Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holidaying in Britain!

Stylist is a free magazine which is handed out on Wednesdays in London and other large cities within the UK. Recently, it had a competition to write the perfect 100 word travel review, 100 words, are they having a fucking laugh in the office??? The following is what I actually submitted:

A good holiday isn't about the location, it’s about the people and choice of spirit you arrive with; a group of friends and I recently rented a place for my good friend’s 30th, which was perfect.
The open plan barn conversion, in Devon, which meant we ladies could dance and sing to our favourite “guilty pleasure” songs, while the guys entertained themselves between the makeshift cocktail bar, and the games room.
Along with muddy/wet walks, pebbly beaches and Cornwall, what more could be the perfect 2 night break from London’s rat race.
No jetlag and no currency converter required.

What I wanted to write was:

I love going on holiday within Britain, it's not all I know, but it's all I want as a weekend break. I mini holiday, while saving on jet leg, cash and the hopes being spared on good weather. I adore Britain.
I might sound crazy, but once you get past raised hopes, raised desires and the "idyllic holiday accommodation", all you're left with is the perfect place to holiday. Don't get me wrong, I'm not delirious, I'm a realistic and I love nothing more than an out of season let.
A proper good holiday, isn't dependent on the location alone, it's down to the location, people and choice of spirit.
To me, a group of good friends and some randoms, a great selection of all the bad foods and a cracking selection of booze, is all you need for a good holiday, and that is all located within the British borders and all 100% perfect for a fantastic holiday. Take my recent visit to Devon for my oldest friend (in numbers of years knowing me, not actual years of birth) birthday and you've the perfect setting for a truly fantastic weekend.
6 couples set off to the South-West, by 1am on the first night, all of us had arrived and were prepared to party. My friend's who's party it was, isn't "party party", she's "funtimes", so we were all edging that was the perfect setting, a secluded barn, open plan so we were all together but at least 10-15 feet apart, so the "cosy couples" felt close, yet we were totally independent. Alone enough to sing in a stupid fashion, and our counterparts were happy enough to drink onwards, instead of wondering at which point to interject?!
The following day, after a 4am ac-cappella version of Damage's "Forever" being sung "like sopranos" (who look like 90s kids within the dance routine and sounded like trees falling within an overly populated, well hearing public forest", we all sprang from our beds to our un-suite showers, as if from a musical, honest we did!
After some minor dramatics and wearing of sunglasses at the breakfast table, where under cooked bacon turned my stomach personally, we started on our potter to the nearby beach, only 20 minutes walk away?! 20 minutes if you're galloping on horseback.  
(To be honest, the walk was perfect, as all walks are when you feel like you've fairies junping on your belly/windpipe and trolls squeezing your stomach as if they're bagpipes), as in, there were moments when we all felt like we'd fall over in the mud, we were all startled of the pheasants flying from the bushes, we met random dog walkers* who were nothing but charming, yet once on the beach the guys started enjoying the old game of throwing a rock at a rock and we ladies enjoyed, well everything, being alive and it all being so beautiful, and the fog of our hangovers finally lifting, after much futile pray!

There is something crazily incredible about holidaying within Britain, you feel as if you're 1000 miles from your own door, yet you could be no more than 10 metres down the road, counts as a holiday to me. The best thing about holidaying within the UK is, in no particular order: knowing the currency, a huge bonus, no preparation required. The travelling most of the time being the same time (any car journey can be fun, it's all down to you the passengers!), yet no time difference. And being in a different climate to your everyday life; grey countryside, is hugely different to grey city, trust me!

*One of the greater things, which you won't believe, is that one of us lost their earring on the walk and accepted it was a no brainer, only to get a knock on the door later that day, to ask if the earring found on a walk earlier was ours? Seriously, it happened, now I'm not promising that to everyone, of course, if you're thinking about a 5 mile walk, don't wear 5 inch dangly earrings - simple, but where else!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fizzy Evenings

Towards the end of living at PartyCentral, we ladies had become accustomed to Fizzy Fridays, which consisted of us gathering in the sitting room, drinking copious amount of fizz. It was a beautiful thing. It was one of the 'list of many' that I was going to miss terribly.
Since I've started temping, we've had three Thursdays in a row, where we've had events; book launches, parties and Christmas related events. And every single one has involved copious amounts of Champagne and canapes. I am not complaining.

So now I celebrate Fizz Thursdays! Which are amazing, as I get to drink fizz on my sofa, while watching 'Pie in the Sky', what could be better!

Tomorrow at work, I get to open my first ever magnum bottle. I am so so excited and even a little nervous!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wall Paper Chains

To jazz up our first Christmas at home, I've made some paper chains, which obviously isn't something new, but I've learnt through the years, that using normal paper or wrapping paper, doesn't work, it's too weak. I noticed that the shop I'm currently working for, used wallpaper last year. Ding! I'm stealing that idea.

Luckily, I had two rolls of left over rolls of wallpaper from my old house, I started by cutting (using a stanley knife) lots of strips of wallpaper, 1.5' by 10.5'. I used two different types of paper, but the shop used 6 or so different types, it's a personal choice.

I couldn't find my stapler, even though I turned the entire house upside down, so I used double sided sticky pads, which were extra sticky. Although double sided sticky tape, a stapler, or paper fasteners would all work well.

In typical fashion, roll one strip in to a circle, fasten at the end. Get another strip, put it through the other one, and fasten, and so on.
Due to only having the two different types of paper, my pattern was simple, but if you're using the ends of rolls, etc. You could be funky, etc. and not conform.

To tie to the walls, curtain rails, light fixtures, etc. I then sewed some gold thread through each end, through the sticky pad, leaving quite a large loop, tying the ends together.

I've made three chains in total, but am planning on a forth one, for the corridor. My only wish, that I had more variety in paper, but I'm not going out to buy any, as this is more of a cost effective decoration.

Et Volia, cheap, easy and relatively quick decorations.

Primarni Christmas Wreath

I was in need of some cheap decorations, due to all of mine being in Oxfordshire, at my parents, and being skint. While on lunch the other day, I started to fret where to get some baubles, etc., everywhere on Oxford St is extremely expensive, where are all of the Wilkos of London?! I miss Wilkos!

I then hit upon an in genius idea, Primark! Although, Primark on Oxford St is a huge nightmare, possibly worse than New Years Sales, which are also something I avoid. I bit the bullet and took one for the team.

