An experiment with painting, part 1.

What a discovery! It’s so much fun! One of those activities in life where you are so absorbed in what you are doing that it’s a completely refreshing activity – almost meditational in the way you can kind of empty your mind. Although I have actually not picked up a brush since I left Jersey in September, at the time I was finding it really quite addictive.

I did all this in Jersey; seeing all the sky and seascapes was pretty inspiring and kept making me wish i could capture it somehow, and photographs, or at least my photographs, seem to somehow not do it justice. I enjoyed a nice day off spent popping into some art galleries contemplating making a ‘Jersey art’ purchase before I left, and was unsure how to choose something to buy. Some of it didn’t look that hard – I don’t know anything about art, I decided I should get some paints and play around a bit, maybe it would help me understand which art was truly amazing?

So I got myself some acrylic paints (I think purely based on the fact that they were cheaper although I may have had some other reasoning) and some flat canvas things and paintbrushes and decided to watch some YouTube videos of how-to-paint! Some were more helpful that others, lots I abandoned part way through. One of the most helpful ones just told me to mess around, get the feel of the paints, experiment with things, don’t worry about painting anything nice just learn by DOing. So I did, I just had fun!

Here was day one:

IMG-20170718-WA0001.jpeg

Not too bad huh?

The bottom left was from a YouTube video on painting ocean and rocks in an impressionist style, which i enjoyed but didn’t have a palette knife and then never really felt the buzz to go back to it after it had dried so ended up painting over it.

The top right was my most “messing around” experiment, I started with the sun and then went off it, painted over it, thought I’d keep it ‘misty’, did some experimenting with ways doing rocks again, and then splashy water. It progressed to the below painting, which I really hated, and then got completely painted over!

IMG-20170720-WA0004.jpeg

Top left was another complete messing around with the paints and colours and getting the feel of the brushes, although actually still exists, it turns into the below painting and is only still here as one of my friends actually liked it more than she liked some of the ones that I thought were good, but I think really it is only a matter of time before I paint over the top of it!

IMG-20170720-WA0006.jpeg

Bottom right was my favourite of these four, and progressed to the below painting, I think I redid the sea, it was after watching lots of videos but not following any in particular, and was supposed to be a Jersey-esque coastline. I also feel it is quite Cornwall-y and I wondered whether my friends that got married in Cornwall would like it as a gift, maybe if I painted a little black and white dog on it somewhere?

20170720_164243

I liked this one so much I decided to try doing a similar one on a bigger canvas – more sea and sky! I added the tower to make it more noticeably ‘Jersey’ even if not a specific view. I did have a view in mind but didn’t stick to it very faithfully so even if familiar to Jersey you wouldn’t recognise it! If you do know Jersey, the idea was the view across St Ouens bay from around the lighthouse(ish) but looking at the cliffs across the other side of the bay rather than looking at the beach. It started like this:

IMG-20170726-WA0002.jpeg

And even once I had added the flowers to the cliffs I just didn’t like the feel of it – apart from the fact that the sea and sky look much too much like the same colour it just felt wrong. I spent a few weeks with it around on the table and stuff and eventually decided that what it needed was some foreground, so it became this:

20170730_095807.jpg

Which I was really pleased with. I think maybe I redid some of the sea (not sure), but essentially it is exactly the same colour as in the first photograph, just with different lighting!

At this point I decided I needed to do some more copying, and as I couldn’t find any YouTube videos that I wanted to copy/do all the way through, I decided to go back to the art galleries for some inspiration. I took a few cheeky photographs (probably not allowed but I wasn’t completely sure?) and bought some postcards of the paintings to copy at home. Here is a well-known Jersey beach, (one of my top 3 beaches!) The original is called ‘A Perfect Day’, L’Ile au Guerdain, Portelet Bay, Jersey, by Robert John Wolfenden.

IMG-20170801-WA0003.jpeg

I really liked the art by Peter Knight who kind of paints with these block lines – follow the link to check him out, so did the below art in the style of his pieces. I used up 2 rolls of tape trying to do the lines, absolute mission. I do really love it though, maybe when I have restocked my tape I will do a bigger version! This was the first one where I did any sketching underneath to get an idea of what I wanted to paint. I didn’t manage to stick to it though…!

IMG-20170722-WA0004.jpeg

Here is what I did when I painted over the original weird sun picture, I really wanted to do the boats all leaning on each other, but they are such a small part of it I don’t really love it, it seems to be accidentally cartoon-y and my mum pointed out that there is something wrong with the perspective!

IMG-20170819-WA0012.jpeg

This next one is one of my favourites but other people don’t seem to love it that much! I did it after watching a variety of sky painting videos, I have no idea which, and I haven’t been able to replicate the sky since! First is the original attempt:

IMG-20170720-WA0008.jpeg

Though I loved the sky, I wasn’t that pleased with the sea and there wasn’t really anything to particularly look at, so after spotting a tall ship from a beach side cafe one day I was inspired to make the following addition (again the colours are the same, the top photo is in natural light, the bottom photo is in artificial light):

20171117_181719 (1).jpg

Here is one of the last ones that I painted, it’s what I painted over the top of the original unfinished impressionist rocks, it was a mish-mash of different bits of paintings I had looked at, and I really wanted to do the oystercatchers as there are so many on the Island they will always remind me of my time there. I am particularly pleased with my clouds here, but not so pleased with the oystercatchers themselves, I think maybe I was a little careless with them!

IMG-20170902-WA0006

And last but not least here is everybody’s favourite:IMG-20170819-WA0006.jpeg

This is a not-quite copy of a painting I saw in the window of Victoria Art Gallery:

20170724_152258

This painting is called Tropical Coast by John Horsewell  and is still for sale if anyone is interested! He has some similar pieces – all of which I love!

Now I have to find homes for most of them, as I can’t really keep them all on my walls/my parents walls! So far the red boat on the dark blue background is the only one that has a definite home, but hopefully I will be able to gift some more out!

I hope you enjoyed looking at my paintings and I hope I have inspired you all to go and grab a paintbrush and do some art therapy!

TTFN x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving To A Small Island

I moved (again, yes).

TO JERSEY!

Bailiwick of Jersey, a crown dependency of the UK. Its just off the coast of Normandy, with a population of around 103,000.

uk_map_jersey

I arrived on Monday evening, following an 11 hour ferry trip from Portsmouth, started work on Wednesday, and am feeling really positive about the next 6 months! Moving was a big hassle, lots of driving up and down the country, digging up the wheelbarrow herb garden (devastating) and tricky decisions about what to take with me. Arriving hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing either. 72hrs without a phone including 24hrs without any access to the internet was EXTREMELY challenging for my state of mind aside from the practical challenges that that brought with it. Then there was having my cards decline/getting my card blocked when trying to get national insurance/tax sorted out for work followed by crying in the street (I don’t think anyone noticed) and an emergency call on a pay phone! As if this wasn’t enough I forgot to pack any socks.

Some of you may know that I have a bit of a hang up about socks. I like to pack about 3 pairs per day on a holiday. Its all tied up with a  girl-guides camping trip I went on (who knows how old i was) where I forgot to pack socks and it was super muddy and I was homesick and really anxious throughout the entire trip and all the anxiety focused on the lack of socks somehow…

However these challenges have all been overcome and I found myself on a half day today so this afternoon went adventuring, and wanted to share my first photographs of this lovely island.

This is the beach that is about a 1 minute walk from my flat:

20170202_14293020170202_14291320170202_142900

So far I have learnt that:

  • There is a significant Portuguese contingent on the island
  • Lots of shops don’t take card, some have minimum card payments of up to £10!
  • Food is expensive
  • I prioritised buying teabags, milk and soft loo roll over any food
  • Telling people that I have relatives in Guernsey may be a no no (I hope that this advice was given as a joke…)
  • I can’t tell what the accent is yet, there are so many people from all over the place, especially in the hospital
  • You pay to see a GP but hospital treatment is free
  • Its very windy
  • There is no car park for the hospital….
  • Pound notes!!
  • There are still BBC and ITV on the television and its the same area code

These pictures are from the beach across the other side of the harbour:

20170202_16032320170202_15510420170202_15474420170202_15360220170202_15380720170202_15353320170202_160509

I’m intrigued by the giant Lidos. I kind of want to swim in them, but I’m also quite wary (scared) and want to see some other people in them first!

Boules?

To finish here are some pretty buildings, and one of the quotes they have in the paving slabs.

20170202_16293220170202_113146

Hope you enjoyed! I’m looking forward to lots of coastal photos (and runs, and walks, and cycles…) over the next 6 months! One day I would really love to take a photography course.

TTFN x

Ps does anyone know what to do when the WordPress photo up-loader decides that the orientation of my photo is not the way I actually want it? It doesn’t seem to matter how I have saved it in the file, it just does its own thing with no way of changing it! Any advice appreciated…

 

A Marathon Journey

Only 73 days till the Brighton Marathon.

73 days… 10.5 weeks… This feels like not a lot.

I’m not really a runner, in fact since I graduated 3.5 years ago I havn’t really been that active at all, and come to write of it final year consisted of sitting, studying and binge eating junk food. But I have signed up for this marathon in 73 days…

This was a potentially poorly thought through decision born out of a wish to do something, anything, to feel like I was doing something helpful following the death of my cousin in August 2016. She was 17. She had a cardiac arrest the day after she received her AS level exam results, 2 weeks before she was going to be a bridesmaid at her brothers wedding. Just 3 months before her 18th birthday. She is the baby of the family, the youngest of 3 siblings, and the youngest of all six of us including me and my brothers.

lee033

Continue reading

Book Mark

These little ‘reaching out’ gestures and simple acknowledgement are so important! A touching post.

Red's Wrap

When my friends’ son died by suicide, I bought them a book.

I can remember standing in a bookstore near the San Diego harbor, pulling book after book off the shelf, looking for just the right one that would speak to my friends’ terrible grief. Then I decided to mail it to them, somehow thinking that whatever insight that was offered in the book simply couldn’t wait for me to return to Milwaukee to give it to them in person. I wrote a weepy note which I tucked inside the cover and sent it off.

The topic of the book was how to manage grief. My sense at the time was that if they read the book, they would feel better. Thinking back, my naivete seems unbelievable, like a 5-year old with a bunch of dandelions showing up at a crash scene to comfort the survivors.

When I saw my…

View original post 620 more words

A tomato and a sewing project

I HAVE ONE RED TOMATO. Its November and as stated on my last post I have given up hope, but I tried out a few tips people gave me to ripen tomatoes indoors and one of them worked! So some of the tomatoes I had to take off rapidly blackening plants I wrapped in a kitchen towel and put in a drawer on the instructions of a next door neighbour. When I checked back on these they were very much mouldy. The next lot I put on a plate in the windowsill and forgot about. 3 weeks later I took a look, most were shrivelled up but one, bizarrely was RED.

I have to say, it just tasted like a standard tomato. Not sure that it was worth the effort really…

20161102_125246

In other news I’m so proud of this quilt that I made for my close friend’s newborn I couldn’t resist showing it off… but I’ll throw in some tips for anyone looking for project ideas.

Firstly: It is extremely hard to get hold of Peter Rabbit original illustration print in the UK. I had a few sagas of ordering fabric to find it was sold out, or in fact ordering it and receiving completely the wrong fabric! After a long chat with a lady in a Beatrix Potter shop in Stoke-on-Trent it seems that this is to do with the licensing, the whole brand has been re-licensed since the new cartoon – despite this having completely different drawings! I think I sourced mine from Etsy in the end.

Secondly: If you want to do a patchwork quilt, my advice, which I cannot stress enough, is that you should only do patchwork on ONE SIDE. You can see my design in the photos below, and the extreme effort that went into making sure all the patches were sewn precisely the same distance apart and that when I put all the sides together they would line up perfectly was just completely ridiculous. I will not be doing this again, next time, one side patch, one side plain.

Thirdly: Choose a fabric that will suit quilting. Don’t get me wrong I could not love the Beatrix Potter brushed cotton any more than I do. Its probably my favourite fabric I have ever used. However it just didn’t have a pattern that I wanted to ruin by covering in quilting lines. On my Grandma’s advice I solved this by doing kind of spot quilting so that although it didn’t affect the pattern the two sides stayed together.

Fourthly: Use fabric conditioner when you wash something for a baby, I was so pleased with how soft the brushed cotton was for a baby blanket but it just wasn’t the same after it went through the wash without fabric conditioner. Sad face.

And lastly: triple check your address when you post something you have put this much time, effort and love into. This parcel went missing for a few weeks much to my absolute horror. It turns out the recipient had given me the wrong postcode, but many thanks to the Royal Mail it found its way to the right place eventually.

TTFN x

 

An Amusing Anecdote

The following post came up on my Facebook page today as an ‘on this day 2 years ago’ post. It is just such a brilliant story that I really can’t resist sharing it all over again…

An interesting evening: Fell asleep whilst cooking soup, only to be awoken by the VERY LOUD fire alarm, couldn’t work out how to turn off said fire alarm after removing charcoal soup from the grill so opened upstairs windows and front and back doors, stepped out of front door to get away from noise so I could ring an absent housemate or two to find out how to silence the alarm. Front door slams shut behind me and I am trapped on the street in only my pyjamas (no shoes, no underwear, no hiding the fact that they were clearly pyjamas). I ring housemates to ask for assistance, no one answers, I message them, consider what to do and then phone promptly dies. Consider basement window: too small, consider climbing over bike shed and manage to get up onto it before deciding the roof cannot take my weight. Find a long stick and spend a while trying to open the door with a stick through the letter box. Eventually arm starts to go numb and I realise that I need a new plan. Neither next door neighbour seems to be in so no hope for the sides of the house. I consider walking to Alberts’, the restaurant where one of my housemates works to get her key but am not sure she would appreciate me rocking up at work looking like this. Especially as I don’t know where the back entrance is. So I walk all the way down Northen Grove, Barlow Moor Road and then Burton Road (for those who don’t live in Manchester, fairly busy roads) – with no shoes or underwear and clutching a tea towel like a crazy woman. I manage to walk past the mosque just as everyone was leaving and got some VERY odd looks, eventually find the back of my house but the fence is too tall. I have to knock on a random persons door to ask for assistance to break into my house. Luckily some very friendly people saw the funny side and helped me over the fence. After some moments of relief, and pondering the continuing alarm next door (I’m suprised no one has called the police yet) our neighbour/handyman returns home and comes over to tell me how to turn off the fire alarm. Peace is finally restored. Apologies to the owner of the pan…

The pan owner was very forgiving 🙂

TTFN x

Parched

Parched.

Beyond furry, my tongue pushes cement across the roof of my mouth, skirting my naked gums. My mouth shapeless where once my full lips pouted; there are no false teeth today. My face is merely a replica of what I once was.

My eyes skate around the room, past curtains, past white coated workers; I am insignificant here. Beside me a girl cries. I am too close to her fear, her trolley so close to mine I could reach out and touch her face. I imagine a curtain between us, carefully not seeing her as others are not seeing me. This is a private place. All so close but each in our own world; a battery of patients lined up on trolleys.

Thirst.

My breath crackles in my throat. I can see a water cooler in the corner but there is no one to help me. As I slowly shift my weight in preparation to get down from this platform a man in blue passes.

“Careful now, don’t fall off!”

He smiles at me without really looking. The bedside comes up. I am an infant, caged. Unable to care for my own needs, not trusted to stand. I drag my sandpaper tongue across my crumbling lips.

Closing my eyes I attempt to swallow. One, two, three…

The young ones pass me. They are busy, their movements tense and purposeful. They do not look my way; I am in the ‘sorted’ area. Awaiting our next destination we are no longer their concern. A girl smiles as I catch her eye, but turns her head as she sees I want to speak to her. She looks uncomfortable. I am not her job, and she steps quickly into a cubicle; there are more people to sort.

“Nurse?”

I question the next young one to pass me. A frown appears; it was not her title I realise now. Her eyes scan the room to see if there is anyone else to help me. Like me, she realises there is no one else, everyone is too busy. She is defeated, her shoulders slump as she turns towards me and her eyes meet mine.

“Can I help you?”

She is relieved at the simplicity of my request and soon there is coolness slipping down my throat.

I am a Person again.

Blog post #10: 100 things to do before you die

In 2000, when one of my best friends (lets call her Aidan), was on a sandwich year in the USA but felt like she was just ‘bobbing along’ the two of us came up with the idea to make a ‘bucket list.’ It started as a casual conversation but we became determined to make it to 100, and alongside the list there was a strict rule set:

  1. It had to be something both of us actually wanted to do
  2. It had to be something neither of us had already done
  3. It had to be ACTUALLY achievable, ie ‘reach Everest base camp’ instead of ‘climb everest’, ‘raise a child’ instead of ‘have a child’ just incase one or both of us runs into fertility problems…
  4. The list can be reviewed every 5 years with anything we both agree on removing, that neither of us has already done can be removed from the list, and new things added to keep it at 100 – this way the hope is we will always actually want to do things on the list. Although if the other person has already done it and then you go off it…. a bit of a bummer…

It was extremely hard to actually make it to 100 things using those criteria and the quality of our suggestions distinctly deteriorated towards the end of the list. Last year we had our first ‘redo’ of the list and needless to say it was even harder to fill the spaces we created with our purge. Much harder than taking off things we didn’t want to do! I think we limited to changing only 5 things but I can’t remember if we decided to stick to this rule or not.

