Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Hoping that maybe, possibly, I might be in with a teeny weeny chance of winning this fantastic giveaway from Silver Pebble.
Her jewellery is so beautiful - do pop over and have a look. Be quick though - I think the giveaway ends tomorrow.
And then I discovered this story on another blog, and it has made me chuckle all day. If you need cheering up then go and read this - I can't get the vision of it out of my head.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Please excuse the mucky trainers - at this time of year I only tend to get my legs out when I'm going for a run.
Let's just say Famous Dave's fake tan was not a resounding success. Please note the tide marks around my toes - believe me, it looks even worse in real life.
Thursday, 1 April 2010
Just look at all those goodies!
There's probably about £150 worth of stuff there, so that's my first concern put to rest - but I now have others to take its place.
Like I have to try a fake tan.
We've been away for a few days (more of that another time) and I've already missed one of the deadlines for submitting my opinions, so today has seen me undertaking a major deforestation program on my legs a few months earlier than I was hoping for. Then there was the exfoliating and the applying with a special mitten to get my head around. Now I just have to wait until the morning to see if I've been tangoed.
By the way, don't let any impressionable young children follow that last link - apparently it may turn them into happy slappers (not to be confused with the unhappy slapper that I will look like tomorrow morning if this all goes disastrously wrong.
Monday, 22 March 2010
I won't go into the bad.
It's not really my story to tell.
But it has once again made me appreciate how you should never take life for granted.
And so, onto the good.
I have been getting the washing dry on my new line.
After getting drying envy all over blogland I took matters into my own hands and, rather than waiting for my husband, I put it up myself. Not sure how long it will stay up (knots aren't my strong point) but so far it has survived.
My rhubarb is shooting...
...and please note the rest of the weed free, freshly dug vegetable plot in the background.
Smug? You bet I am! It was so pleasant being out in the garden, all on my own with the sun shining down on my back and only birdsong and church bells to punctuate the silence.
I've even set up the electric propagator and planted my cucumber, tomato and aubergine seeds. This is very much an experiment for me, so fingers crossed something will grow eventually.
On Sunday we shared a romantic champagne afternoon tea for two at Rookery Hall, a much appreciated Christmas gift from my husband's brother and his wife. If you're interested in celebrity stuff, this is where Posh and Becks announced their engagement. Can't say that sells it to me, but I remember the local papers being full of it at the time!
Oh, and at some point we made homemade hobnobs using this recipe. I've been too busy eating them to take any photographs, but they are delicious and have had the thumbs up from the whole family and a couple of my son's friends as well.
But today it was back to work and all that entails. I won't bore you (or me) with the details.
Friday, 19 March 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
You see I'd picked up a copy of In Style and was perusing their 100 best beauty buys for 2010.
Well, I'm not getting any younger and if you're going to buy lotions and potions you may as well buy the ones that come highly recommended. Or not.
It would seem that the current skincare du jour is from Sisley. A mere £218 for their anti-aging cream and the night cream's a snip at £435. One reviewer commented that her friends asked if she'd had botox after she started using it. Is that a good thing? And anyway, wouldn't botox be cheaper?
So, I settled for my usual cheaper and cheerful regime and resigned myself to wrinkles - at least that way I wouldn't have to put the kids on eBay.
But then today I got an email from the Beauty Bible. Ages ago I'd volunteered to be a tester for them and then promptly forgotten all about it. But now they need me. Yes, they are specifically looking for over 35s to test the latest and greatest new products on.
The deal goes something like this. I pay them £30 to cover admin, postage and packing and I get 10 products worth substantially more and a load of forms to fill in. Hopefully, I'll also emerge at the end of it all transformed into a vision of radiance.
I'll keep you posted on my progress. No pictures though - I doubt any cream will be able to work those kind of miracles!
Saturday, 13 March 2010
As a secret thank you for their unknown participation I made a purchase from each - yellow tulips for my special tulip vase (bought from an auction many years ago and I still love it) and beef sausages from the butcher.
As an aside, and more to remind myself, I concocted the sausages into a rather lovely tea by roasting them in a big tin with some little potatoes, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, olive oil and whatever herbs I had hanging around - very tasty. No picture though - it was wolfed down far too quickly!
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
We saw lots of blue sky...
...and spring flowers......and lovely views.
I'm looking forward to our next trip up the M6 already.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
I leave home at 7.30am to walk to the train station.
