The Shed

The ShedShall we finally chat sheds? I’ve been too busy sitting all zen and peaceful in the bloody thing to get to writing this before now but I’ve been kicked out of it by a TARANTULA, so… #shedlife

Ever since I was a teeny tiny person, in a time before hygge was a word none of us could get our lips round, I dreamt of a snuggly little corner of the world just for me. A space I could hide away in with a teetering pile of books and my own company to while away the hours. And later to drink wine in, because, wine. I’ve just this second realised that it might be weird to drink wine in a shed in your garden on your own. No YOU have a problem, let’s move on.The Shed

The ShedAfter a small domestic about lawnmower storage and with my childhood dream in mind, I did a tiny excited wee when two Brummies showed up to erect (snort) the Southfork of sheds in the corner of the garden. It was my dream but the husband ordered the shed so it’s stupid big.  The Brummies also sat on the roof for a bit, chain smoking in the pouring rain. They were ace.

The ShedOnce it was up of course we stuck the lawnmower in it. Along with some manky old wellies and the barbecue. Classic shed.

The ShedAnd then.

And then.The ShedWith a week off in August and half a tin of Dulux Gentle Fawn burning a hole in the back of the thing we set about making my dream come true.  I don’t want to be *really* smug but it’s about a gazillion times better than I ever dreamt. It’s like Danish cosiness threw up all over it.

The ShedIt was a bog standard shed off of Ebay so first things first we softened it with some bargain laminate flooring from B&Q and a bit of muslin pinned to the ceiling. Fun story: I wanted to paint the ceiling too but when I went to buy another tin of paint, instead of taking it to the counter and paying for it, I decided to chuck it all over the floor of aisle four of B&Q and have been too scared to go back. I confessed FYI, don’t splatter and run kids. The Shed The rest of the paint went straight onto the wooden walls and looks all kinds of sexy and distressed. Ri’s frankly genius contribution was to cut a leaf print template from a sponge and make a bit of a feature with a couple of grey tester pots. I LOVE IT.The ShedA little sofa, a load of cheap and cheerful throws and an apple crate full of old jumpers, socks and wine make up most of the furniture. We chucked a little IKEA Billy in the corner to stash some of my favourite books and those I haven’t yet got round to reading on, ready for a winter hunker down. The ultimate first world problem was having to choose which books to take to the shed. *Whispers* sorry rejects, I love you all. The ShedThe photo on the wall is of Brixham, a fishing port a couple of towns over, and was gifted to us a long time ago. It was so huge that for the longest time it sat rolled up in a corner whilst we figured out what to do with it. IKEA to the rescue again with a mahoosive frame and now it looks a bit like a window with the best view in town.The ShedAnd that’s the shed. It’s everything child me ever wanted. There’s no TV (THAT was a fun chat) and the wifi doesn’t reach that far but it’s where Pete and I spend half our waking time. Betty’s not quite ok yet with me being at the other end of her kingdom to the husband – she’s a lover not a fighter – so she sits at the back door giving me stink eye. The neighbours probably also think we’re heading for divorce but I don’t think I could be happier. So Insta, very pinterest, much hygge.

The ShedThis feels like my greatest adulting achievement to date and I’ve successfully shepherded two step-teens to adulthood and changed my career at the ripe old age of thirty.

Where Stuff’s From

Laminate – B&Q 

Sofa – IKEA 

Billy Bookcase – IKEA

Dark Grey and White Throws / Light Grey Striped Throw – IKEA

Orange Throw / Apple Crate – The Range, cant find them online so you’ll have to brave the shop. Good luck and god speed.

Faux Hydrangea / Jug  – The Range

Printed Fleece Throw of Dreams – Matalan, try to get under it and NOT fall asleep. Go on, try it.

p.s. sorry for the crappy iPhone photography, the husband broke my camera lens and it turns out we bought insurance for the seventy quid coffee machine but not my super awesome (read: expensive) camera. Lol.

p.p.s. I think it’s done. I might get a kettle in there. And maybe a small fridge for milk *cough* white wine *cough*. Any other suggestions?

The Shed


The Shed

The Shed


The Many Faced Woman


First off, this is a painfully bad photo. The irony that it contains a book on photography is not lost on me. Good, glad we’ve cleared that up. On with the wittering.

By day I am corporate, largely professional, I sometimes whip out the odd shoulder pad; by night I am here (less often now than before) sharing nonsense, pith and whimsy with you over t’interwebs.

As I learn more by day and my career leaps forwards I find my voice dampened here at night. I question and second guess and reconsider. I write, re-write, delete, write the thing I wrote first all over again. I wonder constantly how someone stumbling across this little spot might view me (what has Google ever done for us? Beyond perpetuating a planets’ hypochondria).  I lie awake agonising over the impression the universe might form about me as a result of the hyperbole and occasionally expletive laced opinions it might find here.

I don’t believe that my day face and my night face are mutually exclusive (or actually that different; by day I am frequently described as fiery and with abundant spirit – code for fiery/scary?) but I can’t help feeling that there’s something of a choice I need to make around about now. About how that fieriness comes across online and how that might impact my daily life, my aspirations, my future.  It’s all me, me, me eh?

I don’t want to write with inhibition and I absolutely don’t want a blog full of banal recipes and reviews. I also cannot do without this little webby escape in my world. So… where am I going with this? How do I continue to wear both of these faces in one little life?

I imagine the answer lies in being a better wordsmith, in finding ever more creative and witty ways to share things with you that don’t require all the ‘effing and jeffing’ as my nan might say.  Of finding slightly less inflammatory ways of making the same points. Of championing my own cause and continuing to harp on about equality and women’s rights in a way that is inclusive, clear and persuasive rather than ranty, sweary and angry.  The answer might also lie in donning a mask and a cape by night. Who knows?

What I’m really saying is please bear with while I spend some time learning a few better words than those in my current vocabulary; whilst I figure out where I go from here. I anticipate a few weeks not unlike when Ross tries to phase out his English accent.

Disclaimer: there might be more recipes. I don’t think anyone could get form a naff opinion of me from a recipe. Perhaps the opinion that I’m verging on an insulin issue, yes. But undesirable? Not so much.

I’m open to any tips you might have on balancing blogging with your day life.

Help. Me.


I Need a Little Time…

IMG_6765Hey Alanis, you know what’s more ironic than ten thousand spoons, besides making a massive xenophobic man child Foreign Secretary?  Writing a blog post about that time you had 30 whole glorious minutes to yourself during a week when a time turner wouldn’t go amiss. But, here we are.

Deep in the bowels of kitchen renovation and washing machinelessness, last Saturday I stuffed my smalls into a classy bag for life and hot footed it to the launderette. It’s been a long while since I’ve been to a washing shop and I won’t lie, I was expecting a Levi’s moment. But lol, Torquay. So all that awaited me was a randy gentleman old codger asking if I wanted to help fold his underpants.

Mouth vom swallowed down, I carefully sorted my washing like a functioning adult (read: shoved every last bit into the nearest machine with a red duvet cover), threw all of my pocket money in after it and hot footed it to the nearest uber-hipster coffee shop. ‘Third wave’ is that the phrase? I made the uber-anti-hipster (maybe first wave?) mistake of showing little to no interest in the coffee beyond ‘nothing too bitter’.

‘Erm, none of our coffee is bitter, duh’. She stopped short of making me do a GoT shame walk through the streets.

Tucked away on a bench round the corner, well out of sight of the door, I took to the serious business of hunting down a wifi code. Is it behind the vintage sewing machine? Perhaps under the super cool record player? On realisation that it wasn’t happening organically and still too ashamed by my caffeinated faux pas to ask, I dug a book from the bottom of my bag and sheepishly ordered a bit of cake.

Do you know what happened then? I just sat and read. I KNOW. Free from the distraction of Twitter and Googling random puppies, I absorbed the words. I also felt a bit inspired to write some words down in a handy super pretentious notebook I had lying around. I like words so it felt like a treat.

It was just half an hour. Thirty little minutes away from my life. Away from the constant penis measuring the world seems to demand. Away from work and home and floorless kitchens. Away from teenagers and *gasp* spaniels. I didn’t give a second thought to my impossible workload or that gaping hole in my house, the one through which you could see into next doors’ hallway. Howdy neighbour.

