About Penelope Overton

Penelope is a life coach helping people uncover their questions, find the answers and get back on track. Her professional experience as a lawyer, a small business owner, a mediator and writer, together with her fair share of life’s ups and downs, means that she brings a uniquely practical, empathic and acute listening to the intricacies of your particular situation. To find out more about Penelope, click here.

The Wrong Jam

There is a pot of jam that has been in my fridge a very long time.  It’s delicious, Bonne Maman.  It’s full flavoured, blue black, firm and smooth.  Blackcurrant jelly.  So why haven't I eaten it? The problem is the label.  The label says it’s Gelée Framboises. There is no way this jam is made from raspberries.  I know I should be able to ignore the label and simply enjoy the taste but instead I find I’m suspicious. I’m not really sure I can trust it. I’ve noticed the same [...]

How to talk to difficult people No 3

I wrote some blogs a few weeks back on how to talk to the difficult people in your household, especially those who find you even more difficult.  I hope that’s been going well, but remember it does take practice. Today I’m going to give some examples of things we say when we mean to be helpful but which never seem to make things better.  I’m going to offer some alternatives. Sentences that start: Why don’t you … If only you would … All I ask is that … ...  hardly [...]

Twelve things to love about lockdown and four to hate (maybe five):

1.The weather. It has to be connected, right? 2.  How the front at Brighton smells like the sea. I’ve never noticed that before. On the same note, I cycled past a field of sheep yesterday and I could smell the wool. Maybe fields of sheep always smell of wool and I don’t notice. Either way it’s a plus; 3.  Cycling. I’ve not been up to Devil’s Dyke before because there are so many cars. Without cars, it's a great ride; 4.  Afterwards, and how none of us know what that [...]

Sixteen things I didn’t know a month ago:

Even when everything’s closed, there is still slightly too much to do; Starting any new project – making curtains, writing a novel, learning the guitar requires will, determination, routine – not just time; I knew I was an introvert, but I hadn’t realised how much of my happiness depended on not having to go out; What furlough means. My guess is like tsunami after 2004, we'll find it popping up in every other sentence from now on; That face masks protect other people more than the wearer - using one [...]

Active Listening in Difficult Times

If you've volunteered to be a listener through the NHS Scheme or locally through a Mutual Aid group, this video should might help you collect some tips up your sleeve for the more challenging calls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=006KdNQrKog              

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown No 2

Continuing in my series on how to talk to difficult people, especially those who insist you are the difficult one: In the previous post I talked about the benefits of asking the difficult person how they’re feeling and the importance of listening to the answer; how to check and demonstrate you’ve understood them, and if you haven’t, to listen again until they know they’ve really been heard. All this time, though, you haven’t had a look in. Now it’s your turn. You can’t wait to launch in with your much [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown:

Loads of us are finding ourselves stuck indoors with difficult people who are (most unreasonably) accusing us of being the difficult one.  This could go on for a long time, so over the next week or two I'm going to blog on ways to turn arguments into constructive communication and the difficult person into someone you can manage and even enjoy to be locked down with for as long as this process takes. Step one: asking how someone is feeling and listening to the answer: 1     Before you get [...]

Who Loves a Lockdown?

  When I was a kid I wanted to be a long distance lorry driver. I hadn’t thought about motorways or transport cafés, fatigue, the health impact of sitting down for ages, deadlines, queues at borders etc.  My  fantasy was about being all by myself, in a snug little cabin, all day.  I’m reminded of it now. I have been noticing how friends and clients have been responding to this voluntary lockdown.  Some seem to be glowing with it, secretly (or openly) relishing the prohibition on crowds, travel, social contact.  [...]

Clearing the Pebbles

It's wet and windy all over the country and no less so than down here in Brighton. The sea chucks pebbles onto the promenade and the council (presumably) sends a guy down with a digger to push them back onto the beach. The sea chucks them back again in the next storm and out the digger comes again.  In some ways it seems like a bit of a waste of resources, especially bearing in mind the forecast. There is a lot of work that is like this: cleaning the house, [...]

Let’s Dance

I did my accounts yesterday.  It's a job made not only bearable but actually enjoyable by the addition of Spotify. I shuffled through a playlist called Classic Covers. Halfway into November’s expenses I found myself listening to something I couldn't at first place - deeply familiar and at the same time completely new. It took me a moment to recognise a ponderous version of Let's Dance, a slow voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar, a hesitant harmonica between verses. The tempo was different and the rhythm was new too. I [...]

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