Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday Afternoon With A New Camera

Today was a fairly typical Sunday in the Harris household - a slow start, church and an even slower, lazy afternoon. We didn't go much further than across the road to feed our neighbour's chickens, rabbits and to see to their plants. The cafetiere was refilled, the golf was on continuous, new magazines were opened and devoured. The lawn was mowed, Wilf had a typical number of tshirt changes,washing was dried and as usual, by the end of the afternoon, the children completely stripped off and were running around naked pre-bathtime.

The only difference to today was that I had a new camera to document our lazy Sunday moments, to capture the children as they played and record the looks on their faces that, as parents, we often see and know so well.

I've been wanting to invest in a new camera for some time as all I've used up until now has been my trusty camera phone. I've been trialing a camera (*update* an Olympus e-620 for those interested) and this weekend made the decision to go ahead and buy it. I've got SO much to learn but can't wait to try and master it. These photos, taken today, are a glimpse into our afternoon. They're all *unedited* (something else I need to master) but they're my starting point and I hope you enjoy them. I've got plans to shake things up a bit with this blog and look forward to sharing more photos as things move on.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A Summertime Project

A few weeks ago I treated myself to a Modern Watercolour workshop with Emma Block, a Saturday filled with inspiration - from the stunning surroundings of The Forge in Bristol where it was held, to the sumptuous shared lunch and of course the teaching.
I'd had my eye on a workshop with Emma for some time but living in Cardiff, the usual location in London just seemed too far. So when a date came up in Bristol I had my fingers crossed that we'd be free (and that Sam would say yes to going solo for the day!)
I'm a huge fan of Emma's work and style of Watercolour and loved her natural, laid back teaching and encouragement as we all got to grips with it. As only a professional can, she made it look so effortlessly easy to do, needless to say even after a day I was only JUST getting to grips with colour mixing!

With the Summer holidays upon us and a busy/questioning/time demanding/fun seeking four year old on my hands everyday, I've decided to start 'a summertime project' to help me practice what I leant that day and find moments of calm that are just for me. The garden is BLOOMING at the moment and my project is simply to paint one flower every day (read, as many days as possible.) Whether that's painting it picked and sitting pretty in a stem vase or sat on the grass next to a towering bush of dahlias.
Last night after our first day of the school holidays, just after bedtime I snipped a pale pink and pistachio hued hydrangea from a pot on our patio. I sat at the desk in my room, warm from the day's sunshine, opened up a brand new sketch book and tried to remember the tips Emma had given us.

I've already forgotten so much of what I learnt that day but I'm hoping that with daily practice I can hone some Watercolour skills and enjoy a few mindful moments to myself.

I don't want to be too precious about the pages in my book (easier said than done for a perfectionist) and will give myself a chance to make mistakes, find my own style and find out what works for me. As you can see from my attempts below, some things have worked out better than others - the painting bottom left looks more like an abstract bunch of nipples than delicate hydrangea blooms (hence the Instagram cover up!)
The slower pace of summer months give us a great chance to turn attention to things we otherwise don't have time for. Whether that's painting the shed, starting a book that's been gathering dust on the shelf, making jam, planning a special celebration or perfecting the art of tomato growing.

Do you have a summertime project you're already working on or would like to start? I'd love it if you joined me in sharing what you're up to. I'll be sharing my watercolour progress on Instagram using the hashtag #asummertimeproject, please do feel free to tag your posts too. Let's find time in these halcyon days to celebrate creativity, learn a new skill or two and inspire one another in the glorious summertime ahead (rain or shine!)

As always, thanks for reading. X

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summer as a Mum Boss

The Summer holidays are nearly upon us and, for some of you, they may already have started. As a Mum who juggles both work and parenting (the official Instagram title being 'Mum Boss') I've thought long and hard about how I'm going to tackle the six weeks ahead.

Juggling is a tricky act at the best of times and, this year, work has fallen into the gaps of nursery and nap time and evenings. I love what I do and feel very lucky that I can balance work and home life, I always get to be there for nursery picks up and end of term shows and don't have to think of the logistics of 'time off'. The 6 week summer holidays will throw this carefully balanced routine up in the air, and I've had to decide how I'm going rearrange things. I want to whole heartedly enjoy summer days as a Mum (my last holidays with Wilf before he starts school, waahhhhh!) without feeling the pressure of work and I certainly don't want to have to work EVERY evening in order to catch up on the days. So, somethings got to give.
From Tuesday this week I'll be extending my lead times on Not On The High Street to give me a bit more time to get those lovely personalised orders hand printed and out of the door. The same will be the case for any personalised orders made via the little maldod shop. At the moment I try to get these dispatched within a couple of working days but this will be extended to ten working days over the Summer.

All other orders (including non personalised items) will be wrapped dispatched on Tuesdays and Thursdays/Fridays. Of course if, like me, you leave things to the last minute and need something popped in the post at short notice, you can always drop me a line with a plea and I'll always do my best to accommodate.

I'm hoping that by pencilling in some structured work time I'll get the right balance for us all. We've already started making lists of things we want to do over the Summer, camp fires and ice creams are the top of Wilf's list. We might even revisit our lucky dip 'fun jar' which we put together last Summer, you can read the blog post I featured it in here.

Things will change again from September when Wilf goes to school full time and Anwen has some nursery days. Fingers crossed these changes might even get me some more evenings back as we head into the Autumn (or not, if last Christmas was anything to go by!)

If you're a Mum Boss I'd love to know how you juggle work and home life and, if you have children of school age, how you'll be handling the Summer holidays. There's no winning formula but I know that sharing strategies and tips is always helpful. Please do leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

Thank you as always for your ongoing support for my small business, you'll never know quite how much it means. As a little extra thanks you can enjoy FREE delivery until Midnight tomorrow (Monday 18th July) when you spend over £10. Just enter 'schoolsout' at the checkout. You can visit the shop by clicking here.

With love and wishes, for a fun filled Summer.
Lowri x