Friday, 30 December 2011

Gone but not forgotten

I still have a grandmother - she is 99 years old, sweet, kind, funny and pretty much on the ball. She is a pleasure and we make the most of every minute we have with her.
I had another grandmother but she died when I was quite young, from meningitis. I remember feelings more than I remember specifics - there is a warmth and a smile, but I cannot absolutely recall her face. If I try too hard she becomes blurred and fuzzy.

For Christmas this year, I have been given her recipes. All typed and formatted in a large folder with sections.
When I opened the present I cried,  tears that came from nowhere and took me by surprise. I have only just been able to look at the folder. There are also some handwritten recipes - oh how I remember her handwriting!

Here is her recipe for Gl├╝hwein:
1 level tsp ground cloves
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp ground nutmeg
Half an orange
5oz granulated sugar
Half a lemon, chopped
1 pint water
1 bottle red wine

Mix all ingredients except wine in a large saucepan and heat gently, until sugar dissolves. Stir occasionally. Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour. Strain through at least double muslin. Rinse saucepan and put wine in, add syrup [which I assume has been strained into a jug, before the saucepan was washed]. Reheat but do not boil.

My grandparents are buried in Gloucestershire, a long way from home, but we were close by this week so I took a detour. It was nice to spend a few minutes thinking of them.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

From ten rods to five via a bit of denial

The photo above was taken in 2009 and shows my allotment and its Grass Problem. The situation has not improved and as I have been working the plot on my own since we got the pub, the grass has just got worse and worse.
I took the big decision at the end of the summer to give up half of my plot. Admitting I can't do something isn't one of my skills so it was a culmination of pressure from the Field Secretary (which I initially resented) and a tiny inner voice wondering what it would be like if I had something more manageable.
In November, I met my prospective partner. We agreed a staggered half so that I didn't have to move my fruit trees.
A week later, I arrived to this:

My shed was so organised I was initially a little put out - it's a control thing - but then over the next few weeks, the shed was rebuilt, repaired and painted. The paths were trimmed and the junk removed. A path was laid and the nettle bed removed.
This spurred me on, and I started to remove all the grass from between the beds. With my little helper of course.

My new partner has nothing more to do than keep digging up any weeds that appear in his half so he has started to help me wage war on the grass. Amazing. This has freed me up to also cut back the asparagus, tidy up the blackberries, plant the young strawberry plant runners.
Now - for the first time - I have a plot that I look forward to seeing each Sunday.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Feeling a bit seasonal

My close friends and family will tell you I am a bit rubbish at this time of year. Despite craving the change of season and loving Autumn almost as much as I love Spring, I still seem to fall into this dark hollow where everything seems a little too difficult.
I had hoped that the radical change in my diet would see a change in these symptoms, but all that has happened is I haven't comfort-eated my way through. However, this is a Good Thing, as it gives me one less stick to beat myself with.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is described as ' a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn year after year.'
So the big question is 'are my symptoms depressive or am I just instinctively reacting to the colder weather and darker days?'

This is how I feel:
Really tired, but not so tired that I can't get up and function.
A bit fed up and a bit hopeless one day and then chirpy and optimistic the next.
Feeling fatter than I actually am and not liking myself very much at times.
Being a little cross with myself.

My Grandfather would have said I was 'naval gazing'. Too much time on my hands - and busy, but not mentally stretched.

So, what to do ....
Well I have tried sleeping with a curtain open - to my husband's extreme joy - so that I could wake as the light increases. I have been taking Vitamin D and going outside as much as possible, bearing flesh if I can. I swallow a whacking great dose of EPA each day, after reading this book on holiday. I have been doing yoga when childcare allows and have been trying to get a little sweaty in the gym once a week. I have tried to accept the times when I feel a bit tired and taken it easy. I have been making my many evenings home alone a little more rewarding by watching films and good tv programmes, whilst working on crafty projects.
Today I found myself asking for more work......

