Category Archives: Uncategorized

Contemplating not Ruminating

Contemplating Not Ruminating – there’s a new post on my lifestyle blog, Your Happiness Factor, at this link.

Saturday Reflection – Contemplating Not Ruminating.

It talks about the difference between contemplating and ruminating and how ruminating is often a sign of stress.

Stress is a very common experience. Often, I work with clients who feel stressed. Learning how to bring themselves wholly into the present helps them a great deal. In this other post on Your Happiness Factor I explain what I teach them.

Feeling stressed? Learn to be present!

Coaching can help when you feel stressed. If you are thinking about coaching, I would love to talk to you. You can book a free discussion  here.

In the meantime I wish you a very happy weekend

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

You can find Wendy’s books on Amazon at this link

Advice to New Leaders

There’s a new post on my Career and Life Coaching Blog with advice for new leaders.

New leaders – leadership is about creating positive change in a group or organization to achieve some long-term objective. It involves having a vision, new leaderssetting goals and knowing how to move  the organization and its people towards them. The key skill for new leaders is learn how to best use your resources. And that includes  your people and using their talents to get you to where you need to be.

You can find the rest of the post at this link

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

You can find Wendy’s books on Amazon at this link


Sleet – a reflection on what is outside my window

Here is what Wikipedia says about sleet

“Sleet is a regionally variant term that refers to two distinct forms of precipitation:

  • Rain and snow mixed, snow that partially melts as it falls (UK, Ireland, and most Commonwealth countries)
    Ice pellets, one of three forms of precipitation in “wintry mixes”, the other two being snow and freezing rain (United States)”

I guess the ice pellet bit is what we in the UK would call hail.

What I know is that today we have sleet outside my office window  and it is thororughly miserable. This stuff isn’t anything except the coldest of rain that isn’t snow. And it certainly doesn’t have that wonderful risky edge. Snow brings beauty, adventure and more than a little touch danger. Snow makes us stay longer in places we didn’t choose but may bring rewards.

Sleet is boring, mundane and depressing. Is it werdly and passively portentous? Do you like the idea of that – passively portentous? Is that even possible? Portentous –  of momentous significance – could it ever be that? No, that gives sleet too much signifciance. This form of precipitation is just nasty and makes you think of a low level, continuing discomfort!

Worse to come?

Given this is only the 11th day of December, it is likely to lead to something worse. Worse that is if you think in terms of icy fog and slippery walk ways in dark, gloomy evenings. So, instead we have Christmas, the festival of light, and log fires to light up that gloom.  May be that is why religions emerged in the first place. As soon as our evolving ancestors became sufficiently self-aware to comprehand their own mortality they needed superantural hope to lighten up the immortal gloom. See where sleet can lead you.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach as well as novelist and poet. You can contact Wendy at

St Andrew’s Day – the Day of the Wolf

St Andrew’s Day – the Day of the Wolf


Today, 30th November, is Saint Andrew’s Day and I hope all Scottish friends are having a wonderful time. But the day has a different significance in Romania.

In Romania St Andrew’s Day is also known as “The Day of the Wolf.” It is believed that on the night of 29th November, St. Andrew ( patron of wolves ) gathers all the wolves together to supply them with food for the coming winter. During this period, the wolf is invested with fantastic skills becoming faster  more subtle and more fierce.

According to the old superstition, during the night of the 29th, the wolves are allowed to eat all the animals they want. They can speak, too, but anyone that hears them will die soon. To protect yourself against the power of the wolf and keep them away from the house, you should not comb your hair during this day, nor toil, nor clean the house. Don’t even take out the trash.  No one will want to come near!

Santandrei, master of the wolves

The Romanian’s ancestors, the Dacians, whose flag was shaped as a wolf, , celebrated another divinity on this day; the Santandrei or the master of the wolves. The Dacian New Year took place from the 14th of November until the 7th of December, this was the interval when time began its course.  The timing may have its origins in the Roman celebrations of Saturn; Saint Andrew is usually seen as an old man because now the Sun is old and tired too.

It said that from the weather on this day one can predict if the winter is going to be long and frosty.