Now in Primarks defence, their decorations are relatively a-ok! I fell in love with these horrifically tacky glitter birds (this photo doesn't do them justice)! They come in various colours. They are totally worth the €3 (I can't find the receipt, so I've no idea how much they are in pounds, but I'm assuming £2.50-3).

Anyhow, I purchased some "Shatterproof baubles" = plastic! And these birds, they come in packets of three, and three different sets of colours. That night, I marked circles on to some pizza boxes, cut them out, marked some smaller circles on the inside. Glued the two sides together, covered them in foil, heated up my glue gun and got to work.

I took the tops off each of the baubles. and worked out how many I would need on the outside circle, and then on the inside circle. Tried to sort a general pattern, so that there wouldn't be lot of the same ones together, and set about gluing them in place.  I then glued a string of beads in and around them, to disguise the foil.  Well, in an attempt to disguise it.

Once that was all dry, I glued the remaining baubles on top of the bottom baubles, to hide the bauble tops. I left that to dry for a hour. Then I glued the birds in place, as a crowing glory.

The next day, once all was dry and set, I hooked some wire in place between the birds. So it's easy to hang.

It won't last forever, the glue in my gun is a little rubbish, but it'll last this Christmas, and everything involve, is easy to dismantle and reuse next year. This Christmas might be a cheap one, but it's going to be so so pretty!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Queen at 89

Today is the Queen's (my Grandma) 88th birthday. In homage to the old girl, I'm dedicating this post to her!

To the left is a photo of her and my Grandpa on their wedding day, many, many moons ago. Can you tell it was during the war? He was also, 13 years her senior, dirty old dog! Apparently there is a photo of my grandpa in the Imperial War Museum (in the 2nd World War section in the basement) sitting on a doogle-bug, that he and his battalion discovered in a woods in Germany, my grandma donated it to the museum, after he passed away, so others could enjoy it. I went there last summer and didn't see it, as I didn't know it was there. I'm going back, soon!

My grandma is a bit of a marvel. Fiercely independent, and stubborn as the most impossible mule. She often jokes that god is keeping her on the earth, as a joke. A bit harsh but very funny. It's safe to say that she's always had a very dry sense of humour. She's extremely witty and dark humoured, even at her age, possibly more so, now. And sharp with it.
She grew up on the outskirts of London, within a well to do family. One great uncle started the first department store in London and another was a Whittard. Her mother was of German descent, her father English.
With a caricature of herself
in uniform, she got for her dad. 
During the war, she was based down in Cornwall for a while, training young troops how to man the spotlights, later she got moved to central England to work on the radars. She once told me that the saddest part of the job was counting back in less planes, than had gone out. Towards the end of the war, she fell pregnant with my dad and lived out the last year or so, with offspring, assisting the army where she could.
After the war, once my grandpa returned from Germany. They settled in Blackheath. Apparently, she had the greatest garden of south England and the greatest dog know to man. Since then, she's moved around a bit. Worked way passed her retirement years and had my family running around her, like mentalists. So, I'd like to raise my glass of squash in honour of the old girl's 89th year, chin chin!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From the top of the Winnebago

I'm only writing this now, as I'm hoping we're out of the woods, I don't want to temp fate.

About six weeks ago, while my parents were on holiday in Santander, my father decided he'd go up on the roof of the winnebago to do something, he'd mentioned to my mum that he'd appreciate her help in holding the ladder, she said she'd be there in a second. By the time my mum walked outside to assist my dad, she finds him laying on the ground unconscious. An ambulance is called and off they go to A&E.

My dad finally wakes up, he's dislocated his shoulder, bruised his knee, hurt his lower back, etc. The doctors check him over and say he's fine and needs some rest. Back to the winnebago they go, two days later my dad is talking about humans being made of cornflakes (my dad is a little off the radar at times, but not crazy), my mum packs him back off to the hospital, where they discover bleeding on the brain?! They sort him out, do a proper check over and admit him to intensive care.

Every day they tell my mum that he'll be moved to a general ward very soon, spends about a week in intensive care, still talking shit and being horrid to my mum, who apparently has kidnapped him and as soon as they get back to the UK, he's taking her to court.

After about a week and a half, he was moved to a twin room with a Spanish guy, where he spent time being charming and lovely to the nurses and doctors, and caused my mother nothing but a headache. One day he decided that the King of Spain wanted to visit him, and he couldn't believe my mum wouldn't let him, as she thought he'd be a bad influence on the King, etc.

After about two weeks, they decide that he's safe and just needs to recover, so tell my mum he's good to go. Enter fear and worry for my mum. My brother, Adie, flies over to accompany her on the plane, and is large enough to control my dad, if he decides to kick off, which it appeared was standard at that time.
Every thing seems to go ok. My dad is well behaved in the taxi and on the plane. He has a little freak out back in the UK and swings for my brother (say what?!). Halfway home, my brother decides he's driving straight to A&E at the local hospital, to save my mum having to drive him in alone in the morning.

Lots of tests are done, my dad's brain is still swollen (why was he allowed to fly home?), which explains the continued confusion and unusual behaviour. Neurologist finally exams the scans, etc. Says he doesn't believe there will be any long term damage, which is great news. There might be a slight personality difference = slightly more patient or impatient, more irritable or less irritable, etc.
My mum asks what's next. Praying they don't say he just needs rest at home. Thankfully, the doctor wouldn't dream of releasing him to my mum, and they admit him to a ward.
My mum finally thinks of what to say to my grandma, as if she knows he's hit his head, it'll give her ample ammunition for visits to the bank and solicitors. So I advise my mum to say he fell over, hurt his knee and has been experiencing headaches and dizziness, due to twisting his back, therefore damaging my spine...seemed like the best option.

The first week in hospital in Oxford, my dad is fine. A little techy and short but at least he's being so with everyone, not just my mum. He constantly appears to complain that he's not getting any sleep and the tv is rubbish, you know the important things.
Second week, he's getting a bit better but is still irritable. My mum starts to mention to friends that dad is in hospital and that he's a little confused, so don't take him at face value. A husband and wife pop by to see him. He seems fine, until the husband asks him how it happen, cue the KGB snipers and the 8 bullets still inside

Soon enough, the hospital say they need the bed, as the swelling seems to have gone down considerably.   The fear of hearing those words starts to bubble inside my mum, luckily there is a back up plan, with a rehabilitation centre nearby. Off he goes, and it seems to be ok. He seems happy, he starting to seem a lot more with it and there is a tuck shop there, what more could 67 year old male with swelling on the brain want?! A walk apparently?

