Learning to Sew: August 2015

Last year I took some sewing classes and I very happily received a sewing machine as a 30th birthday present. I made bags for everyone’s Christmas (which were a big hit) then I got busy and my machine sat neglected for the best part of this year.

20141123_220203 My sewing Corner in the spare bedroom which is really my room, all my clothes, sewing stuff and girly bits and bobs are in here, there also happens to be a bed but mostly it is my room. 


One of the bags I made for Christmas gifts last year – this was for Maggie Dog. It was filled with poo bags, biscuits and tennis balls. Maggie liked her Christmas present.

I had the best of intentions; I even bought lovely material for new cushions for our couch and fabric for a project for my 2yr old niece – Miss M – and some fabric for a skirt for me. So I had quite a lot of fabric stashed away and plenty of ideas floating about my head.

20141129_163612 Part of the fabric stash. 

Finally last week I made some time and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of projects.

Photos from phone August 1547

Trying to suss out the right measurements for a 2 year old. 

Life this year has been busy and this summer in particular has been difficult but sewing took my mind off things and left me with a great sense of satisfaction – I had achieved something! Not perfect by any means but I am happy. Now what shall my next project be?

Photos from phone August 1613 I made a skirt for the little 2 year old and a matching dress and nappy for her dolly. I followed instructions I found via pinterest for all 3 items. The T-Shirts were bought in April at H&M. They are aged 2-4 years and are actually a little big for Miss M. 

Photos from phone August 1619


Dolly Nappy

Dolly Dress

In October Mum and I usually go to the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow at the SECC. This year we are giving it a miss and going to The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show instead. I can’t wait!

 The Good Food Show by the way is a really great day out, just remember to set some pennies aside for some tasty treats and kitchen gadgets if you gadget inclined like I am.

So the blurb for the Hobbycraft show says :

Visit the popular Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts shows and find all the very latest supplies and ideas in the world of stitching and creative crafts with lots of special features to enjoy plus FREE workshops, talks and demonstrations.      

Mum has been before and loved it. She is very keen on cards and crafts and she used to do a lot of sewing when my sister and I were younger. I’m keen to get some ideas for Christmas projects. I’m sure it will be a good day out. It is in the SECC in Glasgow the 22nd-25th October 2015 and tickets are a very reasonable £7.50 each.


Weekend Wandering – Sunshine at Foodies and a spot of Cliff Jumping


Yes actual sunshine – what a wonderful surprise! The weather this summer hasn’t been great so to get some actual sunshine and on a Saturday was pretty good. I did get a little bit sunburnt on my neck (apparently I will never learn) but it felt so good to be out and about enjoying nice weather, eating tasty treats and spending time with very good friends. We were at the Foodies Festival  in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh on Saturday.

This year:

I sampled some blackberry gin (I bought a wee bottle, very tasty)

Ate Paella (YUM)

Shared a Twisty Chip (not as tasty as it looks),

Tasted some Peppermint Tonic (Peppermint helps my migraines so will see how this works out)

Tried Peppercorn Sauce (bought some and had it with steak for tea last night)

Loved a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce (Stashed away in the cupboard for a naughty pudding sometime)

And I bought a smoked garlic bulb (to keep vampires away)

We had a great time, Ice Cream was also consumed, obligatory when the sun is out and this year they had allowed a bit more space for the festival which was much better. My friends had brought a picnic rug which was excellent thinking on their part.

Afterwards The Boyo and I arrived back at my friends house early so we stole their dog…. well we took her for a wee walk, then enjoyed a pleasant evening eating pizza and yakking away. My friends only live an hour away but with busy lives we don’t see each other nearly as often as we should. I always enjoy good times in their company and their little 2 year old is the best wee person I know.

On Sunday we got up bright and early with my Dad in tow to go Canyoning with Nae Limits in Perthshire. We got all kitted up with full body wetsuits (not exactly designed for those well endowed in the chest area, breathing was tricky!), hard hats, life jackets, trainers and a climbing harness. Unfortunately when we got to The Falls of Bruar there was just too much water in the river. The rather dismal Scottish Summer scuppered our plans. Instead we went cliff jumping near Soldier’s Leap in Killiecrankie.

My Dad did really well jumping off the various sized cliffs. The Boyo and I did so badly with even the smallest jump that we were banned from doing any more jumps. This caused great amusement to both us and the rest of the group. The Instructors were glad we saw the funny side as really the way we were jumping we were going to hurt ourselves eventually. We did enjoy a swim in the river and watching everyone else tackle big big jumps. My shoulders are suffering today after swimming with all that kit on but the fresh water in the river was really rather nice to swim in. I love the water and I’m happy to jump, I just can’t do the required hop/leap needed to safely clear the cliff and to be honest both the Boyo and I are daft eejits anyway – well suited!

We will go Canyoning another time but I would encourage you to check out Nae Limits if you are in Perthshire and fancy some adventure. They do all sorts of activities, I’m really keen to try Tubing and Whitewater Rafting and they do mini adventures for kids too. The cafe and centre is just off the A9, South of Pitlochry and we enjoyed a good lunch after our activities, so even if you are not the adventurous (MAD) type then the cafe does good food too.


Summer 2015

A few months ago The Boyo and I sat down and mapped out our summer plans. As we both work within education we are both limited as to when we can take our holidays, so, we like to make the most of the summer months. We had weddings to go to, food festivals, roadtrips, picnics, my sister’s graduation, canyoning and kayaking, trips to see our families and an exotic holiday to look forward to.

We were at our first wedding of the summer in mid June when we got a phone call that made all those plans seem utterly insignificant. A member of The Boyos family was seriously unwell and he had to go over to Northern Ireland, where he is from, immediately. The Boyo spent most of the summer over in Northern Ireland and I hopped between Fife and The Causeway Coast.

We both came back to Scotland at the weekend and whilst there is comfort in being back in our familiar routine, The Boyos life and his family have changed forever. It has been such a hard summer and I so badly wish we could rewind the clock back and change things so this summer didn’t happen. There are some tough moments ahead.

I won’t say anymore about this, as it really is private matter for my Boyo and his family. I will just say that this summer would have been a whole lot harder if it had not been for the family dog, Maggie. Amazing how much comfort can be derived from a doggy with seemingly endless amounts of energy, and who has a fondness of tennis balls, cheese and swimming.IMG_20150628_194717 20150628_113148 (1) IMG_20150623_005552

This Weekend and The Search For Some Pals

Last night I woke up about 3am. I was too hot and I’d been having a strange unsettling dream. I struggled to get back to sleep and then I woke up again at 5.30am. The curtain pole fell out of the wall the other evening and I have not got round to fixing it yet as it involves filling in a hole in the wall. This means that for now I’m using a sheet, which is too thin and too small to combat the brilliant sunshine we are getting just now even at early-o-clock in the morning.

We started off our day with a swim which always leaves me feeling refreshed and awake, every time I tell myself I should do this more often and yet somehow I never quite manage to make it a habit.

I am crabbit today though. I’m in my office and the sun is shining so I really want to be outside doing something nice. We were supposed to be flying to Thailand today but as you may have gathered via Instagram and my last post we are spending a lot of time in Northern Ireland just now with my Boyos family. I can’t really say more without invading the privacy of everyone, so for once I’m learning to censor myself and say less. (On another note do any of you suffer from runaway talking? I quite often say way more than I mean to because I get all awkward and forget to stop talking). Anyway the family situation meant that a holiday just now was absolutely out of the question, it was the right decision and whilst I really wish circumstances could be different, not for the purposes of our holiday but for the health and happiness of everyone involved, they are not.

It does mean I now have a weekend on my home on my own as The Boyo travels back to N.I tomorrow. My best friend is working and my other friends live too far away to arrange something at the last minute like this. I’m also a bit tetchy anyway with everything that is going on so I probably would not be the best company. It has got me thinking though about friendships.

I met 3 of my closest friends at University. We all shared the same flat in the halls of residence and then on and off we lived with each other during our undergraduate years. One lives an hour away from me, the other two live further away. We communicate nearly everyday on Whatsapp. My other closest friend is from School and she lives in my hometown which is a 2.5 hour drive from Fife. I have lots of other friends from University (both times), from my various jobs (Scotland and Hong Kong) and from my hometown but we all live fairly far apart. What I don’t really have are local friends.

Just how do you go about making friends when you are in your 30s? For example, this weekend when I’m on my own, the ideal thing would be to call up a pal and go for coffee (and cake or ice cream). However I just don’t have those friends locally to do this with.

I do an exercise class but I’m too shy to just strike up conversations with quite a large group of ladies.

I don’t have children so going to groups to meet other Mums is out because I am not one.

I do work full-time and I get on well with my colleagues but I have not made the sort of friends where we go for coffee together here.

