Idle of Wight… three days of caravans, kitsch and prehistoric creatures

31 Aug

happy holidays - convo pieces

Almost a month ago, we went on a trip back to the Isle of Wight… to be the Idle of Wight.

In my head, it was an Enid Blyton little adventure for two… camping, exploring, stopping for lemonade!

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We hadn’t been back to the island since our mini moon… originally we said we’d go back on our first wedding anniversary, so we were at least a year overdue on our visit!

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Home for the 3 nights was a Vintage Vacations airstream again… definitely one of my ‘happy places’ in this world.

Give me a big tin can to stay in, a bbq, a deck chair and some retro Italian tunes (the only CD we played when there!) and I’m in heaven.

Oh yes, and a spot of sunshine doesn’t hurt either it has to be said…

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Of course, going back here has reignited my craving for a caravan…

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This little guy with his cat ear lights and jaunty name was possibly my favourite… though I’ve recently spotted a version of him outside someone’s house on my way to work! So apparently parking a caravan outside your abode is more do-able in London!

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Or even one of these… any will do if I’m being honest!

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(Evidence of happy place-ness: twirling until you get dizzy. I promise I am older than 5!)

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Here I also discovered my other new love… tiny blackcurrant Fabs, which are fab indeed. They came in a box of 12. I may have eaten more than my fair share!

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And then on to our Enid Blyton-style adventures… first to a Lavender Farm for lavender scones, cream, jam and tea, where I saw more bumblebees in about 5 minutes than I’ve seen all year long.

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I also discovered that taking pictures of bees isn’t the easiest thing… I have so many blurry shots of them bumbling about, and I kept having to move so I didn’t get stung (didn’t want to have a bumblebee’s death on my conscience!).

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Oh and some butterflies too… who were just happily fluttering around. Less stingy those!

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And then onto our next destination… believe it or not, this field is at a Garlic Farm!  (Yes, we were hitting all the farms that day!)

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Having a bit of a Sound of Music moment here… I may have sang. (But I did wait until there were less people around!)

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And even the garlic ice cream was rather nice too. (Garlicy in the way that salted caramel ice cream is salty if that helps explain it.)

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The next day we went to Ventnor… complete with deck chairs and authentic British pensioners…

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And pretty beach huts, angel wing shells, lots of dried seaweed…

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And of course dinosaur sand ‘castles’! (Accidental dinosaur hunting might still be a thing!)

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Then it was off to this tiny little place… which actually is a tiny little place!

Yes, we went to my first ever miniature village, which was very Hot Fuzz (without Timothy Dalton being speared by a small church spire of course).

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Knocking at a tiny door… and trying to spy if there was any furniture inside!

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Having a Godzilla moment and threatening to destroy the mini village… everyone does this right?

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And a train full of dinosaurs! I swear this was like this when I found it…

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This, on the other hand, was not like this when I found it…

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On the last day, we went to Seaview (it does what it says on the tin!) to swim in the sea… and idly talk about having a boat.

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Of course, I don’t really like boats but a girl can let the sea air go to her head!

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And before we got the ferry home, the trip ended as all mini trips should end… with a scone that’s almost bigger than your head.

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(And a happy biscuit just for good luck…)

A Jurassic lark… or dinosaur hunting in London

14 Jul

Tp The Dinos... Convo Pieces

“Any day with a dinosaur in it is a good day.”  me, circa June 2013

Our first sunny Wednesday evening in London, we decided to go dinosaur hunting…

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Not to the Natural History Museum – despite the highly possible inception by this print (and our gold dinos) – but to Crystal Palace Park.

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Where these misshapen beauties live. They were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, meaning they look a bit like a 5 year old child’s drawing of a prehistoric creature, cast in stone. In the best way of course.

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They are wonky and wonderful… and can’t fail to make you smile.

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I mean really, these guys? He based these on frogs right?

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And I’ve been ‘forced’ to buy a tea towel with them on it… attacking joggers in the park of course.

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But not all of them are so “ferocious” looking… this one has been turned into a nest by a duck!13 - 1

And then we returned home… no more dinosaurs to hunt out.

