Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

The darkness within: a cartoon

Posted on: January 27th, 2020 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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Inner wolf cartoon by illustrator Sam Goodlet -

How can we keep the cosy vibes going after Christmas…?

Posted on: December 18th, 2019 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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I find winter hard.  I’ve written on my Instagram about how much I prefer Halloween to Christmas…. although this year does feel easier.  My mental health is much better, AND I’ve created the HiberNATION to celebrate the cosy, dark vibes of this time of year.  So I’m feeling a lot more chilled out about the Christmas part of winter (you can read about the Christmas I stayed in bed and ate pizza here!), but I’m wondering how we can create some intentional rituals to fight off the post-Christmas blues….

join the hibernation illustration by Sam Goodlet -

Christmas day comes so close to Solstice; here in the UK it’s bang in the middle of the darkest time.  We’re celebrating the returning of the light.  But it’s a slooooow return, and still a way to go before hibernation time is over.

Once the decorations come down on Twelfth Night, it can feel kind of bleak, can’t it? We been collecting and doing things that helps us survive the winter and lift our spirits – pretty lights, evergreens, socialising, exchanging gifts, eating comfort food – and then at New Year BAM! We give them all up again, even though there’s a lot of winter left.  Astrologically, Solstice marks the START of winter!

I used to work with a lovely lady called Mel, who would countdown to Valentines Day, because from that point she knew she could pretty much always drive home from work at 5.30pm without her headlights on.  It’s a nice measure of when the evenings begin to get lighter again.

So, what can we do to look after ourselves and each other as we wait for the light to come back…?  Here are some ideas:

  1.  January Decorations! Apparently, the tradition of taking the Christmas decorations down to avoid bad luck is a Pagan one, linked to the evergreens and their foliage – you could deck the halls, but you had to get them back outside by the 6th of January or the tree spirits would start to get antsy.  So last year we made sure we got the tree outside, then kept some of the fairy lights, and jiggled around some of the not-to-festive decorations.  It definitely helped the house to feel warm and welcoming.  Other years, I have purposefully made January decorations to replace the Christmas ones, to brighten the place up and celebrate the New Year.
  2. Join the HiberNATION.  Recognise that it is still winter, all the things that helped us before Christmas ARE STILL ALLOWED!  Pyjamas, chocolate, snuggling, catching up with friends, bingeing on box sets, knitting and/or wearing all the warm knitted stuff… keep making time for the cosy things that nurture your heart and soul.  This is the best time of year to enjoy this stuff!  You don’t have to stop just cos it’s not December any more 🙂
  3. Look for the beauty.  Right now, my garden is a muddy quagmire.  Every time the dog comes in, we gain some indoor mud too.  Sometimes I have to search out the beauty of this time of year.  But it’s there.  The resting quiet, like the pause in between breaths.  The silhouettes of trees against pastel winter skies.  Ice, frost and snow.  And then slowly, the tiny signs that start to creep in of returning life and noise, like snowdrops and little shoots of green bursting up from the mud…
  4. Do some reflecting and look to the future.  I’m not one for full-on, high-pressure New Years Resolutions, but there is a ton of advice out there about setting intentions or themes for the year.  This year I think I will do a little bit of journalling to reflect back on the previous year, create a list of things to look forward to in the next year, and list some of the qualities I’d like to call in to my life for 2020.  (If you need some help, my friend Alice is doing a mini-course that could be just the thing!).
  5. Allow your feelings.  Winter is by nature a darker time, for slowing down, reflecting and planting seeds.  You don’t have to be ‘jolly’.  It’s ok to feel whatever you feel.   I think we can sometimes make things harder for ourselves if we fight what we truly feel.  I’m working on welcoming my emotions and seeing what they are here to tell me. And a lot of the time in winter, they’re saying ‘go slow, be gentle, plant seeds.’

And, as ever, allow time for self care 🙂

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⭐️message from the Comfort Fairy⭐️ . Step up your self care. . I’m learning about leaning in to opposites. Gently breaking my behaviour patterns by doing the opposite of what I use to do. The times when I have the most to do and that ‘busy busy busy’ vibe is ramping up are the times I need to claim some of that time for me. . The times when I am giving the most are the times I need to up my self care. . The times when I feel the most triggered and anxious and flighty are the times I need to slow down, feel and breathe rather than rush and run. . And it’s strangely hard; it’s like my inner martyr just kicks in and is ready to take the world on her shoulders until she breaks. But what’s the point of that?! Who can I help if I’m in a puddle on the floor? . I’ve been that puddle more times than I care to admit. It’s been a pattern for me; the hurtling followed by the crashing. . So I’m learning this new way to navigate. . I’m here to serve, I’m here to help. My calling to magicalise is powerful and exciting. But I’m remembering I can’t serve anyone from the puddle! . . . . . . . #ComfortFairy #StepUpYourSelfCare #SelfLove #MentalHealth #Recovery #FairyDog #FaeriesOfInstagram #Faeries

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All Welcome

Posted on: January 18th, 2019 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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Over the last couple of weeks, anti-racism has reached the knitting and crafting communities online in a big way.  It’s undoubtedly been incredibly tough for the people of colour who have been doing an awful lot of emotional labour to educate white people (like me) about their experiences of exclusion and racism, and show us that even the (superficially) fluffy knitting world is racist.  I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by their hard work and bravery.

It’s brought amazing activists and educators like Rachel Cargle and Layla Saad to the attention of lots of us crafters. I’ve been slowly Doing The Work and considering how much white supremacy really isn’t a thing of the past, or just the purview of a few extremists in white hoods – it’s EVERYWHERE and something that I benefit from.  I’ve also been discovering amazing activists challenging gender (and race) issues, like Alok.

When I’ve found the work challenging, I try keep in mind the image of how I would like a man to react to #metoo.

You know how Kavanaugh and Trump made Christine Blasey Ford’s hearing all about men, and how hard it was for the poor men of the world to be attacked in such a way, when SHE was the one who was threatened and terrified…?  Yeah, that’s the opposite of what the world needs right now.  We white people need to shut up, sit down, listen, shut up some more and not make it about us.  And then we need to make some changes to how we behave, so that we challenge exclusion when we see it, and build things from the ground up that are open to everyone.

The gorgeous hashtag on Instaram #diverseknitty has also helped amazing creatives from around the world share their wonderful work with new followers and fans.

There are also, I hope, lots of other makers, podcasters, brands, shows and shops who are considering how they can be more inclusive and reach out to make everyone feel welcome.

I don’t have a physical shop (or really do much out in the real world at all to be honest right now!), but I wanted to draw something to let everyone know that they are welcome in my online spaces.

A drawing showing a diverse group of people with the text 'all welcome' above. By Sam Goodlet -

Whatever your background, or however you identify, you are always welcome here.

And if you’d like to collaborate or if there’s something I can do to help you feel more included or access my work, just give me a shout.

Ponderings: Having a virtual tea party

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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I was pondering the other day why I am finding Instagram such an interesting place to be at the moment, and realised one of the factors is the stories it brings into my life.  Mainstream media has so often tells stories with a narrow focus  – heterosexual love stories featuring men and women who fit acceptable archetypes.  And I’m bored of that now.  It’s not relevant and  there are just so many stories and characters missing.

But on Insta, I am following a wide and diverse range of individuals bringing their stories into my life.  People with different gender roles and identities, abilities and cultural backgrounds that have so often been missing, or made the focus of stories in a way that emphasises difference and exclusion.  And they are telling their own stories in their own voices, sharing their fears, scars, problems and bodies.  (That last one feels particularly important to me right now, as I grow older and try to feel more comfortable in my post-baby body).

I know that ‘social’ media has its own problems (not least the trolling and negative comments that bravery can attract), but the fact that the platform enables sharing and alternative narratives feels like such a good antidote to that narrow focus.   June is LGBTQ+ pride month and I’ve discovered some really educational and inspirational accounts as a result.

And the other factor is that I’m finding genuinely lovely connections on there, mostly thanks to the amazing Flower Power Fund.  I have never met such a kind and invested bunch of people – the community around this project is simply magical.

The other day I was feeling a bit wobbly and posted a something that was a bit more honest post that I have for a while about where my head was at, and also a bit of a plea…

The comments and support were so lovely!

Working from home and being freelance and being a mum can feel pretty isolating.  A couple of local friends reached out and we might actually manage to meet up for real cake, but it also turned into a little virtual tea party with lots of support and imaginary cake….

Ponderings: Maternal mental health

Posted on: May 9th, 2018 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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Last week (the first week of May) was Maternal Mental Health week.  My social media newsfeed was full of all kinds of things raising awareness and offering support.  I’ve had a picture in my head for a while now about my own journey to motherhood, and it finally popped onto the page.

What I thought being a mum would be like part 1.  Just me, with a small human in my life.

What I thought being a mum would be like part  2 - a completely rebuilt and reprogrammed version of me with a cosmic maelstrom by my side

⭐ my motherhood journey⭐

It’s not that I thought it would be easy, and it’s a terrible cliche to say that nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent… but I think whatever your route to parenthood, it changes you in ways you cannot imagine.

And maybe in ways we’ll never understand.

Being pregnant in itself is such a transformation and perhaps I thought once Tris was born I’d go back to who I was before…

But I haven’t, and I can’t.

And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a bit unsettling… here in the uk its #maternalmentalhealthawareness week and this was one of my #100daychallenge drawings for better mental health

Ram Dass, spirituality and crochet

Posted on: April 12th, 2018 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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…”she came up and she said “Thank you so much. That makes perfect sense. That’s just the way I understand the universe to be.”


And I said, “How do you know? I mean, what have you done in your life that has brought you into those kinds of experiences?”


She leaned forward very conspiratorially and she said, “I crochet.””

This is from one of my favourite pieces of writing by Ram Dass about a sweet little lady in a hat attending one of his lectures when everyone else was a young hippy with beads and flowers in their hair. She had reached spirituality through a completely different route; not psychedelics or prayer or traditional meditation, but crochet.

I Crochet Ram Dass illustration of a wise lady with stars in her eyes by illustrator Sam Goodlet -

I really needed to draw her. She’s part of my #100dayschallenge for #bettermentalhealth, inspired by my new knitting and crochet friends. I’m just starting to learn to knit, and one of the reasons is how calming I’ve heard it is. This little lady has the wisdom of the stars in her eyes achieved by hours with yarn and a little hook…

You can find the Ram Dass article here.

Welcome to January

Posted on: January 9th, 2018 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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A new start. ⭐️ A clean slate. 🌟 Whatever 2017 brought you, and I know it’s been a tough one for many, well done for making it through. I love the feeling of a new start, it’s a bit like opening a new sketchbook for the first time. Who knows what those pages will hold. Some things you create you will love. Some you’ll want to throw away. Some days you won’t know where to begin. Some days you’ll wake with a clear sense of purpose. It’s all ok. ❤️⭐️❤️ These amazing fox masks were made by my awesome mum for us yesterday, using her super duper embroidery machine and a pattern from @urbanthreadsemb 🦊 mr fox and I actually went out and danced the night away for the first time since having Tristan and it was lovely! 💃 #happynewyear #2018 #urbanthreads #masks #fox #newbeginnings

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Is the 9th too late to say happy new year?  I guess so 🙂 And I’m not sure that’s the right thing to say anyway… I don’t know about you but I find that this time of year can be a bit hard and although I LOVE the feeling of a fresh new start, (it’s as good as starting a new sketchbook) once the Christmas decorations have come down things can be a bit gloomy…

One of the things that lifting the gloom for me at the moment is an exciting new project I’m working on focussed on FLOWERS.  All will be revealed in a week or so, but some clues in the meantime are that it came off the back of the branding I did for the wonderful Jane at Hedgerow Yarns, who’s Instagram posts are just the most beautiful thing:

And I’m starting with drawing some snowdrops.

