SPARKING INSPIRATION // simple ways to increase creativity

Increasing Creativity - book flat lay

This is a strange and scary time, but I’ve been really grateful for the breathing space lockdown has given me.

For as long as I can remember life has been a rush, particularly since having children nearly 12 years ago. Modern life almost expects us to be super busy – the message seems to be if we’re not constantly pinging from one thing to another, we’re just not working hard enough. Parents get guilt arrows fired from all angles – not enough time spent working, not enough time spent with the kids, not enough time spent on housework, not enough time spent looking after ourselves.

I was the consummate ‘jack-of-all-trades, master of none’ – doing two jobs adequately, rather than one job well. As a journalist I’m a naturally creative person, but I never felt able to fulfil that potential. For me, increasing creativity requires enough spare time to reflect and mull things over, sparking inspiration, but this was time I simply didn’t have on a day-to-day basis.

And that’s the surprising upside to lockdown. Finally, for the first time in easily 20 years, I’ve found myself with extra hours on my hands, and the freedom feels amazing. 

In the past four weeks, as well as working, homeschooling and lots of unapologetic downtime, I’ve managed to carry out three outstanding painting jobs, repot four desperately root-bound plants, read a book, clean up the back garden and start learning Italian again. I’ve got a planting project lined up for next week and I’m even hoping to brush up on the calligraphy I learned in a workshop a few years ago (and haven’t had time to practise since!).

Lockdown has also given me time to sit and think about where I want to go with my writing. I’ve been at a bit of a crossroads recently; I’ve realised I want to return to freelance feature writing, which is what I did for 20 years before I started my blog (if there’s even an industry left after this dust settles).

The blogging world has changed SO much since I started over a decade ago and I’ve had to reassess the direction I want to go in. The answer is that I also want to keep blogging, but continue to evolve it away from family and more towards the creative things I love, so more interiors, photography, travel and food, plus more about our ongoing renovations.

I’ve been reading this brilliant book, Conscious Creativity, by Philippa Stanton, which encourages you to follow your creative dreams – whether you’re a naturally arty person, or not. I fall into the latter category – my passion isn’t remotely backed up by my skill level, but Philippa has taught me that – as long as I’m enjoying myself and feeling creatively fulfilled – that doesn’t really matter.

She recounts a story in the book that really resonated with me – when she was studying art at school and her teacher straight up said her work wasn’t that great… which only made her more determined to keep going. In fact, she credits those mediocre results as giving her the motivation to continually push her creative boundaries.

Now, a professional artist and photographer, she’s also ‘Insta-famous’, her gorgeous Instagram account bulging with more than 400,000 followers and her wall bursting with colourful, textural, everyday delights. Philippa sees the beauty in the ordinary and brings it to life – rainbow flat lays, moody shadows, colourful clutter and whimsical still-life scenes.

In her book she encourages you to view everything with a fresh eye, gaining a totally new perspective on something you might otherwise have looked straight past. Her words and advice have inspired me to concentrate more on my creative side and also to give it more value: I realise now I’ve been pushing it to the bottom of priority list, labelling it less essential than work and day-to-day chores, but it makes me happy, and that alone makes it important.

One of my main realisations from all of this is that I need to find a better balance between the practical and creative sides of my life – I want to continue to feel inspired and excited, even once lockdown is a distant memory.

Fancy increasing creativity and sparking inspiration in your own life? I’m giving away a copy of Conscious Creativity (RRP: £14.99) to one reader. To enter, follow the Rafflecopter prompts, below. Good luck! 

• if you enjoyed this, you might also like to read Mindfully Me // Journalling to Reduce Anxiety

e: 23.59, 3/5/20, UK only, full T&Cs below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C’s: Prize is 1 x copy of Conscious Creativity, RRP: £14.99; prize will be fulfilled after completion of the prize promotion; winner will be selected and notified within one month of the end date; promoter’s and winner’s details available on request; your details will not be passed on or used for any other purpose than which is outlined; promoter shall not be held responsible for prizes getting lost or damaged in transit; winner will be selected at random via the Rafflecopter form.


  1. Ruth Harwood - April 20, 2020 reply

    My mum would enjoy this xx

  2. Iain maciver - April 20, 2020 reply

    for my wife

  3. Karen Richards - April 20, 2020 reply

    Would love for myself. Love the achievement I get from being creative.

