Creating Is Good For The Soul.

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As I write this; we’re 10 weeks into isolation, my dad’s health is failing, my mum has dementia, I used to visit them 3 times a week and for the last 2 and a half months I have not seen them, it is very, very hard. However, we have to carry on and so I’d like to share what we’re doing.

Aside from spending a lots of time on the phone to mum and dad, I am eating my own body weight in chocolate and re-reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (both of which have done their bit to maintain the spirits). I’m also attempting to channel my creativity into my reclaimed vintage bead earrings and writing this blog and as Johnny’s also feeling pretty rubbish he’s doing the same with his art and it is helping….

The earrings I created from vintage recycled and reclaimed beads.

We’re also doing colouring-in, it’s a great way to relax at any age and a good family activity. I’ve also made lots of pom-poms and some cushions, As we face each day, a little time spent creating something feels like a small acheivement and it’s great to have a few wins at the moment.

It feels good to create something…… the slow, tiny sparks of inspiration gently easing the worries and anxiety, opening up the mind to reveal a world outside of our daily concerns.

So keep the faith, I say and go create something, anything: a cake, a poem, a picture, a cushion, a mudpie, take your pick ….

Keep physically distant from others & stay safe.

Thanks & Enjoy

Sarah x

60+ Things To Try In Self-Isolation.

We’re getting the hang of self-isolation now, and the key is keeping the mood positive and to acheive that, having a routine, with restful brakes scheduled is vital and so is having a wide range of activities. So here’s a list to give you a few ideas…

  1. Draw a rainbow for your window – join in the rainbow trail.
  2. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure & paint your nails.
  3. Re-decorate a room or even the entire house.
  4. Do something that you said you’d do when you had time.
  5. listen to music.
  6. De-clutter – go room by room.
  7. Take a virtual tour of a museum or art gallery online.
  8. Do some colouring – not just for kids, very relaxing.
  9. Get some spring cleaning done.
  10. Take a nap.
  11. Learn to knit, crochet, draw or embroider.
  12. Support a small business – feel free to support ours: vintage bead earrings, Bronte Sisters inspired clothes and jewellery and art by johnnyinthe56.
  13. Cook a new recipe.
  14. Have a picnic in the garden or if the weather’s poor in the living room.
  15. Have a film night – don’t forget the popcorn.
  16. Mend something.
  17. Get up before dawn & watch the sunrise and listen to the dawn corus.
  18. Just be.
  19. Hold a dressing up challenge with friends of family. Pick a theme & time frame, dress up – share the photos.
  20. Try meditation.
  21. Read a book.
  22. Wave at passers-by.
  23. Draw or paint a picture.
  24. Play a board game or cards.
  25. Deep condition your hair.
  26. Go for a walk or run – if you’re locked down, then explore the world on google maps.
  27. Write down a family story or history, for the next generation.
  28. Take a long bath.
  29. Make a scarpbook for yourself, a friend or family member.
  30. Take an online course.
  31. Do some gardening.
  32. Sort your paperwork.
  33. Bake a cake or biscuits.
  34. Make a gratitude list.
  35. Have a disco in your kitchen.
  36. Hang out with your kids or pets.
  37. Phone family & friends for a chat.
  38. Learn about new technology.
  39. Play a game online – minecraft anyone?
  40. Write a list of things you’d like to do.
  41. Start a blog, vlog or diary.
  42. Binge watch a series.
  43. Do a workout.
  44. Put your photos into albums.
  45. Make afternoon tea.
  46. Watch a film or six.
  47. Learn the periodic table of elements using the song – google it!
  48. Write a letter.
  49. Litter pick – use a litter picker, not bare hands, if you’re outside.
  50. Do yoga.
  51. Water, feed & re-pot your house plants.
  52. Start learning a new language.
  53. Listen to a podcast or audio book.
  54. Clear the laundry mountain.
  55. Make a list of things you want to do when you’re no longer in isolation.
  56. Watch something that makes you laugh – Simon’s Cat is my fav.
  57. Stay up late and watch the stars.
  58. Watch a piece of theatre online – it’s free!
  59. Clean the car.
  60. Make an assult course for pets / childrens / partner / self.
  61. Voluteer.
  62. Be hopeful.
  63. Join in the Thank you clap for our amazing keyworkers.

So we can bust the boredom and keep the blues at bay by doing things differently. By embracing our new way of life and we can come out of this as better people than when we went in.

Stay home and stay safe.

Thanks & enjoy!

Sarah x

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6 Things To Do While You Self-isolate That Will Make You Feel Great!

Right now, the very best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to stay home and avoid physical contact with other people, so let’s do that! Along with many of our friends and family, we’ve been in self-isolation for over a fornight already and talking to them; one of the big challenges we’re all facing is maintaining a postive mood. So, I wanted to share a few of our favourite ways to embrace the stay home heroics and boost your mood over the next few weeks….

Enjoy my post and please be aware that if purchase through the links on my site, I receive a small comission which helps pay my bills, so thank you for your support!

Get some fresh air & excercise! If like us, you can’t be near people, you can still get some fresh air & excercise. Go and be outside, hang the washing out, have a cup of tea sat on the doorstep or in the garden. Even if you just open all of the windows for an hour, a good blast of fresh air will lift the spirits! If you cann’t face the energetic Joe Wicks for your daily PE lesson (and he’s really good, you should give him a try) then try a walk. Just remember to stay over 2m away from anyone who’s not a member of your household. If going out is not an option, then try the Bronte Sisters tactic, a walk around the table. In the winter when the Yorkshire weather prevented them from going out, they would walk laps around the table, whilst planning their writing. I’m doing this whilst listening to audio books (The Old Curiosity Shop), it’s great.

Be creative! While we’re in lockdown we got plenty of time to finish projects, learn new skills, do some glueing and sticking with the kids. We’re putting togeather a family and friend colouring in session, using zoom (online meeting app). Oh and we could even make one of those lovely little projects that we so often coo over on Pinterest (but never quite get around to making)! We can take 10 mins and write a Japanese Haiku poem – it’s really easy, write three lines, they don’t need to rhyme, they must have 5 sylables in the first line, 7 in the second and 5 again in the last line. Create something, express yourself and gift yourself yourself a sense of achievement – good for our self-esteem & mood!

Get organised. I can’t be the only one with a long list of ‘things i’m gonna do, when I’ve got the time’! So let’s sort that pile of paperwork, wash our way through the permanent laundry mountain, de-clutter & reorganise the draws, cupboards, wardrobes, spare rooms, lofts, basements, garages, gardens. If you need assitance with your de-cluttering, try taking a look at Marie Kondo, she has a lovely, game changing take on de-cluttering – don’t worry about getting rid of things – just keep the things that ‘Spark joy’! She’s re-invigorated our home and I recommend her book it’s a really helpful guide. So, lets make a list of things to do and get cracking. Tidy up, sort & de-clutter and then clean. Once eveything is spick and span, then make it smell sweet; put a few drops of essential oils on to a folded hanky or tissue and tuck it behind the radiator, as it warms it will release it’s fragrance. I like to use this organic orange essential oil room spay; it’s refreshing and comforting. A clean, tidy, clutter-free & sweet smelling environment is a great mood booster.

Get cooking – So we’ve got time to expand our menu and some of the foods that we took for granted are not readily available at present, giving us the perfect excuse to get back into the kitchen and have a bit of an adventure. This is easy-peasy, take a look at what you’ve got and then check out the internet for recipes. Also, I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s new TV show, he’s doing recipes that will work for a wide range of ingredients and you can swap out things that you don’t have. This is a great way to spend time as a family and build skills!

Be part of this. We all have something we can do; self-isolating does not mean you need to be alone and this is true of everyone else. So call your family and friends, play games and quizes over whatsapp video calls, have a watch party, play hide and seek in minecraft, put up rainbows for the rainbow trail, wave to passers-by, start a neighbourhood chat group, join in the Thank You applause for our key workers, grab groceries for others when you shop, sign up to volunteer. Stay physically distant, but, do join in, it’s a important to meet your neighbours and join in with your local community.

Relax – Keeping busy during lock-down is really important, but so is getting some rest & relaxation. This is the perfect time to top up on sleep, take up meditation and mindfulness. Find things to do that relax you; gardening, painting, knitting, Japanese clothes folding, read a good book, tell jokes, sing songs or just be!

I hope you find these mood boosters helpful.

Be kind to yourself & others – stay safe !

Sarah x

Sign up for our blog! It’s a bit: lifestyle… travel… jewellery… Bronte… eco… art… literature… wellbeing & more…

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My Top 5 Gift Picks for Book Lovers!

I love a good book and I also love giving books for gifts (or book related gifts)! Here are my top 5 book related gift ideas that are suitable for almost any age and budget.

Please note this blog contains affiliate links, so if you purchase through them I will recieve a very small commission , this helps pay my bills – so thank you for your support.

1. Book Vouchers. Easy-peasy, but still a really fantastic gift, for almost any age group. These can suit every budget and are very quick & easy to buy and for the recipient to use. Also, they are truely beloved by book lovers. A book token is a double gift, it offers the recipient a reason / excuse to spend many happy hours researching, browsing and sampling books, along with the pleasure of reading actual book purchased with the book token.

2. Book light – this is such a nifty little gadget, perfect for all those night time bookworms. I know you are thinking ‘well they read on kindle and don’t need a light’. But the research shows we should not be using screens near bedtime if we want a good nights rest. So get them a good book and a cute light & you’re even gifting them a good nights sleep – bonus!

3. A book bag. So if you buying for a book lover, they will need something to store and carry their book stash so a book bag is a sure fire winner!

4. A Book Lamp! What’s not to love? A lovely lamp (all book lovers need more of these in their homes) IN….THE….SHAPE….OF…..A…..BOOK – amazing!

5. A mug. All avid book lovers know that the best way to enjoy a good book is with a cup of tea, so a mug is a brilliant gift for a book lover!

As the festive season approaches; I hope these ideas help provide a little inspiration.

Thanks & enjoy!

Sarah

Sign up for our blog! It’s a bit: lifestyle… travel… jewellery… Bronte… eco… art… literature… wellbeing & more…

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I re-read Wuthering Heights – after 25 years and here’s what I found…

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I am a Bronte fan and have read and loved almost all their work, revisiting much of it in book or film almost every year, with one exception – Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.

It has always been my least favourite book by the Brontes. I first read it when I was about 15 and I really didn’t enjoy it. I found Cathy & Heathcliff and indeed almost every character in the book spoilt, petulent and vapid, the atmosphere was bleak and depressing – the whole thing felt pretty whingey!

Having been a Bronte fan for a long time, I have discussed and debated many aspects of the Brontes & their work and I found that I’m not alone in my view of Wuthering Heights. However, I try to keep an open mind about most things and having discovered a love for olives, coffee, knitting and cherry brandy (all of which I hated in my teens) I decided I should give it another go. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while – about 20 years! Anyway, last week, I finally got around to re-visiting Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte and here’s how that little adventure turned out…

It was with some trepidation that I sat down and started with Wuthering Heights again. I told myself that I’d give it a few chapters and if it’s still not my thing, at least I tried. That first sitting lasted over two and a half hours! I only stepped away when backache and hunger could no long be ignored. I now have bags under my eyes from late night / early morning reading sessions! I couldn’t put it down and having reached the end I have taken a little break to read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and then I shall return and read it again. I am amazed and delighted at the change in my perception of this fabulous book.

Reader I loved it…..

My long awaited second reading of Wuthering Heights revealed how much I had missed as a teenager! Having now realised that the main protagonists of the story were barely adults themselves, I suspect that my original irritation with Catherine Ernshaw and Heathcliff stemed from the unflattering reflection it gave of my own teenage behavior and attitudes.

Also, I have yet to meet a teenager who would not stare blankly at the utterence of the phrase ‘ look at that view’, so it is clear that the remarkable depiction of the landscapes and environments that Emily acheived were lost on me, during my original reading. The ‘great love story’ between Cathy & Heathcliff was lost on me as I was a pretty cynical teenager – ah time is great teacher!

My more recent reading of Wuthering Heights has revealed a story populated by fantastiacally rich and nuanced characters. I discovered the landscape, so beloved by Emily, captured in intricate detail.

Most striking was her inherant understanding of the nature of love and how facetted and, at times obscure, it is. Yet, how it sits within the foundation of self and is unmoveable. I love how beautifully she illustrates that we often cannot be saved, especially from ouselves and that we must try to make peace with that.

I can’t wait to get back to Wuthering Heights again, I am sure I’ll find yet more wonderful detail and I long to escape back into that captivating world, so carefully created by Emily – it really has been a ‘gone to the heather’ moment.

My feeling is that; Wuthering Heights is one of The Bronte’s best works but, if like me, you struggled with it – then go and give it another chance. I hope it ensares you too!

If you need a new copy of Wuthering Heights then take a look at this edition, that is being released this month – it is a thing of beauty!

Finally, have a great week!

Thanks & Enjoy

Sarah

P.S. If you’d like to read a little more about Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte check out this new blog piece I’ve written about the Bronte Sisters Lives.

Sign up for our blog! It’s a bit: lifestyle… travel… jewellery… Bronte… eco… art… literature… wellbeing & more…

  • Blonde – the story inspired by Marilyn Monroe…
    The tragic story of Marilyn Monroe continues to facinate the world even decades after her death. In life and death she’s a complex and captivating icon and her story is just as interesting, so it not a suprise that Netflix […]
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  • The Bronte Sisters Mourning Jewellery
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