Monthly Archives: November 2011

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I read this book while away with work at the golf Open in Deal. My godfather died during the week I was away, hence it’s taken me a while to publish the posts I wrote while I was down there.

It’s a while since I’ve read a book that’s made me smile, cry and laugh out loud. Which sounds like a cliché, but although these emotions often go through my head when reading a good book, it’s rare they escape as a snort of laughter, a smile I can feel or tears running down my face.

I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out, but it was such a favourite at the library and with book groups that it was never on the shelf for me to borrow! (I always think the highest accolade a book can have is to be forever borrowed by people, and incredibly worn from all the eager readers who have devoured its pages.)

I won’t spoil the plot for you, but suffice to say I’m also a massive fan of letters as a storytelling device. (Well, I love letters anyway – I wish my generation wrote more of them.) One of my all-time favourite books is 84 Charing Cross Road, and this is in a not dissimilar vein, of strangers finding each other and becoming great, lifelong friends through letters. (edited before posting to add that I send as many letters as I can, but I have already experienced the joy of making friends with people I have never met in person, through the wonder of Twitter. Perhaps that’s the 21st century equivalent?)

The exchange of letters, between various wonderfully-imagined characters who I dearly hope are based on real people, takes us to Guernsey just after the Second World War.

There are heartbreaking moments and moments of total joy – I urge you to go and read this book, if you haven’t already!

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Sunday evening thoughts

Sunday evenings are my time – after a busy week and usually an even busier weekend, I always try to spend a couple of hours reading, pottering and planning for the week ahead. I cross all the things I’ve achieved off my to-do list, add some more, write cards for any birthdays/anniversaries coming up in the next week (ok, I don’t do that yet, it’s one of those things I perpetually intend to do, lol) and generally prepare myself for the week ahead.

This week I’m struggling more than normal to get back into work mode, because I’ve had four days in a row off and I’m just not functioning in office mode. However, I have finished my Curious Christmas box to send, and am off to see Louise this weekend for a vintage tea party and much girlie fun. I also have another parcel swap to plan and create, which is muchly exciting, so I shall keep smiling over the next couple of weeks! I’ve also managed to make stuff this weekend, so my state of mind is more balanced – it’s amazing how much crafting helps me stay calm!

Here’s a quick this weekend i am mostly… roundup!

Reading: Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan, The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon and Chances by Freya North

Writing: this blog post, lists of things I’d like to stock in my shop one day, cards for people

Drinking: pepsi max, squash, rose wine

Listening: smash hits radio from the TV, sandi thom on youtube, adele and dj fresh in the car

Buying: things for the curiosity project, vintage pyrex, books, beautiful notebooks

Enjoying: four straight days off work, seeing annie, making stuff, scanning my books into library thing, planning for next weekend’s vintage tea party and the Christmas party the week after

Loving: driving with the roof down even though it’s nearly December, late night texts, my bauble wreath, crisp clean sheets, that Christmassy feeling

Have a fabulous week! :) xx

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Filed under Collecting, Creating, Driving, General crafting, Interiors & home accessories, Poppy, Stationery

A ‘staycation’ with Annie :)

Anna and I had planned to go away for a few days in September, then October, and kept getting thwarted. November arrived, the time was booked off work, but neither of us had the money (or the energy) to go away away. So we decided to crash at my flat for a few days, do some shopping, make stuff, watch DVDs, eat lots… generally have an extended relaxing weekend :)

We wrote to Santa while looking at Christmas decorations:

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Saw a helicopter tree I desperately want to buy for my parents:

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Fell in love with some tree shaped sparkly lights: DSCF5055

Found some flashing tits for Anna *gigglesnort*:DSCF5056

And I made a wreath. Here’s me pretending it’s a halo (sure. but I can pretend!) DSCF5062

We visited Sudbury and had a lovely wander round all the shops there, and I also bought some vintage Pyrex bowls (squee!), some books and chocolate from the Cadburys factory shop. Can’t be bad. Was gorgeous to see her, fab to have four days in a row off work and when I go back I shall feel refreshed and hopefully at least a little bit enthusiastic! :D

You can follow lovely Annie on Twitter – twitter.com/AnnaZEV

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Filed under Blogging, Creating, Friends, General crafting, Loving & Living, Photography, Recording, Week in pictures

Christmas Wreaths

I know, I know, it’s only November, but I have SO much going on in December, I have to start my Christmas decorations early or I won’t get any up! I also spend the actual Christmas period at my parents’, so I like to enjoy as much of the Christmas spirit at home as possible before I go :)

I spent quite a lot of time last weekend, in between searching for presents and party dresses, trying to find a wreath. This, from BHS, was about the closest I found to what I was looking for, but I very much wanted some pink and purple in mine, to match the colour scheme (pffft – the attempted colour scheme, that should be) in my flat!

