About

Name:VintagePretty
Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Friday 21 April 2017

Happy Birthday VintagePretty!

Today VintagePretty turns 12. I almost have a teenager on my hands! It’s true. I think about that and feel quite old. I look back at some posts in the same way that some people look through old diaries and I cringe inwardly a bit, but that is life and for better or worse, it is a timeline of someone moving from teenagerhood to adulthood with all the attendant bumps along the way. I think I needed to step back from blogging for a while to get my passion for it back. I don’t make any money from doing it, so it has to be something I enjoy and for a while I was just too busy to blog as well as find my new groove as a mother. But I knew I wanted to come back to it when I had a burst of inspiration and wrote 6 blog posts in a day! Admittedly it doesn’t happen often, but when inspiration strikes I seem always to return to this little niche I’ve carved on the World Wide Web (with 1312 posts!).

Happy 12th Blogiversary VintagePretty!

Friday 24 January 2014

The February Photo Challenge is here!

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I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about doing this.  The idea of pushing myself to do a photography challenge has been around quite a long time.  As much as I wanted to take part in 365 again, I found that it wasn’t realistic for me to try taking photos daily for a whole year, at least not at this juncture in my life.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the challenge of taking photos with a prompt in mind, which is where the VintagePretty February Photo Challenge fits in!

There are no rules.  When coming up with this challenge, I purposely chose prompts that can be as challenging as you want them to be.  Take the prompts as literally or as figuratively as you want to.  Play with meanings.  Push yourself to play with the settings on your camera that you don’t usually use, and most of all enjoy the process – even if your results don’t come out quite as you expect (after all, it’s a process not a competition).  If you don’t have the time to post them on your blog every day, that’s fine too – how about saving a week’s worth and doing them in one go?  Do whatever works for you.  You don’t have to be a confident photographer; you don’t have to have any kind of fancy camera and if you want to do it in 35mm, please do!

I have created two PDF sheets for you to print out or save on your home PC: one is a calendar page (Calendar Page) that will give you the prompts day-by-day, so you can see how the month pans out with your other commitments, whilst the other (List Page) is a plain, numbered list of prompts.  You’ll need a program like Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader to view these pages.

If you would like to take part, pop a comment into the comments below and if you would be so kind, please link back here to say that you’re taking part.  I really am excited to see how you all approach the prompts differently and uniquely and what the month of February will be like for you!  I’ll post again, at the end of next week, to remind everyone that it starts on Saturday.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Welcome, October and All of Your Challenges

Do you know, I have found myself in a bit of a blogging funk of late.  You see, this is post 999.  At eight years and some five months old, this blog has reached another important milestone.  I looked back and thought that I have lost a lot of what I used to love about this blog.  Crafting, gardening, the sea, baking and many other little things.  If I’m honest, I miss those things more than I can say.  Some of them, like gardening and the sea, are nigh-on impossible where we live now, but some of the other things I can make work (this is me trying to be optimistic!).  After all, I am coming to realise that life isn’t life without a struggle to make things happen.

So as I am at post 999, I am at a pivotal point in my blogging life, and the question is not ‘to blog or not to blog’ but rather ‘how do I blog, and how could I do it better?’.  I have a big case of blog envy, because I see a lot of other blogs doing things that I really want to do.  Like every aspect of my life, this blog isn’t focused on one area, and I think I do do certain things very well, but I want to do better, so that I can say that I am 100% happy with every post.  This year, 2013, has proved pivotal in many aspects of my own life and I want that to be echoed in the blog.

The changes I want to make are organic and they are not cosmetic, they are grass-roots-level changes.  And so, I am setting myself – and this blog – some goals, because let’s face it, blogging – like anything – takes work and I want to do better.

  • Involvement: Be more involved in the blogging community: commenting, trying to find better ways to interact with readers (without going all web-2.0) and opening and encouraging more discussion and debate.
  • Creativity: I am re-instating 365, beginning today – the first of October.  The 365 challenge of daily photography is intended to push me into doing more and recording more in my day-to-day life.  My last spurt of 365 was in 2007 and I remember really enjoying it then. (You can find my gallery link either on the left-hand button or in the top menu – I will be posting photos to both the blog and the proper VP gallery.)
  • Breadth: Work on posting more things that I enjoy, other than getting out and about into the countryside.  Whilst it will always be a feature of the blog, it cannot be the sole topic of discussion.
  • Consideration: Blog with more consideration; to really edit and review before I press ‘publish’.

