Sunday, 13 January 2013

freedom...what does it mean to you?

I watched a very inspiring TED talk on the Frugal Queen blog last week. It talked about a family who decided to sell all of their possessions and go travelling for a year with their new baby. His argument was that, if you can stop being driven by owning more and more possessions and being held back by the responsibility of owning and storing all of those possessions, you can be free to live the life you want to lead.

Then there was a second video which had a brilliant quote in it..."why do we spend our lives in jobs we hate, earning money to buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like?"

Then I watched a programme about women having mid-life crises on Channel 4, which showed a woman who ran a successful software consultancy, gave the whole lot away and moved to a canal boat so she could spend more time with her family.

Both of these examples are fairly extreme, but how would you feel about giving away all of your stuff? Would you feel free or naked, happy or miserable?

My husband and I talked about what things we couldnt live without in our lives.
We both agreed that the only thing that we would never sell is our campervan. To us, she is our little piece of freedom. We jump in with the kids and as soon as we are on the motorway (usually heading South West to Devon, Dorset or Cornwall), all of our stress evaporates. Our camper feels like one of the family...we got married in her, our kids have grown up with her and if she's not fallen to pieces by then, I would happily be taken to my funeral in her.

Oh I would quite like to keep the blankets inside the van as they keep us warm at night.

But apart from that, I really think I could happily get rid of the lot.

Getting things done!

I've been having a busy start to January, getting all those things done that I meant to get round to doing, but never quite found the time...

I am always in awe of bloggers who seem to write about 5 beautiful posts a week, knock up something crafty, go for a walk in the woods and cook something homemade with veggies made from their garden. You are amazing but I know that's not likely to happen any time soon around here...

However, I am very proud to say that I have painted my bedroom white and I'm now on the hunt for a pretty desk so I can have my very own work corner. Last year when I was studying, most of my papers and books were in shopping bags on the floor by my desk. Not great as the desk is in the kids' playroom!

I had thought about getting fitted wardrobes put into our room, but we had someone come around and measure up. Even after a half price offer plus 15% off plus first customer order offer etc etc, it still came to £3K. That is way over our budget right now, so I'm going to back back to ebay and buy some quirky, preloved furniture instead.

We decluttered our wardrobe and we only need one wardrobe between the two of us, which means I can use the other alcove for me...I am spending many happy hours looking at pretty images of workspaces.

I also had a groupon voucher for a 100 page photobook. The reason why I bought such a big one is that I havent had any photographs printed since my little one was born, almost three years ago. But I went through hundreds and hundreds of photos, had a lovely journey down memory lane and the job is done.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Time to play...

Today has been a busy day! I dropped my kids off at the childminders, headed to Homebase and bought a huge tin of white paint to redecorate my bedroom. I had great visions in my mind of it being completed by the end of the day... a cross between a minimalist health spa with a bit of sixties/ seventies retro thrown in for a bit of colour. I was feeling Eco friendly so opted for the Eco paint, which promised no fumes, low carbon footprint and happy vibes.

Unfortunately when I got home, the Eco paint is very thin and watery. It splattered all over the carpet ( past the old curtain I had chucked on the floor), and even after 2 coats it looks terribly patchy. So in a bit of a huff, I went back to Homebase to buy some non-Eco friendly Dulux Timeless Once paint, which is what I should have bought in the first place. But it's a slightly different shade of white to the other stuff, so I need to carry on painting tomorrow when it's light again. Sigh.

So when I turned to my iPad with a cup of tea in my hand, I was delighted to see that Jen from Little Birdie has nominated me for a Liebster Award. This is my first award, from one of my favourite blogs ever so I am very chuffed! If you have come over here from Little Birdie, I would be thrilled if you decided to follow my blog as I could certainly do with some more.

"The Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 followers and the rules of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It's a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow."

So here are my 11 random facts about me...

1. I own a bright yellow campervan called Phoebe.
2. I spotted her whilst waiting at a red light after I went shopping for some new shoelaces for my Dr Martens.
3. Despite being terrified of heights, I once bungee jumped off the highest cable car in New Zealand
4. My current favourite band is "The Lovely Eggs", who write very silly songs. They are described as a cross between Sonic Youth and Coronation Street.
5. My other favourite band is First Aid Kit.
6. I am currently training to be a family therapist and as part of my job, I get paid to draw pictures, tell stories and bring families closer together.
7. If I wasn't doing this job, I wanted to be a primary school teacher.
8. I have an irrational love of all things yellow. It makes me happy.
9. Both of my children are named after Thomas Hardy novels.
10. David Bowie once trod on my foot at Glastonbury Festival.
11. Inspired by Little Birdie's goth disclosure, I went through a grunge phase as a teenager, dyed my hair pink, wore huge German Army boots, stripy tights and nightdresses to Uni. If I wasn't almost 40 I would do it all again!

Here are my answers to Jen's questions...

1. Bourbon Cream or Custard Cream? Close call but custard for me.
2. Camping or luxury hotel? Definitely camping, but as each year goes by, I acquire a few more camping accessories, so my van is evolving into a luxury hotel on wheels lol.
3. My favourite word is resilience. No matter what life throws at us, it's our ability to bounce back that counts.
4. What smell do you like the most? My little boys head when I've just washed his hair and he is snuggled on my lap.
5.What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received? We once received a rotating cat which played "all kinds of everything" by Dana. But I have to say, the kids adore it...
6. What is your favourite season? Summer definitely, sunshine, camping and music festivals with the kids... Happy days.
7. Lego or playmobil? I love a bit of Harry Potter or Star Wars Lego. playmobil looks great but it's a bit of a faff to build.
8. Who is your favourite actor? Most of my favourite characters are animated, so that's hard. But I am really enjoying watching Sherlock with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in it, so I will say them for now. Or Fred Astaire.
9. Bright colours or pastel colours? Now this is tricky, because what I really like is a bright colour next to a pale colour. So bright yellow next to grey. But if I had to choose, I would say bright. I have all the style of a 6 year old.
10. What would be your ideal day off? My ideal day off is going to an art gallery with my husband, eating a Vietnamese meal and then watching a film at a local cinema which is 100 years old.
11. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Porridge, as long as I could alternate the toppings and have it with bananas/ blueberries/ gingerbread/ raspberries/ home made jam/ seeds!

I would like to pass the Liebster award onto the following people, whose blogs I enjoy and admire very much...

Scraps of us
Rainbow Vintage Home
Little Buckles
A bushel and a peck
Karma and Cupcakes
I need curtains for the windows in my head
the happy caravan
mrs eliot books
things that have caught my eye

Here are my questions for you..

1. What is your favourite object which is more than 20 years old and why?
2. What did you want to be when you were little?
3. What was the first song that you bought?
4. Which band would you like to see live?
5. Hairy chest or hairy toes, which is worse?
6. What is your favourite sweet?
7. Describe your favourite footwear.
8. What inspires you?
9. Cats or dogs?
10. What is the most romantic thing anyone has done for you?
11. If you were on a desert island discs, what would be your luxury item?

Monday, 31 December 2012

Looking back, looking forward

2012 has flown by in a bit of a whirlwind for me.

This year, my husband turned 40. We've been together for 20 years now. We had a wonderful celebration with family and friends and climbed to the top of a windy hill with our son and daughter. We ate an amazing star wars chocolate cake and taught our daughter and her friends how to DJ.

We danced in the fields outside a castle at Camp Bestival, stayed in an Airstream caravan and explored a magical wood full of fairy lights and toys at the End of the Road. We have made some great friends and our children have made great friends too. There has been lots of running around with glow sticks whilst we sat around in deck chairs drinking wine. We rode in a horse drawn carriage at Chatsworth House while a brass band played Christmas carols. I danced like a loon with my husband at an Orbital concert and had achy hips for a week afterwards lol.

We discovered Studio Ghibli films as a family and have had many happy hours watching them, cuddled up on the sofa.

I've never felt so tired in my life. I've been doing two jobs, studying, been a carer to my mother in law and a mother to my children. I've not really had the time or energy to be a good wife and I havent had any time to care for myself. So I know that needs to be my focus for next year. Think about how I can cut down my levels of work and stress and spend quiet, quality time with my family. My sons turns three next year, so I'm hoping that I might (fingers crossed) get a bit more sleep at night, which will help too.

We have some exciting plans for next year, going to a couple of new music festivals with the kids, going to see the Stone Roses in London with my husband, going to the Lake District in February. But I'm also hoping for a little bit more peace, quiet and ...time. How I'm going to make that happen I'm not sure yet, but I will try.

Wishing you a very happy night tonight and a peaceful new year xxx

52 weeks of happy

Hello, hope you all a lovely Christmas! Ours has been a mixed one, lots of fun on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but my other half has had the man-flu and it's been raining a lot. So we have spent a lot of time indoors, going a bit bananas!

I'm not quite sure which week I'm supposed to be on, I know I am a bit behind though...

Here are my four happy things this week, joining in with Little Birdie's project.

1. Big red bus

I picked up this wooden bus in a charity shop for £5 and it's been a massive hit with my son. He has been going on lots of little adventures with it and it is so sweet to hear him chatting to all the little men inside.

2. Little blue person

I saw this Fisher Price figure in the shop last week and it was like being transported in a time machine to when I was my daughter's age and used to play with my Fisher Price school house. I dont have it any more, so I had to pose her in my daughter's Sylvanian house instead.

3. New tea mug

I saw this mug in TK Maxx and bought it for myself as a wee gift. The message on the mug is a good one for me, it's something I struggle with sometimes.

If you look behind my mug, you will see my Snowman plate. Did you see the Snowman and the Snowdog? I thought it was great. And the documentary about "How the Snowman came to life" had me in tears.

4. Yellow scarf

This lovely yellow scarf is from Seasalt and is super snuggly. I'm hoping to have lots of outdoor adventures in my yellow scarf in 2013.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Daddy's Christmas beer

My husband and daughter have got really into watching the football together. They support Birmingham City, and the fans are affectionately known as Bluenoses. Or not so affectionately if you are an Aston Villa fan.

Anyway, they were going off to watch the footy yesterday, so we made him a bottle of "Bluenose Beer". I think that this idea is on pinterest with a red nose version, but I tweaked it a bit.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas as I expect I will be peeling sprouts this evening. So if you are reading, have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones xxx

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Giant Christmas baubles

I have a lovely friend who is an artist and has helped us to set up a "ladies craft night". It sounds very prim and proper but is really an excuse to make something pretty, drink cocktails and then sing karaoke. I've met some great new friends through this, it's very therapeutic and it's fun to have a go at making things again. I do a bit of drawing with the kids at home and at work, but it takes a bit of courage to have a go at making something in front of adults!

Anyway this time it was my turn to host and we made giant Christmas baubles, out of vintage maps, old comic books (I found a great pile of old Beanos at the charity shop!), a 1970s star trek annual and wallpaper samples.

Here is a collection that was made by myself and my friends. Each one is about as big as large melon, so fairly big.

I had intended to hang them up from the ceiling, but I actually quite like them piled up, so they have stayed there.