Being Productive..When You Are Not Feeling It

Your cup of hot chocolate is positioned beside you, the laptop is right in front of you and the ideas are flowing faster than Niagra Falls…Only they are not. The waterfall has hit some rocks, in other words, you can’t seem to motivate yourself to be productive creatively.

We have ALL been there and can protest as much we want, but sometimes life intervenes and can freeze our ideas. Our lives can throw us unexpected surprises- good and bad, that change our direction or outlook. We can become determined with ourselves to acheive something, rather than just enjoying what we are doing.

The moment we do something solely for ourselves is when we get that glow, glint in our eye, so a real zest for life. When we pressure ourselves with self imposed deadlines and restrictions, that’s when the lightbulb moments dissapear and we feel restricted and trapped.

A main focus should always be what makes us feel happy and fulfilled, not what will look good on social media or in comparison to others. We are individuals and should embrace that, not feel anixous or embarrased about what we are writing or performing a certain piece of music. If it comes from your heart and brings you joy, that’s what truly matters.

Next time you are feeling unproductive, just remember you are not alone and we are all in the same boat.

Have a wonderful week and be kind. 💜

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Guest Blog From This Stuff Is Golden: Public Image Vs Internal Reality

I think most mothers post candid photos of their families; their kids making a mess at breakfast, the pet dog taking a nap whilst cuddling up with the youngest child, the middle child playing dress up and wearing every single item of costume clothing that they own. Sometimes I wonder if many mothers (or fathers) would be willing to publish some of the other common family moments that happen day-to-day, the ones that aren’t so pretty to look at.

Not only would parenting-guilt stand in the way of taking a photo of a child having a tantrum or crying, but would anybody like to see that side of family life? Would anybody be that honest and tell the world that actually, parenting is really hard and sometimes it feels like a prison sentence rather than a 24/7 exchange of unconditional love?

In my 14-month long experience of parenting, all of it has been filled with love, but that does not mean that there hasn’t been moments of dislike and irritation and angry frustration. My daughter may be just a toddler but when the moments arise when I lack the ability to make her happy, or to calm her down, or desperately need just have five minutes peace – it can push the boundaries of my patience, I get angry and I’m not as empathetic as I should be. In those moments, I wish for somebody else to swoop in and look after my toddler for me.

And of course, I never let that side of my parenting style come out in public, let alone post it on social media, because of course, that’s just not what you want people to see. As a mother especially, you want friends, family, acquaintances, even followers, to see that you have a charming, smart, happy little child because that means that you are nailing this parenting thing, your decisions on how to raise a human-being are practically flawless.

I cling on to any other parent who openly speaks about their struggles with me, because I know that it is such a rarity. We cling to what we believe others want to see from us, what parenting and family life should be like – even though inside we are deeply troubled by our lack of sleep, our lack of confidence in this brand new endeavour, and the overwhelming way in which our lives have been completely turned upside down.

I haven’t (yet) taken a photo of my daughter upset and published it, because frankly, the only thing I want to do in that situation is diffuse it. However – I am more than fine with the idea of conversing with other parents about the day-to-day struggles of raising a child, though I’m still happy to post pictures of my daughter looking like the sweetheart she is, because, what can I say, I am a stereotypically proud parent, who wants to show off the most beautiful baby in the world, regardless of how tough the day (or year) has been.

Lauren is a writer, artist, advocate, mother of 1 living in Scotland. She writes openly and honestly about all sorts of things, has way too many creative interests, and is continuously trying to figure life out.
This Stuff Is Golden
@TSIGolden
Instagram thisstuffisgolden

Lauren and I have swapped a blog post, each with the same title! Check out my guest post for her, on her blog This Stuff Is Golden

Self-Pressure Extinguishes Creative Fire

No, this isnt an article about candles, as much as I love my scented candles, this is about that Mid-January slump. I have heard numerous people proclaiming, that January feels like the longest month ever. All those New Years resolutions are falling apart at the seams already? It’s simply because that creative fire within us at the beginning of this month, to make plans and ‘changes’, has been extinguished, by our own self-pressure.

We are constantly comparing, analysing and you name it, we do it to ourselves! This constant chipping away at our being, means we increase the pressure to improve what we see as imperfections, rather than embracing them. Let’s keep that fire burning for change in another area of our life…Our Happiness.

Being happy, is the kindest thing we can do, for our own well-being. Embracing what makes us filled with joy and identifying what does not, might sound easy, but it can be a journey. Without sounding really clichéd, this is a journey of self-discovery.

What makes us happy?

Most of us know what makes us happy, but the self-discovery is finding ways to actually make it happen, at our own pace, with zero pressure.

For example, if we love to bake, we need to go and buy ingredients to make that cake, or in most cases, realize those ingredients are already sitting in the cupboard! This is also a great analogy for a lot of areas of our lives. What we want to acheive is within our grasp, we have to go get it and be kind to ourselves.

Have a beautiful day, be kind.💜

My Reverse Bucket List 2018

I was delighted to be tagged to write this blog post, by the ever inspiring This Stuff Is Golden  A ‘Reverse Bucket List’ is basically just that, instead of listing what we would like to achieve, we reflect on what we have already accomplished and highlights of the year. Here is my little list below:

I have been truly humbled to sing beautiful music in some amazing historical buildings this year, St Mary’s Church Bedfont is definitely one of them. Built in the 13th Century, I look forward to singing at their restoration concert next year!

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Thrilled to feature in the advertising campaign for Homemade Vegan Baby Food brand Pasons Pots, had so much fun filming these promo shots taken by Aidan Martin.

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OK, so not actually happened yet, but will have in two days from me publishing this blog post, so had to mention it, as I’m absolutely in awe of the vital work of The Dogs Trust and very much looking forward to singing at their Christmas Fair In The Barn.

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I was thrilled to be invited to chat on the Liam Davis Show, at Shoreditch Radio earlier this year, to chat about my performing and writing work, had an absolute ball and such a wonderful team!

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Talking of teams..I had the absolute pleasure to work with a team for three months this year, who I can truthfully say are now family! Their thoughtful leaving gifts made me cry ❤

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It’s OK Not To Have A Plan

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We can so often be consumed with wanting results, answers and most of all life changes, that we lose sight of a process. A process of enjoyment. I suppose, without sounding too clichéd, maybe a journey. This is a journey of discovery and often the best ones are unplanned.

Sometimes, being totally clueless isn’t a bad thing, in fact it means you are pretty much free to do whatever you want, in the spur of the moment. If you are indecisive about something and have no idea what you should do, then see it as an opportunity. Rather than having it mapped out in front of you, the answer is whatever you want it to be.

Searching for answers can be exhausting, wanting to know why we are in a certain position, can just be soul destroying. Embracing what we have right now and what we can do to make it the best life possible, that we owe ourselves, can be enlightening. Making a brand new fresh start can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to follow a rhythm, that’s the beauty of it, it’s well and truly fresh. That’s exciting, the possibilities really are endless.

Remember, that path is all your own, unique and awesome, because it’s all you.

Have a lovely day and be kind ❤

“Treat” Yourself Every Day

Why do we use the word treat to talk about something we enjoy? It’s almost implying that it’s forbidden or only allowed on certain occasions. If you fancy a hot chocolate or a cappuccino, have one, unless of course you have an allergy or medical condition affected by it. If you want to see that new show midweek, go and see it.

Being kind to ourselves is so important, restrictions of what we enjoy is not going to make us happy, in fact it does the opposite. Guilty pleasures implies just that, that you are guilty of something. Even if a certain band are widely considered the cheesiest to have ever existed, if you enjoy their music, then that’s your choice. We are all individuals with different thoughts and tastes, so lets celebrate that.

Sometimes, by forbidding something, it makes us want it a whole lot MORE. The saying “Want what you can’t have” is always relevant. Perhaps it is just human nature, but something being off limits, makes it that so much more enticing.

I am going to have a slice of Banana bread and a cup of tea now ❤

 

 

Love Your Work-Be Happy

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be happy and do a job they love? Is this realistic? ABSOLUTELY.

We have to work hard, to achieve our dreams and to be able to live the life we want, especially in the Arts. If we want something, we have to focus ourselves on that goal, to make it happen.

