You can now find me here. I’d love it if you followed me over to my new little spot.
Did you have a Book Fair in school? It was my favourite time of year in primary school. We would all be sent home with a catalogue a few weeks before, and I’d spend hours poring over it, choosing my picks, circling and highlighting and folding corners until I had decided. My mum would come to school on the day of the fair, and we would find my picks together, always making sure to pop in a bookmark for good measure.
There was something so satisfying about having to wait for the day of the fair to come, looking forward to getting home and getting stuck in, and then talking about them with my mum and sister. Even though I don’t have to wait for my mum to buy my books for me anymore, and my taste in books has moved on somewhat from Topsy and Tim and The Babysitters’ Club, there’s still something to be said for the anticipation of it all, the planning and choosing, the waiting.
I’ve had my eye on the Penguin Clothbound Classics for a while now, but haven’t started my collection yet. After another afternoon in the beautiful Daunt Books recently though, I’m sold. So this year, I’m channeling the Book Fair excitement, and planning to choose one to buy every month. I’m not sure which I’ll start with yet, but I can’t wait.
This week has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe Monday has come around so soon, but here it is! It was a work-heavy one, but thanks to the tube strike I was able to work from home one day which I always like. I don’t know if I could do it full time, but once or twice a month is perfect for me.
Last weeks’ wishes were to finish setting up my sewing machine, and to start on some packages for my family. It may have taken me three whole evenings to do it, but I finally got my sewing machine set up. I haven’t managed to do much with it yet, but I conveniently left that out of my wishes! I also sent a package to my mum, and it was so much fun picking out little bits to put in. I ended up sending some chocolate, some tea and some cheese crackers that she can’t get in Ireland, so it was a decidedly food-related parcel. I also made this bunting to send for a bit of fun, so I hope it cheers her up.
This week I’m looking forward to heading to Dublin on Friday to spend the weekend with my best friends from school. We don’t get to spend too much time together so I can’t wait. I hear afternoon tea and blow-dries (SUCH a treat!) are on the agenda so I can’t wait. I’m keeping my wishes nice and simple since I won’t be here for the weekend.
Knit my sister a snood I had the loveliest afternoon on Saturday taking a knitting class with the lovely Siobhan from Bless the Weather. I learnt to knit as a child but hadn’t done it in years. When I saw that she was holding a small class in her home I signed up, and I’m so glad I did. I was able to pick it up again quite easily, and managed to make a snood for myself in about four hours (any learnt-as-children knitters, chunky wool is the key. It changed everything!) My sister saw it on facetime last night and said she’d love a black one, so I want to make her one during the week and send it to her.
Put some thought into my little space on the internet I’ve been back into blogging for almost a year now, but have only found myself loving it again for the past month or so. I want to move from wordpress.com to a self-hosted space, and I’m so excited to have some more freedom. First I want to think about what I really want from it so I don’t get bored in a few months and change my mind again. I love knowing that this space is only mine, so I want to make sure that it reflects that.
S and I have been together for nearly eight years and have lived together since he moved to London a year after me. We both work long hours and have lots of other things on the go as well, so don’t end up spending a huge amount of time together during the week, or at the weekends during study season (I keep reminding myself that we’re so lucky his company is sponsoring him, but oh my does it feel like it’s going on forever!) We tend to stick to what we know when we get out and about – we have a few favourite museums, parks and coffee shops, and visit these haunts when we can. They’re all lovely, but sometimes I feel like we could be living anywhere in the world, and that we don’t always take advantage of the incredible things that London has to offer.
So I was surprised but also excited when he suggested we do something that some of his work colleagues were doing this year, an A-Z of sorts where we each take half of the alphabet (we decided to alternate letters), and plan something to do together beginning with or to do with that letter. We agreed that we would have a two week window for each letter so that it would take us to the end of the year, and we’re three letters in at this stage.
I’ll do a recap every few weeks, but so far it’s been a really lovely way to see some more of London and spend some proper time together. I’ve also been like a little kid keeping my plan a secret until the night before, there’s something so exciting about it! Simple, yes, but sometimes those are the best things.
My morning routine usually involves sleepily trying to find my slippers before giving up and running on my tip toes from our bed to the kettle as fast as I can to avoid our ice-cold tiles. Of course, I then inevitably find my slippers on the kitchen floor when I’m heading out the door and it’s too late. Last month though, we’ve had some incredible moments where the sun has appeared and reminded us that it’s still there. Even without my slippers it’s been too good to pass up a few seconds on the balcony to take a snap. I love the way each of them are so different, the way I never quite know what I’m going to get.
I haven’t done a Weekly Wishes post since November, so I’m jumping right into this week’s wishes instead of recapping my last ones.
Finish setting up my sewing machine
I had my eye on a sewing machine months, and S’ mum and dad gave me a voucher for Christmas to put towards it. After a mix up with the courier which resulted in it being sent to Burnley, it finally arrived and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve been putting it off, saying I need a whole day to get properly stuck in, but I’ll be waiting forever if I want a whole day free. I need to just start in an evening, and I can always pick it up again the following day if needs be.
Start on some Valentine’s packages
My mum and older sister live in Ireland, my younger sister is in Texas, and my little cousins are in Ireland too. I love sending the little ones packages every once in a while to let them know I’m thinking of them, but it’s something I rarely do for my mum and sisters unless it’s their birthday. I want to start doing it more, and even though S and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I think it’s a fun excuse to send some packages and surprise a few of my favourite people.
I’m a wonderer. I see people on the tube or on a plane, and I wonder about them, where they’re going, why they’re going there, what their story is. I was in a waiting room at Euston station a few weeks ago, heading to Birmingham for work, and I was doing just that. Most people were reading or listening to music, doing what they could to avoid eye contact with anyone else.
One man was on his phone, frantically explaining that his social worker had only given him the receipt to his train ticket, rather than the piece he needed to travel, and he’d got as far as London but couldn’t get any further. He had a flat secured but if he didn’t get there by 8pm it would be gone. He had no money, his social worker wasn’t picking up her phone, and the police couldn’t do anything for him. It broke my heart.
I was lucky enough in my first job to get to set up a training group with a wonderful group of people, some my age, some parents, some grandparents, who all just happened to have been homeless once. The year I spent working with them without a doubt changed my life. That year I learnt that charity isn’t about saving someone, but about working with someone to figure out what’s right for them. I learnt that no one chooses to be homeless, and that the social housing system that’s meant to be a safety net has a long way to go. Most of all, I learnt that you won’t always land on your feet with a second chance, but you just might if you get a third, a fourth, or even a fifth.
I’d like to say that I would have asked the man in Euston that evening if he needed some help before that job snuck up on me and surprised me, but the truth is I know I wouldn’t have. I would have turned a blind eye, plugged in my headphones, pretended I didn’t hear him.
That night though, when he got up and left, I asked my colleague to watch my suitcase, and I ran after him. I apologised for intruding and asked if he needed some help. He immediately showed me his receipt, so focused on showing me his proof, not wanting me to think he was lying. Then he told me he needed to get to Esher, and so we went to the ticket machine together and got him a ticket, for six pounds. Six pounds to get to his second or third or fourth chance. He thanked me, kissed me on the cheek, and went on his way.
Today I’ve been wondering about him, wondering if he got there, how he’s doing, wondering if he’s on his feet. Hoping, and wondering.