Friday, 30 October 2009

Say hello to my little friend...

I have a confession to make....

I've never carved a pumpkin before.

(I know, how deprived have I been?!)

I was so determined to do a good job that I decided I would draw it on before setting to with a knife. Except the ruddy pen was one of those Sharpies and you know what? They really do write on every surface! And you can't get it off for love nor money!

I said a bad word when I realised.

So he's not perfect but he's still scary right? RIGHT?

He's coming away with the boyfriend and I as we are off this weekend to my sister's house for her 40th birthday. I'm hoping she'll have got some in for my nephews so I can have another go and do a better job this time!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

National Cat Day - Interview with Fred & Lily

Apparently it’s National Cat Day.

Well according to this website it is so in honour of it and in homage to this guy I have borrowed his Guest Cat of the Month interview to talk to Fred and Lily

Fred and Lily


Fred and Lily (variations on these can be found here)

14 months

Technically The Girl’s Mum (a.k.a. Big Mum) but The Girl is a proxy owner (a.k.a. Other Mum)

Favourite habits:
Fred: Seeing if I can scramble up on top of the kitchen cabinets before anyone catches me. Sleeping on beds. Working out how to get in the kitchen bin. Crisp fishing.
Lily: Scratching stuff, especially if it’s human flesh. Chittering at pigeons out of Other Mum’s bedroom window. Leaping on Fred when he least suspects it, preferably if he’s using the litter tray. Slinking round people’s legs when they enter the room.

What constitutes a perfect evening for you?
Fred: Finding the fluffiest, squishiest thing about before settling on it and sleeping the night away, always keeping one ear open for anyone entering the kitchen or opening a crisp packet.
Lily: Same as Fred although I let him choose where he’s going to settle and then clamber all over him and give him a thorough washing.

Favourite food
Fred: Anything. I am especially fond of crisps (any flavour) and recently discovered I love nougat after Other Mum went purchased some at the fair. I quite enjoy a nibble of Other Mum’s peace lily. I am partial to a bit of cereal and toast if I can grab it.
Lily: Anything. I particularly enjoy a good bit of plastic though, especially those safety plastic things that come off jars of food.

Defining moment of your life?
Fred: My magical mystery tour I came back an older and wiser cat and consequently hate the litter tray.
Lily: This one time Big Mum didn’t close one of the cupboard doors in the kitchen and I made myself an egg and Oxo cube sandwich. That was pretty awesome.

Any enemies?
Both: Big Mabel. Not her/his name but he/she is a big tabby that lives near us and comes in to our garden. He/she is WELL big.
Fred: Also the litter tray. It’s smelly and dirty and I get very upset about having to use it when we stay at Other Mum’s house. Such is my hatred that I try and hover over it and frequently miss, causing her to yell at me.

If you could do one thing to make the world a better place for felines what would it be?
Both: Ban kitchen doors.

Big Mum (BM) and Other Mum (OM) had a bad run with cats after the death of Pickle, who had to be put down when she was 12 years old...
They went to the RSPCA and adopted Pumpkin who had to be put down at 6 months old when she was diagnosed with feline leukaemia...

They went back to the RSPCA and adopted Mabel who went out one evening, never to return again aged about 8 months... Having lost 3 cats in the space of a year BM said “No more cats” in a scary voice but OM heard about us from a friend at work.

We were born to our Mum along with our 3 brothers, Lily was the only girl. The 5 of us and Mum lived in a one bedroom flat above a takeaway with a rather boisterous Rottweiler puppy and a 7 year old girl. We were kinda relieved when BM and OM came and took us away.

We lead a pretty charmed life with BM, although she doesn’t let us out as much as we would like – probably a residual fear from Mabel and Fred’s disappearing acts. But when OM moved out we inherited her bed, which isn’t so bad. When BM goes away we decamp to OM’s flat and have great fun because she spoils us and she has loads of bookshelves for us to climb on. Plus The Tall One lives with her and we love him as much, if not a little bit more than Other Mum.

But don’t tell her that, she’d be gutted.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Ant & Bee and the Rainbow

Once upon a time when I was a little girl somebody got me this little book.

Ant & Bee see a rainbow one morning and decide to make their own out of an old tyre in the ground. They paint it and then they make swings to swing under the make-believe rainbow, which they paint. Then they play bat and ball over a net but the ball keeps hitting the swings so they sit on top of the rainbow and watch the sky until it gets dark and they go home.

Then during the night it rains...

And it washes all the pain off the rainbow and the swings and the bats and in the morning they decide to paint the rainbow all over again.

And at this point I would demand to be the read the story again. And again. And again. And again.

So much so that my Mum, Dad, brother and sister would hide the book from me so they didn't have to read it for the billionth time that day.

Fast forward to about 20 years later...

Now wheneverthe boyfriend's niece comes to see us she immediately asks for the "rainbow book" and we have to read it to her.

