Mum Champion of the World

Happy Mothers day to all the mummas out there!

My Mum is one of the funniest people I know. And the kindest and the wisest (she will love me for saying that!)

Most of her funniness is unintentional to be honest, bless her! She makes me laugh getting her names mixed up and struggling with modern technology! Yes – I am fully aware that one day I will be old(er) and this will happen to me! Bring it on I say, Im halfway there already!

I do take the mickey out of her, but its all good natured fun and she is the first person to laugh at herself!

Here are some things she has said and done recently that have made me chuckle!

“I like this song……..is it a woman singing it?” About Pharrell Williams’s ‘Happy’

“Me and Helen went in that wholegrain” She was telling my Dad how we went to Wholefoods supermarket on our daytrip to Kingston/Richmond!

Im getting rid off all my easter decorations, Im giving them to your sister for the boys”……..and then after a ten second pause, while we were browsing the cute easter pharaphanalia in John Lewis…….”ooh, Im going to buy this bunny!” I pointed out her complete daftness and we both giggled around the lovely but overpriced homeware department.

“Oh, you have’nt gone off the monkeys have you?” Mum and I were discussing her future holiday to Iceland, where she and my Dad hope to see the northern lights (Im well jel BTW). I then proceeded to tell her that she has to go whale watching. I then told her about how much I love whales, that they are my favourite, and how much I would love to see them in the wild. I then told her about the Sea Shepherd and that she has to watch Whale Wars. I then finally drew breath and this was her reply!
As you can tell we have plenty of intelligent discussions in our family!!! By monkeys, she was referring to orangutans, as her little armchair environmentalist daughter (yours truly) has been wanging on for years about palm oil and orangutangs, and has banned her from buying Flora, KitKats, Dove products and whatever else Greenpeace have emailed me about. And bless her heart, she does not roll her eyes at me, she listens and follows suit. At least I can get on my soapbox and get one person to listen to me! She is great!
But what I cannot comprehend is that she and dad are not that bothered about going whale watching. WTF!! Are they mad? I have until October to convince them that they simply must go!*

Ever since I was a little girl Mum and I have been fans of Jo Brand. She let me watch her on the telly from as early as I can remember. So basically all our humour is based around PMT jokes and laughing at men!

She is not afraid to get drunk and let her hair down. From pole dancing in Cyprus to climbing into kids tricycles and peddling around the garden, she is alway the first person on the dance floor!

There was also that time when she opened her front door to her son in law waving a pair of scissors around, when my sister announced her third pregnancy!

*I have also recently bored my parents about Blackfish. Poor parents, they do indulge my ranting. I would just tell me to shut up!

Lately #10

I have neglected my blog this month, thats for sure. I don’t bother with a blogging schedule, I just blog when I feel like it. Obviously, I haven’t really felt like blogging lately!

I have got as far as thinking about what to write and deciding on a few topics I want to blog (like job hunting and my failings in job interviews).

But instead of a long wordy post, I am just going to summarise all the things I have thought about blogging in March into relatively short and snappy bullet points! Its much easier and less painful for all of us this way, lets be honest!

  • So as you might have guessed, I have started job hunting again. So far I have applied for around 12 positions (not many applications, I know, but I am looking for part time work, and the difference between the number of PT and FT positions advertised is huge), had two interviews and two rejections. Rubbish.
  • We all know that job hunting sucks big time. And it has been sucking all of my creative energy. Hence the lack of blog posts. One thing I have been doing which is (sort of) creative is finally organising all my recipes that I have collected over the years and making my own personal recipe book. Cutting out pictures and text and sticking them into a folder with my Pritt-Stick is so therapeutic! I have a long way to go with this project – only tried and tested and Rob approved recipes make the final cut and I currently have a huge pile of cuttings and bookmarked recipes to cook my way through! It seems I am not the only person out there who hoards recipes!
  • Good news – we have booked our tickets for Truck festival and to see the Pixies at Field Day in June! The Pixies! Whoop whoop! Andrew WK! F**k yeah! Im gonna party hard(ish) with my little cans of G&T in the barn in July!

  • I have been discovering some great new (to me) blogs. In the last few years Brutalism architecture has really grown on me and I have become a fan. Its an acquired taste and I must admit that it took me a while to appreciate the beauty in hulking great big concrete parking blocks like the one pictured below! Plus local authority housing holds a special place in my heart (I proudly live in an ex-council house) so I instantly fell in love with the Modernist Estates Tumblr and the Love London Council Housing blog and added them to my Feedly feed.
Picture from theguardian.com

Picture from theguardian.com

  • I am also loving What’s in your bedroom. Having met the man who I would settle down with (Rob) when I was 21, I missed out on the whole flat sharing experience. Although I am fully aware that I did not miss out on much, i.e mouldy food left in the fridge, no one buying loo roll and all the other flatmate cliches! This blog gives the incredibly nosey me a peek into what might have been.
  • This month I have been on a few excursions. Up to Kingston with my Mum, to Chatham Dockyards with Mum, my sister and the nephews to see the Julia Donaldson exhibition and to meet the Gruffalo!
From my Instagram feed

From my Instagram feed

  • I climbed the North Downs last weekend to see whats left of Thurnham castle. Can you believe that I have lived in Maidstone practically all my life and I have never been there before! Rob and I both said that instead of thinking that we need to go to Wales, Cornwall, the New Forest etc for our countryside scenery fix, we need to start appreciating what is on our own doorstep more often!
    It was a steep trek up!

    It was a steep trek up!

    some old stones and stuff

    Some old stones and stuff

    A deliberate out of focus snap of moi admiring the view. Please note the hat, sunglasses (stupid British weather) and sensible walking shoes. I was prepared!

    A deliberate out of focus snap of moi admiring the view. Please note the hat, sunglasses (stupid British weather) and sensible walking shoes. I was prepared!

Burn Baby Burn

Yesterday we had a burn up in the garden using our upcycled incinerator made from an old washing machine drum.

I attempted to take some photos of it using Rob’s DSLR (on full auto of course!)fire 3Above is about the best of my efforts! I managed to snap some of the smoke, sparks and glowing embers.i start firesAnd one of Rob in his filthy work clothes feeding the fire.

We then proceeded to have this conversation, or rather potential row*, between the two of us…

Rob – “You’ve cut my head off, you donut”
Me – “Yeah, I know. It was deliberate to respect your privacy when I upload these pictures on my blog”
Me (after a brief pause) – “How do I stop the blooming flash from flashing?”
Rob – “Put it on a slower shutter speed”
Me – “How do I do that?”
Rob – “I thought you studied photography**”
Me – “Come on, you know I am a dumb ass. Just set the bleeding camera up for me!”

So he did. And he took the below (much better) snaps, while lying on the floor, while I stood behind him ready to pat out any sparks that might land and ignite on him!

fire

Photo by RobPhoto by RobPhoto by RobPhoto by RobPhoto by Rob

Eventually he let me have a turn with his camera and I took this snap from about as close as I dared to, hoping not to singe my eyelashes!fie upMan, these photos are making me excited about the long balmy summer evenings, camping in the camper van, sitting around a fire with a few beers talking rubbish. Roll on summer!

These photos are also making both Rob and I want to work on our night time photography skills! Or composition and photography skills in general (in my case!)

*Every conversation between Rob and I tends to be based around insults. We love each other really!

** I studied photography A Level in the late 90’s, where I learnt about F stops and the like. And then in the preceding decade and a half I completely forgot all about F stops and the like by being lazy and using point and shoot cameras! Rob frequently likes to remind me of that he knows more about photography than me without studying it at college. I frequently like to remind him that no one likes a smart arse.

Our Lounge

Today is the fourth anniversary of living in our house! Lets celebrate by showing you around our lounge.

Here is it used to look. The lounge had magnolia painted walls with a red feature wall on the chimney breast, with a yucky reproduction iron Victorian fire surround (not shown) that dominated the room for all the wrong reasons! As much as I love original Victorian style feature fireplaces (we had them upstairs in our last house), it just did not work in our lounge as it looked stuck on and fake. After all, our house was built in the 1950’s!

Unfortunately as with the dining room, I do not have that many photos of the lounge in the before stage, only the one below in fact!lounge before 2At this point around mid 2010, we had ripped out the for show only fire surround (which after being left out in our back garden for around 3 years, I finally sold it on eBay for the princely sum of 99p! – You win some, you lose some eh!) and had started to test paint colours out, had bought a new lampshade and had attempted to hang some white floating shelves for my design book collection in the left alcove where our Gplan unit is now.

Ah yes, the attempt to hang those shelves in our lounge was a fun day indeed! We (ok, Rob) just could not drill through the solid concrete wall as it contained too much flint. Rob busted around a dozen drill bits, dropped the drill on the floor narrowly missing his foot and taking a chunk of carpet out and sweated and swore for England that day!

It was at this point that we knew we would need new carpet! Plus removing the beige floor tiles in the hearth left a too big gap in the floor. So up it come, and then we lived with the bare concrete floors for the next 2 years.

Anyway thats enough of my decorating woes! The bones of this room came together quite early on. We painted the walls and ceiling, built the new fireplace stand/hearth thingy from scratch and bought a brand new flat screen telly. But then it took the next 3 years for us (ok, me) to find the right sized unit for my books (£40 inc delivery from my local PDSA charity shop, boom!), a coffee table, carpet the room and then finally (in January this year) frame and hang our prints! Phew!

We are both really pleased with how our lounge looks and love to kick back and relax with the cat in here. As Rob works from home, this room is our sacred sanctuary and all work talk is banned in here!

Here is my guided tour, lets start with a look through the hallway door as shown before here –lounge 1The view is a little different to the last time I shared it. We now have more plants and a favourite print of mine hanging above the unit. I reframed this print without a mount and relocated it from above the TV. Can you see our love fern on top to the the right? I think I have let our love fern die, oh deary me! lounge 2Next we have the first corner of our lounge where I have my reproduction Eames RAR rocker that Rob bought me for my 30th birthday, with an Ugly Doll on it and above a recently framed print that I bought Rob as a gift for one of his birthdays. Can you tell what the print is of?….I will give you a clue, its the characters from a TV show where they always say “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” at the end of each show! – Its the characters from Scooby-Doo! Clever hey?
BTW The heart is my rubbish attempt of hiding the camper vans number plate! ugly dolllounge 3lounge 4lounge 5lounge 6More views of this end of of lounge, working toward the Gplan unit previously shown. In case you are wondering, yes I do buy the specific brand of tissues on the coffee table to match the lounge. And yes, I am that sad. I just really like the design of the box, ok!lounge 7Book shelf porn alert! I have been collecting the Taschen 25th anniversary edition books since 2005.lounge 8lounge 9lounge 9lounge 10lounge 11More of the unit, the fireplace and the third corner of the room where the TV resides.lounge 12Next, we have my only bug bear about the lounge. The HORRIBLE INTERNAL DOORS!!!!! Gah, I hate them and their horrible frosted chintzy glass swirly pattern. One day we will replace them….I hope!lounge 13Even worse, there are two of the blooming things! Bah!
Here is our second sofa. As you can see, it is looking a little ‘lived in’ with Helen and Rob shaped arse dents in it. Its in front of the telly so its the one we use the most. I can’t quite believe we bought our sofas over 9 years ago! They are almost vintage!sofalounge 14lemon jelly printI have been meaning to wash our cushion covers for a while, so please excuse the chocolate stains on the Orla Kiely (from Ebay, not the real thing) cushion! I love the Lemon Jelly print above the sofa, it was a birthday present from Rob, I won’t mention how much it cost to frame! The brown vinyl 1960’s pouffe is from my Grandparents house. I know it doesn’t match the sofas, but I don’t care!lounge 15lounge 16So there you have it, we are back to where we started. I hope you enjoyed the full 360° tour of our lounge!

I usually do a resource list at the end of each room tour, as I like to see where bloggers source their stuff. I am sorry, but I cannot be bothered to do one this time. If you want to know where I found something please contact me. I promise you the answer will probably be one of the following – Ebay, Ikea, a charity shop, Homebase or B&Q! But please feel free to email me or leave a comment!