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!
 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Memorandum Monday

Last week was the first Monday that I had missed since Sian instigated Memorandum Monday.  I just couldn't think of anything new I had learnt or done, no obscure thing that I could vaguely tweak to fit into the right category.  However, this weekend was a different matter!  This was the first time I have read a complete book in the space of just over 24 hours!  It wasn't my normal type of book but it was one I could not put down (for several reasons)

The first reason was that I had to give it back to the school library before we break up tomorrow - but even if that hadn't been the case, it was a book that made me want to continue reading 'just one chapter more'.
Let me tell you the background to me reading this when it is clearly a 'cross over' book - written as a children's novel but easily suitable for an adult to read.  The Headteacher's PA (aka my line manager!) asked me if I could do a job for the English faculty.  Just typing up various parts of the opening chapters of the book to be used as for the new Year 7 girls when they join us in September.  Paragraphs to be used as discussion points for how people feel when having to deal with changes and worrying about not fitting in.  By the end of doing the typing I was feeling pretty emotional but could see how it was a great book to use.  I told my line manager who said it had been chosen for her book club and without fail, everyone who read it had cried at some point in the story.  It's called Wonder by R J Palacio.  She loved it so much all three of her children read it and all enjoyed it.  Everyone finds it very thought provoking.
Without giving away any spoilers for anyone who may decide to give it a go, it is about a boy called August (Auggie) who is starting school for the first time, although he is fifth grade (it's set in America and I guess that may be about age 10?) Up until then he has been home schooled, and the reason for that is because he was born with a genetic condition which means his face is badly deformed.  The story covers that first year in school, how he copes with the looks and reactions of people meeting him for the first time, how he copes with being different.  How knowing Auggie, affects the other people there.  Settling into a new school is hard enough for any child, but to be SO different to the rest, well, you can't imagine what it must be like.  The book is then broken into sections so you see that same year from several different perspectives 
  • his sister Olivia who has always known that her brother's needs will affect what they as a family can do, and being defined as 'the sister of the boy with the weird face'.  She too is going up to a new school and finding it hard to settle in, but how can she share her troubles when clearly her brother has a much harder time than her?
  • Summer - the girl who befriends him right from the start and sees him for what's inside of him, not judging him by his looks
  • Jack - the boy who is asked to 'buddy' with August, who finds himself torn between following his true feelings or pretending that he is only friendly with August because he has to.   (The bit about Halloween made my eyes fill with tears)
  • Justin - the boy who becomes Olivia's boyfriend
  • Miranda - the girl who was Olivia's friend at their previous school who gets caught up with being part of the 'cool gang' at the new school who dictate whether or not she can be friends with Olivia
  • It ends with August at the end of that school year.  How he's changed, how he's coped.
Can I just share a sentence or two from the end of the book where he thanks his mum for making him go to school when he really didn't want to leave the comfort of home schooling. 
"Thank you, Auggie," she answered softly.
"For what?"
"For everything you've given us," she said. "For coming into our lives.  For being you."
She bent down and whispered in my ear. "You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder."

This is a long post, but if you have time to spare, or if you have a child about to move onto a new school and be worrying about fitting in, or you just fancy reading an easy to read lovely, uplifting book which is about how a little kindness can go a very long way, I really would recommend it.  Just remember to have a box of tissues nearby.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

'Thinking of an excuse' Tuesday

I missed Sian's Memorandum Monday.  There's no excuse really, apart from the fact that I couldn't for the life of me think of something I'd learnt or done for the first time.  Except for it being the first time that I'd missed Memorandum Monday since it was introduced!
The last week has left me feeling a bit like this
There's just so much going on at the moment that I'm swinging from one emotion to another.  One thought that's keeping me going is knowing that by this time next week, school will be broken up and I won't have to work for the next six weeks!  Weird to think that by the time we go back, I could be a grandmother! 

