08 Aug

The best and worst birthday ever

Today is my birthday.

The day started fantastically. Cards poured through the letterbox from all corners of the world. I opened presents. On Facebook and Twitter, I’ve had hundreds of happy birthday messages. And most wonderfully of all, I got my first card from my daughter complete with scribbles created by her own fair hand.

I spent most of the day with Baby. I met up with other mums this morning; we met James for lunch and then I got Baby weighed. We went home and I played airplane with her. There were lots of giggles and smiles.

At 6:45, I was getting her ready for bed. I even shed a happy little tear, thinking how ecstatic I was to have her and how this was the best birthday ever.

Then James came home. He told me he was heading back to the studio to get our server because it is very likely that our business will be looted tonight.

I put Baby to bed in a state of shock. I rocked her to sleep, imagining not only the studio on fire, but I was also worried sick about James going back there. He said that there was already a very strange vibe when he left at 6:30.

Now Baby is asleep upstairs, but for once, it won’t be her crying that keeps me awake tonight.

James and I are sitting in our kitchen with our laptops, keeping tabs on what’s going on. It is only a matter of time until our phone rings via our alarm system. The Tandem Centre, which is about 500m from the studio, is on fire. The PC World in Colliers Wood nearby is being looted.

All I can hear in the distance is the sound of sirens. Constant noise. And the only thing I can think to do is write a blog post about how incredibly angry I am.

This is an outrage. How does something like this happen in a “civilised” country? My short list of blame includes:

1)   Bad parenting

2)   Closed youth centres (bored youth)

3)   No discipline in schools, too much emphasis on the rights of kids

4)   Social networking

5)   Government (so glad Cameron is coming back from holiday. So kind)

Has this not reached the level of a state emergency? When can the army be called in?

I was so excited about tomorrow. Baby, James and I were going to her first swimming lesson. I have a feeling we’ll be busy clearing ash out of our studio.

I’ve spent years building up this business. That business supports my family and the livelihoods of two other people and gives support to countless other small businesses in the area. We work hard to be a good addition to this society. Thankfully, no matter what the rioters do to us, our business is much bigger than just one room. We can keep operating from our house indefinitely.

I’ve just been up to our loft and looked out at the sky. It’s full of helicopters. Coming back to my computer, I read the news that Jessops nearby the studio is on fire.

I pop upstairs again to check on Baby to try to get a sense of perspective. As long as I can keep her safe, nothing else really matters.

Here’s to a long night ahead…

I’ll update in the comments below as I learn more news.


  1. 08 Aug


    Sending all my love and thinking of you. It’s a disgrace. Parents should recognise their children on TV and tell the police because I know that I would and even told my 9 year old that this evening! Communities in Hackney et el cannot afford for theri homes & shops to be destroyed. Just who is going to pay for it? Us. And who will moan when there is no money to pay for extra police, more youth centres – the rioters. This country is in recession but instead of pulling together yobs destry property costing the country money we cannot afford. ahhhh rant over

  2. 08 Aug


    Oh Julia :( I just don’t know what to say. :(

  3. 08 Aug

    Annabel - Love My Dress Wedding Blog

    Praying for you all tonight …. you are in my thoughts…. I just don’t know what else to say right now. Still quite in shock.

    Whatever happens, please stay safe all 3 of you.

    All my love xXxXx

  4. 08 Aug

    georgina smith

    very sad and scary in croydon tonight, just thankful we live in south croydon.

  5. 08 Aug


    Oh Julia. I’m hoping with all my might that you, James and Baby are safe this evening and that if there is any damage to your wonderful business, it is minimal.

    Thinking of you this evening,

    Aisling x

  6. 08 Aug

    danielle benbow

    Oh Julia, hideous doesn’t even cut it. My thoughts are with every single person caught up in all this awfulness. I’m struggling to comprehend it all. x

  7. 08 Aug

    Andy Fountain

    My thoughts are with you James and Julia. I was sat here watching it on tv when I suddenly thought about your studio location. I hope all will be ok for you both, if there’s anything you need, please ask.

  8. 08 Aug

    Ian Wood

    So sorry to hear, just awful and I hope you and your family are all OK.

  9. 08 Aug

    Laura Babb

    Thinking of you, yours and me and mine and the rest of London (and the UK). I can’t quite believe it’s come to this. I feel very sad indeed this evening.

  10. 08 Aug


    I’m horrified at what the looters are doing right now. I am keeping faith that they won’t harm your business.

    Is it awful that I am having happy memories of you giving me plane rides?

    But, oh wait, as long as you’re insured it will be ok. Please let us know when James arrives home safe and sound.

    I’m worried for my family. :(

  11. 08 Aug


    Hope everything is ok where you are.

    We are just outside Birmingham and its getting a bit worrying here.

