The week that started 17th February 2020


Last week I did 3 weeks of activity planning, which was so useful for prioritising things I want to do, scheduling them and booking tickets. This week I did some financial planning for some of the classes and courses I want to do, to prioritise them and balance importance and urgency.

It feels great to be a lot clearer about what’s going on and what I want to do about it.

Oh, and I had my second digital detox day, with a screen-free Sunday. So relaxing, and I ended up drawing so much more than I would have if I’d been taking photos on my phone.

Enjoy moving more!

After a two-week break (illness and travel), I went back to my boxing class. It was pretty great.

And then I signed up to a gym that’s opening near me next month, looking forward to doing zumba twice-weekly again, and maybe pilates.

And I’m going to join a weekly dance class on Thursday mornings for a month too.

My ambition is not just to move more, but to enjoy moving more, which is why my focus is on classes. I love fun classes. I’m excited about the gym I’ve joined because prior to that I was planning to go to lots of classes at different gyms. I like the idea of the flexibility, but it’s way too much admin and co-ordinating effort. I want it to be as easy as possible to enjoy moving more.

5 year plan

One of my colleagues talked about creating a 5 year plan in a way that made sense to me. Until that point, the whole idea sounded both ridiculous and impossible to my ears.

What I learned is that the key is to make a list of things you want but that aren’t possible for this year. So, that’s where I started. Now I want to:

  • formulate these into measurable objectives
  • break them down into smaller chunks
  • think about ordering those
  • think about what I can do this quarter to move in the right direction

It’s nice to have an appropriate place to be (over-)ambitious and shoot for the moon. Or the stars.

Visual: Spurred my creativity

Went to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens and I LOVED it. This was part of a day trip for a brilliant botany course I’m doing.

I especially loved:

Blown away by Rosie Sanders’ art

So inspired by how prolific Marianne North was, over 800 paintings in 14 years. And she invested to protect her legacy.

I’d love to be a collector. Like, that’s an actual job people do. That’s it, I want Shirley Sherwood’s job. Not right now, but one day. Such a delightful collection.

And then I happened upon Mushrooms: The art, design and future of fungi, an exhibition curated by Francesca Gavin. It’s free and showing until 26 April 2020 at Somerset House, London.

Amanda Cobbett‘s work is stunning and I haven’t done it justice in my sketches, but I’m glad I gave it a go.

Words: Helped me learn

Visiting the Kew (Gardens) Library was amazing (also part of the botany day trip). Every time I go to a library I’m reminded of what magical places they are. In 15 minutes I learned a bunch of stuff about birch mythology. Such richness.

And then I completed my botany homework, which was choosing a tree to research and give a 5 minute presentation about it. I chose Betula sp. and left it as an exercise for the class to identify the species of birch pictured at the end. Check out the guide I collated and see what you think.

And I liked doing it so much that I thought I’d continue now that the course has ended. On Sunday I chose Alnus glutinosa (common alder) for my plant focus. Planning to spotlight a different tree each week, working through Betulacea (birch family) at present.

common alder (Alnus glutinosa) thrives on wet ground, enriches poor ground because it fixes nitrogen from the air, associated with a malign spirit called Erlkönig (alder king, king of the fairies)

Audio: Helped me heal

I went to 2 concerts this week. Sunday Service with cellist Abel Selaocoe and Chineke! Orchestra – Coleridge-Taylor & Beethoven.

Tai Murray was divine on violin with the always excellent Chineke! orchestra. Couldn’t believe my ears.

Live music

I’m excited because this week I got tickets for 8 concerts, over the next few weeks and months, and I can’t wait. I have a ‘short’list as long as my arm, but I’m prioritising some stuff.

What’s important to me

  • Sheku Kanneh-Mason and all the Kanneh-Masons
  • Cello
  • Bach (strings, specifically)
  • Chineke! orchestra
  • Proximity (to the present and to places I go)
  • Price (free & discounted are my fave, of course)


Rest of the week I was listening to a variety of stuff:

And this one feels like a personal anthem:

Don’t pretend you know me better
I would rather be solitary
And I feel alone when I’m with you
I can’t hide it anymore

Solitary by Lilla Vargan

But also, this feels like a personal anthem too:

Yes, I fall in love with myself, and I want someone to share it with me

LVURSELF Interlude by Elkka; quoting Eartha Kitt

Been listening to a startling amount of Ed Sheeran lately – he really has range.

Anyway, that’s enough for now.