Mad March 2020 … But Spring Came Anyway

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Who’d have thought when we were tucking into our Christmas dinners with our loved ones, that three months later the majority of us would be confined to our homes, with schools, shopping centres, restaurants, gyms, parks etc closed, empty shelves in the supermarkets, no online shopping slots and not be able to find those little necessities we usually take for granted – loo roll or soap, anyone? – for love nor money. And that “social distancing” would become the temporary norm and a commonly used phrase.

Nope. I doubt any of us could have imagined this surreal situation that we and the whole world have found ourselves in due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Unbelievable isn’t it?

First and foremost, I hope you and your families are keeping safe and continue to do so.

It’s such a shame too for all the weddings and other parties and events that have had to be postponed. What an impact this is having on so many things!

Of course, along with everything else, for the time being, my photoshoots have been suspended, and at this time of writing, we have no idea when it will be deemed safe to start them again.

Luckily, I also have my Zazzle Print on Demand store which is keeping me sane through all this craziness! I am counting my blessings that I can continue to do what I love, working from home, as is the norm for me, and creating new designs and keeping my store up and running.  Strange though isn’t it, much as I adore working from home engrossed in my art and, in normal circumstances I have to drag myself away from my desk as I can’t get enough of it,  when you are being forced to stay indoors due to the current lockdown and isolation, all you want to do is get out and about!

How fortunate that we have apps like FaceTime and Zoom so we can virtually connect with our families and friends through all this, when we can’t physically get to see them. This week I am arranging a virtual “coffee morning” with my sister, and also an online get together with a group of friends, I expect with a glass of vino in our hands!  Obviously, we’ll be having lots of virtual meetups with our boys too.

I feel so much for some elderly folk, like my own mum. Not only do they have the extra worry of being in the most vulnerable category, many of them aren’t so internet savvy, or familiar with apps where they can use Facetime to speak to their loved ones, nor have access to things like Netflix to keep themselves occupied. Without being able to enjoy the same technology that lots of us use to entertain ourselves, even more so at the moment, boredom seeps in.

And heartfelt thanks to our doctors, nurses, care staff, emergency service workers, everyone working in the supermarkets and shops, postmen and delivery drivers and to anyone else playing a vital role right now, who are working so hard through this troubled time to keep us safe and fed and watered. Our Angels in Disguise for sure.

Dreadful as things are right now, I truly believe that positives will come from all of this and I know I am not alone in thinking along those lines.

Someone in the Zazzle forums posted a poem, which I found very uplifting with a very inspirational message.  

I believe it was originally written by an Italian journalist named Irene Vella. The version posted below was translated into Dutch from the original Italian language, and then from Dutch into English. So, I’m not quite sure how closely it resembles the original words and some of the lines aren’t grammatically correct once translated into English, but the sentiment remains.

I am going to include the whole poem below, even though it is long. But I think it’s so very beautiful and maybe just what we need right now.

May you find it as inspiring as I did. Take good care of yourselves 😊

BUT SPRING DIDN’T KNOW…

It was early 2020
Winter had been long and dark,
February had been a very restless month with lots of storms and lots of rain
Nature was restless, as if she wanted to tell people something,
as if she wanted to warn people about something

And then came March

It was March 2020…
The streets were empty,
most of the shops were closed,
most of the cars stayed parked on the side of the road,
people almost never left their homes, all over the world,
countries were locked,
people couldn’t believe this was happening,
it was so surreal
Everyone knew what was going on

But Spring… did not know
And the flowers started blooming
And the sun was shining
The first beautiful spring day since long arrived
And the swallows came back
And the sky turned pink and blue
It got dark later and early in the morning the light came through the windows


It was March 2020…
Youngsters studied online from home
Inevitably, children played mainly at home
Adolescents were bored, parents did not know what to do
People only came outside for shopping or to walk the dog
Almost everything was closed
Even the offices, hotels, restaurants and bars
The army began to guard exits and borders
People had to work from home
Entrepreneurs ran into problems
Most children were no longer able to go to school
Suddenly there was not enough room for everyone in hospitals, operations and investigations were postponed
Everyone knew what was going on

But Spring… did not know and it sprung
She imperturbably continued her annual program
She gave us her most beautiful flowers and her most wonderful scents

It was March 2020…
Everyone was quarantined at home for health or preventive reasons
Some people were no longer allowed to go to work, others had to
Hugging, kissing or shaking hands was suddenly a threat
Everyone had to keep a good distance from each other,
All sorts of shelves were empty in the supermarket
All kinds of fun things were canceled,
a lot of things had to end and nobody knew when that would pass
People were limited in their freedom while there was peace
All over the world, many people got sick and it was contagious
There was isolation, illness and panic
And then the fear became real!

And the days all looked the same
And the weeks suddenly lasted much longer
And everyone hoped that no more strict measures would follow
People were stuck in a movie and hoped for the hero every day
The world had slowed down when it wasn’t a vacation,
nobody expected this
Everyone knew what was happening

But Spring… did not know, and the roses continued to bloom
The Magnolia was budding
And the birds started building their nests


And then…

It was the year in which people recognized the importance of health and connection,
of togetherness,
of social contacts and perhaps also of their vocation,
this did something to the collective consciousness,
this did something with all people
The economy almost went under,
but it didn’t stop, it reinvented itself
It was the year when the world seemed to stop,
the year we would get into the history books together…
We all knew that

But Spring… did not know
And the flowers continued to bloom, and the trees sprouted
The weather was getting warmer
And more and more birds appeared

And then…Came the day of liberation…
People watched TV and were told… the emergency was over
And that the virus had lost!
That everyone had won TOGETHER!
And then everyone took to the streets…
With tears in their eyes…
Without masks and gloves…
Neighbours hugging as if they were brothers
And the world had become more beautiful and more loving
And people had become more humane
And they again had values ​​and norms
People’s hearts were open again,
which had positive consequences
And because everything had stood still, the earth could breathe again,
she too was healed of what people had done to her earlier

And then Summer came

Because Spring… didn’t know
And she was still there
Despite everything
Despite the virus
Despite the fear
Despite death
Because Spring didn’t know, everyone learned… the power of life

5 Undeniable Reasons to Love A Cup Of Positivity

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I have a sign by the bed which is probably the first thing I see when I wake up.

It simply says

TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO SMILE

Nothing fancy, just those few words. But powerful none the less. A little bit of positivity for the start of my day.

Right. I put it out there – I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes and messages. My Instagram feed is full of them and all sorts of goodies with different kinds of quotes on, from inspiring to funny, feature a lot in my Zazzle Store!

Methinks I’m not alone in this, judging by the number you see on social media, and on loads of items in shops wherever you go – from pillows to mugs, on clothing, fridge magnets, cards, notebooks, cosmetic bags, crockery, etc. etc. and of course posters and signs and wall art.

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Very popular. There’s something about emotive quotes that really draws you in, especially on any with words you personally resonate with.

How great for giving too! What better way to show you care than by sending someone a gift or card with a message of encouragement or positive vibes. Nothing like being told how great we are to make our day!

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So here’s what I reckon are the 5 undeniable reasons to Love a Cup of Positivity …

  • Brings The Feel Good Factor

When you feel good about yourself, it makes it simpler to feel positive about other things in life generally. Encouraging messages help you to believe in yourself more and therefor feel good about yourself.

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  • Creates a Positive Vibe

When you have a positive attitude – it’s catching! People around you respond to it, which in turn makes for a happier atmosphere around you which makes everything much more bearable to deal with.

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  • Helps to get us through Life’s Challenges

No one ever said it would be easy – nope! Life throws all sorts of stuff at us, both good and bad, sometimes it’s hard, even virtually impossible to stay positive through it all. It actually takes practice to keep positive and upbeat but truly worth it.

Absolutely

Obviously you can’t be happy about every situation but simply trying to find a positive from a negative situation, and possibly learn from it, will certainly help to make you feel better.

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  • Reminds us to feel grateful for what we have
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“The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.” Michael Josephson

When I read  The Secret by Rhonda Byrne a couple of years ago, I got a lot from it. It was actually quite a turning point for me. I was inspired to set up a Law of Attraction Board on Pinterest.

One of the most important things I learned was to remind myself of all the things I have to feel grateful about every day.

Being grateful has a very profound and positive effect on the way we feel; it makes us more optimistic and kind, less judgemental, so just generally makes for a happier and kinder person to be around, which again, is contagious!

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  • Just Because

I guess they’re not for everyone, but there’s no denying inspirational quotes are hugely popular right now.  They can be amusing, emotional, encouraging; they virtually give us “permission” to be who or what we want to be so we can go ahead and just do it!

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As I see it, there can be no harm in spreading joy and comfort with kind, inspiring and motivational messages, whether it be on your social media sites, on presents you give, or just getting it out there on a T shirt!

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And if you fancy more of the same, I expect it won’t surprise you to know I’m always  Pinning inspiring words – Pinterest has millions!

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“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine”  Roy T. Bennett

Looking forward …

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So here we are then, 2017 is underway!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As usual it has flown by  – no sooner have the tree and decorations gone up, it’s time to take them down again!

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Decs Away!!!

It’s good though to get back to “normality”. I never did much like the few days between Christmas and New Year (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). After the franticness of December, the excitement and build up to the big day, the magic of Christmas Eve (always been my favourite day of the year and also happens to be our eldest son’s birthday) and of course Christmas Day itself, afterwards things seem a bit, er, flat.

Although I find the break a great opportunity to come up with new ideas for the year ahead and start putting the wheels in motion for them. This cheers me up no end; I really love this kind of research, especially when I discover stuff that is going to prove very handy. As indeed I have. I also have fun finding and trying out new apps and experimenting with creative effects to my heart’s content – a perfect chance to do just that – and of course I’ve fallen head over heels with a couple of new (to me) Apps which I’ll tell you about soon!

