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The year that was: 2012

Christmas is all over for another year, and though I’m very much enjoying the week in limbo between years in a way I thought would be impossible a few short months ago, the season rather snuck up on me this year. Sitting working quietly on Rob’s sofa before we head out to a party later, I thought now would be a good time to look back at 2012 and perhaps forward at 2013. Though that may make the post too epic, so perhaps I’ll do that separately. I’ve kept it wordy as I hope to sort a photo album out later on…

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I saw the 2011-2012 new year in with Rob and his friends, at Holly’s house, watching fireworks and making Emily dress up as a dinosaur, accompanied by large amounts of cocktails. The rest of January shot past in something of a blur, with the highlight being Progress Theatre’s production of Neverwhere, one of my all time favourite books, which the fabulous Lou had done the costumes for.

Much of February 2012 was taken up with our much-anticipated USA road trip. Though I never finished blogging it, this was truly epic, so much so that we still haven’t chosen the photos to go on the wall – there are too many awesome memories! I turned 26 as we flew home, which was actually quite nice.

In March I met the gorgeous Anastasia’s equally gorgeous daughter Zoe. Unrelatedly, I discovered I would have to embark upon the first and only diet of my lifetime, in order to fit into the bridesmaid dress Julia had bought for me when she and Ed first got engaged. (I love her, and it was that or not be a bridesmaid, which was unthinkable. I do not love anyone else in this world enough to diet for them, believe me – never, ever again!!). To make this more bearable, I also booked a boudoir shoot for June, went to a corset party and signed up for burlesque classes. I had no idea how this would change my life…

April brought the relaunch of the Ducking Fabulous shop, dressing up as a dead parrot for a Monty Python party and my very first burlesque class. I loved it from the start – it was like recognising something that had been there all along.

May was a completely mad but absolutely wonderful month. I started it with a long weekend back in Loughborough with my uni girls I lived with, which was weird but fab; hit Paris and Disney dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast for Julia’s hen do; booked CybHer to give me some blogging oomph and incentive, saw Swan Lake on Ice with Hannah and revisited the Royal Albert Hall as a spectator, for the first time since I performed there in 2005 (which was lovely but very odd…). And my favourite part, a week on a narrowboat with Rob, Andy, Gemma, James and Jo – which we just happened to have booked during the hottest week of the whole year.

News of Cat and Mark’s engagement heralded June, while drinking cocktails at the Oxo tower. Which was rather lovely. I spent a day at Elstree studios learning WordPress with Andy, and we overheard and then sneakily watched Leona Lewis rehearse. Lou and I went to a Startup Saturday course, and I took the beginnings of the London Pin Up School to start to form them into an actual strategy. It went down a storm, and both of us came away feeling really inspired. I sold my first international order on Etsy, built an online portfolio (which still needs work, but the basics are there), discovered a new friend and rollerskating companion in Caroline, and took myself on a date to the Hammersmith Apollo to see Against Time – Flawless vs the English National Ballet. Some things are too good to be shared! The lovely Bluebell the bicycle also came to live with me towards the end of the month… a good omen, given that I can now cycle to work! I also slipped in the boudoir shoot, with Emily, which was terrifying but fabulous and incredibly good for both soul and self image. And I also met the lovely Craftyguider in real life, which was nervewracking but fab – we had a great time and her children are gorgeous!

July was characterised by inspiring conversations about opening a gym and generally working for oneself and escaping the City grind, puppies, celebratory dinners, long bike rides and another amazing CAE, this time in Yorkshire. Even the rain couldn’t stop us having fun, and I treasure these weekends, they’re truly three days of laughter, bant and frankly ridiculous conversations, surrounded by people I never expected to meet and now cannot imagine my life without, even the ones I only see once or twice a year. I picked up the images from my photoshoot and experienced a profound shift in perception – for the better. I cannot recommend this experience enough, and promptly booked another one for October – seeing myself in a new light is one of the most valuable things I’ve done this year.

