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[loving and living] 2013 – the first year of my new life

What a year it’s been.

Much like 2014 appears to be doing, 2013 snuck up on me somewhat. Tbe new year is only a couple of hours old, but I wanted to get my review up before my planning posts.

I saw 2013 in at Rob’s with a bunch of new friends, getting rather whimsically tipsy and generally having a wonderful time.

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January saw a craft swap with some of my favourite people, lots of snow, a notice to vacate my flat, a ukulele workshop and a visit to London Edge trade show. Who knew that just a year later I’d be helping out Contrariety Rose with her stand there?!

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February…

was my birthday month (I celebrated by having dinner with Mum & Gran, and heading to bed with wine and six books. Utter bliss.), and also the month in which I visited Lou’s shop for the first time, had an impromptu school reunion and modelled in a collaborative photoshoot.

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March held moving house in the snow, to a little house with a spiral staircase in a riverside village full of mad creative people. I finally got my garden and couldn’t be happier! I spent the very last morning at my old flat creating memories with my best friends, taking burlesque photos for the Paper Dolls. I also had six inches chopped off my hair – eek!

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Life in Instagrams and Happy Thursdays

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In progress #tassels #burlesque

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Testing xmas pressie tablecloths and mats #teal #violet

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Like a ballet in the air – but rather them than me!

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Frosty #cobweb on the walk to work. Brrrr.

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Nom nom mango sorbet 🙂

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Lots of eBay parcels to post 🙂

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The last few weeks in Instagram highlights – L-R tassels in progress, colourful table settings and ballet in the air at work; frosted spider web, delicious mango sorbet, first batch of eBay parcels from my pre-move clear out.

Happy things include 15 Queen Street and discovering the amazing creatives in my area | planning and prepping for a collaborative photoshoot with Contrariety Rose | development of Ink Drops Boxes | various happy-making side projects | fabulous Free Range Humans (the people and the book) | finding a new home | Hotel Chocolat caramel hot chocolate | bumping into Poppy’s old owner on a roundabout in a snowstorm | resurrecting the Ducks on Tour and finding original Frankie and Freddie pictures

And I have Thursday and Friday off work for the shoot 🙂

Zoom…. that was the sound of my week, flying past

I have no idea how it’s Saturday again already! This time last week I was in a field with a group of people who, two years ago, I met for the first time. With no reason to meet except they all had the same car as me, I ventured to Duxford to meet them en masse and camp for the weekend. I took one of my best friends for moral support, in case it was horrific.

Three camping trips, many meets and hundreds of ridiculous conversations later, I count them among my dearest friends. I don’t see them as often as I’d like, because we’re scattered around the country, but I cannot imagine not knowing them… and I look forward to the meets when I can see them, chat, catch up, drink and relax. It never fails to amaze me what a fabulous bunch they are, and how accidentally I met them. (and how nearly I didn’t meet them – I almost chickened out of that very first meet!)

Anyway… here are some pics of the weekend for anyone who hasn’t seen them already – some stolen from others as I was driving solo much of the time, and misplaced my camera for half the weekend. It turned up with some brilliant photos on it, very few of which I’d taken!

Fitting many MR2s onto Rob’s driveway…DSC_0651A line of cars driving to breakfast on Saturday (not my photo)line of 2s My Poppy at breakfast after a gorgeous drive through the Yorkshire moors IMG_8832

I found a pony at breakfast (of course I did, I find ponies everywhere. I did however miss the real ones on the treasure hunt!)

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Setting up camp. This is Pete’s take on a camper van…

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Epic few weeks – preview

  I have been ridiculously busy for the last few weeks, and each of the events deserves a proper post. However, as I’ve just arrived home from CAE 2012 (camping with the car club in Yorkshire) and I have washing and other such glamorous things to do, I thought I’d do a bit of a sneak peek with some photos, and link to the posts when I write them over the next couple of weeks 🙂

Here goes:

The first weekend in July, I did a stall at the Maldon Motor Show with the fab Annastasia Midorigreen and her other half Dan – we sold handmade, vintage and Star Wars figures. It definitely gave me the bug and I came home all inspired. The classic cars that showed up (all 700 of them) were amazing too.

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Then on Wednesday I flew out to Jersey for my best friend’s wedding. I was one of four bridesmaids and it was a fraught lead up but absolutely gorgeous day, despite the pouring rain. Julia is now a Wilson and it’s still not quite sunk in!

 

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And this weekend I have been to Yorkshire camping with my car club. This is always a highlight of my year – you couldn’t hope to find a lovelier bunch of people, and I always look forward to the meets we have throughout the year. This one is the biggest by far, with usually around 40 cars. Much eating, drinking, talking and laughing goes on…

 

Friday morning: How many MR2s can you fit outside one house?! (black is Rob’s, blue is Russ’s, red is mine, silver is spare)DSC_0651 Anna and I when she arrived, catching up and looking cute:IMG_8882Laughing despite the rain with Ally and Luke:IMG_8970 Dan, Brad, Nige, Karine & Jim demonstrating that rain will not stop us having fun… IMG_8977  

More on all three later – now I’m off to find food and catch up on sleep!

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

CAE 2011 – the ultimate epic weekend, 22-24 July 2011

Bit of a late post, but here goes…

So first of all, CAE stands for Camping Auto Extravaganza. Which should give you some idea of the type of event it is. Last year was the third, and my first. And the first time I’d met the majority of the club members, even though I’d spoken to them all online via the club forum.

In the intervening year, friendship and bant has developed and I now consider them all to be friends and some of them to be close friends.

I had Friday off to get ready and get there, and Brad suggested I join their convoy from Birchanger Green services. So I got there ridiculously early and sat and sunbathed and read a book in the sunshine (and had a sneaky KFC for lunch!) while I waited for him, Jim & Karine and Nigel to turn up.

(Can’t find a pic of my car in the car park )

As it happened the traffic was completely horrific so I had longer than planned to read and chill out, but eventually got a call saying they were there and to head off, and they’d catch me up. Knowing they were all in turboed cars, I did.

And spent the next 30 miles driving as slowly as I possibly dared, letting trucks overtake me and desperately looking in my mirrors for signs of MR2s coming over the horizon! Eventually decided to go off at a junction and over the roundabout to delay myself – got back on the sliproad and they all shot past me! But I beeped and they’d seen me so I caught up, and then the drive got fun! (the traffic was stil horrific and there was lots of stopping and starting, but it’s fun driving in convoy with friends. Jim & Karine livened up the journey by dropping back and chucking jelly babies at us – hit my car but not me, sadly, but the thought was there!

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We arrived in Peterborough about 4ish I think, although I was so excited to be there I didn’t actually look at the time. The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur of chatting and hugging and catching up with people, it was so lovely to see old friends, and be introduced to new ones! It was also fantastic to finally meet the people behind the usernames I’d been chatting to for so long J

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Michelle and Ian’s place is beautiful, with space for us all and beautifully put together both inside and out. The pool was warm, the hot tub was warmer and they had two BBQs and several fridges for all our drinks J and a BAR!

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Friday night was spent munching takeaway, deciding on treasure hunt partners (for anyone curious, this is the closest we got to keys in a bowl, lol – just names in a hat for who drove and who navigated the next morning!) and then drinking, dancing, swimming (Anna and I got in the pool at stupid o clock) and talking. I even braved the hot tub. I drank far too much, to the point where I flashed my floozies (only a little bit!) for Rob and Russ (and Luke – who I then spent ages trying to convince I was normal. I hope I succeeded!) and had an unexpectedly fabulous time – much better than every time I go out clubbing and try hard to have fun. I think I eventually went to bed about 2am, and did that really annoying thing where you try to be quiet and make more noise than you would have done normally. Oops.

Saturday morning was a convoy of all of us, which definitely ranks among the most exhilarating experiences of my life – was such a kick to see so many roadsters and other toyotas all together, revel in the looks we got and know that every car contained a friend of mine J (yeah, I’m a sappy idiot, lol).

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IMG_4407  My Poppy is the car on the very far end 🙂

Then the treasure hunt was on, and we all met back at the house for a photoshoot and lunch. Look at the pretty cars…

271363_10150731556690022_55(this pic courtesy of Luke Abbott – I failed to get a decent pic of all the cars together)

Took the opportunity to get a new profile pic too..

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Saturday afternoon was really chilled, involving chatting, playing pool, reading magazines and in my case napping *blush*. I came back outside blinking at about 6ish and asked if I’d missed anything. Someone said ‘yeah, you’ve slept so long Amy Winehouse is dead’. Which obviously I dismissed as the usual bant. Then realised it was true and was actually quite sad!

The chilled vibe continued into the evening, only with added alcohol, and I remember sitting at one point by the pool, lit by candles, laughing at something ridiculous (I believe spiderman pants and a drawing of thongs and mankinis were involved) with some of my favourite people in the world and just being the happiest and most content I can remember for ages.

