100 stories

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Sometimes I catch little bits of stories on the wind & don’t know who they belong to. So, I scribble them down in the back of notebooks or save them to my phone, then forget all about them. So, I’ve decided to start sharing some here, & maybe one will find it’s way home. The stories aren’t mine, but I did write them all. Sloppily. Be kind.

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in Orla’s bag

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Not the ubiquitous ‘what’s in my bag’ post (crushed baby crisps, used tissues & the same novel I’ve been reading for the last 7 months, of course!), but Orla’s bag, a snapshot of her little life, right now. ‘Ba’!’ she exclaims, dragging it along the cobbles behind her; sitting with it on the doorstep, waiting to go. Packing and unpacking it just for fun, occasionally stealing other people’s belongings to make it more fun. Here’s…

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down my way: West Yorkshire

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A little guide for anyone who happens to wander my way. These are my favourite finds in our new homeland, West Yorkshire. Only an hour from big cities like Manchester & Leeds, it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Pack your bags, you’re officially invited. Where: Blackstone edge What: Wild hilltop moorlands and deep blue reservoir Why: Winds that whip the water into waves and clear your head. Breathtaking scenery. Long walks without seeing…

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a little photoshoot

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So in love with these shots taken of me & Orla by good friend and crazy-talented photographer Camila of Ila photography. A little while back, Camila gave up her successful day job to dedicate herself to photography full time. I love people who take a leap of faith to chase their dreams! Her blog tells her story, along with lots of photography & editing tips & inspiration. If you get chance, stop by her site…

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lions & fleabags

My friend Helen writes & illustrates the most wonderful books for children. She’s also one of my favourite people ever, a hugely inspirational mama and has a wardrobe full of Things I Want to Steal, but they don’t seem to mention that much when they read her stories on cbeebies/Blue Peter, or when she illustrates a new Michael Morpurgo book. Weird. Anyway, she’s given me a stack of some of her most popular books to…

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baby changing

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A strange sadness, to leave the house Orla knows so well. She’s splashed in this bath since her very first week; she knows which wobbly floorboards to skip, as she leads my by the hand to bed. She knows where the raisins are kept, and the way to the park, and the best windows to watch the chickens from. She has her little habits and routines in this space, and I can’t explain to her…

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Sunday food: Rosewater & pistachio cake

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  This cake has been in gradual evolution in my kitchen for years. It’s based on those middle eastern cakes that are drenched with sticky-sweet sugar syrup right after baking, while everything is still warm.  I serve it with rosewater & yoghurt crΓ¨me, which contrasts the sweetness nicely & smells almost as good as it tastes!  Ingredients: 150g unsalted pistachios, shelled & ground to a soft green powder  100g ground almonds 1 tbsp rosewater 200g…

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some people I’ve known

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Some people I have known: The teacher from a middle class family who only values guardian-reading, university educated adults in white-collar professions The always-immaculate mama who describes in scathing detail what other mothers were wearing that day at the school gates. The ‘has it all’ wife who temporarily befriends anyone with a share of the limelight, be it through talent or illness or misfortune The friend who prides herself on delivering blunt, no-frills, often harsh…

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Imperfectly

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It’s much too easy to let my blog & instagram slide into being part of the ‘perfect life’ myth – that idea that everyone else has everything great, & you’re the only one dealing with the crap. So, to redress the balance: I have really bad anxiety. I sometimes cancel plans because leaving the house seems too overwhelming that day. I freak out about filling in forms or phoning my car insurance provider or going…

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mother’s day

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I found her under a gooseberry bush, which is a euphemism of course for a labour so painful I really-actually thought I was going to die. I did not find childbirth spiritual or beautiful. Instead, it found me, violent & terrifying; a trauma so gruesome that under any other circumstance you’d be given a week in bed, flowers & an appointment with a therapist. But this is an everyday trauma; sitting in cafes, I stared…

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