Tag Archives: green

Changing Colours and Website Updates

Colour rules our emotions and draw us in,
and the colours we choose to surround ourselves with say a lot about us…

Lisa Shambrook website Dragon Logo with author photo

© Lisa Shambrook

The past few weeks have been all about updating. You’ve seen my new book covers, got the release dates in your diary, and now you can check out my new colour palette online!

Things change – that’s a fact of life. I’ve not always been great at embracing change, but this time is different. My books have got a publisher and a new look, and my website needed a change.

Green Website - Slate Website - thelastkrystallos - lisa shambrook

Old Green Website and New Slate Website © Lisa Shambrook

My favourite colour has always been green right from being a little girl, then it went through a teenage purple phase and back to green. I still love green, don’t get me wrong, but alongside green right now is a new favourite. A colour that’s crept into my wardrobe, flows throughout nature, and adorns the stormy sky.

I love the stormy shade of slate that the ocean rises with, the skies embrace, and it suits me too.

You’ll find the tone in bluebells, stone, water, sky, and gems. It has richness and sophistication that cools and calms, and also precipitates storm and passion.

Green Palette - Slate Palette - thelastkrystallos - lisa shambrook

Old Green Palette and New Slate Palette © Lisa Shambrook

My website looked lovely in warm olive greens, but it feels like it’s grown up a little with the enchanting tone of slate blue-grey.

It carries a hint of lilac, blue, and even the warmth of olive, but stands alone in a new clean and fresh take.

It’s dusk before the indigo night and a star-spilled sky, and it’s an emerging dawn full of hope and light.

It’s a hue that conveys emotion and imagination, and fits me well – and that’s all I could ask for.

The Surviving Hope Novels by Lisa Shambrook - Coming Soon 2018

What colours have you used online, and why?

What colours talk to you?

Advertisements

How to be Greener – and Save our Planet

Most of us are working on becoming better people
– more aware environmentally, socially, and consciously.
This post offers ideas on how we can become greener.

How to be Greener – and Save our Planet - The Last Krystallos

I’m currently writing of a future society who’ve suffered from our somewhat unconscious attitude to the environment. They feel passionately about keeping their renewed world environmentally safe. We need to be thinking perhaps not centuries into the future, but rather about making the world better for our children and our grandchildren. Hopefully, from there change will happen and grow. 

It’s a bit-by-bit process. It’s incredibly difficult to change your life completely, so the best thing we can do is change one thing in our life at a time. We must be careful not to judge each other – we all change at different times and at different speeds. Just because I can afford a Stainless Steel water bottle doesn’t mean someone else can yet. The bottle will save me money in the long run, but not everyone can afford the original cost of an environmental bottle in one go. Becoming environmentally aware and active is a process and every single change for the better is a step in the right direction.

Pick one thing to change and keep at it until it’s natural/habit, and then pick another. Bit by bit we can become greener and more environmentally friendly.

So, here are some ways we can preserve the Earth and help save this planet:

Sho Stainless Steel Water Bottle - the last krystallos

SHO Water Bottle – water © Lisa Shambrook

Stop buying so many plastic bottles – I bought a SHO Stainless Steel Bottle because I carry water with me everywhere.

Drink tap water not bottled water – studies have shown there’s not much difference between the two, if any, and bottled water is ridiculously expensive, and companies like Nestle are often unethical in the way they procure water.

Reusable Shopping Bags - Glass Jars - Hot Choc - the last krystallos

Reusable Cloth Bags – Glass Jars – Homemade Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

Start using reusable cloth bags instead of plastic bags. Supermarkets are working on reducing plastic bags and the time when they stop providing plastic bags completely is likely not far away. Take bags with you whenever you shop and make it a habit.

Store food in glass jars – this might not eliminate plastic packaging when you buy, but you can buy more or bigger bags in bulk and lessen the waste.

Stop using Cling Film or Food Wrap – new alternatives like soy or beeswax wraps are becoming available, again the more the demand the cheaper they’ll eventually become.

In the UK the government is now phasing out plastic straws and is talking about phasing out wet wipes too. Help this initiative along by reducing your use, or switching to paper straws and environmentally friendly wipes.

Make your own – find online recipes to make your own hot chocolate, or buy loose tea and coffee – so you don’t need to buy these items in plastic tubs, or tea in tea bags – some companies still use plastic in their tea bags.

