Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review of First Week of part time

Hello, I apologise for not posting anything in a while, I've been busy, busy, busy. I wrote this post during my first week after going part time and only recently edit this; I know it's ridiculously late. I still feel it has merit to be read.     
My first official week of part time is coming to a close, and my mind seems a sea of tranquillity without any hint of anxiety. So far so good to part-time, we’ll see how things go. This week has been busy attending various interest groups and other activities. 


I went to work but I’ve found a local writing group again, so I’m hoping to attend on are the more regular basis, it’s held in Newcastle Library, so it’s easy to participate as the metro stop is less than a minutes’ walk. The group meets up twice a month at two different locations so that I can attend the Newcastle library event.   On the first impression, everybody was very cordial and welcoming, but from the group’s reading they seem to demonstrate a high standard of talent and experience, my skill isn't up to par. My reason for going is to stimulate the synapses to improve my writing skill include the standard of structure, flow of writing and syntax. I find it difficult to writing my ideas onto paper. 


My first day off through the week and the boyfriend took a holiday, so, I spent a rare day with the boyfriend.   The boyfriend and I have been discussing  about purchasing a house, as we currently live in a two-bedroom flat, and he’s decided the apartment is too small and wants a house. In the afternoon, we went to look at a three-bedroom house, but unfortunately, the house sold before we could make any decisions. So we’ll keep looking.

 We went to watch the News-Star Wars movie at the Tyneside Theatre; cinema built in the late 1930’s and utilises art deco design. The film is an entirely independent and serves the local community by showing an array of mainstream, independent movies and world films.

The theater supports young or budding filmmakers a place to network and to showcase their films. It's one of the only cinema to permitting the alcohol consumptions.

The movie was highly entertaining with an original plot line mixed with a retelling of the first Star Wars Movie; The Empire Strikes back. The story revolves around Rey, the strong female protagonist combining characteristics of Princess Layer, Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo. Luke Skywalker has mysteriously disappeared, and nobody knows  of his location. Since the defeat of Darth Vader and the Empire, there has been an new emerging power, the First Order.

 Rey is a scavenger on the desert world of Jack get involved with becomes involved with the battles between the First Order and resistance when she finds a BB-8 droid that contains information about Luke’s where about. With the assistance of a rogue Stormtrooper Finn, the reluctantly join the resistance and the fight. 

Abrahams feel as though he has rebranded the Stars Franchise recapturing the original experience for a new generation of using a copy and paste of the most iconic moment of the original movies. Using a Family Guy restyle of jokes that surprisingly works with Abrahams own take. The only downside is the movie feels a bit safe and a sense of Déjà vu in places making parts of the film seem predictable to the audience. I highly recommend viewing is essential, Abram’s redeemed the movie  franchise since  Lucas’s disastrous remake by creating an entertaining movie that’s an easy, fun watch for all the family. 

We went for drinks at the pub and went to the reasonably priced Nudo, a range of oriental cuisine that has an authentic taste. I order dumplings and seafood noodles for drinks green tea. We had a great day out 

Work nothing exciting  


I purchase an original manga print by a local artist Io Zarate specializing in manga graphic print. According to Io’s website describes,  her works are unique and vivid pieces" taking inspiration from classic Manga artist like Dalí, Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. Io has a personal flair for creating playfulness pieces while maintaining a minimalist and serial style while adding to the charm of her work which is clearly demonstrated in the unicorn collections taking inspection from the new my little Ponys series. 

I’m not most avid fan of manga art.  I couldn’t resist her print of the dark unicorn; it’s strange feeling but I  felt some connection to the piece, not mention my inner child still loves unicorns. I like the merging of  the dark blues with black; I think the one reasons I love it's  contrast colours used as typically unicorn artwork uses much lighter colours to represent their purity.

In the afternoon, I attended my first quilting group meet-up everybody seem very friendly and appeared eager to have a new member join the group. In the group, the member was v. experienced ladies with a wealth of experience, knowledge and all willing to teach a willing novice. Over a cup of tea and cake, my first encounter was more of an introductory discussion about the group and the art of quilting along with advice on of using cotton for hand stitching and the possibility of synthetic materials on sewing machines.    


