Salt Circles Gadd Style

Salt has long been used to protect and for purification and cleansing.

But what do you do to protect and cleanse your home without a wholesale container of seasoning? What about those who don’t fancy running it all the way around their houses, windowsills and doorways? What about animal lovers?

Well as a person with three fluffy reasons not to have salt on the floor, I have found an alternative which is also appropriate for neat freaks and snail folk.

This beautiful little bag is filled with protection, salt, star anise, oregano, parsley, lavender and love. I also added a little verse that means a lot to us, Desiderata, for helping guide our household spiritually.

We hang the bag near our front door to watch over us as we enjoy our home and ‘rest’ place.

Feeling safe is such an important part of a home. I remember not all that long ago, when we were burgled, feeling as though the home had been taken from the house. Suddenly it felt as welcoming as a doctor’s waiting room. It often takes years to really become comfortable in a place, and it can be taken away from you, but there are things you can do to ‘mark it’ as your own. A little like a dog with a garden. It’s your territory, and little things like this salt bag have made it feel more like a home for me.

With love and well wishes from my household to yours.

Ice Lantern

Ice lanterns are a beautiful way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. I’ve often thought they looked like fun to make too, so this year our family gave it a bash.

I’d love to see what your families create if you decide to follow along with this gorgeous Imbolc activity.

First we need to gather a few items:

  • A couple of containers- one smaller than the other so our ice can sit between them. Plastic works well. About 0.5-1cm difference is ideal
  • A candle/tea light
  • Some of the beautiful things nature has left for us to enjoy- leaves, berries, flowers, fruit, herbs
  • Water, which will go back to nourishing the land we live on shortly after we enjoy it in this form

Arrange your decorative items inside of your large container in any pattern you wish, taking time to be thankful for each of the beauties we get to enjoy thanks to mother earth.

As you place them remember the fleetingness of their perfection, and the beauty of their imperfections. 

Remember you and your plants are born of the same, and go back to the same Earth. 

Be grateful that you still get to bloom. 

Be grateful for any nutrition you’ve received from the Earth this year. 

Be grateful that she still stands firm and is the base beneath you, when you need to be strong and when you are not. 

Be thankful that she is with you with every breath and enables you to achieve everything you achieve as a key part of your existence.

Once you’ve stopped weeping about the beauty of the Earth, you should have a little water in the form of tears. Don’t worry if these join your lantern too.

Now you’re happy with your design, place the smaller container inside of the big one in such a way that it creates a cavity, but doesn’t squash your carefully collected items.

Now fill the gaps between them with water. Focus on your breath as air is exchanged for water in your candle. They are two of the key elements of our existence. Our foliage comes from the Earth, our water goes back to it, and fire brings our lantern to life. This is a celebration of all that it is to be, in the most elemental form possible.

If you have freezing conditions outside then leave it there overnight, otherwise it’s time to make a stirfry or some minestrone to clear some space in your freezer for your lantern. 

When ready to use, a trickle of warm water over the outer container will reveal your lantern.

When you place your candle in the centre, remember to centre yourself and enjoy the beauty of your creation. 

Imbolc is all about cleansing and being thankful for the earth awakening. As your lantern melts you may become aware that the freeze is breaking. That the Earth is becoming workable again. That you are of these elements. 

As the flame flickers, remember that while your goals may falter, they can still burn bright and will centre once again.

As the candle extinguishes, let go,

Of any tension in your body,

Of mistakes and errors of last year,

Of things not done,

Of fights,

Of pain,

Of anguish,

Of any preconceptions of this year, become present, live it.

Drawing a Nose (A Tutorial)

On my social media, I was asked to create a resource to explain how to draw a nose. So, after quite a while, apologies, here it is – a tutorial on noses! Its not perfect, we learned a lot doing it, so future videos will be better, but it has all the content that you need I think!

It is, hopefully, a very comprehensive tutorial, that explains how to construct the proportions accurately, how to look at a nose to see the shapes, how to shade and blend, to give you a realistic nose drawing.

This tutorial is suitable for beginners. You only need paper, an HB pencil, a pencil sharpener, an eraser and a cotton bud. A soft paint brush or makeup brush and softer pencils are great extras if you have them.

