Vicky Haynes and Lottie Storey are both freelancers and mothers of children with diagnoses of autism. Both are so brave in today's podcast interview that I've let it run a little long because I felt it deserved the time.Read More
For the A Playul Day podcast this month, I’m sharing two conversations about work life balance and staying true to your identity. In this first conversation, we’re dispelling the myth of ‘having it all’. You’re going to hear 3 mother’s discussing the conflict of career, identity and their evolving role as carers.Read More
The cold today makes my fingers ache and my kettle is going to weep if I switch it on one more time. To my left sits a journal full of to do lists and a pencil dropped momentarily, mid tick. On my right are boxes and packing tape. It’s time we left our cottage tucked into the Purbeck hills and headed North. We leave in just under two weeks.Read More
Perhaps you know the scenario that I'm about to describe. Perhaps you to are already feeling a tight knot forming in your stomach as you anticipate the frequency of it occurring over the coming fortnight or so. Do you know the one?
"How was your Christmas?"Read More
What will your five minutes be that save your sanity? What is it that will make you click back into the place you need when life has left you feeling a little lost? Sometimes that one picture might just be the click you need to make yourself hold on and do it all again.Read More
How do we find hope at a time that feels as if human beings have forgotten to have any? A daily onslaught of truly distressing and terrible news has left many of us lacking the faith we need in order to believe that deep down, we're all going to be ok. To be perfectly honest, some of us don't seem like we'll ever be ok again and it's hard to find a reason to be jovial without it seeming crass or insensitive while those people piece back together their lives.Read More
So the start of 2017 hasn't been as healing as many of us had hoped. Usually, the New Year means a tidal wave of 'New You' messages, diet adverts and 30 day challenges. This one has felt more like something we can't get a foothold on yet. It's felt hard to find the positive some days.
I'd planned an entire podcast season around the prompt word 'healing' and it felt timely. Guests were lined up that were political, insightful or just downright mindbogglingly inspiring. I had dates in my diary for releases. I was ready to champion the action we could take and offer up podcasts designed to keep us feeling we had community and heart and soul. Somehow though, I'm sat here in February and my diary doesn't have one deadline to do with A Playful Day written down.
While I was looking at the many New Year launches, I started to notice that the answer offered was always 'more'. Sat here on a Sunday night with Florence and the Machine for company I can't help but wonder, what if more is the problem? When did doing more become such a thing? What about less? Wouldn't less bring better life balance and happiness?
So, I decided. 2017 will be my online gap year.
Pretty snazzy huh? Florence is thrashing out lyrics asking "What are we going to do? We've opened the door and it's all coming though" and I'm smiling. Isn't that exactly how 2017 has felt so far with big news stories and scary politics and so many of us struggling to grow a business with rising cost of living?
So this online gap year feels like a pretty good fit about now. I'm going to be removing any planning or schedule for the foreseeable future. For a while now, I haven't been feeling like the online world is the fun playground I wanted it to be. There's things happening across the world that are weird and frightening and I want time to digest that and think about how I can subvert that message of hate and distrust. I don't want to be more noise in an already saturated space. I want to grow some roots and just live outside the bubble for a bit.
But let's keep in touch ok?
I have a few jobs that are making me so happy right now. If you're a fibre artist, you might like what I'm creating as the newly appointed Brand Manager at The Fibre Co. The team there make me feel good every time I check in for today's assignments and the yarn doesn't hurt either. Then there's creating features at Project Calm Magazine. I have workshops booked in and collections I'm shooting images for so there will be things and news but it's not going to be just about me, A Playful Day. If you'd like all this in a handy newsletter, I'm going to send those out to show you the world I'm hiding in. Come along. Gap years are about where we travel together right?
The podcast might come back, I might get back to blogging regularly and get The Taste. Who knows? I'm just saying I'm open to possibility and if you are too then do, please, reach out. It's always good to create inspiring things together and I have plenty of that booked in for 2017. There was a daring whisper of retreats and I'm seeing how that will fit in with these new roles I'm settling into with inspiring brands I've admired for a while.
So I'll be around, like that friend you bump into one day after a while and has lots of news. I'll be sharing what I'm up to on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (@aplayfulday across the board) and I'll let you know about new projects you can be a part of via the newsletter. Or I'll just be quiet and that's ok too because the thing is, to be successful, the answer isn't always try harder or do more. It's to think about why you feel the need to do that in the first place.
I'll be right back. You take care now xxx
Today I'm sharing an interview with Claire Thomson, cookbook author, food writer and mother of 3. I invited Claire on to the podcast as a way of exploring how we make food a very normal and nurturing thing in the home. I've always been endlessly fascinated by the way families observe meal times and the attitudes we form to food based on our own family values. It’s something we can carry with us for life and for normalising food is at the core of my beliefs. For some of us who have experienced eating disorders, food might even have become the enemy. (If that is you, may I recommend connecting with Mind, B-eat or visiting your family doctor. Know that you are not alone in your struggle and it can stop.)
Claire is on a mission to make food a level playing field, a force to bring together every member of our family, friends and community wherever possible. When she wrote her first book, The 5 O’Clock Apron, she did so as a way of documenting family life and her new-born child’s first year. The food they ate that year is shared with good intent and it’s a cookbook I’ve turned to regularly in recent months.
You can find Claire online:
On the podcast, Claire shares a family favourite, 'Broccoli Pesto Pasta'. This is a really quick dish where you boil pasta and broccoli together in the pan. The broccoli softens so much that it flecks through the pasta, creating a rich dish that you can layer up with more flavourings as your child wishes. Soften garlic in the pan, add some herbs and lemon juice and give it all a good mix. There's more detail in the podcast but it really is that simple! My daughter particularly loves the layering idea Claire describes in this podcast too- bowls of little flavourings to add as she wishes.
Here's a handy graphic if you want to pin this recipe to remember later:
Music is 'Far from Yesterday' by Amy Stroup via Noisetrade.
Podcast creation support by my producer, Chris Muldoon.