Five Minute Friday: Together

Five Minute Friday

Taking a moment (or rather, five minutes) to embrace the click of keys, the words on the page, the unique soothingness of writing (if soothingness is even a word).  Linking up with the fierce and lovely Lisa-Jo.

This week, the prompt word is together.

GO.

It's a powerful word, together.

It conjures up a million little memories, the moments that make up a life, the people that populate the tapestry of each one of our personal histories.  It makes me think of silly moments, deep moments, precious moments.

Together is watching two dear friends marry one another - something I'm always reminded of as three sweet friends celebrate anniversaries at this point in the year.

Together is hanging out with my siblings, pjs and board games, or building the Lego we still won't let our parents get rid of.  There may be no grandbabies yet, but we are still not too grown up for Lego building.  The only difference between now and twenty years ago?  We can sip wine as we build.

Together is my classroom, stories and injokes and adventures with the gang.  My boys and I are a team, and helping them in some small way, a little step in their journey, doing things together, is a pleasure and a privelege.  We learn so much from one another.

Together is weekend mornings with Matthew and the katzen, chatting and cuddles and tea and daydreams and wedding chat and kitty snuggles.  Time to spend together, away from the busy demands of the every day.

Together is brunch, or lunch, or coffee, or dinner, or drinks, with my lovely friends.  Sharing stories, venting about worries, making sense of the journey.  Together.

Together is going home, whether to Matthew's family or my own, getting swept up in the bearhugs of our families, different as they are.  What a pleasure to do life together.

Together is a dancefloor, a concert hall, a theatre.

Together is a wish, a hope, a treasure.

Together is better.

STOP.
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Catching up

It feels like it has been a good long while since I sat down to write a blog post.  Life, work, health and wedding planning, as well as the usual social loveliness, all conspired to keep me busy.  It's often the way, I think - the busier I am the less time I have to write about things!  Now feels like a good point to catch up and to get back into the groove of blogging, even if the pace is a little slower than it has been beforehand.  So, here's how things are!

Life...is good!  I'm such a lucky duck to have so much that interests me and keeps me busy and challenges me.  Whether it's a chill day in my jammies with the cats, a jaunt out of town for tea and cakes, or a mad fourteen hour workday, there's always fun to be found.

Work...is going well, and I am grateful and happy to have reached half-term break! My form are super lovely and my classes enthusiastic and I'm so enjoying devising lessons and activities for them.  I'm excited for when we return next week - now we are all settled in and know how everyone works we can hit the academic 'meat' of the year well-rested (I always think November-April is the academic powerhouse of the year!).  Plus, it's the half-term heading down to Christmas.  Awesome.

Health...is a little wobbly.  I haven't really mentioned it here, but now seems like the time to mention it as the impact over the next month will be tangible.  Over the summer holidays I found a large lump in my abdomen, and through a battery of tests the news and the prognosis was found to be very good – for all its size it is utterly benign, and hopefully easy to remove.  I am feeling pretty well most of the time, but on occasion I am experiencing stomach/back pain and a lots of tiredness – both common side effects of the condition and a definite downer!  I'm having an operation to remove the lump (which I have named Geffen...I like naming things) October 31st - I win on the Hallowe'en gore-o-meter this year.

Wedding planning...is going swimmingly!  Turns out being someone who likes planning makes it much more fun.  Matthew has also been a rockstar - he's so much help!  We have lots of things booked in now (I've bought my dress!) and are so looking forward to the big day next year.  More soon, I have no doubt

Everything else....lots of time with lovely folk; flying visits past to Bristol and Edinburgh, jaunts ahead to Newcastle, Glasgow, Hitchin and Forres; books and TV and cooking; little projects around the house; fun times with Matthew; cuddles with the kits; Junior League adventures; and plenty of autumnal hibernation. 

Hope this finds you all happy and well.  More soon.
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Wedding Ideas: First Dance Songs (31-40)

The series continues!  I enjoy nothing quite as much as a good trawl through YouTube looking for songs for our playlist, and especially thinking all about the important first dance....

31. Paul Weller - You Do Something To Me


I love this song - gently romantic and so, so sweet.

32. Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World


This song is like hot chocolate - soothing, sweet, and warm you up from within.

33. Air - You Make It Easy


Moon Safari is one of my very favourite albums and this song is just lovely.

34. Madness - It Must Be Love


This would be such a fun first dance!  Silly and 80s and sweet - a great combination!

35. Bob Marley - Is This Love


I can't recall this being used at any weddings I've attended, but I think this would be a lovely first dance song.

36. Take That - Rule The World



Friends of ours used this song and it brought a tear to the eye.  A big, sweeping song.

37. Lonestar - Amazed


I read somewhere that this song has been in the top five first dance songs in the UK since its release in 1998.  As a country fan this makes me very happy!

38. DJ Sammy & Yanou - Heaven (Candlelight Mix)


Who would have thought a dance track covering a Bryan Adams song would yeild such a sweet, beautiful mix?  I think this would be a lovely first dance.

39. Aqualung - Brighter Than Sunshine


This song (and this band, really) gives me the warm fuzzes. Such a sweet lyric, such an optimistic beginning to a married life together.

