28 August 2013

ee lad, you look crackin'

We have been in Bristol over the bank holiday. I got to play with babies. Madam played with her big cousin. She did also fall off a slide, which was a lot less good. But she mainly bounced. She hurt her ankle and scraped one of her cheeks. But a day of doing nothing on Monday seemed to fix it.
As we were in Bristol and we had been waiting so long to do it, we finally hunted the Gromits :)
And what a great way to 1) spend a couple of hours doing something fun and 2) get in some sneaky exercise without your child noticing! We managed not to argue at all whilst we were hunting and she fell asleep not long after we got home. Which is what every parent wants!

My favourite? Either of the last two really. I was hoping we'd find the strawberry one as I've seen photos of it and it looks really cool, but it was obviously in a different part of the city...
They are going to be gathered together for an exhibition in the middle of September, so we might get chance to go and see them then. It's the same time as himself's birthday, so we could well be in Bristol for it...

23 August 2013

Hedgehogs and Gromits

I saw the cutest baby hedgehog today (Thursday) when we going home after madam’s teddy bears picnic. It was such a surprise to see it wandering around in broad daylight that it took me a moment to work out what I was seeing.

I took a few photos as I happened to have my camera on me. I don’t think you can tell how small it is! And we did manage to stop madam from picking it up for a cuddle…


We came home to find the DVD I’d ordered from Amazon had arrived so I spent the end of the afternoon and early evening educating madam on the joys of early 80s Christmas TV! And I have to say the Box of Delights pretty much stood up to the repeat viewing. The special effects were a bit creaky, but other than that the story stood the test of time and it was just as absorbing as I remember it.

Madam was slightly freaked by the opening credits but the actual program content was nothing that she was bothered by. She was a bit fidgety, but I did make her watch all six episodes back-to-back!

I have my first review at the gym tomorrow. Will be interesting to see how it’s gone for the last 5 weeks. I have been finding it pretty easy to stick to and am hoping for some inch loss if nothing else. I think I’ve lost a couple of kilos, which is not too bad, given I haven’t been on a diet with it…

Mother is going to have madam whilst I’m doing my bit. Her plan is to take madam to the park and run her around for as long as she can bear it. And then hopefully madam will go to sleep on time. This is because himself will be arriving later…  

We’re going to Bristol this weekend. I am actually quite looking forward to it. Not the whole spending time with himself bit, but the being back in Bristol. I do love it as a city.

And this time we’re going on a Gromit hunt. There is an exhibition called Gromit Unleashed and there are 80 models around the city for us to find. I am not convinced we’ll manage even half of them, but we can have a go J We’ll be outside in the fresh air, and when we searched for toads a couple of years ago in Hull we had such good fun.

I have pictures of madam with all the ones we found and am planning the same with the Gromits. I’ll have to post some when we’ve done. I’m desperate to find the strawberry one!

I told you I went shopping and I am planning on wearing some of the new clobber for my hols (cause I see it as a bit of a holiday). I get to see lovely L and her kids, the twins are 3months old already! I am looking forward to much baby smushing and cuddles. I love seeing her older boy playing with madam, they get on so well. Well, for the most part!

And as L has moved house she now has a fabulous park just around the corner for us to sit in and watch the kids playing. I love going to see her as she always makes me feel so much better. Like I can do anything. Like I am in control.

I do wish I lived down there. I’ve been starting to think I may never get my life back on track until I can fend for myself again. My parents are amazing and I would not be where I am now without them. But I feel like a child having them help me all the time. Like I am not my own person as they still have so much influence over everything I do.

I love them so much and I don’t like the idea of living far away from them. I get terrible homesickness. But I need to make a move for me. I need to strike out on my own again. Something I have always failed at doing. But I am a parent, and I have to provide for my daughter. Even if all I manage is some form of work experience somewhere away from here.

The only issue of course is that now madam is at school we’re much less flexible. Perhaps I should look at doing something in the next summer hols. Find a project for us to participate in. But I have to be far away and I have to get along by myself. Does that make sense?

I have a need to get away from all the safety and security that surround me. Because I think I am stagnating and I don’t have the drive to push myself out of my comfort zone. Madam going to school will be something of a push as I will have all that time to myself.

