Sunday, 24 November 2013

Out and About: Cowslip Christmas Fair

Hello hello!  

Man, it's been a few weeks since I wrote that self-indulgent, whinge-fest, hasn't it.  You will, I hope, be pleased to hear that I bounced back very quickly and settled right back into my cosy, happy, little bubble.  The photo above is me, obviously, on a recent dark morning, looking as tired as I felt and delighting in this stars/stripes combo.  I tried to do one of those selfies that Vanessa (Coco Rose) et al do... You know, just a snapshot of my torso with my arm showing my cup in front of my top.  Well, I would like tips on how to do those pictures without the lady bumps stealing the show.  It feels as though I can't quite get the camera far enough away from my body.  Tips anyone?  So anyway, I just took a plain old photo of my boat race!


Life has been ace these last few weeks.  My new job seems to have finally bedded in and I'm out and about, keeping very busy and learning lots about parts of the organisation that were out of my remit previously.  In the last few weeks I've been to St Albans (my office base but it's 50 miles away), Manchester and Edinburgh for work and I'm driving to Leeds tomorrow for a whole day of risk training. 

Last weekend, I was at Cowslip for the Christmas Fair with some lovely friends and my lovely mum and sister.  It was well worth the long, late night drive to North Cornwall and every bit as gorgeous and inspiring as I'd hoped.  Cowslip is a working farm in an idyllic location with a delightful fabric shop and lush workrooms for the sewing classes they hold.  There is also a cafe on site with the most delicious menu - I think they hold cooking classes there too.

A view across the farmland and misty valley from outside the fabric shop at Cowslip.
Anyway, the Christmas Fair was held in a few of the barns and outhouses at the farm.  All decorated wonderfully with fairy lights, wooden reindeer, Christmas trees and hundreds of gorgeous quilts.  So inspiring and such a delight to wander round.  

There were quilts draped over every available surface.  Even the twiggy reindeer weren't safe!

I put a few solid hours into building my fabric stash and rewarded my hard labour with plenty of mulled apple cider, coffee and cake.  Tough, but you just gotta put the work in!  

This little wooden box of fabric makes me very happy indeed.  Stripes, spots and checks.
I have come home with the yarn for two new knitting projects and yarn from Suzie Johnson (The Wool Sanctuary).  I also scooped up lots of redwork patterns as Mandy Shaw had a fantastic stall there.  

I got started on some little redwork patterns straight away.
Mandy's stall was, of course, lush.  The Christmas quilts and toys that she had on display were amazing and a huge Christmas tree that almost reached the ceiling was chock-full of red and white decorations and bunting.  And we all know how much I love red and white.  Just gorgeous. 

Mandy Shaw's stall:  too many lovely things to look at
This weekend is the last time before Christmas that I'll have time to properly relax and do nothing so although I got up early, I sat around in my PJs til lunchtime, knitting and watching Gilmore Girls.  Then, at half past two (!) I had an hour-long bubble bath using every last drop of hot water in the house and started a new Penny Vincenzi novel.  It was bliss!  Afterwards, I put on make-up and some clean PJs and have been pottering around.  Some chocolate tiffin has been made, the kitchen has been cleaned and my craft room is as tidy and fragrant as can be.  It has been such a perfect day.  

Have a great week everyone. 

Much love and thanks for reading.



PS Thanks for all of your comments, I read and appreciated all of them.  I do understand that sometimes we all overshare and, of course, that's what I was doing by moaning about my personal issues here in my little corner of the interweb.  Heck, we all need to offload somewhere.  

I wanted to make the point (to a person in my real life who I know secretly reads my blog) that when you write something on the internet it can be seen by anyone and is live for many years.  So at least make sure it is true! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The one where my bubble nearly popped

It's kind of been an ugly few weeks.  I'll admit it.  Things I've read and things I have heard have made me wander off into long daydreams about what causes people to behave the way they do.  

I write my blog on the basis that you should be careful what you disclose on the internet because the things you write are likely to remain public for a very long time and you have no way of controlling who will see those musings of yours. 

I am also conscious of keeping my blog a happy and inoffensive space.  Somewhere that I can share the good things that happen to me, so that I can try to gloss over the bad.  I choose not to rant about topical and potentially inflammatory subjects because my blog isn't a soapbox.  It doesn't mean that I don't have views or opinions, it just means that I choose to air them in a more private forum.  I know that I am not alone in my preferences, here.

I am a one-dimensional person to my cyber friends.  That's 'on purpose':  I engineer things to be that way.  I talk about my home, the things I've been making and the things I've been up to.  That's because I like to read about what other people are doing and I like to connect with people over my hobbies and interests.  

There are many things that I don't mention because they are irrelevant to my blog.  I don't talk about my personal circumstances because I assume that they are not interesting to other people.  I am a private person.  I am more of a listener than a talker and I put my trust in very few people.  I am closest to my mum, sister and husband than anyone else in the world.  I can tell them everything and anything; I trust them implicitly.  (Don't get me wrong, I adore my dad but we stick to laughing at each other or having massive debates/disagreements.   He doles out either lectures or cuddles depending on the situation.  We both like it that way.)

I have an Instagram account and I follow the same code of conduct.  Generally, I only share the superficial stuff.  Again, deliberately.

I am often surprised, sometimes shocked (and always amused) to see the things that people publish on the internet.

I am not talking about trolls or cyber-bullies.  Those people deliberately and unashamedly set out to hurt others.  I'm talking about intelligent, ordinary people who use social media sites to complain about things or, worse [shudder], over-share.  

I understand that copying a company into tweets about an unacceptable meal out, a faulty pair of shoes or a late delivery ensures that your complaint goes straight to source and is a means of sorting out a problem with very little effort on your part.  When you complain about your crappy jeans from XShop on twitter, you *want* XShop to read your tweet.  You want them to know you're unhappy:  they will sort out your issue doubly fast because you've publicly outed them and, with a bit of luck, you'll get free stuff, right? I get it.

But when you bitch about your boss, complain about your MIL or declare that you're £s in debt do you *really* want the world to know that?  I have watched, with horror, as colleagues moaned via their smartphones about the fact they haven't received a bonus that year or declared, smugly, that their wife was 'a bit of a goer in the sack'. 

Last year I accidentally collided with someone on Instagram and Twitter who until then had been on the periphery of my family life.  A quick, nosy, scroll through their feed revealed that they had previously chosen to say some very unsavoury things about Andrew and me; some comments were plain nasty, some were (amusingly, it has to be said) fibs and some showed just how misinformed they were.  I cringed for them.   I wasn't at all close enough to them to be offended or hurt by their comments; I suppose I found it amusing and flattering that we were important enough to them to be discussed in a public forum, with strangers.  It was galling to read, of course, but I was embarrassed for them more than anything.  

Don't get me wrong, I like to live in a happy little bubble but I know how the real world works.  I am streetwise enough to know that my ideals are unrealistic and 'haters gonna hate' (ha! love that expression).  I know, also, that even the closest friends are going to moan sometimes.  We're all human and we all get irritated, upset, jealous, angry and frustrated about the smallest things.  I have a sharp tongue which I usually manage to control unless I am tired, hungry or anxious.  Then I get snappy and I am ashamed to admit that I've been a right old witch to my friends and family.   But I wouldn't casually bitch about them to anyone who will listen.  That's just not cool.

Thank the Lord I have such awesome people in my life who I love and who, I know, love me back.  I have made some really great new friends over the last few years and my old friends are as awesome as they've always been even though it is difficult for us to stay in regular contact.  These people - you - are the ones who remind me every day that the world is fit to burst with lovely people and the not-so-lovely ones are the minority.

I wrote this post to sort my thoughts into some sort of order after the ugliness of the last few weeks.  It has helped and I am going to start the week tomorrow afresh.  I am going to continue to be thick-skinned, remain loyal to the people I care about and stand by my basic life values.  Sorry it was all a bit heavy.

Normal service will resume with immediate effect and I'll be back 
to waffle about knitting, books and shopping next time. :)

Have a great week, my lovely friends.  

Love love,