Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform


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WE ARE LIVE!!!

Woo hoo!

Ape-athy has gone live.

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I really hope you’ll pop over and join me on the new site.

To come on over, just click on the picture above or HERE to be taken to our new home.

Oh, as a side note I’ve noticed that some people have ‘signed up’ to the new site via WordPress.  Please note that of you do this, you will only be notified of new blog posts.  You are not officially on the mailing list.

Signing up to the mailing list gives you behind the scenes insight, tasters for upcoming programmes and training events as well as lots of other info about our charity, podcasts and interviews.

To join the mailing list, please just CLICK HERE!

We’d love to be able to tell you all about what’s going on.

Hurray!!!

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So long…farewell!….

And so here it is.  My final blog post (boo-hoo).

For this last one, I’ve put together a very short video for you in which I hope you’ll take the time to watch…

This just leaves me then, to bid you farewell and I hope to see you on the other side, when Ape-athy launches tomorrow.

Be sure to come over and check out where I’ll be in my new home tomorrow at

http://www.ape-athy.com

Until then, thank you for all your support over the last 3 years…you’ve been amazing!

Much love

Serena

x

**This site will only remain ‘live’ for the next year before being taken down, so please feel free to browse and have a nosey until then**


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Have you done something extraordinary?

It’s our penultimate week here on the site and before I leave I’d really love to know more about YOU if you’re reading this.

You see I happen to know for a fact that if you’re sat here reading this, it’s because you are someone who is interested in the world, in people and you are passionate about making your life richer and more fulfilling.

I know this because, I hear from you.  You e-mail me, you tell me your stories and over the years many of you have worked with me having sought Coaching.

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I consider what I’m doing next as a big leap up to the next rung on the ladder.  I’m cranking up a notch the work I do…why, because by crickey I’ve learnt so much in these last few years of doing this work that I have to share it.

In doing that, I want to take you with me as a big part of the next phase is showing off your talents and the things you have down and continue to do.  I know that this is important as it’s these messages, stories and adventures, when we share them, that inspire us to do our own great things, to challenge ourselves and, here I go again with my favourite phrase, it pushes us out of comfort zones. And you know how I feel about that!

A friend told me this week that she was travelling overseas for the first time ever on a holiday and was going on her own.  She said she felt pretty anxious.  I can totally understand this.  It was new, scary and totally out of what was her norm having always previously been away with her partner.  My response after acknowledging all that would be scary and new was ‘ Wow.  You know though, that out of your comfort is truly where the magic happens!’.  I believe this.

It is because of this that I would love to hear from you if you have done something that was for you extraordinary, unusual or you feel it just totally pushed you a out of your comfort zone.  Maybe you can also think of someone else who has done something like this?  If so, please pass on the message and ask them to be in touch.

What will happen is an interview will ensue and you will get to hear all about these amazing people and their stories on the new site over at Ape-athy!

So, don’t sit there hesitating or wondering.  Please fill out the form below with your name and email, and a brief outline of your story.  I promise to get back to everyone that is in touch.

As ever so grateful for your time and contribution here…

I can’t wait to hear from you!


Please also CLIK HERE to sign up to the new site Ape-athy.  

Remember we won’t be carrying you over to the new site.  By signing up you are saying yes please to being kept up to date with what’s going on at A.P.E…our new courses, blogs, interviews and other A.P.E news!

YAY!!


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Are you an introvert or an extrovert?…you should just suit yourself!

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?

It’s quite funny how defensive people can get around this issue.  Some people suddenly feel compelled to defend being one or the other.  Others, those who feel like they are being pigeon-holed and want to rebel, start to rant about how it ‘depends’…depends on how they are feeling, who they are with, what they are doing, blah, blah, blah.

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Personally, I think that there is probably one or the other that we feel more akin to when we really sit and look at who we are and how we like to function.  Let me explain.

I would say I’m an introvert.  

I can hear lots of people I know exclaiming at this….’oh no Serena…you’re not an introvert.  You’re a lecturer. You can speak to hundreds of people. You did Improv. You can’t be introverted!’.

Oh but I can.  You see introversion describes something for me that is more about our basic needs and where we get our energy from.  For me, I know that I need a lot of time on my own.  I go towards ‘introspection’ for my strength, for my need to re-energise, as opposed to looking outwards for those things; as per an actual definition of introversion:

introvert

noun

noun: introvert; plural noun: introverts

ˈɪntrəvəːt/

1.

a shy, reticent person.

PSYCHOLOGY

a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.

adjective

adjective: introvert

ˈɪntrəvəːt/

For me, it’s obvious that we are different things at different times and that we express ourselves differently depending on who we are with and what we are expected to do in any particular role.  I do however think that its crucial for us to have a grip on our ‘default’ setting as I’ve expressed here.

This is especially important when we have businesses.

I work with a lot of people who come for help in setting up their business and when we look at what their vision is for their future business, it’s quite clear that they are not ‘honouring’ this default setting.

I’ve had people telling me for example that they want to be a world leading speaker/coach, but when we look at what they love to do, they actually love to be alone writing in their house most of the time and feel exhausted at the thought of going out for too many social events or feel overwhelmed when their diary is full of meetings and other engagements.

I’ve seen the opposite too, where people think that they want to ‘write’ for a living; but one of the reasons that they don’t want to leave their job is that they don’t want to leave the people behind and they feel that they will miss daily contact with others.  These people are the first on the phone to see who might want to do someone when they see a gap appear on their schedule.

It sounds so simple, and it probably looks so obvious, you might wonder how anyone could overlook it, but it happens all the time.

If you’re thinking of doing something different in your life, I really encourage you to think about how your life might look day to day if you were to have to make those changes that will get you to where you want to be.  This works in any area of your life actually.

Then ask yourself if you think you will really be able to do/want to do what it takes to be able to achieve this in terms of your daily practices. Will it, importantly, allow you to get what you need in terms of time alone or time with others?

Sometimes you have to actually try things to see what works, and so I would really encourage you to try things before making them a permanent state of affairs..  With something like this however, I’m sure that your gut is a good first port of call.

At all times however, the message is clear.  You should suit yourself.  Ultimately you must do what is right for you so that you get the most out of what you are doing and so you don’t feel like you are compromising who you are.

By doing this, you will definitely get the most out of the experience.

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Only 2 more blogs to go until we move house over to Ape-athy.

WIll you be joining us….I do hope so.  To sign up to the new website being launched on Thursday 1st September, please click on the link below:

I WANT TO SIGN UP TO GET APE-ATHY UPDATES!


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I’d love to hear from you before I leave for other pastures…

Whoop, whoop!

There are 3 weeks to go until I leave this place called serenasimmons.com

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I can’t lie.  As excited as I am, I do have a teeny tinge of, is it sadness?  I’m not sure it is, but it’s that feeling you have when you know you are doing the right thing and moving on to pastures new and exciting, but there is just that bit of your heart that aches just a little at the thought of leaving.

Anyway that’s how I feel about moving on to my new website and newly rebranded business.  I’ve loved working in my business under the Multi-passionate banner.  I’ve met so many wonderful people from across the globe who I now call friends.  Forged fantastic business partnerships and well, the money I’ve earned has helped to keep a roof over my head, food in my belly, and that of my cats!

Most importantly I’ve learnt so much, and been able to spend my days in the privileged  position of helping people do what it is that they love to do….

….I’ve been living my life- purpose and boy, there’s nothing better than that!

– Why the APE? –

I haven’t written or spoken a great deal about the new workings of my business, which I actually consider really just the next phase of my growth.  But I can tell you that what it is, is a culmination of my best work and knowledge to date.

I’ve spent over 20 years working in the field of psychology in it’s various guises, and in that time I’ve learnt a LOT!  A lot about these creatures we are called human-beings.  About why we do the things we do and also, how by digging through the ‘stuff’ that has made up the stories about we are, and then applying that in a practical action-based way that challenges, that really very little isn’t possible.  We can achieve great things.

