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I love our daily dog walks. The children often moan about going out but it’s always good. We poke things, smell things, chat in a way we don’t in the house. It’s like taking a deep, healthy, green breath before getting on with the rest of the day.

The Sunrise Walk is organised by a children’s hospice charity. It raises money to support bereaved parents and is a positive way to commemorate a child who has died, whilst making a difference.  By taking part, you can help raise much-needed funds for the charity to continue providing a lifeline for other parents who are learning to live alongside the loss of a child.

With three routes to choose from in a picturesque setting, anyone can take part – whether you’re an experienced walker or enjoy a stroll with your family and friends.

The walk takes place on Sunday 31st May 2015 at 4:30am at the beautiful Ham House near Richmond, Surrey and starts with lighting a paper lantern to remember a loved one.  If you can take part, it’ll be much appreciated.

I do love to travel, so when I found this little pressed brass plane in a second hand shop, I knew I'd have to make it into something travel related. I toyed with a bracelet then decided to tackle something I'd been putting off for ages, a brooch. I love brooches and wear them a lot, but I'd never tackled a brooch pin, so it was a challenge. The back of the brooch is sterling silver, with a double steel pin. The lovely blue globe stamp is riveted to the front using tiny silver rivets, soldered to the silver plate. I also used glue, just to make sure, and varnished the stamp three times to protect it from water. The plane is attached to the front using four simple silver posts. It's not perfect. I'm particularly annoyed that I didn't clean my fingers properly when I was glueing the stamp, so it's grubby. But the pin on the back turned out very well and it hangs nicely, which is pleasing. I've found a new source of planes and I've got loads of stamps, so I'm going to try again soon. The next one will be perfect.

Do you fancy trying something new? How would you like to make yourself a lovely necklace like this?

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I’m running a silversmithing workshop this month, and you could join me! Together we will make sterling silver tags using traditional silversmithing techniques and tools. We’ll drink tea, eat homemade cake and you’ll go home with a beautiful finished necklace.

“Today was brilliant. My creative brain loves me!”

When – Saturday 28th June, 2014, 1-4pm

Where – Alfriston Road, London (nearest tube: Clapham Junction/Clapham South)

How much – £65 including silver for the tags, sterling silver snake chains £10 extra. Book directly through me or using the Eventbrite website.

Contact – Victoria Wallop vwallop@gmail.com

Have I done something new if I don’t chose my new activity with purpose?

I decided that in Lent I would do something new each day, and I largely have.  But often I find myself retro-fitting my activities to the mould of newness. I’ll be busy all day then as the evening draws to a close, I’ll think about what I’ve done that day that’s new.  On Wednesday I tried a new spicy chicken thing from Wasabi for my lunch, so I decided that that counted.  Except I’m not sure that it really did.  I only chose the chicken because my usual lunch of teriyaki salmon had sold out, so it certainly wasn’t premeditated.  And more importantly, in no way did it challenge me.  #40NewThings doesn’t have to be hard, I’m no masochist, but I can’t see that there’s much point unless the trying of them provokes some sort of reaction in me.

Yesterday I was part of the team that ran the school quiz night.  Although I’d have done it anyway, it was definitely a properly new thing, something challenging, fun, different.  So that’s OK. But I’ve got nothing else planned for the remaining however long it is, and I think that perhaps I should.

What do you think I should do?

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I’m not a big fan of inspirational quotes. They mostly make my teeth itch, not sure way. Maybe it’s a stiff upper lip thing, or maybe it’s just that they’re mostly trite nonsense.  But when I saw this in an advert for Not on the Hight Street, I said YES with every fibre of my being.

Partly it’s because I have a very soft spot for Ferris Bueller. I was introduced to him by an American childhood friend who aged 11, I was sure I was going to marry.  By the time I was 16, and we were watching this film, I was still harbouring an unrequited crush, and a combination of this and the achingly cool, only slightly older than me, Ferris made a kind of perfect storm of favourite filmness.  But you know what?  Ferris was right.

I have no idea what our purpose on this earth is, or whether there’s anything else afterwards, but I do know that I don’t want to lie on my death bed regretting that life passed me by.  The best way I know of slowing it down is to grasp every opportunity that comes. OK maybe not EVERY opportunity. I have absolutely no desire to jump out of an aeroplane, but I do want to fill my days with things that are interesting, lovely, exciting, make me think, add in some way to the greater good or are just plain fun.  The more you can cram in, the more time you seem to have.

