Friday, 13 August 2010

A hiatus of wonder

Again, I have been absent far too long. I can only apologise. It has been a busy time of family gatherings, exciting news, story telling and time off of work spent with my boy and making me the happiest Belle in the world.
Denmark was wonderful and it was truly calming to be amongst my nearest and dearest. Not doing anything major or awe inspiring, just hanging out, going to the beach, eating together and swapping stories.
I even managed to sit on the deck of the ferry to cross over to Denmark from Germany. This for me is some feat as I am terrified of open water. It was lovely though, calm and serene. Especially as we had been traveling on the coach for some 10 hours or so already by then. I can definitively say that I will never travel by coach again. But at least I did it to make an informed choice about the future.

Our family is also growing in the future and I am so happy about this. Gives me plenty of reasons to try and learn how to crochet baby blankets! I have found several patterns, let's just hope I can make them look as beautiful as the pictures! :D
It's the edging that has me concerned. Ah well, I have to develop my skills somehow so this may be the way. Give me a good incentive and I usually do alright! At least I have a few different patterns to choose from so we'll see which seems to work well with my manner of crochet and stick with that one!

Since my last update it was also my birthday! And I have to say I was very spoilt. To the left you will se the wonderful things my boy and friends and family bought me. The little building at the back is a super cute little birdhouse based on a  Bookshop! I also got the Where the Wild Things are soundtrack and film because this has fast become one of my favourite ever films. The boy found a great book called YarnBombing! Look it up if you're into graffiti, knitting or crochet. It's a find. They also have a website with new Yarn Bombs from around the world. You'll understand if you find it! He also found a little sushi place in a town near us that we'd never been to before and although the service was a little on the slow side, the food was divine and even plenty of choice for me as a veggie. The noodle soup was some of the best I've ever had!

I have had two glorious weeks off and quite dreading the return to work Monday. A week on my own to rest, relax and just bring myself back to being me. Then had a week off with the boy where we have done as we've pleased, slept in, gone out, watched TV, cleaned the apartment and just felt like a little family. It has been truly great. Now just to win the lottery so we can live like that all the time!

We're off to blighty to visit my parents in just over two weeks time so I shouldn't really complain about having to return to work Monday. The nice back up thought is that I also still have two weeks of leave I've not used or booked in so will fit those in before the end of the year so I have a couple more breaks.

I think a shower and a dog walk is called for and a little nosey where the migrant workers have gone. They pulled up in a van this morning and set up a little camp on our apartment lawns. Fold out beds and everything for a little snooze. Very bizarre! And now they've disappeared, leaving their great big van here in our car park.

Today's music choice for once is not Ben Folds, gasp! I know! I strongly urge any readers to look out for the Karen O and the Kids soundtrack for Where the Wild Things are. It is truly beautiful!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

You to thank

Yep, I'm completely on a Ben Folds roll at the moment. Things are good, I have no idea why. Some things have changed but nothing I can put my finger on and go aha! That was the moment/thing/person/place where it all changed. All I know is I remain in a happy place. My boy makes me happier than anyone I have ever known. Makes me want to kill him more than anyone I have ever known and loves me more than anyone except a blood relative. But that's unconditional so a little different. :)

I'm counting down the days until Denmark. Maybe see this little lady again, maybe not. See if anyone fancies that trek this time. A whole week with family is going to be amazing. For those who don't know my family are a little global. Me here in the land of cheese, brother in Germany, another in Denmark, sister in England another brother in Scotland and folks in England too. I guess we like being cosmopolitan!

It's about four weeks until we head for Denmark and I have far too much to do before then. I agreed to make a messenger/courier style bag for my mum and decided to be a little eco and upcycle an old bag and also use some new fabric with it that I bought from Ikea. Great idea except I need to somehow design this thing myself and make it pretty yet functional. Within this time scale. Hmmmm, this is gonna be a challenge. Well, fingers crossed I can put something together I am happy enough to give my mum. That's always the problem, everyone else is happy but I look at my creations most of the time and think, 'it could be better'.

