Thank you April…

 

For….

♥ Time spent creating.

♥ Finishing my 12 Chinese zodiac animal collages.

♥ Publishing my first blog post in over 2 years.  I am proud of myself!!

♥ Time to wander around alone, lost in my own thoughts, and mini adventures in the city.

♥ Reminding me I have lovely supportive friends in my life.

♥ Finding 2 pins.

♥ Bike rides en famille.

♥ The always-inspiring Flow magazine.

♥ Too much Cava (not sure such a thing exists.  Too much of it, I mean.  I know for fact Cava exists.)

♥ Sunshine and beach visits.

♥ Amazing artesanal icecream after beach visits.

♥ Basil and mint plants and feeling spring-like looking at them flourishing!

♥ Discovering Rae Missigman.

♥ Orange and mint vegan cake made by the lovely Joe.  A variation on this recipe.

♥ Bringing my parents safely home from their mammoth trip to Cuba and the Carribean.

♥ Time spent listening to Kelly -Ann Maddox and Paul Jarvis.  Such wise and entertaining words they both utter!

♥ Roses for Saint Jordi’s day.

♥ A million oranges in the fruit bowl and feeling abundant.

Freedom Seeker book.  I’m now reading it a second time and making notes.

Boy Snow Bird book.  Excited to discover a new (to me) author.

♥ Carrot cake and coffee at Manso’s cafe.

♥ Finding brand new mini table football next to the bins.  Love you Barcelona!

♥ Seeing fish, sharks and sea dragons at the aquarium.

 

 

My April round up of things which have brought me joy.

It might seem a bit hackneyed but there’s a reason that making a regular list of things you’re grateful for is a tried and true practice.  Just the fact of writing things down that you can see in black and white pulls the happy moments of your life sharply into focus.

Which means you’ll likely attract more of them!

It’s also nice to have a record of the highlights of the month (or week, or whatever). Especially if you’re like me and obsessed with making the most of your time, and not wanting to have to wonder where it all suddenly went.

What’s on your gratitude list?

 

 

Favourite things: Poppy!

thank you heart

Hello beautiful people of the tinterwebs

I’m typing this with my nearly 4 week old Poppy by my side.  Sigh….new mama hormones are here, I’m so in love with our little baby girl.  And to think I wanted another boy!

I’ve no idea what week it is this week, and who cares?  It’s just a number, like one’s age, it doesn’t really mean anything, unless you’re like me and use it as an excuse to beat yourself up about all the things you thought you might or should have achieved by now and haven’t.

I’m reading The art of being unmistakable by Srinivas Rao, and there are some gems of wisdom in there, let me tell you!  This, for example :

What if AJ Leon’s wise words “this is not your practice life” became the filter for all your decisions?

I like the idea of having a filter for my decisions.  I’ve been wanting to dye my hair blue for a while now but have been too concerned about what people might think (too old, pretentious, why?)  Well if this is not my practice life I better get on with it and who cares what anyone may or may not think???? I imagine they have more pressing concerns anyway n’est-ce pas??!!

Here are some of my happy list things at the moment:

♥ Poppy! (Obviously!  She arrived safe and sound and we love her so much) ♥ New sofa in my studio (I’ll post photos soon) it makes it look soooo cosy!  Perfect for the coming winter months.♥ Steal like an artist book ♥ The art of being unmistakable book.♥ Large Amazon book order full of creative books that I thought I would treat myself to.♥ Somerset Studio magazines – soooo much artistic inspiration! ♥ One of my midwives recognising me in the hospital corridor a couple of weeks later and making a big fuss over me and Poppy, saying how gorgeous she was.♥ Elly’s homemade lasagnes cooked for me whilst I’m at home alone with Poppy.♥ What a thoughtful friend! ♥ Clare coming round and cooking me lunch. Another amazing friend! ♥ Feeling fit and healthy.♥ A million handmedowns for Poppy.♥ Central bookshop.  I went there the other day after a hiatus of a few months.  Yet more inspiration!  So many artsy design and craft books that I don’t actually feel guilty spending money on, because, well, it’s research innit?!! ♥ The Apprentice TV series.  I hesitated to include that but it’s my new thing to be unapologetically myself so I’m owning my guilty secrets!

I’ll leave you with a wee picture of Poppy:

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Wishing you lots of love and unabashed self acceptance!

