1 Dec 2011

December 1st

 Sticky little hands, sparkly card and gold star sequins. Hooray for December the first.

29 Nov 2011

hello broadband, I missed you X

 It's been a turmultuous few weeks. We've had no kitchen (still have no kitchen), no money (ditto) and no broadband (yay! now we have broadband! thank the gods) The house is chaos with mess and wood and bags of concrete and tools everywhere, and we've been living in the middle of it like a family of bewildered, foraging tramps. 

 And now December is lurking like a ninja in the coming week ready to ambush us with its sparkly awesomeness and I'm thinking that the first Christmas we spend in this house isn't gonna be like the one I'd played out in my head. What with having no kitchen and all. No, it's gonna be better! No cooking, no washing, no ironing! Oh happy days.

 But, honestly? I had big plans for festive house warming parties and clean clothes etc that are fading fast. There's still hope though, with a little Christmas magic we might have an actual sink by Christmas Eve. To wish for a washing machine and oven seems too daring though, and I can't put my heart on the line like that.

 I've decided to post a photo a day throughout December, to get me back into the swing of blogging. Small things, little winter. I missed this, you and all your loveliness and gorgeous blogs, missed the inspiration and the advice. I'm happy to be back. 

13 Oct 2011

stuffing our faces in LDN

 Two days and a night in London. A whirlwind trip, a taster. We used to live in the capital, a long time ago now. Ah, happy days.

 We did the Natural History Museum first and, wow, it's even more beautiful than I remember. Taking Edie into the huge Central Hall and seeing the Diplodocus stood there in all his colossal bony glory gave me shivers. I sometimes get a bit overawed in foyers and entrances to wonderful places, like in Disney World, on Main Street, where all I can do is stop myself from erupting like a geyser of emotion at how damn awesome the world is. Well, the Central Hall in the Natural History Museum made me well up. And the Deli Cafe does great food and I bought a pretty and clever book called Kaleidoscope Sky, so all in all I was over the moon.

 The Science Museum was a little shabby but still well worth a visit. We managed to take some time out in the Shake Bar for chocolate chip milkshakes (we missed no opportunity to fill our tummies with tasty stuff)
 And, yes, Edie missed the milkshakes. But she made up for that x10 when she ate the biggest ice cream sundae I've ever seen at Fortnum and Mason which was meant to be shared between the three of us. But, hey, I guess two year olds don't have the whole sharing thing down pat quite yet. That girl can EAT. 

***Important note to all lovers of hot chocolate- the child's hot chocolate at Fortnum and Mason is amazing. And that's not a blog exaggeration. That's a fact. There cannot be a better hot chocolate anywhere on this Earth.***

 Now that makes it sound like all we did was eat and drink liquid chocolate stuffs but we did manage to fit in a few other things. Like going to Spitalfield's Market, where we went to Leon for lunch, admittedly an eating activity again, but have you been to a Leon? Well, if you can you should. I recommend. 

 Now we're home and looking forward to a weekend of painting and getting ready for Phase One of our move. We're aiming for a week Saturday for a partial move into our new home. Eek. Can't wait.

5 Oct 2011

blogging and the bad stuff

 I love getting comments on my posts. It's a great feeling to know that someone out there's reading them and is at least vaguely interested. There are some amazing and utterly inspiring girls out there whose blogs I visit and who sometimes come and say 'hello' by dropping in on mine. 

 Thank you ladies! It's always a pleasure to meet you. 

 But then, once in a while, there are the comments that make you go 'mmmmm', the ones that have a masked aggression or a sarcastic tone. I admit I'm lucky to have avoided that so far, probably because not that many people read my blog, but the other day I noticed a comment that made me a tiny bit unsure about the way it was intended. Not that it was out and out bitchy at all, just a leetle bit snarky. Anyway, it got me thinking, about what I write about in this blog and about what kind of image I'm projecting here.

 I know what pisses me off about certain blogs, no matter how much I love them or how cool the author is. It riles me when people's lives are protrayed as being uber-perfect, whatever kind of lifestyle they have chosen to project. These blogs are so inspiring but can also make me feel a little inadequate, like one of life's losers, even though I realise that even the most sorted, confident, beautiful and successful of us have mood swings, disasters, illnesses and annoying habits just like we all do. Now, I'm not saying that I've set myself up as having a 'perfect' life here at all (I wish) I'm just wondering if I need to show a bit more of the shit that goes on in my life as well as the lovely stuff. Cos, there's a lot of shit, believe me. And doesn't make that make life more interesting? The way that we're growing and learning all the time, looking for the beauty and the love in life even through the not-so-great times?

 But then... I do find I return to the 'beautiful lives' blogs again and again. The ones that hold the promise of a life more lovely. The ones that make my tummy ache a little because it's all so damn perfect.

 I don't know what the answer is. I suppose sharing and promoting the good things in life is a good primary motivator but then I can't turn my blogging back on the darker side of life either, or the hum drum side, or the ugly side, not completely. 

 Life isn't all perfect days out and new shoes and macaroons and thrifting that perfect coffee table and constantly being the confident, self- worshipping goddess that we'd all like to be.

 But then how much of the truth do you put into your blog? Are you writing almost as a character, self-editing your life for the pages of your blog, or as yourself as best you can? Yourself with a hangover, and PMT, and backache, and when your best friend is pissing you off? When you're lonely or sad and wondering what the hell to do with your life?

 What do you think?

29 Sep 2011

getting there, slowly...

An actual picture of the actual paint we are using
 OK, so nearly 2 months on and we still haven't moved into our new home. But it's coming, slow and steadily. As they say- good things come to those who wait and so wait we must.

 This morning I've been to meet with the fire guy, the nice man who's going to make our living room all cosy and warm with a wood burning stove (I'm hugely excited about this, could the reality of a wood burner live up to the one that exists in my head? Yes, I think so! It's gonna be awesome!) Haggling isn't as hard as I feared, in fact I may be a natural, you don't have to be forceful and hard, there is another way that involves being nice . 

(Hooray for all the nice people getting money off you don't have to be a dickhead after all!)

 Plus, my Dad got a little crazy with a sledgehammer and our kitchen and dining rooms are now a kitchen/ diner! Lots more space, lots more light and lots more potential. It makes me happy to see it all take shape, it feels more like our home now, I can imagine it filled with our things, or furniture and bits-and-bobs. 

 So, we're thinking that we'll be in in around 3 and a half weeks. Hopefully. Partially. Without a kitchen. 

 And I'm counting down the days.

23 Sep 2011

a few good things...

This lady's art work is stunning.

27 ideas that make today better. 

Such cute swimwear don't you think? 

Conran at M&S, oh my.

Things We Say Today Which We Owe To Shakespeare - this list is just awesome!  

Emily Martin's greetings cards make me go oooo. 

I'm gonna try my damnedest to visit this shop/cafe when I'm in London next month.

Elsie's tips on photographing your home. To be honest, I haven't even read this one properly yet but I just know it's gonna be great. 

How do you deal with infertility? A great, honest and inspiring post on Sarah Wilson's blog.

(This made me feel warm and fuzzy.)X

21 Sep 2011

Right now I'm reading...

...Luella's Guide to English Style

 'From the sheer rock and rollness of Marianne Faithfull to the 
epitome of English aristocracy, the Duchess of Devonshire, feeding her chickens in pearls and Wellingtons...'
Luella Bartley

 Finally getting around to reading Luella Bartley's Luella's Guide to English Style. So far so good. I've been making little notes on the pages in pencil which is making me feel very naughty (I've always been a good girl when it comes to looking after books) so I have lots of quotes and things to inspire me saved up. Like this one!

 'Money-is-no-object thinking comes at a price. Too much cash means zero creativity and none of the groundwork or lineage needed to figure out what makes a good status purchase. You're not going to find your true self poncing around Harvey Nichols until you've done your apprenticeship in the markets, high street, charity shops and jumble sales, experimenting, altering, and making proper, individual, out-there choices - and mistakes.'
Luella Bartley

 In that case, my apprenticeship seems to be taking forever.

 Here's another great quote that rang true with me (especially right now this minute with my rained on, tangled mess of a hair-do)-
'...hair is one of the most telling signs of true English style and the brush is it's worse enemy...'

 The book itself is gorgeous too, with an aged look and a bright pink elastic band to keep your page. Genius!

 This book does feel a little like a text book (that's probably why I feel the need to deface it with scribbles in the margins) but it's certainly got me thinking about the joys of style-individuality and the evils of style-globalisation. Luella's love of clothes and dressing up is clear and her excitement and enthusiasm are infectious. If you're a lover of fashion and style books like me then you could do worse than with this addition to the collection.

19 Sep 2011

on the weekend

  Too much good food, a little too much wine, good friends, my Dad's birthday, the opera, after-show parties, wood burning stove shopping, rain, choosing paint colours, counting our pennies, spending our pennies, house warming gifts and one night with no sleep. 

 Today I'm tired. 

 Edie is growing up so fast, she's not quite 2 and a half yet but she is so knowing and funny and charming, she continually amazes me. She's blossoming and learning so fast it takes my breath away. I love to see her little idiosyncrasies and quirks show themselves as I get to know her better. 

 I look at her and I feel so lucky.

13 Sep 2011

Back from the beach

 We had a lovely time at the beach. It was windy, we swam in the sea, we ate fish and chips, we lit the wood burner and drank wine, we picnicked in the sunny drizzle, we saw seal mummies trying to get their seal babies into the sea and swimming, we went vintage hunting and came home with a stash of pretties, we had our futures told, we saw the stars, we heard the wind howl through the cracks at night, we collected shells, we screamed on the ghost train, we ate tapas, we cheered when the sun came out, we were busy and happy and totally worn out at the end of every day but in a good way.


 Time to start planning our next trip, next month we're off to the city, to our old home, London. Can't wait.

3 Sep 2011

A few good things

Fall In Love With You All Over Again with Hello Giggles, read it, it's ace. (Found via Charade). 

These free printable stickers would be great for kids books or for big kids books (like mine).

How to Improve Every Moment the Zen Habits way.

The Awesome Thing About Rejection Is - from The Daily Love. It makes sense.

Want ideas for wonderful dates in London Town? Look no further! Found via the ever lovely Sparkles and Crumbs.

This guy is awesome, WOW, inspirational or what?

Karen Elson, always cool, even when doing this. Especially when doing this.

We're off to the beach for a few days to say goodbye to the summer. X

31 Aug 2011

Shades of pale

 If you'd like to totally screw with yourself walk into any DIY store and stand in front of the rows and rows of tins of wall paint containing tiny variations of off-white and try and choose the one you like best. A Whisper of Stone, no, Parchment White, no, Lace Undergarment, ah what? Which one? WTF are we here for anyway? 

 Truth is, I like off-white, I painted my bedroom bright yellow when I was about 10 and then had to spend most of my teenage years in a dayglo hell. When I was a student I painted my bedroom a rasberry colour and lived in a perpetual half light for a year. Now I crave soft, delicate off-white walls on which to hang my prints and which make my home light, bright and beautiful. But the question is which off white do I go for? Hell, I'll even stray a shade darker than off-white if the colour is that perfect.

 However, that's not to say I don't like a sprinkling of colour here and there, in fact I love colour, I adore colour, it's just that I now know that, for me, colour looks so much better framed by an off-white background. OK, so I think you got it, I like my walls off-white.

All photos found via my Pinterest!
 By the way, the bloody walls are not even ready to paint yet, I just get a little ahead of myself sometimes.

29 Aug 2011

Poems to make you happy and sleepy

 I read poems from AA Milne's When We Were Very Young to Edie a couple of times a week when I put her to bed. Do you remember these poems from when you were a kid? I have so many favorites but one we always turn to is Spring Morning. I think it's beautiful; wistful and soft, a little sweetly sad and yet it has such a positivity to it. Here's a little bit:

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
"It's awful fun to be born at all."
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
"We do have beautiful things to do."

 Edie loves this poem probably as much for the fact that there's a picture of a little boy with a kite as for the beautiful rhythm of the words but this book of poems is a gem for getting her little eyelids to lower sleepily. It reminds me of what a safe, cosy and yet exciting place childhood can be. 

 There are so many books I can't wait to read with Edie as she grows, and of course, new ones to discover alongside her. Teddy Robinson, My Naughty Little Sister, Pippi Longstocking, Milly Molly Mandy- I adored all these books when I was little. I have such strong memories of them. Funny how a memory of a story can be clearer than a memory of real life isn't it? What are your favorite childhood books? Share them with me.

24 Aug 2011

Lists- August 24 2011

10 little things that made me happy when I was small

1-  looking at the rainbows that appeared on my eyelashes on a sunny day

2-  pushing my hand down deep into the chicken feed barrel

3-  emptying out Nan's button basket and sorting the buttons out into piles

4-  lying too close to the fire, curled up like a cat

5-  the smell of horse poo

6-  singing in the car on the way home

7-  painting PVA glue onto my palms and then peeling it off

8-  taking off my socks and throwing them at my dad

9-  sitting in my wardrobe with a torch and a book

10- trying on my mum's slips

22 Aug 2011

I got me a house to do up and a credit card burning a hole in my pocket

 Fighting the temptation to buy bits and bobs for a new house we still haven't moved into is hard. We've got plasterers and plumbers to pay before we can spend pennies on 'nice things'. And I have been good, mostly, but yesterday I found myself tapping my card details into the Urban Outfitters' payment page because, to hell with it, they were offering me a whole 12% off. Wow. But to be honest, I'd had my eye on these decorative items for months and the 12% just tipped me over the edge. I mean, £13.56 is £13.56, right? 
Deep down I'm a little worried that this rug will bugger up my eyes
Thanks to this map Edie will not be a clueless idiot like her mum when it comes to where places are. Who knew Denmark was there?

I spend a fortune on frames. But it's worth it for gems like this butterfly print!
 Now I just need some floors and walls to adorn. Tradesmen get your asses in gear or I'll have spent all your money on pretty things.

21 Aug 2011

A fine weekend

 I had a family wedding to attend on the weekend. It was a lovely happy day. The sun shone down on us and we ate and drank and talked and danced. We complained a little about how these events aren't quite the same once you have kids and you have to cut most of your conversations short to leg it after some wayward child but we still had a ball.

 Today we went to the park and splashed about in the pool and ate ice-cream. We visited our new house too and made plans to get a plasterer in next week to really get the work started. Finally! It's been a lovely couple of days. Hope you all had a good weekend too.

13 Aug 2011

Stretching my wings

 It's been nearly 6 weeks since I had surgery and I'm really feeling the need to get back to normality. It hasn't been a bad time, not at all, in fact lots of lovely things have happened, but now I'm itching to stretch my wings and get some freedom back. It's hard having to rely on others so much when you're used to doing your own thing but you just gotta roll with it and be present in the moment (that's the hard bit, not yearning to move on too quickly and aching for things to be different all the time). But right now I am yearning to move on, and that's ok because it's time to take a few cautious steps back to normality. 

 Back in January I made a list of things I'd like to achieve this year. Unfortunately, I flunked many of them within a matter of days when I hurt my back (learning to surf? Forget it! Marathon running? Ha ha!) and the other less physical goals were also casualties of my mishap (I couldn't even sit up to draw for quite some time so getting work together for an exhibition was impossible). 

  But my situation made one thing on my list easily achievable and this one thing really did enrich my life and became quite precious; I meditated each and every day throughout the months I was in pain and stuck indoors and I swear it helped me remain positive and sane. That period of my life gave me the time and the space to practice sitting still and clearing away the chatter inside my head. Good things coming out of bad, it's a cliche, but a true one. Now, life, normal happy, funny, sad, exciting, tiring life, is getting in the way once more and I'm afraid that in these last days and weeks I've found it hard to commit to that 20 minutes sat quietly with myself. I need to continue down that path, I need to find a way to keep that good thing in my life. 

 Do any of you meditate? Before this last couple of years I wouldn't have been remotely interested but people and circumstances change and hand on heart I can now say it honestly has huge benefits. I'd love to hear if any of you have found it makes your life lovelier. And how do you fit it into your lives?

10 Aug 2011

Making a house a home

from spreadthelove at etsy.com

Our new house was officially ours last Wednesday! We took a bottle of wine down with us after we'd put Edie to bed at my mum's and sat on the living room floor and talked exciting talk about the future. I kept saying 'I can't believe it's ours!' and it's true, I can't. It's slowly starting to feel real but until we move in I don't think I'll get my head around the fact that those four walls belong to me and my little family

 When does a new house feel like a home really and truly? 

 I need to get our pictures up on the walls, our books on the shelves, our shoes under the stairs. I need to fill that house with us-ness. But before that we have boilers to fit, walls to knock down and floorboards to sand. So first things first. We'll get there soon and our new house will become our new home. Excited!

 I've been making notes on how I'd like our new home to be. It's thrilling to have a completely blank canvas to work with, each and every room (and the garden) needs our loving attention. There are so many things to take into consideration. I've decided to start a Pinterest for inspiration. 

  I hope it'll help me get my thoughts and plans into some kind of order, isn't Pinterest great for that? It gives visual clarity to your vague ideas and helps you establish what your 'taste' or 'style' is. There is clearly a leaning towards a certain style with the images that I've chosen. 

 But again, first we have wallpaper to strip and boilers to fit. There's a long way to go yet. I so want to put my heart and soul into this little place.  

4 Aug 2011

I have some very talented friends you know...

My friend Emma who's an all round talented and super nice person has won Cardiff's Photomarathon with these beautiful pics. The colours are gorgeous aren't they?

1 Aug 2011

Time to dust off my purse, shopping is back on the agenda

 I've got a wedding and a Christening coming up and yesterday I hit the high street in search of something to wear. I used to love wandering around the shops, trying things on and putting outfits together but since I squeezed out our little lady, no, actually since as early as about 6 weeks pregnant, the joy of clothes shopping has seriously diminished. Shopping with a two year is hard- money is tighter than it was before and also, I'm physically different to what I was pre-baby. Even after 2 whole years plus 3 months my new body throws me. 

 In my head I'm still the Anna who could wear a strapless, sequined white floaty number, in reality I have strawberry juice on everything I own, my boobs need significant strappage in order to keep them tethered and for some reason 'comfy' has moved from number 5 on my requirement list to number-1-first-place. 

 But I still want to look hot, of course I do! Doesn't everyone? 

 So the search was on for the elusive outfit that would tick all the boxes and make me fall in love with the changing rooms all over again. I had my concerns that the trip would be frustratingly fruitless but I, get this, found something I loved in the first shop I looked in! 

 Now the picture above does not do it justice. It looks so much better on and it's really flattering (my plan is to really dress it up with huge gold jewelery and big hair and as it's a pretty casual wedding I think I can get away with it easily). I thought in the shop that the mirrors and lighting had been doctored to give a more pleasing (read false) impression and that when I got home my heart would sink as I caught sight of myself in the all too harsh reflection of the bathroom mirror but happily I looked almost as good! And it's comfy so that's the main thing. Sorted.

Now the downside of this little shopping success is that I'm raring to go spend again. And after browsing through the what's-coming-soon at Topshop.com I'm planning my next trip into town with lots of kick-ass outfits in mind. Check these out-
I always love A/W clothes more than S/S and these outfits make me drool. I've got my shopping mojo back! Hooray!