Work and nothing exciting 


I ventured to South Shields Market to visit the fabric stall where I drawn in the temptation to purchase even more material despite promising myself to stop buying fabric until I used the rest up. I have an addiction to fabric help for the price I paid it and addition.

From top to bottom order crochet cotton sale bargain £1 per metres, sequence lace fabric, black stretch lace and black vinyl all cost £2 a metre.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Bishop Auckland Trip

During this next year, I want to try new things out this including exploring new crafting skills. As I start to implement this, I've ended up travelling from my native Newcastle to the small town of Bishop Auckland, approximately thirty miles from Newcastle to participate in a printing workshop. 

So why, did I travel such a distance to join group printing group? 
Newcastle has groups or classes where they teach printing, unfortunately, these are costly, as with the reduction of income I wouldn't afford the price, and not to mention the time factors as the event wouldn't fit into my schedule. Also, I enjoy leaving Newcastle and venturing different places. 

For a while, I wanted to visit Bishop Auckland for sometime, and printing group provide an excellent opportunity to visit. 

Bishop Auckland is a small market town in County Durham and linked very closely with the Bishops of Durham as it's castle has served as a hunting lodge and after became the residence of the Bishops of Durham, after Bishop Bek preference for the town; he converted the manor house into a castle.  During the Industrial Revolution, the town developed and thrived with a prosperous coal mining industry. During the closure of the mines in the 20th century, the town's local economy declined. 

I attend the workshop at the stunning gothic revival town hall; it resembles a more of a grand manor houses than a public building.The exterior was impressive and appeared to be the perfect setting for the printing workshop. 

 The instructor Elain was exceptionally friendly and taught by Tom McGuiness as an apprentice. Tom McGuinness was a local artist who worked as a coal miner, and he depicted his experiences of the industrial North East and documenting through his the declines of Northern communities via a variety of mediums including oils, etching, and lithography. Tom never had formal training; he attended night school to hone his techniques He gained recognition for his works unique perspective and even featured in John Wilby and Brampton’s Art Galleries. 

Elaine welcomed me to the group and explained a brief introduction of the group and the techniques used. Elain described that we are created intaglio prints by combining two methods of using dry point, where I chose a design, scratched the image using a pointed needle pen into perspex. I found etching very labour intensive into the plastic to point where I had to take the occasional break due to the pain in right arm;  I rushed the plate as to attempt to finish the picture.  

This is the plate I etched using the images of fairy. 

After completing the perspex plate, Elaine showed how to finish place the paint over the engraved lines, and removing the excess paint using a cloth and any smudges. Elaine then took to the McGuinness press ( picture below) and set the plate on the paper to transfer the print onto the rest for printing.   

The first attempt wasn’t successful as some the line didn’t print well because line weren't thoroughly etched.

The second  were better but still a bit better as I had engraved the lines

The third I tried to use colour using purple and black the was the most successful.  I was happy my efforts and thinking of using some watercolour to finish the print off. 

 I met other group members who had an of varying skills who were completing an array of different prints and adopting different techniques. The groups were friendly; everybody introduced themselves along and discussed themselves and their experiences. Everyone showed me their current projects were incredible in comparison to my first attempt, but I guess you have to start somewhere. The group was complimentary to my technique, and the image final image would work well. 

Afterwards, the group were keen to see my first image and complemented on my effort. They were enquiring if I would come again. Unfortunately due to the travel expense it wouldn't be viable to attend every month, I defiantly would attend at least every two to three month as it’s good craft. I purchased some equipment to create a new design.

Despite being organized packing my kitty flask and sandwiches.

I tried out the café at the top of the town hall out of curiosity of the food. Intern, I met a couple of members of the workshop who kindly invited me to join them for lunch, so I took the offer and sat having an interesting conversation life’s daily events.

After saying farewell, I checked the trains times and found I had some time to wander around.I intended to visit the Bishop Auckland Castle. I walked it found it was closed for renovations. I wander about to take some photos of the grounds. 

The  Castle's entrance 

The Castle Gate entrance 

The main castle 

I head to the raided through the local charity shops and found some exciting goodies.

I  found card stamps 

I purchased a new top; I love the crochet neck detail 

My Outfit 

Jumper - Dorthy Perkins 
Skirt - sewn by me 
Boots - Dr. Martins

I love the Dorthy Perkins jumper it has a leatherette trim around the neck and lace lapels 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

No More Resolutions Time For Change

A few posts back. I mentioned that I haven’t bothered planning any new year resolutions, as I make the same generic ones, usually fail within the first few weeks, and afterwards, I fail to continue to implement any changes. Just before Christmas, I started looking at my personal life goals I want to accomplish and considering how to employ small changes to achieve the life goals. I attempted to make minor modifications that have helped
Reducing Working hours.

Before Christmas, I’ve been suffering from a bout of depression and stress through work. I volunteered to go temporarily full time, but due to various reasons it went longer than expected, so with the agreement of my manager, I’m now only working three days a week. My first week working three days, I feel re-energised and more relaxed; the best way to describe it I feels as though, I got my life back.

Semi - Mediation

In the mornings before going to work, I try to give myself a few minutes to relax by listening to chill out music, since starting this I feel increasingly peaceful. In comparison, I felt very anxious and tense thinking about theoretical issues that may happen this has increased my stress levels; I’m enjoying feeling relaxed.

Healthy Eating

I’ve been attempting to eat more healthy, it’s still a slow, arduous process since I’m a cookie monster around anything sweet I have no discipline since I’ve reintroduced butter into my diet and baking; it’s not helped. At least, the boyfriend and I have started preparing fresh veg for meals and eating more chicken. For work I’m trying to prepack lunches with sandwiches, fruit and greek yoghurt, it's not perfect, but it’s achievable. Eventually, I’m aiming to replace sweets thing with fruit and veg.

This are sort meals with either white or sweet potato with carrots and green beans or mushrooms. I've also made more home soup.

Trying New Things

 I’ve wanted to trial out various crafts, despite cuts back in local government there are so many activities available to join, and many of the groups are very cheap or free to attend and many are willing to share their knowledge. I've  researching about local groups. Last week, I attended a quilting group, writing groups, I’ve booked a workshop to trial out a print making and planning to attend a silk painting workshop later on in the month.

Doing more crafting

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been rekindled with my love affair with crafts, so I was going to devote more time to crafting when possible. I was aiming to stop purchasing to unnecessary clothing and rely more on my sewing skills to make clothing. Especially, when there is fabric market where I can buy fabric as little as £2 a metre.  

Support More Local Businesses and Purchasing More Local Produce.

I understand the value of local businesses providing with unique products and a friendly high standard of customer services. I feel happy to be spending money with local sellers, as I feel reassured that I’m purchasing something of exceptional quality, reassurance the products have been locally and ethically produced. The money is helping to support the local economy and assisting to maintain diversity within the local community. I’ m aware that it’s not always possible to rely on local trades for all essentials needs.

 I’m considering trying to be more conscious of the companies who have ethical practices, such as John Lewis is a large department store in the UK, but the offer their employees stock intern the own a part of the company. In the UK there is a pasty chain called Greggs that started up in the UK, they support numerous local charities, and donate old food to local shelters. 

Plan and organise    

I’ve never been the best at planning or organising things, but it’s a vital skill for daily life. I’m planning to take steps to improve my organising skills by setting a monthly budget, set a time to complete crafts activities and complete my voluntary work producing a newsletter.  Planning meals for my days off and work instead of eating out or purchasing food when out and about.

Budget More

Since reducing my hours work this means a significant reduction in my income means less disposable income. I, think it’s worth it for the sake of mental wellbeing. With the reduced income, I need to set out a personal budget covering my essential costs, and allowance to for personal expenditure. Over observations, I tend to waste my money and purchase things I don’t need, especially dashing into budget shops spending money on unnecessary items, after a while it soon mounts up. I’m planning to give myself a reasonable amount of cash per a week rather than using my debit card. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Review of 2015's Thrifting Finds

 I've been catching up on my blogger's reading; I've noticed the number of bloggers who have devoted posts to reviewing 2015's favourite outfits. After reading, I can understand the reasons for it, some of the outfits are fantastic. It's so hard to choose a favourite, I love a combo of styles from Little Corp Goth Girl's stunning Jacquard princess seam coat to Desperate Hell's Queen of Darkness nettop, I'm a big old sucker for nett clothing. I want to mention  Coffin Kitsch quirky and unique style, I love her use of black and white outfits

I was considering reviewing some of my outfits and sharing my favourites from 2015; honestly, I don't feel like writing a post on my outfits, as I seldom don anything that's worth posting about, despite wanting to expand and include more outfits in my blog. I decided to share some of my favourite finds while raiding the Charity shop.

