Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Feed the the bastards stop staring at you

It's that time of year again. Pigeons have been pecking around the garden looking for something other than moss and discarded footballs to eat. Our resident blackbird has been pecking at the remaining crab apples, giving me the eye in a manner as if to say "sort it out Kim" and even though there has been no food to tempt them, we've had the odd blue tit visiting the bird feeders.

So I caved. Partly because I fear the wrath of those tiny birds, but mainly because I'll try anything that will keep Alessi entertained for more than a minute. And as it turns out, playing with dried up meal worms falls in to that category. Which reminds me;

THERE ARE PICTURES OF MEAL WORMS IN THIS POST. If you don't like bugs, (or more specifically crunchy worm husks), you might want to click away now.

So, right. Back to the bird cake. Essentially it's just throwing a block of lard and bird food in to a bowl and mixing it all together.

Don't forget to make earrings with the pine cones if you use them. This is a very important part of the bird cake making process. 

As is singing 'Let it Go' at the top of your voice.*

Chipped nail varnish is optional.

Leftovers can be frozen, although I kind of wish I'd added mine to the pine cones first as it would have made things a lot easier later on. Hey ho.

And there you have it. Here are our homemade bird feeders, in all their fatty, wormy glory. Don't they look absolutely disgusting good?

The birds had better eat the flipping lot.

* When will this song DIE??!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas 2015

Did you all have a good Christmas?

We had a lovely, low-key affair this year, just the three of us. Lots of food, a bit of Christmas telly, multiple games of Hungry Hippos and an overwhelming desire to nap on the sofa. Unfortunately we were denied the naps, but that's OK. We probably wouldn't have been able to sleep long anyway what with the constant sing offs between Alessi's bastard Elsa and Anna dolls which are motion activated.

We didn't think this would be a problem as we had assumed they would also come with off switches. Well they do, but we didn't find them until well in to the afternoon. Such. Fun.
Thankfully during our stay in Wales, my Dad introduced me to the wonders of the Snowball so I just made sure the drink was never far from my hand.
Besides she wasn't the only one who was over the moon with her presents. Dan bought me a bread maker, something that's been on my wish list for yonks. If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I nerded out slightly. I made a simple white loaf to have alongside dinner and we scarfed the lot.

Today I'm testing out it's cake making abilities with a banana loaf. Then there's a long list, cheese and bacon loaf, pizza loaf, coffee cake, pitta bread..I LOVE THIS THING! Oh and her name is Hilda.

Moving on.

Boxing Day meant two things. Leftovers and cabin fever. We don't actually have much of the former as we are a family of gannets, but cabin fever had well and truly set in, with Alessi especially, so we went for a walk for some well needed fresh air. That was followed by a park pit stop to make absolutely sure that she was good and worn out. She was. In fact we all were so the rest of the afternoon and evening was pretty mellow after that.

And that was Christmas 2015. Certainly not Marks and Sparks ad worthy, but then when a company tries to turn even the humble Christmas sofa nap in to something that can be packaged and sold, that can only be a good thing.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Nothing to see here, just a cheeky little update

Just two more days until Christmas and I'm ready to settle in and enjoy it.
I have my woolly socks at the ready and I'm ready to cocoon myself and do nothing. Or at least as little as Alessi and Dan will let me get away with anyway.

I found out last week that Dan has never seen Mary Poppins so we're going to attempt a family film viewing which is basically an excuse to sit down and slob. 
I say we'll attempt it, but I suspect it will end up being me watching it on my own,  singing along to 'Feed the Birds' until Alessi comes over and plants a sticky hand over my mouth to shut me up.

Speaking of birds, I'm planning on making some bird cupcakes with Alessi tomorrow and I am perhaps more excited about this than of Christmas itself. 
I've been bad at putting out any kind of food for the birds since summer and I miss them. I miss any kind of wildlife to be honest, I'd almost be happy to see a slug these days. I am definitely a frustrated country bumpkin, trying to fit as much into my postage stamp of a garden as I can. If only Dan would let me get chickens again!

As he desperately wants another cat however, I suspect no one will be getting anything!


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mould, kitchen appliances and office trolls. I haz them.

Well it seems my brain only has room for one thing, the shop or this blog and as the former has been keeping me busy lately, my blog has been left gathering cobwebs. Much like my house. And don't even look at the laundry basket. Oh who am I kidding. You wouldn't even find the laundry basket. It got buried weeks ago.

So in an attempt to break through the blogging wall I'm just going to write up a shitty update post. You're welcome.

We have FINALLY got the external wall of the house fixed. I say fixed, although, it doesn't seem to have helped much. Something I could cry a thousand tears over.
Unfortunately, the mould downstairs seems to have gotten worse if anything. There is no emoji in existence that can convey my expression when we looked at the wall. There's just too much water in the air down here. Our living room connects to the kitchen with an open archway, no door. And right next to the kitchen, you have our postage stamp sized bathroom. Through cooking each night, hot showers etc and that crappy external wall with a giant corner sofa pushed up against it and it all just becomes one giant mould trap. Upstairs on the other hand, is perfect. Unless we start hanging wet washing around the place then that gets damp too. The dehumidifier is working overtime right now and I do not want to think what our next electricity bill is going to look like.

