How do I stay happy?

Hey peeps, and welcome to another (long overdue!) Project Unicorn blog!

I’m so sorry for abandoning this blog for so long! It’s a combination of not being very happy recently (and being a bit unwell) – see video below for more details – and being super busy writing my book (that’s good news!)

I’m feeling better now!

And back to my usual, bubbly self. Ready to record some new Project Unicorn videos and re-engage with positive thinking, promoting happiness to help with mental health, and being a nice person. I was in a really low place a few weeks ago, and even had a dip over the weekend following a migraine, but no matter how many times the nasty little voice in the back of my mind (Steve, as I call him) tells me I’m a failure, too fat, not good enough or not interesting enough to succeed at my ambitions in life, there is a stronger voice at the core of me, that glittery, diamond core, fighting back and saying ‘No. I’m worth it. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be successful. Nobody can stop me. I believe in myself.’

And the good news is, after all these months and years of saying this to myself, this voice is now louder and stronger than the nasty little Steve the Demon Monkey voice of self-doubt and self-hate.

I’m okay. And I’m going to keep being okay, one day at a time, one step at a time. Even if all I do is breathe, and keep living. Keep going.

So, what makes me happy? What gives me this confidence?

George, the Self-Esteem Cat

This is George. He’s an absolutely AMAZING puppet cat created by Xingcat on YouTube. Xingcat has his own blog, available here: < link > It’s a great read, and I highly recommend following it. He posts a LOT more often than I do, so you won’t be disappointed!!!

All of Xingcat’s videos are inspiring and motivational. THEY’RE ALSO HILARIOUS. But by far, my absolutely favourites are the George Self-Esteem videos.

I’ve said this many times in the comments to Xingcat, but I’m TOTALLY going to teach our children to say ‘I don’t know’ like Dog. If you don’t know how Dog says ‘I don’t know’… you really need to watch a video right now. I’ll wait. This is a blog. It’s not going anywhere. Hehe.

The messages from George are uplifting and easy to digest. I will often watch two or three back to back whilst washing up in the evening. They’re just full of hope and self-acceptance, which is so important. And Xingcat is such an amazing guy – he’s one of the best fellow creators anyone could ask for really, because he shares all of your stuff like a crazy person and is totally committed to supporting fellow creators in this world.

Hats off to you, Xingcat!!!

Life Goals

I was having a development catch up with my line manager the other day, and he asked me what I want to do in 5 years’ time. As I stared down the tunnel of time and imagined 2022, a scary concept because we’ll be in the 20’s, I realised that I wanted to be:

  • A published author (earning money from my books)
  • A professional YouTube creator – Project Unicorn and daily vlogging
  • A teacher – ideally primary school children

And these are just 3 of the things I came up with. I’d also love to be a Creative Writing lecturer, a film maker, run my own homestead, or livery yard, or dog walking and care business…

Yeah, I want to do everything! What I definitely DON’T want to do is stay in my current role, as comfortable as it is, because it doesn’t play to my strengths, it doesn’t challenge me in the areas where I want to grow, and doesn’t fulfil me emotionally or intellectually.

Does, however, pay a nice little salary… Hehe, so I’ll work hard for them until I can find pay my way with my passions.

Darn you, adult life and responsibilities!

Migraines aren’t so bad

Migraines aren’t so bad

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn blog!

I’m feeling REALLY GOOD today! I woke up with a mild migraine starting in my left eye, but after taking a tablet and having another hours’ sleep, I’m OKAY! This is fantastic news, my fellow herd-members! It means the medication is working and gives me a chance to get back to my normal life!

What am I up to this weekend?

So, right now I’m editing a video for the YouTube channel that was *supposed* to go up yesterday… I got distracted… so that’ll be posted today. Then I’m going to do some networking and give myself permission to fall down the YouTube rabbit hole, where I basically lose about 4 hours just watching other peoples’ videos and commenting on their content.

