Busy, busy being creative..!

Saturday 31 December 2016

Following the Crumbs of Curiosity

What dream, goals and adventures are you thinking about?

If you’ve seen my previous blog post and follow me on facebook or twitter no doubt you’ll have already seen my plans to visit one UK Island a month. My own Creative Adventure for 2017. 

How do you find your own adventures? I follow the Crumbs of Curiosity.

This is how I pretty much find my Creative Adventures (or they find me)! It all starts with a crumb...

Eh? You may ask – what are the Crumbs of Curiosity?

Well, they are those little hints that spark in your brain or create an inner feeling of excitement when you notice them. Let me give you an example (yes it is islands related)

Looking at a map of the UK I noticed an Island near Canterbury. Hmmm I thought – what’s this? Sheppey it said on the map. The Isle of Sheppey…A fission of interest stirred in my gut.

That was crumb no 1

So what do I do next? I follow the crumbs – on to google

I discover it’s known as ‘Kent’s Treasure Island’

My interest increases

I discover that the ‘painter of light’ Tuner used to go there and some of his sketchbooks of the Island and paintings are in The Tate

I discover a ‘Creativity on the Isle of Sheppey Map’ and order it

I discover the marshy landscape inspired Dickens in his book Great Expectations - which happens to be my favourite Dickens story.

I discover (after posting on FB about Sheppey) that someone I went to school with lived there for 16 years and it’s an island full of history, also one that’s rather run down (apparently)

I also discovered it’s not what I’d consider the usual perception of what an Island is (mine is wild and rather romantic!) it’s gritty and if you were born on Sheppey you are known as a ‘swampy’ (which is an accolade).

I discovered I wanted to add it to my list of Islands to visit in 2017. It didn’t feature before.

I followed each crumb of curiosity and uncovered a whole treasure chest of discoveries, links to old friends and new and a plan to visit The Isle of Sheppey via The Tate.

If I’d just shrugged my shoulders and discounted this Island because you can actually get a train there (Is this the only UK Island you can reach by train?) I’d have missed out.

So if you don’t have any adventures yet planned for 2017 – why not play the Follow the Crumbs of Curiosity game and see where it leads you? Be curious.

I’d love to hear from you if you do and what evolves! Of course if I can help you at all with your own Creative Adventures do get in touch.

Love & Creative Adventures


Thursday 22 December 2016

Fancy a postcard from a Creative Island Adventure?

Postcards from my Brecons 2 Morwenstow Creative Adventure in 2015

One UK Island a Month in 2017 – A Creative Island Adventure

I’m starting my UK Islands Project in January and as part of this I’ll be creating unique art postcards inspired by each Island I visit. If you're thinking - ooh I'd like to be a part of this some how, here's one way to be involved - you can receive your very own unique 'Art Postcard from an Island Pilgrim' if you'd like to!

I’ll be searching out Island Magic and exploring how these islands have inspired various creatives - from literature, music, art to the characters that live on the Islands today. You can read about the full adventure here.

A lot of the islands that I’ll be visiting have their own postage stamps which I think adds an extra element to each art postcard. You’ll be getting something completely unique created by me and posted directly to you.

There is no limit to how many you can have by the way – if you’d like the full set of 12 – go for it! If you do choose to go for the full set, any additional Islands that I visit I’ll automatically send you postcards as a thank you. (Reckon the full set would look pretty cool if all put together and framed at the end!)

You can be a 'Postcard from an Island Pilgrim' sponsor for the princely sum of £13. This includes postage (worldwide) and paypal fees. 

Each postcard will be completely unique and will capture the spirit of the Island I’m on at that moment.

Choose YOUR Island!
You can either choose which Island you’d like to receive a postcard from (please specify in the text box) or can leave it up to me to decide. If for any reason (e.g the weather) I'm unable to visit a particular island in the month I’m due to go, I’ll send your card as soon as I’m able to visit and stay on your chosen Island! Do check back for updates as I fill in the TBC gaps.