A few days after being there, he just decides to take a walk, my mum arrives at the centre to discover my father missing. The police are called, they pop to my parents house to check he's not gotten a taxi there, nothing. Off they set to my grandmas.

Apparently, my dad turned up at my grandma's in his tracksuit, helped himself to some food and sat down to enjoy some TV with my grandma. Has a little chat, is perfectly content. Uh-oh, he spots the police walking on the front lawn, through the sitting room window. At which point he hides upstairs telling my grandma not to tell them he'd there.
"Excuse me madam, is your son here?", "yes, he's upstairs". Cue my dad flying down the stairs, through the kitchen, out the back door, around the lean-to, across the road and launching himself over the walk opposite my grandma's back garden, cue the policeman following him over the wall. Accosted him, getting him back across the wall and in to the back of the police car.
Enter extra confusion for my grandma. As the police are taking my dad away, my mum arrives to try and explain everything?! My mother dodges the answers thrown at her left, right and centre, and also does a good job of not falling in to my grandma's traps. Although, the sharp old arrow doesn't believe 100% of what my mum says, understandably.

The rehabilitation centre decides my dad is too much of a handful to have there, which leaves two options, semi-secure units in either Banbury or Bicester (about as far away as you can get within the county, from where my mum lives), he's there for less than a week and my mum decides it might be easier to have him at home. Which is where he is now.

My brother Jules, says that he seems pretty with it, surprisingly. So, everything is looking up, apart from my mum's stress levels, which are probably off the chart! She's a force to reckon with and a mighty woman! Here's to both of them...maybe my dad will treat her to another holiday, to recover.

Did I mention the best bit? It was there 40th wedding anniversary last weekend, and my mum spent it travelling too and from Banbury, to see her semi-batty husband. Now that is love.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


I'm just about to finish my second week training at Transport for London. There are 100+ fascinating (I've already completely bored Tom, to the point where if I mention work, he instantly switches off) facts, I could share but instead, I'm sharing this...Tube Stalkers

Not only is this a little creepy and extremely funny. It's also been raised to my attention that a lot of these are uploaded and enjoyed by the males of this world, good work guys.

I did get a little crush the other day, when this smartly dressed man got on the District line and pulled out his iPad to watch 'Parks and Recreation', luckily I was sat next to him, so got to enjoy 10minutes of it, while "reading my book".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've set up my own Etsy shop, finally.

Up there, I've loaded two baby mats.
I was unsure about the pricing, but I've been fair to cover costs and a small profit, minus my time.

I've been advised that Not on the High Street, is also good, but I'd rather not list the same items in two places. I'll try my luck with Etsy and we'll see what happens. It's all quite exciting.

In my lifetime, I've sold a handbag to a friend of a friend years ago, but I've never sold anything to a stranger. I've always given things as gifts. It seems rather bizarre to be selling items, but also so very exciting. That is of course, if anyone buys them. Well, in fact, regardless of people buying them, it's still exciting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dress Making

My friend Simone lives in LA and works for Alexander Henry Fabrics, every time she comes to visit, she brings me little gifts from their collections. This time, she brought me the fabric I used in the dress below, and the Frida Khalo fabric, to the right. Isn't it gorgeous, it's a deep turquoise, very vibrant and just purely adorable. Being given a couple of yards of both, was a dream come true. I love you Simone.

I had a hen do last weekend and due to being unemployed, I needed to conserve money, where I could. So decided that with the new fabric, I could be productive with my time and money. Out came Diana from retirement, and off I set. I measured the booby triangles, sewed them together. Cut four lengths of material, sewing two of them end to end, folding the edges over and ironing, then placed and sewed the boobs in place.

Eton Butterfly Print
Then I cut the lengths of the skirt and gathered them to be the correct size and sewed them in place. I was hoping to have a small open back to the skirt, but failed. I had far too much material, oops! I hemmed from 6 inches below the belt, and then sewed it all together and hemmed it. I also sewed the belt up properly. Made a quick couple of straps for the top half and popped them into the tops of the triangles.
Basically, it was really easy and took me about 4 hours to make. Isn't it cute!

It worked out really well, until about 1am, when one of my straps popped off, not so great! But all in all, it was fab and I was extremely proud to be wearing my own design. I'm extremely tempted to make a couple of summer tops in a similar style now.

Plus, I've been sewing for about 15 years now, and I've only just found out how to gather material through stitches. I guess it's true what they say, you're never too old to learn.

Too much option

Living where Tom and I live is pretty awesome. Not only is there an abundance of shops and market stalls,  awesome bars and pubs, and generally an extremely nice vibe all around, there is also, possibly, the most amount of restaurants.

We live close to Brick Lane, so automatically there are shit loads of curry and beigels. But if you go towards Liverpool St/Spitalfields, you've a whole bag of stuff.  Spitalfields is full of chain restaurants, if you fancy something well priced and predictable. In all of the side streets off Spitalfields, you'll find quaint little food bars and restaurants. Including, Japanese Canteen & Flying Burrito Bar both on Middlesex St (Not overly keen on the cactus leaf in a burrito), & Poncho8 which is the burrito bar I've not eaten at yet, next to Spitalfields.

On Commercial St, there is the good looking BoHo Mexica, & St John's Bread & Wine, which I'm dying to eat at, I want bread and wine!
Up on Columbia Road, there is a fab looking restaurant, that Tom & I are desperate to go to, called Brawn, there is something charming about it, perfectly sized, open planned, honest little tables and chairs, dim lighting, charmingly perfect. It reminds me of the Magdalen Arms, Oxford.
There is also numerous sushi bars, and Italian restaurants. I'm in my FAT element.  And I haven't even mentioned the two food courts and street market every Sunday in Brick Lane. Or the infamous curry house down in Aldgate East called Lahore Kebab House. Or the fact that our local, The Carpenters Arms, does awesome food. If you order something as simple as Potted Smoked Mackeral, it comes with a whole baguette of bread automatically and is delicious! I'm desperate to try the Escargot and chips. Yum!

