Posts Tagged ‘Oxford’

I dream of getting a puppy. A house with a garden and a vegetable patch. Time to create, to write, to paint. To spend time doing yoga, dancing, hooping, snowboarding, roller skating and playing for exercise. Meeting new friends and cherishing old relationships; friends and family. Completing new challenges and dreaming up new schemes. Helping others do the same and enjoying the adventure with like minded explorers. Not being afraid to try. Never being afraid to try.

2014 is just around the corner, full of promise, hope, potential, opportunity. It’s time to dream, to let imagination run riot, to paint a rainbow of possibility across your mind. Tint up your glasses with rose, etch those clouds with a silver lining. Make it happen, make it count, build up your dreams and run out into the world screaming at the top of your voice. Come on 2014 let’s see what we can do together.

In 2014 a friend and I are starting a club for 30 women in the Oxford area. It’s called the New Year’s Resolution Club. We’ll meet once a month for “class” which will be a monthly top up of creative journaling, networking and goal setting and tracking. It’s going to be a blast and I’m super excited to meet our first recruits for the year!

If you are in the Oxford area and fancy being part of our group, class enrolment is open! Sign up today and we look forward to meeting you in January!






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This year is ALL about the good stuff. Love, love everywhere, it’s in the air, it’s along the strip, on the beaches, by the lake and rolling of the oceans. At least for my nearest and dearest, that is. We are just over half way through the year, and I am a mere seven weeks from my own “big day” and already I have been to five wonderful weddings. I have one more to attend the week before my own, and then a further three that I know of before the end of 2013. Wowsers.

And as I approach my own wedding I really get an appreciation for each and every wedding day, all unique, all having so much effort poured into it by the couple, and all with their own suprises.

The smorgasboard of weddings that I have had the pleasure of attending this year have led from the glitz and neon of Las Vegas, with Elvises (yes, multiple) and a pink cadillac, to a beautiful Oxford garden wedding with performances in a round house and tightropes, unicycles and hula hoops, to ceilidh on the isle of Guernsey, to a hymn-kareoke Cromer-Brazillian wedding in windswept Norfolk to a Swedish wedding in a castle by the lake with moose and wild boar in the surrounding parklands… it’s been a blast!

And much of my year has been about the big “W”. Trying not to become that bridezilla that I’ve heard about, trying not to obsess, trying to stick to budget, trying to keep everything co-ordinated and realistic. But it’s a tricky biscuit. It’s throwing the biggest party of your life, with all the people you care about the most on the planet. And you’ll be standing across the way from the one you have decided to spend the rest of your life with, gazing into their eyes, telling them you’re together, forever… It’s a big deal.

Luckily I’ve had the help of four of the most fabulous best friends a gal can have, calming me, encouraging me, humouring my crazy ideas and initial lack of direction. They’ve tirelessly made miles of bunting, planned activities, built props and pinwheels and advised on dresses, attire, the whole shebang. They rock.

And I’ve discovered the joy of the internet. Pinterest to collect my ideas or flowers, cakes, up-dos, natural make up, I’ve ordered heart shaped hole punches, rubber stamps, brown luggage labels for place holders, blue and silver sugared almonds, glow in the dark balloons, sparklers, a fire pit (!), canisters of helium, blackboards, wedding underwear, rainbow wellies…. you name it, it’s probably arrived at my poor unsuspecting mum’s house in big boxes…

And now I have three weekends, back in Essex meeting, coordinating, making, doing and mending, to finalise and primp my big day. It’s going to be here in a quick flash, and then gone into the wind. And it’ll be one of those sweet and crazy days in 2013, the year of many wonderful weddings, all new beginnings, new chapters and new adventures that lie ahead…

