All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins: A Halloween Weekend Update

A lazy Sunday post for a lazy Sunday day. We had a blast last night with my brother and sister-in-law at The Chambers Halloween party in Folkestone – and now G and I are nestled back home in our PJs.

I’m watching a couple of films for homework and later we’ll get stuck in to Stranger Things 2 (finally!). Which is the perfect end to the perfect weekend. 

I don’t even mind too much that Monday’s just around the corner…

Hope your Sunday is as blissful ❤

Halloween

I’ve given good Halloween this year, if I say it myself…

Halloween 2

Title of this post borrowed from Yayoi Kusama‘s All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016

Babies and Baptisms*

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Me at christenings

I’ll be heading home for a couple of child-based events this weekend (I know but they’re family/BFF children so it’s acceptable) so I just wanted to check in before my next film review (coming Tuesday).

On Sunday I’m going to see my best friend from my college days and I can’t bloody wait. She was my #1 partner in crime and we have so many horrifying stories together it will be lovely to reminisce and have a laugh about it all again. Her daughter is my god-daughter and she’s just turned 19. (19! A GROWN WOMAN).

Besides the fun element though, I’ll be seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen for a long time and I don’t know if you all know this about me but I am the most anti-social person on the block. Social engagements bring me out in a cold sweat and even though you probably can’t tell when you look at me, I’m usually crapping myself inside.

Does anybody else reading suffer such crippling anxiety before an engagement? I worry about everything, about they’ll think of me, what I’m wearing, what I say, whether I’ll sweat in the heat, look ugly, etc? ARGH so stressful.

And there’s nothing worse than being in the same room as people you knew from school (who you never liked/never liked you) or family members who’ve always told you you’d be gorgeous if only you’d lose weight.

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So I’m trying to stop myself from spiraling downwards with self-doubt by just not thinking about it. I’ll be wearing flat shoes (bliss) and my power jumpsuit, rocking new hair so what could possibly go wrong? I’ll also have my mother by my side at both dos and dates don’t get much better than that.

Going to smash this weekend like a boss *bicep emoji*.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in. I’ll be more prolific in the next few weeks, I have lots on my mind, I promise.

Happy Weekend, all ❤

*Christening/holy communion, not baptism but alliteration, yo.

#weekendcoffeeshare II

Over coffee I might tell you about my week, which wouldn’t win any prizes for changing the world but had some definite highlights. And was thankfully, a little less manic.

Since it’s been a busy weekend, and I suddenly started feeling very queasy, I probably wouldn’t be all that talkative so I’d show you my Instagram feed instead.

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  1. I’ve just started reading this book. So far, so good – I love that it’s written from Chief’s perspective
  2. Sending out positivity helps me
  3. A trip to the local chippy with my work buds makes Friday even better
  4. This is Margo. Margo is the prettiest girl in the world
  5. I do love this guy, for like ever
  6. Baxter
  7. Nothing worth having comes easy, a mantra my mother used to share and now a display on my sister-in-law’s office wall. Too true
  8. My brother and Baxter, before Baxter went buck wild with a little black dog called Archie
  9. More Baxter because you’ve got to love Baxter

It’s been a lovely weekend in Kent with family, celebrating a late Christmas. Now to chill out and prepare for the week to come…

How was your weekend? ❤

Mama

It’s show your ma you love her day here in the UK and I do, I do love my ma. She is an absolute peach.

But before I Iaunch into an ode to my dear old mother (she’s not old, she’s only, like, 66), I think it’s only fair to take a moment to think about those who can’t be with us today. Days like this are all well and good but there are people out there who have lost their parents, some recently and it’s understandably hard to keep cheerful on occasions like this. Believe me.

So, to all the mums that can’t be here with us, I’m thinking of you too; all those left behind and you, my Nana.

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Photo credit: Imagining the City

Back to Penny M, the greatest lady in my life. Everything I know today and every good quality I have, I learnt/inherited from my mother. If I am anything at all, I am my mother’s daughter and I wouldn’t change that for the world, because it’s blimming awesome. Here are just a few reasons I adore my mum:

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Photo credit: Claudia Rose Carter
  • She very, very smart and has a thoughtful answer for everything, which I admire. I like clever but I love subtle intelligence that doesn’t feel the need to announce itself loudly and arrogantly.
  • My mother reads more than anyone I know and this is where I got my passion for the written word. I started reading mature titles early on because I had access to them and Mum never tried to stop me reading them, which is amazing.
  • When I was 18, Mum bought me my own TV for my bedroom and it was here I started to watch amazing films late into the night, thus cementing my adoration for some of the greatest ever film makers. And horror. Lots and lots of horror. Thanks ma!
  • When she swears, I die. It’s the most hilaire. But she’ll still slaps me around the head if I use a really bad word, even though I’m 37 years old!
  • I can talk to her about absolutely anything.
  • Whenever I am going through a shitty time, she’s right there telling me that it’s all good material for ‘the book’. This is the book she truly believes I have in me, even though I’m not so sure. She also doesn’t judge me as hard as I judge myself, and tells me I’m just as brilliant as other people who have actually done things like further education, great careers, etc.
  • My mum understands me and even though sometimes it shoves my nose out of joint, when I go back and really think about what she’s said, it’s normally spot on.
  • Sometimes she calls me or sends me something when I most need it, and I don’t understand how she just knows.
  • She did shots at my brother’s wedding (below), the first time I have ever witnessed that. Plus, later on she was getting low with some of the bridesmaids on the dance floor, which was amuh-az-ing!
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Photo credit: Imagining the City

My mother, the legend. I love you Mum, more than ever and forever. Happy Mother’s Day!

All photographs from Madeleine and Tim’s Whitstable Wedding, December 2014, by Imagining the City and Claudia Rose Carter.

Bah Bye 2014!

tumblr_nhdfojHJg01tsfm3lo1_1280Well well well, here we are on the cusp of a brand new year and it feels like we were standing here not so long ago, doesn’t it? Where did 2014 go?

That said, quite a lot of shit has gone down and even as I ponder how speedily those months have flown by, I know it has felt like a full year.

The obligatory recap (and you will have to forgive me for a rather long and self indulgent post):

It’s hard to believe that A Voluptuous Mind has only been in existence since March. Before that I wore a few monikers, including The Meet Cute and Groupie for the Underdog.

Looking back on my blog is how I know what I did, what my mental states were throughout and what I have achieved.

I started my current job role in February after what felt like an epic battle to get it. I went up against my (now) good friend and in the end won it based on my writing ability. To me a great victory, even if it appears small to others.

It’s been a huge learning curve, stepping up from the bottom (where all good employees begin) into Head Office and having to adapt accordingly. For the most part I am happy and doing well, with a few frustrations that don’t seem important now. I’m doing okay work wise. Whether I will ever have a career based on what I do now is another matter, but is something to have a think about.

What my job has given me is a handful of really brilliant friendships and for that how could I ever be mad? I’ve been touched by the love I have received from three of my now closest friends and feel like a stronger person for each one of them. I’ve been inspired to get off my ample arse and move, in the best possible way – to think about what I want from life, who I want to share it with and invest in.

These women are a million light years away from the unhealthy friendships I have put up with in the past and that’s just magical really.

Among the hair brained schemes I had at the beginning of 2014 were: singing lessons, hula hooping and running. Only one of those stuck to be honest, but hey, that’s better than nothing. I also tried my hand at reviewing a few movies and books, which is something I would like to take into the new year.

I plan to have my nose stuck in a book as much as possible next year, rather than on my phone or whiling the hours away on Candy Crush Soda (which has not real merit at all). Ditto Netflix.

Continue reading “Bah Bye 2014!”

The Wild Card*

melissa-mccarthy-dancing

Just a quick one from me. I shall be back in touch around the weekend but from tomorrow morning I shall be wearing my Bridesmaid head!

Sadly, I didn’t manage to halve my body weight before the big event and my skin is far from flawless. My chins aren’t singular, my hair not perfect.

I didn’t even manage to get the contact lenses I was planning to unveil at the ceremony, that would have the congregation gasping “My God, you’re beautiful, Mrs Bass!”

None of that matters. I know this more than ever that the most precious things in life aren’t things at all (no matter how much toot I get from ASOS).

Friday is all about joy; pure unfiltered joy. And dancing to early 00’s R&B in a great dress.

Obvs.

*Melissa McCarthy is ‘The Wild Card’ according to the Bridesmaids film posters, hence the title of this post. I think I’m most like Megan (with a dash of Annie)

Bridesmaids

Is this image a spoiler alert?
Is this image a spoiler alert?

I can hardly believe I haven’t talked about THE BEST NEWS yet. I started to tip tap up a little post about this very thing a few months back but couldn’t find the appropriate words at the time to say how happy I am about it.

