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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…

Stax Soul Museum – 18 February (Southern Belle Road Trip)

Up early and had a very entertaining breakfast in the hotel, watching all the tourists fight over coffee and investigate the mints (yep, at breakfast. Weird.)

Then out to the less affluent part of Memphis, where the Stax Soul Museum resides. Stax Records was, by the sounds of things, and from Dad’s memories, an incredible hive of musical talent. More of its history can be found here and here.

Though I wouldn’t have said I knew much blues, and certainly not much about blues music, I found I recognised so much! It was beautifully put together, staffed by very knowledgeable, young people, and told the triumphant then tragic story of Stax in a very moving way. I found it almost unbearably poignant in places, but uplifting that from the ruins there is now the museum, a record store and a school and music academy, ensuring the legend will live on.

Should you ever be in that part of the world, please visit, it was unquestionably one of the highlights of the trip. Photos to follow.

Then on to Nashville… And I drove all the way!

“My beloved Tennessee” – 17 February 2012

… as Dad put it when we crossed the border, which I thought was lovely! I had cake for breakfast in honour of Sophia’s birthday, and then today was mostly about driving – I drove across an entire state (Arkansas) in a day! It was good experience, but not the most inspiring of landscapes –but we entertained ourselves by trying to find a Cracker Barrel to have brunch at – the one we saw a sign for in Texas appears to have been stolen, but we found several after that 🙂


I found the signs for Memphis and Nashville weirdly evocative.IMG_7496

Took a photo of Daisy near an empty truck. The trucker behind said he’d be upset if I didn’t take one of her with him in his truck. So I did. Spot the duck!


 Daisy with our food when we eventually found a Cracker Barrel (this was hugely entertaining at the time, but I realise probably lacks the humour in a blog post…)IMG_7481

Entering Tennessee, over the bridge. 


Even with The Great Cracker Barrel Hunt, as it will ever after be known, we arrived in Memphis in good time in the evening. Our hotel, rather wonderfully, was right behind Beale Street, so we were able to park the car and mooch round the corner to Beale Street to have dinner at BB King’s 😀

Dad pointed out, when I was trying to decide which boots to wear out, that it is not a cowboy town, and he’s right – Memphis has a feel all its own, and it’s fantastic. It’s vibrant and noisy and full of people, and reminded me a little of Covent Garden at night, if Covent Garden had neon lights and really good blues music. And we had endless fun with Daisy lol…


DSCF0301DSCF0297DSCF0323DSCF0310    DSCF0311 DSCF0318 DSCF0320  And then, slightly randomly, we went into Hooters – and I found the poster telling the girls how to dress bizarre – hair must be “down and styled glamorously”, and tattoos must be covered with opaque makeup and there’s quite a lot of instruction about how the tank top and hotpants should be worn…


Next post – Stax Soul Museum and on to Nashville 😀

Route 66, Tulsa and George Strait – one perfect day

Somehow an entire week has gone past since last weekend, and I’ve not had five seconds to sit down and write a post!

So we’d done six glorious days in Texas, and now it was onto the road trip part of the road trip… 🙂

Thursday 16th February 2012 – we left Texas for Oklahoma. This was the driving part I was most excited about as it involved leaving the interstate and driving Route 66. Well, part of it anyway! Here’s a random section of interstate with an advert for Ariat boots – this is one of the reasons I love this part of America!



It didn’t take as long as I’d thought to get over the border and into Oklahoma City (where we were joining R66). This made me realise exactly how lucky the girl we met on the plane is (she lives six months of the year near the Oklahoma border, as a photographer. She lives the other six months of the year in the UK, as a teacher. Ok, I wouldn’t want to teach, but  what an awesome way to incorporate two countries you love into your life!)

Here’s the turning onto R66…


And me and Daisy Duck driving it…


We stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud, on Route 66, on Mum’s recommendation (from things she’d read – she’d not been on it before either). It was a gorgeous little 50s-style diner, and it turned out to have a wonderful story behind it. The owner, Dawn, bought it almost by accident and found happiness in a small town. Pixar then discovered her, and the Rock Cafe, and she is the inspiration for the character Sally Carrera in the Disney/Pixar film Cars ( Which is amazing. The cafe also burned down in May 2008 (Dawn’s chronicles of its rebuild here

Here’s the cafe, outside and inside – someone considerately parked a Boxter outside it so it’s almost like Sally herself was there…




Southern Belle Road Trip – more photo highlights of Texas

In the Billy Bobs hall of fame with Alan Jackson’s handprints (I realise if you don’t like country music, much of my mad excitement will pass you by)

IMG_7291The Coors sign Mum’s letting Dad have in the bar, I mean study, in their new house (we have one Coors sign already, but it’s not a proper bar without at least two. And this one’s Texas-shaped).




Two of Jack’s guns. I was astounded at how small and delicate the second one was. Neither of these were loaded, and it is illegal to carry your gun openly in Texas, it must be hidden, even if only by a newspaper over it on your passenger seat. I’m still not pro gun carrying, partly because of my time working in a public library (in that if some of our customers were allowed to carry guns, it would be untenable to stay working there without carrying one yourself, which is not a position I would want to be forced into), but it was interesting to hear about and see them.

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A #fromwhereistand photo, in my utterly wonderful new boots


Dad and Gary at the White Elephant Saloon, and Mum with the coldest beer in Texas (that strange white stuff is icy beer that’s risen out of the glass as the temperature adjusts)

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One of my favourite signs, and some boot art I REALLY want for my wall at home

 DSCF0135 DSCF0138 At the HAI conference, Bell employees marching the hallways before the unveiling of the 525 Relentless, and the Dallas skyline enveloped in mistDSCF0155


A drive through cash machine – the mind boggles


Shopping in the stockyards – beautiful vintage boots, and look, I even found a model horse!



Me being an idiot in Cabela’s with a fish cushion, the central display of the store and an inquisitive zebra:


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Dinner on Wednesday evening – Ellen, me and Bev looking at rally photos; Walter, Bob and Dad, and all seven of us (R-L: Bob, Ellen, me, Dad, Mum, Bev, Walter – it proved impossible to get a picture where at least one person wasn’t talking or blinking!) I believe we also declided at some point in the evening, fuelled by cocktails, that if I ever get married, I’m going to do it in a dress similar (but a different colour) to the one I’m wearing in these photos, with cowgirl boots. Excellent 🙂

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The Euless Yacht Club

Deliberately excluded from previous posts so I could give it its own, the EYC is somewhat of an institution – it’s a bar in Euless, near Fort Worth, and it’s wonderful – understated, full of friendly people and they serve proper Coors beer. You can only get Coors light in the vast majority of everywhere else, and according to Dad, Coors is much better than the light version. I don’t drink beer so couldn’t tell you! It’s a bit legendary to me, in an always-been-talked-about but I’ve always been too young to go kind of a way.

So here’s a proper Coors bottle. Complete with Daisy Duck (see what I did there? She’ll have her own post at some stage too. Maybe even a category of her own…)


A Texas-sized beer cooler. On a trailer. With Rusty’s name on the side, so Daisy insisted on having a picture (I cannot believe I didn’t take a duck rallying with me. Epic, epic fail).

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Dad and Ronnie Mac, an old and wonderful friend on the deck


Me with Ronnie’s barbecue – now I have to go back just to taste some. Dad was an honorary judge one year (this is a big deal in Texas, and he’s an Englishman so it was an even bigger deal!) and I feel I should continue the tradition! Plus Ronnie wins a lot of barbecue competitions and I’d hate to miss out on tasty food 🙂SNV36662

They have a bar cat called Wilbur. Who is a beautiful cat and who brought us a lizard. We rescued him and put him on a tree – he was perfectly ok, just a bit startled.

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And this is the outside of the EYC as we left for the last time. It’s not in the slightest bit posh, but it’s genuine, friendly and a lovely place to while away an afternoon. Kind of like your favourite pub back home!


Last day in Texas (Southern Belle Road Trip)

The conference was fab as ever, it’s huge and a tad overwhelming (especially as this time I was working for some of it – not wandering around picking up the best freebies from the stalls!) and on Monday I went to a lecture on Dad’s behalf, as he’s brilliant but not yet able to be in two places at once. Walking in was entertaining, it was a technical update on an Agusta Westland heli engine, and I was the youngest by at least 25 years, plus the only female in the room. Fortunately they send out slides by email afterwards, so I didn’t have to pretend I actually knew what was going on. Phew. An experience though…

I’ve covered mine & Mum’s shopping at the mall in a previous post, although I will just say again how proud I was that I got us there and back again without Dad and didn’t kill us or get us hopelessly lost 😀

So Wednesday, our last day in Texas. We’d left it as a sort of spare day, so that if we needed or wanted to do anything we could without having any prior commitments. This was a precious rarity!

