A Room to live in..

•October 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The decluttering and sifting of my home and belongings continues and with that I’m finding pleasure from revisiting my books and belongings.

Yesterday I was working in the gallery – one of those places where there’s no internet connection: a haven – which means in-between chatting to customers and once I’ve done the few jobs/tasks I need to do I can sit by the fire.. Yesterday I read ‘Kettles Yard and it’s artists’..


‘A Room to live in..

…is a subject which we all have to consider either for ourselves or by letting other people consider it for us, and for each one of us who think for ourselves the answer will be different. You will be ready to say that we all live in rooms – but is this true? Do we really live in them? For how many of us is our room the expression of ourselves, so that when we go into it it just receives our natures, giving us a sense of ease and freedom?..’ – A Room to Live In – for the series ‘Healthy, Wealthy and Wise – Jim Ede – founder and creator of Kettles Yard, Cambridge.


The photo’s above are the left overs from my sifting through of my debris – each object has a story and a presence – finding beauty in my life’s history and the rooms where I live…


Notes on – Minimalism

•October 3, 2016 • 1 Comment


I’ve spent a bit of time recently clearing out my home and my studio – motivated via online articles about minimalism..

Most of the articles discuss our societies preoccupation with consumerism and being surrounded by stuff – our unquenchable thirst for stuff. Minimalism is so much more than that – our purchasing habits are wrecking the planet – consuming our time  – filling empty gaping holes and lives.. So it seems. But for me it was something else that started the ball rolling. Well many things rolled into one to be honest.

My parents live in the house that was once my Grandparents – A house I have spent my entire life visiting and loving with much fondness.. It’s steeped in memories – buckets full of them. When my Grandma died – many months after – my mum and dad had the huge task of sorting through my grandma and granddads belongings – sifting endlessly – they  had kept so many things – they lived a simple life in so many ways and weren’t materialistic – but they had decided to keep all sorts of things. Years later my mum is still sifting – it seems an endless task – deciding what to keep and where to take the other things that are no longer needed and wanted.. We found treasures amongst their belongings – amongst their saving of everything – those treasures delighted us: filled with memories of 2 wonderful people.

Here in starts my current trek.

My parents have few belongings – they never had – it was how we all lived – a simple life.

So with that – in turn – I have few belongings – I never have had – it’s how I’ve lived – mostly – a simple life.

My trek – through minimalism – started from a place of lack and how to make sense of the lack that I have been feeling – minimalism is helping me to redefine my sense of lack – understand it in a better way if you like. And turn it into a simpler, richer life that is full of time and meaning.

I can’t partake in consumerism – or just plain and simple purchasing – there are things that I often do need – not want – but need – and I’m in no position to quench that need – but minimalism seems to be quenching it. I have holes in my jeans – on a regular basis – I’ve learnt that minimalism advocates the mending of stuff – there’s no shame in my lack anymore – because I’m a minimalist – I can own 1 pair of jeans and fix them – repeatedly. Well the truth is I now have 2 pairs of jeans – because my mum is a whizz with the sewing machine and she’s fixed 2 pairs of hole filled jeans and made them good.

Another reason it appeals – I seemed to have been keeping hold of things – that now on reflection made no sense to keep – clothes that were donkeys years old – photographs – a huge box of them – bits & bobs – drawers & cupboards of – just in case bits n bobs – books – just sat on shelves – untouched for donkeys years books – and other such stuff – certificates – paper work – tat.. So I’ve been sifting – taking those things to places where others will find them useful once again – selling them online and at the local car-boot. Recycling too.

I’m almost there – but now I have furniture with empty draws – a shed with not much in it – cupboards which are becoming bare – a wardrobe that’s almost empty – it seems peculiar and now I’m considering – do I need my furniture that has draws and my house that has cupboards..


My final reason to embark on minimalism has been – my own mortality – and being aware of the huge task we often leave our nearest & dearest.. the sifting of stuff for treasures and memories. And so it seems to go on.

My reality is that if I die of old age – no accident or awful disease – I will have 2 people in my life that will be left with the task of sifting through my debris.. I have no children and I will have no grandchildren – my life’s debris will mean little. It’s something that’s on my mind right now.. Something that minimalism is helping me understand. Why is it we leave so much debris – why do we consume so much. What does it mean to have no legacy. No continuation. No offspring.


