Thursday 27 February 2014

Farewell February

How can February already be over? Tomorrow is the last day of the month. It's been lovely to see a little bit more sunshine in the last week or so but it's been bitterly cold. I'm still making sure I have plenty of flowers around to lift my spirits.

February is always a quieter month than those previous. Once the SALE ends at the end of January, things become noticeably quieter. In previous years we would have been making up show orders and prepping madly for the next big show but this year things are different.

As I mentioned before, we are taking a year off from the shows and I have also decided to take a year off the 'work treadmill'. I had got to the stage where I was designing to a deadline and all the creative fun element to my work had gone.

So I'm taking a 'year out' to rediscover the 'fun' bit. The 'bit' where dots and spots started. I'm not going to be pressured to design a finished product, instead I'm going to design and play and see where it takes me.

We have plenty of things in our shop to tempt you with and we will be adding a couple of new things which are already planned. 50% FRIDAY will still give you that 'bargain' every week and I will have time to rediscover the bit I love most 'playing with paper'. Roll on March!

Sunday 23 February 2014

A year ago....

A year ago yesterday, our world turned upside down - Jeff was told that his job was at risk of redundancy. It was a Friday and I had just paid for our holiday, I remember taking his phone call in disbelief "it won't be you, they won't make a Maths teacher redundant!" but as we later found out, it was him. Not because he wasn't good at his job, quite the opposite he was too good at his job, too respected and liked by his colleagues and someone felt threatened. 

A few weeks, months of uncertainty followed but due to his skill and work ethos, he was able to get another job, although temporary. A few months in, he applied for another job and is now in a permanent position doing a job that he loves. We're so proud of him - he is a great teacher, he is someone who will step up to do extra, he is a team player and is finding the respect he deserves amongst his colleagues in his new job. His new school has gained a fantastic teacher and a year on from that horrible day, he is in a much happier place.

I'm a believer that things happen for a reason - a year ago I struggled to understand and couldn't see how any good could come out of the horrible situation we were put in but things have worked out for the best.

I still hope one day Karma will play it's part but I also must remind myself that life is for living and that episode in our lives is over, a closed chapter and we have security and a life ahead of us to enjoy.

Friday 21 February 2014

Making the most of the half term

It's half term and we have been making the most of a week with no real routine. Although the alarm has had to be set a couple of times, it's great not to have to do the school run.

Sophie has wanted to shop! I guess most 14 year old girls want to shop. 
On Monday we went to Bristol with the lure of Primark and following a sleep over with her lovely friend Lizzie, we went to Bath on Wednesday which I must say is my favourite. The girls went off to do their own thing, which meant I had the morning to myself. We then met my sister and niece for lunch and a catch up, so although a little (a lot) poorer, a couple of lovely days.

Sam has been encouraged to get off his computer and get out and be more active. He and Jeff are running every Sunday and as you can see from the pic, they're keen to improve on their time! He's been out on his bike and swimming - as with any 11 year old, he'd rather be on his computer but once he's out 'doing' he enjoys it. He went to see the Lego movie with his pals and had a great time.

With Jeff home on holiday too I've been enjoying days with the family, interspersed with days working in the shop and

over at the unit keeping on top of orders. I try to just pop over to the unit in the holidays, pick and pack what I have to, then save the making up etc to school time.

The weather has been changeable but we have managed to get out in the garden to do some gardening. There is lots to tidy and get cleared for Spring but I feel feel we've made a good start. 

Spring does feel like it's nearly here too with lots of Spring bulbs now flowering.
I've been out for my walks and have eaten reasonably well considering it's been the holidays, so all in all a good week. I'm in the shop again tomorrow and then it will be back to the school runs for another 6 week stint on Monday. Mind you the Easter break will be here before we know it and with Easter being so late this year, we should hopefully be due some nice weather too - something to look forward to.

Sunday 16 February 2014

What a difference......

....a little sunshine makes. 
The forecast last night looked like this and

it was everything it promised to be.
We woke to blue skies, sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.

So we've made the most of it walked in the morning and spent most of the afternoon out in the garden. We even had lunch outside in a sunny sheltered spot. To be fair it was chilly when out of the sunshine but boy what a treat after the miserable weather we have been having. Sadly more rain is forecast for tomorrow, so it really is worth making the most of the sunshine when it does make an appearance.

Spring is so nearly with us - 
sunshine and a little warmth is what I'm looking forward to.

Friday 14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Day

With everyone out there sharing the LOVE today, 
I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Valentines Day

Jeff and I have known each other 22 years,
will have been married 18 years in August and
are happily making plans for 15 years time (retirement!) must be love!

and with 2 beautiful children to love too,
how lucky are we!

Happy Valentines Day

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Rain, rain.....

....go away!

As I said before in an earlier post, the only way to get through this wet, soggy Winter is to fill my home with flowers and daffodils at just a pound a bunch are doing a great job at bringing a little sunshine into my day.

Although yesterday, I received this gorgeous bouquet from Scented Narcissi a company based on the Isles of Scilly as a thank you for sending over some samples.

As the name suggests, the scent is divine and what a burst of cheer.

I'm also getting through this awful weather by keeping busy. A palette of spotty bags arrived today - over 20,000 needing a home. We sold so many over the festive season so I'm hoping these will keep me going for a while.

I grabbed a quick walk around the park in between the showers after lunch, the stream is close to flooding over again. The ground simply can't take much more of this. I truly feel for those affected by the flooding, the rain has been relentless and sadly there seems more is on it's way.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Goodbye grey!

Now I'm in my 40's, I'm noticing the inevitable grey/white hair cropping up. I had planned to go grey gracefully, let nature take it's course but I've ended up with a clump of it right at the front of my hair. Too noticeable to just let it 'do it's thing!'. So today I made use of my birthday present, a voucher for a lovely Hair Salon in Wells to get rid of the grey for good.

Now I've not had my hair coloured for over 10 years so this first go was just to add a little to colour to hide the grey, nothing too extreme.

I was both very nervous and excited at the same time.

To be honest, I've played it too safe. I've come away wishing it was lighter, blonder, more colour. So I've booked myself in for another appointment in a months time to do just that.

When I was younger, I used to dye it blonde - am I brave enough to do it again?

Saturday 8 February 2014

A welcome day off!

I'm truly fed up of the rain but can't complain given those poor people who have suffered due to flooding. I live in Somerset and feel so sorry for those on the Somerset Levels, who have spent the past month under water. The South coast has also taken a battering due to the high tides, gales and constant rain. It does make you wonder if it will ever stop raining.

So it was really very welcome to have blue skies and a little sunshine on Friday. It really lifts your spirits.

The carpet of crocuses in the park is beautiful and a real reminder that Spring really isn't too far away.

Today I have had a day off from working in the shop. The forecast was dreadful but I was determined to leave Shepton Mallet and go somewhere for the day. We all decided on a trip to Bath, plenty of places to dodge the showers and a change of scenery. 

We were really lucky, not too much rain and a successful trip for everyone.

 We went to our favourite place for lunch. A GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) has opened in Bath. We discovered it in London when we were exhibiting at the Trade Shows , then happened across one in Covent Garden and now we have one in Bath. They make the most delicious Burgers and chunky chips - day off from the 'Eat Better' campaign!!

Today Sophie and I were joined by Sam, a very reluctant shopper but he was great company and ended up actually enjoying himself for a change. Although I must say he ended up spending quite a lot of 'my' money along the way.

Hope you have a lovely weekend, between the showers.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Design time

Daffodils for me are the real deal that Spring is on it's way. I buy them from now until late March to brighten up the place and constantly remind myself that better weather is on the way.

This time last week I found myself with a little free time on my hands - such a treat as I've not had a minute since September. So I decided to sketch some daffodils and have a play.

I then choose some suitable papers and

ripped out the various parts.

and ta-da! the finished design. 
I'm using it on my 'thank you for shopping' postcards this time but it is my plan this year to get back some more time to design and play. Collaging is the bit I loved most, which has sadly got lost along the way as the business got busier.

So I'm going to find time to design for fun not for product. I want to get back the enjoyment of just playing with paper and seeing what develops and evolves at the end, rather that always having a final product design in mind.

As the weather is so awful, it really isn't a chore to spend the day cosied up in my studio, radio on, heater on and a constant stream of hot coffee on tap. Let's hope the creative juices are flowing too.