Busy, busy being creative..!

Saturday 28 February 2015

What can Snowdrops Teach Us?

I am currently working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. (I am on week 3). One of the things Julia suggests is going on a weekly Artist’s Date. For my ‘Date’ this week I decided to hunt for Snowdrops

Once I'd decided to do this I thought – where shall I go? Where is the best place to see them? Where in the UK are the most varieties and carpets of them? Onto the internet I went and came up with a whole host of options. Most were either too far away from where I live or were on a National Trust property. Now I do love visiting National Trust places, but seeing as I am budgeting so I can complete my 40/40 list, I threw visiting any of those out of the window. 

In that moment it hit me that actually it wasn't about the big swathes of snowdrops as far as the eye could see. It was about the small details that unless you actually get down on your hands and knees you don’t see as snowdrops heads are facing the ground. Rather like a shy child, not looking up at you but inviting you to step closer and get down on their level. 

I remembered then I had seen some during my dog walks. Just down the lane. Armed with my camera and donning my wellies I went out to explore. 

I found the snowdrops – but they were in the shade at that time of day and on the edge of someone’s garden. Hmmm where else can I go? I thought popped into my head – ‘try the church,’ So off I went. And yes – there they were. Nodding their heads and clustered together in groups like a group of nuns trying to keep warm.

Taking out my camera I got down on my knees and started to take some photos. 

How much detail could I capture? Could I capture something I’d not really noticed before?


I did

I got the Fairies View.

And what a different view it was.

So much more to see. This is just what I was looking for…

Changing your perspective can make all the difference

Is there something you've been looking at from the same angle and need a new perspective? Think of the snowdrop. How can you change your view?

Love to hear from you


[Plug No. 1] Connect to Nature – A series of Creative Adventures start on 04 April. 

[Plug No.2] In fact I was so pleased with my photographs that I have set up a little experiment shop on Zazzle where you can purchase copies of these snowdrops (along with other artworks) made into cards and other delightful items. Yes, I will earn a small commission from any sales (hurrah!) which I’ll be putting towards my Brecons 2 Morwenstow trip this summer. 

My *NEW* Zazzle Shop Experiment! Love to know what you think!

Friday 27 February 2015

When was the last time you walked in the woods?

So when was the last time? Was it a few days ago, months or years?  

Among the trees and by the Sea is where I most Like To Be...said Me.

Even though I am lucky enough to have a woodland nearby, it is a trek up a rather steep hill to get there so I don't always feel like making the effort. When I do though It's worth it as there are views out across the Mendips to Blagdon and Chew Valley Lake. If I'm lucky, I also get to see some wild deer and other woodland creatures!

I've yet to string up my hammock in the woods though and hang out there all day with my camping stove...! 

Tell me - Where is your nearest woodland?

What is it called?

Do you know much about it's history?

Who owns it?

I discovered that the woods near me are actually owned by the family who live in the last house before the woods. This also happens to be someone I met recently when my doggie ran into their house and started to eat their cat's food. Thankfully the woman thought it was funny. I was embarrassed though! This happened before I discovered the woods were theirs. 

I'd love to have a Treehouse up there. A hideout that I can go to and stay in now and again. Next time I see them I'll have to ask...

Our landscape has so many stories woven into it and we are all really part of it no matter where you live - town or country. It plays SUCH an important role in our lives. Sometimes though we forget and need some gentle reminders and warm invitations to reconnect with our surroundings. We can gain so may answers by doing so. It really is powerful.

The Connect To Nature course is that invitation. Making that switch to seeing more and appreciating more around us. Even though Jaimie & I aren't therapists we have a deep understanding from our own personal experiences of the huge benefits of nature, art and coaching all wrapped up in to a golden bumpkin. This is what we take your hand and guide you along on this journey. 

This is why we run the course. It can be accessed on so many levels and really is suitable for anyone. We are passionate about the value it holds and really do want to take as many people as we can though the 4 week guided course. If you commit to it and do the mini creative adventures, I would go as far as to say it is life changing, you only have to read what our previous explorers have to say to confirm that. 

You also get your very own tree planted in the Calidonian Forest in Scotland.  So you are growing in more ways than one. 

For the full details go here: Connect To Nature

We start on 04 April. Will you be joining us on this creative feast for the senses?

Hope so. 

If you have any questions please do drop me a line.

Bye for now!


ps why not explore a woodland near you this weekend? 

Thursday 26 February 2015

March is around the corner. That means UFO month is BACK!

