A spoonful of sugar …

Hello dear friends.

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Well, what started as a regular kind of monthly journal has become something very different this month. We truly hope you are well, wherever you are and send our thoughts to you in the world.

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As we all hunker down for little while there are some small things, we can do to stay healthy in different ways.  

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Firstly, this pandemic is all a bit like your mum turning out the lights while you’re still wide awake. It suddenly got dark. Nobody felt ready to just stop doing and being.

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But the thing to remember is how marvellous we all actually are in the face of adversity. soon you’ll get used to a routine and it will feel less scary. If ever there was an excuse to get your old teddy bear out of the attic it is now!

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A lot of folk with anxiety or who rely on social interaction and consistency in routine will need you to help them maintain this.  Perhaps this is you, or someone you love. It will be really vital to establish a structure of some kind in an indefinite time bubble.

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So, make sure there is some phone contact, post your numbers through the neighbour’s door, set up a time each day or week to speak. Routine for the vulnerable is really important. The world hasn’t disappeared. But for some, it might feel like it has. Please use this if you can..

    Hi, I am your Neighbour.
My name is:………………………………………………………………….
My phone number is:……………………………………………….
My email is: ……………………………………………………….
I can help you in an emergency with the following : …………………………………… …………………………………… ……………………………………. …………………………………….
I go shopping on ……………………………………………….
And I am happy to help if you need some extra things.
Let me know by ………………………..….………………………………..
I may need help with   ……………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………….. ……………
Use this space for your emergency contact instructions or information …………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………….. ………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………….                              

If you have the facility to set up an online get together, or WhatsApp group make it an excuse for a collective chat and making session.  Social isolation can exacerbate old fears and self-destruct buttons. So, if you can be part of something for yourself, and each other it will help

My to do list will definitely include a pile of unfinished artwork!

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We will be posting lots of ideas on our Facebook pages over the next couple of months, and attempting videos … watch this space!!

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Don’t listen to too much news, don’t watch too much tv and scroll through endless pages on the internet. Limit your time to first thing in the day, and in the evening. Instead sit down and write all the things you never had time to do. If you don’t get them done at home in the next few months, you never will! So now is the time to crack on. create things, read your books, write a book! Colour in things, re- decorate, sew things, mend things, cook things and get outside and plant something, even in a couple of pots.

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All of the above can and should be part of your child’s home schooling, which most of you will have enforced on you as well. To make the day work as well as it can, structure a loose timetable to help them and you cope with what is happening.

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Definitely restrict screen time. Insist on this! But perhaps use it as part of a lesson to compensate.

Kids need a good breakfast and most work better on maths and English earlier in the day so pace their learning with short blocks of whatever they are studying. If they can check in with you often, or sit in an organised space they are more likely to absorb their task.

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Don’t reward each task with treats. The child wouldn’t get this in school and will otherwise end up the size of  a house! I am already finding the need for more stringent house rules on snacking.

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Even if I wasn’t a teacher, replicating school is never going to happen at home. Kids naturally don’t take us seriously. So, if we get a few sums done, an art project on alien virus creatures and you plant a sunflower, that’s enough.

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As for the more vintage of you, get a little more on top of the usual needs. Your doctor’s surgery knows everyone is worried and will expect you to place your prescription early. It might take a few days longer and if you are isolated ask a neighbour or in some cases they can deliver.

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For many people, in an emergency, there is an initial period of disbelief and then we go a bit numb. And this is when your coping strategies need to kick in, on behalf of those you love and yourself. If you feel you are safer at home, stay there. Feed yourself well.

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My friend said she found there was suddenly no flour on the shelves. Some of us might actually bake, but many people are buying in case they decide to! Think about the things which will sustain you, if you can’t get to the shops for  a week. What type of bread freezes best? (wraps are good) and go with a list to the shops. Because you will lose the ability to make logical decisions when surrounded by hysteria. Breathe, buy, head home and shut the door.

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Being indoors for a prolonged period isn’t easy, so make it your home your nest. Keep it clean and open windows to circulate air. Jiggle things around. use this as an excuse to do a drastic whatever.. Paint a wall, knit a rug, decoupage a dog bed… whatever keeps your hands busy.

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Watch things which take you to another world. Our minds need to dream, believe, trust and create hs yet to be explored. This cant be done by watching documentaries of people being evicted and soaps where everyone wants to sabotage one another’s relationships. . The same is true of books. Whilst an odd headline in a paper is ok to read, why not listen to audio books which teach you stuff, re- read a classic or read a story with your children. Or grandchildren. This can still happen over a facetime call. This might teach us all how to be story tellers again.

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I was asked to make something for a friend of mine recently. She knew of a couple who had a couple of old vases and they had sentimental value, precious to them. He broke one accidentally and threw away all the pieces . He was well and truly in the dog house. Could I do something with a few of the bits, so that he could give something back to his wife as way of an apology?

So I made them a picture ….. We await the result of his journey from the garden to the marital home! xxx

Broken things can be fixed, maybe not as they were before. But in a different guise and with a new mosaic pattern. Don’t throw anything away simply because it’s use isn’t yet understood. But don’t hoard either !! these next few months might make us all re-think what is important. .  

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Make the most of your cuddles, your animals and your resources. We are all fortunate in many ways still and have to be positive.

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So, over the next while, please do stay in touch on Facebook and here. Keep your minds healthy as well as your body and your space.

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We just learnt that Skye isn’t too well, so this time is even more precious. You my friends are an inspiration and this too shall pass xxx  Good luck, take a deep breath and know you got this ..

With huge love Liz and the zoo.

xxxx

Do it your way.

Sometimes life stops you in your tracks. But sometimes it’s a handy way to look at the view while the lights are on red. To take a moment to see who you are listening to. Is it your own wisdom, the intuition you were born with or the mumblings of other voices ?. Everything we do comes from a source of love or fear, and the option you have is choose to absorb only those who want to share the former.

It can take a long time to unravel the conditioning of a lifetime’s habits, a familial pattern, a marriage, a community belief system. But if a structure starts to jar, and prevent your creativity shining through, perhaps it’s time to regroup. Close your head to the noise everywhere around you. Break life down to its component parts and change, if change is what you seek, one breath, step, or thought at a time.

When we moved to a tiny place to start over, I made deliberate choices to simplify things financially and pressure wise. It isn’t easy to do this and it is a hard thing on your own. But at every junction, a new skill or resource, friend or doorway appeared when we least expected them to, and there was always enough. (That isn’t to say things haven’t been a challenge.) but there were very few moments to doubt that there should be trust in the bigger picture. And our abilities to navigate life’s ‘B’ roads.

This was us three years ago today. Before building our new home here by the sea.

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You look back at things you do sometimes and wonder. How did I get here? How did I manage that? The house was only on the market one week. generally the best things we do in life are things that happen through a sense of pure will and determination, perseverance and intuition that it is simply what has to be done. We get our heads down and get on with it. finding a drive fuelled by a belly fire.

The night before News Years Eve our favourite place to stay told us last minute they had a cancellation. Already nearly ready for bed, we were at the time struggling to get a 2nd hand charity- shop games console to speak with and work on the TV. It was  driving us both a bit doolally. Out of nowhere a text arrived from the b and b . It was a lifeline out of the doldrums, an injection of adventure we both needed. The house suddenly became a mad frenzy  of hovering, packing, sorting out animals and arranging the details with neighbours..

We made it happen in a couple of hours and more  that, nothing dreadful happened because it wasn’t in the plan. Sometimes the plan appears to be no plan. But we know deep down, there’s been a plan all along.

But I believe there is more to it than that. Looking out of the window at the garden, it’s so hard to believe that there will ever be blossoming plants and grass that never stops growing. It happens like magic. Just as our kids grow… And keep growing and changing, non matter how much we keep a snapshot of their baby faces on the mantle piece.


What we do with the time and resources we have then becomes a matter of not only trust but personal intuition. Right now, she’s cleaning her room, but she doesn’t know she’s doing it. My girl is ‘looking through’ some old toys, and thoroughly enjoying the process of re discovering, memories and finding lost treasure. There is singing, that’s a good sign.

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Making a creative – being go from a to b, in a straight line can cause huge stress, and disarm their natural instinct to tweek, nibble at, shuffle around and sidelong glance at a project before jumping in ; And almost put out the fire of passion before it has begun. These spectrum based qualities can become clearer once labels start being given, especially when diagnosed with various types of autism. But this can take years. We know instinctively if our children need more variety in their learning, or a work better with a hat on, or sitting on the floor.

How many times a day do you rebel against yourself? Or someone else? This time of year, with the pressure of change and renewal , being better, living better, morphing into  a new version of the old creaky us, can create lists of to do which hang heavy. The thing is, these lists aren’t created out of badness, their heart is in the right place. For instance, making new crafts, eating better, finding new love, clearing out the garage…its just.. all good, its just.. a big old excuse always comes up . We will always as humans want to do the opposite of what we tell ourselves we should.

Its actually not the worst thing we can do. Making excuses, being a little bit different to the expectation makes it far more likely to find a way of living, loving and being that is really you.  I Was the kid in school dreaming out of the window of running across the fields out of he window, wearing nothing but a tutu and a huge straw hat.

In order to get the most out of ourselves we need to feel we are cheekily being slightly bad at the same time. Life should definitely not feel like we are colouring by numbers. Dry January should surely wait until such months as we are outside enjoying the spring sunshine (not needing a warm fire and moonshine)

I could have been only seen as a dreamer, But somehow, the gaps between the dreaming, when no-one was looking enabled productivity and studying. Squirreling away multiple projects and coursework at once until such times as a ta dah moment was needed. Reading through a leaflet for the village hall fair competition I came across recently, I was gobsmacked at hw many prizes one child could win with a few sticks of corn, potato printing and plasticine ‘Morph’ people in a shoe box.

And when at college I after bashing away at a project all morning in a flurry of paper and sticky back plastic, I was told by  a student teacher , that the ‘mess’ was not the outcome of a perfectionist , as I was explaining I was; I took great delight in finally showing her the finished sparkling object.

Nobody should judge your process. And your process is special to you. No matter what it is you are trying to acheive. I am finding more and more that with arthritis in my hands, the limit for specific tasks is short.. So working with that, I might paint one area of a picture, and then using a different technique ( and hand movement) maybe work on something which doesn’t need a pincer movement! In a way working within your health restrictions, creates a different way of thinking and maybe new skils to try.

In reality this looks like various random piles of things. To paint a whole wall in one go is too painful, so there is some paraphernalia waiting to be completed in the hall.. slowly but steadily getting its Spring facelift. Many ideas have late have hatched little design chicks in Skye blue House. Some are harder to make than others, so need a blast of energy and a rest, some need passion and a breathing space from their grip and some are old friends which can be tinkered with and finished between the crafty imps of art which tear but fill your heart. 😊

Such is the tug and the drama and the pain of needing a physical body to make what we crave. Almost every activity needs some physical dexterity . But not finding it easy doesn’t mean stopping altogether

It is so easy to forget who we truly are. Especially if illness or fatigue creep in, when then destination we work to reach seems to get further away. Just like a never ending horror hotel corridor. Your tropical beach will I promise await you.. perhaps you just have a few things to organise first. But if you can see yourself there, you’ll be there. With an extra large tequila sunrise in your hand.

A strange things happens when people see you happy, especially when we shouldn’t be . When the odds look like they are stacked against you, but you strive anyway..Distracting your pain or temporary immobility with your permanent rose coloured specs. You will notice that your life becomes a story book..Witches and trolls will thwart your progress and joy. (banished as they are to their own lands of permanent misery) and their barbed comments will chip off your varnish . If you let them.

Forgetting to trust the process which has got you this far safely and creatively. lowers your resilience, stops you making, opens up your heart to hurtful jealous noise and ultimately proves your doubters right. If you start to see the creative unfinished processes waiting to be completed as shabby, you let other people’s negativity, pour doubt on your story.

Its not shabby. Its Shabby chic.

Having questions and consistently being aware is good. Seeing yourself through the judgement of others isn’t. Be grateful for this negativity though. Because it reminds you how much we can all do to use our obstacles as reasons to push further on our journey.

Bits fall off, bits gets broken. bits stop working. You can still be seen. Find the right people, find your process, find your passion and a way of showing it. If weeks and months have to go by with piles of half finished work waiting for warm weather, more money, finding your muse.. ITS OK..

For me, I have found that I have to creep up on finished tasks, by doing several at once. this not only gives an element of variety to the job, but stops it feeling like one huge mountain. If you can get past the ‘one- thing -at -a time- rule’ which is drummed into us from an early age, it can be liberating to challenge several tasks into bite size chunks, until they all get done. Its what we do in daily life anyway, why not throw in a few things that we love too? Stir your pot of homemade soup while listening to a story tape, paint a strip of wall every day until you finish the whole house, keep chipping away at your beautiful ideas and keep them alive.

And never stop believing that your instinct is 100% right and what you must do ..

Because, if you don’t, who else will ?

At our most taxing time, a time when I was literally frozen by fear, and by another’s control, I did the following. Every time I had an idea, a dream, a sketch of a plan to make a new life, I drew it and put it in an old carpet bag. I thought of the bag as a kind dragon that I had to keep feeding. Pop the morsel of trust and instinct in its mouth and it would keep growing.

One idea becomes a whole story

This kernel of knowing you have it in you, is what keeps you safe, creative and moving forward. Every aspect of our home and the life we have now has come alive from seedlings in that bag. The big friendly dragon is more likely now to be a chicken or a soppy collie, cat or guinea pig. But even they have their own self affirmations in their bedrooms…

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Stay cosy and warm, especially if you live somewhere cooler! and use the time to gather resources, potter, paint and plant those seeds.

Spring cleaning can wait

You’ve got baby dragons to feed

xxxxxx

Invisible stitching

When I thought about how to neatly wrap up this year in vintage Christmas paper…

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I found that this memory quilt of a year was made up of precious stitches, invisibly binding each remnant in place to create its magical warmth.

A patchwork quilt of a year

Simple joyous friendships, and perfect moments wove like glittery threads through the last twelve months, sprinkling their sequins on frayed patches of imperfection, and stitching together the best of the treasure from grandma’s button box.

I have great faith in the way of things. Just don’t ask me to name what, why and what the rules are. I believe it comes down to the same things, kindness, patience, tolerance and trust. The closer we are to the way of things, to let go of questioning , ( no matter how bizarre or tough that can be sometimes,) the more returns in just the right way.