And then we have to read it again. And again. And again.

This weekend I knew she was coming round and we hid the book.

Shame on me.

(I decided that I would buy the niece her own copy of Ant & Bee and the Rainbow but a search online revealed it wasn't to be that simple. The books were first published in the 1960s and then reprinted in the late 1980s/90s but are now out of print. And on Amazon 2nd hand copies of the series are fetching up to £100 with the Rainbow book going for £42!! I clearly had good taste!)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The wall of cross stitch begins...

When I decided a year or so ago that I was going to be a little cross stitcher I got a little worried.

I had visions of myself living in a house surrounded by cross stitched samplers and pictures like a very old lady. (I imagine I'd also have several cats, waiting for me to die so they could eat my face.)

It turns out that that hasn't happened.

You know why?


I've done a couple of birth samplers that I have given to friends and they've been very appreciative but they take up some serious time which means that no time can really be spent on doing anything for myself. Add in all the birthday cards that I make and my dreaded vision so far hasn't come true.


Now it begins...

For my birthday in April a friend knew that I was a geek and got me the perfect present. I set to it at once.

(That's a lie)

I didn't start it until August.

But I did track my progress...

Look! It's cross stitch! And cats! Combined!

And even though I finished it in August it's taken me until this weekend to get my backside in gear and get it properly framed. (Apologies for the rubbish last picture but it's dark in the mornings and and the evenings now - what's that all about?!)

And now it's on the wall. And I have stated out loud that he will be joined by other cross stitch projects that I will one day complete. There's one that I started on Boxing Day last year and have yet to finish. I've abandonned hopes of getting it finished within the year but now I have something to aim for - I want another one on the wall!

Sometimes I'm pretty sure I can feel the boyfriend despairing.

Monday, 26 October 2009

I know what you did last weekend...

This weekend I was galvanised into action. I was finally feeling better after my bout with the flu monster and there were lots of things to be done.

Things like:

1. Cleaning the flat from top to bottom.

2. Looking after two furry people who had come to stay for the weekend. Lily kept an eye on proceedings from the back of the sofa...
...and Fred just slept on the bed...

3. We found some pretty little lamps in Asda for the grand sum of £4 which are now residing on the bedside tables that the boyfriend made the other week.

4. Pictures were hung (more on that in another post)

5. My wardrobe was given a grand clear-out, following advice from this lady. And what a difference it made! Some stuff went to the charity shop and some stuff went to that rag pile in the sky. My wardrobe looks lovely and streamlined now and if I'm honest all I threw out was stuff that I never wore anyway and would just sit in there, giving me evils and reminding me of a time when I was much younger and thinner. I was sad to see some of it go but I know it was for the best - much as I love that top I bought in Topshop and wore once when I was post-break-up skinny, I have to admit that I'm never going to have a washboard stomach that I would need to wear it again.

I didn't just stop at the wardrobe though. I went through accessories. I went through shoes. I went through anything I could get my hands on and I definitely feel better for it! Now I can see much more clearly what I really need to buy, and this means that I'm allowed to go shopping!

6. A trip to Hobbycraft was in order after I saw these cards on this lady's blog. As soon as I saw them I fell in love - so clever and yet so simple! So I went on a little spree to get what I needed and sat through Hollyoaks on Sunday morning with needle and thread in hand and made these bad boys.

So a MASSIVE thank-you to Petit Filoux for the inspiration - you see this is why I love the blogosphere! Now I have some pretty classy homemade cards instead of the usual glitter festooned creations that look as if I 5 year old has been let loose with a glue gun.

After all that activity there was nothing more to do but sit down in front of the telly and enjoy our extra hour before turning in for bed to get up and start the week anew.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

What's the collective for a group of crafters?

I have made a discovery.

I’m not the only geek!

I realise that my love for cross stitching is not a completely normal hobby for a 26 year old. It’s one traditionally associated with old ladies but I am proud of my hobby (kind of).

Normally when I tell people I like cross stitching, I do it with slightly hunched shoulders and an almost wince on my face as I prepare myself for the onslaught of incredulity. It’s kind of the same pose I adopt when I tell people in Hull that I went to private school. It doesn’t go down well over here.

Anyway back to the cross stitching...
I no longer need to be afraid! I can proudly declare to one and all that I am a stitcher! Because I now have an army behind me.

Ok. It’s not an army.

A friend of mine has got a few people together who also like being crafty little so-and-sos.
And we meet on a Thursday in a coffee shop that stays open late and we sit about and do our crafty things and drink tea and gossip. (I’ve just realise that rather than making us sound cool I’ve just described us like a group of old ladies. Fail.)

There are people who crochet, people who knit, people who cross stitch and there’s a dose of embroidery thrown in. Some people come and go but there’s a faithful core of 5 of us who are there come hell or high water, needles and thread in tow. I’m not going to lie, I’m not massively productive on these nights, it’s more about the talking than the crafting for me but once Christmas is over and the last of the cards have been finished, I’m looking forward to getting one of them to teach me to knit or crochet.

