Making, Teaching, Talking, Growing – this year so far…

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At the end of January I was super smug at how I was doing against my 2018 goals “Learn Apply, Interact”, but we can all easily have a spurt of productivity and focus towards our New Year’s Resolution that early on.  The question is, at the end of February, am I still focused?  Have I learnt anything? Done anything with that knowledge and interacted with the right people and platforms to achieve my goals?

Well just in case you can’t be arsed to read any more, the short answer is YES!!!  And in the hope of enticing you to stick with it, here are some visuals to demonstrate some of this years successes so far…

Yes, I’ve been really proactive with my stained glass, making batches of glass hens, blue tits, daffodils, easter eggs and a couple of dragons…. OK, I haven’t finished the dragons but they’re cut and ready for the next phase.  Here’s one I made earlier…

Yes, I am officially offering AND DELIVERING stained glass teaching from my little home studio.  I’ve discovered it’s ideal for teaching on a one to one basis or up to 3 people at a time so it makes a great Mother and Daughter gift (thinking Mothers Day here people 😉 ); best friends break; or couples activity.  This mum and daughter had a fabulous time.  Get in touch if you want to book one – I may be offering deals and discounts to friends/ bloggers xx

home workshop no1

Yes, having hoped to do a bit of demoing /public speaking this year I happily have have two demos/talks to do for a couple of WI groups – first one is in 10 days time I shall be making daffodils out of glass before their very eyes!  Magic!

And yes, things are looking up on social media. My followings are improving. More importantly the interaction is going up… no point in having likers and followers if they never chat to you is there… I’m making some lovely friends through it and who knows where it will lead. This year so far I have 78 more twitter followers, 26 more blog followers; both around 15% increases but blog views per month have doubled since 2017 (based on monthly averages )…

My finally piece of positive news is the guest spot coming up on Deborah’s My Random Musings , Bloggers Corner Interview … goes live on 25th… so excited.  I love Deborahs’ blog and how she supports other bloggers and writers.

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However  I have been struggling….

On the learning front….

…I tried and tried and tried to get my head around my existing blog/websites for my B&B and decided I was just not techy enough.  I read loads of stuff about blogging and twitter and wordpress and tied myself in a knot of frustration and felt like I was drowning in all the information and my failure to process it.  In the end I put a shout out for help and am delighted to say that I had several offers of support.  Thanks to those who offered help and advice.  Particularly…..

Katy McKenzie of Something Different   is studying Film Production at Derby Uni and has her own successful Youtube channel.  She has offered to help me create a media pack… just chatting to her and tapping in to her enthusiasm was refreshing, it calmed me out of my panic straight away… who says the young can’t teach us oldies a few things!  I look forward to her technical insight .

Holistic health blogger  and freelance digital marketer, Petra Kravos of  Be Healthy Now, has taken me up on the offer of a skills swap… she’s going to help me with my tech and in return I will treat her to a weekend break with her partner here at our B&B…. can’t wait to meet her in person and to learn some new tricks.    I just hope I can impress her with my homemade veggie and vegan breakfast options 😉 … I know she’ll love the fresh air and landscape and the wonderful cycling routes just on our doorstep.


I’m now very excited about the prospects of learning and developing my sites over the next month or so….

And just a quicky roundup of how I’m doing on my health and wellbeing goals…

I’ve lost a stone in weight, god knows where from as I still feel like I’m bursting out of bras and trousers in every direction but those scales don’t lie. I’m eating more healthily; have cut out all junk snack; feel more energised; am drinking loads more water; have not had any much alcohol (mums birthday and valentines); and I’ve walked into the village everyday occasionally instead of taking the car; basically its all heading in the right direction.


… have failed on the weekly date days with Hubby (although we do snuggle together on the sofa every evening);  And I’ve barely made it to a dance/exercise class nor have I just danced for fun, although I have been practicing my belly rolls  …I’ll never get to this but I can remain inspired… an old woman girl can dream of being this fit can’t she

So how is your year going?  Did you set targets?  Have they fallen by the wayside? Perhaps there have been some surprises that have moved you in other directions? Would love to hear from you.

Shank You Very Much
DIY Daddy
Mission Mindfulness
My Random Musings


Focus Aspire Inspire – an update…

So way back in February (because by resolve somehow missed January ), I wrote a blog Focus, Aspire, Inspire.  I meant to assess my progress quarterly by Blog and ‘regularly’ (?!) in my thought process.  and to be fair I did review my progress in May, and was actually pretty chuffed with myself.  Somehow I was largely on track with my aspirations and inspirations.  I’d tried to keep them realistic and it seemed to be working.  Now its blooming well October and  it seems I have lost a little focus, as I do, so I thought a little readdress would be a good thing

Goal 1: Twitter following:  @Berni_Benton I have 556 followers but to be honest I’m more interested in engagement and interaction.  I love it when the little counter shows a notification for a comment or retweet .  I have become needy for these affirmations of my wit and relevance.  I don’t know if I’m getting it right.  I spend most of my time on twitter slagging off Donald Trump. AND I’M NOT EVEN AMERICAN!!! – See, loss of focus.  But he is such an easy target….

Goal 2: Sort out my twitter lists: yep, pretty much done that, but now I have ’em what shall I do with ’em.  Still.  Tick.

Goal 3: Blog following: I just looked.  I always forget to look.  I have 140.  which, considering I only aspire to 150 by year-end is not bad.  In Feb there was 114 of you, so weyhey and ‘welcome’ my new friends.  Perhaps you might share me and help me find that final 10 souls who might like to read my random rantings, musings and insights on no particular subject and no particular time.  I can but ask eh?