As well as the brainstorming, we had a fleeting visit to Marwell Zoo, to start making use of the annual membership I bought Lee for Christmas (and treated myself too!). We’ll really make the most of it I’m sure – so many amazing photo opportunities! It was a very cold and misty day, and lots of the animals not surprisingly were hiding away. So we only wandered round for an hour or two this time but it was great to blow away some cobwebs and have a nice brisk walk and there was still lots to admire and photograph. Wildlife is so fascinating isn’t it! Being so close to Marwell, it’s great that we can nip over there with our cameras whenever we have a spare hour or two. Here’s a few I took on Friday, I expect you’ll see one or two more in the next few months!

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This little bute very obligingly strolled slowly passed me several times so I could get a few good close-ups! Or maybe he was just thinking I’d make a good dinner … yikes!!!

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We also had our annual panto trip to the Mayflower on New Years Eve – oh yes we did!! (Sorry couldn’t resist that …) With it being a special night, we always treat ourselves to dinner in the theatre’s Ovation restaurant pre-show, which never disappoints. Did any of you see this year’s panto, Robin Hood, there? We had a good old giggle and joined in the banter, the effects were very clever too. Lee and I first met when we were in the back row of a panto chorus together, an amateur production in Sunbury-on-Thames, many moons ago. We did our fair share of pantos back in the day, so have some great memories – the shows were usually late January so the rehearsals and set building etc was a brilliant way to overcome any January blues!! So we still love to get our panto fix once a year – but from the audience rather than on stage these days!

I’ve had some great feedback already re the joy the pictures you bought as gifts have given when opened by your surprised loved ones on Christmas Day. That’s so nice to know 🙂 Thank you.

It’s really lovely to have lots of photoshoots and weddings in the diary already – so looking forward to seeing you all!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for!

The Big Day … All Over Again

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Champers at the ready

Champers at the ready

This August is a very special one for Lee and I as we are renewing our wedding vows in celebration of our 30 year wedding anniversary.

Don’t ask me where those 30 years have gone – in the blink of an eye, that’s for sure. And how can it be when we are still only 21 (or like to think we are, haha) 😉

All very exciting but loads of things still to organise – it’s like getting married all over again, only this time round with a little added help from Pinterest and its overwhelming collection of ideas and inspiration!

We are very lucky to have a beautiful venue, with big thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, who have kindly offered their amazing garden for the day, and it’s absolutely perfect. Obviously it will help massively if the weather is kind to us too …

One of my closest friends is a registrar and kindly offered to do our ceremony. She means the world to both of us and honestly we couldn’t wish for anyone better.

I’ve managed to finally find THE frock! This, believe me, has been no mean feat. It’s absolutely NOTHING like the dress I originally had in mind and have been trying to find to no avail for the past several months. My planned dream dress was to be red and flowing gracefully (on account of the song we had for our First Dance way back when … yep, you guessed it, Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red”).

I’m keeping under wraps what I will be actually wearing … but suffice to say, it ain’t red!!! You wouldn’t believe where I found it, but as soon as I saw it I was completely bowled over, and when you get that incredible feeling about something you just have to go with it don’t you.

So quite a relief to get that sorted, which meant we were finally able to get Lee and the boys kitted out, so we all will kind of “blend in” colourwise.

My talented niece has volunteered to do my hair and makeup on the day. We had a trial run a couple of weeks ago, and she came up with something a little bit different for my hair; delighted with her inspiration.

Another thing ticked off the to do list.

Just like our Wedding Day in 1986, everything seems to be falling into place very nicely.

Ummm  … 1986 … now THAT was quite a year for us – I even wrote a book about it and the interim years for our 25th Anniversary!

But there still seems to be masses to sort out. We have accumulated a conservatory full of “stuff for the party” and we need to take stock of all that so we can see what we still need to get, as well as sort out all the music and several other things to boot.

Therefore, I’m taking a bit of an extended holiday this summer, as I feel the need to put my whole self into the last minute preparations for the big day if I’m to get everything done in time, and then we’re having a short break afterwards to chill out a bit!

I’ll be closing from Wednesday 27th July and reopening on Tuesday 23 August.

Thank you very much for your patience during this time, it’s very much appreciated.

Unfortunately, this clashes of course with the best part of the school summer holidays, (although I still have a couple of slots free at the time of writing on weekdays at the end of August if you were thinking of booking in).

More to come on the day itself after the event! I hope you all have a lovely summer break too 🙂

 

 

Sprucing it up!

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I thought the blog was due a bit of a makeover, and there’s no time like the present!

Spot the difference!!

Hope you’re liking the new header, and I’ve also added some new widgets along the sidebar alongside the social media links.  If you ever get the chance to try any of the buttons out, do let me know if you get any problems with any of the links. Can’t always tell when testing them myself…everything seems OK, but we all know how fickle technology can be!!

Oh and on my phone it looks different to how it appears on my IPad and computer – the new header doesn’t seem to show.  Haven’t quite got to the bottom of that one yet!  So if you’re viewing on your phone and can’t see the header it looks something like this:

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In fact it looks exactly like that!

Well it’s just a quickie for now … I’ve lots of posts in the pipeline for you and will pop them on as regularly as time permits 🙂

In the meantime, as always, any comments or suggestions you may have, are most welcome.