Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Overly Talented Kelly - Picture This by Kelly Stanley

Far too many years ago now, my friends and I each decided upon an adjective for each other. Mine was Super...there was a Gorgeous, a Lovely, an Evil, amongst many others. Kelly's was Radiantly Beautiful, because everyone in the world was in love with Kelly. As well they should be, because she is indeed Radiantly Beautiful.

Now I feel like we should change that adjective. Yes, people should still be falling over themselves to be in love with Kelly but because she is Overly Talented, as well as Radiantly Beautiful. Kelly is one of those people you kinda want to hate because they're just so good at everything they decide to try, but you can't because she's just too damn nice. Ergh.

When I first met Kelly she was a tiny young thing, rocking out on stage and winning a competition for doing so. Some of my favourite songs of hers are from these very early days. But she was never one to just stick with one talent. As well as being an Overly Talented singer/songwriter/musician, she is also an Overly Talented artist. This is the crux of the matter.

Kelly makes her living doing all these wonderfully creative things, from teaching singing and performing live, to creating art and selling it. I'm here to point you in the direction of the lovely things she creates and hope that maybe something takes your fancy for yourself or as a gift.

First thing I'll tell you about is her drawings. I love her drawings of animals, and you can bet that once I get my cat (when I am a grown up/do not have an "allergic" housemate, it is one of my highest priorities) I will be commissioning a drawing from Kelly. Here are a few examples:

Totes adorbs, right?

Another thing Kelly does is paint plates. These make me hungry.

Guess what! There's MORE!

I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid for Kelly last summer, and it was an entirely beautiful day. Much of the loveliness was created by the Bride herself, and she has now added those beauties to the things you can commission and buy!

This is the topper Kelly made for her own cake...that's her and Scott and little Bilbo, their pug!

I could show you a million examples of things that you will undoubtedly love, but it is far better that you look at her Etsy page and fall in love much more organically. Find Picture This on Etsy, and have a browse. I have managed to time this post slightly off...unfortunately Kelly is away for a little while having surgery (thinking of you Kelly!), but she will be back up and running very soon, I'm sure.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Right, let's just get one thing clear here. I hate running. I would say I always have, but I remember having enthusiasm once, in Year 3. It all went downhill from there...

I've tried to run so very many times since I (apparently) became an adult, and it never seems to work for me. I tried getting one of those little chippy things that goes in your shoe to spur me on because I'd be so interested in all the facts. Nope. Just got frustrated with picking the stupid thing up every ten seconds. Jen and Keith (sister and brother in law) have got into running, and not just running - TRIATHLONS - and have said I should give it another go. One of the two is less gentle about his suggestion. Not naming names. But you take what you will from the pronoun.

Well there was no chance I would be going for a triathlon. I love swimming, hate running, and loathe cycling as the very hell that it is. But, after some cajoling from those around me and a suggestion to use the NHS Couch to 5k app, I decided I would give it a final shot.

Guys, it seems to be working. I mean, it's not like I'm suddenly an avid runner and go crazy if I don't get my jogging fix, but I haven't stopped.

The app builds you up slowly, alternating walking and running. It's supposed to run for 9 weeks, and each week has a different run that you do three times, though the last 4 weeks are slightly different to this. You start out running for a minute, and then walking for 90 seconds, running in total 8 minutes. The first week I hated my life. I had my music playing, and just as I reached the point where I wanted to chop off my legs my phone decided I needed to hear "When your legs don't work like they used to before...." My phone has a sense of humour it would appear.

Now I'm halfway through. Today I completed the second run of week 4, and now am running a total of 16 minutes per half hour, with 5 minute blocks. I've absolutely gained fitness, and as much as towards the end of the half hour I am plodding along wishing I was on the sofa, I don't feel horrendous. Yes, today I was bright red for an intriguing length of time, but that is by the by. It was sunny.

I'm enjoying it more. I've been using a couple of apps to track what I'm doing - RunKeeper and Strava.

I enjoy that RunKeeper tells me how I compare to previous runs, telling me that I've set a new record for distance or time. I'm awful for forgetting to tell it I've stopped running today, which is annoying. It took me 15 minutes to remember today, so I can't tell how my time compared to the last one.

Strava was something Jen and Keith pointed me towards, and I've only just started using. It's similar to RunKeeper, in that it tracks where you've gone, how far, how fast etc., but it's much more social. You can follow people (not literally, that would be a terrifying and quite probably illegal app) and see what they've been doing...give Kudos (equivalent of a Facebook Like) and comment. It sates the need we all have to show off a little that we haven't just been sat at home on Netflix without being that person on Facebook that just makes you feel terrible as you allow the next episode to start in 7, 6, 5....
You can also add activities that aren't running, e.g. cycling (puke) or swimming. I'm sure you can see the obvious flaw here too, but it doesn't involve costly mobile phone repair and replacement. You can put in the app that you were swimming, how long for, and how far. Pools being the handy things they are, you know the length and as long as you remember how many lengths you did it's no big job to work it out. I've been attempting to swim on the days I don't run (not done terribly well due to my ears conspiring against me) so it's nice to have something that lumps all my exercise together. Or all my "official" exercise anyway. You go spend a day in Year 2 and tell me you haven't been exercising. I dare you.

So here we are. I'm still not a fanatic, but I'm not a hater. Hopefully in 4 and a half more weeks I will be able to run 30 mins/5k without stopping, something I have never achieved.

Tell me if you've made a similar attempt at running, I want any and all advice and tips you have to give. I'm perfectly prepared to love it, I just need a hand.


Hello blogging my old friend...

I've come to blog with you again...

Hey! It's me! No, for serious, it is! 
I know, I've left somewhat of a gap. Your lives must have felt pretty empty I would imagine...you have my deepest apologies. But never fear, I missed the blog, and I want to do it better this time around. A whole mess of life happened in the past year though, so I've got plenty of things to fill you in on. 
Where to start? Oh man, I've crocheted all the things. There was one big project that I so wanted to blog about, but as it was a present I had to keep my mouth shut. This was torture, all I wanted to do was whinge. I followed this wonderful pattern from Skeins and More, making a stormtrooper blanket for my brother's 37th birthday. 
Here is the final product...
I should have taken some in progress photos, but I was worried I'd accidentally send them onto birthday boy, or leave them on a memory card that I'd then give him after a wedding. Subterfuge is difficult. 
This took me four months (there is a slight possibility that this present was belated...) and I got through all of Game of Thrones in the process. Unfortunately I have now forged a complete association with crochet and GoT, so now when I watch I feel like I should be crocheting...I have yet to start another project, but I do fear for my productivity without the clash of swords and inevitable, yet still shocking and gruesome death as my soundtrack.
There have been other projects, but this one changed me, and quite possibly Bex. There was wool everywhere in the flat for a frighteningly long time. I have learned the following things:
 1) Blankets. Take. Forever.
 2) Actually though, FOREVER.
 3) Consider joining as you go with granny squares.
 4) You will be sad when it is over and the blanket goes away. 
Speaking of Bex, she is now no longer my friend in East London but my flatmate in East London! I managed to return to this wonderful city, but rather than going back west as I had thought, I have landed in Walthamstow. There are a lot of things I intend to tell you about Walthamstow, I'm excited, you should also be excited. 
This post has become rambly. I tell you what, I'm going to post this and start a new one for the next thing I want to talk about. Ooh! Suspense!