I am hoping to get some work experience organised in the local high school for myself come the start of term. I am really keen to do it and I need to kick myself up the arse and get it organised. I’m hoping if I can get the experience it’ll start to help me build my confidence. I need to trust in my own abilities again.  

22 August 2013

shop til you drop and never be boring

I decided to give myself a couple of days away from blogging as that last post kind of got a bit intense.

As it turned out I was so busy on Tuesday I wouldn't have had any time to even attempt to squeeze out a post. The reason? I shopped! And I really hit it, madam and I had a whole day in Hull so that I could go round everywhere I wanted.
I started by taking madam to the cinema for the kids showing in the morning. It was The Croods, which we have actually seen once before, but she'd loved it so going to see it was still a treat. We then had a slight bus fail in that the first stop we waited at was only served by buses in the evening (there was no signage at the stop, and I'd been told they were every 15 minutes).
So we had to walk over to the big Asda nearby and got on the first bus that came past. This bus was also a bad choice. We went around all the estates in that part of the city (Kingswood, Bransholme and Sutton Park) and then finally into the city centre.
By which point madam was ready to eat her own arm so we headed straight for lunch. We probably both ate twice as fast as normal! Never mind... So then I got to shop :) I went in the first shop and there was so much stuff I liked it was a bit hard to know where to start! I did steer myself away from the beautiful formal dress that had a butterfly wing print on it. But it was hard. I also stepped away from a cute owl print dress that I wasn't sure about the colour of.
But I did find a beautiful purple jersey dress that had only come in that morning. A couple of pairs of leggings as mine are all very tired. A pretty, dark blue top with a bird print. Then we moved on. I took madam into Princes Quay and promised her an ice cream from the shop she likes.
Sadly, their freezer was broken and they only had some mango sorbet, which madam didn't fancy... So she was dragged around the shop I wanted to go in in there with the promise that the very next thing we did would be find her that ice cream.
She amused herself by trying on some very large bras and rearranging their sale footrwear! I got a pair of slouch jeans that are ridiculously comfy and may be my favourite pair of jeans ever! They're not very smart though (obviously). And I picked up a set of bracelets that were in a half price basket by the till. They were prices at £12.50 but went through the till at £3! Bargain.
The only place I could think of that would definitely have ice cream that wasn't too much further was Thornton's. So we sat outside in the sunshine and at large and drippy cones :) It was good...
I then wandered along to New Look in the hope of finding another cheapo watch. But they didn't have any. Madam mainly tried on handbags and cuddled the legs of some of the mannequins! She's a bit odd, that one!
I took her into a memorabilia shop as I wanted to get her something wee for behaving so well for me. But it was all just that bit more than I wanted to pay, or inappropriate. Though she was really desperate for me to get her a Wonder Woman teddy thing. Too expensive, and she does *not* need any more teddies!
So we went to HMV to see if they had a cheap DVD she might like. And they did! She went and chose Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, without any influence from me. I found Willow so we got that as well :)
By which point we were exhausted and headed home for tea!
Yesterday, we went to the local Freeport in Hornsea (an outlet village) and got madam some shoes for school. And my dad bought us an ice cream (it's been a bit of an ice cream week!). I also got handed a bag and told I'd bought dad his Christmas present. Which was generous of me...
Today we went to a Teddy Bears Picnic at the Country Park. We were lucky that the weather held out for us this week, as last week's Butterfly Safari had been a washout. Madam did some painting and she had her face painted. She insisted she needed to be a purple cat. With pink details. She didn't want to be boring...
There is never any fear of that with madam around! We ate our picnic whilst watching the puppet show and then because we were both quite hot and weary by this point (there wasn't very much shade where we were) we decided to pack up and head back to my parents to give the car back. We did force ourselves to have an ice cream to cool us down on the walk back to the car though...
So, what have you been up to?

19 August 2013

in the quiet of the night

I wrote this last night, be aware, a whole nights sleep works wonders!

I have had the evening pretty much to myself. Madam fell asleep almost straight after tea at my parent’s house. We left her about an hour and then transferred her back to our place. I got her straight into bed and read her a story and despite protesting that she really wasn’t tired after all, didn’t hear a peep from her after I left the room…
Not tired though…
I was downstairs and on my own by 8pm! This hasn’t happened in like, a year. I gave it a good twenty minutes before I was confident I really could relax. I borrowed the Hobbit DVD from my parents and have been watching that. I’ve also been doing some crocheting so I’m feeling quite calm and relaxed.
I’m making a scarf, not sure why. Just felt like it. I’m trying to practice joining the motifs as I make them so that I don’t have the boring task of sewing them all together at the end. It’s going well so far, I think.
I had forgotten just how good it feels to have the better part of my evening alone. Especially as, since madam’s bed broke last week, I have to share my bed at the moment. For the first time in an absolute age I might actually be ready to go to bed before 2am, even despite all the caffeine my mum has fed me today! That woman does like a strong coffee…
I have been left with thinking space, though. And once the film finished and everything was quiet then my brain decided to start ticking over. And it’s ticked onto the quietness is bad setting and is now screaming things at me so loudly that all my nice relaxing is being put to waste.
So that’s why I’m writing this now, in the quiet and the dark, so that maybe my brain will click off again soon and I might get that restful sleep I so need. I have a feeling I might be out of luck.
I have my music on to push the quiet away, and I’m deliberately listening to upbeat stuff, I know what my triggers are…
When did it get to be that the quiet was my enemy though? I like peace and quiet and seek tranquillity out for the most part. But now I’m suddenly being beaten around the head with all my negative thoughts and I wish I was somewhere, anywhere, else.
Want to know what it is that I’m thinking? Maybe if I write it down I’ll be able to get it to move one.
First off, the big one, that hides behind everything I do and is always just under the surface. I am alone. And lonely. The quiet just brings it out. There is no noise because there is no-one else here. I am alone because I was left behind by a man who doesn’t know how to care about me and that I still have feelings for, even though they are fading.
Which brings us to: No-one will ever love me because I am obviously unlovable and not good enough to care about. I am unlovable because I am fat and disgusting. I should just hide from the world; it doesn’t need me and doesn’t miss me.
I am useless; I don’t have a job or a purpose and make no contribution. I take what the state gives me and I give nothing back. I sit on my arse and I let the world go on without me. Because it doesn’t even need me.
I am not good enough. I don’t deserve the good things I have.
I was hoping I might think of some ways of arguing with myself, but it hasn’t worked. The voices are too loud and I am too weak. I know – I believe – that my mind is playing tricks on me. But it’s so hard to switch it off… Quick, think of something positive
I can’t
I really can’t
Gah! Think! Positive!
This Too Shall Pass
Still I Rise
I am strength and resilience…
I am loved.
And so to bed.

17 August 2013

a map of my heart

I was thinking of what to write about today, and then this line popped into my head and then the next, and suddenly I was writing a short story. I really wasn’t planning on it, but sometimes that’s just the way my mind works, I guess…
I have given it the title Map.
I drew a map of my heart. I coloured it and shaded it. I framed it and hung it in plain view. I watched as the dust settled on it and blurred the lines. My feelings became duller the harder it was to see the outline I’d drawn.
This suited me for a while, for I had grown weary of my emotions ruling my life. But gradually I realised that without my feelings I was living the zombie life. I lived as though I was already dead and I found it to be dull.
So I took my picture down and blew on it to remove the dust. As I blew I saw the map was no longer there. All those years of neglect had left it too weak to survive. I had to start again. But I no longer remembered the paths that used to be so familiar and I could not recall the pattern of its beating.
My only solution was to get to know it again, to test it out and see how it ran. I started small and took my heart to my friends and asked them to show me the lines that they might remember. They helped me trace my edges, but only I could trace the core.
I tried to use it to see if that would remind me and got a kitten to practice on. It was cute and fluffy, but the first time I watched it crunching a spider I lost the love I had for it and gave it to my friend the next day. I missed it though and knew that it was part of my map now. I reclaimed my kitten and learned to live with its cat nature.
I met a kind man in a queue one day, we chatted to pass the time. He made me laugh and invited me for coffee. I felt another path begin and agreed. I found myself learning to depend upon him and gave myself to him. I was surprised to find that as I drew these new lines of my heart the lines of his were weaving themselves in too.
I carried his heart in mine and felt safe knowing he also held my own. We lived together in happiness for many years and my heart map was thriving and I learned all its places. But there were parts of it that I never found again, that were lost forever to my knowledge.