People, things and experiences; sometimes we have less, sometimes more…… It can be so hard to know what the plan is sometimes. Letting go of the worry about what will happen next, where money will come from and if our seeds of dreams will ever grow to fruition takes a lot of finger ( and) leg) (and toe) crossing…

Between you and me, nobody would blame you for a few moments of doubt sometimes …

Perhaps we might unlisten

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Or choose a better soundtrack

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Trusting that we have all we need is the hardest of skills. Especially if you live near a good charity shop…
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When we moved here, we were told that if we didn’t tell the entire village our life story. they would make it up. Turns out there is some truth in that. But also, turns out , you get a little distance from your earthly self if you genuinely stop worrying .

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If I had a £1 for every time, I heard a rumour about either one of us, I could replace these old windows by now. The roof tiles I heard falling off last night would be magicked back on. Hilariously, the more proving you do to dissuade what anyone thinks, the more likely you are to underline their ideas. For two years my healthcare has been compromised because I wear bright colours and have stripy sticks. G.p.s see but dont hear what you say. A final funded opinion in a different region has finally hoisted us out of the quagmire of misdiagnosis. Having been pretty poorly for months, Someone listened.

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Sometimes we need to run out of words and block out the noise. Pick out the single voice that makes the most sense. Listen to the inner voice we had with us all along. The Robin on your windowsill isn’t bothered what the neighbours think and sings loudly anyway.

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Sometimes we need to unhear what the voices around us are saying. Take a moment and know things rather than aggravate and pick away at a worry.

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Listen. to the wisdom of the people put on our path. Someone and their wisdom will pop up when we least expect it.

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My family weren’t particularly religious. But I found over the years of my life that I knew a truth about things. At five I sat in a tree talking to the angels. . I truly believed there was someone there. There is a truth and an energy to a way of living life honestly, a way of treating each other, being in the moment, especially given how precious that can feel sometimes, Our connection to the local community in Coldingham has given us a sense of belonging I never had as a child and is creating a sense of family for many of the kids involved in activities in the village.

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Amazing groups of people nurturing each other with gentle humour and humble but heartfelt and genuine support; we feel blessed and included. I understand why my daughter loves Sunday school so much.

People will think what people will think. One day none of this will matter, why not make that day today.? Trying to teach our children not to mind what people think isn’t that easy. Your heart breaks for the loves and losses they feel on a daily basis. But it is a part of life’s emotional journey to learn through experience and feel every last detail. . Learning the skills of resilience is so hard but so crucial. That’s why; if you find a place to feel calm, centered, grounded and truly at home. Go there. Don’t question why. Breathe in. Be thankful. And listen to the one voice that makes the most sense to you. Unhear the noise that breaks in from everywhere else

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It might be birdsong. It might be a wise person delivering a speech, it might be your guru or your best friend. You might hear it in your own voice.It will make sense when you need to hear it. If you can blot out the rest of the noise.

 

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This year for me has been made up of millions of tiny perfect moments. Made more poignant by their size and calibre. From the glistening sparkles on the surface on the water on the pool in Spain, inspiring my new enterprise; to the profound pride in a class member for winning an award for endurance and growth , the changes in my ever blossoming wonder child and our hilarious and ever evolving menagerie. Each scrap reminds me that there is more than the sum of this moment. That it stretches beyond time and space and is bigger than pain and being human.

When you produce a baby in hospital, there is this thing that happens to your pride.. you leave it at the door…people poke and prod you. You are so delirious, excited, in ecstatic delirious trauma you forget to care. In a way, it a bit like that having a long term condition or illness. You become a walking episode of eastenders. Complete strangers discuss intimate bits of you they heard about in the playground. Breathing becomes something you have to remind yourself to do sometimes!!

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You listen to the soundtrack playing around you,. The big stories, the snack sized morsels of concern and guesswork; and you have to decide not to worry about it. The easy lifestyle you once had.. well that’s on holiday. for now your patchwork might be fraying, and your pocket has a hole in it, but your seams are as straight as ever and every stitch is in tact.

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Granny chic is all the rage anyway.

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Your style right now is in the smallest mother of pearl buttons and a hand painted vintage brooch

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Just before I had Leah I revamped my old doll martha. Martha was made by Mopsie, my lovely grandma. Martha was looking a bit shabby, and thinking a baby might like a fresher toy, I embarked on unpicking her insides with a view to re-stuffing her. Heavily pregnant me was therefore slightly horrified and also laughing deliriously to find; pulling out from Marthas tummy, like a string of sausages .. Grandmas old long johns and her post war liberty bodices… A time capsule continuing to make us laugh

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Sometimes the unexpected fabric of life is the most supportive.

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My inspiration this year has been in the detail and in you. Amazing things you all do, the attitudes of perseverance, keeping the fires burning with a touch of flamboyance. From Running an unruly choir despite your own pain, braving the fear of strangers to try new activities, giving things a go, just in case it turns out a bit less less scary than you thought. Carers and relatives of loved ones consistently trying to make life fun for you both, another couple who keep going despite the unfairness of it all but make it look so simple. Friends going through their own worries and offering lifts to hospital or just a hand to hold. You in turn enable the wheel to turn, for an unwell person to continue to have value for others. Amazing.

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The hugs and camaraderie that you might give so freely can occasionally be an answered prayer for someone in desperation. Never undersestimate the power of an act of kindness

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Like Martha, we repaint on our faces, refresh our dress and hair ribbons..

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But its the inside stuff that really shows what were made of. Ethnes hilarious ‘getting dressed backstage stories ‘ from her dance days ; told in the car on the way to choir; warmed up four strangers on a cold night and will keep her forever young and cheeky. Sharing a moment or two is a priceless currency.

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Thankyou to my artists. loyal and funny.. always finding new ways to bring out the best in each other I can’t tell you how proud I am of you all. Your amazing artwork and growing confidence is an inspiration. Teaching each other new skills learnt at the art table. we may have had a quiet year in some respects, but you are officially family now … sorry !!

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And of course my biggest inspiration is my darling diva. A tough year for her in some ways, she has thrived in so many others, with huge community support in doing her panto performances and singing firstly in the adult choir and now solos ( at any opportunity). I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming, and the achievements she has under her belt. She has a kind heart and a cracking sense of humour.

Quite like this wee chap too. I think I’m in love..

We at Skye Blue House hope you have a really happy Christmas with your loved ones and we look forward to sharing many more adventures with you next year.

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Much love Liz and Leah xx

And Pumpkin xxx

Bad Hair day

Ever have one of those? Ever have a grooming decision turn into another decision, until you find yourself back where you started.. or worse..

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….in a state of hair hell.? Because what you thought was going to be what you wanted, was actually somebody else’s idea of what suited you?.

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And you naively assumed your instinct button must have gone on the blink. It hasn’t.. you heard it all right.. you just chose to ignore it!! Nobody knows you better than you, so why do you keep ignoring your instincts?

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Do not get me started on my hair. In this instance, we’re talking one night of attempting blonde (ish). Four hours it took by a well-meaning hairdresser.

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This is not me

Only it turns out you can’t do it all at once and so I ended up stripey. And a bit orange.

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Bad hair moments, days, years.. woah!!! karma kryptonite . When your hair feels wrong, everything feels wrong.

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The next day, before my coffee had cooled, I had slathered on fiery red once more, and my head was once more mine. Too hard to explain why this is soooo important, because actually as my friend pointed out, I do cover most of it up with a massive scarf.

But I was back to where I started. My… me place. My comfortable spot. My – only- I -can- explain- why- this- is- ok- place.

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Again..

And now I’m waiting for it to grow……

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Again…….

Life has felt in the last two years like we were running to keep still. When your health isn’t playing nice and your mobility deteriorates, even the basic achievements often become horribly unmanageable . The last six months have been trickier than usual and our travel, adventures and plans curtailed.

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My head does big thinking, thank goodness, dreaming up schemes, tinkering at plans and knowing we have each other and our spirits to keep going. Leah and I are proud of our achievements at Skye blue House . And we love your comments over the fence! Curtailed by much movement this summer didn’t stop the fun .

When life gets a bit crap, it can give you the impetus to decide who you really are, what your passions are and what you want to say. If your audience isn’t listening, don’t stop talking, find another audience.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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The more people I come across and the more stories I hear, I realise that we’ve always known the things we wanted to say and do.. we just didn’t have the skills to communicate them. So we learn to make things, play games, sing, create and mould the world we know we should live in. As children all the ingredients are there to protect us from the future world we will live in.

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And then we unlearn it all for the next eight decades. We can all be our own tough crowd sometimes..

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If only we could take our small selves by the hand and urge them not to waste a moment worrying about the big bully in the year above, who kicked us for looking different, or from agonising over the meaning of a painting in Art college .

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When our choices are taken away in one sense, because we can’t do something it enables freedom of a different sort. Let yourself go with the new plan, no matter how temporary your illness is and work with the rhythms of the day or seasons too.

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This year began with drawing in a hospital bed, sketching in a village community class, and putting together these designs which then became prints. On other days photography was more immediate and I loved the immediacy of creating abstract snapshots from well known parts of the village. I was delighted to exhibit both types of artwork in a local art exhibition a few weeks ago.

In winter when the weather impacts on everything, fireside felting compliments the painterly work and a new cycle of creating more tactile work will begin.

Nobody will like everything you do, big and little kids can be critical. I realised one one of the reasons I had a desire not to be a red head which I’ve always been since the first forays into the henna gloop in the eighties, was a comment made an elderly neighbour of my parents . It was just Too much for the suburbs of Bognor. But when I look back at my photographs however, it was fabulous. All our younger, vibrant, freewheeling selves , no matter what colour our hair was , were wonderful.

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So life is going to be a roller coaster.

We had better enjoy the journey

Getting on the ride, any ride is going to cause some turbulence. But the thing with a roller-coaster is, you might get flung about, soaking wet, turned upside down, throw up, and lose the contents of your stomach, but then.. you arrive back.. where you started.. Because a roller coaster goes in a circle. You can get off when you like and the choice is yours whether to get back on again, or ..

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Do something a little more relaxing…

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Either way you’ll still be you

Today I went for a walk with two dogs, on crutches. Big deal. Right? As I noticed these Autumn shapes and the light playing on the sparkling sea, I realised something else. As many of you know, (because a lot of you have been providing us lovely soup in the last week) !! I haven’t been at all well of late. And there are things still to be done, diagnosed and mended. But …… I had been listening to a screaming noisy soundtrack for as long as I could remember and suddenly it was wasn’t there….. well, it was now quiet enough to hear the birds singing anyway. That extreme pain which blurred everything pre- surgery on my knee last week.. was at last significantly quietened. How fabulous to see the Autumn changes in such crystal clear brilliance without anything else in the way. You only notice how heavy something has been after it has been lifted.

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Six years of staying positive have enabled a trip back to where I began, almost like being a child again, having to relearn how to walk and use the limbs we all take for granted. This disability stole much of Leah’s active childhood, this daft crumpled knee, and my hard won teaching career- impacting on my other joints and causing further health conditions.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is just a celebration of a moment and a reminder that at any point something can fail, break or become loose in any of our well seasoned bodies! Getting back to a place that we started from, before we struggled is a bonus. And feeling grateful is important.

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Joy can last for a lifetime or lift us in a moment of reprieve. Somewhere long ago we knew the answers to what would feed our souls, no matter what outside factors tripped us up. That child in us still understands who we are and what we need.

My six year old self knew

and is Still rooting around in button boxes wearing a vintage hat..

Listen well to your small you .

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Unless they persuade you to dye your hair. Then I suggest you phone a friend.

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Don’t be too good, Much love, Liz at the beach hut xx

Girl Interrupted

I was a little taken aback recently. It was just a few words, but you know how they can be. Little bowling balls aimed in the right direction striking misery into our well crafted lives and crushing our faith and confidence.

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Same things different decade same hope that being would be enough.

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Only difference now is, I know it is enough. And always was.

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This is my daughter and our dog . They had just won sixth prize for waggiest tail and smiliest eyes in a country dog show.. ( the dog not the child) They were the happiest creatures in the world and I cried like an idiot seeing them jumping up and down with pleasure..

It was just pure joy.. My pride for her was physical. As lovely as ice cream.

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This is her winning entry for the Borders Art Fair, kid’s Art competition. (Bit of a theme here) and same utter pride and pleasure in their success…

Taking pride in anything we have courage to do, should be shouted from the rooftops. Happiness in our achievements can be celebrated in a whisper or a scream but should always feel deserved. When you find it, remember to feel it, snapshot the moment, breathe it in and keep it close. I loved that there was such delight in 6th prize. As they had stood in line patiently waiting for any colour of rosette, watching other dogs take the stage, having any colour at all was perfect. There is plenty of time for being competitive in life. As human beings we spend our lives comparing ourselves. How lovely it was to simply be rewarded for being.

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Friends. Use your imagination and energy for one thing and one thing only….. being colourfully creative.. Everything else is a waste of time.

On countless occasions recently I have seen and felt the aftermath of hyped- up imaginations going on overdrive and wreaking needless havoc for non-existent problems and comparing lives, pointlessly. Why is it so hard to believe that there are still people worth believing in? Why do we see a set of beautiful paint colours and insist on meddling it into sludgy brown.

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Seriously. Are we looking for reasons to prove the world is flat?

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Stop talking about each other and talk to each other. Appreciate that there are things you won’t understand about everyone and that we all have failings but leave theirs alone.  Gaps don’t need filling in every silence.

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Our spiralling  thoughts can be our own worst enemy.

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Damaging potentially gorgeous life experiences with questions and doubts.

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Especially if they loop into the weave of things which are not of our control. Or things which are none of our business.

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Believe that you matter.

This doesn’t mean you don’t care for those that you love and care for. But absorbing the weight of everyone’s problems without first knowing that you are ok, will leave you without a shield and that doesn’t help anyone. Sometimes people aren’t ready to know your stuff without bringing theirs to the table first. You won’t know this until you start talking, so choose your tribe wisely giving yourself permission to edit when people ask how you are. This is another reason for self expression through any activity which gets your fury out.. get digging in earth, get dancing, get making. But don’t get lost in the rejection you get if you don’t get heard. It’s not because you didn’t shout loudly enough. It just fell on deaf ears.