Very, VERY luckily Dan came in to some money through work and it was enough to pay for the wall, a new washer/dryer (no more hanging washing over radiators *fist pump*) and a dish washer.


I am so extremely, 'over-the-moon-slap-my-arse-and-call-me-Vera' happy about that last purchase. How has it taken us so long?
I don't know. I don't care. The fact is, our washing up days are numbered. NUMBERED I TELL YOU!

What else? The office job which I usually make a point of not writing about has become, well interesting. Long story short, since I returned to work part time after having Alessi I have had to put up with sarcastic, passive aggressive and sometimes downright mean comments from certain colleagues. All having digs about my time in the office. Or rather, the time I'm not in the office. This is of course made worse if I take holiday, (which I'm entitled to I might add) or time off due to sickness. It's been nearly three years and I am so tired of it. I've made all sorts of attempts to nip it in the bud, but nothing has worked and the past month something just snapped.
It has to be said that a lot of it is genuinely said in jest and I like to think that I can tell the difference. The trouble has been when the tone has changed and the jokes no longer felt funny or light hearted. When instead they left me feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed and singled out.
How do you draw the line in these situations?
Unfortunately I think the only solution is to stop tolerating any kind of jokes that poke fun at my working arrangement period. I didn't want to be that person. The one who has no sense of humour or kicks up a fuss over what others may feel is nothing, but really, it's not as if I haven't given them ample opportunity to sort themselves out. I've spoken with the individuals one on one and when that didn't work, voiced my concerns to my managers. Unfortunately neither seem to have worked so I'm going to have to be that person after all. Ah well. C'est la vie. I love my job and my immediate colleagues so I'll be buggered if I'm going to let a couple of bad eggs ruin it.

And on a much brighter note the other job is bringing me much joy and happy vibes.
The decision earlier this year to stop focusing on making things that everyone would like (yes I actually thought I could do that) and instead focus on making things that would only a few people would  like, has turned out to be the best decision I've made since opening the shop. Now I'm making things again that I love and get excited about. Perhaps too much as a few things haven't made it as far as the shop and instead magically appeared in my own wardrobe. *Ahem*
I'm enjoying it and as self indulgent as it sounds, I consider this to be the most important thing.

And that is pretty much it. Alessi continues to a whirling dervish of a three year old. Making me scream in to a tea towel one minute and wondering how I ever got so lucky the next.
I did have a wobble last week after reading an article in the Guardian about having only one child (note to self: STOP READING THE COMMENTS). But I'm back on track now. I don't think our selfish reason to have one child is going to turn her into a spoilt, socially inept psycho killer. Although we might get her a pet. Just to be safe.

Right then. For those of you that have got this far, 1) WELL DONE and 2) I do apologise.

Monday, 21 September 2015


A few months ago while scrolling through my Twitter feed, I came across the mention of a meditation app called Headspace (don't worry, this is NOT a sponsored post in any way shape or form). Meditation along with yoga is something I've tried to get in to several times in the past, each time losing interest very quickly. 

Still my curiosity was aroused and so off I went to find out more. The app looked quite fun and didn't seem to take itself too seriously. It reminded me a lot of Duolingo in the way that it approached the teaching aspect. Lots of fun looking characters, animations and other bits and bobs to keep you amused. Considering the dryness of the subject had turned me off in the past, this actually appealed to me so when I saw that you could get the first ten days for free I wasted no time in downloading it.
And then came the hard part.

One of the things that sold me was that each session was only ten minutes long. Perfect. Except it turned out that even finding that small amount of time with Alessi in tow was simply impossible. 
I hadn't wanted to tell Dan what I was doing as I thought he would laugh at me, but I soon realised that I was going to need his help if I was going to carve out ten minutes each morning. To his credit, he didn't bat an eyelid. I guess he figured that anything that could help me get through the day was worth trying. 

Long story short; that was over two months ago and I'm still meditating every day. I finished the free ten days and was hooked so I paid for a year's subscription, which I will admit, was pricey. And if I'm being completely honest, I was afraid for the first few weeks that while it was a nice little app, I had just pissed away fifty odd quid. I told you it was pricey.
Once you subscribe you have to complete a further two levels of basic meditations, The first level which is ten days long is the part you get for free. The other two make up the foundation course which I really enjoyed. Once you've completed this foundation course you unlock the rest of the meditation library and it was when I got to this point that I realised I had got my money's worth. 
There are guided meditations for everything. Anxiety, confidence, relationships, pregnancy, creativity, productivity, running, sleeping blah, blah, blah. Having already completed one, I can hand on heart say it's made a massive difference. 

