5

Wizard Wedding Weekend

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the wedding of two wonderful friends, Laura and James. The bride and groom met at a Harry Potter wizard Rock show in a library a few years ago and honoured the connection by theming the wedding around books. This was a very special wedding, and Laura and James’ personalities and hard work could be seen throughout the weekend.

This was a very small wedding with forty-two people in attendance, meaning that we could all stay together in the large house where the reception took place. On arriving at the house, we could see the schedule of the next day’s proceedings while we settled down to a fish-and-chip takeaway.

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On the morning of the wedding, many of us woke at quarter to eight and so we pootled into Kylie and Mel’s room for a chat and a cup of tea. By 10am we had Twerked, tea’d and Cheerio’d and decided it was time to put our nice frocks on before heading down to the Knight Bus to go to the ceremony.

Wedding bus

Ellie and I show off our hats aboard the Knight Bus!

We drove over hill and dale (singing a rousing bus-related wizard rock song) to get to the ceremony’s venue, a small converted barn on an organic farm. We saw lots of nice cows and sheep on our way, as well as a sign for pig racing, which we decided would be an excellent day out and a marvelous activity to follow a wedding…

Paper book flowers

Handmade flowers from the pages of books to tie in with the book theme.

Wedding

Vintage and pretty decor at the venue.

When we entered, Here Comes the Sun by Laura’s favourite band, the Beatles was playing. There were strings of bunting and fairylights and garlands decorating the barn along with the red roses and book-roses that Laura had made. As is tradition, the bride was quite late. Untraditionally, though, it was because she’d got lost and ended up in a field. Luckily we had the Beatles playing and cereal bars to keep us fueled until she arrived. We also convinced James and our friend Neil, the best man, to keep us entertained. 🙂

Wedding Men

Kylie-faces!

The ceremony was beautiful. Laura looked stunning and elegant in her red gown. We were so few in number that we all felt honoured to be there for Laura and James. When it came to their readings and vows, we knew exactly what they meant. Laura read a passage from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that was so wonderfully relevant and poignant that Mel, Ellie and I all made good use of the tissues I’d brought.

In the Morris

Mr and Mrs in the Morris.

Vintage Wedding

The wedding party and parents on the farm.

When we got back to the reception house, the photographer took some photos of everyone outside the house. Meanwhile, a few of us scurried off to take some photos in the surrounding area. There were some great props like tyres and old sheds, long grass, and rubble! Grunge-chic!

Wedding fashion

Rachel in the wedding high-fashion photoshoot!

Feeling a bit... tyred? Hahaha...

Behind the scenes!

Leaning on the fence

David does his best model-farmer pose.

After a pretty sparkling wine and some nibbles, we moved through for dinner. The dining room had been decorated beautifully by the wedding party. As we arrived, we each found our names attached to a small charm (mine was a clock!) on top of an old book which bore the name of our table. All of our friends were seated at the Fantasy table, which was decorated with the one ring, the wardrobe, and a pile of children’s book, including Philosopher’s Stone and Beedle the Bard.  When we found our seats, there was an envelope each with our names on, and a literary address. (Mine was 4 Privet Drive!!) Laura and James had also chosen a different classic Ladybird book to suit each person. I got a make and do book! 🙂 This was such a lovely touch and made everyone feel really included in the wedding!

Toast

To celebrate!

Favours books

The wedding favours. The envelope contained a quiz about books and the bride and groom!

After an italian themed dinner, we dined on cupcakes and drank tea from vintage china teacups and saucers. Once the speeches and toasts had been made (there was an actual piece of toast raised), we all headed through to the dance floor.

Wedding Cake

The sideboard of sugar.

Cup and saucer

Everyone had a different vintage cup and saucer.

Ellie, Cathrin and I provided some live musical entertainment with a selection of songs from the 40s and 50s. This included Unchained Melody, sung by Cathrin, to which Laura and James had their first dance.

First dance

Serenaded by Cathrin.

At around 10pm, we came back to do a special set of Wizard Rock songs and to debut our new act Kate and the Bushes.  We sang Wuthering Heights and had a choreographed dance routine. It was fun! 😀

The night went on with sing-alongs to such classic hits as Vindaloo, songs from Greece, 500 Miles, Goodbye Privet Drive, Sweet Child of Mine, 500 Miles and 99 Death Eaters.

The following day we had a picnic in the garden, went to visit some nice friendly cows with the cow-whisperer (Lucy) and played Pointless. There was a group reading of some Mills and Boone in the late afternoon and a drama with a missing cheeseboard.

