Monday, 31 January 2011

Tiny Growing Things.

I'm looking forward to turning over the calendar. I like the change, I've finished with January, it went ok, and I am happy that I have some nice things penciled-in for February and, moreso, March. The weather should be improving little by little now that the first month is over, don't you think? Well, we were lucky enough to see the sunshine this afternoon- I had to take off my woolly hat and gloves on the way to school to collect Pickle Missy. I do love seeing signs of Spring.

I'm no gardener, but it might be time to get out there again soon. We have a tiny courtyard, and in the winter, it has pansies and a few bits and bobs, but in the summer, it does grander things like this:

You can just see over the fence into next-door's yard- I can't take any credit for the busy lizzies! 

We loved our Little Bit of Outside last year. I can't wait for the sunflowers and the tomatoes again. The carrots were fun too, and I'm hoping to do hanging baskets of strawberries this time. This afternoon, I noticed that my garden has been doing Very Clever Things like this:

which I'm quite excited about. I wanted to share this excitement with you! The nice thing is- I'm not even sure what I planted anymore, as I buried lots of bulbs that I'd found in the garage. They'd accumulated over time, from different people, but all the ones that looked like possibilities went in, in the vague hope that something might flower. So it will be a real surprise! This little discovery today reminded me of a beautiful passage in The Secret Garden- my favourite book as a child.

"...she thought she saw something sticking out of the earth- some sharp little pale green points. She remembered what Ben Weatherstaff had said, and she knelt down to look at them. 'Yes, they are tiny growing things and they might be crocuses, or snowdrops or daffodils', she whispered."


Thursday, 27 January 2011

Today, I like these things...

Homestart - these people are truly fab. When I have more time, I'll certainly give volunteering a try- I owe them so much. On a personal level, when all other avenues have offered me nothing, they are always there, and they always come up trumps. Not to mention the Christmas parties, teddybear picnics, drop-ins and groups, advice, courses, including this one (which, so the rumour goes I found out, is accompanied by a pampering sesh and a tray of cream cakes on the last day). They also passed me on a Tesco voucher for my Christmas food- shopping last year, from another charitable company who wanted to donate them to local families. A 'Faith restored in Human Nature' moment. Truly overwhelming!

Oh, and I'm listening to this lady muchly. Isn't she just beautiful? And I love love love this track:

Theres something about the blues!...

And look what I discovered recently. I think I'd like the yellow one better, but this one is still gorgeous! I was a big fan of the mini ones when I was a bit younger, but unfortunately Mother Nature decided to lower my tollerance to sweet things after I had two children. Crazy but true. (I used to have the ability to pack away doughnuts and chocolates by the dozen, but now I hit my limit for sugar far too quickly. The pregnancies were all about the savoury: porridge, tinned spaghetti, and pringles please!) It would probably be a bit sickly, and oddly enough, I don't even like sponge cake, but purely for nostalgia, and because it is so aesthetically pleasing, how about celebrating with a teeny tiny slice of one of these?

Image is courtesy of:

I was looking for a piccy, and came across a couple of new blogs that I liked, and I had to 'follow' them. Its so funny when things happen by accident! I mis-dialled a work contact the other day, and ended up talking to a carpet-cleaner by mistake. I thought this was a sign- we now have a clean carpet.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Adding-Up and Other Happenings.

I thought I'd have one of my Dear Diary moments- and fill you in on the recent goings on Here.

First of all, in relation to my last post I found this a coincidence! If thats not a sign to get making and do-ing, especially on the bag front, I'm really not sure what is! I will have a good think about it. The little tutorial sounds like just what I need. I'm going to have to pace myself, but the thought of my very own bag is just a bit exciting!

I set a date for Little Guy's party, and I'm hoping to make a start on the preparations with plenty of time. After a chat with Pootle, we are thinking about the possibilities of selling our party-ideas somehow. Its so lovely to have a plan like that. We've both said that even if it doesn't take off, we could have good fun playing with it, and the idea of working together on something with my sistery best friend, even from this distance, (ahh, the beauty of the internet) is lovely.

I've had positivity and kind thoughts sent to me in bucket-loads these last few days- its been amazing. Oh, and the virtual hugs... they were immense. (Is that a good place for a word like 'immense'? I quite like it, and can't think of a better one!) I now consider myself lovingly squeezed. This relates to stuff which happened a couple of years ago really, but I've had a tricky time dealing with unpleasantness these last couple of weeks, that has led on from there. Its not nice, it won't improve, but its life, and I'm a positive girl. Its a funny thing- hard times really can remind you who is there to care, even if they can't necessarily be 'there'.

