PhotoFairytales is an award winning online gift shop offering unique, unusual British handmade gifts. This blog is written by owner Sarah Thexton - looking at things that make her happy, ideas and inspiration, chat, news and special offers from the PhotoFairytales website, plus competitions and giveaways.
Yes, that is me on the donkey (aged about 7 or 8 I think) - and yes, I feel sorry for him/her too!
Living near the Norfolk seaside, we're surrounded pretty much all the time with the typical British holiday scene: beaches and donkey rides, ice cream and donuts, "kiss me quick" hats and fish & chips on the pier. Whilst its great to see the bustle of holiday makers in the area at the moment (usually sitting on the beach wrapped in coats), I have to confess I prefer the out of season seaside resort. When you get to be the only nutter sitting on a bench on the prom eating chips while the wind blows all your vinegar off!
Now that Amy has just started her school holidays, its definitely got me into the holiday mood though. My childhood holidays were usually spent in motor caravans, touring the English countryside. We would camp where the mood took us, even on the beach at times. I still can't drive past a good, big lay-by on the side of the road without thinking "good place for the night"! Because we were usually in the middle of nowhere, the nights were usually pitch black - very thrilling for a Surrey townie like me. I seem to remember we all pretty much went to bed at the same time (not much else to do when it got dark!), and as a family we'd lie in our sleeping bags singing silly songs. My mum would recite that fantastic monologue by Stanley Holloway, "The Lion and Albert", then we'd all round it off with a blast of:
"Chips and Fish, Chips and Fish,
Eeh bah gum, it's a champion dish!"
There were other verses which have escaped my memory but that's probably because we'd all end up in fits of giggles before we got to the end of them. Aahhh, simpler times...!
This little ditty was the inspiration behind four new canvas designs I've just added to the website today - all designed to keep you in the seaside holiday mood, no matter what the time of year. Hope you like them! Simple, typographic designs in a choice of blue and white, or sand/navy and white, I think they are stylish but a bit of fun for your home too. You can find them in the "For Him" and "For Her" sections of the canvas gallery:
Kiss Me Quick
Beside the Seaside
Chips & Fish
Now, if anyone does know the rest of that song, do let me know!
Any working mum will be feeling a mixed bag of emotions now that the summer holidays are just around the corner. Or is it just me that always ends up feeling like a pair of scales: the need to get on and do your job on one side - the guilt for not spending enough time with your child when they're on holiday, on the other? Surely it can't just be me - tell me I'm not alone!
It's around this time that I feel I should be spending the sunny summer days (yes, I know, but surely there should be a couple of those during the school holidays, right?) having picnics and planning get togethers with other parents and their children. Days out at the seaside, trips to the park, baking cakes in my sparkling kitchen with my child at my side sweetly icing lopsided cupcakes.... yeah, it's not really going to happen is it? The reality is that I'll probably be praying for decent weather so that she can play out with her friends while I sit hunched over my desk drilling my way through the day's work. Oh, I'm such a bad mother...
Or am I? I know that by working I can contribute to the family finances, my daughter is getting a little bit of independence and can amuse herself without me constantly hovering (or hoovering!), and I'm hopefully being a good role model for her too. So it's not all bad...
So why do I feel guilty much of the time too? I do think us women can be so hard on ourselves, perhaps as a backlash to the years of us being domestic housewives who raised children and "kept house". Along came liberated, emancipated, 20th Century Women and we wanted it all: children, lovely home, career. As a consequence, I do think that working mums still feel a dollop of guilt - let's face it, it was only a few years ago that women were forced to leave their jobs when they became engaged. The marriage bar was common place during the time our own mothers and grandmothers were working, especially in the civil service, the police force and banking industry. As late as 1972, women who worked in the Foreign Office had to leave when they got engaged! So, given that, it's not really surprising that we still have a little bit of ingrained guilt when we become working mothers ourselves is it, even a generation or two on?
So, don't beat yourself up if you're working during the summer holidays. And if you work at home, just bite your lip when you get this (because you probably will):
"I bet you're looking forward to the holidays aren't you - no more having to get up in the mornings, eh?"
"How are you going to be spending the school holidays then? Anything planned?"
"It's all right for some: being at home all day with the sun shining!"
"Summer holidays are so boring aren't they? Shall we come round and spend the day at yours, then the kids can play while we have a natter..."
Stay calm, smile sweetly, and just remind them "I'm working" - the penny will drop eventually!
Happy holidays all,
PS: The lady in the photo is wearing a ring on her left hand - so I guess a good caption would be "...and here's your P45 Muriel - now you can enjoy those long summer holidays, lucky girl!"
There is a chance that you may notice the website is down during the next 72 hours. This is while the email issue is being sorted out, and the domain transfer is taking place. Don't worry, it won't be for long and it will be back very soon! Thanks so much to everyone for their patience - if you have any questions you can reach me via the PhotoFairytales page on Facebook, or by leaving a comment below.
Have you seen the dust in here? It's been so long since I last ventured onto this blog that I'm almost embarrassed to show my face! This blog needs a darn good clean and tidy - so I've given it a spruce up: hope you like it!
The last few weeks have been a bit epic in PhotoFairytales world - I've been burning the candle at both ends working on a completely new look for the site. New logo, new designs, new products, you name it! The site now has a much brighter and cleaner feel to it, and hopefully you'll find it easier to navigate and faster to load too.
I'm having some technical issues with my email address however, so at the time of writing I'm pretty much without any email at all. If you need to contact me, or have a query about an order, the surest way of getting hold of me during the next couple of days will be via the PhotoFairytales page on Facebook. So, although the new site is "live" and it hasn't been properly launched until I've managed to sort the problem out. But in the meantime, if you're not a member of my mailing list or a fan of the Facebook page, I suggest you get joined up to both pretty sharpish: I'm going to be announcing some exclusive offers on both very soon to celebrate the new site!