A.P.E is therefore the Model I have devised that will help anyone overcome stagnation in their daily life and evolve themselves to new heights of success.

I really hope that not only will you join me over on my new platform, but that you may also want to contribute or share your stories with the APE-ATHY audience?

What I’m interested in, is in knowing your stories about how you have made changes in your life?  Have you ever experienced anything that you feel pushed you well out of your comfort zone (good or bad) but which allowed you to see something about yourself you didn’t know before?

If you have a story to share that you would like to be interviewed for for the new site then please be in touch by filling in the form below.  I’d love to hear from you.

If you would also like to sign up to the new APE-ATHY website which launches on September 1st, then please CLICK HERE to be taken through to a sign up page.

Signing up, merely means that you will be notified of new blog posts, events and programmes and be the first to find out about A.P.E offers.

Please note that you will not automatically receive the new A.P.E posts if you don’t sign up.  I’ll be leaving this site up for a short while, but after a while it will be taken down, so please don’t hesitate in coming on over to the new site if you want to keep in touch and hear more about personal growth, peak performance and self-development.

Wel, I look forward to hearing from you and hearing your stories.

Until next week!


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I am not your Guru…

I’ve been a fan of Tony Robbins for some time.

I have to confess that I haven’t done any of his courses, but I have read some of his work and also I’ve listened to a fair bit of his audio stuff.

Tony Robbins

I have fond memories too of listening to one whole programme when I drove around Europe several years ago.

I was with my then partner and we drove from the UK all the way to Venice and back taking a whole month in a wonderful round-trip.  Every day after we had planned our route, we would say ‘are you ready?’, and then one of us would press play on the stereo and off we would go driving for hundreds of miles soaking up a bit of inspiration as we went.  A little bit each day.

– No nonsense! – 

I like Tony’s work because I happen to agree with a lot of his philosophies and I’ve lost count of the number of times I have thought of something, only to find that he has said the same thing,  or expanded the same way of thinking or theory.

I find his work, practical, no nonsense and yet at the same time inspirational.

I also happen to know that not everyone is a fan.  I’ve heard people say that they find him loud, crass (he swears quite a bit!), obnoxious and that he doesn’t really know his stuff.

Well, you have the opportunity to see him in action yourself as just the other week the film ‘I am not your guru’ was released.

This docu-film gives us a behind the scenes look at what Mr R gets up to at one of his signature courses ‘A Date with Destiny’.

It shows a little about how he plans his work.  How he gets ready for the long days which last around 11 hours.  How he helps to transform people and also you see first hand the opinions of the people who he has helped.

The film is now free to watch on Netflix* for anyone that has a subscription.  But if you don’t have that, you might find this short video of an interview with Marie Forleo just as interesting as he discusses the film and his thoughts on the work he does and why he still travels the world doing this work (it’s not all about the money believe it or not!).

I hope you find it interesting.  I’d also love to know what your thoughts are about Tony or indeed the film if you’ve seen it, so please do share your thoughts below.

Also, please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet taken part in my short survey about any changes I can help you make, then please CLICK HERE to be taken to the survey page.   It will literaly take you about 5 minutes and I’d be so grateful for your help.

Til next week.

*This is not a sponsored post….just in case you were wondering!*

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The Silk Scarf Brigade: Hobbyist…or do you want to make money in your business?

I told you a short while ago I was going to go out with a bang in the last few months of this blog.  Well here goes…

This week I’d like to introduce you to the ‘Silk Scarf Brigade*’

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So what is the Silk Scarf Brigade I hear you ask…

…The SSB (as they will now be known as it takes far too long to keep writing it in full), is the name I have given to those women that you sometimes meet at networking events.

They are the women who often look the prettiest, with their coiffed hair and manicured nails. They are always wearing lovely clothes, and you can hear their voices as they carry across the room.

As they are speaking you can tune into them telling some poor soul, who has been backed into a corner, about how wonderful, not only they are, but how their business is flourishing!

