Monday, 12 October 2015

Happy Birthday Darling



I love this picture of you taken in St Johann in Tirol, Austria.  You look so happy

Happy Birthday AJ.  Wishing you a lovely day

Love Lesley

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Autumn




The Autumn has to be my favourite time of year.  The colours are absolutely beautiful.  I love all the reds, oranges, purples and brown.  I love that I can start wrapping up a little bit, it is Pumpkin Spice Latte season (I had my first yesterday along with a Walnut, Apple and Cinnamon muffin), and my birthday is in September also.

The only gripe I have with Autumn is that it leads to Winter and I hate Winter.  Lets hope that we have a really long Autumn which leads straight into Spring (my second favourite season of the year).

Happy Fall from Pickle Land

Love Lesley xx

 

August Round Up - very late post

I'm really late in doing my August round up, so I will be really quick

August began with a cricket meeting and a cricket quiz and curry night which was much fun, and also an away visit to watch our Sunday league team play cricket. 

We had a fabulous weekend away to Windsor for our friends 40th Birthday.  We had a great time having a four hour boat trip along the Thames and then fun games and a BBQ in one of the parks in Windsor (Not the Great Park, but cannot remember the name of the park we was in). 


AJ and I also went to see the MotoGP at Silverstone and was made up that Valentino Rossi won the main race.  Go Rossi !!!!!  We also popped in to see my brother as he only lives about 5 miles away from Silverstone and he made us a Sunday lunch and trifle yummy.


 I visited a few friends during the month and my brother came up for a couple of days during the month.

One of the Saturdays I ended up going to my local hospital as AJ had a cricket ball smashed in his face and as a precaution had himself checked out.  Bonus was I took a day off work the next day so I could play nurse and look after him as with all head injures you need to be monitored for at least 24 hours

On the craft front I haven't done much again, but I have started to do Pocket Letters and made and sent out four.  So far (writing this in September), I have only received back 2 from the four people I swapped with which is slightly disappointing, but I am definitely still going to do Pocket Letters and I am already doing another autumn themed pocket Letter for one of them that I swapped with and I am hoping this is thetart of a continued pocket letter swap from G in the USA.

I read one book in August which was the Half Life of Hannah by Nick Alexander which was just OK.

Overall, August was ptetty uneventful

Good evening from Pickle Land

See you soon
Lesley xxx.



 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Wedding Anniversary




I cannot believe it had been six years since AJ and I got married in the beautiful Lake District.  The 5th September 2009 will always be a special day.  It was the day I married my best friend.  It is the day that family and friends gathered to celebrate our love.

As both of my parents had died I wasn't looking forward to my wedding day without them.  I never could imagine actually getting married at all.  I thought I would be on my own forever.  AJ came into my life after being on my own for a long time.  I had created a life for myself that I was fairly happy with but I knew that I was lonely and wanted to share my life with someone special.

AJ and I met on a blind(ish) date.  We both worked for the local authority at the time but in different departments on different floors. A mutual friend of ours played match maker and suggested to AJ that we should meet up and see how we would get along.  AJ was brave and e-mailed me who to him was a total stranger.  I knew who he was but we had never met before or spoken.  I took a gamble and said yes.  We met at a neutral place in my town- AJ lived in the next town.  We spent a lovely couple of hours just getting to know one another- each person not expected much.  However, by the end of the night I knew I had met a nice guy.  We agreed to meet up a week later for something to eat.  We met, had food in common and again we agreed to meet up a week later.  After a few weeks we agreed to meet up more frequently.  I invited him to my house for a meal and he did the same.  We attended a wedding together after about seven weeks together and by then I knew AJ was THE ONE.

I was pretty scared of introducing AJ to my brother - R just turned up one evening when AJ was visiting and they got on pretty well.  I introduced him to some of my friends at the wedding, they liked him a lot.

I don't remember the first moment we kissed ( I think it may have been in my living room but not 100% sure).  I think the first time we said to each other we loved each other was in a pub.  But I know that after three months I was smitten.

AJ moved in with me after only eight months but I was 32 at the time and knew what I wanted in life and felt like it was my time to live.

We have been together over eight years.  We have had our ups and downs and had many highs and lows.  But I haven't regretted a day that we have been together.  Our love grows stronger each and everyday.  I look back on our wedding day as being a perfect day.  It wasn't fancy or grand but it represented us perfectly.  We were surrounded by the people we love and love us. 

Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary to my wonderful husband AJ.  I love you always

greetings from Pickle Land

Lesley xx

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

My go to Bloggers

I'm my previous post on depression I mentioned that I love reading blog posts as part of me immersing myself in a creative life to help me cope with my depression.  As I have many hobbies and interests such as scrapbooking , art and art journaling, reading, cooking, photography, decoupage, up cycling, flower arranging, anything Disney related and interior design, I visit a wide variety of blogs and bloggers, listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos.  In terms of blogs, I have a set of blogs that I bookmark and visit on a regular basis.  Below are listed a few of my current favourite blogs/bloggers.  They are as follows and are in no particular preference order

*  A Beautiful Mess (Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman)
I have been following Elsie for quite a few years and has seen A Beautiful Mess go from a small personal blog to the very successful Branded blog it is now.  Elsie and Emma have worked really hard to make it into the venture it is now.  I like the fact that it covers a lot of the things I am interested in ( scrapbooking, DIY, fashion, photography, cooking, travel).  It is very hip and trendy and is very popular right now.  It is magazine like in its style and layout and there is usually at least two posts a day so I do like to visit the blog daily. I also really look forward to seeing The Messy Box reveal on the 10th of each month as I subscribe to The Beautiful Mess/Studio Calico Messy Box.

*  Jamie Ridler Studios (Jamie Ridler)
I discovered Jamie about five years ago, then for some reason I stopped visiting her site, but thankfully I rediscovered her about eighteen months ago.  Jamie is a Canadian creative living coach and her blog is all about living a creative life.  She does a Behind the Scenes video on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, a bi- weekly podcast highlighting great creative entrepreneurs, runs workshops, creates dream boards, does a series on Creative Living Book shelf ( what creative books are out there) and she has recently rescued three beautiful kittens and has been posting  about her and the kittens journey and progress.  Scout, Escher and Shibumi are just adorable.
To me Jamie is a breath of fresh air and she has inspired me so much to try and live as a creative life as I can.  Through her blog she has encouraged me to be brave about my art, inspired me to continue with this blog and also inspired me to start writing again in general.  She herself is in the process of writing a book and I  will definitely purchase her book when it does come out ( I have every faith that she will write her book and that she will get it published and that it will be fabulous.) Jamie also has two very creative sisters - Susie - who is Susie the Foodie on the internet and You Tube, and Shannon ( who has here own Tumblr site), and they have their own You Tube channel called Start ( or the Ridler Sisters) which they film every month and they talk about their creative endeavours. They have so much fun together and I look forward to watch their show every one.  They have now done 51 episodes and I am currently watching some of their earlier shows).

I am so glad I rediscovered Jamie.  She is definitely part of my daily ritual and I look forward to reading her blog and watching her videos every day.

*  Creative Creations (Andrea Gomoll)
I've followed Andrea for about nine months now after discovering her on You Tube.  She art journals, does mixed media, creates fantastic Pocket Letters, she is a Planner fan, she scrapbooks and also she does her own online classes (of which I am planning to do one soon as they look so good).  I love her style and her art work speaks to me. She seems such a lovely person and I just love her German accent. 

* Shelley R Chavis
I discovered Shelley about six months ago via Project Life Junkies on Facebook.  I just adore her graphic, mixed media style Project Life pages, journaling and Planners.  She is very inspiration, is not afraid to proclaim her faith in God and you can so tell she loves her life, art and family.  She has also replied to a lot of the comments I make on Facebook and seems a fantastic person.

*  The Disney Food Blog
I just love food and I just love anything Disney, so The Disney Food Blog is heaven for me.  I love visiting this blog and finding about anything Disney Food related.  It makes me yearn to go back and visit Disneyworld and Florida again.  I often reminisce about my two wonderful visits  and always makes my mouth water as the food at Disney World is fantastic.

*Balzer Designs (Julie Fei-Fan Balzer)
I have been a visitor of Julies blog for about two years now.  I love her style of art, the colours she uses, her use of her stencils (she has her own range of stencils by Crafters Workshop).  I love her podcast "Adventures in Arting" in which she hosts with her adorable mum Eileen Shu Balzer.  They are both highly intelligent and knowledgeable people and they interview a wide range of artistic/ crafty/creative individuals.  She also does You Tube videos and has been published in various publications.

*  Redefine Creativity (Alisa Burke)
Alisa is a beautiful artist. and takes her inspiration from nature and the beautiful Oregan coastline where she lives along with her equally fantastic artist husband and beautiful daughter.  She does online classes (another online class I want to purchase).

