Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trust yourself

I'm off on holiday for a bit.  Meanwhile, I leave you with this...

"Trust yourself
You can't write the wrong thing
Give yourself the gift of this writing"

~ The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing, Gillie Bolton

Monday, October 25, 2010

The things they say...

After another weekend of staying in and wondering if I've got some rare terminal illness that starts in the sinuses, gives you green snot for ages and makes you ridiculously tired (and annoying), I ventured out with Jake today.  Just cos it's such a fun and action packed place to go, we went to Sainsbury's. 

We just "needed" a few random things...12 - 18 month onesies (yup, he's only just outgrown his 9 - 12 month ones), a bottle of elderflower cordial, some granola, fish fingers and because Jake saw it on Show Me Show Me and I absentmindedly said we could get some and he didn't stop reminding me, cheesecake.  And because we went past them, we also came away with Peppa Pig stickers.  It didn't go too badly.  Jake only cried a few times (tiredness), but that short trip absolutely exhausted me.  When we got home, my attempts to get Jake down for a nap failed and he almost had a meltdown because I couldn't get the damn stickers out of their packet and unpeeled fast enough...

Want bus, bus bus!!! (Peppa & her family in a camper van) Want bus now Mummy, (WAIIIILLLLLL) bus now, now.  Need bus!

Train, train, want train, need train, want train noooowwwwwwww (Peppa & her friends in a train)  Need train NOW!

Star, star, star, want star, want star, need star nowwwwwwwww (tiny star too friggin' tiny for adult fingers to handle)

Peppa Pig!  'Nother Peppa Pig, 'nother Peppa Pig.  Peppa Peeeeg NOOOOOOWWWWW!

Nerves were fraught, tears and snot were everywhere and I was just about ready to scream. 

And then...

C'ock, c'ock, c'ock!  Need c'ock, Mummy!  Want c'ock!  Need c'ock now!!!!!!!!!

Yup.  He still can't pronounce his l's. 
Lucky for him I found this utterly hilarious. 
Especially when I realised it could've been worse. 
He could have been shouting "Mummy need c'ock" while he was holding the stickers in Sainsbury's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Still here...

I've been wanting to post something all week, but I'm still sick (starting to feel better but still not over it) and I've been unsure what to write about.

On the one hand, being ill indoors, forced to keep my own company and stew in my own self-pity whilst looking after a relatively demanding toddler does not a great blog post make.  On the other hand, being ill indoors, forced to keep my own company and stew in own self-pity whilst looking after a relatively demanding toddler is almost like being forced to sit in prolonged meditation...if you are of a certain character and frame of mind.  It can drive you crazy (it did), but it can also take you to an unexpected place.  A place where you see things clearly.  Never mind that those things are boggy swamps rather than mountain vistas, seeing them clearly brings its own sense of peace.  At least for a few minutes. 

For me, the boggy swamp things are still too complicated, raw and personal to write about here.  I'm trying to tackle them in counselling, though it feels more like wrestling, or a fist fight, or worse.  But it has left me with a sense of surprise.  You just never know where your mind, your self is going to take you.

On a lighter note, we only have 5 sleeps till we go on holiday (!!!!!!). 

And Jake continues to be on top form. For the last few weeks, his favourite game has been to demand a specific thing to eat, watch it being made and then when it's offered to him, to refuse it.  This has been particularly trying while I've been ill.  One morning this week, after the second time that he refused something he'd requested, I said, "If you don't want this, I'm not going to make you anything else, do you understand?"

He thought about it for a moment and then said, "Yes Mummy, I standing now," and pointed at his legs.

You just can't beat toddler logic.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Joys of Life with a Two Year Old

Being bossed around...

"I be back, stay there Mummy"

"Don't want do it, Mummy do it"

"I want cereal!  I want farl!  I want chocate!" etc etc
And upon being presented with said demanded item, "Don't want it"

Having to endure endless reruns of...

Train videos on You Tube (oh my god there are soooo many train geeks out there)

Justin Fletcher's Nursery Rhymes (and not being able to get the image of angry inflamed arses out of my mind upon hearing hot cross buns)

'ister Tumble

Refusing to have his nappy changed

Today's example:  Can I change your nappy Jake?

"No.  I drawing now.  I drawing Sponboj"

His creativity...

"Jake, can you please pick up the paper you threw on the floor?"

"I drinking tea now.  Mummy do it.  Pease."

And my very favourite...his made up songs. 
Most of them are very endearing.  His latest one however, could do with some work...

Mummy Mummy (awwwww) horsey horsey (erm....okay....) knickers knickers (heh?)

Mummy horsey knickers!

Thanks kid. 

At least he still wants cuggles.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ten Things That Make Me Feel Happy

I'm really annoying right now.  Full on whiny, why-me, annoying because of this god-awful cold which is a nasty one.  One week on and it doesn't feel like it's getting any better.  Apart from the snot and not being able to breathe through my nose, or hear very well or sleep very well or think very well, not to mention the many forests we've used up by way of tissues, the worst thing about this blasted lurgy is not being able to smell or taste my food.  If you know me, you'll know how infuritating that is.  So I thought it would be a good time to post this.