What a lovely weekend it was. Thanks Laura and James for including me. ❤

1

"I Can Never Leave The Past Behind"

My hair was MADE for the 80s.

2012 began with a trip to the 1980s. My friend Estelle had an 80s themed hen party in Clonakilty, West Cork. It was definitely the most fun hen party I have attended! Everyone was lovely, we played games like “make a dress out of toilet paper” and hit the various bars in Clon. I must say, it was much more fun than a night out in Cork, which is always crowded, loud and generally yucky. We accidentally wandered into a 1920s themed club, which was SO MUCH FUN!

This was my background ALL YEAR 🙂

Of course, next I had to claim back the limelight for my birthday party in mid-January. I was so lucky that so many of my friends traveled from the UK to come and dress up as Disney characters in this house we rented for the weekend. At the time, my ickly doggie Millie was on the cusp of death, which did rather make things more stressful for me, but I still feel so privileged that my friends came and spent the weekend with me!

It was in February that Conor and Estelle got married – what a fabulous day! There was a TONNE of music, from a long lost Baroque hymn to a metal cover band. My sister, Alison played the cello and I made the cake. I can hardly believe it’s been nearly a year since the wedding! The cake took three days to make and was comprised of 120 chocolate and red velvet cupcakes, plus one giant cupcake at the top and I made myself a cupcake print dress to wear on the day. Conor and Estelle are such a lovely couple and have so many wonderful friends! A great day was had by all.
Also in this month, Alison and I went to Cobh to enjoy a night of free dinner and free accommodation thanks to a prize Alison had won! We went to Gilberts and ate until we could eat no more before falling into bed and eating breakfast in their penthouse the following morning!
In March, the inimitable Miss Ellie Murray turned the big one-eight! For a few days, our group entered the episode of Gavin & Stacey which has, up to very recently, been Ellie’s life. It was there that Ellie and I embarked upon a walk to Costa, wrote a violin part for our song about Sherlock, watched Father Ted before rocking up to a rugby club to boogie the night away for her birthday party. Pam and Mick took us out for dinner and treated me to a very British pie in a pub. It was delicious. 🙂

The in the days after the party, Ellie brought us to Cheshire to a tea room that was IN a cathedral. Not in a room in a cathedral – the WHOLE cathedral was a tea room! I gasped. It was amazing and shocking!

Creepy Amy clone.

We also went to ‘The Lady Lever’ for tea and a cake. It was there that Kylie and I shared one of my top cakes of 2012 – a delicious carrot cake. (Ellie and Cathrin shared a “chocolate cloud cake” which was also very impressive.) It was here that I came across the painting to the right, which looks UPSETTINGLY like me as a child. I showed the picture to my dad and sister upon returning home and both are as astonished and weirded out as I am. I feel like Homer in the episode with Mr Sparkle…

Torc Waterfall, Killarney.

Martha took a short trip to Killarney in April. It was there that I went on a run that is, to this day, the most special and beautiful run I have experienced. I went just after the sun came up, it was cold, crisp and dry and I ran around a lake into Muckross grounds. There were so many trees and fields, and it was just serenely quiet. On the way back to where we were staying, I walked through the ruins of an old chapel and grave yard that was dappled in sunlight through the trees. Even though I know it was public, it felt so hidden and secret. Definitely one of my stand-out moments of 2012.

Later on that month, I began working in Bantry, West Cork. Bantry is far, far away and I taught there two days a week on top of my own teaching in Cork. It was such a strange place and so weird to go and stay in a B&B once a week but it was really fun to get to listen to podcasts and music, and to read in the time I wasn’t working. I met a lot of very nice people there, too! 🙂 When I arrived to teach piano, this sign was waiting for me! —>

In May, I was completely delighted to welcome two of my dearest friends, Kylie and Melinda to my home for a relaxing few days. We went into Cork and examined the wares for sale, drank hot chocolate and the introduced me to Spaced for the first time. I also invited them to a special tea party followed by a trip to see Avengers Assemble with Martha and Orla.

In June, so much happened! Far too much for me to recount here, but most of it occurred within one week. Bevin came from America and so we spent a week showing her some of the more more exciting parts of England – like London, Warwick Castle, London, Southend-On-Sea, London and some other places.

Emilieee ♥

Here is a picture taken directly after the moment I got a phone call saying I was being offered a place in 3rd year of a BMus performance degree programme. So glad I was with my friends when it happened! 🙂 It was at approximately the same time that we saw the Olympic flame run past the window, too!