*  Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond)

I just adore Ree Drummond.  I discovered her cookery show The Pioneer Woman when I was in the US in 2012.  I immediately looked for her cookbook and was over the moon when about a year later Food Network UK started showing The Pioneer Woman here in the UK.  Now I tape all her shows, AJ bought me her 1st book for Christmas (along with her autobiography).  The Pioneer Woman blog is just beautiful and doesn't just do cookery.  It shows her everyday on her ranch in Oklahoma, her family (she has a gorgeous cowboy/rancher husband Ladd and four beautiful children Alex, Paige, Todd and Bryce).  Yes, her recipes are on her blog, utterly mouth watering, and Ree is just so fun.  She makes me want to live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere cooking all day.

*  Finnabair
I first discovered Finnabair a few years ago when watching a Prima Marketing Live You Tube Video creating some tags with jewels on, and I just fell in love with her style.  Since then I have followed Anna's blog and also had the pleasure of attending one of her workshops in the UK and meeting her in 2013.  I just love her artwork and style and I also love her products from Prima Marketing.  She has recently set up her creative design team and her blog showcases their artwork using the Finnabair products and Art ingredients from Prima Marketing

Good evening from Pickle Land

Speak soon

Lesley xxx




 

Depression and my creative journey





I am not ashamed to say I suffer from depression.  I have suffered for about fifteen years now to various degrees.  It is not just a case of feeling sad all the time (which isn't the case).  To me, it is deep rooted, sometimes totally immersive and often comes with feelings of stress, anxiety and doom.  I used to think it was because I was single and felt lonely.  But meeting my husband didn't stop me having periods of depression and if it was just a case of being lonely that would have ended surely?
I also used to think it was part of grief and the fact that both my parents have died and that I missed them dearly. and though it may still be a factor, it is not the sole reason why I get depressed. 

I do think, however, it has a lot to do with me feeling like I haven't truly found my purpose in life, that I don't know who I am and what I want to do and that I feel sometimes that I am stuck in a rut.  (I definitely know that is true in terms of my employment.  I desperately hate my job, but because I don't know what I want to do yet, I feel as if I might as well stop there in the meantime until I find something I do want to do ).

I do sometimes, go over in my mind, "What ifs?"  What if I had done this course at University?  What if I had continued in that relationship?  "what if I had gone through my application to emigrate to Canada?". but that is just self defeating, and I will never know.  Hindsight doesn't always help.

I have had counselling on several occasions.  At times it helped, other times it just made me angry and felt like a complete waste of my time.  I even enrolled on a Counselling Skills and Concepts course to see if that would give me any major insights into my depression.  I have tried anti depressants and herbal/natural medicines too.  Nothing has magically made my depression disappear.


But what has this to do with my creative journey you may be asking? 

Doing creative things such as writing, art journaling, artwork, cross stitch, scrapbooking, Photography and Project Life has all helped me to come out of the really dark moments in my life.  .  Writing and journaling and in part doing this blog, helps me to put thoughts out there and enable me to download them from my mind.  Looking back on old journals and blog posts has enabled me to see trigger points throughout the years.  I have realised that for example at certain times of the year I get more down that others. Winter times and dark nights make be feel worse than say the middle of summer when the days are longer and nights shorter.  A few weeks leading to my birthday in September I get down because I feel like another year has passed and I haven't achieved stuff I thought I would.
Photography, scrapbooking and Project Life helps me see physically that my life isn't that bad and that I do have some great and special experiences.  That there is some really good times in my life that I record and often forget about.  Like going out with friends, holidays, days out and even every day moments like just cooking a meal are all recorded and I can look back after a few months and reminisce about.

Making art does make me happy.  It helps me relax, it calms me down.  I feel better for doing.  It is as if it is the real me.  Reading about creative things such as art, scrapbooking etc and visiting blogs and watching Youtube provides me with a community I can identify with.  It encourages, inspires, provides new ideas and perspectives on life.

My depression will always be part of me and I have decided to embrace that.  My creative endeavours in whatever form does help me get through darker times and I know the more creative things I do, the better I do feel about myself.  It enables me to stop wallowing in my own sadness and bad thoughts.  I feel as if I come outside of myself for a while and are free.  Being creative does make me feel alive and I am grateful for the life I do have as it may not be perfect but it is a precious gift and I should make the most of it.