But I had learned to be more myself and less afraid. I felt sure the corners I’d lost were gone for a reason. And I realised that my map might not be the same as it was at first but that didn't make it less good. Only different.
Yeah, what did you think?

16 August 2013

it takes courage

I started writing quotes out. They were supposed to be inspirational and I wanted to have them somewhere to help motivate me. I started off using some Michael Jackson lyrics and quotes as he’s been my biggest influence for the longest time.
Funnily enough, one of my twitter friends quoted a whole load of his lyrics the other day and pointed out how aggressive they were. I had never really noticed that particular trait before. But I guess that became the trigger for this need I had.
And also, today on twitter the @michaeljackson account used a quote about books of his that I’d never read before.
“I love to read. I wish I could advise more people to read. There’s a whole other world in books”
Now, this is apparently not the full quote (as I found out from doing a little research). But, you know, 140 characters isn’t much! The full quote finishes:
“If you can’t afford to travel, you travel mentally through reading. You can see anything and go any place you want to in reading.”
I found a whole load of other things he said that are sometimes rather vomit inducing, but sweet and naïve at the same time. Now, I’m not writing this post as a love letter to MJ (and I so could write one, even now). More as a jumping off point.
I started finding darker quotes and I found myself latching on to them instead of just the positives I was looking for. And I didn’t really notice at first, because it was still MJ lyrics. And I know them all, but I’m a bit rusty about some of them. The more I looked for them, the more I remembered.
And then a lyric that I had fixated on in my youth came up. It’s from the song “Who Is It?” which in itself is quite a dark song. About a guy wanting to know why his lover has left, whether it was something he did or was it someone else. It was a song that didn’t have a video when it was released as it was considered too dark to make one for.
Well, for MJ it’s dark, anyway… But if you bought the Dangerous short films collection (and you all know already that I did) then it was on there. And in the video the girl is depicted as a high class escort that MJ has fallen for. It’s quite odd and quite beautiful. In black and white. And the bass line of the song really drives it along.
But that lyric that jumps out at me, and clings and grows and twines comes at the start of the second verse. He sings:
“I am the damned. I am the dead. I am the agony inside a dying head.”
I remember, at 14, that I drew this in art class. I got an A* for it. Probably the only one I ever got in art.  I drew a skull with the top removed and two people standing on the brain using axes/hammers (don’t remember) on it. In the eye sockets I drew a flaming yin/yang sign in one and a broken heart in the other.
I was really proud of that drawing, unfortunately the school lost my drawing pad and I was devastated. Some of the best portraits I’d ever done were in there…
You can probably guess from how much that lyric got to me that I was quite an intense 14 year old! I guess it was partly where I see my depression starting. I think teenage depression is too easily missed as just an annoying phase or something that can be snapped out of. I’m not sure at any point in my life after the teenage years have I ever felt anything as deeply or obsessively. Nothing.
And the deep feelings were definitely unleashed with puberty. I was given a Walkman (a Walkman!) as my 14th birthday present and I bought the cassette of Dangerous with my birthday money. This was one of only about 3 or 4 tapes I owned. And from that day on I had the earphones plugged in almost constantly. I went from being quite open to being shut into my own head.
I closed my bedroom door, I’d never really been bothered before. And I left my life behind. I was lost in a fantasy world as soon as that door shut. I imagined all sorts of things for myself. But mostly I imagined myself with MJ. I was a singer and sang all his songs with him, I was his friend, his lover, his wife. I am sure that (not necessarily with MJ) loads of teenage girls and boys around the country live in this same world. When I was 14 all the other girls were in love with Take That…
And that life was everything to me. I didn’t care about mine that much. I had great friends and spent loads of time with them. But I always went straight back there as soon as I could. I, for some unfathomable reason, carried an A4 folder with me wherever I went that contained pictures and lyrics I’d written out.
I was the ultimate fangirl. And I wanted so badly for it to be real. But it never was. No matter how many nights I lay awake wishing I lived somewhere else. No matter how many pictures I drew or posters I collected. I often wonder whether I would have survived the teen years if the internet had been available to me. How would I have coped if he had passed away then…
But I have digressed. Quite a long way! I started off with quotes, so maybe I should try and end with them instead. I wanted to be inspired. I found these:
“Every day create your history. Every path you take you’re leaving your legacy” – MJ, History
“it is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation.” – MJ
And then the MJ ones started getting away from me…
“in my darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care, will you be there?” – MJ, Will You Be There?
“how does it feel when you’re alone and you’re cold inside?” – MJ, Stranger in Moscow.
So I thought I should stop that (there’s obviously the Who Is It? one, as well). And I just looked for quotes from anyone. And something I’d found the other day wandered into my head.
“not all those who wander are lost” – JRR Tolkien.
I like that. I feel like my life is something I’m wandering through. I’m not a straight down the line kind of a girl…
“it takes courage to grow up and be who you truly are” ee. cummings. (his name is always lower case when I see it written). This is the quote where I decided to stop. Because this is what I’m trying to do at the moment. Be me, grow up, whichever, both. And cummings also wrote my favourite poem, so I like that continuity.
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places and people. Why don’t you go and find something you can keep with you on your adventures.

