31 March 2013

project de-hoard is nearly complete

It's Easter! Or the first day of British Summer Time, whichever is more important to you...  I am mainly just thrilled we had a bit of sunshine at long last. I've never thought whether I suffer from S.A.D. or not, but I do always feel so much better when the days get brighter.

I have just about finished project tidy the living room. Which I am feeling fairly proud of myself about. There are still some things I need to go through. I have to do some major hoovering and there's a washing up mountain that seems to have emigrated in there. But, none-the-less, I think I might be on top of it!

So, the before photo can be seen in this post which was almost one of the first I wrote.  I can now show you the (almost finished) results.

As I said, not quite finished yet but all the rubbish is pretty much gone. I'm sure I'll keep finding pockets of it for a while to come.
The laundry mountain that seemed to have built up in there has also been pretty much cleared and I will go through it and pick out all the clothes that madam doesn't fit into any more. They have a new home waiting for them, which is awesome.
I have also managed to get my brother (older) to fix my issues with Office so I can now actually write for this camp I'm signed up to! My friend over at Small Print Larger will be thrilled! It is entirely her fault I got myself into this in the first place.
I even have virtual cabin mates... I shall fathom out what I do with this information as we go along... I'm really looking forward to getting started and may well have to start as soon as I'm allowed (midnight).
I think I've brought you all up-to-date for now. There will be more, there always is!
I wanted to leave you with a picture I'd knicked off Facebook, but I shall let you find it for yourselves. It's on my profile and made me laugh very loudly. :) 

30 March 2013

How many words can I write in a month?

I have signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. It commits me to attempting to write 50,000 words in the month of April. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I think it's actually an American thing, but my friend had signed up and wanted some support.
I was going to use the opportunity to focus a bit more on my Storm in the Shadows story and help develop it a bit further. I think I might be slightly cheating to have 5 chapters completed already... but hey!
I am, however, not going to be writing anything until I can get my Word programme to work again. It (and the rest of my Microsoft Office Starter 2010) has decided not to work. I have tried running the troubleshooter thingumy in Control Panel but it hasn't achieved anything.
It said it needed to submit error reports and then said that it couldn't send all of them. Try again later.
I now can only use wordpad and I don't like doing that... (picky, I know)
I also need to plot out where the story is actually going as I'd kind of written myself to a full stop when I was writing earlier. I need to decide what will be happening to my main characters and I should maybe try to think up the next clues (and their solutions).
I have to say I was really enjoying the writing as it was quite nice for me to have to stretch myself and actually think hard. I also quite like the idea of being in charge of these people and who they are. It was nice to be in control of something.
I think, however, that the rest of my day is going to be taken up with more tidying and hopefully this should be the last session. Well, in the living room anyway. I need to remove all the stuff that is in there that shouldn't be.
I filled a bin bag just with extra yarn and crafty projects that seem to have found their way into the room. There is also goodness knows how many soft toys spread around the place along with various other toys and dolls.
I did put some laundry in before we came out earlier, but there is at least another load hanging around waiting to be sorted. It's a good job my electric is working, even if the boiler isn't!
I need everyone out there to cheer me on with writing this novel, I shall post the new chapters as they're finished. Please feel free to critique them and give me pointers. I may even print it all out if you ask me nicely enough! ;)  

29 March 2013

menu planning for pleasure

I have had a couple of days with no t'internet so I haven't been able to blog. It's funny how much I miss the access when I don't have it. I have not even been using the time that wisely... Just doing some chilling with madam and making meals for us both!
I think I'll be sticking with the meal planning as it worked really well for us this week. It also meant that even when I was feeling that I couldn't be arsed I knew that I had all the stuff in the cupboards and I just had to use it. There was none of the, crap, none of this goes together what can I cook moments...
So having decided that 1, chicken and broccoli pie kicks bum and 2, it creates quite a lot of washing up I shall take it off nexts weeks menu. But it'll definitely turn up periodically :)
I guess I'm very lucky that madam will eat pretty much anything except tomatoes (and then only raw ones are not acceptable) which does mean I can possibly be more experimental than others with small children.
Although this week, when we were at Morrisons, the lady at the till told us that they sold purple peppers! We so totally need to find a recipe for them to go in. I'm thinking chicken and chorizo bake! (This is the answer to most things at the moment!)
Apparently the purple peppers are a similar colour to the potatoes we've had before...
I've not tried mashing them, but they are fairly floury so I may have to make some form of cottage pie or something with them on. This could be fun.
The menu for next week will be slightly out of sink as madam and I will be on cat sitting duty from Tuesday. This means we will be staying at the rents. Good for access to wi-fi and tv. Bad for the fact the rents are taking the one car they now own and we'll be quite a long walk from town...
Apparently they will be leaving me some bus fares. Bonus. I have to find things to occupy madam with (and me) next week as she's still off school and will be climbing the walls as we haven't been able to do much because of the weather.
The other good thing about being at the rents is that I get access to the cupboards and kitchen equipment here. Mother has loads of exciting things for me to play with. Sadly, I'm mostly going to be playing with the slow cooker! Oh, and the dishwasher!
I am also meant to be at the counsellors next week, which I may have to cancel due to logistics and having madam with me.
Ooh, the traditional Good Friday fish has arrived! This year it's in the form of fish and chips :) Sometimes, life is really good!

26 March 2013

Sleep deprivation and the small child

I have decamped to a cafe for warmth. Boilers always go on the blink when it's cold, don't they!

