Monday, 5 September 2016

My Month in Numbers 2016: August

Hello, hello.

I won't lie, I'm definitely struggling to keep up with my Month in Numbers but I'm determined to see the year out (marking 7 years of numerical-life-documenting) before setting it gently to one side. (I may cry ...)

And it's not just my own regular feature I'm struggling to carry on with ... I've also let the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt slide and, as September arrived, I would usually join in with Shimelle's Learn Something New Everyday project too ... but I can't seem to get going with that either.

I'm trying not to read too much into all of this (even though it's giving me a few pangs) as it just feels like another in a long line of shifts in focus I've had over the last year. And it's not like I'm not being creative any more ... I'm just not yet sharing everything I've been up to.  When I've got something properly share-worthy to tell ... I'll be telling you. I swear. You won't be able to shut me up.

And now ... before I postpone this for another week ... to the numbers ...

100 people, 1 novelist, 1 basement
 I travelled up to Waterstones Newcastle last month to hear novelist Jessie Burton discussing her latest book The Muse. You might know Burton from her bestselling debut novel The Miniaturist which the BBC have just announced they're adapting into a 3 part series due to air in 2017, but here she was, rightly, focussing on her new work which I read this summer on its release.

It's the 3rd author event I've attended this year and I'm not sure I'll ever get tired of hearing from people who've gone through the entire process from having a tiny idea and then nurturing it into a papery object that other people can hold in their hands. They make it all seem 'possible'.

We even sat in the front row, which came in useful as there was no stage, so if we'd had to sit further back I'm not sure we'd have been able to see her amid the other warm bodies in the stifling basement.

And I say 'we' because, for once, I didn't go alone. I met up with Dawn of the lovely Book and Brew blog  (Book and Brew. You can imagine why I felt she and I might get along.)

We met up in a slightly hipstery cafe - like bloggers are legally meant to do and we both took photos of the Jessie Burton window displays. For important Instagramming purposes. (I'm @withjuliekirk Dawn is @bookandbrew2719).

And, unlike the last time I met up with someone in 'real life' who I'd befriended online (which I wrote all about, in graphic, bodily detail last month in a post all about periods) nothing surprising happened to me in the toilets ... unless you count this ...

My 5th dachshund of the month:
Last month, in my crafty work life - I was commissioned by a magazine to work on 4 dachshund-themed items. Dog-phobic me. Not that I was afraid of paper and card dogs .. it was just a strange task to write up the text having to say nice things about man's best friend! But hey, I'm a professional .. and even I can see that they're cute dogs, so I finished it and sent it all off.

Then, inside the Tyneside Cinema cafe, where I'd met Dawn, I went to the loo only to be greeted by this chap:
Depending on how philosophical you're feeling it was either a sign from the universe that there's simply no getting away from your fears ... or just an advert for the Wiener Dog movie.

Now, while my crafting work's still fresh in my mind:

250 greeting cards, 10 gift bags, 13 gift tags: (BTW: for a few minutes after taking this photo I couldn't find the biscuits which I knew I'd put down in the mess somewhere ... #spottheRichTea)
I decided to sort out all of the projects I make for the magazine which then get returned to me following publication ... which took up a lot of space! Sometimes you take your own work for granted don't you? But en masse like that - several years' worth of my work laid out before me - I have to admit, with  all the colours, all the designs, all the care and attention  I impressed myself!  (BTW: If you fancy taking some of the 250 cards off my hands they're available in my Etsy shop)

And speaking of  Etsy ...

I reached over the 600 mark in my happy customer Etsy feedback!
I ask for feedback from my customers because I personally read feedback before ordering from a new seller as it's a useful barometer of quality and trustworthiness. So when I receive feedback (which you can read here) it really makes my day knowing that not only was that customer happy with their product and service but that future customers will now see those kind words and go on to trust me with their money and expectations. If you've ever left feedback for my shop or any independent seller, on Etsy or any other platform, then you've done a good thing - thank you!

Over 200 pairs of shoes from over 2000 years:
No, that's not what I bought last month, although you'd be forgiven for thinking ... it was actually the contents of the latest high-profile fashion-history exhibition at the Bowes Museum:
The Shoes: Pleasure & Pain exhibition was, as you might imagine, an absolute dream of a day out for a shoe-lover like me. I didn't take any photos inside - I wasn't sure it was allowed - but it's just as well as I'd have wanted to take sooooooo many that I might have missed absorbing the actual items in front of me. If you want to catch the exhibition it's at Bowes (County Durham) until 9th October before touring internationally. Check out more from the exhibition, including the thousands of red shoelaces dangling from the ceiling (which I couldn't stop looking at!!!) here.

After visiting the exhibition we walked into Barnard Castle right past a sign outside a church hall which read:
"Charity Book Sale. All Books 50p"
So we turned around promptly and spent a long while browsing the entire room filled with tables covered in boxes of books:
I bought 6 including a 111 year old copy of Hamlet!

(You could call it an anniversary gift ... as August 19th marked one year since I saw Benedict Cumberbatch play Hamlet. But you'd probably forgotten about that because I've never mentioned it since ... )

After finding those bookish gems my treasure-seeking good fortune continued ...

I discovered  2 vintage floral pillowcases, still in their original packaging,  in a charity shop for just £2.99!
Gorgeously gorgeous loveliness!!! Can;t wait to combine them with some of my other vintage bedding.

And, while we were shopping, we also spotted ... 1 cast member of Game of Thrones. Or at least we're 99.9% certain it was Gwendoline Christie, strolling past us which sounds incredibly unlikely ... but she's a striking woman, and not easily mistaken. We didn't bother her ... we just took great pleasure in seeing the almighty Brienne of Tarth window shopping in a little market town!

And finally ...

I watched the Jake Gyllenhall film 'Demoliton' twice in 48 hours:
When I work from home I rarely, if ever, take advantage of an empty sofa and a remote control to myself and watch TV during the day. But one day last month on a day I'd scheduled a day off my plans were cancelled last thing leaving me with time on my hands ... so I put a big mug of tea in those hands, plus a few butter crunch biscuits, put a blanket over me, and rented out Demolition from the Virgin movies on demand thingy.

When I told James that it was worth watching  (my amazing review "His wife dies then he smashes stuff up" clearly won him over) he watched it too ... and I sat in on it again because: Jake Gyllenhaal.

If you too fancy ... well if you fancy Jake Gyllenhaal then it's a no brainer, but it's also for you if you fancy watching a good film, with an unusual love/grief story. And, like me, you may be able to use it to win around someone who wouldn't normally choose an emotional / human interest type movie as they can enjoy:

  • all that smashing up of stuff (it made me cringe ... so much destruction!!) 
  • while you are left to enjoy - I know I should write something like "the great script" here ... but I just keep thinking about the scene where he's crying in the bathroom. Naked.

OK, I think that's a good place for me to leave things and duck out of here. If nothing else you'll want to get on with searching for and renting out Demolition your day.

I hope September's treating you kindly ... mine's OK so far but I'm not sure about that chill in the air. I don't approve.

Julie x


  1. OK. I think there might be something wrong with me. I read the Jake Gyllenhaal paragraph(s) without a twitch, but suddenly found myself feeling all 'um, yes please' when you mentioned a chill in the air. Going to blame the humidity here today and not dig any further into my questionable taste in men...

  2. Talk about saving the best bit for last! "...the scene where he's crying in the bathroom. Naked."

  3. oh no Julie, don't give up Month in Numbers... I really look forward to the beginning of the month to read your take on what you've been up to AND I love your funny pictures articles so please don't give that up either, or LSNED for that matter. It's a bit like all the good shops finishing!! and chocolate bars going smaller but the same price and raspberry and almond slices ( Costa) changing shape!! xx

  4. What is it they say? We all feel the need to reinvent ourselves every seven years? Maybe creatively with your "shifts" the best is yet to come..

  5. ps: that feedback number is to be celebrated! Brilliant!

  6. You know, I had totally forgotten you'd seen BC in Hamlet ;-)
    Am now impatiently waiting to hear about those untold things you're up to whilst giving up LSNED and the Scavenger Hunt!

  7. Sometimes things morph, and sometimes they just ask to stop - but I will miss your MIN all the same :). There is a bumper crop in here - so much creativity!


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