Colourful houses in St. Werburgh's, which is an area of Bristol I used to live in.)
I have this memory of one of my first English lessons in Year Nine at school (I would have been thirteen), and our teacher said, 'I never want to see you use the word 'nice' in your writing. I can't stand it. It doesn't tell me anything - I want you to describe what you are writing about, and 'nice' doesn't describe anything.' I understood his point, and, being a diligent student, I always endeavoured never to write 'nice' in my work. The reason I share this story with you, is because I feel the same about the word, 'busy'. It describes a state of being, but doesn't give any detail. And I love detail. (My English teacher also taught me never to begin a sentence with 'and'. I used to abide by that rule, but not for informal writing.) In the years to come, I don't want to delve into my blog archives to read about what I was doing in 2015, and see that I was 'busy', because there is no way on Earth that I will remember what 'busy' looked like in 2015. So instead, I'll share a few details about what life looks like round here at the moment.
I am baking more now than at any other point in my life. I get through dozens and dozens of eggs a week at the moment, and I love it. I never tire of thinking about cake, which is good, because it has become my job. I started baking for a local deli just over a month ago, and it brings me a lot of joy to hear the stories of the people who have bought my cake, and come back for more. I am also still running my pop up bakery once a month, where I bake and deliver cakes to the good people of Bristol. Again, it's not just about the baking, but about the people. I love hearing the stories of why people are buying my cakes - treats for work colleagues, dessert for families, a vital chocolate fix for heavily pregnant women who just. need. cake. Gifts for friends with newborn babies from Mama's who know how essential cake is for the survival and sustenance of Mum's with tiny babes. I love that I get to provide cake to all of these people.
In 2014, I decided to try and manage my diary using just my iPhone rather than a paper diary. This was generally ok, but as life has become more full with various activities for Ruby, social events, baking orders, and all that jazz, I have been craving a decent planner to just write it all down. As much as I love digital technology and all its brilliance, the way my brain works best is to engage in the physical process of picking up a pen and getting the things that are in my brain down onto paper. Another Mum recommended the Passion Planner, and so I ordered an undated one, as all of the others had sold out. It felt a little excessive to ship a planner over from America, but I hadn't found anything locally that suited my requirements, and even though it was already February by the time I came to looking for a planner, I knew that I needed something quality, rather than something that I could just get by with for the rest of the year. It arrived this week, and I love it already.
I have also been enjoying writing notes on my baking in my Kitchen Notes books. It's something I should have started doing years ago, but I have been far too unrealistic for far too long about my ability to remember details like how many cupcakes I could decorate with a quantity of a particular icing, or just how much caramel sauce one batch makes. These are the kind of details which have the potential to save me a lot of waste, so I am learning to write them down.
This candle that I found in TK Maxx. Ever since I was small, I have enjoyed beautiful scents, and I love how different scents can have such a variety of impacts. Filling a room with the aroma from a good candle or oil is one of my favourite things.
At the start of this year, one of the things I decided I wanted to do more of was read books. Over the past few years, I have totally neglected reading. I love blogs, and that they're so easy to read when I only have a few spare minutes to cast my eyes over something, but I felt my brain was never really engaging in reading anything of great substance. So in January, I picked up a book that was in John's stack on his side of the bed. It was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I knew that it wasn't going to be a happy book, but still chose to read it anyway, even though I didn't really want to feel morose as the result of reading a book. I have just finished reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion the recommendation of my sister in law, and loved it. Great, great book that I didn't want to end. Next on the list is Still Alice that a friend highly recommended.
A while back I quietly started running again with my friend Ros, who was my half marathon buddy back in the day when we both had more time and energy to run thirteen miles. It had been a good number of years since we had run together, but we were still completely in sync, and I loved that. We have been running every Friday through the cold Winter months, and it has been refreshing not to have a set number of miles, or set length of time we want to run. We just step outside my front door, stretch and go and chat without stopping. Now that the evenings are becoming lighter, I am venturing out on my own for runs to supplement our Friday running. I have got to the stage where I feel like I could keep on running and running. Perhaps I should.
The first signs of longer evenings - light skies at 6pm.
This precious daughter of ours continues to astound and delight us on a daily basis. Her language is developing and her current vocabulary consists of hat, cat, that, there, cheese, Mama and shoes. As is the way at this age, she understands so much more than she can say, and I love that she is now using some of the Makaton signs I have taught her to aid communication (as well as a variety of animals, Ruby can now sign help, please, milk, food, where and friend). She adores being outside, and will often go to the back door and request to be let out as soon as we come downstairs in the morning.
We had a rough start to the year as far as her sleep was concerned, and while I am not going to talk in detail here about what as been difficult, what I will say is that we have found the book, 'The No Cry Sleep Solution' to be helpful. I am immensely grateful that finally we seem to have found a rhythm whereby she doesn't wake until 5am. Sleep really does make the world of difference to my sanity, strength and emotional state.
Ruby currently loves transporting things - be it animals and dolls in her buggy, or various household items to other places. I often find coasters, camera remotes, telephones, marbles and miniature cars in my wellies and boots.