Madam and I are indulging in free wifi and a hot drink (I have to let her feed her moshi monster as part of this arangement). I get caffeine, which is what I am mainly powered by, so that's good :)

I kept up with my meal planning and we did have our chicken and broccoli pie, and it turned out so well I may have to put it into our regular repertoire! I certainly have made plans to cook it for friend H next time she visits. This will probably be a nice change from the roast pork we usually force ourselves to eat! Oh goodness, I seem to remember promising to attempt choc beetroot cake  for this occasion as well!

We never manage to be healthy!

I hate the kids holidays as it sends any pretence of routine completely out the window, but we did manage to get up, dressed, and breakfasted this morning before midday. This is an achievement, believe me!

Madam did have to be persuaded to do the getting dressed part of this routine as she seemed to think we should have a pyjama day. But I held firm and ate my cereal in front of her whilst waiting for her to get on with it!

I then managed to get my choice of dvd first (as I put it on whilst she was eating) and she, mainly, didn't whinge about it.

I did very little last night as I had spent Sunday night trying to do three things at once and getting myself into a kefuffle. I mainly just watched Shutter Island and caught up on my Words With Friends games. 

I meant to finish off a project that I had been working on, but I never quite got round to it and was determined to go to bed as soon as the film finished as I've been getting later and later again at the moment.

I did manage to fall asleep on my own at least. Before madam must have snuck in at some point as she was wrapped around me when I woke up! I much prefer this method of co-sleeping as we keep each other awake otherwise.

I've been reading some articles on sleep deprivation in children and how much it affects them. It's something I'm quite consious of as I have trouble sleeping and I worry that madam will as well. So, for me, it's very important that madam doesn't have any things in her room that she can stay awake and do. I don't want her to have a tv, dvd, let alone a computer in there. 

I know that at 4 she's quite young for these worries, but she has several friends with tv's in their rooms and who get put to bed with a dvd on. There was also some talk in the articles about out of school activities and homework being part of the problem.

I think most of my friends will remember how much I liked homework as a child! But I also think that there should be a time limit on how much that kids are given. I'm not convinced spending two hours struggling over maths problems you don't understand is helpful.

But I do think that the amount of sleep kids get makes a whole heap of difference to them and their personalities. Madam is plain horrible when she's tired. She won't do anything for anyone and she is punchy and deliberately nasty. It's not fun. However, when she's woken up from a full nights sleep she's giggly, fun and a complete live wire.

I guess I'm the same though, as anyone who's ever had to do a morning shift with me after a late will attest! ;)

25 March 2013

Updates and planning

I'm feeling quite impressed with myself this morning (no, the house isn't tidy, yet). I have various updates and things for you all.
I have, most importantly, been to see the council Housing Officer and handed in the form (completed! Woot!) and filled in another form with the chap which was all pretty similar to what was in the other form.
This, apparently, forms part of my homelessness presentation. It now goes to the person who does that and she will be writing me a letter telling me what to do now. I will need to get evidence as to why I need the council to house me. I manage to tick a couple of big boxes by having been born in the town and having my parents live here. And apparently madam's schooling will be an important decider too, phew.
Next up, I got the shoes! Well, friend Lucy Lockett got them for me. But it all works out the same. She's much better at the whole ebay thing than I am, so now I just need to get the yarn I'm lusting after in midnight blue to make the shawl I'm planning.
Then the wedding outfit will be pretty much complete. Still need a bag and possibly some flats for the ceilidh in the evening. But I'm much less worried about those bits :)
I've done another swatch for the shawl I'm planning too, as the first one went a bit wrong. I've been using scraps of yarn so this swatch is in a random bright green that I think I got free with something. Here's the swatch:

I've also done actual planning for the week and we have a basic weeks menu plan and the shopping to make it! I will not have to spend the week wondering what on earth we're going to have for various meals. For example, today I'm making my lentil and bacon soup for lunch and then we're having chicken and broccoli pie for tea. Sorted.
For years I've meant to do actual menu planning, but never quite got around to it. This is all in my quest for us to get more organised and tidy things up. If I can introduce organisation into one part of my life, it'll filter into the next part... So if I'm not wasting time thinking about what we're having for tea (or whenever) I can do another tidying blitz.
So, I'm going back home in a minute and we're doing a 15 minute tidy and then we're (I'm) making lunch. And after lunch I have to go down to the rental agency and tell them my boiler is playing up. Then home for another 15 minute tidy before tea :)
Planning, it might yet work... 

24 March 2013

spirituality and my ideas of it

Today, for those of you who follow these things, is Palm Sunday. This is the Sunday before Easter, where everyone goes into a chocolate frenzy. And I will be disappointed yet again as my parents have stopped getting me Easter chocolate and buy me smellies and things instead. (Ungrateful, me?)

But in all seriousness, I do go to church regularly and I do, mostly, try and be a good person. This I suppose is partly to do with the fact that I have been going since I was a child and it's a habit. But mostly because it gives me a sense of peace.

I hadn't been for years though until I met the husband. He went every week and I, naturally, went with him. I found the services in Greece (which is where we were at the time) really long and boring, but the community of the congregants was lovely to be part of. It's this sense of community that I had forgotten.

When I was back in the UK and on my own I didn't really go to church much. I have always loved the Christmas services, Midnight Mass in particular, so I went to those. But I was just drifting, like a lot of people.

