Friday, 30 December 2016

Dear 2016...

Thank you for the lessons
Thank you for the freedom
Thank you for the new friendships
Thank you for the experience
Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about myself than I ever thought possible
Thank you for the people who were there in my times of need. I am eternally grateful to those who held my hand, held me back, held me up, and wiped away the tears.
Thank you for the time spent with my father, it was almost like a holiday had the circumstances not been what they were. Regardless, that time together was special and I will treasure it always.
Thank you for bringing me home
Thank you for showing me that no great change is made without great sacrifice
Thank you for closer relationships with my family
Thank you for all that you were, because I can now look back from where I am and see that if anything had happened in a different way, I wouldn't be where I am right now. And where I am right now is right where I wanted to be.
Thank you for the positive changes I now see in myself
Above all, thank you for helping me prove to myself just how capable I really am.

Here's to a year of endings, and here's to welcoming in a year of new beginnings. My heart, mind, and soul are grateful for the time I have with my children, my family, my friends, and I have every faith in 2017 to shine.

Sincerely yours,

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Feathers and Stitches

I remember when I was in my early teens my mother sent me to a church embroidery class on a saturday morning. There'd be tea, coffee, cake, and biscuits, and we were taught the basics of hand stitching. From then I stopped for a number of years, I believe high school happened soon after that, and I didn't pick it up again until I was in my twenties. In my drawer there are a couple of satin swatches that have been hand embroidered with the same dragonflies and swirling vines. It's just one of those things I find deeply soothing! So yesterday afternoon after my friend and I had eaten half a tub of peanut butter Ben and Jerry's together we went to Spotlight and that's where I decided I was going to buy some linen, a new needle, some lovely coloured thread, and a sewing hoop. Then last night I sat on my couch for a few blissful hours and I worked. Now today I have something that when I look at I can hardly believe it came from my own hands. My end-game would be to sew myself a medieval style gown and hand embroider the living daylights out of it.
Something that my eldest son and I do while we're out walking is collect feathers, the boy has quite an eye for it! He picks them up, hands them to me, and I put them in the front right pocket of my bag to take home. Last week I emptied the collection onto my desk and golly gosh there were a few! Feathers are fascinating things, so many different shapes, sizes, colours, tones, patterns, formations, so they really do lend themselves to being sketched. Given I have nothing but time on my hands right now I've been doing some sketching and practicing with colour using the feathers.

I feel as though my skills with watercolour are improving. I've been trying to focus on 'less is more' and not to touch the brush to the paper more than necessary. A simple wash with water and a drop of paint, a light touch, and that's all that is needed. On my painting adventures I've discovered that I love the effect that pre-sketching in felt tip gives when you add the colour and moisture.

I write to you now between parts 1 and 2 of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet street. I thought a wee break to update the blog would be just perfect, and now, my dearies, I must return to the delicious cut throat gore and singing.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Planning to plan

I've decided that the 2017 Leonie Dawson planner just isn't going to work for me. I adored the 2016 one but the changes the new one just aren't making my soul happy. So I've decided I'm going to give bullet journalling a try! I do have a shit ton of washi tape and about a thousand blank journals because I am a stationary bowerbird, so why not? Thing is though I've looked up the original Ryder Carroll system and while it seems to be simple enough, I don't trust myself to create something that isn't pre-lined, ruled, labelled and dated.Typically I end up jotting down whatever it is I need to do on a piece of paper when needed, I am definitely a 'get it down fast' kind of gal, but that also means I get left with a list of tasks without priority, and often little things get lost in the ether. I'm also very much a perfectionist and don't want to find myself stuffing up a tiny little thing and having to abandon a whole journal as a result. I know that this will be a challenge in focusing on the CHANGE I want to see, and the planning for action aspect rather than having the perfectly symmetrical, beautiful font-filled, coordinated washi tape to pen colour, journal. I also know that just taking a damn empty book and a plain black felt tip pen and DOING it right here and now won't satisfy me at all. Damnit.

2016 was the first year I actually did use a planner the whole way through and I was amazed at how transformative it was. I was a bit disappointed that it became more of a place of record the essentials rather than for scheduling in making those workbook dreams come true, but I did the best I could at the time. Keeping track of appointments and important meetings, paperwork, forms, coffee dates etc are certainly not any less important by any measure...that's just life! It happens, you kind of just have to roll with it. But there was DEFINITELY a fair deal of wasted (or mismanaged) time that I could have used to reach my goals. That's where the change needs to be in 2017 I feel. I'm a HUGE step closer to having the life I want and I deserve to congratulate myself on being where I am right this very second. On my own couch, in my own home, on a beautiful Summer's day with my laptop before me, in control of my life, and with a world of possibilities ahead of me. I believe bullet journalling is going to help me continue along on my merry little way.

The only issue I have is that I don't often have time to sit down and do each month, week, day, as it happens so for this to work I would need to create the entire thing ready to go for next year within the next few days. I'm still decided whether I want to dedicate my time to that, but the idea of packing up my bundle of stuff and plonking myself down in a corner booth at McDonald's for a couple of hours with endless coffee and cake does sound like a pretty tempting idea. Of course staying home would do just as well, I have coffee here, but being centered in an environment out of the house might mean I'll get less distracted to do something else. That's the trouble with having free time! Oodles of pressure (from myself of course) to do everything all at once instead of just letting myself breathe, chill, and coast.