This isn’t just for the blog, it’s for me.  As I said, 2013 has been a very important year in so many respects and I know that I need to do more, be more, and push myself further and harder so that I – and the blog – continue to grow and develop.

As my next post is post 1000, I will be doing a little giveaway of some of my photography, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday 21 April 2013

VintagePretty Turns 8!

Having a blog is by turns, both great and draining.  I imagine it to be a bit like a child; demanding of my time and energy, yet at times it also makes me immesely proud.  Blogging is great because it makes me want to go out and find things to write about; it forces me to find new ways to say things; to find new places and to improve my photography.  But it is also draining because, at times, there are moments of doubt when I look at the lack of commenters (there are some posts, back in the day, that had upto fifty comments!) and the lack of ‘direction’ for this blog. But at the moment, I feel a little directionless, so maybe it’s just a reflection of who I am at this moment in time.  Who knows.

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I was watching television the other day when a ‘professional blogger’ was being interviewed.  She had a book deal from her blog and hundreds, nay thousands, of people reading it, which discussed her life as a military wife.  It wasn’t thrilling stuff; it certainly wasn’t a new topic, but as she explained, her PR manager (!) had advised her at the start of blogging, to find her ‘niche’ and fill it.

I don’t have a niche.  I started VintagePretty as a way of exploring my new life as a very young housewife.  I think it started out very well, because it was my niche and I filled it.  It was all about natural housekeeping and gardening, urban smallholding and chickens.  But then my life changed and VP had to change with me – mainly because I don’t have the same kind of ‘household’ any more and I, unfortunately, no longer have a garden (well, long story short, we do but it’s in Northumberland and we are elsewhere!).  The photography got better, the scenery changed and what I had to write about has changed with me.  It’s not that I no longer want to be that person who started this blog all those – eight! – years ago, but it’s more that I don’t have the choice anymore.

My niche now is, I suppose, a tad more narcissistic.  It’s inward-looking out of necessity – not choice.  If I could, I would spend my days out in the countryside and blog mostly about that, but I know that the appeal of such a blog is limited (and repetitive) and my ability to get out into the countryside with any regularity is also limited.  I liken this desire to be one thing but having to be another as like going to your school careers guidance person, saying what you want to be and then them handing you back something completely the opposite (“I want to be an astrophysicist!” she shakes her head “I think you’d make a much better primary teacher!”).  As much as I love being in the wilds, that can’t be this blog’s only focus.  My blog is esoteric and fills many niches – because I am interested in many things, but haven’t committed myself to one (literal story of my life).  I suppose, therefore, that this blog reflects everything that I am; which includes my fascination with wildlife and nature, love of baking and food, ethical issues that we encounter, how to be a satisfied house-keeper, a few crafty endeavours and a bit of great music and literature thrown in.

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I am, however, deeply proud of this motley collection of posts because they encompass eight years of time, effort and commitment to doing something.  I am not great at commitment to things over a long period of time.  It stems from me not being a ‘joiner’.  The only thing I’ve stuck at this long is my marriage and breathing.  Really.  Some posts are better than others; some are great, some are just fleeting, day-to-day posts.  I know, with time, that the lack of commenters doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading; the numbers simply don’t tally with the amount of people that I know read this blog regularly.  I also know that commenting is mainly reciprocal and it has been difficult to comment on blogs because of a lack of time on my own part.  I understand.  But I am proud that some people still read and that this little corner of the Blogiverse is still alive.  I don’t want to ever stop blogging.

One fellow blogger, whose blog I’ve been reading since 2007, has decided to stop blogging entirely in a few months’ time.  The brutally-honest chronical of her life has gone through its tumultuous times and I think she sees that her blogging journey is, finally, at the end scene where she can sail off into the sunset with her new and generally-happy life complete.  Her blog served a purpose and helped her, but she has no larger use for it now.  I understand that, too.  I’ve seen so many bloggers coming and going.  Only the other day, I went through my links bar and clicked on all the people I used to follow and who used to follow me.  Most of their blogs had disappeared into the aether.  It gives me some pleasure in knowing that I am still writing here, though it is also sad to have lost quite a few of the blogs that I used to love.

I began blogging, under a different pseudonym, for a brief while as a teenager but only VintagePretty has endured and has meant anything to me. So as much as I wonder whether what I say is necessary or relevant or even very interesting, I am a stubborn mare (Mr VP will very honestly concur) and the thought of leaving VintagePretty and not blogging is simply Not Possible because it has become such a part of who I am.  I keep thinking that what I am saying is (to quote arty people) ‘derivative’, and I get that there are elements of repetition on this blog, but I must not be too harsh on myself because other people repeat things too.  It is bound to happen when you have a blog of this age, whose focus is the domestic life.  I run in cycles; the world runs in cycles and so does this blog.  Those cycles ground me and remind me what made me create this blog in the first place.

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I did entertain a (very) brief thought of changing my ‘brand’ (PR terminology = bleh) but I know that VintagePretty, whilst not really representing what I do now, is still where my heart is.  And I am hoping that, in a few years, I will be able to show you some semblance of a new and different life – the life that I know is waiting for me.  Until then, you’ll have to bear with the fragmented posts about the beauty of nature, the downright joy that can be found in Middle English literature, the glorious concoctions that come out of my kitchen, the blankets I crochet/scarves I knit and the other odd utterances that make their way from my mind to this blog – because that’s who I am: a little bit random, very talkative and genuinely inquisitive about the world in which I live.  Most of all, I want to share all of these things with you guys: those faithful readers who have been with me since my early days, through ups and downs.  Thank you for continuing to read and comment.

I think this is also a good place to mention that this blog is not me in my entirety, instead it contains only the cliff-notes of my life.  It doesn’t go into personal detail (anonymity rocks!) and doesn’t describe the oft boring, sad and frustrating parts of my life because this blog has a focus and that kind of personal information isn’t it.  However you can be sure that what is written is written honestly and with every good intention possible.  That is how I roll as a person – truth comes first – because I detest lies.  But for my sake, I omit hearty sections of things that I don’t think are blog-suitable.  But that’s just me.

But here VintagePretty.org still stands: a bohemoth of some 930 posts, 3000-odd comments (not counting the 90,154 spam comments that have made me laugh over the years!) and more words than I can count.  It’s an outpouring of love, energy, time and passion and one that I am, like a proud parent, very pleased to have created.  Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, even though I wish I did.  But I hope that for many years to come, VintagePretty will still be going strong, still marvelling at the things other people take for granted; still taking a stance and fighting against ethical problems and still just being an everyday presence in my own life.  Because I really am rather fond of this little space of mine.

If you do read VintagePretty, whether new or old or just passing through, perhaps you could say ‘hi’ and let me know who you are, so that I can thank you for reading and also link to your blog on my sidebar.  I’d invite you over for a slice of cake, but unfortunately it doesn’t send well though the internet and some of you are a very long way away (apologies for the icing, it was a bit of a rush-job and my first attempt in many, many years – I must work on straight lines!).  It is a very tasty lemon cake, though, with lemon curd filling.  Yum.

So, having taken up over 1600 words (almost as much as a first-year essay!), I want to wish this blog, this little entity who (to me) has a beating heart and a kind soul, a very Happy Eighth Birthday.

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Friday 8 February 2013

Captcha

You’ll notice that I have popped a captcha on the bottom of the comment form on every post.  This is because I get around 1000 spam comments per day (!) and I hope that by putting a simple question, none of these bots will be able to post spam comments and block up the server!

The questions had to be something mathematical (there was no option for a picture-based one) but they are basic addition and should be very easy for everyone to work out.  I’d welcome any feedback about how they’re working for you!

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Forgotten anniversaries

I totally forgot, in the midst of illness and exam revision in April, that this blog had turned seven.  Without a doubt, I can say that this blog has gone through a multitude of changes in its time but at the same time it is something that I still do and am active with after 7 years.  It is a diary of sorts – it’s a public-facing, presentable diary (the sort that doesn’t hold all of your darkest secrets – that one’s on paper!).  It is happy and still makes me happy.

I also forgot to mention that at midsummer, part of our reason for going to Stockholm to celebrate the festivities there, was also to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.  We spent it dancing around maypoles in the very happiest fashion.  Without doubt the best anniversary so far.

Seven years of blogging… I still can’t quite get over it!  Six years of marriage – I can’t get over that, either!

Thursday 23 February 2012

23 and a half hours. What everyone should know..

It’s not music, it’s not for pleasure. I consider this video something that everyone should see and then follow. Not only because it’s well-made, or from a reputable guy, but because who needs medicine when our two legs will suffice?

Walk for 30 minutes a day, every day. I have done mine today – but I know it can be so easy when you have a deadline to just sit in front of a PC all day. Resist the urge to do it. Walk. Who knows, it might save your life…

I will be back soon. It has just been a wearying (and wearing) couple of weeks. But spring is here, the birds are singing and the daffodils are out in full force. Je reviens (points to anyone who can work out the literary link to that!).

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