Category: Family life

Music and madness x

(A pic of my fantasy music room in Paris)

The only time I play the piano now is at Christmas. I have a battered old carol book that gets pulled out every year and the fingers get dusted off.  The violin does come out of it’s case occasionally – we got together with friends on the 4 Jan (should’ve been the 6, except that was a Monday) to celebrate an Armenian Christmas (none of us are Armenian) with gifts of traditional dress, food, music and dance. I was on the fiddle, the husband was singing, Charlie on the drums and Bella on the Tamborine: As is every parents right,The video will be used to mortify them on their eighteenth birthdays. Needless to say, it was a fabulous evening, of the type we need more of. For me, it was interesting in that it has always been the spontaneous music making that I have loved, not restricted by notes, rules and history. Neither of my children play instruments, they’ve been offered them, Bella even played the flute for a while, but it takes a lot of discipline to play an instrument well.  And the truth is, much of that discipline comes via parents who can see the end game.  Which does work to a certain extent.  But the real heart is when a child will sit down and play just because they want to.

 

This is something, particularly as an ex-professional musician, I have thought a lot about; I would like Bella and Charlie to be able to create music themselves – it is one of life’s great joys –  but maybe in a less formal way. And I think I’ve found the answer: I’ve come across Piano Note on Youtube. A series of piano lessons designed by song writer and recording artist Lisa Witt, where the manuscript is thrown out with the rule book, instead everything is taught through chords and chord progression. This means you progress much faster, develop your ears and learn to accompany yourself to your favourite songs. Who needs more?

 

 

Bella and I are playing for 15 minutes a day. We’re hoping to persuade Charlie to join us.  And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to more amazing evenings like this one.

 

I hope so.

Laters, Kate x

Update x

The crochet is going great guns, particularly as we’ve come up with the perfect project to encourage repetition, practise and ideal tension: We’re making what can only be called ‘little socks’ for my dining rooms chairs to replace those sticky pads that only work to gather dog hair.

We did experiment with a garden string and twine, but for ease of make we’re going with a thick grey wool, though we’re both anxious about longevity – time will tell.

It also helps that the six chairs round the table are back with their newly woven seating, looking enticing.

So that’s only seven chairs and twenty eight more socks to go..

Laters, Kate x

Wiser x

 

It’s going to be some time before my fingers can instinctively do this, but I’m having my first ever crochet lesson today and my eyes can’t wait.

 

They’ve been checking out all the incredible designs a simple hook and a piece of yarn and a little bit of yearn can make.

 

I’m very lucky – I’m learning from a highly skilled older lady in my neighbourhood courtesy of The Wiser Collective, a group set up by local mums Claire Redway and Sarah Laffey which aims to link up the generations in my area and

  1. offer practical support for families living apart from their relatives
  2. build connections and provide purpose for potentially isolated older people
  3. offer a sense of neighbourly community and companionship for both groups.

It works on the idea that there is so much we can learn from a group that all too often find themselves isolated, and there are things that as busy families we can offer – large meals with laughter can be something we take for granted.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

I can’t wait

Laters, Kate x

For Bella xxx

This is a little shout out for my beautiful daughter Bella: She needs 22 more Instagram followers by the 31 Dec to stand the chance to become a Brand Ambassador for Nike. In many ways, I write this with trepidation – but I’m supporting her request because as one gets older, you realise how fleeting youth is and how every opportunity needs to be grabbed and maybe the time has come for her to realise just how special she is.

If you agree, please go to bellaxbears

and follow…You’ll make one girls New Year! Thank you! xxxxxxx

 

Laters, Kate x

Bella’s Room x

The makeover of Bella’s bedroom is limping to it’s conclusion – there’s stuff to be hung on the walls and I still haven’t ordered the blinds, but most stuff is out of boxes. We’re also waiting for a delivery of this sofabed from Made – such a relief not to be blowing up airbeds any more.  At £299 in green velvet with its midcentury styling it feels a bit of a bargain..

Of course there was the usual disagreement on colour – Bella wanted yellow.  I put my foot down and said she’d thank me in five years time.

I also have my eye on this bed in a box for Charlie’s room because that would mean no more airbeds. Ever.

Surprisingly it’s more expensive at £399 so it’s going to have to wait.

Laters, Kate x

Exterior x

It was my birthday yesterday – Yippeee me! Meet my presents – Alfie and Bear, the two best dogs ever who now bookend the front door in regal fashion, the finishing touch to the newly painted exterior which finally can get it’s unveiling.

We also have new window boxes, made to size from a great company on Etsy so they sit properly within the window frame.  The black of the boxes contrasts the graphite of the paintwork.

The boxes have been planted with ivy to soften and tumble over edges, heucheras for their colour and cyclamen as they were the only white plant readily available at this time of year.  At some point trailing white geraniums will be added. It will be a pleasure to see the living wave of colour and white expanding and flowing out over the window sill.  I’m even thinking about adding them to the first floor.

 

The painted graphite on the outside of the house has been dramatic.  It has given the whole house a presence, made it feel bigger, added a modern gloss without compromising its history.

 

Very happy.

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Bella’s room x

 


Bella’s bedroom has been painted, but that’s about it.  It means it’s at an ugly transition stage when it’s a hybrid of essential bits from the past and colours from the present are all colliding to create a visual clash of cultures.  There are still big decisions to be made: colours for the blinds, what colour to paint the bed, rugs to source, a new wardrobe.  But in the frantic hell that is the start of the September term, the pull for peace is outweighing all of this…this weekend we’re just going to paint some art for her room.  Together, with music and large cups of tea.  Nothing complicated, but hopefully bold and aiming for beautiful…these are our inspirations.

 

The idea is to hang them over the half wall line: There’s something so appealing when art hangs over a paint line.

No idea why.  But somethings in life you don’t need to question. Like tea and creating.

Laters, Kate x

Poo tree..

The clouds are a watercolourist’s delight today, grey leeching into darker grey with the foreboding promise of a deluge, which is a bit of a concern as we have a tree-back-slash-large-bush that has developed the questionable power of smelling like dog shit every time there’s rain. It’s potency is so far reaching that innocent pedestrians have be known to check the soles of their shoes when they walk by.  Whilst the comical delight is strong, the aroma is not but I think I’ve finally discovered the culprit…

The source of this sick joke is the viburnum beetle, an insidious little creature whose larvae not only manages to munch away at the leaves, but also passes a very smelly excrement that seems to come into it’s own in damp conditions.

For something so powerful to be coming from something so small and not furry with four legs and fed on meat is quite mind blowing.

Help is at hand..this is my first choice of action as recommended by various websites.  After that it’s adios bush, which would be rather a shame…but this is war. And I will win, if only for my nose and the postman.

 

Laters, Kate x