Agency Potion


For the first time in over a month, I'm feeling (somewhat) in control of my life and (somewhat) positive about the future. I am moving towards accepting that I am an artist and a millenial and that consequently it's never going to be easy.

This meant that last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion was a no-brainer. A tutor of mine once described me as being "a bit of a free spirit", which, as a person for whom the phrase "highly strung" would be a polite way of putting it, I found hilarious. But I must concede that going with the flow a bit more would be good for me, and so last week's potion reads "Being mistress of your own destiny is nothing to fear."



Inside the potion bottle is a smaller potion bottle filled with coffee, for reasons best left to myself and my future therapist.

The potion's name, Agency Potion (as in self-determination) is written on the back of my business card, which I like to think of as a metaphorical passport to my future.





 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Fortitude Potion

One of my favourite young artists, Caitlin Hazell, once scribbled an illustration which read "I'm sad because I'm not Kate Bush". I'm sad at the moment, but I thought that Kate Bush might help rather than making me sadder still.

Therefore, this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion borrows (or do "great" artists steal?) a line from one of her most beautiful songs, This Woman's Work; "I know you've got a lot of strength left." Because I do, despite what even I may believe. I have been in this place before, and I have come out the other side. I will be happy and healthy again, and I will work at it until I am.

Accompanying the words is a tiny LED light, which I thought made a good metaphor for a kernel of hope. It was gifted to me by a lovely lady at a workshop I was involved in at the weekend. More on that later, possibly. 

The concoction is named Fortitude Potion. Fortitude, I am told, is defined as strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. It might seem a little contradictory to be talking about strength of mind when in fact my mind is so vulnerable. But buried deep inside me is a stubbornness that won't let me give in. That wills me to keep going, like Sylvia Plath's "I am, I am, I am." A little lightbulb, if you will.








 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.





Bedding In Potion




Properly moving into my brother's old room last week brightened my mood of the previous couple of weeks significantly. I spent far too many hours scouring eBay for precisely the soft furnishings and knick knacks (including this crochet blanket) I wanted and now I am very happily installed in there.

Because colour is so important to me (I could never be a minimalist) and I am determined that I will not feel gloomy because of my environment in this room, this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "Build a bowerbird nest". Male bowerbirds build structures decorated with brightly coloured flotsam and jetsam to attract a mate. I doubt kitsch mid century paraphernalia will attract my mate, but he was kind enough to provide the potion's name: "Bedding In Potion". I truly think it is so important to be happy where you sleep. 

Rather wonderfully, the label paper is embossed with little birds, although my camera couldn't capture those.

The embroidery above is a sample I am working on for a two day workshop next weekend. Very serendipitous colour coordination! The off cuts of thread I collected as I worked on the embroidery over the course of the week, and I thought they represented a bowerbird nest rather well.

Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.



Keep The Faith Potion

 Still struggling, but still here. Sometimes you have to blindly go forward, hoping and believing that things will get better.

That's why this week's potion reads "It can and it will get better", and that's why it's named "Keep The Faith Potion" (as well as that being a reference to my predilection for Northern Soul).

This week's diaristic element is some electrically conductive fabric, a small amount of which I have been given to play with ahead of an event in which it will play a part next week.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Lock Outs and Lock Ins Potion

Last week was a rather wobbly one. After a long day at work on Wednesday I came straight home only to find that my key wouldn't open the front door. After fretting for some time, finally my lovely neighbour let me in round the back. I thought all was well as I could unlock the front door with a different key from the inside, but when I came to lock up in the morning I found I couldn't. Not what you want when you've been home alone for two and a half weeks!

Perhaps because of how stressed I'd been feeling last week, I took every opportunity to let my hair down. So, in addition to the lock out on Wednesday evening, I had my first lock-in at my favourite gin palace on Saturday night, with a free cocktail and the hangover to go with it in the morning.

I've been thinking lately that maybe it's time to grow up, accept responsibility and stop having so much fun. But I feel like in the years when I was "supposed" to have fun, I didn't have very much, and I'm still relatively young; not even up to a quarter of a century yet! Growing up will come with time.

That's why last week's potion reads "Take it one step and one day at a time." I don't have to "sort my life out" all at once, and, with the way I'm feeling at the moment, simply putting one foot in front of the other is fine.





Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Comparison Will Kill You Potion

As my previous blog post indicates, I have a terrible tendency to to compare myself to others. I really believe this can never end well; I certainly always find myself lacking when I compare myself to other people, particularly other artists.

