The Psychology of The Affair

The new series of The Affair has started on SKY ATLANTIC. What I value most about this series is how the ‘WHY’ behind Alison and Noah’s affair is depicted. The script writing team is made up of a man and woman so both perspectives are subtly woven into the storyline. Whilst most women pass off a male affair as solely driven by their penis I would actually disagree.

I have known many men over the years; as friends, lovers, boyfriends and everything inbetween. I have also lived through every side of ‘The Affair’, albeit as an unmarried woman. I will never be a man hater (although with my background I probably should be) and I am not sticking up for men or women within this blog. I am simply trying to present an alternative view to affairs. An affair is a symptom of what is going wrong in a relationship, however you want to gloss it over. And each party has a responsibility to define how the story ends.

My last serious boyfriend was unfaithful to me. It destroyed me and I haven’t let anyone close to me since. My bad. My lessons and my BS. One of the women (and there were many) sent me an email the morning of Jewish New Year some years ago sharing intimate details of my sex life with my ex, telling me I was frigid. I might be many things but frigid ‘ain’t one of them’. I actually knew he was having an affair. I chose not to deal with it as we always see what we want to see in a situation. I had a dream/vision of her just a few weeks before she emailed me. I ‘saw’ the witch bouncing up and down (on him) in my dream. Tight curly hair and everything, it was exactly the same person. The same curly hair that was in his bath and on his bathmat. Apparently belonging to ‘his cousin’. Most blokes aren’t good with the detail, LOL. Women are much better at hiding the minutiae… take heed, boys!

I understand men as part of me thinks like a heterosexual man. So here you are ladies**… some tips on how to keep your man interested and also how to spot an affair (and by the way, many women have affairs too… I can blog about female psychology in a separate blog). I will keep it simple by using the same letters as the word A.F.F.A.I.R. You can thank me later.


Yes, men love sex or moreover the idea of sex and fantasy. More importantly, they love attention. And attention, more often than not, leads to sex. If a man is not getting your attention he will seek attention elsewhere (or at least take notice of an interested third party). If an affair doesn’t wake you up and get your attention, nothing will. Men adore fantasy. An affair starts in the mind and travels downwards thereafter. If you can keep your partner stimulated mentally, it affects all organs! Good relationships and great sex don’t just happen: they require input and work to keep them fresh and exciting (just like marketing a business, they require re-invention). Glenn Close never gave up on Michael Douglas and look where it got him? A boiled bunny but lots of the wrong sort of attention!


My dad told me in my teens that a man will not usually stay single for long as he won’t want to masturbate for too long. A big ‘Ouch’ for a 16 year old to hear that. If your partner is not interested in having sex with you, there is USUALLY a reason. Perhaps it is medical and he is embarrassed to share. Perhaps he is having sex with someone else and feels guilty or you have drawn away and he feels rejected. Apart from obvious baby exhaustion, stress such as a bereavement or financial problems, I always say that if the sex goes, everything goes or is about to go. Your sex life is a very harsh mirror of your relationship overall. And whilst some people may enjoy just random sex with A N Other, the buzz rarely lasts long.


Is your partner working late all the time or travelling more? Are they on the internet or constantly checking their phone (hiding their phone)? Are they complaining that you have stopped taking care of yourself or easily starting arguments? Have they started taking more care of their appearance or wearing ‘lucky pants’ that they wouldn’t normally wear with you? If a man is having an affair, his sex drive will usually go up or dwindle altogether. He may be happier with you as he has found something to temporarily ‘blue tack’ the problem. So he wants to have sex with you. Or he just won’t give you the attention you need and crave (and you don’t understand why). Ergo… time for some of you to seek external attention too.


Modern day life has somewhat confused men. If a woman earns more than a man or has a wealthy family (as per in the programme The Affair itself), it can sometimes present issues for a man’s ego. A man needs to feel relevant, accepted and a provider, in most cases anyway (there will always be exceptions). I know myself that being an independent and capable woman is sexy on the packet but the contents still need to be feminine. Most men need to be needed and useful. If they go quiet on us, this doesn’t mean they are having an affair and some women might immediately jump to conclusions. Withdrawal (excuse the pun) more often than not means a man has a problem that he needs to sort out in his head or ‘man cave’. Men also need to stretch the male elastic band of desire in order to miss you. It is an awful thing for a woman and I know this from first hand experience but just as a woman wants to charge in for more, a man needs to detach and then bounce back when the elastic becomes taut. Know the difference between tell tale signs!


I don’t know what Mark Zuckerberg was thinking when he created Facebook but it has caused havoc with many people’s relationships. Seeking out old loves or old ‘friends’, as well as the list of temptations wrapped up in Tinder and the like are dangerous. I know SO many men in relationships who are seeking excitement elsewhere, some of whom have just proposed to their girlfriends: not necessarily physically having sex but definitely sourcing sexual and emotional gratification from outside the confines of their partner. In my book it is actually worse than just sleeping with someone and getting it out of your system. Living with someone other than your partner in your head is a shocker: you are living a lie and what a waste of life?! Sooner or later your relationship with your partner is going to be damaged at some level. Both parties need to be 100% engaged and present in each other.


An affair doesn’t mean the end to a relationship, sometimes it can wake both partners up, over time, towards the road to repair. I know lots of people who have had affairs: some have stayed together and some have parted, as married or otherwise. I don’t judge in the main but as soon as my female friends say to me “He doesn’t have sex with me anymore”… “He is secretive and we are always arguing” I have to be really careful what I say. I usually ask if they want my opinion or for me just to listen. And I respond accordingly. As humans we are very quick to judge situations outside of our own – when it happens to us we have a completely different perspective.

We are all capable of having an affair – yes, all of us. Life is about choice. The path we choose to go down. And as human beings, “of flesh and blood are made…”, as Human League told us in the 80’s. What is imperative is that we each take responsibility for our actions and reactions thereafter. An affair is not the end. It is a wake up call to take you to the next stage of your relationship or via an exit route. And whilst fallout is heart breaking, particularly when children are involved, there is always light at the end of any tunnel with “what now”. My sentiments exactly about this Thursday’s episode of the TV show itself.

