Monday, 22 September 2014

Back to black

I finally got a remote for my camera and, after digging my tripod back out after moving, I had to try it out.  I actually got it for my birthday at the end of July and can't believe it's taken me this long to test.  It makes taking outfit pictures so much easier!  Admittedly, it would have been even quicker if I'd managed to get the cable plugged in properly to begin with, but the less said about that the better.  (It's a bit shameful that my job title has the word 'technical' in it and I still manage to do daft things like not push cables in far enough...)  

This outfit is a classic mixture of new and old.  I recently found the trench coat on eBay, it's made a good replacement to my old summer coat.  The tunic was from the H&M sale a few months ago and I finally got a chance to wear it after purchasing some new leggings from Long Tall Sally (two pairs for £25!).  I don't know why I ignored leggings for so long, they're ridiculously comfy and I think they manage to look fairly smart here.  My boots were found in America last year - I was looking for this type of style everywhere and ended up having to visit four different branches before I found my size.  Persistence paid off there I think!  They're rubbish in the rain unfortunately but I guess they'll work before we get deep into the soggy winter season.

coat - Topshop Tall via eBay
scarf - Jigsaw via charity shop
tunic - H&M
boots - DSW


Monday, 8 September 2014

A trip to Blackpool

Apparently Tam and I are not satisfied with just one summer holiday.  Anyway, June was aaaages ago.  It was still cold then!  We booked the Blackpool trip a bit last minute, mostly down to me being put in charge of sorting this holiday.  And if there's one thing I hate, it's sorting out the logistics of things.  I will do anything to avoid actually doing the really very quick and simple job of booking a couple of train tickets and a hotel room.  My brain dies of boredom.  But book it I did, and if I may say, my timing was impeccable.  This was our first holiday with no rain!  The weather was beautiful the entire week, we were very lucky.

Our hotel was directly opposite North Pier, another stroke of luck (or excellent planning on my part.  Yeah, that sounds better.)  It was the perfect place to have as a base, meaning we could wander the piers, catch the tram or peruse the charity shops easily and still have a rest before dinner.  We crammed so much into the four-and-a-bit days, but it never felt like we were overdoing it, especially when we were sitting on North Pier in the sunshine, drinking coffee (Tam), knitting (me) and listening to old time tunes.  Obviously there was plenty of visits to the amusements too - we had especially good luck on an ancient 2p machine in Fleetwood. These little things make me happy.

We rode the carousel and big wheel, went flume riding at the water park, paddled in the sea, ate chips, chips and more chips, raced plastic camels, took a tiny ferry, bought amazing cake from a wee village bakery, gingerly stepped out onto the glass floor at the top of the tower (one of us did anyway...and I got myself off it again pretty quickly), took pictures in a photo booth, took pictures everywhere actually, found so many old and interesting buildings, went insane collecting tickets from amusement machines, drank beer in the sunshine, sent postcards and generally had a merry old time.  Roll on the next holiday!

(p.s. Who remembers that Billy Connolly song about the wellies?  We had to learn it at school when I was eight and perform it at assembly - whilst wearing our wellies of course.)


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Finished Knitting - Christmas Stockings...

I've been focusing on more tiny knitting lately before I start my next baby blanket.  This project was created by Woman's Weekly, a magazine I grew up with and kind of still love, even though my mum no longer buys a paper copy and I follow them on Twitter instead.  They're trying to create a world record for most knitted and crocheted Christmas decorations, which will then be sold at the Woman's Weekly live show in September.  I used one of my favourite patterns from this Jean Greenhowe book for all but one of the stockings, and they knitted up really quickly.  (The other pattern is this one, which I've used time and again since I was small)  I made fourteen altogether, and finished them off with a colourful pompom.  Only a small contribution, but hopefully a useful one.  Now on to the blanket!  Oh, then tiny hats!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

July in Books

So yeah...this is late.  I just wasn't feeling writing about books this month, which has turned against me now since I can't remember much about anything I read!  But July was a pretty good month for reading anyway.  I finally finished the Ice and Fire books!  And I read a classic that somehow escaped me in childhood.  Actually it probably didn't escape me, I just actively avoided anything 'old fashioned' looking as a kid, odd considering how many books I could devour in a week.  Also I'm afraid I didn't get a chance to take a new picture so this one is slightly inaccurate...  You can check what I'm reading as I go on Goodreads though.

A Dance With Dragons - After The Feast by George RR Martin - I...kind of can't remember much about this book...That's not good...Well I wouldn't want to spoil it for all the 'TV show only' readers anyway so probably just as well ;)

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild - I totally loved this book.  A nice little story about being positive and helping your family and doing something worthwhile because, in those days, being an actress or dancer was great but it didn't get you into the history books.  I snorted a bit reading that, since that's probably the most likely way to become famous now!

