Re-Branding Silver into the sensuous, self-confident, successful you. Part three.

The Silver Brand

Silver Mercury Drops

Don’t be scared to present the real you to the world, authenticity is at the heart of success.
– unknown

 

The Silver Brand

Part Three: Business

This baby boomer was a stay at home, full time mom.  My principal job.  Always worked, as a teacher, office manager, designer and later, a travel consultant, but these were flexible jobs, always making sure I was first and foremost, a homemaker. So what does that make me now?  Pretty much at the sticking point of having to re-brand my business into a serious career, that will earn me and income, give me financial security and create an exciting avenue for my talent.  The children have flown, as has the husband. This is not an uncommon tale in the Silver Street part of our lives. 

Time to re-brand the business

Many women have worked their entire lives, and may be thinking ‘ I need to change.’  Some may need to begin a career for the first time, or re-evaluate their careers due to redundancy, for financial reasons, or simply because it proverbial rut keeps growing.  So much happens at this time of our lives, in every aspect of it, but it is also an opportunity to take the best of who we are, of what we have accomplished and forge these qualities into  exciting, new selves, and a new business.  If you are one of those, like me, we need take the advice we have been giving our children, and others and re-brand.

Silver Escalator going up Going up

Business as usual or business as the beginning of a whole new adventure?

I am opting for the latter. Re-branding my business, adding some new ideas, embracing what I cannot change and changing what I can.  Re-branding myself so it’s a double whammy of power house control.  

10 points to consider when re-branding a business

  • Re-branding needs work.  A swot analysis of either what I already have, an existing website, a limited company and clients for example.  Strip down what you have, and either begin the play dough moulding by pulling away pieces that don’t suit you, doesn’t work and adding new ideas to freshen the basic structure of your business. If you are beginning again, at something new, do the homework with a positive attitude.
  • For those who are starting out, fear is real.  Changing what you have?  The fear is real.  We doubt ourselves more at this Silver Street time – have we missed the entrepreneurial bus?  Are others going to take us seriously?  How do we market ourselves when we have been stagnant, holding back or in a new environment?  We always believe that others are already doing it better, have been around longer, know the contacts, are the contacts – we put every excuse in the book in our paths to deter us and knock that confidence down a little more with our doubts. Fear is real,  but so is self loathing when we cannot bring ourselves to begin again, to change, and that should motivate us to literally ‘take the bull by the horns’ and steer our own lives.
  • Believe you are capable.  You have managed to get through life pretty well up till now.  You have experience (which is a great asset), knowledge and the ability to contribute to the business sector, on your own terms.
  • Choose to do something you love.  This is important.  Many of us are involved in more than one business, doing a number of things we love that will reward us, rather than staying in the corporate world until retirement.  If you love designing, consulting, baking, wealth management or anything else that takes your fancy and rocks your business boat, start today even if it means temping on the side, or even working odd jobs to fuel your passion.   
  • Don’t be put off by finance.  We have social media and that good old ‘word of mouth’ is your best friend.  You can put together a free website, get an email address, and network.  Getting out there is the objective – no-one gains from being invisible.  
  • Do and don’t take it personally. Yes it is, it is you and what you can do.  If someone doesn’t get your vision, then don’t – they don’t know you and what you can achieve. 
  • Find like minded people who will support you. Surround yourself with optimism.
  • Life may have knocked you pretty hard, it know it has me, but ultimately we are the only one’s responsible for how we go on from disappointment and loss.  There were many moments we think ourselves useless and unloved, but having a great business is a sure fire way of creating the Super woman that you are.  It gives purpose to your life.
  • Purpose is the reason we should all take stock of where we are in Silver Street.  Much of what we did in the past has changed, we need a new purpose and what better way to achieve that by working at something we love, and making money whilst doing so? 
  • Re-branding you business may take you to avenues you never dreamed of.  Never limit yourself because you feel you have spent years working on your existing business.  How can you feather it out?  Who can benefit from your skills in a different way, whilst still keeping the core?  My travel consultancy is now also a venue destination business for weddings and special events.  This means I have to re-brand the business to reflect the new direction whilst still maintaining my core business.  I get to plan the trip and the occasion – need to re-brand to show that.

silver pencils

have the pencil, the notebook and the inspiration at the ready.  Courage will be my vessel and not settling in my fifties and in my Silver Street will be my motivation. There is so much we have to offer, from the smallest gem of advice to the most beautiful artwork and skills we have gathered in our own life garden, that nothing should stop us re-branding our lives and our business’ to embrace a new era.

