Advice Shared

I was honoured to be asked to contribute to a post involving several top bloggers giving their most inspirational advice this week!

Visit Beyond Norms to read the article.

Thanks Rob for asking me!

Saturday Link ♥ Love

The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be,
and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.
You will be
pretty intelligent,
pretty creative,
pretty amazing,
but you will never be merely "pretty."
Katie Makkai

I've had major internet issues this week... no idea what was wrong, but I'm struggled to be able to get connected at all. But here are a couple of links I'd found earlier in the week. Hope you've all had a good week... I'm looking forward to being back online properly and catching up!

  • I'm featured over at The Middle Finger Project, as part of their Fear, Exposed series... please go read it and tell me what you think.

  • I came across Kelly and her lovely blog and  her shop - she sells beautiful crystal shells... well worth checking out. I can't wait to place an order... I just have to choose which I want first!

  • And lastly, if you haven't watched this video from Katie Makkai, then watch it now!

p.s I've started filling my etsy shop.... please hop over and take a look. Originals are going in today, and I plan on getting prints up in the next couple of days.


List 15: Books I Love


Here's some of my favourite fiction books, in no particular order, and certainly not all of my favourites!

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Caroll
  • The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffennigger
  • Wizard of Oz- Frank L Baum
  • Valley of the Dolls -Jacqueline Susann
  • Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson
  • House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende
  • Lullaby - Chuck Palanuick
  • Lolita - Vladimir Naboka
  • Dolce Vita - Iseult Teran
  • The Colour Purple -  Alice Walker
  •  The Master and Margarita - Mickhail Bulgakov
  • Factotum - Charles Bukowski
  • A Spy in the House of Love - Anais Nin


Allow Yourself to Feel

Guest Post by April Bowles-Olin -

Somewhere along the way we’re taught to hide our feelings. 

The people in our lives often model how they attempt to hide their feelings: they eat an entire carton of ice cream when they’re sad, they celebrate by having a large Italian dinner and bottle of wine, they shut down and isolate themselves instead of getting angry, and they snap at their spouses after work because they’re upset with something their bosses said or did. 

You’ve probably seen this happen and done it yourself many times. And, often we feel like crap after we do one these things. 

So, why not allow yourself to embrace your feelings instead of trying to mask them? When did it become a bad thing to feel scared, angry, sad, or hurt? When did we start to teach our children that a lollipop will make things better?

The Far End of the Spectrum

Sometimes we teach ourselves to numb our feelings so often that really unhealthy things occur such as substance abuse, obesity, and violence. 

When we stop connecting our thoughts to our feelings and actions, we can fall down into a dark pit.
You might be wondering how I know about this. Before I made a career change, I practiced therapy with at-risk adolescents and their families. I had teen after teen sit in the chair across from me and not know how to connect their thoughts to their feelings and actions. My job was to teach them how to do it. What I outline below were some of the basic steps that I used:

Stop Running from Your Feelings

The first step in allowing yourself to feel is to stop running from your feelings. Embrace them. Get to know them.

This doesn’t mean that you should stay in bed all day and wallow in your sadness. It means to accept that you feel sad and try to understand what’s behind the sadness.

You need to get to know your body and determine the signals that it gives you. For instance, when I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with any situation I get this sinking feeling in my gut. When I pay attention to that feeling, I often navigate situations with more control. I find that if that sinking feeling creeps in while making a business decision, I pay close attention to why I’m feeling that way. It has never led me the wrong direction.

Trust Your Body
Your body often tells you what you need, so start listening. 

People who suffer from anxiety disorders have triggers, and they have warning signs that their anxiety is escalating. They might begin to feel nauseous, become dizzy, or feel their heart beat increase. When these signs pop up, they need to take five minutes to reduce their anxiety by practicing some deep breathing, taking a walk around the block, or practicing visualization.

Like people who have anxiety disorders, you also have triggers. When you get to know and trust your body, you can figure out what you really need. 

When I start to get cranky and stressed, it’s usually due to a lack of sleep, unhealthy eating, a lack of exercise, work pressure, or a combination of these things. If I pay attention to my body, I can figure out which one it is, and then fix that area. If I need more sleep, I can take a nap. If I need exercise, I can go for a run.
But, here’s the thing. When I get cranky and stressed, I also start to trick myself into thinking that I can make myself feel better with a bag of chips or by spending an hour watching trashy reality television. In reality, I often feel less satisfied and guiltier after doing one of those things.

