Happy Sunday everyone!
I hope you all had a great week? I did - and you know what made it even better? Having fun - for free - or for a very discounted price!
On Monday it was Donation Yoga - 75 minutes of excellent tuition for whatever I could afford - and the other benefits of the practice all week long.
On Wednesday I gave away some free advice on how to approach the up and coming election in my Anglo Info blog. Nice, aren't I?
On Thursday I had a session of "Human Givens" counselling (think CBT mixed with a bit of hypnotherapy or perhaps meditation and you get the idea) for £6 (half the cost of the room), courtesy of a newly qualified therapist - who will be charging clients £70 once he is registered. Another beneficial bargain!
On Friday, well, I just went crazy for the freebies! After a free session at the Green Gym I headed over to the Design Museum where I enjoyed their Women, Fashion, Power exhibition for a fabaroo fiver - with a free coffee thrown in for good measure. Then I went to The Other Art Fair - gratis thanks to the Money Saving Expert. And THEN (Yes! There is more!) I enjoyed 241 pasta with my mate, discounted wine and free comedy in Covent Garden! Amazing, non?
And this weekend, well, I have been working on my latest upcycling project - new, funky furniture for the price of a tub of glue. And, if I may say, it's looking fabulous!
Well, I hope I have given you all some ideas when it comes to bagging a bargain - and finding some freebies. Anyway, I shall leave you to mull it over and go make my dinner. Sadly I haven't found anyone who will do that for free yet...
Well, the weekend is nearly over, and I don't know about you lot but my thoughts are turning to the coming week. Whilst the 9-5 will no doubt dominate the next five days, I'm feeling newly motivated to get on with my creative pursuits. Why? Well, I've just had a rather inspiring weekend in Skegness. Yes, really...
You see, my friend and fellow graduate of Visual Arts at Keele University, Laura Stamps, has put together a show of her work in the theatre at her seaside home town. Not only that, but she's managed to get it all together around the demands of her day job - and pulled it off with aplomb. I was really impressed by the professionalism of the show, down to the advert in the theatre's brochure, and the sheer amount of work she has created. In short, I'm damn proud of her - and perhaps a little bit envious too. But not as much as I am inspired...
This week I have managed to do some creating myself. Whilst I'm still not 100% happy with the painting above, I'm rather chuffed with how my yoga mat bag turned out. Next week, however, I shall be returning my focus to the writing. My latest short story is poised for posting right here on the website and my top secret project is well and truly underway. Watch this space...
Anyway, I'm off to have a soak in the tub before calling it a night. All that sea air has taken it out of me!
... 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...
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...
Well, the wind is blowing, the rain is falling, and I am glad to be indoors with my trusty netbook and my Friends box set. It's been a busy week planning my exhibition (did I mention I have an exhibition coming up? :)) and I'm enjoying putting my feet up for once.
Today I pounded the streets of Clerkenwell distributing flyers for my exhibition and was overwhelmed by the number of businesses who were more than happy to advertise Out of Hours on their premises. You see, Londoners have a bad rep, but they aren't all meanies. In fact, one really surprised me the other day when, whilst stood at the traffic lights in the pouring rain, I suddenly found myself covered by a complete stranger's umbrella.
I'll never forget my English teacher drumming it in to me that "nice" was an inadequate adjective and, I admit, it isn't one that is always flattering. But, you know what? I think that I'm going to reclaim it. Nice is good. Nice is what to aim for, because, you know what? Quite often in this world, nice is missing. But when it rears it's pretty head, it can make a grey, miserable day suddenly a little brighter, your mood a little lighter.
Now, I don't know about you lot, but I'm off to pour myself a nice glass of wine before I settle down to a nice movie.
Have a nice day!
Okay, I know, the weather is lousy (a trip to the corner shop for coffee and milk has put to bed plans for a nice walk this afternoon) but January is nearly over which means that spring is one step closer - hurray!
Okay, I admit, I have reasons for my new-found optimism. Firstly, an offer I put in on a lovely little one bed flat in Walthamstow was accepted on Friday, which means that I am about to spunk 90% of my life savings in one go and get myself into horrendous debt for the next 25 years - yippee! Seriously though, I'm well chuffed. Don't worry, I am well aware that it could all go belly up before completion but I'm one step closer to fulfilling one of my biggest life goals.
And that's not all. The owner of the City Pride pub, Luigi, has agreed for me to hold a little exhibition in his function room - cool, eh? Again, I'm not getting too excited until it actually happens, but hopefully from 18th February for two weeks, Tuesday to Friday, you'll be able to pop along and have a gander at my stuff - oh, and Luigi is going to be offering a discount on his authentic Italian food for anyone visiting the show. I know I for one will be taking advantage of his hospitality... get the dates in your diary.
But before I leave you all too it to go chase my mortgage broker and design my exhibition poster, I leave you with a final thought. Yesterday I finished Miranda Hart's book, Is It Just Me? Okay, I admit it Miranda, it took me a while to warm to your style, but it has been a while since reading about yoga and motherhood has made me laugh out loud on the tube. And, as for the last chapter on Dreams, the lady has it spot on. You see, Ms Hart always wanted to be a comedy actress, but it wasn't until her mid twenties that she even dared admit it to herself. And, love her or hate her, you have to admit the girl's done good. And she never would have if she hadn't taken that deep breath and put herself out there. Which, come the 18th February, I shall be doing once more, this time with my art. Wish me luck. Oh, and if you come along and decide that you hate it, I won't be offended if you forget to tell me...
Well, what a week. What with unofficial Christmas drinks with friends, mountains of cake and mince pies in the office and two food-laden parties, I'm already feeling as stuffed as a turkey! Hopefully there will be a bit of respite now until the big day, when I will be cooking roast pork for my ma and pa. Yes, my mother has given me free rein of the kitchen on Christmas Day. I just hope she's also stocked up on plenty of wine to help me along...
Like most of you, today I shall be doing some last minute shopping before meeting some chums at the Serpentine Gallery. I'm in the process of convincing them to go to the Winter Wonderland after but this is proving more of a challenge. This weekend I shall also squeezing in a final run to keep the muffin top at bay and finishing off a couple of homemade Christmas presents which I started last night in front of Love Actually (Christmas movie number one - The Muppet Christmas Carol is scheduled for the epic parcel wrapping session tomorrow). Sadly I can't publish any photos of my handiwork yet or it would spoil the surprise... but I'm pleased with how they're turning out.
Well, as we're all so busy, I shall say goodbye for now. Oh, and Merry Christmas one and all. I have a feeling it's going to be a good one...
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...