And it’s been good for me. I was getting a little bit bored with myself to tell you the truth. Money’s tight at the moment (when is it ever not but I’m trying to get myself out of the mire of student debt so I am resigned to the fact that this will be my life for the next couple of years) and I was just sitting in and watching rubbish on TV. Not good for your social skills.

Now I know that at least once a week I’ll have somewhere to go and some people to see. You don’t need to spend loads of money to make yourself feel refreshed, you just need a break from home for a while. And yes, most other nights I will be sat at home, watching something dreadful on the TV like The Hills or another programme that rots my brain and cross-stitching, but on a Thursday I will be out on the plains, free to frolic and roam with my fellow geeks....I mean crafters.

The christmas cross stitching has unfortunately started a little late this year so only 'special' people are going to get cross stitched cards. I haven't decided what the criteria is going to be but I do know that this little guy is for my Mum...

(I've made it back to work! Managed to last the whole day today as well although I am now absolutely shattered so I'm going to take a holiday tomorrow and have a long weekend with plenty of sleep so that I'm fully recovered and back to myself on Monday morning.)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Curling up with cup of tea

So I went in to work today.

And then I came straight home.

Turns out I'm not totally better yet. I thought I was but clearly I was mistaken.

I think the trouble is that the furthest I've walked in 5 days is from the sofa to the kitchen and to go from that to a 20 minute walk in to work (in the rain) was apparently pushing it.

I sat at my desk and once I stopped feeling faint and like I was going to throw up I packed up my stuff and headed back home.

I'm honestly not trying to be a martyr or anything like that. I'm the biggest wuss going. I just really did think that I was better and more than that I really am starting to get bored. I figured that if I was bored then it was time to go to back.

Instead. I am being bored at home. With tea and cross stitch. And a bit of reading. And a bit of trawling around on the internet for things to do. And I thought I would do this from this little lady's blog...

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack?
I don’t really to be honest, it’s one of the few times I resist the temptation to shovel something in to my mouth. There’s nothing better than curling up with a lovely big cup of tea though.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
No I couldn’t hurt the little darlings!! I don’t even like creasing the spine so the idea of writing in them makes me feel a little ill. I used to hate doing it when I was doing my English Lit A-level because I had to make loads of notes and I would apologise to the book every time I set about it with my pen!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
YOU MUST NEVER TURN OVER THE CORNER OF THE PAGE. Naughty. I don’t like laying the book open either because that can lead to the dreaded spine crease. It’s always a bookmark although it’s not normally a pretty bookmark, it’ll be a piece of paper or a post-it note or whatever happens to be handy.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Both really. If I’m honest I’m more likely to pick up fiction, I see reading more as an escape so favour a bit of make-believe but I’m a sucker for autobiographies, probably because I’m far too nosy for my own good. I loved it when there was that brief period in time when economics became cool (I’m an economics geek) and there was a rash of books released, Freakanomics, The Undercover Economist etc - loved all of those.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Definitely hard copy. I have tried audiobooks in the past but I can’t keep concentrating on them, my mind starts to wander and when I tune back in I have no idea what’s going on!

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I love this question! Because it means that I’m not the only person that hates finishing reading randomly in the middle of a page! I will try my hardest to get to the end of the chapter, even if that means having to go back and re-read the last few pages the next day because I’ve been reading them in sleep haze and can’t remember what happened!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
I don’t really. You can usually figure out what something means by looking at the context. Then I try and note it and remember to bring it out on glittering social occasions and stun people with my command of the English language. No. That never happens.

What are you currently reading?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

What is the last book you bought?
Rief Larsen – Selected Works of TS Spivet

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
When I was younger I would have several on the go at once but now I like to devote my time and attention to one book at the time. I find that if I’m reading two at a time, there’ll be one that I like more and I’ll just end up reading that one, and then I feel sorry for the rejected one. I will however have to switch to 2 books soon because I have loads of hardbacks or big bulky books at home waiting to be read that are far too big to carry about in my handbag (I will absolutely not leave the house without a book, no matter where I’m going and yes I do mean every time I leave the house, even to go to the supermarket. You never know when you’re going to have time to read!) so I will probably have an at home book and a handbag book on the go.

Do you have a favourite time of day and/or place to read?
I will read at any time and any place. I will read on the street waiting to meet someone. I will read on the bus or in the car. I will read at work. I will read in bed. I will read while watching the TV. The thing that really bugs me is that I can’t read and cross stitch at the same time....ooh maybe it’s time to give the audiotapes a go again!