And in turn it’s helping me consider my life.




Notes on – Patience

•September 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

IMG_5029 (2)

It feels as though I’ve been battling recently – with a lack of patience  – not mine I hasten to add – not right now. I’m working whole heartedly at keeping to my ‘Default Diary’ – certain days are for certain things – learning that being flexible isn’t always good and isn’t always productive – bending every which way for others can leave you feeling like your getting nowhere fast. Is that what impatience is – a feeling of getting nowhere fast?

Out of office emails are in place – they let people know when I’ll get back to them – most of the time they work – some of the time people can push those boundaries.. And then push again. It got me thinking and wondering why.

I stood in a very long queue a while ago – a man was visibly angry that he had to join the queue and demanded to see the manager – perhaps hoping he would get served – he was asked to join the – back – of the queue.. it got me wondering why he was so angry – so impatient.

And then a week or so ago – I stood at a check out waiting to be served – I was the next person in line.. a lady who worked at the shop apologised profusely and repeatedly – It took a while for her to accept and hear my reassurances – that I really didn’t mind waiting – at all – she explained that so many people get so very angry and so very impatient.

Then I thought is it a modern day thang? And why – it didn’t take too much to fathom – to work out – what might be going on – is it related to our instant gratification that we receive via social media and online services? We now expect or it has become ingrained that what ever we want – we want it now! And we get it now?

I was going to post a few quotes – here ->

I read a few articles – but they were too long – impatience.

One thing I’ve found helpful when dealing with my impatience is to ask myself – is what I’m waiting for – critical – crucial -paramount – pressing – serious – imperative – pressing – or can I wait… mostly I can wait.

Will something gawd awful happen – will I or someone else die – what will happen: if I wait?

‘It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?’
– Pat Schneider



Notes on – Difficult Conversations.

•September 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Self employment and the complicated lives artists lead often result in the need to have  difficult conversations with others.. Recently I desperately needed to have a difficult conversation – and I had spent far too much time dreading it, getting stressed about it and putting it off: fear was the my main obstacle and I knew, for sure, that if I didn’t have the conversation – things would stay as they were: I was truly miserable.

I asked around & got some advice – luckily I was inundated with some real golden nuggets from some pretty fabulous – friends, neighbours and peeps on social media..

I then bucked up buckets full of courage and had my ‘tricky’ conversation – the result has had a really huge & positive impact on my life, work and general wellbeing.

Here are my notes, sifted from the golden nuggets & advice I pocketed – Difficult conversations – go do it – and do it well – have your difficult conversation –


Be very clear and sure about exactly what it is that you want to achieve.

Then ..

Be clear about your rationale. Is your reason for the discussion valid?

Be clear about the issue in terms of whether its an action they’ve carried out or something about the person themselves.

If it’s an action (or non action), talk about the thing as an issue, don’t rubbish the person.

Know whether there’s anything they can do to change your mind/rectify the problem and if so, ask how they might manage change.

Empathise with any reasonable issues they’re facing.

Be honest and assertive and don’t do yourself an injustice.

it’s always worse before, than after.

Expect them to be unhappy/angry/disgruntled and if they are, ask yourself again ‘Is your reason for the discussion valid?’ – and be happy that you had to say it.

And – 

Write down and rationalise what you want to cover in this conversation – you may need to break it down into more than one topic/discussion..

Don’t ‘paper over’ – Conflict is another way of describing that we are all individuals and have differing views so not to be avoided/papered over. No need to think of it as confrontation – it’s an integral part of progress in nuanced human and social relationships. Negotiating through such situations is a life skill we all need to hone in on.

Also do your prep – 

Prepare for it just like an important interview – things you might say/offer things you want to include and bottom line things that must be cleared up!

– Three parts usually encompass those. Then try to anticipate their side/comments/ essential bottom line. A good result is something you can both live with – a win-win when you both want to continue the relationship (rather than retreating and loudly or silently slagging each other off.)

Also –

Try to de-personalise. It’s not about you and them. It’s about the point you need to make. Always keep the required result in mind. Recognise their view too..