It was only really when the husband moved to the UK that I started going more regularly. We got married at my local church which I had always hoped to do. And when your local looks like this:

And this:
You'd probably want to use it as a venue too! :) And we thought we'd join the Alpha course as it would be a way for the husband to get to know a few people. We met some lovely people and had a nice time learning a bit more about faith.
And then we moved to Scarborough, where our local church was pretty much just across the road from us. I didn't really go though as I was usually at work on a Sunday. Then, when I was pregnant something in me changed. The feeling of something growing inside me was humbling.
But it also made me think more about where I had come from and the deeper questions in life. I found a great deal of comfort in knowing there was something/one watching over me and this baby I was growing. If you read my blog post on the breakdown of my relationship you'll know that my pregnancy wasn't a completely happy time for me.
And shortly after madam entered my life my grandma left it. I was glad that she had lived to be able to boast of a great-grandchild to her friends at the nursing home where she and my grandpa were staying. And that she'd seen some pictures of her. Just sad that she didn't meet her.
I found myself in church on the Sunday after she'd passed and when everyone had left to go and get coffee in the parish hall I just sat, holding my precious madam so tight. Thinking about how we'd only had her christened a week ago and now it was just all sadness.
But in that sadness and quiet a peacefulness also stirred. I'm not sure if it really has anything to do with God and I'm sure a lot of people won't believe in it. But it works for me. I can find some peace and inner calm whenever I need it just by having some quiet reflection time in church.
It's probably just association, but I like it and I'm quite happy to go to church once a week to get it topped up again. And it makes me happy that I get to go and have a sing (which I've always enjoyed) and that the church community is so welcoming.
I don't live in Scarborough any more, I'm back in my home town. But that community came with me here. For I've been accepted into my church family just as if I had never been away. And madam is part of it too.  And even when I moved church (that's another story) I still felt like I belonged.
And I suppose if I feel like I belong to something it keeps me anchored when I'm feeling like the whole of my life is spinning around me too fast and I don't know where I'm going.
I'm not a massively religious person and I think everyone should be allowed to worship or not as they see fit, but I'll leave you with this as it has a soul soothing effect on me.

23 March 2013

Reality is really real

Today I have been facing a bit of reality. I gave myself until the end of March to sort the house out and I now basically have a week left and it's not done. I'm kicking myself because I've ground to a halt again.

I think having madam becomes my excuse as she untidies just as fast as I can tidy! But I have decided that roping her in to the tidying might help. Today we are going to tackle the living room again and part of that is to sort out all of madam's clothes that seem to have moved in there.

So my plan is to get her finding her clothes (for 15 minutes) and then we can sort them in to stuff that fits, doesn't fit, and chuck it. The doesn't fit stuff can then be taken to the charity shop/passed on to friends. We measured madam again last weekend and she has now reached the grand height of 117cm. This means she's now into age 6-7 clothes! She's 4! Not even 4 and a half...

My child is a giant.

So I'm guessing that all the age 4-5 stuff we have (and the final few 3-4's that seem to have escaped the last cull) will now need to go out. I may also have a large laundry pile to get through so that those things are actually suitable to donate! Anyone wanting (probably a vast amout) of girls clothes do let me know :)

I think we're now at a point where I can hand down clothes to her school friends or even just donate them as spare clothes at her nursery! I think actually, if no-one else wants them, that might be a good thing to do with them.

I've also been doing a bit of crocheting practice today. I've decided to make a shawl to wear over my dress when we go to my cousins wedding in September. I've got the dress, it's blue with little white bows printed on it.

But then I've been dithering over what accesories to go with it. I was thinking grey as I thought that might look quite smart, but I've totally fallen for some midnight blue fyberspates yarn and may end up with that... Oh, and I found some gorgeous blue shoes that I'm a bit in love with too!

I fell in love with them when they had them in Clarks last year but couldn't afford them. There is a brand new pair on ebay for a tenner... *wants*
Anyhow, can't stay, got to go do some sorting...

22 March 2013

knitting, crocheting, and me

Today is all about knitting. I've been a knitter for a couple of years after being introduced to it by my friend V. Well, she didn't actually introduce me to it, just prodded me in the right direction (she's an expert at prodding! ;-D).
I was first taught to knit when I was about 10. I was given, as a birthday present, a first knitting set and I was really keen. However, my skill was not great. If you'd wanted to have your knitting with random holes and without the same number of stitches on two rows together, I was your girl. It made me very frustrated. I gave it up.
And that was how it was for a long time. I'd written knitting (and most crafting type activities) off as something that just wasn't really me. But I come from a knitting family so it was something that niggled at me. And then I got pregnant. My mother went into Nanna mode and knitted a little outfit to bring madam home in.
And I was really jealous that I couldn't do it. And when madam was little it really niggled that I couldn't knit for her in the same way I'd had things knitted for me. It was then that V and her new-found skill came in. She was very passionate about it and waxed lyrical about a particular book she had. She then gave me a copy for my birthday :)
And that, as they say, was that. I was hooked, I set off on this quest to work through the book and knitted lots (and lots) of things for madam. And then I branched out into magazines and patterns from my local yarn shop which meant I introduced myself to some more complicated patterns.
In the first year I'd made 3 cardigans, a dress, a tank top, various hats and scarves, and a few other little bits and pieces. I absolutely loved the feeling of producing something from very little. I had really been bitten by the bug. I spent hours happily knitting away. I found it a really helpful way of relieving stress.
But I've slightly stopped at the minute, I've also moved on to crocheting at the moment. It's easier to pick up and take places with me when I need a project to be getting on with.