Be Kind to Yourself

We can be our own worst enemies, especially when we let our inner critic take over. Your inner critic is that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.
And, if you think about it, you probably say meaner things to yourself than you would ever say to a friend. I would never tell my size 4 friend that she looks fat, but I’ve said it to myself. I would never tell my friend that she should give up on her dream. If anything, I would encourage her to keep going. But, my inner critic tries to tempt me to give up often.

We all have to learn how to be kind to ourselves, and how to tell our inner critics to shut the hell up.

If you’re having a bad day, give yourself 15 minutes at the end of the night to take a bubble bath. If you’re feeling overworked and exhausted, take a mental health day. You’ll be better off for it. 

I know that you’re busy and that you can’t always take a break, but if you don’t at least give yourself five minutes to feel whatever you’re feeling and attempt to deal with it in a healthy way, you might just reach for that bag of candy to try to mask those feelings. And, in the long-term, it won’t work.


April Bowles-Olin works with creative women to lead more fulfilling lives while they make money doing it. She also attempts to add a little prettiness to the world with her art and jewelry. You can learn more about her at Blacksburg Belle and connect with her on Twitter @blacksburgbelle.


Words of Wisdom

The Laughing Heart
charles bukowski 

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


Come visit me at The Middle Finger Project

Hey! Come join me today over The Middle Finger Project where I'm featured as part of the Fear, Exposed series! I'm so excited to be over there. Check it out and tell me what you think!!!

Art = Joy

It's only been 7 months since I picked up my paintbrushes again, after I overcame my fear and ignored my gremlins telling me that I was no good. 7 months of finding my way creatively again and re-discovering my creative side. I'd forgotten how much creating something gives me a sense of peace... deep inside, when I'm painting I'm happy and calm. Fitting in some time every day to paint really helps to keep me sane. When I'm feeling blue, or stressed, or nervous, or insignificant. I turn off the computer and I paint. I can loose myself in a painting and nothing else matters. All my problems drift away for a while.

I'm slowly gaining some confidence in my work... I can see a VAST improvement over the last few months. And after 8 years of not having painted I have to expect to be a little rusty. One thing I have to remember is to not compare myself to other artists. I am painting for myself, I do not need (although sometimes I want) others validation. Comparing myself to others only ends in making me feel bad. I am learning to accept my painting as it is... to be happy with what I can do and not wish for more.

Painting really is the best therapy I've ever had!

Here are a couple of photos of some of what I've been working on recently:


right now

Living Life Your Way... Interview with Hollie Dunne

I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...

This week's interview is with Hollie Dunne who blogs over at Mermaids Closet

*Hi Hollie , tell us a little about yourself.
Hey Polly and friends! A little about myself...
I'm 26, married to an Irish boy I love more than cupcakes. We live in South Florida, and are saving up for a summer move to Cali ;) We're needing the trees and temperate weather. I'm Canadian, and a Northern girl through and through. I need nature to be happy, and without it, I'm only half alive. Big into crafts, drawing, music, slow food, health, family, friends, animals, blogging, writing, singing, photography :D I'm happy to hang out all alone, but adore girly days of pink and sparkles and giggles. I secretly want my Barbie and My Little Pony collection back. Actually it's not a secret at all. The other side of me is quite dark. I adore sad mermaids, pond nymphs, fairies, wolves. You know, that whole thing. Mystery. Etsy, promoting, blogging, crafting and artsy community events are what I spend most time doing. Other time I spend with friends, connecting, or cooking yummy food. Or cuddling ;)

*Asides from blogging, what else do you do?

Thankfully my hubby is the breadwinner so I have the days to myself. I like to do Barnes and Noble, the library, crafting, attending and vending craft shows and other artsy events. I love family and time spent with friends. I love to laugh and be silly, and that part of me is still 12 years old. And I don't intend to grow up in that area ;) I love to help others, and I find it helps me feel happy. I'm a bible student and help interested ones to learn more about it. I travel when I can, up north to see my Parents in Minnesota. Love cooking, like I said. That's my other passion. Art you can eat. I have cut out sugar, starch and gluten from my diet, so it's always fun to be creative with alternatives. I can't live without goat cheese, avocados or raw almonds :D

*Is the life you lead now the life you've always dreamt of?

Hmm, well I'm not so sure I ever dreamt of a life at any point. What I dreamed of growing up was being in love with my husband. That's covered ;) We laugh alot, talk, get along as best friends-and finding him was the last thing I ever imagined happening. I always knew I wanted to be a wife. Though I love my alone time, he makes me whole. Everything else is vanity. A place of dwelling, material things, "dreams". I'm happy just to be, and to help others. I focus on nature, taking care of people-and those things are real. I try to ignore everything else and only indulge once in a while in the things that can trick us into thinking money can make us happy. I worry about the environment daily, and also the cruelty of the world, but I have faith that helps me put things into perspective.
Hollie and her husband
*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
Like most everyone else I have had dark days and periods of life. But I'm thankful actually. I don't believe in regret. I have been able to connect with and help others who struggle on so many occasions, and I couldn't be more thankful I knew how to encourage them. I feel that all the hard times are just memories now, and though they hurt sometimes to think about, they have mostly healed. Remember that a bad experience DOES smooth over in time. Might not go away and you'll have a scar, but the pain subsides.

My inspiration to keep going was knowing that all the pain we experience now is only temporary. Things will get better in time. Focusing on a positive future inspired me. Also my own natural inclination to be happy. I have always had a hearty laugh, and a motivation to smile. An innocence that can make me trust the wrong people, but at the same time believe that there will always be good in the world too. So I focused on doing things that helped me laugh and smile. I dressed cute, forced myself to spend time with friends that kept me "up". Rented cute movies and listened to positive music. I forced myself alot, in many ways. Slowly my fake smiles turned into real ones. This is what any Dr. will tell you if you have depression. Only you can make yourself better by doing everything, every day that feels impossible.

*Fear affects us all some point in our lifes. What part has fear played in your life, and how have you overcome it?

That's very true. Once we realize that fear is not a real thing that can hurt us, we can put things into perspective. I suggest doing things in stages. Say you're afraid to share your artwork with the world. You have a fear of people judging it, cutting it up. Maybe asking you personal questions about the content. Maybe you'll be able to sense that they don't like it. You would feel ashamed and embarrassed.

The only way to overcome this is to gain confidence in your work. Start in little ways to believe in your work. REALLY believe in it. One way to start is to hang up pieces in your room. The ones you actually love and are proud of. Hang them up all over your house and don't ask anyone what they think. Then start showing your pieces to friends or family you trust. Give them the pieces they like. They will tell you they love it, and believe them! Then you could put up your work on flickr. Then maybe at craft shows. Then maybe online. Steps. It's the same with any fear.

That was my fear. Sharing my work with the world. I have always felt "weird" in my tastes. I often wondered if my drawings would be too dark to share. Too sad. Or that my fashion would be too narrow in style. Would my dark stuff even flow with the girly stuff? I was afraid nothing would sell I would look stupid for hoping it would. However, in time the right ppl came along and raved about my work, and I discovered that even if everyone you know doesn't quite "get" what you make, someone in the world WILL, and it's up to you to share it so they can find you! But you NEED that confidence first, before sharing. Because usually you will not experience success right away. You need that confidence to motivate you to not give up, and to help you remember that in the end, your work is still awesome.
'Marina' by Hollie Dunne

Pinwheel Ragdoll - Statement Necklace

*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?

First, it's best to remember that our hearts aren't always right. Some people desire things that ulitmately will end up in sadness and frustration. Fame, for instance is not real. It would be a waste of life to spend all your energies trying to "make it". Everyone who does ends up on drugs, alcohol or other forms of dependancy that lead to isolation and depression. None of us were made to be healthy in the limelight. The best way to listen to your heart is by throwing yourself into something that has nothing to do with recognition. Go camping. Plant a garden. Go for a hike. Visit your grandparents and make them a cup of tea. Figure out what ACTUALLY matters in the world and THEN follow your dreams. Hopefully some perspective will lead your path in the right direction. Only then will you be truly happy.

I have always wanted to share my work with the world. I wanted to share what the world looked like behind my eys. I wanted to share what my hands can make. I love to give. What is art and creation without haring? And so I spend time creating, and selling. This makes me happy. However, it is only a PART of my life. Money and ego can cloud anyone's judgement, and thus I have no interest in building a huge career. I know I would end up exhausted and lose the sparkle in my simple life. And so I pace myself, and do what I enjoy o balanced with helping others and focusing on the other things that actaully matter in my life. Whatever you dream of doing, work for! It won't be easy. But just remember that time with your family and loved ones should come first, and your dreams should never jeopardize those priceless bonds.
good times at a Crafty Pot Luck Party

*What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?
Number one, a hope for the future based on scripture or whatever else you believe in. This gives us a foundation and ultimate goal. Without this, we are constantly searching for steady ground. This feeling of being lost can make one sick, I think. It infects everything good and innocent in life to feel lost. Find what you're looking for, and then you can truly grow, with both feet planted and rooted on the ground.

Number two. Surround yourself with things that make you laugh and feel content. Even if you have experienced great loss, or have not found that one to make you feel whole yet, this is possible. This also requires constant sifting. Add in positive friends and experiences, and sift out the negative ones. Be in control of your life, and never think that you aren't.

Number three. Find ways to give to those around you. Volunteer, visit lonely older friends. Write letters to your far away friends. Get to know your neighbors. Bake a pie for someone who's sad. Pick flowers for someone who is lonely. You will see that the less time you spend thinking and worrying about yourself, the more healthy and happy you will be. I also suggest taking up writing, or some kind of craft. Have an outlet where no one can pick you apart. Let it all out and you'll feel content
*Where can we connect with you?

You can read and follow my blog here: http://mermaidscloset.blogspot.com
You can shop my goodies here: http://blueberryshoes.etsy.com
You can follow my tweets here: http://twitter.com/blueberryshoes
You can view my artwork here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46487706@N02/sets/72157624473801079/


Sick and Tired


I'm sick. Again. 10 days ago I had a nasty cold, and a chesty cough. It kinda went away but not entirely. Yesterday I woke up feeling pretty yucky. This morning I'm still feeling the same. I have no voice. I feel exhausted and run down. My body needs to rest and I need to learn to listen to it. I get sick but I have so much to do that I don't stop and rest. I keep going. Keep pushing myself until I collapse. In the last 2 years, the 3 times I've gotten sick, it's ended up with bad chest infections (twice) and pleurisy (once). I'm not good at admitting that I need rest. That I need help. With 3 children to look after, and home school, a house to run, cleaning, cooking, washing, a million and one activities to go to, blogging, painting etc... I don't have the time to just stop and rest. There isn't really anyone who can take over or step in for a day or two when I'm ill. 

I've been neglecting myself. So focused on all I 'have' to achieve everyday, that I don't have the time to take care of myself. Remember one of my 52 lists on self care? Well I have to admit I haven't been following it. I might have stopped drinking and smoking, I dont' starve myself or binge and purge anymore.... BUT I'm still abusing my body in other ways. I don't fuel it with nourishing foods, I don't give it time to rest or exercise it.

I stay up late working, but with a baby who gets me up around 6am everyday, I really need to get some early nights, as this lack of sleep is clearly making me ill. I need to exercise, and to eat healthily. That last one is the trickiest though. I'm an all or nothing girl. My brain seems to still be hot wired into old ways of thinking left over from my eating disorder days. I start off by just trying to eat healthily, no sugars etc but my brain doesn't stop there and before I know it I'm eating nothing. Zero. Zilch. I don't know how to eat healthily and sensibly. I don't know how to restrict the unhealthy foods without restricting everything. 

I need someway of finding a balance... of being able to cut out certain foods. To learn to nourish my body with the things that it needs.

For today, I am stopping and resting. My husband is home, so in theory there is someone else to keep an eye on the children. I'm going to snuggle on the sofa and do absolutely nothing!!!


Saturday Link ♥ Love

This weeks Link ♥ Love

I haven't spent as much time surfing online this week... I've been busy creating - 4 paintings this week! But here a few snippets of inspiration for you.

  • Beautiful words from 6 writers on what makes them feel beautiful here

  • Great article on praise, punishments, "consequences" and intrinsic motivation - Unpacking Praise

  • I discovered writer and musician Julianna Finch - check out her blog and her music 

  • And I've seen this before, but re-discovered it this week. A video by filmmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis - "How to be alone". For my kindred spirits:


List 14: Things to love about Autumn

 Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

  • You can curl up cozily by a fire. Curl up with a book in front of a blazing fire makes me feel so cozy.
  • Making a big crock pot of chili or soup. Nothing better than homemade chili and soup to warm your belly after a walk outside.
  • Halloween! I love love love halloween <3
  • The trees look like rainbows. I love seeing the way nature creates its own rainbows on the ground and on the branches. (See this article on "Why Leaves Change Color"), 
  • The feeling of change. I always feel like autumn is the start of something, the beginning of something new... maybe it's years of the new school year starting in the autumn... but to me, autumn is a perfect time to make those changes you've been thinking about.
  • Crunchy Leaves. Even as an adult, it's still fun to jump in a big pile of crunchy leaves.
  • Back to school stationary... yes I know I don't go to school (or do my children) but I still love looking at all the cute notebooks and packs of pens that appear right about now!
  • That autumny smell in the air - a whiff of smoke from a chimney, mingled with the dry leaves covering the ground. Heaven.
  • It's time to crack open the hot chocolate - nothing beats a hot drink to wrap your hands around and warm your tummy on a chilly autumn day.
  • Bonfire Night - as a child, bonfire night was always special, we'd start building the fire months before, we'd have a ton of family and friends round, lots of food and lots of fireworks.


Who Am I?


“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
-Winne the Pooh

I've been feeling a little lost the last few days. I've been focused on fighting the depression for the last few months, trying to overcome my fears and finding my joy again. As things level out, the depression has subsised, I've activly fighting fear everyday and joy is filling my days again, I'm finding that there is still a niggling voice inside my head, whispering over and over "but who are you?"

I've spent years feeling that who I am isn't good enough, that I don't count. I always felt that I was inferior to everyone else around me and that the things I liked/wanted/thought/did were wrong. So... I spent years trying to be someone else. Trying to be like others around me, trying to be something different depending on who I was with... trying to be who I thought they wanted me to be. Of course, that never worked. I was always chasing after this fictional person, always trying to figure out what people wanted from me. It caused me even more heartache.

Now, I'm on a mission for authenticity. But, after a lifetime of trying to be someone else, I'm struggling to figure out who I actually am. I still think that people won't like me for who I acutally am. I stuggle to give myself the power to stand up and say THIS IS ME. And I'm realising that I don't know who I am..... I need to delve deep inside me and work out the things that matter to me. But most importantly I need to learn to be proud of who I am, and unafraid to let others see me.

There have been many melancholy moments lately, an ache deep inside me, a sadness and a yearning although I'm not sure what for. Part of it is the season, for I always feel this way when autumn arrives. Part of it is the depression trying to take hold again. I'm strong enough now to know that things are fine. To be extra kind to myself when I am feeling blue. To sit tight and ride it out. To live in the moment and not worry about the future. 

When I'm feeling melancholy, when the voices are whispering "no-one likes you" I can ignore them... remind myself that isn't true. Remind myself of the messages and visits from friends. Know that they wouldn't ask to meet up if they didn't want to, know that my thoughts are not always the truth.

This is me here, being authentic... admitting that I don't know who I am... and hoping that's ok to admit.


Words of Wisdom


Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.
If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.
If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.


Be here now

One thing I'm working on right now is to try and live here and now in THIS moment. Life can get so hectic, we rush through our days never truly experiencing what is around us. Living in the moment is one key step I can make along this path to happiness and contentment. When my depression is at it's worst I'm constantly looking to the future, thinking about what could make me happy, or where I need to be to be content in my life. By focusing on what I don't have (or perceive not to have) I'm denying all the good that is in my life RIGHT NOW. I get so wound up in my thoughts that I lose track of what is real.

There is beauty in every moment, and even through the harder moments we can experience something beautiful if we allow ourselves too.

My thinking up until now has always been very black and white. All or nothing. Everything is fantastic or totally bloody awful. A bad moment was dark clouds and sadness. I never saw the middle ground. One moment of sadness and I would allow it to pull me all the way down. I'd focus on that, long after that moment had passed, and ignore what was going on now.

A quote I read somewhere (and I can't for the life of me find it again now!) stated that:
Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.
 I'm learning to focus on NOW. To avoid worrying about what has been, or might be.  To stop wishing for things that I don't have and instead enjoy the things that I do. It's all to easy to think 

"oh, when I have x,y and z THEN I'll be happy"

Focusing on what is happening in the present is keeping me grounded, savouring the many moments of joy that make up each and every day is helping me to fight the negative thoughts that run through my mind. I'm choosing to focus on the good, each time a negative thought pops up, I acknowledge it but then find something positive to replace it with. 


I realised that I love the simple things in life. I don't need lots of money, a big house, mountains of possessions to be happy. I have all I need in life to be happy already - I just have to focus on them. I'm re-learning every day to be thankful for what we have and to not let life pass me by any longer.


Don't hold them inside, a good cry can do wonders for the soul


Value Your Time


Until you value yourself you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
M.Scott Peck

Living Life Your Way.... Interview with Jenn Gibson

I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...

This weeks interview is with Jenn Gibson from Kind Over Matter

on a journey
*Hi Jenn, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a photographer and writer, and one-half of the duo that created Kind Over Matter. I like to paint words on rocks and then tell stories of what those words mean to me. I'm a lacto-vegetarian with a healthy obsession for Mexican food and I will never give up cheese, quite possibly because of that. I steal snuggles from Bean the Boy Kitten. Daily parts of my life are paper journaling, talking to my dear sweet momma and sky-gazing. The beach owns me, lock-stock-and-barrel. I'm happier right now than I've ever been before and every day I give thanks for it all.

*What is the inspiration behind Kind Over Matter?

Amanda and I started Kind Over Matter almost two years ago, she had made some printable kind cards for her Etsy shop and sent me a few. We got to talking and decided to make a group on Flickr, to pool all of the photos, then we decided to make a blog. The rest, as they say, is history.

The core of Kind Over Matter is rooted deeply in celebrating the everyday type of kindness, the things that most people don’t actively notice but that make a difference – holding the door open for someone, offering a smile, engaging someone in a quiet kind of conversation, letting them be heard. So often that can make all the difference in someone’s day, I know it has in mine.

*Aside from Kind Over Matter what else do you do?

Mmm, lots of things! I love to make videos and take photos. I’m gathering ideas for my next video and so excited to share it with everyone. I dusted off my blog and have started writing again, sharing my thoughts and parts of my journey, I’ve missed writing so much, it feels amazing to get back to it. I love roadtripping – over the summer I went out to Tennessee and visited my Sister Sara -- so fun! But all of that aside, the main thing I’m doing right now is trying to find balance and I’ve been lucky enough to work with an awesome life coach, Danette has been such a blessing through this discovery period. She’s just the best.

*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?

Sometimes the only thing that kept me going was the deep-seated belief that tomorrow would be better. Trusting in that and living inside each moment as best as I can, those help when things get tough.

*All of us have our fears, some rule stronger than others. What part has fear played in your life?

Fear has played a huge part in my life. I’ve lived with anxiety since I was 7 and for a very long time it controlled me, it designated where (and if) I went, how long I stayed, what I ate. My dad died when I was 21, for months after that I wouldn’t leave the house, with the sole exception of going to work, if that. I was terrified that something would happen to my family, I needed to be there to take care of them, I had to be there. Breaking out of that frame of mind was so hard and I’m so thankful that I was working with a grief counselor through that period, she was so gentle and careful with me. I was fragile, I was broken and had no idea how to fix things. Until one day, I wanted to drive up to this place outside Baltimore, there were waterfalls and I’d always gone there for a spot of peace. At that time I was living an hour away, so you can imagine how enormous even the thought of doing that was. But I got in my car, shaking and crying the whole way. I got there, stayed for a few minutes and then turned around and went home. I was terrified. I was proud of myself. My first victory, but not my last.

Each victory has been celebrated, each moment held dear.

And because I shared all of that, the beginning and middle, I want to share, not the end, but the present, where things are now. Two years ago I did cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. You see, I get the most wonderful cases of wanderlust and I sometimes need to drive places, far places, to see what’s out there, to experience life somewhere else, for a day or a week. That’s such a fundamental part of who I am. But, I wanted to go other places, overseas, and that required me getting on a plane. Which I’d never done. Which scared me to pieces. I would not get on a plane, even driving to an airport would cause really high levels of anxiety. I wanted this to change, though, I wanted to not live in fear anymore. So I did CBT and things were rolling along merrily, I made tentative plans to fly somewhere, but then I was told I was going to San Diego, for work. I’d have to fly across the country. I was terrified. I was thrilled. I was ready. The picture up at the top of this post, I took this when I was at the Pacific Ocean. This photo shows you how hard I’ve worked for the past 25 years on living with and overcoming anxiety. This photo is my triumph.

*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?

The same thing I tell myself : Be brave, be fearless. We’re only here for a short time, go all out, live without regrets. If you fail, try again, and then try again.

*What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?

Oh wow, hard to whittle it down to just three. I’d have to say, for me, those three things are eating really amazing tasty food, honoring my Truths and Values and creating things, anything. Those are the most important.

*Where can we connect with you?

You can find me writing at This Messy Life and Kind Over Matter, on Twitter and Facebook, and Flickr and Vimeo.

Stop over and say hi, I’d love to meet you!


Come walk with me

 This morning, with the sun shining bright in the sky we set off to a local park for some fresh air and a run around. It was 10am, but apart from a couple of dog walkers we had the park to ourselves. The girls enjoyed themselves, swinging and sliding, running through piles of leaves and trying to catch the squirrels! Here's some hightlights from our morning:

Saturday Link ♥ Love

It's that time of the week again!!!

I've spent the best part of this week laid up with the flu. I had to remind myself to listen to my body and STOP. With a life full to the brim, a million things on the go at once and a to-do list longer than my arm, giving in and stopping for a few days isn't an easy task. So instead of pushing myself to keep going, I gave in. Allowed myself a few days of not doing very much. We chilled at home, baked some cakes, read lots of books, played some games and watched a couple of movies. I sent the girls off to the library with their dad for a couple of hours, and spent the time painting. I'm feeling much better now, ready to get back out there and live :D

Here's a little link ♥ love for this week:

  • First up is the absolutely fabulous Cakie Belle. Run by the beautiful Katie Krosby, a writer, dreamer, cake fanatic and advocate for positive body image and crusader for self love.

There's another 'Living Life Your Way' Interview on Monday with Jenn Gibson from Kind Over Matter


List 13: Advice to live by


  • Know the rules... and then break some
  • Always be open to change
  • But hold onto your values
  • Believe in your dreams. They matter!
  •  Cherish your friends and make new ones along the way.
  • Never say "I love you" unless you mean it
  • Don't let your pride ruin a friendship
  • Do something exciting and new. Look at life from another view point.
  • Read more, watch less tv
  • Embrace some solitude
  • look the person in the eyes when you're apologising
  •  Adopt a positive attitude
  • Love like you've never been hurt
  • Treat the earth well
  • Go somewhere new every year
  • Be prepared to take risks
  • Allow yourself to be you. Don't censor your actions.
  • Have fun and enjoy a million laughs
  • Let creativity become a part of everyday life...


Catching up


I'm full of cold right now and I was awake half the night because my chest was so tight, I was having to take really shallow breaths and it was making me feel panicky. Feeling a little better this morning, just sleepy! So the girls have gone to the library with their Dad, leaving me home alone for the first time in ages!!! I've finished another painting whilst they've been out and now it's time for some online work!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about which direction I want to move in with my art. I would love to be able to do some craft fairs next year - right now I don't have the confidence. I've decided that I'm going to set up an etsy shop, I'm busy working on it now, and hopefully it will be up and running soon. I'm also going to be making a few small changes around here... I've bought my own domain name, so I now own PixieMama.co.uk!!!

All that as well as having 3 girls, 3 cats and a house to look after! If I only had a few extra hours in my day or a pause button for everything!!! Hope you are all having a lovely autumn day


Words of Wisdom



The road may be long
In myself I must believe
Because my heart is strong

The mountain may be steep
In myself I must believe
Therefore I will not weep

In the face of adversity
In myself I must believe
I’m the master of my destiny

When facing an angry wave
In myself I must believe
Because I’ll always be brave

In spite of life’s complexity
In myself I must believe
Because I will trust serenity

I’ll always do my best to strive
For in myself I’ll always believe
Because my soul is joyful and alive


I am enough

 For a long time, I have felt inadequate as a person. I've felt that nothing about me measures up to any one else. I've spent my life chasing after a version of me that just doesn't exist. I always thought that if I could just be more like 'X' then everything would be fine, or if I do exactly what 'Y' has done then things will work out.
I hated myself so much that I couldn't see any thing good in me, I couldn't see how any one else could like let alone love me. I had no faith in myself, I didn't trust myself to make the right decision, or the confidence to just be myself.

Trying to be someone else has done me no good. I've struggled and struggled through life, hating every inch of myself. Wishing to vanish. The one thing that has slowly started to make a difference in the last 6 months is to accept that I am enough. I don't need to be anyone else, I don't need to do what someone else does, or think what they think, or like what they like. I am on my own path, and I have to stop fighting and start accepting.

I am enough and I am doing my best.
I am enough and I am doing my best.
I am enough and I am doing my best.
Repeating in my head over and over, when I feel stressed or blue or inadequate.

The bad stuff is always easier to believe than the good, and easier to remember too. But I'm giving it up. I don't want to look back on my life with regret. All there is is the here and now. I am me and I am enough. I am not someone else and the path that I am taking is the right one.

The last couple of weeks, I've been feeling unsure about my art. I keep comparing myself to other artists, people who have been working on it for years and years (not months and months). I've been allowing myself to feel inadequate. I've been wondering why I'm even bothering as I'm never going to compete with all that they've achieved.

Then some wise words came in an email to me. A friend saying that as much is her love of creating it's only a PART if her life. That she has no desire to build a huge career out of it. Her words sat with me, and I began to realise that I love painting and creating. It fills my soul with joy, and makes me feel so good. I love my simple life, the fact that I can spend so much time with my 3 girls while they are little. I realised that I don't feel the need to create a huge career out of this. I paint because I love it... and if I can spread some of that love by sharing my art then even better. But I don't need or want to compete with others. They are on their path and I am on mine. And I am happy with where the road is leading....



Living Life Your Way... Interview with Tara Wagner

I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...

First up, this week is Tara Wagner, the woman behind the amazing 'The Organic Sister' blog.

* Hi Tara, tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I'm a mama to an unschooling 11 year old son, Zeb. And a wife to an unjobbing hubby, Justin. We travel full-time, work for ourselves and learn independently without school. I'm a writer, mindful parenting and unschooling coach, photographer and dreamer. I'm crazy passionate about living inspired, self-directed or self-created lives, sustainability, hooping, learning and a million other things. I'm crazy in love with my family and my life. 
*How long have you been travelling for, and do you have any ideas on how long you'll stay on the road for?
We started traveling in March of 2010. It started as a one year trip in hopes of finding a new home. But we're enjoying it so much (and we've yet to find any place that makes us want to stay) that we've decided to extend it. We don't know how long we'll travel for, but we hope to make it last just as long as we want and settle somewhere we absolutely love when we're ready.

*Is this something that you have always dreamt of doing?
No! In fact, it's something I never dreamed was possible. I had a pretty limited view of what I could actually do with my life before my husband came up with the crazy idea to get an RV. But once I saw this as not just possible, but pretty simple, it's opened me up in some pretty unimaginable ways. 
*All of us have our fears, some rule stronger than others. What part has fear played in your life? 
The "Who am I" fear has played a pretty significant role. Who am I to think we can learn without school, who am I to think we can make a living without a job, who am I to try to sell my photography or offer any parent advice or travel full-time? I rub up against that voice every time I start to feel inspired or begin some lofty goal. But although it's played a role, it's not the leading role. It's just a passerby, an annoying (and sometimes depressing) interruption
*When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
My own desire to do it. When I sit on something I want to be doing, it burns. It haunts me and drives me crazy. Or it leaves and finds a new person to inspire and that's even scarier. I want to do so much in this life, with this life. It's full and amazing and intense and the potential is hardly even tapped. What other option is there but to keep going? If I quit every time something got hard I'd never make it out of bed in the morning (because really, what's harder than that?). So usually, I sit with it - the difficulty - for a bit. I feel it. I vent or whine or cry or get depressed. But ultimately I know it will pass. Sometimes in hours or days or even months. But everything passes. Then I get on with it. I might reevaluate or reconfigure. But I keep moving forward. Because I want to. 
*What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
Know what you want and why you want it. Then do it. Take a wild leap. Take a safe leap. Take three small steps. Just do it. Do something. Anything. Then surround yourself with other people following their hearts. Get support, get coaching, get a group started. I'm learning there's a lot of magic in dreaming with others.  
 *What does the Helen Keller quote on your website mean to you?
Have you ever looked up the word "adventurous?" It's full of descriptions like "willing to seek out new and daring enterprises; willing to incur risks; full of hazard; requiring courage; a wild and exciting undertaking."

THAT is life. Life is asking us to take daring risks, to be brave, to undertake a wild and exciting ride. It may look like parenting from a place of passion and compassion or writing a best selling novel; traveling the country or feeding the homeless. I don't think your life has to seem wild or crazy, it just has to be embraced fully. Just living awake and aware and authentically is quite an adventure in itself.

The alternative is what I think we too easily get caught up in: starting a job or becoming a parent and shuffling through the rest of our life half asleep, moving on auto-pilot and not enjoying the hell out of it. 
*How role does your blog and your followers play in your life?

Huge. My blog is My Place. It's my one little spot of solace where I can both be and create Who I Am. Writing is my outlet, my way of processing my world around me. And within me.

But it's more than that. It's my way of sharing something with the world, putting my voice and my heart out there, even if no one hears or even needs what I have to say.

I sometimes put a lot out there. I'm nothing if not open and authentic. And some people are probably made uncomfortable by it. But every day I get emails and comments from people who thank me for it, who needed to hear that everyone deals with this kind of stuff. We all need to know we're not alone, myself included.

Connecting with people in that way is bolstering for me. Our world has grown exponentially because of those we've met online, and now as we travel, in real life. We've met so many amazing people, all doing their own version of amazing things. Being privileged to hear those stories, sometimes have an impact on them or be impacted by them is powerful stuff. You don't realize just how disconnected you are until you really start connecting with others. 

*You have so many projects on the go, do you have any more planned?

Oh heck yeah. I'm a Big Idea person. I always have ideas and projects and plans happening. Some of them I have to love but let go, but there are a few more in the making. I'm working on a new website right now, to be launched this month, on sustainability. And Justin has ideas for another one. Or two. And I want to write more. A lot more. We're working our butts off right now, so some of these are taking a back burner, but they aren't going far. The writing keeps lingering over my head, so I'm sure it'll start demanding more attention soon. But first is the new website. This month!

 *Thanks Tara!

I am so very excited about this  interview series.  I hope in hearing all of these amazing real life stories about fighting fear and following your dream, they'll inspire me and you to do the same.