Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Richard's Things Notecards

One day, when I was waiting for the gas engineer to arrive, I took the opportunity to produce twenty drawings to illustrate my song 'Richard's things'. With the aid of Movie Maker I was able to put the drawings into a montage to accompany my demo recording. Recently I put my 'Richard's Things' drawings onto note-cards. I have sold a few of these cards on my 'ALF Creations @ the Star Heart Cafe' craft stall.

Monday, 7 May 2018

ALF & Audrey & Kew

My family has had a lot of connection to Kew Gardens over the years. My dad used to work here and now his ashes are scattered here, I used to work next door and visit the place in my lunch breaks, the whole family pay a visit to Kew, getting on for once a year. Now our connection feels even stronger, as my mum has had one of her pictures chosen for an exhibition celebrating the reopening of the newly restored temperate house. All in all, it was a proud and pleasing day, not to mention a gloriously sunny one.

Sunday, 6 May 2018


Life has been running away from me and my family this year. In order for us not to get totally swept away and end up broken on the shore, I have had to have a drastic rethink about my life. A big change has been to start pursuing ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) properly and to adopt more Buddhism into my everyday life. The above book contains everyday exercises to promote self-awareness and mindfulness. Breathe is split into Being (Breath and Body Scan exercises), Feeling and Thinking (acceptance, defusion and expansion techniques, also Tonglen and the Observing Self). The last section is called Doing and contains mindfulness exercises to help you get the most from everyday life. Below is an eight weeks Mindfulness Programme I have been working on to help me and my family. Of course we might still get swept away and end up broken on the shore, but maybe a mixture of Buddhism, Stoicism, ACT, mindfulness, (very liberal) Christianity and maybe even a few friends (!) and a bit of art, music and writing might help us to cope better with whatever might come our way.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Mindful Colouring and Doodling


Life has been very stressful lately and one of the ways my daughter and I have been de-stressing is to take part in mindful doodling and colouring at the local leisure centre. Above are my initial doodles and colouring. Below are two mindful doodles based on Buddhist philosophy.


This doodle is based on the fruits of the spirit as explained by St Paul in Galatians. I thought these spirit fruits would work well in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as these are the sort of values I would like to fill my life with.

 Below are two of my mindful doodles mindfully coloured in.


Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Angel Writers Reading List

In 2013 when I decided to start a blog I spent several months deciding how I could conceivably keep going about every two weeks for at least five years. Eventually I came up with the idea of using the short stories I had written in the 1990s as a springboard for ideas for each month of the year. The idea developed into a story itself which revolved around a year in the life of the Angel Writers Group. These are the themes for each month of the year as dictated by the work of my imaginary group.

January’s story is ‘Consumed’ and its themes are music and solitude.
The February story is ‘Lucy’s Lucky Dress’ with the themes of romance and poetry.
March is ‘Duchess Doom’ concerned with technology and games.
April is ‘The Gathering’ and its themes are family and parenthood.
May’s story is called ‘Deja Vu’ and has the themes of groups and inspiration.
June’s themes are nature and seasons for the story ‘Living Rooms’.
July is ‘Image Makers’ and its themes education and travel.
August’s story is the ‘Institute of New Food’ with its themes of work and identity.
September’s story is ‘The Creature’ with the themes of childhood and spirituality.
October’s themes are retirement and pastimes and its story ‘The Number 13 to Gravesend’.
November’s story is 'Urusla’s pets' which has the themes of animals and fairytales.
December’s story is ‘The Need Fairy’ and its themes dreams and space.

As well as writing their own material the group also read the work of other, well known authors. This is the list of stories the group read over the course of one year and one month, they are spooky tales of the supernatural.