Ellie at Electric for a scone and a spot of knitting.

I was so happy in July because Ellie-Murray came to stay with me for four days! We sat down, we ate yoghurts, we went to see Dark Knight Rises, we went shopping, to Blarney Castle, we drank tea. It was a jolly lovely holiday. We even went to the Cork Food Festival and toured the food, eating our way around Cork, essentially, and basking in the evening sun.

At the end of July (the 31st, to be specific!) Lucy, Mel, Emilie and I went to Leavesden Studios for Harry’s birthday. It was lovely, we got to see all the beautiful props from the films and it was awe-inspiring to see even that small portion of all the work that went into the films. At the same time, Lucy and I shot a video for LeakyCon 2012 which meant that by the time the tour was over, we really NEEDED to go to TGI Friday for a cocktail. 😉 Emilie kindly invited me to stay with her while in London, and I got to experience London during the Olympics (It was weird and quiet!)

Post launch party, the support team has a breather.

Immediately after our Harry Potter adventure (in August,) I took a train to Macclesfield to stay with Laura and Cathrin for their birthdays. They were also releasing their first Goodnight Astor album. We had a lovely few days of watching Gavin and Stacy and listening to the musical hits of the 80s, 90s and 00s before their show.

Apart from going back to college, September was an important month for me and a few of my friends, as we were fortunate enough to go to the launch of The Casual Vacancy. After an interview and Q&A, the occupants of the Southbank Centre were able to meet J.K. Rowling to have their books signed. Here is the seemingly rather innocuous of the very thing occurring…

October was a whirlwind of college work and teaching. I joined the 21st century and bought an iPhone.

On the 30th of November to the 2nd of December my friends and I travelled to Edinburgh for the Snow Ball and Lucy’s 30th birthday. We dressed up as action heroes and villains for Lucy’s birthday.

The next day, we went to the Snow Ball. Laura, Cathrin and I were performing with Harry and the Potters, Riddle TM and the Pumpkin Pasties.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your year was fabulous and you’re all ready for 2013! I’m going to have to go off and think about my new year’s resolutions! One will definitely be to blog more! 🙂

x

2

The Minds of Others

Ready to read!

(No spoilers!)

Reading ‘The Casual Vacancy’ has (thus far – I’m not finished) made me think about how people’s minds work. As a longtime hardcore fan of children’s literature and, in more recent years, the works of such authors as Dodie Smith and Agatha Christie, I am used to a certain type of thinking. The opening pages were quite jarring to me, as everyone – everyone has an agenda. Everyone’s thoughts veer towards the unkind and coarse or selfish with only a few exceptions.

Rather naively, this shocked me. Of course this is a work of fiction and contains heightened characteristics of human nature. I completely understand that, but it has made me think about thoughts and motives. Do people really have such dark thoughts when faces with a sudden death? Thoughts which have absolutely nothing to do with actual death?

At this point I should admit that I am a ruthless self-analyser. I question every thought I have and every action I take. Part of this just a trait of an anxious personality. The idea of causing anyone else unhappiness on purpose is horrifying to me and I’m deeply convinced that something terrible will happen if I ever make anyone suffer, intentionally or not. On the whole, though, I don’t have nasty thoughts about people. I’m usually too busy being worried about something.

If someone had asked me sixty pages in to describe the book, I would have said that it’s a grotesque depiction of the less attractive aspects of human nature. It sounds strong, but it really did catch me quite off-guard. The topic at the start of the book is sudden death, and how everyone copes or does not cope with it. It’s a subject that I have some experience with, and am therefore interested in. Pagford’s inhabitants are each self-obsessed, their thoughts are for themselves.

It’s a good and very different exercise to be presented with a group of characters with whom I don’t immediately sympathise. I’m looking forward to unwinding the rest of the book.

1

Knitmas

MY KNITMAS PRESENT CAME!! Look at it! Isn’t it beautiful?! The postman came at EARLY o’clock this morning – I swear I was transported back to being eight years old on Christmas morning. It was so exciting!!
Here is the artily arranged window photo.
A breakdown of the delights.
LOOK AT THESE HARRY POTTER-INSPIRED CHARMS! LOOK AT THE OWL!! They’re Gryffindor colours!! In real life they look soooo pretty. I’ve been informed that they’re stitch markers for circular knitting. (*n00b*) They came with a ‘coffee candy.’
I’m saving these for the Christmas holidays and I’m not sharing. x
LOOK AT THIS COWL. LOOK AT IT. IT LOOKS LIKE THE SEA WAS KNITTED INTO A WARM NECK ACCESSORY. I love this. I’m wearing it right now.
In the dark (it was early) I thought this was blue but it’s actually a gorgeous shade of teal-blue. It’s kind of sheeny like a peacock feather – I LOVE IT! I would never buy yarn this nice for myself! It’s made of silk and merino. I’m going to have to do some serious research and thinking before I decide what to do with this!!
THANK YOU, KNITMAS SANTA! x
0

WIZARD ROCK WEEKEND and more!