I'm currently crocheting two blankets for my friend who is expecting twins in June. One is orange and the other is red (my friend chose the colours). Each blanket is being made with 3 different shades. I've finished the orange one, and am half way through the red one (though I don't think I have an up-to-date photo of that one).
So, this is the orange one:
And this is the start of the red one... I've done quite a bit more since this was taken though...

I'm quite pleased with how well they've both turned out. And I hope my friend will love being able to wrap her twins up all snuggly and safe :)
I'm really enjoying the crocheting and I'm thinking of making myself a shawl to wear when I go to my cousins wedding in September, might be a bit hard, but I'm happy to give it a go... :)

21 March 2013

how perfectionism leads to procrastination

Yesterday on twitter I saw this picture shared and I loved it so much that I really wanted to share it with you

I don't know where it actually came from, but it makes me feel better :)
I don't really have time to write a proper post today, there are far too many things I've got going on. Thursday is a bit of a rush for us. I tend to have a lazy morning with madam and then we have to get ready for her to go to gymnastics at 4 and me to be at college by 6. I just have to drive us from my parents house down to gymnastics then back across town at rush hour.
Then I have to go across to the other side of town to get to college (still in rush hour traffic). Now this town is not big. If it was a normal trip each of those journeys would probably take no more than 10 minutes tops. In rush hour they both take a good 20 minutes if not more. This isn't that long, I know. But I only have an hour to do this.
And madam's gymnastics quite often overruns. I have to (almost literally) throw her out at my parents and get straight off again so that I can get to college in time to at least get myself a coffee before class.
And I'm still behind on my work so I have that to deal with every time I go. I hate knowing that I'm behind. This course is important to me and my hideous procrastination seems to be trying to make me fail.
According to FlyLady procrastination comes from perfectionism. Which sounds counter intuitive, but I can understand it. Because you want to do something properly (perfectly) and you don't think you can you put off doing it until you think you can achieve that perfection. And as anyone who knows anything will be able to tell you, the perfect time never comes.
So I've decided that I can't keep on making things worse for myself. I'm going to the library tonight and finishing off the work that I have to get done. Then I can have that off my head for the Easter break. I use that time (I really will) to catch up on the worksheets (there aren't many) and my reflections journals.
I can't decide whether to print off all my blogs and add them to the personal study part of my portfolio as they are evidence of personal growth and evolution of self. But maybe that's not necessary... I dunno.
So my question is, do you think they're worth including or not? 

20 March 2013

what kind of things would YOU eat?

I've been having trouble trying to think of something to write about for my post today. I spent my morning catching up on some radio and TV. I can't write when I have someone elses voice in my head though, so I left the post until later.
I did write a little bit earlier on my feelings about rape, but I couldn't find the words to properly explain my feelings so I started and re-started a couple of times and then (as you can see) I gave up.
The reasons I was even considering that as a topic was because of the twitter-storm that has been created following the conviction of two teenage boys in America. The article which got me thinking is by Grace Dent and is something I agree with.
But I don't usually use this forum to discuss such things and I feel without being able to have a debate then it's all just another opinion...
But I'm still left with the dilemma of what to actually write about. The other thing that has made me think today was the programme I was watching on the iplayer this morning. It was called Can Eating Insects Save The World and it was absolutely fascinating. And disturbing. But mainly fascinating.
I think my favourite thing was watching the presenter hunt for tarantulas with some young boys in a Cambodian village. They could not stop laughing at his squeamishness and fear. But in the end gave him the largest of their catch to eat. And he enjoyed it.

The programme raised some really interesting points about the sustainability of our current system. Our western source of proteins and how it's reared and used is wasteful and destructive. To see one barn be used to raise hundreds of thousands of crickets for the Thai food market and see how little it took to rear and keep them was eye-opening.
I don't know how easy it would be to turn the western world on to this protein source given our aversion to that type of thing (just look at how much we already change our meats to make them palatable) and our lack of knowledge.
And I don't know if I could, personally, even try it. I'm fairly tame when it comes to my eating habits, madam and I have only just really discovered the wonders of chorizo! And I don't like my food when it comes with either it's legs or it's head still attached. I hate fish looking at me off a plate! Oh, and I'm funny about bones in my food too. Wow, I come across as horrendously picky.
The fact is I'm used to my safe little world where meat comes pre-packaged and cleaned up. I choose not to eats parts of animals I don't want to as there are other options available. But as meat becomes more and more expensive to both rear and eat then will I be willing to compromise and try more things. 
I think nothing of eating some things that others find particularly off-putting, like haggis or black pudding, so I guess it's just an extension of that!
Whatever happens, I'm pretty sure no one will ever get me to eat liver! 

19 March 2013

anxiety and how it eats into me

I had to go to the council this morning, *had* to. I needed to register as someone who will be homeless soon. Well, hopefully I won't, but best to have that back-up plan actually in place and not just as a theory in my head. This meant facing various types of my own anxieties. I have to say that the major selling point of this plan was that I didn't have to phone anyone. 

I should really have gone yesterday, but I couldn't bring myself to. I'm really struggling with my paranoia about being able to manage things on my own. I have to force myself into doing things. I did manage to cook dinner last night, which is something I couldn't manage every day last week and we cheated a couple of times. 

