18 February 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


:: Truro Cathedral looking beautiful in the sunlight ::

Here we are again at another Sunday, already midway through the second month of the year! How has your week been? This week for me has been a busy one, packed to the brim with work and new things going on. I am going to jump right on in to this weeks gratitude list and save you from my usual waffle! Let's go...

:: I have been super grateful for the evenings starting to get lighter and early signs of spring starting to creep on in. I love spring so much; the smells in the air and signs of brand new life all around really brings me happiness.

:: This week I shifted my weights training to a heavy programme of lifting, aiming to increase my strength and generally change things about for six weeks or so. It felt amazing to try pushing my body that little bit harder and I will be upping my cardio this coming week too and mixing in a full body circuit day too, just to keep things interesting. I can't do without the gym; it feels like it cleanses my body and mind like nothing else!


:: Gorgeous reflections on the sand :: 

:: Yesterday was a really nice day weather wise (well, up until late afternoon anyway). The chill that had been in the air had subsided and the sun was really bright and warm. We took a walk along the beach in the morning and got some much needed fresh air in our lungs, which felt so good. The tide was super low too, which makes our beach look huge and it had some beautiful reflections of the sky on the wet sand. The beach is one of my favourite places to go to feel calmer and refreshed; it really does work miracles.

:: This week I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous box of my favourite flowers, scented Narcissus, which smell so wonderful and really brighten up the house and make it feel like spring has sprung. As well as the flowers, Valentines Day also brought with it a super pretty necklace that is absolutely lovely and something I have been looking at for a long old time (thanks so much Mows!).

:: I managed to put the first two items from my new Leaf Lane Studio 'Love Hearts' collection up in the shop this week. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to accept the fact that they wouldn't be ready for Valentines Day, but I designed them to be used for other occasions too, so it really is okay! I am just so content to be getting products in my shop and would love it if you checked them out!



:: To pass some time whilst sticking some bits together for the printers this weekend (a girls got to earn pocket money!) we watched the film 'Victor Frankenstein' on Netflix, and is was a really good film! Daniel Ratcliffe and James McAvoy are the leads and it shows a really interesting view to the popular story we all know. I highly recommend it if you fancy something to watch!

:: I have done a few hours work at the printers this week (as well as bringing home things to stick!). There is not much parking there so it is literally a case of driving around the little roads in Penzance until you find a space on the road somewhere. This used to be something that filled me with anxiety, but recently it is something I have really enjoyed doing. Parking the car a few roads away from the printers means I have a little walk into town and can pop a podcast in my ears and take in the sights! I have worked really hard at trying to turn around the things that give me anxiety and seem to be winning with this one!

:: My gratitude list wouldn't be complete without a mention of the little bear... she is always super cute and this week has taken to a new sleeping 'spot'... it took me a while to realise where she was on Friday, but I found her in a super old bed (one she refuses to sleep in normally) that is thrown on a stack of stuff in the spare room! Love her!



:: Friday was a big old day (which is why I am splitting it into two sections!). As you guys may remember, I booked in for a tattoo in a lovely place called Ateleir Four in Truro and Friday was the big day! I specifically booked in with Remy (see her Instagram for some of her work) as I loved her style and thought she was the perfect person to see. Honestly guys, Remy is one of the sweetest humans ever! She made me feel so at ease and we had such a giggle that it all passed so quickly and was pretty much pain free. I will do a separate post on my new additions (yep, two!) as soon as they are fully healed up. But I am super happy with what Remy did, the main piece seriously exceeded what I thought it could be and I am in love with it.

:: It would be wrong to visit Truro and not go to the cathedral and so a visit was top of the list before the tattoo! I really love churches and cathedrals and could spend so much time just sitting and taking in the architecture and feel of the buildings. Truro cathedral is stunning inside and, when we walked in, there was a lovely man reading a prayer out and so we just sat and listened until he finished. There is such a calmness within these places and, although I am not religious, I certainly appreciate the spirituality of these spaces and what they represent. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the city.

That's all for this week! I hope you had a great weekend, see you on Wednesday for another blog post! (I have a vlog coming out this week!).

