Saturday 9 May 2015

April in Instagram

So what have I been doing lately apart from being over-emotional, as testified by my last blog post?

Office playtime My office is kind of cool. We have a meeting room with lots of cool stuff to play with including some Play Doh. Now I can make stuff in the middle of meetings. I am concentrating I swear, Making caterpillars helps me focus.

Tequila time The beginning of the Easter weekend kicked off with a trip round to a colleague's house. I came in from work on Thursday, slapped some lippy on so so drunk. Horrifyingly drunk. This is what happens when you drink at home and you're in control of pouring your own drinks and in charge of several bottles of tequila.

Birthday time Two days after Tequila Night it was my birthday. 32. Ugh. No thanks. I travelled back to Hull for the weekend, still suffering from the Tequila Night Hangover. A quick nap on the sofa at Mum's when I arrived and I woke up to this little Fred face looking at me. Pretty sure he was judging me.

Fred and Lily time I ended up penned in by these guys on the sofa one night. Best night of my life.

Chandelier time I had a meeting for work at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. It has some amazing chandeliers in the meeting rooms and my favourite thing is taking photographs of them.

Rowan time I love this dog. She is my best friend. I can't get enough of taking photos of her face, although why she looks so sad all the time I'll never know.

Gerbil time Gerbil playtime has been happening. I still can't take my eyes off it for more than a second. If I do then when I look back I will see a scene similar to this. Tyrion Lannister is always on a mission to escape.

Crochet time I've been undertaking some major crochet time recently for a pretty hefty commission for a child's nursery with a bird theme.

London time I was down at the Business Design Centre down in London for a meeting for work which has lots of cool artwork on the walls like the one pictured.

Picnic time A few of us got over excited at the sight of the sunshine and headed down to a local park for a picnic. It was a really brilliant afternoon, looking forward to lots more as the weather improves

Bradgate Park time Following on from the Bradgate Park - Winter Edition, Janet and I ventured to Bradgate Park for the Spring Edition. Blog post to come eventually. 

Lille time Blog post also incoming on this one. I had just over 24 hours in Lille on a trip with work. I declared Lille a thoroughly Instagrammable city. Hopefully a blog post will be incoming on this one too. 

Now just to write blog posts about it instead of putting photos on Instagram...

Follow me on Instagram here

Tuesday 5 May 2015

The highs and the lows

Well. This has been a pretty blank space for some time now. I nearly died when I logged on and discovered that I posted once in April. Once?! I knew it had been a while but had no idea how long.

There are two versions of this blog post I could write. I could explain away my absence by telling you that I've been out living life instead of blogging about it. That I am now the world expert on dating. That I have been so busy with weekends away and spending time with friends that I haven't had a minute to breathe, let alone blog about it.

Or I could tell the truth.

The truth is that whilst most of the above is true, I haven't been out living a fabulous life but have instead been making attempts to prove to myself that I do have fabulous life. My emotions can barely be kept in check on an hourly basis at some times and I swing from being insanely happy and positive, with some terribly life affirming song playing in the soundtrack of my mind, to being unable to scrape myself off the sofa with nothing but the sound of the ticking clock that is my life booming in my brain.

I haven't blogged because every time I've got something straight in my head that I want to talk about, I swing the other way and am rendered dumb. When the bad times come I can't face doing anything, when the good times come I know to enjoy them whilst they last which doesn't leave time for anything else.

I would like to say that I've learned the signs by now and know when a crash is coming, but the highs are so high and I'm so busy enjoying the view that I fail to see the ground coming hurtling towards me until I've faceplanted in the mud. The good news is that even when I am face-down in the mud, I know that I was once floating up in the sky so a time must come when I'll be back up there again. It's not great, but I'll take it - I'd rather be feeling the lowest of the low and know that it will get better than be soaring in the sky and waiting for myself to plummet.

Always a silver lining girl as it turns out. Who knew?

I have learned what some of the triggers are and to be completely honest with you, they don't make me feel too good about myself.

Other people's extreme happiness really sets me off which makes me feel like the worst person alive - "Get over yourself you massively selfish cow and stop making everything about you", or a similar refrain, ricochets around my mind at these times - but it isn't really any help. It's a simple magnifying effect. People's happiness strikes into the heart of me and is sucked into the blackness within. It makes me feel as if I'll never reach those levels of happiness again. It doesn't help that most people's happiness revolves around something they have done or shared with their partner. Clearly I don't know enough people having a cracking time whilst single.

Sundays are another trigger. Saturdays are fine. Saturdays are grander than grand. Everything is good, everything is dandy. Sundays are complete and utter misery. I have my own little theory about why they're so bad for me and the reasoning is simple. Weekends are the longest period that I'm on my own for and I really struggle with it. Nights during the week are fine, I've been around people all day, I've done all my chatting and laughing and sharing, coming home to an empty flat genuinely doesn't bother me any more. But come Friday evening my interactions with people virtually come to a standstill. People do stuff with partners on a weekend, the number of texts from friends almost falls to zero on a weekend. I'm an Extrovert. I can only spend so much time on my own and it turns out that amount of time amounts to about two nights. Pathetic I know.

I realised something the other day. I spend huge amounts of time, if not every day then certainly every other day having a go at myself mentally. Telling myself I'm stupid for over-reacting to something, stupid for still getting upset about being on my own almost eight months later, stupid for still having hope that I might find someone when all the signs point to that never happening (a post about dating needs to be saved for another time), stupid for thinking that I need a man to make me happy in this age of feminism. It's no wonder I feel bad all the time, I'm telling myself I'm a terrible human being, pretty much on a constant repeat.

I don't know what the answer is. It frustrates me that I don't know how to just. get. happy. It annoys me that every time I try and write about it, the words fly away from me like dust motes. It irritates me that I'm still not over it after this long. I've been told that these are good signs, that it's when you don't feel anything at all that you need to start to worry, but the relentless nature of my emotions is draining and incredibly self destructive.

I don't have a cure. I don't even feel as if I'm close to a cure. So the best I can do is book in as much in the diary as possible, enjoy the highs when they come and hope that when the crashes come I remain able to peel myself off the floor and carry on trucking.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Photo an Hour l 19th April

09.40 Late start to Photo an Hour, mostly because I'd forgotten what day it was. One of the annoying things about living on your own is that there's no-one to try and bug to make you a cup of tea. It annoys me endlessly, especially on weekend mornings.

10.30 Ironing a shirt. Because just wearing something ready to wear from my wardrobe is simply too difficult

11.25 In the car and ready to have an adventure, I was off to meet up with Janet for another stomp around Bradgate Park

12.20 Whilst stomping around we discovered the most amazing tree which was completely hollow. Standing inside and looking I spied a Janet!

13.30 Stomping over it was time for tea drinking and toastie eating. And a lot of gossiping.

14.45 Back home to this gorgeous little face. Just look at him.

15.30 Time to dig out the yarn and get going on a project I've been working on for the past few weeks. These colours make me happy to my very core.

16.35 Deep in amigurumi-ing

17.30 Still crocheting and the shape is beginning to take form. Can you tell what it is yet?

18.47 In the middle of Skypeing with American Girl. I. Love. Technology.

19.30 Still Skypeing and enjoying how sunny and light it was outside at 7,30pm

20.40 Skype session over and food time. No I did not really make this dinner myself, this was a leftover lamb shank my sister had saved for me the week before. All this girl needed to do was microwave a bag of new potatoes and mixed vegetables. Cooking for the lazy.

21.40 My favourites Sunday night activity. Watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. I don't even care. I love it.

22.30 Retired to bed but there is still crocheting to do. And catching up of The Archers to do.

23.30 Finished for the day! And a finished article. One fat bird who is part of a bird army I have been crocheting (blog post to follow when I eventually get around to blogging again.)


Thank you to Jane and Louise for hosting. Check in with them to find out the date for May's Photo an Hour post and don't forget to join in on Twitter and/or Instagram using #PhotoAnHour

2015 Photo an Hour posts

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Photo an Hour l 21st March

06.35 : Up frightfully early for a weekend because I was about to embark on a huge journey. Not before fuelling up with Marmite on toast & a cup of tea though.

07.20 : In the car and ready to drive down the M5 to Somerset to visit my Dad. The prospect of a 3.5 hour trip down there was not making me feel excited.

09.25 : No photo for 8am as driving (safety first everyone!) But I did have a stop off at the Services after hitting a stressful diversion on the M5 which was closed for 4 junctions due to a lorry overturning and spilling about 600 litres of fuel all over the place.

11.10 : Destination reached! Hurrah! Cup of tea for the weary traveller.

12.30 : Oh no I'm back in a car again! But luckily not driving this time. Instead we were headed for an adventure...

13.30 : To the sea!! I love the sea! Technically not the sea, but the English Channel. And a stroll along the beach at Burton Bradstock. It was beautiful and there will obviously be a separate blog post devoted to it where I will spam your face with pictures of it.

14.30 : Some people go to the beach and have fish & chips - I do it in style baby. Messy style, but style nonetheless.

15.40 : Back at home and Shadow is not a happy girl. She did not enjoy the water and did not enjoy the sand. It's safe to say she's not a beach fan.

16.30 : Sat down to do a spot of crocheting, obviously there's something new on my hook...

17.30 : Dedication people. I will get back into running, I will. And so determined was I that I brought my stuff with me to go for a run at my Dad's. Not one of my best decisions, Crewkerne is absolutely littered with hills. They are everywhere. And because I was just aimlessly running I didn't know where I was going and I swear at one point I thought I had devised a route which only contained uphill streets and I was never going to make it back down again. Still. Felt smug at the end of it though.

18.30 : Back crocheting and admiring my awesome stitch markers.

19.40 : It's starting to take shape - but can you tell what it is yet?!

20.15 : Late dinner of breakfast. Obviously.

21.20 : What? More crochet? Oh go on then.

22.30 : BED. Too much adventuring for one girl to take.


Thanks as always to Jane and Louisa for hosting. Check in with them to find out the date for April's Photo an Hour post and don't forget to join in on Twitter and/or Instagram using #PhotoAnHour

2015 Photo an Hour posts

Friday 20 March 2015

Edward's Menagerie - Rufus the Lion

Never one to leave my hook idle for long, and hot on the heels of Caitlin the Giraffe came this fellow...

I know. I could die too. 

That face.

Rufus worked up incredibly quickly, especially compared to Caitlin the Giraffe as there were a lot less colour changes happening and it was almost before I knew it that I was on to his head and that amazing mane of his.

The mane definitely requires a closer look...

It's so clever (and simple) although time consuming and a bit of a yarn guzzler. You just make a simple chain and then slip stitch the end of it back into the head, make another chain, slip stitch it back into the head further along, and so on and so on until you have lots of chain loops which look rather marvellous once you're all done.

At the beginning it does look strange and doesn't look as if it's going to come together and look right, but carry on with it and trust me it all starts to fall into place. But definitely leave time to do it - I spent a couple of evenings working on this fabulous mane of his.

I'm annoyed I didn't take a closer picture of his tail which is also worked in a similar fashion to the mane, with chain loops stitched back into the base of the tail.

He does have a very long snout which I've gone back and forth about whether I love it or not. It looks completely right when you see him in real life but I don't think that profile shots are his best angles. But then I could say the same about myself.

My love for all things from this book continues unabated, so much so that I have already completed my next item from it and hopefully by the time you are reading this, it is with its new owner and ready for a reveal on the blog.

Now if only I could make something from this book for myself...


Pattern from Edward's Menagerie. My review of the book can be found here.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Discovering Instagram...

I do enjoy being extraordinarily late to a party you know.

For years and years I have resisted the lure of the iPhone. Mainly because I'm the only person on the planet who doesn't find Apple technology intuitive to use at all, and also because there was a little bit of the twat in me who wanted to be a bit different.

I caved.

When it came to upgrading I didn't like any of the Android offerings so I decided to take the plunge. I still don't find the technology intuitive but the good thing is that in this day and age you're never more than 2 foot away from someone who can show you how to use an iPhone.

One of the first things downloaded on to my phone?


I've had a Windows Phone for 2 years and I have been one of their biggest supporters for a really long time. Or I've tried to be. But the total lack of access to Apps was just slowly killing me. And especially killing me was the fact that I couldn't get on Instagram - I was stood with my nose pressed up against the glass watching everyone else have fun with their selfies and their filters whilst I stood out in the cold.

The forward facing camera is also a new revelation in my life. My old phone didn't have one, selfies were either an impossibility or an extreme pain in the backside involving a lot of guess work and a steady hand. I always thought I wasn't really a selfie person but the sheer number of photos of my face in the below collage seems to indicate that I was just looking for the right means...

