About Us

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At The Happy Starfish we are dedicated to providing a wealth of information, products, workshops and articles all aimed at celebrating health, happiness and peaceful living. We believe that life should be an awesome adventure filled with love; love life and life will love you back. Are you willing to surrender what you think you are for what you could become? Are you ready?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Never judge a book by its cover

A few months ago I had a rare evening out with my partner at the theatre.  We managed to park directly outside the door and as I knew our seats were not far away I decided to be brave and leave my crutches in the car to save cluttering up the aisle.  Holding onto his arm for support we made it to our seats and for 45 minutes I completely immersed myself in the ballet and pushed my pain to the back of my mind.  During the interval I decided I needed the toilet. My partner helped me to the disabled toilet on our floor as all other toilets were down two flights of stairs.  When I came out however, there were two elderly women with walking sticks who took one look at me, jumped to completely the wrong conclusion and severely reprimanded me for having the gall to use the disabled toilets when there was obviously nothing wrong with me.  Assuming these ladies were not super-grannies withx-ray vision to see my bones, or psychic powers to sense my pain levels how could they possibly know what is or isn’t wrong with me?

Now I admit I am a rather funky looking (if I do say so myself) mum with nothing noticeably wrong with me.  I have all limbs, no disfigurements and am young, oh ok, youngish. If I am not in my wheelchair or using crutches no-one would guess I have any health problems.  However it both astonishes and dismays methat people can be so judgmental towards those with 'hidden' disabilities. 

Situations like the one above are sadly all too common, (I have frequently been shouted at using my blue badge)and the quandary is always how to react to it.  I actually do not know any language foul enough to rival the women at the theatre (who said old ladies were sweet?) and it is not in my nature to do so.  I always find education the best form of defense but sometimes you do not feel like justifying yourself to total strangers and nor should it be necessary to do so.

I did consider getting copies of my MRI scans and a brief medical history printed on flyers I could hand out when challenged but then thought this may be a tad extreme!

There are approximately 11 million disabled adults in the UK.  Out of this number less than 8%of disabled  people use a wheelchair.  As not all disabilities relate to discernible mobility problems, it can be incredibly hard to judge whethersomeone has the ‘right’ to class themselves as disabled and neither should anyone try to do so. 

So to all those narrow minded,intolerant individuals, I would say walk a mile in my shoes, but considering I can’t walk a mile in my shoes, (or any shoes for that matter), try to be more forbearing, failing that, please don’t be judgmental.

Spreading the love

Louise xx

Monday, 26 November 2012

Feeling out of control

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Charles Swindoll

This weekend I have had to stop, take a deep breath and reclaim my sanity.

My son is ill. He is now into his third week off school with no clear answers as to what is wrong with him. He has been for numerous tests and I, as a holistic therapist,have been refraining from treating him until all his test results are back which will hopefully be later. Frustrating.

Feeling out of control is a horrible sensation and one which happens to us all from time to time. It is easy to know how to ‘Be’ but when it is something affecting one of my children it can be hard to view the situation through detached eyes and implement a realistic action plan to safeguard the mental and physical well-being of every member of our household. Being a Mum I feel it's my job to make sure everyone is OK and when they are not I feel a sense of responsibility that I must be the one to change that.

Whatever situation you are in, if you find yourself feeling stressed and anxious due to a perceived loss of control try the following tips, they sure have helped me get my feet back on the ground.

Accept you can’t control everything. Sometimes, with the best will in the world, it just isn’t up to you what happens.

Resist your desire for things to be a certain way. Wishing things were different is not going to change how they actually are. Ignore your expectations and put your energy into things you can actually affect.

Appreciate what’s good. No matter how bleak things seem there is always, always, always something to be grateful for.

Know everything passes. Situations and emotions are only ever temporary. Although something may seem like the worst thing in the world, be sure that this isn’t the way it will always be.

Own your feelings. We can’t always change our situation but we can change the way we feel about it. How much negative energy we waste worrying, wishing and hoping is completely up to us.

Accept we can’t always help. Don’t feel a failure if you think there is nothing you can do. There is always something you can do. Love and kindness remains an option in any given situation. 

Spreading the love
Louise xx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

10 great things before breakfast

I was speaking with my cousin in Texas last night about Thanksgiving and how excited she was and I know my family Stateside will be celebrating with loved ones and enjoying the togetherness whilst devouring their veritable feast.

I woke up today feeling quite strange. I miss my family that are far away and this, coupled with the fact I haven’t been well for a while,led me to a rare case of ‘feelingsorryformyselfitis’.

At times like these I really have to make a conscious decision to practice an attitude of gratitude, so before I even got out of bed I compiled a list of ‘great things that have happened today before I even getup’.

