This is how things are... Here! Sometimes I have the same feelings about the day, week, month ahead as I do when I stand in front of a map in a busy place.'You Are Here.' My geography isn't great... but I'm hoping to make the most of my surroundings. This blog records my thoughts while I do just that.
As predicted... I didn't manage to get back here before Easter, but I hope your long weekends were full of nice things. Mine was! I bought this little chappy for my niece, (and was so pleased with the find!) and the campervan for my lovely fella.
Christmas Easter is all about giving. Egg-cup-pressies wherever possible I say.
And there was baking, much baking.
The Little People helped with the mixing, and icing, (and EATING) but mummy will have to admit to finishing the getting carried away with the decorating after they lost interest slightly.
My first attempt at a simnel cake for many years. Its only me (and a couple of visitors) who eat it. Not a bad situation given my love of marzipan...
I cooked a roast chicken dinner on Easter Sunday, which was a treat in itself (I don't do roasts very often on account of Pickle Missy's veggy preferences, and me working Sunday lunchtimes). This weekend was different, and the left-overs didn't last long. I made a Rocky Road for pud with crushed cadburys mini eggs, but you'll have to trust me on that one, as the photos didn't really come out.
What else? Well there were swimming trips, arty-moments, barbeques by the beach (no we don't live in Australia, but this weather convinces one to do these things!) an Easter Egg Hunt, and picnics, and gardening, and baking and, and, and...
Our lovely Easter cards.
I'll do another post on the garden soon, but I couldn't wait any longer to show you our hanging basket in its new position, hanging!- look!
The children had scooters from mummy. There is something to be said for the art of nagging. Given enough time, mummy does listen, and she does respond! I didn't mind treating them, as their birthdays are so near to Christmas, that they could otherwise miss these Summery Outside thingys. No major injuries as yet, unless you count a very sore trapped finger... but that was more the fault of a bedroom door hinge...
Note the green and gold curly-ribbons, which are now permanent fixtures, and arguably just as exciting as the main present.
Lots of outsideyness this week. Perfect.
It was all quite fab... and now we must leave it behind, in an ' in between Christmas and New Year' fashion, because the loveliness isn't quite over-and-done-with yet, although it feels like its all happening a bit too quickly. It is a great pull, to have to resume 'normal business' for a couple of days, and to have to pretend to concentrate on school and work... before the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday (!!!!) which I hope will be full of lots more nice things.
PS, the 's' on the keyboard only works when it feels like it, so in actual fact, 'Easter' keeps coming out as 'Eater'. You ought to see my kitchen cupboards after the Little People opened the rest of their pressies from family and friends- how apt!
IF I were more organised, and I was a member of the bloggy circle who produced beautifully crafted and seasonal wonders, I might be tempted to do a 'how-to' here. But as it is, I am not, and my pictures aren't great, it leans terribly to the left, and my children did things their own way, with as much sellotape as possible. Isn't that what its all about though? I'm very proud of their efforts- come and have a look!
We made an Easter Tree this week.
I like to 'mark' Easter, like we do Christmas (although on a slightly smaller scale), so I have a handful of holiday projects, for Little People who are, afterall, only ever at home with me, for every-other 25th December. They're old enough this year to get quite involved with the preparations. And I've been really busy, so we won't get around to them all this year, but we certainly enjoyed this one.
We love daisies, and seeing them pop up through the grass over the last couple of months has given us great pleasure.
My beautiful brolly pot. I have another of these on my staircase-window, with a flowery arangement in, but have recently realised that the picture is fading! Very sad face. I have rotated the 'vase' and am now on the lookout for a new one.
The inspiration for this comes from the wonderful Mrs. B. She is the sort of lady who knows something interesting about everybody, who has an orginal Lowri, who has newts in the pond, a fresh cake just out of the oven, and an empty drawer designated as 'the spare'... to gauge clutter. (If things find their way into it, she has a clear-out). Until fairly recently (and I do believe she's almost into her early 80s, but you'd never know), she used to swim, before 8am, twice a week. And yes, she also has a jar of sticks, decorated with Easter loveliness, on her grand piano at this time of year. We love Mrs. B.
That scrunchy stuff is blossom. Yes, I thought you could tell.
A happy sunflower (with an artist's impression of seeds in the middle), and another artist at work.
We didn't need much in the way of materials. This tree is the image of 'cheap and cheerful'. We've borrowed the brolly-pot from the inside the front door, but thankfully we haven't needed brollys, or a vestibule to put wet ones in for a few weeks. Quite the oppposite- where are those sunhats?! We gathered regular tickle-sticks on walks, I covered them with strips of coloured tissue paper, then, the decorations that we didn't already have, were made, and attached with a loop of green gift-ribbon. I kinda wish we had more sticks with other offshoots attached, rather than regular doggy-fetch uninteresting ones, but nevermind. It might have been an idea to use pipecleaners to reinforce the little-er offshoots, and manipulate them into more interesting, and stronger bends, but that would have required buying pipecleaners. Nah...
We had the pink bows hanging around the craft box, and we made the leaves to fill out the branches. It looked more like an Easter Tree, and less like a collection of sticks covered in paper, once the leaves were on!
A dandelion... but that was obvious too I'm sure...
I had some decorations given to me a few years back, and I'm all about Childhood Traditions, so hopefully the children will come to recognise them and look forward to their arrival, like they do the Christmas decs. These went on the tree. We also bought 6 decorated eggs at the shop around the corner, and a chick or two, and added home-made spring-like-happenings: seasonal things that we have seen on our walks, and some other grass-dwelling-favourites... and a cotton-wool lamb (chiefly because he wanted to be there).
He (Curly Whirly Flick Flick, to give him his full title) demanded to be sat in the centre. His fluff is falling off but he's a cheerful kind of chap, who isn't bothered by such matters
Hopefully I should make it back to share another Easter-post with you before the day... but its turning into a busy week (in a nice way!) If I don't, have a wonderful weekend!
And I feel like we need to have another lovely giggle, after the last one.
Right-o, I came across this, which I think is pretty cool... Pizza and a Royal Wedding. Does it get any better?
And incase you missed the link at the end of my last Royal Wedding post (and even if you didn't, it needs another showing)...
Oh my, how fantastic is that?! I would be a happy lady if I could make portraits out of sweets for money. DREAM job. I may change my career. On a related Jelly Bean note, (that shouldn't be the way you start sentences, but in my life its quite normall!) I was reading the lovely Moshops' Blog earlier, (thats not lovely = 'she seems nice', thats 'she always says kind things, and she's a real laugh') and she linked this story, which I also came across here. Look who has appeared in somebody's Jelly Bean!
I hear that Ronnie O'Sullivan thinks the snooker players should get a day off to watch the wedding. Too right! We should all have days off... multiple days off infact, because there is much preparation (cake baking, bunting-dusting) to do, and shopping to be done (tiaras, bow-ties, Very Large Hats), and commemorative chintzy things to stock up on. Gosh, its just as well that they decided to get hitched around the Easter holidays. A happy coincidence? I think not. I like to think that this particular King-and-Queen-to-be understand the need for us all to go a little crazy about them over a matter of weeks, not days.
Liking this. Ahh, he looks like he's in a hot tub, waiting for his lovely missus to join him!
This is a lovely idea- I do hope that they will be giving out mini ones of these on the route towards the cathedral. I love the idea that Miss Catherine Middleton is keeping Prince William under control atop the biggest pork pie you have ever seen.
I found a wonderful site that has all of the worst best buy-able things in one place. Here is a selection:
Oh, and... oops...
Now I'm a little sad, that these have fallen out of fashion. (No I'm not come to think of it... facial hair of the tash variety makes me feel a little bit queasy).
And this might just be my favourite discovery so far, and I demand that you watch it... now!
I blogged last week about the concern of what to do with myself during my break from the children. Previously, when they have been away with their dad on his leave, I have kept out of trouble (...kinda), and done these types of things:
Well, I stole a couple of pics from other events, but this is me having fun, and people I enjoy seeing, who aren't Here. I'm not a hundreds-of-friends girl, (there will only be a handful at my 30th) because I need people around me that I really trust. A few fantastc friends is the way to go for me.
