making a wedding dress

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It’s faintly ironic, I suppose, that the commitment I’m most worried about for this whole wedding fandango is the one that I’ll make to a dress. On the other hand, perhaps it’s just logical: I spent the best part of 30 years carefully selecting R; I had a year to find a dress. Less, when you factor in all the time I spent procrastinating because the whole thing seemed so overwhelming My issue with a…

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an unexpected ruin

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I have this thing with ruins; always have, ever since I was a little girl. The most mundane and domestic building becomes suddenly enchanting once it falls into disrepair. Take off the roof, rip out the windows and let nature get her way – you’re in fairytale territory in a matter of years. Yorkshire is full of them – abandoned farm houses, old stone-built cow sheds. Tall, brick chimney spires in forgotten, tiny valleys. Tumbledown…

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a day in May

paper boats in stream

These are the days that we came here for. When the sun warms our bedroom at the top of the house while the dawn chorus works itself up to an orchestral cacophony. And we dig out the sun cream from the dusty recess of the bathroom cabinet, noting the changes to tiny pudgy hands and limbs since the last days of this ritual last summer. Then we trail down to the stream, the three of…

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pink

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Pink is the colour of my little girl’s happiness; Pink is the colour of her princess dress. Pink is the colour of the ’95 champagne that’s chilling in my fridge.  As a mum to a 3-year-old girl, I fight a constant, quiet battle to keep the level of pink in our lives to a sensible level. I’m not anti-pink, per se (as any friend who remembers my extensive noughties pink kitchenware collection can attest); I’m…

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how to survive the flu

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Did I mention I’ve been sick? I’VE BEEN SICK, YOU GUYS, and it was really, really bad. Orla had it first – ten long days of fever and sleeplessness that ended in a visit to the doctors and a bottle of sticky sweet orange antibiotic syrup. Just as she began to emerge from it, I came down with the same, and lost a solid five days to the worst virus I can ever remember. I…

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happily addicted to the internet

I am in a cafe without wifi and I feel dangerously adrift I keep picking up my phone and putting it down again. My brain is firing off ideas – book that meeting! What was that thing on Twitter again? – and meeting the hard brick wall of non-connectivity. I am like Mulder in one of those old X Files episodes where he keeps reaching for his lost gun, sighing as his hand hits the…

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living with big emotions

living with big emotions

I have big feelings. By that I mean, my emotions frequently overpower me; I’m always at the superlative end of the emotional spectrum. Enraged, distraught, overjoyed, overwhelmed. This isn’t a particularly popular trait. Perhaps it’s a British thing – a lingering hangover from those cheery Victorian folk, all stiff upper lip and saucy table legs – but strong emotions are still seen as the hallmark of the weak, irrational & immature. While the latter might…

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what’s in a name? the pros and cons of a married name

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I’ve been deliberating about my married name. At first it seemed simple. Before he’d even proposed, both R and I loosely assumed I would take his name; I  liked the romance of it, felt my typical longing to belong. It seemed such a fait accomplis that we readily registered Orla with his Irish surname. Even the dog has his family name called out at the vets. Sometime after he’d proposed, my clarity faded. Perhaps it…

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Instagram tips – a guide to hashtagging

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Hashtags are entirely unmysterious – they categorize posts into certain topics, and link to related content. Aside from the occasional humorous punchline or sotto voce descriptor, that’s really all they do – and yet many of us expect them to unlock unlimited Instagram growth, stardom & wealth. That’s not how the force works. That said, once you’re creating truly brilliant, beautiful, visually engaging content, skilful hashtagging can be a great promotional tool. Below are my guidelines for…

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Sonny Sunshine {100 stories}

  {100 stories}:  A COLLECTION OF FICTIONAL FRAGMENTS & UNFINISHED RAMBLINGS   Sonny doesn’t talk. They tell me not to say that, but then they tell me all sorts of things – he’s waiting to surprise me, just turn off the TV, boys are slower to develop than girls. Give him time – I get that one a lot. It doesn’t make any difference: he just doesn’t talk. As a baby he never shut up.…

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