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  1. Because I was working on the big scenery project for most of January, it has taken until today for me to complete my first painting of 2018 – and it's only a small one, but what it represents is massive.

    2018 is the year that will see me silence all my niggles as I push my work, and my brand, in the direction of sharing my own journey of overcoming self doubt and a lifelong overthinking habit and hopefully inspiring and motivating others to do the same (I wrote more about this here). This is a scary shift for me – and this painting symbolises this moment!

    The painting was inspired by a social media post I have seen shared on many occasions – and one which I think holds a very effective and powerful message. The original post is below – and I apologise for not crediting its original author as I have no idea where it originated from.


    Now, as I said, I love the lesson in this in terms of showing the lasting effect that bullying can have (and I also include many other things in this that life can throw at us along the way!) but I felt unhappy about the suggestion of the permanence of the creases – that if we suffer something that affects us emotionally we are bound by those effects for the rest of our lives; as if our victim status is inescapable.

    And this is where the painting comes in – and why it's called 'Beyond The Crumpled Paper'. I would hazard a guess that not many, if any, people make it into adulthood without some 'creases' in their paper and I think these define us in an incredibly powerful way. It is these creases which make us unique – the same as everyone else on a basic level (we all start off as a plain, flat, unblemished piece of paper) but we develop our own, beautiful, complicated and intricate pattern that makes us oh, so very different, to anyone else who has ever set foot on this planet. And that is amazing.

    This pattern of crumples tells a story of life – of difficult times overcome and challenges survived. Instead of them being a reminder of how we felt at these times, we should let them serve as a reminder that we came through those times and can now be brave and build exciting times ahead. And that is where I am now – working hard to accept all my crumples and creases (not just the ones on my face!) and move on stronger, not despite them but because of them. Life is about living beyond the crumpled paper, not trapped within it.





    final crumpled paper

  2. Monday 15th January 2018, is Blue Monday – apparently the most depressing day of the year!

    This is based on a formula, devised by life coach Dr Cliff Arnall more than a decade ago, which focusses on factors including the weather, debt, the end of Christmas and low motivation after failed New Years Resolutions. But, we don't have to follow the hype! Let's take the 'Blue' out of 'Blue Monday' and bring some joy back.


    Here are 5 simple ways to cheer up your day:


    1) Wear something colourful.
    I am a big believer in what we wear having a big impact on our mood, so wear something you feel great in and which has a cheerful splash of colour.

     Lets take the blue out of blue monday! (1)


    2) Go for a walk.
    A blast of fresh air in the great outdoors is good for the soul at any time. Even in the rain! (Ok, so as I'm writing this it's absolutely pouring down, so if you want to substitute this one for 'dive into the pub to get warm and dry', then I'm ok with that).

    3) Plan something to look forward to.
    Whether it's booking a holiday or just arranging to meet a friend for coffee at the weekend, having something to look forward to can be a great mood lifter. It doesn't have to be anything major – even planning to call at that nice bakery on the way home from work to get something nice to enjoy with a brew when you get home can perk you up (well it would me!)

    4) Put on some cheerful tunes.
    It's no secret that music can affect mood. I think we all like to mope along to sad songs sometimes when we are feeling down, so equally we can select some 'happy' tunes to lift our spirits. So, turn up the volume and sing along to some songs that make you smile.

    5) Have a minute!
    We're busy people. There always seems lots to do. And if you're an overthinker like me then you are probably living at least a few days in advance in your head, cataloguing and mentally scheduling everything you need to do. This can put us under so much pressure and leave is living life at a million miles an hour. So, make yourself take a moment. Sit and have a brew. Sit on a bench along the river for a while. Lie on the bed with your eyes closed for a short time. Bring yourself into the moment – not to the 3 loads of washing that need doing tonight, or the meeting you're prepping for a week on Tuesday or the broken cupboard door that you've been meaning to fix for 6 months and that you beat yourself up about every day.

    Just enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet, without the panic and the stress. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything can wait for a few minutes (and that door can probably wait for another 6 months!)

    So, there you have it – a few quick and easy ways to cheer up Blue Monday a bit, and every day besides!

    Lets take the blue out of blue monday!

  3. If you have been following my blog, or reading my social media posts over the last few months, you will see that I have been on a bit of a journey lately (a metaphorical journey that is – I've been in my onesie for a great deal of it!). Having spent the last few years trying out various types of Creative work it was just over 12 months ago that I finally made the leap to concentrate on my painting – something I have known (like forever!) I wanted to do, but have always been told and then led myself to believe was just not a sensible thing to do (well, it's not a proper job is it?!)

    I felt I was on the right path, finally, once I had made this decision but there was still an unanswered niggle, something I hinted at in my last post at the end of last year. So, I have made the choice that 2018 is the year that I go all in – quieten all my niggles and set out to do what I think I am here to do.

    the two most important days 

    After nearly 15 years teaching and over 20 years of my working life involving self employment and freelance work of some description, I have learnt so much about planning, motivation and self discipline but I have also learnt so much about myself as a person. Through this journey, and the challenges that life has thrown at me along the way, I have studied, reflected and worked hard on myself to now embrace a life that is driven by positive thinking, gratitude and being happy. (and wine – it is also driven quite a lot by wine!)

    This is not an easy position for me to have arrived at – as an incredibly shy child and young adult who has battled with the gremlins of overthinking all her life – it has taken me a lot of learning and a lot of change to get here. And I love it here.

    So, not only is it this attitude to life that is going to feed my creative work from now on, there is also so much stuff I want to share with you besides my painting. I want to help, encourage and inspire you too to tell your own overthinking gremlins to shut up, to find the joy in your own life and to explain to you why you need to start wearing your posh knickers to Aldi (no, seriously – but that's a whole other blog post coming soon..!)

     new direction new work

    So, the scary, butterfly inducing thing that I'm about to do? Well, I'm going to be me. Just me. I am going to share more with you – more than just painting. And you know what, it scares the you know what out of me! I have got some really exciting things planned for 2018 – all of which involve me getting over myself and just getting on with it (you know, instead of overthinking it and talking myself out of it...!)

    You will see changes happening straight away, but I have got some major stuff planned for in a couple of months – so watch this space and join me on facebook to keep an eye on developments!

    Let's do this!