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Fourteen!

Today my blog turned 14 – fourteen whole years since I first tentatively wrote some words and sent them into cyberspace.

Words and pictures are how I process the world – I am a photographer and I am a writer, but creating and using them together is how I navigate life.

Multipod life is a glorious thing but does mean almost nothing lasts forever – and I am proud and pleased and happy (and weirdly not at all surprised) that I have kept one thing up for so long. My whole adult life 🙂

Today involved working and friends and hot chocolate and kittens – and my first booking for 2019!

Here’s a kitten the size of my camera…

Just like magic! (house renovating and hen parties)

It’s been an utterly frenetic couple of weeks, and this happened…

Before:

now you see them

and after…

now you don't

Just like magic! It’s endeared me to about five of my new-not-new neighbours, all of whom were finding the trees at least as oppressive as I was, and who can now actually sit out in their garden and enjoy the sun.

So of course it has poured with rain ever since…!

I’ve also seen inside my garage for the first time (it wasn’t part of the let)…

garage

Somewhere for me to indulge my petrolheadedness… squee!

Also got measured for my bridesmaid’s dress and had a lovely weekend away in Brighton for Louise’s hen party – with some incredible rockabilly hair later in the evening, lots of yummy food, and a very vintage theme from the lindy hop class to the 30s bar in the evening. Was also surprisingly lovely to catch up with old school friends who I mostly haven’t seen in years – some bonds don’t ever break, just stretch – just like magic!

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I’ve decided hen parties are actually a nice way to get to know people before the wedding – though I proved again that I am a super-lightweight when it comes to drinking. And now it’s the countdown to the wedding… squeak!

Over the weekend, kitties dealt incredibly well with the stress of the tree removal… after one morning spent quivering under the bed (Clover) and watching impatiently from the window closest to the machinery (Luna), the following day I left them with lots of cuddles, yummy food and treats, under Mum & Dad’s supervision, and got this by text about mid-morning:

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Furry con artists. (Love them really!) As I type this Luna is happily shredding the paper I bought to wrap breakables in, and shouting for me to wave her favourite toy (a paperclip on a string – no, really) around for her to chase.

I’m still in the middle of the Great Declutter, and am getting rid of an insane amount of stuff, though I still appear to have an insane amount left. But that’s ok.

I have packed up a whole box of blank notebooks so will be looking for some kind of notebook based projects when the building works are over. Ideas on a postcard welcome!

If you’re interested in watching the story of the house unfold, there’s an album over on Flickr, and I’ll probably be Instagramming some of it on @duckingfabulous as well as blogging updates (though it seems that just getting it done takes all my time & energy – I am perpetually surprised by it being bedtime each evening at the moment!)

And nudged by Mimi, I’ve updated my Daydreams to Do list, and will probably be adding to it over the next few weeks and months, as I keep finding lists I’ve made in previous years, which are spooky for their accuracy about my life now. More on that in a separate post, I think!

Finally and easily on a par with the house for excitingness, I am approaching the halfway mark in the first, beta test of the Unfurling Your Wings course. Accompanied by twenty fabulous ladies, we’re in a whirlwind adventure of finding who we really are and how we want to show up in the world. Terrifying as it’s a very personal project, but also glorious. (and probably terribly timed, given the house, but it is making me do everything on schedule, which is brilliant). It’s wonderful watching the magic unfold.

That’s probably enough for one evening – back to a proper blogging schedule soon, I hope!

With love and unicorns,
Carla xx

A kittenish birthday

Though it seems completely impossible, my two silly felines are two years old. Already. Still the very best decision I’ve ever made, they continue to make me snort with laughter on a daily basis and give the absolute best cuddles.

However, they were entirely nonplussed by both the occasion and my insistence on taking birthday portraits…
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52 Project: Weeks 7 – 9

Oops. I’ve been taking as many photos as ever, but somehow have completely failed to choose a photograph every week and put it on the blog. The first three and a half months of 2015 have flown past with indecent haste!

I can’t choose just one so the 52 Project will be more of a my year in pictures type project…

Week 7 (9-15 February): Creativity

Louise Rose Couture at Retro Photo Studio

Assisting Louise Rose Couture with a shoot at Retro Photo Studio – which was so much fun! I have a whole stash of shots from my behind the scenes documenting of the day, but I’ll share them in a separate post. This was a quick snap with my mobile.

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Collaging and creating and giving myself permission to rip up old magazines. A lovely way of spending an afternoon.

Week 8 (16-22 February) Birthday joyfulness

Obviously I’m struggling to pick just one for each week. 16-22nd February involved birthday chilling, an amazing photo treasure hunt with a wonderfully eclectic selection of friends, and most importantly, my fluffy Clover-kitty was back to her usual silly self after a poison scare involving a stay at the vet.

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Week 9 (23 February – 1 March): Preparation

Getting ready to head off on holiday, I had a calming and colourful Lush bubble bath, got woken by the Nose-Biting Kitten Alarm (TM), finally cracked off-camera flash for product photography and found a stowaway while packing my suitcase.

