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  1. New Forest life

    Went back to my Hampshire roots recently and enjoyed poking around Alresford, a sweet little town in the ancient New Forest with a real working steam engine.  Here are a few of the things that caught my eye…

    What a lovely house the old Postmaster had!

    Love the boot scraper outside the door

    This pub is nearly 250 years old

    Noseying around is thirsty work – always time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down

    Loved this serving station in one of the town’s cosy tea shops

    I found a health food shop tucked inside this small barn

    So many goodies in cafe/deli and gift shop Caracoli

    Had to get myself some of this lovely dried lavender from Lavenders

    Ahh the romance of an old steam train.  Half expected a tall guy in a trenchcoat and trilby to step out of the steam and walk down the platform towards me…

    ***

    Have you been back to your roots lately?

    ***

    Are you doing what you love? Join the Do What You Love e-course - class begins Monday June 6.

    This online adventure  will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love.

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here.

    Find out more and register here.

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  2. *shared stories* (15): Sally Stafford and Desha Peacock

    sharedstories

    ***

    Today’s *shared stories* come from painter Sally Stafford and TV presenter Desha Peacock

    ***

    Sally Stafford

    I am not a writer…I’m a painter. Eight years ago I wouldn’t have been able to say that. I was a technical writer working freelance for internet security companies. But in my heart I have always been an artist.

    When my twins were 18 in 2002 I gave up my career in IT to paint full time… a big event …carefully prepared for….I gradually worked part time/painted part time… took out a second mortgage…and stepped off the precipice.

    ‘Silver Sisters’ by Sally Stafford

    One piece of writing I did do at that time was to write a letter to a friend… a letter dated 2002, five years into the future …and never delivered.

    I told her all about my solo show in a beautiful gallery and how I was now painting in Spain, how my life was full of joy. I found the letter recently and am amazed at how close to my current life it is…I just have had an amazing solo show…and as you read this I am on my way to Portugal to be an artist in residence at a beautiful place I have been coming to each June for the last 4 years. I live deep in a magical forest that inspires me and travel and work in amazing places for at least 3 months of the year….almost exactly what I wrote about long ago in 2002.

    I’m going to write another letter soon….one dated 2016. Why not try it yourself? And check in 5 years time to see if you too are living the life you dreamed about….the life you love.

    ‘Golden Meadows’ by Sally Stafford

    [Sally is a painter of meadows, forests and dreams. Her work is in collections around the word and shown in galleries in the UK and Portugal. She occasionally teaches inspiring workshops at her beautiful studio in the Forest of Dean and other places. Find out more about Sally by visiting her website or her summerland blog . Image credits: Ian Gorton]

    ***

    Desha Peacock

    For as long as I can remember I’ve asked myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” Some people are born with an innate sense of what they want to do, or be. Others don’t seem to ask the question, they just hammer through life and “do what they’ve got to do”. I’m not good at that. In fact, I’ve gotten physically ill when I’ve tried to force myself to stay in jobs I didn’t like. That’s because I need work that is somehow connected to what I call my “higher purpose”. I believe we all have a purpose and it’s our good feelings and dreams that enlighten us to what that purpose is, although it’s not always easy to follow that dreamy path. In fact, sometimes the hardest part is deciphering what it is we truly want.

    I have had 40 jobs.  I’ve done everything from sales, to social work, to teaching, to translating, to retail, to cultural travel writing, to leading trips abroad, to owning my own business and more. And now, what’s astonishing to me is that I’m getting paid to help people answer the question that I’ve been asking myself for years, “What do you want to do with your life?”

    I never imagined I would be a career counselor at a small liberal arts college, but it makes sense because I love having these conversations with bright, interesting students and alum. I give lots of advice in my role, and most of it has to do with listening to your inner heart’s desire (path to higher purpose).

    I decided it was time to take my own advice & really tune in to how I can live my life to the full, which for me involves creativity. To start, I made a list of all the things I love, which includes: art, design, fashion, and inspirational stories.  I’ve always dreamed of having a bit of fortune and fame, too. And, so when Oprah Winfrey had a contest to “win your own TV show” I had to apply. I submitted a video along with 16,000 other people and explained why I wanted my own show. I didn’t win, but what I learned was, “hey this is fun, I actually really DO want to have my own show”.

    At that point it would have been so easy to list all the reasons why I couldn’t do that:-

    1. I have no experience in TV

    2. I am a mother to a young child

    3. I live in a small town in Vermont, not exactly known for TV production

    And the list goes on. But, I didn’t do that. Instead, I decided to listen to this desire. And thus, “The Desha Show” was born.

    I am currently partaking in my own 12-month experiment. What would happen if I devote my time and energy into what I love for 12 months? My hope is that my show will grow and expand into something even bigger than I can currently imagine. Maybe it’s TV. Maybe it’s design work. Maybe it’s something else creative. My end goal is not “a job”, it’s a set of criteria- fun, creative, lucrative!

    And yes, it’s risky. This is the first time in my life where I’ve put so much time and energy into something that isn’t about making money (yet). I’m not thinking about a “market”, or whom this will appeal to. I’m the market. I’m doing this for me because these are the things I love, that’s why it’s The Desha Show!

    Just as I’m learning from my day job how to listen to my own advice, I’m also learning from my show. I interview people who are either in their self-professed “sweet spot” or they are on their way to it. I’m finding that their words are giving me advice on how to Do What I Love!

    So far, I’ve produced to two short episodes which are currently airing on my local public TV station in Brattleboro, Vermont and can be seen on Vimeo though my blog.

    Interviewing artist Daniel Kornguth

    I recently interviewed a very talented dancer and circus performer who just signed a contract with Cirque de Soleil. When I asked what made him pursue his dream; he said, “I believe it is our duty to follow our dreams”.

    Isn’t that amazing? It’s our duty.  In other words, we are depriving the world by not sharing our gifts. If I ever get down on myself and start questioning my process, I often refer to his wisdom. Doing what I love is not selfish, it’s my duty. Imagine if we all did what we loved, wouldn’t the world be a better place? As for me, I can’t say I’m 100% in my sweet spot yet, but I am in the process of Doing What I Love, and so grateful for that!

    [All images courtesy of Desha Peacock. Find out more about her on her blog]

    ***

    Are you doing what you love?  Join the Do What You Love e-course and start doing it. 

    This online adventure starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love.

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here.

    Find out more and register here.

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  3. Saltaire Arts Trail Makers’ Fair discoveries (continued)

    Here are a few more of my discoveries from the Saltaire Arts Trail Makers’ Fair…

    Geraldine McCullagh (Made at Greenview)

    Have had my eye on these lovely bags for a while.  Geraldine makes most of them using fabric from Liberty’s.  She told me she also teaches sewing workshops in the picturesque village of Holmfirth – might have to take my sewing machine on a little trip one of these days…

    ***

    The Courtyard Pottery

    I am normally drawn to neutral, earthy-coloured pottery, but I loved the bold but slightly quirky designs of these ceramics from The Courtyard Pottery

    ***

    The Button Boutique

    A girl can never have enough buttons in her stash…

    ***

    Leigh Shepherd Designs

    Couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Japanese paper Leigh uses in her resin pieces

    ***

    Kate Bowles

    Was fascinated by this ‘sewing station’ (not sure of its real name) used by Kate Bowles to measure accurately stitch her books.  I didn’t know such things existed!

    See here for yesterday’s post with more discoveries!

    ***

    Are you doing what you love? Join the Do What You Love e-course - class begins Monday June 6.

    This online adventure  will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love.

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here.

    Find out more and register here.

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  4. Saltaire Arts Trail Makers’ Fair discoveries

    It’s that time of year again when artists open their houses for all and sundry to come and have a nosey (and view their art!).  I spent a wonderful day today wandering Saltaire Arts Trail and spending too much money at the Makers’ Fair in Saltaire Village.  Here are some of my lovely discoveries…

    Cathy Emmott (Dear Emma Designs)

    When I first wanted to buy a sewing machine some time last year I randomly sent Cathy an email asking advice (as I had admired her work for some time) – and she generously responded, so it was lovely meeting her in person today.  Bought the sweetest Blackberry holder from her – it matches my sewing bag, and my keyring, and my mum’s teacosy…

    ***

    Michelle Freemantle (Creatively Occupied)

    Fell in love with these gorgeous ceramics

    More tomorrow…

    ***

    Are you doing what you love? Join the Do What You Love e-course - class begins Monday June 6.

    This online adventure  will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love.

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here.

    Find out more and register here.

