Monday, 28 February 2011

So what have I learnt this week?...

Every days a school day! (Even though its half term...) Have you heard that phrase though? Along the lines of 'you learn something new every day'. We're all still learning.
An old friend of the family used to say to me, each time we met. 'So what do you know? Anything or Nothing?' It wasn't a rhetorical question either... which puzzled me! I think it was a 'how have you been- whats new?' greeting, but I never did feel comfortable with it!
Anyways, this week with the children off school, and without Pickle Missy's little daily snippets of Reception Class life, I have been learning new things of my own, new things which mostly pleased me- so I thought I'd put them down here.
Well, I'm a little late joining the party (nothing new there!) but I heard about this website and had to check it out. Its available for your iPhone as an app too, but I am an androidian, so disappointingly, I can't use it on my mobile... as far as I know. (Shame-o, because I understand you can buy and download tracks straightaway). You type in an artist you like the sound of, and it plays one or two of their tracks, in a playlist of other stuff- some of which you've never heard of. Its a fantabulous way to find more music, because the lists are classified by genre- so 'alike' artists and their work will crop up, and make you think 'why have I never heard this track before?!' I have discovered so much!

My Great-Grandfather
liked pansies- they were his favourite, so my dad told me, when he visited from London this week. It was a fact that came to him while we were working in my tiny garden, tidying and planting violas in a hanging basket. He said it, because this is a trait I share with his Grandad! (Big fan of pansies and daisies here). He also said that he had a huge handlebar moustache, and a walking stick, and a very long beard. I was keen to point out that this is where the similarites between Great-Granfer and I end. (Gosh, I could never tire of finding out things like this! I love it.)

Baking is
a quite a lovely little daily habit, when time allows. What did we make during the wet half-term weather? We made drop-scones, rainbow cakes and blueberry muffins (with varying success rates- but best to ask a taster who likes sponge cake more than I for a true run-down). I have plans for choccy-chip cookies and a lemon cake this week. We'll see how much I actually get done!

Good Things Come
to those who wait (and have faith and patience). Now that is a tricky lesson for me to learn- patience! Never did get the hang of it. A little problem has been solved: my childminder has been looking after my children since September, but previously she worked in the nursery that they attended, and grew to have a beautiful relationship with Pickle Missy and Little Guy. They were both fond of her mum too, who worked in the baby room of the same nursery. I couldn't believe my luck, when I came to look for childminding to cover my after-school working hours, and she, at the same time, decided to give in her job, and concentrate on work experience in a different field that she was looking for a career in- she offered to look after mine around her volunteering.
Well the time came for her to look for more regular hours in a part-time position to get some extra cash behind her. Cue big sad faces and concern! We love her! She was completely convinced that I'd find somebody that I could afford, and who would be nearby, and the right choice for the children... and she was right. I have a newby starting tomorrow, who is a daddy of two of the children's little friends- and he has convinced me that he knows what he's taking on! Hurrah!

I am too nervy
when it comes to taking decisive actions. Not a new lesson- but getting over it has been. I gave myself a firm talking to, and I've managed to take a few steps this week that will make my life a fair bit easier with any luck... I have promised myself that I'll try to be more confident over this issue next time. Hopefully I've turned a corner.

makes my children happy. Not just happy- they actually looked at times, like they might just pop with sheer joy. Such wide smiles, and excited faces- it was beautiful! If one of them had burst, bunny rabbits and sunshine would have filled the pool. (I do hope bunny rabbits can swim!) I'm not a swimmer- I'm a little bit phobic, but its one of the things I really want to support my children with. My fella came with us, as the competant swimmer, but I actually got into the pool with them, and was sooo glad I did.

I love Spring...
and this is a new idea to me- and a surprising one. I remember liking it lots in previous years- being excited by the warmer weather, longer days, and buds and flowers that pop up every year, but I've made the transition to admitting love. Its a beautiful time of year- and I really am getting so much from it every day. It makes me want to throw my curtains and windows wide open, and breath it all in!

I am not a maker of children's fancy dress
That gene completely passed me by. My mum was fantastic at it (daffy duck, red riding hood and the wolf, cinderella, flower fairies, pirates... I could go on...) and my sister appears to be very confident in finding the right thing for my neice to wear on these occasions too! She made a beautiful Little Miss Muffet a while back.
 It is World Book Day on Thursday, and the children have to go to school dressed as their favourite character from a book. I'm having kittens- the words Aaah and Help spring to mind. I'll let you know how it goes!

This has turned into a very long post! I must have been busy, doing and thinking this week. Ok, just one more... and its a goody.