  12. 08 Aug

    Louise {bijouxbride}

    Stay safe xx

  13. 08 Aug

    Claire@Level 11

    Absolutely terrible!! Feel ashamed to be a Londoner!
    I sincerely hope your business/studio are OK but as you say, as long as both of you and Baby are OK…really nothing else matters! All the best….

  14. 08 Aug


    Really feel for the two of you. Best of luck.

  15. 08 Aug


    I just this on pinterest and it seems to fit.
    ‘Just because today is a terrible day does not mean tomorrow will not be the best day of your life, you just got to get there.’
    Stay safe, our thoughts are with you and all the other normal, everyday people living in London today x

  16. 08 Aug

    Jo Belfield

    Thinking of you and James Julia. Just stay safe the three of you, that’s all that really matters.

  17. 08 Aug


    Feeling your worry for the shop…..but we are lucky to be further out in Surrey with our babies, look after yourselves…xx what news are you watching? We are trying to get news of Wandsworth…server still in there, along with everything else, like laser cutters… but backed up on disk, ….argh feel slightly sick. Take care xx

  18. 08 Aug


    I’m looking at BBC now. I really believe that your studio will be fine. I’m planning to come and visit it soon!
    The most important thing is that you and your family are now safe

  19. 08 Aug


    What I cannot understand is why people would do this on their own doorstep! Crazy. Keep safe.

  20. 08 Aug

    Zoe Collyer

    Julia, thinking of you & James this evening. Fingers, toes and everything crossed that your studio will be left alone. What a frightening night for you and many others affected to have to endure. Senseless behaviour which should have been stopped before it had got this far. Keep you all & baby safe x

  21. 08 Aug

    Julia from ICAWatermelon

    UPDATE: 11pm
    No phone call yet. Sirens seem to have died down.
    Mothercare near our studio set on fire. Girl seen walking away from scene with pram full of toys. Sick!!!!

    James is giving Baby her dream feed. I’m going to try and get some sleep.

  22. 08 Aug

    Abi Ellson

    It is so sad that the world has gone crazy, quite mad. Hope you and your family & friends stay safe and sweet dreams return very soon x

  23. 08 Aug


    Julia & James – Have just read your post, totally agree, the army need to take control of these mindless acts of social unrest which are both shocking and appalling – Our thoughts and best warm wishes go out to you all – please stay safe, it’s you all at the end of the day not possessions that truly matter and make the difference. Huge hugs,
    Mary & Greg xxx

  24. 08 Aug


    OK . If James is back, and Baby in bed, try to get some sleep. The important things are safe. No doubt the stupid shits will be caught on cctv if they try anything. Scum.

  25. 08 Aug


    my prayer and thoughts are with you.x

  26. 09 Aug


    I lived through the riots in L.A. in the 90s and it was terrifying. I pray that this will end quickly for all of you without continued violence. It’s always the innocent shopkeepers and businesses that get targeted. Sigh, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  27. 09 Aug

    Jeanette Lendon

    Hoping you are all OK. What’s the verdict this morning? Thinking of you all.

  28. 09 Aug


    Thinking of you – this is absurd. Praying that your business and your family stays safe.

  29. 09 Aug

    Julia from ICAWatermelon

    UPDATE: 9:15am
    James has checked out the studio and it is untouched. Business as usual.

    Someone who lives near the Tandem Centre said that there were white vans with blacked out number plates outside his house last night. Basically, the drivers would run to the shops, grab a bunch of stuff and then load the vans and repeat. As usual, organised crime is part of the incitement for the riot.

    Thank you to everyone for all the messages of support last night. It really meant a lot to us. Let’s hope this stops soon. And please let’s all help the small businesses that have been affected by giving them custom and offering help. Jx

  30. 09 Aug

    Katy Wey

    This just made me cry. Everything is so out of control and scary!

    So glad you and your business are ok this morning.

    I just can’t see an end to this and that is what is so frightening, especially with 2 small boys who I’m trying to protect from it all.

    Just wish there was something us decent folk could do to stop it!

  31. 09 Aug

    Matt Pereira

    Hope tonight proves just as uneventful for you guys – thinking of you. M x

  32. 09 Aug

    Mrs Jon Keith Diamonds

    Hope everything was ok last night Julia & team! hugs. xxx

  33. 09 Aug

    Samantha Secker

    Oh no! What a horrible way to have to spend the rest of your birthday! It was also my birthday yesterday and watching the 10 o’clock news was unsettling enough and I’m tucked away safely in South Wales! Let’s hope things are quieter this evening. x

  34. 09 Aug

    Nancy Gallagher

    I’m so glad you are all all right and that your business is too. I was worrying about you all night.

    Love you. Give Baby a kiss from me.

  35. 10 Aug

    Amy @ThenThereWere

    Just seen this, Happy Birthday and I’m so pleased the studio was ok. Sending love, hope you are all ok still – scary to see what has happened. xx

  36. 12 Aug


    hi im geraldine from philippines im awared about what happen in your country and so sad to hear that..hope ur family will be guided of god evryday..godbless

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