31 January 2019

WE NEED TO TALK...


^^ Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash ^^

As I was having my daily mooch through Pinterest I stumbled upon these words ^^ and I stopped in my tracks to ponder them for a moment because they are so very true aren't they? We go through our days chatting about the weather, the television, what over-rated celebrity is dating another equally over-rated celebrity or what ever equals small talk in life, but when do we actually stop and talk about the thinks that matter the most to us.

What is it that you think about the most? In the stillness of the day (if you get any!) or the middle of the night, what is it that is on repeat in your mind, and do you actually share it with anyone in your life at all? I mean, surely, if we have things that are picking away at us, whether they are good or bad, we often don't share them do we?

I think it is human nature to want to protect ourselves from judgement from others; maybe this is through the fear of being seen for who we really are, but is that a bad thing? I really can't wrap my head around why so many people are scared of putting their real selves out there for the world to see. A good example is actually an Instagram stories thread I put up an hour ago (and this was pure coincidence that I happened to want to write this post, but it fits as a valid example, so I'm running with it!). I shared that recently I had started to take a new medication for my migraines, a medication previously used as an anti-depressant, but now more commonly used for pain relief, migraines and to aid sleep. If you know anything at all about anti-depressants then you will know the ironic side effect of increased depression and suicidal thoughts.

One week in to the medication I felt myself start to spiral down hill, very, very fast. I went to a place that I haven't been in for quite a long time. Unfortunately, with my mental health, I do suffer the darkest thoughts on occasion, but this medication took them to a whole new level. 



Having noticed this I kept my eye on it and when I was curled up in bed sobbing and feeling totally helpless I decided to stop taking the meds and see what happened. Sure enough, just 24 hours later, a little fog had lifted and then a little more. The moral of the story, and the link to the post is that I shared this on Instagram to help people. Let me stress that this is a topic that takes courage to talk about because when I post these things to try and bring awareness to someone who may not have too much knowledge on medication and its possible side effects, I do it from a kind-hearted, supportive place, not one of 'hey guys on the internet, look at me and give me attention!', because here are the facts: I hate being the centre of attention, it is a trigger for my mental health, I do not want attention, but if I can help someone then I will make myself do the post; which is the only reason why I put up with the shit I can get online any time I post about mental health... the 'block' button is my best pal!

Back to the quote, my point is that a lot of the time I think of bad thoughts due to my mental state, yes I choose to talk about them, but only to help others; I want people to realise that they are not alone and help to give strategies to cope if and when I can. They are the things I started bringing to the forefront of conversations that I just wasn't talking about but I was most certainly thinking about.

I chose to do that as a conscious effort over the past two years, since leaving my job and actually feeling I could talk openly without judgement of my ability to perform as a professional as a result of talking freely.

So, what are the things you need to talk about? They don't have to be negative things or hard things at all. Maybe, in your private moments, you are dreaming of starting a business (that was me too actually, for years and years!) but you are scared to say to anyone about it because of what they may think! I am here to tell you to start talking about the things you think of the most, whatever they are. If I hadn't of started saying 'do you know what, I want to work for myself, I know it will be hard, and I have zero clue what the f**k I am doing, but I want to try' then I wouldn't have Leaf Lane Studio today!

What is it you are thinking about? Is it work related? Is it someone you love but haven't told them yet (take the risk!), is it that you need more space, more time to work on you? Make this year be the year that you vocalise all the things that you think about the most, because they are the things that matter to you, so find that person who won't judge or that person who will just listen and encourage and get it all out, what is the worst that can happen really?
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27 January 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



Some Sunday posts are full of things I’ve been getting up to, whilst others, like today, are not so jam packed! That is the way the metaphorical cookie of life crumbles though isn’t it? Some times you have a week where one minute it’s Monday and then, boom, you blink and it’s Sunday again! This week I have had my head down working all week pretty much non-stop; I had two commissions to finish up, which always means that every ounce of focus goes there really, plus I've still had this dreaded cold leaving my system too, so have tried to be a bit nicer to myself, despite the deadlines and workload. I also had a little work from my printer to complete this week (you all remember my glamorous box-sticking job right?! Not that I am complaining about earning money!). So all in all this week has been pretty mundane really... am I selling it to you well?!

That said, there are always things to be grateful for so let’s jump right in...

:: This week, as I mentioned in my introduction, I finished and packaged up two important orders for Leaf Lane Studio. I am always incredibly grateful to be able to work with such lovely customers who I really enjoy communicating with about their work and, as I have been finishing up this week I have been plotting some new stock for the paper shop and hoping that I can bring all my ideas to life really soon. I have a wedding fair coming up on 24th February over in Redruth, which will be my first ever event with my new business, so I have a lot to get done for that too. Busy times ahead over the next few weeks. If you guys want to keep up to date with all of the happenings then click right here to join my Leaf Lane Studio mailing list.

