30 Apr 2015

April was...opportunity central!

It's been a bloody great month, for many reasons: the blossom, lots of warm and sunny weather, I started my new job, Mitch and I planted some veg and I caught up with lots of friends who I'd not seen in a while. Despite all these good things, I can't say that my goals were a roaring success in April...

1. Finish reading the three books I'm half way through. Alas, only one. On the plus side though, I finished more books this month than I have done in ages.
2. Find alternative breakast foods. Moderate success with this one. I mixed-up my bread-heavy breakfasts with mornings of porridge and fruit. Not the most exciting substitues but at least it's a start.
3. Find a dress (or possibly dress pattern to make) for a hen do next month. I think I've found a contender :)
4. Buy some bras! Yes! Aaaand I got a new sports bra to boot.
5. Do some printing! Negative. I had hoped to do some before starting my new job but I never got around to it.
6. Try 3 new veggie recipes. HUGE fail. Infact I only tried two new recipes the entire month and only one was veggie.
7. Go for a walk everyday, 20 minutes at least. (I realise that doesn't sound like much but this unemployment shiz has meant that some days - bad days - I don't leave the house.) I did actually stick to this, the good weather definitely helped.
8. Continue to apply for jobs (one a day) and do some prep for interviews. Yup, all the way up until I got my job offers.
9. Organise my craft supplies (and possibly get rid of some). ...organise yes (a little bit any way), get rid of stuff no.
10. Give some change to the next great busker you hear. Shamefully, I don't recall giving any money to a busker this month. I blame the fact that I hardly ever have change on me these days. Perhaps my new rule needs to be, to make sure that I always have change in an easily accessible place.

So here we are, a third of the way through the year (sorry!). I'm looking forward to bank holidays, warmer sunnier days, my friend's hen party and volunteering at an exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery. All I ask of you, May, is: let's keep the pollen count and hayfever to a minimum yeah? Thanks!

26 Apr 2015

Start button

First off, thank you for your lovely encouraging comments on my last post, they were v.much appreciated :)

I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was to start working again. As is probably blindingly obvious, if you've been following at any point during the last four months, I didn't get on too well with unemployment, it was all rather depressing and I hated going to the job centre (although, the CV and practice interview appointments with the careers people were v.helpful). But now, I'm one week in at the new job and so far so good! I'm still getting to grips with everything and there seems to be a lot to learn but that's cool, it's great to actually face completely new to me scenarios and experience a challenge again. Also, I have met so many new people! Always a plus point in my books. I'm v.much looking forward to being independent again - not having to rely on Mitch or my parents or bloody job seekers to bail me out (although I must say that I am hugely grateful they did otherwise I would have been in serious shit) - as well as getting back on track with our plans to save for our deposit and look for our own home. For the first time this year I can hit that start button.

Four months of unemployment taught me some v.valuable lessons, not least that it's always a good idea to have an emergency fund and that, even if you are super confident and write pretty good cover letters, be prepared that finding a job you want will probably take longer than you think! For anyone out there currently unemployed and job searching I wrote a list of motivational ideas which might be helpful. It is shit some days, rejection emails, or just deafening silence, is the worst, but chin-up, you ARE an excellent candidate and, although people say it all the time and you're thinking "please shut up", it's true: do not lose heart, you WILL get that job soon.

In other news, during my final week of unemployment, I made this little fella ^^. I had some fabric scraps, lavender and stuffing leftover from these a few years ago and a lot of free time; a dinosaur lavender bag was inevitable :)

We had an amazingly lazy day yesterday - reading, chatting, sewing, catching up on game of thrones - which was perfect, nothing like a first week in a new job to leave you absolutely knackered! Today will be much the same :) Hope you're all having excellent weekends too.

19 Apr 2015


After four long months of unemployment, tons of cover letters and application forms, many rejection emails and 10 interviews, I've fiiiiinally been offered a job! YAY :) 
(In truth I was offered two and had the v.tough task of choosing between them which was not fun at all. That saying about waiting for buses and two turning up at once seems v.relevant.)
 I start next week and I couldn't be more excited (if a little nervous too).

Other good news:

My sister made it to the front page of The Daily Telegraph :)

Moriarty is alive and well (we'd not seen him for a couple of nights - he's getting so much more shy & snoozy as he gets older).

I went bra shopping and bought a sports bra which I am in love with.

17 Apr 2015

experiments in dressmaking - 'summer is coming!' top

Earlier this week I finished making a(n incredibly simple) summery top. I'm calling it summery because it's yellow and has kimono-esque sleeves. Look!
Seeing as one of my goals this month was to sort through my craft supplies and separate the wheat from the chaff (not so much chaff which is good because I found some ace fabric that I forgot I had but bad because I'm not throwing or giving any of it away and storage space is v.v.tight). One of the things I found was this cheerful (not floral!) fabric by Cotton + Steel which I bought last summer and clearly failed to do anything with. Well last summer's loss is this one's gain.

After deciding pretty quickly that I wasn't going to faff about with darts and instead opt for something v.loose fitting, the top was born. I added some rather nice trim to the sleeves and hem and voila! It's not fancy or technical in the slightest but it's comfy, and I think it'll be perfect for when the weather hots up.
It's been a bit of an odd Friday for me - tough decisions and phone calls to make (I'm not great at either so my coping method is to sing along to Kings of Leon - Youth and Young Manhood really really loudly). But anyhoo, it's almost the weekend (yay!) and I've just decided that I deserve an icecream. Happy Friday all! 

13 Apr 2015

the dealio

Reading - The Bees by Laline Paul. I'm halfway through and it is ace.

Watching - the final episodes of Parks & Rec (so sad but so good), finally the last episode of Twin Peaks (really disappointing), Pompeii (SO bad it was excellent), Going Clear (a HBO documentary about scientology, incredibly interesting if a little terrifying).

Making - a summery top and crocheting some granny circle squares (which will likely become some sort of blanket).

Eating - some amazing sausages at our first BBQ of the year on Friday. V.glad BBQ season is back!

Drinking - waaaaay too much of everything on an excellent night of dancing till the small hours on Saturday.

Visiting - Renegade Craft Fair at the Truman brewery. My sis and I had one of our Super Sister Saturdays - browsing the amazing wares of all the sellers (as well as buying a few bits and bobs) AND eating mac'n'cheese.

Listening - to this! Makes me want to dance everytime (the video is also pretty fun).

Growing - hopefully, a selection of veg and herbs. Some of the seeds we planted last weekend have sprouted, including: rocket, basil, broccoli and beetroot. Fingers crossed the others will make an appearance soon.

Feeling -  Excited (for dinner with friends next week, for Collect art fair next month, for Scotland in June), knackered (truthfully, I've not made a full recovery from Saturday night - my body is certainly showing its age), confident (job search stuff? I got this).

8 Apr 2015

Nine go to Shropshire!

As the title hints, a few weekends ago, myself, Mitch and seven of our excellent friends hired a big red car and drove to Shropshire. The plan? Hill walking, pub grub eating, a bit of boozing – and that's pretty much what went down. Saturday was spent walking/getting slightly lost/freezing our butts off (we actually found snow) in the stunning Shropshire hills. A well deserved shower later and we headed to the nearest pub to eat ludicrously large portions of pie and drink stupidly cheap pints of ale (as a Londoner I am constantly chuffed with the cheapness of things outside of the capital). Merry and bright we walked back to our hostel through the pitch black country lanes without being run over/eaten by wild animals, to play one of the most hilarious games of Cards Against Humanity I've ever witnessed. My stomach actually hurt I laughed so much.

On Sunday we drove back to London but not before stopping off at an owl centre and small breeds farm, where not only did we see some amazing owls, but we also got to pet them! Owls are so incredibly soft and seem to really like being stroked. The farm also had an impressive collection of different goat breeds, some of who had recently had kids! Naturally, we fed and petted as many as we could, including the most adorable pygmy goats. Our final stop before heading south was a bloody good pub lunch in the tiny village of Eardisley. Thinking of going to Shropshire? We stayed at Wilderhope Manor an incredible 16th Century manor looked after by the National Trust. I'd definitely recommend it, quite easily the most awesome hostel I've ever stayed in.

So that was our excellent weekend in the good old English countryside :)

7 Apr 2015

the Easter weekend in numbers

53 – pots of seeds planted on Friday.

6.7 km –– the distance I ran on Saturday (the furthest I've ever gone!).

3 am – the hour I came home on Sunday morning (after an excellent night out with some of my favourite ladies).

75 mins – the time spent driving down to the New Forest to have Easter lunch with family on Sunday.

1 – New Forest pony petted.

10-12 – pictures taken of blossom (I am a little obsessed).

18° C – that's how lovely and warm it was here in London yesterday. Hello Spring!

4 Apr 2015

good distractions #7

Ah, the internet. Full of so many many things to completely and utterly distract me from the somewhat (read: incredibly) tedious task of filling in job application forms. I'm fairly good at focusing but here are some excellent things that I came across in my weaker moments.

These unbelievably cute totems by Laura Johnston

These crochet slippers by Sandra Juto

These excellent books from Penguin Classics 

This photography series of a group of sisters who had their picture taken every year since 1975. 
I just love seeing the changes (faces, hair styles, clothes) over time. 

These cuddly sea creatures by Big Stuffed.
(Obviously my sofa needs a whale and a star fish.)

These fabrics all from Ray-Stitch

This video

Happy almost Easter!

2 Apr 2015

polar bear (and some April goals)

I finished this little guy (complete with scarf) for my sister last week. He's essentially exactly the same as the brown bear I made back in January, only white, so he's a polar bear :) Much like my first attempt, this was a dream to make (the Toft patterns really are super easy to follow) and has only increased my want to try one of the other animals in Edward's menagerie. One day I will, I just need to find someone to make it for!

In other news, it's now April (!) which means I need some goals for month…behold!

1. Finish reading the three books I'm half way through. (Why do I do that to myself?)
2. Find alternative breakast foods. (Some days I eat so much bread I am geniunely concerned that I may turn into a loaf).
3. Find a dress (or possibly dress pattern to make) for a hen do next month.
4. Buy some bras! (How the hell have I come down to two?!)
5. Do some printing!
6. Try 3 new veggie recipes.
7. Go for a walk everyday, 20 minutes at least. (I realise that doesn't sound like much but this unemployment shiz has meant that some days - bad days - I don't leave the house.)
8. Continue to apply for jobs (one a day) and do some prep for interviews.
9. Organise my craft supplies (and possibly get rid of some). Mitch tidied his section of the room and I am most definitely letting the side down.
10. Give some change to the next great busker you hear. Granted I've not been heading into central that often recently but my three interviews this month will give me ample opportunity to show some appreciation to the buskers.

Right, I'm off to the job centre (joy of joys), hope you're all having excellent Thursdays.
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