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  5. Do What You Love interview: Melissa Vest

    Today’s Do What You Love interview is a little different to the others.  Author of blog ‘The Frugal Style’, Melissa Vest lives in Arkansas, USA, and is an alumni of the Do What You Love e-course.  She found that after years of struggling to understand what she wanted to ‘do’ as a career, the e-course really helped her fit together the pieces of where she wanted to go.  She says “I learned that I love the arts, and I am passionate about the impact they can make in our communities.  As a result I have created a new Art Does Good Project, so that I can learn more about what communities are doing right now with the arts.”  

    Today Melissa shares details of the big step she is taking to do what she loves – an exciting project looking into how art can be used as a tool to tackle social issues - and how you can help. 

    Tell us about ‘Art Does Good’ – the project you have just launched – what is it and why is it important to you?
     
    The project is called Art Does Good, and it’s basically a road trip I’m going to be taking this summer to look at communities in the U.S. where they’ve used the arts to help revitalize and grow their economies, as well as create a renewed sense of community.  I’ve chosen four in particular I’d like to go to which are:  Northwest, Arkansas; Paducah, Kentucky; Durham, North Carolina and Serenbe, Georgia.  I will be conducting interviews, taking photos and sharing people’s stories on he project blog Art Does Good.  I am really excited to share this journey with people, so they might be able to take the information I learn and apply it in their own communities.

    I think it’s really important to look at the arts as a way to help boost our economies, especially because of the recession and our current economic situation.  It’s easy to focus on where things are bad, what to cut from the budget, etc.  However, I think it’s just as important, maybe more so, to look at what is working.  I want to show where the arts are doing good right now, and how that can apply to struggling communities.  I want people to see that the arts can bring in business and are actually a very relevant economic resource.

    This is important to me because I think our downtowns and communities are vitally important to the type of quality of life we lead.  Not only am I passionate about the arts and about being creative myself, I see that they can make a big difference for everyone.  They can help us move in to a new economy, and they can also help us connect with our neighbors and community leaders.

    What do you hope to find out?

    I want to collect stories from people who live in each of these communities, artists, business owner and community leaders.  I would like learn what has and hasn’t worked as far as using the arts in their towns.  I would also like to know how much their programs or arts organizations have helped their economies, and collect data to support it. 

    I’d like to open up a conversation about this topic with the online community and people in general.  I think it’s something worth talking about.  Some people see the arts as frivolous, but they can certainly have a large impact.  I think this project will help show leaders and decision makers that the arts need to be incorporated in to their communities to help them thrive in the future.
     
    What impact have you seen art having in your own city?

    I live in a large metro area called Northwest Arkansas, which is actually comprised over four main communities (Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville).  I’ve seen the promise of a new art museum opening in November already start to have an impact.  It’s being built in Bentonville,  where they’ve already updated the square, built hiking trails and constructed new roads.  The museum is going to have a large impact on the area, and that’s one thing I’m researching with the Art Does Good Project for my thesis.  I’ve also seen the arts help in Rogers, where they have a Twilight Art Walk every third Friday of the month in the summer.  I actually just did an interview with a business owner from downtown Rogers on my blog.   It was wonderful to hear how the Walks have helped her and why she thinks they’re important.  She even thinks they’ve helped business owners choose Rogers for their shops.  I love that the Walks also help bring people together and they encourage people to get to know one another through the arts.

    Why do you think art has value as a tool for social change?

    I think that the arts are kind of a universal language.  You might not speak the same language as someone, but you can begin to understand them through their art.  It also allows people to express themselves and come together.  It’s a way to be creative and share an experience.  Whether it’s creating art together, talking with an artist about their work or purchasing a piece of art – there’s a certain intimacy to that.  It’s about sharing, and learning about each other, which I think is a vital aspect to social change.  We need to work together and come up with creative solutions in order to bring it about, so I think art can certainly help us do that.
     
    What about your own creative journey?  Where are you on it?

    For as long as I can remember I’ve loved being creative.  When I was little I would make ‘stationery’ with markers, and then package the stationery in to little boxes my mom had.  I even wrapped the boxes with plastic wrap to make them look like the ones in the store.  I loved art classes, in particular I liked the summer clay courses I took.  My parents always encouraged me to be creative and my mom let me re-arrange the house and decorate.  I just really enjoyed doing all of those things.  So, I guess it was not a surprise that I ended up with a degree in Art Studio from the University of Wisconsin and am now completing my Masters in Arts Administration. 