I was doing some reading about the meaning of these precious little flowers, and the loveliest myth I found was from Moldova:  Lady Spring won the battle with the Winter Witch, but during the fight a few drops of her blood were spilled.  They blossomed into snowdrops, symbolising the victory of spring over winter….

If there’s a better metaphor for the fact that we have survived the darkest night and lighter days are coming than those first snowdrops appearing, I’m not sure what it is.

Rethinking gift giving

Posted on: September 4th, 2017 by samdrawsthings 2 Comments

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It’s my birthday in around a month and I am freaking out a little bit.

Not just because of the inevitable marching of time and my daring to age in a culture where that’s simply not cool (although that’s in there, especially as I have recently had to embrace wearing glasses).

It’s because I’m getting myself into a tangled knot about presents.

Birthday box by illustrator Sam Goodlet -

It’s actually been building up over the last few years, and was really brought home last Christmas in this post from George Monbiot urging readers to “bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

I also keep reading about the power of minimalism to reduce our stress and increase happiness, and in a house ruled over by a chaos-bringing toddler who regularly scatters everything we own across our floors, that’s sounding pretty tempting.

And, this probably is related to the marching of time bit, but it really feels that we are in a peak state of Stuff.  We can literally buy almost anything we can dream of; things that would have been science fiction when I was little.  iPads, wellies that light up, teddy bears that sing, pens that fire lasers, VR headsets, robot hoovers…

I had a bit of a melt down about this last Christmas and found shopping really stressful.  I know gifts at heart are about showing you care and there are so many people I genuinely love and I want them to know how I feel.  Sometimes I nail it and find The Perfect Gift that expresses that.

But if I don’t really know what someone wants or needs, am I just giving a present to make myself feel good?  Am I trying to get them to like something that I think they should like, and what if they don’t?   Isn’t the person who really benefits the big, faceless corporates that I buy from in desperation?  And what happens to all the Stuff we give to each other at the end of its useful life?

So.  I know I may come across a bit childish and controlling, possibly ungrateful and privileged, but I thought I would go old school and make a list of things that I would actually LIKE to have for my birthday…

And I hope it can act as a bit of a guide for anyone looking for a more inspiring way to find presents for anyone.

(Spoiler alert: if you are someone I get presents for, you are probably getting something from this list).