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14 February 2018

A VISIT TO THE CORNISH SEAL SANCTUARY



Toward the end of last year, I was contacted by Georgina, a lovely member of the team over at The Cornish Seal Sanctuary based in Gweek. I was offered a couple of tickets to visit the sanctuary and finally managed to go! Scroll down to watch the short video from our visit!

As a side note, I wasn't asked to promote them or put up any content for them but, as you guys already know, I love animals, so I wanted to highlight how wonderful the sanctuary is and how important it is to support these amazing places; they offer such safe havens to so many animals in need. Its also so important to recognise the work that all the staff and volunteers do behind the scenes too, keeping all these little guys safe and well.

The day Joe and I chose to visit was one of those unpredictable weather days, with super clear skies one minute and heavy rain the next, but we put on our waterproof coats and got out there and I am so glad we did. The sanctuary is only about half an hour from where we are and it was super easy to find.

I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of how the set up would be, but the site was pretty big, and surrounded by beautiful scenery too. One of the first places we stopped for a look around was in the hospital section; there were (thankfully) only a few guests laying next to their individual little pools. They have all the information about the seal, and the reason they were brought in, clearly displayed next to them, which made for sad reading in a couple of cases, but it really helps you understand their situation and how much work the guys who care for them do to rehabilitate all the animals that pass through the sanctuary. 



The next part of the sanctuary has a mixture of small pools, with just a few seals in, who are in the mid-stages of rehabilitation and integrating back into socialising with other seals again, and then there is the huge pool which, luckily for us, happened to be having their lunch when we stopped by (see the video for some cute footage of Snoopy 'begging' for fish and cheeky seagulls steeling from seals!). I was chatting to a lovely member of the team (who stayed out in a seriously heavy downpour whilst I asked questions, bless her!) and she was explaining that all the seals in the pool were female except one male. The male in question, who could be mistaken for being the luckiest guy in all of seal-dom (!), is suspected to have sustained a head injury a while back, making him a permanent resident but also somewhat obvious to his privileged position as 'pool king' to all the ladies!


Along side the seals there are sea-lions, penguins and otters too, as well as farmyard animals and plenty of space to explore; it really is such a wonderful place and although Joe and I only spent a couple of hours there you could certainly make a longer day of it (which we would have done if it wasn't for the weather) as there are walking trails clearly marked out, a lovely cafe, which we did pop into of course, and a great gift shop (got to love a gift shop!). I highly recommend you check out the sanctuary if you are ever in Cornwall and, if you have little ones they are guaranteed to love it as much as you!

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11 February 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ A little dusting of snow fell in the village this week ^^

Happy Sunday everyone!

This week I have been working all week in Penzance, so I really haven't been up to much at all, but there are always things to be grateful for so I will dig deep into my memory bank and filter out the good stuff for you!

:: On Tuesday we woke up to snow in Cornwall! I always get so excited when it snows, it is so pretty and there is always a silence that comes with snow that I find so magical. It was a little heavier in the village then it was in Penzance, but it fell most of the morning (followed by super heavy rain and hail!). Did it snow where you are too?

:: I got stuck into using my new 'Ascended Masters' oracle cards this week and, I have to say, they are absolutely amazing to use. You guys probably know that I have had angel cards for a while now; my favourites are my Archangel Michael deck, which are super awesome to use and always seem to give lovely readings. My new deck have such a wonderful feel about them and I am really enjoying getting to know them all!

:: This week, when I have had time, I have set about designing a new product that I hope to get out soon in the Leaf Lane Studio shop; a 'to-do' list/notepad to keep on your desk. I am starting off with a botanical design but will hopefully release a couple of others. I am just in the process of getting a quote together for printing it and I will let you know more about it when I have more info!



:: Although I have followed her YouTube channel for a little while now, I really got into binge watching loads of Jordan Clarks gorgeous videos this week. Jordan (who also has a blog called 'Stellaire') makes the most beautiful videos about crafts, Bullet Journalling, art and daily life and I just adore the aesthetic that she has. Check out her Instagram too... it's super pretty!

