It’s the 1st March today, and I always think that March signifies the speeding up of the year. Once January and February are done, time seems to speed up and the days seem to fly by. Mornings are lighter, evenings stretch past 6pm. It’s an optimistic time of year.
It’s also a busy time of year. Next week is Local Enterprise Week, celebrating home grown small businesses like mine. The Local Enterprise Office here in Clare is running all sorts of events during the week. I’m off to one on social media on Wednesday, so expect LOADS of posts after that!
I was fortunate to spend a very brief few days in Portugal last month. It was a great excuse to relax and enjoy a little bit of sunshine, just when vitamin D levels are at their lowest.
I wouldn’t have said I was the biggest connoisseur of street art or graffiti, but especially around Faro there was some really impressive stuff. Portugal, like Ireland, was badly hit by the financial crisis and is still emerging from its grip. As a result there are lots of abandoned buildings, and artists have used them as blank canvasses. It certainly brought colour to the streets! My favourite was the one here, saying “Eat fascists, not animals”. As a vegetarian for almost 30 years, this appealed to me.
I went out on a boat trip to the barrier islands that form the southern boundary of the Ria Formosa National Park. At this time of year they were almost deserted, but the sun was warm and the sky was blue. Funnily enough, nowhere had ice creams on sale. When I asked about this, I was told that they didn’t put the ice cream out until March, because no-one would eat ice cream in February! What?? Who dreamed up that rule? As a friend of mine, Francis, would say, “It is never too cold for an ice cream”. But relax, It’s now March. Ice cream is now on sale in Portugal.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my bag posing on the boardwalk in the sunshine. It looked very happy – the colours look fabulous.
All the supermarkets in Portugal may not have been promoting ice cream sales, but they were big into promoting Carnaval. This heralds the start of Lent, but has its roots (like so many fun festivals) in pagan times. The good people of the Algarve will be beating a path to the town of Loulé this weekend to go on a 3 day festa of crazy costumes, music and food. If you’d ever wanted a Zorro hat or an “I am a caticorn” T shirt (think cute cat with a unicorn’s horn), Carnaval is when to buy them. I’m a bit disappointed we missed all the fun. But there’s always next year.
And the bag-making?
It’s the time of year for me to get making, making, making. My work table has been awash with bright, sunny fabrics. The weather had been kind all week too (until today), with sunshine flooding in across my desk. The anemone fabric in particular looked gorgeous in the bright sunlight.
The other thing about March is that there are two significant dates in the month particularly for women. Next Friday, 8th March, is International Women’s Day, and right at the end of the month, Sunday 31 March is Mother’s Day. As you can imagine, I’d hardly be one to suggest waiting to buy yourself a bag-shaped treat, but sometimes we need an excuse to finally say “Yes, I will get myself a new handbag”. So, take these days of celebrating all that women can achieve and emancipate yourself with a hands free, cross body handbag designed by a woman for busy women who need a bag to work for them, not the other way around.
And while you’re at it, if you buy from my online shop use the discount code SPRING15, and get 15% off, for the entire month of March! We all need to celebrate occasionally.
And if all that good news and positivity isn’t enough for you, I’m back at Chapel Lane Market from tomorrow, as we re-open for our fourth year in Ennis. There will be birthday cake.