{Update} 30 Things in my 30’s

30 Things in my Thirties Update 1 | The Open Home

So I’m one year into my thirties now so how am I doing on the old 30 Things in my 30’s list? Well, not too bad really. Here is an update on where I’m at.

Completed…

1. Start a letter writers group in Guernsey – The Guernsey Letter Writers Society was established in September 2017

2. Become a blood donor – I wasn’t actually able to become a blood donor so signed up for the Anthony Nolan Trust instead.

3. Sign up to be an organ donor

4. Go to a West End Show in London – I saw Aladdin in June 2017 and I’m actually seeing Wicked this weekend!

30 Things in my Thirties Update 1 | The Open Home

In Progress…

5. Learn calligraphy – still practicing!

6. Get fit (aka. get back to pre-pregnancy weight) – Currently 16lbs down and still going.

7. Go to 10 new (to me) restaurants on the island – 3 Down. 7 to Go. (So far ticked off Copenhagen, The Rockmount & Buho)

8. Go on a weekend away with a gal pal – London trip scheduled for this weekend!

9. Take my girls to the Lake District – Family holiday planned for Autumn 2019.

10. Take my girls to the other Channel Islands1 Down. 4 to Go. (So far ticked off Herm)

30 Things in my Thirties Update 1 | The Open Home

Not Yet…

12. Get a good camera and learn how to use it!

13. Go on a flower arranging course

14. Learn to embroider

15. Open an Etsy shop

16. Make a patchwork quilt for each of my girls

17. Get a pet (most likely a rabbit)

18. Go kayaking

19. Start a veggie patch

20. Climb a mountain

21. Make a Will

22. Donate my wedding dress to charity

23. Walk the entire cliffs of Guernsey (in stages)

24. Read all of Agatha Christie’s Poirot

25. Go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta

26. Visit Keighley in Yorkshire (where my Gran was evacuated to during WW2)

27. Visit friends in New Zealand

28. Visit an Asian country

29. Grow our family through adoption

30. Celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in style!

 

What things do you have on your bucket list?

The Guernsey Letter Writers Society

Guernsey Letter Writers Society | The Open Home

Back in 2016 I decided to use both this blog and my Instagram account to share photos of my mail art and love of all things snail mail. During this time I’ve seen a growing interest in letter writing on the island and I therefore decided it was time to gather these like minded people together so that we can share our passion and encourage others to keep letters alive!

Thus I introduce to you the Guernsey Letter Writers Society, launching tomorrow evening with our inaugural meeting.

The Guernsey Letter Writers Society, or GSY LWS for short, is basically a social group for those interested in the art of letter writing. Each month on behalf of the GSY LWS I will be hosting a letter writing social where people can come to dedicate time to their handwritten correspondence.

Whether a veteran letter writer or a complete newbie to the world of snail mail you are welcome to join us at these monthly gatherings. Our first letter writing social takes place tomorrow evening, Wednesday 6th September and there are more details about this meeting and what to expect at a letter writing social over on the GSY LWS site.

Please note, I will not be advertising these monthly gatherings on this blog or on my personal Facebook account. If you are interested in joining us and want to know more then please consider subscribing to gsyletterwriters.com to receive email notifications and follow along on Instagram at @gsy_lws and @theopenhome.

When did you last write someone a letter?

 

30 Things in my 30’s

30 Things in my 30's | The Open Home

Last week I turned the big 3-0 and to embrace this next decade I decided to make a list of 30 things I would like to do in my 30’s. Some are big life goals, the things I dream about and others are simply fun or grown up things I’ve been meaning to get round to. In no particular order…

  1. Get a good camera and learn how to use it!
  2. Go on a flower arranging course
  3. Learn to embroider
  4. Learn calligraphy
  5. Open an Etsy shop
  6. Start a letter writers group in Guernsey
  7. Make a patchwork quilt for each of my girls
  8. Get a pet (most likely a rabbit)
  9. Go kayaking
  10. Start a veggie patch
  11. Climb a mountain
  12. Make a Will
  13. Become a blood donor
  14. Sign up to be an organ donor
  15. Get fit! (aka. get back to pre-pregnancy weight)
  16. Donate my wedding dress to charity
  17. Walk the entire cliffs of Guernsey (in stages)
  18. Read all of Agatha Christie’s Poirot
  19. Read the complete collection of Winnie the Pooh
  20. Go to 10 new (to me) restaurants on the island
  21. Go to a West End Show in London
  22. Go on a weekend away with a gal pal
  23. Go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta
  24. Take my girls to the Lake District
  25. Take my girls to the other Channel Islands – Herm, Sark, Alderney, Jersey & Lihou
  26. Visit Keighley in Yorkshire (where my Gran was evacuated to during WW2)
  27. Visit friends in Australia & New Zealand
  28. Visit an Asian country
  29. Grow our family through adoption
  30. Celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in style!

What goals do you have on your list?

An Open Letter to Malawi

An Open Letter to Malawi | The Open Home

Dear Malawi,

I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years since we first became acquainted with one another, nor can I believe it is now five years since I last visited you. I never intended for it to be this long but you know how it is, life changes even when you don’t want it too.

For such a long time so many of my dreams involved you, you made me feel so alive, so full of purpose and I want you to know letting you go was not easy, even if it was the right thing to do.

Out of all the sacrifices we made along the way, more than passing up career opportunities, more than selling our house, sacrificing our dream of you was the hardest and most heartbreaking decision we ever had to make.

Perhaps the timing wasn’t right. Perhaps it was time to dream new dreams. Perhaps amongst all the good intentions we had lost focus of the most important thing.

Whatever it was, a future without you was a daunting prospect and for some time I found myself grieving for the life we could have lived and the dreams that would never come to be.

Five years on and my heart has slowly healed. I am now a mother to two sweet little blonde girls and for the first time in a long time I find myself happy being stuck on this little rock that I get to call home.

In the end thanks to knowing and losing you I have learnt to live life with an open heart. I know myself better, my passions more clearly and I have come to see the journey God had us on all along.

It’s fair to say that life isn’t what we originally planned but it has turned out to be pretty great anyway. And you’ll be pleased to know that with time I have found the courage to dare to dream again.

Malawi, please know you will always be held in my heart with such fondness, I am who I am today because of the part you played in my life.

Thank you for having such a warm and generous heart. Thank you for being part of my story.

Yours truly,

Jessica x

P.S. I promise to visit again one day, hopefully with those two blonde girls I was telling you about. I want them to know you like I do.

10 Things I Love About Snail Mail

10 Things I Love About Snail Mail | The Open Home

I made it my goal at the start of this year to get back into letter writing. It’s something I’ve done on and off since my early teens but life got extra busy around the time I became a mummy and letter writing didn’t really get a look in.

However, I now have a bit more “me” time on my hands and I’m loving immersing myself in all things snail mail.

Here are 10 things I love about sending good old fashioned mail.

1. It’s fun 

Writing letters, adorning envelopes, choosing stationery and finding pen pals is lots of fun! It really is a great hobby and there is a valid reason why people call it happy mail, it’s happy to send and it’s happy to receive!

2. It’s therapeutic

It’s not surprising really that lots of snail mailers are also keen journalers. The act of writing a letter requires you to slow down and pause for thought. It’s a rather therapeutic process opening your heart in a letter and as with journalling, it’s way cheaper than therapy!

3. It’s meaningful communication

In this day of instant messaging, communication seems to have lost something. Many people these days haven’t experience the sweet anticipation of waiting for a reply letter in the post or the sheer joy of finding a surprise parcel from an overseas friend. Knowing that that person carved out time in their busy day to connect with you and make you smile is an incredibly meaningful thing.

10 Things I Love About Snail Mail | The Open Home

4. It’s an art form

Snail mail has come to mean so much more than just sending messages the slow way. Sending letters has become an artistic expression not just in words but in art and craft too. There is an entire snail mail revolution going on and mail art really is a thing! I’m rather new to combining mail art with my letters but just check out The Postmans Knock, Happy Mail and Snail Mail Love on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean, sending mail can be an art form.

5. There is no right or wrong way to send letters

Whether you simply want to write long letters to old friends or adorn envelopes with as much washi tape as possible you’ll soon find there is no right or wrong way to send snail mail. I have penpals that must spend ages on their mail art, others that love to pen long letters with pretty lettering and yet others who love stamps or like to exchange goodies. They all have their own style and preferences and I love receiving letters from each and everyone one of them!

6. It deepens relationships

It’s often much easier to express yourself in the written word especially when it comes to sharing about the big stuff, like hopes and dreams and the trials of life. Sharing on paper allows you to poor out your heart in such an honest and vulnerable way that it creates deep relationships that stand both the test of time and physical distance.

7. It enables you to connect with people world wide

Whether it’s writing to friends who have moved across country or to pen pals from overseas, writing letters enables you to connect with people around the world and learn about different countries and cultures. You can swap stories, recipes, photos and more and feel like you’re travelling without even leaving your home.

10 Things I Love About Snail Mail | The Open Home

8. It builds community

In these last couple of months as I’ve delved into letter writing and dabbled with mail art I have been amazed by the encouragement that is found in the snail mail community. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise as people who write letters mainly do so to connect with and encourage others, but people just seem to want to share their skills, encourage your art and be your pen pal. It really is lovely.

9. It inspires

There is so much snail mail inspiration out there that you’ll soon be practicing your handwriting and investing in watercolour paints (as I have done!). I have found these sites to be particularly inspiring as they encourage me to learn by doing, rather than making me shy away in overwhelm.

10. It spreads a little love

Now I’m all for spreading a little love and truly believe that sending someone a piece of happy mail is one of the best ways to do it. Words are so powerful and words of affirmation sent through the post can bring so much joy with the added benefit of being something tangible that you can hold onto and read again and again.

How about you? What do you love most about snail mail?

 

16 Facts You May Not Know About Me

The Open Home 398

It’s still the first month of the year so in honour of 2016 here are 16 things you may not know about me… enjoy!

  1. I have been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old – simply because I don’t like the texture and taste of most meat.
  2. I love a good murder mystery, Agatha Christie’s Poirot is my favourite.
  3. I talk about names a LOT. The meanings of them, why people choose them, what names go well together, etc
  4. I think all the best animals have big ears – donkeys, rabbits, elephants… I rest my case.
  5. I’m a geek and love the timey-wimey-ness of Doctor Who and kinda wish I lived in Hobbiton.
  6. Bats and crabs freak me out.
  7. I make a miserable shopping companion, my Mother will confirm this. MISERABLE!
  8. I don’t drink tea or coffee.
  9. My dream holiday destinations are New Zealand, Hawaii and Alaska.
  10. Autumn is my favourite season (and Summer my least favourite).
  11. I don’t wear black, I’m far too pale and look ill in it.
  12. My favourite Disney film is Tarzan.
  13. If you want to send me flowers I particularly like freesias and tulips.
  14. One day I want to get a British Bulldog and call him Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
  15. I have visited 20 European countries to date (and really must do a post about my favourites!)
  16. I’m an ISFJ for those of you who speak Myers Briggs.

Tell me something I may not know about you?