Browsed by
Month: February 2017

What Not To Worry About #15

What Not To Worry About #15

Hello fellow Monday people! How’s the heads? Are we starting off positive or are we stumbling wildly in to the week wondering where the weekend went? I’m planning on starting the week off with a fresh head after a slow weekend filled with family, friends and lots of food. Here’s hoping I can carry it through to the end of the week!

 

The main reason why I feel a little lighter this Monday is because I was able to be a part of a pretty special event last week that I am still beaming from. The Assembly Gathering is an inclusive community workshop founded by Mel Wiggins which encourages those seeking an environment in which they can inspire and be inspired by other creative women. I have spoken about my tenious relationship with this side of myself in a previous post as I have struggled to acknowledge that I am, and enjoy being, a creative person.

 

img_9891.jpg

 

Having seen posts about the first event in autumn and reading about how wonderful those who attended came away feeling, I promised myself I would jump at the chance if there was another. You can imagine then how delighted I was when I saw tickets released for the winter gathering a few weeks ago and of course I wasted no time in registering. I went on my own and didn’t feel an ounce of nervousness about that since the very reason I was going was because I was doing something just for me. Putting myself in the rare position of being ‘me’ in a crowd of unknown people wasn’t so terrifying when I knew how supportive the environment would be.

 

8bdb1d7f-c3e3-461a-af03-29e37b740583.jpg

 

The gathering was held in the Boundary Brewery, a coop based in East Belfast and when I entered the room I was blown away by how pretty a brewery could be! Grace & Saviour had transformed the place in to an ethereal wonderland, an Instagrammers dream! We were taken under Mel’s wing and split in to 2 groups; one group learning the wonder of natural dyeing with Colour & Cloth and the other learn about the brewing process by Sheena from Boundary along with a few sneaky tasters.

 

1aa70732-8660-4cd5-8576-e3cc184e0f1d.jpg

 

Christine from Colour & Cloth provided us with our silk scarves and we started off learning about all the amazing natural products that can be used to dye materials which as it turns out is an exhaustive list. I chose to use teabags for mine and folded the silk using pegs and elastic band to create psychadelic patterns (I hadn’t a notion what I was doing really but sort of hoped for the best). The colour came out beautifully, almost a grey-gold and I used it as a table runner for yesterday’s Sunday lunch!

 

498cffea-42fb-49e2-965d-0c6ca0ea8480.jpg

 

img_9890.jpg

 

After we tasted some pretty delicious beer, we were spoiled with a spread laid out by Little Pink Kitchen. The cutlery alone had me sold but the food was outstanding from start to finish. And the conversation that was had around this feast was something that will stay with me for quite some time. We were given some questions that were in a wee bowl in the table to help guide the conversation but to be honest the discussions were already so open and honest that we didn’t really need the help. We spoke of what we felt we were lacking or allowed to hold us back, what we dreamt of doing and what our creative fears were. Incredible stuff.

 

Obviously I came away rejuvenated and full of plans. To connect with like-minded people is such a joy and it made me realise how I needed more of this. This time of year is where I can feel a little demotivated and unsure of myself and now I feel like I know more than ever what I want to be doing. I am so incredibly grateful to the gathering for getting me to this place.

 

And so I shall continue on with my usual ‘What Not To Worry About’ post to let you know the little worries I am shedding this week…

 

Unwise Outfit Choices

This time of year is a little cruel for fashion because I begin to get restless with being covered in endless layers. After Lisbon I got a taste for skirts and light clothing again and forgot myself when I came home. I quickly realised that skirt season is definitely another wee while away and so I will have to suck it up and make do with panicking every Sunday night to make sure I have enough tights to get me through the week.

 

Rainy Weekends

What a dull and wet weekend we had! Save for a sliver of sunlight on Sunday afternoon there seemed to be no hope of a bright weekend. It’s beginning to get a little tiresome but it’s weekends like this that encourage slow paced activities which felt exactly right for me this weekend. On Saturday we pottered about the palm house in Botanic Gardens and yesterday we had family over for a Sunday Roast. Nothing to complain about here.