30 minutes of completely restorative aloneness. In a coffee shop. In town.

It was the first time in months I’ve sat and read a book, I’d forgotten what an escape it is. I’d completely forgotten the joy that comes from doing something just for me. And the shitstorm of a week I’ve had since then has made me appreciate that cheeky demi-heure more than I thought possible. Enough to make me committed to finding thirty poxy minutes every single week in which I plan to do something that is 100% Michelle.

And you? When did you last do something that was all about you?


Wonderful Wednesday: Normal Service Will Resume…


Normal blog service will resume at some point in the not so distant future. Maybe this week. Maybe next week. But right now? Right now I’m off to collapse into a work-broken heap and ugly sob with happiness at my finally finished kitchen after not one but two false finishing alarms this week (screw you builder men p.s. thanks for my pretty cupboards. Not thanks for discussing hardware with the husband and directing your instructions about the sink to me).

Tonight will also involve making a barbecued feast for a first meeting with the teenagers boyfriend. Whilst yes, my brain is occupied with the monstrosity that has been this week – including but not limited to an epic tea-tastrophe, almost losing my office keys in the skip and SO MUCH WORK – I can’t deny that a not small part of me is wondering just how embarrassing parent I can go for this first meeting. It’s one of lifes’ greatest pleasures.

So, I hope you’re having a majestic week full of unicorns and wonderment, I am not but I have a new kitchen and no fewer than two new striped dresses so it’s not all bad.

If you’re missing me then go read this weeks’ column in which I once again rant on about my vagina being my own business and I sort of a little bit predict the future seeing as I wrote it on Sunday and all.

How the dickens is your week going?


So, Your Friend Is Having A Baby…


Gather in close, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m a dog person.

It’s ok, you weren’t to know. I mean, I don’t necessarily prefer dogs to humans (I totally do and said exactly that in the past), human babies just make me a bit awkward. In a cruel twist of fate I’m also at an age – shut your face – when a huge swathe, that’s right: swathe, of my friends are popping them out like there’s no tomorrow. No matter how Brexit we get folks, it is not the end of days. You really don’t need to repopulate the earth single handedly. I digress.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore your babies, truly I do. They smell incredible and they’re full of eternal optimistic wonderment, I’m just not all that good at the teeny tiny ones. Once they hit toddlerdom I’m your woman: I have imagination in abundance and time to waste playing any game they want for as long as they want to. That’s the time to call me, when you need a break.  Up until that point though I’m utterly shambolic.

I’m the woman who was late to a baby shower last year because she met an Alsatian puppy. THAT’S who I am.

I also may be the woman who, in the absence of inspiration, brought Domino’s pizza to a bring and share baby shower tea party. The other (read: better) women rocked up with their blue and pink cupcakes and cutsie baby shaped sarnies. Someone even made devilled eggs. Devilled eggs. They were divine! I turned up laden down with a two for Tuesday and a side of chicken kickers. I’d be more ashamed but I sort of won at that baby shower.

For the same friend’s second baby shower I learnt my lesson and arrived with some ‘homemade’ scones…the plastic wrappers stayed in my car boot for three months.

Anyhoo, the good folk at George don’t want to you to be like me. Spurred on by the not so random internet habits of women clearly struggling with their preggers friends, they’ve come up with this handy guide on how to be a good baby mama friend. Is that a thing? Can I get away with saying ‘baby mama’? I don’t think I can.

They’ve thought of everything you could possibly need to be the best buddy you can be right through the first year of your mates’ motherhood: from conception (no more swift halves after work), through finding the perfect pre and post partum gift, to totes nailing the baby shower. All the way up until the little tyke gets more interesting and less…breakable. You know, when you can hand them a box of matches and send them off to the shop for you. Jokes.

Basically it’s got everything you need not to be me. Use it. Love it. Thank me later.

So, you and babies? Are you any good? Do you give good gift? Are you a socially awkward llama like moi?

This post was written in collaboration with George but any need for assistance on being a better human being is all my own.