Posts tagged ‘Sew You’

June 21, 2013

What’s in your handbag?

Regular blog readers might remember me writing a ‘what’s in your handbag’ post ages ago. Shortly after which the bag in question, along with its contents, was stolen from my kitchen. Thankfully it was all insured, and therefore replaced with shiny new things! Huzzah!

I’m choosing not to think that lightening can strike twice and so I’m risking writing a new version of that post, because, if you’re as nosy as I am, the contents of a handbag are fascinating …

So, here goes.

The bag that I carry around switches between a silver Cambridge Satchel, a Mary Katrantzou for Longchamp tote, and a brown leather satchel that my Dad gave me to replace my beloved stolen Mulberry Antony. Each of the bags is useful for different occasions, but the one I have today is the brown leather one. Simple, logo-free and with enough pockets for me to endlessly think I’ve lost something, this bag is perfect for slinging across my shoulders and leaving my hands free for important things like ice-cream eating, hand-holding (romantically with my other half, or to stop my kids jumping into a lake) or endless Tweeting.

I like to carry a lot of stuff. So, small fancy bags are not really any good for me and this list really does prove it!

IMG_6393

Inside the bag:

  • Suncream. I used some chemical peel pads earlier this year and although they’ve improved my skin lots, they have left it very sensitive to the sun. Daily suncream is essential now. This one is by ROC.
  • Moleskine diary and fineliner pen. Because although I love technology, nothing beats pen and paper.
  • My purse. I love, love, love this purse. It was made for me by the talented Abi of ‘Sew You’ and it’s large enough to hold my keys, lipbalm, iPhone earphones, and a tiny box of dental floss as well as my cash and cards. After my last one was stolen, she sent me a free replacement, which just proves how fabulous she is.
  • Lifeventure water bottle. Reason enough for a giant bag! I carry water with me all the time after a kidney infection earlier this year, and the bottle – bought for me by my beloved – is with me every day.
  • My essential make-up kit: Rodial Glam Balm, Nars Sheer Glow foundation (in Mont Blanc, which just shows you how pale I am!) classic Maybelline Great Lash mascara, a very old Shu Uemura eyeshadow in Medium Brown, YSL Touche Eclat, Kevyn Aucoin eye pencil (one of the best I’ve ever used) and finally, lip gloss in Jean Queen from Lipstick Queen which is the perfect everyday pink.  Most of this haul was bought from my local Space NK
  • A packet of Chewits. Because you never know when the Chewit Monster might strike! Remember him? Actually, I have to confess that, having discovered them in my bag when I emptied it to take the photo, I’m eating them right now, as I type.  I quite often have a little something sugary in my bag. To placate my children – what a mother – or to to give me a little energy boost at 3pm. I know, I know, I should be eating fruit or almonds or something. But I’m not.
  • A magazine. In this case, the wonderful stationery-special issue 17 of Uppercase. For many, many reasons. It has a scratch ‘n’ sniff cover, for a start! Scratch’n’sniff! I know that at the age of 37, I should have grown out of such things, but it’s cherry, so therefore brilliant. I always have something to read in my bag. Being a public transport user, I never know when I’ll end up stuck somewhere and I prefer my reading material in print, not via e-reader. Books never die.
  • A Rapha musette. A gift from my lovely boyfriend, this little bag is often with me so that I don’t have to use carrier bags in shops.
  • And finally, my beloved iPhone 5. At 64GB, this is worth more than my car and I love it almost as though it were my third child. I’m not even joking (much) about that. My addiction to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and, I confess here … Happy Street … mean that I never want to be without it.

So, that little lot is worth quite a lot. A quick tally up shows that replacing it would cost me roughly £950. Mostly because of the unlocked iPhone, to be honest but even the make-up would cost me a fair bit to replace in one go. That’s actually quite a surprise. I’d better go and check that insurance policy …

This post will be entered into a Money Supermarket competition. 

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January 6, 2012

Almost Haute Couture…

Those of you who have been here before will remember that I promised myself a blogging schedule that included a ‘Margot Friday’ post, about the rather more glamorous of my interests. So, what I am I doing talking about sewing then? Surely that is more of a Barbara kind of activity? When it is sewing up holes in old clothes and re-attaching buttons, that is.

When your sewing instructor asks you what, in your wildest dreams, would you like to create and you say ‘Haute Couture?’ it suddenly becomes a Margot activity. Even if I’m the one sewing it, there is nothing more luxurious than having something handmade and therefore unique.

On Wednesday I had the great pleasure to finally meet Abi Manifold from Sew You who designs and makes the most beautiful pieces – bunting, ipad cases, purses and all manner of pretty things. I highly recommend you take a look at what she has for sale here. She makes bespoke bunting too, which is my absolute favourite.

The other thing she does is teach people like me to sew. People who have never even sat in front of a sewing machine, let alone used one. I met Abi through the power of Twitter, which I am beginning to think has changed my life. The odd thing about Twitter is that we never get to meet many of the real people we chat to each and every day. I am lucky that I have already met two – and they’ve both been wonderful.

In her bright and colourful studio above the street in wet and windy Saltaire (where I’d appeared like the proverbial drowned rat, and been given restorative tea) she showed me everything I needed to know about a sewing machine, and let me loose. Despite my squeals, I did manage to keep in control of it, and had a great deal of fun in the process. Now my mind is spinning on all the things that apparently, I can make with my new skills. Not to mention what I will do with all the beautiful fabric that I’ve seen in the past and walked away from because I didn’t have a clue what I’d do with it. No more!

What it made me realise yet again, is that being unable to sew wasn’t due to my lack of innate ability, it was purely because no-one had ever taught me how. What I particularly liked about the session was that Abi asked me how I like to learn and then taught me in my preferred way. Her understanding of how we all like to learn in different ways makes her such a great, natural and empathetic teacher. Not to mention that she’s funny and warm so the conversation flowed really easily and I was stunned when the time was up. I hope to return to make a couple of pieces under her expert guidance, having come away from the session with a big smile, a sense of great optimism and lots of plans for clothing for myself and the kids.

‘Margot & Barbara Designs’…now there’s an idea!

Beautiful colours at Sew You

December 12, 2011

A Scanner’s Resolutions

I’ve written in the past about my Scanner Daybook, although I recently realised how little I’d been using it since starting this blog. It seems that recording life here is enough for me!

For as long as I can remember, I have written a plan for each year. During December, I spend some time planning the next year and reviewing the past one. I am loathe to call my plans ‘resolutions’, as they rarely fall into the ‘lose weight, stop smoking’ type of plan – although I am going to make more time for the gym next year, if only so I am fit enough for everything else! So, I suppose they are, really. A scanner never really stops making plans, but writing them in time for the New Year is a convenient way for me to organise them.

Generally, I write enough plans to keep me occupied full time and I am pretty bad at being rational about how much time I have to spend on them – but given how many new things I have already managed to do this year (see my 35:35 Challenge page) I am pretty confident that I might manage at least some of them. My usual method of managing everything is to have a monthly check on progress and to be flexible. They always say that life is what happens when you are busy making plans, and so I always allow for that, which basically means being kind to myself and not beating myself up if something doesn’t happen. After all, anyone with small children knows just how much time we spend each week on the routine of school, laundry, homework, cooking, tidying-up, etc. and that is the most important part of my life. Wanting to still be ‘me’ as well as ‘Mummy’ means fitting all of my plans around the family as well as my full-time job, and generally, I do quite well.

So, here are my (flexible) plans for 2012:

Physical:

  • Make time for the gym each week
  • Return to horse-riding, starting with a lunge lesson to work on my seat.
  • Undertake a physical challenge (akin to previous ones: Lyke Wake Walk, Three Peaks, Cycletta) The exact challenge is still to be decided, but I can rely on my dear family to come up with something that will at some point make me cry but ultimately be a brilliant experience. (35:35)
  • Have a go at some off road mountain biking
  • Have a beginner’s canoe session with my lovely friend Hillary (35:35)
  • Complete Cycletta again, and beat my 2011 finish time.

Travel

  • A week in Rome in the Spring (35:35)
  • A family holiday with the kids, hopefully on the Isle of Wight, where my Mum is from and where we have spent many a happy summer.
  • Paris in the winter, for a couple of days before Christmas ( this is pretty ambitious, given our budget, but I might as well add it in!)

Clothing

  • Keep a record of my monthly expenditure on clothing, accessories, beauty, skincare, magazines etc, so I can see exactly what I am spending on what (inspired by my lovely  friend’s plan to do this) I’m quite interested to see if my behaviour changes because of the act of recording it, as it is assumed  – and to a certain extent, I hope it will anyway because of the next plan.
  • Buy (or save up for) a piece of clothing each month. This seems like an indulgence but really, most of my clothes are falling apart. I seem to have drifted to a place where ‘fashion’ is something that exists in another world, not linked to my real life. Which means I barely own a pair of socks, and at the age of 35 I feel like I should be able to go to work in something that makes me look like a grown up, even if I rarely feel like one! I’m not talking about spending lots of money, but if there are pieces of clothing that I really like, I will save each monthly (still to be decided) budget to buy something really worth having. I always prefer quality over quantity when it comes to clothes, but this seems to have resulted in me genuinely struggling to find anything in my wardrobe to wear!

Allotment

  • Aim for four productive raised beds. These are all built, manured, and were in production last year, so it shouldn’t be too hard. I need to spend some time planning what to grow and working out the crop rotation in January.
  • Build the children their own small raised bed each for planting their choice of flowers, fruit and vegetables, or just for driving toy tractors on!
  • Dig over the area where we plan to put the poly-tunnel and mark it all out.
  • Sort out the supports for the cordoned apple trees

Learning

  • A one to one sewing session with Sew You in January (35:35)
  • Some time learning the basics of silver-smithing with my lovely sister in law (35:35)
  • Return to learning Italian in preparation for Rome, and try to find some structured time for this each week. (35:35)

Happiness

  • Make sure there is lots of time for just being in the moment, playing with the kids. As you can probably tell from this, and previous posts, I am not very good at slowing down and being present, instead of planning for the future or dwelling on the past, so I need to be careful of this.
  • Try to have a regular massage and try Lomi Lomi massage (35:35)
  • Eat at Create, Leeds, which, judging by the reviews I’ve seen may well be the best restaurant in the city! (35:35)
  • Hot Air Balloon trip (as per the survey I did here earlier, 35:35)
  • Have a falconry session.(35:35)
  • Continue with Operation: Bedroom Sanctuary and then when I am happy with that, move onto the other rooms.
  • Put together some photograph albums and get some more photos framed and put up on the walls.
  • Try to buy a second hand DSLR to take better photos for this blog, and learn more about IT so I can continue to improve it.

Now I’ve shared my plans with you all, I feel as though I am more likely to complete them, so I’ve added a new page to the blog to record my progress.

So next year is all organised. Now I can relax and enjoy Christmas…