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22 June 2017

Third week of the #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge

#ColourMyEveryDay Instagram Challenge by Adventures & Tea Parties

The third week of the #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge has been another spectacular one full of colour and incredible interpretations of the daily prompts. It's been wonderful looking through the feed every day, choosing four pics from that day's prompt to share with you all. Here are the ones I shared for the third week of the challenge and I can't wait to see what the final 9 days will bring.

#ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge created by Adventures & Tea Parties

If you haven't had a chance to join in or catch up, head to the feed here and feast your eyes on all the beautiful photos. It's also a lovely way to find some great new Instagram accounts to follow too!

Thank you to everyone who has been joining in and making it a beautiful, colourful, happy, inspiring community!

21 June 2017

A blog post on self care

The other evening when it was stifling hot, I took myself and my evening meal to a shady spot in the garden where I did nothing but sit, slowly eat and watch the dozens of swifts draw circles in the sky at great speed. I was on my own for the first time in a while, which felt good to be still and quiet with my own thoughts. I felt so completely relaxed from the noise of life and pressures of work that I found myself just wanting to stay in that spot thinking about nothing else other than how incredible swifts are for hardly ever landing and for feeding, mating and even sleeping while air born. 

how to self care by Adventures & Tea Parties

While considering what life would be like if I could multi-task like this, I started to feel fidgety. My brain was turning to the thought that I should be doing something more meaningful with this moment in the garden. I could go grab my laptop and get some work done or clear my inbox at least, maybe get my drawing pad out and sketch that design idea I had the other day or write tomorrow's to-do list and schedule some social media posts to free up more time to do other jobs tomorrow.....my relaxed bubble had well and truly burst.

Instead of doing any of those jobs and now feeling well and truly distracted by what I should by doing, I headed back inside to wash the pots and generally tidy up. That didn't make me feel great because part of me longed to back with that relaxed feeling I had only moments before, not worrying about anything and just enjoying staring at the swifts and well, being kind to myself and allowing my brain and body to relax.

a blog post on self care by Adventures & Tea Parties

This is a problem I am increasingly reading about in blogs and magazines, lack of self care as a growing phenomenon and the rise of mindfulness as a solution. Maybe it has always been there but I can't help but think that it has got worse with the rise of devices enabling us to scroll the internet for eternity, looking up that thing you meant to look for the other day and getting side-tracked and setting up an Ebay alert for some pink shoes that you just can't find anywhere else. This level of busyness and always looking at screens is simply not healthy.

But how do we stop ourselves from being like this? How do we essentially allow ourselves to relax and well, "self care"? 

Rather than just advise that we all go and lie down and concentrate on the tips of our toes and nothing else, I think it's better to look at what the causes are for not caring enough about ourselves before we can self diagnose and provide solutions. Instead of bullet pointing them, I'm sharing my go-to method: a spider diagram. 

I've written down some life pressures and therefore possible causes of why we are not caring enough for ourselves. I've included specific problems to me and also general problems that you might relate to. Seeing it like this makes it easier for a visual person, such as myself, to understand what the over-riding themes are and how best to tackle them.  


Ok, so that's quite the diagram and shows just how many pressures there are and possible reasons why we don't give ourselves enough time to self care. But we can't go on like this; that way lies disaster for our physical and mental well-being. If only we didn't have to sleep or could do so on the job but we are simply not built that way; we are not like the swifts.

So, what next? Well, we have to be kind to ourselves by finding solutions to these problems because they are in a sense unhealthy habits. I've tried to look at possible solutions, including basic and practical ones that relate to the pressures I identified above. Here's what I came up with.

Self care tips by Adventures & Tea Parties

Writing this down certainly helps me identify areas where I can better care for myself. I don't know if this method is helpful to you at all - looking at the problems, pressures and causes and then seeing how you can lessen that noise and live a healthier life - it's one approach any how.

tulips by Adventures & Tea Parties

I guess what it comes down to is the absolute basics and is not dissimilar to something I saw doing the rounds on social media platforms years ago, which resonated with me. We should care for ourselves like we would care for a child. In other words, make sure we've had enough to eat and drink, get plenty of sleep every day and put yourself to bed early, spend time outside, don't be mean to ourselves and don't put ourselves in dangerous situations (physically or mentally). We could easily expand this list to include additional simple things like making sure we're not too hot or too cold, that we have an equal balance of play, socialising and rest and that we ask if we need help or want to talk about something. I think these basics are a good way to start and then building on this to include some of the suggestions above to help deal with the additional noise and pressure of daily modern life. Oh and something I'm very keen on - look after one other. Be caring. Be a friend. Be kind. And also, stop saying "should".

