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April

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Bloomin’ heck – if someone could tell me where April went, that would be lovely, I seemed to blink and it vanished!

As promised, here’s my monthly catch up with you all, so you can see what I’ve been up to at University, and with the rest of my life!

Starting from where I left you last time…

Those of you who haven’t seen my recently won’t know that I’ve had a change of hair colour. I got fed up with blonde – so as a result, I’m now orange/red!

 

 

I’ve dyed it again since this photo, so it’s actually gone a darker orange now, but I LOVE it.

It also means I stand out in a crowd – which is particularly helpful at work I must say. I had a company manager coming to find me this weekend to discuss selling programmes, and he’d been told “look for the short girl with orange hair.”

There’s not many of those around, especially in Winchester!

A few days after I dyed my hair, me and my friend Sally from Uni went on a little excursion to Oxford. Sally knows Oxford really well, so it was great to explore the city without getting completely lost!

She took me to this amazing little shop

 

 

Where I obviously couldn’t help but treat myself to some yarn – I’m a knitwear student, it was research!

 

@pittriversmuseum #pittrivers #oxford #pittriversmuseum #dayout #museum

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We also visited the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’ll definitely be going back to, as it’s like one of those Victorian curiosity cabinets, there’s just SO much to see.

I then spent the next week drooling over the yarn I bought in Oxford, I’m about 3/4 of my way through what I’m knitting, but I’ve run out of wool, *queue dramatic music* so I’m going to have to take a trip back there, but I’m going to wait until my deadlines are out of the way on the 11th of May, and then I’ll be FREE!

 

 

Something else I’ve been doing a lot of this month is exploring Winchester.

 

Yesterday's market #winchester #market #bluesky #highstreet

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Not only has the weather been perfect for a spot of exploring, but I’ve been working on a really exciting project as part of the Winchester Hat Fair this year, which, all I can share at the moment, has had me wandering around the city looking at trees!

Watch this space.

 

Pretty Winchester #winchester #beautifulday #bluesky

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Hello sunshine! #sunshine #winchester #cathedral #winchestercathedral #beautifulday

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#tree #paint #inspiration #university #artstudent #blue #pink

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One of the main reasons that I seemed to lose the end of April, was that I had an essay deadline on the 30th, which took up an awful lot of my time to say the least.

I only had to write one essay this semester, so I obviously wanted to make it the best that it could be, even if that meant staying up until 4am on the day of the deadline!

 

#essay #ugh #help #artstudent #feminism #knitwear #feminist

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I won’t go into massive detail and bore you all, but I chose to examine the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism. It was a pretty exciting and interesting essay to write, you never know, I may share some of it with you when it’s been marked. (providing it’s not a complete failure that is!)

Now up to the present day…

 

Theatre love #theatre #auditorium #curtains #red

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I’ve spent this weekend working at the theatre, which I absolutely love. It’s such a gorgeous venue, and I’m flattered that I can be a part of running it!

As previously mentioned, my final deadline for EVERYTHING is the 11th of May, so currently, I’m lying in bed, making the most of the bank holiday, and working on one of my many sketchbooks.

I’ve had a few ideas for a couple of extra blogs this month, so don’t be surprised if there’s a few more heading your way. Likewise, don’t hold me to anything, because my life seems to currently revolve around uni, work, food and naps!

It’s pretty hectic, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

 

Until next time

 

Bex

xxx

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January

Evening all,

This month I’ve been working seriously hard at uni…(definitely haven’t had 3 weeks off…) Ok, so technically not AT uni, but I’ve been working on a ‘research’ project whilst our work was being assessed which has involved me being able to drool over vast quantities of knitwear, whilst trying to mentally deconstruct it to figure out how it’s made.

This has been a really exciting project, the tutorial for which I had on Tuesday, and received really positive feedback – so that’s a bonus!

I thought I’d share a couple of photos with you of what I’ve been doing – because as it is universally acknowledged, a picture speaks a thousand words…and doing an arts based course, it’s a bit difficult to explain thing without showing you them

Punch card research #knitwear #productisking #wsa #punchcard #knittingmachine #pattern

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These 2 alpaca garments, a jacket and a waistcoat, were very kindly bought for me by the Godmother.

I love the punch card detailing, so spent rather a lot of time breaking down the patterns and figuring out how I can recreate aspects of them (obviously not directly copying them!)

 

 

I’ve also been making use of a copy of ‘Good Housekeeping – Knitting’ that I picked up in a charity shop for 50p years ago, which is a fantastic reference for hundreds of different types of stitches.

I’ve been developing my watercolour skills, and finally, I think I can say I’ve moved on from the ‘5 year old let loose for the first time’, to ‘pretentious art student who is fulfilling all stereotypes except wearing a beret’. haha. So this was me looking at stitch structures, and how they can be adapted to whatever effect I’m trying to achieve.

 

It’s all great fun! 😀

 

Oh Winchester, you so preeeetty #winchester #sunset #nofilter

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On a slightly more bizarre note –  there was an earthquake in Winchester!

I have to admit, I was in the middle of painting a purple sheep at the time, and my desk shook at a rather inconvenient moment, prompting plenty of expletives and tutting, because I honestly thought that it was one of my housemates slamming a door! Apparently not judging by this news article…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-31009707

That’s really my month in a nutshell. Whilst it feels like a lot has happened (some of which I can’t share with you yet unfortunately), when I actually put pen to paper (you know what I mean), it seems like not a lot has happened at all!

What I can tell you though, it that 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year…watch this space.

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

 

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…

 

#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…

 

Lovely day in Bruges yesterday #bruges #christmas #coffee #shopping

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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.

 

My own personal musical! #womenontheverge #musical #amazing

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelty Value

Goodness, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

I’m having such an amazing experience at university, the time has just flown by!

It feels like yesterday that I was travelling down here with my parents in a car that looked like it was about to explode from the amount I’d packed, but at the same time it feels like I’ve lived here forever.

Late night tea drinking #tea #mug #plant #ikea #student #artstudentproblems #artstudent #university

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Winchester is such a lovely area, and although to begin with it was really strange not having my car with me, I’m beginning to appreciate having everything on my doorstep.

My first semester consists of trying out the basics within the different pathways we can choose to specialise in after christmas. These include fashion, weave, knit and print.

At the moment I’m in the middle of 2 weeks of weave, which has definitely opened my eyes to a new way of looking a fibres, but have no fear, I’m pretty sure I still know where my heart lies! (For those of you who wonder what this could be, I shake my head in disappointment)

Studio day #university #work #student #sketchbooks #research

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I popped home last weekend, and spent Saturday having a wander around some of the current exhibitions in London – I thought I’d do a separate post on this though, because oh good gracious did the new exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum make me happy?! Knitwear…so much knitwear!

Put the kettle on! #londonvictoria #london #station #home #nofilter

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I haven’t really got anything else to say at the moment, other than I’ve been at Uni all day today, I’m absolutely exhausted and think I’ll probably take a nap after posting this!

Oh aren’t I such a hardcore student?

Take care

Bex xxx

I Saw Pandas!!

As promised, today I’m going to tell you all about the zoo that I visited on Friday – Ready?

We’ve seen this zoo (ZooParc de Beauval)  advertised for the last few years that we’ve been here, but finally we managed to make some time in our incredibly busy schedule – Oh it’s a hard life reading a knitting – to venture over there.

When we arrived, we were under the impression that the dogs wouldn’t be allowed into the park, but it turned out that they were only banned from certain areas, which were the various aviaries/tropical houses, and around the pandas. (Pandas – we’ll get to this in a moment)

 

#penguins #zooparcdebeauval #zoo #animal #cute #water #blue #swim

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In comparison to places like ZSL London Zoo, the size of the enclosures is definitely a great deal larger, although arguably this probably has something to do with the fact that France is a considerably larger country, and therefore can afford to allocate more space to such things!

 

#penguins #dinnertime #zooparcdebeauval #zoo

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But anyway, moving on. This particular zoo is the only zoo in France that has possession of 2 giant pandas, and when I discovered this, the 5 year old inside me really took over!

 

Can I have one please? #zooparcdebeauval #zoo #panda #cuddly #bear #endangered #iwantone

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THEY’RE SO CUTE AND FLUFFY!! I just wanted to cuddle them!!

Although I don’t think that would go down particularly well…

 

Oh what a life… #bamboo #panda #bear #zooparcdebeauval #zoo #pandabear #endangered #iwantone #cute

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If anybody can say that isn’t cute…well…we’re no longer friends – you have been warned.

The other animals I was really excited about seeing were the elephants.

 

#elephant #zoo #zooparcdebeauval #france #holiday

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I visisted ZSL London Zoo not that long ago, and just assumed that they still had elephants (in my defence, my last visit was over 10 years ago).

