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Intuitive Christmas Soup Recipe

This time last year I was working on converting my van into a camper at my fab friend, Margaret’s, house. We’d already been eating our way through the vegan mince pie stock from the Sainsbury’s Local nearby since October. I love Christmas food! It’s one of the few things about Christmas I love. My favourite food is a yummy vegan nut roast with all the trimmings. This year we’ve been boycotting Sainsbury’s mince pies because they use palm oil but I still need my early Christmas food fix.

A hearty bowl of vegan Christmas Soup
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Two Trees Van Conversion (2019)

This is my van, Two Trees, and you’ll see why it’s called that when you see the porthole. I bought Two Trees in May 2018 and converted it into a tiny camper. I was incredibly lucky to have an amazing friend, Margaret, who let me park on her driveway for many hours to work on my van. She also taught me how to use power tools (yes!) and some woodworking techniques. We discussed creative ideas and how to bring them into reality. I could not have done this without her and am so grateful for her. Scroll down to see its transformation from light goods vehicle to camper-for-one.
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Seeing is believing: how an expressive art grief ritual helped me gain clarity and strength

Last night was the anniversary of my dad’s suicide in 1980. Most years I just ignored it and tried to carry on, but this year I decided to do a letter writing ritual. My ‘letter’ turned out to be a piece of expressive art as I followed my intuition and did what I needed to do throughout the process.

My expressive art ‘letter’ to my dad who killed himself 39 years ago.
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Could being ‘trauma informed’ help you in your work and personal relationships?

Given that an estimated 20% of women and 4% of men in England and Wales* have experienced sexual violence since the age of sixteen (and those are just the reported cases; therefore, these figures could be just the tip of the iceberg, not to mention the child sexual abuse figures; see Rape Crisis for more statistics), there is a high probability some of them will be your clients or customers or colleagues or students or apprentices or family members. There are also many people who have experienced emotional and/or physical abuse and/or neglect. You might not know this about them because they may never tell you. Since some of the people you spend time with at work and home are likely to have experienced trauma, it follows that being trauma informed in the ways you communicate with them will be helpful to both you and them.

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Overcoming irrational fear in climbing

In January 2018 I was experiencing deep frustration at the fear that was paralysing me when I went to climb. Climbing was one of my passions and had been for about a year, yet when I went near the wall I felt crippling fear. I wondered whether my fear was related to the effects of trauma that pop up in my life, so I decided to research trauma and recovery, and set myself experiments to overcome fear. I recorded my journey in a series of blog posts, in case anyone else was going through the same thing as me. I thought I’d share links to those posts here because the sports psychology I used in my experiments might be useful to you. Here they are:

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Wonderland (2019)

I came up with the idea of Wonderland – an indoor adventure playground for grown ups – in 2005. The prompt came from a job interview where I was invited back to make a presentation based on this premise: “you wake up on Christmas morning and you’ve given a gift to the world. What is your gift?” I was training to be a coach so I used the resources available to me and what emerged was a heartfelt desire for a place to escape the daily grind and play with childlike glee.

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Power Up (2018)

In September 2018 I attended an art course: Graphic Novels Real Life Stories run by Ottilie Hainsworth at Phoenix Brighton. During this course we were invited to make a mini graphic novel, using an existing booklet as the structure for it. I chose a Ditchling Museum booklet and created something unexpected that I decided to refine and extend, so that I could enter the first twelve pages into a Laydeez Do Comics graphic novel competition (see my next project Pieces of Me). These images show the booklet I amended. It’s called Power Up.

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Vertigirls: Cornwall (2017)

I joined the Vertigirls in March 2017. Vertigirls is a climbing club for women with ‘additional needs’ and it’s run by Christine, who is a passionate and inclusive leader. The main objective of the club is to empower women through the sport of rock climbing. Just before club’s trip to Cornwall in August 2017 Christine decided to make a film to enter into the British Mountaineering Club’s Women in Adventure Film Competition. Christine engaged Katy Beswetherick as camera-person and they hired a DV camcorder. Katy is a climbing coach with no experience in making films. After the trip Katy and I got together to look at the footage and I offered to edit the film.

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