Friday, 30 November 2012

Cinderella, you shall go to the ball.......

I seem to have woken up with several pimples that have rather inconsiderately erupted on my face over night, a scritchy scratchy area on both ankles and a stiff neck. Great!!!! Why does this always happen?
How can it be that on every other of the 320 or so days this year so far, I have no such imperfections and then the day of my first party in a very long time, pow, piazz, zing, 1,2,3.......there they are glowing like snow topped mountains.
Perhaps I've been touching my face more then usual, maybe it's city pollution (I've been to the city twice in a week), what about the stress of the week...? And perhaps if I hadn't decided to de-flea the dog this week, her fleas might not have decided to snack on my ankles instead of her.
Arrrrhhhh! I will not scratch them, simply will not!!!!!!!

Please understand this ranting and raving, it's not the 'normal' me. I do not usually get so upset or even notice the odd little pimple lurking on my chin, but almost a year ago, I was invited to my friends 40th birthday and that party is tonight.
It is funny, before Wyld woman came into her own, she would probably have turned down such an invitation, or if she had of gone, she would have made very little effort and hoped to BLEND IN!
It would be easy to do that in this situation too. I'm a woman going on my own, meeting with a lovely bunch of friends that stretch back years but whom I haven't spent much time with in a long while, and I've been through the most traumatic experience I could ever imagine in the past year which (briefly) totally knocked my confidence. But to hide in a corner wouldn't be good exercise of ones wyld side now would it?
So NO, will not attempt to blend in....I shall not be attempting to stand out either!
This of course means I have to make an effort (or at least more of one), effort requires time and energy.

A couple of months back my friend announced the theme, 'A night at the Oscars'......., well at least I think that's what she said. I hope so, could mean a sharp exit if I got that one wrong!

I trawled the local charity stores in pursuit of suitable etire and found a rather cute little number that I could just about sqeeeeze in to. Then my dear cousin came to my rescue and suggested that her lovely lodger (owner of many glamorous frocks) might actually be able to help out.
There at the back of the cupboard in need of repair and a little TLC was the perfect little 'slinky malinky' dress just waiting to be fixed up by yours truly. I stitched up and repaired the broken strap (breaking the other one in the process), and opened up a seam on the leg (naughty ;-))....all ready to be accessorised.

My dear little sis has lent me some rather....ummmmm 'high' shoes. I don't do shoes. Little ole me tends to just have one pair of 'live-ins' plus my faithful wellies, that I literally 'live in' and wear and wear until they are no more. I certainly don't (oh no no) do heels.
I may well be like other girls and have an obsession for shoes had it not been for a couple of rather slippery experiences in my youth. The first was a pair of little black shoes with a 1" kitten heel (note how she knows the term). Well I bought these when I was about twelve with some Christmas money and I loved them. I loved their shape and sleekness but I wore them to school one day and whilst running down a corridor (tut tut) I hit the corner at the wrong angle and whoop whoop whoop, those feet raced beneath me and I ended up in a heap on the floor!
Not long after our puppy chewed one up....probably saving me from doom or more embarrassing episodes.
The next occasion was a 'night club outing' in my early 20's with a group of lively folk. The dance floor was empty with eager on-lookers just waiting  for the first idiots to 'break the ice......'
Well I didn't break the ice but almost broke my body and certainly shattered my pride as once again those feet ran ahead of me in a frenzy of cartoon rolling footsteps. I 'not so gracefully' slid across the floor and finished up in a heap once again just short of the centre.

You see, so I've been scared....put off for all these years. In many ways my desire for flat soled shoes has done me a huge favour. I have no bunions or funny shaped feet (with the exception of that hammer toe).

Now 18 months ago I worked hard once again to overcome that fear for the sake of my little sis who requested me to wear 6cm heels as a bridesmaid at her wedding. It took some practise I'll tell you, but I did it and I don't think I walked too much like a penguin.