Jenny xx

PS  Not joined my mailing list yet?  Click here to jump on the rosy train!

Favourite things week 42

winter wedding card picmonkey flowers

Right I’m getting organised!

My mailing list subscription is up and running and I’m using the week of the year number in my blog post title!  There is literally no stopping me.

I’m also giving birth either this week or next Tuesday, so that actually might stop me a little bit, but hey you do what you can.

I’m going to start back with my favourite things/gratitude/happy lists at the beginning of each week, and keep it up each week.  This is my public declaration so please feel free to pipe up and hold me accountable if I start to slack (which I won’t, now I’ve said all that.  Will I?)

So onwards and upwards!

Not sure what’s come over me today, it must be the hormones.

Here’s my list (week 42, as I mentioned before)

(I love knowing what week of the year it is, it makes me feel like a different person.) (Can you put brackets back to back like this?) (Who cares, it’s week 42!)

Favourite things list:

♥ Essential oils ♥  Japanese fabric collage (I’ll take photos when I can) ♥ The above collage which I turned into a winter wedding card ♥ Jamie’s LOVELY new school teacher ♥ French graphic novel (ok comic to you Joe) birthday present from Sophie ♥ crunching ice (the only craving I’ve had this pregnancy; I’m quite pleased it didn’t turn out to be something really depraved like sardines with chocolate mousse or something) ♥ Castelldefells beach and this chiringuito ♥ Ghosts of Spain book (FINALLY read it after 7 years of wanting to) ♥  balmy October beach weather – although having said that I’m looking forward to autumn which hasn’t arrived yet, it’s too hot and I want to put the duvet back on the bed!!  Hey you know it’s always about the little things!  ♥ Feeling equipped and organised with lots of baby handmedowns, street finds (hello perfect condition good make carseat!) and second hand bargains ♥ solo cinema trips (will try to squeeze another one in this week) ♥ solo Arabic baths visits ♥ yoga dvds,♥ lunches out ♥ getting to 101 items in my Etsy shop, woohoo!!!

Yes I feel like I’ve made the most of my 4 weeks of free time.  Now how much more will I get…?

Hope this finds you well and happy and skipping about in crunchy autumn leaves.

Big love and pumpkin lattes to you (I must try one of these coffees that everyone seems to be obsessed with at the moment),

Jenny xx

PS  Not joined the mailing list yet?  Click here to jump on the rosy train!

 

Some pictures from the summer

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It’s not over- not over- not over ye-et, la la la…

Even if summer is kind of officially finished, it doesn’t feel like it weather-wise at least in Barcelona.  We put the fan away only to bring it out again, and I’m waking up at night by annoying little beads of sweat running into my eyes. Lovely!

Weighty problems aside, I hope you enjoyed the summer.  I’m now coming at you from the other side of 40, so get ready for some juicy pearls of wisdom!!!

Five weeks today and our new little baby is due!  Jamie started school today (Sooooo young -to start at the age of 3!) which leaves me with a few weeks of very exciting freedom!  I’m planning all sorts of indulgent trips to the beach, cinema and Arabic baths, as well as working on some new card and poster designs.

Here are a few photos taken on our trips to the Costa Brava and France.  Such beautiful countryside!

With lots of love, especially to all the other mamas whose babies have just started school,

Jenny xx

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Bagnères-de-Luchon in the South of France. 17 degrees in August, the cheeky monkey!!

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View from our tent in a campsite near Auch in the Gers region of France. Totally isolated and no light pollution so we saw lots of shooting stars!

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Someone with a sense of humour!

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I’m going to use this as a model for another wooden whimsical house. So cute! I think it was originally a gatehouse.

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Near Tamariu on the Costa Brava, one of my favourite places ever.

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Joe’s arty shot of our flip flops intertwined!

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View from the pool of our guest house, when it wasn’t raining, which was only half the time, grrrr…

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Swimming in the rain. It must be what I like to think of as my determined British genes!

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Tossa de Mar.

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These cacti make me really happy!

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The importance of taking time out

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Goofy family picture before we set off for our long walk through the hills

Leonie Dawson is always talking about working smarter not harder.

She works 3 hours a day and has such a beautifully thriving business.  I love this advice!

Identify areas in your business or life you where you can improve your time management or productivity and this has nothing to do with working until midnight every night.

santa pau walking

For me, identifying that I am so much more awake and productive and alert in the mornings means I don’t waste time trying to do anything important after 7 or 8 pm, or it’s simply counter-productive.

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santa pau view

santa pau hills

Similarly, taking time out, away from everything, or at least away from your normal routine, can also work wonders.  We went to the Garrotxa region of Catalonia a couple of weeks ago and I found it so restful and restorative being away for one little night.

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I´ll never get tired of looking at the snow-capped Pyrenees

santa pau hill

santa pau buildings

santa pau jamie and statue

Jamie takes a shine to a him-size sculpture. We had to drag him away after he’d given it the 100th kiss!

Making time in my working day to grab a quick coffee with a friend or do some yoga is also simply maravilloso!!

How do you ‘fill your well’ and take time out?  I ‘d love to know your ideas!

With much love,

Jenny xx

3 Ordinary Things Worth Celebrating

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Linking in with the lovely The Petit Cadeau and Joyful Roots blogs for a community blog tour of everyday things worth celebrating.  Hooray!

Here’s my  list of 3 out-of-the-ordinary things I believe are worth celebrating: Stay tuned for further installments, I have many more items to add!

1.  Getting old.

A lot of people in the world don’t get that privilege. I’ll worry about potential ill-health when the time comes, but in the meantime another grey hair and wrinkle is going to be cause to celebrate! I’m still here!  I’m alive and kicking and look how far I’ve come!

I love how we as humans emulate nature – the seasons, the phases of the moon.

Well I’m entering middle age, and I plan to embrace it!  That doesn’t mean I can’t still be young at heart, of course, it just means that for me since I became a mother 2 years ago I have felt completely ready to be fully in this second phase of my life.  I’m finally happy to be a crafty nerdy homebody that stays at home all the time, doesn’t smoke or go out til 8am every weekend.  That’s something to celebrate!

I will also hopefully have the pleasure of growing old with my husband and little boy.  Watch my son grow up.  I know children grow up so quickly and I plan to document as much as I can – stopping short when the process of documentation gets in the way of savouring the moment for itself.

(Read the classic Jenny Joseph poem and watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel film for further getting old celebration!)

2.  Giving and Receiving Compliments.

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I’m such a big fan of compliments – both the giving and the receiving.  When I receive a compliment I try to write it down and put it in a special compliments scrapbook I’ve made.  I often forget, but I love the idea anyway!! I write the date, the compliment, and who said it to me. It’s such a lovely thing to look back on, all the more so if you’ve had a bad day or are feeling a bit down on yourself.

I think it’s important to try to accept any compliments we’re given.  I know it can be difficult, (especially as women, as we’re basically indoctrinated from birth to be self deprecating), but a smile and a thank you and not a self put-down both acknowlege the giver of the compliment and train the mind of your future self that you are worthy to receive future compliments!

And on the flipside:  Giving someone a compliment can be such a simple thing to do yet yield such massive results.  What’s not to like?!! Maximum output for minimum input!  I’ll never forget the time I told one of my dad’s friends his new haircut really suited him – he grinned from ear to ear and his face lit up like I’d completely made his day!  It was wonderful!  I was a bit taken aback by what an effect I’d had by something I’d thought so little over.

Anyway my point is it’s a very easy way to make someone happy.  I’m not talking about saying something for the sake of it or saying something false, but If I think something nice about someone I make a point of saying it.  I’ve started doing it with strangers too, which admittedly makes me feel a bit of an idiot at times, but I can assure you it’s completely worth it!

Compliment scrapbooks make amazing presents too by the way.  For my mum’s 60th birthday and when some friends left Barcelona I asked people what their favourite memories about that person were or what they loved most about them, and compiled all the answers together in a little arty book.

Hearing such nice details and anticipating the joy the recipient is going to feel at all those lovely things others treasure  about her is almost as good as being on the receiving end of something like that myself….(double win!)

I also make a point to pass on compliments I’ve heard said about someone. Why not, eh?  A bit of positivity is always worth sharing…

3.  Writing to-do lists and paying bills.

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I’ve recently got into decorating daily planners, which apparently is a big ole phenomenon I’ve been missing out on!  Suzi Blu mentioned this Facebook Page and since I discovered that I’ve been making my daily diary pretty with washi tape and glitter and stickers and revelling in being 10 years old again!  There’s something to be said for making the ordinary parts of the everyday special, or adding a bit of positive attention and mindfulness to them, and I can happily report that I now enjoy writing my daily to-do lists because they look so pretty!

