So, you got this far, thanks and welcome. I hope I have intrigued you enough to read on. [fingers-crossed] 😊
I originally started this blog back in May 2016 as a personal journal of my career change from Corporate PA to a Qualified Saddler.
Since then it has evolved further to include family life and personal struggles, all of which, I am sure you can relate to both personally or via a friend or loved one.
My family consists of myself, my husband and our two children.
We rent a beautiful 19th-century cottage in a quaint little village, on the outskirts of South Staffordshire and we have, three dogs and two cats.
I also have a horse called Olly, who is an ex-racehorse.
I first owned him as a four-year-old right off the racetrack but after two and a half years of owning him, our financial situation demanded I give him and the children’s pony up; You can read more about his story here.
I have to admit (and I don’t do it often), that I was born in Birmingham, but we settled in a town 10 miles away from the City, called Dudley, where I spent the first 30 years of my life.
Growing up for me was a mixed bag of experiences if I’m honest.
I was the only child at home to two working-class parents, (I do have half/step-siblings all over the place – but the less said about that the better).
My parents were not rich by any means but they did own the house on the council estate where we lived.
If I wanted to be completely honest, the area where we lived was a ‘rough’ area and wasn’t a nice place to live, so I choose not to talk about it these days.
School life for me was an experience I couldn’t wait to finish. Sad really but I hated everything about High School and mainly due to bullying.
I was not a natural academic. I was a doer more than a study’er (that’s not even a word but it sounds right lol). The bullying was constant and in the end, I could trust very few people around me; It destroyed my self-esteem for years.
One positive in my life was my grandparents. They owned a wet fish and poultry business in Dudley town centre and were fairly well off.
As their only grand-daughter, they spoilt me terribly (there I admit it) but I don’t think it affected me as a person.
I spent a lot of time with the adults of my family and I was very mature for my age which is probably why I just couldn’t relate or tolerate the attitudes of some of the kids at school.
During my spare time, I would attend dance classes and horse-riding lessons, or I would stay home with the only true friends I had…my four dogs.
Throughout my life, I have been very fortunate to travel abroad to many different countries and experience different cultures.
Both my parents and grand-parents loved foreign holidays so as a family we often travelled abroad two or three times a year.
When I finished school in 2016, I went out to Turkey to live and work with a Turkish family we had befriended years before.
I did this for several summer seasons but always ended up coming back to the UK in wintertime, to see my family.
I had planned to live in Turkey indefinitely but the universe had other plans for me.
Once I met the man of my dreams, I settled down in the UK and we got married and had two children (It wasn’t THAT quick I promise you!) lol 😀
One night we were all asleep in our beds and were woken up by gunshots.
We had two children under five years old at the time and we knew then that we had to sell up and move as soon as possible.
We stumbled upon the cottage we now live in via a friend.
She advised us to contact the Estate Manager of the Country Estate near to where her parents home was and get onto their tenancy list.
Within a month we got a viewing.
The cottage was in a perfect location for us to commute to our day jobs, yet ‘out in the sticks’ enough to get all the benefits of fresh air and a better (slower) way of life…in our opinion. (obviously!)
For 22 years I worked in office roles of some sort. Working my way up from Office Junior to Personal Assistant (PA) and Office Manager.
When I started this blog back in May 2016, I worked full-time as a PA/Office Manager in a High School.
The majority of my five and a half years there had been happy and enjoyable but all that changed following three restructures and an Academy conversion.
The job I once loved had become like poison running through my veins and my health started to suffer. It was time for a change but I didn’t want to start all over again in a new company. So, I decided to change my career path completely.
I have been a horse lover and rider from around seven years old. A school friend (I did manage to befriend a couple of friends at school lol) invited me for tea and to see her pony after school one day and the rest they say is history.
My school friend let me ride her pony that evening and again and again in the weeks and months that followed, soon I was hooked.
From then on I have LOVED horses and now never have any money. [Thanks Vicky 🤣 lol )
My parents never had the time, money or passion to become pony owners so I had to make do riding other peoples, which I managed to do for most of my life.
Eventually, after marriage, kids and a stable income my husband and I decided it was possible to make my horse-owning dream come true, which is how I ended up with Olly, aged 30. lol 🤣 🙈
When I eventually decided to change my career I knew instantly I wanted it to be within the equestrian industry, but I didn’t want to be a groom, a dental technician or an equine therapist as I knew people already in those roles.
Instead, I wanted something different that was going to challenge me and my capabilities.
It was following a conversation at the stables with some friends, over coffee, that I was given the idea of becoming a saddler.
I didn’t know much about the leather industry so I did some research.
I can be creative; I suppose I could be labelled an ‘arty-farty’ kind of person.
My mind is full of endless ideas and I have all the passion and will power to see them through.
BUT…unlike some people I have to endure blood, sweat and tears to get stuff done as it just doesn’t come naturally to me.
I’m also a bit of an organiser; probably steering a little too much towards the OCD level. I write lists to keep on top of things and then usually I write a list for ‘the original’ list. (I know, I know, I have a problem) lol 🤣
Still Keen to Know More?
Well, if you have read this far then you deserve a medal. I’m honoured, I was only going to say a few words. lol 🤣🤦♀️
If you want to know more then feel free to click on over to the home page and enjoy reading through some of my other blog posts.
If you have any questions then drop them in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them 🙂
Until next time, Clair xx