Colour switch up to inspire and help you plan

Well yesterday there I was all guns blazing, ready to do the next @psychologiesmagazine Instagram Live since coming back from holiday and what happens, Wifi connection decides to drop out, the live doesn’t save to IGTV and my day is effectively ruined.

This may sound dramatic but I literally have a fear of technological gremlins, it is so frustrating. And I know first world problems and all that but I think it just added to the rising stress of the LONGEST school holidays in the history of the world. I mean it’s like the powers that be knew right, and they thought I know let’s add a later September return into the mix, just for extra fun.

I know I sound like the worst parent, but after 5 and a half months I’m done now; with the Xbox battles, vampire diaries marathon sessions, bloody Tik Tok and appearing only for food or to request batteries, I feel like we have squatters that are just draining all the power in the house and our mental energies too.

And I know I’m not alone, but enough now, the countdown IS ON!

Ok, rant over and I now will resume to my calm state of when I excitedly did the 7th Gain Creative Confidence session yesterday that was all about colour and planning and I promised to put the tasks on here as there are a few to consider this time.

Oh and update – the Live is now up and running here, thanks to the lovely team at Psychologies, phew!

Colour me happy!

So, the subject for this session stemmed from a few things that have inspired me this week, as well as of course my very colourful trip to Cornwall.

As we head into September and the first month of Autumn, I always get a little giddy for cosy jumpers, fresh plans in new planners (I like using the academic timetable ones), that new term feeling, blackberry picking for pies and my now locally famous jam and all the wonderful autumnal colours we get here in the UK.

It’s a time where I sort through my wardrobe, bring out the warmer stuff and also start looking at small changes to make at home as we head into the cooler months – think cinnamon candles, chunky throws, the first stove fire, a change of cushions and a fresh lick of paint for the kitchen.

There was an interesting stat on ‘This Morning’ this week, that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time! In a time where many are trying to be more sustainable or save cash in this crazy unpredictable world, maybe it’s time we re-styled our collections, pair some different items together, different colour combos and change it up a bit, rather than always heading to the shops.

This also applies to interiors, as my friend @myhousecandy said this week, ‘A change is as good as a rest’ and I absolutely agree, move some key pieces about, mix up some new colours to get in sync with autumn or just freshen things up and love your space more.

It’s like that feeling you get as a child when you move your room around, exactly what my daughter did this week too, it just always seems better somehow, like we are supposed to do this and re-organise every now and again.

Maybe it’s because of lock-down too, we’ve spent so much time in our homes we can get cabin fever if everything stays the same.

Now speaking of Cabins, ours is now built! Thanks to the hubs doing a great job in-between the rain, I really think he used to be a carpenter in a former life, it seems to be his thing and potential creative outlet! Plus, he’s a perfectionist so hopefully no danger of the roof blowing off as it’s very windy where we live!

If you’ve followed my blogs regularly you will know that this has been a long-held dream to get a small cabin in the garden to use as my creative space and The CCC headquarters! I’m so excited it’s actually given me sleepless nights planning it all out in my head!

I created a Pinterest board a while ago and have definite ideas of what I want in there, the desk at least is now on order and we’re deciding whether to have a custom made corner bench for storage, then it will be possibly a comfier seat in the other corner, small side table, plants, lighting plus many pieces of art, my own included and accessories on the walls and finally a small bed for Barley too!

But first it needs painting, I’m going for this kind of blue/green colour called Sentosa (on brand with The CCC of course) on the outside with white window sills and doors and a soft white on the inside to keep it nice and light. I’ll be keeping it fresh on the inside too, with lots of bright colours against a backdrop of textured neutrals and this brings me to the colour challenges I’ve set in this week’s Live.

Bright art-work like this will be heading into the cabin

I know that colour is a big part of my life and creativity, not only in art and photography which is more obvious, but often I find in my writing and poetry especially, I tend to be looking for new ways to describe colour and bring it alive for the reader.

This happened whilst on holiday in Cornwall and I wrote a poem about the sea whilst sat on Newquay’s Fistral Beach. Here is a line so you know what I mean:

‘Orange lava pooling, mixing the spoils of an angels brush into inky depths’

The holiday opened my eyes to new combinations of colours, ones I don’t regularly see together but reawakened my senses. In particular, the combination of teal, gold, heather and lime on the image below had me drinking it in and searching for more.

