27 April 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ Painting in progress! ^^

Happy Monday! Somehow we are back at Monday again... is anyone else thinking that time flies faster in lock down or is it just me? I am hoping to have a new vlog up in a day or two; I have somewhat fallen off the vlogging wagon, in that I have been vlogging, but not editing as I am worried my content is not up to much, but today I will be attempting to compile all of my recent footage into something remotely watchable!

Last week I had so much more structure to my days, thanks to the accountability posts, provided by Holly for our little academy group. There is something about checking in with others that really gives me a kick up the backside! I am never a lazy human, far from it in-fact, but sometimes it is easy to get distracted and end up spending time on things that could wait. I got really stuck in to winding up a project that has been sat stagnant for a while and that will be coming to Leaf Lane Studio really soon.

Okay, let's dive into this weeks gratitude list...

:: After way too long, I got to video call my wonderful Lobby (Helena) and see her little one, James, who is somehow five months old now. I haven't seen her, face to face, since November 2018, when we went to her husbands birthday party. How mental, I can't believe it has been so long. Thanks to the Coronavirus it doesn't look like I will be seeing them until next year now. Meh! Still, I am grateful for video calls and being able to see her lovely face and the gorgeous view of Lynmouth from their house!

:: Another call which made me smile last week was the Nourishing Soulfully group call on Saturday morning! For the first time we all had our mics on and were able to talk to each other properly, instead of just in the chat box in Zoom. I left that call feeling really happy as there was so much laughter; it was wonderful to catch up with some other humans! Peta set the topic as 'overcoming hurdles', which we discussed this for a while, and then inevitably ended up talking about animals, which is never a bad thing!

:: I mentioned last week how I had been watching Ozark on Netflix... wow! I finished it this week and definitely need to watch it again soon. I have box sets on as I paint, which means I am listening but not watching, so I really need to return to it again. It was incredible. I watched the final episode whilst I was on my spin bike yesterday and literally stopped pedaling when the last scene played out! Now I need to move onto something else... any recommendations for something equally as gripping would be wonderful!

:: There are some really pretty wild flowers appearing everywhere in the hedgerows right now, including these pink ones in the garden, which I think are called 'Red Campion' (slightly confusing as they are definitely pink!). I love opening the back door in the morning and hearing the birds chirping away; I take a deep breath and can smell flowers and grass and sometimes the sea (if the wind is blowing in the right direction!).

^^ I love these bright little flowers so much! ^^

:: I will be telling you more about this once I have it all finalised, but I am going to be selling one of my stickers for charity and have decided on the charity this weekend. I am going to reach out to them first and speak to them before I announce it, but I will be doing so over on Instagram this week I hope. I wanted to try and help somehow, as life is insane for so many right now. I will be raising money for an animal charity, as they have been suffering so much too. Many shelters are having animals dumped there, purely through ignorance about the virus. People are thinking their family pets are endangering their lives and can pass the virus onto them, so are choosing to leave cats and dogs on the doorsteps of rescue centres. On top of this, these amazing places are struggling in general, as much of their fundraising has come to such an abrupt halt and/or staff and volunteers cannot get to work. I know I can't raise enough for lots of places (what a dream that would be), but if I can help and do my bit somehow, then I will! So, this sticker (below) will go up for sale soon, with all proceeds (except for the cost of a stamp and envelope to post to you) will be going to charity. I will break down exactly what amount will be going to charity on the product description when it goes up (I will just remove literally the cost of a stamp and a few pence for an envelope). I will be filling you guys in asap on Instagram, on both my accounts, so just make sure you are following me there. I will so appreciate your support. I will also try and put a 'donate' button up too, for people who don't want a sticker but may want to donate something, even if it is £1. I really want to help and I hope that, together, we can make a difference.



:: I have been really enjoying my 'garage workouts' lately, and am trying out some new core exercises that I have never done before too (I famously hate training core, but have been kind of enjoying the challenge of it). I listen to Heart Dance on my phone and blast it through the blue-tooth speaker, trying to find a good volume above the washing machine and tumble dryer! I have been trying so hard to find a kettle bell for an affordable price online, which is seemingly impossible! I just want a 12kg or 15kg kettle bell, just one! They are sold out everywhere, but I shall persist as I need something else to work with now.

