1. Music is so uplifting and empowering
  2. The impossible can come true
  3. Love breaks down barriers
  4. Dreaming is for grown ups too
  5. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone else
  6. Live a little, laugh a little
  7. Everyone deserves to be loved and accepted and respected
  8. Nothing has to stay the way that it is right now
  9. Family is not always blood
  10. Stepping out of the shadows takes courage
  11. I can be unapologetically me
  12. No one can say what we get to be
  13. We need more joy in our lives
  14. It’s much more fun to step away from the conventional into the crazy
  15. Shame is a killer
  16. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to impress the wrong people
  17. I’m not scared to be seen
  18. Life can be an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view
  19. I can play it safe or I can take risks – and probably make mistakes!
  20. Too many people take life far too seriously



ARTISTS: I’ve been trying on the term ‘artist’ for size ever since I went to visit the organisers of the Library for Women Artists of the North East. Because being an artist is not about drawing or painting. It’s about owning your creativity. That’s what I signed up for the daily January Challenge organised by 64 million artists in which you’re prompted to do something creative every single day. This year, I will become an artist – or recognise the artist I have been all along.

BOOKS: I need to read more. I need to watch less TV and read more, for no other reason than I love it. I’ve always lost myself in books. I want to read all the books in my house that I’ve never got round to reading. And then I want to take them all to Barter Books in Alnwick and exchange them for some more…

CONNECTION: my natural tendency is to spend much of my time alone. I’m an introvert by nature, although I do love people – just in small doses! Now that I work in a studio in my back garden, I have to push myself to get out and socialise.

DANCE – AND DOGS! Can’t imagine living without either.

ETHICAL CONSUMERISM: this is a journey through a minefield! I really feel it’s time for me to step up and take this whole area a whole lot more seriously. I believe my consumer choices make a difference and this year, I’ll be working out what to buy and where to buy it. It may actually take me more than a year, but I’m starting right now!


GAMES: I love a good board game and really wish games weren’t just for Christmas and my weekend away with friends once a year. Why should they be? Last year, we made film night on Saturdays an institution. How about we introduce a games night once a month instead?

HOLIDAYS AND HOME: already planning this year’s holidays – and even next year’s! – all UK based. We need to get around the country more to visit all those people we don’t see anywhere near enough of. We might even be coming your way! One great thing about being away, however, is coming home. I love my home, I really do. We’ve done so much to it in 2017 that this year, it will be all about consolidation…

INSTAGRAM ETC: so at the beginning of this year, I launched my own pet Instagram account – Dempsey365. As if I didn’t already spend enough time on social media! I also relaunched my Join Our Journey Facebook group. In head, I’m telling myself none of this will take more time, but it’s just going to have to be more focused time!

JOIN OUR JOURNEY: this is the blog where I document my faith journey. I’m working my way through the whole Bible and this year, also opening up the discussion about what faith actually looks like in practice. It’s so exciting!

KINDNESS: kindness is so under-rated. I’m not particularly good at it but I know how important it is. This is an area of my life I need to work on. I’m not a big fan of random acts of kindness, because that all seems a bit, well you know, random, but acts of kindness, yes, they’re worth going for, of that I’m sure.

LAUGHTER: I need to laugh every single day. Fortunately, my partner and kids and dogs make me laugh on a regular basis. I’m a bit of kid, so I laugh at the most inappropriate of things sometimes. I’ve learnt not to take myself too seriously.

MEDITATION: I’m only just beginning to come to an understanding of what this might mean for me in practice. It takes a discipline that I’m currently lacking but I would love for daily meditation to be an established part of my life by the end of 2018.

NARC: Each month, I write previews and reviews for NARC, a local free arts magazine. I get to learn about what’s coming to the North East and get to go to some shows that I probably would never have gone to otherwise. I’m a natural critic (constructive, not nasty, you understand!) as my friends who dance or sing in performances I’ve attended fully know. NARC is expanding its stage section this year so watch this space!

ORCHESTRA: So this is the closest I’ve come to a New Year’s Resolution. This year, I will play my violin in an orchestra again at least once.