Goal 4: Blog viewings: well they are heading in the right direction, but I guess they would, you can’t ‘unview’ something so the only way is up, baby (sorry, just Yazoo popped into my head right then…Focus damn it!)_

Goal 5: Teaching:  Yes. Am doing more this year and am planning to run private sessions for small groups from my home studio in 2018 so again, tick. tick

Goal 6 & 7: OOPS – this was the big old one that required FOCUS .  Start making Christmas stock of stained glass goodies by August including two new bespoke designs.  Are we there yet?  Oh shit its mid October.

colleen commissionGoal 8: Commissions – well I have done the preliminary drawings for 3, that was my target, but none of them, to date have resulted in any glass being cut….however, i remain optimistic for this one

Goal 9: Run retreats: Nope.  This one involves the coordination and cooperation of Hubby and we’re just not that organised together.  Maybe 2018.

Goal 10: YEAH – if you read the interim report in May you know I’ve got an exhibition pending!!! My first EVER solo exhibition.  I actually visited the exhibition space yesterday and spoke to the curator.  So now I’ve paced it out and I know exactly how many pieces of work i need (15) and how many I have ready (13).  Well, 12.  Actually 11.5… the point is, I’m (almost) on track and most importantly I have some friends who want to sort out the private viewing and promotion for me , so that means there’ll be prosecco and CAKE.

Goal 11. Facebook:  I’ve been pretty proactive here.  I split myself in two.  There is now a page @CerdynvillaBandB for all things relating to life at the guesthouse and tourism related snippets; and there’s @BerniGlassArt for all things arty and crafty, including news on my own imminent exhibition and any classes I might be teaching…. I’ve even included a shop…..  Between the 2 there are 1000 followers  but again its interaction that’s needed and i have no idea how to improve that (don’t worry, I’m going to book a course!)

Goal 12: Vlogging…well. Errr. Um… I’m going to blame technology.  No?  Ok I’ll blame my relationship with my technology.  I guess that won’t wash either.  I will get on with it.  Promise. Sorry Dinah. #hangsheadinshameandgoestositonthenaughtystep

So that’s how I’m doing against my overall targets.  I’m going to pat myself on the back, because I’m pretty happy with what I have done and I promised myself I would focus on what I had done rather than what I hadn’t.  I also have to remember all the other things I have done that weren’t on the list like;

  • Joined and started using Instagram and Pintrest (again, I’m booking a course as I have no idea whats going on really!)
  • Busy season in the B&B – more new and loads of repeat visitors
  • Massive stained glass community project (Jan – June)
  • Several regular gardening jobs
  • Extra work for my friends who run a caffi
  • fitted in a little mini break to Rome
  • Family wedding
  • New grandson

little D

and there are still two and a half months to go…..

how are you getting on with your annual targets, if you have them?



Our Lives our Novels….


If we are lucky life is a joyous adventure.  If we are lucky enough to be born into a loving family; if we are taught to grab opportunities; if our eyes are trained to see the good and the beauty and variety around us; if we learn to think for ourselves…. life will be a journey built from chapters which when read back thrill our senses.  They may contain some stress and sorry but should also contain some thrill, or joy , or achievement.

It is impossible in life to live every chapter without some loss; the break up of a relationship; the passing of a parent, pet, family member or friend.  It is impossible and impractical to go through life without some levels and times of stress; exams, job interviews, house moves, career choices.  It is also unlikely that we get from birth to death without unexpected challenges: ill-health, redundancy, financial crisis for example.

But with every loss comes the reminiscences of love and happy times.  With every stress comes a time of completion, achievement or opportunity. And with every challenge comes an opportunity to reassess, reevaluate and grow.

Life is not about the end goal because the end will certainly be that which comes to us all… the inevitable.  Our death.  Life is about the enjoyment and achievements of each chapter.

Childhood is not just about learning to walk and talk; read and write.  It’s also about fun and games, friendship and play, learning to share, be compassionate, communicate.  Teenage is not just about exams and future career planning.  It’s about relationships, growing independence, identifying your passions, and daring to dream.  Adulthood is not just about earning the most money, and working for your retirement.  We should enjoy our friendships; forge our relationships; make choices that make us happy; share our experiences. Retirement is not just about slowing down and worrying about our health.  We have the opportunities to travel, or play, or indulge in hobbies.  Of course amongst all the ‘living the dream’ we have to balance out responsibilities and deal with the unplanned, and, sometimes, undesired interruptions.  But I believe, that when we can, whatever our age, we should follow our hearts, and live our dreams.

For some that may be reaching the top of our chosen career ‘ladder’, earning big money, owning expensive things; for others that may mean travelling and playing; vocation, charity.  For most of us our plan will forever evolve as we learn new things; get presented with new opportunities; walk through new doors and make choices at each crossroads.  Where will we live?who shall we marry? shall we marry? do we want children? can we have children? etc etc etc.

We all end our lives with a sadness; our own final curtain.  With luck we will reach that at a ripe old age having written our adventure story with flare and chapters crammed full of happy memories and achievements; laughter and joy… things that will secure our ongoing existence in the stories and behaviours of our children and friends.

Isn’t it wonderful when you catch yourself remembering someone passed in an anecdote or family tradition or the way someone else smiles or gestures.  For me its the old photos, piggy walkers and dancing round lampposts…..

I’ve spent my life writing each chapter like a new genre of book.  I’ve not known from one chapter to the next where it will take me.  I follow a winding path with many side roads and I often like to detour down one.  I am lucky.  But I also know that we are also responsible to ourselves for creating some of that luck….. it’s about attitude.

Attitude: Have it, relish it, grasp it.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather a skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”” – Hunter S Thompson

This blog is dedicated to two great men: my father-in-law, Brian Crompton and my uncle, Ray Benton… both gone but far from forgotten.  They will live on and on and on and on.

Life is a Minestrone – 10CC