My weekend has mainly been spent…

The weekend Montpelier Station Bristol Bakers & Co Bristol The weekend Bakers & Co Bristol

  • Waking up at my Mum’s flat in London.
  • Aching all over. I spent Friday night doing my thing as The Wedding Reporter at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. In heels. Come Saturday morning, I was just about ready to chop my feet off. Ouch.
  • Discovering there was no milk in the fridge. Hell hath no fury like a Franky who hasn’t had a cup of tea in the morning.
  • Taking the train to Paddington.
  • Grabbing a naughty breakfast at McDonalds.
  • Boarding the train back to Bristol.
  • Reading One Summer: America 1927 all the way home. I love Bill Bryson’s narrative non-fiction.
  • Feeling glad to be back with my little family. I was only away one night, but I always miss them.
  • Eating posh fish finger sandwiches for lunch.
  • Catching the bus to Kingswood with Izzy. It sounds silly, but we only just discovered how close we are to this little parade of shops. There’s all the usual suspects {Wilkos, Sainsburys, WH Smiths} as well as a greengrocer, fishmonger and some well stocked charity shops.
  • Carrying a very heavy bag of compost home on the bus.
  • Pottering in the yarden with the children.
  • Feeling quite proud of myself for keeping a few plants alive. I am notoriously black thumbed, so this is a real achievement.
  • Cooking and eating Singapore Noodles for dinner.
  • Bathing two hot and sticky children.
  • Reading a few chapters of James and the Giant Peach aloud.
  • Giving goodnight kisses.
  • Lounging on the sofa with Izzy for a while.
  • Sipping cocktails and watching Noah.
  • Irritating Mr. LA by singing ‘the animals came in two by two, hurrah’ during all the tense scenes. I was bored.
  • Feeling tipsy.
  • Squeezing in a few episodes of Nurse Jackie before bed.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Drinking tea and eating scrambled eggs on toast.
  • Grabbing a quick shower before pulling on a my beloved Collette Dinnigan dress {a bargain in the Net-A-Porter sale last year}.
  • Gently persuading {read: nagging} the children into their clothes, sun cream and sandals.
  • Strolling to the bus stop in the sunshine.
  • Catching the train to Monpelier.
  • Exploring Gloucester Road for the first time.
  • Dropping into Bakers and Co for lunch. I can highly recommend the Huevos Rancheros and Mr. LA declared his brisket the best meal he’s had since we moved to Bristol. High praise indeed. There’s no children’s menu as such. They’ll gladly serve you a half portion, but Jesse was happy with a poached egg and some bacon.
  • Wandering slowly back to the train station.
  • Browsing a few shops on the way.
  • Letting Izzy spend her pocket money in Scrumptiously Sweet.
  • Collapsing in an exhausted heap when we arrived home.
  • Snoozing on the sofa in the yarden.
  • Attempting to make dinner. Three times. We were missing a vital ingredient for the meal I had planned so we rushed out to buy potatoes to serve with something else. They were rancid so Mr. LA started making macaroni cheese, but the milk had turned. At this point we decided the universe was trying to tell us to get a take away.
  • Coaxing the children into bed.
  • Planning to make a start on season 4 of Walking Dead.
  • Mustering up the energy to write this blog post. Yesterday I told Mr. LA that I was worried Love Audrey might have run its course. He told me he’d divorce me if I gave up on it. Tough love.

Love Audrey xxx

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My weekend has mainly been spent…

Yellow Jean Next Reading in the wigwam Pulled Pork and Crackling Bristol Make Sundays Special Juggler Cosy Club Bristol Water Play Butternut Squash and Baby Pak Choi Curry

  • Waking up with the rotten virus that had been plaguing me all week. What started off as a cold, morphed into a horrible sinus thing that left me feeling completely wiped out.
  • Sipping tea on the sofa beneath a blanket.
  • Watching Hook and waking up very slowly.
  • Somehow mustering up the energy to make pancakes for breakfast.
  • Chatting to my mum on the phone.
  • Hoping the rain would pass.
  • Coaxing the children into their clothes.
  • Loving the sight of Izzy in her new yellow jeans and stripy tee.
  • Seeing off Carl, his brother and the children at the door as they headed into town for an adventure without me.
  • Trying to decide whether to work or rest. Work won.
  • Writing 2500 words {that I know will need rewriting tomorrow}.
  • Skipping lunch.
  • Popping painkillers.
  • Slipping a joint of pork into the oven.
  • Curling up on the sofa for a nap.
  • Listening to the children’s account of their day when they piled in through the front door, exhausted but happy.
  • Watching Izzy read quietly in the wigwam.
  • Listening to Jesse play with his Lego.
  • Diving into the shower and changing into fresh PJs.
  • Mixing up a huge bowl of homemade coleslaw.
  • Pulling the pork.
  • Adding fresh mint and chilli as Carl snaffled crackling from the plate. In case you’re curious, I followed this recipe.
  • Eating too much.
  • Putting the children to bed.
  • Collapsing on the sofa, drinking cocktails and watching a scary movie. Mama was good, but the ending left a lot to be desired.
  • Heading to bed and hoping I’d feel better in the morning.
  • Waking up as Jesse climbed in beside me.
  • Dragging myself downstairs.
  • Drinking tea and organising Izzy ahead of another long day of rehearsals. No one said being a theatre brat would be easy.
  • Nominating Carl for the early morning drama class drop off.
  • Feeling marginally more human.
  • Relishing a long, hot shower.
  • Realising how much I’d missed wearing makeup while I was poorly.
  • Sorting laundry.
  • Stepping out into the sunshine and strolling to the bus stop.
  • Meeting Carl in town and wandering towards St Nicks.
  • Soaking up the fun at Make Sunday Special.
  • Looking on as Jesse constructed an elaborate imaginary rocket ship using the materials provided by Bristol Children’s Scrapstore.
  • Enjoying the juggler.
  • Eating lunch at Cosy Club. Incredible setting, but I had a disappointing burger. Everyone else enjoyed their food, so I’ll be giving it another chance before I pass judgement. I have a feeling I simply ordered the wrong thing, if you know what I mean.
  • Saying goodbye to Carl’s brother and heading off to collect Izzy.
  • Taking a detour via The White Company to stock up on my latest scent obsession. Their Seychelles collection is currently making my home smell like an expensive summer house in the Caribbean. I adore it.
  • Retrieving Izzy from her drama class, catching the bus back to St George and hanging out in the park for half an hour.
  • Slowly making our way back to the house.
  • Pottering in the kitchen while the children had a splash about in the yarden.
  • Wishing Carl didn’t have to leave for London.
  • Sitting outside with a cup of tea.
  • Enjoying a brief moment of peace while the children were engrossed in something on the TV.
  • Cooking and eating butternut squash and baby pak choi curry.
  • Almost dropping my camera in the dinner while attempting to take photos of it.
  • Messing up the rice that was supposed to go with it. I swear it’s the most difficult thing to cook in the world.
  • Throwing the children into the bath and scrubbing them clean.
  • Listening to Jesse read.
  • Giving goodnight kisses.
  • Wishing there was some chocolate in the house.
  • Helping Izzy with her homework.
  • Writing this blog post and wondering how to spend my evening.

Love Audrey xxx

Home Comforts ~ Project Yarden Update

Painting the yarden

It’s been a while since I updated you all on our DIY endeavours. It’s not that we haven’t been busy. The hallway and landing have had a fresh lick of paint, our huge open-plan living/dining room is almost finished and we’ve made even more progress in Isabel’s bedroom. So it isn’t that I haven’t had things to blog about, I’ve just been a bit rubbish at documenting our progress. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to get paint on my shiny DSLR?

I have a renewed sense of determination to share the gradual transformation of our home on the pages of Love Audrey, if only so we can look back on it all and see exactly how far we’ve come. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the changes we’ve made in our yarden.

{Wondering what on earth a yarden is? Keen to see a quick ‘before’ photo? Head over to this post before you read on.} Staining the deck

The deck was a real labour of love. Aside from the fact it was so physically demanding, the good old British weather ensured it took weeks to complete. Initially we purchased a pressure washer in the hope that a quick blast would lift most of the old stain. It worked a treat on the exposed portion of the deck, but the expanse beneath the canopy was much more stubborn. We then spent an entire evening applying a chemical stripper, which was much more successful but involved lots of scrubbing, strong fumes and another go on the pressure washer. Finally, we applied three coats of charcoal stain and all was right with the world. It dried beautifully and we’re thrilled with the finished look. However, I never want to stain a deck again. Ikea Garden Furniture

A few weeks later we were able to get some paint on the walls. We opted for Shallows by Little Greene and I can’t get enough of how light and bright the space now looks. It’s an unusual colour, reading white in bright light and pale grey in the shade, but with a sort of glassy blue quality that I love. I think it looks amazing with the dark grey decking. This was our first experience of Little Greene’s masonry paint and we were really pleased with both the application and the finish.