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
I really don’t mind. I have a few series that I’ve picked up and loved so bought the next ones but there are obviously plenty of stand alone ones. I just go in to a bookshop and see what takes my fancy.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Not particularly highbrow and I know people are very snobby about these things but I love my Stephen King. He’s far too often overlooked and dismissed as a horror writer but I really believe that he has written a book which will appeal to everyone. And another recommendation which is equally lightweight is Alexander McCall-Smith. I just love the way he writes, it’s so comforting. I tend to recommend individual books rather than authors though.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Ooooh lovely! My favourite question. I’m all about the organisation. I haven’t found my ideal organisation yet in the flat, there are improvements that could be made. But at the moment we have a Classics section within which they are organised alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Then there’s a shelf that has the boyfriend’s books on it – lots of Bernard Cornwell and Terry Pratchett, not sure how he’s organised those, I left that up to him. Then there’s the Stephen King shelf, they’re organised chronologically in order of publication. Then the autobiographies are together in alphabetical order (by subject, not author), then there’s my geeky economics books and the boyfriend’s geeky military history books.

THEN. There’s smaller bookshelf which is just full of random books that I’ve read and liked. I’m quite hardcore, I don’t often keep books, I know that realistically I won’t read them again so I set them free in to the world. THEN there’s a bookcase in our bedroom which has on it all the books that are still waiting to be read and THEN there’s a bookcase in the spare bedroom which has all the boyfriend’s Warhammer books on it. I hate that bookcase.

And we’re going to need more space soon....

I’m a geek.

ANYWAY.That’s it finished! Please feel free to take this and re-post on your blog, I’d love to know if anyone is similarly geeky to me. No? Ah well....ok.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tree Project - The Flu Edition

Welcome to a mid-month edition of Tree Project.

Since I've been spending a lot of time lying on the sofa over the past 5 days, I've spent a lot of time staring at Mr Tree, who's been looking in at me through the window and checking that I'm ok.

He's a nice tree like that.

And I suddenly realised that he's glowing. No it's not the temperature, this is no hallucination, he's definitely shimmery and golden. He's tranisitioned very sneakily into an autumn tree.
How did he do that? At the beginning of the month I was bemoaning the fact that he hadn't really changed that much at all, now he's gone and changed his whole aura on me!

There are a few green leaves left now, although the green, orange leaves and red berries make for a good combination.

He's still managing to keep hold of his leaves although a few more seem to have gravitated to the floor.
I know I should have just waited til the beginning of November for this post but I thought it was apt, seeing as he's been with me through the snotty times.

Thanks Mr Tree.

Monday, 19 October 2009

This isn't just any kind of cold...

...this is a full on, phlegmy, snotty, headachey, Marks & Spencers cold.

In fact. It is flu.
I've never had the pleasure of having flu before so it's taken me a little by surprise. Turns out it's every bit as bad as everyone says it is. They tell you that you know you have flu if there's a £50 note on your door and you can't get up to get it. A £50 note? I've been having conversations with myself about just how desperate I am to go to the toilet.

Flu is tough.

I realised it wasn't your normal kind of cold when I decided I would get dressed to make myself feel better and it took about 20 minutes and I had to go and lie down afterwards. I definitely knew something was up when I couldn't face emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen. And I knew it was game over when I realised I wasn't fussed about eating.

(Note to you all. If I'm not eating, then you know it's serious. I've eaten my way through tonsilitis and a kidney infection that made me throw up when I had a sip of water. When I had my tongue pierced and it swelled to twice its normal size and they told me I would only be able to eat soup I would sit for an hour with a sandwich, breaking small bits off it and stuffing them in to my mouth. Nothing stops me eating. Apart from flu it would seem.)

As if I wasn't feeling sorry enough for myself, the boyfriend abandonned me for the whole weekend. Ok. ok, I'd better defend him a little seeing as he can't defend himself. I was supposed to be going away to Manchester for the weekend so he arranged to go away as well.

I was not left to be miserable on my own though. Mum came to the rescue and forcibly removed me from my sofa to be taken to her house. I didn't want to go, I wanted to lie and moan to myself but even I had to admit it would be more fun to lie and moan to her instead. Plus she had 2 very able, if somewhat furry, nurses to help adminster any cures.
They did a pretty good job and when I wasn't responding to any stimuli, Lily did this to make me laugh...

I'm back in the comfort of my flat now though. The boyfriend has returned and pushed the 2 sofas together so I have a den to sit in. I have all I need in here - tissues, paracetemol, book, bottle of water, cross stitch stuff, tv remotes.

I just have to work up the energy to do something with any of them.
Still in 2 hours I've achieved a blog post so that must mean I'm on the mend right?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

When The Girl went to London

I have a friend from uni who lives down in London and I got a random e-mail from her a few weeks ago asking what I was up to on 14th October.

The reason?

She had secured tickets for David Gest...My Life! A Musical Concert Extravaganza. Did I want to go?

How could I refuse?

So off I toddled off yesterday afternoon to London. It doesn’t take that long to get to London from Hull you know and if you’re lucky you can get on a Hull Trains train which will get you there in 2.5 hours. Impressive non?! Anyway. I got to London with a fast beating heart, full of excitement and a touch of anxiety.

Why the touch of anxiety I hear you ask?

This was going to be the very first time I had navigated the London Underground all by myself.

I know. How have I got to 26 and not done this?! I have been on the Tube before but I’ve always been in the hands of someone more capable who has taken charge and swept me on to the right platform. And it just scares me a little bit, it all looks very complicated and everything is made all the more stressful by the fact that everyone on the Tube rushes. Why do they rush so much in London? What is the hurry?

I had to believe in myself though. And I was secure in the knowledge that I only had to catch one train on one line, no pesky changes. I could do this. I took a deep breath and plunged in.

And it was quite uneventful really.

I arrived at Hammersmith station 20 or so minutes later in one piece.

And christened myself the Tube Champion.

I discovered that you have to ignore the rushing people and take things at your own pace. It’s all too easy to get swept up with them and you start to feel your heart pounding. The trick is to let them rush by you, let them get on with their busy busy London lives. I’m from Hull baby – I walk to a different beat!

We walked in to Hammersmith Apollo unsure of what we were walking in to. Neither of us had really looked up what this Musical Concert Extravaganza was about so we weren’t sure what to expect.

To say we were blown away was something of an understatement.

Turns out it was a soul concert. And not just any kind of soul concert. A soul legends concert. David Gest was basically there as a compere and would come out and introduce an act and then they’d come on, sing a couple of their hits, then more David Gest, then more soul, then more David Gest, lather, rinse, repeat.

At the beginning I was a little lost. I can’t confess to being a massive soul fan so a lot of the time I was clapping without really understanding who I was clapping and whooping at. However I did recognise some of the songs and as the show went on I began to recognise more of the people and more of the songs.

The second act was where it ramped up a notch. Candi Staton came on to sing You Got the Love. Yes. THE Candi Staton. And then Percy Sledge came on and sang When a Man Loves a Woman. Yes. THE Percy Sledge. And then Ben E King came on and sang Stand By Me. Yes. You see where I’m going with this? And then the Temptations came on! (Ok admittedly only 1 of them is an original Temptation but still.)

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It started to dawn on me just how amazing it was that I was there. Just how lucky me and my friend are that we didn’t know what we were coming to. Had we realised it was a soul concert, chances are we wouldn’t have gone, thank goodness we didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for!

I’ve seen Percy Sledge sing When a Man Loves a Woman. Can’t get over it.

And at the beginning of the 2nd Act they showed some film of a documentary that is coming out soon, I think on Channel 5 he said, that David Gest has put together about Michael Jackson. He grew up with the family and produced some of Michael’s concerts and he has all this footage of him interviewing Michael. It was quite touching. After a few minutes of that David came out and asked us all to give a round of applause to Tito Jackson. He was in the audience!

The night kept getting stranger and stranger.

But this was nothing compared to some of the hilarious ‘celebrity’ spottings we made during the interval:
- Vanessa Feltz and boyfriend Ben from Phats & Small (I’ll be the first to admit I was a little sceptical when they got together, especially as he’s much younger but let me tell you. They are. in. love. It melted my cynical little heart right away watching them dancing together to When a Man Loves a Woman)
- Matt Willis from Busted (and winner of I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here when David Gest was on it)
- Chico. Yep. As in, it’s Chico Time.
- Ben from ages old boyband A1
- Leigh Francis (of Avid Merrion and Keith Moon fame)
- Woman from Loose Women but we don’t know her name. The grouchy one. Is it Carol?
- Donny Tourette from punk band the Towers of London (actually he’s not so much a celebrity but I find him hilarious. He went on Celebrity Big Brother and was a right nincompoop and then he was on possibly the funniest episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks ever when he behaved like such an idiot and Simon Amstell just relentlessy took the mick out of him. It was so so SO funny. And if you wanted to watch a bit of it then go here

I think if I had to pick a word that described the evening it would be RANDOM.

But in a good way.

We came back to my friend’s flat in St John’s Wood, somewhat bemused by the evening’s activities. There was time for a quick chat and then unfortunately it was to bed because I had a train to catch and my friend had to be at work.

The trip was only slightly mired by the fact that I appear to have caught some kind of horrendous cold from someone at work that has an accompanying cough which I’m pretty sure is going to result in the regurgitation of one of my lungs at some point. It also has a little friend with it known as THUMPING HEADACHE which I tried to keep at bay with the mighty paracetemol warrior.

Right I’m off to look for some cough medicine and make myself a badge that says Tube Champion.
Because if I don’t, who the hell will?!

Can’t believe I’ve seen Candi Staton sing You Got The Love.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

We're off to the fair!

If you grew up in Hull then the chances are that Hull Fair was a large part of your childhood. If it wasn't then your family is just plain weird.

A few facts for you...

Hull Fair visits once a year for a week and is Europe's largest travelling fair. It takes up residence on Walton Street car park which is just beside the KC Stadium. Walton Street is completely shut down and is lined with stalls selling burgers and chips and candyfloss and tacky gifts.

Everyone goes.

I can't believe that there is anyone who lives in Hull that's never been to Hull Fair (and if you haven't - what are you doing?! Get yourself down there, it's open until Saturday!).

I've been pretty much every year, only time I didn't go where those years that I was at uni and if I'd had the money I'd have been back on a train and flinging my money away on cheap thrills.

We would have a routine when we were little. We'd come in from school, Mum would make us eat this broth thing that she used to make which I hated. It had barley in it. Bleurgh I couldn't stand it but we had to eat it so we had something in our stomachs so I would force it down. Then came the interminable wait for said broth to settle properly in our stomachs before we got all bundled up in jumpers, coats, gloves, hats and scarves and made our way there.

When we got there I'd immediately go mental pointing at every single ride I wanted to go on. "That one! And that one! And oh my god, that one!" Mum would make us walk round the whole fair so we could see everything and then decide what we wanted to go on. The fun house was always a must, that's enjoyable for everyone because even if you don't go on you can stand and watch everyone falling over. Same goes for the glass maze, I remember one year being bent over double with tears falling down my face watching people in there.

The waltzers were always a must although a few years ago I had a rather vomitous experience on some and I haven't dared go back on since. Watching people stumbling off them is hilarious though.

I'm pleased to say that as I've got older, although more extreme rides have appeared, the oldies are still there - there's a hall of mirrors, there are helter skelters, there's even a museum of horrors and of course the obligatory ghost trains. It's great seeing the same familar rides which are exactly the same as when I went on them all those years ago (although there is a small part of you that starts to wonder just how old these rides are...)

I could never understand why Mum and Dad didn't want to go on all the rides like I used to. However now I'm older I can see why and the reasons are thus:

- just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere is enough
- once you get older you get 'the fear' and all you can think about is what would happen if it went wrong
- when you have to pay for it yourself it becomes much more expensive

The boyfriend and I had a wander around, laughed at some people walking about looking a little green around the gills and decided to go on the big wheel. I've actually never been on it before and thought it was about time to give it a go.

And do you know the real reason I went on it?

It was for you guys.

I wanted to get some good photos of the fair and what better way to do that than go up up up in the air?

Well I just hope you bloody appreciate it because I. was. terrified.

I'm not normally much of a scaredy cat when it comes to rides and I can be flung around like the best of them. I think what I wasn't enjoying was the fact that you're not strapped in. You're perfectly safe inside this little cage and there's no way you could ever in a million years fall out but I think it's that psychological feeling of not being strapped in that was just freaking me out. I did eventually get comfortable enough to get my camera out and take a few snaps of Hull Fair from the air.After that experience I took my wobbly legs round the Hook a Duck stalls and shooting galleries to see what was what and the boyfriend behaved like a true man and won me this little guy! He doesn't have a name yet - any suggestions?

We went a few other rides, I won't bore you about them, they were the usual throw you up in the air, spin you round and bring you down to earth where you have to stagger back in to the crowd while your brain stops spinning.

But then the best bit....walking back down Walton Street and stopping off at Bob Carvers for some of the best chips in the world. Then buying brandy snap and toffee apples and cinder toffee and candyfloss and pomegranates and nougat and fudge!

Then it was time to say farewell to the carousel and slowly wander back home, eating brandy snap until you feel sick.

I cannot WAIT until next year :)

Sunday, 11 October 2009


So far this weekend has been pretty productive. With the countdown slowly ticking away 'til my friends come over from America, the race is on to get little things sorted in the flat. There are just those little niggly things that don't desperately need to be done but it would be nice if they were done so that when they arrive I can be smug and proud of my little home.

Top of the list were bedside tables. Our bed fits very nicely in to an alcove in our bedroom but unfortunately it was the bed and nothing else that fitted in. There's the tiniest space on each side of the bed and it's been impossible to find bedside tables which are thin enough. So the boyfriend was tasked with building some so he got his manly man head on and spent Saturday morning making them.

Yes. They are a little wonky. But it really doesn't matter, he's made them, we have something beside our bed, so there's a little bit of sloping...what's a bit of sloping between friends?!

Obviously with us not having a garden he had to build them indoors and the amount of sawdust that was flying everywhere was too much for my inner clean freak to cope with. So while the boyfriend got busy with drill, nails and saws, I took myself away.

To Hobbycraft.

Hull is slowly coming up in the world, after years of the most up to date shop being Next and Topshop, we now have such delights as an H&M and a Zara and finally a Mama & Papas. And on Thursday Hobbycraft opened its doors. I've never been in one of these before and when Mum and I walked through the doors I actually went "Oh my god" We walked round in a trance before Mum frantically whispered to me "There's an upstairs! You can go upstairs!"

There was too much to take in. I felt a little bewildered and overwhelmed to be honest. I need to go back when it's a little quieter and I'm a little calmer. There is just anything you could think of that could be related to craftiness in there. And then some stuff you would never have thought of. I went a little mental buying threads for christmas cards - I have no idea exactly when I think I'm going to be making all these, is it possible to cross stitch in your sleep?

How's my finger I hear you ask? Well it just so happens that I have a picture...

It's much better, definitely not broken, I have full mobility although as you might be able to see in the photo it's still pretty bruised. Actually you probably can't see that in the photo so you're just going to have to take my word for it. I can't tell you how good it's been to get my left hand back. This girl is very left handed, my right hand has virtually no use and it has not been helpful at all in this long week when I've been incapacitated. It can't even hold a pen for god's sake!

(I was supposed to be sorting out my wardrobe this weekend, following advice from this lady but I went out last night and don't feel up to it yet. But I am definitely going to do it!)

So. Bedside tables. One thing ticked off what is now known as The Countdown List.

By the way did you know how many days there are left til they get here?

Friday, 9 October 2009

Things I love about my house....Part 4



Next to the bed is a cupboard. And on top of this cupboard sits the dinosaur.

He’s pretty old, my Grandpa made it for my brother when he was a youngster and it’s a papier mache jobber.

It used to sit on top of my brother’s wardrobe and used to scare me a bit. My brother would often take it down and chase me with it, my squeals echoing down the hall and landing as I made my way to my bedroom and safety.

Even after my brother had left home and his room was transformed from a teenage boy’s pit to a charming guest bedroom complete with white muslin curtains and rag-rolled walls (rag-rolling was the craze at that time, if you didn’t keep moving in my house you’d either be rag-rolled or stencilled by my mother), the dinosaur remained on top of the wardrobe, casting his beady eyes over all who stayed with us.

About 2 and a half years ago Mum was finally selling my childhood home and downsizing. I desperately wanted her to stay, I wanted her to stay until the day she died so I could get my grubby mitts on it and keep it in the family forever and ever but she had spent the past 5 years or so living alone in a 4 bedroom Victorian terrace so I had to admit that there was a case for moving somewhere smaller.

This meant that there was a massive clear out of the house and whole rooms were sent to charity shops, furniture and pictures alike, auction rooms were filled with trinkets and enormous chests of drawers, until we were left with the bare minimum. Mum was brutal in this culling, she had no problem sending things to the throwing out pile, while I trailed behind her bemoaning the fact that she was getting rid of my childhood memories.

However I had to put my foot down when it came to the dinosaur.

“You have nowhere to put it” Mum said to me. She had a point. I was moving with her and would be living in the 2nd bedroom of the new house which was about a quarter of the size of my old bedroom.

But I was adamant. I would eventually find a home for him.

And a year and half later I did find a place for him. In our flat.

So he sits on high, back at his vantage point, keeping a close eye on the door in case anyone comes in that shouldn’t be there.

And I look at him occasionally, smile and think of the day that I will use him to scare my own children.

Happy days :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Fight or Flight?

I always find it quite funny when people throw up these hypothetical situations and either ask you who you would respond or tell you how you should respond. You know the type of thing - if someone comes up behind you and grabs you to elbow them in the stomach, if you hear someone in the house you call 999 etc etc.

The reason I find it funny is that you have absolutely no way of knowing how you're going to react because you will do whatever your natural response is in the heat of the moment. I believe it's called instinct. There might be a small voice in your head advising what it is you should be doing but this voice will be completely over-powered by your instinct which can make you do something that you would never have anticipated.

Take Saturday evening for instance...

The boyfriend and I live next door to a popular nightclub in Hull. Most of the time it isn't a problem, our bedrooms are at the back of the flat so we don't get woken up by people leaving and it usually just provides us with a great source of entertainment for laughing at people being generally drunk and foolish.

Our ears have become atuned to the various calls of drunk people now. We know when someone's screaming to get someone's attention and we now know the type of noise that indicates that something not so good is going down. This Saturday we heard that kind of noise. We looked at each other? Could we bothered to get up and look out of the window? The boyfriend went over (I'm far too lazy sometimes) and looked out.

"Uh-oh. Proper big fight."

Suddenly my laziness disappeared and I ran over to the window.

What happened next happened very quickly.

I saw a girl outside the flat crying her eyes out and a boy on the other side of the road on the phone and a boy and a girl in the middle of the road. This boy and girl had their arms around each other. No wait. She was holding him up. Suddenly a bloke ran over to the couple and starting hitting the girl.

No you didn't read that wrong. He was hitting the girl.

Before I knew it I was out of the door and running down the stairs and out of the front door. I have no idea what it was I thought I was going to do but luckily they'd disappeared by the time I got out of the front door. Luckily for them and me I should say.

Anyway the rest of the story is irrelevant. The police came, they took some statements and then they went off to look for the men that had attacked them.

When I got back inside though I thought to myself "What did you think you were doing? You're an idiot" Whilst I'm no whipper snapper and could have probably done some damage if I'd sat on him I don't know any self defence and I don't know how handy I am with my fists. Maybe I thought that the sight of me with my tracky pants on coming out of the building whooping like some kind of harridan would do the job but there's a serious chance it wouldn't have. This was a guy who was pretty ok with punching girls.

I shouldn't have done it. I should have stayed in the flat and watched what happened and come down and talked to the police when they came.

Hang on a minute. Rewind.

Watch what happened????

Nope. That's what the trouble for me is. I could never stand and watch what happened. I just know I couldn't. I will be the idiot that gets involved with something they shouldn't and probably puts themselves in danger (in fact I did once and I have the scars to prove it but that's a tale for another post) but all I can think is that if that was me who was in danger, what would I think of the person that just stood and watched and didn't try to help me?

Being stupid I can live with. Standing by and doing nothing I can't.

(I asked the boyfriend what he thought when I ran out of the flat like some kind of mental person. I assumed he'd say he was worried that being with someone like me would end up getting him in to trouble at some point. But he didn't. When I asked him if he thought I was stupid he said no, he thought I was incredibly brave and that he was doing the same as me, he was on his way down to bash some heads together and was just getting his shoes on. "Aaah you were getting your shoes? I was out there barefoot!" I replied. "Yeah good point. You are stupid."

He's lovely.)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Why being a clean freak is bad for your health.

I do like to clean. (Wait I think I've mentioned this before...)

However sometimes I know that it's either not worth cleaning, or I just really can't be bothered. That's the paradox you see. Clean freak but also lazy girl.

With having the visitors for the past week I really couldn't be bothered to clean, I couldn't be doing with fighting a losing battle with their fur. Which. was. everywhere. How do they do it?! They're not even long-haired cats!


I left the flat to get dirtier than I would like which has an unfortunate side effect. I become irrationally angry about the fact that the flat isn't clean whilst at the same time knowing that there's no point in cleaning it.

This tends to boil over into what can only be described as rage. Pointless rage.

So last night I decided it was time to clean and channel my rage productively. Normally this works well, it gives you a little rocket up your backside and you can get in the cleaning zone. However this time it ended in severe calamity.

I turned my cleaning rage to the hoover. I pulled the cord out of it somewhat vigorously shall we say and in doing so I smacked my finger somewhat vigorously in to the door frame.

I'm not going to tell you what came out of my mouth but I didn't know a nice girl like me knew language like that.

The rage probably doubled in ferocity at this point and I went on a hoovering rampage to end all rampages. There's not a cat hair left in this place (there are probably still a billion of mine lying about however, I probably moult more than them) and it was only when my cleaning whirlwind was over that I realised that my finger still really hurt.

Like really hurt.

And that's why my finger now looks like this....

What you can't quite see in the photo is the rather marvellous shade of purple it has now turned.

Oh and did I mention I'm left-handed?

I don't think it's broken but either way they can't do anything can they so I now have it taped to my middle finger which is making typing pretty hilarious. Although if I'm honest it's not quite as hard as I was hoping it would be. Still I can still swing the lead a little bit I reckon.

Lessons learnt? Don't clean when angry.


Mind the doorframe.

(PS The boyfriend was in charge of the ironing at the time of my cleaning frenzy, he wasn't just letting me do it by myself. And he did sit with me all evening while I complained about how much it hurt. And he took the photo without really understanding why I wanted it taking.)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Today is a sad day...

....because The Fred and The Lily have gone back home to Mum :(

I'm missing them already, it was rubbish coming back home and not seeing their little faces. Although it is kind of nice to be able to have the kitchen door propped open again and I can be sure that the threads from my cross stitch box are going to be safe and unscrambled. Same goes for my i-pod earphones.

I thought I'd show you some of the photos I've taken of them over the past week. There are some classic Lily head tilt photos included here...

Bye-bye Munchkins!!

(Yes I know that box is a little too small for them but they are getting a new one and it's only 15 minutes to Mums and they just go straight to sleep now. I'm not mistreating them I promise!)

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Tree Project - October

Things haven't changed too much when you look at tree as a whole (which was quite worrying as I realised that something I thought would be really cool suddenly seemed to be edging towards potential boringness).

However look a little more closely and you'll see there are a slightly fewer leaves on the tree and a few more leaves on the floor....

And on the tree, things are starting to look a bit less green and little more golden...

I sense change is afoot.

Friday, 2 October 2009

The definition of patience

Sitting, waiting, wishing for a special treat to come a little bit closer.

Despite the fact that said treat is on top of a building and through glass...

....and is totally oblivious to the presence of his stalker.

You can always hope though!