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Rediscovering campus

My day job is at the University of Essex, on a beautiful and quite big campus made up of parkland, woodland and buildings. The buildings are quite 60s, concrete and brutal… but the grounds are spectacular, and we even have two lakes, a country house hotel and a campus “farm” (large allotment, really).

When I first came here, following working close by the Barbican in London (equally brutal but less scenery, more people, and my actual office was the least inspiring building ever), I was captivated. That I could go for walks every day, spend time in woodland and by water, and all without bunking off work or going more than ten minutes from my house, seemed like a dream.

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Somehow, in the last three and a half years, I’d forgotten to be entranced by the gorgeous surroundings I work in. Reading back through my five year diary for a podcast I’m doing soon, I realised how much I longed for green space and water when I couldn’t have it.

I have now firmly told myself off for taking it for granted, and am trying to spend more time outdoors – especially now the weather is behaving itself!

[ducks on tour] ducklings. real ones!

Just a quick one today, as the Fling was yesterday, and today holds horse riding, Ink Drops and a knicker making workshop with the very talented Contrariety Rose. More on all of that later!

You may have seen this on various social media feeds – but I couldn’t resist posting again!

Arrived at work the other day to this – Mummy duck was extremely unimpressed that we were stopping her from taking her babies down to the lake. But help was at hand, a man from Estates came along with a little wagon and drove them safely over.



Gorgeous start to the day!

Weather for ducks, and other photos

I can quite see why moving house is one of the top stressful things you can do in this life. Here are some photos of what I’ve been doing around the packing, admin and incompetence…

Weather for ducks… literally:

weather for ducks |

Puppy cuddles with the lovely Frankie. It’s a hard life…

 2013-03-02 18.41.07snoozy pup |

Learning a bit more ukulele.

ukulele and tablet | duckingfabulous.comGlorious blue skies on the way to meet Becky for a celebratory lunch in Balham (and unexpectedly bumping into an old friend from school)

   blue skies | 

A conference in the Essex iLabs, where you’re encouraged to play with the toys and things provided. Like nothing I’ve ever done before!


And finally, wine to help me get through the strangely emotional final Friday night in my first flatwine |

Life in Instagrams and Happy Thursdays

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In progress #tassels #burlesque

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Testing xmas pressie tablecloths and mats #teal #violet

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Like a ballet in the air – but rather them than me!

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Frosty #cobweb on the walk to work. Brrrr.

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Nom nom mango sorbet 🙂

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Lots of eBay parcels to post 🙂

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The last few weeks in Instagram highlights – L-R tassels in progress, colourful table settings and ballet in the air at work; frosted spider web, delicious mango sorbet, first batch of eBay parcels from my pre-move clear out.

Happy things include 15 Queen Street and discovering the amazing creatives in my area | planning and prepping for a collaborative photoshoot with Contrariety Rose | development of Ink Drops Boxes | various happy-making side projects | fabulous Free Range Humans (the people and the book) | finding a new home | Hotel Chocolat caramel hot chocolate | bumping into Poppy’s old owner on a roundabout in a snowstorm | resurrecting the Ducks on Tour and finding original Frankie and Freddie pictures

And I have Thursday and Friday off work for the shoot 🙂

Putting the duck into Ducking Fabulous

A very few of you will remember that back in 2006, when I was first blogging, I had a pair of tiny rubber ducks (one green, one yellow) given to me for my birthday. Being students, we took them out drinking with us, and came back with a whole stash of photos of them on the bar, in drinks, stuck to people’s faces and occasionally in someone’s cleavage.

ducks with old mobile

Frankie and Freddie having a chat on my (then cutting-edge) mobile, sometime in 2006

We named them Frankie and Freddie, and they accompanied me all over the place for most of my first and second year at university. They had their own blog, their own MySpace page and they spawned the collection I currently have – I now receive at least one or two ducks every single birthday and Christmas 🙂 A chance encounter with a very fuzzy picture of a duck on a bottle in the students’ union confirms that the green one is Freddie, so the yellow one is Frankie.

duck on beer bottle

I don’t know if the fuzziness is bad light, old camera or drunkenness. Taken in Loughborough Students’ Union, so probably the latter.

Friends took photos of ducks they owned in odd places and sent them to me, and my parents even bought a duck (“Texan Cousin Duck”) on a road trip and proceeded to take photos of him everywhere – even on a police car!

I still have Frankie and Freddie, though their online homes are long gone, and while I did manage to take a few photos on my own USA road trip last year (in Tennessee and at the EYC)I’ve slacked off terribly on the travelling ducks front .

A recent conversation with a group of friends made me decide to resurrect the ducks on tour section of Ducking Fabulous – after all, what is a blog with a name like this doing without a duck or ten as mascots?!

So  you’ll see I’ve added a “Ducks on Tour” tab to the navigation – which will be a nice convenient way to pull together all duck-related posts. Which will all appear in my usual blogging too 🙂

Feel free to send me your own – I’d love to see fellow adventurous ducks and what they get up to!

Ducks on Tour: a culinary tour of London

When you have to spend a day in London to get your passport done in a hurry, you can’t stray too far from the Passport Office. So Rainbow here decided that the best thing to do would be to avoid the rain and eat as much as possible during the day 🙂

Rainbow duck in the Merchant |

Breakfast before we went in search of the Passport Office. Looking confused at needing codes for the loos, but delighted at the tiny pot of ketchup | The Merchant, Liverpool Street Station

Rainbow duck with Giraffe sauce box |

Reminding ourselves of where we are… | Giraffe, Victoria

Rainbow duck at Giraffe |

Gammon and sweet potato chips – boring for some, but just how I like it | Giraffe, Victoria

Rainbow duck with chocolate mousse |

Tucking into chocolate mousse crunch. Well, the day’s not complete without dessert, is it?! | Giraffe, Victoria

We pinched the Diet Coke bottle for an upcoming photoshoot, too 🙂