Thursday, 31 December 2015

Big Girl Socks

2015 has nearly run its course. In two days this blog will have been occupying its little space in the blogosphere for seven years.

Those seven years have seen a lot of events unfold. None more so than this last year when I learnt that letting go can be empowering. Once I accepted each of the things I had to lose with grace, the new life looming ahead looked more exciting. It hasn't been as easy for my girls obviously. They chose none of this, but I've done my best to support them through this new life. Maybe I've got it wrong at times, but I've always been there with my love for them.

I could say it's been a hell of year.  It's certainly been an emotionally turbulent year, a year full of changes and yet as I look back over it I know it's also been a year of enormous growth and wonderful memories too.


Death and re-birth have been so central to this year. 
The death of my marriage and now the re-birth of my first love from my teens. 
A wonderful man and we've found each other again.

From the dreadful news of Vanessa's death before last Christmas to the wonderful community that came together to make a blanket and raise money in her name. For nearly six months that project kept me focused just as my world fell around my ears. I fought on to keep as much of a hold on it as I could for my daughters sake. And I know I have succeeded. 

In the middle of all of this my job ended. Funding was cut and I was left feeling redundant professionally and personally. My creative heart left me. I know it's still in there shouting to be released again. And it will be I know that. It has to. What I did know was that I was good at being a mother.


I sold our family home and eventually found us a new lovely home to make our own. Moving here has been a wonderful thing. We're in the heart of the city, life is all around. I love it. I do miss our country life, but we have gained new things. 

I've had such amazing support from family, friends new and old and the blogging and instagram community. Jane of Flaming Stitch, who made me a Chin Up Bravery Medal said the other day "Your strength in pulling up your big girl socks and soldiering on has been inspiring".  Well I'm keeping my socks firmly pulled up and the only way is forward.

So with that in mind, here's a bit about what we've been up to lately.


We've had a first ever Christmas as a three and it's been wonderful. In the summer I felt sick every time I thought of Christmas. Probably because the last was marked by the world I knew tumbling apart and I was trying to hide it from my daughters for as long as possible.

Now I think how silly to dread it when we have made such lovely memories and done things our way, our new way.

I started to feel festive for the first time when my good friend Cat and I spent a day chatting and christmas bits and bobs shopping. 


When I got home the sparkly Christmas tree brooch I'd bought from Donna Flower was waiting for me. I've pretty much worn it every day since. 


Living so close to the city we pop in and out as we wish. There's something so utterly magical about a city dressed in its Christmas lights.

Our home is just about sorted as a proper home now as we had the delivery of two beautiful new sofas. Our new neighbour and new friend had our velvet sofa to make room for this pair. We were a pair of weeds and so enlisted the help of the strong man from the corner Barbershop to help us shift it from one home to another. 


The girls have also been getting very creative with my hair. This is definitely a staying in type of do.


Just before the end of the school term I went on a long walk by the coast with my first love. We'd been talking and meeting up for a few months and on this day we knew our love for each other was still there, stronger even.


We found the most idyllic clifftop cafe where we were welcomed by Alfie the dog and a cosy woodturner before we headed back over the headland.


Later that week I started to get busy with wrapping gifts and decorating our two trees. We decided as we were going smaller then two, one for the sitting room and one for the dining room, were needed.


Once the girls broke up I had another interview for a job, but sadly no luck there either. 
I cheered myself on the way back by getting the red brogues I'd been lusting after for months.

A naughty buy that I've worn every day since.


The end of that week was emotionally turbulent, but fabulous also.
We had friends in and out of the house, evenings laughing with a lot of fizzy stuff and food. 



That weekend my old/new love brought me a dozen white roses and one yellow picked from the market early that morning. Picked carefully for eternal love and friendship to mark the start of us again.


Before we knew it Christmas eve was upon us and preparations were in full swing. Well slow swing as we decided to just go with the flow. Our supper was shared with my mum and a great friend and then we all started to get just a little bit excited knowing Santa was about.


I'm so happy that the girls enjoyed their Christmas. I wanted to make them memories to build on and give them strength. I believe we're getting there you know.

Now I'm a year older too as a birthday was passed on the 29th. Afternoon Tea with my girls, a quick G & T with my love and then the end of the pier Christmas show with family and friends. 

Life is looking good, there's still a few challenges to face, but life is about growth so I'm your woman to take on the new, here I come 2016.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Peeking around the new homestead.


How de do dee again.
Well I read each of your lovely comments on my last post with happiness. Such lovely words and greetings, thank you.

The picture above is just me in a new favourite frock. It has nothing much to do with this post, except the fact that I like it. So there it is.

Now let's go off for a tour around the new place that my girls and I now call home shall we.
I love a peek around other peoples homes so I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in that.


Now despite missing our woodturner, in fact log fires in general as I've always had one, we are lucky enough to have a fireplace in the sitting room as a focal point. 

Moving from a large country cottage to a city terrace has meant that a lot of furniture hasn't been able to fit, plus of course it had to be slightly shared out between him and I. 

That means there's a lot less space to put out stuff. This is probably a blessing as with each box I open, I think to myself why ever did I think we needed all this stuff. Mind you - I'm careful and go through the girls charity boxes they put by the door. I'm secretly squirrelling away precious things that they think they don't want anymore, but may one day you know.
A fairy wand given as a gift by Flora, Miss Millie's fairy guardian, a notebook of childish drawings and little china sheep. Oh my heart melts for all those times past and then I store those feelings away also. This is a time for moving forward. For taking on our new world together, but all the same the sentimentalist in me still wants to raise her head. She's not been allowed much space of late.


This place already feels like a home to me. It has such a lovely atmosphere and has everything we need.
I kept house hunting until I found a house painted through in white with three bedrooms off a separate landing.  Can you imagine the rows if two teenage girls had to walk through each others rooms all the time. There are some arguments you can try to avoid I think.

As I couldn't afford to buy a house, nor did I want the stress of it then it became hard to find a home that suited my taste and budget. I couldn't believe our luck when I walked into this place. A perfect location within walking distance of the girls school, in a quiet spot opposite a park and a short hop to the city no less. It ticks off everything I was after and more.



The view from the kitchen door is of a lawn free yard, so one less job to do there, and a church spire peeking through the trees. At the front we're on a pedestrianised street so there are no cars, just the chatter of people as they stroll on by.


The kitchen wraps around the bathroom in an L-shape so it all feels very open plan from the dining room.
I've opened and carried so many boxes to get to unearth the dining table. In truth it was a puzzle how to even get it through from the sitting room past the stairs. A spatially aware man helped out with that one.  Then I just piled everything on it again and blocked the whole room up to get some order everywhere else. 


Now I've noticed I have grown small round upper arm muscle bumps. All that humping you see. 
The boxes of course. 
I don't think I've ever had them before. Funny that. 
Outer and inner strength both needed for this time in my life.


In this new space a lot of our old stuff just doesn't go. Paler colours of 1930's china and fabrics suited an 1840 cottage, but here stronger colours and bolder design with less clutter is needed. So that means paint slapping on the furniture and stitching new cushions and curtains for a re-vamp.
Exciting stuff, just hard work. 


Lily cat is very happy here watching the world go by. She probably wonders where the horses she used to watch have disappeared to.


I love my bedroom. I snaffled the biggest room for me because that's just how it rolls isn't it.
I have a large walk in cupboard, my very own dressing room no less. 


Then in the other cupboard I've stored my stash. I've even edited it down hugely, which was brave of me I think. Four bags gone to the girls school now for GCSE textiles use. 


Despite getting rid of some fabric, I've also been adding to the pile with a few new ones as well. This beautiful red floral is a recent addition from Pomme de Jour.


Then the very lovely Rachel, who trades as Rainbow Vintage Home and sells the most amazing fabrics, sent me some bits of bobs of fabric as a house warming gift. 


Slowly, slowly, those boxes are getting fewer and fewer. 
Forgotten things are being brought out again which is all quite exciting.


A far less cluttersome friend, she even puts her toaster in the cupboard, who loves all my stuff was still thrilled that I had less room for so many things to be everywhere. 


This is my kind of minimal.  
No more than this. 
Just three things on top of a cupboard instead of tons of things.


All the same I just can't find it in myself to get rid of all the jugs. And really, you do have to ask yourself how many jugs does one person need?


With everything nearly unpacked, we're just waiting on delivery of our new sofa's and then it'll be time to add a Christmas tree and sparkly decorations I feel.

I can't believe how quickly we're nearly back to the time of year when all of this change started. How far we've come since then. And oh yes, so much happier too.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A Long Forgotten Place of Mine


How long has it been? I'm really not sure to be honest. 

Somehow my blog, taking colourful creative photos and writing short tales of our days around those same pictures has been packed away with all our worldy goods.

I'm not sure if blogs get read in the same way as they did when I first started tapping away all those years ago. I still intend to get back in the writing saddle again once I finishing putting the shapes of our new life together. I think something new and fresh will be needed along with the new me that is emerging. I haven't really changed all that much just found that life has taken me on a different path. 


My girls and I spent the summer at my mum's house while all of our possessions, the things that we believe give our lives shape, were packed away. By late summer I knew the time had come to find a home for the three of us. It didn't take long to find exactly the home I knew we needed. A city pad where they could walk to school each day and I could work full-time. 


I didn't look for work until the summer was over so I could be there for them. 
We visited a few places, but ignored the old stomping grounds. The Museum of Childhood was new to us and we'd wanted to visit for a while so that's just what we did. 


A few bits of fabric found their way to me on my travels.


As did Afternoon Teas.

Then the summer started to draw to a close and on September 1st Miss Rosey turned fifteen. 

I'm not sure how she skilfully talked me into hiring a bell tent for a weekend party but she did. I'm glad though as nine girls came and they had a blast. By the light of the moon they raced over the golf course at the bottom of my mum's garden and then in the morning they hunted each other water pistols at the ready.



The next evening Miss Millie had her friends over for a movie night in the tent. 

I was the only one not to sleep under canvas. I did ask my man if he fancied a sleepover in the garden, he looked at me and laughed thank goodness.


So ... my girls are getting older. We've swapped the country for the city and I have to be a grown-up and go and work full-time to keep this show on the road. There's lots of fun in the middle of all this as well as teething pains and problems too. 


It's not easy trying to balance a new relationship, one that is really good and makes me very happy indeed, with being a mum to my girls who still need me. I've been told that it's happened too soon by those who live life in the shadows, but life doesn't follow according to a tight schedule. If something wonderful comes along then only a fool would refuse it.


I think this has been my least creative year of all with anything textiley, but when I stop to think then I know I've been so busy creating a new life that that has to be enough for now. It will all come back again once I unpack those boxes.

I did manage to have a taste of stitchery at my friend Cat"s of Lulumama fame session with our WI group. My brain wasn't really on what I was making at all. It was being surrounded by friends and chatting while we stitched that was the blissful part.


Just before we moved house I started working as Project Support for a friend. 
The following week we moved house and I had an interview for a grown up managerial job in Children's Services. Sadly I didn't get it, but I realise my head was all over the show. So slow steps are needed sometimes. I'm still looking and applying for that right job all the same.


The weekend before we moved house I panicked thinking of all our furniture from a big cottage and wondering how on earth it was going to squeeze into a terrace. 

Turns out it did. You know in the kind of way where you can't get to sit on anything or find anything, but know it's all in there somewhere.

It was really exciting that week. The sun shone and I worked like a dervish unpacking and putting a kitchen and bedrooms together. 


I took a couple of weeks making our home as liveable in as possible and then we all moved in properly late one Sunday. 


I've been buying a few much needed things for this new home and life too. 

My bed was the most exciting buy. The type of bed I dreamed of having for years. I even treated myself to Orla Kiely bedding. Well this beautiful new bed deserved being well dressed after all didn't it.


I have new sofa's coming soon and I also found some beautiful barkcloth that I'm tempted to turn into curtains. Maybe with a matching dress for when we play hide and seek!

As life in our new home takes shape and the girls pop into town to see friends and bring friends home after school, I feel thrilled with this place that I found for us. It's even got a great little pub a stumble away which man and I have sampled on a few occasions. What good planning that was too.



There you have it. Life has lots of sunshine. You just have to keep on looking for it not look the other way. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Deep Breath and off we Go


A cry of help from me on Instagram and it was heard almost immediately. 
Techie advice given on how to link my Samsung to the Mac and we are officially up and running. 
Oh yes indeedy.


So news in brief shall follow from May to now. Still it's quite a long one I'll warn you now.

The Do You Mind If I Knit Blanket raffle in memory of Vanessa Cabban closed with a fabulous 258 donations raising £2084.71 for The Mental Health Foundation.


At the end of May I took the girls on their first posh trip to London with my mum to celebrate her birthday. Harvey Nicks, Harrods, lunch at Jamie's in Covent Garden to watch the performers (and just missed bumping into Ellie @jellyjamellie) before drinks at Browns and the train home.


The house sale trundled along and our home no longer felt ours. We were desperately ready to get out and move on. 

I sewed and sewed as I was between jobs and so I made the most of the time before my life was packed away for who knows how long.