So for this event, this party tonight, I have borrowed these rather 'Oooh la la' bedroom slippers. I cannot imagine that people actually wear these stilts for any serious length of time! I'll wear them in, then slip them under the table in exchange for some comfy little 'slip-ons'. Well I wouldn't be able to dance in stilts would I?

Another thing that I have learnt to be a modern day problem, is displaying ones navel. That's not literally displaying, but wearing a dress that allows the contours of the dip or bump to be seen. Ummm I hadn't thought of that.
Prima Marche to the rescue. BIG PANTS come in all shapes and sizes and hide everything, totally everything, they're amazing!!! I honestly think big pants could potentially put fad diets and personal trainers out of business. Not sure they are terribly sexy though (not that that's an issue right now)!

So panties sorted, navel for the boobies. The dress is rather.....skimpy in some areas. Your average brassiere will not be conspicuous. What to do? Having had three children certain areas no long 'self support' so that essential piece of lingerie is really quite essential to the feminine look. I have done extensive research into this dilemma and it seems I have four options: 1. Go without........definitely not an option!
2. Wear normal bra........although it is acceptable to go out with ones bra on show these days, it rather spoils the aesthetic look that I am trying to achieve! 3. The padded number with invisible straps......OK, so the straps are clear plastic and not as obvious as no 2 but they can be seen......4. The stick on option.......two stick on pads that you fix together in the centre creating to me what looks like a 'mono-boob'....I've gone with this option but cannot try it until this evening as they only stick once! We'll see!!!!

Gosh I'm exhausted after all that and I haven't even got to the essential body care bit yet.........

There's the shaving, the bathing, the nails, the hair, the scent, the outerwear, the bag, the make-up....arrrrrr mama this is not for do people do this all on a regular basis???? It is beyond me!

Well, you shall have to wait for all that follows as it's 2.30 and I'd better get a more on if I'm to finish those chores before the party begins and get ready....hehehe!! Shall fill you in soon with how I got on, wish me luck!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

                                        My lovely cousin took these pictures before I left her house!

Note to self.....running late is not cool to such an event as this....and it is not possible to power walk in 6" heels, DO NOT try!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Today is NOT a sad day.......

Today is NOT a sad day..............

Today is a day to be thankful for, it's a new day like every other. A day to spend with friends and to enjoy with my precious children.
We have a home, we have lovely food to eat, we are warm, we are surrounded by people who love us and care for us.

Today is NOT a sad day..............

Today is a day to give thanks for the life I have had, for the people I know and have known, for the lessons I have learnt and am still learning.

Today is NOT a sad day..............

A year ago today my best friend/husband/sole mate/father of my three gorgeous children departed from earth side. That was a sad day, sadder then any other. I have spent the last year questioning why? But no answers come to light and never will. I remember so many things about my beloved so many things that only I will know. His devotion to me and our children, his tender words of love and encouragement, his comforting cuddles, his creativity, his talent and his knowledge of the world. I am so grateful that in life he chose to spend his time with me and gifted me with three beautiful children who mirror many of his ways.

But today is NOT a sad day.............

Today I am stronger, wiser and more able. I have faced an event that I would not wish any other to have to go through, but I have come through it and I can hold my head up and smile. I do not dwell on the past but look forwards to what the future will bring.

Today is a NEW day..............Give thanks! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Meet Herman :-)

