BUSINESS WOMEN AND CONTENT CREATORS WANTED TO WRITE THEATRE CONTENT: OUR REVIEW OF LOOKING GOOD DEAD

Would you like the ultimate business retreat and spend a night at the theatre reviewing shows? If so, comment below or message us on social media @SparkleUpNorth, or our co-editor directly Sophie Mei Lan @thesparklecoach. 

And read her latest review directly, here: 

LOOKING GOOD DEAD: LEEDS GRAND THEATRE – REVIEW BY SPARKLE COMMUNICATIONS

In a digital age where my reading is Audible only, I confess in the midst of the summer holidays  One of my absolute favourite nights out is spent at the theatre for some much-needed self-care with a loved one and, I am lucky to be a scenic long bus ride away from Leeds Grand Theatre… but Looking Good Dead… was the title of this show?!  

My friend Abigayle and I, two online content creators (She Talks Cars and me Mama Mei) and business owners (Glam Aesthetic and Sparkle Communications) needed a night off to focus our minds and escape in the magic of the theatre (after a compulsory food stop in Leeds and digital shopping trip). 

In a world of predictability from Netflix to E-books and suggested shows online, I love nothing more than an utter theatrical surprise and that’s definitely what I got!… 

Looking Good Dead: What’s it all about? 

Cling to the edge of your seat: the world premiere stage production of Peter James’Looking Good Dead is set to thrill Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021.

Starring award-winning actor and EastEnders icon, Adam Woodyatt, and star of stage and screen Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Coronation Street, The Syndicate), Looking Good Dead is Peter James’s fifth novel to be brought to the stage and follows the hugely successful productions of The House on Cold Hill starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons, Not Dead Enough starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore, The Perfect Murder starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, and Dead Simple starring Tina Hobley.

Premise: No good deed goes unpunished… hours after picking up a USB memory stick, left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce (Adam Woodyatt) inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder. Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to contend with while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryce family’s lives.

 

LOOKING GOOD DEAD: REVIEW

This exhilarating evening will keep you gripped until the final chilling moments.

There is no need to translate this whistle-stop Theatre adaptation of Peter James’ novel Looking Good Dead.

Featuring soap stars from screen to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre as we read the layers of this thriller, originally published as a crime novel which has already been translated in book format to countries worldwide.

The layers of stories, the characters, and the script are set around a classic gripping story with the added dynamic of the YouTube platform being used to livestream the murder and subsequent attempted murder and kidnapping of the main three characters.

My confession: The twists and turns of the show live stream to all viewers this complex yet simple to follow literary adaptation. There is no need for translation, including for novices like me.

I have never read the novel nor have I heard of it and I was put off by initially by the book cover when I researched Looking Good Dead in the hours prior to my review.

But my friend and I who ironically both run YouTube channels, about unrelated topics such as well-being and cars may add, were swept along by this masterpiece for all.

If you’re new to crime novels, the Theatre or you simply need a night out at Leeds Grand Theatre, make sure you ease yourself back in with this burst of brilliance. There was no live stream countdown set for us, despite our short usually shot social media attention spans, as we were surprised when it was the interval as well as the end.

It left us wanting more and maybe even picking up this multi-layered book of complex simplicity.

FOLLOW LOOKING GOOD DEAD STARS: 

@grandtheatrels1 @AdamWoodyatt @MsGFaye Twitter: @peterjamesstage Instagram: @peterjamesonstage

Looking Good Dead Cast

Adam Woodyatt is the longest serving cast member in EastEnders having appeared continuously as Ian Beale since the show began in 1985. For his portrayal of the role he was honoured in 2013 with the Lifetime Achievement Award and, in 2015 after the EastEnders 30th Anniversary Live episode, Best Actor at the British Soap Awards.

Looking Good Dead marks Adam’s return to stage in a play for the first time since 1982 as a 13-year-old at the National Theatre in Tom Stoppard’s On The Razzle. In addition to EastEnders Adam has also appeared on many TV programmes including Robot WarsDream HouseA Question of Sport, presented The National Lottery draw live and last year was a contestant on Celebrity Masterchef. He has also previously appeared in the pantomimes Peter PanSnow WhiteAladdinMother Goose and Cinderella.

Gaynor Faye played the role of Megan Macey in Emmerdale for seven years. She is also well-known for playing Judy Mallett in Coronation Street and most recently played Cheryl Armitage in the BBC1 drama The Syndicate. Her many other TV credits include Fat Friends and Playing The Field. Gaynor’s stage credits include Celia in the original West End production of Calendar Girls and Rose in the recent UK premiere and tour of Band of Gold. Other stage credits include the Narrator in Jonathan Harvey’s comedy play Corrie! and Cathy in Wuthering Heights for Hull Truck.

Additional cast includes: Harry Long (Roy Grace), Ian Houghton (Jonas), Leon Stewart (Branson), Gemma Stroyan (Bella), Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Max Bryce), Mylo McDonald (Mick) and Natalie Boakye (Janie)

Looking Good Dead Creatives

Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is produced by Joshua Andrews and Peter James and has been adapted for the stage by Shaun Mckenna. An award-winning British dramatist, Shaun’s previous theatre credits include Ladies in LavenderThe Lord of The Rings musical and Peter James’ The Perfect Murder, Dead SimpleNot Dead Enough and The House on Cold HillPeter James’ Looking Good Dead is directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, designed by Michael Holt with Lighting Design by Jason Taylor. The Composer and Sound Designer is Max Pappenheim.

Peter James is a number one bestselling author of crime and thriller novels and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, now a major ITV series, GRACE. He has topped the Sunday Times best seller list 18 times and has achieved global book sales of over 21 million copies which have been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot twisting page turners, he has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career which also included writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer.  

 


 

Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021

Book online at leedsheritagetheatres.com or call 0113 243 0808

OH SO WRONG BUT BRILLIANT COMEDY FLIES INTO LEEDS GRAND THEATRE WITH PENN AND TELLERS “MAGIC GOES WRONG”

As the raptuous applause subsided, the protagonist of the show aka the loveable yet intelligently silly ring master, turned to us as a fellow creative, enthusiastically closed the show with a simple yet powerful sentence embodying exactly what these experiences mean to us: 

“Thank you for returning to live theatre!” Cue even more applause and the odd tear of joy. 

Sometimes the art of simplicity is much harder to craft, making complex scenes look easy or de-flowering unnecessary language. But not only were we all beaming under the veil of our masks this was an awesome return for us all to Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Different in many ways but the same familiar awe of one of Leeds’ best loved venues. 

In many ways it sums up this fantastical crafted piece of theatre which cleverly interlaces slapstick humour and magic show favourites whilst also managing to make fun of them yet remaining respectful and downright hilariously done. 