Then it’s time for a bit of uni work. My next assignment is due in 3 weeks so I want to get a head start in case I get ill again. I don’t think I will, but it’s better to be organised, eh?

THEN, a bit of Hybrid and making a roast dinner. Claire’s hoping to live stream on Twitch this evening so we’re going to eat earlier so she’s all full and ready for a 4 hour art session.

Of course, a spot of cleaning and some laundry will feature in between these activities. I think I’ll walk the dogs when Claire’s live-streaming… It’ll be dark but there are some nice walks in well-lit areas where we can go, and I’ll take them to Bradgate Park tomorrow for a big run around.

Wooh! Onwards!

Life (and other distractions)

Life (and other distractions)

Hey peeps, and welcome to another Project Unicorn post! Wow, these last few weeks have FLOWN by! I feel as though I only just wrote the Poorly Unicorn post, but here we are, on the 1st of February…

What have I been up to?

Well, I FINALLY got my assignment in, and am now waiting for the results to come back. I really hope I get a good grade… I worked so hard on those 1,500 words! I’ve never struggled to get a sentence out as much as I did when considering the rhyme scheme of two Romantic era poems.

Eugh. For a writer, I don’t enjoy studying the language itself. I think it’s because, for me, it takes the spontaneous inspiration out of the moment, the flow from the creative world to the page through my fingers on the keyboard… I find my writing either very stilted or woefully fast-paced and shallow when I’m writing by hand, too. I don’t think my hand can keep up with the words in my mind, whereas I can type much faster and so keep up with the ideas as I’m having them.

I think it might also be because writing, for me, isn’t a conscious act; I’m simply a conduit for the things happening in the other world that I can see, and I can see into the characters’ minds and so record what’s happening. I’m just a means of getting the story out into this world… If I then start to break it down and analyse why a writer chose a certain word… It takes some of the magic out of it for me.

Still, I’m doing a Creative Writing module next year, which should be a lot more fun. And I’m learning a lot of valuable lessons about writing and literature in general. If nothing else, it’s all good practice in essay writing and constructing a solid argument.


I’ve now got 9 videos up on my Project Unicorn channel – this latest addition is a slightly longer video where I cover 28 things I’ve learned in 28 years! (I’m nearly 28, so it’s a valid question).

Check it out here!


Other life stuff

Aside from much filming and editing, I’ve sort of just been sorted out things in the house. Our boiler sort of exploded at the weekend, spraying water into the utility room and switching off. Permanently. Cold showers for US for two days! Brrr!

Managed to get the supply company to come out yesterday and they fixed it up. Fortunately, we have an extended warranty so the costs were covered, but oh boy!


My new medication does seem to be helping with the migraines… They’re certainly not as painful as they were… I’m meeting my GP soon for a review, and I’m certainly going to ask that I stay on them, and possibly increase the dose. If I can crack the right combination I think I’ll do much better.

My anxiety does seem to be rearing its ugly Steve-the-Evil-Monkey head at the moment, though. I wonder if this is because the old migraine medication was also used to treat anxiety, whereas now this new tablet is just for migraines and mood disorders… It’s hard to tell how long I’ve been anxious for, because it feels like forever… In truth, I think it’s only been about a week… And I have had a few things to be anxious about, such as being put onto a sickness improvement plan at work (standard procedure) and the boiler breaking.

Maybe I’m thinking into this too much. I’m sure I’ll be fine…

Well, I’ll chat about it with my GP and see what he says.

Toodles for now!

Poorly Unicorn!

Poorly Unicorn!

Hi everyone and welcome to another Project Unicorn post. I’ve been very quiet on this site for the last week or so because I’ve been really poorly! I’ve been hit with the local post-Christmas bug going round and it’s set off a chain reaction of migraines that kept me off work nearly all of last week. SO glad to be feeling better now! Still bunged up and got a cough but my voice has come back just in time for filming Friday’s collaboration video with Blacksummer Colouring! Yay!

