Those who know me best, or meet me for more than 30 seconds, know 1 thing for sure – my mama is my hero.

Undoubtedly the strongest, kindest more gracious human I know, she has spent years passing her wisdom down about everything from relationships, to dreams, to the female wisdom, and everything in between.

So I thought it only fitting that on Mother’s Day I share some of the greatest lessons she has taught me….and hopefully you will find them as profound as I have.

Life never gives you more than you can handle

By the time I was 10 years old we had tragically lost 3 members of our family, migrated twice, overcame a war, a divorce and started life together again as a team – I remember crying deeply in my mama’s arms for years to follow asking why? Why did everything have to feel so hard?

In one of her many moments of wisdom (she would have 10 billion to come) my mum turned to me and said…

“life never gives us more than we can handle, and though it hurts now, the hurt will pass and you will always smile again”.

While this was hard to understand as a child, as an adult her words ring true each day – and even on days when I feel complete defeated, I know that tomorrow I will smile again.

Please and thank you go a long way

As a child I remember my mama encouraging me to read classic literature and watch old movies – especially when I was learning English. When I would ask her why, she said “no matter who you are speaking to, you must think that you’re speaking to the queen of England, always be gracious, courteous and polite”.

I would go on to approach every job interview with those words in mind, channelling the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

It’s no coincidence that manners became an enormous part of what I look for in people, particularly when dating.

When someone goes low – you go high

When my mama was a child, my grandmother always told her that being above the insults, the fights, the haters was her greatest asset – ‘be above it’ she’d say.

It’s no wonder those words were passed onto me from my mama, and while I would try to rebel the idea at the time, deep down I knew she was right.

I asked her once, why was it always me who had to be above, and in her calm, gracious tone (which she always uses when she’s about to say something truly brilliant) she said ‘in life you can either be a barking dog, or a wise purring cat who just walks away – the choice is always yours’.

Be yourself

Whether it was at school, university, when I started working, dating or even amongst friends – my mum was a constant voice of encouragement, always telling me to be myself and block out all the noise that tried to say otherwise.

As adults, we often forget how important encouragement is, even when I started coffees & style, and was bombarded with opinions and naysayers, her encouragement to be authentic never stopped.

Those who don’t take risks – don’t drinks champagne

The first time I remember hearing those words I was 18, about 3 months before graduation I decided to choose PR instead of law for my university studies. Truthfully most people thought I was nuts, and even more people thought my mama was nuts for encouraging me to do it.

The day I made the application I turned to her and said ‘you realise this could all totally blow up in our face’, and once again with her calm demeanour she said ‘honey, those who don’t take risks don’t drink champagne – nothing worth it ever comes easy’.

We would go on to popping many bottles (many are yet to come) sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but if there’s one thing my mama never allowed, is for me to give up – and each time I jumped a hurdle there was a bottle of bubbly waiting at the finish line.