Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Eleven Random things

  • This is an exercise in procrastination. I’m very good at these things. The more pressing something is, the better my ability to avoid it becomes. I should be writing a teaching session about Quality Improvement for undergraduate healthcare professionals but I’m not. I have 2 days at work before I need to do it. Not feeling the fear yet.

  • Whilst I was queuing (for a substandard university) coffee. A woman rushed in and apologised for being rude to one of the coffee shop servers the day before. She couldn’t stop herself from explaining how terrible her day had been and how awful she’d felt afterward and how she’d not slept properly because she’d been so awful. I wonder what she said. Then she had to apologise for holding up the queue. I think she was apologised out after that.

  • I’m feeling the start of Autumn. It’s definitely dark when the ABO gets up on earlies (4.20am today – ugh). There’s a nip to the air and the back to school stuff is in the shops. I love this time of year. It seems like the New Year to me, time to make lists and get stuff done. I feel energised and ready to buy new stationery. There’s nothing like a new pen and a notebook to get the creative juices flowing. At least that’s my excuse (see point 1!).

  • The start of Autumn also means I’ve got birthday preparation anxiety. BigR is 6 in a couple of weeks. I’ve ordered bits and bobs for the cake. It’s a ‘Frozen’ theme. Again. For ease the party will be done for us in a nightmarish soft play place a couple of weeks later. She’ll love it. In fact her social life is better than mine with no less than 3 parties that weekend. Will my nerves take it? She’s written a (long) list of things she’d like for her birthday including sparkly shoes (check), hello kitty stuff (check), a unicorn beanie boo (The eyes on beanie boos. is it just me? Hmm I’m not sure about them) and a real mermaid that swims (unlikely!).

  • We (using the royal we here, the ABO did the graft) redecorated BigRs room. I bought the paint and chose the curtains (and helped clear out the junk!). She’s overjoyed to now have an ‘Elsa room’. We’re lamenting over ever painting the room pink as it was blue before she was born.

  • There’s nothing like DIY and specifically flat pack furniture to bring out the worst in me. It’s one of the few things we argue have discussions about! Usually because we've hjad some 'Chuckle brothers' type moving shenanigans (to me, to you) before we get to the assembly! We’re quite good at flat pack stuff but the new bed frame almost defeated us. If Ikea made normal bed sizes we’d have bought it there. Still the instructions said it would take 50 minutes. There were 4 main pieces and the slats. Three hours later we were still trying to stick it together. The old bed base had been rained on so there wasn’t even the option to give up. Finally, it was done and with a little time before bedtime.

  • Apart from one room our entire house is now blue or green.

  • I’ve gone all retro and am reliving my youth making friendship bracelets. Bizarrely, when my friend saw the one I made for BigR she wanted one! I’m much better at doing them now than I was 25 years ago!

  • I’ve been enjoying digestive biscuits smothered in cream cheese topped with strawberries. Yum!

  • I’ve come across a Japanese word which I really relate to ‘tsundoku’. The act of buying books and letting them pile up unread. I really need to read the books I have on my kindle before buying any more!

  • I managed to grow a carrot. And some apples. Obviously we’re now self-sufficient with 5 apples, 2 carrots and a couple of radishes. Still there’s some tomatoes to come. If they ever ripen!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The year in books :: August

So the summer continues apace. July was a good reading month for me in both volume and quality.

I loved Tana French's 'Broken Harbour' - I really like her characterisations. So much so I've ordered The Secret Place for this August's reading (....I know, I know I'm a bit late...I may have started it). I'm also planning to read The Magpies by Mark Edwards, I'm just not feeling Kate Atkinson yet!

I read the fabulous 'I let you go' by Clare Mackintosh. A first book from a new author and a brilliant thriller (and part of the Richard and Judy book club- that might put some people off - not the reason I read it but it wouldn't put me off).
For me, this was as good as 'The girl on the train'. I loved it. It kept me guessing and the end wasn't a let down! What more can you ask for?

My third book this month was 'Bad Mother' (Esther Walker). I really love her blog Recipe Rifle and her other writing so it was opportune I saw this when browsing kindle books, it's just so easy to click 'download now'. She writes honestly about her experience(s) with her young children and with humour (and a bit of swearing). It was worth the 99p!

As a change to normal bedtime shenanigans, we're trying out chapter books for BigR. The first being 'Charlotte's Web'. Now, it's as good as I remember but....I've read ahead and I don't remember the denouement being as heartbreaking. Maybe not the best thing for bedtime!! The next one I think we'll go for is 'Stig of the Dump'.

I've been reading some of my birthday presents too. Of course these are food related. I was lucky enough to receive Diane Henry's 'Cook Simple', Rachel Allen's 'All Things Sweet' and the River Cottage Preserving book. Plenty for me to try out soon.

Joining in with Laura

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Normality, preserves and a miracle

And so. One long exhale. I like to start writing as if we were mid conversation or that comfortable ease of good friends meeting up after a long absence. It’s been a strange few months but we’re getting there. BigR finished her first year in school – how did that happen? We managed to get away on holiday and it was the break (or as much of a break as it can be with small children) we needed.  LittleR has been back to nursery and I’m back to work. Normality strikes. I’ve been craving it but now it’s here it’s a little odd. We’re living with the shadow of the illness; it lurks there and we carry on as usual waiting for crisis. I’m sure the waiting will become normal too.

July was busy month. Birthdays (mine and the ABO…who reached that milestone), holidays, school ending, hospital visits and what seemed like endless rain!

I’ve been using my new (birthday) dish – I’m not used to cast iron cooking and as such I’m managing to stick stuff to it every time…I’m sure I’ll learn eventually! Its current home is on the worktop as it’s too big to go in the cupboard. Maybe I should rationalise some of my other cookware? Even then I would need to chuck out every other pan we have – it’s a big casserole!

In other news I made jam. Nothing exotic. Plain old strawberry. It set! It tastes nice! I call it – “a success”!

I’ve been reading a lot. But I should save that for my 'The year in books' post.

Never one to be left out, BigR is in competition with her sister for hospital appointments. We’re now a ground and tree nut free family. It took 5 years and 8 months for her to have a (big) reaction but now I’m panicking what’s in her food! I’m sure I’ll relax about it soon!

The garden survived our holidays but the torrential rain since we came back made mowing the lawn difficult. In the end I had to cut it when it was wet. Took ages and made me cross but now looks more passable.

The clematis (who shares its name with LittleR) has been resurrected! I have no idea why after growing well and producing one flower it went brown and crispy or why it suddenly decided to regrow. In any event, I’m a happy girl.

(I hope to catch up with all your posts in the coming days.)