Goodness me! I have just spent the last hour updating my schedule and I got to the end of January 2015 without taking breath. As a freelancer I should be careful not to moan about having a full schedule but I also fear that it is so full that there is little room for manoeuvre should project timelines slip. I always build a little wriggle room into any forward schedule but I have failed on this instance.
That all said, do have some truly fascinating projects coming up with a range of talented people and teams. Perhaps the largest project has not been signed off yet but I am almost certain it will go ahead. This will involve working with Scottish television for the first time. Regular readers will know that I work with BBC Scotland on a fairly frequent basis and I enjoy that work. Principally this involves being on a radio panel discussing a range of topical subjects. The way that Scottish island mum is perceived has always been important to me so I am careful with my media work. I have turned down far more opportunities than I have taken and I think this will always be the case. I have also been determined that Scottish island mum remains largely free from product review. There are lots of blogs out there that dedicate themselves to this type of work but Scottish island mum was not created to fulfil this type of role. Scottish island mum is a place for musings and reflections and I would say that is where it has remained since its inception in January 2013.
Looking beyond my media work my mind wanders into my creative projects. Pretty much from now onwards Christmas will begin to consume me! My label ‘With Love from Arran’ is pretty evident in local shops and markets and this year I hope to expand my online presence through my etsy shop. I am currently sourcing the components that will allow me to sell willow wreath kits online. I know lots of people would love to have the opportunity to create their own willow Christmas wreath but getting a willow base is almost impossible. My ambition this year is to allow an affordable kit to be delivered to the homes of these creative people and that willow wreaths will adorn their front doors during the festive season. Beyond the kits we will be extending our sales of decorated willow wreaths and festive sewn crafts on and off the island. Collecting is already underway with bunches of herbs and berries currently drying in our larder.
I am completely thrilled at the successful launch of my online course portfolio during this year. Having completed a pilot in 2013 I went into 2014 with a lot more confidence and I am not sure I have looked back since. I currently have students completing their final module in a six month long course entitled Meditation through Writing. I also have a super bunch of people half way through my very first e-retreat that explores the relationship between Place, Space and Identity. This year I also released a free workshop that introduced meditation and intuitive journaling and had many more students access my courses. Many of these have booked onto other course as my little community of life students grow. My free introductory book to meditation published through my ISSU account has been read and downloaded by thousands of people and that, in itself, is very rewarding. So looking ahead I have two new courses on the horizon. The first is my current preoccupation as I devise an alternative Christmas experience. I already have students signed up for this course that begins in October and runs right up until Christmas. It is my response to a festival that has been somewhat hijacked by commercialism and I am quietly confident in its success……. The second is a course that runs for the month of January and focuses on the Year Ahead. I have been blessed to work with a range of creative and dynamic thinkers in recent years and this has delivered an adjusted approach to planning that moves away from artificial scheduling and moves towards an acknowledgement of how our planning should be affected by seasonal changes. I am currently creating a brand new scheduling document that will form the basis of this course and I may also sell this as a planner in its own right. We shall see.
Project Poppy is doing just what I hoped it would do. It is trundling through the summer and autumn sharing a range of truly memorable creative projects based around the concept of a poppy as a signifier of memorial. This is Scottish island mum’s way of marking 100 years since the beginning of World War 1 and we are blessed to have so many creative and talented people willing to not only get involved but also share their processes and outcomes. Pop across to the Project Poppy page to see how it is all going.
Beyond my professional work I am continuing to squeeze volunteering for our community shop Eco Savvy into my personal schedule. Eco Savvy has a really busy few months ahead with its first members meeting (currently sitting at almost 300 people), a skills sharing day and a fashion show and auction evening. It is such a creative and dynamic project to be part of and I love the work. I have been deeply committed to voluntary work for some years now both on and off the island. This work brings together like-minded people and can often create the most supportive of environments. I am excited about the future of Eco Savvy both on and off the island. I am hoping to get more involved as the model of operation is clarified and contained in such a way that it can be offered to other communities who strive towards a more ecologically driven approach to dealing with the issue of ‘waste’. My time on the Isle of Eigg in 2013 had a profound affect on me and this tiny island has just become the very first sustained island in the world. The community that underpins all that is Eigg have incredible depth and breath of expertise and experience and their outward focus is to be commended. As Eco Savvy finds its feet I am sure the same outcomes are within its grasps. I have been fortunate to work with teams from both Totnes and Winchester in the past and their sustainable credentials are well worth interrogation. I believe that Arran has an important role to play in the sustainability debate but it needs to find its place. Exciting Times.
My domestic news is that Molly is staying on the island through the winter and her gorgeous man has joined us. They now live next door in the cottage and both have jobs on the island. This is a temporary situation that will allow them both to save lots of money ahead of further study next year or the commencement of a job in the broad area of conservation. I admire this thinking as it will make their next step so much easier and I am, of course, completely thrilled to have them here.
Harry is about to start his third level 3 diploma and this time moving into cookery. He has just about completed his diploma in Sports Nutrition and may well go onto College in Glasgow next year. George has left full time home school and has moved into distance learning. His first level 3 diploma is in animal care and I suspect he will then specialise in canine behaviour. Max remains in full time school. Both Max and George are well on with their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and really enjoying it.
Pete and I both turn 50 this year so we are hoping for a little break away by ourselves towards the end of this month. We have been married for 23 years and that, in itself, needs a little celebration.
So I think that is Scottish island mum both up to date and looking forward completed. I am blessed with a life that is full but incredibly rewarding and surrounded by the most amazing people. All is well with Scottish island mum and I hope all is well to all of you.
Blessings to you all.
Speak soon. xx