Autumn is here again – and that can only mean 1 thing…
Hot Soup? Woolly socks? Kicking dry leaves into the air?
Well yes, yes, it’s all those things…. and….
Time to pick your pumpkins, charge up your cauldrons and brush down the witches brooms.
Here at ButtonChopsShop we have lots of lovely, lovely Hallowe’en badges and pins. Cute ones, funny ones, scary ones, some as big as your head – all perfect for favors, prizes or just pimping your gear.
Spring has sprung! And the office is looking a bit tired – OK, more dusty and untidy, or
‘lived in’ as I like to call it. So, as the sun comes out, out comes the duster with a plan to do a spring clean, overhaul the filing system and tidy up that corner which has become the place where all things go when you have no idea where else to put them.
It’s the same every year. I start off with good intentions, sucked in by the advertising, I buy the lovely new bottle of cleaner which is guaranteed to work miracles. I begin with great hope…. and every year the enthusiasm fades along with the miracle that never comes. It all ends up with sparkling windows and a quick run round with the vacuum. Result? Shiny windows, but only 1 area ever gets done. And it’s never the corner which has become the place where all things go when you have no idea where else to put them. Maybe next year, I should start there…..
March it seems, is the month for marching. Quite a number for both leave and remain are being planned in the run up to Brexit and one of the largest is due to take place just a week before the UK is due to say au revoir to Europe. On 23rd March 2019 in London, thousands of people are expected to march on Parliament to let the Government know exactly what they think and offer an alternative solution to the single largest crisis this country has faced since WWII.
Sometimes, I think the world is a little short of this right now. We have a selection of badges and magnets to help spread the word. So maybe it’s time to remind the Universe we haven’t forgot what love is..
Well, goodbye to all that! Last year was a right stinker for us and we were definitely glad to see the back of it. Wind back to 31st December 2017 and there we were, celebrating the arrival of 2018 with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, a toast to the future, party poppers and a wish for everyone to have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. The New Year however, had other ideas. It looked at our welcoming party and laughed in our face. Rather than being a welcome to the good life – 2018 decided it would be a total dirtbag and throw down a number of challenges one after another throughout the next 12 months.
Poor health, huge financial bombshells, both parents being very ill (mum had 3 separate life-threatening episodes) and even Louie the dog was touch and go there for a moment too. But here we are – we got through it So, on to the next year – and going by the premise that nothing can be like last year (I know, I know, don’t tempt fate), I can only hope/pray/wish that 2019 will be in a better mood. Of course, mum and dad and Louie are not out of the woods yet, there will also always be surprises (both good and bad) and then there’s always Brexit, which is likely to pee on anyone’s parade, no matter how you look at it. But there are also positives. The hospital tests mum had detected a rare congenital heart deformity, so they can now look to managing that in a way that can improve her quality of life. Dad’s radiotherapy treatment looks as though it may have put his cancer into remission. Louie is still with us and as for the finances, we may think it’s the end of the world, but I remember reading a while ago that: ‘no matter how bad you think your life is, there is always someone else who would see you as living the fairytale’.
Has the last year made me stronger? Hmm.. the jury remains out on that one. I still have regular wobbles and periods of self doubt about how I’m going to cope, but as Sir Elton John would have it – I’m still standing. And that’s always a start.
I hope 2018 was kind to you and yours and wish you all an even better and brighter 2019!
It’s almost that time of the year again. I know, I know, where did the last 12 months go? Seems like it was only a few weeks ago that we were packing away the Christmas decorations and yet here we are again, ordering the turkey, planning the New Year’s Eve party and wondering what gift to get for Aunt Ada, when Aunt Ada seems to have everything she needs and totally wants for nothing. Ah, Christmas – it’s my absolute favourite time of the year – I love it.
