Category Archives: Learning

anything I’ve learned, new skills, refreshed skills, life lessons, learning from friends, evening classes etc

Southern Belle Road Trip day 2 & 3 (Bell reception at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and launch of 525 Relentless)

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Filed under Adventuring, Driving, Learning, Memories, Photography, USA Road Trip 2012

We’re definitely in Texas (Southern Belle Road Trip day 2)

Some photos from this morning’s shopping:

Love how wrangler advertise with a western saddle, a cowboy’s bum and that ‘fits over boots’ is a key selling point:

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The tab won’t let me rotate this one, but top ten chat up lines for cowboys… Made me smile!

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And last but by no means least, my gorgeous boots – was massively indulgent and bought two pairs, but as they’re my birthday present I didn’t feel too guilty!

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This afternoon and evening we met Gary, an old friend of my dad’s, who gave us a guided tour of the stock yards and surrounding area. I have managed to leave my card reader at home so can’t put pics up till I get a new one, but it was glorious… Saw longhorn cattle being herded up the street, found the candy store with barrels and barrels of sweets, drank and signed the walls in the White Elephant Saloon, had dinner at the Texas Pit Barbecue and came back to Billy Bob’s – the world’s biggest honky tonk and somewhere legendary to me, as dad has often talked about it when he’s been here before.

So all in all a fab day – keep half-thinking I could live here. Four separate people told me they loved my boots, which was nice!

Signs spotted today: We Buy Ugly Houses.com * Strip Club for sale * Speak your mind but ride a fast horse * Someday I’m going to marry a cowboy but first I want to be one * Live well, laugh much, love horses.

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Filed under Haul Posts, Learning, Perfect Moments, Shopping, USA Road Trip 2012

Catch up… And planning!

Oh, hello blogland! I have missed you!

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This week has been full of madness with some awesome highlights. The main event would be leaving my house for ten mins to jump in the snow, and coming back to find I’d somehow lost my phone. Utterly lost – I’m still mystified as to where its gone :s

One breakdown, a lot of tears and frustration, one trip to town, £65 and about four phone calls to my provider later, I have a replacement phone with my old number transferred to it. Disaster dealt with. But it made me realise how much we rely on our phones… And for me, how much of a lifeline it is as i live on my own and commute… Being in touch and contactable keeps me sane, and my 24 hours away from it was a very strange feeling. I also don’t remember phone numbed anymore – it was only through luck I had a friend’s landline written down so I could call her and panic!

So on to more exciting things… Today is my last day at work before the Great American Road Trip! My suitcases are packed, my technology is ready to be thrown in and I shall be meandering over to mum and dad’s this evening to start the adventure!

I am stupidly excited… It’s a long time since I’ve been to the South and it’ll be so good to be there as an adult and absorb stuff! I will of course be blogging as we go… If dad lets me borrow his laptop some evenings I might even get some photos up!

Things I need to do before i leave tonight… Buy travel insurance, triple check my passport and driving licence, set a security light, remember to breathe!

Other things that have made me happy in the last couple of weeks… * curry in Brick Lane with colleagues being surprisingly fun * putting a deposit on a sewing machine * catching up with old friends * Joe Deluccio’s gelato * cross stitching * new ideas and plans * baby animals (Rob has kittens, Caitlin nearly has a puppy) * true friendship * having a night in with Lou over the phone * icicles * mini cans of Pepsi Max * ear muffs * Lego pick and mix (see pic at top of post) * Polka dots.

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Filed under Adventuring, Blogging, Learning, Planning, Staying in touch..., Technology and gadgets

Things that make me happy Thursday – overdue edition!