And then, something happened, and the thing I am going to tell you about now was brought forward and here I am with it looming in a big fabulous way and I am excited but also dead nervous! What am I like?

I’M GOING TO BE A BRIDESMAID!

A big fat, fabulous bridesmaid, finally! It’s so exciting. Back in the Summer, I was having a seemingly innocuous conversation with my Sister in Law to be, when she slipped in the question. Second best question I have ever been asked, if I’m honest. Well, not including the age-old: “Would you like a cup of tea?” obviously.

So I’m a bridesmaid in less than three weeks and it’s going to be great. I have an a-m-a-z-i-n-g dress that I was allowed to pick myself, a h-u-g-e petticoat of epic proportions (and the one I wore to my own wedding) and I can’t wait.

I’m not nearly as trim as I had hoped to be, since it’s been brought forward five months, but really, who fucking cares? So I could have been a dress size smaller with more time but does it really matter? Sure, less chins in the photos would have been nice but I can’t spend my life hating on myself, missing out of brilliantly fun times. Thin doesn’t necessarily mean better after all.

I’m refusing to sweat the small stuff. Besides, the shoes I’m wearing make me super tall and it stretches everything else out in the end. Just so long as I don’t fall on my arse, right?

My brother and his wife are already married, having tied the knot at City Hall, NYC in October. This is the ceremony for the people who couldn’t make that event (my family included) and so it’s kind of a big deal.

Instead of a traditional ceremony, it will be a tying of the hands, with a friend officiating. I’m doing the reading while they’re tied together! How cool is that?

Growing up I was always so jealous of friends who got to put on (admittedly hideous) dresses and be bridesmaids and flower girls. Our family isn’t the largest in the world, and there were never that many weddings going on, so I was never asked. Plus I was a total klutzy hot mess so there’s no guarantee I even would’ve been, even by default.

Now I’m older, most of my close friends are yet to be betrothed (I can’t wait for them to start, if that’s what they want to do) and so I’ve not been asked by them either. So I was beginning to wonder if this old broad (me) would ever get to have her moment in the sun.

And now it’s finally happening! I can’t wait to spend some time with the other maids and soak up the lovely atmosphere. My new sister is a joy and a very welcome addition to the family dynamic, so this will be a nice way to celebrate that too.

I will follow this up with some images and detail nearer the time but for now know I am buzzing. It’s going to be a lovely lead into Christmas, in a gorgeous little sea-side town – and everything will be so full of love. My favourite thing in the whole world.

Now, I’m off to put my contribution to the party playlist together. Life of a bridesmaid, bitches!

 

Sad Happy

I’m so sick. Again.tumblr_ndwzxopc701r5gmiko1_500

Just as I was weaning myself off liquid centered throat sweets (cherry, natch), I caught another cold and this one’s a doozy. I feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has taken up twerking in my brain.

I’ve had a shower, I’ve watched a film Mr B would hate whilst shoveling Chocolate Orange segments into my face (he’s gone bowling). I have tea; and I’ve talked to my mum on the phone.

I’ve done all my comfort bits and even though my eyes and nose are still leaking, I feel okay.

My grandfather passed away last weekend. It was to be expected for a 98 and a half-year old but the truth about life is that you are never that prepared. Expecting things to come almost adds a new level of panic to the event when it does arrive, like you’ve had too much time to think about how you will feel and how you will react.

We’re all pretty sad. I’m sadder than I thought I would be. He’s been such a huge part of all our lives forever, in good and bad ways. And now he’s gone and that’s a big thing. I’ve talked about him before. I was truthful but not very kind.

And now he’s gone, it doesn’t feel that good. It’s sad. Sad for him, mostly.

When people die it’s normal to think hard about your own mortality. This makes me think about my legacy. Who will I be when I’m old? Will I still be a decent person? Will I be missed?

I hope nobody says I am better off gone. I hope when I do toddle off this mortal coil people will at least say that I was funny. Or sweet.

Nice is a bit boring, but if that’s what my legacy is destined to be then so be it. I can live with nice.

But don’t think I’m sitting home crying into my comforter. Well, I am crying into my comforter but it’s because of my cold, not sorrow.

Ten

What, just chilling over here with my mirr'r
Wha? Just chilling over here with my mirr’r

I didn’t do yesterday’s 101 challenge because I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. This may have been down to being at work and having time only for a cursory glance over the Community Event Listings.

I am trying to play better, I promise. I’ve found some lovely blogs over the last few weeks. I lieu of the assignment, I am going to study my navel and ponder the fact that my stepson in ten years old today. Ten!

