30 March 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ St Michaels Mount looking eerily quiet, but still super beautiful of course ^^

I feel like these Weekly Gratitude posts are of even more importance at the moment, and finding joy in smaller things in life is a must to get through this strangeness. I have been really loving Emily Coxhead's little Instagram Story templates to share moments of happiness and have been posting these every day too, so please join in, because they are lovely to read! Head to Emily's Instagram and you will find them there, or I do post the blank templates every day to help spread her joy, because she really is the best!

Before I start on my Weekly Gratitude list, let me know how are you doing today, at the start of this new week. Also, let me know in the comments where you are in the world and what is making you happy right now!

Okay, onto my list...

:: I received the most gorgeous Bloom and Wild flowers from my lovely bestie, Helena, last week. I love Bloom and Wild flowers because they last ages and this box are so gorgeous too, plus they came with chocolate (insert BIG smile here!). Thank you so, so much Lobby! Having flowers in the house right now is making me so happy.


^^ I am officially the worst flower photographer ever! But you get the jist! ^^

:: Something else that I am doing every single day now is putting my oil diffuser on with some drops of lavender in it, and it makes the whole house smell so wonderful. I am sadly running out of lavender oil, so need to try and find some more. I do have a couple of other oils, but lavender seems to be the best for me right now. 

:: I mentioned in my previous blog post 'Maintaining Joy Through Challenging Times' that I was enjoying nature so much more than ever (I didn't think I could enjoy it more, especially given the restrictions we are going through). There is a calmness about the sun rising and the birds singing happily in the trees that grounds me so much. When I am feeling tired, overwhelmed or just need some fresh air, I step outside and just take in what I have right in front of me. I know this is a privilege, and that some people can't do this, so this makes me even more appreciative of it. I am sharing little videos over on Instagram of sunsets and bird song too, which people are loving, and that makes me happy too.

:: Last week I entered a little sticker design into Awesome Merchandises 'Free Sticker Friday' competition, and I was picked as one of the ten winners, so I will be getting 100 stickers for free, which is such a wonderful pick me up right now, as business is (as we all understand) not really moving anywhere right now. I submitted the 'Little Explorer' art print to be made into a sticker, so you can expect to see that little guys available soon in the shop! Here is his big brother as the A5 print now available on Leaf Lane Studio.


:: I had to go to the Post Office on Saturday to post a couple of orders, and Marazion was so, so empty, which is an obvious thing to say, but it is unheard of and a little eerie. I stopped and looked out at St Michaels Mount for a while and just took a few deep breaths of sea air, which is so relaxing isn't it. The post office are doing such an amazing job and managing to stay open, which is so appreciated right now.

:: With food shopping becoming much more tricky now, I am getting more creative with my batch cooking and with how I can 'fill out' dishes I normally cook. I am also cutting my portion sizes down and adding in things like a tiny jacket potato with random dishes, just to be more filling but save more portions of what is in the freezer. We are being forced to think more widely aren't we, and it is funny what we can come up with. I don't think those things will change in our house actually, some things will stick now and I am happy with that. Have you been batch cooking or having anything a bit random?

:: I released my FREE cat colouring sheets last week, which went down a storm! I have been so grateful for the feedback about those. I found myself sitting and starting to colour one in recently and got totally absorbed in the process! You can get yours by signing up right here and then you will receive and email from me, with links to the files (check your junk box if you don't see the email at all and feel free to get in touch via email or DMs if you have problems with anything, you can email me on hello@leaflanestudio.com).



:: I recently discovered a lovely artist, called Laura Horn, on Instagram (seriously, Instagram is where I discover everything right now, who's with me?!). Laura is based in Australia and produces the most gorgeous, free-flowing abstract art out of a variety of materials. She has some lovely free resources but also has some on-line courses you can take too (which I think are great value - not an advert, just my opinion!). I was looking at her watercolour courses for the future, just because I want to learn a few new things, be able to be more playful and less 'stiff' with watercolour. As I was pondering whether I should use this isolation to sign up, Laura released a free course all about abstract collage. I have started watching it and it is so good, and could definitely be done with kids too. Just head to her website and you will see the link to sign up and then you can get started. The good thing about her free course is that you can really use whatever materials you have. There is nothing to lose by signing up and watching the first few lessons to see if it is for you. The first part is all about mark making and putting together papers you will eventually use to collage with, so you can be super creative and free with your work and make whatever patterns you want on paper, and produce some cool artwork with your family or alone. I can't wait to delve into it more and will be sorting through all my art materials later and seeing what I have hidden away that I could use! Stay tuned to my Studio Vlogs for more! Just thought I would let you know about it anyway, just because it is a free thing to do!

I will leave this post here for now, but make sure you come back as I have lots more planned! I will also be editing a new Studio Vlog this week, so please subscribe to my channel here so you are the first to know when it goes live.


^^ Check out Laura Horn over on Instagram for examples of her work ^^
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27 March 2020

MAINTAINING JOY THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES


^^ Don't underestimate the power of being still outside and looking at the stars ^^

Given the recent state of the world, I created a couple of Instagram posts to ask people what they are turning to for happiness and calm right now. I wanted to share with you some of their thoughts and my own too. I am actually quite surprised at how my brain has adjusted to all of this nonsense; I think I have spent a long time trying to train myself to take each day as it comes and it is finally paying off!



I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this feeling, but I have these moments of total serenity and calm; usually it happens when the sun is shining and I’m sat at the kitchen table with the doors flung open (which I am doing as I type this post as it happens!). The birds are singing and there are no other sounds other than distant tractors ploughing away or just a rustle in the bushes where the wrens are scampering about.

I have always been acutely aware of life’s little moments in a world that is quite insane most of the time, hence my years worth of Weekly Gratitude posts on the blog, but recent events have increased my sensitivity, gratitude and calmness in many ways. I’ve been thinking about why this has happened and I think it is because we are forced to live in this exact moment. We are not living by when we have to be somewhere by, or who we might need to see by a certain time that day and instead we are within a bubble that we have to keep cosy and secure for ourselves and our loved ones.

Isn’t it strange how less freedom can cause such huge calm and reflection? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think less freedom is good at all, it may be necessary right now, but as a fiercely independent person, I can’t wait for 'normal' freedom to return. All I’m saying is that we have to create new freedom within our four walls, make negatives into positives and keep smiling through it, because no amount of moaning will change things. I have discovered a much more optimistic part of my personality then I thought I would have at this kind of time. I guess it just shows that we never know how we will act in times like this!



Here are some negative things that I have tried to turn into positives for my own sanity!

:: My usual early morning training sessions at the gym have been replaced with more time on my spin bike and structured circuit training in the garage (with the lightest dumbbells in the world... and a paint tin!). My gym time is something I value more than I can say; it keeps me sane, stablises my mental health, keeps me social and is a wonderfully healthy routine that I hate missing. I had to find some positives from not having that in my life right now, and this is what I have discovered...

I can have a lie in (no more 5.30am alarms until this is over) and that means I am far less dozy at 2pm, which is my usual slump! I am also being forced to totally switch up my training style from lifting heavy, to lifting lighter but with a higher intensity through body weight exercises, plyometrics and HIIT circuits (High Intensity Interval Training). I’m enjoying training at around 4pm these days, starting off on my spin bike in the house, and then going out to the garage to do whatever I’ve planned for that day. I then come in, shower and cook dinner. I’ve built a nice routine and I’m enjoying the change.

:: I have been pumping up some awesome tunes when I’m feeling a bit...meh! I LOVE Heart Radios app so much as it has Heart 90’s (so good!) and, one that I have recently discovered and love the variety of music on there, Heart Dance! That station has a huge mixture of decades and is super uplifting; I’ve started Bluetooth-ing it whilst I’m training and it is the best!

:: I’ve had far more time to read or, at the very least, listen to audio-books. I just finished listening to Julie Caplin’s 'The Little Cafe in Copenhagen', which I really enjoyed! I never allow myself time to listen to fiction, which I’ve realised is insane. I’ve gained so much happiness and joy from listening to a book through my headphones during my lower moods or times in the day when I am doing something mundane, like cleaning. I have now built a ‘must read’ list on my audio-books app and will definitely be downloading more.

Okay, into other people’s thoughts and things keeping them sane right now! 