Until we went to the Heron Tower for a drink and spotted, from up high, some familiar looking creatures at the bottom of the Gherkin.


(He’s behind you… those stegosaurus types are always sneaking up on people!)

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Yes, there’s a T-Rex just hanging out there… doing his thing.

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And isn’t he possibly the happiest looking dino you’ve ever seen?

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Days later, I spotted this guy in Shoreditch… but surely this was the last of our ‘dinosaur hunting’ luck though?


Then one night after work, we stopped for a coffee…

The first table we sat at was a bit grubby. Not majorly so, just someone else’s coffee cup, someone else’s crumbs… so we decided to move tables.

Crumb-free, cup-free… but with a tiny origami dinosaur on it.


So we took him home… via the Tube…

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We named him Herbert. Because it just seemed like a suitable name.


We took him on a couple of weekend journeys…

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Where he really liked looking out of the window…


And romping in the long grass…


And, erm, terrifying the locals. (Yeah, not so much!)

Since then, I’ve spotted no more dinos…

But seeing as I have a portable one now every day can be a good day as there’s a dino in it. 


P.S. Any other London dinosaur spots/suggestions welcome!

P.P.S. Back in the ‘summer’ of 2012, I went to see a comedian called Bec Hill, who finished up her show with a piece on dinosaurs taking over London…

Maybe this is where my dino obsession started, or maybe it was because of this photo shoot, but either way it’s quite definitely a thing now!


London is the place for us… the blog post with its own theme tune

3 Jun

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Last Sunday, we were listening to 6 Music and having a discussion about living in London…

Mainly we were talking about that only one of us was living here full-time (me) and one of us was having to spend half the week in Edinburgh still (him).

It’s not exactly been ideal but we knew it wouldn’t be forever. It’s one of those topics that swings from excited to stressy and back again.

Then this song came on the radio – London is the place for me.

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And we both agreed it should be our theme tune for the next while.

(Does anyone else ascribe themselves theme tunes?!)

It’s such a cheerful little ditty, that we’ve been playing it non-stop all week.

So here’s the lyrics plus some random snaps that almost, sort of fit with them in a not really kind of way!

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London Is The Place For Me

London this lovely city
You can go to France or America, India, Asia or Australia
But you must come back to London City

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Well, believe me, I am speaking broad-mindedly
I am glad to know my mother country
I’ve been to traveling to countries years ago
But this the place I wanted to know

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London That’s The Place For Me

To live in London you really comfortable
Because the English people are very much sociable
They take you here and they take you there
And they make you feel like a millionaire
So London that’s the place for me

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At night when you have nothing to do
You can take a walk down Chapri Avenue
There you will love and talk and enjoy the bridge
And admire the beautiful sceneries
Of London, that’s the place for me

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London That’s The Place For Me

Yes, I can not complain of the time I have spend
I mean, my life in London is really magnificent
I have every comfort and every sport
And my residence is that Hampton Court
So London, that’s the place for me

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And the happy ending to this post… yes, the other half got offered a new job (in London) so London really is the place for us!


1. Snapped in Drink, Shop & Do 2. Skyline from the National Theatre’s pop-up bar 3. Pocket Pops London guide and gold dinosaur 4. Foxes and cherries in Brixton 5. Tiny London skyline street art spotted in Shoreditch 6. Dapper gable end in Deptford 7. Pocket Pops London guide 8. Possibly my favourite street art ever, snapped in Shoreditch (but gone now!) 

Gonna write another travelling song… 6 weeks of London, Edinburgh, Aviemore, Dublin and San Francisco

12 May

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 6 weeks ago, I moved to London. It seems like no time at all and like forever all at once.