:: It seems like us Cornwall lot have had it good here this week weather wise. I was sent several photos from a friend where I used to work in Berkshire, showing me scenes of snow and it looked bloody cold! We have had mostly mild weather over here in the west but the gym sure has felt chilly at 6.30am let me tell you!


:: Last week, whilst watching a live music video on YouTube, I left it on ‘auto-play’ and it played through several songs similar to what I’d listened to; i.e. my usual cheesy ‘l’m-writing-a-blog-post-and-want-something-to-sing-along-to’ stuff, when a song came on which is a certain ten out of ten on the cheesey-music-scale but I bloody loved it! It took me back to being a kid when you hear song lyrics and feel like you’re a Disney princess about to be whisked away by the prince... you get it! The song was ‘This I Pomise You’, which was originally written by Richard Marx for NSYNC (cringe huh!), but the version I listened to was sung by Richard Marx and I instantly fell in love with the lyrics. I am a total idiot for this stuff as you know so you can all disown me immediately, that’s fine, but I’m going to own it because I am constantly praying that romance makes a come back! For those of you that are in my club for losers, click here to see the video! (skip to 2mins 45secs for the song as he waffles at the start!).

:: For some reason, probably related to my crappy hormones, I have had the skin of a teenager this week and it has been really (really) getting me down; at almost 38 I don’t appreciate having to worry about spots and all of the wonders of hormonal skin, but that is what this week brought to the door. I highly recommend La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo for any problem skin as well as Mario Badescu’s treatments too, because they genuinely work, so I am grateful to them for calming my poor old moon face down this week. I am left feeling so under confident and like I need a big old paper bag over my face when these things come along. I had acne as a teenager, so I think I always go right back to that in my head and worry it’s having a resurgence! I am such a drama queen!



:: This morning I had a lovely wander about the garden to attempt to learn how to use the macro setting on my new camera; I have so much to learn but it was fun nonetheless! There are so many signs of spring out there right now, although the strong winds we had last night have flattened all the daffodils, which are now laying face down all over the garden. I have been saying this for the last few weeks I know, but I am so excited for the warmer weather to return and, with it, the lighter mornings too. I used to enjoy the winter months so much but not anymore, give me summer now please!

:: I finally got around to recording my 2019 Bullet Journal set up and will be putting it live early next week; it includes my review on a different journal I am using as well as January and February’s set up too. You can still get your paws on my free printable of journal illustrations if you would like to try it; click right here to have it come right to your inbox.

:: Let me talk to you about a new favourite green food... kalettes. I bought a packet in Morrisons last week as they were on offer and I cooked them up with a couple of chopped rashers of bacon and they were so delicious! The are advertised as part kale, part sprout, but I am here to tell you that they really taste good, not just 'I-should-be-eating-green-stuff-so-will-force-it-down-me' good, but actually tasty!

:: Did you guys catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse/blood moon this week? It was so stunning! These things turn me into an emotional wreck because they are just so amazing to see. When I popped my head out it was super clear, bright red and in partial eclipse, but still looked so good!

:: Whilst sticking boxes and painting I got hooked on a series on Netflix called 'The Sinner', which is all about a young boy who commits a double murder and the events leading up to and surround why he did it. It was a strange watch but I had to see how it turned out because it was taking so many unexpected turns! I recommend it!

I will leave it there for this week guys as, in truth, I am absolutely shattered... but I am going to attempt a weekly vlog starting tomorrow and hope to get back to that more regularly. If you have any thing you would like to hear me talk about in the vlogs let me know, whether it is about starting a business or anything Cornwall related, just leave me a comment under this post and I will try my best to answer your questions when I am vlogging!

Thank you so much, as always, for sticking with me all this time, I appreciate each and every one of you so much.

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24 January 2019

THE BEAUTY OF VULNERABILTY



On Tuesday I put a post up on Instagram about vulnerability and as I was writing it I realised that I had a little more to say on the subject, so I decided to make it into a bigger post. It’s a subject I have been thinking about a lot of late, for many reasons, and I have also heard a couple of people talk about it on podcasts, so the subject has really been pushed in my face recently, which I see as a the universe telling me something, so let’s dive into it.

On my Instagram post I opened with the quote above because I think it is beautiful and very true indeed.

We can be vulnerable in so many ways in our lives; post trauma or bad health, after we lose a loved one, when we grow older and can do less for ourselves but, to be clear, today I want to talk about the vulnerability of our hearts and souls. More and more we see people putting on an act, especially for the sake of social media; we’ve all done it, me included. We have all tried to paint the perfect picture of our lives, when what is actually happening is not that way at all. Thankfully I have now given that horrible past time up, choosing to be as open and honest as I can without pushing it too much. I know when things are too personal to share and therefore I won’t mention something at all, or even hint at it. My only exception to the rule is discussing issues about mental health, because I know that telling my story can help or may help even one person, so it’s more than worth it.

I digressed slightly there so let me pull it back to the subject at hand... let’s step out of our online lives and into our real ones, and ask yourself this: how much of yourself, of your soul, the good and the bad, do you reveal to the people close to you?

Have you ever stopped to really think about how hard it is to let people truly ‘see’ you, see into your heart and soul; to let someone so far in that they have access to your most vulnerable self, the self you most try to hide from the world. I think if we are honest, not many of us have that with people, many times in our lives, not without fear accompanying it; fear of judgement, of being rejected or argued with for a difference in opinion. But when you do experience it, when you find that friend, loved one or relationship where it just feels like you have known each other forever and can really just ‘see’ each other without judgement; that, my friends, is a keeper isn’t it?

I really think that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do, because it has potential to open up old wounds and can mean that we are standing in front of someone who can squash our hearts/minds at any moment, but for the right people/person isn’t it worth the risk? Isn’t it worth laying yourself totally open to the danger of loss, getting your heart broken or walked away from rather than remaining so insular that you lose all human connection or never experience true love or true friendship?

This connection with another human being must surely be the basis for the most beautiful, magical moments in life? When someone really ‘gets you’, and not only that, but accepts who you are, even when you fall apart into a million pieces, showing every hidden part of you or when you are at your most joyful and content... they are still there, holding your hand, unshaken, not scared or threatened in any way, just a constant presence. Having that faith in someone else, a trust beyond comprehension is true vulnerability and, like the quote by Leo Christopher says, it is the essence of existence. I really think that this allows us to open up to the most honest version of reality and can make us feel utterly whole. 

It really is a beautiful thing.
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20 January 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ The stunning views of Cape Cornwall feature heavy in today's post, isn't it gorgeous? ^^

This week definitely hasn't been as social as last week, so if you are here to see pictures of all the cakes I shouldn't be eating you are in the wrong place! This week has very much been about me fighting this awful cough and cold, which I think had finally decided to take a hike, and also about trying to finish the commissions that I have been working on, because said cold has slowed me right down!

The start of 2019 really has seemed like a warm up, so I am seeing February as a new start, because January has been all about bad health and too many migraines (also bad health!). Still, I am staying positive, I managed to do some good things with my training despite feeling super poorly 90% of the month, so good things were accomplished!

Let's hop straight into the highlights of this week then shall we?

:: This morning we head off over to Cape Cornwall, which if you are not too familiar with the county, is right near Lands End, and accessed through the pretty village of St Just. It's about a 20 minute drive from our village, and on a day like today, where the weather is a little all over the shop, it comes into its own; think big skies and dramatic landscapes. I have not been feeling at my best recently, and today my mental health is poor, so a walk up to the top of Cape Cornwall, feeling the wind in my face and being somewhat beaten up by nature, was just what the doctor ordered. The walk up is always one that I aim to stride out and get done as fast a possible; it clears the mind, helps to get the heart rate up and generally reminds you that you are a mortal human being! It is one of my most favourite places to be, especially sitting on the bench right at the top, looking straight out to sea and allowing my mind to settle inwards a little. There was a seal down by the rocks today, bobbing up and down in the rough seas and so many birds gliding along, with no need to flap their wings at all. I could sit there for hours in any weather just taking all the life in; the little plants that cling to the rocks, the sea crashing against the cliffs, the boats making their way across the horizon, the sun beams pushing through the clouds and highlighting a little cove further along the coast. I find these moments help connect me, spiritually, and quiet my mind right back down again. Every time I am there I ask myself why I don't visit it more often, it really is a stunning place to go.



:: This week I was given two bunches of daffodils which have been making me smile all week long; you guys will know by now that they are my absolute favourites and they just cannot fail to bring happiness into the house with them. There are more and more popping up in the garden too, along with some hyacinths that I planted last year (and totally forgot about!). I cannot wait for spring to arrive, it is my most favourite season of all.

:: How much I have I enjoyed the fact that Harry Potter has been on all week, and repeated this weekend too? Answer, a lot! I love sitting and working with HP on in the background, there is something so comforting about it!

:: On the subject of films/programmes; my lovely lobby, Helena, suggested that I should watch The Staircase on Netflix, after she recommended Making a Murderer and I loved it! Well, seeing as I was basically in my art room and painting all week long I did as I was told and watched it. Wow, it's a good one; I always end up unsure of who is telling the truth throughout. Have you seen it? What did you think?

:: I have been such a bad reader recently and have been trying to work my way through 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle, for what seems like forever. The thing with that book is that it is all of the things I love to read about, so I tend to re-read chapters in order to fully understand and absorb the point being made (not helpful to get a book finished!), not only that but I only get time at night, and about two sentences in I am falling asleep. Also not helpful! What has been really useful, however, is that Oprah is currently doing ten shows, one every Monday, as part of her Super Soul podcast, with Eckhart Tolle, discussing a chapter of the book each week. This has motivated me to get stuck in with the reading so I can be up to speed with what they are discussing. It really is so interesting and eye opening about the human psyche, and I would highly recommend it, if those sorts of books happen to light you up. I have also started reading another book I have on loan from a different friend (I have a stack of borrowed books right now!), this one is called Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton. It is a total contrast to the other one but a welcome balance! I will report back soon on what I think! Let me know what you are reading at the moment in the comments!



:: With my recent bouts of anxiety I have been more tired than usual this week and on Thursday I laid down on the spare bed and, just as I was drifting off to sleep, Gizmo pounced on me and curled up on my stomach with her paw holding my hand and her little face pushed into my neck; we slept like that for an hour and it was the most relaxing sleep ever.

:: You know my passion for looking at the stars... the other morning, whilst I was stood outside at about 6.25am, like you do, I was watching satellites pass overhead and spotted at least four or five. If you haven't ever seen them then you can see them so easily on a clear night or early morning. Look for a non-blinking, constant light moving fast across the sky and you have either seen the Space Station or a satellite. Anyway, as I stood watching one pass over my head, I suddenly saw a much (much) faster moving object that sped across the sky before kind of jolting off to the side and carrying on. In my mind that was not natural but whatever it was it was pretty cool to see!

:: The moon has been looking amazing recently and, if I am right, I think tonight is the blood moon/lunar eclipse thingamajig, which I will try and see some of, if it is clear. I am 100% convinced that a full moon makes Gizmo go all kinds of bat-shit-crazy as she just acts up in the few days leading up to and after one! Does anyone else experience this with their animals?

Before I head off I wanted to say a big thank you to anyone who has bought my calendar (click here to check it out) and to those of you that have been buying my little 'Always You' cards for Valentines Day too! I must get more printed as they are a good little seller! All your orders are always appreciated and also give this little business owner a reason to do a victory dance for selling something (that happens!). As promised at the end of last year, I will be getting stickers printed for my shop very soon too and some tear-off notepads, so stay tuned!

I think I will leave it there for this week and leave you with some more pictures from a bit of a quiet week of happenings! See you on Wednesday for another post!

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16 January 2019

PERSPECTIVE


^^ Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot | Image from Imgur ^^

Next month I turn 38.

Age has never been an issue for me or something I think too much on because, let’s face facts here, we can’t stop it happening. as much as some people really do try... please stop trying, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE and it’s too weird to see everyone’s faces looking exactly the same!

Hand on heart I would simply not choose to go back to any previous ages whatsoever; I am happier in my late thirties in so many ways then I have ever been, even when times can be testing and, ultimately the tests are more demanding on our psyche the older we get. The difference now, for me at least, is that I understand my own needs and wants so much more that some of the bigger things just don’t seem as testing. 

Having experiences in your younger years that seemed like the end of the world are the reason that we don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’ as adults. I guess as we grow in age, wisdom (debatable in my case sometimes) and experiences, there is a deep routed knowing that we can get through things, that we will get through things, even though we know there will be pain and suffering, on the most part we can be sure that we will come out stronger individuals. 

I think the mistake so many people make is that they don't allow for how much work gaining this perspective of life takes, it is a conscious choice and that it’s not a given that things will just be okay as you get older, there is no magic wand, it takes effort, but it's really worth it. I know that I have to work so hard every day to stay happy; listen to motivational/inspiration podcasts, read things that will inspire me and remind myself that, in the larger concept of our existence, I am insignificant and that tomorrow will be a different day. This Carl Sagan quote, from the picture above, gets me into that head space fast, it really is a wonderful piece of writing:


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Obviously I am not putting all experiences under one umbrella here because that would be truly insensitive and not at all helpful; there are big things, such as grieving the passing of someone you love or a traumatic, life changing experience and many similar situations that are totally different and the results can be devastating; I’m by no means trying to make sense out of those things, I am certainly not qualified for that. What I am talking about the every day things that are far more common place, like friendship breakdowns, feeling lost and unsure about life choices or the future or relationship breakdowns. Fundamentally as much as these things are emotionally draining  and very difficult to handle in the moment they can teach us so many things about who we are and, even though we can’t see it at the time, and probably feel like life will never be the same again, time is the greatest healer and so, down the line, we will look back and be able to reflect on it and (hopefully) smile and feel happy that we are in the place we are in at that moment instead. 


^^ Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash ^^

Without all the paths we have already been down in our lives up to now we would not have had people enter our lives to teach us lessons, bring love and friendship, change our experiences and introduce to us our next chapters. Sometimes life pulls you into some strange directions and we cannot see why we are there, but just try and trust the situation and eventually something useful will be revealed and you will have the ‘ah-ha’ moment. Follow your intuition along the way and you are pretty much set.

So, as I turn 38, my focus is on leaning into the most aligned version of me. The me that is socially awkward and says ridiculous things sometimes. The me that loves laughing and being silly, singing at the top of my lungs and having music so loud that I am all consumed by it. The me that dances about the house like a mad woman because I love how free I feel. The me that finds happiness in watching birds in the garden, seeing the first signs of spring appearing. The me that cries at small things I see outside on a walk or when I am watching the stars because I can’t believe how amazing nature is. The me that loves lifting all the heavy things at the gym until my hands rip apart. The me that feels everyone else’s hurt by being in their presence and wanting to help them all at once. The me that daydreams for hours about old fashioned romance and laying under the stars with a glass of whisky for company and the me that has all the ambitions and goals in the world and will strive for all of them at once and wear myself out fast.

All these things are who I am and as I approach another year circling the sun, I am thankful that I am who I am, as much as I struggle in my own skin every single day. I have done a lot and have a great deal more to do and, come hell or high water, I will get there!
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13 January 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ There have been some stunning sunrises and sunsets this week ^^

Welcome to another Weekly Gratitude list, how has your week been? 

This week has been a busy one for me, with a couple of social get togethers and lots of art work to get done. Unfortunately, to add to the fun of the week, I got struck down with a horrible cold and a bit of a crappy mental health week too, and as much as it was really hard to keep pushing forwards and stay focused I definitely have more than enough reasons to stay positive and keep looking to the future, so onward and upwards it is. Sometimes these days are sent to test us aren't they, but it really is about picking out the lessons from each and every situation and learning something new about yourself and the path you are on too. On the subject of mental health, did you get a chance to read Wednesday's post, 'Take Time to Heal'? If you are interested in reading a little about anxiety and how I try to deal with those days, then check it out!

On to today's gratitude list!

:: I mentioned last week how I am really 'into' my weight training at the moment (which I always am but I'm just more in the zone right now!) and, for some reason known only to the Gods, I have suddenly found my strength hugely increasing, and I am loving it; so much that I took myself off to the gym at 7am this morning for a 'bonus lift' day! I am having to ask my lovely gym buddies for a spot here and there but it is certainly helping me get to where I want to be strength wise. As soon as this cold buggers off I will be hitting some more intense cardio a few times a week too and am hoping to notice even more strength appear. The early morning gym crew are so motivated and it is contagious to be around.



:: For the first time in a long time I managed to open up a little to someone special in my life about what I have suffered with my mental health this week and the mindset I found myself in. I do struggle to articulate what goes on in my mind sometimes for fear of losing people or them thinking I am completely off my rocker (which I am but I don't want anyone realising!) but everything I said was received so well and I felt so much calmer for being able to be honest and not be judged. I am extremely grateful for that.

:: There have been the most stunning skies this week; sunrises, sunsets and night skies filled with stars. I saw a bright 'shooting star' on Tuesday morning before the gym and it took my breath away; I could spend hours upon hours laying under the nights sky and never get bored, how can you when nature is so perfect?



::  I was lucky enough to have two little social outings this week, totally beating my usual quarterly total in the first half of January! Smashed that target! On Wednesday I met up with Kate, who was a client of mine through Leaf Lane Studio last year. We met over in St Agnes, at The Canteen, and enjoyed a yummy lunch and a hot chocolate together and a good old natter too. I hadn't been to The Canteen before and, whilst it was definitely not something everyone would be comfortable with (think long table crammed with people), we had fun and, as long as you are not hoping for a private conversation I think you are good! The food was amazing and so affordable, thank you for treating me Kate! My second trip out was over near the 'Poldark Mine' yesterday, to meet my gorgeous friend Kimberly at 'Slice of Cornwall'. This was another place I hadn't ever been too, but it is so lovely! It is set in some sculpture gardens near Helston and does wonderful food. The setting was so beautiful and we chatted away for two hours, enjoying hot chocolate, with the biggest marsh mallows I have ever seen (Kimberley) and a Victoria cup cake and cup of tea for me. I definitely want to go back there and I also would like to treat myself to one of the pretty mugs they sold too, even though I have it in mind to use to hold paint brushes!!



:: More of my all time favourite flowers have appeared in the garden this week, this time a single, bright yellow daffodil, proudly standing tall among all the winter leaves. I just adore daffodils, they bring me so much happiness.

:: Gizmo and I have napped together twice this week. On Thursday I ended up hitting her as I tend to thrash out in my sleep sometimes (I am usually boxing in my dream!), she let our a 'miaow' and batted me on the arm with her paw and swiftly started snoring again. When I woke back up she was holding my hand tightly with her paw; which I originally thought was so cute but, upon reflection, I am now thinking it was simply to stop the violence! Yesterday, as I got myself all comfy to read some of my book on the sofa, she suddenly jumped up and laid herself very grandly over my chest, placing most of her weight on my left arm. She dozed off and, as the Cat Mum Rule Books states (page 32, verse 4), 'thou shall not move unless your cat does, if death commeth first then thou shall be sacrificed' :-) Needless to say I woke up with a dead arm, but she had slept very well! No books were read at all.



Just a reminder of a few things before I sign off for today; you can now purchase a choice of two printable calendars from Leaf Lane Studio; the new one and the one I released last year, which has now been updated for 2019! They are £5 each to buy and if you set your printer at home to 'best print' quality and pop some thicker paper or even some card in, you will be surprised how professional it will look. My mum has punched holes in hers and tied some ribbon around it to hang it up, I have mine on a pin board, held up with a bulldog clip and I know a few people have stuck it on their office walls too, just with blue-tack, so there is a lot of flexibility! Once you have purchased it you can download it, save it and print it as many times as you like! I use mine as a blog content planner and it is so useful. Why not print out one for home and one for the office (you can print as many times as you want with one purchase!).