Good afternoon from Pickle Land

Lesley xx

Sunday, 2 August 2015

July Round Up - Hooting Around , Feelings of Self Doubt and The Magic Art of Tidying Up

 
 
 
July like the previous months has flown by.  This year is just whizzing away and I truly cannot believe it is August already

The weather in the UK hasn't been too bad this year and has mainly been sunny.  There has been rain at times but this year has been a better year than previous years. 

July began for me with a visit from my brother R for a couple of days.  As always it was really nice to see him.  We had abit of a clear up in my conservatory and chucked bags of accumulated stuff that we have been holding onto for years.  It feels so good to begin starting having a sort out.

On the clearing out theme, I read The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and I am on abit of a clearing out mode at the moment.  This best selling and Internet sensation has a huge following, and I came across it via Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios who highly recommended it.  It was actually a very quick read and it took me about four hours altogether and the premise is, that by getting your house in order and discarding stuff, you can make the most of your creative life. 

I am interested in this from the fact that I definitely need to tidy and sort out my house and I wanted to know what techniques Marie Kondo or the KonMari technique would offer me. 

I actually agreed with a lot of what she was saying and I am definitely willing to give some of her techniques a try.  It definitely has spurred me on to start sorting my house out, and I just have to make a concerted effort to do.  It will be interesting if it works for me as I feel as if it is a major mission, but I've nothing to loose and I will keep you posted.

I attended my two craft clubs and have had several meals out.  It was my cricket clubs open day and we managed to raise over £400.00 for the Youth Development fund. 

AJ and I visited Birmingham and started hunting for Owls.  This summer, over 100 different painted owls will be installed all over Birmingham city centre and its suburbs.  AJ and I managed to photograph about 25 in one day.  We had a lovely lunch at Five Guys in the Bullring and later we had a snack and frappachinos  at Starbucks on Colmore Row.  It was lovely to spend a day with AJ as it is very rare as we work opposite shifts most of the time and our time together seems so precious to me at the moment.

The following day, I visited Aston Hall with my friend S and her daughter T.  I managed to take another few photos of owl and there were a few there.

On the craft/art front I haven't done much at all.  I have dabbled with Project Life, have done no art, journaling, no cross stitch.  I have been on a bit of a reading splurge and I am in the middle of reading The 10 Letter Project by Jen Lee and Tim Manley.  This was another recommendation from Jamie at Jamie Ridler Studios.  I will do a review once I have completed it.  I am also re-reading my Amy Tan collection and am currently reading the Bone Collectors Daughter.

I haven't been too well in July.  I am feeling anxious and nervy.  Work is a constant factor in my unhappiness, yet I really do not know what to do.  I know I need to get out of this job, but I am damned if I know what I want to do or what other job I would like to do instead.  My current job has knocked my confidence and I feel I am not capable of doing anything better.  I need to sort my CV out but I'm frightened that it will get lost with other applications from more youthful job applicants if I do apply for a job.  A few years ago I would have said I have a lot to offer, but now, I am so beaten down by self doubt.  Maybe it is my age, maybe it is because I work with people who are a lot younger than me who are ambitious and seem to be putting me in the shadows.  Maybe it is because I am not feeling brave and I need to just give myself a chance and make my light shine through.

August is here and I am looking forward to a weekend away to Windsor and a day trip to the MotoGP at Silverstone and visit my brother in Brackley.

I am also looking forward to September as AJ and I are going on holiday.  We have decided to try and visit off the beaten track places and we are off to Vilnius in Lithuania.  It is not really a tourist place that would spring to most British holiday makers minds, but we have a friend who has been and says it is a beautiful place and is an up and coming Eastern European place that in a few years will get more and more popular.

I am hoping August is a great month for you and I look forward to speaking to you soon
Good evening from Pickle Land
Lesley xx

 

Willow - A Special Bond

 
 
 


I wasn't always a cat person.  In fact, if asked I would always say I was a dog lover.  But since getting my own two cats I am definitely a cat lover.

I got Kiwi and her kitten Willow from the local Cats Protection shelter seven years ago in September.
Each cat has distinct personalities.  Kiwi (Black and white Tuxedo cat) is quiet, thoughtful and serene.  She very much likes her own company, is sometimes nervous but is very loving (on her own terms of course).
Willow is a force of nature.  She is naughty, boisterous, adventurous, funny but most of all Mega Cute.  She is extremely loving and is never far from my side.