  4. Karen hutchinson - April 20, 2020 reply

    I would like to keep it myself please – love nice books

  5. Emilia Nastaly-Howard - April 20, 2020 reply

    My mum, but would love it as well lol

  6. Colin Gault - April 20, 2020 reply

    Janice Gilmour

  7. Victoria Thurgood - April 20, 2020 reply

    I would like this for myself

  8. Angela Treadway - April 20, 2020 reply

    i would love to read this myself! x

  9. My mum.

  10. fiona waterworth - April 20, 2020 reply

    my daughter, shes really creative, shes also very artistic, she really should have been an artist

  11. Chris Andrews - April 20, 2020 reply

    Who would you like to win this for? . . . .for me

  12. claire woods - April 20, 2020 reply


  13. Annabel Greaves - April 20, 2020 reply

    I would love to win this book

  14. Lucy Barlow - April 20, 2020 reply

    I’d actually like to win this for myself – I’m a jazz vocalist – but I’ve yet to create me own lyrics and songs (beyond one song) I get so scared of failure that it freezes me – I think using this book would help me create for the sake of creation – regardless of success or failure

  15. I’d like it for myself although I suspect my daughter would want to share

  16. Kristie Metcalfe - April 21, 2020 reply

    For my mum and I to enjoy together

  17. Me! looks really interesting x

  18. Rachel Butterworth - April 21, 2020 reply

    For my sister in law.

  19. For my grand daughter

  20. My sister would really make the most of this …. she is the most creative and talented person I know! xx

  21. Rachel Craig - April 22, 2020 reply


  22. Sally Collingwood - April 22, 2020 reply

    I would love this for myself, it looks stunning!

  23. Margaret Gallagher - April 22, 2020 reply

    My aunty – she’d absolutely adore this

  24. Corinne Peat - April 23, 2020 reply

    I would love to win this for myself!

  25. I would love to read this myself and then pass it onto my daughter!

    • Rebecca Beesley - May 3, 2020 reply

      I would actually keep it for myself as my own creativity could do with a boost!

  26. Natalie Burgess - April 23, 2020 reply

    Id love to win this for myself xx

  27. Keith Hunt - April 25, 2020 reply

    My A&E nurse wife.

  28. I’d love to win this for myself. I’ve lost my creative mojo and this sounds like just the ticket.

  29. laura pyper - April 28, 2020 reply

    for my daughter

  30. Ross Leech - April 28, 2020 reply

    I’d love to give this to my mum, but I’d read it as well at some point.

  31. I would love to win this for my daughter

  32. Sarah Cooper - April 29, 2020 reply

    I would like to win for myself.

  33. Karen Barrett - April 30, 2020 reply

    I’d love to win for my D in L, she is very creative and has just undertaken an interior design course

  34. Lorna-Jane Holland - April 30, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for my mum – I think it would be right up her street!

  35. Patricia Barrett - May 1, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for my daughter who would love it!

  36. Mandy Doherty - May 1, 2020 reply

    I’d love to win this lovely book for myself

  37. Amy Bondoc - May 1, 2020 reply

    id love to win this for my daughter

  38. Troy Easton - May 1, 2020 reply

    My Mum.

  39. Sheri Darby - May 1, 2020 reply

    My daughter would love this

  40. Kate Cunningham - May 1, 2020 reply

    I would love to win this for my daughter who is beginning to develop her creative talents.

  41. Adrian Bold - May 2, 2020 reply

    My Mum would love this as she does a lot of crafting.

  42. I’d like to win it for me. I feel I’ve had writer’s block lately.

  43. Ruth lee - May 2, 2020 reply

    for my lovely friend

  44. My daughters would both love this book xx

  45. Michelle Henderson - May 2, 2020 reply

    Would love to win this for myself. Its looks and sounds very interesting

  46. For myself – looks right up my street

  47. Laura Pritchard - May 2, 2020 reply

    For me, I need a little creativity in my life!

  48. Tracy Barber - May 2, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for myself to see if I can unlock some of the creativity I used to have but sadly eludes me now

  49. Sandra Foreman - May 2, 2020 reply

    I would love this for myself

  50. Margaret Clarkson - May 3, 2020 reply

    My friend, she would love it.

  51. Lucinda Fortune - May 3, 2020 reply

    Mu mum would love this.

  52. Victoria Easton - May 3, 2020 reply

    Myself to start with! I love crafting, especially new ones! I would then share it with my mum when this is all over. She is much better than I am!!

  53. Carol Boffey - May 3, 2020 reply

    great giveaway

  54. Would love this for myself

  55. Helen Tyler - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for myself

  56. Natalie s - May 3, 2020 reply

    Would love to win for my daughter

  57. MERYL Thomas - May 3, 2020 reply

    Myself, as I would like to tap into the creativity I know is there inside me

  58. Patricia Avery - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d love to win this for me. My confidence was crushed by an art teacher over 50 years ago and I would hope reading this book might restore it somewhat

  59. Simon Knuckey - May 3, 2020 reply

    Ideal For Wife ❤️

  60. Pam Gregory - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d love to win this for my mum

  61. Catherine Gregory - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d love to win for myself please

  62. Erica Field - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d keep it. It looks like great fun

  63. Fiona jk42 - May 3, 2020 reply

    I would like to win this for myself.

  64. Id give it to my mum

  65. Natalie Gillham - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for myself as I love finding new ways to be creative, especially in my home. Thanks for the chance to win x

  66. Darren Bourne - May 3, 2020 reply

    I’d like to win this for my partner.

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