Yes Indeed. Running UFO* month last March was Fun & Productive so I'm running it again. 

Just to clarify - A UFO is an Unfinished Object. A project you started but didn't quite finish. If you are anything like me then I am sure you have plenty around your home!

Visualise me as your Captain Kirkina (if you will), guiding and encouraging you to uncharted planets through all those UFOs where all projects have been completed. 

oooh Just IMAGINE what they would look like!! 

OK a side note: if you have A LOT of UFOs floating around then visualise completing just ONE of these – OK. Don’t want you getting in a tizzy thinking you have to work on every single UFO you've ever started in one month. 

Just think how much brain space this will free up once these UFOs are no longer in your atmosphere? Not to mention more space round your home, and the biggest thing of all - that feeling of joyful satisfaction of getting that project, well, finished? Finally.

Well intrepid space invaders – that Someday is HERE and it's a whole month - March! 

*Yippee* See even the Klingons are dancing!

So if you’d like to be part of this adventure and chart a course to Planet Completeo (Feel free to create your own plant name!!) then join me by signing up below. 
Starts 01 March.

There are no costs involved, you do need to be in my Creative Adventurers Playground though. This is a private invitation only group on Facebook. 

To be in this group all that is required is to sign up to my playletter. I'll send you an invite - then you are all good to go!

Want to join in? Sign up here! Already part of my group? Then keep your eyes peeled for actions!

YES! I want to chart a course to planet Completeo!

* indicates required

Right – I’m going to jump in my rocket ship and go and check out what UFO I’ll be confronting in March.

Warp Speed ahead!

It's time to deal with those UFOs. They are like Tribbles you know...They multiply.

Water Gems

One of the things I love most about this time of year is the light. The way the sunshine makes the rich colours jump out as it brightens up a dull and chilly day. That moment when the sky is a deep dark velvet blue signalling rain is on the way and yet the colours are so breathtakingly beautiful and so strong you have to stop and stare. 

Those days and moments between the rain, wind and gloom as winter slowly steps into spring. Those days I try to make the most of and go out into nature to look for treasure. 

My current treasures are water gems. 

The way the low sunlight hits the water and creates a cascade of crystals. I could see this being a chandelier and capturing the essence of these moments to have at home. A million crystals. 

These moments are fleeting so you need to look and notice what is around you. I am guilty of spending a lot of time wrapped up in my head and my thoughts – either thinking about a current project or new ideas for something else. When I go out in search of treasure I park my monkey mind thoughts and become a detective. I ask myself - what treasure I can find today?  I slow down and really look around me. These treasures are all around us. One of the things about leading a creative adventurer life is to notice these things. This is also a way that I can become more Tortoise and less Hare!

I filmed the water gems. Only a few seconds without any added sound. I also took photos and a sense of calm and of possibility. I find spending time in nature makes me feel more positive. How about you? Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? How does it make you feel?

One of my favourite photos from my morning at the lake
In April I will be running the next Connect To Nature course with fellow nature lover, artist and coach Jaimie MacDonald. We’ll be combining art (no drawing skills required), Fun and mindfulness into a series of creative adventures in nature helping you to find your own treasures. We’d love to have you to join us. 

If this sings out to you like a black bird’s song, the full details about the exploration are here along with comments from our previous connect to nature explorers. We have become a family and the effects of taking this 4 week adventure are long lasting. Would you like to join the family too?

Ahh I feel more relaxed just by writing about this and thinking about the water gems. 

Snowdrops are my next treasure to hunt for. I've heard of a place where there are over 80 different varieties…! Who knew there were so many. 

What treasures are on your doorstep waiting to be discovered?

Join us to find out as you can take part from anywhere. 

Connect To Nature Starts 04 April

Have a wonderful day!



Wednesday 25 February 2015

Moomin Cakes

I’m a bit of a Moomin Fan. I have a small collection of Moomin Mugs and plates which I love using as they make me smile. I also have a Moomin Cookbook which was a birthday gift from some lovely friends of mine a few birthday’s ago. 

I cooked something from the book for the first time over the weekend and I was impressed! Wasn't sure what I was expecting – if it was more quirk than real good recipes. Well I wish I’d started cooking from it sooner as it is in fact an introduction to Finnish cooking. 

The recipe says it makes 16 muffins. I found the mixture was really only enough to make 6!
I really love trying different foods and recipes and a few years ago set up the Taste The World - A Culinary Adventure Group to encourage myself and invite others to try cooking different foods and new flavours from a different country each month. I've had a bit of a break from this group – but I have missed it so am re-injecting it with some new energy. If you fancy joining the group – it’s free and is here on Facebook. I hadn't intended to write about this group when I started to write about Moomin Cakes, but my subconscious obviously had other ideas! 

