Photo by  Simon Bailey

Photo by Simon Bailey

Seeing as she spent a small fortune and 30 hours travelling to New Zealand to help out my lovely sister with her gorgeous newborn for 3 weeks, as well as to spend some quality time with her two NZ granddaughters, I decided that this would be the perfect week to feature my wonderful mother... 

She has had an extremely interesting and varied life that has come with its own set of trials and tribulations, but through it all she has survived and continues to inspire people all around her. She is extremely kind, completely selfless and immensely generous - she will give everything she has to help others out and this makes her truly wonderful. Living in Austria and teaching English to students of all ages & backgrounds, unemployed people, medical professionals, business executives, financial leaders, politicians and even a Saudi Arabian princess, she has earned herself the title of the "Crazy English Teacher" that everybody loves. For as long as I can remember she has been making a massive difference in these people's lives with her outgoing personality, friendly nature, excellent tips & tricks for mastering our complex language and her down to earth, creative approach to her lessons. She is extremely well respected in her field, has been profiled in several local newspapers and despite recently 'retiring', she keeps being asked to resume running her courses.

As for me, her eldest daughter, there simply aren't enough words to express the deep, sincere gratitude and respect I feel towards her for everything she has ever done for me and for the person I am today because of her! She was my very first role model and it was by watching her that I first learned about Lovelyness. She dedicated 25+ years to putting her four children first and always did whatever she could to make sure we had the best possible life and the best possible opportunities for the future. She definitely struggled but we always felt like a team and for the most part, our childhood was happy, fun and adventurous. Becoming a mother myself was a profound awakening for me in realising the extent of the personal sacrifices she made for us and the hardships she must have endured along the way... Now that we are all grown up it is finally her turn to start living her life!

Dear Mummy, I thank you for always being my biggest supporter, for being my very first best friend, for encouraging me to fly and for loving me even when I pushed you to the very edge of your limits! Above all else, I thank you for the gift of life... I love you x

Now over to you:

I know this is  10 years ago  now but it's still my favourite mother-daughter photo that sits on my desk  

I know this is 10 years ago now but it's still my favourite mother-daughter photo that sits on my desk  

1. What does Lovelyness mean to you? 

To me, being a lovely person is someone who …

  1. adheres to the rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  2. Also brings joy, love and light into someone’s life through their very ‘being’.
  3. Leaves everyone they meet feeling happier and more fulfilled than if they had not been there in their life at that moment.

2. When are you happiest? What brings you joy?

I’m happiest when I feel I have achieved something worthwhile and of lasting importance to someone else. I think at this stage in my life, having successfully brought up four very wonderful offspring and seen them flower, grow and develop into amazing adults and parents themselves, I am now beginning to focus on how I can help a wider ‘developing’ audience through my books and teaching.

As well as the rewards from successfully influencing those I come into contact with through coaching or through my books, I feel immense joy in the natural environment around me, especially in the magical mountains of Austria, my chosen homeland now for 25 years.

3. What are you most grateful for in your life?

I believe gratitude should be one of the most important things in one’s life… Every single day, even when things are all going pear-shaped, one should look for the things around oneself to be grateful for. As a result, I am most grateful for the hugely varied life experiences I’ve had during my eventful life so far… The positive experiences of life ARE the things you can take with you when you move on to the next phase either in life or death… They are of course so much better when they are shared experiences with those you love. Everything from toasted cheese sandwiches on the bed with all 4 children, watching family movies on a cold dark evening, to dodging pirates, sailing in a little 16m sailboat across the Indian Ocean with my husband Dieter, or taking daily turns with him driving across 1100km of sanddunes offroad all around Libya’s deserts.

4. What would you list as your top 3 priorities in life? 

  1. Experiencing and seeing things that can be taken with you as memories and thoughts… so making sure they are good ones.
  2. Once a person becomes a parent, caring about your children and their families. It doesn't seem to matter how old and independent they become, you never stop worrying and caring.
  3. My current main priority is getting my book marketing going and somehow activating and motivating my 20,000 fans into buying my books so I can help all those around me a lot more financially.

5. Who’s your current role model and why?

Dieter, my husband, because he constantly sets goals and achieves them and always has projects on the go in all areas of his life and now ours together.

Photo by  Simon Bailey

Photo by Simon Bailey

6. Who do you see as being lovely and why? (Famous or not)

Julie Andrews who made a big impression on me when I saw her live in Drury Lane in My Fair Lady and then in everything else she has done ever since. She is the embodyment of a lovely person.

Princess Diana when she was alive showed many lovely qualities in all that she strived to do for others, despite being thrust into the royal limelight at an early age… she showed great love, courage and compassion to all regardless of creed, race or colour.

7. What's your favourite type of food? 

I’m a chocoholic… sorry to admit it and I like salty crunchy foods that can go with a dip… avocado being one of my favourites!

8. What are your favourite pastimes?

Naturally all things connected with mountaineering and snow sports, particularly ski-touring where we walk up mountains in winter when they are deep in snow, which is absolutely wonderful.

9. Do you have a favourite quote?

Charles Kingsley who wrote “The Water Babies” invented a character called “Mrs Do-as-you-would-be-done-by” That has been my motto ever since.

There are also great quotes from Jane Austen “One coughs when one must” which tickles my sense of humour.

10. Where’s your favourite place?

Schwarzenbach, Austria… home! It’s hot and sunny in summer and cold with snow on the ground in winter, but cosy and warm in the "gingerbread house" where I brought up my children.

11. Which is your favourite season and why?

Autumn… There’s a promise of the nights drawing in so home becomes a cosy place to be… Plus it’s the season for my birthday. In Austria the air becomes crystal clear with that special light that is wonderful in the mountains in autumn.

12. Do you have a signature style?

I love wearing Austrian style of clothing and whether it’s modern or traditional, I always feel comfortable in it. My hair has always been long so braiding my hair and wrapping it around my head or putting it up into a braided bun is probably the most noticable thing about me.

13. Who was your biggest inspiration growing up and how have they shaped who you are today?

Probably my father, but definitely my big sister Sue, both with very down to earth attitudes and strong opinions… Hmm that seems to be rather a trend in our family generally I’ve noticed, whether siblings or offspring!

14. Which qualities do you value most from those closest to you?

Honesty, but tactfully done if it’s negative. Having an open mind with a sense of humour about things.

15. What are your best attributes? What are your worst?

I’m loving and loyal, and always try to find the best in people. On the bad side, although I fight it I can sometimes be too critical of others. I suppose I NEVER give up, which can be good or it can be bad.

16. How would you most like your friends to describe you?

I don’t know, it’s up to them…. I am who I am, and I am comfortable with who I am. If I wanted to stand out in someone’s mind, I’d like it to be for being inspirational in their lives in some way.

17. If you could pick any place in the world to live, where would it be and why?

Having visited around 100 different countries, I am exactly where I want to be in Austria. It is a neutral country like Switzerland, so nobody holds stereotypical grudges against Austrians. It’s environmentally sound, has a complete rubbish separation system, not much landfill at all, green energy… My energy supplies come from 99.6% water power in Salzburgerland. Foods are mainly organically grown in our pollution-free environment, with strict laws about artificial food colourings and flavourings as well as absolutely no GM products allowed to be imported. The health systems are in place so that they are readily available, there are no real waiting lists and you get free treatments and therapies as Austrians. 

18. What are your aspirations for the future?

To become a world famous author and to be able to help my family as a result! Also to help with input into the next generations as they come to know the truths of life, hidden and apparent.

19. Can you recommend: a lovely song, a lovely movie, a lovely book?

  • Book: A lovely classic book is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, a lovely fantasy book is “Pawn of Prophecy” by David Eddings from the Belgariad series.
  • Movie: This has got to be "The Sound of Music".
  • Song: "Bright Eyes" by Simon & Garfunkel. It was number one when my first son was born.

20. Any Lovely Last Words?

Never forget that to be lovely one must show and have love, courage and compassion in equal measure so that the truth is never hidden, but transparent.

4 children, all grown up!

4 children, all grown up!