Though I love Kiwi and Willow equally, I do have a very special bond with Willow and I treasure what I call "Our Love Fest".
After I have a bath, I lie on my bed with a towel wrapped around me and Willow will climb up on me purring so loudly and then she settles down and lies down on me- often high up on my chest and falls fast asleep still singing her beautiful purr.  It may sound silly but I love the fact that she hangs around whilst I take my bath, and is so keen for me to lie down so she can climb on me.  It is a special moment for me that I usually make last only ten minutes.  I feel very loved by Willow.  This time destresses me, she calms me down, makes me forget my woes and puts the world to right, even if it is  just fleeting. 

I don't know if this"Love Fest" is unique to just Willow and myself.  I like to think so.

Having Kiwi and Willow has bought AJ and myself such joy, love and companionship.  They have grown into two very beautiful and much loved cats.  For Kiwi and Willow, I am definitely a crazy cat lover.

Greetings from Pickle Land

Lesley xx



Monday, 13 July 2015

June Round Up

Again another month has flown by before my eyes

June was abit of an unproductive and quiet month.  I had my front and back gardens done as they were in such a state and is now looking like it did about 6 years ago so cant wait to start using again and enjoy what is left of the summer.  My MOT on my car was due and passed (thank goodness as was worried it would cost me a fortune).

AJ and I met up with some of our friends in Aldridge, Walsall for a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant.  The food as always was lovely and we had a lovely time as it has been a while since we have seen them.

AJ and I enjoyed the company of AJ's dad and partner when they came to visit up.  I cooked lasagne and Eton Mess and we had a great evening.  We don't get to see Dad and his partner as often as we would like and it was just so nice to see them looking so well and happy.

My friend Sue and I had a lunch date at Jimmy Spices in Sutton Coldfield and we had a bit of a shop.  So nice to have a girly shop.  I also had another lunch date with my friend Chris in Ashby de la Zouch. 

Adam and I spent one Sunday morning shopping for a new fridge freezer (Freddy and he is gorgeous, if you can call a fridge freezer gorgeous) and also we had a stop off at the Starbucks in the Snowdome.  I had a lime cooler and it was so refreshing.  As usual I made Adam take a photo of our visit.  I must now have quite a few pictures of all the Starbucks we have visited over the past few years and I am one day planning to do a mini album of them.

I enjoyed the Jenniebellie Art sway in June and had some lovely Journal Pages from Sherry Lee in Illinois in the USA.  I am so enjoying the art swaps each month.

Craft wise, I have only done a few more pages of my 2014 Project Life.  I really must get off my ass and start photographing them and getting them on this blog. 

I haven't read any books this month and definitely haven't picked up a cross stitch which I was planning to.  art wise I only did art for the art swap and silly me I didn't even photograph it.

I cant believe that we are half way through the year.  Time is flying so fast and reminding me of all the things I want to do in my creative life.  I am the only one getting in my way.  I need to stop thinking and start doing.

Anyway Im planning on doing some book reviews in the next day or two of some of the books I have read this year and also I  want to start photographing some of my creative endeavours and getting them on this blog.

Recently I thought I might pack this blog in as I haven't posted as much as I would like, but something is stopping me and saying just get in a practice of visiting and posting.  I feel as if Im not quite willing to give up on Adventures in Pickle Land just yet.  Time will tell.

Anyway, good evening for now
Speak soon

Lesley xx

 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

May 2015 round up (posted 26th)

May has just flown by so quickly.  I can't believe that we are almost half way through 2015 already.

This month's highlight was my holiday to Rhodes in Greece.  AJ and I decided almost last minute that we both were exhausted and needed to get away from our daily grind for a week.  So I went to a travel agent and asked them what deals they could get us for a particular budget and the date we wanted to go.  We managed to get a fantastic all inclusive deal for the Olympic Palace in Ixia in Rhodes.

We had a fantastic time and it definitely was the break we needed.  We didn't do much whilst we there other than sleep, read and general relaxation but we really enjoyed ourselves and would definitely go back there again.

Whilst I was there I managed to read four books, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas, The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan and Solomon Kitten by Sheila Jeffries.  Reviews to follow.  I was so pleased I read these whilst I was on holiday as I haven't read much this year so far and wanted to do abit more reading this year and to tick them off my TBR list.

