9 December 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Huge apologies for there not being a post last Sunday; I have been playing catch up a little so I just didn't get my head in the game and I would much prefer you to not have a post for one day than have a rubbish one!

I have started my Vlogmas videos now, so to catch up click HERE to go through to the playlist! I would love you forever if you would subscribe though as it makes a huge difference to me on YouTube, click right here to go and do that right now! I hope you enjoy the videos; they will be short and may not be full of lots of adventures because, well you know, real life exists and work has to be done, but I love watching peoples real lives, the more raw the better and so that is basically what you can expect to find!

On to this weeks gratitude list...



:: This week I made the very adult decision of saying 'yes' to going out-out! My beautiful friend, Kimberley, asked me ages ago whether I would like to go and see The Royal Ballets 'The Nutcracker' with her over at a local cinema and I was struggling to agree due to finances, but I thought 'sod it!' and told her I'd go! It was truly incredible! It was a live broadcast of the opening night from The Royal Opera House and I cannot tell you how magical it was. I sat there in total awe of those dancers and cannot wait to see another ballet in that same setting as the view was, in my opinion, better than being in the actual theatre! I highly recommend you checking out these types of live performances if you get a chance; it would make a lovely present for someone too as it feels more special than a regular cinema visit. Thanks so much for asking me to go with you Kimberley!

:: Kirsties Handmade Christmas started last week and it really had me feeling the Christmas magic! I soooo want to make wands now; if you didn't see the first one then you will have no clue what I am talking about!!

:: After finally getting the enthusiasm together to put the Christmas decs up, I have actually really enjoyed sitting in the lounge with just the fairy lights on. I think I forget how magical that feels; it made this mornings 3.30am headache much easier to cope with!

:: On the subject of Christmas lights, our village Christmas tree and lights went up yesterday, although they don't get their official switch-on until later this week. I also love the fact that a huge cross gets put on the top of the church too, which also lights up and looks beautiful at night. It is all these little things that make living in a small village like ours so wonderful; I love a tradition!

^^ Such a pretty rainbow over our village that just cannot be shown off by a phone camera! ^^ 

:: This morning we got all sorted for a little mooch about the village and, although it was short lived because of the rain, it was lovely to catch this rainbow and watch the rain coming in over the sea... maybe we'll have another try at a walk later today! I really enjoy getting fresh air after a week where I have basically been home the whole time; it's been so tricky to try and get out in-between the full on pelting showers we have been having!

:: Ages and ages ago Joe pre-ordered us the new Christopher Robin film on Amazon* and it arrived yesterday morning, so naturally we watched it last night! What a beautiful, thoughtfully-made film it is! I just adore lovely Pooh bear so much, he is the best isn't he? I think it was paused about three times to allow for self-composure (any fellow emotional wrecks over films please put your hands up!).

:: Wednesday was a bit of special day and we treated ourselves to some yummy Marks and Spencers food, including my all-time favourite dessert that they do, the millionaires dessert, which is white chocolate and milk chocolate mousse, a chocolate ganache on the top and caramel at the bottom with a biscuit base... basically heaven in a pot! Wow, my mouth is watering just describing it to you!

:: I was super chuffed this week to get a little mention at the end of one of my fave illustrators, Catherine of Katnipp Illustrations, videos after I sent her a personalised 'C' painting for being so lovely. I didn't send it for any shout outs at all, just to say thanks for always sharing her processes and suppliers etc, which many people won't do, so when I was watching her studio vlog this week it was amazing to see Leaf Lane Studio get a shout out! Catherine makes cute little pins and stickers among many (many) other things and is going from strength to strength with her business, which motivates me so much with my own.

Thank you for stopping by this week, it means the world to me that you take time out of your schedule to come here and read what I write...waffle and all! Don't forget to head over to my YouTube Channel to check out how vlogmas is going!


^^ This is the little bespoke, baby pink, 'C' I painted for Catherine from Katnipp Illustrations, order yours HERE ^^

* Amazon affiliate link
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5 December 2018

IT'S NEVER AS BAD AS WE THINK


^^ My little bespoke 'initial' paintings are now available and made to order, click here! ^^

Since officially launching Leaf Lane Studio last September I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone so many times that, had I known prior to having my own business what anxiety I would get each time I faced said comfort zone breach, I may not have started it at all! 

This week specifically, I have found myself reflecting on just how ridiculous practically all my business-related anxiety has been, and the reason I began to think about it was because of money. When I launched the business I was more than aware that I wouldn't have much (any) money for a while and that it was something that comes with the territory unless you are one of the very fortunate people who just so happens to have a product or service that sells crazy-fast - if this is you then you're my hero!

I chose not to go down the road of business loans / credit cards and, instead, I opted for the slow approach and I am so glad I did. This way of starting something, which I knew so little about, meant that I gave myself the space and time to really grow into Leaf Lane Studio and understand what parts of my business I was comfortable with and what parts I was not.

It turns out that one of those things is money.

As I am sure you all know, when you work for yourself, you have to start filing your tax return and thinking about the best practice when it comes to filing receipts, keeping records and all the other things that come with the responsibility of being your own boss. For me, as much as I love facts and figures, and would really love to get stuck in with it all, I just had too much resistance to getting on with it, which I was really concerned may lead me to being out of the loop with my own records and some irresponsible business management on my part.

Every time I even thought about my tax return I would have a barrier come into my head and would not even be able to think clearly about how I would get that done, let alone whether I could do it right. This mindset and worry had been manifesting and niggling away at me for over a year, so I decided to take action and get myself sorted with an accountant.

My first meeting was yesterday and it was absolutely wonderful, and that is my reason for writing this post. I worried all weekend about my meeting, frantically gathering, sorting and labeling everything she needed from me and worrying I hadn't done enough my end; I felt sick with anxiety and really all over the place! As soon as I stepped into the meeting and had been assured that everything was okay and I had been doing everything right so far, the weight that lifted off my shoulders was huge.



My point it this: if there is something you are really worrying about and you can ask for help, whether it is something in your personal life or in work/business, just bloody get the advice or help, don't be like me and drive yourself crazy.

I have learnt so much about myself in launching my business and the biggest thing is how much I can avoid the things that worry me the most; for the record, this doesn't count when it comes to my clients and lovely brides to be, it is more my own side of things. I would never, ever let a customer down, so why is it that I would let myself down? It is so strange how things work in our minds isn't it.

I am learning that asking for help and guidance does not equal failure and I think that is my biggest 'win' for 2018, because I could have launched Leaf Lane Studio at least two years sooner if  I wasn't so worried about certain things, such as finding a printer for my work (which turned out to be so damn easy once I got over myself!), and this whole accountant thing pays for itself ten-fold with the amount of stress it alleviates, not to mention all the other little gems of knowledge accountants can offer.