I work all day and then get the train home again.
My mother and father-in-law, who kindly look after the children on Tuesdays, pick me up from the station and drive me and my daughter to her swimming club.
I deposit her in the pool and then run across the grounds to get changed for my Pilates class.
The instructor is very tough.
She makes us do the plank and roll down to push ups and shoulder bridges and the 100.
But we do get a few minutes relaxation at the end.
Then I go back to the pool.
My daughter has usually left her coat in the changing room.
I wait while she goes to get it.
And then we start the long walk home.
And we usually fall out.
She dawdles behind me. She drags her feet. She gets grumpy when I ask her a question. She strops. I snap. She sulks. I moan.
She's tired from an hour of intensive swimming.
I'm tired after a day at work.
We're both hungry.
We don't get home until at least 8.30pm.
But this week it was different.
We walked home together amicably. We chatted about school and swimming and our plans for the weekend.
As I put her bed later I remarked upon this change and thanked her for making the evening so much more pleasant. I must have wondered aloud about how it was different.
"Well mummy," she said. "YOU didn't do anything to ANNOY me this week."
Sunday, 28 February 2010
They've been around now for between 9 and 12 years and it doesn't look like they'll be leaving us anytime soon. Unless, of course, they disintegrate.
So without further ado, may I introduce Baby (full name Baby Poppet Sweetheart aka Poo) and Peng (full name, very originally, Penguin). I'll leave you to decide which one is which.
Baby was originally bought for my son, but my daughter took a shine to him and adopted him very early on in life. He is still very much loved and she cannot sleep without him.
Earlier this week she was very embarrassed when she came downstairs with him and bumped into a couple of my son's friends: "But Mummy, I'm in year 5. I shouldn't still be carrying my teddy around."
It's a shame - I shall miss seeing his grubby little face around the place if he gets confined to bed all day. When she was younger I used to put him in different places around the house and pretend he'd been helping me out with my chores. He was often to be found with a wooden spoon or a duster in his hand when she came in from school. Maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part!
Penguin belongs to my son. He is already confined to the bedroom and is most definitely not allowed to school trips, sleepovers or anything else where other people might see him. But he is still very much loved. He is also my sworn enemy and we regularly come to blows. Oh, and he has a pet name for me - Auntie Yin! Of course, I didn't tell you any of this.
The reason I'm writing this is because, just recently, I'm constantly being reminded of how quickly my children are growing up and leaving so many of theirs childish toys and ways behind them. I hope these two get to stay around for quite a while yet but, just in case they don't, I wanted to have a record of them. For the children, you understand.
So, when I diverted through town on my way home from a run yesterday morning and saw forced rhubarb on one of the market stalls I just knew I had to come straight back and buy some. We were having friends round for tea and it was crying out to be made into the perfect pudding.
Slowly stewed in the oven and mixed with whipped cream it made a delicious rhubarb fool which I served up with homemade shortbread biscuits.
Anyway, whilst I was anxiously queuing to purchase my rhubarb before anybody else snapped it up, I saw this other delightful seasonal treat:
Monday, 22 February 2010
Actually, it feels better than 40 did.
Things were a little tough this time last year so, although I had a lovely birthday it felt a bit odd to be celebrating too much.
This year we kept it very simple, and it was perfect.
First there was breakfast in bed.
And no, somebody hasn't stolen my egg - it's just a handy receptacle for the various vitamins I've decided might keep me on the right side of healthy.
Then it was time for a walk. Not the original planned route as the snow had hit again (the first time I can ever remember it snowing on my birthday) but a slightly more local, lower level trek.
And look, we even saw some blue sky.
It was a long haul back to the car (particularly for the dog that doesn't like walking, although she did have fun running around, very fast, off the lead).And then there was a pub lunch (a bit disappointing but not enough to spoil the day - at least I didn't have to cook it) and presents and a long soak in the bath. Such a pity it had to come to an end.
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Now let's not get too excited here - this doesn't necessarily mean she is any better behaved.
However, it does mean that I don't have to spend any more Saturday mornings doing my best Barbara Woodhouse impressions in a freezing cold barn.
So, to celebrate we had a nice long walk home (no mean feat when you own the only dog in the world who doesn't really like walking) and admired the snowdrops on the way.