 

6d586457-c8b8-4367-86dd-1608b88d76c2.jpg

 

Nervous Chat

After the gathering I realised I am not so great at striking up conversation. I usually enter with a joke and I am quickly relieved when the other person doesn’t slither away in disgust. Why do we do this to ourselves? I have to keep reminding myself that in those situations the other person is more than likely thinking the same thing and so I shouldn’t be too embarrassed. And my jokes are OK sometimes!

 

Weak Handshakes

This can give me the heebie jeebies especially in a professional scenario. Weak handshakes are just weird. Stay firm people!

 

My Stationery Habit

I found my new favourite shop on Saturday.  is a lovely place on the Lisburn Road and it’s chocked full of beatiful designs. I wanted everything but I settled for a gorgeous notebook which seems to be the only thing I come away when I find my new favourite shop. I can’t help myself!

 

c22b37d0-11dc-407e-9462-bbc3db832765.jpg

 

Wishing you all a great week!!

 

02370b8b-643e-419b-9f9f-3505a5d5e9e9.jpg

A Guide to Lisbon

A Guide to Lisbon

The end of winter can be a hard time of year. The dark evenings feel ceaseless and even a crack of sunshine is enough to warrant a celebration. Which is why Andrew and I decided to break up the mundanity and book a last minute escape to Lisbon.

 

f5debbd5-8c1d-4a2a-ac4a-27646dae47e1.jpg

 

Lisbon is a place I’ve been wanting to see for a while now as it seemed a little less touristy than other European capitals but with just as many stories to offer. When we saw Ryanair were doing super cheap flights from Dublin it felt like too good an opportunity to miss!

 

23562088-fab4-4e60-ba64-eac3de245ba8.jpg

 

I’ll break our trip down to our favourite spots since we packed in fair bit in to the 4 days we spent there. My biggest piece of advice though is to drop the map/phone and get a little lost in the windy streets. The city is massive and there are plenty of chances to go a little overtrack and stumble upon some great little gems. Just bring comfy shoes because the city is built on seven hills which will test your thighs for sure!

 

6241669840_img_0541.jpg

 

EAT

Of course the most important part of a break is the food because it’s the one time you can stop off on as many refreshment breaks as you please without the guilt. We had plenty of pretty great foodie experiences and more cake than I’ve ever eaten in my life which is the sign of a successful holiday right?

 

Taberna da Rua das Flores

Hands down the best restaurant I’ve eaten in in a long time. From the moment we entered the place it felt special and truly authentic – the wine served were all from Lisbon, the menu was on a blackboard written in Portuguese (kindly translated in perfect English) and the chandlier was a collection of wineglasses glittering in the candlelight.

The food was tapas-style so we got three dishes to share; pink marlin, sliced beef and pork deep-friend in prawn cracker mixture. We cleaned our plates and washed the deliciousness down with the tastiest wine I had the whole trip. I forgot to take a picture of the wine bottle label but I think sometimes the best wine is supposed to be remembered like that.

If you want to eat here make sure to go early or on a quiet weekday. We tried to get in on a Saturday but there was a queue of people outside who had been waiting over an hour. We went back on the Monday at 6.30pm and were served right away and I will be forever grateful.

 

img_9485.jpg

 

img_9490.jpg

 

Honoraro Burgers

For those wanting something hearty and quick then this place will do the job. We stopped off here for lunch after visiting the Belém Tower and wolved our burgers down in a matter of minutes! Cheap, cheerful and hard to beat.

 

Pasteis de Belém

After your burger make sure to save some room for the infamous pastries served next door. Pasteis de Belém are the bakers with the original Pasteis de Nata recipe which is why they have a constant queue outside their door. The pastries are little custard tarts that are so delicious you’ll want to grab a dozen when you’re there. We went to this place twice and my mouth still fills up with water when I remember them!

 

133620ec-c8b4-4b4a-8664-100b49b811b2.jpg

 

Palácio Chiado

This restaurant blew us away because we stumbled upon it when we were starving and desperate for a big feed. The ground floor is the eating area which has 4 different kitchens that you can choose your food from but upstairs is where we are jaws dropped to the ground. The building was once mansion and the original stained class windows and hand-painted ceilings are still intact. Their house cocktail is also the best one I’ve ever had!