And for those of you experiencing any side of the affair fence currently, please don’t be angry with me for simplifying things to ABC level. Life is actually quite simple we just over-complicate it with layers of crap and justification. Whilst the above sentiments are not fool proof or set in stone by any means, a blog is a blog not a thesis and opinion only. I share your pain and anger. I punched my ex both verbally and physically and for years. But that just showed that I cared for him. But that wasn’t enough to keep us together.


**I am not intending to generalise about heterosexual or homosexual men or women. I am simply using my own life experience in relation to a TV series that I enjoy. Please don’t bash me for having an opinion!

MY THAI(LAND) – The Jewddhist Priestess’s ‘Phuket List’

Thailand Blog – Part One of Three

My first introduction to Buddha was through my late father who had a sandstone Buddha in his NW London living room. As a young girl I was taught that you had to keep Buddha high up in the room as a sign of respect and rub his belly for good luck. Buddha always stood out against the more traditional style of antique wood and Holbein memorabilia. Buddha always made sense to me even though I was brought up as a United Synagogue Jewess. Roll forward to today and I too have this Buddha in my living room, in his memory and I regularly cleanse him just to keep him looking ‘slick’. He sits, up on high, together with a second laughing Buddha, also a keepsake from dad’s Estate. There are lots of Buddha’esque touches to my home.

So going to Thailand this Xmas just past was not only a trip long overdue on my ‘Phuket List’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist) but also as a mini homage to my dad teaching me about Buddha and our combined interest in Feng Shui, alternative medicine and food. This trip was my first two week holiday without working for about nine years. It was long overdue and whilst all my doctors told me to rest, when you are self-employed with only one household income, you can’t. Regardless of whether Cancer is trying to destroy you or not. This trip was significant and symbolic for me, beyond words.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with Thailand. Even if they were flown out of the country because of a life-threatening condition or ended up in the wrong hands at a Full Moon Party, the Thai people and everything that encompasses the country’s passion for colour and simplicity, touched their heart and soul. And I have to admit, my trip has inspired and changed me in a most profound and unexpected way.

As a linguist, I am fascinated by language. Language tells you everything you need to know about a country. What the Thai language shows us is that life IS simple and straightforward. A Thai person might not understand you when you are ask for a “Black Coffee” but they will understand “Hot Black Americano”. Specific and correct. With the emphasis on the “Hot”. Ditto a “Lemon and Banana Shake” is understood as a “Banana Shake with Lemon”.

Myself and my two buddies, AKA “Two Knobs and a Tourist” (and you can guess my title within this dastardly trio), laughed and laughed at some of the misunderstandings during our two-week visit. No-one understood us if we said “No Milk” – moreoever, we had to say “No Mil”. “White Wine” became “Why Why”. You can imagine the chaos that ensued.

I think my greatest linguistic memory from my trip relates to a wonderful lady we met at our hotel in Koh Lipe. Koh Lipe is 14km from Malaysia and one of the lesser known Thai islands situated within a protected National Park. It is quite spectacular and 100% worth a visit, as an aside. The lady I met is called Thung. She was my masseur at our hotel (Idyllic Concept Resort), is a mum of two and a qualified product designer. She hasn’t seen her children who are in Bangkok, for two years.

Thung has something about her. I am very sensitive to people’s energy and she is a lot more than she would ever let on. Not only is she an incredible masseur, but she is also a healer and a Guardian Angel. Curiously, her sister had the same cancer as me and also had an hysterectomy. So she knew how to massage me without hurting me: she knew this instinctively as well as practically.

The first time Thung massaged me she said how strong I was and kept telling me! And that I looked so young, maybe 31, because “Mi-ran-da is so INJOY (enjoy)”. If we go back to the theme of language, Thung and the Thai language are absolutely right. When you “enjoy” something, you truly should be “in joy”. As I type these words, I am crying. Not because I am sad but because Thung’s words and her inner power really had a huge effect on me. So the theme for “Two Knobs and a Tourist” became all about “in joy”. Particularly after a few sherbets… I haven’t laughed so much in years. I haven’t felt so myself (and obviously been so very, very funny) in years. I haven’t rested for years. I was truly in the utmost “in joy”.

There is a lot to be said for being “in joy” in our day-to-day existence. Whilst this is the first in a series of three blogs about Thailand, I could write and paint and dream all day about how the Thai colours, sights and experiences overwhelmed and delighted me. I brought a little piece of “in joy” back with me, together with half of MBK market. But that gives too much away. More to come from “Miranda INJOY” over the coming days about this fantastic trip. For now, go and “INJOY” your Thursday! I am off to rub Buddha’s belly… he too deserves a bit of “INJOY”…

The Meteorites of Life – As the rest of the world goes BACK TO THE FUTURE, Miranda is going back in time…

The other day, whilst browsing my Facebook timeline before bed, I came across a clip of Adele’s new single. The title of her new song is “Hello” but listening to the lyrics it should actually be “Goodbye”! Adele’s perfect pitch, heart-rendering performance and carefully chosen words, pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t listened to Adele for a very long time and it took me right back to my past.

So while the rest of the world goes BACK TO THE FUTURE this week, this PR is going back to the past for a short while, reminding her about life meteorites. So what is a life meteorite you might ask…? Well, if you consider the concept of the life curve ball, the thing or person that appears from nowhere in your world and catches you unawares, the life meteorite is similar. But intense, powerful and much more destructive.

Over the years I have experienced a few life meteorites but none so powerful as one that was combined with a curve ball: a person who came into my life some years ago, hurling me around the constellations and leaving me in a pile of meteorite dust.

At the start of my descent into space, the Adele album, 21, was my staple diet. For one whole month I sat and stared into space, more or less. And cried. And turned into a very morose Bridget Jones. And I haven’t met a new man whom I allowed to even get close since. The dust is still settling. Bowie would have just slapped me around the head and told me that “We know Major Tom’s a junkie…” and it might have made perfect sense.

The night I met this life meteorite and it was a man (of course) I wasn’t even supposed to be going out or going into ‘that place’. I went in for one drink. At that time. On that day. And there he was. All bright white like a meteorite in his tight t-shirt.