They seem to know everything about business and how to be successful.

They know all the ‘right’ people you should be talking to.

The ‘right’ places you should be going to for your advice.

They for example know the best branding experts, lawyers, marketers and even places you should be ‘getting’ your clients, as they seem to have no trouble making this thing called business, work like a charm!

Also, you can maybe see that they’ve come to the event in their flash car, wearing their gucci handbag on their arm, alongside their Prada shoes and have just dropped off the kids at their private school.

The more you listen, the more you start to feel a bit rubbish and insecure about yourself and your business.  And when they start telling you about their upcoming holiday they have in the South of France in their cute little Chateau which they like to visit as much as possible, your stomach drops and you probably wonder what you’re doing there.

She hands to you a plush looking business card, and you look down at your own embarrassed. You’ve been working on your branding and know you need new photos, but right now, next to hers, yours looks like a kid has designed it.

You walk away feeling small, deflated and worried.

You’re trying so hard to do all the right things, to get things looking slicker, to nail your marketing, to find more clients and make more money but when you see people like her you wonder if the best thing to do isn’t just to pack it all in and go back to your old job?

That way maybe you won’t worry about the upcoming bills and paying your mortgage next month.  Are you hitting your targets and is your business growing at the rate it should be?

 Who are the SSB women?

Do you relate to this?

I certainly do, as I remember in the early days of building my business meeting many women like this.

They seemed to float into the room of networking events….and let’s face it, you always end up seeing the same faces on a local scene.  They always made business look easy and I often wondered what I was doing ‘wrong’.

They seem do a great impression of showing that they know exactly what they are doing, that they have success and even worse (compared your own situation, especially in the early days), that they are making a lot of money in the process.

So here’s the thing…

What I’ve since learnt is that it is all smoke and mirrors.  Why?

Because more often than not, the SSBs have a partner who not only supporting them fully in their pursuit from an emotional perspective…. they are usually, but very importantly, supporting them financially….and there in lies the greatest difference.

The SSBs are doing this for a hobby.

The fact that only sold 2 silk scarves last month to Angelina and Barbie at the school gates, does not a business make.

The money from these silk scarves has not gone frantically into the back account to pay for next months mortgage or petrol, or food shopping.  In fact SSB lady probably doesn’t know where that money has gone.  Why?

Because the running of the household from a financial point of view, is already taken care of.

Why is this important?

In the work I do, I’ve encountered many clients who have compared themselves against the SSBs on the networking circuit and `i feel that this kind of comparison is highly unfair.

Comparing yourself to SSBs can set you up to fail as you begin to compare yourself against a false measure, it’s false because if they don’t sell anything , which is the main purpose of a business, there are no consequences to that for a SSB….maybe other than pride?

The fact is, is that they will not go hungry.  They will not have to think of taking on some part time work in the meantime until they’re ‘making enough’ to pay the bills.  They may not have to worry as much about where  can carve out time to spend on the business around family and other commitments…and that it why it is not fair to make this kind of comparison.

Help is good!

Now before I get slammed too much for making this claim, I just want to be clear that this is not the same as having support from your partner, emotionally or financially, where you do actually, really want to grow a business.

Support from your partner is good.  Fantastic even and arguably vital to your overall success as you need support when you are starting something so important.

The other thing to note is that not everyone has a partner.  And so it’s often for these people, that a truly successful business is vitally important, as the buck stops with them so to speak.  There is no partner to pick up the tab for a short while while you get going.  You may be relying on savings, or have to keep a foot in the part-time work door while you get things off of the ground.

There are women I have also met, who could for all intents are purposes could be one of the SSBs, but they don’t want to be! They too really want to have a flourishing business, one that makes money and isn’t merely a hobby.

The point of this blog then, is to encourage you to not take notice of the Silk Scarf Brigade if you encounter them.  They are out there.  They are not really running business.  They have a hobby and it IS different to those of us that want, need and crave to have a fully functioning and profitable business.

