I recently set up a little project on Instagram called #abouquetaday. My idea intended to highlight the benefit of bringing a little bit of unexpected happiness to someones else's day; be it a stranger, family member, friend, colleague or neighbour.
Every day I venture out on a walk either to my park, a brisk hill walk in the mountains or wherever my wanderings take me. During these walks, I always amass bountiful bunches of wildflowers, as I'm constantly gazing around looking for beauty hidden in or dotted along the meadows. As I had more than I needed to use in my jewellery-making, I decided to use the surplus to create mini bouquets, and I'd leave them in spots around the park, mountain routes and woodland walks to brighten up a passer-by's day. Someone, somewhere, would hopefully take the bouquet with them to decorate their home, and it was a little sign to show that someone, somewhere, cared enough about bringing happiness to their day.
I posted a bouquet on my Instagram page everyday which I hope inspired others to do the same.
Most (if not all) of us encounter daily struggles, which may not be obvious to those on the outside. Providing small gestures like this can mean the world to someone. As September is suicide prevention month, I hope that this little campaign can spread and grow, and make it easier for people to talk about mental health issues, and encourage those in need to know that it is ok not to feel ok.
Talk to someone you trust, even if you feel they won't understand. Let the foggy mist of negative thoughts filter out in words. Or if words are too much to cope with, find a creative outlet that allows your mind to wonder through new and positive outcomes.
This was one of the very first bouquets I made last Summer. I discovered some wildflowers on top of the summit of Montpelier in the Dublin mountains. I created a little posy and left it on a memorial stone next to the infamous Hell Fire Club.
A selection of the wildflowers bouquets I created each day during August and September - filled with buttercups, Queen Anne's lace, briar roses, cuckoo flowers, daisies and hydrangeas.
A daisy, buttercup and Queen Anne's lace mini bouquet anchored down by some little pebbles to keep it safe before its discovery. I usually bring pieces of twine or string to tie up the bouquets which keeps them neat and tidy.
A sunny yellow dandelion, wild grass and candy floss-like pink elderflower bouquet left on a contemplative bench by the lakeside.
A Great Willowherb, yellow wildflowers and wild grass bouquet rests for its new owner on a park bench. I tied this one with a blade of grass as I didn't have some twine to hand, the effect is naturally beautiful and surprisingly strong.
I gathered this bunch of wildflowers in the sunny meadows of Belvedere House in Westmeath. This is probably one of my favourite bouquets I created, as it's bursting with vivid colour, reminiscent of the spectrum of colours in a rainbow. I left this cheery posy on top of an imposing statue of a lion on a high point in the landscape, to remind you that you can overcome what appears like insurmountable obstacles and come out stronger and braver than ever before. If you believe you can do it, it's the first step in the right direction.
As I loved the first bouquet so much, I decided to make another one and add in a few more sprigs of greenery, and I left this posy on a rock by the lake edge at Belvedere House.
I made this bouquet from the last remaining flowers I could find from my boyfriend Paul's farm. There wasn't much left to choose from, but I managed to gather a pretty little bundle containing Herb Robert, wild grass and a tiny single wild Viola. I tied this bouquet with a long blade of grass and placed it in his milking parlour as a surprise to encounter when he arrived for the evening milking shift; and of course, to let him know that I was thinking of him.
The second last bouquet I made was for my twin sister Rachel. I gathered an array of giant pink roses and hydrangea from the garden, placed them in her favourite mug (tip: sprinkle a little bit of sugar into the water to make the flowers last longer) and left them on her desk for a fragrant and colourful gift during a busy and stressful day.
And lastly, why not treat yourself? I made this bouquet from flowers in my garden to decorate my desk. They added a bright spark of colour to my space and lifted the stresses of the day, which we all encounter in our daily lives. It's important to look out for others, but it's equally as important to look out for yourself too, and to fully appreciate and celebrate your uniqueness, quirks, strengths and talents. There is no one else quite like you.
Why not try the Bouquet a Day? You can use the hashtag #abouquetaday to document your little creations, where you left them, and why. I'd love to see bouquets popping up everywhere and bringing happiness to all those who discover them!
– Gillian x