Wednesday 13 September 2017

Doubled crossed and crossing borders aka Bridget Jones travels from Nicaragua to Costa Rica

The story so far....

Oof what a day yesterday was as they say in these parts, "qué horrible!" ðŸ˜‘ it was border crossing day but I generally quite like doing it. It makes me feel intrepid and I love a stamp. Oh but yesterday was a doozie though it has a good ending though so that's something. 

Yesterday I left Ometepe to make for Tamarindo in Costa Rica. I have a week whistling through here and Panama before I fly to Colombia next Friday. Anywho I digress.

As you know my Nicaraguan love affair is well documented despite obvious reservations about leaving somewhere that make me so happy I was up bright and breezy to catch the ferry to the mainland. I had actually been up since half 3, thank you wildlife of Ometepe. Problems began when on said ferry I realised the weird plugs in Ometepe had only charged my phone a bit. I decided not to worry about it as there was a waiting room at the port and I thought I had plenty of time. 

I ended up chatting to a lovely lady from Tijuana who gave me some good tips for Costa Rica and Panama. It was foggy on the boat and I have a tan so while I was caught up chatting I didn't worry about suncream. By the time we got to the other side my nose was bit red and shoulders tight. Great combo with a heavy bag ðŸ˜¬ so I'm now suburned with a cold. So much in keeping with my usual summer spent at British music festivals. 

I got to San Jorge and found a plug and that's when it all started to go nuts. Between here and Rivas a town synonymous with bad travel stories there are so many hustlers. I can now put myself in with said stories. However, a woman once told me that where mind goes energy goes. She was a bit left of the middle about most stuff but I think this rings true. As I was thinking bloody Rivas I know so many bad stories about it blah, blah, gah! 

The taxi drivers descended as I was charging but found more willing victims. One persistent fella kept telling me I needed to get going as there were festivals for next two days in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and the border would be shut for a bit and crazy before and after. I smiled just wishing him thanks for the info. He wasn't lying. Always do a festival check before travelling is now on my travel tips list. 

Anyway when I'd got a bit of charge I jumped into an awaiting taxi with the least cray driver and hot footed to Rivas. On arrival the bus conductor said it would be an hour before the bus left. So I chucked my big bag on and went in search of snacks and a printer to save money as apparently Costa Rica won't accept proof of travel on an email, go figure. Trying to save money ending up costing me $35 or thereabouts. 

The reason being when I got back to station about 30 mins later the bus had already gone! It would seem my bag was keener than me to get to its next destination. I remained calm though my face didn't. This alerted another hustler taxi driver who in fact turned out to be a saviour. I explained what happened and he said he'd drive me to the border for $16 and we would catch up with bus and I would be reunited with my bag. Deal!

I now know what it is like to be in a high speed pursuit situation. He even had a police type siren for when we were overtaking, I kid you not. We got to the border in no time only to discover the bus and my bag had diverted to the border town of Cardenas another good distance away. I still remained calmed and we agreed on a new price of $25. On the siren went again and 20 mins later I was reunited with my bag. 

The only trouble was I only had $20 dollars on me and a few cords for the bus I would have been catching. Just to put the tin hat on it the ATM at the border wouldn't accept my card that doesn't charge and so there was a hurried few minutes of swapping stuff round and ignoring astronomical charges as I paid the man and sent him on his way (at high speed). 

I thought that's it there's the drama done with but no it comes in threes. I strode happily to the border guard smiling who took one look at my passport and said you've overstayed your visa and you're being fined. In my very best Spanish I said on but I arrived on 13th June and I'm leaving on 13th September. To which he replied yes and that's 92 days as some months are longer than others, which is the same as your country if not mistaken. I laughed he did not ðŸ˜ I am an idiot you don't need to say it. So cue more charging and cash withdrawals as you have to pay the fine in cordobas not colones and the exit fee in dollars. 

Following another wait where I continued to smile respectfully at the guard who wasn't saying anything or giving me my passport back. No emotion from him just heavy typing and stamping. Eventually he gave it back with a tight smile. I like to think I wore him down but in all honesty it was probably wind. 

I then had a few minutes walking and saying no thanks to everyone trying to get me on a Nica bus and/or tell me I had to pay for an immigration form (you don't). The final man in immigration was actually very nice and let me pass without incident. At this point my battery was only on 2% but I know all I needed to do was get one bus to Liberia and immediately change to Tamarindo. Hahaha the bliss of being unaware. 

The bus came and I got on. It was going slowly so I thought oh I'll watch a film there's plenty of time. I'm tired, a little red, a bit sore and have no idea where I am so yeah the obvious choice is to watch Forrest Gump, which always makes me cry. During the course of the film the bus kept getting stopped for security checks and then a massive storm broke out and we moved ever slower. 

The expected tears came as Forrest is out running. The man across from me told me not to worry and we would sleep on the bus if needs be. In my rapture I hadn't realised we'd ground to halt in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black. I explained it was the film that set me off and he was a bit confused but happy I was smiling through my tears. 

At one point we did think we'd be stuck out all night but eventually the bus wound into Liberia but my chances of getting to Tamarindo had departed sometime before. So night time, storm, no phone, some kindle battery but there in the darkness were the bright lights of a huge Pali (supermarket) and my refuge. 

I was thinking that Costa Rica wasn't so keen on having me and to be fair I wasn't feeling so keen on being there. However a nice member of staff took pity on me and let me sit down and charge my phone. He also told me where I could stay cheaply for the night. 

Once I'd renewed myself with a little sit down I marched out into the night in search of the hostel. It was just round the corner and my welcome more than made up for the shitty stick of the day. The owner ushered me in and hugged me hello. I put down my bag she turned the music up and taught m some salsa moves ðŸ˜„ I like to think she knew I needed a little pick me up or maybe this the way she greets all guests. Either way ðŸ‘ðŸ»ðŸ‘ðŸ» up from me. 

Anyway after a shower and a hairbrush. Amazing how something so small as giving the do a brush makes me feel a millions time better. I headed back to the Pali and bought the two things I said I wouldn't be having this week, beer and choc. Fuck it life happened. No regrets!

I regret nothing.

This morning I was a whole new woman and I found a bus and I'm currently enjoying a large cup of Yorkshire Gold and a few biscuits in the middle of an epic storm. Janis J is on in the back ground and all is well that ends well ðŸ‘ŒðŸ»

Tea heals fact (as the kids say).

Lessons learned:
Check for festivals when travelling.
Count days not dates.
Make sure your phone is actually charging.
Wear suncream even in fog in hot countries.
Get snacks before the bus.
Sometimes believe taxi drivers.
Carry all types of cash but dollars especially.
Draw a simple map of places before destination with possible options for accommodation.
It's good to be unapologetically British at times.
Don't watch highly emotional films when you're highly emotional and have no idea where you're going on a bus in a country you don't know.
Always say yes when offered a salsa lesson.
It's okay to change your route and take a bit longer. You get there in end. 
Oh and a good night's sleep and a cup of strong tea can erase a great deal of meh and pull the happy back in. 

I think they say pura vida in this neck of the woods and on that note I hear a beer and hammock calling ðŸ˜‰ 

Besitos chicos xxx

Monday 31 July 2017

Hola! Bienvenido to a kind of different Miss Demeanour aka a woman of a certain age on the loose in Latin America, what can possibly go wrong?

You can expect the same amount of ridiculous but just in more exotic climes.

Dear reader,

I come to you from the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua.  More precisely Nicaragua's liberal coffee capital, Matagalpa.  You maybe thinking say what?  I thought she lived in Brighton and this blog was meant to be about sewing (though of late a lot of politics albeit very sporadic).  You would be correct on both counts.  What can I say life got in the way as inevitably it always does.  

Johnny, my lovely old rogue of an uncle.  He was always fully in support of my wandering and wondering.  I know he's out there now at the edge of every sunset.  Raising a glass and wishing me well.

