Friday, 15 January 2016

Friday I'm in love... with individuals

Very sad news to hear about David Bowie's death this week. I've found myself quite surprised by how much it's affected me actually - of course he's a huge talent, has written some fantastic tracks, many of which were the soundtrack to my childhood, but I would never have classed myself as a huge Bowie fan. Until now. Because I suppose his death, so dignified in the way he handled it, made me think about him more than I have done before. About how he was so much more than a musical talent. About how brave he was to be the person he was - someone so different for his time in terms of the songs he sang, the clothes he wore, the things he said. Someone who was so sure of himself that he felt no need to conform and be like everyone else. Who steadfastly took his own path and never compromised who he was. Who celebrated being individual. Someone whose individuality inspired others to be brave and be themselves too. If I've learnt anything from Bowie it's that we should all feel free to do/ say/ sing/ wear/ be whatever we bloody want to.

Because I was thinking - what if Bowie had listened to the people who mocked him for having long hair, or wearing make up? What if he'd lost confidence and not been who he really wanted, cleaned his face, bought a polyester suit and got a boring office job? We'd all have missed out on so much! And what if others with such talent and ideas have conformed along the way and not felt bold enough to stand up and say "this is me". There could be so much more music and magic in the world if we all took a leaf out of Bowie's book and stayed true to ourselves. And as a parent this means more to me now than it ever has - I so want to instill this into Arlo so he feels comfortable in his own self, whoever he wants to be. So let's be brave, try all those new things we keep thinking about, stick up for ourselves and be exactly the person we want to be. And if that includes drawing a lightening flash on your face, then all the better.

This week I've seen and read so many wonderful tributes to Bowie - these are all worth having a little look at:
  • Caitlin Moran's wise wise life advice 
  • This wonderful little ode to Bowie by super fan Adam Buxton. Incidentally, if you're a Buxton fan (or indeed if you're not) (yet) then I really recommend his new series of podcasts which have been making me lol on public transport all week 
  • This episode of The Flight Of The Conchords, with its perfect Bowie tribute, is worth a watch any day of the year

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Five ways to spruce up the outside of your house in a weekend

It's easy to forget about the front of your house. After all, it's inside your house that you spend most of the time. But here's the thing (and this is going to sound dead obvious I know, but it kind of dawned on me a while back) - the front of the house if the bit that EVERYONE sees. Sure your fam and friends and the occasional meter reader get to see what your house is like from the inside, but loads of people see it from the outside, so it's worth making it feel as nice as the inside, with a few little touches along the way that reflect you.

Since I had this realisation, we've done a few things to spruce up the outside of our house. There are a still a few on the list that we want to do, some of them those annoying, expensive-and-important, but not-actually-that-visually-different kid of jobs (the worst kind). The ones we've done so far tend to be more of the fun, minimum-effort, maximum-output kind of jobs (the best kind). So if you're thinking your front could do with perking up, here are five easy ways you can make a difference in a jiffy this weekend:

1. Paint the outside. Or just a bit of the outside, like we did recently when we got the front of our bay window painted in a nice neutral colour. As you can see from the before and after picture above, (the before of which was taken before we'd even moved in!) we had a few fussy light blue bits, and we wanted to 'clean' it all up a bit and it's made a huge difference.

2. Make up some window boxes. Like we did just the other day. You won't regret it. 

3. Change the numbers. So this is the thing I want to do next. I don't hate our house number at the moment, but I think it could do with a bit of an update now that the rest of the house has been spruced up a bit. These are my current faves, and there are more ideas on my pinterest board here, so watch this space.

4. Change your curtains. Net curtains don't have to be frumpy. I found our spotty ones in Ikea (where else?) and they look as nice from the outside as they do the inside. They don't make these ones anymore, but I found the two pairs above which I believe to be pretty lovely too. They get bonus points for helping visitors figure out which house on the street is yours - I'm always telling people we're the house with the spotty curtains.

5. Get a new front door. I want this more than I want any of the following: a new series of Spaced, 10 Whistles dresses, waking up every morning with really amazing eyebrows ready to go*.  That's big. You can see more front door porn romance in this post I wrote here

*Nah, actually I think I'd go for the eyebrows. But the front door is close.

Home Etc

Saturday, 9 January 2016

My 2016 resolutions

This pic is one I took of the Chris (Simpsons Artist) book that I got for Christmas. It's AMAZING and so is he.

I'm not really one for new year's resolutions - they're usually a bit too abstract and big and difficult to actually stick to for my liking, but this year there are a couple of things want to do that are really tangible - they're more goals for 2016 I suppose, but in the spirit of new years, I'll call them resolutions, and I'm sharing them here to make me even more likely to stick to them:
  1. Pass my driving test. This year will be 15 years since I took my first one, so I sense it's probably time I got this sorted.
  2. Be vegan for a month in January. Alex has been meat and dairy free for a few months now so I feel I should give it a go and a month feels like the right amount of time to get into it and see how it feels. My initial concerns have gone now that I've discovered the most amazing diary-free rocky road in the Coop round the corner which is chocolatey heaven, so I'm GOLDEN.
Then as well as these two things, which if I succeed in doing it will feel like a major triumph, I do also want to try and do one other thing this year - or to be more accurate, I want to do less of something. I want to worry less. I always try to be mindful, live in the moment and appreciate the small things, but I think I could do more of it. I want to give less of an F about the things that aren't important. The things I can't change. The things I'm worried I should be doing. I'm feeling quite 'shit or get off the pan' about life right now, and I want to embrace it (sorry for all the swears). As a wise man once said 'if you feel sick just be sick. If you love someone just tell them.' That's my motto for 2016 - if I want to do something, I'm just going to do it. Hopefully this resolution will manifest itself in more ways than just vomit - let's see!