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What I did in the Summer Holidays, by Lotte Lane aged 34 and a half

I took a self-imposed break from blogging in August, but now I’M BACK!

TA-DA!!!

Of course, I couldn’t tear myself completely away from the interwebs, so took part in Susannah Conway’s brilliant ‘August Break’, where you’re challenged to take a photo every day in response to a specific prompt.

The resulting pics I shared on Instagram illustrate what I’ve been up to all summer, so sharing them here to bring y’all up to speed with the exciting goings on in Lotteland…

1 August – Lunch
My oldest friend brought round yummy sugary treats for us to share, all the way from Wales.  She is one of the most generous people I know: emotionally and practically (she never comes to visit empty handed!).  I’m a very lucky Lotte.

Lunch


August 2 – Pattern

One of my best University buds gets married.  Frustratingly my phone won’t let me take any photos: it keeps overheating and turning itself off, so I enjoy the wedding in 3D rather than through a lens.  Plus I manage to nab David’s phone during the wedding breakfast to capture the pattern on my place card thingummy.

Pattern


August 3 – Window

Felt very glum as had some old doors and windows to sell after our recent renovation works, and every time I glanced out the kitchen window I saw them and was reminded of the fact I had lost money because of them (long story) and that I needed to sell them, and I had no idea how to do that.
(Don’t worry, I managed to shift them in the end, and no longer have to beat myself up over UPVC).

Day_3_window__augustbreak2014


August 4 – Orange

Maya’s bathtime. I spot an orange duck amongst a sea of yellow and decide this is some kind of metaphor about standing out from the crowd.  I want Maya to be whoever she wants in life, even if it’s different from the norm, so obv I need to lead by example. Quack.

Day_4_orange__augustbreak2014


August 5 – Three

I spent a lot of time in the first couple of weeks of August writing THE BOOK, tap tap tapping at my computer.   These three shiny beauties added some spangly floral glamour to my vista.

Day_5_Three__augustbreak2014


August 6 – Reflection

Another day in my ‘office’ (aka the living room), reflecting on my past.  A picture hangs over the sofa that, in my previous life, used to hang opposite my bed.  I’d stare at it on those horrible depressed days that I couldn’t do anything but lie and cry in bed.  Seeing it now reminds me of how far I’ve come, but also an unspoken threat of what might return one day.

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August 7 – Today is…

In response to this prompt, I write: conflicted. Just dropped this girl – the centre of my universe – for a bonus day at the childminder, so I can get on with writing my book. Conflicted as felt kind of excited to drop her off but also kinda sad and guilty. Conflicted cos I really want to write this thing yet am also dreading writing it. Conflicted because I’m pursuing a crazy passion that may or may not work out (and paying for childcare in the process) when I could be pulling my head out of the clouds and back into the ‘real world’.”
Maya looks a bit conflicted in this pic to boot…

Today_is...__augustbreak2014_day_7


August 8 – Selfie
Take a quick pic whilst Maya is in the midst of a floor-writhing tantrum.  No make up, no filter, no giving of shits

Day_7_-_selfie__augustbreak2014


August 9 – Inside my bag

These days, I tend to use Maya’s pushchair as an oversized handbag, so the contents of my bag are sparse, remainders from occasional exciting trips out (for example, going to see the husband’s play) plus, bafflingly, two plastic bags and of course, the all-important hand gel.

_augustbreak2014_day_9_-_inside_my_bag.


August 10 – Drink

Obligatory Maya being adorable pic. She’s growing up so much!

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August 11 – Handwriting
I have several notebooks on the go, full of scrawly notes and doodles. Writing stuff out by hand helps me think, as does drawing.  When I used to write minutes for a living my books were half notes half HIGHLY INTENSE doodles.  Secretly, I’d love to be an artist, or at least have a go at making art. Haven’t been brave enough to pursue this yet though.

Handwriting_-_I_write_like_I_think_messily__with_pictures.__augustbreak2014_day_11


August 12 – On the Table

The day’s post: a completely unnecessary but utterly lovely thank you from a friend that came to stay.  Plus David got a bill (boo!) and a voting registration form (meh) and a new phone (yay!).