Lastly, don't forget that I released the Bullet Journal free printable this last week, so if you haven't got yours yet the click right here and have it come right into your inbox (check junk if you don't see it!).

See you on Wednesday!
xoxo

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9 January 2019

TAKE TIME TO HEAL


^^ The gorgeous view over to Marazion and St Michaels Mount ^^

*Warning - Mental health talk... Don't read this if you are triggered or just not interested in mental health posts - contact numbers for Mental Health help at the end of the post*

If you are a follower of my Instagram account then you may have seen this post from last week; I was having a pretty shitty week (let's not sugar coat it, we are all friends here) and so took myself off for a walk towards St Michaels Mount, along the quieter coast path that runs from the top of the village, rather than the busier coast-hugging path, where I may have had to summon a smile or fifty as I passed all the hikers and dog walkers.

That day had been one of many where my anxiety was beyond through the roof; I felt on edge, unable to sleep, eat, concentrate or function on a basic level. If I took myself to bed I just had a million fast-paced thoughts cruise on in and try and sabotage my relaxation time. 

Anxiety really is a bitch. 

I suffer mostly from low, depressive moods, which are bloody horrible too, but the one thing that I find is that I can read or lose myself in a film when I am down; escapism is totally possible when I am not anxious, and then all I have to do is try and take care of myself and be gentle with the feelings until they decide to bugger off again, which they always do in the end.


^^ I love the view from the church down towards the sea ^^


^^ The little painted pebbles were just outside the church, left over from Christmas service I guess ^^

But when anxiety hits I cannot out-run it. I read into every small thing that I see, read or hear, I drive myself up the wall with worry and panic about all the things. I feel like my place on this Earth is useless, because I suddenly become so over-sensitive to all the negativity we have on this planet and feel like I should be able to make it better but I can't. I worry about letting people down that I may have to reschedule when I feel like that or that my slightly edgy, jumpy appearance may make me look totally insane (or like a shoplifter if I happen to be shopping!). Anything you can imagine just lets itself into my psyche when I am feeling anxious; it really is a crazy place to be!

I tend not to talk too much about some of the details that can trigger the darkest thoughts because I am fully aware how crazy it sounds to say something like... 'well, I saw a bird in the tree and it was on its own, and then I got really upset because I thought it must have no family and be all alone and sad and now I feel really upset and worried about it...'. Trust me, I know how people look at you when you try and explain things like that... let's just say I said something similar to a therapist once and he made copious notes! 

Still, as I get older, I do learn to make these episodes shorter, through certain self-care practices, such as baths, walks and weight lifting (nothing beats lifting heavy things to shift bad moods for me). That is why the walk I took last Friday was so vital to turning things around. I left the house with my camera and just said to myself 'right, just take a slow pace and try and observe things, remind yourself of all the good, take time to really absorb life and remember how beautiful it is'. As crazy as that sounds, sometimes we do actually need to remind ourselves to step back into life again and to purposefully leave the darker thoughts behind us. It does need to be intentional behaviour or the bad stuff will always over power you because it is easier.


^^ The smell of cauliflowers are in the air everywhere you go around here at the moment! ^^

As I walked onto the first part of the coast path I felt tearful and lost and really hoped I didn't bump into anyone at all, but as I walked on I started reflecting on things, consciously slowing my thoughts down and gradually, without really noticing, less of the anxiety was there. It was replaced by the birds flying in and out of the trees and bushes, the little robin that fluttered along beside me for a while, nipping in and out of the hedges next to me, the gentle sound of laughter from people walking on the lower part of the path, the breeze on my face, the call from the seagulls, the way the colours were changing in the light, the reflection of the clouds on the sea as they move overhead, the 'hello' from a stranger walking his dog, the silence as I sat on a bench looking over towards Mounts Bay and the beautiful sight of dolphins playing by the mount. 

Remembering how small we are in this universe is sometimes the key to getting out of your head, at least it is for me. Sometimes we can get so involved in our own stories, usually written by and starring our ego, that we forget reality, and we need to be jolted back again. Once you have accomplished some kind of re-connection it is about giving yourself the time to heal; your nervous system needs resting, you need sleep and food that will help to nourish your body and mind. This is the important part, this healing process, so don't ever underestimate it, give yourself time to recover.

M E N T A L  H E A L T H  C O N T A C T S

SAMARITANS: Call anytime on 116 123 (free from any phone) with any issues.

SANELINE: 0300 304 7000 (open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm daily) for mental health issues or if you are supporting someone with mental health.

THE MIX: For under 25's - 0808 808 4994 (open Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm)

PAPYRUS HOPELINE: For 35's and over struggling with suicidal feelings and self harm - 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–5pm).

