Devonshire Delight.

 

I’m currently having a few days away at the favourite sea-side haunt from my childhood, hoping to rest, recuperate & regain my writing inspirational drive. Too much of my time is given to others, somewhere along the way I lost myself. I knew that a few days in solitude was what was called for, so here I find myself in Exmouth, spending money I can I’ll afford, but the cost of not doing it would have been far higher.

Earlier I met a lovely couple while I was scribbling a few lines, after falling under the spell of the marina. The man told me that he was an artist, yet he too had found himself too busy to take time out for his passion. This drove me to complete the marina piece. It is still in it’s raw state, but I’d like to share it with you.

To the couple who inspired me, apologies, I’ve forgotten your names already   ( possibly Jeff?) To them & all who find themselves being stretched so thin that they are unable to use their creativity when they want. Please, please don’t allow your creative juices to dry up under pressure of pleasing others. Take a little time out – NOW. Don’t allow feeble excuses to flow from your mouth. We all need to be true to ourselves & for those with an artistic bent, that means actually creating something before the drive is allowed to wither away.

Devonshire Delight.

To & Fro they rock, unwanted,  unneeded,  tethered, abandoned.   In comparative calm they bob, side by side, packed tight like sardines in their tin, floating in their bed of brine.

The mass of water still, just a ripple snaking across the surface from the stiff breeze. The near tranquilty belying the pounding, crashing seas, a mere few metres away. Here however, protected by the harbour wall, they are safe – removed from the chaos that nature has deemed necessary to inflict on this quaint sea edged Devonshire town.

Rangers Delight, Cup ferret, Arvor, Quick Silver, White Lady, Merlin V111 ( I wonder was there 1-7?  If so, I can only surmise their fate.) Unlikely names yet some aren’t even granted that dignity, just given a large, garish number adorning their otherwise sleek hulls.

Overhead a few flags flutter furiously. Two seagulls squabble over a discarded crust, their cackles cutting through the evening air, disturbing the idyllic scene. Above, storm clouds gather, racing to blot out the vestiges of afternoon blue sky. In the distance, indistinct idle chatter from couples taking an evening constitutional, heads tipped forward, collars raised against the impending rain.

Soon it will be dark, the inky night casting it’s blanket over the peaceful scene. But when dawn breaks these forlorn boats, with their coats of many colours will be in demand once more.                                                                                                              Trips into unchartered territory for some. Fishing expeditions. Pleasure cruises.   The sardine tin will be emptied until days end, when once again the entire scenario will be replayed.

This picture book scene will remain etched in my memory. Should I feel trapped or drained, I will be able to draw on it for inspiration. I chose to capture it in words, others may prefer pens or paints, others will use more modern technology. The medium doesn’t matter. What does, is not to allow the memory to go to waste.  When we are shown something so evocative, we are blessed. I for one will not waste it.

Rosie x

I hope that you enjoyed this little muse. Hopefully it will be the beginning of more regular offerings.

If you want to read more, please ‘Like’, ‘Follow’ & ‘Share’. Like most creatives, I write for  the love of it, but knowing that it is being enjoyed by others is like Manna from the Gods, food for the soul.

Until next time, take care. Rosie x

 

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Never too old to Learn.

Like many people of the older generation, we were brought up to believe that once you exceed your ‘best before’ date, new knowledge isn’t something to worry about. Our poor old shrivelled brains don’t need to be bothered with such things.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY DISAGREE!

Agreed, information isn’t absorbed as readily as in youth, however learning anything can be invogourating, can help to keep life interesting, as well as helping to stave off the ravages of some forms of dementia.

Since I reached my 60s, my thirst for knowledge has actually grown, even though I am unable to process/ retain some information due to stroke damage.However, by accepting certain limitations and changing direction in my quest, learning less academic subjects, instead favouring those that have more relevance in my life, has been a real brain stretcher.

As someone who left school, aged 15 without qualifications, I always intended to attend adult education classes to gain at least the most basics certificates. With all good intentions, a large family & manic home life got in the way and when I was finally able to spare the time, my confidence had deserted me. I told myself that I was obviously stupid & would probably never have passed my exams anyway, besides, how relevant would it be now anyway? I can see now that I was just making excuses to cover up my fear.

