Stu's Barbecue

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Stu's birthday barbecue is my favourite social event of the year. It's my favourite time of year with my favourite people - and it's an excuse to drink Pimms in the sunshine, which is one of my favourite things. Stu fires up the barbecue, cooks up some steaks and we spend the afternoon eating, drinking and chatting. Of course, after a few (more) drinks, the party steps up a notch and we end up dancing in the kitchen to Ke$ha - but surely every good party ends like that?

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I was so glad that we took the camera this year. So often we forget to take photos of the everyday events that make up our lives - the big and the small - but these are the photos I'm going to want to look back on when I'm old and blonde (never grey). We didn't manage to get a good snap of everyone, but there's time for that.

I often feel like I have all the time in the world and none at all. I want barbecues like this to never end - to come around every year, come what may. For us all the be still sitting in this garden drinking Pimms and talking about everything and nothing in fifty years time. I know that's not possible though, so instead I savour it.

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It's times like this that remind me that things don't have to be pastel coloured and Pinterest-friendly to be perfect. It's so easy to get caught up in a world where you want everything to look just-so - but sometimes it's nice to suspend those desires and embrace the messiness and imperfection of life. There were no striped straws or dainty table cloths, the chairs were mis-matched but not in an arty way, and the food was served on paper plates rather than fancy crockery. And you know what? It was still the best. This is how we really live and look, and it's perfect right now.

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This is my Leeds family. We help each other move. We lend each other kitchenware. We cat-sit for each other. But most of the time we just drink too much gin. Can you tell that I'm a sentimental drunk? (I'm not drunk now, but I made a mental note at the time...). I feel so lucky to know these people - for us all to have come together through various means and ways, from various parts of the country (and the world). They might not feel the same, but I don't care. My Leeds life wouldn't be the same without them, and without this barbecue. It's my favourite.

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