There are many amazing other charities too, check out Mind for more information.

Don't forget to visit your GP for help and advice too, they really can offer amazing resources.
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6 January 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



Here we go guys... it's the first 'Weekly Gratitude' post of 2019! (Holy crap balls Batman, it's 2019... I turn 38 in a matter of weeks!). I thought I would go all out and hit you guys with a full on bit of 'Grateful' cheese with help from my awesome t-shirt from Tescos (got to love a bit of red nails/red lips/red slogan top coordination, it's the most matching I have been in years!).

How has everyone's New Year started? Full of all the good things in life I hope. Mine has been a little all over the shop for various reasons, but I have also been planning things for my business and for this very space too (in between a few mental health 'moments'!). I did pop a post up about my word for this year and my thoughts on making resolutions, so if you haven't read that one yet just click right here!

Let's pounce on this weeks list of bits and bobs shall we?

:: The first thing I want to mention is how much I appreciate every single one of you guys for all your support and messages over the last couple of weeks whilst I have been working on my Leaf Lane Studio calendar (and slightly losing the plot whilst doing it on no sleep!). If you haven't seen it yet then just click right here to go straight to the page and check it out. If you like it and fancy getting one then it couldn't be easier as all you have to do is print it at home! I have popped some tips for doing this in the product description so just have a read and you should be fine. I would love you to tag me on Instagram if you have bought one (either @leaflanestudio or @fromlucywithloveblog) and I will share it!



:: Whilst working all the hours this last week, I have been digging deep into my Spotify playlists for motivation and listening to some proper good tunes (I can't say that anymore can I?!). I went right through a whole load of 90's R 'n' B (think Usher, Jodeci and Next) and then mooched about for a few classics, such as my all time favourite, Heaven by Bryan Adams, some Kodaline ('All I Want'...great tune!) and so many others. I have definitely played Jazzy Jeff's 'Boom Shake the Room' a little too much too though!

:: I have been lost in a new Netflix series too called 'You', have you started it yet? I initially thought it was a film so clicked on it for a watch, but soon learnt that it was a series and watched about four in a row whilst I worked. I am hooked! It is about a stalker who basically learns way too much about the girl he likes via the means of social media. and therefore manages to be who she wants and make his way into her life in the most creepy, scary way possible. I won't say more but just go watch it... and check your privacy settings on social afterwards... and maybe change your locks... and get a weapon!

:: One more quick bit of promo for you... I have been waffling on for weeks about a free Bullet Journal printable and it is out! Can I get a Mexican wave?! I have sent it out to everyone on my mailing lists, including this one and Leaf Lane Studio's, but from now on, if you want it then you will need to click on this link right here and sign up to the Leaf Lane Studio list, once you have done that you will receive the freebie right to your inbox. If, like me, you use Outlook, check your junk box as sometimes things head straight there for a rest! I am working on a video to show you how I use the printable so that will be out very soon too.



:: For some reason, totally unknown to me, my strength in the gym has suddenly decided to make an effort to increase, leaving me all hyped up at the end of pretty much every weights session this last week or two. By some standards it may not be a lot, but for me, to be pushing 17.5kg dumbbells for a chest press and just over 200kg on a leg press is worth celebrating! Lifting weights is so therapeutic for me and, if you have never tried it, I highly recommend it!

:: Having listened to this episode of Kate Taylor's 'Practical Magic' podcast on Thursday, which was all about reviewing 2018 (in a totally motivational and useful way!), I head right on over to her link for the free review workbook and delved straight into unpacking 2018 and making some discoveries to take forward to 2019. I would highly recommend you guys checking the workbook out, it really is so useful and is broken down into four sections to really dig into what happened to make 2018 great and what could have been different. Take some time to journal through it though, let everything come right on out onto the page and be 100% honest otherwise it won't be worth doing at all.

:: On Friday I went out for a little walk down towards Marazion, to practice with my new camera (I still need to learn so much more about it!) and to try and help shift some of the severe anxiety that was driving me literally insane. As I sat on a bench, looking over towards St Michaels Mount, I noticed some movement in the sea and was soon watching a pod of dolphins leaping about and enjoying themselves! I would be lying if I said that I didn't cry, because I did, but thankfully there was no-one around! Nature is one of the best soul healers around it really is.



:: This week I noticed that the little white and yellow narcissi have opened out in the garden and we also have the hyacinths that I planted popping their heads up too; spring is around the corner and I could not be happier. Daffodils and narcissi are my favourite flowers ever and to see them around for a few weeks is one of the highlights of spring for me.

:: After taking down the Christmas decorations and cleaning the house like a woman processed, I felt restored and ready to attack the new year; the only thing that remained in place after Christmas was the string of fairy lights that run basically around the entire lounge. They are just so comforting when I can't sleep so get up early and sit downstairs. You can't go wrong with fairy lights if you ask me, which I am fully aware you didn't!



