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,
Lovely Kathryn at the brilliant The Business of Introverts has nominated me for a Liebster blog award, which is rather happy-making 🙂
The idea is that:
1. You choose a few young and evolving blogs that you love and believe in to receive the Liebster Award (which is simply like a stamp of approval from one blog to another)
2. You write a blog post stating that you are nominating them and asking them to answer 10 questions of your choosing (this is that post!)
3. They write a post on their own blog answering the questions and nominating more blogs for the award
I’m passionate about blogs and one of my very favourite things is finding new ones to read… so here goes with my answers to Kathryn’s questions:
1. Why did you decide to start your blog?
I’ve been blogging for just over eight years and I started my very first one to record my life at university, accompanied by two tiny rubber ducks called Freddie and Frankie. It’s a way of keeping track of some of my life – a journal and guidebook all rolled into one!
2. What’s your favourite season and why?
Spring! I love the feeling of newness as we emerge from winter, lush greens all around and the bracing fresh air, with sunshine and a promise of summer to come.
3. What is the last great book you read?
I am in the middle of re-reading for the umpteenth time, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I’m on book eight of fourteen and as always, I’m so hooked that the stories and characters are weaving themselves into my dreams. I’m a complete WoT addict, so much so that my 18th birthday present from my parents was a gold ring I’d designed, taking strong inspiration from the series.
4. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?
This is such a tough question! First up, Larry the lamb – I’ve had him since birth and he’d be a great comfort if I was alone on said island. Secondly, a boxed set series of the aforementioned Wheel of Time – they would at least keep me occupied. Thirdly, a never-ending notebook and a pen with everlasting ink (you didn’t say I had to stay realistic!) so I could get my jumble of thoughts and experiences down onto paper.
5. Name 3 people that have inspired you
You don’t make these questions easy, do you Kathryn?! Ok so firstly my parents, for living all over the world before that was a normal thing to do, for starting a business at nearly 60 and for learning and changing with the times and not being set in their ways like so many of their generation. They’ve set me a brilliant example.
Next up, one of my best friends, the genius behind Contrariety Rose – for having the guts to quit her day job and focus on developing her own indie fashion label. She has the most determination and focus of anyone I’ve ever met and I admire her for it every day.
And lastly (though by no means least, and by no means the only other person I admire – this list could go on for aeons), a newer but no less treasured friend, Rachael, who was brave enough to listen to her instincts, move to the other side of the country and start a whole new life over there. I’m proud and in awe all at once!
We’re approaching August. No, I also have no idea how the hell that happened.
However, I do have a secret project up my sleeve which requires lots and lots (and lots and lots) of writing, and have committed to write for it every day in August.
I’ll still be here, but my posts may be less frequent… though I do have a couple of gorgeous ones just waiting to be shared 😀
Image courtesy of Susannah Conway
I also discovered the lovely Susannah’s August Break today – and will be incorporating that into my August. Less rules, less words, more photos. But still here, always 🙂
Have a very happy month!
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 feel very strongly that this is a new phase in my life. The opportunity to work so close to home is one that I think I only truly appreciate having battled almost two years of four-hours-a-day commuting. It signifies a change in pace, and a change in attitude. To make the jump to leaving London, there is a whole mindset change. Money becomes less important, and time, though still precious, is more plentiful.
There will be more time to spend with my family, the people and also the animals that are so dear to me, and who helped me so much through the darkest times of my life, and who share these happy ones so wholeheartedly.
Time to take Bluebell for long cycle rides, Poppy for long drives, to ride Jack and Chess (maybe not simultaneously) through the fields, to photograph and record the things I didn’t even have time to see before.
Long afternoons to spend with friends, chatting, talking, just being. Time to dream and plan for a nomadic future – narrowboats and caravans, visiting friends, a gentler pace of life.
While still running my businesses and creating my portfolio life, I also want to find time to learn – through the university, evening dance classes, finally getting going on my Universal Class courses, through Free Range Humans and Escape the City (just because I’ve escaped, doesn’t mean I can’t still spend time with fabulous like minded people)…
All these things I have missed for the past five years. All these things I am so much looking forward to – and all these things and more I will be thankful for. I’ll still be busy but I am absolutely determined to make more of everyday life now I have taken the leap. I don’t want to just live for the weekends – I want every day to be worth something.
I don’t regret my time in London, I’ve met some wonderful people (you really do find absolute gems in the most unexpected places) and I’ve learned a lot, much of it also unexpected. But the time is right to move on, and I am focused on the future. I don’t think I’ll ever return to work in the City – but I will take many memories of it with me.
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!
I’ve been massively inspired by journals lately, and especially art journals. I’ve always loved the idea of recording your life, and probably my only regret in life so far is burning my teen diaries and deleting my typed uni diaries, which I did for reasons I won’t go into here.
There’s something magical about keeping snippets of your life between pages, to be kept and remembered and looked back on in days, weeks, months and years to come, and it also leaves a record for future generations.
I once came across a box full of tiny notebooks in an antique shop, and, intrigued, asked the owner what they were. She said she had another two boxes in storage and they were the handwritten diaries of a young lady who had started, in the twenties, aged 9, to keep a diary each day, and had written faithfully every single day until she died in her 90s. At the time I was still a student, and this collection was on sale for £250 – well out of my price range (although the lovely owner did say I could pay a bit at a time and she’d keep them aside for me, it was still more than I could justify spending on non-necessities at the time. But I sat in that shop for a good couple of hours, reading the living history of this lady who had lived through a war and through unimaginable changes in her world, and had recorded it all, huge world events and things that were important to her (first kiss, meeting a friend for lunch, all sorts) for us to look at.
On my 25th birthday, inspired by that find, I started a five year diary. I’d like to think I’ll keep it up till I’m 30, although I’ve already missed the odd day – I love that it’s laid out so that each year you can see what you wrote the year before, and it’s a small enough book to carry around. My own little piece of magical history.
Recently I’ve also started to see lots of art journals – Ashley at The Creative Place did a fabulous post recently about her completed travel journal, which made me think I could (and should!) do something similar for the rally. I have been meaning to create a scrapbook/journal of my life since just before my 18th birthday – bought the albums but never quite got round to putting things in them. (Actually, with hindsight that’s a good thing, if I’d completed it age 18 it would have been mostly full of my first love… while he is obviously an enormous part of my past, he is entirely unconnected with my recent past, my present and my future, and I feel a journal I make now will reflect that).
I also love the idea of keeping a journal of my creative inspirations – at the moment my laptop and Pinterest serve for those ‘squee’ moments where I can keep snippets, and this blog records my wafflings and thoughts and other things, but I’d love to have more physical things to look at when I need inspiring. And of course, a diary-journal (as opposed to a scrapbook or a journal for a specific event or trip) would show you how your crafting has grown and shaped and developed over the time you take to complete it.
So this weekend I shall be buying (or repurposing) some box files – they shall live in my studio and into them shall go anything relevant – photos, notes, fabric scraps, labels, broken but significant jewellery… anything that might help shape my journals, and perhaps in 2012 I’ll be able to put them together and make something wonderful to look at.
I haven’t even looked at my bank account, because although today is pay day, I know that the total is going to be massively depressing (once I’ve extracted my monthly rent & bills, my £400 train ticket and my credit card bill). There is a transfer to be made from savings to cover the credit card (because it’s the flights from the rally), but otherwise it is what it is. Obviously I’ll be using the overdraft as I do most months but the intention is to bring this usage down slowly over the next few months. (with Christmas and my car insurance due… hah, who am I kidding?! But worth a try, certainly).
So… Buy Nothing Unnecessary, aka phase 2 of Project Thrifty Chic. I have an enormous amount of stuff in my flat, most of which I don’t even know that I still own. Quite a lot of which is makeup – cue some more beauty blog posts!
I have some lovely things planned this month for which I’ve already budgeted, but outside of those I am going to try, very hard, for just one month, to not buy any more stuff. (I also have a freezer full of food, which I’m going to use up before buying any more. Apart from vegetables, which I’m nearly out of.)
Now just to test this theory, I am going into town tomorrow (1st of the month… whoops) and there are some things I need while I’m there… I have a small separate budget for the beginnings of Teasets to Typewriters, but aside from stock/packaging for that (and the packaging I really should buy in relative bulk, online), I’m going to be good. Well, I’m going to try!
(and in the evenings, I intend to skate, blog, work on the secret projects ready for launch… lots of things! Hopefully none of which will involve too much money… also intend copious use of the slow cooker for both convenience and thrift 😀 )
PS I would apologise for the continued thrifty posts… but I keep getting good reactions so I won’t 🙂
(found this on The Crafty Librarian, thought it was lovely so I borrowed it)
Reading: In My Sister’s Shoes by Sinead Moriarty; Gil Elvgren monograph; magazines galore; Goodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders
Writing: Blog posts for the next week or two while my life goes mad.
Drinking: Pepsi max, as ever, water and pear cider
Listening: to smash hits radio via my TV. Yep, enormous TV and I only ever use it as a radio really. Bad squishy. And Now 79, loudly, in the car.
Buying: in theory, nothing. In practice, stuff for the house, antiques and lingerie.
Enjoying: Proper time with Jules for the first time in ages, reorganising the flat and taking the first steps towards the new me, and planning the rally which is going to be both terrifying and exhilarating.
Loving: sunshine, time with friends, my new hairbrush, rediscovering stuff I’d forgotten I owned
I spend so much time drafting blogs by hand in my lunch hours and on the train, with a pencil and paper, that I might start scanning them instead of typing my posts!
With the Etc exhibition ‘Reading Matter’ having just gone up, and my obsession with stationery and writing letters as strong as ever, I thought I’d round up some of my writing-related finds on the interweb 🙂
- Smythson stationery – I love it, it makes me happy but it’s so expensive I don’t own anywhere near as much of it as I’d like to
- Downey & Co – these guys make the MOST gorgeous invitations among many other things. One day I’m going to have the mother of all party invitations custom-made by Leo & Joe!
- The Paperie – beautiful journals, notecards, stationery in one droolworthy online shop!
- Moleskine – among my most favourite notebooks, there’s one in almost every handbag I own
I’m a bit short on photos this post, will try to add some this evening – on limited connectivity at Gran’s house and it takes *forever* to upload 🙁
I have several friends with whom I exchange regular letters as well as emailing, texting and phoning; and there really isn’t anything quite like the feeling of receiving a real handwritten letter to read on the train in the morning – instant happiness!
Another project up my sleeve for later this year is The Postcard Project, more about that in another post.
Right, off to town with Mum to add to my fabric stash 🙂