Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Fun in the snow

I hope you've all been making the most of this weather, if you've had it, before it goes from that magical crisp Narnia scene to that murky-coloured slippery one. Its JUST beginning to be a nuisance, but for a couple of days, we had a lot of fun.

Ben, the snow penguin. The most wonderful thing about snowmen is how different they all are, and how they are made by what you happen to find! And also how they turn out differently from what you expected. They seem to bring everyone together too, to relive their childhood and have fun, despite any usual dislike of the cold.

Snowball fights and Snow Angels are a must. We did better this snowy day, than last year's snowy days. I suppose that now we are 4 and 6 (and 30) we have more stamina against the cold, and energy to finish snowy creations without rushing home tearfully, to stamp feet and hang soggy gloves on the radiator. Although in truth, our snowguin would not have looked as majestic without the help of my fella. I was better suited to directing, and carrot-holding, while the other three produced quite a masterpiece I think. The hot chocolates waited until the light had gone. And even as it was getting very dark, the snow was still shiny and beautiful. Perhaps more beautiful at this time of day.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Time for a Little Something.

January is nice transitional time, and I'm writing lists of things to do and people to see, on my lovely new calendar, and looking forward to some good things in the early part of 2012. So its time I took up the writing thingy once more, in my reliably-irregular fashion, and shared on here all the things that seem important at that time.

Putting 2011 Aside (because it was a little naff in places).
I survived the birthday, just, and held on to my sanity right the way through! It was the year I first tried cheese and onion crisps, salmon, and panetone. It was the year I started, and semi-abandoned my blog! I had my second ever holiday on an aeroplane, took in some fab live music, and I happily carried on my student's 100% exam pass-rate.

I took up crafting again, and got IDd (30 but not over the hill...) I started to use an iPod, and gained a little in confidence and happiness. Health-wise I am much improved, and I feel determination to make the best of a possible tough year with positivity and distraction techniques!

Could do Better
I have started on another Homestart course, and this has come at a funny time. I think I need the support now, and probably had to feel that way to get the best of the Power to Change Programme- to be open and willing. Its hard work! I'd love to come away from it and think of myself as a person who has a career (of sorts!) and a family and a home, and a life in her own right, and is not an ex-victim, or still mending.

I've been feeling my isolation quite acutely once more, and need to find a way to handle this. I think I less need plans to meet new people and find a social life, and more need to become accepting of my bit, but open to change. I'm not one who can confidently move into different circles. So unless the opportunity to become part of the Trendy Mummy Set presents itself, I'll end this year as I began- but I need to be happy with that prospect. Lets give that a go. Post on this to follow.

Whats important to me? Because those things I need to channel my time into. Children- obvs- and their confidence and wellbeing. Two sparkly cool parties are on the way for my Christmas/New Year babies within the next fortnight, and I've made a list of parents to contact so that my two can remain in touch well with their tinies, after the do's. And music is traditionally what this girl is about!... So I need to set myself the tasks of learning or reviewing a couple of pieces each month, to keep myself going. I'll let you know how that goes. And spending time with my family- particularly my sister. As I was too ill to travel to London this Christmas, I didn't see Pootle... which makes it nearly 3 months since I saw her last. Ahh! :(

Oh, and another thing...

There were a couple of happenings in the Autumn and Winter last year that meant that the children's contact with their dad is on apar to my sisters and mine. There will be a court process and I am quite fearful but also trying to appreciate, for however long it lasts, the opportunity to be the lone parent in the fullness of the term. Its a pretty good thing! I've decided to start another blog simply to record the Single Mummy thoughts- positive ones as well as trying ones, so that this place can be freer from all of my 'aside' issues. I'm readdressing the balance, and revamping the blog- bring on the photos of family time, lists and changes, crafty and musical things! I'll try to stay on topic ;)


Friday, 28 October 2011

Photo Highlights.

Just some of the nice things I've been up to in the last couple of months. I really enjoyed the Summer holidays- not just because I was able to get away, but because we filled the other days with nice things. It was a good precedent to set, as it seems I've had the energy and luck to carry on with little treats and days out into the Autumn. We're just off out to town to have a peruse around the shops and a little bit of lunch. Hope you're enjoying your time off if you have any!

1: a trip on a little steam train. It took us to the pebbly seaside where we had a picnic and flew our kite.
2: A Venetian Fete. One of the winning carnival floats that we watched parade along the canal.
3: Jimi Hendrix, the homemade kite. The children bought the things they needed from the local shop with their Grandad, and spent a morning creating our flying machine.
4: Little Guy has his face painted at our day out with the Pirates.
5: Pretty coastal views.
6: Our Duck Tour in London. It was fantastic.
7:  A squirrel in St. James Park, London.
8: Mini P's Paddington Bear 3rd Birthday Party
9: My beautiful Missy Pickle, meeting a Mermaid.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Daydream in Blue.

I've got lots to tell you, about recent things that have occured Here. I have a post part done- I'll try and get it on here soon! Its not that I think you're all sitting on the egde of your seats waiting for it, far from that, just that I'd like to spruce the place up a bit on my blog, cheer it up a little. It will be a post of positive things, nice doings and pleasant memories. I need those a bit at the moment,

I'm good at daydreaming. I suppose really, my daydreaming at the moment could also fall into the categories of sulking and worrying. Yes, I can do the wallowy woe-is-me bit, but its the 'action' or 'plan' part I'm a bit stinky at. But hey, if you can't write these musings out here then where else do they go? And hopefully once they're written and in some kind of coherant order, I might be able to sift through it and make sense of whats occuring- get it into perspective.

So life is still a bit poo really, and I'm not myself. I have painful headaches and regular nosebleeds- sinus problems I think, and problems sleeping. Its been like this for a couple of months. I'm off to the doctors again on Wednesday, I guess they might have some more ideas now that I've tried the current prescription and the symptoms remain.
What else? Well more trouble from the usual quarters, and I'm afraid its running me down. I'm finding that I'm fighting against becoming a sad little blob who mopes about in front of daytime TV, feeling blue and lack-lustre.

I haven't been seeing the fella as much as I'm used to, because work has gone all crazy again for him. Well... I have to admit that this concerns me, my inability to keep myself positive, without outside help, or, really, company. I've been all pro-'dating' and 'living apart' from the beginning. I don't think its because on every level I'm happy with the prospect of being a person who exists aside from her boyfriend, but its because I felt I needed to be able to deal with life myself, and for it to be the three of us- me, Pickle Missy and Little Guy, looking after each other. Thats why I wanted to do it. Its hard.

I was hoping that we were working towards the stage where one day we might decide to move in. If I can't look after my own happiness and wellbeing at this stage, I doubt that will be happening for a good while. Which is fine- I'm not being defensive- it is fine. I set myself the task if you like, of proving I could channel my inner Beyonce, and be self-sufficient, and I must do better at this before I can build a decent relationship with this man. It just happens that until we are together, living in the same place, I'll have to accept the weeks that we see so little of each other, because of the distance.
It would be all too easy to cheer up if he was here. In the absence of my besties, and my family, the children and he are all I have to make me smile. And the children do make me smile, but when they are at school and nursery, and when they are in bed, and when they are with their dad, I feel lonely as a lonely person in lonelytown... you get the idea.

How much easier it would be to re-boot myself, into some kind of emotionally-semi-functioning person, if I had a hug in the morning, or someone to eat with, to make it worth while cooking. I'd even be appreciative of someone's work uniform right now, to make sure that I, or he, was making a dent in the laundry pile. Stuff isn't getting done with any kind of efficiency... I guess it hasn't since the headaches, and less so since these Autumn Blues arrived.

Another root of my problem really, is boredom, and with my recent reunion with High School Friends, comes the realisation that I have very little to aim for in my life right now... dictated by upper limits that I can work in hours and salary... and it feels as though I have achieved very little for myself, in life... thus far.

