Savouring the Summer slow-down and a little reflection

This week I’ve realised that despite being on school summer holidays, I’m still managing to carve out some creative time and find moments of inspiration too, in-between the shouts of ‘Mum, what’s for lunch?! and Mum, what are we doing today and Mum can I have my 50th ice-cream of the day?’

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I’m enjoying the slightly slower pace and no deadlines of getting out of bed (apart from swim mornings of course). It’s been a time for reflection too, on all kinds of things.

It’s making me re-think the story I tell myself of being crazy-busy, spinning all the plates is good and equals me being more productive, I think that may be a big fat lie!

I have been busy with the kids during the day, but not as rushed and it’s made me appreciate the time that I do have on an evening, when my daughter’s at swimming training, to focus on what I need to get done. Plus of course my fellow WOW Wednesday members also help to keep me on track.

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Amazing time at Britain’s Got Talent Champion of Champions and the beautiful highland cattle at Emley Show

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The awesome gardens, grounds and inside the house at Chatsworth provide new photographic opportunities.

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So, in-between family trips to; Britain’s Got Talent Champion of Champions (we got free audience tickets via Applause.com) at Wembley Arena, Chatsworth House on the way back, The Lion King at the cinema (amazing, I cried lots!) and Emley Show, I managed to get some word-count down on the book, teach myself how to draw certain flowers, launch  #mycurioussummer ,take some good new nature pics for @soothedbynature and run another WOW Wednesday meeting.

The meeting was brilliant yet again, despite being fewer people there as many members are on holiday and we put the world to rights, talked through and celebrated our wins and shared both struggles and some hilarious stories.

During the meeting we also talked about reflection, some members reflect regularly, others feel like they need to do it more. I realise I do write lists and reflect on ‘action’, i.e what I do or what we’ve done as a family, but I rarely dig deeper and note down how ‘I feel’, I generally battle on through stuff and I’ve realised I might actually benefit from acknowledging this more rather than bottling it all up and forging ahead.

Plus, guess what, it was an excuse for another type of journal, the bonus being that I got it free on my Waterstones points! Win!

Some of my recent Summer nature shots, butterflies are my favourites, they make you work hard before fluttering off!

I also had one full-on procrastination evening, when I should have been writing and instead decided that I’d make a big list of all what had gone on this year so far in terms of The Curious Creative Club and just life in general.

It’s been a full on crazy and somewhat unpredictable year so far in just 7 months and I didn’t want to forget it all by the time I normally do this at the end of the year.

Reflecting was interesting though and made me feel proud of what I’ve achieved so far this year with this website and all the other things I’ve been doing. It’s easy to forget everything when you are in the thick of it, so it’s important to pause and take stock now and again.

And in doing so, it makes you think about what’s next on the horizon, what you would still like to do and set new goals for the final 3 months of the year. I can feel a new excitement brewing, that sense I get when it’s the pre-new term of September and so my naturally enquiring mind has been researching without me even knowing it:

I’ve listened to some great podcasts: Ruth Poundwhite has been doing a great project in July called The Everyday Difference where she’s interviewed lots of creatives and inspiring people which she has sent through on a daily email as part of the project to people who have signed up. As part of this she’s also done some podcasts with some of her interviewees as well as her usual solo episodes where she always delivers good practical advice. I can highly recommend listening to her podcast ‘Creatively Human’.

I’ve bought some new books: So firstly, I got ‘10 Step Drawing Flowers’ by Mary Woodin along with some new colouring pencils and a small drawing pad which was a complete impulse buy after a stressful argument with my teenage daughter! But now I’m glad I bought it, because it’s such an easy book to use and do some simple, small drawing exercises when I’m out and about.

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Next I finally got a copy of ‘Company of one’ by Paul Jarvis which I’ve wanted for a while as it’s often recommended by lots of people I follow and is all about how staying small can be really good for your business and offers a different kind of growth. I really think this is going to be my kind of book as the testimonial on the front from Carl Newport says; ‘A must read for any entrepreneur who prioritises a rich-life over riches’ which certainly resonates with the life I want to lead. This will be one of my reads on holiday along with my new fiction read, ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewell (one of my favourite authors) which I can’t wait to get stuck into too.

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Finally, I’ve started researching about mentoring / coaching prospects again, this keeps coming up for me and I can see me getting to it one day! I think it’s because it’s another way of helping people and working one to one, I think it’s possible to make even more of a difference. This may go on my list for next year but in the meantime, I got some great advice below.

I discovered Nicola from @alifemoreinspired via @ruthpoundwhite interview on her podcast ‘Creatively Human’ . I realised we shared a lot of experience and so I reached out and asked her thoughts on training and experience required to become a creative coach or mentor, which is what she does now.

Nicola was lovely and after I told her a bit about my background and what I’ve been doing this year, she came back and said ‘Your experience is enough. Seriously with all the things you do and have done, you are in a position to help people.’

Just Nicola saying that made me feel so much more confident which is crazy isn’t it that we don’t necessarily think that about ourselves?

I’m so grateful that she responded to my questions this week and once again it just proves that the connections I keep making on this journey are so valuable, inspiring and key to moving forward, gaining confidence or looking at things differently.

So, that’s all for this week, I hope it’s given you food for thought on working a little differently, a little slower but still effective and inspired you to reflect on all your achievements so far this year – I bet it will be a bigger list than you anticipated and that deserves a summer cocktail at the very least!

Also, don’t forget to keep letting me know about your adventures, big or small via the #mycurioussummer on Instagram and I’ll share my favourites each week – I’d also be really grateful if you would share this via your Instagram stories so that we really get this going, together, thank you.

Next week I’ll be on a big family holiday (13 of us!) in a Mallorcan villa, I’m not sure if it will be that restful but it will certainly be interesting, so after 32 blog posts this year completed (this in itself surprises me!) I’m taking one week off (plenty to read whilst I’m gone!).

I hope you are all enjoying your Summer holidays and I’ll be back in 2 weeks with some more creative revelations! (I hope!).

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

P.s Psychologies Magazine have now begun their Eco Awards that I’m part of, reviewing Eco products as part of a panel of 25. It’s a great way of finding out about everyday greener beauty and health products, so check it out via the September edition of the magazine or online at psychologies.co.uk/real-eco

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They’ve also started sending out subscription issues plastic free! Yeah!! 

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