Oh little blog, how I've neglected you so.
Apologies in advance for this whistle-stop tour of the last month or so - I'm gonna keep it picture heavy to try and explain my blog absence...a lot has been happening work-wise and home-wise and I've been meaning to throw down some blog posts in intervals but the intervals didn't seem to come. So here I am, with one massive epic post to try and do the last number of weeks some justice.
I lost a stone out of my precious antique engagement ring. WAHHH. It's currently with the goldsmith right now seeing if they can find an opal to match, but it's not looking good. It's so old and the clasps holding all the stones in are really fragile.
I scored this vintage dress from Stephanie's (Bee Vintage) online sale - can't resist a good Scandinavian print. I also invested in some sunshiney sandals from ASOS - here they are in grey (all out of yellow I'm afraid!).
My mum and Auntie Moe came to visit from canada for a month. The time flew by and it was great to have some quality girl time with them and for Levi to spend some time with his Nana. We drank tea, watched movies, charity shopped, cooked. Lovely lovely.
The first fruits of my vegetable growing experiment arrived in the form of gorgeously peppery rocket. I've already snipped the first round and divvied it up between ourselves and the neighbours and it seems to grow back so quickly. My favourite summertime lunch right now is a rocket, tomatoes, beetroot and goats cheese salad drenched in balsamic glaze. Mmmmm come to mamma. (we got our organic seeds from 'Seed to Plate' - such a great site for beginners like me - it even lets you plot out your patch virtually with your own dimensons according to the space and helps you pick what crops you'll use the most - winner!) Now I just have to wait on the carrots, leeks, cabbages, spring onions, courgettes and tomatoes! Grow babies, grow!
I finally bit the bullet and ordered some prints for our bedroom. It's been the last place in the house I've given any attention to and to finally have these beautiful Clare Nicolson prints hanging above the bed has given such a sense of comfort and finish to the space. Clare's work is so lovely - they were exactly the colours and designs I had been looking for. I have pinterest to thank for that find!
Our gorgeous friends John and Nadia got hitched at the end of June and we had the best day with friends celebrating. I scored a dressy second-hand black jumpsuit on Ebay for £8 to wear for the occasion. Ebay still gets me all crazy. I have a 'watch' list as long as your arm, but I couldn't let this beauty away and I'm so so glad. It was the most comfortable wedding attire I've ever donned and I reckon I can't go wrong re-wearing it loads with different accessories. Black jumpsuits. YES.
I said goodbye to my handsome boys for 5 days at the start of July to take a trip to Romania with my job. It's the longest I've ever been away from either of them and it was tough in the lead up, but they had a ball and THANK THE GOOD LORD for FaceTime and excellent Romanian wifi.
We had to stop over in London on our way to Romania, so Laura and I stayed with my best bud Estelle. She's moving to Italy in a week and this was going to be my last visit with her. To say it is the end of an era would be an understatement. Estelle has been there from the first time I lived in London as a poor student in the East right through to my pregnancy with Levi in the West and has always been my lighthouse in London. I can't imagine being there without her and our visits across will never be the same. It felt only right that we have our last night in style so we upped the nostalgia levels and went for an epic 2 hour drive around London at dusk. Other than a London cabbie, I don't know anyone else that knows and loves this city like Stella. She took us to the most haunting and beautiful memorial site for sex workers that had died or been murdered. Reading the tributes and seeing the pictures along this ribbon and flower clad gate was so moving. Laura had never seen a lot of the historical sites of London so we did lots of that (beautiful, old, upright London), we sang along to the cheese on HEART & MAGIC FM and finished with bagels & brownies at our favourite joint in Brick Lane. *sigh* It was the BEST night.
Romania. Beautiful, Romania. As a source country for victims of human trafficking, we decided to spend some time with people working on that issue there. We spent 3 whirlwind days hosted by the fantastic Ratiu Centre for Democracy. The organisation promotes democracy as a way of life and their projects are all based on this principle. They hold their elected representatives to account through community involvement, they run youth programmes and deliver education and prevention on trafficking issues and offer support for survivors of trafficking. It was a privilege and an inspiration to hear about the work they are doing.
We got to meet their team, spend some time with Police from Organised Crime as well as the National Agency on Trafficking. We met survivors and their families and had a chance to speak with practitioners and psychologists that are working to support male and female victims in that area of the country. It left us buzzing with hope for a partnership with them and the next few months will be interesting to see how that develops.
Oh, and Romanian lemonade is the BEES KNEES. MAN, that stuff is good. I probably had a jug a day, there were so many choices and concoctions. My favourite was this mandarin, pineapple and basil combo shown above. Have mercy, it was good. (I'm sorry if I've slipped into a bit of a Southern State America twang in my writing. We're watching quite a bit of Friday Night Lights around here at the minute....)
Being away for the week gave me the chance to pick up some books I've been meaning to read. Brene Brown's 'Daring Greatly' is excellent and gently blowing my mind. Caitlin Moran's 'Moranthology' is witty and significant and had me sniggering a lot on the plane. Both worth a pick up (based on what I've read so far...goodness knows I've hardly read either of them since I came home).
As soon as we got back from Romania we had Andy Turner over for a visit from the UK Stop the Traffik Team. He was a champ as I dragged him around to meet all the people involved in ACT groups and community activism here in Northern Ireland so he could see how Stop the Traffik could support us on our journey and campaigns. We are so hopeful for our motley crew of activists here - we have a beautiful, creative, joint-up vision of disrupting trafficking here in Northern Ireland and I love being a part of it.
And last but certainly not least, my boy. He is getting so big, so independent and so clever. I honestly feel like the most important moments of my entire life are happening every day with him and Dave. He's shy, but determined - starting to take more risks and we're letting him find his way. This cracking heatwave has allowed us so much more outdoor fun (including scobing a cheeky dip in our neighbours ginormous paddling pool - this thing is the ferrari of paddling pools) and I love that he loves being outside. There's so much more joy when all the trappings and distractions are taken away and we're able to enjoy each other fully.
Ok, I know - it was a mammoth post. Don't say I didn't warn you. So, now I'm all caught up, I'm off to watch another episode of Friday Night Lights, y'all. Have the BEST week!