The moral of the story: do not ponder for too long over the things that you can sort out in an hour or so, it is not worth it, I promise you! Make the decision to change and get on with it!
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25 November 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ The view from St Michaels Mount back to Marazion this morning ^^

Happy one month until Christmas Day my loves; okay, I really need to talk about Christmas, I have to get it off my chest! Usually I am all over the festive season like a rash, but this year it just hasn't kicked in at all. I have been wondering why and then it dawned on me that working from home and not interacting with other Christmas lovers has really taken its toll! I need to get into Christmas and fast and that is why I have decided to try and do Vlogmas this year; I am not promising a video a day, but I will do what I can and part of that will be getting out and about as much as I can managed whilst having zero pennies in my purse and a phone that keeps turning off!

The good news is that I have received an early letter from Santa (my people know his people you see) and I have found out that I have a brand new, sparkling camera coming my way for Christmas (on a serious note I am a very, very, very lucky girl and feel so grateful). So you can expect a huge increase in videos and quality of videos for 2019. 

Any quick fixes for getting into the festive spirit will be gratefully received though, because I cannot even summon the strength to put up the tree, which always happens on 1st December and I am usually counting down the days! I am sure I will get there!


^^ A little preview of the calendar! What do you think? ^^

Right then, let's talk about the lovely things from this week shall we?

:: I have got right into painting the rest of my calendar for Leaf Lane Studio this week; I decided to use gouache for this years version and I am really enjoying it, it feels like a better medium for the look that I am after! I am, however, running a little behind still due to the few weeks of illness (playing catch up is the worst!) but it will be out soon, so hang on in there! 

:: This week was a good workout week for me. I managed a couple of yoga sessions, with my good pal Adrienne (YouTube!) and four sessions in the gym. I am feeling so much more like myself again, finally, and being back to training really helps.

:: I've been trying my best to interact more on my Instagram stories this week on both my accounts (make sure you are following the blog and Leaf Lane Studio!) and have been enjoying it a lot. My goal is to become more confident with it and to let you guys see a bit more behind the scenes stuff. I think it is so easy to over think it when, actually, it is often so much nicer to see the everyday things! 

:: Yesterday morning the postman delivered a little envelope through the door. As I picked it up I thought 'oh, this looks like one of mine!' and I was right! My lovely client, Lisa, who also has a blog....... sent me one of the thank you cards I had made as part of her wedding stationery as a little momento, and it had a gorgeous little note on it! It made my day!



:: I am so grateful for all the podcasts I listen to during the week because this whole business thing can be so hard when you are plugging away at it all on your own. Sometimes it is hard to know whether the emotions you are feeling are normal or not! This week I have been catching up with Sara Tasker's podcast, Hashtag Authentic, and have been enjoying hearing chatty conversations in the background whilst I work.

:: This morning Joe and I took a walk on Marazion beach, which was so beautiful. The light was super bright and the texture on the sand was gorgeous (as you can see from my many photos below!). The smell of the sea and the feel of the breeze on my face felt so needed today. I am really excited to get out and about a bit more for Vlogmas and, even though the videos will be short and sweet, I am hoping you enjoy seeing a few more of Cornwalls best bits!



:: You guys may know that I am not much of a drinker, but this evening, as I type in-fact, I am drinking a pink gin and tonic and it is delicious! It was only a one-serving things I grabbed whilst in Morrison's this afternoon, but I just fancied it... call me wild!

:: I have found so many wonderful friends via Instagram and this week I have been chatting to a couple of new people who are so great! These friendships are so valuable when you work for yourself and it is always lovely to share experiences! On the subject of Instagram, I am taking part in #MeetTheMakerWeek this week over on my Leaf Lane Studio account, so I would love it if you followed along! Find me by searching 'leaflanestudio'!

:: How could I forget the most fabulous thing from this week! Fish and chips Friday! No more needs to be said about that!

I am going to leave it there for this week, but I would love you guys to leave me a comment below if you have any thoughts on what you may like to see throughout December on Vlogmas. If you have anything you may want to know or ask or something specific in mind then get in touch via the comments or any social media! I always value your input!

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21 November 2018

3 BIG THINGS I'VE LEARNT ABOUT WORKING FROM HOME


^^ Isn't this a dreamy desk top! Image by Ella Jardim on Unsplash ^^

Happy Wednesday lovely!

I wrote this post to put up on my business website (Leaf Lane Studio) but I thought I would also put it up here because it may be useful to someone! Working from home is a tough one and definitely not all I imagined it would be. It has it's many advantages so, believe me, I am certainly not complaining one bit! Lately though, as the end of 2018 approaches (don't get me started on that!), I have started to reflect on the things I have learnt about being self-employed and doing it all from home; I have learned a whole lot about my own habits and personality let me tell you!

Today I am going to share some three main points I have realised and also some little mini-tips at the end that may help! If you work from home and have any top-tips or suggestions please do let me know in the comments, I would be ever so grateful.

Let's go...

1. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

It has taken me a long time to realise that it is absolutely fine to have varied days when working from home (i.e. no exact routine) and that it is okay to roll with life from time to time and go off-piste completely when needed. At the start I had a certain vision in my head about working from home which was all dreamy and perfect but actually the reality is far from my vision, which is not to say that it isn't dreamy, but I am now much more realistic!

The reality is that, other than my 6.30am gym session, no two days are the same and this is for several reasons, such as needing to get my painting done before I lose light at this time of year, meaning that other tasks are left until the end of the day, which isn't ideal but I have to make it work. There is something to the whole 'living by the seasons' thing I read about so often you know!

The winter in general is hard for many, including me; I need sun, light and warmth and without it I get over tired, unproductive and often depressed. This actually circles round to the subject of flexibility again doesn't it, because what I do now to help my mood, is takes things on a day by day basis; for example, this afternoon I felt tired and a little low in mood, plus my back and hips were tight from the gym and sitting a lot, so I did a fifteen minute yoga session at 12.30, right before lunch, followed by a ten minute meditation in a little spot of sunshine in the bedroom; now that is a dreamy half and hour spent! The point is that I am learning to listen to my body and create what I need, when I need it the most (a definite advantage to working at home!).

I am learning not to feel guilty about these moments as they make me more productive in the grand scheme of a day; the same way that yesterdays 25 minute nap did after lunch. Had I not listened to my body and instead tried to fight through the feeling of utter exhaustion (from my 5.30am gym alarm and training session) I wouldn't have created what I had needed to yesterday.

If flexibility means that some days I don't start working until 11am, but get a sh*t load of work completed by the end of my day or that I can take three hours off in the afternoon because I just need to relax and rest, but work from 7pm until 9pm and power through some good, thorough work, then I am all for it.

It is really all about climbing out of your head when it comes to the social norm and allowing your natural rhythms to lead you through your day. Be patient as this can take a bit of time to achieve and you will hit times where you lock horns with an inner voice which is telling you that you are not doing things the 'right way'; my advice is to ignore that voice and to tune in to what your intuition is telling you, rather than your ego.