:: This week I haven't been to the gym (except for Monday) because I was too cold, tired and busy and, whilst I am thankful for the rest, I am so looking forward to hitting it hard again next week. I have gone a little off-piste diet wise too and enjoyed some treats (Birthday month is the worst for this happening!). I am going to sit down this evening and try and get my sh*t together!

:: Due to the rest from the gym, I have enjoyed a couple of lay-ins this week, which is very unusual for me, but it was very needed. I love nothing more than making some tea, getting all cosy and writing or doing something in my Bullet Journal. I am feeling super inspired to do another Bullet Journal set-up video, so if you would like to see that please comment below!

:: This afternoon I had a wonderful snuggle with Gizmo (always a comforting thing!) and then set about making her a little warm 'nest' in the window seat in my art space. I piled up her cushion and a couple of her favourite blankets too. I love making her little spaces to sleep. She has taken to wanting to sleep on my art desk, which can be a little difficult when I am painting, so I am hoping this new 'cat bed' keeps her occupied for a bit (if not I reckon I will curl up there... it has a sea view for crying out loud!).

:: I had a proper 'Monica' style clean this afternoon as I was feeling super clogged up in my brain and, when this happens, only cleaning will do! My desk has been cleared and I even re-folded everything in my cupboard to make myself feel better. All was going well until the hoover gave up on life (again...again!).

:: Finally... peanut m&m's (no more needs to be said!).

I hope you all have a fab week; I will be attempting to get back into the vlogging game this week as I am doing a few things that I want to document (especially on Friday!) so fingers crossed I won't forget or just chicken out! Also, I want to wish lots of healthy vibes to little Albert Bear (who belongs to the beautiful Peta, from the blog pe-ta.com) because he hurt his little tail today and is currently feeling a bit poorly and sorry for himself in his 'cone of shame'. Head on over to Peta's Instagram and wish him well!

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7 February 2018

MOVING TO CORNWALL, ONE YEAR ON



Yesterday marked our one year anniversary of moving to the very south west of England, to beautiful Cornwall. Honesty, I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that a whole year ago we were driving from our hotel in Exeter to move into this pretty cottage by-the-sea that we had always dreamed about. 

It still feels like a dream every single day, and I love that it does, because it is pure heaven; I still do exactly the same things now that I did 365 days ago: I walk out of the front door and stand on the patio in total silence, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sound of the sea and the birds chirping away. I still walk down the path, from the patio to the back gate, and stand staring out to the ocean at Cudden Point, far in the distance, and watch the waves crashing against the cliffs. It feels totally surreal every time I drive home from the gym and hug the coast line as the road winds back to the cottage; it is so magical every single day and I will never take the fact that we live here now for granted.



The one thing that I would change is getting out and seeing more places, which is something that I am trying to do this year. It is super easy to almost forget that there are so many amazing things right on the door step but, being completely honest, this last twelve months has been so busy and even the weekends have been taken up with business plans and blog 'stuff'. 2018 is definitely going to be a year of exploring more and making more use of the National Trust membership too as there is really no excuse to get out and find new, beautiful places here.

When it comes to the move itself, there are zero regrets. For reasons I cannot explain, since my very first visit to Cornwall years ago, I have felt a 'pull' to this area over and over again. The very first visit to the county was to stay in a tiny cottage in the little fishing village of Newlyn, right next door to Penzance. I remember driving into the town and feeling like I had been there before, it was a weird, yet wonderful, feeling and my mind was made up, I had to live in Cornwall some day!


Being right next to the ocean is calming for me and all the other nature that surrounds you in this environment makes it even more special. Gizmo is so happy jumping about in the garden too and has now learnt way too many 'country cat' ways! She can now climb a palm tree (something she tried to do when she first got let out here and proceeded to get stuck and have to shuffle, very clumsily, back down again!). She hunts now... not a good thing for us, but I know it is 'what they do', plus she has a pub opposite which we are convinced is the reason why we had the skin of quite a large fish outside the house recently!

If any of you guys are thinking about making a move to your dream location and want my advice, I would say go for it! You are never going to have every single detail lined up, but if you want it enough you will make it work and it is worth it! We have had to sacrifice many things to get here; I quit my job, gave up my car and basically live in clothes that have holes in, but one year on things are starting to shift and I wouldn't change one thing.


