Have you ever had a moment in your life where you suddenly realise that you are not living the life you are meant to be living?
Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself and hated what you saw?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered how you got here? Why you are living a life that feels false?
Have you ever wondered what happened to your dreams, your ambitions, your drive for success?
Have you ever found yourself trapped in the day to day of a life that is so far from the life you imagined living?
I would like to think that you answered ‘no‘ to these questions and were being totally honest with yourself. I would like to think that I could answer ‘no‘ to these questions and mean it. But as you know when I started this blog I vowed to always be honest with myself and with you. So I have to be truthful and say that there has been times in my life that I have felt this way, and where I have questioned “am I living the life that I want to be living?”
Whilst travelling around the gorgeous state of Tasmania recently, we decided to explore the historic, waterfront capital Hobart. It was easy to fall in love with Hobart with its fashionable Salamanca Place, its old sandstone warehouses, galleries filled with the best local and international art, (yes we made a few purchases) amazing cafes, and pubs, and my favourite market in the world the Salamanca Market. (OK yes again we made a few purchases). The history and beauty of this friendly city is captivating.
Whilst in the city we couldn’t help but be drawn into the bookstore (we are a family just slightly, OK more than slightly obsessed by books). We browsed for hours flipping through the books, taking in the atmosphere of this beautiful bookstore and making our selections. Just as we were about to leave I noticed a pile of books sitting right in front of the entrance (not sure how I missed it walking in, I may have been distracted by the sea of books in front of me), the books all piled up neatly were titled “The Latte Years‘, well immediately I had to pick it up (I am a girl from Melbourne after all, and a Latte is my go to drink order). Here’s proof!
I then noticed that the book was written by an author called Philippa Moore who was from Hobart. Now although I had a few new books already to read beachside or curled up on the couch/sofa, I couldn’t resist the idea of reading a book written by a local whilst staying in Tasmania. (Although she does now live in England). I was already set to buy the book and then I read that Philippa is a blogger and I knew I had to read this book!
The book is based on Philippa’s real life experiences. It begins with her life in Hobart where she is seriously overweight, unfit and living a life that she doesn’t recognise. She had just been on a holiday and was excited to see the photos that she had just had developed. Sitting in her car with bag of donuts beside her she eagerly opened the envelope holding the photographs, only the happy girl she had thought she would see looking back at her was in fact a terribly overweight girl that Philippa didn’t even recognise. Philippa had a choice, she could remain stuck in a life and body that was slowly killing her spirit, or she could find her voice and set herself on a better path. The Philippa she was all those years ago would have answered “yes” to all those questions I posed at the top of this post!
The book follows Philippa’s journey through weight loss, but what she discovers along the way is that weight loss is not the only change she needs to make. This book is beautifully written and is funny, sad, brutally honest and totally inspirational. The book takes the reader on the journey with Philippa and demands us to take a look at our own lives. It highlights that change is not easy, and that loosing weight, starting a blog, leaving a partner, and moving cities does not fix all your problems. Real life change demands looking deep within and being willing to put in the hard work.
Through Philippa’s journey she learns that self acceptance and love are the most important elements of true change and happiness. I absolutely loved The Latte Years and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to change their lives, and anyone who just wants a really great read!
My Interview with Philippa Moore.
My pleasure! Thank you for having me.
Surreal is definitely the word I’d used to describe the whole experience. And yet it’s something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a child so because I’ve been working towards it for so long it also feels very natural, because I know this is what I was meant to be doing with my life. Does that make sense?!
Thrilled beyond words. I’m so happy that my book is out in the world, out ‘in the wild’ as my publisher put it (!), and reaching lots of different people, which is exactly what I wanted it to do.
It’s funny, I never really had a strategy for ‘growing’ my blog readership or making it a commercial success. Oddly enough, the moment I tried to impose a strategy on it was when the fun went out of it for me. So that would probably be my best advice – make sure you’re having fun! If you’re enjoying keeping the blog going, then people will enjoy reading it. If your heart isn’t in it, people will pick up on that. Be real, be authentic, be yourself and have fun. That way your blog will automatically be a ‘success’ and anything else will be a bonus.
When the mood takes and if I have something to say that I think people would like to hear.