Ooops, I don’t appear to have done one of these since before Christmas! So, the run up to 2012 and the first couple of weeks of it… They have made me smile muchly…

Catching up with family over the festive break
Having a festive break – in my adult life I’ve never had more than four or five days off in a row due to work, and this year I had ten!
Getting unexpected Christmas presents
Celebrating New Year for the first time in a long time
Experimental cocktails with Rob’s new blender (notes: lime is good in SMALL quantities. Do not always follow the recipes to the letter. It is perfectly acceptable to mix two litres of lychee daiquiri, take it to a party and drink it all yourselves.)
Cooking from a Jamie cookbook. Several times. And succeeding!
Starting 2012 how I’d to continue it
Swapping socks with Holly
Seeing Anna on new years day :)
Enjoying the commute with my new toy
Dan not recognising me from behind because my hair’s so long
Amanda’s zombie app comment
Wearing floral trainers
Two of the girls who keep me sane at work going permanent
A label on a pack of ibuprofen tablets instructing me to remove all packaging before microwaving. Sure.
Catching up with Val via email
Making my resolutions/hopes/thoughts/dreams list for the year ahead

From the sublime to the mundane to the ridiculous and back again!

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Filed under Baking, Christmas, Family, Friends, Happy Thursdays, Laughing, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Perfect Moments, Personal Development, Technology and gadgets, Thinking

Having a definite Narnia moment

I love everything Narnia and think I always have done, but having caught the end of Prince Caspian on TV this evening, I am seized by a sudden desire to make Susan’s farewell dress (so called because it’s the last time she appears in Narnia, and it’s the dress she says her goodbyes and goes back to England in).

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I’ve spent some of this evening scouring the internet for inspiration, cosplay, photos, descriptions and patterns, and have started a Pinterest board of some of the things I’ve found. Kim told me today the sewing machine she’s giving me should be in the office by next weekend, so fingers crossed this can be a 2012 project! Then I can have a Narnia themed party for my birthday… maybe my 27th… :)

I’ve also learned what cosplay is – you really do learn something new every day!

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Filed under Creating, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Planning, Projects, Sewing

Hello 2012 – we’re going to get on famously

This will have to be quick, because I should have been in bed half an hour ago… oh, how I have really not missed the 5.30am starts at all over the break!!

I’m starting 2012 in an incredibly happy, uplifted and motivated frame of mind. I am surrounded by people I love who love me, I have my little haven of a flat and my much adored Poppy-car, changes at work in the last couple of months of 2011 mean I’m much happier there than I thought possible to begin with, and I’m ridiculously lucky that my main stresses are usually that I have too many people and fun things to fit into my social life. Terrible, isn’t it?!

But genuinely, I’m very lucky and well aware of this fact. I’m also intending and hoping for 2012 to be my best year yet… full of all the things I love to do, all the people I love to see and empty (or emptier, at least) of things that make me sad and stressed out. I’m not completely in la la land, I know that various things will be impossible and hard and tearful through the year, but right now things are rosy and I intend to make the absolute most of that.

Things I am muchly looking forward to this year:

Julia’s wedding ~ this is the big one, my best friend and twin soul is getting married on 7th July and I CANNOT WAIT! I’m honoured to have been chosen as one of her bridesmaids and I’ll do everything I can to make sure her big day is perfect.

USA road trip ~ a road trip round the southern states with my parents that we have been talking about doing for close to ten years, we’re flying out to Texas on 9th February and I’m so excited I can barely breathe!

CAE 2012 ~ Camping Auto Extravaganza with the ROC boys and girls is always a highlight of the calendar – this will be my third one, and each one makes me marvel that a bunch of people who only met each other because of their cars can be such very good friends and have such an awesome time.

Neverwhere ~ one of my favourite books by the awesome Neil Gaiman, and my best friend Lou of Contrariety Rose has been working on the costumes for the play for months and months. I’m off to see it on 20th January and am very excited!

Goodwood Revival ~ another one of those things I’ve been threatening to do for ages, Lou & Paul said they’d like to go and much to my surprise so did Rob when I mentioned it the other day… and dressed vintage too! So I’m hoping we’ll get to do that in September… fingers crossed!

My 26th birthday ~ not a traditional landmark I know, but I feel like I’m hitting my prime, and will be taken more seriously once I’m in my late twenties, and I’m hoping to celebrate with lots of friends and lots of family.

Unofficial Ireland rally with Rat Patrol, Team Allegro and Bucket of Doom ~ Assuming we actually manage to get this organised, I would completely adore to see the others again. I am perfectly prepared to abandon the idea of a banger and just go in Poppy if that’s the only way I can afford to go (as the £250 banger car spending limit would probably pay for most of my petrol and camping costs, lol). I’ve missed those guys!

And last but not least, launching Teasets to Typewriters, rejuvenating Ducking Fabulous jewellery as part of that and hopefully becoming involved with a new website, What Simon Said, with a friend I met on the rally and have kept in touch with via Twitter. I have many, many goals this year… some of them are listed on the 2012 Things page of this site, which can be found on the tabs at the top.

So, enough photo-free waffling from me – it’s been wonderful blogging and tweeting and ‘meeting’ people (I’m mostly looking at you, @craftyguider,@fairlyairyfairy@meanyjar, @CraftyThINKer, @MissJimJams, @ShhimUK, @LucyMoose ) in 2011, and I hope the friendship and support continues into 2012 and beyond! Happy 2012… enjoy it!

xx

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Filed under Adventuring, Blogging, Business Wafflings, Collecting, Creating, Driving, Family, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Lists, Love and Stuff, Loving & Living, Perfect Moments, Personal Development, Planning, Poppy, Projects, Recording, ROC, Thinking, Travelling, USA Road Trip 2012

2011 – what a year!

I didn’t make an official list of resolutions for 2011, because I had The List to work through instead… I think I’ve done fairly well with those, not sure on the exact number but I think I’ve crossed off between 50 and 60 things on it, which is at least one a week!

2011’s been an incredible year. Unexpected highs and unexpected lows… but for the most part, the highs have outweighed the lows. It’s been amazing… I hope 2012 has as many highs (and fewer, less sideswiping lows, please).

January: An unexpected interview for a new job; Rob called to ask if I wanted to go on a European rally in September; utterly ridiculous snow;

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February: My 25th birthday with friends in Colchester; ballet with Emily; got my sunrise lamp which changed my life (or at least my getting up in the morning);

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March: I started the new job from hell (i like it now, but I endured months of it before that became the case); gorgeous and very touching leaving drinks from the library;

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April: Julia and Ed got engaged; RSVP event; decent amount of crafting and car booting; Wells with uni girlies and Caitlin;

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May: Rally planning started in earnest; Spring Ding Day with ROC; drove an S2000; golf day with work so accidental trip to see Hannah; blue hair; Mum’s 60th party;

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June: Gran’s birthday BBQ and pool party; took up roller skating again; Colchester zoo for Father’s Day; theatre with the girls from the library;

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July: Nick passed away; Open golf at Deal & Sandwich; the Fling, a perfect thing; CAE; vintage typewriters came to live with me.

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August: Julia moved out, meaning I lived alone for the first time; I put up bookshelves all by myself; a whole week of sorting and socialising; last bits of rally prep.

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September: R2R 2011; first Curiosity Project; surprised Judy for her 60th birthday; Poppy’s 6-week-overdue MOT; planning for Teasets to Typerwriters

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October: Launch of Project Pin Up; Katerina returned; corsets; swishy hair; 

November: Mad happenings at work; Bonfire night with the family; first visit to Stratford; Mum & Dad’s 38th anniversary; staycation with Annie;

December: Made a friend who lives in the flat downstairs; old and new work Christmas parties; vintage tea party at Lou’s; carol service with Caroline’s choir; champagne brunch at 8.30am with the team; Christmas; new year in Nottingham!

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some stuff, but so much has happened there’s no way I’ll pack it all in to one post. I am intending to keep track of everything better this year on the blog :)

Significant events in the lives of my friends (and people I know):

Engagements: Julia & Ed; Sophia & Jon; Tom & Cat; (plus Georgie Hall,  Mandy Sohal, Danni Cooper, Laura Hinchliffe, Kelly Savage, Rachel (SHF), Rachel Daw, Chris Freeman; Justine Boehm, Jared Cooksey, M-C Savage; Rebecca Davies; Steph Cluett) = 16 (olus some Christmas ones I’ve probably forgotten)

Weddings: Heather & Steve Tilley (Shephard); Dan & Jo Morgan (Hill); Paul & Claire Jameson (Gratton); Sathya; Pippa Milner (Govett) = 5 (plus I’m sure I’ve forgotten some)

Babies: Anastasia & Nick’s Zoe; Georgia & Ian’s Delilah; Paul & Abby’s Joseph; Paul & Claire’s Shaun; Debbie & Ste’s Elizabeth; Emma & James’s Jacob; Kelly & Shaun’s Finlay; Louise & hubby’s Finley; Steve & Zoe’s Thea; Jarod & Tara’s Hayden = 10 (plus almost definitely some more)

Pregnancies (due in 2012): Krissie Budworth, Jacqui Dowsett = 2

So there’s a roundup of sorts… the stand out moment of the year is of course R2R, from a vague ‘yeah, why not’ to the prep and then the acual trip, it gave me a new sense of perspective on myself and on life, and made me a muchly happy Carla!

