Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Today I am posting my first entry on my lovely friend Bella’s photography website, 52 Photos Project. I am so pleased she has created this site as Bella is a very talented lady indeed, and so full of life, warmth and inspiration that I am glad she is sharing it with the world. Each week there will be a photography theme posted; for the opening week it is ‘nourish’, which will then be  followed by a series of interviews with photographers. I’ve already soaked up the first and can’t wait for more, Bella knows how to find beauty.  Tips on photography and blogging are also promised,what else can a girl ask for :) So here is my contribution for this week:

Friday, 22 April 2011

Simple pleasures

Just a quick post today as I am intent on exploring the glorious April sunshine! I can honestly say that I have never experienced an Easter holiday like this, it is making my spirits soar and it is all the sweeter after such a terribly cold, long lasting winter.  In fact I’ve been blessed with quite a marvelous week altogether, packed to the brim with simple loveliness;I am feeling more light hearted than I have in a very long time...
I’ve spent time with my gorgeous nieces this week. The oldest one, Summer, calls me Auntie Moon, which makes me chuckle every time as I am not sure where the name came from, but I love the idea of being a moon auntie!

I’ve also spent time delving into the wonderful world of Folksy, honoring my quest this year to buy as many presents as I can by supporting creatives rather than giving mainstream shops my money. I’ve discovered some amazing artists in the process, you must take a look at these:
The bowl in my opening shot is from the last link, H B Cermamics, I am utterly in love  and had better discover that illusive money tree in order to expand my treasure collection. 
Today I’ve spent hours in my local garden centre and returned home with a rainbow of new plants, I fear I was very much like a child in a sweet shop with so much beauty, so much magic! 

I know I’ve written about my garden before, but it astounds me each time a new, how healing, how invigorating it feels to spend time out there. It is at last becoming a garden fit for a goddess.

And of course I have been spending plenty of time with my gorgeous pusses, who are clearly enjoying the novelty of barmy warm days and nights, freshly cut grass  as well as the opportunity to have their humans  serve them many hours a day. Thus I leave you with a picture of my Shadow cat, curiously exploring my camera lens.

Friday, 15 April 2011


I nearly didn’t write today. My thoughts are feeling rusty, disjointed, muddled even. I am tired and that temptation not to write with the excuse that nothing will make much sense anyway, was nearly enough. However, I vowed to myself that this year I would write weekly, not matter what, and I am holding onto that with a fierce grip. Writing these weekly posts has made me think much  more intensely about my week - for the first time in forever I am writing regularly, no mean feat I tell you! So I apologise if my thoughts today are not crystal clear but I need to press the publish button before I change my mind!
So my topic this week is shoes and the feet within them. I’ve never really given much thought to my feet before, in fact I confess to having quite a phobia. I cover them whenever I can, even in the summer months no sandal will cross my path. My perspective has however shifted significantly over the last couple of days, as I have been reading yet another juicy chapter of Women Who Run With Wolves. The chapter that got me thinking is based on the story Red Shoes, a tale showing in no uncertain terms what happens when you ignore the warning signs; when a true creative life is repressed and then, as it hasn’t any outlet, turns into mania, obsession and pain. The girl in the story is fine whilst she has her own hand made red shoes, they express who she is, she is proud of making them, they make her unique. They reflect her creative soul and she is alive in them. However, then she is taken in by an older woman, who wants to help a poor orphan, but who in the process represses her by not allowing those much treasured red shoes. This all leads to the girl sneaking a pair of coveted red shoes into her world, but they are not connected to her, she hasn’t made them, they are merely an attempt at compensation for what she cannot really have and this in turn  causes a lot of trouble. She tries to stay away but those sparkling, glowing material world shoes take over her mind and she is cursed to dance in them for eternity.
Whilst the story is a powerful warning, it is also a celebration of those handmade red shoes; creativity, soul, spirit, roots. For feet are our roots.Those first red shoes are an amazing expression of a creative wild woman and to be treasured immensely. 

“Shoes can tell something about what we are like, sometimes even who we are aspiring to be, the persona we are trying out.” 
Clarissa Pinkola Estes 
The connection  then for me is that for a long time shoes have been a means for covering my feet up. One of the many means of hiding what I do not like about myself. But I’ve sat there examining my footwear with fresh eyes today, my attention drawn to the flowery plimsolls, the funky energetic baseball boots, the worked leather of my healed boots, that are slowly but surely taking over the plain black shoes, the dreary,  soulless trainers-  the more I grow into my own truth, the stronger my shoes seem to resemble who  I am deep inside. I see a bolder, more vibrant, sparkling, soulful me in these shoes, and those are the roots I want to take hold. The proof is in my feet!  Estes also writes about the meaning of feet as symbols of  mobility and freedom, with shoes protecting and defending these wonders and allowing them to be. Maybe I need to take a closer look at those feet of mine. I think it is wonderful to see my shoes as purposeful protectors instead of vessels for hiding. Yet another step towards valuing myself, both the good bits and the bad.

After much inner dialogue I have managed to take a photo of my foot,
 a starting point if ever there was one.
Still on the feet theme,  Estes also writes of leaving footprints.  i.e. doing something to connect with the wild woman within. Doing something you love and making it matter means that you will leave your own remarkable stamp on your world. It doesn’t always have to be vastly life changing, nor on a grand scale, but it does have to connect with the soul. I know very well that in order to make my own footprints I must  continue to embrace my creative red shoes, stepping forward in them with life and purpose. I love the idea of leaving creative footprints, it is a gentle way of reminding myself that I matter; my world may be a small one but  it is lovely to think that I am sharing myself within this world.
I know for certain that I shall be looking at other peoples' shoes over the next few days. What do your feet say about you?

I just had to include this quick shot of Charlie's paws,
which make the most gorgeous set of footprints.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Kindred Spirits

I have been thinking a lot about my friendships this week: the dwindling, the solid stayers as well as sparkling new ones. The more I have thought about them, the more I have come to consider whether I am cut out to be a friendship type of person or whether I am becoming a hermit! I know they sound like two extremes and the answer is most certainly in the in between, but the journey of this question has been most interesting.
"A bosom friend--an intimate friend, you know--a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it's possible?"
L.M. Montgomery
When I was a little girl I was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and cherished the concept of having that one special friend, that magical kindred spirit, who completely understands you from top to bottom, and who in return, you would give your own life for. I was in such need of that understanding, that security, that inspiration, that connection (there is that word again!). This quest has stayed with me every since. I have always had a small but very close circle of friends instead of realms of friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I feel comfortable with that, but then when those close friendships threaten to fade, it shakes my world and then I admire those people with an address book full of familiarity. Sometimes I feel down that I don’t find making friendships easy; I feel it is expected of me to reach out, to connect, yet that introvert that is me quite frankly often feels scared witless at the thought of connecting. On the few occasions I have shared this view with someone, they are astonished that I feel this way, for the outer me that I show must act very convincingly. But at the heart is a frightened girl, who true friendship means the world to, that treasures it so much that she has such fear in case she is rejected.
And at the moment there are times when I am feeling rejected, not on purpose I am sure, not because people set out to hurt my feelings, but still it makes me question myself- see how I automatically take on the blame- I am good at this.
This week my Omi ( grandmother) sent me a lovely letter containing a poem I had written as a teenager. When I read it there were tears just because it incapsulates that raw need for friendship and that loyalty that I still feel. Isn’t it funny how the universe sends you nudges? I would like to share a small part of it with you:

Friendship ( by Milena aged 14)

The promises to stay friends forever and ever,
The thoughts that occur to us both at once,
The late nights were many secrets are told,
The trust and understanding we possess,
The fact  we hardly ever argue and always care,
The days we spend dreaming of what we will do when we’re old...
I know that friends come into your life for a reason and that friendships have cycles, ebbing and flowing as we grow, that people naturally grow apart as life takes them onto different paths. But I am in a place that makes me want to cling on regardless, even though I am no longer sure that I can do so with some  friendships. I want to feel like that poem but it has to be right. 
At this point I must  write ( before I become too glum)  that in contrast to these dilemmas, I am part of those solid staying friendships - you know who you are- they inspire and save me just by existing and for those I am incredibly grateful. It is in fact good to remind myself at this point how much I have much to celebrate.  I am also excited that I have some amazing, sparkling friendships forming, which are reaching out to that inner girl and making her think of kindred spirits all over again. I’ve just read a fantastic description of these wonderful women in  Women Who Runs With The Wolves. Pinkola Estes writes:
“They are like a fairy godmother, a mentor.... These little wild mothers guide you, burst with pride over your accomplishments. They are critical of blockages and mistaken notions in and around your creative, sensual, spiritual and intellectual life. Their purpose is to help you, to care about your art, and to reattach you to the wildish instincts, and to elicit your original best. They guide the restoration of the intuitive life.”
Thank so much my creative lovelies, it is such an honour to be part of such an awe inspiring tribe.
After all of that, on the flip side of the coin, I am discovering that I do quite like to be a hermit every now and again also. Dare I say it, I am learning to like my own company; although I am spending time alone I don’t seem to feeling lonely. On such days I don’t feel a pull to connect with others, I am happy enough to connect with myself. Such days are growing in number. I like that I am not defining myself by the number of friendships I can form and hold onto on those days, they give me a fresh balance.

Please do tell me how you breathe life into your friendships, I would love to know.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Soul garden

On days like today I have such a deep need to ground myself. I need to be outside: dreaming, designing, pruning, digging the soil, planting. Even inside I want only to prepare my vegetable and herb seeds, to nurture them in growth. I know I can remove myself from the noise of the outside world when I am connecting with my garden, magic happens there.  
For me it has been  a week of extremes - of not being able to see the wood for the trees and then not being able to see the trees, only a vast, dense forest. However, as I sit here today and continue reading Women Who Run with Wolves, these words speaking of the connection with the ancient wild woman,  dance out at me vividly:

“I’m always taken by how deeply women like to dig in the earth. They plant bulbs for the spring. They poke blackened fingers into mucky soil, transplanting sharp smelling tomato plants. I think they are digging down into the two million year old woman. They are looking for her toes and paws. They want her for a present to themselves, for with her they feel of a piece and at peace.... You could even say there is a religion of garden...”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In connection with this theme my good friend Lis, of Dandelion Seeds and Dreams, recently wrote about developing her life as a rich English garden; each bed with its individual unique beauty, its own appeal, with its own cycles and rhythms, each with an element of  wildness within a subtle structured layout.  At the heart of her garden she writes, are her core values and priorities. What a beautiful analogy, don’t you think? Please take a look at the whole post here, it is delicious. I have thought about these words often over the last week,whilst stealing a few quiet minutes at the end of a hectic day, and have caught myself smiling. The power of beautiful words :)