^^ I love a gratitude list; it helps remind me why I am putting the work in! Image by Gabrielle Cole on Unsplash ^^ 


2. PRIORITISE

I have always been someone who would put off big tasks; which clearly had to change when I opened Leaf Lane Studio! I use my Bullet Journal as my main place to write to-do lists and keep track of things that are going on, but I have recently started to do two things which may seem like common sense to some, but really help me stay on track.

The first thing is that I started using my little white-board again, writing my weeks to-do's on it and having it visible in the office. The fact that I share an office with Joe helps me remain accountable and it feels good to put a line through things when they have been completed too! Why is that so satisfying?!

The second thing is to really think about what I am working on and choose just one or maybe two things to complete at a time. As a creative, my mind is whirling at 100mph all day, full of ideas or changes I want to make with something; because of this I can start a whole lot of things and then not finish them in a reasonable time. With this in mind I am working on two main things right now, and once they are done, I will move on to the next things. If it is just work for me, let's say I'm designing new products, this is when I can get distracted by new ideas and wander off task, so I am trying to channel the Lucy who works with clients at all times because that Lucy gets the job done! Client work seems different in our heads sometimes I think, because it is tangible (in my case I have to have a product designed, printed and sent by a certain date), whereas bringing our own ideas into fruition doesn't have the same urgency.

3. SLOW AND STEADY

I have certainly spoken about this before, but in the season of business I am currently in i.e. newbie (!), it is easy to look around at other people doing similar things and see them bring out product collections jammed with variety and with gorgeously planned marketing and think 'why am I not there yet?'. During the first stages of any business, unless you have gone down the business loan route, it is bloody difficult to get up and running; there is no spare money really and you have to scrimp and save every penny to be able to invest in one tiny thing for your shop.

It is so hard, but the slower and more tricky the road, the more we learn on the way. We learn about how we handle many aspects of business, we learn how to experiment with marketing, how to try and get our work out there for nothing, how to connect with others and how to lift ourselves up during times of stress and anxiety. I often ask myself the question of 'would I have wanted to take out a loan and have everything fall in my lap on my first product launch?' and, hand on heart the answer is 'no'. Yes, it would be nice to achieve quick success, but when that products success dies away, what then? Would I know what to do? Would I know how to handle any struggles? Would I feel as strong minded and sure of where I want my business to go as I do through this path? The chances are the answer to those questions is also 'no'.

What I am saying is to embrace it all; being in business is bloody hard, massively rewarding, but so challenging. I have full faith that someday I will be achieving all the things I dream of achieving, but until that day arrives I will just keep pushing forward and embracing everything I learn en-route.
SOME OTHER LITTLE NUGGETS

Here are a few little tips or things I do to help me through the working week!

- Shower, get dressed and put on a little make up (if that is your thing!). As comfy as pajamas are, if you are not showering, putting a brush through your hair and just staying in the pajamas you have had on all night, you may not feel at your best. Sometimes I have a shower and, if it truly is a 'casual' or cosy day, I'll put on a clean pair of PJ bottoms with a jumper and do my make up and hair; it makes me feel so much more 'on it' then it would if I had rolled out of bed and got right on with some work.

:: Have a healthy, hearty breakfast. Skipping breakfast is a no-go if you want to stay focused! Make sure you have something filling and make time for it in your routine. My favourite is apple and sultana porridge with some chia seeds and honey or a smoothie with one slice of toast (and peanut butter of course!).

:: If you can, try and get a workout done in the morning; it will set you up for the day ahead and get all the inspiration flowing. I like to do my weights routine and then 20-30 minutes cardio and I use this time to listen to inspiration podcasts; by the time I get home and start work I am usually buzzing!

:: Working from home can be isolating. Something I have started doing recently is having FaceTime chats with friends to help make me feel like I am being sociable, especially since I can't always find time to meet up or go out anywhere.

:: I've just mentioned podcasts, but I love listening to business inspiration whilst I work. I also love a good audiobook! The one I am listening to currently is 'Little Black Book' by Otegha Uwagba. It is a short one, but gives me a little lift to continue doing what I am doing!

FUTURE PLANS

I have high hopes that, at some point in the future, I will be able to have a separate office from home, just something not too far away. I think I will do better with a bit of separation from home, and would love to have a space for my art desk and my computer and my stock all in one room. Something that is super important for me is to work somewhere light, airy and inspirational, with room for vision boards, plants and space to organise stock for my shop. I will make that happen one day!


^^ Image from Pexels(.com) ^^
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18 November 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



I'm back with another gratitude list, after disappearing last week and missing a list (gasp!); I shall sit in the corner and think about what I've done don't you worry! I hope all you guys are doing good and slowly making your way into the Christmas spirit; as I type I am bopping along to 'Fairytale of New York' :-)

Did you guys see my little Bullet Journal update video this week and see that I am soon sending out a freebie to my newsletter subscribers? If you haven't seen the post yet head over there and have a read! The freebie will be out by the end of this month and will include a mini Bullet Journal guide and a sheet of things you can cut out and stick in your own journal too; I really hope you like it.

As you will see below, I have put up a new vlog for you! I have a few things, vlog related, to mention this week! Firstly, I am very aware that this weeks video is way too long, but I wanted to put it up anyway, rather than discarding the whole thing! I am hopefully getting a new camera very soon, thanks to my mum, so vlogging life will not be relying on my rather knackered old iPhone which turns off after a video is recorded or gets very hot and bothered (much like its owner!). I have a lot of plans for future vlogs and, now that I have come to realise the sort of vlogger I am I think my best bet is to put up a couple of shorter vlogs a week or to vlog for just two days and put up one vlog a week. So please bear with me with the occasional longer video... it is really hard to get it right. If you haven't subscribed to my channel yet please do (click here!) because I think I may do vlogmas this year and so you can only see those on my channel!



Right then, let's jump into this weeks list!

:: The reason this post didn't go up last week is because we went to my best friends husbands birthday party in Devon over the weekend. If you have been around here for a while you will know that Helena and Rich have a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Lynmouth, so it is like a mini-break every time we go! We had lots of fun and met some lovely people, ate some amazing food, including Helena's homemade stickly toffee pudding cake (oh my God!) and chatted the night away about so many different things. I haven't been in a big crowd of people for a while and it was really, really lovely to get to know new faces and catch up with 'old' faces(!). Yesterday morning we all sat around a big table for breakfast and it felt so wonderful and fun having a big old group breaky.


^^ If you are ever in Lynmouth and need a place to stay... choose East Lyn, it's beautiful ^^

:: On the subject of Helena, a few months ago she mentioned she was making me a present; I had no idea what it was and so, when she handed it over on Saturday night I was totally overwhelmed by what she had done. She has made me the most gorgeous embroidery piece of my Leaf Lane Studio logo; it is beyond what I ever could have guessed that she was making for me and I am over the moon with it... how clever is she? The font and everything about it is identical to my logo and I cannot wait to have it in my little art room as well as having it on display at wedding fairs too, it is stunning. Thank you SO much my lovely little lobby! (For those of you that wonder why I call Helena my lobby... if you have seen Friends then you may remember the episode where Phoebe calls Ross Rachels lobster! No more explanation required!).


^^ there she is, my best buddy! ^^

^^ How amazing is this embroidery? I still can't get over it! ^^

:: To get myself back on track with some of the many things I have to do for my business, I decided to dust off my old white-board and start the week by writing a list of all the priorities for the week; yes, I have it in my Bullet Journal, but I needed it right in front of my face! It has worked wonders though and I had a really productive week! Sometimes it is the most simple methods that work the best!

:: One of the many things I finally got sorted this week was getting my 'initial' paintings up on my website and my Etsy store; it has taken me so long to get round to doing that with everything else that has been happening. If you want to order one for a Christmas present then pop over to Leaf Lane Studio right now and place an order as they are made as and when orders come in so you need to allow a little time for the process and postage. Any questions or bespoke orders can be placed by emailing me on hello@leaflanestudio.com - I will always try my best to accommodate what you need if I can! An example of something more bespoke is the little 'Welcome to our home' sign I did for Helena! 



:: Yesterday Joe and I met up with my lovely friend Kimberly and her husband, and took a little stroll around our village to show them the sights (it's only small so didn't take long!) and then we head for one of the local cafes for cake and tea. They do some seriously delicious Victoria Sponge in the cafe nearest our place; it had to happen! It's not very often we get to meet up with friends but it is always so nice to chat away and get to know new things about people. 

:: I had a fab food-mentoring session with Peta this evening; she is so wonderful at breaking down the things I waffle on about and making sense of how best to handle them. I am going through a bit of a 'I can't stand my body' phase, which isn't unusual for me (click here to read my story if you haven't already) but we have set some plans in motion for the next few weeks and I am so grateful to her for everything she does for me. To learn more about Peta's business, Nourishing Soulfully, read the blog post I popped up recently.

:: This morning we woke up to wonderful weather in Cornwall so it was a walking-boots-on-and-head-out kind of morning! We took the coast path that heads towards Prussia Cove and spent a while taking in the sea air and amazing views. I made a deal with myself to venture out for a morning walk at least three times a week, even if it is only for half an hour. It is such a great mindfulness exercise and amazing for active-meditation too. In the summer I was getting back from my usual early morning gym session and then having my breakfast/shower and walking for half an hour after that. It was a lovely routine so I think I will bring it back for as long as the weather allows.

:: I am so chuffed that Holly (of A Branch of Holly blog) has released a podcast (Blog It, Boss It Radio). I find her content, on all of the platforms she is on, super helpful and very motivational. If you have a blog or even a small business, like I do, then check her out for sure, she really knows her stuff.

:: Now the weather is getting colder I couldn't be more grateful for my bobble hat! The one I am wearing in the picture below is from a little beach cafe in Poldhu, and I love it! It has super cosy fleece lining and keeps me so warm, my only complaint is that it makes my already large moon-head look even larger!!

That is all for this week my lovelies, I am off to continue working on the rest of the free printable pack I will be releasing (hopefully in the next five days!) so make sure you are signed up to my newsletter for that! Have a wonderful week ahead, come back on Wednesday for a new post!

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14 November 2018

BULLET JOURNAL UPDATE


I have finally found time to record a new Bullet Journal update video for my YouTube Channel; it has been a long time coming, as my last one was in April (sorry!). I am planning to make these videos a more regular thing as I really enjoy doing them, and I always get such great feedback from you guys about them, so I will try to get better! 

This latest update video shows you a few monthly spreads, including this months, and also talks a little bit about the best way to start a Bullet Journal if you are yet to start one. It really doesn't have to be a ridged practice at all; whether you use it every single day, as I do, or just to mark special moments in your life, there is a way for everyone to work out a system that they like.

I think the main things are not to be too precious about it, which is hard if you create a spread that hasn't turned out the way you hoped it would, but I would recommend not ripping pages out or stopping using the notebook because you have 'messed up' a section; perhaps stick something over it or glue two pages together and put it down to experience! I am on my third notebook now and make far less errors of judgement with my layouts! (I also tend to use a pencil to lightly mark what I want first!).


Have a look at other peoples spreads on Pinterest or Instagram and discover what works for you and take your time putting your layouts together, really thinking about it from a functional stand point. It is worth working on it slowly, especially at first, because it becomes such a wonderful memory to look back on and, what seemed a disaster at the time, can often look quite good when you go back to it later I promise!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video, but before you press play I have a little announcement! I am currently creating a little journal pack, which can be used for any kind of notebook or jounaling system. You will be able to print it for FREE at home and use it as you wish to create a beautiful journal spread! I was hoping to have it ready for this video but I still have some work to do on it! I am going to be sending it out to my newsletter subscribers before the end of November, so be sure to get on the list asap!

If you have any questions about Bullet Journaling in general please pop them in the comments box below and I will make a more general video very soon!

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7 November 2018

INTRODUCING 'NOURISHING SOULFULLY'



Happy Wednesday! Today is part-two of last Wednesdays post, 'Thoughts on Food & Mental Health', and will delve a little bit further into a different way of seeing our relationship with food and our bodies. As you would have seen last week, I have been working with Peta (Nourishing Soulfully) on my food and body issues and have really got a whole lot from our sessions, so I asked her if she wouldn't mind telling us a bit more about her beautiful business and what we can do to improve our relationships with ourselves.

Peta is so much more than someone who is able to advise us about food (although she is a qualified eating psychology coach) because she really has been on one heck of a journey with her own body and what she can eat to maintain optimum health (read her body story here). This lovely lady really is one of the sweetest, most approachable and non-judgmental humans you could work with when it comes to these emotional, deep-rooted issues and will never tell you what you 'should' be eating or what you 'should' be doing; she simply helps you un-pack your own thoughts and patterns in a really friendly, helpful, realistic and kind way.


^^ The lovely Peta and one of her four fur-babies, Katie ^^

I could waffle on with my testimonial for thousands of words, but instead, lets delve into our mini-interview right now so you guys can learn more about what Peta does with Nourishing Soulfully...

Let's start with telling people what Nourishing Soulfully is all about!

Nourishing Soulfully is about creating a neutral relationship with food and an unconditionally loving relationship with yourself. Through the content I create I hope to help wonderful souls unpick thought patterns, lifelong habits and food stories that have entangled a complicated web around our lives. Everything from the media, society and those who surround us contributes towards our own thoughts and beliefs. We don’t often stop to ask ourselves why we do certain things and think certain things, I hope that I inspire others to pause and take a moment to consider their own personal 'why'. If they’re not one hundred percent ok with their thought patterns, specifically those surround self worth and love, food and eating, we work together to create that neutral relationship with food and that unconditionally loving relationship with themselves.