I always feel so much better when I know I've cooked and have control over what exactly madam eats. I prefer to think what I feed her will be healthier than what I just heat up and bung at her. 

But back to my fears about going to the council. It's got many things wrapped up in it. To do with my fears about what is going to happen to madam and I and also with dealing with authority figures. Oh, and I hate (loathe) form filling. The fact you fill out the same information over and over again without seeming to get any further. I started this particular fear when I was made redundant and then the husband was. 

I had to fill in all the forms that we both had. I wrote and wrote and wrote the same things over and over. And with every form I wrote and every time I repeated myself I got more and more wound up about it. Until the point where I couldn't bear to do it any more. And then because I didn't fill in the one form I couldn't fill in the next. And so on and so forth. 

It's why I struggled so long to fill in the forms for my housing benefit and got in such a mess. It's how come I couldn't face sorting out my benefits claims when it all had to be changed again. It's all knock on and the dislike of having to deal with authority stems from it. I'm not sure what I think will happen to me, I know I don't like the condescending looks or the feeling that I'm being judged. 

I feel like I'm not strong enough to deal with it. I want someone else to do it for me! This is really not a logical or helpful mindset, probably comes from a desire to not be the one who *has* to do it again. Again.

The last time I had to go to the council and get my benefits sorted I just told them straight out that I couldn't cope with the form and the man I was seeing didn't even bat an eyelid and just filled in all the sections as we went along. Knowing that I am obviously not the only person who has asked for help with this makes it easier to ask again. 

But I still have a massive (why do they make them so big?) form that I'm to try and fill in as much as I can of before my appointment on Monday. I think I might need some help. Luckily I now have a friend who works for the council contact centre who has said she can give me guidance. Excellent. Not quite someone to do it for me, but close.

So, then there is the waiting. This is the main thing that I have fear with on the phone. When I have time to sit and worry about something that's when it spirals and magnifies and becomes insurmountable. I cannot cope with that void for some reason.

I had to take a number and sit... I did notice that I was the next number so I was able to hold myself together and spent the time finding all the information I knew they would need to see. I managed to make the time pass quick enough and when it was my turn I explained and the lady gave me the now prerequisite form for me to fill. Now strangely having to fill it in whilst she was there seemed to work to calm me down enough to get it started. 

She photocopied my eviction notice and made me my next appointment. I was then left to finish off said form at home (as mentioned above). 

Most important part is that I have done it and now the steps are in place for me to get some more help. Lets just hope I don't have a breakdown with worry over the weekend...

Ok, need something cheery to end on... how about this:

It's a baby turtle on a jellyfish :) Awesome...


18 March 2013

my mistakes and why I don't regret them

I was reading a blog post last night on 10 blog mistakes that bloggers make and it got me thinking about mistakes I've made in my life. Now I'm not a big believer in regrets and I like to think that we wouldn't be who or where we are now without the experiences we've had. I may not always like where I am, but I wouldn't want to change it because, for all I know, I could be worse off!

When I think about my life and the things I most wish I'd not done the first thing that pops up is my time at university. Now I know what you might think, getting an education is important, helping you form as an adult and helping shape the opinions you carry with you for the rest of your life. And for those reasons I'm immensely glad that I did go. But I have never used the degree that I still haven't paid for.

The student debt is forever hanging over my head and although I'm not in a position to pay it off (or to have to) it's another debt I could be without. I wish someone had been there to explain that I didn't have to go to university when I still had no idea what I would do after I'd left. I wish there had been some better careers advice at school. But I ended up drifting and never quite feeling like I fit anywhere because I *still* don't know what I want to do when I grow up.

This is part of the whole not feeling like a proper grown up thing I have going on. How can I be a gown up if I still struggle with something as basic as what role I want to lead in life. No focus leaves me floundering. I'm aiming for working in a counselling role at the moment, but I'm worried this will just be another thing that just doesn't quite work out.

Most importantly though if I hadn't been to university I would probably never have found the courage to do things by myself. I would never have spent time living in Germany, France and Greece because I wouldn't have had those opportunities. I would be even more of a small town girl than I already am. I might have a bit more self confidence, but I would have lost all those experiences and I would never have met the man who became the father of my child.

Massive arc to follow there, but if I hadn't gone to uni I wouldn't have ended up in the job I had with the person I went on holiday with where I met my future husband. See, mistakes can lead to happiness too.

Which brings me to the husband. Was he a mistake? I suppose I would have to say yes, given how it ended up, but the previous point applies here too. No husband, no madam. And ok, I could have been with someone else who I might have had child (ren) with, but I also might have never found anyone who made me feel like I had been loved. Cause, in his way, the husband does love me. I just don't love him back any more.

My other mistakes are mainly small and consist of me not always being very good at being a friend. I've let friends down (I forgot to go to friend Lucy Lockett's bday party once). I've always felt awful about that, but I think she's probably forgiven me by now (we're still friends after all!). But I think my best and dearest friends are used to me by now. They know that I will (unless I forget) always be there for them. There is no reason why time or distance should put a stop to friendships.
My life has been full of things I instantly wish I could take back. But learning to deal with those things and move on is what makes us stronger, better people. I hope that I keep making mistakes and keep growing and learning. It might not always feel great at the time, but it's the best way I know to help you feel alive!

17 March 2013

a day off

It's raining again. I'm so bored of rain and snow and damp and cold and Winter in general. I was under the impression that Spring was meant to be in the offing. Obviously that was just a malicious rumour someone managed to start.
I am hoping that it will be cheering up soon as I got madam a new 'kini and we need to go swimming to test it out. I won't go when it's miserable as we have to walk home afterwards and if she's wet she'll get really cross. And I can't cope with either of us getting another cold this month! *coughs* I am a water baby myself so I really love going swimming but with madam I don't actually get to swim, I have to just watch what she's doing and make sure she doesn't drown herself. Boring for me, fun for her. But I do spend my life putting her first, it's hard to be totally selfish and just do things for me. It's probably why I'm constantly frazzled. The only me time I have is after madam is in bed, and then I'm usually too knackered to enjoy it much.
I should really make more of the time I have when madam is at nursery, but I never seem to get round to it. I wish I could remember what it felt like to be properly indulgent with my own time. To be able to luxuriate in an unplanned day and fill it with things I enjoy. Even if that did mean I just sit and crochet whilst weeping at slushy films. I'd like someone else to do all the cooking because even though I really enjoy it, I don't like doing it for small numbers. I love having anyone to cook for, I totally up my game. When it's just me and madam it's too easy to be lazy. I'd like to be able to see my friends (all of them) and go out for a girly meal and possibly a film we all love from our childhood (Grease or Dirty Dancing would be my top choices!) and round it all off with a couple of drinks and a natter (probably with a bit more knitting/crochet thrown in).
Then to bed where I would read a favourite book for a bit and drift off into a properly refreshing sleep. No-one would jump on me in the middle of the night and I wouldn't wake up to find some hot thing draped around my neck with her hands shoved up my top.
If I'm going for perfect days then I'd quite like all of this to take place in somewhere I love dearly like Edinburgh or Whitby or somewhere warmer like France or Italy. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand and parts of the USA or even just Malta or Corsica. I want some warmth and some pampering. I'd like to eat fresh, simple food and drink ridiculously alcoholic confections whilst sitting near the sea somewhere.
All of this leaves out the fact that if I did indeed have a day without madam I would miss her so much she would probably be all I talked about. I've turned into one of those sad people who lives through their children... I'd love for her to be old enough to enjoy all those things with my friends and I, she's going to be such a fascinating character as she grows older. And I hope that she doesn't get that beaten out of her at school where uniqueness is not really a cherishable commodity.
I'm hoping that as she ages she will be able to spread her wings and use all the talents that she's currently nurturing to get her to a place in life where she can be happy, fulfilled and challenged enough to drive her forward. 
I don't want her to wake up feeling miserable about her job and her life and fearing there will never be any way that she can change it. I want her to find someone who loves her for all her quirks and who brings out the best of her. These aren't exactly wishes that are exclusively mine, but I'm hoping that now they're written down and in the real world (as it were) then I can focus on them and use them to motivate myself to help her succeed. I also hope I have the wisdom to know when she wants to do things differently to how I'd like and to accept that as an individual she should be allowed that choice. 
I can only hope that my dreams and hopes for her can be adapted to fit her dreams and hopes for herself. I'm pretty sure that it'll be an exciting ride, wherever she chooses to let life take her.
I'm planning on ensuring my life becomes a whole lot more like a good example to her than the car crash it resembles at the moment. I'm lucky to know that she loves me and I only hope that as she does get older she realises the things that I have tried to instill in her. 
I also hope that she grows up to realise that I did my best. Cause she's certainly the best thing I've ever done.          


16 March 2013

film fun

I actually quite enjoyed the Tinkerbell film! There, I said it... It was quite sweet really, and madam was most taken with it, which was the point after all. I also quite enjoyed being at the cinema, it's one of my favourite places.
I used to go to the cinema all the time when I was younger, I went at least twice a week and would watch most of the films by myself (I couldn't be arsed to wait for someone else to be free to come with me). I never quite got round to signing up for one of the unlimited cards which would probably have saved me a fortune... nevermind... I had spare cash at the time.
I do miss that part of my old life, there is a great cinema club called We Watch Films that goes once a month to the local cineworld. This would be great for me if it didn't meet on a Monday, when I can't get a babysitter... Or to the cinema, for that matter... *sighs* But I do chat to them on twitter and facebook which at least gets me in that world. They've arranged a screening of Labyrinth for the end of April which I'm planning to get to by hook or by crook! I would love to see it on the big screen, having only ever seen it on a TV. *goes off into a slightly weird David Bowie fantasy*
I'd like to establish at this point I am not (and never really have been) a Bowie fan, but I do fancy him as the Goblin King... No, I don't really understand that either, though I'm fairly sure I'm not alone...
I had a bailiffs letter through the door yesterday which was for an unpaid parking fine of the husbands, I went into panic mode and couldn't phone the number on it so as I only had 24hrs to sort it out I had to palm it off on my mother this morning to get her to ring them whilst dad drove us to the cinema. Felt enormously guilty, but mother is aces at dealing with that kind of thing and just told the guy that himself wasn't at the address and hadn't been for quite some time. She did give him the address we have for him in Bristol...
We're now struggling to find something to do with ourselves this afternoon, it's wet and miserable. Again. But madam needs to go somewhere and run about. I can't think of anywhere we can really go that doesn't involve us paying out in some way. I think we may have to brave the rain and just go for a walk somewhere...
I'll let you all place bets as to whether we just end up at home watching DVDs in the warm...     