198701_10150323884540242_51 L-R Me, Rob, Wills

IMG_4564 Hou in foreground, Anna and someone headless in background

Then we had dinner, then we drank and danced and talked some more, I dropped my duvet in a puddle, we realised it was actually quite cold and broke out the sleeping bags, and I continued drinking and got sleepier and sleepier. We had some ridiculous but wonderful conversational moments (and ahem, educational too) and I gave up trying to stay awake and went to bed somewhere between three and half three.

217589_10150323884780242_51 L-R – Jim, Luke, Wills, me, Beka, Karine, Brad

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Anna and I having a silly moment in the hot tub

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L-R Brad, Luke, Jim

IMG_4556 L-R Jim, Brad, me, Beka

Sunday morning… was mostly full of people ambling around sleepily, talking about the weekend and their plans for getting home. We had an amazing full English breakfast, then people started to wander off. Which made me really sad, actually.

So we said our goodbyes and promised to get on facebook/keep in touch/do this again really soon, and then Anna and I went and spent the afternoon sat in a pub garden talking about how lovely it had been.

Returned home, helped my housemate pack some of her stuff, and then settled down to the flurry of photos, new friends, messages and comments on facebook. Turns out that this year, it’s not just me that’s soppily nostalgic about the weekend and would much rather it hadn’t ended. Everyone’s struggled to get back to reality this week. And I’d like to think that we’ll all stay friends for a very long time, having experienced it together. There’s not many groups of people I could have an entire weekend with without getting seriously cross with some of them at some stage. And I’ve never in my life met so many new friends at once!

Best. Meet. Ever.

And I really hope we do another big one before next CAE – I can’t wait a whole year to see these guys again!

*apologies to anyone reading this who went, my words and photos don’t do justice to how awesome it was.

**apologies to anyone reading this who didn’t go, who is probably bored senseless. But really – if you do one thing this year, buy a Toyota and join us next year!

Things that make me happy Thursday

This is really all about CAE – the happiest weekend I’ve had in a very long time.

Meeting up with old friends and making new friends
Swimming and hot tubbing at daft o clock in the morning
Laughing – I giggled so much last weekend
Driving with the roof down
Driving to the weekend in convoy and chucking jelly babies between the cars, while singing at the top of my voice
Having my best friend in the car with me for lots of the weekend
Driving with the roof down in convoy with 30-odd other cars filled with some of my favourite people in the world
Realising I’ve achieved a lifetime ambition of having waist length hair
My new vintage-style swimsuit from Floozie

And then after the weekend…

Buying a car for the rally – we’re definitely,actually, really going! It’s a 1996 Laguna – squee!
Impromptu shopping trips with Julia to buy exciting stuff for our new flats (well, mine’s the same flat, but you know what I mean)
Work is improving – I feel less out of my depth and more like I belong.

Busy, busy, busy

I’m sure life has got more mad since I started blogging about it! I’m very aware I still need to sort out the header for this blog and switch my links and thinks across from the Blogger account they’re currently pointing to. I hear Blogger’s had some problems – I haven’t actually posted there in well over a month so am hoping I won’t have lost anything; massively sympathise with those who blog regularly and may have lost stuff though, it’s not good.

I spent a lot of time with other cars like this last weekend… (that’s me with Poppy, my car) drove (roof down in the dark, it was faaaaaabulous) up to Nottingham after work on Friday (my London colleagues definitely think I’m mental now if they didn’t before; the majority of them don’t have cars and they cannot understand why I’d do that!), and drove across to Wrexham for my car club’s Spring Ding Day on Saturday. Went in his car not mine, which was absolutely fine until we started lining up cars for photos, then I wished I’d brought Poppy with me (not least because for once she was actually cleanish!) But was great to be a passenger – you’d think I’d never seen a sports car before, let alone own one *blush*.

We defeated the rain and got there in one piece, had a gorgeous day chatting and drooling over each others’ cars and going for drives – and then instead of taking me for a drive, lovely Phil let me drive his S2000 which ticked off one of the things on my List… it’s the one on the right for those of you less car-addicted than me 🙂

Then we got out some string, and spent lots of time shouting instructions at each other. The result?

 

(Stole these photos from Lynne, I’ll get mine up in next couple of days but am stranded minus camera or card reader at Mum & Dad’s this weekend!)

Yeah… I love my car and the people in my club 😀 We’re all ridiculous about our cars, but it’s a great atmosphere, everyone’s friendly regardless of whether you’re a new owner or a veteran, and I’m definitely in the inner circle now – I get insulted with a smile! 🙂

This weekend I’m on my way to the Pitt-Rivers museum in Oxford to see the Wilfred Thesiger Africa exhibition, long journey there and back but I think it’ll be really good.

So I should probably head for bed – sweet dreams all!

PS I’ve discovered and become addicted to Pinterest – more on that later!