Monday, 26 January 2015

Winter Walks

(apologies for the pic quality, they were all on my phone)
We spent this weekend in Somerset due to the motorsport season kicking off again at Brean. The weather turned out to be incredibly cold but sunny and dry which made the perfect combination for walks on the beach between stages with Maya, our gorgeous husky.

I love the beach on a sunny winters day, free from crowds but the sunny reminder of spring and summer yet to come. Wrapped up warm with the chill of the wind brushing my face, the walk certainly blew away the cobwebs and the dogs were enjoying playing on the beach and half attempts to chase the horses riding passed them along the edge of the sea. 

It's strange to look out to see the Welsh coast, my home, on the other side. It got me thinking about what's to come, this view will be my new home, the English side rather than the Welsh and I'll admit there was a pang of homesickness already. That being said I am excited and ready to make the change to country living. A stop off at Clevedon after dark, with it's Victorian promenade, coffee shops and restaurants over looking the twinkling lights of Wales, made me realise that it's not far to go back when the longing for city life gets too much.


Linking up with IBOT 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Losing the Crazy Women

It may be -3 outside but the sun is shining and it feels it has been a good start to the week. It may have something to do with being on the edge of an exciting new move or just the fact that I added a bit of tan to my milky white skin but it's a vast improvement to last week.
Last week I was a crazy woman! I couldn't get anything done or think straight and was completely overwhelmed by the amount of work pressure the Mr and I were facing. Switching to working for myself hit me like a ton of bricks in the face and I found that a lack of structure lead to me spending most of my days attempting to be productive very unproductively.  After reaching out to some amazing ladies who are self employed and true gems, my panic has diminished and I'm fairly confident of mastering productivity and an organised, calm self shortly. Advice of structuring days, meals and weekly financial breakdowns have been taken on board and although today has been spent on admin, sorting clothes for charity, cleaning and organising my weekly schedule, I feel as though I'm on the first step of becoming more in control.

When I feel as though everything is out of control, the self critic in me becomes exacerbated and last week took full control of my thinking. I'm not going to expand too much today as I plan on writing about it again, but needless to say I was emotional and difficult to be around. Thankfully, some time in an inspiring office with people who are doing great things and a 24 hours with my favourite person have lifted me up (avoiding my admission to the Priory!) and motivated me to push through this week.
The picture above doesn't really have any bearing on this post but it's one I was drawn to so it's there! How are you managing to motivate yourself at the moment? The freezing cold snow / sleet storms really aren't helping here!
Linking  up with Shanna

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Weekend Words

I love pinning quotes on Pinterest, I have a board devoted to them and they are my go-to when I'm needing some inspiration or a pick me up. Each Saturday I will be sharing one from my ever growing selection! Please feel free to check out my 'Quotes Board'.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Being Creative - Upcoming Exhibitions

I have spent so much time filling in forms and admin related to setting up my business that it sometimes feels that I have lost touch with the subject that I am  setting it up for.  Fitting everything in around the school run and appointments is very demanding on my time and I feel like I haven't been engaging with any history or exhibitions. 
  I need this to change, I miss looking at art, visiting beautiful places and in depth historical debates (geek maybe but I do!) and the enthusiasm and drive they bring out of me. Without visiting exhibitions or attending conferences I feel that I am losing creativity and fear that I will lose the enthusiasm for what I am attempting to do. Does anyone else feel this or is it just me? How can I put together a workshop, curate, teach or write if I am losing touch with or am not passionate about the subject? Making time to explore and engage with history, art and culture is just as important as the paperwork and application writing!
I'm still working out how often it will be yet - maybe an hour a week, a morning every other week, but I will be taking the time out to visit a local exhibition or to attend a talk at the university and get my creativity flowing again and engaging in historical debate.
Here are a couple of exhibitions that I will be visiting this year -
National Portrait Gallery, London
2 July - 18 October 2015
It's no secret that I adore Audrey Hepburn, her style, films, compassion and humanitarian work. I was very excited to learn that the National Portrait Gallery are exhibiting her portraits some already seen, others more personal, starting in July. I haven't been to London in so long and this is the perfect opportunity that I will not be missing.
For tickets and more information visit the National Portrait Gallery website, where the following information was also obtained.
"This fascinating photographic exhibition will illustrate the life of actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). From her early years as a chorus girl in London’s West End through to her philanthropic work in later life, Portraits of an Icon will celebrate one of the world’s most photographed and recognisable stars.
A selection of more than sixty images will define Hepburn’s iconography, including classic and rarely seen prints from leading twentieth-century photographers such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn. Alongside these, an array of vintage magazine covers, film stills, and extraordinary archival material will complete her captivating story."
Supported by the Audrey Hepburn Exhibition Supporters Group

Moved by Conflict
M-Shed, Bristol
Now until 1 March 2015

Pic: Bristol Museums & Archives
As I spend my time split between South Wales and the South West, exhibitions in Bristol are easily accessible (M-Shed is also easily accessible via public transport). M-Shed holds some fantastic exhibitions and workshops and I will definitely be paying a visit before this First World War exhibition ends.

Entry to M-Shed is free however ticket information for the Moved by Conflict exhibition is available via the M-Shed website here, where the following information was also obtained.

"The First World War had a profound effect on Bristol and its people. Through hundreds of original objects and archives Moved by Conflict explores the physical, social and personal changes made by war.
In association with Bristol Old Vic, people’s stories reveal how local lives have been altered by the turmoil of war. This moving and informative exhibition will take you from Bristol in the early 1900s and its position in the British Empire, through 1914–1918, to people in the city today affected by current global conflicts."
 How do you get your creativity back when you lose touch with it? Are there any exhibitions that you know of coming up? I'd love to hear about any talks you've attended or places that you've visited recently.
Linking up with Random Wednesday

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Moving Forward in 2015


Hello 2015! I've kept a rather low profile over the New Year as I've been spending time with my family, but I hope that you had a great time whatever you were doing. Ours was pretty low key, we stayed in, had dinner, rather a lot of Prosecco and played games - just how we wanted it this year.
The academic in me always feels that September is my new year, a fresh start when the children return to school and new challenges to face before they finish the following July (for those who've been following for a while, forgive me I know I'm repeating myself!). However, this January I really do feel like I am getting a fresh start. Last year was rather forgettable for a number of reasons and although it was a huge learning curve and showed me exactly who my true friends are,  I am so glad that 2015 is here!

This time last year I wrote (here) that my word for 2014 was believing, particularly to believe in myself. So how did I get on? Well throughout the year my belief did waver quite a bit and as I said, I'd rather forget a lot of it, but I did two things that have a big impact that I never thought I would -

*  I started driving again - I had been too scared to after an accident and although it's not my favourite thing to do in the world, I'm back behind the wheel and it's making life so much easier.

*  I started working freelance - I found out last January that due to council budget cuts my job wasn't safe. I ended up losing a lot of hours and a zero hours contract where some weeks I was only working seven hours per week. I set up a social enterprise called Cherished Heritage and by the end of the year had lead a school and community First World War project in South Wales and provided  workshops in a primary school in Somerset. I was lucky enough to win a new business bursary from Chwarae Teg  (an organisation that works towards and promotes equality in the workplace for women) and with that the professional support and use of their office for six months.

So, just before Christmas I left my job at the museum. It was making life at home very stressful for potentially seven hours a week as I have to be flexible around my daughter (Autism Spectrum Disorder means I could be needed at any point during the school day and I suffer with fibromyalgia that also requires a lot of flexibility) and financially I couldn't live off what I was earning.  Today is my first day of fully working at home and it's benefits have already been proven. Anxiety levels were sky high for my daughter who returned to school after three weeks off and I was needed at the school this morning. Usually I would have been even more stressed as I would have been worried about being late for work (again), but I was able to spend the time at school until she had calmed down enough for me to leave.

I've decided to take the same path in 2015, instead of making resolutions I've decided that I will keep moving forward, with my work and personal life in general. Again things are going to be tough with people fighting against us in all walks of life but I need to keep pushing forward, now matter how slowly it seems at times, to get to where I want myself and my family to be. I have plans for this little blog aswell which I will be revealing soon and I'm hoping that you'll stick around on this journey.
I hope that you are having a good start to 2015, have you made any resolutions or decided on a path or word for this year? I'd love to hear them if you have!
Linking up with IBOT