No firm decisions to be made here, (they're not my forte!) just a few aims to consider:
-stand on my own two feet, overcome neccesity to rely on others for happiness (how on flibbing earth do I do this? No idea. Will let you know how it goes!)
- sleep and eat better, sort-out my own routine. I certainly wouldn't let my children behave like this, so I must set a better example
- have a re-think, and take advice about careers, house-moves and finances/cars. I really think its worth considering having new job to go to when my youngest is at school next September. It might have to be 'back to the drawing-board' on the careers thing. Now... what would I like to be when I grow up?


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Recent Doings.

Its been a long time since I was in a sensible enough routine to spend time on my blogging and reading of blogs. I'm hoping to overcome my recent problems and keep in touch with this place somehow, because its just the sort of place I like to be. So, 'hello' again, sweet readers! I'll drop by soon.

I've had horrible things to deal with in the Single Mummy Zone, and it came to a peak on Thursday, when the ex and a mediating officer rang me out of the blue, on my Birthday, to quibble childcare decisions, and just-as-worryingly, monetary issues (which were put to bed over two years ago). Its a real source of anguish actually, and I was upset that he chose to deliver the news of his most recent plot on that particular day. I'm being tied up in knots. My very real fear is that he wants me to end up with nothing. People that know my situation in greater detail will understand that I haven't overstated that, unfortunately.
Needless to say, with the emotion of the occasion, and my pathelogical dislike of most of my adulthood birthdays, (although I had intended to try and enjoy this one!) it was not a good thing. The day ended worse than it had began, and I was appreciative to all those that tried to improve things, but I decided to write it off! Better luck next year maybe.

I'm reminded of a little Monty Python clip here, something about bright sides of life... I'm trying, Eric!

''Lifes a piece of ***t, when you look at it!...''

So I probably should end on a high. I did have a nice weekend, and had a little birthday party on the Saturday, and a picnic on the Sunday. I was thoroughly spoilt, and had a good time ringing in my thirtieth, or twenty-tenth as the children call it, despite the nearness of tears on many occasions. It wasn't easy, but I was glad that I didn't cancel and take to my bed. I do have a lovely family, and a pretty fab boyfriend, and a couple of very true friends. It really helps.


And also, a special kinda girl wrote some lovely words earlier, please do pop by her blog if you haven't already- I promise it'll cheer you up! I hadn't seen the content of her post before I wrote this one, but I hope I haven't spread any gloom to her corner of Blogland! She sounds all sparkly and light and as though she has been relieved of a great weight. Good for her. Theres a positive thing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Holiday, Part 2: Ibiza.

This was the indulgent part, after the music and camping at Cambridge in late July. I was persuaded by friends and family who were probably very fed up of me wearily dragging my problems about, and looking grey, to go abroad on a sunny package holiday. I did it! And it was just what I needed.

We went to Santa Eulalia, which is said to be a little overlooked, as people think that all of Ibiza is in the same mode. It was very nice! All cosy and warm and very very lovely. We never even heard a DJ or passed a club. Elvis and Tom Jones impersonators galore though! Lots of clear blue skies and deep blue seas, and we saw fish and lizards and cats and dogs. Everything was simple. And there was the choice of a lounge on the beach, or by the pool, or a little stroll to the marina, up through the hills or around the town. We didn't sit around too much, and just took it all in. I think I did let my guard down, and remembered how to relax- bliss.

The best part would be very hard to pin down, but I really enjoyed the off-road-rambles, and keeping to no particular timetable. The worst part is simpler to decide: my reaction to the pressure on the plane. I did have a piercing toothache, on the return journey from my last aeroplane-holiday when I was 16. Ouchy, but I assumed I'd been unlucky that time. Hmmm. It turns out that I am not a happy flyer, and was quite nervous for the whole experience. It didn't help that my body reacted again! This time I had terrible pressure behind my left eye socket.  (And the eye itself remained a little smaller than usual for the rest of the break! Attractive. Fully recovered now though.) Happily I was okay coming home again, so my unpleasant experiences remain at 50% for my flying journeys. But then so do my happier ones. Note to self: you have sinus issues!

