Category Archives: lifestyle

Hello again – how time flies

I have recently been spending too much time doing other things and getting side-tracked which has resulted in another long delay between blogs.

I have been suffering from some digestive problems for about a year now, and since before Christmas have been having fairly intensive investigations. At first it appeared to be a problem with lactose, and I felt a lot better during the 3 months I eliminated lactose, and was surprised that the postponed lactose test was inconclusive. So now I am eliminating milk proteins entirely for a month.

I have come across an interesting facebook group for people with Cows Milk Protein Allergy and website packed with lots of useful information. ( and

Its is saddening to see how many parents are trying to cope with feeding their infants and toddlers who have a wide range of food allergies, lactose, milk protein, soya, eggs, nuts …. That is so tough. I am fortunate to have lived so long without problems.

It seems that digestive difficulties might run in my family, and my sister, niece and nephew suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I will investigate their “trigger foods” to see if they are also irritable for me.

Luckily I have found that dark chocolate contains minimal milk and I can eat it without problems. Its amazing how many of my previously favourite foods, milk chocolate, yoghurt, greek yogurt, cream, ice cream, pastries, cream cakes, profiteroles, tiramisu are out of bounds! But I have found that there are dairy free dessert alternatives (I can always find room for a pudding) and it just means making a bit more effort.

How about Rasberry muffins or Dairy free chocolate and banana ice cream ? Definitely both worth trying!!

April has slipped by very quickly with successive visits from friends in the UK, which of course means going out and about and doing the sights.

me Kitty Harri

We visited Kitty Harri’s Sculpture garden again and felt uplifted by the creative way that the sculptures are placed in the garden, and this time there was an added sonorous melodic chiming of some cleverly placed wind chimes. Sublime!

The Axarquia Garden club reports of our initial visit can be found here,  and here

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And now I have a hankering to do some wall mosaics inspired by the fabulous colours in Kitty’s garden.

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We ended up missing the Garden Club visit I organised to Andrew Sloan’s drought resistant garden and the Brookside Succulent nursery, something I had been looking forward to for months.

Here is the garden club report with some fabulous pictures of Andrew’s garden, we definitely want to develop a succulent garden on the mountain part of our garden below our house.


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New look !

I recently discovered that my coaching website was hacked, and so I have decided to close it down and concentrate on this blog.

I have been neglecting the blog as I made no blog posts during 2014. My excuse? Well we have moved to Spain and have been settling into our new life here. Joining clubs, becoming part of the fabric of the community, and well – coaching has taken a back burner.

But I have gathered the resolve to streamline and improve…. So my blog now has a new heading – Dr Judith Sunley – Life Coach, instead of “The Doctor’s Reflections”.

Most of the Summer 2014 was taken up with a visit to France to visit my sister’s French farmhouse – which is a work in progress – and substantially with our grand daughter’s extended visit and other holiday visitors. We had a good summer.


Then just before the end of August my husband tore his Achilles chasing after Rosie, and many weeks were taken up subsequently with surgery and rehabilitation.


In October we rescued our “abandonado perro” his name is Poco. It was my husband’s joke, as we have seen the suspected father who is a whopper of a dog, and Poco seems to be following in his father’s footsteps.


I had no wish for a 3rd dog, as we were happy with the balance of Rosie our runaway rescued black Labrador, and Jim our rescued border collie. I took some persauding to bring Poco home as that tiny puppy.

But here we are, 5 months later firmly thrilled with our 3rd dog who has integrated fully into the pack. It has been a lesson for me to open up my horizons and take a risk. We have had to go through puppy training, and dog training classes (for all 3), but it has paid off. Poco has a lovely life with us instead of scavenging on the streets, or at worst put down.


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I was looking through an earlier blog in which I was sharing my venture into network marketing. A few months have elapsed since then, and I have taken steps to follow my dream, moving to Spain, and starting a new life.

As it turned out network marketing was not for me! Initially swept away by a burst of enthusiasm, the nagging doubts soon set in. As a starter, I loved the product and still use it daily. But did I want to become to become part of a polished marketing system? Why was I resisting?

Was it just me, or did it seem that I was in danger of becoming a network marketing bore with my friends?

Tuning in for the regular motivational updates and training sessions, it almost seemed as though “topping up” was part of a strategy to dull down my questions, a good plan to keep me focused, but a bit like brain washing? Hmmm.

The marketing system was very slick – a master stroke to encourage customers to try the product, but I had to buy the full size samples, and I had to keep buying a quota of product every month, unless I had found new customers who bought it. Hmmm.

I had to develop business builders, cloning the system I was following. Hmmm.

I gave it my best shot but in the end decided to walk away. What did I learn?

Firstly, I did tune in to the idea of defining my dreams, looking for my purpose, my “why” and that was good. (These were key elements in the system to get potential business builders to think about where they were in their current life and where they wanted to be in 5 years time).

I found a new very good friend within the network, and that was good.

For some people it is clear to me that network marketing can re-invent them and provide self confidence and belief. The regional conferences I attended were testimony to that. Lots of focused, successful people, able to deal with rejection 9 times out of 10. They weren’t faking it. It worked for them.

But for me? Hmmm.

Let’s face it, I wasn’t “hungry” for the money and recognition. I don’t feel comfortable following some one else’s script and system. I need to feel authentic and I didn’t. In fact trying to follow the “system” just made me feel bad about myself. I don’t need that.

It felt to me as though the self development framework that was used as a core training was camouflage, smoke and mirrors.

