Showing posts with label Reflecting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reflecting. Show all posts

Friday, 1 January 2016

Goodbye 2015 - Hello 2016!

Just a quick thank you to everyone who made 2015 a good year for me - here's looking ahead to a 2016 which will hopefully bring lots of new and exciting adventures. I have lots of plans and ideas, one of which will be a complete overhaul of my blog and website, to better document and showcase my work new and old.
I hope 2016 is a healthy and happy New Year for everyone!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Sending Peace

There are lots of scary and sad things going on worldwide at the moment. Spread love, peace and kindness and remember that a good deed brightens a dark world. 

Monday, 7 September 2015


Last week my Mom introduced me to a great new blog called commuteblog which each day features photographs and stories of commuters that the author meets on the tube in London. Each post is just a small snippet into the commuters lives however it is so heartwarming that people are willing to share their stories and offer such an interesting insight to struggles and pleasures of day to day living. This week the author of the blog posted the following quote in reference to the recent refugee crisis.

 It really resonated with me and got me thinking about how so many things in life are so much better shared. With that in mind I started to compile a list of my favourite things to share. What do you love sharing? Think about it and let me know.     

Things that are better shared


Finding a story or book that is so good that you become completely immersed in the world of its characters to the point where you don't want it to end is a rare pleasure... but when you are able to share that with someone equally obsessed with it as you its even better! For me the best personal example I have have of this is the Harry Potter series. My sister and I grew up with the books as they were being released and we absolutely loved them. So many of our games and conversations revolved around the world of Hogwarts - we would dress up in wizard robes, make our own wands, burn paper so it looked like parchment.. all kinds of crazy and imaginative things! One summer we went on holiday to Italy as a family at the exact time when the 6th book was being released (poor organisational/holiday booking skills by my parents ha!) so obviously my sister and I were distraught that we wouldn't be able to get hold of an English copy of the book and may have to wait 2 weeks until we returned to the UK! After traipsing around every book shop in Florence we were able to find just 1 english version of the book and in order to avoid fights we decided we would read it (page by page) at the same time! Whenever one of us wanted to read it the other one would have to as well so that we were always at the same point! 
And actually it wasn't just me and my sister who shared a love for Harry Potter - it involved the whole family! Another summer we went on holiday to New England and spent a lot of time driving from one state to another. Many hours were spent in total silence in the car as we all listened to the recorded version of the Harry Potter books narrated by Stephen Fry. To this day we still love Harry Potter and I love talking to my sister about it and discussing various theories and plot lines within the books!


This is probably quite an obvious and popular choice but sharing music (particularly live music) can be such a wonderful experience. I have been to quite a few music festivals where I have been listening to a favourite band or artist and have then perhaps caught the eye of a stranger in the audience and just without any words or conversation needed have been able to share such a great moment of pure joy and emotion. The same goes for sharing music with friends - sometimes its nice just not to need to speak and just listen to a sound you both love and appreciate.

My top shared music experiences would be:
Bon Iver at Latitude festival
Arcade Fire at Alexandra Palace
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's again at Latitude festival
First Aid Kit at Glastonbury
and one from my teenage years: Bob Marley and the wailers - listened to throughout the summer of 2016 in friends bedrooms and at house parties!


I guess this follows on from my first choice but not having shared my childhood with my sister is something that is completely unimaginable to me. I don't think you necessarily need to have a sibling to share your childhood with - many children have lots of friends (real or imaginary!) cousins, neighbours or pets who they are able to play and have fun with. But surely there can be nothing worse than being lonely as a child. I have so many happy memories of growing up and playing in the garden with my sister and no matter what happens to us as adults and how different our lives may be from one another we will always have that happy shared experience that bonds as and we can look back on and smile. I know not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have that (a point which has been painfully highlighted by the refugee crisis) which is really heartbreaking. Every one deserves to have a childhood shared with friends and family that they can continue to treasure as an adult.

Painful experiences

This may seem a bit of an odd one to include but I think its an important one. There is nothing worse than going through a painful experience or traumatic period in your life and feeling completely on your own with it. I don't really subscribe to the whole "everything happens for a reason" theory; in my opinion terrible and unfair things can happen for absolutely no reason at all. However I do firmly believe that there probably is something you can take and learn from everything, and that bad experiences do help you to become stronger and more resilient. When I have been in a particularly low and desperate state of mind having the support and love of my family has absolutely saved me and I know that facing those struggles alone would have been near impossible. So for that reason I add painful experiences to my list of things to share. I mean obviously ideally you wouldn't have any to share at all but if you have to go through bad times it makes it that little bit easier if there is someone by your side!

