Change and Rest

I love the phrase a change is as good as a rest. It works for everything. Ask yourself a question - what you want to achieve tomorrow. Then think about the result if you changed something or rested. 

Forget a magic eight ball, this simple phrase is all you need. 

I'm not really talking about life changing changes. I'm not typing a frantic letter of resignation or putting the house up for sale to chase a missed opportunity of travelling the world in a gap year I never took. I'm talking about little, tiny, insignificant changes that add up to a shift. Like a 5ft snow drift that forces gigantic trucks off the road with a force of nature that's unstoppable. 

And resting doesn't necessarily mean shutting up shop. In this crazy online world you can be offline in one place and emerging in another. Keep a hand in, jump in with both feet to one platform and be present, even if something else is quiet. I've watched bloggers I've "grown up with" over the last 6 years channel their focus and determination into totally different things. Some have burst onto the YouTube scene, some are becoming household names, famous for writing passionately and Facebook live-ing about what they believe in. Authors of not only their blogs but books on the shelves in Waterstones at Waterloo. Some have left their original more traditional jobs and are paving the way for a generation of creatives earning a full time income from home, around their families, with their families.

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These are family businesses in the truest form. My grandfather was and is a chimney sweep. He learnt from his father, carrying bags of coal when he was still in his school uniform. He didn't just learn a skill, a trade, he learnt about work ethics, managing time, managing money and managing customers. All the things I want the boys to see, to respect and appreciate. And even though our boys might not have featured in a blog post for quite a long while they are still very much a part of it. They hold things, they have a turn at being models for an hour or a day. They play and get a pocket money fee for their time. You might not see our work as a family on this blog as often as a couple of years ago but it's out there. 

I think about those coal bags and have kept thinking about how you can't keep up that sort of physical job without resting. Literally letting your body recover from a hard day's labour, down time to recharge and be ready for the day ahead tomorrow. And blogging is in essence no different, heavy bags of coal aside of course. I've stayed up through the night to get something finished. Wailed at 3am when a document didn't save or a hard drive crashed taking everything with it to the unrecoverable heaven of data in the sky. I've crawled back to bed at 8.03am when Rich is on the school run and thanked my lucky stars that I work from home. Because without that extra hour in bed on those days I wouldn't be able to function!

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I know all the hours my friends spend online and offline, prepping for a shoot, planing out storyboards for a video tutorial, answering emails and Twitter messages at gone midnight. It's endless. 

But you can't work all the time and be at your best.

And I guess that's been my dilemma. I like being at my best. Even if the result doesn't match my expectations I want to believe I have tried my hardest. I have a constantly updating list of things I want to do when I retire, which makes my sister howl. Things I want to learn. I have a sewing machine that's never been touched since the Christmas of 2015 and if it stays untouched until I'm 65 then so be it. I'll give it my best then. 

You can't do it all. I've tried - it makes you a slightly worse mother, wife and friend and so on. Not so bad that people give up on you but that they might stop relying on you. I don't want to be the person that will be there in a crisis but I might be 5 minutes late. And that's what happens when you spread yourself like watery icing on a Victoria sponge. Everything gets a coating but not enough for the sprinkles on the top.

My trouble is I know I am not willing to give up on anything. I love all my hats even if I know I can't wear them all at the same time. But there is a place for all of them, it's just about making sure I am not running on fumes. 

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Some things have to be done, like feeding the children, feeding the dogs, getting them to school on time (ish). Posting backdrop orders, ordering a new print run, development meetings with Persimmon Homes. Lots of hat switching going on and I love it. Bouncing from one thing to another - I just need to be at my best.

So I've had a rest from writing here, kept on top of the essentials and a little bit extra but now I am ready to write like I've been desperate too. For me, for brands I am lucky to work with and hopefully for you. If you got to this part! 

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I realised most of the time I take photos without thinking too much about it. Sometimes I set up a scene or slightly rearrange the sideboard or coffee table. But generally I snap away. I don't know why I have had such a block at sitting down and writing. Because anyone who knows me knows I have a lot to say and most of the time I don't shut up! I come from a long line of oversharers and I mean that in the nicest possible way. We don't really do off limits. We know each other's deepest secrets, darkest fears and are there for each other, most of the time over a FaceTime 4 times a day, but I have been overly guarded online.

Quiet and that's not me. 

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So I am going to write about what I want to shout about and take photos of things that make me feel alive. Not just happy, not just because they fit in a grid or will guarantee a certain number of double taps. I say take photos of what makes your heart happy. Because it shines through and just watch as all those strangers become friends, become invested in you, your home life, your work, and then watch all those double taps become real hearts. Connections. 