Hence this post. I am slightly embarrassed to come out of the meditation closet, more so in fact that I am of sharing that oh so natural photo of myself meditating above*
But I've come to find that there are only two things that really work in making me feel calmer during stressful times, running and meditation. As I am well out of the running habit and because I'm easily put off by rain, sun, the fact that there's a 'y' in the day etc, meditation has become an important part of my daily routine and I just wanted to share it.

I read so many posts written by people feeling overwhelmed and wanting to find some calm in their days, but not knowing where to start. If this sounds familiar and the idea of meditation doesn't sound too cringe worthy, then why not give it a go?

*And by "meditating" I mean, pretending to meditate and by photo of myself, I mean a picture so heavily filtered it's barely me at all. Oh the joys of blogging.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Winter is coming..

Sorry. I couldn't resist.
Here's my annual winter list. A bunch of stuff that needs doing around the house and garden to prepare for the colder months with some more fun stuff thrown in too. Because you know, autumn.

Make a conker garland for the shed windows to deter spiders
Prune the tree next to the conservatory
Plant spring bulbs (daffodils and snowdrops for me)
Mulch flower beds
Move tender plants under cover
Check fences and secure where necessary
Tidy shed
Clear conservatory and weather proof grape vines ready for colder, damper weather

Check lights, wipers, screen washers and heaters
Add de-icer, scraper, torch and blanket

Stock up on candles and tealights
Get a string of fairy lights for the living room
Start a new granny square blanket
Wash blankets
Put up autumn decorations
Clean windows and wash curtains
Make a new curtain for front door and add draught excluder
Paint cupboard door white
New hot water bottles for me and Alessi

Warmer clothes down from attic
Stock up with jumpers, woolly socks and tights
Make that winter coat!
Woolly hats, scarves and gloves at the ready
Make some pyjamas - long sleeves are needed in winter
Slippers and new dressing gown for Alessi


Monday, 31 August 2015

Here's to being a shit mum

I've just had a wonderful few days by myself. I binge watched an entire season of Orange is the New Black, finished some bridesmaid dresses, had the laziest of lie ins and just generally mooched about happily at my own pace.
Little things like not having the TV on until the evening, not doing any tidying (and yet still having a tidy house) was all such a treat.

And I have a confession.

I didn't miss my crazies much at all.

I think I can say that without sounding like I'm completely devoid of emotion because of course I love them. And I knew they were coming home again.
And lately it's been tough. I meditate every day (no laughing at the back please) and although it's only for ten minutes, you would not believe how hard it is to carve out that time.

So when offered the chance to have three whole days to myself, bugger me if I was going to waste any of it on pining for my family who I knew were safe, well and quite happy without me too if truth be told.

I love my family. I am glad they're coming home. I am more grateful for everything I have than anyone else will ever realise. But I did not miss them because I am not just a mother and a wife. I am a person who also needs space and will occasionally rejoice in the thought that for a few days, the washing, the cleaning, the demands, the jumping on and lack of sleep, can fuck right off.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Checking in..

Life is a little hectic at the moment, but in a damned good way.

Work-wise I've managed to get back to where I was before my impromptu break and I'm still loving every second! The gamble I took with the shop's new direction has paid off and right now I'm itching to get the autumn stuff listed.  I'm a little behind though and there's still a lot to do.
So for the time being I'll try and manage my expectations a bit and keep plugging away slowly, as and when life allows.
*Whispers* Dr Who, bears, skeletons in dresses, sunflowers and ghost cats. That's all I'm saying.

The summer has been kind to us and despite August being a bit too soggy for my liking, I'm holding out for summer's swan song next month. This can't be the start of autumn already, it just can't.
I usually love this time of year and come September 1st I'm usually that annoying dick in your social media timeline, screaming that it's autumn. However, last year the colder months just dragged on for too long. There were too many dark and grey days, with weather so miserable that even Alessi would refuse to venture outdoors. Which wouldn't be so bad except that she goes a bit nuts if she's cooped up for too long and before you know it, you're having on of 'those' days.

Being able to throw the back doors open and give her free reign of the garden with all its joys has been utter bliss. I'm dreading losing this. So much so that I've been planning activities that can be done outdoors in crap weather. I'm hoping to build Alessi a mud kitchen and have been keeping an eye out for an easy-to-reach forest school type thing. Anything that will encourage her to get out and enjoy some fresh air when the weather isn't playing ball. Even ten minutes outside can make a massive difference to her mood (and in turn, mine), so I'm slowly building an arsenal of things to help stop us from climbing the walls this winter. Pinterest is my best friend right now.

If anyone has any suggestions or tried and tested games that can keep kids entertained on wet and miserable days , please do share!

I can pay you in..*looks around room*..Hama beads and jigsaw pieces.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Make Do and Mend - Sunflower Stalks

It's been a while since I wrote a make do and mend post so I thought it was time to write another one. And with summer in full flow this particular one seemed perfect.

Last autumn I cut down the giant sunflowers that had grown in the garden. They were definitely past their best by this point. The petals had wilted away and the seeds were ready for harvesting, so down they came. I chopped off the heads to dry out the seeds and trimmed the leaves off the stalks. Then I left them in the shed over winter.