  1.  Nothing.  Seriously, it’s fine.  You don’t have to explain or apologise.  Simply nothing is fine.  Maybe an extra birthday hug or tell me I’m pretty or something, but I don’t really need any more Things.   And I’m completely up for a present amnesty with friends and family.  I’m aware by making this list and being prescriptive I am making life more complicated, so opting out of the gift giving ritual really is ok.
  2. Celebrate un-birthdays (and un-christmas).  Sometimes you find a fabulous gift for someone when there isn’t any special ocassion coming up.  You might be one of those super organised people who saves that for later.  Or you might be like my amazing mum and not be able to hold onto until then, and just need to give it straight away.  But that lack of pressure to buy the right thing at the right time starts to resolve some of the ickiness associated with gifting I think.
  3. Second hand, vintage, pre loved things.  Something doesn’t need to be new to be awesome.  Ebay and charity shops have some really unique finds.  My Auntie Jean once said “I love that I can give you any old rubbish and you’ll be happy” – her house was full of very lovely old things so it was extra special to receive something from her, but the fact that something is being reused rather than dumped fills my heart with joy.
  4. Recycled, biodegradable, green things, ephemeral things. Plants, seeds, things made of recycled stuff, things that aren’t made of plastic, edible stuff, candles – basically, things that won’t end up in landfill or being incinerated, or have been rescued from that fate.
  5. Handmade.  You could follow Mr Monbiot’s advice and bake a cake or write a poem yourself.  Or I am obsessed with Etsy (not just because I sell on there) because you can find some seriously amazing, unique, weird and wonderful creations, made by real people living their dream and making stuff.  A lot of it could fit into the above category, and you can find vintage things too.  There’s something so much more real and wonderful in buying directly from a maker.  Someone who cares.  If you haven’t had a look yet, Etsy is amazing and I really recommend just having a browse.  There are also obviously shops selling some really fabulous things, like Re:So and The Art House in Southampton and Art in the Heart in Peterborough.
  6. Anything from Charlie Locks.  My friends Julie and Mark are running a genuinely ethical, magical skincare company, their products are really special and their packaging is minimal.  They also are spreading the word about the Art of Positive Ageing –  embracing and pampering your skin at different stages through life rather than trying to stop that inevitable march.  Hoorah!
  7. Anything from Lush.  I have been a fan of this sweet smelling company for ages, they are doing great things in terms of packaging and their stance against animal testing.
  8. Books.  Books don’t count as Things to me somehow – they are the one object I am seriously excited about hoarding in my aspirational library (which is currently some bookshelves in the corner of a room).
  9. Experiences.  This is a bit of a tricky one for me right now because I am pretty much either working, sleeping or looking after the previously mentioned Tiny Bringer of Chaos.  But I miss people and like the idea of doing things rather than owning things.  Even popping in for a cuppa and a chat is perfect.  Getting together in whatever way to make happy memories of time spent together doing or seeing beautiful stuff is worth so much.

I am sure there are more things, and would love to hear your suggestions.

I feel like I’m embracing my grumpy old lady status by having a bit of a rant about this, but it genuinely matters.  You know that things grow when we focus our time, money and energy on them.  When we buy gifts for other people we are also helping to shape the world.

I want a world where we consider the whole life of an item we buy, where we support the little people making lovely things over big faceless business, where we support bigger businesses doing good things, where we bake cakes and enjoy the simple pleasures of life together.

That wold is what I’d really like for my birthday…

Box of hope by illustrator Sam Goodlet -

I have a Facebook group where I am hoping people making things, writing music, selling albums or knitted octopi can share their creations and we can help change the world. It’s not massively active, but I would love you to join and share your favorite things and help change that.   If you make things, I would love to see them!












The luxury of bathtime

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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Ponderings: One year of motherhood

Posted on: June 7th, 2017 by samdrawsthings No Comments

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Well, I can’t quite believe it, but yesterday we celebrated my son’s first birthday.  Words can’t really capture the intensity of this journey/rollercoaster/whatever cliche fits…it’s been simultaneously magical and terrifying, and I wouldn’t’ change a thing 🙂

We have learnt so much, lost so much sleep, laughed a huge amount and it just feels like the biggest privilege to watch a human grow.

We enter the world so helpless compared to other animals (like those foals that are up and about so quickly after birth) but my goodness, those giant human baby heads are filled with brains that just have the most incredible potential for growth and change.  It amazes me to think that my tiny son, who is on the cusp of getting the hang of speech and walking, will one day be able to drive a car…and it amazes me that this is how we all started.  It’s also made me realise how much we take for granted the things that many of us can do – things like eating, drinking, movement, speech – these are all really complicated, they take ages to learn and it’s really not surprising that they can go wrong and any of us could lose those abilities.  I’ve become so much more conscious of what it means to be human, and how adaptable, clever and vulnerable we are…

Tristan was born on a New Moon, 17 days after his due date. It’s another cliche to say that my partner and I were reborn at the same time, but it’s absolutely true.

mama moon by Sam Goodlet -


papa moon by Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.comI am still working on some illustrations inspired by the things I’ve found about birth and breastfeeding along the way, but in the meantime I wanted to share this gorgeous comic by Molly McIntyre which beautifully captures some of the issues breastfeeding – do go check it out on the Everyday Feminism site.




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