 

814d13a6-6207-4867-806c-cab01df26cc5.jpg

 

Landeau

When you’re strolling around the LX Factory, ogling all the amazing Portuguese craft and design, you can seriously work up an appetite. Which was why I was so relieved to find this place to rest my bones and discover a chocolate cake so light I was practically floating afterward.

 

img_9766.jpg

 

DRINK

Bairro Alto is an area of Lisbon that is coming down with bars and clubs but there are still lots of choice no matter where you’re staying in the city. Since we’re oldies, we only managed the one big night out but we made a fair effort to sample as many Portuguese beverages as possible. The only thing I wouldn’t rate is the ginjinha – the local cherry gin. It’s basically Buckfast (a tonic wine favoured among some Irish folk) masquerading as an elegant liqueur!

 

Pensão Amor

This place was once a brothel located in the old red light district and it still has that dark and moody atmosphere that would have attracted those frisky sailors all those years ago. It’s a popular joint and was hiving when we were there on a Saturday. Brilliant fun and well worth a visit.

 

img_9261.jpg

 

Park Bar

This bar is a little of the beat and track because you have to get through a carpark to find it. It’s on the roof of the carpark which means the roof terrace has incredible views of the city. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand.

 

6a8705d0-5165-47bd-812e-73cdbe17e8ba.jpg

 

Pivalhão Chinês

This weird and wonderful place is a great place to stop for one or two drinks. It’s crammed full of random paraphernalia from toy cars to war memorabilia and there’s some pool tables down the back that you can enjoy a few beers over.

 

img_9497.jpg

 

SEE

There is plenty to do and see in Lisbon as the city is so crammed with history that any street could lead you to a different story. We chose to do a free walking tour – a little touristy I know but a great way to learn some quick facts and get your bearings over the place. Some buildings were more incredible than others but I’m sure there’s plenty we didn’t get round to seeing!

 

Alfama

Be sure to get lost in the streets of Alfama if you can because it’ll feel like taking a trip back in time. This is the oldest part of the city, the only part to have survived the big earthquake of 1755 and so the buildings here are dripping with history. We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in Alfama and took a different street to the city centre every day. I woke up the sound of bells ringing and all the oldies chattering to each other from balconies (not so great if you’re a fan of sleep ins!).

 

c591da73-0943-4ea0-8295-06bd838e1eb2-1.jpg

 

 

76020196-204c-40e0-8500-f69b62d3fb08.jpg

 

Belém

Not only does this area of Lisbon have their infamous pastries to offer but it also rich in history. The Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site found on a sandy beach by the Tagus River. Just a short walk away is the Jerónimos Monastery, another 15th century building to drool over and stand in awe of. Make sure to get some pastries after!

 

682f6bad-7a3f-4694-aacd-b770a663bcdb.jpg

 

img_9404.jpg

 

792c31ba-855e-48a8-b0e9-4e709ec7c332.jpg

 

Trams/Funiculars

Being a city of hills meant that the Lisbon folk had to be find ways to rest their wearisome legs. The trams themselves would be a relic in other cities (some date back to the 1930’s) but here the locals use it as a commute to get around the city. Tram 28 is the most popular for tourists but unfortunately it’s pretty hot for pickpockets as well so keep your wits about you. Tram 11 is quieter but just as lovely and can take you to Belém for the afternoon.

 

bfbd5aff-fc7b-4392-8b82-da82c53725eb.jpg

 

Squares Galore

Every corner you turn in this city feels like the gateway to another square. They’re all beautiful and the perfect place to people watch with a drink in hand. My favourite was Praça do Comércio which overlooks the river and on to the 25 Abril bridge (which is basically a knock off of the Golden Gate bridge). Another great place for a sunset and to spy the school kids in their Harry Potteresque capes (the school is incredibly old and had capes as a uniform as a way to encourage equality amongst the children regardless of their background).

 

86c425f7-11b7-4f7f-b807-c7ce009392e8.jpg

 

img_9461.jpg

 

Sintra

This village is only 30 minutes on the train and well worth a visit if you’re a history geek like me. This was where the Royals would spend their summer and the main palace, which looks like something from a Disney film, has been wonderfully preserved.

