Live Your Best Life: Kate Harvey
I'm delighted to bring you the next in my Live Your Best Life series where we focus on living the life you want, contributing to the world in a way that feels right for you and focusing on being the best version of yourself each day, whatever that looks like. The inspiring women I talk to here each month don't have perfect lives (spoiler: no-one does), they're simply doing what they can to live the best life they can.
I met Kate Harvey at the Makelight Retreat last summer and was instantly smitten with her beautiful handmade, nature-inspired jewellery. I'm so pleased to share with you Kate's view on what living your best life means to her…
Welcome, Kate, tell us a little about yourself, what your life is like and the path you took to get to where you are today.
Hi Gabrielle, I'm a jewellery designer most of the time, making nature inspired pieces in my garden studio. I also work as a counsellor one day a week which I've been doing for around ten years, and am a Mum to my daughter who is 11. I started making jewellery five years ago – my creative self was calling and I answered! In my 20s I had various jobs in central London which held no meaning for me other than the pay check – so over an entire decade I’ve built a life I'm so happy to lead – becoming a counsellor, a mum and maker has really enriched my life.
Do you have any inspirational quotes or mantras that hold particular meaning for you?
Robert Louis Stevenson said "Do not judge each day by the harvest you reap but the seeds that you plant". Every little decision we make has an impact on our future, I think it's so much more useful to focus on what we create than what we take.
I also love "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" by Oscar Wilde. Like most people I have been through hard times though I think the attitude we hold to our situation can transform it. I'm lucky enough to not feel as though I am in a gutter at this point in my life but no matter what my day is like, I can still find something beautiful about life! He also said "Be yourself, everyone else is taken". Which is also wonderful – especially supportive for those of us daring to go against the grain.
They're wonderful quotes, Oscar Wilde is so good for quotable lines! Tell us, how do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
I'm not the most organised person in the world, so I think when my home gets messy and things start building up too much I know I am over-stretched – I can't find things I want and feel more stressed. I will then realise I need more time to nurture my space and myself and keep it a good environment for myself and my daughter (not to mention my dog!)
So then how do to get back to how you want to feel?
If things are getting on top of me I will drop a couple of balls and re-address priorities. I sometimes close my online shop so I can catch up. Sometimes feeling overwhelmed is just psychological – I have closed my shop for two hours before, I felt like I had less on and got through so much it didn't need to be closed any more! I also have a dog and when I go for my daily walk with her I always come back refreshed and energised. I regularly practice yoga and meditation which help me enormously. If I stop doing this I really feel the difference in my wellbeing.
What are your plans, hopes and dreams for the future?
I like to keep an open mind, I think it's wise to have a vague plan that is adaptable to changing circumstances, though not to get too hung up if it doesn't work out. I would like to continue with my small counselling practice as it's so rewarding. I'd like my business to steadily grow, not to huge dizzy heights but to maintain the life I am living – to make a living doing two things I love so much is already the dream for me, and I would like to maintain it. It's easy to get caught up in wanting things to be even bigger or better, and I don't want to dismiss what I have managed to achieve or lose sight of what I now have.
And finally, Kate, what does living your best life mean to you?
I really love the way you put this – “living your best life”. There's no judgement or expectation, just that we must live our life the best way we can in our current circumstances and limitations. For me, certainly appreciating what I already have – I'm so thankful to be a mother, and that my business has worked out, and that I get a steady stream of counselling work. I feel very fortunate in that regard. I learn from my mistakes, I try and keep my self-talk positive (it wasn't always, that's for sure!) and stay present every moment I can. There's an old Buddhist expression “Don't push the river” – I like to go the pace I'm going and enjoy living in the flow and currents of life.
Kate is a nature-inspired jewellery designer, living and working in South West London. She is also a part-time therapist and Mum to Grace, 11. You can sign up to Kate's monthly newsletter to receive 10% off, blog updates and inspiration at her website Grace & Flora. You can also find her on Instagram most days and join in with the #inspiredbynature_ hashtag. Kate has an Etsy shop too.