So, as the Bank Holiday draws to a close, I hope everyone is feeling as smug as I am. I've had a lovely weekend thanks to my friends who joined me for a belated housewarming. In true Shelly fashion, I couldn't resist but go all out on the catering, providing food from the east - as in winkles from East London, Pork Pies from the East Midlands, and, sat firmly in centre stage, ham, stotties and pease pudding from my birthplace in the North East. I cooked the ham and the stotties myself and was really pleased with the results - will definitely be making those again!
Of course, it being a house warming party, I wanted to get my flat as pretty as possible - and managed to finish my second book case with half an hour to spare before my first guests arrived. Cutting it fine? Moi? Okay, maybe a bit...
So yes, I'm in my happy place this evening, and will be staying firmly put throughout the week, courtesy of a few day's annual leave I managed to sneak in. Of course on Thursday I will be voting, and encourage everyone to do the same. Last week I went to a talk by Owen Jones and George the Poet, and left feeling really inspired that, if we all pull together to work towards a better future, anything is possible. Not sure who to vote for? Take George's advice: think about all the things that really annoy you on a normal day and look at what the different parties are going to do about them. Pretty sound advice if you ask me...
I shall leave you with a quote from George - one for life and the election:
As long as you're gonna be courageous
I promise you you're gonna see some changes.
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...
Happy Easter everyone!
Whether you are spending the bank holiday at home doing a bit of upcycling...
... or channelling your inner child;
enjoying the delights of your home town...
... or escaping to the country...
have WONDERFUL Bank Holiday!
So... a new week is nearly upon us. What are your plans?
Need something to read on your commute? Then look no further than my latest short story, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Looking for somewhere to eat? Then check out my latest blog on Operation:Pizza.
Feel like painting some furniture? Then give me a shout, because these need another coat... and I have four other chairs, a coffee table and a TV stand to go too...
Okay, so maybe I've taken this upcycling thing a bit too far...
Have a good one people :-)
Good evening folks!
Well the weekend is drawing to a close, and a new week will soon be upon us. I admit, I found the last one quite tedious - the 9-5 grind was getting to me and, coupled with a lull in the old social life, I was more than a little bit grumpy. Alas, I managed to pull myself out of my gloom. How? Well I decided to book a little holiday...
Yep, that's right - in September I will be spending 10 days in San Francisco - and I can't wait! Sad as it is, knowing I have this to look forwards to seems too have perked me up no end. Coupled with the good weather, this weekend I've been pretty chirpy, getting up early and getting on with a new writing project and a bit of spring cleaning. Today I bagged a bargainous four dining room chairs and a coffee table for 40 quid, which I can't wait to paint up along with my ten pound TV stand. In fact, by the time I have my official housewarming in May, I reckon I'll be pretty close to having my flat as I want it - with perhaps the exception of a posh new three-seater sofa bed..
My point? Well, I know I'm lucky to have the means to travel to the West Coast of the US and to play at being Kirsty Allsop, but I also know that I function a lot better when I know I have something to aim for; a reward to all my hard work. At the end of the day, it is that often-tedious job that has enabled me to book that flight and pay the mortgage on the flat that I am so faithfully - and frugally - doing up.
So, as I traipse into work tomorrow, I will do my best to the thankful for all the opportunities it gives me - from stability to adventure, with the odd bit of inspiration thrown in for good measure. And, whatever you do and however challenging it can be, I hope that you feel able to do the same. And, if you can't, book yourself in for a little reward sooner rather than later, whether it be the trip of a lifetime, a jolly to the seaside or an afternoon mooching around your favourite local haunt. I doesn't have to cost a lot, or be particularly flashy. But it does need to happen.
Because Shelly said so :-)
... 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...
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...
So. I usually get this blog out every Sunday. But for some reason I've been really tired the last couple of days and just didn't really have the energy to write it.
I have no idea why. I mean, I've had a five day weekend to get it done. Okay, so I've been out and about a bit, meeting friends for food and drink, going to the Stow Music Festival...
... and checking out other artists at work at Making:Uncovered, but the rest of the time I've been chilling. Well, apart from replacing the light fitting in my lounge, sorting out my electricity account, setting up my life insurance, and registering with a GP that is.
But other than that I've just been pottering at home, mainly sat on my backside writing my Operation:Pizza blog, my Overground Underground blog and doing a bit of editing.
Hey, I even sat on my butt when I did a bit more work on my latest picture and cracked on with some up-cycling - hell, I was even on my arse for half of yoga! In fact, the only thing I didn't do resting on my behind was paint the hallway.
Yeah, I've no idea why I don't feel fully rested...
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...