15 March 2013

28 days and counting

I'm a little upset it's not 4.55 when I'm writing this as the urge to say things about Crackerjack would be hard to resist.
I'm at the parents house again whilst planning things for tonight's guide meeting. I have purchased balloons and we've got the introductory activity for our first Girls in Action badge to do today. I need to pick out 2 more activities for the Guides and they get to chose the other one. I am taking the icing biscuits option off the table as I think they spend far too much time doing that anyway (for example one of our young leaders is doing some things with icing tonight with them...)
We then get to choose an action such as writing to our local MP or participating in a worldwide photo campaign (which is what I think we should do). There are other options too, but I can't remember them! Ha!
More importantly, the badges are quite cool and I really want one!
Today is officially the time that I can get the council to act on my behalf about this eviction thing as it's now only 28 days away and I still haven't been told I can stay yet :(
I'm still really worried about where I might end up and how the whole thing will affect me. I'm starting to really worry that I'll end up a long way from where I am now without any support network. The isolation potential is the thing that I'm most afraid of... I'm lonely enough already. The only potential good thing about being moved out of my home town is that one of the other places they could place me would actually put me back into my old circle of work colleagues and I would know the place quite well. Still wouldn't chose to be there, but I could maybe cope with it.
I am trying not to stress myself out about it but it's definitely affecting me and my tidying has come to a crashing halt, which isn't particularly going to help me stay in my house...
I'm taking madam to the cinema tomorrow morning (It's a pound, bargain!) as a treat for passing her next badge at nastics yesterday! Her teacher said she'd done some really good work and was pleased with her. I have also roped her best friend in so that her mum and I get someone else to sit with whilst we watch :) We're going to see Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings, definitely not my first choice, but our little girls are both obsessed... I'm mainly just pleased to get out the house...
Mum has just provided me with spag bol and I must finish off and head to Guides...   

13 March 2013

deep in the forest...

Suddenly it's Wednesday again... where do my weeks  go? I'm at college again tomorrow and I haven't organised what I need, again... I could swing for myself, I really could.
Anyway, the counsellor and I spent the majority of our session discussing learning to deal with feelings and how the whole thing with my daughter being upset with her dad is a good learning experience for her. I still haven't got as much enthusiasm for it as my counsellor did, but I can see her point. Learning to recognise and accept feelings, whether they are ones we want to experience or not, is how we learn to cope with them.
If we can get to a point where we can accept the emotion, acknowledge it's presence, and then chose to either go with it or against it, then we are getting to a point where we might be emotionally mature. There were never any lessons at school about how to deal with our emotions and what to do with the ones that invade our consiousness in an all pervading fashion. I know that for the longest time I used to (and still mostly do) deal with my emotions through food. Its the only thing that I am comfortable doing.
The more miserable or lonely or sad or angry or bored or any emotion really, the more I use it as an excuse to eat. This is how come I'm now getting to a point where I could be mistaken for the side of a house. And the stupid part is that the general size of a houseness also drives my feelings of unhappiness and makes me eat more. I'm fully aware of this cycle and yet I haven't found a new way to deal with my emotions so that I can stop it.
But this is what the blog and my story (that I haven't written any of for a while, sorry) are suppose to be about. This way to express myself and my creativity should be enough to stop me needing that emotional crutch that I've always used, but it doesn't seem to be working very well yet. I am not capable of leaving my emotions at the door, like some people seem to be able to do. I'm glad that I do have things like my crochet/knitting to help me calm my mind when it just wont turn off, I read and I watch movies that make me cry. I'm learning to accept my emotions as they happen rather than muting them so they creep up on me.
I talked to my counsellor about my nana yesterday too. How I'd never cried about her death, how I'd not even known where they'd buried her, how my grandad dying had at least brought me some closure. But I still think about her all the time, and I still wish that she were here. She would be 86 if she were still alive, and this year is 20years since she passed. It seems so unfair to have lost her so soon when all my other grandparents made it to their 90s. Worse that she was 10years younger than them in the first place. I wonder how my mother will feel next year when she reaches the same age her mother was. And how it will feel if she lives to be older than her (which, obviously, I'm sure she will). I can't imagine how I would cope without my mother, nor how my father would. I can see my moving in with him so that he wouldn't have to be alone.
My goodness I'm big on the deep and meaningfuls this week... It's not planned, I promise. I just write the things that come into my head and then I can read them and file them as dealt with. I need this release otherwise I drive myself insane and I can't sleep for my brain whirling these things around.
And once it starts then it chucks in all sorts of other stuff that I've been avoiding for whatever reason! Great.
I'm trying to think of something positive I can end this piece with, cause I don't like leaving you down at the bottom if I can help it. So remember this, even Pinocchio got to be a real boy in the end!

