Sunday, 28 February 2016

An Indigo Twentysix

 Twentysix is one of those nondescript ages; twentyfive is the mid twenty hurdle that sneakily reminds you that thirty is a little closer than what you realised a year ago. Twentyfive nudges you to evaluate what you have and haven't done with your life and compare it to what you thought you'd be doing at this age five years ago...... so for me, I haven't had a baby, got married, travelled OR established a career, however since I am at the end of a three year degree and am applying for Nursing jobs as we speak I'd like to think that- actually- I've done quite abit more than what I planned career wise. A baby is on the cards, however I refer back to said career (and maternity pay!), my idea of marriage has changed somewhat in five years and I'm now neither for or against marriage before children (something I was adamant on previously!). I'm in a very stable relationship were we talk openly about these things and we're very happy with how things are developing and how our plans for the future are looking.

I've wondered off topic here....

So twentyfive was slightly more poignant to me than twentysix. The only thing this number means to me is that its got a two and a six in it, and that I'm thankful the two is before the six!

 I celebrated my birthday in what I'd like to think was a very creative and relaxing way: 

I woke at 6am to the most spectacular sunrise. 

Once I'd spotted it out the kitchen window I donned my farm boots to wander into the middle of our lambing field to take a snap of the beginning of what was going to be the most wonderful day, because....

I went to a Shibori workshop!

 But what is Shibori? Well basically its tie dying material, however the workshop I went to incorporated elements from nature to draw inspiration from. It was based at an enviromental centre in Saltwood, a little village close to where I live which overlooks the coast from its hilly seat. The dye we used was grown by our instructor on her allotment, the roots from a particular plant produces the most beautiful indigo which we used to dye our Peace Silk

 First off we took a stroll through the park to gather twigs, leaves, branches and bark to use in our dying. The park is quite lovely and has its own natural waterfall.

 I imagined that when us galumphing, clumsy footed humans weren't around fairies, nymphs and pixies came out to splash around in the water, flutter and flitter in between the ferns and meandre in the fallen leaves.

 Once we had collected our natural treasures and explored the park a little more, we headed back to our training room to get on with the task of dying.

 Our instructor demonstrated the many different techniques used in Shibori dying, I settled on a method which required you to roll your material round a branch, adding leaves while rolling to create different patterns and shapes, then twisting string round and round to produce a crisscross pattern and then securing it with a simple knot at the end.

 Once you had done this it was soaked in water for a minute, then dipped into the dye vat for 5 minutes. Once this time was up you released it from the string, twigs, branches, pegs, buttons or whatever else you had chosen to add into your developing method, hung it on the line and let the air develop the initial green tinged dye to oxygenate and transform into the beautiful indigo. 

  This was the classes finished product. Don't they look amazing?!? Mine is the 4th in from the left, with the criss cross pattern. I'm very happy with my scarf and intend to wear it with a simple white linen dress in the summer to add a pop of colour.

 After the class had come to an end I made my way home to freshen and glam up for the evening plans:

The Light Festival!

 Hosted in Cheriton this festival is in its third year and attracts thousands of local resident to flock to the towns high street to see what the local artist had created to wow them!

 This fish (?) was majestically floating along down the road, it was rather large about the size of a bus but the way it moved in the wind made it so graceful and slithery. It's tailing kept skimming across the ground, much to the delight of all the children who tried to catch it as it whipped past.

 The projection onto the Church was really spectacular, it ranged from Peacock feathers, to geometric shapes, to stain glass windows. There was music playing in the background that made the whole experience quite trance like and you had to blink yourself out of the little world you were drifting off into as you watched the installation. 

 After a while we started to get quite chilly and decided an Italian was in order. We trundled off into Folkestone and found a wonderful family run Italian restaurant where I ate my weight in brochette, pizza and the most amazing lemon cheesecake. I wont eat for weeks after the sheer amount of food I consumed at that table!!

 I was also very lucky to receive some very lovely presents. Including a couple of Joules vouchers that I am itching to use to purchase some rather stunning dungarees! I also received some rather snazzy washi tape and gold and silver stamp pads for my little stamp collection I am building up!

 And being the spoilt, little being that I am I also bagged myself a new Chromebook from Mum and an updated (PURPLE!!!!) FitBit from my boyfriend. 

 I feel so lucky to have had such a wonderful day, with wonderful people and wonderful gifts. Its back to reality now as I start my FINAL (gulp) placement as a student nurse and finish up my last few months at uni..... I cant wait :)

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Beautiful Three

I will set the scene:

Mobile put to sleep- this is your time, not your phones

Light a candle, scented or otherwise and draw the curtains or ensure low lighting

Make yourself a drink of choice- I'm  big milky tea fan, however a rose is a little lovely...

Choose some music you love and just...





 Sounds simple doesn't it? But actually grabbing these moments to yourself without interruption or distraction can be pretty tricky at times. My big fault is feeling guilty that I'm not doing something, like housework, uni work or some other mundane but essential task. But recently I've been putting my foot down in regards to that 'busy bee' girl and letting the 'relax and listen' girl come out to play. 

 I try to listen to three songs without focusing on anything else other than the lyrics, rifts, emotions evoked from the music and how I can feel my breathing slow and my heart rate settle. 

These are my Beautiful Three:

 Gentle strumming, flowing rift and sweet words (and a little relaxing humming)

Echo. echo, beautiful echo and a instumental that leaves you feeling silently powerful

An old favorite, but one of my most loved. Dramatic in a way only Florence can be and evoking in a way that is unique to all.

I hope you enjoy my Beautiful Three, I'd love to know yours I love discovering new artists and bands.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Do you want to go to the Seaside?

I had a rather unproductive time at Uni today, it was one of those 'why did I even both days'. I was feeling rather fed up on my way home, having spent precious time and money getting up to London to stay just over an hour for what was meant to be a 5 hour day. So I decided to sort myself a little pick me up. I went to the beach....

After a swift walk from the station to my sneakily parked car (station car park prices scare me somewhat!) I set course for East Sussex, Pett Level. 

Pett is perhaps not the most beautiful seaside around, but it certainly has character by the bucket load. 

I'm now feeling much more contented, sitting in my toasty front room with Dire Straits on the record player, dinner in the Rayburn and a cup of tea in hand.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

These Childish Things

 I was taking Henry (Hoover) for a walk round the house the other day, when in the middle of sucking up liberated risotto rice that had tried to hide themselves under the ragrug. I caught site of my Very Hungry Caterpillar biscuit barrel, and for once the first thought that struck me wasn't 'custard cream!', but 'I can remember when I used to pretend to read that book to my mum'.

 Of course I couldn't read the words (I was four!), I was just making up the story from the pictures while throwing in the odd remembered phases: 'On Thursday he ate through four strawberries....'. I bought the biscuit barrel because 1- I love Eric Carle's illustration (children's illustrations are something I have a strange obsession over) and 2- it made me nostalgic. 

 With this in mind I carried on exercising Henry and was quite astounded by how much child paraphernalia me and my boyfriend have in a childless house:

 Why do we seek out these 'toys'? 

"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up"

C.S. Lewis

 I'm twentysix years old, my boyfriend is thirtythree..... we will always be this way. We have a very childish sense of humour, our house is full of 'toys' and bright primary colours. We wear clothes with Lego people on them, we have the occasional nerf gun battle to the death (or until one of us breaks something) and we watch children's films (just last night we watched Pan.... we loved the Smells Like Teen Spirit number by all the kids and Hugh Jackman). We are in touch with our childish side, which is perhaps why we don't quite 'fit' into society. Because the majority of society are afraid of making themselves look like idiots. They feel awkward making silly voices or sounds in public to delight children, they become self conscious when doing a ridiculous dance in front of others to make a child laugh and the thought of actually joining a child when they are in the midst of their fantastic game of 'hide from the trex under the table and throw teddy bears at it' makes them cringe. 


 Because sometimes us Brits are just too bloody English. We are self conscious and really struggle to let ourselves go (without the aid of alcohol!). We don't like to expose our silly side for fear of being judged as inappropriate. 

"Sometimes grown ups are really boring."

A five year old patient of mine when the Doctor told him he didn't know what colour Fireman Sam's underpants were...... they're blue with penguins on, if you were interested!

 Please note that while I said the 'majority' of society, I do not mean you. You are not a boring grown up. You are the Roald Dahl of grown ups:

 Above is another find in our house, our bookshelf to be precise. The Sleepy Dormouse was a favourite book of mine when I was little, purely because I liked the pictures. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke was my boyfriends. He gleefully presented this to me the other day having found it over the Farm House. This book means alot to him. I won't go into detail why as that's very personal to him, but let's just say that if your child struggles at school or has Dyslexia (like my boyfriend and I) get them this book...... please.

 I leave you with my 24th Birthday present from my wonderfully immature boyfriend, the Naughty Boy lamp...... don't pretend you didn't smirk ;)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Happy Valentines Day to Me!

I'm not a very good student, I like pretty things that come with not so pretty price tags and spend my much needed student loan on these rather lovely things.

Like this Joules dress: I saw it, I wanted it, I convinced myself I could afford it, so a purchased it.
And not a regret in sight!!

Just look how pretty! I feel like a very chic deck chair when I wear it, even when I team it with a pale cardi because this beautiful English weather does require a little more cover.

And considering Valentines day has consisted of housework, uni work and unproductive procrastination, I thought I'd slip this on and attempt to portray a woman who has her s**t together..... I actually just feel like an incredibly unorganised woman with a pretty dress on, but I have the best intentions!

I hope you have had a lovely Valentines day!

Friday, 12 February 2016

A disappointing (quarter) read

 I will openly admit that I have gone a little book MAD recently. It always happens when I should really be focusing on other (more important) things, but reading is a means of escape for me and clearly I have just needed a few more little escapes over the last few months.

 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin was meant to be a feel good book, a means for me to draw ideas from and apply them to my life to make a (happy) difference. I started with the nest intentions and was looking forward to learning about other peoples happy triggers and inspiration to make a positive difference..... I got neither of these things from reading this book. 

 Now I have said in the past that you can't judge a book until you've finished it as sometimes the story is a late developer, but as this book was a) not really a story and b) just bloody terrible. I couldn't finish it, it resulted in a similar reaction to when I read (suffered!!) 50 shades of Grey: I got angry. With every turn of the page I could feel my little stress bubble in the depth of my stomach clench with frustration! I was not enjoying this book, I didn't seek it out when I had a spare moment, I didn't stay up past my bedtime to finish a chapter, in fact the only time I read it was when I forced myself on the commute to uni and even then I would get fed up after 15 minutes and sit on my phone for the rest of the journey.... not good!!

 Why didn't I like it?

 Because of the Author. Perhaps this is a very English attitude, but I cannot abide attention seeking behaviour from adults, especially when it is taking up precious paper that something far better could have inhabited. She goes on about a her need to collect 'gold stars' for her effort and this is what (in my opinion) the whole book is about: her getting praise (and a profit, of course!). 

 She is just so full of herself! 

And perhaps what annoyed me the most was the focus on HER happiness. I'm a big believer in surrounding yourself with people YOU want to make happy, who love you, who mean alot to you, because a natural occurrence from that is your own happiness. You will be happy because they are happy and they care about how happy you are. 

From what -the admittedly, small amount- I read of this book I got the distinct impression that it was all just to make abit of money. The entire book was just the first step. She goes on about a journal thing she's made for people to base their own 'happiness project' on, her blog/website..... urgh, please!

I'm not falling for it and I certainly don't understand why it was a best seller.

 I've moved onto a much more pleasing read, which of course I shall review in due course. The Happiness Project will be listed on my Book Swappers page, because I'm sure somebody out there will appreciate it....... maybe.

Until next time, I'm off to snuggle into a warm blanket with a cup of tea.

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Versions Of Us and home made beauties

 The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett is based on a couples love story, however it gives the reader three versions of such. The moment which defines these versions all stem from a rusty nail, a wayward dog and a puncture. While a little confusing at first (swapping between the different stories took some brain training!) this book was overall, pretty good. 

 It demonstrates that sometimes the conventional way of building a relationship is not always guaranteed to be the happiest or most successful, it challenges that 'Happily Ever After' continuum and has a lot of fun playing with 'What If' scenarios. 

 It's good, it's not the best.... but it makes you consider the different paths that your own life could have taken had you of turned left instead of right, if you had not gone to that party, if you had accepted that offer or -heaven forbid- you had said yes instead of no.

 Overall, I'd say give it a go if you are stuck in a rut with the same author or genre because it gives you an idea of what else may be out there.

 This is one of the books I will- eventually- list on my swap list over at my Book Swappers Facebook page, take a peek and join in if you fancy :)

Now onto something rather snazzy!....

 You know those annoying people that just seem to be good at everything? You know the ones, you try your absolute best to be good at something and they come along and just get it spot on first time?

Well my boyfriend is one of those people. I am immensely proud of him and love that he is one of these people, but it does wear a tad thin when YOU want to be better at something!!

 However its not all bad, especially when he comes home having made one of these beauts for our front room:

Yup, that's a rose gold, jam jar light fitting.... and it's one of FOUR that we have in our newly decorated front room.

See? Snazzy!!

 He made it by stripping off the lurid gold paint from an old, knackered light fitting and magically attaching (ok, I have no idea how he done it!) a pickled gherkin (yuck) jar we had sitting round over a light bulb. It looks amazing and cost all of £1.20 for the gherkins.

 Because the first one he made looked so good, he did have to consume a large amount of pickled gherkins in a small amount of time to do the others when we decided to do the rest, but hay!

 Make do and mend..... but only if you have one of those annoyingly talented people laying around ;)

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Aesthetically Pleasing

Sometimes its nice to look at pretty things:

To look at something which gives your brain a hug:

Something that makes you drift off into a little fantasy:

And for a few moments, its just nice to live in your head rather than in the real world:

Do you agree?

I took these photos while I was at work today. A little side job while I'm doing my nursing course, something which is busy but enjoyable and lets me step into a little (very well decorated!) world away from hospitals and clinical areas.

If you like the look of these then you may want to pay a little visit to the Woolpack and see what else this little country pub has to offer...... asides from me running round like a mad thing carrying amazing food!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Whatever happened to PenPals?

 Ok, first and foremost I wanted to let you know that I've set up my Book Swappers page for anybody interested in joining in, discovering new stories and feeling good about sharing amazing books with other bookworms! I'd love it if you checked it out and let me know what you thought- it's all a bit new to me!

 Now, onto this post......

Did you ever have a PenPal..... do you have a PenPal now?

 I can remember as a young teenager buying the magazine SHOUT! (I think) and seeing a page dedicated to introducing people into the world of PenPalling. With pictures of the person wanting to take part, what they liked, what sort of people they wanted to connect with and all sorts of other information.

I remember thinking it was a little strange, why not just go out and make friends? I had plenty growing up on a council estate, all you had to do was put a toe outside and all your fellow roughens came running out to join you!

But now?

 Wow, would I love to receive a letter that didn't contain a depressing bank statement, or bill, or company advertising stuff to make you dread said bank statement even more!

 I've come to realise that I despise the sight of envelopes with my neatly typed name on them: LEAVE ME ALONE, I don't need you to write to me to tell me I'm poor!

 It was lovely as a child during the 3 days before your birthday because the postman delivered brightly coloured envelopes with you name written in wobbly handwriting across the front with an exciting, brightly coloured Birthday card inside!

So this got me thinking. 

I'd like to experience that again, I don't want the Postman to think I'm some sour faced, big haired woman glaring at the letters in his hand every time he pulls up next to the house! I'd like to see a pretty decorated envelope among the mundane, white, plastic window jobbies.

 I'm also looking for the perfect excuse to purchase a little vintage typewriter to tiptap out said PenPal letters, but you know...... ;)

 So, if you fancy becoming PenPals with me and spreading abit of love and excitement among your post, let me know because I'm itching to get get stuck in with my craft materials, coloured pans, uber cute sticky tape and photo printer!