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Hello and a big old welcome!
Well hello there you & thank you for popping over to my brand new, tea and cake for the creative soul. I hope that you are going to come to love my Mindful Creative Lifestyle blog.
Nice to Meet you – this is me.
I’m Louise, but you can call me Lou if you prefer. I am a 39-year-old Mum of two beautiful little slugs & snails. My oldest son, O, is at school and my youngest, F, starts in September.
I’ve been a Work at Home Mum for the last couple of years as well as a Registrar. Creating and running my Felt Flower Etsy shop – Tiny & Toad – which grew out of a blog of the same name – has been a fabulous education in living creatively and this blog is the next step. If you love accessorising your planner, journal or notebooks, then you’ll love my shop. Here’s a little sneak peek of what you can expect to find there:
I started out somewhere quite different
Before Tiny & Toad, I was a solicitor. I’d read Geography at Oxford, converted to Law at the College of Law and practised as a lawyer for 11 years. I had, quite complicity, kept to a beautifully traditional and safe life plan, was seen to be using the brain that I was born with, had two gorgeous children, a wonderful, supportive husband, a new house in the country. Life was, on paper, perfect.
But I was miserable.
I am grateful for all of the opportunities, and obstacles, that brought me to that point. But I was living a professional life that societal pressures made me think was my path, but which felt like a whole heap of grey to me.
Not fitting in – sound familiar?
You see, a career which brought with it status, prospects and financial security was missing something which makes me, me – creative opportunities. I was, and still am, fascinated by the study of the law (and I wouldn’t rule out returning to it one day) but I often felt like a square peg in a round hole. There had to be something more. If you’ve felt that same feeling, then I am writing this blog for you. To inspire you to become the best version of yourself and to find your perfect niche in life.
Running a handmade business is tough
By Christmas 2016, I had worked hard on growing Tiny & Toad for 15 months and was beginning to realise that, whilst losing myself in designing and making day in, day out, allowed me to do something that I truly love, I had created another love to place ahead of myself on the priority list and that that didn’t feel good . Put simply, my Tiny & Toad goals were coming at the expense of sleep, my own wellbeing and family time.
I’ll hold my hands up and tell you that starting a handmade business was a much tougher journey than I ever expected it to be – and I’ve got a blog in the making on just that topic.
It’s easy and joyful to create gorgeous products and offer them for sale. To the uninitiated (as I was) it’s also easy to do that in the belief that “they will come”.
The Truth about running an online handmade business
They will not come.
They will not come unless you get yourself out there and tell them why they need your products in their life.
Or, if you prefer, they will come if you create a highly effective marketing strategy that expertly signposts them to you whenever the opportunity allows.
A bit like this:
And the more time I have been working on my Tiny & Toad offering, the more I have realised that I actually really love that part of it.
Then I turned 39.
40 sounds very old and stupendously grown up
I have never been one for concerning myself with numbers when it comes to birthdays, nor has ageing concerned me. Until 20 April 2017. Then I turned 39.
Here is what I wrote on my (Tiny & Toad) Instagram that day:
“…At 12.15 this afternoon I shall enter my 40th year of existence on this amazing planet and I don’t mind telling you that, for the first time ever, I’m bothered by my age. Like, really bothered.
So, I have decided to tackle the big ’40’ head on and a year ahead of time. This coming year is going to be huge for me on a personal level for many reasons and I want to make it all count. So, today, I am setting intentions. Lots of em.
These intentions…are my birthday gifts to me.
We only get one chance at this thing called life and we owe it to ourselves to make it all count. You don’t need to conquer Everest, be the CEO of a multinational company or reach the moon to matter. Just leave your mark in whatever way is authentic for YOU.
That’s my intention set. 40, I’m going to get you and I’m going to have a blast along the way.
Who else is in, you know you want to ;-)”
And so, a Midlife Fabonista, a Mindful Creative Lifestyle Blog was born
It’s two months to the day since I set that intention, and in that time, I have taken time off to do nothing for the odd day here and there (and still kept up with Tiny & Toad orders). Read more books than I have read since we were travelling in Asia in 2010 and spent two weeks practising yoga every evening with my husband (tho, hands up, we’re slipping on that one at the moment!) and got back into meditation. My children are even practising yoga or guided meditation stories every night before bed and benefitting from it.
I’m doing and finding more time to do it.
And, slowly but surely, there is a calmness seeping into our home that hasn’t visited us before. We’re appreciating life more and I’m noticing that, by approaching life in a more mindful way, I am achieving more, wanting to do more and feeling considerably less stressed than in the months and years that went before. And I really want to share that feeling with you.
This way of life isn’t new to us, we lived that way whilst we were travelling in 2010, it just got lost in the noise and chaos of having babies and parenting pre-schoolers. We spent December 2010 in Bali on our own little yoga retreat, practising every day -including Christmas Day – at the amazing Desa Seni Art Village. It’s that place that my mind returns me to often when I am practising yoga or meditation – the place where we have been the happiest of our married life. I would absolutely love to visit again one day.
Get to the point will you please Lou?
Oops, I drifted off on a trip down memory lane there. So, mindfulness has come back into my life in the last six months and it complements creativity perfectly. I think it’s come back to me right now because I’m at the beginning of a year of big changes which often make me wonder ‘what now?’ and ‘where next?’.
I’m now 10 months away from 40 and just 2 1/2 from having both of my boys at school. That’s a much more unsettling prospect than I ever imagined it would be. I feel that there must be other women out there wondering ‘what now’ and looking outside the box for answers (give me a wave on Facebook or Instagram if that’s you). So, I’m intent on creating a virtual space full of creative and mindful musings, projects and ideas which I hope will inspire you to live the happy, creative life that you were made for.
What is creative, happy living?
To me, living a creative, happy life means living authentically to me and what matters to me, both inside and outside of the box. It’s about acting on my intentions, caring about and nurturing my needs and creating calm and happiness for our family through mindfulness. Mindfulness and creativity add up to happiness for me.
I’m sure that that definition will change as this blog evovles but, for now, that’s what creative, happy living means to me.
It might mean something like that to you, or it might not, that’s absolutely ok. In fact, that’s the best thing about it – it means something different to each of us. It’s all about finding your happy.
I’d love to hear all about what it means to you over on my Facebook Group or in the comments below. Let’s get the conversation going!
I get the midlife bit, but what about the Fabonista?
Well, I did a lot of research before launching this blog (in fact, I have become borderline obsessive about it – there’s such a wealth of information out there) and, among other things, discovered that nearly every UK based blog created for women in their 40s is a fashion blog.
I’d love to say that I am a bit of a fashionista but, truthfully, I live on a tiny budget with an ever shrinking wardrobe of ‘that’ll do’ style clothes. Getting my wardrobe in order is certainly on my ‘to do’ list for a more financially fruitful time in my life but, for now, I am anything but a fashionista.
So, ‘Fabonista’ is a play on words to express the fact that I turned 39 feeling anything but ‘fab’ but I’m determined to have found my way back there by the time I reach 40…and I’m definitely not a fashionista!
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