If you would like to research new combinations, Pinterest do great colour swatch pins, but warning it does become a bit addictive! Infact I have a whole board of these if you’d like to have a look, click here.

Set of colors | Food
Here’s an example of a colour swatch pin on Pinterest

On today’s Live we talked about personal colour associations with different emotions and moods and how it can actually effect your state, so for me it goes like this:

Blue / Grey / Cream = calm or well-being

Green = growth and nurturing

Orange / Yellow = energy and laughter

Soft pinks = soothing and dreamy

Red = Daring or confidence

In my home I have a combination of grey, green and soft pinks in the lounge, which feels calm and soothing to relax in an evening whereas the hall has a neutral background but lots of splashes of bright colours which to me feels welcoming and cheerful when you come in.

I also talked about exploring different colours to what you may usually work with in your creativity , to once again mix things up a bit and experiment. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with colours and this can even encourage you to work with different materials, for example for darker pieces you could use charcoal.

Another option would be to go and do some photography colour research, either using your own photos or have a look at some different Instagram accounts that use a different palette to yours, eg @seasidekate has wonderful bright photos of her home town Brighton whereas @simpleandseason has a more restricted and muted palette full of texture, simple and beautiful.

And finally, I extended the colour idea and associations to planning, in terms of your diaries or To Do lists. By this I mean co-ordinating certain tasks into different colours and then when you look at your whole week you can really easily see what kind of activities you are spending most of your time on. And most importantly if you find that too much of that time is spent on things that you don’t want to be your focus, then you can then change it.

It’s a simple but really effective way of analysing where your time goes!

So, todays tasks I set were the following:

  1. Explore what colour means to you, what colours evoke your different emotions? And if you want to feel a certain way more, perhaps consider surrounding yourself more with particular colours or wear them for an instant lift?
  2. Experiment with new and different colours and combinations, and from this consider new outfit combinations or play with art-work using these colours, how does that make you feel, inspired or uncomfortable?
  3. Plan out your week and colour-code it, use colours that resonate with certain activities, for example self-care may be orange if your version of self-care is an exercise class or it may be blue if it means a chilled day at a spa. Take note of how your week looks in colour – is it evenly spread, or too heavily weighted to work or house chores, if so try changing some things for the following week and note the difference in your well-being.

So, I hope that gives you a few things to be getting on with before the next Psychologies live that will be on the 28th of September. I’m spacing them 4 weeks apart now, so that I too can get on with the many plans I have in my head running up to Christmas and I’m looking forward to getting productive in the Cabin!

I’m finally getting used to my new short hair, it went blonder in the sun in Cornwall!

But first I just have to get through the next scan, yes it’s that time again, 3 months have whizzed by already and I’m crossing everything now for a fully clear scan that will show I’m in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There’s so much I want to crack on with, but until I’ve got this big box ticked, it’s hard to plan too far in advance.

It’s almost a year since all this started and weirdly, September is blood cancer awareness month, and September the 15th is World Lymphoma Day, almost exactly a year since I first went to my doctors! Every 27 minutes, someone is diagnosed with Lymphoma. If you’d like to find out more, please click here for lots of information from Lymphoma Action, which has been a great source of support over the last year.

Until next time, have fun playing with colour!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x  

Main image taken by me on a dog walk but the art on the rock is not mine, just someone spreading a little joy!

Ps, For a great book on using colour in your creativity, check out Philippa Stanton’s Conscious Creativity below

RE-awakening the senses

Hi everyone, how are you doing?

I know I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks but it was for good reason, we managed to get a late deal to Cornwall, spending a week in Newquay, a week in Mousehole and a night in Exeter to see family.

After months in lock-down, and for me pre-lockdown lock-down, it was just the escape we needed, and I was desperate to see the sea!

For anyone who knows me, I’ve always been a water baby and feel deeply connected to the ocean, so to drink in the amazing views of the rugged Cornish coast and feel the salt spray on my cheeks has been just the tonic I needed after such a rough year.

My husband is the ultimate pre-planner and whilst we wind him up about it, I’m quite happy for him to work out a rough schedule, whilst I’m chief packer! This means that we got to see the very best of Cornwall, exploring so many beautiful places and ensuring we sampled delicious food too (his absolute priority!).

