Getting crafty. A sparkly word cushion

Greetings friends and how are you on this happy day? I’ve popped on to the blog today to share a recent crafty project that I’ve finally got round to doing. I’ve been crazy lazy over the last few months and it took me three, yes three months to finally get going on this project – oops! So here it is, the lovely pillow I made (don’t look too closely, it’s most definitely not perfect!).

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So anyway down to the project! A while back I made the somewhat  impulsive decision to make the little sisterling something for her birthday. I had no clue what this thing would be but I knew that was what I wanted to do – no idea why as I’m truthfully not the most crafty of people. I mean I can knit but that’s about it for crafting skills and really my knitting speed is so far from quick that the time frame I had once I started (two weeks) would mean she’d end up with a scarf four inches long. Less than ideal. Thankfully I then remembered about the post I saw an age ago on Sugar and Cloth and have since hidden in the recess of my mind as something to make one day when I had the need and (perhaps more importantly) owned a sewing machine. Now I still don’t own a sewing machine but a while back I borrowed my Mum’s and I still haven’t used it, so it seemed the perfect opportunity! So as the planets seemed to be perfectly aligned it was time to get down to making a gorgeous sparkly word pillow.

I knew the little love bug that is Beccabear would love such a pillow as she’s now in her first rented house and has enjoyed accumulating bits and bobs to personalise it with. Plus as a student I know she will be spending a lot of her time over the next few years sitting on her bed reading and typing away – so comfy pillows are essential, well they were for me anyway! After a lot of deliberation over the word for the pillow I settled on ‘dream’ as I like how its equal parts fluffy and motivational. Does that make sense, or is that just a peek into my really weird mind?!

I really enjoyed making this cushion and it’s made me determined to give some other projects ago. I just need to decide on a new project to start, hm decisions, decisions.

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Coogee to Bondi Coastwalk, Australia – Travel Tuesday

Afternoon lovely blog readers, I hope you’re having a fruitful day full of lots of lovely things and if it’s been a bit rubbish so far, it’ll get better soon I’m sure. If it doesn’t improve by tonight then I would prescribe hot chocolate and digestive biscuits – always a winner in my book!
Anyway back to today’s Travel Tuesday link up with A Compass Rose and Found Love, Now What? Today’s travel post takes me to one of my favourite countries: Australia. I’m lucky to have been to Aus a few times, one of the perks of having family dotted all over the east coast I guess, but today we’re jumping into the TARDIS and revisiting my last trip there, back in April 2012.
I spent the majority of last year’s trip visiting family, but we also managed to visit one new place – the beaches of Sydney (yeah I can’t believe I’ve not been before either – ridiculous!). Rather than lazing on the beach all day we decided to walk the coastal path between Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach, which is absolutely stunningly beautiful. The walk in its entirety takes about two hours of ambling to complete via the boardwalks that take you via Bronte and Tamarama beaches as well as some lovely green parks and even a cemetery. It really was a lovely way to spend a morning and I highly recommend it for anyone that has a spare day to get out of the city.
Coogee beach
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Coogee Beach from above
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The view from Sesquicentenary Boardwalk
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IMG_1993  IMG_1994The sprawling Waverley Cemetery
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Bronte Beach
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Bondi Beach
A Compass Rose

Ten days of merriment

So this is an extended edition of my usual lately posts as I’m recapping on 10 days of awesome holiday fun. I fear it’ll be a struggle for me to make this post short, so apologies in advance if you have to take a break half way through but you know what coffee will help you through it! To sum up I had an amazing week away with my lovely family. It was wonderful to just chill out, eat and read. Pure bliss.

Day 1 – Road trip to Longleat Safari Park. The trip down to Longleat involved Starbucks, sweets and some serious singing action. Having never been to Longleat I didn’t know what to expect of this place, especially as it was a bit expensive to get into, but it was absolutely fantastic! We saw so many amazing animals and they all looked so happy just ambling around their large enclosures. Particular highlights included: giraffes with very bendy legs, monkeys that took great joy in sitting on our car roof, a regal elephant, cheeky lemurs, dozing lions and tigers, one of the world’s oldest gorillas and stunning deers that liked being fed. Much hilarity ensued with the deers: I wasn’t a fan of their dribbling whilst Mum only wanted to feed the cute ones, so ended up teasing the older ones and Lau and Becca found it hilarious when the bigger deer tried to headbutt them through the windows! It was really great to drive around the park at our own pace and hear all about the different animals on the free CD, I could have driven round and around multiple times! At the end of the tour of the park we stopped off at the cafe for scrumptious cake – what a great day! I can’t recommend this place highly enough – it’s such good fun! Day one of our holiday ended with dinner at a pub in Frome with some family friends before staying in a B&B that was all about the healthy, so no caffeine (!), normal tea or alcohol allowed on the premises…

Day 2 – The wedding! Our family friends’ daughter got married at the little church in Frome, before a wonderful reception at the stunning Orchardleigh House. The day was absolutely amazing. The bride and groom were so happy, the church was beautiful, it was lovely to catch up with old friends, the vicar made us all laugh by getting multiple names wrong during the service, the food was stunning, there was a free bar, the speeches were truly brilliant – all hilarious and touching – and the music was aces! Everyone at the wedding was staying on the estate and we had this gorgeous three-story clock tower building, so Bex and I were under the eaves – not bad really! We finally turned in after an epic game of spoof (with 20 players) at 1am.

Day 3 – Off to Wales we go. We stocked up on a buffet breakfast before heading to Bristol to pick up the sister’s boyfriend and heading into Wales! Despite a slight hiccup which saw us having an epic argument on the Welsh border and resulting in The Mothership sulking for two hours we finally got to our home for the week overlooking the stunning beach of Twywn and it was absolutely perfect! It was so peaceful and quite, with stunning views but there was so much to do nearby – Snowdon national park, steam trains, watersports, etc. After an evening run jog, we ate a roast dinner and got going on the board games – it’s an Evans family thing!

Day 4 – Barmouth. After a lazy start we headed to Barmouth via a bridge over the estuary. It’s a lovely drive to the car park for the bridge, and I couldn’t help but take some pics along the way. I particularly loved the blue church we came across, cute or what. The walk over to Barmouth itself was glorious – the sun was out and the scenery (both out to see and inland towards Snowdon) was spectacular. Barmouth itself is a cute town with lots of spots for crabbing and we settled at The Last Inn for lunch. The food was delicious and it was the perfect sustenance before our walk back across the bridge. The afternoon was spent fighting over the comfy swivel chair, reading and of course more board games!

Day 5 – A trip on the Tallylyn Railway. It might seem a strange thing to do but we decided to head up one of the mountains on the steam railway as it sounded like such fun – yes we’re clearly train geeks! Having packed our picnic we headed up to the Dolgoch Falls for a wander up and round the falls, which are beautiful. We then munched on our lunch up at Abergynolwyn, a couple of stations further up before heading back down the line to Tywyn. It was such a fun trip on the railway with so much to see from the cute sheep, to the stunning vistas. Plus it was a joy to see the pleasure that those working on the railway took in their work – it was clearly something they relished doing. That night saw us yet again playing games, but this time there was a gorgeous pink sunset to watch – absolutely stunning.

Day 6 – Road trip. We decided to go for a drive around on day six as the weather was atrocious. It seemed logical to see some of the stunning scenery that we were so close to, so we headed towards the Snowdon National Park and meandered through Machynlleth, Dolgellau, Trawsfynydd, Porthmadog, finally ending up in Criccieth. The small towns were all really picturesque and even though the weather was dreadful it was lovely to visit them all. That area of the country is truly stunning. If you do ever find yourself over that way make sure you pop in to Tiffin’s in Criccieth for lunch, as all their food was spectacularly delicious. You could just tell they love food. I had the mushroom and spinach lasagana which was truly delicious, although the butternut squash and goats cheese one tasted just as delicious. I’m definitely going to hunt out a recipe for both very soon!

Day 7 – Beach bound. We awoke to stunning blue skies and high temperatures on Thursday so we obviously had to spend the morning at the beach! We even ventured into a very boisterous sea, which whilst freezing at first it ended up being lovely and warm. It was fun to act like a five-year old and jump over the waves and get pushed around by them (and throw seaweed at my scared sisters of course)! I did also act my age on the beach I promise, there was some reading and music listening too. After the beach there was arcade fun to be had, it’s amazing how much fun you can have with just a handful of 2ps. Those machines never fail to amuse me!

Day 8 – Snowdon awaits. Early on in the week we decided we wanted to pop up Snowdon and see the stunning vistas (I love that I’ve used the term pop up, as if you can just go up for a quick visit as easy as pie!). It was an absolutely stunning drive to Llanberis; every corner you turned meant another stunning vision in front of you. In a way I’m glad I was driving as I would have taken absolutely millions of pictures!! After a wander along the river we got on the diesel train for our trip up the mountain. Sadly the weather was a bit too windy so we couldn’t go all the way to the top but we did make it about 5/8 of the way up, to Rocky Mountain where we stopped for a while before heading back down. It really was a stunning vista, and I can only imagine how much more you can see from the very top. Next time I will make it to the top, and maybe I’ll even walk it… Our last night in Wales saw more arcades, more food and of course more board games!

Day 9 – Home Time. We left our wonderful Wales home early in the morning as it was a five-hour trip home. It was so sad to leave as our little spot was just wonderful and absolutely perfect for what we wanted for the week. There was so much we could do if we wanted to, but equally our apartment was so lovely that we didn’t mind doing nothing but looking out the window or having our head in a book all day. Whilst it was sad to leave our holiday haven, it was lovely to get 3G, reception and Starbucks coffee on the way home – you forget how reliant you are on such things until you have a week without them. I am very relived that I’m now back in contact with the world’s happenings thanks to the wonders of Twitter! Saturday saw an epic amount of cleaning (knackering but so worth doing!), TV catch up and defrosting the freezer. What a life I lead hey!

Day 10 – The last day of holiday, sad face alert. I made the most of my last day of holiday, and it started with a lovely lie in and then a lazy morning on the sofa. Bliss. After lunch I headed for a walk around Clapham High Street to grab some food, an iced coffee and to spend a small fortune at Oliver Bonas – one of the joys of a £65 credit note. I got some lovely stuff to show for my money though: a flamingo lamp shade, flamingo phone case, a new Oyster holder (badly needed after the Color Run destroyed my mine) and a blue owl glass vase (because you know it’s an essential!). I also picked up some Christmas stocking fillers as it’s never too soon to start getting prepared in my opinion! The rest of the afternoon saw TV watching, long over due blogging, ticking off lots on my epic to-do list and a 4 mile run. My longest run for a hell of a long time and it was horribly hard but hey at least I did it! After the week I’ve had it’s certainly necessary – I’ve eaten so much!

Phew, what a busy little bee I’ve been! It was so lovely to have a week away with my family – they really are the best people! And Wales was absolutely lovely – I hadn’t expected to enjoy it as much as I did, but considering how beautiful it is how could I not fall in love with the country, it’s simply stunning. My only regret? Not booking off two weeks as getting up for work this morning was not fun, just one week was far too short a break!

How are you lovely people, how have your weeks been and what holiday plans do you have?

Letter writing woes

On the blog today as part of the Blog every day in May challenge I’m meant to write a letter to the readers of my blog, yet I can’t think of anything to say, that’s a bit rubbish for a blogger isn’t it?! But in my defense I’m still fairly amazed that this blog has any readers, let alone the 96 it supposedly has according to the clicker on the left of the page. So instead of writing a letter to you that will mostly be waffle as that’s what I do when I don’t know what to say, have you noticed that?,  I thought I’d discussing the writing of letters generally as this is something that I keep meaning to do more of.

When it comes to letter writing I don’t do it at all. Don’t get me wrong I do write postcards and thank you notes to people, but I’ve not written a long letter that’s more than a side of A5 for I don’t know how long. I always seem to revert to shorthand and quick notes to people if I’m sending them something, that’s if I even send them something physical  Most of the time I’ll just send an email or text message as it’s easier. Thinking about it, this is a huge shame, as there’s something so lovely about getting an unexpected piece of post, and wondering who it’s from and then reading the words that someone else has taken the time to pen just for you. It’s nice to run your hands over the page and feel the indentations and realise that this person has taken the time to think about you and has touched the paper you now have in your hands. It’s a great way of feeling close to someone isn’t it? Something that you don’t ever think about when you receive a text or email – something that’ so more impersonal.

If you think about it it’s quite sad that we won’t really receive letters from our loved ones, that we’ll be able to keep and show to our children or grandchildren when we’re older. It’s unlikely that we’ll leave behind a box of letters or cards that show our ancestors how we lived, what was important to us or who meant enough to us that we wrote to them on a regular basis. Instead we’ll leave behind a Facebook account or Twitter handle that has random status updates or @ messages along with an inbox they won’t be able to access and even if they could they’d just see a collection of random emails about money off vouchers, etc. One of the most important things I found when sorting through my Grandma’s house after she died was her collection of cards and letters that her grandchildren had sent over the years. Opening that box sent me into a fresh wave of tears, more than when she actually died, as I was struck with absolute love for my Grandma  and profound sadness that I’d never again be able to send her something that she would treasure so much and yet absolute pride that she’d found my little notes and postcards important enough to keep for so long. I remember thinking on that day that should I make more of an effort when it came to letters to those that I love, even if they life close by and yet I haven’t done anything of the sort. This is something that I’m going to rectify and do something about over the coming weeks, as everyone loves to get letters.

Fingers crossed you don’t mind that I’ve not written you a letter, but if I had all your addresses I promised I would! On that note, does anyone want a pen pal or is there a site where you can find pen pals. That might be fun to do!



A lazy lately post – sorry!

My week in bullets (because I’m having too much of a lazy bank holiday weekend to make this post have proper sentences and on Monday morning I’ll be otherwise engaged running a 10k so have to write this post now and schedule it for then):

  • A lovely lunchtime catch up with a friend who has got married and had a baby since I last saw her. Hence lots of Leon food, nattering and news sharing on Monday lunchtime.
  • Finally seeing The Great Gatsby, what feels like a year after I originally saw the trailer. My thoughts on it: epic, tragic, colourful, amazing, spectacular, awesome casting, better than the book, glamorous, fantastic. I absolutely hated the book as I found the characters unappealing and hard to sympathise with, but Baz Luhrman managed to turn that opinion on its head with his film, as I found I could empathise with (most of) the characters and actually found this tragic love story interesting.
  • Home made pizza
  • More West Wing episodes – including the death of my favourite character. Somehow I contained the tears.
  • Sunshine on the one day I walked in to work
  • Devastation for the family of the soldier killed in Woolwich – I honestly can’t comprehend some aspects of that case. Truly horrifying, the poor people who had to bear witness to the dreadful attack, and his poor family. It’s heartbreaking.
  • Anger at the way people/groups/campaigners have hooked on to the story and are using it to further their agenda – shame on them.
  • Last minute panicking about a 10k – ekk!
  • Attack of the Pringles and Marvellous Creations – I honestly have no willpower whatsoever when these two food items are involved
  • An epic work meeting that went marvellously – phew!
  • Birthday celebrations at work, you can’t beat macaroons from Paul as a birthday cake substitute
  • Sunday laziness. I’ve done nothing but a food shop, reading, blogging and coffee drinking today
  • Falling asleep on the sofa at 10pm on Friday night as I’m a total work lightweight
  • 8.30 am conference calls = hell.
  • Day trips to sunny Surrey
  • Spending far too much on dresses, that’s a post for another day, but on the plus side I’ve discovered a new favourite outfit for the summer and winter
  • Wearing black tights in May – WTF!
  • An epic cleaning session, I forget how satisfying dusting is!
  • Saturday night dinner at a country pub – bliss
  • Laughter and fun times with family and friends and remembering how lucky I am with the people in my life
  • Watching  finale episodes of two of my favourite shows: Grey’s Anatomy and Arrow – Heartbreaking and epic in equal measures.

Pinterest Corner #13 – Mary Poppins

I’ve been rubbish the second half of this week with blog posts as quite frankly work and life has been crazy – all good fun though! I’m in a cottage in Oxford this weekend which is lovely although my toes have been constantly cold! Anyway just wanted to pop by and share my latest Pinterest Corner post which is this picture.

How cool is it, it fills my heart with joy when I look at it and see that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are still good friends. Somehow it makes one of my favourite films seem more magical!

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Weekend Wishlist

It’s so cold at the moment that today it seemed logical to abandon plans for The British Museum and instead do nothing. Nothing that is but sit bundled up on the sofa, scoffing mini eggs whilst I perused various online shops and daydreamed about what I’d spend my lottery winnings on if it’s ever more that £10 – oh please let it happen sometime soon. So after a very productive day spent window shopping from the comfort of my flat I’ve found a whole host of items I am just itching to purchase. But I’m ignoring this urge and instead I’m just going to sit here staring at the lovely things as I treat myself to another mini egg or three. Scoffing two bags in one weekend isn’t that obscene is it?!

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It appears from the above that I’m having a bit of a lace dress obsession and another one with blue bird themed jumpers – who’d have thought it!! The black beanie is certainly necessary with the cold weather at the moment and I’ve wanted that Country Road bag for about 10 years, but at £40 I don’t think it’s justifiable as it’s not essential for my existence! The cushion is on my list, even though it goes with nothing in my flat because it has cute neon pom poms on it – do I need any further reason?! – and finally I’ve never been able to say no to a pair of cowboy boots, hence the fact I already own a pair, but these have gold studs, gold studs I tell you – AMAZING! With these boots I can kid myself that I’m in Nashville or married to Dennis Quaid in Vegas – yes you’re right I am obsessed with every show currently airing on Sky Atlantic!!

Photo Challenge – the home stretch

So January is over, which means so is my January photo challenge. I’ve actually really enjoyed the challenge of taking a photo a day although I know there are some days where I could have tried harder, but just ran out of time – three things and comfort I’m looking at you now! But overall my little challenge was good fun, it certainly made me look at things from a different perspective to normal. So anyway, here are the last eleven photos, let me know what you think….

New year, new resolutions

So it’s that time of year where you sit down and make resolutions about how you’ll make you life better over the coming year. Usually they’re food and exercise related (i.e. eat less and run more) or money related (spend less and earn more)! I have to admit I’m not usually big on resolutions as I think if something needs changing then just get on and do it, why wait for a new year to begin? However, this year I’m feeling a bit differently about it all and see that it’s a good time to make a few changes; although I’m not going to make drastic changes or unrealistic promises, instead I’ve considered carefully the things that need amending and what I want to achieve over the upcoming months. I’ve shared my five resolutions for 2013 below and I think they sound manageable, there’s nothing too huge that needs doing on this list. It’s more about making a few changes to what I already do, at least I hope so…. I’ll keep you updated regularly on here so you know how it’s going and here’s hoping my willpower holds out!

Lose those last few pounds – Since I started losing weight back in March I’ve had a goal in mind for the new me, this is a goal I’ve shared with no one and never really considered meeting, it was more of a pie in the sky idea in my head! However, I’m now thinking that it might be a good new target for me, as I need something to get me out of the lull I’m currently in and it’s nothing compared to what I’ve already achieved!

Mix up my outfits – I feel like I always grab the same outfits each morning and accessorise them in the same way. So I’ll be trying new combinations of clothes and accessories over the coming year. This should be fairly easy as I have a shed load of jewellery, belts and shoes which I just don’t wear and plenty of clothes that I can mix and match quite easily, so it won’t cost me anything. I really just need to get my arse in gear and come up with new outfit options – fun times!

Eat more fruit and vegetables – A boring resolution I know but I’ve realised I definitely don’t eat anywhere near the recommended five a day when it comes to fruit and veg. Take today as an example I’ve only had some orange juice, half an apple, some tomato soup, a bit of avocado and some roast parsnips and potatoes and today was better than normal. Hhm this is not ideal! Not only will this be good for my health and teeth, it’ll be great for my bank balance as a banana is far cheaper than a Wispa bar!

Visit more places in London – I’ve lived in London for almost three years now yet there are still loads of places I want to visit and things I want to do. Like go to the National Gallery, visit Kew Gardens, wander through Regents Park, ride Boris Bikes in Hyde Park, explore Islington, shop at Fortnum and Mason or have afternoon tea at The Ritz – the list goes on and on. So 2013 is the year that this will happen; I WILL branch further afield than normal and go to other places instead of just sticking to my south and central London bubbles! ps any suggestions of places to visit are more than welcome!

Familiarise myself with more of the classics – Be it classics films or classic books, I want to know what all the fuss is about when it comes to classics like Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Godfather, The Catcher in the Rye and many more. You can follow my foray into these books through my 2013 book challenge posts or the film ones at my soon to be created 25 classic films I MUST watch page.

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