About Lizzie

Hello, I'm Lizzie. Thanks for visiting! I write mindful reflections on life, in the hopes that they will resonate with you. I'd love to hear from you, so please do comment or drop me a line!

Marcus

I am very new to ‘proper’ photography with a DSLR rather than a mobile phone, and learning to use the camera has been a challenge to my impulsive, somewhat acquisitive nature. Like a toddler with a new toy, when my Canon camera arrived I ripped off the packaging and went straight out to the woods, pointing and shooting in Auto mode. I felt dismayed and affronted when the results were no better than my trusty Samsung Galaxy S20: I wanted off-the-shelf, saturated, silky, seductive images like the ones you see on Instagram! Impatience aside, underlying my frustration was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to master manual mode: I had looked at the dial settings and the menu and was baffled. As if confronted with algebra or the Arabic alphabet, my brain slunk off to a corner and sulked. Because my reflex is to buy my way out of a problem, I then purchased an expensive, niche lens called a Lensbaby Velvet, which produces a beautiful blur effect. It’s a difficult lens for even a professional to master, and [...]

By |2023-08-01T14:56:33+00:00March 20, 2023|Musings|4 Comments

The Ten of Swords

The Tarot definitely has a sense of humour, albeit sometimes a dark one. Take the Ten of Swords, for instance – the card I recently drew when I was feeling overwhelmed. When I began studying and working with the Tarot, I quickly learned that its potency does not lie so much in divination as revelation. More than anything, the images on the cards are a powerful tool for self-understanding. Whilst there are specific meanings associated with each card, when used therapeutically it is our response to the image that is key. The depictions on the cards act in much the same way as reflective inquiry – the coaching skill that involves summarising what the client has said in order to hold up a mirror to their thought patterns. Our reaction to what we see on the card is revelatory because it is like gazing into a pool, on the surface of which we see our behaviours, emotions and circumstances reflected back at us. When I shuffled my Tarot pack for an insight, out popped the Ten of Swords – and [...]

By |2023-03-18T15:57:28+00:00March 17, 2023|Musings|0 Comments

Website makeover: why the wren?

Hello :) I've been trying to work out how to send a one-off newsletter in Mailchimp, but I'm stumped. Or to be more honest: I gave up after five minutes of trying to fathom it because, when it comes to working out Technical Stuff, I have all the staying power of a chocolate teapot under a blowtorch. Instead, I am writing a micro-post to tell you about my blog site makeover, courtesy of the very talented and intuitive Richard at Dao Design (who built the original website for me). As well as the icons for each category, you may have noticed the new logo, with the beautiful bird? There are four versions, with colours changing to reflect each season. After discussing the design brief, Richard produced a mood board of possible images - one of which was this little wren. Now, I cry rather readily, and I *may* have shed a few tears of delight when he showed the image to me: because the wren has a deeper meaning. Among the several courses on which I am currently embarked, I [...]

By |2023-03-03T14:55:24+00:00March 3, 2023|Musings|8 Comments

To the edge of the forest

A few weeks ago, a nasty, shocking thing happened: my adored dog, Bella, set upon another dog outside our front door. A young lady had come to collect an item I had offered on the local Freecycle group and brought her dog with her. Having told her that I would leave the item outside behind the green bin, I wasn’t expecting her to knock. But knock she did, and my son innocently opened the door, accompanied by Bella… Normally, Bella is impeccably behaved when the front door is open. She may sidle to the doorway, wag her tail, shuffle forward for a head scratch if a hand is proffered. She may stand in the open doorway, observing me as I upend tins and cardboard into the recycling bin by the shed, her nose twitching as she sniffs the air. Always, she appears serene and mildly inquisitive. This lulled us into a false sense of security. We know she isn’t a ‘dogs dog’. I adopted her from a rescue centre; she had been picked up as a stray, so we can [...]

By |2023-02-28T21:01:04+00:00February 28, 2023|Musings|6 Comments

Santa Claus and the Salmon

So, here we are. January 1, and Christmas, in our house at least, has been stashed back in the attic. These days, I don’t much enjoy Christmas. Hardly a bauble-shattering revelation - and tempered, of course, by the acknowledgement that the festive period is a truly difficult time of year for countless people, putting my own mild discomfort into perspective. Festive spirit seems to have eluded more of us than usual this year, which is hardly surprising, with everything that’s going on in the world. I expected to feel pure relief as I packed away our affectionately-named ‘Crap 70s Yellow Tree’ (it cost a tenner from Argos but looks cheaper than that), yet I was actually a little wistful. Perhaps this was a ghost of Christmasses long-past, when the dismantling of what was then the most magical time of the year caused genuine dismay. We had a silver tinsel tree, back in the actual 1970s. Oh, how it filled me with pure joy! It was the prettiest, sparkliest tree in the world, bedecked with starlight and jewels. And then, of [...]

By |2023-01-07T19:13:21+00:00January 2, 2023|Comfort Reads|10 Comments

Comma, full stop.

I'm sitting in a clearing, in the woods at the top of the hill. Other than a flash of white or grey among the branches, I can’t see the birds, but I can certainly hear them. Birdsong forms an arc around me. There is no breeze, and it is unseasonably warm. An almost balmy day in mid-November. What a treat! Albeit a guilty one: it’s not okay for it to be this warm on the cusp of winter. As a human with utility bills to pay, my perspective is tinged with relief at being able to delay putting the central heating on. It’s becoming a cliché to talk about that, isn’t it? I'm so fortunate to not have to choose between heating and eating. But still, most of us must tighten our purse strings. These are such difficult times. As I picked my way along the meandering path to the clearing, an insect bumped right into my cheek. I imagine it was startled to encounter a face on its flight path. Not many people walk this way, although there are [...]

By |2023-01-03T12:42:16+00:00November 28, 2022|Comfort Reads|4 Comments

Swimming

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash When my physiotherapist first suggested that swimming would be the best exercise for me, I shrugged, and sighed. “Yeah, I know, but I really hate swimming.” At that point, I wasn’t desperate enough to submit to all the attendant unpleasantness: the cold shudder as buttocks meet water when you get into the pool, strangers’ hairs crawling over slimy tiles in the showers, the baffling ineffectualness of towels in a changing room environment, leaving your skin so sticky that you have to crowbar yourself back into your jeans… Some months down the line, however, I was feeling so sludgy and lacklustre from lack of exercise that swimming seemed like… not the worst idea. Particularly when a dear friend offered to go with me one day a week. After one session, I was hooked. Now, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, shortly after 8am, you will find me at the Splash leisure centre. I saunter in with the air of entitlement that befits a direct debit-paying member, nonchalantly swipe my card through the turnstile, drop [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:25:51+00:00October 19, 2022|Comfort Reads|8 Comments

In stillness

I’ve kept the birthday card you chose for me, Mum. I might even frame it. The dog’s expression is so funny, as if he’s just raised his head from a good session licking something unsavoury. Ready for the next, inevitably fabulous turn of events. I was pleasantly surprised that you’d managed to pick it out for me. Sorry - that sounds patronising. What I mean is, it’s the perfect card, the sort of card you might always have chosen. Actually, that’s not quite true… It is better than your choices of recent years, plump teddy bears proffering armfuls of flowers dedicated “To a special daughter, with lots of love.” Dad said the scruffy dog made you chuckle when you spotted it on the rack at the garden centre. I laughed out loud when I opened it. Your eyes widened in delight. I took that as a sign that you are still here. There. Still Mum. On occasion, you do sound quite like your old self when you speak. Certain turns of phrase that startle me with their briskness, their spick-and-span [...]

By |2022-11-30T09:31:58+00:00September 26, 2022|Talking to Mum|8 Comments

The bearable lightness of being

I am sitting in my living room, on a hot August day, with the window wide open to let in the morning air before the heat becomes chewy and oppressive. Stretched out on her side at my feet, my dog is softly snoring. Every minute or two, somebody walks past, and I catch snippets of conversation, or simply observe their gait. There goes a muscular young man in a tight gym vest, singing to himself, loose-limbed, swaggering with a barely-contained energy that could erupt into dance at any moment. Here comes a rangy, shirted office worker, shoulders hunched, head down, propelling himself forward with jerky, angular movements. At least, I assume he is heading off to work, with his laptop-sized backpack. There's the occasional grumble of an engine, the clanging of a manhole cover as the wheels pass over. I revel in the gentle, tepid breeze on my face and arms. Flinch at the harsh rasp of a moped. Bella snores through it all. A wood pigeon calls from the top of a chimney. The song of other birds filters [...]

By |2022-12-02T15:27:06+00:00August 12, 2022|Comfort Reads|10 Comments

Grandma’s bowl

  Grandma’s bowl is a deep, rosy pink. Exuberant yellow, mauve, and blue crocus flowers adorn the rim and the hollow. On its bottom is the maker’s stamp, Maling, Newcastle on Tyne - which means nothing to me. What captivates me about Grandma’s bowl is its opaline lustre. Its surface is alive with reflected light. And memories. It was by far the prettiest object in my grandparents’ rather spartan, sepia-toned living room, where its colours were jarring against the palette of brown, beige, and nicotine stains. Grandma used to keep her keys and bits and bobs in it – amongst which, if I rummaged, I could usually locate a sticky mint humbug or two. In the same way as the scent of Pear’s soap, Grandma’s bowl conjures up not her ghost, but her flesh-on-bones presence; if I gaze into it, I can give myself over to believing that all four-feet-ten-inches of her are standing right there beside me. Grandma… Why do the words dart away from me like speckled, cunning fish when I try to describe her? How could I [...]

By |2023-08-05T10:26:46+00:00May 24, 2022|Comfort Reads|4 Comments
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