Islands booked so far:

January - Isle of Portland - Tick!
February - Isle of Sheppey (via the Tate) - Tick! 
March - St. Agnes (Southernmost settlement of the UK) - Tick!
April - Lundy - Tick!
May - Skomer  - Tick!
June - Avalon  - Tick!
July - Anglesey & Skokholm  - Tick!
August - Bardsey - Tick!
September - Looe - Tick!
October - Jersey & Kirrin Island - Tick!
November –Brownsea aka Red Squirrel Island & Isle of Skye
December – The Island of Reflection ;-)

Postcard from an Island Pilgrim
Please specify which Island

Please make sure you specify which Island you’d like to receive your special postcard from. If the box is left blank I’ll send you one at random.

You can choose to have the Artwork sent to yourself or a friend anywhere in the world – please be clear in the notes section and please make sure I have the complete address. 

The postcards are made of strong watercolour card and the materials used could vary from watercolour, pencil, ink to pen. Your postcard will be sent as a Postcard so it will be franked by the post office and will go on its own journey to reach you. The image shown at the top is an example of the postcards I created on my B2M adventure in 2015 to give you an inkling of what kind of thing might end up in your letterbox! 

As with my B2M trip this is a self-funded expedition. As well as running creative courses, coaching and creating artwork I work part-time for the charity Creativity Works. I am being supported by Great Art who are supplying my arts materials and Pulsin who will be supplying me with their healthy treats! In fact I was pretty much ‘Powered by Pulsin’ for the first few days of my trip last year as I’d misjudged the food options available on route i.e none! So their bars kept me going!!

Very happy to talk to you if you have any questions!

Toot Toot!

Morwhenna (aka The Creative Adventurer)

Twitter: @morwhenna Instagram: @morwhenawoolcock

p.s if you'd like to be involved some other way, have some ideas about which islands I really must visit, or live on one of the islands I'll be visiting - drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you. 

Friday 4 November 2016

UK Islands Project - Making Progress

'Hanmers' on Lundy Island. Copyright MGW Sept 2016


As you may already know my next Creative Adventure is all about islands, specifically islands around the UK, you know - those lumps of land you see off the coast as you shielded your eyes from the sun, but rarely actually go and explore? This has been true for me anyway. From 2017 this is set to change as I embark on an adventure to visit at least one island a month for the year. More if I can manage it, totally depends on time and funds to do so. 

I actually have a list of 60 Islands at the moment but am fully aware there are in fact 267 inhabited Islands and over 2,000 uninhabited islands or just bits of rock around our shores. I worked out the other day that if I stick to one Island a month and just visit all 267 inhabited Islands I'll be 64 by the time I complete this project. Heck I thought, 64! After an initial freak out I went back to my list of 60 and thought - so what if it takes me that long? And made my goal achievable by deciding to make a start with one Island a month. 

I want to explore each Island and get to know its character as well as the people that live and work there. I want to discover how the island has inspired artists, writers, musicians..and then I will create something myself in response to that Island.  

So far I've booked six islands to stay on. Hurrah!!

These are: Lundy (yes this will be my third visit!), Skomer, Skokholm, Bardsey, Looe & Jersey. 

Ideally I want to stay at least one night on each Island I visit as I don't think you can really get a sense of its character and the people that live there in just a day visit. This, however, might involve camping. This is not so good as after my experience in the peak district earlier this year I had to admit to the fact that I'm not a camper anymore (unless I have a cosy bed to sleep in). This pained me to admit. So I'll either need to harden up or look at sleeping in a hammock. This could be tricky as a lot of these islands appear to be treeless. Hmmm. 

I'm keen to run a Creative Adventure on at least one Island I visit next year (like Lundy 2015) so if there are any you'd particularly like to join me on, or would in fact like to partner with me to run such an adventure - let me know. I'd love to hear from you. I'm keen to encourage others to join me and be a part of this great expedition around our shores to these miniature lands to uncover their treasures!

I'll also be offering my unique postcards again as part of this adventure so look out for details about that if you liked them from my B2M adventure last year. ;-)

Bye for now & Happy Adventuring!


ps - Have you got an adventure you long to go on and need some encouragement? drop me a line and lets see how I can help you. x Think BIG - Start Small x

Thursday 20 October 2016

The Grinning Man

Poster from Bristol Old Vic

I love going to the theatre and when my friend Bod suggested a night out I was very keen. The options were to see Giselle (ballet) or The Grinning Man which was billed as 'A Macabre New Musical' I opted for The Grinning Man.

What we didn't appreciated when we booked the tickets was that we would be attending a World Premiere.

Seated and awaiting the curtains to open, a tall man came out and introduced himself as Tom Morris (War Horse), the Artistic Director. He thanked us all for attending this very special evening (at this point Bod & I looked at each other in excitement), then went on to introduce the theatre photographer who was poised to take the very first photographs of the show, and to talk a little about the production before he dipped back behind the curtain and the musical began...

From the very opening bar of music we were captivated as the bizarre story unfolded before us. At certain points we were so blown away by what was happening on stage that we were mesmerized. It really plays to all the senses. 

It's dark, funny and freaky. I loved it. 

The story is inspired by 'The Man Who Laughs' by Victor Hugo - A story I wasn't familiar with until seeing this play. I also discovered that Victor Hugo wrote this book while living in exile on Guernsey. 

This excited me, as you may know about my next project which is all about Islands around the UK. The character 'Grinpayne', who was portrayed by Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent film, is believed to be the inspiration for Batman's Nemesis - The Joker. Something I'd commented on during the play as it had occurred to me that there was a likeness between the characters. Looking at this old poster from the film you can see why. Scary!

Promotional poster from the 1928 film

If you love theatre or even if you aren't sure if you do, but would like to try something different, I'd really recommend going to see this. It's on until 13 November 2016 at Bristol Old Vic.

Even though you can watch the 1928 film on YouTube, I'd still say Go see The Grinning Man Musical!

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Old Books, New Adventures

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I’ve started to research and plan my next Creative Adventure…

This next trip is all about Islands

Islands around the UK

And the stories and experiences they hold

I’m VERY excited!

For the past few months I’ve been feeling rather down and not my usual self. Disappointed that I had to cancel the Lundy trip this year, not really feeling motivated and struggling with being on the edge of the rabbit hole, I had some small trips planned (the Bothy at Peppercombe, and later in the year Snowdon) but I didn’t really have a big adventure in the pipeline.

As usual I had ideas zipping around my head (Driving my Figaro to Japan was a contender – has been for many years that one!) but was finding it difficult to settle on one. One that really grabbed and excited me. I’d started researching my family tree, joined the Weavers and Spinners guild and started to learn to card and spin fleece…but something was missing. 

It was after a rather emotional chat with the fabulous Judith Morgan, that I knew I needed to commit to my next trip and to start research and planning straight away. Island Hopping, Island Odyssey or the snappily named ‘The Creative Adventurer visits as many of the small islands around the UK as possible in as many different ways as possible’ started to take shape. This was an idea that kept popping up so thought, OK I need to grab this one and work with it. 

My recent Book Barn haul. Cost just £12 for all these gems! RM Lockley, I've discovered, lived on Skokholm Island and has written over 50 books about Island life, nature and birds. He sounds a fascinating character and warrants further research. His book, The Private Life of A Rabbit, inspired Watership Down. 

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I declared this as my next project in the business group I'm in on 27 April at 10:46. Prior to this announcement it had popped up on my mind maps and in my note book, way back even in February and I’d mentioned it on my blog on a Wish List that I posted on the 04 February and I’m sure it had been floating around as an idea well before that. Personally, I find it interesting how my mind works in that way. How long it can take before I grab a particular idea and start to turn it into reality. How about you? What happens when you get an idea? Do you act on it straight away? Let it sit for a while? Days, weeks, years? 

Since then I’ve been collecting books on Islands, reading about Islands and I’m looking for people that live on these Islands. I've become a tad obsessed by Islands (in a good way!) and I find old books a great inspiration. I have also been reading Tiny Islands by Dixie Wills; Lundy, Rockall, Dogger, Fair Isle by Mathew Clayton & Anthony Atkinson and Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys, so its not all old books I'm using for research.

I have discovered that there are around 4,000 islands around the UK, and of course the question then is – what constitutes an Island? Some are just giant slabs of rock that only birds can really land on so I’m not planning on visiting those. I’m looking for the interesting, the quirky, the creative, the traditional celebrations and crafts, the hidden gems, the stories, the things that make these islands special. I’ve already got a list of about 60…and counting. There is so much to explore around our own coast. 

Shall it be one trip…or split into ‘legs’?  Initially I’d thought I’d set a budget say, £500 and how many Islands can in visit for that? Quickly realising that actually not that many, even travelling as self-powered as possible. I am still working out the finer details as I read about different islands and hopping from each one. I know I want to cycle on some of them.

As with my Brecon’s 2 Morwenstow Pilgrimage last year you are invited to be a part of this adventure. Be that joining me on one of the islands, sponsoring a special postcard (I’ll be creating postcards as I visit each Island, quite a few have their own stamps), or sponsoring in some other way. I am looking for ways to make it just that little bit different.  I’ll share more as this adventure grows from a seed into a plant. There are already a few roots...

Until then I was wondering – have you visited any of the UK’s small Islands? Where have you been? What was your experience? Do you know anyone who lives on one that you’d be happy to put me in touch with? What Islands should not be missed? 

Drop me a line or comment below. I’m very much looking forward to sharing this next Creative Adventure with you!

Toot Toot!

Monday 25 April 2016

A Bothy Adventure

A few weeks ago this was the conversation...

'Soooo Richard, you know I fancy going razor clam hunting? It's on my 40/40 list? Well....I’ve just discovered that the National Trust have a Bothy in Peppercombe! That's North Devon near Clovelly, which is RIGHT by the beach and seeing as its been a bit rainy for camping, we could stay there? It's a converted pigsty and only opened for rental last May. There is cold running water, an outside loo, no wifi, electricity or heating...only £20 a night and dogs go free!'

Yep, sounds good. Lets go!


I rang up and booked straight away. 

We were sorted to go 22-24 April. Spring Time.

We’d spent the past few days putting EVERYTHING together we thought we would need – after all it was just going to be like camping – but with out the tent, well a stone tent. Had the stove, plates, mugs, hipflasks (topped up with whisky), blankets, sleeping bags, mats....etc..etc... I packed lots of layers. What could possibly go wrong. I’d been camping before, I knew the score. 

We loaded up the car (it seemed awfully full for just two nights away) and set off. It was a damp evening and dusk was falling when we arrived after a 2 hr drive. There was still enough light to see to unlock the gates (you get given codes to get through two sets of gates as Peppercombe is all National Trust owned) and made our way slowly down the uneven tracks to the Bothy.

'Is that the sea there in the background!' I squeaked excitedly as we got closer.

Even though it was drizzly and grey you could still see that the little white bothy was in an amazing location.

It was overcast and raining when we arrived.

We parked up, I got out the car clutching the piece of paper with the code for the Bothy on it.

There was a problem. The lock wouldn’t open. I tried the number again. Still locked fast and didn’t budge. ‘Rich’ I called ‘can you have a go with the lock.’ Richard had taken Cerys puppy out of the car and was now standing beside me. He took the lock and tried again. Nothing. I checked my phone. No service. Ah would have to go back up to the A39 to call the helpdesk. They’d still be there till 9pm– it was currently just after 8pm. Suddenly I had an idea, ‘try the same code as the gate.’ We held our breath as Richard tried that code instead. Click, Success! Signs of relief. Now we could get in. *Phew*

I knew it was going to basic, and that was fine. It was part of the fun, part of the adventure.

We started to unpack and set up our beds on the raised platforms at the back of the bothy. There is a fireplace, with a ‘No Fires’ sign boldly on display so I hoped we’d packed enough layers. A sink with running water and a small worktop to put the stove and cook/prep food on. Pretty much all we needed.

Out came the stove and on went the kettle for the obligatory ‘arrival cup of tea.’

There was still a bit of light outside but in the bothy we needed to use our torches. There were also some candles on the fire place which I thought was a nice touch, so lit those. It was starting to feel cosy. 

The bothy has two raised platforms to sleep on and the most luxurious embroidered curtains!
Unpacked and fuelled with tea and with the light fading fast we set off on a short explore down the path to the right of the bothy towards the beach. We didn’t get all that far before it became too dark to really see and even with torches decided to head back to cook dinner and have a proper explore in the morning. 