I guess a big part of the issue is I spend far too much time on Etsy. I am slowly amassing a large hearts list of the many shops I love. Like this ring, I want this ring so bad but I just can't justify the cost to myself.
These shoes on the other hand are amazingly beautiful and not so expensive except they would be coming from the other side of the world so the shipping ruins the idea and rhe cost. Bah humbug!
What I do love about the amount of time I spending druelling at everything one there, is the amount of inspiration it gives me. I have tons of clothes I don't wear and with seeing how wonderful people's upcycling creations are I'm motivated to recreate my wardrobe. Now if only my newly acquired sewing skills and machine matched the ideas in my head!

I think I may have broken the dog today. I decided to finally pull my finger out, bought a decent pair of running shoes and went on my first run today. I decided as my own conditioning is dire and so is the dog's, we'll improve together. It would seem I recover faster! I am currently waiting for the washing machine to finish so I can hop in the shower and the dog is lying spread eagled on the floor zzzzzing his little head off. Bless! Me thinks he won't be up for fetching daddy at the station tonight. Be interesting to see if he really fancies walking with me tomorrow morning as well! Especially if the clothes get changed. He learns pretty quickly what different attire means. Like my walking boots, he knows that means we're in for a long one or the weather is crap but he loves both so the boots are exciting. Same as an old pair of black cords, he knows these are dedicated walking trousers. I think he may run and hide from the white trainers and cropped leggings in the future! :P

Right, I think the washing machine may have stopped. Excellent!

I forgot to mention, 15 days without a cigarette . I'm very pleased with myself. Fingers crossed I can keep it up this time!

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Another great Ben Folds title, kind of how I feel this week.

I've spent the majority of the week feeling tired for no real reason. My diet's good and balanced so not a B 12 deficiency as everyone panics about because I don't eat meat. It's not stress as at the moment eiether as even though work is busy it's in a good way rather than a panic struck, on the verge of another anxiety attack kinda way. I'm sleeping well except for my brain still trying to get it's head round the fact that earlier sun up does not mean earlier Belle up. I'm also not grumpy in the mornings despite feeling tired? What the??

I decided as there was enough vacancy that I'd take the Friday off with the boy and sleep. Sleep eluded me but the boy and I had a lovely day. Didn't do much special, just routine weekly type stuff but always nice when we can actually do it together.

So following my contemplation last week on whether I am a contradiction of myself I have taken measures to stop this internal argument and decide where my choices lie. I stopped smoking. Well, I should say I'm trying to stop smoking. On my second day now and oddly enough haven't missed them. The real trial will be work.

I dyed my hair with Henna for the first time ever today, and I love it. So no more chemical crapola near my head again!

I bought soya milk again. It sucks in tea but little steps, ya know?

Right now I'm making a sweet potato and butternet squash pie for the firt time too. Fingers crossed it works! I can smell the cinnamon in the computer room and can't wait to stuff my face with pie later!

Dear lord, it is as people have accused me this week and as I feared, I am a hippy. A tattooed, skinny jean wearing hippy, and funnily, I love it!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

I do the best imitation of myself

Ben Folds always says it in the best way.
Lately I feel like a walking contradiction of myself. There's this dyed haired, tattooed, pierced, skinny jeaned, studded belted, smoking portrayal of me that everyone sees every day.  Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike these physical characteristics of me. I embrace them. I have calmed them, alcohol is no longer my crutch and I'm happy with that.

Where I feel the contradictory part creeping in is that lately there's this hidden depth of mother earth 'hippyness' in me fighting to get out but it's tough getting through these life long habits of mine.

I had a bad case of eczema a few years back and used the creams and oils and crap the doc suggested, which made it ten fold worse. So I looked into things myself, cut out sulfates and parabens from my skin care and hair care regime and lo and behold, reduction in eczema with very few outbreaks. Great! BUT, I still colour my hair with ridiculous chemical crap every 6-8 weeks thereby wrecking all the balance my scalp has achieved in the weeks before. Why? Vanity, simple vanity. If there's anything I can't cope with, it's my hair looking like crapola.

Back to the smoking as well, I cut chemicals from my products yet still I puff on the cancer sticks as if they will somehow lengthen my time in this world. Unfortunately vanity in't the culprit here, or may be it is. Despite knowing how evil and socially unacceptable smoking is, I still like it, I like how it can look, I guess there's the rebel teenager in me that won't quit despite the fact that I'm going to be 32 this year and I swore when I started that I'd quit before I hit 30. :(

Another contradiction I'm struggling with, I stopped eating meat just over two years ago. I feel better for it, health wise and morally too. It's not the eating of animals that I disagree with on this one, it's how they die to feed us. If they were slaughtered humanely then although I don't think I could bring myself to eat meat again, I wouldn't have such a issue with it. Yet, I drink milk.
Now, unless you are into animal rights etc then you may ask what drinking milk has got to do with animals dieing. Well, the majority of calves are slaughtered or left to starve to death as they affect the milk produced. A cow can't give as much milk if there's a little one feeding off of it. Plus, the type of cows that produce milk aren't bred for their meat, so the calves serve no purpose except in the womb and the occassional female calf which will be allowed to live and join the herd. Yet still I have milk in the house and use it every day.

I know I can't live up to every ideal I would like. I don't have the money to buy organic and fair trade foods, clothing etc. I do the best I can with these things but there's a lot of things I could do like go back to drinking soya or rice milk, stop smoking, calm the teen rebel punk inside me and just embrace the fact that I am now a grown up with responsibilities in the word that are larger than me and those in my immediacy, yet there's part of me that's scared of turning into a self righteous sopabox type person. Almost as if my flaws keep me normal.

But is that reason enough?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Conventions, good people and some essential time out

So, it's been a while again? Huh? Sorry about that. Work's been manic, I've been a stress head and I find it best not to put my thoughts out there at such times. BUT, I'm on day four of five whole days off work so it's good now.

The boy and his previous employer parted ways a little earlier than expected so he's had a couple weeks off before he starts his new job so luckily I could get a few days off too to spend with him and do stuff. This has included a lot of sleeping in, on my part, the boy can never sleep late. Going to see a friend's very good band Dogday Revolt playing in a local battle of the bands type evening. They  didn't make it through and although I may be very biased, I still think they got a bum deal. They were great, as usual, but not local so everyone voted for the band with the very young drummer. The other band were very good and very well put together but I still think they weren't up to a winning performance but hey.

Yesterday we headed to the first Tattoo Ink Explosion convention. Very good for a first time convention. I think next year they need to think a litte more about the stall lay outs as far too many bottle necks experienced in unecessary places and me with my people in my personal space issues started to get a little anxious at times. That's where being an evil smoker sometimes helps, good excuse to slip away and breathe. Company was good and we all had a great day, bought a fab day of the dead skull that's meant to be a tea light cover but I can't bear to think of it with fire too near it so it's purely ornamental now. Isn't it too pretty for words??! The lovely stall also have a lovely webshop, superskull, where they have similar style skulls but also very beautiful little shrines etc. A great little Elvis shrine that we're contemplating ordering in the future but for now this wonderful addition will do.

Although we spent a good few hours at the convention, we took no photos of the actual convention, only of our merry little group. Always happens, gigs and festivals as well. But then, on the odd occassion any of us have tried to take photos of the bands, artists etc, they cone out blurry etc so why not just focus on the people you were sharing the day with??!

Shockingly there was even a photo of me and the boy I didn't want to immediately burn. To say I dislike photos of me is an understatement but ocassionally I'm surprised.

Otherwise I have still been sewing. I finally finished my little dragon that we've decided will be given to my niece when we finally take her to the Efteling, the most wonderous fairytale park ever. I've never been to Disneyland so maybe I don't have the right comparitive places but I just love the simplicity of this place. It's not hollywood, hell, it's not even dutch TV, it's just faiytales as they were always meant to be. My dragon is in green and red, just like the Efteling's dragon so we thought as it can be quite scarey for little ones, maybe a softy version of something a little scarey would help. She's not yet old enough, we don't think but the little dragon will keep for her. I made it from the Azhreia pattern s per the link. A few more pieces to figure out and I made him from fleece rather than fluffy material but I think he looks great. Bought some great metallic thread to outline the wings and put some interesting segments on the tail and overall I'm very happy with him.

