Tuesday, December 29

There are two ways...

to make a pasta n' sauce. A normal person's way and my other half's way.

Normal person.

Read packet
tip contents into a bowl, add required ingredients
cover with cling film with a couple of air vents
put in microwave for required time

My other half

ask me how to make pasta n sauce
hunt in the cupboard, declare there aren't any.
accepts packet passed to him by me from the previously mentioned cupboard
measure milk in a jug
tip packet contents into bowl
add milk
pour whole thing into a non metallic bowl after prompting from me with reminder about metal in microwave ovens
puts dinner plate on top of bowl due to extreme aversion to cling film (apparently it tries to kill him)
take bowl out of microwave after hearing loud bangs and asks how to cook it without it exploding all over the microwave.
Gets cling film out of the cupboard after me saying thats what he needs to use.
swear words coming from kitchen followed by thud, splash and oh bugger.
the cling film did try to kill him (so he says) and not succeeding it then (on purpose to piss him off) knocked the bowl of half cooked pasta n sauce onto the floor.
I finished off cooking the remainder of the pasta n sauce and banished him from the kitchen whilst mopping the floor and de-pasta n saucing the microwave.

Easy and convenient eh? not in our house!!

All over bar the shouting....

We decided this year not to travel all over the country to visit everyone over Christmas. For some unknown reason, it's always us that has to do the travelling, despite us being the only ones with a small child. Mark ends up in grumpy old man mode for most of Christmas and we always seem to be on the move to the next set of relatives to visit. It wasn't so bad when Isabelle was a baby, but she's now 4 and our little 2 door rover cannot house the large boxes that house her small presents. It beats me why toys have to have so much packaging! (that's my annual grumble as I'm trying to take toys out of the box and swearing to myself as I fiddle with twisted wires that hold every single part of the toy in place!)

My family seem to be spread all over the UK. We're in the North West, Mum is in the Midlands as is one brother, the other brother is in Norfolk and half of Mark's family live 15 minutes north of Edinburgh and the other half live in Plymouth. Each year our car racks up hundreds of miles to accompany Mark's ever growing temper. So, we decided to stay home. My one concern about staying home was Mark doesn't like being cooped up and he gets  bored VERY easily. He's one of these people that is constantly on the go or he self implodes, which is not a pretty sight! I'm very laid back and will go with the flow and am happy chilling and playing games with Isabelle.

On Christmas Eve we took Isabelle to a magic show and party. The magician was the worst I've ever seen, but Isabelle enjoyed it. He redeemed himself by producing a real live white rabbit at the end of the show, and Santa paid a visit. She came home really tired and ready for bed, and went straight to sleep waiting for Christmas morning. I was a bit worried about the My little pony sweetie belle gumball house she'd been asking for for the last two weeks as I'd not been able to get it, but I had got the fur real kitty lulu that she's been asking for for months. I needend have worried as she forgot all about it when she saw all her presents. She was particularly happy with the Dora Rollerskates I'd picked up like new on ebay for £1.50! She spent the day trying to break her neck and every other limb in her body but thankfully, she didn't.

We got snow on Boxing Day. Not a lot,  but enough for Mark to take Isabelle out to build a small snowman and have a snowball fight with the kids from next door. The snow was gone by the following morning.

My poor baby has had it a bit rough though. She woke up on Christmas morning with Conjunctivitus in one eye, which then spread two days later into the other eye. We got through the best part of a small bottle of hand sanitiser, and I worried myself that I'd give Isabelle OCD about keeping her hands clean! Then yesterday (Monday) she started crying with earache. I didn't realise it was a Bank Holiday and the Drs were closed. I called for an out of hours Dr only to be told one wouldn't be coming! What?? so I dosed her up on calpol (the medicine of the gods) and sent Mark out to find olive oil (on a bank holiday??) He managed to find some so I put a few drops in her ear followed by cotton wool. She wasn't impressed and said an hour later that the cotton wool must have accidentally fallen into the bin (eh?). But this morning her ear is better. She must have just had a blockage. So thankfully, no trip to the Dr's surgery that has been closed since Christmas Eve morning and will have everyone and their dog (figuritavely speaking) waiting to see a Dr.

So now we sit waiting for the New Year to arrive. We won't be travelling up to Scotland this year. This will be the first time in 10 years that we've not been in Scotland for Hogmanay. Things are different these days. Mark's parents are no longer together. Mark no longer drinks or smokes (and hasn't for over 4 years) and going to his mum's is a drinkfest. I have no idea how this 5ft nothing woman who can only weigh 8 stone wet through can drink tins of beer from 9am until she falls asleep. She drinks beer the way we'd drink coffee. But anyway, Mark can't see the point in risking the roads on a 5 hour drive through some of the worst hit snow and ice areas on the way to sit and watch him mum get slowly more and more drunk whilst chainsmoking. Once upon a time it was his idea of bliss. He has changed a lot since he realised he is an alcoholic and quit. We've all changed a lot since then to be honest... for the better I might add.

So I think the New Year will be seen in and we'll be in bed sleeping 10 minutes later LOL.. old gits that we are. And this brings forth thoughts of the year we're leaving behind and what the year ahead will bring us. But that's a post for another day.

I hope everyone reading this had as good a Christmas as we did.

Wednesday, December 23

Quotes from a 4 year old

For a 4 year old, Isabelle has an amazing grasp of vocabulary and uses it very well. Sometimes it's not quite right, and sometimes she comes out with some quotes that just make you laugh.

Recent quotes from her include:

Whilst eating an ice-pole - oooh, it's like having winter in your mouth

On her Daddy's 40th birthday when he received an inflatable zimmerframe for a joke: Daddy, you need to use this when you walk because you're now very old. Dad says: I'm not that old. Isabelle says: [as a statement] well you're not young are you!

word of the year is: Eckspecially. She just can't get her mouth around especially.

Upon me losing at a game on the computer: It's ok to lose sometimes mummy, it's not all about the winning. it's the having fun while you play that counts [blank look on my face]

On not wanting to go upstairs to the toilet on her own: I KNOW there aren't any bugs in the bathroom, but I have a naughty brain that keeps telling me there are bugs in there really.

I'm sure there are a million and one others, but they escape me at the moment.

Things on my mind....

in no particular order (at risk of sounding like I'm announcing the results for the x factor)

Why hasn't Mark's mum, stepdad, sister or bother phoned him yet to wish him happy birthday for last Sunday. It's bothering him.

Why on earth have I been waking up at 5.30am for the last 3 mornings and not been able to get back to sleep.

I hope Asda isn't too busy when I go for the last few things I need this morning.
Don't forget my shopping list this time!

Shall I make a chocolate yule log or not?

Don't forget to text my mum. I've not heard from her since she travelled down south to visit friends on Sunday.

Have I forgotten anything?

Do I do the ironing before Christmas or do I hide it away until after, with the pile growing higher as it's one of my least favourite things to do.

Don't forget Christmas Crackers.

Do I really need to clean the house from top to bottom because 'it's Christmas' and it's what I'm programmed to do because my mum always did it when I was little and we were all roped in to help.
    I'm sure there's more...

    Tuesday, December 22

    The ghost of Christmas Past....

    Christmas is a time for family and loved ones and our thoughts often turn to those no longer with us. This to me, means my hero, the only man who will ever have my unconditional love and respect... my Dad. This will be the 6th Christmas without my Dad around, and to be honest, the age old adage 'time heals' is correct. The pain doesn't go away, but it lessons and I now remember the good things in the past that we shared rather than the total and utterly overwhelming pain that moved into my heart the day my Dad died. I have very fond memories of my Dad, and you will never hear me say a bad word against him, although I'm sure he had his faults, it's just that I never saw them. I'm not sure whether he chose to not let me see them or I just didn't see them. He was my dad afterall... in my eyes he could do no wrong.

    Oddly enough, though all these fond memories of my Dad I really don't remember any Christmasses with him. He only got to spend alternate year Christmas Day's with us as he worked day on, day off shifts at Rampton Hospital, so it meant one year he was off Christmas Day and worked Boxing Day, then the next year, the other way around. Rampton Hospital isn't actually a hospital it's a maximum security prison for criminally insane and houses some of the most dangerous people in Britain. The likes of Moors Murderer Ian Brady, Charles Bronson, Ian Huntley (for the murder of two little girls in Soham).. well the list goes on. The worrying thing about our childhood now viewed from an adult perspective is that we lived on an estate that belonged to Rampton Hospital, so it was only hospital staff and families on the estate. Our house was actually only 300 yards from the prison perimiter fence. We could hear 'patients' (as they were called) wailing and screaming from inside, yet we thought nothing of it. While we were out and about wandering the streets (as you wre allowed to do in those days) prison officers were watching over in-mates tending the estate gardens and doing general repairs (makes me think of Cool Hand Luke without the whips and guns and ankle chains). When I look back (very fondly I might add) to my childhood, we were very well provided for. We had a playpark and a swimming pool that we could use at any time. We were all given free swimming lessons and so could all swim at a young age. We had our own sports day and the highlight of the week was the chip van that parked just outside the estate gates on a Saturday. We'd wait for it to arrive armed with 50p to buy 'Robert's Fishcakes' which were actually a slice of proper fish sandwiched between a slice of potato each side then deep fried. (salivating at the memory here).

    Anyway.. I digress....

    The one Christmas I do remember, I must have been about 8 years old. My brothers were 6 and 3. Dad was just about to let off some indoor fireworks. We were all sat with baited breath.. I mean, c'mon.. fireworks you can light inside your house? wow! I'm not sure what we expected really, but I'm sure the idea was far superior to the litle puff of coloured smoke that they actually produced. Dad was about to light the first one when the siren went off. The siren wailed, very much like the world war air-raid siren. The fireworks were put to one side, mum ran off to lock the outhouse and windows and doors, dad fled upstairs, donned his prison officer uniform and left. (he always looked so smart in his uniform). I think this was actually the first year I realised what the siren meant. A prisoner had escaped. All staff on the estate had to stop what they were doing (even on Christmas Day) and join the search party. Inconsiderate bugger.. whoever it was.. to escape on Christmas Day, especially when my dad was about to light these tremendous indoor fireworks! Dad came back about 6 hours later, which made it about 7pm. The prisoner had been caught 9 miles away at the train station. It was now too late for fireworks (said mum! bah humbug), so we had to wait until the day after boxing day as dad had to work boxing day.. the fireworks were a let down, and Christmas Day had been spoiled. The only saving grace on Christmas Day was that we were told not to worry about the 'patient' hiding in the garden as they'd want to get away from the estate as quick as they could, and not to worry about him shinning up the drainpipe in the night (I was panicing a bit).

    When I look back at our life on a prison estate, I look back very fondly. Everyone was friends with everyone. You could go into anyone of your friends houses and stop for dinner and go home later and not be told off for not telling your mum where you were. We didn't even have a phone at that point to phone home. But no one worried. If your kids weren't back for dinner, you knew someone else was feeding them and they'd arrive home for bed time. It was just that kind of place. Of course, I'm viewing this from a parental perspective these days where you can't let your kids out to play on the street without keeping an eye on them at all times and then worry when they haven't checked in with you for over an hour. Times certainly have changed, and I now sound like a real old fuddy duddy...

    I still miss you Dad, I love you with all my heart and I think of you every day. It's such a shame you never got to meet Isabelle, you would adore her.

    Love and hugs

    Your little princess xxxx

    Monday, December 21

    Best not bother next time....

    Well it was a busy weekend. I'd planned a surprise meal out for Mark's birthday. He was 40 on Sunday but I'd arranged a meal for the Saturday night. I'd gotten so stressed about it. I phone around ex colleagues, pilfered email addresses and the like to get in touch with people he used to work with. I had a guest list of 20 ish, including his Mum and Step Dad. Between Saturday and the Saturday of the meal, they dropped out one by one. I was mortified. Of course, I couldn't say anything to him and he asked me a couple of times what was wrong. I was pigged off that people had dropped out, especially as they'd said 100% definately they'd be there. So I had to fob him off with things like.. I dunno, just down in the dumps/tired/fed up etc. So it ended up that there were only two people attending other than me, Isabelle, Russ and his girlfriend. To make matters worse, the two people that did attend were the two people that we really wouldn't have missed had they not turned up if you know what I mean.

    So I then read out some apology messages I'd collected and gave him the list of apologies. i think that made things even worse. he took it that really, they all had better things to do than attend his birthday.

    The meal was nice enough apart from I'd booked it for 7.30 (15 minutes past Isabelle's bedtime). She was tired and grumpy and then they'd put gravy on her sausage and chips. Do not put gravy of anything Isabelle has to eat. So, it was a bit of a disaster and I felt really bad, especially because of all the phone calls, emails and stress it caused me. I'll not do it again.

    Mark then ended up in bed that night staring at the ceiling and contemplating life, the universe and everything in it. My statement of "42" is the answer made him laugh, but he just looked so morose whilst deciding that he is bored with life and he needs something exciting injecting into it. I was too tired at quarter past midnight to get into one of these indepth discussions we have occasionall about life, so I turned over and left him ceiling spotting. His birthday was more successful than the meal though, so that's good.

    on another note, my little robin has become a daily visitor for his cheese. In fact, he's spent most of today in the garden. I managed to get another shot of him. I love robins.

    Friday, December 18

    I finally managed....

    to photograph our resident robin. He never stands still for more than 2 seconds.

    Isabelle: Mummy, wouldn't you love to be a robin?
    Me: erm, no not really. I wouldn't like to eat worms
    Isabelle: but you would be able to fluff your feathers up to keep warm.
    Me: Hmm, that actually sounds like a good idea LOL

    A girly moment...

    I am soooo not girly! I like my hair to look nice and I do make my eyes up, but that's about as much pampering as I do. I'm not one for long soaks in the bath with exotic lotions and postions. (that probably stems from having my first child 24 years ago, along with having said child, time then vanished into a vortex and a bath is a servicable function to get myself clean.. in, wash, out again). When I go to get my hair cut I wash it first and have a 'wet cut' and go home and blow dry it myself. I just can't be bothered with the full scale primping that goes along with the hairdo, which in all honesty usually ends up as a hair don't! Why do they insist on poufing it up so high it almost touches the ceiling? I really can't abide the 'nothing talk' from the hairdresser either. "are you going out tonight?" .. erm, no, I have a sad life and I never go anywhere, it's just that I'm beginning to look like dougal from the magic roundabout, hence the haircut. I'm not good at small talk with people I don't know.

    So, we are going out for a meal on Saturday night to celebrate hubby's 40th birthday on Sunday. My fingernails (oh, my fingernails are one thing I really like about myself - how sad is that? LOL), which have grown nice and long, in fact so long that it drives hubby demented when I sit and 'clack' (type) at the computer. (our computer is in the living room). But to me, they look lovely. I planned to paint my nails with a really nice metallic red (festive?) nail varnish tonight, ready for going out on Saturday. So all tasks I did were performed with due care and attention so as not to break a fingernail. Rubber gloves were donned when cleaning etc.. and then I made my daughter's bed. SNAP! OMG... my baby fingernail snapped off half way down my baby finger... blood oozed.. well ok, dribbled a bit, but I had barely any fingernail left. waaaaaah! Now it's going to look stupid when I paint them. So I decided that I would go and get a false nail put on. This is something I've never done before. Well, it's a girly thing isn't it.. ? going to get your nails done. Why pay good money for a manicure when I can do a pretty good job myself? except.. I had no nail. So on Wednesday I booked myself in for a quick fix on the baby fingernail. I said, it's just for one baby fingernail.. unless I break another before Friday hahaha. Get in the car to go home and bugger! Caught another nail getting into the car.

