Monday, 1 July 2019

Return to work and life

So here I am, back after rather a gigantic hiatus! I've been busy, growing and raising tiny humans which has been, I am sure no parents will be surprised to learn, hard and wonderful and unexpected and impossible and incredible and mundane and utterly life-changing. If you follow me over on Instagram or Facebook, you will have seen a few snaps of my twins (now coming up for 20 months, both crazy and also, how are they not older already because they've been here forever...!). I don't share tons because of course, they can't tell me whether they want me to or not yet, but I can't resist a few here and there. 

Here they are, enjoying some Scottish sunshine and sand last week.

We've also somewhat unexpectedly move house in the last 2 months. In April, our previous landlord (who quite frankly, has been fairly rubbish since we moved into our old flat) gave us notice so they could do 'major renovations'. Whether or not this is a metaphor for 'put the rent up significantly', we had to jump ship and find somewhere new pronto. Happily, we have for once landed well and truly on our feet, and now live in a flat which is not really bigger as such, but is laid out in a much better way for us as a family of 4; has an extra bedroom, open plan kitchen/living room space (which is really great for cooking when it's just me and the babies), outdoor space for playing and most wonderfully of all, an incredible sea view. Like, cross the very small road and there is, in fact, the actual sea (you can see it just behind both of the twins in the photos above). Thank goodness because the moving process itself was fairly grim! We are getting settled - the obligatory unpacked boxes still remain but we'll get to them. Probably. 

Another big change that has happened in the last couple of months is that we have finally got some formal childcare in place. We are not amazing for childcare in the UK in my opinion. I don't know all the ins and outs exactly - I definitely do know know the finer details which I very much should do - but there's basically no government funding for childcare until the children are 3. Entirely what you are meant to do as a working woman for the 2+ years once your maternity leave ends, I'm not sure. If you are fortunate you can go down to part-time hours, take a pay cut and use your salary to pay for childcare. Or you can keep your full-time hours and use your salary for full-time childcare. Or you can give up your work, and stay at home with your child or children. Or bribe various family members and close friends to step in and look after your children for free. Hmmm. None of them are exactly amazing options really! And yes, this does affect men too but I think it's safe to say after 20 months in this world that the majority of primary carers (especially after maternity/shared paternal leave is over) are still women. 

I am incredibly excited to get back to work (honestly!) and am doing a combination of family and friend childcare and a nanny (somewhat surprisingly, a significantly cheaper and easier option for twins than nursery, at this stage). Our nanny works 5 hours a week and that will go up to 9 come August. It doesn't sound a lot but oh my gosh, those 5 hours are wonderful! I'm still getting into the swing of it as she's only been coming to look after the twins for 6 weeks but it really is a lease of life for me - and therefore for the rest of the family too. Whether they quite realise it or not!

And that extra bedroom in our new flat? It's become my studio. Lots of books and my yarn stash as well, but it mainly houses The Curious Bead Shop (currently on pause whilst I find my feet in our new set up) and Songbead. And when the nanny is here, I make jewellery again! It really is so, so bloody fantastic to be back creating. I've knitted my way through the past 20 months and it has kept me just about sane, but oh my, it's so wonderful to be designing and making and weaving and photographing again. (I'd probably palm off that last one if I had a spare photographer to hand but until that happens, it's down to me!) I can feel that bit of my brain that's been dormant for almost 2 years leap back into action. A bit rusty at times for sure, but it's still there and fair raring to go. 

So here are some of my new pieces, most currently listed in etsy, some on their way. It's damn hard to keep any kind of pace - the whole process of selling OOAK (one-of-a-kind) anything is slow and laborious and labour-intensive - no stock pictures here - so I am frustrated that I have pieces of jewellery that don't get photographed for weeks after being made (never mind the editing and listing process which is desperately slow and drawn out at the best of times) but I am getting there. I'd love for you to check out my new work! It has been a true labour of love, each and every piece. 


Sea View




Golden Hour



(The real question is, have I been influenced by my new sea views or do I just love turquoise...?)


Twinkiedinky by Joanne Louvaine Bell said...

So so wonderful to see you back my love

bairozan said...

Welcome back :) I'm loving your new designs! They might be influenced by the sea but I also think they are influenced by the happiness of raising those sweet twins :)

Mary Redman said...

You certainly have not lost your knack for putting the most perfect beads together! Perfection! The twins are adorable ---- they are perfection, too! Great job in both areas! ☺


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