To put it all in perspective (for my own sanity really), here’s the last 42 days in numbers…

  • 400 miles driven to London, with 30 boxes, 2 sideboards, 2 Parker Knoll chairs, 3 suitcases of vintage china.
  • 2 cats transported; number of times they yowled/objected, only 2.
  • 1 flat, left behind, all empty, ready for someone else. 1 flat found, so very different, but falling in love with it anyway.
  • 13,226 miles travelled back to Edinburgh, to Aviemore, to Dublin and, eh, San Francisco. (Yeah, spot the odd one out there.)
  • 55 Underground journeys, 84 Overground journeys, 36 normal trains, 1 boat ride down the Thames and 1 bus journey.
  • 2 weddings attended, 
  • 3 books read on my morning commute, only 1 one of which made me tearful in front of a carriage of people. (Note to self, sad books are not for reading in public.)
  • 28 days without a bed, 42 days without a wardrobe, 41 days without a mirror in the flat, 41 days where I’ve had potentially crazy hair or wonky eyeliner. 
  • 28 days without wifi, spotify, netflix. 42 days without blogging, the longest break I’ve had in 4 years. 
  • 1 day wearing a fake fur coat; 3 days wearing sunglasses and sunscreen; 38 days wearing summer clothes with black tights and winter boots.
  • 1283 photos snapped, 96 of street art, 9 of random neighbourhood cats, 6 of our local fox.
  • 36 hours spent catching up with old friends, 149 hours meeting fantastic new people.
  • Number of times it’s felt odd living in London: 0. 

And for those who prefer pictures to numbers (that’ll be me then), here’s some random snaps of the last 6 weeks.

adventure guide

Adventure Guide…

  neon legs

My neon legs at the Meridian Line…

san fran up and down - convo pieces

 San Francisco… and my shockingly long hair

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The shadow of The Shard on a sunny morning…


I read a story about the widow of the actor who was the voice of the ‘Mind The Gap’ announcement… one of those beautiful, bittersweet ‘Up’ style stories that makes you smile and sad at the same time.

dear face – convo pieces

 San Fran street art… and the Google bike (which I fell in love with)

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InstaMax photos of a epically beautiful wedding

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The London Eye snapped from the middle of the Thames (I was on a boat!)

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Blossom and blue skies in San Fran

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Mountains and blue skies in the Highlands

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Falling in love with a lamb at the Southbank, London

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Two cats leaving Edinburgh…


Snapping street art in San Fran…

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Waiting in the Tube…


Bittersweet street art…

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Positive advertising…

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The sun setting on a glorious London day…

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Our first new home card…

P.S. If you’ve been so lovely as to send me a message about meeting for tea/vintage shopping/general hello-ness, I’ll be replying soon!

P.P.S. Extra points if you recognised the title of this blog post was inspired by Bright Eyes’ Another Travelin’ Song. It’s been stuck in my head now for 3 days straight!

P.P.P.S. Photos of me in San Fran by Miss_Glassy.

London’s calling… 4 sleeps, 40 boxes and so, so, so much sorting to go

25 Mar

adore.. conversation pieces blog

So, yes. We’re moving. To London. On Friday. This Friday. In three days and four sleeps. Eeeeek!

packing... conversation pieces blog

The last while has mainly consisted of this…

1. Sorting out 6.5 years of interior design magazines. Why? Why did I have so many? I think my local dentist and doctor are fed up of me turning up to donate magazines now.

2. Packing really sensible, totally essential things like my vintage tin globes.

3. More packing… The rule is anything we ‘quite like’ isn’t coming. We have to love it. Again this explains why I’ve mainly packed prints, globes and books so far!

4. Doing so much clearing out, dropping off at charity shops, gifting things to friends. And regretting having a top floor flat with every box we carry down!

cat in a box... conversation pieces blog

Some members of our flat have really enjoyed the packing process… mainly the Velveteen Cat. As seen here with her favourite cook books.

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The Fox-Owl-Cat has been less of a fan. (She has a crippling fear of boxes. Like my fear of clowns but box-shaped.)

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She’s also not a fan of the copious amounts of bubble wrap that have appeared around our flat lately. This roll did not pass the examination process.

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Me… I’m looking forward to being moved and having a kitchen again, instead of things waiting to be packed.

And while I’ll miss our home here (we’re renting it out rather than selling it), I’m super excited about getting to make a new place home. I’m weird like that I guess!

gold... conversation pieces blog

And the good news is… that we have found ourselves a flat down there. For us and our two furry companions.

We found it on Saturday which was cutting it a bit close but hey we like to keep things exciting!