    Flowers made from painted coffee filters

    I have been so busy with school that sometimes I forget to take time to really create just for myself.  I love when I’m able to do that, it feels like such a luxury.  Last year I took part in a community art show, where we all donated 5″x5″ canvases of our work to be auctioned.  The money supported a local art organization. It was so fun to be confined to that little 5 inch square canvas, and to really explore what I could do with it.  I ended up opening it up and creating flowers coming out of it with coffee filters.  That’s my favorite thing to do right now.  I basically take coffee filters and dye them with watercolors.  It takes two to three good coats of the paint to get them to be vibrant enough.  Then I cut them and sculpt them in to flowers or other things.  I’ve actually got a piece in my head right now.  I want to make tomatoes on a vine using the coffee filters, but I am still working on the construction of it.  I like that I have to know how it will all work structurally before I can begin working on it creatively. 

    I also really enjoyed the Do What You Love course, because I was able to explore my creativity.  I recently grabbed a big handful of mint and closed my eyes, then started to draw.  It was fun to explore what the mint reminded me of.  My first instinct was summer, so I drew my garden.  Way too easy!   So I made myself try again, and a wonderful little room with terrariums and flowers growing in the shelves started to emerge.  I really am learning to push myself to just create, without initial judgement, that’s something that’s hard for me.  I do think that the more connected we are with our senses that art seems to come a little more naturally.  I’m trying to explore that a little more with weekly sketching projects.  
     
    And where do you hope to go on your creative journey?

    Well hopefully my first stop will be traveling this summer to the four communities I’ve selected.  I am really excited to devote time to the project, to collecting interviews and learning new things.  This summer I will also be writing my thesis, and I hopefully will graduate this fall.  I am excited for that new phase of my life, post grad school where I can work and turn my education in to my career.  I’d love to work at a museum or in a community arts organization.  I’d love to continue my work with the Art Does Good project, by implementing what I learn in my job in some way. 

    I would also like to continue the Art Does Good project, perhaps through interviews and guest posts on the blog.  I really do think it’s a an important conversation for us all to have.  I love the idea of people being able to share what’s working in their communities as well. 

     How can the Do What You Love community help you make this dream project of yours a reality?

    Well, you can go to my Kickstarter page and make a pledge of support.  With your donation you can get lots of cool stuff, like postcards and an Art Does Good Bumper Sticker.  There’s even a video I made that you can watch to learn more about the project.  I really appreciate this support as it will help me kick start this important conversation about the arts, through taking this research road trip this summer.   I hope you will also follow along on my blog so that they can be a part of the discussion as well.

    To support Melissa’s new project see her Kickstarter page, follow her journey on the Art Does Good blog or connect on Twitter (@artdoesgood) or Facebook.  You can also visit Melissa’s own blog The Frugal Style.  [All images courtesy of Melissa Vest]

    ***

    What do you think?  How can art be used as a tool for positive social change?

    ***

    Ready for your own adventure?   The Summer Session of the Do What You Love e-course begins in just over one week.  There is still time to sign up and join a community of people from all over the world gathering for this online adventure.  In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.

    It starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love. 

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here

    Find out more and register here.  

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  6. Wanderlust

    [Taken in the Sahara desert last year]

    Isn’t ‘wanderlust’ such a juicy and delicious word? 

    Lusting after the freedom of wandering 

    I’ve got it right now

    Feels like time for a little trip

    I’ve pulled my rucksack out of the cupboard and I’m ready

    Ready for sun on my toes and wind in my hair

    This time next week I’ll be somewhere else soaking up the new – new sights, new sounds, new smells, new people, new food, new language

    Mmmm I can taste adventure already

    ***

    Have you had wanderlust lately?  Where do you fancy going?

    ***

    Ready for your own adventure?  Why not join the Do What You Love e-course

    It starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love. 

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here

    Find out more and register here.  

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  7. Do What You Love interview: Sania Pell

    [image: Uli Schade for Elle Decoration]

    I have long been intrigued what it is actually like to be a professional stylist.  Today London-based freelance stylist and author of ‘The Homemade Home’ Sania Pell opens the doors on this profession, sharing what it is like to spend the day surrounded by beautiful things, see your work on the front cover of Elle Decoration and publish your own gorgeous book.

    [image: Julia Bostock]

    As a freelance stylist spending your day surrounded by beautiful things, your job sounds like a dream.  Can you tell us a bit more about the reality of what you do?