And like a meteorite, he lit up my sky for a while and then came hurling, crashing back down to earth to strike me. And there I was, with my Adele album sitting in a (useless) therapist’s office, trying to understand what had just happened to me. Me, the ultimate survivor and Sabra, disintegrated into dark ash.

This meteorite completely broke me. He changed me and turned me inside out. I allowed this, I do not type these words out of blame. I don’t point the finger at other people for my life or circumstances. They are MY life lessons to deal with. And what was even weirder… the night I saw the new Adele single on Facebook, a sponsored ad also appeared on my Facebook page for a clothing company with the meteorite’s name. It was like Facebook was reading my thoughts or thoughts by association.

So whilst most of the world will just carry on with normal life once the BTTF statuses have become non-consequential, I wonder where all that ash has left me. I also wonder where the ash has left Adele and the millions of other people who have experienced life meteorites but shut themselves away and listen to Adele rather than vocalise or move on from their pain.

Adele’s voice still ripples with hurt and fragility. She has a new family and is ‘happy’ but her meteorite ash still clings to her soul and ultimately fuels her creativity and bank balance.

For me, the brave warrior who has won more than her fair share of life battles, ash still sits on my heart and on my fingertips. Regardless of whom I meet or what I do, that meteorite dust touches all of it. But I always look forward… only a Phoenix can rise from the ashes. And now, for the first time in years, my wings are about to take flight. And I look forward to my own movie script, entitled, FORWARD TO THE FUTURE. Move over Michael J, Fox… I really AM an 80’s blockbuster.

People Power

The word ‘power’ as referenced in the OED has a multitude of meanings, far too many to describe here, but all relate to both positive or negative power, even in Science. And when I refer to power I am not talking about world leaders, terrorists, The Spice Girls (‘Girl Power’) or Superman (although he will always be the best). I am talking about you, me, the girl who served your coffee this morning and the chap who let you through the gate at Euston as your Oyster card wasn’t working: People Power. We all have it but do we use it wisely?

This Monday morning, my words positively impacted upon the life of a stranger, helping her with health and bereavement issues. She found my words (this blog) supportive and relevant to the plight she is going through. Such engagement is positive… and powerful. I made a difference to one kind soul’s day – someone who is suffering. Each and every one of us has the choice and the power to help or harm someone else. We don’t need to be a preacher or teacher to help, engage and change. As Snap told us, “I got the POWER”! #tune and my beloved Luther’s “The POWER of love”.

As we watch the news and witness the plight of thousands of refugees fleeing from a destructive form of ‘power’, the refugees themselves are hoping to empower themselves by taking ownership of their destiny and future. Whilst I understand mixed feelings about welcoming more people into countries when they/we can’t deal with their/our current socio-economic problems, the images displayed via the media are powerful and warrant an emotional and knee-jerk reaction. We all deserve a home and a place to feel safe. Who knows where my family might have ended up had the UK not welcomed immigrants into the UK in the 1930’s/40’s.

We all have a huge amount of power within us: the power to change our focus; to harm others and to heal. And then there is the power of emotion and belief. Last Monday, as I sat in Synagogue celebrating the Jewish New Year, tears rolled down my face as I joined in with the singing, thinking about my mum. She died 15 years ago and I still become overwhelmed from time to time. It is quite normal and humane. Why people tell us to “be strong” when we lose the people we love, I will never know. We just need to “be” ourselves. To experience what we need to feel to deal with the power and process of grief. And it is a process. And a powerful one at that.

Emotions can be extremely powerful and gripping, even at the most unexpected moments. Anger, joy, sadness, love, depression, fear… all have a powerful effect on our psyche as well as our physical being. I know from personal experience that words carry responsibility. Quite recently, a certain individual wished genuine harm on me and every aspect of my life. No chance in the long run but she (and it was a she) did her best.

We under-estimate the power of our thoughts and our words. “Be careful what you wish for” carries more truth than we might ever consider. This phrase should have an additional caveat: “Be careful what you think, it might just happen”. And you would be amazed at how often it does happen, both for better or worse (see above paragraph).

With the advent of people hiding behind social media, many feel empowered by belittling others. By putting people down or blatantly abusing them on Twitter, Facebook and the like. Celebrities must have a pretty thick skin to deal with all the crap that is regularly thrown at them – more often than not for just looking great!

These ‘haters’ need a hobby or should be looking in the mirror and dealing with their own issues. Many bullies, even killers and abusers, thrive on power and usually are acting out a need to exert some level of power in their lives, when they actually feel powerless inside. Just watch Criminal Minds if you want TV proof!

As David Cameron and his bunch of cronies use their power to try and run Great Britain (can you hear the irony in my typing?) we too, as citizens of the red, white and blue (it will always be a Union Jack to me), all possess an inner power that can change both ourselves and our environment. You don’t need to be a politician or Prime Minister to change, create or help yourself or others.

Entrepreneurs get up off their asses and make change happen. They have the balls to go it alone, despite the odds (more than not) and believe in their own power. They too feel fear or angst but the power of their positive thought and belief usually counteracts the negative. Light over dark, positive over negative and good versus evil.

I believe we all have huge amounts of power: lots of atoms together create energy (I think that is chemically correct, LOL). If we wish ill upon someone it comes back to us. When life deals us a powerful blow, we must fight back. Punch back. And that, my friends, is what I am doing tonight. In the ring… my boxing training that got me through Cancer and some of the darkest moments of my 45 years. Now THAT is power. The ultimate power. And it is all mine.

The Facebook Fast – Full Moon to Full Moon

A month ago, the date of Full Moon July 2015 to be exact, I pretty much came up against a big full stop. I was working too hard, feeling dreadful (physically), sleeping 16 hours a day on some days and the walls started to cave in. I resigned a client, albeit with a heavy heart and burst into tears in front of my gynaecologist when he told me my one remaining piece of femininity was being crushed.

I came off Facebook and went inside myself to try and get my body and soul together. There was a dull silence. My phone was ‘shouting’ less. My fingers weren’t focused on the handset 24/7 and I stepped back.

