Categories
Inspirational People

Interview with the Catherine Greer from the wonderful Cats Creation

I am privileged to be interviewing the lovely Catherine Greer from Somerset who runs her own business called Cats Creation, where she makes the most amazing arm and hand knitted items as well as stone art decorations. She also runs classes to teach others how to arm knit and does all of this around her young son.

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Tell us a bit about you?

I always loved making things at school and was often the only girl in the woodwork classes. This didn’t put me off though and I was often much better than the boys.

I wasn’t sure what to do after sixth form so I went to college to study my other love, horses. I spent three years studying equine studies and completed a animal science degree at Plymouth university.

After uni I still wasn’t sure which direction to go in so I ended up driving HGV lorries for a international horse transport company based in Wiltshire. I spent a year on the road, attending races, stud farms and equine events all over the UK and Europe. This took its toll on me so I left. Skipping ahead a few years I decided to apply and join Hampshire Constabulary as a PCSO. I worked here for four years and loved it but I really missed being in the country and wanted my life to slow down a bit. Working shifts meant that if I wasn’t working I was sleeping. I decided with my now husband that I wanted to move back to Somerset and live the ‘good’ life! We bought a house, renovated it and now live in it. We try and produce all our own vegetables in our garden and recently got some chickens. I love taking part in the local flower and vegetable shows with our produce and have sometimes brought home some metal.

I’m very keen to show my son how to grow his own vegetables and would love to see more people growing their own too. You can follow all my adventures on my Facebook page.

What inspired you to get into making hand knitted items and what made you decide to start a business selling them?

I got into arm knitting after trying to use knitting needles once. I got very frustrated with how long it took to make anything so I googled how to knit quickly (or something similar) and up popped a video demonstrating arm knitting. Let’s just say the rest is history! That was 6 years ago!

I’d always been involved in my friends Christmas fair and every year I used to find a product to make for it. One year I took snoods and sold out on the first day. This gave me the fuel to think I could make more and sell them properly.

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If you had to pick one what would you say your favourite item you make is?

Snoods are definitely my favourite items to make. Even though I now make hundreds every year I still get great pleasure in knitting them and seeing people enjoy wearing them. I get very excited when I find a new wool too.  

Don’t get me wrong I love knitting the luxury giant blankets and cushions too but snoods hold a special place  in my heart.

Where do you get the inspiration from for new creations?

Most of the things I’ve ever made, I’ve made them because I either couldn’t find them on the market to buy or I couldn’t afford to buy them, So I’ve often just given them a go. Sometimes my mind gets a bit carried away with ideas but I love experimenting with different materials and products to see what happens.

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Where do you want to see your business in the future?

I’ve only recently gone self employed and taken my business on full time. I would love to be able to continue to work from home to fit in around my son. In the future I would like to see my items and products in more shops across the country. I want to keep the handmade feel to my items so I want to keep sales at a manageable level without sourcing more staff. Hopefully I can achieve this and maintain it.

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How do you manage your business around your son?

Up until recently I’ve only managed to work when my husband is around to look after our son or when my son is asleep in the evenings. He’s never allowed me to work during the day when it’s just the two of us so I gave up trying. I would spend the few hours in the evening knitting as much as I can whilst also promoting my items on social media. He has now started nursery a couple times a week so I’m using these periods to spend quality time in the HQ producing stock and completing orders.

Catherine is offering all readers a 10% discount on her products if you buy via her Facebook page using code simple1.

You can find Catherine’s beautiful handmade products by using the below links –

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Catscreation/

Etsy – CatsCreationSomerset

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Why not take a look other inspirational interviews –

Interview with award winning glass engraver Steven Lee

Interview with Cat at Cat Creation

Interview with children’s publisher Justin Davis

Lisa Norman shares her story of the premature birth of her son Neil

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought

Categories
Product Reviews

Photography and well-being walk with Claire Victoria Photography!

When Claire from Clarie Victoria Photography asked me along to her well-being photography walk I just couldn’t say no. Photography, mindfulness and nature are some of my favourite things and to have them all in one event sounded perfect.

The event was held in the beautiful Old Church Farm in Rudgeway which is over 40 miles away from where I live down the M5 so no matter how hard I tried not to be I was anxious, I couldn’t stop my anxiety over getting there, going on my own and meeting people I have never meet before.

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When I arrived anxiety still had a bit of a grip on me but Claire was amazing and soon had me feeling relaxed and engaged in the moment focusing on where we were and our surroundings.

Before we even got to taking photos Claire worked with us to help us relax and connect us to the environment that we were in. We started to take in the sounds, smells and feel of where we were and the beauty that surrounded us.

Claire helped us notice the detail within our surroundings looking at the colour contrasts and textures that were all around us. When we went off to take our photos Claire gave us some basic themes to help us concentrate on and capture images that showcased this. She got us to really think about what we were capturing and how that image felt to us.

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Once we had taken our photos we then regrouped to show them and talk about why we had taken those shots and what we liked about them. Everyone was so supportive and I found this exercise very beneficial as it got me to really think about what drew me to capturing that image in the first place.

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After the event not only did I have some beautiful photos, with some new photography tips  to take back with me I also felt so relaxed, my mind was cleared and any worries I had were gone. Even thinking about the drive back home afterwards didn’t faze me this time.

I enjoyed attending Claire’s wellness walk and saw the amazing benefits of attending. They are not just photography focused so you don’t need to be an expert or even have a fancy camera to take part. I look forward to going to another one soon.

To attend one of Claire’s Wellbeing events take a look at her website for more details and to book https://www.clairevictoria.co/wellbeingevents

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Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Why parents need yoga and the benefits it can have on stress

I have never really had much interest in yoga before, I didn’t understand how slow movements and deep breathing would ever help me achieve any health and fitness benefits. I was ignorant when it came to yoga and its power.

I have always been a ‘go hard or go home’, type of exerciser looking for the highest intensity workouts and pushing myself to my limits, taking things slow was never my style.

It wasn’t until this year that I truly discovered the amazing power of yoga. It truly has the power to melt away stress and transport you into a peaceful serene.

I suffered from a bout of stress and anxiety that left me feeling physically ill. I would feel sick, have bad stomachs and physically shake.

Being a parent of 3 children and working full time looking after another 9 children as a childminder my life was pretty stressful anyway so when we then decided to move 150 miles away my stress levels rocketing.   

I needed to find a way to combat my stress.

Someone told me that yoga is great relief for stress. So I thought that I would give it a go, after all I had nothing to lose. I did some research into yoga and its benefits and watched some Youtube videos on basic yoga and gave it a try.

After doing yoga a few times I was able to control my breathing and movements and I could then clear my mind. This in turn helped my stress and anxiety just disappear and put me in a calmer frame of mind. Once you can really immerse yourself in the moves and can control your breathing, you can really feel the positive energy running through your body.

After doing just basic yoga moves for over a week, I am seeing improvements in my flexibility, strength and most importantly my stress levels. Yes I still do get stressed it is hard not to especially with children however a quick yoga pose or deep breathing exercise and my head feels so much clearer and I am then in a better frame of mind to deal with the situation.

When dealing with children you always need to have a calm persona to be beneficial and yoga a great way to do this. 

To start of my mornings now I carry out some basic yoga moves which is great as it only takes about 10 mins of my time, it leaves me feeling energised for the day ahead and starts me off stress free. The best thing is that if you are pressed for time in the mornings then the basic moves will not leave you hot and sweaty so you can head off straight to work or on school runs without needing a shower. 

You can also fit it in throughout the day, I am on my feet a lot and I find that doing a yoga pose helps to ward off stiffness in my back and legs. My back especially has benefited as I do suffer from backache from picking the children up and yoga really helps to stretch and relieve tension.

Yoga is going to be a long term activity for me and although I am still at a very basic level of yoga, I mean I can barely touch my toes, I intend to one day to be able to achieve the advance yoga and will definitely be looking more into mindfulness and look forward to discovering the power it can have.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self care tips for busy parents

Why I don’t force my children to read

Body Image/Body Confidence photo shoot

Art is good for the soul even if you are not very good at it

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.