52 Weeks of Happy (31/52)
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”
A lot to put a smile on my face this week. But equally, just as much to induce a quizzical / frustrated / ‘oh bugger’ expression as well.
These were the happies:
∆ Flow Magazine. A celebration of paper and print. It’s simply beautiful.
∆ Packing for our annual pilgrimage here tomorrow. I say that. I haven’t actually done any packing yet, but I have been thinking about it and it will happen. Honest. My mum and dad are coming to house-sit and I know they will do a few little jobs too - bonus!
∆ The disco ball at Birmingham’s Glee Club where we saw World Party on Tuesday night. Us and about 200 others. A most intimate and brilliant affair.
∆ Dennis up on the ramp, being lowered, serviced and MOT’d. Love the guys that built him, love visiting their garage - it’s a vintage memorabilia collector’s nirvana.
And working on the whole ‘problem shared’ principle, these were the frustrations:
∆ Finding mice in our garage and realising they have chomped their way through most of the stuff in there, including the special box of precious baby clothes I kept back from when the boys were little. They’ve shredded, eaten or weed on it all.
∆ Having to put up with the radio blaring away for 7 hours a day from the painters across the road. Full volume Radio 2 ALL DAY, only silenced when one painter decides to speak very loudly on his mobile in the garden. I am ready to throttle them.
Still, it could be worse. We can rid ourselves of the mice and the painters and their damned radio will soon be gone.
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Nature in the home - for May morning
Please accept my little posy of grape hyacinths and forget-me-nots (I think!) picked from the garden this morning for today’s Nature in the Home post.
They are sitting on my desk next to me as I write, keeping me company as I furiously try to sign off multiple proofs in advance of a little break away with my boys on Friday. I love going on holiday, but boy, the frantic weeks before and after? I can do without those thanks…
The picture in the top photograph is one of my favourites. It was taken a couple of years ago at Porthminster cafe on a beautiful May afternoon, with sand and sea all around us. Three more sleeps and we’ll be there once again. I cannot wait.
Oh, and happy May Day to you! In Oxford, May morning is a BIG DEAL. Those with stronger constitutions than my own stay up all night revelling and partying, then welcome in May morning in the traditional Oxford way by gathering on Magdelen Bridge to listen to the choristers from Magdelen College sing from its highest point. Back in my day, there was a lot of leaping from the bridge into the Isis below but health & safety has since put a stop to that.
Pubs up and down the town stay open all night and bands play at dawn. Much hot coffee and big breakfasting is done before the weary stumble to bed (around 8am) or even into work.
It’s brilliant fun but alas, my days of all-night partying on a school day are behind me, so I celebrated May morning with a quiet little smile instead.
This weekend has been a typical April one - bright sunshine one minute, rain and even hail the next. It’s been a weekend for chores, homework and tackling ‘those’ jobs around the house - the ones I’ve put off for so long but which really need doing.
So, having been inspired by Claire at Just a Little Less who is constantly striving and managing to live with fewer possessions, and Lottie’s Project Simplify, I set about Part One of the Great Tidy-Up - the boys’ clothes.
This is one area of our house that has got completely out of control. School uniform is mixed up with wetsuits, socks, pants and vests are all over the place, their shared wardrobe is crammed to overflowing with clothes that are either too small or too big and there’s not a folded item in sight. Our clean laundry is chucked in a basket that never gets properly emptied because we can’t actually find the space to put the things away.
This is what it their drawers look like on any given morning:
It is impossible to find anything and everything is creased. It had to be tackled.
So with a strong coffee and some musical accompaniment, I delved in and made a start, weeding out dirty t-shirts and rather a lot of too-small clothes. I am ashamed to say, I even found an old apple core, lots of tangerine peel and a couple of cars lurking at the bottom of Xav’s drawer.
Once everything was out, I started the sorting. Old clothes into one bag for a charity drop, dirty clothes into a laundry pile, old pants and holey socks in the bin, ‘keepers’ in neat pile for each boy.
I realised that Xavi has plenty of clothes - many of which have been passed down from his brother with lots of wear left in them, but Louis has grown out of most of his wardrobe.
Once I’d folded, smoothed and sorted, everything ‘current’ went back into the now shiny and un-sticky drawers.
After all the sorting, Louis was left with only four t-shirts. That’s fine for term time, but come the holidays, he’ll need more than that for sure. Curiously though, he has more socks than any person could ever need (20 pairs and counting for some reason) but a shopping trip is definitely required - he needs another pair of trousers, a couple of long and short-sleeved t-shirts, swimming trunks and pyjamas, but as long as we buy sensibly, I figure those items will last long enough to pass on to Xav in time as well.
Xav on the other hand, has done very well out of the whole exercise, inheriting sweatshirts, a natty shirt he’s had his eye on for a while and countless t-shirts.
And my charity bag - a 50ltr kitchen bin liner - is full to the brim with stuff to pass on. All in all, a good morning’s work.
I wonder how long it will stay this neat and ordered though?
The next job on the list is the garage. That will take WAY longer than one morning and a single cup of coffee…
* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *
Xavi - favourite toy: a blue foam-filled fabric triangle with velcro on two sides. Takes ‘him’ everywhere.
Louis - favourite band: AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Oh. My. Ears.
Joining in with Jodi and everyone else taking part in the weekly portrait series.
Nature in the home - a series (foraging)
I missed yesterday’s Nature in the Home group post as I was suffering from a horrible migraine - the kind that when it finally lifted late last night made me realise how completely out of it I had been for 18 hours or so. I don’t get them very often, but when I do, I lose at least a day and feel groggy for another 24 hours after that.
But today - perhaps it’s the sunny morning, perhaps it’s the fresh air - I feel right as rain with no lingering effects, so after the school run I ventured into the garden to look for some colour to forage for this week’s submission.
On Sunday, the garden was looking decidedly barren. The daffodils were refusing to open and there was no other colour in sight but WHAT a turnaround this morning!
The daffodils were bowing their little heads to the sunshine, the hyacinths have bloomed (albeit a little leggy), the pale yellow tulips that I thought were coming up blind are now fat, round, beautiful flowers and there was even a bluebell or two.
I picked a few and brought them inside for this week’s Nature in the Home challenge which was to forage our blooms. I didn’t exactly tramp over field and dale, but these little flowers were free and they were hand-picked so that counts right?
I love these green and red babies - I think it’s alchemilla - I have the plant in a pot at the front door and I’m always so pleased to see it pop up year after year. Such a pretty, sculptural plant.
Joining in with Lou and everyone else for one of the most enjoyable projects in blogland.
52 Weeks of Happy (30/52)
Stuff that has been making me happy this week. As always, keeping in mind the quote that “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”
∆ Booty from Record Store Day. A limited edition gig poster, signed by the artist and featuring MY HUSBAND’S BAND no less. Being a supportive musician’s wife is so much easier when the graphic design is so pleasing on the eye.
∆ The obligatory photo of the bluest of blue skies round our way on Saturday. Plus a shot of the forsythia I am going to forage from for tomorrow’s Nature in the Home post.
∆ Oh Saltwaters, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways (and colours….).
∆ This Sunday, for the first time in EIGHT YEARS, we managed to watch the F1 coverage ‘live’ or rather as it was being broadcast on the BBC. No recording it to watch it later. No fast-forwarding or pausing to see to a child. Properly watching with no interruptions. As a fan of F1 since childhood, this was a surprisingly big deal for me.
Have a happy week y’all. You can find the lovely lady who kicked off this whole project here x
* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *
Goodness, we’re four months in already. With this and the 52 Weeks of Happy project, I am really noticing how time is flying by.
Louis - a portrait.
Xavi - an anti-portrait. Captured just before I jettisoned the camera to stop him falling down the steps. Playing ‘worms’ apparently…
As ever, I’m joining in with Jodi and all the other lovely people participating in the weekly portrait series. I tend to be contributor 240 out of 240 at the moment - what DOES that say about my time-keeping I wonder?!
Calling all music lovers : Record Store Day
Tomorrow is Record Store Day 2013. It’s a day to visit your local independent record store and remember why it’s so great.
It’s a day to see loads of bands play live at your favourite store and watch as some - my husband’s band included - hot foot it from one indie store to the next on a whirlwind Phil Collins in Live Aid-type tour. Oh how surprised and excited we were to hear them being plugged on the Jo Whiley show earlier this week!
Anyway, great live music, indie record stores staffed by knowledgeable and vinyl-loving staff, plus a whole-host of special edition pressings only available in indie record stores on the day. What’s not to love?
My favourite mag The Simple Things is even running a feature on Record Store Day, so what are you waiting for? Find out if your local indie record store is particpating and if they are, get on down there and show them some love. It’ll be a great day!
A day at the zoo
On the last day of the Easter holidays, we took a short trip up the road to Cotswold Wildlife Park. The sun was shining, Dennis the camper van was ready to pootle along the open roads up to Burford and we knew it wouldn’t be busy as most schools in Oxfordshire had already gone back.
We weren’t disappointed. As ever, it was a grand day out. As we visit fairly frequently, the boys always have a list of animals they want to check in with. First on their list was the penguins where we arrived for feeding time. Another recent big draw are the giraffes. Louis waited oh so patiently with his little outstretched hand full of grass, until finally one noticed him and came to chomp. (Oh the antibacterial wipes I deployed….).
The red panda (that’s him perched in the branches below that beautiful blue sky) always gets a visit, as do the monkeys on the way to the hot house where the boys love to spot the sloths, bats and tropical birds.
A trip to the adventure playground, ice-creams and a ride on the mini train that weaves its way through the park rounded off our grand day out.
The only negative was me dropping - yes DROPPING - my pro Nikon DSLR, complete with horribly expensive lens onto the ground, shattering the lens hood. I’m hoping the lens itself isn’t damaged but you never know, these things tend to lay dormant until they reveal themselves at a most inconvenient point. Let’s hope that’s not at one of this summer’s wedding jobs….
52 Weeks of Happy (29/52)
It was our last few days of the Easter holidays last week, so we made sure we had a lot of fun. Most of it was homemade, but we had a few trips out in Dennis the campervan to blow away the cobwebs here and there.
As ever, I’m joining in with Jen at Little Birdie and a whole host of other good people to celebrate the simple things that bring us pleasure during each week. It’s a great project and it’s never too late to join in you know!
∆ A stash of reading. I return time and again to The Wonderful Weekend Book and have been planning a few Cool Camping weekends away with these trusty, well-thumbed tomes. And my mum lent me the top two books which I’m very much looking forward to reading.
∆ Jumping Clay. Oh my word, the boys LOVE it. Until last week we didn’t know what it was but they went to a holiday club where they were introduced to the stuff and they haven’t looked back. Small, brightly coloured bouncy people are popping up all over the place now.
∆ Louis had a pal for a sleepover at the weekend and they had a great time. So much so that there was plenty of time for me to actually sit down with a warm cup of coffee and relax with an interiors book for AGES! The three of them played so well together and had such fun. I love it when our home is full of other people’s kids making it their home too.
∆ Said sleepover pal brought water bombs. Much fun ensued in the sunshine on Sunday morning. Xav’s attire did make me chuckle. I wish I could get away with that look…
Have a happy week y’all.