By late spring it was warm enough to hang our washing outside again. This is one of my guilty pleasures. Not so much doing the washing or even hanging it on the line, but the fact that I don't have to see wet washing drying on every radiator in every room of the house. Something that comes hand in hand with winter over here.
However we needed a new pole to lift and support the washing line and I knew that one of the dried sunflower stalks in the shed would do the trick nicely. I actually ended up using the very one in the photo above as it was the strongest looking.

Once the stalks dry out they become very hard, (no sniggering at the back please) and depending on the size, they can take on the strength of small tree branches. The fact that they are so straight make them perfect for all kinds of things. I've used smaller dried stems to stake beans, peas and even other sunflowers in the garden.

As for the rest of the stalks I'd stored away, they helped create a tipi for Alessi, (and the rest of us) to play in.

So there you have it. If you grow sunflowers and have the space to dry them out, I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Monday, 3 August 2015


This weekend we all packed ourselves in to the car and headed down to Bruton for Farmfest. It's a small, budget event and we thought something like this would be perfect for Alessi's first festival. Cheap enough to make it affordable even for the likes of us skintoes and local enough that we wouldn't face a mammoth drive home if it all went tits up.
And did it all go tits up? No. Although I'd be lying if I said it was all plain sailing, but I'll come back to that.

We rocked up on the Friday morning and found a great spot in the family camping field. I was a bit worried about pitching the tent. As it was new it was also the first time we'd attempted it. Turns out it was just as easy as our previous tent and it is AMAZING. Seriously I am out of my mind in love with this tent. She's a bit of a beast, but the perfect size for us and our needs. She will now be known as Bertha. Bertha with the big gertha. 
Anyway, we put Bertha up, made friends with the family behind us who were also pitching their tent for the first time and admired the view. As we were camped at the end of the field, we were spoiled rotten by the view. Seriously it was beyond beautiful and the weather was glorious too. We couldn't have asked for more.

The only thing I would do differently in future is to make sure we brought something to keep Alessi entertained while we sorted the tent out. As she informed me later, "putting up the tent is very boring mummy." Sorry kiddo.

Then we went exploring. The first thing I always do after pitching the tent is familiarise myself with the nearest loos, sinks and coffee tent. The coffee tent had the fantastic business sense to pitch himself as close to the family camping field as he could. Smart man. Smart, wonderful, beautiful man. I have to take my hat off to Farmfest for their loos too. They were compost loos so very environmentally friendly and no, not wiffy either. Well ok, they did start to get a bit wiffy towards the end, but it was a festival after all. Also I think it had more to do with people not using them properly while being a bit hammered. That said, a damned sight nicer to use than other long drops I've experienced in the past so as far as poop buckets go, thumbs up.

The site itself if very small. It's one field, but they do pack a lot in to that! Alessi's favourite things by far were the kids tent and Cake Henge (a cake themed installation in the middle of the field to celebrate Farmfest's 10th birthday).

Kids loved to play on these and there was one that was triangle shaped. Alessi watched in awe as the bigger kids scrabbled up one side and slid down the other. She got very cross on more than one occasion that she couldn't do it herself. Having us hovering over her asking if she need our help cramped her style it seemed.

Obviously bedtime routines don't exist at festivals and her face when I told her she didn't have to go to bed until she wanted too will remain one of my favourite memories for as long as my brain holds out. Pure joy.

Which brings me to the trolley. This gets a special mention as it was worth every penny we paid for it and then some. Not only was it a god send to transport our stuff from the car to the camping field (which took several trips), but as the night drew on, Alessi was clearly getting more and more tired.

We made the inside all cosy with an old sleeping bag, pillow and blankets and she was content to just lie down and watch the world go by as we ferried her about. Yup, the trolley was a hit and it got a lot of compliments. It was a bit of an investment price wise, but if you have a lot of heavy camping gear to cart around I can't recommend it enough. And the fact that you can also ferry tired children around in them is an added bonus!

She didn't actually sleep in it though. We had brought her ear defenders with us, but she refused to put them on. She just found everything too interesting and didn't want to miss a thing. This was cute as heck, but as the night drew on I could see she needed to sleep so we went back to the tent, put her to bed and she was out like a light.

Which turned out to be a bloody good thing because this is where things got a little rubbish. 
We were knackered by this point too and having seen all the bands we wanted to see, decided to go to bed too. The noise from the dance tent was mental and made the air bed vibrate, but we just figured that it would calm down a bit as the other stages shut down and stopped competing to be heard over one another. Oh how wrong we were.

