Back in January sometime, I made the decision to block out certain weeks throughout 2019 where I’d take on no cake orders and no extra work so I could focus on doing things that bring me a little more joy, or a little time out. Needless to say, I didn’t do this very well at first. I continued to confirm cake order after cake order and was staying in the office at my desk far later than I should have been. But, finally, this week I did something I’ve wanted to do for so long and took part in a painting class in my local town of Reading.
Dumping toxic things in life has become something I’ve only recently started thinking about. (Bear with me. I know this post is meant to be about a painting class, but I do have a point.)
I’d been having this weird anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach for a while and I wasn’t able to figure what was causing it. I began to question what I wanted and what made me happy, and what didn’t.
Sometimes, there’s just too much to think about.
Overwhelmed, overworked, overstressed. Not three words I’ll openly admit to sometimes experiencing, but this is what I narrowed the anxious feeling down to. All my own fault, and all down to my own choices. Sometimes is actually a little lie. I’d been feeling all these things daily for some months, hence why I knew back in January I had to make some changes before it developed into something worse. Fast.
I’ve cleaned out my wardrobes, my junk, my make-up drawer, my baking room, my son’s room, my garage and even my fricken car. I’ve distanced myself from toxic friendships, made new friends and I’ve started to realise that reading certain blogs and social accounts is pointless. Sabotagers, bullshitters, attentions seekers and ‘negative Nancy’s’ simply don’t matter so why should we ever let these types of people influence our well-being. No seriously, why? It makes no sense at all.
I limited the number of cake orders I accepted and became far more selective about who I was working with and how much time it would take. I also blocked out huge chunks of time in my diary, and not just days, weekends too. The whole of my August is cake order and class free, and I even extended a couple of holidays we had in the diary. The first weekend I had off felt amazing. I wasn’t up at 6am on a Saturday finishing a wedding cake. I was able to stay up late watching films with Steve and I was able to have naps. Lots of naps.
Without even realising it I’ve been detoxing my life, for the better.
I’m still on that ‘journey’ (a shit word I know), but I feel like I’m in a better place for it. The next step was to start booking myself on new experiences, spending quality time with my boyfriend and our children and really taking the time to switch off and live more ‘in the moment‘.
Realising what matters the most to me is ultimately what has made me feel much better and far more positive than I began the year on.
I firmly believe that making time to do things that we love, things that mean we get to switch off and spend a little time on ourselves is incredibly important and helps hugely with focussing on what makes you happy. I believe it’s called self-care?
Run by My Art Night, who actually host classes all over the UK, (the website has a handy location filter), you basically turn up and learn how to paint a particular piece of work. MyArtNight book a local venue, (Geo-Cafe for the one I attended in Reading), and they tend to use local restaurants and cafes where there’s room for a group of people to all comfortably work together.
Geo Cafe’s Khachapuri (cheese flatbread) made the evening even better. I absolutely need to add this beauty to my ‘Best Vegetarian Food in Reading’ post.
Despite being very tempted to take along Coby, in the end, I went on my own. He’s currently studying for his Art GCSE and is struggling with inspiration so I thought it would be good for him to learn in a different environment and with different people. I’ll take him to the next one though, I’m sure.
Painting is something I used to enjoy a long time ago and it’s not something I’ve done, on canvas anyway, for at least 20 years now. I paint on cakes occasionally, and I did study Art at A-Level and it’s just one of those things I’ve always wanted to try again.
The last class I’d done was pizza making at Franco Manco with Steve and we had such a good time together. I could have easily picked another food-based experience but this time I knew I wanted to do something a little more on the creative side.
The ticket cost just £34, all supplies are included, (which were really good quality) and the person teaching you is a genuinely talented artist who knows their stuff! You don’t have to be good at painting. You don’t have to be able to draw, you just have to want to learn, possibly be open to meeting new people and maybe doing something outside your comfort zone.
Our particular teacher was Rachael Clark who has been painting for many years and has an Etsy shop here. She was friendly, bubbly and made for the perfect host. Rachael was also incredibly patient and explained things in a way that just made sense. You can also find Rachael on Twitter here.
The class itself had eight people and there were a couple of other sole painters and a couple of friends who’d come along purposely to do something fun together. I even bumped into a past cake college student – sometimes Reading is such a small place! These painting classes would also be perfect for a group get-together, maybe a hen party where you’re not up for trailing around bars and drinking from willy straws. They’d also make for the perfect birthday present experience.
Was a gorgeous flamingo, with a beautiful flower crown just to make him extra fancy.
There’s quite a big variety of designs to choose from and I’ve already got my eye on these ones for future classes.
Not in the slightest. I did need to listen carefully, and I did need to focus. The technique and step-by-step instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t struggle with using acrylics. In fact, I went home thinking about how much I’d love to create the same flamingo design on a cake! I see everything in cake form though, it’s a natural habit, or occupational hazard, I think. Flowers, beaches, houses – all could be turned into a cake!
Cakers – do you agree?
Now, I’m not going to pretend I think mine is fantastic, I know it’s not! ha-ha! But I don’t mind showing it off. Will I hang it in my house? Don’t be silly. But I will keep it somewhere so that every so often it’ll provide a little reminder of what the night stood for and how much enjoyment it brought.
Would you book yourself on a painting class like this? What do you do that means you get a little ‘you time?’. How do you switch off and be more in the moment? I’d love to hear about your own experiences.