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!

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 ...