Dont compare yourself to them…instead surround yourself with people who can genuinely help you and lift you higher.  People who will support you and truly help you achieve the successes that you crave and need to grow your  ‘real’ business.

Till next week!

Before you go, you may also find this programme interesting.

It’s called Risking it All and it’s an old Channel 4 program which follows people in the set up in their new business….rather relevant I’d say.  I’d love to know your thoughts!….

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/risking-it-all/on-demand/35668-004

*DISCLAIMER*

No genuine feelings of hatred were truly held against silk scarves or silk scarf business owners in the writing of this blog…LOL!

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To all the entrepreneurs out there…

It hasn’t been by design, but it just so happens that all of my current clients are either business owners or people who are considering leaving their current jobs to create their own business/create their own income.

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Call them what you will but they all have an entrepreneurial spirit and all are inspired to live a life on their own terms, creating their own wealth and creating their own schedule.  Some of them also want to be location independent and want to live a laptop lifestyle.

They all however, most importantly have something that they are really good at.

I’m talking really blooming good and they’d like to offer this to the world.  Many of them feel that, if they are working a current job, that this doesn’t allow them to work to their full potential or maybe it doesn’t light them up anymore.

I understand this drive.  It’s partly what led me to set up my own business.

For me it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my job as such, it was that my job didn’t allow me, and wouldn’t anywhere in its future, allow me to fully, creatively express myself and to do exactly what I was good at.  Obviously there were all the other control freaky things going on in regards to my time being my own to organise and also wanting to take away the ceiling on my income, but that’s another blog post!

Anyway, in light of this today I’d like to share with you a short video called ‘The Straightest Road to Success’ by Gary Vaynerchuk.

I’m a big fan of Gary and like what he does as well as his down to earth, no crap, say it like it is approach….very much style I have to say!

If you are interested in starting your own business, or maybe you have one, his messages are both useful, practical (go check out his other stuff) as well as motivational, so sit back and enjoy taking from it what ever you will that you feel will help you to propel yourself forward.

Just a word of warning for those that have delicate ears, he does like to use a few (quite a few!) expletives so you are warned.

Enjoy…till next week!

Can I also say a big thank you to all of those that completed my Survey a few weeks ago.  I really appreciate the time and effort you took to do this and the information is very helpful.  If you missed the link, please do CLICK HERE where you can still complete it.

Thank you!

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The stress of my holiday…

It was all planned and I was wholeheartedly looking forward to my holiday to Crete!

I had just come back from a wonderful birthday weekend the weekend prior and had then spent the days leading up to my holiday frantically sending e-mails, finishing off work and also being in University seeing my students for last minute tutorials before I headed of for some sun, sea and relaxation…not to mention great food and drink!

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The heat hit me as I stepped off the plane and it smelt, well, like it does whenever you reach a foreign clime.  Wonderfully different and with the promise of fun and relaxation to come.  But all was not as it seemed.

– I’m a nervous traveller – 

I am always a little nervous when I travel.  Not for the reasons people may assume.

Flying…no problem!  Foreign food….love it!  Language….bring it on!  I love to try and embarrassingly pick up a few words if I can.  I’m also really good at not knowing where I’m staying and will happily rock on up to anywhere without pre-booking (I’ve travelled a lot on that basis and love the seat of your pants up-and-off-we-go attitude.  Not everyone’s cup of tea I’ve come to realise).  I can rough it with the best of them too.  I’ve slept in petrol stations (yes, that’s right….not a crime in Europe), I’ve slept in the worst camp sites you’ve ever seen, with toilet facilities never to be thought about again, and I’ve slummed it on various hostels as well as slept outside under the stars….bliss.

No, what bothers me is what I will see in terms of animal welfare and damage to our planet.

Will the animals in that country be kept well….not in tiny cages or on short ropes.

Will they be fed.

Will they be loved.

Will they have homes or will they be stray.

Will I see plastic bottles everywhere.

Will I see mess and waste.

Will I see beautiful hotels, with slums just outside the walls where the tourists don’t like to go.