But no. Not an elephant to be seen, because they were all moved over to Whipsnade in 2001. Gutted.

But my desire to see elephants was fulfilled, and they even had a baby – there’s something about baby elephants, they’re just so…funny? The way them bumble around and just enjoy themselves, regardless of what’s going on around them. Elephants are fascinating animals.

Is that little summary acceptable enough? Because the sun has come out, and there’s a beer back at the camper with my name on it…

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

Overwhelmed

Afternoon all,

Before I go any further –  I GOT INTO UNIVERSITY!!!!! Sorry I haven’t announced this sooner, but basically since last Thursday my life has been slightly more chaotic than usual, to say the least…

Starting with A-level results day…once I’d discovered at 7:30 am that I’d actually got a place at university, everything kicked off. I drove myself to school to pick up my results – UCAS only tells you if you’ve got a place, not your actual grades, and then I had to rush home to finish packing because I was flying out to Amsterdam with a friend that afternoon.

Once I’d finished packing and remembered at the last minute that I’d forgotten an adapter, I went to pick up this stunner…

"Mcflurry?" #mcflurry #macdonalds #food #bestie #bestfriend

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Meet Tegan…aka one of my best friends and one of the few people that will put up with me! (she also indulged my Malteaser addiction most lunchtimes through our 2 years of sixthform together  – that’s true friendship!)

We caught the 4:30 from Gatwick to Schiphol, arriving at the hotel about 9pm because there were delays etc due to the weather. The Dutch are so unbelievably friendly – not something I was expecting in all honesty (as some of you are aware). But it meant that if at any point we were unsure of where we were (my navigating leaves a little to be desired) people were more than happy to point us in the right direction.

We stayed in a Best Western Hotel called the Leidse Square, which is located really close to the Vondelpark, the Leidseplein and the Museumplein, meaning that we were really well situated for most of the things that we wanted to visit – bonus!

#vondelpark #amsterdam #holiday

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Once we’d checked out the hotel room – bed ✓ shower ✓ BBC 1 ✓ we went for a wander around the area.

#amsterdam #holiday#canal #bikes #pretty

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Amsterdam is so pretty, picturesque and totally cliché, but that is in no way a bad thing!

We went to a number of places whilst we were there including the flower market…

It's so preeeetty #amsterdam #flowers #flowermarket #colour #holiday

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a canal cruise…

Canal cruise #amsterdam #holiday #canal #boat

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and the stedelijk museum, where they had a fantastic range of modern art, from Monet to Warhol.

#jacksonpollock #art #amsterdam #stedelijkmuseum

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#pablopicasso #picasso #art #stedelijkmuseum #amsterdam #painting

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#pietmondrian #stedelijkmuseum #amsterdam #art #painting #colour

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Something else that was really interesting about Amsterdam, was the art that wasn’t confined to the museums. It’s such an artistic and interesting city, which is made clear through displays of street art…

Yeah Timmy… #timmy #thingsdontworkthatway #amsterdam #holiday #graffiti

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#droppantsnotbombs #amsterdam #canal #boat #peace

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whilst graffiti is considered a rather controversial subject, I actually find it fascinating – I love seeing how places can be transformed through street art, because that’s what myself and other have previously hoped to achieve through movements such as yarn bombing.

Another place we discovered was a little pancake restaurant that was just opposite our hotel. We decided to try some traditional  poffertjes, which as you can see below, were truly delicious! They’re little baby pancakes, covered in icing sugar with a lump of melted butter on top. My arteries are groaning just at the thought of them…

Pancakes? Pancakes. #pancakes #amsterdam #holiday #celebration #happy #bestpancakesever #happy

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Finally, we visited a few other places that I haven’t yet included, but sadly we were unable to take photographs (Or I might have just forgotten…but that’s not the point!)

Anne Frank’s house – definitely a must if you’re in Amsterdam, a really moving and inspirational attraction that shows where Anne Frank was hidden during WWII.

The Van Gogh Museum – I love Van Gogh’s work, the main ‘famous’ ones to see here are the Bedroom in Arles, the Sunflowers and the Irises. As well as these, there are a great deal of self-portraits, which I found fascinating, because you can study the way that Van Gogh painted himself in comparison to others, as well as looking at the different characterisitcs that he chose to highlight in himself, depending upon the period in which he was painting.

Waterlooplein – This is a flea market that was established by Amsterdam’s Jewish inhabitants in the 1800s, it’s a little bit reminiscent of Camden, but there is the odd stall that could actually be considered of the ‘flea market’ variety. I picked up a lovely jumper for €1 (it’s in the wash at the moment so I’ll show it to you next time) as well as a few postcards etc.

