Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


Welcome to the Tea-Party

My grandmother was a milliner, and I have inherited her love of hats. I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you.

The Mad Fluffy Hat, or The One Liam Gallagher Most Wants to Borrow

The Doek, or The One That Cost Far Too Much But Was Too Adorable To Leave in the Shop

The Sparkly Beanie, aka Last Year’s Favourite

The Navy Stalker’s Hat, or The One on Which The Jury is Still Out

The Tea Cosy, or This Year’s Favourite

My love of hats means that my children have to leave the house wearing silly head-gear. Since I don’t post photos of them, here I bravely model their hats:

Hey, this one fits! Watch out, Mummy may be borrowing your hat.

Starting to feel a little coy in ill-fitting hat …

Mummy, I’ve been a good boy. Promise.

Which one is your favourite?


Red Shoes and Happiness

Today, I went to some meetings at the company where I used to be an employee. I walked its grey corridors in my red shoes. A small part of me was slightly envious that I no longer work there – there’s always an amazing buzz, the employees are young and trendy, the buildings are modern and stylish and the coffee is excellent. Despite all this, most of me knows that the last thing I need is an office, a boss and an access card. Where I am right now is exactly where I need to be right now.

Instead of my being an employee of the company, the company is now one of my customers. I work for various departments, doing different writing-related jobs: a bit of editing here, some white papers there, an online article or two here and there. Today I met with three different people who have work for me. They all have tons of work for me. I am trying not to hyperventilate.

There’s so much work.

There’s so much work.

There’s so much work. And I have three kids, and three hours four times a week free to do the work in, unless I want to do it late at night, in my pyjamas when all the world has gone to sleep. Not to mention the house I need to maintain, the friendships that require time and commitment, the novel I dearly would like to get bloody written, the handsome man who occasionally would like me to look up from my computer and acknowledge his sweet presence, the blog posts that need to be composed.

Luckily though, I was wearing my red shoes:

My red shoes, like those of Mma Makutsi, assistant to intrepid lady detective Mma Ramotswe in Alexander McCall Smith’s lovely Botswanan detective series, pinch. But, like Mma Makutsi’s blue shoes, my red shoes give me courage. If I can wear these and walk all over the company’s campus, keep smiling and nodding and saying “yes” to all the work they want me to do, then I can find the time to do the work.

I feel panic, but when I look at my red shoes I feel happy. They are coping shoes, getting-it-together shoes, working-all-night-and-meeting-that-deadline but still-getting-up-the-next-morning-to-feed-the-children shoes. If nothing else, I have to live up to my shoes. They are shoes with panache, with gusto, and with attitude.

Bring on those white papers! Bring on the 170-page editing job! Bring on the book chapters! My shoes and I are ready.


The Saturday Night Meme

We’re having a quiet night in, having had a fabulous party last night. As a special treat, our daughters (7 and 5) were allowed to stay up and enjoy the party. Their goal was to make midnight, and they did. Ollie flagged and slept in his pram, but the girls put on their dancing shoes and grooved. When the special 12 o’clock moment arrived, Lily rushed over to where Daisy and I were dancing.

L: Daisy, Daisy guess what?! It’s MIDNIGHT!!!

D: Scream! (Jumps up and down on one spot.) Scream!

L: Mummy! It’s midnight!

Mummy: Wahhh! Midnight! (Performs silly dance of joy.)

Shortly after that I took them all off to bed, myself included. When the Otter girls peak, it’s not pretty.

So while my husband monitors the state of the world from the horizontal position on the sofa, and I take a brief break from writing my monthly column on the state of (expensive commodity), here is the Saturday Night Meme, otherwise known as the Five Things Meme, courtesy of the lovely Cook Sister!:

What Were You Doing 10 years ago?

I had been living in Germany for a year, and I was about to go on holiday to Tuscany with my mother, my aunt and my long-suffering husband to stay in a mill near Lucca with a mad English alcoholic who insulted us, lied about the opening hours of the museums in Florence, but cooked very excellent breakfasts.

Five Snacks You Enjoy:





Mixed unsalted nuts

Five Songs You Know All the Lyrics to:

The Marseillaise by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Scatterlings of Africa by Johnny Clegg

Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) by Flock of Seagulls

The Wheels on the Bus

Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire

Fund Rape Crisis Centres in South Africa

Pay off my mother’s mortgage

Purchase a house with an office/retreat/writing room for me and me only

Buy my hubby his dream car

Take my family on a lovely holiday to somewhere hot and sunny

Five Bad Habits


Blogging when I should be working


A lackadaisical attitude to my answering machine

Getting snappy and tense when I’m running late

Five Things You Like Doing:

An early morning game drive followed by a massive breakfast and a nap

Having a day to myself with nothing to achieve

Getting lost in the flow whether it’s of writing, meditation, yoga or a great book

My Sunday morning lie-in with coffee, my laptop and a pile of books

Dancing till midnight with my daughters

Five Things You Would Never Wear Again:

Knee-high socks




Velvet Alice bands

Five Favourite Toys:

Apple laptop

Food Processor and other baking apparatus

Blue vases for pink roses

Bead necklaces

New pink shoes


I have no idea where my daughter gets her love of accessories from, really I don’t

I usually don’t tag, but I have some lovely new blog-pals who I want to invite into the playground. Paul, Simmone, Letters, Trousers, Bine, will you play? Everyone else is, of course, welcome.