40. Andy Williams - Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You

Perfection - and so great for a couple who were feeling nervous about a first dance - everyone *has* to join in on this one!
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David's Bridal Opening

Poppet approves of my gift bag.
David's Bridal, the powerhouse of American wedding stores, has quite the reputation.  Apparently one in three US brides make their way down the aisle in a David's Bridal gown, and while I was searching for my dress, lots of David's Bridal styles were amongst those I pinned, liked, and lusted after.  Alas, factoring in postage and customs and all that jazz, there was just one little problem.  Or rather, one enormous problem...the Atlantic Ocean.

Imagine my joy, then, when it was announced that David's Bridal was opening their first UK store.  Right about now.  In Stratford, which is a literal hop, skip and jump from my neck of the woods.  Isn't timing a beautiful thing?  My colleague Jo and I went along for our first appointment last month and went along again on Monday....when we bought our dresses!

The details of our frocks are super-top-secret (in my case, especially from Matthew, who reads here, because he's lovely and just a very supportive fiancé), but I thought I would show a few snaps from yesterday, when Jo and I headed back to the store for the 'Grand Opening'.  It was such fun - beautiful dresses and lovely accessories, a real party atmosphere and lots of champagne and canapes.  A very fun way to spend an evening.  It's such fun to have girlfriends who are planning weddings at the same time as you - I'm one of seven 2014 brides in our circle and the note comparing and tip swapping is quite delicious.  Such a special season!

If you are a bride to be, I would heartily recommend visiting the Stratford store - it's a beautiful space and the staff are really lovely!  Well worth a visit, and there are a real selection of pretty, well-made, special gowns for you to try.  The whole process of buying my dress was enjoyable - even giggling at the ones I tried on on a whim that really didn't suit me.  I am in love with my gown and cannot wait to wear it next year!

Chips browsing the bridesmaids section.

Busy!  It's such a beautiful store, though, and the service we've received on all of our visits has been super.  Lovely, knowledgeable staff, and so much time for each bride!

We were most taken with the cupcakes from the Buttercup Cake Shop.  The lovely Kaz is kindly making our wedding cake (thank you, darling!), with help from Vixie, I believe, but if we need some cupcake goodness to keep folk going I may buy a few dozen cakes from here - superb frosting!  Even if we don't contact them for the wedding, I'll be sure to bear them in mind for future parties and book clubs!

The DJs at the event were such fun and really added to the party atmosphere!  They are award winners too, and certainly lived up to their name (Mighty Fine Entertainment).  Really fun, great song choices - they even made me pause and think if we might need a DJ: at the moment we haven't budgeted for one but I am now sorely tempted to at least ask for a quote.  Lovely guys.

Jo with one of the Vera Wang White dresses.  As we won't be sharing the details of our gowns, we though we'd get some other beauties in.  Speaking of beauties, isn't Jo a fab model?

Champagne break!  All the guests were spoiled with fizz and delicious canapes from Party Ingredients.  So many stealable/ borrowable ideas for my next dinner party, haha!

So much choice!




A really fun night - I really hope all the staff are happy with how their big night went!  No disclosure needed for this post either - it was an 'open' opening gala, and all views here are entirely me.  What can I say - I'm a fan!
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Emerging

I am just going to write.  Just write and write.  I miss getting on without distractions, so I'm going to write here and then copy across to blogger / email / wherever else I need it.

It's a grey and cold Thursday evening here, and I'm sat in my pyjamas listening to the cats maiowing and chirruping at each other as they explore the kitchen.  I love how everything is new to them, even if they've been in there half an hour ago!  They truly are delightful.  I think if anything Matthew and I underestimated just how much they would make this house feel like a home.

It really does feel like a home.

This space, this place, is ours.  We've lived here for eighteen months now, and already I smile at the memory of visits, meals, glasses of wine and cosy evenings.  How blessed we are to have a safe place of our own.  Grateful.

I haven't blogged for a while...just because, really.  Back to school, busy-ness, wedding planning, minor health worries, and the autumnal pull towards hibernation conspired and I just felt less motivated to write.  I'm hoping that now it's autumn proper and my new classes are settled in I'll be able to write a little more.  Because I like writing here. I like reading other blogs.  I like the idea that the bloggers I read and who read me are like a little band of friends, checking in here and there.  Humblest apologies for the lack of comments and interaction - I descended into my hole a little.  I hermit hard when given the opportunity.

We are four and a bit weeks into the half-term now, with a fortnight left to go.  I love the busy whirl of this term, but this first stint, going on and on and seemingly never stopping, is always a little bit of a grind.  Luckily I have some lovely boys in my care once again, and I'm so grateful for my ace colleagues, but the idea that half-term break is on the horizon is a beautiful thing.

I love the city in the autumn.  London in the summer can be beautiful, but it is also grimy and sweaty and so, so warm when we get a 'proper' summer.  Autumn is gorgeousness itself - rain-spattered pavements, turning leaves, the scent of coffee and hot cider and delicious comfort food on the breeze.  I'm investing in jumpers with woodland creatures upon them and breaking out the slow cooker!

It's also a great time of year for books - tea and chocolate and a good book work so well on a dull weekend afternoon.  It's a grand time to watch TV - I'm enjoying 'Scandal' and enjoying most of 'The Newsroom' and 'Smash' (even if they occasionally make me eyeroll *hard* - that's a whole other post!).  Matthew and I have even found something besides the football to watch together - we are loving 'Harrow: A Very British School' and 'Dubai Ultimate Airport'.

We are like the opposite of cool.  Which is cool, right?
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