Having lived most of my life as Superwoman’s cape, holding my hand up is a big deal for me. I have been ‘luchando’ since I was a wee nipper and I do find it hard to ask for help or say that I am struggling. This probably stems from having asked some people for moral support in the past and being rejected so I stopped asking. So there I was, a month ago, out in the cold, gripping onto my dogs for dear life but deep down inside knowing I would be OK. It sounds dramatic but I really did come up against a wall.

My very learned gynie, who sees medicine a la Ancient Greece, ie in the Holistic sense, recommended me to an Internist/Doctor, curiously where I live, to see if he could help me. I have been feeling like I don’t have the right motor inside me or as if someone has put in the wrong engine oil, increasingly desperate for some answers as I should be feeling better, not worse. I have been convinced that some of my specialists have missed something fundamental in their commitment to fending off Cancer. And I was right. These doctors are specialists in one area rather than looking at the body overall.

So I went to see Dr Hakman who sat and listened to my tale of on-going woe. I brought him piles of papers and results, reflecting my poor old insides crying out for someone to listen to their cystic plight. He agreed that something has been missed and set to task to ‘fix the Leslau’. So far (and I get all tests back this week) I have Lymes Disease (not recent) and am still hypothyroid, post-Cancer.

Dr Hakman told me that as a Thyroid Cancer survivor I need to be hyperthyroid(over-medicated) in my dosage (rather than hypothyroid, ie under-medicated) otherwise tumours will be created from the lack of Thyroid replacement therapy. How ironic. So in the Cancer specialist’s quest to keep the Cancer at bay, my little old body has been trying to create Cancer tumours because I don’t have enough replacement Thyroid medication. How insane is that?! So I have increased my dosage as the Thyroid controls the whole body and many of my symptoms may be because of the lack of hormone in my system. All TBC with the next lot of tests and results.

Alongside this diagnosis, I have continued my quest to look into iodine and the links between iodine, cystic conditions (non-Cancerous) and all types of Cancer, not just Thyroid. If you dig deep enough you can find WHO reports that confirm that a third of the universe is iodine deficient and that many Cancers (particularly breast and other female Cancers) can be prevented and treated with iodine. I have been saying this for a long time.

If you have lumpy breasts or cystic ovaries and fibroids, this can be attributed to being hypothyroid, ie not having enough Thyroid hormone (iodide) or iodine (the Thyroid converts this into iodine) within your system. Over the years, we have looked at the Japanese diet (and soy) as a reason why Japan has the lowest incidence of breast Cancer the world over. MYTH. The Japanese diet has over 100 times more iodine than any other – it is not because of the soy. Iodine has been removed from salt and due to production processes, many products are iodine deficient unless they are organic. The first thing that is done when crews go into a crisis zone is iodize the water.

I could actually write a thesis on iodine and I am trying to campaign for Eye On Iodine awareness, particularly for children and women. We are not told the facts; the war against Cancer and other chronic and acute illnesses can be reduced. We need to look outside the alkaline diet (for Thyroid Cancer patients), broccoli is not your best friend; chilli and garlic are better suited. There is a bigger picture here. The drugs companies and fast food conglomerates will always win, sadly, if we continue as we are. But I am on a quest. And when Leslau is on a mission… (just look at my dad’s 30 year obsession with Holbein!!)…

Many of my gynie problems could be attributed to my Thyroid function (ie hypothyroid post-Cancer, as well as pre-Cancer I am sure, even though I never showed as having a Thyroid condition (but my hair was falling out, I was bloated, my eyebrows fell out, I had gynie problems and my adrenal function was failing). I have upped my Thyroid meds so let’s see if my newly increased 7cm ovarian cyst reduces by way of a result. My solitary ovary is holding on for dear life to save me from being menopausal.

The other health challenge currently is Lymes Disease. Although it can mask other conditions (and I am still waiting on other results) it would appear I have had this for some time. It could account for many symptoms and unfortunately is chronic. I am not currently being treated for it until we know more.

You see, with a calm mind and less chaos, I could focus on what I needed to focus on. I have also started going to an amazing Holistic Clinic in San Pedro (also recommended by a learned traditional medical consultant) who is also helping me. I won’t talk about this too much as many people I have shared this with have been negative and dismissed these practices. One of my consultants reminded me himself that many centuries ago, a medical doctor could only claim to be so if he was also an expert in theology, astronomy, astrology and natural remedies. So go figure.

My dear friend Nina came out to stay, to look after me. I went out for the first time in ages and was singing along to Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ on the mic with the DJ at Olivias in La Cala and Salsa’ing away in my white stilettos. I will talk about Olivias in another blog but I had the energy to go out and have a good time. That is my point.

I organised, with my co-conspirator Louise, a leaving do for my dear boxing trainer, Mick Ham. Mick has been the most valuable of friends and drivers for me. His friendship and training inspired me to ‘fight’ Cancer, as well as helping me find me again. I love boxing training. In my darkest moments and however bad I feel, I will almost always go to boxing. It is like oxygen. And we all know that in some countries, including Israel, they use Oxygen treatment to treat Cancer and other illnesses. I also made a cheesecake for Mick and anyone who knows me, will appreciate that I can’t follow recipes or instructions (so this is some testament to the man!). I actually followed the recipe, bought an electric whisk and weighed out the ingredients. It really tasted delicious too!! Just call me ‘Miri Berry’. AND it was Lactose and Gluten-Free. It would definitely sell in the shops!!

The current state of play is good and bad days. I am working, boxing, swimming, reading some fabulous books and focusing on my clients, interspersed with some ‘me’ time. I booked my NYE Holiday to Thailand – my first two-week holiday in 10 years! And bought myself MY perfect dress of all time, by Ralph Lauren, in three colours. They fit me like a silk glove and I can’t wait to see some people’s faces when they see me in them!! Skinted rather than minted but the money will come back to me. I am in the right mindset to attract it back. With low energy I was operating on the wrong frequency.