I was actually going to really get back into blogging when this trip originally began in December 2016 in Mexico.  I'd mentioned previously I was spending half a year whistling through Central American and down the West Coast of South America.  Again life is what happens when you're busy making plans.  I was 6 weeks into that trip when my Uncle got very sick and we sadly lost him at the end of January.  I went home to say my earthly goodbyes in February with the intention of returning and finishing what I started.   So I was at home for a few months and back working with the goodest of good eggs in social housing and now I'm here.  I actually flew back out to Nicaragua on the day I would have been flying home so I just feel like this trip is ebbing and flowing just like the rest of my life.

You maybe thinking what will I be writing about if not sewing.  Well there may still be some crafts in here along the way as Latin America is rich with artisans.  However, writing was my first craft long before anything else so I've decided to properly document my travels.  I know many of you follow my ramblings on various other social media, which I have been dutifully filling with my wanderings and so I did wonder if a blog was overkill.  I decided it wasn't because as I started to think about writing about this trip so many words were flooding into my head that I knew Facebook statuses just wouldn't cut it.  Then I remembered on of my favourite quotes (above) from one of my favourite writers, Anais Nin and my mind was made up.  So these wafflings will be as much a memory box for me as anything else.  Who knows maybe it'll be the start of a book?  Though fear not darlings I will aim to keep things entertaining for you the readers.  As well I hope I can impart some useful information on travelling Latin America.  At the very least there'll be the usual unplanned nudity and errant shoe stories, which seem to provide a good laugh.

A travel hero of mine who had a great deal of common sense.

I did also wonder about starting a whole new site for travel related adventures but I know some people have been reading this blog since the beginning and I don't see my travelling as separate from the rest of my life but more another chapter.  As well I tended to often intersperse my sewing with a large amount of what else was going on in my world and that seemed to be what people liked.  So I say give the people what they want!  That said I also delayed getting on with it because I now have a backlog of adventures to write about whilst now on this one.  I thought about it long and hard and that caused me to do nothing so today I kicked my own ass (the quote above helped) and this post is the result of that.  I figure for a while I'll post in real time as well as historical posts and you can be as confused as I am.  Hopefully it'll just be a few weeks of swinging backwards and forwards for me to catch up and then we can be in sync.  Though again this could all be wishful thinking on my part.  

It's nearly 11.30pm in Matagalpa and there's a good chance my heavy handed typing is keeping a few people awake in the hostel so I'll bid you adieu.  I'm up early in the morning to head to my next destination, San Rafael del Sur where I'll be volunteering as a vegan cook and a gardener in a yoga ashram for the next 3 weeks.  That darlings will a story for another post entirely.

Until next time darlings.

Miss Demeanour in dispatches xxx

Thursday 8 June 2017

General election 2017 special - FUCK THE TORIES - Get out and vote!

I watched this programme at 5am this morning and it triggered a lot of stuff in me about Brexit and the election.

If you get a chance at all in the next few hours if you're undecided or thinking of not voting this is so worth a watch. I bloody love Grayson. He's not only one of the best artists of our time he's also an incredible social commentator. Before you're like, "oh ruddy on about art load of old nonsens", it's more than that he loves people they're at the heart of all of his work. His ability to draw people out and understand what it means to be human is incredible. If I was governing this country I'd get him to go out and work out what people really need/want.

I figure whilst we still have time in case anyone hasn't voted I'll carry on waffling. The joy of social media means you can tune in and check out babies, cats, tea or who's on the make in Love Island or you can read this :)

So Brexit - the big old whiff that's been hanging round this election or the country in general since last year. It's still painful to me however I realise in some form or another it's going to happen. In the programme he examines leavers and remainers. I'm now not ashamed of my grief about the decision. Grief by it's nature isn't always logical and it presents differently for everyone. I'm allowed to be sad about it but at the same understand we need to move forward together for the good of all of us and I include in that those of us that are living elsewhere in the EU and those neighbours of ours from the EU living here.

