Sun, Sea and Sand!

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The perfect summer holiday combination and we’ve been lucky enough to have experienced all three in Scarborough last week. Better than expected weather, a fabulous sea-view apartment and technology-free time together was just the tonic we all needed. It really is true what they say about sea-air – my husband and I slept so well! I can’t say the same for the boys – endless excitement, sharing a bedroom, and lack of routine meant they slept much less than normal and have come home exhausted. So the sleep catch up begins, and the purging of sand from every item we own! It was soooo worth it though and particularly as this was our first family holiday since our youngest was born over two years ago. Due to my postnatal depression (The Summer I’d Like To Forget) going on holiday just hasn’t been an option before now.

Managing my stress levels and accepting my limitations is still an integral part of keeping myself well. It must seem strange to those without experience of anxiety and depression, surely a holiday would be just what you’d need? Wouldn’t it be great if you could cure people of depression with a good holiday beside the sea?! Stuff the pharmaceuticals, get the travel agents in! However, what is really an obvious symptom of depression – a loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities and withdrawing from social contact – rules out holidays during a depressive episode. If I’d have been offered a month in the Maldives during my illness I’d have either have said that I couldn’t give two hoots about the Maldives (less politely) or anywhere else for that matter or agreed if I could have had assurance that the plane would crash and finish me off. Recovery from depression is also a slow process and regaining self-confidence to get back ‘out there’ requires baby steps. The process of recovery includes redeveloping life skills, regaining control of your life and goal-setting. I can still remember going out of the house on my own again for the first time last year as vividly as I remember going on a bus for the first time with my friend on our own aged eleven! It’s scary but you have a sense of achievement with each step forward you take. I felt a foreign holiday would probably have been too much for me this year – the thought of packing with restrictions, managing myself and the boys in a confined space like an aeroplane, and worrying about the unknown could cause enough stress to ruin it. But I knew I could manage filling the car to the roof, a car journey across Yorkshire, stopping whenever needed, and staying in accommodation we have previously visited on a day trip. In actual fact, I just got on with the planning and organising, even feeling excited about our holiday. It still surprises me when I am able to feel really like ‘me’ again. Now I can say ‘I did it!’, without a meltdown in sight, I feel proud of myself and the icing on the cake is that we all had an amazing time. Here’s to the organic process of recovery and proof that it really does ‘get better’.

As for my dietary challenge, I can also report progress there too! Last Monday’s weigh-in showed another 2lb loss and despite abandoning the diet and calorie-counting in order to make the most of our holiday (ice-creams on the promenade in particular), yesterday’s weigh-in showed I have just maintained, with no weight-gain! Thrilled to bits. I think the dragon boat pedalo helped – I had thighs of steel after that! Well perhaps not quite. Back to it now and hoping to get a bit more walking in this week.

Onto my card therapy of the last couple of weeks. Before the holiday I had been working really hard on my latest creation and managed to complete it yesterday.

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Make it Festive’ blog challenge by Lili of the Valley. There is an amazing prize up for grabs to become a member of their Guest Design Team!

Winter Wonderland Challenge Blog – Cute Christmas

Cute Card Thursday – Challenge 281 – Die-ing to punch

As You Like It Challenge #8 – Favourite Ribbon or Twine – I really don’t have just one favourite as I adore using either on all my creations but my favourite colour of ribbon or twine is red so here it is! I desperately wanted to use some beautiful red velvet ric rac on this card but just couldn’t fit it in anywhere. It WILL feature somewhere soon though!

Christmas Cards All Year Round – August Challenge – Christmas Extravaganza Make It Fussy and Fancy

Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 137 – Picture inspiration – Trees and snowflakes

I created my own card blank for this one from Centura Pearl pastel blue in an 8×8″ size. I matted some dark blue pearl paper and paper from LOTV ‘Frosty Christmas‘ pad which I won last year!

LOTV Christmas Card (2) Sig

LOTV Christmas Card (5) Sig

The stamped image is LOTV ‘Decorating the Tree‘ coloured with Promarkers, a real bobble for the hat, bit of obligatory glitter, and glossy accents on the baubles. I die-cut around the image with Spellbinders Lattice rectangles and also two smaller sizes in the dark blue pearl paper again with more ‘Frosty Christmas’ matted inside.

LOTV Christmas Card (9)

The border at the bottom was created with Tonic Studios mini tree punch with border system and sponge daubed with Brilliance Moonlight White ink to give the effect of snow. I also used a Brilliance Dew Drop in Pearlescent Thyme to ink the edges of the trees from the back of the paper. You can see some red Craftwork Cards Candi in the bottom right.

LOTV Christmas Card (7)

Next I added wooden snowflake embellishments that I double embossed (I like the depth and coverage double embossing gives) in +WOW! Embossing Powders in opaque bright white and clear sparkle, and threaded them with some baker’s twine. I always make little notches in the card to hold string embellishments in place.

LOTV Christmas Card (8)

Lastly I added the sentiment, this probably took the longest of all, as I tried several different colourways, shapes and sizes, but eventually settled on this pre-printed sentiment from +Craftwork Cards mounted on a punched dark blue pearl paper circle with white inked edges and then mounted on white pearl card die cut with Spellbinders Lacey Circles and hung with more baker’s twine. This swings freely like a tree ornament!

To my uncrafty readers please accept my apologies for the summer Christmas card, whilst the crafty readers among you will know I am very late getting started!!!

Thanks for reading, next stop – the Maldives,

Emma x

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