Monday, 21 July 2014

I can at least see the sun again!

The last few months (actually make that 12) haven't been very kind to me. It has felt like I've been living under a great black cloud! I'm fairly sure (now) that this is a personal black cloud and that things haven't actually been as bad as they have seemed to me but that doesn't make them any less real.

There have been many occasions over the last year when I have truly felt as though I was losing my mind. Somewhere deep inside I've been screaming to get out! There have been personal complications with family and stress of D's work which has meant that my usual support network just wasn't there for me. I didn't feel that I could talk to them or anything I did try to say was too close for comfort and misconstrued or not taken well. I felt very alone....

My cloud got darker and heavier and I felt no joy in anything. I couldn't concentrate, there was nothing I wanted to do and I just wanted to cry all the time. There was a point about a month ago where it was suggested to me that I should visit the doctor and get counseling or anti depressants. I really wanted to avoid this if I could as I feel that it is a slippery slope.

Then about three weeks ago I remembered something. Agnus Castus! The queen of the hormone balancers, I had taken it as a supplement many years ago and totally forgotten all about it. What if my problems (emotional at least) were just wonky hormones? It did feel a bit like permanent PMT!

So I ordered some from Amazon (what would we do without them) and started to take it the moment it arrived. Bizarrely the effects were almost instant, my mind cleared and I felt.... happy! I was able to talk to people without getting grouchy and actually say what I was feeling. I was totally chilled out! Things still bothered me of course but nowhere near as much as they had been. Was I cured?

Well, I don't know yet. It's been about three weeks now and I am still taking them and still feeling... OK. There are situations that need to resolve themselves though and I think my business is going through lots of changes. I need new direction, I'm stagnating.

I guess what I am trying to say is that when things are getting you down, don't just jump for the obvious answers. Many people told me that I needed anti depressants which I really didn't! My cloud hasn't totally dissipated but I can at least see the sun again.


Friday, 18 July 2014

I'm not normal - I'm incredible!

Is something that I have NEVER said! 
But maybe it is time to stop putting ourselves down and actually be nice to US!

I am far harder on myself than anyone else is, my worst critic and I bet you are the same. I'm never the right size or shape, never clever enough, moan too much, don't treat people well enough, could do better! I have wonderful people in my life that tell me I'm fabulous yet I never believe them. The scary thing is that maybe if I tell them enough times that they are wrong then they will start believing it ... and then where would I be?

Why am I so hard on myself?

I had an argument with D the other month (I was being typical me and driving him crazy - see, there I go again!) I was totally down on myself and said I didn't feel that I had achieved anything in my life. He disagreed and said that I cooked tea every night and look at the lovely things I'd bought for the house!

I mean what!!  Really!! This was very uncharacteristic of him, I think I'd annoyed him quite a lot but this tiny list of achievements really shocked me and actually annoyed the hell out of me (and still does, can you tell?)

I think that this was perhaps a slight turning point in my attitude to myself. It's taken a while as I only actually realised it this morning. Because at the end of the day we don't need someone else to tell us our achievements, the best person for that job is YOU! (or in my case me)

When I started to think about it I have achieved many things in my life, in fact the list is endless as every moment I keep adding to it. I think some of my favourites are:
  • After some difficult times, finally finding a man I love who loves me and marrying him.
  • Carrying and giving birth to two beautiful children.
  • Rearing those children, managing to find a way to be able to stay at home and do this myself.
  • Running my own business which helps 100's of people.
  • Generally being an all round good person.
I think that is quite a list don't you? And weirdly I haven't mentioned my obvious skills at cooking and shopping!

OK there are no masters degrees or high flying careers in there (I've been a director of my own company in the past though so been there, done that) but to me the things on my list are important. I think they make me a worthwhile person.

So from now on I am determined to not be so hard on myself. Instead of listing the things that I haven't done I will keep listing things that I have done. I will take each day at a time and stop worrying about things I cannot change. Yes I have physical issues but right at this second I have no magic wand to change them so why not just accept them as part of me.

Is it time that you took a good look at your life and realised that you are totally incredible?

Tell me about yourselves, I want to see those lists. :)





Thursday, 10 July 2014

Is there anyone listening?

I have noticed a trend over the last few years with blogs that is disturbing me. Many of you, like me, started your blog years ago (not quite dinosaur territory but not far off!) and I'm sure that if you cast your mind back you will remember it as being a very different experience than the one you have now.

I remember writing a blog almost every day and receiving comments and new followers and it felt like there was a reason for me to be doing it. Now according to google my posts do still get visited but I think many of these are probably via some mobile app or other which is more of a window than a community.

Noone takes the time to follow you anymore directly from the blog itself or just drop a comment saying Hi. When I received a new follower or a comment I always followed the link to find the person and say thank you. I found many new friends this way. But now that all we get for our posts is silence that is all gone!

I think that this is why I find it so hard to post regularly, it feels like noone is listening.

Do you find this with your blog?

How can we get the interaction back?

If you have found me here and taken the time to read this post please leave me a comment to say that you have passed by, I will do my best to find you and take a look into your world. :)




Monday, 7 July 2014

Blogging Hubbies - favour please!

Hi all!
Yes it's me! I'm still around somewhere. :)

I have a favour....

My wonderful hubby D (of the post-it fame) has started blogging! He has always wanted to write and has finally decided to spend some time every evening after his long day at work to hit the keyboard and aims to post once a day (something I appear to be totally incapable of!).

We long term bloggers know how hard it is to get a new one off the ground, even more so these days as noone seems to follow or comment anymore so if you could find a few minutes in your busy day to pop over and have a quick read (possibly follow if you like it) it would be very much appreciated.

He is still trying to find his style (I've been blogging for 7 years and still haven't found mine) so if you do like any of his posts a share on your blogs could make all of the difference and give him the much needed enthusiasm to keep his daily posts going.

You are such a wonderful bunch I have every faith in you.

You can find the fabulous man here http://www.thedarkscribbler.blogspot.co.uk/
 
Those that know me will be well aware of the stress I get with delivery men so On the edge of ourgarden there is a wall will strike a chord. 
  
"Instead of just inviting people in, I think everyone should spend some time going out, beyond the metaphorical wall. We should all take trips to new lands and by doing so we may find something different. It may not be what we expected, but it will be new and exciting and we can learn and grow from it. "

Or maybe
The blue Hydrangea blossom - Different is good 
is more to your taste.

"If you choose to be different, suddenly you can choose to be whatever you want, to start building the person you would really like to become. It will take work. You will make mistakes, but being different will get you to a new you.

 I love posts that make me feel good so they are ideal for me. He does go deeper though in his earlier posts with 

and
What would humanity be without music?

Have a look and see what you think and if you like it please share (please let me know in the comments if poss). 
 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

5 Interesting Craft Projects - A Dandelion Pom Pom, Nail Varnish Flower Jewellery, A Celtic Heart Knot Necklace, an Egg Box Sewing Basket and Jazzy Pebble Creatures

One of the things I love about the internet is that it is so easy to find fun and original things to try. I've been having a look around and some have caught my eye. I'd like to share them with you:
 

Dandelion Pom Pom Tutorial with crochet leaf

You can find more information and the original Russian tutorial here http://www.ukcraftblog.com/2014/02/dandelion-pom-pom.html  

-♦♥♦-

DIY Nail Polish Flower Jewellery

I'm not overly sure how easy this will be as I think you may need a certain type of nail varnish to get it to stretch over the wire but if you do have a go I'd love to hear how you get on.
 

 -♦♥♦-

DIY Celtic Heart Knot Necklace

 Make a Celtic Heart for your loved one with help from Heritage of Scotlands Tutorial.
 
 
 -♦♥♦-
 

An original idea for a homemade sewing box


-♦♥♦-

An idea to Jazz up some pebbles with the kids

 
I made a couple of these with my youngest when he was smaller. He still loves them now.





Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Simple Elegance by Katy Handley

The other month I was asked by a publisher to review a craft book. You can see the actual review in the March Issue of Creative Crafting Magazine but I thought I would add a copy here. It's a rather cool little book.

Simple Elegance by Katy Handley 

The Big Little Homemade Gift Bible

 


Katy Handley believes that parenthood goes beyond raising children. It’s everything in between that we often find most challenging, such as the perfect teacher gift or the perfect way to say ‘thank you’.

Katy has found a way to show that with a little time and imagination, you can bring a little sunshine into the lives of all of your friends and family.

This delightful book spans a very wide selection of things ranging from various craft projects, cooking and recipes (right down to stocks and preserves), pet delights and gift hampers.

In the introduction of the book we meet Katy herself and learn about her family and her reasons for writing it. A couple of lines immediately struck a cord with me:

‘What better way is there for a child or family to say ‘thank you’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ to someone; than with something made by them?

‘Watching your child hand over their gift that they made is one of the most magical moments you will ever find’.

Now we launch ourselves straight into the book after a brief explanation from Katy about all of the projects and recipes being simple to do and not complicated. And she’s spot on! Most, if not all of the creations in the book could be easily done with your children and don’t seem scary at all!

There is also quite a vast selection so there should be no trouble finding something to suit your mood or budget. I will certainly be trying some of these myself with my own children. Here is a quick taster from the contents:

Crafts:
Dried Fruit Charms
Felt Stitched Hearts
Beaded Key Holder
Homemade Gift Book
Summer Sweet Bag

Recipes:
Chicken Pie with a secret
Savoury Muffins
Peppermint Droplets
Biscotti
Super charged Spiced Raisins

Hampers:
The Birthday Emergency Hamper
The Get Well Soon Treats
The Never Too Old Hamper
Child’s Birthday Hamper
Dinner Party Kit

So my verdict on this book? 

I really like it. One of the best bits for me is that at the end of every item whether it is a craft project or a recipe there are ideas for how to turn it into a gift. If I had to find one thing to complain about it would be the fact that there are no images in this book! As many of the pages have blank spots on them after the text I do feel a bit let down by this but I’m still very pleased to have it in my collection.

Purchase from Amazon in print here
Simple Elegance: the Big Little Homemade Gift Bible

Or via Kindle here
SIMPLE ELEGANCE

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The irrational pondskater of stress!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my lovely hubby D has been leaving me post-its to find on my PC and all over my kitchen. Yes, he's still going strong! I'll be onto a whole new block of post-its soon, it's fabulous!

Well, I've been wigging out a bit this week for various reasons. (Many unknown to myself!) Anyone that knows me is well aware that I'm a worrier, if I don't have anything to worry about (which is rare but does happen) I will find something. My specialty is focusing on things that I cannot possibly change, I seem to latch onto these with relish and obsess about them!

So after days of me getting more and more anxious and let's be honest, driving him insane everything came to a bit of a head last night and we had lots of words. None of which made me feel any better whatsoever and I was left feeling totally useless as usual and that I was an extreme burden and why do I always do this and so on and so on....

This morning when I made a beeline for the kettle I turned round to see my desk was a sea of orange! It was full of post-its! The top one announcing that this was my 'Post-it Farm'. Lined up on my desk beneath this were several other post-its saying lovely, inspirational things that made me smile. One in particular caught my attention and although he'll be very cross for telling you all (so noone tell him) I have to share it with you and bring it to life a little.

This is what it said:

We are strong because deep down we are happy. Get rid of this "surface tension", let the irrational pond skater of stress be absorbed into the under-current of love we live in. Hug me; all that warm is love.

Isn't that wonderful? I think we all need to find this creature and SPLAT IT!!!

Here he is, I've grabbed him for you, fly swatters at the ready.....

Wishing you all a wonderful pondskater free day!



Thursday, 30 January 2014

I've reopened my Etsy Shop!

Pounds lost on diet - 4

Now many of you know that I've never really had much luck on Etsy, I mainly seem to sell through my website but I decided to have another go again so a small selection of my creations can now be found on Etsy. Here is a taster:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Further adventures in needle felting

Pounds lost on diet so far - 3

So after my first attempt at needle felting last week (you can see them here) my next idea was to make some keyrings. So here they are.

Another freaky face

Izzy the Springer Spaniel

My mums cockatiel Marathon
I'm going to attempt something new today and probably stab myself several hundred more times. The needles are super sharp and barbed so you certainly know when you catch yourself. I'm expecting to stab myself a lot today as I'm stuck in one of those 'wake up every morning at 2.30am' loops again. Here's hoping I break the loop soon.

Have a good day!


Monday, 20 January 2014

Blue Monday!

Total pounds lost so far on diet - 2 1/2

I've just been told that today is 'Blue Monday', the most depressing day of the year! Well mine certainly hasn't started off too well so there may be something in that. No 1 son is always up at around 5.30am so nothing new there but this morning No 2 son was also up! This isn't normal and doesn't bode well for the rest of the day as he needs more sleep. To top that I then manage to knock an entire cup of tea all over my bedside table and the surround area. Kindle, Tablet, Phone, DS, watch and all of the electrical cables that run in front of it! - sigh!

All that aside though my needle felting kit arrived on Friday! And what fun I had with it. I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and start with something tricky so made two balls and added faces to them. Sounds nuts I know and they do look a little odd but humor me I'm new at this!

So here we have two little 'creatures'.
Attempt number one I think I'll call Lapis Larry! I don't think he's totally finished yet, needs more hair and possibly feet, not sure.


The thing I find the funniest is that his expression is exactly the same as the one my old cat gave me all the time!


He now sits on my desk and just glares at me all day!
Attempt number two is also not finished and I think looked better before I added the eyes.


This one looks a bit like an alien, or one of the ants from Bugs Life!
So for a first attempt, what do you think? (Be nice, remember I'm having a bad day)

Hopefully 'Blue Monday' is treating you a little better than it is me. Have a good one!


Friday, 17 January 2014

It's FRIDAY!

One week point of the diet:
Pounds lost - 1 (shocking for a first week isn't it)

I'm pleased it's Friday though, woke up feeling about 103. Right leg doesn't seem to be working properly at all. The joys of getting old (er). :(

I'm totally addicted to minions!

My kit didn't arrive yesterday so I wasn't able to find out how bad I am at needle felting. Rather down about that but today is another day isn't it. I have just found this image though...

How cool is this! May save all the crumbs getting in between the keys (I know you get this too don't you, admit it). Of course being a beader I also get seed beads stuck between mine too.

And in spite of being '103' and having a dodgy, painful right leg (no idea why) I'm smiling because I've found three post its from D today. This all started in December when I was having a bit of a rough time (I won't bore you with the details) I began to find a post it each day on my computer screen with a nice message or a joke. Now it has progressed to not only the post it on my screen but multiple, hidden post its all around the kitchen for me to find at various times. In cupboards, the next page of my notebook, under school flyers stuck on doors. Every time I find one of these it makes me smile and love him all the more. See, it's the little things that count and after 17 years together we've never felt so close.

Now I suppose I should do some work.
Have a good day!



Thursday, 16 January 2014

I thought I was doing so well!

Pounds lost - 1 (I've gained a half pound back!)
Cheats on diet - 0 (hardly seems fair!)

I thought I was doing so well! I haven't cheated at all. Does the afternoon I spent fantasizing about Lion Bars count? I didn't have one, just thought about them. :( Maybe I should just stay away from the scales for a bit, what do you think?

On a lighter note, the Chilli went down a storm with everyone. It didn't seem to matter that I had used pork mince instead of beef and it is on the menu again next week. If you would like the recipe you can find it here. As I used the pork which was less than 5% fat it was Syn Free on the Slimming World Easy Plan.

