This year I’ve been getting back into weekly Artist Dates and I wanted to share what they are, why I do them and which ones I’ve tried so far.
If you’ve not heard of Artist Dates or you’re looking for more information about them please read on…
What is an Artist’s Date?
The idea of an Artist Date is from a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. I worked through the book in early 2017 and really enjoyed the process. I blogged about the book here. I’m also a huge fan of Morning Pages which is another tool that Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way.
Here’s what Julia Cameron has to say about Artist Dates:
“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” —think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”
Why am I making weekly artist dates a priority?
I have set myself 3 intentions this year – they are Wellbeing, Creativity and Joy. When I was thinking about how I can bring more of each of those things into my life I realised that Artist Dates can often tick two of the boxes! (Creativity and Joy).
And combined with my word for 2021 which is Curiosity it feels like Artist Dates are the right thing to do.
I talk a lot about Joy and use my creativity here for Find the Good Everyday. I do that because I want to… but I also want to make sure that I’m making time for joy and creativity outside of any commitments I have. It’s important to refill the creative well and to have some fun in our lives!
How I’ve been getting back into weekly Artist Dates
It requires a commitment – I need to make sure I plan it into my week and actually do it! It’s so easy to cast it aside when urgent and important things come up. But I really want to give myself this time to play and discover and create on a weekly basis so I’ve set aside time to do so.
I’ve marked out time on Friday’s for Artist Dates. This is changeable but if I haven’t done an artist’s date by the time I get to Friday – I am committing to doing it then.
I want to get into the habit of thinking of a couple of options each week and then choosing the one that sounds most interesting or fits best with the time and resources I have available that week.
So far, for my weekly artist date, I’ve:
1 Taught myself cross-stitch with a teeny rainbow kit 2 Watched It’s a Sin 3 Had a brainstorm about Spring and creativity and all the things I wanted to do 4 Created a Spring-time journal 5 Had a rummage in Poundland (went in for some essentials but had a look at the arts and crafts aisle while I was there!) 6 Played with felt pens and cling film to create watercolour backgrounds (which I’m hoping to turn into bookmarks!) 7 Purchased and put up some rainbow watercolour dot decals in our hallway 8 Worked on my Spring Journal – capturing the things I love most about the season
I think it’s important to keep coming back to the Julia Cameron quote above to make sure it’s about fun, mischief and whimsy rather than a chore!
When I get stuck for ideas I’ll be referring back to the ideas I’ve already shared here on the blog. If you’re looking for some fun and creative ideas check out these posts:
It’s time to share my Spring Activity List as well as some extra ideas to consider if you create your own list!
If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I’m a huge fan of celebrating each season and partaking in seasonal activities to make the most out of each one.
If you’re new here, HELLO! Lovely to see you. I hope you enjoy this post. I’ve shared more Seasonal Activity Posts at the bottom of this one. And please consider signing up for my newsletter where I regularly share seasonal prompts and other ideas to help you get more joy in your everyday!
My Spring Activity List
Some of these activities aren’t specifically related to Spring but they are things I want to achieve this season.
Get outside daily for a walk and out for a longer walk at least weekly
3 Random Acts of Kindness (one each month)
Get something booked for a night away with the doggo (and the husband and kiddo too!)
Catch up with friends that I haven’t seen for AGES!
Keep a Spring Journal…and look at creating a Summer version that people can buy and fill out for themselves
Get my hair cut, my brows sorted, a pedicure and have reflexology treatment (I’ve missed them so much during lockdown!)
Find dog friendly places we can go to eat (pubs with beer gardens, cafes with outside seating etc)
Have a Ploughmans lunch!
Finish the Live with Intention course
Leave the county to visit somewhere else (I’ve only left my county once since March 2020)
Have a weekly Artists Date/Me date – try to come up with some Spring themed ones!