Now, talking about pubs, we're within a close proximity to The Ten Bells, Commercial Tavern, The Carpenters Arms & The Pride of Spitalfields. Slightly further a field, are The Royal Oak, The Marksman & The Water Poet. These are just the ones we go to, there are about 4 off Spitalfields, in the back streets, that I often walk past and think about visiting.
One of our favourites, is The Pride of Spitalfields, it's a classic boozer. Extremely old school; carpet, curtains, dark painted patterned wallpaper, brass horseshoes, mega sized optics, cheap booze and one of the bar ladies has stepped out of Eastenders, it's perfect. We've seen British comedians in there. It's that classic typical little pub that is perfect, especially with the spilling on to the roadside for the smoking area.

Basically, I'm not wanting to sound smug, I'm just trying to say, that when I'm employed, as well as Tom, my bank balance is doomed! Although, my social life will be thriving, as will my waist band.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Naked Wines - Benjamin Darnault

I joined NakedWines about a year ago. I received £40 off my first order through BBCGoodFood, when I signed up with them, (which as a side note, is totally worth it, as not only do you get £40, you also get somewhere online to store your favourite recipes and also somewhere to submit them).

I'm not one to turn down a good offer, so off I went to NakedWines. The first thing I liked was that they support winemakers, who have found it hard to get distribution within the UK. Second, they deliver to your door (I know all wine companies do this, but it's a huge plus). Third, the website is perfectly interactive, where members can leave reviews and opinions of particular wines. Basically, there are lots of reasons I like them and chose to stick with them. I originally thought, if it's crap, I can leave, but it wasn't crap, it was great. Especially as this bottle, Minervois, was one of my first purchases.

Now, Benjamin Darnault is a genius with wine. Some how whatever he discovers/makes tastes like heaven. Tom & I adore the Minervois, ever since we had it the first time, the heavenly silky, cameral rouge has now become a standard order for us. I'm soon to order the Benjamin Darnault case, to taste all of his delightful discoveries.

This month, I got in the Celtis Australis, it's just as gluggable as the Minervois, a little fuller, but equally as rounded. Basically, if you're going to spend money anywhere, and would like a tasty wine and some thing that is purely delicious, order Ben's wines from Naked Wines, if nothing more...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Being a Dental Receptionist Pt. 1

I got sacked today (I've never been sacked before. I've always been the dependable, considerate, trustworthy, loveable employee), it sucks. Well it doesn't massively, as I kind of really hated that job, as in really disliked my role. The people, were generally lovely, but the job, urgh!

I was working as a dental receptionist for a small practice. The owner was the head dentist, who was a lovely woman, reminded me a lot of my mother but she wasn't keen on listening to others, as it was her practice and things were done her way, which is fair enough, I suppose. But for businesses to move forward, you need more than one thinking person to assist that progression. And the way this business was run, it desperately needed a rethink, and reorganisation.

The office manager was a lovely asian lady, who for the first week I believed didn't like me, but then I realised she was so over worked that she wasn't able to be friendly. In fact, I found out that she was so over worked that she's sorting stuff out at the weekends when the practice is closed, which is ridiculous. Not only was she working 10 hour days without lunch breaks, or breaks at all. She was also working at the weekends?!

There was also, the Spanish dentist, Alfonso, who got a lot of Spaniards and latinos in, although it seemed at times that this was more a thorn in the owners side, than a gimmick which paid off. I'm guessing because Spaniards are a passionate country, who don't pay for missed appointments?! I've no idea, but they were occasionally flaky and didn't see why when you've given 24 hours notice, you should still pay. I'd always try to explain that we had a policy of 48 hours but it was hard. I felt very sorry for Alfonso, I didn't think he deserved the shit he got at times, or should I say the shit he didn't know he got.

The Hygienist who was a charming Scottish girl, who in my interview I really liked but soon realised after I started that she was more work, than play at work. I think it's safe to say she took the stress that the owner held and tried to support her 100%, to help her relax, it never worked from what I saw. The owner is one of those kinds, who will always be stressed even when she doesn't need to be. She has too much weight laden on her shoulders, most of which is self laid, but I'd never suggest that to her.

The two dental nurses were from Eastern Europe, I really liked one of them and kind of liked the other one. One was friendly, saw work as a need for money, had a dry sense of humour. The other one was a total "mother", young but took everything as her responsibility and asked me about 6 times a day "what you doing?", whenever I wasn't at my desk.

There were also two technicians, one was a sweet foreign guy who was shy and, well, sweet. The other was a grumpy bastard, who lacked any social skills and was just plan rude, horrid in fact! If he was a welcoming party, he'd be goose stepping! OK, so that analogy might be a little harsh, but he was extremely unpleasant and did nothing to try to make others welcome, or put nerves at ease. I guess that is why he was stuck away in his little box.

In my interview, I was asked if I was willing to be flexible, which of course is a "yes". Then told that the job was £20,000 perfect, not ideal but pretty good for a job that is 42.5 hours a week. The office manager then enters, I'm now informed that it's £7.50 an hour, (since when am I on an hourly rate?), and that there will be a bonus of £400 a month, if I can get the head dentist and hygienist's diaries up to 90%, (say what?!), I ask if I'll be cold calling, I'm told not at all. But, since when, is being a dentist receptionist, a sales position? I am so confused. I agree to start the job from the following monday, welcoming any form of job.
(I never realised getting a job could be this hard. I should have but?! It took Tom nearly 3 months and a lot of bullshit agency seminars to get a job through a friend. I mean, what the fuck is the point of recruiters anyhow?! And their crap "hot air balloon game bullshit", which fucker came up with that one, I'm guessing an American from the "new age of corporation"!).

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Delicate Paper Lace

This is how talented I wished I was. I adore these and think Julene is extremely creative and careful with a scalpel, I'd wreck everyone in seconds, I remember my hours of cutting at college and always ruining it right at the end. If I could, I would, but for now, I'll just adore her works of art!

Julene my hat is off to you, your very steady hand and your creative mind.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wells Interior

My friend has a business where he hangs extremely beautiful wallpaper. Here is his website, Wells Interior.
I'm completely in awe of the flowery wallpaper and especially the one to the left. Each flower is embroidered on to the paper. Isn't that precious and darling?! One day, I'll have enough money to employ Mick to come and paper my house with such lavish paper, until then I'll stick to photos of my friends.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Bunting

I really like making bunting. I've made loads in my time, this string were for my friend's birthday last year. Previously, I've made pink bunting, and for some reason, when I make it, I appear to go over the top and make miles of the stuff. The pink string are about 10 metres long. This one is about 8m, or more?!