In the last month I have witnessed the utmost in selfishness, ego and narcissism and, on the flip side, the kindness of Angels. And this, my friends, is the nature of Life. Light and dark; good and bad. And all within 30 days of a Facebook fast. A month is a long time – a landmark for change after death and loss; poignant in relation to some religious festivals; instrumental in the growing, reaping and harvesting of crops as well as the female reproductive system (well, 28 days) and the lunar cycle (in which I 100% believe). Things reveal themselves over time if you look up and see the signs. The sun continues to rise and the moon waxes and wanes until the next cycle begins. My Facebook Fast was worthwhile, not because I was off Facebook per se or that my friends missed my on-going tirade of nonsense. Moreover, because I wasn’t looking out and reacting to work, life and love. I took time to look inside me and to look up from my phone. Never a bad thing and one that I can highly recommend.

The tides of life…

The Big Blue… not only one of my favourite films as some of you will already know, but also my favourite place to be. I could live and die in the sea. She holds no prisoners when it comes to selecting whom she ‘takes’ and the miracle of how tides ‘ebb and flow’ is one of the greatest wonders of the world.

I took a day off yesterday. My thyroid hormone levels are messed up and I feel like I have been run over. But swimming out to sea, actually quite far so I couldn’t hear the white noise from the shore, helped me re-connect with myself. The ‘Poniente’ wind from The Atlantic is keeping the water icy cold and clean right now (and the jelly fish stay away). It is pretty perfect.

My dad taught me about the sea. I was a Fish and Sea fanatic from the age of two, probably. Jacques Cousteau, Royal Dotty Backs (only found in Australia), fishing and dolphins were like oxygen for me. I must have been a fish in a past life (as well as a February born Piscean, with the ‘watery’ eyes) as I learnt to swim when I was really small and was totally fearless. I didn’t eat fish for years after I went to a trout farm. I felt like my cousins were being slaughtered. Never felt like that about cows, mind you, before anyone makes a wise crack.

As I swam out yesterday and then started to venture back into shore, the following struck me. It is so much harder to swim back into shore than it is to go out to sea. And thus a life analogy presents itself… “The tide is high…” Blondie told us; “If leaving me is easy…” sang Phil Collins.

If you fall down, you have to pick yourself up or you just wallow and stay down; coming back or fighting for a relationship is so much harder than walking away; re-building your business is like climbing treacle when you are at a low ebb (excuse the pun). Life constantly presents us with a different sandy or pebbly shore to reach and tide to swim against.

During my swim back into shore and the humdrum of ‘beach life’, I felt every muscle working in my body; I know the cold water is great for my circulation and skin tone and salt water is one of the best forms of lymph drainage around (apart from Epsom Salts, of course). I was conscious of every stroke and breath, particularly as I have a 50% vocal airway. Sea water is great for sinus infections, eczema and allergies, as well as all manner of ailments (The Dead Sea where I used to live is a separate blog in itself!). Yet we don’t respect the sea enough. Or is it that we don’t respect ourselves enough?

I would actually like to be buried at sea. Not being morbid, simply a wish. Having a bit of a ‘submariner’ adventure could be brilliant and giving my soul and energy back to the Universe via my fishy ‘cousins’ would be far better than rotting in a NW London cemetery (sorry Mum, I know I promised we would be buried together). Just don’t bury me with my shoe collection. A shoal of tuna would end up with the most horrific indigestion trying to munch on my stilettos and ‘bling bling’ heels.

I swam such a long way out yesterday. The space beneath me was infinite. I could see everything clearly – lots of fish swimming about, minding their own business and also me, I could see me. But I had no concept of danger. Dry land, yes. Heights, yes. The sea, never. Even when I know that there are sharks around. Sharks are far less dangerous than humans. At least you know what a shark’s teeth look like from afar!

During a visit to Israel one year, I went on a ‘wild’ jeep ride with a Bedouin to Nuweiba, in Egypt, to a ‘deaf and dumb’ (inbred in layman’s terms, I am guessing) community that was ‘befriended’ by a dolphin in the wild in the 90’s. I could feel vibrations all through (and under) my body as I was led into the sea by a mute gentleman… the dolphin swam up into my arms from below and we played together for a while. It was one of THOSE precious life moments, totally unexpected and natural. But I never looked down or felt scared. I just knew I would be OK.

And I think this is what we all have to believe: that whatever we are going through or however strong the tide is against us, if we keep swimming, we will get there. No need to look down or panic about the unknown and as my dad wrote in my Spanish dictionary when I was 18 – “No rendir la bandera” (don’t give up). Which is quite fitting on Father’s Day. My dad would have appreciated my ‘moment’ yesterday. Keep swimming, people… everyone knows it is harder to damage muscle in water than on dry land.

For the love of money…

Today, I am thinking about money. My relationship with it. A lack of it. How to create more of it and envisaging what my longer term financial future looks like. Why you may well ask? Well, two of my clients and friends, John Lee and Vincent Wong, have written an amazing new book called “The Wealth Dragon Way: The Why, the When and the How to Become Infinitely Wealthy”. Aside from skim-reading it from a work perspective, I have taken time out to read it with fresh eyes. From the outside in, if you like.

In simple terms the book is brilliant and a must-read. For some of you reading this blog you will throw popcorn at the screen and shout “Self-development… pah”. For others, a few cynical comments about wealth and money and for others, you will actually go onto and buy a copy. I would stick with the last group if I were you. And here is why.

This book opens our eyes to our personal relationship with money and wealth. Many of our self-limiting beliefs are borne from those of our parents or peer group. Who remembers their parents telling them “Money doesn’t grow on trees” or “Money is the root of all evil”? Such negativity is usually felt by those without money. One of the lines in the book so far that has resonated with me most is… “Money solves the problems that not having money creates” (Source: page 32, “The Wealth Dragon Way”). Interesting thought…

I have grown up and known a LOT of people with A LOT of money. Whilst my mother came from a relatively successful middle class NW London Jewish family, my mum and I were homeless when I was five, albeit briefly. My mum’s charm acquired us a Council house in NW London (may the Lord bless the Councillor who shall remain nameless who helped my mum) and she did three or four jobs to keep me fed. I would sit by the window and cry every day for fear of abandonment so she got a job at my junior school (as well).