Half way through cooking dinner the large torch we’d brought cut out. 'Darn it. Is it on a timer' I asked? 'erm no came the reply – I think it’s flat!'

Some ingenuity was called for to set up the small torches we had which was easy enough and cooking resumed.  Should have brought our head torches!

I noticed it was starting to get rather cold. 

We tucked in to a very tasty dinner (pork in a chilli marinade with rice in case you were wondering) and had a glass of red wine. Sitting huddled in the bothy - me trying to keep warm, it wasn't long before we decided to call it a night and clambered into our sleeping bags ready for a good nights sleep. 

I was cold. I could feel the cold seeping up though my camping mat and into my bones. Why am I so cold I thought! I’m normally so cosy in my nordic sleeping bag suitable for minus conditions! Richard – who seeming to be hot all the time anyway, was snug as a bug. I put on some more layers and gradually went to sleep. 

I woke up a few times in the night as somehow I’d slid down my mat and was hanging off the end of the platform. I wriggled my way back up and went back to sleep. Woke again when it was light and decided to get up. It was 6.30 am. I hadn’t slept very well at all and felt cold and grumpy. 

Slipping on my shoes I headed out the door to use the ‘loo with the view’ and was greeted by the most amazing sight. My feelings of coldness and grump slipped away as I saw Lundy Island on the horizon. I walked the short distance to the toilet and as I sat there watched with delight as the birds flew around in the tree above. The sun was shining and it was going to be a beautiful day. A beautiful day to head down to the beach to search for razor clams. 

The excitement was back.

We sat outside in the sunshine and ate porridge and drank tea as the whole area around us warmed up. After breakky and a quick wash (cold water tap!) I decided against putting on my bather and thought we’d investigate first. I’d checked the tide times and low tide – when a stretch of sandy beach is uncovered, was from about 13.05. 

We were already heading down to the beach by 10.30am.

Peppercombe beach is flanked by the most amazing cliffs of red sandstone, which apparently are unique to this area. I’d seen a photo of a waterfall on this beach so we set off to find it. Cerys Puppy seemed to be having the time of her life bounding about on the pebble beach. That’s the benefit of having FPD - Four Paw Drive. I needed both my sticks to navigate over the rocks and it seemed to take a long time to get anywhere. 

Peppercombe Beach is very pebbly until low tide when stretches of stand are accessible. You still have to clamber over the pebbles to reach the sand though!

We found the waterfall and stood for a while looking out to sea at the spectacular view. There is just something about being by the sea that fills me with joy. I’d been past this way last year on my Brecons 2 Morwenstow Adventure but hadn’t made it down to Peppercombe Beach that time.

'Lets head for that patch of sand' said Rich as the tide was already on its way out and a large swathe of sand was becoming visible. Getting to the sand meant climbing over and through (I was super glad I’d opted to wear my wellies rather than my walking boots) loads of rock pools. They were full of bright red anemones and very very small crabs. The limpets that were hanging on to the rocks were some of the biggest I’d ever seen!

Once on the sand we started to look for the tell tail signs of razor clams. A small indentation in the sand and a sand cast near by. Nothing so far...we walked and looked as Cerys ran around us clearly enjoying herself. 

After a while I spotted what looked like razor clam evidence. Look I called – here! Does that look like razor clam evidence? 

'Yes it does!'

Excited we looked closer and then noticed more ‘sand casts’ 

'hmm hang on' said Richard. 'I think we are creating these – look...'
and sure enough he went off and walked in a loop creating the very same ‘sand casts’ I thought were razor clams!

so that’s be no then, no clams!

We carried on looking but there were none to be found. I’d thought clams were to be found on any stretch of coast. Appears not, so we decided we’d head to the pub for lunch instead. 

We soaked up the sun and I paddled in the sea (still wearing my wellies) before heading back up the path and up to the pub which is a 30 min walk at ‘Mo speed’. 

We arrived just after they had stopped serving lunch. Typical! We always forget about the ‘lunch serving times!’ We stopped for a pint of their finest beer (which turned out to be called Neet and is by Bude Brewery) we sat in the sunshine watching the cars hurtle past on the A39. Great beer, not such a great view. Dogs aren’t allowed in the bar, you see, so outside it was for us. 

