20 December 2018


I haven't done a 'Taking Stock' post for a while so I thought that it might be a nice round up to the month of December to pop one of these up! I do realise we aren't done with the month yet but, with Christmas coming up and all that jazz, I am just being realistic!

m a k i n g :: a new printable calendar for Leaf Lane Studio! It has taken much longer than I had hoped, but I am really pleased with it! If you want to see me speed painting one of the months, click here to watch the Vlogmas video it is in! The calendar will be out asap, probably the week between Christmas and the New Year.

c o o k i n g :: lots of meat-free food. I am not making any real conscious decisions to go meat free, but since I have been tuning into my intuition more when it comes to meals, I have realised that I am sort of craving meat free a lot. I have made chickpea curries, lentil burgers and other dishes recently and am constantly looking for other recipes to add to my repertoire. 

d r i n k i n g :: way too much Alpro soya chocolate milk! I do feel like a child reaching for my chocolate milk, but it is just a nice sweet treat!

r e a d i n g :: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. This book is taking ages for me to read, mostly because I keep re-reading parts of it because I love his thoughts so much... I will finish this!

w a n t i n g :: clothes without holes! Every single pair of pajamas I own has a hole and that is just the nightwear situation!

p l a y i n g :: the Foo's whilst I train... loud!

d e c i d i n g :: where to take the business in 2019. I have a million ideas and have printed out one of the amazing Jen Carringtons free mini books to help me reflect and plan; I highly recommend you check the books out, they are such an awesome resource! 

w i s h i n g :: for a visit to The Eden Project before the year is through. They currently have a light show thing going on in the evenings, which I have heard mixed reviews about, but I'd like to check it out nonetheless!

e n j o y i n g :: sitting with just the Christmas fairy lights on and drawing.

w a t c h i n g :: Christopher Robin and lots of Christmas films! 

l i k i n g :: watching everyone's Vlogmas videos and connecting to more people online who are watching mine!

w o n d e r i n g :: what fitness goals to set for the new year, I like to have a goal and I really need to decide what I'm going to do. I kind of fancy trying something a bit different this coming year as well as my usual gym training; watch this space!

l o v i n g :: wearing glittery nail polish! I love sparkly things, much like magpies are attracted to shiny objects! Also loving the fact that the gym blasted out Jazzy Jeff's 'Boom Shake the Room' this week!

h o p i n g :: to get a part time job next year that will allow me to bring out more products in my shop!

m a r v e l l i n g :: over how fast this year has gone by and how easy it can be to float along (i.e. more intention needed for 2019!).

n e e d i n g :: to get myself organised for the wedding fair I am attending in early 2019. I have quite a few things to get sorted out.

s m e l l i n g :: all the lovely village smells... wood-smoke, the sea and pub food!

w e a r i n g :: cosy jumpers and fluffy socks (I am also wearing trousers don't fret!).

n o t i c i n g :: how much sleep I have needed this year compared to other years... is it an age thing? Anyone know what's happening to me?!

k n o w i n g :: that THIS is my new favourite song (you're welcome, I'm not even sorry!).

t h i n k i n g :: how I am ready to see 2018 in my rear view mirror and launch into the New Year. I don't like the New Year as a rule, I often find my mental health taking a dip around then, but I am feeling like 2019 is going to hold something special, so I am going to put my positive pants on and try and attack it with all I have in me!

This is probably going to be my last post for a week or so guys; whatever you are up to have a lovely one and I will see you on the other side of the madness!

PS: during the week before New Year I will be sending my email list a free Bullet Journal printable, so make sure you are signed up so you don't miss it AND I will be filming a YouTube video (which will also be linked in the newsletter) showing you guys how I will be using my freebie to set up January! Click here to join my mailing list!


16 December 2018


Can you believe that, after this week, there will be just two more Weekly Gratitude posts before the New Year?! I am officially in my 'must sort my life out ready for 2019' mode and am trying not to make a big thing of it. The thing is I just love planning so much, I adore sitting down with a notebook and scribbling ideas, dreams and goals, so I kind of thrive at this time of year! This time next week we will be packing up ready to spend Christmas with our family, so this post will come to you a little late on Christmas week and probably from a place of food coma too, so bear with me!

PS: A new vlogmas video will be up tomorrow (Monday) with a bit of a catch up too!

Right, let's jump into this weeks gratitude list/other random things I may like to ramble about!

:: If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I had to take the rest of the week off doing daily Vlogmas videos as my mental health had a bit of a 'moment'; I have finally learned to eliminate things that may put a bit of pressure on me (even when they are things I really do enjoy) because in a mental health low, the little things can be magnified so much that it can get a bit silly. These days I take a bit of a black and white approach and tend to totally sit back for a while to recharge, rather than attempting a half-hearted approach. I have been filming odds and ends so will pop up a recap video for you asap and be back to the daily vlogs from Monday! What I have been super grateful for this week is how amazing you guys have been; when I put up a very short insta-stories clip about taking a few days off vlogging I got some truly wonderful and very sweet messages of concern and support which really helped me more than I can articulate, so thank you so very much for that.

