Sunday, 19 March 2017

The spring fayre

Finally, winter is becoming a distant memory and friend.
Daffodils are sprouting around the village cricket green and duck pond. The blossom is appearing on the trees approaching the fifteenth century pub.
Yesterday I walked to the village shop, for fresh bread, without my big coat.
I couldn't be happier.
And the Spring fayre arrived in a neighbouring village. It's become tradition to visit it each year, come rain or shine. We sample the free food, stock up on sausages, and browse around the beautiful grounds, admiring crafts and animals.
Then we finish the day in the tearoom, cheese sandwiches and cherry and amaretto pie, discussing our day and the treasures we discovered.
Naturally I take photographs to remember the day by.

Something for everyone at the Spring fayre.

Crafts and children's books in here. Mum bought Tommy a dinosaur book and I bought him craft scissors.

Homemade cheese for mummy.

Homemade beer for daddy.

I can confirm the free samples of pizza were delicious.

Tommy loved the windmill, due to the Spider-Man colours.

And Tommy loved the farm animals.

Local craftsman showcasing their talents.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The five minute philosopher

You may have realised by now that I am not a celebrity.
I am neither famous for being famous, nor constantly in the public eye due to my acting skills or singing capabilities. (Definitely not my singing, have you heard my vocals? They are loud but dreadfully tuneless.)
I am free to roam without autograph hunters and photo opportunists. Yes it's a normal, sometimes invisible, existence for me, and that suits me just fine.
During my normal life,  every Wednesday morning, I collect my free copy of Stylist magazine. I travel via overhead and tube line, something celebrities would never dream of, due to their chauffeurs and non 9-5 office life.
I sit on the grubby seats of the circle line, avoiding eye contact with all commuters, who are not looking at me anyway as I am no-one to them. Then I usually turn to my favourite page; The
five minute philosopher.
This mentioned page is an interview type article, where the interviewer asks different celebrities the same thought provoking questions.
Questions I am often left pondering about.
So today I thought I would have a bash at these questions. Who cares if I am not famous? I am still allowed to have the same thoughts and aspirations, aren't I.
You too could have a crack? I will allow you to do so, if you so wish.
You're welcome.

What's the meaning of life?
I have often thought about this. Yes you might be surprised to hear I am quite a deep thinker, when I am not thinking about sparkly things and dinner time.
I suspect it's all about trying to be a better person and trying to make this world a better place. We all have our own personal journey, we should definitely learn, and create and experience on the way. Whilst remembering the bigger picture, and leave behind a positive impact on this world, however small or big you imagine this to be.

What's the difference between right and wrong?
Your conscience. If it don't feel right, don't do it!

Where is your happy place?
At home, with my family. I'm quite a simple, homely girl really.
I love 5pm on a Friday when I turn my lap top off (I work from home Fridays) then turn around to Tommy and say, "It's the weekend!"
I love Saturday mornings, waking up with Mark and Tommy and easing ourselves into the day with cartoons and scrambled eggs.
I love Saturday nights, fairy lights and lamps on, cooking for my family with a glass of wine.
I love Sunday afternoons, preparing a roast dinner for my family, listening and singing to George Michael.
Of course I like the great, big outdoors too. But there's something about the safe, content, relaxed feeling from home, surrounded by those you love.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?
Personally, I can't respect someone I don't like. Therefore I would have to say liked. I think like comes first, then respect. I also like to be liked.

What is your greatest love?
My family, my friends, George Michael. And chocolate.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?
That I made people happy, It's important to be happy and create happiness. That and kindness. I would be honoured to be remembered by happiness and kindness. The world would be a better place if we gave and received happiness and kindness.

Does the supernatural exist?
I reckon so. There are too many stories, too many people sharing experiences. Plus I don't think this is it, I take comfort in the existence of the after life.

What is your greatest fear?
Loosing people I love. I confess to an irrational fear of this sometimes.

What lesson has been the hardest to learn?

That people you love die. I've never really accepted, forgot or understood, why my brother had to die at twenty three years old.

What food sums up happiness?
Chocolate. Particularly Cadbury's mini eggs.

What have you never understood?

Algebra.I hated maths at school, and algebra caused me so much concern. And guess what? After all that stressing and worrying it has not been necessary to use it since leaving school. Why did I waste so much time on this subject? Crazy!

What's the one thing you want to know before you die?
Did George Michael talk about me once in a Holland interview? I've been told he did, but alas I can't find the interview on the big world wide web.
I bet you thought I'd say something deep then, didn't you?
I don't want to get freaked out by dieing so I don't want to know too much about what happens next. I believe we go to a good place, we will go when we are ready (I don't understand why people die young but I take a little comfort in thinking there must be a reason) and it will all make perfect sense one day.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Bouncy castles and party bags

It's become even more apparent in my life recently, that I'm not one for seeking other's advice and acting upon it.
To be honest, I find it slightly alien that some people can not make a decision regarding their own life without consulting everyone else first, and then basing their decision and action on the advice.
Surely you are the best person to decide your fate, to live your own life?
Of course I am flattered if someone does ask my opinion but it's often followed by, "You have to do what you feel comfortable with, what works for you."
And of course I wouldn't have the audacity to think I am an expert in every field, and not ask for advice from a professional, or an individual with the necessary knowledge, if required.
There are always exceptions to the rules.
However, I reached the conclusion a long time ago, that we are all leading different lives, with different personalities and different routines. Therefore, what works for one person could be totally unsuitable for the next.
Especially in relation to children.
I recall a friend once informing me, that she thought it imperative to join antenatal classes to bond with other soon to be mums, and then form relationships when the children are born to share experiences and concerns.
Guess what? I did not agree with this, or do this.
I'm not saying it's not a great idea for some, and I did join a couple of antenatal classes before birth day to find out from the experts what the hell I was letting myself in for.
But as for forming new relationship with expectant mothers, I knew that wasn't for me. I was fortunate that I had friends already in similar stages of life, friends I had known for years and already struggled to see on a regular basis. So I felt I wasn't really in a position to add new friends, maybe even to find out somewhere along the line that after sharing our birth stories, I realised I didn't actually like them very much! Plus, I am a great believer that you need to bond with your child in ways that work for you, whilst the NHS website and helpline are always on standby for the serious stuff.
As a mum, I can honestly say I've always tried my best and put Tommy first. Naturally, I've made mistakes on the way but that's life isn't it. You try things, you must learn from things if they don't work out, and you forever strive to succeed and lead a happy existence.
Kids parties are a very obvious place to view these different lives and personalities, which I am often reminded of. I've been thinking about this recently, due to the children's birthday parties we have been invited to.
I've looked around village halls and sports centres and noted the various types of mothers and their offspring.
There's the over protective mum, that's me I'm afraid, always worrying he's going to do something dangerous and hurt himself. The harassed mum, the one with lots of kids or maybe just one very boisterous one. The chilled mum, can be found sitting quietly in a corner sipping tea, looking suspiciously content. And the sociable one, the one who insists on walking around and introducing herself to everyone.
Not to mention the children.
The cautious one who clings to his mother's legs for at least the first fifteen minutes, that's Tommy by the way. The kid who bursts into tears at every five minute intervals, life can be tough for them and their parents. The angry kid who's loosing their rag at every opportunity, stamping feet and banging fists. Then there's the naughty kid, to be avoided if possible, for he's poking and pushing other children and tempting them with his wild ways. And last but definitely not least, the impeccably well behaved child (a very rare species) who is the envy of all the mums.
Funny old lot, aren't we.
Still, as my mum often says, wouldn't it be a boring world if we were all the same?

I shall leave you with some pictures of recent, non boring, kids parties.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Food for the soul

It didn't work.
(In reference to my last post.)
I went to bed in the usual manner; I set the time on my mobile alarm but noted it didn't have a 'required month you wish to wake in', and then promptly fell asleep.
Alas, I did not have a deep and meaningful sleep until March.
I tossed and turned, I had weird small dreams, and stirred many times.
Until my alarm signaled the beginning of another day. But it wasn't the correct day.
It was still bleak February!
So cold that I did not actually want to leave my bed.
An entirely dark bedroom which matched my mood.
And the germs! The germs were still there, without fail I fall ill in January and the germs stick round for far too long.
I gloomily realised it was time for action!
If I couldn't hibernate until Spring, I had to do something else.
It was treat time.
Who doesn't love a treat? That's what I figured mid-treats, therefore I also treated my mum.
I am a firm believer, treats are food for the soul. They don't even have to be big, just little things like Cadbury's Mini Eggs on a long train journey.
I was fortunate enough to receive a voucher from work, recognition of hard work achieving and contributing to the 35 published books target.
It was time to check in on Amazon.
Usually any spare money is spent on Tommy and the home. As my mum constantly reminds me, you need to treat yourself. So I did. My voucher was well spent on new boots (love my cowboy boots but they have holes in the soles, wet feet are not ideal), new going out dress (girls night out soon and I realised I can't wear the black spotty dress I've worn for the past four years) and a new work dress (could also be worn at weekends, how versatile) and a new soap dish and a glass bottle for my olive oil (old habits die hard).
It felt good.
Then I felt the urge to treat another human being. One who treats my son, myself and husband a fair bit - my mum. I ordered my mum a treatbox.
There's a fabulous website I stumbled across, you pick your gifts and they wrap them, place in box, write a label for you, and post them.
I happened to be at my mums when her treatbox arrived.
"I've got a treatbox!" she exclaimed.
She carefully unwrapped her box to reveal a chocolate teddy bear, a posh tea bag, a white heart with the word 'nanny', a coaster with the words 'always my mum, forever my friend' and little pegs decorated with cupcakes and flowers.
My work was done.
I was feeling tonnes better.
Oh and Mark and I bought a new car.
February, you are nicer than I anticipated.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Is it time to wake up yet?

