Burlesque (well, a Ducking Fabulous stall while wearing my burlesque gear, to support the girls who were performing at the venue), zooming around in Poppy with the roof down, puppies, lunch with a dear friend and lots and lots of SUNSHINE… it’s been a thoroughly brilliant weekend.
She generally has a sweeter expression than this – I think she was unimpressed by the camera shoved in her face!
While driving around in Poppy, roof down, singing (badly) to 99 Problems, I realised that even with sunglasses and a convertible, I will never be cool. This is rather a relief.
Talking of roof down, I nearly wet myself laughing when I stopped at traffic lights and a random chav yelled “oi, someone’s nicked yer roof” – I’ve certainly had more original heckles. It amazes me how much attention she seems to get, especially in this part of the country where there are much more expensive, shiny and generally showy cars around. (It’s ok – I still love her best!)
This is serious market research. Does your outfit affect your sales?!
The Pamper Yourself Vintage fair was great fun and I finally got to meet Hattie of Whats your tale, nightingale? which was fabulous. Lovely to catch up with some of the Jems, and Annastasia was an absolute star and helped with my stall as well as dancing 🙂
I’ve done at least half my admin outside, and I even managed to sit and read a book for a bit this morning. Acquired a hammer (Dad will be relieved, he’ll have sole ownership of his again), a blue beach type chair for garden relaxing, a photo tent, another copy of the Free Range Humans book and a copy of my door key so that friends don’t have to leave when I do if they stay during the week. Excellent.
I even managed to make a summery casserole (oxymoron, no?!) in the slow cooker – so my only fail of the weekend would be choosing and writing cards for two of my favourite people in the world, whose birthdays fell on Friday and today… and then in the madness of stallholding, forgetting to take them with me to post. Silly girl… so if either of you are reading (I suspect you’re not, lol) – they’re going in the post tomorrow, I promise!
And on that note, having filled the blank page (and many others) in the fading sun with notes for Ink Drops, the Ducking Fabulous shop and my two super secret projects, I am off to bed with a book.
I hope you all also had thoroughly fabulous weekends!
This time last year, like today, I was heading over to Chelmsford after work to join old colleagues for their annual Christmas dinner.
This time last year, I had somewhat lost the Christmas spirit. I stepped off a train, late, hot and flustered from the sardine-can interior, and spent the entire evening fielding calls from taxi drivers for the event I’d organised for some directors and their clients.
This time last year, I went home to a flat that closely resembled a storage facility with a bed in it, and didn’t get my Christmas decorations up until halfway through December because I was just too tired.
This time this year, I am already feeling festive. I will change and do my hair and make up, put Poppy’s roof down if the weather stays dry and drive over to Chelmsford from my new life. I’ll enjoy every drink, every moment and every snippet of conversation with my phone firmly switched off.
This time this year, I will go home, sort out my stock and box some up for Tea & Sympathy, and then tomorrow after work deliver it and collect my takings from the last batch.
This time this year, I have a full size Christmas tree, which I’ll spend tomorrow evening decorating, and a home I love and can entertain friends in.
Perfection. And I still can’t work out how I made it happen so quickly!
With stock in the ever-fabulous Tea & Sympathy in Colchester, soon to be in the gorgeous Make, Do and Mend in Chelmsford, supplying goodies for a friend’s daughter’s pop up college shop and four fairs starting Wednesday evening, it has been a little manic here at Ducking Fabulous HQ for the last couple of weeks.
Some of my printed domino necklaces in progress – I’m very excited about this batch!
I’ve also been working hard on Ink Drops Boxes with Annastasia from Midorigreen, which has been lovely, and punctuated by hilarious Skype chats involving unintentional Lucozade highs. If you love all things handwritten, pop over and see the site and our blog, and if you’re struggling for presents, why not have a look at the shop – a surprise box of beautiful stationery might be the answer!
Christmas preparations are also starting – this weekend I will be at the Betty Blue Eyes vintage and handmade fair in Leigh-on-Sea (and visiting two lovely friends who live in the area at the same time) on Saturday, and at Mum & Dad’s sorting out Christmas trees and decorations on Sunday… they have bought a new tree for their new, higher-ceilinged abode, and I get the old one, which will fit beautifully into my flat… somewhere. I’m excited for sorting through decorations, most of ours have stories – will try and post about some of them nearer the time.
Right now I am mostly revelling in the incredible feeling of being surrounded by likeminded people and full of inspiration… it’s a feeling like no other!
Other things that have made me happy this week…
A rainbow on my way to work | Househunting | Tentative plans to borrow a greyhound | Dinner and Christmas decoration making at Mimi’s | A fabulous night with family for my aunt’s 40th birthday | puppy cuddles | the Free Range Festival | a festive Saturday in London with some of my uni girls | chocolate muffins | stories of my parents’ lives and travels before I arrived | starting on the overhaul of this site | getting my boudoir shoot photographs back | tassel making workshop and learning to twirl – the best Thursday evening I’ve had for ages! | Contrariety Rose’s mini-boutique in Creative Crafts in Reading | roof-down driving on a Tuesday evening | impromptu dinner and giggles with my parents | fairy lights | stocking up on Lush’s amazing seasonal soap | treating myself to a couple of books I’ve wanted for a while | MAC’s lip primer
So an all round fabulous couple of weeks! I am trying very hard to resume regular, twice a week posting – watch this space 🙂
I feel very strongly that this is a new phase in my life. The opportunity to work so close to home is one that I think I only truly appreciate having battled almost two years of four-hours-a-day commuting. It signifies a change in pace, and a change in attitude. To make the jump to leaving London, there is a whole mindset change. Money becomes less important, and time, though still precious, is more plentiful.
There will be more time to spend with my family, the people and also the animals that are so dear to me, and who helped me so much through the darkest times of my life, and who share these happy ones so wholeheartedly.
Time to take Bluebell for long cycle rides, Poppy for long drives, to ride Jack and Chess (maybe not simultaneously) through the fields, to photograph and record the things I didn’t even have time to see before.
Long afternoons to spend with friends, chatting, talking, just being. Time to dream and plan for a nomadic future – narrowboats and caravans, visiting friends, a gentler pace of life.
While still running my businesses and creating my portfolio life, I also want to find time to learn – through the university, evening dance classes, finally getting going on my Universal Class courses, through Free Range Humans and Escape the City (just because I’ve escaped, doesn’t mean I can’t still spend time with fabulous like minded people)…
All these things I have missed for the past five years. All these things I am so much looking forward to – and all these things and more I will be thankful for. I’ll still be busy but I am absolutely determined to make more of everyday life now I have taken the leap. I don’t want to just live for the weekends – I want every day to be worth something.
I don’t regret my time in London, I’ve met some wonderful people (you really do find absolute gems in the most unexpected places) and I’ve learned a lot, much of it also unexpected. But the time is right to move on, and I am focused on the future. I don’t think I’ll ever return to work in the City – but I will take many memories of it with me.
I’ve had such a mad few weeks, I haven’t done a Happy Thursdays post for AGES. However I have been keeping my eyes open for small things that make me smile during the long and sometimes relentless weeks. Here are a few:
Perfect cupcakes before the Hurly Burly show, with Wendy. Gorgeous Sunday – cake, burlesque and one of my best friends, what more could a girl want?!
A truly spectacular moment on the way to the pub after rollerskating with Caroline, and planning our cabaret performances, her website, her new house and my future. It was glorious, and felt like a proper summer evening.
Lunch at the Folly with Lou. Full review coming soon (possibly on Project Pin Up) but I loved that they gave us our bill in a seed packet. It was fabulously quirky, suited us down to the ground AND there was a fashion shoot going on at the same time we were there.
Spotting an old but rather beautiful Maserati outside my parents’ new house. Sadly not theirs.
Deckchairs and screens provided in the middle of the City for workers to watch the Olympics and Paralympics on. Lovely, no?
There are more, but I’ll leave you with those for now. I am off to get some sleep, finish recovering from this horrible virus I’ve had, and hope with all my heart that Poppy sails through her service and MOT tomorrow – it makes me unreasonably nervous!
Goodness, how the weeks are racing past!
I am about to put on a headscarf, put Poppy’s roof down and race off to Helen’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party… very excited! This morning I had breakfast out with Simple Things magazine (I love it – it could have been written for the life I am now actively working towards), then came home, spring cleaned the living room so I can actually see the floor (it has been doubling as a photo studio for some time now) and went through the catalogues and brochures we brought home from last weekend’s trade fair, for the secret project… which will be revealed very, very soon! We have some final touches and tweaks to make to the website tonight and tomorrow, and our survey and tweets will begin from Sunday/Monday 🙂
So do keep your eyes peeled – I know lots of you will love it!
Life has been very busy but rather lovely recently, not counting a day of illness. Last night I was out at Proud Cabaret with girls from work – most of them had never seen burlesque before and I’m still not sure they’re convinced, but I had a wonderful time and stole some costume ideas too 🙂
I have a whole stack of blog posts drafted, waiting to retrieve photos from various bits of technology to go with them… perhaps that should be tomorrow’s job. With a cup of tea, in the sunshine… yes, that sounds like a way to spend a morning!
Until later, lovelies – I would linger, but there is cake to be eaten and tea to be sipped!
I have no idea how it’s Saturday again already! This time last week I was in a field with a group of people who, two years ago, I met for the first time. With no reason to meet except they all had the same car as me, I ventured to Duxford to meet them en masse and camp for the weekend. I took one of my best friends for moral support, in case it was horrific.
Three camping trips, many meets and hundreds of ridiculous conversations later, I count them among my dearest friends. I don’t see them as often as I’d like, because we’re scattered around the country, but I cannot imagine not knowing them… and I look forward to the meets when I can see them, chat, catch up, drink and relax. It never fails to amaze me what a fabulous bunch they are, and how accidentally I met them. (and how nearly I didn’t meet them – I almost chickened out of that very first meet!)
Anyway… here are some pics of the weekend for anyone who hasn’t seen them already – some stolen from others as I was driving solo much of the time, and misplaced my camera for half the weekend. It turned up with some brilliant photos on it, very few of which I’d taken!
Fitting many MR2s onto Rob’s driveway…A line of cars driving to breakfast on Saturday (not my photo) My Poppy at breakfast after a gorgeous drive through the Yorkshire moors
I found a pony at breakfast (of course I did, I find ponies everywhere. I did however miss the real ones on the treasure hunt!)
Setting up camp. This is Pete’s take on a camper van…
I have been ridiculously busy for the last few weeks, and each of the events deserves a proper post. However, as I’ve just arrived home from CAE 2012 (camping with the car club in Yorkshire) and I have washing and other such glamorous things to do, I thought I’d do a bit of a sneak peek with some photos, and link to the posts when I write them over the next couple of weeks 🙂
The first weekend in July, I did a stall at the Maldon Motor Show with the fab Annastasia Midorigreen and her other half Dan – we sold handmade, vintage and Star Wars figures. It definitely gave me the bug and I came home all inspired. The classic cars that showed up (all 700 of them) were amazing too.
Then on Wednesday I flew out to Jersey for my best friend’s wedding. I was one of four bridesmaids and it was a fraught lead up but absolutely gorgeous day, despite the pouring rain. Julia is now a Wilson and it’s still not quite sunk in!
And this weekend I have been to Yorkshire camping with my car club. This is always a highlight of my year – you couldn’t hope to find a lovelier bunch of people, and I always look forward to the meets we have throughout the year. This one is the biggest by far, with usually around 40 cars. Much eating, drinking, talking and laughing goes on…
Friday morning: How many MR2s can you fit outside one house?! (black is Rob’s, blue is Russ’s, red is mine, silver is spare) Anna and I when she arrived, catching up and looking cute:Laughing despite the rain with Ally and Luke: Dan, Brad, Nige, Karine & Jim demonstrating that rain will not stop us having fun…
More on all three later – now I’m off to find food and catch up on sleep!
In February I’m off on a road trip round the southern states with my parents. We’ve been meaning to do this trip since waaaaay back in 2000, but somehow it’s taken this long to find time when all three of us can go!
We’re flying into Dallas Fort Worth, and will spend time there at the HAI conference (working) and at the stock yards and Billy Bob’s (not working!).
We fly home from North Carolina ten days after arriving. In between, while visiting our friends along the way, I want to see Nashville because last time I was there, I was too busy competing to see much of the city.
Parentals reckon we should see Sun Studios, which they did once before… And in between, I’m open to suggestions!
Is there anything I should see? Special places to go? Bars I should try? Things I should do?
This will have to be quick, because I should have been in bed half an hour ago… oh, how I have really not missed the 5.30am starts at all over the break!!
I’m starting 2012 in an incredibly happy, uplifted and motivated frame of mind. I am surrounded by people I love who love me, I have my little haven of a flat and my much adored Poppy-car, changes at work in the last couple of months of 2011 mean I’m much happier there than I thought possible to begin with, and I’m ridiculously lucky that my main stresses are usually that I have too many people and fun things to fit into my social life. Terrible, isn’t it?!
But genuinely, I’m very lucky and well aware of this fact. I’m also intending and hoping for 2012 to be my best year yet… full of all the things I love to do, all the people I love to see and empty (or emptier, at least) of things that make me sad and stressed out. I’m not completely in la la land, I know that various things will be impossible and hard and tearful through the year, but right now things are rosy and I intend to make the absolute most of that.
Things I am muchly looking forward to this year:
Julia’s wedding ~ this is the big one, my best friend and twin soul is getting married on 7th July and I CANNOT WAIT! I’m honoured to have been chosen as one of her bridesmaids and I’ll do everything I can to make sure her big day is perfect.
USA road trip ~ a road trip round the southern states with my parents that we have been talking about doing for close to ten years, we’re flying out to Texas on 9th February and I’m so excited I can barely breathe!
CAE 2012 ~ Camping Auto Extravaganza with the ROC boys and girls is always a highlight of the calendar – this will be my third one, and each one makes me marvel that a bunch of people who only met each other because of their cars can be such very good friends and have such an awesome time.
Neverwhere ~ one of my favourite books by the awesome Neil Gaiman, and my best friend Lou of Contrariety Rose has been working on the costumes for the play for months and months. I’m off to see it on 20th January and am very excited!
Goodwood Revival ~ another one of those things I’ve been threatening to do for ages, Lou & Paul said they’d like to go and much to my surprise so did Rob when I mentioned it the other day… and dressed vintage too! So I’m hoping we’ll get to do that in September… fingers crossed!
My 26th birthday ~ not a traditional landmark I know, but I feel like I’m hitting my prime, and will be taken more seriously once I’m in my late twenties, and I’m hoping to celebrate with lots of friends and lots of family.
Unofficial Ireland rally with Rat Patrol, Team Allegro and Bucket of Doom ~ Assuming we actually manage to get this organised, I would completely adore to see the others again. I am perfectly prepared to abandon the idea of a banger and just go in Poppy if that’s the only way I can afford to go (as the £250 banger car spending limit would probably pay for most of my petrol and camping costs, lol). I’ve missed those guys!
And last but not least, launching Teasets to Typewriters, rejuvenating Ducking Fabulous jewellery as part of that and hopefully becoming involved with a new website, What Simon Said, with a friend I met on the rally and have kept in touch with via Twitter. I have many, many goals this year… some of them are listed on the 2012 Things page of this site, which can be found on the tabs at the top.
So, enough photo-free waffling from me – it’s been wonderful blogging and tweeting and ‘meeting’ people (I’m mostly looking at you, @craftyguider,@fairlyairyfairy, @meanyjar, @CraftyThINKer, @MissJimJams, @ShhimUK, @LucyMoose ) in 2011, and I hope the friendship and support continues into 2012 and beyond! Happy 2012… enjoy it!
Sunday evenings are my time – after a busy week and usually an even busier weekend, I always try to spend a couple of hours reading, pottering and planning for the week ahead. I cross all the things I’ve achieved off my to-do list, add some more, write cards for any birthdays/anniversaries coming up in the next week (ok, I don’t do that yet, it’s one of those things I perpetually intend to do, lol) and generally prepare myself for the week ahead.
This week I’m struggling more than normal to get back into work mode, because I’ve had four days in a row off and I’m just not functioning in office mode. However, I have finished my Curious Christmas box to send, and am off to see Louise this weekend for a vintage tea party and much girlie fun. I also have another parcel swap to plan and create, which is muchly exciting, so I shall keep smiling over the next couple of weeks! I’ve also managed to make stuff this weekend, so my state of mind is more balanced – it’s amazing how much crafting helps me stay calm!
Here’s a quick this weekend i am mostly… roundup!
Reading: Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan, The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon and Chances by Freya North
Writing: this blog post, lists of things I’d like to stock in my shop one day, cards for people
Drinking: pepsi max, squash, rose wine
Listening: smash hits radio from the TV, sandi thom on youtube, adele and dj fresh in the car
Buying: things for the curiosity project, vintage pyrex, books, beautiful notebooks
Enjoying: four straight days off work, seeing annie, making stuff, scanning my books into library thing, planning for next weekend’s vintage tea party and the Christmas party the week after
Loving: driving with the roof down even though it’s nearly December, late night texts, my bauble wreath, crisp clean sheets, that Christmassy feeling
Have a fabulous week! 🙂 xx