Perhaps surprisingly, the awe-inspiring Joseph Cornell exhibition mentioned in the previous post didn't lead me to make unfair comparisons between myself and Mr Cornell. It inspired me and spurred me on to make art and not give up. For this reason, I included the ticket from the exhibition as the diaristic element of this week's potion.




The stitched words of the potion read "Not being the Best  being the Worst". As the year has gone on, the words of the #secretsofselfpreservation potions have become less self help happy talk and more straight-talking mantras. And I am happy with that.





Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Fellowship Flag Potion

I think two blog posts in one day is virtually unprecedented; I don't remember doing this (other than for brief announcements) since I posted daily during my final year of university. But I digress.

This week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion is quite a personal one (as if the entire project wasn't personal enough already!) I have been settling into my new job and trying to do the right, responsible, grown-up thing(s) and make the right choice(s). But after a particularly gruelling day this week I went out for burgers and to dance to a Blues Brothers tribute band some mates are in, and it reminded me that it's important to make the most of being young while I still am, too.

That is why this week's potion reads "Adult, but don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders". That's "adult" as in the verb; "to adult". It's a very Web 2.0 term.





This week I handed in an entry to an art competition organised by Uniting Friends some of the young people I work with created. The theme of this year's competition was "Dear Prime Minister", and the young people made a double sided "flag" celebrating what they love about our centre, the legacy of William Morris in our community and building, and showing the way we feel about the cuts and the new government. So it made perfect sense to use snippets left over from the flag as the "potion ingredients" this week. There are offcuts of the fabrics the young people used as a patchwork representation of the centre's logo, including several William Morris prints, and a headline proclaiming "Young adults let down on basic skills"; something we try to reverse, in some very small way, through our work.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Yes Please Potion

 The stagnation in my creative career that I was feeling a couple of weeks ago and was trying to combat when I stitched my Pulled Out A Plum Potion has given way to a resolution to get my work out there, and talk to as many other creatives and likeminded people as possible about it, and about potential ways we could work together.

This is why this week's #secretsofselfpreservation stitching is entitled "Yes Please Potion"; I intend to say yes to suitable opportunities which come my way, and seek out even more.

I've stitched the words "Be bold. Be brazen. Be obnoxious." I'm slightly concerned that this reads like a parody of a Rimmel London mascara advert, but it's actually advice to my shy and retiring self to be more assertive. I believe in my work, and it's my job, if you like, to get others to believe in it too.

Lots of question marks accompany the embroidered velvet ribbon, reminding me that if you don't ask, you don't get.




Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Pulled out a Plum Potion

 My fingers smell like soft fruit. I have been finger painting with jam. Before you ask, yes, I am feeling ok. It was Pip's suggestion for the ingredients of this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion, the text of which is "Have your fingers in many pies". "Fruit pies" sampled are plum, gooseberry, and lemon.

I am trying to keep busy creatively, keep on pushing and looking for opportunities, without getting crushed by the feeling that I'm running on the spot. I do feel like things are moving in the right direction though, albeit at the rate of continental drift; I'm not the most assertive, go-getting person, so it doesn't come naturally to me. Tips for getting work out there, into the big wide world, where people can see it, would be much appreciated.

I also feel like I have too many ideas, which can be very distracting. Trying to stick to getting things finished, whilst accepting that some things may be too ambitious at the stage I'm at now, is a painful process. I just want to do it ALL. Patience, young grasshopper.

In the meantime, these potions are a happy medium. I don't have to think about them too much, but there is something very pleasing about creating and gradually hoarding them. What to do with them when they're done, though? That is the question. Most or not all of the ones I've made so far will be on show as part of the E17 Art Trail from the 30th May, along with other stitchery. I will post more about that, and the workshop I'm doing as part of the Trail, a little closer to the time.

This one owes a debt to Clerke and Joy, fellow Dartington alumni, who created a performance lecture to tour art schools a couple of years ago. It's called Tips For The Real World, and imparts wisdom (or lack thereof) on how to function as a young art graduate when released into the wild. One of the drawings on the website is captioned "Have your fingers in lots of pies", and I often find myself scribbling the phrase down. It's become a sort of mantra to keep on going even when I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

This blog post has become a lot more naval-gazey and mopey than I intended; I think perhaps I'm just a little hungover. Hopefully I will have some more exciting news to share soon. I am writing a book, although I feel terribly pretentious whenever I tell anyone. Unfortunately books are a bit of a slow burn and can't really be shared until they're done, so let's just say it has a stitchy-feministy-mental-healthy flavour and I am enjoying writing it tremendously. Perhaps I will be able to share more soon. Until next time!















