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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Life's little learning opportunities :-)

Today I realised 2 things:

1) It's much more challenging being pregnant during the school holidays than I thought it might be!

2) Children need just as much time to rest during the holidays as adults do!

Quite a lot of things have gone wrong today (actually, this whole week if I'm honest!).  I've crammed in too much......I'm really quite exhausted and I'm missing feeling my usual calm and relaxed self.  It's been hard to find that balance this week between providing the kids with things to do and giving them time to rest as well.  I had a notion that I'd fill our time together and make it 'fun' - off to a different place or meeting different people each day.

It has been lovely, but I've realised we've barely been at home......just relaxed or doing simple, fun things together.  I think I might have made a few wrong choices and most days we've had an extremely tired 4-year-old who is grumpy and sad by the end of the day :-(  You can just end up feeling so full of responsibility as a Mum!  I could blame myself all day for everything that happens here......but my intentions were well placed at least :-)

I could sit and list all the things that have been a disaster this week......and really to anyone else the things really aren't that bad but of course we are always so hard on ourselves!  It would end up quite a long, self-critical list!  But really, what would be the point in this?  Would it change anything or actually do any good whatsoever?  Overall the kids have had a nice time and, to be honest, I'm glad these hiccups have happened.  I'm glad for the chance to have a just-okay-ish week.  Because now I have something to learn from.  Something to do differently next time.  And isn't this a much better way to look at life's little challenges?  I like to call them 'learning opportunities' :-) And now I know that I should always keep extra baby-wipes and nappies on me when we're out......I should always have change......I should never cram in too much and neglect rest time and housey things.  And perhaps the swimming lessons each morning before meeting friends might have been a little much too!  Although 4-year-old has had a great time :-)  I am learning my limitations - and better now than during the long Summer hols!

(This post is actually rather ironic given my tips for self-care in our last blog!  Hmm......just off the re-read that one ;-)  Got to love a learning opportunity, right?)

Gemma xx

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Monday, 25 May 2015

My top tips for self-care ♥

Lately I've been thinking a lot about self care and how important it is to make yourself a priority sometimes.  I've got 2 young children and 1 on the way and I've always felt that when I'm happy and at my best they thrive even more.


We're all human and I certainly have my bad days but I know that when I look after myself, whether it's eating and drinking well or getting a bit of head space to do something I love, these bad days are few and far between.

So here's what I try to commit to:
  • First and foremost, I try to keep life as simple as possible. This often means doing less, seeing less people, having less and saying no more often!  It is the one central thing that I've realised has a knock-on effect and in turn benefits us all as a family!  I got to a point where we were out everyday...I was packing too many things in; avoiding being at home; finding it a rush to get from here to there.  I'd come home to try to make dinner...which would end up late...with children at my feet upset and tired.  Stressful for everyone!  The washing was always behind because I just wasn't at home enough to do it.  Now I slow things down and make time for things that will make my life easier - such as making dinner earlier or taking the time to involve the children in preparing dinner.  I'm far from being as organised as I could be with things like washing but I'm certainly a lot less stressed than I was :-) Try slowing down; cramming less in; being a little more realistic with how much time you have in one day.  
  • Making time to look after myself.  Oh this is so important!  We all know that we should look after ourselves so that we can look after others but oh so often we get forgotten in amongst busy lives, every day stresses and looking after other people.  I truly believe that when you are at optimum health or even optimum emotional health, others around you will benefit and your life becomes easier.  I am guilty of forgetting myself every single day.  Today I've not made time to drink enough water or take my vitamins or paint my toenails!  But notice I say haven't made time? This is totally my challenge......a prioritising fail! I always believe you can make time for yourself, it's just about priorities.  It's something I'm still working on but at least the intention is there!  Have a little think about your priorities today - where are you putting yourself amongst other things in your life?  Do you think that other areas would improve if you could work on your emotional or physical health first?
  • Being available for our children - whilst also having boundaries. I have a bit of a bugbear about listening and I hate the thought that my children aren't getting what they need from me.  Again it comes back to self-care and is a fine balance between their needs and your needs.  I find that quite often I can try so hard to be a responsive, positive parent that actually our lives start to suffer.  This is because I don't find it easy to say no to the children! Not in the sense of spoiling them with toys or chocolate but just general everyday requests.  I'm sure you're familiar with how it goes; 'I need a drink'; 'Can I have X and then Y and then Z but I need them all right now?'; 'Can you get me X and Y and I need a poo and then can we make something out of a cardboard box?' :-D  As our eldest has got older I've been able to say to him, 'Whoah......I can only do one thing at a time......and I might just need to finish this first but I'll come straight after.'  And at almost 5 he's actually really good at waiting and understanding that I can't do everything...he perhaps has to choose one and then wait for the others.  Mum and I have talked about this lately and she says it's important for them to see that I need time to myself too and actually, in the end they will learn to respect those boundaries and I don't think that can be bad role modelling, self-care ;-)  I don't always make the time to really sit and play but I try to and otherwise always be available.  I think sometimes as a parent, if you can attend to a need quite quickly, it will often buy you time after that to do what you want or need to do for you!  
  • Taking time to step away from social media. It's so easy to spend time procrastinating...avoiding other tasks...and social media is the perfect excuse. There is so much out there to be interested in and to learn but it's also such a distraction. Sometimes I think it does us (or me in particular) good to not have so many outside influences; things we read, things we see other people doing, opinions we might be vulnerable to. And instead really think about looking inside at what we think instead - using our instincts. When there are opinions everywhere it can be hard to be strong enough every day to see past this. 
  • And that leads me on to my last one which is recognising when something is making me uncomfortable. Now and then I start to have a pang of insecurity or a yearning for more material items or more 'success' or more of something else. I realise now that this is coming from me - rather than anything that other people are doing. At this point I need to take a little look at my own confidence levels and remind myself that everything is just perfect as it is - I'm experiencing what I need to and if there's something I want, then I need to put that intention out there and go grab it!  
So self-care really is so important.  Whatever you love to do, whether it's go for lovely walks, be in the outdoors, dance, sing, read, write......go make some time to fit it in.  There is always time for everything, it's just a matter of prioritisation and YOU are important too :-)

Gemma xx

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Our latest event!

Tonight sees the first event we've held on our Facebook page this year. And we're in May!  

Time is just flying and we've both had so much on separately.  We want to try and make these events more regular in future; tonight is a bit of an experiment to see if this is popular with our likers :-)

As much as we try to be organised usually there is some last minute panic and I'm still photographing items until just hours before it begins! But not today. Today I'm sitting on the sun lounger in the garden! And it's about time too. I have felt so chilly lately like the weather would never pick up. This is such a lovely time of year :-) 

Tonight's event is a great chance to pick up a unique handmade gift or home accessory for yourself. Most of the items won't be reproduced although we're thinking of adding a few of them to our range. 

'Dream' original oil/acrylic painting on wood
9cm x 10cm
'Start your day with a grateful heart' freestanding wooden block
10cm x 15.5cm 
'Live lightly' rustic freestanding block
12cm x 10cm
If you're familiar with our work already then you might recognise a few old favourites in the mix tonight. Mum has been working away on some new mini huts and we only have 3 tonight but we may consider making some more.  They are incredibly time consuming and fiddly but fun to design and make!

I love the new flower prop - it's so bright and fun and was actually on its way to my Daughter's bedroom when I borrowed it for half an hour ;-)
You'll also find a few amazing pieces of art - this large one is by Mum and it really truly is just so beautiful in the flesh :-)  

And finally we've recently had some stock return from a shop in Devon that we supplied so we have just 1 set of the very first style bunting we ever made!  It's a vintage style and actually used vintage floral fabric for the appliqué.  The wording is 'Let's go to the beach, drink lemonade and eat ice cream'.  Ah, bliss......I wouldn't mind doing that today in this lovely sunshine :-)

I think there were only ever 3 sets of this made so it really is very unique!

I feel like we're going through a really positive time of change at the moment for The Seashack. 

'Aim high sky high'
12cm x 10cm freestanding wooden block
I think we have our style and our intentions really understood and we're on the verge of being able to sell through our own website at last! Events like the one on Facebook tonight are a fantastic way of reconnecting with our current customers and also promoting a really good selection of what we do to anyone new to our business. 

Either way I really feel the energy is buzzing at the moment and we're producing some designs that we're both so proud of :-) 

If you'd like to join us tonight you'll find our Facebook page at For any other enquires please email us at or you'll find our shop at 

Much love,

Gemma xx