And below all of it, it seemed to me that the “machine” required a quota of spend, bringing new people into the system who had a quota of spend. So, contrary to the training “spin”, we were all moving product and recruiting people to move product.

So I quit. If you know me you would know I am not a quitter, in fact almost always stubbornly persevere, but it didn’t feel right to stick at it this time.

However, while I was contemplating my navel, and deciding whether I could hack it – let’s face it I couldn’t – I did get my butt into gear and progress a life long aspiration to move to Spain. Instead of dreaming about it we moved to action. We came out to Spain to look at houses, found a delightful house in the mountains and made an offer which was accepted.

Then a whole load of stressful steps needed to be taken to make it all happen. Probably the subject of another blog. But – yes we went to a “Place in the Sun” exhibition in Olympia to find out all the things we needed to do. (Incidentally the TV presenter Jasmine is lovely, but very tall!)

At the exhibition we found several removal companies, currency brokers, legal advisers (even a company who sold pre-bought funerals) and we realized we should have commissioned a survey as our house is on a hill. We wouldn’t buy a house in the UK without a survey, so why on earth did we think we didn’t néed to in Spain? We got very stressed but managed to sort out our survey thankfully. And we picked our removal company, packed and sailed to Santander with our dogs. A new adventure!

So do I regret the network marketing experiment? Yes and No. It was an expensive exercise, but I was able to sell the product I had bought that I didn’t want to keep for my own use or give as presents. Expensive cosmetics!! I was also able to use the experience to help me to make some choices and decisions about my life. To examine my dreams and act on them.

And you? What are your hopes and dreams?




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Long time – no post “Viva Espania”

It has been a long time since I posted in my blog. Why? I’ve moved thousands of miles to follow my dream of living in Spain. We have moved to a Casa on the campo, in the mountains of Andalucia with fantastic mountain and sea views. It has been a BIG change, so many new things to learn, new people to meet, rules to comply with. So much to do to tackle our neglected Casa and sort it out. And we have a mountain-side waiting to be cultivated. And we have to learn a new language. It’s a roller coaster but we are getting there.

I’ve also changed my website host and streamlined my website. If I’m to do paid coaching in Spain there’s a host of stuff I need to sort out.

Meanwhile, we have sorted out health insurance – despite working all my life in the UK, I am not entitled to free Spanish health cover – the Spanish Health system is contribution based, not residence based as in the UK. Unless I register as self employed here, forget it.

We have imported our Campervan “Lovebus” into Spain, so it is now on Spanish plates. You can’t drive a UK plated vehicle in Spain for more than 6 months, if you do you risk large fines and the confiscation of your vehicle. Lots of Ex Pats risk it, at their peril!

We registered on the local Town Hall register on arrival, but have only just gone through the process to become residents. Whether you “register” or not, you are tax resident once you have resided here for more than 183 days. But before you can register you must have health insurance and enough income to show you won’t be a burden on the Spanish government. Again many British don’t become resident and duck and dive, but the Spanish government are getting canny and will expect evidence of residence outside Spain. There are international financial treaties to share tax data. It only seems right and proper to me to abide by the rules on moving to Spain.

We’ve a much simpler life here. It has been good to make some new friends and join local clubs, and of course take Spanish lessons.

We have multi-national neighbors, Spanish – of course – but also English, German and American. We have been made very welcome.





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Do 5:2 diets work?

food fastingA few weeks ago a friend (Frank) told us about his new diet regime involving fasting on 2 days each week, which not only helped in weight loss, but also is reputed to stimulate your “skinny” gene, SIRT1, and stimulate genes that counter cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, reducing aches and pains.

Sounds too good to be true?

Since Frank mentioned it I have heard of someone else who lives a couple of doors away who has lost weight successfully, as well as feeling much fitter, so I have decided to give it a try.

It will be our T diet, as we will fast ( well you are allowed to consume 600 calories ) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It there’s a capital T in the day we fast ( that’s how we get away with letting Saturday slip through )!

Fast days can’t be consecutive, so if you want to keep the weekends free to eat “normally” and my T days don’t work for you, you would have to choose Monday/Wednesday or Wednesday/Friday.

Friday feels like part of my weekend, so the T days work best for me!

While on holiday in Egypt I read an article in “Woman Magazine” referring to the BBC show “Horizon :Eat, Fast and Live Longer” in which Dr Michael Mosley lost a stone and lowered his glucose and cholesterol levels after a month of intermittent fasting. it also mentions work by author and dietician James B Johnson who has now released an even stricter version with fasting ( just 500 calories) on alternate days “The Alternate Day Diet”.

80% of TV Nutritionist’s Amanda Hamilton’s clients, who stuck to it found it worked, particularly due to feeling fewer aches & pains, improved memory & slowing of the ageing process.

Dietician Azmina Govindji said there was no guarantee it would work especially if you compensated and guzzled on the other days to make up for the fasting days.

So what does “fasting” look like?

Breakfast – black coffee and yogurt (60 cals)
Lunch – 2 egg omelette (150 cals)
Dinner – 150g steamed fish & vegetables or 100g grilled chicken & salad.

Well we are going to try it! I lost weight on holiday in Egypt after getting food poisoning ( it was an enforced fast) and then I went off my food, and for the first time came back from an all inclusive holiday lighter than before I went on holiday.

Is anyone else up for trying this 5:2 diet? Let me know!

Add your comments in the boxes below.

Have a look at my other Blogs, and do check out my website


Filed under coaching, diet, lifestyle, personal development, self esteem