 The view from the balcony.

It was lovely to laze about, and read my Agatha Christie novels, and be in my fella's company without having to try hard at anything. Quietness is ok, and so are late evenings talking lots about all sorts, and joint-effort-crosswords, and snuggly siestas.
We two seem to share an inclination to 'people-watch'. Does anybody else? I can't help myself! We saw some interesting characters. And this harmless little occupation kept us going during the 8 hours that we sat around the airport, waiting for our plane to be signed as 'safe' after engine work. Eye Spy soon petered out. Not a problem- we devised secret codes for when we saw a 'Typical Brit Abroad', or someone who looked like they had a name beginning with a particular given letter. We wondered what the people in the MacDonalds queue would order, and we took great delight in observing what fashionable people were wearing. We saw a lot of young ladies with high buns, so obviously we had to discreetly hum the Bod tune to each other to sound the alert...

Here Comes Aunt Flo.

This was a one-off-holiday really, but I feel very lucky to have been able to have a proper break. Lets think calm blue colours and keep those stress levels under control this time.


Blackberry Cake

I do love blackberries. And the best recipe I have for these little treasures-amongst-the-thorns, is this one. I needed to share it with you. Let me know if you get a chance to give it a try! I'll be collecting the last of the year's blackberries this afternoon, and making my third and final cake of the year. I'm almost completely certain you won't be disappointed.
Blackberry Cake.

8 oz self raising flour
4 oz margarine
4-6oz sugar
1 egg
2 large handfuls of blackberries

Grease a shallow tin. Mix the sugar, marg and flour together with your hands. When its ready (breadcrumb-y), add the egg, then stir in the blackberries- a few at a time.

 At this point, it will look like a complete failure: a little soggy perhaps, and an alarming colour. Don't panic!

Ahhhhh! No really, this is fine.

Pop it into the tin and cook quite gently (190 degrees-ish) for a while (45 minutes-ish). Its a little vague, because the cooking time varies with the amount of blackberries you add- ie, how wet the mixture is. But this isn't the sort of recipe to be worried about accuracy and measurements. This is where my mum and I differ- she goes for a few blackberries, for flavour, and I tend to chuck them all in, in the excitement, and keep vigil by the oven for a very long time- until a skewer comes out fairly clean. A little juicy squishyness is ok- as long as it has firmed a bit, and you're satisfied that the egg is cooked, and the cake is 'done'. Both of our cakes are lovely, but mine feels more decadent, and I will readily accept my mum's point that my version needs to be eaten quickly or refridgerated, and hers doesn't. Thats fine- they never last very long in my house anyway. She also keeps back 2oz of sugar to sprinkle on the top just before she bakes, so that she has a firm topping.

Yes, this is a loaf tin, but I think as lovely as it is to have a chunky 'slice' of cake, it is a bit 
of a bugger to get the cooking times right! Shallow tins are probably better.

Its especially lovely served warm, and also nicest if you can resist the urge to beat the mixture into oblivion- the plain cakey taste in amongst the blackberries- and the contrasts of colour between the two, (almost a marble effect) are one of the nicest aspects. Its also a good idea to keep some fruits back, and pop them in 'whole' once the mixture is in the tin, ready for the oven. Its such a fun cake! And perhaps all the nicer, as it is a seasonal one, and something to look forward to, just a couple of times a year. I can't take the credit for this recipe- it initially came from the very lovely Mrs ABC, who always provided the most popular cakes at the bakey Children's Society Sale back home.

Not a great photo! A little steamy, but yummy all the same.

Enjoy. Before the blackberry picking, I'm going to nurse my cold and rest my sinusy-head, which has lingered a week- which is the main cause of my absense this time! Sorry about that... I also need to talk nicely to my washing machine and my digi-box as they have both had a rebellious moment today. Things come in threes don't they... I'll let you know what breaks down next!