Brown paper packages tied up with string

I love presents. I love giving presents, and I think I’m pretty good at presents. I don’t give presents and expect reciprocation, I do it because I get a kick out of it. I love shopping and wrapping and seeing peoples’ faces when they open them. I give presents all year round, so Christmas is like, well, Christmas for a giver like me. To quote from an article in issue 33 of Mollie Makes “Present-giving is an ancient way to show affection via the medium of… stuff.”

However, while shopping for other people, one can’t help but find things that one would really not mind receiving oneself. Etsy is especially dangerous for this sort of thing…

Love Birds Amongst The Orchids with Sterling Silver Chain and Initial Leaves by tinycottagetreasures on Etsy

Kooky Forest in Pearl & Charcoal Cushion Cover by TigerandHare

Handmade Fiery Goblin Doll by The Curious Panther

Friends of the Forest print by evajuliet

Handmade Long Wallet BiFold Clutch -Woodland Nutty Squirrels by faithonearth

Dinosaur planter by crazycouture

Fox Laser Cut Brooch by the Owl & Otter

I’ve been a very good girl this year ūüôā

10 things I’ve been doing

1. Organising our WI Spring Fair. This is fun. I like planning things. If you’re in Cardiff next Saturday morning please come along. I’d like some chickens to be there, everyone should meet chickens. Or owls. Owls and chickens.

2. Making things. I’ve been embroidering a bag today, and made some more of my little button and ribbon pins for the fair. Ney and I are having a stall! She’s made lovely bracelets and her Dad’s made little wooden mushrooms! They’re so cute. I hope we sell things, it’s such a lovely feeling when people buy things you’ve made. Going to take along the Lolcat Colouring Books I made for the Book Arts Fair 2 years ago too. I think I sold 3 then. Everyone loves Lolcats still, right?

3. Thinking about chairs. Specifically this chair from Haus which I sadly missed out on. BJ1n8GKCYAAwB6ENow I have chair envy for the person who has the chair. (by the way, that pink and grey fabric is even more beautiful in real life. Please go visit Haus and see their lovely fabrics!) Also we had to destroy the giant chair in order to get it out of the house. I have everything crossed that the smaller one and sofa will fit out of the door without requiring a saw, would rather them be rehomed as it felt awful destroying a perfectly good piece of furniture.

4. Enjoying that extra load of space that we’ve acquired since removing the giant chair. Monty’s not so thrilled, it was his chair.

5. Watching all the programmes we’ve recorded. I’m now up to date on Game of Thrones (needs more Tyrion) and Mad Men. I’m not sure what to think of Mad Men right now, I still love it of course (the most perfect mise-en-scene EVER) but it feels quite disjointed to me, and Don’s being a right git. Don’t like him being like that. Still would though. Mmmm Jon Hamm.

6. Working on making work better. Looking for an upgrade, not a way out.

7. Eating ALL the food. ¬†I need to stop doing this. I also avoided the gym this week. Bad Bethy. However I now have nice vegetables (which I’ve forgotten to cook for my lunch tomorrow – ARSE!!!) so as long as I eat them and avoid cake then things should start moving in the right direction. That’s the plan anyway. Also Kath gave me a cute little picnic basket for my birthday. WIll it become my lunchbox? Probably!

8. Listening to music. We streamed the new Daft Punk record the other night. It’s really good. Also the 90s is apparently fashionable now so I’ve been listening to some classics in the car – Suede, Beck, Metallica… yes I know I almost exclusively listen to 90s music anyway but it’s nice to be a fashion leader once in a while! I’ll have you know I bought this cardigan in H&M in 1999. So there.

9. Adoring this handsome little guy. IMG_20130502_133526

10. Being inspired by Anna Denise‘s beautiful illustrated journals. I wish I felt creative and dedicated enough to do this,

 

Music Monday (and some life planning)

Saturday marked 2 months until I hit the big 3-0. On Saturday I had a big tidy-up. My bed looked like this:DSC01632Yup. 3 dinosaurs and an owl. The dinosaurs were Christmas and Valentine presents. I am nearly 30. I DON’T CARE!! Dinosaurs make me happy, and the guy I share this bed with bought 2 of them for me. THAT, my friends, is love.

But anyway, 30. Yeah, it’s starting to bother me now. ¬†Well, not bothering me, but I’m acutely aware that it means I am a proper adult. One that drives a car, intends to buy a house one day and does food shopping to buy actual food and not just crisps and ice cream, though if there’s a dinosaur in the supermarket I’m likely to buy it. I’m feeling the need to do something with myself in the next 10 years. I feel a new list coming on.

