WOW festival and some feminist shiz

April 15, 2014 in ME & MINE, OUT & ABOUT

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I spent a very enjoyable weekend celebrating the sistahood (kapow!) at WOW festival* a while ago and it has spurned me on to finally publish a few blog posts I’ve had in draft form for the past year. In honour of WOW (which was weeks ago now, but hey) here goes.

I arrived early to Susie Orbach’s session at WOW. I’d just meandered along The Southbank which was bathed in unseasonal March sunshine, I was high on RFH brownies (THE BEST) and my kid-free self was feeling pretty pumped.  Especially because it sounded like we would be discussing some things I had already started to seriously mull over since Frankie and her eager eyes came along. The session was called “The Personal is still Political: will you Occupy your Body?” and opened with a group discussion about whether our body hang-ups might have stopped us from doing something recently. And there were so, so many things. One of us hadn’t gone swimming due to feeling ‘fat’. Another wouldn’t wear certain clothes if they showed her certain scars or marks. Scores of women wore extremely limited wardrobes because they felt restricted by their body shapes. And story after story spilled out, of women feeling shame or hatred about their bodies not meeting this vague but powerful vision of ‘perfect womanhood’ we see everywhere around us.

IMG_4334But lets backtrack a minute, to having a baby, to Frankie and her curious eager eyes. Having a baby is monumentally life changing. Like enormous mountain-movingly life changing. And one of the biggest shifts for me has been in how I think about myself as a woman. Having a kid, a daughter, is some serious shizzle. What will she learn from me about being a woman, both inadvertently and directly?  What messages am I passing on to her about who she is and what she can achieve? What am I demonstrating to her about being ok with your body, about loving your body even, and not wasting precious time hating yourself? (Things I, and I suspect most women, have struggled with).

There is nothing like a small eager pair of eyes following your every move to make you question how you do things. Frankie often watches us get ready to leave the house. On the mornings when Dave didn’t so much as glance in the mirror before haring out the door, yet I stood there for at least 20 minutes putting a shocking amount of hair product in my hair, plucking eyebrows, and slathering my face in make up, what does Frankie learn? On days when it is a case of layering on pink lipstick to add a bit of happiness to a crappy day or because I’m in a ‘wear all of the colours” sort of mood, then great. It’s good to be bright sometimes! I wish more men felt they could do the same. But I used to apply make up every single day, to hide spots, bags and perceived imperfections on my face. Every. Single. Day. Think of all of the time I have collectively spent doing that? The daily application of this make up was not an expression of colour or creativity but was about wearing a mask. It was about me trying to nudge my face and body a bit closer to ‘What a Woman Should Look Like’. And by that I mean, young, skinny, hairless and smooth. When I put it like that I can’t believe I was ever duped enough in to buying into it. I say ‘was’ because I have actually almost entirely stopped wearing make up (bar the exceptions above), a slow process that began in the exhausting aftermath of having a baby, and not even being able to find time to poop, never mind clean myself or apply make up.

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There is always time for lunch from the food market. yum.

And, whilst I’m on a confession roll, I’ve shaved my armpits once in the last 18 months. Again, this started with neglect, in the new baby ‘how do I find time to make a cup of goddam tea’ days but turned into something else. A quiet little protest. In my pits…. Because I am done with being part of the ridiculous “women aren’t hairy/spotty/tired (etc), honest!” façade. The more I think about it the more laughable it becomes. Why do we spend so much time and money shaving, plucking and waxing our body hair; mostly painfully? So much time and money on make up and hair stuff? Why do we do that when it is entirely normal for most men to rarely have to think about such inconvenient things**? Why is the image of a hairy woman so unacceptable or even disgusting for so many people? (In my case, including close family members!) I’m still in the midst of all of these personal epiphanies/angsty musings and am by no means on the other side of it but I sincerely hope that by the time I’m a grandmother we’ll look back and laugh at the ridiculous things we did to our bodies in the name of ‘beauty’. I hope. But until then, I’m going to let Frankie and those eager eyes be my compass as I continue to navigate through these new women/motherhood/girlhood thoughts and revelations.