Finally, we made our way back to Schiphol (getting caught in a torrential downpour in the process) and then sat in departures playing scrabble on the ipad because our plane was really delayed, goodness knows why…

Storm? What storm? #storm #amsterdam #schiphol #airport #travel #gatwick #delay

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Storm? What storm?!

Anyway. That’s what’s been happening to me in the last few days…I’m completely exhausted, and at this current moment, feel like instead of hitting the ground running, I’ve hit the ground with  a rather inelegant ‘bump’ and proceeded to land face first into a puddle. Time to write some lists I think!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

Alpaca Annie

Good evening everyone!

For those of you who are regular followers of my little blog, you’ll be aware that I normally try and post once a week, and most recently this has been on a Thursday.

So this week, I thought I’d shake things up a little bit, because I’ve had a relaxing day – doing very little, and spending some time concentrating on myself rather than the chaos that has been surrounding me recently (results day is looming!) – and sit and tell you about something rather exciting that I did the other day…

 

This is Haguelands farm.

A friend of mine brought it to my attention when they were over for dinner, and we were discussing (or it might have just been me ranting) about the fact that I really wanted to meet alpacas, because I find working with their wool, absolutely divine.

‘Alpaca Annie’ is based is New Romney, Kent, and are one of the few places in the country that are not only a working alpaca farm, but also offer the opportunity to meet and learn about alpacas.

http://www.alpacaannie.com/

After much deliberation, we decided to book ourselves onto an alpaca ‘trek’ at 10 am on a Friday morning.

So, armed with walking boots, and a sense of apprehension as to what we’d got ourselves into, we headed off to find ourselves some alpacas!

When we arrived at Haguelands, we were greeted by a lovely lady in the ‘Alpaca Annie’ shop, where we waited until the rest of the group (there were 8 of us in total) joined us. Once everyone had arrived, a lady called Lara came and met us, and after a quick introduction, took us to meet the alpacas that we’d be walking with that day.

I’ve only ever seen alpacas from a distance, normally in a field whilst driving, so to get up-close and personal with them was a really amazing experience.

As we walked through the fields, we were greeted by a mass of ‘pacas of all different shapes and sizes…

After a briefing and health & safety talk, we were allocated our alpacas. I was given the ‘gentle giant’, Fennell, and we were taught that as much as you want to just give them a cuddle, the best way to approach an alpaca, is with the back of your hand facing them, because that way they feel more at ease, and then to only touch their necks, because otherwise they may feel threatened.

I made a new friend today. #alpaca #alpacaannie #wool #yarn #knitting #crochet #friend #love #cute #animal

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Walking an alpaca was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced…I spent plenty of time down at the local stables when I was younger, but an alpaca ain’t nothin’ like a horse – let me tell you!

I saw a lot of my own personality traits in Fennell…good looks, charm, strong willed, stubborn… 😉  meaning that a walk with an alpaca, is more of a gentle stroll, with plenty of grazing in between, and a carrot break half way through…what a life eh?

I love this photo – I was attempting to get Fennell to smile, but instead it just looks like we’re in the middle of a heated debate – I told him not to mention politics!!

Whilst we walked, Lara – the herdsperson – answered all of our questions about the alpacas, and it was a really educational and fun experience – and I even topped up my tan 🙂

When we got back to the farm, we were given a certificate to prove that “We’ve trekked at Haguelands Farm”, and after a few more questions, we went for lunch at the bistro which is situated on site. Lunch was delicious and reasonably priced (you receive a discount if you’ve been on an alpaca trek), which meant that it was a really lovely end to the experience.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who fancies doing something different and trying something new. The staff were so friendly and informative, and most importantly, the alpacas are just so cute!

On a separate note – I know I promised that I’d share what I’ve been making with that blue cotton with you in my next blog, but I think I’ve told you enough to keep you going until later in the week, when I PROMISE I’ll show you some knitting and/or crochet!

I hope you like my little alpaca report – I promise I’m not completely insane…well…no more than usual anyway 😉

Take care and see ya soon

Bex

xxx

OH! P.S – I’ve received some really positive feedback about Granny Willis recently in the form of emails/comments – please do feel free to get in touch at grannywillis@hotmail.co.uk  I don’t bite! I may be a teenager, but I can converse in a language other than grunts and unamused facial expressions…(although possibly not before 9 am)