16 June 2017

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Freshly picked flowers by Adventures & Tea Parties

Yay, the weekend is nearly here! Have you had a good week? Any highlights? What are you weekend plans?

I was completely wiped out at the start of the week after the Blogtacular conference in London. It was so much fun and I will totally be blogging about it soon (and including lots of pics too) but this week was about playing catch up on shop orders, business related stuff and sleep! Anyone else find it impossible to sleep in a hotel bed? Even if I'm exhausted I find it so hard to sleep solidly. My brain stays alert to the slightest sound and I just can't acclimatise to the new surroundings. So, I had the longest sleep when I got home late Saturday night and did nothing on Sunday aside from sit on the sun lounger in the garden and make a few notes on the things I learnt from Blogtacular while it was fresh in my tired brain.

Despite it being a bit of catch up week, it's been a good one too and here are my happy highlights:

Happy thing #1 The design proof came back for my first pin, which I've been adjusting the colours on today. Early next week I should have an ETA for when I can expect to see it in the flesh, which is very exciting! Oh and I should mention or rather totally tease you about, it's a colour themed pin and that's all I'm going to say on the matter, ha-ha!

Happy thing #2 I spent a whole evening gardening and it felt so good to be doing it mid-week rather than just pottering around the garden on a Sunday.

Happy thing #3 I continued to be amazed at how many of you are taking part in the #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge and sharing such fabulous, colourful photos! It's truly incredible and I'm really happy to hear from so many of you telling me how much you're enjoying it; that makes my heart go boom!

Happy thing #4 Myself and two of my besties started a daily gratitude check. Each day we check in with each other to say what we're grateful for. It's like a boost of positivity each day and keeps the three of us thinking of the good things in life. This has been particularly helpful with the current political climate and the non stop bad sh*t happening lately. 

Happy thing #5 My bloody amazing friends and creative tribe who continue to inspire, encourage and most of all make me laugh. Love them! On Saturday I'm meeting up with the Somerset Etsy Team group for our monthly meet up and I can't wait to be with my creative tribe again!

And of course, as you now know, music is always a core part of my week. I've had 6 Music on mostly, been repeating the first song below A LOT and today, I binged on Just a Minute, another favourite listen of mine while I'm working. So, if you fancy a bit of music this evening, here are 7 tracks I picked out especially for you. Pop them on and have a boogie!

Shark Smile by Big Thief
Beatmaker by Doris
Challengers by The New Pornographers
The Way You Used to Do by Queens of the Stone Age
Ye Ye by Minimatic
I Take What I Want by Sam & Dave
Get Up, Get Into It , Get Involved by James Brown

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!

15 June 2017

Second week of the #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge

ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge by Adventures & Tea Parties

Whoop, the second week of the #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge has whizzed by with some absolutely spectacular photos for the prompts of Jewellery, Building, Group, Tool, Look down, Tin and Glass. I've been blown away by how much effort everyone is making and all the lovely messages you've sent me too. I'm so happy you're all enjoying it as much as I am and thank you for making the Instagram feed such a happy, colourful, inspiring place to be.

#ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge by Adventures & Tea Parties

In fact, you've made me so flipping happy, that I've gone and got completely over excited and just designed my first ever pin to celebrate finding and appreciating colour every day! I'm currently waiting on the design proof to come back before the *patient* wait begins for the pins to be made and shipped. I'm a big bundle of nerves and excitement over it and cannot wait to share the pin with you all!

Thanks so much for taking part everyone. I'm looking forward to another week of inspirational, beautiful photos!

Stay colourful peeps!

12 June 2017

Meet the local artist - Becka Griffin

Yay, it's time for another 'Meet the local artist' interview and this month I have the great pleasure of introducing an incredible artist and illustrator from Merseyside, Becka Griffin. Read on to find out all about her artistic world, how she works, gets inspired and most importantly, who she would invite to a fictitious Art & Illustration Award evening!

Becka Griffin Illustrator

Hi there, can you introduce yourself to all the lovely Adventures & Tea Parties blog readers please?
Hello!  My name’s Becka, I’m 37 and I am an illustrator based in Liverpool.  I’ve been running my business for about eight years, and full-time for just over three years.  I’m also very proud to be Captain of the Merseyside Etsy Team.