Start sorting out my craft supplies
Extra Spring Activity List Ideas
If you’re keen to create your own Spring Bucket List these ideas might be fun too…
Plant flowers or seeds
Go on a bike ride
Go in search of lambs and other cute baby animals
Visit an open garden
Create a fairy garden
Spring clean and declutter
Celebrate Earth Day on 22nd April
Have a picnic
Visit a play trail / larger play area
Paint pebbles and rocks
Fly a kite
Visit the zoo or farm
Feed the ducks
Eat in-season produce
Try Couch to 5k
Write a poem or story about Spring
Redecorate a corner of your home with a fresh Spring feel
Today I want to talk about creating helpful habits. This is something that’s been on my mind for a while.
For many of us, our habits have changed a lot over the past year. A lot of us have been spending more time at home than usual and our routines have been turned upside down and inside out! As we begin to emerge from lockdown life it’s a great opportunity to be mindful about our habits and which new ones we want to create.
In my recent Find the Good Everyday newsletter (I send them monthly – you can sign up here) I chatted about deciding which way we want to ease back into non lockdown life…
So I thought I’d round up some posts I’ve already written about building habits and share some tips and ideas for creating your own helpful habits.
Tips for Creating Helpful Habits
I think a good place to start is to decide what helpful habits you want to develop (or revisit) and then work out how to fit them into your days.
You could also come up with a list of habits you don’t want to return to and come up with ideas that you can replace them with. And then what habits you had in place before lockdown that you want to return to.
Today I thought I’d share some easy ways to find more happiness in your daily life.
Did you know that 20th March is International Day of Happiness? How great that there’s a day to celebrate happiness! Keep reading to find out more about it.
Easy Ways to Find More Hapiness
1. Write a happy list
It’s really important to know what makes us happy and brings us joy. If we know what makes us happy we can plan to do more of it! Spend time making a list of things that bring you happiness. Aim for 100 things!
I also follow accounts that feature rainbows and dogs because they make me happy. Try to find some accounts that suit your interests and make you smile when they pop up on your feed.
3. Do one thing for your happiness every day
It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life and being busy and to forget to take the time to do the things that bring us joy.
Come up with a list of everyday, easy things that make you happy. (If you’ve started your happy list see what’s on there). And then make a plan to do at least one of these things for your happiness everyday. Try to be ‘in the moment’ as you take this action and recognise you are contributing to your own happiness.
My list includes:
Listening to a playlist of my favourite songs
Getting outside for a walk
Cuddles with my husband, son and dog
Journaling (I write morning pages in the morning and keep a gratitude journal at night)
TIP – set an alarm/reminder to remind you to do your happy thing until it becomes a habit!
4. Practice gratitude
Speaking of gratitude – it’s a great way to recognise the things that make you happy and make your life better. Spend time each day thinking about the things you are grateful for. Bonus points for writing them down!
If you want to explore your happiness and how you can bring more joy to your everyday have a look at Find Your Happy – my journalling workbook full of journalling prompts designed to help you figure out what makes you happy and how to make your daily life more joyful.
The 20th of March is International Day of Happiness. It’s a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness and is coordinated by Action for Happiness which is a non-profit movement.
What I particularly like about this year’s campaign (which you can read more about here) is that it talks about positive ways we can look after ourselves and others during a worldwide crisis. Visit the site to download a Coping Calendar with suggested daily activities to help you feel positive. And there is also access to a 10 day email-coaching programme for happiness. I’ve signed up!
I hope you find these easy ways to find more happiness helpful. I’d love to know which ones work for you – leave me a comment and let me know!
I love documenting life. I love taking photos and making notes about how life looks on a day-to-day basis. Because one day I will look around me and life won’t look anything like it does now.
I am so grateful for the journals, scrapbooks, blog posts, photo books I have that give me an insight into what my everyday was like at those times of my life. I love the nostalgia and the memories that come up.
And in taking the time to document with photos and notes I find myself being more mindful as I go about my day. It helps me realise what stays the same, what changes, where improvements can be made and where I’ve been taking things for granted.
If you’ve never done anything like this I would recommend giving it a go.