Even though the children are all grown up now, Christmas still holds the same magic for me. We still have Christmas crackers and I’m still the last one to be wearing the hat. We still play charades and board games (the TV hardly goes on – but computers and the internet are making that particular tradition harder every year). We still put up a secret grotto on Christmas Eve once the younger ones have gone to bed so they can wake up to a magical scene on Christmas morning (now who could have possibly done that? It must be Christmas magic). We’ve been creating this ‘magic’ ever since my children were babies and even though they now have children of their own, we’ve continued the ritual, silently sneaking around after they’ve retired for the night, hanging up lights and creating a ‘snowy’ village (using lots of fake snow fabric) in the hallway.
Christmas holds lots of happy memories for me and I like to believe we’ve created the same for our (now grown-up) children and they love Christmas with all that it means to them, in the same way. No matter how rotten the previous year has been (and believe me, 2018 has been an absolute stinker for us), once those carols are back on Spotify, the feeling of hope starts to flicker into life again – along with the lights on the tree. And for me, no matter what belief or religion anyone wants to pin on it, that is the true spirit of Christmas. The feeling of hope.
I appreciate it isn’t the same for everyone. Let me tell you, I’ve been there! I still have vivid memories of being a single mum, trying to work full-time whilst bringing up 2 children. Every Christmas was the same: I would worry about their presents, I would worry about how I was going to pay for everything, I would worry the kids would be disappointed. I would worry my Christmas dinner was nothing like the ridiculous expectations forced on me by the ideal world of the commercial Neverland. But you know what? The kids never once complained they didn’t have the latest ‘must have’ toy (anyone remember the furore over the Cabbage Patch Dolls?). They never once said ‘yuk’ (at least not to my face) to my less than perfect Christmas dinner without all the trimmings or ridiculed the homemade decorations – and Heaven knows I used a lot of glue and cotton wool back then.
The fact was, we all knew it was tough. Even at their young age, kids are not stupid – they recognised they didn’t live in Neverland; you don’t all huddle under a duvet on the sofa every evening because you can’t afford to put the heating on in Neverland. Sure, they could have kicked off and told me I was a rubbish mother for not providing them with a pony, or central heating or a dinner with all the trimmings, but they never did. Now, they contribute towards Christmas as much as anyone and dare I say it, they even look forward to it and embrace it as much as I always have… maybe hope is contagious after all.
So, whoever and wherever you are – we would all like to wish you and yours a very happy, happy Holiday and trust that 2019 brings you all the hope, health and peace you could wish for.
Today we are giving this blog post over to an honorary member of our staff:
I was taken in by new family when my previous owner couldn’t look after me anymore. My new “owners” (anyone who lives with a Bichon Frise knows no-one really owns one) say I’m a beautiful, most gorgeous, attention seeking, loving and affectionate, it’s-all-about-me diva of a dog. And who am I to disagree?
Have you ever met a dog so happy to see you, or a dog who loves to be the centre of attention so much? Nope. I can melt your heart with just one look and my cutesy little poses. But hey, you leave that bin unattended for just one minute and it’s asking to be raided right? And what’s this? You’re showing that pesky cat affection? But look at me, see how gorgeously, gorgeous I am. Look, I can dance and do tricks. Now you show me a cat who can do that!
I’ve heard humans say Bichons can be very lazy but I prefer the term: selectively relaxed. Now you do see a lot of other non-selectively relaxed dogs jumping around at the chance of a walk, going nuts at the sound of the dog lead being rattled. But that’s not for me – any walk has to be a short one – I’ll let you know once I’ve had enough by laying full splat out on the pavement and no, I won’t budge for anyone or anything. Plus the weather has to be just right and even then I have to be ‘feeling it’. Too hot? Nope, not today. Too cold? Are you serious?Raining? Snowing? Windy? With this fur?I don’t think so. Is that a slight incline? You’ve got to be kidding me?
My humans may think I’m high maintenance in the best diva fashion, but the love and affection I give them is total and unconditional. I can do wonders for a bad day and a quick cuddle will make things seem not quite so bad. I really do love everyone (well, maybe not everyone, there’s the squirrels, I can’t stand squirrels. Oh, and of course the pesky cats…and the groomers and then there are the vets. Vets really get me rubbed up the wrong way). OK, maybe I don’t love everyone, but did I mention that I can dance and do tricks and generally look adorable?
