Tips for planning your transition to full retirement

Although the idea of not having to work anymore can be exciting (and something you might have been looking forward to for many years!), for some it can be a mixed blessing. The change from being in work to being retired presents many different feelings, ranging from panic and boredom to sheer joy at having time available to do what you want. As with all big life changes, retirement can take a lot of adjusting to and it’s quite common to feel unsure about this new chapter in your life. I wrote some tips for  Sheffield financial planners.

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Make an appointment for a free Lifecoaching Retirement planning session over coffee now  Contact me on 07971 881251 or book with a friend

Clandestine Cake Club: Sheffield’s Secret Cake Escape

Clandestine Cake Club: Sheffield’s Secret Cake Escape. We were interviewed at our last meeting by the new blog about town WhenInSheffield …who summed up the cake club very eloquently !

Join us to bake ! Our next event is Sat 21st March 2-4 on a Spring Baking theme … Book via @fabcoach or e mail


Karen xx


Back to School with #Sheffield Clandestine Cake club !

Cakes reminding us of back to School memories were in the lesson plan for our meeting at the Victorian Barlborough Primary school near Sheffield .

We had a few brilliant tips post cake to share too
– Buy powdered egg white on Amazon ( health and fitness section ) .. great for meringues
– use dried strawberries in sponges for intense flavour
– Fab blog called Eat Your Books reviews new cook books

Blackberry Crumble cake by Debs . These blackberries were foraged as Debs is a Forest School practitioner, and will be teaching the Sheffield club about foraging. In 2015 ..we will be having a themed event on (safe) foraged ingredients for our cakes .


Gin & Tonic cake with Creme Fraiche by Helen, reminding her of the restorative effect of Gin and Tonic.. but also of the pitfalls to teenagers of drinking gin … as she experienced at school as a teen !


Back to School sponge by Karen … proving a well known fact that cakes do not always come out perfectly, but fondant icing can render any wonky sponge perfect ! Victoria sponge with orange butter cream ,and rose petal jam filling with organic Dolly Mixture ( who knew such delicacies existed !)


Victoria sponge by Karen W , which really reminded her of after school teas, her mum made a cake alternate weeks Victoria sponge then Chocolate sponge. She reminisced about school chocolate sponge pudding with pink custard . The cake was a tribute to the baking of her mum , who sadly suffers from dementia ,but still enjoys her cake.


Christines Blackberry & Lemon Curd loaf. This reminded her of picking blackberries with her mum on the way home from school.


Thanks to the school who hosted us so magnificently & we raised £20.00 for Macmillan cancer charities from the entrance fee.



Here are our lovely bakers, a bit blurry .. butt that would be the sugar rush from all the delicious cakes .

Next Meeting is Oct 18th 3 till 5 in Sheffield … Theme Internationale Cakes

Book via @fabcoach or


Sheffield & 3 counties Cakenic 2014 was a cakey success !

3 Clandestine cake clubs , well in fact 4, met up at Christines house in the balmy Barlborough sunshine . Sheffield, Chesterfield, Newark & Sherwood, and the Loire Valley clubs celebrated our annual 3 counties Cakenic ” picnic with cake ” . Thanks to hosts Christine & Vern who kept the tea and Pimms flowing & held a tombola for NGS Cancer care charities.

There were 10 cakes ! First up Christines Red Gooseberry & Lemon Thyme

???????????????????????With gooseberries and lemon thyme from her garden. Moist & delicious.

Next was Sticky Vickie’s Lemon Meringue Cake . A Victoria sponge with lemon curd and cream filling topped with meringue and home made lemon curd. The curd was in fact microwaved so very fast.. recipe to follow on the Sheffield CCC page .



My cake was a raspberry &  white chocolate sponge cake with chocolate essence . The filling was raspberries whipped with double cream & a spot of icing sugar. I made a raspberry drizzle in the microwave for the topping, just frozen raspberries, sugar & water 50 seconds on high, then sprinkled with toasted almonds .

???????????????????????????The first of 2 savoury cakes was a Prune , Pistachio and Goats cheese cake from Rachel Khoo s French recipe , baked by Fiona who runs the Chesterfield CCC . A great picnic cake .


Next up a cheesily decadent Mozerella, Feta and bacon cake by Rosemary , based on Nigella’s community baking recipes on line. The centre just ooozed cheesiness !