That Era has our name on it.

Images Peintres

 

 

After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world. Christian Dior

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1459537177-jaclyn-journeyAngeliqueSmithPhotography Kraak 3CF-188-960x1443Carla Coulsen

After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world. Christian Dior

When I was little, my friends and I would wait for the banksias to bloom.  Small white and yellow roses forming an arch over our garden gate.  Transformed to brides, the petals were confetti.  Petite, and pretty stuff happening in our lives.

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers.”
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

We have loved blooms ever since. Have longed for spring ever since.  My mother planted daffodils, tulips, freesias and blue iris’ in the garden.  Hyacinths in pots in the house. Roses bloomed as did my childhood dreams.  Fridays were for fresh bouquets.

I follow the same pattern. No matter where I am, the attraction of flowers enhances a window sill, pavement, corner stand – art in nature.

My first ‘real’ bouquet denoting love was in my freshman year at University.  Signed ‘Muffin.’ So not romantic – I loved the flowers and forgot about muffin.  Did you get a secret Valentine’s rose?  I remember every detail of my wedding bouquet. The roses at my children’s christening.  Flowers sent by my sister when I turned fifty, in a new country, feeling a little lost. We do that, don’t we, remember the flowers given by those we love and cherish them.

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
–  Claude Monet

No matter where I live, rich or poor, my house is filled with flowers.  I need them like air.

Poets know about the power of flowers.  Playwrights do. Artists do. Any occasion warrants these beauties and why am I writing about this tonight?

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”
–  Emma Goldman

Because I could post a thousand pictures of flowers … and wax lyrical about the qualities of a single petal, but I want to say … if you are feeling a little lost, a little down, a little unvalued … I am sending you a bouquet of blooms for you are worth it.

Carla's Wedding flowers

Images: ,jacelyn journey, Angelique Smith, Carla’s wedding

I need Dusty tonight.

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Can I say, I sensed terrible news?  A sleepless night, watching the horror at 4am and by 5am all the messages began coming through.  Are you safe, are your children safe … ping, ping, ping.

We are all safe, but none are safe in this radical, fanatical onslaught of insanity that taints and bloodies our streets with the lives of our children. I am sick of it all, sick and tired and so wary of it all – we are not safe. We are tired, but we are not frightened.

I just hope that all those sad, deprived lunatics who think Nirvana awaits with a thousand virgins for them arrive in the afterlife to find grotesque, haggard, withered and septic hag like virgins to spend eternity with. Macbeth hag virgins. And I hope the hag virgins boil them in bile, just enough not to let them die, but to rot, rot and rot in everlasting pain.  I am that angry. Tomorrow I shall be calm.

I want Dusty tonight. Dusty soothes me.  I have many favourite musical soothers but tonight Dusty will do.

The thing is. The thing is I find it is not just attacks of violence that make me weary.  Witnessing criticism and others hurting others on a daily basis drags my heart down, down and down into my weary feet. At work today, impatience brought insult, customers, unaware of the hard work are easy to judge and throw their unkindness about.  The dishwasher stands for eight hours over a sink and cannot satisfy fast enough. Children with no manners throw tantrums and end up being rewarded.  Bad manners abound in a small space and as I drag my stampeded, battered body and soul home, I wonder at how quickly others judge, ignore, neglect and hurt to the point where animosity and indifference become the norm.

So I need Dusty tonight. A little soul in little things. Moments to sit back and reflect on whether I have said something hurtful today; forgotten how to be kind.

When attacked, we rally with human kindness and solidarity but why do we wait for tragedy to be kind and nurturing?

Sitting on my little balcony, with Dusty, and I am learning. My children are safe tonight, other parents mourn and thinking, what am I really doing to make it better?

Dusty, lighten the mood please …

PS little spider is doing well beside me.  Her web blew away but she is, as I hope to be, resilient.

Image Rock hall of fame

All in a day’s work – it’s a beautiful one but I am exhausted!

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I have to tell you about today.  Most mornings I am awake with the birdsong – love that in the summer months, sweet chirping outside and the slither of light coming through the windows. Very different to the dark months when even the birds are annoyed.

As I work from home, it’s the coffee express, the hot water and lemon and pulling the computer closer to see all the emails. I am a good girl, a quick thank you prayer, some to do lists and hoping the juices will get the old forgotten metabolism kick started. (Does it really work?)

Luxury travel and events is my main business, but I did let you on in the secret of working in a coffee shop a few days a week to not only ground me, get me out there but also observe.  Love observing.  Anyway, when the text came through with a plea to help at the coffee shop for the morning, I shifted my to do list to the afternoon and off I went.

The thing is, the thing is, in my little mind, if I am not mentally scheduled for something, things go wrong.  I was mentally scheduled to stay at home and work, and it must be karma. Half an hour into the coffee shop and I shred my nails way down, like whoa, that’s sore! Flip and fathom the forefathers kind of F.  Coping till I end up burning two fingers to the point of serving with ice in my hand to ease the pain.  Amazing what you can do with one hand she says. And so it went, but the lesson here is that when one is scheduled. brain orientated to do one thing, doing another brings consequences.  My mind was on my clients, not on my customers and I paid for it.

images-132  Today in the coffee shop:

  • It’s the age thing.  You won’t believe how many customers ask me if I own the business.  For them, a Silver Streeter with an apron in a coffee shop must be the owner, or someone sad who needs the job. Funny that. Can one simply do a job and not be stereotyped?
  • The accent continues to intrigue.  Is is Australian? From New Zealand? South African – wow, always wanted to go to South Africa, or know someone who has.
  • Young waitrons don’t know how to chat. Most customers relish the compliment on the baby (mums struggle here without help), the holiday (tourists on their own) or telling you about their dogs, days and what they do.  Most customers want interaction which the younger waitrons miss. Five minutes of chatting leads to interesting stories.
  • Smiling.  If I could coach on the smiling thing, business would boom.
  • Met a young lady who was at school with my eldest. The ‘oh my word’ conversation was magic and now we are her new customers.  Says something about the old girls school bond.
  • It is a tiring job doing this, but have become the sage of advice for others – go figure.
  • Make a point of not checking my emails or voice messages which is a good thing for when I do, all systems go.

And so it is.  I am discovering a whole new world of people and their characters and they are pondering about mine.  From luxury travel and events to serving smoothies, my world has opened up to so many possibilities and it suits me right now.  We can take our lives and change them, explore them, learn and harness that information into a broader sense of it all.

Am I a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde? Perhaps.  But for now I love it.  Noticing how others perceive me. Observing life, taking notes and if truth be told, loving the experience of balancing high end clients with being, well, just a normal, waitron.  I am learning that I can do it all if I want to.

Know your market. Get out there and find them.  I picked up two new clients today from serving them lattes.

Images: R123

 

The ‘when I was a little prancer’ philosophy for Optimism.

Maddie, Callan, Grayson and Zanele at Botanical gardens

Maddie, Callan, Grayson and Zanele at Botanical gardens Go to that Happy Place.

There are days when getting out of bed seems to require elephant strength. Others have literally trampled all over your life, your body feels it, finances are scary and the Optimism factor exploded in your pretty face. 

Everything you do is just not working out:

your-doing-it-wrong Yup, we know the feeling. – fail.

Days when death, divorce, jobs and idiots circle like vultures in a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western.  Optimism is a dirty word and courage, well courage is as distant as your youth.