Sunday, 14 February 2010
They are lovely pets for children. Cute, easy to handle and, though quite prolific in the bowel offerings department, at least they're of the compact variety that are relatively easy to clean up.
However, they can also be rather prone to skin infections.
And, if they get one, you have to bath them.
That's right, bath a guinea pig.
Did I say they were easy to handle?
That's in their unsoapy, unterrified state.
They're still cute though.
Especially when you get to cuddle them dry.
Saturday, 13 February 2010
Monday, 8 February 2010
Why, when I turn around, does the rest of the house look like this?
I was brought up to soldier on through all adversity with a stiff upper lip and a snotty nose.
Usually, I have to be hospitalised before I'll take a day off sick.
But not this time.
So, what finally brought me down?
Conjunctivitis. A sticky, red, itchy eye, completely glued together with pus.
Admittedly I'd felt a bit off colour all week and maybe this was the manifestation of it all, but it sent me into total meltdown.
What sort of woman was I, if I couldn't cope with a minor eye infection?
If I took the day off work, would I ever be able to make myself go in again?
Why did I feel so disproportionately sorry for myself?
Winter blues? Hormones? General run downess? A need for change and action?
All of the above?
So, it was off to the pharmacy for some eye drops (I don't really do doctors either), into the health food shop for some balance and then a quick trip to Waitrose for some flowery goodness.
It would seem that the absence of flowers to gaze at in the garden has driven me to ingesting them instead. And these two new flowery flavours certainly perked me up a little - Fentiman's Rose Lemonade and Montezuma's Orange and Geranium chocolate.
And now I feel a little better. Not great, but not as totally useless as a few days ago.
And the change and action I was blaming up there.
Well, it's been identified.
Now, what to do about it?
Monday, 1 February 2010
Now, I liked this idea and immediately started a list, but time and procrastination inevitably got in the way so I never made it to 101 things, even though sometimes I feel like I have 5 times as many things I'd like to do.
Still, I kept the list in my drawer at work and every now and again I get to cross something off it. Occasionally I even remember to add something else to it.
Then I read that Rhiannon of the princess mug also has a list which she is rapidly working her way through and she regularly updates us with progress reports on her blog.
So here goes, I'm putting my list up for all to see. It's not 101 things. They're not all SMART. In fact some of them are downright vague, but it's my list and that's the kind of girl I am. Also, in true list writing fashion, I've already achieved some of them, so I get the instant gratification of ticking them off straight away!
- Empty my inbox(es). Managed to empty my work one once, but that was a long time ago
- Keep it empty!
- Make myself something to wear.
- Learn to knit and/or crochet.
- Teach my children to cook. Daughter now makes a mean fairy cake and son makes the biggest, puffiest toad in the hole you've ever seen. Still need to expand their repertoire though.
- Have something I've written published. Does this count?!
- Insulate the house.
- Run in a cross country race. I ran my first on 18/10/08 and then did 2 others that year. Can't remember where I finished - let's just say it was near the back of the field. Chickened out again last year (painful, muddy memories) but maybe this year I'll be foolish enough to give it another go.
- Bake some bread. Baked my first loaf on 8/3/09 and haven't looked back since. Don't get to bake as often as I'd like but really enjoy the therapeutic qualities of a good knead!
- To weigh 9 stone again.
- Start a vegetable garden. Did this in a very haphazard fashion last year - hope to be more organised this year.
- Pass my sports massage course. Completed this last summer (with a distinction!) but not giving up the day job. It's a long story, but after 2 years of night classes, I decided it wasn't for me.
- Hold a clothes swapping party.
- Comment on a blog. Think my first one was 2/11/09.
- Run another half marathon - my first and only one so far was early in 2008.
- Train Lily (the whippet puppy).
- Start a blog. Well, here I am - started on 18/1/10.
- Do up the shed.
- Sell something on eBay.
- Learn to sew.
And that's it for now. I may or may not complete it and I reserve the right to revise it any time I feel like it. It's my list and I'm damn well going to enjoy it!
Lack of time and something to write about were amongst them.
Something to write about isn't currently the problem, I have loads of stuff in my head. It may not be that interesting to anyone else, but currently my main audience is me. Oh dear, could blogging to myself be the modern day first sign of madness? I was hoping it might help me find a little sanity - perhaps I was mistaken.