I feel quite bad for not having posted at ALL in the last week. Last week literally nothing happened. I slept for the entire week trying to recover from the weekend before.

The show was EPIC! The only hitches happened in my set, which is okay because I feel I can take ownership over Siriusly Hazza P and Harry and the Potters’ successes in a tiny way for actually being the person who organised the concert. It was a great weekend. I just can’t stress how amazing my friends are. James and Lucy, Mary and Janice, my family – MY PIANO TEACHER, EVEN? All helped in some way and were there to support me. God. Amazing, really. The actually progression of the day went so eerily smoothly. There were no disasters. Well, my friend Martha has a seizure after my set but like, these things happen. More than 200people showed up. I’m still in shock.

The after party was cool too and culminated in me collapsing at 2.30am. Whimp.

—:D—

Today this happened:

Me:Maybe getting a cat would help you with your paranoia.
Sister: I’m not paranoid!
Me: You called the police on some mice in your house….

—:D—

God I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted, really. Here are some photos:

I was in Cheshire visiting my friends a few weeks ago. They brought me to a BOUTIQUE that was NAMED AFTER ME!
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Laura and Cathrin also brought me to a bakery which had SUCH tempting confectionary. I sampled 6 cakes and took the rest home to my father. 😀

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In the bakery I got a hug from Robert, my man cardi who I named after my boo, Robert Downey Jr.

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Later I murdered them at the dinner table.

From the show weekend!

On Saturday we went into town with some Wizards and Witches.

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Neil, Mel, James, me, Lizzy, Matt on our way to the Opera House

And in the evening I had everyone over for a barbecue at m’house:
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THE SHOW!!!

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Siriusly Hazza P

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Me with a Hazza P on either side.

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Harry and the Potters working the crowd!

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Me, Cathrin and Ellie doing our thang.

GOOD TIMES!

4

Vision Board

Yesterday I made one of those lame-ass vision board things. You’re meant to find pictures of what you want in life and shtick ’em onto a poster. Or, alternatively flick through magazines and just cut out the pictures that capture you or spark your imagination.

I wish I had a camera so that I could show you what I put in. I’ll have to improvise with Google Images.

FOOD:
Muffin with star:

Trifle:

Mackerel:

Raspberries:

Blueberries:

Vegetable soup:

An orange:

Cup of tea in pretty flowery china teacup:

A laattteee:

Woman in apron holding a tray of cupcakes:

FLOWERS:
A yellow flower:

Lavender x2:

Girl with bunch of flowers:

Misc:
Girl spinning in pretty purple dress.

Needle and thread:

1940s lady looking mysteriously happy (Yes. I know this is Grace Kelly. She’s closest to the picture):

Paper party streamers:

Cracked Tree trunk:

Flicked Liquid Eyeliner:

Plus the words GORGEOUS CURLS and five pictures of Robert Downey Jr.

When I went to sleep last night I decided that this meant nothing more that I was hungry when I was making it. Which is true, but something is clear here. I like food. A lot. I only recently realised for certain that good food is one of my passions in life. No matter what I end up doing – if I work in SuperValu stocking the frozen section – cooking, baking, growing and eating food will ALWAYS be a part of me. I was brought up around recipes and ingredients. People knew we were about excellent food. It’s true that I would like my career to involve food. That is one of the reasons why “event management” is such a positive thing for me to do – it’s stretchy. It means I can incorporate my passions (music, food, dresses, people, singing, talking) into my life.

There’s kind of a crossover there with nature. Flowers and fruit.

I’d love to let a psychoanalyst analyse this for me and tell me what it meanssssss!

ALSO! Since I pasted all those pictures, my camera arrived from Ebay. 😀 So I may post one later of the chart! 😀

2

Slow Movement


My generation depresses me. This world of buying cheap things, using them until they die and discarding them is getting me down. Clothes, home decor, jewelry, you name it, we consume it and then promptly throw it away. I miss the world I grew up in, the world of having certain dinner plates and silverware that were only used on Sundays, and tea cups that were only used if my mother was feeling extremely extravagant and free-spirited. It gave things a sense of occasion. It made it special.


