Thursday, 26 March 2015

Springtime Surprise Project

When Lucy from Capture by Lucy announced her Springtime Surprise Project, where a community of strangers are picked at random to send each other a small gift up to the value of £5, I leapt to join the group. The idea being that gifts would make their way to their recipients just in time to welcome the start of Spring.

Over 300 people signed up including my good self. Such a wonderful achievement to rally people from across the world to stop and create a beautiful gift for a complete stranger. In a world where we live our lives through our computers or phones, where the only post you receive are generally bills or letters from the Inland Revenue, this was the most exciting happy post ever. It was also a celebration of the good friends we make across social media, the huge amount of support one gets from those you've never met particularly on Instagram is quite astounding. We share in each others joyful moments as well as the low times. Messages of kindness are sent around the world on a daily basis to people you will perhaps never have the opportunity to meet so this is a perfect way to bring this community closer.

I can't pretend it was easy to gather gifts for someone I don't know, it's bad enough when you do know them (my Husband will attest to that). I kept changing my mind up until the very last minute but a lot of thought went in and I really hope Debbie liked her gifts.

Debbie of An Organised Mess was my partner in crime. She obviously got me down to a T, lots of lovely stationery, a nice choice in tea bags and some gorgeous toiletries...Thank you so much Debbie for ensuring a super start to Spring! Also a huge thank you goes to Lucy for organising this special project. You star. This lovely act of kindness has I'm sure made many people happy as they opened their surprise gifts to discover how someone can guess so accurately the other's tastes.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Taking nothing for granted in this world...

I was struck by the poignant post from one of my favourite bloggers Lobster and Swan yesterday urging us to stop, watch and listen to what's around us. Just as children who are full of life and curiosity we should learn to find time in our hectic lives to appreciate our surroundings. Spring, when mother nature awakens from its long Winter sleep is a perfect time to absorb the world that surrounds our daily lives.

Hot on the heels of Lobster and Swan's five ways to heighten your senses, I looked at Facebook this morning to find the husband had posted a video which moved me to tears. It was shot by the French Installation and Conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who filmed a series of shorts, together with photographs, conveying the reactions of 15 people from Istanbul who were seeing the sea for the very first time. Simply named 'Voir La Mer' translated as 'To see the Sea', this is one of the most moving shorts I've seen. We take the sea, the countryside all for granted, well those of us privileged enough to be able to travel. We forget that there's many a person across the world that will never leave their hometown, never have need of a passport, will never get on an airplane. To those of us that think nothing of jumping on a plane for a long weekend or even getting in the car for a day trip, it doesn't even cross our minds that something as simple as seeing the sea, breathing in it's magical salt air is not a reality for so many.

Watching this film again and again today, reminded me to appreciate all that I have and be forever grateful of the opportunities that have come my way. In future I shall attempt to not take anything for granted, I shall probably fail at times but if I do I'll recall Voir La Mer and take a step back to recall...

Voir la Me2011. © 2015 Sophie Calle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy of Sophie Calle and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Thriplow Daffodil Weekend

Matilda and I headed off this afternoon to the Thriplow Daffodil Weekend. After a rather grizzly start the sun fought it's way through just as we left home providing perfect Spring conditions for Daffodil spotting. The first Daffodil weekend took place in 1969 when the residents of the village threw open their garden gates serving tea and cake to visitors in order to raise funds for the church roof. £206 was raised that first weekend sparking the community to do the same the following year, and so the Daffodil weekend was born. Still to this day, the whole community come together to play their part, whether it be baking cakes, running stalls or helping to clear up at the end. Today the money raised is distributed amongst many local charities.

The committee was awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the charity equivalent of an MBE, in honour of their efforts supporting local causes.

Run over two days, the village becomes a traffic free zone giving us a little taste of the olden days before cars, shire horses ferry people across the village. It was a wonderful sight to see children running freely along the road without fear of oncoming traffic, music filled the streets as people shopped in the craft areas or sat eating food in the sun provided by local companies including one of my favourites Steak and Honour. There are magic shows, Pony rides, sheep dog shows everything you'd expect from an English Country event. Aside from all the brilliant entertainment the daffodils do remain at the heart of this quintessential event for they are everywhere tis a sight to behold...Thousands travel from near and far to see the daffodils, now I understand why. This will remain firmly in my diary from now on.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Take me to the Fair on time!