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Perhaps enabling your troup with a balance of expression, nurturing and inspiration is a good start. when I was told recently that not everyone could be as positive as me, I didn’t get the chance to say this. “Nobody is positive all the time. Pain kinda does that. So does being a mum to an interestingly expressive wonder-child. But we are learning together our route through this chapter. And actually, what we do all have is a choice to go ahead or go under.”

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And to be able to survive both your own path and help other people, be very careful of judging those who always have your back. You never know when you’ll need each other most.. A good team is crucial. They are sometimes unexpected and wonderful.

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Be the enlightened creative version of you. Float above the dramas created by those on your path, tempting your attention and energy. People may be a bit confused by your apparent refusal to absorb their barbs but.. its a destination choice not your forever home …

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You must consider how best to serve your best self.. your imaginative wonderful creative self. The one that if you were the best parent ever, you would be advising yourself to be. Make stuff. Do stuff, meet up with other people and then scoop up the ones who need your help and find out what you can achieve that you were always told you couldn’t. To help others do the same. Also, in answer to the previous question, I know that positivity is contagious. That every single one of the brilliant people we come into contact with in our classes, are closer to being able to help others, and by knowing that, are stepping out of behavioral patterns tying them to medication or worse. We are building far more than a portfolio.

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And that gets us all out of bed.

All we ever have is ourselves and our unique gifts.

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Seeing you thrive, develop, be your most colourful self is what your family and circle of friends (should) want for you.

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Setting you up for your own adventures…

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It is a joy to get older and wiser, accruing and cementing values and idiosyncrasies If we waste our time picking holes in what other people are doing, saying, thinking, wearing, watching, reading, painting, believing, what are we giving up in return?

The freedom of peaceful non judgemental thoughts?..

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And the right not to be judged in return.

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Our life is like a story. Each chapter unfolds as we go. Some chapters are harder and longer than others and seem to go on for ever. If we use up our precious reserves of energy by fuelling animosities and looking for reasons why other’s are failing; our focus shifts away from the story we are in.

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And the stories we are telling with our hands, hearts and voices aren’t nearly as much fun as what we could be getting up to..

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I have this weird and indescribable belief that there is a truth, and a reason to do what we do. Nothing to do with religion or karma, but an instinct which is strong enough to keep us safe, fed and moving through each dark passage. It is the picture in our heads we keep safe until we get there. And it works.

Believe you are worth something wonderful, that your burning desire to make and write and grow another world for people to smile at, is why you are here. It isn’t easy for someone unhappy to let you live that life. In the hope that you’ll pop back in your neat little box and cause no embarrassment , they might pick away at you until you stop, or ignore you completely.

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Ill health and joint immobility have done their usual over winter, and still we are in limbo with several surgical procedures to come..

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But as we drove away on a recent epic drive, which was both long and painful, surrounded by cushions and in an automatic car.. my awesome daughter reminded me that this wasn’t the moment to simply survive, but to flourish. We channelled a flourish for 600 miles..

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And that’s the thing.. if you’re going to be in pain, better to (where possible) try and distract yourself by not being alone, try and create at least some memories despite what the Gods have shoved in your face… The things we do can be ploughed through , enjoyed or celebrated and rejoiced for the happiness they give us. Life isn’t a list. It’s a chance. People fortunate enough to be on your path, your offspring, your friends.. they are lucky to have you, your crazy colours, your big heart..

and all your creations !!

So me and my dawg and our arthritic paws will carry on being positive . Who knows which one of us will get a waggy tail prize next time .

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Much love my friends,

Happy Easter xxx

L xxxxx

Abundance

On Boxing day, this was the outfit of choice.. and, if we were all really honest with ourselves we probably all wish we could wear every Christmas presents…. at once….

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Abundance. The realm of the child, the lucky, or the wise….?

For a fraction of a second my daughter questioned the potential reaction of others, in the small village where we live. But this was swiftly replaced with a glorious freedom of spirit and self judgement.  The vivid flourish of feathers, stripy wellies and clashing colours drew many compliments, smiles and probable envy, of being ten-ness from every grown-up on her travels during the doggie walk that afternoon…

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I felt incredibly proud of her joie-de-vivre, and of how far our journey has taken us both; away from so many constrictions, and which, if you might have followed our story from the start, you’ll know , has been hard won …… Good for her.. but can it be good for all of us, to be a little more tutu?

It seems we operate as humans in most things we do,  from either love or fear. At the extreme contours of our comfort zones

We don’t have a responsibility to carry the fears of anyone else. But we can encourage those around us to find a way to stick their fingers up at some of their conditioned responses to the rules. As long as we are kind, we can be colourful.

Having courage could never be more important:

How often do we slightly recoil at generosity of spirit in some way? Perhaps you have been fortunate to have been shrouded in compliments but have told yourself they are ill deserved, gifts you feel are only given in anticipation of another in return. ? Of course, nobody can be that kind and want nothing back? Nobody can be that friendly and be trustworthy.. We are taught to be wary of change, differences and wonkiness of thought.

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If you look for reasons to criticise… up they pop like weeds. But, if we look at say, a gossip mag, full of critiques, comments, comparisons and criticisms… we could be forgiven for believing we read the same one a year ago. It is all the same.. ‘This person doesn’t fit the mould, that person doesn’t meet our popular mass expectation, since they became; (pick one)- divorced/fat/poor/lonely/ill/uncool/no-as-on-trend..Very rarely do these publications value the integrity  of the person or their actual reality.

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And under all the stuff, all the things we move about every year, all the new things grabbed off sale rails, the virtuous bags of old clothes we shed to make way for a new version of ourselves.. we only ever have us.

We have arms, legs, eyes and a heart that sees, feels, reads , and loves with abandon. This is the part of our wardrobe worth holding onto and placing on the softest of padded hangers.

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Push away kindness, push away the good stuff and keep up the cycle of mistrusting anything which questions what HAS ALWAYS BEEN,  is like buying the same jumper that you just gave to a charity shop…

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Or…

Take a new path

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Sometimes, people do actually mean the compliments they give you, and sometimes, the invitations they make are because they want to share something amazing or they see something amazing in you . Choosing to focus on what is actually ok can make you feel richer and more complete, rather than trying to prove yourself right.

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It is at this time of year that we all feel like getting rid of things. Eating less, chiselling away at bits of our bodies and sculpting a better version of ourselves. Chucking out the old clothes we don’t wear, and revamping everything from scratch.

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It is well trodden path.. a seasonal rollercoaster

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Nothing wrong with a good clear out, but what if your focus is at looking at how much you already have?

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How does it make you feel?

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What if you decide to make your resolution (your revolution according to the monkey..) to banish complete and utter abandonment of what anyone else thinks.

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Because they will think what they think anyway!

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On Christmas day, It is our thing, to wrap up pretty much everything we can find all year for next to nothing and spend a day feeling like we are Royalty.. Things in vintage shops, things we forget about, little bits of treasure and surprises. An abundance of little wonders and sparkly things. But if you look at one photo of our Christmas day, perhaps we look like spoilt rich folk. Hilarious. If only……

My daughter says her favourite part is watching me open my gifts and mine is seeing her face as she unearths a present I forgot I’d wrapped. Prolonging the joy is a lovely thing and it is valued by us both because we know how much it takes to make it happen..

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Living as we do, is a mystery to some. And because of that.. will incur the odd question … Ooh you must be rich to have such a lovely garden/so many shoes/so many options of a flavoured tea bag….. No, I just go out on crutches and feed the plants every day March to October, cherish what is donated to the cause and treasure what is important  .. and our classes are fired by pixie dust..( and willing and able helpers) … so that’s that taken care of…

WE are taught to reach for the stars.. to aim high.. to visualise our desires.. but people often don’t like to see abundance. The scales of normality can seem out of kilter with a balance of circumstances we don’t understand. If we see a person with colours, with happiness, with an abundance of spark and joy we feel that something isn’t right and we must crush it before it gets out of hand..

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We can’t possibly understand everyone.. So let’s just concentrate on our own potential…

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What if we let it be our inspiration? What if we see a lovely thing, and just let it be absorbed? Take from it what makes us happy, and let it float on past?

712ryq2h1ql._sy450_Having a lot of something isn’t something to be freaked out by. If you want it too.. work towards it. If it isn’t what is part of your plan, let the person enjoy their creation. Don’t belittle, demolish, crush, be jealous of or question what they are doing. Just ask them about it or walk on by!

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I truly hope your New year’s Revolution is completely bonkers, and not to just be a bit skinnier. I also hope that some of you will be joining us in classes and at various events this year.

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We are abundantly yours in technicolour.. to take into your next adventure.

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I love this.. 

Let’s all be purple at least once a week

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This is for G. You know why. x

Stay Warm and Bright, All my lopsided love, Liz xxx

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Cheese

Today I had to ask my friend what my blog was about.  It made me laugh. I found that summing up what we talk about in our classes and on here is too huge to put into a few sentences. When this started I thought it would be about  art, a little comment on arty things…

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Hmmm ..

Over time we have chatted about so many things, and often anything  but the serious concept of ART.. most times, a bit like an art group, we go off on a huge, huge tangent and never get back to where we started. a bit like being with your pals in the pub or like the fluid chatter of children.

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This blog isn’t about how to be the best artist or how to find out important political stuff. People get here because they find us, share us, become friends and become linked with our shared cornucopia of cauldrons boiling over with potions to try and help make human existence a tad easier.

If you can share what you learn with others , that makes life better.

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SHHHH!!!!!!!!!. Don’t tell anyone. But actually, not everything you see / hear/ read/  on the internet is real.

Except on here obviously. xxx

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The best things in life are very simple

Stand still. See what is right in front of you. Be grateful for something every day, Appreciate your environment and your tribe of people, know you have your own back, even though some days don’t feel that easy…

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The trick is to see that new and shiny is not always more beautiful..

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Belief… dreams.. faith in tomorrow and a resolute refusal to be a piece of someone else’s jigsaw puzzle, whilst doing your best for those you care about… is the balance we aim to find.

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Decent thoughts are like decent people. At first they pop up fleetingly, like good fairies.. You can choose to ignore them, act against your better instincts and the flow, but like a good neighbour, if the process you are ploughing on with, is the one you might learn from.. it will tap you on the shoulder again and again. Which is very good, if like me when you write you are also multi-tasking seven thousand other jobs simultaneously.

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So, I suppose this is a blog about all the best bits, which in this format we are fortunate to share. And some of the wisdom given to me to get us through the toughest times in our lives.

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A good stuff hamper

A few words and pictures to sit down and have a cup of tea with. Some sparkly bits, some inspiration and an extra hand .

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A reason to star in your own movie, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

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Be inspired and be creative, adding to your own vision and story . Use a journal, a sketchbook, paper pinned together or an online scrapbook. Having something tangible and in front of you is far more accessible though, and  you can work in a power cut.

It has taken me to .. eeeek a few years away from.. yes  actually… my 50th birthday to look at what I do and appreciate it. To get to a point where all the ideas, sketches, skills, and ideas are starting to form a pathway to something…….There was never a choice for me to give up.

I did well in art at school, but had no confidence. (I sold a lot of artwork and my entire degree show, so my grown up self is saying Why?????? ) But, life was dropping huge clangers on the path to creative freedom along the way and I also didn’t have anyone telling me some of the really important things I have since come to learn.

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The experiences we have that shape us, are never wasted if they then become, someone else’s path to freedom.

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When I was little and I started to sing, I was laughed at or sung over. I hid in my room and sang and drew, and rearranged the furniture, hoping that I would be seen. I held open days to show the new layout of my bedroom to my uninterested brother and parents. I felt like an invisible person.

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I lost my voice for a long time . Or rather, I started something.. a beautiful painting, an idea, a conversation and lacked the strength of belief to see it til the end. The tapping on my shoulder of crushing depreciation or ridicule prevented strides being made into the unknown.

I stayed where it was safe.

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When I spoke, I told myself I wouldn’t get to the end of my sentences. So I panicked half way through and then couldn’t finish what I was saying.

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Later at Art college it was a whole new adventure, and I found my niche in felt-making and mixed media. I began to flourish with sales of new works, and commissions from my degree show and my first business Curious Creatures, was supported by the Princess Trust. But I found then, that working just on my own as an artist was never going to be enough.. being amongst people and sharing ideas was my best balance. And looking back, this window to grow my ideas and confidence was so brief given what was coming next..

A new, even more dangerous dragon was around the corner.. And this time.. fifteen years went by with virtually nothing leaving the house, including me.

This isn’t a sob story. It is my story. One human’s path. And it made me me. I fed my artwork baby. I kept my sketchbooks, my ideas and my heart somewhere safely tucked between the pages like a pressed leaf. And now my real (big) baby and I are safely in our Hansel and Gretel house.. those creative ideas as well as all their new friends can start to creep out and become real….oct-2018-049.jpg

One by one.

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We are who and what we surround ourselves with. Maybe it takes a lifetime to know what makes us tick, but knowing who and what we like, what is good for us to be surrounded by, what draws us out of our shells, our bedrooms, our heads is fundamental.

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Children already know . And we can find that magic again.  I am learning that gradually some people reach the same freedom when they leave relationships, work and sometimes outmoded belief systems behind. I wish I had a magic wand. I know a few people battling their own dragons, still singly quietly in their bedrooms.

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Believe that there is more. Keep going with your plans, and add to your good stuff hamper.

This blog is a scrapbook of all the incredible people we meet along the way. Some of the art we do, some of the stores we hear and what creations are born. And this is a blog about what you can achieve when you feel uninspired, tired, a bit rubbish and a bit lonely.

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When I started writing a few years ago,  I had assumed I was speaking to certain people in my life, and then anyone else that it reached was a bonus. The irony is that very few of those people read it. But, lots of other people do. And that is the lesson. That you can scream and shout and clutch your person’s arm to get them to notice you singing/ drawing acting out twelfth Night, but if it isn’t in their peripheral vision to see you.. walk away. And look at the queue of people you have somehow gathered around you who ARE listening to you. They are who matters. Thank you !

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A blog about the cheese

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without the stringy bits..

 

Love Liz xx

The Blank Page

 

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I’ll let you into a secret.. Blank canvas syndrome is an actual thing. Stalling at the moment of creative freedom is the hurdle of almost anyone who ever picks up a brush or a pencil. We imagine ourselves unable to do this massively hard thing which encompasses our genius in one monumental piece of art. Over and over again.