1: My first Instagram photo. A family portrait of me and the gerbils. Thank goodness for the forward facing camera or this photo would have been too difficult to capture.

2: Telecons that go on for 2 hours should be banned

3: But tea and knock-off jelly beans can make everything feel better

4: Me and my bestie, Rowan. I love that face so much, I can't believe she is 9 already

5: Some people are culture vultures, I just have culture gerbils. Here is Tyrion Lannister catching up on some reading. (Yes he did later start to eat the book)

6: My first food photo on Instagram. A killer bacon sandwich with spare sausage to help chase away a Saturday hangover.

7: I've been crocheting - what's it going to be, and more importantly, who is it for? All will be revealed.

8: I got my paintbrushes out and started making over a pretty boring side table. And nearly killed myself with paint fumes in the meantime. Why is DIY never straightforward for me?

9: I am determined to get myself back into running. I am. It has been a bit faltering this year but I took myself  out after work for a little 3km stumble and it wasn't all bad. Did I run the whole thing? No I didn't. Do I care? No, for the first time ever I genuinely don't. This revelation needed to be recorded.


Do you like photos and vidoes of gerbils? If so do feel free to give me a follow @Shippers1983

Monday 16 March 2015

Tinder 101

The funny thing about being single is that everyone wants to live their lives vicariously through you. People are desperate for me to go out and get dating - I'm not entirely sure if they are more interested in seeing me meet a nice man or in me having some terrible dating experience which they can dine out on when sat around with their other coupled up friends.

I don't think I am quite 'there' when it comes to having a relationship but I am willing to try and dip my toes in the water. The modern internet dating world is a complete unknown to me and I feel bewildered at the prospect of it.

But on a night out with a couple of the girls I was persuaded to download the most ubiquitous of dating apps....Tinder.


So for the uninitiated here is a quick run down of what it's all about:

1. You connect through your Facebook account (it doesn't post to Facebook, but if you don't have a Facebook account, no Tinder for you)

2. You say what aged men you're looking for and you set the radius that you're interested in looking in.

3. You get swiping!

4. A picture of a boy comes up - you like it you swipe right, you don't like it you swipe left

5. If you're not so sure you can tap on their picture and look at some other pictures they have uploaded (max. of 6) and also see if they have written a description (500 characters max.)

6. If you swipe left and reject them you'll never see them again

7. If you swipe right and it turns out that they've also swiped right on your picture then you get this message...

8. And you're free to start messaging that person.

9. You decide you don't like them after all, you can un-match from them and can also block people who you feel have been inappropriate.


Let's all face it. This is not the app were you are likely to meet your future husband. But there's no pretence about it - it is based on looks only, that's why your picture comes up first and you are not required to put any information about yourself. And like the picture above says - it's a game. 

And it really is a game. And it's also oddly addictive. It became something that I was just doing when I was bored and watching TV. Swipe, swipe, swipe, judge, judge, judge.


As a first step into internet dating it's actually great. The rejection aspect of it is minimal/non-existent - if people aren't interested in you, you'll never know about it because they just won't appear in your feed. You probably swipe right to loads of people that don't ever swipe right to you but you can't remember them because you have been swiping so. many. people. that they all blur into one.

And when you match with someone it's the best ego boost ever ("I am fanciable! Someone does like me!") and it is like winning. I described it as similar to winning on a slot machine, but without coins falling everywhere.

Even better than all of this though and the potential of finding a nice guy there is the chance to find some absolute gems from the guys out there.

For instance...

Check it out. This guy dislikes "Inappropriate use of grammar " and likes "Tattoo's"



Or this little gem...

Excuse me whilst I heave.


It also important to go back to your profile after you've set it up and check the photos that it has pulled through from Facebook. It will automatically pull through your first few profile pictures. Which is great, as long as you remember what your profile pictures have been in the past. 

For instance...

You on your wedding day. Lovely.


People will use their 500 characters in a myriad of ways. Some guys will be pretty open about the fact that they are looking for love. Some will be pretty open that they're looking for fun. Some will come laden with their own baggage, like this guy...



The best thing about Tinder?

I think it's going to provide me with a lot more blog fodder in the future...