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...

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Can't blog, reading

I seem incapable of focusing on more than one thing at the moment. Once life starts happening, blogging stops happening, which shouldn't really come as a surprise to me.

Anyway, I've been reading and then talking about said reading for Alex's March Blogging Good Read and you can go and read about what I read by clicking right HERE.

Go get some book recommendations.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Weekend in (not real) Verbs


Lots of debating happened over #TheDress - pretty much anyone I've come across since Friday has asked me this question. I am well in the gold and white camp. It doesn't change colour for me like it seems to for others, my jaw actually dropped open when I saw a picture of the actual dress. A friend who sees blue and black said to me that she wished she could take out her eyes so that I could see what she sees. As a less violent offering I can show you this photo - these are the colours that I see the dress...

Dog Petting

I went to visit Mum's friend to help her learn how to use her Smartphone. It was every bit as painful as it sounds. But the upside is that I got to see Ozzie with his floppy ear, whom I love very much.


Not just any kind of shopping but my particularly favourite kind of shopping. The kind that involves you not actually spending any money. I have some vouchers from Christmas and I ran round Matalan like a whirling dervish trying to pick up as many things as possible. Including this bedding which I came home and put on my bed immediately; a testament to how much I love it because I really hate making the bed.


I had an urge to go to the sea whilst I was vaguely near it. Living in the Midlands is nice for access reasons, lots of things aren't too far away, unless you want to get to the sea. Then the sea is far. Very very very very far.

So Mum and I headed to Hornsea for the most typical English visit to the seaside ever in that we ate fish & chips, bundled up against the howling wind and looking at very ominous grey skies.

In other words, it was brilliant.

Fred and Lily-ing

You didn't think I'd forgotten about them did you? Obviously not. Fred and Lily were in true crazy Fred and Lily mode. Just look at the photo of Lily's completely manic face at the prospect of being in the vicinity of crisps and dip. And Fred has a fun new trick - jumping on top of the door and then trying to get you as you walk past into the kitchen.

When they are not being totally mad, they are still mostly fond of relaxing, something which Lily is particularly good at doing...

Friday, 27 February 2015

Edward's Menagerie - Caitlin the Giraffe

Hot on the heels of  Benedict the Chimpanzee who featured in my review of Edward's Menagerie last week I had another project on my hook.

Much as I am a lover of colour I've been really enjoying working in more muted shades for these guys. They just look more friendly somehow which is a statement I am well aware makes no sense.

Anyway, this guy's face is just a little bit too much for me. It's off the cute-scale by about a hundred degrees. And I also really love his ossicones. I also love that I now know the word ossicones. Let's all try and get it into a sentence tomorrow, although I'm pretty sure the only sentence you can get it into is one that's something along the lines of "Oh look, that giraffe has a lovely set of ossicones." You never know, it might crop up at some point.

The part I really enjoyed about making Caitlin though was the body. Again, as with everything I love about this book, it's so simple and yet looks absolutely amazing. The patches of darker colour are just worked randomly as you're working the body, not cutting the colour off each time you change but keeping it at the back until you need to pick it up again.

Working anything randomly is a huge struggle for me and I had to resist all my natural urges to basically have a very long necked zebra. Stripes are neat, I can handle that.

It also meant that a stitch counter and stitch marker were absolutely essential as it would be very tricky to work random numbers of stitches and still keep count of what you were doing over all.

But totally worth it, am I right?!

Caitlin is a new firm favourite for me and I'm looking for an excuse to make another one as soon as possible.

She's also a good old size once she's finished. She's sat next to a 6x4in photo frame so you can see how tall she is. As she should be, she's a bloody giraffe!

The only thing I would do differently next time around is makes sure I stuffed the neck more so that she's able to keep her head up. I followed the general rules to not overstuff and keep everything floppy but I just don't think it really works for Caitlin. These photos involved an awful lot of balancing to keep her head up and I felt a bit rubbishy at how floppy her head was.

I'm still in love with this book and I've got to tell you right now, that I've already finished my next item from it.

And now that one might be my favourite...

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A little bit of internet love: Part VI

I know I should do these more often and then these posts wouldn't be showing you links to posts that were written about three weeks ago which I always worry makes me look ever so slightly creepy. "Oh hai, I've been saving this blog post of yours to share with people....along with the cutting of your hair that I took when I crept into your room last night..."