As we walked the coastal path, felt the sand between our toes on the golden beaches, got tossed around on the waves on body boards, checked out quirky little shops, visited key landmarks and spotted seals and dolphins, our senses that had been dulled in lock-down slowly came alive again.

I was constantly taking pictures, kind of my addiction anyway, but also my son joined in which was really nice to see, my little prodigy in action! It gave me lots of content for my @soothedbynature Instagram account too!

It felt really good to be out on an adventure, seeing new things and changing up what we were doing physically too, both through exercise and what we were eating – I’d become so bored of cooking in lock-down, and eating fresh, delicious seafood was just heaven!

img_7928     

The colours and textures that we saw on the coastal path were simply breath-taking, I could have sat and stared for hours and it wasn’t long before I felt the creative itch returning. I sat on Fistral beach and penned a poem about the sea that I’d woken up in the night thinking about.

IMG_7636

I started observing the characters and conversations around us and taking in the decorations in shops, bars and outside homes, enjoying the effort people had put in.

I also had the time to read 3 books, The Salt Path that I was partly through, where a couple walk the Cornish coastal path upon becoming homeless and it becomes even more vivid when you can now picture the places they were walking through, it’s such an enchanting and moving tale.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn | Waterstones  Paper Dolls by Lisa Bradley  Front Cover

Next, I read Paper Dolls, by Lisa Bradley who is a local author to me who I know as our 2 children go to the same performing arts school. I was so happy to hear she got a publishing deal and couldn’t wait to dive in. It’s a great thriller with a brilliant ending, which is always key for me, I hate it when an ending lets a book down.

And finally I saved the best till last, Lisa Jewel always releases her books around when I go on holiday and I love that because I have chance to read it properly and devour it over a shorter time, and she never disappoints, her books to me are just an expert lesson on how to develop really great characters and I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Invisible Girl’.

It’s always during these Summer weeks of reading that I become re-inspired with my own writing and I naturally start looking at things through an author’s eyes again which is hard to explain but it’s like I start looking around and describing things in my head as you would if you were writing about it if that makes sense?

I wrote almost the full first draft of my novel prior to getting diagnosed last year but then when treatment started I found it more difficult to remember where I was in the story etc and to concentrate for long periods of time.

This year I parked that book until I regained some energy and felt more normal and started writing a none-fiction book instead about my life-long journey with creativity and I’m already a good way into that….but that call of becoming a published novelist never quite goes away and that passion generally returns at this time…so it might be time to start delving back into that story again, alongside the other book too….now if I could just no longer need sleep with all that I want to do, that would be great!

One thing this holiday has also taught me is to commit to more adventures and more exploring, it really does top up your creativity cup and I need to treat it as an intrinsic and valuable part of the process, so I’m going to schedule in a road trip once a month to somewhere inspiring!  I need to create a list where I can get there and back within school hours, so if anyone has any ideas please comment below (I’m in West Yorkshire).

And so, thanks to this holiday I’m now armed with ideas once again! Before I went away I was lucky to sell some needle felt pictures and some more originals and cards are now available at The Flex Collective Co-working space which is exciting and Cornwall definitely brought out the artist in me too, there are so many art galleries and cute shops selling art down there.

img_8213

I know I’ll definitely be creating more art seascapes and getting organised for hopefully upcoming Christmas fairs etc, providing Covid doesn’t scupper things.

I’m starting to feel that new term feeling again and a sense of some things returning to normal-ish. My daughter returns to her swimming club this week which will feel so strange but I’m excited for her, she’s missed it so much. I normally love September, that sense of hunkering down for the last 3 months of the year and making the most of it in terms of productivity before Christmas.

I’m also so keen to start up my writing workshops again, and hoping Kirklees is eased out of these further restrictions soon so I can make some more definite plans.

And finally, there’s just the small matter of another PET Scan to get through and hopefully finally get the proper all clear so that I really can fully crack on with things. The scan is next week so I’m crossing everything that I don’t go backwards, my hair is really growing now, and it needs to stay that way!

img_7440

Twinning with my boy!

