The Art of Courageous Conversations

I was a little shocked to see that my last post on here was a long time ago. In fact it was last year some time. Ah. So much for my resolution to actually post on a regular basis.

I have decided now is as good a time as any to start blogging again. Some things in life have changed; I am no longer with the same boyfriend. To cut a long story short, I was looking for a long term  relationship involving moving in together . He came up with a myriad of excuses and it never did happen. We had conversation after conversation, trying to come up with a solution to the supposed issues he raised.

However, there comes a point when you realise there is no solution; for whatever reason the other person will not or does not want to try and work with you.

I ended the relationship, he was wasting my time and it was not moving in the direction I wanted. At least however, the conversations got everything out in the open and I tried.

Which brings me onto my next musing, around the theme of having the courage to voice our own needs and opinions in a constructive manner.

From what I have read and witnessed relationship wise, many of the issues seem to stem from a total lack of communication. I myself have been guilty of this in the past.

Why would two people in a relationship not communicate effectively with other? This could be for various reasons such as low self esteem; low self confidence; conflict avoidance; fear of upsetting the other party; assumptions about what the other person is thinking and feeling and so on.

For me when I was younger, much of it was fear of upsetting the other person or that they would say something I didn’t want to hear. I was timid and lacked the self confidence to actively bring up issues that were bothering me.

Now, having some relationship mileage under my belt at the grand age of 34 and a much healthier sense of self , I will freely discuss anything with my partner. I have found the courage to do so and that it is much better to get things out in the open rather than let them fester.

Sure, you could just sit there stewing and ruminating and trying to avoid whatever the issue is. However, this will not do anything towards trying to solve the issue.  I know the thought of having the conversation is scary, I’ve been there. I have an over active imagination and used to dream up all these horrible scenarios. ‘ What if he get’s angry?’ ‘What if he breaks up with me?’

I always used to think the worst. I think it’s funny that people automatically expect their partner to know what they are thinking or feeling. Unless you happen to be dating a mutant like Professor Xavier of  X-Men fame, don’t assume they know what the issue is or even that they are aware there is an issue.  As I have joked to my current and past partner , as multi talented as I am unfortunately mind reading is not a skill I possess.

I have told him that if he ever has any issues to speak to me. My ex-boyfriend came out with a list of stuff that was irritating him, and I had absolutely no idea until he actually vocalised it.

If you can’t communicate clearly to each other, how will you know that you both want the same things in a relationship and that you are on the same wavelength? I ended my previous two relationships because they were not what I wanted. Was it easy having those conversations? No of course not, but it was better to be honest and have the integrity to actually initiate the discussions.

Yes, breakups hurt. But is better to end a relationship that is not working than stay and risk becoming bitter and resentful. This is toxic to both people in the relationship.

Hopefully though, by communicating effectively small issues can be resolved before they escalate further. I keep calm and state my points without resorting to shouting or screaming ( which in my own experience just makes things worse) . You can always take a time out if it feels like its headed in an angry direction.

The other point is, if your partner is not mature enough to have conversations around difficult issues, are  they the right person to be in a relationship with?

I am in no way a qualified relationship counsellor, the above is simply from my own life experience. I have been told however by my current and previous partner that they have never had someone they could talk to so easily and about anything.

Be courageous; have those conversations you have been putting off. Be honest, it pays in the long run.




When life messes up your plans 

So, despite my last post and the excitement about going part time at work, this has not happened. 

Work is going through a gargantuan resizing and change at the moment , which will most likely result in the office I work in being down sized at some point in the near future. 

There are no concrete plans or details yet , but the dreaded redundancy is being whispered furtively around the office. 

At this stage I don’t know long term if I will have a job. The uncertainty is rather annoying; I am unable to make any long term financial plans and have had to put my plans to buy a car on the back burner. 

So, I have stayed full time in an effort to save money just in case the redundancy does become reality. 

Obviously this has messed up my creative plans somewhat . I have however started drawing a series of pet portraits in charcoal ; I am planning to make a website for commissions. So far I am on portrait number 3 and people seem to like them; hopefully this will translate into a small additonal income stream when the website is up and running. 

It’s just frustrating having to work full time still when I was looking forward to having that extra day to be creative ! 

Uncertainty over your job is an isidious beast; it forever lurks on the edge of consciousness poking at you and snarling.  

Having secured a permanent contract I assumed I was safe from the proverbial axeman; it appears not . Maybe this is the nudge I need to start several small creative income streams. 

The pet portraits will be the first ( I have to focus on one idea at a time or I’ll never finish any !) 

Then I’m planning on creating climbing chalk bags in a variety of designs.  If only work didn’t take up so much time ! 

Not enough time to do everything

Lately I have been feeling a bit down; there are so many creative projects I want to tackle but I am finding it very difficult to fit them all in. I work full time and also go to the gym, go climbing once a week and volunteer for Girl Guides. I have no idea how people with children manage to do anything, I don’t even have this excuse! Kudos to people with children. Anyhow, I digress. I have been thinking lately ( again) what to do work wise and well, with my life in general.