What Grayson highlights in the programme is the emotion on both sides, which was ignored in the light of facts. The leave group found a lot of their identity in being from where there from and they felt they were losing that and I'm not going to judge a person on their feelings. I think for me I differ and this is in no way a slight at those people that voted leave. I'm to quote the suffragettes more "deeds not words".

By that I mean I don't feel being British (from this piece of land) defines me as such, however parts of the British "nature" make me enormously proud. Our sense of humour is incredible in fact people remark on it all over the world. You'll see it in this programme. I think Grayson's ability to revel in the oddities of people is why he's so good at what he does.

This leads me nicely on to my next point I absolutely believe our ability to laugh at ourselves is key to why we are good at coping. That said we have made a dangerous mistake in laughing at Boris Johnson. The man is not a funny clown. He's a calculating bastard who doesn't care about ordinary people. The day after the decision came and even if it was the one you wanted I imagine there was trepidation as the government imploded and people on both sides were running round not knowing what to do. What was Boris doing? He was playing fucking cricket. He didn't give a shit then and he doesn't now.

If he did care he wouldn't be on the national television news blowing kisses at other candidates or shouting up at the ceiling to avoid questions. He makes me ashamed of where I'm from and I know I'm not alone in this. The thought of him going to talk in Brussels to negotiate the best deal for everyone is horrifying. You can imagine can't you? Oh sorry Boris we are out of biscuits with the tea break...*throws nearest person out of the window*

I wouldn't trust that man to negotiate his way out of a room with the door wide open.

Then we go onto our tinpot Thatcher, Theresa May. I've been trying to avoid her as much as I can because she makes me so mad, which isn't going to help. That said you need to know your enemy so I've kept abreast of her "appearances". She didn't turn up for debates because she was busy "planning" Brexit and that was where the energy should go. Why then call a general election? If the organising of Brexit is so important and it is surely the last thing the country needed was further division.

So she said their campaign focuses on this country getting the best deal and for all her business doing it I'm no clearer about what is going on than before the election. I don't think anyone is. I watched her last night on Jon Snow and her repetitive delivery of "strong and stable" and good deal for Brexit was mechanical . Even Jon couldn't draw any real answers out of her and he's got seven elections experience. She just showed herself to be the robotic shithouse that she really is. She's doesn't care about us. If she did she wouldn't have called this election in the first place.

if you're voting for the conservatives because you want her to be your leader then I think the betting woman in me would say you're whistling dixie. They're already calls from her own party to resign and frankly with all the gaffs and dreary soundbites she's delivered I don't think she wants the fucking job herself.

Quite frankly, she's a despicable husk of a person and to my mind represents none of what people in Britain hold dear.

Returning to the programme Grayson creates two vases using images from both sides and herein lies the positive. A lot of what both sides held dear about Britain was the same. The NHS, the beauty of our landscape, the Royal Mail, tea etc.

Jo Cox was right there's more that unites us than divides us. This government is going after the things we hold closest to our hearts. The things I'm so proud of and I know you are too. They've crept into the cracks and they're rotting our country.

You have a chance today to make a change and not just for you for everyone. This country can be one of great compassion, good humour and diversity.

There is enough for everyone it's just these greedy bastards at the top. We are better than that so I urge you in the few hours remaining we have to get out there and vote the swines out and make this country great.

Love and light,

Re(mainer/moaner) :) xxx

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Brexit sounds like the name of a bad cut and that's just one of countless reasons I'll be RSVP'ing count me in on 23rd June 2016 aka Vote Remain and you should too.

Hi, Ciao, Bonjour, Hola, Hallo, Xaipete

I know it's been time and I promise to catch up properly very soon and actually talk about sewing for a change ;)  However, now I have slightly more pressing matters so bear with.  I've just launched version 3.6 of myself and initial results are proving very positive.  They'll be more positive I hope come Friday 24th June 2016 when we do the right thing and vote to remain in the EU.