It was the perfect warm welcome back into my favourite night out… theatre! And a bit of dancing at the end! It was a first for my eldest daughter first who may not have got all the ‘in’ jokes of old school magic, but the beauty is that there are so many layers of this light but skilful cake that Penn and Teller manage to bring they’re back with magical bang… just watch out for which way they fire the canon! 

Magic Goes Wrong: Mon 30 Aug – Sat 4 Sep 2021

Olivier award-winning comedy favourites, Mischief, and magic legends Penn & Teller are set to cast a spell on Leeds Grand Theatre audiences from Mon 30 August to Sat 4 September with their first ever tour of Magic Goes Wrong.

Mischief’s biggest and most daring comedy catastrophe to date follows a hapless gang of magicians as they stage an evening of grand illusion to raise cash for charity. As the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control and so does their fundraising target!

Mischief’s other West End successes include The Play That Goes WrongPeter Pan Goes WrongThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Groan Ups and Mischief Movie Night. Their hugely successful six-part TV Series, The Goes Wrong Show, aired in the UK on BBC ONE and on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada and Australia. The show received a 2020 TV Choice Award nomination for Best Comedy and has recently been nominated in the Comedy category at the 2021 National Television Awards. Series two is currently in production.

Looking Good Dead: Mon 6 – Sat 11 2021

Cling to the edge of your seat: the world premiere stage production of Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is set to thrill Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021.

Starring award-winning actor and EastEnders icon, Adam Woodyatt, and star of stage and screen Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Coronation Street, The Syndicate), Looking Good Dead is Peter James’s fifth novel to be brought to the stage and follows the hugely successful productions of The House on Cold Hill starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons, Not Dead Enough starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore, The Perfect Murder starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, and Dead Simple starring Tina Hobley. 

Premise: No good deed goes unpunished… hours after picking up a USB memory stick, left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce (Adam Woodyatt) inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder. Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to contend with while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryce family’s lives.

This exhilarating evening will keep you gripped until the final chilling moments.

OH SO WRONG BUT BRILLIANT COMEDY FLIES INTO LEEDS GRAND THEATRE WITH PENN AND TELLERS “MAGIC GOES WRONG” – REVIEW

As the rapturous applause subsided, the protagonist of the show aka the loveable yet intelligently silly ring master, turned to us as a fellow creative, enthusiastically closed the show with a simple yet powerful sentence embodying exactly what these experiences mean to us: 

“Thank you for returning to live theatre!” Cue even more applause and the odd tear of joy. 

Sometimes the art of simplicity is much harder to craft, making complex scenes look easy or de-flowering unnecessary language. But not only were we all beaming under the veil of our masks this was an awesome return for us all to Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Different in many ways but the same familiar awe of one of Leeds’ best loved venues. 

In many ways it sums up this fantastical crafted piece of theatre which cleverly interlaces slapstick humour and magic show favourites whilst also managing to make fun of them yet remaining respectful and downright hilariously done. 

It was the perfect warm welcome back into my favourite night out… theatre! And a bit of dancing at the end! It was a first for my eldest daughter first who may not have got all the ‘in’ jokes of old school magic, but the beauty is that there are so many layers of this light but skilful cake that Penn and Teller manage to bring they’re back with magical bang… just watch out for which way they fire the canon! 

Magic Goes Wrong: Mon 30 Aug – Sat 4 Sep 2021

Olivier award-winning comedy favourites, Mischief, and magic legends Penn & Teller are set to cast a spell on Leeds Grand Theatre audiences from Mon 30 August to Sat 4 September with their first ever tour of Magic Goes Wrong.

Mischief’s biggest and most daring comedy catastrophe to date follows a hapless gang of magicians as they stage an evening of grand illusion to raise cash for charity. As the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control and so does their fundraising target!

Mischief’s other West End successes include The Play That Goes WrongPeter Pan Goes WrongThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Groan Ups and Mischief Movie Night. Their hugely successful six-part TV Series, The Goes Wrong Show, aired in the UK on BBC ONE and on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada and Australia. The show received a 2020 TV Choice Award nomination for Best Comedy and has recently been nominated in the Comedy category at the 2021 National Television Awards. Series two is currently in production.


Looking Good Dead: Mon 6 – Sat 11 2021

Cling to the edge of your seat: the world premiere stage production of Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is set to thrill Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021.

Starring award-winning actor and EastEnders icon, Adam Woodyatt, and star of stage and screen Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Coronation Street, The Syndicate), Looking Good Dead is Peter James’s fifth novel to be brought to the stage and follows the hugely successful productions of The House on Cold Hill starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons, Not Dead Enough starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore, The Perfect Murder starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, and Dead Simple starring Tina Hobley. 

Premise: No good deed goes unpunished… hours after picking up a USB memory stick, left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce (Adam Woodyatt) inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder. Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to contend with while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryce family’s lives.

This exhilarating evening will keep you gripped until the final chilling moments.


Magic Goes Wrong is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 30 August to Saturday 4 September 2021

Peter James’ Looking Good Dead is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 September 2021

Book online at leedsheritagetheatres.com or call 0113 243 0808

Northerners leading the way in Digital Creativity – Get ready to meet Meta Humans on our doorstep

The glaring screen of the computer, endless broadband blips and phone calls have left a lot of us feeling more isolated than ever, craving the human spirit. 

Resulting in whole teams of work-from-home professionals feeling stressed, lonely, and digitally overloaded. 

“As a digital journalist, most of my work is online or facing a lens. But in Lockdown I began loathing my laptop which had initially empowered me as a freelancing home bird. 

So it’s no surprise that there is often reluctance with technological leaps such as making digital ‘meta’ humans in a matter of minutes and projecting humans into a TV studio instead of travel. 

Has this period triggered my ultimate transformation from a tech-lover to an outdoors explorer?” 

Our multi-platform editor Sophie Mei Lan shares how technology can serve us rather than stifle human connectivity, developing communities and relationships by incorporating both the digital and real-world…

“What we become is up to you” as the Amazon Prime documentary Above Human states. 

We, humans, are the inventors of how we use and develop digital technology when it comes to fostering community spirit, connections, and even ways to enable real-life communication. My only fear has been digital accessibility and being left ‘behind’ as we need more diversity in technology to reflect in the future ‘digital model.’

But I for one feels reinvigorated, after having my creative mind sparked by a journey exploring a new extended reality (XR) studio at the XPLOR facility, in Production Park, Castleford. No need for me to be beamed into a studio for once, as we now have one of the best facilities around thanks to Production Park a Live Events Campus. If it’s good enough for Lady Gaga, Metallica, and Hugh Jackman, it’s not a million dreams away anymore for me. 

I discovered more about meta-humans, XR technology that merges virtual reality with the real world to showcase live events, dynamic shows, and sporting events such as the Olympics with BBC using the old-school green screen to attempt this and ITV using the latest in LED. The technology is so advanced that at times it’s hard to decipher between the two worlds. 