(A plate from my mother’s set)

Nowadays, of course, we use mugs that can be washed in the dishwasher and cleaned with minimum fuss.

Well I happen to enjoy a bit of fuss. Especially if it means taking a little longer to enjoy a dinner when it’s being served from a terrine that matches your plate. Or a slice of cake from a little plate that matches your cup and saucer. It’s ceremony! It’s elegance and festivity! It’s not downing a bucket-sized cup of tea for the sake of caffeine (although that will forever have its place in everyday life). It’s taking some time with a friend or family member to catch up and relax.

This evening after dinner I decided to have a rummage around and tidy out the sideboard in my parents house. Of course I was never allowed near it when I was a child because it housed all manner of beautiful, delicate things. My mother was in love with a blue Aynsley china set of cups, saucers, dinner plates, bowls, jugs, gravy boats… everything except a teapot, actually. During my rummage I uncovered all the extra pieces that had been concealed. Now the complete matching set sits in pride of place on top of the side board.

I also made several exciting discoveries! A set of hand-painted EXTREMELY delicate china cups, saucers and cake plates that belonged to my grandmother, a Waterford Crystal duck (!!), another two complete matching tea and dinner sets. (Denby and another one I’ll have to look up) and several candlestick holders. Not to mention a plethora of linen napkins, both plain and embroidered.

I’ve convinced my dad that next time we have people over for dinner we must use one of these sets. Including dessert and coffee, of course. And all served on one of the newly uncovered tablecloths using some nicely pressed linen napkins.

It’s all sort of prompting me to be a bit more careful and thoughtful about what I have and what I buy. Maybe if we all had a bit of a rummage, or just looked with fresh eyes on the things we already have, we could learn to appreciate them a bit more and not feel the need to buy new, convenient wotsits every time we walk into a shop.

Good luck.
xxx

2

London Audition


The audition went quite well really! Much better than I expected! I was expecting to mess up my monologues and get really flustered and rush through them. But I managed to say them in a way that was beyond my expectations of myself. I think they found my Irishy one funny, which is good. They didn’t really laugh very much, though.

My songs went quite well, even though I thoroughly messed up one part of “Let Me Be Your Wings. I missed an entry and screwed up a syncopated but. But whatever. I feel like I dealt with it well, which is a good sign of a performer.

The pianist is like the musical director on “Wicked” in the West End, so I nearly had a conniption because one of my songs was “Defying Gravity.” God, it was such a good feeling to sing it with him. I was so elated and enjoyed it so much. UNFORTUNATELY, he didn’t follow me at all and took it much too fast, which didn’t give me enough time to change register a few times. But I did my best and he should have been following my lead.

The workshop was NOT SCARY!! Christ, I’ve had Drama classes more scary than that!! It was a short physical warm up with spine rolls and rhythmic movement followed by a 3 minute improvisation. I *love* improv. So… well, that was awesome? The girl I was doing it with ended it after about 1 minute though. Idiot.

Meeting up with everyone was just wonderful. My flight was delayed and thus I was 1.5hrs late to meet everyone but I got to see them for a while and we went to the Science Museum. (fun) Once the younger people went home, myself, Chloé, Neil and James S went to a quiet pub near King’s Cross for a few drinks and a loong chat. It was just thoroughly enjoyable. I had a pint of water and two bottles of J2O. Lots of fluid. Neil had come all the way down from Scotland just to hang out! How great!!!

I stayed with Chloé on Sunday night. I had never met her before. I am besotted. I think she’s amazing! I’m utterly astounded by how wonderful she is. She’s so kind and funny and fun and just so nice? And she has amazing taste in MUSIC and obviously BOOKS and she’s so TIDY and ARTISTIC and she’s FRENCH and I don’t know. I’m just marvelling at the fact that I never knew her before, I suppose. Like definitely I wish everyone had a Chloé. She made me feel so at home in her little bedroom!!

After the audition I went home with my friend James and we had dinner out and I stayed at his place in Windsor. That was nice. We watched YouTube videos for a while and in the morning I made him breakfast with food i’d brought from here. He put me in a taxi and everything.

Jaysus lads. People. Humans. They’re just awesome. I love them!!

This a photo of me singing at the opera show two weeks ago! 🙂 The thumbnail above is a photo of the whole cast!