I volunteer – I am a Girl Guide Leader and that gets me out the house 1 evening a week, I have a small unit of 12 girls and I love doing this but at the moment I’m the sole leader.

I know a few of My Boyo’s work friends but without him around I probably would not feel comfortable arranging a meet up.

I have ways of occupying my time but it would be nice to just be able to call someone up and go for coffee, or the cinema or anything really. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit shy and I can be a bit awkward initially – even when you do get to know me I certainly have plenty of faults! There are plenty of people who I’m sure are in the same boat, moving to be in a relationship or for work or for other reasons.

Anyway I’m hoping this weekend to get a little sewing project done, I have lots of admin for my Guide Unit to do and I have some errands to run so I’m sure I will be kept occupied for the most part.

What are your weekend plans? And any advice on finding friends?



Weekend Wandering – Splashing Around on the Causeway Coast

At the moment I’m hopping between work in Fife and Northern Ireland, where my Boyo is from. He is staying over there just now with his family and I’m flying over to spend weekends with them. The family includes a very lovely dog called Maggie.

Maggie likes to get a good daily walk. The Boyo is lucky that he grew up right on the North Coast and has wonderful beaches, cliff top paths, ruined castles and of course the Giants Causeway right on his doorstep over there. Plenty of lovely places for walks, especially when the weather is fine. On Sunday it was even warm enough for both Maggie and I to enjoy splashing around at Portballintrae.



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Life and Love

I haven’t written anything in a while as we’ve been so busy. The end of the academic year is a busy time and we’ve been taking advantage of the slightly better weather to get out and about a bit more.

This week though is proving to be really hard. I’m ill with an ear infection which means I’m being even less help than I want to be. I’m aware that more people in my ‘real’ life are aware of this blog and as much as I want to write down my feelings (writing can be quite therapeutic) I’m aware that I would be talking about things on the big wide internet that actually deserve privacy.

Love is a funny thing and I’m very lucky I have some very wonderful people who I love and who love me in my life. Right now one of the people I love most in the world is hurting a lot and I wish I could make the situation better and that I could fix it all. I can’t and it makes me feel so sad. All I can do is to be there and let them know that I love them and I will always be there. Life can be so very cruel and sad sometimes.

Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

(from Philip Larkin ‘An Arundel Tomb’)

Learning to Let it Be

Many years ago I was a lonely, sad girl. I was bullied terribly and everything around me was falling apart. I made the decision to change schools and try to salvage a few of my school years and hopefully actually pass some exams. I didn’t really think I would make any friends, I just hoped that I would not be hounded and miserable every single day.

I can’t quite remember how I became friends with X, I just know that when I did my life changed dramatically. I had a friend, I gained other friends through my friendship with him, but for the first time in my life I had a friend who I felt comfortable with. We had so much fun, the last year at school made up for all the other horrid years I had endured. He was creative, he was funny, he was very clever. He was inspiring to me. I had a best friend and I loved him. As a teenager you are pretty self absorbed and whilst I revelled in feeling happy I was pretty unaware of deeper things that he perhaps was going through.

The week before I left to go to University I had a panic, I was suddenly very scared, I was leaving to go to a city where X would not be. The prospect of going away to a brand new place, with a lot of new people terrified me. I needed X to be my security, I mean if he found me fun then maybe other people would too, but maybe without him around I would just be the weird friendless girl I once was? X came round and had a good chat with me, boosted my confidence and his talk worked, I went off to university and loved it.

X and I had weekly phone calls where I would prattle on about all the joys of University life and city living which was pretty thrilling for a small town girl. For a while it was all good then things changed and he became more distant.

Eventually he moved away and started a new life and I wasn’t a part of it at all.

I still feel hurt. I still wish he was part of my life. However I can now see how clingy I was, how self absorbed and how suffocating our friendship must have been, especially when he had to make the changes in his life for him to be happy.

Last year I found him on Facebook, I sent a long message and I was immediately blocked. Last week I received an email ‘Your Contact X is on twitter’. Of course I immediately pinged off a follow request. I was blocked.

This weekend I pondered a while on this, I still care deeply for this person, I always will because his friendship was a very precious gift that definitely changed my life. Clearly though I have to let it be. Our friendship is not part of his life now, it is a memory. My need to ‘find’ him is selfish. Our paths diverged and we hopefully have both found ourselves in a happy place.

X if you ever read this I hope you are happy. I know you will have brought many people colour and joy like you once did for me. I hope you feel loved.

Thank you

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