At the heart of my cosy little home, there on the kitchen worktop, resides Herman, my 'living German friendship cake mixture'.
I came across Herman initially as a teenager (many moons ago), it was all the rage back then to pass a little of this simple cake mixture to a selection of friends.
About two years ago an aunt passed a little my way, 'Oh the sheer delight of it'. I remember the scrumptiousness of the finished cake that you bake at the end of a period of ten days of careful nurturing.
I followed the instructions that accompanied my started to the book and gave my new friend a prime spot on the kitchen table covered (as instructed) for all to admire.
Well on this occasion I must have neared day ten 'cook-cake-day' when I noticed that something had pushed the covering cloth into the mixture.......ummmmm 'strange', I thought. Perhaps the mixture has magical powers of suction?? On closer inspection it was noted that the level of dear Herm had also dropped within the bowl!!!! Arrrrrhhh the horror of it all, dear Marley pup had been devouring my poor friend Herm. Well the thought of sharing my sloppy wet mixture with human friends is one thing but with a, no, no!!!
So Herman number 2 sadly had to make it's way into the septic tank via the loo!
Then delight once again! My lovely friend Ginny came up trumps and offered me another sample of Herman.
This time I was determined to experience that yummy, warm, friendshippy, cake that I remembered so well from all those years ago.
Once you receive your little sample of bubbling wonder, you have to tend to it everyday for ten days before reaching the final 'cake making' day. Ten whole days of care and attention. It's quite like having a friend to stay, only you eat part of it before waving goodbye!
With no pup to eat the mixture this time (dear little Jen dog wouldn't dare to challenge the worktop) I was off.
After ten days of mixing, mixing, mixing, feeding, more mixing, more feeding (plus a little chit chat along the way) my Herman was ready to be divided, shared and cooked into a delicious cake.
Hey presto! Ummmm spiced apple cake at its finest!! :-)

Well I kept this going for several months trying different combinations of cakes and sharing samples to friends until 'Oh no'........disaster struck once again. OK confession I didn't always measure the food out accurately and occasionally forgot to feed my friend on the right days and ummm......well......Herman died!!!!!


Oh the guilt of it, how cruel, how irresponsible and to a dear friend too....poor, poor little Hermy wormy - deceased, gone to meet his maker, never to be again :-(

I quite missed caring for my friend.......


Just two weeks ago Mel came up trumps with another little sample :-) :-) :-)........
So here we go again.
This time I shall take better care of my friend, be more vigilant to his needs.
I excitedly took a couple of samples to my grandparents house to share the delights of my wonderful friend, to impress them with that delicious warm, huggy tummy feeling you get when you savour a bite. One sample was to cook whilst there and another to keep my grandma company whilst she works in the kitchen.
I enthusiastically popped the ingredients into the mixing bowl, whipped them up, popped the mixture in the oven and waited and then......bugger!!!.....

I forgot to add Herman!!!

A Hermanless Herman cake...could things get any worse?

I have to say that it still tasted good but that wasn't the point and as a result two samples travelled back home with me!

This evening, I successfully made a cake....a delicious cake containing fruit and cinnamon all ready to share with friends tomorrow. I shall look forwards to scrumping some of that :-)

Ed note: Would anyone like a little sample?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

In search of St Alban

Our home education history project for this year is the history of Britain from the Celts and forwards. We have been using the book 'Our Island Story' by H.E. Marshall, which is a truly inspiring book filled with stories that relate to the kings and queens from each period and interesting historical facts along the way.

So this week we went in search of St Alban.
St Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain and was around during the time of the Roman rule 60 AD (?) He was in fact Pagan prior to becoming Christian, and stories are told of how he hid a Christian priest in his home (as Christians were hated and killed if discovered during the main of the Roman rule). He then pretended himself to be the Christian, knowing what fete was in store. However, the people of his town recognised him as 'Alban the good man', and they refused to kill him. He was eventually killed by command by the Roman soldiers at that time.
The abbey in St Albans is an amazing place, dedicated to this incredible character. There is a crypt in the middle of the abbey supposedly containing Alban's bones in  a gold cask. However, it seems that they are no longer present and their where-abouts is unknown following the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry 8th. That guy has a lot to answer for!!!
I thought I would share some photos from our day with you as this really was a very beautiful place.
Enjoy! xxxx
                                                         The ceiling in the Norman tower.

 Window depicting the death scene of St Alban.

                                                   Children lighting candles near the shrine.

 This is the shrine of St Alban.