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4 February 2018

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



The first Sunday in February is here and, I have to say, the week gone by has been a bit of a cold, rainy and 'bleugh' kind of week. I am so ready for spring time now and have started to bring little pots of hyacinths into the cottage and pop them on the windowsills to remind me of the hope that there will be sun! The picture above proves that the sun is still up there (!), I took this yesterday on a little beach walk, in-between rain showers (icy rain showers at that!). How has your week been? Has anyone planned any holidays or trips recently? Let me know in the comments so I can live my holiday life through you!

On to todays gratitude list!

:: I bit the bullet and sent two cards over to the printers this week; they should be up in the shop in the next few days! The 'Always You' cards are the first things to be released from my new 'Love Hearts' collection and would be perfect for Valentines but also anniversaries or 'just because I love you' (the best cards to recieve in my humble opinion!). I put a couple of different designs to the vote on my Instagram and went with the one that was the clear winner on each colour way! I am currently designing more greetings cards and have so many other ideas so watch this space!

:: Yesterday morning we had the most gorgeous birds in the garden, which we haven't seen in our garden at all, even though I know many other people get them, the Goldfinch! It is so beautiful and bright. I do love the birds being in the garden, even the very naughty crows who devour the fat-balls in what seems like ten seconds!

:: This week I had a few challenges to over come with my anxiety; things that are just every day life and probably pretty simple for most people, but test me out massively day to day, but I am pleased to say that I smashed them all. I have picked up a few hours work on a casual basis in Penzance for the next week and, for me, finding somewhere to park the car and then walk down a busy street are both very stressful things (I know that sounds crazy!). On Friday I got up at 5.30, went to the gym early and got a training session in, headed to Penzance for work at 9 and had to park the car quite a way from where I was working. I walked in during the school rush-hour, past intimidating groups of kids and parents in a rush and, I am happy to report that I am still alive! Lucy 1 - anxiety nil! On the subject of mental health, I put a post up for 'Time to Talk Day', which was on Thursday, if you missed it click right here to check it out. I would love it if you could share it on social media too as it is so important to help spread the word on mental health.

:: I got really stuck into some painting this week and have been designing little watercolour flowers for a new wedding card coming out. I want to get a couple of general 'congratulations' cards up in my shop so am striving to get that finished soon. I also released a new print this week, a little A5 quote, originally from a watercolour piece. It is now available to buy, so head on over to Leaf Lane Studio to see it and get your copy (free UK delivery!).



:: This morning we took a walk into St Ives and, for the first time in ages, it didn't rain (woo-hoo!). I had a specific, crystal-related mission, in the gorgeous Emjems, on St Andrews Street. I absolutely love it in there and could easily kill hours looking at everything and just wandering about. I leave feeling calm and rested every single time. St Ives looked so beautiful in the bright sunshine and I took advantage of the weather and took a heap of photographs for a little project I want to start soon (more to come on that!).

:: Did you guys see the super-moon this week? I was so grateful for a clear sky and went out to have a look at the stars and the huge, bright moon too, it was absolutely stunning. I forget which morning it was but, on my way to the gym at 6.30am this week, I saw the moon really low in the sky, just disappearing behind the hills in the distance, and it was bright orange and looked gorgeous. It's times like that which I crave a really good camera!

:: Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling beyond exhausted. My emotions were all over the shop and my body just felt like it had been run over, so I took myself off to bed for what was going to be a half an hour power nap! (You know where this is going don't you?!). I got into bed and it just felt like the most wonderful feeling ever! The bed felt like it was giving me a giant hug, so I figured it wanted me to stay there for ages... so I did! That two hour 'nap' restored my brain to (almost) normal and I felt so much more myself again for it! Highly recommend!

:: I'm going to end with a couple of Netflix recommendations that I think you may like! Last night I watched two documentaries; one called 'Patient 17', a short film about a surgeon who removed devices from people who claim to have been abducted by aliens and implanted with something they cannot explain. It was interesting but didn't answer too many questions, but if you are into that sort of thing then I would say give it a shot! The other one was a Foo Fighters documentary, called 'Back and Forth Again', which was really awesome and, as you probably imagine, is just about the band, but covers lots of interesting things that have happened along the way. Check it out if you are a fan for sure!

