Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Simplifying 2014 with just four goals

explore the essex coast; black hair; black hair and beauty; creative writing; the only way is essex; the pier harwich;
I have been looking back and 2013 and well what a year! We moved home and business and that was such a big step both for my family and for my little business.  It was also a total nightmare that almost, I say almost, crushed my spirit but now Strange Fruit has a studio to call its own and we have a house we all love the foundations have been set for a very busy 2014.

I am a natural planner. Since I was a child I have broken what I want into manageable goals, I don't do well with focusing on the big goal. Just working on one small bit, then another small bit works much better for me. My other big thing is not talking about those goals until I have really got my head around what I need to do in order to achieve it. I am still plodding my way through some big goals so my main 2014 goal is to keep doing what I'm doing and keeping all the balls in the air! 

There are some things it really is time for me to focus on but I am keeping it simple and simplifying my New Years Resolutions and setting myself just four goals for 2014.

1.  Explore the Essex Coast.  I have read and looked at so many lovely pictures of the Essex Coast that I cannot wait to go and explore it for myself. We like Southend and Westcliffe – we have spent many a New Years Day wandering along an Essex Beach in the freezing cold but we have never really ventured beyond the usual towns and I know there is so much more.  So even though I am proud to say I have never watched an episode of The Only Way is Essex I am heading up the A12 to see what I can see and quite possibly eat my way through the entire menu at The Pier in Harwich!

Southend as the sun sets
2.  Fall in love with my hair.  I have never been big on my hair – it is there on the top of my head, I have a lot of it (with a few grey strands now) but I have never really taken much interest in it. To be honest I find doing anything with my hair is just too much effort. 

Tracee Ellis Ross has great hair and a great blog, where she talks about - yep hair

When I was younger I was excited by hairdressers – but what a nightmare that turned out to be – black hairdressers took all day – wasting time I did not have and European hairdressers had no idea what they were doing.  But times have changed and I am totally inspired by all the great blog posts, products reviews and pictures I now see - advertisers take note - I am a consumer hungry for more black hair and beauty. And now I want to slip into this new world where other people will not only love my hair but teach me how best to look after it and love it. You never know I may even start wearing it out – but give me time – my hair has been ‘up’ for the last 20 years – this is a big emotional journey for me. I am investing in a monthly products from Root to Tip and I have saved a link on my phone to a lovely blog Freshlengths which charts Lesley Buckle's hair journey, you know, just to keep me feeling secure. I know am going to need all the advice and support I can get!

3.  With a settled mind and a room of my own I have got a place to write. It seems I haven't really changed much since childhood, writing short stories and plays was the one big thing I loved to do and that always made me happy. More recently making the time to write down the stories in my head has been in a box marked 'later'. Later is now and I will even try to be brave enough to share some short stories here, I might even get round to editing my novel - but no promises ha ha.

4.  The last goal I am setting myself for 2014 is of course to continue to grow Strange Fruit. I couldn’t expand the business without first having putting in some strong foundations to stand on – that has been done and now Strange Fruit can flourish. I have ideas everyday about new avenues to explore; a bit like the Essex Coast the possibilities for Strange Fruit are unexplored. But now at least Strange Fruit has a base that isn’t the corner of my bedroom and what a difference that makes. I love the room I use as a studio. Its grey – the best colour - which is a major bonus, it has everything I need it and best of all I can cut up as much paper as I like and not have to tidy up until I am finished on a project. My productivity levels have gone through the roof as getting work done is now so much easier.

Deciding to move home so I could continue to work Strange Fruit around my life was the right thing to do. I love that I can be working on new designs while to boy sits in the arm chair ‘reading’ a book or laying on the floor with his Star Wars Mini Figures. I always wanted Strange Fruit to enhance my life and what I was giving back to the world and not to encroach on family time or other commitments – my new live and work space has done that and I am super happy and totally ready for 2014.

Happy 2014 everyone , hope it is prosperous and full of adventures for everyone.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Dream kitchens and Universal magic

kitchen cabinets; kitchen remodel; parquet flooring; traditional kitchen taps; yoga; salvaged kitchen; 
I hope everyone has had a merry Christmas time. I have eaten too much and really enjoyed spending time with the husband dreaming up our new kitchen. 