I prepared for my discussion – making lengthy notes and looking at my options – I tweaked it and shortened it – using the advice above – had the discussion and to be honest couldn’t quite believe what was achieved –


So I’m passing the info on – sharing the golden nuggets – ABOVE ‘so other artists will fare better and be stronger and assertive in the complex world we now all operate in.’

Go forth and no more papering over.

Boundaries, Structure and PLANS

•August 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment


I haven’t written a blog post for an age *again. The last post was Dec 2015 – I think of writing one often – often at a loss as to what to write about..

I’ve decided to begin to write quick blog posts – on a regular basis *again.

Something that I’ve been continually struggling with for almost this past year – is time and feeling as though everything is a big, uncontrollable, pile of things and work to do – I’ve been stressed – too stressed and have spent some time reading about stress and it’s causes. It helped. There are things you can do something about and others that you just can’t – spend time thinking and sorting out the things you CAN do something about. Forget the others. It worked.

It’s not as though I haven’t been stressed before – I know it and the signs too well – especially within my former role as a registered care manager – I once had almost 2 months off sick with stress – I’d lay in the middle of a room at home and it would be the only thing that stopped me feeling so very very ill. I’d keep asking my doctor to give me some tablets to make it go away – they didn’t. I dealt with it and made some changes to how I was living and working – At that time I frequently worked from 8am until 9/10pm and I smoked 40 fags a day.

Anyhoot – my recent feelings of stress were a definite sign that things were seriously out of kilter – and I needed to do something about it – I’ve now structured my week and decided that I have to be fairly rigid about my working week if I’m going to make a serious go of this.

My email accounts for my 2 freelance posts now have auto replies – this post is *PART-TIME. And I’m setting about making new work and finding ways of working more creatively to increase the revenue for the studio.

I have new ideas and they have to be put into practise.

And with that –

Other NEWS – The Old Lock Up Studio will soon be opening it’s doors 2 days a week – kettle will always be on. Will let you know when.

Rachael x

Old Lock Up Studio

•May 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Go forth and plan.

•December 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment


“You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it” – Saji Ijiyemi

A short post on discovering the joys of planning – oh boy I can’t , honestly, believe that I have the ability to get excited about PLANNING!

I’ve had a couple of dilemmas recently connected with 2016 and which direction to take/decision to make. I had the opportunity last week of a quiet afternoon to fathom a way round them: often we know the solutions to our problems – but we can have a tendency to cast them aside as unworthy: they then get buried in the depths of our memories – somewhere. Within an hour or so I’d sussed out what to do and then with some strange kind of never experienced before excitement I leapt on to completing a financial forecast for 2016… oh my I can’t believe I said that.

I made some major discoveries about the year ahead of me that have made me realise how I now need to sit down on a very regular basis to plan:

  • I haven’t got much if any available time left in 2016 for any other work/projects. A major problem I’ve had previously is biting off more than I can chew: and then suffering from exhaustion.


  • 2016 is going to be a grand year! The power of anticipation is a wonderful thing.


  • 2016 holds the real potential for me to triple my income from that of 2014 – 18 months ago I struggled to pay my rent and when a tyre blew out on my car I was devastated: literally. Who wants to live like that?


  • I’m excited about 2016 and my future – extremely.


“And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.” – Caroline Kepnes

For me the most significant revelation  I made  was that 2016 holds the potential for me to become financially secure – I actually hadn’t realised this, of course nothing is guaranteed – but it’s being aware of the potential that the future holds and how this can spur you on. Its a  huge change for me: the last 4 years have been extremely hard, there have been times when I thought I couldn’t cope with treading water for much longer, I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty super people in my life. There’s nothing worthy about being down and out broke – I’ve found it awful, misery inducing and frequently very frightening. Sometimes I come across stuff online & now and then I hear people talking about money as if it’s something dirty – and  shouldn’t be sought. I know that money can’t buy you complete happiness – but it can change your life – significantly. And I’m looking forward to it. Money is a very curious thing – much more complex and deep rooted than I once thought – I’m still working hard at putting  Karen Sutton – Johal ‘s wise advice into practise and using her invaluable tools – I know I wouldn’t have got this far without her superb money mentoring.

‘Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.’  –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe






%d bloggers like this: