COVID-19 Update 4th January 2021:  Following the announcement by the government this evening, Artistic ReTreats is sadly closed for face-to-face customers until restrictions are lifted. Our online shop remains open for mail order. We wish all our customers a Happy & Arty New Year. 

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COVID-19 Update 4th January 2021:  Following the announcement by the government this evening, Artistic ReTreats is sadly closed for face-to-face customers until restrictions are lifted. Our online shop remains open for mail order. We wish all our customers a Happy & Arty New Year. 

Pile of clothes

Lockdown declutter and time to play!

As we head into the grips of an ever-tighter lockdown regime, my thoughts turn from being shut away in winter, to spring cleaning those forgotten corners of the house. Although the hats, gloves and scarves may be around for a while, this is a good time to sort through our clothes, shoes and accessories, to declutter and donate what we no longer want or need.

 

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Hope light in the dark

Better times are coming, they’re called 2021, 2022...!

It seems like a lifetime ago when, in December 2019, I was making glorious plans for 2020! I’d created a lovely range of different Powertex workshops and was gearing up to give my TEDx talk in Banbury with my support act, the Fine Lady. It’s amazing to think that we actually managed to present the talk just before the first lockdown! As part of my talk, I looked at how sometimes, it's the little things that can make the biggest difference, & that has certainly been more true than ever during 2020!

The world is a very different place this December but I’m still planning ahead and very much looking forward to 2021. It’s also still so important to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come. 

 

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Kindness pebbles

Be kind, be thoughtful, be thankful

As we enter the season of goodwill, I really want to be able to turn the negativity of this latest lockdown into a positive wherever I can. Yes, my workshops are on hold again and we can’t socialise with friends and family but I’m lucky in so many ways to live in a lovely village with plenty of countryside around us. I have my art studio to retreat to if I need some time and space for myself and, of course, I have Powertex and the endless possibilities it brings for arty crafty projects as we head towards Christmas.

I’m trying to buy local and support independent shops and artists where I can and this month is the perfect time to make gifts and decorations of our own. Our loved ones really appreciate the care and originality that goes into a handmade gift – are you thinking of giving something that can’t be bought on the high street this year?

 

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SME UK Enterprise Award

That winning feeling

Ever been surprised and delighted to receive something unexpected? It’s a tremendous feeling isn’t it! I felt a warm glow of gratitude and pride this month when it was announced that I’d won the 2020 UK Enterprise Award for Best Art Workshop & Supplies Company.

The awards are run by SME News and are based on merit rather than number of votes received. Apparently I showed ‘evidence of extensive expertise and skills, dedication to customer service and client satisfaction with an ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation’ – wow! That was great to hear!

Apparently there is such a thing as the ‘winning effect’ in the brain whereby there is a release of dopamine and testosterone, giving you a big psychological boost. The sense of achievement makes you feel like you can take on more challenges and has been described as an ‘emotional pay rise’.

 

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SN Art Trail

Supporting makers: Shop local

I hope that one positive outcome of this pandemic time will be a re-evaluation of our shopping habits. Our spending habits have certainly changed lately, whether that’s from a financial or ethical point of view. Our everyday purchases were curtailed by quarantine and much of our shopping moved online whilst we reassessed what’s really important to us.

As restrictions lift further, can our new habits turn into lifelong lifestyle changes? Will those precious outgoings be redirected to supporting local retailers and artists?

 

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