:: This morning we head off for a quick stroll around Porthleven; it was lovely and quiet and very, very still (this poor little harbour gets a total battering in bad weather, check out this image!). One of my missions for this year is to see so many more places in Cornwall; not only is it so inspirational for me from a creative perspective, but it really keeps me so much more level headed to be out and about, and much less likely to turn into a hermit!

There you have it my loves, the first Weekly Gratitude for 2019. I am determined to hit so many goals for Leaf Lane Studio this year and other areas of my life too... anyone up for joining me to learn paddle boarding or indoor climbing let me know! 

Have a wonderful week everyone and I will see you for Wednesdays post!

PS: If you are a fellow blogger or small business and want to collaborate this year in any way please comment or email me on fromlucywithlove@outlook.com - it would be lovely to work with some other creatives / writers in 2019 so come and say hi and let's make a plan!

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2 January 2019

MY WORD OF THE YEAR & THOUGHTS ON RESOLUTIONS



Happy New Year my loves, did you have a good Christmas and celebrate the arrival of 2019 in style? Whatever you did and whoever you spent your moments with, I hope you had a wonderful time filled with fun and laughter. 

There are a lot of blog posts around right now discussing 'the best way' to make new plans, and resolutions for the new year, and I wanted to discuss my take on it all in this post because, for the first time ever, I have entered a new year feeling a sense of calm in terms of not putting pressure on myself to achieve unrealistic goals, which makes a pleasant change and feels really good. Seeing as there are a few things that have come together to bring about my new sense of perspective, I thought I’d unpick them here with you, so let’s get stuck in.

As much as I love Christmas time, for whatever reason this year just didn’t feel the same on the lead up to it. Maybe it is to do with working for myself and the added pressure doing that brings, because I definitely haven’t found my balance yet and throughout December I didn’t manage my time very well and fell behind with the more personal projects (not client work of course!) that should have been finished weeks before the holidays started. All of this going on and a few other worries about finances and other silly things meant that my sleep began to fall into an irregular pattern, which spells bad news for my mental health and ability to function normally, which is all a bit of a vicious circle isn't it.

As I sat in the lounge, during the very early hours of one morning on the run up to Christmas, randomly watching Terminator 2 with the volume off, I was thinking about my 2019 ‘word of the year’, and had a bit of an epiphany as to what it needed to be. As tired and slightly off my rocker as I felt at that ungodly hour, I realised that what I needed in my life was more focus and a bit more meaning to the things I am trying to achieve. You see, I have the habit of getting super enthusiastic about many things at once, meaning that I can just leap from one thing to the next like an over excited puppy; I needed to have a plan and so I decided that my word for this year would be ‘Intention’.

This word makes total sense in every single area of my life because I can be someone who takes on everything just to keep people happy at the expense of my own happiness, or I will do something without really thinking about an end goal because I get wrapped up in the idea without considering whether it is actually worth while or not. The same goes with all the work I’ve been doing on food and my psychology around it with Peta (Nourishing Soulfully)  because we are working on me eating with more intention, rather than emotional binging or just shoving food in ‘just because’ it is there.

Going forward I am going to use my Bullet Journal and my little office white board to plan more in order to break things down into achievable, more intentional chunks that I can monitor. For my business this means that I need to be more focused on a couple of big goals rather than starting lots of little things and moving on to something else then something else and ending up overwhelmed and with no outcome to show for it. For the blog it I would like to come up with a plan to make it better for you guys, creating more interesting content and maybe reaching out to some brands I would like to collaborate with that fit my vision. For my personal life it means that I will be setting myself mini goals to achieve in the gym, little things such as being able to do an unassisted chin up by the end of this year and lifting a certain amount of weight on a specific exercise.

As soon as the word came into my mind my intuition said ‘yep, that’s the one!’ And we all know how much following my intuition means to me don’t we!

To touch briefly on traditional resolutions; in the past I have always set them, but not this year. This year I am choosing to be kinder to myself (maybe that’s a resolution in and of itself?) and just ‘be’. I think there is a difference between goal setting and resolutions for sure and for most people our resolutions can just be too much for us, too full on to cope with and we can have zero clue how to actually get to them. This year I know, for example, that I want to eat less meat and try my best to lose a little body fat, but did you read that? I wrote ‘try my best’; that statement alone takes all the pressure off of a traditional ‘I will lose three stone’ resolution and is just a gentler way of saying ‘hey body, I’m here for you and we are on the same side okay?’.

I’m here to tell you that it feels wonderful to not have the ‘diet in January’ mindset this year, rather a ‘I’ll be working on taking care of my entire self this year and every year, and giving my body food as fuel, not as comfort or punishment (or whatever else)’. Let’s just quit the big unrealistic sh*tty resolutions that make us feel like failures shall we? We should care enough about ourselves and, in-fact, one another all year round and just look after each other. Surely this alone can help us to achieve even our wildest dreams?

What are your thoughts on all of this? Please do let me know and let’s get supporting each other and giving each other lots of encouragement and motivation as we enter this new chapter.
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