Seanik Shampoo Bar Lush Tin - Bath Bomb - Lip Balm - the last krystallos

Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar – Handmade Bath Bomb – Nivea Lip Butter © Lisa Shambrook

Use shampoo bars kept in a tin or dish – no plastic bottle, no parabens, silicones, and additives. I have thin hair and the Lush sea salt Seanik shampoo bar has given my hair great body and shine.

Try moisturising Bars – instead of hand creams etc in plastic dispenser bottles – try Lush or Etsy or local handmade bars mine is Turkish Delight from Naked Sister.

Lip balms are often packed into tins these days, Nivea Lip Butter is my favourite with Vanilla and Macadamia, and Blueberry Blush, but several other brands also do this.

Turkish Delight Moisturising Bar Naked Sister Label - the last krystallos

Turkish Delight Bar – Naked Sister © Lisa Shambrook

Menstrual cups and washable cloth sanitary pads are a great way to be environmentally friendly at that time of the month – this can wipe out the use of a lot of plastic, and will save money in the long run. It can be difficult to spend out in bulk but perhaps try one or two brands of pad until you find what works for you, but them when you can afford them.

Cloth nappies – as above, a large outlay, but perhaps ask for them as gifts, buy during your pregnancy, spread the cost. I believe the prices are getting lower as more parents use them. We all know the damage disposable nappies do to the environment and if we can, reusables are the way to go.

Fruit and Veg from Green Grocer - Grow Salad - Compost Wormery - the last krystallos

Green Grocer – Homegrown Salad leaves – Wormery © Lisa Shambrook

Have a go at growing your own or buy local from green grocers – grow fruit and veg in tubs or in the garden. In the long run it’ll be cheaper than the supermarket. If you can’t grow your own then buy from Green Grocer’s, again cheaper, local, and less plastic packaging. You can’t beat veg from your own garden for convenience and taste!

Compost Bin or set up a Wormery – Most councils do recycle food waste, but even better if you can recycle your own and use the compost to help grow your own.

You can also blend your food waste (veg peelings, fruit, rind etc) and liquidise with water and use it as plant food. Some Wormery’s also have a run off of liquid that works brilliantly to feed your garden.

Eating Vegetarian or Vegan regularly can change up your diet and help the environment. Try it several times a week or commit for life – it saves water and money.

We all get frustrated by the rubbish that gets posted through our front doors… Opt out of Junk Mail – save paper.

Change all incandescent lightbulbs to fluorescent or LED – save energy.

Reduce reliance on paper towels – many people use tea towels, scraps of material, and I even saw someone’s suggestion of a supply of 7” squares of flannel in the bathroom instead of toilet paper – (only for drying wet use) and keeping used pieces in an old antique chamber pot, then washed in a wash net with usual washing. Not sure I’m ready for this one yet…

Woollies - Washing Cold - Cleaning - the last krystallos

Woollies – Wash Low Temperature – Cleaning © Lisa Shambrook

Turn your thermostat down by at least one degree. Cut your timed heating. Wear jumpers and sweaters if you’re cold.

Use your washing machine on the coldest setting for most washes – this will save energy and money.

Clean with baking soda and vinegar – cheaper by miles, and keep mixtures in mason jars – there are plenty of ideas to be found online for homemade cleaning products.

Lastly, don’t buy chewing gum – made from plastic, latex, talc, colours and fillers – go on look it up – used to be made from gum from the sapodilla tree but not for a long time. Almost indestructible and bad for the planet, it’s not a wonder than several cities have banned gum completely!

There are many more ways to save this planet, this is just a set of ideas,
somewhere to start… but please tell me more in the comments.

Plastic - Polluting Our Oceans - Earth - the last krystallos

How do you save the Earth, reduce plastic, and save money?

Visual Sensory Aid…

How do we process life? How do we learn and how do we cope?
Are you Visual, Auditory, or Kinaesthetic?

Visual Sensory Aid - The Last Krystallos
I recently discussed this with my daughters, and we found that we each work/cope/learn/love differently according to our Neuro Linguistic Programming, NLP. It is thought that 60% of us are Visual, while 20% are Auditory, and 20% Kinaesthetic.

I posted a piece How to Feel Loved – Discover your Love Strategy back in 2015 helping us to find out how we feel love. My love strategy is Kinaesthetic, but overall my outlook on life is Visual.

Visual Sensory Aid - Tiger - Bubble - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

When completing a VAK Survey, I score a full house in Visual. You can get an idea of your VAK Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic learning style/type here.