Labels and Fables

The pages of my visual diary are filling up in earnest now. I've been doing a little diaristic doodling and collaging, and decided to design labels for the #secretsofselfpreservation potions, to give them a bit more unity and make the outside of the bottles more appealing.

I have designed labels for Week 1: Pox Potion, Week 2: ROAR Don't Mewl Potion, Week 3: Cadbury Purple Mantra Potion and Week 4: Emergency Glitter Potion, though I forgot to add the weeks for those last two, so will need to put them in digitally! I may rework the labels digitally too, using my rudimentary Photoshop skills.





It feels good to be working on paper again; I will have to take the plunge, pick up the pencil, and draw, and to hell with how it turns out. I can only get better with practise.

Pet Pals Potion

I feel that the title of this (belated, sorry) potion was partially inspired by Rudi of Sidcup and Roxy of Holloway "friends and colleagues" of Bobby Baker and stars of animations featuring Bobby and promoting the work of Daily Life Limited. I have been thinking about the work that Bobby and Daily Life Limited do in the run up to their micro festival, which I need to buy tickets for as soon as I get paid! The feedback that I got about this particular project when I took part in a Daily Life Limited workshop really helped get #secretsofselfpreservation off the ground, so I can't wait to see what they do next. It would be easy for Bobby "just" to make work about her own experiences, but the fact that Daily Life are supporting a whole new host of (often young) artists who make art out of their mental health experiences is commendable. I would love to be in a similar position to do so some day. Without wanting to sound completely bleeding heart (which I am), I want to make a difference with my work.

I suppose this week I have been making a (very) small difference to the lives of some animals; tending to two cats and a bearded dragon, feeding and chatting to them, and on occasion removing (tremendously) pooey newspaper.

I have found that caring for animals is a very particular kind of pleasure; companionship without backchat, I suppose. I think, once you've fed something, you can't help but care for it, in a way.

So in honour of this newfound, short lived responsibility, I have stitched that "Animals are good for your health" (rather shoddily as I haven't been feeling very well the past couple of days), and accompanied the text with some copyright free illustrations of domestic and more exotic animals.

I think this should all act as proof to my boyfriend that co-owning a rabbit is a practical and sensible notion. But until he relents, I will keep stitching.







Perseverance Potion

Week Fourteen of #secretsofselfpreservation brought some potentially exciting news, training for my new job, and a long weekend.

I feel like I've got my work life balance right now, and that I might, just might, get the word out a bit more about my art in 2015.

This is why this week's potion is entitled "Perseverance Potion". The ingredients read "Don't give up the night job ("night job" being art, not an untoward activity).

I have accompanied the stitched words with a jumble of beads and sequins, which I have a substantial stash off and use frequently in my work. They make a pleasant noise when you shake the potion bottle, not unlike light rain or the sea.














Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Sketchy Potion

It's been a horrid day, hasn't it? And I've been feeling very sorry for myself. In fact, I've been feeling so (perhaps literally) under the weather that I spent most of the weekend sleeping. This did not afford much time for stitching, and so I present to you last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion, with apologies.

I am more determined than ever to conquer my fear of drawing. In fact, after writing this post I fancy doing a bit of scribbling in my visual diary. It has languished unloved for months, and I want its pages to be a little fuller.

I have used some potions sketched in the diary over the course of #secretsofselfpreservation thus far shrunk down to fit inside the potion bottle.

The ingredients read "Draw, despite your fear".

This project is a very small undertaking really, a bit of a throwaway thing, but I think as a whole it is rather effective. I can't wait to share it with the public and get them uncorking potions!


















Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Life Buoy Potion

As #secretsofselfpreservation / Apothéké progresses, one week's potion is beginning to have a dialogue with its predecessor.

This week's continues a thought which making last week's Piggy Bank Potion elicited; that self care is an ongoing process through which you save yourself every day.

So I have stitched, simply, "Save yourself every day", and accompanied it with a miniature life buoy. 

This is as much a feminist statement as a therapeutic one; in the age where we are fed drivel such Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey it is perhaps more pertinent than ever that women take their destinies into their own hands and seek self-salvation rather than waiting around for a knight on a white horse to come riding in (particularly if these fictional "knights" we are supposed to swoon over are thinly veiled abusers). I'm very glad I have left my years as a submissive, passive damsel in distress behind.

It's summed up in a quote I have seen floating around the internet: "I don't want you to save me. I want you to stand by my side as I save myself".









Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Piggy Bank Potion

Being a vintage and cocktail aficionado can burn a hole in your pocket when you're on a shoestring budget. I'm having to learn to scrimp and save, with fond memories of student loans (which I honestly wonder if I'll ever be in a position to repay) a distant blur.

I'm not complaining; it's the life I chose, and working part time means I'm able to pursue my artistic endeavours and can get my work life balance just right, and, crucially, enjoy my job rather than resenting it.

Thankfully, despite my predilection for mid century frocks and old fashioneds, I'm pretty thrifty. And whilst shopping can make me feel guilty for a whole host of non-financial reasons (consumerism and privilege, hello), I firmly believe in "treat yo'self".

For those not in the know, "treat yo'self" is a phrase coined by Donna and Tom of perky sitcom Parks and Recreation. One day a year, Tom and Donna do just that; treat themselves to, amongst other things, mimosas, new clothes, and massages. It's a whole day dedicated to luxury self care, basically.

I don't have the self-restraint to keep my version of "treat yo'self" to one day. Neither would I want to. It's taken a long time for me to realise that I deserve to take good care of myself, and it's helped me survive. Many small rewards for getting over life's little daily obstacles seem much more effective in keeping well than setting myself (potentially impossible) large goals, only to be rewarded with a windfall once they have been achieved (if they ever are). It's about being realistic and keeping moving forward.

This week, despite having to mind my pennies a little, I decided to take a trip around the charity shops of the borough. I couldn't afford to splash out on a knockout piece of vintage or British made reproduction (though I have been eyeing these superb trousers lately), but I was able to pick up a pair of shoes, a cardigan, and a ballerina top which all fit seamlessly into my (curiously ever-expanding) wardrobe for a song.

This is my "treat yo'self"; small, inexpensive gift to myself which recycle unwanted items and do good. I've spoken to other mental health sufferers who, for example, take themselves on a date one day a month; it's the same principle. Any tenderness we can show ourselves has got to be a good thing when we have been dealt such a devastating and cruel hand in life. I really believe that you have to save yourself, and self care is part of that ongoing process; you are choosing to save yourself every day.

So here is my "Piggy Bank Potion", filled with some receipts from my charity shop "splurge", with an ingredients ribbon which reads " 'Treat yo'self' needn't cost a fortune." Good advice to keep in mind whenever I stumble across a particularly intoxicating frock on Etsy.

 I am very much looking forward to the point with #secretsofselfpreservation / Apothéké when I have forgotten precisely what my ingredients were for every week. Then I can pull out a potion and find a custom-made self care tip which may be perfect for that very moment.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Turning My Heartbeat UP Potion


So tweeted writer Stefanie Gray on Valentine's Day last year. And for the most part, I agree. Gender is performative. There are no such things as "boys'" and "girls'" toys for example, only what we have assigned as appropriate for each gender, arbitrarily and in the mists of time. Numerous studies have been carried out where participants have been told one baby is a girl and another a boy (when quite the opposite is the case), and the disparity in their treatment of the two babies is shocking. I've written about "gender appropriate colours" and how they have changed over time before.

I'm also sure that being bombarded at this time of year with constant depictions of heterosexual couples, advertisements for engagement rings (yes, really), and a "romantic" film depicting domestic abuse and selling women their relegation back to subservient, literal punching bags as an aspirational fantasy is not going to make people whose sexuality falls outside man/woman binary pairings feel particularly normal or included in the festivities.

Besides, Valentine's Day is just a Hallmark holiday, right? Well actually, its association with romantic love dates back to the Middle Ages. 

I can't help feeling that wide-spread disdain for the day is largely because if you haven't got a significant other to shower you with/be showered with gifts, or a significant other at all, you're going to feel pretty rotten. I'm sure if I were single I would feel a little miserable and hope against hope for flowers from a non-existent secret admirer. So bah humbug-ing Feb the fourteenth becomes a defence mechanism against the societal pressure to couple up, and perhaps, if we're really honest, against loneliness.

