Sunday, 25 September 2011

A quick reflective tea break

Hmm,  I've been blogging for a while, but unlike those that do it every day and build up a huge following, I seem to do it less and less and it's probably only my sister reading this now.  But we had words, not me and my sister, me and the blog.  We decided it was time to stay focused and put some effort in.  And not just in the blog, in everything.  Having a child totally changes your life, obviously, point understood, but I'm wondering if it has totally stripped me of my ability to communicate and enjoy life.  Where did that fun-loving care-free happy-go-lucky me go?  I think I'm doing OK generally, most of the time, but it's nothing to write home (or here) about.  I'm struggling with fulfilling my husband's needs, and he is struggling with our situation right now, yet I think we will come out of the woods soon enough and realise that it wasn't all that bad, these things happen, you get over it and work it out somehow.  Communication is key and we haven't changed the locks yet.

The transition from being a woman to a mother is quite an incredible thing.  The love you feel as a woman for your man is something strong, uniting, passionate, exciting.  Put a baby in the mix and those feelings are still there, but how compelling is that protective bond?  That little precious being that relies solely on you for everything takes over, your heart and soul would move heaven and earth to protect and guide him.  It's a totally different way of life.  People you used to care passionately about seem to disappear into the ether.  Not forgotten forever, just no longer in your 'now'. 

That bloody cockerel!!! Why does it always go mental at this sort of time, just as the little one is sleeping, or at least trying to!  Perhaps this is why the blog has been neglected, and the husband! I just don't get time to sit down and do anything without some sort of interruption!  I'm in the middle of nowhere, idyllic and peaceful, baby sleeping, time to do something for me then that bloody shaggy cockerel starts.  Have you ever seen a cockerel getting frisky with the hens? Poor loves, what did they do to him? He arrogantly struts around, cock-a-doodle-dooing, shaking his scrawny arse in some poor hen's face, I've a good mind to... (calm down Flora) ...finish my tea, comfort the baby, think about preparing dinner, hang the washing out, wash my hair, tidy up, do some filing, make some biscuits, wrap the birthday present for my niece... That's right, run around like a blue-arsed fly for a few more hours until Jam's home then put the baby to bed and have some quality time with hubby: without falling asleep!

A tea break is never long enough these days.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

How to (NOT) do a carboot sale

Carboot sales.  They're all the rage, apparently.  If you have never even been to one I suggest you get the local paper and find one, set your alarm clock for a ridiculously early time on Sunday and get out there, armed with small change, plastic bags and a haggling disposition!
The bargains you can pick up at a carboot are incredible, especially at the end of the day when people are desperate to get rid of their stuff.  For years I have loved going to them and, like rummaging through the charity shops before they got all upmarket, it is immensely satisfying to find a little treasure in amongst the trash.

Being a seller on the other hand is a completely different story.  If you're thinking of doing one, there are some great tips on this site that I recommend you look at beforehand.  If you've got anything vaguely valuable you would be much better off trying to ebay it first, because you won't get much for it at the carboot.

Anyway, I'm not here to give advice and information on carboots, I'm here to tell my story.  So I'd better get on with it.  I know you're busy and dying to get back onto facebook ;) 

We packed up the car the night before, including blankets to put the stuff on with no decorating table to hand, a chair, guitar, lunch and a flask of tea.  We'd been told that the carboot advertises as sellers at 10am, but most people get there at 7am.  Blimey, that's a bit of a difference, we ended up arriving at around 8.30am and were one of the last rows of cars!  There were about 500 cars! And even a bouncy castle!  

Everyone parked bumper to bumper, with a little gap inbetween, and then whooooosh! It began. We laid the blankets down, took Bubbaboo out and Jam strapped him to his back, whilst I started emptying boxes and organising our wares, not sure what order I was putting them in, it was all so random, and people immediately started coming over and opening boxes and rummaging through them. We'd tried to work out what prices we wanted for things beforehand and conferred a lot and haggled even more.
It was quite good fun, even Bubbaboo loved it, he attracted lots of attention and 'ahh isn't he sweet' or 'what a contented little chap'.  He was sitting amongst it all, banging spoons on ceramic pots, that then broke, but who would have wanted to buy that anyway?!


Of course, we took a guitar and Jam was happy to tinkle away, gathering customers.  People even commented that it was very mellow and lovely over this end of the sale, what with a man rather loudly trying to sell his meat at the other end and you're not even allowed to sell food!
 
On the way there, Jam was getting excited about looking at all the other tut, I however was feeling a bit nauseous at the prospect of trying to get money for old stuff, some of which I wasn't really sure I wanted to give away, and the last thing I wanted to do was buy any MORE stuff!  Jam was adamant he wanted to be able to choose two things to buy, I could only think of one thing, a xylophone for Rolypoly, but towards the end of the day, as people were packing up I had a quick peek at the stall next door and saw a large digit telephone suitable for my Mum and a wetsuit for Bubbaboo.  I called Jam over and said I'd found my two items, Jam was chatting to the chap and suddenly the chap said, 'Mate, I tell you what, give me £20 for the lot?' 
'What?!' said Jam, 'I couldn't possibly, and just as I was about to breathe a huge sigh of relief he said, 'I'll give you £30' - WHAT THE.....
 'Look I'll meet you half way, give me £25, deal? Deal, they shook hands, I shook my head and started laughing or was that wailing hysterically?  The chap had arrived with a van load of stuff, a wife and son, who was having trouble selling his football stickers and I dread to think what he told them, but he'd obviously had enough and just wanted to get home.


So we were left with more stuff than we had arrived with, no more customers to sell to, a little boy who was getting fed up and just wanted to feed and slightly burnt foreheads (just me and Jam, R had quite sensibly been wearing a hat and sunscreen). 
The lady on the stall opposite was just as gobsmacked as I was!  As were the couple across the way with a little baby too, they'd been chatting lots to us throughout the day and were considering changing their plans to try and help us but we assured them we'd get it sorted.

We were the last to leave the site.  You weren't allowed to leave anything behind, yet the rubbish collecting man with van had said he would come back and take some of our empty boxes for us.  So I was walking across the field to drop the boxes off and the female organiser was shouting across to me, 'You can't leave anything here, you have to take everything with you'. 
'Yes, I know, but the chap with the van said he would take these for us...' 
'You can't leave anything here, he's gone.' Total lie, because he was standing next to her... I carry on walking, she shouts out again, 'There are no bins here. You can't leave anything here!'
'I hear you lady, but I can't fit it in the car, so I'm just going to have to walk home with it!'
At this point the chap with the van comes over and says he will take it, I thank him profusely and want to stick my fingers up at the arsey lady but choose to be polite and shout a big 'thank you!' out instead, as I magically squeeze into the car and we drive off.

Obviously there's another part to this one, get back to whatever else you were doing, go on, shoo, I'm exhausted just writing about it!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pig racing

Yes, that's right.  Pig racing.  We were delighted to find out that there would be some of this fascinating sport going on round our way.  Sampford Arundel cricket ground were hosting the event.  They had a bbq, with a huge queue, teas and coffees, with a wait for the kettle to boil because the urn had packed up and lots of people with large bellies and small dogs. We were about to experience some real country fun!

We had seen the hand-painted sign a few days earlier and thought, well, why not go along and see what this is all about, you never know we might meet some nice people... A Devonshire friend was going to pop in and see us on his way back home from London town, so we persuaded him to meet us at the field for the big race.

Have you ever been to a pig racing event?  Well, we hadn't either and it was a bit of a giggle.   Bubbaboo was so excited when he saw the pigs, he was squealing away like a, well, like a pig.  He loved all the dogs too and must have found the whole experience quite strange because he was asleep in the babycarrier to start with and all the screaming for the first race woke him up.  I mean imagine waking up and seeing loads of people shouting at some pigs.


All the pigs had a different coloured ribbon around their necks, which was changed after each race so there was no favouritism.  You bought a raffle ticket that corresponded with the colour of the pig's ribbon and at the start of the race we were told the amount each coloured ticket would win and at the end of the race, you went back to the table to collect your winnings.  So a ticket cost 50p and for the first race the winning ticket won £1.40.  We were well chuffed, we had backed the winning pig and had even bought two tickets, so we won £2.80.  Result.  Sadly we had to leave after the first race, our friend needed to get home and so we left with him, besides we needed to get back to put the roast pork in the oven... 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wooden Glasses

Hmm, I've been looking at these gorgeous Herrlicht wooden frames, sorry he calls them wood frames, is that right, shouldn't it be wooden frames? Anyway, they are to die for!  At a price that will 'blur your vision' as one critic wrote - $1,160.  Have a look for yourself, I can't copy the pictures, but urge you to look at them, in his gallery, what a dude, what vision....sorry...

http://www.herrlicht.de/en_sites/kollektion.php

Herrlicht frames, oh so beautiful, just the sort of thing that my dear Jam would make - SHOULD make for me, and him, and probably in the future for Bubbaboo...  I shall put him to work!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Making Rice Milk

Darling Jam decided to do a bit of research to see if we could buy Rice milk in bulk, the same way he tried to do it for eco - nappies, although we ended up using re-usable nappies instead, which saved a lot of money, but the nappies story is for another post. 
So, whilst researching he stumbled across this blog Vegan reader and an article on how to make your own Rice milk.  The Vegan reader blog is really interesting food for thought and I easily lost a few hours reading it and recommend you do to.  The recipe and method is on there and probably advisable to go to that for all the info, but it's really quite an easy process, heck if I can do it anyone can! 