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Paws on my shoulder, whiskers in my ear

And what nicer way could there be to wake up?

Luna and Clover have been with me just over a year – I picked them up from Brenda’s amazing rescue at 4pm on 27 November last year.

And I can’t remember what life was like before, nor imagine life without, my wonderful, ridiculous silly kittens.

Here they were on the day they came home:

My new additions settling in incredibly fast. Feels like they've been here forever! Luna on left, Clover in box. #kittens

A photo posted by Carla Louise (@duckingfabulous) on

And here they are, merrily taking over my life in the most wonderful way possible:

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Illustrated by the wonderful Eli Trier:

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Claiming their cat palace (and all the space in my conservatory):

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And immortalised in Christmas decorations by the immensely talented Chloe at Slightly Triangle:

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Wonderful, silly kittens. You can find more of their antics on their blog, Silly Kittens.

They came from Alresford Cat, Kitten & Feral Rescue, which Brenda runs from her home and finds new forever homes for more than 300 abandoned cats and kittens a year. Should you wish to donate, please use the button below and I will ensure funds get to her when I next take cat food over 🙂




Postbox: Custom cats!

A few weeks ago, I spotted a post by my friend Chloe on her artist page on Facebook, of two hanging decorations which had been painted as portraits of cats.

After some excited squeeeee-ing and some emails backwards and forwards, my very own commission was in the works. It arrived last  Saturday – and look how gorgeous they are!!

The parcel:

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The decorations:

both

Squee-inducing extras (I adore Chloe’s work, and one of her paintings has pride of place on my mantelpiece):

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And finally, Clover investigating her miniature self. Luna wouldn’t sit still long enough and has sharper claws, so I didn’t let her anywhere near her mini alter ego!

clover-decoration

Chloe is an artist specialising in mixed media illustration – her work makes me squee on a regular basis, and we are hoping to feature some of her prints in Ink Drops boxes later in the year.

You can find her at Slightly Triangle, and also on Etsy (so much gorgeousness there!) and if you want to commission your own pet portrait or custom work, you can get in touch with her via her website or her Etsy shop.

I haven’t decided quite where to hang them yet – they’re making themselves at home on my mantelpiece in the meantime 🙂

Two kittens and six months later…

Somehow, time has flown past, and these two little darlings…

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have been with me a whole six months, and have become these rather gorgeous young ladies…

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You’ll notice Luna still hasn’t grown into her ears…

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They don’t snooze together much, but they’ve grown into the most loving, affectionate, perfect pair of cats I could ever wish for. It’s their first birthday next month (so the vet says from their teeth) and I think I might treat them to some kind of jumpy scratchy post with platforms.

Most recent pics, when I just got home from holiday and they were happy to be home, happy to see me and especially happy to “help” with the unpacking…

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I do love my silly kittens cats!

Most of the Luna & Clover pics live over at Silly Kittens – pop over and subscribe (at the bottom of the page) if you’d like to see more kitty pics than make it onto this blog!

Carla xx

A peek into my life, through my handbag

Good grief. I work almost exclusively online – here, with The Website Beautician, and as a web content editor at the university. So what I want to know is, how on earth has my daily handbag ended up full of all of this?!

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Yeah, not Clover – she was just being “helpful”.

That’s a makeup bag, four eyeliners, two blushers, three lipglosses, a mascara, two mirrors, a pair of tweezers and foundation – and I don’t wear makeup during the day at work.

A CD (wtf?!), a pencil case with 15 (15!) pens and one pencil, chocolate, biz cards in a Loughborough holder, a notebook (green) for a course I’m doing, my beloved Moleskine diary, ÂŁ20 I’d forgotten I’d got out of the cash machine, my little camera, half a pharmacy (ibuprofen, iron supplement, antihistamine, rescue remedy), my clip in dreads, various hairbands, my purse, two forks, a spoon, a cloth for cleaning my glasses, a plug for a phone charger (but no cable) and a USB stick. And a half written letter to Chloe.

Which would kind of be ok, if a) I didn’t also carry a bag with lunch and two big folders in it everywhere and b) I hadn’t cleared it out literally two days ago. At which point I removed two types of eczema cream, antiseptic cream, more pens, my TV remote control (again, wtf?!), the cable for the charger, two books, a magazine, the beads I bought on Thursday, half a brownie, four packs of tissues and a necklace. And today I left tap shoes and a scarf on my desk at work.

No wonder my back and shoulder hurt!

What the contents of my bag say about me: I reckon I’m prepared for just about anything, but that I REALLY need to pay more attention to the state of clutter in my life. So it’s just as well that the fantastic Anna Kunnecke is teaching the Queen Sweep course for free. It sarted on Monday and prompted this post. And, well – if the rest of the course is as effective as this first week, hopefully I’ll be much more aware and much less cluttered in the not too distant future!

What’s in your handbag? I suspect I’m not alone in my delusions of travelling light…

Just helping

Some of you will know I’m running four workshops at this year’s Essex Book Festival, on social media and writing in the digital age. (Details here if you want to join us – tickets are selling fast!)

I know what I want to cover in the workshops, but yesterday I’d set aside some time to get the structure in place and make sure I’m not cramming too much into the hour-long sessions, so that my writers actually take in the information and can apply it.

So after getting my big flipchart pad out, I went upstairs to get some coloured pens. I came back and was greeted by this:

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Luna was snoozing in the conservatory by the heater, but Clover definitely wanted to help…

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I love my kitties, but I’m learning to add extra time onto everything to account for watching, laughing at and cuddling them along the way!

[loving and living] 2013 – the first year of my new life

What a year it’s been.

Much like 2014 appears to be doing, 2013 snuck up on me somewhat. Tbe new year is only a couple of hours old, but I wanted to get my review up before my planning posts.

I saw 2013 in at Rob’s with a bunch of new friends, getting rather whimsically tipsy and generally having a wonderful time.

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January saw a craft swap with some of my favourite people, lots of snow, a notice to vacate my flat, a ukulele workshop and a visit to London Edge trade show. Who knew that just a year later I’d be helping out Contrariety Rose with her stand there?!

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February…

was my birthday month (I celebrated by having dinner with Mum & Gran, and heading to bed with wine and six books. Utter bliss.), and also the month in which I visited Lou’s shop for the first time, had an impromptu school reunion and modelled in a collaborative photoshoot.

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March held moving house in the snow, to a little house with a spiral staircase in a riverside village full of mad creative people. I finally got my garden and couldn’t be happier! I spent the very last morning at my old flat creating memories with my best friends, taking burlesque photos for the Paper Dolls. I also had six inches chopped off my hair – eek!

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[experiences] Vintage goodness at Goodwood

Good-ness… see what I did there? Yep, ok, I was definitely not cut out to be a stand up comic.

I had another one of my trademark weekends, full to the brim with friends and exciting experiences. Life is definitely starting to be more about what I do than what I have, and these few days were enhanced even more by pretty cars and very little kittens!

Here’s Merlin, exploring my book bag when I arrived at Em’s house.

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Sunday morning, after a night with the kittens, and a 6.30am fight with victory rolls (patience, kirby grips, at least two people and a LOT of hairspray) I set off for Goodwood.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Revival, it’s a vintage event at Goodwood Motor Circuit, and visitors are encouraged/required to dress in period costume – in this case 40s, 50s or 60s. Rob and I chose a hybrid of late 40s/early 50s and though neither of us had a clue what the other was wearing until we met up at the gate, I think we managed to co-ordinate brilliantly!

Here’s me. Dressed more or less as I often do at weekends, only with the addition of proper hair and less ridiculous shoes. Huge thanks to Lou at Contrariety Rose who was utterly wonderful and got my dress to me just before she went on holiday – it will be forever appreciated!

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Here’s Rob doing an excellent impression of a vintage gentleman. Complete with pipe.

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Mobiles are strongly frowned upon within the enclosure, and everyone puts a massive effort into dressing up, so there was a real sense of stepping back in time – vintage heaven!

There was so much to see I actually took very few photographs, but was quite pleased with this shot of old bikes in the French quarter:

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And it chucked it down with rain as we walked the track, so by the time we returned to our cars (having nearly lost mine in the mud along the way) we resembled drowned rats. I’m pleased to announce that the victory rolls held!!

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Vintage Goodness at Goodwood Revival

Good-ness… see what I did there? Yep, ok, I was definitely not cut out to be a stand up comic.

I had another one of my trademark weekends, full to the brim with friends and exciting experiences. Life is definitely starting to be more about what I do than what I have, and these few days were enhanced even more by pretty cars and very little kittens!

Here’s Merlin, exploring my book bag when I arrived at Em’s house.

IMG_0383

Sunday morning, after a night with the kittens, and a 6.30am fight with victory rolls (patience, kirby grips, at least two people and a LOT of hairspray) I set off for Goodwood.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Revival, it’s a vintage event at Goodwood Motor Circuit, and visitors are encouraged/required to dress in period costume – in this case 40s, 50s or 60s. Rob and I chose a hybrid of late 40s/early 50s and though neither of us had a clue what the other was wearing until we met up at the gate, I think we managed to co-ordinate brilliantly!

Here’s me. Dressed more or less as I often do at weekends, only with the addition of proper hair and less ridiculous shoes. Huge thanks to Lou at Contrariety Rose who was utterly wonderful and got my dress to me just before she went on holiday – it will be forever appreciated!

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Here’s Rob doing an excellent impression of a vintage gentleman. Complete with pipe.

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Mobiles are strongly frowned upon within the enclosure, and everyone puts a massive effort into dressing up, so there was a real sense of stepping back in time – vintage heaven!

There was so much to see I actually took very few photographs, but was quite pleased with this shot of old bikes in the French quarter:

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And it chucked it down with rain as we walked the track, so by the time we returned to our cars (having nearly lost mine in the mud along the way) we resembled drowned rats. I’m pleased to announce that the victory rolls held!!

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