What was your driving force behind making this venture actually happen? Did you have a 'I must do this or I'll be forever regretful' moment?

My biggest driving force was actually a few months after launching my coaching services. It was the moment that I realised it wasn’t about creating a business, earning money through coaching or building a career out of being an eating psychology coach. It didn’t matter if it didn’t earn a single penny,  it’s solely about spreading this message. About helping as many people as I can to find neutrality with food and eating and a very special, open relationship with themselves.

Can you tell us more about what someone could expect from their initial session with you? 

In our first Nourishing Soulfully session we’ll go over a brief summary of your history up until now, the first session lasts about an hour and a half. We’ll chat about current beliefs and I’ll take notes throughout. Creating an open, trusting relationship is absolutely key for me and I like to spend the first session doing just that. Unpicking all of these patterns takes time so I generally say that it will take between three and six months to make big shifts and changes, however I have seen clients massively shift their perspective and outlook within just a few sessions. After the initial session, sessions typically last an hour, once a week and their is homework to do for the next session.

To get started just pop an email over to peta@nourishingsoulfully.com or send me a message on Instagram, you can find me by searching for nourishingsoulfully. We’ll set up an initial call which will last between 15 and 30 minutes to have a chat about what’s playing on your mind, why you’d like to work with me and if I believe that working together will benefit you. If I don’t think that’s the case I will openly say so. It’s so important that I can truly help those who work with me. If I feel you need alternative resources, help or therapy I will recommend taking a look at X, Y and Z instead. 


What would you say is your ultimate goal for your clients long term? 

My ultimate goal for my clients is to look in the mirror and smile. For thoughts other than degrading body criticism and food cravings to take up the majority of their brain space and for my clients to recognise that they have a neutral relationship with food.

What are your future dreams for Nourishing Soulfully, short and long term?

My short term dreams are to help as many people as I can be that via blog posts, articles in magazines or captions on Instagram. My long term dream is to create a useful beautiful journal. I’d also like to create regular Nourishing Soulfully support group meet ups. 

Who would you say that you admire on Instagram that are doing things that align with the same vibe as you? 

I adore people like yourself on Instagram Lucy (aww thanks!), you’re very open and honest and I think the world can only ever do with more of that. I also love BodyPosiPanda, KatblueJay BettyMagazine and Jameelajamil.

What books would you recommend some read who may be looking to heal their food / body image?

It’s so easy to dive into the self help category and get totally lost and overwhelmed; here are a few of my absolute top recommendations:

- WE : A manifesto for women everywhere. Lucy you lent me this book and it totally bowled me over. It’s really important to do the each and every writing exercise in the book to get the most out of it.
- Body Positive Power. Beautifully written and so touching. This read really focuses in on what body positivity actually is and creating a loving bond with your body.
- The Goddess Revolution. A great read which echoes my own philosophy on food, eating, self love and life.



Any favourite podcasts / podcast episodes you think would be useful? 

Yes! I do love a good podcast!!

From The Heart Podcast: The Inner Critic Part 1 & The Inner Critic Part 2 - Rachel speaks to beautiful souls about the untrue stories they tell themselves.

Happy Place: Fearne Cotton interviews well known people about their happiness.

Wobble: Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell speak to people about what makes them wobble.

When you are feeling a little over-tired or in need of a lift what are your go-to things you do to pick you up (food/music/self-care...anything!)

Music is a huge one but one I often forget about. When I’m over tired and need to relax or feeling inspired nothing beats Bon Iver for me. But if I need a kick up the bum a Spotify playlist like Guilty Pleasures or Songs To Sing In The Shower does wonders!

I spend a lot of time cuddling cats; how have I managed to get this far without mentioning them?! (I was starting to wonder if they'd been forgotten!). I’m Peta and I’m a Cat Mum of four! I don’t know what I’d do without them, each one has their own little personality and they make everything a little better even at the toughest of times. Tea is also my go to as is a square or two of dark chocolate. Sleep is a huge medicine for me and really wholesome food like soup or stew. Watching the Christmas film 'Elf' will always pop a smile on my face and speaking to someone within my support network is something I’m so grateful for. I have a handful of close friends (including my other half Fraser) who I know I can message whenever and they’ll always have some kind of advice or something to make me feel better - usually a cat GIF. Who am I kidding I am constantly messaging them and I’m the one sending the cat GIFS! I do love a GIF, they’re my guilty pleasure.

***

Thank you so much to Peta for sharing a little bit about Nourishing Soulfully and what she does; I honestly cannot recommend her enough because she has really helped me so much. For me, food is the biggest issue in my life and everything surrounding it: body image, binge-eating, restrictive eating... you name it; so to finally work alongside someone who is not clinical and will listen and react out of love and not judgement is truly a big relief for me. Go send her a message and have a chat if you think you could benefit, you will not regret it (I pinky swear!). Invest in yourself and heal old wounds and I promise it will open up so many new doors for you.

Here are all the places you can find Peta:

Twitter: nourishingsoulf

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4 November 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



Here we are again folks, only this week it is... November! Did you do anything for Halloween? I bought us a couple of little pumpkins, as they are always fun to do, and we put them outside the cottage but had no visitors, so I was forced to eat the Cadburys treats instead (I did it for the team... medals in the post!). We also watched 'Apostle' on Netflix; there is no way that I can describe this film, but it is creepy, scary, strange and all the emotions of watching a weird cult movie, and definitely worth a watch. We then ended up staying awake until gone midnight (unheard of) to watch some of the '100 ghosts caught on camera' program on Channel 5. I think about 90% were faked but there were a few that you certainly cannot explain that's for sure.

Are you guys off to see any fireworks this week? I haven't been to see fireworks for so many years... about eight I think. I enjoy seeing displays but don't enjoy the big old crowds of people quite so much!



Lets dive on into the list for this week!

:: This week I have finally had consistent days where I have felt better (can I get a 'hooray'!). I cannot wait to get back to the gym; I am not happy as it has been so bloomin' long and I feel squidgy round the edges and miss pushing weights about! That said, rest is good and I have had my fair share of it, so back to it now for a hard push prior to the Christmas celebrations (by 'celebrations' I clearly mean the chocolates, I'm less of a party animal these days and more of a 'I can't come out, I'm staying home to watch Netflix in my jammies!').

:: Speaking of Christmas, it is very important that I tell you this news: the Christmas radio stations are officially up and running people! Yesterday I was dancing about the kitchen to several festive tunes and I am very excited about it!

:: Television wise, I have watched two amazing things this week! The first one was recommended to me by my mum and it is called 'Black Heart' (ITV1), well actually she called it 'something heat', then said 'deep heat' (!), but we got to the right title in the end! It is a crime drama and is gripping, although maybe not for those easily scared! The second program was recommended by my bestie, Helena, and is one you would have heard of if you have Netflix, 'Making a Murderer' (bit of a crime theme huh?!). I have always seen it on Netflix, but never started it; that has changed now as I am already on the second series (I have done a lot of art work this week so have had it playing constantly in the background). It is certainly not an easy watch, real-life stuff like that never is, but it is interesting and, once you have watched a couple of episodes, you are hooked. Have you watched it?



:: Having had a spurt of creative energy this week, I have been super busy and started creating a collection for the 'paper shop' side of Leaf Lane Studio. My first collection is going to be out next year as I want to release it all together (I will have to keep everything a bit of a secret... suspense and all that, which will be hard for me as I just want to tell you guys things as and when) and I am really looking forward to building up more and more products in that part of the business. I have also started working on some free printables that I plan to send out to those guys that are on my news letter, so make sure you are on there to receive the goodies as they come out!

:: I officially have myself an accountant for the business now (signed some paperwork this week!). I feel like a grown up now and am also very grateful to have her on side! I didn't realise quite how anxious the prospect of sorting all that stuff out was making me feel until I signed things and thought 'phew, I have help!'. This whole having your own business thing is a little daunting at times and suddenly feels very real when you get things like accountants and book wedding fairs! 

:: We had a beautiful sunset walk this week (as you can see by the very orange photos!). The light was catching the tree tops and looked stunning, I just cannot get enough of sun rises or sunsets, they make me so happy!

:: The food I'm most grateful for this week is... well, actually it's a drink (!), Alpro Chocolate Milk! It's so yummy!

That is everything I have for this week my lovelies, sorry it's super short. Next weeks gratitude list may be a day late as we are heading to a friends birthday party and won't get home until Sunday (Gizmo has her grandparents babysitting!). Have a great week!

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31 October 2018

MY THOUGHTS ON FOOD & MENTAL HEALTH


^^ A few of my favourite recipe books ^^

(grab a cup of tea and settle in for this one...)

I've been putting off writing this post for a long time because, to be totally honest with you, it is one that is so personal that any time I dig into the topic it physically hurts, not to mention wears me out mentally. Yep, that sounds really dramatic, especially since I write very freely about my mental health in great detail, but that had the same affect on me too when I first started writing about my experiences and medication etc. This whole food thing is one of the very final things I have to conquer and, f**king hell, it's a hard journey.

I have been pushing aside food issues for years now; some of which are totally out of my control, thanks to a constant imbalance of hormones, but many are things that I have full control of, but just fail to keep that control. Maybe control isn't the right word to use, it is more a case of balance.

I have literally done all the 'diets', everything you can imagine, from severe restriction of food, to every food replacement shake you can imagine. Sometimes these things have worked, sometimes they haven't but, only recently have I realised that each and every diet I have been on, despite its success levels, has slowly been chipping away at my confidence, self-esteem and mental health. There have been a few acceptions to the rule, such as the coach I worked with for a short time over at my current gym, Serene, who has a different, more supportive approach to things, which isn't focused on the things that can bring you down, but overall I have found that I am less myself after each attempt to control/balance the way I eat.

Naturally I am curvy and store more body fat, that is my build and, to a certain extent I can get my head around that; I genuinely wouldn't want to be super small, I like muscle on my body too much anyway, but I know that I don't always help myself and that have got myself into a binging cycle, attaching food to all the emotions and using it to almost medicate my mood. I am sure we have all been there to some degree or another, am I right?


Something happened to me at the end of my most recent attempt to shift a sh*t load of weight on an extreme diet this year; I spent basically three months crying, anxious and miserable, my weight wasn't dropping like it did the last time which, upon reflection is probably a: the stress put myself under whilst trying to do these full-on diets and regimes and b: my bodies way of saying 'hey there... I'm not sure if you are aware of the fact that I'm struggling to regulate your hormones and all this restriction is really not helping me, so I'm gonna just store all the fat in-case I need it, okay?'.

Everyday on the program I berated my body and pushed myself to constant post-exercise migraines and just wanted to sleep all the time; I dreaded every single meal because I was exhausted at weighing out everything and feeling nauseous all the time because I didn't want to eat another bloody egg. After the twelve weeks, rather than feeling proud and like I had accomplished something, which I did (I lost some fat for sure), I felt suicidal and more depressed and low than ever; I felt like everyone would be judging me and thinking 'wow, she's such a failure, she lost weight and now shes going to have to keep it off and she won't'. The voices turned on me and I went rapidly downhill in my head.

In the downward spiral of the whole thing I just kept thinking to myself 'if I can't get to where I want to be on the extreme programs, how am I ever going to be able to live in my body on a 'normal' day'; I felt like just eating food was becoming more and more of an issue for me. The problem with the restrictive diets is that you crave all the crappy food and when you can have it again you just don't know where to draw the line. It takes a lot of work to get to a healthy mindset with the whole thing and I needed some help.

One of the best things I did was to read the Mel Wells book I am constantly harping on about, 'The Goddess Revolution'. This book helped me more than I can ever articulate, and I really recommend it to anyone and everyone who struggles with self image or food or both! The thing with my specific issue is that I am all over the place with food, either binging or restricting and so it was hard to know where I was at any point, this book helped me to understand my thoughts more, as did her second book, which I have just finished, 'Hungry for More', which was great, and I do recommend it, but the first one was the game changer for me.

After reading that book my mindset started to gain a little light within the darkness, and it was at that moment that all my Christmases came at once and the stars aligned for me; the beautiful soul that is Peta was studying to become a food psychologist and asked if I'd like to work with her (hell yes please!) and I have been working with her now for several sessions and it has been truly wonderful. (As a side note I will be doing a post with Peta, all about Nourishing Soulfully, her new business very soon, so stay tuned for that).

Peta is the kindest, most nonjudgmental person you could wish to work with on these things and during our sessions we chat about all kinds of issues that don't all relate to food, but also things that can trigger the way we eat or look at food. Opening up about some things in that area wasn't easy at all but she has helped me move through certain behaviours and really look at why I did/do them and guided me through doing the work to unpack the reasons. This is the thing you see, you have to do the work in order to make changes! Is it easy? Bloody hell, no. But it is worth it.

With Peta giving me journaling prompts, homework to do (generally things that unpick something I have brought up during a session or positive affirmations to practice) and food diary work too (which is so interesting to observe), I am gradually starting to see things differently. Seriously guys, contact Peta for an initial chat if you could do with some help, she is wonderful in every way; so kind, super supportive and goes way above and beyond what you could imagine (she created a Pinterest board of recipes for me to look at bless her socks!).



Let's be real here, any issue that has been around since childhood should not and cannot be covered up with a quick fix (at last I have realised that!) so what I am focusing on now is trying to be a bit more gentle on my body and mind and learn more, thanks to Peta and Mel Wells, what my body actually wants to eat and when it wants to eat, rather than thinking 'it's 1 o'clock I should be eating'. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of thought to realise the things you do out of habit and really tune into your own body, but it is so worth the work (and I am only a little way into this journey).

I am now trying my very best to listen to what my body is saying in terms of the sort of foods it wants and when, and this includes taking 'bad' out of my food dictionary and just thinking of everything as food. Clearly there are foods that are more beneficial to our bodies and that is important but, in my case anyway, by labeling something as a 'bad food' I just want it more, whereas if I think of everything being in abundance and always available to me, it takes the frantic need for that food away. Thanks to Peta I am no longer binging on huge packets of peanut m & m's, just buying some as and when I fancy them and making them last.

I have also begun to listen to my body when it comes to evening meals and not just cramming food in; I try and understand how much food I need and don't dish up too much all at once, with the knowledge that I can always have more. 

The strangest thing has also happened recently... I have started to want less and less meat and have been cooking chickpea curry and black bean chilli. Don't get me wrong, I'm not quite a vegetarian just yet, but I am tuning in more and more to my body and that is what I am hearing... eat less meat. It feels good and so I am going with it right now. 

It is only since working with Peta that I have realised how much I go through the motions with meals, often not really tasting food or taking time to really enjoy it. That is changing. Things are still difficult in terms of body image and my mental health, but I am getting there... baby steps but steps nonetheless!

That is my food story, past and present, and I am certainly working on a much brighter food-future, because life is way too short to be in a constant state of worry, plus there are so many delicious meals to be enjoyed!
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28 October 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

 
Well… that was quite the week guys! I know I have said this before, most weeks recently, but normal scheduling and routines should be back on track as of now!

What has been the big disrupter (is that even a word?) of all things work and blog related has been an operation I’ve been waiting for, which came with a pre-operation injection that caused all kinds of havoc on the four weeks leading up to this weeks op (if you really want to hear me waffle on about that then watch my latest vlog for that story!). So this week was ‘the week’ of the op and, to be honest, it didn’t go to plan! I sat in the hospital waiting room from 7am until almost 4pm hungry and very thirsty and unfortunately, when I came round from the anaesthetic, I was told that they had been unable to do the planned procedure. Do you know what, it is what it is; I feel so fortunate to live in a country where we have access to medical assistance and all the staff at the hospital were so lovely too. The bright side is I now know for sure that there is nothing scary happening with my body that shouldn’t be there and I also know that I cannot pull off knee high circulation stockings with bright yellow hospital socks, although the latter is probably a given! Every cloud has a silver lining though and I met some lovely ladies who were also waiting for operations, including Kel, who was so sweet to talk to and really brightened the morning up.

So, that exciting waffle aside. shall we get onto this weeks little list (I haven’t been far but there are always things to be grateful for!):

:: This week I have really enjoyed watching ‘A Branch of Holly’ on YouTube because she has started daily vlogging and I am really into seeing how other business owners plan out their day. I have always found Holly’s content really useful and often get a little lost on her blog reading various interesting things! I highly recommend you check her out if you need some help with your blog/social/content.

:: On Tuesday morning Peta, who definitely now needs no introduction on here... maybe I can get an affiliate link from her or something (!) and I had one of our 'catmumpreneur' Facetime chats, which is basically us giggling away for an hour like a couple of insane people, discussing anything cat related and recommending Netflix shows to each other! We really should do a podcast because I think it would be comedy gold… maybe! It is always lovely having a catch up though because I haven’t seen many other humans for a while, what with all the illness!

:: After my op I came home to a cute new cat-mug from Sainsburys (thanks Joe!). If you watch my IG stories then you may have seen me put it on there last week when I spotted it on a shopping trip; I do love mugs; it’s impossible to have too many! This one is the perfect size and it's a cat, so win-win really!



:: Talking of post-op treats, I received two gorgeous bunches of flowers this week; both are so pretty and I am so grateful for them, they made my week! One of them, from my beautiful bestie Helena, came in a Liberty printed box, how gorgeous is that! Thank you so much to everyone who sent their well wishes too, you guys are the best.

:: On Friday I watched ‘Girl on the Train’ on Netflix; what a film! Have you seen it? I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole thing (actually I was on the edge of my pillow as I was in bed with a hot water bottle, but you get it!) and was desperately trying to guess the plot but I just didn’t see it coming. I am always bad at predicting story lines so I am guessing that everyone else probably knew what was happening when they watched it! I highly recommend it though, check it out if you haven’t seen it, it’s a good one!

:: I also heard someone (probably Peta!) mention a Spotify playlist this week, which I am currently listening to and highly recommend, it is called 'Songs to Sing in the Shower' and it is brilliant! I'm a sucker for cheesy songs so I was all over it and, as I type, I am currently bopping to a bit of 'The One and Only' by Chesney Hawkes!

:: I go on about sunsets each and every week I know, but this week there have been some of the most breathtaking that I have ever seen before; the colours have varied from deep purple to gold and have had me totally mesmerised.



:: Can you believe we are about to have the final of The Great British Bake Off? I can’t that’s for sure! I have really enjoyed this series and know who I really want to win… it’s Kim Joy all the way for me! I think she is so cute and I love all her little animal decorations and the colours she uses; I look forward to watching Bake Off every week (it is the only cooking programme I like!) so I will miss it when it is over!

:: As much as I hate it when I have nights where I struggle to sleep, I also kind of enjoy the peaceful stillness of the early hours, which is just as well, because on Thursday night/early hours of Friday morning (2.30am actually), I woke up hot and in pain so went downstairs. I felt wide awake so planned out my new downloadable calendar in my sketchbook and finished the end of a book I was reading too. I felt like I had a productive few hours and really enjoyed the quiet, thoughtful time. The book I finished, in case you fancy a read, was Matt Haig’s ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’. It was a good read if you want to jolt your brain out of the intensity of modern living and perhaps realign some priorities… I have since started reading ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, by Gail Honeyman which I am really into already and am so intrigued as to where the story is going! (I have now just finished this book as I started typing this post two days ago... my review is this 'heart-wrenching and beautiful - go read it right now'



:: The little bear has been my recovery partner this week as she has been laying next to me, cuddled up to the hot water bottle that I had attached to me most days (the true reason for her devoted cuddles I think!). Animals aid recovery so much don't they? That isn't to say that Joe hasn't of course, I don't want him feeling left out!

That is about all for this week. I am back to vlogging this week, so there should be another one coming soon; I had planned to vlog last week but, quite honestly guys, I was boring myself! Stay tuned for Wednesdays blog post, which I have already organised (I know, I can't believe it either!) and make sure you are signed up for my newsletter too as I am getting back to normal function again and plan to send out something much more regularly as of now! I am also planning on working on a monthly downloadable treat to send out to subscribers as well as exclusive content; this will be coming soon as soon as health is back to 100%.

See you on Wednesday!
xoxo

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21 October 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE (PLUS VLOG!)