So I hope you’ve had a fantastic Summer and are looking forward to September too and if you are feeling at all lack-lustre or not motivated, jump in the car or go our for a walk and explore for a day, I can practically guarantee it will get you creative juices flowing again…

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

 

Listen for the whispers…

Hi everyone, how are you doing?

It’s been a funny old week, work interspersed with pet vaccinations, dentists and eye tests, trips out with the kids and friends – my first in a long while as I come out of shielding, only then for my husband to be poorly again with a high temp and shipped off for another Covid Test (don’t worry it’s negative) and then for more restrictions to come in to play as we are one of those identified areas – just when I was liking visiting people in real life again!

Lovely to have our final Wow Wednesday meeting, before we break for Summer at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this week as it re-opened

And the weather has been all over the place, from pouring down to baking hot on Friday, it seems even the weather gods are perplexed with life right now!

As we get deeper into the School Summer holidays it’s getting more and more difficult to have some separate ‘work’ focused time and I’m trying not to stress about it but it’s not easy.

There have been some enlightening moments thoughout this week though and this is what I wanted to speak to you about… listening to some fabulous podcasts has been one of them. Let’s start with Michelle Obama’s new podcast where she interviews her husband and says this quote below, which makes me feel like just shouting hallelujah to be honest.

IMG_6535

Could not agree more Mrs Obama, and thanks for sharing @hollytucker! Swiftly adds to podcast list!

After watching her documentary ‘Becoming’ a few months back it gives me a huge amount of faith that there are people in the world that know what they are doing and understand what their purpose is in life.

Add in another one of my hero’s, Oprah, and I’m not necessarily a big religious follower but all I can say is when I listen to her podcast, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversation’s I feel like I’ve been to church and come away with a book full of wisdom and knowledge, not least her episode this week on listening to the whispers (Life first speaks to you in a whisper’ 22nd July episode.)

IMG_2167

She talks about examples where she’s done this, and has people on the show who have experienced it too, like the women who listened to their instincts in America, that something was just not right when they met Phillip Garrido and his two daughters, which then lead to Jaycee Lee Duggard finally being found after 18 years of being held captive.

I can really identify with this in both big ways and small and have always looked for and listened to the signs that are out there in the Universe. Oprah talks about the messages first being a whisper and if you don’t listen then it becomes more like pebbles being thrown at your window, the longer you don’t listen, the harder and more forceful the message.

This feels especially true last Summer when I first discovered the small lump on my collarbone towards the end of May and mentioned it to a physio I was seeing at the time, as I thought it was something muscle related. He said that no it wasn’t anything like that and to keep an eye on it.

As you know I then promptly forgot, which is unlike me and kind of unbelievable given I was putting sun cream on throughout that Summer and especially when we were away in Majorca at the end of August.

Finally when the kids returned to school, I woke up one Monday morning with a start and a voice literally shouting in my head, ‘Check on the lump’ which I did immediately and it had at least doubled in size and that’s when the 7 weeks of investigations began which lead to the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and subsequent treatment.

That may sound far-fetched, but it was more than a whisper, it was an urgent command, because I hadn’t listened to that first internal whisper.

The more in tune we become with our gut, or that feeling of hairs standing up on the back of your neck, and senses heightened, the more protected we’ll be and have more trust in our decisions, that they are the right ones.

Since making the huge decision to leave a safe corporate life 4 years ago, I’ve grown to trust my intuition more and more and that ‘sixth sense’ is proving so useful as I go down new roads building this creative venture.

Since being young, I’ve always believed that I have a purpose in life, that I am meant to help people and create connections, I can’t even explain it, it’s just always been there. We all have superpowers, every one of us and I consider being observant, being able to easily connect and using that instinctive desire to help, to be mine, to be my purpose.

Now that I’m learning, slowly, how to become a coach, I’m trying even more so to tune into my instincts, understanding when to pause and listen at a deeper level, it’s all fascinating stuff and I’m enjoying developing these skills.

You can use this too in your direction, which way do you want to go creatively for example? Not so long ago I had a great strategy session, with Business growth expert, Michelle, from our Wow Wednesday group..

She easily streamlined all my work into 4 key areas: Writing and writing related work, Coaching, (which I’m newly developing), Wow Wednesday further development and Art, all in this priority order in terms of amount of effort and work required to get them all really going and with a clear vision and lots of key measurables.