    I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, creative job. A magazine stylist involves a combination of creativity and organisational skills and it’s quite high pressured, as you know a story will have your name on it and be seen by your industry peers, so you want it to be as good as possible. To begin with, a few story ideas are submitted to the editorial team and one is selected to work on. I love combining my shopping skills with making and creating something completely new for a shoot for people to try at home. Lots of research (looking round and about the shops) and searching online for the perfect products to showcase your brief and story. It then involves a large amount of organisation, requesting from the shops the products you need, making sure they have received this request and confirming they will loan it to you. Conveying all of this to the courier who collects it all. On the shoot everything needs unpacking, putting together to form a shot for the photographer. When the camera is on the shot, things are moved around until it looks perfect. Things then are wrapped up, clearly labelled and returned. The story is then written up and objects credited.

    For books it is a little different, I come up with lists of ideas that develop over time and then work through the list, choosing the ideas I think are strongest and will work well as a step project but will also photograph well. I make the project and then style the photos on location to make it look its best and to show all of the details, so the reader can easily follow and make it too. I then write how to make it in detail and supply rough drawings for the illustrator.

    [image: Uli Schade for Elle Decoration]

    What does your typical day look like (if there is such a thing)?

    Every day is a little different. First I drop the children off at school and nursery at 9am, then I either go straight into central London to buy materials, looks for props or I go home, make a cup of tea and start making things or writing in my loft studio. I have to pick the children up from school at 3pm so then it’s mum duties until they have gone to bed. Then a quick tidy up (it’s usually a bit chaotic after a day of crafting and kids!) followed by dinner with my husband. I normally work my way through the day’s emails and catch up online before bed. If it’s a week when I’m shooting then that is always hectic and I pull in lots of favours for the school run!

    [images: Julia Bostock for Garden Life (left) and Penny Wincer for Cico Books (right)]

    What did you enjoy most about your collaboration with Holly Becker, Joanna Copestick and Leslie Shewring on the new book ‘Decorate’?

    It was a joy to work with Holly and Leslie at Liberty, they are both lovely. I hadn’t met Joanna before the event, but after an hour I felt like I had known her for years! I really enjoyed working as a team, it felt very ‘international’! Holly and Leslie are great fun and we laughed a lot. I enjoyed brainstorming all the ideas with them, and then the making of course. It’s always great when your ideas end up as something that works. It was wonderful to meet so many people after the event too and to hear that people had been inspired by the demo. Plus, as a textiles girl and long-time fan of Liberty, I had the perfect excuse to keep popping into the store all the time!

    Sania’s living room featured on the front cover of the US Edition of Decorate

    Did you set out wanting to do what you are doing, or has your career evolved more organically? 

    I would say it’s a combination. Some of the things I’ve done have evolved fairly organically but I’ve always been focussed and hard working and I suppose doing well in one thing has led on to the next. I worked as a textile designer in a London studio for seven years, which I loved, but needed a new challenge after that length of time. I talked to friends about a career change and came up with working as an interior stylist. This meant I started from the beginning, assisting other stylists for free at first just to get the experience. I still freelanced as a textile designer in the evenings and weekends to help pay the bills. When I had some experience, I started taking test photographs with things I had made and bits and pieces I borrowed or had about the house, and did test shoots with photographers’ assistants who I had met and were in a similar position to me trying to build their portfolios. Once I had a portfolio showing what I could do, I took it to magazines which led to getting my first styling jobs. I took time out of work after my second child, but the ideas kept coming. I kept note of them in a little notebook that I keep in my bag all the time. I had done some styling work for my publishers and mentioned I had an idea for a book. I went in and saw them with the outline and some things I had made and by the end of the meeting I had a book deal and we started shooting one week later! It all happened very quickly and I was able to add ‘author’ to my job description a year later when The Homemade Home was published.

    [image: Penny Wincer for Cico Books]

    What was the most important thing you learned during your years working for one of London’s top fashion and furnishing textile design studios?

    We designed all day, every day and there was no excuse for off days or if you weren’t feeling creative or inspired that day. That was a great lesson to learn, to just start designing and try things, don’t wait for inspiration to come, just get stuck in. Nothing was thrown away design-wise and I learnt to become a commercial designer and about the differences in markets – what sold better in Europe, what the US preferred etc. We were prolific too. It was simple – the more designs we produced, the more we would sell. It means even now I’m never short of ideas, I find them. It also meant that my drawing skills were used every day, along with my stitching skills, which helped me discover a style of my own. By being commercial it doesn’t necessarily mean being a sell out and designing things you don’t actually like, it just means producing designs that other people wanted to buy. I loved working at the studio and am still good friends with the team there.