We are still a few months away from actually doing our kitchen remodel, there is so much to do before then, like fixing the bowed floor and removing the totally gross ceiling, but dreaming is good (and a necessity). We are having the roof fixed soon, and will probably decorate our bedroom before even starting the kitchen, so dreaming is about all we can afford to do at the moment. But it is surprising what dreaming can do! 

Industrial chic

Before we got started on thinking about the kitchen we were planning our little entrance hall and thought how lovely it would be with parquet flooring, and by some Universal magic, we were given enough parquet floor to do our entrance hall AND our kitchen. That was a game changer and when the kitchen dreaming really began. We had already been thinking about a black kitchen cabinets with an industrial look and by the power of Pinterest we have created our kitchen wish list which features black kitchen cabinets, a butlers sink, traditional kitchen taps, I would love to find some antique brass ones, and of course a polished parquet floor. 

Dream kitchen, parquet floor, black cabinets.

Every Victorian house needs a butlers sink

A brass mixer tap would be lush

A parquet floor works in the kitchen 

Given the Universe sent us some beautiful flooring we are going to push our luck and will (really hard) a salvaged kitchen into our lives and our home. We fitted the kitchen in our last house and given that our bathroom build was a nightmare, that we have only recently got over, I am quite sure we will be fitting our new kitchen ourselves. We have seen some great re-fitted kitchens on Pinterest and are totally inspired by what a some re-working can do. 

I am slightly scared  that we have to live in our house while the roof is fixed and that we have to clean the bitumen off about a 1000 wooden blocks before we can even get started on the kitchen. Not sure this is the most glamorous way to begin 2014, but as everyone always says it will be worth it in the end, and in the meantime, thank goodness I have yoga and Pinterest.

Friday, 27 December 2013

This Christmas I discovered men just don't like Downton Abbey

downtown abbey christmas special; downtown abbey; suffolk; men don't like downtown abbey;
This year we were really lucky to spend this Christmas up in Suffolk with family. There was overeating, Christmas songs and log fires and I cannot tell you how lovely it was. The little one especially enjoyed hanging out with his cousins, the fact they are in their early twenties and he is just six didn't seem to put him off at all as far as I know they didn't feed him beer so all is good. 

Time with loved ones, rubbish internet connection, power cuts, a turkey we had named Sebastian and a very heated game of 'Animation' made a very merry Christmas.

As is custom on Christmas day we all watched a movie together, people were everywhere, on sofas, beanbags and on the floor. After the film Granny wanted to watch Downton Abbey, me and my Aunt stocked up on mince pies and tea, and  by the time we came back to the TV room, all the boys, whose ages ranged from 6 to 55, had gone.
I had never noticed before, I usually watch TV at home, and not often with 10 people, but is it really true that men don't like Downton Abbey?  Even the little one legged it! He loves watching Antiques Roadshow with me, but when as soon as the words Downton Abbey came up on the screen he and his Darth Vader fled. I know lots of viewers didn't enjoy the cosy drama, but were the 6.8 million viewers all women? And if they were, doesn't this tell us that we need more TV with female leads. Maybe we watch Downtown because of the female representation and we just like seeing clothed women on our TV screens. Its a simple theory but one that has intrigued me.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

He's back ... the black Santa

black Santa; Stoke Newington Christmas market; Betty Knits; african american christmas cards; stange cards
For the second year running, our black Santa is still our best selling Christmas card! Not that I am surprised. What started out as a bit of fun has taken on a life of its own. I drew this on the Mac with the boy, we were just playing around. I shared the picture on Twitter and what do you know - loads of people wanted to buy him on a Christmas card. 

Of course the answer to all those potential customers was "yes of course you can" but turning a print run around a couple of weeks before Christmas was a challenge. But one I did and 500 black Santa's made their way out into a Christmas Wonderland.  This year the requests for this card kept coming. I am really fortunate that Strange Fruit customers are a loyal and super organised bunch and helpfully pre-ordered their cards. I can't tell you how helpful this was to me as a micro business; planning is a dream when you have a good idea of how much stock you need.

I do of course have other cards, in the Strange Fruit style, this is my favorite - she is just such a cutie!

So where can I see these cards for myself? 
Well If you are around N16 the weekend of 14 and 15 December I will be selling the cards are a few other festive treats at the brilliant Stoke Newington Town Hall Christmas market. This is a great market, loads for everyone and all reasonably priced. I did one day at this market last year, the fact I am going back for the whole weekend is testament to how much fun it is. It is even going to be a bit of a family affair as Betty Knits (the step mother who smashed the mould and turned out better than the real thing and her sister) will also be there with their vintage inspired accessories made from old patterns, plus a few new patterns that capture the spirit of the forties, fifties and sixties. Trust me - these women are vintage loving queens!

The festive pace is stepping up, and I have learnt now not to over do it at Christmas, it is after-all family time.  That is also why I only do one market at this time of year and load up the online shop a little later than maybe a business guru would like. But that's me - never sticking to the rules!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas presents for the girls with everything

cheap Christmas presents; presents for girls; babysitting voucher; first class flights; etsy; laduree; sugar syrup recipe; 
Cheap presents your friends will love. Really!!

If like me you all your friends have everything they need part from first class flights to Honolulu and a chauffeur driven car then you'll be wondering what on earth to gift them for Christmas without breaking the bank. I have had a bit of a think about this and come up with five thoughtful ideas - I've tested them out on the girlfriends and they all agree these would make great gifts.

1. A babysitting voucher  - the benefits are obvious. craftjenny.com even has some free ones to download, just in-case you don't have time to design one yourself and these fun designs by bononbazar are the coolest babysitting vouchers I found on Esty.

2.  A great picture of a fun time together printed off your phone and into a frame.
My lovely friends gave me such a fabulous hen party but none of the pictures are displayed in my home but do appear to be all over Facebook!

3. A bottle of wine and a date made to drink it together. And yes this can even be one that currently lives in your kitchen.

4. One beautiful Laduree macaroon - one is enough, ok six are better, but either way they are perfect!

5. Home made sugar syrup for cocktails - who remembers to make this until you are opening a bottle of vodka! But hmmm and what could be simpler. Save some water bottles, or buy some from Ikea and a few bags of sugar and your done. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients: 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.  Preparation:

  • Bring the water to a boil. 
  • Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. (Note: Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or the syrup will be too thick.)
  • Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.
To prolong the shelf life of your simple syrup, add a little vodka - around a tablespoon, depending on how large the batch of syrup is. Secret tip, replacing white sugar with demerara sugar is a lovely alternative because it adds a richer sugar flavor. The drawback to using light brown sugar is that it will alter the color of cocktails and while the difference is noticeable, the taste makes up for it. Courtney, the Blond Gourmand has some great recipes, I've been checking out her blog for a while and err collecting ingredients and a drinks trolley.

I am sure like me you would rather receive a thoughtful cheap gift this Christmas than something expensive that you don't actually want or need. So long as the gift comes with love, happy holidays will reign.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Sometimes I just don't want square pictures

instagram; star wars; photoshop express; iphone; snappy snaps; photo editing apps for phones;
I love Instagram, but sometimes I just don't want square pictures. 

I have always enjoyed taking pictures but carrying around a full sized slr camera is not always an option, especially going to and from the day job and when I'm out with the small boy, but you never know what you might just see do you! For me the main appeal of getting a smart phone was having a great camera in my bag, but not being able to get more than pictures destined for social media networks out of my phone has been a bit frustrating. 

I want to to able to take pictures good enough to print and frame.  

Early contradiction though - I still love the Star War pictures we took back in the Summer!

In a bid to get better quality pictures out of my phone I've been trying out different photo editing apps over the past few months and Photoshop Express has definitely been the best one to quickly polish up my pictures. I have a full blown version of Photoshop in my studio but you know sometimes you just want to have a little simplicity in your life. On the train on my way to and from the day job, if I'm not reading or daydreaming I tend to edit my photographs, so this app, which can be used on android and iphones, is perfect. 

You'll know I've made a deal with myself to frame more pictures and I am really enjoying popping into my super friendly Snappy Snaps and printing images out. I know Snappy Snaps isn't the cheapest place to print pictures but the team in the Victoria branch are so nice that I look forward to saying hi and catching up with them.

Last week on a little walk about, me and the boy went to buy him new jeans and have a sneaky hot chocolate together, I took this picture of him. It's OK but nothing special photographically but it was a special moment that deserved capturing.

Using the exposure filter and the black and white option the picture looks much sharper. And the high chair in the back of the picture is pretty much blended out.

This is my favourite one though. I used another filter which gives nice mocha tones.

Photoshop Express is super easy to use and the free version gives pretty much everything you need to smarten up camera phone pictures. You just click through the changes and you always have the option of going back to your original image. When your done you just save your edited image to your camera roll. Easy as pie. 

I know I am really late finding this app, and I hang my head in shame, but I bet I am not the only one, so for those who like me are not 'early adopters' enjoy!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Nine things to end the year on a high.

With just nine weeks of this year left I figured I needed a little plan to make sure I end the year on a high. The dark evenings and not feeling so great lately is making it quite difficult to motivate myself to do anything much. Then of course I feel bad that I haven’t done anything on my list of things to do, oh the vicious circle of a constant ‘doer’.

We have of course moved home this year, a big thing for the Rawls family and for Strange Fruit and we’ve had a holiday – the first overseas holiday for us all in over three years, there are just always more important things aren't there? But our holiday was lovely and oh my, how much am I missing that sunshine right now.  However back to my plan!  Nine things that will make me feel great at the end of the year. Not convinced about my motivation yet - but a girl needs a plan! 

1.  Unpack a box a week – we still have so many boxes.
2.  Loose 9lbs – my scales are in a box somewhere so off to Boots I must go for a weigh in.
3.  Go to bed by midnight – I think this will be the hardest thing on my list for me to do!
4.  Get or make an African print skirt. 


5.  Design a new greeting card a week – a great way to end the year for Strange Fruit.
6.  Finish the living room make do and mend makeover – let’s just say progress is slow!


7.  Go for a 30 minute walk every day. See goal two!
8.  Print and frame one picture or trinket a week. How cute are brooches in frames? 
9.  Make some time for cooking. I have so many recipes saved but never made.

With the aim of getting to bed by midnight all images are via Pinterest today. 
Wish me luck – am most definitely going to need it!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

We went to Paris with mostly no plan and it was wonderful.

vintage; paris; eurostar;marche aux puses saint-ouen; galeries lafayette; weekend in paris; a la mere de famille
We went to Paris with mostly no plan and it was wonderful! The only aim we had was to visit a flea market, drink lots of coffee and of course lots of wine; so bucks fizz on the Eurostar was a great start! 

Fueled up, we walked from Gare du Nord to our Best Western Premier Hotel, le Carre Folies Opera in Montamatre. The hotel was a bit of a disappointment as they often are. We paid for an executive room and twin beds, we got a weeny room and had to ask house-keeping to come and split the bed for us. The location was great though we were right by Folies-Bergere and just around the corner from this fabulous confectionery store A la Mere de Famille you can see why it appealed to me! The floor is amazing and I just loved the typography

At 250 years old this is Paris's oldest sweet store and rumour has it that dancers from the Folies Begere used to pop by for a gumdrop or two, I can't imagine why they wouldn't.

Our next stop was Galeries LaFayette, I have not seen the inside before an wow was it worth the walk. Such a shame they knocked down the original staircase in 1976, bet that was just lovely.

The ceiling at Galeries LaFayette
More walking and lots of photos of doors, spending the weekend with a fellow lover of architecture was so much fun. Neither of us know much about the technical stuff but we know what we like and we like the use of french blues and greys on buildings but mostly we like mustard front doors!

The French do mustard so well, even their doors
We made it to flea market by Porte de Clignancourtthe Marche aux Puses Saint-Ouen on Sunday morning and it was an experience, not one I would repeat if I actually wanted to buy anything. Lovely for looking around. I knew the market was overpriced but the prices could only be considered as having comedy value. It appeared nothing was under 300 euros.

A shop entrance - in the expensive bit of the market

Apart from the ultra groomed shoppers sitting in the back of chauffeured black Mercedes we didn't see anyone actually buying anything. With the advertised starting prices I'm not surprised. I am all for bartering but what's the point when the starting price is more than the cost of a small semi in Derby? 

My very modest Paris shopping haul 
 I did pick up a frame for 4 euros in the bric a brac section of the market and on our walk back to our hotel we found a great vintage shop where I brought a little piece painted in 1933 for 15 euros.

