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Sunday, 31 December 2017

New year, new beginnings


Yes,  I do love winter. Despite the short days and long nights, the cold and damp, it feels to me like winter is a time for reflecting, for planning and thinking about what we want to create in our lives over the coming year – the birth place of genius.  I don’t see it as a time for taking massive action but a time for resting, sleeping and for eating healthily to enable our bodies to recover and repair.  This is in contrast to the idea of New Year resolutions which are usually requiring some action.

New year, new beginnings.  For many this is so. A time of hopes and dreams of a wonderful year to come.   I’m not fond of resolutions, particularly at such a harsh time of year, when we’re often below par and our immune systems are doing their best to ward off the worst of the germs.    Resolutions themselves can be on the surface motivating but can all too quickly turn into frustration and despair,  a sense of having ‘blown it’ again, and a lot of negative self judgement thrown into the mix.

For example, aspiring to be healthier and fitter, for example, is logical – taking responsibility for our physical well being makes sense – though not just in January – good health benefits us all year round.  Changing habitual poor eating patterns that have caused us to gain weight or become unhealthy can be done with love and kindness towards ourselves rather than resolving to go on yet another quick fix diet (often steeped in a sense of deprivation) and beating ourselves up if we slip off the wagon – this goes against everything I know about self love and self care.

If you are a big fan of resolutions, then why not wait until the spring?  When the weather is a little warmer, the days are lengthening and there is a natural vibe of hope and growth – mirrored by nature and the emerging of colourful spring plants and nesting birds.  Energetically our bodies are much more able to cope with making significant lifestyle changes then.

We have now passed the winter solstice and are now moving onwards towards spring, so things are on the up.

I’m taking the pressure off the thought of new resolutions and instead simply treating each day as full of possibilities – who knows what that may lead to!

Here's to a wonderful 2018!

Shirley x

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Talking yourself out of it!

I read recently that our brains have something like a 5 second pause when we think of something good we'd like to do, before we try to talk ourselves out of it!  That would make a lot of sense to me because I can definitely relate to feeling really excited about an idea and then suddenly thinking of a hundred doubts around it.  You can find out more here on Mel Robbins' Facebook page.

How many of us are sitting and waiting for the 'right' time to do something we would love to do?  I make enough excuses about my busy day.  And it IS busy...often there isn't much give or take to be able to look after me.  Mostly because I take on a lot of things. I'm interested in everything and I like to get involved in as much as I can, even when I should probably often be saying no.  It's all about balance; sometimes the things you love that keep you busy are also a way of reconnecting with yourself and can have so much value too.

However busy you are, take a moment to consider what it is that you need to do to give yourself this balance and how and why are you putting this off?  One of my favourite phrases is 'Start where you are'.


It can feel scary but sometimes this is the very best thing you can do!  If you read Mum's blog post from last week you'll know we're both all too familiar with fear and doubt.  But for me, most of the time I'm putting things off is about perfectionist thinking (& there's also an element of focus and organisation!).  When you just get on and start something - even if it's not exactly perfect as you'd want it - it's liberating and you'll feel so proud of yourself.  This goes for anything in your life too - the washing, that phone call, thinking about that gift for someone.  And this (over)thinking takes up so much brain power!  What are you putting off?  What do you need to be brave with today?

Gemma xx

Friday, 22 September 2017

Self doubt and fear - the enemy within?

I wrote a blog the other day, and at first the writing flowed – a theme close to my heart – words coming to me as I wrote, job done.  Or so you’d think…………

Of course once the words were committed to paper and I began to read what I’d written, doubt started to creep in.

What am I writing this for?
Is there any point?
Will it make any sense?
Is it too weird?
Is this the right theme to write about?
It’s probably been said by lots of others and in a better way.
I’m wasting my time, it’s rubbish
I really don’t want anyone to read this anyway
I can’t write (sigh)
Why did I start this?
What's the point of anything?!

Yes well, can you see where all this is going?!  It’s a downward spiral into a deep pit of despair….and a sense of failure……..self worth plummets.............