Knowing what doesn’t set our soul on fire, is wonderful motivation, to make us want to have that spark set alight inside ourselves. Keeping that thought in the back of your mind, helps you to keep on reaching for your dreams.

Visualising that job you know will make you happy, is a brilliant start, but writing a list of all the reasons it will, is a great incentive. Having a list, to keep reminding you of what you are working towards, really works!

Have a beautiful day and be kind ❤️

Looking Forward To Autumn Already?

If the answer to the above title is yes, then guess what? Me too! There is something so beautiful about the transition from Summer to Autumn, especially in terms of nature. Golden coloured crunchy leaves, seem to symbolise the change in season, but there is also an air of new opportunities, as well as the chance to wind down the year. In fact, you can make Autumn what ever you want it to be for you.

Here are some of my favourite things to get me in the Autumnal mood:

Hot Chocolate (with a Marshmallow on top)

A large mug of hot chocolate with a marshmallow floating on top…Need I say more?

Strictly Come Dancing

This has become an annual event, that signifies Autumn. The anticipation of seeing which well known figure will be on the show and be partnered with which pro, is pretty exciting, even if you aren’t a dancer yourself. Sitting on the sofa or in bed, watching the show, is the perfect way to spend a chilly evening.

Jaunts In The Crunchy Leaves

That sound. The crisp, crunch of leaves as you walk on them, is a beautiful sound. Being around nature, can really help you relax and unwind. Taking time out of our general busy and sometimes stressful lives, can work wonders.

Chiller (Chilling Thriller) Book

I LOVE to read, there is nothing that compares to curling up with a good book or audio book. A good book can be read just about anywhere and transport you to a different world. During the Autumn and Winter especially, I enjoy a chilling thriller, such as ones by Susan Hill. Definitely check out your local library, there are so many books in them, just waiting for you to read!

Cake

A cup of tea and a slice of cake…This is dreamy right?

Here are also some Autumnal cake alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth, that are perfect for snacking (the 3 D’s).

Dried fruit eg banana chips and apricots

Dates

Dark Chocolate

Have a beautiful day and be kind 💜

Create Your Own Path

How many times, have we been in a position, where we are waiting for the green-light for a creative project? Wait, wait, wait and wait some more, in fact, it can feel most of our life is waiting for the magic to happen. Not just in our lives as artists, but all aspects of our World.

We might not like to admit it, but we expect the extraordinary to come to us, that sprinkle of unicorn glitter. We need to be realising, as wonderful fate can be, we need to make things happen ourselves.

Make things happen? You are probably wondering what that means. Well that is completely up to you. We are all different and have individual goals, so what we want to acheive, will be completely different to anothers ambition. This is what is so wonderful about individuality.

Doing things your own way, will utimately let you be in control of your career and means you are being pro-active, thinking outside of the box. I can not advocate thinking outside of the box enough, especially in the Arts!

Ultimately, learning to rely on yourself and your intuition is vital, as we only have ourselves in all situations, so we need to learn to listen to our intuition and do what makes us happy. Being happy is what we should aspire to feel, which meams being kind to ourselves, as well as others.

Have a beautiful day and be kind. 💜

Being A Creative Isn’t A Sprint

How often do we read a new social media post, that makes us question our worth, as an artist, due to it’s content? A lot. We see what others are seemingly working on, which always appears to be much more than us, instead of realising it’s quality, rather than quantity, that should be our main aim (easier said than done).

We are our own boss as creatives and we might not always feel like it, but we are also our own product. We are the only ones, that can build our own career path in the Arts. Of course, collaboration is vital, but we need to focus on ourselves and what works for us. Perhaps, learning lines for one show, worked well with one method, but for another, you need a totally different approach.

We shouldn’t be hard on ourselves and our progress, as every project is different. One new play might flow and another might be bursts of inspiration, followed by sitting eating snacks and watching a box set. Be true to yourself, this is you unwinding and having some Me Time.

Why is Me Time so important? It gives us time to obtain whatever we need, be it time to think, or to rejuvenate. This time is vital as a human being, as well as a creative. Giving ourselves space to unwind and remember what makes you tick, is what we all need.

Have a beautiful day and be kind 💜