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Category Archives: Auto?/Biography

Check Me With My Blog Award

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Thanks so much to the lovely Rebecca at Thrify Chick for calling me a stylish blogger! Flattered much? Oh, yes!

Anyway, the way this things works is that anyone who is tagged as a stylish blogger is supposed to list seven things about themselves which you might not already know and then tag seven other bloggers whose posts they particularly enjoy.

Rebecca’s already listed a bunch of the blogs I love, but here are seven more you should totally check out if you haven’t already done so:

Roniretro by Elinor – Truly a stylish blogger; while I stick to cliched vintage choices, she works corduroy and nautical cuts and pretty much anything else which takes her fancy and she makes it look good!
Cherrystones and Cwtches by Lola – Goes without saying!
Shopaholly by Holly – She writes so well.
Sparklesmith by Wooz – Such prettiness.
A Little Bit of Katyness by Katy – She also has a Steve.
Conversation Pieces by Zoe – Although she seems to be inundated with awards already!
And I’d like to name Paper Cut Panic as number seven even though she hasn’t blogged in aaaaaaaaaages. Consider this to be me applying the pressure, Kirsten! She’s one of the most stylish people I know and very entertaining so let’s all urge her to put her fingers to her keyboard once again.

Now for the difficult bit. Seven things you may not already know about me (this took me an hour and a half and several oatcakes to compile!):

1. The first piece of writing I ever had published was an opinion piece about armpit hair in Just Seventeen.

2. I do not have any of my childhood toys but I do have my dad’s old teddy bear, Tod.

3. I can’t ride a bike. Or skate. Or do anything else which involves combining balance with speed.

4. I was Aberdeen’s first female cinema projectionist since World War II. I was a little bit resentful of the second one.

5. Part of me believes that my kneelength, A-line skirt with blue swirls all over it really does cause bad weather.

6. One of the best presents I ever received was an envelope full of random buttons (thanks, Jill!).

7. I never, ever, ever read my horoscope.

Capturing Moments

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Just recently, a friend made a throwaway comment to me about “every moment of [my] life being documented with photos.”

“Yes…” I said, wondering whether this was meant as a criticism or just a comment. And then: “Well, no, actually: only the pretty ones.”

Increasingly, I’m finding this to be true. I’m taking ever greater amounts of pictures, but more and more often parties are hosted and events are attended and old friends are met for dinner without my camera leaving my bag. I post about “The Week I’ve Had…” every Sunday but many of the most important moments of my life are missing from it, not because I don’t think they’re worthy of a mention – if this was a straightforward diary, they absolutely would be – but because I wasn’t in the mood to take another photo of hot chocolate that day or catching up with a loved one held my full attention.

I’ve always loved photography – it fascinates me how a click of a button can capture a fleeting instant, show how somebody views the world, share a secret or a joke or an emotion – but it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve developed much confidence in my skills. After all, anybody can pick up the same camera as me (a lot of my friends have done; it’s decent without being intimidating and I often recommend it); anybody could snap the same photo if they happened to have the same items in front of them or be in the same place at the same time I am; anybody can fiddle around in Photoshop until they stumble across a filter they like.

It took me a long time to realise that, yes, they could, but very few of them do. A lot of people don’t see the world chopped up into rectangles of greater or lesser beauty. A lot of people aren’t interested in learning what their camera can do or how images can later be manipulated. A lot of them just don’t see images in the same way that I do. Taking pictures I’m proud of really is something special.

I remember being so thrilled by the first photo I ever took… and so disappointed when all anybody else ever said was, “What a shame you’ve chopped your mum’s toes off.”

I remember my Grampa giving me a camera all of my very own and how excited I was… but I didn’t know anything about focal lengths and was often disappointed when close ups of pretty flowers came back as brightly coloured fuzz.

Back when I was using film – and even after I learnt about things like f stops and apertures – I would see great shots but let them pass me by because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with them. They would just be more bits of glossy paper, tucked in folders under my desk. Expensive bits of glossy paper, at a time when I was struggling for money.