Bubbles, The Bed And Kir Royale

Kir Royale – ah happy thought! And this is the first entry here for a long time. It had begun with a wish to start a daily meditation on what interests me at the time. Some how this was to replace the daily pages that I’ve got out of the habit of writing. So, I wanted to find an image that summed up what was in my head right then.

Room 414. This photo of Le Grand Hotel Cabourg – MGallery Collection is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I started a search on “Proustian bubbles,” of all things. It was an expression used by a friend on drinking a glass of Kir Royale a very long time ago. It had led led to a discussion of Proust and set me off on the mammoth task of reading À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) as a challenge. There had been a time when I would have tried reading it in French. But that time had long passed.

Anyway, my search led not to picture of the lovely drink, but to a review of Le Grand Hotel Cabourg and a picture of the room used by Marcel Proust. Marcel often stayed in room 414 on the fourth floor. He invokes the place in À la recherche with Cabourg dressed up as Balbec.

After my own warm memory I suppose now I should provide you with a recipe for Kir Royale. It is the simplest of cocktails but really quite delicious.


  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons crème de cassis (currant liqueur) or cranberry liqueur
  • 4 to 6 ounces champagne or sparkling wine – Prosecco works well

How to Make It

For each cocktail, pour the crème de cassis into a champagne flute or coupe . Those with a sweet tooth add two table spoon of crème de cassis or more to their taste. Top up with champagne or sparkling wine.

Kir Royale is  named after Félix Kir, a one-time mayor of Dijon in Burgundy,  who helped popularize the white-wine version of the drink.  Crème de cassis is made from blackcurrants that are crushed and soaked in alcohol, with sugar then added.  It is a specialty of Burgundy, but also made in Anjou, England, Luxembourg, Alberta, Quebec and, oddly for me,Tasmania. It is claimed to be the  favourite drink of Hercule Poirot

A Very Posh Umbrella, A Hat And A Little Bit Of Leather

A Very Posh Umbrella, A Hat And A Little Bit Of Leather

This morning I stumbled across How it’s Made; a  documentary program showing how common, everyday, items such as kitchen equipment or accessories are manufactured. And they show the alchemy of everything from surfboards to alligator handbags. This morning they were talking about umbrellas. It was my husband who spotted the name on the umbrella’s label. So, it was Brigg.

Now, I knew nothing about Brigg umbrellas. Therefore we looked them up. As well as finding out how special and very expensive they are, I hit on two other names I recognized. The first was  the name of a very special store; Swaine Adeney Brigg – they sell the Brig umbrellas. And then the name of that most romantic of hatters; Herbert Johnson.

My life in leather

Too many moons ago, my first job was found for me by a frustrated mother. She was determined that even as a student, I should contribute to my keep. The husband of a friend of hers found the solution. He was MD of Fine English Leatherware in my home town of Walsall. They made the most luxurious of wallets, handbags, document and folio cases and, even, leather-coated jewelry boxes and jewel rolls. These goods were produced in exotic of leathers, alligator and snake skin being considered quite mundane. The factory supplied shops like Harrods, Aspreys and, of course, Swaine Adeney Brigg.

I didn’t enjoy my part-time job in the warehouse. I was never very good at packing parcels. And, I had a tendency to drop the valuable gold corners when I dispensed them to the leather craftsmen.

Those craftsmen and craftswomen were very special – mainly they came from families steeped in the leather trade. They spoke in a broad Black Country dialect that often I didn’t understand. They were mesmerizing to watch at work. But, the saddest thing was to see the effect of the seesaw economy of 1967 that led eventually to devaluation of the pound. The craftsmen were on piece work rates (paid for each piece of work) and the demand for luxury goods just slumped. I was very grateful when the boss explained to my mum that they couldn’t afford to keep me on.

And the hat?

And so to Herbert Johnson, who are now part of the Swaine Adeney Brigg empire. Well, by the mid-seventies I was swanning around London wearing a Christmas present given me by a chum who happened to work at Herbert Johnson. It was a voluptuous and  romantic black fedora known as the poet hat. Mine was similar to that warn by Nureyev in the film Valentino. The poet hat has quite a history in film. It was modified for the character Indiana Jones in a number of ways and made in sable brown. Personally I prefer the black.

Wendy Smith is a Life and Career Coach and a writer. You can find at more about her writing elsewhere on this site.