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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Nicholds-Brown

This weeks obsession is...

This week, I have mostly been obsessed with talking about AI. (jump to end of blog for actual useful stuff - not ramblings of a mad women)

For those of you who maybe don't know me so well, I will find a new obsession in a couple of hours/days/weeks/months, so stick with our weekly blog even if this particular theme is not for you. But if you don't like talking ducks, chickens, menopause, the Zoe project, cake, oh yes, and craft, then I would say this probably isn't going to be your bag.

Back to this weeks focus of AI - We are a small business.  We have Emma’s husband Dan who creates all our beautifully designed flyers - if you see anything that isnt beautifully designed or has really obvious spelling and grammatical mistakes that will of course be me….and if its on Instagram and Facebook looking pretty damn awesome its almost certainly been Emma.  

My point is this - we have no time (too much acting like total ejits at networking things) to do all the jobs needed to run a small business and 100% not enough money to pay someone else to do them (The exception to this rule would be Hannah who does all our bookkeeping and accounts.  She sits at the top of our food chain because a) Accountancy is really complicated and more importantly requires focus and consistency which I personally would have received a U in if this was a school exam and b) Hannah knows all this cool stuff and isn't just guessing where things should be accounted and what we can claim for.

DISCLAIMER - Image above is AI created when I put in " Hannah Chatfield Accountant in the pop art style" - the real Hannah looks like this.

Anyway - back to my point - Dont look a gift horse in the mouth - if AI can help Larkswold be better, then I am all in - actually I am in because I love new shiny things and AI is sitting right on top of the pile for that right now.  So I popped the following into Gemini (AI for Google workspace):

“Please write a blog post about this week at Larkswold with an eclectic/quirky/mostly random but full of joy and hilarity style.  The key things we did this week were:

  • Networking club with Gemma from Cotswold Tourism 

  • Finally learnt how to use our Cricut machine after owning for 4 years (only Phil has been able to work it up until this point because he watch a million Youtube videos -Oh and he read the manual)

  • Just saw the Otters - note to guest, you need to be here at about 5.45 and in the garden to catch a glimpse.

  • Served our as-ever delicious cake but Emma keeps on trying to make it really difficult by making things such as Lemon and Poppyseed muffins (that would be fine) with a soupson of blueberry jam top with a light blueberry icing.  I mean really - what’s wrong with a simple brownie?

I got the following back from AI - I have chosen to provide you with Gemini’s handiwork with my thoughts in green…

Larkswold Hijinks: A Week of Whimsy and Wacky Adventures (Good - might not have gone for wacky as it reminds me of the Wacky warehouse softplay franchise and actually I probably would have spelt Larkwsold wrong)

Oh, dear readers, prepare for a whirlwind of hilarity and joy as I regale you with tales from this weeks adventures at the whimsical Larkswold. It was a week filled with quirky encounters, unexpected discoveries, and belly-aching laughter.  (Urm….. did I say write like I am an American TV voiceover?)

Networking with a Twist

The week kicked off with a delightful networking club session hosted by the effervescent ( I mean she is - but I would have gone with the cool kid at the party that everyone wants to sit next to - but AI is just learning how I roll so thats fine) Gemma from Cotswold Tourism. Picture this: a room buzzing with chatter, laughter, and the clinking of teacups. Gemma, with her infectious energy, led us through a series of icebreakers that left us all feeling like long-lost friends. (She defo has infectious energy but the icebreakers is totally my bag which generally involves introducing everyone at networking and impressing the crowd that I can indeed get 1 out of 3 things right when describing what their business is - sorry Carol but I am getting better right?)

But the highlight of the event was the impromptu dance party that erupted when someone accidentally played "Dancing Queen" over the speakers. The sight of middle-aged business professionals doing their best ABBA moves was a sight to behold. (Now that is good AI - I mean its like you really were in the studio with us!!! - but did your mum not ever tell you the difference between white lies (based on a little fact) and down right full on fantasy world lies?)

Cricut Machine Debacle

In a moment of triumph, we finally conquered the elusive Cricut machine that had been gathering dust in our craft room for the past four years. It took a collective effort, with Phil, our resident tech guru, deciphering the manual and countless YouTube tutorials.

(Similar - I booked us a session at Cheltenham Hobbycraft.  Emma and I picked up our friend Sian and all stood round listening to Alex at Hobbycraft for about 1hr with our Coffee Nero drinks and super stinky cheese and red onion pastries, then bought a load of random stuff because who doesn’t love buying new crafty things from Hobbycraft?  Phil didn't need to come, because he knows it all anyway and quite frankly he's not such a big fan of Hobbycraft)

Otter Spotting Expedition

(AI Image - obvs as I don’t have my phone on me at 5.45am and the picture I would’ve taken would defo have been blurred and only have the tail of one of them)

Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we (I - no other numpty is standing next to the river at 5.45am on a Saturday morning) were treated to a magical encounter with nature. As the sun dipped below the horizon (rose - actually had totally risen), we ventured into the garden with bated breath, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive otters that had been spotted frolicking in the river.  (I was having a little chat with Dora the chicken about why she liked broccoli and noticed the dickhead runner ducks Batman, Bertie and Peiking were eyeballing something in the river and thought it might have been the runner ducks I have managed to so quickly lose from Birdland)

And lo and behold, our patience was rewarded. There they were, a family of otters, playing, diving, and sliding down the riverbank. It was a moment of pure enchantment, and we stood there mesmerised, our hearts filled with wonder and joy. (Other than I rather than we - yep - spot on AI you got that spot on - in fact -that is suspiciously accurate - AI are you watching me via the garage cameras?!!!).

Cake Conundrum

Now, dear readers, we come to the culinary highlight of our week: Emma's ever-delicious cakes. Oh, how we savor each bite of her creations. But this week, Emma decided to challenge our taste buds with her latest concoction: Lemon and Poppyseed muffins topped with blueberry jam and a light blueberry icing.

It was a flavor explosion that left us both perplexed and delighted. The tangy lemon, the nutty poppyseed, the sweetness of the blueberry jam, and the delicate icing—it was a sensory overload that we couldn't quite wrap our heads around. But hey, variety is the spice of life, right?  (I have to stop you right there AI - I had no issue with the taste - its an Emma cake it will always be amazing - its more than I have the attention span of a gnat and and the 3 braincells I have killed off with my party lifestyle can't retain more than 3 bits of info at any one time or in any relevant or meaningful order - so it ends up being called lemon poppy surprise)

And so, dear readers, another week at Larkswold draws to a close, leaving us with a treasure trove of quirky memories and a heart full of laughter. Join us next time for more whimsical adventures and offbeat shenanigans. Until then, keep the joy alive and the hilarity flowing!”  (Nice - I am definitely going to use shenanigans more in the future)

So there you go... Maybe I just need to spend some time training Gemini to be more Melinda and that will be another weekly job off my to-do list! But if you came to the blog for acutal content about Larkswold here we go:

We have mostly got the Bank Holiday weekend off, then Em is off to see her sister next week to grab the speakers and Karaoke machine for our 200th Party in June. Our next workshops are:

Lino printing

-Thursday 9th May at 2pm: 6 spaces

Scented candle making

-Friday 10th May at 2pm: 6 spaces

-Friday 17th May at 2pm: 6 spaces

Silver Metal Clay

-Satuurday 11th May at 10am: fully booked

Fruity Jugs (Such a great workshop title)

-Saturday 11th May at 2pm: 3 spaces

Dried flower wreaths

-Friday 17th May at 10am: 6 spots

Arm knitting

-Friday 17th May at 2pm: 4 spaces

Willow Sculpture

-Saturday 18th May at 10am: 3 spaces


-Friday 24th May at 9.30am: 6 spaces

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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