It’s been so nice catching up with people through this. My bestie, Helena, and I somehow managed to chat away (mostly about chocolate) for well over an hour this week! It was amazing to giggle away and just chat about mindless stuff with her... need to make it a weekly event! I think that keeping in contact with people is a necessity through this.

Peta, another one of my besties, who has the blog Nourishing Soulfully, recently asked on her Instagram stories what everyone’s favourite feel good movies, songs, books etc are and she complied an amazing list of these. There are some amazing suggestions and forgotten favourites on there... check it out. Make sure you have a look at Peta's gorgeous blog and definitely give her a follow on Instagram if you don't already - thank you so much for letting me share this Peta!



Peta and I have been exchanging voice messages during the day to help keep each other smiling, as well as memes (mostly cats of course) and general moans and groans in a humorous way! Peta commented on my Instagram post that she is also enjoying spending time on the garden, cat cuddles and cups of tea... same here to be honest! I washed down the patio furniture as a priority, and have been sitting outside and getting some vitamin D all of this week!

Another comment on my Instagram post about voice messages was from the lovely Gemma Sands, who also said how important contact with friends is to her during this time, along with opening the windows and listening to the bird song. I can’t agree more because fresh air and bird song makes me so incredibly content.

@evewray said on my post that flowers and spring being here makes her happy, along with wild birds, cats (yay!), phone calls and eating treats. Don’t get me started on the treats! We had nothing in the house at all and, when I managed to go shopping I bought a chocolate cake, which I have been thoroughly enjoying!

@the_hunnee_bee said that walking her dog and seeing him scamper and bounce about, chasing sticks without a care in the world makes her so happy hearted. I agree completely; seeing kids and animals totally oblivious to all this makes your heart so full doesn’t it? They are just carrying on living their lives and we should take a leaf out of their books as much as we can!

@forestofsilver said that seeing communities come together and support one another is keeping her going. The 8pm NHS celebration that happened last night is such a beautiful example of that isn’t it. 


^^ Fancy keeping busy/giving something to your kiddos to keep them busy? Read below to get these colouring pages for FREE! ^^

I think it will be important to see how we all react on the other side of this strangeness and I truly hope we will make some serious adjustments to what comes first, what we are the most grateful for and what we take for granted. I am positive that good will come out of this, I really feel it will.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to keep yourself entertained and grateful in these times.

PS: I created some free cat colouring pages for you and your kiddos to enjoy, so if you are already on my Leaf Lane Studio newsletter list, I have already emailed them to you (check your junk box if you haven’t seen them yet). If you aren’t on the existing list and want to colouring sheets, they are totally free, all you need to do is print them, just click right here, sign up and you will get an email with the download straight to your inbox! Please share your creations on Instagram and tag me in @leaflanestudio as I LOVE seeing what you create!
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25 March 2020

LET'S GET BACK TO THIS


^^ Beautiful droplets on a rainy morning in the garden ^^

I have found blogging particularly hard of late, as you have probably realised by the silence over here. In all honesty, I feel like I was over thinking it and being overly concerned about what I should produce for this space, rather than just writing what I wanted. I have still been producing vlogs though, and the lastest one is linked below for you! If you haven't yet subscribed to my channel, I would really appreciate it if you did. Now, more than ever, is crucial for online support and YouTube won't allow you to monetise until you have over 1,000 subscriber. I actually have about £50 in my 'YouTube account', which I earned before monetising was disallowed under 1k subs... so I would love to lay my hands on that right now as you can imagine. So yeah, if you could click HERE and subscribe, I would appreciate it so much.



This whole virus thing, with everything turned on its head, has somehow made me want to write something, anything, to keep my mind busy and allow some creative juices to appear again. As I said on my most recent Studio Vlog, I am going to talk as little as possible about Covid-19, as we all know the score, and I am sure it will make a nice change to read anything else! So, the plan is to share gratitude, little moments of delight and joy and keep things as upbeat as humanly possible at this time!

I am going to do my best with this and, whilst I will probably have a few 'moments' of 'oh my God, this lock down is doing my head in!', I want to be a place where you can come along and read about other content makers who are doing something great, amazing finds to keep you amused, fun playlists and TV shows or just calming pictures of nature.

So, come back soon, when my first 'proper' post will be put up and I will look forward to seeing your comments here again!

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