One day more….

les mis cosetteI was googling for photos from the 2016 Honiton Community College production of Les Miserables and came across my old blog post from when the school put on the show before back in 2011 – see

It was amazing back then when I went to watch it with my nine year old daughter Natasha. What makes it more amazing this year is that Natasha, now 14 is in it! She sings a duo with her best friend Finley as factory girls and they they feature in nearly every scene singing and acting their hearts out in the chorus.
I went to the opening night on Thursday and last night’s closing night where almost the whole cast were in tears – a very emotional journey for them. The whole production was a stunning ensemble effort and certain characters stood out for me. They were Inspector Javert (a student from Sidmouth College who came in at the last minute), Jean Valjean, Fantine and Gavroche. The Madame Thenardier scene with the French bread was hilarious and the orchestra were incredible – particularly the percussionist switching seamlessly from one instrument to another at the blink of an eye.
Fantine’s I dreamed a dream had me in tears on the first night and I really enjoyed Do you hear the people sing, Drink with me and Javert’s Soliliquay before he hurls himself off the bridge!
Natasha is shattered after weeks of rehearsals and four performances of Les Mis but off down to The Globe Theatre today in Plymouth for rehearsals of her next production with her Italia Conti Plymouth drama school. They’re doing The Best of British in a couple of weeks so looking forward to that. You can follow Natasha on Twitter or her blog

The Crochet Virgin! (I’ve never done it before!)

Just had a lovely morning at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton where I often take the kids for holiday arts & crafts sessions. But today was for me – I joined the Woolly Wednesdays knitting & crochet group and I’m glad I did. Apparently this week was a ‘quiet one’ with about 8 ladies mostly knitting. Three of us were crocheting – I can say ‘us’ because I have  actually strung together a few stitches today and it was very satisfying & relaxing and reconnected me with my creative side – something I really do not allow enough time in my life.

My crochet creation!
My crochet creation!

I’m also into colours at the moment – colour links and spiritual synchronicity with colours. The wool I was given today is cream/ivory. This colour also came up in the spiritual circle I sit in yesterday and I bought a load of cream flowers for the garden on Monday. Quick google search shows that these colours mean elegance, calmness and purity – how lovely!

Thanks to Mandy & Hesta for helping me crochet today. The next session (open to all) is Wednesday 29th February – click here for more details. Mandy recommended the attic24 crocheting blog too which is fabulous. See you again ladies.

Buzzard on telegraph pole

A poem by Andy Thompson – written on Branscombe beach on the day of the Winter Solstice 2011.

Buzzard on telegraph pole colours; ‘winter-solstice’ grey skies.
Walking dogs on; raincoat, walking-boot, beaches,
all wrapped against nature –
which is asleep and simply waiting for the season of rebirth,
of hope,

and beginning.

From this point onwards feel more life from the sun,
Feel more life in your heart and more life in your soul!

An Invitation to all – Winter Solstice Celebration!

Here’s a random idea for anyone up for it: Meet on Branscombe Beach 1pm Thursday 22nd December – let’s get together for the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, midwinter! We can maybe go up to the Mason’s Arms in the village for hot chocolates afterwards.

I’ll be taking the kids and the dog and we’ll be making winter solstice mandala’s like this one (below) we made on Dawlish beach in the summer – before we even knew what a mandala was…..! Maybe we can all make a huge one together?

IMG_1283 (1)

What is a mandala I hear you say…..the Mandala Project website says “The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself – a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.”

A mandala is a geometrical figure with a centre, such as a circle, or polygon, or a square, often in the form of a labyrinth or maze with symbolic meanings.

I must give credit to the idea of making mandala’s tomorrow to my twitter-friend Brigit Strawbridge who posted this video about her beautiful autumn equinox nature mandala on twitter this morning and Brigit has set up a Facebook page called Nature Mandala’s which has amazing photos of lots of other people’s mandalas. I think I may have caught the mandala bug you know – I love concentric, mathematical arty things – and any excuse for a get-together with friends!

Nature Mandala for Peace, community-built mandala at Sierra Azul Nursery as part of the "Sculpture Is" exhibit.

Don’t forget to add a comment on here if you’re coming to the beach tomorrow. See you at one. Bring dogs, children, friends and smiles! Wrap up warm.

A conker spiral by Suzanne Thomas

Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier
Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier off the Atlantic coast of France

A Crafty Christmas


Had fun this morning at the Thelma Hulbert gallery in Honiton making festive wreaths. The gallery puts on these fantastic craft activities for children nearly every school holiday, well worth a visit. They are free events but donations help them to keep going so don’t forget the donation box next to the front door.

Early days at sculpture class

I started a sculpture night class at Exeter College a few weeks ago, which I’m really enjoying. There’s about 12 of us in the class but most people have done the class before, some for two or three years, one lady for ten years (and she is very very good!). We have a life model to work from, and the hardest bit at the moment is working out angles and proportions as it is quite a challenge to represent in clay what you see in front of you. I’m working towards a stylised piece, something inspired by Barbara Hepworth (below), as I’ve always liked her sculpture. Wish me luck !!!