Friday, 18 October 2013

frock on

Have you met Kylie? She's over in Western Australia doing a sponsored frock-a-thon throughout October to raise money for a cancer charity. I've been following her adventures and those of her guest frocksters. In today's post, Curtise writes frankly and movingly about how she lost her friend to ovarian cancer, and I guess it struck a chord.

I realised that as of yesterday, I am the age that my Aunty Angela was when she died of cancer (49).
She was my Mum's baby sister and my role model growing up - funny, articulate, beautiful and intellectual. Everything I wanted to be. Her time from diagnosis to death was brutally short, weeks rather than months or years. There was no time for a brave fight or a dignified struggle, it just swept her away.

We came over from New Zealand to England for a nine month holiday when I was eight. It was the first time my brother and I had met most of our family (my parents were migrant Poms). Angela made a photo album as a present for my 9th birthday and a souvenir of our trip. Looking back now, I appear to have been doing my very own frock-a-thon.

As a librarian, then bookshop owner, she was always a lover of the written word. A spirited woman with a sense of adventure, I think she might have approved of my new adventures in blogging. I am not a religious person, but I believe that the people we have lost live on in the hearts and minds of those who loved them.

So this one's for you Angela - I carry you with me.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

alone at last

I am alone in the house - gloriously, peacefully alone! This has not happened since mid-July.  One way or another the house has always been full of:
  • builders working on the kitchen reno (nearly finished, but we're having a little break until the worktops are ready to fit).
  • plumbers fitting the new boiler and radiators.
  • my lovely husband and stepsons + girlfriends.
  • my parents and mother in law who came to stay this week. The plan was to celebrate my birthday and do the big reveal on the kitchen (Oops!). My dream of cooking a fabulous meal had to be modified a little - big thanks to my Mum for turning up with enough chicken pie to feed an army.  Also thanks to Mr A-P's Mam for cleaning the brick dust off the contents of my kitchen cupboards, ready to go back into service.
Today everyone has gone home/away/out/back to work and I sit in solitude to write. (Okay - so I'm waiting for the Rangemaster guy to come and fix one of the burners on the new cooker, but I reckon that doesn't count).

Guys - I love you all, but a girl needs a moment to herself sometimes!

So before I go off to sit and stare into space in our new sun room (I think that's what we're calling it), here are some pics of the birthday loveliness that was bestowed upon me this week:

a fab Gareth Davies 'seaweed' print that I hankered after when we were in N. Wales
(can't find any details for a link, but it was bought from here)

stylish things for our new kitchen
(they'll all be wanting 'Shaw's the Drapers' linens soon - you saw it here first!)

the exact book I wanted

good things from my friends' clever hands

and sweet words from my stepson...
the water may be choppy sometimes, but we sail our little family ship together!

I am a very lucky girl.

Monday, 7 October 2013

bonkers for conkers...

...and other pretty things for a nature table*

My friend teaches reception at primary school,
and she likes to make a nature table.
  Things to touch and smell and name and notice.
 Things to count and sort and peer at with a magnifying glass.
  On my morning rounds I fill my pockets with treasure, before it gets trampled. 
Acorns and cones, spotty feathers and a posy of fiery leaves.

Of course it wouldn't be autumn without conkers

Throw in a horse marrow in striped pyjamas and a pumpkin or two
 - and that's a table full of autumn joy that nobody could resist!

*talking of bonkers - have you seen what kylie's up to at lucy violet vintage?