And as for paying bills…well, of course it’s mostly done online now, but getting into the habit of keeping records and accounts- of what we usually see as boring or negative parts of life- in really pretty stationery, and using a favourite pen to do it, really makes a difference to how you approach such chores.

Also, as I believe SARK once said, try changing your attitude to being grateful. Instead of cursing utility companies for having such sky-high prices, start at least acknowledging the fact that we’re in a somewhat privileged position to have access to and be in a position to pay for running water, electricity, gas, all on demand.  How often do these things really not work or go wrong?  Not very often!!

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What ordinary things do you believe are worth celebrating?

With love and ordinariness,

Jenny xx

PS  I’m so okay with imperfection these days (thanks Brené Brown) I’ve even included the last photo which has the ‘d’ from ‘daily’ and the Thursday stickers missing!!  Ha ha!!

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives

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I LOVE this quote by Annie Dillard that I saw on Create and Thrive blog.  See this post for advice about how to live your ideal day every day. As soon as I write this I’m going to sit down and work out what my ideal day would look like, in a realistic manner!!

And how are you this fine Thursday morn?  Here the sun is shining, I´ve bought myself a gorgeous white hyacinth (so cheap and so amazing-smelling!), and spring is in the air….

Here are some of my happy things from the last week or so:

♥ Designing and printing the above card, nice and flowery and rainbow-y!! Rainbow roses, who knew??!!  ♥ Decorating my diary/planner with washi tape and stickers, I love making the everyday a bit special and now it brings me pleasure to write my mundane to-do lists in such a pretty place.  I’ll take some photos soon. ♥  Weekend trip to Santa Pau with Jamie’s grandparents. Gorgeous scenery and so nice to get out into the countryside. ♥  Messages from long-lost friends.  ♥ Parcels from other long-lost friends containing collage materials! Thanks Jo! ♥  Two scrapbook shops on the street next to ours. Could be a bit dangerous….♥  Rediscovering old art and creative books and getting ideas. ♥   Lovely landlord first asking after Jamie when I phone him about flat problems. ♥  Cheap and cheerful washi tape. ♥ Chats and coffee with good friends.

Hope you’re having a rosy-esque week my flowers!

Lots of love, Jenny xx

PS. Still trying to work out how to put one of those fancy signatures at the bottom of each blog post.  Grrrr….it’s taking a while…

Studio tour

Hello!  I thought you might like a little tour around my studio as it looks now:

studio 3 now

Not normally quite as tidy as this, I hasten to add! I’m quite a tidy person but find it really hard to keep this space spick and span – what with projects and collages and whatnots constantly on the go….

The desk to the left is where I theoretically do my creative stuff; the desk to the right is my planning and writing desk, where I do accounts and write in my planner and calendar and feel organised and like a grown up.

studio 2 now

I’ve also started working a fair amount on the floor!  I think I’m destined to be a perrenial student as that was how I always used to do my study and write my essays, with my papers spread out on the floor all around me.  I found it much easier working like that than on a desk, which I’m starting to feel again now. Well, whatever works, hey?!  It’s not really conducive to a tidy studio however, and I have to watch out for Jamie coming along picking up scissors and glue and trampsing over carefully laid-out collages in progress etc!

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this rosy life roses and washi tape

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studio 1 now

I’ve taken a couple of the pictures down from the walls since the photo was taken. Not many, but just so I could breathe a little!  I like to have a lot going on, but even for me this was overdoing it a bit.  I love just being able to look up and be instantly inspired, but I’m also discovering it can be a bit more restful to have a little bit of white space around.  Let’s face it, I’m never going to be minimalist, however fashionable that is!

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And here are a couple of pictures of the old ‘studio’, which was in fact a cosy corner of our bedroom in our old apartment.  And when I say cosy, I mean cosy!!  We only had 2 bedrooms, and when Jamie took up the second one which used to be my boudoir/art room I had to move into our bedroom.

On the plus side, there was lots of natural light, which I lack now, but I have so much S-P-A-C-E it doesn’t matter!  I can’t believe we managed to go to sleep in here every night, with so much going on on the walls, and quite a lot of mess (ahem). Sorry Joe!

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And finally the old old studio, which was the original boudoir before Señor Jamie came along to us:

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old boudoir 1

I love the cut out roses around the mirror.  I really have always loved roses!

this rosy life rose heads

Follow your own path. Go on, do.

