Head & Heart – April 2015

Published Categorized as Life

Apparently I’m making mid-month Head & Heart posts a thing! I find these difficult to begin but easy to complete, so it sits on my to-do list for a couple of weeks before getting anywhere. Anyway, here’s my month of April, or at least how it looks from mid-May.

“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”

I’m grateful for

Positive feedback on Side Project magazine. Although I love that my friends are loyal customers, there’s something exciting about hearing words of encouragement and praise from people that none of us on the team know personally. It makes me feel like our efforts in promoting it have been working, and that the zine is good enough to move them to contact us or post about it in social media!

I’ve been thinking about

Minimalism and Slow Living. I’ve been feeling stressed out and run down over the past few months, as if I’m always rushing from one thing to the next without time to think in between, and yet still somehow always remaining a step behind. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to slow down, pare things back, and focus on the things that are most important.

A new look for ChiGarden. I tend to start feeling a bit lost with blogging every year or so, and then I know it’s time for a redesign or a rethink about the focus of this blog. For the most part it’s been mostly personal and largely unfocused, and though I definitely want to keep that personal perspective I’d like it to be a bit more cohesive. Something to work on behind the scenes for the next couple of months.

I’m excited for

The Year of Thirtieth Birthdays. This year most of my friends and I will be entering another decade, which means a whole lot of celebrating (and a lot of complaining about being old, which everyone older than us rolls their eyes at). My close group of girl friends are all clustered in May/June/July, so there will be much partying ahead.

I’ve been doing

Tidying up. Most of my weekends in April were taken up with a massive Konmari inspired clean out, with a good chunk of my possessions not making the cut. It’s a long and surprisingly emotional process, but it feels good.

The 100 Day Project. Okay, well I did 19 days and then sort of gave up! The idea was to do one thing each day following a certain theme (I chose 100 days of hand-lettered words and their meanings), the goal being to show up every day and make something. As with any habit, taking a couple of days off rolled into a week, then a few, then it felt like there wasn’t much point in continuing. I love the concept, but there are just too many other projects going on for me at the moment! You can see my first 19 submissions on my Instagram.

Watercolour painting. I’ve been trying to put some bits and pieces together for a future Side Project stationery line, and realising that my skills aren’t quite up to speed with my imagination. Thankfully watercolour is a forgiving medium and fun to mess around with even if the end result isn’t perfect. I don’t think I’ll be doing any hyper-realistic botanical illustrations anytime soon, but cute mushrooms and simple leafy patterns are becoming less difficult!

Reading list

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Yep I’m on that Konmari bandwagon with all the other people asking themselves if their possessions spark joy, and yes I do think it is life-changing. Read my review and lessons learned over here; my own experience with konmari coming up soon.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This one felt a bit like konmari for your life rather than your things – questioning what is essential in a world that glorifies being busy. I like the idea that you literally cannot ‘have it all’ – life involves tradeoffs whether you recognise it or not, and the key is to take control of them rather than leaving it up to others.

In Praise of Slow: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honoré. Are you sensing a theme here? This book looks into the spread of the Slow movement, which has its roots in Slow Food but has spread to apply to everything from music to city planning. I don’t agree with everything, but it’s a fascinating to read about how others are bringing a bit more calm into their lives.

Join the fun by writing your own Head & Heart post for the month and submitting over on Helen’s blog at Lime Tree Bower.


  1. I also gave up on the 100 Day Project this weekend I think I made it to day 46. I’m not sure that it improved my writing at all!

    I am also reading In Praise of Slow and just finished Essentialism. These are books I’ve been recommending widely and will be lending to friends when I’m done – typically my over-achieving, selfless, professional females friends.

    I look forward to your Konmari post.

    And congratulations on Side Project – I feel lucky I nabbed the last copy! I passed it on to Laura of Laura’s Mess.

    1. I think it’s the sharing aspect of the 100 Day Project that was problematic for me. Committing to practicing lettering/calligraphy every day for 100 days is doable, but I hated posting every day when I wasn’t happy with what I was able to make in the time! It also made me go for styles or themes that I thought would get a good reaction rather than stretching or improving my abilities. I think maybe I was approaching it wrong haha.

      I’ve been recommending these books to everyone too, although I suppose not everyone will respond to it or are ready for that way of thinking. The glorfication of busy is still very much alive!

      Thanks for passing on Side Project, I always love hearing when people think it’s good enough to share!

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