Do you do this too?

What if I said this thinking is all made up?

It’s just thought  - wonky thinking I don’t need to take seriously.

We have thousands of thoughts every day and we have no control over what comes in. Some we pay attention to and others drift by unnoticed. Well I was paying a little too much attention to my thoughts on this occasion and made up a story about being afraid to let people read what I’d written and experiencing doubt that I could write at all and what a waste of time expressing myself was.

False Evidence Appearing Real.

Yes, it felt scary for a while there! (And it will happen again and again)

Thankfully once I could see what a negative experience I was creating for myself, (took a while!),  I laughed at my innocence, at falling for this colossal lie and remembered, like everyone else, I’m human and simply forgot that we all take our thoughts seriously from time to time and it’s time for us to give ourselves a break and not spend so much time and energy in believing each and every one of them.

Self doubt and fear are natural emotions we experience particularly when we go outside of our comfort zone.  For me, this is expressing myself openly and not hiding away (my preferred option!).  Now, I'm moving into a position of 'feel the fear and do it anyway' (to coin a well worn phrase!) taking my thinking less seriously and moving forward anyway to areas I am drawn to, simply to see what happens.

I don't see self doubt and fear as the enemy, perhaps more of a misguided friend who thinks they are helping by trying to keep me safe but in the grand scheme of life, doesn't serve me very well and can persuade me to act in a more inhibited way.

So as part of my own self care I recognise that thoughts are just thoughts - neutral and ebbing and flowing in life - all part of our humanness - so let's embrace what shows up for us and make the most of life's mysteries on our journey through life.

Have fun

Shirley xx

Friday, 15 September 2017

The season of change

It feels like we’ve been catapulted into autumn this past week or two.  Anyone else noticed this?   As summer gives way to autumn, nights are drawing in and the temperature is decidedly chilly in the evenings.   I’m reaching for a throw and hot water bottle – lighting candles and snuggling up with a mug of hot chocolate.  The beginnings of the transition to autumn seem to have come around so quickly – my mind is drifting back to the beginning of summer – how did it pass so quickly?!

Nurturing, warming soups are back on the menu (welcome back red lentils)  and I’ve been blackberry picking, something I love to do. There’s something delicious about foraging for free food and rustling up a delicious apple and blackberry crumble – as well as freezing several trays of blackberries for the winter months.  All very satisfying and an essential part of my own autumn ritual.

After the active summer period, tending our gardens, traveling, holidays and generally being out and about enjoying the balmy long summer days, autumn signals a transition time – slowing down, resting, recuperating and preparing for those colder winter months.

Autumn has its own beauty of course. Glorious colours as nature puts on a final colourful display before leaves fall and growth becomes dormant. I get out into the countryside as much as possible and drink in those heady colours, collect conkers and pine cones (for my grandchildren of course - or at least that’s my excuse!).  I see wild creatures scurrying about – squirrels busily burying their finds and birds feeding on wild berries – a bit like my foraging, an instinctive desire to store the harvest before the cooler winter months.

So there are positive things to be enjoyed at this time as we make the most of the remaining relatively warm autumn days (yes ok, the last few days have been decidedly chilly!). Such abundance of berries and fruits to feast on, and store away, before the oncoming darker, colder months.

Taking time out - even 5 minutes of deep breaths and feeling where my body is tensed, gently stretching it out, can help us feel more present and savour the moment instead of our minds racing ahead. Try it.

Maybe I’m putting a positive spin on this although I do find something magical with every season.  Yes, I have to adjust to the shortening days - sometimes reluctantly - but there is also something for me that is  'New Yearish' about September and starting again with a fresh outlook.  Perhaps that's down to years of study first as a mature student and then teacher - so September has meant a new start for me for some time.

This year, for me,  autumn brings the start of a new training course, another group of students to teach and preparing for a busy Seashack season as we move through the rebranding process and naturally evolve.