 

img_9704.jpg

 

72346311-d177-4b49-8fe3-bb2e1bc226f6.jpg

 

SHOP

There is no shortage of places to drain your budget in this city and I had to restrain myself a number of times – good thing I only had carry-on luggage! From markets to vintage shops, there is

 

Markets

We are staying just around the famous Feira da Ladra or “thieves market” in Alfama which is on every Saturday and Tuesday. Everything under the sun seems to be sold here and there is definitely some diamonds to be found among the rough. Another trendier market is the Mercado da Ribeira which has been curated by Time Out. This is a great place to stroll around and grab a bite to eat while having a nosy at all the stalls.

 

e33c0ef5-e77e-4f23-bb2c-cbad66421dd9.jpg

 

LX Factory

The LX Factory is a creative island that is found in a once abandoned industrial area of Lisbon. Now the hub is jammed full of galleries, design shops and restaurants that can keep you occupied for a whole afternoon. My sole reason for going was to visit a bookshop I had been lusting over since seeing it on Instagram. Ler Devagar doesn’t have a lot of English books but the wall to wall shelves covered in books will make your booklover heart swoon. One tip for the factory: don’t go on a Monday since this is the quietest day and a few places may be closed.

 

0516ad29-9699-421d-93a2-2e3aac34b005.jpg

 

img_9417.jpg

 

img_9422.jpg

 

Vintage

If you’re a hoarder of vintage clothes then a visit to A Outra Face da Lua is an essential pitstop. The shop has an amazing collection and the design alone will have you coming back again. There is also a wee café inside that serves some tasty snacks including chocolate cake with flakes of salt on top (I may have eaten chocolate cake every day in Lisbon – no lie). My favourite shop had to be A Vida Portuguesa – a shop that filled me with so much joy I wanted to cry a little bit. The walls are crammed with products of Portuguese design and showcases the most beautiful handcrafted goods. Perfect place for some souvenir shopping!

 

77cb6377-24b2-4484-821b-60c4d9515b59.jpg

 

8990bfb1-9301-40d5-af0b-cd9b24cf515a.jpg

 

img_9819.jpg

 

I could ramble on forever about everything wonderful Lisbon has to offer but the best advice I can give is to get there to see for yourself. I can imagine it’s wonderful in every season but it was the perfect place to escape to for a little winter sun and some much-needed wandering.

 

af289a4f-d1d1-44f0-9b44-04e8e9fcb99b.jpg

 

If you have any questions about Lisbon, please feel free to comment and I would be happy to answer any wee queries you might have!

 

xx

What Not To Worry About #14

What Not To Worry About #14

It’s Friday! A day we can bounce out of bed knowing we’ve just about made it! A day we can look forward to a big old glass of guilt-free vino! A day we internally plan an entire weekend of activities in our head only to be secretly glad when it rains and we can stay in our pyjamas! Yay!

 

I feel like a bit of a con this Friday to be honest because I was only back to work yesterday after a few days stuffing my face with pastries in Lisbon. Feeling real-life heat on my face whilst giving my thighs a good old work out on the hills of a beautiful city really lifted my winter soul. It got me all kinds of excited about spring and all of the good things it brings along with it e.g. longer days, daffodils and, most importantly, outdoor drinking.

 

07980be7-240b-4582-89be-1c14891e3c8a.jpg

 

Landing home yesterday reminded me that warmer days might be a little while away but my optimism is still here. Little cracks of sunshine are enough to get me out of the house and lug around my camera to snap at any signs of life. I am even planning another escape to Dublin this weekend – I do have the times of it I know. I’m seeing Billy Connolly tomorrow with Mumma T and my uncle Pete (this is an actual bucket list event for me and I am fully prepared to reach hysteria at the very sight of the wonderful grey Viking) and then I am having a girls night with my #squad (yeh I’m too old to do that) the following eve. I will be depressed for sure on Monday morning.

 

What will keep me going is a mind full of positive thoughts this weekend as it always does so I’ve switched it up and I am listing a few different kinds of people who I am choosing to not stress me out this weekend. It’s usually a Monday post I know but I can’t type a post with fingers covered in pastry crumbs so I thought it best to leave it for a few days. I’m clever that way.

