I must apologise for not blogging to you all last weekend - after a 14 mile hike with my dad and his cronies I was a wee bit tired!
Yep, as always it's been all go. This weekend I compensated for my trek with a massage and facial followed by afternoon tea and shopping with my ma. I've also been keeping myself busy with my "hobbies"; swimming, writing, yoga-ing, sewing and painting.
Why? Well, I guess you could say I choose life.
Yes, I am quoting Renton's rant in Trainspotting, which I saw at the King's Head in Islington last week. It was a fantastic, brave production, which I strongly recommend you see if the company take it anywhere else.
But why choose life? What's the meaning of it all? Why bother with all these extra-curricular activities? Well, I admit, sometimes I wonder. But then I know that if I don't engage in the process, I'll never find out why I am really here.
And I guess I'd quite like to figure that out.
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...
Okay folks, I need your advice.
How on earth does one fit in flat hunting, preparing for Christmas, having a social life AND writing around a demanding full time job? Seriously, I need to know! It has been a manic week, and, whilst it has been pretty darn good, it’s also been pretty exhausting - I haven’t had a night in since Monday. Let me summarise...
Magic Flute at the Collesium on Tuesday – a fantastic night, especially as some kind soul handed in my mobile phone rather than nicking it after I left it in the pub...
Choir practice on Wednesday – always a pleasure!
Christmas shopping and dinner at Seven Dials on Thursday – with only two stocking fillers purchased, not the most productive, but fun all the same.
Flat viewing on Friday, which lead to an offer being made (watch this space) and me losing my mobile phone once more, this time in the estate agents car. Someone shoot me.
Choir concert and The Dance Before Christmas at The Vaults on Saturday, fuelled by Red Bull, great music and a large Cornish pasty.
And this week isn’t looking any quieter...
The good news is, among the mayhem, I have managed to write three quarters of a short story which I intend to share with my writing buddy Charlene on Tuesday over dinner and, if I’m happy with the end result, I hope to enter in the ABC Tales Christmas competition. Watch this space for its online publication...
On that note, I shall say adieu. Its seven thirty and I want to call my sister and my mum, polish off said short story and have a well earned soak in the tub before bed... wish me luck!
Well I don’t know about you lot but, for a change, I’m pooped. This week, however, it is for a good reason. You see, I’ve just got back from a day at Twickenham watching the Barbarians play Fiji with my pa. It’s the first time I’ve been to a rugby match – and the first time I’ve managed to coerce by dad down to London on his own – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And, by the end of the match, I felt qualified to shout at the referee as much as everyone else. I mean, another video referee? Come on, man!
Since last week’s blog, things have been, as always, busy – but in a good way. As well as enjoying the delights of London, from a spa and afternoon tea at the Montcalm Hotel (who knew finger sandwiches could be so good!), checking out Artist’s Who... private view in Bermondsey (on until 3rd December – so hop to it!) and today’s addition to my list of pastimes, I’ve been sampling the delights of our second largest city, Birmingham. I popped up there last weekend to check out the Christmas market (very nice), enjoy a curry in the Balti Triangle (Al Faisal’s to be exact – NOM!) and dance the night away (two nights running – oops!) and had a great time. But, you know what? Sorry Brum, but you’ve got a long way to go before you come anywhere close to my lovely London. However if you decide to donate that DKNY handbag I saw in Selfridges to Shelly Berry Original, I may be persuaded otherwise...
In other news, I’ve been painting again. In fact I’ve been painting the same painting again. I decided that my latest offering needed touching up a bit - according to some people it doesn’t look any different, but I’m happier with it. But my palette is still out, just in case I decide to play with it a bit more. Oh, and keep an eye on my Tweets this week too for some special offers at the Shelly Berry Original Etsy shop, especially if you’re struggling for ideas writing that Christmas shopping list.
Right, time for some ukulele practice – yep, added that to the list of hobbies this month too. Laters!
Today is a good day. Not only do I have the day off work, but I’m spending this afternoon in a spa before heading to Brimingham for a weekend of fun and frolics. And the best bit? I have Monday off work too. Woo hoo!
Okay, so Birmingham might not be the obvious choice for a girly weekend away, but with Europe’s largest Christmas fair (so I’ve been told), a thriving nightlife (“Snobs” has been recommended to me – please tell me if you know anywhere better!) and more than a few curry houses to fuel our fun, it is actually looking to be a darn good weekend.
Of course, I’m hoping to do a fair bit of Christmas shopping too. As far as I’m concerned, Christmas shopping is all about finding that perfect something for your nearest and dearest – and if it is something unique, all the better. The next few weeks I’ll be trawling London’s markets in my quest for the perfect gifts for my friends and families – Camden, Greenwich and Spitalfields, look out – but I’ll also be browsing the web too. No, not Amazon, but virtual craft markets like Etsy, notonthehightstreet.com – and of course CRAFTfest.
Yes, I know, I’ve been banging on about if all week on Twitter (and here for a while too) but not only has it given me the opportunity to show case my own work, but it’s also given me loads of ideas for my own shopping too. Obviously I can’t go into detail (you have to wait for Santa to visit!) but I’ve got a few people sorted – and some ideas for a couple more too. And, even though CRAFTfest finishes tomorrow, I should be able to pick up any bits I’ve seen after the event as all items are sold via Etsy and other online shops. Groovy!
Anyhow peeps, I better go – I have a weekend away to pack for and some serious shopping to do...
Well, it’s certainly been a while since I blogged here hasn’t it? I hope you all caught my latest contribution to Anglo info, but it you didn’t click here to read my thoughts on buying in London. Yes, you read that correctly – buying. It is possible, I promise. If you’re willing to compromise...