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Info and links

The session was led by Susie Orbach in conjunction with AnyBody , a brilliant campaign group: “dedicated to giving voice to groups and individuals challenging our devastating acceptance of body hatred as normal. We collect evidence, raise awareness and speak out to challenge government policy and complacency.” Check out their ace website, I particularly like their section on mums.

My feminism, as I have iterated before, is definitely a process.  I related too, and absolutely loved this TED talk by Courtney Martin (founder of feministing.com) about the role of mothers in their daughters activism, and the paradoxes and failures of trying to figure things out.

*I know that pressure on men to look a certain way is also an important issue, and there are all sorts of mens issues that need more attention. But- I debated whether there was a need to state something so stupidly obvious but here goes- global misogyny is rampant in a way that misandry just isn’t, and is therefore definitely worth more attention etc.

** WOW festival is Women of the World Festival, an awesome feminist festival held on the Southbank in London very year. I’m going to try to go every year. Where else can you rub shoulders with Susie Orbach, Ruby Wax, Shami Chakrabarti, Vivienne Westwood and 12-year-old girls kicking misogynist  ass in their schools? Just so good. and the brownies?! oh my.

A holiday at home.

April 2, 2014 in ME & MINE, OUT & ABOUT

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We holidayed at home last week, celebrating the return of the long gone wanderer. The ‘Dadu on a plane’. The mister who’s still working at 3am, or filming up a mountain in Scotland or holed up in edit suite for 3 days at a time… you get the idea. He came home to a wonky ‘welcome home’ banner, brandishing flowers and looking a little… ragged around the edges.

So; last week: small luxuries. Sleep. And more sleep. Frying bacon from the butchers next door, sizzling eggs and grinding coffee, eating in the garden. Lunches in the pub, as Franks sleeps in the buggy. Giddy at the huge amount of time we have to spend together. Awkward too, at times; missed sleep, frustration and tantrums from all 3 of us (!) as we slowly adjust to being 3 again. We have a celebratory lunch at The Sportsman in Seasalter, having deposited Frankie with the grandparents. We comment that The Sportsman is like being in your foodie friends living room. Despite its coy michelin stars, prissy it is not. In fact, its really laid back, reassuringly shabby, even. Highlights were the maple roasted Pork and the cream cheese meringue ice cream in pear puree with ginger cake crumbs (HOLY MOLY).

Then its Mothers Day. The first half of which is a little hectic (hour change napping chaos; Grand Prix) but soon we’re at the beach. We spread our blanket, and slowly eat our picnic from Windy Corner Stores (my favourite). Lay down a while. Collect oyster and clam shells, spot birds. Frankie runs wildly after Dogs (and consequently so do we). We scoff cake, and watch as the tide recedes. Its absorbing, mesmerising. Shockingly quick. And its so good to be together, quietly (on account of the cake), watching the tide.

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Mothers day has, in the past, been a pretty miserable day for Dave and I (both motherless. Sucks) but it is so nice to redeem and celebrate it, and not spend the day flicking the v’s at everything. (if thats you, for any reason, you have my sincerest sympathies)

Hope you are enjoying Spring as much as us!

On being a ‘young’ mum: us in Asos Magazine

March 26, 2014 in ME & MINE, PUBLISHED WRITING

Asos magazine

I’m breaking my wholly unintentional, sickness-and-absent-mister-induced, blog silence to say that you can find our mugs in this months Asos magazine. Whoa! The lovely folk (and they really are lovely) over there got in touch a while ago to ask if we would be up for talking about our little family, and specifically why we had Frankie when we did, as (relative) young uns’. It’s something I’ve talked about lots before (including here and here), and you can read more in Asos magazine, as well as see a rather large picture of us (Yikes!) I was 26 when I got pregnant, and absolutely not at the career zenith most sensible women wait for before they get themselves up-duffed . It was financially perilous and ridiclously risky career wise. Some bumps and craters in the road along the way, then it turned out to be a pretty great decision.

