Friday, 30 January 2015

Making plans...a new start...

I love January; a new start, chance to make plans, set goals, take stock of where and I am where I want to be next.  I've already mentioned my love of stationery and the new year is the perfect excuse for a new notebook and then obviously a new diary and calendar.  

Mr M has put a system in place where we both receive an email prior to birthdays of family and friends and chuckles when he still sees me transferring all the birthdays from last years calendar to this years.  I just find it easier this way OK.  Plus a very good friend gave me this Great British Bake Off one...

I'm not rushing into declaring plans for 2015 just yet, that's not to say I don't have any, I do...honestly.  It's just that they're still work in progress and still taking shape. I started this year getting over a rather nasty virus and just didn't have my normal zip.  I think Mr M is quite relieved really as normally in January I have plans flying out of me right, left and centre!

2015 is going to be quite different at chez nous as my contract with the mental health charity I have been working for ended at the end of last year.  My heart is still very much in the world of mental wellbeing and not wanting to turn my back on this, together with a former colleague who is also a very dear friend, we have set up Work Smart Work Savvy.  Take a peek, we'd love to hear from you at Work Smart Work Savvy HQ.

We had lots of plans up until the end of the year but have been locked away in Work Smart Work Savvy HQ beavering away developing new plans and visions for going forward.  I'm constantly flipping from excited, scarred, frustrated, overwhelmed, proud, doubtful and confident....sometimes going through all of these within an hour!!

Do pop by and say "hello", we'd love to hear from you at Work Smart Work Savvy

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Stationery Love Affair

Do you love stationery?  I'm particular nutty about new notebooks and diaries...especially if they either have those elastics around them to hold them closed or close clips...oh and I adore using lovely flowy ink pens too...I don't mean proper ink spilly fountain pens but pens where you have to let the ink dry and be careful not to smudge it for a few seconds as opposed to scratchy biros, although I dare say there could a be a couple of those lurking at the bottom of that pencil case!  Shhh!

These two beauties below were two of my stationery Christmas pressies from my lovely Mr M; a floral notebook and a 2015 diary.  Mr M is very much a type it in a document / do it on his iphone type of guy and although it amuses him and causes him to say things like "you do like writing things in books don't you?" and "I bet you underline things don't you?" and "are you sure you have enough coloured pens there?" said with a raised eyebrow, he indulges in my stationery love affair with these perfect additions.

Oh and who, I hear you ask, is that gorgeous little clippy butterfly?  Well I shall tell you, this fabulous pince a papier...I know...has come all the way from Paris...bein sur...oh la la!  A present from my dear friend Rachel who also gave me an equally adorable clip for my hair too.  As you will see on the next few photos le papillon (I know, I can't stop now!) is very handy.

Now I confess to wondering already if this post is verging on stationery geekdom!  Or do you think we passed that mark way back and we should just boldly continue?  

Yes I agree my friend, it IS too late to back out now...on y va mes amis!

Now although this diary isn't as pretty as my previous ones, I do love it's sleekness and understated style.  I think Mr M fell for the chunky pencil which is pretty funky and triangular which is tricky to see in this photo but trust me.

I think it's going to work really well having the week on one page and then the facing page free for notes and lists.

The reason I have it open in May in case you're wondering is that I've already gone through and put in all friends and family birthdays and May is the only month where I have a birthday free week (two bday free weeks in May in fact) and therefore avoid getting into any tricky data protection issues!

OK onwards we go with our tour de papeterie!  The floral notebook is stunning inside as well with dainty blooms and a handsome hummingbird on each page...swoon!  Not sure how I'm going to feel about writing on this little feathered one though.

Oooh still in it's plastic packet, although I admit to taking it out for a little peek.  This slightly smaller, perfect for my handbag notebook was a wonderful gift from my brother and sister in-law.  I currently have a small handbag, go everywhere notebook in use for all ideas, sketches, notes on the go so it's going to take all my will power to finish that one first before diving into this one...on to the top shelf you go, out of temptations way!