Almost five years ago my life changed dramatically when I found myself single again. With a unused brain & disabling depression, I felt like the village idiot. Try as I might, I was unable to retain anything. Yes, I obviously was thick!  But no, I wasn’t! I simply had limited my learning abilities as a form of self protection. If I didn’t stretch myself, I couldn’t fail, could I?

Once I had fought my way out of the depression, I knew that I needed to find something to keep me stimulated, to prevent the likelihood of a recurrence. And so my love of learning began….

It started on a very small scale, dabbling with pottery and art, with a lot of home reading. I became obsessed with holistic healing ( something I’d always even interested in.) Shortly before my divorce I’d surprised myself by training as a Reiki therapist, even as far as becoming a Reiki Master, although I wasn’t really convinced of my worth. Once single, I began to relearn & gradually added to my list of holistic abilities, even so, confidence was by far the biggest challenge, but no books could really teach it, I had to discover it for myself. Once I had found confidence, nothing seemed an impossibility, I realised that actually I could attempt anything that I wanted. Suddenly succeeding seemed less important than having a go.

With a lot of encouragement I became a flexercise leader ( I thought it was an easy option), but soon I realised that I didn’t want to stop there. Certain things were unrealistic due to health restrictions but I have since accrued a list of practical qualifications. Through my voluntary work I have taken training in Mental Health studies, taken courses in Life Coaching, first aid, food hygeine & safety. I am newly qualified as a Tai Chi Instructor, Food Waste Champion, run a writing group and lead a women’s group, with another one starting next month. I have written books, learnt to self – publish, have become a motivational speaker & next week have to go before a ‘dragons den’ type panel, to try to obtain a grant to further my work. I can now set up basic websites, write a column in the local newspaper, have several voluntary positions & am currently undertaking three different online college courses.

Phew! I’m exhausted just reading that list. It’s as if it has happened to someone else, not me. Not stupid, unqualified me? Me who was only capable of making good cakes & looking after children?  Me, who thought that I was a write off!

I still don’t have academic qualifications, I am currently taking an English Grammer course, simply because I believe it will aid me with my writing, but as for the rest? Well, I have realised that I’d rather use my brain space with things that interest me. I don’t need a certificate to prove my worth. My life is doing that!

I know that not every pensioner shuts down their brain, some are naturally interested in continuing achievements, however far too many aren’t.

I’m not advocating that everyone follow my path. There is no one right way. Everyones’ journey is different. However I wanted to share this with you all, to prove that nothing is impossible. If I can encourage one person to achieve something that they can feel proud of, then I will be delighted. Life is very different for upcoming generations, where women in particular are becoming more self – assured & are able to follow their ambitions a lot more easily. Pre 1960s,Women were only good as housekeepers, wives & mothers, maybe reaching the exalted heady heights of shop assistant once their children had left home. Thankfully that is in the past, most people in developed countries have choices now.

We are very fortunate to live in a Country where we have freedom of choice (more or less) we don’t have to scrabble for food & on the whole our lives are fairly comfortable. However  it breaks my heart to see so many older people who are resigned to a life of loneliness & misery because they feel unworthy of anything more. Their latter years are filled with little more than a television for company. They don’t believe that they are capable of anything else.

Three words : YES YOU ARE!

Two words : GO FOR IT!

One word: BELIEVE!

Rosie x

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I hope that you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to let me know.

Please ‘follow’, ‘share’ or ‘like’, it will be greatly appreciated. I really value those who read my ramblings. Thank you.

 

 

Putting my patience to the test.

I have just added my first two books onto Amazon ( kindle, Kobo inc) which has been hardwork & more than a Little perplexing. Not only did I have to learn the whole e-publishing thing, I had no idea how to format my manuscript correctly.

A couple of weeks ago I published my first book; Silly Tilly gets lost, but once it was online I discovered that I had made mistakes. I re- edited & republished, only to find that I’d done it incorrectly.
At the same time I was desperately attempting to complete and publish a book for charity, a compilation from my creative writing group. After an initial hiccup I figured out the system, but every time I thought it was ready, I’d republish, only to discover further errors. It took 18 edits in all, which must be something of a record. However it, like the Silly Tilly is now live on Kindle.