All other stages stopped around 11pm, the dance tent however didn't stop until 4am, so we knew it was going to be a noisy one. 
Don't get me wrong, we've been to our fair share of festivals before so we weren't dumb enough to expect it to be blissfully quiet. But this level of noise was a first for both of us, the bass was so loud that our tent roof was jumping along with it! 
And it didn't stop. In fact around 2.30am (yes I was still awake) the noise actually increased, as if it had been turned up a notch. This was confirmed when we spoke to other festival goers the next morning.  
This is where Alessi staying up late came in so handy. She slept pretty soundly through the whole night. How I have no idea, but I am so grateful that she did. Dan put her ear defenders on at some point so was able to get some sleep. I didn't manage too until after the dance stage shut down. I lay awake for a little while, listening to the tractors and cows, it was milking time down on the farm I guessed. Then I finally fell asleep. Alessi was woke up just after 7am.

If anyone was wondering what three hours sleep at a festival looks like, it's something like this.

I got through Saturday only with the help of coffee, nutella pancakes and more coffee.
So Farmfest, I'm all for noise and believe it or not, I can actually sleep pretty well with the sounds of a loud stage in the background, but that level of noise was extreme, even for a festival and the reason why we did not stick around for the second and final night. 

It also had an impact on how much we took in on the Saturday. Alessi was buzzing having recharged her batteries and was ready for more. Dan and I however were flagging. So armed with coffee and the aforementioned nutella pancakes, we headed to the kids tent for yoga and a spot of morning crafting. She was like a pig in mud. Gluey, glittery mud.

The plan had been to stick around until the evening, watch the last few bands we came to see then head home. Unfortunately we didn't last that long.

We mooched about, ate some more yummy food, put on silly hats, had our photos taken in a photo booth and dipped in and out of sets at the various stages. Then we climbed back in the car and headed home.

Yup. That's Alessi under the reindeer mask. 

All in all it was a great little festival and I needn't have worried, Alessi loved the whole thing. In fact she told me that she wants to go to a festival again tomorrow. That's my girl!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


It's only Wednesday and it's already shaping up to be a very strange week. On Monday came the news that a friend had passed away after her fight with cancer. And boy did that woman give it some.Then yesterday, well it just felt weird. Trying to act all normal and happy at work when really I just wanted to go home and have a good cry felt more than a little strange.

Today does feel a little different though. The news has settled and as I'm not trying to put on a false smile on for anyone, things are feeling more as they should. So onwards and upwards I suppose. In the meantime I know that Dan and I will never forget the special woman who left us in awe at the positivity and gumption she showed throughout the whole thing.

Cancer. You really are a cunt.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Camping Wishlist

It's that time of year again and that means lugging the camping gear down from the attic, dusting it off and wondering for the millionth time where the bloody poles/tent pegs/sleeping bags are.

In a week's time we'll be taking Alessi to her first festival and I cannot flipping wait! We have decided though that our current tent is on the small side for the three of us so have decided to upgrade. WOO!
We had a look over the weekend and decided that we wanted one that a) had a separate area for Alessi to sleep in, b) had a living area large enough to hang out in comfortably when the weather turns sour and c) something big enough for Dan to stand up in without hitting his head. We've found one that fits the bill perfectly. Now if Millets can just pull their fingers out and send it out that would be bloody awesome.

As my visual wish list at the top of this post shows, some of the other things I'm convinced we need* are:
  1. Camping table
  2. Head torch
  3. Gardening trolley - yes we're becoming those campers that pull their kid around a festival site in a trolley. Not even remotely sorry.
  4. Tent - Millets, I'm looking at you guys here. Fingers. Pull them out.
  5. Glow sticks - FANTASTIC means of distraction and amusement for children after dark
  6. Flexi bucket because they are so useful to lug stuff about it. 
  7. Kettle - my last one broke and I get ragey without coffee. Even at a festival.
  8. Cupboard unit - Ok so you may have noticed that not all of these things are essential for camping at a festival. I still want one of these things though for general camping. I am beyond sick of having bags, plates, food etc littering the living area. Not to mention tripping over the lot of it during night time loo trips. I need one of these cupboard things.
  9. Portable phone charger. Because duh.
I have to admit. As well as being super excited to take Alessi, I'm also a little anxious. Not that it will be stressful, but that she won't enjoy herself. I remember the last time I felt like this was when I first went camping with Dan. I was convinced he'd hate it and I'll never forget how happy it made me when he said he genuinely enjoyed it. And baring in mind his first camping experience was a Glastonbury festival which was a complete wash out, that was really something!
I really hope Alessi loves this as much as I do because it would be something great to share together in years to come. She loves camping in general though so hopefully she'll love this experience too. 

Fingers crossed!

*The husband questions my use of the word "need" here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Sunshine and juggernauts

Well how the bloody hell is everybody? I'm like a pig in mud over here at the moment. This weather suits me well and despite not having been camping at all this year (pull your finger out, Kim), I have to say I'm holding up well. To be fair, we will be going to a small festival at the end of the month so I'll be able to scratch the camping itch then. It will be Alessi's first festival too and I can't bloody wait!

Although I haven't had much time to think about it or make sure we've got everything we need. *cough* TENT! *cough*
As far as the shop goes, I've been busy pulling together a rough plan for autumn. After taking the impromptu break earlier this year I really want to add some new stuff now. Yes, yes I know what I said; "things are going to be slow for the rest of the year.." yadda, yadda, yadda. In my defence, it still will be. I'm just talking about a few new items for the autumn, a couple more to hit the shop before then. Just enough to keep me out of trouble really.

