Thursday, 24 February 2011

pop-up office

 pop-up office view - from the lido.

one of the major perks of doing a PhD is working from home. but when i am finding writing slow, the lack of routine can be a real problem. i've found working in different locations - specifically cafés - really helpful for sharpening my mind.

the other week i decided to work in a café for a few hours each day. on monday, i had a meeting in clevedon so i investigated cafés on the seafront. i was fairly unimpressed i have to say. many seemed tired and drab and, being winter, it was dead. but scarlett's was the best of a bad bunch and i had a very nice coffee.

the best thing about it was the view (but from outside not inside)

tuesday took me to papadeli - a longstanding favourite of mine. i think it's the best deli in bristol and i often get salads to take away from there. they're currently having a third floor added so it's just going to get better.

to treat myself for tackling a particularly tough part of my writing i had brunch there and the poached eggs were divine.

 i tweeted that i was there and the lovely catrin (owner of the deli and papa's wife) rang to ask the waitress to send over a complimentary brownie! so kind of her and so delicious of the brownie.

on wednesday i had been planning to go to boston tea party but discovered that a new café, lashings, had just opened and, since i live about two minutes walk from there, i decided to investigate and support my new local. it's nice to have a new café in the area and the coffee and chocolate & polenta cake were lovely but, to be honest, the space is disappointing. i'm just so fed up of tall black (mock?) leather chairs. i'm really not a fan of the look but also it's so unoriginal. it just looked to me like they'd run out of money at the last hurdle and filled it with whatever they could get their hands on. it's just not an inviting space. which is what i want from a café - on top of great coffee (and cake). give me eclectic chairs any day.

i'll definitely go back there though since it's so near. thursday was less good. i've been wanting to visit lockside for ages but really didn't enjoy it so i didn't do any work there. just didn't like the ambience. so, i had a quick cappuccino and scarpered. like with scarlett's in clevedon, the best thing was the view (from outside).

on friday i'd meant to go to a bristol café but i'd been to my parents' the night before and ended up staying over so i could drink so i worked there. it's another space i get a lot of writing done and i am lucky to be able to pop in whenever i want.

the following monday, i went to my favourite bristol location - the lido. no excuse needed for one of their custard tarts really but it was monday and i'd had a bad weekend so there was zero guilt here.

i listened to some of my data (first-time parents' narratives of the early days) as i watched people swimming - such a relaxing way to work. then a space became free nearer the bar so i could plug my laptop in. a few pots of lahloo rosey tea later and i had been there for four hours!

then i had some tortilla for a very late lunch and my mum came to meet me for a coffee. such a lovely monday and i had done so much good writing. even though this photo appears at the top of this post, i've put it again here as it's my favourite and was my ideal view from a pop-up office.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

time for a change

it's a weird time right now. for those that know me (or at least who've spoken to me recently), you'll know what i mean by this.

but something else has happened. i've started to fall out of love with the internet. or at least with social networking sites.

tonight i updated my status on facebook to say i'd be deleting my account and for any friends who actually want to see me or get in touch properly to text me or e-mail and then i can arrange to meet up with them. i have considered leaving facebook *many* times before but haven't because i felt it was helping me stay in touch with friends in cyprus, york, norway, switzerland etc (you guys know who you are). but it's a fake staying in touch. because it means i actually e-mail / speak to / visit them less as i feel i know what they're up to in life as i've seen what they're up to on facebook. madness.

then there's twitter. now don't get me wrong, i think twitter is a really fabulous resource. i've seen how new parents, small business owners, knitters (to name a few) take advantage of this platform. and i have loved my time on twitter. i've also met some great people in real life through it and plan to meet some more (in bristol and london). the list of people on twitter i wish lived in bristol is actually quite long - it's you guys who i chat to most - you know who you are. we've exchanged DMs or e-mails or i've #ff'd you many a time. plus it's been truly inspiring for my knitting.

but recently (actually, it's not that recent, it's been building up for some time), i feel like the internet is an unhealthy place. it makes me lazy at keeping in touch with my real mates as often as i should (and want to). and i spend far too much time on it. i tried a brief internet 'diet' and felt stressed i'd miss what people were up to or that i wouldn't be around to respond to their impending news (baby about to be born, close family member about to pass away). earlier this evening i did a huge cull of people i follow. and i felt guilty! guilty for unfollowing people i rarely speak to on twitter, have never met in real life and never will do. crazy!

then onto blogging, i'm not sure about this one. i only blog when i feel the urge. i never schedule posts or set myself targets (other than taking one photo a day for my flickr 365 project which i'm (kind of) enjoying). i have culled my google reader list too so i now read less blogs. i may stop blogging altogether but i think that's unlikely. i enjoy it, find it calming in a weird way and, most of all, find it a very pleasing way to log my thoughts and projects. like an online diary but not too personal.

i am planning to sell some of my knitted goods in the near future and i may set up a twitter account, facebook page and blog to promote this separately. or i may just decide to continue taking commissions and then sell a whole load of stuff at a market twice yearly. but i won't be tied to the internet to make the most of my knitting business if i don't want to be since that would take the pleasure out of knitting, which would be the most upsetting thing of all...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

rhubarb cake

can we just take a minute to talk about the cake? veronica made this for M's 2nd birthday and i immediately bookmarked it. i wasn't going to blog about it until i had made it myself but then i opened up the bookmark a few days ago and every time i shut the last tab, it's there staring me in the face - 'eat me'. no, 'make me'. oh, don't you worry, i intend to.

dream bed

continuing the bed theme, i am currently day-dreaming about hanging out in this dream bedroom.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

bedroom antics

no, not those kind... i have a writing deadline today (so here i am blogging). i have only had four* hours sleep and could do with some of this kind of energy.


*i recognise that to new parents or insomniacs reading this, four hours will seem a luxury but i am *useless* on  less than eight or nine.

source. you can also read jennifer's lovely blog here.

right, back to work for me!

Saturday, 5 February 2011


it's a grey, rainy and very windy day so perfect for knitting on the sofa but i would also love to be here.

Friday, 4 February 2011

co-ordinated break

writing is *finally* picking up pace but i always manage a little knitting with my coffee break.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

betty and effy - keeping me company while i knit

quite a few friends have recently told me how they want to take up knitting because they've got young children so can't go out as much as they used to but are bored just sitting watching tv and therefore want to do something useful with their time.

there are so many reasons i love to knit but creating something lovely while watching something great on tv is a particular pleasure.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

obsessive consumption

the other week i was reading veronica's blog and spotted this rather fun illustrated food diary from this blog

it reminded me of this book i bought last year as a present

where kate bigaman burt chronicles everything she bought over a year. it's a really lovely book.

then, again on veronica's blog (can you tell i'm a fan?), i spotted this illustrated fashion diary

illustration is such a wonderful way of capturing these daily choices in our lives.

ella's wardrobe

i don't follow that many fashion blogs but a lot of the blogs i read have 'what i wore' posts. i just wanted to point out someone who i think is incredibly well dressed. even if she is a little person.

ella's mum, alexa, took all of the above photos and you can see more of her wonderful photos here.