I feel like I don't want to end on that one as its a little bit melancholy but this post is becoming quite long and I don't want to ramble too much! 
What do you love to share? Let me know as it would be great to do a follow on post with other people's stories and memories of positive sharing experiences.

If you would like to follow the commute blog you can check it out here:

other similar and equally great blogs which document the lives and stories of everyday people that I love are:

Sunday, 12 July 2015

'I Will Move Mountains' - An introduction.

When many people see the word 'achievement' they will automatically associate it with some sort of monumental accomplishment - running a marathon, completing a qualification, climbing a mountain. As someone who suffers from low self esteem it has taken me a long time to appreciate and celebrate the smaller everyday achievements that are so easy to overlook or dismiss. Maybe I'm generalizing a bit here but it feels in Western society we are constantly being pushed to succeed - to reach that next goal or target (whatever it may be) and we are so quick to forget or dismiss the hard work and effort we put in to everyday achievements, as well as recognizing how hard they can sometimes be to complete. 

I have struggled with mental health problems for a long time and there have been days where it has been a massive effort to get myself out of bed and get dressed - let alone go to work, socialise or do something remotely productive! A therapist I once worked with once instructed me to make a daily list of my achievements. I scoffed at the idea and thought it was ridiculous - at that time I had no job, wasn't in education,  and very few interests or hobbies that I felt motivated enough to participate in. In my eyes wasn't achieving anything day to day! My therapist asked me if I had cleaned my teeth yesterday, if I had showered and brushed my hair. I replied that I had. I was told that for someone suffering with severe depression these were significant achievements and I should feel proud of myself for those instead of constantly beating myself up for all the things I wasn't doing.

It took me a long time to accept this way of thinking and I appreciate that the things I mentioned may seem so basic and routine for some people that it would seem strange to feel a sense of pride for doing them. However it is so important to remember that for some people these things take a huge amount of effort and that they deserve to be recognised as a positive accomplishment.

Now that I am doing a bit better I have new things on my list of daily achievements - things that I'm sure will still seem ridiculously simple or mundane to others but would have once been impossible for me to consider doing. I feel proud of the things I can now do without too much effort but I never forget how difficult they once were and when I'm having a bad day I think about how far I have come and try and pat myself on the pack for those 'little things' 

So onto the point of this post and some more info of how this relates to my mountain project...

I am interested in hearing about everyday achievements. Big or small it doesn't matter - it can be something like managing to overcome a fear of using public transport, getting back in touch with an old friend, leaving the safety of your home to take a quick walk, making eye contact with or smiling at a stranger, completing your degree, getting a promotion etc etc. I would like to know specific difficulties and feats that for you have been personally challenging and you have worked hard to accomplish. What are the 'mountains' that you have climbed?

My plan is to create a series of drawings and embroideries (possibly in the form of an artists book) that illustrates these achievements alongside more abstract mountain landscape studies.

If you would like to help out and be involved in my project please visit my other blog or drop me an email ( with your story. All stories will remain anonymous and please note that you do not have to suffer from a mental health condition to participate - I reckon everyone needs to be a little  kinder to themselves and take some time to reflect on their personal achievements!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Moving Mountains

Today I have been busy writing an application for an Artist residency in Wales I am interested in. As I was thinking about the kind of work I would make for the residency, I was inspired to start a new personal project that I am really excited about. All I will say for now is that it will involve mountains and share a preview of a quick sketch I did this afternoon. 

Expect more information and progress soon!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Reconnecting with music

One of my all time favourite things to do is sit in a car or on a train and listen to music. I often feel frustrated that time I spend travelling from one place to another is time I could spend doing something more important... however it is the ideal time to listen to music because you can get completely lost in a song without the obligation or distraction of something else. The perfect time to just let your mind wander and daydream!

Over the last 5 years I have been lucky enough to see a lot of amazing live music through attending festivals and gigs, but actually in a weird way I don't feel like I engage with music in the same way as I used to. I still listen to all the artists and albums that I have always loved but I rarely listen to something new that really moves or inspires me. I think this is down to the fact that I don't like downloading music for free as it does feel like stealing to me but then I just end up spending spare money on other things rather than buying a new album. Yes I know I could stream music - but that requires a decent internet connection which isn't always possible (especially when travelling.)

A few months ago the hard drive on my laptop went and because I hadn't backed anything up since 2012 I lost any new music I had accumulated over the last 3 years. This was (and still is) pretty devastating but at the same time it has given me the opportunity to have a big sort out of whats left of my music collection - figure out what I am missing and discover some new stuff. So that is my challenge for this summer - I have no music festivals booked so perhaps some of the money I would have spent on that ticket can go towards updating my music library. 

I started today after hearing a track from the album 'Idris Elba Presents: mi Mandela.' Normally I'm pretty skeptical of when actors try to transition to music but I was pleasantly surprised by this offering. Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela is a 14-track album on Elba’s own 7wallace imprint, inspired by Nelson Mandela and Elba's own late father. The music incorporates a variety of South African rhythms and styles, including marabi, kwela, mbaqanga and mbube, mixed in with western sounds. Elba wrote the album whilst Long Walk to Freedom. It is by no means a solo project and features collaborations with Shaun Escoffery, Maverick Sabre, Audra Mae and George The Poet. 

I think the reason I love this music so much because it reminds me of a trip I took to South Africa 12 years ago with my family and friends. It was such a beautiful country to visit and I have many happy memories of that holiday. Next time I get caught up in stupid anxieties and worries I intend to put this on my ipod and get back to some good old daydreaming.

Here is a track from the album I particularly like.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Finding hope

Lately it has become almost unbearable to follow the news and current affairs; from the terrible fights in Gaza, to the heartbreaking news of Robin Williams death, it seems that everywhere we turn we are faced with stories of tragedy and suffering.

However I feel it is important at times like this to appreciate human acts of true kindness and good will - because if you really look hard enough you will see that these are taking place everywhere too, its just we have come to overlook and dismiss them as we go about our day to day lives.

This week I have a personal story of kindness that I wish to share:

I have recently taken an interest in bees and beekeeping, and since I am about to embark on the third year of my art degree, I have decided to make this the theme and focus of my work. Over the summer I have been researching and gathering information about all things bees - from scientific information about all the different species, to ancient bee keeping traditions, folklore and myths. 

During my research I found some pictures of these beautiful bee skeps, which were traditionally used to keep bees in as well as moving swarms of bees back into a hive. The bee skeps are made by hand using straw and cane, however it is something of a dying craft as modern wooden hives are now more popular and skeps are not used so often.

I have a fondness for traditional crafts and therefore was delighted to stumble across the comprehensive website of Martin Buckle - an experienced bee keeper and talented skep maker. I decided to email him and enquire about doing some work experience or a one to one skep making course with him. I was keen to not only learn how to make a bee skep - but also to gain an insight into the life of a craftsman and how his beekeeping and skep making became more than a hobby but a way of life.

To my surprise Martin not only agreed to offer me one to one tuition in skep making, he also kindly offered for me to stay in his home with him and his wife for a few days instead of booking into a hostel.

I intend to write a separate blog post with lots of pictures and examples of the skeps and other creations I made during my stay with Martin, but for this post I just want to focus on how kind and gracious Martin and his wife were to me. I was not expecting him to offer me one to one tuition - however not only did he provide that, he also graciously welcomed me into his home, sharing his stories and endless wealth of knowledge and experience and sent me off equipped with tools and materials and plenty of inspiration  for continuing my work. 

Getting to know Martin and his wife Pam was an absolute pleasure - they were such an interesting couple and we found plenty to talk about. They refused any offer of payment for my stay or the tuition and materials that Martin gave me, insisting that it had been simply nice to have me there.

Experiences like this may be rare but I really feel that if everyone became a little more open to trusting the kindness of others, to making the effort to share and connect with someone you may initially have thought you had nothing in common with, then we could all gain so much.

It is important in times of darkness to hold on to every moment of joy and wonder. A smile from a stranger, a conversation with a shopkeeper, hearing the laugh of a child or having a hug from someone you love - these tiny, overlooked snippets of hope and love should not be dismissed, should not be overlooked. Just because they do not speak to us as loudly as some of the shocking headlines of the news it does not make them any less important or valuable. Appreciate every act of kindness, reflect on and soak up every brief flash of happiness, even if it last just second - it is precious and should be treated as such.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Why I love Handmade

Found this quote today whilst looking for inspiration in the University Library which pretty much sums up how I feel about handmade art and craft!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Inspiring books

Siddhartha - Herman Hesse

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

I hate to use the phrase "life altering" - but both of these are great books that really challenge your perspective and way of thinking. I am still in the middle of The Alchemist and may review it on here soon but so far I am really gripped by it.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Snippets of Christmas...and hopes for the New Year.

Christmas seems a long time ago now and it definitely flew by far too quickly this year. I loved being with my family - I just wish I could have spent longer at home!

Since beginning this blog my posts have not been as frequent as I would like at all, and definitely one of my goals for this year is to change the format of it a little bit - hopefully to include more work of other artists and bloggers I follow as well as books, articles, stories, theatre, films - any source of inspiration!

Once I manage to take some better photographs (hopefully on Thursday) I will post some of the projects and presents I made over Christmas for family and friends. Also this week I will include posts about:

Hansel and Gretel
The Life of Pi
My favourite blogs
Pin of the week

and thats all I can think of right now! My thinking is if I write on here what I intend to feature then there is no backing out and I have to post frequently (even though today this blog had a grand total of 1 pageview so its not as though I have thousands of expectant followers but still...)

Happy New Year!

(click picture to enlarge)
Picture credits clockwise from top left:

1. Polar bear Christmas Card (Own design) 2. Mini Christmas Trees taken from Cubicle Refugee Tumblr.
3. 'Warm Winter Wishes' - Own Christmas Card Design. 4. 'Soft Night Descending' - Catherine Hyde
5. Robin Mittens - Own hand embroidered Mittens. 6. Sparkle taken from Bibbity Bobbity Boo Tumblr

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Good Deed Giraffe!

"Giraffes are like me - my head is in the clouds but my heart is in the right place!"

This was a popular story in the news last week that really warmed my heart - you may have also heard of it. 

A man in Scotland called Armstrong Baillie has been parading the streets in a giraffe costume handmade by his Mum, doing good deeds and carrying out random acts of kindness. He got the idea after noticing that everyone seemed a little downhearted and decided he wanted to make those around him smile. For his first good deed he returned to the hospital where he was born and handed out £10 Mothercare vouchers to new parents; he has also given away free bananas to marathon runners and provided cups of coffee to cold passers-by. 

Since his story has picked up and gained attention in the press, Armstrong has been flooded with offers to appear on the radio and television, as well as receiving invites to visit countries around the world to spread his good cheer. He has said that as long as what he is doing continues to make others smile then he will carry on. 

I love stories like this and I wish there were more of them in the news... Random acts of kindness no matter how small can make such a difference to someone's day - whether you are dressed as a giraffe or not!

Armstrong Baillie has his own blog where you can follow updates on his Giraffe antics:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Everything is okay..

Sometimes you just need someone else to remind you.

Photo taken on a stroll by the harbour side today. There is always so much to see and do around Bristol it is impossible to be bored here. If only I could be paid to people watch all day! (Actually isn't that what spies do? Maybe I am the next female James Bond?)

Sunday, 26 August 2012


The past few days I feel I have hit a bit of a creative block and have really struggled to produce anything without tearing it up or throwing it away. Even writing letters to friends and family which I usually love doing has been difficult as I just found myself getting so frustrated and worked up about what to put. I even went back and edited a recent post, replacing the image I had drawn and uploading one by someone else because I felt mine just wasn't good enough. Anyway, this evening as I was talking to a friend online and looking through a blog, I accidentally leant on my keyboard and clicked on a random link which led me to this blog:

It has to be fate! 

Here are two thoughts that I should always keep in mind, they are perhaps more about motivation rather than creative inspiration but still relevant I feel!

Friday, 10 August 2012


I was listening to my ipod today and realised that two of my favourite songs both mention a blackbird....

Two different songs, both beautiful and uplifting... Listen and enjoy!

"You were only waiting for this moment to be free..."

Friday, 27 July 2012

Note to self...

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for" - Epicurus

Illustration:  1990 Anais Nin - Ferenc Pinter

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Reflective Walk

Today I heard some sad news that the hospital where I received treatment as an inpatient for a year is shutting down due to a lack of funding. On an evening walk I reflected on my time there and thought in particular how the level of kindness and warmth shown to me by all the staff members were unlike anything I have ever encountered at other treatment centres since. Their friendly approach and dedication to the job was so admirable - I really felt throughout my time there that the staff were genuinely 100% interested and committed to helping me recover, and that they weren't just there because they were being paid to be - which sadly is the case with a lot of the staff at other hospitals. 

Although following my discharge from the hospital, I was re admitted to other hospitals on several occasions - I will never, ever consider my time there to be a waste. I learnt so much from the staff and other patients, and I know for certain that some of the progress I have made over the last few years is a result of the help and support given to me there. 

It is with a heavy heart that on Monday I will be facing my 5th admission. Right now it is difficult to feel positive as it is so hard to imagine or believe that I will ever be able to make a full recovery. However with the love and support of my family and friends (and their belief in me) I hope that I will continue to make progress to the point that this illness will have less of a hold over me and I will be able to manage it better.

This blog post is a little more melancholy and personal than usual and perhaps is not much of an interest to anyone else so sorry if that is the case! To finish with here are some photographs that I took on my walk which really helped to lift my spirits and appreciate the little things like a sunny evening, a cute cat and pretty flowers.