It depends on the rest of your schedule really, and your priorities. For me, writing my book had to fit around the non-negotiables of my life, including a full time job. The deadline was very tight so I ended up following a very similar regime to when I was training for the London marathon in 2011 with only 12 weeks notice! Up at 6am to write before work, writing in evenings and weekends. I had to devote all the spare time I had to the book which meant all other writing, including blogging, had to take a bit of a backseat.
The rejections I got from agents while I was trying to shop the first incarnation of The Latte Years around in about 2012-13 were always very kind and encouraging, but the reasons they gave for not wanting to take it further were ones I agreed with – it wasn’t ready. I think it was my FOMO and feeling that I needed to be hustling and putting myself out there when my book wasn’t quite ready that kept me submitting. How I dealt with rejection was focusing on things that made me feel confident – like long distance running – and also by doing a bit of self reflection and realising that I had to stop pushing so hard, and that everything would unfold as it was meant to. I tried to stay centred, keep believing in myself but take advice when it was given to me. If anyone from the publishing industry – be they an agent, editor, publisher – takes the time to give you some feedback, take it on board. These people know what they’re talking about!
I was in a meeting room waiting for an appointment, who was running about 45 minutes late, in the middle of London’s financial district. My agent emailed me saying it was official. I was both elated and terrified!! My husband and I celebrated with a bottle of Pol Roger champagne that night. It took a while to sink in!
It’s so tricky when you’re in those kinds of situations that I describe in the book. I wasn’t even really aware of what was happening at the time, or I ignored the red flags, which I think was part of the whole problem. So first of all, don’t ignore the red flags. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, then it probably isn’t. The second thing is, you’re allowed to stand up for yourself. If a friend is doing something you don’t like – whether it’s being a bit possessive or saying snide things that hurt your feelings – you’re allowed to tell them! The worst thing you can do is let things fester for fear of upsetting the other person. The only way through is to be honest with people – that’s something I had to learn the hard way. If I’d just told people how their behaviour was hurting me, or how fed up I was with feeling so responsible for their feelings, instead of being distant and hoping they would get the hint (which they never did!) then a lot of heartache could have been avoided.
Finally, another thing I think we aren’t ever told about friendships when we’re young is that they do evolve and change over time, and that’s not a bad thing. I think a lot of us grow up with this idea of ‘friends forever’ so when a friendship peters out a bit, we feel guilty and like it’s a bit of a personal failing. People change, it’s a part of life. Friendships should be a source of joy in your life, not an obligation.
Well, I kind of wrote The Latte Years as one big piece of advice to my younger self! The ending of a marriage or a long term relationships is always very, very hard, even when you know it’s the right thing to do. The grieving process – because it is a loss – is different for everyone. My advice would be to go easy on yourself, use this time to nurture and nourish yourself and treat yourself well. Learn to love your own company and don’t go looking for comfort in all the wrong places! Don’t expect a cheering squad, because everyone will have an opinion about what’s happened to you and often the people you expect to be supportive won’t be, and vice versa. Surround yourself with positive and happy people. And finally, while it might feel like the end of the world right now, it really isn’t. It won’t hurt this much forever. Break ups are actually very character building, if you let them be. They’re a great opportunity to learn more about yourself. Life will go on and you will be happy again, probably sooner than you think.
I really wish I had dealt with that differently, so the advice I would give now is – firstly, nasty comments always say more about the person dishing them out than they do about you. I know that doesn’t stop them being hurtful, but it’s true. Delete, block, ignore, report the IP address for abuse if appropriate, and move on. It is, sadly, the only way. Secondly, you’ve got to keep believing in yourself. You have as much right as every other blogger to be out there, saying what you want to say. Your story matters, your voice matters. Believe that. Thirdly, and this was something that really helped me further down the track, for as long as there have been people expressing themselves, putting themselves out there and trying to make a difference, there have been naysayers and rotten fruit-throwers on the sidelines, jeering. This is, as Brene Brown wrote in Daring Greatly, the price you pay for being out in the arena, giving life a red hot go and being brave. What’s the alternative? Being on the sidelines? The reason people attack is because they wish they had the guts to be out in the arena, where you are, but they stay on the sidelines because it’s safer for them, for whatever reason. You’re a warrior. You’re out in the arena. Be proud of yourself. You deserve to be there. You deserve to be heard. Delete, block, and keep going. And also, if you know who the trolls are, call them out. Address them by name. They’ll be so scared they’ll never bother you again – that’s worked for me!