Well I can tell you that Crete is a beautiful land. I had glorious sun, 30-35 degrees the entire time.  The hotel was gorgeous and the staff friendly.  But sadly what I did see, was my nightmare come true.

Stray cats and dogs everywhere and all manner of dogs tied up (barrel dogs are a huge problem in Greece) on short ropes with no hope in their lives of ever straying more than a metre from a dirty barrel as they sit in their mess hoping to fed and be given water in the 30 degree heat, the couple of times a week their human may give them the grace of seeing them.

– The problem was big – 

I’ve been affected by this problem since I was a small child.

I was that child who brought home every stray she found.  Every injured animal I saw, hoping to nurse it back to health.  I hankered my parents for dogs, cats, hamsters, goldfish and stick insects.  Though we did have pets growing up, some who went on to be much loved family members, my parents were never a ‘fan’ of animals and so I was always considered strange and the hope was that I would ‘grow’ out of it.

Well I didn’t.  I haven’t.

In fact I feel more passionately about animals and animal welfare and the inextricable way we are damaging out planet as a direct link to this problem, at the forefront of what is important to me.

In Crete, I named the strays I saw.  There was Penelope the beautiful little black mutt, who hung out at the car rental place.  She was so sweet natured and tried desperately to challenge herself to get close to you even though she’d been beaten for years by her owners…

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Then there was Stanley the most sweet natured little boy who was playful and friendly to foreigners but who seemed scared of locals…

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There was also a sad but gorgeous little girl who I named Talulah. Many of the people I met fell in love with her.  I even saw one family who had attached a piece of string to het neck to try and find her help. But when the realised the extent of the problem, released her back on the beach and went back to their pool.  Not their fault as the plight is so desperate, but as every website will tell you, by all means give them some food, but do it away from your place of residence and don’t take them for walks.  They will get attached to you, and you give them hope only to have it quashed yet again, and again and again.

There were many more wherever I went…this little guy had a collar on but I was told had been abandoned by his owners on the streets and was now relying on handouts from kindly tourists.

Again, apparently this has become a high problem in recent years since the Greek economy collapsed and the people felt they were no longer able to take care of their animals.

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There were also the cats.  So many cats!…

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Every day, after the second day on my ‘holiday’.  I would plan my route.  First buying lots of food and filling bottles of water and then go off on my route to leave food and water for all of the animals that I had seen.

There was also one little special guy who melted by heart.  I names him Wilber…

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He was on a couple of meters of rope and was left for days without food and water and in his own mess, which I would sweep up every day when I saw him.

I have to say that this holiday was quite stressful for me.

Friends who know me well, know that I’m like this and understand that I feel strongly about this huge issue.  I’m not able to, as I was told by someone I know to ‘…Not look.  Sit back and relax and just don’t look at it.  Read your book and enjoy your holiday!’.

My feeling is that it is everyones responsibility to open their eyes and to see the problems that impact the world around us and the living things in it, that is people but it is also animals.

As I transition out of this website you see before you, I felt it appropriate to share this story of my holiday with you as my feelings about this play a big part in the future re-branding of my business.  You see, in my new business, a percentage of all profits will now be going into my back-end A.P.E charity which will be geared towards the animal welfare and conservation.

My hope is that I will be able to significantly contribute to these much needed causes for the rest of my life in both a monetary sense but also in practical terms.  If you care too, you might be happy to know that any future work you do with me and with my new Business Ape-athy will be helping towards this also.

As the strap line for my new company goes…’All it takes is for one ape to think differently’….after all that is how change happens.

Thanks you for taking the time to read this very different post this week, and I shall see you again next week!

If you would like to help now there are 3 charities, 2 in Crete and 1 in Skiathos that do fantastic work that you can also contribute to.  They are:

Takis’s shelter:

Takis was a Greek dentist who gave up his profession to help the stray dogs in Crete:

Story about him HERE.

And his Facebook page HERE.

The Gouves Charity:

Click HERE to be taken to their Facebook page.

Skaithos Dog Shelter:

Click HERE to find out more.