PRETTY VINTAGE LIFE: I began to wonder if this blog still has a place in my life but the answer is yes, I’m not ready to let it go. It’s there for a part of me that doesn’t find expression anywhere else. It’s coming up for two years now since I first had the idea for Pretty Vintage Life and I’m so proud of what we have achieved here.

QUESTIONS: I will never stop asking questions because I never want to stop learning. The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. People are fascinating and everyone I meet has a fascinating story.

ROUTINE: to pack everything in that I want to achieve this year, routine is key. I have a fixed morning routine that works for me and that I move through every day without question. I’m now going to be working regularly four mornings a week until 1:30. It’s that after school time that still leaves me floundering…

SELF CARE: having had some difficult seasons in the last few years, I’ve come to see self care as self preservation rather than selfishness. I know myself now and know how to care for myself – it’s the same basic needs that we all have: sleep, good food, water, fresh air, exercise and quality rest. That last one is a sticking point for me, because I’m pretty sure five episodes of Stranger Things 2 back to back does not count as quality rest…I am a work in progress! 

TRAVEL: last February, I went to New York on my own. I still can’t believe I did that! My travel this year is not going to be as impressive, but it will be more frequent. My job is going to take me all over the country and we have lots of family adventures planned to. I’ll be embracing train travel in a big way.

UNKNOWN: there’s always plenty of unknown that we have no control over as we look forward into a new year. And I’m a fan of the unknown. Trying new things gets the adrenaline going. Walking into new situations increases self-confidence. Life is an adventure!

VEGETARIAN MEALS: Having become a vegetarian back in September, I’m now considering what it would look like for me to become largely vegan. When asked what it’s like to be a vegetarian, I always say ‘Not great’ which surprises some people. I’m not doing it because I prefer it. I still miss meat. But I’m proving I can do it and I believe the ‘why’ of the whole equation, so giving up dairy and eggs is the next logical step – but it may take me some time!

WRITING: When writing for Yogamatters became my day job, creative writing (novels, short stories etc) naturally took a back seat. I want to write a really good short story this year.

X RAYS – HOPEFULLY NOT! I could do without that kind of excitement, but let’s go with excitement for X. I have a feeling there’s going to be plenty of excitement this year, not least of all because I’ll be a grandma again in May!

YOGA: I’m still on a journey when it comes to yoga. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I’m hoping that this will be the year when I settle on a style of yoga and start attending a regular class.

ZEAL: that’s just a fancy word for enthusiasm. I came out of 2017 recognising that enthusiasm is one of the things that defines who I am. I just can’t help it. When I hear about an exciting new project or have the idea for one myself, I want to jump in with both feet! But I’m going to stop apologising for it and embrace it – there are worse things in life to have in bucketloads!





Name: Emily Wear

Business: Tile and Wear

How did you first develop a passion for what you do?

I’ve always been good at DIY, even as a child I could be found in my grandfather’s shed using an old fashioned drill and chisel. It has never occurred to me that it’s something a lot of women wouldn’t necessarily do. But now I’ve set up my business, I’ve found it can be a real advantage.

What were you doing before?

I’ve been concentrating on raising my two lovely daughters (now 10 and 13) and have worked part time in the school they where at.

What gave you the courage to step out and do your own thing?

I wasn’t getting enough job satisfaction and was finding working to other people’s set hours was too limiting for my lifestyle. So I decided to do a professional tiling course and just go for it!

What have been some of the struggles along the way?

At first, it was a real worry that I just wouldn’t get any jobs, but I’ve found a niche market of people who prefer having a woman in their house, and that seems to be working for me.

What do you love about what you do?

The best thing about my job is being able to choose my own hours. It’s so great to be able to be at home for my kids whilst still working. It’s also great to meet new people and be challenged each week as every job is different.

What’s made you feel proud of what you have achieved?

I’m really proud of the fact I’ve created my own business, on my own, from nothing, and for being a strong role model for my daughters.

What would you say to another woman contemplating doing her own thing?

Go for it!! The sense of achievement and feeling of self control and self confidence is priceless.