:: On Monday I had the best cat nap (literally) before lunch. I’ve had the worst tiredness this week and so I tend to listen to that and grab a nap when I can because it makes me so much more productive for the rest of the day ahead. On Monday I was working away in my art room when I found myself dozing off, paint brush still in my hand and everything (oops), so I set an alarm and curled up on the bed in the same room. I was soon joined by our little bear, who snuggled right in with me for 20 minutes; it was wonderful!

:: On Thursday I had a final get together with my lovely friend Kat before she moves away. We went to our usual haunt, Trevaskis Farm, where they do the most amazing cakes/desserts you have ever seen (totally fine for 10am right?), I had a mint mousse thing and it was delicious!
:: I have had some really awesome weights workouts this week, where I have been trying to put a lot more focus on feeling whatever muscle I am working on actually contracting, rather than just going through the motions. There are some muscle groups that I really need to work on the muscle-mind connection more and this week I have felt a lot more soreness post-workout, which means I have done something right! I do like a bit of post-workout pain!

:: Our little village had its Christmas lights switch on  on Friday evening. We stepped out our gate and walked the ten steps to where the tree and sweet nativity scene is set up and huddled together in the freezing wind whilst we listened to carols and watched the lights come on. Mid way through a carol we decided to take a little walk around the village in a desperate attempt to bring some heat back to our feet and to see some of the fairy lights in peoples gardens and windows. As we turned the corner to head back towards the festivities we found Father Christmas hidden between two houses, waiting for his three torch flashes to tell him it was his time to head up the road for his grand entrance. What a cute little hour that all was.

:: Today I finally got to catch up with my favourite human, my lobster, Helena! We seem to always say 'we must'nt leave it so long' but then life takes over and, before we know it, it's been weeks. There is nothing quite like a proper catch up is there?

:: I have been really enjoying some quiet time in the lounge, with just the tree lights for company. A couple of mornings, at about 3.30-4am, I have found myself awake and inspired, so have sat with a nice cup of tea, working for an hour or two and it feels so lovely. Early morning inspiration is the best!

:: Cat-mum chats were back this week! If you have no idea what I am talking about then a quick summary is this: Peta and I Face Time each other to discuss cats, and whatever else has been going on. It was needed this week as it had been a while and a lot had happened, including one of Peta's cats, little Tina bear, having a very serious operation. She is recovering so well and being spoilt rotten for sure. Head over to Peta's blog and Instagram to have a catch up!

:: You may have seen in my vlogmas videos that I have been working on two special little personalised baubles recently; I am pleased to say that they arrived in their new home with no damage! I was really happy about that!

:: I thought I'd mention a Netflix film that I watched, and loved, this week, called 'Dumplin'', it stars Jennifer Anniston (how is she almost 50 years old now?), as a beauty pageant obsessed mother who's daughter decides to go against convention and enter the pageant, much to her mums initial dismay. It is so good guys, go check it out. I also watched 'About a Boy' this week too, I adore that movie; it's been a long time since I watched it.

:: On Thursday I received a bloody amazing little treat from my gym buddy, Rory, some home made caramel-shortbread (Millionaires shortbread?). He makes the best I have ever tasted, so it is always a good day to find some has been left by your gym bag! Thank you!

:: Last night/early this morning, whilst waiting for Gizmo to come in, I stood out on the doorstop watching the stars, which were the brightest I think I have ever seen. It was so clear and, as I stared up in awe (as always) I saw the brightest, longest 'shooting star' I think I have ever witnessed. I believe we had a meteor shower recently, so maybe it was a left-over/latecomer! I cannot get enough of stargazing; one day a telescope will be mine!

:: Finally for this week... I actually 'invented' a recipe! That sounds dramatic and is not strictly true, because what I did was take an pre-existing lentil burger recipe and through in a load of other stuff I had laying about. The result was actually really tasty and I made enough for several meals too, so am really looking forward to having them again. I am on the look out for an recommendations for veggie/vegan blogs or books which have simple recipes, so feel free to comment if you know any really good ones. (You can see me making the burgers in the vlog that will be going up tomorrow!).

Thank you so much for all of your continued support guys... and, before I forget, the free Bullet Journal printable will be out the week between Christmas and the New Year, along with a Bullet Journal video, where I will be putting together my 2019 layout for you. If you have any questions that you may like me to cover in that video please leave me a comment below. If you haven't yet signed up for the freebie, click right here to join the list and, as soon as it comes out I will email it over to you first!


12 December 2018


Recently, whilst having a look for content inspiration online, I found a 30 day writing challenge on Pinterest that I really liked the look of. Although I definitely wouldn't use it as a 30 day challenge I really liked some of the prompts to use for my own personal journaling and maybe even for blog post inspiration from time to time.

One of the prompts was about a quote or saying that has made you stop in your tracks and really reflect on something in your life and, as someone who loves a good quote, this is quite a difficult one to pick out, but one I have written in this months Bullet Journal is the one above...