Many moons ago, Cheeky Mummy tagged me with this meme.  I didn't notice the tag till a few weeks later and I've been meaning to do it and post it up since June.  Here it finally is.  It's nice to see that nothing on the list has really changed.


Ten things that make me feel happy

1. People – specific people: Jake, Paul, my close friends, family, people who love me and care about me, meeting new people – potential new friends, the prospect of the people I’ll meet in my lifetime. I could never be a hermit. I might not be very good at talking or opening up to people, but without them, I’d be even more of a basket case than I already am.

2. Books – owning them, looking at them, coveting them and reading them. I’ve been a bookworm ever since I was 6 or 7. My Dad introduced me to Richard Scarry and my Mum introduced me to Pearl S Buck. I read my first novel, The Good Earth, at the age of 8. I’ve been hooked on books ever since. I try not to judge people, but I do feel sorry for people who don’t read. I would not be who I am today if I didn’t read. And the thought of a life without books makes me shudder.

I’m currently addicted to Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. I know, I know. Feel free to mock me and throw things. But if you do throw things, can they please be nice, non-bruising treats.

3. Writing - I guess this makes sense what with all the book reading. I started writing stories as a child and was encouraged to keep a diary by my Mum when I was 10. I’ve never really stopped and now writing is as necessary to me as breathing. It doesn’t matter to me anymore that I may never get anything published. To me, the point of writing is to write, not to become famous.

4. Travelling - Probably a throw over from my nomadic childhood, but I love love love seeing new places, new sights, new colours, new smells, being immersed in the dream of another life. I love being reminded that the world is a much bigger place than the one I am in, full of possibilities to explore and discover. One day, I’d love to be able to do this with Jake:

5. Learning – I finished school and University a while ago, but I’ve never stopped doing courses or trying to teach myself one thing or another. Since finishing my Masters degree, I’ve done courses in: counselling, tai chi, massage, aromatherapy, reiki, shiatsu, photography, watercolour painting, drawing, various writing courses, yoga. I taught myself to knit, bake vegan goodies, cook, and I want to learn screen printing, solar etching, embroidery, how to use a sewing machine and bookmaking. I’m sure there will be more things I’ll want to learn in the future. If I ever lose my desire to learn then it probably means I’m dead.

6. Food – food glorious food. There are fewer things better than good food. Simple, fresh, tasty. Bacon sarnies, crispy fried eggs with rice, steak and chips, black bean tostadas, cannellini beans (all beans and pulses really), miso soup, sushi, tempura, lobster with butter sauce, egg fried rice, fried chicken, crisps, chocolate croissants, TEA, fresh lemonade, Moroccan mint tea, calamari, guacamole, pancakes, lemon cupcakes, roast potatoes, souvla, souvlakia, cheese pastries, all pastries, larp, peking duck, steamed eggs, minced pork omelettes, bun xa with tofu, brinjal bhaji, crispy aubergine, stir fried marinated soy garlic aubergines, all things aubergine, pesto, linguine with pea and mint pesto, a full English, toast with marmite, cashew pilaf, dal, masala dosa, fish masala, tom ka, ho fun, and all the wonderful dishes I can’t recall now and have yet to discover.

7. Projects – my regular blog readers will know how much I love projects. 100 days to make me a better person, 100 word diary, 250 words a day, 100 day to do list. And those are just my most recent ones. I love having a project to be getting on with and coming across a new project or an idea for one always fills me with hopeful glee. Being challenged, having a crack at something new, being creative – it helps keep me going and growing. I don’t do well when I feel static.

8. Music – all kinds. Currently rediscovering Lhasa's The Living Road

9. Being inspired, especially by other people’s talent and creativity. It lights a spark in me and gives me that sense of expansiveness, the feeling that the world and life is full of possibilities to be discovered.

10. Yoga – it opens my mind, stills me, centers me, calms me, roots me, helps me to be present, awake, restores me, challenges me, strengthens me, teaches me. And doing it feels good too.


I was supposed to tag a bunch of people to carry on the meme too, but I'll leave it up to you.  If you fancy doing it, please do.

Monday, October 11, 2010


So we didn't make it up North.  We all got the lurgy, and it hit Jake quite hard so we cancelled our trip.

Cooped up indoors while the weather was lovely (of course), I started work on my next piece of stitchery...

Tracing the pattern from one of my drawings

I used a 90gsm, non-waxy tracing paper and
Sulky Iron On Transfer Pen to retrace this image
on the reverse side of the paper

Preparing to transfer onto fabric

Even using the transfer pen, some of the lines were still faint
But it worked better than last time

I went over the fainter parts with the transfer pen,
drawing directly onto the fabric

On the hoop

My progress to date

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Spotted this today.  It wasn't in the process of falling but suspended as if by magic (spiderweb magic naturally).