Finally unpacking the outdoor furniture we purchased way back in May was wonderful. Sitting on it of an evening and enjoying a glass of wine is pretty fabulous too. It’s all cheap and cheerful from Ikea. The sofa is the ENHOLMEN and the chairs are HÖGSTEN. So far, we’re totally enamoured with both. That sofa you guys! So comfy.

I thought I’d finish with a photo from my ‘proper’ camera as it shows the colours pretty accurately… Yarden

Obviously, there’s still plenty to do out here. Those gorgeous glazed pots from Homesense could do with some plants for a start. We want to buy a BBQ, I’m desperately trying to choose an outdoor rug and I can’t stop dreaming about festoon lights and lanterns. Still, it’s a start.

Have you been working on your outside space lately? Any other DIY projects on the go?

Love Audrey xxx

My weekend has mainly been spent…

Izzy Frisbee in the garden Jesse Jesse playing football Izzy and Jesse Calne carnival St George's Park Bristol Vintage school desk retro wallpaper

  • Waking up feeling refreshed after the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages. I went to bed at 10.30pm on Friday and the children slept until almost 8am. Bliss.
  • Knocking back a quick cup of tea and jumping in the shower.
  • Pulling on jeans and a sweater. Where did the sunshine go?
  • Tucking into scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast.
  • Coaxing the children into their clothes.
  • Applying my makeup and blow drying my hair.
  • Greeting the carpenter at the door. He spent the day installing some made-to-measure shelves in the alcove above Izzy’s desk. Finally, after almost 10 months, she’ll be able to unpack her books.
  • Prepping for a day trip.
  • Wishing Carl didn’t have to stay at home and work.
  • Watching a brief hailstorm through the window.
  • Waiting for a taxi to the station.
  • Panicking when said taxi failed to arrive on time.
  • Arriving at Temple Meads with just enough time to buy a bunch of flowers for Jesse’s Godmother.
  • Smiling at the sight of him clutching the bouquet as if his life depended on it.
  • Meeting my uncle at Chippenham station.
  • Chatting as he drove the three of us to his home in Calne.
  • Hugging my aunt and cousins as we piled in through the front door.
  • Sipping Pimms.
  • Greeting my parents and my sister when they arrived a little after we did.
  • Catching up with my cousin, Amy, who is visiting from her home in Australia.
  • Watching the clouds clear to reveal blue skies and sunshine.
  • Listening to the children playing outside in the garden.
  • Enjoying a buffet lunch. My aunt had put on an incredible spread.
  • Deciding to wander into Calne to watch the carnival.
  • Listening to a choir sing in the sunshine.
  • Letting he children pick a ride each at the fun fair.
  • Marvelling at just how fearless Izzy is.
  • Heading back to the high street in time to catch the parade.
  • Getting caught in a torrential downpour. One minute we were basking in the warmth of the sun, the next we were soaked to the skin, cowering beneath a rickety gazebo while the Samba dancers carried on regardless.
  • Making a dash for the house with Jesse on my back.
  • Getting very, very wet in the process.
  • Peeling off our sodden clothes and attempting to dry off as best we could.
  • Devouring afternoon tea. I was in lemon drizzle heaven.
  • Travelling to the station to catch the train home.
  • Comforting Izzy who really didn’t want to leave. Neither did I really.
  • Jumping in a taxi back to the house.
  • Saying hello to my brother-in-law who had arrived while we were out.
  • Dashing upstairs to admire the carpenters handiwork. Seriously, sensible storage solutions are the way to my heart.
  • Collapsing on the sofa and letting Carl put the children to bed.
  • Drinking mojitos in my pyjamas.
  • Ordering takeout.
  • Watching an episode of Lost before calling it a night.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Dragging myself downstairs.
  • Sipping tea and waking up very, very slowly.
  • Making pancakes for breakfast.
  • Taking a long shower.
  • Slipping into my favourite Roman Holiday inspired skirt.
  • Eventually heading into town with Izzy.
  • Pausing to snap a few photos when we cut through the park.
  • Shopping for Izzy’s summer sandals.
  • Treating her to a new frock. She fell for this Tropical Tank Dress as soon as she saw it.
  • Meeting up with the boys and popping to Giraffe for lunch while Izzy was at her drama class.
  • Really enjoying my falafel burger and sweet potato fries.
  • Sensing that I have a summer cold brewing. Just what I need.
  • Taking the bus home alone.
  • Squeezing in an hour or so of work before everyone else got back.
  • Fixing the children beans on toast for supper.
  • Making a start on a seared salmon nicoise salad for the grownups.
  • Dunking the kids in the bath.
  • Letting Carl’s brother read Jesse his bedtime story.
  • Drinking tea and writing this blog post.
  • Planning a lazy evening and a late supper.

