Saturday 27 October 2012

Shopping with me

Last week I submitted my first assignment for my Creative Writing course.  I got a good score and some great feedback which has given me some wonderful encouragement, especially after a rather difficult week.  We had to do a prompted free-write (basically a steam of consciousness), a passage of prose based on something from the free-write and then a commentary.   Now that it has been marked I can share the passage with you.  

It’s always the same.  I park as close to the shop as possible, go and find a trolley, realise I have only bought my credit cards with me and that I don’t have the required pound coin, go back to the car, hunt around in the ashtray for change, scrabble about on the floor, accidentally beep the horn as I hoike my chubby frame out of the passenger foot well, swear, bang my head getting out of the car, swear again, look around at the other customers going in in case I see a friend I can ask, give up and go and get a basket knowing full well that by the time I get to the deli counter I will have to push it along with my foot because it is too heavy.
I sigh.  It’s not as if it’s the first time I have been shopping.  I’ve been an adult for a long time now and I pretty much go to the supermarket every week.    We tried the on-line shopping thing of course but we got rather bored of the bizarre substitutions.  No orange juice?  No problem, we can just send you 16 tangerines instead.  I sigh again.
I feel around in my pocket for the tiny page I ripped from one of the children’s notebooks.  Nothing.  I try the other pocket.  Then the back two pockets.  I open up my phone; maybe it is tucked into the credit card flap?  But no.  I sigh again.  I’m starting to sound like an old woman with all this sighing.  How long will it be before I start wearing cardigans that smell of wee?  I sigh loudly this time, just because.

I half think about what it was I came in for but my brain has already been hijacked by the Special Offer stand just inside the cavernous doors.  Today we have plastic cartons of chocolate rice crispy cakes and I can feel another sigh brewing before you can say ‘why not just paint the lard on my thighs’.  I struggle past them, abstinence intact, telling myself that keeping chocolate covered items just inside the door where those over dramatic heaters blow everyone’s hair about, is probably a breeding ground for germs anyway.  I have a little ‘chat’ to myself.  Or rather the id and the ego on opposite shoulders start their bickering about why ‘she should be able to eat what she wants’ or why ‘she shouldn’t even be thinking about it’, as if I’m not even there at all.
My id shouts ‘CONFECTIONERY AISLE’ in a tempting sing song voice but my ego sternly reminds me ‘YOU CAME IN FOR SALAD, STICK TO THE PLAN’.  ‘But she WANTS chocolate!’ then ‘But she WANTS to be a size 10 and NOT have an apron of baby fat hanging over her knickers!’  I sigh, take a deep breath and head listlessly for the prepared salads.  I am suddenly struck by the true meaning of the word listless.  I am without list, I am devoid of list, I am list-less.  I spy tomatoes.  We always need tomatoes.  The children eat them like sweets.  I stare at the lettuce, do we need lettuce?  Every person on a healthy eating plan (can’t call it a diet, too negative) eats lettuce don’t they?  I make a grab for a something that looks at least partly exciting. 
‘NO!’ ego takes me by surprise. 
‘Oh but yes!’ id grins solicitously ‘it has croutons and parmesan and creamy sauce, oh my!’ 
Darn it.  I put it back.  I double check the next bag I pick up.  Nothing but leaves in this one, pretty colours I admit, but just leaves.  

I pick up some random fruit from the next aisle: Apples and pears because they are cheap, blueberries for my muesli, strawberries because they are as much of a treat as I am allowed.  Round the end of the aisle I head towards the brassicas where it smells of farts.  I do love cauliflower cheese but of course cheese, flour, and butter are all evil so it’s just cauliflower for me, no cheese.  Especially no cheese.  Cheese is especially evil. 
It is, of course, most dangerous when it has been grated.  More so when it has been grated for someone else’s consumption.  I struggle not to think about grated cheese and try to find a cauliflower that actually has a decent amount of the edible part, not just a nugget of white surrounded by a trillion leaves disguising itself as a considerably sized vegetable. 
And then I start to feel it.  The heavy basket cutting into my hands.  Three.  Aisles.  In.  I scooch it to the checkout with my foot and tuck a small bar of chocolate in a gap at the side.  Id snorts and raises his eyes in delight.  Ego pulls his hat down over his eyes and pretends to be asleep.

Bye for now 

Monday 22 October 2012

Goals? What goals?

Back in September I wrote this post about my short term goals.  To date, far from any progress with my goals, I have actually gone backwards in a few of them!  Here they are again, just for fun.

I want to get back to my running and hopefully start to attend the regular Park Runs held locally. 
I want to make real progress with my weight loss and head towards losing another 2 stone. 
I want to engage more with the children in the precious times that we have together now. 
I want to get back to enjoying cooking by planning ahead and researching my Slimming World recipe books. 
I want to stay in control of the house in terms of the housework, the de-cluttering and the decorating.
I want to make positive progress with my shoulder injury.
I want to keep on track with my coursework and start to look for outlets for my work.
I want to make progress on my unfinished projects and keep adding to my haul of finished layouts.
I want to make progress with my photo workflow.
I want to be calm and happy and feeling like I am moving forward.

Several things have gotten in the way of this, just normal life things like birthdays and parties (which seem more frequent when we are already busy... or is that just me?), illness (colds ALWAYS come when you really could do without them) and (still battling with side effects of anti-depression medication and trying to get the balance right), random events at Management's work causing him to be busier than normal (this week it is the new Bond film preview) and general family crisis type stuff (tests and results that don't go as planned, the inquest into my Step-Mum's death which, as we expected, gave no more answers than we had a year ago when she died).  

I tried to get this photo blown up onto a canvas for my Dad's birthday last week but I didn't check the size.  When I went to collect it there was no way it would fit in the car.  It was 1.5m tall and 1m wide.  My step-mum ended up bigger than Miss Bella when she stood next to it!  The quality wasn't brilliant but it was passable, however it was just too ridiculously big.  The hassle involved in getting it sent back was yet more time I didn't have and it left my Dad with no present for his birthday.  Thankfully we have another one on the way from another company at more realistic size and quality.

One event that took up a lot of time this week but was awesome, was a night out with friends from school, some of whom I haven't seen for 22 years!  I had a new outfit, I had my nails done, I even had a spray tan!  A friend did my face (she's a make-up artist for celebs dahling) and we went clubbing and then crashed out in the hotel room.  I felt absolutely fantastic on the night, better than I have for ages, it was such a boost to my lagging self esteem.  Unfortunately the come down has been less awesome but it reminded me just how much I used to love going out and looking after myself etc.  A lot happened over the weekend in terms of things being talked about or noticed or admitted (amongst all of us) and we all came back with a determination to make some changes in our lives.

I don't know where I am going to get the energy from as I am still carrying this cold about like Quasi Modo's hump but I need to make some changes and fast.  Life is always going to be hectic, that's our crazy life now and I have to find a way to work around it rather than trying to wait until is passes.  With that in mind, I am going to have an early night and hope I wake up refreshed and ready to attack!

Bye for now

Thursday 18 October 2012

S J Crafts Challenge - Birthdays

The monthly challenge over at S J Crafts this month is all about birthdays (thanks to it having been Sarah's birthday last week).  There is an added challenge to use circles or ovals too.

I'd been chatting to Sarah about divided page protectors and as I had some in my stash, I decided to use one for this project.  They are great as they give you plenty of room to tell the story, add your photos and still have space for twiddly bits.

I used both sides to share pictures of Louis on his 6th birthday this year when he got a guitar for the Wii and Lego Rock Band.  The journalling records how loud the house was that day with Bella on the new microphone too.

Having the multiple small spaces means that you treat each pocket as an individual layout and it is not so overwhelming as a blank 12x12 sheet.  You can also try out lots of different embellishment styles on the same page.

I used My Mind's Eye papers, Thickers, buttons, twine and stickers etc, from my stash.

I used Glossy Accents to pick out the detailing on the picture in the journalling block and this matched the really old epoxy stickers that I used to high light some of the circles on the designs.

I used Black Soot Distress Crackle paint on some chipboard pieces too.  It gives a great texture and it's a great way to cover up a design you don't like when you want to use the shape.

This month one random winner will win a £5 voucher to spend in the S J Crafts Shop so don't forget to upload your entry here.   Closing date for entries is: 14 November at 1pm.

Bye for now

Sunday 14 October 2012

Happy Birthday to him and her

In the last couple of weeks, my head has been about 3 days behind real life I guess.  I've been caught on the hop twice this week with cards that I should have made and left till the last minute.  One of those cards was for a rather special birthday girl who you might have heard of, young Sarah at S J Crafts.  In celebration of her birthday week there have been / are various offers on at the shop and if you are quick you might just catch one.  Don't forget to have a look at the challenge which closes soon too.

I used the Papermania Linen capsule collection and went for feminine but simple and elegant.  

This next one was for my Step-Dad.  The monkey stamp was one of the many 99p ones that I've picked up from Hobbycraft recently.  I got this one for little boy cards and a simple outline of a princess castle for little girl cards.  I thought I would try it out on this rather hurried affair for my Dad - I stamped it, coloured it with Promarkers, then thought, now what?  I rifled through my scraps box and found this ancient piece of handmade paper from the days when I bought any pack of paper under £5.  The aqua circles matched the aqua in the monkey's hat and so it all turned out okay in the end.

I quite like him.  I think he'll be visiting again.

Bye for now

Wednesday 10 October 2012


How cute is my little man here?  I can't believe this was over 5 years ago and yet he is still as smiley and cheeky as he was back then.  

The journalling, for those without magnifying glasses, reads: I definitely think that I was more excited than anyone about your birthday.  To be honest, I didn't think we'd get there, plus I was bored of the same toys!"

The funny thing is that looking at the toys in the photos here, I remember how little he had back then and how crazy the amount they now have between them.  We had an Adam's style fireplace (a brick opening, as wide as the actual fireplace with nothing inside it) and inside there we had a set of small shelves for his toys.  In front of this was one of those folding plastic baskets where we used to keep his books.  That was it, one bucket of books that we read over and over.  Now we have shelves and shelves and shelves of books for both of them and I still find myself buying more.  When I think of the amount of "schtuff" we have now, I wonder how we would have managed if we hadn't moved into the suburbs.  I certainly wouldn't have my own craft room with approaching 15 albums of layouts that's for sure ;-)

Bye for now

Sunday 7 October 2012

First Halloween

This post is brought to you as part of Story Telling Sunday with Sian at High in The Sky.

Being a slightly quirky sort, I love Halloween, or Samhain as it's also known.  The veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest so you feel closer to those you have lost at this time of year.  Of course, with the veil being thin, our lost loved ones can pass through but so can those whom we would really rather didn't, hence why we dress up and make lanterns and try to be scary.  I love that it is becoming more popular here in the UK to have fun with the Halloween theme - any excuse to dress up the children is fine by me!

We used to live in a very rural area, a couple of doors away from the retained fire station.  Every Halloween they would have a sort of open house and the local children could come along and get a few sweets, have a sit in the fire engine and have a go at squirting the hoses etc.  Really it was about bonfire and firework safety as much as anything.  We were really excited to take Louis on his first Halloween (second really, but he was only 5 months old the first time).  It was one of those little milestones that seemed really important while we were dreaming of what being a parent would be like.  He thought it was great fun to go out in the dark when he should have been in bed and obviously didn't have a clue what we were doing there or why but it was new and therefore exciting.

For some reason I was thinking just now about how great that little ghost costume was that he wore that first visit and then realising that he was actually wearing the monster costume in these photos which he wore the year after.  This means that although the layout says "1st Halloween", it is actually not.  Now I have a dilemma which will take a lot of tea and cake to solve.

As a slight aside from the costume conundrum, I've just spotted the gorgeous polished wood floor in the photos.  Our old house was a 3 storey Victorian terrace that used to serve as a staff house for the big Union work house at the end of the road.  We loved our little house but it was just too little once we had 2 children.  We miss the village so much and never more so than this week when a chance conversation has led us to believe that Louis's asthma may actually be because of the pollution here, even though it doesn't seem polluted (we are close to the M3, M27 and Southampton Airport).  We now face another conundrum of what to do about this potential new information as nothing is concrete yet.  Of course, I will need a fair bit of tea and cake while we process this.

Switch the kettle on would you?

Bye for now

Wednesday 3 October 2012


This post is brought to you by the regular "What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday?" blog hop courtesy of Julia.

I've got to be honest, I just can't get around to many desks at all at the moment with my writing. I always reciprocate but it doesn't seem in the spirit of the thing to get around to only a handful of people.  I'll still join in as and when I can but it might be quite a while between visits sadly.  I haven't even got a pic of my desk today as it is completely bare so I am using last weeks as a reference point!  I found that I couldn't write at the same desk that I craft at as I got too distracted by pretty papers and shiny embellishments.

I've moved the kraft desk set out and into our spare room which has a rather old desktop computer in so I can keep the lap top for my lap and spread my papers out and dance between the 2 areas of creativity rather than have to put things away before I can change my focus. Huzzah!

I did a talk at my son's school last week about my "job" and all the children (and the teachers!) were jealous of me playing with paper and glue every day but since then I haven't touched my craft stuff!  In fact the last thing I made was Lunch Lady Jan's book!  I've made LLJ a notebook before and I wanted to give her something to say thank you for the amazing friend she has become and an extra thank you for the fabulous bag that she made me.  I wanted to make her something useful to keep her project ideas in so I made a book with lots of pockets and places to keep photos and measurements etc.  There is space for notes and a pencil case in the back full of tags for more notes and details etc.  I decorated all the pages in stitching themed papers and embellishments, stamped the tags with sewing machines and then added some flowers and bees because they make her smile.

 I hope she enjoys it as much as I enjoy my bag.

Bye for now