12 March 2013

thoughts are king

Yesterday's post, which you can find here was a bit deep and meaningful for a Monday morning. But I make no apologies for it as I was incapable of thinking about anything else until I'd expressed that inner frustration. Having written it down I've managed to persuade my brain that it's registered and that we can move on to the next minor problem it would like to inflate unrealistically...
Last night I had a complete parenting fail as madam and I both fell asleep on the sofa until 4 this morning! She then came straight up to my bed with me, so she totally won the "I want to sleep with my mummy all night" battle. Drat. That'll make tonight so much harder as she's managed to get her own way once... She's ridiculously stubborn (can't think where she might have got that from!) and our battle of wills matches go on for hours. That'll be fun then. *sigh*
This morning there was less of a battle to get madam to school, which was a relief. She seems to have finally got the idea that things carry on around her whether she feels like interacting with it or not. She made a half-hearted attempt to get me to stay at school with her, but I merely had to say "no" and she accepted it. I'm so upset that I've had to let her learn about this side of life so soon. But I'll have to content myself with the knowledge that it'll be of use to her throughout her entire life. 
As we walked to school this morning she was telling me again about how daddy had punched me. Right down to demonstrating which bit of me he'd hit. I could happily throttle the husband for how he's made my daughter feel, but that wouldn't really be a good example on my part now, would it... 
I'm seeing the counsellor again this afternoon and having had something of a breakthrough where I admitted to my inner demons (which I wrote about here) I have a feeling she's going to be prodding the sore bit again. Not entirely looking forward to this. I've only got today and one more session to go and then the NHS can no longer help me. I'm a bit concerned that I will not be ready to stop then. But as I'm rubbish at endings I think that would be true no matter how many sessions I had.
I'm not sure what I do with my excess emotions once I don't have someone to talk to about it, I guess the blog will really come into it's own at that point. Then I figure you poor people will have to put up with even more rambling madness from me. And though I wish I could emulate some of my blogging heroes, I don't think I ever will be that skilled. 
Oh! I remembered something I was going to share with you on Friday... My college tutor used a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon as an example for us on Thursday evening. I knew I liked her... :)   

11 March 2013

quandries of life

I don't like hate, it's such a life-sapping emotion. It takes time and energy and makes you focus on something you don't even like... I do get angry though, and I'm furious with the husband.
Poor madam is STILL upset about his flying visit last week. She had to be forced to school again today and I feel so frustrated. I know she loves school, all her friends and her teacher but at the moment all she wants is to be with me. She is seeing monsters in the dark again and we'd got past that. She hasn't spent a whole night in her bed since he visited. And although she always comes into my bed in the morning it's usually 7am not midnight.
She seemed to have been under the idea that as daddy had been in the house then he'd be staying. All children want their parents together, I understand that, but it's just not going to happen. And she's obviously been thinking about why daddy isn't with mummy any more as she's gone back to telling all and sundry that daddy punched mummy. I had hoped we wouldn't have to go through that again.
I'm struggling to know what to do for best for her, I'm convinced that keeping to her routine as much as possible is the best thing for her. The more she sees that her world is still the same the better it is for all of us. I've been letting her do the things that she seems to need to help keep her safe, she took Pat-a-cake her cat to school with her today. But I'm going to have to let the real world back in soon. She can't learn to wallow, it'll not be good for her in the long run. I need to help her learn that it's ok to be upset but that we have to get on with things at the same time. It feels too young to teach her that, but I guess she was always going to learn it eventually.
And now I've started thinking about what would happen if I weren't here for her any more. Because, obviously, I intend to always be there and always be her mummy, but what if something were to happen to me? I've said many times that I really need to get a will sorted out but I haven't as yet. So where would madam go if I weren't here, because I know who her other parent is... I don't even know if I get to make that choice. My real desire would be that she could go and live with lovely V as I know that she'd carry on where I've left off (though maybe with a bit more focus on tidying ;)). However, I think that would take her too far from all her family and the life that she knows so then my next choice would be my older brother, but he's about to move a long way away as well. (sad face)
I wouldn't want to leave her to my parents as I'd rather she was with people more my age. I think she would probably end up with her Scarborough based godmother, she has experience with kids but won't be having any of her own. Madam loves her to tiny bits and gets on well with the two children that her husband has. And Scarborough isn't so far away that they couldn't make sure she stayed in pretty regular touch with her nanna and grandpa.
It would be nice if I didn't have to think about these things at all, and as I said I'm not sure whether I actually get much say in the whole thing. But I don't want her to end up with her dad as he's proved himself incapable time and again. I'd be worried he'd take her back to Nigeria to palm her off on one of his sisters to look after and then my parents would never see her again.
I really could do with consulting a lawyer about it all. I need to see one to get my divorce in the pipeline too...
Ugh, too much heavy stuff today. My brain is just working triple time. I'll be ok, really. And I know that madam will too :) 

10 March 2013

Mother's Day love

It's Mother's Day again! Traditionally in our family we didn't used to celebrate it, particularly. But over the years it's edged it's way in. My dad still does dark muttering about american card holidays, but he gets no choice!
My little madam did herself (and me) proud. She's not going to school until September and yet she has written the card all herself. No helping from my mum at all! I knew she could write her name, but suddenly we've got other words :)
So, this is my glittery, sparkly card:

And when I opened it there was an abundance of glitter that had fallen off into the envelope too! She also gave me a washing up fairy from Lush, which was remarkably sweet! And this is her lovely writing that she did for me:

Madam managed to persuade me to let her wear the outfit I'd got her for Easter. I'm far too much of a pushover sometimes... But I have been busting to see what she'd look like in it, so we made a deal. She let me sort her hair out and then she got to wear her new clothes. She really is starting to look very grown up now...
I keep hoping to get out of the pink phase she started last summer, but the blouse looked so cute with the jeans and top I didn't mind so much. It's a sleeveless blouse so she'll be welded into the cardi all day for once!
Anyway, I hope those of you who have children have been spoilt at least a little bit. And I hope you are all having a nice (if chilly) day, today.
Lots of love...