Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals!

Im on a silly 4pm to midnight shift tonight*, so to kill some time I thought I would share some Christmassy bits on my blog and wish you all a good one.

I must say that its almost become a tradition for me to have a moan about Christmas on here every year. Don’t worry, I will spare you my grumbles! Ive already complained about Christmas music in this post, and what else can I say that I haven’t bitched and moaned about already!

This year I have baked two batches of ugly (but very yummy) frangipane mince pies, made a disastrous Xmas cake and hung less decorations than ever. And thats about all the festive spirit I can muster up these days!

I have got rid of donated a lot of decorations to charity as the older I get, the more clutter seems to bother me. All I want in my lounge is a herd of camp, glittery deers, a tree full of kitschy decorations and a seasonal Mr Potato head. That is enough for me. Its bad taste minimalism, I guess.

Below are a few snaps of our decorations, including an amazing new bauble that my Mum brought me. Who knows, this might be our last Xmas in this house?xmas 15 1xmas 15 2xmas 15 3xmas 15 4As for my cake, well lets just say that my Xmas cake game is really down this year! I usually bake a cake (or two) and cover it with fondant then decorate with more fondant using my cutters. This year I fancied doing something a bit different. I had a vision of a cute, arty forest scene in my head, with fluffy, snow like icing, some strategically placed fir tree decorations and maybe a deer or two (what can I say, I do like my deers at Xmas!) dotted on top of it….bad cake 1This is not quite what I had in mind!

Oh dear, I made my icing way too runny! Plus the cake decoration shops of my town let me down with their tacky offerings, and I ended up buying a Santa sleigh decoration that was too big to fit top of my cake!bad cake 2Next year I am sticking to shop bought fondant icing!

And maybe buying a bigger cake tin!!!

Anyway, have a good bank holiday everyone. Enjoy!

*Its OK, I volunteered for it. The store I work in is hell at the moment, so I would much rather go in when its a bit quieter!

Our Next Move?

I mentioned in a previous post that Rob and I are thinking about moving.

Potentially moving has been the top topic of conversation between us for many months now, and we are almost 100% certain that we want to do it. Its just a question of if and when really.

If we can afford to do it. If can we sell our house. And if we can find a house that meets our requirements within our price range.

And if we have the balls to go ahead and actually do it of course, because we want to move to a different part of the country that we have only visited and we know no one!

So why would we want to do that? Because after all our lives here in Kent are comfortable and reasonably secure, we have a nice house that we have nearly finished decorating and, most importantly, both of our families live nearby.

But that is all about to change. This year my Dad retired (early – the lucky bugger) and because my Mum no longer works either, as she had to leave her job a few years back to care full time for my Nan, they are both footloose and fancy free and craving a slower paced life and a nice bungalow.

The parents have their house up for sale now and are almost 100% certain that they will be moving to the Isle of Wight. And it looks like my sister and her family (who rent a house around the corner from me) will also be joining them in moving to the island (although BIL is all for it, my sister is still undecided and she gets the final say!)

So yeah, next year will bring some huge changes. I have been a bit Debbie Downer of late at the thought of not seeing my family so much and not having them close by, because that is all that I have known really. But I appreciate that I am lucky to have both of my parents still here and how close I am to my family. And if this will make them happier, then I want them to do it.

I guess you are wondering if Rob and I will also be moving to the Isle of Wight now? After all, it would make perfect sense because properties are cheaper there and self employed Rob can work from anywhere with high speed broadband, right?

Sadly, we are not because neither of us want to live on the island. I wish I did, but I don’t. It is a lovely place, but not for us. It is too cut off and I would be bored of the place within months (as I love exploring the UK in our camper van and a I need a regular change of scenery to balance my equilibrium) because the Isle of Wight is a tiny place that only takes 25 minutes to drive from one side to the other.