Back to the music. I revisited one of my favourite albums this weekend,¬†The Sound of McAlmont & Butler because it’s awesome. I will never tire of listening to Yes. It’s truly beautiful. David McAlmont has the most incredible voice, and Bernard’s guitar is sublime as always. Throw in some strings and you have a timeless wonder that, I think, will never get old.

One of the things on my 30 list will be to have a singing lesson with David McAlmont. This will happen.

in which Bethy is currently…

… listening¬†mostly to the Manic Street Preachers, because they’re awesome. ¬†Manic Street PreachersThere is something rather wonderful about driving through the centre of Cardiff with the windows down and Motorcycle Emptiness or A Design For Life blasting at volume 40. I love how my mum likes to say “you lot liked the Manics before everyone else did”. Gotta love my mum for that – hipster by proxy! Please, if you haven’t heard them go and have a listen on whatever listening device you prefer. My favourite albums are Generation Terrorists and Gold Against The Soul. Th greatest hits record (Forever Delayed)¬†is available for lazy folk ūüėČ

 

…eating¬†toast. We’re not allowed a toaster in the office because the partner doesn’t want everything smelling of toast. He just had 3 weeks off so we ordered LOADS of toast from the cafe a few doors up the road. Power to the people, motherlickers.

 

…drinking tea. Of course. I drink tea all the time. However I’ve taken to drinking Rooibos tea when I go to the Wes Anderson nights (Wes Anderthon for those who haven’t been following on Twitter) at The Pot Cafe. It’s lovely.

 

…wearing¬†black tights and I really shouldn’t be as it’s August now and it should be hot and sunny all the time. But it’s not. It keeps raining and it’s miserable and I have NO suitable shoes. Someone buy me shoes please. Nice shoes that aren’t just for sitting down. Ones I can actually walk in. For goodness’ sake I’m nearly 30 and should be able to wear proper ladies’ shoes without crying like a baby after half an hour because my feet hurt.

 

…feeling¬†kinda down actually. I have absolutely no motivation to do anything (I’m forcing myself to do this post, and even then it’s because I’m putting off an application that I really should b e doing instead). Usually when I’m not quite right I’ll buy bad food, but I’ve been quite aware that I’ve eaten a lot of crap recently so instead I’ve been buying house plants. I like the plants, and I especially like that I’ve been able to keep them alive. However I now have a lot of seedlings and as I haven’t labelled them I’m unsure as to what they are. I think think¬†they’re marigolds (calendula) and lavender but until something flowers I have no clue. I do have some good news though – I made tomatoes!Yup! Two of them! I think there are more to come, and it looks like they’re plum tomatoes! How exciting.

 

…weather is shit. That is the only word for it. Stupid British weather.

 

…wanting to pack up the cats and the boy in a camper van and drive far away, maybe to never come back. I actually don’t know what keeps me here, family I suppose.

 

...needing a holiday. I can’t wait the 3 weeks and 5 days until we go to Paris. I’m so excited! Our first proper trip away.

 

…thinking¬†about cheese, dinosaurs, running away, Paris, Ben, how to get out of ALL of the ruts, not being so scared of driving on roads that are unfamiliar…. You name it, chances are that I’ve been thinking about it. Today I thought about the Mars thing and how they could get us to Mars, but they’d probably screw it up by putting a Tesco on it. Or a Starbucks, but I wouldn’t mind that so much because I could get a mug from Mars for my collection. Marsbucks.

 

…enjoying watching the big rain. Much as I am complaining (as everyone else is) about the stupid weather, the big rain really is quite impressive. Luckily in Cardiff it just comes and goes so there’s no nasty floods or anything.

in which Bethy turns 29

Yup, the big 2-9. No idea what that is in bingo lingo.

You may recall that this time last year I made a list of 28 things to do before I turned 29. This list here:

Well let’s see how I did. I know for a fact I didn’t do all of them…

1. While not quite being within 3lbs either side of my target weight I am only a pound or 2 outside and I’m pretty darn happy with that. I stayed at target for 8 months and it’s actually harder to maintain a weight loss (3st in total) than it is to lose the weight in the first place. Go me!

2. I sold a painting in September, quite out of the blue but a very nice thing to happen.

3. I didn’t have my own stall or sell at any fayres. Basically because I’m too lazy to get my arse into gear and sort it out. This one will go on the next list…

4. I so didn’t learn Welsh. I signed up for an online thing but haven’t even looked at it. To be honest I’ve taken a peculiar liking to French these days…

5. I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST AND WE HAVE A LITTLE CAR!!!! We only got it like 2 weeks ago, it was exactly 5 months after I had passed my test, and I hadn’t driven in all that time. I love the little car.

6. I know I have written letters, probably not as many as I’d like to have though.

7. I bought a pair of DM boots in September. These ones. I am bitterly disappointed by them. They leak and the soles are rubbish – they’d worn through by January and that wasn’t constant wear. Just as well we didn’t have snow.

8. Save money? No. I don’t think I have the ability to do that, though maybe I have been more restrained in my purchases? No? Ok then… no, wait! I stopped spending money on food so much (ie. not going to the deli twice a day

9. I actually did run in the summer/autumn. I stopped when it got cold and started going to the gym, but then I started to begrudge paying for it so haven’t really been for a while. However I did run so it totally counts.

10. I did blog… but tweeted more. I love Twitter, I can’t deny my tweet-obsession.

11. I have printed photos and they’re hanging on the wall. WIN!

12. Since August I’ve been getting my hair done every 2 months or so by my lovely Lee at Morgans on Albany Road. I love him.

13. Knitting’s taken a back seat but I think that my crocheted blanket speaks volumes…

14. De-cluttering does not happen overnight, or indeed 366 days! We’re getting there, via Ikea.

15. No holibobs, but I’ve been to London about a million times in the last year. Does that count anymore?

16. My vinyl collection is growing. I’ve started to collect the Now… albums. I have 1-9 and 23 so far. They go up to 36 on vinyl.

17. Charlie Cheeseplant is thriving, as is Azrael the Prayer Plant AND I’m growing herbs and tomatoes. I think this is a definite win.

18. I had a new high-end point and click for Christmas and have neglected my DSLR recently. My little Sony is so good though. SO good.

19. I didn’t read 12 books, unless you count a year’s worth of Mollie Makes magazines! What I did do can be found on my Pinterest board here.

20. I baked Nutella cookies. They were good.

21. Last year I liked the records by Foster The People, Two Door Cinema Club and Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler. ¬†There are probably more but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I also really really like a local band called Robot Safari. Check them out, they are most good. Oh and The Vanities, another local band (and old friends of The Boy) ¬†making a comeback. While you’re at it you can buy Kilo-C’s EP on iTunes. This features my beautiful Ant on guitars and is wonderful even if I do say so myself.

22. I went out and met people. New people, or at least people I’d only ever spoken to on Twitter. This totally counts. I don’t like going out to mingle.

23. We didn’t have any picnics, which makes me sad. HOWEVER! This year we have the little car and the little car means roadtrips which means food outdoors in other places!

24. I can wear my blanket I suppose, but this isn’t what I meant. Again, now that I have little car I can take my sewing machine to sewing classes and learn things properly. Yay!

25. I had lots of tea but no parties. ūüė¶

26. I don’t like surprises, especially when I surprise myself. Needless to say I fail at¬†spontaneity.

27. I¬†will find a WI for me. I will. The ones I found were a bit… old. I need to work out how to ask the federation if there are any younger groups without sounding offensive.

28. I am happy. I have my wonderful boy, my wonderful cats, my noisy little car and I met James and Bob on Saturday ūüôā

So I guess my next post will be 29 before 30. I’ll get working on that.

in which Bethy finds 28 things

So, a bit late in actually blogging this but I’ve done one of those “28 things before I’m 29” lists. Here it is:

1. Get to target [which I have] and keep the weight off;
2. Sell more owls and paintings;
3. Have my own stall at a fayre to sell owls and things;
4. Learn Welsh;
5. Pass my driving test;
6. Write more letters;
7. Buy a decent pair of shoes;
8. Save some money;
9. Exercise more (learn to run);
10. Blog more and tweet less!;
11. Print photos and frame them;
12. Get my hair cut more regularly;
13. Learn to crochet (and knit properly);
14. DE-CLUTTER!!
15. Go on holiday;
16. Own an awesome vinyl collection;
17. Keep plants alive;
18. Learn to use my DSLR manually;
19. Read 12 new books;
20. Bake a new cookie;
21. Discover new music;
22. SOCIALISE MORE!!
23. Picnics in the park;
24. Make something I can actually wear;
25. Have a tea party;
26. Do something spontaneous;
27. Join the W.I.
28. Stay happy!

Oh, and I scrapbooked it. Yes, it’s been a while.