Sunday, 23 October 2011

This is me in 100 words

I ran an animal behaviour consultancy practice (under my maiden name Magnus) for fifteen years. I decided I needed a change and almost immediately found out I was pregnant. Four years on, life is fun – I work for the Orwell Lady, KDS Print & Design, Fur & Feather magazine, Highcliff Veterinary Practice and am Editor of The Ipswich Gardener. My husband is Landlord of the Greyhound Public House in Ipswich. I prioritise time with our daughter Scarlett and also look after our home, two dogs and an allotment whilst keeping up my hobbies of twitter, football, blogging, knitting and crocheting.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Projects.... projects.....

On Thursday my Aunt and I met at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace. I cannot believe I haven't been before as it is right up my metaphorical street. Shunning a £70 train fare, I paid £22 and travelled almost door to door by coach - obviously the youngest onboard but a perfectly pleasant journey sitting next to a really nice lady.
I should have taken more photos but I honestly forgot. Penny and I chatted and looked, touched everything and bought plenty. After a cheeky lunchtime glass of wine, my spending saw a rapid increase - I was quite literally writing cheques that my bank could not cash (at that time).
It has given me a good kick up the creative backside too. Having seen Jane Crowfoot's completed Mystery Crochet Project I am now inspired to carry on and get it FINISHED. I would also really like to sign up to the 2012 one as well. After meeting Jane Greenoff I was inspired to try some cross stitch. Following her advice I have something small and pretty here.....
I have Christmas presents for the women in my life sorted and there are plans in my head for one of the rooms above the pub.
However, I am most excited by Swedish company MillaMia. I am always frustrated by the lack of contemporary designs for little people, but these two just have to be made:

Towards the end of the day, I had some precious time with the lovely Nicky, a chat with the very inspiring Emma King and a great catch up with Juliet from The Knitter.
I'll be going again next year ... and by coach.

I might have done the cross-stitch by then.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Why I love twitter

Sometimes, when I am a bit lonely, twitter gives me someone to talk to.
If it doesn't give me someone to talk to, then it gives me plenty to read.
I have found a great yoga class that is at a time when I have childcare (via @emma_gibbons).
Next Wednesday, I am going to visit a stitch and knit morning at Halfpenny Home in Needham Market.
I heard about this gathering by following @halfpennyhome.
I have solved Scarlett's overnight nappy issues just by asking what other parents use.
There are two or three groups of 'friends' that I can chat with.
We have created a real sense of community for the pub.
Kate Silverton, Amanda Holden, Brendan Cole and Idris Elba have all replied to my tweets.

Actually Idris Elba hasn't...... but I keep hoping.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

And then I came over all silly....

I was 7 years old when Marc Bolan died.
I don't remember much about it as Elvis had died a month earlier and my Mum was so devastated there was little room for much else upset.
When I was about 12, around the time I started to develop a crush on Adam Ant, my Mum suggested I listen to some T-Rex - it was a men-in-make-up-thing.
Without the internet and music channels, I didn't really see Marc Bolan perform so I mostly listened and read biographies.
Time passed and Marc Bolan had slipped my mind until I heard that our local theatre had written and produced 20th Century Boy.
My husband and I loathe the back catalogues of pop stars being turned into musicals, having been traumatised by Tonight's The Night and some paper sailors hats.
So there we were, slightly cautious, sitting in the theatre with my Mum and step-father. The lights went down, the play started and then 'T-Rex' came out on the stage.
I was hit by an over-whelming surge of emotion which didn't seem to leave until the lights came back up almost three hours later.
It's a great play - really great - and the acting is incredible. By the end it felt as though we were at a rock concert, everyone was up dancing and cheering. I was even waiting for an encore.
After three glasses of red wine on an empty stomach, I told the chap who played Marc Bolan how amazing he was, more than once. I think I even told him I wanted to kiss his shoes - is that what you do to rock stars?
Poor lad is 21......
Oh the shame.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Beaches and pebbly places

This photo was taken at Felixstowe on Saturday. You wouldn't believe how blue, sunny and warm it was when 24 hours later it was cold and gloomy.
Scarlett learned to fly a kite and the importance of holding on to it - even when you fall over.
In a week, we had a cold afternoon on Thorpeness beach with a friend I hadn't seen for years, a two day stay with a close friend in the sun at Aldwick / Bognor and then the lovely Felixstowe beach hut.
We have the hut this week, our last visit of 2011 no doubt.
Tuesday was my nephew's final day before he started school so we refused to be held indoors by the weather. We marched up the promenade in winds so strong I nearly lost the children. We ate at our favourite restaurant and then we returned to the beach and ran around in the sand.
I'd like to say we all slept well that night but Scarlett was woken by a failing nappy and a wet bed at 2.30am and didn't get back to sleep until nearly 5.
Wednesday's trip to the beach hut then was all about me drinking black coffee and trying to pull myself together.
Back tomorrow ....

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thin(ner) and happier

I am at my lightest in 11 years. It feels great and I like how I look. I don't feel so bloated and I feel happier because I know I look OK.
Does that make me shallow?
Happiness can't be about weight, but it is about feeling in control.
To find a way of living that doesn't involve waking up cross with myself, trying to eat low calorie foods, then failing and getting cross all over again is really quite liberating.
I feel that I am keeping on top of so many other things in my life too, as if I have freed up lots of time.
Don't get me wrong, it's not all sugar-free meals and weight loss. There are times that need to be negotiated with caution. Like tonight, a difficult day at work - not bad, just taxing - and when I got home I felt as though I needed a reward. And I contemplated all sorts of foods.
What kept me on the straight and narrow was the knowledge it wouldn't make me feel good.
It really is that simple I suppose.
Shame I didn't work it out years ago.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Summer 2011

Summer 2010 was probably one of the toughest periods of my life. I was surviving on no sleep, I had paid a huge amount of money for a puppy we couldn't leave or toilet train, sad things happened, everything I did or tried to do seemed a struggle, my daughter was throwing the most almighty over-tired tantrums and I cried.
My memories of my lovely garden on a sunny day were in danger of becoming ruined, as that is where I used to sit and cry - behind my sunglasses.
But we are building new memories this year. We all sleep,  none of us wees anywhere we shouldn't, no-one seems to get cross (well not for long anyway) and I have found a balance of work and life.
It seems quite peaceful and I think we are happy.
So who cares if it is raining and the rioting has shaken my faith in humanity.
In my little corner of the world there is love, and that makes my world go around.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Wishing ill will

I have worked really hard at our allotment. It isn't pretty and it is never going to win an award but it is loved , visited, appreciated and thought about. I have recently had to fight to keep it and, reluctantly, I agreed to give up half to keep the peace.

And then someone stole my apples.
My Braeburns.
I think they stole my gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants too.
The only thing keeping me sane is that the apples weren't ripe - so perhaps the perpetrator has tummy ache.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Blog Block

I have no idea what to write about.
I have considered giving up this blog.
In fact, this time last week this post was going to be along the lines of 'So long, and thanks for all the fish'.
But here I am.
I can't promise much, but I will try.
I will try to get back to writing regularly - Thursday nights, usually around 9pm - and I will try to Think Blog when I am working my way through my day.

I am a plate spinner. I have said this many times. At the moment I have a few extra plates to spin.
After a lovely week in France I came home resolving to keep everything in its box and to work through some of the items that have been on my To Do list. The box of photo frames in our bedroom have been rehomed, Scarlett's shelves have been painted and I have dealt with everything that takes two minutes or less to do.
This, along with work, home and family has kept me nice and busy.

So, just to cover a few of our recent activities - here are some photos from the Open Day at my allotment:

And here are a couple from France:

See you soon.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

My new way of eating

It is six months since I discovered that losing weight is not about eating less and exercising more.

Since then, I have come to realise that all the years of focusing on calories and filling myself with low calorie white carbs has caused me to become so fixated on sugar, that I have become addicted, tired and more overweight than I was when I started trying to lose just half a stone when I was a teenager.
My life has been dominated by weight and food issues since I was 15, and my weight has consequently increased over this time. I used to weigh 9 stone, then it was 10, down to 9 and then up to 10 and a half, then it leapt to12, back down to 11 and there it stayed (ignoring a 13 stone smiling pregnant woman in the middle). No matter what I have done, who I have talked to or what I have been tested for (in my more desperate moments) - it's always followed the same pattern.
There is no evidence behind the 'cut your calorie intake by 3,500 per week to lose a 1lb in weight' theory. I was sold a kipper. All that happened was I became starving hungry and my body was filled up with more bowls of plain pasta, dry toast and indigestible beans.

