Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas 2012

The World didn't end on December 21st as many people believed the Mayan calander predicted. Just thought I'd point that out in case you hadn't noticed.
So on to Christmas. I've been ill for weeks now, some virus that I just can't shift. As well as coughing non-stop, so much that I'm feeling constantly dizzy and out of breath, I've had sickness, diarrhoea and constant headaches, temperature and aches and pains. It's been bloody miserable but I've tried really hard not to show just how bad I've been feeling. I've carried on regardless, going to bed at the same time as the kids to try and reserve some energy, make myself feel better. I went to the GP, he was useless. I'm not the only one that's been sick either, we've all had it at some point. The big kids were lucky and recovered pretty quick, so did Lucy. Leila was not so lucky and missed so much of her Christmas at school. Although she was well again for Christmas. Poor Joseph keeps going with the sickness and diarrhoea, which I think is keeping me going, we can't seem to break the cycle.

The run up to Christmas was no fun, I couldn't enjoy shopping, the kids missed loads of school, I missed plays and concerts, we had no excitement build up. Even the wrapping of presents which is usually done with a couple of drinks and some Christmas music was done instead with hot sweats and visits to the loo. I don't know how I managed it.

Then along came Christmas day. I was a little disappointed in the lack of presents. I'd been determined to do Christmas with no debt and I did, but even though I thought I'd done well, there didn't really seem to be much at all. The kids don't really get presents of anyone else either, just a small gift off my brother and sister-in-law and some off their nan. The kids didn't complain though, they were happy. And to be honest I think they were good choices, They have stuff that will keep them happy for a long time with lots of play value.
My presents on the other hand were dismal. Graham had bought me a box of chocolates, or so he thought, they were actually a box of chocolate biscuits. The big kids didn't buy me anything. I had a sandwich toaster off Graham's mum, a mug off my brother, a pretty bangle and handkerchief off my Secret Santa and a couple of £1 boxes of sweets from two of my Avon customers. I don't normally complain about my presents, after all it's about the giving not the receiving, but well, it does make you think how much you are thought of!

My mood wasn't good. I was thinking a lot about my mum, I'd also just heard that an online friend had passed away leaving behind three small children. Then you get to thinking about those poor families missing members killed in the school shooting and the fire fighters killed in NY, and those poor children in the crash on the M6, see where I'm going? It's easy to spiral down when your thoughts lead you this way. I didn't show my misery though, I kept going, kept busy and by the end of the day I was feeling much better.

So, on to the positives. We didn't get up until 7am, not bad at all really. Not one single moan or argument all day, from anyone, honestly! It was a blissfully happy family home. Craige spent lots of time playing with the girls, yes, he even played their Barbie shopping board game with them!! I think all the adults had a play with the lego too :-) The afternoon was spent playing on Craige's new WiiU, Nintendoland was loads of fun with five players. There was a lot of laughter.

Dinner was lovely even if I do say so myself. The turkey was moist and full of flavour, everything was cooked perfectly, no-one complained and there were lots of empty plates. My only gripe was that they wanted it late so we had dinner at 5pm. I'd have liked it earlier, but in the end it worked out well.

Graham went around his mum's four times during the day, but I didn't mind. He took all the kids around one time, I would have gone too, but you don't feel very sociable when you're not feeling well. He also took Joseph and Leila around a second time which gave me a bit of a break.

Just before bedtime I sneaked upstairs and covered the girls bunk beds with the fairy lights I'd bought them. They looked really lovely and they had a real surprise when they went to bed. They are actually 'fairy' lights, beautiful white and pink fairies on a clear plastic wire.

I have to say that despite my illness and low mood, they day went well and everyone was happy.
Merry Christmas!

My dream for next year is to be in a new home, fingers crossed x

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Jobs and Sickness and Houses and Stuff

So just a few weeks ago things were going along ok, we had more money coming in and I've managed to pay for Christmas without any debt and was looking forward to being able to afford a car in the new year. My daughter had a few slips but back on the medications she was brightening up a little and we even had a couple of days out together. We had the good news that we'd moved to the top of the waiting list for a new home, currently we are a family of seven in three bedrooms. I was arguing less with my partner (mostly because I never saw him!)
Now everything is falling apart again. The job has gone after 7 short weeks. He failed the medical on his hearing test. They told him no re-test (he had a nasty cold at the time and I think it may have affected his results) and just let him go, no notice or anything. Then he said that there may be a re-test in the New Year and that he'd been suspended not sacked. I don't know what to believe. I've not actually shown any emotion over this yet.
Then today I get a call about looking at another house but there is a problem. This is a joint tenancy with my ex husband and they can't do anything without his go ahead. My ex left in 1997, I told them about it. I filled in several forms, I went to the offices and spoke to someone face to face, I got my ex to fill in forms, make phone calls, write letters. I sent off a copy of my divorce papers. I had my current partner put down as a resident. But still they insist that my ex is a joint tenant. Bloody ridiculous!
The last two weeks have been a nightmare health wise, I've suffered migraine after migraine, at one point so bad that even my migraine tablets didn't take the edge off the pain. I've also had a really bad chest which has kept me awake at night. I've coughed so much my throat and stomach are sore and each cough is almost unbearable now. Then the girls got sick, some virus. They haven't had any symptoms as such just really high temperatures and the inability to actually move, they just lay around for four or five days. The GP said they were ok, just a virus, keep giving them paracetamol. Yeah, ok, this is the same GP who gave my little girl cough linctus on the day she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. \I'm on anti-biotics now to clear up my chest. The girls are back at school, still looking rough but struggling along bless them.

Monday, 26 November 2012

And Another Year Bites the Dust

Yes, it's that time of year again, It's my birthday and I'm feeling old!
The day started with me realising that my partner hadn't come to bed all night. Nothing new, I can't remember the last time he did, but then he does work nights (although, not last night) So I get up with the kids and he doesn't even wish me happy birthday. I'm thinking surely he hasn't forgot, where is the, ohh sorry I didn't have any money to get you anything, or the, I was planning on getting you something later? Nope, nothing, not a word. Then he has one of the girls on his lap and excitedly says to her, do you know what is happening today? I have a flicker of hope, he hasn't forgotten after all, but no, he continues 'Daddy is having another driving lesson'
So I decided to open my cards and presents (not everyone forgets) and he says surprised, what are you doing? Oh shit, is it your birthday today? I don't bother answering.
He crawls off to bed leaving the kitchen looking like a tip after his late night food fests.
I'm not bothered that he didn't buy me anything, but to actually genuinely forget? Wow, he really thinks a lot of me doesn't he?
So, after taking the girls to school I decided to take Joseph down the cemetery to visit mum. Four years ago on my birthday is when she started feeling ill, she was admitted to hospital on the 28th and died on Christmas day. It's still a really difficult time for me as I relive it all every year. If you are new to my blog you can go back that far to read, I found it a great help writing things down here.
First shock was they had chopped down the big tree that had been overhanging the grave since my dad was buried 37 years ago. It looked so different. They had also renewed all the paths which was nice, previously they were a nightmare with the push chair. I bought lots of flowers and it looked so nice when I left.

I've not been able to take a photo from this angle before because of the tree!

After visiting mum and the rest of my family I took Joseph for a walk around the shops. I took some money from our savings and intended on buying myself a treat, but didn't really spend much.
I got home, with a bag of chips (it's my birthday, it's allowed) just in time for my delivery from Asda.
Oh the excitement never ends :-)

then it was off to the GPs with my eldest daughter. Since her last visit to the pyscho (sic) she stopped her drugs instantly. I told her it was wrong, but she insisted that it was what she'd been told. So the last week has been a nightmare and the weekend a dreadful nightmare. I phoned the NHS helpline on Saturday because I was worried and they told me to take her to hospital, but we really don't want to go down that route. She would most likely to be sectioned, and she's just too young to have that hanging over her. If I thought she was in danger then I'd do it myself, but it's really a last resort. I tried phoning several places for help, but they just wanted her to call, which she wouldn't do. Today I made an appointment at the GPs the third since last Monday. I didn't think she would go, but she had a really bad turn shortly before the appointment and I think she'd had enough. Anyway, she's back on her drugs now, quite obviously she was suffering withdrawal symptoms. She's also managed to speak to her pyscho and had her next appointment brought forward. So things are looking a little positive now, and right as I type, she is sleeping! She hasn't slept more than an hour for days! (Or eaten)

So that was my day...but there are highlights. Both my older children have spoilt me this birthday. My daughter bought me heaps of stuff when we went to the cake show a couple of weeks ago and my son came back from class with a bag full of chocolate goodies for me. 

