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2014 in a nutshell…

What a year. Without wanting to crack out the New Years cliches too much, it’s been a roller coaster.

I can’t believe it’s actually been a year. When I started looking back over 2014, things seemed like they happened a lifetime ago, not 12 months!

I thought I’d walk you through my year (don’t worry, there’s pictures) just to share with you what’s happened to me, and I hope you’ll be as surprised as I was!

 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY

This time last year, things were just starting to go slightly crazy with the ‘Blood Doesn’t Grown on Trees’ campaign that some of you might remember my involvement with.

 

 

For those of you who are unaware, I was involved with a campaign organised by the NHS Blood Transfusion Department, which involved me designing and creating 9 knitting patterns for knitted blood drops, which were then sent out nationally, and knitted by different groups across the country (and the world, it turned out!)

Once we had collected all of the blood drops in, local councils and the NHS did an amazing job of ‘yarn bombing’ them on to trees country-wide, in order to raise awareness about the fact that ‘Blood Doesn’t Grown on Trees’.

 

 

 

MARCH

In March, I had the privilege of being shortlisted as part  of The National Fashion Textiles Competition, which resulted in one of my AS pieces, ‘Oceanography,’ going on display at the Spring Knitting and Stitching show which was held at Olympia.

 

 

This was an amazing experience, and although my piece didn’t win anything, having it displayed where so many people could see it was really great.

 

APRIL

April was a busy month for me, because it was the lead-up to my coursework deadlines for my A level Textiles.

 

 

 

It seems like an age ago that I was tearing my hair out in my studio in the loft at 2am trying to get everything finished, but looking back at my work, it was all worth it. I was really pleased with how everything turned out 🙂

 

MAY

May saw the end of an era when I had my last day at my secondary school.

 

 

It was really strange, everything coming to an end, but at the same time it was really exciting, because all of us were jumping feet first in to the unknown, with everything hinging on what results day in August would bring.

 

JUNE

Granny Willis’ ego got a little bit of a boost in June, when I was mentioned in a ‘Simply Knitting’ Article, that was dedicated to the work that I’d down with the NHSBT.

 

 

Chuffed is an understatement.

 

JULY

July was the beginning of my summer jet-setting.

 

 

I went to Malta for a week, which involved very little more than lying in the sun for 7 days in the Mellieha Bay.

 

 

AUGUST

But I soon came back to reality with a bump when August came around.

I’d managed to put results day out of my mind in July, but I’ve never been as happy as I was on the 14th, when I managed to log onto UCAS and check whether I’d got into University.

As many of you may know, I’m now studying Fashion and Textiles Design at Southampton University – Winchester School of Art.

 

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#amsterdam #holiday#canal #bikes #pretty

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Straight after collecting our results, me and Tegan headed to Gatwick airport to fly to Amsterdam.

Where we spent a couple of days wandering around the gorgeous European city, which was a great way to celebrate us both getting into University.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER

The time quickly came around for me to actually move to Winchester in September.

 

 

This big thing called ‘University’ that I’d been so desperate to get into, suddenly became very real.

 

OCTOBER

However, in October my life was turned upside down and back to front well and truly, when I lost my Grandad.

 

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#tbt

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I won’t dwell on it here, as I think I’ve explained enough in one of my previous posts, but he was an amazing man, who worked hard all of his life, and I have every intention of making him proud in 2015, and beyond.

 

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#oldphotos #memories #ocean #beach

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NOVEMBER

November was the month when I was catapulted in to my last teenage year.

 

 

What with everything that had happened, it all felt rather surreal, but thank you to my family and friends, both at home and at uni, who made sure that I had a birthday that I won’t be forgetting for awhile!

 

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#bestie #bestfriend

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Now it’s sunk in, I’m definitely going to use 2015 to do everything I can still blame on ‘being a teenager’.

Life’s too short to be boring!

DECEMBER

On to this month…what’s happened so far?

 

 

I’ve spent quite a lot of time eating, drinking and being merry…

 

 

as well as attempting to be festive, although on a somewhat smaller scale than usual.

 

So there we go. That’s my year in a nutshell…I can’t believe that SO much has happened, it’s bonkers!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everybody that has helped/aided/supported and just been there for me throughout 2014.

It’s been a wild year, and I hope that in 2015, it will only get better.

Happy New Year

Bex

x x x

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Christmas 2014…

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, 

 

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#christmassocks #festive #sleepytime

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stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

 

 

It came without ribbons, it came without tags,

 

 

It came without packages, boxes or bags.

 

 

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.

 

 

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

 

 

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

 

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#crazycatlady

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What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more…”

– Dr. Seuss –

Christmas Catch-Up

Evening all!

