So... how was you week?
Mine was pretty cool.
I chilled out with the Artists Who...
... wrote the follow up to my debut at the Waltham Forest Echo...
... finished the first edit of novel number two on my way to meet the lovely Lexi - who just happened to be wearing the snood I made her for Christmas...
... and pottered about in my lovely flat, newly furnished with a few more bits from my favourite furniture shop in Walthamstow, the British Heart Foundation.
Want to read more? Well, check out my latest Overground Underground blog - and keep your eyes open for my latest newsletter which you can sign up to here...
So, anyone else enjoying an early evening glass of wine? I am... because Dry January is officially OVER! Woo hoo! So far I've raised £145 of my £200 target, and hope that a few last minute sponsors will get me there... if so inclined you can do so here - thank you!
I have to admit, today I am in my happy place - and not just because I'm allowed wine again (although it helps...) No, it's because I've spent the weekend up in York with some of my favourite people. Hanging out with my besties always does me good, and talking to them about our lives really helps me put things into perspective. It reminds me that, even though other people's lives often seem so much better than my own, they come with their own problems. Of course, me being me, when my friends share with me their woes, I try to give them reassurance and advice on how they can overcome the obstacles they face - or, more simply, come to accept them.
I'm happy to admit that, whilst advising my lovvies about how to deal with their daily niggles, I did reflect on my own - and considered if I listen to my own advice. I was pleased to see that, generally, I do. Whilst my job can frustrate the heck out of me, I think I've reached a level of acceptance, helped by the knowledge that, whilst I know I make a difference, I am taking action to move into a line of work that I enjoy more. And that when other elements of my existence upset my equilibrium, I confront the cause, weigh up my options - and take action to reset the balance. Okay, so I don't always get it right, but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction, and, without sounding too corny, I believe that you can find your happy place too.
And you don't need wine to get there...
... maybe not always as easy as 1 2 3, but it sums up my last week quite nicely! Let me explain...
A is for... Alcohol Abstinence!
Yep, I've nearly finished Dry January, all in the name of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Why the MNDA? Well, take a look at my Just Giving page to find out! Or if you just want to throw caution to the wind and support this amazing charity (and inspire me to see out the rest on the month!) text GOMB99 £5 to 70070. Simples!
B is for... Blogging!
Well, duh! But not just here - I've been writing about how my beloved London has kept me entertained during the first 31 days of the year. Yesterday I ticked off three of my own suggestions with some art exhibitions, a walk along the Southbank and a trip to the cinema. Read more of my sober strategies here...and then check out my latest review for Operation:Pizza to see how one of the biggest chains compares.
And C is for... Crafting!
Okay, so I made the bag above earlier this month, but it was a birthday present for my cousin and I didn't want to spoil her surprise! This weekend, however, I finished off my latest upcycling project, turning two pine stools I picked up for £1.50 into Shelly Berry Originals - check it out!
And D? Well, when the clock strikes midnight on Saturday it will be for... drinking!
Okay, so maybe I have a problem...
So did you all survive the first full week of 2015? Amazingly I did - despite being back at work and staying "dry". Yep - I'm still off the booze and have set up my Just Giving page to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and have already raised thirty quid - woo hoo!
Despite having almost two weeks off work, my inbox was surprisingly manageable when I returned to the office on Monday, which means I've started the year leaving work at a reasonable time - something I hope to keep up over the next 12 months. This also means I've had more time in the evenings to get on with a bit of painting. Yep, the bathroom is done, and the stools I am upcycling have had their second coat - now I just need to track down some foam to top them with! I've also pulled out my oils and added another layer of "hair" to my latest picture - one that I WILL finish soon, I WILL...
In other news, on Friday I spent a good three hours printing out novel number 2 and spent my Saturday morning lie-in starting yet another round of editing. Oh, and the latest edition of Operation:Pizza is live too, this time reviewing high street chain Strada. You may be surprised by the results...
Anyway, I'm off to get myself a hot chocolate and put on my PJs - rock 'n' roll people!
Happy New Year everyone!
Well, Christmas is over, and January is upon us - and for some reason this means that half the population have decided to give up alcohol. In the past I have groaned when my mates have forgone a pint in favour of a cup of tea, but this year I have decided to join them. Yes, you read that correctly - I'm off the booze for a whole month, and, to keep me on the straight and narrow, I'm going to do it for charidee, so watch this space for a link to my Just Giving page!
I have to admit that it has become apparent that a glass of vino had become a regular accompaniment to a relaxing night in, and, without it, I have noticed that I find it harder to switch off - which means I have gone into DIY overdrive! Since returning from my festive travels I have pretty much decorated my bathroom and started up-cycling my kitchen stools, and am planning my next crafting projects. So, come February, I intend to have made yet another homemade gift and possibly a yoga mat bag too! Pictures to follow...
That doesn't mean that I won't be writing too - or rather, getting on with another round of editing and typing up my latest short story which I hand wrote when sans netbook. Oh yeah. and then there's Operation:Pizza - I think we may have a winner, which you can read all about here...
Anyway, on that note, I'm off to dig out my knitting needles whilst I boil the kettle for a lovely herbal tea.
I hardly recognise myself...
No, no, I'm not talking about the whiskey and Jaegermeister I've consumed over the last week - I'm talking about that goodwill to all men, women, animals and anything in-between! I've been feeling pretty Christmassy all month, but the last week has seen my festive fever grow - and spread. Whilst I admit I've had some pretty fun nights out recently, it's been the things I've been able to do for other people that has really given me a glow. For example, on Tuesday I contributed some home-made German spiced biscuits to a bake-sale for Crisis - adding £19.50 to the £180 raised. Yesterday, I was thrilled to see my mate laugh out loud at the slogan wristband I made her for Christmas. And, the day before, I spread the love among my neighbours by delivering them all a Christmas card and gingerbread muffin - and was really touched to see the family who live below me followed by lead and everyone some chocolate on their doorstep the following day.
That's what I love about Christmas - making other people feel good, whether it's by giving them a present they love, helping them out when the stresses of the season start to get to them, or just making them smile on their commute to work. Today, after a rather frantic shopping trip, I was sat on the tube when the driver wished everyone a Happy Christmas. He probably didn't know anyone on the train, and it wasn't part of his job description, but he did - and it made me smile, despite my fatigue.
Some people of course believe in the religious origins of the holiday season. I personally don't, but embrace it whole-heartedly as an excuse to show people I love them and to spread a little cheer, whether it's by offering a complete stranger Season's Greetings, funding a bed space for a homeless person over the holidays or being there for a friend who is having a hard time. That, in my book, is the true Christmas spirit.
Yep, I'm watching the American Football live from our very own Wembley. It's been a busy weekend, what with another installment for Operation:Pizza, upcycling (I WILL finish that bookcase, I WILL,) editing, and booking a foray to Berlin for my Birthday, so I'm enjoying watching someone else run around for a change...
I've also been doing my bit for the planet. Earlier this year I came to the conclusion that, rather than solely supporting charities that help people, it was time to help the physical world that we rely on to exist. So, on Friday, I joined the Conservation Volunteers at Lloyd Park for a few hours before heading out to a fundraiser for Greenpeace. Okay, so I know some of you might find their methods extreme, but until our Government starts putting sanctions on those corporations that seem hell-bent on putting profit before the environment, someone needs to take action - and action Greenpeace take.
Anyway, mini rant over, it was a great night, and I fully recommend their dos to anyone who wants to support their work whilst enjoying live music, comedy and cake. Besides, who says giving to charity has to be completely selfless? Weeding around sapling trees and clearing rosebeds of litter on Friday was a very calming experience and one I probably wouldn't have signed up to if I hadn't expected some personal benefit. Even after giving blood on Tuesday I got a packet of ginger nuts and several glasses of squash. It almost made the dizzy spell worth it!
So, so forth people - do something for charidee. Just make sure you enjoy it too...
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...