(I must admit finding a flat was a whole lot more difficult than I’d imagined it would be. Even with my little sis doing viewings for us, which was extremely helpful… as trying to pick a flat to rent in London, while you live in Edinburgh and have cats, was a bit tricky!)

belle adventure... conversation pieces blog

So… in 4 days, we start our new adventure. I’m excited, impatient and sort of nervous, in that weird can’t sit still way. (You think this would help with the packing of boxes but no!)

The drive to London with two cats is going to be ‘interesting’ I’m sure, but it’ll make for a funny story hopefully later on.

Then in 5/6 days, if any lovely Londoners fancy a cuppa, well, that will be infinitely more do-able!

Roar… my super neon, super silly, darn cool doormat DIY

6 Mar

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Up until the end of February, there was a deer doormat outside our door. More specifically, a reindeer doormat.

Now I knew we needed a new doormat. Knew it but still couldn’t bring myself to actually buy one.

Then I had an idea. I would make myself a doormat instead.

So far, so vaguely rational…

And it would say ‘ROAR’ on it.

Rationale: it’s an acronym for Right of Admission Reserved.

Real reason: I just like saying ‘roar’.

It’s become of those words I use which basically means being brave or forcing yourself to be brave.

I blame ‘cats let nothing darken their roar‘ for this.

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So task one, I got myself a plain doormat from B&Q. (Which cost around 5 quid I think.) Crazy socks were optional.

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Then some acrylic paint, which you can get from most art supply stores. Again, crazy socks optional.

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Macarons. Broken. Yes, totally optional. But they helped greatly when faced with the next bit of the DIY task…


The printer. Oh my, how I loathe our printer. It’s a mechanical piece of evil. The Fox-Owl-Cat’s haunted expression only confirms this theory…

Anyhow, I printed out my letters, using this font – one on each A4 sheet. I won’t tell you how long it took our printer to print 4 sheets of paper. Bad words were said.

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Then placed the printed sheets on the mat to see how it would look… not too bad I thought!

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I’d originally planned to make the templates in cardboard but instead I just cut out the letters and taped round them. Not entirely sure if that is easier but it felt so at the time!


Then it was a case of holding down the template and dabbing (not brushing) the paint onto the mat. Once the letters were on, I went over them twice just to give them some more staying power.

After leaving the mat to dry for a bit, it was time for the great unveiling… or placing… or something like that.

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On the way, I passed the tiger print in our hall… the one we see every day when we come through the door and suddenly wondered if that’s really where the idea for a ‘roar’ doormat came from. Hmmm…

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And here he is… my super neon, super silly, darn cool doormat outside our very yellow door.

Rather cheerful huh? I’m betting even the postman can’t help but smile when he sees this… or at least wonder how crazy the people are who live at our address!

Answer being very of course. Roar!


Adventure is out there… a weekend away from the world (well, from wifi, phone reception and tv)

10 Feb

A weekend away... Conversation Pieces blog

Sometimes you need to get away from it all… to switch off the world for a while, and go exploring.


Two weekends ago, we did just that. We drove off into the middle of nowhere* and went somewhere with no wifi, almost no phone reception and no TV. A very modern adventure indeed!


We showed up in the middle of a mini blizzard and woke up to a fresh blanket of white, crisp stuff.

(Edinburgh had been sorely lacking in snow so to say that I was delighted would be a complete understatement.)

And amazing skies… with wisps of clouds almost painted onto them.


Ok, so ‘nowhere’ is actually a beautiful little wooden bothy in the middle of field, near Dumfries.

But it felt like an expedition into the unknown. (Certainly the first weekend I have been without my mobile phone in maybe forever.)


We woke up to a different world of blue skies and all this untouched snow… and so much silence.

Gorgeous, perfect, beautiful silence. The kind where you can actually hear yourself think.


So there was only one thing to do… make like Shackleton and get trekking.

He wore the exact same wellies, you know.**


So off we went through scenery that we later wrote poems and songs about their epic beauty.**


Then we happened on these strange tracks… who or what could have made these?


And spotted some very unusual creatures, not native to our shores.