I'm feeling grateful for having experienced the spring freshness, the uplifting birdsong and signs of new life, the balmy summer days and my wonderful Hebridean adventure and now the circle continues into a slower and more reflective period, loudly interrupted by the Christmas extravaganza of course then back to reflection and planning for another year.

The circle of life......simply amazing.

Shirley x

Monday, 4 September 2017

Back to school......and why you can handle anything!

As always the summer has been and gone in a flash!  Lots of lazy days, good times (some rough days too) & memories under our belts and all of a sudden we are in September.  And that means for many of us the return to school - and for some of us the start of a school journey for our children.  With September brings Autumn and so many changes too.


I won't lie, I've really been trying not to think about it too much.  No-one wants to wish away the lazy days and we've all settled nicely in to a new routine at home now, which is led by slowness.  It's been nice not feeling exhausted and frazzled by dinnertime!  But school is starting this week here so it's time to get my head in the right place and get myself used to it all again.

Our middle one starts next week too!  She's just a bit older than 4.5 and seems to be looking forward to it.  Again, I've been trying not to focus on it too much or make too big a deal of it; I'm well aware that our vibes rub off on them and now that we've made the choice to send our children to school she needs positivity and excitement about it from me.  This time is very different because I already have one there and she's very familiar with the whole process of going to school.  I have no idea what to expect or whether she's going to settle well but there's a difference in me this time; I know that whatever happens I can handle it.

And this is something I want to teach my children: resilience.

I wasn't so clued up the first time for the emotions you feel as a parent.  My heart wasn't in traditional schooling so I needed a lot of convincing.  I was dreading sending him and even put off getting uniform until the very last minute.  I had wanted to home educate but it wasn't our path and so I took a chance with the school I picked and thankfully things have worked out.  But I found those first couple of weeks so incredibly hard, wondering how he was coping and being only just 4 years old he felt so little.

He struggled with settling in to school and couldn't cope with being separated from me.  I had never left him crying at preschool and didn't want to start at school.  There was even a morning that I couldn't leave him so took him home against the teacher's advice. I was lucky that I could work with his teacher and we managed to get him in to a good routine and in no time he was absolutely fine and enjoying school.  It was such a relief! And by about 2 weeks in it got easier for me to come to terms with the fact he was now at school.  I tried to focus on some positives:
  • We had time in the morning together
  • The school day is relatively short and passes quickly when you are busy
  • We had time after school together and I would try to get anything I needed to done in the daytime
  • School didn't have to be forever; if it didn't work out there were other options

It got easier.

But the following year wasn't so easy.  Our 3rd child was born the first week back at school and I don't think it helped him settling back in very much.  The negotiations didn't work this time and he just didn't want to go in at all.  Nothing was wrong at school; I just wasn't there.  Which was heart breaking.  My head was still asking 'Should we home school him if he's this unhappy?'  After many traumatic mornings it got to the point where I had to ask the school for help.  We worked out a way to get him in (his teaching assistant would come and meet him every morning) and within a day or 2 things were back to 'normal'.

Some kids need some extra support.

You know your child the best.  Which also means you know what they need.  It felt like mine was the only one struggling to go in which may have been true or may not.  But it was the story I invented in my head and it didn't much help to be honest!  With that came feelings of guilt and questions over my parenting and asking myself what had I done wrong?  I can look back now and say he's an anxious child and it was no surprise he was going to take a little longer to settle in to somewhere strange and trust people that weren't me.  And I can also say that he didn't want to separate not because of the bad job I'd done but because of the secure relationship I had created for us.


Don't be afraid to ask for help if you or your child struggles.  It's nothing to be ashamed of and you don't need to deal with it all on your own like I tried to.  The school is there to support you as a parent and your needs as well.  You are important too!  It's completely normal to be sad or scared that your child is off to school.  It feels like a huge leap that they are too little to take.  Surely they were only just born? My best advice is to take one day at a time.  Try not to presume what is going to happen or overthink it.  Know that whatever happens you can deal with it.  Building on that strength and confidence from within will help throughout your life and resilience is a great skill to pass on to your child too.  More on that in another blog post ;-)

Gemma x

Friday, 18 August 2017

Finding balance in your day and why you matter too!

