Looking in the mirror might seem vain, but if you're really looking at yourself, then it has the power to help you become a better person. Lots of people know the story of my stepdaughter Snow White what they don't know is that I also used that mirror to learn to love myself and you can too, here's how.
1. Really Look
For years I saw something I didn't like looking back at me and turned away, finding someone else to blame. This didn't help neither did it make the thing I didn't want to see go away.
2. Be Honest
Whatever you see in the mirror is what others see, avoiding it or pretending it isn't there doesn't make it go away. You have to be brave and see what you have become - no matter how much this might scare you.
3. Change What You Can
Sometimes when we look at ourselves we see something that is easy to change. We can replace the scowl with a smile, the darkness with light.
4. Accept What You Can't
Other times we are powerless to change things. Trying just makes it worse. Accept that you won't always be the fairest of them all and...
5. Love What You See
Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give the world. This is how you truly transform from the Evil Queen who hates and blames and behaves badly, into the new you.
No one's perfect (not even my stepdaughter - who is clearly a mug), but we can all aim to be our best selves.
Not-so-Evil-anymore Queen xx
Sometimes the amount of injustice in the world can make us feel powerless, but I took back the power and you can too. Here's my top five tips on how to fight injustice.
1. Recognise when something is wrong
Just because that's how it's always been doesn't mean that's how it should always be. Question everything and you may realise the things you accepted are unacceptable.
2. Decide to do something about it
Nothing ever changed by moaning about it. If you want things to be better make a conscious choice to do something, someone has to.
3. Find like minded people
Without my merry men I would never have been able to have an impact. Chances are if you feel strongly about something, others will too. Seek them out, there's power in numbers.
4. Stay Strong
Making a change isn't easy and there will be people that don't want you to succeed, people who like things how they are. If your intentions are true, then keep them in your heart and be prepared to fight for them.
5. Never give up
Changing things takes time. Sometimes the things we do seem like they're not making any difference at all - but a tiny drop in the ocean creates a ripple that can become a wave.
Standing up for what you believe in can takes guts, but it's worth it, because one person can make a difference.
When you're lost in the dark (after facing a beast) things can feel hopeless and it might seem like you'll never make it home again. Here are some tips for finding your way back to the light.
Lost in the dark it can feel like you're all alone. But you're not. You have your memories and your imagination. Conjure up the good times, the things you love about home, imagine yourself there and you will soon feel motivated to move.
Finding your way home isn't easy, especially if you let the fear and worry creep into the darkness with you. Hold onto the belief that you will get home, even if it is hard to imagine ever escaping the maze.
You might feel like you're on your own but you're not! You have your greatest friend and ally - you have yourself. You must trust your own instincts and trust yourself to know which way to go.
4. Keep Going
You may feel like you're getting nowhere, just scrabbling around in the dark forever. But you never know how close you are, keep pushing until you get there.
5. Hold On
However flimsy or unlikely the threads of hope are, follow them, they will lead you home.
I know it's hard... but it's worth it.
Good luck, Theseus.
People often ask me how I manage to show my face in the forest after the unfortunate bear incident. I tell them, it's easy - if you follow my tips.
1. Say Sorry
Nine times out of ten this helps. Sometimes the bears don't speak English and chase you out of their home screaming and running. But it's worth a try, right?
2. Fix It
Crack out your tools, set the pot on the stove, hit the shops and have a go at fixing / replacing whatever you broke.
3. Be Perfect
Smile, sing, bring porridge and never get caught doing anything bad ever again. You'll have those bears eating out of the palm of your hand in no time.
4. Forgive Yourself
If you could take it back and not go into that house, you probably would, right? So don't beat yourself up. It's not like you really did anything that bad...
5. Move On
Be Like Elsa and Let It Go. I mean, who leaves their front door open anyway?
So that's it, next time you make a mistake, follow the above tips and you'll be skipping through forests again in no time.
The deep, dark woods are no joke. When Gretel and I were lost, we survived through luck, wit and grit. Here are our top five survival tips for when your father 'accidentally' loses you in the woods.
1. Don't trust anybody
When our Dad asked us to go for a walk in the woods with him, we assumed this would be a nice family outing. It wasn't. He waited until we fell asleep and then left us. Luckily, we were on to him and had left a trail of breadcrumbs so we could find our way home, which brings me to point two...
2. Protect your breadcrumbs
Unfortunately, our breadcrumbs were gobbled up by a greedy bird. To prevent this, I suggest coating your breadcrumbs in poison. Gretel says that's cruel and you should consider using something birds won't eat, like paint on stones or chalk marks through the woods... (shame she didn't think of that earlier.)
3. Stick together
You'll probably want to blame your sister for being stupid enough to leave breadcrumbs that got eaten and then suggesting chalk, when we have none. But try to keep your angry words brief. You're going to need her, not least because it gets cold in the deep, dark woods at night and you'll need to huddle together for warmth.
4. Assume the worst
A few days into our ordeal Gretel and I came across a house made entirely of sweets. We should have known all was not what it seemed, but we were greedy and foolish. Don't be like us, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Witches can be outwitted
So the worst has happened and you find yourself at the mercy of a witch who is fattening you up to eat you. Don't panic. Keep on your guard and wait... at some point witches always make mistakes. Be ready to strike and in the meantime enjoy the food.
And don't forget to tell us how your ordeal went and how you got out of it.
Hansel (with a very small - almost not worth mentioning - amount of help from Gretel)
I made my fortune by trusting the power of beans... and you can do the same. Just follow my simple tips and you'll see the gold come rolling in. (If you really want to be successful, you must buy my book, in which I tell you all about how I got super wealthy and offer patronising and pompous tips so that you can try to do the same).
1. Picking your beans
You'll know you're onto a winner when you find beans no one else wants. If everyone says you are mad for wasting your money on useless beans, relax - this is the exactly what you should buy. Don't do any research, trust the dodgy salesman, especially if he tells you the beans are magic. The fact is magic is real and only he knows about it.
The most important thing you must do when buying beans, is make sure you pay an extortionate amount - whether it be all your savings, the deeds to your land or your only cow. You've got to commit everything to this, if you truly want it to pay off.
You must treat your beans with absolute disgust. Assume they will do nothing for you. Shout at them if you like. Tell them their worthless and throw them away (out of a window is best).
If you've taken the steps above then your beans will grow all by themselves. They will magically sprout - probably overnight. This is the best thing about my method - you don't have to do a thing. Just go to bed and in the morning your beans will have sprouted into a magical beanstalk. If this doesn't happen, then go back and re-do steps 1-3, make sure you fully commit to what you're doing - the magic only works if it's all you have left.
5. Follow your beanstalk to success
If you followed steps 1-4 correctly, you now have a beanstalk that will take you to a land filled with treasures for the taking. Don't worry about giants, they deserve deserve everything they get. How do you thing us rich, successful people make all our money... we take what we want of course.
Good luck :0)
And remember, if this doesn't make you as rich and successful as me, it's because you've done something wrong and probably don't deserve it. If you're serious about transforming your life sign up to my overpriced and under prepared training videos, I can take your money and make you see everything that's wrong about you.
To write about every inspirational woman would be to write about every woman who is, has or will live. All women are equally wonderful in their own unique ways so this is not a 'top five' list but simply a look at the stories of five amazing women, whose brilliance overcame obstacles and left (or will leave) a lasting impression on the world.
1. Helen Keller
Helen Keller went blind and deaf at 19 months. For most, at the time, this would have been the end of any aspirations for an affective life in the world. But at six Helen began learning to communicate through touch and was educated first by a private tutor, then at a school for the blind and finally graduated as the first blind-deaf person to gain a Bachelor of Arts. Keller went on to become a public speaker and activist, for women's rights and for the working classes. She was an icon for the deaf community and spoke about the joy she found in life. Perhaps the most inspirational thing of all about Keller is that she said... "Helping others was the key to lasting happiness."