Maybe I'll start with a shower and see where my morning takes me. I'll check in tomorrow with an update on my BuJo! Let's see what I end up doing.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A few of my favourite things

In Amelie style, cracking the top of a perfectly caramelised creme brulee

Dropping a poppadom into hot oil

The smell of spray paint and engine oil, reminiscent of my uncle's shed.

A flickering candle, and the smell after you blow it out.

Drying in the sun after swimming

Salty skin from the sea

Whistle of a steam train

Foggy mornings in winter

Being underneath a willow tree

Slow constant rain

Rum and raisin ice cream in a waffle cone

Pool swimming at night


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Some things I'd like to say.

Dishonesty is incredibly hurtful. The inevitable lying to then cover the lack of truth makes it all the worse. Even more terrible is the knowledge that you're being lied to but being completely unsure what step to take next. Choosing self respect and putting an end to the disrespect from others is a difficult thing to do when you don't know how. You can't change people. What you CAN change though is how you choose to react. Does it still hurt? Yup. Can you make the other person stop hurting you? Not always. You can move further away from that person, but you can't make that person move away from you. Can you alter the way you receive communication and respond to the influence of others? Yes you certainly can!

Friendship is sacred. There is no greater blessing than finding someone with whom there is a mutually beneficial symbiosis. That's what friendship is really isn't it? I don't harm you, you don't harm me, and if we do, then we fucking apologise and move on to the more important task of food consumption and terrible Youtube.

Fight for what is worth fighting for. Whatever it is you believe is worth it, chase it down and stand beside it. Hold its hand. Learn about it. Speak up for it. Reach out to it. Listen to it. Learn from it. If in your heart you know it's what you want and need, then go get it. If it isn't serving you then
Let. It. Go. Don't waste time and energy on something that doesn't make your heart sing. Life is too short for that nonsense.

That above goes for people, too. You are obligated first and foremost to YOURSELF.

That's all I wanted to say tonight.

Goodnight, my little mamba sneks.

Monday, 5 December 2016

The '2016 Effect'

Let me start this post off by reassuring you that I say this with the utmost love and the best of's tough love, but sometimes we need a swift quick in the nads. Consider this your spiritual arse-booting.

I am so sick of all the defeatist memes and shit on the internet right now! Ok, we know that not all of 2016 went to plan, we know some shit went down, but that's not all there was to it! The more I see memes about '2016 got me dead inside' the more I become downhearted myself. Yes 2016 can suck some camel balls, but we can't go through life with this attitude of 'oh it's nearly over, I can't wait for it to end, I want to see the back of this year' because you know all that that's doing is assuming EVERYTHING stops and ends at Dec 31st at midnight. Get real... life doesn't work like that. If life has thrown you more lemons than you have tequila for then you need to start looking at what you can do to change it or it's just going to carry on over to 2017 and we'll be whining about wanting that year to end, too, by February.

As a collective we're making it worse for each other! The more people catch on to this stream of thinking and pass it on the further it spreads. It's not doing anybody any good.

As a mother I'm reminded that 'one bad day does not a bad parent make' and sure, I struggle with that, but the same goes for this year. One bad month does not a bad year make. Speaking from my own experience it almost seems as though there was more bad than good but I survived it and here I am, alive, to tell the tale! I know some of my friends are suffering through their own hell at the moment and by no means is this post to belittle that (you know I wouldn't do that anyway), but those feelings of sadness, grief, anger, frustration, if you find them flooding over you after spilling a splash of coffee on the floor and think 'of course that would happen to me, just look at my life' when just that previous week you'd gotten bad news, is possibly indicative of depression more than a symptom of a 'bad year'. It becomes increasingly more important to distinguish between relating to a depressing but fairly accurate meme in relation to ourselves because it's relevant at the moment, and feeling consistently down, unmotivated, and sad. At this stage of the year with the increasing stressors and pressures it's so vital that we all take a moment to check in with ourselves and how we're travelling.

If you know me well you know that I'm all for the law of attraction. You attract to yourself what you put out into the universe. You get what you give. If you wake up in the morning and think 'well fuck, it's Monday, Monday's are bad, bad shit is going to happen today', then guess what, sunshine? I know it well enough to recognise when I'm being defeatist myself, and think ah yeah, that explains it. Time to do some cleansing and mental decluttering. Or make an appointment with my psychologist. Whichever. Ha! Either way I'm taking care of myself. On an off day my world and outlook can be very bleak indeed, and being bombarding with 'I give up' memes on the book of face doesn't help me at all. It's always handy to have that one hobby, friend, song, movie, whatever, that lifts your soul and can always be relied upon. Trade one thing for the other and rise instead of fall.

So if you haven't checked in with yourself now might be a good time. There really isn't the same stigma surrounding mental health as there has been in previous years, we're finally reaching a stage where talking about it openly it perfectly normal and accepted, and in many ways it generates a lot more support, so if you're feeling blue it's ok! Acknowledging it is a good place to start towards feeling better,

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