Love Audrey xxx

Jesse’s 5th Birthday

Jesse's 5th Birthday

Two weeks ago today, Jesse turned 5. I desperately wanted to share some more Birthday Letters with you all, but the days leading up to the 13th were insanely busy.

Sensibly, I gave myself a week to plan and execute a children’s party, complete two freelance projects, prep for a work trip and get the house ready for guests who were due to arrive a few hours after the last of Jesse’s school friends had departed. I’ll be honest, it’s not the most fun I’ve ever had. Jesse's 5th Birthday

The morning of Jesse’s birthday was fairly chilled though. He woke early, opening most of his presents before we’d even had breakfast. Aside from a mountain of Lego, we gave him a Blue and White Stripe Wigwam from Great Little Trading Company. I’ll have to take some more photos that show it off a little better, as it’s definitely one of the best things we’ve ever purchased for the children. There’s something quite magical about hiding away in your very own tent. I’ve even been known to sneak in there myself.   Jesse's 5th Birthday

My parents gave Jesse his first CD player which is a terribly exciting gift when you’re 5 years old! He’s been listening to Horrid Henry every evening as he goes to sleep and when I switched the radio on the other morning his head nearly exploded. ‘Is this my music mummy?’ he exclaimed, ‘where is my music coming from?’ Jesse's 5th Birthday

Jesse’s party was pretty laid back by my standards {I mean, did you see this? Or this?}. I didn’t even have a Pinterest board! We ordered supplies from Party Pieces and I limited the crafting to a few hand drawn Lego heads. As in previous years, I went to town with stripy straws and paper streamers from Pearl & Earl. Bonus sneak peek of our living room coming up… Lego Party 5th Birthday

The weather was fabulous, which meant the children could play outside, but there was musical statues and the obligatory game of pass-the-parcel too. I baked Jesse’s favourite chocolate cake and decorated it with a handful of mini figures. For a change, most of the party tea was shop bought, but I did manage to rustle up a batch of vanilla cupcakes to assuage some of my {mildly ridiculous} maternal guilt. Lego Birthday Cake

Anyway, enough about me. What have you been up to?

Love Audrey xxx

My weekend has mainly been spent…

Izzy and Franky

Apologies to those of you who have come in search of my usual weekly bullet points. I feel like posting something a bit more substantial today. Just to confuse you further, I’m actually going to go back in time to last weekend when we took the train to Salisbury to celebrate my Grandmother’s 80th birthday… Train Station

Izzy had a party to attend in Exeter on Saturday night, so Jesse and I travelled alone, arriving a little after midday. A crowd of us spent the afternoon exploring Salisbury in the sunshine. My mum and her siblings grew up in the city and I have many happy memories from visiting my Gran as a child.

The cathedral was glorious, especially as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra happened to be rehearsing as we wandered round.  Salisbury Cathedral

Later we headed to the local playground so Jesse and my aunt’s dog, Scamper, could have a run around. I spent hours and hours here when I was little. I remember my dad teaching me to use the monkey bars for the very first time in this park.    Playground

On Sunday morning my Gran’s house was a hive of activity. I busied myself in the kitchen, helping my mum assemble the huge cake she had made. Its ribbon was adorned with old photos of my Gran looking particularly glamorous. I made the topper using paper straws, pretty pink twine and my alphabet stamps.  80th Birthday Cake

Carl and Izzy arrived just before midday. The party itself was held at Leaden Hall School. The venue was beautiful and even had its very own rose garden. The weather was perfect too, and the children were free to roam the playing field. I have such fond memories of similar events from my own childhood. I only wish they had more cousins to get into mischief with! Leaden Hall School Izzy and Jesse

We enjoyed the most delicious buffet in the conservatory. Dessert was particularly spectacular, with a choice of pavlova, profiteroles, lemon tart and fresh summer berries. I had one of everything. Naturally.

I’m so pleased I got a good photo of the brithday girl… Gran Carl and Jesse

After the meal there were speeches and Izzy sang for her Great-Grandmother. We took a million family photos on the lawn outside.

In case you’re curious, I wore an ancient polka dot dress and my beloved navy Shilo heels, both from LK Bennett 2014-06-08_0009

The afternoon slipped away and we reluctantly said goodbye. I felt exhausted, but content, as we travelled home on the train. I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family.

Love Audrey xxx

PS. If you simply can’t bear not knowing what we got up to this weekend, why not take a look at my Instagram feed?