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Archive for January, 2010

Bump in the road

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I’ve recently escaped (after much/constant begging for release) from hospital and am at home being pampered to a slightly ridiculous degree. I’m feeling much better.

Not being well, being in hospital and everything involved in what that means for the future has been a real bump in the road for me. When you’re whizzing happily along the path on your (fantasy) bicycle – mine has long rainbow-coloured streamers flying from the handlebars and is named Juliette – it’s easy to be too wrapped up in watching the clouds overhead or calling to fellow cyclists behind you to notice a bump in the road. And when you hit the bump, and therefore the ground, it comes as much more of a shock than if you’d had your eyes to the ground, waiting for it.

A bit of me is angry at myself for being so blase about how lovely and easy the going was. And my assumptions that the path would always be smooth and lead exactly where I imagined.
But now that I’m clambering back into the saddle, I’m sad at the idea that I won’t be the person whistling along without a care in the world. That’s up to me though really. From now on, I’m going to make a concentrated effort to look closely at the pretty things around me and appreciate the people along for the ride. And when other bumps in the path appear in the future, I can’t say how grateful I am for all the friends and family I have who are waiting with magic cream, sticking plasters and homemade honeycomb!

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Tasty Delights

I forgot I made clementine curd! Well, I forgot to tell you I made it. From Jamie Oliver’s Christms magazine – which was great, actually.
And I forgot to take photos of said curd but please believe me when I tell you it did exist!
A tip for any curdmakers out there – it takes a long time stirring it to get it up to the correct consistency. I was thinking a 5 minute stir but no, it was nearer 20 mins. I think my clementines were very ripe though so may have been juicier than others, hence more liquid. Either way, stir away and then stir some more. You’re not doing it wrong.

In other news, I went to Loch Leven’s Larder with a lovely friend (and her mum, hehe!) the other day and got some components of my Seven Days of Specialness swap item. Very excited about this.
Loch Leven’s Larder itself is just fab – great little cafe and even better little shop. They were selling off festive items at 25% off everything which was nice but I’ll definitely be back as spring creeps in to see their new collection. Thanks for the introduction Annie!

Right, I’m off to do more swap-work!

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A place to make

I’ve finally got round to finding a wee nook for all my craft stuff. What a relief! I say ‘all’ my craft stuff, and that’s not quite true. There’s a load of lesser used material in a trunk in my bedroom but for the moment, here is the new home of my day-to-day sewing stuff.

Just need to paint it white and put on a beautiful new jewelled drawer handle I got at Bombay Duck and I’m done! Hmm, maybe retake the shot in daylight (when we get some) – it’s every so slightly fake-tan orange, no?

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Figs and Pigs

Cheeseburger. Supreme of chicken in rosemary and garlic. Rocket salsa verde. Chips. Wine.

It’s been a good 24 hours, gastronomically, here at badsparklythings Towers. Three days into my 101 in 1001 challenge and I’ve ticked two (of five) new Glasgow restaurant visits off my list. The Two Figs was the better of the pair, the chicken and rocket salsa verde were perfectly cooked and much more flavoursome than you might expect from chicken and leaves. Really great service too.
The Blind Pig was also good, albeit rather chilly (nowhere isn’t cold today, I suppose?), and the burger was a bit on the greasy side. And the bun, oh the bun – not the best. Make good buns. Seriously, a burger is not a good burger without an excellent bun. This one was too fluffy and fell apart. And buttered. WTF?
The Two Figs’ chips were also superior, although that was a close (and very happily-researched) call.

The lovely Laura chummed me to Byres Rd today, as dining companion as well as shopping assistant, helping me plough my way through the little treasure trove, Vintage Guru.
A delightful way to spend the most freezing afternoon since 1962. There may also have been some ‘just because’ gift purchasing but that’s for another day.

And finally, number 42 of the list was neatly ticked off – dentist duly visited, chompers are looking very shiny! Quite a productive day all in!

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A roof over our heads… Or not?

I live in a one-bedroom flat just now and, as much as I love the place, we definitely need some more space. We’ve been looking for a bigger flat/house for about a year now and still haven’t found it. This may be because I swing wildly from loving decrepit townhouses in the West End, that need years of work and upgrading, to Arts and Crafts cottages in the country that I’d need a 4×4 to get access to each day. Not the most practical house-hunter.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I just want to hurry up and find somewhere so I can move in this year. And to be honest, my (now not-so) secret reason for really, really wanting a house is so I can have one of these in my back garden.

Oh yes, it would be nice for our nieces and nephews to play in. A humorous retro nod. It would be a decorative item, really, a silly indulgence.

Except it wouldn’t be, at all – it would my sanctuary. I would sit in here every weekend and read Danny, Champion of the World and be in heaven. And during the week, I’d be inside – cooking or somesuch grown-up activity – and look out and imagine I was inside my caravan reading Danny, Champion of the World.

Strikes me as a bit ironic, though, that I can’t live my Romany, wanderlust-caravan fantasy until I have a bricks and mortar house and a patch of land to call my own. Hmmm.

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101 in 1001

Here is my list of 101 things to complete in 1001 days. My start date is tomorrow, Tues 5 Jan 2010 and my finishing date is Tuesday, 2 October 2012. Yikes!
Underway, italics
Complete, bold

1.Give blood
2.Take part in Project 365, photo a day for a year
3.Update badsparklythings twice a week
4.Get married
5. Have a baby (in progess, Spartacus is due to arrive 15 Jan 2011)

6.Learn to knit properly
7.Make a dress for me
8.Sew a quilt
9.Learn flower arranging
10.Create a proper space for craft stuff
11.Make eight cushions for living room/bedroom
12.Knit a scarf
13.Hold three craft nights at my house
14.Make ten things from Meet Me at Mike’s book (thanks Annie!)
15.Bind a book
16.Make a mini-scrapbook about Shawlands and our haunts

17.Write a story
18.Send story to be published

19.Visit 5 European capital cities (Paris, Aug 2010)
20.Visit Andy in Dublin
21.Go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York
22.Go on a girls’ weekend away (Rock en Seine, Aug 2010)
23.Go to 5 British towns/cities I’ve never visited.
24.Drive the Big Sur to/from LA to San Francisco
25.Go to Portobello market
26.Update travel journal after every trip away

27.Go on a picnic
28.Go for afternoon tea in Gleneagles
29.Have a BBQ party in Maxwell Park
30.Swim in a Scottish river (April 2010, near Glencoe. Freeeezing!)
31.Go on a tree swing
32.Go to the Shawland’s farmers’ market (Now going every fortnight!)
33.Sunbathe in the park (June 2010, while taking the summer off work – did this most days with Lux)
34.Show someone a part of Glasgow that they’ve never seen (Took Katy from London around town. She loved the Art School.)
35.Take Tony to the Wallace Monument and Corrieri’s (25/4/10, ice cream at Corrieri’s, delicious as ever).
36.Release a message in a bottle into the sea
37.Have a Lost duvet day (Ended up having a par-tay and it was good!)
38.Have a Sex and the City 2 night out/party (went out to 29 with Lesley, Lisa and Caroline, twas fab!)
39.Fly a kite
40.Organise a party for mum and dad’s 50th birthdays
41.Buy a set of personal Moo cards

42.Change to a new dentist and go every 6 months
43.Clean the car, inside and out, three times
44.Sort out Tesco Clubcard and fob. And use the vouchers!
45.Buy, fill in and keep up to date an address book
46.Sort and convert the change box every six months
47.Sort out a paperwork system for the house

48. Watch 10 foreign language films
49.Buy an original work of art
50.Learn more about the details of the history of the problems in the Middle East (I’m sure I should know more about this…)
51.Go to 10 galleries/museums I’ve never been to
52.Go to 5 Glasgow restaurants that I’ve not tried yet (3/5 – Blind Pig, Two Figs, Cookie, Bar 92, Trans-Europe Cafe)
53.Put 10 podcasts and 10 TV shows on my iPod to listen to/watch on the way to work
54.Learn a Burn’s poem off by heart every Burn’s night (1/2. John Anderson, my Jo)
55.Watch my Dawson’s Creek DVD boxset
56.Read 30 books from 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
57.Go to three talks or lectures on any subject
58.Climb 3 Munros (doubling my tally. Oh dear…)
59.Learn a poem off by heart for my birthday each year (2010: Dorothy Parker’s, If I Had a Shiny Gun)
60.Go to an Aye Write event
61.Go wild camping (Glencoe, June 2010, the Hidden Valley. With Lux, Tony and Spartacus bump!)

62.Be vegetarian for 28 days
63.Eat breakfast before work every day for a week
64.Be a size 10 again
65.Get up at 6am every day for a week
66.Run a 5k Race for Life
67.Keep Nutracheck up to date for one month
68.Exercise for 1 hour a day, four times a week, for 28 days
69.Use my pedometer and record 10,000 steps a day for 28 days

70. Redecorate kitchen
71. Redecorate bedroom
72. Redecorate bathroom
73. Sell our flat
74. Buy a new place (get keys on 30 Sept 2010!)
75. Send and receive 50 postcrossing cards

76. Have five facials/massages (1/5)
77.Grow my nails and have a a manicure every time I have my hair cut
78.Use handcream every night before bed for 28 days

79.Go on a first aid course
80.Get a new washing machine (20/4/10, yaas!)
81.Raise money for Shelter
82.Complete snowboarding lessons up to Level 6
83.Take a cookery course
84.Take horse-riding lessons
85.Keep a one line per day diary

86.Make 5 new kinds of soup
87.Learn how to make chocolate souffle.
88.Eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant
89.Make cake/pies for Gran and Papa’s sheltered housing centre every three months
90.Try out ten new recipes and have people over for a ‘taste test dinner’ (2/10 – harissa meatballs, Sunday Times beef stew)
91.Make ice cream
92.Beg the Pakastani Cafe people to teach me how to make mutton curry
93.Make clementine curd

94.Take Aunt Chrissie for lunch/into town every 3 months (The Stables, Mar 10, The Stables, June10)
95.Take lunches to work every day for 28 days
96.Take mum and dad to a wine-tasting dinner
97.Buy and send 10 ‘just because’ presents (2/10, Annie, Laura)
98.Print photos of nieces and nephews for Gill
99.Have five girly nights in with Cher (my sister, not the aging popstar)

100. Take a photo and post about each Thing
101. Celebrate the end of my 101 challenge by drinking champagne, copiously.

Wish me luck!

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And I have a host of things that I’ve been ‘saving’ to start in this lovely new year. Some very fun (a list of 101 things I want to accomplish) and some not so (stop eating cake so often).

One of the good and fun things I’ve decided I want to do is show people what a completely fab place Glasgow is. Do you know anyone who is coming to the Glasgow for the first time (or the twentieth time, even) who would like an eager, enthusiastic tour guide? Or maybe you’d like to visit and see bits of Glasgow you didn’t know existed? I will include ice-cream/coffee/ale/cocktail (delete as preference) stops along the way.

An open invitation to anyone that fancies getting to know Glasgow better – for free!

PS. In the spirit of the post, I have changed the banner image at the top to one of Glasgow’s classic tenements. Not the one I live in, but ones I used to walk past every day at work.

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