Anyway. Enough of being creepy. Time to share the love...

1. You may have noticed that I talk a lot about the fact that I'm from Hull - I'm a fan of anyone who talks about their love for Hull, and although our experiences of living in Hull are vastly different, Ryan's post, In Defence of Hull and his love for our city resonates with me.

2. Elise has been crocheting from a book that I've had for ages but have yet to dip into - check out this little Grim Reaper...

3. I'm going to sneakily move into Janet's house and set up camp at her new home office. Don't tell her I'm going to do it though...

4. Chloe talked about feeling attractive and I wholeheartedly agree with what she said. Especially about getting a shower/washing your hair - whenever I feel crappy I always force myself into the shower and it never fails to make me feel a little bit better.

5. Rachael wrote a post called Don't Assume Your Blog Followers... which really resonated with me in a couple of places. Especially the bit about assuming people use Bloglovin'.

6. Hayles went to a Black Heart Creatives jewellery workshop and I am outrageously jealous about it.

7. Christa over at A Voluptuous Mind posted Shall I Rise, a poem by Maya Angelou. It came at an incredibly appropriate time for me and I cried big, fat, blobby tears when I read it. It is beautiful.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Photo an Hour l 21st February

I should have been in Manchester this weekend, after my last weekend was cancelled. This weekend got cancelled as well. Need to cut these flaky people out of my life really don't I?

Anyway. No plans. Nothing happening. Yet another Photo an Hour date came round and I had a day of nothingness ahead of me. These Photo an Hour posts that I'm taking part in seem to serve the purpose of highlighting how crap my life is...

This was Saturday 21st February...

9am Slow start to the day as it was a late night the day before. Got up and made myself a cup of tea and retreated back to my lair to watch Goldfrapp videos on You Tube. For absolutely no reason.

10am It's not a weekend unless bacon is involved somewhere, at some point. This might be the finest bacon sandwich I've ever made myself, I got the perfect crispiness.

11am Decided to get up and get dressed but was faced with the everlasting problem of a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear. My plan was to head straight out but got waylaid by a lengthy phone call with my Mum and the weather going absolutely batshit crazy - hailing with blue skies? What?

12pm Suddenly remembered that I needed to send off a package to a friend. I finally managed to crochet one hundred hearts for my friend's wedding and needed to send them off to her. Made use of my washi tape stash - everyone loves pretty post, right?

1pm Finally made it into town and to the Farmer's Market which takes place just beside the ruins of the castle. Thankfully the weather seemed to have calmed down and I did a big race around, ticking off everything that I wanted to get done in record time.

2pm Back home and noticed the rather lovely shadow being cast in my bedroom

3pm Turns out one of my headlights has gone out so I ventured out to Halfords to buy a bulb and get it fitted. Yeah you can fit them yourself but for the stress of it I'd rather just pay £7 and get it sorted thanks. Also, trying to take a surreptitious photo of someone fitting your new headlight is really hard.

4pm Time for a cup of tea and crochet time. Already got another couple of things waiting on my order book so time to get knuckled down. Care to venture a guess as to what it's going to be?

5pm More tea needed. This time accompanied by a beast of a doughnut that I bought earlier in the day at the Farmer's Market.

6pm Went to my sister's for dinner which means lots of time with my favourites - Rosie was in the middle of taking all her toys out of her toybox and sitting down surrounded by them.

7pm Whenever Blinky behaves like a normal cat it freaks us all out a little bit. Nobody really knew what to do when she jumped up on my sister's chair at the dining table - and certainly nobody wanted to risk moving her, you can never be sure when she will strike...

8pm TV watching with my bestie, Rowan. I actually think that if I could take Rowan home with me all the time then I wouldn't miss having a man in the house at all - I'd just hug her all night and it would be brilliant.

9pm On the way back home I figured it was essential to go to the 24 hour Tesco and stock up on crisps and booze for the rest of the evening. Late night shopping is my all time favourite - it's so empty you feel like you're doing something you shouldn't be doing.

10pm 30 Rock time. It arrived this week and I've been dying to watch it, perfect Saturday night TV.