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - I've still not seen the film.  I liked the book though, even if it did feel a bit rushed.  Told through the eyes of teenager Henry, it tells the story of how he and his mother sheltered an escaped convict Frank, and how Henry's feelings towards the pair of them change as Adele and Frank start to fall for each other.  It was a pretty 'meh' story, but I enjoyed comparing it to the movie trailer in my head.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - A few people had told me how funny this book is and that I must read it but I always steered clear, thinking it would be stuffy and dull.  I didn't find it hilarious but I did really enjoy it.  Orphan Flora has decided to inflict herself upon a family member to avoid getting a job (probably easier done in the 1930s than now I imagine) and she chooses a rural farm filled with stereotypical relatives to stay with.  Her schemes to turn them all into civilised human beings made for an interesting read...

The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day - A nice easy read, following the Singleton family as they holiday by the sea in the 1950s.  The stories of the daughters were far more interesting than reading about the parent's problems, although I'm a sucker for books set around this period so I didn't mind much.

The Glass House by Sophie Cooke - Vanessa has been expelled from boarding school and sent back home to live with her secretly abusive mother.  This girl was basically the complete opposite to me (rebellious, good at hiding her true feelings and covering up for the 'bad guy') and it just made me frustrated at her the whole way through.  Which I guess is a good thing since it draws you into the book.  I can't even remember how it ended now but I know I liked it, despite the difference of opinion with the writer.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

11 things and 11 more...

I was just thinking recently about the blog awards that were floating around when I first started blogging way back in 2010 and wondered if that was still a thing.  Turns out it is, since I got nominated twice last week!  (It's such a relief to say 'nominated' and not follow it up with 'ice bucket challenge'.  All those morons can faff off.) (and I suspect saying that will age this post very quickly...)  Jenny and Janet both sent the Liebster Award my way, so I'm going to combine them and answer all their questions in one go.  The rules were a bit different between Jenny and Janet's awards - Janet's had a section to state 11 facts about yourself, but I'm gonna skip this part since answering all these questions will probably be enough information for anyone to take in as it is...

Here's the rules - 
+ Share 11 facts about yourself
+ Answer the 11 (or more...cough) questions set by the nominator
+ Make up 11 questions to ask your nominees
+ Go tell them they're nominated!

And my answers - 

Why did you start blogging? (Jenny and Janet)
I can't exactly remember now!  Not a great start, is it?  I think I stumbled across some blogs when I was googling 'money saving' or 'vintage' or something similar, and when I realised people just like me were out there online sharing their lives, I thought 'I can do that' and off I went.  None of my friends shared my interest in vintage and charity shopping so I loved finding others out there that did.

What have you learned since beginning your blog? (Jenny)
That it will eat up a lot of time if you let it!  On a more positive note, I've learned so much about photography and writing and, strangely enough, about not oversharing on the internet.  There's far too much of that around now...

What's your favourite, and least favourite, thing about blogging? (Janet)
I love making new friends and discovering new blogs that I just 'get'.  It's rare but when it does happen it's lovely!  I love when one of my favourite bloggers has a new post up.  I love when I post about something I'm really excited about and my readers get excited and interested too. 

Least favourite...I don't think I'm saying anything new here - in fact I know I'm not - but blogging just isn't the same now and it makes me feel kind of disillusioned with it all.  It's just so saturated.  I know no-one can write about something the same way I would, and that the way everyone experiences something is unique, but it just makes me frustrated that the person writing about the latest mascara or slutty brownies (what even are these?) for the millionth time will get more attention than someone with something more personal and profound to say.  I'm not saying that these things don't have a place on the internet but...well, they don't on mine.

What post are you most proud of? (Janet)
Hmm, it's hard for me to think of any one that especially stands out as a favourite, but I do have a soft spot for my knitting posts - I love seeing what I've created and sharing it with my fellow craft buddies.  I also loved doing the Family Flashbacks series a couple of years ago.  A combination of old family photos and my job as a film archivist makes me realise the importance of preserving the present for the future.

What's your favourite craft? (Jenny)
This was how Jenny and I first bonded - a shared love of knitting!  And Game of Thrones, if I'm not mistaken...  I can sew too, but I don't have nearly the levels of patience and passion required to be an expert at it.  Same with drawing - I want to be good again (Advanced Higher Art student here!) but I'd just rather be knitting...  It's the only hobby I've done consistently all my life so I don't think I'll be stopping any time soon.

What's your favourite, and least favourite, colour of sweet? (Janet)
Janet, I also love the red ones!  And the orange too, sorry ;)  I hate yellow though - when I eat Skittles or Fruit Pastilles I actually put the yellow ones back in the bag and either throw them out or make Tam eat them.  Joosters were the one exception to this rule and they now only exist in America.  Sigh.

What's your favourite season of the year and why? (Jenny)
Ooh Autumn for sure.  I know EVERYONE says that but what's not to like?  Cool but not cold weather, less rain than winter or summer (well... it's Scotland though so... who knows?), so much prettiness outside, so many excuses for staying inside... 
(Blogging has also taught me that I'm not OMG special or unique like everyone thought I was in high school.  Yeah, I'm still fighting that teenage battle to be 'different'.)

What's your favourite flower? (Janet)
I LOVE baby's breath, I think they're so pretty.  I tried to persuade my friend to have her wedding bouquet made of them but she just gave me a funny look...  Someone sent me rainbow coloured roses once, they were pretty cool.  Sadly my old hard drive broke and I lost my pictures of them but they were just like this.

What's your favourite Disney movie? (Jenny)
Forever and ever, Beauty and the Beast.  Because I saw it when I was at an impressionable age (and obsessed with books like Belle) and thought life would just naturally turn out that rosy in the end.  The first film I saw at the cinema was The Little Mermaid though so I have a soft spot for that.  And who doesn't love Frozen?  Non animated would be Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken - my gran had to rent this at the video shop for me every week, it was one of many movie obsessions I had throughout the years.  I still do that actually...

Did you have a favourite dressing up outfit as a child (or adult)? (Janet)
When I was very young, my gran would let me wear my mum's wedding dress around the house on the odd occasion.  I thought I was a princess, and always a tiny bit annoyed that it didn't fit me.  That would still be the case now, but for opposite reasons sadly!  As an adult I don't really care for dressing up - I feel silly wearing anything other than my own style.

What makes you happiest in the world? (Jenny)
See here!  I would also add - when Parsnip (Tam's dog) gets excited to see us, when a photo turns out better than I expected, and finding a new friend that you just click with.  Actually I just re-read that post and it made me smile, so it has to be one of my favourites.

Zayn or Harry? (Janet)
I vaguely remember my thirteen year old cousin mentioning years ago that she 'used to like Harry but everyone likes him best so I like Zayn now.'  However, she decided about a year ago she had lost interest in all of them so...I dunno.  Personally I like Gary Lightbody best.

What have you made or done in the past year that you've been most proud of? (Jenny)
I've been knitting more, so that's always good!  But my best thing has to be getting my job.  It's just so perfectly suited to me that I'm still a bit in shock that I get to do it every day.  Plus I'm ridiculously bad at interviews and this one was mostly just answering a couple of standard questions then talking about film and history and cinema evolution.  My favourite subjects basically.  We're all kindred spirits there haha!

What was your best holiday and why? (Janet)
When I was a teenager we went to Florida a few times and I completely fell in love with America.  Since then we've been back there, and last year Mother and I did the west coast and New York, which was also amazing.  America is so different and yet it still feels like home to me, which is saying a lot since I hate being too far from familiarity for long.  Closer to home, Tam and I did a trip around the west coast of Scotland in June and I particularly loved Rum and Eigg, I really want to go back and explore the islands we missed up there.  Again, it's such an alternative yet familiar way of living, it makes me curious to see more of it.

If you could pass on any advice to someone, what would it be? (Jenny)
Two things I live by and tell myself (and others) a lot - 'No feeling is final' and 'Everything happens for a reason'.  Very well worn phrases but oh so true.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? (Janet)
I used to think I'd want to live somewhere else for a while - I've never felt the urge to do the travelling thing but maybe live in the US or Canada for a year and see what it's like over there.  Now I'm not sure.  I like being close to home.  I'd like to have a go at staying on one of the islands here, but the irony isn't lost on me that I could probably get to New York in the time it takes to get to Shetland...

Marvel or DC? (Jenny)
Marvel.  Cause Thor.  Duh.

What's your favourite Christmas tradition? (Janet)
Ah!  I love Christmas traditions but my friends and family don't seem to regard them with quite the same sacred rigidity that I do, so our latest tradition seems to be me getting mad at them all and spending the day in the huff.  I do not enjoy that tradition.  Before my gran passed, we would spent the holiday at her house (all the way around the corner from ours...), she would make dinner, my aunt and uncle would come round, we'd watch TV and drink wine, which made my almost tee-total mother and granny get the giggles and that would set my brother and me off.  It was much fun.

What do you do to escape? (Jenny)
I don't really feel the need to escape much these days,  I'm pretty laid back most of the time as it is.  By 'escape' I'm assuming we mean getting away from people and internets, in which case the library is a great place to be.  I love the library.  Love love love it.

Do you have a nickname? (Janet)
Eh...Tam and I have a couple of daft yet hilarious names for each other that have turned into our thing...other than that I haven't had one for a while.  (I realise the whole origin of this blog is based on my friend's and my nicknames for each other but we haven't used them in so long, I may as well change the name of the blog and get over it!)

Done!  Wow that was long, you have my eternal devotion if you got to the end!

My nominees are -
Rusty Rambles
A Fine Bird A Puddock
Lucy in the Clouds
Halfway Here

Janet and I seem to have a lot of the same favourite blogs otherwise they'd be getting nominated by me too!  Great minds...  Jenny also asked me to share some of my favourite blogs - the ones above and the ones in my sidebar are my favourites, look over there  <<<

My questions -
1 - How did you get to your current job and do you love it? (I love hearing about what other people do)
2 - Your most worn item of clothing
3 - Favourite song from childhood?
4 - What's on your 'To Read' pile?
5 - The best movie you've seen this year (new or old)
6 - What advice would you give your teenage self?
7 - A skill/talent you wish you had
8 - Show us the oldest picture on your phone
9 - Current food obsession?
10 - Beach or countryside?
11 - The best cinema you've ever been to

Enjoy, and link me back your answers!