Anyway, what I hadn't realised was how hard it was going to be to get computer access in my house these days. It would seem that whenever I have time to blog, there's homework to be done, virtual worlds to be explored and important websites to be checked. Or, someone wants to look over my shoulder to see what I'm doing. And that just makes me very, very nervous.
It's one thing putting your thought and words out there to a load of (OK, a few) strangers. It's entirely another having your nearest and dearest discover your guilty little secret.
Pause for hysterical laughter.
"What are you blogging about?"
"I'm not. No. Nothing"
Blushes furiously and closes the window.
You see, I was going to tell him. Just not yet. Not until I'd found my voice a little and gained a bit of confidence.
So, what should I do now?
Reveal the web address and lay myself bare? Or keep trying to steal secret moments with the computer and run the risk of him thinking I'm really up to no good?!
In case I choose the former I should add that he's a lovely man and well used to humouring my little flights of fancy and scatterbrained schemes. But still....
Thursday, 28 January 2010
You feed them, clothe them, try to teach them the essential lessons of life
You worry and fuss about them all the time.
But one day you have to be brave and let them go it alone.
My friends all told me, you can't hold on to them forever.
And so it was that today, filled with apprehension, I did it.
I finally gave Lily her first taste of freedom.
Which is hard when she's a whippet puppy and you'd have no chance of catching her if she did decide to run away.
As it was, the small butchers shop I had in my pocket seemed to do the trick. She had a great time tearing around the field unfettered by the lead and accepted the bribes to return to me with suitable enthusiasm.
It was good to get her safely back home though.
And, like all good babies, she slept for hours after all the excitement.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
As a child, we had Sunday dinner, well, every Sunday. Nothing fancy, maybe a joint of meat rather than the chops that accompanied the potatoes and vegetables on most other days of the week.
It was never a big deal. No cookery books were consulted, no TV chefs proffered advice on a nightly basis and the vegetables were usually on the boil the Wednesday before.
But now I'm all grown up with a house and children of my own and we rarely have a traditional Sunday roast so, when I make one as a special request, it really is a BIG DEAL.
Friday, 22 January 2010
...the undeniable evidence that, for much of my youth, I could have been an understudy for Bet Lynch?!
Thursday, 21 January 2010
I'm a bit of a technophobe really, not what you'd call an early adopter, so to be honest I only found out about blogging by accident. I was going through a "useless" patch. House was a tip (still is come to that), work was getting me down (ditto) and I was searching around the internet for ways to get organised.
What I found was the FlyLady. Now, although she has some good ideas, I just couldn't get on with some of her more "Praise the Lord" and "Stepford Wife" suggestions. All a bit too American (not that I have anything against Americans or people who praise the lord - it's just not me).
So I decided to see if there was a UK equivalent, and in the process stumbled across blogging. I think Becoming Domestic was the first one I found and from there I linked to Frugal Trenches and Ted and Agnes. And that was it - I was hooked. There were these women downshifting, growing vegetables, making beautiful things, living the idyllic life I dreamed of. A quick Google search then brought me to Domesticali who even had my dream job in a cake selling bookshop. From there I linked to The Magpie Files which then became ...the sight of morning.... Then it was on to The Coffee Lady and Silverpebble. And the list goes on, though most of the above are still my most regular places to lurk.
So why did it take me so long to comment? Fear, I guess. I wasn't sure if I was even allowed to comment if I didn't have a blog of my own. And, because most of the blogs I visit are linked to each other, I felt it might be a bit of an exclusive club where my clamouring for attention may not be welcome. You know, trying to hang out with the popular girls...
How wrong I was. Something about this post finally persuaded me to put my head above the parapet. It was a scary feeling, pressing the submit button, but then I got a lovely email back from ali and that was all the encouragement I needed. I still don't comment as often as I should but I'm getting better.
And now I've started blogging (does just 2 posts count?) I guess I've got no excuses anymore. Already I can see that it must be nice to get a comment. All I have to do now is write something worth commenting on!
Monday, 18 January 2010
After months of deliberating, the odd tentative comment and a lot of lurking in the shadows I've (whisper) started blogging.
Oh my, this wasn't really meant to happen.
I'm at work and my lunch hour is about to end.
I have no lovely photos to post.
I don't even have anything to say at the moment.
I blame ali.
I only skimmed through this post earlier but it made me feel, what......guilty? inadequate? inspired? a bit of a stalker?
Or maybe it was just the gentle push that I needed.
Thanks ali - I think.