I thought it was about time I caught you all up with what’s been going on in my life recently (if you’re interested of course)

If you’re not, here’s a video of a cat and a printer*

*Disclaimer – does contain naughty words rhyming with duck…

So, where shall I start?

I got home from university on the 12th of December. That’s a story in itself…

my amazing friend Rachael very kindly offered to pick me up and drive me back, because I had so much stuff to bring home, what with me studying an arty subject, and it also gave me the opportunity to be her personal tour guide around Winchester because she’s never been.

Although don’t listen to her when she says apparently I only know my way around by the pubs…it’s only slightly true!

After having to call the RAC because of a flat battery incident, I finally got home late in the evening, crashed into bed and then went to work at my old job all of Saturday, so it wasn’t particularly exciting!

I do think I was missed by the cat though…

 

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#crazycatlady

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However, on Sunday something rather exciting did happen.

I’ve been so unorganised this Christmas, I decided that instead of presents, I’d take people out for the day etc, and it was Mum’s turn on the 14th when I took her to Bruges!

We went on a coach trip for the day, and it was glorious! We didn’t really go for the shopping, unlike some, who came back laden with enough duty free to feed (or certainly quench the thirst of) the 5,000.

But it was lovely to spend the day wandering around city, the architecture is beautiful – Random fact – A lot of BBC dramas are filmed there, such as the ‘White Queen’ for those of you who watched it…

 

 

Oh and of course there was coffee…and an awful lot of chocolate….

Next up on my ‘to do’ list, was visit my old school.

I was very kindly given the opportunity by the Head of Textiles, to go back and talk to year 11, 12 and 13 students about University.

It was rather strange standing there saying something along the lines of…”study hard, aim high and you could end up like me!” as I was stood there in my jeans, wearing a vast quantity of knitwear, and clutching a cup of tea as if my life depended on it.

But hey, maybe I’ve inspired a generation? We’ll see won’t we…

I do kid, but overall it was really great, although slightly strange, to go back and see people, gosh some of the girls have grown up – made me feel SO old…

Speaking of which *tangent alert*

I was standing outside University the other day, and listened to a conversation between a mother and her young son…

Boy: “mum what’s that big building?”
Mum: “that’s an art school for grown ups”

Oh how very wrong she was – as my friend Ed rightly commented – “There are no grown ups here!!”

Anyway, continuing with my week…

I was then lucky enough to spend two consecutive evenings at different theatres in London.

 

 

On the Wednesday I went with my friend Sam to see “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” which I felt had actually been written with me as inspiration!

It was the first night of the previews, so obviously it’s going to have changed dramatically by the time it opens ‘properly’, but it has all the makings of a really hilarious show. Some of the musical numbers really did have me in hysterics, and not in a negative way for once which makes a change.

Thursday was another Christmas surprise. You may have heard me mention Tegan before, well, I bought her tickets to see ‘Cats’ at the London Palladium for her Christmas present.

 

 

Although I was quite sceptical about the fact Nicole Scherzinger was playing Grizabella, I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong, and boy was I wrong.

Her rendition of ‘Memory’ gave me goosebumps, she really did the role justice – you go girl!

I’m sorry this has been a long ramble, but I just wanted to show you all that I’m ok, and I’m sorry the last couple of posts have been slightly less cheerful, but it’s been a really hard couple of months, and I’m grateful to all of you for baring with me!

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and I have every intention of talking to you all again before the New Year (where did the last one go?!)

Ho Ho Ho

Bex

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December

As some of you may have guessed, I’m not feeling particularly festive this year. However, I’m not ignoring Christmas completely, and whilst rummaging through a box in a fabulous little junk shop in Winchester before I came home, I discovered my inspiration for todays post.

I think that at Christmas we seem to become rather (possibly unintentionally) self-absorbed, particularly involving things that really, are not that important in the grand scheme of things. So what if we end up buying someone cadburys instead of galaxy? or forget to put a bow around an otherwise perfectly wrapped present – the world is not going to end.

 

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#uniwork #pub #cheesychips #exhausted #lunchtime

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I guess losing my Grandfather this year has kind of put things into perspective for me. It’s not all about us. There are so many others out there who are suffering, and Christmas is a time when things seem to come to the surface, and normally bubble over.

True feelings are shouted from the roof tops, emotions run riot, and everyone is generally a little bit highly strung!

Basically, Christmas is the opportunity for people to say what they really feel, and blame it on overindulgence and mulled wine.

 

 

I found the perfect example of this, as I’ve already said, when I was browsing in this little shop in Winchester.

This Christmas card is 103 years old, and originates from Australia. I find  it fascinating that something this old, and particularly, this personal, could be picked up for £1. But on reflection, I suppose it’s all about sentimental value isn’t it?

 

 

“Dear Albert,

Just a line to wish you the compliments of the season. I hope you have a jolly time. But I will leave you alone for that. The change has done me good. I have been looking for a card from you every day since I came back from Brisbane. Mother is down in Brisbane for a week. I am having a glorious time, saw a very good opera last night.

With best wishes

from

Marion”

Who are Marion and Albert? What is their story?

 

 

I guess in my mind, Marion is a woman who is attempting to not pine for somebody that she’s either lost, or had to leave behind. Somebody it seems, who may not want, or can’t accept her affection.

Without wanting to get too much into my ‘English Lit’ mode – The fact she summarises her time as ‘glorious’ suggests to me that she’s slightly desperate to show that regardless of whether he’s talking to her or not, she’s still enjoying herself – supposedly.

To me, this is pretty much Christmas in a nutshell. People revealing things in grand displays, that at any other time of the year would probably be deemed as irrational behaviour.

I think that Christmas brings out the best and worst in us, it makes us realise our hopes for the new year, but at the same time encourages us to dwell on our mistakes and regrets from the previous one.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is where I’ll leave it this week.

Don’t get me wrong – I do love Christmas, I just guess that being stuck in bed with tonsillitis and basically sleeping for 72 hours has given me time to over-think this time of year.

Best Wishes

Bex

xxx

P.S I was introduced to this song the other day and haven’t been able to get it out of my head – it’s pretty darn good! 🙂

Empire State of Mind: Part III

Final destination – Central Park…

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Empire State of Mind: Part II

‘Allo ‘Allo!

This blog is pretty much a continuation of the last one, Empire State of Mind: Part I – in which I told you all about my first day in New York City…the 4 hour delay, the 2 hours sleep, the amazing food etc…so can you guess what I’ve got in store for you today?

Yes! A step by step tutorial on how to decorate a Christmas Cake!!

Ok…you did guess right if you noticed a slight hint of sarcasm there…lets get cracking with my second day in NYC.

So we got to have a little bit of a lie in on the second morning, we didn’t have to be up and out until 9:30am,which meant we could have a much needed sleep!

After grabbing a freshly made bagel for lunch from the ‘Big Apple’ Cafe in the Hostel, we caught the Subway to the Brooklyn Museum because we had tickets to the ‘Sidewalk to Catwalk’ Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition.

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Brooklyn Museum

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It was great to be able to view his work up-close and personal, there’s nothing like being able to view something in the flesh when you’ve been studying it in books…

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The quality of the couture was stunning, the piece above I was firstly appalled by, I thought that a real animal had been used until I looked a little closer…

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BEADS! The piece was completely made out of bugle beads. I was speechless, and in true British fashion – Gobsmacked.

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This piece in particular caught my attention – the mixture of knitwear and evening couture was something I’d previously studied at school, so it’s safe to say I got a little bit more than excited when I saw this piece in real life.

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Woops…picture overload!!

We then all trekked over to Times Square, and after having a nice Chinese dinner…

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we went to see Annie on Broadway.

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It was a fantastic show, the scenery was amaaaaaazing…

And there we go, my second day in the beautiful New York City… I’ve just looked out of the window as I now need to go and get ready to meet a friend for a rather sophisticated coffee in a couple of hours, and can’t help thinking to my self ‘surely the sun will come out tomorrow?’ 😉 Wish it would come out today!

Keep Knitting
Bex xx

Knit One, Save One

Evenin’!

This week, I’m finally able to share with you something that I’ve been stupidly excited about (I’m serious, I’ve been worse than a 5 year old on Christmas day).

A couple of months ago I had an e-mail from a very nice lady from this tiny little company that is fondly known as the NHS…Yes, you read that correctly, the National Health Service, in relation to a project that they were looking at launching in order to promote blood donations.

Basically, this is my way of calling upon all of you knitters out there to pick up those needles in aid of a fantastic cause! As well as sharing this cause with all of your friends – I don’t ask for much do I?

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For the patterns, please email grannywillis@hotmail.co.uk

Every day we require 7,000 units of blood to meet hospital demand, and with only 4% of the eligible population giving blood you can appreciate the need for us to recruit new donors. We are hoping this campaign will engage young people in particular to come forward and register, as they are our donors of the future.

We are looking for enthusiastic knitters to help us raise awareness of blood donation for a campaign we will be running in February 2014. We would like people to knit blood drops for us, of varying sizes to form part of our national campaign.

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I think I’ll leave it there this week – need I say anymore?

Get knitting and I look forward to hearing from you

Bex x