'It's not who you are that holds you back, it is who you think you are not.'

When I read this for the first time it made me think about so many things because I can literally relate this quote to every area of my life that I think needs improving. Here are some of the examples of the voice in my head that holds me back... can you relate?

'You are not doing as well as (insert name of someone you admire here) because you are not as good as them.' / 'If only you could lose weight your life would be better.' / 'I bet (enter appropriate name here) doesn't want to take a nap at two o'clock in the afternoon, that is why they are more successful than you.' / 'You can't wear that! You aren't the kind of woman who suits something like that, just put your old clothes back on and forget it!'

Okay, so these are kind of basic examples because it is hard to think of an example when you need one isn't it? But these are things that I am sure a lot of us think about in some shape or form, so let's quickly break them down and hit ourselves over the head with a dose of reality shall we? Here we go then...

Ridiculous case study #1

'You are not doing as well as (insert name of someone you admire here) because you are not as good as them.' - I think it is safe to say that we have all had these thoughts but what makes it so silly is that the people who you put in the brackets there also have these thoughts about people they look up to and so on and so forth. Bringing another favourite quote into a post about favourite quotes, there is that one that says something along the lines of '...don't compare your chapter one to someone elses chapter twenty' and this one is also a good'un because it is so very true isn't it? Take my business as an example; it has only been running just over a year and so to compare it to one that has been going for ten years is crazy (yet I do it). Getting too stuck in thoughts like this is what makes you feel inadequate and can stop you moving forward in life, so whilst we all will still have these comparison syndrome thoughts, it is important to remember where you are at in your journey. 

Ridiculous case study #2

'If only you could lose weight your life would be better.' - This is a classic 'who we think we are not' moment isn't it; the feelings of 'when I lose a stone I will do that' or 'people will like me better when I am slimmer'. As much as this has, and still continues to be, a thought I have, it is getting easier the older I get, but it is as my chosen quote says 'It's not who you are that holds you back, it is who you think you are not.' We choose to think we are not good enough as we are right now, we decide that people judge us negatively because of the way we think we look now. If you really consider it, does anyone actually care? Not really. If they do care then they can jog on because your outer self is not your whole self, but I pretty much guarantee that you are the only one judging you that way. By thinking you are not worthy, not slim enough or not 'whatever-the-hell-it-is' enough, you are holding yourself back. I am not saying we shouldn't have goals or should just think 'screw it', quit the gym, and gobble our way through the Tescos chocolate aisle, but what I am trying to say (and get my own head around) is that we need to be at peace with where we are at right this second whilst aiming for our goals because, after all, every version of us is still 'us' isn't it.

Ridiculous case study #3

'I bet (enter appropriate name here) doesn't want to take a nap at two o'clock in the afternoon, that is why they are more successful than you.'  - I am one of those 'tired' people, no matter how much sleep I have had the night before I will still be tired, that is just the way the cookie crumbles and so, when I am getting up at 5.30am to get my tired butt to the gym four days a week, I tend to hit a wall in the afternoon where I need to sleep for a bit. If I fight it, chances are I won't be very productive and the rest of the work I create that day will be pretty weak. Okay, I have the advantage of designing my schedule for myself, and that is great, but I still feel guilty if I take a half an hour nap. I am working on thinking to myself 'this is who I am and this is what I need' because I know my own body and I know my mental health benefits from taking a little sleep. I feel rejuvenated and ready to go post-nap, which can't be a bad thing. It's funny how we don't imagine that other, successful people we look up to may just have habits that they feel bad about too. We always picture them in this bubble of perfection don't we! Maybe they (whoever 'they' are) don't take a nap but maybe they stop working at 4, just when I am revving up again! Who knows, but whatever it is, and whoever it is, it's okay being done that way. 

Ridiculous case study #4

'You can't wear that! You aren't the kind of woman who suits something like that, just put your old clothes back on and forget it!' - I am getting much more carefree in my late thirties, but this sometimes creeps in and it is silly really. Thinking you are not good enough or tall enough (etc) to wear a certain thing is truly insane; if you like it, rock it! Don't be held back by what you think everyone else is doing or wearing or perhaps how old you are and whether you will fit in, just bloody go for it and enjoy it, release yourself from the rules and be free with it. In my case that may be a fluffy sock related decision rather than something too fashion-orientated, but still, each to their own huh?

'It's not who you are that holds you back, it is who you think you are not.'

Reflect on this one more time and ask yourself 'who do I think I am not', what comes up for you when you think this and how can you change it? Maybe it's 'I'm not the kind of person who can start my own business' - yes you are! You totally are and you can be amazing at it, don't hold yourself back by thinking you're not that person. Maybe it's 'I'm not able to go to the dance class I want to go to because I feel I don't know anything' - how are you going to know anything unless you go? You are totally the type of person to start this new, fun class, so just go and see what an impact it has on you.

You get it right! 

9 December 2018


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

5 December 2018


^^ 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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