So, in November I was introduced to Zoe Harcombe and her thoughts on food, sugar addiction, candida and food intolerances. Around this time I was also introduced to The Diet Delusion by Gary Taubes (a big tome of a book but worthwhile reading if you like science).
In February Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and her thoughts on gut dysbiosis captivated me but then I fell off the sugar wagon with a large bump and had to shelve her ideas until I was ready to start again.
So, 5 weeks ago I dumped the sugar and processed food once more and started to look at Dr Natasha's theories again. Far too much information to cover in this little update but essentially becoming vegetarian at 14, going onto the pill at 17, consuming large quantities of low calorie carbohydrates for nearly 25 years as well as the odd course of antibiotics and periods of being vegan could well explain my low stomach acid, tummy troubles (which started when I was 16), reduced fertility, tendency towards feeling down on and off throughout the year and many many more things I could bore you with.

My epiphany goes as follows - by going vegetarian through my sheer love and emotional attachment to animals and a fear of their death, I have essentially made myself low in magnesium and zinc as well as protein deficient. My weight has increased due to the high levels of carbohydrates and my gut flora has become abnormal so I have been suffering with a bloated tummy for as long as I can remember.
Animals have still been killed and eaten regardless. I couldn't save them. I should have prioritised myself.

As many of us know, how we feel about ourselves throughout the day often depends on how flat our tummy is when we get up in the morning. My lifestyle choice increased my weight and bloated my stomach. I started doing more and more dieting but just ate more carbs and less fats (and as we were all told this was the way to eat I thought I was doing the right thing).

So, where am I now? Well, after 25 years I am happily carnivorous. Really carnivorous. My weight has fallen, gradually, but much much more noticeable is the change in my sense of balance, inner peace, hormones and self-perception. I can safely say that I am free of any worries at mealtimes and I haven't woken up cross with myself for a while. On holiday I was quite relaxed and free of the Weight Worries - as it turns out I didn't put any weight on anyway.

Perhaps most importantly I have plenty of time, and knowledge, to ensure Scarlett eats well and stays happy.

So, if you know any young teenage girls thinking about turning vegetarian - see if they would consider eating fish and make sure they eat lots of eggs and stay away from the processed food.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Happy days

I love Cornwall, but I really love Falmouth. I have been visiting for so long that I know where everything is and as soon as I unfurl from the car (6.5 hours door to door if you don't stop) I am relaxed. I am also happy.
It is hard to leave Dan for a week, especially as having Scarlett means I am now separating them.
But it is good for my soul to be with my friends, my special Cornish-dwelling friends.
Last year was a little bit of a disaster - Scarlett was two, she didn't sleep, she screamed a lot during the day, she didn't eat much and I became fraught. This year she was a dream - so much so that I spent a fortune on stripy tops for her in SeaSalt.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Our big adventure, a plant fair and some bunting!

Scarlett has always been quite interested in vehicles - tractors (red ones), buses, 'amb-lances', bikes, 'air-planes' and trains have been in her vocabulary for a long time.

When the opportunity came to take her to see Peppa Pig's Party at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft I thought we could have a real adventure and travel by train.
I kept it all secret. We had our Pyjama Drama class in the morning, and then raced home to get her dressed and ourselves to the train station. I bought her a 'mag-zine', myself a paper (still unread) and we hopped onto the 11.08.
Her little face was a picture, so excited and happy to finally be on a train. She was good company, we did some drawing, had a picnic and we looked out of the windows. 90 minutes later we arrived.
Peppa's Party was OK although a bit old for her I suspect. When you are three, you really don't understand intervals, and you are probably happy to go home after 30 minutes. By the middle of the second half, Scarlett had enough and I was left watching puppets with a screaming, angry little person face down on the carpet.
There was a moment of calm when I bought her and her cousin a £1.50 plastic windmill outside, but once we were back at the train station the tears returned.
What had seemed to quick journey out became interminably long on the way home. Much of the time, Scarlett was rolling on the filthy floor - but I just couldn't face the confrontation. Some of the time she cuddled me and sucked her thumb.
I was so pleased to be back in Ipswich and took two paracetamol as soon as I returned home.
Sadly, Peppa Pig's Party has not been mentioned - not once, not even when she has seen her on the television.
Far too much squeezed into one day for one so small?