Naturally I’m delighted but I have to admit to nearly giving up. I’m sure that the errors were mating! They seemed to be multiplying! I wanted to throw in the towel so many times!
In my past I would have either given up, or made it passable & just accept it as ‘good enough.’ There may well still be unfounded mistakes, it was my first time, s perfection was probably unlikely, however I believe it now to be As near perfect as possible.

This has been a hard but useful learning curve.

I could have given up, or just made do, but wouldn’t have been satisfied. Perseverance was necessary. Anything worthwhile is worthy of it.
I will remember this lesson, I will also give thanks for the new skills that I have learnt.

Time to continue with book Three…..

The books in question are as follows:
‘Silly Tilly gets Lost,’ by Rosie Bright. Price £2.99 available on the kindle/ Amazon site.

This is a story about a cute, yet naughty Yorkshire terrier. It is the first in a proposed series & is aimed at aged 3 – 6 year olds.

The second book is a compilation book,from members of my writing group, with proceeds going to charity. It is filled with mainly humorous/ light hearted short stories & poetry, also included are many 50 word and 6 word stories.

It is called ‘When the Muse Strikes by Rosie Thomas with Wells Scribblers. Again priced £2.99 available on Kindle/ Amazon.

I hope that you will consider buying one or both. Your support will be much appreciated.

Rosie x

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Perseverance is the key.

As many followers will know, I’ve pledged to make a booklet in aid of BBC Children in Need. The idea seemed a simple one – just collect a small compilation of work from members of the writing group that I lead. I would comb bind it and persuade friends to buy a copy. What could possibly go wrong?

Hmm, I hadn’t considered a few pertinent points;
1) health has a habit of letting me down.
2) I had already committed to writing a novel during November for NaNoWriMo.
3) I’m rubbish at sticking to the basics!

Already burning the candle at both ends, my health was on a downward spiral & although I recognised it, I refused to do anything about it. I was enjoying life, why would I want to slow down?
A charity abseil that I was due to do was postponed. Concerned friends told me how washed out I looked, eventually agreeing, I took advantage of the postponed abseil weekend to take a break by the sea. A weekend stretched into five days. Sounds great? It was, but rather than rest, I chose to run around like a loon doing all things that tourists do! I came back even more exhausted!

With November looming, I prepared for the NaNoWriMo challenge, setting the plot, sketching the storyline, getting excited & eager to start. I told everybody, so that I wouldn’t back out & on November 1st I sat in front of my laptop & wrote my little heart out. This had been complicated by an unexpected change of storyline. A new idea swept into my brain the day previously & refused to leave, so I was really winging it, having not had any form of plan to work with.
For 4 days I wrote solidly into the night, delighted that I was ahead of my word count schedule. ( NANoWriMo requires that a minimum of 50000 words are produced during the 30 days of November)

At the same time I was organising the charity booklet & had persuaded fellow group members to produce short articles & poetry for me to print. All was going well until I fell out with my printer. It refuses to cooperate. I took this as a sign that maybe I should look into having the booklet professionally printed.
After a lot of googling & comparing prices, I decided to go with a local printing company. Since the cost was greater, so was my need to produce a better book. Sheets of A4 inspirations were being handed to me, all I needed to do was put them into order.

No. Life for me is never that straightforward.

I decided that the booklet should be smaller, A5 size. No worries. HAH!
Now remember that I am a pensioner who only learnt to use a computer about 5 or 6 years ago, apart from the absolute basics, everything has been self taught.
I had also been told that I needed to put individual files into PDF form, then number them, put them onto a memory stick & take it to the printers. Of course I had heard of these new fangled methods, yet had never attempted them. To say that I made hard work of it is an understatement! Googling, books & Youtube to the rescue. I probably could have handled it better, had it not been for me having a slight stroke.

At first I thought that I was simply exhausted, but apparently not. I’ve had several small strokes & a larger one, so recognised what had happened, mini strokes are common place in my family, so the risks have always been accepted by me as just a fact of life.
This one knocked me for six! I was totally wiped out, unable to tackle anything. I did try to do some writing but will need to rewrite it, as it was such rubbish. Unable to go out, my groups & voluntary job had to be put on hold. I became a social recluse.

I have a good relationship with our local newspaper, writing a monthly column for them as well as various small articles & letters, so I had asked them to promote the charity booklet. They happily agreed, asking for a photo of me holding the completed book, to which they would add a piece asking for local support. I would have been delighted, except that the booklet was still in the planning stage. I couldn’t figure out how to do the necessary set up of files.

I didn’t want to fail but it looked like I was going to.

For an entire week, with brain of mush & no energy, I have sat through the night trying desperately to work out how to set up the files etc. One night I didn’t go to bed at all.
Every day I learnt something new. Windows 10 & myself are not best of friends yet & I’m struggling to find my way around it, but every night I realised that I’d found out how to do a new task ( things that most people could do with their eyes closed.) Every morning, before breakfast I would sit at the laptop, ready to use my new found knowledge, only to discover that I needed to learn more, before I could proceed.

I didn’t give up.

In the early hours of this morning, I realised that I’d finally cracked it. I crawled into bed, knowing that I only had a tiny bit more to complete this morning, ready to go to the printers.

The phone woke me from a deep sleep at mid morning. I had a friend arriving at lunchtime. ARGH! I had come too far to allow it all to drag into next week. I had advertised the book to be ready for purchase, Children in Need being next week. I had to complete it. I needed to succeed.

With only a couple of hours before I was due to go out for lunch, I sat at my desk & with absolute determination I set about finishing it. My friend duly arrived, to find me still in my pyjamas. Fortunately very understanding, she made a cuppa while I tapped feverishly on my keyboard. I’m not sure how many times I said to her “Just one last file & I’m finished.”

The important thing is that I got there. A couple of weeks late & very sleep deprived, I was able to proudly hand over the completed flash drive to the printers’. Exhausted & brain dead, yet happy. I’ve no idea how well my work will reproduce in print, I hope it’s good. I want it to be successful, to raise some money, but for me it’s been a worthwhile experience. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve also learnt that perseverance pays off. The booklet should be ready to go on sale next week. I did it! Me! Little Ol’ me! I figured it out. Even if I’m left with egg on my face & a stack of unsold booklets, I managed to overcome all sorts of obstacles & am very pleased with myself. Yes ok so it won’t be professionally written, it’s only a small scale production, but I did it!

As for NanoWriMo? I had thought about giving up, having not written a word for a complete week, but have decided not to.
Allowing myself the luxury of a relaxing evening, I intend to recommence tomorrow, after a T’ai Chi workshop. There’s a very good chance that I won’t meet the deadline, but it isn’t important. I will write as much as I am able – I have the rest of my life to complete it. I accepted the challenge and will do my best but don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I’ve had a lot to cope with recently. But I have overcome it all & am still here to tell the tale.

My health is improving again. I’m eager to get on with my life. Bring it on!

Rosie x

If you enjoyed reading this, please ‘follow’ or ‘share’ all support is vital to a knackered old woman!
Until next time, take care.

Time to stop self doubt

Although I have been seriously writing for well over a year now ( blogging even longer), I’ve always introduced myself s an aspiring author, or would be writer. A short time ago someone took me to task over this. I’ve had several short articles published, as well as numerous letters, I also produce a monthly column in the local paper. That makes me a writer! Just because I have yet to win any competitions or get a publishing contract doesn’t alter the fact that I am a writer. Although yet to earn any money from it, I am a writer. I write everyday in some form or another, run a creative writing group as well as a writing for wellbeing one. Finally I accepted the title. However I was still slightly apologetic, almost sidled in, hoping that no one would ask about my qualifications. Why?

I left school at just 15 with no qualifications. I didn’t stay to take any exam. I was expected to go to work, which I duly did. I didn’t mind at the time, exam certificates didn’t mean much in the world of hairdressing, back in the 60s.
As my family came along, I began to regret not having anything behind me but told myself that I could do evening classes when I had time. It didn’t happen. By then, although I regretted it, it no longer seemed important.
Less than two years ago, being retired & living alone, I decided to take a creative writing class, then another followed by various workshops. I was hooked. I took a further class where grammar was high on the agenda. A stroke many years ago has erased most of my ability to put the correct names & terms for grammatical correctness. The teacher, although inspirational unintentionally caused me to feel inadequate. I already felt an outsider when friends discussed literature, my knowledge, by comparison was very limited. I enrolled on a Grammar course.
As I began the coursework, I realised that I knew what I was doing, knew how to use the correct formulation of sentences etc. Why was I doing this? At school I had always been an A+ English language & literature student, who was I doing this qualification for?
I decided to drop out. I have far more important things to do with my time. I was doing it to wave a piece of paper & say
” look, I’m as good as you now.”
I didn’t need to do that.

Of course there are gaps in my knowledge but nothing that I can’t get around. The stroke can’t be undone. Is it vital for me to remember what the correct terms are?
I write because I love it. I didn’t want it to become a burden.
Shortly afterwards I set up a creative writing group. I stressed at the outset that it was non teaching. I simply wanted to encourage others to have a go, to have fun. It has been an overwhelming success. Occasionally I get lost when some members discuss the classics or talk about writing styles, but I refuse to pretend to be anything or anyone that I’m not. Generally people appreciate my honesty, even if they don’t understand my reasoning.

One problem though, I still was an aspiring writer only, playing at it, not really serious. Except that by then I was.
I needed a change of mindset. When I’d begun, I had no intention of using it for anything other than pleasure/ therapy. Now I felt very differently about it. I intend to write for the rest of my life, to be successful too. A would be, will remain a would be. As a believer in affirmations & the power of positive thought, I decided to ‘rebrand’ myself.
I updated my Facebook profile photo, showing me writing. I introduce myself as a writer. I think in a totally different way.
I am shortly going to produce a collection of writing from my creative writing group, which we are going to sell for Children In Need. I am entering the NanoWriMo challenge to produce a 50000 word novel within the next month. I will, without question get some of my work into print. Whether I have to self fund, self publish or get a publisher, who knows? It’s not vital for me to know. One thing’s for certain – You’ll be hearing more about me in the coming years. I may never reach the heavy heights of a number one best seller, but I will definitely be producing some worthwhile work.
My name is Rosie – I’m a writer.

Accepting when to take a step back.

Unusually for me, I have been forced to take a spell of complete rest ( well, not quite as complete as I should!)
I’m a hard personal task master & dislike feeling useless or inadequate but occasionally everyone has to accept their frailties.
I’ve known that I have been over pushing myself but tried to convince myself that I was Superwoman, if I kept going, I would push through the physical difficulties & emerge triumphant. Of course this was never going to be possible!

I’ve been beating myself up for not updating my blog, falling behind with paperwork, not submitting stories to editors, etc. etc.

Pride?
Stupidity?
Stubbornness?

A bit of all the above and much more.
Now forced to have total rest, I’m paying for my stupidity, but it’s been a timely reminder.
None of us are perfect, nor can we push our boundaries beyond their full stretch. Equally none of us is irreplaceable. Being forced to swallow my pride & get someone else to take over the running of my writing groups, has been hard, but hearing how well they managed without me has forced me to rethink my superwoman status. I’m no superhero. Just me. And being just me is enough.
I’m thankful that I’ve been reminded of that.

Rosie x

Apologies for the haphazard posting but thank you for still reading my ramblings. Please share the link to this blog, to encourage me to write more regularly.
Thanks all x

No questions without answers.

Today I have felt dreadful.  There’s no point in me dressing it up – I have felt absolutely awful!

I had made plans for today.   Depending on how well I felt, I intended going out for a wander around my hometown or if I wasn’t strong enough, I’d stay at home & continue with my decluttering.   What I hadn’t reckoned on was to wake up with a banging headache.  Unusually for me, I had a very disturbing dream,  one of those that you can’t shake off!  Although not a nightmare it was quite unnerving.  I tried to return to sleep but my mind wasn’t going to play ball, it was insistent that I carry the images from the dream around with me all day. Try as I might, it wasn’t to be ignored!

After forcing myself to get up, feed the cat & follow the initial morning routine, I realised that today would be a wipe out unless I got some quality sleep.  Much to my cats’ disgust, I returned back to bed and slept and slept and slept.   I finally opened my eyes well after midday. It took just a matter of a few seconds to know that I actually felt worse, not better!  I am telling you this, simply to set the scene for my pondering.

As some of you will know, I’ve been unwell for quite a while now, which has hit me very hard, especially since I have been flying high for several months prior to this.  During that ‘well’ time,  although still in tremendous pain, I managed to have a very full & enjoyable life.  I knew that I had been pushing myself too hard ( fibromyalgia hates being pushed) so wasn’t at all surprised to have a relapse, but the severity has taken me by surprise.    Enough whinging!    Suffice it to say that a ‘well period’ feels very much overdue!

Thankfully throughout this difficult period, I have remained          ( on the whole) cheerful & have managed to keep depression at bay.   However recently I have been writing a lot,   including a book about a difficult period in my life. As you may understand, this has brought up a lot of previously buried emotions.   Add  to this my support for the ‘Time to Change ‘ campaign, which is trying to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health difficulties (please see my recent blog). and it’s not hard to see that I have had to fight the black dog ( depression) which has been snapping at my heels.  Yesterday was a particularly melancholy day,  not helped by it being the anniversary of my Mothers’ passing, a couple of years ago. All in all it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

Needless to say, I felt unable to go out today & as soon as I began to do any form of activity,  it soon became apparent that that was to be a no no also! The most physical thing that I have achieved was washing a few dishes & boiling some potatoes for my meal.

As someone who has had previous long term agoraphobia, I am very mindful about not allowing myself to go down that road again. Now, especially since I have felt so exhausted, I have been staying at home most days & have been concentrating on my writing.  If I’m honest, I’ve quite enjoyed being a hermit, but in my circumstances it is a risky strategy!    Since not being able to do much else today, I decided to sit & write, except that falling asleep again was all I managed.  After my 3rd or was it 4th nap?  I gave up the idea.     As many people know, when you create a void, something needs to fill its’ space, in my case it was a churning brain, firing questions at me.  I began to worry if I was getting mentally unstable again, but quickly dismissed that idea. But then I reasoned if it wasn’t that, was I being punished for something?  By now getting into dangerous territory, I gave myself a bit of a shake & looked  at what has actually happened.

Yes, I’ve been unable to go out much,  which has had a knock on effect of my spending being reduced. Positive outcome!

Yes, I’ve been forced to take a lengthy absence from my voluntary job.  I found this devastating, but it has helped me to see that when I return , not only will I be more physically able to work,  I will be able to re-evaluate  quite what tasks I should & shouldn’t take on. Resulting in a decision to make a slightly different work schedule. Positive outcome!

Yes, I have missed many groups & clubs.  Result being that I had realised how much I had been burning the candle at both ends.  I needed a rest.  I knew it.  I ignored it.  Now I can see that as a pensioner, with a variety of medical problems, I should prioritise & concentrate on what I need to do, rather than what I want to do!  Life won’t grind to a halt if I withdraw from one or two activities. Life will go on, as will the clubs without me.  Positive outcome!

Yes, I’ve had a lot of spare time on my hands.  Result being that I have used that time decluttering  my home, making it a much nicer, airier space.  Definite winner all round there!

Yes, I’ve had to let a lot of people down, something that I hate doing.   Resulting in being able to catch up with overdue paperwork & also old friendships via social media.  Positive outcome!

Yes, I have been unable to buy fresh food. ( someone does get me essentials).   Result being that I have been forced to use up food from my freezer & store cupboard ( or black hole, as it often seems!)  I have also invented many simple, tasty & nutritional vegan meals & snacks for myself. Some of which I will at some point share on my sister page http:// Rosieways,  howdidisite.com . My kitchen cupboard agrees it ‘s definitely been a positive outcome!

Being unable to do everything for myself , I’ve had to swallow my pride & ask for help.  Result being a lesson in humility that I badly needed.  Positive outcome!

Finally for now, Yes, I have been unable to keep up with housework, laundry etc.  Result, first of all – does it really matter?  Mainly though, enforced resting has given me plenty of time to write, write, write & write some more.  I have wanted to dedicate more time to creative writing, but never found much spare time. In the past few weeks I have actively written more than I would have thought possible. I have created a writing routine. I have sorted out my writing books into one place, easy to find & use.  Have found many interesting websites to aid my muse & have entered a couple of competitions.  Positive outcome!

Although I already knew about not being given questions ( & hardships / challenges ) without being given the answers  (or solutions)It took an enforced rest to help me actually take notice!

The end result to all of this episode will hopefully be a much more relaxed schedule with more ‘me’ time, more space for creativity & maybe even a healthier bank balance.

I certainly have a lot to be grateful for.     Namaste X

Love & Blessings to you all.

Rosie X