On the flip side, other members of my close and extended family and friends were extremely wealthy – ‘cinema-in-the-top-of-the-house’ kind of wealthy. I always wanted that life. I was ashamed of living in a Council house and would spend time arranging furniture and cleaning because I thought it would make my lovely little house more desirable. I was bullied at school for not having money (in junior and senior school) yet I worked every weekend from the age of 14 to make sure I had nice clothes and makeup and perfume: all the stuff that teenage girls want. I thought it would make me feel worthy. And “money” is something we are not taught about in school, sadly.

I never understood about saving or investing. Even though my mum’s father had ensured I had my Post Office Savings Book and I got £5 pocket money from my dad every week, I was never taught how or why to save or invest. I just wanted the quick fix I guess to make me feel more accepted and also to help my mum. I was a spender because I didn’t know any better. I wanted to feel rich rather than be rich. I used my savings to go on holidays and have nice things. And ironically when I have been most “wealthy” in my life, I have been most unhappy and isolated. If I had that money now I would use it very differently and invest. Life lessons are life lessons.

Roll forward to today… I am not rich per se. I earn good money and I work extremely hard for my clients but I am not financially wealthy with assets to show. Emotionally and spiritually wealthy, yes. I know how to be a “débrouillarde”, a great French word that I can also attribute to my late mum as well, but that I cannot 100% find a translation for and I give to charity as much as I can. I can juggle finances well and manage/survive. I can buy prudently and I do a lot with what I have but the gaping hole in my life is passive income, which is one of the areas that the book covers.

I work with many, many successful property investors and entrepreneurs. I ghost write about property and business. I did an amazing deal with a developer to buy the property where I live, I have great property contacts if I wanted to invest (particularly in Spain) and I find many properties that are a steal. My life dream is to have a boutique hotel/house with a pool, fruit trees and an organic vegetable garden. And to make it the best boutique hotel in Spain – and I know it would be. BUT and there is a but here, I ask myself why I don’t have what I dream about…? Because ”I don’t have the money” is my usual answer or this is what I tell myself. Which is the wrong attitude. I know this. It annoys me. I annoy me.

I don’t have the wealth that I deserve or should have in relation to the hours I put in or the age I am. Having had Cancer last year and five operations in 16 months, I also worry about money. If I am not well, whilst medical insurance will cover my medical costs (and I have the money to pay the monthly subs), what happens if I can’t work? These are concerns for all of us and the only way to ensure that these “life concerns” are minimised is through taking ownership of our own financial future. And this is where this book can help people from all backgrounds and regardless of their age or where they live.

“The Wealth Dragon Way” talks about “moral wealth” versus “monetary wealth”. I have high “moral wealth” just not the latter, ie “monetary wealth”. This must change in order for me to be able to do in life what I need and want to do, in order to create the space in my head to enjoy the rest of my life (and so you guys can come and visit ‘Pucci Palace’, the boutique hotel, LOL – just don’t steal the name). When you are told you have Cancer, you realise that life can change very fast. With no warning and you see very clearly that a day has 24 precious hours and that each second counts.

When you have more money you have more choice. Money doesn’t guarantee happiness, and I can vouch for this having also seen lots of very unhappy and lonely rich people. BUT money and infinite wealth can and will grant you more freedom within your lifetime, if you use it wisely. Not just for you but also for your family and loved ones. And in this respect the value is infinite. Wealth becomes infinite in its very essence. And that, my friends, is priceless. “The Wealth Dragon Way” is a must read. I wish John and Vincent every success with this book.

I will be giving away one FREE copy of this book on Twitter this week if you follow me @MirandaPRGuru

Grief: Human and Humane

I haven’t blogged for ages. My brain hasn’t had the blue sky space to breathe. Give me a week or so and my mercurial flow will resume. For now, I wanted to share this with you. It was the anniversary of my mum’s death last Saturday (15 years) and with so many sad stories of loss pervading timelines and heart strings, I hope this brings comfort to some… I wrote it back in 2005, after my dad died.

No-one likes to talk about death yet it is the only part of life that is guaranteed (apart from Rich Tea biscuits falling into your tea and your phone running out of juice just when you need it). I have had loads of therapy during my lifetime. As a teenager who had seen more of life than any 14 year old should, I sat in The Tavistock Clinic four lunchtimes out of five for five years during senior school. It was hellish. And then Freud, Jung, CBT et al all got mashed up in my brain for the following 20 years or so via more transference from therapists and psychologists than you could possibly imagine.

The ONLY counselling or therapy that I genuinely benefitted from in all these years was bereavement counselling. And I would recommend it to anyone grieving right now. I went to see someone from Jewish Care (they offer Bereavement Counselling). My Counsellor, Helen, (I have changed her name) was a very Frum (religious) Jewish lady who wore a Sheitl (wig) and lived in a very nice part of NW London. To this day, I have so much respect for what this lady shared with me and how much she helped me move forward after I lost my parents. Had I met her in the street I would never have imagined the wisdom she might have shared or inspired.

Grief IS a process. It has phases and stages. For those hurling themselves through the high seas after loss it CAN help to acknowledge this. It doesn’t change or minimise the pain but it may help you realise that what you are feeling and experiencing is quite normal. You are not going mad. And talking about  death is not morbid. It is both human and humane.

Miranda Leslau considers the topic of grief and how you can help mourners with the recovery process…

As children we rarely envisage that life will change as we get older, that our parents will get wrinkles and that humans of any age get sick and die, unless of course you experience loss at a young age.

However old or young you are when you lose someone close to you, you, the mourner, feels different to the rest of the world, that sound somehow increases to stereo while life carries on in slow motion. You feel that nothing will ever be the same again, that eating your breakfast will always taste slightly different and that no-one will ever understand what you are going through.

I don’t just say this from my own personal experience of having lost both my parents at the age of 30 (my mum, of pneumonia of all things) and 34 respectively (my dad, of a violent and short-lived secondary cancer) but also based on the experiences of my nearest and dearest who have lost parents, children and partners. All of whom have lost people they truly loved.

Whilst not all of us will be parents in our lifetime, every one of us is or has been someone’s child, regardless of the calibre of the parent-child relationship, whether you have been adopted or abandoned. And losing those close to you can take you back to being a vulnerable child, standing at the school gates on the first day of nursery school with no friends. Regardless of whether you are eight or 80 at the time of your loss, you may feel utterly alone.