I’d forgotten what drinking at lunch time does to me so after a very, very nice pint and feeling rather ‘light headed’ we went back down to the bothy to cook some lunch. 

We chose to cook outside over a fire and it was just perfect. Collecting fire wood – I stayed away from the actual fire making as still slightly woozy! oops, and cooking outdoors.

There was some kindling in a bag in the Bothy, I’m guessing left behind by the previous people who stayed (thank you!) and I’d brought some Alfred’s Cakes as keen to try them out. 

Alfred’s Cakes are a type of fungus that if you let them dry out are great as tinder to start a fire. I’d learnt this on a Mushroom foray we’d been on a few years previously.

Ah the fire and the BBQ was super. 

Delicious and just lovely!

Rich booked to have dinner at the pub at 18.00 so we could be back at the Bothy for the sunset and a fire (and to get the hipflasks out).

The food was good at The Coach and Horses and we had another pint each of the Bude Brewery Neet as it was so good. Richard opted to have the steak and ale pie which looked like it had Lundy island fashioned out of puff pastry on it! It was a good pie he said and my lasagne with garlic bread was tasty. 
Just what I wanted. Followed (of course) by a very delicious sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream. 

Everyone at the pub was friendly and its a good little place.

Time came to wander back again down the lanes to our Bothy and get a fire going. 

The sun had disappeared behind some clouds and a wind was starting to pick up so as Richard set about making a good fire – I re-organised the sleeping arrangements with a hope of being warmer. I put more blankets under my sleeping bag over the camping mat and an extra blanket over the top. I hoped that would be enough. I was also planning on sleeping in even more layers than the previous night. Fingers crossed!

Richard had a lovely fire going and I brought out the wine and the hip flasks ready to enjoy the sunset. 

It was a bit too cloudy for anything spectacular and the wind had picked up again sending an icy chill around my neck. I pulled up the hood on my fleece. Put a woolly hat over that then put up the hood on my windbreaker and zipped it all up. I couldn’t move my head to look around me and had to turn my whole body – but boy it was snug!

It was just my legs now getting the cold blasts. I’d stupidly not packed my thermal leggings and my bum cheeks were numb with cold. I’d also forgotten gloves and even though Rich offered me his I found another solution. Hiking socks make for good mittens!

I didn’t really care I had socks on my hands and I was zipped up like a zipped up thing, I was keeping out the cold. 

We sat for a while by the fire swigging from our hipflasks like true adventurers but the cold wind got the better of me and I had to retreat  inside to the shelter of the Bothy. I was learning a lot about what I should have packed for this trip! That’s what this was though – an adventure, an experience of really going back to basics and seeing what we / I needed to be comfortable, an opportunity to learn what kit I needed next time. 

I didn’t mind about the cold water tap or the outside loo, or the fact there as no electricity or no wifi. I really enjoyed those elements. It was being cold and not getting enough sleep that I didn’t enjoy. Richard, thankfully was fine which was good. I was quite happy to be able to go into the Bothy and be shielded from the cold bitter wind. I could still see the sea through the small window and was looking forward to the evening drawing in and lighting the candles. 

The change of sleeping layers worked and I was much warmer although still not quite warm enough. In my mind I was comprising a list of things I’d bring next time....thermal base layers, long johns, sheepskin rugs, hot water bottle, some way of heating the bothy – what was that heater made from a terracotta pot and a tea light I’d seen on facebook that time? a camp blanket - like the one I’d had when I was in guides that was covered in my badges....A lantern of sorts, solar maybe as well as a solar shower...?? I'd packed my solar monkey and that had been brilliant.

Being warm was turning out to be the biggest basic need for me. Before we’d set off on this adventure I hadn’t realised that would be the thing I'd miss the most and how that would impact on everything else. Lesson learnt!

After a breakfast of beans and half a pasty for me and beans and scrambled egg for Rich, we packed up and loaded the car. I noticed an itch on my hand and realised I’d been bitten so got out the bug repellent. Well actually its Avon Skin So Soft Body Oil as it works a treat at keeping bugs at bay. 

Well when I remember to use it. I tried to spray some on my hand but the spray didn’t work. I twisted it about a bit and tried again. nothing. ah it must be broken I thought. I got Richard to have a go. Same problem, so he suggested I just open the bottle and dab it on. It was when I unscrewed the lid to pour some out that I noticed it was solid. Yep It was FROZEN. ah ha! so THAT was why I couldn’t spray any out.......! 

We laughed.

I hope now you aren’t thinking I’m such a cold weather woose! 

We loaded up the car

Swept out the Bothy 

Locked the door

Climbed in the car, waved farewell to the Bothy and headed back up the lane towards home, a warm home, all the while thinking about what our next adventure will be...

The Loo With A View!

You can hire the Peppercombe Bothy for £20 a night through the National Trust and it’s right near the coastal path. Just make sure you pack enough warm clothing/bedding!

To book visit their website here: National Trust Holidays

There are also some lovely Landmark trust properties to stay in too (I rather fancy the 1930s Summerhouse pictured below) – which have heating – but are of a different budget and experience. ;-)

I'd like to stay here next time!!

Thursday 11 February 2016

Start at the Start

OK. So yesterday I committed to spending the next 40 days learning how to do a handstand and not giving up. Guess what, this morning some further ideas for a book I’m working on started jumping around my mind for my attention and the handstand commitment was momentarily forgotten. 

Do you also suffer from idea-i-tous? Sounds painful I know. It’s an interesting condition. One where your mind has so many ideas all at once you can’t decide which one to focus on, so more often than not it all feels waaaaay too overwhelming and none of the ideas get let out of your mind and if some do they only get as far as a hastily scribbled note on a scrap of paper. 

As I’m sure you’ve deduced by now this is how my mind works. 

So how am I going to see this 40 day challenge through?

I’m going to Start at the Start

Starting with what I know already. What resources I have, considering what equipment I need and who might be able to help me.

I have the emails for the 28 day challenge I signed up to and last night I tweeted Chris to let him know I was now ready and committed. He responded with some encouraging words and offer of support as an when I need it. Very kind of him.

Having posted about this on Facebook a friend has connected me with a friend of theirs called Ben who actually runs handstand courses in Bristol. He seems really lovely and helpful. Until last night I didn’t even know you could do such a course in Bristol and that Handstands or Handbalancers as they are called, is the new thing. The latest fitness crazy apparently. 


I have to be honest though. The idea of going to a class and learning in a public space does make me feel rather nervous. I’ve not signed up…yet…The question that comes to mind though when I consider this reaction is – How serious am I really about doing this? Surely going to a class would be a good idea regardless of if I make a tit of myself or not? 

Yes good question!

Whilst I build up to actually taking that step there is PLENTY I can be doing each day at home. 

So far I have:
  1. Downloaded the book about how to do a handstand by Chris Salvato and started to read it
  2. Tweeted Chris (as mentioned above) and emailed him outlining my goals
  3. Put all the emails related to the handstand challenge in a folder in my email called – Handstand Challenge. (Note to self: Am I actually getting organised or faffing about?)
  4. Updated the free handstand progress chart that comes with the course with the dates I’m learning and printed it out. I’d much rather see it stuck on a wall than on my computer as it can still be hidden away in a file. I’ve also dug out some coloured stars to stick on said chart each time I complete my daily 5 mins or more on my handstand practice. Where to put this? Decided on my fridge door. So I’ll see it A LOT!
  5. Been thinking about when I can actually do the training. I work three mornings a week with an early start so mornings on those days are out. That means afternoons when I get back home will be better. Before or after lunch? After I think. Then on the other days I’m not working I’ll aim to do my training first thing. Before I do anything else.  Yes I’m happy with that.
  6. What next? Well to get my mat out...

What have you decided to commit to doing for the next 40 days? Juggling? Going to bed rather than falling asleep on the sofa? Eating breakfast. It can be a really small thing.

If you can’t decide – jot down the top THREE that you are considering and just pick ONE.

Then think about where you are with this. Have you tried in the past but not stuck with it? (so you’ll already have some experience) are you starting from complete zero? 