Wedding in Las Vegas

Wedding in Las Vegas

Tightrope bride

Tightrope Bride

Sparkly hair band

Bit of bling

Wedding in Guernsey

Guernsey Wedding

Cromer wedding

Cromer wedding

Love bug wedding

Love bug wedding

Swedish church

Swedish church

Swedish wedding

Swedish wedding

By the lake in Sweden

By the lake in Sweden

Letter stamps

Making placeholders

Place holders

Place holders


The wedding spreadsheet



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Every day when I walk down the hill on my way to work I pass a small shop that brings a small piece of Paris right into my commute. The most delicious smells waft out of the open door and I turn to view the spectacular and kooky window display of delights. I’m referring to ‘Chateau Gateaux’ a French Pattiserie that sits right on my doorstep and brings a few seconds of heaven to my nostrils each and every day.
I spotted something quite wonderful in that window display back a few months ago. I fell in love with a pastry. I saw it again and again and promised myself one day I’d have one. Perhaps, with the right hint, I’d get one for my birthday… I showed my favourite window to my friend Jenny, who described it as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crazy’. Yes. That’s why I love it.
Today my yoga class was cancelled, I had a spare fiver in my pocket. I walked past my window and caught his eye, he was the last one in the shop.
Now is the time.
I bought him, the ‘Petite Souris’. He was placed in a simple box and I was so excited as I carried him home. Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost, but not quite.
Luckily he tastes as beautiful as he looks. One of life’s little pleasures on my way home from work…


Petite Souris


Going going ...

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The last couple of days Oxford has been iced with a beautiful blanket of frost. Jack crept out in the middle of the night and danced along the streets, across the park and over the rooftops. It’s magical and it’s cold. Oxford is definitely at its most beautiful when the sun shines and when the frost comes. As I was walking to work yesterday I was extremely distracted by a secret that Jack Frost has uncovered…

Oxford is home to an army of spiders.

spider webThere are cobwebs EVERYWHERE. On every iron railing along the park, covering bushes like giant crocheted shawls, over bins, down lamp-posts, over the bridges…

Bush with spider websAnd it’s one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen. The spidery webs covered in tiny little ice stars. It truley took my breath away, I felt honoured to witness something so delicate and pretty and created by nature. Now I just wonder where all the spiders are hiding. There must be millions of them running all over this city!

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St Giles Fair OxfordIt’s official, summer is over. At least in Oxford. The St Giles Fair, a huge wonderful monster of a neon fair, passed through town at the start of this week.

Yesterday afternoon, I strolled through the fabulous chaos on my walk home from work. Gawking at the crazy rides which threw screaming teenagers up in the air, just inches from the historical colleage brickwork. Inhaling the glorious sickly sweet smell of candy floss on a stick.

And this morning I made the same walk in reverse, as I headed to work, and it was all gone. Not a trace left behind.
St Giles Fair symbolises the end of summer in Oxford. So now, with summer over, it’s time to embrace autumn.

I LOVE autumn. I think the transition months are actually my favourite. I start to get excited about autumn half way through summer. I’m naturally a person who likes to wrap up in layers, preferably woollen, scarves, legwarmers, thick socks, woolen dresses, fingerless mits, hoods, fur lined boots, ear-muffs. Yes.

Feet in leavesI love kicking leaves and I’m pleased that I’ve seen small piles of them already, in their gorgeous burnt colours, and I gravitate towards them and walk through them. Soon there will be more.

I love a bright blue sky and a fresh breeze. Perfect for me is bright even to wear sunglasses but cold enough to have a body warmer and scarf. Heaven. The skies seem to retract at this time of year and become somehow higher. The clouds wisp and the brilliance of the sky makes picture perfect scenes of the Oxford colleges in their cotswold yellow brick at every turn.

So tonight, since it’s the day after the end of the fair, and also inspired my the arrival on my mat of October’s Country Living (all about Autumn; pumpkin soups, walks in the country, pulling out the knitting needles…), I decided to do a meditation on Autumn, Blue Peter style.

There was a 5 back-to-back episode marathon of Falling Skies in our flat tonight (we just bought the Season 1 DVD), so I amused myself by pulling out my back issues of CL and other mags and starting to cut and paste, old school style, anything that reminded me of the things I love about autumn. It was very cathartic, and a dose of colour therapy and gave me pause to linger on the things I love and look forward to over the next few months… And I FINALLY got round to doing some scrap-booking. Hurrah!

So, here is the result.

Autumn scrapbook

And I can keep looking at it, and go back into my meditation.

So I’m excited about pulling on my bedsocks, making my own squash soups, baking more cakes, dusting off my knitting needles, planning a Halloween party, getting my winter woolies out, going for walks in the parks when the leaves are falling, taking photos as the season changes, snuggling in at the weekends and reading more books… ahhh…

And I’m not sure if the badger is symbolic of autumn, I just loved this picture!

Happy autumn 🙂

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This weekend was all about enjoying the moment. No plans for projects, no expectations, no chores around the flat and no presentations to prepare for work. No guilt, no planning, no pressure. Time to have a holiday in my home town, with a bunch of fabulous girls, dressed, mostly, as pirates.

So, a good friend was in town (visiting from Slovenia) for her hen-do, and it was time to show her the best of Oxford, which was excellent timing as it co-incided with the hottest (and sunniest) weekend of the year so far.

I really don’t think that many places in the world beat Oxford in the sunshine. It comes into its own. Everyone is out in the parks, playing, relaxing, picnicing, the streets are busy and buzzy. The city and it’s amazing historic buildings glowing sand yellow under the blue sky, it’s gorgeous green parks and the sparkly winding rivers are absolutely beautiful. There’s also an incredible stillness that seems to descend on the city, even with all the people winding through its streets, the city seems to sigh with relief as it basks in the warm rays.

Our adventures including punting, on the river, swishing our swords and sipping fizz in the sunshine, escaping for some shade at the Grand Cafe, trays piled high with duvet-soft scones and pots of clotted cream, sipping the most refreshing tea, exploring the backstreets clutching clues and gazing at gargoyles, following a historical treasure hunt, winding up in the park, relaxing and catching up.

Last night took us out on the town with dinner and cocktails and dancing to the early hours, then we were all back to the Youth Hostel to sleep on bunk beds (despite my comfy bed being a mile down the road). Today we caught more rays by the river, had a lazy lunch and then headed off for a couple hours of swinging round some poles and getting battered and bruised in the name of burlesque. Ever looking for an opportunity, I had a great conversation with the owner of the Pole Dance school and there may be some opportunity for me to run some bellydance workshops at the weekends! Hurrah!

This felt like a proper weekend, close to home but still with a holiday feel, it was wonderful to be in the moment, playing and laughing, with friends. This is what it’s about. No stress. Ahhh. When I finally came home, it was back to business, having to rustle up a birthday cake for Chris, who’s due back from his weekend in Lisbon late tonight – it’s his birthday today! Only problem is that I put the mixture in the wrong size tins and it came out a little, erm, flat. Whoops – looks like two huge biscuits, sandwiched with chocolate fudge icing. Hillarious, but who cares, I’m had an in the moment, fabulous weekend, the summer came to visit and we went out to play. Hurrah!

And if the weekend couldn’t get any better, Mystic Pizza was on the TV tonight, yes yes YES!

Now, with thoughts starting to move away from the moment (it was great while it lasted!) I am thinking about a week from now, when I will be in the desert, under the stars, in Jordan! So excited!

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South Park

A beautiful Oxford day

I’ve been really reflective of late. Spending more time on blogs, browsing people’s thoughts and dreams. Downloading books and samples of books to read, started reading them and then flitted over to something else. Thought about the courses and workshops I should attend. Planned out my fantasy round-the-world trip. Pondered alternative careers and lifestyles, once I have my theoretical family (after weighing up the pros and cons of having that family in the first place). I realise I am spending more and more time in my head, and less out in the world doing stuff.

ACTION. I need action. It’s all very well sitting on my sofa twiddling with the laptop, or up at my desk tapping away, or in my bed, under the covers with my kindle and its built in light into the wee hours, reading about it all. I need to start doing stuff, otherwise it’ll remain in the realm of possibility forever.


At the botanical gardens

It was a beautiful day today, the sun finally made an appearance and the rain, that seems to have been falling steadily for the last month, finally ceased. I went into town with zero purpose and headed to the Botanical Gardens for some quality time with the flowers.

OxfordAfter that, I started walking up the high street and stopped to sit down by a bus stop and just watched people carrying out their business for a while (behind my sunglasses). It felt good just to be amongst people, not interacting, just being there.

I then went to Trailfinders and booked a holiday to Costa Rica.


Well, it’s not 100% booked, just “on hold” for a few days. But I’ll confirm it tomorrow. I’m such a creature of impulse, this is me trying to be less impulsive and giving myself 24 hours before releasing the funds on the credit card.
I just couldn’t help myself.

The guy on the phone (at Gap Adventures, my favourite travel tour company) said that the worst thing about Costa Rica is having to come home. I’m so excited.

So I think I’ve had enough action for today. Back to thinking tomorrow, it’s much cheaper.

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