    Fast forward to today. Off to get my nail(s) fixed and out come the two falsies and the manicureist started filing and sticking and polishing. It was actually bliss. The table was strewn with files, polishes, nail gadgets and gizmo's. I even said (sounding like a real sad case) that this table was my idea of nail heaven LOL. She giggled at me, but I think it was in sympathy LOL. Then she asked me the million dollar question. "would you like me to french polish them for you?" Arghhh turmoil. Metallic red or French polish? eek... My decision was made for me by the contents of my purse.. a sad and lonely fiver. "I'll leave that till another time" I said, "but I will definately be back to get it done". Sadly, I shuffled out of the door with m two newly repaired nice long fingernails, sadly thinking how nice a french polish would have looked.

    I think I may treat myself to the odd manicure now and again. It was lovely.

    Metallic Red varnish will go on tonight before bed, but not so close to bedtime that I end up with pillow lines in the varnish because it hadn't quite dried LOL.

    Thursday, December 17

    The things I do when I get bored...

    Isabelle won an some incense sticks and holder on a tombola recently. She was chuffed to bits but had no idea what it was LOL.. bless her. I really don't like the smell of incense sticks but I wanted to play with my camera.

    So I set up my little home studio in the kitchen, with a desklamp and some card and I lit the stinking to high heaven and making my eyes water incense stick. Click, click, click with my camera and back to the computer to check out my smoke shots. There was only one that was reasonable but as I started to edit it, I could see the shape of a woman with her arms up behind her neck and her hair flowing out behind her. Now I'm not sure if this is just me and my warped mind... she's there though, I definately see her. Do you?

    Burnt Toast?

    Are you the kind of person who would have the burnt toast rather than give it to someone else in your family? I am.

    Teri Hatcher wrote a book called Burnt Toast. Now, I have to admit, I'm not a Teri Hatcher fan and can't bear Desperate Housewives, but this book was really good. Burnt Toast is about the way some women (including myself) always make sure that your other half and family always get the best, sometimes ending up getting the worst bits or going without yourself. ie, they always get the nice golden toast and you will take the burnt bits.

    I've done it again! All Christmas presents are bought (and presents for Mark's 40th on Sunday), oh, apart from two small gifts that will only cost a fiver each. So I've worked out the finances to see us through until payday on the 30th and lets just say, hmmm, I'm going to have to be very careful and stretch the cash a bit.

    Mark says this morning, that he needs the bank card to go and get some cash from the joint account, and how much could he get as he needed to buy my Christmas present. I had been looking for a new phone so I can access the internet from it, but the cash just won't stretch that far this month so I said I'd given up on the idea. So I told him to just take £30 out of the bank and use that for my Christmas present. He said he needed £50. I really can't see the point of spending £50 when we really don't have that much to waste, especially on me. There's nothing I particularly want, so whatever he does get will (although I'm sure it will be very nice - 10 years of training him on present buying is finally getting through), will really be money spent for the sake of it. it's not that I'm ungrateful, I'd just rather everyone else had a good Christmas, particularly the 4 year old and I'd rather not have to scrape for cash for the sake of him spending £50 on me.

    So we agreed on £40 and that he didn't HAVE to spend it if he ended up wandering around looking for something to make it look like I've got loads of presents. LOL. I'm really not that bothered. I think he knows me well enough by now to know that I'm not being a martyr and that I do genuinely mean it. But next month when we've been paid and I say I've found a phone we can afford and I'll need the cash.. he better not get on  my case about it LOL

    Wednesday, December 16

    One more thing to worry about...

    As your kids get older you're supposed to worry less.... erm, wrong!

    My 19 year old son passed his driving test a few weeks ago and bought his first car. My initial panic over him being out on the roads wore off quite quickly, but tonight he's driving to a gig to see a quite large and popular band... in Manchester! My little boy is going to be on the busy motorways heading to Manchester, and then drive through Manchester city centre, at night where there'll be loads of other people going to the gig, and of course, the same journey home. I'm used to him pottering around the streets locally, but this is Manchester! Even I won't drive around Manchester. (did I mention it's Manchester?)

    arghhhhhh. I'll be a nervous wreck by the time he gets home tonight, although I tried to give an air of calm as he left and I told him to drive safe and keep away from the other idiots on the road LOL. he rolled his eyes and said "Yes Mum".

    Groan - LOL

    I can't really think of much to write today apart from one issue that is really pee'ing me off, and I'm not going to put that here, so to alleviate the steam coming out of my ears (oh and it's not hubby that's caused the issue this time LOL) I thought I'd share some really corny, 'groan' jokes.


    What do clouds wear under their shorts?


    What do you call a man with no arms or legs who gets into a fight with his cat?


    A baby seal walks into a club...
    (I'm sorry, but it made me laugh)

    How much does a pirate pay for corn on the cob?

    A buccaneer!

    What does a cannibal do after dumping his girlfriend?

    Wipes his butt.

    What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?


    Why couldn't Dracula's wife get to sleep?

    Because of his coffin.

    Two atoms are walking down the street together. The first atom turns and says, "Hey, you just stole an electron from me!"

    "Are you sure?" asks the second atom.

    To which the first atom replies, "Yeah, I'm positive!"

    How does the man in the moon cut his hair?

    Eclipse it

    What game would you play with a wombat?


    What did 0 say to 8?

    Nice belt!

    There’s two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and says

    ‘You man the guns, I’ll drive’


    Tuesday, December 15

    Head in the oven

    I have spent most of today with my head in the oven. It's ok, it's electric LOL

    I was heating up the oil for the roast potatoes and for some unknown reason, I pulled the shelf out instead of the tray to put the spuds in. Hot oil slid all down the back of the oven and onto the oven base. I mopped it up as best I could but of course, the next time I heated the oven I could smell hot burning oil.. yeuk! So I enlisted the help of good old Mr Muscle.

    Wow this stuff is dangerous! Do not get it on your skin, if you do you will melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West if you don't wash it off your skin right away.

    So I sprayed it all on, waited the half an hour, donned the rubber gloves up to my armpits lest a stray globule should drop onto my skin and wiped away this horrible black treacle like substance out of my oven. Now I have never claimed to be any good at housework, in fact there are a billion and one things I'd prefer to do than housework, like watch paint dry for instance... but when needs must. I really expected the 'cillit bang' kind of cleaning, on ewipe and the grime is gone. erm.. no. two more applications later and the house stinking rank of chemicals and it's still not fetched it all off. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

    Well, it's going to stay like that a bit longer, at least the crust on the bottom of the oven is thinner than it was when I started. You can almost see through the glass door now, but I'm sure that was smoked glass when I started LOL

    What have you..... ?

    "I've had a hard day and I feel really stressed" I said to hubby last night. The reply? "What on earth have you got to be stressed about?"

    The heckles go up on my back, not that I'm a dog, or hairy for that matter.. but you get my point.

    Sunday was a tiring day. 3 hour drive to mum's. Brother no1 arrives with his wife and three teenage boys in tow. Socialise (really enjoyed it to be honest, we've not seen them for 18 months!) Pop round to see brother no2 and his wife, 10 yr old daughter (who is just lovely) and baby who turned 1 on Thursday who is just so gorgeous and cute, you do not want her around if you're feeling broody (which I'm not btw), but a statement from hubby - hmmm, I think I better go and get the snip. Watching her is too dangerous. (hubby is broody now LOL). Mental note - keep legs together at all times, I'm 41 with a 4 year old and DEFINATELY can't go through it all again.

    I left hubby and daughter at brother no2's while I went to visit a lifelong family friend who's husband collapsed and died on Wednesday. This couple were like a second mum and dad to us. We grew up alongside their boys who were very close in age to me and my first brother, and in those days we couldn't afford to heat the water for a bath each night, so one night it was our house for a bath and the next night it was theirs. Very often it was the same with meals, one night our house, the next night theirs. We all shared everything and if any one of us was naughty (not me of course, I was an angel LOL), either of the sets of parents would clip us all around the ear just to make sure they got the right one. You were allowed to tell someone elses kids off in those days LOL. So, I went to visit and say how sorry I am. I really felt I needed to go and pay my respects because I can't make the funeral on Wednesday.