We stand enraged at ourselves for being rubbish before we we even start

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And then more often than not we don’t bother at all, because the fear of the creating bit is too big and too scary.

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There are too many choices

I have noticed this human tendency in many situations, presented with a wobbly, new or challenging step in our lives, we revert to our most vulnerable, smallest sense of self. Some people can overcome this through having had positive childhood  or life experiences,  conditioning from supportive friends and especially from family . But let’s face it, for most of us, there have been enormous gaps in our well-being feedback, in relation to most aspects of anything we put out there, on show to the world…

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If we can hide we often do

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We can lose confidence and momentum as easily as we gain it, because humans want to believe their flaws out weigh their fantastic qualities.

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I know this to be true. You can fool yourself into believing there will be nothing there to fill the void.. you know nothing about his new thing yet, so how can you trust it? you will never reach the level of comfort you had before.. so best maybe to do what you always did.. and stay where you were ..oh so comfortable….

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and the magic and experiences waiting for you can never be.

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Life isn’t a straight line though,  like a bus chugging through the things we do, forgettable and then starting over again tomorrow. Your skills and wisdom back-back gets fuller as you go,  and you will only ever ripen in yer old age.. It doesn’t matter what your fears are.  Moving out of a loveless home, leaving a job, starting a new group or an activity you dreamed of doing when you were a kid.. If you need to do it from the bottom of your boots.. then the layers you have grown over your heart will turn slowly into your new jet pack.. and give you wings..Image result for flying person

Each day,  and situation isn’t a blank canvas .

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We are an accumulation of all that we have ever done so far.

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A million moments we either choose to remember, celebrate or let pass by..

Each one slowly feeds us and our mind absorbs the important bits , inspiring future ideas;  the big, important, or small, perfectly formed thoughts..the trick is to find your connection with what makes your hear sing;

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When we look for inspiration, or start a new artwork or project, we can be overwhelmed with self doubt .And we do the same with our own self image. We look at what we see in the mirror as less than perfect, swamping the whole picture , to reinvent ourselves once more and catch something new, which perfectly represents our ultimate ‘self.’

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Only , that particular fairy has wings. You’ll not catch her. She is a million fractured images at once, absorbed from past memories, experiences, joys and pain and can only ever be fleeting..  All you can do is be grateful for a good photograph occasionally, and smile as much as possible.. because it is the least aging facial contortion!

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As some-one who has been recently forced to look at  pictures of themselves less able  than they were, and not even know how lucky I was at the time, please take it from me that focusing on the perfections of what you look like NOW is so so so not important. It is about getting to know who you are this minute and to like them, trust your own brand of creativity without judgement, both in the mirror and on your canvas.

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Sometimes the more perfect we are the less we know ourselves..The more layers we apply to our guarded hesitant approach , the further away from freedom we have.

Enjoy your face but it’s what you do with it next that counts…

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Last week my daughter and I went to see Mama Mia at the Maltings in Berwick. We sat in the disabled bay with a man in a wheelchair. On paper tell me how fun that sounds?Image result for line of jelly babies

Well stop. Let me tell you, that between us, the lovely stewards (a very sweet couple) and a bag of jelly babies .. we probably had more fun than anyone in the cinema. Nobody cared we were singing and laughing out loud and we watched the film directly from the heart instead of from the perception of how it would look to others if we made a fool of ourselves. It was magical, memorable and we made three new friends.

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It is possible to enjoy yourself..

A surface of many types is just the beginning. Step one. The beginning of a chapter or an adventure. It is meant by its nature to be weathered and roughed up a bit, textured and aged until it’s true nature appears. If we know this we can see past the fear of the blank, because the joy of the process of seeking it out is part of the fun.

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 Let the magic happen.

And if it is your canvas giving you blank stares.. do one of the following;

How to Texture Your Painting surface

1 Cover the surface with pa and water, then tissue paper and then more p.v.a, flattening gently as you go with more gluey gloop and a big brush .

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2 Scrape a layer of texture onto your canvas,  using acrylic paints in either a rough approximation of your finished colour scheme or an opposite one ( complimentary colours can peep through your final work and look very effective.Image result for acrylic underlayer  on canvas

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3 Scrape on paint or an acrylic medium, or paint with a texture by adding sand .. then scratch into it with a card edge, tooth pick or press into your surface with bubble wrap or lace.

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4 Fill your surface with pattern and image from magazine cuttings,  in the same way as Idea 1, make sure they are nice and flat to work on. To make this slightly easier when you paint on top you can always glaze over with a very watery white acrylic wash 50% water/50% acrylic.

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5 After priming with a basic colour, draw on your canvas without looking directly at it. Do it with a really loose paint mix with a long brush or a stick with an oil pastel attached to the end. keep you marks really fluid and loose , enjoying the flow and rhythm of your idea without the constraints  of your four canvas sides.
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6 And when you start painting or applying your actual layers, don’t tighten up too much initially.. Try adding your detail with more tissue, or add torn -up older cast off artwork as an under-layer..

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The recipe for good things  takes time. Often we look at a person and their creations and think they appeared fully formed and gorgeous out of nowhere.. as if by magic. My guess is that they too have stood in new shoes..

Get your foundation right and the rest will follow.. Image result for good foundation

You wouldn’t plonk on beautiful make up without prepping your skin first .. to make it last, attach itself and shine out.  And the best faces, rooms, stories, canvases and relationships are built upon over time and with experience and wisdom . Trust what you know no matter what or who anyone else imagines you are.

 Artwork works when there is a  depth, texture and a hint of what has brought you to its creation.  Just please don’t confuse your surfaces.

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Its quite hard to eat your tea if your face is covered in magazine cuttings.

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Fill in the the blanks with your fabulous selves..

Love Liz xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire in your belly..

Lat week my delightful handy man was telling me a story. For Christmas last year he had been given a tin of seeds. They were chilli seeds and he had never gardened before. But he grew them anyway, and regaled to me the tale of the compost, the splitting of seedlings and the abundance of lavishing love and care upon his precious crop.

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A few months in, and his three-year-old was leapt upon grabbing a huge juicy chilli from the fridge to the sound of her parents concerned cry of ‘Nooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!’.

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Only this chill was the size of a red pepper. And so were all the rest of a mammoth bounty. He was confused. So, he did some earnest googling…

Apparently, to really grow peppers properly, one doesn’t feed them quite so much, one doesn’t wrap them in little chilli shaped blankets, or put them in the airing cupboard.

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Oh no. You starve them. The chemical reaction needs to be created inside them so they can BE a chilli only when they have less attention and do their thing themselves…

And then they become who they’re meant to be and ultimately taste like you want them to…..

And I was thinking…

One of my more cheeky neighbours recently, made a comment regarding how huge my bank account must be,  to have a garden full of flowers, and to create what we do.Image result for vintage woman fainting

Oh…… if only they knew…….

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Often, our most incredible journeys begin when we are penniless. Or have no family or friends to support us. Or when our health has failed which we had relied on and always thought would hold us up. The reserves you have, are unbelievable. To draw on what you can be and do without being spoon fed and nurtured regularly by well-meaning loved ones is sometimes a very worthwhile pursuit…..