:: Talking of my garage 'gym'; I met 'The Boss' of the garage yesterday. There I was, laying down on my mat, minding my own business, when something black and with way too many legs caught my eye. The garage is full of spider-life, but this dude took the biscuit (in-fact, I think he has taken many biscuits to get that big). Where is the gratitude in this you may ask; well, it is in the fact that he was peeping out from behind the boiler, on his web, so chances are he won't be casually wandering about the garage when I am out there. I am going to name him Sausage; because that sounds cutesy and he is the furthest thing from that... I figure that there must be some psychology involved that will make it all okay if I name him that. If I go quiet, I have probably been dragged off my yoga mat into Sausages webby den... send help.

:: Artwork is definitely helping me maintain some kind of mental health balance at the moment. As you know, I am currently working on a commission, but after that I will dive into the collage project I mentioned in my last vlog. Doing all my computer based work in the morning and then having something chilled to do in the afternoons makes so much different to how I feel. I want to start designing some more Paper Products for my shop soon, so if you have any suggestions of products you would like to see (physical or digital) let me know in the comments!

That is everything I have for today! Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram for my charity sticker announcement and on YouTube for a new vlog...coming soon!

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23 April 2020

THOUGHTS ON CHOOSING FEAR


^^ Image by Hello I'm Nic on Unsplash ^^

Whilst reading The Artists Way this week, I stumbled across a quote that I found really resonated with me and thought I would share it with you and some thoughts around what it brought up for me. The quote is '...in choosing, that which we often resist is what we most need'. How lovely is that, and how very true it is too.

It spoke to me because, where I am in life is about big changes and big commitments; it's a time for leveling up and realising potential in things that I can do and opportunities I can leap in to. It would be easier to think 'oh well, we are in lock down, so I may as well stand still (metaphorically of course) and not bother until all this is over', but I feel the opposite way. I feel like this is a time to thrive. It goes without saying that I only talk about my own wants and needs here and in no way push my thoughts onto you (you do you of course!). There are far too many 'survive the lock down' tips online already, so go with what feels good to you. For many what feels good right now is a rest, and I totally get that!

I digress...

For years and years I have taken the easier path. The one that involved heaps and heaps of research, lots of dreaming and wishing too, but never a proper leap of faith into the path I longed to take. Why? Well, the doing of the thing is bloody difficult. It challenges you in ways that you never thought possible. You spend most of your time wanting to cry or give up (both actually!).

My first attempt of 'leaping into fear' as I call it, was actually launching Leaf Lane Studio back in September 2017. That was a mini leap now that I look back, although it seemed like everything at the time. I remember Gemma (my amazing coach at that time) telling me that launching was the very tip of the experience and that the rest was where the work was, but I don't think I looked much further ahead because it felt like so much to me to just launch the thing!

On reflection, a couple of years on, things in my mindset have made another shift. 

As I venture into more coaching, this time with a group of amazing individuals who are all business owners, led by Holly from 'A Branch of Holly', I feel completely different. My confidence to take on this next step is huge, my motivation is totally sparked and I am ready for the hard times to come, because there will be hard times. 

Here's what has shifted though:
Years ago, any feelings of fear would have sent me running in the opposite direction, back to a point of safety and familiarity (hence I was only dreaming of working for myself over actually doing it). I did all the planning and note taking but didn't do the doing of it! Fear was scary and why would I want to put myself through it.

With experience, and no doubt age, I now push towards fear. As the quote says, that which we often resist is what we most need, and I truly believe that. We feel fear because something is new, because we don't know ourselves in that specific environment, because we can't control what we don't know. Those things are usually enough to send us packing. But if you allow yourself to lean into fear, to question it and think about it more, you will probably realise that you really want what is on the other side of it.

That is where I am now. I know I can achieve so much more in my life and in my business, but I have been comfortable, I have returned to familiarity for many reasons, but I am now ready to make that shift again. With that shift comes fear, but this time I am excited by it and experienced enough to know that it will bring times where I want to give in. I know this because I have felt this before. The trick is the pushing past the hurdles, which is why this new group I am part of is so good for me.

All of the people who are successful in whatever the field is you are interested in will tell you that they have had to go wading into their fear to get to where they are. Most things are not as scary as you imagine once you start them. That much I do know!

What are you wanting to do right now that is bringing up fear for you? Is it stopping you achieving something? If you feel like it, chat with me in the comments about it - let's help each other!
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20 April 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE



Happy Monday everyone! You may have noticed that I have started doing these posts on a Monday morning now, rather than a Sunday; this is simply because I feel like, now that the weeks are mostly all the same (!), I need the extra time to gather these posts together!