You are following your own path

Happy New Year to you my flower fairies!

Do you have any New Year´s resolutions?

I have a few, and am at the moment thinking of what my word for the year should be.  I´ll share it with you when I´ve decided on it… one of the current favourites is ‘imperfection’.  I wouldn´t call myself a perfectionist, but I do sometimes get a bit obsessed with trying to make sure everything is perfect before I can begin something, or relax, or feel like I´m doing my best and that that is good enough.  So hmmm yep, I pretty much sound like a perfectionist!

I´ve been starting work on Leonie Dawson´s 2014 yearbook, which is great for making you focus on plans and goals for the year ahead.  One of the tasks is to write down 100 things you want to do in the year.  I´ll post this list too, to share and hold myself accountable publicly to at least achieve some of them. We´ll see what happens!

I´m also working on embracing following my own path, and not feeling inadequate for not having a high-flying job and lots of achievements under my belt, considering I’M GOING TO BE 40 THIS YEAR!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!  HOW?????????????????

Did you hear me?

I´M GOING TO BE 40 THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!

Ah, the relentless march of time!

Breathe, breathe Jenny!  It´s okay, it´s okay I tell you!

So anyway yeah I made a piece of art to deal with those issues.  Hasn´t it worked well????!!! There it is above, shortly to be available in my Etsy shop.

Anyway,  we´re only just into the year, so starting off as I mean to go on, here are some things I´m grateful for at the moment:

♥ Bagpuss ♥ The word Mäuschen (meaning Sweety, Cutie, Pumpkin etc in German, thank you Zoë) ♥ my tidy studio ♥ pink alpaca knitted fingerless gloves.  So pretty yet practical!  ♥ Sunny days ♥ Sherlock.  Hands up who doesn´t have a crush on him, come on now, I see ya! ♥ Searching for Sugarman. ♥ Rodriguez.  I´m a bit late to the game, but really, wowsers! ♥  Luke Wright poet. So talented and inspiring. ♥ My Mr Wonderful diary from Joe. ♥ Jess for her generosity and basically making Jamie have great Christmas presents by giving away her stuff before she left Barcelona. ♥ New lipstick ♥ Cosy woolly socks  ♥ Elf shoes.  Hooray for pixies! ♥ Our orchid coming back to life!  Yay, spring is on its way!

Happy Thursday my darling chickpeas!

Love, Jenny xx

Cold Moon December

moon calendar 2014

moon calendar 2014 by This Rosy Life

Happy Monday beautiful people!

This month´s full moon name is Cold.  How seasonal!  I love the seasons and how nature can remind us that we are part of the earth and nature ourselves, with our own cycles and phases and whatnots…

I hope you´re keeping warm and enjoying this time of year, listening to your body, drinking hot drinks and cosying up in blankets in front of log fires…

I´m grateful:

♥ For good Student Loan service.  Yes you heard me right!  Anyone need efficiency and friendliness, ask for this guy! ♥ For tissues with hearts on them.  If I´m going to be blowing my nose then hey let´s make it pretty!  A bit of beauty in the everyday, akin to investing in amazing duvets and cutlery, I say…♥ For serendipity and happy coincidences and bumping into people at opportune moments. ♥  For the significance of hummingbirds. ♥  For Joe saying the next card I randomly pull out the pack is how much I love you and him getting the Ace of Hearts!  So cool!  Thanks universe for Joe!  ♥ For Jim being sweet and thoughtful enough to take a photo on his phone of this random sign he saw in Barcelona saying I heart Jenny.  Definitely going to print that one out.  ♥ For lovely service and freebies at my local printers. ♥  For finishing my 2014 moon calendar, as you can see above.  I´m really pleased with how it turned out and how I managed to be organised enough to get it done before the end of the year. ♥  For feeling calm and centred. ♥  For long-overdue catch ups with Sophie. ♥  For mulled wine and Elf watching.  ♥ for medieval festivals and mulled wine (sorry, did someone just say mulled wine?)

Wishing  you the sight of falling snowflakes, catching the light as they tumble, with the knowledge that you are as unique as one of them (who quoted that, I forget?), the smell of cinnamon and cloves, and a calm centred approach to Christmas shopping!  Go handmade!  Make your own!  Offer your time rather than money…

Big rosy love my cherubins,

Jenny xx