Here in Queensland we’ve been pretty lucky lockdown wise. But now, here we are, as the rest of the world parties again, finding ourselves shut in. This whole Covid business has dragged on so long. We’re all sick and tired of the whole thing. But we’re stuck inside, some of us with no one to play with. What to do?

Here are a few fun creative activities to help fill those hours – there’s only so much screen time you can take before you start getting crazy eyes.

  1. A MOMENT OF JOY! We’ve all had moments of pure happiness. This picture represents one of mine – a wonderful trip out to Moreton Island with my extended family, including my young nieces and nephew. We climbed all the way to the top of enormous sand dunes and slid and bumped and jumped and rolled our way back down again. Such fun. Remember your moment of joy, big or small, the birth of a child, a win at work or in a sport you love, the first time you clapped eyes on a true love, that moment of connection with a small creature, the delight of rain on your face at the end of a stinking hot day. If you can’t think of anything, make something up! We’d all like to win a lottery, right? Now put a timer on for 5 minutes and write about that moment covering all the five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Go deeper. What did that joy feel like in your body? You can do this as a poem, a list, a song, an essay, a story, a drawing even. Whatever you like. Whatever takes you back to that moment and helps you feel that joy again. When the timer goes off, you can stop if you like. But if you’re on a roll just keep going!

2. MOVE! Okay, okay we’re stuck at home and there’s not much room maybe, but if you’ve got room to stand you’ve got room to stretch right up and try to touch the ceiling! Then bend down as low as you can – bend your knees. Then see how far you can twist around. Put on music and do a jig. Roll around on the floor like a log. Have fun moving your body. Even just wriggling is lots of fun and good exercise too. I love to do a shimmy to wake myself up and shake my sillies out. If no one is watching, play some kids’ music and dance along. If you’ve got people at home you can all work out a dance routine – just for fun. It doesn’t have to end up on TikTok.

3. MAKE A CONSTRUCTION If you’re like me you may collect things, shells, feathers, odd toys or leaves or plastic toys. Gather a few of them together and see if you can make something from them, just a photo still life will do, or you could draw them or paint them or stick them all together with glue. Or write about one of them, where you found it, what it reminds you of, why you picked it up. Just handling those collected treasures will lift your spirits.

4. MAKE A COLLAGE! All you need is an old magazine or two, some scissors (or just rip pictures out) and glue and a piece piece of paper of cardboard – an old cereal box will do. Set a timer for 10 minutes and flick through the magazines or newspaper or old books that you don’t mind cutting up or whatever you have, looking for any images that appeal to you. Anything that makes you smile. Words too. Anything that draws you in, or “speaks” to you in some way. Don’t overthink it and don’t get stuck reading articles, just keep flicking and ripping out pictures of things that make your heart sing. When the timer goes off stick all the images onto your sheet of paper or cardboard, go outside the edges, do lift up flaps, do both sides, whatever you like! You could cover a shoebox to keep precious things in. Just have fun doing it. Use coloured pencils or felt pens or glittery stickers or stars to decorate it. When you’re done, pin it on your wall to remind you of all the things that make you smile.

5. WRITE A LIST! Not a shopping list. Not a list of pros and cons. This time write a list of all the small things that bring you joy. Roses or rain, or swimming in a waterfall, or walking along the beach, or hugging your kids, or playing with your dog, or red-backed wrens, or small stones gleaming under a stream, or a blue blue sky, or a friend’s laugh or grandma’s chocolate pudding or your favourite song. Try and get to fifty! Yes fifty! Fifty small things that bring you joy.

Last but not least, even if you can’t go outside, stick your head out the window and look up at the sky. Watch the clouds for a while, until your neck gets sore anyway.

The world is still a beautiful, magical place and it is good to be alive.

Try one of these activities or all of them. I hope they’ll lift your spirits.

With lots of love

Edwina xxx

Magical Magnetic Island Mermaids!

Sunset at Horseshoe Bay

Greetings from paradise! I’ve been having a wonderful time on Magnetic Island with my magical mermaid retreaters over the weekend.

Eight wonderful women writers in a beautiful location. Yoga in the mornings. Writing workshops through the day and lots of feasting and fun in between.

The sun came out for us, and we made the most of it with outdoor sessions and a picnic. Warm enough to swim.

Magda had us all entertained with tales from a life in shearing sheds, Kerstin shared parts of her memoir in process, young talents Bianca and Eliza wowed us with their writing, Julie rugged up and had a great time remembering she loved to write, Annie had us all laughing, and Sitara our tree-warrior made us think about how important our leafy friends are. Poor Antoinette came down with a dreadful tummy bug but luckily was back in action and shining again by Sunday. We all had fun writing like furies and sharing our stories.

Special thanks to Bianca for making us all delicious rice paper rolls for our picnic and Magda for the special Strawberry Moon treats and for playing taxi driver to get everyone to their ferries on time. 

As always we finished out retreat with a collage session, collecting images that will feed into our hopes and dreams. Here are our finished creations!

Here are what retreaters had to say about the retreat.

“A great sense of welcoming and belonging.”

“Relax and Write Retreats always deliver exactly that … I came, I wrote, I relaxed. Ed goes above and beyond to ensure retreaters are nurtured, encouraged and rejuvenated, and this is a tranquil setting with an inclusive experience.”

“Fun and informative. Love the inclusion of play and yoga.”

“Expert advice.”

So if your writing mojo is in need of a reboot, come along and join us at a retreat.

SPRINGBROOK August 13 – 15 – Feedback and Revision Retreat.

This retreat is best for those working on projects in need of redrafting, with a self-editing and feedback focus.

HIGHFIELDS October 22 – 24  – Relax and Write in the Mountains

This retreat has a Life Writing focus and is best for those writing memoir and those new to writing with lots of writing exercises to get you started.

CONTACT ME for more info.

You’re very welcome.

We always have a wonderful time! Yes, it’s true.

Every retreat is filled with its own special magic, never more so than on magical Magnetic Island.

With lots of love from Edwina and all the Magnetic Island Mermaids