Wednesday, June 29, 2011

where we been and where we going

We've been home. ('Home' being the island I grew up on. I still call it 'home' even though it's not any more.)There was boats and sea and fishing and eating fishes and walking in the woods and lots of little girls in a bath and catching up with friends and making our brains ache trying to think of a way that we could live there and still do what we do.   
Tomorrow we are going to London. Where maybe we want home to be. It's all very confusing. There will be trains and cafes and Italian food and my first ever hen party and a house with a garden and catching up with friends.  
There probably won't be much blogging. But you're used to that by now.  
That whole 'weekly' thing didn't work out so well, huh?  In brief we are : busy, tired, barely seeing each other, photographing weddings (AMAZING weddings), travelling, exhausted.  The babies are: loud, rolling, trying to crawl (A), enjoying teeth (E), stealing (and eating) post it notes, throwing food, scowling.
* photos by the boy. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oberation SBAM: the wardrobe edition.

Closet Visit : Claire Cottrell

Closet Visit : Giorgia Tramontano

Last week I found myself standing in my jeans and my bra, hunting through my wardrobe desperately looking for something to cover my top half. I was getting more and more panicky as I realised that there was absolutely nothing to wear. And then I spotted it, my best t-shirt and  breathing a sigh of relief I pulled it over my head then turned to look in the mirror. My best t-shirt had three moth holes in the mid-section. My best t-shirt had been worn all throughout my (twin) pregnancy so said mid-section was thus somewhat misshapen. There was an orange mark on the shoulder, most likely puréed carrot that hadn't come out in the wash. The realisation that despite this litany of embarrassments it was still my best t-shirt was.... enlightening.

For a long time my wardrobe has been 50% clothes that are too fancy for my lifestyle,10% things that I like and that fit and 40% crap. I've mostly been wearing the crap. Trousers that are too tight, t-shirts stretched by a stomach filled with two babies, cardigans with holes in the cuffs, leggings that have become weak at the knees, tops that cling uncomfortably to my new, post-two babies belly, favourite tees that have constellations of moth holes scattered across the chest,  gifts that were given after I had two babies that were very kindly bought in the size I was before I had two babies (thanks guys) but that were new and clean so I wore them anyway. While wearing the crap I would stand and stare at the silk ruffly dresses, the strapless sparkled dresses, the jewel-encrusted tops and think wistfully of a life where I had occasion to wear them and a body that would still fit in them.
No more. 
I've been gradually purging over the last few years, every couple of months filling bags with clothes to either throw out or give to charity and it felt amazing but it wasn't enough, still the shameful ratio remained and still I was wearing things that made me feel uncomfortable, depressed, minging. Something more serious was needed and so I embarked on Project 333. Kind of.

Project 333 is one woman's aim to live for 3 months with 33 items of clothing (including shoes and accessories, not include pyjamas, workout clothes, wedding rings or unders) with the notion that only good things will come from this. (That noise you just heard was my mum rolling her eyes. Or possibly hyperventilating. Maybe both at once. My previous attempts at downsizing my wardrobe have been met with half bemused and half concerned 'why?'s) Those good things include but are not limited to:  more space in your house, less time spent wondering what to wear, no days spent wearing crap for you will have no crap, never looking like you got dressed in the dark because all of your clothes will work together. Also (this isn't mentioned anywhere else and I don't know why because it's THE BEST BIT) no giant piles of laundry because hello, if you don't do the laundry you will have nothing to wear.

It didn't take much more to convince me that this was something I needed to do. Increasingly I have been feeling a frantic urge to live with less, to get rid of stuff and things, to have only what I believe to be beautiful or know to be useful in my life. And there was that time that we went to New York for a month, taking only hand luggage, dressing was such a joy, so easy!  And so I stood at my wardrobe, this time with black bags and storage bags in hand, and made two piles: things I don't love and things I do love but that I don't (or shouldn't) wear. The second pile included things that I either have no occasion to wear or that I have been wearing despite the fact that they don't fit properly and the storage bags were so that I didn't have to get rid of these things permanently, just ensure that they were no longer in my day-to-day life, depressing me with their silky ruffles and small sizes.  I was ruthless about the things I don't love or believe to be eminently useful (which I will, in time, replace with things that are both useful and loved). It was surprisingly easy and completely liberating. Doing it with a number in mind made it a challenge, a game to get rid of as much as possible. If I was dithering about something it went in the pile, there was no room in my life for things I wasn't sure about. And the more I got rid of the lighter I felt and the better my wardrobe looked. What was left started to work together, to look like a considered collection and less like the contents of a charity shop.
I haven't been religious about it though, there are still more than 33 things in my wardrobe (37 not including shoes or accessories at my last count). There are a couple of excuses I've been using: 1) that I live in Scotland and weather-wise any given day can encompass every season. Twice.  And 2) that unlike most people I get vomited on at least once a day, so I need spares. Really though I just haven't found the time to go through all of the extraneous stuff like shoes and jewellery to try and cut it down. I will but if I don't get it down to 33 items I won't worry, I know that I'm embracing the philosophy even if I'm not quite sticking to the rules. It's not about rules for me, it's about living a life and dressing in a way that make me feel lighter, freer, happier.  As Ms Project 333 says "this is not a project in suffering, if you need to create a version of Project 333 that works better for you, do it."
Sometime soon I'll take some pictures and post a breakdown of what now lives in my wardrobe.  If for no other reason than that there are no good photos of minimal wardrobes, none. While the likes of Closet Visit and The Coveteur are beautiful and totally intriguing, they are undeniably dedicated worshippers of excess and filled with pictures of the sort that these days make me feel distinctly anxious.

* images by Jeana Sohn of 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a mystery

Elderflowers. So pretty, so sweet smelling, so delightfully deliciously free. So why have I never seen them in wedding flowers? It makes no sense. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A tome.