So excuse my absence for this week, hopefully I'll be back next Monday, I'm certainly on the lookout for new things to learn/see/eat/drink.  In the meantime I'm going to enjoy looking at what everyone else has been up to.  Have a good week!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Memorandum Monday

Joining in with Sian's band of merry Mondayers in sharing something new - I have been out to the shops this afternoon to buy something for Rachel's baby shower.  Those who know, or know of, me will be aware that I do love to cook.  Rarely does a week go by without me baking a cake of some kind, so you may be surprised to hear that I do not did not own a cake stand. The food theme for the baby shower is a traditional afternoon tea, with prosecco for those of us not expecting a baby and cups of tea for those who are.  There's going to be about 16 guests and offers of china and crockery are coming in to have a proper vintage mix and match style.  But I did not own a cake stand so I had the perfect excuse to go out shopping this afternoon and I'm really pleased with the one I found.  I think it may end up seeing a lot of use, I'm already imagining it filled with a dessert of meringues and chocolate dipped strawberries next time we have friends over for dinner!
On the subject of new things, I also learnt something new about my son; after 26 years he still has the ability to surprise me.  When I told people he'd got engaged, their first question was 'when will they get married?' and my reply, without fail, was 'it's taken him 8 years to propose so it won't be any time soon'.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  They came to spend the day with us yesterday and I said 'I bet everyone's asking you if you've set a date!' and they laughed and said 'yes' ... 'it's going to be August bank holiday weekend next year'.  Good job I was sitting down! 
But here's a lesson to be learnt.  I've been joking with my dear friend Denise, she's got three sons, and two are getting married within a month of one another this year - I should not have been so amused by her needing two mother of the groom outfits or two hats so quickly in succession should I, because here I am, now in exactly the same position for next year!  Better start saving ... 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Scavenger Hunt one month in

I'm so happy to be linking in with Rinda for the 'how are you doing' monthly roundup of Scavenger Hunt photos.  I normally get most of my finds when I'm on holiday but this year we went away earlier than usual and I knew that I was going to be extra observant on the last few days of my holiday as the list went live 3 days into our visit! 

Without further ado, here's my first finds:
1 A Natural Heart 2 Footsteps/footprints 3 a skeleton 4 books I read


6 A camper/campervan 9 someone playing around water 10 a bicycle 12 a window
11 Fresh produce has to sit on its own as it was taken on a camera and not my phone!

13 The moon  15 (almost ashamed to show this one after Monday night's poor performance) a team logo 16 a map showing a trip taken 17 twins
18 A supermarket trolley 19 (the most fun one to find) a seasonal cocktail 21 a photo of me with a newspaper page


And so I am missing 5 a porch or deck, 7 a family gathering 8 a drawing/art project 14 a buffet of food and 20 someone laughing.  I am wondering if us Brits can use a photo of a garden patio for number 5, the porch to my house is really not photogenic and we don't have wooden decking - I may have to put my thinking cap on for that one!
How's everyone else doing?  Big thanks to Rinda for organising this again, it really does make you keep your eyes open!


Monday, 27 June 2016

Memorandum Monday

On a day where I realise that I care more about politics than I thought I did.
{Also shamelessly copying Mel's idea for a Scavenger Hunt photo!}
We tend to leave the politics to our son in our house, with a degree in Politics and a Masters in African Politics, he usually has an opinion or two to voice whenever something comes up that is newsworthy.  But this weekend I felt, for the first time, very sad and disappointed.  Normally when we have a vote, it doesn't feel too bad if the person you were backing doesn't get the majority vote (and I do have a 50:50 history of getting it wrong!) as you only have to live with that decision for four years.  But this time it was a big decision, I knew it would be close but I didn't realise that it was would be so close - or that I would feel so deflated when the results came in.
We are certainly living in interesting times.  What did you learn this weekend?  Why not share it with Sian and the rest of the Monday crowd?
 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Mini Memorandum Monday

Sian asks us to share something new for Memorandum Monday, well I've never spent a Monday morning watching one of these before.


Hang in a minute, did any of the overly observant out there notice the label on the front? The one that says Labour Ward? So you now know it's not me that's hooked up to the monitor! Rachel had mentioned at the weekend that although she could still the baby moving, the kicks weren't as strong as before, and the routine of when she felt them had changed.  I thought maybe the baby had changed position and so the movements were happening in a different place.  She was still worried this morning and rang the hospital who said that it was important to get it checked out.  Her fiancĂ© was already on the train to London and the hospital said to come NOW so I was woken by the phone ringing to ask if I would be able to go with her and keep her company.  Not the best way to start the day.  So after half an hour on a monitor and an hour waiting for a doctor to finish his meeting she was given the all clear and told that all seemed well, maybe this is what her 'new normal ' was going to be.  However, just to be on the safe side, they've booked her in for a scan later.  Guess where I'm going this afternoon?  
Talking of babies, when I was planning this post yesterday, I was thinking it was going to be about MY new baby, my new car ...
Whilst I was sad to give my red one back, I'm already loving the new one!  Now if only the rain would stop so I could plan a Mini adventure to take it on!  How's your Monday going?