I'm also waiting for the postman in a rather excitable manner today as I'm expecting my needle felting starter kit to arrive. I have so many ideas for how I can encompass this into some of my gemstone work and am keeping everything crossed that I can manage to create something acceptable. I've made toys out of felt (as you've seen on here) for years so fingers crossed.

Have a good day!



Tuesday, 14 January 2014

4 days into the diet!

Pounds lost - 1.5
Cheats on diet - 0 (Yay)
Times almost cheated - 0 (Go me!)

Not fantastic is it but it's something. I'm also not finding it too hard so far but then the first week is always the easiest isn't it as you are full of enthusiasm. I'm still amazed that you can eat Baked Beans whenever you like on the Slimming World diet! It seems so wrong!

So last night was Jacket Spuds with Baked Beans and a huge salad (fat too big really as it took ages to eat!). We also worked out a salad dressing using fat free greek yogurt, mustard, lemon juice and salt and pepper. It was....ok.(ish)

It's said that the main reason all this works is that by going to the weekly groups you are almost shamed into sticking with it as noone wants to get on those scales and be heavier. I can see how this works. Thing is, I'm not going to groups so I'm going to try boring you lot with it instead. Can you keep me on the straight and narrow? Pretty please!

I have around 4 stone to lose (thanks to some bed rest and a pregnancy craving for Cadburys Whole Nut whilst carrying No 2 Son).

Tonight I'm attempting to make Chilli (never had it before) with pork mince as it's the only one I can find with less than 5% fat. We shall see how it goes.




Friday, 10 January 2014

It's the simple things!

Sometimes just a little change can make everything seem a lot brighter can't it!

I work from a (very) small desk in the corner of my kitchen and it's easy to get bored with your surroundings. My working day has been brightened up dramatically by something quite small but which has made a surprising amount of difference. A mouse mat! Yes, that's right, a mouse mat.

This fabulous new item was given to me to Christmas by my best friend and co magazine editor Avril from Sprinkles Sparkles. This was one of many lovely gifts that Avril gave to me, she has certainly restocked my stationery habit nicely. So why such a difference? Well, it's brighter for a start. The mouse mat I had before was one of those with the gel wrist support (boring black too). On acquiring this one many years ago I soon discovered that the wrist support actually made my hand hurt so I have been using it back to front. Yes, this did look rather odd and it was also getting dog eared from overuse so my nice sparkly new mat was certainly a site for sore eyes. Would you like to see it?






This mat is from Santoro's Gorjuss range which really does live up to the name. Go on, take a look http://www.santoro.co.uk

You are eyeing my Swarovski pen aren't you! That was a fabulous gift from D for our 15th wedding anniversary last year. You can read a little more about this day here

So if you are a little bored as you sit at your desk why not change just one thing, it may make all the difference.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Life, the Universe and Everything!

Well it's D's 42nd birthday tomorrow! I am just about to write the 18th birthday card that I have given him. (That's one for each year we've been together not an 18th birthday card as that would be just silly - or would it?) Having written something suitably inspiring and mushy on his Christmas card a couple of weeks ago I now have to come up with something new. Hmmm...

It's just taken longer than usual sending Number One Son off to the school bus as he was even more ditzy than normal bless him. He came back in the house three times and then half way up the path turned and said "Have I got everything?" How would I know? He started high school last September and it's been a bit of a culture shock for him. I've been trying to train him in doing things for himself, it's a long road but we have made some headway.

At first I would tackle him when he first got home and pack his bag with him for the next day. Then we would go through the homework he had to do and he would do that (with as little shouting as possible). Next I would hang up his clothes for him.

Over the months we have now reached the stage where (prompted by me) he will pack his own bag when he gets home (on a good day) and rather incredibly hang up his own clothes. (This one took a few evenings of him in a heap on the floor crying he couldn't do it, what kind of a child am I raising here!) The clothes thing only extends to his school clothes though as the rest lie wherever he takes them off. Sigh.