      1. The bus conductor by EF Benson
2. The bloody chamber by Angela Carter
3. The listeners by Walter de la Mare
4. The veldt by Ray Bradbury
5. Disturbances in Angier Street by JS Le Fanu
6. The man whom the trees loved by Algernon Blackwood
7. The fall of the house of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
8. The ghouls by R Chetwynd Hayes
9. Number 13 by MR Jam
      10. Dracula’s guest by Bram Stoke 
      11. The blue lenses by Daphne Du Maurier.
      12. The signalman by Charles Dickens 
      13. The Little Matchgirl by Hans Christian Anderson

The beginnings of the group and their ideas can be found in my story ‘The Angel’s Retreat'.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A Book of Dolls

I started making Star Heart Dolls in 2010, before that I had attempted making dolls, but they were not very successful or attractive. I was inspired by the lovely dolls I found on crafting blogs, particularly Jess Brown in America and Tiny Concept in Australia. When I had made 52 dolls, one for each week of the year, I complied my 'Book of Dolls'. Below are a few of the pages from that book. The book has since become the basis for my YouTube video 'A Time for Dolls' which you can find here.


Monday, 16 April 2018

London Walks: Ruislip Woods

London can feel overwhelmingly built up sometimes and it's always nice to find a breathing space. We visited Ruislip Woods in the Spring of 2017.

We were looking for bluebells, which we found. We also had tea and chips in the cafe by the lido.

There are several woods that make up Ruislip Woods. We concentrated on wandering around Park Wood, it's an easy walk and you are never that far away from back gardens and civilisation in general.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Stargazing on SoundCloud

It is ten years, this August, since I first delved into Social Media, when I uploaded my animation Ballet Class onto YouTube. As a sort of celebration, I have joined SoundCloud and uploaded an old favourite song I have written, Stargazing, you can find it here. I don't know if I will upload any more, I will see how it goes. You can find our slide show of the song, featuring Amy's childhood Planet project pictures, here.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Stoic quotes and mindfulness plus

I have expanded my reading beyond the Stoics to include Christian philosophy, Buddhism, mindfulness, ACT and anything else I find helpful. Some of their quotes I find very comforting and I have been working on a new Pinterest board to celebrate these wise words. I thought some of the pictures were quite pretty, but the Stoic quotes, while being so wise, didn't have such inspiring images to accompany them. I thought I would have a go myself and impose some of my favourite Stoic quotes on to a few pictures my daughter took in Ruislip Woods. I hope you find them enjoyable.

These and other wise quotes from Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Christianity, mindfulness, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and other sources of spiritual, philosophical and psychological good are available on my Pinterest board: MindfulnessPlus .

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Bogginsthrops and other curiousities

I wrote the Bogginsthrops and other curiousities when I was a teenager and recently drew illustrations for each of the seven characters. The Bogginsthrops were a family of three brothers and one sister and the curiousities were their three friends. Below are brief descriptions of the seven characters, I may develop their stories further in the future.

1. George Bernard Shaw Bogginsthrop
'The neighbours didn't like the eccentric, hippi, vegetarian philanthropist who practised his sitar in the middle of the night and meditated whenever there was a convenient moment free from the worries of mankind.'

2. Emily Bronte Bogginsthrop
'Emily Bronte Bogginsthrop was a very nice, acceptable girl who tried hard to be a social misfit like her brothers.'

3. Edgar Allan Poe Bogginsthrop
'Edgar had only to pop his head round the front door and he would receive apprehensive glances from the neighbours who passed by, even from the lady who carried her pet albino rat underneath her fur hat.'

4. Walter de la Mare Bogginsthrop
'Walter was of a very nervous disposition, he chain smoked roll-ups and had a terrible railing cough.'

5. Ciggy
'Ciggy Fagash, otherwise known as Diaphragm Sam or just plain Dire, sang, mumbled, shrieked, snarled, screamed and generally played havoc with the unfortunate listener's eardrums, it was quite a feat in itself that the group managed to keep in time and occasionally in tune.'

6. Acid
'Acid was always in a bad mood and Emily sympathised with Ciggy for having a sister like that.'

7. Patti
'The girl had dark hair and pale skin, she wore dark clothes and was bony in places.'