Do you need to reclaim some time for your creativity? Are there creative pursuits you want to engage in over the summer months? If you had to pick just one, what would it be I wonder?
Today I want to talk to you about a few things:
1. Finding JOY.
2. The simple things in life.
3. Capturing memories.
It's July and we are now just a few weeks past the halfway point in the year and for me, it’s a time when I like to reflect on the Spring and set some nourishing creative intentions for the months and season ahead.
I struggle with the Summer months, I'm not good with the heat, my Irish freckled skin needs protecting at all times and I find my energy levels drop so I have to make a shift. Finding joy in our lives is more important than ever, with the backdrop of events around us in the world tuning into and engaging with what brings us happiness is desperately needed. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love to create mood board. Pulling all of these images together inspires me to breathe a beautiful deep nourishing breath. Some still from my photo reel, vintage images of women—enjoying the beach—my pressed seaweeds from last Summer, videos stills of rippling water are all simple pleasures that invite me to stop for a monent and be in the season, in myself, connect to the things I love. back, unwind, and enjoy.
I just want to take you back for a moment, two years in fact to 2020. Can you remember? The sun was beating down in England like it hadn’t since 1976. Back then I was 6 months old, documented by little photographs in white cotton sun hats and dresses sitting on brown grass that looked like straw. People spoke about that summer for years, about the heat and the dryness, do you remember? That summer in 2020 was a year after we had put an offer on a house by the sea and 3 years since the summer a tumor was cut out of my neck, and I spent my last ever month caring for my Mum. The tears well up as I write that sentence and sometimes, I have to remind myself that all of that happened during those long light-filled days. That the pain is still there and will never go away, but there is joy surrounding that black hole of pain, like it’s wrapped in cotton wool protecting it and helping it to heal. That joy is what I want to write to you about today, the simple things in life that can be taken for granted but are always there waiting for us to connect with them.
At first for me it was the garden, it had kept me going through caring for my mum, the day we lost her it was there directing me to the tiny weeds which I therapeutically picked out, to the lavender whose scent soothed my broken heart, to the pear tree we had spent so many days being sheltered by its shade, to the crunch on the gravel patio that reminded us of the beach, of blissful days on the south coast. Day trips, camping holidays, collecting shells, dipping our painted toes in the sea, eating ice cream, pushing coppers into arcade slots.
There were many, many summers that I couldn’t get to the sea, but the handful of days trips peppered over the first few years of life with my husband kept me going. The memories of days trips with my Mum, Grandma, and brother transported me for a while and put a smile on my face. The sound of waves lapping on the shore coming from the speakers of my laptop soothed me as I worked in my studio, imagining I was in a beach hut looking out to sea.
What I discovered was how incredibly powerful our senses actually are! That by pausing for a moment and really tuning in to what we hear, smell, taste, and see can totally transport us and bring so much joy no matter where we are.
Close your eyes for a moment, can you see the sea?
Can you hear the calming sound of waves?
Can you feel the sand touching your bare feet?
What can you smell?
Our imagination is a powerful thing, and our senses can recall memories in a heartbeat. If like me for many years you can’t get to the sea, or the beach, or take a holiday, then revisiting those memories or imaginings and daydreams can have such a profound effect. Simple, small pleasures are what gives us the power to restore feelings of happiness and positivity. They help us be energized and productive and give us perspective in the most challenging times.
Small pleasures are the little joys that add
up to create a life well-lived.
So, stop for a moment and think, how many small pleasures can YOU think of? Are there new ones that you can discover and experience for the first time this year? Are there one’s you want to relive from previous summers. I thought it would be difficult to see my laptop in the garden, but I rearranged some things, put an umbrella up and yes, the sun will creep round and I will have to move but that’s ok, it's all possible. So many of these things are so easily accessible and quite sustainable long-term, as you can change them up, adapt them to what you are doing that day and change them with your mood. It’s all about bringing pockets of joy into our days, sometimes all we have to do is close our eyes.
During that summer of 2020, I connected my art journaling practice to those memories, using paint, collage, words, pattern, and colour to bring my summer memories to life on paper. I thought about all the things I love about summer, writing lists and typing them up on my vintage typewriter. I mixed watercolours to create ice-cream shades and painted marks and splodges freely on my paper. I cut out shapes of boats and sails and ice creams and bikinis and parasols and created scenes adding words, phrases, thoughts. I cannot tell you how much joy it brought to a difficult summer, a summer when I wasn’t sure how long it would be until I felt the sand between my toes again or the waves lapping at my ankles.
I wanted to bring that joy to others, so I created a class to take at your own pace with all the elements you need to bring together your summer memories in a beautiful bespoke art journal.
Making something with our hands, using emphemera that is woven with memories and emotion is such a meaningful and rewarding thing to do.
I hope that you have found inspiration in these words to tell your own story and memories of Summer. What was that creative pursuit that you chose to engage with? Here are a few things to get you inspired...
8 Hours of the calming sounds of waves. Listen Here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/calming-sounds-waves
My Summer Memory Pinterest Board to get you inspired: https://pin.it/MpcQ6T8
Your own checklist sheet to download and print below:
_My Small Joys of Summer Checklist
Download PDF • 1.52MB
I'd love to know what you are planning to do, leave a comment below.