My Brother R has been up to visit for a few days in May and it was nice to spend some time with him.  I also baby sat for my friends Rob and Sue.  Their daughter T stopped with us for three days whilst Rob and Sue had a weekend away.  T and I went to Twycross Zoo on the Saturday and had a lovely time.  On the evening we watched the Eurovision Song Contest and I believe the best song did win.  Well done Sweden.  On the Sunday we had a day of playing on the Wii and watching Disney movies.  We watched The Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Bambi and . Aladdin.  I really love Disney movies and It was the first time I had seen Frozen and I loved it

Monday, we had a few games on the Wii and also we played Guitar Hero.  AJ joined in and he is really good at Guitar Hero.  T was picked up mid afternoon and then we met up with Sue and Rob again on the night and we went out for a lovely meal.

I bought myself a new Filofax in May and have started to get into the Planner craze that is all over Pinterest and YouTube at the moment.  Craft wise I've been doing some more Project Life and also I have participated in the May Art Swap at Journal Workshops (Jennibellie).  My May swap partner is Neomie from Portugal, and this month's theme is Banners.


Generally May has been a bit of a blur.  Life just seems to be running away from me.  I'm still feeling low, but less exhausted thanks to my holiday.  I'm still not doing as much stuff as I would like craft/art wise but I'm making progress by doing a bit of Project Life here and there and also actually participating in the Art Swap.  I'm.also glad I'm getting into my reading again too.  I am hoping that June is a better month and I finally get my ass in gear and catch up on a lot of the things I want to do on this blog such as book reviews, show my Project Life pages, show Art from the Art Swaps and show some of the photos I have taken of my holidays and of Twycross Zoo.  Well see.!!!!!

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Speak soon
Love Lesley xxx

April round up

April came and went in the blink of an eye.  It began with a meal to celebrate my step father in laws 60th Birthday on Easter Sunday.  On Easter Monday my friends Rob and Sue came round ours for a meal.

I went to Ashby de le Zouch with my friend Chris and we had a lovely lunch in a a cafe found up an alley and it was lovely to sit in the sunshine and have a catch up.  I also went to Lichfield with AJ for a couple of hours and we had a lovely meal and I was able to take some lovely photos.

I completed my book My Husband next door which I enjoyed and I need to review here.

On the craft front I have actually done some Project Life pages a day also participated in Jennibellies Art Swap.  My first swap was with Francine from Colorado in the US.  She sent me a lovely piece of art work which I will treasure.   Again I will have to show on this blog when I get chance to photograph it and load up on this blog.  I MUST MAKE TIME TO DO THESE THINGS, I shout at myself.

Other than that I have had a pretty boring month.  Work is getting me down and I'm feeling abit low in general.  I just haven't felt like doing much at all and I feel exhausted all the time.   I am also beating myself up for having all the plans in my head but nothing coming to fruition.   It's self defeating I know and I need to give myself a big kick up the butt.

Anyway good evening from Pickle Land
Love Lesley xxx

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Round up of February and March 2015

I cannot believe it is April and I haven't posted anything since 31st January.  My aim of doing regular blog posts have been shot out of the water.  I am quite angry with myself for letting this slip as I really wanted to keep up with a regular schedule and make good on a promise to myself.

Anyway better late than never, my round of February and March

FEBRUARY

February began with a presentation evening from the local Rotary club.  A few member of the cricket committee that I am on did a Santa walk before Christmas which enabled our cricket club to raise some funds.  The presentation was for the cheque presentation of the monies raised.

It was Valentines Day and AJ and I had a very understated evening.  We are not ones for going over board on Valentines Day.  we believe that you shouldn't have to wait until Valentines Day to tell someone you love them.  We did, however, exchanged cards and he bought me some lovely red roses. 

It was also Shrove Tuesday AKA Pancake day and we spent the evening at our good friends Sue and Rob and had pancakes at theirs.  Very yummy indeed. 

I met up with a couple of friends that I hadn't seen in a while and also met up with my usual (see weekly friends) friends this week. 

We had an evening out in Birmingham and had a lovely meal  in Brindley Place.  I am really getting to like Birmingham.  Even though I have grown up on the outskirts of the city all my life, it has only since being with AJ that I have started to appreciate it.  It has some fantastic places to visits, shops and restaurants and bars and AJ and I have made a promise to visit the city more often. 

I finally had my carpets fitted in my lounge/dining room, and the linos in the kitchen and bathroom.  It has been over 12 months since the flood from my bathroom and I finally feel as if my home is started to look better again. 