I have a good friend
in a very old aquaintance. Its been a bit of an odd relationship. We became friends because our parents were close, and she and her sister were the same age as me and my sister. You know the sort of thing. We used to spend evenings together, the 8 of us. Our dads sipping homemade brew and swapping tips, and our mums chatting away. Well, I don't think we'd have ever been friends if that were not the case- we were never in the same classes at school, we had different interests, and she's just for the first time, admitted in open conversation, that she picked on me a fair bit. Yes she did folks- made me a little bit miserable I can tell you. I'm pretty sure we didn't even like each other at times. Children will be children. But am I glad we moved past that and persevered?! I am. She's a little bit fab. She's come into her own in recent years with all thats gone on, and she keeps a good eye on my parents for me, in my absence, and is there for me, and she makes me forget what needs forgetting, and
laugh laugh laugh!
We've had some very good times, and were once in a situation that demands another post entirely! She is fantastic company and conversation, and she is one of the first people I just have to see when I go back. I can always trust her, and she bloody well knows what to say to me when I need a response. Always! We used to work together as teens but we sort of moved on and lost touch, and I assumed that that was that. We also don't have that much in common...still... (however, it occurs to me I could say the same about all of my closest) but it appears that true friendship can cross those boundaries. (I really wish that I had realised that she was always there sooner! And how lovely would it be to live in adjacent roads and have school friends that you still see regularly? I'm giving it a go in my 'new' place, but nothing can replace those links. Sigh... I digress.) She's still around- plans to meet again are being made, and I'm a very lucky girl.

Hope you've all have a lovely week!


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Introducing 'Three-Photos-Thursday'.

Just an idea, and may be not for every week, but I'm going to upload three photos in my Thursday posts, with a brief explanation or pondering. They're simple things from my everyday life- photos of things around Here, a little insight into my strange world and odd mind! I've been snapping things on my phone over the last few weeks, collecting images without really thinking about it, (foods I'm loving, things we have baked, birdies outside of my window) and not getting around to uploading them or writing about them. So I have lots on standby! Is this a good thing?! Lets see...

Half-term means new shoes!

 Dinosaur ones at that.



Thanks for all your bloggy-support over yesterday's post. I really knew I wouldn't be alone in what I was thinking, but wrote it because I needed to- I wasn't expecting so many kind words in reply! It was particularly useful to hear that the anger and frustration is natural, as that is the thing I'm still coming to terms with. How can somone so docile (I'm lots of other D-words actually! Dappy, Ditsy, Daft...) feel such raw anger from nowhere? Its so nice to hear that although things won't be easy, they can improve. 
I'm so grateful for all the advice! I love it. (I'm going to do a post on advice nearer my birthday, if people are willing!..) Please believe that I'm feeling pretty good right now, but when I don't, those comments are going to be just the right thing to read :) *Please take your 'thankful' hug now*

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

In Which One Fairytale Ended... And the Princess is gonna be fine.

Once upon a time, there were a couple of awkward teenagers, introduced to each other at just the right time... They were two halves of a whole. They were each other's everything. They were mad about each other, and as often as they could, they would sit around like this

...and they continued to do that into their 20s. Life was very very hard, but they seemed to believe that they were very very happy, and to the surprise of others, they then did this:

The Wedding was planned, and longed for, (by them at least...) and a new life as a couple began. There was a posh new job, their lovely new house, with mortgage, and the move to the country, the cat and the dog. What more could they want? They were deeply in

In fact, there was nothing else. No one else. Few friends, for they had moved away from them, and one half of the couple would convince the other that the friends didn't like them. Few family, because there weren't many in the first place, but nevermind, because one would convince the other that they disapproved. One would make an effort to offend the other's loved ones, but no matter, because the 'other' was pretty convinced that what the partner had said was all true. The 'other' wasn't really worth anything to anyone, apart from the partner anyhow...

Fast forward a year or two, and they both had terrible jobs, which led to bad finances, and stress- oh so much stress. And very dark times. But hey, they had each other. They decided to have some little people to put in the house, as you do.

First one small girl, and then a tiny boy, and they scampered around making their Mummy see rainbows, and they grew stronger and more lovely with each day. Which was a blessing, because things were not right between the couple.

What had been a loving relationship became a resentful one. It was not fair. It was no fun. It was sad. It was pressured. There was a control, that had always been there, (but it came to the forefront for reasons of personal insecurity and mental problems).

The funny thing? At first, she didn't realise anything was wrong. This was marriage, was it not? And she stood up to those who needed to hear her faith in him- defending her hubby like a lioness, to the exasperation of all those who still cared about her. Very few people knew. People didn't visit, as they weren't made welcome, and those that were allowed to see in, mostly saw an image of loveliness. It was perfect, this relationship, that had started at 15.
Problem was, she was starting to feel like this:

And she so badly wanted out.. But she bided her time, and feeling like these, on the right,

she made the jump, because she deserved much better- a life without three dependants, when she only had two children. A life where she had choices, and maybe even friends of her own again. A life where she could concentrate on things that really mattered, where she could sit in any damn chair she wanted to, and wear what she liked, a life with her own money, a life where she could safely keep her beautiful things about her without them being broken. A life where she might even learn to love again, where somebody she might love might stay faithful.
And it was tough. I mean REALLY tough. But she worked hard, cried a bit, found her strength a bit, and kept going. And there are times with the single parent thing when she feels like this

but she just keeps plodding. Stubborn like that, she is. And she's met other people who have been in a position like her own, and she tries to take strength from that. Theres this little voice in her head that occasionally pipes up, and mutters something about her being 'in a much better place nowadays'. She has her own nest- she can breathe. There is less disruption and pain and despair, and things could have ended a lot worse. She thanks her stars for that...

But. still, after the event by some way, things are unfair and unjust. And some days, he still makes her feel like this

At times like those, she does need to remember that the little bit of life that she found, for her and her two little ones, is worth all the effort. She's working really hard folks, to try and take the events that still unfold everyday in her stride- theres panic and worry scheduled ahead, she just doesn't know when. It shouldn't matter really, because she needs to believe, that what she really has, despite the lack of straightforwardness, after the episode has come and gone, is a new start on the horizon.


I won't be doing the heavy side of things too often, I promise. I'm a sparkly and bouncy creature by trade, and normal service will resume shortly! Theres been some developments recently that have meant that this is all fresh in my mind again. I just thought it would be good to put this out there, because, well, I want to be honest, and it feels very good to write it all out. Lets hope that somebody else who is feeling the same might have a quick read of it, and realise that theres still hope for them.


Monday, 21 February 2011

The Flicks.

I have a confession. I'm gonna say something contraversial: I don't 'do' films. There- done. Relief! I have the sheepish look of somebody who doesn't conform now. I don't have piles to the ceiling of DVDs, and I rarely go to the cinema because of babysitting (or lack-of) and cost. I don't find that I have the patience to sit in front of films at home (until recent desperation- please see below!)- I find myself thinking 'I really should finish my laundry' in the dramatic bits... which, by the way, I quite often fail to take seriously. I laugh in all the wrong places.
I don't really get 'epics'-I'm not really a Lord Of The Rings girl, although I really didn't mind it, but it didn't grab me massively.  I have used hours of my life on films that I wouldn't have minded missing!  The guy who I saw Avatar with said to me, by way of justifying the choice of film, 'the special effects are amazing, and its the most thats ever been spent on a movie'. (Is that really a good thing?!)
I find my film apetite is a fussy one, and in the same way that I feel I can't really 'join in' with the cafe culture, as I don't drink coffee, I cannot discourse over the merits of the latest Brad Pitt movie, because, I likely haven't seen it, and I likely don't really have an opinion once I do. It has been taken as a challenge, by various men-folk of my past, to 'educate' me due to films that are so far missing from my life. Have I shocked you yet, lovely Blogland residents? I hope not!

I'm not totally devoid of the film-loving gene. Its difficult to describe what I like, but they have to make you think, and get you involved emotionally, and leave you with 'that buzz'. I love real stories, or films that feel as though they are. I've spent more time watching DVDs in recent months, than at any other time in my life. I've been fortunate enough to discover some real gems, through the reccomendations of others, the kindness of my fella and his family in lending me things, impulse buys at the supermarket, of things that are reduced to £3, and sheer boredom... because I have no 'live' TV, and haven't done since September. Its a long and boring Virgin/Sky/ BT saga, but I have a box, to catch various updates and replays (much like the iPlayer, and god, am I loving The Tudors?!) but its not at all exhaustive... I never used it much, but I miss my telly... sigh.

So, anyhow, having spent time thinking about films in the last 4 months, and persevering through my lack of filmy thirst, I have realised that there are actors and actresses that I love (Tom Hanks, Keira Knightly) films I *want* to see (Breakfast at Tiffany's, Singin in the Rain, the new Pirates of the Carribean one), and films that I would see again and again: Shakespeare In Love, Ray, The Sound of Music (there is no real explanation- but does it need one?!) Atonement, Love Actually, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption... and THIS one, the one that I saw yesterday.

Oooh, it got me. It has it all. Historical drama, real people from your lifetime that have genuinely fascinating lives, and an amazing soundtrack that made me want to return to my pre-baby days of Orchestra rehearsals. Dyou know what made it even better?

A very old fashioned cinema trip. There were red paper-stubb-tickets, and a cosy velvet seat, and a balcony, and 3 (yes, three) friendly staff on hand at reception (who didn't accept card payments- oops!), and gold- framed pictures on the walls like this

(Isn't she beautiful?) and this
Ahhh, and this, which my fella and I were only talking about the other day
and of course, lets not leave them out:

I realised that I like the cinema afterall! I have two lovely cinema-related memories from my past, now I come to think about it. One was in Cornwall, some time in the mid-'80s, going to see a My Little Pony film with my sister, and my dad's family. Now, I have a terrible memory, and I was rather small, but I REALLY want to believe that my dear Granny came with us, and that we got free cardboard 'ponies' afterwards, and you could put your fingers through the holes to make little trotting legs. All in my imagination? Probably. The second memory was taking my Grandad, on my mum's side, to see The Flintstones Movie, as he was a fan of the cartoon (great taste, my family!), and he said it was the first time he had been to The Flicks since, he thought, the '60s. He was a very happy man that day. And now I have a very happy thought for the rest of the day, and could even be persuaded into typing one of these for the end of my post, in a very text-like fashion



Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Woods

Thats where we went on a sunny afternoon last weekend. It seemed just right, catching the last of the sunshine, and being out and about in the midst of it all. This song was our soundtrack. Here is a fab group, if you haven't come across them- and even if this song doesn't grab you on first hearing, (you need to get at least half way through it to 'get' it) check out Skinny Love and the rest:

As we got boots and jackets on, my fella and I found that we were both humming this track, and realised that we had chosen different harmony lines to recall. I was wondering why this was, and if our ears picked up on different layers of a song, and why they might... when it transpired later on in the car that I had been humming the bit that comes through the passenger-side speaker, and he was humming the bit that comes through the driver's one. I was quite disappointed that there was such a straightforward explanation, but a mystery was solved...!

It was my lovely fella's idea to go exploring, and to play Hide and Seek.

We found no Gruffalos, or Monsters, but we did play, and hide in ditches...

...and look at the little details: saplings, dew drops on twigs, moss on the ground, (such an amazing feeling underfoot!) spider webs caught by the sun. And we enjoyed spotting the little slithers of light at the end of the tree tunnels. Aren't they lovely?

I'm going to sound like a Hippy- but it felt peaceful, and ancient, and beautiful. The whole experience totally blew me away.

We also listened to the nothingness- something I can't do very comfortably. Put this was comfortable.

We felt like we were being torn away from it all when we realised it was time to go home, make our home-made pizzas and put the hot baths on for the small people. I wanted to stay the night! I realised I don't do enough of this kind of exploring. We are lucky to have the sea and lovely parks with ducks and swans, and gardens nearby, but to just go and wander about amongst nature for an hour or two in unfamiliar surroundings was fantastic.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I gave myself a little sit down and a think today, in the midst of it all, and have realised what is important.

Enough with the rubbish side of single parenting. Its not a perfect situation but I wouldn't want to change it. In relation to yesterday's ponderings, I'm going to go with my instinct and see where we end up.

I came across a bloggy challenge recently, and it coincided with a parenting thought, and I've been getting all thinky about things. I've been determined to embrace the fun in the Single Mummy Zone where possible, (I'm usually fairly good at this but have lost my way a tiny bit in recent weeks) and today we found our silly sides again.

Little Guy was full of beans when we collected him from nursery, and he was determined to hide from us on the journey home, without being fully aware that we could make him out quite clearly, even when he tried to make himself small by bending down and trying to blend in. You'll see what I mean!

He headed off...

Where had he got to? A passing cat, Pickle Missy and I 
were a little way behind, and weren't sure...

Could that be him? He is rather camoflaged. It was! He ran off 
when he heard us approach to try another place.



Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I've been spending a lot of time trying to make D-words. Its part of what I have to do as a grown-up nowadays, something that I can''t get away from, something that I am the first to admit I'm no good at. I make bad D-words every day, on behalf of myself and my two wee ones, but my true skills lie elsewhere (hmmm, not sure where that place is, but its somewhere different) and I don't think I care for this side of things too much.
Life is being taken over by decisions. There is constant pressure, they make my days go quite well or less well- I'm sure people can understand this one, even if your circumstances are different to my own. Rocks and Hard Places spring to mind, because theres never an obvious answer! I am in constant battle in this little Single Mummy Zone that I live in, and come up against other people's advice and opinions about things (when- lets be honest- I have no idea how to do said 'things') far too much. I would very much like a Fairy Godmother, if there is a spare one reading my blog on her tea break, to flutter by and give a girl some guidance. Thank you in advance!

Even the word 'Decisions'. Oooh, its ugly. It induces stress! I spent a number of weeks learning French with a set of fab CDs a couple of years ago, before a holiday. How strange the human mind is, or maybe its just mine... because in the same way that I still hear my Driving Instructors actual voice in my head whilst I drive, even years after I passed ('CAUTION: Where theres a VAN, theres a... [pregnant pause while he waits for me to complete his sentence, then he shouts, over the top of me, joyfully, ] MAN' etc... he was an extremely irritating person to be trapped in a car with), I hear the French Guy in his lovely gentle accent working through the different ways of saying this one whenever I sit to ponder about the right course of action:
'...quell décision... votre décision... ma décision...'

You're not helping, French Guy!

Hopefully Inspiration will pop along to my part of the world quite soon.


Monday, 7 February 2011

Another Party.

I've been a busy girl! I have been having fun, seeing friends, making plans, and having hard times as well as lovely times, smiling big smiles, purchasing good purchases and dating. Yes, I do believe that we can still call it 'dating', even after this long, and even this infrequently! So I apologise for the delay, but here is the recent party write-up!

My Little Guy turned 3 before Christmas, and for many a varied reason, he had to wait until last week for his party. Hmmm- he wasn't at all bothered, but I felt a little guilty that he had to wait that long... although the original delay was intentional. The plan inside my head went: Birthday-Christmas-Birthday-Party-(Breathe!)-Party... its just that the 'Breathe' took longer than anticipated! Missy Pickle had her Cat Party not so long ago, and I lifted the ideas from there really, having seen what worked well. Little Guy is like every typical pre-schooler boy, and he's into three main things, which made the choice of theme easy: Thomas the Tank Engine, Dinosaurs, or Pirates. He decided on the last option, but Mummy said 'no dressing up' (but she felt sad about it!) because she didn't want to put pressure on the other parents. Just as well, because she came across some pretty worried looks when it was first mentioned. Face paints were available upon request for stubble and moustaches though!

The children were younger this time- most of his friends were only 2 and a half, and what a big difference there is between a 30 month old and a 3 year old! But they all joined in, and here are some of the things they got up to:

They had parrots to colour in first of all. And the children had lots of things to choose from to decorate them with, but they went with googly eyes, and kept things simple. I was most surprised!

What a pity, because I had found feathers and stickers and bits of coloured tissue, and I put them all in a large tupperware, (in a semi-organised fashion) all ready for them! We played a short 'pass-the-parcel', and after that we had a little game of 'pin-the-tail-on-the', with the parrots and a pirate.

No parrots were harmed in the playing of this game.

Most of the parrots were taken down again before I got a picture- but you get the idea. It was a close one, but we had one happy winner. The prizes were little ones: small boxes of crayons, a mini-puzzle, a bracelet or two, all kept in the 'treasure box' until they were needed. Everybody won something. So, what else? Ummm...

Pirate biscuits to decorate (and eat alongside the trifle). Do they look like pirates? Maybe not. But after some creativity they were gorgeous. Heres one I made earlier:

These were fun. The children had a picnic tea, and weren't short of yummies. I kept things simple, and raw, which is just as well, because what should greet me when I arrived home earlier that day to hinder my Party Prep Plan? I shall tell you, because it will be much quicker. (I indulged in a game of '20 Questions' with my sister earlier today, and it really did take a while to get to the incorrect answer!) A power cut. Three and a half hours worth. I popped around to a neighbouring shop to see what the news was, at a Very Nearly Lunchtime sort of hour, and upon finding that I was unable to prepare cooked food for the party as planned, she marched me (yes, she does 'march' me) around to the pub next door, and asked if they might cook the quiches and the sausage rolls in their gas oven. It was more a case of 'not knowing when the power would be re-installed' on her part I think, but I was very embarrased. However, I can confirm that Community Spirit is alive and well people!

Here are the party bags:

My mum made them and sent them down from London the week before. I remember these pirate (and rag-doll, nurse, princess, baby...) badges from fundraisers and craft fairs and Summer Club Projects that she was involved in years ago. Lovely memories, all created from a pair of old tights, I do believe!

And here are the contents:


There ye be, shipmates. Twas a grand time. Oh, one last thing- the Best Bit: the cake! Happy Belated Birthday Little Guy!