Happy New Year!

Obviously you never know what is coming around the corner, but we still look forward and make plans.  Having a vision of the life you want to live, and a road-map to get you there helps you to focus on the things that are important to you.  If life throws you a curve-ball, you can reassess and adjust your plans, but at least you know the overall direction you are heading. 

These are the principles I follow as I make my plans for the year.  I know what I want – but I’m prepared to redraw the route as I go.

For example, I haven’t made quite as much progress with some of these as I’d like through January – it’s been a very busy month at work, and I’ve also had a horrible cough and cold that I can’t seem to shift, which has made me pretty tired.  However – there’s always next month!

Make every day an adventure.  A chance to make life better – for yourself and/or for people around you.  Make life fun.  Surround yourself with people who you love and who fill you with joy.


New Year – new plans

Following last year – I’ve set myself a range of goals and lifestyle choices.  Each week, I’ll aim to do something towards each life area.  Mostly, the stuff I post here on the blog will be connected to what I am doing in these areas.   Of course, I’ll be aiming to tackle all these areas of my life with a playful, joy and fun-seeking attitude. 


Get down to 75kg

Exercise at least 3 times per week

I’ve got lots of adventures in mind, and I want to make sure that I can fully enjoy them.  So… making healthy choices and making sure that I make time to be active.


Self-publish short books on Amazon.

I’ve already published the first one – “My Life Planner”.  This link takes you there, but I’ll publish a blog about it very soon.


Make sure I actually know where my pension is

I know, I know.  This is something that as an adult I really should have a handle on.


Trip to Amsterdam, trip to Spain, maybe a UK city break to Edinburgh in the Autumn.

These are our travel plans this year.


Make sure I spend 1:1 time with both kids

I want to make sure I do this before they get too big and don’t want to anymore.

Regular date night with Hubster.

We actually like spending time together, but don’t often do it without the children.

Communicate regularly with mum, dad and sisters.

They live an hour and a half away.  I want to make sure that I get on the phone regularly, and also get to see them face-to-face at least every few weeks.


Put our personality all over the house and garden.

This will include painting a tree mural across the sloped bedroom ceiling among other things. 

Mini-adventures once a week

This could be anything from our regular kayaking with St Austell Canoe Club, or it could be a picnic tea at a local beauty spot, a walking or cycling expedition or a trip out to a beach, town or city.

Cut down on plastic packaging, shop local and start litter-picking.

All about the planet, and supporting my local community.



Use this blog much more as a creative outlet and to celebrate all the rest of this!


Complete some of the many half-started or half-imagined craft projects I have on the go.  Aiming to finish something every month.  Already in January I’ve knitted a snake (of course!  Just to use up some of my wool stash!)


Continue learning Spanish

I like to think my French isn’t too bad, but I have very little Spanish aside from being able to count to 10.  Hubster and I started Spanish lessons in September, in preparation for our trip to Northern Spain this summer.  I’m really enjoying it and am having a lot of fun trying to bend my brain to memorise new vocabulary.

Learn some philosophy

I read so much that references Kant, Rousseau, Aristotle and Plato – but really have very little idea what their ideas are all about.  So it’s time I sort that out.  My aim is to read some philosophy books.  I made a good start in January with the fun book “Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar” but there’s a long way to go before I could confidently say what the main ideas of the key philosophers are about.


Make new friends and pay attention to the old.

No, old friends, I’m not saying anything about your age!  Just saying that you are all wonderful and I need to make sure that I show you how much I value you, by actually spending some time with you.

Welcome to 2023 and a refreshed blog

Welcome to 2023!  We’ve made it through another year of chaos and madness and are ready to hit the “refresh” button.  

This means I am making some changes to the blog.  For the last 13 years I’ve had my personal blog on a blogger site inkspotsandgrassstains.  For a couple of reasons, I’ve decided to close down my blogger blog, and to make this blog here at The Playful Way more personal.  One is that the Blogger platform, which I joined so long ago, has not really kept pace with the technology.  The other is that I’m a busy person, and I can’t keep two blogs on the go, so I’ve been doing neither!  

I’ll come clean right now.  I’m unlikely to have a blogging schedule.  I’m unlikely to follow all the rules of SEO and I don’t have any plans at this stage to start stuffing my blog posts with affiliate links or other “monetization” strategies, though I may point you in the direction of my own money-making endeavours every now and then when I create them.  

At some point in the coming days I’ll try to turn all my previous inkspotsandgrassstains content into PDF form and host it all on here (because some of it was pretty good!).

So, welcome, come along for the ride, and join me in 2023 as I continue my journey to a more playful, happy and fulfilled life, and try to help everybody else come on the same journey.

So what do we have planned for 2023?

I’m trying not to give myself a whole lot of resolutions or plans for 2023 which I then don’t do and feel bad about it.  So I’m focusing on a few projects at a time.  Here are my first four.


Project GARDEN

Project number 1!  I’m turning our bare patch of garden (it was just a lawn and a large greenhouse before) into a productive and beautiful space.  I’m aiming to break the back of the landscaping in January so I can plant fruit trees and build a willow sculpture before the Spring comes along.  Then I can spend the Spring getting more plants in and sowing seeds, and the Summer adding all those beautiful and playful little touches, and actually enjoying the garden.



Much as I love teaching, I don’t plan on being a classroom teacher this time next year.  I’m currently working as a Supply teacher, which gives a lot of flexibility, but I’m building a bank of teaching resources for sale, writing my first e-book and marketing my parties and school workshops as well as continuing with art and crafts.  The plan is that I can build multiple small income streams.  I have also applied for a job for a charity, working with and supporting children – I have an interview for that on Thursday!



Having relocated in Summer 2022, as a family we are settling into our new lives in beautiful Cornwall.    However, I’m a friendly, sociable kind of person, and without the “school gate mates” that you get taking the children to a primary school and pitching in with the PTFA; without the work friends that you get if you are in a regular job; I haven’t yet “found my tribe”.  I firmly believe that humans are made to be sociable, and that our current screen-oriented, nuclear-family society doesn’t encourage the building of meaningful, supportive, friend relationships.  My intention this year is to make connections with people.  I’ve already identified groups and places to target: St Austell Bluetits (outdoor swimmers – the Facebook Group reveals a lot of fun and playfulness); St Austell Canoe Club – we’re already members and there are some great people here; local art and crafters; St Austell Friends (this is a Facebook Group with a lot of members, based on their lovely posts, there are a few people I’d love to reach out to); my neighbours. 

My intention is to start going along to groups and meet-ups, and reaching out to people to suggest getting together for a coffee etc.



We have also stopped our volunteering with The Scouts, which, while incredibly rewarding in many ways, had become more of a burden than a joy.  Without this time sink, we have found more time for adventures.  However, I’ve also found my fitness somewhat lacking.  This year I plan to log our adventures of all types, to intentionally adventure – on the coast path, on the moors, on our holidays, up hills, kayaking, cycling, walking, swimming, snorkelling, fire and den building.  A year of adventures!


New Years Resolution - Be more playful

You may ask how, at this time, we can talk about playfulness.

I would argue that now is when we need playfulness more than ever.

Play in a time of trial

2020 has been a hard year and here in the UK it looks as though the beginning of 2021, with covid19 still rife, things are not going back to normal very quickly.

A glance at social media is enough to show just how much fear there is out there. People are worried for their livelihoods, worried for their health and their loved ones. Everybody is fed up of staying in and missing normal social interaction. There are grandparents who’ve never yet held grandchildren, and families who are worried they may not get to hug an elderly relative before it’s too late.

You may ask how, at this time, we can talk about playfulness.

I would argue that now is when we need playfulness more than ever.

How to be more playful in 2021

Playfulness is about finding the joy in the everyday. It’s about allowing creativity to flourish and its about making life more fun for everybody around you.


If it makes you smile – go for it!

If something makes you smile, embrace it. That pink metal flamingo that makes you smile every time you see it on the market stall? Buy it, put it in your garden. It will make you smile every time you look out the window. If you love that purple top or those rainbow knickers – wear them! As the Wiccans say “An it harm none, do what ye will.” Provided what makes you smile doesn’t cause any harm or problem to anybody – go for it! If you love chocolate, even if your other New Year resolution is to be healthy – buy a really high quality chocolate and have a little nibble. The happiness you get from it will more than compensate a few extra calories. Where possible – follow your whims!


Make contact with people

You can absolutely be playful on your own, but humans are social animals. Make plans that involve being playful with others, even if that involves video calls rather than face-to-face interaction.  Set up an online Escape Room or online game or quiz that you can do together. Create a funny family video to send to family. Make plans for the family holiday, get-together or party that you will enjoy when Covid releases its grip on the world.


Work Playfully

Working looks very different for different people – housework, studying, voluntary work, factory work, outdoor work, office work, management, shop work – you name it, we do it. Let’s make our working lives more playful and enjoyable. Whether that’s by singing (think of sea shanties), by incorporating something light-hearted (we all know somebody who likes to wear a different silly hat to each Zoom meeting), by gamifying our work (rewards and “levels”) or by encouraging more creativity in the workplace. We can make our working lives both more productive and more pleasurable by injecting a little playfulness.


Be creative

Creativity is the key to playfulness and I don’t just mean crafting, writing poetry or painting. Creativity  is the use of the imagination and fresh ideas. It can be applied to the dog walk or your daily jog – find a new route, listen to new music, allow yourself a little role-play (you’re a detective looking for clues!). If you’re writing something – rather than just doing it on the computer – can you print it out and draw your own border? We are all very quick to look for things on the internet, to download clipart – we seem to have forgotten the simple pleasure of drawing things ourselves! With cheap fashion, we forget the creative joy that comes with up-cycling or making it ourselves. Let’s make 2021 a more creative year! (On my other blog “Ink Spots and Grass Stains“, I’m going to be charting my creative efforts for 2021.)



Most of us didn’t get many opportunities for adventures in 2020. There was a lot of staying at home to do. Adventure is naturally playful. It takes you out of the ordinary and unlocks your spirit of fun and creativity, problem solving and ingenuity. Adventures don’t have to be high-adrenaline activities (though they can be, and we can’t wait to go coasteering this year!), but can just be doing something different. In our family we revel in the “mini-adventure”. These usually involve Rosie the campervan, but aren’t necessarily camping trips. They usually involve going somewhere new. They may involve a walk or a bike-ride, they may involve a theme park or zoo, they may involve a picnic or a cafe. A mini-adventure could be a train trip to a nearby town, or a ride on a bus to “see where it goes”. Embrace the mini-adventure!


Play games

Games don’t have to involve plastic counters and dice. Playing games makes you feel good, it involves interacting with other people, it unlocks feel-good hormones and can improve brain power. Whether it’s a weekly game of scrabble, a word-game while you wait in line or an observation game with your children – try to get more games into your life. We’ll be adding lots of different games you can play on this site as the year goes by, so watch out for those.

Be more playful

So what will you be doing this year to be more playful?