I've fallen into every trap over the last 6 months. Not confronting things that feel wrong to me, not letting you know about all the highs that far outweigh the lows. I've just been too quiet, when really we've had so many adventures!

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Well no more. 

So how's your year been so far?! 

Post For A Post Day • Featuring ipostparcels

I love reading interviews with bloggers, people who started their blogs at a similar time to mine and people who have been blogging for well over a decade and more. And the funny thing is the same answer comes up over and over again, when they are asked what’s the best thing about blogging. The friendships.

It almost doesn't make sense that you could form intensely close relationships with people you might never get to actually meet but it’s true. People who you talk to, often on a daily basis, who could be at the opposite end of the country, live on other continents, from completely different backgrounds and in completely different stages of life. But people who you feel really know you and you know them.

I’ve learnt from my school and uni days that when life is busy, when you are juggling jobs, family, kids or pets (I’ve spent most of the weekend stroking a very sad Mr Moose who is accessorising with a most irritating plastic cone following an operation at the vets) friendships become like elastic bands. They have to, you get stretched, commitments force you to drift apart sometimes but the roots of a true friendship, the type that lasts a lifetime, will always spring you back together. Best friends for me are the ones who can be there in a crisis, even when there might be months that felt like seconds that have passed between texts or calls. The ones you want to spoil for no reason at all, other than to let you know you are thinking of them and hopefully make a difference to their day that day.

My friend Zoe is that person. 

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I haven’t seen her beautiful face for well over a year and I’m not sure when the next time will be either. There’s exactly 408 miles between us but it feels like 400,008 to me. Like we need the stars of the entire universe to align one day for us to be in the same place. She is someone who I would and have rung in a crisis. A crisis of confidence, a family disaster and I hope she feels the same. We’ve FaceTimed and shared our real life vs our “Insta life”, she wouldn't care if I was in my pyjamas at 2.30pm and I am constantly in awe of her ability to juggle four children on a daily, no make that hourly, basis!

Zoe and I met through blogging, we sat next to each other at a fancy pants awards dinner and we were both a mix of giggly, nervous excitement, totally intimidated by the situation and the Queens of blogging who were sashaying around the ball room around us. From the moment we said hello we didn't stop talking. She is utterly charming with eyes like chocolate buttons and her fiery Scottish wit made me a little bit fall in love with her that night! I know that even if years pass and we don't get to see each other, we will always be friends. 

She’s a dreamer like me, romantic and sentimental and we both adore post. Proper, brown paper packages tied up with string type post. We both love being part of the blogging community, adore Instagram and all the 65,000 pictures that are posted each minute, but we both appreciate the thought that goes into wrapping something, a little act of kindness that isn’t a status update or a scheduled stream of tweets. Recent research has shown that half the UK (48%) say they’ve never sent a surprise parcel to someone they know - but, 84% of us say we’d be more excited to receive a surprise parcel in the post, than a text or DM on social media.

A real thing on Post For a Post Day. A day created by ipostparcels to encourage us all to take a day of rest from the whirlwind online world and think about someone and show them you were thinking of them by surprising them with a letter or parcel. 

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I knew straight away when I was talking to ipostparcels about being part of Post For A Post Day this September what I was going to send to Zoe. My sister and I had been chatting about how when you are having a hard week, wouldn't it be nice to send yourself a daily treat to open! But I wanted to send Zoe, (who is a dab hand at little ones’ birthday and party games) no ordinary parcel but a pass the parcel. Just for her!

I found all sorts in my desk drawer that I’ve collected from goody bags and bought her a few little treats; a note book with the words “Enjoy the Little Things” which has been the ethos of her blog for as long as I have known her, some seeds to grow in a pot at home, a few scrap book cards that might be nice for her Instagram shots and a book for her mini break away with her husband that she’s been dreaming of.

I hope she loves it because I love her to bits!

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On ‘Post For A Post Day’ on Monday 18th September – step back from the hamster wheel of hashtags and send a surprise parcel FOR FREE. ipostparcels are giving away up to 100 free posts per day all week starting today. Collected from your door and delivered to one of your favourites. A day to take a break from mass sharing - it could be as simple as sending a letter to your mum who lives down the road.

Who is your favourite? Why not surprise them. What will you send? Share a picture of what you posted and the story behind why you posted it with the hashtag #PostForAPost.

To post a small parcel (up to 2kg) for free on Post For A Post Day, just go here:

…and enter this code: PFAP in the voucher box.

The first 100 people to redeem the code each day between Monday 18th September and Friday 22nd September will be able to post for free, so get there quick!