 

Here goes…

 

Patronising People

I thought that once I was an adult that there would be no more moments of being made to feel the size of a raisin. Turns out, patronising people are not ageist and there are still moments when I feel like screaming in to a pillow when someone corrects a mistake I didn’t realise was a big deal. Oh, I’m sorry that I don’t know anything about cars Mr. Mechanic but please do not look at my boyfriend with a “women, eh?” look when I am caught side-blinded with your jargon. Now fix that metal bit that makes a weird sound please so I can drive without fear of my life.

 

Airport People

Airports can be a tense place at the best of times and I have had recent experience of this. There’s folks who choose to forget that they can’t take litres of liquids on a plane with them and suddenly remember this as they attempt to excavate their entire hand luggage in the security line in front of me. There’s also people who insist on starting the boarding queue about a half hour before the plane which riles up all the other passengers. I need to forgive these people and chill out with all the perfumes in Duty Free.

 

6241669840_img_0526.jpg

 

Nasty People

You know the people who take great pleasure in the misery of others? I can never understand these people and I wonder if they could ever be truly happy if they can’t ever be happy those around them. It makes me a little sad but that would just be joining the sad gang and I don’t even wanna be in that gang.

 

Classy Women

The Audrey Hepburn’s, Grace Kelly’s and Jackie O’s of this world astound me. Elegant women can make me feel a little insignificant because I will forever be the ruffian who never seems to brush her hair and has holes in her clothes. I have learned to accept that I probably won’t ever look like a French woman on the streets of Belfast but that’s OK. Less pressure to look immaculate is probably a good thing.

 

Judgemental People

Yes I will be having that second cupcake Martha and please refrain from looking at me lengthways in the process. The judge-y folks can be the worst but I choose to laugh off the stares when I land to my yoga class in decades old leggings and an old work hoodie. Being you is the one of the bravest things you can do and I will rock whatever ratty clothse I choose thank you very much.

 

6241669840_img_0530.jpg

 

And that’s about all the folks who I will refuse to let bother me this week – and maybe longer!

 

What kinds of people are you going to stop getting the better of you? Any tips on how you shrug off the negativity?

 

 

 

Live Wild & Free

Live Wild & Free

I was about ten years old when I accepted that I was different from other children. It was when I learned that having CF meant I wouldn’t have a normal future and that I would always have to be mindful of my health. I think being aware of my own mortality from such a young age encouraged me to be grateful for every moment that I had. Yes, it was probably a fairly big burden to have as a child but it instilled in me the wisdom to believe that life can be brief but beautiful.

 

A friend of mine lost her life this week and although I have always been aware of the shortness of my own life, it didn’t prepare me for the shock of losing a friend the same age. When someone has their health and lots of people who care for them, it’s difficult to understand how they can feel so alone and lost. Mental health is an enigma to so many of us yet 1 in 4 of us will suffer form a mental health related issue this year – why are we still struggling to understand?

 

A young woman taking her life has rocked my friendship groups and the community I used to be a part of in Australia. As they are united in grief they are united in knowing that life is not endless. It is fragile, fickle but above all it is fleeting.

 

My advice to anyone who has lost someone, or who is scared of the future, is this: let the fear wash over you for there is no fuel like it. Fear is what we need to live a life more wild and free. We are not meant to be confined to one path but to take many paths that we are lucky enough to have in front of us. Our hearts our there to be broken, our skin to be weathered and our brains to be exposed to as much learning as we can squeeze in to it. We have all lay in bed I am sure, terrified of the future and how little control we have but we have more control than we give ourselves credit.

 

The problem for most is change. Change can often be a scary thing which is what stops us from leaping from our singular path and in to another. We are creatures of comfort and afraid that we can never turn back. We can always turn back but what might be most surprising of all is that once we’ve made the leap, we won’t want to. Embracing change encourages us to accept the unknown and that is what can free us.

 

If you feel like you are lost or alone please look around you. Not only are there people surrounding you who love you now, there are people who are yet to fall in love with you who you are. We make so many wonderful connections in our lifetime, connections that change and later define us as people. Humans are not solitary creatures. Enjoying our own company is hugely important but there is too much good within us all to be contained. We need to share the love we have and align ourselves with people who only make our light shine brighter.