??????????????????????????????????????????CCC newbie Karen made a yummy St Clements cake with zesty icing. She only heard about the cake club on Weds so is our fastest ever recruit !


The Loire Valley is famous for its sticky toffee pud cake now !! Thanks to Jean !! Topped with butterscotch topping and pecans.


Nick the Loire valley number 2 made a sticky ginger cake, with cream cheese and cream frosting . We hope to do a CCC twinning event soon !! Its a Mary Berry cake to celebrate the 2014 Great British Bake off ! #GBBO


Sticky orange and poppy seed cake with drizzle icing. Lovingly prepared by Liz , and delivered via a massive traffic jam !!


Finally Annes magnificent Lemon Sherbert Cake with lemon curd and cream filling . Tip sherbet dip dabs are great & you get to eat the lollies afterwards


So here’s the cakey evidence

photo (2)Thanks again to Christine & Vern ……


photo-2Join us at Sheffield Clandestine cake club ! Our next event is Sat 27th of September and is “Back to school” cakes of your school days, puddings or memories of school baking .

Hope to see you soon ! Follow me on Twitter @fabcoach !! Contact me to book at or on LinkedIn

Neuroscience and Breath Technology Retreat with Shaura Hall 14-16th November 2014

Neuroscience and Breath Technology Retreat with Shaura Hall 14-16th November 2014Quince in the Botanical Gardens

The Orange Tree, Rosedale, North Yorkshire, YO18 8RH

From a neuroscientific perspective the brain adapts to stressful conditions and these changes span across many domains. If we do not manage to make the changes our brain needs to readapt, the structure and function can alter dramatically as new pathways are encoded.

When this happens, we may struggle to comprehend the signs that adaptation is occurring and experience can become very uncomfortable.

Looking down another lens, we may have a high impact job and regularly need to keep motivating ourselves to achieve. Thus, a similar process occurs but we often don’t notice until the body can no longer cope and burnout becomes inevitable.

So how do we bring harmony into our mind/body network?

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that yoga and mindfulness not only provides physiological regulation but also has the potential initiate neurogenesis (creation of new cells) in parts of the brain affected by stress and rebalance neurotransmission. In addition, research into mindfulness has found that we can thicken cortical structure in crucial aspects of the brain to achieve top down regulation -which is a fancy way for saying our logical mind achieves dominance over the fear network! And so, through the application of yoga and mindfulness we can find the way back to the centre and return home to conscious happiness.

During this informative yet experiential weekend, we will explore how the brain changes function and architecture during stressful circumstances- and how we can mediate this process through contemplative practices.

We discover the central nervous system through a combination of lecture style presentation, yoga, mindfulness and breathwork. Psychoeducation is based around cutting edge scientific discovery with a dash of classical yoga philosophy.

Whether you are clinician or practitioner these teachings offer the chance to understand what happens inside when we experience stress, anxiety, depression or traumatic circumstances.
The facilitator:
Shaura Hall is an RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, Yoga Therapist for Mental Health, Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Coach. She teaches yoga philosophy and addictions modules for the Minded Institute training school and successfully runs workshops on neurobiology for yoga teachers, practitioners and talk therapists. Her specialist interest is delivering professional training for yoga teachers and health workers on the addicted brain.

Supported by:
Yoga Alliance CPD Points
Kundalini Yoga CEU Points
Investment: £280 – open to anyone with professional or personal interest.      Twitter @YogaLoveUK
Tel: 07758 826614

Fabcoach #Tramlines 2014 Highlights ! Part 2

Sunday dawned, another brilliant sunny day for #Tramlines 2014.

First stop the Folk Forest in Endcliffe Park. It was fantastically rammed full of families, beardies & folksyies ! Can we have a bigger space next year !! Had to buy yummy Lemon & Poppyseed cake for breakfast from Seven Hills bakery stand…coffee from Motorola Coffee ! The band was Nat Jones & friends.. very musical, lovely harmonies & the prefect start to the day.


Onto the bus and off to see Rolo Tomassi at Corp ( Corporation to you ) . V fiesty , 2 screamo singers & as usual for Corp bands at #Tramlines excellent !! Nice new stage backdrop !!

Thence to the Cathedral to see Womans Hour . Sadly the gremlins meant a long wait .

Liked the pyramids on stage but left to go to the Millenium gallery to attempt to see Bloodsport at 7.00. Once again a re scheduling put them on to 9.00 so we scooted to the Leadmill to see Blossomer, and Nick McSweeney filling in for the injured Hey Sholay. 10 out of 10 to Leadmill door staff who made us get a pass out for later !!

Back up the hill to Millennium Gallery to see DJ ..really good    then AT LAST and thankfully well worth it, 3 piece Bloodsport .


Amazing one of the best bits of Tramlines . Described as

tags: aggrobeat diy experimental afro-beat hybrid vigour records life in units post punk soukous Sheffield  I heard Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Swans all in one go… relentless beat … uplifting !!

We would have loved to see the amazing Bo Ningen too !! But nipped back down to the Leadmill, past the queue with our passouts !!

The Leadmill was absolutely jam packed for the last gig of the night Slow Club . Sadly the sound system was slower … the crowd were hot & restless … the brave Slow Club took to the stage for an acoustic version then finally sans monitors they burst into action !! A brilliant end to a jam packed weekend at #Tramlines2014 !!

Slow Club

Can’t wait till next year , will have my weekly bus pass ready for another epic trail of musicality !!

Live life to the full and if you are interested in a bit of techy, career focussing coaching then please follow me on Twitter @fabcoach or subscribe to my newsletters via Contact me here !

Best Wishes Karen and see you in 2015 !!




Fabcoach #Tramlines 2014 Highlights ! Part 1

We planned our Tramlines 2014 to get 110% ..well what else do you expect from a life coach !! It is the Urban Glastonbury …and you get to sleep in comfort at home !!!

Friday.. collected the Weekend advance Wristbands

??????????????Popped into a small local shop for wine & nibbles takeaway on the sunny City Hall steps

Then …. off to the Leadmill for Braver than Fiction , then to the cool Millennium Gallery to play a bubble bursting game by Aaron Oldenburg  on the Kinect oops that’s ‘game rules as an expressive media ‘  . Allusondrugs were brilliant in the Gallery


followed by a little sit down on the gallery balcony …fantastic view of the Sheffield Skyline .

?????????????????????????????????????????Up to the Harley to watch Cholumbian DJ , nice air con too ! Next Katy B at the main arena with her fab dancers .

?????????????????????The space in front of us filled up in 2 minutes !! Really enjoyed the set ! #tramlinesselfie


Back to the Millennium galleries for Shackleton another DJ !!  And  little walk home . When we checked we had walked 4.5 miles Eeek !

Saturday Update . We walked via a take out latte at Waitrose ..up the Moor to see local band CJ and the Bear Trap with lead singer Chloe Jade Simmons. Excellent & only 12 00 !


Thence via lunch at the Blue Moon cafe , scones with Blueberry & lime jam, to Magpies at the Cathedral . Cool venue but new floor so no red wine for Tramliners . Their bar is popular & donations help The Archer Project . Magpies included beautiful trumpet, and harmonies .

????????????????????????????????Next a quick nip down to Smoke BBQ & down the steps to the Busker Bus , where we found Seven Tors . They sang us on a top deck double decker bus ride round Kelham Island, Derek Dooley way, via the University Commons & Hanover way and back to Arundel Gate ;


From there we walked all the way up the back of West St ,admiring the backstreet architecture to Weston Park ,to cool down with tea & ice cream. OMG quick dash though the Uni to the Harley to see the fab Autobahn…a bit Jim Morrison, a bit Johnny Rotten , a bit Ian McCulloch , nice and loud ! The nice doorman even let me take the rest of my ice cream in ! #thankyou .

Next off the see CJ & the Bear Trap set 3 at The Old House … past the rubbish cleaners & crushers  near the Forum . Sheffield Council did us proud !

Returned to see Bloodsports at Millennium galleries , but they had moved to Sunday #rats . Next year I will keep the @tramlines twitter feed on for updates !! So had roast chicken & Caesar salad on a grassy knoll in Tudor square.

Then back up to the University Arms to see the magnificent Baby Godzilla !  Amazing energy & feats of balance & bouldering by the lead guitarist.


Walls, amps …what next …yes piles of amps !

