Monday, 30 April 2012

Making me smile today

1. Sneaky day time blogging while Hermione is out with a friend and Miles is busy watching a quiz show with Nana.

2.  My new stick on blackboard.  I have no excuses for being disorganized now that I can chalk the contents of my head onto the fridge door!

3.  Removing one picture from a frame to rediscover the picture behind it.  Can't read the text on this picture and can't be bothered to go and look, but it says something along the lines of, 'easy does it....if I catch it I can eat it'.

4.  Saffy, one of our most infamous hens presented at deaths door yesterday.  Hermione was overwrought.   Thankfully lots of TLC, to include being hand fed apple cores and other vitamin rich snacks, indoor accommodation (!!!) over night, and she's much brighter today.

5.  Men at work.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

To scratch or not to scratch

This is a question I’ve been pondering today.  Life is good; very good to be honest.  Despite lots going on close to home, not all of it entirely pleasant, I still feel very positive.  I still find myself sometimes smiling inanely as I drive up the road, or boogying in the kitchen while I cook dinner.

So, what’s the problem?

I’m not entirely certain to be honest.  I think I have an itch but I’m not entirely sure.  Even were I sure it were an itch, would it follow that the best thing to do would be to scratch it?

There are different kinds of itches; those which would stop life as you know it if you didn’t give it a darned good scratch, those which wouldn’t seriously impact on your life but could drive you potty, and those which don’t really impact on your life at all but to scratch would make life more ecstatic.  Then, there are those which are so subtle, so on the periphery of your life, that you’re not even certain whether they are truly an itch.

I’ve made a break through today; if someone else is dealing with big stuff in their own life, and the way in which they choose to deal with their situation causes minor disturbance in one far flung corner of my existence, then that is not an itch which I must scratch.

It is acceptable to refuse delivery of troubles which do not belong to me.  

Wow, I’m pleased I’ve reached that conclusion.  It struck me as I was sitting in the car, in the rain, trying to get the top off a bottle of freshly pressed Cox Apple Juice.  The lady in the car next to me was glaring at me, no doubt in part due to the hold up I helped unwittingly caused in M&S  checkout minutes earlier when I spotted a friend I’ve not seen in months and had to indulge in big hugs, much ‘whooo hooo, look at you-ing’ and hurriedly made arrangements for catch up coffees.

Ah, the age of enlightenment dawns slowly on me at times, but I think I’m getting there on this one.  I feel  emotionally lighter, and were it not that Craig is sorting dinner this evening, I suspect I would be more inclined than ever to bop as I chop!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Round up

I took a planter down from the outside window ledge  this morning to rescue the plant pots bobbing about in the excess rain.  Turn my back and Sammy duck has jumped in whilst Olga and Jemima fluff their feathers.

The broad beans seedlings are thriving on neglect.

The pepper plants which the children are growing from seed are shooting away and may need to be transplanted soon.

The apple blossom is here; my favorite of all the blossoms.

Looks like we may have a good cherry crop this year too providing the blossoms aren't damaged - oh, and providing I get to them before the birds too!

The willow dome is heading skywards.

The seat which Craig made to go in the willow dome is aging nicely.

Weekend living with monopoly and knitting.  Lovely cup of flowers there that a precious little girl gave me the other day.

A very good friend happened to come across some amazing pictures which were most likely used in schools in the late 1920's or 1930's.  They're very 'different' and I suspect it's a love/hate thing, but I love them.  She very generously gave me five and I took four which are headed for my dining room to an arts dealer for framing this morning.  I could have framed them myself but they're so old, delicate and beautiful that I wanted them done properly.  The fifth one is similar but slightly different.  It's heading towards Miles' room.  I must show you the others once they're done.

Cheeky chimps getting under my feet in the kitchen.

We took delivery of a new stock of science books.  Goodness, look at the girth of book two!  I feel a bit giddy just looking at it.

A fellow home ed mama made me a very kind offer which I couldn't refuse this week.  Science is her thing and she is willing to have Hermione join in with her children for a weekly science experiment. We follow the same Galore Park books so they will do their 'book' work individually, but come together to do practical things.  I'm so thrilled because I know Hermione is happy and comfortable  in the company of the children concerned, and I know that the mum in question will make science much more exciting than I can.

A huddle of hens - and a duck who grew up with chicks not ducklings and considers himself to be a hen. Oh dear, the hens know he's not a hen but the ducks don't want him either because he spends too much time hanging out with hens.