My brother R came up one of the weekends and as usual it was lovely to spend time with him.  I miss him constantly but I am glad he is doing so well in his job and loving the new area where he lives. 

In terms of reading I did complete reading two books :  those being The Summer at the Lake by Erica James and The Supreme Macaroni Shoe Factory by Adriana Trigiani.  I will post reviews in the coming weeks for these books which I both thoroughly enjoyed.

Creatively I have done Nothing.  I just seem to be spending all my free time on watching You Tube videos or reading blog posts.  Although, this is great, I battle with myself that I should be doing stuff rather than watching my favourite You Tubers doing stuff that I could easily do myself.  Not that I would want to film myself doing so though.

February (and March) also were months when I wasn't particularly well and I was quite poorly twice in those two months.  Touch would, I am feeling much better at the moment and the coming of Spring has really cheered mw up and gotten me out of a big depression slump I felt myself spiralling into.

Overall February passed by fairly quietly and I feel I didn't do or achieve anything interesting.


MARCH ROUNDUP

In March I went out for a few meals with friends from my Tuesday craft group.  I am really enjoying the fact that I am attending a craft group on my day off and they are a lovely bunch of people that attend.  We are mainly older people (I am actually one of the youngest), and we all do different things.  Some do card making, others knit, one does quilling, my friend Chris usually does stamping or creating some art, and I usually take something to do with Project Life or my newly discovered Pocket Letters. 

I also met up with a dear friend who I haven't seen in a while for a quick catch up before she goes on holiday to HK and Japan to visit her family.

My brother came up again for a weekend which was lovely, although on the last day which happened to be Mothers Day here in the UK,  I wasn't feeling very well at all and couldn't even manage to visit my Mother In Law.  My poor hubby had to go on his own. 

Operation Clean House stepped up this month.  It has been a major mission to get hubby to help me sort out things and the bain of my life "The Conservatory" is finally getting cleared out of all the junk that it has been housing for the past three years since by brother moved south.  The room also houses a lot of AJ's stuff that he needs to sort out and either chuck away, give away or store in our loft.  One day I will get my house back the way it was before AJ moved in.  HA HA

My friend S and I have started to host a craft group on a Thursday and a few people who haven't really dabbled in the arts and crafts have started to attend.  We did decoupage the first week and the second week, we upcycled some jars to make nice decorative tea light holders or in my case storage jars to house all my buttons and embellishments when I finally sort out my Arts studio AKA the black hole/bedroom 2.

In terms of reading I have started to read My Husband next door by Catherine Alliott and also I listening to an audio book by Debbie Macomber called 1105 Yakima Street which I actually started to listen to in December but annoyingly I had to return to the library as someone had reserved it and I couldn't renew it until now. 

In terms of crafts etc, not much done other that what I have done at craft groups.  Still watching loads of You Tube Videos and just dreaming of having the time, money and inclination to do all of the wonderful things I see. 

March went in a blink of an eye, and April is already here.

I am so glad it is Spring.  I really detest Winter.  Spring is all about rejuvenation and fresh starts and feeling good about things.  I feel like I want a fresh start and this is the time to begin.  I have loads of plans in my head and I really need to make good on the promises I make to myself regarding this blog and my creative life in general.  My favourite blogger/creative thinker is Jamie Ridler and she has so inspired me of late to really start looking at my life, the areas I hate, the areas I love and those areas that need to change or just  need some tweeking.  As Jamie says "Your Life is Your Studio", and I am really trying to take that On board in my day to day life.  It is up to me to start living the creative life I dream of.  And as Walt Disney said " If you can dream it, you can do it".  Don't you just love that quote.    I am going to create a poster of that and put it  up in my Art Studio. 

I must go now.  This has been a fairly long post, but it has been  so nice just writing again and sharing on this blog  I don't care if nobody reads this.  It is just a way of unloading all that I think and dream about.

I promise that I will share my reviews of the books I have read in the next few days or so and also start sharing a lot more of what I have created in the very near future.

Good evening from Pickle Land.
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xxx



 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

January Round Up

January is always a non event month for me.  Dark mornings, dark nights, cold weather, feeling kind of crappy with a head cold ( I always seem to come down with a cold in January).  In truth I sometimes wish I could hibernate the winter months and wake up in Spring.

So in rounding up my January, I feel I haven't really done much or gone anywhere, but here goes.