I actually have more options now I am out of debt and do not have a mortgage and any other massive ball and chain style financial commitments. I live in a shared house so my rent is fairly cheap, well by UK standards anyway, and other outgoings are fairly minimal. I don’t have a big, shiny expensive car to run and rely on public transport (As disgusting as it is sometimes, more so because of the behaviour of the passengers and what they drop and do rather than the vehicle itself).

This has led me to consider what some people would think a really far out, crazy and insane idea. What could it be I hear you thinking? Quit my job and join a religious order?

No, not quite that crazy;  but in our money obsessed world I bet I would receive some comments along the lines of ‘ oh but why, you’ ll have less money’ or something similar.

Yes, I have been considering REDUCING MY HOURS AT WORK! DUM DUM DUM!

I have actually sat down and done the maths with all my monthly outgoings on a reduced wage, and have come to the conclusion that I can afford to drop one day a week. I will still have enough money to go out occasionally and not subsist on beans on toast on an indefinite basis, so financially it is actually very possible.

Ah but why I hear you ask? Is it because I am lazy and can’t be bothered to work full time anymore, having had enough of already even though I am only 33?

Is it because I need more time to formulate an evil plan to take over the world, super villain style?

It’s actually neither of the above. I am certainly not lazy, nor do I have the disposition to be a super villain. Although that would be kinda cool.

No the reason is simply time. I do not have enough time to fit everything in that I want to do. I want to finish writing my novel, create amazing hand made chalk bags, learn Spanish, climb, run, go to the gym, volunteer, paint, draw, read, learn bass guitar, and belly dance amongst other things. Creative activities feed my soul and at the moment it is under nourished.

I have come to the conclusion that the extra day I would gain by dropping my hours, is worth more to me than the money I would get paid for it. A whole day to spend on creative projects when everyone else is at work! No interruptions! I’m excited just thinking about it.

Some people would obviously think this is a crappy idea, and I can’t blame them. We are after all indoctrinated from a young age that money and possessions are somehow the be all and end all of life, that you must always strive to have more and more and more.

Which of course is nothing to do with trapping people in a lifestyle where they have to work long hours to buy things they think they need and to buy distractions from the fact that they have to spend so long at work……

I am no scientist , but I have read many articles about the value of experiences over possessions and how this improves happiness. I totally agree; how did we end up like this? Why is money so dam important? It’s also been proven that above a certain level money does not significantly improve happiness. Money in itself has no value, it is what you do with it that counts.

I have happily adapted this mind set, and have decided when I submit the form at work to change my hours I will ask for Wednesday off, the dreaded mid week hump day. This means I will only ever have to spend two days at a time at work; I am hoping this will lead to less stress, and having a whole creative day each week to myself will also improve my creative output, as well as ,my wellbeing. That novel that has been written thus far in sporadic bits and pieces across a couple of years will now regularly progress. I will soon  have a large pile of chalk bags, which I will be able to sell and make some money on. Etc Etc for other creative activities.

Even though I sat down and did the maths, I still doubted myself simply  due to the lifelong brainwashing and indoctrination around money and status. Having actually decided to go ahead with it, I feel much better.

It may not go to plan, but if you don’t try you’ll never know. 🙂




Novel in progress

So today and last Sunday I have made considerable progress on my novel; I am now over the 25,000 word mark. This is the most progress I have made for a while, so I am pretty pleased. The plot is progressing along nicely , and the heroine has partially found the information she seeks.

The only thing is, according to various online  sources the average fantasy novel is around 80,000 to 100,000 words. Phew that’s a lot of output word wise! I am aiming for the lower end of this as it’s my first novel, but even so at this stage I am worried I will get no where near this many words. All I can do is keep writing until the first draft is completed and then see where I am word wise. I’m not sure at what length something becomes a novella as opposed to a novel if it’s too short. I am planning to self publish, so it’s not like I need approval from a publisher but even so I am worried it’ll be too short.

Well, I guess I will just have to wait and see, as I don’t have a concrete plan apart from a very loose outline on how the story progresses.

Romance Lives!

This is a non creative related post, but as it brought me much happiness I thought I would share it. Last week the security guard at work left me a voice mail saying I had  delivery of flowers . This has never happened in my entire history of relationships to date, and was a pleasant surprise. I wandered downstairs to find a massive box.  I took it back to my desk and opened it to find a beautiful bouquet of tightly furled red roses. Honestly , I nearly cried with sheer joy ! There was a card which read ‘here are some flowers, for no particular reason other to say that I love you loads and am glad I have you in my life. Love …’ the other half. I tried to find something in the works kitchen to put them in, but alas no suitable containers could be found. I am happy to report though I got them home in one piece and they now sit proudly on my chest of drawers in my room.
This spontaneous romantic act has of course won massive brownie points for my lovely other half. Romance lives ! It is alive and kicking, and not soppy at all.