Becka Griffin Illustrator

What kind of art and illustration do you do?
I draw by hand, using ink, but sometimes use watercolours too.  I create illustrations that can be used mainly as prints and greetings cards, but also wedding invites, temporary tattoos and other small gift items.

My style could be described as quite playful and relatively simple.  One of my best friends describes my style as naïve, I think he says it mainly to annoy me, but I suppose it’s not such a bad word!

Becka Griffin Illustrator

How do you work and get inspired? 
I love making a piece of art which has some sort of logic behind it. For example, my alphabets have a little illustration for each letter of the alphabet, all surrounding a definite theme.

At the moment I am totally obsessed with drawing buildings and I am embarking on a series of illustrations of cities throughout the UK.  I’ve done close to thirty different towns and cities now, and I am loving drawing some of the more obscure places that might not normally get a lot of attention!  I come up with the final list based predominantly on input from social media, again a very logical approach, involving lists and tally marks!

I’m also a sucker for a good food-based pun and have a whole series of funny food-based greetings cards.

Becka Griffin Illustrator

What do you love about art and illustration? 
I absolutely love that I get to do this for a living.  Like, I actually draw stuff, whatever I want, and I can earn enough money to pay my bills.  I took a decision a few years ago to move away from client work and now most of what I do is self-directed; I am so lucky that people like it enough to buy it!

Becka Griffin Illustrator

What's the art scene like in Merseyside?  
There’s a really thriving and diverse art scene in Merseyside.  I’m based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and I am lucky enough to have worked alongside loads of really talented illustrators – Lisa Robson of Lost Plots, and Roy McCarthy of Küla were in my last shared studio, and in my current studio I work just upstairs from Laura-Kate Chapman (of Laura-Kate Draws).

Illustrators aside, the Baltic Triangle is a really flourishing area, and is full of artists and designer-makers.  It’s an old industrial area, full of now-converted warehouses, housing hundreds of small startups and creative businesses.

Further afield there are creative hubs in the North Docks, and also reaching out further into the Wirral and Cheshire.  It’s a great place to be, and I am really happy here!

Becka Griffin Illustrator

If you had to take only one art tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why? 
I’m going to hope I have some paper already… and I’ll take my favourite rollerball pen, a Uniball Eye in black.

If you could go to an Art & Illustration Award evening with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional), who would you choose? 
Firstly, it’d be Quentin Blake, obviously.  Then Oliver Jeffers, no huge surprises there.  I’d love Georgia O’Keefe to be there too, for old times’ sake, and I’d round the whole thing up with Axel Scheffler (the Gruffalo) and Rob Ryan.

Thank you so much, Becka! It's been a real treat hearing all about your creative world and how you work and get inspired; Merseyside sure does sound like it's thriving creatively! And I love your choice of people for the Art & Illustration Award evening (because it will be happening one day, right?); I'd definitely be pulling up a chair to your table. Keep up the amazing work Becka!

To discover more about Becka, you can find her on Facebook, Etsy and on her gorgeous website too. And if you'd like to discover more artists, check out my previous 'Meet the local artist' interviews here.

I hope you've found this an inspiring interview, thanks for reading!

7 June 2017

First week of #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram Challenge

#ColourMyEveryDay Instagram Challenge by Adventures & Tea Parties

Wowza, the first week of #ColourMyEveryDay Instagram challenge has been AWESOME!!! I honestly thought just a few of my Insta pals would join in but I've been (and still am) in shock at how many of you are taking part! As I type this the feed is currently bursting with over 4000 colourful photos, which is incredible. Looking through all the pics and seeing not only all the colourful photos but also how many of you love colour, makes me burst with happiness. The feed is now my daily positivity booster. 

If you've only just found the challenge and would like to join in, do jump aboard the colour train! Everybody and anyone can join in at any time, dip in and out of it or do the entire challenge, it's entirely up to you and we'll all be happy to see your #ColourMyEveryDay posts. You can find the prompts, including a planner and some useful hashtags, over here and don't forget to follow me to see my four favourites each day

A big massive thank you to everyone taking part and for seeking out, appreciating and sharing colour. It's truly wonderful and I can't wait to see how everyone interprets the next week's worth of prompts. 

Happy snapping!


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