Life After Life by Kate Atkinson 

Hello! I have been AWOL from this blog for a long old time but I fancied having another crack at it so here I am. Planning to use it as a little online journal of things I make and read and generally enjoy. Hoping to do little book reviews on here, I can’t face the pressure of a proper book review so it will be just a couple of paragraphs about how I felt about it etc.

I started this year feeling a little floppy (that is the technical term for it) so it’s the 30th of January and I’ve only finished one book so far. I’m certainly a bit behind my Goodreads target of reading 60 books in 2022! But I’m sure that there’ll be weeks were I read several books incredibly quickly so it will all work out in the end. Plus, this book was so spectacular it should almost count as 3 or 4 books. 

My feelings can be summarised thus: I bloody loved this and I’m not certain I’ll read a better book this year. 

I suppose that’s not long enough, even for a mini book review. 

The premise of this book is fairly simple – what if you could live your life over and over, getting the chance to make different choices each time? Ursula Todd is born in 1910 and immediately dies, and then she is born and lives. Over and over again we see Ursula live and die, and live and die. For the first section of the book she is trying to survive her childhood during the Spanish Flu outbreak and through various childhood accidents. Once she’s made it to adolescence she has a new set of events to navigate and in her adulthood she also has the Second World War to contend with and works to see what kind of impact she can have on world events. I don’t want to say too much about the actual events of the book and spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it.

To be honest, while I was intrigued by the idea, I was worried I’d find the actual book tiresome. Thankfully, Kate Atkinson is too good a writer to allow it to become boring. We become familiar enough with the bare bones of Ursula’s life to see the impact of the different choices she makes, but it doesn’t become overly repetitive. I particularly found the character development of Ursula’s mother through her different lives fascinating. A lot of this book is quite dark – afterall, the reason that she lives over and over is that she has died over and over again. Two of the lives and deaths stood out to me in particular and I’m sure I’ll vividly remember those passages for a long time.

I also bloody love books about young women set in the 30s and 40s and the majority of this book takes place in the 20s, 30s and 40s. I’m not sure what it is about that period. I suppose this is the time when young women are beginning to live more like we do now – the chance for independence, living away from home before marriage (without being a live-in domestic servant or governess) and the chance for unsupervised relationships with men.

I love this book. I kind of want to eat it. Go and read it! 

Me Made May Pledge


It’s that time again! It’s May which means just one thing for the sewist – ME MADE MAY. And, if you are me, constantly sing The Lusty Month of May from Camelot. For the uninitiated, Me Made May is a yearly challenge to wear your homemade clothing – some people pledge to wear me made every day, others wear one item a week etc. This challenge was founded by Zoe who explains all on her blog.

Every year all the Me Made May outfits on Instagram make me a bit jealous. Although Me Made May is a personal challenge, not a social media challenge, people naturally use social media as a way to document it. If I’m honest, I get jealous of everyone else’s makes! Other people seem to sew so quickly and successfully while I feel like I’ve not made anything good for ages! Recently I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the sewing possibilities and limited by my skill level. I imagine all the incredible things I want to make, but I’ve got some kind of sewing block that stops me actually making anything. This May I want to try and recapture the joy and fun of sewing and get over my fears of messing up. The only way for me to do anything is to have a deadline so….


I, Frances Scott, pledge to wear me made garments at least three times a week this month. I will try not to repeat any of my Me Made May outfits. I will record my outfits on Instagram and blog about the experience. 

Hopefully this will be the kick up the bum I need to finish off my abandoned works in progress! I also have some quick and easy projects that are all ready to go that I’d like to get sewn up this month.

I have challenged myself to blog about Me Made May and share my outfits on instagram because I’m really lazy about doing it!

Basically, I’m hoping Me Made May cures me of laziness.

Sunday Catch up

Well, I’ve been a bit quiet for a while eh? Lots of things have been going on and I’m not ready to talk about the biggest and most exciting and scary thing yet. I’ll definitely share all about it when I feel I can. As long as it goes to plan… Touch wood…

One pretty big thing that’s happened to me this year is that I turned 30. THIRTY. I think I’m supposed to be sad about this or something? But I am really happy and excited to be in the next decade of my life. This is the decade when I plan to do lots of the big exciting stuff: get married, have babies, own my first house, and find a more interesting job. I am completely ready to be in my thirties. Basically everyone over thirty says that their thirties were better than their twenties, so I’m pretty excited about that. If I’m honest, I feel like my twenties were about me feeling stuck and sad! I doubt I’ll look back on them with a huge amount of affection.

My thirties have already got off to cracking start. I already feel happier than I was at twenty-nine! And the aforementioned massive scary thing has already caused more excitement than I had in the whole of 2018. Will 2018 be the year that goes down in history as the most pointless of all? I can’t think of anything that happened apart from the weddings of a few friends. I have let myself tie my emotions to the world of politics too much ever since 2016, which meant that 2018 was a year of worry where nothing much really happened.

At the start of this year, I decided to be happy and focus on little everyday things that bring me joy. It has made a big difference. I obviously don’t think that choosing to be happy can cure depression or anxiety or any clinically diagnosed condition, but I do think it’s helpful if you are a mardy, pessimistic misanthrope. I have gained some perspective and just lightened up. Last year, I was falling into a real Sunday night funk every single week. Not once was the worry justified. Right now it’s Sunday night and I am completely indifferent to work tomorrow. I’m not going to pretend I want to go to work, but my heart doesn’t sink every time I remember.

It’s really hard not to talk about The Super Secret Exciting Thing so I think I’ll leave off here. Hopefully, next time I post I’ll be sharing the awesome news!

30 (2)
The selfie I took after my 30th Birthday celebration when I realised I should probably commemorate the day


What has been preoccupying me:


This is a wonderful podcast about fashion history. It’s written and hosted by two actual fashion historians and I’ve yet to skip an episode. The topics for the episodes vary – they might be on the history of a particular garment, a historical figure, a designer, sustainable fashion or textile conservation. I thoroughly recommend.



I had to read this book after reading this this article in the New Statesman (I would recommend reading that article even if you have no interest in reading a book on such an upsetting topic). This book is obviously not going to be for everyone, but it’s really well written and compassionate.




Look, I hate Ricky Gervais and his usually smug smug face and his stupid pointy teeth. I enjoyed the original office but that’s it. I’ve never found Ricky Gervais funny or interesting since. Last night I thought I’d see what After Life was like because I’d seen the trailers that are EVERYWHERE and I saw some people I liked were in it. I watched the whole of it in one sitting. I repeatedly had to wipe my eyes. I almost gave myself a dehydration headache from crying so much.


Hello 2019


We are two weeks into 2019, and I don’t know if I’m surprised it’s already 14th January or shocked it’s not yet March. The weight loss adverts promising they are not diets have come and gone (I assume, I hid them as they popped up on my social media feeds), and we’ve had the passionate posts reminding us calendars and dates are arbitrary, and we should not throw our 2018 selves away like so much waste plastic. While I agree that resolutions are often dispiriting and doomed to fail, I think it’s a good time to think about what we can do to make our lives more enjoyable. Over the crimbo-limbo period I got a little new agey. I have made a Vision Board for 2019 (I’ll be honest and say it’s just pictures of people with excellent lipstick and hair) and my word for the year is Vibrant. I want 2019 to be a year of colour, energy and joy. This year I will spend more time doing what I love and less time fannying about scrolling though social media. My resolutions aren’t about trying to change who I am, but to making sure I spend more time doing what makes me happy.

We don’t know what will happen in 2019. Brexit looms over us and, even if you think it’s a good idea, as I guess you are entitled, none of us have a clue what will happen. I am inclined to brood over things I can’t control or that may never happen. If I’m not careful, I can become overwhelmed by news stories on how the country will grind to a halt if there is a no deal Brexit. I’ve decided I will not have a rubbish year just because the world is turning to shit. I have no power to stop Brexit, but I can make sure I’ve spent my Saturday afternoons doing something I enjoy.