XR acts as an ‘add-on’ to existing technology that can create connections with communities near and far in real-time. You could be on-air interviewing one person in a studio and another in a different country as if you were all together as well as simultaneously having a live audience and tv viewers watch. 

Rather than ‘replacing’ communities, XR is forging more connectivity amongst people who may not have first ‘related’ to one another with introductions being filtered avatar photos. It also allows for these deeper relationships to be more accessible, overcoming barriers such as travel, disability, and personal responsibilities. 

Some see it as a threat to the world as we know it, but people are always reluctant to change and I am enthralled to embrace this opportunity that will transform traditional media for us all. Plus with more nationals and creative hubs like Tileyard North set to open on my doorstep, bridging the gap for the creative industries up north, it feels like for once us Yorkshire folk may be spoilt for choice. 

In need of inspiration or enlightenment? Head down the road to Cass. You may even find this digital journalist beaming guests live and pre-recorded for her latest Youtube documentary. 

I am making sure however I continue to support digital accessibility with our new project Digitally Active to connect, support, and share advanced digital skills with disabled tech-lovers who want to work in the industry yet face barriers. You can find out more at yorkshirefamilies.co.uk or contact Sophie directly through her vlog https://mamamei.co.uk

From your camera roll to a book: Don’t let the memories waste away

By Shirin Tahmasebi

As another year passes with the world not being completely normal, we’ve found ourselves treasuring every moment that passes (that we are able to spend outdoors with our loved ones) making memories we won’t forget. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself taking a heap more pictures than I normally would to cherish these precious moments as the world opens up again.

Liat Ken Dor is the owner of Designed Memories, a company that helps you capture your special memories and have them safely placed in a beautifully organised photobook.

Liat has been in the graphic design business since 2008 but found her love for capturing moments through a lens, during her early days in high school.

“I was always the one with the camera, you know, for high school trips, with the family, with friends and things like that, I was always the one taking pictures. I also loved going to the shop to get the film developed, printing them off and putting them into photo albums.”

Soon after Liat began working in graphic design, she came to the realisation that the digital world was taking over and that not many people were keeping printed photo albums anymore. 

“When I began working in graphic design, it just made realise everything was turning into digital. So, what I do now is a continuation of what I’ve always loved to do, except it’s a digital version rather than a scrapbook.”

However, printing photos never seemed to stop in Liat’s household.

“We moved to the UK in 2008 and then started creating photobooks more frequently to send to my children’s grandparents. It was a way to show them where we live and what we do. My first born was only 3 months old when we left and she was sick, so they wanted to see her and to see how she developed. So, I took a lot of pictures and I put them into books and sent it to them, so they can be part of everything.”

Liat wondered if she was the only one who savoured these memories in such a way and how many people were sitting there with undeveloped film in their cameras. In more recent years, the smartphone allows us to not only take pictures there and then but also post them online for others to see. 

However, a lot of these photos go untouched for years and are left on phones for no one to see. 

“In the age of Smartphones, we take 1000s of pictures a day and then we just don’t do anything with them, we don’t really enjoy them. I always say, ‘You take pictures for a reason, it’s because you want to remember that moment and you want to enjoy those memories.”

So why leave them in your camera roll?

I think as humans we look back on our photos to remember the good times and the fun we had, particularly when feeling down. It’s almost a form of self-therapy that can be easily accessed. 

“You don’t take photos of sad or bad things, you only take photos of good things, so when you look back, it’s almost like a gratitude exercise because it’s focusing on the good. So, I think if you’re in a bad mood or feel, you look back at memories and you think, ‘Oh, that was such a lovely day.’ It will make you feel a bit better.”

Liat sees photos as a way to remind yourself of all the good in your life and can create a safe place through the sadder moments. 

“When someone dies, the first thing you do is start to dig up all the photos and to keep hold of memories of that person and keep them close to you. That’s proof if just how important photos are.”

With Designed Memories, Liat offers multiple formats and themes that allow you to bring your book to life.

When working with Liat, the first thing a customer would need to do is choose a theme, like Back to School, Halloween, Christmas, birthdays and so on. They would then select the photos they want for the book, Liat can help with that daunting task too!

“If the theme was going to be summer. I’d say let’s talk about your holiday photos, maybe. Obviously, you want your favourite photos from the trip, but you want to try to tell a story. I always advice customers to take pictures of the journey as well, for example: getting ready in the morning, a picture of the suitcases, pictures of the journey to show if it’s a train, car or plane. You might like to have a picture of the hotel and the surrounding areas of where you are staying. Obviously, you’ll need pictures of when you visit places and significant points throughout the holiday. Finally, make sure you include the fun photos of the kids being silly and things like that.”

I’m sure we can relate to being guilty of having an extortionate number of pictures on our camera roll that we just don’t go back to very often.

A photobook is a more beautiful way to enjoy those photos in the moment with your family and friends. 

If you’re interested in getting your own photobook printed you can find the Designed Memories website and socials below:

Website: https://designedmemories.co.uk/subscription/

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/designed_memories/?utm_medium=copy_link

If you would like your story to feature on Sparkle Up North, get in touch with us through our email sparkleupnorth@gmail.com 

or through our social media @SparkleUpNorth

HOW TO GO VEGAN: CAN A PLANT-BASED DIET FUEL OUR ENERGY FOR BUSINESS?

Is the Vegan diet game-changing when it comes to achieving our health and fitness goals? Can plant-based nutrition fuel professional athletes, sportspeople, and those of us attempting to power up our performance as business owners? 

Us female entrepreneurs are required to be athletes in work, at home and all aspects of our multi-dimensional world!Our editor and plant-based advocate Sophie Mei Lan, who has turned Vegan in recent times, shares some interesting Olympic inspired facts:

  1. Vegan Olympic athletes: Let’s turn to some of our sporting heroes first… Vegan athletes are at the forefront of many minds, with 32% saying they switched to a vegan diet because they were influenced by figureheads such as Lewis Hamilton and Venus Williams. But how did athletes on a plant-based diet fare at the recent games in Tokyo? 

The 2020 event, which was delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, featured a huge number of vegan athletes from around the world, including Team GB’s own rugby ace Dan Bibby and boxer Cheavon Clarke. In fact, more than two-thirds of Team GB recently stated they’ve actively reduced their meat consumption.

However, it appears the links around veganism and fitness extends far beyond the Olympic stadium, according to a new survey* for The Vegan Society’s Vegan and Thriving campaign. A panel of 500 people, who have gone vegan since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, were quizzed about their fitness activities, changes to health and influences for making the switch.