I used to love to bake, to measure ingredients and mix them slowly or quickly depending on their need. To crack eggs and get a little on my fingers, to cut butter into small squares and sift flour making shapes on the worktops where it drifted quietly over the edges of the bowl.  And then I started using a new cookbook and that was the end of that. Ms Lawson drove me mad. Brownies that wouldn't cook, cakes that wouldn't rise, biscuits that spread over the baking sheet, everything too damn sweet. Joy was replaced with frustration, baking became a source of irritation and stress, so I stopped. Until I needed to or desperately wanted to bake and again I would get out The Book, hopefully convincing myself that as everyone else loves her and her buttery goods my failures had been flukes, my next effort would be perfect . No dice.  

I haven't quite been able to bring myself to throw out the damn thing but I will no longer use it.  Smitten Kitchen has become my go-to but I need a book. Something to dust in sugar and flour (Nye gets pissy if I do that to the laptop) with pages to peel apart at the edges where they have become bonded with butter and jam. A book for cakes. (And biscuits and breads and muffins and buns) One that won't fail me. One that will be there, a tome on my bookshelf, filled with deliciousnesses. Fancy deliciousnesses and basic deliciousnesses and comforting deliciousnesses and impressive deliciousnesses. Savoury deliciousnesses and sweet deliciousnesses and yeasty deliciousnesses and chocolatey deliciousnesses.  A book that will show me how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies when that is what I want but will also inspire me to try new cakes I have never heard of (I loved that about Nigella Lawson, when first we met, her cakes sound and look beautiful and interesting; autumn cake, nutella cake, Guinness cake... they just don't bloody work.) A baking bible if you will.  

Do you know of one?  

Friday, June 10, 2011


 And it was to this city, whenever I went home, that I always knew I must return, for it was mistress of one's wildest hopes, protector of one's deepest privacies. It was half insane with its noise, violence, and decay, but it gave one the tender security of fulfilment. On winter afternoons there were sunsets across Manhattan when the smog itself shimmered and glowed… Despite its difficulties, which become more obvious all the time, one was constantly put to the test by this city, which finally came down to its people; no other place in America had quite such people and they would not allow you to go stale; in the end they were its triumph and its reward. Willie Morris 

New York, I love you, I miss you.


 * this post is alternatively titled 'Morning Sickness, A Tale of Vomit and Tears in New York City.' I can not tell you how ill I felt in every single one of these photos.

* the photo of Nye's armpit is alternatively titled 'I Can't Believe You Stayed Out Late, Came Home Drunk then Threw Up in the Bath. Get Out of Bed, We're Going Sightseeing, I Don't Care If It's 89F And You Have A Headache. (You Asshole.)'
* we want to go back. Real Bad. If you are getting married and would like to pay our travel & accommodation expenses in return for nice photos, CALL ME.  

*photos by me & him & us.  
* more C&N in NYC here

Friday, June 03, 2011

giving credit

I like it. I'm not entirely sure that you always need to contact the photographer to ask their permission before using their work.  Personally I'm busy. I barely have time to answer emails as it is. Personally I would rather you just used the image with a proper credit. Sometimes emailing me to let me know that you used my image is nice though, it gives me a chance to say thank you. 
Which is the thing. As a photographer I want you to use my images, I want my work to be seen by more people, I want to know that people like it, as long as you give me a proper credit (proper means including a link). A lot of the rhetoric being used in discussions about giving credit would suggest that photographers don't want you to use their work and as such I worry that bloggers are starting to fear the use of images that they find online. Of course there are photographers who don't want you to use their work without asking and sometimes they have good reason to. Sometimes they have sold the rights to the photo to someone else and they will get in big doodoo if you use it. Sometimes they just feel a little precious about where their work goes and what people do with it. And that's fine. Those photographers usually state quite clearly, where you can see it, that they don't want you to use their work. In fact even if it's not right there where you can see it you should probably have a good look around their website just in case. Should there be such a request, send the photographer an email. Even if they don't say that you can use it (and they often will) they will be pleased that you like their work and you will have spread some happiness. Isn't that nice? And if a photographer asks you not to use their work don't, for the love of god, take a screengrab of it and use it anyway, even if you do give credit. That's just obnoxious and you deserve that unpleasant email they will send you. Oh and whilst we're on the subject of unpleasant emails from photographers: photographers, please look properly for credits before you send unpleasant emails. Sending an email telling a blogger that they're infringing your copyright when the credit is right there at the bottom of the post, clear as day, will not only make you feel like an idiot, the blogger is unlikely ever to promote your work again.  (I speak from the experience of the pissed off blogger, not the stupid-ass photographer.)

So. To surmise, my thoughts are: 

  • don't be scared of using someone else's work on your blog.
  • As long as you CREDIT IT PROPERLY. 
  • If you're not going to credit it properly, DON'T BOTHER.
  • Unless you have looked and you just can't find the source and you really really love the image and can't bear not to share it, in which case, personally, I don't think that there's too much wrong with acknowledging that you can't find the source and asking your readers if they know. I may be mistaken.
  • You don't always need to ask the photographer's permission.
  • UNLESS they have clearly requested that you do so. 
  • Screengrabs are for assholes. 
  • Maybe buy this print if you just can't remember not to be an asshole. 

If you want a more eloquent and comprehensive guide to The Rules of Using Other's Work, check out {frolic}'s post on the matter, which I'm pretty sure has (deservedly so) become the definitive guide on the matter. 

*GIVING CREDIT PRINT, By Pia Jane Bijkerk, aka STREETCRED. For sale by Mammoth Collection, via {Frolic}
* photograph of print by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

E & A.

For no reason other than that I'm in a stinking bad mood and I'd rather not be.