It's all been such a big change for him and I still can't believe how big he is getting. At 12 he is now only about an inch shorter than me (maybe less) and I find it rather disturbing. They grow so quickly don't they, even the little one is 6 now and will no doubt be past me in no time at all.

Is it better to keep so busy that time flies or to do so little that it drags, at least you'd see more of it? But would you appreciate it? Probably all wrapped up in that question of life, the universe and everything.

Oh wait! The answer is D! He's the answer isn't he. Well tomorrow he will be when he turns

42!

I always knew he was super special. ;)




Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The weather is such a Drama Queen!

I woke up this morning to howling winds and driving rain! (And a very annoying banging noise from outside my bedroom wall, I've never been able to work out what this is but it does it a lot when it's windy).

It was totally dark and very loud and certainly wasn't helping number one son with his stress about going back to school today. Even the weather didn't want him to go. When he did finally get there I got a BBM to say that some 'random other people' had taken over the bus shelter and they hadn't even got on their bus. Lots more grumpiness to come I think.

What is going on with the weather at the moment?

Last Autumn we were informed that we were about to head into the worst winter we'd had for 60 years, freezing temperatures and totally covered in snow until February. Yet even now we are still in double figures temperature wise, I'm not sure I believe forecasts at all anymore. We have been very lucky down here in that yes we have had high winds and LOADS of rain but we haven't sustained damage or been flooded. Our thoughts go to those that have been affected and hope that it settles down soon. On a brighter note it must have saved us all a small fortune in heating bills.

So, how are you all getting on with the New Year so far? Any big plans?

I have decided that I simply MUST streamline my business. I spend way too much time working for little gain so I need to make sure that everything I do is more effective. Which is easier said than done isn't it, but it is the plan none the less. I am hoping to move house in the next 12 months so there is plenty to do and I need to make time to do it. We've been in this small, damp bungalow for 7 years now and it is truly amazing how many possessions (total rubbish) we've accumulated. I blame most of this on how hard it is to throw things away these days. (Mostly my fault as I'm too lazy to take things to the tip). It was much easier though before we were limited to once a fortnight, only if it fits in your wheelie bin and the lid closes rubbish collections. We already have several black bags waiting their turn to get into the bin!

Is today going to be super productive? I shall tell you tomorrow. :)
Have a good day!


Monday, 6 January 2014

Aren't the years flying?

I can't believe it is 2014! It sounds all wrong doesn't it! Where is the time going?

I am fast approaching a rather significant birthday at the end of the month and I'm doing quite a bit of back pedaling. Can I start going backwards please? At least until I get back to 21 then I am happy to start creeping forwards again. I did broach this option at home and D (Mr CL was confusing people so we will now refer to wonderful husband as D) decided to make a maths problem out of it for number 1 son. If mum gets one year younger every year until she gets back to 21, and then starts to go forwards at a rate of 2 years at a time. How many years will it take her to get back to the age she is now! I mean REALLY! I wasn't even going to attempt this, I was stressed enough already. And who said I was going forwards in 2 years anyway! Humpf!

Mind you, I was reading the a post from one of my favourite bloggers this morning (www.thebloggess.com) and I picked out a rather fabulous statement that I think I will use as my motto for 2014 at least.

Jenny said "You’re 40.  You’re just young enough to still do everything you still want to do and just old enough to not do anything you don’t want to do ever again."

My brain just doesn't want to compute though, I can't possibly be that old! Although I do often feel older as I have many aches and pains etc. Brainwise though I think my mental age is getting younger. It was always a joke in our family that I was born at age 45! (I was never amused) I think that as I get older I am actually mentally getting younger, so that's OK right?

I'm also starting a new diet on Friday (yes another one) so I shall keep you posted about how I'm doing. In 2012 it was the Harcombe Diet, last year was the 5:2, on Friday I start Slimming World.
Wish me luck!

And before I forget.....
HAPPY NEW YEAR!






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