On_the_table_what_came_in_the_post__augustbreak2014_day_12

 

August 13 – My Guilty Pleasure
For me, writing my sweary self-help book cum* memoir while my daughter is at the childminder is a guilty pleasure epitomised. It feels like an indulgence as – aside from £300 of pre-orders (thank you!) – I have no guarantee of any kind of income from this. It’s also a guilty pleasure because I enjoy some peaceful time separate from my daughter, which makes me feel like a crappy mum.
(* huh huh I said cum)

everything is awesome

 

August 14 – Hands
Still in ‘the office’ with happy hands as first draft of book is nearly complete.

_augustbreak2014_day_14_-__hands__I_have__happy_hands_today_as_final_draft_of__everythingisawesome__aka_THE_BOOK__is_nearly_complete____amwriting

 

August 15 – Blue
Blue dotted around my fridge – including best ever anniversary gift/card from David – a book that outlines all the reasons he thinks I’m awesome :)

More__blue_lurking_around_my_house__augustbreak2014

 

August 16 – Look Down
I’ve been trying to go swimming two or three times a week - exercise is good for my head as well as my heart innit.

After_my_swim__lookdown__augustbreak2014


August 17 – Bookshelf

I love reading (I’ve got a degree in it!), but have only managed to get through a couple of books since I had Maya.  Hope to change that by joining a local book group – first meeting is in a few weeks and I have two tomes to read before then! :/
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August 18 – Jump
The Lanes go on their annual holiday, staying with my inlaws in Sussex. David is literally jumping for joy about all the quality time he’s got lined up with me and Moo…

_augustbreak2014_-__jump_Day_18_take_two

 

August 19 – Black & White
My attempt at being arty, taking a pic of a skylight in the inlaws’ new living room.  Enjoying obligiatory holiday lounging around and having naps on the sofa.

_augustbreak2014_day_19_-_black_and_white.

 

August 20 – Peaceful
Maya wakes up at 4.45 am so am very happy when naptime finally arrives…

Peaceful_-__augustbreak2014_day_20__This_little_bug_has_been_jabbering_at_me_since_4.45_am_...__peaceatlast__naptimerulesok

 

August 21 – Treasures
My Mother-in-law has these treasures displayed on the wall.  Maya adds to them during our stay!

_augustbreak2014_-_day_21_-_treasurers__Some_of_my_mother-in-law_s_treasures_displayed_in_her_kitchen._Maya_s_work_can_be_admired_top_left...

August 22 – Shadow
David & I took several late night walks while we were away so I could practice my speech for The Blurt Foundation, where I talked about depression – my shadow.  I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again: my husband is a hero.  I had a MILLION meltdowns in the run up to doing my speech and David nobly and patiently saw me through them all.

_augustbreak2014_day_22_-_shadow__Off_for_a_late_night_and_final_run_through_of_my_speech_for__blurtalerts_tomorrow._David_has_been_a_wonderful_audience.

 

August 23 – Adornment
Maya very appropriately adorned my speaking notebook with a shiny gold star.  I had it close to hand when giving my speech but thankfully my nerves held so I didn’t need to refer to my notes.  Yay!

Adornment_-__augustbreak2014_day_23__My__pink__star_adorned_book_containing_notes_for_my__blurtalerts_speech_today.__Wish_me_luck___scared

 

August 24 – Memory
Seeing Maya build a relationship with her Grandparents made me think of mine, especially my beloved Nan who passed away last year.  This photo was taken a year ago, a few months before Nan died: Maya won’t remember such moments but I know my lovely Nan treasured them, as did I.

_augustbreak2014_day_23_-_memory__Maya_and_my_beloved_Nan_a_year_ago_today._Nan_isn_t_with_us_any_more_which_makes_this_memory_all_the_more_poignant.

 

August 25 – Little
David braves the rain to take his little girl out for a bank holiday splash. Love her ickle wellies!

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August 26 – Morning
Another 5am start, but who can get annoyed with someone as cute as this?!