Boil up some rice for a few hours, add a bit of salt, syrup if you want it sweetened, oil and blend it, strain it and hey presto there's your rice milk.  Whilst we were making it and at the straining stage I was getting a little impatient and started putting the bits that wouldn't go through the muslin into a bowl.  Rolypoly, (is that alright to start calling Rowan that, I realise I haven't changed his name and really think I should seeing as though I change all the other names! So there it is, Rowan is Rolypoly, to go with Jam and Flora, unless you come up with a better one...)

So, Rolypoly was very inquisitive and keen to see what I was doing, then wanted to taste it and of course - it's nice, it's delicious, yummy rice mush for the baby, so instead of spending a few more hours squashing it through the muslin I fed it to Rolypoly instead! He LOVED it!  Picture to prove it...

   

Friday, 17 June 2011

Garden Glory

This is our garden.  The veggie part of it anyway.  When we first moved in the greenhouse was overgrown with a grapevine.  We picked the grapes and Jam is in the process of making wine out of it, I think he is going to bottle it soon, I hope, although we are sure it will taste rank.  Next to the greenhouse is a little cage which holds redcurrants and raspberries.  Rowan and I picked some raspberries yesterday and they were delicious.


When we got back from a week away at Jam's Aunty's making steps in her garden, we were overjoyed to find we had loads of broad beans, a few courgette's growing, mange tout, tomatoes, self seeded potatoes from probably about three years ago when Jam's grandad was last into his gardening. Massive turnip like radishes, sprouts, kale, artichokes, all growing up big and strong! Hoorah! Finally we get green fingers and without too much effort! Well, Jam does all the weeding and tending, I water occasionally, make tea and offer advice and I found some grey larvae on a kale plant and ripped it up, to Jam's horror, my thinking being that I needed to get whatever it was out of the garden quick so that it wouldn't attack the rest of the plants.  Jam reminded me that we should try and work out what it is and cure the plant rather than rip it up and I see his point, I think I was just tired and scared!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Listography - Decisions

Kate Takes 5 has a brilliant blog and a weekly listography themed this week on decisions. So without further ado, here are my top five best decisions...

1)  Learning to play the violin - after the initial stages of sounding like a cat being strangled and having to practise in the garden shed, even in winter, it has enriched my life completely, a highlight was being able to play in a cool dance band called Loonaloop and tour Australia...

2)  Marrying my husband was a grrrrreat decision, he also plays violin and makes instruments, he's made me a guitar and a wooden puppet of me each year for my birthday - that must be love!
(He's just bought in my dinner too, so beautifully presented...)


3)  Deciding to stop trying to fix my family's problems and concentrate on building my own, family that is, not problems....

4)  Being an instinctive parent, learning to trust my heart and love my family.

5)  Moving to the country - despite missing London boat life, this country lark is lovely and calm and green and peaceful and saving us lots of money so we can hopefully get our foot on the property market ladder and do lots of other exciting things, like maybe one day get back down under.

Trains...

My Mum was visiting her sister in Birmingham so we thought it would be a great idea if I jumped on the train with Rowan and went a couple of stops with her so she could coo over him and we could exchange gifts. 

Unfortunately we didn't plan for all the traffic, well we did plan for some traffic but not quite as much as there was and we missed the train, but as I was jumping out of the car to see if it had perhaps been delayed, Jam carried on driving thinking I was out and managed to run over my ankle.

I sat in the train station, the train had not been delayed, my ankle was throbbing but thankfully not broken, Rowan was half asleep and bewildered as Mummy burst into tears.  I was destroyed. Jam was mortified - 'I've just run over my wife!'  But never mind there was the return journey a week later, and for that train we were an hour early. 

Rowan loved being on the train, he insisted on me walking up and down the aisles so he could stop and chatter to all the other customers, flirt with the girls and eat the gentleman's newspaper.  He loved my Mum's wheelchair and was very interested in the guard's funny lollipop that he used to signal to the driver.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cars...

Our kindly donated car, the lovely golf Red, is sadly on its last legs, well, wheels and feels a bit like a death trap to drive.  To get it through its next MOT it is not worth doing the work against the value of the car. So it served us well for nearly a year and we are sadly going to have to scrap it or try and sell it for parts. 
Luckily Jam's Dad used to be in the car trade and has helped us find another.  We were going to go for a Mercedes A class, not that that meant much to me, and it was a snotty green, or rather a distinctive and unusual colour.  It would have been nice to say we drive a Mercedes but that is not the case, for it was quite old and if the electrics went on it it would have cost too much to fix. So we've now got a Vauxhall Astra, more simply, a reliable green car, we've called him Verdi, with a really good roll on the Rrrrrr. I don't know why we feel the need to name our cars.
 We found Verdi on ebay, on viewing the car the boot wouldn't open, and the owner, an old man, 92, and his grandson who was probably the real driver of it considering the sort of 'young wasters' rubbish found down between the seats, decided to sell it to us off the site for a lower rate.  Deal.  Then it failed its MOT - great.  But Jam's Dad jumped to the rescue and we are up and running on the road again, for less than the price we'd originally bid.  Hoorah!
Saw a beautiful old triumph herald the other day, now that's a car I'd love to own....

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sleeping in pink

Hit a bit of a rough patch, struggling with the nightime sleeping and therefore feeling far too exhausted during the day, having strange day-mares where the neighbours kill my little family, not very pleasant at all.  I told Jam and he was very understanding and as men usually do, he tried to fix it, but I wasn't needing fixing, just understanding and support and ended up getting very upset and he left to go to work on a bit of a downer.

Mini meltdown inevitable my father-in-law called and I was trying to keep it together when towards the end of the conversation my voice started wobbling and he asked if I was ok, and I blubbed, 'no-o-o-o-o, I'm exhausted and have just been horrible to Jam and I know he's only trying to help and... and... and I've dyed the nappies pink' cue an outburst of laughter that got me going as well.  It's funny because now he's sleeping ... and I haven't had to go running upstairs every half hour... and I've managed to dye the nappies back to white... and have a bath... and eat another chocolate egg...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Egg-static

When I eat chocolate, or cheese, my cheeks perspire and I sneeze.  Strange, but true.  So why am I sitting here scoffing an easter egg?  I noticed that it had broken earlier, so thought I'd better put it out of its misery.  It's no longer broken.  It's happy. And so am I.  I can hack a spot of cheek perspiration and a sneeze is always short lived.

My sister is to blame entirely.  She bought the eggs and placed them on the mantelpiece, reminding us about how as kids, we'd have tons of eggs each year, always placed on the mantelpiece, and I would make mine last forever whilst she would scoff hers really quickly.  So the tables have turned, and I might have to sneak the other two in, before she comes back tomorrow...

Oh, an oeuf is an oeuf, I'm not much of a yolker, but before I crack up I must go and get some eggstra sleep, my brain is scrambled!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Just popping out to get lost!

Yes, I've been lost for over two weeks now, somewhere in the garden I believe, away with the fairies...  No really I've been spending all my time with my sister Oli who's visiting from Sydney and this is the first time she's met her nephew and our new home, so lots to catch up on.  Oli's away in London now for a few days so we are left to fend for ourselves again...

Me, shouting out of the bedroom window to Jam at the bottom of the garden (in the workshop, not with the fairies...) - 'Honey, how are you getting on?'

'Fine, nearly done, shall we go for a drive to catch the sunset?'

'Great idea, meet you in the car in five.'

Off we trundled, in Red, our trusty little car, given to us by a friend now down under, (in Australia, not in the ground, that would be a bit morbid, although it was probably only me that thought of that?)  Red is really on its last legs, every corner sounds like someone is being murdered and going over bumps causes all manner of untold grievances.  So a trip to see the sunset was something I imagined to be a short ride, a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and back home again in time for supper.  Oh no. Not with Jam at the wheel with a schoolboy's lust for adventure in tow.

Rattling around the lanes, up and down the hills of the Quantocks we hit a diversion that takes us through a little village that looks familiar, although by now they all look quite similar and so it is easy to be confused.  It's also dark, the sun having set behind clouds a lot earlier and I'm hungry and thirsty as I realise we have been out for a little longer than the presumed five minutes.

Jam seems to be getting a little irate as the road stretches on and on, no signposts are to be seen and someone is right up our behind, bright lights to boot that do not help induce sleep in the babe.  Suddenly we swerve and pull over to a bumpy dirt tractor track, I'm slightly bewildered (my sneaky snooze in the back disturbed!) and then almost frightened as I realise the bright lights are still on behind us and the car that had been following is right behind us still.  Jam goes to get out, 'NO!' I scream hysterically, 'don't leave us in the car alone, he could be an axe-murderer or something!'

'Give me the map then, let's see if we can see where we are, my instinct tells me that way is to Taunton...'

The chap from the other car is now by the window leaning in, asking if we were also following the diversion back there.  He's dressed in his supermarket deputy manager's uniform and seems quite annoyed that he's lost.  The relief!  Not that he's lost too, but that he's not an axe-murderer or worse ...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Eton Mess

Can I make an Eton Mess with blueberries instead of strawberries, chocolate mousse instead of cream and a hot chocolate sauce on top?

Yes I can. And I call it Welly Mess. As in made in Wellington, well, near Welly actually, but West Buckland mess didn't sound as appealing.