1)   My 6 year old son came and told me he loved me.
2)   I have nettle tea to drink which will smooth my inflammation.
3)   My amazing partner bought me some breakfast.
4)   I have a nice warm comfortable bed to lie in.
5)   I can hear my family laughing in the kitchen.
6)   The sound of the rain on the window but I felt really snuggly.
7)   Friends that care, I received a text asking how I was early this morning.
8)   Our dog bought me the greatest gift ever (in her eyes) of a squeaky ball.
9)   I have the luxury of a slower start being self-employed.
10) Hugs from my children before school.

This is such a great exercise to do if you are feeling down. If 10 amazing things can happen before I get up I can easily release any (false) expectations that today may be a bad day. After all we get back what we put out there energetically. I now feel excited at the possibilities the rest of my day holds. 

One of my favourite proverbs is “give thanks for a little and you will find a lot”. It’s so true. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Sometimes we need to just open our eyes and see.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Don't limit kindness

Today I was fully intending to write a post centred around the fact it is World Kindness Day and suggestions of small things we could incorporate into our day to pay it forward.

However my partner and I decided to treat ourselves to lunch out after I had a rather stressful hospital appointment and met up with some good friends for a couple of hours of, what I hoped would be, lighthearted conversation and laughter.

Tragically someone decided to take their own life in the shopping centre we were at and after being evacuated we came home suitably subdued.

Although I didn't know this lady I feel such a huge sense of loss and sadness that someone can feel that despairing, that lonely despite being in a public place they feel suicide is their only option. I send sincere condolences to the friends, family and anybody touched by today's tragedy.

World Kindness Day is a beautiful concept but let's not do a good deed on a certain date and think that's enough. If we all consciously think of ways to pay it forward, it could become second nature. It can be easy to be so focused on our own 'stuff' we often don't see things right in front of us. With love, kindness and compassion we really can make a change.

Spreading the love

Louise xx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Privacy Vs Secrecy

I have always been quite a shy and private person. To be marketing The Happy Starfish the way I am at the moment is a huge leap out of my comfort zone. Appearing so publicly through my writing, the website and social networking initially made me feel very exposed and quite vulnerable but I have so much belief in the messages we are trying to spread I have no doubt I am doing the right thing.  The Happy Starfish contains a huge piece of my heart and I hope that is apparent through everything I do. If I can help one person cope with their physical or emotional pain, the way I have learnt to cope with mine, everything will be worthwhile.

I have felt a massive shift lately. The more and more transparent I get the bigger the sense of freedom I feel. There is a huge difference between privacy and secrecy and that has been a big lesson I have had to learn. It would have been ok had I not wanted to talk about my disability for privacies sake. But secrecy is something very different entirely and predominantly fear led. Keeping a secret is about hiding something from the world, separating yourself, and that takes a lot of energy. I had tried to keep my physical health hidden as, ultimately, I realise now I felt ashamed my body no longer functioned in the way I thought it should.

It is perfectly ok to be private but to lay yourself open sometimes takes courage but when there is nothing left to keep hidden, nothing to fear, it can be one of the most loving and liberating things you can do for yourself.

The next time you find yourself not wanting to reveal things it may be worth questioning. Do you want to keep it a secret and if so what do you fear?

Spreading the love

Louise xx

Friday, 2 November 2012


I am currently away, staying with relatives in the middle of the beautiful countryside. The scenery here is stunning and it's easy to relax amongst horses, dogs and a token cat. Out of my normal routine I have lots of time to meditate and contemplate. I feel at peace here but know it is only a temporary visit. This is not where I belong but where is?

I sold my house earlier this year. After 20 years of being on the property ladder it is quite a strange feeling not to 'own' (aka owing the bank a huge sum of money) anything.

On one hand it is quite liberating to have no real ties, no commitment and to be free to go wherever I choose. On the other it can be really unsettling. As a mother I want a safe nest for my children who need some stability.

The best thing I can show them in life is that the biggest foundation, the only foundation, for building a true home is love. Releasing attachment to possessions can be one of the hardest lessons to learn, but once you understand, really understand with your heart, you can start to release the need for the 'stuff'.

Without craving the next thing or letting what you own define who you are, you naturally start to practice gratitude for all the small, organic things surrounding you. This feeling then easily makes the transition into love, which, after all, is all you need.

I hope my children can make their transition into adulthood secure in the knowledge that although circumstances change, 'things' are just temporary, happiness, real happiness can only every come from within.

Then I will be happy to watch them fly off into the world knowing that wherever they settle they will always have a 'home' straight from the heart.

Spreading the love

Louise xx