Do Not Fuck With Me

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Do. Not. Fuck. With. Me.

 

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Bingo.

Instant download cross stitch chart available to purchase now. Stitch your own personal motto this very weekend.

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Change

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I have been doing a lot of thinking about change recently, and as usual, have so many ideas for things that I am tripping myself up over them. Writing down helps in part, but also generates more of them and tends to give me more to think about. It’s a vicious circle.

Change is in the air though, big change, and it’s exciting and also a bit terrifying. This quote though caught my eye and resonated with me. I’m not a touchy-feely self-help fan, but just every now and again, one of the billions of these things on Pinterest sticks out and sticks with me.

I suppose the thing is to just pick one idea and try it. And if it doesn’t work, pick another one and try that. I think clever people call that living. I think I might give it a go.

Hand & Flowers

For Christmas this year, I booked a table for a surprise lunch at the Hand & Flowers for Lee and I. It’s a step up from our previous Michelin-starred dining with two shiny stars, and it’s run by jolly-man-turned-waif Tom Kerridge.

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This is more-or-less just a gratuitous food porn post, I warn you now. If you find photos of slabs of meat offensive, best pop off now.

Smoked margarita and some snack items to kick things off. We also had some paprika pork scratchings and a Bellini because we fancy like that.

As well as being truly delicious, everything was served on exquisite handmade ceramic plates, as well as condiments etc being made of the highest-quality crafted woodwork. I love that every little detail had been thought out and care taken over them.

That blackberry souffle with baked cheesecake ice cream and pear sauce was definitely in my top 10 of things ever put in my mouth. I feel bad eating any other dessert now as it would only sully the memory of it.

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All in all, top notch experience – everyone, especially the lady called Coral who welcomed us was so super-nice and it was well worth the lengthy journey.

Never ones to turn down a mini-break, we made a getaway of it and stayed in the countryside, on the river, outside Marlow for a couple of nights.

Once again, I won the Airbnb lottery. If you’d also like to stay in a cosy wee boat house with lovely unobtrusive hosts, then check ’em out.

Turns out old Kerridge has a second pub in Marlow, The Coach, which has earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand (a star for cheaper places). You don’t need reservations and so we stoated in for breakfast the day after our Hand and Flowers experience. Oh my GRAVY do they know their way around a pig. That bacon is hands-down the best I’ve ever eaten. I am not ashamed to say I bellowed my admiration of it to the lovely ginger man who cooked it as we left. Again, more delightful hand-carved wood and ceramics – ACE.

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All this and pies on the way home. Lolz.

Gangsta’s Paradise

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I recently stitched this up for a Christmas gift for my pal, Jo. It took twice as long as you’d think because when I was about 3/4 of the way through, I realised I’d gone wrong in the border and had to unpick the whole fucking thing and start again. Still, it turned out well and she loved it.

If you’d like to make one, you’ll find the pattern for this and lots of other cool stuff, here.

New Steeds

My old pal Alex the Clydesdale horse has gone off to be a police horse, which is quite exciting for him, if not for the police person appointed to try and keep him in a straight line. He was patrolling the hordes at Ibrox recently, I hear, I hope it works out for him.

I have found a whole new bunch of pony pals with which to play and I am loving it. My main boo is Alice, a grumpy but elegant dressage master who deigns to let me pretend that I know what I’m doing when it comes to half passes. She’s the beautiful one in the double bridle up there. Everything is going very well and I like all the people and the horses and it’s big and clean and ACE.

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She doesn’t even care that her ears are all sweaty. Same here, pal. Same here.

Round-Up

A short and sweet round up of our trip – it feels like it lasted for months, in the very best way. We ate so many great things, so many awesome things, sweated A LOT, spent too much money, drove over a thousand miles across Kentucky, went to a drive-thru ATM more than once just for the lolz, and best of all, spent the most time we could with that pair of goofballs. All the heart eyes forever. Next trip cannot come soon enough.

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2016

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Looking back on my year, it has been much busier than I expected, but that has been a good thing. I started it off with great excitement about the surprise New York trip I’d planned for Lee and I’m finishing it off with great excitement about what 2017 holds, as there are going to be some major life changes happening, of which, more later.

One of my personal goals was to be healthier, after discovering in the summer that I am diabetic. Above, on the left, me in February. On the right, me in December, 23 kg lighter and FOUR jeans sizes smaller, back to being blonde and cradling just out of shot, my brand new faux-niece, Rowan (HEART EYES). I am super-pleased with my accomplishment and hope to continue the good works into the new year. It is still early days but the medical professionals reckon I could well have even just about reversed the diabetes. Inspiration to carry on, that.

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Look at me gadding about in my skinny jeans and my too-big jumper.

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Big changes this year, more big changes next year. Ch-ch-changes.

If you want to buy a I Survived 2016 badge, you can do so here.

Bourbon Country

This year, we were lucky to be able to coincide our visit to Kentucky with the annual bourbon festival. Lee was especially pleased that I basically did all the driving so he could do all the sampling.

I highly recommend a road trip around Kentucky. We completed the Bourbon Trail, having done bits of it a couple of times before and picked up our commemorative giant t-shirts in Lexington afterwards.

We also had a poke about Bardstown, aka the most beautiful small town in America, which easily lives up to its name. Lots of quaint little shops, the awesome Bourbon Marketplace, where we spent a happy hour chatting to the very knowledgeable owners about, well, bourbon, and even, gasp, a roundabout to drive the wrong way around (the right way for there, I mean, but wrong for me, I didn’t kill anyone).

The Bourbon All-Star Sampler event, one of the key highlights of the Bourbon Festival was our primary reason to be in town and it was LOADSA FUN. Most of the major distilleries were there alongside some newer ones, some craft makers and representing Cincinnati/Newport, our pals from New Riff – HOLLER.

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All in all, beautiful countryside, warm and welcoming people and sunshine by the bucketload – please go to Kentucky soon.

Only Judy Can Judge Me

Upon doing some end of year admin, I realised I’d neglected my blog for some months. I’ve been very busy. It’s nice to have a look back and see what I’ve been up to.

Back in September, I finally gifted this cushion that I’d spent months stitching up on and off for my very good friend, Lindsay. She loved it, I’m pleased to say.

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Chart by the awesome Nuclear Art.

Fleas

If there is one thing America knows how to do right, it’s a flea market. I’ve been to a couple in my time, but this time I made it to not one, not two, but THREE. My cousin Anne loves antiqueing, and we both have a ruthless policy of strategising our approach to both looking and purchasing, with me being the haggler, so we make a good team.

This trip, we made it up to Springfield for their twice-yearly outdoor extravaganza at the county fairgrounds. I think the cannibal hotdog was my favourite spot. SO many pieces of industrial furniture I could have brought home, and most of it so cheap – next time, I should book a container ship.

The other type of flea market is the City Flea, Cincinnati’s premier independent designer/maker monthly event. It’s held in Washington Park in the Over The Rhine district, which is full of cool art, shops, restaurants and stuff.  I’ve been a couple of times and I think it must have been the first one we went to that I first saw the work of James Billiter, the smiley guy pictured above.I finally got to meet him this time properly and as well as being super-talented at the artwork game, he’s super nice and also a bit of a sneak, as he and Lee cooked up between them to send me an absolutely beautiful piece of art for Christmas – look how excited I was to open it!

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Can’t wait to get that framed and on the wall. Hooray for fleas.