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DIY Crochet Garments

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Hi everyone,

Those of you who follow me will know that I have a somewhat…different…taste when it comes to clothing. I don’t go out of my way to dress outrageously (which is not what I consider to be my style) but I do have a habit of not always following the crowd.

My wardrobe is absolutely stuffed with knitwear, and heaven help me when it gets to summer – I’m going to have to go on a serious shopping  spree!

I was in a lecture the other day with guest speaker Teresa Collenette who was wearing the most AMAZING granny square jumper. She was discussing how charities like Oxfam had turned the traditional ‘Granny Square’ into a money making machine, and utilised the idea of craft to pursue activism.

It’s what sparked the idea for my recent essay that examined the correlation between the popularity of knitwear in conjunction with the popularity of feminism.

It’s safe to say that this lecture really inspired me to say the least.

 

 

As a result of this, I couldn’t resist trying to make something similar myself.

Alongside the blue free-form crochet corset that I shared with you in the previous post, it’s been my other Work in Progress.

Being able to sit and mindlessly crochet granny squares whilst watching Poldark really helps me to relax. (Aidan Turner may also play a part in this…but obviously it’s mostly the crochet!)

 

 

Once I’d built up a fair stash of granny squares, I started pinning them on to my mannequin, and trying to figure out how I could turn them (successfully) into a garment.

Like the corset, this piece is still a WIP, but I’m really pleased with how it’s coming along.

 

 

Working with granny squares reminds me of working with pixels. Building up all of those different squares to be able to create a finished shape that moulds to the body and doesn’t make you just like you’re wearing a blanket that you’ve picked up from a charity shop! – Just a side note – there’s nothing wrong with charity shop blankets, but it wasn’t the look I was going for.

I love having the ability to make my own garments. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as when somebody asks you where you got something and you’re able to say “I made it myself actually.”

It gives me a real buzz, especially when I’ve created it free-hand without a pattern, it makes the garments I create one of a kind, which is something that really appeals to me. Except when I forget to write the pattern down thinking I’ll remember it, and then wake up the next day and have to try and decrypt the stitches I’ve used – learn from my mistakes!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit http://www.deramores.com for more details.

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Large Motifs

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Hey hey!

Continuing with the theme of the Deramores Blog Competition 2015, I thought I’d share some more with you today!

 

 

You’ve probably seen this garment appear quite a few times over the last year or so. It was on a mannequin in my studio loft for months when I was doing my A-levels, and I was gradually adding to it when I had time (when do I ever have time?!) haha.

 

 

I was initially going to enter this post into the “DIY Crochet Garments” category for the competition, but then I remembered that actually, the whole thing is made up of the same large crochet motifs, so why not enter it for large motifs? I’m a genius – I know.

 

#WIP #workinprogress #crochet #knitwear #knitting #knittingmachine #yarn

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Some may be familiar with this story, but for those of you who aren’t – I was given some beautiful blue cotton by a friend of mine well over a year ago, and it sat on my desk for months whilst I decided what to do with it.

It was so lovely I didn’t want to waste it, but at the same time, as someone told me the other day, if you were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, wouldn’t you regret not using all that yarn you’ve saved for something”special”? Extreme example I know, but it’s one I’m starting to live by.

It started off as just playing around with the idea of a heart motif, and gradually it expanded into this corset. It still needs lining, and then I’ve got a very talented photographer/student lined up to take some lovely photos of it when it’s finished.

 

#WIP #workinprogress #crochet #cotton #blue #knitting #knittingmachine #knitwear #yarn

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This garment for me is just pure indulgence in all honesty. The rich colours, beautiful yarn, the fact it can be whatever I want it to be without following a brief – it’s a welcome distraction when times are tough and I just want to enjoy myself.

 

 

 

I wouldn’t be doing a knitwear course if I didn’t enjoy it, but sometimes (a little bit like today), it’s nice to be reminded of why I fell in love with the craft in the first place. The freedom of being able to create your own fabrics, and have so much control over a design that you can influence something with something as small as a single stitch.

 

There we go – I’ve been promising for ages that I’d share with you what I’ve been up to recently – I hope this is an acceptable about of Granny Willis for you all!

Until next time

Bex

xxx

 

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit http://www.deramores.com for more details.

Rainbows

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Hi all,

Some of you may have picked up on what I said in my last post about the possibility of some unexpected new posts this week. I was sceptical that this would happen because of the fact I’ve got a deadline on Monday which means I’m working every hour God sends, but look – I’ve managed to find time!

I’ve wanted to share my current project with you, but the most I seem to have managed is the occasional photo on Instagram. So now, I’m going to use the Deramores Blog Competition 2015 as an excuse to find half an hour to sit down and share a few bits with you.

The project I’m talking about is called “The White Project,” the brief for which specifies that I should look at various cubist and futurist artists and then take inspiration from their work and translate this to knit.

 

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

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As usual, I had so many ideas when I first got the brief, it took me awhile to be able to filter through them all and finally settle on a path that would give me enough scope to be able to get together a decent body of research, but at the same time not give me SO many ideas that I just spend all my time lying on the floor trying to reign in my imagination. (seriously, that’s happened before)

 

#clivebarker #motivation #quote #trustyourmadness #wordporn

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I started by looking at Picasso and Braque specifically, printing images of their work in black and white so I could really focus on the shapes within the images and not get too distracted by the (undeniably beautiful) colours – it’s the “White Project” after all!

 

 

Something that I noticed, and I’m probably stating the obvious, was that Picasso used a lot of triangles in his work (as well as ‘cubes’ obviously), so I decided to start playing around these shapes, because whilst some may consider then fairly ‘simple’, I felt that they had the potential to be something really exciting.

 

Today I drew triangles. #artstudent #cubism #thewhiteproject #knitwear #knitting #triangles

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I settled on this drawing of triangles to mainly inspire my final garment, but I still didn’t feel comfortable with just using black and white as my two colours, I wanted to be able to incorporate some of the beautiful colours I’d seen, but not so much that the whole concept of the project was lost.

 

 

It was at this point that I was brainstorming with a friend of mine who does Fine Art, and he suggested I looked a prisms.

After some research, I suddenly felt like I was back in a year 8 science lesson learning about refraction! Was this how I would be able to bring colour to my project?

 

 

Obviously this was a perfectly justified excuse to go and splurge on some lovely rainbow coloured yarn, and laden with goodies, I headed back to halls feeling triumphant that I finally knew where I was going with this project.

 

 

Instead of focusing on machine knitting, I decided to take a step back to A-level and let my work grow organically in the form of free-form crochet. I decided to add subtle texture, as you can see, by picking up and knitting along the edge of each triangle I made with the bold colours that white light splits into when refracted.

 

 

After a few nights of crocheting into the small hours, kept company with my Sex and the City box set (no judging please) I finally felt that my work was beginning to take shape.

 

 

 

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m super super happy with how it’s growing so far. I love being able to use both knit and crochet together, because as silly as it seems, some seem to consider them as completely different entities because the patterns are a “different language” but they really do compliment each other.

I’m probably going to continue to work on this one over the weekend, as I’ve got this week off work – good job I’ve got a secret stash of jammy dodgers at home – I think I’m going to need them!

There we go, now you know how I went from cubist paintings, to The Dark Side of the Moon!

 

(for those you may not have quite got my joke :P)

 

Until next time

Bex

xxx

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit http://www.deramores.com for more details.

March

Hello everyone,

I suddenly realised when I was looking at my calendar today, that it’s nearly April! Therefore I thought I’d better fill you in, as promised, on my latest adventures this month.

As those of you who read my blog post last month will be aware, I was in New York City at the end of February, so if it’s ok with you, that’s what I’ll mostly be sharing today!

 

I wanna wake up, in a city that doesn't sleep 😀 #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten

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I was there from Monday – Sunday so that gave me plenty of time to explore the city, in comparison to when I went last time.

I also had a lot more freedom because I was with my university, and therefore only had to make sure I registered with the tutors accompanying us in the morning, rather than being shepherded around all day.

 

 

#empirestate #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten #nofilter #stunning #sunset

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I did lots of the typical ‘touristy’ things, such as going up the Empire State building, and visiting Grand Central Station, but I combined this with heading off the beaten track a bit and venturing in to the East Village and Soho etc.

#selfie #empirestate #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten #sunset #nofilter #freezing #snow #february

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I treated myself to a ticket to a Broadway Show – ‘If/Then’ which starred Idina Menzel, which was fantastic.

Those of you who know me, will know that I do love a good show, and it was a valid excuse to get out of the cold temperatures for a couple of hours!

#nofilter #newyorkcity #newyork #skyline #manhatten #centralpark

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Central Park was obviously a must.

With the amount of snow that was around, it meant that it was absolutely stunning – but again – bloody freezing!

 

#timesquare #newyorkcity #newyork #manhatten #lights #nofilter

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One thing I’d recommend to anybody visiting NYC, is to be aware that a majority of museums like The Metropolitan, and the Museum of Natural  History have advertised “ticket prices” but actually they’re just suggested donations.

This meant I could get away with paying about $2 for each museum, although I could’ve donated less – sorry for those of you who might not approve, but I am a student!!

 

How I'm spending my Friday night #moma #museumofmodernart #newyorkcity #newyork #manhatten

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Another big recommendation, is that a lot of the museums such as the Museum of Art and Design, and the Museum of Modern Art, have evenings in the week when they’re free – I definitely made use of this!

 

What a load of Pollocks…

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#tb #newyork #skyline #manhattan #newyorkcity #sunset #nofilter #stunning #empirestate

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Overall I had a really fantastic time in New York City. Yes it was icy and for the majority of the time I couldn’t feel my nose, but it’s a city I’ve definitely fallen in love with, and I’m sure this won’t be my last visit!

This month I can also share a bit more of my University work with you. I’ve been working on a project that’s based on ‘Fairisle’, but putting a modern twist on it.

I studied Politics at A level, so I’ve discovered that unintentionally, a lot of my work has a lot more political meaning and motive behind it than some other peoples.

I based this project around Animal Farm by George Orwell, and then branched out, looking at the Russian Revolution for colour inspiration.

Please bare in mind that this piece isn’t finished, it’s a work in progress that I’m hoping to get finished before I go back after Easter, but here it is nonetheless…

 

 

 

Hopefully next month I’ll have finished it, and you can see it in all its glory!

Something I touched on last month was that I’d been promoted. For those of you who didn’t already know, I was working in a theatre bar down here in my free time, but now I’m a Duty Manager! Which is pretty exciting, slightly terrifying, but definitely rewarding. I’m really loving it, and I work with some great people – I couldn’t really ask for more.

 

I love my job. #dutymanager #theatre #dreamteam

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So that’s an edited version of what I’ve been up to this month. I’m hoping that there’ll be even more exciting adventures and news to share with you next month, fingers crossed!

However, currently (dare I admit) I’ve just woken up having taking a 2 hour nap, after writing a to-do list that’s about as long as my arm, so I think I’ve got enough to be getting on with!

 

Love this place #library #books #light #winchester #bookgeek

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Until next month

Bex

x

February

Good evening my lovelies, how are we all?

I know that we’re only midway through February, but I’ve got some very exciting things happening in the next few weeks (which you’ll find out about if you read on) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to fill you all in!

 

#studio #knitstudio #knittingmachine #yarn #knitting #crochet #knitwear

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Firstly, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio.

When I came back from Christmas, I got to specialise in my chosen pathway, which funnily enough is knit! Which means that I’ve been doing rather a lot of knitting over the last few weeks whilst I work on my new project.

I’m still finalising designs etc so I haven’t put anything on social media to share with you yet, but no doubt as soon as I do, I’ll make sure you’re aware!

