By Rhiane Kirkby

To be perfectly honest, I’d had better days.

Dealing with a tetchy toddler, a teething baby and the trials and tribulations of life as a mum of two had worn me down. I won’t bore you with the details but the ‘highlight’ of that particular Tuesday was walking around Chiswick wearing socks soaked in wee after accidentally standing in the ‘present’ a potty-training toddler had left on the floor of my son’s music class. That and sitting in a busy café trying to breastfeed my screaming six-month-old whilst she kept flashing my boobs to passers-by and my son serenaded anyone who would listen with a particularly tuneful version of the Sound of Music classic ‘doe, a deer’.

You may be wondering why all this is relevant, so I’ll tell you…

That evening I’d booked myself in for a mums’ relaxation session, with happiness coach Olivia Horne. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the class had come highly recommended so I thought I’d give it a go. Ironically, the theme was ‘gratitude’ and in my mind the only thing I had to be thankful for was the fact that the day had almost come to an end! But I couldn’t have been more wrong. I emerged an hour and a half later feeling calm, positive, relaxed and ‘lighter’ than I had for a long time.

I’m sure you’re all desperate to know exactly what tonic Olivia delivered and how she managed to turn my manic day on its head. The honest answer is—I don’t really know, but what I do know is that from the minute I walked into her warm, comfortable living room and was handed a cup of herbal tea, I relaxed. Chatting to other mums helped me gain perspective. The breathing exercises brought down my out-of-control stress levels. And Olivia’s calm, compassionate and confident voice as we meditated almost sent me to sleep. There was no drama, no distractions—just a peaceful environment in which to chill and enjoy some precious ‘me’ time.

Now, I’m sure that for some of you that all sounded great until I mentioned the word ‘meditation.’ And yes, I was a bit sceptical myself, to be honest. I envisaged sitting cross-legged humming, chanting and contemplating my way through life, but it wasn’t like that at all. I wasn’t embarrassed or intimidated and it actually felt good. Really good. And I’d definitely do it again.

Meditation, breathing and tea aside, Olivia had a big part to play in making the session such a success. She exudes calm, but says it wasn’t always that way. “When I took a few years out to bring a small person into the world,” explains Olivia, “it hit me like a train and ‘me’ got a bit lost under the rubble. Around the end of the first year, I climbed out of the hole. I asked for and accepted help. I reconnected with the things and the people that made me feel like me. I made time for refilling my own tank. And I started to see that this wasn’t selfish, because it was for the good of the whole family.”

This experience, she says, made her realise that helping other people find their ‘happy place’ was what she wanted to do. She now works with mums who are struggling to make time for themselves, as well as their children, and helps them to find balance, confidence and, in some cases, their lost identity. “It’s really easy for happiness to get buried under piles of dirty washing,” says Olivia. “Some days it just needs a bit of help to come to the surface.”

So, mums of West London, if you find yourself saying “hurrah for gin” after a particularly stressful day, then why not try Olivia—she may be just the tonic you need!

For more information or to book onto one of Olivia’s courses go to oliviahorne.com.

Rhiane Kirkby
Author

Rhiane is a mum of two, living in Chiswick. Originally from Lancashire she moved to London 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. A TV editor by trade, she’s left the lights, cameras and action behind for now and is fulfilling her other passion—writing. Rhiane contributes to a number of baby and parenting titles in London and beyond and can often be found chasing her energetic toddler around parks and play areas whilst, at the same time, trying to keep her ever-so-slightly demanding baby entertained!

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