We were browsing stores when Bekah picked up a sensory toy and thrust it into my hands, proclaiming it should be mine. She was right. I suffer anxiety and panic, and I have Sensory Processing Disorder which means I often need ways to distract myself from the pangs of panic, the tentacles of anxiety, and the sensitivity of SPD.

Eyes Visual - Bekah Shambrook - The Last Krystallos

© Bekah Shambrook

I’ve been trying to meditate, but I struggle to stay focused for long enough. I am such a visual person that my imagination goes into overdrive when I settle to meditate and my thoughts stray too fast for meditation to be much use. Meditation does work in the right place, and I can sometimes use my visualisation skills to take me on a journey, and follow through the exercise, but often I fall short.

I need something that will help give me a time out when I get too restless.

I have a stim that grounds me when I’m out or in company – acorn cups – smoothing them between thumb and forefinger help to keep me focused and grounded, but at home it’s nice to find something different to help.

Visual Sensory Aid - Tiger - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

This toy does just that. It’s similar to a lava lamp, and the little toys with coloured oil slipping through water.

A coloured (oil based?) slime falls like an egg timer, and slips through a hole in the centre of a container. It runs through, creating bubbles that rise and coils of slime as it falls. The whole process in this version (£3 from Tiger) takes about six to seven minutes.

I use it as a grounding tool, a time out, a relaxation moment, a focusing tool, and just time to think. And it works!

The movement stimulates my brain, both calming it and opening it. I can shut out the world and just watch it, or I can focus on the green kinetic movement and allow my brain to clear and alleviate anxiety, or clear my thoughts and let me move forward. It works with my visual programming!

Watch for just one minute…I love how calming this is!

Are you Visual, Auditory, or Kinaesthetic?
Do you have any little tips, toys, stims, which help you remain grounded?

 

Colours to Inspire – Jewel Tones – What’s Your Favourite?

Scrolling my Instagram feed I noticed my favourite colour is very prominent…
I adore jewel and neutral earthy colours – I’m a nature girl!

Colours to Inspire - What's Your Favourite - The Last Krystallos...

So, I thought I’d share my favourite jewel tones with you –
as found on Instagram green, purple, blue and red.

Colour-green-the-last-krystallos

Moss Green © Lisa Shambrook

Green has been my favourite colour since I was a little girl,
and has literally grown with me.
Green is nature, tranquillity, spiritual, and harmony…

Colour-purple-the-last-krystallos

Mythical Purple – © Lisa Shambrook

Purple had a stint as my favourite colour when I was in my teens,
but had to give way to green again.
Purple is royal, jewel, elegant, and magic…

Colour-red-the-last-krystallos

Burgundy Red – © Lisa Shambrook

Red, dark red, has become a late favourite, and I’ve grown into it.
Red is passion, sensual, love, and depth…

Colour-blue-the-last-krystallos

Teal Blue – © Lisa Shambrook

Blue, teal blue, is a colour that suits me, it works with my brunette hair.
Blue is calm, serene, oceans, and life…

What’s your favourite colour and what does it mean to you?

Glorious Autumn Leaves

We have had the most glorious autumn this year…
Colours that have truly stunned and beautified the season.

gold-bronze-red-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Gold, Bronze and Red © Lisa Shambrook

It’s been a colourful year in many ways – not always good ones – but the autumn leaves have brightened my life and made the tough stuff easier. Right now at the end of November and as we move into winter I need to make the most of the amazing colours and leaves before the trees have completely disrobed in the gales and November rain…

green-yellow-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Gold and Green © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve already posted a couple of autumn blogs this year: Autumn Days Are Here and The Best Bits of Autumnbut the leaves themselves warrant another post to bask within before the seasons change!

So, just enjoy my leaves in all their glory…

sycamore-helicopter-acorncup-red-leaf-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Sycamore Helicopter, Acorn Cup and Red Leaf © Lisa Shambrook

bronze-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Bronze and Green © Lisa Shambrook

red-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Red © Lisa Shambrook

oak-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Acorn, Oak, Green and Gold Leaves© Lisa Shambrook

bronze-crunchy-autumn-leaves-the-last-krystallos

Bronze, Crunchy Leaves © Lisa Shambrook

What have been your favourite colours and leaves this autumn?