2. Malala Yousafzai
At just eleven years old, young Malala began blogging from her home in Pakistan where she was under Taliban rule. Malala believed in education for children and girls but this was something the Taliban was against.
In an attempt to silence her, the Taliban boarded her school bus and shot her. Surviving the shooting, Malala has gone on to campaign passionately for children and girls' right to an education. She was the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, named three times as one of the globe's most influential people, has published two books and did this all before she was 18. Malala now studies at Oxford University, her story has only just begun.
3. Marie Curie
Marie Curie was a Polish born scientist whose passion for her subject saw her overcoming early grief (she lost her mother at 12), poverty (although from an educated family they were cripplingly poor), gender discrimination (her husband had to fight to get her the credit for her work) and an inner battle against frequent depressive spells. Curie's work in physics and chemistry led her to become the first female professor at the University of Paris and to win not just one Nobel Prize, but two (the first and only woman to do this). Her work has had a huge impact on the scientific world and continues to this day.
4. Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin not only barged through the barriers put up against women in the sciences, engineering and livestock worlds, but was also one of the first people with autism to speak publicly about her experiences.
An advocate and role model for people on the autistic spectrum, Temple Grandin has brought empathy into the cattle industry, with her inventions that help calm and relieve stress to cattle in their last moments. Grenadine had it tough, having to navigate a world that was hostile to her senses as well as hostile to her personally. But she overcame all those obstacles and her words, "Different, not less," are an inspiration and lesson for us all.
5. Beatrix Potter
Best known for her stories of Peter Rabbit and friends, Potter was a home-educated girl who loved science. Her studies of mycology (fungi) earned her respect amongst scientists and her drawings are still used today by mycologists. Potter was rejected by a number of publishers and so self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was quite successful (if you count selling 45 million copies, spawning a TV series, film and international franchise as successful). One of the most inspiring things about Potter was her passion for the countryside. During her life, Potter used her money to buy up farmland which, on her death, she bequeathed to the National Trust, preserving and safeguarding those environments for years to come .
I'm sure you can think of and know many inspirational women, not just famous ones, but people that inspire you every day. Never let anyone tell you women are not as good.
All my love, Athena xx
Beast and I love books! This World Book Day we thought we would share our top ten favourites . It was hard to choose just five each... can
you guess who picked which stories?
Beauty (and Beast) xx
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
by CS. Lewis
Where The Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
by Anna Sewell
by Julia Donaldson
The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
by JK Rowling
by Mary Shelly
by Herman Melville
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo
We hope you liked our list... what would you have chosen?
Tale Time's If Story Characters Blogged series is a bit of fun, taking our favourite characters from stories and imagining what they would blog about.
Do you think we missed anything off the list?
What do you think Beauty or the Beast would have chosen?
Everyone says my hair is my best asset. But keeping these luscious locks in tip top condition takes more time and effort than you might think. Here are my top tips for how to get your hair as lovely as mine...
1. Keep knots at bay - brush for at least ten hours a day....
2. If you don't have time to brush... employ animal friends to brush for you (you can pay them in berries and nuts!)
3. Keep your hair away from pollution - get a friendly witch to lock you in a tower.
4. Strengthen your hair by getting a prince to climb it every day.
5. And let me be very, very clear... never EVER cut your hair!
That's it. I hope you and your hair are as happy as me and mine.
When it comes to wicked stepmothers, mine really takes the biscuit. But just because you live with a hell-troll, doesn't mean you have to be unhappy. Here are my top tips on surviving a wicked stepmother.
1. Surround yourself with good friends... they don't have to be animals, but I find cuddly critters make the best companions.
2. Just keep singing - is there anything that fills your heart with more joy than singing? It will also really wind up your stepmother.
3. Be better than her - hold your head high and get through the chores, don't give her a reason to punish you.
4. Don't let her stop you doing what you want... even if you need a little magic to help you.
5. Move on to a better life and never look back - preferably one that involves a castle, a handsome prince and lots of well made shoes that don't slip off. (Not necessarily in that order.)
Love Cinderella xxx