Being Forty

I turned 40 the other day. It came as quite a shock. I wasn’t expecting that much vomit.

Yes, in a sequence of events so crappy it could have been a verse in Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”, a day that was to contain magic, dancing and celebrations became a day of projectile vomiting, sweats and mumbled apologies.

I have no idea what happened. It could have been food poisoning. It could have been a 24-hour bug with really bad timing. At 7.00 on the morning of my birthday I was in the bathroom praying to the great porcelain god. As the day progressed, so did the illness and I ended up propped up on my mother, in the street, decorating the pavement like a drunk on a Friday night. Not a good look for someone who has been teetotal for nearly two years. And I threw up all over my nice new green dress. Don’t worry Barenaked Ladies fans, it’s not a real green dress (that’s cruel).

Being confined to bed and bucket on your birthday inspires much deep thinking. “Life is short” “Life is really short” “I’m going to die very soon.” “I WANT MY MUM!!” As the symptoms eased so did the melodrama, but I was left with a reminder that you never know what’s around the corner so that “living for now” business really is a good idea. It got me thinking about my future, my ambitions and creativity. The art materials gathering dust, the lack of blog posts and the general neglect of something that means a great deal to me.

So what does this mean? Well, it means as I ease myself into my forties I’m going to try to keep the creativity up; blog more, paint more, knit and play. I’m going to try to honour my ambitions and enjoy every minute of life, because rumour has it that now I’m 40, life has begun. Onwards!

Say Hello To My Little Friends

Now I’m back home in my little creative paradise, I have been re-acquainting myself with some long lost friends. Allow me to re-introduce them to you.

Acrylic Paint

My bold, brash chum. Beautiful, bright and bubbly, and if I’m honest, ever so slightly intimidating. I want to dive in and play but the sheer intensity of the colour makes me a little nervous about making any marks with the stuff. In Art Therapy recently I was invited to have a go at finger painting, and that seemed easier than being all artisty with a brush. So acrylic paint to me is a friend who wants to take me on and adventure but I’m not quite brave enough to let them. One day‚Ķ


Charcoal’s a cheeky monkey. Unpredictable and a bit loopy. When I’m with them I’m guaranteed to be up to my elbows in dark dust within five minutes of using the stuff. It’s the friend who gets me into trouble whenever we’re together, but I love every minute of it.

Oil Pastel

Bright, happy and childlike. A friend I should spend more time with because I’m sure there is more to explore.


Another bold, brash and rather frightening friend. Apparently knows all my secrets and tells the world in blot patterns. One to be careful with.


My artistic BFF. It’s soft and subtle when I want to be soft and subtle. It’s bold when I want to be bold. It’s easy to work with (especially with Aquash brushes), and doesn’t leave a mess.

Good to be back with you, friends.


Last year, when I began treatment for my mental health difficulties and various other fun and games, I expressed an interest in Art Therapy. Regular readers (if we have any left) will remember that not too long ago I was a big fan of just playing with art materials, making marks and generally having fun with the process and ignoring the results. Somewhere along the line my interest faded, and by the time I was looking for help the idea of Art Therapy came up as a possible way to rekindle some of that joy and help me deal with my often malfunctioning mind.

I started a ten-week course on January 18th, and as soon as walked into the art room and picked up an oil pastel, I felt like I’d come home. Something was connecting in a corner of my mind that had been neglected and left to gather dust. Even when the therapist was talking and we weren’t “doing”, I was fiddling, just remembering how it felt to have a stick of colour in my hand and the freeing sensation of applying it to paper.

When I returned home that afternoon I dusted out my old watercolour set. It had certainly been well-used back in 2005 and 2006, but there was plenty of life left in it yet. I opened up the massive Archie Grand notebook Michael had given me a few months before, and threw colour and images at it like a woman possessed. I was home.

The following session, last Wednesday, re-introduced me to the joy of painting (Bob Ross was with us in spirit). Just playing with colours, mixing different shades and seeing the images that came out of them. The therapist commented that I “went to another place” when I had a paintbrush in my hand. Indeed I did. And I like it there. When the challenge came for finger painting I launched straight into the bright blue in front of me and by the time I’d smeared, rubbed, daubed and splatted, I had filthy hands, an unshakeable grin and a rather nice picture of some very lively surf.

So, out of the sessions, I’m now re-connecting with a part of my life that I had neglected for so long. Geeking out over art materials, reacquainting myself with the ones I have, and catching up with the creative people I admired years ago when this here place was my own little world of art.

It’s good to be home. More soon.

Thing A Day 19 – Info Board

Thing A Day 19 - SW Info Board

Decided to abandon my planned theme for the week and go back to a project I had started for Slimming World. This is an information board about Flexible Syns, and will hopefully be a useful little extra for us all to enjoy at group.

Thing A Day 17 – Oh, never mind…

I have made things today, and I had a lot of fun doing it. However, having failed to get a decent shot of the things I’ve made and at the same time realising how crappy they are, I think they’ll stay hidden for the time being. If I’m going to give you people a Fimo Space Hopper and a Fimo Bod, they should be good. These aren’t. But I had a larf doing it.

So, to compensate for the lack of anything decent from me for the second day of my retro week, please enjoy this little YouTube gem, featuring the yellow frocked b*stard himself: