Monday, 22 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

Giving up a big wave to Sian and the rest of the Mondayers!

It's been a big weekend over here, it's Rachel's 30th on Wednesday and so we had an early family celebration (her due date and my due date 30 years ago are identical and I'm just assuming that Bingle will arrive early too and I didn't want her birthday celebrations to be overshadowed by anyone else's birthday or to have to take place in the labour ward)

Talk naturally turned to how I felt/looked at this point and I went through the family photo albums and found a photo of me taken on almost exactly the same day 30 years ago, sitting in the lounge at an open window in a rocking chair - which was my son's cue to go outside with the camera and take a photo within a photo, recreating the pose.

So what have a I learnt this week to share with Sian's Memorandum Monday project?
Turns out I am quite the sporting expert after all
Oh yes, that girl who was the last one dawdling out the changing rooms at the beginning of PE lessons yet the first one back at the end, the one who was the fastest in and out of the communal showers and managed the whole manoeuvre with barely a drop of water on their skin, the one whose least favourite subject at school was the dreaded games lesson - has, over the course of the last two weeks, become almost an Olympic judge.
When I discovered that the Olympics was taking over the TV for the whole two weeks, I was not impressed but over the course of time I've found it far more interesting that I imagined.  Not all sports, but the ones I enjoyed, I really enjoyed.  There were thrills (Ladies hockey, who knew it could be so exciting?) spills (Mo Farah falling over and still getting up to win the race) and heartbreak (Tom Daley, how could it go so wrong in the semi finals and that poor guy who lost the gold medal in the last half a second of the Taiquando). 
I realised that I was probably overestimating my knowledge when my husband gave me a quizzical look as I passed comment during the diving on the sharp entry into the water after a 4 turned half pike with a twist.  Baring in mind that I only learnt to swim when I was 30, don't like being out of my depth and am a founder member of the 'heads up' brigade (those of us who don't like water on our face or wet hair while swimming) I am hardly qualified to criticise.  
And despite the fact that the Lee Valley White Water Park where our canoeists trained (I became quite a good judge of their slalom too) is less than 20 miles away, I don't think there is any chance that I am likely to suggest we spend a day on the training course any time soon. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

As I know that Sian is safely out of the country, I'm going with something pretty controversial this week for Memorandum Monday.
Are you a stamper or a saviour?

This is an interesting take on something I learnt this weekend which was

(look away now, those of you with a nervous disposition ...)

Spiders have the ability to grow back their legs if they get injured.

Oh yes.  You read that correctly.  They can grow back body parts.   And how did I learn this?  Well.  Our house seems to have dozens of those spindly legged, skinny spiders in it at the moment.  Perfectly harmless, but make lots of webs everywhere which makes it look as if I don't dust very often.  {ahem}  I have no issue with these, I mean, I'm not keen to adopt them as pets and I certainly don't let them stay in the house once I've found them, but I can quite happily easily grab a duster, pick them up and throw them out of the window.

But one evening I was sitting in bed reading my book while P was downstairs locking up the house (this has to be his job because if I do it, the minute I get into bed my mind immediately doubts that I have indeed locked the back door/closed the windows in the lounge/checked the oven is turned off) when out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement.  A scuttle of something black, appearing from the door of our en suite.  It was a pretty impressive size, had a large plump body, definitely had 8 legs and looked at me with a cocky 'catch me if you can' glance. 

Now, I don't like spiders.  I know the ones we get in this country don't do you any harm so I would certainly never kill one intentionally.  My default reaction to seeing a 'proper' spider is to grab a glass, sneak up on the unwelcome critter, turn the glass upside down and cover it so it is held captive until the cavalry arrive to eject it safely from the house.  P has no qualms about picking up spiders of any size, just cups his hand over it and picks it up while I stand by an open window or door screaming 'quick, quick, close the window/door before it has the chance to run back in.' 

