Tag Archives: places

Ten Places I Found Joy This Winter

The cold months hold some real treasures –
here’s how and where I found joy this winter…

Ten Places I Found Joy This Winter - The Last Krystallos

It doesn’t matter what the weather, I spied a meadow through a gate swathed in fog and it made the most beautiful picture. The Elan Valley was cold and crisp when Bekah and I visited and the walk was stunning. A simple dog walk through local roads and fields conjure up joy especially when you’re wrapped up warm. The girls and I went up to Brechfa Forest to do a photoshoot for Cait’s art, the mist and rain offered a haunting vista through the woods.

Misty Meadow - Pen y Bont Elan Valley - Local Dog Walking - Brechfa Forest - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Vince and I escaped to London for a weekend, it rained, but The Phantom of The Opera made it memorable along with the sights and sounds of the city. Seeing the Shard disappear up into fog was beautiful. The seagulls perching atop George IV’s head and horse in Trafalgar Square were highly amusing as the statue itself had anti-bird spikes about the plinth, didn’t bother the birds, George’s head will do just fine!

Lisa and Vince Tower Bridge - Shard City of London - George IV Trafalgar Sq - Phantom of the Opera - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I mentioned being wrapped up warm. Winter is cold, and my Scottish fingerless gloves were invaluable during the cold. My Stargazer pyjamas, I don’t think I’ve ever owned nightwear up ‘til now, but I love these! My grey scarf was a must this season, and I got Dr Martens, Cherry Red Arcadia for Christmas and matched them up with this cute burgundy tulle skirt to feel especially good!

Scottish Gloves - Stargazer - Grey Scarf - Cherry Red Arcadia Dr Martens - Burgundy Tulle - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Those fingerless gloves helped keep my fingers typing during my edits, even if Raven wanted attention instead. Writing and reading brings me great joy and tapping away at the keyboard during winter months is one of my favourite things. I redrew my maps and sketched for my new work in progress The Seren Stone.

Raven interrupting edits - research - A Symphony of Dragons - Maps and Edits - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The best thing is getting out in the cold is for a Hot Chocolate and weekdays means my kids joining me at Pethau Da in Carmarthen.

Pethau Da Hot Chocolate - Bekah and Lisa, Dan, Cait and Lisa

© Lisa Shambrook

The other thing I spent a lot of winter doing was painting, some are secret projects, but I treated myself to some gorgeous art this Christmas from Tahina Morrison and J Edward Neill’s Hither The Wind and Amanda Makepeace’s Winter Raven. My children bought Vince and I the best anniversary gift with a print of the constellations on our wedding day. The stars are my thing!

Art - Hither the Wind - Winter Raven - Constellations - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Crystals and stars are my happy place. Peridot gems have been part of my research for The Seren Stone Chronicles, as are both smoky and clear quartz, I’ve been learning much about crystal therapy and using stones within my writing. The bracelet brought me great joy when Vince bought the Trollbead Wishful Sky set. It came along with one of my favourite quotes: I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the dark…

Peridot - Smoky Quartz - Clear Quartz - Trollbeads - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Our pets give us huge joy, Roxy will flip to her back and ask for a belly rub which just melts us, Raven curls up and purrs like a motorbike, and Misty had us all in hysterics when I took my new Docs out their box and she jumped in. When I tried to reclaim the box you can clearly see her warning to just walk away…

Roxy - Raven - Misty - Roxy - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Then nature gives us the most spectacular displays. In December we had a Super Blue Blood Moon and as it shone over the River Towy, I stood totally entranced. It snowed, briefly in Carmarthen, but much more the country over, and just crunching in the little snow we had brought me joy! Snowdrops have just begun to nod their stunning heads, and chasing rainbows has always brought glorious moments.

Super Blue Blood Moon River Towy - Rainbow - Snow - Snowdrops - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, there are moments of joy in unexpected places. Discovering baby reindeer in town at Christmas, finding Jack Frost’s handiwork on your car windscreen when you get up, holding a baby dragon in an acorn cup… and the beauty in things that aren’t always beautiful, the rainbows of colour in an oil spill on the pavement.

Reindeer - Jack Frost - Baby Dragon - Oil Rainbow - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

These are the things I notice,
simple and, sometimes, small things that bring me great joy.

Loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night - Sarah Williams - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Where did you find joy this winter?  

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10 Places on Earth I am Grateful for…

My second post for the Gratitude Project…see here for original post. I considered the places that I am grateful for.
I’ve chosen places that evoke powerful memories for me or that mean something particular, though coming from a modest background means I don’t have any foreign travel stories…that will have to wait ’till the children have left home and Vince and I can travel! So my Places are all home grown!

1. This is Hove, or rather Hove actually… I was born in what is now apparently called Brighton and Hove, but I still differentiate between the two. I took this picture just after sunset one evening sitting with one of my best mates on a stone groyne beside The West Pier, or what was left of it! My favourite places are beside the sea. This picture, even shows the power station at Shoreham in the far distance, a chimney jutting up on the horizon…where my husband proposed to me!

Hove Beach © Lisa Shambrook

2. This brings me to Brighton…I miss Brighton terribly! I love the diversity and vibrance of the town I frequented as a teen and love going back. It helps that it’s on the seafront, I used to work in Brighton’s council offices, and my desk was beside the window looking out upon the ocean. Yes, I was a daydreamer when I wasn’t working…staring out at the sun twinkling on the sea! This picture brings back waves of memories…

Scan of a card bought in Brighton, unsure of artist – Brighton Promenade

Just along the coast is Rottingdean…and this is my favourite photograph, taken on one of those glorious days when the sky allowed rays of sunshine to burst through as we climbed across the rocks and pools

Rottingdean © Lisa Shambrook

3. Butlins always brings a smile to my face…many childhood holidays spent in the pool, funfair, shows and on the monorail (which is now sadly defunct). Minehead was the destination most years…and we’ve enjoyed a couple of lovely holidays there in the last few years with my own family! (That’s me in the blue costume).

Butlins Minehead in the eighties © Lisa Shambrook

The Stiperstones © Lisa Shambrook

At the foot of the Stiperstones © Lisa Shambrook

4. When I was young I loved reading Malcolm Saville’s ‘Lone Pine Five’ books, many of them were set in Shropshire…and I developed a love of the countryside he described, so much so that I desperately wanted to visit The Stiperstones. I wanted to see the ‘Devil’s Chair’.
I remember a trip up to Chester zoo a few years ago with the children and on the way home, following the map, I saw The Stiperstones just off on a little detour…not so little, but we got to the car park and set off, ignoring the ominous clouds brewing above. A long walk across the heather and grass and we finally made it to the rocks! It was late, about 9pm, and suddenly the heavens opened…we grabbed hands and ran, racing down the hillside dodging stones and dips in the grass. We got back to the car drenched to the skin, but laughing our heads off! The children remember the visit to the zoo, but it’s the adventure up to the Devil’s Chair that they remember most!

5. Talking of Devils…the next place is Devil’s Dyke in Brighton. Many, many memories over the years. Kissing in the moonlight, playing pool in the pub, breaking up, first romantic dinner out in the new restaurant, walks across the green hills, adventure, love, and an anniversary dinner just a year or two ago…

Saddlescombe Hill, Devil’s Dyke © Lisa Shambrook

6. Petit Bot Bay in Guernsey… I went on holiday with my friend, then a year later was spending my honeymoon there…obviously full of memories!

Petit Bot Bay, Guernsey © Lisa Shambrook

7. As I’ve said I love the ocean…and holidays in West Wales turned out with us living up here. A childhood holiday found Aberieddy, and years later I took my daughter there to swim in the gorgeous green water one hot summer day! Swimming in a sea-fed pool 82 feet deep, felt surreal and wonderful. People also dive off the ruined building on the far side of the lagoon…couldn’t bring myself to do that!

Aberieddy, Pembrokeshire © Lisa Shambrook

Edinburgh © Lisa Shambrook

Edinburgh © Lisa Shambrook

8. Edinburgh is in my opinion the most beautiful city in the United Kingdom. We took the children on a mystery tour…waking them at 5am, driving to Cardiff airport, giving them their first aeroplane ride and watching them trying to guess which destination we were flying to… We were in Edinburgh before we knew it and adored it! I loved the Writer’s museum and marvelled at the pavements outside. This was just beyond the Royal Mile in a quiet back square…and we discovered paving slabs covered in quotes and poetry…I loved reading them!

9. I love Welsh legend and lore, and the sculpture of Llewellyn up in Llandovery amazes me…anywhere with a castle and some history and I’m happy!

Llewellyn, Llandovery © Lisa Shambrook

10. My final place…is my home. Carmarthen has been my home now for eighteen and a half years. It is right in the middle of some gorgeous countryside…I’m close to beaches and the ocean, to mountains, to rivers and reservoirs, to castles…and waterfalls and woodlands…you name it, it’s here! We went up in a helicopter a few years ago and looked down on our house and got amazing pics of the town where we live. Just behind my home is a narrow forest of pine, opposite is the hospital (just in the right side of pic) and just to the north of the picture is a river that runs beside an old steam railway. My favourite dog walk is by the river, unfortunately they are planning to reopen the disused railway line…(you can see the railway in my banner at the top of my blog) so we can’t walk right by the river anymore.

Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

So these are  my favourite places, the places in this world which I am most grateful for, or where I am most happy to be!