    So then back to brother no2's and then back to mum's. Get Isabelle ready for bed, plonk her in the car, 3 hour drive home, pop the sleeping Isabelle into bed (thankfully she stayed asleep) and ahhhhh home again. God it was busy and a bit manic, but the annual Christmas present swap always is.

    So on to Monday. Isabelle has a party day at school, ok, no problem. I HAVE to go shopping as it's Mark's 40th on Sunday and I have to get presents and cards. I'm also ringing around all his old friends and colleagues trying to get everyone together for a secret meal on Saturday night. I'd had confirmations and then last minute drop outs. More than half have dropped out. I'm gutted! But I managed to get in contact with someone from the company we both worked for that has gone bust. She had phone numbers for everyone, so I got on the phone. This takes time!! Also, I hadn't spoken to any of these people for 4 years as that's when I left on maternity leave, so there was catching up to do on their part asking how we all are etc, and I tried to keep it as brief as possible.. but that ended up stressing me out, and of course, I can't say anything to hubby about this as he doesn't know anything about it.

    Then on to the nightmare that is Asda. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I left home just after 11. Got stuck in roadworks that I didn't know where there or I'd have gone the other way, for 20 minutes. I shopped for birthday presents, christmas presents (you know.. the relatives who you NEVER know what to by) and general shopping. Why are people filling their trolleys (sometimes 2) to the brim with Christmas food? There's 10 days to go yet? It was manic. I got back to my car at 2.15!!!! So, get home, put shopping away, grab a coffee, check facebook (well you have to don't you? LOL) then fetched Isabelle from school. Got her home, fed her, changed her, told her that she could carry on making her billion and one snowflakes out of paper (and leaving little cut out paper triangles all over the floor) when she got back from her swimming lesson. Off to swimming, stuck in aforementioned roadworks as I had to go that way, there's no alternative route... watched my little fisheeee do even better at her front crawl, dried and dressed her, bundled her into the car, drive home, roadworks now gone (thank god!!) and come in to find Mr never-do-anything-in-the-house-if-it-resembles-housework hubby putting the dishes away grumbling that he can't find a mug to have coffee in.

    "be nice to me, I've had a hard day and I'm stressed".... followed by "What on earth have you got to be stressed about?"

    So I explained my day and said I felt frazzled. (Fibromyalgia doesn't help at all in this kind of situation - body screaming and aching and generally hurting and the fatigue.. well.. I won't go into that). He said, he wished that's all he had to be stressed about. Now I know he gets stressed with work, but everything else is dealt with by me.. finances, bills, food, shopping, christmas.. I'm even having to shop for my own Christmas present!! (because I was after a new phone and he didn't want to chance buying the wrong one.. but even so... )

    My stress is a different kind of stress to his......... I'd like to see him do a day in the life of me.. well, no, actually a month in the life of me.. that way he'd get all the finances and bills to deal with too, housework, getting up in the night to deal with Isabelle, washing, cleaning . well, you know the score. Then he had the audacity to complain that the house looked like a tip. erm.. yes, I've been out all day and haven't had chance to do anything in it. If you don't like it.. start picking YOUR things up that are laying around. This was met with a sharp exit stage left.. to the garage of retreat. He knew he was very close to 'the line' and thought it in his best interests to escape to his entourage of motorbikes who (apparently) love him very much, completely understand him and never answer him back. LOL

    Friday, December 11

    What is old?

    Me and my other half (I didn't like to say my other half and I, for fear of sounding like the Queen) often have some strange, funny or bizzarre conversations when we get to bed. Last night he ended up insulting me without meaning to (I did find it funny and played on it).

    Mark is going to be 40 on the 20th of December. (I already reached 40 18 months ago!), so he declared he will officially be old. Old at 40??? eh? But I'm 41 and I'm not old!! So it seems that old is a personal peception.

    When I was 18, 30 was practically ancient and I would never be that OLD. So i reached 30 and well, actually, it wasn't old. Then I reached 40, and actually, I'm still not old. OK so I have wrinkles that are getting more prominent as the years go by, and laughter lines as I like to call them. Crows feet sound so horrible. My face is definately becoming lived in, but I still don't class myself as old. Old is 80 to me. I wonder when I'm 80 if I'll think of myself as old. In fact on Wednesday night at the school play I was lucky enough to sit next to Father Christmas. Well.. the gentleman that is our school Father Christmas, and as he was off duty he was in his civvies and had shaved for the occasion, but at one point he called me a young whippersnapper.. LOL.. bless him.. I lapped that up.

    I suppose to anyone under the age of 30 I am old, to anyone over the age of 60, I'm young, so I guess I'm in middle age, and that sounds horrible.

    So our conversation continued in it's light hearted humerous way and Mark said he'll be dead by the time he's 80 (what?) so I asked why. He said because he wouldn't want to live with a cantankerous old cow, and that I'm bad enough now insisting I'm not old. (insert sounds of him being beaten around the head and then muffled breathing as the pillow is held over his head and my thoughts of you won't live to be 40 at this rate). He then said, do you know why men die before women? Because they want to... (more head beating and muffled laughter from under the pillow).

    So I thanked him for his cutting remarks and wonderful conversation and said that I needed my beauty sleep to which he replied.. yes, you do. WHAT? I gave him 'the look'  which CAN be seen in the dark, and he tried to dig his way out by saying that if I didn't get my sleep I wouldn't stay as beautiful as I am.. what a crock! Your ladder isn't long enough to climb out of that big hole you just dug yourself into mate! He carried on trying to climb out but I just told him, best shut up while you still have the ability to speak. LOL

    I did go to sleep with a smile on my face as it was all done in good humour, and those that know Mark, know exactly the way he is and that he'd never say anything like that to me in any other way than humour, he's a wind up merchant and he does get as good as he gives. So ... after last night.. it's my turn next for the 'put downs'.

    Thursday, December 10

    It must be the week for it....

    Pride that is....

    After Monday's proud mummy moment with Isabelle swimming, Tuesday brought forth the School Christmas play. Mad panic and rush as I picked her up from school, brought her home, changed her clothes, fed her and dashed back to school for 5.15 having given Mark strict instructions to be home early from work otherwise we wouldn't get a seat despite having tickets.

    It's worse than sales on boxing day! The mad scramble from parents who want to be at the front to see their little darlings decked out in whatever particular costume they have been designated to wear for this years' school play. There are arms and legs flailing everywhere and pushing and shoving like you've never seen (and that's the parents not the kids!)

    I took Isabelle to her class to get her changed into her costume and Mark had to deal with the finding a seat. Grrrrr, nearly at the back!

    But we watched our little sweetie (who's eyes were on stalks searching the audience until she found us) do her singing. She knew every song word for word and all the actions. Dressed in her little angel costume, she did so well and both Mark and I had mummy and daddy moments. awwww.

    Fast forward to Wednesday. I didn't have a ticket (we were only allowed 2 tickets for one night). Isabelle was going to have to perform for all the other mummies and daddies because we couldn't be there. Until I pulled a fast one (devious bugger that I am). My plan, if it worked, would not only mean I could go to the performance, it would mean I also got a front row seat. I volunteered to take photographs of the play and would happily hand over a CD full of photographs of the kids performing. Yay! my devious plan worked (mwahahaha). I am so glad that it did because, the show was better the second time around, but there was an additional major mummy moment. Isabelle's class were to perform a little song about Mary and Joseph, and the previous night a group of children had sung the first verse leading into Isabelle's class performance. But last night, they didn't. Isabelle was led up onto the huge stage alone. She stood there, all by herself (god she looked so tiny) and sang the first verse all alone. She sang loudly and very clear, remembered all the words and she loved it. Of course, I was in bits, 10 lumps in my throat and pride swelling through my body like I've never known before. She was wonderful.. and what made it even more special was that I didn't know she was going to do it. Thunderous applause from the audience and loads of aaahhhhh's made it really special.