When my parents died I allowed myself to accept their passing. I wasn’t angry and didn’t ask “Why?” which is what is often asked to many a bereavement counsellor and/or therapist. I accepted that their death granted me a new lease of life – one that was short and of my own making. I chose to accept less nonsense, to experience what I wanted to experience and to live life to the full.

The last thing my late mother said to me was “Don’t do anything stupid”. She meant kill myself I think and that I did not do although at times I did want the earth to swallow me whole. But it didn’t and time passed and I am getting on with my life. For their sakes if nothing else. However much we earn, however much beauty the gods have bestowed upon us, if it is our time, it is our time. No questions asked and no forgiveness.

When I saw my parents bodies after they had stopped breathing, they were both smiling, which was a comfort to me. I don’t know if all corpses smile but the strangest part for me was that when I touched their arm they didn’t react. I spoke their name while the tears rolled down my exhausted cheeks and they didn’t respond. My dad didn’t call me “Bubelah” and comment on what I was wearing and my mum didn’t share one of her loving glances. And then I never saw them again outside of a wooden box and, later on, a designated space in a graveyard.

Generally speaking, mourners remain in a state of shock for some time after the initial death, will rarely remember a funeral clearly and only come to terms with the harsh reality of loss some months later, when those around them who may not have experienced loss think that they may be well on the way to recovery. Not the case.

It is then and only then that the grieving process begins, the heart-wrenching trauma of being on a roller coaster ride at any time of day or night, the hysteria and desperation that constitutes a healthy bereavement process.

As some retreat into their shells, for others, keeping busy is a lifeline. But for the people around the bereaved, it is imperative that you just let mourners just ‘be’. Unless you have experienced the loss of a loved one it is very hard to appreciate a mourner’s fragility. You may think your grieving friend or relative is rude not returning phone calls. Don’t take it personally, they are trying to come to terms with the difficulty of getting up in the morning, let alone how to engage in social rituals.

And there are no hard or fast rules with grief. It is very personal and individually life-changing. Undoubtedly, we all change through loss. Some of us for the better and some become hard and emotionally disengaged. I have known people at both ends of the spectrum and am finding myself drawn to both ends from time to time.

Your loss manifests itself into every new and existing relationship. For me, I am still trying to manage myself having met a man I care about and how I deal with those feelings. Whether that derives parental loss and fear of losing again or life experiences from way back, these feelings stay with me. Hopefully, they will dissipate over time, with support and understanding.

For those of us who bring new life into the world where other lives have passed on, this unearths a whole series of issues and questions. But none of what I am talking about has not been experienced before, by others all over the world and by generations past, present and future.

It is important to talk to other people that have experienced loss, whether they are loved ones, Counsellors, online help groups or similar. Whatever helps, go with it, regardless of how strange and diverse your choice of tool might be. You never get over a loss but you do learn to manage and re-build your life again. The sadness will always be there, it will just become less raw and overwhelming in nature. I miss my parents more than I can explain in words – who do you go and talk to when things go right or wrong? And who can comfort you more than a parent?

Sadly I can’t really remember what my mum looked like, in spite of her glorious photographic representation. Knowing her seems like a very long time ago even thought she was my bestest friend for 30 years. I still imagine my father shuffling down my Highgate hallway calling for me: “Pidulka” (strange but true!) “How are you my baby?” expecting him to give me a great big “knuffle” (hug, in Yiddish) and almost squeeze me, dare I say it, to death. My dad would have made a great Jewish ‘Bubba’ (Grandmother). Before my eyes well up I should stop typing.  In my personal book of grief “…til death do us part” is not the end. It is the only the beginning as I carry them everywhere I go… and for me personally, that is what gets me through the day.

Miranda Leslau’s ‘Life in Black and White’ (with a splash of colour)

When I was creating the miranda leslau pr strapline, ‘PR IN BLACK AND WHITE’, these words were chosen not only to reflect me as a business person, ie quite cut and dry, but also me in life. Sort it out, sharpish – you either want this or you don’t and never waste my precious time. Not only do I love a mono fashion combo (it keeps packing and wardrobe arrangement simple and yes, I do store my clothes as per the colours of the rainbow), it was also homage to my favourite era of Hollywood, when women knew how to conduct themselves and men were ‘real’ men.

This week was an absolute reflection of my brand: black and white, to a tee. I spent the last five days solid rushing around London, meeting with clients old and new as well as charities and retailers. It was really full on, all in the name of great PR and, hopefully, positive working relationships.

It was a week of real ups and downs though; darkness and light, with a few individuals showing their true (rather dark and unpleasant) colours and others being generous of spirit, professional and kind. It reinforced my ‘LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE’ theory. But there was a difference this week. Me. I was the difference.

Having had Cancer last year, part of me has gone forever, just like the hour that we will lose as of next Saturday night, when the clocks go forward. I now realise that what other people say, do or think actually has nothing to do with me. How I react to them does. If someone treats me badly it says more about them than it does about me. Before, I would always react, albeit internally and revert to the little abandoned four year old girl.

So when the darkness reared its ugly head this week, I didn’t react. I remained calm and didn’t take it personally. I impressed myself, actually. Probably, the little girl part of me wanted to punch certain individuals in the face. In reality, I realised it doesn’t really matter. No-one died and the hands of the clock keep moving, regardless. Their moment will come (I also know this!).

As my dad used to say “for every action there is a reaction…” where there is dark, the light also shone through for me this week. I gave a talk to a group of international students at The University of Buckingham, where I used to lecture in PR. The course was a BSc in Enterprise and focused on entrepreneurship. My talk was about ‘Entrepreneurs, Life and Living’.

These inspired young people loved my talk. They said it was one of the best of the term. And this, for me, made my week. It made all the other crap worthwhile simply because I had impacted upon these creative young people’s existence. My life motto will always be that “I want to make a difference” and hopefully these engaged entrepreneurial minds will go out and make things happen in their lives. I shared my life story with them (albeit abridged) and gave from the heart.

