Hello lovelies! How are you doing this week? Round here, as usual, things are busy, busy, busy. The last few weeks included a flying visit to Scotland to pick up a very special birthday gift for hubby......his new kilt! It's his very first one, and with all the regalia on, he cuts a very dashing figure. We had a lovely couple of days away with his dad, including a delicious meal at La Potiniere, a fab little restaurant in Gullane, in the Scottish borders. It was wonderful to be out of the city for a bit, walk by the sea and breathe in the country air.
Back in London, I've been drooling over Lucy’s Chocolate Stout Cake. Didn't it look absolutely delicious?
In my house we have a traditional Christmas cake. I love fruit cake. My men are not huge cake eaters, so I just have to please myself, right? And my parents, who come every Christmas love it too, in fact my mum takes whatever is left back to Malawi with her. I love the idea of them sitting on their veranda, with exotic birds flying through the garden, eating my cake! So this post was meant to be all about my Christmas cake, (that's last years cake, below)
However disaster has struck. Having carefully got my old, stained recipe book out to make a shopping list on Monday, I cannot now find it. I have looked high and low, in likely and unlikely places, and it has just vanished. I have had this recipe for years. I can't remember where it came from, but I do know I have modified it. I am not so keen on mixed peel, so I replaced it with stem ginger, and tweaked various other things. So there is no way I will be able to replicate it…….
After much internal debate, more searching, googling other recipes to see if I can find a similar one, I have decided to let it go for now. I'm sure it'll turn up, but for now, I am going to bake a different cake and hope for the best. I used this recipe as it seemed closest to mine, and lets you choose what fruit to put in.
This little episode matches what is happening on a larger scale in my life at the moment. I have been feeling increasingly unsettled and anxious, especially with Christmas approaching. The thing is, darlings, I love Christmas. But every year as it approaches, I find myself getting more and more stressed, rushed and further away from the calm, uncluttered, peaceful holiday that I crave.
To be sure, there has been a lot going on. This is only the second Christmas with the blog, and Lucy and I have had two markets to prepare for as well as opening our shop.
The first market was last Sunday. It was run by Bust Craftacular UK, and we have been as visitors a few times. It is a busy, bustling craft market in a hall in Bethnal Green, and we were thrilled to be accepted. Here are some pictures of setting up, (doesn't Lu look cute?) and our stall.
In the days before we had been madly making new products to sell, like these Christmas decorations and bookmarks. It was crazy and wonderful all at once. We loved being out there, and meeting friends from social media, and other crafters and makers.
But all of these things, the blog, the markets, Christmas have left me feeling increasingly unsettled. I feel like I am trying hard, but it's just not good enough.
By a funny coincidence, this week, when I am finding it all so hard, an artist that I have long admired, Kelly Rae Roberts, had a huge sale of her online courses. She is a mixed media artist, who fell into painting without any prior experience, left her job as a medical social worker to follow her dream. I have been reading her blog, and following her story for years, and have always really admired her for taking that big step. Her courses have always been financially out of my reach, until last tuesday when she offerd 90% off her courses, and I decided to sign up for her mixed media painting course.
This course is about learning to do collage with mantras, and there are various exercises you go through to figure out what mantras you are going to paint. Goodness, it has been hard and emotional work. These exercises have made me realise that I have been struggling for a while. Feeling I am letting people down by not being on top of things. And the crazy thing is that the only person who is pointing the finger is me! I have realised that in my quest for things to be perfect (as decided by me), I am constantly failing to meet the standards I have set for myself. And in that struggle to meet unrealistic goals, I am neglecting my own health and well being.So it's time to stop setting myself up for failure. Time to let go of the idea of the perfect Christmas, the perfect house, the perfect gifts for everyone. I am doing my best, and actually? That is enough. Below are my first two mantras. I have a feeling I'll be saying them to myself a lot over the next few weeks.........
Well, that's all from me today, lovelies. I really hope you are coping better than me in the run up to Christmas. If you have any advice or comments, please do leave them below, I would love to hear from you. In any case, I am quite sure that, like me, you are doing your best too. After all, we all have our own battles to fight, don't we?
Take care darlings,