By now the big, black, hairy spider has run the length of the bedroom and taken sanctuary in a corner - I am screaming for back up as the only glass in the room is woefully inadequate to cover this monster.  P appears with the resigned look of someone who has been called on to get rid of a large spider before only to find it is about the size of a 10p piece, but when he sees it, even he admits that it's larger than your average spider.  The spider, looking at P and knowing he has met his match, makes a bid for freedom, back across the bedroom towards the en suite.  (The window of which has now been opened in readiness for the ejection of the spider) I'm now standing on the bed and the dog has appeared wondering what the commotion is and perhaps she can help.  P makes a grab for the spider, grips it between his thumb and forefinger at which point the spider makes a final bid for freedom and leaves P holding just 2 legs!  Not one to be beaten by a 6 legged creature, (which has now slowed down considerably) P makes another grab, catches it and throws it out the window. At which point I bemoan the fact that the poor little thing  (yes, once it is safely out the house I can feel sorry for it) only has 6 legs and won't last long in the big, bad outside world when P says

 'don't worry, it'll just grown some new ones' 
A quick internet search confirmed it. Spiders can grown back legs that they lose.  Who knew?

Oh by the way, you know that story about the average person accidentally eating up to 4 spiders in their lifetime while they are asleep?  Just a myth apparently.  However, I'm still not knowingly going to share my bedroom with one - just in case!

 So there you go.  In this house we would never stamp on a spider, we're definitely saviours.  Which are you?  Stamper or Saviour? 

Monday, 8 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

It wasn't hard to find something new that I hadn't done before this weekend.  My God-daughter got married and it was the first time that I had ...

... been to a wedding reception in a Tipi!

It was such a lovely venue, and gave a real 'festival' feel to the afternoon.  After the meal people were just sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, playing giant Jenga, croquet, trying their luck at a coconut shy or just chatting with a glass of something chilled.  The bridal car was a little out of the ordinary too

So was the catering - absolutely delicious pies.  It may sound unusual but it went down a treat!  (I can personally vouch for the chicken, ham hock, leek and cheddar)

The bride's brother is co-owner of a local handmade ice cream company so you can guess what dessert was!  I was especially happy to see their stand as it meant I was able to find a better photo of a bike for Rinda's Scavenger Hunt :-)

It was a really lovely day, the setting and the atmosphere was just perfect - not to mention the weather. 'Happy is the bride that the sun shines on'!

Joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday theme.

{For those who sent kind wishes last week - baby update - 36 weeks now and no hospital dashes last week.  Phew!}

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

This week I am ...

... looking after my neighbour's cat.  Now anyone who knows me well will know that cats and I do not always get on {I still have the scars to prove it} but this little cutie is no trouble at all and seems to like me.  I turn up twice a day to let her in and feed her, what's not to like?  She's a very old lady though and everyday that I go round I am greatly relieved when I see her running towards the door.

... working on the last photo for Rinda's Scavenger Hunt.  A piece of artwork.  So I got out my trusty artist's pad and started creating a mandala.  I'd forgotten how relaxing these drawings are.  Well, relaxing until you get 3/4 of the way through it and then smudge a line of wet ink that is.

... enjoying wearing my new make up.  I don't wear a lot of makeup and don't normally spend much on what I do use, but this year I've had two 'splurges'.  I've been eyeing up the Bare Minerals make up range as a friend of mine uses it and her skin always looks well made up but still natural.  But as it's a bit different to normal foundation/blusher/highlighter I thought I really needed to go and speak to a shop consultant rather than just go in and buy something.  So when I was in Cambridge a few months ago I walked through the beauty department of John Lewis and there were no customers at the Bare Minerals section.  Yes! This was my chance.  So I had a trial make up done and was so impressed with how it looked and felt.  Until she totted up how much it would cost me if I bought everything she'd used and every brush she recommended.  Gulp.  I asked her to make a note of it so that I could think it over.  I did a bit of research on line and saw that they did a starter kit that had everything she had recommended with one multi-purpose brush and then bought it when I was in Duty Free at the airport for £32.  I know it's only sample pots but reviews said they found that it lasted for months on end as you only use a tiny bit of powder for each use.  Then I can replace it as I need to rather than buy full size bits of every thing. Does anyone else out there use this brand?  I love it.  The texture on your skin is lovely, and it really does last all day.  I'd really recommend it but honestly don't think you need three different brushes, this starter kit is perfect. 

