As with pretty much all of my 'styling the seasons' ideas, these images looked far better in my head than they do on screen. Try though I might, I still struggle with putting items together to tell a story or take a pretty picture. I even sat in on a masterclass with Katy from Apartment Apothecary as she shared all her genius styling tips and tricks and while I understood all of them and have since poured over her recap post, it's still something that I find incredibly difficult. Turning a picture or concept in my mind in to a real life thing and then capturing it in an image is a lot harder that what I'd initially thought. So much so, that I even emailed Katy a while back to say that I probably couldn't join in any more because I simply couldn't get to grips with it. Indeed, it's not made easier by having roughly six seconds to set things up and take a few photos before a rogue piece of lego makes an unwanted appearance.
You know, a while back, I told myself that I'd stop doing these posts until both my little dudes are at school and I'd really have chance to sit and think things through properly, set everything up and then take many photos from different angles to try and learn which look best. And then spend a bit more time editing the images and really working on my writing so that I have the perfect post to share with you ... to make sure that if you land on my blog and choose to spend a minute or two of your precious time with me, I really make it worth your while.
But then I thought, life's not really like that, is it? And what's a perfect post, anyway? My personal story is a life that includes two little cheeky cherubs and a house containing probably a few too many plastic toys. I adore beautiful photographs and wonderfully styled shots and while I would love to achieve that, and will continue to strive for that, my slightly messier and averagely-styled versions really do epitomise my world, right now. And that's my story. These are my seasons styled.
It's only the past week that I've come to terms with that. Instead of throwing in the towel and not sharing my efforts, I thought why not document my progress to reach the level that I want to be at? Even if it's a level that I'm never going to be at. I enjoy these posts and I like sharing the stories behind the items that I've chosen to display. They're almost like diary entries. Little snapshots of what each month means to me. And I'd hate to stop doing that just because I'm conscious that my attempts fall short when compared to everyone else that joins in with this wonderful monthly series. I might not be offering you perfection but I hope you'll stay with me anyway and know that I'm trying.
This month, Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and Lots asked us to include a favourite vintage find in our styling efforts. And I found three - a vintage postcard (check out the text ... pure filth, right?), my grandmother's cookbook and my great grandmother's jug - that seemed to fit my September story. I've mentioned many times before that September is more like the start of a new year for me than January. My brain and my body both still follow the school year, probably helped by the fact that I adore autumn and abhor winter. No good things happen in January (apart from the birth of my littlest in 2013 ... must get that in in case he ever reads this in the future). Instead of focusing on my eldest starting school, I wanted to share a little bit about my very own school days ... and at 39, I could probably put myself in these images and then say that they include four vintage items.
My mum and I lived with my grandparents when I was younger. It's so strange the things that you remember years on, isn't it? Silver top milk and Friday visits from the fizzy pop man are the two things that really stand out in my mind. I remember running in to the kitchen, dropping my school bag on to the floor and sneaking milk straight from the bottle (dreadful habit, I know ... I don't do it anymore, believe me). I never shook it because it was the cream on top that I really loved. But on Fridays, the milk was forgotten in favour of waiting for the pop man (who I think was actually the milkman, too) and deciding what colour drink would be that weekend's treat. Normally red, occasionally green, and sometimes, dandelion and burdock. They don't make fizzy drinks like that any more. Probably because half the ingredients are now banned by the EU.
And I also remember sitting reading my school books on the telephone seat in the hallway and when I inevitably became a little bored and wanted a distraction, I would sit and flick through The Dairy Book of Family Cookery, oddly enough, also dropped off by the milkman/pop man/book seller. As I looked through it, my eye was always drawn to the page containing the coconut ice recipe. I adored coconut ice as a child. It was always top of my list when I was allowed pick n mix from Woolworths. So, last week, after stumbling across the cookery book at my mother's house, I decided to finally follow that recipe for myself. And coconut ice? Well, I think coconut-flavoured sugar would be a more apt description. It's still as yummy as I remember it, though.
Sometimes, I wonder what my boys will remember of their school days, or of their days spent at home with me. Somewhere in their memory banks might be snapshots of afternoons making coconut ice and drinking pink pop with their mama ... memories of afternoons spent remembering memories.