Return to the Wild

When you're tired out from moving house and feeling creatively low, driving 4 hours might not seem that appealing at first glance. This was me on Friday morning, breaking down the last of the cardboard boxes and journey planning for a getaway with friends. As I typed the postcode into Google, I let out a small groan and started to reconsider the icebox of local sausages, cheese and gin already stowed in my boot. 

What if I told you though, that at the end of that long drive would be a long track......

farm track to The Damson Cabin.jpg

.... that led you through an orchard where sheep left their wool on their favourite scratching post....

Wool on the scratching post

... and tucked into a meadow was the most beautiful cabin?

The Damson Cabin

I've just returned from a magical time away with friends this weekend at The Damson Cabin, a beautiful cabin located in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. When a group of us wished for a weekend away to celebrate a birthday, we all agreed it needed to be inspiring, soothing and if at all possible, remote. The answer came courtesy of Canopy and Stars, a company who specialise in properties with a little more.... character

What I love about Canopy and Stars is their commitment to helping travelers reconnect with nature and experience a holiday that's a little wilder than your average hotel stay. The choices of accommodation are pretty varied, meaning you can find a slice of adventure that suits you or your family's needs pretty easily. The cabin was typical of the sort of thing you might expect to find from a Canopy and Stars property, with a wood burning stove, fairylights to accompany evenings on the porch and eco features such as solar power. 

We spent our time treating one another to delicious meals, using lanterns to light our suppers and blankets to warm our legs as we sipped morning coffees on the porch. When we fancied stretching our legs we found easy walks through woods, orchards and meadows that gave way to stunning views across the Worcestershire hills. 

meadow walks
Worcestershire hills

Ambling back through the farm on which the cabin is located, we stopped to make friends with some of the local characters and all sighed happily at the roses in full bloom, the textures and above all, the quiet. 

farm friends

Sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from the world and let in just a few brilliant, bright and warm women who make your heart sing. When I recall moments from this weekend I think of smiles, time to indulge our crafts and the endless supply of favourite bakes we shared, gladly. Gatherings in which every participant wishes for the greatest of happiness for their fellow travelers are extremely nourishing for the soul. 

As are the oatmeal cookies and cream teas. 

Oatmeal cookies and scones

What's more, somewhere, in the midst of all this celebration of our friendship, creativity and the beautiful surroundings, I even found time to learn something new....

Learning to crochet


//// ~ Notes from a blog post:

Pattern- Tenbury Hats & Mittens, Kat Goldin for The Crochet Project

Yarn- The Plucky Knitter Primo in Classic Rock & Bottle Blonde

Damson Cabin via Canopy and Stars, booked and paid for by all guests. Loved and adored by all. 

Taking Chances

I've always been a person who needs a lot of variety in my week to keep my attention. I like new challenges to help me appreciate the more familiar spaces in my life. I prefer to be juggling slightly too many things so that when a day of very little stretches in front of me, I know just how to let it wash over me and see it for what it really is. I've spent a lot of time over the past year making new things happen: learning new skills, changing the way that I work, seeking new friendships, new places to call home....

The thing is with constantly seeking out new stimuli is that you can start to feel like you don't have a centre any more. If, like me, you need a constant supply of new and exciting experiences in order to feel truly alive, you can sometimes feel a bit untethered. It's the feeling that I crave, a sensation that I am capable of truly anything because things are fluid and loose. Of course, once you shake off that feeling of claustrophobia and feel unleashed? Things can feel a little uneasy in your day to day as you flounder for something to pin it all on. 

I find sticking to routines hard. I establish one and pretty soon it's gone and I'm moving on to try the new thing that's "going to make my life better". Lately I've not even tried routines but instead bounced from project to project or simply reacted to the next demand that crops up. It's left me pretty low with Imposter Syndrome. Without a sense of goal or purpose, I've questioned what I'm really doing in life. 

However, today I interviewed a guest for Season 2 of the podcast. This guest talked lovingly and knowledgeably about the ebb and flow of life. She spun the tale of a woman who also craved constant change and challenge and that this was ok as long as you had a thread that ran through it all. It was there, in that moment that I came to realise that A Playful Day has become the thread that holds my day to day together. When I chase stories and offer them on the podcast, blog or various other online spaces, I do so in a way that reflects my present mood. This season is dedicated to a sense of adventure and I'm swirling around ideas of being untethered and grounded all at once. I don't think that's an accident, 5 weeks from the Big Move. 

It was well timed, perhaps, that this morning the podcast reached it's first Patreon goal. I'd dared to share a little dream that the podcast would be entirely supported by its' listeners and that dream seems to be pleasing to more people than just me. With this new phrase 'ebb and flow' sounding in my head, I started to plan. I've started to ask "What if?"

Writing postcards for Season 1 Patreon subscribers

Writing postcards for Season 1 Patreon subscribers

A Playful Day has many voices and spaces and I love adventuring in all of them. Sometimes my interest in writing will wane when I'm photographing or recording more and then suddenly all I want are words on a page and the familiar tap of my keys. 

So it was easy to switch on a camera today, despite my deep sense of Imposter Syndrome and make a video explaining that I'm daring to dream we can make the podcast even better. There's a new goal for monthly pledges and I would love it if you popped over to Patreon and considered joining the community we're growing there. You can even tell your friends. 

Patreon rewards, Spring

Patreon rewards, Spring

Sometimes we just need a thread. Inspiration seems like a pretty good place to start. 


Postcard Bloggers with Curious Handmade

Here it is, the final post for #postcardbloggers2015! 

I've really enjoyed hosting this wanderlust filled blog hop and I hope you have enjoyed travelling with us too?

You can find all the previous postcard blog posters on A Playful Day here. Alternatively, come find the 'Wanderlust' board that I have created on Pinterest where you'll find all the postcards we sent as well as travel journal and photography inspiration, travel tips and advice and just a little more wanderlust enabling too. Check us out on social media with the hastags #aninspired2015 #postcardbloggers2015

Here's Helen from Curious Handmade:

Dear Kate

I’m writing to you from the most perfect place at this time of year – Paris in the Springtime!

For the love of Paris- design inspiration for textile artists

Paris is one of those special cities where you can go, wander around and be thoroughly entertained without planning a single thing. Everywhere you look you will see exciting architecture, tempting shops and of course beautiful people. It really is true that the Parisienne women have a flair for accessories! I always come away brimming with design inspiration after a trip to Paris.

Inspirational Paris markets and haberdasheries

The city is bursting with flea markets, fabric and yarn shops and all kinds of haberdashery and passementerie (which is a fancy French word for trimmings and tassels –I just love how it rolls off the tongue).

Parisienne patisserie

And then there is the food! Did someone say patisserie?! Gotta go!

Love Helen