I hope you guys have an amazing week. Don't forget to like/follow my Leaf Lane Studio Instagram to stay up to date with all the new things coming out! Thank you, as always, for all the support you have given me with the business and for always stopping by here too; I really appreciate you guys so very much.

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1 February 2018

TIME TO TALK


Today is 'Time to Talk Day 2018', a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and encouraging people to step forward and talk about their health, but it is also about helping those who know people who suffer with mental health issues actually know what to say to the person they care about!

As usual, when I write a mental health related post, I will say this: please do not read this if you know it's not your thing. My thoughts behind writing such posts are purely to share my story, what helped/helps me (and therefore may be of some use to someone else) and, obviously and most importantly, to raise awareness and try to make a small ripple turn into a large wave, so that mental health sufferers don't feel so alone.

BEFORE READING THIS PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF THE SAMARITANS NUMBER WHICH IS FREE FROM ANY PHONE: 116 123.

I am going to talk about a side of mental health that, in my opinion, isn't discussed enough, purely because it is hard to talk about, and that is suicidal thoughts, and I am going to stick with the theme of 'Time to Talk Day' and talk about why it is so bloody hard to tell to people when you're suffering with mental health issues, like suicidal thoughts, but I am going to do it from both sides of the fence because I have been the person with the mental health problem and the person wanting to talk to someone with a mental health issues and, let me tell you, neither is easy!

Let me start with the perspective of the sufferer and follow it up with what you can do to help or what you can say from an outsiders perspective.

A lot of the time we don't tell people about our really bad days, which sometimes can cause our loved ones to get frustrated, upset or angry. People often say 'why didn't you tell me?' and, from my point of view the answer is very simple: I didn't know how. You see, for me, when I am in one of my darkest places (i.e I am feeling suicidal), I am a mess of emotions. I am aggitated and uncomfortable in my own head, exhausted and in pain; I feel like I want to pace around the room, striking out physically but at the same time I want to sleep. The contrast of feeling deep, dark depression along with anxiety is torturous to anyone who has experienced it. The only people I will generally tell about my current state of mind are people who I know have experienced it themselves because you don't have to give them details, you don't have to explain the agony, you can just say something very basic and they 'get it'.

Never shy away from or judge someone who is brave enough to tell you they feel like they are a danger to themselves; it takes a lot for anyone to say the words 'I feel like I don't want to be here anymore', so take it seriously. If someone is acting out of character then don't be afraid to ask them how they are. For me, a big sign is that I will withdraw or seem withdrawn from things and am usually right on the verge of tears at all times. For others it could be that they become uncharacteristically angry or agressive. If you are concerned take them to the doctors, hospital or call the Samaritans for some advice, please don't leave them alone if you are concerned.

Here's what the Samaritans advise for recognising someone with suicidal thoughts:
They may be...
- lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
- appearing more tearful
- not wanting to talk or be with people
- not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
- a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
- using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
- finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- appearing restless and agitated
- not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don't matter
- being un-typically clumsy or accident prone
- becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
If you or someone you know if showing signs please seek medical help or call the Samaritans free on 116 123.

For advice surrounding other mental health issues and ways to help people talk about them, or to help you understand more about what a sufferer is going through, the Time to Talk webpage has some really great resources, so just click right here to head to the site.

You guys know that I will always do posts about mental health as it is something that has been a part of my life for so many years (since around the age of 14, and I am 37 this month, so I feel slightly qualified to talk about it now!). I do think things have got better and people are more open to discussions about it, but I also think that, as a whole, many people will put us all under one umbrella of the 'worst case scenario' (whatever that is in their heads or something they have seen in a movie about a mental health sufferer). One of the important things to note and be mindful of, is that it could be the confident looking woman you see everyday in the office, or that guy that always jokes about at the gym; many of 'us' are way too good at covering up the bad days for fear of other peoples reactions, and will only let it all out in the privacy of our own safe places.

Time to Talk Day is important as it brings the awareness to the surface and reminds all of us to open up and ask a really simple (yet possible life saving) question: 'how are you today?'.
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