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.
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?!
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.
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!
Way back when I was still working in London, I wrote about my spontaneous booking of tickets to see the English National Ballet and Flawless at the Hammersmith Apollo.
There wasn’t anyone immediately available who I particularly wanted to join me, so I took myself. It was a Friday night, and my colleagues thought I was crazy and a little tragic. I may even have thought that myself for about five minutes after I left the office.
And then I realised, it wasn’t tragic, it was wonderful. The feeling of independence of doing something typically associated with group or couple outings by myself was incredible. It’s also very freeing not to have any expectations around an event or place – you don’t have to comment on it, or work around anyone else’s plans or needs – you can simply be, and absorb, and enjoy (and eat cake).
And so I’ve carried on having dates with myself when I feel the need to recharge my creative and emotional batteries.
I’ve been to gardens, museums, galleries, parks, coffee shops, restaurants, talks, all sorts. Often I’ll discover it for the first time with someone, and return on my own to appreciate it properly.
It doesn’t have to be a day out, either. Sometimes I’ll go and visit a particular shop I love, or I’ll spend an afternoon scrapbooking, delving into memories.
Short version: Saturday: Cybher, fabulous people, fizzing with ideas, squeee. Sunday: amazing brunch, the visual feast that is the Beth Chatto gardens and a blissful sunshine-filled afternoon with Mum & Dad, using the bbq for the first time.
Following the Night Circus (and a very entertaining impromptu photoshoot in the car park, pics to follow), I fell into bed and dreamed of fire breathers and running away to the circus.
Saturday morning saw me fairly leap out of bed and head for the station (London three times in a week, it felt most odd after six months of barely seeing the inside of a train!) to meet the lovely Hannah for lunch and (squeee, squeee, SQUEEEEE…) Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty.
Look how close to the stage we were!!
As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, I love all types of dance, but ballet has always held a special place in my heart… and when I rediscovered the fact that I can in fact stand en pointeI nearly melted with excitement.
So when Hannah told me she’d managed to secure tickets, I squealed out loud! Pity whoever was in hearing distance at the time – H was clever enough to break the news via text!
So off we went – we had tickets in the stalls for the matinee, which started at 2.30, giving us time for a gentle amble around Wimbledon first. Only I was too excited to focus on anything (even TK Maxx… lol) so we had lunch and then went in.
Here’s the trailer, to give you an idea of the gorgeousness of it all…
I don’t really have words for how magical it was – Kate said it was ‘astonishing’ and that she had tears of joy… and I think that’s probably the best description I’ve heard. I just adored every single second… and didn’t want to step out of the theatre and back into real life.*
After tea and cake…
…we then made our way to Southbank in the rain and had dinner at Strada, before heading our separate ways home (after walking in entirely the wrong direction to Waterloo – yippee, I’m officially a tourist again, with no sense of direction!) and lovely Hannah is coming to stay for a bit later this week. So we can wax lyrical about the ballet all over again.
It was her first ballet – I can’t decide if I’m wildly envious that her first experience was a Bourne, or whether it’ll make future ballets seem, not dull, but perhaps less colourful, by comparison…
And of course, a duck came with me, as one does everywhere… he was eyeing up the teapots, and then I told him that three really was quite enough…
Oh, and just to top off my excitement, Matthew Bourne favourited one of my tweets about it!
*Disclaimer – It must be said that I absolutely love my real life at the moment, but the weekend was host to two of the most magical events of my life so far. So you’ll forgive me for wanting to stay in them. Expect similar behaviour after the Fling – it happens every time!
A weekend of pure magic is over… and I’m looking back and sighing with happiness at every moment of it.
On Friday, The Night Circus arrived at Tea and Sympathy, my favourite place in Colchester. The dress code was black and white and circus-appropriate, with a red accent for the reveurs – those who had read the book. (And if you’ve read it, you’ll know why!) For those that haven’t had the pleasure, the theme was around the book The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.
My red accents were my sequined shoes, scarlet lipstick and a peek of a red bra… 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more thoroughly myself, though my outfit wasn’t entirely appropriate for the multi storey car park where we put the cars when we arrived… lol. But I’ve always been fascinated by the circus – my burlesque name is a tribute to my obsession with Enid Blyton’s circus stories!
I arrived with Gabby and Chris, after the quickest house tour in the history of the world, and we wandered in a haze of happiness through the shop, up and down the tiny, twisting staircase, to hidden rooms, magic and wonder at every turn…
There were fire dancers, burlesque from Miss Fanny Darling, magicians, fortune tellers and some cocktails, which I’m told were lethal… I declined to sample them, as I quite fancied getting home without getting arrested!
Here’s Gabby and Chris, looking like they belong with the Cirque…
Miss Fanny Darling as the Raven…
And the incredible fire dancing duo (I have plans for a skirt just like that one… I LOVE IT!)
I’ll leave you with the video of the fire dancers – a little taste of the most magical evening I’ve had in a long, long time! With thanks to Tea and Sympathy for making dreams reality 🙂
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?!
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!
A tour of my new home – overview today, details tomorrow. I’m completely in love 🙂 Welcome in – the kettle’s on, don’t forget to wipe your feet…
My living room from the door:
The dodgy looking cupboard in the middle will become my pin up girl bar; the mannequin was a leaving present from my old work; the Stetson is the one I wore when I competed in Worlds line dance in 2000; I frequently knock the hanging bird cage candle over and spill hot wax on myself.
From the stairs looking towards the front door. The carpet entirely accidentally matches my colour scheme. The helicopter throw on the sofa (more visible in tomorrow’s details post) is a nod to helicopters having been around my whole life – I know a shamefully small amount about them but Dad works with them so I’ve always had them around.
Oh, it’s been a whirlwind of a week. (I wonder how often I start a blog post with that?) I’ve finally moved, I’m in, the keys have been handed back to the old flat’s agents and my new house feels like home already!
Here are the fabulous daffodils (I ADORE daffs) that Mum and Dad brought me to celebrate moving in. I feel I should point out that the curtains will be changed shortly, and I really should have been buying them flowers – couldn’t have done this move without them!
And my very first visitors this weekend…
Here are some (probably blurry) photos from the move – am hoping Mum took some of the chaos of boxes, as I completely forgot in the excitement!
Eating: with other people – it’s been lovely! (And the year’s first Cadbury mini eggs. Nom nom nom).
Planning: new lines of jewellery, wholesale options and a website; things to do in the new house (decorating, cooking, creating, entertaining) and some dance routines.
Dreaming of: Not being surrounded by boxes, and being a bit bloody warmer, please – the novelty of winter is well and truly over now. If we’re talking actual dreams, I dreamed of sunglasses the night before last so we can only hope that means spring is on its way.
Celebrating: Having been 27 for a whole week today, and the launch of 15 Queen Street tonight.
Grateful for: The first shafts of sunshine, likeminded souls and my apparently innate ability to network and connect with people.
And finally tomorrow I will be: drinking hot chocolate with Rachael, finalising the packing up of the studio, making lists of the contents of the flat and working on all my websites.
On my to-do list?
– Various money-related tasks (paying bills, setting up accounts, budgeting & planning) – House admin (let people know I’m moving, switch providers, notify of change of address, etc etc etc) – Try and get some kind of control over my Ducking Fabulous accounts – everything is there, but nothing is in date order and it’s making me cross – Book next burlesque course – Learn a bit more about Google Analytics – Getting dates in the diary with friends who I’ve been trying and failing to see for months
So quite a good one ahead – and of course ploughing on with the web stuff at the day job. Which I love, but which occasionally makes my pea brain hurt.
I’ve been sorting out my filing today, and among the thousands of bits of paper (honestly, at one point I thought I might drown in the sea of paper covering my living room floor), I found the above snippets from old notebooks.
Notes from long ago to my future self, though I’m sure that’s not what I intended them to be. I distinctly remember writing the first in the first year or so I was in Essex, so 2008-ish. At the time of writing I had none of the things listed, and now I have every one and more… looking at the notes that accompanied it on colour schemes etc, my taste has changed somewhat, but I’m still astounded that I achieved it without even realising.
The second one I wrote during my unhappier moments at the old cage job – an affirmation that I would escape, and I would build a life around what I wanted to do, and love every day. And I have… I do! It’s growing every day and I can’t quite believe I’ve made it happen.
It’s another sign that you really can achieve your dreams, and also that if you write things down, you’re more likely to do them. (and it’s SUCH a good feeling to stumble across a fragment of your old self and realise how far you’ve come.)
I’ve been in a very odd, up and down kind of mood for most of this weekend – but I am going to bed a happy Carla.
I'm Carla, a quirky thirtysomething with a penchant for unicorns and glitter. I believe in magic and make-believe, and the gorgeous rebellion of making your life absolutely your own. And I'm a proud multipod!
Proud to be both girly and geeky, when I’m not writing, photographing or daydreaming, you can find me dancing burlesque, riding my bicycle Bluebell, growing herbs and collecting typewriters.
Things I want to do in 2020. Partly from my Daydreams To Do list and also from my general goals for the year.
~ Steampunk events
~ experiment with film cameras
~ walk more
~ explore Colchester
~ beach time
~ kitty portraits
~ western riding
~ spa days
~ learn to make bath bombs
~ recreate Lush's Angel's Delight soap fragrance
~ work in sterling silver
~ build a catio
~ handwritten letters
~ photobook of the house project, the cats, Poppy & Dad
~ print my own photos