Name: Imogen Mansfield

Occupation: Dancer

How did you first develop a passion for what you do?

My mum took me to a ballet class when I was 3 and since then I have not stopped dancing and creating. I trained in ballet for many years, and it was all I knew. However, I found my passion for contemporary dance when I moved away from home to start professional full-time dance training.

What were you doing before?

Before I made the transition to contemporary dance, I was a very stubborn ballet dancer. I didn’t have an open mind and I was completely set that this is what I wanted to do. I was convinced that nothing else in the world would make me happy! My journey has taught me that you must have an open mind and heart, and embrace all the possibilities that come your way, as you never know what it could lead to.

What gave you the courage to step out and do your own thing?

During my second year of professional training, I developed a stress fracture in my lower leg which would mean I wouldn’t be able to dance on pointe for almost a year. This meant I was taking extra contemporary dance classes and becoming more and more interested and excited by the contemporary dance scene in London and Europe. In the end, it was almost a rebellion against my teachers and family, who told me it wasn’t possible, I wasn’t good enough, and I should stick with what I know – the ‘safe’ option.

What have been some of the struggles along the way?

I had a lot of catching up to do! In ballet, everything is so structured and there is a right and wrong in everything you do. Therefore, improvisation, floorwork and contact work were the biggest challenges at the start of this journey. However, they are now among my biggest strengths and what inspires and excites me the most, because I gave so much attention to developing myself in these areas. I have learnt that every experience in life has a lesson and a meaning, which is sometimes very difficult in the moment. However, when I reflect on the setbacks in my (still very early) career, for example my injury, they were leading me to a different, more fulfilling place.

What do you love about what you do?

I love connecting with other artists from around the world, and collaborating and learning from each other. This summer on the Greek island of Crete, dancers, musicians, physical theatre artists, photographers, and filmmakers from all around Europe and the US came together to create a series of improvised performances in the small village of Panormos. This project culminated in a photography portfolio and film led by Laurence Ellis, to be exhibited in Spring 2018 at the Carob Mill Cultural Centre, Panormos. This project helped me realise my passion for collaboration and connection between artists. Because of this, I am pursuing photography to expand my repertoire as an artist, leading to more connections and possibilities.

What’s made you feel proud of what you’ve achieved?

For me, being an artist is simply about creating something from nothing and sharing it. I am proud to be different, to be daring, to be a rebel, to create my own story. Sometimes this is scary and insecure, and people don’t understand or accept it. However, I know it is worth it, because it is what makes me feel alive, fulfilled, and connected.

What would you say to another woman contemplating doing her own thing?

You just have to start. Listen carefully to your intuition, act upon it, and it will take you to places you could never have dreamed of.

Do not be afraid to let go. Embrace your own messy, emotional, crazy journey.

How many “what if” moments have you had in your life? Don’t let there be another one.

The romance for me in the artistic pursuit is not the success or fame, it is in the story of doing it. Imogen Mansfield

Name: Donna Noble

Business: Curvesome Yoga – Helping to evolve the image of yoga

How did you first develop a passion for what you do?

A friend suggested we try yoga after seeing a picture of Madonna with her legs behind her head. The business is based upon my passion for yoga. My goal is to show that yoga is for every BODY. I work with curvy women to help them have the best yoga journey and think differently about their bodies in a positive way.

What were you doing before?

Working for a top 5 law firm in IT Management.

What gave you the courage to step out and do your own thing?

Being offered redundancy and realising I enjoyed the yoga life more than the corporate life.

What have been some of the struggles along the way?

The initial lack of financial security I’d become used to in my previous career. Lack of accountability and being my own boss means I can procrastinate.

What do you love about what you do?

I absolutely love this yoga journey and that I am able to take so many individuals along with me. Yoga has so many transformational benefits and I get to share these every single day on and off the mat.

What’s made you feel proud of what you’ve achieved?

That I have created something that has the potential to change lives – sounds like a cliche but it is true. I love challenging the status quo and making yoga more diverse and accessible.

What would you say to another woman contemplating doing her own thing?

Trust the process and go for it. You don’t want to live a life of regret.