How was your weekend? The weather turned out much better than I thought it would do, although it was lovely to have a bit of rain. Did anyone else notice how all the plants and trees seemed to pop with greenery this weekend? It was like a drop of rain made everything wake up properly and suddenly everything was 'hi there, I'm awake and here are my leaves!'. It is wonderful to feel like the weather is on the up again, it makes so much difference, especially right now.

Let's catch up about the happy moments from the week gone by...

:: Even though I have been chatting about this non-stop of late, I have to mention the relaunch of the Leaf Lane Studio website because I am really proud of how it is looking. There are a few 'coming soon' things on there, but they will be launching when things start to return to normal again. You will notice that the website is looking a lot 'cleaner' and hopefully easier to navigate! Please let me know what you think! I am really excited about it!



:: If you follow on Instagram, then you may have seen my stories last week all about Gizmo and her nose! She had a very swollen face about three weeks ago now, with no traumas that were visible to me or the vet. The gave her antibiotics and we waited to see what happened. The swelling came right down and then, over the course of several days, a strange lump appeared. What puzzled the vet was that it didn't appear to be full of fluid or anything at all, it was dry and hard, but growing. Short story is that I took her back last week so the vet could take a sample from it. Whilst waiting outside the vets for them to come to the window and tell me what was happening (no one is allowed inside the building now... so strange to get used to) I was thinking 'oh God, she is going to die isn't she, it's bad, I know it's bad...' Just then the vet appeared holding the whole 'lump' from Gizmos nose. Turned out that it was a slow release abscess and had been leaking underneath the scab, causing it to 'grow', but it was totally fine and came right off in the vets hands. Gizmo is looking more herself every day now, thank the Lord! I am glad that saga is over because I was thinking all sorts of horrible things. We will just keep an eye on her to make sure nothing else happens, but it should be all good now! Phew! That is a huge thing to be grateful for isn't it!

:: There was a lot of laughter this week because of a funny delivery I received. I won't tell the story again here, because I wrote a quick blog post about it earlier in the week, so check that out for a giggle. It was hilarious and reminded me how laughter really is a soul cleanser! 

:: I made an awesome commitment to my business last week, which involves being a member of Holly Bray's new 'Busy to Boss Academy'. It is all about learning better processes to aid marketing and focus in on being more effective and productive with your time as a business owner. The Facebook group is full of amazing people all at different stages in their business and is motivating and inspiring me already! I am excited to see what i can do through this new adventure. 

:: On the subject of committing to different things and about Facebook groups... I am loving the Loving Kindness Support Group, run by Peta so much. There is something inspiring and motivating, during the times we are in right now, about showing up at a regular time to chat to like minded souls online. I seriously have more of a social life now then I did before. It is the same with Hollys training, because being on your own, in your own head with things leads (or can lead) to you feeling stagnant, so being able to chat to people and share thoughts and ideas is something that is helping my sanity right now. I highly recommend finding something similar, especially if you are alone in all this right now.



:: Two things have captured me this week, one of them is Ozark on Netflix. Yes, I am late to the party, but that is how I roll and is one of my unique personality traits (as is looking for the positive!). I am loving the series so far, and it is helping me pass time on my longer cardio sessions on the bike! I am nearing the end of the first series now and it has been amazing! Right up my street! I highly recommend it!

:: The other thing that has taken over my life, although just in the last 24 hours, is TikTok. Gah! I am almost 40 years old for crying out loud and spent way too much time watching cat and dog videos and clips of people dancing. I wanna play!

:: I also watched the brand new Star Wars this week (well, the latest one at least... it probably isn't called 'brand new' anymore!). It was brilliant, I absolutely loved it! I think, when you watch 'final' films in what has been a huge series of films like the Star Wars films and Harry Potter, you never walk away feeling like all your boxes have been ticked by it, but over all I think they did a bloody great job at rounding it all up! I can't wait to watch it again soon.

:: I mentioned in last weeks gratitude post that I had received some lovely, and quite frankly, hilarious emails from a customer of mine in the US. She really is so lovely and sent me an email to tell me her parcel had arrived at the weekend. I love getting customer feedback and am always so appreciative that people take time out of their days to write some kind words like this. Thank you so much Amanda!



:: Finally, I have to mention the beauty of the recent sunsets we have been getting, because I love them too much not to talk about them! Last night was no exception; the sky went a beautiful hazy-pink and purple and looked stunning. I love standing outside and absorbing everything at that time of night; the smells, sounds and colours all come together to make me feel calm, still and ever so grateful. It is a wonderful time of the day.

As an after thought, which I remembered as I typed about the sunsets; the Lyrids meteor shower peaks between April 21st and 22nd, so get out to see that if the sky is clear! Thank you to my lovely Insta-pal Helen for reminding me about that on her recent post!).

Have a wonderful week ahead and make sure you pop back for my mid-week post! Don't forget to check out the new Leaf Lane Studio website too! All printables are currently just £2.00 too, so a great time to download one of my weekly planners or to-do lists! Check them out here.

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17 April 2020

YOU HAVE TO LAUGH


^^ This image by Diane Alkier on Unsplash was 'the dream' but let's see what actually happened ^^

Isn't being able to laugh at yourself so very important? I truly hope the answer is 'yes', because I think I spend more time laughing at myself then doing anything else at all! Not only do I find the most cheesy jokes ever bloody hilarious (such as two fish in a tank, one says to the other 'do you know how to drive this thing'... brilliant!) but sometimes I just do and say the most stupid things.

I often whisper to myself 'I carried a watermelon' as a nod to Baby from Dirty Dancing (one of my top films of course) because, quite honestly, I surprise myself at how much of joke I can be sometimes.

Take this cracker from this week as an example...

A couple of weeks back I won a little giveaway on-line for a sour-dough starter. This translated in my brain as a sour-dough starter 'kit', and I imagined a cute little box turning up, with a small packet of flour, some yeast and whatever the hecky-flump goes into producing a sour-dough loaf. 

I wait patiently (and hungrily) at home for said bread magic to arrive and, this week I hear a sturdy 'thud' hit the floor and think 'hooray, bread will be eaten this week!'. On approaching the door to see what our lovely posty had brought with him I see a very tiny envelope that is a strange shape.

Now, most of you will probably be way ahead here and know exactly what I received through the post... let's see shall we...

I open the envelope and what do I see?

Well....this... with no instructions, nothing but this.



On first inspection I wonder why someone chose to send me a packet of what looks like old Parmesan cheese or flakes of cement, and then, after inspecting the envelope further I see the senders address and suddenly the penny drops. This is it. This bag of wizardry is my bread 'kit'.

What does a girl do next you cry?

Google... yes, that was the first stop.

I learned a lot there; mostly that 'starter' not only means garlic bread or a yummy soup, but is also a proper 'thing' to make sour-dough (and not a 'kit' either). 

As I stood in the kitchen, contemplating my next move, like breaking quarantine to pop to the shops for a fresh white loaf and forget the entire thing, I heard my friend, the brain monkey banging his cymbals together... that's it, he said... Peta (Nourishing Soulfully) will know what to do, she had been talking about sour-dough starter on Instagram stories but I literally thought she was just making it for the first time and had found a 'starter' recipe, you know, that a newbie would use. Then I think 'of course not, this is Peta, she is always cooking, she has done this before and will know what to do!'.

I immediately left Peta a voice message on WhatsApp and waited for the genius to respond.

What response did I receive? Laughter.

Uncontrollable, hysterical laughter, snorts and all! (sorry Peta!)

I don't blame her. What an absolute MUPPET I am!

Once she had composed herself, which took a while, she then proceeded to tell me that, once I have rehydrated the crusty dust in my envelope, I will have to get lots of flour to 'feed' it (ffs, really? Feed it? I just want fresh bread!).

It all sounded very technical and even more high maintenance then the cat is, but I wanted to give it a go, after all I waited so long for my bread 'kit' to arrive, plus I don't like to quit!

So my next move was to get flour, but do you think I could find any? No, because every bread obsessed, sour-dough making magician has bought it all already - sodding quarantine.

There you have it.

I am officially a wally! But did I laugh? Lots! So it was worth it!

Story time over.
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13 April 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ Little Gizmo 'helping' me pull out hundreds of these sycamore seeds on Saturday afternoon! ^^

Happy Monday my lovely! I hope you have had a lovely weekend (hopefully it is a Bank Holiday day-off where you are today!).