January 31st is drawing near, and with this in mind, I eventually finished my tax form today. Hurrah! After all the procrastination, its always a huge relief to get it done. Funny story actually- I couldn't find my calculator... yes really... and I had lots of sums to do. The calculator was quite vital. (It was last seen being used as a mobile phone by Little Guy, who was organising a job with Bob the Builder. It was, now, in other words, nowhere). The one on my touch phone was too fiddly diddly to use, and time was running short, so I had to improvise. I set up shop, and made a very satisfying 'bleep' with every digit and '+' sign I tapped in. Yes, I borrowed my daughter's new 'money pinger'- her toy till. And I sat there adding-up, with my glasses on and a pencil behind my ear, feeling Ever So Professional. Ker-ching!

Don't you just love them?! Image borrowed from


Friday, 21 January 2011

Thingys to Make And Do

I have in my head, bubbling around, a little list of projects that I would really like to undertake at some point soon. Note the lack of schedule- schedules are not my favourite things- I get short of breath at the thought of deadlines, and will be doomed to failure if I take that route. I also have problems finding spare time. But I like to be distracted from day-to-day issues, and I have wishes to do things- to create and make, and adapt ideas and patterns and produce sparkly things! I need to weild scissors and glue, and make my sewing machine whirr, and find a style all of my own. I want my children to be brought up in a making environment too, and I'm missing the homemade Beautiful Things that were in my lovely home, on bookcases, around my twirly whirly staircase, on the front door, on the piano.... in every room at Christmas, from somewhere near the start of Advent, to Twelfth Night. The house looked so much more personal, and it was such a pleasure to be in. I'm loving the party prep that I have been absorbed in the last couple of weeks, and am sad at the thought of 'no more projects' once its all over. You bloggy people are not helping, with your Beautiful Things that are home-made! So I have decided that I need these kinds of handcrafted thingys to live Here, somewhen:

1) Loose covers/ throws which are Beautiful, (in a hotch-potch of patterned and pretty fabrics) to cover my sofa and chair, which are currently not Beautiful. I'd like to do something similar for the children's beanbags, if I continue to draw a blank looking for new loungy-seating for them. This massive project is just soooo clear in my mind's eye- I can see it! But I have literally no material! However, I do love a Charity-Shop trawl, and we have a wealth of them here, so its time to start collecting.

2) Artwork in my bedroom. I think I may be able to produce something of my own. It won't be spectacular, but it will be pretty, and flowery, (I love happy flowers) and all the things that I want my home to be- important stuff!!! I loved the dandelion pictures I saw in Louise's makeover. (I can't tell you what a release it has been, being able to adorn my little pad with my own things- feminine things, now that its We Three. The buzz I got from re-arranging the front entrance and putting my 'dolly' pegs on display in a pretty heart wire basket when I first became a singleton was a just a little bit fab!)

3) A modest Doll's House. Not a professional looking one, but something in the vein of the Blue Peter 'Barbie/ My Little Pony-Makes' that they used to do when I was growing up. You know the ones? Rooms made from cardboard, with wrapping-up paper walls, and clever things inside to makeshift into cool furniture.

4) A doll and a soft toy. More sewing projects. I like the idea of my children being involved with them personally. I've been thinking it over a while, wondering if it was more a project to undertake with Grandma's supervision in the Summer, then Lucy blogged about hers, and it got me excited. Back-burner with this one perhaps so that Pickle Missy is really ready to try sewing machines so she can 'create' with us.

5) Cards. More of them. I do enjoy making them, but don't seem to find the time very often, but this again is something that the children enjoy. I should have a few more creations put by, for card-related-emergencies, in the card box. I grabbed myself a good few ideas for Easter ones in my friend's Craft Shop recently.

6) Jewellery. I'm no designer, and I don't know anything about this really, but I just love accessories, and am thinking of doing my own research and collecting things that I could use over time. I could start with making badges, and things on pins and hairbands. I want to find a style here too.

7) A Bag. A nice patchworky bag, with perhaps some sewing detail, and buttons, and Beautiful Things on it. One with a huge strap, so that I can wear it across my body- I'm quite often a creature of habit, and that is really the only style of bag I can comprehend nowadays! Maybe I should start with more of a 'shopping carrier', and work upwards. Bags, much like the rest of it, are just a big complicated thought right now- I haven't made them since school. But I think I might just have to give it a go.


Beautiful Things.

I've had a very nice morning. I'll try and describe briefly all of the Beautiful Things that I have seen. Incidentally, 'Beautiful Things' is a phrase my eldest uses, to describe things that are very important to her. (She also interchanges it with the word 'precious'... but this, I cannot take as seriously since it reminds me of The Lord of the Rings!) She has very little understanding of material worth, even now she's at school, (I'm so keen to hold on to that...possibly too keen...) and she occasionally collects feathers, beads, plastic bracelets, things that she has made etc to keep in treasure boxes, calling them just that: Beautiful Things. What a perfect description!

We saw a family of ducks on the way to school this morning- not unusual, but lovely nonetheless. I watched Missy Pickle in her first assembly (which was an extremely Beautiful Thing as you can imagine), then I went into town and ran some errands with Little Guy. I have fond memories of my pre-school years, going to the bank with my mum, posting letters and buying toothpaste from the chemist and Mr Men yoghurts from the Co-Op. Things like that. I hope my two feel the same as I make them do this all the time! We're very fortunate to have a 'local' High Street, where I can be old-fashioned like this. A Supermarket is moving in very soon, the building is still under construction and it grows each day. Theres a balance to be struck I suppose. I really hope that the High Street holds on... but I have a funny feeling that it will- its like that around Here. We popped in for a cuppa with a lovely friend who I used to work with, in her new Craft Shop, and I got lots of nice ideas for things I probably should make and do. I'll keep you posted on that one. I also bought a couple of actual Beautiful Things around town from the Charity Shop today.

Theres not a whole lot of spare pounds flying around Here, but I can sniff out a bargain. I include the handbag, as it was only bought, through neccesity, this week, and I think it is quite Beautiful. Little Guy bought the Fire Engine with some Christmas money and it was 80p. We got Dolly (69p) for Pickle Missy. I felt guilty that she wasn't there, but there were only a couple left so I made a decision. She did decide the other day that she might like to spend her money on a new one, with some clothes and shoes to go with the others she was given by Pootle and family for Christmas. (Who knitted the most amazing outfits! I must remember to post you the photos, once the wardrobe we are making is completed.)

I love Beautiful Things- please feel free to comment about yours!


Thursday, 20 January 2011

The morning after...

Well we all feel a little like we over-indulged last night! Oh so tired, with scratchy coughs. I let the children have a sneaky lie-in this morning, because although it wasn't a particularly late night, with all the partying yesterday, nobody felt like getting ready for school or nursery this morning. Note to self: when administering sneaky lie-ins, make sure that I am up at the usual earlier time so that things aren't too manic! I've been really busy preparing for yesterday but have missed writing my little updates here, and I owe you a post-party review. It went very well, and Missy Pickle (and her cat-friends) seemed to have a lovely time. Here is the afternoon in pictures! I tried to include a few different cats, although this little lady, Hello Kitty, is Missy Pickle's favourite, and she was on the invitations.

 We did our 'Pin the bow on the Cat In The Hat' as a bit of an icebreaker, and here he is all coloured in, with Little Guy's family Birthday Cards above. It will be his pirate party next!

My mum also came down for the afternoon from London, and helped out with the face-painting (just noses and whiskers) and the 'Kitten Says' (Simon says). My lovely fella came to help too, and he was fab. It was only the second time that they had met, despite us being together quite a while, but they seemed to get along fine. *Small sigh of relief  and a contented smile*  Mum bought me these roses. I appreciate the relationship we have now- we are too far apart geographically really, but it does mean that you tend to avoid the day-to-day grumbles and disagreements, and that the time together is valued.

We had a Kitty Treasure Hunt. There were three teams, (yes- there were several children!) and each team had to try and be the first to collect all 8 kittys in their team colour. They were hidden everywhere, and one of the green ones turned up underneath a coaster yesterday evening as we were enjoying a congratulatory cider. We are still looking for a blue one though, so if you come across it?...

Have you spotted her?

Of course there was a pass-the-parcel, and balloons to play with, and a picnic tea on the carpet. They also had a cat shaped cookie to ice and decorate...and eat.

And the party bags turned out beautifully. I also had a fairly late night sorting out this cheeky pussy cat cake, the night before (I include the link because some people are unfamiliar with Meg and Mog. We were brought up on these stories and they're so beautifully illustrated). Not a great photo (are they ever?!) but you get the jist. This has got to be my favourite part of the party planning! I think he was appreciated.


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Sleepless nights and Parties (always the reveller!)

Ooh I didn't sleep at all well last night. Its always easy to say things like 'I must only have had two hours sleep', and know that, realistically, it only felt like two hours and was probably a lot more. But in this case... I think it was! When I was little and I couldn't sleep, my mum used to say 'well what are you excited about?', and when I was a little older, 'are you nervous?' (well there were a lot of exams about, in school and out!), and in recent years, she'd say 'its no wonder- you must be unsettled'. Hmmm, I think all three applied last night, and I may touch on the latter two in another post, but for now, yes, I'm excited!

My children both have Christmastime birthdays, (yeah- I know, and yes, I feel bad!) and even though I have tried things various different ways, I've found its all too early yet to settle on a system of party-age. Its been different each year, and things are always chaotic, although they turn out well. They've had joint birthday parties, they've had massively delayed birthdays (Little Guy was 6 weeks prem and Pickle Missy had to wait until February that year I think), but always there is a theme, there is jelly, there are traditional party games and lots of balloons, and we celebrate things separately from Christmas.

Theres a strong tradition of children't parties in our family! One that I'm keen to carry on. They got more elaborate and fancy as my sister and I got older. There was a Butterfly Ball, an Artist's party, a full on Dinner party with a 3 course meal when we hit double figures and celebrated our 10th, a Treasure Hunt, and a Shadow-Puppet party. (Yes, we each had puppets and acted out 'Jack and the Beanstalk' to the parents). Fab.

So, as I kinda don't want to short-change my children with the other goings-on at this time of year, I'm once again organising a themed party, desperately trying to make up for the bad timing, and the fact that all of their excitement and pressies come at one end of the year. I'm not yet reaching the heights of the ones my mum hosted, but I'm getting there very gradually. My mum and dad, despite the distance, are always keen to pitch in, which brings me on to the things that are exciting me- party bags! Surely the best bit?!

I really couldn't advise you on the pattern but can ask by request. I have my suspiscions that after many many years knitting, she just comes up with these things off the top of her head, bringing ideas together from other projects.

Ahh! Look what my clever mum has knitted. I know that most of the fellow bloggers I have come across are keen on their craft, so thought I'd share these. Cute- no? And theres these to add to the bag:

Off the top of my head, and from vague recollections of working on something similar for a brownie badge, I'd be tempted to point you in the direction of Jean Greenhowe here.

These are the kind of details that I remember from our birthday parties- things were home-made and carefully planned, and unique. More cute cats! You've probably guessed Pickle Missy's theme by now- she chose it by herself, and I was pleased because there were so many things we could do. I've also been working on the 'pin the tail on the' game, which always take far longer than they should because I get a little carried away. This was the result of my insomnia last night- I got bored of turning around in bed and got up, and got all productive. Are you ready? You have to pin the bow on the...

Cat In The Hat! Terrible photo- appologies! And at the moment, uncoloured- I'm just working out what best to use. You want to see the fish? I hope so. I'm very pleased with my fish. Just don't ask him what he thinks of my drawing, because he'd say 'Do I like this? Oh, no! I do not.'

Ha! So I'm tired, but slightly ahead of schedule. Not a bad compromise. Now for the cake! My favourite bit- will update here and let you see what I came up with.


Thursday, 13 January 2011


This put such a smile on my face, I thought I'd show you. Its silly, (so am I- unashamedly so!) but I wanted him, I thought hard, I tried to forget him, I felt I needed him, and then I decided I deserved him. So I bought myself a little pressie from Amazon. Its he best £3.75 I've spent for a long time!

He's good isn't he?! ...And my big sister, (Pootle- she chose her own name for Here!), is very envious. Now I wonder if they do a Chaz?...


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fresh Sparkly Routine

Good Morning!

I'm liking this routine. The baby years have gone, the toddler groups have eased off (not that I didn't love them most of the time), and I have time to be us, as Me and two Little Ones- together and independantly.  And now the 'togetherness' seems closer somehow.
The routine has changed because Little Guy is now at nursery, which he adores, and it gives me a bit of time to myself too. Its a Fresh Sparkly routine. It gives me a calm start to my day. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so lovely- I'm so lucky. And it comes at just the right time- I was getting bogged down in things in December, and it was rushy-rush-rush. I'm bored of dark mornings and evenings, of winter clothes, of dry skin and heavy food, of coughs and colds. (This made me more optimistic though!) I needed something different to happen for me. This routine feels like something different. Suddenly, I'm quite focused, for a change!

I get up, reluctantly (an hour or so after the Little People who do not get an early-riser gene from their mum), we get dressed, and I gradually come-to over breakfast. Then I do the drop-off, when I leave my two with bigger people that will teach them interesting things, (Missy Pickle is learning about France today) and I walk home, mostly by myself, pondering. I like to ponder. I ponder the things that they have said to me that morning, (in particular today: 'Mummy, I love you and Little Guy. I want us to always be together'- I can tell you... my heart swelled) and I ponder the things that I will do that day, (Blog, lovely bath, good music, paperwork and ACCOUNTS!!! I must must must do my accounts!) and I fill-up what is sometimes a slightly empty feeling inside (now that its Me and not We Three) with warm fuzziness. Its sometimes hard, but I always try. When the weather improves, and I'm better at my time management, I'll go for a run after the drop-off. But because it is cold and wet, and I have important things to do that I am putting off, (ACCOUNTS!!!) I'm starting my morning like this- calmly.

Now I have time to spend with each of the children individually, and I have time to get on top of household and business tasks without feeling rushed. Cue big smiley face. The Fresh Sparkly Routine won't neccesarily last, and I'm not too worried. Is that age- learning to not worry over things like that? The format of it will change as my life gets busier and things go in a new direction, but I'll be making sure that the main components linger... in some order.

I hope you all have a nice morning.


Ooh, and thank you so much for your comments- I LOVE reading them, and I feel really welcomed!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Mixed-up Day

Today is one of those. Things aren't going as I had hoped. Naughty Day! I've had 2 cancellations for this aftenoon's work, and I had things planned that I now can't do, and some news which made me sad, (although theres still hope- its a wait-and-see kinda situation) and a poorly Little Guy, sent home from nursery. Poo. I did, however, manage to upload the photos from my new phone onto the computer while I made a late breakfast. Well, I say 'new' phone, its 4 months old nearly, so I lifted over 1000 photos! It was nice to look back on them, and I got to re-live some warmer-weather-moments too.

Being a mixed-up day like it is, and as I have had MAJOR itchy feet for getting away somewhere beautiful recently, (I blame this fab BBC2 programme for making it worse) these pics are not a bad cure. I thought I'd share a couple of favourites.

Ah, now you see? I don't need to get away for a lovely bit of Sun- I have Here, 10 minutes walk from home. Ok, I may need the 'warmth' aspect, but its only a couple of months until Spring! (I hope!)

Well this is Custard. He is Missy Pickle's favourite. He arrived on the scene when she was but a fairly inconspicuous bump of mine. He comes with us on lots of our adventures, and he came to the seaside on this particular day, which was my birthday, back in September. And a lovely day it was too.

And look what Missy Pickle found. She does have sharp eyes. It was very exciting! Growing up in Greater London, I didn't make these kind of discoveries as a child. We are making up for it! She also was the first to spot literally hundreds of jellyfish. I'd never met one. And there they all were, opaque, with a purple tint, chilling on the pebbles. We threw lots back in to the sea, but had to admit defeat just because of the huge number. We decided that the sea was going to come back later for them... at some point...

Hmmm, just lovely. So you see, I have no need for a holiday... Mind over matter!


Monday, 10 January 2011


We have arrived in January, and I have arrived in Blogland. I'm not sure that these two are linked. Well, perhaps they are. I have been thinking about writing a blog for a long time, but I suppose the life-laundry that is the post-Christmas sort-out often leads to fresh and new ideas. The house is now beginning to resemble my home again, I think I have found a place for all of the sparkly things that we were given, the housework is in full swing and the celebrations are over... for now. Now I have time to think and plan (and lie in bed ill for a few days, reading lots of other people's blogs to encourage me to write my own!)... well, now seemed like the right time.

So, introductions. I'm a single Mummy, with two noisy children, living in a beautiful part of South-East England, and I work for myself in a job that I quite often love. So things are fairly dandy right now. Hurrah! Its taken a while to get to that place, and due to circumstances (most of them geographical), I often stop and wonder what happened, and how I got Here- Here is not where I planned to be in any sense... but I'm determined to embrace it.

You should probably expect a few posts about the journey to Here (and how I'm finding it), a little bit of general natter, a bit of Mummy-Me, some links to things that I love, and maybe some average piccies on my average camera (taken by an average photographer!) of my lovely surroundings.