Dresses and skirts all finished and worn with joy since. The Eva dress above in 1950's fabric is my favourite so far.


A friend convinced me to give weight watchers a try to keep her company. I've never dieted in my life. never needed to, but I thought what the heck. After one week I put on weight as it made me so focused on not eating any blinking food or drinking alcohol that that was all I could think about. 
Weightwatchers brought out the rebel in me. I went back for a second week and was offered the leaders phone number in hushed tones and a slipped note. I clearly was a desperate case in need of help. I was out of there, never to be seen again. 


Now somehow, me being me, there's a stash of fabrics and patterns building again.


There's a dress that needs shortening and hemming before the summer truly runs away. 


There's these new beauties that I'm undecided on. Dresses or tops? They'll let me know what they want to become when I drape them over me. 

My creative space has always sustained me, kept my head in a good place. Funnily enough I'm doing ok without it at the moment. I don't have the physical space or time right now to get immersed in it. I've packed parts of myself away in a box as well to be unpacked at a future date. 

In reality this is a period of change. Life is always about change, about moving forward and accepting that change as gracefully as you can.  Our house sale went through in the middle of July.

At the moment we're in flux, living at my mother's house, I'm applying for jobs and once I have one we can properly look for a home of our own. 
Then I will be able to unpack parts of the old me to add to the new me. Exciting times really. 


A great part of that change was saying goodbye to so much that we held dear. I bubbled over with tears every time Bluebell and Olive chatted to me and hunkered down for a cuddle and I knew we had to give them up. All of this is and so much more has been neatly packaged up and put away. 


In reality I feel the most alive I have done for years. I'm laughing and happy again. The girls are in a better place emotionally. The sun shines now and again and we have adventures.



The first adventure once we moved was to buy a shiny new car as I had and have plans for lots of trips. With lots of help from this lovely man I know we found the perfect car. 

A few days later I took the car on a long journey up to Flamborough Head to stay with him and his family. 

Then after a day back home I headed South with the girls Dorset bound.


Our first evening was spent in a hotel in Weymouth. We promenaded along the stunning seafront that evening taking in all the vibrant life it had to offer before ending up at The Stables in the harbour for pizza at the recommendation of Ellie.


The following day we headed to Lulworth Cove where we met Ellie and her girls for the first time ever. Ellie and I have chatted for years after meeting as bloggers, but this was our first ever face to face meet up. 


We spent a glorious day together exploring and walking from Lulworth over to Durdle Door. 
Then it was time to head off to discover our holiday home Little Croft.


A Tots Tv home that was a pure delight to stay in for a week. 


Our first holiday as a gang of three. It was exactly what we needed to blow the cobwebs away just as I'd hoped it would.

I've visited Dorset many times but hadn't been for years. This time we also had friends to see made through blogging and instagram. On our second day we visited Bridport. After a mention on Instagram we were given lunch and shopping ideas, as well as my plan to visit Caroline's shop Zeitgeist. 


Bridport was fabulous, I need to go back to visit everything else that we just didn't have time to see. 

On Sunday morning Ellie texted to let me know the car boot was on in Dorchester. I threw some clothes on and managed to find 2m of French cloth and a pretty roses tin. 


The rest of the day was spent visiting Portland Bill before heading off to Lyme Regis where we chilled sipping drinks on a lawn above the Cob. All very Agatha Christie.



Frome was another destination on my hit list. Probably just as well that Monday was closing day for many shops as there was a lot to tempt and delight in St Catherine's hill.



I was a lady on a mission to Deadly is the Female in the hope they had a certain green frock in stock. They did. It fitted like a dream,  so I was naughty and bought it. That photo wouldn't upload mind you so not all technology is working just yet.


Bit of a stop off for culchur at Stourhead House on the way back.


Then we let the cultured visitors mask drop and had a hoot in the grounds.


We spent a wonderful day where I met up with Ash of Lazy Daisy Jones for morning coffee at Carluccio's. We chatted for England and then Ash gave me this beautiful tin filled with lovely gifts. 

After a mooch around Dorchester we headed to Ellie's for lunch. Ellie asked me to choose one of her beautiful bags as a gift. That photo failed too. After a tip off to visit Dorchester's vintage store once we left, we headed off for a good rummage and scored a few goodies.



A few more days of visiting places and eating and then it was time to pack ourselves up and head up the country once more.


Now it's time for serious job hunting and future planning. Well maybe just thinking about the next few years anyways. 

That's us caught up to speed. See you sometime soon.