(By that, I mean the shores of Leith.)


And then over the hill… we reached the summit.

I think we both just stood stock still and stared.

Silently appreciating this beautiful view…

Well, as silently as you can while taking photos!


After which, we had to perfect our National Geographic cover shots.

For when they come a-calling.


I’m not entirely sure my explorer shot is as convincing… explorers do wear pink pom pom hats right?


And like all good explorers before us, we brought a sledge. A red plastic sledge.

Exactly the same sledge as Scott of the Antarctic had.**


Turns out sledging isn’t quite as easy as we’d remembered it being…


And my ‘landings’ need a lot of work. Yes, tipping yourself off the sledge at the bottom of the hill is not the most graceful of finishes.


After the big success of my sledging, I did an installation piece in the snow…

Turns out falling backwards into snow and waving your arms about is an utterly ridiculous way to spend 5 minutes of your life. Utterly ridiculous and brilliant.


And star jumps… it’s a little known fact that all explorers do this.**

(Yeah, ok, I’m beginning to see why the sheep are terrified of us!)


Then we headed back to base camp…


De-wellied. (That’s a word right?)


Made some tea. Had some biscuits. It’s what Ranulph Fiennes would do.


24 hours later, we returned to the real world…

… and reluctantly switched everything back on.

Since that weekend, I’ve decided to try and give myself an internet/phone break every now and then.

Simple things like putting my phone in the other room when we’re watching a movie, not checking my emails immediately on waking (or before going to bed!), not instantly taking my phone out when someone else does…

Doing a bit more of concentrating on being here in the now.

And remembering that adventure is out there

It’s what would every polar explorer would  do.***


**Historically accurate fact. (Maybe.)

*** Along with wearing a pink pom pom hat.

Happy New Cheer… or how I’m almost sort of maybe possibly accepting it’s January

15 Jan


I am usually a chipper sort of soul. In fact, fellow blogger a safe mooring once described me as ‘sunshine on toast’… but oh January, well, let’s say it’s not my favourite month.

It’s just so January.

So at the start of this year, I was dreading taking down the Christmas tree, sparkly lights, huge paper snow globes and waited until the last day/hour/minute/second to do it.

But once the decorations were down, I decided it was time for a bit of Happy New Cheer.


Which meant hanging up my ‘new’ vintage map from the lovely Lauren McGlynn (she’s a peach that one!) next to my car boot sale version… and finally saying something with my ‘make your own’ banner kit…

(‘Home is wherever I’m with you‘ seemed map-appropriate and we signed our wedding register to that song too. I might have been singing this daily since I put the banner up!)


But being me, I just had to customise the banner kit a bit… with gold spray paint, natch.

Above is my ‘spray station’ – a large Zara box that stops me turning the floor gold!


My favourite craft thing in the world right now. Yes, it’s even better than washi tape!


Of course, when I said I’d taken down the Christmas decorations I may have somewhat slightly exaggerated…

I took some things down. The tree went, the snowflakes too, but the deer with fairy lights wrapped round his antlers? Yes, very much still here…


And the big paper honeycomb balls? Yup, still there. They’re winter themed rather Christmas themed right?


And eh… yes, I may have kept the teeny terrariums too. They may be staying until it’s Spring!


Which might be on the way pretty soon considering daffodils are back in season. Love daffies but does anyone else think it’s a bit early for them to be out? A bit like all the Creme Eggs!


So with Spring perhaps on its way, I did make some concessions to it being a new year… by breaking out my ’embossing label maker’ the other half got me as a random Tuesday present last year.

(I thought ‘Happy All Year’ was a better sentiment than ‘Happy New Year’).


This little baby is totally clicktastic… though, I’m not going to make a hand model any time soon. That pinky patch on my thumb? A hand meets curling tong incident.


And it comes in neon colours (the tape that is, not my burned thumb!). A total essential in gloomy January. It also came with black tape but, you know, trying to be cheery here.


So 2013… everything is going to be AWESOME. February to December, I’m looking at you here.

And by then I might have properly taken down my Christmas decorations. Maybe.

Happy All Year everyone. May all your months be more cheery than January! xxx

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