I want to stand up and be counted because that's how my Nan raised us. My Nan believed in people and when you get more guests than you expect to dinner you don't shut the door you set another place and count yourself lucky.
Yes that's right our pig bothering bag of detritus that masquerades as our Prime Minister has sent our tiny island into a state of panic by declaring an EU referendum.  This was to appease the sleaze that passes for the tory backbench ooh and just to add to the mire he doesn't want to leave the EU himself.  Can you imagine how it feels having to be on the same side as the devil?  However, it will feel a damn sight worse to wake up Friday alone on our tiny island with the tories.  I can go back to despising him and the rest of his cronies lunch time on Friday but we will not however be able to go back on a decision that will change the face of our lives for generations.  A decision that I feel at its darkest aims to stoke the worst feelings you can experience in life - fear, isolation, jealousy but on the other hand appeals to what makes humans glorious - compassion, hope, love.

I'm voting remain because I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.

This choice has brought out an ugliness that I believe isn't generally who we are in the UK.  I am proud to be British and proud to be European too.  Right now though people are throwing around accusations, there are threats of violence and a woman lost her life because of it. Jo Cox, a mam of two and the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, Yorkshire  was shot and killed on 16th June 2016.  The day before I turned 36 and today (22nd June 2016) she would have been 42. The view is that she was killed for her beliefs all of which, may I add I hold - love, kindness, compassion, hope.  It was only the day before she was photographed on a boat on the Thames flying a flag for the remain campaign against Nigel Farage and the leave flotilla.  Don't worry if that sentence confuses you it does me too and just highlights the madness of what we've been dealing with for the 100 days since they announced the dreadfully named Brexit.

On the side of leave we have this. I fall to the words of Billy Bragg as I have often done, "This image, of a smirking Nigel Farage in front of a poster of dark skinned people, sums up why I decided to vote to remain in the EU: Not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist will vote Leave.

On the side of remain we have this.  RIP Jo Cox 22nd June 1974 - 16th June 2016. I promise to love like you Jo and  I vote remain in your name.

Aside from my abject horror at all the mania that is being fuelled by politicians, the media and so called experts I have my own personal reasons for wanting to remain.  I believe in people and I believe in hope.  I was an immigrant too you know, which sadly seems to be what this circus is being driven by.  Conveniently, people from the UK that settle elsewhere in the world are titled ex-pats that's just another name for immigrant.  The definition of an immigrant is: A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.  I spent part of my university years in Spain and I received a grant from the EU to help me out.  The only requests were that I had a go at learning the language and I should try and improve European links.  I was out there for nearly a year so the EU basically paid for a year of my higher education, which is frankly 365 more days than the UK government. I'm now semi-fluent in spanish, which will help no end when I journey to Latin America next year.  Oh and I also worked out in Spain as a radio presenter.  I didn't know how long I was going to be there so again I was an immigrant.  

Me clogging up the airwaves when I was a radio presenter and an immigrant in Spain.

During the time I was living in Spain I experienced so much kindness but one specific occasion is something I think about when I'm reminding myself to do the right thing even though it might be the hard thing.  I was cycling from San Sebastian back to Barcelona.  My bike decided to break in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday morning between two mountain ranges.  I sat down to have a cig and a swear and decide what to do next.  Ten minutes later a load of middle aged men on bikes were heading towards me.  Turns out they were on a mountain race despite them being on course to place highly they took themselves out of the race and transported me and my bike using their bikes to the next town and gave me money for lunch and the bus.  They didn't know me from Adam but they knew they had to help me.  The only thing they asked is that when my time came to be kind to strangers I took it.  Now if that's not what the best part of being together is about I don't know what is.

It's not just me that's leading me to remain it's the babies in my life and all the other babies that deserve to benefit from being part of something that has brought peace for the last 40 years.  I look at all my nieces and nephews both my ones by blood and those who's lives I been adopted into. They say once you have children it's like having your heart outside your body.  I want the very best for them and I want all the opportunities I had and more.  Just like anyone who loves their children would.  Those families of refugees that are making these treacherous journeys they do so because they love their babies and they want what's best for them and they should damn well have it.  I don't want division I want cohesion.  I want to stand up and be counted I feel that is part of being British.  I'm proud of my country and I realise how lucky I am to be born here because that's exactly what it is luck of the draw.  Anyone of the babies I know and love could have come into this world in the middle of some god awful war somewhere and I sure as hell know I would do anything to provide them safety and love.  We have a choice in that.