Well one thing missing from the kit was a lipstick, and the only piece of make up I spend a lot of money on, and one which I do wear every day, no matter what, is my lipstick.  And my favourite one is YSL Rouge Volupte Shine.  I've been wearing the same colour for a couple of years so I went into the store and asked the sales assistant to suggest a new one.  She chose a paler, more coral colour than my normal one and I love it!  And as I bought it with a batch of vouchers that I'd accumulated through the John Lewis loyalty card, it was even better because it was practically free!

... wearing trousers again.  Where has the sun gone?  I'd got used to wearing sun dresses every day.  This cloudy weather has got me reaching for something to cover my legs again.  I bought these lightweight cotton trousers last year from Accessorize and I didn't wear them and left the tags on them for ages as I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of them and might not actually keep them.  But I'm so pleased I didn't return them, they are so comfortable to wear and are just perfect for days like this.

... Looking forward to wearing my new dance shoes when Fitsteps returns tomorrow.  I had started the classes wearing trainers but they really weren't flexible enough for a dance class.  So I found an old pair of Rachel's dance shoes that she used to wear for 'character dancing' and folk dancing.  They were brilliantly flexible but had no cushioning at all in the sole.  I started to get pains in one ankle which went up my shin and I'm sure it was because there was no 'bounce'.  So I decided to order some proper split soled shoes.  Flexible?  Tick.  Cushioned?  Tick.  Let's see if they put more spring in my step!

... weaving in ends to the blanket I've been knitting.  Oh boy, this blanket has taken a while to do.  It was fine at first, but the mid section took so long, I used to make myself do at least 2 rows a day to keep it going, then suddenly the end was in sight and I stepped up the pace.  So now the blanket is finished but now there are dozens of ends to weave in at the beginning and end of each stripe.

So that's how my week is shaping up, and I can't believe that I'm now two weeks into the holiday - why does holiday time go so much faster than work time?!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

Well here's a first ... first time that first size clothes have been hung in the garden of this house.
When we moved here Jon was 15 months old so in much more toddler sized clothing, but yesterday Rachel finally succumbed to my nagging. I've been saying for weeks 'have you packed your bag? have you washed some newborn sized clothes?  You can't put Bingle I something that hasn't been washed in the finest baby safe washing liquid.  And what about crib sheets?  This baby could come at any time'. To which she always replied 'there'll be plenty of time for that once I've given up work'.  Oh will there?  Well look, the sun is shining, you've finished work, you're here for Sunday lunch, let's put a wash on and dry them in the sunshine.' 
Fast forward 4 hours.  That nagging back ache  she's had for a couple of days has become a bit more painful and a call to the hospital suggested that she pop along and be put on a monitor.  Just to be sure.  Just in case.  (You know where this is going don't you?)  Sure enough, those were contractions.  At just 35 weeks I was trying hard to keep that brave, positive face on but I can't pretend that I'm not anxious. 
They kept her in overnight, scanned her this morning - Bingle is probably weighing in at 4lb 14 oz, contractions (or 'cramps' as Little Miss Denial is calling them) have slowed and she's on her way home.
Any positive, reassuring tales of babies delivered early would be gratefully received! 
Well this isn't the post I expected to write to join in with Sian's Memorandum Monday - you never know what the days will bring eh?

