Karen Andrews (@thehappysideof40) Recent Photos and Videos
I’m not sure I recognise this woman sometimes. I mean, I know it’s me obviously 😄, but as the primary photo taker in the family it sometimes catches me by surprise when I see a rare shot from someone else’s perspective. My first thought? My god, I’m actually an adult. I’m someone’s mum! Does it seem ridiculous to suddenly feel terrified by the weight of that responsibility?
5101 day ago
This week I’m taking part in @ruthpoundwhite’s 4 day #creativeemailchallenge and it’s giving me exactly the kick in the pants I needed to get a project started that has been percolating in my head for quite a while.
As someone who has comes to a crossroads career-wise myself, I’ve been thinking A LOT about what it is I’m searching for. The short answer is a career that lights me up. A job that makes me excited, that gives me a sense of purpose and that adds something to the world. But hey, I’m not alone in that am I? Instagram is full of women like me who are either searching for the same thing, or are lucky enough to have found it. But when we don’t know what *The Thing*, how can we go about finding it?
For those of us still in the waiting room with this, are there common pillars to search for? Is Is there a process to go through? What impact does our employment status (employed/self-employed) have, our culture, our environment??
My answer is this is that when I don’t know - I research. Over the next year I plan on diving headlong into this topic to understand it more and hopefully figure out some of these answers. I believe we all have the right to search for career fulfilment, if we just knew how the heck to do it. So I’m going to share what I learn along the way in a monthly email letter. If that sounds like something you’re interested in too, I’d love you to join me - link is in the bio.
5606 days ago
Exercise and I have not been friends for some years. After being super active in my teens and twenties, mine is the typical tale of falling out of the habit once kids and career took over. The husband has been telling me for years that it will help (mental health rather than physical shape - he’s not a total ar*e 😂) but I’ve disagreed fervently. Mainly because a) I can’t bring myself to ever admit he’s right and b) I’m inherently lazy.
But I’m 41 now and it feels time. Since the arrival of our dog two years ago, I’ve been out walking every day and I guess that’s been a way of easing myself back in. In fact my walk regularly resembles Darwin’s Evolution of Mankind - I start all hunched and resentful, but by the end I stride confidently back through the door fully emerged from my grumpiness.
I’m ready to try taking it to the next level now - Couch 2 5k. Any tips?
5801 week ago
After half-term week I’m feeling all at sea at the minute. It’s a combination of coming to the end of the first season of my podcast, the culmination of a five month build-up to my sister’s wedding and a sense that the six week school holidays are a mere hair’s breadth away 🙀. I have most definitely lost my va-va-voom!
In the past my instinct would have been to dive back in like a headless chicken. But this time I’m going to take this natural break as an opportunity for some reflection and reassessment. To work out what I want to improve, what I want to change, and just generally make sure I’m heading in a direction that still feels “right” to me.
Has anyone else been feeling a bit ‘meh’ lately with this shift in seasons?
6301 week ago
Two months ago I took a huge leap of faith and launched a podcast. As you’d imagine the face in this photo was filled with self-doubt - questioning my concept, my interviewing skills, my ability to follow through ... basically everything. Nine episodes later and I’m not feeling super confident yet, but I’m working with my doubts rather than letting them hold me back. So I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to close Season 1 than a conversation with the virtuoso of self-doubt research, @saspetherick.
Alongside self-doubt Sas spoke about the dangers of public vulnerability before we’re ready. Sas always gives really sage advice (listen to her podcast Courage & Spice for some fascinating conversations). And during our chat she spoke about the advice she gives her coaching clients about deciding what to share publicly - and how to know what emotions aren’t sufficiently processed yet. More on Stories if you’re interested. It really is a good one, so search for Being Heard in your podcast app to listen or the link’s in the bio.
6102 weeks ago
There’s something about this photo that has always appealed to me. It was taken last summer at Manchester Museum. I’m not sure if it’s the light or the feeling of simplicity and uncluttered space that speaks to me. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a rare moment of stillness for this young man 😂. My brain is feeling decidedly the opposite of how this photo feels at the moment, so there’s no podcast this week. It’ll be back for the last episode of the season though next Wednesday - it’s a good ‘un so trust me, worth waiting for 😉
5003 weeks ago
I took SO many things away from my conversation with @gabrielletreanor recently. But if I had to pick out one thing, it would be the importance of role-modelling that it’s ok to answer your own needs. So if I feel the need to sit down for a quiet few minutes - they know that it’s ok to do that. Gabrielle told me the story of a client who was feeling exhausted and worn-out but felt too guilty to allow herself to stop and take time to relax. It turned out that when she was growing up her client had never seen her own mum sit down - she was always on the go, always doing something because “devil makes work for idle hands”. From that example she learnt that being a good mum, a good employee, a contributing member of society = go, go, go. And sitting down = lazy.