So with no family nearby, I have no real ties to the town that I live in. In the last five years or so our town has got so busy. More people have moved here (god knows why?) and the traffic is a nightmare. New housing estates are being built left right and centre (we currently have 3 new housing developments being built up the road from us totalling around 10,000 new homes) and the town centre is horrible. Every long term resident that you speak to says that it has gone downhill and they try to avoid it if they can.

And although we love our house and have nearly finished fixing it up, we always said that we would stay here for around 5 – 10 years. We have lived here now for nearly 6 years and we both feel ready for a change. We have good memories from living in this house, but we have also had some real shit happen while living here, so its time for a fresh start.

So yeah, that’s the long and short of it. Im sure that I will be talking more about moving on here in the new year, as I get my head around the changes happening. But I am ready to embrace the changes and make the most of them.

Good News Everybody!

As I suspected, my last post, the Q&A, did not get great feedback. My main encourager, proof reader, supporter and reader of this blog (thats Rob in case you were wondering!) described my last post as “boring as f**k!”

Ah well, haters gonna hate and all that!

But I have removed it anyway. Because it was dull as dishwater. And Im going to get back to my usual high standard, multiple award winning style of blogging and talk about the small mundane, random bits of my life once again.

So just in case anyone is interested – I’ve had a bit of luck recently. I have won not one, but two competitions!

The first win was a bag of Celebration™ sweets in the works Xmas raffle. I know that’s not very exciting to many people, but I was happy. And excited enough to Instagram the moment (yep, I am that sad!)

I didn’t win the top prize of a 32″ flat screen TV, but I don’t need a new telly. However, I always need more chocolate in my life! (And fortunately, I did not win the bottle of chinzano™, because no one likes the stuff. Or the bottle of Lambrini™ either, thank goodness!)

So there I was, happy with a bag of chocolates, when I got an email from Sarah that I had won part of a giveaway on her blog!

Two wins in one week, eh! And they say that things always happen in threes……… so it might be time for me to go and buy a lottery ticket, eh! If I suddenly disappear from here, and my Instagram feed starts getting all a bit ‘Rich Kids Of Instagram‘ you’ll know why!!!winningI chose this book from Elly Blue in the giveaway, because (re)learning to ride my bike again this year, has helped me deal with a few personal issues and kept me in a good headspace (well most of the time anyway, like most people I have my moments ha ha!) But I really fancy reading the feminist bicycle science fiction (now that’s a bit of a niche there!) book Pedal Zombies also by Elly Blue which you can buy from the Portland based company or on Amazon if you want.

Mid Century Down Under

If you have read this blog before you will know that I am a huge mid century modern fan. And indeed, it seems that everybody and their dog is also a MCM fan these days!

I mean, what’s not to like with the clean lines, the elegant style and the post war optimism of the furnishings and architecture from the period? Yes please, I say! I just want to fill my house with some of that goodness, read every book I can find on the subject, ogle MCM pictures on Pinterest and hope to find some decent West German pottery priced less than £19.95 in my local charity shops (I mean come on! Seriously, how much?)

So now that MCM is a mainstream thing, its safe to say that everyone has heard of most of the American architects/designers from the period like your Eames, Bertoia and Nelson. And I think that most enthusiasts have also heard of the big European players like Jacobsen, Wegner, and the Days etc. Plus we can all tell the difference between our vintage Ercol and G Plan pieces.

…..But what about designers and architects from Australia? Can you name any of them? I couldn’t until recently!

Thanks to Instagram a whole new world of MCM goodness has been introduced to me in the last few years!

Because Australia had a booming economy in the 50’s and 60’s with the influx of new immigrants to the country and because importing furniture from America and Europe was so expensive, they designed and made their own furniture (and Pyrex!) instead!

Today I am just going to introduce a few of the designers, manufacturers and architects as I am far from an expert on the subject (or anything else really) and I still have lots to research and learn about Australian MCM. As an enthusiast its good to see that lots of bloggers and Instagrammers down under appreciate their beautiful MCM buildings and objects and want to preserve their rich heritage in todays throw away society.