As I type, the dark rain clouds are clearing, making way for the light, once again. Ever present in nature (and in the Orange ads), the future is bright and a rainbow always follows a storm. And this is when I readily embrace a spectrum of colours, as well as within my wardrobe arrangement, of course.

Why good PR is like making cupcakes #sweet

I don’t want to go to sleep just yet as I am fearful about my six-month Cancer scan tomorrow. So I thought I would share with all you lovely readers a few insights into the wonderful of world of PR: to help re-define this often misunderstood business.

For all intents and purposes, PR is the abbreviated version of Public Relations. I actually think this definition should change to Professional Relations, Personal Relations, Private Relations or even Professional Reputation – just not PUBLIC RELATIONS. It is very passé and means sweet FA! Ignore the text books. In PR, you never have time to refer to a text book in a crisis.

The number of secrets I have held back over the years is great and the number of people I have protected in a professional manner, even greater. PR is ALL about reputation and trust, particularly today where everyone is a social media expert or an opinionated pain in the proverbial – we are all exposed. If you trust a brand, you will be loyal to this very brand. Trusted brands on a global scale are companies like Apple, Virgin and innocent drinks… you get my drift. The Big Apple is definitely the order of the day in relation to a consistent theme.

The title of PR has had some pretty poor PR over the years (ironically) and I think the industry needs a re-brand. Particularly when some of the most recognised faces in “PR” are not actually PR’s at all. I shall mention no names but you can guess, as a starter for 10! Many PR’s will over-promise and under-deliver. So who is up to the task of overhauling a multi-billion pound industry? Not I, for sure! For the geeks amongst you, the PR industry was worth $12.5 billion back in 2013.

Many clients seeking PR support fall into any/all of the following categories:-

1. They want to appear on the front page of The Sunday Times, this week

2.They want to appear on the front page of The Mail on Sunday, this week

3.They want to appear on the front page of The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times, this week

4.They believe that their product/brand/story is the first of its kind in history

5.They think PR is easy

6.They think PR will make them a millionaire – and fast

7.They think PR just happens without input from both PR AND client

The reality is as follows:-

1.PR is made up of a variety of components, one of which is Media Relations, where you achieve column inches within a variety of media outlets

2.Good PR takes time

3.PR is NOT easy

4.PR is extremely powerful if built and used correctly

5.PR is as much about protecting your brand/product as it is about creating it

6.Most PR’s are only good at a few aspects of PR

7.A positive PR account requires input AND TIME from both client and PR

8.It is imperative that expectations of both client and PR are aligned

9.Forget about the front cover of The Sunday Times within the first week of appointment, unless your client is the Prime Minister, the new Royal Baby or Angela Merkel

10. Positive relationships take years to create and minutes to destroy – prevention is better than cure

11.PR covers off everything from how your team answers the telephone to whether the people that work for you actually want to get up every morning. If something goes wrong in a business and a story is leaked, always look to the disgruntled workers as a first point of call to find the snitch

12. PR is about people and understanding psychology – this is probably the hardest part, PEOPLE!

13. Be polite. Manners cost nothing. Some people in my industry should actually not be let out in public, they are so rude

Over the years I have promoted, launched, protected and created pretty much every type of campaign known to man. I don’t say this to show off. Far from it, I rarely pat myself on the back, moreover to demonstrate that if you are good at what you do in PR, you can apply these very theories to any field or sector.

Flash offices and all the trimmings of a corporate name do not a great PR account make. As in life, some people are dazzled by the bright lights and celebrity names, yet seldom (if ever) will Kylie Minogue or Paris Hilton attend your party unless they are paid to do so. Not just because a PR company has their names on the client roster.

The most difficult part of PR is evaluation and ROI. No-one can ever guarantee results in relation to media coverage: pieces get pulled and planes fall out of the sky. Things happen and news agendas change at 30-second intervals. Some agencies will come up with “brilliant” ways of evaluating campaigns: with point systems, credits, complicated matrices and the like and many will use multipliers of anywhere between three and seven to work out how much coverage was achieved and how much that very coverage is “worth” (compared to what advertising might have cost for the same amount of space).

What is of paramount importance within PR is that client and PR are both are in agreement about outcomes and expectation. If expectation is misaligned, it doesn’t matter what results are achieved, the relationship is doomed. And the working relationship will fail. It is the responsibility of the PR to manage client expectation as much as possible and for a mutual trust to ensue. The PR also has their own reputation to keep intact.

And this latter point is also key. Good PR is based on word-of-mouth recommendation. It does the work for you. In public presentations I often use the analogy of a man saying he is good in bed versus the women he has slept with saying he is good in bed (see the visual above). This is the difference between advertising and PR. Whenever I have pitched cold to a group of people (probably three or four times since I launched miranda leslau pr in 2001) the potential client didn’t believe I could achieve what I proposed in my pitch. Boo hoo. Their loss. I never chase a client as how the working relationship starts is how it will finish thereafter.

From the client perspective, it is important that a business is fluid and moving. A PR cannot keep talking about the same thing over and over again. There has to be a story attached to a product, brand or service. The client has to do some work as well, both in and on the business itself so that the PR Tango gains momentum. And PR generates PR…

Another important definition to consider is sales. PR works on different levels: branding, sales, information, interaction and trust. Let’s say your client makes cupcakes… some activity will lead to sales, some will create awareness (that might lead to sales in the future), some will be reviews to reinforce trust (to help drive further sales and brand credibility) and some will encourage people to try and enjoy or cook their own cupcakes as a treat, gift or celebration. In fact, PR is a lot like making cupcakes as you need the right ingredients with the right tools and cooking time, all fused together with a uniform distribution of heat within the oven!

Media coverage will not always guarantee sales. No PR can tell you that such and such article will guarantee xx amount of sales. How a client uses PR is the answer: for buyers, their first question may focus on “how do you intend to support the launch of your brand in-store?” so use the PR coverage as a sales tool at meetings. You should always promote coverage on social media with hash tags and help create a defined brand personality.

And on this note, my own public and private PR personality must retire to my bed. My eyes are scratchy and my grey matter depleted. But the next time you make cupcakes, think of me and my PR craft #sweet #hashtag.