Wednesday, 30 March 2011

hermit

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last week i wrote about taking time out at the weekend to focus on my thesis. it worked in a sense. i wasn't too distracted but i also wasn't completely immersed, which is what i need. i metioned that there may be weeks where i would have to become a hermit but that time has come sooner than i thought. i thought i would do this if the momentum was good but i've realised i actually need to do it immediately in order to 'get in the zone'. i need to be living and breathing my data and thinking about little else.

i am hoping i make so much progress over the next few weeks that i will be able to come up for air but there is no way of knowing how i will get on.

i will still blog as it is a nice escape. i will still read the blogs that i follow. i will still use twitter but much, much less than i do now.

essentially, i won't be connected with people in real life and people virtually in the same way that i have been up until now.

i need it. i need to put my work first. just for a while.

off into the wilderness i go...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

hurrah for meeting twitter pals in real life

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this title should actually read 'hurrah for making new friends' because that is what has happened.

say what you like about twitter but it has some huge plus points. now, i don't normally blog about my social life. this isn't what this blog is for. plus i think it's important to actually live my life rather than feel i need to document every twist and turn. in fact, dani hampton writes a lovely 'small reminder of being in the moment and blogging' here.

however, i have made some truly wonderful connections through twitter. i am a very proud 'twitter knitter' and was all set to meet many of the (mainly london-based) twitter knitters at a party but then couldn't afford to get there last month. but there are more parties being planned and i'm so excited to meet people in the flesh that i've been chatting to on twitter for almost two years!

there is a huge community of tweeters in bristol and i was invited along to a foodie gathering at the lido last summer. it was great fun and i met some really lovely people. because i was planning to move to brighton, i held off on meeting more bristol-based people since i already have a good amount of friends here and didn't want to meet new people that i would then not have time to keep up with. i have always been someone who doesn't have tonnes of friends but the friends i have are very dear to me.

then it turned out i wasn't leaving bristol after all and, after quitting a facebook and (temporarily) falling out of love with the internet, i decided to throw myself into reconnecting with old friends (which has been just lovely) and meeting new ones. i had initially followed emily when i thought i was moving to brighton as i thought it would be a great way to establish a set of people to meet for coffee etc. despite culling lots of brighton-based tweeters, emily and i had regularly chatted on twitter so i stayed in touch with her. there were regular attempts (still ongoing i'm pleased to report) by me, hels and fritha to get emily to move to bristol. emily mentioned she'd come to bristol to meet us but i never thought it would materialise. but, the other week, on her way back from a long weekend in devon, emily stopped off in bristol and met me and fritha for drinks at the deco lounge (hels was in thailand so unable to join us). it was *such* a lovely evening and i regularly cried with laughter.

a week later i met up with lia for the first time. we had hoped to bump into each other at the inaugural montpelier basement supper club but i was unable to go. we had drinks at moreish on chandos road since it was near where we both live and it was *so* lovely to meet her in real life. i know we'll stay in touch and i'm looking forward to knitting on her veranda at some point over the summer.



last week, i organised a big bristol twitter meet-up and 11 of us had drinks at the lido (pictured above via). i was *so* nervous (as i often feel anxious about big gatherings) but a great time was had by all. about half of the faces were knew to me but i already felt familiar with them from regular twitter conversations. i commented that fritha (who i'd only met a fortnight before) felt like an old friend. weird but true! the lido was a lovely backdrop for the event - (i have already blogged about the lido here, here and here. can you tell i'm a fan?) the only drawback was that they had arranged the tables (for 20 guests) in a horseshoe shape so it looked like we were at a wedding. a bit odd.

anyway, there were 11 of us there (all on twitter) including four knitters, a few foodies, a writer, an illustrator and a baby! jo had brought her sweet (still very new) baby, mersina, along and so we were all thrilled to get to meet her (and her mum!) for the first time. the only picture of the night shows fritha holding M. i borrowed this image off fritha's blog and you can read her write up of the night here.


(photo taken by martin, M's dad).

i am about to become a hermit in order to get my thesis written on time but, having met people from twitter over the past few weeks and many of us having exchanged mobile numbers, i know i'll see lots of them again (soon) - fritha and hels for drinks this week. also, lucy (a 'real-life' friend who is now a fully-fledged twitter knitter) and i are booked to eat at the montpelier basement supper club in april hosted by elly and dan. to read more about the supper club, you can see dan's blog entries here.

exciting!

joy

three things. just because.

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this has gone viral and i'm sure you've already seen it but it deserved a posting. i first saw it when elly (@pearcafe) posted it on twitter.

bristol photography

i discovered jonathan taphouse on twitter and have been a fan of his documentary photography ever since. a few weeks ago he posted this photo on flickr. for more of his stuff see here and he also does wedding photography here.


his caption read: 'BRISTOL: cycling offence -This gentleman cut across two lanes of moving traffic on his pushbike. Cursing and waving at the cars as they slowed and tooted!! ...what he didn't realise was that one of the cars was a police officer. Busted!!'

i told jonathan i was sure this was the big issue seller based outside tesco on whiteladies rd and jonathan suggested i show him the picture.
the other day, i asked him (the big issue seller - i don't know his name) how he was. not good as he'd been mugged on stokes croft the evening before and had a large bruise. i bought him some biscuits and showed him jonathan's photo on my iPhone. he was thrilled and let me take a picture of him to show jonathan his approval :)

Monday, 28 March 2011

2011 365 - best of march

i'm still keeping up with my photo a day project and you can see the whole set (which i upload to daily) here on flickr. my favourites from this month are here with the first 'sweet couple' being my top favourite. other photos i'm really pleased with have been (and will be) included in blog posts this month.




Sunday, 27 March 2011

writing space

a brief break from the world of twitter (and regularly reading blogs on my google reader) has been good. i have worked well this weekend and not been distracted by the nice weather and events going on in bristol (such as spring love food fest. i've sent e-mails to old friends and texts to new. and one of my closest friends is coming over this evening for wine and a bite to eat so all is good.

but i am about to become a bit of a hermit. it is the only way i will get my PhD finished on time. my aim is to submit a finished draft to my supervisors at the end of august. then i'll go on a much needed holiday for a few weeks in september (blog post on this to follow as it's super exciting). when i return, there'll be all those fiddly changes to make and shortly after it should be ready to submit to examiners.

as is usual when i write, my mind whirs (as mentioned in my last post). last night i cast on a new knitting project which will provide a nice break from study but i will also keep up with blogging. i have no less than 21 posts drafted in my head and, again, it is a nice break from work. i will aim to stay sociable and see friends two to three times a week (including weekends) but there may be weeks where, when the momentum is good, i just need to completely get my head down and not speak to a soul.

the space i write in is also very important to me. i have blogged about this ideal space before (on my old blog) but it didn't transfer properly when i moved from posterous to blogger (gah, that old problem rearing its ugly head again). so, here it is again.


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mum and i are currently talking about staying somewhere (for a week or two) in the next few months to write with zero distractions as we both have academic writing to do. we have that most middle class dilemma of trying to decide whose holiday home we'd like to stay in most.

i also really love working at kitchen tables. and if i could sit at either of these two and write, i would be very happy indeed. although entertaining at them would be even more fun.



these last two images were spotted on megan boley's pinterest. while i think pinterest is a great idea and have seen quite a few twitter pals using it, i have resisted the urge to join as it would just be another distraction from work. also, if you don't follow megan's blog, or follow her on twitter (@meganboley), you really should, she's one of my favourites. she's very funny and very beautiful but most of all i just love seeing her little boy benton grow. he is (no exaggeration) one of the sweetest babies i've ever seen and megan takes simply gorgeous pictures of him. see?




right, back to work for a few hours for me. enjoy your sunday afternoon everyone.

n x

Friday, 25 March 2011

taking time out

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i'm taking a (long) weekend off. no, not to have leisurely breakfasts, pootle round bristol and hang out in the sun. i can recognise the signs - a long (for me) previous blog post, post-it notes on my coffee table reminding me what future posts i want to write, a very long e-mail to fritha and thoughts whirring about what to knit next. all these activities mean i'm avoiding what i really need to be doing - my PhD.

i have a very tight timetable to be implemented today (or maybe tomorrow...) to make sure i get this thesis submitted on time. so, i'm taking the weekend off twitter and blogging. i'll keep posting my daily pics on instagram and my flickr 365 set because that's not distracting. i'll catch up with blogs through my trusty google reader next week and, if i'm progressing well, i may reply to DMs or @ messages. but, essentially, i won't be checking what else is going on.

wishing you all a lovely weekend and i'll see you on the other side.

n x

Thursday, 24 March 2011

in the heart of the moon

last saturday, everyone was all a flutter with excitement about the super moon. i went to the deco lounge for drinks with my friend eszter and snapped this picture on my trusty iPhone as we walked up cotham hill.


it was quite incredible. so low and heavy in the sky. and so big! when i got home, i saw that channel 4 news were asking people to tweet them their #supermoon pictures. i duly tweeted but never thought i'd get a response having seen some of the other incredible shots taken with better cameras and super lenses. they immediately re-tweeted it it (to those of you not on twitter, they shared it with their followers) and it has, to this date, had 855 views. and the next day they posted it in their super moon gallery.


i took a screen shot from my iPhone to capture it immediately. so pleased :) you can see the other fabulous entries here - all way better than mine but i like that mine captures the moon in the city.

one of my favourites posted on twitter / in the blogosphere was charlie's moon


which hels (charlie's girlfriend and my twitter twin - an in joke, you had to be there yadi yada) posted on her fabulous blog.

last night, after a great night out meeting twitter pals (blog post also to follow on this), i was still awake at 3am knitting for japan (blog post to follow soon on this too) and pottering in my flat and i noticed the moon through the slats of my living room blind.






i can't have a post about the moon without my two favourite moon songs. what do you mean, you don't have a favourite moon song? get one tout suite! i'm inspired by the 30-day song challenge that fritha (@moonbeatle) and jo (@stillawake) have been taking part in (click on the links to see their songs) but i fell at the first hurdle 'name your favourite song' as i couldn't possibly name just one favourite. but these two are definitely two of my favourites.

nick drake - pink moon



this next, is actually called 'hawa dolo' but it's from ali fakre toure & toumani diabaté's album in the heart of the moon (where i borrowed my blog post title from).



i think this song is utterly beautiful. and i love the album cover so here is a better image


however this song also makes my heart hurt. i'm sure, if i ever saw it performed live, i would be in floods of tears. so, even though i'm feeling ever so happy today, excuse me while i go and have a little weep. i blame the #supermoon.

nancyflowers' wardrobe update


head on over to my sister blog to see the latest update of nancyflowers' wardrobe.

Monday, 21 March 2011

a virtual (very high quality!) jumble sale - introducing nancyflowers' wardrobe

having spent the last few days thinking about how to raise money for charities, i now need to raise some for myself. my PhD scholarship doesn't go into my account again until 1 april and, my goodness, that seems a long way away.

i have no idea whether advertising my beautiful (mainly unworn, still with tags on!) clothes and accessories on-line will work but i wanted to try and cut out the middle man. plus i need funds as soon as is possible and eBay and a dress agency will take much much longer.

so, i have created a sister blog - http://nancyflowerswardrobe.blogspot.com/ in the hope that people will flock there purchasing bargains galore. here are some sneak peeks at what's on offer but i will be adding more over the next few days:



*waits by the phone*

Sunday, 20 March 2011

MSF p/hop



it is now just over a week that the earthquake and tsunami hit japan. i am still glued to news reports on the emerging footage, the clean up operation and tales of survival. of course, those that did survive are having to cope with the nuclear crisis and many are displaced due to any or all of these disasters. the fact that there is so much snow just seems so very unfair on top of everything else.

it is true that japan is a highly developed country with infrastructure and teams who were ready to cope with earthquakes and tsunamis. but it is the scale, and the combination of disasters, which makes it so incomprehensible and upsetting and is the reason why japan still needs help.

this week, i have been sorting out yarn to donate to a very worthwhile cause - MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) via MSF Phop. MSF have explained that they have not launched a specific appeal for japan but  are drawing on existing resources and have a small team based there. you can read about what they are currently doing here.

MSF p/hop is a fantastic way to raise funds through knitting and all things yarn. 'p/hopping' involves getting hold of yarn which has been advertised on their ravelry group and donating to them (with all proceeds going directly to MSF). you decide how many pennies to give per hour of pleasure, hence the term 'p/hop'. genius! you can also download one of their patterns. just don't forget to donate to MSF p/hop afterwards. you can read more about what is involved here. they just recently won an award for 'most creative fundraiser' at the just giving awards. i first p/hopped in response to the haiti appeal and the wonderful clare, aka @GingerKnits, was one of the recipients of my first lot of donated yarn. i have borrowed this photo from her blog of the wool and card i sent her:


so, this time around, i am donating the following:


head over to my ravelry post to see the details of what is pictured above and get donating!

i am doing more knitting for japan but will write this up in a separate blog post where i will link to a few other great ideas to raise funds.

happy knitting / donating / p/hopping.

x

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

sad

it is late and i have just finished writing for a deadline tomorrow. i have a PhD supervision tomorrow so need to go to bed now but i just wanted to post this before i sleep.

i am going to blog about aid agency efforts and knitting for japan over the next few days when i have more time. it has felt wrong to blog about anything since the horrific earthquake and tsuanami hit japan. it is just so utterly heartbreaking and i can't stop thinking about it. 

as i worked this evening, i listened to one of my favourite albums - sufjan stevens' 'greetings from michigan the great lake state'. the song 'redford' came on and i instantly thought of japan.



my friends in japan and their families are ok but my thoughts are with those that were less fortunate. but thoughts are not enough at a time like this and that is why i'll be posting soon about other ways to help.

nancy x

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

2011 365 - a little of february

so i'm still managing to keep up with taking (at least) one picture a day for the 2011 365 project and i upload them daily to my flickr set here. but i stopped posting them weekly on the blog as that felt like a chore. i wanted to share some of my favourite from february though so here they are: