Tuesday, 5 June 2018

what i'm reading lately - the disappearances

For those of you who don't already know, I am what can politely be termed a "voracious" reader.

And what I really mean by that is that I will 100% ignore you, avoid you, not hear you, and very possible run away from you if my nose is buried in a book. Just ask my dad, who bought me Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and then refused to give it to me for three days because of like, chores??? I know, I know, the injustice of it all.

Now my tastes pretty much run the gamut - I once read an Emily Post book cover to cover because I'd run out of book money - but my favorite is YA which is why we are starting with this amazing book.

This weekend I read The Disappearances, by Emily Bain Murphy and let me just say to start this off that I already want to re-read it. It's got mystery, it's got throwing stars, it's got magical realism - need I say more? The small town of Sterling loses something every seven years, from their reflections to their dreams. When teenage Aila and her younger brother Miles move to Sterling after their mother dies, they realize that their mother may be the reason behind it all. This book is enchanting and examines sibling relationships in such a realistic way, even if the disappearing night sky is fantastic. Aila has to settle in to a new life - with her father fighting in the Second World War - against the backdrop of her increasingly difficult relationship with her brother and a town suspicious of her mother.

In case that didn't intrigue you, Aila's mother also unwittingly left her two clues - the ring she always wore and a book of Shakespeare's plays. I spent the whole book wondering: what will disappear for Sterling next? Was Aila's mother the catalyst for the curse? And will Aila figure out how to undo it? Murphy's writing drops you right into this world with its honesty, inviting you to stay and puzzle it out with Aila and her new friends.

What are you reading lately? Anything you can recommend to a book-lovin' gal?


Friday, 19 August 2016

five faves friday

Hello again, friends and fellow Friday devotees. How was your week? I hope it was productive and lovely and very quickly the weekend. :) Here are my five faves from this week!

+ I came home on Tuesday to find my lovely husband had set up all this for me, since my birthday present had arrived that day. Nothing cheers up a Tuesday like presents and prosecco.

+ How gorgeous are these coasters? I'm tempted to buy them just so all our guests will think we're fancy grown ups.

+ My kitten comes up into the bed for cuddle time every morning and sometimes he's so sleepy still that I can tuck him in like this. Be still, my kitten-loving heart.

+ I've learned, perhaps the hard way, that I am a person that needs to create. Without something artsy every couple of weeks something inside just gets a bit crabby and stuffy. So despite my post last week about hobbies, I pulled out my watercolors the other day and painted the least ugly thing I've ever done. I'm actually so pleased with it (hi, smug alert) that I think I'll frame it and put it up on the wall.

+ This sweatshirt just screams lazy mornings and huge cups of coffee...and "I love corgis," as does all the best clothing.

I'm going to a work quiz night tonight and tomorrow half of our furniture is going to a new home with my brother and sister-in-law. Other than that, it's relaxation and online shopping for me this weekend. What are you up to? Any big weekend plans? Whatever they are, I hope they're good ones.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

in defense of the ugly Insta

One of the things that I am always seeing go around the interwebz lately is how social media is affecting us. Our lives, our moods, our self-confidence...I can hardly click onto facebook without seeing an article about how social media doesn't reflect our real lives.

And I'm not immune to it, either. No matter how many times I tell myself that this blogger's life, with her artfully curated flat lays or stunning holiday photos, is bound to have good times and bad, I still find myself looking dejectedly in my closet. Don't get me wrong -- I love a beautiful Instagram profile. And any photo I post? Yup, definitely edited and thoughtfully taken. But I wasn't always that way.

In fact, if you look at my instagram page from back in the early days of the 'gram, you'll find lots of ugly photos. Part of it is the camera quality my phone had in 2011 and part of it is that there was pretty much nobody else on Instagram then. Seriously. My first photos have no likes because none of my friends were even aware that I'd posted them. So what did it matter if the lighting was bad or if the angle was unflattering?

my first post on Instagram

Somewhere along the way, I made the subconscious decision that only the most beautiful of my pictures would be honored by an appearance. The ones destined to get the most likes or where my hair looked both voluminous and smooth (no small feat, I might add). And we tend to look at ugly photos on social media and think, "I never would have posted that!"

But maybe ugly photos are what we need. Photos where our hair or our homes are a mess, photos of that dress that awkwardly cuts you in half but you can't throw it out because you've had it ten years, photos of unpainted toes and blurry sunsets. Photos that remind us that we're human and life is messy and that sunsets don't need to be perfectly photographed to be appreciated.

It's time that we celebrated the ugly picture. It's time we posted them, if only to tell each other to remember that we are still real people behind the screens. Real people with real, ordinary lives.

Blurry sunsets and all.


Friday, 12 August 2016

five faves friday

Friday, you fabulous thing, welcome back!

Today's a bit of a special Friday, seeing as both my brother and mother-in-law were born today. PLUS it has the added benefit of being the day before my own birthday (woo, 26!) which, as we all know, should be celebrated as international holiday.

+ In honor of birthdays, and the big shindig we're having at the end of the month, I've been looking at party decorations that are easy on the wallet and the eyes. Of course, if it rains, it means I will have to completely rethink everything. And let's be honest, it will rain. Nobody tell my husband that I'm currently eyeing up how I could tie long strands of poms across our living room by anchoring them on the curtain rod...

+ I am loving our new light fixture in our hallway. We've had a cheap little lamp at the top of the stairs for months now to bring some light into that space but have now finally found a proper light. And when I say we, I really mean our fabulous friend who found it for half price, texted us both a picture and delivered it to our door later that afternoon.

+ I finally broke down this week and bought some decaf coffee. Hard to believe, considering my automatic response to decaf in college was, "If it's not caffeinated, it doesn't count," but here we are. Turns out that having more than one cup of normal coffee a day can do a number on my heart's ability to function properly. And, despite years of hating it, I now adore the taste of coffee. Come at me, adulthood, with your heart palpitations and decaf coffee.

+ Our cat, Hamish the Magnificent, loves chasing mousies (no, they are not mice, they're mousies). We set up an obstacle course for him the other night and here's a quick clip of his smooth kitty moves in action:

+ I made a big investment this week in a pair of proper leather grown-up heels. They're gorgeous, though I'll have to exchange them for a smaller size. Did you know that when you spend more than £10 on a pair of shoes they actually are less likely to give you the brutal blisters you have come to expect?? Madness, I know.

We'll be celebrating birthdays this weekend and in weekends to come -- I'm a strong supporter of the "birthday month" idea -- so I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and family. What are your weekend plans?


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

on hobbies

This week is a bit of a strange one for me. Thanks to some shift swapping at work, I've been in the office for the first three days, I'll be off tomorrow, back in on Friday, and then off for the weekend. It's sort of like having two short weeks but also having a short weekend in the middle? I don't know. Like I said, it's weird.

And on this weird Wednesday, I have a confession to make: I am a hobby whore. And by that I mean that I have about a billion hobbies, none of which I do very well. Watercolor painting, embroidery, knitting, dance classes, baking, photography, writing...I pretty much do it all. And it's cyclical in nature. I will spend weeks absorbed in painting series after series of blotchy, hideous flowers before abruptly deciding I should knit a baby blanket.

To be fair, the knitting didn't last long this time because a certain kitten believed the moving needles were a danger to us all and had to be stopped.

one of my embroidery projects from the last great huzzah of needlecraft, circa 2015

But I digress. The point is that I'm trying to be better about practicing my hobbies and making them skills. I grew up in a house of crafty women (my mother refuses to accept that she's crafty but she so is) including a grandmother whose greatest disappointment is that neither my mother nor I have learned how to crochet.

I can go in to Michael's - oh, sweet Michael's, how I miss you - and spend approximately 5 katrillion hours envisioning a world where everyone I love gets a handmade sweater for Christmas accompanied by beautifully designed scrapbooks and silk flower bouquets. I will even buy all the supplies to do these things, make exactly one of everything and become so exhausted by it that all those fancy supplies go immediately in the cupboard to be resurrected at the next occasion.

How do I stop it, this hobby madness? Do I just accept that I will be a part time tap dancer/knitter/fencing champion/artisanal cheese maker on a rotating schedule for the rest of my life? Truth be told, I think cheese might be a bit outwith my capabilities...for now. ;)

Are you a single hobby person, with loads of dedication, or are you like me - six million hobbies all done slightly haphazardly? Any hobbies that you've been dying to try (hello, calligraphy)?


Friday, 5 August 2016

five faves friday

FRIDAY, oh frabjous day, what took you so long???? It feels like I've been waiting for you foreverrrrrrr. Forever times a billion.

And here you are, all fresh-faced and cheerful, and I can't even be mad at you for taking so long.

+ I am in love with this gorgeous artwork - what a cheerful little cabin!

+ This dress and shirt are pretty much the epitome of my style - if it's not a ballgown, it's a tshirt about my love for breakfast food.

+ I've been obsessed with Border Lemon Drizzle Melts. They are, hands down, the best little lemony biscuits that exist on the planet. Couple them with a nice cup of tea and you are pretty near perfection. 

+ Our single mint plant we bought at the grocery store has blossomed into a mint shrub. I'm looking for cocktail recipes that will help us use it up - I have a particular love for mint juleps, so I think they'll be on the agenda this weekend. 

+ How cool does this look? I got P an instant camera a couple of years ago and it was a big hit. I, however, generally take all my photos with my iPhone and this would be a neat way of actually printing all my photos. 

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything on your wishlist this week? Let me know in the comments below! 


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

til I reach you

One of the strangest things about living far away from home is that life seems to stay perfectly still back where you used to live. Sometimes it seems like the years have passed and everything is exactly where it used to be. 

And then, when you actually look at things, properly look, you see how every tiny thing has changed in a myriad of ways, refracting the old world into new shapes like a kaleidoscope. Maybe it's a growing older thing (hi, 26, the doctor will see you now) but it definitely feels like a distance thing. 


The tricky bit is trying to reconcile it all. The friends who have changed and grown, the roads that have been rerouted while you've been away, the people you both want to be and can't be any more. How are you supposed to mesh old and new when they're not even colliding on the same side of the planet? 

I don't have any grand answers. In fact, it seems that the more years pass the more questions I have. Isn't that just the way of things? And where does that leave me? Well, in the same place as ever, reading, writing, and trying to make sense of it all. 


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about this blog

All materials on this blog belong to me, unless stated otherwise. I try to give credit where it is due, but the internet is a vast wasteland of images separated from their creators. If you own something I post that is not attributed to you, please contact me and I will fix it stat. STAT. Like a doctor running down the hallways of the hospital to restart someone's heart. Exactly like that.