Monday, 14 February 2011

Will you ...

... be my secret Valentine?

Love from


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Love is all around

Good friends were in London this weekend, staying with other good friends, so a couple of us gatecrashed their lovely evening for curry and chat. It was the chat you have with people that you've known for twenty years that we craved, and it was this that we got.

After our food, when we were all stretched out around the room, groaning under the weight of our curry-filled bellies, Lorraine turned to Andy and asked him, "do you have a man-crush?"

"Ian Waite" said Andy, quick as a flash. The room fell silent for a fraction of a second, before we all shouted something. Ian Waite, for the uninitiated was one of the professional dancers on our Strictly Come Dancing. Usually, when he's on the telly-box, he is clad something like this ...

Andy said, in defence of his quick answer, that he had previously discussed the man-crush / girl-crush thing with colleagues, so had already given the matter some consideration. Still, the answer tripped a little too quickly off his tongue, don't you think?

Why, you might ask, did Lorraine think to ask such a thing? Well, it's because her husband, Simon, has developed something of a man-crush himself. He is smitten with Nigel Barker, a judge on America's Next Top Model, and fashion photographer. He is not someone who I was aware of, so we googled him, and decided that Simon had good taste. In fact, Angela went as far as to say, "oh yeah" in her don't-mind-if-I-do voice.

Simon felt the need to clarify something though. "Don't get me wrong. If he came in here and asked me, I'd probably still say no." Did anyone else notice the use of the word, "probably"? We all did...

Naturally, we turned our attention to Mark next, and mercifully his answer, at least, was not on the tip of his tongue. He thought about it long and hard. There was a lot of head scratching, and, at last, the votes having been counted and verified, he gave us his decision. Guy Pearce. A quirky choice, I think, and not someone who'd be in many people's top tens, but look at him?

Mark's right. He is quite a hottie. We do still think that Simon has the best taste in men, but I think Mark is a close second. I wonder whether it was his performance as Mike in Neighbours, King Edward in The King's Speech, or Felicia in Priscilla that sealed the deal where Mark is concerned.

It would be unkind, I think, to hang the boys out to dry, without telling you that, of course, we three girls gave it some thought too. Angela admitted that she used to have a thing for Cheryl Cole, but that she didn't any more. I'm not sure what it was that CC did to lose Angela's love, but lost it she has. "It's really always been Natalie Portman," she declared. It was said in such a matter-of-fact way that I wondered whether, in fact, we didn't all secretly slightly love her ourselves. I mean, she's very beautiful, talented, strong moral values, good balance between Hollywood glamour, and girl-next-door charms. Perhaps she's the perfect girl for us all.

"I think, I'm going with Billie Piper," said Lorraine. Again, attractive and yet down-to-earth. Another good choice I'd say. and, as we speculated, she's bound to have learned a thing or two filming Secret Diary Of A Call Girl (a role which has, I understand, earned her the dubious title of Britain's Best Loved Prostitute. Her husband must ooze with pride). Anyway, it can't be denied that she'll have a trick or two up her sleeves, so I say nice choice Lorraine.

And me? Who shall I have for my girl-crush? Well, I also toyed with Cheryl Cole, and then, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Helena Bonham Carter, but I settled, in the end, for Claudia Winkleman. I don't know why. The reckless combination of posh and a bit mental? The extravagant and supremely fabulous use of vast amounts of eye liner? The carefree manner of saying exactly the words that are passing through her head without a care for the fact she's on the telly? Who knows. But I do know that, if I have to chose just the one lady-love, then for me, it's the Winkle.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Today has been one of my favourite days of the month.

I think I've told you before about Making Night. Once a fortnight a gang of us get together at someone's house, and we ... um ... make stuff. Everyone brings whatever creative thing they are working on at the time, and we sit around, drink wine, eat junk food, and gossip. We stitch, cut, sketch, stick, string, knit and knot, and set the world to rights, and I love it.

We've become good pals, the lot of us, and there's something very bonding about creating lovely things together. Seeing the projects other people have on is quite inspiring, and the diversity of the projects that we've seen between us in the last six months is quite fabulous. Paper dolls and patchwork quilts, brooches and bracelets, collage and crochet. But mostly, of course, the good chat is what makes our creative nights most lovely.

Making jewellery, and working on my various cutting-and-sticking projects is something that I love. It's the thing that keeps me sane. Taking a pile of stuff and turning it into something new is a real therapy. The process is cathartic and the outcome is fulfilling. You should try it. If you are someone who finds that life can, on occasion, be a little over-whelming, then it's about the best means of keeping your bloody pressure down. But the life of a maker can be a solitary one. It's pretty well a solo venture. I'm all for team work, but it's pretty hard to make a pair of earrings as a gang. These fortnightly get-togethers make crafting more sociable, which pretty well makes it the full package.

Anyway, tonight was at my house. Six of us squidged into my dining room and had a right royal time. They all went home an hour or so ago (with a few picture frames, some cards, a charcoal sketch, two wash bags, and a bathroom curtain between us) and I thought I'd sit down and write a quick few words before I turn in.

When I first started writing this blog, I had in mind that it would be a sort of back up to my crafty habit. It was to promote making and doing and creativity. But it didn't really end up like that. There were too many things happening in the world around me that I wanted to comment on to be restricted to chat about beads and buttons. But tonight, I'm feeling very much like I want to encourage everyone to go and make something and see how good it is.

Go on. Run along and find a ball of wool or your mother's button box, or a needle and thread and DO something. Let's face it, there's nothing on the telly, so you're missing nothing. And tell me what you decide to make, so that we can compare notes.

Now where did I leave that crochet hook?

[Postscript: A big HELLO! to the girls in South Africa! Concetta told me that you'd left a note on her blog to say that you're struggling to leave a message on mine, which I'm sorry to hear. Perhaps I've over-done the spam filter. I'll fiddle with the settings. But it's lovely to have heard from you. Please keep trying to leave a message, and I'll look out for you! x]