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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.

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

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

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