Dairy free baked lemon cheesecake, made at great expense for Miles, who doesn't tolerate dairy.  It tasted good but I shan't be making it again.  Miles declared it was nice, but not at all as nice as he had hoped it would be.  The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it but then I could have made it with dairy soft cheese for us and saved a wee fortune.

When I posted about my excitement at picking up bargain cut mint in the supermarket, a lady posted to say she had sprouted hers in water and planted it.  I took down a few sprigs which I had hung to dry, not expecting it to take as it had hung on the rack above the oven for a couple of days, but it has!  I'll plant it tomorrow.

Friday, 27 April 2012

World Book Night

Thanks to a couple of lovely ladies, Jenny and Jayne, I now have two new books on my shelf; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

In the spirit of World Book Night I'd like as many people as possible to get to read them.  If you're local to me and would like to read them after me then please just yell!


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Seeking solace in Bluebell Woods

Knowing that the week ahead will be busy, and I daresay rather trying on some fronts, I was adamant that today would be spent skipping amongst dusty bluebells, filling my essential reserves and generally manifesting a smooth passage through the coming days.

Well, there were bluebells, lots of bluebells; but no skipping, reserve filling or manifesting.  Craig thought it would be a good idea to allow the children to wander far ahead while we ambled and he reminisced about his own youth spent in woodlands.  Yep, you know the rest, two children lost in the woods, paths that had morphed into bogs amidst all the recent chuckdowns (that's a Miles-ism) and, to top it off, yet another torrential downpour.

Thankfully Craig found the children relatively quickly and we then spent a fair while shouting echoic messages across the woodland trying to relocate each other.   During this time I snapped away at bluebells, mud, more bluebells, more mud, puddles and worms.  The worms seemed to be really happy today and I can't say that's something I've ever noticed before.

Ah, what can I say?  I'm hopeful that some local mamas will feel my disappointment and join me in a little song and dance before the bluebells join the mulch of the forest floor.

In the meantime I'm going to psyche myself up for another week of complete and utter domestic chaos, brought about by Craig's somewhat ridiculous decorating plan.  Did you know, if you have various rooms in your home to decorate, then the thing to do is to push the contents of each and every room into a central heap, cover with dust sheets, then proceed to paint each ceiling, followed by filling cracks in each room, sanding wood work in each room...?.  I guess you didn't know that, but it's clear to see this method was thought up by someone who works long hours and is not generally at home trying to educate the children.  This is the 'maximum chaos' method.  

Also, this is the week Hermione must have the first aspect of her Arts Award completed.  Yikes, it's all kind of caught up on us in the general mayhem of domestic life right now.  The color printer is unreliable and to be quite honest I'm not feeling personally reliable either!  I fear I may be drawn back for another attempt to skip amongst bluebells...

Looking on the ever so bright, but also ever so busy, side, I'm having dinner with two of my lovely friends this week.  One is a fellow home ed mama and the other is a friend of old; one who bless her socks has hung around for over twenty years during which time she's witnessed a lot!   Exciting stuff.

I'm off now to raise a glass to sanity and domestic harmony.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Working up a sweat

Entirely random, but just had to share - my baby has lost his first baby tooth!  

The children got to choose what we did today.  They opted for the beach and the ice cream parlor.  I want to know why it is that when children eat hideously colored foods they become hyper, yet no amount of food coloring impacts on my energy levels.

The sea was wild and majestic today; rough but not alarmingly so.  Big peaks and lots of frothy foam.

Before heading down to the beach I called into a little homeware shop on the promenade. Craig and the children went on ahead.  This is the sight I was confronted with when I finally ambled on down.  I decided to snap it as Miles often lies down on the grass (or  wherever he is) and me and my friends have a  little chuckle about it.  There you go, he gets it from his father!

As I got closer to them I realised he was actually doing a bit of work - on the phone to the office.  I wonder if the person he was speaking to about machine maintenance realised he was lying flat out in the shingle, staring at the sky, while his children clambered over rocks disappearing into the frothy sea....

Not to worry, tomorrow I get to choose where we go and there will be no blue food coloring in sight! 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I'm doing well on the bargain front this week! I love it when you time it just right with your trip to the supermarket, when things haven't just been reduced once, but are right down to the 'pleeeease, just take them away' price.

Ordinarily I don't buy fresh herbs; I tend to make do with what grows in the garden. Unfortunately it's lemon balm which thrives in our garden and it departs a rather odd Thai like flavor to our traditional roast veggies. Anyway, when you can pick up a bag of fresh mint for 10p I'm in the market.

Water with sprig of my 10p mint and a slice of a 10p lime.

Courgettes down to 30p, sauteed with a few sprigs of bargain mint.

Surplus mint now drying on the pan rack.

I even went so far as to splash out 30p on reduced fresh redcurrants to spice up an otherwise mundane apple crumble.

It doesn't happen anywhere near often enough, but I do so love it when I find the man with the ticket gun on his final round of the day. It doesn't exactly erase the extravagances but it gives a bit of balance if nothing else!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mini Cake Flags

I love the look of all the fancy bits and pieces you can buy to titivate your fairy cakes these days, but goodness, how expensive they are!

A few weeks ago I picked up a reduced papercrafts magazine for 60p. It had ten sheets of sturdy craft paper in it which is why I bought it; I knew I would come up with a use for it.

Voila, here we have lots of little itsy ditsy cake flags; and whatsmore I've probably used less than 3% of the paper that came with the cheap mag. Just cut a small square, fold in half diagonally, quick wash of pva glue and close around a cocktail stick.

Sure, you can buy fancier stuff in the shops, but then you have to part with money which could be better spent, and you miss out on the opportunity to play.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Owl Puke

Miles enjoyed dissecting an owl pellet with his daddy this afternoon. Second time round for daddy as we bought this kit for Hermione too when she was about Miles' age.

The owl pellet is supposed to be heat treated to kill all nasty germs so little ones can mess with it and find all of the bones hidden within. I'm not convinced it's entirely nasty free as it certainly has a whiff about it!

The idea is to collect all the bones and place them together to make the skeleton of the unfortunate creature the owl gobbled up. There are quite a few in there and it can well take a few attempts with tweezers and tooth picks. That's a bit of a downside as it means it's hanging around looking and smelling a bit grim for some time. Oh, the joys of motherhood!

You can pick up the kits on Amazon and other places. Beware of second hand ones; they are often minus the puke which sort of renders them rather pointless.

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Please ignore all the surrounding clutter of magazines and contact lens solutions, and cast your eyes on the lovely king sized crochet bedspread which nana has just finished making for me.

These pictures don't really do it justice. The colors in the bedspread have photographed much brighter than they are, and the tones in the art work above my bed have photographed much more muted than they are. In reality they fuse together much more seamlessly.

Looking forward to jumping in!

Friday, 13 April 2012


I read a very sad story this week; Slave Girl: I Was an Ordinary British Girl. I Was Kidnapped and Sold into Sex Slavery. This is My Horrific True Story

The book tells the story of a woman from Gateshead who having had a troubled childhood, responded to an advert in a national newspaper for an aupair to work in Amsterdam. Once in Amsterdam she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution.

Having spent time working with victims of domestic violence and child abuse, I consider myself to be rarely shocked, although always appalled, by such things. I found this to be a harrowing read; I was shocked, but I couldn't put it down because I think it's so important to know what does go on.

Having read the book I did a quick Google news search. Only this week the Guardian reported arrests for Human Trafficking and forced prostitution.

So much for the end of slavery! I guess we like to think we've progressed, moved on, grown in understanding and compassion; but sometimes I really do wonder. Things have changed, that's for certain. Perpetrators have become increasingly wily and covert, while many people have become increasingly blind to distasteful things. It's a bad combination.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter gathering with friends

We met with friends today to celebrate the season. Older children ran ahead and hid home made treasures in the woodland for the younger ones to find. There were some beautiful things - not a chocolate egg in sight!

All of the treasures were placed on the table and the children chose. We came home with some dainty little flowers, painted bug and some wonderful spangly things too. The shiny silver parcels were dried apricots. I've snaffled Hermione's and only hope she's not too cross with me!

More hill climbing and egg rolling! I didn't climb the hill this time; I stood at the bottom trying not to be splattered when Miles launched his. The sun was blazing and all in the garden was rosy.

We tied strips of yellow gingham fabric to sticks and the children ran with them like windsocks.

They made good patterns too!

Little faces were transformed by a mama who has turned out to be a whizz with the facepaints. We think she should hire herself out for children's parties.

The paints had hardly time to dry before the heavens opened. In minutes there were rivers rushing down the sides of the paths.

Hey ho, we had lots of fun and the mad wet dash to the car certainly got the circulation flowing.