My friend recently commissioned me to make some for her pub, so I set about making sexually neutral (yes, there is such a thing) bunting. It's made from my scraps box, which cleared out a huge amount of material, and in typical fashion I made two lengths of 13 metres. Opps! What can I say, I really enjoy making bunting. Or should I say, I really like my sewing machine and the relationship I have with it.

If anyone would like to commission some bunting; if you've a scraps box you'd like me to use, or just a colour palette. Please email me here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Shit Pt.2

I've had some issues of late with my darling herbs.

Firstly, the Mint got mouldy, it was gross, white moss and black speaks grew all over the leaves, it was horrid. I tried to treat it with Baking Powder, alas, it failed, so had to cut it right back to the roots. Sad, sad times. It seems to be recovering well, small growth, but growth. Can't wait for it to get back to full health, I keep on coming across recipes with Mint, sigh and then substitute, and funnily enough Chives don't replace Mint well.

The Coriander has recovered, finally. Took repotting in a larger pot and lots of fresh air and water. It's even started to flower, which is a little too exciting for me, after seeing it suffer for so long. But it has now spread it's sap everywhere, but I guess it's all part of the growing.

The two tea cups have started to sprout now. Still no idea which is which, but?! They are looking healthy, although the Coriander has dropped sap on one of them (so it looks horrid), but it'll cope, poor little thing. My mum visited, our flat, the other day and started trying to rub the teeny tiny leaves to identify which was which, isn't she adorable.

The success story is the Basil, it's kicking arse (well since the Mint fiasco happened), absolutely incredible. The leaves are huge and tasty. We made some amazing Basil Oil with them, which we'll be doing for Christmas presents too. Might have to start freezing it though, so it doesn't waste away.
I'm still enjoying it so much! If only my window sill was bigger.

Update (1st Sept): The Coriander contracted greenfly, very upsetting after the new spurt of growth, etc. Decided to throw out and start from scratch. Poor thing.
Plus, due to sun rotation, the two small cups died also, bad weather, etc all resulted in total failure. Stupid work and not being at home to make everything perfectly well watered and sunned. Here's to the rest of them! Fingers crossed!

Tissue Paper Peonies

I found a link to these Tissue Paper Flowers and did exactly what she suggested and am now surrounded by beautiful tissue paper flowers, much to my partners annoyance (the flat should be 50/50, not effeminate), but you can't deny that they are extremely charming.

I had a play with mixing different coloured papers, cutting to be different lengths and different shapes at the end. I think the pointy ones look best, a little like Dahlias, although the wavy ended ones look charming too.
The red one to the right, had different length petals, so it's flatter, than the other ones. It has a very nice shape from the side, which is more traditional to your average opened rose.

Why not try yourself? One pack of tissue paper should make eight rather large flowers, and you don't have to have eight sheets per flower, it's all about the final look, so play about.

Plus, I'm making 30 odd for my friend's wedding reception, to match the wedding bunting I'm making.

Creative Outlet

Just a little FYI.

I've been blogging for years and years, and stupidly I've never set up a separate creative blog, until now. From now on, when ever I want to share things I've made or created, I'll be posting them on Pipsy Designs, and possibly, posting the links to my etsy store, where things can be bought.

Plus, I've transferred the items I've made and posted on here, to there. Just to keep it organised.

Street Art / Graffitti Pt.2

Reading on through Street Art, I discovered the name of the "suicidal bankers" artist. They are strewn around East London and kind of charming. Here's the article about Issac Cordal.
On Ezra St, there are two. One opposite Beyond Fabrics Sewing Shop and the other above the cafe.

Ezra St, E2

Street Art / Graffitti Pt.1

Calvin St, E1
Quaker St, E1

Here on Brick Lane, we are surrounded by tons of street art.

There are many kinds. We are located extremely close to famous ones, by Banksy and Space Invader, to name a few. But, my personal favourite is a guy* who pasted photocopies on the wall, then paints the shadow underneath on the path. I've no idea who he is, or what his name is, but I appreciate his efforts. May he continue his  good work!
Brick Lane, E1
Cheshire St, E1

Corbet Pl, E1
I just find them so so charming, not obtuse or in your face, just simply placed and hidden. I think they are great and I love discovering them, there are also two others up towards Columbia Rd, which I've yet to photograph, they'll arrive soon, I promise. I'm not sure why I like them so much, maybe because they are only 6" high and discreetly placed.

After finishing writing this, I googled LondonStreetArt and found this freshly updated entry about Pablo Delgado. Who is apparently, the man who' art I've been admiring. Well. I. Never!

*I'm being presumptuous, who isn't to say he's a lady.

Baby Mats

Baby Rhydian & his mat
Now that I've reached this certain age, lots of my friends are getting married, or having babies, or both. I like to make presents for them all, as it's more personal and charming. A year or so ago, I made a really awesome present for some friends who were expecting, it was an effective, and lovely present, that my friends loved and have been using ever since. A baby mat. I now make them for everyone, as they are just so pretty and practical.

It's simply a brightly coloured, padded mat for the baby to lie on. I use modern brightly coloured fabrics (100% cotton). The first two I made, I backed with this fabric, as I had an abundance of it (stupidly am running out now, I must restock). Recently, I've been using anything brightly coloured and fun. I love making them, so much. They are so pretty and give instant impact, visually and on a practical level.

My friends had twin girls, so I made this mat for them, it's dimensions are: 38.5" x 23". It's back with the yellow floral fabric used for two of the squares.

I'm hoping to get some up on my etsy account soon, in the mean time, if anyone would like one, I'll happily take on the commission. On average, they are 23" long and about 20" wide, but if you'd like them in a different size, colour, patterned or plain, etc. Please email me here.

Updated: April 2013

Two recent mats -

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Stupid Stupid Taxing System in Britain

Tom and I moved to London, we've found it quite hard to get work, which sucks! We thought it would be a lot easier, stupid us.
I've been employed and paying tax since I was eligible, ten odd years. I've also worked numerous second jobs that I was paying emergency tax on, even though I was only earning £15,000* a year in my main job. Now that we need a little help, we're not eligible?! Even though we've been paying tax all our lives, we're not even considered as "in need".

Tom might not be allowed to receive Jobseekers, as I have a part time job which equals 16 hours a week, I earn so little, that for the first time in ten years, I'm not eligible to pay tax = £400 a month (not even enough to pay my rent). But due to this job, Tom might not be in a position to get a helping hand, while he continues to search for a job, and he's actually looking, not sat on the sofa smoking 20 fags a day watching day time TV. He's gone to every effort to get help and alas, he's not worthy?! Due to my pathetic part time job income and the fact he's been paying tax since he left university!

When he went for his interview, they gave him a huge lecture about how he'd need to be looking for jobs in a 50 mile radius, etc. And yet, I know people who have been on jobseekers for years and years and have no intention to get a job. It's a fucking joke!
Most of the time, I'm extremely considerate and level minded about "the system" but this has pissed me right off.
I was told about 'Working Tax Credits', tried to see if I was eligible, but due to being judged on my previous tax year (when I was working full time), I probably won't be. Even though I wasn't earning that much. Oh and the stupid HMRC website, as always crashed when working out if I was eligible, like last time. Bloody typical.
I'm really really irritated. It's complete bollocks!

*I've always felt that there should be a minimal amount of money you should be able to earn, across one, two, three, etc. jobs, where you can use your tax code for all of them. Say, that across these numerous jobs you are earning £15,000 or less, you're allowed a flexible tax code, which can be used across all of your jobs. This would help parents and young people and would encourage people to work harder. I'm stuffed, if I get a second job now, I'll be emergency taxed regardless of my earning £4,800 in my first job. So, I get screwed and loose out. Where as someone earning £20,000 a year in one job is better off. It's bull, total bull!

I'm completely compassionate to why people don't declare certain jobs, it's completely understandable! Good for them!
It's the typical situation, we middle people get fucked over and the people above and below us, get helping hands to survive in life.

It appears Tom is entitled to a 3rd of the traditional weekly allowance. Which is interesting?!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Crossed the finishing line...

Upholstery Project Part Two

After being so active and so productive, I lost my decorating wind. Only for a week or two but it was enough for me to feel like a sluggish beast. Today, I finally completed our dining set. I fell in love with this material when I started at the shop, it was in the sale, which was a huge bonus. After ripping off the torn upholstery and additional padding, I hammered in the rusty nails till smooth (they were so rusty and small, there was no point in my trying to pull them out, I did try and caused a mess). Cut some quilting and the material to the right sizes, pulled taut, nail gunned them in place as a guide line and got the pins at the ready, with some nice trimming. Et Voila, my completed, reconditioned modern seats for the perfect dining experience!

We just need some shelves for my extensive dvd collection and we're done, done, done!

Apologies for the bleached, out of focus photo!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chocolate Brownies Recipe

This recipe is from my childhood Osbourne cook book with some mild changes, and it has been making incredible brownies for 30 years plus... (As always, bear with me, as I embellish on this recipe depending on my mood).


4oz / 100g Plain Flour
8oz / 200g Caster Sugar
2 Medium Eggs
4oz / 100g Butter
1/2 tsp Baking Flour
2 large bars of chocolate - 200g White / 200g Dark/Milk (depending on taste), I always use White and Dark, for a

Melt the Chocolate, Butter and Sugar in a Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Sieve the Flour and Baking Powder into a large bowl.

Once everything is melted, add to the Flour, with the Eggs. Until it doesn't stick to the bowl, due to being too oily (if this doesn't happen, don't fret, it'll be fine). If you're adding extras, add them now...

Throw in a greased baking tray, it doesn't matter what size, as long as it all fits in. It will probably only rise one 3rd of the depth, or so...

Throw in the oven at 180c / Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 mins.
It will still be a little gloopy when you do the knife test in the middle, this is good. If it's still pretty gloopy, leave in for another 5 mins, it varies in all ovens.

Await till cool = yumminess!
If it gets a little hard/stale, heat up for 30 sec in the microwave, yumminess revived.

Now, I've done many different versions of these, (so just have fun, experiment):

Bashed up Walnuts/Almonds, etc
Only melted half of the chocolate, left the other half bashed up, for crunchy bits.
Chopped up Glacier Cherries.
One Orange Rind chopped up finely.
Weed was a popular choice to some of my friends.

It's an easy recipe and fun to do various things with. Enjoy!

Impossible to fuck up Chocolate Brownies

Now located here: Pipsy Designs - Chocolate Brownies

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Stringy Light-shade

Now located here: Pipsy Deisgn - Stringy Light-shade

Baking Bread

For some reason, within my 29 years of living, I've never made bread from scratch. Well, I have now!
I acquired a baking book by Emma Patmore. It's an excellent book, with easy to follow instructions. I made the Garlic Rolls, I've been coveting the Garlic & Sage Bread but thought I'd leave that for now.

How to make the Garlic Rolls:

Ingredients -

12 cloves of garlic (I used 14 and it hardly seemed garlicky, but I love garlic, so?)
350ml / 12 floz milk
450g / 1lb Strong White Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Sachet of Dried Yeast (She recommends Easy Blend, I used Fast Acting)
1 tbsp Dried Mixed Herbs (I didn't use any, I used a handful of Fresh Chives)
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil (I used Vegetable Oil, what can I say, I'm not good at following recipes)
1 beaten Egg

Due to not being very good at following recipes (and not owning a blender, I've adapted some of the instructions).

Right, peel and chop the Garlic Cloves up really small, boil and simmer in the Milk for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the Flour, Salt & Yeast.
When the garlicky Milk has cooled, add the Oil and Egg, pour gradually into the Flour while mixing.

I found that my mixture was gunky and wet, so threw lots of flour on the side when beating, which helped dry it up.

Beat up (knead) the dough for a little while on a floured side, and then leave for one hour, in a greased container, covered by a cloth.
Once it's expanded to twice the size or larger, beat it up for a couple of minutes and then separate into eight different rolls, or more if you want small ones (I'm tempted to insert some garlic butter next time).
Place on a greased baking tray, score the tops of the rolls, dip in Milk (or brush some Milk on the top, if you own a fancy basting brush), sprinkle some Rock Salt, or grated Garlic on top, or cheese?
Put into a pre-heated oven at 220c/425f/Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes.

Et Voila - tasty rolls!

Baking Bread

Now posted here: Pipsy Designs - Baking Bread

Stringy Lamp Shade

Tom and I had a go at making one of these last night.
We took their advice but I made a few adjustments and have some personal advice.

You will need:
An old towel or large piece of tarpaulin
A glass bowl or old plastic container
1/4 litre Cornflour
1/8 litreWater
1/8 litre PVA glue
Wool or String (I recommend wool)

Right, as you might all know, if you mix water and cornflour together, it becomes a compound, where as, if you mix the water and glue together and then introduce the cornflour, it turns to a crazy ultra strength glue mixture.

It's best to do this on a hard floor, or outside in a dry area. My flat has hard floors but we stupidly set it up in the middle of our sitting room, and then had to limbo every time we walked in. So think carefully before you set up.

Suspend some wool or doweling rod (if you're lucky to have one), across an area, and place the towel or tarpaulin under it. Blow up the balloon and suspend from the line/rod.
We found that we needed two of us, as one of us spent most of the time holding the balloon in place when placing the gluey wool. We also took the advice and lubed up the balloon (which is a new experience).

Cut lengths of the wool and dip in to the glue. In hind sight, I would have ensured that we'd stripped off more of the excess glue, than we did, when pulling the wool out of the mixture and placing on the balloon.
We also ensured that there was at least three inches round, clear at the top of the balloon, as we have a wide fitting on our sitting room light fixture.
We experienced some issues with getting the wool under the balloon to stick, stupid gravity. But we found the more we added, under and over, the easier it was to hold it in place. We also, purposefully tucked the ends and beginnings under, or next too, other lines.

Add as little or as much as you'd like, it's a personal choice. Leave until dry. We had to restring the suspension, as it was touching the ground by the end. They suggest you leave it for 24 hours, but our balloon popped after 17 hours, which was eventful!

I tried to cut off the excessive glue and loose woollen strands, but decided I was only being anal.

They also suggest you spray paint it afterwards (I was going to glitter spray it but decided to leave it neutral/nature), but I was thinking that different coloured wools would be quite fun. Rainbow lampshades any one?

I used some thin wire and suspended it from the fitting. It's not great, but as a first attempt, I was relatively pleased (what can I say, I'm a tough crowd).

Monday, July 04, 2011

Growing Shit Pt.1

Since moving in to the flat, I've found that I own a lot of random bits and bobs which are perfect for a house, they just sucked when I only had a room and one cupboard in a kitchen. After getting bored of unpacking on the third day after moving in, I got bored, so threw a couple of baskets of stuff under the bed. Major mistake, as most of it could go in the kitchen: candle holders, jars, fairy lights, cups and saucers, bunting, need I go on...

Anyhow, I've always failed at growing things, house plants, herbs, vegetables, if it needs help to grow, I've killed it!
But, I now have a south facing window, that gets a lot of light and thanks to my grandma, a pile of terracotta pots. I cheated by buying pre-potted herbs from Sainsburys and repotted them. Within 2 weeks, they were all still alive, thriving even, and I've had to repot the Basil due to it being huge! The only one which is suffering is the Coriander, I'm at a loss! Must do some research.

When walking past the Bishopgate Kitchen the other day, they handed me what I thought were matches but in fact were herb seeds. Well. Instantly I got excited, I've kept pre-potted herbs alive (bar the Coriander, which is technically alive but not happy), how hard can it be to grow from scratch! I've filled two teacups with some soil and am going to have a go at growing Thyme and Sage! I'll keep you up to date!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Upholstery Funtimes

Now located here: Pipsy Designs - Upholstery

Upholstery Funtimes Part 1

So, I'm not very good at this, I've done loads of renovations, of various kinds but have never blogged about them (well not really), so bear with me...

Once we had the flat confirmed and we'd check the size of the kitchen and what furniture we needed, we journeyed to the reclaim yard close to my parents house, Haynes of Challow, if you live anywhere near it, I recommend it, it's great! We went in to the final two sheds (leftover crap/house clearances, that no one else wants). JFo, Tom and I all scoured the place, JFo found a huge leather topped desk that she could have quite happily lived in/on, given a chance, and an antique rocking chair she had a mild love affair with.
Tom found many things he liked, most of which were out of our price range, although he did love a lampshade that was of the Victorian "World" map, it was lovely but he wouldn't buy it?!
I fell in love with everything but I have a love for poor, seatless, backless chairs that require some love, new seating, new legs, new backs, etc. Anyhow, we found four hapless said chairs at the back of a pile of other hapless chairs, and due to them all costing a total of £48, we could justify the £98 for the gorgeous fold out dining table, which has a hidden drawer and is just too charming for words.

Tom's choice was a leather covered chair with a bite out of the back, and a really charming chair, with holes in the seat. I chose two sorry looking chairs, one with the seat falling off and the webbing ripped, and the other with the webbing ripping but the seat, relatively in tact from hessian down.
The one with the hessian intact (see right) was easy to fix, especially as I used some gorgeous fabric from a kind friend, and I threw some new webbing in and a new cushion, for good measure. I also, put some trimming over the staples I used, yep, I totally cheated. I did however, stick the trimming on with furniture pins. I'm learning!

The other one, with ripped webbing and screwed seat didn't quite look like this, when we bought it, it was falling apart, filled with horse hair and had a rotten seat. After I threw out the seat, I ended up with this sorry looking thing (see left). The next exciting thing I did was try to get the nails out and the webbing off. It was interesting, a lot of them, I had to hammer a lot of them in more, rather than try to remove them, as many of them had rusted. I did my best with a pair of pliers, a tack hammer and a claw hammer and some determination (plus one hurting finger, due to a miss hit with the hammer, ouch).

After I'd gotten it cleared, I set about making a new seat base, I had to use curtain tape, as the haberdashery near my new pad didn't have any webbing (damn it!). Curtain tape worked very well though. I used the furniture tacks to perfection, as I totally forgot to buy carpet tacks earlier. They worked a treat and the seat works well. It looks stupid, but I can't wait to put the new cushion and cover on it! It's so exciting!

Isn't it cute!
After I'd got the seat webbing sorted, I set about finding a cushion, I totally cheated, I was going to get some foam and shape a seat accordingly, but instead, I used a cushion pad I had lying around. I was going to use two, but it seemed too poofy, so chose one big pad and shaped it (Although in hind sight, I should have used two, as it feels very thin now).

Once I'd got that sorted, I drapped the chosen material over the chair and started to staple accordingly, tucking the edges in for a crisp look. I found that stapling first, means you've more room to change and adapt. I mainly focused on getting the corners neat, as they have the most work to do. Once I was happy with the shape, I tacked it in place to secure the material.

