Dear wanderer,

Perhaps you grew up dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts letter, or stumbling upon Narnia. Perhaps you long to visit Pemberley, to Defy Gravity, or to go to the ball. I will write you that letter, and build you that wardrobe. [A metaphorical wardrobe, that is.] Here you will find step-by-step lesson plans with takeaway homework assignments that show you how to embody fictional heroines in the everyday. This means chasing your dreams and making the impossible happen with your own inner magic.

For the full experience, you can Own Your Story, or join me for a literary tea party.

You have the potential. Heroine Training provides the tools.

Welcome to our headquarters, where dreams meet reality, where fiction is cherished, where magic is real.

Sincerely, your guide on this journey,

P.S. Read more about Heroine Training

little summer adventure list

little summer adventure list

How to get me to do anything:

Write a little check box next to a task. I will feel compelled to do it, just to tick that box. To achieve the gold star.

Put a deadline on something and say ‘I dare you’? Oh man. Consider it done. 

[it’s kind of a problem].

I am terrified of letting deadlines pass.

Changing my mind and deciding not to keep a promise to myself is pretty much unheard of.

For the past few summers I’ve set an annual birthday list of adventures, and while this is fun for most of the year, I’ve noticed that July has felt less like my month of birthday celebration, and more like crunch time, the final sprint to the finish line of a marathon.

And so I cut the cord and let it go.


I think this was very brave of me, nixing my list so close to the deadline. I felt a moment of liberation.

I’d been meaning to go to the climbing gym to do one of my birthday list things, but dreaded it, feeling pressured by the task. But when I let go of the obligation, I felt myself wanting to go on a whim. 

Here’s what I realised:

I need to start living in the present rather than scheduling a time in the future to live in the present.

This year I’m replacing my birthday list with little seasonal adventure lists. Just 7 things per season that help me relish the world I’m in, in its current condition.

my little summer adventure list

I asked for suggestions on Facebook, and got some lovely responses!

The beach is my number one. I love swimming in the ocean, then warming up again in the sun wrapped in a slightly sandy towel before eating lunch while soaking up the sea air. Mmmm bliss” – Kirsty


Beach is definitely my favorite – I love living near Lake Michigan! I love to be in or on the water. But I also love all the classic things… Picnics, sidewalk chalk, flying kites, bicycling…” – @annakanski 


Ooooh I love this idea! Picnics, hosting a yard sale (is that an adventure?  🤔), stargazing, the beach, the drive in…so many!” – @sarahstarrs_

little summer adventure list

my little summer adventure list

1. have a picnic

2. camp in the cairngorms

3. read a book of poetry

4. play guitar outdoors

5. go swimming

6. visit a rooftop bar

7. go to the beach

what’s on your list?

P.S. I’ve just updated the Events calendar with some new tea parties and events. Take a look!

Determining Today’s Focus in your Passion Planner

Determining Today's Focus in your Passion Planner

The difference between a heroine and a robot

Sometimes I get obsessed with crossing things off my to do list (in highlighter). Pausing to reflect in my Passion Planner helps me remember the big picture, of why I care about getting things done. 

One of the features that keeps me in check is the “Today’s Focus” box at the top of each day’s column. Every night before I go to bed, I make sure to identify the next day’s “Focus”.

Determining Today's Focus in your Passion Planner

I keep changing up what I use that box for, including the following:

Most Important Task

If nothing else gets done, it’s essential that this does. Choose the most time sensitive task, or the one that will make the greatest progress. Pick something from your to do list in the Top Priority category.

The First Step

The first step towards getting the day started. What’s one small task that can build momentum to tackle a second task? Go for a walk? Let in fresh air? Have a cup of tea in the morning?

Today’s Intention

Choose a word or mood to embody during the day. Calm? Inspired? Being present?

A Tarot Reading 

I used to draw a card each morning and write it in the Focus box. These days I use the top margin for this, and to note astrological happenings.

But lately, I’ve been using this one: 

I’m most looking forward to…

What’s something lovely and productive? What is intrinsically enjoyable, not just for the satisfaction of ticking it off a to do list? 

On Saturday evening I pondered over whether my task should be to cook breakfast first thing int he morning or get out of the house to get some work done. In a lightbulb moment, I decided that my Focus would be to go out for brunch. 

I’ve been shaking up my breakfast options, and have been stuck on what to eat. Going out for brunch (isn’t that what Sundays are for?) would be research, perusing from a whole menu of options that could inspire a new daily ritual. It would also, of course, get me out of the house.

I felt the heaviness of decision lifted from me. When I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I’m not motivated by Getting Things Done. I am motivated by feeling happier and lighter.

P.S. If you’re purchasing your own Passion Planner, use code XANDRA10 to get a 10% discount.

Hogwarts Castle on a Hill

Hogwarts Castle on a Hill

This time I didn’t mean to write Harry Potter lyrics.

The plan was to personalise Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” with nostalgic memories from my own childhood. Because most of these lyrics were Harry Potter-related anyway, I just went with it.

Hogwarts Castle on the Hill


When I was eight years old I met some friends
They were living in a book and in my head
I tasted the pumpkin juice through the pages that Jo wrote down
I was younger then, take me back to when I
Found my letter, broke its seal
Made magic spells with wizard peers
I can’t believe it’s twenty years, so long since Sorcerer’s Stone
But Hogwarts is my real home

I’m on my way
Flying my Nimbus down those Hogsmeade lanes
Humming to Hedwig’s Theme
And I miss the way you make me feel
Magic’s real
We watched the books end over the castle on the hill

Fifteen years old and writing my own Daily Prophet
Reading through the debates and the fan theories and defending Snape to my friends
Had my first book release at midnight,
I got most of the trivia right
But I was younger then, take me back to when
We found magazines with clips to save
We’d buy the chocolate with cards to trade
My friends and I have not dressed up in so long in robes we’d sewn
But Hogwarts is our real home

I’m on my way
Flying my Nimbus down those Hogsmeade lanes
Humming to Hedwig’s Theme
And I miss the way you make me feel
Magic’s real
We watched the books end over the castle on the hill

One friend’s into Game of Thrones
One likes Hunger Games the most
One makes unboxing videos
One wears superhero clothes
Most have Hamilton memorised
One left us for Twilight but
These people read with me and
Hogwarts is our real home

And I’m on my way, I still remember
Those pre-book 7 days
When we did not know what hallows were
And I miss the way you make me feel, magic’s real
We watched the books end over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

A funny thing I’d like to share

Everything in the lyrics is true, except that I wasn’t 15. I wrote The Daily Prophet when I was 9, and attended my first book release at age 12, but 15 sounded better rhythmically.

A little while after writing these lyrics, I saw in print in the Guardian magazine, an article about Harry Potter superfans, featuring…me!

As the lyrics suggest, I did save magazine clippings, and wallpapered my closet with them. Not just of movie stills, but of literally anything Harry Potter related. It occurred to me that as a child I would have probably cut out the picture of me and put it on my wall.

You can read the piece here.

Guardian article

P.S. I also wrote a song about Snape.