I have this theory with regards to my arch enemy, January, and its partner in crime, February.
My thought process for this theory is as follows.
After the dizzy highs of Christmas, and consuming the last drop of New Year's Eve bubbly, I will surrender to New Year's Day junk food - I'm thinking McDonalds breakfast, cheese on toast lunch, a huge bar of chocolate and mint chic chip ice cream snack, finishing nicely with an Indian takeaway. Then I will loose myself in a gigantic bubble bath, before retiring to my freshly laundered bed, and have a lovely, long sleep. At least until March.
Bears do it, so why can't I? Not the bubble bath bit, or ordering an Indian takeaway come to think of it, I mean the long sleeping bit.
All those lovely dreams I would have. And how refreshed I would feel when I awoke!
I would avoid all that grey, dreary, drizzly, frosty weather. No more rising in the dark and leaving work in the dark. Not to mention all the money I would save. For in my fantasy world I would still be paid by my employer, despite actually being asleep.
Would I also sleep away my excess Christmas calories? I like to think so.
Yes I would wake up in March, far thinner than January's bedtime. Next I would stretch, and remark, "Goodness, that was a terrific sleep."
The sun would be streaming through the bedroom window and I would peer through the blinds and admire the turquoise sky and cherry blossom. The daffodils would be sprouting around the trees and the birds would be singing their morning chorus.
I think the great, long, sleep should be an optional choice from the government. Because I understand this would not suit everyone. But I do think it would suit myself, and Mark and Tommy would join me too. That way I wouldn't feel as if I had missed anything which my husband and child experienced, whilst I was in dream land.
Please note, I have just checked the bear fact, and according to Google they can hibernate for up to seven and a half months.
Crikey, I'm not that greedy. I wouldn't want to miss Spring, merely January and February please.
Anyone else care to join me?

Whilst you are pondering over this dilemma, I shall leave you with some New Year's Eve memories from party at friend's house.

Mark. Not his best picture, granted.

Tommy playing with a princess.

My friends. What a lovely looking bunch they are.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Club Tropicana, when the drinks were not free

I was reading my Twitter feed (again), overwhelmed by all the tributes to George from fans and celebrities, when I spied the advert for the George Michael tribute night.
Club Tropicana was the venue, the London one, where the drinks definitely were not free. Despite this financial fact, I was pleased to hear all money for tickets, food and drink, would be donated to the charities George supported.
So I immediately requested tickets and invited friends.
A little crowd of us agreed we needed to celebrate the joy George had provided through his music, whilst donating money to charity and spending time together.
I can honesty say I have never experienced an atmosphere quite like it, and probably never will again.
As sad as his passing was, hundreds of people were determined to have a good night. Everyone sang their hearts out, personal favourites and massive hits.
Even in the ladies toilets they were blasting his voice, and I happened to be queuing when Last Christmas was played, and I and complete strangers placed our arms in the air and we all sang along, and to each other. I doubt very much I will ever, again, see complete strangers in such unity.
The owner of the club was a personal friend of George's and had arranged entertainment such as quizzes, singing contests, look alikes, and the post it note wall to be donated to charity. Plus the one minute's silence - it was eerie and touching in equal measures.
Reluctant to leave, but not wishing to miss our last train, and still buzzing with the memories, we left with Tropicana hats and glasses.
After posing for photographs, with the press (alas, have not spotted any in print yet!) and for personal use, we finally left.
As we were departing through the double doors, next to the fake palm tree, I noticed the owner saying his goodbyes to guests. As he turned to me I bid him farewell, gave his arm a little squeeze and said, "You done him proud tonight."
He looked at me and thanked me.
Then he smiled the saddest smile.

Friday, 13 January 2017

You have been loved

So I decided to visit George's house in London and make and take a card from myself, and on behalf of my friend Ann and some of his lovelies on Twitter. (His words not mine, 'my lovelies'.)
I asked Twitter to let me know what they wanted to say and about fifteen fans did so and appreciated they could pay their respects this way. It made me feel better to be able to do this.
In fact, I walked away from his house as if a dark cloud had been lifted.
It's the green card with his pictures on. It was made that morning, thanks to pictures from his autobiography, glue and scissors. The book was a Christmas present a few years back, even features on this blog, and I never expected it to fulfill this purpose.
Bless Mark for driving Tommy and I to North London, I don't think every husband would be so keen to do so.
And bless Tommy for putting a smile on my face when he saw the wispa bar someone had placed on George's Range Rover, for he said excitedly, "Mummy there's chocolate on that car! Can I eat it?"
I didn't let him.
That would definitely have been careless.

I was blown away by so many flowers, cards, candles and presents. And still they keep coming. He really did touch so many people's lives.