfriends.. “look out” we’re getting even with you, even if at this moment I can no longer recall why. The strange thing is, I don’t remember why but I remember who.  Music is magical in that way and still to this day if I listen to “Dream on”, I know exactly where I was and who I was with.

So in 1983 I had the pleasure of experiencing my first rock concert with my first boyfriend wearing what would only be described as “cool” at that time… worn out TIGHT blue jeans, a t-shirt with cut out pieces in the back and rather expensive trendy cowboy boots. This ensemble was complemented by bold silver jewelry, big hair and plenty of black eye-liner.

After that first time experience I wanted more.. “more hairspray please”.  Enter..the David Bowie phase.  “Spiders from Mars”, yep…I’m going and I’m getting to the front of the crowd!  Ticket sales at that time were at music or record stores or your local Kmart.. (chuckling)  We saw the ad in the paper, called the ticket seller to find out when they went on sale and waited in line (overnight), until the doors opened.  My best friend and I used clever flirting techniques to get to the front of the ticket sale line. Hey, why not…AND, I made it to the front by the stage and was crazy and insane from excitement. (Please don’t ask what I was wearing)  “Ziggy”” & “Major Tom” have followed me since then.. in my memories from that time. It was great.

So you’ve joined me in this journey from the 80’s at the beginning of my young adult life and as I sit here now, I begin to reflect…. oh how times have changed along with my tastes.  I’ve experienced the weird and wonderful and enjoyed it but it has never stopped, it has only changed or perhaps mellowed.

My journey has seen me with “The Boss” to “Bruce Hornsby”, “Heart” to “The Hooters” in the 80’s to “REM”and “Robert Plant”, “Elton John and Eddie Vedder” in the early to mid 90’s (and many, many more). Music was my medicine and in 1994, “The Counting Crow’s” became my preferred prescription.

I had reached a new level, with a more mature palate and real adult problems.  This crossover cannot be explained, it just happens. Their songs solved nothing but answered everything. The words were so perfect in every way that it felt as though I had written them myself and meant every heartfelt word.  Great lyric writer’s.. there are many. Magical music memories, there are many.

If someone was able to bottle that feeling of Euphoria I must have felt during my first “live” musical experience, I would gladly max out my credit card.

“Do you remember?” (seriously.. and I’m not singing.. umm yes I am)

Drop me a line, I’d love to know what your first experience was.

Stay happy and sing loudly x


Hide and Seek is not a game

Real me

It’s been almost 2 years since my last blog post and during that time, I feel as though I have lived a thousand lives.

Have you ever had that feeling that very few people get to know the real you? Do you open yourself up to reveal all that you have to offer the world or do you hide instead?  Let’s skip to the most important question of all..”Do you really know who you are?” 

If you do, how long has it taken you to get there?  I’m guessing that some of you will be thinking about this clearly now and may even have an answer but for those that don’t, I invite you to read on while I share my experiences.

The attached photo has great significance in my life and I have only just discovered that. In 2012, I visited my family (specifically my father who was in his 90’s).  I always seem to photograph well during certain events… which are family visits and vacations with my husband. Do you see the glow of happiness and peace in my face? In my opinion, it only occurs when you are surrounded by unconditional love, respect and support.  I liked this photo when my sister took it, so I used it for several online social media sites because it reflects the real me. I started a blog post almost 2 years ago and used this photo, but never finished the story. Today I opened my unfinished blog,enlarged the photo and noticed my father in the background as he always was, right by my side. We were very close and I miss him terribly. He was one of 4 people in my life that always knew the real me. (even before I did)

So my father has inspired this blog and I wanted to stress the importance of not only knowing yourself, but appreciating yourself for who you are and especially for those who know the real you and bring out the best in you. In conversations with my father he used to ask, “are you president of the company yet?” I replied, “not yet dad, they’re getting to know me so maybe soon”. He loved and lived for his children and we are all storytellers to a degree because of him. I’m not quite sure everyone gets me, but the people that count do. Being true to yourself and having at least one person you can be 100% you with is necessary. Without sounding big-headed, because I am so far away from that… I have learned that I am:

  • Caring
  • Sensitive
  • Loving
  • Strong
  • Supportive
  • Creative
  • Intuitive
  • Determined
  • Sympathetic
  • Empathetic
  • Honest
  • True

Like most of us who have spent our young adult lives searching for our true selves, I can honestly say that the moment happens when you’re ready and that moment for me was when my father was no longer here. He gave me a gift and now I intend to share it with others. It’s not a game folks so please try not to hide.

Are you ready to seek the real you?

I hope so!

With respect Hands-on

5 money- saving tips anyone can follow

Hello readers! I was contemplating writing another business related article and then I thought… Nah, I’ll write something that everyone can relate to.

I’d like to add that the tips I’ll be sharing with you is not rocket science and as an added bonus, its environmentally friendly too!

Tip 1) Save your suds- Instead of rinsing out your shower gel, shampoo or bubble bath bottle’s when it still has some product left, use it to clean your hand wash only items.  (your clothes will have your favourite scent and at the same time you’ll be saving money by not purchasing a separate hand wash liquid)  

Tip 2) Plastic fantastic- What about those plastic bags you get from the supermarket for your fruit and veg?  You throw them out right? DON’T…. use them instead to wrap your lunch sandwiches or to protect certain leaky items from spoiling your clean fridge. (saves you from buying special sandwich bags and wasting your cleaning liquids to remedy spills you could have prevented.)

Tip 3) Walk this way-
Light coloured canvas trainer’s.. we all have them and the moment they get muddy or stained they end up in the trash.  A little loving care will add a few more months to their delicate life.  Pre-treat them with your normal laundry soap and machine wash them by placing them in a pillow case with other items such as; towel’s or bath mats.  Once they are dry they will be clean, fresh and ready to enjoy again!

Tip 4) Fill-er-up- Travelling?  Looking for travel- sized toiletries?  No need to buy special mini brand shampoo’s, shower gel’s etc for nearly the same price as a full size bottle.  Save those little bottles from Christmas gift sets OR if you’ve already used the gift set items,  rinse and save the bottles, which can be re-filled with your products.  (saves buying expensive convenience products and those little travel set bottles that are impossible to fill)

Tip 5) Shine a light on me- Okay so I was saving the semi-festive tip for last…the holidays… wonderful as they are,  many of us go all out when decorating our front windows to try to out sparkle our neighbours.  The problem is, as it gets colder and we draw our curtains to keep the draft out we realise that our windows get neglected and that includes cleaning them regularly. Time to clean the windows!  But what will you use that doesn’t leave particles of paper towel dust behind? Your local newspaper will do the trick! I’m sure this is not “news to you”, but think about it… in the age of recycling instead of throwing paper towels (money) away, you can put your window cleaning used news in the recycling bin.

Estimated savings for items used per month based on my own calculations = £11.70  Feel free to convert to your own currency 🙂

Personally, I could use the savings for almost 4 round-trip journey’s through the tunnel or treat myself and my husband to a take out meal on a Friday night!

So there you have it.. 5 money-saving environmentally friendly helpful tips from me

What will YOU do with the money saved?

Thanks for reading