And here is that very item, my Emma Bridgewater current on the go book along with my larger notebook, also a previous gift from Mr M...I told you he was good to me and my stationery love affair!  The little one contains lots of lists, measurements, plans and very rough scribbles of ideas and the other one is my treasure trove of more detailed plans, fabric and yarn samples, sketches, patterns and mind maps.  It's a system which may not make much sense but it works for me...oh yes, one other thing, the big one has a large gusseted pocket at the back too....very handy!

Yes mes amis, there are of my plans last year was to doodle more and create a fabulous oodles of doodles book.  Well "oodles" might be over selling it but I did enjoy doodling.  I tend to be quite a planner and feel uncomfortable about just starting off a doodle in pen (it's just so permanent) and going with the flow...maybe I'm not a particularly flowy person, so I thought this could be good for me.

My sis gave me this collection of pens (another great present, I'm a very lucky girl) and although I've tried them all out, it would be rude not to, so far I'm definitely favouring the fine end of the spectrum which I guess is in testament to my non-flowiness, in that I feel the thicker pens take more guts to use and I'm just not quite there yet.

I'm also not quite at the stage where I'm willing to share my doodles but I will one day when I'm feeling brave I promise.

Even the lovely people at Mollie Makes are helping me indulge in my stationery love affair with this fun freebie of shaped post-it notes, stickers, washi tape, labels and bakers still my beating heart!

These two have come to the end of their lifespan; my Cath Kidston 2014 diary which was lovely although the plastic outer cover press-stud fastener broke before February was out which was a shame even though I'd tried to reinforce it with pretty fabric tape.   I can't remember where the purple leather one came from but it was simply full of blank paper which I covered in sketches and ideas.

So there you have it, a wander through my pretty forest of stationery lovelies.  What items are the heroes in your Stationery Love Affair?

A bientot mes amis x

Ariel the Elf

Some of you may know that during December we have an extra house quest called Ariel the Elf.  Ariel arrives with much excitement (and quite often gifts, she's a very generous Elf) on the 1st December.  Each night she flies back to the North Pole using her Elf magic and reports all good behaviour to Father Christmas.  Then every morning she hides in a different place ready for Miss M and Miss E to find her. 

Sometimes she is just hanging about watching what's happening and taking it all in but other times we find her in some very funny and frankly quite cheeky situations.

Here's some of the things Ariel got up to in 2014...

Ariel arrived this year clutching the Christmas photo of Miss M and Miss E from last year along with a lovely Christmas jumper for them both.  She was caught red handed with the Choccy Buttons, didn't seem to get on particularly well with loom banding, loved trying on Miss E's hairclips and pretending to be Anna with her very own marshmallow Olaf.

Ariel really is the perfect house guest and made breakfast on several occasions this year with some morning treasure hunts and secret elf size messages.

I said she was a generous Elf and arrived on the back head of Sven the Reindeer on day!  Her crocheting needs some more practice and we did catch her having a duvet day but then a guess all that to-ing and fro-ing from her to the North Pole, even with a good dusting of magic, must be tiring!

Flying with her very own angel wings, leaving a Christmas joke trail, baking tiny Elf Doughnuts and getting in a tangle with the festive wrapping paper all made us laugh but not as much as when she staged her very own Strictly Come Dancing show.  Miss M thought she must have been watching Iveta Lukosiute with that vertical split move...looks like the judges were impressed too with a full set of 10s!

While shepherds washed their socks by night
All hanging on the line
Elf Ariel said "good bye" to us
"I'll see you next Christmas time"

Ariel 2013

And just because Miss M and Miss E and I have enjoyed looking back at last year's photos, here they are...

And a link to Ariel 2013 if you still want more...

Monday, 5 January 2015

Dramababes Christmas Party 2014

Although I can't confess to being a Dramababe myself, although I do rather fancy it, I did thoroughly enjoy being invited to have a stall at their Christmas Party.  So many festive outfits, amazing singing, brilliant and imaginative toy stations and mountains of mince pies!

It was lovely to meet lots of new people and reconnect with many familiar faces too and the Christ Church Community Centre was such a fabulous setting with the winter sunshine pouring in.  

Thank you for having me x
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