I've had so many points along my parenting journey where I've thought that I just can't take it any more!  Sounds dramatic doesn't it?  Days where I've felt lonely and frustrated or like I'm everyone's skivvy in this house!  Times where in that moment I felt completely physically and mentally drained and can't remember who I am other than 'Mum' and 'Wife'.  I refer to Motherhood because that's been my path but you can liken this to any situation where you are giving your absolute all and forgetting about the importance of YOU somewhere in the middle of it all.


Our business - The Seashack - started as a result of me having my first child and Mum coming away from her stressful teaching job.  We both wanted to work around our other interests and commitments and wanted to take back that balance.  And I realised that it was important I had something for ME.

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I love being at home to look after the children and I feel lucky that I can fit our work around this.  When you put everything in to perspective my experience of becoming a Mum really is amazing. I used to feel guilty on tough days, that I wasn't appreciating or enjoying the chance to be at home with the kids when many parents would love to be. I saw myself as ungrateful and tried to stop feeling that way. But I've learnt over time that no situation is ever ideal.  Any struggle is a real struggle and shouldn't be compared to what's going on in other people's lives.  And I don't think any of us women need yet another thing to be feeling guilty about! There's absolutely nothing wrong with finding the situation you're in, hard work.

On a challenging day - and sometimes in general - finding that balance and putting yourself first at all can be impossible.  We lead busy lives and we feel restricted and tied to things sometimes that we'd rather not be doing.  But I believe in all our days there are small ways we can make time to remember ourselves and look after who we are. Here's my best tips:
  • Make sure that you eat and drink.  It's something - particularly drinking enough water - that is so easy to do yet makes such a big difference.  Yet somehow I'm always too busy answering someone's requests or focusing my time on something else or 'just finishing' something first.  I find that my mood drops hugely when I'm not eating regularly and because kids shout the loudest, they always get to eat first!  I'm putting in to practice some meal planning here while I'll share on another blog.  I believe being organised and spending time preparing food in advance is probably the way to go.  Take some time today to look at where you could make any changes; are you eating regularly enough?  Do you need to prepare healthy things to snack on-the-go?  Could you batch make some meals to freeze such as soup or any of your favourites?
  • Focus on the positives.  Try to notice the moments that are actually yours.  Ok they may appear mundane - such as driving or unloading the dishwasher.  But your arms are free and you are free to take a deep breath or think.  Sometimes it's not always about finding an hour to sip a tea and read a magazine (although that is definitely one to fit in!), but it's about looking for the other times of the day where you weren't feeling completely overwhelmed by other stuff/people.
  • Be realistic to avoid frustrations.  For example I'm sitting here now trying to write this while the kids play but it is unrealistic (knowing my children) for me to think I'll be able to write it all while they just do their own thing.  By presuming that, when they interrupt me or it's clear I can't carry on, I'll then feel resentful of the fact I've not managed to have 'any time for me'.  But by expecting that I'll only be able to do a little bit, when they interrupt me (which they are just about to - I can hear tears), I can feel grateful that I've got as far as I have in the time I've got.  The mindset is completely different and actually something to apply in many other areas of life too.
  • Finish that tea!  We've all been've made yourself a tea and then you've been distracted or pulled away from a situation by someone else.  Depending on what is happening obviously you may have to walk away from your tea and attend to it.  But this is where boundaries come in and saying 'no'.  It's very easy to get distracted and move on to the next thing and forget that the tea you made represented a break for you or a moment of self care.  If you can, put that moment first and continue with the next thing after you've finished this first one!
  • Give yourself space.  And if you have children give them the opportunity to have space too.  Having time to breathe - and even to be bored (ha - I wish!) - is really important.  Cramming stuff in, back to back, gives little time to think about your needs.
  • Learn to say no - this also connects with much of the above.  It's not selfish to make the decision that you aren't going to do something.  Sometimes it's for the 'greater good' (i.e. you can see a disaster happening if whatever this is goes ahead!) and sometimes it's just because it isn't good for YOU.  By respecting your own needs you also show others how to respect you too.
  • Grounding. This one might appear a bit 'woo' to some of you but I hope not.  A personal favourite for me is to, in those moments of overwhelm and 'there is no time for me', keep myself grounded.  Mum taught me years ago how to ground myself.  I know I need grounding when my head is all over the place, I'm starting to feel like I'm panicking or overwhelmed and almost a bit floaty.  It's hard to describe it but I imagine I'm a tree and I've got roots running through my feet in to the ground.  It really does work and brings me back 'down', and to a position where I can then deal with everything again.
I hope some of these ideas might help you as well as me!

Gemma xx

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The purpose of life is joy (even when you have your own business!)

When you have your own business it can be hard to stay focused on what it is you want to achieve or came into it for.  It’s easy to get lost in looking around at what everyone else is doing, even feeling less than some of the brilliant work in the market place. Your head is full of ideas and plans, things you want to create, to birth into the world, things you hope will touch people – maybe wake them up from the dream they have been living in – open their eyes to fresh possibilities.

It’s easy to look around and say – that’s already been done, there’s so much out there already, what could I add?


That’s when we need to get back to an inner focus – what feels good to you right now? What is it you really want to do, or create, or offer to the world? What touches your heart and soul?  What are you drawn towards?  What is it you feel you can’t not do?  Right here, right now, in this moment.

Yes it may sometimes feel challenging to follow your heart and stay connected to what’s true for you – but to live in that authentic space and be willing to show up as you and not a facsimile of someone else, I believe, is what we are collectively all here to experience. To reveal ourselves and connect with others, heart to heart – wherever we are and fulfilling whatever roles we want to fill – that is the true human experience and the joy of living.


So, what is in your heart today? What inspires you?

Shirley xx

Monday, 7 August 2017

Why I can't write today (but why if I do it could be the start of something)

Hello Monday!

It's the start of a new week and I thought I'd tackle something first thing that I've been wanting to for ages...

I love writing, I always have.  There's nothing like putting pen to paper and getting those thoughts down, making a list of things to get through, or getting something organised.  It's like if you write that thing down then it's there and it's committed to!  It's a great way to express something too; even if no-one ever sees it you've got that stuff on paper and out of your head which is a good thing.  We have enough things in our head I find!

But sometimes I am longing to write, especially on our blog, but I feel I have nothing to say or I can't focus long enough to actually articulate what it is that is in my head.  Or rather there's so many ideas that I can't actually put a single one in the practice.  I describe this feeling as being a bit all over the place...a bit chaotic.  I think when this happens you just need to write anything.  Which is what I'm doing now and seeing where it takes me...

Not everything you write or put out in the world has to be super majorly important or make a huge impact on anything.  Sometimes it's enough that it's something that you love to do and it's helping you.  I picked up The Big Magic again yesterday and reading a few chapters reminded me of this.  And I can feel myself inspired now!

Just start.

We spend too long up in our heads telling ourselves a story that nobody else is writing for us.  We might think no-one cares what we say, that we have nothing of use to give, that people are laughing at us.  Because it takes huge vulnerability to put yourself out there.  The only person limiting us is ourselves.

We need to start believing in ourselves.

Like, really believing.  I don't just mean a few quotes dotted around your home or half thinking that you might be able to do day...when you're more educated or you have more time or you feel more capable and 'ready'.  You absolutely are worthy enough of all the stuff (whatever that means for you) now.  Why would you not deserve to live the life you imagine living?

I can feel myself losing my train of thought...wondering if what I'm writing is worth sharing with anyone or wondering if it makes any sense at all!  The kids are noisy in the background whilst I type this out so quickly before being disturbed.  It's so easy to blame the time I need to dedicate to being a Mum on my lack of writing but I know this is all fear talking.  It's much easier to save this and not share it with you but then there will be that feeling of not having accomplished anything again...
So I'm going to leave it there for now...because writing something and making that connection is better than not writing at all.  And it gives me a little something to hold on to while I try to get focused on one of the parts of my life that need attention!

Wishing you a lovely Monday and sending you the confidence to do something today that takes you out of your comfort zone a little, if that's what you feel you need too.  And of course if you have a moment I'd love to know if anything here resonates with you...I would love to build a bit of a community here!

Gemma xx

Monday, 20 March 2017

International Day of Happiness!

IMG_20170320_174952.jpgToday is International Day of Happiness! It seems like almost every day there is something to celebrate and why not? I think our happiness is certainly important and also deserves a bit of thought and discussion. Mum and I were talking earlier about what happiness means to us.
I think it's hard to imagine being happy 24/7 each and every day. Things happen and as much as I believe that we have the choice in how we react to them I know I'm only human and often it's more about how I pick myself back up.
But happiness is something I think we all love feeling and all aim for; that feeling of calm and contentment in our lives. It's often so easy to put barriers in the way of our own happiness...we think we'll be happy when we go on holiday or when we have more money or when the work is done. Happiness is our natural state! Just look at children...they are so light and open and bounce back amazingly. They have an inbuilt resilience.
There are so many things I associate with feeling happy; cakes...holidays...sunshine on my face...colours...the sea...sand under my feet...hearing my kids laugh...a fresh bunch of flowers...freshly styled hair...cosy PJs & a blanket...but I want to know I'm still going to feel good without these things too. Every one of these moments is lovely but they pass and then what?
I know more than ever my happiness depends on things like self care...time for I'm looking at the I'm feeling about the things I already have. Gratitude plays such a huge part in how content I feel.
So I am happy to celebrate that we have a day to remind ourselves of these things and remember that happiness truly is a state of mind.
Gemma xx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Friday night connecting!

Wow what an evening - albeit cut short by my middle and littlest child! Because that's how life goes here at the moment...they seem to need their Mummy. So sometimes work just needs to wait. And wait it does :-)
However I did manage to nip out this evening for a couple of hours with Mum to a networking event. It is a new venture set up here in South Essex called 'Connecting with cocktails'. As the name suggests it wasn't one of those stuffy networking events. It was actually a lovely evening out!
I've been wanting to try something like this for ages but I'll be honest, I'm the type to pull out scared at the last minute! I'm confident enough to chat to people but I love the comfort of being at home...especially on a cold evening! And knowing we'd need to stand up and actually talk about what we do was nerve-wracking in itself! But as always with these things I said yes and thought I'd worry about it after!
I've felt the need to connect with other business owners for a while share experiences and learn from one another. And that we did. Lots of new connections, ideas and inspirations. And I did the best job I could getting up and speaking about what we do...which was pretty terrifying!
We also had to share a top tip so we spoke from the heart and reminded people never to compare yourself to others. What you see on social media platforms isn't someone's whole life. Be confident in who you are and true to what you love. Comparisons - even unconscious ones - have truly been my worst enemy. It's only when you really believe in yourself and what you have to offer that you can truly shine. Which is something I'm working on at the moment.
If you feel drawn to networking I'd really recommend it. I believe collaboration is the way forward; sharing strengths & ideas and being inspired by others. So many opportunities are created when you are least expecting it. I'm so looking forward to what comes moving forward...and in a way it's even nicer not knowing what that might be :-)
Gemma xx

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Do what makes you happy

It's Saturday night and I'm finally finding some time to write!  Evenings are something of a scarcity in this house with 3 little people.  Our youngest is nearly 17 months old and I never know from one evening to the next whether I'll get some free time or not.  We know that in an ideal world we'd all do more of what makes us happier; spend more time on the things we love.  When it comes to the evening it's often a dilemma whether to spend time doing chores...something for me...something businessy...something to help me get ahead (although I'm not sure it ever actually works!).  These are all things that would contribute to my happiness, in different ways, even if they aren't all things I'm obviously passionate about!