We're away for a few days visiting the in-laws oop North so see you on the other side...

Is it twee?

So here it is, my very first piece of embroidery (or stitchery, as I prefer to call it).  Considering that it's my first and that I used my own drawing to create the pattern, I'm quite proud of it. 

I originally wanted to stitch this on a different fabric, a lovely slightly textured chocolate coloured chambray (in fact a cheapo table cloth I found in Wilkinson's). But my transfer pencil left such faint lines I couldn't see the pattern so I had to make do with white. Transferring the pattern was not quite as trouble-free as it's portrayed here.  Even though I followed all the instructions, I still had trouble getting clear lines and had to draw over the fainter bits directly on the fabric with the pencil.  I've since found some non-waxy tracing paper and even a transfer pen (wonderfully named Sulky) so I'm hoping that will solve the problem.

Anyway, this is stitched entirely in split stitch on a bit of cotton napkin procured from Sainsbury's (a pack of 4 for £3.50!).  I used the split stitch simply because I couldn't get my stem stitches to work.  I know that sounds terribly fancy - it isn't.  The stitches have names and once you know them it's like knowing how to use certain ingredients for cooking.

There were a lot of false starts...muck-ups, pulling out threads and restarting, and some of the stitches are still not terribly neat, but once I got started (with Jenny Hart's book Sublime Stitching to hand), it was easier than I expected and I like the overall result. 
My only worry is that it might be just the wrong side of twee.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The magic of kisses

Yesterday Jake & I (well, mainly I) were making a Charlie & Lola mobile, printouts and instructions courtesy of the cbeebies website.  Jake did some of the colouring in and I did the rest.  It was a day of having to make the best out of bad instructions.  Suffice it to say that the website instructions were far too simplistic and I had a bit of a struggle with the thing to get it to balance.  Jake watched me and said, "Mummy not happy?" I told him I was having a bit of trouble with the mobile.  He watched me a bit more and then said, "Mummy want kiss?"  The power of a lovely kiss!  It did make everything better.

A close up of the mobile
Photo taken by Jake

Unfortunately no number of Jake's kisses could rescue my disastrous attempt at Ash-E-Jow, an Iranian barley soup.  I wanted to use up the pearl barley that's been sitting in our cupboard for yonks and stupidly went with the first vaguely interesting recipe I found on the internet and only realised too late that it was a shite recipe.  Not only did it leave out several key ingredients, it said it was for "1 serving".  Now I knew it couldn't possibly mean for 1 person, but I did not think that what it actually meant was 1 serving for a family of 8.  So now I have a pot of plop for 8 people.  I've thrown half of it out and hope to rescue the remainder today.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Things I meant to share earlier

Post bath pixie child
(The one time he asked Mummy to give him a bath)

On the E17 Art Trail

My little photographer

A display at the Vestry House Museum

Zig zags

September sky

Monday, October 04, 2010

The worst fear

I read a horrific story today. If you're feeling at all crap or sensitive right now, don't read on.

A friend of a friend found her 3 year old son dead in the washing machine. She was exhausted and lay down for a nap. When she woke up, she panicked when she couldn’t find him. Then she noticed something in the machine and she knew she hadn’t done a wash. First she pulled out the dead body of their family cat. And then her son. She tried to revive him but it was too late. Even more horrifically, she was initially under suspicion for murder but was later cleared by the Australian police.

When I read it I felt sick. I thought about the few times I’d fallen asleep when Jake was up on his own. I inspected our washing machine and thought about all the different things that would have to happen for Jake to lock himself in there. He would first have to turn the knob to the start of a cycle. Then he’d have to press the on button and press it hard. Then he’d have to squeeze himself into the drum. Our machine is quite small, but it could be possible. Then he’d have to pull the door firmly shut. I don’t think Jake would be able to do this with our machine. There’s no handhold that would enable him to pull the door hard enough to shut it from the inside. I cannot imagine what that woman is going through. I can’t imagine that level of grief. Just thinking about whether Jake could possibly hurt himself or worse in this way was bad enough.

Lately, the only way I can get Jake to have a nap is if I pretend to have one too. Usually in a separate room. I can always hear him and will go in to him if he’s up to something. He usually potters about for a bit, for about 20 minutes, then it goes quiet and I come out and find him sleeping somewhere. On the sofa, sitting up in the rocking chair, on the floor. Once I fell asleep unexpectedly and slept for 45 minutes before I woke up, panicked and went downstairs to find him reading quietly on the sofa, beaming at me when I came down the stairs.

Today, I was especially paranoid about every single sound I could hear coming from the living room. Twice I almost mistook distant birdcall for possible snoring and car door slams for the thud of falling. I then heard a lot of rustling and definite Jake snoring. I went downstairs and I couldn’t see him. I could hear him but I couldn’t see him. Then I spotted him. Safe and sound.

Friday, October 01, 2010


10am ~ jamface

After lunch ~ doing painting

1pm ~ assembly line of handprints completed

Right now