And it was weely wather nice.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I've just devoured this book...

Instruments of Darkness: A Novel
When life seems to be all about the little one, it is a welcome relief when a book comes along to whisk you away from it all and send you off into your own world for a while.  (So this is why I've not been blogging! In fact it's taken me longer to write this than to read the book!)  I love it when you can't put a book down and this one was certainly one of those.  A real page turner.  Jam even made me a holder out of a clingfilm box so that I could carry on nursing the bairn whilst reading and not hurt my wrists any more than they already do!

It's a historic novel, intrigue and murder, with two fabulous main characters that are a treat to follow, as they try to unravel the thickening plot.  It's set during the Gordon riots in Georgian England and gallops between London and a country Estate. I could not put it down.  It went everywhere with me and now I am lost, empty, bored whilst breastfeeding or driving - err, I didn't read whilst driving, but if we went anywhere Jam would drive and I would read... how dull for him, but he didn't seem to mind.

This is Imogen Robertson's debut novel, she's a bloody good writer and I'm not just saying that because I know her!  We played together in the Sinfonia Tamesa orchestra and she asked me to do some acting for the CBeebies TV show Numberjacks she directed, which made me famous amongst my friends and family.  Whenever they were watching it with their children and saw me I would get a phone call, 'We've just seen you on telly!! Oh wow! You're famous!', which would always make me smile, still does and it was years ago we filmed it.  Imogen won a competition to write the first 1000 words of a novel and has now embarked on a full-time writing career.  I think she's utterly brilliant, a wonderful writer, so eloquent and inspiring and I can't wait to read the next one!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fossil hunting in Lyme Regis

Some friends, L & L came to visit us from London.  It was great to see them, they had been to a party the night before so took their time getting here, L nursing a hangover so L had to drive, hmm, this could get complicated...

So we drove to the seaside, Lyme Regis, famous for its fossils.  It's a quaint, small and expensive seaside town.  We considered having lunch there but it was extortionate. Jam really wanted a pasty and with hindsight we should have let him have one, for the pasty call didn't end there and I ended up making him pasties galore - actually, I started making them and he had to finish them, which made them taste so much nicer!

The Cornish Pasty



We stopped instead at a pub for a carvery, although they had run out of carvery so chose from the menu.  It was good.  There was a bit of confusion about the desserts but we got through it and came out smiling and feeling very full.  What a lovely day it was too, the weather was blusty but, did I just make that word up? Blusty, like gusty and blustering, hmm, just looked it up and blusty means 'A portmanteau describing a woman who has large, though quite clearly plastic, tits.'  Well, we didn't see any of them, but we did scramble along the beach to look for fossils. 

I found a few old pieces of broken crockery that were appealing to the eye and a flat piece of rock, almost slate like.  I took my treasure home and showed Jam the flat rock saying I'd like to engrave it for a friend as a new office gift, when he had a closer look and said ' honey, nice idea, but it's asbestos!'

Gutted, but when I told my friend the story he laughed saying that one of his first jobs was helping an Uncle with his roofing company and so dealt with asbestos all the time, no problem!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Listography - Perfect Day

Ooh, how exciting, I've not done this before, I feel like a schoolgirl in the school disco about to have her first snog...

The brilliant Kate from Kate Takes 5 does this listography each week and asks others to join in, so here I am.  My Perfect Day -

First off, I'd like a good night's sleep, on a really comfy bed, without any interruptions (not even from the wonderful hubbie, although that could happen happily on the second night, after a good night's sleep!)

Secondly, I'd love breakfast in bed, actually what am I talking about>  If this can be anything in my wildest dreams then surely I'd prefer breakfast on the balcony in a house on an exotic beach, with amazing views.

Thirdly, I'd love to have a swim in the sea followed by a massage and a bit of me time to read a book or daydream or draw or play guitar or knit.

Fourthly, I'd like to stroll along the beach with Jam and Rowan, meet up with some friends and watch a super cool funny impromptu puppet show.

Finally, I'd like Rowan to fall asleep peacefully and stay asleep, whilst Jam and I enjoyed the evening doing whatever, together, watching the sun go down and up again...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Monster Price For Gold Competition

This is random.  I received an email about this competition where you have to write a post about something you are passionate about and thought, why not?  A chance to win £250 should never be sniffed at should it?  Please click here to go to their site and vote for me to win!  Pretty please, it depends on me persuading YOU to vote, so go on, lots of times, every day please, you know you want to, the winner is the person with the most number of votes by Monday, so get clicking!

One of my life passions is writing poetry.  As a child I remember being told off for talking in class and having to write a poem about Autumn.  It was about 30 verses long and went on and on.  I'm not sure why I wrote so many verses, perhaps it was to annoy the teacher, but it sparked a passion that would be a life-long friend.

I've had some of my work published.  The first time that happened I was so excited.  Something about seeing your name in print is so satisfying.  When things go wrong it can be the best way to get your emotions in order and sort your head out.  No room in the house is without paper and pen.

I've turned some of my poetry into music, working with an old school buddy to create an album called 'Hidden'. When I lived in London I would always have a notebook with me and write poems about anything and everything.  That was how I wrote the songs for Hidden, using extracts from all my random ramblings in various journals.  Now I sing to my son, making up silly verses to make him giggle. 

So please, dear reader,
Do what you can
To vote for me now
Then I'll tell you my plan
To set up a course
Where people can write
Expressing their feelings
However they'd like :)

Poetry is a gift, it's a lift up into the sunshine on a rainy day, it's a hug when you're feeling lonely.  It can bring so much joy and you don't need a degree to write it.  I'd like to set up a poetry group for people to come together and find a voice with which to express their emotions and share their experiences. 

Click here...
please.

'Crying icicles instead of tears'

Yes, if you'd ever admit to knowing it, that is a classic Meat Loaf lyric, the full sentence - 'You've been cold, to me so long, I'm crying icicles instead of tears'...  something has got to give hasn't it, my son is laughing his head off at me singing to him whilst trying to get him to eat, it seemed the only way to make him eat today.  Why the Meat Loaf album was in the CD player I do not know, well, actually it was in there when I was cleaning up the other day, 'Like a Bat out of Hell'... Hell, if this makes you think I'm strange I'd just take a step back and blame the parents!

I remember as a child, our parents used to love that album and we would come home from school to hear it being played full volume and come in to see them freaking out, or was it dancing?!  Mum would be twirling her arms in the arm and kicking her legs, so that must be where I get my amazing dance moves from. My sister and I used to listen to one of the tracks in particular, it has a commentary part and we loved it when it got to the part that said 'holy cow I think he's gonna make it....' we'd always come in too soon and laugh our heads off, then the female voice would belt out 'Stop right there! I wanna know right now, do you love me? Will you love me forever?  Do you need me? Will you never leave me? Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life, will you take me away and will you make me your wife, I've gotta know right now, do you love me' and so on, oh how it just rolls off the tongue and the memories of singing it with hairbrushes and actions fill me with joy and a teeny weeny bit of horror!

Years later I was helping out in an office, and somehow an inpromptu Meat Loaf appreciation session came upon us, we were loud and had all the words. I knew then that I was not alone in being slightly weird.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon Soup

I was given this cookbook for Christmas, Sophie Conran's Soups & Stews   I don't normally do cookbooks but I don't have the luxury of so much time to experiment these days so I enjoy having cookbooks to be inspired by.  Saying that, I tend to adapt recipes all the time anyway because I don't have a particular ingredient, indeed for this one I didn't have a lemon, not a fresh one anyway, just one that had gone hard in the fruit bowl.

My brilliant neighbour Cagney gave me a bag of jerusalem artichokes that she had just dug up from the garden.  How brilliantly country is that.  She's a great neighbour and I'm enjoying getting to know her and her daughter Lacey, you can tell these names are made up can't you?  And I think I've got them the wrong way round and I'm not really sure why I chose them so I hope I'm not offending you dear! I loved that programme when I was a kid... anyway I digress, yet again... brevity Flora, practise brevity!!


So I chopped up all the vegetables, threw them in a pot and cooked it. 


Pureed it, then ate it, forgetting to take a picture beforehand, luckily there was some left over and we presented that to take a picture. 




It's now in the freezer waiting for my sister to arrive and sample it. Oh, I also made some with tomatoes which were a little overpowering and is now in the freezer too.  It might be nice cold when the weather's warmer, like a gazpacho.  I remember making that with a friend from college I was staying with one summer, it was great fun and really tasty. Enough now, back to whatever else I was meant to be doing...

Friday, 4 February 2011

How to thank your husband for giving you a break

Yes indeed, this is my quandry.  I want to thank Jam for being such a gorgeous husband and giving me a break.  He's taken the little munchkin off to a music group, so I've had a luxurious soak, washed my hair and instead of running around frantically cleaning... (I did that yesterday, they went to visit great grandad - hmmm, so I have to doubly thank him!) I'm determined to catch up on some essential reading and writing.

The one thing that springs to mind is some serious loving!  I'm not going to go into details here, but that does seem to fall by the wayside when you've got a small one stuck to your boob all day.  Finding the time when you're both in the mood is not as easy as it seems, especially when you don't have a slurry of servants around to do all your tasks for you when you do have a spare minute.  My sister is paying a visit tomorrow morning and she said she would help me with the cleaning, but now that the cottage is clean, I think she would much rather take the little one for a walk!  It is HIM she's coming to visit really after all!  Ah, I love it when a plan comes together!

So I'm trying to clear my mind of all things baby-like.  It's hard but I'm determined.  I am a temple to love.  I am open to my heart.  I am open to my sex chakra.  I am open to suggestions!   I am suddenly very excited ~ so this must be a good thing!

I shall also thank him with an omelette for lunch...
What more does a man need?

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Five Languages of Love

We had breakfast in bed this morning.  Pureed fruits for the little one and he loved them.  We've been reading the Five Languages of Love by Dr Chapman, a book given to us at Christmas.  It's a must for anyone wishing to make sure their emotional love tanks are full.  It is clearly written with a simple questionnaire at the back to help you find out your primary love languages.  (There's also a  website)

I had never thought of it like that before.  We're still in the early days of marriage but it makes sense to make sure we are both aware of what language the other is speaking so we can keep each other's love tanks topped up.  I love that - love tank - I'm filling you up baby!  According to Dr Chapman there are five different languages -
Words of Affirmation,
Quality Time,
Receiving Gifts,
Acts of Service,
Physical Touch

So if your partner's primary love language is Quality Time, yet you perform Acts of Service instead, then pretty soon his/her love tank will run low and you may have problems arising.  Unless you know the difference between the languages then you won't be able to keep each other topped up.  You think you are doing all you can for your partner, washing up, vacuuming, cooking dinner, looking after the baby, mowing the lawn, yet they still don't show you the love you want.  It may be that they are needing you to spend some time with them, talking to them, listening to them without interrupting or trying to solve the problem, going to the theatre or for a walk together.  The love languages are different.

I'm not going to go into detail here, the book is much better at that and worth getting and reading yourself, it has many case studies in it and touches on the same love languages in children and how to recognise how your child loves and be able to keep them emotionally tanked up throughout their growing years.  It was a revelation to me to read this and great that Jam read it too.  There is a case study of someone that tries it on her own, her partner doesn't think anything is wrong so refuses to get help, but eventually he comes round, it's a big journey to take to repair faulty relationships, but so worth it in the end if you can persevere and regain the love.  It's worth reading before any relationship goes wrong in order to prevent it from doing so!

I thought it would be a preaching Christian orientated book, but even though there is reference to Jesus,  Love speaks louder than religion here.  It's made our conversations much more fun and we're aware of each other's needs emotionally. Ach, we're so in love, it's sickening!  I want to give it to all my friends and family...

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Baby Squawks

Oh can you take him...
I can't take it. I'm gonna go mad.  I'm going mad. I've gone mad. I'm mad. I'm better. Right I'm going out. I'm out. I'm in. I'm losing it. I've lost it. I'm lost. I'm found. I've found it again.  I'm going mad. I've gone mad. I'm mad. I'm bad. I'm good. I'm ok. I'm going out. I'm out. I'm out of it. I'm ok. Really. I'm ok.  Honestly I'm fine. It's fine. I'm ok. I'm back. I'm not. I'm gonna go mad. I'm going mad. I've gone mad. I'm losing it. It's wrong. I've lost it. I've had enough. I can't take it.
Oh give him to me...

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Wallpaper Strip - Part 6

Yes, there's more.  Only two rooms left.  First let's go to the bathroom. 

Believe it or not this is actually paper.  We thought it was tiling.  It's very thick card like wallpaper. Very clever.  This room has been hit badly by the damp so unfortunately the wallpaper is falling away from the walls at the top in the corner on the exposed wall.  The colour is something else, my photography makes it look dull, it's not, it's very pink, salmon pink.  I've not come across any pink bathrooms before, I'm just glad it's not the whole bathroom suite that is pink as well!  This is quite a spacious room, lots of storage space in pink cupboards, makes a change from boat living! 





Secretly I love this wallpaper outfit.  The embellished border, with a metallic shimmer to it, running into the grey mid-level paper and the tile-paper - genius!

Now wash your hands...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Birthday time (again)

Isn't the internet wonderful!  Log on to google today and there's a picture and link for Paul C├ęzanne, the french artist and post-impressionist painter who shares my birthday. He's a little older than me, admittedly, and has a great moustache in the picture ~ I just have a few stray eyelashes on my chin.

Anyway, it got me thinking about other people I share this birth date with.  I only knew one person who had my birthday, up until today, a friend's mother, then I found out that one of my neighbour's shares it too.  Apparently, I read in a fortune telling book I was given many moons ago (did anyone see the moon set this morning??? Jam saw it, but apparently it will be even more amazing tomorrow...) that if you have 12 people in a room at a dinner party then two will share the same birthday... Hmmm...