As well as that, I also want to be present in the moment, not always rushing onto the next thing and wishing my life away.  If you’re having a cup of coffee, make it a really good cup. Appreciate the small things and each day can be crammed with a series of tiny pleasures. This morning I heard a woodpecker while I walked the dog in the blinding winter sun on a frosty common.  Today is already a good day.

Enjoy life. And listen to Ferris.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. There’s something about them that makes my childish brain want to do the exact opposite.   Instead I like to write a list of things I’d like to aim to do during the year, no pressure, just a go-to selection of activities for times when we’re a bit stuck in a rut.  The children have contributed too.

Of course seizing moments has to play a big part too.  Last year we had some brilliant experiences like being on Newsnight and meeting a real life spaceman.  Life without being open to new experiences isn’t properly worth living.

So here’s my list so far…

  • Plan a skiiing trip
  • Plan a long trip for the summer holidays
  • Tate Britain
  • Tate Modern
  • 19 Princelet St
  • Ragged School Museum
  • Geocaching
  • Downe House
  • Kew Palace and Gardens
  • Cutty Sark
  • Paul Smith Exhibition at Design Museum
  • Go Ape
  • Lazer Quest
  • Swim in Hampstead Ponds
  • Long walk based on one of locations in Wild Swim book
  • Lots of other long walks
  • Sam Wannamaker’s Jacobean Theatre
  • Polka Theatre
  • The Globe
  • Ice Skating
  • Climbing
  • Swim in new Streatham pool
  • Camping

What should I add?

My eldest child loves art. They all do actually, but for a long time, drawing, particularly drawing comics, has been her hobby of choice. She wants to be an illustrator when she grows up. Visiting the Harry Potter Studios at the weekend and seeing all the amazing jobs possible for artists in the film industry, has only strengthened her resolve.

At parents evening recently her art teacher, a gentle, inspiring woman, said that she’s really good, and we should encourage her all we can.

We were discussing Christmas presents yesterday and she suggested a subscription to a magazine, with comic strips, or about art. Like the Beano, except that her younger brother already has one of those.  She’s loved our subscription to Anorak, which has just run out and I highly recommend, but I think she’s growing out of it a little, so I said I’d investigate and see what I could find. I must admit that I was slightly despairing of finding anything without pop stars inside or cheap lipstick attached to the front. These things have their place, but they’re not for an annual subscription from your Granny.

Well one tweet later and I’m excited. So many ideas, some of which are right up her street.  I decided that a blog post was the only way forward, as I can’t be the only parent of an art loving pre-teen looking for inspiration beyond something with One Direction on the cover.

The top recommendation from @keris has to be The Phoenix, which I’d never heard of but have discovered is raved about by lots. And having looked at their website, I can see why. It’s a proper, old fashioned, comic, no adverts just lots of imaginative strips with fab illustrations in lots of different styles, a bit funny, a bit silly. Just as it should be.

The aforementioned Anorak are bringing out a new magazine in 2014, called TeePee which is going to be written by teenagers for teenagers. We love what they do, so I’m excited about seeing what they come up with.

Suggested by @nurturestore and slightly different, is Comic Life, which is a template app, allowing you to create your own comics easily. It looks like it could be a lot of fun, so I’m going to investigate it further.

Unsurprisingly, there are people who blog just about comics, one of whom was particularly helpful, @louiestowell.  Her blog, Stowell’s Cosmology has a fab list of comics for kids. I know that she must be good at this as Asterix tops the list. I think that Asterix books are about as good as it gets, which reminds me, I must add the new book, Asterix and the Picts to my Christmas shopping list.

Louie pointed by to Comics and Cola, which has a fabulous list of comics for kids, most of which I’d never heard of but many of which look absolutely brilliant. I know the children would love loads of these including Guinea PI (about a private investigator guinea pig!) the Hawaiian Shark King and Good Dog Bad Dog. You really can’t go wrong with anthropomorphising animals.

I do love twitter at moments like these. I went from thinking the publishing world was a dull place, determined to push crop tops and fake fame on my impressionable 11 year old, to being truly inspired and excited about exploring all new artistic avenues together.

Happy days.