Continuing the Inspired By Nature Series, I am thrilled to be talking to Bex Partridge from Botanical Tales. Bex is a floral artist and makes the most beautiful wreaths and dried floral arrangements and also runs creative botanical workshops. Mother of two beautiful boys, she is currently working as a brand marketer whilst she establishes her creative lifestyle business.
Find out what inspires her most about nature and how she balances motherhood, work and her creativity. Please welcome Bex…
Can you describe a typical day to me?
My days are incredibly varied and often a little manic! My boys are both early risers so we are normally up between 5.30-6am on most days. Then depending on the day of the week I will head to an early yoga class or save that for last thing in the evening – it’s my only real time alone and I really notice the difference to my day if I start with a strong yoga session. I work 4 days a week in my main job which is a high paced marketing role for a couple of well-known household brands. I am lucky that I am given a huge amount of flexibility in my job so I will do the school/nursery drop off if I am starting late that day. My husband and I split the household tasks 50/50 and for my first son we split the maternity leave so he could take 3 months off when we moved to the Netherlands. I couldn’t do what I do without this balanced approach to our family life. From a Botanical Tales perspective, there isn’t really a day that goes past without me doing something on this. I may be writing a blog post, updating my shop or creating new designs. Plus, trying to squeeze in taking a few photos for social media. I am at the stage now where I am getting a little frustrated with the limited amount of time I can give to Botanical Tales, I feel it has so much potential.
What is it about nature that inspires you?
Everything! I have always been that person that prefers a long walk to spending a day at the shops and gardening has been a constant theme throughout my life. Then with the influence of my husband, who used to be an ecologist and now works at WWF to save species from extinction, it has become even more important to me. So what inspires me? I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of nature, of the cyclical process that never ends and of how resilient nature can be despite the many challenges thrown its way by mankind. I also absolutely love the beauty, sometimes understated, but always present.
Do you have a favourite season?
This is so tricky and I often ask myself the same question. In short the answer is no, I enjoy and welcome each season but of course some come with more challenges than others. Now I have found a way to manage my SAD I actually really enjoy Winter, because there is less to do outside and less abundance of flowers around, you have to take time to seek, which is a good challenge and makes you more attuned to what is going on around you. I also find that I am more creative in Winter as I have the headspace to think, versus in the summer when I spend every spare minute of my day outside gardening or at the allotment. That being said, I adore nurturing seeds and watching them grow from these teeny tiny seedlings to fully fledged plants within a few months. Just like being a mother, there is something so enjoyable at watching your brood flourish.
How does nature impact the way you choose to live with your family?
I am struggling a little at the moment with my current job and the amount of time I am forced to spend inside as a result of it, be that in the car commuting or in an office. I really feel the impact on my health and wellbeing. Because of that we make every attempt to get out for long walks and to bring nature into the home through my hanging creations or wreaths, that way we can enjoy every season no matter the weather. We also try, as much as possible to lead a sustainable life. We grow our own fruit and vegetables, we keep worms to compost the kitchen scraps and provide us with fertiliser for our crops and wherever possible we avoid getting in the car. We spent two years living in Amsterdam and the freedom of travelling around by bike is something that has stayed with me, I just wish the UK wasn’t so obsessed with cars and that our roads were safer to cycle on.
How does nature influence your work and business?
Nature is my work. Where possible I only use natural, biodegradable elements to my art with the exception of my picture frames and metal wreath bases. My vision for Botanical Tales is to capture the beauty of nature and the seasons in creative pieces that are a wonderful addition to your home. I also absolutely love running my workshops such as wreath making. It’s amazing to see people lose themselves in the process and I have had some wonderful responses. I firmly believe there is so much nature has to offer, and if you are responsible when foraging, a lot of it can be completely free, aside from the time you need to invest.
Do you have any examples about how nature has taught you something about yourself or your self care?
Since starting Botanical Tales, nature has become even more important in my life, and this shift in my life has definitely impacted my well-being in a positive way. My husband will often tell me to get outside if he gets a sense of me beginning to get depressed or sad in some way – he knows that that is my tonic and it will help lift me out of my mood. Being outside with nature either walking or gardening is my ‘go to’ when I feel a dip in my mood. I also try as much as possible to utilise the power of nature when it comes to healing. When I had mastitis with Arlo, I successful cleared that up by trying out all natural remedies including drinking raw garlic which avoided a trip to the doctors and antibiotics. I am forever shouting about the benefits of witch hazel (which is a natural antiseptic) to my friends!
What advice would you give others about wanting to live more a tune with nature?
It really only takes small actions to live a little closer to nature. Firstly, I would recommend that people spend a few minutes a day outside, whether that’s in your garden or a park, and just use that time to be present. And by that I mean, not on your phone or thinking about things that you need to do, but instead taking in your surroundings, notice the beauty of nature and simply ‘be’. The amount of time we spend in artificial light can affect your body clock, so being outside even on a cloudy day can help your mood immensely. Another thing to try is to grow something, whether that be in the garden or in your house. The sense of achievement you get from growing a house plant or blooming a rose bush is heart-warming.
What are you thoughts on whether working with nature helps you live in a more mindful and wholehearted way?
I wholeheartedly agree. I have gone through a big shift in my values and approach to life over the past few years since I have started to work more closely with nature. I am seeking out a simpler life, one where I can balance my creative work with my family and whilst that means making choices about incomes and will involve a significant change in the way we live our lives, I couldn’t be more excited. To be able to live a life where I stay true to my values and beliefs is I believe, living a fulfilled life.
All photos courtesy of Bex Partridge.