A huge number (98%) said they take part in a physical activity at least once a week. Walking took the top spot, with 69% saying they enjoy walking activities such as long distance, hiking or just taking the dog out while jogging and running also proved popular, with 62 percent saying they do this at least once a week. Fifty-three percent said they go swimming, whilst a similar number (52%) enjoyed regular cycling and almost three-quarters (43%) enjoying HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or other cardio. Other sports included yoga or Pilates (42%), basketball and football (41%), weightlifting (33%), combat sport (30%) and dancing (30%).  

Those respondents who said they’ve gone vegan in the last five years were also asked whether they’d noticed any improvements to their health and the results are highly encouraging. While 56% said they’d seen an improvement to their digestion, 55% feel their sleep has improved and 53% feel like they have more energy. Fitness levels have also improved with more than half (52%) stating they are able to walk and/or run better and/or further. Interestingly, 34% said they had a shorter recovery time between their chosen exercise sessions, and 31% said they were able to lift heavier weights.

Someone who knows exactly what it’s like to represent Team GB is vegan duathlon athlete Lisa Gawthorne. Lisa said: “It was absolutely fantastic to see so many vegans competing at the Tokyo Olympics – they’re such an inspiration and there’s no better platform to show the entire world exactly what is possible on a vegan diet.”

  1. Why Veganism? 

Veganism can boost your mood and immunity whilst improving your skin and helping some to achieve a healthy weight. 

After being a life-long vegetarian, I now adopt a plant-based lifestyle and consume Vegan nutrition, as do my Dads. Whilst we may not notice the biggest transformation as meat-eaters would, for us it is about being ethical and conscious free. Plus personally we have all reported having more energy, enjoying whole foods and a reduction in inflammation. My Dad, who’s recently retired, says he has more energy for the gym, long-walks, cooking better and overall he feels better inside out. 

GB Athlete Lisa added: “I know that going vegan helped me run further, cycle faster and recover quicker too. I want people to realise how good it can make you feel – how you feel getting the right nutrients, but also knowing you haven’t caused animal pain and slaughter. It’s the best thing ever for your mind, body and soul. If the Olympic Games have inspired you to give veganism a go check out The Vegan Society’s Vegan and Thriving page for lots of recipe ideas.”

  1. What plant-based food and drink should you consume? 

Veganism has become more accessible than ever which is great for choice but not always for health. E.g. the rise of Vegan ‘Junk Food’ which looks and tastes amazing but like with any sugary, high fat and salty processed food, it is nice as a treat as part of a balanced diet but not all the time. 

So fresh, colourful and earth-grown nutrients are important with regard to vitamin B12 which all vegans should be mindful of, there are a number of fortified foods to consider. When it comes to sources of protein, certain vegetable are better than others such as broccoli, Spinach and Edamame. Pulses like lentils and chickpeas are great as well, nuts too e.g. almonds. 

  1. How to turn Vegan

Rather than go from Vegetarian to Vegan overnight, I personally did it in stages (plan, preparation, action, adjust and so I could get used to my diet change and feel prepared). Get stocked up: You need to be prepared to maintain your health and diet, so get stocked up on Vegan Food and replacements, Start with one plant-based meal a week: Try and transform a meal from something meaty or cheesy into something Vegan (there’s loads of swaps you can make). Try to replace rather than cut out.  Nutritional Yeast flakes, for example, have a nutty cheesy flavour. 

“Anything is better than nothing”: Is my life motto. So if you make a “mistake” or eat something you ‘shouldn’t’ try not to feel bad and just rejig. It’s the same when it comes to exercise too.

To maintain motivation, keep a progress diary, jot down reminders of why you went vegan and adopt positive self-talk no matter what. 

Did you know:  

Why you should eat cooked nettles… 

“Once prepared or cooked, nettle is in many ways more nutritious than Brussel sprouts and spinach!

“Once cooked or dried, nettles taste like a mix between spinach and cucumber. Just like spinach, nettle can make a fabulous addition to many dishes, adding extra flavour and a dash of colour.”

Says pharmacist Roy Lamb, co-founder of UK-based Nasslor Health-drinks Ltd., makers of Emunity.

Life Hack: 

If you want to add more protein to your diet and not pay for costly supplements… try these classic yet simple dish ideas, says Stem and Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton: 

  • “Beans on toast. Yes, classic beans on toast is a complete protein. Very helpful in those moments when time is of the essence and you have hungry children.”
  • “Peanut butter sandwich. This will come as a welcome surprise maybe! And yes, a peanut butter sandwich is a very high complete protein.

Mind Challenge:

Why don’t you try at least one plant-based meal a day a week… or perhaps go ‘full Vegan’ for a while, like some professional sports stars. 

Team GB’s Vegan duathlon athlete Lisa Gawthorne, said: I want people to realise how good it can make you feel – how you feel getting the right nutrients, but also knowing you haven’t caused animals pain and slaughter. It’s the best thing ever for your mind, body and soul.: 

“It was absolutely fantastic to see so many vegans competing at the Tokyo Olympics – they’re such an inspiration and there’s no better platform to show the entire world exactly what is possible on a vegan diet.”

“I know that going vegan helped me run further, cycle faster and recover quicker too. I want people to realise how good it can make you feel – how you feel getting the right nutrients, but also knowing you haven’t caused animals pain and slaughter. It’s the best thing ever for your mind, body and soul. If the Olympic Games have inspired you to give veganism a go check out The Vegan Society’s Vegan and Thriving page for lots of recipe ideas.”

LIFE HACK’:

If you want to add more protein to your diet and not pay for costly supplements… try these classic yet simple dishes says Stem and Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterton: 

  • “Beans on toast. Yes, classic beans on toast is a complete protein. Very helpful in those moments when time is of the essence and you have hungry children.”
  • “Peanut butter sandwich. This will come as a welcome surprise maybe! And yes, a peanut butter sandwich is a very high complete protein.

Body Workout

Workout 1

Full body workout 

1.) Battle ropes x20 seconds 

2.) Push ups x15

3.) Prisoner squats x20

Repeat 3-4 sets , Rest 60-90 seconds between each round.

By Sophie Mei Lan: https://www.mamamei.co.uk/about/work-with-me/

Taking care of yourself, to take care of your children: preventative breast-cancer surgery

By Shirin Tahmasebi

After wanting to discuss nutrition and how important it is as women that we look after ourselves, with global mind body nutrition coach, Caroline Heaton, we found that there was so much more to her inspiring story that we just had to share. 

Braving a tough decision

Not only did Caroline make a massive decision to go for preventative breast-cancer surgery because she knew she didn’t want her children to have to go through what she did at their age. 

From that brave move, she has created a supportive community, that helps other women experiencing the same tough times as her.

Caroline lost her mum to breast cancer at just 16 and made it her task to make sure she would be fit and healthy and there for her own children when the time came.

