Looking out across the garden as I write this, I can see the trees blessed with the autumnal sun soaking up as much as they can as they begin to change from their summer colours to shades of gold, ruby and bronze before they fall. It's easy to look back over this year and feel lost and ponder on what the future must hold for us all. There's so much uncertainty surrounding us it can be all consuming. However, nature has a wonderful way of nurturing our mental health giving us the space to reconnect and reenergise, improving our psychological and physical wellbeing by releasing that wonderful hormone serotonin.
Spending time outdoors, even if it's in the garden or local park and feeling the breeze against your skin and hearing it as it rustles through those leaves or feeling them crunch underfoot, even quietly watching the water lapping against the embankment rhythmically, you can almost feel your worries and thoughts slip away allowing you to relax and breathe for a moment. I won't lie, it has been a difficult year to put it lightly. But we must look to the future, my daughter has now flown the nest and settled in at University. Recent news about rising infection rates has raised anxieties about whether the decision was right for her to move away, however she needed to move forward and have something to focus her mind on. And that's true for us all. Sometimes even in a pandemic we need something to refocus our minds on to attract positivity. During the national lockdown, I participated in a number of online projects which I will talk about in the next newsletter* and took the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills through e-learning where back in May I studied for the De Beers Diamond Foundation Certificate and in August completed the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Applied Jewellery Professional Diploma. I also baked, iced and decorated two double tear cakes for the very first time during lock down (I don't mean to brag but I am a little bit proud of myself - can't you tell haha!) and then there was a flour shortage, so they were the only two cakes I baked!
Those of you who don't know me, I live and work in a city, Birmingham to be exact and have done all my life. I consider myself lucky, 'But you live in a city, how's that lucky!?' I hear you exclaim. Well I am, not just because of all its history and heritage especially with my workshop in the heart of the famous Jewellery Quarter, because where I live is surrounded by an abundance of greenery which attracts an array of animals big, small and smaller, which not everyone associates with living in a big city such as this. In the evening and overnight I can frequently hear the tawny owl calling, the badgers chittering and the foxes barking and glimpse an occasional visit from the hedgehogs. In the day the sight of the boisterous squirrels, and the many chattering visitors to the bird feeder bring me great joy and I am grateful everyday for the joy it brings to my life and the inspiration they bring to my work. This is something I love to hear when others tell me how much happiness receiving and wearing my jewellery brings them and I almost swell up with the feeling of fulfilment and happiness.