 

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There were also a few of this type around:

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None of them took my fancy, so when Anna and I were out on Thursday, I bought a pack of baubles from Asda and some contrasting snowflake tinsel from the 99p shop (oh yes, super high end, that’s me!). Got home, dug out the florist’s wire I bought two years ago (I knew it’d come in handy one day!) and over a few dvds and lots of chatting, I made this (please excuse the cheesy pic of me):

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I’m really quite proud! :D 

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Filed under Christmas, Creating, General crafting

NOTD – silver, blue and black crackle

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Quick NOTD – I’ve been off work the last couple of days and was able to paint my nails in front of a DVD while chatting to Anna – perfection :D

Silver – Rimmel Lasting Finish in 239 Your Majesty (this is one of my favourite polishes ever for a quick shimmer)

Blue – NYC Long Wearing Nail Enamel in 140B Empire State Blue

Black – Barry M Nail Paint Instant Effects in Black Magic

Base and top coat – OPI Start to Finish

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Brief updates and a proper domain

Having a particularly crazy few weeks at the day job, so please excuse the lack of regular posts. On the plus side, I have finally pulled myself together and transferred my domain over here. So duckingfabulous.co.uk actually refers to all my posts and works properly, rather than just pointing here in a hopeful sort of way. I am ridiculously proud of this, as I worked it out without any guidance at all. *grin*

I’m still hunting for the perfect tablet, so I can blog on the move… no luck yet though. Tempted to hold out for the Kindle Fire, but I like both the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the HTC Flyer very much – guess I’ll see what prices do after Christmas.

Have been nesting a bit, got lots of candles out and am trying to light them in the evenings to make my living room feel cosier. I need a saddle for the ijoyride, it looks too much like a bit of gym equipment in my living room, but I use it little enough as it is – if it moves to the studio I’ll never use it!

Tomorrow’s last day at work for a few days, I have Thursday and Friday off and Anna’s coming down to visit :) Very excited, although feeling a bit guilty – we were going to be going away, but I’m so broke we’re using my flat as a base and doing stuff from there instead. I hope she isn’t disappointed! (although she’s one of the people in the world I could spend a week in a shed with and still have fun!)

Emotions a bit up and down for all sorts of reasons… exhaustion not helping. So on that note, I shall quit waffling and go to bed. Have remembered to take my SD card out of the laptop and put it back in the camera at least, so might even manage some photos later this week!

xx

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Filed under Blogging, Personal Development, Recording, Thinking

Testing

Apologies subscribers – just testing to see if this works now I’ve mapped the domain name :)

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hilarious slogan of the day

‘delivering zero emission cheese to London’. Don’t know quite why that made me giggle, but it did!

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Blogging in cowboy boots

On the train last night, wearing cowboy boots, blogging on my laptop while listening to my ancient mp3 player. I’m so not on-trend or cool, and I love being that way :)

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Decisions, freedom and infinite possibility…

I am typing this on the train, sitting next to a woman with an ipad and an iphone. I feel a strange mixture of clunky (my laptop is ENORMOUS in comparison and I don’t have mobile broadband) and smug (I can type so much faster and more accurately than she can, mweeheehee).

The last few weeks have changed my life, overwhelmingly for the better. For various reasons I can’t talk about any of those reasons in detail, but one of the net results is that I have signed up for a season ticket loan for a train ticket, which means I’ll be at work for at least another year. This will give me time to get my finances straight and live my life a little without worrying so much about the future and what’s round the next corner (in the job and finances side of life, anyway).

Secondly, I have decided to put my shop plans on hold for the foreseeable future and concentrate on making things for fun and learning, rather than pressurising myself. The same with vintage homewares and clothing – I’ll buy them for me or for presents, and I’ll continue to research them and blog about my finds because I find them fascinating, but I need to remove the pressure for a while so I can focus on other things.

2012 contains, among other plans, my best friend’s wedding, my parents’ long awaited move into their new home and another rally, closely followed by a Canada trip to watch ice skating in early 2013, so now is not a good time to be starting up. Quite apart from the fact that although I know I’m capable of running a business, my finances are most definitely not, and I’m not sure I’m yet ready to sacrifice my social life in favour of it.

Thirdly, but possibly most importantly, after the weekend that’s just passed I am left with a feeling of happiness, peace, freedom and infinite possibility. My sense of self is fully restored and my inner pin up is well on her way to being part of my everyday life! Although I am never taking a train that far again – driving is SO much more fun and less hassle!

So I’m going to make the most of feeling like that, use the sense of purpose to get my flat and my life in order, and then focus on doing fun stuff… and blogging about it all, of course!

Sorry, this is somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness post, but it does feel good to write it down rather than just have it floating around in my head! A little part of me still can’t quite believe I’ve come this far and made this life for myself. When I look back to how I was four short years ago, and realise just how much I love my ‘new’ life… I wonder how the Carla I am now and the Carla I was then can possibly be the same person. I wouldn’t go back now if you paid me, I love who I’ve become and everything that I do. It’s amazing, empowering and really rather lovely. Ok, enough of the soppy crap now.

Right. Before you all throw up, I’m going to get off the train and go and make sausages and chips for dinner :)

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Filed under Blogging, Collecting, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Loving & Living, Perfect Moments, Planning, Recording, Thinking, Thrifting, Vintage