When it comes to our business and my happiness generally in life, I've been asking myself a lot lately about the WHYs; mainly why do I want to write or create or connect with others on the same wavelength.  It's not until you run a business that you start to understand what goes in to it; you're not just the creator or maker, you're in charge of every other aspect too.  Which requires balance!  Now that isn't always something I have that much of in my life right now so I seriously have to minimise my expectations, in all areas.  Doing more of the things I love isn't always easy but ultimately it just means trying to find time to squeeze even a little something in for yourself.  Even with 3 children I manage something each day.  It's always there, it's just a matter of looking for it ;-)
I love to write and be creative, I always have done since I was little.  But I do often feel like I might be a bit of an introverted-extrovert and it can be hard some days pushing myself to make time to connect.  It's all too easy to stay in your own head, with your own company! BUT I think it's very good for me to express myself.  Family life is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me but it can be draining and overwhelming in so many ways.  I think it is so important for me to have time outside of family life to focus on my interests and actually, I think overall it makes me a better parent for doing so.
What are your WHYs for doing what you love?
Gemma xx

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Celebrating the small wins 🙌

The title of this blog came to me while I was peeling carrots! This so often happens to me with's always the most inappropriate time when I guess my mind is relaxed and open to receiving this stuff. On this occasion I didn't dither; I leapt up and grabbed my phone and recorded the lot! 

So back to the small wins...

It's quite challenging, even more so at this time of year I think, to remember to focus on the things you have achieved/are going well. I often get bogged down each day with things here & before I know it I'm concentrating on lack; the things that aren't going right; the time I don't have; the mundane tasks that are getting in the way. 

When this happens, what about if we stop and turn each of those things around? What about if we acknowledged those thoughts (because all feelings are valid and important) & said okay, I can keep focusing on things that aren't making me feel good or I could look at them differently and perhaps I'll feel less frustrated? I can focus on the small wins. Of which there will be so many more than you think!

I can guarantee you that you're regularly far too hard on yourself. Right? I know I am. And that actually, by looking at things from a different viewpoint, well, your perspective on them might just change. Celebrating the small wins is about focusing on any little thing you can, to pick you up and move you forward.

What little achievements can you celebrate in your life today? Here's a few of mine:

- I managed to get the children fed and everyone was happy with their dinner! (Shock horror!)

- I tidied our Utility Room which makes me feel so much happier when I walk in there now.

- Middle and youngest child are back asleep after waking several times (ok, I'm in the middle of them,  but they are  a s l e e p!)

They aren't life - changing events, but they are positive things that made an impact or difference to my day. We all deserve a little celebration in our lives :-)

Gemma xx

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year!

It feels like such an exciting year! I've been really enjoying seeing so much positivity and motivation around me...not resolutions as such but people just generally expecting good things. I truly believe you need to expect those things and trust and they will come to you.

Well we had a really busy and fun family Christmas!
My aim was to try to plan as little as possible other than Xmas Day & Boxing Day & it certainly felt more relaxing than usual. However there are already things I'll do differently next year ;-) But this is just me...I can't help but analyse and want to improve our experience! There can be so much expectation and pressure to 'do' at Christmas (all coming from ourselves!) & I really learnt this year that doing and planning less worked for me.

Mum and I decided to stop earlier in December than planned which was such a good move too. And we have decided to carry that break on. We aren't sure exactly when we'll reopen the shop so for now we are going to keep creating behind the scenes but we won't be selling for a while yet. Sometimes it's important to get yourself in the right place again.

2016 was the year we decided to move towards getting more of our artwork made in to products.

One of the main aims of this was to be able to work even more flexibly and offer ready-to-go items. Having 3 young children I have really struggled this past year being able to create and family has to come first. My evenings, in particular, are extremely unreliable! But things are getting easier and 2017 really feels like the year where we'll make some more changes. You might even see a little more handmade being introduced.

For now, our aim is to spend time having fun & we'll continue posting on both Facebook and Instagram and I hope to spend much more time focusing on writing here too. I have so many ideas already in the new notebook Mum bought me for Christmas! And I just love the words on the front too ;-)

All the best guys xx