A Day in my Life March 2021
Theme for the Day – Getting back to routine
Weather – Sunny. Low of 4 / High of 11
Wake up Time – 7am – much earlier than usual as the kiddo is back at school this week for the first time in 2021 (we’ve been home learning since January)
Breakfast – Burnt Scotch Pancakes with flora and jam and an apple. Is it time for a new toaster?
Lunch – Toasties in the new toastie/waffle/panini press with crisps and crudities. My toastie filling was cheese and pineapple which generated some interest on Instagram when I shared it!
Dinner – Pitta pizzas with tomato paste, oregano, a lot of garlic, ham, pineapple, cheese. Easy and simple dinner.
What I did
Grab my phone earlier than usual to start snapping photos and do a day in the life (DITL) intro on Instagram stories.
Write my morning pages.
Cuddles with my boys then get ready for the day ahead.
Let the dog out, feed everyone breakfast and load up in the car to school.
Say goodbye to the kiddo and take the dog for a walk – feels good to be walking a familiar route from last Autumn and noticing the signs of Spring popping up everywhere (so many daffodils).
Head home and spend time faffing…it always takes me a while to switch from one routine to another. I need to remind myself of my cues to sit down and start work. Grateful that I spent the last few weeks working on my intentions for the year and working out what actions I wanted to take to get there. But still need to remind myself to sit down and DO the work.
Do some reading and journaling for 2 courses I am currently working on, sort out some payments, send some emails and do some posts/updates in groups I am in
Grab the reusable bags and head out for the tescos click and collect. We’ve been doing our weekly shop online and collecting it since Summer last year. Occasionally pop into a shop for a top-up of fruit, vegetables, bread and milk but try to avoid shops where possible.
Home to unpack the shopping and try out our new toastie maker for lunch.
Chat with the husband while we eat.
Join an accountability session with fellow freelancers. Set out to get my FTGE inbox tamed. Get my unread messages from 126 down to 15. Super pleased with that. Plus archive and sort lots of read mail and even unsubscribe from a few things that are no longer relevant.
Check back in with the accountability session to report on progress and cheer everyone else on.
Carry on sorting out my emails and actioning some things that have been on the back burner during home learning.
Update IG stories with what I’ve been up to.
Leave for the school pick up, stop at the park on the way home for some exercise in the sunshine for the kiddo.
Home to supply snacks and pop on Animal Crossing to do some daily jobs for 15 mins before the kiddo plays online with friends.
More faffing – the return to school means a lot of adjustments for me as well as the kiddo – hope to use this time between school pick up and dinner for jobs around the house and finishing anything on my to do list for the day.
Husband takes dog for his evening walk pre-dinner as he has a run planned for after dinner
I make dinner and tidy the kitchen while watching some YouTube.
We sit down for dinner – we usually watch TV while we eat and the current favourite is Richard Osman’s House of Games.
Hubby leaves for his running session, doggo is unsettled with all the routine changes and has a cry.
I start reading my book, the kiddo plays some Animal Crossing.
Time for vitamins (so grateful we linked taking vitamins with the kiddo going to bed – he pulls the tub out and reminds me to take mine!) and then up to bed.
Show the kiddo all my DITL photos and read a chapter of our current family read (Simply the Quest by Maz Evans – it’s part of a series which features lots of mythological gods and creatures – it’s funny and great to read together).
Kiddo gets tucked in and reads his own book (an Artemis Fowl – he’s working his way through a series of 8). It makes me so happy that he loves reading.
Decide to put my pyjamas on early.
Hubby has an 830pm work call.
I update IG stories and scroll for a while then get back into my book.
At 10pm I sign off from my DITL on IG stories, I write in my gratitude and sentence a day journals and get ready for bed.
Can’t get to sleep so end up reading until past midnight.
I am grateful for –
1) My pre-order of The Devil Wears Black by LJ Shen arrived and I’ve started reading it
2) Another good day at school for the kiddo
3) Life feels good today
I am proud of –
(I’ve been writing 3 things I am proud of each day in my gratitude journal since November last year – it’s part of the mindset work I’ve been doing and I recommend giving it a go to celebrate all the wins – big and small!)
1) Documenting a day in my life March 2021 via IG stories
2) Getting my FTGE inbox sorted out
3) Doing the work – lots of mindset stuff this week
No. of steps – 6,629
Today’s Self Nurturing Activity – Reading!
Currently Reading – The Devil Wears Black by LJ Shen
Bedtime – Read in bed from about 8.50pm ish. At 10pm I signed off on IG stories, wrote in my journals and plugged my phone in the office. Tried to get to sleep and couldn’t. Ended up reading until around 12.40am.
And that was a Day in my Life March 2021!
So what do I do with all this stuff I document? I shared snippets from the day via IG stories live on the day. I’m creating this blog post (which is great for comparing previous days as I tend to use a similar format each time). And I’ve also created and ordered a photo book with photos from the day and simple captions to put on our photo album shelf.
And that’s it until next time. I may take part in Week in the Life which usually happens around May time. I will see if I feel motivated nearer the time.
You can, of course, pick any day or week to document and get stuck in but I find it helpful to play along on the days that Ali Edwards suggests as there is a community of people that join in and I find that encouraging.
Let me know if you have a go at documenting a day in your life and how you get on.
I’m feeling old school right now after rummaging in my old blog archives and I want to share this post which I’m calling Around Here Right Now.
I used to love both reading and writing posts like this one. A look at life right now. And it feels like a good time to take that snapshot.
Here in England we will soon be easing out of our 3rd national lockdown. My son returns to school in March and if things go well we will start to be allowed back out into the wild again! It’s been a tough time for so many. But, for me, also a time of discovery and reflection. When you take away “normal life” you can start to see what you miss about “normal” and what you don’t. So without further ado…
Around Here Right Now…
Excited to have my COVID vaccination booked in for next week (I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which puts me in group 6 here in the UK). And for all the signs of Spring on our daily walks.
Grateful that I bought a big, warm, snuggly coat in Autumn when I could go to the shops. It’s earned its keep this winter for the daily dog walks. The weather is feeling much more mild this week and it’s wonderful to go out without being bundled up for the first time in months. My walking shoes were also a great purchase when the shops were open. I want to increase my walking beyond the local blocks and paths as lockdown eases and I’ve been busy wearing them in. They are so comfy.
Listening to my 39 Playlist on Spotify. I’m picking a song each month between my birthdays to create a soundtrack for age 39. I’ve done it in previous years too. It’s fun both picking the songs and also listening to the playlists (especially after the year is up).
Reading LOTS. Mostly fiction. A mix of kindle (on my phone) and old school paper books. Lots of romance (always). Books provide wonderful escapism when you can’t leave your house.
Watching New Girl on Netflix. I used to love it but haven’t seen all of them. They are the perfect length at around 20-25 minutes to squeeze in at the end of the day for a few laughs before bed.
Changing up our home office this month. Ordered a new desk (which is a sit to stand desk) and rehomed our old desk (which we bought in Palmerston North, New Zealand what feels like a lifetime ago and it came over on the boat in 2016). We had a big old sort out of boxes, books and paperwork. It’s looking good. And it makes me so happy to see all my books organised on the shelves!
Feeling mostly hopeful about the return to school on 8th March. I’m hoping it will free up some time and mental capacity to do more with my writing and the blog.
Trying to be kind to myself. Give myself grace. And not beat myself up about things I want to do but I am not getting to. It’s been such an unsettled time.
Looking forward to longer days, seeing friends, HUGS, exploring further afield, ploughman’s lunches, a meal out and time to get things done!
How about you? What does it look like around here right now for you? Feel free to use these prompts to get you thinking/scribbling.
Curiosity kept popping up for me towards the end of 2020. I saw a few quotes I liked about it and it kept winding its way into conversation around me. I attended (virtually) a couple of different year end review workshops and did some work around vision boarding and goal setting and curiosity popped up each time.
So before 2020 came to a close I decided that it was a good word to guide me in these strange, uncertain times and officially* chose it as my 2021 word. (*wrote it down, saved related images to a Pinterest board and told my husband.)
I think the reason it resonated with me was because I’m quite a curious person anyway (also known as: nosy and enjoys exploring) and it feels flexible. It doesn’t feel at all demanding or set in stone. The word itself allows for exploration, experimentation and an open mind. Which is exactly what I think I need this year when I really have no clue how the year is going to pan out:
Will we get to travel again?
How long will lockdown last?
What will happen next?
The Meaning of Curiosity
Firstly – wouldn’t that ^ be a great book title? That would draw me in straight away!
For me, curiosity is all all about:
Keeping an Open Mind
Here are some quotes I found that helped me get a feeling for what curiosity means to me:
“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse
“The sky tells me there are no limits and curiosity tells me to explore.” – Duncan Sham
“Be curious not judgemental.” – Walt Whitman
“When you replace judgement with curiosity, everything changes.” – Robyn Conley Downs
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker
I’d like to display my 2021 word somewhere to remind me throughout the year. And I wonder if it’s time to create some new Word Pebbles for the latest words I’ve collected!
Have you chosen a word for 2021? If so I’d love to know what it is. If you haven’t and this idea intrigues you it’s definitely not too late!
I want to share 20 Happy Things from 2020. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I love a happy list! And given that this past year has been a *challenging* one I think there’s even more need to celebrate the things that make us happy. So let’s dig deep and find the good in 2020…
20 Happy Things from 2020
1 Releasing Find Your Happy
I’m so proud of myself for creating my journalling workbook and putting it out into the world. You can read more about it here. And I’ll definitely do a happy dance if you buy a copy!
2 Learning with the kiddo
My son spent 5 ½ months at home this year due to the worldwide pandemic. I feel very lucky that I was in the position to drop commitments in order to focus on him and his learning. That unexpected time with him was a gift and I will cherish the memories of us solving complicated maths problems and arguing about spelling!
Ah Reggie. My gorgeous, damaged greyhound. He came home with us in January and it’s like he’s always been here. He was scared of most things and full of quirks – it’s been lovely (& sometimes frustrating) getting him settled in and getting to know him.
4 The Rainbow Fence of Dreams
It has its own hashtag and it makes me smile – especially on the grey and miserable days! It’s my rainbow fence in my back garden. Painted mostly by me with a little help from the husband and kiddo. Reggie supervised.
Putting pen to paper has definitely helped me this year. Journalling, writing blog posts (not as many as I’d like), taking notes, planning, trying my hand at pitching article ideas – I’ve enjoyed it all. I love writing.
That leads on nicely to the next one. I bloody love stationery. I own far too much but I am getting better at using it rather than admiring it and being scared to use it!
I wasn’t new to Zoom and I have been a fan for a while but it feels like it’s been a saviour in the craziness of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed participating in a regular music quiz via Zoom during lockdown. It kept us connected with loved ones. And I have even taken yoga and other classes with it.
I am a lifelong learner and I’m so happy when I’m scribbling notes and absorbing new information. I managed to do so much awesome learning this year – mostly virtually. Here are some of the things I learnt/courses I took:
Pitching to Publications course with Fiona Thomas as well as some of her webinars and workshops
The Freelance Summit with Emma Cossey and lots of awesome speakers
Various Grow & Glow training such as – productivity, building a personal brand, pitching, content planning, goal setting
Freelance and pitching webinars with Jenna Farmer
Sewing lessons with Beautiful Things
Mindset work, Year End Reviews and 2021 Vision Boarding and Goal Setting with Sophie Cliff, The Joyful Coach
My monthly subscription to Spotify has earnt its keep this year. Music is so good for turning my mood around and also for letting me wallow when I need it. I have so many playlists and use it to listen to podcasts too. During lockdown my husband, the kiddo and I took part in the 30 day song challenge and now we have a family playlist of 90 songs that hold meaning for each of us. Check out my Find the Good Everyday Playlist here.
10 Getting Outside Every Day
Reggie has certainly helped with this one – expecting his daily walks regardless of the weather. And the time spent outside was so valuable particularly during the lockdown periods when we weren’t going back and forth to school or going anywhere else!