11pm Still there, watching 30 Rock. Where I remained until much much later on. I think I watched eight episodes in a row which may be considered overkill by some people.


So I don't know, I'm torn between thinking "Hey I did do some stuff, even though I had nothing really planned" and thinking "Well. This highlights how empty my life is doesn't it?"

Only time will tell...

Thanks as always to Jane and Louisa for hosting. Check in with them for March's Photo an Hour date and don't forget to join in on Twitter and Instagram using #PhotoAnHour


2015 Photo an Hour Posts

Sunday, 22 February 2015

How Shrove Tuesday 2015 Went Down

I nearly forgot about Shrove Tuesday this year. And when I did remember I found it hard to summon up the energy to actually make some.

I always remember pancake day as being a hugely social activity. We'd all be gathered in the kitchen, fighting over what we were going to put in our pancakes, I'd be begging to be allowed to try and flip one, then most likely crying when it didn't work.

Hanging out on your own, giving yourself a little cheer when you managed to toss the pancake in one swift, professional movement, just felt a little tragic.

But who was I kidding? I'm a pretty tragic individual anyway, why try and hide from it? Just embrace it and get on with it.

And I was absolutely gutted when my first pancake, you know, the one that always turns out horribly for some reason, was absolutely perfect and I had no fucker to share my triumph with. I did however take a picture for posterity so I could share it all with you guys almost a week later...

Then I remembered that of course I'm not alone. I'm never alone whilst I can walk into the lounge and see this little face looking at me...

Ser Jorah Mormont is no fool. He remembered last year when they got pancakes made for them on this special day.

Not really, they just appears whenever he smells food or hears the rustling of something that sounds like it might be a good packet. 

Like last year I decided to make both the boys a little tiny pancake each, garnished with half a slice of banana, a gerbil chocolate drop and a pumpkin seed. Last year these were whipped away and gobbled so furiously that I didn't get the chance to take a decent picture so this time I was prepared. I put them on a plate and held it outside the cage, meaning if they wanted a pancake they were going to have to come pretty far out, thus maximising the photographic opportunity.

Seriously. This is my life.

Sure enough Ser Jorah Mormont took the bait and came out to have a little investigation. Tyrion Lannister had unfortunately just taken a bit of museli out of the food bowl and was furiously trying to eat it as fast as possible so he didn't miss out. It's hard to eat quickly when you only have a little gerbil mouth though, I bet they wish they had pouches like hamsters.

What I hadn't counted on is the fact that after a year has gone by, the gerbils are cool as a cucumber when it comes to being around me. They're not frightened of being picked up and most importantly they know that if they stay still they are almost definitely going to be rewarded with food.

And so, rather than whip the pancake back into the gerbilarium to eat it, Ser Jorah Mormont just decided to hang out on the plate I had kindly provided.


Have you ever seen anything so ridiculously cute in your entire life?

Can you also see how even when you think you've given a gerbil a really small pancake, it actually turns out to be outrageously massive?*

Can you imagine how cute two gerbils eating pancakes are?

*After a minute or so and a lot of pictures I took the pancakes away as I really didn't think they should be eating so much. I know, I'm super mean.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

How I won at Valentine's Day

I saw a plethora of blog posts last week all revolving around the subject of Valentine's Day. All started with the same sentence "Personally my boyfriend and I don't really bother with Valentine's Day..." and then proceeded to either try and sell me something from a company that was loosely related to the day or (my personal favourite) provide a list of "alternative" things to do on Valentine's Day.

I eventually had to move my laptop to another room to prevent myself from throwing it against a wall.

Smug fuckers.

And the thing was I used to be one of those smug fuckers. Kind of. I've never understood the whole hating on Valentine's Day thing. Sure I've never gone the whole hog, buying insane presents and going out and awkwardly sitting in a restaurant with every other couple in the vicinity, but I have appreciated the day for what it is; a nice opportunity to turn the person you love and go "Hey, did you know I love you?"

No you shouldn't need just one day to tell someone you love them and yes it probably is a sad indictment of your relationship if you throw a tantrum because your other half didn't get you a big enough bunch of flowers, but why would you pass up the opportunity to be a bit romantic?