We decided to go and see Cabela’s, which is a hunting, fishing and camping shop – man heaven! It also has a zoo of stuffed animals, which although I’m not usually one for heads of moose or whatever stuck to the walls, was strangely fascinating. God alone knows where they got their elephant from! I almost turned left onto the wrong side of the road – there was just one car coming the other way, and he was in the middle, so on autopilot I headed straight towards him, oops. He looked very surprised! To my parents’ very great credit, they didn’t have hysterics, just suggested rather sharply I should perhaps try driving on the correct side of the road – lol! Actually that ended up being my only major cock-up for the entire trip, and I’m amazed I didn’t do anything similar on the rally. (maybe I did, and have blocked it out of my memory?! But I don’t think I did…)

Then back to the hotel to meet Jack, an old friend of Dad’s who’s happily retired, wonderfully Texan and took us to lunch at Jason’s Deli before showing us the handguns he keeps in his car. I learned more from that lunch than I’ve previously ever known about guns in my life, which I touch on briefly over at Project Pin Up. It was fantastic to meet Jack, he’s someone I’ve heard lots about my entire life but never actually met. And the sun came out, and it was warm and lovely! (Cue another conversation about how my parents should retire to Texas, hehe).

Dinner in the evening was planned for 7pm, and we had the rare (possibly never before, in fact) occurrence of six friends all together, plus me, and they felt like my friends by the end of the evening! Bob and Ellen, Walter and Bev and Mum & Dad, all in one place. Amazing. Walter & Bev I’d likewise heard lots about but never met, so it was wonderful to get to know them – Walter is originally from Germany and both he and Bev have travelled extensively, including to Romania, so we had a lovely chat 🙂 And I very much hope we’ll stay in touch!

It was bittersweet, because this dinner had been planned all along to mark our last evening in Texas, but it was so fantastic to see everyone that I didn’t notice I was sad until right at the end of the evening.

Texas has been, as before, amazing. I keep saying I could live here – it’s not the idle chat of someone enjoying their holiday, when I walk through the stockyards I feel like I’ve come home, although I’ve only previously been there once. I love England and it will always be truly home, but I think Texas could certainly be home for a while, should I ever get a chance to work there in the future. (or, you know, take myself and my own business out there one day… it’s not completely impossible).

Southern Belle Road Trip – 11 February 2012

This morning we woke up and I drove to Bob & Ellen’s for breakfast – managed to negotiate driving on the other side of the road, a left hand drive car, mandatory STOP signs and the Texans’ peculiar rule that you can turn right on a red traffic light if nothing’s coming the other way. It was inexpressibly strange to drive through a red light legally.

Dad, Bob and Bub (yes, our American friends’ names are often similar and sometimes confusing, as they all work in aviation) drank beer and put the world to rights, while Ellen took Mum & I shopping – it was fab, but I’d forgotten how different the shopping experience is in the States. Everything is so big, and far apart, and sometimes you need your car just to get from one shop to the next – it’s mad! We visited lots of places and saw lots of things, and bought a few bits – not loads, but my favourite purchase of the day was a gorgeous sparkly brooch and a ruffled skirt (which I’m coincidentally wearing as I write this post, back home at the weekend). Unfortunately (actually probably fortunately, for both my bank balance and my overstuffed shoe storage boxes) I am a very weird size in American shoes – in western boots I’m a 9 or 9.5, in shoes I don’t seem to fit into any sizes properly.

It was lovely to see everything though, and just to see the variety – I love shopping anyway, so it’s never a hardship to see new shops! We discovered an utterly lovely shop called Ruby Ellen’s, which I’ll do a picture post for. I bought some beautiful things there, but can’t post them because one of them is a birthday present for someone who I know sometimes reads this blog!

Completely gorgeous to see Bob & Ellen as well, it’s been 14 years since I saw them last, on my very first trip to Texas (and to the USA), when I was still a geeky 12 year old. They’re now grandparents, which is terrifying because their children were still children, if older than me, when I was last there. But so good to catch up and see them.

We’d been invited to the Bell Helicopter reception (background info for anyone who doesn’t know, which is probably most of you – Dad has worked closely with Bell for donkeys’ years, and in the company he worked for before starting his own business, he used to train at their HQ in Fort Worth every summer, and a couple of times spent three months at a time there. Consequently we have friends here, and Dad knows the roads and the city very well) so we decided to go to that instead of the main HAI reception – we’d know more people and they’re usually lovely.

The invitation instructed us to go to the Dallas Cowboys stadium (there are four stadiums. Stadia? Anyway. in Dallas, so getting there was quite exciting. It foxed the satnav.) and dress code was ‘jeans and boots. Fortunately, we went boots shopping yesterday, and I’d bought a new denim skirt in the UK, knowing that a) I don’t wear trousers and b) American sizes and me don’t get on well.

We arrived, expecting to be shown to one of their function rooms, and instead found ourselves escorted onto the pitch, through the big white star that the footballers come through, and as we came through our image was shown on the big (HUGE!!) screens above our head. Amazing!

They’d laid on a cocktail bar in the centre of the pitch, had lots of hot buffets with chefs around the edge, had brought in two helicopters and had a stage. They threatened some line dancing at one point, although I managed to escape having to give a demonstration (again for anyone who didn’t know, I used to line dance competitively and competed and placed at Worlds in Nashville in 2000. It was glorious, but a long time ago!). One end of the pitch was devoted to photo opportunities, and the other to games – kicking a football over the goalposts (under? around? I really am woefully ignorant of the vagaries of the game).

It was a lovely evening – you could do a self guided tour of the stadium if you wished, although as I was breaking in new boots I declined this… but it was beautifully put together and a chance in a million – not something I think I’ll ever get to do again!

So although I don’t follow American football, it was incredible to be there, and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.

Southern Belle Road Trip – a note

I’m in the process of writing up the trip in chronological order, but due to various things (time constraints, I’m dozy and forgot to pick up Mum’s photos, misbehaving internet) the posts will be much as they were on the trip – wordy ones followed by photographic highlights. So feel free to skip the words and just look at the photos, or vice versa. The full trip will emerge over the next week or so, if everything goes to plan!

Jetlag, giggles and the Happiness Project (no, not another one of mine!)

Today’s been a good day, despite being the first day back at work after my trip! I am knackered but still alive, just… heading for bed the moment I’ve finished this post! Unrelated images from the trip throughout – I have 5GB of the things so will be spreading them through many posts 🙂

IMG_7550 Nashville skyline at night from the General Jackson paddle boat.

It was fab to see everyone at work – not so great to be actually working, but holiday is always going to be more fun than work I guess 🙂 Was a really nice day, although it took me most of the morning to catch up and get back into the swing of things. I’m sure the usual madness will kick in soon, it’s permanently busy, but I have a much better sense of perspective for the break, so hopefully it won’t be so stressful for the rest of this year!

SNV36457 Me on the world’s biggest spur in Fort Worth’s stock yards. Working the pin up cowgirl look with the boots and the red lipstick.

Have been really good from a healthful (is that even a word?) slant too – cereal on the train, no snacks or caffeine till after 12, then I cracked and had a kitkat. With hot squash, because I’m so super-sophisticated.

Have also managed (accidentally) to avoid carbs all day, this is not something I usually do but I think the lack of veg on holiday has kicked in, I’ve eaten almost my own body weight in peas this evening, lol!


Oh man, I might have been healthy today but I’d kill for this cake again!

Things that are making me happy today (cos it’s Thursday, after all) –

  • Reading a fab book I bought for the plane called the Happiness Project, which so far I can highly recommend
  • Giggling with the girls at work
  • Western boots (and Mum’s utterly genius suggestion that I buy more online when I want to add to my collection, now I know my size in a couple of brands I like)
  • Getting to grips with my new phone (still sad about the old one, but the more I use this one the more ok it is)
  • Discovering that Ocado will deliver a full shop tomorrow evening (uh oh, I’m in danger of being old and/or boring – but this saves me so much hassle it’s unreal!)
  • Val & Matt telling me they’re coming to the zoo on Saturday so I can see them after, squeee
  • My new sense of calm and relaxation – let’s hope it lasts]
  • American Milky Ways (like our Mars Bars, but less intensely sweet)
  • Realising I have 12 potentially workable business ideas. (Really should narrow that list down soon and stop planning them all simultaneously, but they do make me happy even if at least two are financially impossible without a windfall of several million)
  • Making healthy choices about what I eat and drink – I think this is the first time in my life I’ve done this without a sense of loss/resentment
  • Watching St Trinians & St Trinians 2 in succession yesterday while recovering from the flight
  • Driving abroad and driving at home – abroad was fun, I still love Poppy the most
  • Plans to start and finish the R2R collage this weekend – and send the bloody photos to the other teams, it’s been a ridiculously long time now
  • Sketches for new jewellery, I’ve been muchly inspired by the trip and the things I’ve been seeing and reading
  • Last but definitely not least, how loved I am – without sounding completely sappy, I am firmly resolved never to forget how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who I love and who love me too – friends are a very precious thing 🙂

This is probably incoherent and rambling (what do you mean all my posts are rambling?!) but I’m now so sleepy I can’t focus on the screen, so I am off to bed… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Real life bites…

Hmm. I’m back on a train heading for London and work… Where did two weeks disappear to?

On the plus side I had a wonderful trip, I’m feeling more like myself and much more ready to tackle the madness of work, and have a litany of sketches and notes for things to make – a change of scenery can be wonderfully inspiring!

Blog posts and photos for the latter half of my trip will be coming over the next few days – I have hurriedly scribbled notes in my trusty Moleskine, but we were so busy I didn’t get much chance to blog after we left Texas.

I hope you’re all well and happy, and the last two days of the working week pass speedily!