She’s only making plans for Nigel…

It’s that time of year, cold, grey and the sparkle of the holidays has faded.  We feel jaded and want to hibernate.  Usually I’d let myself give in to that feeling but not this year.  This year I have dreams, plans and goals. Lots of them! My first one is to complete a month of FatMumSlim photos on Instagram, so far so good.   My snaps aren’t great but I’m having fun.  You can find me under the moniker shake_your_tush. My next goal is an ongoing one.   I want to make at least 2 original items of clothing every month. This is an easy target but should spur me on to creating some fun pieces.  Hopefully!! I also want a new tattoo and have asked a good friend to design something for me – watch this space! My other plans for this year revolve around family, friends and music so lots of fun to be had. Now, on to my big dream for the year… Travel. I’ve always loved our world, there is so much to see and learn about. Different cultures, art, people and architecture to learn about.  It’s so easy to let where you live become the centre of your universe, to become comfortable where you are and to forget about everything else that is out there.  It’s been 9.5 years since I left the familiarity of the UK and quite frankly, I’m bored.  I need adventure, culture, art, new friends and experiences.  And I need all this now! So, I’m going to take myself off on some adventures.  I have a list of places to...

January, the month of new beginnings…

…or something like that. How was your Christmas and New Year?  I hope it was happy, fun and relaxed.  We all had a wonderful time with lots of love, cuddles and happy moments. I’m still working my way through the mountain of chocolate I was given – and that’s why I started running again today! Most of you know I’m a single mum with four amazing children.  We’re a crazy bunch, I’m not your perfect mum.   Who is? I shout, get frustrated, cry and want to run away at times.  But then I get hugs, smiles, a funny story is told and I pour myself a gin!  It’s great and I love it. Doing it on my own?  It’s incredibly hard and scary at times but it’s the best job in the world and I’m proud to be called mum. Today my eldest three went to their dad’s for the night as they always do midweek. My youngest is 4, she doesn’t like it when they go and she stays at home.   I must admit I find the silence deafening sometimes.   This evening though, she was my company.   Whilst I was washing up she pottered through as 4 year olds do and said; “I can’t wait to be your age mummy.” Yes, I have a 4 year old who wants to be 41 and do all the things I do.  Maybe I make it look exciting…?!? She then looked me up and down with deep concentration, her little face turned to mine and she said; “Mummy, you are really a lot little aren’t you? I...

Mulling it over: A recipe for happiness

Yesterday, when we got home from school, my 4 year old daughter said “oh it’s good to be home”. She then sighed as she shrugged off her coat (dumping it on the floor as is the habit of ALL children) and told me that “home feels nice Mummy, it’s our place”.  What’s that saying?  Oh yes – from the mouths of babes… I have never been in love with our home, to me it was always a place that I had no choice but to move to when my life took an unexpected twist.  Hearing her say that she looked forward to coming home, that she felt like we belong here gave me a new perspective.  It may not be the nicest looking house on the street, it may not be stunningly decorated, it may not belong to me and it’s definitely always messy BUT, it is our home and we make it ours. Take time to listen to the small ones around you, they can teach us so much. As I feeling all kinds of cosy after her sweet words, some might say I was feeling very hyggeligt, I decided it was time to have my hot spiced apple juice again.  I shared the photo on Twitter (I’m @faerynuff and @ShakeYourTush) and the lovely ladies at Living Hygge who run the #hyggehour on Twitter – Monday evenings 8-9pm! – seemed so interested that I thought I’d blog the recipe here. Hot Spiced Apple Juice You need; 1 litre apple juice (any, it doesnt have to be super expensive as we’re adding lots of flavours here) 500ml water 1 orange...

It only takes one…

Today started like this. Cold, richly coloured and full of happy promise. Then my ex husband happened and I had a full on Facebook style rant on Twitter. Not the best way to start a Thursday! It only takes one person to upset your day but…it only takes you to make it better again.  One of the best bits of advice I was ever given was that you can’t control how other people behave but you can control how you react to their behaviour. So, with a deep and cleansing breath I kicked some autumn leaves and headed off to Costa because it’s CHRISTMAS DRINKS LAUNCH DAY!!     Ahh, that’s better.  Two hours later and I’m still here, oops! My lovely brother and sister in law joined me for a salted caramel cappuccino  (make sure you have the crumb on top, it makes it extra special) and a toasted marshmallow hot chocolate  (too sweet for me amazingly but my brother loved it!). I’m avoiding going home so am indulging in an Amaretto latte and people watching whilst I write this. On Tuesday I was challenged to blogging more this month, with the loose theme of Hygge, happiness and contentment. Apparently I’m meant to be posting every day …! Can I manage that? Can you cope with so much of me? How much hygge can one woman share? Stay tuned to find out! Whilst you’re waiting go and visit my challenger at www.1001albums.co.uk and enjoy what he has to say. Happy November everyone, stay hygge. Ali x...

On family, coffee and doing it alone…

This is my family, they are 15, 12, 8 and 4.  Three girls, 1 boy.  All totally amazing and incredibly different in character.  They are my happiness, craziness, sanity, frustration and fun all wrapped up in a bundle of kind, caring, happy, lively loveliness. Being a single parent is hard.  Rewarding yes, but hard.  I didn’t choose to do this on my own.  Circumstances changed, I changed, life happened.  I think I do a pretty good job though (they do see their dad’s, a lot, and have a great relationship with them).  Most of the time being on my own doesn’t bother me – we’ve lived as a single parent family for over 3 years now.  It’s different now that I’m properly on my own though.  There’s no one to ring and moan, no one to give me hug on those rough days when I’m having to be the mean mum, no one to text and share those seemingly insignificant tiny triumphs with.  And that’s lonely. I’m slowly filling those gaps though – with work, crafts, home making, friends, and I plan to do more.   It’s not all doom and gloom, with these bundles of craziness around me – how could it be? So – this afternoon we took a trip to Beaulieu village.  We had a short walk along the river and popped into the new Mettricks for a drink.  I’d heard that Mettricks serve the best coffee in Southampton so it was time to try them out. I knew we were on to something good when my youngest asked for a babycino and was told that...

Of capes and coffee..

I’ve been sewing, it’s been over a month since I made anything.  The last thing I made was on the 15th September – a garter for the bride. Yesterday I cut out a mustard wool cape using a 1970’search pattern.  I adjusted the pattern slightly, taking out about a quarter of the fabric for a sleeker, more modern look.  The raw edges are bound with a floral bias binding and I added a hood lining in the same fabric for some more colour.  The clasp is one I found in a tub of vintage  buttons that I was bought earlier this year. What do you think? If you’d like one then send me an email, or a message here/Facebook/Twitter. ~~~~~ This afternoon I went to one of my favourite places, Lyndhurst – a small village in the New Forest.  Lots of high quality gift shops, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops.   I bought the silver birch candle holder above from Burrow and Hide, and found the New Forest Aromatics in The Forage – a popular coffee shop and deli specialising in seasonal local produce, delicious teas and freshly roasted coffees. I stayed for lunch because it all looked very inviting… I’d already had more coffee than Lorelei Gilmore’s weekly allowance so looked through their extensive TeaPigs menu.  Although not on the menu, I asked if a chai latte was possible.  No problem was the reply and a very yummy, freshly brewed, steamed and liberally cinnamonned chai latte arrived. The menu is vast! So much to choose from and this is only one page. In the end I went for...

It’s been a while (and here’s why).

Nothing prepares you for losing someone you love.  No amount of time or forward planning can make it easier.  It hits you like a blunt instrument at the back of the neck, like sharp stabbing to your stomach, it’s as though your legs have been removed and replaced with immovable slabs on concrete.  Life continues to happen yet you look on as though you are a voyeur, not a participant.  The sun still rises every morning just as it always has but it feels different now. More intense somehow. My boyfriend had lung cancer and died unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  He’d been feeling better and was planning to play his cajon at Music in the City  (a free music festival in Southampton).  He’d been out for lunch, been driving his little red car with the roof down and had even had a beer in the sunshine.  He rang me at that afternoon, he sounded so well, we were looking forward to a weekend together.  That weekend didn’t happen the way we’d planned. Since then my life has been very different.  I’ve been concentrating on creating a new normal for myself and my children.  I’ve got a part time job for the first time in 5 years and I’m throwing my mixed up, crazy headed, distracted self into creating a happy, hygge home for my family. As for me, well, I’ve spent too much money, am eating too much and am not really facing up to what happened which is why I’m writing this. I hope this, along with the sewing I started today, will be a step towards...

July Surprise Bag Club!

Can I have a drumroll please…… The theme for July is “Beside The Seaside”!  Think jumping waves, ice creams and lollies, twinkly lights in the evening sun, the smell of salt on your sun warmed skin.  You’re there aren’t you? Thank you so much for your support for the inaugural bag club last month hopefully you’ll all be receiving your parcels very soon.  I had a few teething problems but these have been ironed out now and I can’t wait to get started on the July bags! Full details below – Do you love my bags but never know which design/fabric/size to choose? Do you need a treat that’s just for you? Do you like surprises? If you’ve answered yes to at least one of these questions then read on… The SYT Surprise Bag Club! A subscription based monthly parcel of treats for you to keep or share. Each month you’ll recieve a themed parcel of hand-picked, hand crafted goodies. To include a gorgeous limited edition bag made by me as well as a selection of delicious treats made by carefully chosen artisans for you and your home. This parcel of fun and funky loveliness will make you smile, give you a reason to spend some time to yourself and will introduce you to some of the extremely talented people from around the UK. The bag design will be different each month and won’t be offered for sale to the general public. Each bag will be slightly different (hence the exclusively small number of spaces available) – this means that you’ll be guaranteed a unique piece of wearable and...

Calling all Shakers!

Do you love my bags but never know which design/fabric/size to choose? Do you need a treat that’s just for you? Do you like surprises? If you’ve answered yes to at least one of these questions then read on… Announcing the launch of the SYT Club! A subscription based monthly parcel of treats for you to keep or share. Each month you’ll recieve a themed parcel of hand-picked, hand crafted goodies. To include a gorgeous limited edition bag made by me as well as a selection of delicious treats made by carefully chosen artisans for you and your home. This parcel of fun and funky loveliness will make you smile, give you a reason to spend some time to yourself and will introduce you to some of the extremely talented people from around the UK. The bag design will be different each month and won’t be offered for sale to the general public. Each bag will be slightly different (hence the exclusively small number of spaces available) – this means that you’ll be guaranteed a unique piece of wearable and useable art! Sign ups for June are now open! To register your interest click here. I’ll send you an invoice and as soon as you’ve paid you’ll be a full member of the ‘club’!   Terms and Conditions Each subscription is £35 UK and £45 rest of world per month. You only sign up for a month at a time. You can buy gift subscriptions but make sure that you have the recipient’s address for me to send the bag. Each bag will be worth more than £40. Postage...

Thoughts and dreams…lots of dreams…

I’ve neglected this website since it was opened last year, lots has happened – some great things, some good things and some that have really not been wonderful at all but that is life and without the heartache we wouldn’t sppreciate the happy things. Well, at least that’s how I am choosing to look at it!  Life as a the only adult at home is tricky at times, balancing family, friends, work, fun and quiet time for me is harder than it looks.  I often feel like a cat chasing my own tail.  Twenty years ago I was at university studying child psychology, sociology and anthropology.  I planned to become an educational psychologist and raise a family in a balanced home with two parents and a Tom and Barbara Good ethos of grow your own, make your own and *be happy with what you have.  Oh well! Shake Your Tush seems to be slowly building up, especially on Facebook. I have been getting lots of enquiries about alterations, finishing off projects that people have started but time hasn’t let them finish and most excitingly – wedding outfits!  This has been great fun and I can’t wait to show you the finished items after the big days of course :).  I’ve updated the shop on this site today – removed items that have sold via Facebook, reduced the price of some to reflect a recent sale I had and will be slowly be adding all my new stock. Tomorrow evening I will be launching my new ‘Bag of the Month’ club.  A subscription only club where a limited number of...

Made-to-measure vintage-inspired clothing and accessories for men, women and children