FFDD6962-8BC1-4936-8E7A-4035CCB01A09

I recently enjoyed creating this local grasses print and 3D picture, it’s now hung in my living room!

Art, I had put last on the list, not because I don’t enjoy it, I probably enjoy it the most in fact, but the effort required to make it feasible income-wise is quite a lot, unless you are at that point of being a solely professional artist, which I’m not.

But guess what, since I sorted all that out and felt comfortable with where my focus needs to be, what have I been drawn (literally) to most over the past few weeks? You guessed it, the Art stream of work!

 

Since that strategy work, I’m now selling my cards at my favourite local bookshop Read, will soon be selling through Bloomindales florist online and I’m meeting with The Flex Collective this week in the hope they may consider selling some of my framed needle felt work so I’ve also been busy creating more pieces to show, it’s just such a gratifying thing to do, creating little landscapes of wool!

4107C5D8-A04B-4921-8EA8-39D98CE3D4D4

Needle felting, it’s so satisfying to do!

Then, yesterday after picking up some new card samples in Holmfirth, I popped into Ribbles café, and was looking at my samples when Sarah, one of the owners came over. She looked at the cards (all needle felt designs, see below) and loved them, and asked if I could provide the original in a frame, for her to buy!

742FDFB7-FC8D-40AB-A623-C451EC4F3CFF

The sample cards I picked up, I love how they look so 3D! 

We then got talking, shared a love of certain podcasts, talked about the craft fairs they’ve got coming up towards Christmas, how business is returning to the café and also that they hire out upstairs for workshops (which could be perfect for my writing ones!).

I’d been in the café a few weeks before with a friend and had a good feeling about it, as well as enjoying their delicious dandelion and burdock cake. When I returned to pick up those cards, all the other cafes in Holmfirth were closed, including Bloc, which I normally visit as it’s right opposite the print shop but now I can’t help thinking it was my subconscious sending me back there, to connect with the ladies that owned the shop!

So to me, listening to the whispers can be a powerful thing, it can send you in all kinds of directions and can also warn you of the wrong path to take or to take note of important things such as health issues or big life questions.

Suzy Walker, Editor in Chief at Psychologies magazine wrote about this too in this month’s edition. She has been taking evening walks in London during lock-down, and actively asking questions in her own mind as she does so, and the street has given her answers, genuinely! Check out her article, it’s a great read!

But how do you do it? Here are a few tips

  • Ever entered a room and wondered who to go over to? Who are you instinctively drawn to? Who looks friendly and happy to chat?
  • When driving and trying to decide on which road when you’re driving somewhere new, which choice is your first? Don’t question it, go with your gut
  • When trying to choose clothes we often weigh up the positives, what could it go with etc, but instead choose the item that you connect with most, the one that makes you feel amazing and boosts your self-confidence, you are much more likely to wear it
  • Tune into your body, we so often ignore it and spend so much time in our head, how is it feeling, truly, what are the aches and pains we are masking and saying it will be alright to ourselves, what is our body actually trying to tell us? How can we listen better to it?
  • Trust your instincts with confidence when it comes to dangerous situations, that is when your sixth sense is at its peak, e.g. take a taxi home or walk home down a dark path alone, sounds obvious but we can often have a false sense of security, especially when we’ve had a few to drink. I think this last point has been heavily influenced by the latest book I’ve just finished – ‘How to disappear’ by Gillian Mcallister – fabulous thriller!

So, my message today is simple, listen to that inner voice because it is your best guide. All humans talk about a sixth sense and it’s well documented in the animal world too, part of the historic sense and understanding of fear, when enemies or predators are close by, that has kept us safe all those years back and still does now, but these days we are more easily distracted from it’s messages.

Sixth sense is described in the dictionary as:

‘a supposed intuitive faculty giving awareness not explicable in terms of normal perception’

Like I say it’s a powerful, intuitive force and we’d be daft to ignore it, we are lucky to have it and it can help us in all areas of our lives, so listen to those whispers and see where it takes you, you may be surprised…and never ignore them when they shout!

Finally speaking of instincts, at the beginning of lock-down, when I knew I could no longer get into the office as often as I’d like as the husband is working from home, we took the decision to get a log cabin for me to use as my little ‘Curious Creative Club’ space (kind of my treat present for getting through chemo).

1484670816-75061200

An example picture of the log cabin coming, my soon-to-be little piece of paradise!

Now in terms of size it is tiny, just 2.5 x 3 metres as it can only fit in a certain place in the garden, BUT I can’t wait for it to arrive, hopefully mid-end of August. I lived in dens in the woods as a child, so this little space will be no problem and will be decorated with all the things I love; art, plants, books, cushions, signs, candles, blankets, etc, I CANNOT WAIT, so I’m just warning you in advance of log cabin spam coming your way, can you tell I’m a bit giddy?

Until next time, hope you’re all enjoying Summer, in between the rain!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

IMG_7217

P.s Don’t forget Session 6 of ‘Gain Creative Confidence’ on @psychologiesmagazine Instagram tomorrow, LIVE at 1.30pm, I’m talking all things perfectionism with a task as usual for you too, hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going off plan – because the world won’t end if I do!

Hi everyone, this is a short one, I’m gonna be honest, today I’m tired, it doesn’t happen often, but last night I forgot that it was my turn to post this morning on the Yorkshire Writer’s Lunch Blog, at 10pm no less, so it was a late one, after 12,  before I got to bed. Note to selfread the daily planner where you actually put your plans and deadlines in, on a daily basis!

Then add in the prep for the Psychologies live Insta today, juggling some plans for the week (trying to keep the kids entertained), cooking dinner and a trigger pilates session, where you do lots of lovely stretching and I’m suddenly very sleepy and the hours have run away with me…so instead of trying to concentrate and probably not writing very well, I’m going to go off plan, and instead post this link to my video today, all about planning funnily enough (can you believe it?) and a nice little creative task too, and the quickly drafted poem from the YWL Blog today (see below) to basically get across 4 lessons:

  • You can be forced into being creative with an accountable deadline, and it can actually work out well (shock!)
  • Planning is better, far less stressful, but may give you a longer time to procrastinate so…
  • There are benefits to both, depending on how you work best!
  • Showing up imperfectly (as in this post) is still showing up, so you know, a few brownie points to myself for that! @alifemoreinspired would be proud!

I’ve had some lovely feedback from the poem, so even if this post does nothing else, it may transport you up a country lane to watch a sunset and revel in what I see along the way, here’s hoping!

Discoveries at Dusk – By Juliet Thomas

371009BE-C3E0-4E24-934A-7364DBF86075

Tall grasses glow in golden light

Nodding their allegiance to the sun,

A harmony of hues, brown sugar to pistachio

Dancing together as one,

Cheeks painted with soft breezes,

Breath slows, heartbeat eases

 

Overhead, the silent shadow of the last hunt

Flickering feathers in perfect hover

Below unseen, a field mouse freezes, then

Makes a last-dash for cover

‘Too late’, I whisper and sigh

Kez dives, slicing the sky

 

Urgent bleating raises my gaze

To the nursery on the hill

Weary mothers scold scamps to come closer

Still frolicking, despite the evening chill

I stroll on, eyes drawn to the sinking light

To secret stories of an early Summer’s night

 

As I head further up, curious cows say ‘Hello’

Calves are skittish, mothers stood firm

Or bowed, chewing sweet long grass

The little ones look on and learn

I talk to them softly, not wanting to scare

Yet the mothers still fix me, with a protective glare

 

Minute by minute, sky gods design

A prestigious work of art

Strokes of lemon, paprika, aubergine and olive

Stretching like dough pulled apart

I refuse to blink, transfixed I stare

Breath held, in the heady dusk air

 

At the end of the lane, I steal one last look

To the field on the right, at the top

Searching to confirm my friends are there,

I spot the hares’ form when they halt to a stop

Smiling, satisfied, I nod, the fabric of my walk complete

I turn, feet firm, revived by nature’s daily retreat

*******

Until next time, when I write this on a Sunday as normal (because habits work, another lesson!)

Take care and if you’re feeling tired too, let it go and cut yourself some slack, we’re all juggling pretty hard right now!

Juliet, The Curious and sleepy Creative… x

Ps I’ve been releasing the slight- Sinead look into the outside world, hence the main image as my hair is now growing! Still feels pretty chilly in not so sunny Yorkshire right now though!

For all newbies reading this, check out my older posts for the story of last years challenge of Hodgkins Lymphoma and chemo…

 

How childhood experiences can shape your future creative self

Hi everyone, how are you doing? It’s the Summer holidays yeah!

As we are at the start of the longest Summer holidays in history….almost 8 whole weeks no less, I thought it might be good to take a look at how your childhood experiences can potentially shape your future creative self.

At the moment I’m writing a new none-fiction book, all about my personal creative journey, how it’s helped me throughout my life and combining everything I‘ve learned though the Blog and from others to pass on that knowledge and inspire others to begin theirs.

For the beginning part of this, I’ve looked back on my childhood and examined what elements of that may have directed me down a creative path, both then and now and it’s been really interesting to look closer at this.

For the most part, it began with a love of exploring and being surrounded by nature, inherited from my Dad who was a keen birdwatcher and we had yearly trips to Scotland to seek out golden eagles, capercaillies,  peregrine falcon’s and puffins to name but a few!

I was also a tomboy, thanks to the large proportion of boys on my street, and it was a case of play army in the woods, or have no friends! I’d disappear in the morning and not come home until tea, usually muddy or drenched from falling in the river, much to my Mum’s despair!

This was my grounding in creativity without me even realising; building dens, making up games, navigating the woods, setting up rope swings, children know how to just play and have fun, without fear of judgment or perfection analysis.

IMG_6386

A golden eagle drawn by my Dad 

As well as watching birds and being an animal fanatic, my Dad also photographed and drew them and he encouraged my artistic experiments too, the thrill of getting a new set of pencils, pens and a fresh clean sketchpad as a child has never left me.

IMG_6387    IMG_6388

Me with my first rabbit’s babies and holding a big toad in the middle of building our pond! Nice tash eh?

Being an animal mad family, the next step was to get a pet shop, which we did, and more adventures began as we had numerous animals at home, breeding them to sell at the shop; rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, budgies, cockatiels and zebra finches were all suddenly my friends too, and I absolutely loved it.

Because we were known for the shop, anything that was injured or rescued, also turned up on our doorstep: a seagull, hedgehogs, a mole, a lost rabbit and a kestrel were just some of the ones I remember. We also rescued a baby rook that became tame, and we called it Rollo.

All of these animals were characters that fed my imagination, creating a wealth of stories and experiences, not many children get to have a pet rook at age 11 that would fly land on your arm when called from the bottom of the street  – I gained quite a few cool points for that one!

8778b7b1-bc87-4e28-9067-abc74e488384          IMG_6390

I remember feeding lambs on Scottish holidays as a kid and last year I got to do it again with one of my friend’s flocks, I loved it!  Plus, my first ride on a donkey, think I must have been about 1 and a half here!

As well as these obvious creative teachings, there were other things more subtle such as my Dad would also make up stories for me at bedtime, about a boy called Ragabobbin who lived in the woods and had great adventures.

IMG_0057

I’d actually forgotten about this until I realised I did the same for Jake, my son whose initials are J.E.T, so I used to make up stories about a boy called Jet, the super-fast boy who would get into scrapes because of his speed.

My Mum was less obvious in her creativity, but she was an expert knitter and mender, I had many an Aran jumper as a kid! I did inherit her talent for creating a meal out of anything though, the concoctions she made for me as a child are still some of my favourites, corned beef hash and pancakes is still top of the list!

What I’ve loved about this lock-down situation is that we have almost returned to these days of creating ways to pass the time and keep the children entertained in the process. There have been so many stories of cooking together, trying new dishes and creating art just for the fun of it, for the feel good factor, to get us through this strangest of time, I’ve found it really inspiring and heart-warming.

My daughter’s spicy chicken wings and my chocolate trifle in early lock down when we did family ‘come dine with me!’ 

I think this will continue during these Summer holidays as we are no where near back to ‘normal’. I went into town yesterday for the first time in about 6 months and it was the most bizarre experience, you spend more time being reminded of the virus in these places than at home with barriers into the road to make the paths wider, floors marked out everywhere you go, hundreds of notices and giant posters, people wearing face-masks, it’s just not a fun experience.

So, I can imagine that home and natural outdoor spaces are still going to be our safe and most enjoyable experiences for the time being, thank goodness for our gorgeous British countryside eh?