It would be easy enough to write a similar list of things you have actually done (but quite fun to do this if you need a bit of a booster, I did this with my mum to show her she actually had done quite a few pretty cool things in her life.) And I definitely think writing a list as one person would be easier to hit the 100 but also I don’t think it would be as fun – there are things on the list that I never would have thought to put on mine but that I have really enjoyed doing/am looking forward to doing.

It might seem like a cliché or something that has become a bit of a fad, but I wanted to write this post to celebrate the positive impact making this list has had on my life. I hope that Aidan has had a similarly positive experience, although I fear she may not have been quite as doggedly attached to completing and recording our list related exploits as I have become!

This blog post is blog post number 10. Significant because on the list is ‘write a blog with at least 10 posts’. I can’t remember which of us suggested this, but I do know that it was only the fact it was now on this list that made me actually go out and pic a site to start actually writing. And for this I am very thankful, even if I am only wittering away to myself, I am enjoying blogging, and take something positive from every post (at least that is my aim, I have only had one that I didn’t feel completely satisfied with so far.)

There are quite a few other things that I wouldn’t have actually forced myself to do had it not been on the list:

  1. I ran a marathon! And I was 100% dedicated to my training schedule (mostly out of fear) despite that fact that i spent the 6 weeks leading up to it travelling around Europe. This was a bit of an inconvenience but gave me some amazing experiences such as a 16 mile run through field of sunflowers in the outskirts of Geneva, a 20 mile run doing a few laps around Lake Bled in Slovenia, and an array of runs through the countryside surrounding the stunning Plitvici lakes in Croatia. Some extremely happy memories, that fill me with a sense of peace when I look back at them.

2. I told a boy I liked that I liked him. It may not sound like much but the criteria of this were that you had to really be completely unsure of whether or not the recipient was interested or not – the aim was to be forward and put yourself out there in a vulnerable place. Not only would I not have done this had it not been on the list, I only did it because Aidan had already done it so I knew there was no way of taking it off the list and the perfect opportunity presented itself. This memory does not fill me with happiness and peace, it mostly fills me with cringyness and some pride, depending on whether i think of it in the abstract (pride!) or the details… (massive massive cringe).

Both of us were rejected. Aidan I definitely feel had it easier. Not only did she do it just before she flew home from the USA – potentially never having to see this person again, or possibly even be on the same continent… but she was also acting under the influence of alcohol. And although she was rejected, we are pretty sure the guy is gay. I on the other hand was STONE COLD SOBER, and did it when i knew i had to work with the guy for another 8 months. And i wasn’t leaving the country. And I’m pretty sure he isn’t gay.

I have to say, despite the cringe, it was kind of liberating, we both did it at the point where we had been flirting for months, many friends/colleagues already assumed that something was going on, and we just felt that we would rather know they weren’t interested so we could stop wondering and just move on. I was so proud of myself at the time that I didn’t even feel gutted about the rejection for a fair few days. Quite an achievement really and I would recommend it. Its freeing.

3. We spent an entire day making balloon animals. Totally random, but so much fun, and such epic photographs…

4. I spent 18 months trying to learn how to juggle. Yes that’s right… 18 months – which also included the time in europe. I did gain the ability to juggle for a very short about of time, very unreliable. Mostly I was just a massive liability who shouldn’t be allowed to touch juggling balls in the proximity of breakables. Or maybe humans/general objects. Or probably just shouldn’t try to juggle. Aidan was in charge of deciding when this was ‘completed’ as we get to be the judge of whether the other person deserves to tick each thing off the list, and she essentially let me cross it off for effort. Effort and the fact she couldn’t take being around me trying to juggle any longer. (See top photo…)

I could continue to ramble on about all the other things we have done, such as going to Dans Le Noir in london (google it and go, this was such an amazing experience), going on cooking classes, paintballing, hot-air ballooning, the list goes on. But I feel this is a good snippet of the positive effect of the list, and yet again it is past my bedtime!

So hope you enjoyed,

TTFN x

 

A Love of Bees

Since the moment when Donna Noble mentions ‘that thing about the bees disappearing’ to The Doctor in ‘Partners in crime’ in Season 4 Episode 1 of Doctor Who, I have felt strongly about the plight of the bees. I mean whats not to love – they are adorable and fuzzy, super super useful, you might say crucial to our survival, and way nicer than wasps. People can’t care about things they don’t know about, and are unlikely to care about things they know little about, so rather than writing a preachy blog about how we should all worry about the bees I am just going to collect some fun bee facts, possibly wondering slightly into the realms of why we should care and hope that I am spreading a little bit of Bee-love. If nothing else I will learn a fair bit in writing this blog post I’m sure!

Yes I am a massive Doctor Who fan. My gardening equipment currently lives in a ‘Tardis Toolkit’ box. I will not apologise for this. And on this note here are some other Bee references in Doctor Who:

  • The seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) whilst at a tea party with Thomas Jefferson claimed that Aristotle wouldn’t stop ‘wittering on about’ bees
  • The doctor who explanation for the disappearing bees: Migrant Bees from the planet Melissa Majoria had been living alongside Earth’s bees for a long time, and when the Migrant Bees left earth, Earth scientists struggled to find a cause of the sudden drop in the bee population.

Here are some actual (hopefully interesting) facts about bees:

  • Honey Bees are assigned jobs depending on their age – going out and collecting pollen etc is the top rung of the ladder for worker bees and they don’t get to do this until they are 22 days old (half their life span!)
  • Honey Bees communicate by ‘Dancing’ – they communicate details such as the angle and distance you need to fly out to go and find a food source. The angle calculation factors in the fact that the earth is round!
  • Male honey bees don’t do any work. They just laze around the hive and occasionally fertilise eggs – dyeing after they mate. The females kick them out in the winter to help conserve resources over the winter. Brilliant.
  • The tiniest bees are only 2mm long!!! (a type of stingless bee) – adorable! – the biggest are 39mm (a type of leaf cutter)
  • Bees like strong smelling plants like honeysuckle, whereas butterflies prefer more subtle scents
  • Bees, like us, have three types of colour receptors (trichromatic) however unlike us, Bees’ colour receptors are ultra-violet, blue and green so it is thought that bees prefer blue, white and purple flowers. However this isn’t the whole story – some red flowers have ultraviolet patterns on which guide the bees onto the ‘landing pad’ – amazing!!!
  • There are 250 species of bee in the UK and only 1 is a Honey Bee!

So are the bees really disappearing?

Yes. All bee species are in decline – 2 species of bumblebees in the UK have already become extinct. (https://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/why-bees-need-help/) 20 bee species in total are gone from the UK and a quarter of our species are counted as ‘threatened species’ https://www.foe.co.uk/page/great-british-bee-count-about

This fact is no longer disputable, I’m not going to list all the evidence here, if you really don’t believe me I don’t think I will be able to convince you! But here is a report on the health of 12 iconic bee species in the UK:

https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/bees_iconic_bees_report.pdf

I’m also not going to go into the potential causes. There are many theories, probably many factors, and lots of ongoing discussion. Maybe I will talk about them another day…

If you are interested in this here is a link to a website where you can download a review by Greenpeace into the factors endangering pollinators and agriculture in Europe:

http://bees-decline.org/

I recently took part in The Great British Bee Count, which is run by Friends of the Earth as part of the Bee-Cause. (Get it? Bee-cause? LOVE IT) Essentially you have an app on your phone and log your bee sightings including photographic evidence. Friends of the earth then use this to monitor the health of the UK bee population. The website includes many suggestions of little ways you can help Bees should you wish to… https://www.foe.co.uk/page/the-bee-cause-act Here are some of my bee photos:

The friends of the earth website informs me that only a third of the general public can correctly identify a bumblebee and a honey bee!