    [Images: Emma Mitchell (left) and Penny Wincer for Cico Books]

    And in your time at Elle Decoration?

    I was a freelance stylist for them and I loved having the creative freedom there, I could think big and dramatic working on 10 page features and several front covers. I also styled for other magazines and papers like The Mail on Sunday and the Telegraph. I suppose I learned most by working with some of the top interior photographers and that, when you connect with a photographer, it’s that creative team work that gets the best results.

    [Image: Penny Wincer for Cico Books]

    How important was your university education in getting you to where you are now?

    I don’t think I would be where I was now if I hadn’t had the training at Art College. That is where I really learnt to draw and use colour, experiment with art and have fun creatively. I learnt to be confident in what I was creating. I needed that training to stand out and get the job in the textile design studio. I also met my husband at art college when we were 18 so it was important professionally and personally!

    [Image: Penny Wincer for Cico Books]

    What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into styling later in life (rather than fresh out of uni)?

    My advice would be assist other stylists, for free if necessary, and try to build up relationships with magazines. Build up your styling portfolio with a photographer and then try and get little jobs and see what happens. If you went to art college, see what your old friends are up to and see if they can help. Make friends with staff in little interiors shops or new designers, as they may be more likely to lend you things to photograph or may be willing to work with you on something that they may use for promotion and you can add to your CV. Nowadays, you can buy very good DSLR cameras at reasonable prices to practise styling with and start a blog to show what you’re up to. They didn’t exist when I started but now I’m doing it the other way round and have been taking my own pictures for my new blog!

    [image: Penny Wincer for Cico Books]

    What is the big dream for you and your creative business?

    There may well be another book in the near future and I am very excited to have just started a blog of my own. I love encouraging people to be creative and individual and this seems to be a good way of sharing this. I’ll keep on making, I just can’t stop.

    *** 

     To find out more visit Sania’s gorgeous website, her sparkly new blog or connect on Facebook or Twitter (@SaniaPell).  See here for more interviews with inspiring people doing what they love.  

    ***

    Missed the retreat?  Why not join the Do What You Love e-course

    This online adventure starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love. 

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here

    Find out more and register here.  

    This is your life we are talking about…

  8. Back by popular demand – the Do What You Love e-course is OPEN for registration!

    When I put the Do What You Love e-course out into the world for the first time at the beginning of the year I had no idea the impact it was going to have on participants – and on me.  Every day of the six-week class was a new adventure, offering new discoveries about myself and others, opening up in new ways and sharing stories, tools and inspiration.  It thrills me to think that more people are on their path towards doing what they love because of it. 

    And now, by popular demand, it’s back…  There are less than two weeks before class begins for the summer session on June 6.  The Do What You Love e-course will help you expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.  It will help you identify your passion, and work out what ‘doing what you love’ actually means for you.  Don’t miss out on this important opportunity – it might just change your life.  Register now!

    Don’t just take my word for it – here are some thoughts from the community of like-minded souls from all over the world that benefitted from the class last time…

    By far the best e-course I have ever taken

    “I was and continue to be floored by this course–it was so valuable. I felt like it helped me focus on me, my interests, my desires, and what was holding me back from those things. I was more painfully honest with myself than I have been in years, but I also allowed myself to play more than ever. Since joining the course, I’ve gone paragliding, quit my steady but unfulfilling job, participated in a 5k charity run, met tons of new people and basically blossomed into a new person. I feel like the course will continue working it’s magic for ages. It has a killer curriculum covering all the bases. I’m so absolutely pleased I chose this as a way to start turning my life around.”

    “This class was liberating and awe inspiring.”

    In the moments when I have down time, ALL I think about is this course – where it’s leading me, what I can do to bring more fun, creativity, and passion into my life, and it’s JUST what I need.”

     “My heart is bursting. How empowering and inspiring it is to share our stories and know that we aren’t alone and that there is always a way through.”

    “Highly recommend to anyone on the brink of making important changes in their life!”

    “Can’t believe it was just a 6-week course. I feel like a different person.”

     

    “I loved that this 6 weeks course made me put aside this time only for myself, away from all the noise in my life, and to really reflect on what I am doing, who I am and what direction I want to go in. During the course I got the tools to do just that.”

