A mandala and a musing

Yesterday I was scrolling through instagram whilst in the car on the way home from Dunelm (we bought a rug!) when I disappeared down a Marna Lunt inspired rabbit hole and ended up on Mrs Bertimus' page via the lovely Leah Halliday and it made me realise a few things... firstly that I had discovered some new beautiful mixed media stitchy inspiration, secondly that I have hardly made anything this year and really do need to get my stitch on and lastly that I hadn't shown you what I have stitched this year. 

So here it is, one very small (made in a 3" hoop) hand-stitched freehand mandala. It took weeks, I stitched on the bus (actually slightly more difficult than I had anticipated), I stitched in the garden, I stitched and drank tea, I stitched and drank wine and I stitched through many an episode of Murder She Wrote and NCIS and finally I finished it! It was rather a meditative process and I will definitely do another one. 

In the meantime though my interest in mixed media textile arts and crafts has been resparked and now I'm realising that I do have a use for the bags and bags of fabric I've got hidden away. I was beginning to think I'd have to sell it but now I have an excuse to hang on to my stash ;)

I'm off to make a cuppa, have a lovely Sunday! xx

PS. Yes, I have literally just decided that my mandala would make a fabulous new header. You like?

Lovely weather for ducks...

As my mum (and probably her mum) would say. In other words, it's raining. But not just raining, it is wet. Totally and utterly wet. Hello typical bank holiday weather, hello autumn. To be honest I don't mind a bit, although it meant having to rain-check a dog-walking date with a very good friend, it has also meant spending the entire morning in bed in my pajamas, which feels rather decadent these days.

The above pic was snapped yesterday when we went to feed the ducks in the park and discovered that despite looking as though they should be, my cowboy boots are in actual fact, not waterproof. I was probably the only person wearing cowboy boots in Oxford yesterday, I mean, nobody actually wears them here in the UK, apart from maybe at a festival. And this particular pair is not even comfortable, so I think they are destined for the charity shop (so that somebody else can wear them to a festival) whilst I embark on a search for weather-appropriate footwear.

I did take more photos yesterday (not all featuring my cowboy boots) but I'm afraid that my netbook and my photo editing software (aka picmonkey) are currently not friends so rather than post my unedited gigantic pics I'm just going to write instead, mwah ha ha ha ha!

I have been exhausted lately, back in the realm of anxiety and depression and to be quite honest I'm feeling pretty sick of it. Like just absolutely fed up with feeling so crappy and low and flat and dull and icky and broken and listless and unsure and unclear and sad, so FED UP OF IT... so I've made a concious decision to infuse my days with my favourite things, to choose to make positive decisions, to actually look after myself, to wear things and do things that make me happy, to actually focus on my happiness.

Soooo on that note, I've bought some new plants, we are gradually cultivating a collection of succulents, cacti and a yukka as neither of us are particularly green-fingered. On that note though I have been thinking about doing some gardening, is it the wrong time of year to build a rockery? With autumn arriving rather suddenly there has been a lot of time at home in front of the tv (I am a dab-hand at embroidery whilst watching telly) watching Wonder Woman and Murder She Wrote and this weekend the new series of X Factor debuted (cue shrieks of laughter and tears) and we've also discovered Narcos on Netflix, dark.

I'm welcoming autumn with open arms, I like an excuse to snuggle under a blanket and I'm particularly fond of my woolly hat. It also means that I can wear more layers which is fab as I've gained an extra stone or so in weight in the past year and it's going to be a slow process shifting it! Autumn may seem like a counter-intuitive time to start losing weight but I'm going to start running and cut right back on those pesky white carbs and doing it at a time of year when you wear as many clothes as possible means that I won't need to worry too much about what does or doesn't fit ;)

I'm on the look out for a craft group in Oxford (give me a shout if you know of one) something like a stitch and bitch or a meet and make, I'd love to be able to craft and be sociable simultaneously. I'm looking into rock and roll or lindy hop classes as I absolutely love swing and rock and roll and it would be so much fun, gotta get my brave on first! And I wonder whether or not there is a murder mystery book club in existence?

Enough rambling from me today, it's time to get the dinner on!

Oxford so Pretty in Pink

Yesterday was my day off, Tom was working and I hadn't made any plans so I decided to head out to North Parade, a pretty avenue that runs between the Banbury and Woodstock roads, and then I wandered down in to Jericho. North Parade has a fab looking coffee shop, Brew, which I'll have to pop back to try as it was pretty busy when I walked past but I've heard really good things. There is also a wool shop, Oxford Yarn Store, which is very much on my list of places to check out when I have some spending money so yesterday I just drooled over the yarns in the window display!

I walked down in to Jericho, past pastel coloured houses, debating whether I fancied a coffee or a cold drink and not really coming to a decision, it was a really warm, muggy afternoon yesterday and I just couldn't make up my mind! In the end I had a meander at the Woodstock Road shops, treating myself to a cactus plant for our flat, before heading back to North Parade and settling for a ice cold spritzer in the Rose & Crown (pictured above) back garden area. The Rose & Crown is a really cute little pub, I've not been in there before, with a lovely seating area outside with yellow benches, vintage signs and grape vines. I'll definitely head back there again.

When Tom came home we headed out to our local, The Plough, for drinks with friends in the sun before coming home for pizza ;)
Today I am back at work, lots of figures related stuff to do so I'm going to finish my tea and head in to get started, I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Eleven years in Oxford

I have now had the pleasure of living in Oxford for eleven years and I've gotta tell you, I love this tiny little city. As cities go Oxford really is pretty small and it is one of the greenest cities in the country, you are almost always near a park or the river and, whilst this can be easy to take for granted, it is something that I make sure we make the most of every weekend.

Earlier on today I went for a wander down at our local nature reserve, a favourite place of mine to go when I'm alone and I need a recharge. Today there were butterflies fluttering around everywhere and no-one around so it was pretty magical.

This evening we headed down to our local pub, The Plough, for a peaceful drink in their outdoor area. It is right by a section of the canal so after our drinks we wandered over to the bridge over the canal there and watched a few of the boats passing through before heading home.

I celebrate eleven years in this city this summer and I think that making this green oasis of a city my home is one of the best decisions I ever made!

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