I know that many of us parents have either had children only back to school for a month or so OR they haven’t gone back at all like mine. If you / they have been home-schooling, they are now desperate for some fun and escape and so whilst I know partly it’s continuing to be mentally exhausting, I also urge you to take sometime out and have fun with them.

Exploring and den building, it’s what childhood should be all about! 

Use it as a way to extend their creative skills, it will stand them in good stead for the future. LinkedIn now rate creative skills as the most desired by businesses out there because they want problem solvers and those that think outside the box.

IMG_6385

My latest vase to get hydro-dipped! 

As I mentioned in my last Blog, Jake has recently got into hydro dipping and has set up his own little business, creating pieces for friends and family  and I feel much better that he’s excited about this and not spending 100% of his time on Xbox.

Holly Tucker, founder of Not on the High Street and Holly & Co has also been championing this when doing her Insta Lives, talking to children as well as adults about the advantages of working for yourself and creating a working life that you love. Like her, I’d love to see this in the curriculum as a career option and more business skills being taught as the launch of more and more small businesses continues.

It’s also time for us to get children back together with their friends and get used to being social again and thinking of games to play, just like we used to do as kids when we had no other entertainment. These are essential life skills and key to good mental health.

So whilst it’s partly frustrating that I won’t be able to carry on and work as hard as I have over the last few months now that it is Summer holidays, my children will always be my greatest creation and so supporting them and giving them enriching life experiences is equally important to give them the best chance of developing their creative skills too.

IMG_6391        IMG_6392

From feeding camels in Fuerteventura to releasing baby turtles in Mexico, I think the kids have inherited my love of animals and really enjoy these experiences.

Don’t get me wrong there will be days where my head is on the kitchen table and I’m despairing at the trail of destruction and empty food shelves but we don’t have them here for long in the grand scheme of things, so I’m choosing to turn a blind eye, stay calm and go on some adventures together, at least to the Sea, I’ve so missed the sea, and try and bribe them to let me take pictures!

So have a fun Summer together, make some new good memories (not related to Covid-19!), explore new places, preferably outdoor and you know what, all these new experiences will fire up your creativity too.

For those who may want to do some family creative challenges, you can always look back on the lives I have done with @psychologiesmagazine via their TV Channel (just scroll down to find the sessions) over the last month which are suitable for everyone.

Today’s (find it here on my FB page) was all about connections with pets or animals and the challenge is to write a small descriptive memory piece about that.

Here are some examples to try:

  • The day you got your first ever family pet
  • A memorable trip to the zoo
  • Feeding baby lambs at a farm
  • First donkey ride on a beach
  • The day you decided to become vegetarian
  • Your fear of snakes / spiders / moths
  • When you lost a pet and made posters to find them
  • An animal hobby such as horse riding / racing
  • If you’ve ever been bitten and needed a tetanus jab
  • Being stung by a bee / wasp
  • Entering your dog in a country show
  • Rescuing an animal that was injured or lost
  • Working as a farm hand / in a vets / pet shop etc
  • Seeing your first deer / badger / fox on a country walk
  • When your cat’s paw got stung by a bee
  • Receiving an animal adoption as a gift
  • A car accident involving an animal
  • Connecting with your Chinese horoscope, I’m a tiger, which happens to be my favourite animal!
  • When the animal man came to school and you held a tarantula
  • When a storm blew over the rabbit hutch and they escaped
  • Watching an animal programme / film that really affected you
  • Believing in mythical animals as a child, e.g. Rudolf / Loch Ness monster / Bigfoot
  • Teaching your pet some tricks
  • Surprising your children with a new pet for their birthday / Christmas

IMG_3925

One of the animal programmes I’ve been hooked to is the live streaming from Cannon Hall Farm which is also a weekly TV show called ‘This week on the farm’ on Channel 5 on a Tuesday night, it’s been brilliant watching all the new arrivals, including this little pygmy kid! 

These are just a few, I’m sure you’ll have many more, I could literally write a book on just animal stories! I’d love to hear yours so please share on The Curious Creative Club Facebook Page or DM me on Instagram either.

So, I hope this inspires you, have a fabulous Summer with the kids, and remember to breathe / get the gin in!

Take care now, until next time

Juliet, The Curious Creative x