Grant Featherston is probably one of the most famous names from the period. His contour series and R160 lounge chair pictured below are probably his most famous work.

Image from vita-interiors.com. Click on image for link.

Image from vita-interiors.com. Click on image for link.

Harry Seidler is one of Australia’s best know architects from the period. The Rose Seidler house in Sydney is a masterpiece (IMO) that I would love to visit. If only I could stomach the flying part to get to Australia that is!rose6rose4

Images from themodernhouse.net. Photography by Darren Bradley.

Images from themodernhouse.net. Photography by Darren Bradley.

Parker Furniture was a furniture manufacturer of rather nice teak sideboards, dining tables, dining chairs and other pieces. Check out the hashtag on Instagram!

Image from julietsbalcony.com.au. click on image for link.

Image from julietsbalcony.com.au. click on image for link.

And Some further reading for you if you want to find out more on the subject – I recommend Retro by Adrian Franklin and Iconic Australian Houses 50/60/70 by Karen McCartney.

My Aussie MCM books

My Aussie MCM books

From inside Retro some Australian designed and manufactured furniture goodness.

Inside Retro – some Australian designed and manufactured furniture.

Do You Like Bikes and Blogs? Then You Will Love These Links

Because my last post was a bit of a grumble about how I am sick of reading about ‘slow living‘ all the time (which I should have just said outright instead of ranting on as per usual! And, surely ‘slow’ is just blogland’s new trendy bandwagon word for procrastination, eh?!!), I now feel its time to redeem myself and balance out my internet karma by putting a little bit of love back out there.

I love blogs, I honestly do. They are the reason why I have an internet addiction, why I don’t buy magazines anymore and why my book reading productivity is at an all time low! I relax by sipping a cup of tea and working my way through my Feedly feed. I still enjoy blogging as a hobby too. I wish I had more time for it and I could make my blog better, both in appearance and content (plus I hate the name of it!) but I am far too lazy to up my blogging game. Maybe its because of all the slow living I do…..!

Anyhoo, I have discovered some brilliant blogs this year and I want to share them on here.

It just so happens that they all are blogs about cycling and written by thirty something women, but please don’t let that put you off!

I fully appreciate that not everyone is sporty or interested in cycling (TBH this time last year, I wasn’t either!) but if you give them a chance and click on the links, I promise you wont regret it. Some of these blogs are so thoughtfully and intelligently written (like Tour de Lindsey B!), that I want to approach random strangers in the street and tell them that they have got to read them!

BTW I have not done so yet. But I may well do if I am lubricated enough. Take this as a warning random strangers on the streets of Maidstone!

So if you like blogs that are positive, fun, stylish, well written and also sometimes inspire you to get your feminist ranty pants out of the wardrobe and wear them with pride (as cycling is traditionally a bit of a boys thing) then do click on the links below!

Total Womens Cycling – Technically not a blog, but an online magazine covering everything you need to know about cycling what ever skill level and interest you have. Even if you are not at all into cycling and you are just a total woman, then you should still read it anyway. Check out the lifestyle section, or this post, or this post to get them ranty pants on.

Velocity Girl – I love this blog. Its a fashion/cycling/lifestyle blog. What more could you want?

Lovely Bicycle – Lovely photography, writing, knitting, countryside and lovely bicycles(!) from Northern Ireland.

Bikes-N-Stuff – Juliette is passionate about female cycling and an all round awesome bird. Check out her about page for starters.

Tour de Linsay B – My current favourite. Read it.

I do have plenty more recommendations (I currently have 18 blogs filed in my Cycling section in Feedly!) but I have left them off here for various reasons like they are a bit more specialist, made up entirely of sponsored content or not really updated anymore.

And because I am blogging slow of course!*

*Ok, I will shut up now!

See also – Do You Like Pyrex? Then You Will Love These links & Do You Like Mid Century Modern? Then You Will Love These links.