I like February. Where it starts dark and grey and in the middle of full on winter, by the end of the month there’s usually a feeling of ‘hope’ in the air- the days are growing longer, spring flowers are beginning to appear everywhere and there’s normally a small taster of spring-like weather during the month sometime. The endless days of everyone leaving home for work and school in the dark, and then returning home in the dark again in the evening- so depressingly repetitive at the beginning of the month, are gradually replaced by signs of daylight first thing and fading light at the end of the day…
This year however, February began rather more slowly, and with less enthusiasm than normal. The girls’ near miss on the ice only two days before meant that everyone was still a bit shaken up, and the snowy weather wasn’t helping matters. After heavy snowfall on the evening of the 31st January, we had a very cold and clear night meaning the snow had frozen- it was almost impossible to get out of our driveway onto the road until full daylight when a slightly warmer day started it thawing. Mike and Games Boy managed to leave for work in good time; however the girls had to wait until the first buses were running through the village- halfway through the morning!
I really struggled to get my head around working… or anything really for the first few days of the month… Curly was really finding it hard to shake off the nightmares and ‘what ifs’- suddenly she dreaded the journey to school which, despite being an hour long, has never previously bothered her, and her being upset affected me so that it was nearly a full week into the month before I could get going and concentrate on much at all…
A nicely timed order coming in managed to break the cycle of ‘trying to get going again, but not quite managing it and then wishing I’d done more in the day’ that characterised those first few days of February. Though not a huge order, it was enough for me to get my teeth into (so to speak), and finally got my mind back into working mode! 🙂
I spent a couple of days looking at SEO for my website– the bits that make it show up on Google and all the other search engines. It’s a complicated business- having to work out descriptions and titles for all my outfits which include all the sorts of words and phrases that people would search for… whilst also trying not to add too many, as that can make things worse and cause the website to not show up at all… Starting with the basics though, I concentrated mainly on my homepage and category descriptions as they’re what people’s first impressions of my website will be based on, leaving actual outfit descriptions for a later date.
My next task was to tidy the website up a bit- deleting outfits and bedding that are sold out, and adding ones that are nearly sold out to my Clearance category. I refreshed the pictures on the advertising Slideshow on the homepage and made sure the Latest News category wasn’t showing anything out of date.
With the first real ‘spring like’ weather appearing only mid-month, and some real warmth in the air I set a promotion up for my fleece items- Snuggly Sleepsuits and Blankets, along with a reminder that winter still had a way to go! Shared to my Facebook page, Instagram account, and in a Newsletter I felt I’d gone a fair way to keeping my little business known to Google and other search engines for a day or two!
With a second Blog post published too, by the time the half term holiday arrived February was already faring far better than the whole of last year! I never find it easy to work when the children are off school for the holidays, and despite the fact that the only two still at school are that much older now, that’s still the case! However, having set a couple of bits in place for the week- re-wording and adding my School Summer Dresses being the main one, I was able to sit back a bit and take advantage of the very unseasonably warm weather and get some extra washing done instead! 🙂
For the sake of only a couple of days, it’s amazing quite how short February always feels, and by the time the girls had gone back to school March was nearly upon us. However I still managed to fit another couple of bits into an already busy month, and the day they went back I set to; re-wording and adding in the new version of my Dolly Christening Gown– previously popular, but incredibly difficult to find acceptable replacement fabric for! With a certificate in place for a particular brand, and some of that fabric duly bought towards the end of last year, all that remained was to set it up. Made a little more difficult by still having one last size 3 dress worth of my previous fabric, I simply hadn’t found the time until then to re-write the description for it and add in the new one!
Mike had been suggesting for some time that maybe I should look into re-starting my advertising on Google, something I hadn’t done for a few years as I don’t like paying out for advertising if I don’t have to! The more paid out for advertising, the less profit from any sales, but on the other hand with sales as slow as they’ve been in recent months, any help I can get is very needed… so I sat down and re-activated my Google AdWords account and began to plan my potential advert- still unconvinced as to how much it was really worth the effort of doing so!
Family-wise, after those initial few February days, when time dragged and everyone struggled to let go of the ‘what ifs’ and focus on the fact that no harm had come to any of the girls, life slowly began to get back into its usual pattern. With the mornings and evenings still dark, early February is always fairly quiet and slow going anyway- the first really bright spot in the year being Little Blondie’s birthday on the 10th.
This year her birthday (her thirteenth! 😮 ) fell on a Sunday, so for the first time she really wanted to achieve a long held ambition and spend it down at the beach. Coinciding her birthday with another winter check-over of the caravan, we packed a simple little picnic and set the older children packing up the essential wellies and spare clothes (in case of large waves!) while we went to church, where Little Blondie was made a huge fuss of- she was asked to help out during the service, was sung to and wished much love by all our friends there.
Back home, and with the older girls collected we set off for the beach. Whilst sunny, the weather was disappointingly windy so the plan to eat our picnic on the bench outside our caravan to save on mess was abandoned- but standing around inside our ‘closed up’ holiday home somehow felt rather special- Little Blondie certainly enjoyed it and especially appreciated her surprise birthday cake and balloon that we smuggled in! After a lovely bracing walk on the beach, we returned home to catch up with Games Boy and let our not-quite-so-little birthday girl open her presents. 😀
After the weekend, things fell a little flat again for a couple of days- Apple came down with a nasty fluey cold and was off work for a couple of days, and Mike spent all his non-working hours driving around backwards and forwards all over the place on ‘taxi duty’ as Knitting Pixie’s car was still out of action- the only casualty of the girls’ incident on the ice.
As usual he had to work on Valentine’s Day, but as a very sweet little romantic gesture had managed to leave some heart shaped choccies scattered over my pillow- the first time he’d done such a thing since we were first married! Another rare treat- dinner at a pre-booked table (!) up at our local pub, had to be fitted in between yet more taxi duties! But much as that meant poor Mike couldn’t have much to drink, it was definitely one of the more memorable and romantic Valentine’s days in our history- which just goes to show that the day doesn’t have to all be about extravagance and huge expense! ❤
The much needed half term holiday arrived with full-on wintry feeling weather as we woke on the first morning to thick ‘November’ type fog! Nothing could dampen the two younger girls’ spirits though- they were totally hyper after the long drawn out, wintry first half term of the year, and they spent the day ‘party dancing’ their way around the house and constantly reminding us that it was only three weeks until we could go and stay at the caravan for the first time this year! Just what I felt like on a day that looked like it was made for curling up in front of a cosy fire- and not for thinking about spending time on the beach…!!
In church it was time for the electoral roll to be renewed, and we were finally able to add our names to it- although we’ve only been worshipping at our new church for nine months, we feel so much a part of the family there that it was odd remembering that we still hadn’t had the chance to make our membership there official until then!
After a couple of days of full on wintry feeling weather, the half term week suddenly and rapidly changed and by mid-week we were in the middle of hot summer weather! Confusing or what?! By now I was a bit more convinced that it might soon be time to think about caravan stays, and with the weather now being conducive to drying washing outside, I was able to at last get down to the job of washing the caravan curtains that we’d had sitting around at home since November!
Two lovely sights in the garden at once- washing hung out on the line for the first time this year, and our caravan curtains heralding happy times to come. 😀
As is always the case, the half term holiday passed by way too quickly. The glorious weather continued though, and with it the feel good factor that that always brings. The girls had a great time working their way through our stock of board games, including one or two of the older ones we actually still have around from my childhood! And I managed to start working my way through the ever growing list of tidying jobs around the house that I bizarrely never seem to have the time or energy to tackle during term time!
With the girls back at school, the weather seemed to see no reason to continue and two days later we woke to it being dull, cold and foggy again!! A bit of a shame really, as I was just beginning to forget that we still had a whole month of official winter to go…