* Post created in collaboration with



Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project • Catch Up

We are all friends here right? I hope good friends. Friends who stick with you even when you have gone a little awol. I'm hoping that by starting off talking about Christmas I might be able to distract you from the date of this post and the photos that will follow. Now you might think think I am about to pedal some Christmas in July event, a sponsored post full of baubles but no, I am mentioning Christmas because every year we do the same thing. We watch the Queens speech all sat around together and then we stand for the national anthem.

I remember one particular speech she made where she referred to her year as their "annus horribilis" and that feels a very appropriate start to this long over due Me and Mine post. Because for all the wonderful things that have happened over the last 6 months and all the exciting days out, birthdays, holidays and surprises still to come this year, it has been, quite frankly, one of the most emotionally difficult years for both our families. 

We rang in the new year with my father in law seriously unwell in hospital, recovering from a terrible fall that left him with a broken neck and several fractured ribs that took months and months and months to heal. And just as he was feeling back to his good self, my mum was rushed to hospital with two blood clots on her lungs. You know that phrase "drop everything and go" well that's been the story of the last few months while she recovered from her first stint in hospital. We had thought it was her first and last but unbeknown to everyone, there was another problem lurking in the background, something just as, if not, more serious.

I speak to my mum pretty much on a daily basis and it has never occurred to me that she would FaceTime one day last month, her voice all wobbly with tears, and tell me she had a problem with her heart. My niece Yazzy bought her a cuddly soft heart from Ikea for her birthday - a new one to replace "Granny's broken heart". It was a surreal couple of weeks. Frantic calls with my sister, group messages with my brother, feeling as far away as humanely possible in America, tag teaming hospital visits and I know the drive into central London to the Royal Brompton Heart Hospital like the back of my hand. 

It's almost like we were living in The Truman Show and someone had pressed a giant pause button on our lives. We couldn't think of anything else, talk about anything else, barely do anything else! I naively thought I would have hours in hospital to edit a big photo shoot from a week before that dreaded call but the minutes raced by in a blur of knock knocks at the door, blood pressure checks, heart monitor assessments and pots of tea. 

So the lead up to the summer was a case of holding onto our businesses and jobs by our finger nails, dropping as few of the spinning plates as possible, feeling that ticking clock chime louder and louder with end of term events, sports days and then bing, it was time for the boys to break up. 

It may sound like a ridiculous statement but I am working to not work. Trying to juggle lots of hats as a consultant, a photographer and small creative business during term time, to set up enough work to let me have time off when the boys are at home. I remember emailing Fiona one late July weekend after I'd read her new book and found her out of office almost more inspiring than the book pages themselves. It read something like this. "I am now on school holidays with my children and will be back at work in September." Almost two months away. And I thought right, that is my goal!

I guess I don't mean not working at all, I mean not working frantically, not taking on commitments  I cannot squeeze in the the boys with us and ending up being late on deadlines like I have been. Thanking my lucky stars my clients are in the same positions, doing their best to survive 6 weeks or more of Moscow State Circus standard juggling. 

I decided that this summer was going to be all or nothing. And I went for all. After the upset, the relief that Reg and Mum were getting better and all the nights I had been away from the boys, we set out to give them an incredible adventure. Bouncing from one place to the next, staying with best friends, family and ending the holidays in our favourite resort in Kos. There were still emails, calls and editing, but we fitted around them rather than the other way. They slept in in Spain, I got up earlier and caught up. My sister took over at backdrops HQ and drove to my house to pack orders and now is on first name terms with our lovely post office! 

We spent almost everyday of the school holidays together as a four, sometimes with extras but 99% of the time together. Me and mine.

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So here we are, heading into autumn, still a little sun kissed, definitely a little rounder, but happy. I look back at these snapshots and think wow. Stories still to tell on this blog but the absolute adventure I so desperately wanted for the boys. Parties, a trip to London to see The Diary of a Wimpey Kid film at the 20th Century Fox offices with Joules, the best family day out we have ever genuinely had day at Legoland, back and forth to Southbourne, musical beds with family and friends, a whirlwind 24 hours in London to visit the Google offices for the launch of the Google Home device, plane rides and iPad afternoons. We feel so incredibly lucky. We've worked hard and played hard!

They ran back into school, both wrapped in bear hugs by their friends and the drop off was a stream of cuddles and kisses with friends I have missed that I hadn't seen all summer. It's wonderful to be away but it's also really good to be home. We made lists of plans for our house, created endless spreadsheets and feel like we are focussed on the next three months and making progress in every area of life. Like in the film Inside Out. Looking at each island and making them better. Friendships, work, hobbies and most importantly family. 

The trouble with being an all or nothing person is the times when it has to be nothing. But the Me and Mine Project is a brilliant thing and I am so happy to be back with my three boys.

Go and see what Lucy, Katie, Fritha, Jenny, Alex and Charlotte have been up to this summer.

LifeLucy Heath Comment