That’s when you go to your happy place – the ‘when I was a little prancer’ rule. This is how it works:

  • What were you doing in your spare time? Dancing, drawing, playing in the sandpit? Remember how little you cared but for the activity.  Pure concentration, pure bliss.
  • When sit-up’s were you sitting up from lying on the grass.
  • When running was just for the hell of it and you loved the freedom of doing it.
  • Your bicycle, lego, barbie (yes) was your best friend.
  • You didn’t stop to think the dog would bite.
  • Eating was a waste of energy.  When sweets were fun.
  • Going to the movies was a real event and not something to pass the time.
  • The weekend was exciting, rather than time to flop from fatigue.
  • You liked looking pretty.
  • Friends meant everything and you wanted to share.
  • You messed up, got over it and didn’t need a therapist.
  • Loved waking up in the morning.
  • Your small world was everything and travel meant a trip across the road.
  • Climbing trees was natural, as was swimming, jumping and eating mud cookies.
  • You belonged.

How many of these things do you still do?  

True, leaping over a fence is going to be dangerous and the tree climbing thing may have me committed, but that does not mean we cannot aspire to finding the pleasure, and how it affected us, in just being like the little prancer.  Energy and the spending of it took care of the kilo’s, but now we diet and slouch.  Stories were not found on the front page.  Hours of swimming did not mean the day was unproductive.

True, we have to work, pay the mortgage, deal with the things life throws at us, but every now and then, in the moments between, going to the ‘little prancer’ place makes for optimism growth.  Remembering how awesome we were back then reminds us how awesome we are today.  Write something, draw something, do nothing … make it about you, with energy and spirit.

Optimism will follow and that Elephant strength required will be elephant energy. Hold your head high, strip to the basics and get back to feeling that your are still invincible.  You just need to shake off the dust on your shelf life …

Have a milkshake and if you can still do a cartwheel …

 

Re-Branding Silver into the sensuous, self-confident, successful you. Part Two

The plus paper

Silver Mercury Drops

‘In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,…’ Langston Hughes
In this Silver time, we embrace our beauty, adorn ourselves with make-up, accessories and fashion to stride forth, confident that this is the time when life, with pleasure, and pain, makes of us, art.
As with puberty, this Silver time is when our bodies, once again, go through the most change.  We are menopause, siphoning Estrogen, losing elasticity, wanting for moisture – our bodies are marching to a drum not of our choosing.  If we let it …
Silver fluidity
Part Two: Fluidity
When I was forty-seven, let’s call it my Vermillon time, I was in sync with my body.  I loved my body and gave it attention.  I gave her respect and she in turn, gave me confidence, sexiness, form. Life happened and I neglected her.  She became stiff, formless and fat.  Easy to blame you, I said, you were not important when my mind, my darkness and loss descended.  You were the last thing on my mind.  
I began to miss her strength.  Her agility.  Her sexiness.  Was it too late, I thought, must I succumb to the years and acceptance of Silver being a downward spiral rather than an upward thrust? In the realisation that this body, this mighty messenger would be with me for a number of years hence, I needed to change my attitude.  I needed to regain my friend.
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So I had to give myself a good lecture. This has gone to far – Take note:
  • It’s okay that things went pear shaped in your life.  
  • You cannot remember when last you touched your toes.
  • Or looked in the mirror and sort of went ‘yeah’.
  • Croissants are for ‘when in Paris’ only.
  • Study Martha Graham.
  • Amazons never ‘did lunch’ everyday.
  • Wine may be your best friend, but there is a limit to your devotion.
  • That ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ never works.
  • Stop weeping that your boobs are popping out of the smaller size, the muffin top takes centre stage and your favourite clothes well, have been sitting in the wardrobe for ‘one day.’

Start today.  Slowly remember your body is you, and no matter the size, be comfortable with it.  But get it fluid again.  There is time enough when you cannot get out of the chair.

silver pintrest

Remember when you played with mercury at school?

You are silver Mercury

May sound crazy, but I got fed up with the hanging onto what I used to be.  Pain made me stiff and unyielding and all I could do was remember …. backwards, and giving up … forwards.  Not any more, I am taking responsibility for myself.

Begin with just not listening to what everyone else tells you.  Diet, exercise, must do this and must do that.  Your body will tell you.  You know how much to eat, how much to move and even if it’s just to the music, let yourself sway.  Some may be tri-athletes in the Silver stage and I salute them, but mortals like me need to have a plan that calls for common sense. There is absolutely no reason why you should not be fluid and fit. No excuse if that is what you want. 

The plus paper

Beautiful body, beautiful mind, beautiful you

Think fluidity and you the rest will follow

So, aiming for the beautiful … get yourself the beauty products and build on your body till you literally glide.

Images: Pintrest, the plus paper

A rainy afternoon with the Greats at the British museum

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IMG_4808I do love a rainy afternoon.  Not all the time, and not to be confused with the endless dark days of winter, but rainy days have always held for me, creative time.  As a child we were allowed to play indoors, make houses under tables, colour in and paint; and read about interesting places in the family Atlas.

Met Callan for lunch in the city so was close to the British Museum.  As if on cue, the rain began to fall.  Tip: enter through Montague Street, fewer crowds. When I visit a museum I don’t like to see every nook and cranny (and suffer museum burnout) but focus on one or two periods in history and do them properly.  Egypt, and the Roman/Greece wings.

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My Instagram

‘How fabulous to go to a museum and understand what you are looking at’

This is what I am saying!

How fabulous to know something, recognise something, be able to appreciate something and we have so much knowledge, experience and appreciation for beauty in Silver Street.

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Sadly it takes little for the shutter bug selfies to ruin a moment.  Posing the child in front of a mummy who should get more respect, but patience is another virtue here and I move on.

  • Love the adornments, since days of Tut.
  • Love the admiration of the human form.
  • The British may have ‘lifted’ artefacts from around the world but at least they are preserved and we get to learn.
  • Realise there so much I am missing in my knowledge and excited to do more research.
  • Love the actual building the museum is in.
  • Mummies, sculptures, butterflies, books – all there for an afternoon’s whiling away.
  • Admire the people who put this together, dedicate their lives to preserving history.

IMG_4811 My first Drama textbook had a vase just like this on the cover, and I found it in the museum.  Ritual and Theatre in ceramics.

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Best of all is the location of the British Museum.  It’s really coming down outside. Preferring to escape the crowds for a cuppa and some cake, I found my way to The London Review Bookshop, a charming bookshop and café. What I do need are some options for good reading, so feel free to advise please. So many choices and always seduced by the smell and feel of a new book, not to mention the riveting covers.

Beside me, a woman is discussing her novel in the making with someone who will read, advise on characters and act as a soundboard.  Intrigued and full of admiration for the budding novelist – take note, take note.  This is just the place to banter ideas about characters.  Watching those scurry in the drizzle outside, it’s Rooibos chai, avec the Rosemary and lemon cake (simply had to.)  Ideas are born in cafés around the world, these places nestle and nurture creative ideas.  A Hemingwayish feel about it all.

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You owe it to yourself to push your learning.  To read, to write, to have a voice.

Keukenhof. Tulips and wanting to fall into them.

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Tulips with heart It’s fitting that there is a gentle drizzle outside my window this morning.  I have been meaning to write about Keukenhof for the past week or so, but life is always a little to do here, a little to do there, and then when it’s like this outside, one just wants to spend time nestling – and writing. About Keukenhof.

About eleven or twelve I think I was when my mother first took me there.  The impact must have been such that I remember every turn of the paths, the paint-box colours, and my first, black tulip, carefully cultivated and protected in the hothouse.

A few years ago, in my unresearched enthusiasm, I dragged my family there only to be met with stems as short at my thumb.  A harsh winter and we were way to early.  Some pots inside had us pretending we were swimming in a park of tulips, but all left feeling cheated at the experience.  This is why it has been hankering at me for so long – like unfinished business, to confirm the teenage dream was real.

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Local growers team up with Keukenhof to produce the very best tulips on show.  Flower beds are designed to bloom at different times and naked stems are clipped so the masterpiece retains no flaws.  The organisation, planning and execution of this performance has me wondering at the months, years of design that allows for my few hours of enjoyment.  It was just as I remembered.

IMG_4564  Better than I remembered.  Arriving at Keukenhof gives one no idea of what awaits.  Awesomeness. I was lucky, it wasn’t busy judging by the few tour buses.  I don’t want to experience something this special with thousands of photo trigger tourists.  There is no soul in that. 

Do you ever try to dodge all the tourists in your photos when travelling?  I encourage travel but have I become a grumpy traveller myself? Best times, as the garden opens or mid-afternoon.

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Getting to Keukenhof is easy.  There are buses from Amsterdam, Schipol Airport and Haarlem, where this Silver Solo traveller stayed for my visit.

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Make sure you time your visit perfectly!  I indulged, enjoyed and was taken to another place of beauty which I hope to return to over, and over again.

 

Spring awakening

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There is scene from the 1997 version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, a la Colin Firth of the wet shirt brigade, where Lizzie visits her best friend, Charlotte in her new home.  Charlotte has married Mr. Collins (poor dear) and Lizzie asks her how she is:

‘I find myself quite content with my situation, Lizzy. she replies.

I have decided this post is too blah! Moaning minny I was so enough of that.

Instead , I remember not so much Charlotte, although it did disturb me at the time, but the hilarious Mr. Collins outside, trying to ward off the bumble bees in the garden.

It is a Spring Awakening for me.  For the personal reasons of which I spoke, but also that Spring just seems so much lovelier this year.  A garden guide at one of the National Trust properties, I love seeing the garden go through the seasons and those first crocus’ gladden my heart.  From then on its snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells … and though the skies stay cloudy, the colours in bloom are a joy to behold.

Definitely feeling great and in a spring mood. It is also a time I do miss my own garden but now I have all the parks around me, my flat, even though I moan sometimes, looks over a large park with a lake.

But it is the birdsong, very early as the sun comes up, that I love the most.  Sweet songs.

For me, spring is around me, but in my heart.  I am delighted to be back in London and see this positive year unfold.

The baby boomer, the cat in the sack and a tattered ballgown.

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02514e3e8eb7577f95bf52b55822357c--ok-quotes-inspirational-quotes  Begin the mantra, and do it again, and …

I thought I was a princess.  My mother thought she was, kept telling me I was  so I believed it.

Daddy went to work, mommy princess built a home, baked on Fridays, created a garden and picked me up from school.  Daddy took us to the drive-in on Saturdays, forgot the birthdays and prize giving but it never mattered, it was not his job, he was there and would never let me fall.

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I was a princess mommy.  Daddy went to work, princess built a home, created a garden, baked on Fridays and collected my children from school. Told daddy about the birthday’s, went to the prize-giving alone, but it did not matter, it was not his job, and is always there to catch his children when they fall.

He watched me fall.  I think we dropped each other, and I know I was not there to help him stand when his legs were weak and his heart fearful.  My heart and dress are tattered and this ‘letting go’, ‘begin again’ and ‘new windows’ stuff wears thin when the I lost the map and the castle lies in ruins.

The princess wallowed for many days.  She tore through the forest in the dark, and all she had was the sack, the one the cat jumped out of and scratched at her fiercely before fleeing into the night.  The cat, the story, the fairytale had vanished.

But as it goes, time came to visit, the baby boomer got a job, looked at the lines on her face, forgave herself and found a path that led to a small cottage, a stream of consciousness and some breadcrumbs.  No more cake.  Crumbs.  These she scattered around the neglected garden.  Growth began.

Could the princess thing have been a cruel illusion after all?  Would the princess be able to live with all the broken fantasies, the cold realities, the new possibilities?

The truth was in the small cottage, in the tiny garden, with the lines on her face as she stood in the tattered ballgown.  And she realised …

I am not a Princess.  I am now a Queen.