Monday, 24 May 2010

The woods

Apologies for the hiatus, but the super sunny weather has meant we've been spending much time outside. Yesterday the heat got so unbearable that we rushed to the shelter of the woods. We had such a wonderful afternoon in the shade of some beautiful trees. E actually walked a really long way and mostly in the direction that we asked him to! He was lovely and well behaved, exploring sticks and moss and old leaves, and all things natural. The bluebells were nearly over, but here's a photograph from a couple of years back. The woods lift my spirit and refresh me

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Lovely words

Isn't this a beautiful print by artist Lara Harwood? I love words that make me smile and this print is inspired by the word 'gaudiloquent', which means 'speaking joyfully or on joyful matters'. It makes me feel joyous, just looking at it. It's from a brilliant exhibition called 'The Art of Lost Words' , which showcases design, typography and illustration inspired by forgotten words.

My friend Alison and I used to look up new words in the dictionary when we were at school, and we'd deliberately try to fit them into conversation, or into our homework. My favourite words at the moment are 'thrilling' and 'darling' (as in, 'isn't this a darling teapot?' - more on teapots tomorrow) and I shall try and squeeze them into conversation/writing as much as I can. I think they're ever so 1920's. Lovely words make me happy. What's your favourite word?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Maternal bodies

I've got just over two months to finish writing my book chapter on maternal bodies in popular music and I've been thinking about space and the maternal/female form. Antony Gormley famously represents the interior and exterior spaces of bodies, but uses his own body as a template. He talks about 'the voided space of the body as a visible emptiness'. I wondered whether he ever thinks specifically about the female body - a sort of double void, a body with a womb - and how we might represent this doubled space. I'm interested in how he might approach the relationship between this visible emptiness and a concurrent emotional emptiness, and wondered whether a miscarrying body might be a particular embodiment that troubles our understanding of a single body, with clearly defined boundaries. I've written to him, to see if he might have a response to this.... I know he's a very busy man but I wonder if he will reply? Watch this space!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

This week's book: Rachel Cusk

I've been doing a bit of ebay shopping and have finally got round to buying Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work . It explores some of the more difficult aspects of being a mother. Today I'm really feeling the need to read this, as I'm struggling with E a bit today. I feel lethargic and not really up for chasing an uncontrollable toddler around the place. Plus we seem to be hitting the terrible twos six months early, as he keeps throwing massive tantrums. It's days like these that you mourn for the pre-mama days... and whilst I wouldn't be without E, I think Cusk's book is brave enough to admit that motherhood can often be like this. We're allowed to feel feelings that may be seen, by others, as negative, selfish, lazy or egotistical. We mothers are just people, after all.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


I am a little bit in love with Joanna Newsom after her amazing performance of 'Jackrabbits' on Jools Holland. She was a musical revelation in a sea of dross, with such great lyrics. She reminded me a little of Regina Spektor.

Isn't this photo super stylish too?

Photo via Stereogum

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I'm looking for some melamine bowls for E, as he's just mastered eating with a spoon. I normally put food on his highchair tray, unless it's really messy, but you can't use a spoon that way. So we need more bowls. I haven't yet found any bowls I really like, but aren't these plates from Pinks and Green just gorgeous? I think this is a 1950's style design - feel free to correct me here, I'm no expert - and I really love the old school feel.

If anyone can point me to some funky melamine bowls, then please post a comment below

Mo' pedal power

My woodsman has just bought a 1967 Raleigh Wisp and is on his way back from picking it up. I gather it's a bit tatty and needs some work, but I'm hoping when he's done it will look like this fine specimen.

The woodsman already has a 1958 Norman Nippy so this now means he has a moped collection, now there are two in the family. Norman is (obviously) a boy, but methinks the Raleigh Wisp might be a girl. Maybe when I get my license I'll show her around town...

Photo via Moped Army

Monday, 10 May 2010

Beautiful breastfeeding

One of my favourite blogs for all things mama is Marvelous Kiddo. Leigh is the writer of the blog and is pro-home birth and pro- breastfeeding, so we're very much on the same wavelength. I had E at home, which was a fantastic experience, and breastfed for just over a year.
I love to see positive images of breastfeeding, so here are a couple via Marvelous Kiddo. The first is a beautiful illustration, the second is an advert to support breast cancer research fundraising.

Illustration via Les Petits Papiers d'Annette Marnat

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Displaying pretty things

Our flat is a tip! The woodsman and his penchant for vintage china means that every surface is covered with stuff. It's all lovely, but you can't see it properly as it's all stacked in a higgeldy-piggeldy mountain. I really need to find some good ways to display things. I love these shelves for beautiful vintage china. Maybe I can get him to knock some up this weekend??!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Rockin' out

In my very serious quest for more fun in my life, I've been rockin' out and doing some serious air guitaring to baby darling doll face honey by Band of Skulls. I am LOVING this album so much! I'd heard their stuff on the radio and ordered the CD online, but I didn't know anything about them. So pleased to find out that the bassist is a woman - Emma Richardson - and that she painted the amazing album artwork. Go the girl bassists!! Makes me want to swap my double bass for an electric one, that's for sure.

Every woman needs a place to think

So I was walking down the South Bank on a rare trip to London, and I came across this bench. It reminded me of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own which had such an impact on me when I was 18 and at Uni the first time round (can't believe that's 16 years ago now - wow!). It's funny that now, as a 34 year old woman, I still feel the need for a space of my own and somewhere to think. It seems that as women we don't always get space, and perhaps even more importantly time. With the expectation on us that we will look beautiful, we spend - to differing degrees - time on our clothes, our hair, our appearance. We are told our houses should be beautiful too, and in our domestic arrangements women often shoulder the greater cleaning/tidying duties, in unbalanced relationships. We are told that in this allegedly post-feminist day (don't get me started on postfeminism, dear reader!) that we have have our cake and eat it, but in amongst doing the childcare, cleaning the house, going out and having our careers and looking as fierce as we possibly can, we lose our most precious asset - time.

Since E was born, nearly 17 months ago, I've been struggling for balance in my life. I'm trying really hard to find something that works for us as a family, but that allows me to retain some sense of who I am. This blog is one part of this search. I feel that I need to cultivate space and time in my life. And in that space, I need to find the creative part of me again. Music, design, art, culture. In short, a life that cultivates beauty. Writers like Virginia Woolf and Helene Cixous talk about women finding their creative selves; actively seeking time and space to do so. And this might all start from finding yourself a place to sit, a place to think.

Photo via ruburton on Flickr