July was of course also Julia and Ed’s wedding, and it was gorgeous – the bride was amazingly beautiful, the groom couldn’t stop smiling and the rest of us managed to hold it together until Julia’s old musical drama group did a Love Actually-style flashmob in the reception, where they’d rewritten a Disney medley for her and Ed. I bawled, but it was lovely. She’s now a Wilson and happily settled in Bristol, and I am dying to see her! (and yes, I fitted the dress, I lost almost two stone between March and July. Proud, but never again!!)

August saw me suddenly putting myself in gear and organising things – a picnic for lots of dear friends I hadn’t seen for ages, a conversation with Annastasia led to our now launched company Ink Drops Boxes, I discovered Free Range Humans and began to look at the world differently and start to work out what I actually wanted to do with my life. I was able to work from home during some of the Olympics, and I was amazingly moved by the Olympians and how well we hosted it – definitely a summer to remember. Horses and puppies and GCSE results arrived with my extended family, Janine had an amazing tea party/BBQ for her birthday (and my gazebo is still there, oops!!) and Wendy and I went up to London to see the Hurly Burly show – the first live burlesque I’d seen apart from the Fling last year. It was even better than expected!

Trade shows and Ink Drops dominated September, including nearly running out of petrol halfway home from Birmingham and discovering that “vegan” and “just irritatingly fussy” make for a very relaxed approach to eating out together! I started applying for more craft fairs without really believing I’d have time to do them, but knowing I had to start somewhere to build up my attendance again. I did a double take when I realised a whole year had passed since the Romania rally, and had a whole host of lunches out with amazing people to try and get over the shock!

September also brought news of a new job, handing in my notice to the City at last, and my first Escape the City workshop, plus a new friend. Ironic, as I’d already left… but we’ve now formed an entrepreneurial support group which is fabulous. I managed to squeeze in two burlesque shows – one at Proud Cabaret, with work ladies, and one in Chelmsford with my best friends, both of which made me squee and want to work on my own routines even more. Having handed in my notice, I was quite overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and intrigued by comments that I was brave.

October. Cabaret, cabaret, cabaret – my first burlesque performance! Rehearsals with the girls, rehearsals at class, class as normal. Costumes, feathers, glitter, panic, then elation as I stepped off the stage. The performing bug is back! Another boudoir shoot, this time with much more idea of what I wanted, followed, and Lou and I had a hilarious evening trying on all our outfits and accessories for it. I spent a lot of the month working on a helicopter presentation (who knew that a LAMA was a helicopter and not a furry animal with wings?!), had a Bare Escentuals make-under and found a glorious new liquid lipstick (in red, of course), had our first Escape the City meetup, and then left work in a blaze of tears, a vintage mannequin and a THREE KILOGRAM Kit Kat (photos of that to follow when I find my camera card). Straight in the car up to Nottingham where I spent quite a lot of time in stunned “has it really happened” kind of mode, and we spent the other half bankrupting ourselves in Lakeland and making chicken and tarragon pie and chocolate spoons. Not to be eaten at the same time, obviously. I subscribed to Simple Things in honour of my new, slower lifestyle.

1st November was our official launch date for Ink Drops, and the 5th saw me start my new job at the university. After a whirlwind month of being accepted to fairs, my first Ducking Fabulous stockists, a night of cocktails at Karen & Dave’s, the Free Range festival, a tassel making workshop (including making new friends and learning to twirl them!) with the fabulous Alex/Fanny Darling, a VIP trip to the Hollywood Costume exhibition to see the Ruby Slippers with Caroline, and frequent long “what the hell just happened” conversations with Lou (as Contrariety Rose and Ducking Fabulous found fairs and stockists at almost exactly the same time), I hit the end of the month with a big party for my aunt’s 40th and some much needed puppy cuddles the following day, before my first fair at Curves gym on the last Wednesday of the month.

December saw the beginning of fair season proper… it has been insane but so much fun! Leigh involved Val and Ellie, plus Anna and Dan had their stall behind us. Again made lots of friends, learned lots from both stallholders and customers, and managed to sneak in staying the night before with Val and dinner & putting the world to rights with Ellie on the day. New collaborations are looming, I’ve started burlesque again after the break and there are exciting plans going on there for a troupe and some performance, I’ve discovered edible glitter, I’m heading to another burlesque performance on Saturday night after my final fair, there’s a graduates’ Free Range group which is providing the most amazing platform for likeminded people to chat, give advice and generally work through this incredible new life together… and in the last week before Christmas, I packed in a shopping day with Mum, Olympia horse show with Ellie, and lunch and coffee with dear friends.

Christmas itself was gorgeous but quiet, and Christmas Eve and Boxing Day were spent with the extended family, the giant kit kat and a sense of relaxation. I’m now up in Nottingham with Rob till New Year and trying to decide what make up Little Red Riding Hood would wear, for a party this evening. Cocktails feature heavily in the next few days 🙂

From my breakdown in February to my overarching, incredible happiness, sense of self and enjoyment of every day now – it’s been a transformational year. I don’t think I could start to put into words what I’ve learned, discovered and found – but I do hope 2013 is as incredible. I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings, though less resemblance to a rollercoaster would be great…

Happy Thursday, and a note about blogging

I’m still rushing around in a tearing hurry (but oh, such a good feeling to be hurrying for myself!) so here are some snippets of things that have made me happy over the last week or two…

Ink Drops orders – I cannot wait to see reactions from the first batch of boxes, which ship on 14 December;

Treats – I went to Waitrose and accidentally came home with two tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream (they were on special, it would have been rude not to) and the utterly gorgeous Montezuma’s mint chocolate… it’s expensive, but worth it 🙂

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Being given the go-ahead to join student dance classes from January, as both a dancer and a photographer. I’ll be dancing in ballet and hopefully working up to pointe class, which will inform a couple of burlesque routines I am plotting and choreographing. The photography is a project I’ve wanted to start for ages, but have never had access to dancers en masse before now… so I’m very excited!

The arrival of my new dishwasher… it’s been here a little less than 48 hours and has already changed my life… I have no idea how I survived without one for so long!

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Adding to my homeware and finally having a theme – turquoise and purple seems to be across my kitchen and living room/dining area, while blue and vivid pink dominate my bedroom, and black and white in the bathroom. I can live with that – they all reflect different bits of me. Here is a teal tablecloth, which will definitely get embellished and altered, and some cheap but pretty purple tea towels. Currently being ignored in favour of my Christmas ones!

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I’ve done more fairs, and enjoyed every moment of them – in the time i took out, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy meeting people. Also had a wonderful coincidence at the Leigh fair, bumping into three lovely ladies (a mum and her two daughters) who Lou and I had met in Spitalfields in the summer, while trying on clothes in Collectif. They popped up at the fair and it was a fabulous moment! Here’s me with my stall (and my hastily-altered dress… it’s strapless, and it was FREEZING, quite literally, on Saturday… so a lace top was added!)

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Lovely, lovely evenings with my parents – particularly in this run up to Christmas, they and I have been decorating new places and new trees and sharing decorations and it’s AMAZING. I love that they live so close, and my Christmas spirit is very much present and correct this year!

Putting the world to rights with friends – in person, on the phone and over Skype, it’s all rather soul-nourishing. Inspiration is all over the place and I think 2013 may be the best year yet!

On a more profound note, two people have, without any prompting at all, told me I’m brave this week, and a dear friend said I appreciated and savoured life more than anyone else she knew, and that I “do the things everyone else just talks about”. If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than a month, you’ll know that’s in no way always been the case, and that comment has stayed with me all week – alternately making me want to shriek in triumph, and cry with happiness. Glorious.

I’ve also noticed, and I don’t think this is particularly worthy of its own post, that lots of bloggers I follow have been wondering whether to continue, fretting about their readers or lack thereof, and worrying about what they post if it’s less than their best writing (because this is apparently what ‘real’ or ‘big’ bloggers recommend). Here seems as good a place as any for me to gently but unwaveringly reaffirm that Ducking Fabulous is my little home on the web. I am beyond delighted to have you, lovely readers, along for the ride, but as you have probably gathered, there is no particular focus, and there is more waffle than well-thought-out, profound writing. I make no apologies for this, as I believe blogging should be something you do because you enjoy it, and you do for you… if you stop writing what you truly want to write, your blog loses its soul. Readers usually follow because they liked what you were already writing, or at least that’s why I follow the blogs that I do.

I’m not offended when people unfollow me, whether it’s here, on Twitter or anywhere else – I assume it’s because whoever it is is no longer interested in what I’m saying. And that’s fine. Conversely, I am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED whenever WordPress, Twitter or Pinterest tells me I have a new follower, because the chances are their blog, feed or boards will be something I also want to read or follow. And that, for me, is by far the beauty and biggest strength of the social web – finding likeminded people you’d never have known before the internet existed.

 

All photographs are my own – the one of me was taken by the fabulous Val, who was a brilliant Ducking Fabulous ambassador on Saturday! Don’t forget to have a quick nose at the shop, or pop into Tea & Sympathy (Colchester) or Make Do & Mend (Chelmsford), both of whom are currently stocking DF jewellery. I’ll be at the Vintage and Makers Market on Saturday 8th December in Chelmsford town city centre, and last order dates for Christmas are 8 December for the EU and 16 December for the UK – my official rest-of-world last order date has passed, though I will still do my best to get things to you in time for Christmas 🙂

Catching up with myself!

With stock in the ever-fabulous Tea & Sympathy in Colchester, soon to be in the gorgeous Make, Do and Mend in Chelmsford, supplying goodies for a friend’s daughter’s pop up college shop and four fairs starting Wednesday evening, it has been a little manic here at Ducking Fabulous HQ for the last couple of weeks.

Some of my printed domino necklaces in progress – I’m very excited about this batch!

I’ve also been working hard on Ink Drops Boxes with Annastasia from Midorigreen, which has been lovely, and punctuated by hilarious Skype chats involving unintentional Lucozade highs. If you love all things handwritten, pop over and see the site and our blog, and if you’re struggling for presents, why not have a look at the shop – a surprise box of beautiful stationery might be the answer!

Christmas preparations are also starting – this weekend I will be at the Betty Blue Eyes vintage and handmade fair in Leigh-on-Sea (and visiting two lovely friends who live in the area at the same time) on Saturday, and at Mum & Dad’s sorting out Christmas trees and decorations on Sunday… they have bought a new tree for their new, higher-ceilinged abode,  and I get the old one, which will fit beautifully into my flat… somewhere. I’m excited for sorting through decorations, most of ours have stories – will try and post about some of them nearer the time.

Right now I am mostly revelling in the incredible feeling of being surrounded by likeminded people and full of inspiration… it’s a feeling like no other!

Other things that have made me happy this week…

A rainbow on my way to work | Househunting | Tentative plans to borrow a greyhound | Dinner and Christmas decoration making at Mimi’s | A fabulous night with family for my aunt’s 40th birthday | puppy cuddles | the Free Range Festival | a festive Saturday in London with some of my uni girls | chocolate muffins | stories of my parents’ lives and travels before I arrived | starting on the overhaul of this site | getting my boudoir shoot photographs back | tassel making workshop and learning to twirl – the best Thursday evening I’ve had for ages! | Contrariety Rose’s mini-boutique in Creative Crafts in Reading | roof-down driving on a Tuesday evening | impromptu dinner and giggles with my parents | fairy lights | stocking up on Lush’s amazing seasonal soap | treating myself to a couple of books I’ve wanted for a while | MAC’s lip primer

So an all round fabulous couple of weeks! I am trying very hard to resume regular, twice a week posting – watch this space 🙂

Just like a champagne cork…

Title borrowed from something Mimi said to me earlier today. It summed up perfectly how I feel right now – tense, bubbly, ready to explode with all the exciting things that are happening but also slightly reluctant, nervous, apprehensive. And yet much more so, positive, forward looking, decisive and determined. It’s wonderful but slightly unnerving, feeling all these things at once.

I’m on my way to a meeting to talk about one of the many exciting ventures that are currently building and falling into place in my life. I do feel, despite some ups and some serious downs, that I am shortly to be exactly where I am meant to be, where I have been leading to both deliberately and unconsciously, for all of my adult life.

The Olympics are over and the Paralympics don’t start for another two weeks – London is in limbo, but we truly have inspired more than a generation.

For me, watching the games, experiencing the atmosphere and observing the grace, belonging and dedication of those athletes, doing something they truly love – it made me realise that I need to stop waiting for my dreams to magically happen, and go and get then instead. This means creating something rather than looking for a compromised version, making it happen instead of hoping it will fall into my lap if I wait long enough. In short, stop watching, start doing – my dreams will only happen if I make them.

I also tried to take up running, something which I’m almost certain will be quite short lived. I prefer wheels to feet. But can’t hurt to try something new, right?

So I am considering, planning, weighing up options. The response I’ve had from the few, varied, people I have whispered my tentative plans to has been overwhelmingly positive – I wasn’t looking for validation but support, and I have cried more than once at how lucky I am to have these kinds of friends and family. Unwavering, loyal, but also honest – and help me see things I may have overlooked about myself.

I have a definite timescale, defined by things outside my control. But that’s no bad thing. It adds to my focus, makes me even more determined.

This is a hazy vision of my future, I know, but watch this space – my custom-made life is about to develop like a photograph in a darkroom…

Missing riding…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGH0YMBWJiM]

I promised a friend I’d look into embedding videos on WordPress, and the only ones I had to hand were these of my cousin and I riding her horses four (FOUR!! Where does the time go?!) years ago. It’s made me desperately want to go riding again! Anyway, here we are with them. I’m in purple on Floyd, the bigger horse and Mimi is on Arnie, the smaller. Happy memories 🙂

I wrote this last Thursday. I am a terrible blogger!

I know it’s now Monday, but I was so enthused when I wrote this post, and having been to Startup Saturday I’m even more determined, so I thought I’d share it anyway. I promise the next post will be relevant. Or at least up to date 🙂

Wow, how is it already Thursday?!

Feel like I need more than a week’s round up… I had last week off following the Jubilee, with the intention of spring cleaning. Instead I passed the week in a delightful blur of family, friends and making, with so much inspiration along the way!

I spent time alone and with people, at home and out exploring and with family and friends old and new. I made plans and dreamed, created and experimented, and felt my drive and ambition return – they took a hike a while ago and I was left somewhat floundering.

I was inspired, delighted, busy, saddened, gloriously happy and newly determined – and that was a snippet of how I feel my life should and could be. Will be, if i can only work out a few small details like financing it.  Changes shall be afoot!

So what did I get up to?

Did quite a lot of helping parents to move house – and we managed to have a bbq!

Dyed my pointe shoes, did some sewing, finished first burlesque routine… and laughed a lot with friends. Had brunch with two fab people I don’t see often enough, and wrote letters to some I see even less often! Carbooted (on a Wednesday, which felt delightfully quirky) and came home with a sewing machine and two vases.

Had a whole day in London with Lou and talked and ate and talked and ate – and made friends with the lovely couple who run Lily and Lush / Fairy Gothmother in Spitalfields.

Then Friday I met Louise Craftyguider and the fabulous and very well behaved craftyguidelets (I wonder, if I have children will they be ducklets or ducklings?!) for a gorgeous pizza express lunch and borrowing of badge machine. It was so nice to meet in person after lots of tweeting!

My Gran turned 83 so we did lots of eating to celebrate, mostly of cake.

Miraculously, the bridesmaid dress still fits. May have to get some Spanx to go underneath, but at the moment it looks just fine 🙂

I spent a fabulous Saturday shopping and lunching with my mum, then decadent afternoon cocktails and food with Annastasia and Dan – so inspiring! Blogging workshops, crafting, a fair at which we hope to share a stall, burlesque and just the general goodness of life… Wonderful. Must do that more often.

Sunday I did attempt to go to Pulse London to look at expanding what the DF shop offers, but unfortunately the trains broke so I went home again.

And now I’ve done almost a whole week at work, spent the first two days in a state of emotional exhaustion and now the sun has come out I feel like a different person. Also started a new burlesque routine last night which is fast, fun and has the added benefit of an.old friend joining us 🙂

So let’s see where these days have led me, and how I can change my life to match my dreams 🙂

Hello 2012 – we’re going to get on famously

This will have to be quick, because I should have been in bed half an hour ago… oh, how I have really not missed the 5.30am starts at all over the break!!

I’m starting 2012 in an incredibly happy, uplifted and motivated frame of mind. I am surrounded by people I love who love me, I have my little haven of a flat and my much adored Poppy-car, changes at work in the last couple of months of 2011 mean I’m much happier there than I thought possible to begin with, and I’m ridiculously lucky that my main stresses are usually that I have too many people and fun things to fit into my social life. Terrible, isn’t it?!

But genuinely, I’m very lucky and well aware of this fact. I’m also intending and hoping for 2012 to be my best year yet… full of all the things I love to do, all the people I love to see and empty (or emptier, at least) of things that make me sad and stressed out. I’m not completely in la la land, I know that various things will be impossible and hard and tearful through the year, but right now things are rosy and I intend to make the absolute most of that.

Things I am muchly looking forward to this year:

Julia’s wedding ~ this is the big one, my best friend and twin soul is getting married on 7th July and I CANNOT WAIT! I’m honoured to have been chosen as one of her bridesmaids and I’ll do everything I can to make sure her big day is perfect.

USA road trip ~ a road trip round the southern states with my parents that we have been talking about doing for close to ten years, we’re flying out to Texas on 9th February and I’m so excited I can barely breathe!

CAE 2012 ~ Camping Auto Extravaganza with the ROC boys and girls is always a highlight of the calendar – this will be my third one, and each one makes me marvel that a bunch of people who only met each other because of their cars can be such very good friends and have such an awesome time.

Neverwhere ~ one of my favourite books by the awesome Neil Gaiman, and my best friend Lou of Contrariety Rose has been working on the costumes for the play for months and months. I’m off to see it on 20th January and am very excited!

Goodwood Revival ~ another one of those things I’ve been threatening to do for ages, Lou & Paul said they’d like to go and much to my surprise so did Rob when I mentioned it the other day… and dressed vintage too! So I’m hoping we’ll get to do that in September… fingers crossed!

My 26th birthday ~ not a traditional landmark I know, but I feel like I’m hitting my prime, and will be taken more seriously once I’m in my late twenties, and I’m hoping to celebrate with lots of friends and lots of family.

Unofficial Ireland rally with Rat Patrol, Team Allegro and Bucket of Doom ~ Assuming we actually manage to get this organised, I would completely adore to see the others again. I am perfectly prepared to abandon the idea of a banger and just go in Poppy if that’s the only way I can afford to go (as the £250 banger car spending limit would probably pay for most of my petrol and camping costs, lol). I’ve missed those guys!

And last but not least, launching Teasets to Typewriters, rejuvenating Ducking Fabulous jewellery as part of that and hopefully becoming involved with a new website, What Simon Said, with a friend I met on the rally and have kept in touch with via Twitter. I have many, many goals this year… some of them are listed on the 2012 Things page of this site, which can be found on the tabs at the top.

So, enough photo-free waffling from me – it’s been wonderful blogging and tweeting and ‘meeting’ people (I’m mostly looking at you, @craftyguider,@fairlyairyfairy@meanyjar, @CraftyThINKer, @MissJimJams, @ShhimUK, @LucyMoose ) in 2011, and I hope the friendship and support continues into 2012 and beyond! Happy 2012… enjoy it!

xx

Christmas time, Lego, food and wine…

Towards the end of a perfect Christmas day… presents, food, family and music. We ate and laughed and talked, I napped with the dog and then napped with the cat, I helped Eden build a Lego ship and we all ate lots and lots of chocolate – just the way Christmas should be 🙂

I hope all your Christmases were equally perfect if you celebrate Christmas, and that your Sundays were perfect if you don’t.

Happy Holidays!

xx

Things that make me happy – home edition

I’m heading home to Mum & Dad’s for Christmas on Saturday morning, and I was thinking how happy going home makes me. I love my flat and my independence, but there really is no place like home at Christmas time.

Some of the things in their flat that make me happy (and all of which I hope will move to their new place in the new year, so it feels like home still!)

 

Dad playing his guitar… one day I’ll learn too 🙂

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It’s five o’ clock somewhere… an Alan Jackson song and unarguably the truth! Mmm… cocktails.

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Continuing with signs (see where I get it from? I’ll have to do a post about mine one day) – Tabasco ‘hot stuff’. I don’t actually like the stuff, but Mum and Dad are almost addicts 😛 They put it with everything, including breakfast.DSCF4980

Some of Mum’s camel collection and the cross stitch I made for her 60th birthday. To date this is the only cross stitch I’ve finished!!

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My graduation photo. Like a million others across the country I’m sure, but I’m chuffed they keep it in their living room 🙂

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And last but by no means least, the very awesome knitted Aleksandr, made for Mum by one of her (talented) friends – isn’t he fabulous?! Simples!

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Hey… it’s nearly Christmas!

Quite how it’s got to be 13 December without my noticing and making a massive song and dance about Christmas, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the weather. Yep, we’ll blame the unseasonal lack of snow, ice and general cold misery that usually characterises December in England.

However, it does mean it’s almost Christmas. Now I am usually a Christmas fanatic – I love it! I love the build up, the songs, the decorations, the food, the preparation, the licence to wear glitter during the day, the ridiculous novelty earrings – the lot!

This year, a lot of this seems to have passed me by – I’ve been so busy with all the things I do that I’d barely noticed it was December! I have managed to put up my wreath, thought I’ve not yet had time to make another one and post a tutorial; I have decorated my little Christmas tree but haven’t put many of the rest of my decorations up yet; and I’ve been to two Christmas dinners and one Christmas party. So I’m not doing too badly, but I need to up my dose of the Christmas spirit!

So, some things (not all Christmas related!) to do before the 25th:

Put up the rest of my decorations ~ Decide what to wear ~ Buy token gifts ~ Send out email greetings ~ Make donation to Macmillan (in lieu of presents and cards this year, as we lost my godfather to cancer in July) ~ Go to a carol service ~ Go on the charity SantaLash pub crawl round London ~ organise Julia’s hen weekend ~ research sewing machines ~ research tablets and contracts ~ make some more Christmas jewellery/jewellery to wear at Christmas ~ go skating on one of London’s many outdoor rinks.

Then a few days of peace, and then it’s New Year!

I’m heading up to Nottingham for New Year, which I’m really excited about, especially as I haven’t celebrated it for about three years now. While the rest of the world (or so it seems) parties, I usually curl up with a blanket, wine, a really good book and a large tub of Haagen Dazs. Not bad, but I can’t wait for this one! I  will be taking a notebook on the train (I’d prefer to drive but it depends on the weather) to make resolutions and plans for 2012. I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to see some fireworks – I ADORE fireworks even when it’s freezing cold outside!

What are your plans for Christmas? New Year’s Eve? New Year’s Day? I hope that whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re with and however you celebrate, you have a glorious few days 🙂

All images link back to their original source.