New Year...New Plans

I love this time of year. I love sitting by the fire and making plans for the coming weeks and months. There's a basket of wool by my side for creating, the cookbooks are dusted out of the cupboard for healthy family friendly meal plans, the birthdays are transferred from one diary to the next, and lists are made of travel hopes and dreams.

I have major plans for this year to come. Firstly, I want to develop my music. I write my own songs and it's about time and start recording them and getting some gigs. I want to compose more and pick up my flute again, and I feel terrible that as a music teacher I have so far failed to have regular lessons with my own kids. I have started the piano with Reuben but I think both boys could handle the ukulele and the recorder.

I want to launch a(nother!) business. I love making stuff. I love getting crafty, particularly with my sewing machine and crochet hooks. My craft ideas board on Pinterest is overflowing and it's time to start having a go at making what I pin. I want to have a go with stained glass (there's a teacher not too far away) and I'm desperate to learn how to knit. I want to start selling some of my own handmade items but also holding crafting workshops from home.

Family wise this year it's all about travel but also rooting ourselves here in France. We have plans to explore France in our camper but also take it to Spain in the summer and possibly Austria via Switzerland and onto Italy towards the end of the year. I'm crossing everything in the hope that we'll have the opportunity to buy our forever family home here in France this year. We've starting regularly checking estate agents to see what's out there and will start visiting places soon.

I wish all of you who have taken time to read my blog a very Happy New Year! If you have any plans big or small for the approaching New Year do share as I'd love to hear them! (And if anyone has tips on how to move to Wordpress send them this way...the time has come!)

Caylus Christmas Market

When we first arrived in France 3 years ago I had a go at selling some of my handmade items at a Christmas market. I spent hours making felt mice for candy canes, mini stocking bunting, snowflake bracelets, and my first crochet bags. It was a disappointing day as I probably made no more than 10€. The market wasn't busy and the people that did attend seemed to be more after the more traditional Christmas items than what I had to offer. This year however I decided to take part in another Christmas market and I am more than pleased to report that my stuff sold and I actually made some money!

The 'Bouton Rouge' Christmas market was held in Caylus the first weekend in December. The village Salle des FĂȘtes was decorated and packed out with stalls selling handmade items. The atmosphere was inviting and it was well attended by people eager to find unique gifts and decorations. Music was provided in the morning by Hommes Sans Frontieres, a local mens choir, and in the afternoon by me! I strummed away up on stage with my ukulele and sang Christmas songs with my neighbour and one of my music students.

I was so happy that people liked what I had to sell. Most popular were the mini elephant and teddy toys that I had made from an old jumper that a friend no longer wanted, and my crocheted gloves. I also sold mini purses, tote bags, bunting, a Christmas wreath, and a crocheted basket. It was so encouraging as I really want to set up a handmade business next year and I now feel confident to go ahead, knowing that people like and buy what I make.

I thoroughly miss the Christmas markets in London at this time of year. I'm not too inspired Christmas shopping on the internet. I miss browsing around little independent stores for unique gifts and it's a shame we have to travel so far here to reach the best markets. Though that does mean I don't get too carried away buying all those little presents for me instead of for other people!

What Christmas markets do you enjoy at this time of year?
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