Artists impression of  an elephant in 1933
The vintage Habitat 1964 village was a great find. They sell of course wonderful vintage pieces, oh if only I had kept some of the furniture from my first flat. I worked across the road from Habitat in the early nineties and lets just say lunchtimes were expensive! Lunch at the "buvette" run by Tartes Kluger was so tasty - I now need a Julia Child's quiche recipe. Only in Paris can a lunch of cafe creme, quiche and salad taste so good.
We brought some of those little wheelie shoppers in anticipation of buying too much to carry, fat chance! I promise I will never think the prices at vintage fairs are over priced again and I will happily increase my eBay bids knowing that actually vintage shopping in the UK is always always cheaper than shopping at Marche aux Puses Saint-Ouen - not as glamorous but definitely cheaper!

Serious Mummy points - I brought the boy a light saber lamp in Galeries LaFayette- just 25 euros
Walking around Paris was great, we had no plans we stopped when we wanted, we didn't pack loads into our days and we fell into our Eurostar seats home happy and exhausted. Paris made a wonderful change from spending my weekend decorating, now I just need to make sure the boy doesn't use that lamp as light saber for real!

Even the Boris bikes are stylish in Paris, no garish branding here, how French

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Planning a make do and mend living room make over

woodchip wallpaper; right move; rightmove; buy a house in London; interior designers; interior design; gplan;
Our living room is horrible. There is no getting away from it, magnolia woodchip and grubby cinnamon alcoves. Not our taste at all, but we have to save up lots and lots of pennies to get the ceiling replaced, the walls skimmed, after we have stripped them, and to have a fire place fitted. So after some niffy calculations we have decided we are broke and the rest of the house is more pressing.  So our living room will be done last - which means a make do and mend make-over in the interim using with furniture we already have or can buy really really cheaply.

This is another living room in our street (via Rightmove), if only our walls and ceiling were this smooth. But the rooms, as you can see are super bright which makes me really happy. The sun streams into our living room and its one of the many things I love about our home. 

This leaping zebra wallpaper from Scalamandre is my (sorry our) inspiration for the living room, a palette of black, white, brown and gold.  Some cushions in this print would be awesome.

We are stuck with our sofa, when the room is done properly we will have it recovered, but for now a brown leather corner suite a bit like this one is what we have.

There will be gallons of white paint and I can't decide if the chimney and the alcoves should be painted black or just chimney breast. 

The tv will be stuck up and I hoping to find fire place to lean up against the wall. With some fairy lights in a heap on the floor the focal point of the room won't be a massive television. We're keeping the brown roman blinds, they work, they fit and they match the sofa.

The rest of my (our) ideas are gathered on a Pinerest board - I am sure Pinterest has saved lots of couples from many many arguments, it has us. Now instead of piles of magazines I can just leave the husband to flick through online pages and show him how what's in my head would look in the house.

With some careful precision planning the aim is to have to make over done by December so we can finally relax, I just need to find a sideboard, paint the armoire we just brought via eBay (black of course) and paint all those walls.

Friday, 25 October 2013

A wander round our endz

Photoshop Express, Italian leather handbag, vintage jewellery, vintage jewelry, Hackney
This week me and the boy went for a ramble round the neighbourhood. The day job means we just don't get enough time to have a wander around and just see what we happen to stumble across. On our walk we found some absolutes treasures at the Hackney Downs Studios which are just a short stroll across the park from our house.

Image via Hackney Downs Studios

First we went into Smoking Gun Vintage which is hot - full of quality clothes and many many good priced trinkets - I got this Kryponite ring for £15.00. 

A shop or so down is Portamento - my dream shop, and yours if you like Italian handbags and shoes. There are two bags, including that zebra print clutch, with my name all over them. I defy anyone not to fall in love with a pair of shoes from this store which is one part shop, one part gallery, one part Hackney cool. Sara, one of the owners, of course oozing her street-style Italian glamour, told me she is recruiting for the new monthly market - if your stylish enough - get in touch with Sara directly - the first market is 3rd November. I can already see a trunk sale taking place in my living room - when its decorated of course.

