Monday, 31 March 2014

And So It Begins

I'm going to throw this out there in one big ball of gushy love, and say a huge thank you for the support, words of kindness and general sweet hearted advice and messages from everyone. This journey is just beginning, and although I have made the first and potentially hardest step now, the rest is still unfolding, and during challenging moments it really truly lightens the load to have people to share the experience with.

And talking of taking those first steps into fresh newness and unknowing… Here are a few snaps from my very first weekend as a resident in the Netherlands! My wonderful parents in tow, we began by squashing my belongings in the back of our mini and off we set for a weekend of introductions, discoveries and a whole lot of food!

// And so it begins! //

// Touch down in the Netherlands, view from my parents B&B //

// Day trip to Veere, taking in the gorgeous architecture //

// Beautiful buildings and quaint shop fronts //

// Cottage chic, some serious home wear beauties //

// Easter (Pasen) was in the air with these spring time displays //

// Flowers, bunnies and piglets… Whats not to love! //

// Showing my parents around my new stomping ground,
 dad couldn't resist touching the sand and the sea! //

// Walking around Hellevoetsluis in the hazy sunshine //

// Just across from here I signed in as an official resident! //

It was such a lovely weekend, our two families became one big crazy gang and my dad kept everyone entertained with his newly acquired Dutch skills (I say entertained, he actually put me to shame with how quickly he picked it up!!). We dined like kings thanks to Rich's moms cooking and raised a glass (or two) to new adventures.

My folks are already planning their next visit over here, much to my delight, and although it has been a fairly surreal experience planting my feet firmly on Dutch soil, I have to say I am comfortable here in my new surroundings. There is much to do to continue the settling in stage, and I continue to remind myself that it can not be achieved in a day, but with the help of everyone around me and a little enthusiasm and persistence, each day feels more and more familiar.

The next step for my transition is setting challenges and goals to push myself out of the house and to build up my little world here. Continuing like a Trojan with the language, gaining a bit more confidence with meeting new people and getting re-inspired with my sewing and craft projects.

I can't wait to share more of my discoveries and snippets of adventure with you. Have you taken any first steps recently or do you have any new projects on the horizon?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Down The Rabbit Hole She Fell

One foot in front of the other it goes. Make a choice with a heavy dose of anticipation, nerves tingling like a charged bolt of white hot light. Reach out for that steady hand, firm and reassuring, grasping it tightly. Into a land of unknown opportunities, blind as I am I stand tall against the pressure.

Never really knowing what lies ahead creates a world of worries. This most unsettling of habits whips up a storm in my mind, but learning to reign in the freak outs and temper the emotions is proving key to survival upon this newest of journeys.

Over night, nothing can become. Time and a fudge load of patience, persistence, hope and a little blind faith, these are my weapons. Equipped as I can be, the pages are turning. Making the most of this little life around me weighs important, and I all too often forget this. Searching ahead, scrambling for the answers to questions yet un asked. Frustration at my limitations. Enough.

One foot in front of the other it goes.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me

There is something timeless about a good piece of writing. Literature connects people, each of us tangled together in a sticky web of thoughts and feelings, linked to one another through the weaving of words. A barely spoken whisper can hold such emotion and deliver mighty impact. A note scribbled on the back of an envelope. The beginnings of stories, told over and over, weightless yet enduring.

Whether it is your favourite book or a line from a song, there is a story in everything, even your own to tell. I salute the people with courage enough to share their tale with the world around them, to open themselves up in a vulnerable state, to allow outsiders in.

// image //

Once upon a time, writing was for writers. You know, successful established and published. The lucky few that pursue a dream and strike gold as the doors of acceptance and acknowledgement swing open. But that is not where the story ends. For every 'head in the clouds' day dreamer, such as myself, there is opportunity to delve into the world of writing, to take your first steps towards a chapter and to develop a taste for description.