Which is probably why the lead up to Valentine's Day was rough as this year. Everywhere I went it was as if there were flashing red and pink neon signs up saying "YOU'RE ALONE!" something of which I'm already aware thaaaaaanks.

Luckily for me I had a hot date in the diary for Saturday with lovely bloggy people Gemma, Maria, Sarah, Emma and Katy. That means there were four of Team Norbury around a table which made me happy. (Really I just like an excuse to link to that blog post, it stills makes me laugh like a drain.)

At Jamie's we did the usual - ate food, drank some stuff and inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) cringed at the over-familiarity of the wait staff. It was my first time at a Jamie's and it know....okay. I'm all down with the aesthetics they have going on but the food was only alright for the price you pay and the acoustics were dreadful. It was absolutely rammed and there were times when we could hardly hear each other speak.

I don't really know where the time went but before I knew it I was racing back to the train station and hopping on a train to go back home.

The bad feelings could have returned again, coming back home to an empty flat whilst everything on the internet and the TV was all about love, romance and the sexy stuff, but I knew how to keep those bad boys at bay.

All I needed was two simple ingredients.

A Chinese takeaway and Top Gun on TV.

Oh and a third ingredient. 

Twitter so I could just tweet quotes from the film ad finitum.

Suck it Valentine's Day. I win.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Edward's Menagerie - A Review

I am starting to gather quite the collection of amigurumi crochet books. I hadn't realised how out of control it was getting until they all fell down on the bookshelf the other day and the resounding clash made me spill of cup of tea.

Anyway, one of the latest editions has become by far and away my favourite of all time and I want to rush up to people on the street and urge them to buy it.

I received Edward's Menagerie as a Christmas present, along with two balls of Toft Alpaca Yarn and immediately started itching to get hooking. Christmas dinner be damned, I had crocheting for myself to be doing!

Reason number one that I love this book: Detail. Detail detail detail detail detail.

I love a bit of detail, I like rules, I like instructions, I like being lazy and having someone tell me exactly what to do and this book offers you that. Not in a super annoying patronizing way, but in a super informative brilliant way.

There is a section which shows you the different sizes of animals and what hook and yarn size you will need to create those. There's a section that talks to you about stuffing techniques and how the placement of ears, eyes and noses can really affect the facial expressions of your animal.

Aah yes, the animals. This book has it all. 40 of them. Forty! And they are not just bog standard boring animals - there isn't just a monkey, there's a monkey, a chimpanzee and a gorilla. There isn't just a cat, there's a flipping aardvark in there. From hippos to palomino ponies and foxes to raccoons, this book has it all.

Reason number two that I like this book: The animal construction.

This is so outrageously clever and simple that it blew my mind. Every animal in the book is made up of a standard form, the instructions for which are located at the front of the book. All the arms, legs, bodies and heads start with this basic form and then start to vary once you get into more detail. It means that if you were to make a Highland Cow and a Cheetah - they would still look like they belonged to the same family and therefore would look flipping awesome sat on a shelf together.

Reason number three that I like this book: The flippin' animals! Look look look look.

This is Benedict the Chimpanzee and isn't he just the bloody best thing you've ever seen, ever?

Not only is he a decent size (the photo frame next to him is a standard 6x4 frame) but look how nicely he sits. Again, this is all down to the wonderful instructions given in the book. I am a bit of an over zealous stuffer when it comes to my amigurumi and when I read the suggestion in the book about less is more it totally made sense in my head. The animals in Edward's Menagerie are really lightly stuffed - the arms and legs are just stuffed at the bottom and the body isn't rammed full either, and it means that they sit really beautifully and are fun to hold as well.

Benedict hasn't stayed with me though, he has gone off to live down South as a present for a work colleague who is having her baby very soon. And no sooner was he off my hook than I have cracked on with the next one, a giraffe for another colleague. I'm hoping no-one else announces they are pregnant as I'm backing myself into a corner with this one...

(Just one small note - Benedict was made using Stylecraft DK and a 4mm hook. I did start to make something with my Alpaca Wool from Toft and was making it using the 3mm hook as recommended in the book but my crochet stitches tend to be as uptight as I am and it was actually making this guy not very floppy and cuddly and also meant that the beautiful silky wool lost some of its softness.)

[Obviously not a sponsored post - I just like this stuff you guys!]