"My mum sadly passed away and I would give anything to have that time back for her to have with me and my brother. So it was a no brainer, I just made the decision that I'm not having somebody else dictate to me that I can't be there for my son and daughter.

Then at the age of 17, I was told that I would need to look into my own family history. I had just lost my Mum and I was too scared to do that. But I had recently split up from my children's father and, as a single Mum, I felt this huge sense of responsibility for my two young children."

Later, in 2015, Caroline discovered Preventative breast cancer surgery and then went on to have the surgery herself. However, while working in a school at the time, Caroline felt as though she lacked the vital support, she needed from her workplace with them pressuring her return to work too quickly. 

The process to look into her family history was not an easy one, it took 18 months of extensive appointments with a clinic and she had to do a lot of research herself. 

"It was a really challenging time, but it made me so much stronger as a person. It made me realise, I'm not here just to please everybody else, I'm here to be healthy and be with my children who mean the most to me."
This was the toughest decision that Caroline had ever made but she wanted to secure her children’s future with herself, worried about them going through what she had. 
“I did it because I lost my Mum when I was just 16. She'd been poorly since I was nine, so I'd grown up with the environment of visiting hospitals and developed anxiety around being there.
I would do absolutely anything to make sure I'm here for as long as possible for these two children. I'm not going to let them go through what myself and my brother went through. I felt like I hadn't had the chance of a normal life like my friends had at that age and I thought, ‘I just can't do that to my children.’"
Talking about her Mum: "I believe her breast cancer diagnosis is actually a result of her own stresses in life, she was a very much a very career driven person she was incredible."
After embarking on her own journey into her health, Caroline uncovered her own existing health issues that she now had to look out for. She found out she also carried the breast cancer gene. 
“It wasn’t until I did that that I actually took a step back and thought, ‘You know what? No one's invincible, let's enjoy life, it doesn't have to be so stressful’. At that point I thought, I need to learn and educate myself on how to be healthy and happy, but also to educate other people on that."
Caroline set up an online community to help others who had been through the same experiences as her. She found that a lot of the people she has spoken to haven’t quite ‘tuned into the body queues and the body symptoms that they’ve been receiving’ and unfortunately, are suffering with quite an amount of diseases within the body.
"I wanted to connect with as many ladies as possible who are going through what I went through, because there was no support for me. I didn't have breast cancer I was getting preventative treatments, so I wanted to help people that were going through the same thing.
I did quite a lot of work and connected with a lot of ladies that are going through similar. And, thanks to social media, I've been able to connect with people, globally, who are going through similar. As a nutritionist, to help them prepare their body for surgery, then to support them post-surgery too."
I think we can all appreciate that pre and even post surgeries can be quite a daunting time. Caroline’s aim was to show these overworked professionals and general workers that they shouldn’t have to juggle the work/life balance during this time that they should be taking for themselves. 
"They're learning that, by putting themselves first, they're showing up every day as the best version of themselves and they’ll be more productive at work."
 Early career
Caroline was a teacher before she became she took on one of her roles as an eating psychology specialist.
‘I was so passionate about teaching children, but I was struggling with my own physical and mental health. I was a busy teacher, working all the hours was at the top end of the pay-scale it felt like I had a never-ending list to get through.’
Like many of us stuck in jobs we don’t particularly enjoy, Caroline felt the longer she was in the profession the more she was being taken from the real her, almost taking on that robot work form.
“I also felt I was failing the children, because the system wanted them to achieve a certain level by a certain age and if it didn't fit in that criteria, then it was going to create them some kind of problems further on down the line.’
After being pressured into returning work too quickly after surgery, Caroline’s body disagreed with her decision and got an infection. She found a much-needed appreciation and love from her children when staying at home. 
. Whilst I was off work, my children would say to me, ‘Oh mummy, it’s so nice that your home, it’s much nicer when we come home from school and you're in’. I just thought, ‘What am I doing?’ 
‘That's when my business was very first born, I stepped away from my full-time teaching career, I qualified as a nutritionist and invested a lot of time and effort into finding out how I can help children and their families in our community.’

The Company

"My company's ethos is all about helping our children understand how to overcome stress and to understand that you might not actually fit in that particular peg. I look at the holistic approach to health and I have my own journey with my own health background.I want to help people be healthy, I want them to understand that they have choices in life."
She joined forces with her partner, Bill, ‘He is incredible! He'd already been working locally and he's really passionate about helping people and to overcome obesity. He got our two businesses together and suggested we create a virtual farm job.’ 
At first they focused on solely offering workshops in schools to educate children on how to live a healthy lifestyle. They then got involved with the Wigan programme, which helped children that weren’t eating healthy food throughout the summer holidays and perhaps weren’t eating a warm meal at all.
Change
We know a lot of businesses have had to go through a lot of change over the past year from closing, to not knowing if they can carry on to thriving in our new world and after Caroline’s business still being new, the pandemic certainly pushed her back down. 
"When starting any business, you have to put in the momentum and the effort and lots advertising, which we did before the pandemic. We were finally feeling that we were getting our feet and actually getting somewhere. Then obviously the pandemic happened and the first thing to happen was everywhere went into isolation with schools and external agencies couldn't go into schools.
I thought, ‘We've made a huge sacrifice, I've given up my full-time teaching career and my income isn't coming in anymore. My partner put all this belief into me, we'd invested so much of our savings into advertising the website." 
Luckily, Caroline and her husband never gave up, they just took a different approach in the way they worked.
“We just thought creatively and really started to think about how we can help people. At first, started doing a bit of tutoring online to give us a little bit of time to mull things over and decide what we're going to do next.
I want to help busy professionals who are riding the wave of life and getting caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, not actually looking after themselves."
This is where Caroline launched her community called ‘Release Your Inner Goddess’. The ‘Release Your Inner Goddess’ community is full of ‘like-minded women that are overworked, overstressed and have pushed themselves to the bottom of their own priority list for such a long time’
The company has now launched ultimate wellbeing packages for their clients such as corporate companies and schools and are now really excited to start going out into the community. They also offer workshops via zoom.

Here at Sparkle Up North, we fully believe that when amazing women come together, wonderful things happen – and Caroline absolutely epitomises that. 

We want to thank Caroline for sharing her truly beautiful and inspiring story with us.

If you would like to find out more about Caroline or are interested in her business, click on the link below!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carri_healthy/

If you would like your story to feature on Sparkle Up North, get in touch with us through our email sparkleupnorth@gmail.com 

or through our social media @SparkleUpNorth

WORKING WITH KIDS THIS SUMMER: Save time and money with this free days out guide

What’s on this Summer and FREE when visiting our first destination…Wakefield City Centre?