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Personally, we dealt with ridiculous levels of change, all at once..Leaving teaching, leaving my best friends behind, leaving our choir, doctors, dentists we knew, my daughter’s friends, and school, our home, and our routine. But I KNEW it had to be done, and my previous blogs have told you our story. But the point is, we moved to a little village where we began again, on crutches, on our own, to a house that needed completely doing up and two, no .. including the furry ones  …five, mouths to feed.

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…….In my mind I could sort of see how it might be, but I didn’t want to assume too much. Just pure blind faith and an innate craving to move forward.

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Having trust in what you can’t see…Teaching is a bit like this. Imagine the most perfect classroom ever created, all the bells and whistles and every available technological device.. ready to search for the answer to any question in a second.. But how will this create a learner? A resilient learner who can make mistakes and learn from them, look and look again, look and look further.. and not just believe the first answer they find. When teaching was becoming more difficult because my crutches got in the way, I also saw less and less of a generation willing to open themselves to the vulnerability of not knowing. and having to reach a goal themselves. I truly hope that one day schools begin to understand that the key to teaching is to start from scratch and allow children to find things out on their own.. not from Wikipedia.

      The perfect classrooms ? Yes.. But Lets have a few more books please !!!

Sometimes your unique character and true gifts will only shine when the rug is completely out from under your feet.

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Let’s be better at waiting to get good at stuff. You-tube can’t hold the brush for you. It can’t show you how to create your unique language unless you actually do it as well.

The longer a hot pepper ages, the spicier they become, increasing capsaicin and creating a far spicier experience…Apparently.

Hold out on the over feeding…..

( except for your loved ones.. give them cake )

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Then you can set the world on fire..xxxxxx

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The Holy Grail

 Do you ever wonder what the meaning of life is?

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A few things I’ve noticed along the way seem to end up in the same spot.

Here…

Right back where you started

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This came about recently when my daughter was watching a series of life hacks for kids. It is a great idea, and the kid doing it was very confident and sassy.. showing lots of ideas on how to do things better. But it is the tame end of a generation in a crazy rush to create more, have more, be more, talk more …..

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And sometimes listen less.

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 Listening…

The battle ground parents and teachers spend a long time preaching about. But sometimes just watching and absorbing through copycat behaviour can be a bit less likely to have you reaching for gin.

We all had posters in our classrooms saying what kids had to do… But having a vision of how other people should behave is useless if they can’t see it. If nobody is listening to you, maybe they haven’t been led your  example .. yet…

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Watch the Animals

We can learn a lot from our pets… our dog Skye does what I realised I also do in life. She gets into her bed, twists round in circles, pulling at the corners, getting it right, flipping it up again and huffing a lot until it is the right shape to plonk her bones on.

Dogs are forgiven. They don’t really need much more than comfy spot, attention and love… you can see where I’m going here.. In life, we all do it. We strive and strive for a perfect, better version of the thing we want or people we think we need, or new styled version of ourselves which will prove to the world we have arrived.. again..

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We all love a good tweak.. , twerking may have to wait for new knees.  it’s the tweaking and the journey to getting that ‘us-ness’ right, that makes the final result so much more enjoyable..Think big life changers here…

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( Ok.. not that perfect..)

But some amazing things do take time.

Sometimes a Long time.

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Before I got my best bed ever comfy bed, I had given my daughter my bedroom in my last house, and gave a friend my bed frame because he and his girlfriend didn’t have a bed. The bigger picture of knowing the right one would come along at some point in this crazy story of ours. was paved with numerous nights of being crawled over by several animals and a small person who all thought it was quite hilarious.. But was worth it.

( And often very funny)

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No, not my bed either.. but isn’t this gorgeous! .

Keep loving the process of finding your comfy bed.Image result for comfy bed

And if your bed has a jaggy mattress or person in it.. walk away.. It can never be comfy.

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Go Big but love the little things.

Being ambitious and very easy on yourself at the same time in whatever the endeavour seems the only sane way to fly. Kind of knowing you deserve to look up but knowing the best things are happening right there under your feet , nose and usually in my case leaning on my lap on the sofa.

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Painting is a similar process to finding that elusive snoozing place. . Absolutely, striving for that perfect piece which sums up your creative  completeness is a worthy and wonderful endeavour. It is the botanical gardens of our green fingered efforts and should be pursued ..

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BUT,  if you want to deviate,  splattering ink and charcoals, drawing in the sand with a stick, and making a sandcastle in an expressive burst of creative passion do that instead..

This was done with  a piece of string, in a couple of minutes and probably just stuck in a drawer.. knowing the lack of ego my friend has, .. but it was just lovely.. Just twiddle some string and see what happens…

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When a friend is there. Be there too. Completely.

Hang on to your good friends, even if you deviate on life’s paths. Nobody will get you like they do or laugh at your strange habits… But they all know a different bit of you, like a perfect jigsaw of your complete self.

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And sometimes… the best and most perfect moment of connection can happen with a person we would never have thought of as a friend, or so briefly we blink and they are gone. A moment on the beach, on holiday, or a comment in the street . Cherish each and every connection as a true friendship. You never know who will be in your life and for what reason, or for how long. Take notice of the possibility in an exchange, and look them in the eye.

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Love your neighbours.

Having just had flu, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to mine. This week we were very fortunate to have been given Fresh mackerel from a neighbour and apples ( in a bid to make an apple cake for one of them I think..) In this village over the last year I have given, amongst other things, .. a bottle of bourbon, bread, a double ham and cheese toastie to a stranded winter holiday maker, and numerous cupcakes and seeds, lifts in the car, shoes, and many hours of village help in classes and at community events..No automatic alt text available.

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There is always something you can offer somebody else. No matter how rubbish you believe you are, in your current bodily state/mental state.. you are valuable to someone else. And they in turn will be pleased to know they can help you. But often when you least expect.542904819-612x612

Keep Learning

I am endeavouring to open my own daughter’s eyes right now to different ideas about religion, belief and opinion. So she might balance her thoughts with a good idea of different possibilities. It seems to me that at the bottom of most things is the essential message of being good.  That’s fine. But I will be telling her It doesn’t mean you have to be boring or feel bad.  You have to be present and kind. And for me it shouldn’t be about following a pattern. There are a million ways of being respectful but not brainwashed, and living with abundance without walking around feeling guilty about what doesn’t interest you.

And Don’t take people’s opinions of you too seriously…

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So…

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Key for me is this;

Listen Better

  To have a good friend, you need to be one . You switch this computer/phone/ipad off and you hear what is being said. How often do you find yourself mentally doing your shopping list in the middle of a conversation?

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Don’t moan about the weather

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Unless you land on a dessert island, there isn’t much you can do about it. And in truth, the cycle of the seasons keeps things moving in the garden, an excuse to raid the garden centre, and gives you the chance to wear different outfits. What’s not to like. If we constantly feel we want something different, we might never be here. Get soaked, get too hot, freeze, wrap up like a burrito, wait an hour and the weather will change anyway..

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Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today..

Enjoy what you have right now, with all you have, because it will change and there will be loss and seasons.  And nobody knows what will happen next. I’m saying this in relation to the weather, the person in front of you, the time spent with your children, the animal on your lap. It is precious

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Be Here Now.

Listen to the tap on the shoulder telling you to do that thing

I hope it is the beginning of something wonderful. 

Love Liz xxxx