Exploring my creative side

This week I was invited to join an introduction to glass art workshop at Fired Works gallery in Chalfont St Peter. I am the least arty person in the world, I spent my art classes at school staring out of the window while the teacher always commented that any 'pieces' I did manage to finish were 'unusual' and usually featured a lot of stick people.

Marie who owns the gallery and works with fused glass to create totally unique items such as coasters, clocks, lamps and even adds silver to make some beautiful jewellery asked me to join her workshop I popped in on Tuesday evening with no idea what I was doing!

I should not have worried, Marie explained everything so carefully, the different types of glass and the how the firing schedules create a variety of effects. We had plenty of inspiration from the varied pieces displayed throughout the gallery. Marie keeps her workshops to a maximum of four students so ensure everyone can ask for guidance and learn more about this fascinating art form.

So after a health and safety talk - protective goggles are essential, a piece glass in your eye is not part of the experience, we got to work creating our first piece, a sun catcher. I decided to keep it simple and chose to design a piece based on daisies. My youngest son loves picking daisies when we are at the park and instructing me to make daisy chains so I thought if it worked out it would be a nice piece to display in our playroom at home. I used pre-cut green slivers of glass as stems and blades of grass followed by slightly thicker pre-cut white slivers as the petals. What's great about glass art is that you can lay your design out on the blank canvas and keep on rearranging it until you are happy with your work so nothing is concrete until you apply the glue to keep your design in place.

There are so many different sizes of glass available to use you really can mix and match to create something really special. I found the process quite therapeutic I was able to switch off totally from mum mode and focus on what I was doing. Perfect 'me time' which is so rare in our busy lives.

Next we moved onto a larger blank canvas around 20cmx15cm which again was pre fired giving a smooth surface on which to work with. I have a bit of a thing for blossom and on previous visits to Fired Works I spotted a blossom tree that I totally fell in love with, of course it was made by Marie so looked amazing but when I realised it was possible to recreate a mini version on my canvas I had a go. Marie assured me trees are very straight forward so I went for it. I used a glass paint to trace out the outline of my tree trunk and branches and filled it in with small pieces of crushed glass. I then added the blossom with pink crushed glass and larger gem sized piece of glass. My pieces were then ready for the kiln.

Three days later this is what my finished pieces look like

Marie kindly sent me some images of other pieces created in this and previous workshops, as well as
the adult workshops Marie also runs workshops for children aged eight and over to make sun-catchers.

We were all made to feel very welcome at the workshop and thoroughly enjoyed unleashing our creative sides, Marie was on hand to guide and support all the students in the relaxing environment of her studio and gallery.

For more information on upcoming courses do visit the Fired Works website or Facebook page or call 01753 899 108.

I did not receive any form of payment for this blog post, if you are a local Bucks business and are interested in collaborating then do get in touch with me info@socialdirection.co.uk


So let's talk about mental health

Yes, you heard me, MENTAL health. A subject that is close to my heart, not because I put it there but because I have been taken to very dark places by my mental health through no choice of my own.

What triggered it? Who knows, I've always been an over thinker, a worrier a 'what if' kind of person. So it didn't take much to tip me over the edge into the realms of depression.

Now I'm in my mid 30's I finally know how to take care of my head. It's a shame it has taken this long. As a child you are taught to take care of your physical health, I was always popping antibiotics for reoccurring ear infections but was never told how important it is to take care of your mental health.

A catalogue of events in my life affected the way I used to think, they way I dealt with difficult situations, what I thought people thought about me. Losing my dad as a teen, breaking down of my first marriage I totally lost control of myself.

Becoming a mother helped me find my way to an extent but didn't banish my lack of ability to cope with difficulties.

Over a year ago I finally sought professional help with the right person who helped me to look at how I took care of myself, how I thought about things and how not to worry what others think. Accepting that awful tragedies do happen in life and for the first time since I lost my dad I didn't spend the weeks approaching the anniversary of his death on a downward spiral to the dark place.

I'm not unhappy and I'm not depressed, I just have to work hard to remind myself that I deserve what I have, life is for living and to negotiate bumps in the road with the use of my toolkit of ways of coping. Nobody said life is easy but it's how you deal with the good and the bad is what sees you through.

So be you, put yourself first and please, please don't be concerned with what other people think or do. You have one life and so live if it for yourself.

image from mentalhealth.org.uk


Whats been occurring with us?

Phew. Easter is over. Two weeks of entertaining my boys is thoroughly exhausting.
Today the littlest is back at nursery (phew) and I am surveying the devastation of toys scattered all over the house. To be honest I am seriously considering throwing the toys into the playroom and wedging the door shut. Trouble is said nursery attendee will notice and throw a fit if I so much as touch one of his lego/duplo mashups. So for today I will just ignore them and my aspirations of a show home, again.

We popped to the Peak District for two nights and stayed in a beautiful B&B, took in Alton Towers which the kids absolutely loved particularly Cbeebies land. Hubby was able to indulge in his love of crazy rollercoasters and the weather was stunning. Now the boys are a bit older and we are passed the buggy/nappy/highchair phase days out are so much smoother. My eldest who, as mentioned before is on the autism spectrum has had difficulties with visiting new places, it's totally out of his comfort zone. The more we do take him to new places the easier it is becoming, he loves to plan the journey and any adjustment to his routine can be tricky he coped so well and had a great time. In our experience of ASD pushing boundaries and comfort zones is the only way to make headway.

I'm still on the weight loss journey, around 8lbs to target which I am desperate to achieve before we step on that plane to the sunshine in July. I don't eat past 6pm which seems to really help any reflux or asthma symptoms I get if I eat too late. I'm so excited about our summer holiday, we didn't go abroad last year, I'm already dreaming of the Spanish sun on my skin, lazing by the pool and taking a total rest.

This week I am going through my to do list before the eldest goes back to school on Monday but for now I think I'll have a cuppa and continue enjoying the peace and quiet...X

Just some of the contraband enjoyed in the Peak District.


High Street Treats in South Bucks.

Where we live in Bucks we are lucky enough to be within walking distance of a gorgeous village, Chalfont St Peter has some really unique shops and places to eat. This Mother's Day why not consider supporting your local businesses and shop locally?

Just on my high street we have an array of fantastic unique gift shops as well as other local business who provide photography services, beauty treatments and much more.

I've managed to get some really lovely gifts in the past most recently a framed print of our beautiful village taken by a local photographer Paul Upward and framed by Cath at Emerald Framing in the village. I've also had some wonderful treatments at my local beauty salon Calme - facials are to die for - plus bought a really unique gift from Marie at Fired Works for a wedding anniversary gift a photo on glass it's stunning. If you head into see Adele at Adele Kelly boutique she will always help you pick out something to put you ahead of the fashion pack, as well as stocking some amazing gifts.

One of my new favourite places to eat is the Jolly Farmer with a Sunday roast that melts in your mouth and the most amazing gin and cocktail menu it really is a treat all round. For a coffee and a sweet treat try the Breadhouse - with a children's play area and board games you can spend a cosy couple of hours there.

There's something really comforting about seeing familiar faces as you wonder down your local high street, that sense of home you just don't get elsewhere. We've lived here for four years and I can honestly say I've never felt at home as I do here in this village. Take a wonder down your local high street, you never know what you may discover.


The sound of the week is S

No not for snake, or shoes or snow but SICK!!! Having moaned midweek about the need for wine and all the carry on slapstick behaviour at our house little did I know it was about to get worse, a lot worse.

Mr T came down with the bug of doom by Thursday morning swiftly followed by me on Thursday night and oh my god I have never known pain like it! Where was the gas and air when I needed it? They surely should supply that over the counter when you are doubled up in agony begging your hubby to get you another hot water bottle in between ninja turtle style movements to the bathroom.

So it passed through us both (sorry) and we are just about regaining some sense of normality.

A walk to the park this morning has blown some of the cobwebs away but I still feel a bit delicate.

I looked at myself in the mirror this morning. Not a good idea 48 hours post projectile vomit. I've no idea why but whenever I am under the weather my hair goes crazy, all brittle and wiry. Also my skin looks like I have been drained of any colour and I have teenage spots. Nice. This week I will be on the hunt for a hair and skin mask to try and rejuvenate skin and locks.  If anyone has any tips I'd gladly hear them. The mid brow furrow is even more furrowed and I've definitely gained more greys this week.

Onwards and upwards!