Digital photography and the internet made such a difference.

Finally, I could afford to take risks, to try something new, to explore what my camera could do, because if a photo was rubbish I didn’t need to pay for printing. I could store images neatly on my hard drive. I could share them with people other than my often disinterested friends by uploading them to the internet.

I could – and did and sometimes still do – post photos to Flickr with minimal effort. I could – and did – take part in photo a day projects like Shuttercal. Either way, I could get feedback from people I had never met, people who may never have been to Scotland, who may be living completely different lives from me, and yet saw something in one of my pictures which prompted them to comment.

As I stopped having to focus on what my friends would be prepared to look at, my attention turned more and more to the quirky details around me and less and less to smiley faces at social events.

Oh, sure, it’s nice to have pictures of drunken shenanigans and food-splattered babies to look back on, but the pleasure I get from photography isn’t about having visual proof of my popularity (such as it is); it’s about creating an engaging or a beautiful or an entertaining image.

So why blog the images?

Because Flickr made no demands of me other than breaching no copyright – there was nothing to push me onwards, to keep me carting my camera around.

Because photo a day projects narrowed my focus to finding just that: one photo a day. Sometimes it became a chore; other times, I would leave shots unsnapped because I already had a picture for that day and didn’t want to waste a good idea.

So my blog is a nice compromise between the two. There’s a self-imposed weekly requirement, a reason to keep taking photos, but not such an overwhelming one that it ever feels like a burden. I love getting comments on my posts, but my priority is not attention; it’s having a creative outlet and building some momentum. It’s not about documenting every bit of my life with a picture, it’s about capturing those fleeting moments when something beautiful or funny or moving comes my way.

Confessions of a Tea Stained Mind

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Inspired by Celia’s Monday post here are a few secrets about me:

  1. I believe that if my handwriting is pretty its legibility is irrelevant.
  2. I tend to wear the same jeans until they smell. This takes a surprisingly long time.
  3. My icing comes out of a tub.
  4. I only remembered your special occasion because my Google Calendar told me to.
  5. I can let the you’re/your thing slide, but it takes all my willpower not to correct people when they muddle up their personal pronouns (It’s not “photos of Steve and I” or “Steve and I’s flat” – learn the difference between subjects and objects, people!).
  6. Only the second part of that previous confession is absolutely accurate.
  7. I take most of my photos using the Intelligent Auto setting on my camera.
  8. I don’t like Twilight.
  9. I would rather visit the dentist than the hairdresser. He’s cheaper and doesn’t try to make small talk with me.
  10. I am always convinced that I’m about to get into trouble. And that it won’t have been my fault.

Peace on Earth… Or At Least in the Rooftops Household

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This year I will be spending Christmas Day with Steve.

You might not think this would need to be commented on, but it’s a bit of a change to my routine; out of the last five Christmases, I’ve spent four of them alone.

When I tell people this, they generally react with either anger, disbelief or pity. The anger always takes me by surprise – they take the way I spend my day so personally, as though it’s a direct criticism of their own. The disbelief frustrates me – someone can repeat, “You don’t mean that!” over and over again without making my statement any less true. But the pity I understand because the first year I realised I’d be spending Christmas on my own, I fully expected to spend the day in tears.

But you know what? I didn’t.

In fact… I quite enjoyed it.

I ended up spending Christmas on my own because I was single, my family were all living overseas, my friends all went home for Christmas and, besides, I worked in retail – I had to be in Aberdeen dishing out last minute gift sets until late on Christmas Eve and processing disgruntled refunds from nine on Boxing Day morning; heading out of town to see loved ones simply wasn’t an option.

So, I expected to spend Christmas Day feeling resentful and deserted.

Instead, I found the whole thing incredibly relaxing.