On Sunday we took it relatively easy and visited Helmingham Hall for a Plant Sale. It was a really windy day but good weather and just the most beautiful surroundings. 15 minutes from my home and I have never been before. Incredible.
True to form I spent all the money in my purse (I don't seem to be happy until it is empty) but came home with no plants.
[I actually came home with no purse but thanks to some kind people we have now been reunited.]

I have been making garden bunting using old Sarah Smith dishcloths. My kind of easy!

Friday, 27 May 2011

5 magazines a month

I have a glut of magazines land on my mat around now. Red and The Knitter and then Psychologies. At the Country Living fayre this year, I subscribed to their magazine - 'When in Rome' and all that - so now that comes along with its beautiful covers.

And then I found this beauty:

Just £5 for the first three issues. So beautiful. So inspiring. A lovely free gift to make too. What's not to like?
If the next two are as good as the first then I will need to find the money for this as well.
But one will have to go.
Psychologies was a present so I assume it will run out at the end of the year. 
Country Living was paid for up front so I can choose not to renew.
Red is non-negotiable as it keeps my finger on the pulse of what's happening and what I should be wearing.
I am finding The Knitter increasingly at odds with the things I like to make but everytime I say that there is something I like.
Which magazines do you read?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A frustrating time at the allotment

I like communicating and I love communication. I really enjoy thinking of different ways to deliver messages and I am always really switched on when I hear of strategies or really cool ideas. It has taken me a long time to realise that this perhaps where my skills are - if only because I am passionate and chatty.
At the allotment AGM last month, comments were made about the lack of interest in the shop, Open Day and tidying borders. I couldn't stay quiet. I took a deep breath (this being my first AGM) and asked how they communicated to Plot Holders. Of course I already knew the answer. There is no communication. It is all word of mouth - but there are lots of people who have no idea who the Committee Members are, have no idea who to speak to if they want to donate produce for the events or how to communciate with the Secretary if they have a proposal for an AGM.
For the last four years, I have had no idea what is happening or who to talk to.
So, I suggested a few simple things that could be done. Nothing major - letting people know key dates, producing eye-catching posters, advertising the contact details for the Committee and letting everyone know when the Shed Shop is open and what it sells.
I thought it had been well received and I thought it would be a great thing for me to do. I had some nice supportive comments after the meeting.
And then it all went quiet.
Last week I was told, to be fair somewhat sheepishly, that it had been decided that there was no point contacting plot holders regularly as people aren't interested. I was told that posters for the Open Day had been done and that details of the plots that Committee Members were on would be put on display.
I was disappointed. I don't agree that there is no point; but I don't like to make a fuss so I said very little - except to point out that the time of the Open Day was missing on the posters
Maybe I need to work on my communication skills.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My garden, 6am

My Spencer rose, planted on top of the ashes of Spencer the Dachshund. He wasn't a tough dog so he got a frilly rose.

An iris that has grown in the middle of a difficult part of the garden, when we haven't had proper rain for 7 weeks. It's even more special as I don't remember planting it!

This raised bed should become a heady mix of my favourites - snap dragons, sweet peas and lavendar.

There is a microscopic bunch of grapes in the middle of the photo. Exciting!

Oh yes, snails all over the place after last night's 'light drizzle'.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

On children

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children

As living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 

And he bends you with his might
Tthat his arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, 

so he loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Pyjama Drama

We attended a taster session of Pyjama Drama this morning in Kesgrave. All we had to do was turn up with teddy and Scarlett in pyjamas but despite being up at seven, I still cut it fine - imagine how late I would have been if she had needed clothes on.
My experience with classes has been a little hit and miss since Scarlett has been walking. We seem to have spent a lot of money only for me to carry her for the entire session or do much of the class by myself with her sobbing and watching at a distance. Consequently I have only been taking her swimming once a week (and even then I sometimes wonder if she will ever be happy in the water).
Pyjama Drama encourages children to play, explore, pretend and dance. At today's class we pretended we were at a pyjama party, making a midnight feast, hiding when someone came up the stairs and tidying up after ourselves. The children played and laughed under a large parachute and there was plenty of singing.
The Suffolk classes are run by Jane Cole, coincidentally I went to school with Jane. I always admire people who run children's classes - the confidence, the empathy and the connection is just something I either don't have or couldn't promise week in, week out. Jane doesn't disappoint and kept the children, and parents, captivated for 45 minutes.
So, I've booked a place and written out a cheque.
We will be more organised over the coming Saturday mornings.
The only potential blot on the landscape? Scarlett seems to have inherited my practical and analytical nature. She turned to me at one point and said 'but Mummy, where is the cupboard?'.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Party after party, after party

So here I am at the end of a lovely Easter Sunday - two Easter Egg hunts, one big family lunch and a few glasses of white wine.
But the celebration is not over for this family. Tomorrow we have Scarlett's birthday party, Tuesday is her third birthday and Friday is our street party.
I think I might need a long lie down on Saturday.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Toilet training :: The update

I think Playgroup might have muddled Scarlett with another child. She was certainly not toilet-trained. We have had long periods of time sitting on toilets, I have purchased a padded Peppa Pig seat, we have offered all manner of treats and we have had no wees or poos in the toilet or on the potty.
So as from Good Friday, we will be leaving the "knick-cars" behind and using the warm weather to introduce naked training in the garden.
I stayed with a friend this week and she was on days two and three of cold turkey toilet training. Apparently Day One was horrendous. I think our day one has been the last two weeks - I have even had to take apology chocolates to nursery as they had seen Scarlett soil four pairs of pants and two outfits.
As for The Audrey - well, she remains 'sensitive' and I was pretty fed up when I returned home from my 22 hour escape to hear she had peed on the carpet twice when Dan and Scarlett had been upstairs (and she had been put outside). I am wondering if I should be considering medication - for her, not me.
Not yet anyway.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Under the radar

I think it is OK to say out loud that Audrey is toilet-trained. I get up early to get her into the garden as soon as she is on the move and the nice weather means the back door is open all the time.
I would say that one wee on the carpet a week is as good as it is going to get.
We met a friend's 12 week old puppy last week - they seem to be at the same stage as us except Audrey is 11 months old.

I have been putting off potty training Scarlett as there is only so much urine and faeces a person can deal with at anyone time.
And then I collect Scarlett from playgroup today and they mention that she asks them to take her to the toilet and wees - each week.

It seems I can't toilet train a small dog but my daughter can toilet train herself.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

"Poo Head"

Today we went to see one of my favourite books on the stage. I was introduced to this book by a close friend, a while before I had Scarlett. I think I bought her husband a silly book about poo, so they gave me this in return.

The story is as follows - a mole wakes up one morning to find someone has done a poo on his head. He seeks out the offender, but not before each animal has shown him their 'business' to prove it was not them. Genius.

The last time this production came to Ipswich, Scarlett was too young so I was determined to take her this time. Both showings were sold out so I was pleased to have managed to get four tickets and have been looking forward to it very much. Scarlett loves the book and the simplistic 'Poo Head' is all her own work.

So off we skipped this afternoon to meet the friend who introduced us to this gem. This is the second time I have been to see a children's play at the New Wolsey Studio and both times I have wondered how they will turn a short book into something long enough to be worth seeing but engaging enough to keep three year olds happy.
The Kipper Tie Theatre were excellent at performing the adaptation. We laughed at the hare, sang with the cow, waved to the goat and then found out who did the deed via two Cockney flies.
The flyer calls it a 'Poodunnit'; haven't I done well not to tell you who did?

Thursday, 31 March 2011

One Day by David Nicholls - no spoilers!

