In which I kindle a creative spark and find a mantra in an unlikely place

In which I kindle a creative spark and find a mantra in an unlikely place


I’ve been having a bit of a tough time lately. Oh, don’t worry – nothing is actually WRONG.  Everything has just seemed a bit difficult. You know the sort of thing – keeping on top of the house, looking after the boys, thinking about my work direction, trying to get time to be me rather than Mummy. When something as mundane as forgetting to buy olive oil is enough to make you snap, you know it’s time to take a hard look at yourself.

But as they say, when the student is ready the teacher appears, and help has recently come from two directions, one more unlikely than the other.

I recently interviewed the artist and author Lucy H Pearce for The Green Parent‘s August/ September edition (I work quite a way ahead for them – put it in the diary!). Lucy is the author of five books (and is working on her sixth and seventh as we speak) and we were chatting about her first, The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood. It’s been a long time since I thought of myself as a creative person (have I EVER thought of myself that way?) and while I was reading the book I struggled to see myself in the “Creative Rainbow Mother” archetype that she describes.


But somewhere along the line a little spark of creativity has been kindled deep inside. Since reading the book I’ve had my hair dyed an array of “mermaid’ colours, and after speaking to Lucy by Skype, I have even, perhaps more profoundly, been drawing a bit (not to mention filling page after page with labyrinths). And trying out a bit of lettering. This might not sound like much to you, but when you consider that my bullet journal generally just consists of very unfancy to do lists in my usual scrawl, this is a big change.

I won’t spoil the forthcoming interview (!), but Lucy highlighted the difference between creativity and “artistic-ness” and gave me a whole new way of looking at the blank page with a sense of excitement rather than terror. Thank you, Lucy!


In that vein, the picture at the top of the page is of a spread I did in my bullet journal of my new mantra (you can see the cover of my bullet journal in this post). When everything gets on top of me, I sing this quietly to myself: “Back and forward flows the sea, back and forward flows the sea, back and forward flows the sea.” If you want to hear the tune, go to the BBC website and listen to the Beachcombing episode of CBeebies Radio show Waterways. Waterways is a really charming and calming listen – I recommend it! And yes, CBeebies is still playing as big as a part in my life as it was when I wrote the “Iggle Piggle is a dying sailor” blog post that ruined In The Night Garden for so many people.

I love the sea – despite living more or less as far from the coast as you can in this country – and this gentle melody, ebbing and flowing like the tide, helps to ground me and stop me feeling overwhelmed. How can you feel stressed about forgetting to buy olive oil when the waves are always crashing onto the shore, pulled by the moon?

Press release: Church celebrations continue despite equipment theft

A Cannock church has celebrated its first birthday despite the theft of hundreds of pounds of audio equipment.

Members of CreateChurch:Cannock, who worship at the Electric Palace Picture House, discovered the break-in when they arrived to set up for the service on Sunday morning. They found that two JBL speakers worth around £700 had been taken from a storage room at the cinema. The thieves also made off with a number of tools being used to renovate the cinema.

Despite the theft, the congregation continued with the church’s birthday celebrations, accompanied by acoustic guitars instead of the usual band.

Church leader Steve Graham said: “Music is a big part of what we do at Create so to walk in and find someone had stolen something so integral to us was really disappointing. Thankfully we were able to get a bit “creative” and carried on regardless.”

The celebrations will continue with an open mic night on Wednesday, September 18, at 7:30pm at Caffe del Nino in High Green Court. All are welcome.

Steve added: “This is a great opportunity for us to use some of the skills we have to have a laugh and get to know some of the other people in Cannock who enjoy playing or listening to live music. This is an event for everyone and really has very little to do with traditional organised church.”

CreateChurch:Cannock meets from 10am every Sunday at the Electric Palace Picture House. They also organise the popular cinema club which takes place on the last Saturday of each month.

For further information see