The weather was so beautiful all weekend long and I well and truly took advantage of it. On Friday I wrote myself a bit of a 'Easter weekend to-do list' and set about working my way through it. On Saturday I mowed the grass, strimmed the edges, dead-head the flowers in the pots, cut back the very (very) thorny wild hedgerows we have on one side of the house (I have many puncture wounds to prove this happened) and pulled out hundreds of baby sycamores (see the pictures for those!). I felt such a sense of accomplishment for doing all of that!

Yesterday I tackled the big job of sorting out my summer clothes that are in vacuum packs in various places in the house and popping winter things away. I ended up going a bit 'Monica' about everything and thoroughly deep cleaned the entire upstairs of the house. I can't help finding cleaning super calming and refreshing for my mind; it really allows me to work better when I know the place is spotless!

^^ Isn't nature fascinating! ^^

Anyway, enough waffling on about my weekend of getting various jobs ticked off my list, and onto the other wonderful parts of the week gone by...

:: I feel rather proud of myself for coming up with a genius idea for my new 'gym' (a.k.a. a couple of stupidly light dumbbells and a couple of resistance bands in the garage!). I have been struggling to work on my back properly and saw on-line that you can buy this little canvas hook thingy to shut in a door frame and then thread your band through. By doing this you can replicate lat pull downs and many other exercises. The trouble is I don't have one of those funky door adapters... or do I?! I found my yoga mat carry-handle thing and tied a knot in that and it has done the same job. Super grateful to have a whole load of new exercises at my feet right now; a world of resistance band wonder is now mine! Anyone else being stupidly creative right now?

:: Over the last couple of weeks I have entered a couple of sticker designs into a little 'free sticker Friday' competition thing over on Awesome Merchandise and, somehow or other, I have managed to get two designs selected! I never win anything so you can imagine my shock! Expect two new stickers to be popping up on Leaf Lane Studio very soon!


^^ I am super excited to get this lovely quote sticker into my shop, I think it is such a happy, uplifting one! ^^


^^ I am so happy with how the sticker version of my 'Little Explorer' art print came out! ^^

:: I have just finished listening to my audio book of The Handmaids Tale and am serious pondering getting signed up to Audible right now as I am honestly loving audio books even more than usual right now. I know I can get a free month first and then it falls to a monthly fee, but I have bought two audio books recently, which would probably cover three months of Audible subscription, so I reckon it's a no brainer! The Handmaids Tale was great as an audio book though, even more so because Elizabeth Moss is reading it (if you haven't seen the TV series Elizabeth Moss is the main character). I know it isn't exactly the happiest of listens, in our current time of things, but I like 'dark' films and books for total escapism, so I enjoyed it! I am considering getting the next book along from that, which is called The Testaments, so maybe that can be my first with Audible! Have you read that one?

:: I recently had an order come through from a very lovely lady called Amanda, who lives in the USA. We exchanged a couple of emails about the order (bless her, she was worried about me going to the post office with all this going on, which was super sweet) and ended up having quite the chat about all sorts on email. When I read her latest one, which had the most hilarious story of her travels to London and the South West of England, I laughed so much (spitting cereal out my mouth at one point... I'm such a lady!). It put the biggest smile on my face to sit and read her email and I am so grateful for it! I do love it when someone can tell a story so well that you can picture every single moment of it like you were there. Plus, in all honesty, I saw way too much of me in those encounters! The story is not mine to pass on, but it was fab, and I loved reading it so much!


^^ A sneak preview of the new Leaf Lane Studio website, it's had a makeover! I'll (hopefully) be putting it live this week! ^^

:: I have been putting so much time into my Leaf  Lane Studio website makeover this week; I am no graphic designer or website pro (certainly not a website pro!), but I am happy with what I have managed to achieve over on Squarespace. I will be putting it live this week (fingers crossed) once I have got Joe to look through it too (he is chief 'link tester'). There will still be things that need to be updated, but those can wait until after it is live. I have some new services coming to the wedding side of things (when weddings are back in the mix of life again obviously) and a few other new things too; I hope you like the new site as much as I do. I am pretty proud of it!

:: It's the small routines of life that are keeping me sane right now and, I have no shame in telling you, that one of those routines is watching Classic Eastenders every single week day lunch time! Yep, you read that right! I used to watch Eastenders all through my teenage years but haven't watched any of the episodes for so long. Classic Eastenders is old school; think orginal Sharon, Grant and Phil in the Queen Vic here and proper 90's fashion! It is so funny to watch and I love it so much. I still have no clue what is going on in present day Albert Square, but I do know that Sharon is back. I will stick with the old one though! (If you are not in the U.K then you are probably wondering what on Earth I am talking about... Eastenders is a soap that is based in Londons East End, and has so much drama in one small place it is unreal, but I guess that is what the point of these things are!).

That is all I have for this week (thought I had better not mention my endless trips out to see the stars at night and the birds feeding, because I mention those every single time!). I hope you have a great week and remember to pop back here for new posts and check in on YouTube for Studio Vlogs too (there will be a new one soon-ish!).
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9 April 2020

TRYING TO RESET AND ADJUST IN CHALLENGING TIMES


^^ A throw back to a visit to Godolphin House, a beautiful National Trust property nearby ^^

I know there are mountains of blog posts and videos about this subject right now, but I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas with you because, as a human being, I find it very hard to switch off and am used to being on the go. I am also someone who loves freedom to move about and can easily feel hemmed in by life so, even though I already work from home, there have still had to be some adjustments made, more so for mental health then anything else.

As you will already know, if you have been here with me for a while, I talk openly about mental health struggles and how they can be crippling sometimes. The smallest thing can set them off or trigger them into a bit of a frenzy, but I have managed to stay on top of everything right now, much to my surprise, and actually find myself feeling content and calm most of the time.

I feel like I have accepted the way things are and only allow myself to dip in and out of the news to stay updated, rather than saturate my brain too much with it. Some days I do listen and read a bunch of things, and that is because I want to do it, but I am acutely aware of the early signs of anxiety or depression creeping in, and I should be after all these years living with it, so I am able to step back and do something to distract my thoughts when I feel it is too overwhelming.

I have had to learn new routines that include many more joyful moments; that actually sounds silly when I type it (and say it in my head), but before this virus came rocking into town, I almost felt guilty for taking a few minutes to do things that made me content through the day, thinking that I should be working or doing something super productive, when in-fact these small, happy things, actually are productive. They are productive for my mental well being and therefore my working state too. You have to look for positives right now, and these little things in my daily routine have now become staples and I realise that, by allowing myself to lift my mood in these ways, my days are more fulfilled, who wouldn't want that? 


^^ Last summer I went to St Michaels Mount for the day with Peta, look how pretty! ^^

With each of these teeny, tiny things I am doing, the biggest thing I have noticed is that I have slowed down to do them, rather then seeing them as a thing on my to do list to get done as fast as possible and move onto the next thing. For example, as silly as this may sound to you, I feed the birds every day; before the world went crazy, I would rush outside into the garden, put their food down and come in. Now I open the back door, breathe in the fresh air and actually smell it, let any nostalgic thoughts come in, and as I feed the birds I am looking around for them, seeing with little ones are about (and yes, I am not shy to say that I talk to them too... I always talk to animals, that is a constant!). Once I come in, I sit on the edge of the kitchen table and watch as they fly in to feed on whatever treats I have left them. I love watching them hop about, peck the grass and forage for seeds, worms and bits of the food I have put down. I find so much peace in this and getting to know the individual characters that come in; there is always a distinctive feature you can identify them with if you look! This whole process doesn't take much of my time up, but it is such a joyful routine now.

Other than feeding the feathery friends, here are some other things I looking forward to every day:

Getting some fresh air as the sun is coming down (and at many other points in the day, where the weather allows). As the sun comes down on a nice day, I can just walk around the garden or sit on the chair and watch Gizmo enjoying the late sun (it's her favourite and she follows it around the garden until the bitter end).

Since I got an oil diffuser for my birthday from mum and dad, I have taken to popping lavender oil in there and switching it on first thing in the morning whilst I make some tea and breakfast. It is like it resets my calm levels as soon as I hit the 'on' button. I honestly love it so much and can't wait to explore other oils in there too, but for now, lavender is my favourite by far. 



It goes without saying that I enjoy time with Gizmo daily, but our new routine of either an afternoon nap or me reading whilst she is laying all snuggled up to me is pure heaven to me. I go and join her wherever she may be laying at the time, usually our bed or the spare bed, and as soon as I lie next to her she moves and cuddles up close. It is a wonderful half an hour of my day and I look forward to it so much.