If you have any free tips for where you live tag us on social @sparkleupnorth

There is so much to do from free walking tours to visiting museums, Wakefield Cathedral and, of course shopping! There’s an abundance of transport networks from Wakefield Free City Bus connecting all the train stations, from Wakefield Kirkgate station near The Hepworth Wakefield to Wakefield Museum (located outside Wakefield Westgate), to the heart of the city centre where you can jump on/off at Wakefield Bus Station to The Ridings Shopping Centre. 

As someone who loves shopping local, independent and has an array of needs from a one-stop-shop as I don’t have a car currently but I also love browsing markets, charity shops and larger stores for a bargain. As a plant-based, world food and charity shop find local loving shopper, single mum and entrepreneur, getting around all my favourite places used to be impossible until I discovered our friends at The Riding Shopping Centre who are much more than a retail venue but they’ve evolved into a community hub full of free activities.

From The Den children’s play centre, Our Yard community event space, regular markets and craft fayres, a rooftop allotment to Makey Wakey art and craft activities and shops. Plus there’s even more on offer this Summer for all ages from coffee clubs for the elderly to family-friendly activities and health groups. 

Here’s just some of What’s on this Summer at The Ridings Centre:

• In July, there was an Artwalk in and around The Ridings with more to come in the future. Plus my family and I made the most of 4 days of eco-themed activities where we took take part in Recycled City and helped to design a model of Wakefield City centre, using recycled and eco-friendly materials. For more details, go to this link: https://the-arthouse.org.uk/events/recycled-city-free-family-activity/ – the work will be exhibited soon in a shop front!

• There’s a Vintage Fair on 21st August with tonnes of sustainable, vintage, retro & branded fashion for just £15 PER KILO on the middle mall, outside M&S, The Ridings Shopping Centre, Almshouse Ln, Wakefield WF1 1DS.

• If the kids like getting messy or art, then all summer, Artventurers are excited to be using this fab space for three special days of classes over summer ☀️

• ‘Our Yard’ is on the lower mall of The Ridings Shopping Centre, where the old food court used to be, near to the main toilets and Morrisons.

• From a new group called the craft table who meet fortnightly in Our Yard on the lower mall (near the toilets) to table tennis and a free community library/book swap.

Be sure to check @RidingsCentre on social media to keep updated or go to their website at RidingsCentre.co.uk 

We also share our The Ridings friend awesomeness @YorkshireFamilies yorkshirefamilies.co.uk 

DON’T FORGET: The Reel Cinema, The Den Play Centre, Shopping Malls, Food and Drink outlets and range of charity shops and organisations as well as parking and a rooftop allotment is on offer ALL YEAR ROUND! And it’s all so accessible!

You can also ask the help desk located outside of Marks and Spencer’s opposite The Reel Cinema, above Pound Land and Morrison’s for What’s On and discuss any requirements or book a space for your own community group or club!

 Enjoy your life whatever age, ability, budget, background, or barriers… The Ridings is here for you… says accessibility site YorkshireFamilies.co.uk who share accessibility tips, recommendations and a sticker Club coming soon.

“From specialist schemes such as shop-mobility – offering free electric and manual wheelchair hire, Blue badge parking on site, accessible toilets include a changing places room, a Hidden Disability Scheme with free sunflower pin badges to ‘keep safe’,  wristbands for vulnerable Children and Adults, available from the customer services lounge and The Den… Whether you’re after a calm, affordable and child-friendly cinema or charity shop clobber, or perhaps you want to meet a friend for a Latte or join a community group… Now more than ever we need such spaces to create such accessible hubs.” 

Our accessibility reporter at Yorkshire Families has also written this:

https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk/2021/07/26/whats-on-at-the-ridings-and-surrounding-areas/

By Sophie Mei Lan 

Https://sparklecommunications.co.uk 

@SparkleComms @sparklecommunications

Life after grief: losing and finding yourself through holistic therapy

By Shirin Tahmasebi

Life took its toll on Healer Foundation founder, Diana Tyson, after she experienced two heart-breaking miscarriages while working in printing. Diana recognised the emotional and physical stress her responsible job was causing her and decided that something needed to change.

Trying to understand

Diana began visiting the early pregnancy unit in order to get answers as to why she had miscarried twice 

“I then pushed for going to the early pregnancy unit, because I had questions. I wanted answers, why did I miscarry? Two is just too many. 

So, I now have various tests and confirmed polycystic ovary syndrome, which means that there’s a hormone that I miss that when I fall pregnant, I have to have injections for it.”

You would think after hearing this news and gaining this diagnosis would allow Diana to feel relieved as she could still very much have children. But as a woman there are various expectations of us and baring children is one of them, these pressures fell hard on her mental health.

“I thought to myself; why does my husband stay with me? My body’s faulty”

These negative thoughts intruded Diana’s mind, and this is where she saw a real change in her life. 

“I decided I needed to get my mind and my body started to talk to one another. So that’s when I started having reflexology. And wow, that was a huge change.”

Diana Tyson, Founder of Healer Foundation

Pulling through

She found her way through her darker days with the help of holistic therapy – therapy for helping with stress and relaxation. This helped Diana recognise that her reasoning for miscarrying wasn’t a fault of hers and didn’t reflect on her body the way she thought it did.

Now that Diana had the support of the doctors and nurses, she had less stress on her plate when it came to eventually getting pregnant with her son. However, she and baby boy had quite the traumatic birth after he came six weeks earlier than expected. Diana then experienced something many mums face after childbirth – postpartum depression. 

“I turned to Holistic Therapist helped me with my hormones, with the baby blues because they were there”

This is where one of Diana’s friends sparked that blown out lightbulb in her head, back to life. 

“One of my friends said to me you know so much stuff about holistic therapies about aroma therapy about it then how to help kids how to help there is help. So why don’t you train in it?”

And so it began…

Diana spent two years training as a Holistic Therapist

From grief to work

Diana attended White Rose therapist school on Saturdays to start her training as a Holistic Therapist. This is where she learned her techniques such as a Swedish massage, Reflexology and Aroma therapy. 

“I just absolutely found my passion and I realised that emotionally, a lot of things manifest in your body. And so, you’ve got to relax the mind and the body at the same time”

Two years of training led Diana to become a therapist for her bank. Beginning as an on-site therapist 16 years ago to now completing her work online during the pandemic. 

Through her work, Diana realised that training other people could be a possibility for her as she had always wanted to be a teacher but hadn’t the right qualifications for the job. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop her, Diana decided to start training as a teacher.

“And then I just want my fifth passion, that just totally ignites because you just go Wow. 

So, I trained Reiki one two and three. I do Sikkim, one, two and three. I do, Egyptian, teach, I do crystal therapy training.”

Diana really dug herself into the world of not only holistic therapy, but many others. She found herself hungry for learning and never wanted to stop and this is where her idea for her company ‘The Healer Foundation’ started.

“I decided right. You know, let’s provide therapies for women. Let’s provide talking therapies for women, but also for parents who are just absolutely juggling so many things.

Sometimes we don’t want to admit more vulnerable. We don’t want to admit we’re not caught because we’ve got this innate thing that we’re supposed to be super women. And that comes from pressure we put on ourselves”

The Healer Foundation focuses on Holistic healing, however offers many other types of therapies.

Diana then went on to explain how social media has created this added pressure not only on mums but also on their children. She talked about how we are living in a different world as the one she and her fellow mums grew up in, times have changed, and we need to adapt to that. 

“I want to be able to supply all the things that I have to my kids, but we’re also in a different world than what our moms were in the social media is huge. There’s a lot more pressure on kids, and ourselves, because we’re multitasking at this humongous amount of rain.”

Diana now has her own training school which allows the people who attend to feel acknowledged and safe. 

“I want to pry find solutions to the challenges that they’re facing, to their individual challenges. 

I’m very much a person-centred therapist. Not one size fits all”

Getting back on her feet

While going through the menopause, this year alone Diana has lost two people close to her.

“I lost my dad, eight months ago, and I lost my mother-in-law two months ago. Grief is a huge minefield and rollcall streetstyle. However, I suppose you’re not given anything that you’re not supposed to learn from. It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s not an easy lesson to learn.”

While the menopause has been hard for Diana, grief has been harder. Despite the fact, she has taken this time to learn how to ‘recharge her batteries’ and take time for herself instead of letting that stress get to her.

“The tools in my toolkit, allow me to step back a little and say right okay, I need to recharge my batteries.”

Diana has found through her therapy training and sessions with clients, that her peers resonate with her more than she knew. It is ‘almost like there is a magnet’, drawing like-minded people to you.

“You then get people saying, you know a guy you really resonated with what you said about this. And, and I totally get it. It might just be a 10-minute meditation, somebody guiding I do a lot of guided meditations for people. And it might be just reconnecting with nature, it could be just walking barefoot on the grass in the back garden.”

Diana believes these tie in with juggling the social and educational pressures women and children feel on a daily basis, it’s about how we ‘transform those thoughts and free our minds’.

She then went on to tell us about a technique that she loves to use herself, called Hamas. This technique allows you to open your mind and cool off when you’re maybe feeling angry or frustrated. 

Look out for a detailed description of the meditation we did with Diana in a future post.

Speaking to Diana has opened up a full world of holistic therapy that we didn’t know about. Do you think this is something you would be interested in trying?

Follow Diana’s social media’s to find out more about what she does to help herself and others:

Website: http://www.healerfound.co.uk/index.html

We would also like to say a massive thank you to Diana for being so vulnerable with us and sharing her beautifully inspiring story.

DEALING WITH ILLNESS AND DISABILITY AS AN ENTREPRENEUR TRANSFORMING DISABILITIES INTO OUR BUSINESS POWER: “Let’s focus on someone’s skills not situation.”

How do you ‘be authentic’ yet ‘professional’? Should I work through illness? What do I say as a business owner with a disability? “I need to explain how I work so I can perform at my peak…

It can be hard enough navigating work and life as an entrepreneur. Not to mention the two popular buzzwords of ‘needing’ to be authentic yet professional! Surely they are in conflict?! But with the right support your set-back can be your leap forward into creating a better business community for all.

The choice really is yours, primarily, whether you disclose your own ‘disability’ or ‘illness,’ you have a right to privacy because authenticity as a leader doesn’t have to be declaring ‘everything.’ Authenticity is about being an open and ethical leader because not only can it ensure your organisation is sustainable, it can mean that you set a positive culture for your team and yourself, as professionalism is about integrity and can be individually defined by the culture you set.

Authenticity and professionalism is subjective and as we finally evolve into a more inclusive world, we look at the skills that disabled entrepreneurs can offer, with a comparatively large percentage of entrepreneurs thriving with a ‘disability.’ 

Did you Know?

  • The UK has one of the highest rates of ‘disabled entrepreneurs’ with many people starting a business because the ‘workplace’ isn’t appropriate (Enterprise Times) 
  • Many millennials search for ethical businesses to work for with ‘purpose not pay check’ (Forbes) 
  • Work as humans-to-humans rather than ‘faceless brands’ just transacting with one another 
  • Hoping for a healthier more holistic future for entrepreneurship and indeed, the workplace…

Entrepreneurial spirit has always been present within AD:VENTURE ambassador, Freelance Journalist and Communications professional Sophie Mei Lan, who set up a documentary and story-telling multi-media company Evoke Media Group Ltd (http://evokemediagroup.co.uk) with her film-making colleague with the dynamic support of AD:VENTURE (https://ad-venture.org.uk), utilising their diverse skills to flourish in business and life. Sophie (https://sparklecommunications), who has a range of ‘hidden disabilities,’ has since worked with Channel 4 News, ITV and BBC News. In her latest blog, she shares how she navigates a communications business, life and so-called ‘disabilities…’

“I would love to see a more inclusive world, where we are seen for our skills rather than labels… Let’s unlock our business powers…”

The Power is in Your Hands

“Power” as a leader is not about exerting ourselves over others, it’s knowing our own power and what is important for you and what values in which you want to build a business. 

For me, it’s all about maintaining your own dignity, whatever that means to you. 

We have the choice to choose what we want to share. 

It has always been important for me to be fairly open about my “hidden disabilities,” because ironically they have helped me to harness and hone my own success story, especially as I began to to really build my profile in the media and win international enterprise, communications, digital and journalism awards.

The more my personal brand accelerated, some of my more corporate-looking enterprises, merged into this brand as I represented them all as a leader, evolving into the ethical entrepreneur that I had aspired to become. 

That said, over time I have told my ‘story’ but just parts at a time as and when i feel comfortable to do so and think it will help others. I still not choose to disclose everything. 

I consciously have chosen, however, that my core values in business and life are to showcase the fact that despite our challenges, we can use these to our advantage… with the right support! I wanted to demonstrate that even what other entrepreneurs and clients may deem as the ‘ultimate’ success such as me appearing regularly in the press, on national TV and Radio. The more I felt inclined to use my profile as a personal brand to talk about disabilities and inclusivity, because not only am I surrounded by other neurodiverse and so-called ‘disabled’ entrepreneurs, the more I realised that I wanted to share about my invisible disabilities and how they have enabled me rather than disabled me. And anyway the media thrives off powerful personal stories and it’s much easier to connect with people as humans not ‘corporations,’ so ideally in terms of your own business (as long as you’re aware of any possible repercussions of sharing any personal story), it is much more powerful getting press coverage and better coverage as editorials and feature pieces rather than relying on clear adverts. As they say… 

Facts tell… stories tell.

“How should I treat someone I am working with if they are undergoing an illness or have a disability?” 