_augustbreak2014_day_26_-_morning

 

August 27 – Lines
Saw lots of lines during a woodland stomp.  Maya v into Billy Goat’s Gruff at the mo so half expected to see a troll poke his head through the hole…

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August 28 – Something New

Maya surprises us with a new nap technique…

_augustbreak2014_-_day_28_-_something_new__Maya_s_new_nap_technique_

 

August 29 – Nature
After spending most of the two weeks in the depths of the gorgeous countryside, my ‘nature’ day is spent ooop town (London).  I see the Matisse exhibition (AMAZING – go while you still can!) but very little in the way of greenery, this basil table decoration being one of the few exceptions.

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August 30 – Soft
I call my inlaws’ gaff the ‘Sussex Spa’ for good reason: it’s fucking lush there.  I celebrate our last day by nestling up in super soft duvet and having (yet another) luxurious nap.  I have lots of sleep to catch up on, OK?!

Soft_-__augustbreak2014_day_30_Last_day_at_the_Sussex_Spa_-_aka_my_in_laws__gaff._Making_the_most_of_it_with_a_delicious_afternoon_nap__babysittersontap

 

August 31 – Love
When I’m feeling a bit wobbly or insecure, I have this ridiculous habit of repeatedly asking David if he loves me, if he still likes me, if we’re OK, even though he obviously does and nothing has changed between us at all. Instead of getting exasperated, David just assures me that yes, he does still love me – and he bought me a mug while we were away to illustrate the point.  I may have wobbles, but I also have a fuckload of love in my life, and I am so grateful for that.

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So that’s what I did in my holidays.  What have you been up to this last month?

Dealing With Shit

There’s some horrible stuff going on in the world right now.  An idle twiddle on Facebook ends up depressing me.  The newspaper, the radio, my friends: they all tell me tales of horror and woe.  Gaza. Cancer. Death. Divorce. Lives falling apart, bodies caving in.

It’s so easy to scroll through it all, and get overwhelmed by misery, hopelessness, despair.
To take doomful notes (I’m part of a race of base, violent beings) and paint mindscapes of black bleak unspeakable things.

I’m a sensitive flower.  When bad news comes I feel have but two choices: more →

Why I drink too much

I’m currently on a self-imposed booze ban, to help get my latest bout of depression to fuck the fuck off.

I won’t lie to you, this is difficult for me.

I love a drink, I do.

Not in an ‘I’m alcohol dependent’ kinda way (I’m not – though I may have been once upon a time).

No.  I love a drink in a ‘mmm booze is delicious’ kinda way, and  - I’ll admit it – in a ‘it makes life fun’ kinda way.

Yes, I said it. Alcohol is fun.

more →

What the hell am I doing?

Things are ramping up workwise in Lotteland, which is great for stuff like paying for my new roof, but less so for my sanity.

I’ll level with you: right now I feel overwhelmed, under pressure and out of control, and worse off it’s all of my own making.

This whole ‘do what you love’ self-employment thing – especially when juggled with a toddler and other life requirements (y’know, paying bills, doing chores, getting a few hours sleep) – well, it’s HARD.  more →

Cracked it! How breaking my toe offered profound insight (and shit)

Everything is breaking in Lotteland.

You all know about the roof (and the worms dropping through the ceiling), but there’s also the boiler (which we’re ignoring) and the bed (which is currently being held up by books).

One of our hobs has broken, our grill has broken and both our phones have broken too. The stairgates fell out of the wall (broken!), the clothes dryer out of the ceiling (broken!) and the chain on Dave’s bike snapped last week (broken!).

The builders started work today (I’m broke!), but arrived late because their van broke (is it me?) and then – wait for it – I only went and did this more →

Lotte’s turn (the next stop on the Writing Process Blogging Tour)

I’ve been invited by Karen of The Great Corporate Escape to join the Writing Process Blogging Tour.

Through the tour, writers are asked four questions about what they’re writing, why, and how.  At the end of their post, the writer ‘hands on the baton’ and invites three other writers to join in the fun, creating an ever expanding virtual chain of writers.  Nice huh?

Thank you Karen for the invite – I enjoyed reading your post. Here are my responses!  more →