I never win anything. Fact. Over the years I've bought countless raffle tickets, entered competitions but win? Oh no, not my thing.

However, last week lil old me won two tickets to the wonderful Country Living Fair at the Islington Design Centre. I've been desperate to go for years but with one thing or another always getting in my way, I've not yet managed it. So when Lobster and Swan ran a competition a couple of weeks ago, I wrote my comment pressed send and expected nothing. Until wam bam my name came up as a winner! Woohoo I cried. Not only had I won something, I'd won tickets to THE Country Living Fair.

After a hellish whirlwind week of intense work often taking me into the early hours, solo parenting of a sick child as the husband has been working in Taiwan left me with not a great deal of sleep. So I am rounding off the week by taking a day off to immerse myself in what promises to be a beautiful event! Can't wait to share my day with you!

If you fancy going too it's open until Sunday only.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Me and My Girl on Mother's Day

It's hard to believe I've been a Mother for over five years now. I have been truly blessed with my girl, she is the love of my life, my friend, my companion, my conscience. Every day she brings a smile to my face, she is my reason for being, what gets me up in the morning and in my thoughts last thing at night. I love nothing more than taking a peek at her asleep in her room before heading to bed.

My ambitions are big for this little girl, I hope she'll be a strong, independent, passionate and courageous grown up who'll carve out a successful career for herself as well as be surrounded by love. Of course mine and her Daddy's love is always unconditional no matter what the future holds. You have made us Matilda, your vivacious presence fills our hearts with joy. I am so proud of you my darling, thank you for choosing us as your parents, you've handed us the most precious job in the world. I'm thankful every day to have you (and Daddy of course) filling my life with an unimaginable happiness.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mothers out there!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women's Day at the Cambridge Junction with Etsy Cambridge

Local East Anglian makers joined in with the International Women's Day celebrations at The Junction today. A large marquee set up at the main entrance was filled with a whole lot of prettiness and cakes. One of my favourite collectives is the Cambridge Etsy group. After first seeing them at the Mill Road Christmas Fair I was keen to see their new crafts! I was not disappointed from lovely bunting, jewellery, pencil cases to the brightly coloured yarn. So much temptation.

Etsy Cambridge is a large group of creatives that come together from all over East Anglia with Cambridge being their central base. The group sells together at fairs and provide support or a helping hand to each other. It's a lovely community producing beautiful crafts for us customers! Take a look for yourself...

Thursday, 5 March 2015

World Book Day

Social media has been awash with everyone's photos of their children's World Book Day outfits. Having asked Matilda for weeks what she wanted to wear (for once I wanted to be organised on this!) and repeatedly telling me Spiderman I relaxed as we have very outfit in her dressing up box. On Monday she announced she wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood from her .....great, sewing machine all packed up in a box in storage and not enough time to order one. Though admittedly I do prefer to make our own on these occasions, I hope she'll remember Mummy sitting up until the early hours sewing, painting and sticking costumes together or perhaps she'll rather Mummy just opened an Amazon package...only time will tell. Secretly though I do enjoy it.

On one of our busiest weeks at work, I grabbed an hour on Tuesday to visit Saffron Walden Market, a meter of red cotton (at a bargainous £2) with some velcro was duly purchased (which I managed to lose). So this morning holes were cut with ribbons tied through to make her cape. I decorated a basket filled it with various foodstuffs, and made a blackboard sign to go round her neck with exploding eggs drawn on.

She was delighted with her makeshift costume. Thankfully at her age she's oblivious to the fact that others looked a lot more polished...long may it last well at least while I fulfill my Motherly duties.

If you're wondering why a sign for exploding eggs formed part of the costume take a look at this crazy yet addictive book The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma's Wardrobe by Christyan and Diane Fox . Firmly, one of our favourites since the husband bought it for her at Christmas. I'm sure you'll love reading this to your children with its sense of humour that appeals not only to them but to you as well...

                                                          Happy World Book Day!