If only shoes grew on trees
And then we went for cake at The Russett, a licensed cafe and creative space tucked away at the end of the car park.  From the outside I though it looked a bit hmm really, but the inside is enough to make any lover of up-cycled industrial interiors go weak at the knees. The cake is fresh and healthy - I had a courgette number - part of my 5 a day. The Russett got its name for the orchard planted by The Tree Musketeers in Hackney Downs Park, seriously how cool is that and they source local food for local people to come and enjoy. Simple and satisfying and I am heading there for Sunday lunch very soon. 

The Russett of course has a giant apple, which made me smile.

The best car park space reservation signs I have ever seen.
I know some people are intimated by spaces like The Hackney Downs Studios. These types of creative community run hubs are sometimes seen as follies for the middle classes who have moved into an area as a result of gentrification. These pre-conceptions make me really sad. You don't need to have a university degree to enjoy hanging out in a nice space with nice shops, you just need to like browsing (and eating cake). I live in Hackney, I am not from Hackney and I love my new neighbourhood. And I am sooo not middle class which is why I love my street; a real mixture of all social classes and people. There is one man who owns at least three of the houses in our road, there is a council estate at one end of the street, there are two halfway hostels, there is a special needs school and there are flats and houses in between that are a mixture of privately owned, privately rented and social housing. This is Hackney today, like it always has been, a mixture of people rubbing along together and I just love it.

You'll find the Hackney Downs Studios at Amhurst Terrace, Hackney, London, E8 2BT.

And here is a random picture of bikes, edited using the free Photoshop Express app which I have only just found - yeah I am always late!

Get your bike fixed at the workshop while you eat cake at The Russett

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The week that was!

This blog is called Life Behind Strange Fruit, so I thought I would share what has happened this week, which has been a total monster! 

Monday brought the first day of the Technology Innovators Forum, a two day conference at Broadcasting House. I have been working on this event for the past three weeks and there have been lots and lots of late nights. The outcome was perfect. The speakers including some flown in from LA all arrived on time, the delegates were excited and the talks I managed to sit in on were inspiring. Howard Stringer, ex CEO of Sony was my favourite speaker of the event. 'Ex' anythings always tell the truth, they have nothing to hide - the videos will be up soon. 

The day event was followed by a Reception. The number of people it took to turn the National Portrait Gallery into a venue suitable for canap├ęs and speeches was impressive - we had a thirty minute window! But we did it and after the speeches, which I missed as I was dealing with something or another, our favourite X-Factor judge sang us a few tunes. It was like a gig in a living room. Then, long after the guests had gone we tidied up and fell into an entourage of cabs.

Gary Barlow sings in a crowded room

On Tuesday, after finishing up at the BBC I went to into the office to collapse on my desk for a bit while I got the energy together to go and listen to Gary Younge read from his new book. How pleased am I that I went. I have long admired Gary's work and as he lives in Chicago you know - we don't see him to often. And I finally got to meet Hannah Pool, in the real world and off Twitter, that was brilliant too.
Wednesday I took the day off the job to a) recover b) make sure I picked the kid up from school and take him to the library - we have a monthly library date and c) get my cards together for Ladies Day at Stratford Old Town Hall on Saturday. I haven't done this event before but I figured it was local and the chance to try out some new illustrated flat notes and invitations would be a good thing. 

Thursday and Friday are a blur of the day job, rubbish transport links, cellophane wrappers and washing my hair. Thursday was also our wedding anniversary, to celebrate, I didn't take any work home with me.

Saturday, Ladies Day was so much fun.  The 2Inspire Network did a great job organising the day, we traders even got a refreshment pack - how thoughtful was that. Organisers of bigger markets take note, being valued as a customer makes a trader want to come back. I am looking forward to getting my own ankara fabric necklace from Afrinze - the pink one is so pretty. What a day of sisterhood and it was great to met so many people I have chatted to online and I was able to test out new products. For me markets are the best way of getting instant feedback, customers will tell you exactly what they think of a product in a way friends and family won't. Top tip, always take a couple of your press packs with you - you never know if you'll need them - I gave out two on Saturday which was unexpected but of course welcome.

Sunday has been a pyjama day, I finally managed to watch last weeks Downton Abbey, clear emails and relax, I even watched The Lorax with the kid. Next week won't be as busy but it will be equally exciting I'm sure.