Thanks for reading and for all the support and love you guys have given me in 2011, it’s muchly appreciated! Here’s to 2012… and if you guys have done roundup posts I’d love to see them, tweet me or post them in the comments :)

xx

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Filed under Blogging, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Loving & Living, Photography, Recording

Decisions, freedom and infinite possibility…

I am typing this on the train, sitting next to a woman with an ipad and an iphone. I feel a strange mixture of clunky (my laptop is ENORMOUS in comparison and I don’t have mobile broadband) and smug (I can type so much faster and more accurately than she can, mweeheehee).

The last few weeks have changed my life, overwhelmingly for the better. For various reasons I can’t talk about any of those reasons in detail, but one of the net results is that I have signed up for a season ticket loan for a train ticket, which means I’ll be at work for at least another year. This will give me time to get my finances straight and live my life a little without worrying so much about the future and what’s round the next corner (in the job and finances side of life, anyway).

Secondly, I have decided to put my shop plans on hold for the foreseeable future and concentrate on making things for fun and learning, rather than pressurising myself. The same with vintage homewares and clothing – I’ll buy them for me or for presents, and I’ll continue to research them and blog about my finds because I find them fascinating, but I need to remove the pressure for a while so I can focus on other things.

2012 contains, among other plans, my best friend’s wedding, my parents’ long awaited move into their new home and another rally, closely followed by a Canada trip to watch ice skating in early 2013, so now is not a good time to be starting up. Quite apart from the fact that although I know I’m capable of running a business, my finances are most definitely not, and I’m not sure I’m yet ready to sacrifice my social life in favour of it.

Thirdly, but possibly most importantly, after the weekend that’s just passed I am left with a feeling of happiness, peace, freedom and infinite possibility. My sense of self is fully restored and my inner pin up is well on her way to being part of my everyday life! Although I am never taking a train that far again – driving is SO much more fun and less hassle!

So I’m going to make the most of feeling like that, use the sense of purpose to get my flat and my life in order, and then focus on doing fun stuff… and blogging about it all, of course!

Sorry, this is somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness post, but it does feel good to write it down rather than just have it floating around in my head! A little part of me still can’t quite believe I’ve come this far and made this life for myself. When I look back to how I was four short years ago, and realise just how much I love my ‘new’ life… I wonder how the Carla I am now and the Carla I was then can possibly be the same person. I wouldn’t go back now if you paid me, I love who I’ve become and everything that I do. It’s amazing, empowering and really rather lovely. Ok, enough of the soppy crap now.

Right. Before you all throw up, I’m going to get off the train and go and make sausages and chips for dinner :)

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Filed under Blogging, Collecting, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Loving & Living, Perfect Moments, Planning, Recording, Thinking, Thrifting, Vintage

A weekend in the life of me

So, I had every intention of participating in the One Day On Earth project, until I realised that a) 11/11/11 was going to be super-busy, full of train travel and that the project wanted video and I very much work in photos not videos. So here, instead, is a selection of snapshots from my weekend…

This was actually on Tuesday, eating ice cream on the back of a Vespa at Joe Deluccios in Westfield Stratford City.

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On the train. My handbag (the red and beige one) snapped on the way to the station, so I had to hastily repack, then ditch it without looking like a terrorist. Not easy when you go through London train and tube stations looking shifty!

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I spend quite a lot of time doing this – sitting on the floor of a train, reading books. People think I’m mad for sitting on the floor, but I like being able to stretch my legs.DSCF5018 

Twitter Mafia love on a Friday morning – love these ladies!

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The reminder email that came round from lovely Kim just before the two minutes’ silence for Poppy Day.

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Biscuits! Work has a delivery of biscuits and other groceries (tea, coffee etc) every month, and this is what the cupboard looks like just after delivery!

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Impromptu trip to Moorgate to buy a new handbag. London is grey but has some striking buildings if you look up while walking.

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Mid-afternoon Wispa. Is any day complete without chocolate?!

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The emergency/accidental new handbag, to replace the one that snapped in the morning. I like it!

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St Pancras station – took this on my way home after a fabulous weekend. It was utter carnage on the way in, and I was trying to sprint which is never a good idea!

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And finally home again, with the awesome vintage suitcase we took to Romania. That case started off full of 80s porn magazines, went all the way to Romania on Rusty’s roof, and came home with Team Allegro on their roof. It has a lot more character now than it did when we bought it, but I’m in love and it improved the journey home enormously – I felt like a 40s starlet! (for the first couple of hours, anyway – six hours later I just wanted to be back home, lol). The wheelie case under it was bought for Poland and also came on the rally with us – my luggage is well travelled :)

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Filed under Adventuring, Collecting, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Laughing, Learning, Loving & Living, Perfect Moments, Photography, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Recording, Travelling, Vintage, Week in pictures

Red lips and victory rolls

I feel like I should copy this post across to Project Pin Up, it was so very vintage and pin up-esque! (edit – collage pic is over there with a link back here and to Mimi’s post!)

Last Saturday, the lovely Lou from Contrariety Rose came to stay, and after a morning of revamping her website and eating chocolate, we met Mimi for our first workshop at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford. Mimi’s lovely husband Carl drove us there, and when we arrived some of the other ladies were already there, drinking tea and chatting.

Set up so that we were all around the same table, with an individual mirror and shared bottles of setting lotion and water spray, we started with pin curls and victory rolls. Hannah (who owns Make Do and Mend) showed us how to reserve a section of hair for the victory roll, and then to pin curl the rest. Once this was done (Mimi’s was most successful, Lou’s hair is very short at the moment and mine is incredibly long, thick and unruly) we wrapped our hair in scarves and let it dry. Hannah explained that usually this would be done before sleeping. Clearly, as it was mid-afternoon, sleeping was off the agenda, and more tea and biscuits while swapping stories and tips with the other girls was definitely on!

IMG_6399 Here we are putting our pin curls in.

We then set to work on the victory roll section. Those with very short hair or a fringe had a helping hand from some of Hannah’s vintage roll-safety-pin contraptions (sadly you can’t buy these any more new) and the rest of us rolled and pinned and unrolled and rolled and pinned… and repeated. I eventually discovered, after several attempts, that I was trying to roll far too much hair at once. Ditching some of it (extra pin curl, anyone?) meant I finally got a roll/quiff type structure, which I promptly drenched in hairspray!

We then moved on to makeup, with Hannah showing us how to do a 1940s eyeliner flick. This is a brilliant concept which I really struggled with, was fine on my right eye but rubbish on my left – without my glasses I can’t see much at all out of my right eye so have always struggled (and with my day to day makeup, pretty much do it by feel). However, practise makes perfect and I at least now have the technique to work on!

Winged eyeliner, red lips and sweeps of blusher done, we were ready to unpin our pin curls. These had varying degrees of success, depending on the type of hair, the tightness of the curl and whether or not we’d actually let it dry properly (if you unwrap a damp pin curl, it will just go straight instead of springy and bouncy).

To no one’s surprise, the majority of my hair refused to curl, so I put it up in a fifties style ponytail which looked pretty good with my roll/quiff contraption. Mimi’s hair fell in soft waves, and Lou’s curled around her head in a surprisingly ruly fashion (her hair is so short in places we weren’t sure it would work at all!)

We met the lovely Karen of Essex Vintage Weddings, and lots of other ladies too – I hope to go back and do another workshop now I’ve had my hair cut and it’s a bit more manageable. Invested in some setting lotion at the weekend too so I could practise… quite when I’m going to fit this in to my ridiculous schedule I don’t know, but I’d love to be able to do vintagey hair more often :)

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Filed under Beauty, Friends, Hair, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Loving & Living, Wearing