We had a photo shoot with them a few weeks ago which was both a pleasure and a challenge with a wriggly toddler, evident I believe, in my slightly strained smile?!  We chose ethical clothes from Asos’s website. That dress, that beautiful silky, giraffe print ,90′s cut beauty is by House of Hackney, is wholly manufactured in the UK and is utterly beautiful (sadly not able to keep that one, but we got a few other freebies which was lovely. The dress is on my one-day wish list though; bold, italicised. underlined. The works.) Frankie is wearing top to toe Boys and Girls, a brand I’m sure you all know we adore, and Dave chose some organic nudie jeans and American Apparel but they couldn’t source them last min, so he’s just wearing some stuff he already owned, plus an Asos T-shirt (a bit bummed about that but it was all pretty last min and you can’t win em all.)  Asos is actually pretty decent for ethical clothes; check out their Africa collection and their Green Room. They stock tons of items from ethical designers and their marketplace is dreamy for finding second hand high street and designer clobber.

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If you don’t receive Asos magazine (and apparently a whopping half million of you do- whoa) then you can see an image of the pdf below. If you’ve come over from Asos, then Hello! Welcome! :

Download (PDF, 7.01MB)

I mention our ‘low key, handmade wedding’ in the piece, and if you’re nosy, like me,  you can read more about it here

In other news, family-geddon is finally over. I am (pretty much) well again after getting ANOTHER cold last week (I mean, COME ON. wt actual f?!), on the back of a string of illnesses, plus my mister is finally back from the mother of all music video jobs that has taken him to Scotland, Somerset, LA and, most importantly (ahem) away from Frankie Rose and I for most of the last 3 months. I’ll be able to reveal who he’s been working with in a month or so but its pretty awesome. So, we’re enjoying a pub lunch/ park/ sleep-filled holiday at home, and adjusting to being a unit of 3 again. I have lots to blog about, and lots to catch up on with your blogs too and hope to be able to do so in the next few weeks.

Off for some vino and an early night. Night chaps!

P.S Although I’ve been a bit absent here, I’m always knocking about on instagram and twitter. Come say hi.

And that was February

March 4, 2014 in ME & MINE, OUT & ABOUT

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The above photo’s are a few of the lighter moments in the month; days in the woods, savouring the first of the snowdrops, some Galentines packages, a quick trip to London to see Emily and pop into the Donna Wilson sample sale, and buy (yet more) plants from Colombia rd. I finally took some photo’s of the house too, seen as we’ve been stuck in it for so long: Some new WOW letters in the kitchen, a completed picture wall in the lounge (with neon washi tape), a kitchen full of plants and flowers, and my beloved bed, where I’ve been spending as much time as my offspring will allow.

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But in many ways Februrary is a month best forgotten for us. Dave is working on a brutally long job at the moment and it is really taking its toll on our family. Both Frankie and I were sick for most of the month without Dave around to help. We have a few more weeks of this job ahead too. In the meantime he quietly released another music video for for GAPS, based on the Serpentine dance.  Its beautiful. He’s a talented dude, that man of mine. If only I could see slightly more of him.

In brighter news, today is Pancake day, (almost) my favourite day of the year and there is a decent-ish chance that Dave will be home before 9pm so we can actually eat some together. Hurray! And Spring is most definitely here, and most definitely welcome, too.