And all that showering with gifts; a little materialistic, no? Is spending a whopper on lavish gifts really the best way of proving your love?

So I completely understand misgivings about the day.

However.

Two things which should be abundantly clear to regular readers of this blog are

1) I adore kitsch

and

2) I am a notorious romantic

A whole day dedicated to being all lovestruck with my boyfriend, in shades of pink and red, with more heart shaped foodstuff, homewares, clothing, and assorted flotsam and jetsam than you can shake a stick at?! Sign me up!

A phrase that I've been hearing a lot this week is "Valentine's Day is every day", usually accompanied by a rueful laugh to indicate that this is in fact not the case between the speaker and their partner. But it is something I try to live by.

And so, this week's Apothéké / #secretsofselfpreservation potion ingredients read "Nurture one another". On a ribbon printed with Love Hearts, several tubes of which Pip and I consumed this weekend. Accompanied in the potion bottle by red silk roses (yes, he did get me twelve, it seems we're fully paid up consumerists, time to do some hand-wringing). The label, which bears the potion's name on the reverse, is from my extensive collection of appallingly-punned 1950s Valentine's cards. Turning My Heartbeat Up is one of our favourite Northern Soul tunes to tear up the dance floor (or the kitchen tiling) to.

I feel very nurtured and loved every day in my relationship, but I think it is an ethos which could extend to all our relationships, romantic and otherwise. Even to our relationships with ourselves; how would your life change if you did the things which nurtured you? Definitely something for me to ponder.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of the aformentioned #heartshapedfoodstuffs along with recipes. À bientôt!


Warts and All Potion

This week's Apothéké / #secretsofselfpreservation potion is the witchiest yet! It contains a frog or toad, and is named "Warts and All Potion".

That's because this week what I feel I need to work on in terms of self care is accepting myself, including my (many, many) flaws.






 The potion ingredients read "Accept your entirety". This is something I'm going to endeavour to get good at, realising I'm not all that bad really. The ribbon and its text are warty green, as is the text on the potion's label.



Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Press Pause Potion

This may not be surprising coming from someone who struggles with anxiety, but I sometimes find it difficult to r e l a x. To accept that I don't have to be 100% productive 100% of the time. To accept that downtime and self care actually make me more productive. To be in the moment, without worrying about what comes next.

In that spirit, this week I completed the Press Pause Potion. It is filled with tea bags, the terribly British signifier of taking a break and wellmaking. The bottle itself is a 1960s third-of-a-pint school milk bottle (got to have milk in your tea!) containing an embroidered ribbon that says simply "Downtime is important".
















Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Emergency Glitter Potion

This week I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday. This meant two things: cocktails (oh so many cocktails) and extreme levels of glittery fabulousness. I've come to realise that even when I don't have a special event such as a birthday to look forward to, the smallest of gestures can really alter the way I feel about myself. Such as painting my nails iridescent twinkling shades. It's a small treat and act of self care that makes it that little bit easier to get through the week.



And so, my potion this week reads "Persevere and apply glitter liberally". The phrase is accompanied by a tiny vial of emergency glitter, and I've taken the liberty of bedazzling the potion tag.

I must say I feel a good deal better than I did this time last week; I seem to have taken my mantra, "It will be ok" to heart. I'm sure it really will be.










Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Cadbury Purple Mantra Potion

This week, as a reward for getting through a particularly dreaded day, I promised myself a small reward; a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. 

It was my childhood favourite chocolate bar, and hence there is something deeply comforting about that familiar sweet, rich and creamy flavour and texture. And the colour; Willy Wonka purple;  could anything be more nostalgic?
 


So (small amounts of) chocolate (like glitter) are a coping mechanism. My visual diary has been a help, too; every day this week I have been scribbling the mantra "It will be ok" in it in a hypnotising array of colours, behind which the ghost of a potion sketch from the previous page looms. However bad I feel when I start writing this phrase, by the time I have finished I invariably feel better. The simple act of choosing which colour to use next is calming and gently stimulating. The phrase itself, like Dairy Milk, is deeply comforting. It may not be wonderful; it may not be spectacular; but it will be ok.


 I combined the two in this week's Apotheké #secretsofselfpreservation potion. Cadbury purple ribbon is the backdrop to a ragged, battered, yet cheerfully coloured cross stitched "It will be ok" and accompanied in its equally bright bottle by two tiny bars of Dairy Milk, in case of emergencies.









Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.