Shoots of new growth

It has been a challenging start to the year on the island as the weather has demanded a great deal of attention.  However Scottish island mum is pleased to be back with her brand new site and new pages.  As we enter our 4th year it does seem incredible that there is still a place for her.  In the past three years a lot has changed and followers have been here every step of the way.

The pages on this site have been updated and new elements added so there is much to explore……

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As we turn into the festival of Imbolc we celebrate new shoots of growth and the traditional beginning of the agricultural year.  Scottish island mum would like to return to her roots and has many plans to grow and get creative in her neglected garden.  With the help of a very loyal husband we are to create a wonderful new herb wheel adjacent to our house and the preparation of the ground will soon begin.  This is designed as a place for peace but also an addition to the dried herbs that we need to run our craft business.  A new page will pop up in due course with all the plans and progress for you to follow if herbs are a favourite of yours.

There is a wee secret venture already underway that will be launched on the Spring Equinox this year that falls on 20th March.  It involves working within a small but perfectly formed creative team and a new page for that will appear when I can say more.  Those of you out there that love to create will love this new venture.

But one venture is already well underway and that is my ‘Walking for Wellbeing’ challenge for 2016.  The plan is to take a walk every day for a year as a way of strengthening my body to try and combat some of my symptons of my illness, fibromyalgia.  I am very tired of being ill and, although I try not to focus on it, it is taking up too much space in my life.  This is my personal intervention.  I know a lot of you are walking with me and you are also members of the Towards Wellbeing Project which is a monthly mailchimp that lands in your inbox full of resources to explore in the pursuit of wellbeing.  If you are not a member of this entirely free project just complete the form below and I will add you to the distribution list.  The February mailchimp will be out in the coming days.  I already have the page HERE for that project.

So it promises to be another full and busy year for Scottish island mum.  The constant storms in this new year can not dampen my spirit or alter my deep love of the island I call home.  I have a brand new camera so I am hoping that, as the light returns, to be able to post improved photographs of this very beautiful place.

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Blessings to you all for a truly wonderful year ahead.

scottish island mum

 

 

Turning inward outward

Firstly let me say that I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2016 is everything you want it to be.  

The six of us that make up Scottish island family were all together this Christmas although we did miss Molly’s man, Scott, who was with his parents this year.  I always consider it a blessing when we are all together because it is not something we can take for granted.  The children are mostly adults now and have their own lives to live.  If they choose to be at home then we are blessed.  Molly arrived back on the island in time for my birthday and we all had the best of times including a very long game of cards on Christmas day which the youngest member of the family won….again!  I proudly took up my last place as always.  My Grandfather would not be impressed with me but he would think that I had taught my children well – too well obviously!

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Family time continued into Boxing day with tired souls having a second Christmas dinner and then back to our own spaces.  We try not to over-indulge but it is difficult with all that is tempting at this time of year.  I refuse to go mad in the supermarket and I was truly touched this year when the eldest two insisted on making a financial contribution despite my best efforts to resist.  On Christmas day Harry stepped up to assist his father with the Christmas lunch and Molly and Harry helped me with the washing up.  I witnessed a change in the family dynamics this year as our adults are now fully fledged and keen to make more of a contribution to make it all a wee bit easier on Pete and I.  I felt blessed all over again.

I do have to admit to a battle between my inward and outward state at this time of year.  All year I worked closely with charities who support less fortunate people all over the world.  I raise awareness and funds throughout the year and in 2015 I was also able to assist in the training of five young charity workers.  I bear witness to some real horror stories and I am always acutely aware that my contribution is a drop in the ocean.  So, outwardly, I love Christmas and all that it means to my family but inwardly there is a part of me that struggles.  As I sit down to Christmas lunch I feel it most acutely as I consider all the people in the world who do not have the same privilege.  It would be wrong of me to share those feelings at that time as the family are so happy so I keep them to myself.  I make a silent pledge to do even more for charity the following year and I know it is a pledge that I will deliver on.   Be it raising money for the people of South Sudan in a combined attempt to lift them out of their state as the world’s secret humanitarian crisis or it be knitting more warm blankets and hats for refugees the work will continue and it will settle me once more.

IMG_6411I admit that by the time Christmas day is over I go into a state of complete exhaustion.  This time of year is the busiest for me and then there is getting ready for the family Christmas on top.  Once I start to relax my body starts to scream at me and stamp its foot as well it might.  It matters not as it is part of the rhythm of the year and January is my primary incubation month.  It is in January that my best thinking takes place as I consider the year ahead.  This year is slightly different as I have already done some of my thinking to ensure that I could launch my next Scottish island mum challenge on the first of January.  The premise that underpins this challenge is that seeking and maintaining a feeling of wellbeing is a vital part of a healthy existence and that this is especially important with chronic illnesses.  With the support of Fibromyalgia UK I am undertaking a challenge that I hope with not only develop an enhanced feeling of wellbeing but also tackle some of the more debilitating symptoms of the illness.  Scottish island mum is going to take a walk every day for a year.  This challenge will be documented on its own site entitled Walking for Wellbeing and there are lots of ways you can get involved if you choose to.  Seeking wellbeing will be our communal goal and we shall see where this journey takes us.  Do not be put off if walking is difficult as it is not how far you walk that matters but how your steps make you feel.  We shall walk beside each other the whole way and see where we are at at the end of the year.    If you do not want to join me walking then you might like to sponsor me.  Fibromyalgia UK and UNICEF are my chosen charities for this challenge and all I ask is 10p donation for every walk I take.  Potentially we have £36.50 from everyone who is kind enough to sponsor me and this will rise considerably if more people are able to help.  At the end of the year I encourage you to chose whether to donate your funds to UNICEF or Fibromyalgia UK and I will remain grateful for ever.

Scottish island mum will go a wee bit dark in January as always as the site is redesigned and new pages added.  As we enter our 4th year as a wee community I look back with so much pride in all that we have achieved.  Without you guys none of it would be possible so as Scottish island mum takes her first steps of her new year long challenge she will know that she has many people right by her side.

Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy 2016.

Much love

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Handmade Opportunities?

Goodness me what a busy pre-Christmas season for one very tired Scottish island mum.  Extra events and very lively sales have resulted in the busiest selling time for years.  I am, of course, not grumbling but I seriously need to clone myself and then all will be well.

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What has marked this season apart from others has the support shown by the islanders against a constant deluge of horrendous weather.  I know we are used to it and lately the amount of water dropping out of the sky has tested us all.  Within this context the makers have loaded and unloaded their cars and set up their stalls and liaised with their customers with great cheer.  At the end of another long day they load and then unload their cars and then it all begins again another day.

For those that make handmade goods this is the biggest selling opportunity of the year so there is no winging, just a quiet determination to succeed.  I am honoured to be part of this wee group on the island but there is something stirring in me that tells me that there are opportunities for change in 2016.    I feel there is a need to find more innovative ways to celebrate the craft items made on the island.  There are so many individuals that shine brightly with what they do but I feel that, collectively, the light would be very bright indeed.  There are lots of excellent working models out there that we can draw on as a community so gentle conversations are underway and we shall see where that takes us.  For a small island I find both the quality and breadth of what we offer to be of considerable merit and commercial appeal and I certainly want to do my bit to help.

IMG_6251This year we opened our wee holiday cottage to 7 other makers who exhibited and sold their items in a shopping evening.  Despite another episode of really shocking weather it was very well supported and has provided an excellent launch pad.  We also ran two workshops from the same venue during the day and these were very well received.  The second workshop ran over time so ‘shoppers’ arrived and we able to see some of the creative processes that went into some of the products for sale that evening.  This might seem an obvious link to some but I can tell you it is not a firm link in everyone’s mind as they browse in the craft markets around the country.  I also think that customers are often genuinely interested in the creative process so this type of model may well have a place going forward.

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With Love from Arran has had a fabulous pre-Christmas season and we could not be more pleased or more grateful.  We still have products in shops on the island including The Bay Kitchen and Stores and the Visitor centre at Brodick Castle.  We may also have a few pieces left to sell online and this year as the remaining stock is so limited we will do that via our Facebook page.   But essentially we are done and enter a new phase of design and development for the new year.  We also concentrate on our family Christmas when we will all be together once again.  Molly is home in a week or so and we are all so pleased about that.

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So this is just to say a huge thank you to all our customers/friends who have helped make this year so very special for ‘With Love from Arran.’  One Scottish island family will always be incredibly grateful.  xx