Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

If you follow us on social media, you may have seen that yesterday we went along to a fun packed day with Mollie Makes and came away with an award...but what did we actually win? Forgot to mention that part.

The free to enter awards are Mollie Makes way of showcasing and supporting the UK’s amazingly talented designer-makers. We chose to enter the Handmade Champion entry an award intended to recognise the people promoting, supporting and championing all things handmade.

We felt this was the best category for us as really, championing handmade is what we are all about. We stock yarns and products from handmakers, we share our passion and love of crochet in our weekly classes and we give other creative experts a platform to share their craft in our guest workshops. In doing all of this we've been able to build a community of passionate crafters who love to make their own stuff and I bloody love it.

Being shortlisted was an achievement enough for me, wow - so many talented makers/businesses who all deserve awards and recognition. We were invited for a day of talks and workshops, and then we were booked in to pitch our business to the panel after lunch.

I'm not going to lie to you, I found yesterday really hard. I've only been out of therapy for 6 months and standing up in front of a room of inspirational people talking about what we do is not something I could have done a year ago. My anxieties crept back in yesterday, and I couldn't even hang around at lunch to eat the chicken dinner. What if I look like an idiot, these people are all much more talented/cooler/better than me, why am I here etc etc.

One of the talks in the morning was from Sas Petherick on coping with self-doubt. This was such an amazing talk, and was filled with all the pieces I'd learnt through my therapy about how self-doubt and anxiety manifest. 

Anxiety is a physical reaction. If you've never had it you probably think...stop making a fuss, pull yourself together...calm down. Calm down. It's so easy to say, but when you have anxiety it's so difficult to think how you could ever calm down. My shoulders hurt and my stomach turns over and over, heart and brain racing. I find it difficult to talk when I'm anxious, most people consider me rude or stand offish on first meeting...I'm not, I promise, I'm just a bit coo coo. I wish I could mingle...but I can't.

My natural instinct is to leave the environment. I went outside for a walk to try and bring myself back to normal and noticed Sas on the bench outside. She kindly chatted to me and gave me a hug before I made my way back inside. 

I jabbered my way through the presentation - I can't tell you what I spoke about because I can't remember - I didn't cry or throw up tho so there we go. As soon as it was over...the aniexty cloud lifted and I felt totally fine. Popped to the shops for a packet of skittles as I was suddenly ravenous and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Somehow, the judges liked/understood what I said...because we won...we bloody won! It's so cliche to say "I was so shocked to win"...but no honestly...I was so shocked to win. What an opportunity and I am so proud that I made it through! One year ago I sat through a craft show crying in the corner...and yesterday I managed to do that...

If you suffer with anxiety, I cannot recommend cognitive behavioural therapy enough - I've knocked down walls that I've held up for years, since childhood some of them. And I'll keep knocking them down. And so can you.

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louisa sheward