The combination of making a sh*t load of cakes for my birthday last year (Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cupcake recipe – VERY good) using a food mixer rather than trying to do the mixing by hand and watching the Bake Off series, my passion for baking and cooking has returned.

So back to the Moomin Cakes. The official name is – Fillyjonk’s Muffins to Grandma’s Recipe and they have pineapple in them. They were light, fluffy and tasty. I was impressed. I will be trying more recipes from this fun book. 

According to Moominmamma “Everything Fun is Good For The Stomach.”  That sounds good to me.

I think this could mean that March will be Finland Month…

Fancy joining in on the fun? 

Taste The World – A Culinary Adventure

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Slow Down. Be a Turtoise*

Turtoise* A cross between a Turtle and a Tortoise

Having made the realisation that I’m more of a Hare 'Fast Fast do it Now' character, than the Slow and Steady Tortoise type, I've been looking for ways to be more tortoise. Not to the extreme that I bore myself with slowness and over steady-ness – rather stopping for a few seconds before jumping into something feet first because it excites me. Yes this does have its benefits. It also comes with some pitfalls further down the line which I've learnt from previous experience of repeating this kind of behaviour over and over. I know I’m not alone!

Without having a personality transplant, how can I go about being more Tortoise?

For a start by using the Opposites Game.

I learnt about this last year during my Coaching training with The Coaching Academy. I think it’s a really great tool and have added it to my toolkit.

Here’s how it works

1. Think of a current situation/challenge you are facing e.g Planning a trip
2. Draw a table with four columns
3. In column 1 - Jot down the actions needed to complete/achieve this goal
4. In column 2  - Jot down your usual behaviour/way to achieve that
5. Then think of what the OPPOSITE behaviour would be and jot all those down in column 3
6. Spend a few minutes looking at all the different options you've noted and see which might actually be better for you to take action on.
7. In column 4 write which you’ll take action on and when

By doing this on a regular basis it is possible to start to rewire our brains and to make positive lasting changes.

Seeing that I’m a very visual person I wanted something to remind me to Slow Down, so after spending WAY too long looking at Tortoise this and that I actually decided to create my own artwork. 

Out came my lino cutting tools and I set to work. It’s been years since I've done any lino cutting and I loved it. I applied the Tortoise approach to this and worked on it over a few days rather than feeling I had to rush to get it all done in one sitting. 

I’m very pleased with the results and think I’ll actually add some to my etsy shop (once I've set it up again!)

What are you? Hare or Tortoise? Or a Turtoise even?!


Monday 23 February 2015

The 40/40 Project. No.1 Brecons to Morwenstow

Very accurate map planning of my route

OK It's time to put this 'officially' out there. 

This summer I'm going on a modern pilgrimage by journeying from the Brecon Beacons to Morwenstow following (roughly) in the footsteps of the 5th century Saint Morwenna

This is a 177 mile adventure (not including the seamiles) that I will complete by bike, boat, foot & donkey!? This is a journey I've wanted to do since August 2011 when I became reacquainted with St.Morwenna.

I need to COMMIT to this here as to be honest I am struggling with the planning of it and just want to GET OUT THERE and DO IT!! 

So what does this Trip entail?

Starting in the magical Brecon Beacons - where St.Morwenna, the daughter of a Welsh King, came from, I'll cycle the 55 mile Taff Trail arriving in Cardiff. 

Then to find a boat to take me across the Bristol channel to Minehead to start the walk along the South West Coast Path. I did consider trying to cross the channel in a coracle but quickly reaslied that was a foolish idea...

From Minehead I will follow the coastal path and walk all the way to Morwenstow aiming to arrive on the 5th July. St. Morwenna's Feast Day.  I'm planning to do this over 21 days. It's not a race after all!

That's the idea anyway!

In my heart I really want to do this journey and can't quite put into words the full reasons behind it. Since 2011 this adventure keeps calling me, and yet something has been holding me back. It will be a big physical challenge for me as I do have some walking difficulties as a result of having a Stroke when I was 12, well as one of determination and perseverance (planning it for a start which is my current block!) I did first plan to do this in 2012, but things didn't quite work out that way. So this is why it is No.1 on my 40/40 project list. 

I'm going to need your help. Can you cheer me on please and encourage me, wave some virtual pom poms? Can you suggest any good places to stay on-route? Could you help me in some other way? Thank you ;-)

Here's my rough plan so far. Needs some tweaks as I'd like to factor in some rest days...!

Cycle Taff Trail (55 miles)

Boat (hopefully!)
Boat from Cardiff to Minehead

Minehead to Porlock Weir (9.5 miles)
Porlock Weir to Lynmouth harbour (12 miles)
Lynmouth Harbour to Combe Martin (14 miles)
Combe Martin to Mortehoe and Woolacombe (13 miles)
Mortehoe and Woolacombe to Braunton (15 miles)
Braunton to Instow (12.8 miles)
Instow to Westward Ho! (11 miles)
Westward Ho! to Clovelly (11 miles)
Clovelly to Hartland Quay (Donkey?) (10.5 miles)
Hartland Quay to Morwenstow (8 miles)


On this Creative Adventure, I will be creating a daily artwork inspired by something I see, hear or feel. I'm expecting the trip to take 21 days - so there will be 21 art postcards. Each unique and capturing a moment on that particular day. Would you like to recieve a Postcard from a Pilgrim? See the full details HERE

I will also be raising funds for The Stroke Association.

How about you? Is there a trip that you've been thinking about taking but things have gotten in your way? 

What personal pilgrimage would you like to take? Love to hear from you.


Thursday 12 February 2015

The 40/40 Project. No.23 Go on a Game Show (Part 1)

Will I get selected to be on Deal or No Deal and get the chance to Open Box no.23? I hope so!

I've applied to go on Deal Or No Deal. 

Go on a Game show is no.23 on my 40/40 list...

I'd spent much time considering which game show to apply for and seeing that Supermarket Sweep is no longer running decided to apply for Deal or No Deal for a few reasons. 

  1. I don't really understand the logic in it - is there any? 
  2. It looks fun! 
  3. It doesn't require me to have a super brain chock full of general knowledge but just to be myself ;-)
  4. Its filmed in Bristol 
  5. 23 is my birthday, there is a special Box 23 on the show, and it's no.23 on my 40/40 project list. That spells LUCKY to me!
  6. There is a chance to win a VERY tasty £500,000 jackpot which would help me complete my 40/40 project, enable me to buy a woodland for my Healing Woods vision to help others and generally fund lots of Creative Adventures! Oh yes!!! EPIC!

The application was quite long with 12 sections and I had to come up with interesting facts about myself, my most embarrassing moment, the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me along with a whole host of other questions! Filling it out did make me chuckle.  

So now I have to wait and see. I'll only get a call if they think I'll be good for the show....Will it be the Banker that calls me?? I'll let you know!

Have you ever been on a Game Show?  Tell me about your experience - I'd love to hear about it. Or do you have a burning desire to go on a Game Show too? 

Wednesday 11 February 2015

The 40/40 Project. No.10 Appear on Dr. Who. (Part 1)

Meet The New Dr.
 Me at the Dr.Who Experience in Cardiff in 2012

Today I completed my online registration to join a casting agency as step one in achieving no. 10 on my 40/40 Project list - appear on Dr. Who. 

The process itself was fascinating. I wondered where else you'd be asked about your circus skills and weapon handling?! Or if you'd be prepared to appear naked or to have your hair shaved?

I also had to declare my tattoo and include a picture so that if needs be that can be covered while on set. 

When I came to completing the experience section I was at a bit of a loss as to what to write as I have no acting experience whatsoever. Yet.

I was the 'sound engineer' for a play with the Portishead Players once and I have had my laugh recorded (laugh like an American - back of the throat apparently, so the voice coach told us) for a Shakespeare play called Drag King Richard III. Other than that nothing really. I'm not sure if dressing up as a Zombie for the Bristol Zombie Walk counts? I did include a picture of me zombie-fied as one of my portfolio pictures 'just in case.'

The next step is to go along to a registration day where I'll have some head shots taken as well as my measurements. I'm booked to go at the beginning of March. It's all rather exciting and a bit unnerving as this is a world I know little about. That's part of the fun though really, challenging myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. 

Reading the registration instructions the agency suggest dressing for the parts you'd like to play. So If I'm wanting to be on Dr.Who what should I wear? Any ideas? Maybe go as a zombie (quick Google reveals zombies appeared in an episode in 2005 called The Unquiet Dead), I can do that. Or something else? Any ideas?

Is there something you want to do that pushes you outside your comfort zone? What is it you'd like to do?

Zombie Mo goes shopping...