I also had lovely cards and presents from my brother and sister-in-law and my partners mum.

So that's it then, all over for another year! 
Happy Birthday to Me


Friday, 16 November 2012

My Friend

I met this guy about 18 months ago. At first I'll admit that I fancied him, but just because you find someone attractive doesn't mean that anything is going to happen. We both had partners and children and I just don't go there, it would have to be a lot more than finding someone attractive to interfere in other's relationships or risk my own. Anyway, that doesn't really matter anymore because now we are friends. I see him almost every day, not for long but we always chat for a while. I've suspected for a while that he might have social issues and from the information I have gathered over the past 18 months I would say that I'm convinced he has Asperger's Syndrome. He doesn't know this though and I wouldn't say anything. His partner is young, naive, and has issues of her own. I guess they make the perfect couple but that doesn't mean it always goes smoothly. I don't know from him if things are tough, but she comes to me for advice sometimes.

Every day when we see each other I get 'talked at' he just rabbits away about what he wants to talk about and I can get away with the odd nod or yes or even mumble, none of it is of huge interest to me and I don't believe he's looking for interaction, he's just speaking what's on his mind. It can be annoying at times but I'm used to it. My son, 25, has been 'talking at' me for a hell of a lot longer, I'm an expert at dealing with it.
Sometimes though, usually if I'm in the right mood, I can get him to talk to me instead, yes, real actual conversations. I enjoy these conversations, but don't initiate them all the time (and I do have to initiate them ninty percent of the time)

This last week I've learnt more about him that I have done in the last eighteen months I've known him. My partner has been away most of the week and I've barely seen him, so maybe I've been a little lonely and initiated more conversations. He has initiated more conversations too, completely out of the blue he's told me things about his life, his family, his past, things he's never told me about before. It got me thinking about how long it takes some people to open up. Some will blurt out their entire life story on a whim, but others are much more reserved and don't reveal much until they are confident with the other person. I haven't told him very much about me. When I split with my partner last year I didn't tell him anything that had happened, even though he knew the other woman involved.

He has personal space issues, I've noticed that he avoids touching people and keeps everyone at arms reach. A couple of times we have been squashed closer when in a small place and someone is coming in the opposite direction (usually the walk to the school playground) and it just feels uncomfortable. Then there was a time when we were talking about his lack of shaving and he had quite a  beard. He was telling me how rough his beard was and I asked if I could touch it, he let me but flinched as I did so. But there was another time when he was showing me his missing knuckle on his hand and offered me his hand to touch it, but I couldn't. (I know it sounds freaky, but I did want to see what it felt like I just didn't want to touch it) You see, I have personal space issues too and we repel each other like the wrong end of magnets.

He has no problem with eye contact though, and he has a lovely smile for me every time we meet. Sadly, I do have trouble with eye contact and have to really try hard to respond, which is sad because that's something about him I really like.

This week we were talking about the possibility of my moving away from the area. We are trying to get a move to a bigger house. I think we both realised that we would miss each other and our quirky little friendship.

The Smile (april 2011)

Friday, 26 October 2012

It's All Me!

I've had an amazing revelation to myself, everything that happens around me is down to me! All my problems just escalate when I'm not dealing with them properly. When I'm ok things go ok.
This week I've realised that my other half hasn't changed, it's my perception of him. Ok, it might have been his flirting and cheating that highlighted things, but he's always been the same. The little things that I used to find endearing I now find annoying. The things I found annoying I now want to strangle him for!!  He's still the same, it's me that's changed.
I've also realised that I can cope. For so long now things have got on top of me and I've felt that I just couldn't deal with it all anymore. Even simple things like keeping on top of the housework and the laundry, getting the kids organised, cooking meals have all got me down. This week I've breezed through everything. The OH has been to work at his new job. He works nights, so he's been out from just before the kids bedtime and then in bed all day until nearly tea time. I've coped really well, I'm on top of everything and I've even had time to entertain the kids and have a day out seeing as it's been half term. They've been in bed on time every night, and we've even had time for a story. It's been easy.  The only way I can explain it is that I rely too much on OH to do nothing.
For example, I want him to help me get the kids ready for bed, but first he has to go around his mum's for a fag, so I wait for him, I don't want to do it on my own, it's hard work, I want help and he's done nothing all day, so I wait, then I usually end up doing it myself but feeling rushed and frustrated with him. I haven't had to worry about him helping this week, I've just got on with it and we've quickly got into a routine, and you know what, it's easy!
Each day when he was home I've procrastinated, simply because he's done nothing, I've not wanted to do anything either. Why should I  clean out the kitchen cupboards while he is sleeping or  smoking around his mum's? Why should I spend an hour ironing, why should I re-grout the bathroom tiles, surely that's his job? See where I'm going? Just take him out of the picture and I'm quite happy to do the lot. Of course he is working now, so he's doing his bit too.
I've also found dealing with eldest daughter much easier without OH around. Now unless you've actually lived with someone with bi-polar it's very difficult to understand. She is a nightmare most of the time. OH accuses me of pussyfooting around her, or giving in to her all the time. The truth is I understand how difficult she finds everything and I don't want to make things worse. So I do let her get away with a lot, but then we sit down and talk about it when she's calm and she takes a lot on board. Then the next time she's being a pain she'll sometimes 'click' and apologise before taking herself away from what's bothering her. OH does understand she can't help it most of the time but it doesn't stop him getting angry with her, then they end up arguing. Or he gets angry with me and we end up arguing. None of this is good with the little ones around.
So I just have to keep on being ok in myself and I can deal with anything.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Life's like that!

Feeling a bit ill at the mo. Just a cold which has suddenly crept up on me, I've been fine all day! The little ones have all been sick today, Joseph waited until bed time and gave me two loads of washing for the machine, thanks son! I'm going to have to keep them all home tomorrow.
But, it's been a good day. I was up at the crack of dawn and making my way to Nottingham, where I was met by a representative for Center Parcs and a couple of other bloggers before being whisked off for a day at Sherwood Forest Center Parc. Why? Because I've won the opportunity of being a Center Parcs family blogger. Along with my responsibility comes the opportunity to have a holiday at Whinfell Forest Center parc. It's all really exciting.
That's not all... Graham has a new job which he starts next week. He'll be back on the trains but working for a different company.
And in other news... Cassie has a referral for proper help and a diagnosis for her condition.
Things are looking up at last.

Monday, 8 October 2012

A Message to Blog Spammers

Today I had notification that a comment had been left on one of my blog posts. It was spam, everyone gets them, but why do it? How many people actually allow spam to be posted as comments? How many people will read them? It won't do you any good in Google or any other search engines. To be fair they are a complete waste of time. But then those posting them are usually using some kind of program or bot. They can't possibly be reading the blog post they are leaving their crap on. Todays rubbish was left on a post I'd made about my brother's inquest. Very sensitive, thank you very much!
So I don't care if you never read this, it doesn't matter, because no-one will be reading your crap either. And you can be sure you won't ever get anything published here!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Up??

I don't quite know what's come over me but I'm feeling ok so I thought I'd post here. Too often I use this blog to vent all the sad stuff. Actually I don't know that it's sad, it's just life to me. Now, I haven't had a good week, quite the opposite, in fact I'm currently recovering from a two day migraine. Last week I had a big argument with Cassie, a fall out with Craige, and a few hours stress on Friday when Craige did a disappearing act without telling me. But despite everything, I feel ok in myself. Not jumping for joy or anything, just mildly calm and happy.
I went out for the day last week with just Joseph, not a little trip, we went all the way to Nottingham. I was really stressed about it, but I did it, and I enjoyed it and it gave me a real confidence boost. I took a plethora of maps, directions, timetables etc with me, and didn't use any. I did get lost but I asked the way and it wasn't too bad.
I also have some things to look forward too. Maybe they won't happen but if they do it will be great. If they don't then I feel confident that I won't let it get me down.
I think I'm finding my feet, or is it a ladder? I'm coming up!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Forwards, Backward, Up and Down

I've been looking backwards a lot lately. I do this sometimes and I wonder if it's because I'm too scared to look forward? Maybe it's time to face my demons?
Today I got a letter from the council turning down my appeal for more housing points on medical grounds. Despite having two disabled household members and one with a mental illness, it doesn't mean anything to them. They think it's ok for all seven of us to be living in a small three bedroomed house. I'd like to see how they get on, see if it has any affect on them, let alone someone with disabilities or illness. So now it's the end of the line, I've tried everything but we are stuck here. Unless we can rent privately, which we can't because I've tried just about everywhere local. Being so close to a university means that all the bigger houses are converted and rented out to students. The only houses on offer to families are three bedroomed ones. We could move out of the area but that would be a big thing especially to Craige and Lucy who don't want to move anyway. Anyway, that's just one thing. We are stuck here and we have to make the most of it. Something I actually came to terms with a while ago and  set about sprucing the place up. Only that hasn't worked out too well because I just can't get the help I need.
Living space aside I also worry about my kids futures. Craige is currently working hard towards his accountancy degree. Will he get a job afterwards? who knows, I hope so because he has worked so hard. In fact I've never seen him work so hard at anything else before. He has talked to me about leaving home but I'm not so sure he'd cope. Maybe with the right help he might, at the moment it's just something else for me to worry about.
Lucy is starting to have more problems at school, the kids have started to notice that she's a little different and she is being treated differently by the teachers. Will she be bullied as she gets older? Will she be able to cope with school as the work and routine gets more complicated?
Cassie is not getting the help she needs. The doors keep getting closed on her no matter what she tries. Give her some pills and watch she doesn't top herself seems to be the answer of the day, every day!
Leila, bless her, is my little princess. She is such a sweet child but, even though I hate saying this about my own child, she's really not that bright. She struggles with her school work and struggles to understand basically everything around her. She just seems to be getting worse than better as she gets older. I have always thought she has a problem with her hearing, but her test came back as ok. She just doesn't seem to hear, or pehaps it's listen, I don't know. If I ignore everyone else I might have the time to figure it out.
Joseph is my gorgeous little boy, full of charm and everyone loves him. I'm just waiting for someone else to notice the things about him I notice, or rather I'm just waiting and hoping that I'm totally wrong.
I can't go into my relationship. I don't know what's going on there. I don't even know what I feel anymore.
So why should I think of the future, things are not so good now and I can't see them improving only getting worse and that scares me.

Friday, 7 September 2012

1993

Tonight I pulled out a diary at random from my pile in the wardrobe, it was 1993.
I must have been much younger then because I was incredibly active. I complained a lot about being stuck in front of the telly when in actual fact I was off to the pub at least twice a week. I had a circle of babysitting friends and we used to share each others kids, which meant lots of nights out. Also, I'd go out all day while the kids, then aged four and five, were at school and then out again after school with the kids. Phew, did I ever sit down? When did I have time for the housework?
This was the year that eldest son's asthma started. The first time he had an attack I had no idea what was going on, I just knew he was poorly enough to warrant a home visit from the GP. The result was an injection of ventolin which seemed to do the trick. A couple of months later another attack had him admitted to hospital for four days on a drip. A very scary time and one that made me and his dad pack up smoking as we were convinced we were to blame. He had a few more hospital visits but his asthma got a lot better as he got older.
My daughter had a birthday party in the church hall and it cost us £12 to hire it!! Just saying because I know it costs £70 now.
My husband was a cab driver at the time but he didn't work much throughout the year, he had car problems, lots of them, and an illness which put him in hospital (something to do with his tonsils that got so bad he had to have them out as an emergency operation) and a mental breakdown. He was drinking heavily day and night and would often crawl home around 4a.m So not a good year for him (or me) We had lots of arguments usually connected to his drinking and staying out, but also the other way around. There is one account of him rearing up at me because I was wearing nail varnish. Funny, I don't remember it being so bad :-(
August 29th we went to church to renew our wedding vows. It was his idea. Two years previously he'd left me for another woman (well, girl really, she was only 18) and he said that because he'd broken his vows he wanted to make them again to prove how much he loved me. I just wanted him to prove it by not drinking so much and staying out all night.

Also in 1993 I was doing my Open University degree, I think it was my first year and I was very keen. This seem to annoy my husband even more as there were a few arguments over my studying. The film Educating Rita came to mind, only my tutor was a lovely mild mannered silver haired old man who was probably not an alcoholic!! I know my husband hated the fact that I was trying to get a better education, he would say that I was only doing it so I could get away from him. I didn't give it up though and achieved my degree in 1998, by which time my husband had left me for another woman (this time a little older)


Monday, 3 September 2012

Back to School and stuff

Today was the girls first day back at school after the long summer holiday. Last night Lucy was really stressed out, crying and begging us not to take her. This morning she was fine and excited about going back!!  (the only blip was when her dad told her that her best friend wouldn't be there, we had a few more tears then :-(
They went to school fine. The school wasn't really prepared though. First the gates were locked and we had to walk around the block to the other side of the school. Then they couldn't open the doors and the children were all waiting to get in while the teacher were rushing around inside like headless chickens looking for the keys. They got in eventually and when we went to pick them up they were all smiles saying they had had a good day. Lucy likes her new teacher, fortunately she's already really familiar with her as she is the school's SENCO (special education needs co-ordinator) Leila also likes her new teacher. I do worry about Leila, sometimes more than Lucy, as she seems locked in a completely different world to anyone else, she is a happy little girl though (mostly)

It was a bit of a surprise having their dad get up to go to school with them. That probably won't happen to often as he doesn't like getting up in the morning. After the school run I came back to do a little housework and then we went out. We did a little shopping and then I took some flowers down to the grave. It's the first time I've been to visit since I saw it stripped  off last time, it's still a bit of a shock. Fresh flowers always make a grave look nicer though. Near the gates is the plaque for my step-dad. I used to leave him flowers but they are so expensive it's difficult enough to afford to make our grave look good and there are never any to spare. Today I felt really guilty because tomorrow it's the 33rd anniversary of my step-dad Desmond's death. I remember it so well, it was the day I'd gone back to school, 2nd yr senior, and he'd been building a patio in our garden. On the night I was woken up by my mum screaming for me. I went into the bedroom and saw instantly that my step-dad was dead. Mum was telling me to get an ambulance. The ambulance came but as I already knew, there was nothing they could do. That night comes back to haunt me frequently. I will take flowers for him next time, or maybe a little plant. He was a lovely man and made my mum very happy for the few years they had together. (caused a bit of a stir at the time too, my nan fell out with my mum because she started dating Desmond just a year after my dad died)

I digress! The rest of my day followed with lunch in a cafe that Graham and I used to visit a lot from when I was expecting Lucy until I had Leila. We would go there every Saturday for lunch. It felt strange going there with Joseph today. After lunch we did a little shopping. I visited one shop that was in the old Jobcentre, that was a little strange.

When we got home I kind of slumped a little. I'm feeling much better now, but sometimes my head thinks too much! I have so much crap going around in there I don't know what I'm thinking sometimes.





Wednesday, 29 August 2012

When I realise

I'm having a time of realisation lately, like I've been living in a bubble and not understanding what is around me, then suddenly I realise what's really going on.
I have so many things locked up inside that I just can't talk about. Why? Because it would be like bursting the bubble and letting it all out and I'm not ready to face the consequences. Time and time again I just want to say what I feel but I can't, because what I really feel is selfish and I'm not a selfish person. I don't want to hurt anyone just so I can be happy. To be really happy I would have to hurt a few people and I'm not prepared to do that. If I caused pain and distress to others I wouldn't be happy anyway. So I'm doomed when it comes to being happy, I  just have to make do with what I have, make the best of it and pretend to be happy. I've had enough practice, I've had to make do all my life.
Regrets, I have more than a few, but no point in dwelling on them, what has passed is over, no point in wishing you could change what you can't. But I can deal with that, what I can't deal with is the future.

So I live day by day, I count my blessings and I ask God to guide me in my decisions. Then I try to save myself from myself.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Mum Would Be So Mad At Me

When I get under that dark cloud I start thinking things that may be described as weird or strange. Or sometimes I focus on the past, as far back as I can remember. I try to remember my Dad and my early years. It's not always easy and the memories, even if good ones, tend to hurt.
When I was little I had real trouble understanding why my mum was angry with me. Strike that, not only when I was little but all my life really. Even when I knew I'd done something wrong it seemed to me that my mum should be there for me and not be angry, not ever, not at all, no matter what. That sounds a little strange to me now but it's just the way I've always felt. The confusion I felt as a child would keep me awake all night, worrying why my mum was so mad, but not really understanding. As an adult, I didn't make her mad so often, but I still had trouble understanding why. Once, she was so mad she told me to get out of her house and never come back. I was stunned, how could she say that, how could she be so mad. I hadn't even done anything, not me, I was only telling her what I knew. She had to tell me, or rather yell at me, three times before I got up and left. I didn't see her for five years. I felt hurt and betrayed, how could she be so mad at ME.
This week, for the first time since she died, I realised that if I saw her now, if I spoke to her now, she would be so mad at me. It's like I suddenly get it. I know the only thing that makes her mad at me is when it involves my little brother. All those times when I was younger, she got mad because I didn't play with him, I made him cry, I didn't stick up for him, I shouted at him, I told on him for doing wrong. Anything I did against my little brother made me the butt of her anger. I didn't hate my brother, I loved him because my mum loved him so much. I would have done anything for him. Even when I knew he did wrong I felt bad for him, and I felt bad for my mum who protected him when the whole world was against them. I couldn't help it even though they didn't deserve it.
When I made up with mum after the five years apart we had an unspoken deal that we did not talk about what had happened. And I refused to talk about my brother.
When she knew she was dying she asked me to look out for him.
I tried but it was hard, he knew what he wanted.
He killed himself.
I let mum down and if she saw me now, if she spoke to me now she would be so so so very angry with me.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

In The Dark

In the dark. That's how it feels when the depression starts to hit. It's like someone has turned out the lights and I can't find my way. I've a lot on at the moment, not all bad, but the good stuff just isn't making me feel any better. I'm on that slippery slope again, going down deeper into the darkness. I don't need a reason why, I don't need to be asked what's wrong, no-one can make things better I just have to ride it out. Sometimes it passes quickly, sometimes not. I keep myself busy for as long as I can hoping that I don't get so bad that I just stop and do nothing except the essentials.
I don't sit around crying, or stay in bed feeling sorry for myself. I don't complain or moan. I do sometimes get angry a bit quicker. Mostly I am a lot quieter than usual and I prefer to be alone. I don't like going out when I feel like this, even a trip to the shops is difficult.
Mum always told me to 'snap out of it' but it's not that simple. I wish I could.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

More Reminiscing, (This Time with Photos)

Some old photos which I have scanned.
The only time I went blonde, 2000

summer day, approx 1996

The year the Millenium Dome opened

Me and my first daughter, 1989

My lovely nan on her 80th Birthday, 1989

At work at the uni library...ok we had shut for the day! 1999

wonder what she's thinking? app. 1993

naughty kids go in the bin, app.1991

At the Fair

what happens when you let your 5 yr old lose with the face paints

Playing Pokemon Cards (at the Millenium Dome)


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Revisiting 2004

Nope, I don't have a time machine but I do have diaries, yep loads of them. I think maybe the earliest one is 1985, although I probably have earlier ones stashed away somewhere.
The other day I pulled out 2004 and had a read.
One of the main events was my giving up smoking. I gave a detailed day by day account of my experience. According to my diary  I hadn't I found it so hard, I seem to remember it being more difficult. I wrote down how I was feeling but I was also trying to be really positive so I didn't lose my will power. Anyway, I gave up on March 25th and haven't touched one since! I don't care if I sound smug, I am, deservedly so.
Also in 2004 I began speaking to my mum again after more than four years. I had thought it was 2005, but the first phone call was recorded in my diary and we spoke a few times again throughout the year. By 2005 we were speaking on the phone regularly and I met up with her the week before Lucy was born in August.
We went on holiday to Butlins Minehead with the big kids. They were teenagers then and we had a good time. More memorable because it was our last holiday together. Since then the big kids have only holidayed by going to stay with their dad in the South of France.

One of the running features throughout the year was my obsession with my weight. I'd been horrified to discover that I'd put on a fair bit of weight and became determined to lose it. Over the whole year I did manage to lose almost a stone but it was hard work. On a few occasions I took my measurements and recorded them. I have to say, I am much the same now as I was then. Maybe this is the size I'm meant to be?

Another running feature was my desire to have a baby. I'd had a miscarriage in 2003 at just seven weeks, but I'd been trying to get pregnant for more than two years. We had tests and tried herbal remedies, we even visited a chinese herbalist and spent a small fortune on foul smelling tea to drink every day. I can still taste that yuk even now. I'd also taken part in a fertility study being run by Oxford University, the results of which had given me a clear indication of when I ovulated during my cycle each month. I was thrilled that I'd ovulated every month during the trial. All year I harped on about how much I wanted to get pregnant but my wish didn't come true until the very end when a very pleasant Christmas holiday ended with a positive pregnancy test on 28th December.

All in all I'd say that 2004 was one of my better years!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Home Sweet Home

I live in a council rented house, I've lived here for nearly 24 years now. At one point, about 12 years ago I actually started the process of buying the house myself, I had quotes from builders for the work I wanted doing and everything was looking rosy.  Then my family life was torn apart and I had to give up my job. No income meant no mortgage and no home of my own. This has been one of my biggest regrets.
There is not much wrong with this house that couldn't be fixed. The kitchen would be a really nice size if only I could know down the wall to the pantry...I mean who needs a pantry and coal shed these days? I'd much rather have a bigger kitchen. I only have three bedrooms, one is massive, one big and the other is fairly small. Our attic space is humongous and would easily fit two more bedrooms, or bedroom and en-suite. We have room out the back for an extension, possibly even a double extension. The garden is a lovely size. We live near all amenities, even the girl's school is just a short walk away. The public transport is good and we have some great local shops, library and doctors surgery. A huge super hospital and maternity hospital would take just 1/2 hour to walk to if it was necessary. The neighbours and neighbourhood are nice.
So why do I want to move? Because there are seven of us living here. Four adults and three children. Think about it, seven occupants - three bedrooms! It's just not working.
So we filled in an application for a house transfer. We could manage with five or even four bedrooms but they insisted we could only apply for six bedroomed houses. There are very very few six bedroomed houses that ever come up. Then we don't stand a chance of getting one because the council work on a points system and we don't have many points. We are not illegally overcrowded until Lucy is ten, that's three years time. I tried to go down the medical route, provided doctors notes, psychiatrist notes, psychologist notes but to no avail. They still don't think we would benefit from a bigger house. So I contacted the local MP. He contacted the council and they said although they sympathise with my situation the only things they could suggest was that I rented privately or asked one or more of the adults of the house to move out.
So who do I ask to move out, my autistic son, my depressed daughter who has instructions from her psychiatrist that she is not fit enough to live alone, or maybe me or the little ones dad? What a joke.
Private renting a six bedroom house is not an option either, never mind the cost which would be triple what we are paying now, there are no properties available because we live a University area and all the big houses are adapted for student accommodation.
So it looks like we are staying put, at least for another three years.
We'll just have to make the most of it. Originally when we just had the girls we were going to split our bedroom into two. We can go back to that idea, it might be a squeeze but with a little careful planning I'm sure we could do it. I may even ask the council if it's possible to knock down the wall in the kitchen. (they won't do it, but they might let me if I pay for it to be done properly) It's pretty difficult preparing food for seven in such a small place.
We will work it out I'm sure.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Luck and Birthday

When we were little our neighbours were a little roudy, they were a big family with young adults who were always arguing. The left after practically burning the house down. One evening they had been drinking and were fighting in the street. Mum had put my baby brother down to sleep in his carry cot on the table in the bay window. He woke and mum picked him up, but before she'd made it back to her seat a glass bottle came hurtling through the window smashing all over the cot. Lucky escape! I dread to think what may have happened. My little brother had several 'lucky escapes' he survived an early birth and a serious illness as a baby. He also managed to get out of a burning car unscathed. Good luck did not follow him all his life though, he had some tough times too, mostly because of his own actions but now he's gone and judgement time is over. So to my little Yankee Doodle Dandy brother, Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sad News About the Grave

My father was buried in cemetery of the church where he was christened and married 37 years ago. The plot was made for two and the headstone engraved like a book had two pages, one for each of my parents. when my nan died in 1996 mum buried her ashes in the same grave and she had her own plaque. When mum passed her ashes were buried there and her name added to the stone, at the same time we added our younger brother's name too. For the last 37 years the grave has been well tended, it's always been tidy even though it's been through many changes. Once it had a rose bush but we removed it when it grew a little too big. It's always had a border, at first it was a fence but later we replaced it with a stone kerb. After nan's plaque was put down we decided to fill in the grave with white pebbles.
Since mum and Sim died there have been many ornaments placed on the grave, gifts, teddies, plants, toys, all sorts. My aunt and myself are the main tenders of the grave now and we have had to remove items frequently because we wanted to keep it looking respectable. It always has fresh flowers and we keep it clean. We have even regularly painted the kerb.
However, according to cemetery regulations set out by Birmingham City Council and diocese of Birmingham none of this is actually allowed. All that is allowed is the headstone, the plaque and a reasonable amount of fresh flowers. (fake flowers are disallowed) We were given a warning last September that everything else would be removed and we have pleaded with them since then. Sadly they went ahead and removed everything leaving nothing but a mound of earth. We were told we could replace the pebbles with grass, so we did. I went to see it today for the first time and it broke my heart. For so many years that grave has been the place where we have gone to mourn, pray or just talk to our loved ones. Loved ones that once tended the grave themselves are now buried there. It all seems so unfair, so wrong, but rules are rules and we have got away with having it just how we wanted for too long.
The grave, how it is today, how it was before, how it was 37 years ago

Monday, 2 July 2012

My London Trip, and All That Jazz

 Cassie decided that for her birthday she wanted to see a West End Show, and she wanted me to go with her. We booked a hotel and theatre package from Lastminute.com and got train tickets. I left Daddy at home with the kids and off we went to London. This would be the first time I've left my little ones overnight...eeek! I knew they would be safe at home with Daddy, and maybe daddy would get the chance to appreciate just how much I do in the day.
We started out at 8am for the train at 9.30am. It was a slow train and we didn't get to Euston until nearly 12, and it rained most of the way there. We got off the train and in proper tourist mode took a look at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, then the London Eye, it had stopped raining which was good. Then we jumped back on the underground. Next stop was Tower Hill where we took some photo's of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (by now the sun was shining, it had turned out a lovely day) and had a rather delicious lunch at Wagamamas. On more little detour to Picadilly Circus  before making our way to the hotel. We were running out of time so once at the hotel it was quick change and off out again to the theatre where we watched Chicago. We both loved it :-) I've been to the theatre a few times before and I've seen many concerts, but this was my first time to see a West End Musical. I've not even seen the film!
After the show we were going for drinks but felt shattered so we made our way back to the hotel. Then we had a late snack at Mc Donalds before grabbing a final drink in the hotel bar where we had a lovely chat.
Next morning we woke up to rain again, but by the time we got showered, dressed and packed up to leave it was starting to dry up. First stop was the Emirates Air-line, a cable car across the Thames. I thought I would be scared but I really loved it, even when we got blown around a little by the wind right at the top. The views were amazing, and I loved how we could see how much sunnier the weather was in central London.
Next stop was Baker Street as Cassie is a big Sherlock fan. We wanted to visit the museum but the queue was massive and we were on a time schedule so we made do with a trip to the shop instead and Cassie had a lovely book for a birthday present.
Then it was on to Queen's Park and we grabbed an ice cream for the walk across the park to the palace. We had a little break wondering what the Queen was up to inside her house and if she ever curtain twitched. What would it be like to have thousands of people outside your house every day?
Time for a late lunch and we decided to go back to Picadilly to eat at Pizza Hut. We had a large pizza between us but couldn't manage it all, so we had a doggy bag for the rest, a treat for Craige later. Then there was just time for a little shopping (Cassie was thrilled to get some Taroyaki from the Japanese Shop) and we bought gifts for everyone back home. Then we were back at Euston grabbing a coffee before our trip home (which took only 1/2 the time on the fast train)


Thursday, 28 June 2012

50 Shades of Twilight

I had to do it, all my facebook friends were talking about it, laughing about it, giving each other cheeky winks about it. I needed to know what the fuss was about, I felt like I was missing out, and I don't like missing out. So I bought and downloaded 50 Shades of Grey. I hurtled through the first 9 chapters desperate to see what was so good about it, but came away feeling disappointed. The main characters did not appeal to me at all and it felt as though the book was aimed at 15 year old girls. Then came the erotica and basically it felt like a readers story in a porno magazine, not that I'm prone to reading porno mags but I may have seen one or two ;-) Maybe it's just me, but I'm not impressed.
Then I found out that the book actually started out as a Twilight fanfic. (Fanfic/fanfiction is a piece of writing by fans using the same characters or settings from an original piece of work, book, film or tv etc) So Anastasia was first Bella Swan and Christian Grey was Edward Cullen. The writer began her story on a fanfiction web site but was soon asked to remove it as it was too raunchy. Then the characters where changed and 50 Shades was born. The original draft was believed to have been called The Master of the Universe.
Reading through you can still see a lot of similarities between the main characters, for example Edward and Christian were both adopted, both have dark secrets, both have lots of money, both give their woman a car, both play piano.
I'll admit I did read all of the Twilight books, mainly because I'm a big fan of fantasy fiction. There were parts I liked but overall I had trouble with the series because I didn't like, or couldn't relate to the main characters Edward and Bella. I'm thinking now that this is the reason why I am not enjoying 50 shades.
I'm more than halfway through now and will finish as I hate leaving a book unfinished, and maybe it will redeem itself to me. (Perhaps there may even be a plot?) I'm already thinking how on earth this has been stretched into three books. If, I mean, when I finish the book I'll pop back and let you have my final verdict. In the meantime do share your opinions as I know I'm in the minority here.



Friday, 22 June 2012

How Many Blogs?

How many blogs is too many for one person to write? I started off with one blog, then I started up my shop and needed a business blog. Having two at this stage was obvious, I couldn't pour out my feeling or share my latest life crisis on a business blog, and I didn't want my current readers facing what was really a barrage of reviews and advertisements for my business.
Then I decided that I wanted to write more about my children, but again, didn't want it incorporated into my current blog. So I started another blog just for them. Three different blogs on three different topics, but then another problem arose. I was approached to write reviews and advertise competitions on my blogs, but I didn't know how I could incorporate them. If I put them in my personal blog they would alienate my readers and make my personal content more visible. It would not have been good for my business if I advertised other stuff on my business blog and although a lot of the content was appropriate for my kids blog I didn't want it be other than a record of my kids lives. My only answer was to start a new blog, one which I could add all the other stuff I didn't want to put elsewhere. I've added other content to this blog so hopefully it doesn't read like the pile of spam. I jogged along the four blogs quite contentedly for a while, if I got bogged down then maybe one or two of them would suffer, but I tried to keep them updated and fresh.

Now I have closed my business and business blog and have more time to focus on my blogs as well as fewer blogs to write.

BUT, now I want to write about my passion for food, and in particular cakes, so a new blog could be on the horizon soon.

I'd love to hear from other bloggers about how many blogs you have, or how you feel about having multiple blogs. Would you prefer to change the tone and direction of your blog rather than start a new one? Do you have mulitple blogs? If so, how many do you think should be the limit? Please answer here or on Twitter... @okesanne
Thanks :-)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Computer Cake

My sister-in-law asked me to make a cake for my brother's birthday...something to do with computers was what she asked for.
I looked in books and online but I couldn't find anything I felt I wanted to make, or thought I could make and it look good....to be honest I think computer cakes look pretty naff!
I did find one which was a screen with keyboard and mouse on a white cake which I quite liked, so I used this as inspiration.
I wanted to do a square cake but left it a bit late to get a square cake board, in the local shops they are all round. So I made an 8 inch round cake. It had been a busy week and I took the cake out of the oven just as it was time to pick the girls up from school. I poked it with a skewer and it came out clean so I left it and went out. When I got back the cake had sunk in the middle. On further investigation I saw that it had not cooked in the centre, when checking I'd put the skewer in slightly off center but there was an entire middle bit that was still runny. So I learnt some new things as this had never happened to me before.

  • make sure you have plenty of time to cook your cake properly
  • make sure you poke the skewer right in the middle as well as nearer the edges 
  • you CANNOT successfully cook the middle of the cake alone
  • if you try to cook the middle, it will take FOREVER and the rest of the cake will burn
So I started again. This time I had a lovely cooked round cake.
I then put the cake in the freezer wrapped in cling film, cakes are easier to cut when frozen.
The next morning I retrieved the cake and sliced it through the middle. I also trimmed the cake so that it was a nice even shape, thankfully it didn't need much. (the trimmings were frozen to make cake pops at a later date)
I filled the cake with buttercream, but first I broke a cocktail stick in half and put one in the top slice and one in the bottom so I knew exactly how to line the two halves up again after filling. This keeps the even shape.
Then I covered the cake in a thin layer of buttercream and covered it with 'ready to roll' icing in white.
The computer decorations I'd made earlier in the week so that they would be set/hard. The screen I  made from covering a shop bought marshmallow filled wafers with black icing. I decorated it with a  small square of white icing and wrote on it with writing icing. The keyboard I shaped out of black icing. My inspiration cake had a full keyboard set out but I decided to just put enough keys on it to spell out Happy Birthday, my brother's name and his age. The mouse was made with a small blob of white icing. To add a splash of colour I iced a blue ribbon around the bottom of the cake.

So here it is, my brother loved it but did complain that he couldn't get an internet connection on it!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Good Food/alcohol Show

Today we went to the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC Birmingham.
I'm thinking they should call it the good alcohol show instead, there is so much available. Of course there is food too, but if you're looking to sample then it's the alcohol that's flowing a plenty. From toffee vodka to fine wines, you only get a little but it amounts to a lot by the time you've worked your way around the exhibition. As I was driving today I didn't get to sample much but one stall had me hooked for a while, it was the Colourful Drinks company which sold alcohol based on flavours of sweets, i.e. Black Jacks, Cola Cubes and the one we ended up buying, Strawberries and Cream.
The highlight of the day for me was seeing the Hairy Bikers on stage, they were so funny. They cooked loads and were very entertaining.
When it came to having lunch there wasn't much choice apart from the NEC restaurant, which we really didn't want to go to. We ended up having some rather delicious sausage baps, well I had sausage, Cas had sausage and bacon and Gray had pork and apple. Joseph had some of mine as the sandwich I'd taken for him was suddenly unappealing.
We also sampled some nice cheeses, fudge, lots of curry sauces, crisps, liquorice and brownies.
So we had a lovely day but came home to some very sad news which I'm not prepared to talk about right now.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

60 Diamond Years

This year saw the Queen's 60th Jubilee. I'm not a big royalist but I don't have anything against them either and I do enjoy a royal knees up, especially the weddings.
I remember the Queen's silver jubilee really well, considering I was so very very very young ;-) My mum and the neighbours set up a silver jubilee committee and held meetings in each others house on Friday nights where they discussed things like vol-au-vonts and drank bottles of Manns. They would go around each door and collect a weekly payment from everyone who wanted to attend. Everything was planned to perfection. The street was closed off and buntified, most of the houses was decorated and our house even made the local paper as one of the best decorated houses. On the day the weather was lovely, the party commenced in the street with fun games and a huge fancy dress parade. I remember being Little Bo Peep, but the winner was a silver queen, her outfit was made entirely out of tin foil and was pretty amazing.....even more amazing was that she survived the parade without being cooked! Then we changed into more regular clothes which meant a street full of Charlie's Angels jump suits, (mine was red and about two inches too short in the legs)
We then moved into the church hall, lucky that our street had it's own chapel, and a big slap up buffet was provided. Finally we partied until late in the hall and grounds.

A picture of the chapel in our street


This year I so wanted to do something. I knew I wouldn't be able to organise a street party like my mum did, but I did consider opening my garden up to friends and neighbours and hosting a BBQ. Sadly the weather leading up to the jubilee put me off planning anything. I regretted my decision slightly the week before when the weather brightened up but it was too late for me to arrange anything as I was away on holiday. So we did nothing :-( well, apart from watch on TV. I feel sorry that my girls didn't get to celebrate and have the memories that I have from my childhood, I doubt that they will  have any memories at all, especially as they missed their school party for being on holiday. Then I realised that by the time there would be another jubilee I would be way too old to organise anything and for a moment I wished I could rewind the weekend and do something.  Instead I will make a promise that next time anything Royal happens, a wedding or even a coronation, then I will celebrate with my family and give my little ones something to remember. 

There was a special event we did share though, while were on holiday we saw the Olympic torch procession. We lined the streets and waved our flags as it went past. Hopefully the girls will remember that because it's not something they are likely to experience again.


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bento at Mount Fuji

My daughter took me out for lunch (she had a tax rebate) and we decided to go to Mount Fuji. Don't get excited, we didn't fly out to Japan, it's the name of a bento restaurant in Birmingham. Not a huge place but very nice and the view from the window is nice too, although some may say it was nicer before they built the new Spiceal  Street and blocked of the view of the lovely old St Martin's church.

I love bento, it's like being a child again. At school we would have these weird looking trays with compartments  for our food. Of course bento boxes are much nicer than the old school trays and the food is nicer (and healthier) but the concept of compartmentalised food is similar.
I chose a sweet and sour chicken bento and my daughter went for chicken teriyaki bento. We both had green tea but mine was hot and hers was cold (by choice)
The food arrived in a gorgeous polished wooden box, and when I took the lid off it looked like this;
I grabbed my chopsticks and tucked in. The rice was lovely and fluffy and the chicken delicious although not very sweet and sour. All the other bits were nice too, the cute piece of corn on the cob was a lovely addition as was the green beans in a soft creamy marinade. It was really filling too.

Now this post is sounding like a review when really I just wanted to write about my day out with my daughter, I guess the food took over. 
We did have a lovely day though, after lunch we took a walk around the indoor markets, she bought some buttons and I bought some fresh chicken fillets. 


Friday, 4 May 2012

The Hoarder in Me

Last night I watched the first in the series of the The Hoarder Next Door, channel4. The two people featured had homes that you really couldn't move around in because of all the stuff they had hoarded. How can people live like that? Why don't they throw it all away? If only the answers were so simple as the questions.
I have hoarding tendencies. I find it so hard to throw things away, some things are harder than others. I'm sure most people have memorabilia, keepsakes they would never part with, they may be valuable or not, it doesn't matter. Usually these relate to babies, or loved ones that have passed away. I still have my dad's bible and he passed away over 30 years ago. I have things from all of my kids when they were babies, clothing, toys, drawings, certificates etc. I also have things that belonged to my mum and younger brother. These things have no use to me now, they just hold cherised memories which I won't let go.
So where does it go from there to being a totally crazy hoarder who puts useless objects above everything, even being able to wash or cook in their own homes?
I get attached to items. I will acquire something and think that even though I don't need it now it will be useful one day, six years later it's still sitting unopened in the cupboard. I'll use something for years and then either replace it or get something better but it's still a wrench to get rid of the original. Now if it's something large, like a vaccuum cleaner or washing machine, that's fine, it can go, but if it's something smaller, like a kitchen gadget, then it can be stored.
I guess that still doesn't sound so bad does it? Nowhere near those hoarders on the tv program.
 Let's talk about boxes. I have a thing about boxes, I don't know why or where it came from but I can't just get rid of them. Big, small, ugly, pretty, so long as they are intact they are ok to stay. I have got better over the years and that's down to recycling. Somehow putting boxes in the recycling bin is not as bad as throwing them out. I still have to keep them for a day or two though and then they can go. Over the years the boxes have been useful, I've always got boxes for storage or transporting things, and the kids have made some fantastic sculptures, villages, robots etc from them.
Another thing is books, I have hundreds of them both read and unread but parting with them is so difficult. Some I've read over and over, and some I know I will read again, but some are just taking up space. I try to reduce my stash, sometimes I take them to the charity shop. I couldn't just throw them out that would be just wrong. I try not to buy books now, I borrow from the library mostly. I suppose a kindle would help but the books I already have would still be here, and I couldn't promise not to buy any more.
At present I feel I can control my hoarding. The stuff I really really need to keep gets stashed away so it's not on view (apart from the books on my bookshelf) and I do have regular clear outs when some of it will go. I try really hard not to add to it too. As I said, I have control, but the urges pull and I know I could easily lose control.
If I lived alone I know it would be more difficult to control.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

More Cake

I made another cake last week, for a little girl's first birthday. I was asked to make a Dee Li cake and sent a picture from the program Wayballoo.

The cake was fairly easy to make. First I made a 7" round cake and then I used a 1lb loaf tin to make the second cake. This needed a bit of shaping so I'm thinking I may have been better off just making a square cake and cutting it out. I'll keep that in mind for next time.
I covered the cakes with white icing and cut out the figure from coloured icing. The pupils and eyelashes I painted with food colouring but they did bleed a little so in future I would make some thing icing to pipe, or buy some writing icing as I tend to get the consistency wrong when I make it myself. To finish off I piped shells around the edges, and wrote a little plaque. I also made a flower candle holder out of icing, it's good to do something like this a few days in advance and leave to harden a little, when the icing is too soft anything you push into it will move around.

Here is the photo;

I don't currently have any cakes ordered at the moment. The next cake I think will be for our Jubilee party/BBQ so probably a Union Flag cake unless I come up with something more original ???

Sunday, 22 April 2012

10 Things I learnt at Blog Camp!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend BlogcampUk arranged by Tots100 and the lovely Sally Whittle.
This is what I learnt;
Lesson 1: Four flights of stairs gives you a good cardio workout. Seriously I had to wait 5 minutes until I could breathe normally again when I finally arrived at Blogcamp on the second floor of The Studio in Birmingham. Now, I'm not an unfit person (really?) but I have been glued behind a pushchair for the last six years and therefore always use a lift, so stairs are a bit of a novelty for me.

Lesson 2: You should read your schedule as soon as it is given to you. If I had done this I'd have known that the first talk started at 10.30am not 10am and as I am quite obsessive about being on time I did spend 1/2 hour wondering when everyone else was going to come into the room and park their bums. I would also have realised that the talk I most wanted to go to had been cancelled :-(

Lesson 3: It's ok to change your blog if that's what it needs. I'm not good with changes and in the past I've been known to start a new blog rather than change the one I've got (probably why I have four blogs now). Change is ok, change is ok, change is ok.....I get it, one blog already revamped. Did you know you can even change your blog name and url on Blogger without losing your hard work? I also learned that it's ok to have more than one blog...phew! Thanks Bangs and a Bun!

Lesson 4: I don't drink as much coffee as I thought. There was plenty of coffee at Blogcamp and it was good. I always thought I spent most of my day sat on my bum gulping back coffee (ha, if only) but with a cup of coffee at every opportunity left me all coffee'd out and I actually reached my max!

Lesson 5: Don't be a Dick! This was the most talked about slide of the day, and in fact was so important it was shown twice. As a person who worries about what people say and think all the time I thought the talk on How to be a Snark would help. Stu Heritage, snark tiger, looked like a little pussycat in front of a room full of oestrogen (his term not mine) but he still gave us a very amusing and informative talk about how to get away with being a snark, and when to back out. Glad I didn't miss this one, and he was rather nice looking (or is that just the oestrogen talking?)

Lesson 6: Lunch was free! And it was rather nice too with plenty to choose from. In fact we were really looked after all day with coffee on tap, water (in bottles), pastries for breakfast, buffet lunch, biscuits and yummy cakes.....quick break time for a cake pic!

Lesson 7: I learnt what all those buttons mean on a camera and picked up some good tips on how to take a good photo. My daughter will be pleased, I only said the other day that I needed a new camera and she retorted 'no mum, you just need to learn how to take a photo!' Well daughter, lesson learnt. Thank you Daddy Pig, aka John Arnold from PhotoWalkthrough

Lesson 8: I discovered Pic Monkey an online photo editor and how easy it is to use. Yes, we do have photoshop, I bought it for my daughter (yes, I bought it!) but I can't use it. I have tried. PicMonkey is a great little tool and I think my boring bad photo's will be getting some tweaking done very soon.

Lesson 9: PRs are actually quite nice, when sat meekly in front of an audience of 100 bloggers with fire coming out of their ears! I've only just recently been getting approached by PRs so I was a little naive in this session but learnt lots and next time I get an e-mail from a PR I'm not going to delete thinking they've got the wrong person, I might just give them a chance.

Lesson 10: You can't fit in everything and are likely to miss the most buzzed about talk of the day. I did, I missed the Follow, No-Follow talk which really created a stir. However, from what I picked up from talking to others it was about this http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=96569 which I think explains it fairly well. And if you are on Blogger and want to no-follow a link there is a handy little box to tick, whoopee!

Finally, I learnt that Bloggers Rock! (when they are not being dicks!)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I'm Going To Blog Camp

Only 100 tickets were available and I managed to get one, so on Saturday I'm off to the wonderful city of Birmingham to meet up with other Bloggers at Blog Camp Uk.
Ok, I live in Birmingham so it's only a short bus ride away, but I'm still excited. So This is me,
so if you are going too you will already know what I look like.

I have this blog which is for more personal stuff, sometimes I share too much but I find it easy to share on my blog. I also have a blog for my babies Baby No5 yes, I have five of them, but they are not all babies, but they are still all at home. Then there is my business blog Bump To Bundle which is linked to my baby shop which I started up while pregnant with baby no 5. Finally, well not really  but more about that in a mo, there is my reviews and competitions blog because I like to write reviews and enter competitions but didn't want to to clog up my other blogs. And Finally, finally, this blog is currently in hibernation but I wanted to mention it because it's a great hobby of mine. I've not been Geocaching for a while but I am hoping to get back into it very soon so Finding Boxes will be revived.

I told you I share too much ;-)

Just one more thing, I've hear there will be cake at Blog Camp.......here's one I made earlier

Yes, another hobby of mine is baking and decorating cakes......there may even be a new blog on the horizon. (First I need a few more hours in the day)



See you Saturday :-)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Birthday Cake



As I've said before, I like making and decorating cakes so I was thrilled to be given free range on a cake for my niece's 20th birthday. I know she's a pink girl so the dominant colour just had to be pink, and I know she loved the feathers on her sister's cake that I made last year so I got some pink feathers for the topper. I decided that I'd have a go at making a two tier cake for the first time. The bottom half chocolate and the top vanilla. The chocolate cake stuck to the pan and I lost half of it (me and Graham had the pieces with custard later) so I had to make another half a cake. It turned out to be a pretty good size in the end. And I learnt a lesson, you still need lining with silicone cake pans. The top half came out well but after putting it all together I was thinking maybe I should have gone for a smaller but taller cake. Something to keep in mind for next time.
So I thought about the top cake sinking into the bottom one and I knew you could use dowels but I thought I'd give it a google to see if there were any alternatives. I discovered that for a two tiered cake you could use drinking straws so I gave them a go. I think they worked pretty well, there was no sinking anyway.
The bottom cake I covered with pink icing and decorated with lilac stripes. My eldest complained that I should have had them all symmetrical but I wanted slightly larger gaps between the lines at the front so I could fit on the greetings plaques. I'd been asked for a long greeting so decided to split it over two plaques. The top cake I covered with a darker pink and I wanted to put lilac hearts around the side but it turned out a little too short and they wouldn't fit, so I embossed a pattern and put the hearts on the top. (Hence my thinking a smaller and taller cake would have been better)
The topper I made with silver foil coated thin wire, diamante numbers and the pink feathers. It cost me about £12 to make and took me nearly 3 days.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mothers Day

yep I'm late :-)
I don't really like Mother's Day. It makes me feel sad because I no longer have a mother, but it goes back longer because I have also spent five years in the past estranged from my mum. Those were awful times, I missed her so much but felt so let down and deserted by her. Every Mother's Day I would browse the cards in the shops and the sentiments inside them made me feel empty and lost. Then in 2005 I picked up a card with no long poetry or soppy sentiment, it just plainly stated have a lovely day. In it I wrote, 'I miss you mum' and I gave it to my auntie (because I had no idea where my mum was living) Two weeks later I had a letter from mum and then we shared a phone call, and eventually, just a few days before my daughter was born I met up with her at a summer fete.
I'm glad I had those few years making up with mum. Of course losing her was twice as hard, but I think it would have been difficult in a different way if we hadn't made up, and not something I'd like to dwell on. So this year mum got her usual bunch of flowers and we had a chat by her grave side.

As for me, mum of five...well, it feels kind of mean to say it but my family let me know on a daily basis what they think of me so why should I expect anything different on Mother's day? At least the girls made me cards at school. On Mother's day they were oblivious, which I don't mind, they are so young. I suppose when I hear friends speak of their children the same ages having a go at making them breakfast, or choosing flowers with their daddies it stings a little, but not much. The eldest found the day difficult. I think he wanted to get me something but hadn't organised himself enough to do so. He was very out of sorts all day and I got lots of hugs. The eldest daughter said nothing, did nothing. So what! I'm used to it.

I guess the most hurt came from G. I woke him before going to church and he said he was going to get up and do all the housework. Nice thought. I'd been up four hours already, done housework, put washing on, prepared dinner and finished the icing on his mum's cake I had made. We got back from church after a little shopping at 12.30pm. He was still in bed. He got up and went around his mum's by 1pm. He didn't come back until 3pm. I was livid, but said nothing. What's the point? Then he told me how a neighbour had collapsed and he'd called an ambulance and she was so ill he didn't think she was going to make it. I made all the right noises but struggled inside because I couldn't believe him, I just felt it was another of his 'stories' to excuse him being gone so long. All day I felt truly terrible for our neighbour and guilty for thinking that I didn't believe him, not a good feeling, very mixed up I guess you could say. Anyway, the rest of the day passed, just one little outburst from eldest which I was waiting for because I could tell he was worked up.

Today, I saw seriously ill neighbour at the shops. She was fine. Yes she'd had a scare but it turned out to be nothing serious. From our conversation I gathered she'd not see G on Sunday, but I'm not 100% because I didn't ask her outright.

Just another day in my life.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Plea for a Good Cause

Since writing this my friend has died. Today it's her little boy's 6th birthday and Sunday it would have been her 46th birthday. Some people say that if there was a God then he wouldn't allow this, but I believe that God doesn't make this happen, it's the evil in this world we live in. God helps us fight against these terrible things and our faith is what gives us hope and everlasting life. I've prayed for my friend from the beginning and I now believe that she is safe and free from pain. Yes, it's a heartbreaking loss for those left behind, her family and friends, and she will be missed sorely. It shouldn't happen to anyone, old or young. I believe that death is not the end, it's the victory against the evil we have to face on this earth. God Bless my dear friend and her family.

Pink Ribbon Walk Just Giving Page

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I have a friend I've known online for quite a few years. Shortly after I had Lucy she had a lovely little boy, her first child. The only time I have met her in real life was when our babies where small, but our online friendship has continued, so have the christmas cards and gifts for my babies. She really is a lovely person and doesn't deserve what has happened to her. She found out she had breast cancer  when her little boy was just 8 weeks old. I remember when she posted that she'd found a lump and we all told her to get it checked but not to worry. So many of us had had lumps which had turned out to be nothing sinister. She was not so lucky. It turned out that her breast cancer was metastatic which means it has spread. Through it all she has continued to be kind and caring and never complains of her plight. She is a very brave lady. Cancer is a very cruel disease.
A group of friends are walking the Pink Ribbon walk, 20 miles in honour of this lovely lady. They are hoping to raise £1000 for Breast Cancer Care. If you can please consider making a donation to this truly worthy cause.
Pink Ribbon Walk Just Giving Page
Thank you.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

knocking

Isn't it amazing how one action can trigger a memory that affects you so much. Sometimes good, sometimes bad but our minds are incredible machines that keep things locked up so well, stored away until they are needed, or until some trigger sets them off.
Today on the way home from the school run I saw someone knocking on a door, nothing strange about that, but they looked really desperate to get in, they were knocking the door, ringing the bell, banging on the glass, looking like they might lose it completely at any minute. I walked on, there was nothing I could do.
Then it hit me. The last time I was knocking on a door like that, the desperation I felt, I wanted to kick the door in, it was a porch and I'd have another door to face if I managed it. I had to get in, I needed to get in, the person inside needed me, I'd come to help them, I had to  help them, I had to get in.
 The person inside was already dead, I was about 4 hours too late.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Since He Came Home

You may remember my post recently about my eldest boy going to stay with his dad in France for a while. I missed him terribly while he was gone, but he's been a pain since he got back last week. He has come back with a real attitude, in fact, last year when his sister went to stay with their dad for a month she came back with an attitude too. Well, I'm sorry I don't live in the South Of France near the beach, and I'm sorry our home is overcrowded and there are noisy small children around. And I'm sorry I don't cook at 9pm (blimey I'm ready for bed by then) but I have to feed the little ones and I'm not spending all night in the kitchen. All the years I brought them up on my own while their dad enjoyed his own life. All those years working so they could have the things they wanted, and giving up a job I loved because what they really needed was a mum at home, all the fighting with schools and authorities to get them the proper help they needed. All the worry, all the tears, all the sleepless nights. Then after a few weeks with their dad and suddenly I'm not good enough.
OH well, they are adults now, they can go if they are not happy! I'm sure they'd cope just fine without me.
I don't think big son has had  a conversation with me since he got back. He spends most of his time in his room, coming down only for food. He's even been taking his food upstairs because 'he hates eating with the girl's because they make so much mess' (believe me, he can make just as much mess himself, even now!)
Then last night he left the house around 10pm without telling me he was going out. I heard the door shut and had to check is room to discover him gone. He rarely goes out, and never goes anywhere without telling me first. Maybe he's trying to prove he can be independent? I know I can't treat him like a baby, but he really isn't safe to be out alone without me knowing. He was only gone for about 1/2 hour and when he came back he went straight upstairs without seeing anyone. I did go and ask him where he'd been but he told me he had been in his room all night.
Why on earth do we ever want to be parents?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

My Inspiration....

...............Comes from Paulo Coelho
I read a book of his many years ago, The Alchemist. It is about following your dreams and how sometimes the things you want or need most are right where you are now, you don't have to look far.
Over the years I've read most of Paulo's books, some I've found better than other's but I just love his outlook on life. I often read through the quotes on his website and his regular blog posts are a must. I also look out for his little messages on Facebook, each one speaks out to me (and his 7,712,806 likers) Today he said;
For your own sake, resign from the post of General Manager of Life
and yesterday:
Dreams and love are just words - until you decide to experience them
He is also a very spiritual person, and although we are not from the same line of faith we have many of the same beliefs.
He is very much a modern day philospher, and although you can take his books on face value i.e. simple stories, there is always so much more he is saying. Like all authors he is not to everybody's tase, but to me, well he is my inspiration.

 I've always said what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, this is just a different way of saying the same thing.

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