Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mum, Memories, Moving and Hallowe'en Mayhem

Mummy Moments

It's been a tough 6 weeks for us as my mum, who lives alone in England, has been very ill which has seen my sister and I making 6 different trips over the water to be with her within the last few weeks-hence no blog posts from me! Whilst it has been a very stressful and emotional time, it has also given us the opportunity to spend quality time together without extraneous factors getting in the way-even though almost two weeks of it was spent at her hospital bed. We have laughed and cried, shared memories and photos of both our childhood and hers and although many stories I've heard numerous times, there have been so many more that were all new to me. 
One positive outcome from this traumatic time has been her decision to move back home for treatment-a more negative outcome has been the ordeal of packing up her life and home! I thought I  was a shopper but I am a mere novice compared to my mum! Never before have I seen so many multiples of beauty products-make-up, moisturizers and mascaras-not to mention the clothes, boots and shoes. As we worked our way through her CD and 'record' collections, we reminisced about many of the family parties and celebrations each piece of music reminded us of-from my teenage years getting ready for 'discos' to milestone birthdays and weddings. I am in the fortunate position of being very close to both my mum and dad's families and it was lovely to hear her recounts of her early married days, living in my paternal grandparents' 'front room' with a newborn baby (me), despite the fact that my grandparents had their other 13 children also living at home!

As part of the clear-out, we came across 6 copies of  the movie, 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', an all time favourite of my mum's and it reminded me of how she came to have so many copies. For years I had tried to source a copy of this movie but with no success until one day my mum wrote to 'The Sunday Post' which regularly features letters form readers on a mission to source something, asking if anyone knew where she could find the film. Within days, she had received 6 copies of the film through the post-from complete strangers-reminding us the generosity of mankind. My mission for the next few weeks is to sit down and rewatch some of these 'oldies' as well as read the book.

At one point we thought we would never see light at the end of the tunnel but we managed to pack up all and make the move back and looking forward to spending time all together-although I fear my mum may be hoping to hop on the next plane back to England when she is subjected to the mayhem and madness of our lives here! 

Each May, my 'Scottish' family meet up for the weekend at country lodges in Perth, Scotland and every year there is a milestone birthday to celebrate-from 18ths to 70ths whereby the 'birthday boy/girl' chooses the dress up theme.  Next year it will be mum's 70th and her chosen theme is Country and Western so we will be dusting down those cowboy boots and hats-yee hah! 
Didn't she look great last year as her all-time favourite icon, Audrey Hepburn, at our movie themed party? 

Faux Fur and Feathers

As the weather has been quite mild lately, I've resisted the urge to totally immerse myself in winter woollies, choosing instead to layer up and as such, I seem to have accumulated a number fine knits, gilets and fur jackets. I have a bit of an obsession with hats, namely because I can never find an umbrella and if I do manage to locate one, I usually end up leaving it behind me somewhere. Hats are also great for those 'bad hair' days! 
Assemetric jumper River Island Hat and bag both TK Maxx Jeans M and S
Ghost top and French Connection fur gilet both from TK Maxx. Fringe leather bag Top Shop

Beaded dress M and S, feather gilet from Top Shop


Sequin top River Island, Fur jacket with brocade trim TK Maxx

Mount Stewart Magic

Everyone who knows me will know how much I value my fantastic childminder, Donna. She has looked after Robbie since he was 10 months old and she makes it so much easier for me to work full-time and for Robbie to attend a number of after school activities which I know isn't possible for many working parents. Robbie's first experience of Belfast Zoo and Exploris were down to Donna and almost 9 years later, things have not changed. During a recent exceptional closure day-for Robbie not me-I was delighted to receive these pics taken of Donna's daughter, Poppy and Robbie on a day trip to Mount Stewart. I'm not sure if this made my working day better or worse as it made me very envious. 


I'm looking forward to visiting Mount Stewart this weekend for the wedding of 2 lovely friends/colleagues and how talented is the groom, Gary, who made these marquee lights for his fiancĂ©e Jenny's birthday? 

Cartoon Capers

As part of the Aspects Irish Literature Festival, Robbie attended a comic workshop with Bangor born artist and illustrator Andy Hamilton in Carnegie Library. Andy has been creating cartoon strips for over 25 years in books, websites and magazines from The Beano to the RSPB's Wingbeat magazine. Andy took the group of children through the basics of creating comic strip characters and narratives and inspired them to come up with some original ideas of their own. This was a great interactive workshop and at £5 for over two hours, value for money too so keep an eye out for it next year as part of the Aspects festival. 


'Officially Amazing' Cinemagic

We've had a few busy weekends thanks to Cinemagic's Film and Television Festival with the premiere of 'Pan' followed by a weekend of film reviewing and a 'Bafta Behind the Scenes' workshop with CBBC presenter Kate Thistleton, "Officially Amazing's" Ben Shires and Connor Byrne from "The Dumping Ground" as well as a workshop with Jam Media-the team behind "Roy" and "Baby Jake". 

The festival runs until 30th November with lots going on for all ages so check it out at

Hands up for Handbags

I went a bit mad with handbags last month, treating myself to this Top Shop fringed leather bag which can be used as a clutch or a cross body. In preparation for the party season, I indulged my love of all things sequins and ended up with both the navy/gold and black/silver versions of this evening bag from-of course-TK Maxx. 


Hallowe'en at Home

Although I go a bit overboard with the decorations at Christmas, Hallowe'en is usually a bit more low key but this year I was swayed by a very persuasive 9 year old to get into the spirit of the season and ended up adding a few bits and pieces-from tissue and silver pumpkins to skull garlands and marquee lights-all picked up relatively cheaply from B and M's and TK Maxx. 






Happy Hallowe'en-and Half-Term everyone!

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