A fantastically eloquent and exciting post, opened my eyes to the perfect starting block, and you'll never believe what it is! The ever gorgeous Bee from Vivatramp has shone the light on this new challenge called #TwitterFiction. Yes, that's right TWITTER fiction. If you haven't already devoured Bee's post, then what on earth are you waiting for? There's another link right here! The seamless wordsmith herself, offers some excellent tips on getting started, including the use of prompts and visual inspiration boards. Of course, I can not resist but to contribute, and have compiled a selection of images based on my own prompts, as suggested on the delightful Vivatramp.

// images images //

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/ / skin. veins. stretching. tight. pierce. silence. ground. grasp. reaching. compass. time. warmth. grit. air. light. breath. voice. motion. explore. dirt. clouds. feathers. foot step. //

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

These Booties Were Made For Walkin'

Upon hearing the fantastically exciting news that my friends Pippa and Steven are expecting their first child, I managed to stop bouncing around long enough to grasp my knitting needles and set to on a mini project for a mini peep!

Yes, there are some beautiful gifts available to buy for a fluffy new bundle of joy, but I simply could not resist knocking up a pair of teeny weeny booties, especially for the new arrival. I found the pattern on the most glorious of knitting websites Ravelry, grabbed a couple balls of soft yarn and whipped up these beauties. I added the little knitted bows at the back, just to jazz things up a touch, and chose the alternating colours as a step away from the traditional pink for a girl, blue for a boy.

I am so pleased that mum and dad 'to be' were happy with the little parcel, and although it will most likely be nice and warm over in New York, by the time the little jelly bean appears, she will no doubt be the most stylish kiddo in town!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Relocation Inspiration

Hello there gorgeous lovelies. I have touched down in the Netherlands and spent a wonderful weekend introducing my family to Holland and my new stomping ground, and of course, to my Dutch crowd. Laughter is indeed a universal language, and boy did we share a giggle or two! Oh, and lots of food and wandering around.

Having hugged my parents to within an inch of their lives, and waving a 'see you soon', I am now here, upon this fresh precipice. Spending my first few days readjusting myself, stretching my legs and reconnecting with the tall man in my life. I have dusted off my beloved bicycle and taken her out for a spin, eaten some traditional and delicious Dutch cooking and am soon to unpack my possessions and 'settle in'.

So, in honour of a clean blank page, I have divulged in some gathering of thoughts and feelings, a harvest of inspiration if you like, for my next few steps. I intend to explore and find my feet here, discover the area for myself and find my place within it. Keeping myself busy is key, and nothing gets me excited like a new project; my mind is alight with ideas ranging from sewing and sketching to writing and knitting. My (ever growing) mood boards help display this feeling, come take a look!

// images //

First post from the Netherlands! Here's to taking that step and exploring what comes next. Thank you for joining me on this wee adventure, dudes. Please, please feel free to add your own story or advice (always in need of that!), any new projects for you on the horizon?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Close Your Eyes And Jump

The time has come to summon a little courage, inhale the deepest of breaths and take that step into the unknown. All of this preparation and planning, sensible decisions mixed with a leap of faith has led me to this next significant moment; actually moving to the Netherlands.

My little blog will be out of action for a short while, as my parents and I load the car and set sail for the shores of Holland, embarking on a very new chapter of my life. So I wanted to leave you with this little thought that is filling my mind with the kind of hope you can grab onto, during a some what nerve wracking time.

// image //

There is no knowing which direction is the right one to take, there are no mistakes or wrong choices, just life. Life that needs to be lived to the fullest, which occasionally may mean taking some risks, here and there. I am the luckiest girl alive, as I have the biggest support network, so much encouragement to go for it and give it my best shot. I have my people at home in England cheering me on and providing a safety net if I should fall. I have my people in the Netherlands welcoming me into their world with open arms. One big family, two homes and a ton of best wishes.

Who knows 'what if'? Anything could happen. But that's the point isn't it? We go and find out, for ourselves. That's exactly what I intend to do. Not so much a new start, just the next stage. I'm still the same old person, just taking advantage of golden opportunities and experiencing as much as I can. I am exploring life, soaking up the atmosphere of every place I visit, and am broadening my knowledge and horizons. This adventure, it is still just a day, followed by another. The significance is what we do with it, what we take from it and how we share this with the people in our lives- no matter how close or far of a physical distance.