It can't be much more than that as I want to work on some other more mundane 'home' stuff before the winter sets in and forces us all indoors again. The memory of last winter and how bloody long it felt is still very fresh so I want to do everything I can to make sure it's less, well depressing.

Which brings me to a thought I had earlier which came crashing through my brain like some kind of rude arsing juggernaut; this winter will be the last one where it will just be me and Roo at home together. Next year she will be at school and the baby/toddler part of her life will be over forever.


Now if you don't have kids, I'll spare you details of the lump that caught in my throat, the water that threatened to seep from my eye holes or the fact that I am now fucking TERRIFIED.
I'll just end this post by saying that it's made me realise that time is precious blah, blah, blah and I need to make the most of it, blah, blah, blah.

Just as soon as I can scrape my body from the metaphorical tarmac.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Room 101 - 'shit petite'

Some of you may recall the brief rant in my last post about petite fashion. It turns out this was a mistake as it's now become something of an obsession and all I can think about. So I'm going to have a bit of a moan on here and hopefully, lay this bug bear of mine to rest. 

Examples such as the ones above are what I'm referring to when I say "shit petite". I'm 36, I shop in the stores that stock them and I cannot understand how any woman in her right mind would want one of these things. Teenager? Perhaps (although I'm not even convinced about that one), but woman? Nope.  I don't buy it. And I mean literally, I don't buy it. And neither do any of my short friends either. Yes. We all hang out in gangs. We're easier to spot that way.

"Good things come in small packages". Ew. This just sounds like a bad joke to me. 
"Short stuff"? Reminds me too much of my school days. 
"Fun size"? Do I look like a Mars bar to you?! 

And while I'm having a rant, sticking some french words in to the mix doesn't make this collection filler (because let's be honest, that's all they are) any more 'chic'.

I'm not even going to list the shops the above items come from because they don't deserve the acknowledgement.
Just, please high street stores, PLEASE. Stop it now. 

And while we're at it, scrunchies. Also no. Although maybe that's a rant for another day.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Here Come The Girls!

Since I made my Mojo dress last month, most of my spare time has been spent in front of the sewing machine. And two dresses I made in that time went live in the shop yesterday!

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm bloody proud of them both.

I've finally reached a point where the quality of my work is matching my expectations which makes all the late night stitching sessions and endless hours of practise worthwhile. It tickles me that I only got into sewing because I had to. Being short meant that I was forever taking up jeans and various hems.
I'm serious! It wasn't all that long ago that the petite sections in high street shops were virtually non-existent and those that did exist only included the basics. I still find them annoying today to be honest. The selection is never as good as that for regular women and some of the designs are just plain lazy.

Top tip for high street stores: no short woman wants a t-shirt emblazoned with  "good things come in small packages".
Do you even sell any of those things?? DESIST.

Anyway. What was I saying? Ah yes, dresses.
I was very good. I made both of these vintage style dresses with fabric from my existing stash. I'm going to wait and see how well these are received and if they prove popular, then and only then will look to make more.

Oh and also, another thing that's made me wildly happier than it should is that I can now list my items to buy on my Facebook page! This will make it easier for people to see what is in stock without having to leave Facebook and it's another simple and secure way to purchase. 
All in all I'm feeling quite accomplished today and not a little relieved that it's nearly the weekend as I could do with a breather!

Although something has just occurred to me..while I've banned myself from buying new fabric for shop dresses, I could totally buy new fabric to make myself one!

Oooh, now there's a thought..

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Ask Molly

It's the end of a busy couple of weeks and last night I came across this article on the Guardian website. It was one of those 'Ask Molly Ringwald' features. Someone was asking how they could stop being lazy and get motivated and as I've been feeling my own motivation start to slip away these past few days, I decided to give it a read.

Two sentences struck a chord with me;

"Your brain desperately needs the hormones that fire during exercise.."
and "..our living spaces are reflections of who we are."

Ok, well I know exercise is good for you both physically and mentally. I know that when I ran regularly, I felt and functioned better. I know that the 'runners buzz' you sometimes hear about is actually a thing and I know that surprisingly it's also addictive.
I also know that the first run is an utter bastard and isn't so much a run as a walk with the occasional Bambi-like, legs flailing everywhere, shuffle thrown in. Because no one tells you that you won't look like a proper runner at the beginning. I learned this the hard way when I caught sight of my shadow during my first run.
The image I had in my head of what I might look like (Paula Radcliffe having a gentle jog), was shattered as I saw my shadow self lolloping along in a slow Quasimodo style. But if you can past the lame excuses, the fact that you will not look like Paula Radcliffe (at least, not yet) and push yourself through that crappy first run, you'll find genuine enjoyment.
So yes, that will be happening this weekend. I will kill my demotivation dead with running.

And of course, the other thing I took from that article was the bit about our living spaces reflecting who we are.
It made me look around my living room and I saw, splashes of pretty, unfinished projects and a LOT of mess and clutter. Which pretty much sums up who I am perfectly I think. If I had to change anything from that little lot though it wouldn't be the mess or the clutter. Which shows how much I've changed in the past few years as I was a self confessed neat freak. Nowadays I view the mess as a sign that we're a family and I've written before about how bloody grateful I am for that, so no regrets there whatsoever. That said, perhaps I wouldn't be adverse to painting over the crayon and sticky hand prints on the wall now.
No, if I had to change anything it would be the unfinished projects. But as Alessi is now at a more independent age, we're finding that time is ours to play with again. That feels like a gift in itself. So I'm sure there will be more DIY and projects coming up in the not to distant future.

This post doesn't really have a point necessarily. But I've noticed that I've been self censoring what I write here lately. This blogs readership has grown over the past year which is what I'd always hoped for, but oddly this has made it harder for me to write as freely as I have in the past. So this morning, while Dan took Alessi out I thought I'd just sit down and write. The Molly Ringwald feature and my thoughts on it seemed perfect. Does it affect anyone else? No. Will it enhance anyones life? No. Is it even relatable? Probably not. Do I care about it? Why yes, yes I do. And that's the point.
I want to get this blog back to being what it was, a personal space for me to write shit. It isn't a platform to sell my work. I share my work here and on social media because it's a huge part of what I do and I bloody love it. But I don't make money from this blog. It's merely my spot on the internet to record my inner monologue of thoughts and today that includes Molly Ringwald, running and my living room.

I fully expect my next post to be about what a stupid idea running is, how I hate my living room and how Molly Ringwald can suck it. ;)

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Mojo Dress

In my last post I said that I was working on a dress for myself. Dan had a work do and I wanted something new to wear. Although if I'm honest, my real motivation was to see if I could get my sewing mojo back.  
When I decided to make the dress, I'd fallen out of love with dressmaking a fair bit. I had managed to ruin it for myself by setting too many deadlines and piling on the pressure to achieve things that I was in no position to. Ridiculous stuff really and more annoyingly, not the first time I've done it to myself either.

I had no interest in spending my time sewing and was completely devoid of ideas. I honestly thought that making this dress for myself would be a chore. Thankfully, it was anything but. Even better, I'm already thinking of ideas for the next one! And it was so nice to have something new to wear on a night out too.
Though perhaps next time I'll leave the heels at home. I mean, they looked great and I got to be a normal height for an evening, but wowza. My feet were crying by the end of the night! To be fair, the skanking and jumping about on the dance floor probably didn't help. And on hindsight, it's a miracle I didn't land on my arse, so I should probably just count my blessings that I got away with sore feet alone!

With regards to The Dress Tree. I haven't thought further than this point so I'm not sure what comes next. The important thing I've taken away from this is that my love of sewing is still there. The sorts of things I like to wear (and therefore make) has changed a great deal since last year so maybe all that was needed was a change of direction after all.

For now I'm just going to continue to take things easy and play with ideas. The shop will probably be on a slow burner now for the rest of the year, but I think I'm happy with that. At least for the time being while I work out exactly where I want it to go.
Slow and steady is better than fast and furious. In this case at any rate. 

And on that note, I will leave you with this picture of me dancing like a loon in a dress that gave me back the sewing bug. Which is why I've affectionately nicknamed it my mojo dress. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

Project update

Never again will I take on three projects at the same time.

Never again will I take on any 'project' when I already have my hands full.

Back last winter..autumn? I've no idea, but way back then I had the genius idea of taking on three personal projects as well as everything else I had on at the time. I wanted to revamp some basic pine bedside cabinets we had knocking about, revamp an old dining table and make myself a coat for winter as I can never find one on the high street I like. Here's how I did.

Winter Coat
Yeah, this didn't get done. I got as far as ordering the brown tweed fabric and loved it for a few days. Then I draped it over the dress form and something in my brain went "no". And that was that. I fell out of love with it and instantly lost any motivation to make it. So it just sat there and sat there until eventually sometime in January I realised the project was well and dead and gave up.No winter coat for me.
I now need a spring coat, but this I'll be buggered if I'm going to make one. This one the high street can provide!

Bedside Cabinets

Eventually, they got done. The plan initially was to stain them, but as I started I realised that it looked awful. At some point we had spilt something on them which was invisible when left as untreated wood, but once the wood stain was on, repelled the stain and made the finish look bloody awful. And yes, that was after cleaning and lightly sanding the sodding things. Back to the drawing board.
I wanted to give up on these too at this point so I just went for a plain white, nothing fancy. It did the trick. Once some new drawer pulls were added I have to admit they do look much better.