I finished reading One Day at the weekend. I cried when it finished and I had shed a tear or two before then as well. It was a wonderful read; full of love and hope, humour and upset.
The first chapter is set in the late 80s, as the couple finish their degrees in Edinburgh. It is St Swithin's Day and the book checks in with them on this day for the next twenty years.
It was immediately of interest as Emma and Dexter are just a little older than me and I studied at Edinburgh around the same time. I could identify with the cultural references throughout the book - the drug culture I wasn't part of in the early 90's, Labour's win in '97, the war in Iraq - and I loved Emma.
I rarely cry when I read a book; I am much more likely to cry in response to something I have seen. Whether it was lost youth, the story itself or remembering first love(s) I have no idea but One Day still stays with me a week on and I would recommend it to anyone - although my friend's Mum didn't enjoy it, so perhaps it's ideal for a 40-something.
Oh and it's educational - I will always remember that 15 July is St Swithin's.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lovely things

Oh dear I've been away a while. Two and a half weeks!
It is fair to say that I am pretty risk averse so all the changes that have taken place at home and in my personal life have taken a little bit of time for me to work around. I'm not moaning; life is good - just diffferent with Dan out of the house so much.
So, I have let my blog go because, like most of us, it is part of a list of things we do after parenting and working.
Also on that list is knitting. crochet and reading. For the first time in a really long time I am reading a book that I cannot put down. I read it any second I have - when the kettle is boiling, whilst I'm eating and I am dreading its end, although I have to keep going as I am so keen to find out what happens. I have finished one little person's scarf, I will try to remember to photograph it another time and I am moving gradually through Jane Crowfoot's Crochet Club (when I say gradually: I am on the second section of the first month but everyone else is on month 3 now)
The much needed change in the weather and light means gardening has moved to a higher priority - and of course, in this house that means our home garden and the allotment. There is no nicer place than our plot on a sunny day and there is so much to do. Yesterday I spent two hours weeding just one and a half beds. I have not made a planting plan yet but the potatoes are chitting nicely and we always use plug plants rather than seeds anyway.
So, as the name suggests - lovely things......

I am sure I have gone on (and on) about daffodils but  as someone who can be a little low as the seasons change I find daffodils help me focus on the light and warmth soon coming my way. These beauties were £1 from M&S and have filled four little vases around the house. The hyacinth was acidentally knocked over when I was mowing the lawn and I have to say I am pleased, as the smell has been incredible. In fact, my garden smells great at the end of a warm day - my obsession with blue hyacinth bulbs has paid off.

Last year, I took a deep breath and did some sewing, courtesy of Clothkits. It took me so long to pluck up the courage to start that Scarlett had nearly outgrown her dress by the time it was finished but it was so easy. Yesterday, their latest catalogue arrived:

This year, I am tempted to make Scarlett a doll (my eyes are drawn to the red-head with the green dress on the chair) but I also saw this little beauty:

On Thursday, I went to the Country Living Fair in London. It was a treat from my Aunt and we had such a great day - maybe some of the stuff isn't my cup of tea and dear me, do you need pointy elbows at some of the vintage stands - but it was so nice to have time browsing and chatting whilst discovering some great craft and creative stands. Having had my debit card declined at the station, my spending was limited but I think I did quite well:

Lovely organic cotton pyjamas from Fair Play - just look at the gingham trim on the legs and around the collar. Fingers crossed we will not have any nappy failures whilst these are on.

OK, so I know it isn't all bunting, gingham and homemade lemonade but there is something so appealing about space, air and greenery now that I live in a town. This cover just made me feel good, and hopeful, so I have subscribed. What a bargain (I say that as someone who works for a magazine) - £26.99 and  this gift, which was selling for £25 on a separate stand:

I have coveted a Jan Constantine for some years now but the costs are quite prohibitive and I have never been sure that one of her cushions would work for us - but a purse? Now that is something I can work with.

Finally on my list of lovely things is my lovely daughter and a lovely time at the allotment yesterday. The broccoli was delicious, but that was all there was!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tired Tuesday

I am feeling low on words so here is my little bear at Jimmy's Farm: