Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Where I'm at....

I've been looking back through some of my blog posts and very few lately have been about dots and spots but about the garden, holidays, family life, more a diary rather than a design blog. My blog was always a 'mish mash' of the two, the work/life balance etc. Because I've decided to take a step back for a year from exhibiting at shows and designing, I feel I haven't as much to share on the dots and spots front - nothing new, 'wow' or exciting. It's just a routine of orders 'pinging' in, being picked and packed and sent out.

I recently read an article Jane Lindsey of 'Snapdragon Online Ltd' had been asked to write about work/life balance for Totally 4 Women, you can read it HERE so much of what she writes, rings home to me too.

Christmas 2012 was a tipping point for me too, I had already decided changes needed to be made after a stupidly busy trading period and when Jeff received his redundancy news a few months later, something had to give. We were already signed up to two London Trade Shows and had committed ourselves to a new product range for 2013 but my love affair with dots and spots had changed. We decided in 2014 not to exhibit at Trade Shows, not bring out a new product range or glossy catalogue - I'm enjoying my time more now I'm off the work treadmill. I'm not panicked about design deadlines and people's expectations of me, keeping up with other's, always having to come up with the next big thing.

This year I'm enjoying going over to the unit and making up the orders, I'm enjoying doing the odd day in my friend's shop - meeting and actually talking to other people. I'm enjoying looking at what other people are doing without feeling any pressure to compete and come up with the next new idea. I'm enjoying having the time to spend at home or meet up with friends and I'm enjoying a little bit of 'ME' time, focusing on my health and fitness a little more now I have the time.

I want dots and spots to continue but not in the crazy way it had become. It needs to bring in an income or I'll have to do something else. I still want to do new things but without the pressure and expectation. I don't want to grow bigger, take on staff  etc so it needs to work for me and family life. Jeff's new job means he doesn't have the time to support the business in the way he did. The children as they get older I find, need you around more so whilst I continue to enjoy my 'year off' I am also thinking ahead to how dots and spots will develop into the future.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter

We weren't going to exchange eggs this year, save the calories but despite that Sophie and Sam have each ended up with quite a collection! My Sister and niece came over on Thursday and we had our annual Easter Egg Hunt with the cousins on Good Friday, always a fun morning. This morning is feeling a little odd as Sophie had a sleepover last night and is on a sewing workshop this morning so Easter Sunday won't really start until she comes home at lunch time.

The weather has sadly turned - it's cold and grey outside with the promise of rain later. We have been so lucky this holiday to have had nice sunny weather.

The garden has come on a treat!
There is still a bit to do - a gravel path needs to be laid, the fence needs to be painted, an area needs to be levelled and covered for a seating area and our vegetable beds need to be planted out. The path and seating area will have to wait until May half term as Jeff will be back to working Saturdays. I shall try and paint the fence during school time as and when I get a bit of time. It's most certainly too cold to be out there today.

Have a lovely Easter weekend x

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A little frustrated!

I've been feeling a little frustrated - two weeks ago it seemed a good idea offering to do 2 days in my friends shop but when they are the sunniest days of the week, I've been wishing I could be outside in the sunshine. At least Wells has been busy so the time passes quickly.

I've been itching to get back to digging over the beds at the bottom of the garden - my aim is to get them all dug over ready for planting today.

Sophie was left in charge yesterday of making a few Chocolate Easter nests, she went a little mad - 64 nests later! We'll be eating them forever, good job my sister and niece are visiting today.

 So I'm off to get digging, hoping the sun will make an appearance. 
Have a lovely Easter weekend x

Sunday, 13 April 2014

I ache.... places I didn't know existed!

The next job on the list was to make the veggie beds. The soil to the right of the path has been pretty neglected over the years - nothing really grew except for Celandine's as it was completely shaded all year round. When the men came to do the work, they removed part of our old fence which instantly put that bit in the sunshine. They also used the mechanical digger to break up the compacted soil, a start to our project.

Due to the soil level, we decided to raise the beds and create 3 smaller plots.

I helped dig the channels and of course gave 'vital' assistance from the sidelines!!

It was hard work but by the end of day one......

....we had constructed 2 out of the 3 beds.

So today whilst Jeff constructed the 3rd smaller bed, I dug over the other two. I can honestly say that I ache in places I didn't know existed! I should certainly sleep well tonight. Next jobs on the list are to plant out the beds, edge and gravel out a path then make a seating area.

The forecast is great but annoyingly I'm working in my friends shop on Monday and Wednesday so I'll have to leave things in Jeff's capable hands. I hope I'm busy so I don't wish I was elsewhere!
Enjoy the weather where you are.

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Project trampoline is on!

I'd always promised my two that if we ever had a bigger garden they could have a trampoline. So by getting the extra bit of garden at the bottom, I couldn't go back on my promise. So the first job on the list when back from Cornwall was build the trampoline.

Sam has been going to trampoline club after school and loves it. He's not the most active of children, hating football, running etc so I figure if it gets him outside in the fresh air and active then it's a double whammy!

I always thought it would be too big and I still do but by keeping 2 of our original fence panels up it's slightly hidden. I just keep seeing a little face smiling at me over the fence from my studio door.

Jeff found an alternative use for it before the safety net went on!

The next job is to make the vegetable beds ready for planting, lay a gravel path and sort out a seating area. In between all this our trusty washing machine of 6 years decided to die on us, so we also have a new machine to plumb in and a mound of washing to get out on the line! Never a dull or quiet moment for sure!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A little break.....

....beside the sea.
This is my seaside top, always has to go Cornwall with me!

Monday evening we headed off to Cornwall for a few days to stay with my Mum and Dad.

These windmills on the way down have always been a landmark that we're nearly there!

We spent Tuesday in our favourite place - St Ives.
We were so lucky with the weather, blue skies and sunshine.

Of course we had a pasty for lunch outside on the sea wall and we managed to escape the seagulls swooping down and taking them mid bite.

The children even paddled - oh to be young again.

We enjoyed coffee and ice-creams sat outside, people watching in the glorious sunshine!

And went to The Hub for tea - best burger in St Ives and a fabulous sea view.
Not been the best diet day but what are holidays for!?!

We look forward to visiting again in the Summer.

We decided on Wednesday to go on a walk - a circular 5 mile route starting at Portreath, up through Tehidy Woods, along North Cliffs and then back to Portreath. 

The views once we hit the coastal path were breathtaking.

There were some steep ups and downs but no moaning from anyone just a sense of achievement once they'd done it.

We returned to Portreath and eat our lunch on the beach, Jeff even went in for a paddle. We were just about to finish when I heard someone call "Is that Mrs Peabody?" Jeff chimed in with "Do you know that lady?"
Did I know that lady? - Oh yes! It was Martine, my old friend and classroom assistant from my time teaching in Oxford. We haven't seen each other in at least 12 years and it was the most wonderful surprise.
Her parents live in Portreath and she was holidaying with her family. It was as if we'ed been chatting only yesterday - a truly lovely, welcome addition to the day.

We're home now, ready to tackle the new bit of garden but thumbs up to a lovely couple of days out in the fresh air and sunshine. Thanks to Mum and Dad for having us and to my Granny for a welcome coffee stop more than once.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

All done!

Got back after the school and post run this morning to find the fence already up!

The old back fence has been 'topped' to stop nosey people peering in over the fence. With that done, we could now take down our original back fence and gate and open the new and the old space up to each other. Boy, does it look big!

It makes the garden look huge but such a great space. We're keeping up half of the fence to hide the trampoline and just break up the long space. Plus the graveled area to the right is raised, so you would look odd sitting there in the middle of the new space.

Excuse the blurriness of this picture, it's too late now to take another one but you can see from above how it all works. WOW! feeling very lucky to have such a great extra bit of space. 
Easter week better be dry as we've lots to do!