Dare to Create – Could Prince Charming be too good to be true?

 ADB4C6C5-2633-4C6D-ABA8-49F995A41053.jpegImage source – skitterphotos.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of good relations.

Following on from last week’s article and my personal example of an unhealthy relationship, we are diving a little deeper this week and asking ourselves what good relations look and feel like.

I’m writing this on the international day of love – St. Valentine’s Day – ironic, I know. I have found myself thinking about the contrast between my first ‘boyfriend’ and my supportive husband of fifteen years and the songs played on our wedding day. With that in mind, today’s challenge and survivor story is a musical one.

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenging you to help me create a list of go-to music which can help us all find strength at times when we feel lost, unloved and without control. We have far more ability to change our situation than we often believe.


The challenge – share your songs with us

  • Which songs remind you that you are good enough or strong enough?
  • That you are beautiful and powerful?
  • Lift your mood or give you courage?
  • Remind you that you can walk away?
  • Remind you what a good relationship looks and feels like?

The most popular suggestions received, will be added to PLQ’s Spotify playlist. 

These are my favorite songs for lifting me up

  • “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “How Long Will I Love You (2008 Remaster)” – The Waterboys
  • “Ice cream” – Sarah McLachlan
  • “Just the Way You Are” – Billy Joel
  • “At My Most Beautiful” – R.E.M.

Abuse leaves its scars and sometimes I need a reminder that life is good now.

Take time to ponder the questions in the challenge, look at the lyrics, then post your suggestions on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your participation!

Today I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card. Both chosen with care and the aim of making me happy, telling me I’m special and loved for who I am. But it’s not the first time I’ve received gifts from a partner or admirer, so what’s different? Well, in my experience, a manipulator or predatory individual may use gifts as a way control your feelings and responses. (Love-bombing.)

This link explains it in more detail. (Remember abusers can just as easily be another gender, this is just more common)


The video in my previous article also shows how giving can be a tool of the abuser.


862018CC-1CBA-4C2A-83B3-33FDC6CE55E3.jpeg– Brittany Bexton

This week’s inspiration – Brittany Bexton

Brittany Bexton in concert

Continuing the theme of good relations and music, today I’m going to share a snippet of an interview I recently did with Brittany Bexton, a highly respected singer-songwriter and musician, who’s talents are better known in America’s music magnet, Nashville, Tennessee. 

My initial impression was of a sensitive, confident woman who’d always had her life together and knew where she was heading, but in speaking to her I learned of the damage that can be done by abuse.

F28E7116-A022-4CAD-A331-9749B2FE4E3C.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

I was impressed by not only what she’s achieving musically but also how she’s moved on from the abusive.

3DD7F182-6DC0-4E0B-9E71-EFFB623A42F2.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

Brittany is now so much more than a talented singer, especially to those she reaches out to via Instagram and her website – http://www.BrittanyBexton.com Her social media platforms are also very inspiring, a place where she doesn’t only share updates on her latest gigs. Brittany is a force – a voice for survivors of abuse, an educator and an advocate for change in society.

You’ll soon get to meet Brittany properly, when I share my full interview with her, in one of our Sunday Survivor Portraits. In the meantime, learn more about love-bombing, and listen to her “soulful, rootsy rock with a positive message.”  You’ll find one of her songs in our Spotify playlist.

Thank you for sharing with us Brittany and for managing to carve out so much time for our chat from your precious rehearsal time.

Maybe this has made you feel like picking up your dusty guitar again or joining a singing group, or reconnecting with music you used to listen to, whatever it is, don’t let this day or this thought go – grasp it with both hands. This is the real you.

Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist


Dare to Create – abuse – are you seeing the signs?


Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of warning signs.

Inspired by the courage of the many survivors I’ve interviewed for PLQ, today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and share something I’ve told very few people. I believe that had my seventeen year-old self known that what I was experiencing was abuse, I’d have distanced myself a great deal sooner! If you’d like to know a little more of my story, you’ll find it below this weeks Dare to Create challenge.

“He lived just doors away, went to the same church, insisted on seeing me every day and for hours at a time. He also knew the layout of the college, having studied there.”

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenge you to think about what a good relationship looks and feels like.

The challenge

Describe a healthy relationship using five words. You can see what I chose, below the image.


My five chosen words:




3. INDEPENDENCE (of thought & actions)


What will yours be?

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

This story holds content that might be triggering if you have been experiencing stalking, threats of violence or witnessed abuse.

Survivor story – a little about me


I was the class nerd. I wore unfashionable glasses and was bottom of the class in everything. I was also desperately shy, insecure and very lonely. I struggled to make friends all the way through school and into adulthood and was bullied relentlessly. Those years were hellish, and I was only happy when away from the environment.

When not at school, life was good. I was fortunate to have amazing parents and when not bickering, my siblings and I were close. We knew we were loved unconditionally, and they were always there for us as we grew up, something I’m aware many of you reading this, sadly didn’t have. But despite living in this happy, safe family home, where I witnessed positive parenting and good relationships, I didn’t see the warning signs of an abuser in my first “relationship”.

I use the term relationship losely. Weird as this sounds, I wasn’t in fact consulted on the dating thing! He just told people I was his girlfriend and people assumed it to be true. He knew I wouldn’t feel able to dispute this, due to my lack of confidence. He also knew I was lonely. I probably should have recognised that this wasn’t going to be a healthy relationship, but I was naïve. I saw a friend in them and told myself it was okay, I would simply back-off if things got more uncomfortable. Little did I know how hard that would be!

Within weeks he was manipulating me in significant ways, overstaying his welcome, well into the early hours and straining family relationships. He found ways to accompany me everywhere, without invitation. He expected intimacy when I wanted none and even wanted me to wear a ring on my engagement finger, so it looked like we were in a serious relationship. He was controlling and narcissistic. Things turned particularly sour when I approached my exams. Carl hated to feel unimportant.

One day, while studying alone at home, he knocked the door. I knew he wouldn’t leave if I didn’t answer, so I agreed to a couple of minutes. When I continued revising, he got angry, took out a kitchen knife and threatened me. I freaked!

After that, I refused to see him, but he stalked me daily for three years. I told nobody and remained terrified of seeing him again for decades. Shame and disgust kept me quiet, but if I’d known there were warning signs of abuse, this may never have happened.

Warning signs of abuse – useful links




Though I dislike the American term “battered” and the genders stereotypes, this is a good video explaining the Power and Control Wheel, by the researchers.


Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

Dare to Create – the value of self love

0300752B-07B8-4929-AF3D-AC545E5A4C44.jpeg– Image by Bruce Mars http://www.pexels.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Today’s article focuses on the subject of self-love.


Dare to Create – Write a loving message to yourself

This week I challenge you to write a message of self-love. A positive message to yourself, in the shape of your hand – much as I have below. Make it a message which tells you exactly why you are good enough. That you are beautiful and smart and wonderful, just the way you are!

The Challenge – what you will need

  • A pen
  • A piece of paper
  • A hand to draw around
  • Some beautiful, compassionate thoughts about yourself


Here are some ideas of what you could think about.

  • Things that you are grateful for
  • Things that make you happy
  • Positive words to describe your gifts, skills and personality
  • Your motto for being happy
  • Things that help you feel good about yourself

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

What is self-love?

It’s a phrase we hear a lot nowadays, isn’t it? But what does it mean? If I’m honest, I referred to Google for this one, as I wasn’t entirely certain either. I mean, is it just about believing you look good, taking luxurious bubble baths, and allowing yourself a lie-in at the weekend? Well if you are nodding your head to this, you’d be halfway there, but there’s much more to it than that. In a nutshell, it’s about looking after yourself – your own welfare, and overlaps self-care. It is about allowing yourself to be, well, yourself. Doing what makes you happy. Putting yourself first and allowing yourself time to be completely and authentically you. The wonderful being that you are, but which maybe gets buried under your weight of responsibilities as a mummy, husband or manager, for instance. It may sound selfish, but it really isn’t.


It’s also about considering how we talk about ourselves and showing ourselves respect. It’s about not harshly judging our abilities and imperfections or punishing ourselves for giving in to that yummy slice of chocolate cake – if it made you happy, great! Consider it a treat and show some self-compassion. After all, if we laugh in the face of compliments or frequently belittle and criticise ourselves, how can we expect others to treat us well?

“If you talked to others, the way you talk to yourself, you probably wouldn’t have any friends.”

This saying is one I learned from poet Caira Lee. You can learn more about her and her message, just below. It’s a wonderful video on self-love and self-respect. I encourage you to watch it. It’s really inspiring and contains some fabulous spoken word poetry too. What a bonus!


Survivor story and a message on the importance of self-love

This week I was truly inspired by a video I found on YouTube and I want to share it with you. The speaker is Caira Lee, a national award-winning slam poet and author. She shares her thoughts on the great importance of “radical self-love” through a portrait of illustrations and stories, spoken word poetry and her big personality.

I found such a terrific message in this video, and I really hope you will put your feet up to watch this. It’s eighteen minutes long, so why not make yourself a cuppa and grab a Hobnob. It’s definitely worth sitting down for!


I search 4 it blinded: the power of self-love and self-esteem | Caira Lee| TEDxSHHS


Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist





Just Call Me Lolli- Plq Survivor – Making Space for Creativity

image1.jpgPhoto on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/f097da“>Visualhunt</a>


Plan Ahead

I love the picture above. Not only because if the vibrant colors and of the obvious talent portrayed in the paintings. There is something else that catches my attention, and that’s the artist himself. It would be an average sort of attention you would pour into if the artist was a young man, but the fact that it’s an on older man speaks volumes of discipline and wisdom. I sometimes would like to be like that man because of his dedication. I wonder how more efficient we would be in our lives if we would follow his silent advice of making time for it. You make time to buy groceries, to spend time with your kids, to complete homework, among other responsibilities. Have you ever made time in your schedule just to be you?


Remember, you are creative.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself: “ I’m not that creative.” False! Yes, you are! Just because you are not a writer, painter, singer, or crafter, does not mean that you lack creativity. You may be into coding, baking, decoration, or reading books. Whatever makes you feel creative is perfectly fine. Not everyone has the same talents or skill, therefore there should be no shame when it comes to this. If you are open to trying new things then I would say go for it. Here at PLQ, we value creativity and expression.

Organization is key

The following things are things that I do regularly in order to maintain my creativity in order. I know it seems to be quite contradictory to assume that creativity needs order, mean it’s nature is to be all over the place. Because I tend to get distracted, I write everything on notebooks. Whether those notebooks are virtual or not, I always try to categorize every little thing I am doing that way I won’t get confused. One Note is an app you can use on your computer, tablet, and phone. It works like Evernote, Bear and all of the wonderful apps that exist for creative writers. The old-fashioned way, which is plain notebooks, make take some space in your home, but trust me it can benefits you in many ways. I guess I’m just being biased because I am a notebook hoarder myself. I have a notebook for everything. It helps me focus knowing that if I want to work on a particular thing that day.

image2.jpgPhoto credit: Dvortygirl on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA


Create your own routine

Any successful person such as a CEO or an athlete will tell you that a routine is one of the reasons they have accomplished so much. I am not suggesting that you should wake up at 5 a.m. every single morning, however, it will help. By routine, I mean making friends with repeating certain things. I’ll illustrate an example so can understand this better. As a creative individual, there are certain things that benefit my expression. There are other things that doesn’t. There things that I like and things that I don’t really like. Being able to find the perfect combination of things that help me push further has been a life changer. These are things I do on a daily basis: (Not necessarily in the exact order it happens daily.)

  • Wake up at 5 a.m.
  • Exercise one hour.
  • Coffee.
  • Revise to do list in my planner.
  • Read and pray for at least 15 minutes.
  • Listen to classical music.
  • Write for two hours.
  • Read a book a day. ( Need to start getting into that habit again.)