15 August 2013

I think, therefore I am...

Dear Reader,
I have been doing pondering about my blogging again, so I thought today's post should be about that. Rather than more holiday funz with madam...
When I started writing I was hoping to manage a post a day, but I guess that was slightly naïve of me, given I have no proper internet access at home (and I don't like the blogger app). But I have managed, for the most part to get out at least 5-6 posts a week.
The blog has picked up a few regular readers (Hellooo!) and a couple of people have taken the time out to comment on some of what I've written (thank you). I think I have managed to be vaguely funny.
I am missing being able to blog at the moment, it's making me feel cramped and slightly stressy. I also feel like I'm talking about madam all the time when this blog is supposed to be about me. That sounds a selfish statement, but I guess what I mean is that I wanted to use this as a forum for my many and rapid thoughts in order to slow them down and organise them a bit better.
But lately (especially whilst we're on school holidays) everything seems to be about madam. And I'm not sure I'm happy with that. I love talking about her, but am aware that that isn't necessarily what other people may be interested in. It's hard when I'm spending all day with her to have space for anything else.
And having re-read yesterday's post I realised that I have started to sound like one of those boring people who thrust photos of their kids/pets/holidays onto people. Not cool, Pearl, not cool.
I also feel like I've been rushing my posts (mainly because I have) and that they are now not as well structured or sort-of thought out as they were. I have always had a habit of bouncing from one topic to another it's part of why I need to work on my focussing, but it's getting out of hand. I shall strive to be better...
And what do I want to do now? Well, I quite want to try and re-focus on my growth and development (I'm trying very hard not to use "personal journey", because, ugh). I'd like to be able to interact more with the people who do read my blog.
I see this post as a message to those of you who are interested in me and my ramblings, I want to be something you enjoy reading, not something you do because you are my friend (though I'll take anything I can get!). I'd like to know what it is that makes you bother to read on and what it is that annoys you (constant insecurity on my part, probably).
I enjoy writing this blog, and I will carry on regardless, but it would be nice to be able to have a discussion with you all. Through twitter or on here, I'm not fussed. I do promise to stop rambling on about every little thing my child does, though she will still feature as she is good entertainment! But I don't want her to go grow up and be embarrassed about what her mum wrote about her on the internet! 
I have tried to put everything that worries me into one post so I don't write another one like this too soon down the line! Basically, less focus on madam and more on what I'm thinking/feeling/struggling with. 
Does that sound good to you?
(and yes, those are my pondering faces... or perhaps I was bored, one or the other!)     

14 August 2013

summer holidays are long... more fun with madam

And yes, it is more about "what I did on my summer holidays". Again.

Today, I have mainly been supervising madam at the play area whilst mum and dad were shopping for yet more coral for the marine tank (orange and lime green versions this time). We were at the garden centre at Skirlaugh and they had a bouncy castle and a slide for madams amusement.

This meant I got to hang around for half an hour and watch her bouncing about. It's incredibly dull being a parent sometimes... Especially as there was no way I could join in! I should have remembered a book!

I was also wary of taking photos as there were other children about and you have to worry about that kind of thing nowadays, sadly. I think you get great unguarded pictures of them when they're having fun. There's a lovely one of her coming down the slide...