??????????????????????????????????????????Next the band Dinosaur Pileup …a great grunge end to day 2 ! The next post will have day 3 . I am exhausted writing about what turned out to be 6.84 miles walked in pursuit of musical excellence !! Note to self next year buy a 7 day bus pass !! #Standbyme !!

Watch out for part 2 !! Follow me on Twitter @fabcoach



Collaborative Lawyers & Coaches get Physical to Fundraise !

Collaborative family lawyers and professionals including relationship coaches, mediators and financial advisors are coming together to support the Kids in the Middle #Doncaster campaign by doing a physical challenge set by Ian Burkitt of MTF – Military Fitness Training.
Taylor Bracewell has linked up with Hall Cross Academy and Family Matters Mediation to raise funds for this worthy cause which gives a voice to children in separating families.
Hall Cross Academy have put themselves and Doncaster on the map by being the first school to actively engage in this national project.  The students are inspriational – helping in the design of the website and training as peer mentors alongside raising much needed awareness and funds.
Date of event: Sunday 29 June 10-12
 Venue: Hall Cross Lower School Doncaster
Our common goals:
Raise awareness of Kids in the Middle
Raise awareness of Collaborative Family Matters
Raise funds for Kids in the Middle by sponsorship/donations
Collectively we aim to raise over £500 from this one event
6 teams of 4 including a team of kids will complete a physical challenge, suitable for all levels of fitness, adopting the following strategies which we use in collaboration:
social skills
… and loads more
Above all it will be fun!    PLEASE SPONSOR US
Donations for this event should be sent to me by cheque payable to Doncaster/Rotherham Collaborative POD.
For donations generally visit or donate by texting KITM £5 to 7070 (or any other amount)
Below are links to further information relation to our cause and purpose.

Cakes That remind us of Home

Today 10 bakers from Sheffield Clandestine cake Club met at The Archer Project behind Sheffield Cathedral who hosted our event. Thanks to Sam who provided tea and tapwater to help us chomp our way through the different cakes . Sam gave a talk about how the project helps people facing homelessness & sleeping rough. The theme he chose was cakes that remind us of home as home has many definitions and is such a fundamental part of peoples lives.

Here are some of the cakes, with the stories our bakers told.


The first cake was a Coffee & Walnut cake which I baked from my mums recipe via Delia Smith . When I was young we only had cake once a week at High tea on Sunday . My mum baked chocolate cake one week, Victoria Sponge the next , then Coffee and Walnut..and back to chocolate !!

The next cake baked by Rosie was at Robin Hoods Hat cake as she hails from Nottingham. The candle was to remind her that she only had cakes at birthdays when she was young, and that her fondant icing reminded her of birthday cakes at home !! It had a yummy buttercream and jam filling .




Marys lemon cake was an old family favourite. Her mums lemon buns evolved into what she called ‘lemon finger cakes ‘. We know this now as the good old Lemon Drizzle Cake .



Bernie made a coconut cake . It was a 50 year old recipe from her mum and granny (Age 94 ). Old recipes she said were much simpler than today . The chocolate reminded her of the smell when her mum used to melt chocolate on top of cakes by putting them under the eye level grill ! They always used Bourneville, as that was the only dark chocolate then .



Anita brought a Spicy Banana fruit loaf. Its low fat as has 2 bananas liquidised till smooth. She told us of a local Midlands delicacy of ‘fruitcake on bread & butter ‘ !


Gill , with an impressive CCC cake debut …told us about baking birthday cakes at home  for her 2 kids, one liked Raspberry and the other lemon, so she combined the 2 into one lemon frosted delicacy !


Helens Malt loaf was inspired by her memories of her mum at home , who baked with recipes which were much simpler than today ( a common theme) . Measures were pints & half pints including raisins. The cherries and almond topping were from her childhood memories .


Just to say Bakers are invited to submit recipes for the Clandestine cake Club Vol 2 . Look on the CCC website for details and deadlines . Look t the left hand column.


We also had a visit from Video journalist Danielle Hayden who interviewed and videoed the group ! Link to follow !!

Join out next event on Sat 28th June to celebrate the Tour De France coming to Sheffield ! 

See you all there … Follow me on Twitter @fabcoach for updates on next events !!

Best Cakiness Karen xx