Find what’s right for you and stick to it. You’ll find yourself feeling funny if one day you skip one of the things in your routine. That’s how you’ll know that you’re getting used to it.


Finding Inspiration

image3.jpgPhoto on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/dca277“>VisualHunt.com</a>

Lantern Festival, Seoul, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Lantern

Having problems finding inspiration? Try looking at pictures from different places in your city. I’ve been lately admiring South Korea and Japan. Try it if you’re having writer’s block or just can’t find a good reason to draw or paint.
'.jpgPhoto credit: Dean Hochman on Visual hunt / CC BY


I hope this helped!


And remember… you are beautiful!



Loren Ruiz

PLQ Survivor and Ambassador

Follow us! @projectlifequality


Just Call Me Lolli- PLQ Survivor Tools and Tips for Working Out


Impossible.jpgPhoto on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/ed7438“>Visualhunt.com</a>

You Can Do It!

The first thing you have to get out of your mind is that you can’t do exercise. When you put it in perspective and see how other people are able to do it you’ll understand too that you can do it as well. Starting to work out may be discouraging, intimidating and at times frustrating. There may be all types of reasons. Whether it’s how your abuser treated you before you left the relationship or not, words have affected you. I understand it’s hard to get over the harmful words people have spoken to us, especially our bodies. But do not let that stop you from pursuing a healthy life. You can do it!

Selecting Exercises

There is a YouTube channel called XHIT, which features numerous personal trainers and workout sessions. IF you go over the playlist, you will find different videos regarding different body sections. IF you want to work on your derriere or your abs there’s a playlist for that. All of the trainers are women, but let this not intimidate you if you are a guy. A lot of these exercises can also benefit you. My favorite trainer’s name is Rebecca Louise. She also has her own channel. You may not understand at first what exactly they do but after you see the videos, you will see how easy it is. If you have a medical problem it would be wise for you see the videos before actually performing them just in case some of them would be harmful to you.

Here are both links:

Exercises you can do

Rebecca Louise: Daily exercise list


A little motivation.png
Photo by whitehatblackbox on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

Spreading Out

Another thing that really helps me stay focused while obtaining a healthy amount of exercise is spreading out my work out segments. I try to work out one hour total every single day. You might think: “That’s too much for me! I have no way of fitting that into my schedule!” Well you can if you spread it out. I try to do 4 segments of workouts, 15 minutes each. The first set would be during the morning, the second segment would be early afternoon like around 1 or 2. The third segment is usually around 5 pm and the last one before bed around 9 pm. If you can’t do this, at least try to set a goal to work out 30 minutes a day. I do most of my workouts home and have no need of equipment. If you prefer the gym, then this may not apply to you, since people that go to the gym usually workout one or two hours straight.


Timer App

Is there anything more frustrating than listening to music while working out? I always lose count when I’m working out, in order to keep everything consistent I downloaded this app called Timer +.  There may be an alternative for the Android platforms for sure. The timer app allows you to put in how many repetitions you want or reminders. An example, so you may understand this a little better is the following. When I work out in the morning for 15 minutes I use the timer app to beep every 30 seconds. The beep lets me know it’s time to switch up to the other leg or to another exercise. You can use it while you hear an audiobook, hear an album on Spotify, or on the YouTube app. But also friend, make sure to add at least a couple of minutes that way you can stretch before beginning. Stretching is so good for you.


If you haven’t checked out our weekly training videos, make sure to follow us on Instagram @projectlifequality and see Jan Askeland’s videos.


Let’s recap on what we learned today, shall we?


  • You can do it!
  • Select the exercises you are able to perform.
  • Spread out your work out segments.
  • Download a Timer app that allows you to repeat cycles of reminders.


If your mind.pngPhoto by symphony of love on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA


I hope all of these tips were helpful for you today! I wish you the best on your personal fitness journey. Remember it is possible and doesn’t compare yourself to others. Everyone doesn’t have the same body structure, resistance, or weight. Stay hydrated and until next time!


And remember…you are beautiful!


Loren Ruiz
PLQ Survivor and Ambassador