Another week has past and that means a new 'Weekly Gratitude' list from me. I have still been unwell all of this week but did get around to editing my vlog from the previous week, so you can catch that at the end of this post (I would love it if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay up to date with any new videos!). I started back on the vlogging train again with full intentions to vlog weekly, which I certainly will be doing, but I have left it this week as I did far to much sniffing in today's video, let alone putting you through it for a second week! (You're welcome!).

Have you guys had a good week? I love it when you come and say hi in the comments or over on Instagram, especially when you share what you have been up to, so don't be shy! Let's get on to my week shall we (if anyone saw my IG stories last Sunday, where I apologised for not posting a gratitude list due to illness, I can confirm that I am still grateful for strepsils, paracetamol, tissues and vitamin C, so won't mention it again!).

:: This may sound super dull, but I finally got a replacement charging cable for my iPhone (thanks Joe!), as my last one had given up and, last time I tried to plug in my phone it took 21 plug and unplugs to get it to actually charge; there were visions of me blowing up the house with the stupid thing, so I am so happy to have a brand new and fully functioning one! I'll tell you something though, Apple know that you have to buy their specific charger don't they...I can here the bank gasping at the cost of the bloody thing.

:: Due to my silly and somewhat relentless variety of illnesses these last few weeks I have been reading quite a lot. I mentioned recently that I was reading Mel Wells' second book 'Hungry for More', which I finished this week (Peta, it will be heading your way soon enough, definitely one for you!). Having been given a library of books from Peta and a couple from another lovely friend, Kimberley, I am very spoilt for choice as to what to read next. I opted for 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle, one that Kimberley lent me several weeks ago. I love Tolle's work but it isn't the sort of book I will fly through as it is one for the mind to pause and to contemplate over, so I also started Matt Haig's 'Notes on a Nervous Planet', which I will finish before the new week starts I think. This book is wonderful; sort of uneasy and thought provoking but it does make you reconsider things that you do in your life from a practical standpoint. I will be taking a stack of books into hospital with me on Wednesday as I get bored really fast so will want to swap and change throughout the day!



:: I am super grateful for a parcel I received from MyProtein recently, which contained a tub of their new Whey+ and some of their new Pre-Workout+ too. If you have followed me for a while you will already know that I get 99% of my supplements from MyProtein (as well as training clothes too), so when they offered to send me some new products to try I was so chuffed! I will be doing a little review in a vlog once I am out of hospital, but I can say that I have tried the pre-workout (they sent me the orange/mango) and it is actually really delicious. I only used half a scoop as I don't normally use pre-workouts (mostly because they taste a bit gross) but I wanted to experiment with this one and on top of it genuinely tasting nice, with no horrible after-taste, I felt the kick without the tingly weird shakes! I highly recommend that you start on a smaller amount than the pot says with any pre-workout to assess your tolerance and, in my opinion, only use them when and if you need them rather than taking them every workout and becoming reliant on them! I'll get back to you on the whey protein soon (I am looking forward to trying it in some pancakes!!).

:: As you will see from the vlog this week, Joe and I went for a little stroll at Godolphin House in Helston last Sunday; the National Trust membership really is the best thing we have ever done! I know I feature it a lot, but it is so stunning and looks different in every season. If you are ever in the area you have to go, but always check the website for when the house is open because it is limited (they also do great cake in the cafe...I've heard!).



:: I managed to watch season one and two of 'Glow' on Netflix and really got into it by season two and was genuinely frustrated when the last episode finished! I also watched 'Butterfly' on ITV catchup this week; a drama starring Anna Friel among others, all about a little boy called Max who is struggling with his gender. It was so well put together and I am looking forward to episode two and seeing how they unfold the story.

:: There have been some gorgeous skies this week, including a beautiful sunrise of golden oranges and pinks yesterday morning. The moon has also looked stunning all week and has been sat quite low in the sky and super clear. I cannot get enough of staring at the heavens.

:: I have really got into my meditation in a huge way recently and have been practicing it regularly and it feels so good. I have a long way to go as some days I really struggle to clear my head, as much as I try, but I figure it is called a practice for a reason! I have also been sticking with one crystal and working with it to really 'get to know' it, after listening to a podcast about crystals recently and how we all tend to flit between different ones without fully imprinting our energy onto one first. I think I fall asleep almost every single time I meditate, but I still enjoy every second regardless and often have little ideas or useful thoughts pop into my mind, which I think would otherwise not have shown up. Onwards and upwards!

:: I am currently working on a bit of branding design for a very special lady I know, and have been enjoying sketching out ideas and painting in my sketchbook; it feels so lovely to be working on something a bit different to normal (I am also a tad terrified too... fingers crossed she will like it!). Also, if I could stop being ill so I can actually work for more than an hour at a time without nearly falling asleep I may get it done before next Christmas!!

:: Speaking of Christmas... I love Christmas (that is not what I wanted to say though!) but I am in utter denial about the fact that the supermarkets are crammed full of festive bits and bobs! I did bring the Morrison's Christmas food ordering book thing home from the shop this week though and we both thoroughly enjoyed flicked through that...especially the desserts!



:: Yesterday poor little Gizmo wasn't at all well; she hadn't been very lethargic and not eating or drinking at all. We whisked her off to the vets (thank you Mounts Bay vets for being open on a Saturday!) and she got diagnosed with a fever (bless her little paws) so, after a couple of jabs and some medication to go on top of today's food, we arrived home and I can report that as of this afternoon she is much more herself... I was an anxious, tearful mess all of yesterday as I instantly think shes about to leave this world (dramatic much?!) but it is only because I love her more than nutella.

:: I did a very 'out of comfort zone' thing this week and booked onto my first wedding fair ever with Leaf Lane Studio! I will be exhibiting at The Eco Wedding Fair on 24th February and I can't wait (but I have so much to get done for it!). I decided that I would probably talk myself out of doing a show forever unless I just jump in and book something, so there you go! Moving out of your comfort zone is only ever a positive thing, so I know it will be good and also, how am I ever going to learn unless I do it? Answer: I won't...so I am doing it!

:: The other thing I did this week was set up my November Bullet Journal and, do you know what, I am really happy with how it turned out! I PROMISE to do a video on it. My reason behind lack of videos is purely equipment based! I'm asking for Amazon vouchers for any occasion for the foreseeable future so that I can buy a decent vlogging camera (Canon G7X II) and a tripod also. In the mean time I have to balance and rig up a very delicate amount of objects in order to get an over head shot (for a behind the scenes on that see my IG stories 'Gizmo' saved section... what are those things called?! I have saved the set up from last time in there because our bear found much fun in playing with it last time!).

That is about it for this week. I am going to try my best to vlog next week but I go into hospital for the day on Wednesday, so I will see how that goes and obviously won't be vlogging in there (no one needs that in their lives do they!).

Have a truly wonderful week ahead and thank you for stopping by!

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