What resources do you already have? What do you need? Be careful with this one. I could for example say I can’t possibly start my handstand training until I’ve a complete lycra fitness outfit to wear and some new trainers, and then it will be – oh, I’ll have to go shopping to get that and can’t go till next week and then I get to the shop and try stuff on and think oh but I’m not quite the right shape for that yet – I’ll wait till I’m fitter to get that….Get where I’m going with this? That would mean I’d have lost at least a week’s worth of handstand practice when all I need be doing is downward dog and some stretches barefoot for 5 mins a day at first. 

Only get new resources if you are 100% sure that you can’t do your thing without them – OK?


Bye for now


Ps – have you checked out the Creative Adventure to Lundy Island yet? Take a peek

my 'reward' stars!

Wednesday 10 February 2016

For 40 days I’m giving up ‘Giving Up’

A recent conversation with the lovely Jessy of Jessography prompted these words about giving up. We were talking about behaviours and as it was Pancake Day the concept of giving something up for Lent came up. I’ve never really given up anything for Lent before. Rather than giving up say sugar, meat, complaining or smoking which seem to be the most popular, I’m giving up a behaviour. 

That behaviour is Giving Up to soon. Quitting. Throwing in the towel before I’ve really got past the starting blocks, stopping something after only three sessions because I'm bored. Not FULLY committing to what I was doing (or said I was going to do from the outset...I’m sure you get the idea. Sticking, you know like a stamp sticks to an envelope.

I'm interested - are you a giver upper to sooner? Or are you a keeping on keeping on no matter what-er until I’ve done it kind of person? Or somewhere in the middle?

Don’t get me wrong, I can stick and see things through but I find somethings like learning to handstand or play the guitar difficult and I am more prone to giving up too easily.

As a result of this conversation with Jessy, I’m challenging myself for 40 days to ‘Not give up’ on something. And that something is Handstands.

Handstands? Pha? Is she serious…???

Yes I am.

You see ‘Do a Handstand’ is no.12 on my 40/40 project list and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for months but as yet have not actually taken any real action on.

I signed up to Chris Salvato’s 28 day Handstand challenge on the 03 December 2014. DECEMBER 2014!! It’s now February 2016!! The daily emails arrived. I looked at three of them, then just let them pile up. I wasn’t really committed. I still have the emails though...

After I completed my epic Brecons 2 Morwenstow Adventure, doing a handstand was the next goal…but that hasn’t happened as I’ve stopped training with Team Breakthrough in Bath. It just went back to being one thing on my 40/40 list to do.

Now and again I’ll watch a you tube video of ‘How to do a handstand’ but my hands haven’t touched the floor.

I even went to see a short film at the Adventure Film Festival of a chap doing a handstand on the top of a tower on the Isle of Man to inspire me to get on with it…but that was weeks ago and yet again I’ve not started. It was Too Hard.

Today I’m committing to spending the next 40 days of lent on not giving up learning how to do a free standing handstand.

This is a challenge for me as a result of the stroke I had when I was 12, my left leg feels heavier and I have much less control over it. Sometimes it even seems to have a mind of its own!

Actually, I think part of not getting further with this is that old pal fear. Fear I’ll hurt myself.  I’m not as light and flexible as I was when I was 12 (the last time I actually did a handstand) I don’t want to end up in a crumpled heap having done myself a mischief that's for sure. 

This means that in my mind I’m struggling to actually believe I can do this and to see myself doing a handstand. Considering this, I’m going to combine the daily handstand activity/exercises with visualisations and instilling a belief that I CAN DO A HANDSTAND and see where I get to in 40 days. 

Yep you spotted that - this will allow me 12 days longer than the 28 day challenge created by Chris Salvato and possibly/hopefully more achievable for me. Will just have to see.

My ultimate goal is to do a handstand at the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales – which I’ll be climbing in August (no. 31 on the 40/40 list)Research shows that if you stick at something continuously for a period of between 21-30 days it is more likely to become a habit. Now, I just have to DO IT! (or JFDI right).

Here we go…

How about you – is there a behaviour you could benefit from giving up for 40 days? 
What would it be? Maybe going to bed too late, eating badly, being too hard on yourself?

I'd love to hear from you!

If I can help you by coaching you through these next 40 days with your own challenge – let me know ;-)

Pip Pip!