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
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
exciting photography developments
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!
After a week of the flu, a week off work (where I got to spend time with Rhiannon, Lizzie, Sarah, Annastasia and Claire – I have such fab friends!) and a week back at work, I was looking forward to a really chilled out weekend catching up with bits and pieces, pottering around the house, kitty cuddling and spending some quality time with the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children book box set.
Alas, Poppy decided that the intermittent creak she’d had for a while was to get worse this week, and after a Monday spent cautiously driving Lizzie around, trying not to wince at the groaning noise coming from somewhere under the bonnet, I spent Saturday morning dropping her off at the garage. And getting the not unexpected, but also not terribly welcome, news that she needs new rear callipers and it’s not going to be cheap. Hmph.
I managed to squeeze in visiting with my cousin Briony and my Gran, a late lunch (and incredible red velvet & white chocolate cheesecake cake – I know, right?!) with Caitlin, and garden planning with my parents (a pirate ship is afoot), and was absolutely knackered by the time I got home.
So my Sunday looked like this. PJs all day, sleepy happy kitties, camera in hand and lots of sunshine (though it’s still pissweaseling cold out there – I made the mistake of popping into the garage barefoot. Brrr.)
I had a midday nap, I read lots of my book (actually three books so far today… finished two and started one), ate pasta and cake, and luxuriated in relaxing. I felt a bit guilty, but relaxed anyway.
And now I’m blogging – and pondering Susannah’s latest post. I don’t think blogging is dead – but I do think the approach to it is different now than when I started eleven years ago. My approach to it is different to what it was when I started (and if you’re reading this, that’s definitely a good thing!).
This blog is still in the process of shifting back to being just a blog (every time I try and move the site around, I get sidetracked with an idea for a post which always seems more important somehow!), and for me that’s quite a big shift. Everything I do ends up as a business eventually, but as I think I’ve said before, I miss having somewhere to just pour words and photos onto a screen, to record my life and loves and passions in one place, to tell the story of my life. I love connecting with people through my blog (and am always amazed that people read it), but ultimately this one is my living room online – my own little space on the web. People are welcome to drop by and linger as long as they like, but the space is ultimately mine, for me to reside in and make my own.
I’m inclined to agree with Susannah that it’s not dead, it’s just one of many forms of communicating and storytelling – and I’d argue that it’s now reached maturity, as a solid companion of both businesses and hobbyists. Its sense of community has never wavered, at least not for me behind this screen.
Perhaps that’s a pondering too deep for a Sunday evening. But I am filled with gratitude to be sitting here at my much-longed-for bureau, tapping these words into my laptop while my kitties snooze in their cat palace in the conservatory. I’m grateful for their safety and their love, their silliness and their calming influence on me. I love that though my portfolio career is ever changing and my life is always fluid, that I’ve created a lifestyle where I can spend my Sunday evenings writing and reading and processing photos in my very own house, surrounded by things & felines that make me happy.
The journey’s not over, but it’s good to be able to acknowledge that I’m in a good place along the way.
With love & unicorns,
Aka a spontaneous trip to say goodbye to my childhood home before it was sold.
We moved in in 1993, when I was seven… and we turned it from an identikit new house on an estate to a much loved family home with a glorious garden. (I say ‘we’ – I had a miniature cement trowel and gardening kit, but while I was convinced I was helping, I’m now pretty sure my lovely parents were just humouring me…)
The Wendy house in the corner was the site of some of my most magical and happy childhood memories. It had electricity (because my Dad is amazing) and he and one of his best friends moved it for me from our old house – apparently 6 year old me made it a condition of moving, along with a Thelwell pony cartoon frieze in my bedroom.
Not long after we moved in (though we had laid grass, top patio and put the Wendy house up)
As it was when I saw it for the last time, at the beginning of May. Some difference!
I probably wouldn’t have made a special trip to say goodbye to the house now it’s empty, but happened to be down the same weekend to see one of my best friends try on her wedding dress, and she only lives half an hour away from the old house.
So we went and wandered round, remembered all the happy times the house has seen, and also took some photos in the garden by my wendy house (I’m still slightly sad I haven’t been able to dismantle it and bring it to live up here, but my garden isn’t big enough and it’s almost 25 years old. I think it should stay where it is).
I sat in my favourite place to watch thunderstorms (but no longer fit all the way through the window as I used to as a child), and I marvelled at how much the garden has changed since we first moved in, and I reminisced aloud with Lou and silently, nostalgically, quietly alone as well.
I even found my hamsters’ gravestone. You can almost read “Dozy” but the dates, and Herman’s name, are long gone.
And then we went and had tea with two of my lovely neighbours, and got in Lou’s car, and drove home.
It was strange but lovely – a little like stepping into the past, a little like looking to the future. I think I’d have found it hard to do if I wasn’t so settled where I am – so many rites of passage and key life events happened while I lived there. But I’ve flown the nest and the house should do what it does best – shelter and nurture a growing family.
I found some old photos of my childhood in the garden and my bedroom:
I still have Larry the lamb. Sadly Biscuit the cat, Amadeus Woofgang Mozart the dog (what can I say? I was a gloriously geeky child) and Scruff the smaller dog have since found new homes. There’s the Thelwell frieze I apparently insisted my Dad installed before I consented to move house…!
Terrible photo, but we lived at the top of the hill and Dad built me a sledge so I could have more fun on snow days. It was the envy of the other children in the close (as was my night time sledging!)
Dad and I having breakfast in the garden. My late godfather Nick would have approved – this was when we still had a charcoal bbq, before we got the gas one I still use now <3
Some things never change – I still love My Little Pony!
I’m full of love and gratitude for our time there – it saw everything from knee scrapes to my first love, from Dad’s departure for a stint overseas to my driving test, and I left to go to university and start my adult life from there. Though I’ve not lived in it for nearly a decade, it feels very strange to think I’ll never go through its doors or see my beloved Wendy house again.
I hope that the family moving in loves it as much as we did. It’s bittersweet letting it go – but its sale is helping me buy a house of my very own – so a new era is beginning.
With love and nostalgic unicorns,
(Prompts courtesy of Brocante Home’s Life Audit)
This week I am:
Settling back into work after the Christmas break, making the most of driving Poppy while the weather is above freezing, getting to know new starters in some of the offices I work in, starting to fill my diary with glorious things and generally marvelling at how opportunities present themselves as soon as you start to make things happen…
Contented with and awestruck at my new life, with one dilemma between two wonderful annual events that are very probably happening on the same weekend in 2013.
The new spend less revolution, Blog Inc and Be a Free Range Human – all beautifully aligned with my plans and ideas and feelings this year. I’m also waiting for a chunk of time to start Lace, which was a present from my fabulous business partner at Christmas – but I suspect I won’t be able to put it down!
A wonderfully random selection of food from my fridge, freezer and storecupboard, and trying not to buy anything but essentials for the rest of January. It’s making for some entertaining combinations!
Project Pin Up goodness, the next Ink Drops boxes, new posts and a more soulful direction for my blogging, a website for my cousin’s go-karting and the things that will make me happiest this year.
A world that isn’t topsy-turvy, and a me that is able to skate skilfully.
A whole heap of things, none of which are essential to my happiness, fortunately – teal leather skates from Moxi, feather fans, various courses and an entire studio set up for photography.
I had a garden so I could take on my friends’ beautiful Staffie, Monty when they move to Australia at the end of the month.
Ideas and looks for the collaborative photoshoot I’m doing with Contrariety Rose in February, my storecupboard challenge, the new look of Ducking Fabulous and taking more photographs (sadly unevidenced by this post!)
Beauty at all sizes, getting the new DF site almost finished, my Dyson being fixed (I know, I know, since when did I get so excited over household appliances? But it’s happening…)
The chance to break habits and beliefs now that otherwise would stalk me and be obstacles for most of my life, and as always the unwavering support of those close to me
And finally tomorrow I will be:
Spring (winter?) cleaning my flat and then curling up for blissful sleep at Mum & Dad’s in the evening
On my to-do list?
So much on my list I might explode, but I have been trying to split everything that occurs to me into a relevant category in Wunderlist – and this way I don’t get overwhelmed.
Things on it I’m looking forward to –
- A day with my camera in London and meeting up with the lovely Miss Joyful
- Organising some rehearsal time for the troupe’s first performances (you heard of Paper Dolls Burlesque here first!)
- Car admin – the Micra needs a SORN and I have been driving for ten years (amazing, huh?!) so need a renewing and amazingly I have been on the road for 10 years – so need a new driving licence!
- Finish reading the Blog, Inc book
A fairly fabulous week if a very busy one…