I’ve thought a lot about this since I spoke to Gabrielle and really tried to make a conscious effort to take those moments, when my kids can see them. To hear the full conversation it’s episode 8 of the Being Heard podcast, link in bio or available in all the usual places.
What do you do to switch off when you need a few moments?
7501 month ago
I’ve come to the realisation lately that I’m rubbish at smalltalk. A deep and meaningful conversation with purpose? Yes please. But put me in a room full of strangers and I want to curl up in a ball and die. I was listening to an episode of #howtoowntheroom recently with Catherine Tate, a women who will happily get up on stage and perform to thousands - but ask her “how was your journey” and it sets her teeth on edge.
It’s not even just the classic ‘room full of people’ that makes me deeply uncomfortable. I’ve realised since starting the podcast (Being Heard, go have a listen) that the moments I find most awkward are the parts before and after we start recording. When we’re not into the meaty stuff and there’s the polite pleasantries which you feel should probably be exchanged before you ask someone about their feelings on failure. What do you chat about? It seems wrong somehow to dive straight in, but I’m wondering if we’re just succumbing to another *should* in life? Would we all be more comfortable if we skipped the chit-chat and got right to the point?
4901 month ago
I’m not British but after 23 years the UK is definitely where I’ve laid my hat. I lived in Ireland for 18 years (right next to this beautiful ocean), France for a year and Crete for 3 months (still counts?) but this country is the place where I truly feel at home. Despite that, there are so many popular tourist spots in the UK that I’ve barely seen - including would you believe, the capital city. I’ve been to a London a grand total of 4 times in my life.
1. As a kid on a family holiday - we went for the day to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It wasn’t on.
2. Work conference - I was terrified. The boyfriend had to come with me and escort me to the venue.
3. Family christening - we went to the church and a restaurant. Saw some interesting parking methods and worried someone might put a dent in the car.
4. Work conference no. 2 - first and only solo trip. I got lost and rang my now husband in tears (pre Google maps). When I eventually found my hotel, I bought soggy chips from the takeaway next door and ate them in my room.
Tell me, what am I missing out on?
5701 month ago
Last week I had the absolute joy of interviewing another one of my podcast heroes, @jessicarosewilliams from The Little Chapters. Jessica and I chatted about how her love of writing weaves through everything she does, her approach to failure, her feelings about the idea of “experts”, the call-out culture that seems to be on the rise — there were so many highlights to this conversation that I struggled to pick out only one to put on Stories! But of course to hear the whole conversation, search for Being Heard in your podcast app or the link is in the bio.
I’ve listened to The Little Chapters since it began and if I’m honest, I’m more than a teeny bit in awe at how articulate and confident Jessica has always sounded despite being a podcast newbie. And the last thing you want when you interview someone like that is to sound like a mumbling idiot. So full disclosure, my pre-interview preparation consisted of the first 15 minutes of Beyonce’s Homecoming on Netflix 💪. Anyone else with a slightly odd way of dispelling nerves before an important event? #girlsweruntheworld
8701 month ago
I’ve stared at this image in my drafts folder for over a week now. Willing myself to post it, but frozen by a vulnerability hang-up over the original caption that went with it.
I’d written about something very personal to me, something I don’t talk about to many people. But then I got the fear and my analytical brain spent the last few days debating the pros and cons of putting a piece of the real me online.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke to @ruthpoundwhite about this very topic — doing things that scare you. Ruth, like me, describes herself as ‘one of the quiet ones’. But last year she took the leap into sharing more of her voice through her blog, her podcast and her work. As she said during our chat about creating her podcast Creatively Human: “it’s shown me that I can be scared, and I can still do it anyway”.
Link is in the bio to hear our chat or search your podcast app for Being Heard.
Back to today, I haven’t shared my original caption but it’s saved in the drafts. How do you find writing about something that makes you feel vulnerable - I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this so hard?
5601 month ago
Today the story I am telling myself is … I will not be the kind of person who keeps saying “we’ll get around to fixing that soon”. I will in fact be the kind of person who fearlessly welcomes the unannounced visitor. Fully confident that we don’t have a wonky towel holder hanging off the wall in the bathroom, the mirror is *on* the wall and not precariously resting against it, all lightbulbs are present and correct and there’s not a ‘knack’ to locking the door. Today I am writing a list, and god damn it, this time I am seeing it through.
