Today is a special day and I am going to write this blog in 2 halves – a before and after.

The background – my lovely sister – I say lovely, she is one of the nicest people I know, she is loving, caring, helpful, brilliant, creative, a cool mum, a loving Granny (young granny!) and a great wife and she also happens to be completely brilliant at her job AND I have never met anyone who doesn’t like her … seriously!

Today, travelling by train from Pitlochry and Sutherland, there are 4 of us getting together for a really, fun day in Inverness which may involve some bubbly and high jinx!   You see we are celebrating, celebrating with my sister.  In the last 17 months she has been working really, really hard and focusing on a project which is really important to her and her family.

In Jan 2016, she had a lightbulb moment and made a decision – and by God did she make a decision – the type of decision she absolutely would not be swayed from for love nor money!   From this day on life was going to be different.  Once the decision was made she set about working out how she would achieve her ‘great big huge’ goal… this done she started to formulate a plan and popped in a few shorter term goals. There was no quick fix or immediate gains to be had – this was obvious, so something to keep her focused along the way was really important.

Decision firmly made, planning in place, goals set…. there was no stopping her – this time for her felt different and there was no question in her mind at all of not succeeding.   She knew from the outset there would be set backs, hell she’d planned for them, but her eyes were always on the prize – the long game.

Okay, I have just realised I haven’t even told you what she has been up to ….. but, as we have got this far without the big reveal, I am going to keep you guessing for a wee while longer!

So 17 months on, the goal is achieved and the “party posse” is heading to Inverness to help her celebrate – oh such hard work!!!    But, this was part of the original plan – can you see how damn focused she was from the start?    Today is like a dream coming true for her, but it is not a dream, in the la la sense – she could see it from the word go – she could SEE it!    Now, it is a reality and she made it happen and today she deserves this celebration 100%.

Here’s a question.  When did you last celebrate an achievement?  Large or small?  More often than not we just achieve… then carry on, don’t recognise it in any way whatsoever.   Along the journey my sister has recognised the small steps, every one of them and now here she is BOOM – big goal in the bag!   There might be something in that?    Let’s look at the opposite – what do we do when we get something wrong, fail to achieve?   Most of us find it easy peasy to give ourselves a personal flogging…. “idiot”, “useless” “loser”…. Recognise any of these?

What if we were to take a leaf out of my sister’s book and celebrate as we go – even the little things – recently I had a staff happiness survey done by an external consultant and we scored 9.25 out of 10 – what do you think I focused on?   Of course, the 0.75….. and I am not alone I am sure!   I didn’t even hesitate to say – “Dude, 92.5%  happiness amongst your team is great – give yourself a pat on the back”   Over 1000 5 star reviews on Tripadvisor for Hettie’s and I flog myself (not literally!) when a 3 star one comes in – if on the very rare occasion a 2 or 1 star one comes in – then it is time to hide the sharp knives!

STOP PEOPLE – celebrate your achievements more, even the small ones ….. that’s what I plan to do today …… over and out for now ….. 2nd half of this may be a little less coherent, due to the bubbles!!!!!

…… 5 hours elapses……

Well I am back – and what a day we had – it flew!!   17 months hard work all came down to today – and boy did she enjoy it.   At times she laughed, she cried, she ooh’d, she was overwhelmed, she was proud, she was shy, to be honest, she was in a state of disbelief most of the time BUT she was happy, REALLY happy!

We didn’t have any bubbly – the time ran away with us and we were ready to go our separate ways before we could pop a cork!  (Sad Face!)

So what was today all about, what goal was achieved?

Well my sister has lost more than 5 and a half stone in weight – that people, is the weight of your average 9 year old!!   See the before and after shots below….. A-MAZ-ZING!!!

She looks and feels amazing, but I am not sure even she knows just how much she has changed….., and not just physically!

So today – the celebration plan she has had from the beginning became a reality – she had a personal shopper for 3 and a half hours in Debenhams – and spent around £500 on new clothes –  small new clothes!!!!!!  I should point out that is AFTER she opened a store card to get a further 10% off!!!!!!!    She has dropped 5 dress sizes (6 in some brands!) and she looks absolutely stunning.  As Hettie pointed out when she saw the photos this evening.. “She’s even got a thigh gap”!!!!!

She wore clothes today that she would never have dreamed of wearing – and she literally couldn’t believe her eyes!   Stunning!   This was a celebration of an achievement that took 17 months of hard work, ups and downs, sacrifice, self discipline, and patience….  And she really did celebrate the achievement – the final shopping bill when other shops were added in was just under £600!   I am just hoping her husband isn’t reading this!!!  Although to be fair there are benefits for him too!!!! (Sorry for the insinuation!)

And what of the small goals along the way – well with every half stone she had a mini celebration – just something small but a recognition of a step towards the big goal.  In fact she celebrated every loss – each lb a step closer to the goal.  Christmas 2016 was a pivotal point.   With this new wardrobe plan in place she requested Debenhams vouchers for her Christmas from all friends and family.  And everyone obliged – so in doing this not only did she celebrate how far she had come, she unconsciously gave herself a further incentive to succeed!

So amid the snapping of my camera, the laughing, the crying, the trying on, the “oh my God’s” and the “nope, not for you’s”, the theme of today was definitely a celebration, and I was very touched to have been a part of the day, and am very, (very, very, very, very) proud of my amazing wee (even wee-er now!) sis!   Go Allena!!!

So my challenge to you is …. Dream big (or small)

Set your goals

Get focused

Make a plan

Execute the plan

Achieve your Goal

BUT crucially with every small success along the journey… never forget to



My Amazing Sister!!!!!!