32 today

It’s my 32nd birthday day today. (well, Wednesday 7th, depending on when you are reading this). Yes, I know it’s hard to believe I am really a day over 25! I don’t quite know where my 20s went. At least my 30s are going a bit slower so far…It seems like a good time to tell you all a bit more about me, rather than just my work.

So yes, my 20s. I worked out what happened to them. I was at work. Work has an amazing effect of stealing your life. I graduated from an MA in Museum Studies in 1996 at the age of 21 and started my first job in December 1996 as Curatorial Assistant at Torquay Museum. Various jobs happened in between, and in December 2004 after a long 8 years of real work, I decided I had had enough, and resolved to start my own creative business. I was heading towards 30, which probably had an influence on the decision. I left work (as adult education officer at the V&A) at the end of June 2005 and have been doing my own thing since. And it turns out that being self-employed and running your own business leaves you with no life whatsoever, just work. But work that you love, and don’t resent spending 14 hours a day on. Mostly.
One of the other reasons for leaving my job was increasingly problematic RSI which forced me to decide how I wanted the rest of my life to work out. Did I want to carry on with a desk-based job that would result in me losing the ability to sew (and chop vegetables and clean my teeth) without being in pain, or did I want to do a sewing-based job that would result in me losing the ability to do a desk-based job? I opted for the latter, and – touch wood- it’s working out well. My hands are so much better than when I had an office job, even though I work with my hands for many more hours a day. That alone makes me incredibly glad I gave up employment.

I had intended to be a costume curator, that’s why I did Museum Studies. I decided I wanted to work in museums when I was 18, just before I started my first degree at Manchester University, in Medieval Studies. Really, the seeds had seen set when I was very small and was taken to the now defunct costume museums in Nottingham and Leicester. I would spend hours with my little nose pressed up to the glass, absorbing everything I could about dresses. I haven’t changed much. I spent yesterday doing the same here. Being a costume curator was the nearest I could get to being a fashion designer, which is really what I wanted to do, but didn’t really think my parents would go for that one. I never gave up the dream though, and have just done it by a roundabout route.

That’s a lot of typing for not a lot of background. What else can I tell you?

I was born and grew up in Loughborough, Leicestershire, which is an ok, but not exciting place. It has a university and art college, which means it’s not all bad, and the art college people I knew as a kid were definitely an influence on my later life choices!
I’m now back living in Leicester, which is near home, and also where I did my MA, but I have never lived here before.
I’m single and have no children, which means I can devote my entire waking life to work without anyone complaining. Some suggest that the work is the reason for me being single, but its never quite as simple as that is it? Being single means I am good at doing stuff on my own and am highly intolerant of joined-at-the-hip couple behaviour. That’s probably why most of my friends are single too!!

In my rare time off:

I like camping and walking but am not fit enough to be considered a real outdoorsy-type. When stressed I need woods and open spaces. That’s one of the reasons I like being back in the midlands – lovely countryside and family to share it with.
I really love camping, really I do. I am not put off by mud. I know a lot of people who think that is downright crazy. Sometimes people who know me through work and think I spend all my life thinking about frocks are surprised than I am practical and hardy as well. I like being more complex than people immediately think!

I like to watch DVDs (and tv occasionally if there is one around, but I don’t own one) and see films. On the DVD shelf are: Northern Exposure and Sex and the City. Also a big fan of ER and House, and bizarre British comedy like Green Wing and Black Books. And being a historian at heart, I do like Time Team (especially when friend appear on it). Filmwise I like pretty much anything by Tim Burton, anything with Johnny Depp in it, most Ang Lee films and things with historical frocks (combinations of any two of these make me very happy, unless is it Johnny Depp in frocks, which I don’t enjoy quite so much).

I knit. I’m one of the many recent fair-weather knitting converts, even though I have been doing things with thread and fabric since I was wee. I enjoy the challenge of learning something new, but not so difficult that it takes a lot of work. I have been knitting for 4 years or so now, so I am not a complete knit-fad fly-by-night.

I like eating, and cooking. So much so that I have another blog all about food. Though, as you will see, it doesn’t get updated much. That’s not because I’m not eating, or even not cooking. At the moment I’m mostly in Bilston. I read cookery books but rarely actually follow recipies. I’m a bit the same with dress patterns. I used to always buy the Observer because it had Nigel Slater’s cookery writing and Monty Don’s garden writing and made for the perfect combination. It was one of the few pleasures of Sundays after I started working at the V&A and had to be there every Sunday. Monty Don no longer writes for them but at least I don’t HAVE to work Sundays. Although I usually do anyway.

Guilty pleasures: Vogue. (I can get away with it now as a business necessity. Its still awful, but yet I need my fix of frocks).

I listen to BBC Radio 4 most of the time and am quite addicted to the Archers. I don’t care if that makes me sound middle aged. Radio 4 is great – keeps me up to date with current affairs, arts news, history, science, and totally off the wall comedy programmes. And I can carry on working at the same time. I am full of bizarre information I have learned from some obscure programme about newts. (There is a prize for anyone who can connect this to an earlier paragraph.)

I read too many other blogs. See the sidebar for a selection – this really needs updating, but it’s not at the top of my To Do list. I started this blogging thing with Dress a Day and it’s all been uphill since then.

When I’m not rushing around the country for work, I like to spend evenings doing yoga classes, arabic dance workshops and Spanish classes. Having moved twice in the last 2 years, I keep leaving good classes behind and having to find new ones. Not managed it yet after this move, but I will have time sooner or later.

I really really like sleeping. The mark of turning into a grown up from being a child, is when you like going to bed.

And in the longer term plans, I am hoping that one day soon I will have enough money to buy myself a narrowboat and live on a canal (with a couple of cats) and live a simple life with a smaller carbon footprint. Just as well I don’t mind mud…

That’s a fairly random selection of information about me. Any burning questions just leave a comment and I might answer them! And well done if you made it to the end of this mammoth post.

8 thoughts on “32 today

  1. “The mark of turning into a grown up from being a child, is when you like going to bed”oh, yes! And when *can* buy as much candy as you like, but you *don’t*.Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday! Have a great day. How nice to tell us all about you :)I am well impressed you knew you wanted to work in museums as 18. Took me til I was at least mid-20s (so I’m about due to change my mind, then I guess :)).Are you at Bilston on Monday? I’m there for a meeting so if you’re there I’ll pop in and say hello…

  3. Happy Birthday. I come to your blog regularly but its the first time I’ve commented. I’d love to come to one of your workshops but I’m in NZ, a bit far to pop over.

  4. I love this post! It’s so nice to get a little background on favorite bloggers. Happy Birthday – isn’t it great to be an Aquarius? I’m one, too. And the Archers? I listen at my desk at work all the time…..

  5. Hello, I’ve only just come across your blog, but happy birthday! I’m in the UK too and we share a lot of the same interests… costume, frocks, food, Radio 4 (although it does get a bit repetitive when you listen to it all day!). I’m intrigued by your comments about the V&A – I’ve always wondered what it was like to work there (not that I ever will). Was it hideous?Kate

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