I did myself another manicure, in my attempts to learn to be less wobbly in doing so. I went for a domino design as it's mainly just dots! It was sort of successful, my left handed dotting is really wibbly still. And the topcoat made it blur again. People who do nailart, what topcoat do you use?

I let madam help make crumble with me on Monday. Sort of. I did the chopping and the actual cooking bits, but she put all the stuff in the pan for stewing the fruit and then mixed the crumble. I added some muesli to the crumble mix to give it some crunch and add a bit of extra sweetness as the fruit was rhubarb.

And it tasted gooood! I am a rampant foodaholic, so I do like a good pudding every now and again. I have been trying to keep to mainly just having some fresh fruit after tea, but you can't eat rhubarb without crumble (in my opinion!)

I have been sticking to my gym routine and have started to get some results. I've lost about 3kilos so far, which is good given I haven't been dieting with it!

So, more of the same summer fun from me, I'll have to find something more exciting to write about soon!

Is there anything you think I should be writing about? Go on, pick a topic! 

11 August 2013

elephants and pigs

Ah, Sunday... I do love a good Sunday. I spend most of them with my parents and we try very hard not to watch any TV at least until late afternoon when madam can't cope any longer! (She only really has it as background noise, she doesn't watch it intently for long.)
There is a ban on kids TV channels so it'll only go on if there is something good we all want to watch. Last week we lasted until Deadly 60 (or one of it's incarnations) and then we have to watch whatever my dad chooses...
I used to spend most of my afternoon either reading all the magazines and supplements from the 2 Sunday papers my dad always gets. But now I have a laptop and can sit in the living room and still be unsociable by being welded to the internet, but remain in the same room as everyone else! :) Brillbobs...
I have made another top for madam, with the beautiful elephant fabric. It was just big enough to make a cute little sun top and madam spent Thursday wearing it whilst we went to the cinema to watch Despicable Me 2And she enjoyed it almost as much as I did... Only minimal fidgeting involved!
The top was pretty easy to construct, I chose to make it harder as I didn't want the elephants marching on their sides. They are on the straps, but there was no way to avoid that... I cut a front and a back, stitched them up the sides and turned down a bit to make a channel for the elastic at the top.
I made two folds of fabric for the straps, and threaded elastic through them so they have a cute gathered look and it's really easy for madam to get the top off and on. I sort of followed a pattern I'd come across on Pinterest, but mainly so I got the dimensions, I was going to make it reversible, like the pattern says but couldn't decide on a fabric for the reverse.
I think I made it harder by not though, because I then had to make the specific elastic channel, and I couldn't just trap the straps between the layers to secure them. None-the-less, I'm really pleased with how well it turned out. And so was madam, despite this facial expression! 
Yesterday was spent trying to sort out a birthday party for madam. Her birthday is still two months away but I wanted to know I had somewhere booked. Her birthday is on a Friday this year, which also makes it harder. I started off looking at church halls as then we'd just be able to do the invite everyone in the class thing and let them run riot.
However, it was so hard to even find out how much the halls were charging. I only found two that listed their hourly rates. The rest just gave me a phone number to call. (We remember how I feel about phonecalls...) I really can't see the point of dedicating a whole section of your website to Hall Hire if it just then says: For all enquiries phone... Useless.
I tried the local leisure centre as they do hire too. Again, no rates given. But my mum then asked about their party package and I pointed out it'd be a minimum number of kids and that we would end up paying quite a bit. She pointed out that, judging from the prices we had found, if you added that plus the food and all the hassle, it might be easier to pay for a party.
So then we checked the local soft play centre (parent hell, kiddie heaven). Here we found an actual list of prices and a detailed description of what their parties entailed. Finally! And we realised if we booked there we would be able to get it actually on her birthday, too. We'd sort of been looking at the Sat/Sun for hall hire.
So I rang up (I know all the people there, so not that hard) and we managed to get after school on her birthday pencilled in. Then mum said she'd pay the deposit so we could secure it. Bonus :) So that's it. We have to invite at least 10 kids at £8 each, but they get two hours playing and food. Normal entry is £5, so it's not bad to get them all the food and save me the hassle.
Just need to make a cake and sort out party bags and I'm done :) I have made a pinterest board for party ideas as madam had asked for a piggy party. Might have to find/make her a piggy costume...