    Loads of people came up to me afterwards and said how wonderful she was an what a star she was, and how on earth did she stand up there, not afraid at all and just sing to everyone. awwwww, having a mummy moment again here now LOL.

    Anyway, here's my little angel in full swing. (she said it was like being on the x-factor LOL)

    Tuesday, December 8

    So proud...

    I am so proud of my little fisheeee.

    Isabelle started her swimming lessons 9 weeks ago. At that point, she was happy to get into the water and splash about a bit, but loathed water on her face. She was terrified of taking her feet off the bottom. I'm sure she thought she would sink and drown.

    The following week, armed with goggles, she got into the water for her second lesson. This made life so much easier for her and she braved putting her face in the water.

    The weeks have gone by and she has got better and better, swimming on her back across the pool with a float on her tummy all by herself, but last night was the best night so far.

    She floated like a star on both her back and tummy without a float for 5 seconds each side, and then she swam a width across the water by herself, no float or anything. She looked like a frog in a blender LOL, no points for style and grace, but she only put her feet down twice to take a breath, but she DID IT!! I am so proud of her. I sat like an idiot having a mummy moment with a lump in my throat, but it was wonderful to see her have the courage to set off by herself and swim (in the loosest form of the word) across the pool. She's gone from being afraid of the water, to almost swimming in 9 weeks. I'm so proud of my little 4 year old.

    Of all three kids, she is the one that HAD to be taught to swim.. she is going to be the one that falls in any kind of water - a mother just knows these things LOL.

    Monday, December 7

    I have a confession...

    Dear readers, I have sinned. I feel the need to confess.

    I have been (sadly) addicted to I'm a celebrity get me out of here!

    I NEVER watch it, in all the years it's been on, I have avoided it like the plague. But this year, I got sucked into it. It all began with Gino D'Acampo. I've watched a lot of programmes with his cookery in over the years. I love his humour, his style and his rather sexy Italian accent. He was put into the jungle this year. So, I had a sneaky peak, declaring to my other half that Celebrity is a pile of dog do and I certainly wouldn't be watching it. Then they put Katie Price (aka Jordan) in there. Ohhhhh, let me see her suffer. And suffer she did. I was sucked into the programme to see her suffering the notorious bush tucker trials. She was covered in bugs, had to eat kangaroo un-mentionables etc. And every single night, the public voted for her to do the next disgusting trial. When it was announced that she had to do her 7th trial in a row, she walked out of the jungle - she couldn't hack it anymore. By then, I had become addicted. Oh the shame of it. It seems that in this day and age, watching something like Celebrity is a bit of a taboo subject. It seems to get a lot of viewers but not many people admit to watching it. But come on... Gino D'Acampo walking around the jungle semi-naked.. well... nuff said (very sexist of me eh?). Kim Woodburn the 67 year old, very outspoken matriarch of the camp was excellent, lovey, darling... and George Hamilton was great for his 70 years young and was so funny. Even my hubby, who pretended to be sat at his computer satisfying his ECA (ebay compulsion addiction) was watching with one eye and listening with one ear.

    So Gino was crowned (very rightly) King of the Jungle, but it's not all over for him. He will have to go back to Australia in February to go to court. The Austrailian RSPCA are taking him to court for catching, killing, cooking and eating a rat. Lets face it, if you are in a camp and there's only rice and beans to eat for dinner and you see a rat wandering around under your bed and you've not eaten meat for days, surely you'd kill and cook it too? yummm, rat risotto LOL. The RSPCA have said it was killed and cooked as a TV ratings stunt and that ITV planted the rat for sensationalism. Apparently, Gino could spend three years in jail for it. what a load of codswallop!! It's a bloody rat for god's sake!!

    Anyway, I've confessed my sins, it is now over and I'm suffering no withrawal symptoms other than seeing Gino walk round in just his shorts. [sigh]

    Thursday, December 3

    Who says romance is dead?

    My other half is one of the least romantic men I've ever met. He just doesn't, and never has, done romance. He just doesn't have the genes that produce any kind of romance whatsoever.

    Last night, a chat about an event during the day gave me a giggle. who needs romance when you have a the warped and twisted humour my other half has?

    We were out shopping and we were stood in the queue to pay and my hubby walked away. Oh, typical, leave me standing in a queue to pay alone. Then I heard him fart... yes, it was that loud! I looked at him and he smiled sweety and carried on wandering, then looking at me and started pulling faces. It obviously stunk. The pulling faces turned into grimacing.. it WAS that bad. He even left the shop. Thank god he wasn't stood near me, he would have loudly blamed me for it.

    So last night we were chatting and he asked if I was proud of him for not farting near me. I looked at him blank. He said him walking away to fart was his way of showing me how much he loved me in his warped romantic kind of way. If he didn't love me the way he does, he would have stood and done it right next to me, so walking away to fart shows how much he cares. He said he thought it was very romantic of him.

    I'm still trying to work that one out! LOL

    Tuesday, December 1

    By Crikey....!!

    Good grief it's a cold one this morning! Yikes.. shiver city.

    On the up-side, when it's a clear night and flippin' freezing I often get a good sunrise over my garden fence as our back garden faces north east. I could see through the bathroom window this morning that the sky was particularly orange, so I went down stairs, grabbed my camera and hotfoot it out into the garden still in my nighty and dressing gown.. god it was cold, but I think I ended up with a reasonable sunrise shot :D

    Friday, November 27

    Laugh? I nearly wet myself

    Just had to share this...

    Hubby phones:

    Hubby: Is there any money in the bank?
    Me: a bit... why?
    Hubby: I need some money
    Me: Oh.. what for?
    Hubby: a brazillian
    Me: THUD (falling off my chair laughing) cough, erm.. a what?
    Hubby: We're going to the Brazillian restaurant for our Christmas meal and I need to pay the deposit.
    Me: (crying with laughter) oh.. ok then


    Bah humbug!

    I really am not against Christmas.. I don't bah humbug about it, in fact I love Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it this year as Eve is coming to stay from Christmas Eve until Boxing day. (for those that don't know, Eve is my 24 yr old daughter). It will be about 15 years since she's been at home for Christmas for a variety of reasons (not my choice btw). So we are all really looking forward to it, and I will have all three of my babies (even if they are 24, 19 and 4 - they're all my babies still) in my house on Christmas morning after Father Christmas has paid his visit. I'm so excited about it, I really can't wait....

    what is giving me the bah humbug is the flippin' adverts on the telly. They are driving me insane!! A couple of weeks ago it was the 'go compare' advert that was driving me bonkers. It has to be the most annoying advert in the world.. (although there have been some pretty annoying ones in the past)... it makes me cringe every time I see or hear it. But for the past couple of weeks, almost every advert has been a Christmas advert. The biggest culprits are Asda, Tesco and Morrisions (and we don't even have a Morrisons near where I live!) They are ramming the food ads down our throats.. one after the other, they're all claiming they're the cheapest and Morrisons have even got buy one get two free offers on! (typical because what I'd use in petrol to get the nearest Morrisons would cost more than anything I'd save on their offers).

    What makes it worse for me is that it's not even December yet!! For heavens sake, give me a break. It's bad enough Isabelle counting the days down (every 5 minutes) without the Christmas food adverts on during the 5 minutes Isabelle isn't telling me how many days to go.

    And when did Christmas turn into Foodmas? Chrismas is no longer about Christmas (although I feel a bit of a hypocrite as I'm not religious) but for me it's about family, but the media have turned it around and made it all about food. How much food you can get down your necks, and how much you can drink, which is also a bit of a difficult one in our house seeing as I don't drink and my other half not having had a drink for 4 years due to alcoholism.

    Maybe I should start wishing everyone a Merry FoodDrinkMas instead.

    Do I sound bitter? LOL

    Thursday, November 26

    Why men don't listen and..

    Why men don't listen and why women can't read maps!

    The simple answer is that they are both not programmed to do so.

    I was wandering around Asda doing the shopping, as you do, and I walked past the books. This one leaped off the shelf into my shopping trolley before I could do anything about it. Well, ok, maybe I did reach it down off the shelf, but you get my drift. I saw the title and it piqued my curiosity. I CAN read a map, I thought. Well, ok, not brilliantly, but I can get us from A to B.. sort of, unless we're heading south, then I have to turn the map upside down, then round a full 360 degrees again, and well.. we end up at our destination having had a few cross words and u turns.

    This book is enlightening! I thoroughly recommend everyone buys it.. nay.. not recommend.. you HAVE to buy it. Male or Female.. it will give you an insight into how the other sex is and why they don't do what you think they should do.

    Since the dawn of time (the start of evolution as man) the male has been the hunter gatherer (lunch chaser) and the woman has been the nest defender. Our brains are programmed that way and there's nothing we can do to change it (apart from evolve further and that will take millions of years). Male and female brains are structured differently and men don't have the same amount of area dedicated to listening and talking that women do. Women don't have the same amount of brain area dedicated to spacial awareness that men do (that's why a lot of women struggle to reverse park a car - although in our house, I'm the reverse parker and Mark isn't). Men have the ability to convert a 2D image into a 3D image in their head. They have a large area in their brain to perform this task. Women don't. That's why we struggle to read maps and convert them into a real time image so that we can work out the directions, we're just not programmed to do it. Man had to get back from the hunt/kill so they had to develop these skills. Women only had to navigate small distances and so the skill didn't develop the way it did with man.

    Man had to sit, sometimes for hours, waiting to spot and kill lunch. They didn't need to talk (it would scare the beast away) and so they're happy to sit and say nothing for hours. Women had to be the social person, talking to the children and to the other women all day.

    One of the things that really annoys women is the apparent lack of ability for a man to find his socks/butter in the fridge/item right under his nose. (my hubby did it last night when I said, can you put 'that' on the plate please. He said, what plate? The plate was on the work top right next to his left hand!!) I'd read about this bit in the book and calmly said, the plate next to your hand.. whereas before I'd have said.. are you blind? it's right in front of you!!. Men developed a tunnel vision. They had to home in on the animal they were going to kill and didn't need the periferal vision as it would distract from where their target was. Women on the other hand had to watch the kids and keep an eye open for any threat to the dwelling and often watch other peoples kids too. Women developed a larger periferal vision. It's scientifically proven that women see an extra 45 degrees left and right and up and down to what men see.

    The other thing that has been quite enlightening, is that men can perform one task at a time. That is the way their brains are wired. They are programmed to perform that task, and so they shut out anything else that's going on around them. This is why, when they're watching TV they don't hear us when we speak to them. It's not that they're ignoring us (most of the time) their brain is concentrating on watching the TV and filters out everything around it. They just can't watch TV and listen at the same time. They can't understand why women talk so much. We can't help it, we're programmed that way. We think aloud (how many times have you found yourself talking to the washing machine? shopping list? or other inanimate objects?) Men offer us a solution... we didn't want a solution.. we were 'just saying'. He gets the hump because he's been rejected, we get the hump because he always wants to 'fix' things and never actually listens.

    Why on earth do men and women live together? LOL

    Anyway.... I've rambled on enough about this.. but you really should read this book (Julie, you can have my copy when I've read it if you want). It really is an eye opener and will help you understand the man/woman you live with. It is all based on scientific facts and tests (MRI's and the like) and has facts and figures to back up what's being said.

    So, my husband (apparently) isn't an ignorant git who will fob me off with a quick solution to shut me up.. he's programmed that way. Not that it's going to make him stop doing what he does and me getting upset at his apparent shallowness... at least I understand why he's the way he is.

    The book by the way, is called Why Men don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps and is by Allan and Barbara Pease.

    Wednesday, November 25

    The recipe stewed...

    Well the recipe stewed for a while (other half thought about it at work the next day) and when he came home from work was overly jovial. Bleugh! (can you tell I was still annoyed?)

    So I'm cooking dinner and he props himself up in the kitchen. Now this is most out of the ordinary and his coming home from work routine is:
    • come in, walk around the living room (checking his territory hasn't been ambushed or changed during the day while he has been out hunting wooly mammoth). 
    • Deposit motorbike jacket, bike boots and skid lid in various parts of the living room.
    • Sit at the computer and log on to ebay. (I'm really, seriously thinking about starting up an ebay Anonymous!)
    • Collect plate of dinner when he's been told it's ready a minimum of 3 times.
    • Eat dinner
    • Watch The Simpsons
    • Perhaps now talk to wife, or maybe not.
    So, back to me cooking dinner and him propped up in the kitchen, joking and being very jovial. (my thoughts are, what has he done? what does he want? or, what is he going to do?)

    He says: "I've had a bit of time to think, and I do actually understand what you were saying".

    THUD (that is the sound of my chin hitting the floor, but in actuallity, I quietly say "oh?").

    He carried on and it did actually seem like he did understand what I'd said. I even wondered if he'd been for an injection of oestrogen during the day so he could understand women. The major thing for me, that came out of this discussion, is that after 10 and a bit years of being together and me saying on numerous occasions, he all of a sudden understands that he goes to work from 9 to 5 and then clocks off. He has the evenings and weekend to do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it (and he does - he doesn't lift a finger housework wise), whereas I don't have a clock on and off time and never get evenings/nights/weekends off. And he also (says) that he now realises that I wanted to get these decorations alone because if I took Isabelle it then turns into an outing for her and I become involved in her oohing and ahhing at all the pretty decorations and I don't actually get the time to do what I'd planned.

    So why didn't he listen to me when I was trying to explain this? Why did it turn into a huge argument because he took it personally and went all defensive and then threw all the 'you do this that and the other' shite at me. It turned into a bitchfest on his part and I turned into a blubbering wreck that sported golfball eyes for the next 24 hours. It's so hard to talk to someone when the defensive barriers automatically go up and he automatically assumes I'm calling him and pitching his downfalls so he turns the tables and hurls all the crap at me he can think of. I'm not that kind of person, I don't slag someone off just to defend myself. I don't point out people's downfalls and be spiteful just for the hell of it. In fact, I don't do it at all. People are people (grrrr now got Depeched Mode in my head), but everyone's different and I accept that, I really do wish he would realise that I'm not actually out to get him and make his life a misery, especially when I'm feeling a bit bogged down with life and could use a bit of support and a shoulder to lean on to hold me up.

    Tuesday, November 24

    Sums it up....

    I hear this so often!! My photography friends will completely understand this cartoon from What The Duck

    Monday, November 23

    Recipe for meltdown...

    Take the following:

    1 very large helping of emotional 41 yr old female who feels very bogged down with life.
    1 very large helping of arrogant, up himself husband
    1 statement from female of 'just popping to the garden centre to find some Christmas Ornaments to photograph'
    1 large helping of 'don't be so selfish, we'll come with you'.
    1 massive argument that evolved from wanting half an hour to myself, not forgetting to add in belittling remarks.
    1 very large helping of extremely low self esteem.

    Mix it all together very vigorously. Bake it at a very high tempertature, but whilst it's baking get husband to throw in very large helpings of emotional blackmail and extra large helpings of guilt.

    After half an hour you will find that you have the biggest meltdown for a long time. Don't forget to let afore mentioned husband keep poking meltdown for the rest of the day just to make sure you keep it fresh!

    Friday, November 20

    I have a naughty brain...

    ...declared my 4 year old.

    I've been having awful problems with her going to the toilet by herself since we went camping at the end of August. She is convinced that our bathroom is now a bug and moth infested area the same as the campsite toilets were. (they were particularly bad I have to admit!).

    Nothing I can say or do will convince her otherwise. She always needs someone to go with her. I refuse to pander to her and go with her, especially in daylight. But she ends up saying her wee has gone away and no longer needs to go. She's always been great at going for a wee, been dry since she was just over 2 years old and has very few accidents, but recently, add the dark into the bug fear and she just won't go to the loo alone at night.

    It's driving me demented!

    So, on trying to discuss the issue with her the conversation went:

    Me: What bothers you so you won't go for a wee on your own?
    Isabelle: I don't know, I'm just not sure.
    Me: Not sure about what?
    Isabelle: I'm just not sure
    Me: What frightens you about the bathroom?
    Isabelle: bugs. There might be bugs in there
    Me: There aren't any bugs in there,  but bugs don't hurt you anyway. Don't think about bugs being in there because there aren't any.
    Isabelle: I have a naughty brain and it tells me bugs are there.

    Is there an answer to that? LOL

    Thursday, November 19

    OK, I'm done


    I have wasted a whole day messing around with the look of this blog. Grrrrrr. I started to make changes, deleted some code, couldn't remember which bit it was, replaced a bit of code somewhere else and lost content and... well.. it just goes on.

    I uploaded a different theme and it was almost there, but not quite, so I've finally opted for this one. I am happy with this one, it's simple, serene, it doesn't shout at you, it's not garish, it's not too dark and well, I think it basically sits there as a holding place for text.

    Kim, thank you for your advice. It did work, and I would never have thought of that, but in the end I opted to stick with the simplicity of this one, after uploading headers and images etc.

    ah well... c'est la vie.

    On to cooking dinner (I'm being nagged by a 4 yr old to get off the computer because she wants to play Nick Jr website) and then I'm off to photograph my 19 yr old son in his first gig of the re-formed band, as two of the original members have now gone to Uni.

    No peace for the wicked eh?

    Wednesday, November 18

    Nosey Parker?

    I may have been accused in my time of being a nosey parker.

    I'm not a nosey parker in the 'gossip' sense of the word. I don't think nosey is the right word. Interested in people? Yep, that's more suitable.

    I've always read auto-biographies of famous people. Their lives interest me. They live a completely different life to me and I am interested in that. I know that they eat, sleep and (to be polite) use the loo, the same way we all do, but it's the intreague in where they were at before they got famous, what they went through to get famous and what life was like during (and sometimes after) they were famous. (This is leading somewhere, honest).

    Some of the best auto-biographies I've read are

    Boy George; a fascinating insite to a very gregarious lifestyle before and during the height of his reign in Culture Club, the fallings out with the band members and his changed outlook on life when he got into buddism and a 'clean' lifestyle.

    David Lee Roth; The lead singer with Van Halen - typical rock and roll lifestyle, drink, drugs and women, but in reality, a very lonely man. Excellent Book.

    George Micheal; Yet another mixed up star. An emotional but very enjoyable book.

    There have been loads more but these were the ones I particularly enjoyed. The most recent book I read was by Slash of Guns n Roses. What a complete headcase! drink and drugs to the max. Everyone thought it was Axl Rose who was the alco-druggie... nope, it was Slash and what a book!

    But these days, it has become so easy to stalk celebrities, erm, I mean get an insight into celebrity lifestyles, in the form of Twitter. If you're not familiar with Twitter, what's wrong with you???? it is a status update website where you have 140 characters to write what you are thinking or how you feel, or leave a message in reply to someone you are stalking following. Now this only really works if you follow famous people and celebs. These include rich and famous iconic celebs and also celebs of the TV. I follow too many to mention, but I decided that I was going to get as many famous people as I could to reply to my 'tweet'. OK, so I started off quite low down the ranks of celebdome... but you've got to start somewhere eh?

    I have now had personal tweet's or direct messages from:

    Robert Llewellyn, better known as Kryten from Red Dwarf. (regularly tweet to each other now LOL)
    Danny John-Jules, aka The Cat from Red Dwarf. Had an afternoon of conversation, plus other tweets since
    Bill Bailey - excellent comedian
    Suzi Perry (MotoGP comentator and Gadget Show presenter). She even answered my question about the MotoGP riders, who is the nicest, sexiest, funniest and her fave.
    Jason Bradbury - also the gadget show
    John Bentley - again, the gadget show.

    methinks it might be time to start aiming a bit higher on the celeb ladder LOL

    Pet Hate...

    I have just been involved in my own pet hate.

    People who keep changing the look of their blogs, gets my goat, and here I am guilty as charged.

    I recently changed the look of my blog and I was apprehensive about it because it was flowery. Not REALLY flowery, but it was still flowery non-the-less. I am so NOT  flowery person, although I love flowers, I love to photograph flowers, I'm just not flowery myself. So the flowery blog look had to go. I know this one is a bit flowery, but it's not FLOWERY. Well, not as flowery as the last one way... or is it? eek.. I don't know.

    There are so many blog templates out there now but they're all so similar. I have a penchant for the dark themes, but personally I don't feel that they're very easy to read. I find myself being sucked into the computer screen when it's a basically black theme.

    So, here we go with this one. Hopefully I won't become obsessed with the look of it and have to change it again, afterall, it's the blog content, not the look which matters.. if only I could convince myself of that fact.

    Tuesday, November 17

    It is perfectly acceptable...

    (supposedly) in this house to.....

    • fill the kitchen swing bin so full that the swing lid no longer swings, it gets trapped amongst the rubbish, and then put any further rubbish onto the kitchen worktop rather than empty the bin.
    • bring a set of motorbike carbs into the house and then clean them on the dining table (albeit with newspaper underneath) then leave them sitting on the computer desk stinking of petrol.
    • bring a leaking (although empty) motorbike tank into the house, sit it on the computer desk stinking the house out with petrol, because the petrol needs to evaporate so the tank can be sealed again in a 'few days'
    • stay up until 4am at the computer then get up on Sunday and be like a bear with a sore head until 4pm, then go to bed un-announced and stay there till 8pm, come back down and complain when there's no dinner left, and go back to bed at 10pm
    • ignore your wife whenever she speaks because she has absolutely nothing of interest to say
    • glare daggers when afore mentioned wife on her way out the door to camera club  says, when you've put Isabelle to bed, can you please wash the dishes? anyone would have thought that from the look given, I had said, please sacrifice our 4 year old to the Gods.
    • leave a swimming pool on the floor seeping through the wooden flooring when doing a water change on the fish tank and not mop it up afterwards. Also having an accompanying swimming pool in the kitchen by the sink from getting water to re-fill the tank.
    ok, that's all off my chest, I feel much better now!

    Thursday, November 12

    My little star...

    I've not written anything here for a while, basically because I've had nothing to say. Yes my life has been THAT boring.

    However, last night was parents evening for Isabelle. This is her first school parents evening and I was more than ready to find out how she's doing in school. One of my concerns was how she interacts with other children her own age as she's growing up in a very adult world with no young siblings to squabble over toys with etc.

    Her teacher said that Isabelle is a very very caring and giving person, sometimes to a fault. I was worried that her 'giving' was put down to her thinking she had to buy friendship with kindness, but this isn't the case. It is just her nature. Her teacher, Miss F, said she has been working with Isabelle to get her to realise that Isabelle is important and she can do things for Isabelle sometimes rather than for someone else, because Isabelle does matter too. She is very helpful in class and because she is so eloquent and can step up to any level of conversation and understand it, it is sometimes too easy for the teachers to go straight to Isabelle when they need help because they know the job will be done correctly.

    On an academic level, she is very intelligent and is actually top of the class on her ability to do the tasks set including her word learning and her maths. She grabs concepts very quickly and off she goes. This also gave me concern as to how far they would be able to go with her. The way the school system is run now (not like when I was at school) is that they cater for the child in question. If they are capable of doing a higher level work, the school will provide it. They won't hold her back because 'that work is for older kids'. Now I'm not saying for a minute she's a genius, but she is very capable of doing simple maths such as; if we have 6 items how many more do we need to make 10? She finds these very easy, so that goes without saying that she can count continuous to 100, she can add numbers together and take numbers away. She is only 4! Not only is she only 4, she's the youngest in her class by quite a long way. Because her birthday is at the end of the school year, she is in a class with children who are already 5.

