Lock down lessons!

Lock down lessons….

I quite like change and challenges so when we were put into lock down I was a little concerned but generally more focused on how I would adapt and what would I need to put in place to get through this period of time.

The first couple of weeks I was certainly running on adrenaline! There was lots of dancing around my room, some highs, some lows , some hula hooping videos got put on Instagram and a routine of who I was going to talk to on what day and time was put into place immediately.

At the beginning I found I needed to chat to one person a day to help me stay balance and after a few weeks some of those chats stayed and some of them went and everything found a natural flow. The more time I spent alone the easier it got. The bigger the emotions that came up the easier they were to ride.

Loosing my work was not an issue there has been so much change over the years with regards to my career it was the loss of social contact that was more a concern.

I decided to start a podcast to keep myself entertained and I have been interviewing two people a week. It’s been a lovely way of keeping some sort of normality and having ‘normal’ conversations. What I have learned is that doing interviews from home is really handy and as I am a bit of home bird it works quite well for me. This is certainly something I will carry on. I discovered I had to try different places in my room to sit to find where I felt mist comfy! It’s the sofa! I can relax there, the desk makes me feel stuffy and to upright. I need to be able to chill when I’m interviewing.

It was also suggested to me that I run a creative group, I faffed around for a bit, over thought it but then decided to give it a go. I roped a few people in to be my guinea pigs and it’s turned out to be a success! We meet once a weekly for some lovely conversation and a creative challenge is set each week which we discuss the following week. I hope to make this into a membership. It was a reminder that we are always adapting and changing. There doesn’t come an point in life where you get a rest (which I hoped there might be! Darn)

Meditation had become an essential part to my life, I’ve been pretty good over the years but during lock down I got serious! I have done 30 mins to 1 hour each morning. I have had a morning routine that has looked a little like this… I get up, make my bed, grab a hot drink then meditate. After this I get my breakfast and eat that whilst I write in my diary. That includes and recount of the day before, a list of what I achieved, what I am grateful for, a stand out moment and a kind message to myself. Over the last 10 weeks I have missed two days, that how serious I got! I also had a daily check list of things I wanted to improve.

I found myself doing larger food shops than usual so I didn’t need to go to the shop as much. This resulted in me doing large bilk cooking session at the beginning of the week so I didn’t have to do anymore cooking throughout the week. It suited me wonderfully as I hate cooking everyday and I hate food shopping. This is something I will continue.

Pilates is something I used to do but got bored. Early on in lockdown I treated myself to a nice mat and I have done pilates three times a week on the decking outside. It been wonderful, I play beautiful relaxing music and it such a feel good thing to do, especially outside, I feels so novel.

Dance parties have also been a regular thing. Usually around 5 or 6 each day before my shower. I have found dancing to be one of the most beneficial things to do if I am feeling restless or a bit down in the dumps.

When the tears have needed to come I have learnt to really let them. I grab a blanket and curl up on the floor and just go for it and give myself a great big hug. Grief from my past relationship came up and I knew I needed to go with it and let it out. There were also a couple of days of anger which I had to let out too! I ranted to a mate and hit a pillow and burnt a few things. It helped at the time anyway 😉 ha ha

I have read several books mainly about the human mind and I have watched my own mind like a hawk determined to use this space to really look at any unhelpful thought patterns and traumas. I’ve had quite a few break trough’s which have been liberating! I mean liberating. I continued to see a counsellor once a month and with his help and a few good friends I have been able to air stuff that I’ve not shared before. Once things are said out loud it takes the edge off and there have been a lot of edges taken off!

One of the biggest breakthroughs is the relationship that has developed between me and my landlady! We have chatted and got to know each other more than we have in the whole time I have been here and there are so many similarities between us! Its been really nice and we both love our own space so we just have 10 mins chats here and there is we both end up in the garden or kitchen at the same time.

Although I felt I lived a slow paced life before I now realise there was still quite a lot of running about meeting mates, driving here and there etc. Although that was all lovely I realised that I don’t want quite so much of that and some weekends it’s just nice to be at home for the entire weekend.

My outlook and life has changed a lot from this, it made me take a look at what I really value in greater depth. Less is definitely more and quality over quality. These are things I have always stood for, but I have just upped them a level and for that I am grateful.


An unexpected chance to say thanks!

A few weeks back I spotted a familiar man on the stage at Exeter Phoenix. The More he spoke, the more I thought I knew him from somewhere. Then it finally clicked. He was the person I wrote my first song with when I was 8 years old!

I’ve talked a lot about this ‘first ever songwriting memory’ in previous blogs and on stage and how lucky I was that this musical company had come into my school! (I seem to have erased most other school memories from my brain!! I cant think why? Hmm maybe because I am a total creative and found it boring?? 😉 Never! ;-))

So Paul and Marilyn of Wren Music, thank you for opening the songwriting door for me all those years ago. Such a nice surprise to bump into you and I’m over the moon that you are still opening musical doors throughout the community! With Love and thanks 🙂


We can’t get enough of busking!

Well, it’s something I have wished to do for years, but hadn’t quite found the confidence. Out of all the music activities you can do this one seemed like the most scary of all.

Now having finally found the confidence I can tell you it is not scary at all, in fact it is one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had.

Mark and I have been totally overwhelmed at the response we’ve had whilst busking on the streets of Exeter recently and we want to say the biggest thank you ever to the people that have stopped by and supported us. Your feed back has been so encouraging and has pushed us to keep going! Thank you, thank you!

Keep an eye out for us and come and say hello 🙂

Anna & Mark x


Anna in Wonderland

On Sunday the 7th Feb I decided to get dressed up for ‘Wonderful Women Sing’ a music event at Exeter Pheonix to not only celebrate 4 wonderful female singer-song writers, but to raise funds for Phonic FM, the community station here in Exeter.

As you know slippers are my usual form of dress, but the heels came out and it seems my look was inspired by my favourite Disney character! (Thanks to Cathy Towers who organised the event for pointing this out! I’m over the moon!) What do you think? I think there is a likeness 😉

anna in wonder


Love, fun & music! – Sunday mornings with Anna on Phonic Fm -8-10am- 2nd and 4th Sunday of the Month

This week I was joined by Mel and David from Sun and Moon Theatre company. They are launching their company next month with a beautiful performance called Shakespeare’s Lovers. They talk about wanting to portray the complexity of love and how they met in a bit of a Romeo and Juliet scenario themselves! Thankfully they are still with us!!!!

There is a big dose of music as usual and I share a few idea’s about fun things to do around the city of Exeter! Basically I have been having far to many early nights and wearing my slippers to much!

For more info on Sun and Moon theatre – http://www.facebook.com/sunandmoontheatre
For something fun – http://www.rebootrollerdiscos.com/

You can listen to the full show below and for more details on me and the show you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/AnnaPresents or http://www.facebook.com/AnnaMarieWaite

Happy Sunday

Anna xxx

The Musical Month of… MARCH

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March, the month when life starts moving again! Wooo hooo, not only in music but in life.  I was just saying this to Mark the other day “As long as life is moving a little I feel happy” Although life has come to a standstill for me at the moment as I have a swollen foot, but it’s given me the time to move other parts of my life that only I can do when I am sitting still.

All in all I have loved March, it’s been filled with music, animals, family, friends and plenty of special little moments. I’ve just come back from lunch with my friend Jon (Thanks for getting me out the house Jon!) and I heard ‘I didn’t know I was looking for love until I found you’ by Everything but the girl’ at the pub.  I think this one might get covered next month!


We started the month of with a gig at The Bike shed which was to raise money for Premature babies. It was quite an interesting experience playing at an intimate very brightly lit theatre.  I managed to spill a drink on the stage, put Mark on the spot to sing one of his songs, and slightly struggled with the fact I couldn’t see the audience, but all in all we thought we did OK! ‘Speak slowly’ seemed to get the best feedback from the audience along with Marks ‘on the spot song’ ‘By your side’

I did a solo house concert in Paignton for a lady called Pam’s 40th Birthday. I have to say I got more concerned about actually finding the place than the actual concert itself.  I was quite glad for this as it was my first official solo gig. Everyone was soooooooo welcoming and I met a lovely lady called Katie who played the piano and we took in turns for each 45 minute set. My highlight of the night was when one of the birthday guests was dancing to a song I wrote called ‘As you are’  he was dressed up as a red Indian and was being just who he was! Music video nudge!

Mark and I did a concert last weekend for another 40th Birthday party, this time for twins! The night began smoothly until we were about to go home to change, have dinner etc when the car decided to die. I laughed and Mark panicked, but the party host offered us the keys to their car. Thankfully after gentle words with Percy Peugeot he started. Deary me Percy! (Sorry Mark I’ve named your car!) Anyway the gig went well.  We did a relaxing set to start followed by a second set that had everyone up dancing.

The annual acoustic café in Topsham was the last gig of the month, Mark and I have done this one for three years running now. In fact it was the first one that resulted in us being together so it’s an anniversary for us.  The evening started well, all our friends turned up, we felt rehearsed but then we found out the organisers had forgotten the PA! ha ha ha, I can be a diva when it comes to sound.  A small amp was quickly set up, but it meant our rehearsed set had to be changed due to only being able to plug in one guitar.  It really throw me and I performed as a bag of nerves. Apparently it didn’t show!  It’s been a month for getting out the comfort zone and learning to adapt me thinks!

Radio show appearances

Moor Fm – We joined Tiffany on Moor FM for her Woman’s show themed ‘Love’ Mark loved that! Ha ha! It was lovely to meet with two other ladies, an author and relationship coach and basically have a good old girly chat on air.  We performed two songs which were received very well!

Phonic Fm – I joined Pat for his show which was full of giggles.  I talked and talked and talked, played two songs and a question he asked reminded me of how much I loved Kylie Minogue growing up!

 Good news

The good news for this month is that we have begun recording my first album after a gentle nudge from a lovely man called Scott that runs forest fungi in Dawlish. Love it when someone says the right words at the right time!  Thanks Scott!

We have also been invited to perform at the Respect festival in Exeter in June and the Tiverton balloon festival in July.

Songs of the month

Whilst on a little get away to Bath recently which was all organised by Mark might I add! I came across two tracks I fell in love with…

Benny Tipene – Make you mine

Patrick Haws – Highgrove suit – Goddess of the woods

Also if you are ever in bath check out Paradise guest house.  It really is Paradise, thank you Mark !


I have started a new collaboration with Peter Farrie (My Song life) We meet every other Tuesday after the ‘Exeter Creatives’ meet up. We have almost completed our first song together!

Musical people I’ve interviewed

I’ve had two beautifully passionate musicians on my fortnightly music show on Phonic FM.  Kat Savage who performed two very heartfelt songs inspired by people she knows, and Jinder who performed three tracks from his Album tradition dark.

Artists we’ve been to see

Gretchen Peters, do I need to say more.  I was so excited about seeing this lady that I almost cried with excitement before we went in to sit down.  I first found out about Gretchen by a man that came to read my meter one day.  I had just started my radio show and was asking everyone I met to give me songs! Gretchen’s name came up and I was hooked.

Thank you to everyone that supports my music 🙂 Back next month for an April summary

Anna xx

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How do the “la la la’s” happen?

My earliest song writing memory was when I was eight, my dad was in the building trade and I wanted to be a builder.

“We are the builders it’s such a groovy job

I am the brick layer and my name’s bob

We work all day whether hot or cold

I am the plumber and I’m very, very old” and so on…

Things have changed a little since wanting to become a builder, but one thing that’s not changed is song writing.  I think I’ve always written songs for as long as I can remember.

I find songs tend to just ‘happen’ I’ve had difficulty explaining this to people in the past.  “How does it just ‘happen’? they would say. I’ll give you an example, it’s a Monday morning, I’ve got up late (I always take a cheeky lie in on a Monday) and I’ve dragged myself to the shower, mid shower a tune and lyrics appear in my head.  I run from the shower to my room, singing it over and over in my head and grab my phone and record it.  I’ve learnt now to always have my phone in the bathroom with me, you never know when a song is going to happen.

Another example, I’m lying in bed crying over a guy that’s dumped me. I’ve a piece of paper and a pen next to me and the words and melody appear on the paper. Sometimes a first verse and chorus will appear naturally, but I might have to think about the second verse a little more, it can takes months for it to feel right sometimes.

You will also occasionally find me singing as I walk down the road, songs can happen in the most inconvenient places. I would say my three most creative spaces to write are in my attic, in the shower, when I am cat sitting, whilst driving the car (that’s very inconvenient!!!) or when I’m sat in the forest or on the beach.

I like to write songs to comfort people, I always think if I’m going through something, then others must be to, so I’m going to write to make us all feel better.  It’s almost like a form of counselling, I’m a better, clearer person when I write.

Every year the way I write changes, well in fact I think we are always changing, so it’s probably changing every day in a tiny form. For example last year I fully completed one song and the year before about five, and the year before that about ten. My life became a bit more settled last year and I didn’t feel the need to write as much which gave me the space to focus on learning the guitar and finally gain my musical independence!

A lot of my writing will start “Hello piece of paper, how are you today? And then what ever comes out comes out.  Once I sit down and actually write, something will appear, but often I will faff and squirm trying to get myself to sit down. I also like to have lots of colours when I write and you will find hearts and flowers all over my song sheets and VERY rough handwriting, if its readable to anyone else but me then it’s not true Anna Artwork.

I’m going to leave you with the lyrics of the chorus from the song I completed last year, it’s called ‘As you are’

As you are, you don’t have to be anyone else

As you are, just be you be truly yourself

There’s nothing to hide behind

You don’t need to cover up

Be the beauty you already are

As you are

For more details and a peak at my music go to ‘The music’ on the top menu 🙂 x


The first time..

Morning 🙂

I’m full of adrenaline today, but thankfully calming down now! I did something last night I’ve wanted to do for soooooo long!!! I did a talk for the first time, it was nothing like I imaged and in fact was so much better!

The setting was perfect, dim light, a window overlooking the sea, a small group of people and that nice fuzzy warmness you get when you know you are in a room of kind souls.  I am very sensitive to my surroundings and it makes a big difference to my comfort, so I was very lucky last night.

I am not going to deny, I had built the whole thing up in my head to something huge, I felt dizzy and sick and almost couldn’t breathe yesterday morning, but the little voice that said “just show up and the rest will happen” managed to calm me slightly. Even while each group member were introducing themselves the voices in my head were saying “what do you know, all these people sound so sorted, do you have a point in what you have to say, will they think you are stupid” but still a voice that said “be yourself, be yourself” fortunately was overriding the other icky voices! Ew, ew, those blimin voices make you feel yuck don’t they!!!

I’d had so many ideas as to what I was going to talk about, subjects kept flying through my mind and I couldn’t seem to come up with anything that was ‘the one’ so after exhausting myself I decided to chill out and let it happen, I’d know what I wanted to talk about when I arrived. Just be yourself, and talk about what you stand for, which is doing what makes you happy, the little things in life and being yourself! Doh, and there and then I finally I decided what I would talk about 😉

I took a bag of stuff, things that are important to me, and had a few bullet points in my head to talk around encase I got stuck, I think having a room of people staring at you definitely calls to have a plan B and C in place just encase your nerves get the better of you. One of the things I took was a little book that I found in a charity shop, it’s called babies firsts, as I am sure you can guess it’s to write down each thing your baby does for the first time. Well, I decided to cross out the word baby and write Anna! As it’s important to me to try new things, it makes me feel alive! There were a few chuckles in the room as the second half of the talk was described as a show and tell, and I totally loved it!

Fortunately for me, the group was small and I felt like I was talking to them individually, I was able to interact with them and also get feedback. I think this is something that’s so so important to me, I much prefer smaller groups and one to ones. It seems to bring the best out in me and it feels like you reach people on a more personal level.

When I came away from the talk my boyfriend asked me what I had learnt from the experience, and I think it was a few things, firstly it reinforced that I like small, cosy, personal settings, and secondly that maybe I did okay, oh, and it also reminded me that stuff is NEVER as bad as we build it up to be! I suppose it made me believe in myself a bit more and most importantly I really enjoyed it, it went by in a flash!

Since leaving last night, Mark and I celebrated with a glass of yummy sparkling rose, although I probably did his head in going on and on at how exciting the whole experience was, and then I had a little celebration this morning and I listened to Keith Urban’s new album! And to my surprise there was a song on the album called ‘little bit of everything’ and that’s what it’s all about hey, having a little bit of everything, balance I think they call it 😉

Last night was another little happy moment in my life and I am so glad I did it, thank you to the ladies at Woman mean business in Exmouth that made me feel so supported and gave me such positive feedback, I couldn’t have wished for a nicer ‘First time talk’ Thank you

Love Anna xx

Oh yes, PS! I wrote in my little ‘Anna’s Firsts’ book last night! And here’s what I wrote 😉

little things

Ready, get set… STOP

I have to often say these words to myself!  The idea of just taking off has always seemed so appealing to me, but in the past I have bumped into a few walls when I’ve tried to take flight 😉 I think you get my gist.

I gave myself a stop sign this afternoon and designated some time to tidy up all the files on my computer, back them up and take a look at my finances. Two things that I’m not that keen on!  But the thing is I really want to get going with a couple of projects and I want everything in place this time!

Silly little things can really get in the way too can’t they? Like a build up of post, a car with an empty tank of fuel right when you need to get somewhere quick (a regular one of mine), a temperamental computer etc!  All these things can make you have little stress moments! And of course, by the time you have your little ‘stress moment’ the creative energy you were going to put into your project has sadly gone to sleep!

I used to lose my glasses all the time and I need them for driving, so every time I was about to go somewhere (in a rush of course with an empty tank)  I’d be playing ‘find the glasses’ not a fun game!  After this happened several times I shouted “STOP enough now!” and I went to get myself some new glasses from Boots to keep in the car! Such a simple little thing, but I think we can often put things off that could save us a lot of stress in the long run!

So, what things have you been putting off lately? And could you save yourself a few ‘stress moments’ which could help you to be more creative in the long run? Try jotting down a little list of them and tackling them one by one. (For ideas on to do lists that will help you get things done, Check out my blog called ‘colouring in the boringness’  http://bit.ly/1lVQ60L )

And once again, the words for today are….  Get ready……. STOP … It’ll make the ride a little more steady 😉 

Love Anna x

Oh what a good ride can do….

Recently my car got ill, its still moving, but has given me that horrid little fear inside that you get when you are always thinking “is this going to break? and oh my god, I am going to look so stupid if it does break and everyone will laugh at me, not to mention no one will stop to help” So to stop these little voices in my head I have chosen to cycle more and only take the car out when I am feeling extra confident, or if someone else is with me! (at least until I get a new car) I was a bit peed off at first, it felt like such a hassle to get the bike out, but I did because it was so much better than feeling embarrassed if I broke down!

I thought it would make me ache, and feel tired and hurt my previously injured knees, but no, no, its had quite the opposite effect.  Now I know we hear all the time, exercise is good and you know, I do do my fair share, I walk everyday and do pilates on a Monday, but yes, I had most probably taken my car for granted, all the little trips across Exeter that took far longer than if I were to cycle! But “oh what a hassle it is to get the bike out” the head generally says most of the time! So here is my little cycle story for you….

Today I took my bike, when I would usually have taken my car, here is my list in numbers of why it felt sooooooooooo good! yeah! 😉

no 1 – I felt good!

no 2 – The breeze was a blowing through my hair and I felt free man 😉

no 3 – I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the relaxation of being on the bike after a busy few hours, it helped me wind down

no 4 – I felt so god darn proud of myself that when I got home I got an extra piece of work done and had a glass of wine AND cooked dinner (I NEVER cook dinner NEVER)

no 5 – As I was cycling through the park and along the quay I saw loads of people, families, school children etc etc it really made me smile because a lot of work I do is alone so I feel in a bubble sometimes.

no 6 – I smiled at people and they smiled back

no 7 – A serious amount of endorphin’s going through my body 😉 😉 😉 

All in all, I think we can safely say its cool to ride bikes! So come on ditch that car for a day a week and join the cycle community! Hmmmmmm, maybe you’ll have to wait for a broken down car to give you a kick up the butt, or maybe you wont 😉

Lots of love and Byeeeeeeeeeeee xxx