I would love to see your results! Please put them on social media and tag me! Let me know what you’d like to see next using the contact form or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

Subscribe to receive the magical E-Letter so you ever miss a blog post or new resources! Its is totally free and 100% spam free too! Subscribe here

Get the video transcript here.

“Deeds not words.”

“Deeds not words.”

This week was the anniversary of the birthday of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette movement. Today women have the vote thanks to the brave women before us. 

The world has changed, but we still need to stand together and support each other, when it is needed. 

Now,  it’s less a matter of gender, perhaps, so much as being supportive of any group who are having their human rights violated. 

We need to support the planet, animals and one another as fellow human beings – sometimes in huge ways, sometimes much smaller ways when we feel vulnerable or life feels too hard. 

Princess Poppy

Princess Poppy may seem like a strange poster girl and I’m certainly not making light of the issues. The Trolls movie is a kids film. But when I watched it first time, it was a breath of fresh air. The whole cinema burst into applause at the end. Because it’s filled with joy and with lessons that are important to remember,  in an energy packed, full colour extravaganza of glitter and love. There are lessons in self esteem, overcoming fears, being yourself,  loving difference, overcoming bullies and following your dreams. 

Princess Poppy is unashamedly a pink, fluffy scrap booker who loves to hug, and sing and dance. She is also a brave,  daring and empathetic leader. The song “Get back up again”,  sung really loud is often just the boost I need, a real power up and motivational boost. 

I have dreams that I want to make come true, as you all do. I feel down and beaten sometimes too. But then something inside me thinks “no, there must be a way“… I literally tie my hair up and roll my metaphorical sleeves up … and get ready by dancing and singing with those Trolls … and sometimes I need a hand. I need support. Just someone to turn on the music and dance with me until I can feel the beat again (I’m back in metaphor here 😉)

So if you need someone to support you, give a shout – hear the answering roar…. “Hair Up!” 

Colouring the World

With Rock Solid Compassion (and Paint!)

The role of art in self esteem & equality are immeasurable. This month, I was very interested to note, that a “well known crayon manufacturer” has joined forces with a “well known cosmetics company” to release a set of 24 crayons that can be used to represent 40 identified skin colours of the world. It’s so children can accurately represent themselves, when they are drawing.

Sounds amazing right?

Or so I thought!

Being a vigilant type of vegan, I thought I’d check on the ingredients of said crayons & I was horrified to find out that they are NOT vegan! Not even close! In fact, that distinctive smell of our childhood crayons is rendered down cow fat! Yuk!

Your happy memories of colouring in, racing to get that particular colour blue crayon, destroyed in an instant!

You want to encourage your children to draw; loving art & expressing themselves is hugely important. But most children also love animals!

Do you want them to draw & colour pretty things with bits of dead cow?

Heck no! So, I have made a little video to show you how to mix flesh tones with paint, so you & your children, can represent yourselves & your friends accurately (without harming animals in the process).

N.B. Please always:

  • check the paint ingredients / manufacturer
  • check that the brushes are not made of animal hair
  • check the paper is vegan too not made with gelatine

In doing the video, I had a revelation, something that I knew, but never really thought about: we are all made up of the primary colours, just in different, amounts!

Thats a pretty cool thing to show your children that using the crayons wouldn’t!

Primary colours are red, yellow & blue. Then there are the shades, i.e. white & black which are really just how much light is reflected or absorbed… that’s another big topic, I think this might be for another post …back to our focus today..

Have a look & see how easy it is :

So, in order to make anyone’s skin colour, you use a veritable rainbow of colours for each of us.  Even those with Albinism (missing one or both pigments that make colours), to make their skin tones, uses quite a few colours in fact!

Some interesting notes about skin colour:

  • Your genetic inheritance determines the starting point for your skin colour, but this is just your “base colour” if you will, many things influence the colour your skin is right now & that changes
  • We get our colours in our skin, eyes & hair from a pigment called “melanin” & this is produced by the skin cells when they are exposed to the sun, which is why some people get freckles the sun. (My husband is always fascinated with just how freckled I become!)
  • Some people burn very easily & others never at all, & then there’s every variation in-between
  • There are 2 types of melanin, a type that gives us a brown colour & a type that gives us a red colour. How the body produces melanin changes as a person ages. People who are born without the ability to produce one or  both of these types of melanin are have a condition called albinism
  • Exposure to sunlight changes your skin colour by increasing the melanin in the skin, more/less red or more/less brown
  • Human skin comes in a wide variety of colours, ranging from shades of very dark brown to almost white. It also comes in a variety of patterns too!

Knowing this information & how skin colour is made up, can help us understand all sorts of things from how to colour correct foundation when using make up, to why dogs noses can change colour in the summer & so much more. Maybe I should explore these topics further for you too…?

Sign up to my email list here.

  • Never miss a post
  • Get access to offers,
  • VIP previews

Browse my new items in my shop

“The way to be happy is to make others so.” -Robert G. Ingersoll

Jade in hospital bed with roses

It is Sunday, and it is dark and cold… well, the weather is anyway! But, in the Gadd household we are full of warmth and light right now. Let me expand:

Being a family with chronic conditions to cope with, and having long periods of time with members of the family, house or bed bound can be tough. Trips to hospital, dislocated joints, pain medication, bedpans, medical staff in the living room, and broken night’s sleep are all part of the package and are part of our norm. But that’s not who we are. We love life even when it is tough going, and one of the many reasons we do, is the people around us – both near and far.

First, I will make a small mention of this; because it is a true honour:

It seems my family, friends and students got their heads together to nominate me for the BBC Unsung Hero Award for Sports Volunteers and my nomination made it to the final three in the region! Wow!

It was a massive surprise (as you can probably tell if you saw the footage) and I am humbled by their love and regard shown in nominating me.

BUT honestly, I  also feel conflicted about it!  Because I know that they, the nominators themselves, should be the recipients of the award rather than me! The award is supposed to be about contributions to “sport”,  but the focus of my nomination was about my personal circumstances and carrying on the martial arts lessons during the last 6 years.

Whilst it is true that I did do that; I wasn’t alone and could not have done it alone.

I am acutely aware of all the people who were there to support me in so many ways. I need to mention here my black belt students / assistant instructors who take the class when I can’t – often at very short notice; my students, who also know that I might need to cancel or rush off to hospital at a moments notice, and my in-laws, that do all the front of house stuff for me. They are there, four times a week, rain or shine, because they want to make my life easier and support us all.

Jade and Tony themselves, of course, who have always encouraged me, no matter what was happening for them, to keep going. It must have been/be so hard for them to watch me walk out the door, to manage for that time and know that I am going to classes that they both used to be part of and now cannot take part in no matter how much they want to. Jade once said it was like a bereavement, but she has never asked me to stop. How big hearted is that?

I also want to mention an amazing martial artist and thought leader, Master Tom Callos, who is a huge influence on me and inspires me to be true to my values always.

I was, and continue to be; held up by them all. Emotionally and physically. The lessons, and the participants in those lessons, are part of my support mechanism that keeps me balanced, healthy and able to do the rest. I don’t think I am a hero, I am just me, stumbling on the best I can, supported by you!

So – “Look everyone – we are all doing good! You are all MY heroes! “

Next, we had a British Taekwondo Association seminar for Jade Aid. Full of wonderful people who were there to support Jade. It was an amazing day with four Grandmasters, including our President and his wife, generously travelling to Durham and giving their expertise to make a wonderful seminar!  What a wonderful group of peeps, doing their thing to support others and giving a very informative “street self defence seminar” too.

After that, we were the first customers for @The Green at Coxhoe, having a scrumptious buffet at the end of training!

@The Green is so special to us as it continues the family dream that we had, before the health issues, as Tearoom @Wabi-Sabi. This dream seemed to be gone when Jade and Tony became ill. It was heart wrenching to see all our hard work seemly gone in the blink of an eye.

But along came Amanda, Joyce and Windy, with the want to build a community, serve good food and spread happiness. They want to combine that with promoting health through arts and martial arts. It seemed too good to be true, but there they are. They have just opened and are walking the talk. Visit them at

We can’t tell them enough how much their work means to us. We can see our dreams in their dreams and feel peaceful that we laid the foundations and it was not for nothing. We get to support and be part of their adventure as they support and are part of ours!