Being as cute and gorgeous as I am, I naturally adore the camera and the camera also adores me (I don’t have a best side, all my sides are best sides darling).. Of course, this lucky for my humans. They just love taking my photo and they must have hundreds of pics of me by now – I might have to start charging them royalties..
I know my humans worry a great deal when my health plays up – I admit I’ve given them much cause for concern this year. Still, I like to think I bring a lot of love to their world and to everyone I meet.
My humans say I mean everything to them and do you know what?…..they mean everything to me. Even though they persist on taking me for walks, regular grooming, the visits to the vets, banning me from bin raiding and the strange insistence on keeping those pesky cats – I wouldn’t change them for the world!
*Typed up by humans on account of keyboard being incompatible with dog paws.
It’s June (so where did those first 6 months of the year go?) The weather is finally starting to warm up, people are starting to shed their outer layers, the trees have turned the freshest of greens and the birds are singing.
June is also Pride Month when cities around the world stage their own parades and carnivals to celebrate and support gay, lesbian and trans culture.
In the UK, the largest event takes place in Brighton on Saturday 4 August, which coincides with the Pride Festival held at Preston Park between 3 and 5 August, (headlined this year by the which is this year being headlined by the legendary Britney Spears.
Other key events taking place across Britain this summer include:
Pride Edinburgh – 16 June
London Pride – 7 July
Pride Glasgow – 14 July
Bristol Pride – 14 July
Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 21 July
Belfast Gay Pride Festival – 27 July-5 August
Norwich Pride – 28 July
Sheffield Pride – 28 July
Nottingham Pride – 29 July
Pride Cymru – 25 August
Manchester Pride – 25 August
This summer’s biggest Pride events in Europe are:
Riga, Latvia – 9 June
Rome, Italy – 9 June
Vienna, Austria – June 16
Dublin, Ireland – 21-30 June
Barcelona, Spain – 30 June
Paris, France – 30 June
Madrid, Spain – 7 July
Budapest, Hungary – 7-8 July
Frankfurt, Germany – 21 July
Berlin, Germany – 27-29 July
Oslo, Norway – 27-30 June
Amsterdam, the Netherlands – 3-5 August
Stockholm, Sweden – 4 August
Prague, Czech Republic – 11 August
Copenhagen, Denmark – 18 August
And around the world, you can celebrate Pride in:
Washington, DC, US – 7-10 June
Tel Aviv – 8 June
Shanghai, China – 8-18 June
Los Angeles, US – 9-10 June
New York, US – 15-24 June
Toronto, Canada – 22-24 June
Chicago, US – 23-24 June
San Francisco, US – 23-24 June
Rio de Janiero, Brazil – 24 June
Vancouver, Canada – 5 August
Wherever you are and whatever you do, everyone here at ButtonChops would like to wish you a happy celebration and keep on right on rainbowing until you drop!
This week is National Coffee week in the UK. I’m not sure what that actually means to be honest, but hey, every day is a National this-that-or-other Day so I suppose it’s only right that coffee gets a fair crack of the whip.
Anyone who knows me also knows that I love coffee. I’m a coffee addict: my blood group is Skinny Latte positive. If I don’t start the day with a coffee hit, then look out happy people – there’’s a grump on the loose.
My morning coffee time is my quiet time: it’s when I get work done on the computer, or catch up on reading, it’s when I can sit and work on more designs. It’s a very valuable stop time – something I’ve learned to embrace and not feel guilty about. I used to fret: “what am I thinking, sitting here doing nothing when there’s so much to do”. And there you have it – the proverbial nail on the head – because there will always be more to do! We all strive to make more time, only to fill it right up again.
My coffee time grounds me (see what I did there?), it allows me to stop, sit down and take time out. Rather than feel guilty about it, I channel it into being a more positive experience and a creative opportunity. Coffee and creativity – perfect partners – now what’s not to like?