June check in

Just checking in – I really miss blogging like I used to, as more of a journal of my life. Over the 12 and a half years I’ve been writing about my life on the internet, I’ve seen blogging change and evolve and shapeshift so many times.

I haven’t quite worked out where it is, as a medium, today – some people say it’s dead, some people say it’s stripped back to its bare bones, some sit in the middle.

But for me, and I’m sure I’ve talked about this here before, my blog is my online living room. It’s decorated how I like it, it’s filled with the things and conversations I want to have, and people can visit and leave as they like. No scheduling, no shoulds, no worrying.

It’s probably not a strategy to build an enormous following, but that was never the goal for this particular blog. And I have plenty of business spaces to do the strategic-yet-authentic thing (though if I’m honest, even my businesses don’t have much of a schedule for blogging & social. I prefer to be present and write when I have something to say).

So, things that have been going on in my (still grief-fuddled) world recently:

This amazing box to brighten up my day job desk

hogwarts broomstick repair kit box | carlalouise.com

Friendiversary dinners & plans – from a year to 20 years, eeek!

Choosing a yellow rose to plant in Dad’s memory

A series of commercial shoots coming up for the Burlesque Jems (and I’m going to be on TV dancing with them – eee!)

Packing for holiday and wondering how the hell I’m going to get my biggest fin, two weeks’ worth of clothes plus my camera, lenses & laptop into hand luggage only

Mermaid filming, and some secret squirrel plans for Mermaiding UK’s blog

Celebrating my Gran’s 88th birthday (we missed Dad being a BBQ maestro but it was really lovely to spend a whole day just chilling out with family)

Gran's 88th birthday | carlalouise.com

Gran's 88th birthday | carlalouise.com

Happy lunching with friends at work

I was on BBC radio talking about being a mermaid!

mermaid on the radio | carlalouise.com

Ink Drops packing, podcasts and plans

Moving Crafty Coffee to a Wednesday, to fit in with my new part time hours

Planning for a creative day with friends

Julia and Willoughby came to stay for the long weekend and I had my first foray into toddler soft play – was hilarious! At sixteen months he is gorgeous and much more interactive than newborn babies… but I had forgotten how much energy kids have!!

Going back to burlesque classes – I had missed it SO MUCH

Jenny & Matt’s wedding (and unicorn shoes, and sneaking in brunch with Lou & Paul!) It was also… illuminating… to meet up with people I’d not seen for nearly a decade. I’m very entertained by how some of them still think of me, and also by the passage of time in the case of the boys – the teenage boys I was friends with and loved so much – they are all now hurtling for middle age, yet haven’t changed personality-wise at all.

me with the blushing (erm...) bride Jenny | carlalouise.com

the gorgeous bride Jenny and groom Matt | carlalouise.com

And I’m sure all sorts of other stuff which has escaped my brain for now.

I can’t quite believe it’s June, but I’m trying to keep up my Happy Jar and gratitude journal practices, and making an effort to cook & eat well, as grief is quite exhausting enough without also trying to survive on junk food.

I’m still sadder than I knew was possible, but I am getting through each day, and spending as much time as I can with Mum and my family and my kittens and my friends – these things do make you realise the important things in life.

And finally, I’m hoping to spend a bit more quality time with my camera over the next couple of months, around all the admin we have to do, and also of course around work. I read somewhere that immersing yourself in things you love helps with anxiety, as you’re too absorbed in your creativity to worry unnecessarily about things. I think maybe this is a good experiment to try…

 

Finding home

For the longest time, I thought “home” was a place. Where you live, the house or flat or other dwelling that you return to.

During the days before my beloved Dad passed away, in a tiny hospital room in the acute cardiac unit, I realised that I was wrong.

Home is not just a place, it’s the people you love.

So that little room was home in the truest sense, Dad and Mum and I all together, helping each other through that most final of partings. I’ve never been anywhere more filled with love.

And home is, of course, not just your parents, children or partner.

It’s where you feel you belong. Whether that’s with a group of friends, or in a particular place, or a mixture of the two…

I’m amazingly lucky to have lots of people who feel like home, and several places too (not least my actual house).

Last weekend, I was with my best friends from uni, in a cottage on a lake in the Cotswolds. We went boating on the lake, and I was home, both with them and on the water.

Finding Home - kayaking in the Cotswolds | carlalouise.com

And I’m now much more aware of people, rather than just places, being home.

I also spotted lots of things Dad would love, which I’ve added to my Instagram hashtag… #thingsthatwouldmakedadsmile

Where is home for you? Who are the people who make you feel at home?

Happy moments: January 2017

I’ve been busy filling my happy jars this month and it’s been a gorgeous experience!

In no particular order, here are lovely little snippets of January:

These coaching videos shared by my friend Darren

best compliments ever from Rhi and Janine, including a comparison to a photographer I love

Lizzie being fully booked for work and Rhiannon’s first month of self employment being a runaway success

booking a very exciting photography workshop

epic kitten cuddles (pic of Luna. Clover likes to cuddle me while I’m on the loo, so I’ll spare you all photos of that)

teeny tiny pug puppies! I was at the vet and a box of tiny, wriggling, three week old puppies came in <3

happy post from Em, Cally, Sarah, Janine, Judy and Annastasia (and NEOM organics)

lens shopping for my photography businesses and impromptu cake with Sarah

giving an inspiring talk to the Cake and Revolution W.I. in Ipswich ~ “I had goosebumps listening to you talk – thank you”

planning cake & celebration for the finishing of the first draft of a friend’s novel

crafting Saturdays at Sarah’s

snow! and getting home safely in some mad flurries of snow. and kittens in the snow (first time they’ve ever seen it):

(The Silly Kittens – first time snow from Carla Louise on Vimeo.)

brunch with Mum & Dad at Chiquito’s

lovely, happy lunches with Ally, Sarah A, Darren, Janine, Emma, Sarah S

making unicorn bark

a security guard letting me through a building even though it was locked, to save me a long walk around to the car park

feeling like I have my creative mojo back

Maddy’s Careershifters feature

Dad’s blue badge approval – which should make it easier for him to get out and about

studio time and homemade lasagne, which Past Carla had been sensible enough to make and then freeze – it was SO nice to have proper food after getting carried away making!

Kittens in paper bags

lucky rainbow scarf day

friends’ business and coaching and singing plans

Lost property lady being utterly lovely about my lost fountain pen

Buying a replacement fountain pen from ebay – it’s not the same enough, but the slip that came with it said that my money is going towards a fund a teenager is setting up to help rural communities in Peru, building classrooms, greenhouses, better sanitation and environmental projects. He is going to volunteer there in the summer following his GCSEs, in 2018. This was such a lovely surprise!

meeting a lovely lecturer at work who was delighted to meet a professional mermaid

sending a surprise parcel to a young lady who’s going to meet a real mermaid, and be one herself for the day, in March – she came to my attention via the Rays of Sunshine charity, and while I couldn’t accommodate her request as my mermaiding is only insured for grown ups, I couldn’t resist parcelling up some mermaid delights for her <3 I had a gorgeous email from her mum to say Lucy loved her parcel!

planning & reviewing time – this has been so good for me in previous years, and I can do it with friends this year!

Karen bringing me a surprise Kinder egg

My day is now approximately 800% better thanks to Karen 😍 #excellentcolleagues #workfriends #chocolate

A post shared by Carla Louise (@duckingfabulous) on

 

Reading about basic income – something I’d like to learn more about

transferring Mum’s phone successfully to giffgaff

two no spend days in a row

booking all my Mondays off work to use up holiday

lovely new PA in our faculty team

hotel chocolat order (woo for end of season sales!)

glitter jar for the office

coaching!

brunch:

Brunch! (For the second time this weekend 😍)

A post shared by Carla Louise (@duckingfabulous) on

new dreamboard:

Last night's #artistdate – new dreamboard for 2017!

A post shared by Carla Louise (@duckingfabulous) on

exciting photography developments

coworking

Things I love and want to remember about myself postcard I made for the WI

invitation to Silke’s Professorial Inaugural Lecture

booked onto the circus day the girls got me for my 30th (eeek!)

salted caramel hot chocolate

long chat with Lou

my nephew Willoughby turned 1

time with Dad putting the world to rights

time with Mum ironing shelves (!) and putting the world to rights

getting all the photos of my house project all in one place

facetime with Claire and her lovely doglet Bailey

 

Phew! For a long, cold, dull month which also had its share of sadness and anxiety, I feel like that’s one amazing list!

2017 has such a different vibe so far – I am absolutely loving feeling more like myself again, and having creative oomph… long may it last!