Three minutes to go...
I'm watching the World Cup Final, or rather have had it on whilst I natter to Lisa on the phone, finish painting my nails and do my ironing - all things I should have probably done a bit earlier on during my week off. Sadly a bad dose of tonsillitis left me with only a couple of days to get done every thing I had planned.
I admit that feeling like I had a load of nails stuck down my throat, a bag of hot coals of my head and lead weights danging from my limbs for the first three days of my week off left me in a bit of a funk. But one thing that kept me going was thinking positively. One of my mates challenged me to post three positives a day on Facebook and, whilst it was a bit tricky when I felt unable to do much more than crawl from bed to bathroom and back again, I managed it. And, although as weeks off work go it could have been a lot better, I'm pretty pleased with what I have achieved, all things considered.
Firstly, I finally finished my Peru collage. For ages I've been trying to figure out what to do with the background - the newspaper print on its own didn't really do it for me yet I couldn't get the addition of sky blue watercolour quite right. I tried to wash off what I had done - and quite liked the patchy effect, especially when the excess water was sponged up with a bit of kitchen roll. It's all about technique, you see...
Then, I got my shower fixed - and for about £200 less than the first plumber had quoted me. Bearing in mind that this cowboy was also going to replace completely the wrong thing and would have left me £350 poorer and STILL without hot water, I'm pretty chuffed.
But the thing that I'm really excited about is that I've finished the penultimate chapter of my second novel - which means I'm nearly done. In fact, I could have quite happily polished it off today, but was determined to get at least part of my kitchen painted (it was supposed to be a week of decorating, after all!) - which I did. And, despite the odd hiccup (let's just say the walls were NOT in a good state), I'm pleased with my progress and reckon I'll get it all done over the next two weekends. Then I only have four more rooms to go...
So yeah, all in all, things are going pretty well - and this time next week I may well have finished the said novel, set a date to meet an editor about the first one (watch this space!) and have my kitchen done and dusted! Along with a handful of social engagements in the diary, next week is looking to be even more positive than this one.
Just a shame I have to go back to work...
It's Monday! Hurrah!
Yep, you guessed it, I haven't been at work today, which means I've been at liberty to do whatever I darn well fancy. The problem is, I do have an awful lot of things I should be getting on with but, quite frankly, I can't be bothered. In fact, I think the only thing I've managed to get done over the last five days away from the office is to knit my mate Lexi a phone sock which, although it looked pretty cool in the Good Mixer last night, wasn't exactly a major project.
On my short term "to do" list I have a variety of bits and bobs that I need to finish off, and, in all honesty, none of them will take me that long, or be that difficult. My Peru collage just needs a lick of paint and a blob of extra glue here and there, the polyfillering of the smattering of holes in my walls won't take
more than 15 minutes and, whilst the last occupants left it in a bit of a state, the worst of the kitchen's deep clean is over. However it seems that today I have done everything to avoid tackling any of these tasks. Instead I've updated the playlist on my phone, read my magazine and been for a lovely walk through Walthamstow Marches - anything, but ANYTHING other than what I should really be doing.
If I'm honest with myself, I think I know what this is about. This morning I made a start on the penultimate chapter of my second novel, which means that, by the end of July, the first draft will probably be complete. This also means that, after a couple of read-throughs and the odd tweak here and there, it will be ready to share. With other people. People who might not like it. Which is fine, except I've really enjoyed writing it and really hope that, even if like Faith, it goes nowhere, people get it - and find Emily's story as absorbing as I have.
So there you have it. I've developed a fear of finishing. Let's just hope it doesn't develop into writer's block and remains a simple barrier to me getting off my butt and cleaning the oven. Only time will tell, and also reveal whether my novel is enjoyed by anyone other than myself. Just remember, if I ask you to ready it, be honest, but if you don't like it, let me down gently... like my protagonist, I don't always like to face up to reality...
It's been a while since I last blogged, but life has been even more manic than normal - and the lack of broadband in my bachelorette pad has made blogging even trickier. But I'm now connected, back in London - and trying to chill. Because I think moving wiped the ability to do so from my memory...
In all honesty I can't really say that I've been completely wrapped up in unpacking and decorating. There was a little foray to a house-party in Yorkshire over the last Bank Holiday, followed by a much needed holiday in Split, Croatia. The trials and tribulations of being a new homeowner were getting the
better of me (think leaks, lack of hot water and more leaks) and I desperately needed to escape. It was on our last day when we were sat on the beach at Marjan Park and I was bemoaning the amount of things I needed to do to my flat that my friend asked me if I could remember what my New Years' Resolution had been. She had a point; it was to do less. So, after an epic unpack and an overwhelming trip to B&Q, I am having a beer and writing this blog before heading down to my old stomping ground Islington for a party.
The thing is... it's easier said than done. When in Yorkshire I was trying to convince my friends who had just bought a four bedroom house with land up there (read: Mansion) to chill out.
"Take it easy - and enjoy doing it up." I advised.
"Yes - but we want it all done now so we can really appreciate it." They whined. Fast forward two weeks and I completely understand. Whilst things are slowly coming together, I can't wait to get the place painted, some proper curtains up and my pictures on the walls. Even today I was chatting to my dad about what kind of ladder to get for my loft.
"There's no hurry is there?" He asked. "I mean, you only need it for storage." Wise words, but... I want them NOW so I can clear away the excess clutter for my housewarming party - where everything needs to look perfect - PERFECT, do you hear??!!
Okay, so maybe I need to take a chill pill here and try to pace myself. At the end of the day, there is plenty of other good stuff going on in my life which I am in danger of neglecting if I get carried away - including my writing and art - which is really more important than having a flat worthy of a spread in Home and Gardens. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get glammed up for this party. Just as soon as I've cleaned the extractor fan and put up the caddy in my bathroom...
Ah, don't you love that feeling we only ever get to indulge in a handful of times a year - you know, that one when it's a Sunday and you don't have to be up at the crack of dawn in the morning to go to work? Bliss!
I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and headed up to my hometown to see the folks - and catch up with an old school friend for her birthday. Her dad's band Moonshine were playing on the five year anniversary of their first gig, which I was apparently present at, so it seemed fitting that I tag along. They didn't disappoint, with covers of tunes from the sixties onwards, with a preference for rocky numbers with melodies that made full use of my mate's bro's ever-improving vocals. Needless to say I was impressed, and had a good old boogie too (anyone who doesn't dance to "Play That Funky Music," in my humble opinion, may as well be dead), much to the amusement of the band and the more conservative residents of Lincoln.
It seems that, despite my disappointment at not getting Glasto tickets AGAIN (yep, still not over that!), new, live music is cropping up in the most surprising of places. On Friday, after a quick glass of wine after work, I went home to make my Peru collage Pacha Mama whilst listening to the Global Psychedelic Sound-system, a very funky DJ I discovered at the Isle of Wight festival last year, courtesy of the island radio station's website. As always, I loved his set but, as it drew to a close and my collage became close to completion, I found myself at a bit of a loss as to how to spend the rest of my evening. After resorting to my fail-safe option (a bath with a glass of red on the side), I found myself listening to yet another talented musician, Jace Thompson, via the wonder of Twitter and YouTube. I was mighty impressed and, after nattering over social media for a bit, was delighted to hear that he has a gig in my hood next weekend. Well, that's Sunday night sorted...
You see, I do love my music - and I love discovering new artists who, behind all the popularist crap that plagues our airwaves, have something really important say - and real talent when it comes to saying it. Being an undiscovered "artist" myself, whilst I get why they do it and the joy that it gives them, I feel their frustration and celebrate their successes, which although often small in comparison to those headlining Glastonbury this year, are perhaps the things that keep them going.
Something I can wholeheartedly relate to.
Well I trust you are all having a super Sunday. I set my alarm this morning in an attempt to get Glastonbury tickets. Needless to say I wasn't successful, but I'm not going to dwell on it. Sniff...
So, how was your week? I managed to finish off the two collages I made a start on last week - and here they are! I might play with another today - the truth is I really want to do a bit of painting but, as I work in slow-drying oils, I'm putting this off until after I move. Which, incidentally, I'm no further along with. Don't get me started...
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this, but buying a flat is not easy in London, yet is something that, when you get to my age (34 - yes, I lied last week when I suggested I was a touch younger...) is almost expected of you. Last night my friend Vicky and I bemoaned all the Facebook posts reminding us of our friend's and aquaintances achievements, from buying houses, getting engaged and having children. But then, after further discussion (and a bit more wine) we came to the conclusion that, whilst for some people reaching these milestones was a natural progression, the rest of us want to make our own rules. In London this is a lot easier, and folk are more accepting of an alternative. This week I was out until 3am two nights in a row and have been more than a little consumed with thoughts of music festivals - quite normal to me, but apparently not so to others. I'll never forget clubbing in Birmingham before Christmas and noting that, apart from one rogue couple, everyone else was younger than 25. Even more amusing was when a lad barely able to shave suggested I was only there to pull a younger man. No, I'm not kidding...
So, whist I'm not married with kids (estate agents; please note that such assumptions are NOT acceptable) and object to being referred to as "madam", I'm embracing certain aspects of grown up living - but for me, not because I think I should or other people expect me too. I'm going to buy my flat and am in the process of rediscovering my love of cooking (Roquamole, anyone?) but can't wait to hit the festival season this summer - and my next night on the dance floor. Where I'll be shaking my bootie for me and no one else.
Happy Easter Monday everyone!
Whether you're religious or not, you can't help but love Easter - never mind all the chocolate, for me it's all about the four day weekend!
My Easter Sunday ended up being quite traditional - with an alternative edge. In the morning I went to the Sunday Assembly, a Godless congregation which, rather than banging on about a higher power, makes its mission to help people realise their full potential. It was quite fun, with singing (strictly secular) songs, a poetry reading, a personal memoir on giving up things for lent (no alcohol? For 40 days? Respect!) with tips on how you can help people in this predicament, and talks on optimism and how important is is if you want to succeed. All in all, very thought provoking with some useful reminders on the power of positive thinking - something I am now making a conscious effort to put into practice.
One of the things that was pointed out to us during the talk on optimism is that, if you want to be something, you have to take action - and keep going, even when you feel like giving up. So, with that in mind, I'm chuffed to say that this weekend I've made a start on two collages which, after a little titivation, will be good to go. I've also sent a "pen portrait" to Mslexia magazine in the hope that they will consider it for their next edition. The theme was "Caged Animal" and you can see my (very short) interpretation of this subject here. I hope you like!
Anyway, I digress. After the Assembly I ended up having a traditional Sunday Roast before winning a big bag of Maltesers in an Easter egg hunt - all in the pub, of course! Today I am going to keep the Bank Holiday tradition alive with a spot of mattress and fridge shopping (Middle aged, me? Well, maybe getting there...) as, although things have stalled, I am still hopeful that I will be moving into my little flat in two weeks time. Assuming the tenants in the place I'm trying to buy eventually move out...
So, without further aplomb, I shall wish you adieu. Enjoy the rest of the holiday!
It's the weekend - woo hoo! And what a week it has been. It all kicked off on Monday at the Royal Albert Hall, where I had the privilege of singing a "pocket" version of opera Orpheus and Eurydice, Ode to Joy, Walking on Sunshine, Daft Punk's Digital Love and the world premiere of Shake off your Sleep! I'd like to say I did this all on my own but I'd be lying. I was, erm, accompanied by about 2,000 children - and some of my esteemed colleagues too. It's the second time I've been involved in the bi-annual festival, and I absolutely loved it, especially the comparing of Jon Snow and a guest appearance by David Walliams! Mmm, I could get used to show business...
And my vocal chords aren't the only thing I've been flexing. My credit card and I have been reunited after finalising the sales of FOUR pieces of art from my Out of Hours exhibition! Okay, so I'm not exactly rolling in it (I can't quite justify Damien Hirst prices for my work yet) but it does mean I made a profit, which, whilst small, has been a bit of an ego boost. So a massive thanks to Ann, Wayne, Claudio and Julian for parting with some of their hard earned cash for one of my pieces - you made what was a good experience great.
Of course these sales do mean that I've got a bit of a hole in my back catalogue now, so I have the perfect excuse to get my paints out again. Tonight I'm going to a talk about Matisse at Putney Art College (courtesy of fabulous fellow artist Laura), so hopefully I will find some inspiration, and some insight into the Tate exhibition opening soon.
Oh yes - I almost forgot! On Wednesday I went back to Keele University where I gained my degree in Visual Arts and Sociology, met the aforementioned Laura (among many others - you know who you are) and cemented my desire to live a creative life. I was recently asked to attend a networking
event for current students and, although they made me feel ancient, I was really impressed by their forward thinking - some of them were only first years and were thinking about post-graduate employment, and one lass had already saved ten grand to pay for her masters - amazing! Naturally I didn't leave before taking a walk around the campus and having a pint or who in the Student Union - so changed since my day, yet so comfortably familiar.
Well, having written all that, I think I've just realised why I slept in until midday today - it has certainly been a busy one! So, now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to chill out for an hour before heading over to South West London.
Have a great evening everyone!
P.S. New Overground Underground blog also online this week - check it out here!
Well, hello there...
I hope you're all feeling a bit better than me. A busy week at Out of Hours, a nasty cold and one too many Jaegerbombs last night (yes, really!) has left my energy levels rather depleted... but not so much that I can't tell you all about it. Well, my little exhibition has been and gone and, although I'm all a bit knackered, it was worth it - two pictures sold and interest shown in two others has left me chuffed to bits! A few people
have asked me if I'd do it again - or, indeed when I'll next be showing my work. Well, I may well do it again, but not for a while (I need to recuperate!) and will try to find a venue which is more used to exhibiting art - and share the load when it comes to promoting. A PR I aint... I'm pleased to say that it hasn't all be work and no play. I had Friday off and met a friend and her gorgeous 8 month old daughter at Ritzy cinema in Brixton for The Big Scream - screenings especially for mums with babies - and thoroughly enjoyed The Book Thief and a good natter over lunch afterwards.
My culturefest didn't end there. Yesterday Mama Berry came down to London and I took her to see Marti Webb in Tell Me On a Sunday - the soundtrack of which I was all but brought up on. Marti certainly hasn't lost it - and the lyrics definately struck a chord with my thirty-something year old self. It's only on until the 8th so I suggest you get your skates on and book a ticket pronto!
Sadly for my poor little head, my weekend of fun didn't end there. After putting my mum on a train full of Leeds supporters (sorry mum!) I met some chums for a few drinks... then a few more... and some random dancing in a basement bar somewhere in Shoreditch. The evening was rounded off with a trip to the Bavarian Beerhouse on City Road, somewhere I've been fascinated with for ages. Let's just say my curiosity has been satisfied and I don't feel the need to rush back...
So yes, you'd probably be right in saying I have no-one else to blame but myself for my sudden craving for full-fat Coke and crisps. But sometimes you just need to let your hair down and have a good giggle with the girlies. Which I certainly did this weekend. Now it's time so sit back, put on my Friends box set and relax... just as soon as I've had a little siesta. Zzzz....
See you next week!
Happy Sunday everyone!
I hope you are all having a lovely weekend. I've been trying to recuperate after a rather busy week. Out of Hours opened on Tuesday with a little private view for some of my chums. Much wine and pizza was consumed and I sold two pieces! WOO HOO! Now I just have to do it all over again this week, but perhaps with a little less of the vino...
So apart from cleaning my flat and a spot of DIY (very proud of myself for unblocking my sink all on my own - knitting needles really do have multiple uses) today I'm going to read through novel numero uno again in the first time in, well, about 18 months. I'm investigating getting it professionally edited and published as an ebook, but want to go through it again myself first to check I'm still happy to put it out there...
So that's pretty much me. It's been a whirlwind of a week, and work and the flat buying saga haven't exactly been letting up whilst I've been muddling on with my creative pursuits. Someone tweeted me the other day when I said I'd just paid a solicitor several hundred pounds to do things I didn't really understand, advising me that it was essentially to do not a lot as slowly as possible. Simon, you have a point... I'm just happy to say that it's the vendor's solicitor who is causing the delay, not mine. Unfortunately this means there isn't much I can do about it...
Well, it's Sunday, which means two things. One, you should all be looking forward to sitting down to a lovely roast dinner and two... THERE'S ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT UNTIL MY EXHIBITION!!!
Well, it's been a manic few weeks, but I think I'm getting there. The invites have been sent, the listings have been created and the tweets have been,
erm, tweeted. In fact, all I need to do now is print out some blurbs and labels, finalise my food and wine order for the private view (want to come? Then contact me!) and sort out my play list. Oh, and get all my work down to Clerkenwell on Monday night. Ah...
So, I admit, life at Shelly Berry Towers (a.k.a. my little flat) has been a little bit blinkered to the up and coming Out of
Hours of late - but I have been keeping up with the writing, honest! Novel number two is nearing its final 20,000 words, and I've been celebrating being single in the city at Anglo Info - in fact, I've come to the conclusion that Valentines Day is much better when enjoyed on your own. Not convinced? Well read my latest Underground Overground blog and let me persuade you...
Anyway, I better get off and organised so I can enjoy a bit of sunshine and a nice bit of Sunday dinner before the weekend comes to a close. See you all at the City Pride for my show soon...
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...