My new plan of action is for me and the sewing machine to get better acquainted. I've worked okay with it on a couple of little things but lately we're not getting along so I went back to hand sewing and it's been very soothing. Now, I am calmer again I will tackle the sewing machine with my plans on upcycling some old pairs of the boys' jeans and shirts. We shall see. I'm starting simple.

I still have today and tomorrow off with the boy before I head back to the grindstone. How can just a few short days pass so quickly??!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Dolls, quilts and stuff

Manic week at work. I haven't known the phones so busy in a while. I was about to say a long while but no, that would be wrong. Thank heavens it's Friday tomorrow! A good long lie in Saturday and my brother, his wife and my gorgeous niece come to visit Sunday! I can't wait!
I know my boy is even more excited as it means he'll get the last of his christmas pressies! More importantly, I get to now take the Christmas tree down!!! Huzzah! Yes, I know it's February but I had strict orders. Until the presents were all handed over, the tree was to stay. I have had a compromise in that I can take it down Saturday but that was only as the boy thought better of a Christmas tree being up when my niece arrived. I don't think two year olds really get why there would be no presents ready for them with that certain tree stood there, all alight and pretty.

I have been perusing this website and found the most beautiful dolls. Here's just two little faces I have fallen in love with already.

Yes, I do love dolls, as much as I pursue a lot of boyish things, I'm still a big girl at heart.

In other things I will mostly be busy this weekend trying to form some sort of an idea for a tattoo design for a friend. How to make a cool design of a bell that never rings, a robin that never flies, a fish that never swims and a ring??! It's going to be a tough one but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Next week we're off to the studio for another three hours tattoo work on the boy's chest piece. It's starting to come together quite nicely. I am saving my pennies with my Christmas money so I can get my other leg done and I can't wait. I feel unbalanced.

I have been toying with the idea of making a quilt for the living room but having a nightmare with my concept. I want to make it for the boy and I and wanted to use our family crests. On my Dad's side this is easy. Scots always have their crests etc blazened all over the place. For my Mum's side not so easy. Yorkshire folk it appears are not that into crests. For the boy I have found the origins of family and their crest on his Mum's side but not so for his Dad's side. Damnation. It would feel incomplete having only his Mum and my Dad's family crests! More searching will have to be done. Plus, this will by my first ever quilt. Maybe taking on a little too much all at once? I've found a cute squirrel pattern, maybe I'll just do that and be happy my sewing needs have been met in the short term. ;)

By the way, I still really want a teacup pig!

Monday, 8 February 2010


So, today has mostly been about my belly deciding that it doesn't like me. If you have ever suffered, or like me, often suffer the evils of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) you'll have a little sympathy for how rubbish I feel right now. I'm tired of keeping up a happy face when at work to try avoid the discussions about my evil belly. It's strange because when I worked in care I didn't care less about discussing my condition and fellow staff members' bowel movements. I know it sounds wrong but when you work in a supportive care environment with people who can't tell you when they feel unwell, bowel movements become very important.

So, tonight's dinner as a result will be plain boiled white rice, which shockingly doesn't affect me, with some nuts and dried fruit in it. Hope this does the trick so I'm in work again tomorrow, I've already had involvement from the work doctor in the past due to absenteeism because of not being able to leave the house. The annoying thing is, everyone always refers you to take the chemical rubbish that clogs you up but that just makes me feel worse and I've yet to find a GP that actually agrees that some medication just doesn't help. I think we have some green bananas in the house, that might do the trick.
So, for any fellow sufferers out there, what have you tried to calm the cramps?

Not much else has been happening around here. I dragged the boy (near enough) into town yesterday as I needed to get some storage for my crafty bits. The cats have definately decided that my pincushion and anything else I try to hide under bags, bottles etc are their toys for the taking. Annoyingly the exact storage I wanted, which we have in the bathroom, was not in stock, well not in plain colours anyway. All that was left was garish overly bright multi coloured little drawer systems that I thought looked god awful. So, the search continues. I did manage to find two pairs of skinny jeans and a lovely little woven dress for dirt cheap in the sales so that made me happy! I also found two really cute little birds made out of fabric which matches the living room perfectly and would cost me far more to try and make myself so I had to buy a set.

I have finally completed my teddy bear made from a free pattern from McCalls. I will post a pic as soon as soon I can. I made him into a little bit of an odd coloured panda bear in white and red and next time I'll make a few changes to arm lengths etc but overall I'm super happy as he turned out pretty well for something with more pieces than I'm used to tackling.

I also received some great bits and bobs from this lovely store Purplelinda Crafts as an order I placed a week or so ago. The cheapest I found online for safety eyes, noses etc when it came down to additional shipping costs as well. Very happy! I also ordered some bits and bobs for crocheting as I have decided this is another crafty skill I want to learn this year. I have given it a go and fairly happy with the results from some great online tutorials I have found. The only thing I have found is that I have an exceptionally loose tension. What couple of lines I did and took apart again, as I don't want to waste the yarn, looked nothing like the tutorial, even with a smaller hook. I have no idea how I'm going to get a decent tension for Amigurumi projects. These have been my inspiration for learning to crochet and with the loose stitches I'm pulling off the stuffing will be everywhere!! Ah well, hopefully this will improve with time as well. I'm just pretty happy I managed to understand what they meant in the umpteen tutorials I have downloaded, read and watched.

To make me happy, here is a picture of an animal I desperately want as a pet once we have a garden one day. A teacup pig. The most beautiful creature I have ever seen!

Don't you think?

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Snow, sewing and ducks

So, more snow fell yesterday and last night which has transformed our local area back into a winter wonderland. Which the dog, the boy and I all loved on our walk this morning. I've never seen a dog intent on such savagery on a snowball in my life. But then, savagery on a snowball is not a major concern is it?

I finally finished sewing my little mouse pattern that I can't remember where it came from. He's a rough version until I'm happy with how different things fit together but I like him. The furry baby is in the background wondering why I'm taking pictures of things he's not allowed to play with. Thankfully he didn't realise he's in the photos. He doesn't like photos being taken of him!

I am currently working on a teddy bear from a pattern I got free from McCalls. It's super cute and tons more pieces to put together than I'm used to but he's looking good so far. Will post a pic once he's finally completed. I have ordered some safety eyes and noses so will need to wait for those first.

Life recently has mainly consisted of work and although it's been pretty manic, I don't wake up cursing it's existance so that makes a nice change!

My clan have finally got our heads and agendas together and will have a big 'ol family get together in June for a week in Denmark. Really looking forward to it. My family are rather scattered around europe so getting together for random reasons or family occassions are never easy. My middle brother and his fiance have bought a beautiful house in Copenhagen so we're (the boy and I) driving up with my eldest brother, his wife and my niece to meet up with them and my folks for a week of family sociableness. Always good as my family all adore each other. We have our ups and down like any other family but somehow we always stay smiling in each other's company.

Today was spent market trawling. I loved it!! I found the most beautiful set of little tin ducks. Look at the little wings and the feet! The boy quite categorically hates them but I fell in love as soon as I saw them. His answer when I went to buy them was 'We'll come back' so I thought maybe he had a point. I often buy things I later regret so walking around a bit and deciding based upon whether the wanted item is still there upon my return has served well in the past. We returned after a stroll around the rest of the market and they were still there! Fate I thought. The boy meant, next time we were at the market! I think not!  They are now sat on my crafts table and I think at least one will be turned into a heavyweight pincushion following the cats deciding my nice little one, sat on top of a wooden box made a great tennis ball (box?). They are a lid on a little bowl style shape so a little pincushion tucked inside should keep my pins, needles and the cats safe. We shall see.

A last little look at the furry baby, Jonah. Does that face seem happy to have a photo taken??! Ha ha ha ha!! As he was perched on the window sill, woofing at passersby, he couldn't do much to avoid the camera ;)

This week will mostly consist of more work, sleep, good food and a trip into Maastricht next Sunday to have a stroll on shopping Sunday. A country where everything is still not automatically open on a Sunday, I'm getting used to it but sometimes I feel like I've gone back about twenty years to my youth in South Africa.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


So, yes, I suck at updates. My apologies. I don't make New Years Resolutions but I did say to myself long before New Year's eve that I would at least try and regularly update this thing as well as my other little goals for 2010. I'll not list them as so many of you lovely people have done as they are more personal to my health, happiness and well being but they're all good things. Trust me!

Christmas was spent in the UK seeing my lovely family. I really missed not having the boy with us but I still managed to make the most of it surrounded by the family's love and lwarmth. Seeing my niece really made it feel like Christmas so that was great. I took plenty of pictures but with my film SLR so I'll post real snowey white Christmas pictures as soon as they're developed. I have decided a handy little compact digital camera is on my wish list this year. I love my film photos as the depth of colour is just worlds apart from digital. Plus, I just love the excitement of seeing what the photos will actually look like! I also love holding them. Not sure why but freshly developed photos make me happy.

So, the title of my blog. Champomy! An alcohol free kid's version of champagne. In reality it's sparking apple juice in a bottle shaped like a champagne bottle but it was great! New Year's eve was spent with the boys' sister and partner and a good friend and it was a relaxed but very enjoyable evening. I am one of the few in my new circle of friends here in the Netherlands and although this is a good thing as I made a decision to cut down on my drinking habits a long time ago, it still at times feels a little strange and I qorry about, if I have a glass of wine etc when they're round, is that an issue. I don't think so and I know they all have other friends who really drink but I don't know, it's a little offsetting. So, it was really cool to have a a silly glass of apple juice with exceptionally good company and feel like a real New Year. Plus, everyone was super happy to watch Jools Hootananny so that made me super happy. Havewatched it every year for the last 5 years or so. Glad it will now appear to be a regular New Years tradition here too. :D

We had tons of fun with sparklers and watching fireworks. There's something about acting like children and waving sparklers as if they are fireworks tht really fulfills the inner child in me.

In other news, we have had snow. Plenty of it! But still not enough to be able to honestly call into work and say the weather prevents travel. :( Gutted, especially as friends in the UK have been posting photos of their fun in the snow when their respective employers or the national transport system has advised them to stay home. I can only wish. At least it's not had the chaotic effect here as it has in the UK so that's something to be thankful for.

The boy and I had a fabulous day off yesterday and spent this relaxing with a duvet and movies and also by taking the furry child to the park. His new obsession is chasing snowballs since I threw one a few days ago. I've never seen a dog tear apart a snowball so quickly and literally smile afterwards about his achievement! He is such a litle light in my life. He still has his warm winter coat I bought in the UK and it's been the first year he's really had to use it. My favourite thing is watching people's experessions as we walk past and they realise it is actually a dog version of a human coat. I've seen grown, very burly men reduced to whimpering simpletons over the cuteness!

Other than these wonderous things I have been sewing!

I have made a scotty dog from the pattern as seen here:

Elephant as seen here: although I was most proud when I figured out how to use what I'd learnt on the Scotty dog pattern to make the elephant a standing one!
I am currently working on a mouse that I downloaded the pattern of but don't seem to have a link for where it came from. This makes me feel bad as it's lovely pattern. Maybe I'll find some type of signature on the pattern download. I'll update if I find something.

I have decided that I really want one of these:

The stories crack me up and part of the money for each purchase goes to a good cause so it's good things all round!

I also love how this couple live and think, .I read their updates with a happy hear. They have such a great mental attitude to things and they seem like pretty funky people. I love her hand tattoos, GIVE and TAKE. Something for us all to live by I think, don't you?