January began with me having to go to work on New Years Day.  How crappy was that!!!
I made a few resolutions/actions for the coming year.  These being * start being more healthier and making better choices when it comes to food, * let my creativity soar in whatever format that takes, * be more sociable and connect with my friends and family more, * look after myself better and start putting myself first sometimes and lastly to not let the turkeys get me down which pertaining see to not letting work and other things get on top of me.

My brother came up two of the weekends in January.  We went out for a meal to the Tall Chimney pub and had a lovely meal.  AJ had the Man V Burrito and R and I had the Megasaurus steak.  Fantastic.  We also went to see Wasps Rugby club play Sale Sharks at the Ricoh arena in Coventry.  It was lovely spending time with R, and I wish we could get together more often.

It was my Father in Laws birthday January 6th and AJ and I visited him on the Sunday afterwards.  It was nice spending a little time with him and his partner Angie.

Spent some time with my friend Sue, and also attended craft club for the first time in months.  I am so glad that I will be able to attend on a regular basis now that one of my days off is a Tuesday. Also spent to with Chris at the craft club.  It was the first time I had seen her since just before Christmas.

I have decided that I want to read at least a book a month in 2015.  It doesn't sound alot compared to some people but I think that is all I can realistically manage at the moment.  I go in phases of reading and some months I devour books and others when I hardly touch them.  The book this month is The Broken Man by Josephine Cox.  She is not an author I would normally pick up but I got this book as a gift from my Mother in Law last year for my birthday.  Please see review posted yesterday

I have been watching lots of You Tube videos this month and catching up on some of the channels I have subscribed to.  My YouTube/ Blog that I have loved the most is Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler studios.  I just love her philosophy and energy and she has really given me alot of food for thought of late and I have been formulating ideas that I want to start putting in practice in my creative life.

I have also been listening to podcasts- Creative Living Podcasts from Jamie Ridler Studios and Arting Podcasts from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  Again they give me alot of food for thought and are so inspiring.

In terms of TV, film etc.  I haven't really watched much although I have taped alot.  Death in Paradise has returned for a new series on the BBC so I have been enjoying that.  I have taped Signed, Sealed Delivered which is shown here in the UK on Movies24 but I haven't got round to watching them yet.  That also goes for Mike and Molly and The Middle which is on comedy Central.  I have been watching Room 101, QI and Only Connect when I remember and that is usually when AJ is asleep and I watch on my playbook.

I have been journalling almost everyday.  I am trying to get into a routine of writing every day and putting a few thoughts done last thing at night before I turn out the light and go to sleep.  So far I have been fairly successful in keeping up with myself and writing.

Overall, January has been a long month.  I am craving the Spring so much and wishing that it would warm up and for the nights to get lighter and lighter.  I am sure I suffer from SAD.  I feel I haven't achieved much.  I definitely haven't done any art or craft of cross stitch.  All the things I would have like to have done this month, but to be fair on myself I have been feeling fairly grotty and under the weather and at times quite exhausted.

I am looking forward to February.  I have a weeks leave coming up in which I am hoping to sort my craft room out.  I am finally getting my carpets/lino fitted in my lounge, dining room, kitchen and bathroom.  It has ONLY been 14 months since the flood in my house.  It will look so nice when it is all sorted.

Good Evening from here in Pickle Land
Lesley xxx

Friday, 30 January 2015

Book Review January - The Broken Man by Josephine Cox

Josephine Cox is not an author I would normally pick, but I received the book as a present from my mother in law.

The main theme is about the consequences of domestic abuse.  It tells the story of Adam, a young boy who had to bear things no little boy should ever see, and also the tale of Anne who was abused by her husband.  Though the theme was about domestic abuse, it was wasn't graphic or gory which I was glad about.  The tale weaved between Anne's story and Adams story which interlinked, and was a fairly easy read.  I was slightly disappointed with the ending of the book and thought it hadn't fully ended the story of Anne and didn't even mention how she would have felt about finding out her husbands childs link to her best friend.  I also found the aforementioned coincidence too far fetched.

Overall it was an OK book.  Not my favourite book of all time, but very readable all the same.  As the first book I have read of hers I don't know if this is the usual type of book to expect from Josephine Cox and I may or may not read another of hers soon
 If I had to rate it I would give 3 out of 5 stars.

Next book to be read is Summer at the Lake by Erica James.

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Love Lesley xxx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and hoping that 2015 is a very special year full of Joy, health. Love, art, scrapbooking and Project Life.

With much love from me in Pickle Land
Lesley xxxxx