“Its ok” packages for Galantines day

February 15, 2014 in MAKE, ME & MINE

I’m not too keen on traditional Valentines schmaltz. My mister and I will get a fish and chip dinner, as usual, and that’s about it. I do like thinking about Valentines as a way to celebrate other people in my life that I love though (I once sent some little love heart garlands to the ladies I love in my family a few Valentines days ago.) So I am all over Galentines Day*.  It just so happens that this year I have a few friends having a pretty rough time with sickness or break ups or horrid stress. So I sent them each a little “its ok” Valentines package. Frankie and I made double chocolate cookies, I made four “its ok” banners using Davina’s very helpful tutorial  plus a few other bits: a jar of hazelnut butter for a healthy treat, some knitted slippers, a Valentines card and a card from Frankie.

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IMG_4170The wrapping paper Pompoms were left over from my Christmas wreath. Craft recycling ftw.

*”Galantines day?”, you wonder? Ask Leslie.

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Easy washi tape Valentines ideas for Papermash

February 13, 2014 in MAKE, PUBLISHED WRITING

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I absolutely love styling the houses Kristy and I have been shooting and writing about*, and I have since been focussing on doing some more styling work on a smaller scale. I recently shot some Washi tape for Lynne over at Papermash for her marvellous washi tape subscription.  I created five different ideas for Valentines using Papermash products and I absolutely loved doing so.

Anyone, and I really do mean anyone,  can whip up a gorgeous handmade valentines with these super simple ideas.

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1) Instead of giving your nearest and dearest a card, why not create lots of little valentines messages on washi hearts then leave them around the house? Simply layer up strips of washi tape onto a piece of white card (see image above). Create a simple Love heart template then trace it on to the washi covered card. Cut out, punch a hole, thread with some string and leave little messages on them.

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2) A strip of black and white passport photo’s is a lovely and long lasting momento of Valentines day. However, not everyone has access to a retro photo booth, including me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my local Max Spielman was able to take a few different pics of Frankie and I holding a “we love you” sign and turn them black and white. Frankie responded much better to a person holding a camera, rather than cramming us both into an actual booth which wouldn’t have had such good results, I think.  As well as a few strups of black and white photo’s, they gave me a couple of coloured strips too for less than 2 quid. I think any photo shop will be able to take your photo, or a few different photo’s, and turn them black and white for you. Then simply tape them to the inside of a card.

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3) It couldn’t be much simpler, sillier or more adorable than taping your loved ones favourite teabag to a card. This would go marvellously with a date for afternoon tea.

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4) What could be lovelier than to receive a jar of wild flower seeds for valentines? I always really like gardening related Valentines (remember this “hello sweatpea card I made? I was inspired by that idea to create this jar).  Decorate an old jam jar with little hearts cut out from tape and stick a label to the front with your message on it. Nice perhaps for a greener fingered loved one.

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5) For a twist on the Valentines bouquet, snip roses just before the bud and string them on to a length of twine. This will also effectively dry them out and keep them looking beautiful for months. You could do this just before the roses are about to wilt to preserve them for longer. I can confirm that my garland of dried roses is still looking lovely, over 4 weeks later.

Most of what you see on the images above can be purchased from Papermash, twine, glitter tape, washi tape, stamps etc.

*lots happening behind the scenes on the interiors shoots but everything just takes ages. I’m still looking for houses so do get in touch if you know of anything.

P.s February has been pretty challenging so far. Frankie and I have been really poorly and my mister has been away a lot with work, which is an awful combination. My sister in law who normally looks after Frankie for me has been sick too so no childcare for 3 weeks now, and no mister,  and work is piling up. Yikes! But we’re on the mend now and lots of exciting things are coming up, so… *deep breath*…. chin up.

That was January

January 31, 2014 in ME & MINE, OUT & ABOUT, STYLE

A walk round Faversham marshes

Winter soup

So, that was January.

We started the year as we meant to go on; brewing beer and making massive batches of marmalade, filling the whole house with the sweet malty smell of hops and the citrussy tang of seville oranges boiling on the hob. Both are such lovely January activities that we hope to continue every year.

The Shingles I had over Christmas, although now clear, is still evilly clutching on somehow and I’ve spent the whole month in a fug of post-viral exhaustion, crawling into bed shortly after Frankie-Rose. Or at least thats what I intend to do. 10 o’clock jumps out at me from nowhere and proverbially whacks me over the head most nights. How does that keep happening?!

Our January was also very dry. No TV, chocolate, cake or booze. At times it was unbelievably difficult. And there have been a few minor hiccups. But we got there, with fresh resolve to be a bit healthier. Tonight we celebrate. Yes, one day early, but we won’t be together on Saturday so we’re calling it quits a little bit early. I’m almost quivering with excitement about the prospect of a bit of chocolate cake and a glass of wine (I had to stop myself from saying a MASSIVE SLAB OF CHOCOLATE CAKE AND A WHOLE BOTTLE OF WINE. Moderation. Moderation…)

We have been on a few walks around Faversham, our favourite being the Faversham Marshes, into the bird reserve. Its by far the most beautiful I’ve seen in Faversham, despite it ending in an (inevitable) slip and muddy bottom for me (Clumsy Mc-clums, me). You start at the boat yard, on a very straight path with bushy borders of grasses and reeds that sway as you pass. As you walk along the creek more and more boats appear, resting on their sides, pillowed in the glistening mud. Fishermen clean nets and yell instructions at each other, snippets of which reach your ears, on the other side.  Eventually you get to the marshes themselves that stretch out a vast distance in most directions. Pylons stand sentry in lines crossing the landscape and birds that we don’t know the names of dart above us, dancing in the wind. Frankie slept in the sling for the first half, then was a star when she woke up, braving the mud, then ultimately choosing to go back in the sling. It ended up at the pub for a …cup of tea (see Amish January above)

Winsome visitors have descended and left again; my lovely Dad came for a weekend. We took him to Whitstable for fish a chips and cooked steak at home and Frankie revelled in the love and attention lavished on her. Our London friends popped up for the day. I made a simple lunch of Pea soup (I’ve been making tons of soup) and bread then we hauled the buggies and their sleeping contents along the creek (a different bit to the one above). My misters family came to celebrate both my father in laws birthday and Burns night. I lived in Scotland for a few years and love all things Burns. Evergreens and candles clustered in the middle of the table and my brother in law served up Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, and I served up Mary Berry’s Scottish Mist. Yes, its as good as it sounds.  (I was too busy eating to take photo’s though)

Frankie and I continue to collect treasures from the woods, which assemble on the table in varying combinations. Evergreens are my new love, and they decorate the front door and and the table. I stole the idea of putting them in a jar from Ray (my sister in law). Candlemas is nearly here and we have stocked up on Beeswax candles in celebration (a new tradition, and an excuse for more candles, really).

Some (/too many) pictures to illustrate.

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A walk round Faversham marshes
A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

Winter kitchen tableThe concrete shapes wont stay there. They’re new, from  the Goodhood Store and I love them. 

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making seville marmalade

making seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

 

Winter kitchen table

Evergreen January door decoration

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Gorgeous wintry light. 

More has happened, I’m filling the house with house plants, theres been some good work news, some illness, childcare developments. My mister is SUPER busy working on a secret project with a mega band- very exciting! But I have to stop somewhere

This was supposed to be 2, or even 3, posts, but I lost time in the midst of all that was January so here we are; one enormous post, on a stormy Friday evening. Oh well, Chin chin! I hope January has treated you kindly, it has a habit of being a bit grumpy. But, onwards! Spring is just round the corner. Happy February to you and Happy Chinese New Year too. x

Our Steiner outdoor playgroup in the woods

January 14, 2014 in LIVING GREEN, OUT & ABOUT

Playgroup in the woods

Our new town is but a short journey to a number of stretches of charming English seaside. This means we can go for a dose of salty air, pebble collecting and wave dodging whenever the mood takes us, the joys of which I have blogged about before. But I did not expect to spend so much time in the woods. At least once a week, in fact. Frankie and I have been going to a Steiner run outdoor playgroup every wednesday in Blean woods for the last few months and it has been … wonderful.

We go, whatever Mother Weather hurls at us. Greying drizzling rain, freezing frost, and also when its mild and bright and lovely. In fact, I haven’t missed a week since I started. There is such love and care from the group leaders in every detail. There is always a craft- pine cone bird feeders, autumn leaf lanterns, bark rubbings- there is always singing, always a story, and mini baskets and tin cups are always available for ‘treasure’ collecting. A resident Robin visits the group each week to scavenge food and delight the babies (and the adults, if I’m honest) and on more than one occasion I’ve had to blink back a wee tear thats sprung up out of nowhere n account of all this wonderfullness. Oh, and did I mention there was tea?! Hot tea in the cold woods is one of the most marvellous things, let me tell you.

 

 

Playgroup in the woods

Playgroup in the woods

Playgroup in the woods

Playgroup in the woods

Playgroup in the woods

Playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

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Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

Brambles playgroup in the woods

 

There are not many play groups that leave the parents feeling as energised as the kiddo’s, but this smashes it.

Steiner schools run outdoor playgroups all over the country, so if you liked the look of this, then search for one near you. Another option is Nature Play which I’ve blogged about before, and is slowly expanding all the time. I’d still like to set up a Nature Play in Faversham, its just taking me a while.  No formal training is required, its  just parents meeting in the woods at the same time to roam together, play freely (its important that its unstructured, unlike Steiner. Both have benefits in my book) and share food. Could you set one up near you? If you find that there isn’t anything going on near you, but you desperately want there to be, its a pretty safe bet that you wont be the only one. And, just in case any local readers are interested, the group above meets at Blean Woods, Rough Common,  where the RSPB sanctuary is. it doesn’t register on all sat navs, but look out for the RSPB sign. The group meets close to the car park in a clearing on wednesday mornings at 9.30 am. You cant miss us! The first session is free and £3 thereafter.

Wild outdoor play has shot to the top of my list of parenting priorities as a result, and my mind is now swimming with thoughts of finding a school for Frankie with similar values, whether home-schooling would be the best bet, of dreams to train to be a Forest School leader….But for now, its wednesday mornings, in the woods, probably with a massive grin on my face and definitely with a hot cup of tea in my be-mittened hands.

And it was wonderful. A New Years Eve Mexican dinner party

January 10, 2014 in ME & MINE

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New Years eve. 11 of our original gang of Brockley friends, now scattered across the country, together, in our home. Babies sleeping peacefully upstairs, their mums emerging soon afterwards in their New Years Eve sparkles. We start with Mulled wine but quickly move on to the cocktails because, come on; sweet grilled lemon margarita’s and apple Mohito’s, courtesy of Alex and Paul who have set up a whole bar in our living room. Sour, sweet, dangerous and delicious in equal measure. We dance to Stevie Wonder and continue to cheers everything under the sun before herding ourselves downstairs to eat an incredible mexican feast courtesy of Phil.

Cocktails. Steevie. Friends. I’m in my element.

We are eating for hours. Cumin & Coriander Salmon with Cucumber & Pomegranate Salsa in a baked mini-taco bowl. Slow cooked hand of Pork with Mole (chocolate and chilli) Sauce, herby green Rice, Mexican Street Salad, slow cooked beans with crackling, griddled Spring Onions & Lime. Baby monitors jostling for space in between. Then cakes by moi. I found my baking mojo. Granny Junes chocolate cake; the recipe belonging to the granny of my cousins friend (If you’re lucky, I’ll share it here. It’s so incredibly moist.) surrounded by chocolate trees and glitter and Nigella’s lemon polenta cake, made with orange, and topped with a forest of chocolate stars, both slathered in heaving dollops of extra thick double cream or greek yogurt (the full fat stuff. Aways the full fat stuff).

There is Mexican bunting, which I may have sightly over-purchased, hanging from every available surface. More cheers-ing. Dancing. Prosecco quaffing. Celebrating good news. Some tears and slurred speech.The candles burn down and need replacing. We don’t get to desert before midnight.  We play our very own, completely incredible,  board game called Brocknopoly- every detail made by Ed and Sand, which we drunkenly cheatour way through till the wee hours. I fall into bed and am unable to sleep because I feel so full of love for our friends. And probably because I am also full of those delicious cocktails too… There is an enormous waffle breakfast at ours the following morning, hours later than planned, due to everyone (minus the parents. ouch.) sleeping in. And it was all wonderful.

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Two of the gang were unable to come which was a bit devastating, but we’re planning round two at Easter (my head is already filled with easter recipes and decorating! Come on Spring!) When we had our Christmas dinner party a couple of years ago we thought it might be our last because we simply had NO IDEA what life with a baby would be like, other than totally different, and-fingers and toes crossed- completely wonderful. I am over-joyed that these dinners can still happen. Granted, they happen with a little less finesse and with wonky mascara and spillages and babies needing to be settled occasionally, and with the cooking and cocktail duties shared out. But I’ve come to realise that even if we all got together and ate chips from the chippy it would still be marvellous. (hmm theres a plan…).  Because I do best in the middle of a gaggle of friends. Especially this gaggle of friends. It was the best New Years Eve I’ve ever had and I’m already thinking about next year. And now I have to stop or the gushing will never end.

I hope yours was as equally wonderful.

OK, 2014, BRING IT.

Christmas snap shots.

January 9, 2014 in ME & MINE

IMG_3745 Well, Christmas is truly over. In fact she blustered off in a stormy huff, felling trees and flooding towns as she went. Cor.

Some highlights:

Savouring the peace of our Christmas eve breakfast. Christmas records, a fry up, and a few small presents, just the three of us, before we drive to Dave’s parents and dive into the marvellous, knackering frenzy awaiting us.

The Papier Mache Christmas tree I made when I was 10, proudly displayed by my dad, every year.

Making wonky and wonderfully irregular sized hazlenut chocolates with my baby (err, 4 year old! What the?…) brother.

The pang of pride that shot through my chest, and the little lump that formed suddenly in my throat when Frankie wore the sling I made her, and Dave liked the jumper I printed for him.

Wrapping pretty packages with fabric and ribbon from my stash. Free. Eco. Pretty. Winner.

“kiss me Quick” Red Mac christmas lips. New hair.

Frankie and her aunty May (who is the same age!) holding hands for 10 whole minutes. An eternity in toddler land.

Fairy lights everywhere, twinkling and blurring in the background, casting a dewy magical light on our riotous merry making.

Oh and Dave’s Family’s christmas eve tradition of shell fish with champagne is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

In fact, Champagne, champage, champagne (and maybe some Prosecco) with everything, is a wonderful wonderful thing.

And now some snaps.

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I love this photo of us, dirty floors and all.

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I’d be a rather rubbish ambassador if I didn’t point out that Frakie’s christmas dress is from Boys&Girls. amazing, no?IMG_3525

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The dresses were presents from my dad and step mum and are handmade by Little Trees. Frankie doesn’t wear dresses much, but I LOVE this one. Perfect for special occasions.IMG_3740

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I managed to get a mild case of Shingles over christmas which was a bit annoying. I felt fine, if very tired, but then again, theres nothing new there. Otherwise it was pretty knackeringly wonderful. But now I emerge from my Christmas fug, blinking in the weak sunlight of 2014.  Ready for our annual Amish January which means no booze, TV, chocolate or sweets. For a whole month. Ready for some serious planning and hoping and dreaming. One more post about New Years eve to come then onto 2014.

P.S I loved the look of Artemis’s Christmas- just the three of them! I hope we can do that one year. And thank you to her also for the lovely shout out!