 

#wannabehipster #macbook #coffee #knitwear #coffeeshop

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The other thing I’ve been doing, is spending a lot of time sitting working in coffee shops.

I’ve found that I can’t really be bothered to walk back to halls in the middle of the day if I’ve got free time, or sometimes I just don’t want to sit in my shoebox of a room on my own, so I’ve been trying out all of the coffee shops in Winchester – I don’t think I’ve found a bad one yet!

 

 

One exciting piece of news that I received the other week, was that an interview I did with a lovely lady called Melanie Dimmitt (http://melaniedimmitt.com.au) for a fairly new international magazine called ‘Renegade Collective’ was published last November!

It was all about the “Blood Doesn’t Grow On Trees” yarn bombing campaign that I was a part of last year, as well as other yarn bombing artists etc.

I have to admit that it boosted my ego somewhat! haha

 

Missed this little one #cat #fizz #beauty

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I popped home last weekend for a grand total of 48 hours. Which leads me onto why I’m not going to be able to publish a blog at the end of February.

I had to go home in order to pick up some bits and pieces, including my passport and adaptor, because have you guessed it? I’m off to foreign lands! Specifically, New York City!

I go on the 23rd – so next Monday, and I’m back on the 1st of March. It’s a trip with the University, but we’ve been given pretty much free reign to go wherever we want – and boy are there a lot of museums that I want to visit! Aren’t I exciting?

 

Work work work #crochet #stock #knitting #grannywillis #yarn #knitwear #knittingmachine

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I’ve tried to restrain myself when it comes to wool recently. As I’ve previously mentioned, living in a shoebox of a room has its benefits, but it also has its downfalls – such as storage!

I’ve been working on stock to sell for Easter, as well as just general things for interiors such as cushions etc, which means that my room is currently overflowing with a vast quantity of knitwear and crochet…

Hence I’ve been acquiring rather a lot of patterns recently – I can’t help it, they were a bargain!

 

 

Finally, Happy Valentines Day for yesterday everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

I’ve been celebrating getting a rather exciting new job which I don’t want to say too much about at the moment, but it’s a massive promotion for me, so I think I’m actually still in shock.

But this means that yesterday (slightly hungover from Friday night) I decided to be my own Valentine, and cook myself a full English, buy myself a bunch of flowers – because who doesn’t love flowers? and sit consuming a massive amount of ice-cream whilst watching 80s feminist films – it was heaven!

 

 

Got a little bit of a New York theme going on, I can’t deny it!

 

 

There we go, that’s just about caught you up from last time.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of adventures to fill you in on when I get back from the Big Apple, but until then – be good, and I’ll see you in March!

Bex

xxx

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

 

 

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.

 

#sheffield #yarnbombing for Blood Doesn't Grow On Trees

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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’.

 

Blood doesn't grow on trees, you know… #yarnbombing http://www.blood.co.uk/trees

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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.

 

Feeling famous with my work on display at Olympia! #knitting #knittingandstitching #crochet #oceanography #NFTC

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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.

 

Scrub up alright don't we? #prom #promnight #fun #friendship #friends

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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.

 

#heaven #holiday #malta #melliehabay #mellieha #sun #sea #beach #relax #tan

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

 

Woke up at 5:52 this morning to watch the sun rise #mellieha #melliehabay #holiday #malta #sunshine #sun #sunrise

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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.

 

#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.

 

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

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SEPTEMBER

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

 

Loving university #winchester #cathedral #wsa #winchesterschoolofart #art #artstudent

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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.

 

#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.

 

#oldphotos #memories #ocean #beach

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NOVEMBER

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

 

Amazing. #birthdayweekend #birthday #birthdaycard #friendship @nbnqnbnq

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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!

 

#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?

 

Time to eat, drink and be merry! #christmas #festive #logfire #fire #decorations #pub #cosy

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

 

Decorating the world's smallest Christmas tree! #christmas #christmastree #decorations

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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