I share my birthday with Dolly Parton, Robert Palmer, Edgar Allan Poe, Janis Joplin, Jenson Button, to name but a few.  Who do you share your birthday with?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Home made gifts

I started this post before Christmas.  When we had snow... 'It snowed even more last night, so much that we were snowed in this morning.  So plans for today were cancelled and that gave me valuable time to try and make some more gifts.'  That was as far as I got, honestly, these days I don't seem to have time for anything, you'd think I had a little baby or something!

These home-made gifts though are very simple to make, you can make it as arty as you like and it doesn't cost very much at all yet is greatly appreciated and treasured by your loved ones.  I made a batch for family Christmas presents and am going to make some more as thank you's, although how I shall find the time to do this all again I do not know!

Footprints first.  We wanted to try handprints but his little hands grab grab grab so they didn't look too pretty.  We painted the bottom of one of his feet with the paint, then planted it on the card, holding firmly and making sure his toes touched the card, then whipped it off and wiped off his foot before the paint got everywhere.  He was fascinated by the whole process, reaching forward to try and touch the card.

Jam came up with the poem, we printed it off on lots of different coloured paper and used my pinking shears to cut, which I wouldn't really recommend because they are meant for material not paper and are not cheap!  You can get zigzag scissors.

A quick tour of local charity shops finds lots of interesting picture frames.  We tried to make each one different, using different coloured cards and cuttings, after all, each footprint was different.


 A close up of a finished one ~

Fun!  We also made lots of chutney and jam.  There is something so rewarding about making things for people, especially when you don't have much money and would rather make something anyway.  I'm on the case with knitting.... and shall show you my Squirrel when I've sorted out his tail.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Gratitude

A Day of Gratitude

I've had a wonderful weekend away for a friend's birthday ~ country house, beach walk, laughter and giggles.  It's quite bizarre though, for they live right next to my Dad's first wife.  A couple of years ago they hosted a friend's wedding and used her garden for the venue and it wasn't until at the party that we discovered the link.  I was hanging upside down on the beams of the yurt with legs all over the place and a lopsided grin at the time, drunk to the hilt on champagne and she was talking to my husband saying 'I think that lady needs help', quite...

My little brother, who is also a musician, has come back to ours to record some of our music for another friend's wedding in May.  They are getting married abroad first so want to have a recording of the music to take with them.  I'm typing this as Jam is playing in the snug, it's such a treat to hear.  Music is everything, without it the world is like a flat bottle of coke.  Or do I mean a bottle of flat coke?  Music is the fizz of life.  Music makes life sparkle.

When I got home there was a parcel waiting for me and it was my friend's beautiful poetry book that I had ordered online from Lulu.  She's such a warm-hearted, kind, funny, generous and inspiring lady and I am so pleased to have her in my life.  We met whilst volunteering at a charity shop together in London.  She has inspired me to get on with my own poetry collection.  That is my project this year.  It's exciting.  Squeak!

I am so lucky to have so many beautiful people in my life.  It's nice to step out of the usual routine and take some large gulps of fresh air to clear out the system and be reminded of everything wonderful in your world.  Sometimes when there is a big change, or lots of changes it's too easy to get bogged down in the trivial daily matters and lose yourself in a depressing cycle of miserableness, worrying about silly things and forgetting the big picture.  So, cheesy as it is, I'm thankful for my life, for all the joy it brings to me and my family and friends.  I'm glad I have not forgotten how to smile at myself, and to others.  And I'm so pleased that since having my baby, my boobs are enormous.  Ok so that won't last and they will probably be around my ankles when I finish breastfeeding, but I will surely have something else to be grateful for when that happens.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Negligee, sorry neglect...

I'm neglecting you aren't I?  Would rather be sorting out my knicker drawer than writing my blog, so it seems but you're wrong, I'm sorry, I hope your heart is growing fonder and I shall be back with a vendetta sorry vengeance, just as soon as I remember how to write, fit everything in and get my child to sleep on his own without him needing to be on my boobs all day! ;)

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Wallpaper Strip - Part 5

Click click - and you're back in the room...

Happy New Year, excuse my absence, visiting family and friends, changed plans and no time for writing.  Shocking I know, but hey - it makes me feel like I've got a life!!

Now, the room we are in this week is the spare room.  It has the most incredible wallpaper, it confuses me slightly too, for Jam's mother says it was his grandad's bedroom, but I hope that I am mistaken!


I'm loving the border, it looks hand-painted.

 I'm not sure I am capturing the brightness of this paper, it is hard to capture, it is bright, very bright, much brighter than this.

 Of course, with a contrasting curtain and lovely pelmet. (I believe that is what the white thing is called.)


Yes it's on every wall!  This room is a small double.  It has built in wardrobes in each corner, that seem to disappear into the walls.  It has the fabulous bed-head complete with lamps and drawers.



 Lovely ornate handles and knobs to match.