    “This eCourse is a sparkling combination of creative projects, inspiring interviews and compelling worksheets. Beth has done a magnificent job of creating a fresh approach to uncovering what you love. Even if you know what you love, you’ll discover fresh insights as you go on this soulful adventure.”

    “For 6 weeks it felt like a companion on a very exciting journey I hadn’t been able to take by myself.”

    “Wow, wow and wow again.”

    “Everything is changing because of this.”

     

    In a post-ecourse survey 95% of participants said they were more focused and clear about what ‘doing what they love’ means to them. 100% of respondents said the e-course had had an impact on them and made them think about the changes they need to make in their lives. 

    ***

    You could be saying similar things in just a few weeks -

    register now to join this online adventure and

    find your path towards doing what you love

     

    ***

  9. Do What You Love retreat: No (wo)man is an island

    The team (including our fab teachers!) from L-R: Ellie, Hannah, Lex, Rachel, Flora, Suzanne, Louise, Priscilla, Chris, Juliette, me, Paul  Image: courtesy of NavyBlur

    It is not possible to deliver something like the Do What You Love retreat without an army of angels – and I was blessed with the best. 

    Shiny happy people, full of energy, initiative and creative love, they generously gave their time to help outside of class hours.  They gave the other participants a warm welcome, got up early, went to bed late, helped make the place look beautiful and did much behind the scenes – always with a smile (and frequently with a belly laugh and a mouthful of chocolate) - to help make everyone’s experience as special as it could be. 

    I am truly indebted to the retreat team who helped make it all happen, and proud to call them my friends. 

    Here is a sneak peek behind the scenes with the team hard at work…

    Preparing the site signage…                                                                                      [Image: NavyBlur]

    Registering arrivals and showing them to their lovely lodges…              [Image: NavyBlur]

    Explaining where to find everything…                                                                [Image: NavyBlur]

    Breakfast meetings…                                                                                                    [Image: NavyBlur]

    Serving wine and sparklers…                                                                                     [Image: NavyBlur]

    Preparing for early morning yoga with the lovely Devi Kirin Kaur          [Image: NavyBlur]

    Adding little touches around the place…                                                             [Image: NavyBlur]

    Opening the tipi up for dinner…                                                                               [Image: NavyBlur]

    … and checking the cakes taste delicious!                                                         [Image: NavyBlur]

    I must also thank the wonderful Christine Boyd and Xander Neal of NavyBlur for all the fab photos, and Jack Benson and Rafael Gibbons of Nut Films for the film (which is in the works – so exciting!).  Can’t wait to share Do What You Love interviews with them in the coming weeks… 

    Thank you all!

    ***

    For more of my posts about the retreat see: Gathering / Full of Love / Reflecting / Bloom True with Flora Bowley / Paper heaven with Rachel Hazell / Delicate wax and wire sculptures with Priscilla Jones

    ***

    Missed the retreat?  Why not join the Do What You Love e-course

    This online adventure starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love. 

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here

    Find out more and register here.  

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***

  10. Do What You Love retreat: Delicate wax and wire sculptures with Priscilla Jones

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    In a sunny lodge on a hillside strung with vintage bunting, with floor-to-ceiling windows letting the light pour in, and a wooden deck perfect for tea breaks, a group of lovely ladies worked some kind of creative poetry.  The delicate dreamy work that came out of Priscilla Jones’s class wouldn’t be out of place in Alice in Wonderland.  It took a variety of fascinating techniques – painting with feathers on tissue paper, sculpting with florist’s wire, adding hot wax and a little bit of love…  and beauty emerged.  Here’s a sneak peek at a unique and inspiring class from a very gifted teacher…

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: NavyBlur]

    [Image: Hannah Nunn]

    [Image: Hannah Nunn]

    [Image: Hannah Nunn]

    For more blog posts from participants in Priscilla’s class see: Hannah Nunn / Rachael Taylor

    For more of my posts about the retreat see: Gathering /Full of Love / Reflecting / Bloom True with Flora Bowley / Paper heaven with Rachel Hazell / No (wo)man is an island

    ***

    Missed the retreat?  Why not join the Do What You Love e-course

    This online adventure starts on June 6 and will take you step-by-step along the path towards doing what you love. 

    Read what a powerful impact it had on previous participants here

    Find out more and register here.  

    This is your life we are talking about…

    ***