Monday, 25 July 2016

Memorandum Monday

We love Bingle!
When Rachel's baby is born he will have the surname 'Ingle' and because they haven't revealed the name they have chosen to many people, he's affectionately referred to as Bingle - Baby Ingle.  The surname has determined what initial the name can't start with as they don't want a T.Ingle, M.Ingle, D.Ingle, or S.Ingle.  His Daddy is a J.Ingle but that sounds ok and makes choosing Christmas cards very easy - never hard to find something that says Jingle Bells or Jingle all the way.
So anyone who knows me in real life or on Facebook will have not difficulty in guessing what I did for the first time this weekend - I hosted a Baby Shower!  I'd never even been to a baby shower (didn't have such things in the olden days when I had my babies) so wasn't really sure what was involved other than drinking prosecco, eating cake and playing games.  Turns out, that was pretty much correct!

I made a huge effort to photograph everything before people arrived but then totally forgot about taking photos of when everyone was actually here.  I was kind of busy and time just flew.  (What with all that eating of cake and drinking prosecco you understand)  So please use your imagination to see our garden with about 18 guests eating, drinking, handing over gifts and enjoying making Rachel feel so very special.  The garden was full of laughs and chatter and it was such a lovely afternoon.  We had an idea to ask everyone to bring a copy of whatever had been their favourite book when they were growing up so they have such a fantastic ready made bookstore with all the titles I remember reading aloud to Rachel and Jon all those years ago.  It was a fabulously, memorable, happy time, and I now totally 'get' what Baby Showers are all about!
Linking in with 'Memorandum Monday' - a meme introduced by Sian over at High in the Sky - let's all pop over there sometime today and see if Sian is back from her travels in time to write a blog post all about what she's been up to.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hazardous pursuits

It's Rachel's baby shower on Saturday and all those jobs I was putting off until after we'd broken up from school suddenly need doing.  I'm on a baking mission and decided to start off with making a large madeira cake to ice as the main cake.  Which nearly ended up with me going to A&E.  I tell you, I bet Mary Berry doesn't end up a blood and cake mix splattered mess in her kitchen!  In hindsight this was a 'what a stupid thing to do' moment but we all know that such things often start of as 'a good idea at the time'

So I'd made the cake mix and poured it into the tin ready to go into the oven.  So far so good.  I'd left the spatula in the bowl after I'd scraped all the mixture into the tin.  Does anyone else hold their whisk beaters over a bowl and give them a final fling to get the last bit of mix to fly off to make washing up easier?  Well, that is what I did, only the whisk blades caught on the spatula and that started whirring round as well.  So of course the most sensible thing to do would be to put my left hand into that bowl while holding the whisk in the other hand, to try and release the spatula, wouldn't it?  Of course, it isn't, only an idiot would do that and still have the whisk blades twirling round.  I am that idiot.

Next thing I know, not only is there a spatula caught up in the blades but the little finger on my left hand too.  Ladies.  It hurt.  It hurt a lot.  There was blood.  There was pain.  I rushed to the sink and ran my hand under cold water and tied kitchen roll round my finger to try and stop the bleeding.  I was almost scared to look, I was convinced that at least part of my finger must be gone.  As it happens the blood was coming from a triangular gash on the underside of my finger.  My knuckle had taken the full impact and I wondered if I'd dislocated it.  But after careful inspection, all joints were moving properly but everything was swelling up before my eyes.  Fortunately we keep a sports ice pack in our freezer and I held that on it for about half an hour, then took arnica tablets and gradually the swelling went and the bruising came out. To give a clue to the force that was used, my husband had to bend back the whisk blades as they were so out of shape where my hand had been mangled!  Still, look on the bright side, I was excused washing up duties!
Deciding that the kitchen was a dangerous place to be, I turned my attention to wool related crafting. 
Guess the size of the baby belly.  Can you guess how many inches?  I'll let you know on Monday!
I had to return to the scene of the crime this morning to continue baking cupcakes and mini meringues.  I approached the whisk with some trepidation but I am pleased to report that no health and safety rules were broken today!