    At the moment the class are working with the letters s, a, t, p, i and n. This is giving them the basics for phonetic reading. Isabelle has known these letters for quite a while, but her teacher is now getting her to make words with them. She got out some magnetic letters and asked Isabelle which ones she would need to make the word 'sat'. Isabelle found them. She then said, she'd now like the word to say 'sit' so which one would Isabelle need to change? without hesitation she changed the a for i. The then said, now I'd like it to say 'at' so which one do we need to take away? Isabelle removed the s. Miss F said that this is excellent for a child of her age and that not many children in the class can do this yet. I told Miss F that Isabelle is constantly writing and drawing at home and very often asks for a word to be spelt out so that she can write it. She knows her letters and can write it down from my spelling without having to copy it. I've even started giving her three letters of a word at a time to see if she can remember them, and she does. She's now started writing her own words down from sounding them out to herself. She doesn't get them all correct but she has a damned good attempt. Vowels are usually the cause of the incorrect spelling. So we were told, don't hold her back (not that we would), if she wants to do it, go with it and the school will do the same. That was very re-assuring to know.

    And for her pearl of wisdom today - she reminded me that it's 'no clothes day' at school tomorrow. She actually meant that it's non-uniform day LOL

    Tuesday, November 3

    A bit bored...

    As the title says really...

    I have a stack of things I 'could' be doing and a stack of things that I 'should' be doing, I just really can't be arsed today to be honest. So I decided to do some photo editing instead.

    There has been a distinct lack of photography on my behalf just lately. A lack of inspiration, enthusiasm, subject matter and lenses have all paid part in this matter. (Turns out that two lenses were included in the road kill along with my camera). I have now replaced the 28-70 lens and am awaiting the arrival of a 28-200mm lens (to replace the roadkill 75-300 - although I think I might miss that last 100mm - but we'll see).

    So anyway.. last night at our camera club meeting we had a lighting and inspiration night. We got to use our cameras at last. I wasn't overly enthused about going after last week's disasterous (for me) meeting where we had to endure 8 slide shows of one guy's trip to China. Whilst some of the shots were very nice, the majority were snaps that included his wife, and he wasn't the most enthralling narrator in the world. but c'est la vie.

    So, camera at the ready and off I go. I'm still at the 'newbie' stage in our camera club as this was only my 5th week, but because it was a practical night there was a lot of interaction with other members. They obviously know my face now and it ended up being a really good laugh.

    I also had an inpromtu ego stroking session when one of the long term members (30 year member) came over to me for a chat, saying he'd been meaning to do so for a while now. He told me how impressed he was with my photography and that I really shouldn't be in the beginners competitions, I should definately be in the experienced category.. woohoo.. thanks for that.. huge smiles. Oh, and I won the raffle too.. added bonus of a nice bottle of red wine.. except that I don't drink LOL. Ah well, I'm sure it will make someone smile when they open it at Christmas.

    So I decided this morning to edit a few of the shots I took last night. I wasn't really impressed with any of them. It's just not in me at the moment to get good shots.. grrrr. Although one of the photographs did sort of call to me but it wasn't going to be a basic edit. The guy (don't laugh) had a 'good' face. And I knew exactly what treatment I wanted to give it. I've been wanting to try this process for a while now but never had the right shot, but this one really did seem suitable. Having seen some excellent Draganism work like this one done by Kim Ayres I thought I'd try it on this shot.

    So here is my first attempt. I think he looks a little bit dirty, like he could do with a wash LOL, but it is my first attempt and I really could do with practicing some more, but I'm quite happy with the results for a first time.

    Monday, November 2

    Oh my sweet baby...

    Ok, so she's not technically a baby anymore, but she's still my baby.

    Isabelle does make me laugh so hard sometimes, and it's usually at times when I really need to contain it so I don't make her feel bad.

    The conversations goes....

    Isabelle: Name a vegetable beginning with B
    Me: erm, broccoli?
    Isabelle: No
    Me: Beans?
    Isabelle: No
    Me: erm... Brussel Sprouts?
    Isabelle: No
    Me: erm... oh.. erm, I really don't know, you'll have to tell me.
    Isabelle: B-tato
    Me: [trying to stifle my laughter] well, that's really good but it's not b-tato, it starts with a P, it's P-otato
    Isabelle: Oh, I didn't know that [giggles]

    and then...

    Each morning on TV there is a quick TV clip really and it's Alphabet Animals. Isabelle likes this as it shows a letter and then animals that begin with that letter, such as T and it will show tigers, and a tiger type of song in the background. This morning the letter was W. She said to me, hmmm, it's W but something isn't right. There were wallabies on the TV but she thought they were Kangaroo's. I said, oh, it's W because they are wallabies. Oh she said, not Wangaroo's then? I'm still laughing out loud now.. bless her.

    Sunday, November 1

    Domestic Goddess?

    Well, not quite....

    Since trying to stop smoking I have had to find something to do with myself to occupy my time. I ordered a tapestry to sit and do to keep my hands and mind busy, but due to postal strikes (grrrr) it's still not arrived a week later. So I have been doing something I have always loved doing.. baking.

    Everyone is going to end up the the size of a house because I'm stopping smoking!!

    In the past three days I have baked a fruit cake for Mark, which never lasts more than one day. It is Mark's most favourite food in the whole world (apparently) and he can't just have once slice at a time despite his best intentions. The funny thing is, he doesn't even like fruit cake, until I made this one.. now I have to make at least one a week.

    I also made two apple crumbles, as I went to visit a friend on Friday and she has a huge tree full of cooking apples. I came home with a bag full of them, so I stewed them, made two crumbles, jarred some for apple sauce and froze the rest for a later date. The crumbles didn't last long!!

    Then yesterday Isabelle and I made some shortbread biscuits. Isabelle insisted that we had some heart shaped ones, despite my intentions of making round ones to put orange icing and sprinkles on for halloween'esque pumpkin looking biscuits. We made some of each.

    And today I've just made some flapjack. It smells absolutely gorgeous! And there is a ginger parkin cake in the oven at the moment. The smell wafting from my kitchen as I sit here at the computer is almost too much to bear. It smells like heaven.

    One thing I must remember... getting on the scales!!

    Thursday, October 29

    Non Smoker?

    Well, not quite, but almost.

    After being told I had pleurisy 10 days ago, it brought back haunting thoughts of my dad and his long and slow decline in health leading to his death 5 and a half years ago. He was using inhalers and then oxygen pipes 24/7 for the last 10 years of his life. He was a heavy smoker and started getting pleurisy at the age of 40. A year younger than I am now. He ended up with a completely collapsed lung, and the other lung partially collapsed. He was on so many various kinds of medication he rattled. He ended up bed-ridden for the last 5 years of his life and I watched my precious father waste away. He died in hospital from pneumonia.

    I had visions of me heading in the same direction, and I make my family go through the same thing I did, I can't make them watch me die slowly and painfully.

    I was smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

    It has been a very VERY tough week for me. I have cut down to two or three cigarettes a day and am trying very hard to cut those last ones out completely. I feel a bit guilty because everyone thinks I've stopped completely, but I went two days without a cigarette at all and almost lost my mind with it. I know it's withdrawal symptoms, but join those symptoms up with PMT and I was almost ready to murder everyone in my household, and the rest of the street. So, at the moment, those couple of cigarettes are saving my sanity, but I AM going to cut them out and I WILL be a non smoker. I do feel guilty lying to my family and have them thinking I have stopped completely, but I am going to stop completely. The mornings are the worst time for me. As I get through the day, its easier and easier to go without a cigarette, and I keep myself busy doing stuff, I just have to learn how to get through the mornings.

    Having a reformed smoker (and very much the preacher) for a husband makes matters worse for me to be honest. Mark stopped his 30 a day habit almost 4 years ago, and as proud of him as I am for sticking to it, he drives me bonkers with his know it all attitude. I don't think he realises what he's doing, but he doesn't have a great deal of tact. OK you get a factual 'this is how it is' straight laced opinion, but when you're feeling a little bit sensitive and very very angry and anxious inside and you basically want to kill anything that annoys you.. tact would be a fine skill to adopt for a short while at least LOL

    I'll get there :)