So, what have I been up to since I last shared my news here? Well last month I went to a Hen Do up in Sheffield which, including cocktails and karaoke, was a traditional affair with a bit of crafting thrown in for good measure. The day started with pot and glass painting and fascinator making which was right up my street. I was quite chuffed with my creations but sadly won’t get my champagne flute until the Big Day in July – but was reunited with a mixing bowl I painted up there last summer when visiting another friend.
think Real Ales, live music and a plethora of stalls selling food – and crafts. I succumbed to a traditional narrow boat lantern, painted in primary colours that now proudly sits in my little terrace – and bought one for a friend too. There were plenty of other examples of English craft and culture on show, from the cringe worthy (Morris Dancers), the tasty (fudge – mmm!), the alcoholic (a wee dram anyone?) to a surprisingly good One Man Band and puppeteer – who could not only sing but got my toes tapping too! As you can probably tell, I proper enjoyed myself – and intend to go the Angel event in September too for a free canoe lesson and more pot painting.
The rest of the Bank Holiday was filled with other traditional activities (read barbequing and drinking) and by the end of it I was pretty knackered. But, a week on, I can’t wait for the next one.
Which I will be in Peru for.
Doubt that one will be particularly relaxing either...
You know what? I feel a bit sorry for my man. Not only has he been stuck with me for longer than I care to admit, but, when he stayed with me down here in London last week, it appeared that the gods were against us. On Monday we hit Soho to check out Time Out’s vintage shopping trail followed with a goldfish bowl of gin at Star in the Sky – only to discover on our arrival that it was closed. On Saturday we headed to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photography Award – but tickets had sold out. The following day brunch was scuppered by some black pudding that had decided to grow a slimy grey coating whilst still within the use-by date and our Sunday matinee was cut short when my DVD player decided to have a hissy-fit halfway through Three Lions.
The poor lamb.
But, you know what? These unfortunate incidents turned out to be less disastrous than I thought. In fact, you could almost call them happy accidents. Rather than admitting defeat, we swapped gin in Soho for beer in Finsbury Park, and Soho Joe’s for Papagones, who make up for any shortfalls in the pizza department with chocolate and hazelnut ice cream to DIE for. Photography was replaced with a rather successful shopping trip (especially as HMV had started to accept gift vouchers again), black pudding with the much healthier option of grilled tomatoes (which incidentally go very well with a bit of pepper sauce) and the movie with a games of cards – made all the better by my inevitable victory (ha!).
So, my point? Well, just because things don’t always turn out the way you hoped doesn’t mean that other good stuff won’t happen. Last Friday I had a horrendous interview for a job I really wanted. Needless to say my impersonation of a rabbit caught in headlights did not impress the interview panel and I was not successful. I admit I was gutted – and telling my workmates was excruciating, especially as everyone expected me to do well. But, you know what? Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Just like it wasn’t meant to be for me to find a publisher last year, or for me to be discovered by a best-selling glossy, Charles Saatchi or a hip and happening craft shop in Shoreditch. But that’s okay. Because something much better is just around the corner. And I fully intend to have a bit of fun whilst I find it.
My festive flat!
Here I am again, sat on a cramped train on my way back to London after a weekend ooop north. I guess I should consider it training as, in pretty much exactly a week’s time, I shall be starting my annual epic Christmas journey to festivities in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Durham – with a hell of a lot more baggage.
Yes, the Christmas crush has started – and although it has been more than a little manic, I think I am winning. Apart from a bit of something from Fortnum and Mason for my beau (bet that has got him thinking, he he) and a mad rush back to House of Fraser after some rather disappointing customer service from Yodel (summary: parcel left with neighbour who denied all knowledge of it, no customer service phone or email, and, to round off the saga, when I finally retrieved the package it was damaged and the mother in law’s gift smashed) I have my shopping under control and a week to get it all wrapped up in front of my festive fairy lights and lots of crappy Christmas telly - I’ve already watched my faves Love Actually and a Muppet Christmas Carol! All my Christmas cards are written and posted to the correct addresses, and I managed to avoid a major faux pas by double checking the name of an old mate’s fella – and not addressing it to her horrible ex instead – eek! I’ve also managed to survive my work do with minimal damage, impressing my manager with my figs wrapped in Parma ham and winning the hearts of my colleagues with homemade Christmas Bakewell tart. The less about the following shots of tequila and karaoke the better...
Even if hangovers and indigestion hit, I’ve had my highlights done and getting my barnet restyled on Friday too. Teamed with my new sparkly top and deluxe reindeer antlers, there will be no stopping me when the celebrations start in earnest when I finish work on Thursday. And, as if the Christmas countdown hasn’t been keeping me on my toes enough, I’ve been busy elsewhere too! For starters... I’VE OPENED MY ETSY SHOP! Hurrah! Check me out at www.etsy.com/ship/ShellyBerryOriginal - and please tell me what you think. I’ve already been told that I should be concentrating on my paintings and piccies rather than my crafts but would love to hear other opinions too.
for telling me about them! Unfortunately I have to admit I have been procrastinating a wee bit about another task on my to do list, and that is to start novel number two – DAN DAN DAAAA! Actually, I did start writing it a long time ago but got distracted by what soon became novel number one, and I fully intended to be picking it up where I left it on this very train journey – but appear to not have it saved onto my trusty netbook but have tucked away on my external hard drive back at home. I just need to dig it out, dust it off and get typing... before 2013 rolls in at least :)
Well, that’s all for now folks... I guess it just leaves me to say
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...