The beautiful blooms. Velvety red buds of loveliness. Ah ( goes all doe eyed ). How could you not like receiving a gift such as this? Stunning , just stunning. And for no particular reason,  just love and appreciation. See , being spontaneous is a good thing.

The joy of Spring

It’s almost Spring! Hurah! The time of year where cold, grey England slowly hauls itself from the icy clutches of winter and starts to limp into a new season.

I have always liked Spring. The days get longer, the sun occasionally comes out and nature starts to blossom and sprout all over the place. There are certain events I look out for this time of year. The vivid purple and yellow crocus flowers that peek from the grass in the park I pass on my morning commute; the nodding pink blossoms that materialise on trees for a short time before disappearing; birds and animals emerging from their winter hiatus. The scent of warmer, florally scented air when you catch a waft that is not smothered by city smells and pollution.

My boyfriend has a pond in his garden; last year we were constantly on the lookout for frogs after spotting hundreds of wriggling black tadpoles. I think we saw one tiny  one. We went to look on the weekend, thinking as a fence panel has blown over the pond some time back there would no be no frog activity. We were wrong; upon lifting said fence panel there were three magnificent large green frogs, and a gelatinous clump of frog spawn. With a plop two of them jumped into the pond to escape our gaze, and the other hopped swiftly behind the fence panel.

With the change in the season I too emerge from the grey pallor of winter. The dark mornings and short days do not agree with me. Spring brings a freshness, an inspiring, invigorating  breath of life that awakens me in body and mind. I seem more focused, less sluggish and more awake. Ideas and possibilities seem to flow more freely. The rest of the year takes on a  rosy glow.

It is a good time of year to take stock of where I am in life, and make future plans using this new sense of liveliness. I have been more productive in my creative activities lately, and am hoping with the arrival of Spring this will only continue to increase and flourish.

Choices , Choices …..

So an amazing thing is due to happen shortly; I will be debt free! Hurah!  ( Student loan withstanding but meh that doesn’t count really …)

Due to some poor life choices circa 2005 onwards , up until last November I was paying a hefty chunk of my salary to the bank each month for a loan , plus overdraft fees and credit cards. What a financial millstone that was ! The loan has gone , and both the credit cards are paid off. Currently I am out of my overdraft, and if I’m careful I should stay out of it come the end of this month.

Next month then, I’ll actually get to keep all of my salary for me , usual blls and living expenses excluded. I  had been living in my overdraft for so long that I had come to see it as normal , which is surely not healthy!

So it is rather exciting that I’m almost back in black, instead of being in the red. I have worked out I should have a healthy disposable income. This has posed many questions and consequently life choices. I can’t decide whether to buy a car, or move out of my shared accomodation. Alternatively I could possibly afford to reduce my hours at work and have more time to concentrate on my artwork,  writing and handbag making, although that would mean staying put house wise for now.

The having more time is an attractive proposition, although this depends how much of a hit on income I would take by working one less day a week. It would be great to only spend four days in the office instead of five ; a whole extra day for my creative endeavours !

Realistically this is probably the only time I’ll be able to do this financially . At the moment I’m not running a car, I don’t have children and I don’t have a mortgage.  It wouldn’t have to be permanent either if it does not work ; I  could return to full time at work.

I have not come to a decision yet. But who wouldn’t be tempted to spend more time being creative if they could afford to be?








27/01/2016 Sewing progress..

So originally this evening I had written a post about my ire regarding today ….but maybe that wasn’t’ such a clever idea due to the content. The post was removed ( although if you were quick enough to read it, I hope it was entertaining) .Still it was fun writing it and venting and I do feel much better now. Hooray for the therapeutic properties of writing.

Anyway, changing the subject,  progress on making my second handbag is much slower than the first few. This is due to the complexity of it as compared to the others, and the fact I am a rookie sewer and bag maker. The bottom of the bag is curved on the sides, which has given me no end of difficulties in trying to pin and stitch the thing. The first time I pinned it I had no idea to sew it without sewing both parts of  together. I looked on YouTube for some videos, and found a couple of useful ones. I then  pinned it and attempted to stitch it, but it was all uneven and bunched up. I took it off ( although admittedly I was a little too over zealous the seam ripper) and ended up ripping the fabric panel in two places which then had to be stitched together again. Whoops.

I decided to try one more time, so took off the panel with the rips and replaced it with a new piece of fabric. This time I was more careful with the pinning, and tacked it together first ( a loose hand stitch). This gave a visible line of stitching to follow on the machine which made it easier. It’s still not brilliant, but is a lot better than the first two attempts. The part I’ve made will be the interior of the bag so I have decided to leave it as it is, rather than take it off again and risk damaging the side panels. I now have to cut out all the fabric pieces and lining for the exterior part of the bag and again stitch the rounded bottom panel in. Hopefully as it’s the forth time attempting the same technique it’ll be neater.

After that part is completed I need to make all the edging and the bag straps, which involves making my own bias binded fabric. Hopefully this will not be as difficult as sewing the curved parts on the bag!