Howdo Crafty Cats and welcome to 2021! We have been assured by the powers that be, that this year will be epic, it will be different, it will be the year that everything goes back to normal and we can resume the life we were living back in 2019.
But what does all that really mean?
This year, on the 30th of January, we will be celebrating our first anniversary of having the keys to The Crafty Cottage. (I can assure you that there will definitely be bubbly and possibly the odd chocolate or twelve!)
It’s been a rough road to get here – just as this year has been for all of us. As our first full year comes to a close, it makes me wonder whether we should actually be acknowledging this as an official milestone, after all, we have been in Lockdown for at least 7 of the 12 months. The doors have been locked and contact with other human beings has been minimal. We haven’t had the browsers, the potterers, the ‘I just popped in on a whim’ customers we were hoping to attract.
The workshops we painstakingly planned were cancelled, the kid’s holiday activities lay gathering dust (metaphorically – the Cottage is a clean zone!) and the new coffee machine we got to entice the customers to sit and have a natter is still gleaming, just waiting.
I realise this all sounds doom and gloom but here’s the flip side.
In being closed, we have had to think out of the box and by offering our ‘Click and Collect’ and local delivery service, we have been able to add a personal touch to buying. We have had the opportunity to see your freshly painted front doors, we have been able to re-discover how gorgeous the area we live in is by delivering on our bikes (doubling up as essential exercise – 2 birds and all that!), we have been able to build up customer confidence in us by arriving on time, with a smile and armed with answers to any and all questions and queries. You’ve got to know us and we’ve had the chance to get to know you.
When we first opened back in 2020, it was such a rush to get everything ready. I remember still being at the shop, sometimes until midnight, painting, renovating and preparing for the grand opening.
These last few months have really given us the time to get set up just the way we wanted it to be originally, we have added quirky features, we have become stockists of some of the U.K’s most amazing products and we have become the ‘go-to’ place for anyone looking for something unique or one-off.
You’ve heard the old saying ‘friends are the family you choose’? Well, our artist collective has truly stepped up to become the extended family we never knew we needed! Every single one of our super talented artisans has been nothing short of amazing, from sharing our posts, recommending us (and each other), to bringing their own personal style and enthusiasm to the shop.
I myself have been ploughing on with my upholstery course and even though Covid has forced more than a few restrictions onto the learning sector, I can tell you that I am still loving every minute of it and learning more than I ever dreamed I could.
As a family unit, we have never been stronger. By being at home more, Mr Crafty and I have been able to reconnect with the kids, we now have family film nights, we play games and go for walks. We have even had the older kittens doing the odd paint delivery when it’s been a busy day! They now also do a few more chores around the house to earn a bit of pocket money, which is great as we have been able to teach them the value of having life skills and the satisfaction of earning their own money.
Oh, and did I also tell you? On my birthday in September, Mr Crafty planned the most perfect surprise – he hired one of St Anne’s gorgeous Beach Hut’s (my most favourite place in the world), got down on one knee and proposed!! Obviously, I said yes – not only is he blooming fabulous, but he also does all the ironing! He’s a keeper!!
In the run-up to Christmas, we won second place in the Lytham St Anne’s window competition. A massive achievement as the competition was fierce! Not only were we awarded that coveted certificate but we were able to donate the £50 prize to our designated charity, The Cat’s Protection League – so proud!
We have also credited on the Sustainable Fylde website – so exciting to have our message heard and shared!
So yes, things have been hard, and yes, we have missed the ease of 2019, but would I go back?
I’m not going to lie, I can’t wait for the Lockdown to be lifted, I can’t wait to be able to invite people to sit down for a coffee and a natter and I certainly am looking forward to getting to run those long-awaited workshops and to even attend a few myself. I’m looking forward to being able to pop out for a cheeky gin at last orders and to go out for a meal where our own kitchen will stay spotless. BUT!! I don’t ever want to go back to the days when I was so busy my family barely recognised me, I certainly don’t want to go back to the times when I was so stressed I couldn’t function properly.
I think (for me at least) there have been lessons learnt this year, good times, bad times, great times and the rest, but if we can survive these testing times and come out the other end smiling, then I definitely think that a few glasses of bubbly and a toast to our one year anniversary are well earned – and I’d love it if you would also raise a glass not just to us, but to you, for keeping calm, keeping going and keeping smiling!
That’s it for now, keep safe everyone,
Love Cat xx