Beautiful woodwork and carvings.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Fires and fungi

Sorry we've been gone a while. My phone line developed a fault so no phone or Internet for a whole week! I thought it had to be some kind of joke when BT informed me it would be 7 days.....but no, sure enough, true to their word it was indeed a whole week of no contact with the virtual world. BT didn't choose the most convenient week to develop a fault on the line, but hey ho, not much I could do about that. Actually the time of being 'uncontactable' was quite nice. No computer distraction, no Facebook!!!
So we're back with some rather fun happenings to report from life on the 'wyld' side.

Firstly there was the wonderful time for lighting a fire in the grate. I held out until the temperature really dropped until I gave in. As I now have officially the lowest income ever, I figured I should hang in there as long as possible so as to make the most of our supply of well chopped and dry logs. I don't have much left to chop now from last Winter. Shame really, I rather like the buzz you get from swinging an axe on a cold day. Nothing like warming up in order to create beautifully chopped logs to warm you again. there is the old saying that chopping wood warms you twice, once when you chop and again when you burn. It provides a really good workout too!

As we waited for so long and with so much anticipation for this wonderful act, I figured I should in true 'me style', mark the occasion with some sort of 'fire lighting ceremony'. I know, I am now officially admitting to being different from the rest!
With the log basket loaded, kindling stacked and a good supply of old newspapers (not forgetting the marshmallows), we were ready! Small boy built the first attempt (always the pyromaniac). Ummm he seems to have lost the knack, there is a distinct knack to fire lighting, it is rarely an act of luck!
Anyway, with dry wood it was going in no time! Arrr the sheer delight of seeing those flames flicker and feeling the warmth radiating towards us. I couldn't resist spreading my sheepskin in front of it.....(we can all dream!).

Talking of fires, mine and several other families gathered in some Millennium woodland recently for a fire, cook out and general social event. It poured with rain but us hardy folk (or are we just plain mad??) continued to party and were not deterred by our sodden hair and clothes. No one batted an eyelid when an old metal stretcher was brought out to lay across the burning embers to cook the sausages on. I do love my friends :-) The fact that we all have such similar thoughts on life and a natural spark of creativity!

Last Saturday I organised a fungi foray in a local BBOWT reserve near my home. I invited a really knowledgeable chappy along that I have got to know over recent years, who knows a lot about living out doors and surviving in the wild. Could you survive without modern conveniences? I honestly think that simple living is definitely the way forwards. (Won't get depressing here). With my Internet and phone line down, this was not the best week to be organising such an event, but we all got there in the end (some of us having to abandon our cars before the car park as the road to the reserve was seriously in need of attention and without having a car that transforms to a boat like 'Chitty' there was no way we were risking it!).
Armed with baskets and flasks of hot soup we ventured into the woods for our adventure, and what an adventure it was too! I had been a little worried that the cold weather might have snapped too soon and killed off the forest delights, but no, that was not to be the case. Suddenly our eyes were ignited by the masses of different kids of fungi that lined the forest floor. If you knew what you were looking for you could seriously feast for free here!

Now foraging is not easy business as I quickly learned. There are indeed a host of very attractive beauties growing out there but if you are not 100% sure of what you are gathering then you could make a nasty (potentially fatal) mistake. Many mushrooms are in fact deadly poisonous. I went along armed with two lovely colourful books borrowed from the library, but I have to say I wasn't all that impressed with them. Although they gave good descriptions they weren't terribly clear and didn't leave me 100% confident.
Our guide was good and rather funny too, he made me chuckle as he flopped down (quite literally) to the ground to get a really good close look at each specimen. He seemed really knowledgeable, but again if he wasn't certain he didn't take any risks.

Jelly ears - these cans be found growing on rotting wood and can be eaten raw. I think they look rather like 'mouse' ears. The texture was...unusual!

The kids had a wonderful time playing in natures playground and we adults returned to the car park with a basket overflowing with about five types of edible mushrooms to fry up and savour.
My honest thoughts on the taste.......they tasted like the forest floor! Perhaps next time I'll wash them!!