Last week my weekend started on Thursday really – I arrived in London at what felt like silly o’clock, ready to battle the crowds to watch the Olympic torch. Except there weren’t any crowds, because I was too early! I had the privilege of watching from the top balcony of this gorgeous building, next door to St Paul’s Cathedral, with Bucks Fizz and pain au chocolat, at the invitation of my friend Caroline who lives there –
People thronging the street, waiting for the torch to arrive –
Slightly blurry, but I was very excited to see a girl on skates in the procession. White quads, no less – squee!
Torch holder approaches…
And lights the flame of the waiting holder, who then started to run and was quickly out of sight …
It was surprisingly emotional to watch, and certainly kick started my excitement for the Olympics, which had up to then been rather lacklustre!
It’s been a bit of a strange week.
Good things –
WordPress course at Elstree Studios, where I learned a lot, watched Leona Lewis perform and got to sit in the sun for a bit. Excellent.
Unexpected dinner with Naomi and many many fizzily exciting plans for the future (watch Project Pin Up for updates)
Skating with Caroline on Tuesday and accidentally covering 8.5 miles
Picking up my beautiful new bike
Boudoir shoot with Emily by the fabulous Grace Gelder on Saturday – fabulous experience, which I never thought I’d be brave enough for. I will not be sharing most of the photos, haha!
Brunch with my parents on Sunday.
Mum buying me some fabric (so it doesn’t count for 100 days!) to make a pannier for the back of said new bike.
Bad things –
The state of my flat – I cannot get on top of it!
Spinning Poppy in some absolutely horrific rain today – which shook me enough to scupper my plans to drive over and see Louise Craftyguider. Large sulk, requiring large amounts of chocolate to soothe.
Semi-migraine on Friday – was dizzy and nauseous, but able to walk (just) – this is a new type of headache and I’m now on alert for triggers
Realising I have a craft fair exactly a week today and nowhere near the amount of stock I’d like to have (I know, stop blogging, start making). Come visit me – I’ll be at Bikes & Barges (including the Maldon Motor Show) in Maldon next Sunday 🙂
So more good than bad, but enough bad to make me think a bit. Have also had some rather profound conversations this week and realised yet again how lucky I am to be surrounded by the best friends and family in the known universe.
I have mostly listened to: Candyman by Christina Aguilera (new burlesque routine, I’ve been practising)
Mostly read – The secret life of a slummy mummy, The $100 Startup and flicked through Fifty Shades of Grey (I refuse to link to it, it has enough publicity). I’m not that impressed with the latter so far – stilted writing, overdone and not especially erotic sex scenes… perhaps the people making the fuss have never read erotic fiction before?! $100 Startup, however, is an absolute must read.
So there you go – a not terribly exciting update, because my head is full of other things (namely, am I ever going to be able to drive in the rain again without freaking out, and eeeeeeeeeee new top secret venture!).
So, having planned & booked this trip in January, we suddenly had freak sunshine for our week off. Woo yay! Monday morning, I headed for Oundle to find the others and the marina. Oundle is pronounced OWndle not OOndle. Obviously. (Obviously I am not a local!) Said hello slightly self-consciously – holiday was with Rob and his friends – I hadn’t met Andy & Gemma before (they live in Australia) and the first & only time I’d met James & Jo, I was dressed as a parrot in a corset (of course!) and had had a few too many jelly shots. Ahem. Anyway, it was lovely to meet them properly.
I’ll do a proper photo post/album when I’ve got my pics off the big camera, but in the meantime here are a few, in no particular order, that I’ve managed to persuade my phone to transfer…
Instagram of the bow of the boat – ultimate tranquility…
Watching a wrecked narrowboat be righted and towed away in Peterborough
We took a steam train ride on Wednesday while waiting for Jo to join us……and disembarked somewhere that felt a lot like Hogwarts!
View from my bedroom window on the last morning – it really is a gorgeous way to wake up!
It was fabulous and over much too soon – so good to really slow down, there is almost no signal out on the river, and I learned to do locks all over again, and ran over the roof, and tried to master my fear of jumping off the boat when there’s water between the boat and the side, and we cooked and drank and talked and read and took photos and drank some more and it was gorgeous. Also gave me time to have a proper think about life, the universe and everything (:P) and I’ve come home and started a huge spring clean. Which I think is a good thing!
We also managed to meet Jenny and Craig (from Team Allegro, when we were rallying with Rusty) for dinner on Wednesday night which was really nice, as I hadn’t seen them since September 🙂
More pics and such soon – I wish I was still there, I do not in any way want to go back to the real world tomorrow!
Aren’t they gorgeous? 😀
I’ve had worse tasks than testing these to see if they’re ok to send to clients!
Almost exactly a.month ago, the lovely Craftyguider awarded me the Liebster blog award… I was so excited! (Strictly speaking, she gave it to Project Pin Up, but that just gives me an excuse to drool over even more blogs and post about them over there too!) Thank you muchly lovely – it’s the first blog award I’ve ever had! Her blog and shop inspire me on a daily basis to get mine going again, and her tweets keep me sane and happy, along with the other Twitter mafia girls!
So, to accept the award I have to share with you five other blogs I love. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a blog addict so this is not an easy task!
Firstly, and fitting in with my new years resolution to cook more, is That’s Your Lot. Back in August, Laura bought 85 cookbooks at an auction, and promised to.make something from each of them in an effort to improve her cooking. I love the way she writes and how she handles even the most random of recipes 🙂
Next up, Mimi’s Little Sips Of Tea. Mimi has been blogging for six years, has written for Brocante Home and is the other half of Project Pin Up. She has a magical way with words, and her blog is like a little window into her life. Perfect to read with a cuppa and a biscuit – she’s a wonderful pick-me-up!
On Diversion – Jen has blogged for as long as I’ve known her, and while she was travelling for several months in early 2011, it was a wonderful way to keep up! She’s a natural writer and has a wonderful way of putting things. Her blog is now mainly focused on her ambitions as an author, but she also posts about her creative pursuits – she’s a fellow jewellery/bead fanatic and model horse collector 🙂
Chloe’s shop and blog Slightly Triangle are hugely inspirational to me, as is the very talented Chloe herself. Started at around the same time as Ducking Fabulous, she makes the most gorgeous prints, stationery, decorations and mixed media collages. I particularly like her articulated paper horses she’s recently posted about. And she’s one if the most utterly lovely people I have ever had the good fortune to meet!
Last but not least, Becky from Dots and Spots is another massive inspiration… I’ve never met her, but the story of Dots and Spots and her posts that manage to incorporate family life, running the amazing growing business and fab photos give me new determination to succeed with my dreams too 🙂 And her products are gorgeous.
So there they are – give them a follow and a wave 🙂
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!
I didn’t make an official list of resolutions for 2011, because I had The List to work through instead… I think I’ve done fairly well with those, not sure on the exact number but I think I’ve crossed off between 50 and 60 things on it, which is at least one a week!
2011’s been an incredible year. Unexpected highs and unexpected lows… but for the most part, the highs have outweighed the lows. It’s been amazing… I hope 2012 has as many highs (and fewer, less sideswiping lows, please).
January: An unexpected interview for a new job; Rob called to ask if I wanted to go on a European rally in September; utterly ridiculous snow;
February: My 25th birthday with friends in Colchester; ballet with Emily; got my sunrise lamp which changed my life (or at least my getting up in the morning);
March: I started the new job from hell (i like it now, but I endured months of it before that became the case); gorgeous and very touching leaving drinks from the library;
April: Julia and Ed got engaged; RSVP event; decent amount of crafting and car booting; Wells with uni girlies and Caitlin;
May: Rally planning started in earnest; Spring Ding Day with ROC; drove an S2000; golf day with work so accidental trip to see Hannah; blue hair; Mum’s 60th party;
June: Gran’s birthday BBQ and pool party; took up roller skating again; Colchester zoo for Father’s Day; theatre with the girls from the library;
July: Nick passed away; Open golf at Deal & Sandwich; the Fling, a perfect thing; CAE; vintage typewriters came to live with me.
August: Julia moved out, meaning I lived alone for the first time; I put up bookshelves all by myself; a whole week of sorting and socialising; last bits of rally prep.
September: R2R 2011; first Curiosity Project; surprised Judy for her 60th birthday; Poppy’s 6-week-overdue MOT; planning for Teasets to Typerwriters
October: Launch of Project Pin Up; Katerina returned; corsets; swishy hair;
November: Mad happenings at work; Bonfire night with the family; first visit to Stratford; Mum & Dad’s 38th anniversary; staycation with Annie;
December: Made a friend who lives in the flat downstairs; old and new work Christmas parties; vintage tea party at Lou’s; carol service with Caroline’s choir; champagne brunch at 8.30am with the team; Christmas; new year in Nottingham!
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some stuff, but so much has happened there’s no way I’ll pack it all in to one post. I am intending to keep track of everything better this year on the blog 🙂
Significant events in the lives of my friends (and people I know):
Engagements: Julia & Ed; Sophia & Jon; Tom & Cat; (plus Georgie Hall, Mandy Sohal, Danni Cooper, Laura Hinchliffe, Kelly Savage, Rachel (SHF), Rachel Daw, Chris Freeman; Justine Boehm, Jared Cooksey, M-C Savage; Rebecca Davies; Steph Cluett) = 16 (olus some Christmas ones I’ve probably forgotten)
Weddings: Heather & Steve Tilley (Shephard); Dan & Jo Morgan (Hill); Paul & Claire Jameson (Gratton); Sathya; Pippa Milner (Govett) = 5 (plus I’m sure I’ve forgotten some)
Babies: Anastasia & Nick’s Zoe; Georgia & Ian’s Delilah; Paul & Abby’s Joseph; Paul & Claire’s Shaun; Debbie & Ste’s Elizabeth; Emma & James’s Jacob; Kelly & Shaun’s Finlay; Louise & hubby’s Finley; Steve & Zoe’s Thea; Jarod & Tara’s Hayden = 10 (plus almost definitely some more)
Pregnancies (due in 2012): Krissie Budworth, Jacqui Dowsett = 2
So there’s a roundup of sorts… the stand out moment of the year is of course R2R, from a vague ‘yeah, why not’ to the prep and then the acual trip, it gave me a new sense of perspective on myself and on life, and made me a muchly happy Carla!
Thanks for reading and for all the support and love you guys have given me in 2011, it’s muchly appreciated! Here’s to 2012… and if you guys have done roundup posts I’d love to see them, tweet me or post them in the comments 🙂
I have a proper roundup post coming, but there’s no way I’ll finish it tonight so I thought I’d better do a quick post instead! I’m up in Nottingham and we’re going to head out for drinks at a friend’s house to see in the new year, which will be lovely 🙂
On a quick sprint through The List, I can now cross off:
319 Replace light bulb in hallway (I tried, I was too short, Dad did it for me)
318 Replace air filter in MR2 (on Boxing Day)
311 Participate in internet swaps (the curiosity project in September and at Christmas)
281a Incorporate my alter-ego’s behaviour and style into my life (heehee, Lotta is good for me)
252 Keep a stock of cards for birthdays, anniversaries etc (now I just need to remember to send the bloody things at the right times!)
204 Keep website and blogs updated (duckingfabulous.co.uk is now this site and I’m doing ok with the blog. Project Pin Up could be better but I have Plans for it in 2012)
168 Get a subscription to a magazine – I’ve subscribed to Cloth to keep me entertained and busy when the new sewing machine arrives in my life
101 and 102 organise and decorate new flat beautifully, unusually and craftily
Not bad! I hope your 2011 has been as mostly fabulous as mine has been, thank you for being part of it and I hope that your 2012 is even better!
I’m heading home to Mum & Dad’s for Christmas on Saturday morning, and I was thinking how happy going home makes me. I love my flat and my independence, but there really is no place like home at Christmas time.
Some of the things in their flat that make me happy (and all of which I hope will move to their new place in the new year, so it feels like home still!)
Dad playing his guitar… one day I’ll learn too 🙂
It’s five o’ clock somewhere… an Alan Jackson song and unarguably the truth! Mmm… cocktails.
Continuing with signs (see where I get it from? I’ll have to do a post about mine one day) – Tabasco ‘hot stuff’. I don’t actually like the stuff, but Mum and Dad are almost addicts 😛 They put it with everything, including breakfast.
Some of Mum’s camel collection and the cross stitch I made for her 60th birthday. To date this is the only cross stitch I’ve finished!!
My graduation photo. Like a million others across the country I’m sure, but I’m chuffed they keep it in their living room 🙂
And last but by no means least, the very awesome knitted Aleksandr, made for Mum by one of her (talented) friends – isn’t he fabulous?! Simples!
Buying: Christmas decorations, presents, food
Reading: The Wheel of Time
Listening to: Christmas songs!
Visiting: friends, Selfridges, John Lewis, Primark
It’s been a lovely weekend, although I’ve missed my laptop – we went to a carol service my friend Caroline was singing in on Thursday evening, and I’ve stayed in London ever since… Friday night spent shopping and eating in the new Westfield shopping centre at Stratford, Saturday at Spitalfields and Selfriges (complete with the random guy in boxers ambling around the menswear department), Santalash (600 Santas on a pub crawl, started 5 years ago in aid of the hospital where Julia’s brother was being treated for cancer) on Saturday night and a lazy Sunday with brunch (at 2pm!) and shopping and a massive roast dinner in the evening.
The evening’s films of choice have rapidly deteriorated now… we’re watching (well, I’m not really) Bruno, lol – I’m finding it more weird than funny but apparently this is because I’m not watching it properly!
Lovely though it’s been, four days of being with people all the time has definitely made me appreciate just how much I love living on my own!
Hope you’ve all had fabulous weekends – despite my grumpy stint today resembling the Grinch, I’m looking forward to next week, then Christmas, then New Year… eeee 🙂
Happy Sunday night!
Quite how it’s got to be 13 December without my noticing and making a massive song and dance about Christmas, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the weather. Yep, we’ll blame the unseasonal lack of snow, ice and general cold misery that usually characterises December in England.
However, it does mean it’s almost Christmas. Now I am usually a Christmas fanatic – I love it! I love the build up, the songs, the decorations, the food, the preparation, the licence to wear glitter during the day, the ridiculous novelty earrings – the lot!
This year, a lot of this seems to have passed me by – I’ve been so busy with all the things I do that I’d barely noticed it was December! I have managed to put up my wreath, thought I’ve not yet had time to make another one and post a tutorial; I have decorated my little Christmas tree but haven’t put many of the rest of my decorations up yet; and I’ve been to two Christmas dinners and one Christmas party. So I’m not doing too badly, but I need to up my dose of the Christmas spirit!
So, some things (not all Christmas related!) to do before the 25th:
Put up the rest of my decorations ~ Decide what to wear ~ Buy token gifts ~ Send out email greetings ~ Make donation to Macmillan (in lieu of presents and cards this year, as we lost my godfather to cancer in July) ~ Go to a carol service ~ Go on the charity SantaLash pub crawl round London ~ organise Julia’s hen weekend ~ research sewing machines ~ research tablets and contracts ~ make some more Christmas jewellery/jewellery to wear at Christmas ~ go skating on one of London’s many outdoor rinks.
Then a few days of peace, and then it’s New Year!
I’m heading up to Nottingham for New Year, which I’m really excited about, especially as I haven’t celebrated it for about three years now. While the rest of the world (or so it seems) parties, I usually curl up with a blanket, wine, a really good book and a large tub of Haagen Dazs. Not bad, but I can’t wait for this one! I will be taking a notebook on the train (I’d prefer to drive but it depends on the weather) to make resolutions and plans for 2012. I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to see some fireworks – I ADORE fireworks even when it’s freezing cold outside!
What are your plans for Christmas? New Year’s Eve? New Year’s Day? I hope that whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re with and however you celebrate, you have a glorious few days 🙂
All images link back to their original source.