I choose to remain because I want everyone to feel loved and safe.

I could write and write about this topic because it is so important and I feel so passionately about it. However, I know we are all busy people so instead I urge you if you haven't made up your mind yet, I will say if you like what I go on about and I know I do gone on then you should vote remain.  All the stuff I put out the interwebs and through the media is powered by hope, love, compassion and kindness, that's what makes me so happy it's no big secret recipe.  So if you want in on that you know what to do tomorrow.

And finally, although this is a very serious topic I don't see any reason to not get my point across in a light-hearted way. If you follow me on my other social media channels you'll know I've started to record some vlogs aka Bev cams.  It's basically tales from my beloved bike, Bev.  Tonight is a remain in the EU special hosted by one of my icons ;) Enjoy!

All the love and hope in my heart.



Wednesday 23 March 2016

Self-covered satin buttons are a swine aka the sexy funeral dress

Hey pop pickers,

How are we all?  Personally, I'm desperate for little lady spring to prance in and spread her skirts so we can get past this interminable half-arsed attempt at winter.  Until it gets brighter outside I think I'm fully entitled to indulge my latest (sort of) make - the sexy funeral dress.

Bear with as I know that's a weird concept but I thought I wanted to channel/pay homage to the women that turn up in film noirs at the funeral looking all foxy and glamourous and know one knows who they are. Who is she?!  Let me back track a little though to the original incarnation of this dress that has turned up on social media but not on the blog - the homage to Drew Barrymore in the Wedding Singer dress.

Me and the mother ship rocking it out at my bro's wedding.
The keen eyed among you will identify that this pattern is the hallowed M6696 shirt dress, which has been made by just about everyone.  The ever fabulous Sew Dixie Lou brought it to my attention when she made one to see our love, Elvis.

I mean just look at her what a babe. I'm still shocked it did bring him back from the dead.
She and everyone on the interwebs has made versions of this pattern and there's a reason for it because it's ruddy awesome!  For me the things I love are the separate waistband that really gives the dress such great shape and allows for lots of alteration and the proper collar with a stand just feels so swishy (I know what I mean).  I hasten to add it's not a quick make but it's a satisfying one though.  That said by the time  I tackled the sexy funeral dress I'd nail a lot of the techniques.  On the subject of technique I can't recommend lovely Mary's series of post on this dress with lots of pattern alteration advice.  Thanks to her I totally nailed the FBA (even if I do say so myself) and the bodice really does fit like a glove.

Look at those beautiful of siblings of mine. Mama D surrounded by those excellent genes of hers.

So that was my first bite of the M6696 cherry and I warn you that you will never just make one of these dresses because once you get the fit right you can completely change up the look.  Therefore, when I decided I wasn't going to get round to make an opera coat I used the 2.5 metres of black duchess satin to make the sexy funeral dress.  

I don't care that I look like a shiny waitress I ruddy love this dress.
I cannot recommend duchess satin enough it's a dream to sew with and is ruddy beautiful against your skin.

My only complaint was that making 11 self covered buttons in satin was really bloody hard!  As ever though I reached out to the sewcialists and they reached back with the best advice.  I will pass the knowledge on to you.  If you find yourself having to make satin self covered buttons then interface the satin and hand stitch the gathering stitch to draw up material over the button.  Once I did this they came together like a dream.

As an aside during the course of this make I was informed by my friend, Harley that dressing sexy for a funeral isn't such a weird proposition and in fact there is a song called Dress Sexy at my Funeral by Smog and it's really good.

Have a listen it's a belter.

So that's the latest from me darlings.  I'm working on a blouse that I will get finished by Monday after it's languished for weeks.  I'm hoping with Spring will come the return of sew jo, which has wained a little of late but until then I'm gonna continue to be the mysterious woman at the back in black ;)

Stay foxy,

Miss D


Monday 25 January 2016

I've learned it's much more fun to steer my ship through stormy waters than it is to drift along keeping the shoreline in sight aka Facebook let me know it was 5 years today since I started sewing.

Hey darlings,

Thank you so much for all the kind wishes about my upcoming voyage of discovery.  I can't wait to be your woman in dispatches.

How are we? I imagine quite a few of you like me are making wild concoctions from our store cupboards as we crawl towards the first pay day since Christmas whilst planning to be more organised with our finances this year. Perhaps your dreaming of summer and planning all the outfits you want to make when the sun finally shines.  Or maybe your thinking about what the year ahead holds for you.  All of that and a million other thoughts have flown through my head today.  However, you don't need to know about my mental detritus I'm sure you have more than enough of your own to be getting on with so I'll get to the guts of this post, change.

I've learned it's much more fun to steer my ship through stormy waters than it is to drift along keeping the shoreline in sight.

When I logged into Facebook as I do automatically most mornings being the slave to social media that I am the "on this day" thingy flashed up with a series of stuff that happened on this day.  I scrolled through it and found out that today was quite an auspicious anniversary for me. On this day, 5 years ago I took myself to sewing school.  I'd had a rough year in 2010 with a career change and a nervous breakdown but I'd just got into crochet and various sources suggested I give dressmaking a go.  Clearly, a seed was sewn (pardon the pun) because I ended up late one night googling sewing and discovering both Zoe and Tilly.  I was intrigued and needed to know more.  So I did another search and found the Jac and Kat's sewing school and decided to bite the bullet and book a six week beginner's class.  I ended up with an awesome teacher called Ricky who helped me make my first ever garment.  We were meant to make a skirt but I had a heart set on a leopard print dress so that's what I did.  I was addicted - my life plan to live out my days in leopard print was mine for the taking.

My first ever handmade dress please don't look too closely :) The pattern is McCalls M2401

Well I can say that 5 years on that one decision to have a go has changed my life irrevocably and positively in ways I never dreamed possible.  Sewing indeed makes me more me than I ever knew possible.  I can't imagine where I'd be now if I hadn't taken that first step.  So basically I'd say to anyone just do it whatever it is.

What have you done in your life that brought about change?  Or what you would like to do this year to see it happen?   I wish you absolute best with it and I for one know you can even if you think you can't.

Lots of love and light,

Miss D


Thursday 31 December 2015

I got Elizabeth Bennett on the Buzzfeed what literary heroine are you aka 2015 - the year that I didn't bow to societal pressure a lot and when I sewed a little.

Hello dearhearts,

 Little ol' me shouting out from the web wilderness on the last day of the year in my little corner of the world.  I've been away so long but you've been in my heart the whole time.    I think we can all be in agreement that my New Year's Objective to blog more often hasn't occurred but hey it won't stop me trying.  I can't believe it's been 6 months since I last wrote and man oh man so much has happened as it always does.  I thought I'd get a few words down before I get the punch going and any hope of sense exits the building.

I took my niece and nephew to see the new Snoopy film on Boxing Day. I forgot how wise Charlie Brown is.

I am going to post more this year and rightly so because 2016 will see me taking off into the wide blue yonder as I journey to Central and South America for 6 months.  I've been thinking about this trip for as long as I can remember.  I'd always plan to go travelling again at some point but after my breakdown 5 years ago I decided I didn't want to run off but instead walk away leaving the door gently ajar.  The last 5 years following my breakdown and my breakup have been so exciting and so unexpected. They've been tough too but that's right because as much as anyone I know the darkness is as important as the light. You can't have one without the other.  Though as I've talked about before I can say I'm honestly happy more than I'm not and I think that's no small achievement.  