So, these are my goals for 2019:

  1. Read more. I want to read 50 books this year. I love reading, but I easily fall out of the habit, especially I’ve been plodding through a book I’m not particularly enjoying. But my journey to work is 40+ minutes by train, so instead of scrolling through Instagram or playing a silly game, I will read. I’m making good progress as I‘m already on books 3 and 4 for the year. Please add me on Goodreads if you want to see what I’m reading.
  2. Do more sewing. I bloody love making stuff. Aside from the joy of having new clothes, sewing is one of the most relaxing things I do. When I hide in the spare room with true crime podcasts and my sewing machine whirring away, I forget everything else. Plus, I want to master the overlocker I got for Christmas.
  3. Blog more. I need to record the sewing and the reading somewhere — if I don’t share it on the internet did it even happen?
  4. Keep the house tidy. I am the messiest person in the world but I get sad and stressed when I live in mess. I doubt I’ll ever become a properly tidy person, but I have watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo so you never know!
  5. Wear outfits that make me feel awesome. I love clothes — I make my own clothes FFS! I want to dress in a way that reflects my personality and creativity, but recently I’ve been wearing any old thing and I don’t feel like me. To make sure I can’t wear drab outfits, I’ve had ruthless clear out of the clothes I don’t enjoy wearing.
  6. Wear more lipstick. Along with wearing boring outfits too often, I spend far too much time admiring cool makeup looks on Instagram and not wearing them myself.

Let’s see what 2019 holds!

Sunday Sunday

Hello, autumn! Autumn is when I want to get down to business and organise my life. It’s either a hangover from the academic year or because some primitive part of my brain that wants me to get ready for winter. I’m in one of those moods where I want to sort out everything in my life and emerge a paragon of wonder and joy. Ultimate Fran* is what I call the version of myself that I am always striving to become.  Ultimate Fran does yoga every day, has a tidy and sparkling clean house, reads more books, wears proper outfits and lipstick every day, she looks nice in photographs and blogs regularly. Ultimate Fran would never waste a whole day flopping about on the sofa playing idiotic games on her iPhone. I am not Ultimate Fran by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to think I’m getting closer to her all the time!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I have started listening to the audiobook of Les Misérables. Good grief Victor likes to go on. I was 2 hours in before Jean Valjean turned up! I love the musical so I thought I should try the original. The audiobook in 10 parts of at least 5 hours each so I’m in for a long slog, but I know I would have abandoned it after 10 pages if I had been was reading it.
  • I’ve started listening to The Teacher’s Pet. This is a true crime podcast about the disappearance of an Australian woman named Lyn Dawson. Her PE teacher husband almost certainly murdered her as she has not been seen or heard from since she disappeared on 8th January 1982, but to this day he maintains she went off to join some religious sect.
  • I’m (actual physical book in my hand) reading The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. It is a gorgeous book. I’ve been channelling Ultimate Fran and reading it on my commute instead of playing games on my phone.
  • It’s NaNoWriMo planning time! This year I am more determined than I have been in the last 6 years and I have started to plan and research properly. I already have an exercise book half-full of research and character profiles on my computer. I just need to come up with a plot… Depending on how well I get on, I might share some of my experience here. I anticipate a lot of time spent frantically typing in the early hours with this playing through my headphones.
  • For various reasons, I’ve not done much sewing in recent weeks. I have about 3 things that I need to finish off at the moment, but I’m worried I’m going ruin them.
  • AND FINALLY… Isn’t this necklace glorious? It was a collaboration between the goddess Laura Jane Williams and jewellery brand Zeal and Heart.

image1 (4)

So there you are! How has your week been? Do you have any big projects on the horizon?

*Is this weird?

Happy Monday

Happy Monday night! I have decided to start writing a weekly post on Sunday nights (today is a bank holiday so it’s basically Sunday) to try and combat the Sunday blues I battle with every week. My plan is to share a few things I’ve been doing or enjoying over the last week and update the side bar with my current favourite podcast, sewing project and book.

As this is the first one, I’m going to include things that I’ve been doing/enjoying in recent weeks too.

  • My usual pre-work blues have not descended today because I have spent the afternoon eating upsetting quantities of food with my beloved Laura. I made her watch Nanette and then we just talked and watched YouTube clips of musicals and Julie Andrews. Also… I only have 2 days of work between now  and 10th September….
  • I have literally just finished the last episode of Sharp Objects and I can’t really cope with how brilliant it was. I finished it less than 15 minutes ago so I cannot be articulate about it.
  • I love Angela Carter but I’ve given her a bit of wide berth since university when I wrote my dissertation on her. Then I watched Angela Carter: Of Wolves and Women on iplayer and reminded myself how much I love her writing. I’d recommend watching it if you don’t know much about her because it gives a nice overview of her life and the themes in her books – complete interviews with Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson. It’s prompted me to finally open the Angela Carter biography I received for Christmas!
  • My Favorite Murder was my gateway into the world of the True Crime podcast and I still love it very much, but I think my all-time favourite may be All Killa No Filla. Kiri Pritchard McLean and Rachel Fairburn are both professional comedians and they discuss their mutual fascination with serial killers between going off on hilarious, often filthy tangents. I just love them. I’ve listened to the podcast off and on but I’ve been listening constantly over the last few days while I’ve been doing housework and sewing and I am obsessed.
  • I’m going to a wedding on Thursday so naturally I am still working on my outfit… I’ve decided to make a By Hand London Kim Dress in a navy with an oversized polka dot. I’ve found it really enjoyable to sew. How well it turns out remains to be seen! I feel like I’ve got a bit over confident of late so I’m convinced this will be a dogs dinner and I’ll end up wearing something I already own or panic buying something on Wednesday.
  • This piece about Ed Sheeran made me laugh so hard. I think Ed Sheeran may be the most boring musician of all time and I really don’t understand his popularity.

And that’s been my week really! I hope you all had an interesting week and have some things to look forward to in the week to come.

What have been your highlights this week?

Sewing Entertainment – Three TV shows

In a different life, I would be a world-renowned professor of TV and give lectures on the influence of The Way We Were on the Gilmore Girls. However, in this life, all I have is this humble blog with which to share my exciting TV insights and opinions. So here are three of my current favourite TV shows:


unforgottenThis may be the best TV show I have watched in the last year. It is a cold case crime drama and focuses on people more than the police investigation. All the suspects have a deep dark secret that they have been hiding for years, but the secret is not necessarily directly connected to the murder. I love any drama that’s about deep dark secrets. The idea that someone knows something is what makes famous cold cases so compelling and yet so frustrating. We know that there are people living today who know the truth, we just don’t know who they are. Unforgotten is about people who have done their best to hide their secrets only to have them come out as part of a murder case.

The detectives are played by Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, and I really appreciate how compassionate and human they are. There are no traditional macho police characters in sight. And this is not the kind of show that’s about dead women with gratuitous shots of naked female corpses, so far only 1 season out of 3 has been about the murder of a young woman.

There are too many good things about Unforgotten to list so just get on and watch it!

Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix and ITV hub, and Season 3 is currently going out on ITV on Sunday nights (and you can catch up on ITV hub!)


Dietland is an angry show for a terrifying time. It’s part story of self-discovery and enlightenment, and part feminist revenge fantasy. Dietland.jpg

Plum Kettle is a fat woman planning stomach bypass surgery so that she can be thin, and her real life can begin. She lives a small life, working from home and only leaving her apartment to attend weight loss meetings or visit a local café. Then one day she meets a young woman named Leta and everything changes.

Oh and there’s a feminist terrorist group killing rapists and dropping them from the sky…

Just watch it! Dietland is not perfect, but it’s just what I need when I am despairing of the world. Joy Nash is spectacular as Plum. Watch it and then follow Joy on Instagram so that you can gaze upon her beauty.

Dietland is available on Amazon Prime.

Keeping Faith

This is a bit of a wildcard because I’ve not watched a lot of this yet and I’m not sure what I think.

Keeping FaithFaith is a solicitor on maternity leave, seemingly happily married with three children and living in Wales. One day her husband disappears on his way to work, and she starts to try and work out what has happened.

Keeping Faith was originally on BBC Wales, but it was a bit of a word-of-mouth sensation, and people all over the UK watched it on iplayer. Now they are airing it on BBC One for people like me who missed out on it the first time around.

This is being shown on Thursdays on BBC One and the rest is available on BBC iplayer

The Frankie Shirt

homemade baseball shirt raglan sleeve purple mel stringer patch

A couple of months ago I did Design Your Wardrobe the Seamwork sewing planning program (I might write about this if I feel so inclined). The aim of it is to get you to plan your sewing the way a designer plans their collection – gathering inspiration and developing your ideas before selecting patterns and fabrics. It really made me think about what I like to wear, what I want to wear, and what I actually need in my wardrobe. The answer to all of these questions was CUTE CASUAL CLOTHING! So I went to all the inspiration I had collected and started to plan some non-basic basics.

I had added these tops to my mood board to represent the kind of casual clothes I’m looking for:

Toxic Masculinity shirt is from My Favorite Murder and available here / True Love shirt is from Ramblin’ Rose and can be found here

I have always loved a baseball skirt. I love the classic raglan sleeves and design opportunities they offer. I knew that a baseball shirt would be a nice simple make that I would probably knock up in an afternoon AND it had the potential to help me use up odd bits of jersey fabric that are too small for other projects.

As Tilly Walnes’s new book Stretch! came out around the time of Design Your Wardrobe, it seemed only right that I use Frankie as the pattern for my own baseball shirt (and it gave me an excuse to order one of the signed copies that were available).

Unusually for me, I cut a straight size 7 top. I usually blend between sizes because my waist is about a size smaller than my bust and hips, and I prefer to make sure everything has some kind of waist shaping. The pattern is designed to have a relaxed fit so I will definitely take it in at the waist next time. The only alteration I made was to shorten the top a little because a) I have a short torso and b) I wanted to make more of a feature of the curved hem.

Tilly and the buttons frankie shirt

Sewing up the top was nice and simple, so I managed to knock it up in a few hours. I actually found cutting out the trickiest bit of all. I think I managed to slightly stretch the fabric and so I had a wonky arm and had to recut. The finish of the top isn’t entirely perfect – the neckband is lightly thinner in places where I was sewing too quickly to keep it neat, and the white thread I couldn’t be bothered to change to sew on the neckband shows through a bit. But I think small things like this aren’t really noticeable for anyone except me, and I’ve almost forgotten about them already. Whenever I get too bogged down worrying about perfection in the things I’ve made, I remember that my colleague bought a playsuit from Primark that had the legs in sideways so that you’d have to twist your torso at 90 degrees to wear it.

When I was thinking about planning my spring/summer wardrobe, I noticed that I was pinning clothes with really great details. Clever or funny or just a bit different, I really love an embroidered motif or patch on a simple sweatshirt or t-shirt, so why on earth haven’t I been adding this to my handmade clothes?! This patch was designed by Mel Stringer for Lucky Dip Club about 2 years ago, and I have been hoarding it ever since, waiting for the perfect place to put it. I thought of using a couple of other patches (I’ve been hoarding them without any idea when or where I’ll use them) but I love purple, and once I decided to do the sleeves and neckband in a deep purple, I couldn’t resist adding this lilac patch.

mel stringer

In a nutshell – I bloody love this. It was easy to make and the perfect vehicle for excellent patches! I’m not sure it’s the most flattering garment I’ve ever made but I couldn’t care less about flattering! It makes me feel awesome.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose was recommended by lots of internet people I trust, and so when it came to compiling a Christmas list, I had to put it down. I didn’t actually know what it was about, but from the cover and the title, I got the impression that it was going to be the kind of book that is half poetry, half novel, with long lush descriptions of South Africa and beautiful, poignant bittersweet moments. It isn’t really anything like that.

Evening Primrose is actually a really angry political novel. It’s written as the diary of Masechaba, a young woman who has left her religious mother to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. However, the realities of being a doctor and working within the South African health system are not what she expected. As well as dealing with the pressures of being a doctor, Masechaba is also dealing with her own personal history, her brother’s recent suicide and the legacy of apartheid. She lives with a Zimbabwean doctor named Nyamba who opens her eyes to the xenophobia that exists in South African society, even in Masechaba’s own mother.

I was really impressed by how such a short book managed to explore gender, the legacy of apartheid, mental health, menstruation and more. The author Kopano Matlwa is a doctor herself and is currently studying for a DPhil and Oxford University, which makes the fact that Evening Primrose is actually her third novel all the more impressive.

I don’t want to give away everything that happens in the book because I found that not knowing what to expect made the book so much more shocking and moving. I finished the booked with tears rolling down my cheeks.