Something that I have really got into doing is listening to audio books whilst I do mindless tasks like cleaning. I actually love cleaning too and it is definitely on my list of things that bring me joy, but with everything that is happening, I can sometimes find my mind heading off to worry-ville when I am doing things that don't take massive brain power, so listening to a book through headphones whilst I clean is so helpful. The escapism it provides is truly wonderful. If you have any recommendations whatsoever for books you have either read or listened to please do leave them in the comments for me!

I really look forward to checking in with my little plants everyday too. I don't water them every single day, but I just like to look at them and see what may be new. My monstera plant, Matilda, is often surprising me with a baby leaf here and there, which makes me so happy! I have realised how important plants are in my living environment and, when this is all over, I need to get some other varieties.

Voice/text messages have been a god send through this for me. Being able to leave silly memos for people and receive them back again have brought so much laughter. Then there are the endless memes of course!

Planning out what I will be doing the following day in my planner before I go to sleep is something I really look forward to each night! It takes just a couple of minutes to do, but it empties out my brain and helps me feel like there is a sturdy plan for the next day. 

Through these times I have also come to love my new routine of training a bit later in the day. My body feels better for more sleep in the mornings and doing a bit of work on my computer before the sun comes round into my office. When that happens I usually train and shower and then pick things back up work-wise after that. The routine I have right now flows so well with me and I am enjoying it a lot (but missing the gym heaps too!).



With those daily joys in mind, I have put together a little list of things that I am either doing already or will be doing to help fill some spare time right now (although can I also add that I do have days where I literally cannot do anything but sit/lay and just 'be' because life just gets too overwhelming... we are just human right?!).

Creative Cooking
I think it is safe to say that we have all had to become a little bit more creative with what we are cooking as we can't get everything we may need in the shops right now. Batch cooking with a few random tins of things and whatever is in the fridge is a new and fun thing to do sometimes!

Watch old movies
I am a bit of a sucker for the older Disney films and kids films, like The Wizard of Oz and similar things, and it is nice to pop on a happy film in the evenings, rather than subject yourself to endless programmes about what's going on in the world (they are everywhere aren't they!). Thanks to the magic of Netflix/Disney+ (and all the others) we can build up happy little film lists now and I am on board for that!

Create... anything!
Creativity is so relaxing, no matter what it is (colouring pages - get my free ones here, random biro patterns, painting, collage) and I highly recommend giving it a try. What I thought would be so nice is to just make little cards for your friends and family, even if it is just a hand written happy thought or quote on the front, and take the time to write some nice words in there and send them out. How lovely would it be to receive something like that. If hand made things aren't for you, just do something digitally; print out a photo you have taken and write a note to go with it and send that out. Just something to make someone smile seems like a perfect project to me!

Failing that, you can get amazing pre-designed projects on-line, such as little embroidery hoops, which would be so nice to get stuck into at night time as a cool little project. I have seen some super pretty ones on Etsy that I really fancy trying.

Spring Cleaning List
If you actually enjoy cleaning then this will be joyful for you, if you don't...I'm sorry! I have started scribbling down some of those deep-cleaning things and other bits and bobs that I want to get done, such as pulling out all my clothes in storage and sorting through what needs to be washed, brought out of storage or donated. This process includes a clean of the wardrobes too (not so much fun!). Any bigger jobs like that will make you feel so much more organised when they are done.

If you need a helping hand with list motivation you can always treat yourself to one of my printable planner sheets or new printable to-do lists, or check out the physical ones too!

Write daily gratitude lists
Daily gratitude keeps me sane, literally. I have always noted little things down that make my day happy, and this can be anything at all. The trick with this is not to be self-conscious about what you write; if you saw a bee in the garden and you felt joy from it, write it down, no one has to see it but you are just reminding yourself of what has made you smile in the day. If you keep a diary you can note things in each day there, that way you can look back at these things and will always be reminded of those moments!

I will leave you with those ideas for now (or else this post will never end!) but let me know what you are doing to bring happiness to your new routines in the comments, I am really excited to know because I have already taken heaps of inspiration from other people and would love your thoughts too.

Have a wonderful rest of day my lovely.


^^ Almost exactly one year ago Joe and I visited Enys Gardens with our friends Kimberley and Darren, sadly no one will get to see the famous bluebell display this spring ^^
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7 April 2020

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ I thought I would include a beach photo to cheer us all up! I can't wait to get back to beach walks again ^^

Welcome back to another gratitude post; for some reason I didn't get to publish another post between these Weekly Gratitude ramblings, but I will endevour to do so this week! It's not like there are any excuses right now!