It’s been lovely to get back to walking the dogs, as well. I just felt too ill to leave the sofa, let alone the house, for several days last week. But Lilly, Doug and I had a lovely village walk last night, and they were so chilled afterwards, all stretched out in front of the fire… Life was good.

Steve, the evil migraine monkey

Thinking about the migraines though… The problem with having multiple or recurring daily migraines is that a) they hurt, b) you feel too poorly to do anything but sleep or lie on the sofa having a pity-party, and c) they make you feel really depressed. I say you. Me. They make ME really depressed. Does anyone else find this? After a migraine, I get really tearful and down about my whole life, and although my logic brain understands that this is just a chemical reaction in my brain, I end up examining my whole life and everything in it, looking for an external source of the sadness so that I can do something about it.

That leads to problems of its own. For example, it causes tensions in my marriage when I question how ‘okay’ Claire and I are. We’re normally rock solid. We’ve been together since 2005, from on-off teenaged dating to getting engaged in 2009 and married in 2014. After all these years… surely I’d know? I usually look at our relationship and beam with joy because I’ve found somebody emotionally stable to counter my emotional ups and downs, who’s equally peculiar as me (IN A GOOD WAY) and just as creative, so we totally understand each other. And then along comes a migraine and boom. I’m wondering if we settled down too soon, if we really know each other as well as we think we do, if Claire’s actually judging me all the time, if she actually doesn’t love me… All of these nasty little ‘evil monkey’ thoughts in the back of my mind. (I call him Steve.)

It also affects me at work. I start to become a Negative Nelly and risk dragging everyone else down with me. I certainly fall into the trap of moaning about the little gripes at work, instead of seeing the positive in things (such as the way my boss is being brilliant with my migraine management through the sickness absence policy), and this in turn affects my motivation. I then find it really difficult to summon up the energy or enthusiasm to encourage people to embrace change and think differently in order to make process improvements in their teams. It’s really the sort of job where you need to be on your game all the time, because motivating people to change, especially when they’ve not requested that you come and work with them, can be extremely tough. (But rewarding.)


Marvin the Unicorn v Steve the Evil Monkey

Sometimes, Claire and I will be lying in bed, snuggled up all warm and comfy, and we’ll get chatting about really deep, intense things. One day, one of these things was my depression. I was talking about the intrusive thoughts that creep in when I’m feeling depressed or anxious, trying to work them out and make them okay, and Claire called them my ‘evil monkey’.

This was a few years ago. The nickname stuck, and it gave me a way of separating the thoughts from my emotional self so that I could study them more easily and gain some perspective so I don’t get swept away. Very easy to do for someone like me.

One day at work, I ended up doodling ‘Steve the Evil Monkey’ and boom. He was born.

Around this time, Claire started to call me a unicorn. This adjective means that I am creative, funny and proud to my authentic, unique self. I am so completely ME all of the time, in everything that I do, that sometimes I feel like I stand out – like a unicorn in a herd of horses. (I’m a total horse nut so this metaphor worked well for me.)

During a very down time, when Claire was in her crochet phase of crafting, she secretly crocheted Marvin the Unicorn for me as a little mascot to have on my desk at work to keep me happy throughout the day. She did this, hidden under a blanket at her end of the sofa, in two weeks whilst I was sad. And then, one day, she presented me with this absolutely adorable little guy!


I, of course, promptly turned him into a key ring and attached him to my unicorn pencil case so that I could take him with me wherever I went.

From then on, Marvin the Unicorn became my antidote to Steve the Evil Monkey. They’ve battled, Steve with his fangs and claws, and Marvin with his glittery horn of happiness, and eventually, Steve began to lighten from black fur to brown, to blond… He even has some pink and blue stripes in his fringe right now (yes, Steve has a fringe… it’s more of a mow-hawk, but not quite that awesome ‘cos he still has self-doubts). I’m not sure he’ll ever be fully rainbow coloured, but we’re working on him, turning a lot of that negativity to positivity. He comes back with a baseball bat of insults once in a while… and sometimes he knocks Marvin’s horn off or splits it with the power of his hits, but horns grow back. Especially when they’re made of glitter and magical.

Anyway… I digress.


I’ve hit 20 subscribers on YouTube!!! As of today, I think I’m actually up to 23, which is ABSOLUTELY fantastic! I’m so thrilled that people are enjoying my content and finding my unicorn rambles about happiness and positivity useful. Yay for helping people!

I’ve got 4 videos up right now and another one on Friday. I’ll be drawing. On camera! Aaah! It’s going to be so funny.

I have so many more videos planned as well. I’m addicted and it’s FABULOUS. I even have an idea for a new channel, where I can focus on Continuous Improvement and coaching techniques. I don’t feel like these belong together on the same channel, because Project Unicorn is all about happiness and positivity, whereas the CI stuff is… well, specific. So yeah, that’ll be launching soon too!

Busy, busy! Keeps me on my toes!


Toodles for now. I’m off to squeeze in a bit of writing while I can!

Eugh, another migraine!

Eugh, another migraine!

So I suffer with migraines, and that means, on at least 2 days out of every week, I wake up with pain in my left ear and eye, dizziness, nausea, cold sweats and tremors in my right arm. It’s not as painful as it used to be; thanks to a combination of beta-blockers that I take every day, triptan medication that I take at the first whiff of an attack, and half-yearly Botox injections in my forehead and around my head, they’re manageable.

Yes folks, THIS is manageable.

My work is fantastic, though. I started with them in April and my boss is really understanding about my condition, so when I had to call in AGAIN today and tell him that I have to take the day off to try to sleep it off in a dark and silent room, he understood. At least I manage projects, which means I can (mostly) arrange my work around the somewhat predictable little buggers (the migraines, not my colleagues).

So, there’s me, all day in bed, feeling like I’m falling from a log the whole time, wondering if I’m going to throw up the two crackers I managed to eat this morning with a glass of water to take my meds with, trying not to feel guilty that it’s ANOTHER day lost and wasted (because the guilt causes stress, which in turns creates more migraines and then we’re into this whole cycle that you do NOT want a piece of!)

And, at about 4 o’clock this afternoon, I start to feel better. Thank goodness it wasn’t a bad one this time. Sometimes they can last for DAYS. Don’t need that right before Christmas!

I’m up now, though I still have to take it slow. I only have a few lamps on downstairs and my laptop screen brightness is as low as it can be.

Though, excellent news, I DID wake up with the urge to write my book, so, as soon as this little update is complete, that’s what I’ll be doing. I’m working on Chapter Six at the moment, and figured out how to get past the difficult, emotional rut I was in from the previous chapter.

Now, you guys don’t know this, but I’ve been writing my book, Hybrid, for like, ever. And I mean, ever. It’s gone through so many incarnations, it bears no resemblance to the original story. I started writing it when I was 14, and I’m now 27. There you go. Forever.

BUT, it’s finally gained some traction this last year, and 2017 is going to be the year that I finish it. I’ve had the first couple of chapters finished and unchanged since early 2016, maybe even 2015, and I even have some later chapters and extracts finished. It’s always been this transition period, where my two characters leave Leicester and travel to London to start their new lives, that I’ve struggled with.

And then, the other week, the wife and I had a brainwave.

Why do I have to cover it in specific detail? A tragedy occurs at the beginning of the book, the catalyst for the story, and they’re still trying to recover from this when they have to leave. But people don’t just stop. Life goes on. And sometimes, and I’ve felt this, it goes on without you, and you come back to yourself a few weeks later and find that things have subtly changed and then you have to play catch up. Which is a whole feeling unto itself, separate from the grief of loss anyway.

So that’s what I’m trying now. I’m going to skip ahead and refer back to the period of readjustment, but get the story moving again. After all, it’s fiction, and fiction is an imitation of life but with more drama.

Wish me luck!