6001 month ago
I avoided the morning chat in the playground today, for fear that someone would ask me how my weekend was. Long weekend + hot weather is guaranteed to equal pressure to have an amazing time with lazy days of BBQs and family get-togethers. But instead our household was treated to endless sibling bickering and level 10 tantrums, interspersed with tiny moments of (unwarranted) hopefulness that things could only get better. All of which leads to the inevitable spiral of feeling an utter failure as a parent.
It’s all a situation entirely of my own making of course because I made the fatal error of talking about how things were getting easier. The universe has rightly slapped me in the face with a wet fish and reminded me not to get so comfy. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last few years it’s that we just have to keep showing up. Whether it’s in business, parenting, relationships or anything in-between — we have no choice but to dust ourselves off and show up again the next day with hope and perspective.
So in the interest of complete honesty here, no I did not have a lovely Easter weekend but thank you for asking, how about you?
5201 month ago
A boy and his dog. I asked him recently if having a dog was all that he had imagined? “More”, he said.
Having pets teaches us so much about building relationships, don’t you think?
6401 month ago
What does the term ‘privilege’ mean to you?
It’s a word I’ve found a little problematic in it’s more recent interpretation - ‘white privilege’. For me the word always meant money, power, entitlement, connections, success gained through who you know rather than what you know. None of which are characteristics of my life now or since birth. So if I’m totally honest, I’ve been ignoring it. I’m not saying I wasn’t fully aware that I had advantages in life as a white middle-class (ish) woman, you only have to open your eyes when you look at the media or indeed any power structure in modern life. But these advantages felt like attributes beyond my control, beyond the control of my parents, my parents’ parents. And that to me didn’t feel like a ‘privilege’. What you are born into speaks nothing to your life experiences, your family, your childhood. Class, gender, skin colour does not bestow a happy childhood nor a happy adult make. ‘Privilege’? No, not for me I thought. I’d worked damn hard to get to where I am (and I’m not talking about money here). And so I ignored it.
That is, until I spoke to @lucylucraft. When I asked her what ‘privilege’ meant to her, she referred to her friend @kateo_sullivan who said that a good way to think about it, if you find the term tricky, is to use the word ‘advantages’. As Lucy said, when we chatted for #beingheardpodcast, “Every human in the world starts off with a set of advantages and disadvantages - they just do. [..] I still have a heap of advantages even though I have some disadvantages too”. So when I start to look at it like that, I get it. That doesn’t make me informed enough to comment on white privilege or really understand it yet. But getting over my hangup on the label, I realise it’s something I have a responsibility to challenge myself on. Diversity, inclusion, anti-all-the-isms - absolutely. I’ve always been a staunch believer in equality in all forms and it’s what I teach my children every day. So if that’s my belief system why would I not explore and educate myself? Why would I not want to understand how I can best ‘spend’ my advantages for the greater good?
The link to the show notes for this episode is in the
4602 months ago
The incredible insight of Deborah Frances-White (@theguiltyfeminist) found its’ way into my world today. “When you’re auditioning, you’re collecting data. Don’t ever go on an audition to get the job, go on the audition to find out how you best do auditions.”
She was talking about performers at the time but I like to think this advice fits in well to any creative role or business. The idea of testing, recording data and then testing again to find out what works best for me appeals to my analytical brain. And somehow takes the fear out of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone don’t you think?
This, and so so much more, on S3 episode 4 the How to Fail podcast with @elizabday.
6602 months ago
School is back tomorrow and although it’s been better than I could have imagined, I’m giddy as a kipper at the thought of a bit of peace and quiet!
This blossom will be looking even more beautiful than ever as I skip home from the school run 💃💃
5602 months ago
This incredible woodcraft shop caught my eye last week in The picturesque village of Beddgelert. Sadly the husband marched me swiftly past the second I took an interest in some wood chimes for the garden (he loathes their calming clunking noise - no taste). So I had a sneaky search here on Instagram and was surprised to see so little about this charming, and very Instagramable, shop located right in the heart of a tourist town.
It’s a story that’s familiar to my guest on the podcast Being Heard this week, marketing and small business mentor @samburgessuk. We chatted about Sam’s passion for shining a light on amazing independent businesses through her podcast Small & Mighty Conversations. It’s something she knows from experience that women really struggle with - talking about our businesses and saying actually this is something I’m really good at. I got so much from our chat, not least an overwhelming curiosity to find out the origins of Spanx!
We may not be great at promoting ourselves but Sam identifies that our super-strength as women is promoting each other’s businesses and creating those connections. So tell me about an amazing small business that you love and you want to shout about. I’ll post some of my favourites in the comments below.