And as much fun as that was, like LOVELY to be spending time in my old life, pre-children, going out, stealing cuddles with nieces, having walks and tea with the parentals, going shopping and being a Lady Wot Lunches with old school friends, I decided that I would stay put this week, Here, and see what I could do about making that life for myself in my new location...well, you know, one step at a time. I had fairly low expectations. (As a side note, have you any idea how happy the creation of that little montage of 'away' photos made me? The answer, if you were unsure, is 'very'. In fact it could probably only be rivalled by the rainbow medicinal goodness that is the Nobbly Bobbly).
So how did we get on?(The Royal 'We' that is...)
We were extremely honest about our situation, and put out the feelers for peops that might be nearby and at a loose end, and then we decided that, yes, we could be a lady of the stay-at-home (or at least, local) variety, and bake and make, and prep for that thing I do that requires prepping, and work a bit, and mooch and be all lovely and independant and fabulous, and the week would fly by.
But in a fleeting panic, and because most of the nice things about my life are organised with the aid of the internet, (I've looked up that link Lucy- I'm gonna be brave and approach a social group!) I did post a heart-felt message to my facebook profile, asking if local friends might want to meet...
You know, the thing about facebook, is that you get a slightly warm feeling of a large circle of people that care, and pass friendly comments and in actual fact would never ring or email, (yeah... I know, but I could do more too) however, they are nevertheless there, in the background. And I'm very grateful that they are, because respond, they did.
Lovely people (from Stoke, to Bedfordshire, to London, to Wales) said 'Awww, we would but we're too far', and the big sister said kind things too. Then two local-er friends said that they would like to, but could only do times that I couldn't, (but I'm still hoping to meet with them soon), then I got an email from a mummy friend who invited me out there and then. She was after a distraction, as her children were also with their dad, and she had an assignment that needed doing. I can be a distraction!
And we went out on our bikes... yes, I was on a bicycle- a vehicle that requires skills that I don't possess. My lovely fella bought me my first real bike of my very own, for my birthday last year, and it seemed like a good time to dust it off and wobble to somewhere, with a sympathetic but better-skilled friend. Thats friend! I have one- Here! We wobbled to a watering hole, and had drinks and talked and talked and shared stories, and found that there are 10 years between us, but life has thrown us all sorts of similar experiences. It was nice- she has a gazillion friends and is usually extremely busy, so it won't happen much, but it was kind of her. I wobbled myself home again, triumphant, to find that the other half was on his way over, unexpectedly (I'd counted him out for most of the week, because he was supposed to be busy with work and family commitments), and we hugged and made dinner.
I had some news in the week, that came in a Brown Envelope of Doom, that made my living room look like this.
Note the lovely blue guitar on the left- he'd been learning Blackbird, at my request, (if you can't do it, pester someone who can, I say...)
He dried the tears, snaffled me up, and took me to the park where he could play and we could eat ice creams, whilst doing sums and sorting my life out. We came back because it got cold and windy, but the thought was there!
He only left me this morning, with the situation, we hope, sorted. Bless him. I didn't ask for that, in fact in my stubborn way, I did suggest he might want to go, and leave me to fight my own battles and get his smile quota from less miserable people! But he ignored me, and took a day or two off work that was owed to him. Rebel.
We've been out and doing stuff every day, and we've been back to his house so I could cuddle his cats, and even though I've been down in the dumps, he's been so lovely. Another cure for that sad-face-feeling? I give you bouncy lambs, in the field opposite his house.
I have my parents visiting on Saturday, and I'm working/ volunteering on Sunday, so really, the empty week hasn't been such a disaster. Its a start. You kinda come through these things stronger, (and closer, where applicable), dont you think?
I baked these recently, with the help of a small girl and a small boy. They chose the recipe from Pickle Missy's recipe book from Great Gran, (I think the monkeys in the picture helped...) I thought they were moreish.
However, the fella hates bananas, and evidently the Little People, after some thought, don't like banana bread...
Another one of these posts, like the one I did back in January. They're simple and fun, and a place for me to put all of my recent favourite discoveries, so that I won't lose them.
Last time, I was loving Last.fm. Well... I still am, for the reasons I outlined. Totally loving it. Its always in the background now on my computer... until I come across an artist who makes me turn that off, and immediately whizz to 'youtube' to hear more of them. Well look who I discovered through it yesterday, while I was playing with yeast and sugar solutions for dough (an unnecessary detail, but a true one) she's my new favourite singer, and I'm tempted to drag the man out of retirement, to see if Jim'll fix it for me, to have her come to my birthday party, and provide the music (and the stunning legs!!!! Jealous? Me?... and the bass player with the comedy folk-lovin-beard). She's something else...
Oh, I'm a big fan of green things appearing in my garden right now. Gotta love the Spring. I've planted out my toms (and am determined to be a good tomato mummy), into their own individual pots, and popped them in the mini greenhouse, along with a large tray of lettuce seeds. (I'm a girl who loves her salads... but you guessed that...) I'm also enjoying watching the poppies open up their lovely wide petals, and yawn in the sunshine, and close back up in the colder weather and darker parts of the day. How clever are my poppies?! I'm enjoying the hyacinths, and hoping to plant out the strawbs tomorrow. (You see? I'm using actual plant-abbreviations- as if I'm a proper gardener!) Better photos to follow in another post, but heres a taster...
Today , I liked our walk along the canal. Just me and my fella. It is lovely in all weathers, but as today was so yummy and warm, it was even nicer. Everybody we passed said 'hello', and we saw yappy dogs that looked like small cats, and ducks with curly tails, and had tiny conversations about nothing, because the company and the views were enough. I saw more blossom, and more types of blossom than I can ever remember seeing before. Beautiful.
Hmmm. Also, in keeping with my 30s list, I'm ticking off some reading:
which I stole borrowed from my dad. He knows about it, but to be honest, if I thought I had too many books on my shelf, unread... well, you know, his problem is much larger kinda thing... so he doesn't mind the odd three or four relocating. And he has the bestest books to choose from. Factoid.
I am also loving beeeeees, especially ones that come to visit, and buzz about, wondering if they could get into the My Little Pony Teaparty House, and if they did, whether they might ride on the little light-up-ride, make a cuppa, and play the sound-effect-piano. Mister Bee left eventually, but not without some confusion about my sliding windows. And he had no stripes!... but yellow legs. Fas-kinating. He was fun.
I love this place, and wish I had lots of money to buy all of the contents of its jewellery list. Its my kind of jewellery- quirky and beautiful.
I also like my children's creativity, and am happy to have their little works-of-art on walls and window sills to gaze at while they're away. And (I know its a little late... but its only just left for its long journey to its new bewildered grateful owner) look what Pickle Missy made her Great Grandma for Mothering Sunday!
Pickle Missy and Little Guy are off to stay with their dad and his new family for a week. This is what happens when he has annual leave now. And its all kinds of awkward, and it gives me a sad face, but it must be done. He was good enough to provide them with wonderful Grandparents, and I know how important that bond is, and how much the children miss the two of them, so I can only hope that they have a wonderful time, full of pleasures and lovely memories. Lucky babies :)
So I will be struggling to be my bouncy self over the next week, but I must try and re-coup, and look on the bright side. Its actually a pretty lucky position to be in: the 'break', such as it is, is needed if I'm honest. And because being without them is hard work, and lonely-making, I do tend to try and get outta here. I usually migrate like a bird in winter to the bright lights of London, where the parentals and friends are.
'Lets go away' says my lovely fella, 'Ooh that sounds nice- but nothing too far or expensive', says I.
Well the job that he took on was due to finish on the Friday, and I somehow knew it wasn't sensible to rely on that, his work being what it is. No surprise to me that he isn't finished, (I don't think men's minds work quite like that- I think he was a little taken aback!) but nevermind, for I hatched an alternative plan.
To go to see the family for the weekend.
Errr, which weekend? Oh, no, actually, I can't do either. The children weren't due to leave until the Saturday of one, and it would appear that I am helping out on both Sundays, doing that thing that I do voluntarily, as their regular person is away for a fortnight. It takes prep too, so I'll be quite busy, you know... prepping. (I probably ought to consider giving away more info here, because I'm making this sound quite under-wraps-exciting, which it really isn't!..)
Take work on myself, as much as I can, throughout the week, as I'm in a grump that the fella appeared to be very busy himself. and I had nothing else to do.
I now couldn't go away at either end of the week. So what was the point of going away in the middle?! (Theres logic there somewhere). So I offered to be available for those that needed me, and found myself being extra accomodating to other people's Easter plans, and agreeing to work Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Nice spread-out commitments, you see, with only a couple of hours on each day. Poop. Or is this a good thing?
I am left with a week of plans dotted around, and nothing substantial to look forward to, and nobody, really, to spend time with. I am a glutton for punishment. But I suppose as I have things to save up for (not least the period of No-Work for the other school breaks, and the hundreds of Bank Holidays that a self-employed-girl always appreciates...) it wasn't a bad way for things to go. Lets accept it for what it is.
To be positive, I have some projects to get started, and lots of Spring Cleany Sorting Thingys to do, and charity shop runs to make, and I can get out on my bike, or run everyday without concerns of childcare. It might be good for me to have time to play 'houses', and move things around, and work on the garden.
But wait- what appears to be missing? Company! I'm gonna be a sad old lady humming to herself! As yet, I've made no plans with anyone to socialize, and the thought of doing so, scares me. My friends are back in London, and places nearby to London. Yes it appears that I have settled my chidren into their lives here, and have forgotten to do the same for myself. The joys of being self-employed are many, but it does mean that I work by myself, with children, all of whom are too young to go out for a friendly cider with me. I have friends that I used to work with, two of whom are away, and all of whom live 12-15 miles from here. I don't have transport, and in most cases, neither do they.
The people I know Here are mostly parents of Little People, or people that I say 'hi' to (but who I also don't really know). Many of these will be on their holidays too. But enough of the reasons why its difficult- if it was easy I would have stuck around here whenever the children were away before, and attempted this already. I need to start somewhere.
Wheres a 'meet new people that you're not interested in dating' site when you need one?! My plans have decided for me- I might just have to take the plunge. Wish me luck!
I'm not sure why I'm getting so excited- its not like me, I didn't expect to be, but I'm quite looking forward to The Royal Wedding! I can't explain- perhaps there is no explanation, but I have Wedding Fever over it. The shops are all on it, and I'm just going to have to make a purchase, at some stage, and the children and I are going to watch it. (We were due to be going into London to get lost in big crowds and take in the atmosphere, but plans have fallen through. Nevermind, because we didn't have an invitation to the church anyway, and I didn't want to just rock up, wearing something fabulous and a Kate-esque fascinator, tempting as it was...)
So forget your commemorative china, that is so last Royal Wedding! Here are some of my favourite Wedding Memorabilia Thingys/ Shameless Money Making Thingys.
The Obligatory tea-towel (delicously kitch, I think you'll agree) RRP £4.99... but hurry- only available while stocks last kinda thing.
Does anyone need a new knitting project? RRP £9.99. Can't take the credit for this one I'm afraid- I borrowed this link from a friend. If anyone gets it, please let me know! I'd love a corgi, and I'd be your best friend... (Ha! I wrote this post before Pootle saw this and said exactly the same thing). Genius! I also like the Arch Bish...
Ok, anything serious out there? Theres this, my mum would love it, but perhaps we're trying too hard... £24.95
And if you're really excited to count down, £7.99 (seven ninety-nine?!)
Ok, now these are essential to any party, £4, but please note that I have seen celebratory temporary tattoos in Sainsburys. I've seen them but I can't find a picture for you, but really- I've seeeeen them!
And theres these, £5, and fairy cake toppers are around too, if you are so inclined.
I'd quite like some jewellery, if I buy anything, but this one is £28. Pretty though. I've come across others like this that were also adorable, with teapot and post box charms.
We could go with the 'Royal' theme anywhere- like in the shoe department, £47.75. And if you're gonna do it, you ought to do it well.
I think we might have entered shoe heaven, ladies...
Ooh, I'm getting excited! And this is just the start- can you imagine what we will all be like (thats all of us- don't pretend you're immune to it!) if they have a baby? To be actually living through an heir-to-the-throne's arrival! (Well I've lived through two, if we don't count William's cousins, but I was too teeny to have appreciated it).
I wonder if they're getting jitters? Kate looks like a Disney Princess already- I predict a Jennifer Aniston like following over her hair. I think I like her. I want to know all, including whether Prince William will be wearing Union Flag boxers, as in the top picture, (we've recently read The Queen's Knickers, and loved it- so if the story is to be believed...) and whether Prince Harry has a few too many on the stag do, and whether the stags will have t-shirts that all say something rude and amusing? (Suggestions welcome, but I don't think we're allowed to make remarks about his rather unfortunate bald patch... It would be tempting though, no?)