Yes, it was. That’s the main reason I tried to write it as a novel in the very beginning, because it was all very raw and personal and I was afraid of putting so much of myself out there. But then I realised that the story simply didn’t work as fiction – the only way it would have the impact I wanted it to have would be if I was brave enough to write the truth.
But being brave isn’t about brandishing a shield and sword, feeling righteous and full of bravado, as we’re often led to believe. Being brave means putting that shield down. And that’s what I had to do in the writing of this book. I had to negotiate a lot of discomfort in the writing of The Latte Years. I basically had to relive the last ten years of my life again, all the highs and lows of it. I remember one occasion, about a month into it, I had been writing in my study for about eight hours and my husband came in with a cup of tea. It took me a few seconds to remember who he was, because of course I didn’t know him during the period I was writing about. That was when I knew things were getting intense!
It was incredibly hard work, physically and emotionally. I didn’t always like having to write so explicitly about myself and my life. I’ve had to own this story, every part of it, even the parts where I know I don’t come across well. That’s been very hard. But if I can help just one young woman from making the same mistakes I did, it will have been totally worth it.
Why, thank you! *blushes* Being healthy for me these days is intrinsically linked with feeling good, both physically and how I feel about myself and life. I want to do things that make me feel good and alive and strong, and like I can do anything. I eat well because I love how my body feels when I do, but I let myself have treats at the weekend, like red wine and cheese. My preferred way to keep fit these days is to go for long walks, often exploring a part of London I haven’t been to before. Discipline and motivation are all very well, and can be useful when there’s a goal in mind, but I know I can run marathons and don’t feel the need to keep proving that to myself. I exercise as often as possible, but I do what I feel like – whether it’s a run after work, a long walk, yoga or weights – and just try to keep everything in balance and enjoy life. I really think that’s the secret!
Persist. It’s so important to keep going, even when you feel like you’re getting nowhere, and what you’re writing is the most terrible thing in the world and you’re a terrible person for writing it. Every writer feels that way at some point! Keep showing up, keep doing the work. Trust that everything will happen as and when it is meant to. Enjoy the journey, because the destination is almost never really in sight until you’re there, and sometimes you even change destination halfway through (as I did, going from fiction to memoir!). Keep inspired. Read. Have another hobby other than writing (because you need to switch off!). And keep champagne in the fridge at all times. This isn’t an easy life you’ve chosen so pat yourself on the back and enjoy every victory along the way!
And you, Mackenzie! Thank you for having me.
Click here to read The Latte Years_media release
Thanks for joining me, love Mac xx
Welcome to Friday Reflections!
Friday Reflections is a Prompt Led Linky. Unlike my #mg linky where you can link anything you wish, Friday Reflections is one where we provide you prompts that inspire you to write. We have a great selection of prompts each week, so there will always be on you will love! I will post the prompts each week, but if you wish to be super organised ahead of time (I am not so great at this), our prompts are on a file on our Friday Reflections Facebook Page. So come join our group. You can post your blog post there too and follow us on Twitter @Fridayreflect. .
How do I get involved? Easy, just choose 1 prompt and feel inspired. Write a post, (or even Vlog if you like,) an then add our super stylish badge to your post! You must always comment on the hosts posts that is myself and Janine. And the one linked up prior to yours. Please share any that you love on social media, pin them or tweet them. I have heard a blogger recently mention blogging karma, I love this as I think it applies so well to links, the more you put in by commenting and sharing, the more you will get back. We all know blogging + life = crazy busy, but please share the love and comment.
Then add your URL link to your post and we will stop by and read and comment! Have fun!
HERE ARE THIS WEEKS PROMPTS: Time to get writing.
1. Do you think parenting has made you a softer or harder person?
2. Do you consider yourself a victim or a survivor? Or perhaps a mix of both? Is it possible to be both?
3. Give us some advice on how to destress at the end of a bad day or week?
4. Share some travel pics and tell us what these mean to you.
5. Write a book review.
Don’t forget to display our stylish badge.
Read more about my time in Tasmania