#LoveATree Day… The Old Oak

How could I let #LoveATree Day go by without treating you to a picture of my favourite tree? So, yesterday I wandered through Green Castle Woods, as I have every Sunday for a few weeks, and took a pic…

green-castle-wood-old-oak-may-2016-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos.jpg

© Lisa Shambrook

Actually, I’ve taken a photograph every week for a bit and in a few weeks I’ll show you how this gorgeous tree has transformed from leafless to a full canopy. For now, enjoy this photo, as its leaves begin to unfurl and decorate this magical tree…

Thanks Annette for alerting me to this day with your own tree post!

The Fascinating World within Nature’s Carpet – Gathering Moss

Moss swathes the forest floor, old stone walls, and creeps leisurely onward.
It drapes the trees and cloaks the ground in a jewelled garment of green.
Moss creates its own miniature ecosystem – a forest within itself.

Gathering Moss - The Last Krystallos

Brechfa Forest - Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Brechfa Forest © Lisa Shambrook

My favourite colour is very much lead by nature and lends itself to my romantic soul which finds delight in anything serene and beautiful. My favourite colour is the honey green of moss, the earthy colour of the forest floor softened by the peridot jewel tone.

When I need to unwind or just return to my roots, I wander in the forests and the earthy tones of green and soft breeze lull my soul.

One gram of moss contains... - Robin Wall Kimmerer | The Last Krystallos

Robin Wall Kimmerer © Lisa Shambrook

 

 

 

 

 

There are over 1,000 species of moss in Britain, with more yet to be discovered, though many people only notice two or three varieties. If you get right down on the woodland ground you’ll see the intricate detail and real ecosystem living right there in amongst the moss and lichen, especially if you have a magnifying glass. Moss is nature’s carpet.

Reindeer Moss - Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Reindeer Moss © Lisa Shambrook

Moss and lichens don’t have root systems, they anchor themselves with rhizoids. They don’t draw nourishment from the ground but through photosynthesis, air and water. They hold many times their own weight in water and aid the forest as sponging, cooling and humidifying systems. They are also able to go dormant when they’re under stress.

Elan Valley - Haircap Moss | Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Elan Valley – Haircap Moss © Lisa Shambrook

They have great strength, especially as they grow dense and low to the ground, but they are still vulnerable. They are stripped for the florist industry and are constantly trod upon. As our society, towns and farms spreads into their territory they try to grow, as you’ll see on walls, paving slabs and rooves, but many new building materials are not moss friendly. Many people will also treat moss with weed-killer killing off their tiny ecosystems. My garage shares its roof with my neighbour’s garage and my side of the roof was blanketed with little hedgehogs of cushion moss, and my neighbour, who follows a regimented gardening style used a weed-killer to remove the moss and thereby prevent damp in the garage. This made me sad – I suppose I don’t mind a little damp…

Moss in its element - Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Moss in its element © Lisa Shambrook

One of my most favourite places locally is the Brechfa Forest. It’s like a fairy-tale forest and I expect to bump into Galadriel. Moss covers the forest floor in a springy carpet and drapes like feathery curtains from the fir trees. It’s a magical walk, and the dog loves it too!

Brechfa Moss - Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Moss in Brechfa © Lisa Shambrook

Ancient conversation moses and rocks - Robin Wall Kimmerer - Gathering Moss | The Last Krystallos

Robin Wall Kimmerer © Lisa Shambrook

What do you love about moss? Or do you have a different favourite woodland flora?
One of my most favourite photos is one I took on Exmoor of a tree swathed in moss…pure magic…

Exmoor mossy tree - The Last Krystallos

Exmoor moss swathed tree © Lisa Shambrook

A Purple Swathe of Bluebells – Beauty in Blue…

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower, that waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power to soothe my spirit’s care…
(Emily Bronte – The Bluebell)

a purple swathe of bluebells, purple swathe, beauty in blue, the last krystallos,

I promised a blog post on bluebells, an indulgence on my part as they’re my favourite flowers.

Blue, pink and white bluebells  © Lisa Shambrook

Blue, pink and white bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

I have clear memories of bluebell woodland walks when I was a little girl, running through the woods, jumping over tree roots and dancing through swathes of blue.

We didn’t live far from the Bluebell Railway, and a school trip saw me daydreaming out of the steam train window at the banks of bluebells. The verges and railway banks near my home were also strewn with the flowers during spring and I used to bring home bunches of wilting blue, pink and white bluebells for mum on the way home from school.

Bluebells never lost their appeal. That splash of colour, a carpet of blue from afar, delicate nodding bells, with barely there stripes, close up, and the air of mysticism…

Bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

Bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

Bluebells are symbolic of gratitude, humility and constancyall virtues that ring true to me – and they are closely linked to the realm of fairies, appealing to my love of all mythical and fantastical, ‘tis said that bluebells are rung to bring the fairies together.

As a child I adored Mary Cicely Barker’s Flower Fairies, my favourites were all the purple flowers, but her bluebell fairy disappointed me. I wanted her to look like the lavender fairy, so I spent many hours drawing and making up my own bluebell flower fairies. I only wish I’d kept the pictures!

It made sense that one day bluebells would burst forth within my own writing, and they did becoming a theme throughout my current series. The first book benefitted from a photoshoot in our local bluebell woods, Greencastle Woods, and became the cover of my first published novel ‘Beneath the Rainbow’. That’s my daughter in the picture, recreating a scene from the book where Freya finds herself in her own heaven. Her favourite place in her heaven is sitting amongst the bluebells, where she finds peace and calm. Bluebells also become a source of both grief and comfort for Freya’s mother, a way of showing the passing of time, and become a recurring theme in all three books.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

In my own life, bluebells are a source of joy, heralding a season of growth and new life, and they always ignite memories encouraging gratitude and introspection.  Bluebells inspire me and make me happy, maybe it’s their colours. My favourite colour is green, closely followed by all shades of purple and lilac. Green offers calm, soothing, restful tones of growth and inspiration, and purple is the passionate, harmonious, meditative colour of creatives and the mysterious. These colours are me, so the bluebell becomes a signature flower, a representative of my own personality.

Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

This year I have made time to walk our dog through our local bluebell woods as much as I can…enjoying the beauty, the swathes of blue and the quiet of nature. In Wales, the bluebells are at their peak, and if you can go seek out your own woods…see if you can hear the tinkling bells and fluttering of wings…

Are there bluebell woods near you? Let me know, and if I’m ever up your way in the spring, I will check them out!

beneath the rainbow, beneath the old oak, lisa shambrook, books, novels, If you want to read
‘Beneath the Rainbow’ and
‘Beneath the Old Oak’
all links are on my website.

Beneath the Rainbow:
“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let death stand in her way. When she dies Freya knows she needs to move on, but is caught within her mother’s grief and the discovery of terminally ill Old Thomas. Beneath her Rainbow…Freya needs to reach her mother, wait for Old Thomas and be ready to move on.

Beneath the Old Oak:
“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her Mum’s erratic behaviour, she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape, she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. A storm descends, and Meg needs to survive devastating losses.

swathe of bluebells, bluebell woods, greencastle woods carmarthen, bluebells, the last krystallos,

Bluebells, Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Family Photo Wall

We redecorated recently (by supreme order from Oldest Daughter) and our lounge went from this (top pic) to this (bottom pic)…
The original green didn’t actually look as dull as the picture suggests, and it wasn’t the exact moss shade I had in mind…however we’d bought the paint and had no money left after we moved in, so we lived with it for the next seven years…

I’m really pleased with the new colours: ‘Soft Stone’ on the walls and an accent wall of ‘Intense Truffle’, but our main aim was to add the ‘Family Photo Wall’ as below:

I knew what I wanted and got further ideas (see above montage) from Pinterest and off we went, scouring the house and shops…mainly TKMaxx ( I love that store and can barely pass it by without going in and coming back out with something wonderful!) for frames

We fixed up a huge sheet of paper (wallpaper lining) across the wall and pinpointed the nails that were already on the wall (it was a bit annoying for the layout to be constrained by nails in the walls from previous occupiers, but needs must), then laid it on the floor and placed our frames in the desired locations.

Then I hunted through our family photographs to chose pictures to get reprinted and decided which frames would suit them best. Once they arrived we laid them out again, photos in frames, to be sure the layout worked.

Next we hung the main four pictures on the nails that already existed and began the fun bit of hammering in a dozen or so more nails! Finally the blank wall:
was covered:
The whole room had a makeover: the mismatched, falling apart sofa’s got new throws and cushions all in my green and brown accent colours, and we discovered a plethora of lovely green ‘bits and pieces’…that would be their official name, of course!
I am now very happy with a redecorated and much decluttered room…with only the rear of the room left to finish. Beyond the bookshelf in the above picture there is desk and shelf space, currently still in disorder due to husband’s lack of time to go through his bits and pieces. And the finale of the room which will be a wall similar to the family photo wall but full of quotes…‘The Quote Wall’…pictures will follow at some point…