Last thing to mention this time, is the amazing Longovicium Legionnaires of Lanchester who put on a night they can be proud of for Jade Aid!  This motorcycle club is made-up of bikers with big hearts and determination to support Jade. Last year they put on a night for Jade which was great, but the very best thing was them! The love and support from the ladies and gentlemen of the Legionnaires was the most precious gift and Jade felt stronger to face her challenges because she has a whole load of new big brothers and sisters. After so much hate directed at her because of her disability she was pretty low and they lifted her up! She wears her torc on her wheelchair with pride.

This year, they have made her an honorary member! And their word, to work to make her life better, is their bond. Last nights event was brilliant. Unfortunately Jade was too unwell make it to the event personally, but by the power of technology, she got to see them and feel the love!

Now they are planning more events, so watch this space!

Anyway, the point of this post is this: people say to us all the time that they can’t believe all that we face and that we are still smiling and achieving. Part of this is that we choose to see the best in each situation and to find the lessons where we can. We are in fact genuinely happy for the most part. We are grateful. We have our low times of course, but we choose to see the light and welcome it. With that in mind I need to change the quote a little:

“The way to be happy is: to make others so & to open your hearts to receive the happiness being offered right back! ” -Rozalind M. Gadd

Challenges – ‘One joy scatters a hundred griefs” – Chinese Proverb

Yesterday I had so much planned. I had my mind set on being productive, and then, the Universe had other ideas! As is the way with chronic complex conditions, all plans were changed due to a routine catheter procedure going wrong for my daughter and having to rush to A&E.

The way my family works as a team always amazes me. Together we carried Jade down the steps of our home, managed to get her into the vehicle and off to A&E along with our dogs who were very concerned for her. Jade, it has to be said, is a powerhouse. She may be small but she is fierce! It was clearly very painful for her and and she was frightened that she may need another operation if she didn’t get seen soon enough – but she dug deep, as she always does, and helped us to help her.

At the same time, Tony discovered that one of his few remaining teeth, left after his cancer treatment, was moving in a worrying way and needed an emergency dentist. Quite emotional too to think of loosing another tooth. Push to the back of our minds until later…

I hurriedly arranged for my classes to be cancelled on the way to hospital so could concentrate on Jade. My students are just amazing, understanding and supportive.

Next was a nervous time. We knew a few things: Jade needed an intervention before her wound closed up. Without the constant flow with the catheter, it was a short amount of time until she started to have seizures and all the dislocations that go with that, and, she was already in bladder retention, which is very painful.

A&E was very busy and although the nurse had rung ahead to say Jade needed to be seen on arrival – it was still nearly an hour before we were seen. In the meantime – as predicted there were spasms, seizures and a speculator overflow in the waiting room. Jade met it all with dignity.

There we were, all smiling and talking calmly but the pressure was building up, knowing if she wasn’t seen, the consequences would be very unpleasant. Jade has been through so much the last few weeks, it was not a pleasant thought at all. The minutes passed by and our hopes started to dissolve with each.

Eventually it was Jade’s turn. We were resigned and honestly a bit crest-fallen. We had made such a huge effort to get to A&E in time. But no-one seemed to quite understand the urgency, and then when finally seen by specialist nurse we were told, she “should have been seen straight away” …we all swallowed words of frustration down and explained that we had tried etc. Partition it off !That can be something to tackle another day..

Sad and heartbroken for Jade, we watched as the nurse confirmed that we were too late. Jade laid back and sighed. Defeated…and then, she remembered that she felt that the wound always ran off to one side, would the nurse try again? The nurse got the smallest catheter and tried as directed by Jade and… No, it would not go through.

“Please try again”, Jade steeled herself.

The nurse said of course, she really wanted to save Jade the trauma of what what was to come if unsuccessful. She tried… “No. I’m so sorry. Hang on…there’s little channel…”, just as Jade said and “We are in!”

A cheer and round of applause! Everyone in A&E must have been wondering what was going on, but we were jubilant. All of us we just so happy. Yes, it is not over. Dilation beckons but for now we are over the moon.

It may seem a small “joy” but it is huge to us. And suddenly the pressure cooker feeling is gone. Angry thoughts oscillating with feelings of defeat have dissipated because we are so very happy that we got the right nurse, we have a warrior Jade and well, we can see ‘wee’! WHEEEEEEEE!

To access your FREE Zoom Qi Gong Lessons or register for your magical E-Letter, register here:Join the List