This was the one day all year when I had no option but to take it easy. I didn’t have to cook a fancy dinner, feign enthusiasm or fake belief in somebody else’s joy about unsuitable gifts. I couldn’t go to the shops or the cinema or round to see a friend if I wanted to. There was no possibility of being called in to work. And there were great films on TV. I had no option but to spend the day relaxing, enjoying some peace, feeling no guilt about a lack of productivity. It was bliss.

The following year, I went a little bit further: I stated that I wasn’t taking part in Christmas at all.

I had always felt a little uncomfortable, as an aetheist, tagging along with somebody else’s religious celebration in return for presents. I could barely afford to give gifts and didn’t need any more clutter in my home. I realised I could not only spend the day relaxing, I could opt out of all the stress and expense which has become such an integral part of the day for so many. This was even better.

Now I’ve been foregoing Christmas for so long that my friends have stopped questioning it or guiltily asking if I want to spend the day with their grandparents. A few will even admit to a little bit of envy.

But this year Steve wants to spend Christmas with me. And, after giving the matter a little thought, I realised that – in the same way that I don’t refuse to attend Christmas parties or take part in my work’s Secret Santa or hang out with my friends on Boxing Day – I have absolutely no objection to this.

It helps that he’s from a tiny family and expects the day to be quiet and relaxed, minimal fuss or friction, spent in pyjamas in the comfort of our own home. Steve’s company on my annual day of peace and relaxation is absolutely an enhancement.

What I’ve come to realise is that the day itself has no significance for me. I never have and likely never will subscribe to the religious aspects of Christmas; I wouldn’t care if – as unlikely as this is – the date in December was changed; I don’t feel the need to entangle myself in tradition. But I do appreciate the chance, at the end of a busy year, to take a day out of life, to recuperate, to let go, to prepare myself for the months ahead. I enjoy enjoy rounding out another twelve months by spending Boxing Day with my friends, by celebrating the parts we play in each other’s lives, by helping one another unwind, not in the boisterous last hurrah way of Hogmanay, but quietly, over mugs of tea and cupcakes.

I don’t need to give the most or the best presents to hyperactive children. I don’t need to make drunken passes at the HR guy. I definitely don’t need to eat Brussel’s Sprouts. But I do still embrace the end of the year, the new beginnings, the people who matter the most to me, and the chance for some time to reflect. For me, it’s enough that that’s what my festive season is about.

Happy holidays to you all. I hope you enjoy yourselves in whichever way you choose to spend your time.

A Quick Note to Say:

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To everyone who has sent birthday wishes or been around to make my day so special.

Old Favourites

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I’ve been rooting through my archive over the last few days. Alas, some of my favourite old shots are not really sharp enough to have printed full size so here, because I don’t know when else I’ll have an excuse to share them, are two of which I’m particularly fond:

While I was browsing through my Flickr archives, I also found this one which I can’t imagine anyone wanting to buy and frame but which still amuses me, five years on:

I wonder if they’re still together?

Fill This Blank Space

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I’ve got a head full of ideas and dreams and images right now; it’s time to start making things a reality.


Me, Myself and I

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I thought now might be a good time to tell you a bit about myself. The purpose of this blog is to get me taking more photos, doing more crafts and seeing where I can go with them… but inevitably some personal stuff is going to creep into it, too.


I’m Sarah, I’m 31 and I live in the North-East of Scotland.

I work in communications in the third sector (that’s charities and community groups to people who don’t need to know local government terminology) and I love it. Sometimes I get to be very creative. Sometimes I don’t get to be creative at all but do get immediate, visible results. Sometimes I just get to talk to people who’re doing amazing good work because they’ve discovered a cause which really matters to them; they’re inspiring.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for just under two years. He works in IT and is a tall, skinny, ginger geek (my preferred type). Last month he moved in with me and it’s going great.

What else? I read a lot; I go to the cinema a lot; I’m training as a volunteer counsellor. I hardly watch TV but do blitz through DVD box sets. I never read horoscopes. I can’t control my hair.

Is there anything else I should be telling you…?

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