Now I'm at the place where I can leave the door gently ajar.  I am as I said more often than not very happy in my life and I have no desire to running screaming from it and in fact quite the opposite but I know that I have wanderlust and every year that goes by that I put the trip off because of this, that and the other means I put other stuff off.  So that's one my New Year's Objectives to be really brave and do the things that I want not what I should be doing.  I ended up seeing a life coach this year, a wonderful person she was too, Liz Goodchild.  I can't recommend her enough. She kicked my ass well and truly and relit my pilot light.  She made me realise so often we can be coasting and don't get me wrong that's great and we all need a bit of neutral now and again but when we get the opportunity to do the things that challenge us that is when we have the chance of being truly happy.  So that's what I'll be doing in late spring when I leave my life here and head first to Cuba.

As ever good old Eleanor gets it.

I'm only human though and as such I'm already thinking about what I'll do when I come back and of course I worry but I know this trip will rejuvenate and refresh me and I hope will give me the gumption to go chase my dreams. I really want to work in radio again and if I'm really brave give comedy a shot but for now it's enough to know that I haven't done what I should (or specifically what society says) do like maybe take another PR contract in London, paint the walls a colour that makes the flat easily lettable, stop making gold clothing or meet a partner because I'm not getting younger hahahaha!  Don't get me wrong I have no problem with people choosing to do this I'm not the authority on anything apart from maybe leopard print, but they're just not the right for me.   This year has been both amazing and ass in varying degrees but one of the things I'm most proud of is my continuing decision to not be told what is good for me.  I know what is bloody for me and also what's bad and yes I do eat too much cheese but we can't be perfect all the time ;)  

Another wise old owl.

When I answered the Buzzfeed quiz and got Elizabeth Bennett I was very happy.  She's always been one of my favourite heroines - full of heart and wit but at the same time with the realisation that she has a lot to learn.  As  a woman myself I think we've come so far in so many ways. I mean even a few decades ago a woman on her own wouldn't be able to take the trip I'm taking.  It would have been considered sheer madness but at halfway to 70 I find society still has a long way to go.  I've found myself at a lot of weddings this year all of, which were lovely.  I adore a good shindig and especially one where two people I love have decided they would like to tell the world how much :) Ooh and don't get me wrong I totally want to fall in love again, I'm good at it but I'll do it in my own sweet time.  But what I don't enjoy and find practically pre-historic are the number of people who feel the need to ask me where my Prince Charming is or advise me to hurry up because they don't want me to go to waste.  Well firstly I leave shoes behind just because that's what happens to me (sometimes drink is involved) and not to find a husband, secondly I think people don't come with a sell by date and thirdly I'm too busy having casual sex. I used that response at my brother's wedding and unsurprisingly it brought an end to the topic and nearly my Mother too come to think of it.  So I guess that's what I'm proudest of this year the unwavering effort o be me even though I know it isn't easy. Oh and my ability to do cat's eye eyeliner on a moving train.

My year in pictures.

Aside from self-discovery this year has been a mixture of the new - first triathlon, first time I road from London to Brighton, being name a happiness ambassador.  The old - 100 years of the WI and chance to celebrate how awesome they are.  The blue  - the tories getting back into power boo!  We're not taking it lying down though and I look forward to being even more vocal in the coming year.  Pig face your days are numbered!  Sewing wise it's not been a mega productive one but I did make a dear friend a silk wedding dress so I feel that covers a few basis.  Although I've not been blogging or able to get to as many meetups as I would have liked this year the sewing community has ever been a constant source of joy and happiness for me and I feel as honoured as ever to be a part of it.  Of course all my triumphs and even for that matter my tragedies of my life wouldn't be what they are without the supporting cast of my family and friends.  Thank you all so much for everything.  I can honestly say I wouldn't be me without you and for that I will be forever grateful.

So as we leave this year I wish you all the very best and please darlings remember if you're ever feeling doubtful know that out there is a tall woman with a beehive and probably wearing leopard print and possibly with just the one shoe cheering you every step of the way.  You are awesome!

Love and light,

Miss Demeanour