I’ve heard that a lot of people completely disregarded their planners and diaries this year and that’s totally understandable. I felt something soothing in continuing to make daily to do lists and update my trackers so I carried on. For most of the year I used my trusty bullet journal but since September I’ve been using a Happy Planner (including Planner stickers – insert lots of heart eyes!). I really enjoy sitting down at the weekend and planning out the following week. But I do miss the daily lists of my Bujo… I might try some kind of hybrid planning system for 2021.
12 Online Communities and Groups
Online communities and groups played a massive part in keeping me feeling connected this year. I love the community on Instagram and enjoy the regular chats with some lovely people there. I’m still a member of Grow & Glow and enjoyed their regular calls and training sessions through the year. And I joined the Freelance Business Lounge back in June and the twice-weekly group coaching calls have been super helpful for my mental health and my productivity!
13 Being near my Mum
There have been many times this year I have dreamt of being back in New Zealand where they have managed the pandemic much better than the UK (helped by closing their borders). And I feel lucky to have lots of wonderful friends based in New Zealand.
(If you don’t know – I lived in NZ between 2005 and 2016. My son was born there and I have dual nationality with NZ and the UK).
But I’ve also been so grateful to be in the UK and near my Mum. We are her bubble and I found it comforting to know I could go to see her, do her shopping for her and other jobs she needed done while shielding.
14 Finally getting Netflix!
We were so late to the party on this but we finally have Netflix. I haven’t made it as far as the Tiger King yet but I am working my way through The Crown and love it! It’s great that we can each have our own favourites list. The trickiest thing is deciding on something for the 3 of us to enjoy!
15 Baby Yoda
My husband (who is likely to be rolling his eyes at my use of the name “Baby Yoda”) is a Star Wars fan so we watched the first series of The Mandalorian back in March when it was released in the UK. We’re currently working through the second series and I just adore Baby Yoda – such a cute character! I’m tempted to buy Baby Yoda fabric and make myself a dress!
16 Cadbury’s Giant Buttons
I love them! Perfect for sharing while watching a movie!
Where would I be without lists? They fit well with planning, writing and stationery too! As you probably know – I love a happy list and it’s fun encouraging others to write their own. This year there have been:
To do lists
Things I enjoy about Lockdown
Stuff that was put on hold because of the pandemic
Things I’m looking forward to when the pandemic is done
My 38 @ 38 list – having this list of fun things to do really helped me to keep seeking joy this year!
I’ve always loved books and reading – they (like a lot of things on this list actually) could easily make the top 20 of most year’s happy things! Some favourites this year have been:
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
And a lot of romances on the Kindle app on my phone!
19 The Dishwasher
We finally got a dishwasher late August after over 4 years without one. It’s made such a difference. I’ve been able to put the time saved from not washing up multiple times a day to better use! And it’s helped my hands and wrists which tend to flare up with aches and pains (thanks Rheumatoid Arthritis!)
20 Documenting Life
Once a scrapbooker – always a life documenter! I enjoyed taking part in Day in the Life and Week in the Life this year and it will be interesting to look back on those projects in years to come. I’ve also collated a video full of 1 second videos from each day this year using an app called 1SE. I did it a couple of years ago and it’s fascinating to see which parts of daily life have stayed the same and which have changed. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to take a snapshot of daily life I’d recommend giving it a go!
It feels so good to have written my 20 Happy Things from 2020 list. I wonder if they’ll be any more additions before the year is out?
What are your happy things from 2020?
If you want to write your own Happy List check out these posts:
Get kiddo ready for high school (uniform/kit, equipment etc)
What This Project Means to Me
As I’ve talked about before – the purpose of this list/project isn’t to give me more stuff to do. It’s to plan some fun activities as well as ones that can improve my life. And to document it all along the way. Having a project like this can make life feel more meaningful and whimsical. And I will amend and update the list as necessary as the year goes on.
It’s 6 weeks since my birthday and I’m pleased to report some of these activities have already been completed or are in progress.
I’ll be sure to provide updates as the year goes on! If you don’t already – follow me on Instagram where I can be found most often online.