How are you doing? Is everything okay with you right now? Come and let me know in the comments (I never say that for the sake of it, I genuinely love comments from you guys).

Right then, onwards...

:: On Saturday morning it was the first session of the Kindness Support Group, put together by Peta (from Nourishing Soulfully). I recently did the Loving Kindness Workshop, which was so wonderful, and this new group has started so well too. Peta discussed a lot of ways to deal with overwhelm, a good subject to focus on right now, and we all chatted about how we were coping and things that were working for us. You can do the previous workshop too if you fancy it, it is totally free (not an ad by the way!), just head to Nourishing Soulfully and check out Petas work. If you enjoy the course and want to delve super deep into lots of wonderful self work, with someone who is super lovely, then I highly recommend Peta as a coach too, because she is truly wonderful. She coached me and has helped me make huge steps forward.



:: This week I finished a book which I have been wanting to read for a while, Dreamland, by Bob Lazar (affiliate link for Amazon). You will probably know by now that I am a HUGE space geek and everything to do with UFO's, conspiracy theories and that kind of stuff just really interests me. No matter what you think about the goings on over at Area 51 and S4, this book is super interesting. If you are into that kind of thing then I think you'll like it a lot! I have since moved onto reading 'Mans Search for Meaning', by Viktor E Frankl. This book has been on the bookshelf for a while and I just fancied reading it, even though it isn't a happy read (for obvious reasons), it is the sort of book that makes you realise how lucky you are to have the life you have, and his perspective on human behaviour is interesting to think about too.

:: This week I made a playlist on Spotify of songs that make me want to dance about or that lift my mood, and I decided to title it 'Happiness on a Stick'; you can follow it here or search my username on Spotify, which is 'lucycarterart'. Let me know, in the comments, what your favourite uplifting songs are!

:: It was our fifth wedding anniversary on 1st April and I received some very beautiful daffodils through the post; I don't think I have ever had such an unusual selection all together. Nature astounds me, it really does, look how gorgeous they are!



:: I have been so grateful for the sun this last couple of weeks; it has been the most consistent nice weather we have had since we moved to this house in November. Given the current state of the world, with so many people experiencing lock-down, it is nice to be able to have sunlight streaming through the windows and be able to open windows and doors wide. The peacefulness of the world is the one thing that I am enjoying in all of this.

:: I have really enjoyed writing a few cards and popping pretty address designs on them for you guys this past week. I have added a new service to my Leaf Lane Studio shop recently, to allow you to tick the option for me to write and post a card (or as many cards as you like!) to people directly from me (think MoonPig, but a smaller, probably less organised, version!). I am trying to do my bit to help people stay on top of birthdays, anniversaries or just-because-aries! All you have to do is add a card to your basket on Leaf Lane Studio and a box will appear; tell me whether you want the cards to come direct to you or be posted to someone and then complete their details and message... easy as that! I will send the cards first class within 48hrs for you. This service only applies to cards, but I hope it helps you stay in touch with your friends and family and gives them a nice big smile in the process. I think it is little surprises coming through the post that make peoples days right now don't you?


^^ Leaf Lane Studios Office Manager approves each and every order before it goes out ^^

:: I have been enjoying my little afternoon naps/reading time with Gizmo cuddled up next to me during the week. I have been making a point of them every 'working' day, because they just feel so calming and necessary right now. Even if I am not sleepy, just to rest and read with Gizmo purring away by my side feels incredibly relaxing.

:: We have been watching so much Disney+ recently, which provides such amazing escapism. I swore to never watch the new Aladdin, but caved this week and watched it. I am 100% still a fan of the original because, lets face it, Robin Williams is the best genie ever, and I just can't accept an 'acted' version of my favourite childhood film! We have also been watching some old Winnie the Poohs, which are just the cutest aren't they! But my top thing to add to your 'must watch' list if you have Disney + is 'The Mandalorian'; honestly guys, it is such a good series and the little Yoda is adorable!

That is all I have for you this week, but I will be putting up another post this week, so pop back in a few days for that! In the mean time, I will leave you with my latest Studio Vlog! Head to YouTube to Subscribe to my channel if you haven't already, I would seriously appreciate it.

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