My own “disabilities”which I see as my “superpowers” help me in business and life and I am proud of them. But whilst I view my neurodiverse mind and even my own current physical ailments as strengths, some may still hold bias (consciously or subconsciously) and judge what tasks someone can or cannot perform. 

Whereas, for me personally, I find that by always managing my ‘hurdles,’ I am hyper-aware of what my ‘genius’ skills are (in writing, creating powerful communications content for brands which tells stories, digital training and empowering personal brands with a purpose to get heard by their desired audiences worldwide) and my own coping mechanisms with the right support. 

That said, I won’t pretend that everything is ‘easy’ to navigate, as I candidly share on my personal blog and vlog. I can at times feel ‘awkward’ when my personal world has leaked into my business communications online. But I choose to blog and vlog openly about mental health and wellbeing and disabilities which is becoming more prevalent and even ‘on trend’ in the business world. But most of all, it is part of my values as an ethical business that I am relatable and open about my ‘diversity,’ to empower others thinking of building their own personal brands. 

As I say in the not-so very corporate quote of ‘Flashdance: The Musical’: Take your Passion and Make it Happen! 

Hopefully one day, I am seen beyond a diversity champion and that we foster a truly inclusive transformation. 

Changing the face of ‘work’ and ‘productivity’ 

The beauty of this challenging yet transformational period of the Pandemic, I believe, has been the fact that working has changed. What it looks like, what it involves and what it is, as it’s finally becoming more respected and a holistic future for those running businesses, leading teams and employees. 

That’s said, no one model fits all which is why it’s important for all of us to focus on how to untap someone’s strengths whether that be through ‘agile working’ or ‘flexible working’ or being part of a physical team… or a hybrid approach. But again we return to the power of ‘choice’ and working with our team as individuals because not only does this make sense to boost productivity and for everyone to perform at their peak at work but it also means that everyone feels happier, healthier and prospers.

We do however need to make a conscious effort to improve internal communication so people still feel connected. 

Fostering communication, empowering people and creating spaces for all to HEAR, SEE and hyper-focus on the human… because: “Together, one gives each other energy to live – to create health for life.” A quote from the international Microsystems Festival which I delivered a speech at, as a ‘multi-platform Journalist and ‘multi-faceted’ person. Microsystems are a way of transforming huge healthcare systems, breaking them down into their smallest fun

ctioning form to cultivate growth within teams and exploring solutions so that everyone’s voice is carefully heard and accepted at the ‘metaphorical’ table.

Here’s How I would like us to support one another to unlock all of our superpowers…My Top Tips:

We have a choice over what we share about others but most of all, we can decide how we act in the face of ‘adversity’ or when you’re unsure what’s best to do…

  1. Let’s change our language so it is positive and uplifting around a more inclusive and fruitful working environment for all. There’s a lot of power in language. 

 

From diversity to inclusivity, from disability to accessibility, from tick boxes to human communication, From social mobility to levelling up, From divide and rule to Kinship…

  1. Human-centered support for each other…  no one size fits all – see beyond someone’s hurdles respect one another’s wishes, as autonomous humans! 
  2. If someone does disclose an illness or disability..The worst thing we can do to entrepreneurs who are unwell is to assume it’s ‘best’ NOT work with them or consider not offering them a job…because we know best.  Whether it be physical health and visible or they choose to disclose a mental or invisible disability or illness…  Why? “But you genuinely care?” “you don’t want to bother them” they look poorly you’re concerned?”

4) So you either don’t work with them, stop contacting them or you try to turn a professional meeting into a therapy session because you want to help …

5) Instead, if you’re in a position to support them in some way… Ask them if, how and what you can do to best support them? 

I also run a Yorkshire Families blog to help all families access the best of the region and to make online and in person activities more accessible for all especially those with disabilities. Online we have a project called Digitally Active 

One of our volunteers aka “Digitally Active Dan,” he has shared how he feels his only option ‘career wise’ as someone on the Autistic spectrum would be to volunteer at a cafe or charity shop rather than find work digitally… until he took part and helped co-create Digitally Active with his mum Julie and I – which trains people with disabilities to work as a freelancers (and hopefully one day for the project) assisting small businesses with online virtual assistance tasks from blog writing to cleaning up websites… 

Digitally Active’s Dan writes on https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk: “The world as a digital entrepreneur is a good world for me as it means I can showcase my knowledge and skills of things such as: Sports blogs, using Canva to make templates and graphics, using IMovie to make videos and other knowledge and skills, and I would say I am finding my own way online with the help of my social media coach The Sparkle Coach by using my skills to the best of my ability. 

“I prefer the digital world to a workplace as the workplace would probably be too busy and too much going on for me and it wouldn’t suit me working in a garden centre or a café for example as they wouldn’t utilise my skills, whereas a job to do with computers or technical stuff would be much better for me.” 

He said that his parents have had to fight for every opportunity for him including sixth form. 

“Some famous entrepreneurs who inspire me are Richard Branson who has dyslexia and made his first million when he was 21, Lord Alan Sugar and some famous sports people who have a disability who I like or admire are:

Ellie Simmonds whose sport was swimming in the Paralympics

Jamie Stead who’s taking part in the Paralympics in Tokyo after the Olympics has finished, he’s from Normanton and he plays wheelchair rugby.

David Weir who took part in London Marathons despite being a wheelchair athlete 

Hannah Cockroft who is a wheelchair racer.”

Whilst I don’t personally face as many barriers as some, as a mixed-race single mum who doesn’t have a car, works freelance from home, whilst running magazines and a city centre company based at Wakefield University Business Centre, all whilst thriving with an array of invisible disabilities and having derived from a richly diverse yet low-income background.

That’s why we all need bespoke support because for a lot of us ‘entrepreneurs’ whether we’ve built a business through necessity or purely passion, we have to factor in life, work and finance into the equation. That’s where AD:VENTURE ( https://ad-venture.org.uk) have been brilliant at seeing the human not just the spreadsheets.

I have definitely experienced some of the roadblocks faced by many since childhood but I am so relieved to see that we are joining together to stride forward as a sport-tive community! Not to mention a vast array of self-love and life needs from dancing to Disney films, from threaded brows to treading the earth on my running pursuits fuelled by a love of nutritious foods and fresh shakes to proper coffee and a proper brew! Whatever suits you step back inside this flourishing fountain of community spirit which is welcome to all.

You can read more from Sophie Mei Lan at https://sparklecommunications.co.uk and her Women in Business Magazine https://sparkleupnorth.com as well as a community reporter project which supports all families regardless of ‘disability’ to get active across the region at https://YorkshireFamilies.co.uk or you can follow her @SparkleComms, @SparkleUpNorth & @YorkshireFamilies on social media.

To access free support from AD:VENTURE, go to: https://ad-venture.org.uk