I found this polar neck jumper, made by John Lewis for £1.  I have a fondness for polar necks, especially during the winter as the jumper covers my entire neck, so I don't need to wear a scarf. I also like the pearl button detail on the sleeves.   

The cardigan was an absolute bargain for fifty pence. I love wearing cardigans for the summer, and this is no exception as it's a lightweight cardigan, comfortable to wear during rare sunny days. My favourite parts are the scallop neck detail and the silver, black buttons.  

The blouse was a gem find; I found it after leaving work,  made of silk chiffon, and paid a £1. I like blouses, but rarely don them as I prefer wearing stretchy tops that I can pull over my head, I couldn't resist this one since it's silk-chiffon it has a some stretch and comfortable without being too restrictive. The sleeves are billowy in appearance and taper at the end with an elastic cuff. 

I fell in love with this top it's a great chiffon top that would complement my maxi fitted skirts. I love this top and the lace detail across the blouse. I even like the bishop style sleeves which has a flowy appearance with a small button cuff. I even like the round neck top that's complimentary to my body shape.  

I bought this top for £1; this is one of my favourites it's so comfortable to wear a beautiful ruffle detail with the ribbon trim hook and eye detail. It has a great witchy feel to it.

Another cheap find for fifty pence, it's my highlight of charity shop finds. I love the pointy detail of the dress and the grey pattern detail, it's so comfortable to wear. 

I like the gothic style fifties skirt, I haven't worn it yet, can't depart with it; I bought this for a whopping £1.99, it's made from polyester taffeta, my favourite is the is the flocked rose pattern and the velvet trim details.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

My first DIY cupboard

Since first encountering the wonderful world of Bane’s Blog aka Goth It Yourself blog I have always wanted to goth up a piece of furniture. I always loved using her blog as it offers incredible inspiration and practical steps in how to achieve the look. Bane makes me thinks of a Gothic Kirsty Allsop except with the practical diy knowledge. My favourite part has to be how she seems to achieve it all on a lemonade budget using bargain basement shops and a second-hand finds. Bane’s blog also offers a unique aspect to blogging on how to create a homemade gothic home. 

I’ve been searching the shops for a cupboard to store my sewing equipment as it’s been lying around the boyfriends flat. I was surprised to find how expensive cabinets are in the shops. My first furniture revamp an old kitchen cabinet I found on Gumtree for £15, I think it a tad expensive but in comparison to looking around the shops, I still saved money. 

For paint, I purchased Rust-Oleum Gloss Furniture Paint Liquorice black that has a stunning shine, and it was so easy to use. Despite the expensive price tag, the paint is perfect for any novice or lazy crafters as the paint required minimal prep. All I had to do was wash the cupboard down with kitchen cleaner to remove any dirt or grease and left for about ten minutes to dry. I opted for a paint brush; I attempted to use a roller, but I didn’t like the finish.

 I dipped the paint brush into the paint, removed the excess paint from the brush, and evenly applied the paint on the surface. I found the paint went on quite thickly, and it appeared to even itself out when it started to dry it created a rich high gloss work finish that looks fantastic. I only used one coat of paint and a light second coat for a touch-up. The paint cost  £19.99 from Home Base. 

I wanted to create a contrast between the black paint and cabinet's door; I purchased a roll of sticky back plastic from Hobby Crafts for £4. Intended to cover the cabinets cupboard  back. However, there were only two metres of backing and the shop had one roll.  I covered the shelf with leftover backing coordinating the cabinet. 

For the back, I removed the ply board backing before painting.  Selected a couple of wallpapers samples from Wilkinson’s I tried them out and chose my favourite.  I intended to cover both sides of the board with wallpaper and realised I hadn’t enough, so the boyfriend suggested using duct tape as a border. 

I measured the width of the board and the wallpaper; I subtracted the difference, divided the difference, and used it as a guide to mark out where to stick the wallpaper. I watched the wallpaper using seller tape and covered the edges using duct tape to neaten the edges  I hammered using nails back into the cupboard. 

For all the materials but I spent about £ 24 for so it was more than the closet I am happy with the final result, and I have a unique piece of furniture that stores all my sewing stuff. 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

My Christmas and New Year

Well,  I can’t believe I'm sitting, here again, thinking where the hell the last year has gone; it feels like a few weeks ago, I was sitting here blogging about 2014 while waiting for 2015 to begin. Now, I am sitting here, and it’s 2016 feeling surreal.  I’ve made no plans for life goals or resolutions where last year I posted it on my blog. I failed at the second hurdle.  In consideration, it may be best not to set any life goals or resolutions but possibly implement small daily changes that I'll  discuss in an up and coming post

This post is about how I spent my holidays and the fun times sitting around and binge watching television, along with catching up on valuable sleep.  I asked for holidays off over the festive period the request was rejected because of work’s no holiday’s policy for Christmas. Simultaneously, I can’t complain I have had four days of during Christmas week and another three days off for New Year I am happy.

I’ve already posted about my fun Christmas Eve of drinks at Trillian’s and a meal at a Chinese.
This year the holidays have been very simple and following with the Traditions of Christmas (or, at least, my interruption of Christmas):

•    As a time to relax from the stresses of daily and working life and regaining optimistic perspective on life.
•    Time to enjoy ourselves and participate in the seasonal merriment
•     A rare, opportunity to spend valuable time to strengthen our bond with loved ones.
•    Contemplation of being grateful for the blessings in life.
•    A reflexion of the previous year, while setting goals for the future and feeling a sense of optimism for the upcoming year.  

Christmas Day
I woke up early and sat around watching a couple of television movies; I can’t recall completely the ones I watched. I ended up going back to bed and cuddling up with the boyfriend.  We opened our presents in the afternoon, and we each took a turn opening presents; I bought the boyfriend a cask bottle of whisky and a pair of pyjamas, I felt guilty for not the purchasing more for the boyfriend. I received a Cookie Monter onesie, a adopted tiger gift and vouchers for to do photography workshop that I’m looking forward to using.


I went over to my mam’s and had my first Christmas dinner and two servings of vanilla cake. I also spent an hour seeing my sister-in-law and two nephews that I haven’t seen for a while. Unfortunately, my brother was on duty. So, I caught up with everybody and drank some of my sister in law’s homemade delicious and potent mulled wine.

By the time I returned home, we  made and ate our Christmas dinner at 8:30. It seemed hilarious,  trying to make honey roasted parsnips. I kept stressing how to cook them, in the end, the boyfriend in his calm and rational manner translated the recipe for me. I opted to shallow fry in olive oil, drizzled with honey, baked in the oven. The Yorkshire puddings resembled small muffins and tasted quite dry even with gravy.  We spent rest of evening cuddled up on the sofa watching movies.

Over the next few days, I spent time donning a monster cookie onesie, binge watching televisions and sleeping. Not very exciting, but recently I’ve felt burnt out and fatigued having time to catch up on essential sleep and doing nothing seems like what  I’ve needed it. I also attempted to sew  using my  overlocker cover that failed. I finished off decorating my new sewing cupboard.


For New Year’s Eve, the boyfriend ordered tickets for the Mayfair reunions. We started out in Trillion's; I know common theme the only decent rock in Newcastle and essential it’s our local. Despite being reasonably busy, there was a great atmosphere of people interacting and enjoying themselves.

 Afterwards, we headed to the Mayfair Reunion a fantastic venue with a huge dance floor and allowing for ample space to dance surprised not to see more people out to celebrate the New Year. There were a couple of people we knew out. I even caught up with a couple of friends I haven’t seen for a few years; it was great to catch up with them. During the night, there was a tribute to the late Lemmy, who sadly passed away a few days ago. At midnight we got the count to the new year they years was commenced with at Big Ben’s iconic thunderous twelve bells, In my excitement I grabbed the boyfriend to kiss him, and afterwards, we wished everybody the traditional good luck for the year and feeling optimistic.  I felt slightly disappointed for not playing Auld Sang Syne; I like tradition. of singing it. 


Me stuffing my face with a hot dog, 

Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...