As the school holidays unfold and the long summer days begin to dissolve into each other I remind myself on a daily basis to savour the freedom of these unbound weeks.
I make myself slow down, and become conscious of my breathing, because I can see what’s on the horizon. It’s just a speck now, but I know it’s hurtling towards me – and a knot is already forming in my stomach.
I am in a direct collision course with Christmas and when it makes impact I know it will take my breath away .
A British Christmas, in the 21st century, is a paradox rolled in glitter. It is exhausting and exhilarating. It’s stressful and blissful. It brings our friends and families into sharp focus and empties our head of all rational thoughts.
Thankfully the current zeitgeist points to a return of the home made and reminds us of the genuine pleasure derived from crafting and making things.
One of the greatest delights at Christmas is, perhaps, the rediscovery of old, home-made cards and decorations; the unsophisticated, but intimate, reminders of Christmas past. My own family’s attempt at edible tree decorations and felted gingerbread men will never grace the pages of Elle Decoration, but they made us smile and we had fun making them.
There is something strangely powerful about the home made Christmas object, and this winter, at the beautifully tranquil retreat; Breathing Space, we are going to give you an opportunity to create your own, home-spun, decorative traditions.
I am delighted to be collaborating with the brilliant Stylist and Image Consultant Sarah Morgan on a programme of Creative Retreats, and so just before Christmas strikes this winter we can offer you a space to catch your breath.
When did you last give yourself the time and space to play?
When did you last give yourself permission to play; to cut, glue, sew, print and explore new ways of making?
When did you last use your paints, open your sewing box , or unfold that stash of salvaged wrapping paper?
Sarah and I gave ourselves permission last week, at Breathing Space, and we spent a day ‘playing’ with fabrics in preparation for the midwinter workshops and it was FUN! We talked and laughed, shared stories, ate cake and were delighted by our upcycled textile decorations.
If you struggle to give yourself permission to play, just remind yourself that creative practices trigger the release of endorphins – our bodies ‘feel good’ chemicals. Creativity is associated with improved brain function, and connecting with others in a creative environment fosters empathy, laughter and trust.
So if, like me, you sense a growing knot of anxiety as the ‘festive’ season approaches, give yourself permission to play. Get out the scissors, and the glue, and all those salvaged scraps of fabric or paper, invite your friends round and have some FUN!
Make a date now. Go on – put it in your diary…….
For more information about this fabulous weekend retreat at Breathing Space take a peek over here.