So I will end with a little, extremely basic, bee guide: (I did not take these amazing photographs)

https://i1.wp.com/67.media.tumblr.com/87d7574ae5adf78357407a08906f867c/tumblr_nb810xuz2j1rds7nlo7_r1_1280.jpg

This is a bumblebee. (kalmasiope.tumblr.com) There are a few different bumblebees with white-tipped. It could be the white tipped bumblebee, but it could also be a garden bumblebee or a heath bumblebee…

This is also a bumblebee. Red-tailed probably. There is also a red-shanked carder bees but they are very rare, where as red-tailed are common. drkaae.com

Honey Bee! ihdwallpapers.com

Honey Bee! http://www.nyhomesteader.com

I’m gonna stick with just those two for now…

Hope you enjoyed,

TTFN x

Positive Beginnings

It’s all change in my life at the moment. (I’m going to ignore the political climate in this positive post) I could have referred to this period in many ways, ‘challenging changes’, ‘stressful moves’, ‘flailing at adulting’, ‘a journey towards unemployment’ are just a couple of examples that spring to mind… However, despite the difficulties associated with the practicalities of all this change I have positive feelings about this new chapter that I’m embarking on so rather than focusing on the chaos of the interim I am going to focus on ‘Positive beginnings.’

One of my changes is that I have moved house. Not only have I moved but so did my 7 house plants, the strawberries, tomatoes, wheelbarrow herb garden and my multitude of other pots. Onto a second floor balcony.

Needless to say moving a wheelbarrow full of soil with a non-functioning wheel was nothing short of a challenge. No spillages and the wheelbarrow remained intact, however I’m not sure if I can see the same for one of the bones in my finger. There was a small (well not so small really) incident of dropping the wheelbarrow, trapping my fingers between a metal bar and the rim of the moving van. There were a lot of tears and ice, and it did make the rest of the move a little challenging seeing as I could no longer grip with my right hand but, despite this, we made it.

And so starts the new beginning of LIVING WITH A BOY. He is a very lovely, extremely clean and tidy boy but it is a shock to the system nonetheless. I have moved into his flat, meaning we are currently in a period of slowly integrating my belongings and trying to make the flat feel like ‘our’ home instead of his. It’s the first time that I havent been completely in charge of my own space, laundry, shopping etc since I left home. However, I have faith that things will settle down and we will love spending time at home together 🙂

The plants have coped very well with move. Atticus II, Arthur and Adelaide got re-potted before the move into some proper indoor pots that are a bit more boyfriend friendly, with some nice stones to hide the soil. Antoine and Fizz have been looking a lot more healthy since being moved out of direct sunlight. The Tomatoes have had a growth spurt since I started feeding them with tomato food – although no signs of any flowers yet :-(. The wheelbarrow is overflowing as per usual, I am trying to keep on top of the pruning to stop the oregano flowering although this is proving quite challenge. My geranium has burst into splendid red flowers and, most excitingly, I have had some strawberries to eat!!! The birds got their hands on a few before I realised the were ready, I was very confused at finding a half eaten strawberry dropped in the herb garden! I did try, slightly half-heartedly, to take some rose cuttings from my old house, I didn’t have any root hormone which the internet tells me I need, I simply took 3 cuttings at 45 degrees and plonked them into some wet soil. 2 of the cutting wilted away within a few days but 12 days later one of them is still looking pretty alive….

The caterpillar in this photo is from a rusty tusker moth, a very funky looking specimen which I have had about 5 of so far, I look forward to having a family in the future and having an excuse to bring him inside and watch him turn into a moth! The strawberries are small and bizarrely shaped but very tasty and extremely sweet! Bizarrely my big Albion strawberry plants havn’t even put flowers out yet, I shall have to investigate if they are a late-blooming variety.

The other big change for me is my career. I have resigned from a job that I thought was a good choice for potentially a good work-life balance but unfortunately it just didn’t give me a buzz. If I already don’t feel passionate about my job at 27 there isn’t much hope for the rest of my career and I knew that I would absolutely hate leaving my children at home to go to work in a job that I felt so ambivalent about. The ability to resign is a privilege that I know can have much worse implications for different professions, or people in different walks of life. It wasnt a decision I took lightly – even knowing that I will be able to find an income resigning is a huge step, and for me it was certainly an emotional roller coaster. I am very grateful for the opportunity I now have to have a year or two of locuming, holidays, gardening, writing and generally taking charge of my own life before embarking on my next training programme. Bring on the independence, bring on the autonomy, bring on the freedom and the future!

TTFN x

PS Should I call it balconying now that my plants live on a balcony and not a garden?