Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Mini Break (a la Bridget Jones) to Exeter

As you might know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, or have been anywhere near my Facebook page we've had a pretty busy Easter and Birthday Month (my Birthday is St George's Day so I tend to celebrate for the whole month!)

But one thing that I wanted to share with you, which had very little to do with crafting, but was exceptionally lovely was that my gorgeous husband surprised me with a weekend away in Exeter for my birthday, whilst my Mum & her other half looked after the kids!

We stayed in a lovely part of the city, in the Mecure Southgate near the Cathedral:

We travelled by train, which was a treat, as usually we drive everywhere and spent the most wonderful 3 days traipsing round the city centre, eating, drinking and soaking up the sun. It was bliss!

Beautiful part of the Castle Gardens

I had to take a pic of this cute little door in a bigger door

Lovely old buildings in the Cathedral Quarter
The highlights for me were that the hotel had a swimming pool and Jacuzzi (which I used every day!) and the meal that Brian had booked for us at Michael Caines Abode restaurant:

Photos courtesty of the Michael Caines Abode Website
Not only was the food, atmosphere and service impeccable, but when they found out it was my birthday, this appeared at our table in the bar (after dinner):

All in all a lovely break away and a very big thank you to my Mum & her other half for looking after the kids!!

One thing I've not mentioned here, but which I will fill you in on soon, was our trips to the two craft shops in the city centre - hopefully some exciting news about them in the not too distant future!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Room on The Broom - another Julia Donaldson Forest Trail

Happy Easter everyone!

Hope you're all full of chocolate and excitement like these little munchkins:

There were a LOT of joyous whoops from the 4 youngest members of the party this weekend when it was announced after the Easter Egg hunt we would be going back to the same place as last year, which was then a Gruffalo's Child Forest Trail, but which is now a Room on The Broom Forest Trail!

All 4 of the children (we had two little friends staying for the weekend who are 2 and 3) love the Room on the Broom story and were really keen to see how the story had been brought to life... both by the magnificent chainsaw sculptures and the real life Witch & Dragon they saw:

Patrick inspecting the Wand and the Witch's Broom

Not sure about that Dragon!!
(but the row of Gruffalo's Children in the background are impressive!)

Seren, Evie and Patrick riding on the Witch's new broomstick

But far more fun was watching Uncle Olly try and climb the totem pole in the playground!

Not even Patrick!!
And of course who could resist dressing up
as the Witch?

The Forest of Dean Heritage Centre is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area and if you live close enough to visit twice in a year, then the annual family pass is a very sensible buy as our two request to go at least once a month and EVERY time we have weekend visitors (children or adults!)

We had a great Easter weekend... but now there is much chocolate to eat up and surely an afternoon film to snooze in front of!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Reality of Being a Work At Home Mum

A couple of weeks ago I was asked a series of questions by one of the lovely Mollie Makes journalists, about how Social Media affects one's creativity.

Before I really stopped and thought about it, I always viewed social media as a stupendously good thing.

Okay, yes, there is the fact that I have limited time to work and spending 79% of my time oggling beautiful images and adding them to my boards on Pinterest isn't really a productive way of spending my time... but it does get me in the mood for creating beautiful things. Even if I then remember that I have zero talent to create half of the beautiful things I've just seen as I don't know one end of a glass-makers-tool-kit from another and I totally failed woodwork at school. But still - they're SO pretty!!

But then I started to honestly think about what social media does to our creativity.

Take Facebook for example. In my news feed there are always at least two or three other WAHM's who not only have 16 more children than I do, but they also seem to find time to bake with their children (their beautiful efforts then being shared on FB), they manage to develop, create, product test, beautifully photograph and add to their websites new ranges of products on what seems like a daily basis. AND they also manage to find witty things to say, throughout the day, which generate loads of comments and likes, from around the same number of 'fans' as I have on my page.... all whilst apparently not even breaking into the nearest box of chocolates!

I on the other hand, never manage to get more than 10 minutes peace and quiet before WWIII breaks out in the playroom over whether the kids are watching CBeebies or CBBC (I know, I know - not to mention the guilt that I'm once again using the telly as a babysitting device so I can have some 'work time') and then when I do get some time to myself, I waste it turning green with envy over these 'oh-so-much-more-successful-and-productive-and-professional-and-well-put-together-domestic-goddesses' all whilst munching my way through a sneakily grabbed packed of chocolate hobnobs (hidden in part because a) Weight Watchers' doesn't really approve of eating a whole packet in one go and b) because the children aren't allowed chocolate during the week and certainly never at 9.30am!!!!)

Then once WWIII has threatened to break out more than 4 times in half an hour, I give up yelling down the hall for them to 'play nicely together or else!' and resort to stomping in (whilst brushing biscuit crumbs from around my mouth) and screeching loudly that I'll bang their BLEEPING heads together if they don't pack it in!!!

Then stomp back, feel totally horrendous for shrieking at them, email my husband and complain that the kids are behaving like little toads and that I have far too much to do in my busy, busy day and then get back to reading a blog post, showing a wonderfully put together tutorial for something I'd thought about doing, but once again hadn't gotten around to and realise it's pointless trying to get anything creative done now, so I might as well go to the shops for more hobnobs!

Okay. Some of that may be a teensy bit exaggerated. I mean, obviously, I'd never eat a WHOLE packet of chocolate hobnobs without being found out (my youngest has a homing beacon like nothing you've seen when it comes to the rustle of a packet of something yummy being opened!) but really, other than that, it's pretty much spot on.

The problem is, I suspect, we ALL feel like that quite often. What gets reported online is often not the actual truth, but the sanitized, more idyllic version of what we'd like our lives to be like. Like the advert for a national hotel chain says... there's the real you and then there's the online you.

But when everyone else seems to have got their shit together and you're having a pants day, it really does zap a lot of creativity out of you.

So, the end result is often that I give up on trying to get the children to entertain themselves, end up taking them out (because they behave so much better out of the house) for the day, sneaking emails and a bit of social media time in on my smart phone from the playground and then trying to make up for it in the evening, after they've gone to bed and when I'm tired and not feeling much like doing anything except for slobbing out in front of Nashville with yet more chocolate and some wine!

Don't even get me started on where to fit in some exercise in all of this hive of inactivity... that's simply too much to bear.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Welcome to Spring!

Well, it's the 3rd of April, so Spring is definitely here and hopefully we'll not have too many April showers as we've seen quite enough of them for a while!

The Penny Rug Pattern I was working on last week is now finished, you can find in my Etsy Shop

I really really enjoyed making this and I hope to start creating more of these gorgeous candle mats, or if you'd rather just good old household decorations... I've all sorts of summery ideas buzzing round my head now, but in the mean time have a lovely batch of orders to work on, including name banners, wedding campervans and baby shoes:

In other exciting news.... I've got an Easter Tutorial up my sleeve which hopefully I'll be publishing early next week - Yay!

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