Living Room Table

And last, but not least, the living room table. I had a grand plan for this one, but just couldn't find a way to get what I had in my head in to a workable (and cheap) reality. So as my motivation was greatly waining (it was a running theme) I took the left over paint used on the cabinets and slapped it on. A bit of varnish on the top to prevent staining and it was done. I'm not over the moon with the look to be honest. It's too much white. And I had to take the tiny metal feet off the bottom as they were ripping up the carpet so it looks a bit weird in my opinion.
But I reasoned that I could add colour with table cloths and that's what I'm currently doing. I bought a cheap wipe clean one from eBay and although the look is a little more 'shabby chic' that I'd like, I've got to admit it's better than it was.

So there you go, two out of three. I'll take that as a win.

I'm not giving up on my projects altogether though. I just need to be stricter with myself and make sure I only do one at a time and really think about whether or not it will be a labour of love or just a labour. With that in mind I've decided that my next project will be a dress for myself.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll know that Dan's company work do is coming up so I've decided to make myself a dress for that. I've bought a pattern. It's simple, I absolutely love it and I now have some fabric to make it with. No fancy patterns or tricky to handle materials. Just a nice, simple, blue dress. I'm hoping this project will go better.

I'm actually posting regular progress updates of the dress on my Facebook page if you'd like to see more. The idea was to keep me working on it even if the motivation started to wane. Thankfully though this hasn't been a problem yet.

Touch wood!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Getting back in to it

Oy it's been a tough few weeks. First there was the flu and just as I was starting to feel better from that, a sinus infection decided to jump on board and take me down. The worst part about the whole thing though was missing Alessi's birthday, which I think I mentioned in my last post.
I woke up, came downstairs and just wanted to crawl back into bed again. Everything hurt.

I got to watch her open her presents, but I missed her blowing out her birthday candles and wasn't able to go out and celebrate with friends as we had planned. Gutted does not cover it and I shed a few tears out of self pity. But I know she had a great day and didn't miss me one bit, which does make me feel better. Dan made sure she had a blast and she talked about what she did for days after.

Speaking of Dan, I have to give him a shout out as he has been insanely supportive over the last few weeks. I lost count of the days I spent cooped up in bed, coughing loudly and just being generally gross and pathetic. And he was awesome. If you're reading this stink, and you tell me that you do sometimes, thank you again. Me and Roo will get out of the house at some point and give you that alone time you so rarely get to just sit on the sofa, watch rubbish on the telly and eat Haribo. X

So yes, that's been me over the past month. Looking after a sick little girl and then being the worst patient ever myself. And at some point during all of that snot and ickyness, spring happened!
The house has been brightened with a never ending supply of daffodils, the trees are starting to bud, all the birds are awake at 5am and Alessi suddenly feels robbed at bedtime because it's still sunny outside and she wants to play some more. Thanks for that daylight savings time.

What else, what else, what else? Oh! I've nearly finished my projects! What projects you may ask. Well the ones I set myself back in September or October of last year of course. Doesn't everyone set themselves overly ambitious tasks when they already have too much on and then set an even more overly ambitious deadline to do them in?
Well aren't we the sensible bugger then. Be gone with you. I will have none of that common sense and rationale on this blog, you hear?

And that really is pretty much it. It's funny, I tried a few times to write something here. I'd stare at the screen and after half an hour would be lucky to have half a paragraph of drivel and misery staring back at me. This little lot has taken me just over ten minutes.
I guess that's a sure sign that I'm feeling more myself again if ever there was one.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Alessi - 3 Years

I'm not sure why three is the magic number in this scenario, but Alessi's third birthday was the one that caused me tears. In my defence that could very well have been because I was in bed with the flu and essentially missed the whole day. But also, in my head at least, it's the end of an era.

Sometimes there are days that seem to move so slowly that my teeth ache and her starting school seems like a thousand years away. And then there are times when I look down the years to the day she will leave home and I realise that I will look back and wonder where all the time went.
Even Dan has been getting sentimental lately so my saving grace is that I am not alone.

Don't worry though. I've had a word with myself and I know that she's still so very little. She still wants cuddles and to be held, despite weighing a tonne. She'll start school next year, something I'm dreading, but that's a post for another day. For now I will just focus on enjoying my time with her and try to commit as much of it to memory as I possibly can. And to that end..

Alessi loves;
Lush bath bombs. Especially the ones with glitter
Singing Let It Go. ALL. THE. TIME.
Dressing up in princess dresses
Playing football 
Her scooter 
Reading. We go upstairs and sit on her bed. She chooses a book for me and a book for herself. Then we'll take it in turn to read a page. When we get to the end of our page we have to say "your turn" and let the other one have a go. When she reads with me, she still sits on my crossed legs just like she did when she was very little. She also loves going to the Library in town with Dan. 
Going anywhere in the car with Dan
A cartoon called 'Blaze' that's about monster trucks. I hate it.
Frozen chips

And she does not love;
Cooked chips
"Pamatoes" (tomatoes)
Putting her pyjamas on

And that's pretty much it. She's at that golden age where she pretty much loves everything. Yes she's picky about some of the things she eats, yes she sometimes has meltdowns and yes she creates chaos wherever she goes. But that's exactly what she's supposed to do at this age. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well. Maybe with a little less Elsa.

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