 

So today let’s live wild and free. Be the you you want to be. Grab your coat and feel the wind batter you. Listen to a song that makes you dance like a mad thing round the house. Watch the sun rise with your morning cuppa. Tell your loved ones when you’re thinking of them.

 

Yes, life is brief but it is also flippin’ spectacular. And there is no burden in that.


If you feel like you might benefit from getting some advice from professionals or just want to have a chat, please follow this link which will take you to a list of really useful phone numbers and websites 🙂

 

 

What Not To Worry About #13

What Not To Worry About #13

Having blue skies all weekend is such a novelty in an Irish winter which is why I am still beaming after a big dose of vitamin D after the last few days. I feel like my brain has been bombarded with such negativity recently which, coupled with working in an office and hardly seeing a minute of sunlight, can feel like there is little good happening around me. We are living in a scary time but to be honest we always were before Trump got elected and escalated the craziness.

 

5cec2b50-ac07-4522-a22f-0434b294fe69.jpg

 

The amount of hate and fear that is being radiated across the world can feel overwhelming however this is not a time to bury our heads in the sand but instead arm ourselves with as much information as we can and engage. I know this weekly post of mine tends to focus on the positive but sometimes the bad stuff just can’t be ignored and I would feel like a hypocrite if I disregarded events that are changing our society.

 

96367602-18e6-42ee-8fb0-5b91d5a94e66.jpg

 

What is pretty wonderful though is witnessing masses of people using their voices in cities around the world and even global corporations offering their help to the thousands of refugees who have been left stranded. In all of this darkness there can be a little light but it is up to those of us who have a voice to use it whether it be signing petitions, marching in protest or communicating our unrest to local politicians because, to quote Martin Luther King, there comes a time when silence is betrayal.

 

9f334932-7be6-4fa7-ab3f-4bfbc8ef6ba5.jpg

 

My light this weekend didn’t just come from the winter sun streaming down on our wee island. There was a wonderful breakfast in Baker Street on Saturday morning, a drive to Whitehead and an evening spent celebrating our friends buying their first house. I woke up to a world of mist yesterday which thankfully lifted and I was able to escape to Loughgall Park for a stroll with my camera. Breathing in the biggest gulps of fresh air and and losing the feeling in my fingers while clicking away was the highlight because it reminded me of the endless beauty that surrounds me and how lucky I am to see it.

 

img_9099.jpg

 

This week there are a few things that I am choosing to not let worry me because there is enough already…

 

Pressing snooze on the alarm at least three times every morning

I have to set my alarm about a half hour before I actually want to get up because I have to let it ring three times. Even when I’m wide awake I will still lie there and wait for the third harrowing reminder that I have to leave my cosy cocoon and pretend to be a real-life adult.

 

Being Impulsive

I don’t shop all that often but there will be the odd time when everything I want on this earth seems to be in front of me (usually anything house-related). The worst place for this tendency of mine to get out of control is Sostrene Grene. I will more than likely walk out of that place with an armful of candles, napkins or more bowls that will look pretty on a table.

 

Not being able to whistle or wink

A big grievance of mine. I’ve tried to teach myself how to do both but I usually look like I am having some sort of spasm so it’s best I make peace with knowing that I will be a terrible dog-owner/creep and move on.

 

Buying the Sunday papers and only reading the magazines

To be fair I do read the Guardian website every morning because as I said above, educating ourselves on what’s going on around us is hugely important. However I tend to skim past the headlines of a Sunday paper and make a beeline for the magazines which ends up being a complete waste of money. I’m also left with piles of unread newspapers that I swear to Andrew that I will read and eventually have to throw out guiltily weeks later.

 

Having no sense of smell

Most of those who know me well are aware that my sense of smell is shocking. This works out very well for Andrew after he’s had a night on the broccoli because I can be sitting there completely oblivious to the fact that he’s stinking the house out. It can be annoying though when I have a night on the broccoli and think I’ve gotten away with a wee sneaky fart when in fact I’ve killed just about every living within a few metres of me. It’s both a blessing and a curse I suppose.

 

Anyway, big hugs to you lovely lot for this week. I hope it’s a good one and here’s hoping this is the week when it’s daylight when you get home from day at work! The day’s are fairly stretchin’!!

 

xx

 

 

 

20 Ways To Be Creative

20 Ways To Be Creative

I have never thought of myself as a creative person because I have always associated creative people with having masses of talent, high above the consistently mediocre folk like myself. Growing up I was average at most things but never outstanding and felt inferior when it came to any occasion where real talent was required. I can’t sing (although give me a few glasses of wine and I’ll crow my heart out), play an instrument, speak a second language (I can ask to go to the bathroom in Gaelic and little more) and I am definitely not an athlete by any means. What I have realised as I have gotten older though is that most people who can do all these things have had to hone this talent over years and practice over and over again. No one is born with these skills and so why should I rule myself out from learning them?

 

Over the last few years I have slowly allowed myself to unleash whatever creativity I have within me and appreciate that some things take longer to learn than others. While I find making my own products very easy, knitting on the other hand I have found a little trickier. The beauty about being creative is that you can take as much time as you need with it because it’s the enjoyment that you’re doing it for. Those quiet moments that we so rarely get to ourselves are some of the most important of the day and by flexing our creative muscles we are making that crucial time a priority.

 

Everyone can be creative – you don’t have to Van Gogh or Laura Marling to make or create things of your own. All it takes is a little time and patience, to live in the moment and enjoy every second of doing something just for you. Here are a few ideas to inspire you…

 

1 Try a New Recipe

I know I rotate a lot of the same meals now and then which can zap me of all inspiration but I get the most enjoyment out of cooking when I’m trying something new. How about dusting off those cookbooks that sit unused on your shelf and challenging yourself one evening in the week? Make sure you have all the ingredients you need and enjoy making a mess for once!

 

Soup 2.

 

2 Make a Playlist

When you have a little time one evening how about making a playlist of all the songs you used to listen to as a teenager? I recently did this for a friend’s hen party and laughed so much as I kept finding more and more terrible/amazing songs from my younger years. This is the perfect playlist for a day when you feel a little low and need some cheering up – if R. Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ doesn’t have you beaming from ear to ear then there is something truly wrong.

 

3 Learn to knit

Or sew! I bought a knitting kit last week and have been trying my hand to make some booties. Turns out my Granny made it look easy and I have the coordination of a T. Rex. I’m trying not to rush it though and enjoy the process even though I have images of jamming the needles in my eyes. Those moments pass though and I’m sure I’ll make a lovely pair of booties in the next few years.

 

img_8596.jpg

 

4 Write a Letter

Receiving mail other than bills has to be one of the nicest surprises. I wrote a post about how we should all write more and to be honest I need to start taking my own advice. Taking the time to sit down and write down words you know might make someone smile is such a rewarding thing and so much better than sending a meme.

 

IMG_4614

 

5 Start a Garden

It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular but even growing a few pots of herbs on the windowsill can plant a seed (GET IT?!) of creativity. Start with something non-threatening like basil or rosemary and go from there.

 

6 Take a Class

This takes a little more effort but the impact could be even greater. There must be something that you have been hoping to learn more about but never have had the courage to just get up and do it so you know what – do that shit. There’s no time like the present so start that pottery/acting/clown class, leave all your insecurities at the door and expose yourself to not just a new skill but some new friends too.

 

54ba61d3-3745-44de-ac46-a4c914b9ac3b.jpg

 

7 Move 

You might not think of yoga or exercise as creative but you can inject a little creativity in to your normal routine. Take your yoga mat somewhere different or plan a new route to jog. Make it your own and fun.

 

8 Start a Blog!

Hey, if I can do it anyone can. If you feel you have stories or ideas that you’d like to share, then bite the bullet and create your own space to do this. The hardest thing is to share the first post for fear of what people might think but people can actually be lovely and it could be one of the greatest things you do.

 

9 Make Your Own Products

This is such a simple way to not only save money but also educate yourself on what’s good for your skin. I have been trying to introduce essential oils and natural ingredients in to my skincare routine for a while and the easiest way to do this is to make my own products. If you need inspiration, you can check some of my previous posts here and here.

 

f1c4ebff-dac0-497c-9eed-1a31dfffe1b3.jpg

 

10 DIY

When Andrew and I first moved in together, I had such a ball restoring and painting our Gumtree furniture. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on new things so we had to make pre-loved pieces our own. I borrowed a sander, took the tables and chairs out in the back garden and spent the best March weekend being a wee DIY-er. Your first project should be something easily achieved in a day so you’re not tempted to stop half-way. How about some new shelves or a spice rack? You’ll be a regular handy-andy in no time.

11 Paint

This is a tough one if art isn’t your thing but there are plenty of Youtube classes where you can learn the basics of watercolour. The kids can even get involved in this one in case you want to make it a family activity with the best pieces getting framed on the wall. Just don’t get angry if your child is more skillful with the paintbrush than you are.

12 Arrange Flowers

Seeing flowers throughout my house can bring my spirits up on the rainiest of days. I like to get a bunch on the weekend and then distribute them in different jars and vases. You can be even more creative by getting lots of individual stems from your local florist and designing your own bouquet as a gift – or for yourself obviously.

 

cropped-IMG_4177.jpg

 

13 Colouring In

I got an adult colouring book and I am not ashamed to say that it’s the best thing for winding down after a crappy day at work. It’s the one thing that really switches my brain off yet I’m able to use colour and imagination while doing it. Don’t bag it out as a trend but give it a go and let your inner child chill the feck out.

 

img_9002.jpg

 

14 Scrapbooking

I have started scrapbooking all the photos I have taken throughout the year as a way to archive all the memories that can get trapped on social media. It’s a great way to look back on all the happy times and serves as a reminder that things are pretty damn good. When you’re gluing in all your photos, try and write little stories to along with them and any tickets or receipts that you might have kept. It will be a much better way to hang on to the memories.

 

IMG_3877

 

15 Photography

With everyone having iPhones now there’s no excuse to not take advantage of having a decent camera in your pocket. For those who know me, I am always expected to take a photo at every possible opportunity which I can sometimes be a little conscious of. Having a love of photography means that you are constantly looking for the beautiful things in life, the small things that many take for granted. What I recommend doing is taking a long walk on your own, snapping anything that inspires you and then keeping them for your next scrapbook. Allowing yourself to be inspired is one of the best luxuries.

 

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

16 Bake

Baking is a little different to cooking because your creativity is a little more controlled. There’s less opportunity to ‘wing it’ but when it comes to decoration, you can go wild. Next time there’s a birthday or special occasion coming up, how about offering to bake the cake? Spend an afternoon covered in flour and finish it off with a bit of bowl licking. Sure that’s why we bake anyway.

 

IMG_3958

 

17 Learn an Instrument

Could be something a little tricky like the guitar or go back to your primary school roots and pick up the recorder again. Making music doesn’t have to be intimidating but instead can be the chance to encourage a little confidence. Just don’t play ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ on repeat or your neighbour/housemate/partner may murder you.

18 Start a Journal

Starting a journal can be difficult because it’s hard to know where to start. There’s no point putting a lot of pressure on it but what you can do is carry a notebook in your bag and jot down any thoughts that come in to your head that day. Maybe start with a few lines in the morning describing how you’re feeling, some lyrics you heard on the radio or an idea you had in work. Journals don’t have to be that teenager epic with every emotion painfully analysed but can just be a log of all your wee musings of the day.

19 Bring Nature In

On your next adventure in to the wild/local park how about taking a few things home with you? You could collect some holly to decorate your fireplace, some shells from the beach or some berries for your dining table. Bringing nature inside allows us to appreciate the beauty of each season and all the colours that come with it. I even made myself an autumn wreath which I was really chuffed with which you can see here.

 

Processed with VSCO with f3 preset

 

 20 Try a New Hairstyle/Make-Up Routine

We can all get a little repetitive with our hair and make-up but how about spicing it up with something other than a messy bun? I’ve been wanting to learn how to do a proper crown braid for ages so I plan on sitting myself down in front of the mirror and taking the time to finally do it. Surprise your work mates with something new or at least get a laugh out of trying!

 

I hope these tips can encourage your inner creative to come out a little and that there a million ways to do it. Take the time to learn something new and above else, have fun doing it 🙂