As a completely fabulous, proper weekend draws to a close, I’m once again pensive. In a good way. For the first time in I genuinely can’t remember how long, I am excited for Monday. The first week of the new job mostly involved meeting people, familiarising myself with the uni’s website and eating cake. But I am looking forward to being there, to the challenge of the first tasks I have, of getting to know my (perfectly lovely!) new colleagues, of discovering the campus and the surrounding areas, of spending the evenings of this week eating good food and making stock for fairs and the fabulous Tea & Sympathy boutique.
This weekend has comprised seeing the Ruby Slippers at the V&A, eating a ridiculous amount of food, catching up with fabulous friends, catching up with fabulous family and walking around in a state of wonder that I can be this happy in normal, everyday life. Read on for more…
I feel very strongly that this is a new phase in my life. The opportunity to work so close to home is one that I think I only truly appreciate having battled almost two years of four-hours-a-day commuting. It signifies a change in pace, and a change in attitude. To make the jump to leaving London, there is a whole mindset change. Money becomes less important, and time, though still precious, is more plentiful.
There will be more time to spend with my family, the people and also the animals that are so dear to me, and who helped me so much through the darkest times of my life, and who share these happy ones so wholeheartedly.
Time to take Bluebell for long cycle rides, Poppy for long drives, to ride Jack and Chess (maybe not simultaneously) through the fields, to photograph and record the things I didn’t even have time to see before.
Long afternoons to spend with friends, chatting, talking, just being. Time to dream and plan for a nomadic future – narrowboats and caravans, visiting friends, a gentler pace of life.
While still running my businesses and creating my portfolio life, I also want to find time to learn – through the university, evening dance classes, finally getting going on my Universal Class courses, through Free Range Humans and Escape the City (just because I’ve escaped, doesn’t mean I can’t still spend time with fabulous like minded people)…
All these things I have missed for the past five years. All these things I am so much looking forward to – and all these things and more I will be thankful for. I’ll still be busy but I am absolutely determined to make more of everyday life now I have taken the leap. I don’t want to just live for the weekends – I want every day to be worth something.
I don’t regret my time in London, I’ve met some wonderful people (you really do find absolute gems in the most unexpected places) and I’ve learned a lot, much of it also unexpected. But the time is right to move on, and I am focused on the future. I don’t think I’ll ever return to work in the City – but I will take many memories of it with me.
EDIT 23/11/20 – I’m getting fairly regular requests for the manual for this machine – I’m so sorry, I gave it to a friend when I moved house in 2015 so don’t have the machine or the manual any more 🙁
Quite some time ago, I broke the little portable sewing machine my Gran gave me. The tension has gone, and when I took it in to be fixed they told me, gently but firmly, that it would be significantly cheaper to buy a new one.
So I have existed without one till now – not critical as I plan a lot of sewing and rarely get round to actually doing it, and have been able to beg, steal or borrow machines to use when I’ve needed to make things like the parrot costume.
However, lovely Kim at work gave me one quite a while ago, and only its weight and bulk stopped me from bringing it home till now. One very long day, a sturdy suitcase and a few pulled muscles later, and here she is, installed in my studio… isn’t she gorgeous?
Joining my Singer and my Jones (meep, that means I now officially have a collection of vintage sewing machines), but superior in that she has an ELECTRIC PEDAL… she’s very heavy, but threaded up and whizzed through the test piece very smoothly. I have bobbins that fit her, so will get some new needles tomorrow and we’re off!
Here’s to a long and happy relationship!
PS Pretty sure Kimmy doesn’t read my blog – but if you do, a million thank yous, I’m in love!
Any of you who are regular readers, or who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, will know I rarely have a day to myself without commitments, travel and madness. Yet today was exactly that. And it was heavenly.
I spent the morning researching properties for the new incarnation of Project Pin Up – having discovered that this one, which I popped out to see and photograph briefly on Thursday evening, has been sold and had planning permission granted to turn it into houses. Clearly I don’t have the resources to buy something like this, but a lease may be possible with a proper business plan and some angel or VC investment. It’s a pipe dream, but it’s making me happy.
I had an impromptu brunch with Janine to plan her upcoming 30th birthday party, followed by taking shelter in the garden centre next door when the heavens opened (convenient, no?!) As a result I came home with these, which don’t count as 100 days lapses, because Poppy is desperate for an air freshener, and you can never have too many notelets 🙂 (please excuse shocking photo – the thing in the front is a pack of Yankee Candle car air fresheners, in Macintosh, my favourite crisp apple scent).
Came home and had a cup of Ceylon tea (I am rapidly growing very fond of it, especially taken from a teapot, with cake)
Spent the afternoon working on a couple of PDFs for PPU’s soon-to-be-launched new website and download centre, and popped to town to look at the empty, derelict and up-for-sale old Odeon. It’s 1930s Art Deco, beautiful building and so sad that it’s been empty and unloved for so long. It also has a £1.5m price tag, and is too big and the wrong shape for what I’d like to do with it. But worth looking at from the outside anyway. I hope someone converts it soon… it’s going to crumble otherwise.
May have accidentally topped up my fancy dress box in Accessorize’s ridiculous sale – each of these was £1.50…
And picked up the little bird earrings for me, and the ice skate for a dear friend of mine who I don’t see enough and who I’m almost certain doesn’t read my blog!
And now? It’s only half past seven, so I shall make dinner, work some more on the websites I’m currently building, and perhaps later curl up with a book and another cup of tea. Tomorrow I have the day to myself until 4pm, when I’m off to help Mum & Dad with some computer bits in the new flat and have dinner with them there 🙂
I hope you’ve all had equally gorgeous Saturdays – I’m resolving to have more like today!
A highlight of my weekend was watching the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony – I didn’t intend to stay awake for all of it, but it was so spellbinding I did… and I was, am, so proud to be British. Much more than usual – Danny Boyle triumphed! The description of it as a “love letter to his homeland” struck quite a chord – it was breathtakingly beautiful. And all the engineers I know got ridiculously excited about the cauldron.
I noticed the reflection of the TV in my “HOME” embroidery – and thought it was slightly more interesting than just photographing my TV screen. So here are a few shots from the ceremony.
It transpired that two people I know, an old friend and the daughter of a friend, were part of the ceremony – while watching and tweeting I discovered people I follow were involved. It was fabulous. Let’s hope we now get some medals to go with the breathtaking ceremonial pomp 🙂
Last week my weekend started on Thursday really – I arrived in London at what felt like silly o’clock, ready to battle the crowds to watch the Olympic torch. Except there weren’t any crowds, because I was too early! I had the privilege of watching from the top balcony of this gorgeous building, next door to St Paul’s Cathedral, with Bucks Fizz and pain au chocolat, at the invitation of my friend Caroline who lives there –
People thronging the street, waiting for the torch to arrive –
Slightly blurry, but I was very excited to see a girl on skates in the procession. White quads, no less – squee!
Torch holder approaches…
And lights the flame of the waiting holder, who then started to run and was quickly out of sight …
It was surprisingly emotional to watch, and certainly kick started my excitement for the Olympics, which had up to then been rather lacklustre!
I need a better title for my links collections – like Kate’s Stuff From All Over… Anyway, here are some lovely and/or useful things I’ve spotted in my internet travellings this week, before I disappear into radio silence for Julia and Ed’s wedding!
Gingerbread ice cream sandwiches – perfect for a summer dinner party dessert. Yes, I know it doesn’t feel like summer yet – I live in hope though!
Intriguing article on the daily commute – from the States, but just as relevant here, I think. I disagree with their 10 minutes theory though – my commute is among the longest of the people I know but I think I’m probably one of the most social!
MakeShiftSociety – Rena Tom’s new venture in San Francisco. I love this, it’s something I’ve wanted to do in Chelmsford with the old Law Library building for a long time. I wish her every success!
London Pin Up School is coming… subscribe here
Corsets UK are offering a free boudoir shoot if you use one of their corsets in it so they can choose an image to use on the website…
Gorgeous looking garlic butter tilapia recipe (which you can replace with cod or any white fish if you prefer)
Naomi’s white chocolate frozen raspberries. I am reliably informed they’re sinfully good, and will be trying them the moment I’m home from the wedding!
Strangely accurate horoscopes from astrostyle.com
Amy Butler patterns at Backstitch – I really need to learn to sew from a pattern
The O2 business centre at Tottenham Court Road where our course was held a few weeks ago – it’s a great space and can be used by anyone
Webstagram for viewing Instagram feeds on your computer.
Have a fabulous week lovelies!
Sometimes, when you’re having a crappy
day week and thanking your lucky stars that you can cry without looking like you’ve been crying (weird talent, but necessary so I can still appear professional), you spot a tweet that makes you go “oh!”.
This is today’s ‘oh’ moment.
It is not technique or champion status that makes a dancer great. It is the energy of the mind and the sheer joy of dancing expressed.
Full blog here. It’s a good reminder why although I’ll probably never dance competitively again, there is no reason at all why I can’t continue to dance my whole life. For me.
Tonight, I shall meet my deadline, go home, do essential housework, and sleep. Tomorrow… tomorrow I will dance.
Rediscovering my pointe shoes…
Makeup trial for the wedding (done by me) – this is look one, neutral eyes with sheer-ish red lips. Shocking phone photo and my glasses obscure my eyelids, I know. More of these to come before the actual wedding. Skin’s looking clearer though – Nars illuminator is magical stuff!
Challenging myself to sew something for the Popular Crafts Union Jack swap… here’s my finished needle book 🙂 Will be posted with a treat and a cross stitched card!
Munching the cake I bought for a friend’s BBQ that was abandoned due to rain. I suspect the diet will be back on when I’m back at work, I’m maintaining weight but there’s so much yummy food involved in this week… lol! These cakes, stocked in our local Wyevale (Colchester Stanway and Braintree) are my favourite fallbacks if I don’t have time to bake, they taste homemade!
Sorting bookshelves and installing a ballet barre *cough perfect height clothes rail cough* in my living room – if I’m going to be ready for this burlesque cabaret in October, I need to strengthen my long-neglected dance muscles and improve my flexibility. Removing my glove with my foot is, as expected, somewhat trickier than it looks on stage! My intention is to try to do 10-15 mins of stretches and barre work each day even if I manage no other exercise. Combined with burlesque each week and hopefully cycling when my bike eventually arrives, plus skating which I do whenever I can but usually once a week, I should be trimmer, fitter and more flexible in no time. Yeah. I live in hope. But I’ll at least enjoy myself in the process!
Also managed to paint my toenails (my feet are not fit for photographing so here are the colours I used) and ogling the Pashley Poppy on the front of this month’s Homes and Antiques. Cannot WAIT for mine (it’s the blue, rather than the pink, version) to arrive – hopefully in a little over a month. Squee!
Footnote: I’m aware that wearing pointe shoes while not a trained dancer can damage your feet; I’m also aware mine should have ribbons attached for support. They’re mostly decorative and I intend to wear them for a photoshoot. I doubt I will ever again dance that level of ballet!
Today was just another day at work… only it wasn’t at all, it turned out to be a glorious extravaganza of a day. The morning was quite average, apart from a delivery of a box of feather boas for burlesque class, which massively entertained my colleagues. My desk now looks like a very pink chicken has had a fight near it.
Then lunchtime approached and my two lovely friends Naomi and Wendy, who had been up to Liberty to meet the incomparable Dita Von Teese, came to have cake with me. I met them at St Pauls station and we popped across to Bea’s of Bloomsbury…
Wendy and I had red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and homemade lemonade:
Naomi had the most beautiful (and scrumptious) triple chocolate cake, with tea (of course!):
Having cooed over their Dita perfume and signed photographs and pictures with her, and had a thoroughly good gossip, we stopped to take a photo of these wonderful cake plates on the way:
and then they went off to the station and I went back to work. And shortly after that, I headed off to Bonhams to set up a work event. I was taking marketing materials with me so had a taxi drive me there, and spotted this little tailor’s shop, which I really think is straight out of Harry Potter and hopefully not visible to Muggles, halfway there…
Then on the way home from setting up I got this rather moody but lovely glimpse of the back of Harrods (which is in an area of London I usually avoid because it’s so busy!)
Finished off the day with a lovely long chat with Lou – and my first slice of bread for almost six weeks! (It was amazing – but I gave the rest of the loaf to my neighbour to avoid temptation, hehe!)