So here I go, time to write some new pages. Crash helmets at the ready!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Buzz-cut Your Bobbles

This could very well be the strangest post you'll read this week, and is definitely the strangest I've written, but today we're shaving our jumpers!! (No, that isn't a euphemism…)

Don't you just hate it when a beloved woolly item goes over to the dark side, and through wear and washing, develops that scruffy pilling, turning your favourite cardi into a bobbled horror! That very thing has happened to one of my favourite black jumpers, which started out life a smart enough piece to dress up with jeans and heels. These days it looks better suited in my dads pile of ripped and concreted ridden work clothes!

Pilling is the effect of loose fibres working their way to the surface, above the weave and grain of cloth, forming little balls or bobbles as we usually know them, from friction and movement whilst wearing and washing. It's a fact of life and a crying shame, but is usually unavoidable. Our poor fluffy belongings.

Fear not though friends, there are ways to solve this and reclaim the soft and neat knit. Quite a few gadgets have made their way onto the high street, with the sole mission of ridding you of bobbles, the most popular machine of wonder is the Bobble Off (poetic justice!). This little hand held gadget is brilliant for a mess free way off whipping of the top layer of messy wool, whilst collecting the bits in a little compartment. I own one of these, but am a lazy sloth who never remembers to buy new batteries… I do, however, have some rather resourceful thoughts from time to time and set to work on a little DIY bobble off, of my own…

The humble razor!! I kid you not, you can shave your jumper free of fluff. I'd advice not to use your best razors for this, just a cheap and cheerful disposable works a treat. Just lay your clothing on a flat surface, start from one area and literally shave off the bobbly bits. You will need a bin nearby to collect the cast off fluff, and some tape would be a clever touch, to pick up any bits you miss. You only need to glide it lightly over the fabric, to catch the naughty wool.

You won't believe the difference, until you try it.

Check it out, from scruff to soft with the stroke of a razor! Money saving, jumper rescuing, easy peasy.

One jumper down, too many to go! My one woman army against evil pilling. Do you have any handy tips that I could use, to rescue or refresh my wardrobe?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Moving On Up

As I pack my belongings and possessions, ready for the drive to Holland, I have the mammoth task of sorting through a life time of memories. Throwing out old stuff can prove rather therapeutic and the process of sorting things into piles; 'charity shop' 'Ebay' 'Holland' 'attic' and basically organising my life,  gives the perfect opportunity to reassess what I need and want, and what can move on to find a new home.

I am ridiculously sentimental and letting go of the treasures I have collected over the years is quite difficult, so into storage they go! My dad has created a brilliant space in my parents loft, where many of my possessions will now live, until I eventually settle into a place of my own. Bags upon bags of charity shop stuff will make its way to the land of good will, hopefully bringing something useful to a new owner; one mans trash is another's treasure, and all that. And my Ebay account has never seen so much action.

As well as packing for my move to the Netherlands, I have given my bedroom at my parents house, to my brother, who has lived in the box room since forever. So once the dust settled with the organising stage, I moved into his old room and created a little space in the tiny cave that I will live in for the next few days, and of course return to upon visits home.

For record keeping sake, here are a few sneaky peaks of my bedroom, before it was packed into boxes and bags.

// My precious //

// I forgo my beautiful custom built, Mexican three door wardrobe… For now ; ) //

// And my ever evolving, always chaotic and frequently productive desk //

This is a fun little post that I will enjoy looking back on, as things continue to change and develop in my life. A new chapter has begun and many pages are turning, doors open and opportunities arise. As I forge my way ahead during this next stage, I will hold these simple images and plentiful memories close to my heart and use them as inspiration for homes to come. 

Do you have any tips for storage and organisation in a small or shared living space? If so, I am all ears!!