Due to running out of upholstery pins, I glue gunned on the trim to cover the tack heads (cheating once again). It was a steady job but definitely worth it. I'm really proud of my work, even if I cut corners. Although, now I've sat on it a bit and realised I should have put two pads on the seat, I'm going to cover another cushion in the same material and use it accordingly.

Monday, June 06, 2011

New Flat

With baited breath on Saturday morning, we packed up the car with Tom's property and headed to London, to meet with our letting agency, sign the contract and get the keys. There was a small part of me that had suppressed my excitement about it all, in case it's fell through at the last minute. Once we'd parked up near the shop and walked in the door, I felt all anticipation disappear. We signed the contract, got the keys and headed to our new humble abode. Right next door to Brick Lane.

It is perfect, bigger than either of us had remembered. Far too much surface space and storage in the kitchen (if there is such a thing). The sitting room was deeper, the bedroom bigger, than I remembered too. We can see Brick Lane from our flat window (it is only a 30 second walk after all) and the Gherkin from our kitchen window. It's truly perfect. It's easily accessible from Euston Road, outside of the Congestion Zone and surrounded by nice pubs, bars and shops. I couldn't be happier. Oh yes I could, we met our landlord on Sunday morning (there I was in knickers and a cardigan, hungover to fuckery, meeting him for the first time), and he's lovely, friendly and helpful. He mentioned our mouldy shower and instead of doing an Oxford Landlord classic (grout over the old mouldy grout), he's going to completely retile the entire thing, as well as the kitchen. I'm still pinching myself to ensure I'm not in the Matrix or something.

After a 30 minute wait at the One Stop Shop to get parking permits and visitors permits, etc. With the aid of a very kind and friendly lady who worked there and the direction of another extremely kind and friendly member of staff, who told me what to say, I had applied for and was in receipt of said permits. Which made the entire moving 1000 times easier for us. Thank you kind people of Bethnal Green One Stop Shop.

We unloaded the first lot of Tom's property, with the kind help of James, and off we set for the second load. A three hour round trip and Tom was moved in, I was stressed, Tom was happy/hot/sweaty/patient/kind (delete where appropriate) and I was also in the possession of a cold glass of wine, thanks Tom.

That night we finally made our way out to the pub, Carpenter's Arms, which if they'll accept us, might be our new home from home. A great selection of wine, a good looking menu, small courtyard garden and friendly staff = a very happy and drunk me! At the pub we sat with James, his partner, Caroline, and her school friends, who were far too kind, friendly and generous, for their own rights. Eventually, I realised I was wasted and departed for home, via our late night offy, right around the corner from my house, what perfect location! Although, their bacon is shit!

Back home, we watched Kill Bill Vol.2 in our new bedroom, drinking wine and eating bacon sandwiches. Eventually I passed out in our new flat. The next morning I woke to some arse tooting a horn at 7am, I struggled out of bed, mid slumber to shut the windows, to then hear the chorus of neighbours telling said wanker to shut the fuck up. I love our neighbours, already love them! Back to slumber and eventually woke up to the Sunday market, where people of the world gather to sell food, clothes, art, antiques and stolen stuff!

Did I mention that I love our new flat? How I love our new Street? Did I mention that I couldn't be happier? Yeah, I didn't think so.

All that is left now, is to move all of my crap (there is a lot of it) into the flat, with the generous help of Tom, Lianne and Chris and I'll be as happy as the pig in shit, while I pay my kind friends with food, drink and entertainment. Let the new period of my life, dwelling in London Town commence...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Oil issues!

I've a car conundrum. I've owned my Nissan Almera 1.6 05 since October 2008. For the first year or so, it ran beautifully, then Autumn last year, it started making very sporadic grring noise, I got it checked out when the noises became regular (as Mechanics need something to go on) and stupid me, I had no oil. I was dry. I was dry to the bone! I was arid, more like the desert (my poor car. Since then, I've had a very hollow horse sound within my engine (no oill damage, of course).

Ever since that oiling up, I've run out of oil within three months, regardless of trip length, I drive quite a lot for work and pleasure, doing about 13,000 miles a year. I popped to my local garage earlier and they advised me to get my engine steamed, so they can see clearly where the leak is. Mr Steamer, who is a lovely and helpful guy said there was hardly any oil on the underside of my engine and was unsure to why my car would be using so much?! I've now left it with my mechanic he's going to look at it, he suggested I could be burning it through my exhaust (but that seems crazy), I guess we will see. But if I am burning that much oil, that's awfully expensive and seems ludicrous! And if that is the case, boy am I glad that I'm selling it come August.

In case, you're wondering, it has 60,000 on the clock and has never had any major, or minor, issues when being MOT'd.
And confession time: I haven't done the engine check (putting cardboard under the car overnight - silly of me, I know) but oil speaks have appeared outside work when it's been parked up for 8 hours, they seem to be the size of a penny, which is nothing I know, but over time, obviously...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm moving to London, as of mid June. Tom and I have been planning it for ages and are finally getting everything sorted. We've found a flat, busted many a groove around our new district (Bethnal Green/Shoreditch) and applied for 1001 jobs. No jobs as of yet but they will come soon enough, positivity is the way forward.

But this does mean that I'll be departing the dizzying heights of Courtyard. 9 years of Courtyard loving and I'm finally leaving them all behind. They've kindly offered me a lunch to say "adios", which obviously I've said "hell yes" too. I'm no fool, free food + drink = funtimes Pipsywoo!
I'm a little excited about the future but I'm constantly feeling emotional about leaving this part of my life behind; work, friends, my parents being accessible and my grandma. I feel extremely bad about leaving my grandma behind but I have committed 10 years to caring for her, and my mum is soon semi-retiring, so will have more time to offer her.

For my departure lunch, I'm going to get drunk off my arse and wear sequins. I love sequins, they are so happy and sparkly! It won't be the first time I've been drunk at work, or with work colleagues but it will be the first time it's in the middle of the day and not the next day!
I'm a little worried I'll cry all the way through lunch, there I'll be, wearing hot pink sequins, drunk on red wine and crying inbetween bites of my meal, sobbing my heart out with every mouthful, declaring my undying love and appreciation for everything my bosses have done for me. Oh what a sight it'll be!

Eek! I'm so excited! Sequins, good wine, a three course meal and, me, a sobbing mess, is there anything more perfect?!