It just doesn’t seem possible that the tiny boy I first met, from whom I so desperately wanted just one sign that he thought I was okay, has grown into a beautiful, fiercely smart and hilarious bigger boy.

He was four when he first came into my life and I will be the first to admit, although I wasn’t against the fact the love of my life had a son, I definitely hadn’t prepared for it. Of course he lives with his mum so it wasn’t as if I’d walked into a scenario where I was expected to be Mum but still. I guess I hasn’t really thought about how I would handle it at all.

My previous relationship had involved two girls from a previous marriage and I cringe when I think how awful I must have been when they came to stay. Not because I was horrible, though I am sure I had my moments, just in that I was so detached for most of my six-year reign that they must have wondered if the lights were even on (They weren’t).

We now all enjoy a good relationship albeit from afar since they are in Derbyshire and I’m here, down South (minus the horrid boyfriend) so something went right in the end, but I think of that time often and would change the way I was then in a heartbeat, if I could.

With B, it was different. He’s a boy for a start, so an alien (or so I thought). His mother is local, so she’s more present in our lives. Which is a good thing for B, of course, to have us all within spitting distance.

You might know this, you might not, but I have never wanted children. All I can say when people ask me why is, “I just don’t”. It’s not a witty retort to the eternally irritating and over personal line of questioning people assume they have the right to use, however, that’s the truth.

But I do love my stepson.

It has taken us both a long time to get to the point we’re at now. It’s taken tears and heartache (mine). Utter bewilderment and slight annoyance (his) but we’re here; both in one piece.

It’s not easy to give your love to a person who is too young to understand it, who only sees things in black and white. Or share your loved one with somebody else, even when you know it’s a completely different kind of love.

I doubt it’s easy to go and see your dad as a child and have to deal with a woman you don’t even know, for that matter.

Now we have a funny kind of dynamic; I play my role of the desperate Step Mom vying for his affection and he gets it, plays along. And when he shows love, or appreciation, or admiration – I die.

Happy birthday B. You’ll likely never read this but this one’s for you, kiddo!

Pretty Eccentric

The Queen of Kooks
The Queen of Kooks

“My name Isobel,
Married to myself.
My love Isobel,
Living by herself”
~ Isobel by Bjork

There’s nothing I find more appealing that genuine eccentricity. The elderly woman who used to ride around my hometown on a shiny yellow bicycle, for instance. Or the Madam who used to bowl down St James Street in a fur hat and then got her own column in a local publication.

My mother. My fabulously theatrical mother. Who would probably wave me away with a “Oh, Darling, not me!” if I said that to her.

That’s the thing with eccentrics; they rarely know that they are. Sure, there will be a little awareness but the true kook doesn’t stop to consider other people’s perception of them and their behaviours. And that is where the wannabe falls down.

One cannot simply decide one day to become an eccentric. One is; or isn’t. It’s a rare gift, a bundle of idiosyncrasies and then some. An aura. And you can spot the genuine article a mile off. Trust me, you can.

There are different levels of eccentric, of course. Eccentricity is in some respects subjective. One man’s kooky could very well be another man’s ‘unique’ X Factor contestant but the real and true, I’m pretty sure just are, and nobody can argue with it.

Nothing but love for this dress
Nothing but love for this dress

Look at Bjork. You cannot forge a person like that from nothing, it is born. It is so delightfully nuts, so original, so poetic – it just is or, as we have established, isn’t.

When I was growing up I one day read a story, true or not, about young Bjork being told off for not getting ready for school. After much cajoling, legend has it that she got up, dragging her duvet behind her, cut a hole in the top, placed it over her head like a giant poncho and went to school as normal.

Hero. I think of that often and don’t care if it’s true or not. It’s just typical Bjork.

What I love about this woman is that everything she does has a ‘fuck it’ edge. Have you ever really read her lyrics? Bonkers. Seen her on a red carpet at a ‘serious’ conventional event? Swan dress. (I implore you to have a look at this for yet more evidence. It’s my happy place).

She may be a serious and fiercely talented individual but she makes it all look like fun and that is why I will always love her.

Incidentally, did anyone recently read the article about the woman who married herself after hearing the lyric (above) in Bjork’s Isobel? How I love that idea and what it represents.

An eccentric move if ever there was one!

NB: Sometimes it’s a shame my OBF and I aren’t talking anymore. She’d so totally get this.