Saturday, 27 February 2010

This weekend I will be mostly...

1. Laughing at these two.

Yep, they're back for a visit and will be staying until Wednesday. Hopefully there'll be plenty of hilarious photo opportunities like the above. Yes they seriously both got in those bags by themselves. They know I need good photos to show you guys.

2. Le cross stitch.

We have a project on the go at Stitch & Bitch, hoping to put on a mini exhibition. I think this one deserves a post all of it's own on another day though.

3. Shopping for wool

I need to stop putting it off. Just go out. Buy the wool. Attempt the crochet. I will not be defeated by the devil's craft!

4. Getting my bake on

Haven't baked anything since before Christmas. Mostly because there's an unfortunate side effect of baking. Having to eat the produce. I either eat it and feel guilty because if there's one thing these hips don't need, it's extra inches. Or I don't eat it and end up throwing it away. Equally not good.

5. Enjoying a Saturday night in
This is the first Saturday night I'll have stayed in for 6 weeks. I know, I'm such a giddy party animal aren't I? My post box is simply overflowing with invites to all the best shindigs. No, not so much. It just happens there's been a flurry of activities lately and I find it actually impossible to say no in case I never get another invite out and have to spend the rest of my evenings in for eternity.

What will you be mostly up to this weekend?

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tree Project - The first 6 months

Don't worry, I'm not going to turn in to an arborist.

(Are you impressed I know that word?)

(Don't be. I asked the boyfriend.)

But I just wanted to show you this. Purely because it took me longer than necessary.

You know when you've decided to do something and then halfway through you think to yourself "What the hell are you doing?" but you've gone so far and you don't want to have wasted the last half hour of your life?

This is what happened to me yesterday.

Really I blame The Curious Cat because it was all her idea. "Why don't you do a 6 month review?" she says. And I think "Oooh yeah great idea."

And then I set about trying to do it and realise that actually when it comes to things like that I'm pretty much a technical moron. Why else do you think my blog layout is rubbish and boring? It just stresses me out trying. What I really need to do is pay someone to do this kind of stuff for me but I couldn't bear to that either, so I'm stuck known as that Girl with the Boring Blog.
So why would I decide to try and do this montage?
Because I'm a fricking idiot.
But at least I had a go, right? Right? RIGHT?
(This is where you talk to me like you would a child who's brought home a splodge on a paper and you have to pretend that it's amazing and the finest bit of artwork you've ever seen when in fact you're thinking "Do I really have to put that on my fridge?")
So. Here's a collage of Mr Tree's First 6 Months....

I don't even know if you can make it bigger. I've given up stressing about it. If you come round to my flat I can show you my laptop because it's my desktop background (hey, I'm proud of my splodge) and you can see the writing and everything.

In summary.

It had leaves, then the leaves turned golden, then they fell off, then it snowed on it, and now it has some green shoots.

Shocking I know, right?

Do you ever think to yourself sometimes, "Why in the name of all that is holy am I about to click 'publish post'? You know it's a bit crap, you know that people probably don't want to read about a frigging tree two days in a row, just delete it!! But I have rubbish self esteem and know that you guys are going to be my proud parents telling me I'm wonderful, so bear with me, ok? I'll come up with something better in a couple of days.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tree Project - February

Hey Mr Tree,

How's February been?

I know it's been pretty rough for you - it's snowed on you, it's rained on you, the wind has battered your branches. I would imagine you're pretty fed up with it by now. I know I am.

At first the snow was a novelty and it was exciting, now it's just dull. And annoying.

And more importantly, it's cold. Really really cold.

I'm bored of it being cold, are you? You don't even have any leaves to keep yourself warm.

You look so miserable and see, even your berries are all dying and stuff. It's so sad.

But what's this I see?


Keep the spirit of Spring alive Mr Tree, keep it alive.

I took these photos this morning as I was setting off for work. I had to get my blinkers on and focus on what I was doing. If I'd stopped for a second I'd have realised how ridiculous I looked to all the people also on their way to work. I tell you, the lengths I go to...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Tell me why I don't like Tuesdays

Tuesdays are the worst days of all.

I have declared them Stupid Tuesdays because they are, you know....stupid.

Allow me to explain.

Mondays: They are indeed rubbish. You're back at work, the whole week is ahead of you and it would be easy to sink in to a deep depression. However they usually pass in a blur for me because I'm still adjusting and living in the weekend. (Also Glee is on E4 at 9pm which makes Mondays worth getting through.)

Wednesdays: Well come on. It's Hump Day isn't it? It all gets better from here on in.

Thursdays: I like Thursdays because I know that it's really when the weekend starts. I just have to get through the day and then it's Stitch and Bitch in the evening and I can stay up late because the next day is...

Fridays: And everyone knows they don't really count do they? I can actually do a lot of work on Friday and be 'happy' doing it because at the end of the day you get to go home and start your weekend.

Saturdays: You can't hate Saturday. It's physically impossible. A weekend full of promise lies ahead of you.

Sunday: Ok, it's not a great day because you know Monday's looming but it's still a weekend day. A day for laziness. And Hollyoaks.




Tuesdays are far away enough from the weekend that it's just a distant memory, you've already been back at work for one day. And yet the next weekend isn't even a glimmer on the horizon and you have to get through another 4 days (4 days!!) at work.

And that is why Tuesdays are stupid.

However this Tuesday is not so stupid. The reason?

It's time to announce the winner of the 1 Year Blogaversary giveaway!!

Are you ready?

Is your breath bated?

(What does that even mean by the way?)

The winner is....

Now unfortunately Heather has difficulty commenting on some blogs (damn you blogger!), but I can assure you that she did enter the giveaway and I can even tell you what her favourite crisps are....Doritos with a hint of lime. A very fine choice indeed.

You should most definitely visit her - she has crochet skills to leave you in awe (I have appointed her my Crochet Mentor. She didn't know that until now.) and she has crazy escape artist rabbits. And even if she can't comment on your blog, she will reply to your comments on her blog by e-mail which makes her a very lovely person in my book.
I'm going to get back to hating the rest of Stupid Tuesday.
Any of you lot have a day of the week you particularly don't like?

Monday, 22 February 2010

Worst girlfriend ever?

So I have this group of girl friends and we’ve been friends for a few years now and everything’s great and I get on with them all really well, there’s just one small thing that really irritates me and on Saturday night it raised its ugly head yet again.

They have this thing where all of the boyfriends get invited out to our nights out. And worse than that, when the girls go out, the boys are encouraged to all get together and have a boys night as well.

I find it completely bizarre to tell you the truth.

You know how in America they have that whole, what is it, separation of church and state? I have separation of friends and boyfriends.

I don’t actively keep them away from each other but I’m not going to go out of my way for all of them to become the best of friends.

The boyfriend and I had been going out for nearly a year before he was properly introduced to this group of friends and before that they’d say “We haven’t met the boyfriend yet?” and I’d think, “Erm....and?” Am I looking for your approval of my boyfriend? No. Do you need to be friends with him to be friends with me? No.

I just feel like it’s irrelevant whether they know him or not. I mean I became friends with these girls long before the boyfriend ever appeared, my friendship with them has nothing to do with my relationship with him.

I feel the same way about their boyfriends. If I meet them, that’s great. If I don’t meet them I won’t be sitting at home wondering what they’re like, I doubt I’ll consider them at all. As far as I’m concerned, as long as the person my friend is going out with makes them happy then that’s all I need to know.

In fact it can get more awkward if you meet the boyfriend and don’t like him. Which is the case with one of these girls. I think her boyfriend’s a complete fool. I just want to slap him every time I see him and hear the latest inanity to come out of his mouth. But it doesn’t make any difference that I think that does it? Am I going to say with her “Your boyfriend’s a twat”? (Oh how I wish I could.) No I’m not because me thinking that isn’t going to make them split it up, it’s just going to make things awkward for us.

Also I like my independence. I like that I have my own friends and that’s my thing and they belong to me and the boyfriend isn’t overly involved in that area of my life. Like I say, I don’t go to great lengths to keep them apart but I equally am not going to invite him to every girl’s night out that we have. And as for him becoming friends with the boyfriends? If that happens naturally, of its own accord then that’s great. What I’m not going to do is force him into a situation where there’s a group of men that everyone thinks should get on, just because their girlfriends do. The logic doesn’t follow for me.

So on Saturday I went out for one of these nights. We were going for a meal for someone’s birthday and they’d said boys were welcome to come and I thought to myself “That’s nice” and left it at that. I did ask the boyfriend if he wanted to come and I could see by his face that he didn’t really want to so I said that was fine by me, he could have a date night with his one true love, the X-box.

I get to the restaurant and realise immediately. I am the only person here sans partner. And it makes me sigh on the inside because I know what’s coming next...

“So where’s the boyfriend tonight then?”

“Erm.....he’s at home.”


It's like they can’t conceive that he wouldn’t want to come out for a meal with all my friends.

And then you have the incredibly boring meal where everyone’s sat in their couples talking away and I’m wanting to stab myself in the eyes with my chopsticks because it’s just all so bloody boring.

The thing is it makes me question myself. They seem so surprised and shocked that he isn’t out that I start thinking that I’ve obviously got this all wrong. Should I be insisting that he comes out? Should I be having other couples round for sophisticated dinner parties?

And I thought to myself, my god, I’m a really horrible boyfriend, I’m making him stay at home with crisp-stealing cats whilst I’m out having a laugh.

I got back home and apologised to the boyfriend.

“Sorry if I’m rubbish”

“How are you rubbish?”

“For making you stay at home and not encouraging you to come out for the meal.”

“Whose birthday was it again?”

(I tell him)

“Yeah I would have come out but to be honest I can be doing without her and her boyfriend.”

And I sit back and think, maybe I’m not so bad after all.

Until the next ‘girls’ night out...

Friday, 19 February 2010

Why I won't be eating crisps this weekend.

Have I ever mentioned that I love crisps?

(Oh my god make her shut up about them)

So you know how your parents can pass on certain traits and characteristics to you?

(Don't worry I'm not trying to start a whole nature vs nurture debate.)
Like for instance my Mum has passed on a debilitating fear of moths and butterflies to myself and my sister. I know, I know they can't hurt me but if you want to see me run, stick me in a room with a lightbulb and a moth. Usain Bolt aint got nothing on me.


So I'm pretty sure that I've passed my crisp addiction on to Lily and Fred.

(Yeah they're my babies.)

They go totally loopy for them and the trouble is they're so ruddy quick. You're sitting there, enjoying your crispage and suddenly out of nowhere a paw appears and your crisp has been swiped.

Most probably along with most of the skin off your finger.

They've come to stay for the weekend and last night I was having my daily crisp intake. You can try and be vigilant and make sure they're not around. The other option is just to shove them all as fast as you can in your mouth (which is a pretty cool option, I'm not going to lie).

But sometimes you get engrossed in something and this happens....

Mutilated thumb ahoy! Courtesy of Fred.

Much as I love my crisps I think I like my fingers more.

(But only just)

And Fred's crisp of choice?

He's a classy boy.
(PS Have you entered the giveaway? Did you want to enter? Clickeroony here and go for it - you have until Sunday 21st 12pm.)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Happy Blogaversary!

Well. Who’d have thunk it.
This little blog has made it to one whole year.

I can’t actually believe it.

On this day a year ago I decided to start up blogging again and I quite distinctly remember, sitting on my bed in Mum’s house, laptop precariously balanced on my bed as I set about starting up again.

And a mere 184 posts later I have all you guys! Hello lovely blog people, you are great, have I told you that?

Recently I’ve gained a few new followers (Hello new people!!) so I thought that maybe it would be good to have a little re-cap, let you know what this blog’s about, who the people are that I’m talking about and other random bits of info. You know what it’s like when you stumble across someone’s blog and it’s bit like when you walk in to the middle of a party and you’re thinking “Whaaaaaaat are all these people talking about?” It’s like a crib sheet. So next time I talk about The Visitors you can be all “I TOTALLY KNOW WHO SHE’S TALKING ABOUT”.

So if you would like to know more then please click HERE (go on. You know you want to.)

But that’s not all. It would seem, on inspection of other people’s blogs, that it is customary to do some kind of giveaway on your anniversary.

I have struggled with this one. I’m supposed to be writing about living with my boyfriend what am I going to give away? Him?! (Hands off ladies.) My flat?! It has been the cause of much panic these past few weeks.



- Some material from that time I made a noticeboard
- A rather marvellous cross-stitched card to give to the person of your choosing (probably your Mum or your Granny as it is a little floral number)
- 2 little stitchlets to get you in to your cross-stitching groove
- A book from this month’s reading list (I apologise in advance for the jam on the back cover, I don’t even know how I did that)
- Possibly some more fun things?! (notice the use of the word possibly there)

So do you want to play?

It’s really simple, you just have to answer a question by leaving a comment. Just one. And then the names will be put into a hat and I will designate the boyfriend as Chief Drawer-of-names-out-of-hats and I’ll send you the goodness.

You have until Sunday to complete your mission.

Ready for the question? (It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy)

What is your favourite flavour of crisps?

(Told you it would be easy)

(Crisps are very important to me)

Now. GO GO GO GO GO!!!!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mother knows best

I remember the first time my Mum took me to the ballet.

Let me rephrase that.

I remember the first time my Mum dragged me to the ballet.

She had decided she was going to culture me and the first stop was the ballet. You can imagine the response she got from a very non-girly 12/13 year old.

“Oh my god it’ll be sooooo booooooooooooring” was most likely the response.

(This was a time in my life when I refused point blank to watch black and white films because they were ‘sad’. Aren’t we charming little things when we’re young?)

My Mum has never been the kind of mother where we were allowed to make our own decisions and do our own thing. Actually that’s a little harsh, we were absolutely allowed to make our own decisions and do our own thing, just not when it clashed with what she’d decided we were going to do.

I was going to the ballet.

We took our seats in Hull New Theatre (as far as I was concerned this place opened at Christmas for the pantomime and that was its only raison d’etre) and I sat deep in the throes of stroppiness that only you can conjure up when you’re a hormonal teenager.

“Why don’t you go and look in the pit?” suggested Mum. Most likely as an excuse to get my petulant face out of slapping distance.

Off I mooched to the front of the stage and peered down at the orchestra. I did a secretive inside jig at seeing the viola players.

(At school I started off torturing the violin but they had the cunning plan to move me to the viola when I reached senior school. “You see your arms are so long you might find the viola more comfortable” They told me. In actual fact, they had no viola player in the string group and orchestra and I was an easy target. Don’t play the viola. For a start no-one bloody knows what it is. I used to describe it as a fat violin but that led to people thinking of me as the Fat Violin Player – not a good thing. Actually it’s far better than a violin, much less screechy. Unless I played it. This is a long aside, I should wrap it up now.)

As the curtain went up I was beginning to think the ballet might not be so bad. I did like music after all.

First thing that struck me about the ballet? They’re so freaking loud! They look so graceful floating through the air and spinning about on one leg. The reality? Those wooden blocks in their shoes make a hell of a lot of noise. They have all these lovely graceful arms and lovely long legs and then as they’re running around they’re going “BANG BANG BANG BANG”. It rather spoils the effect.

Second thing that struck me about the ballet?

I couldn’t tell you because I was totally absorbed from start to finish. My cold teenage heart was melted and I was forced to do something I have always hated doing...

Admit my mother was right.

I think the thing that draws me in the most is the music. I don’t sit at home and whack on a bit of classical music but when I do hear it, it always draws me in. I’ve never been able to understand how someone could sit down and write all that music for all those instruments and have it not only sound good, but be able to tell a story. I had to write 2 pieces of music for my GCSE and could barely put two notes together, let alone describe the prince searching for his beloved through the use of a violin and piccolo.

Anyway, since that fateful day I have been to see a few ballets – the Nutcracker’s still out there as the lead, especially the last time I went to see it, wish I could remember which ballet company it was as I would give them credit. But I can’t.

Anyway this post had a purpose, what the hell was it?

Aaah yes. So. A couple of weeks ago I read on Hayley’s blog that she’d been to see Sleeping Beauty, performed by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia. I had a look on their website and lo and behold, they would be performing a week later in the grand city of Hull.

Last year for my birthday, the boyfriend promised me that he would buy me tickets to go the ballet. 10 months later I decided to take him up on that offer. “Birthday present please” I demanded. “And don’t go thinking that if you get me this, it counts as an early birthday present for this year. YOU. PROMISED.”

Naturally the boyfriend obliged because he’s nice like that. Only problem was that it started at 7.30pm and he probably wouldn’t be back from work by that time. Who else could I take?

The Mum. Figured I could pay her back for being right in the first place.

And nearly 15 years on you would think that I wouldn’t laugh at the principal male’s bulge in his lyrca pants.

I try to be mature about it but really. It’s like, in your face. You can’t help but look.

And FYI Russian State Ballet of Siberia. When I imagined the Prince fighting his way to Sleeping Beauty he was a pretty masculine chappy, seeing off evil Fairies and the like. He did not have a pink silk cape and glitter in his hair. I’m just saying.

Anyway, you might think it’ll be boring. You might think it’s a bit gay. But, if the chance arises, give it a go and you too can laugh at men’s crotches and thumping ballerinas.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The V Day

Is it too late to post about Valentine’s Day?

Aah well. Don’t worry, there’s not really a lot to post.

I mean, really it’s just another day isn’t it? I don’t think we need a specific day to be romantic, and if I’m honest, the boyfriend is a big bag of smoosh most of the time, but I still think it’s nice to have a day just to say “Hey. I like you.”

I gave the boyfriend his card, and he gave me mine.

I don’t do presents and had told him not to bother but he bought me this orchid.

A freaking orchid.

I’m already panicked about killing it. I don’t have a great track record when it comes to nice plants. And those are just regular plants, not special plants that require you to do special orchidy things to them.

And then the day was just like any other Sunday. Bit of Hollyoaks, a trip to Toys r Us to get his niece a birthday present. (That place makes me want to kill myself. Or kill children.) He manhandled me past Hobbycraft. (I didn’t need anything from there, just an inexplicable urge to go in because I was walking past it.)Then back home to just sit and mooch about and watch crap on TV, before eating, watching more crap, bemoaning the fact that it was nearly Monday already, then to sleep.

A couple of times I felt like we should be doing more. There should be more effort. Maybe I shouldn’t have put my lounge pants on the second we came back from the shops. Maybe I should have sat next to him instead of going to sit on a sofa all by myself so I could stretch out.

Then I had a thought. The beauty of it is that that’s what makes me happy. Lying my full length on the sofa, tangling myself up in bits of wool and thread, watching crap on telly, accompanied by the background noise of whatever stupid game he’s playing on the PSP, getting up every so often to make cups of tea and check in the cupboard to see if it’s restocked itself with crisps since I last looked in there (it never has you know.), and generally being a lazy bint.

I’m just thankful I’ve found someone I can be a lazy bint with and still have him love me.

And for that reason I guess he’s my valentine.

(You may all commence vomiting now)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

A letter to the cleaning fairy

Dear Cleaning Fairy

Just thought I’d drop you a line, see how you’re doing because I notice that you haven’t really been around the flat much for the past week and a half.

Just yesterday I noticed that the bin is dangerously close to overflowing, the recycling bags are almost full and that dishwasher still hasn’t been emptied from 2 days ago, whilst the plates from the previous lie in disarray on the worktops. Also I can’t remember the last time you mopped the floor, I’m pretty sure that’s not hygienic.

And don’t get me started on the bathrooms. How do they get so dirty? What is that weird black fluff/dirt stuff that clings to everything? Why does the shower screen have loads of streaks on it and why is the toilet in need of a good douse of bleach? I couldn’t make it easier for you, there is bleach and that shower screen stuff right there in the bathroom under the sink. Can’t you see it? And don’t get me started on the bath, do I want to have a bath in a scum-lined tub? No I do not thank you very much. (And it is by the by that I struggle to bend down to get in the bath, that’s not the point of this letter Cleaning Fairy, the point is that it GROSSES ME OUT.)

Oh yeah and you really need to get the hoover out. I know that I’m closer to the carpet than usual, what with spending most of my time lying on it and stuff but seriously, come on, you know how much I moult.

And while we’re at it, I looked in my wardrobe today and realised that I don’t have anything to wear. Why is that? Because it’s all in the ironing basket. All of it. The basket is filled and then there’s another basket’s worth on top of that stuff. Clothes don’t iron themselves you know.

Now you know me. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just unfortunate that all these things require you to have fairly minimal mobility in your back to carry them out and I just don’t have that at the moment. And in fact I was pretty much all sorted right up until last night when I decided I was well enough to hoover and make a start on the ironing and ended up in extreme pain. That’s your fault I hope you realise. If you did your job then I wouldn’t be in pain right now.

So I hope that everything’s cool with you and it would be great if you could make it down to the flat in the next couple of days.

Yours sincerely

The Girl

PS What’s that? You don’t exist? Well would you mind telling that to the boyfriend before I start screaming and throwing sponges and cream cleaner at him? Thanks.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The most embarassed I've ever been

So. When I did my back in I wasn’t really sure what the best course of action would be. I could go to the Doctors but I didn’t really know what he’d be able to do for me. Maybe refer me to a physio that I would get to see in 2 years time at the next available appointment. Then I thought I could try a chiropractor but I’m pretty sure they cost money.

The boyfriend suggested going to see his Dad who is a doctor but who also does a few of the hippy things, hypnotherapy and acupuncture are part of his repertoire.

And the boyfriend assured me that acupuncture really sorted him out when he had a bad back.

So in we went and his Dad got the massage table up and said to me “Would you like the boyfriend to sit in with you while we do this?”

“Erm...yeah?” I said. I mean I know I’m not the world’s bravest person but I reckon I can handle a couple of pins in the back.


The boyfriend had neglected to tell me that not only would his Dad be acupuncturing me (yeah I just made up a word, what of it?) but he would be performing a kind of massage called the Bowen Technique which would promote my muscles to heal themselves.

I don’t know much more. I had stopped listening because I had realised one thing and one thing only.

You must remove clothing to have this done.

In my head, I’d just push up my top a bit, have a couple of needles stuck in where it hurts (right hand side, lower back) and I’d be cool.

At no point had it crossed my mind that I’d be taking my top off in front of my potential future father in law.

“Right so if you want to take your t-shirt off. Leave your bra on though.” Boyfriend’s Dad says to me.


As I’m taking my top off I think to myself, “This is really fine. Just whip it off, throw yourself on the table on your front and he never has to really see anything.”

T-shirt was whipped off.

Threw myself on to the tabl....oh wait. Yeah, no I can’t do that. BECAUSE I HAVE A BAD BACK. Instead I end up having to be helped on to the table by boyfriend and his Dad in a most ungainly fashion. At that point I wasn’t sure what was worse, the pain in my back or the deep rooted shame and embarrassment that I knew was, at that very moment in time, scarring me for life.

Bowen itself is fine. It’s not really a massagey kind of thing. And it doesn’t hurt at all. Just felt like he was putting his hands in random places on my back.

And the pins are fine. You can feel little tiny nips as they go in, but I wouldn’t say it even registers on the pain scale.

“All done.” I thought to myself. “Good job. You got through it with only minimal mortification.”

“Now if you just want to turn over on to your back.” His Dad said.


It doesn’t just take place on your back. Oh no. That would be too easy.

There were many things to consider here, as I went to move on to my front:
1. The Slippage Factor. Could I be sure that everything was where it should be. I’ve been fairly well blessed in the chest area and sometimes it can be a struggle to keep things where they should be. (Yes I know I need new bras but they’re so flippin expensive when you have enormous chesticles)
2. The Mesh Factor. The cups of the bra I was wearing were half some mesh-like material. Could I be sure that the mesh was covering everything it needed to cover?
3. The Ungainly Factor. Is there any way to gracefully turn on to your back on a very small massage table whilst at the same time checking Factors 1 and 2?

(I believe the answer is no)

Did it work?

I couldn’t honestly tell you. I was so horrendously embarrassed through the whole ordeal that I can’t imagine I was terribly relaxed.

His Dad did warn me that sometimes, the next day, the pain is worse. And it was. Oh my goodness it was. It had improved towards the end of the week but I’d also spent 2 straight days lying on the floor so I wouldn’t like to attribute one thing over the other to it.

I did have another session at the weekend (I made sure I was well prepared this time) and Monday was my first pain free day which made me very happy. Until I energetically threw myself into the hovering and ironing and ended up back on the floor by 8.30pm. My bad.

Would I try Bowen again? Yeah I think I probably would. Would I get my kit off in front of my boyfriend’s Dad again? I’m thinking.... no.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Meet my new friend...'s Mr Inhaler!

So I filled in my peak flow meter chart like a good girl and took it to the Doctors and he looked at it and he ummed and he aahed and then he pulled a funny face and then I told him that I had begun to get a cold during the week and the cough had gotten worse and I thought it was a virus that wasn't going away and then he ignored me and said he was giving me an inhaler.

(Why don't Doctors ever listen to you?)

I had to take my new friend home and leave him with Mr Peak Flow Meter and I must have a couple of puffs each day and I must carry on recording my awesome lung capacity to see if Mr Inhaler makes a difference.
Then I have to go back in 2 weeks (I've been at the Doctors more in the past 3 months than I have been in the past 3 years) and see what's what.

(And I'll still think it's a virus that's not going away)

(And he still won't listen to me)

Did you know that inhalers are actually pretty hard to use? I thought it would be easy peasy lemon squeezy but I've choked on the damn thing, had smoke coming out of my mouth and generally messed it up in every way possible.

But I think I have the hang of it now.

What with the inhaler and the bad back I've never felt older.

Friday, 5 February 2010

The V Word

There are an awful lot of hearts around at the moment you know.

I’m not really one to go all out on Valentine’s Day. Have never done the exchanging of gifts, I’ll send a card, maybe go for a meal out but that’s it really.

I don’t have anything against it as a day, I’m not one of those people who start foaming at the mouth and saying “You shouldn’t need a day to be romantic”. I agree, it shouldn’t be the only day that you are romantic, but if there’s chance for a little bit more and a day to take a little time out and be especially nauseating then why not take it?!
At the same time, I’m not going to line the pockets of some savvy businessmen who have latched on and want me to buy The Greatest Love Songs Ever of The Decade Ever and Ever Part II as a declaration of my love.

I’ll just make a card for the boyfriend and maybe we’ll go out somewhere and maybe we’ll stay in. Who knows?

Ah yes, “make a card”.

This is when living together becomes an irritation. Last year was easy peasy, I was living with Mum, plenty of time to get my needle and thread out. This year? He’s there ALL THE TIME.

Luckily I’ve had Stitch and Bitch on a Thursday evening to do some stitching, (although when we picked me up last week and asked me what I’d done I had to give the rather lame answer of “Oh nothing, I just couldn’t be bothered”) and in the evenings before he’s come home I’ve got my stitch on, and I have encouraged him to take lots of nice, long, relaxing baths, but it was looking like it wasn’t going to get finished.

My salvation came in a rather painful way though.

I have done my back in.

I would love to say that it was flying through the air on a trapeze, or skiing down a mountain, but I just slept a bit funny. And I woke up and it hurt. Then the next day it hurt a bit more. Then the next day a bit more. Then the next day a bit more. Then the next day I cried. Then I got a taxi home from work because I couldn’t walk, sit, stand or generally concentrate and I spent that day and the next lying on the floor at home.

It was irritating and incredibly annoying. I felt absolutely fine. I was at home, I could be doing things!
But my back wouldn’t let me.

“NO” it said when I asked it if it would mind me just sitting on the sofa with my legs out. “NO” it said when I asked it if it would mind if I laid my full length on the sofa. “YOU MUST LIE FLAT ON THE FLOOR.” It demanded.

I tried to reason with it. “But it’s annoying lying flat on the floor, can’t I just lie on my side?”


You can’t do anything! I thought I would spend lots of time piddling about on the internet, but I had to balance the laptop to do so and I figured that at some point I was going to get a broken nose when it fell on me. I figured I’d pick up my cross stitching but that too was annoying. My arms got tired from holding it in the air and because I was following a pattern I kept having to stop and put down the aida, pick up the pattern, see where I was and do the next line.

In one word.


But I am pig-headed. And I persevered because I knew that this was my silver lining. Yes I was in pain and probably overdosing on ibuprofen but here was the perfect time to get the boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day card made.

(Sometimes you have to look really hard for positives)

So hurray for me, it is done and I can relax for the next week or so.

On the floor.

(The pattern for the card came from The World of Cross Stitching magazine and was part of a Love Token sampler)

(My back is on the mend now, and has felt much better today. I am receiving some treatment in the form of acupuncture - probably more on that in a later post!)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The devil's craft

Like many before me I was seduced by the adverts.
They promised me things.

I felt like they had answered my prayers. How did they know I had declared 2010 the Year of the Crochet?

And here, before me, for a mere 99p (to start with) I could learn! There was wool! And a hook! And easy step by step instructions!

I was whisked away with it all. I had visions of a home like Attic 24 - I would bask in the adoration of those who appreciated the magic I would weave with a hook and some wool.

Has anyone ever told you how frigging annoying crocheting is?

Afterwatching the DVD and reading the magazine, I embarked on my mission - easy peasy.

Not easy peasy.

Turns out either I can't follow instructions or the instrutions were no good (I'm tempted to go with the former if I'm honest) because what was appearing from my hook bore no resemblance to what I was supposed to be producing.

I spent a whole day trying to figure it out. The boyfriend must have been sick and tired of my ball of wool begin thrown across the room. As I hooked and then tore apart my hook, the wool became as frayed as my temper.

Help eventually came in the form of Stitch & Bitch, where one of the girls showed me the error of my ways.

After many many many more attempts (including a complete inability of crochet straight lines, I had more curves in the edges of my work than Kelly Brook), I finally crocheted a square of treble stitch.

There was much rejoicing.

But this wasn't good enough. I want to make the square that the magazine wanted me to make. If I didn't do it I would feel it was mocking me.

Well mock away magazine because I officially give up. I have everything you asked of me. I have pulled apart countless swatches and instead of looking like the picture in the magazine, my square bears no resemblance to it whatsoever.

I didn't want to make your stupid blanket anyway.

My Stitch & Bitchers have solidly stood by me and encouraged me and have put up with me temper tantruming in the corner. They eventually managed to get me to make a flower which I am very proud of (but which I can't really do anything with because it is a rather crazy shade of orange). I will persevere however and next on the list is a granny square.

But for now, I'm returning to my soothing cross stitch for a while. It understands me, it makes sense, there aren't a billion different stitches and instructions, just up one hole and down the other.

Peace and tranquility have returned to the flat.

For now...

Monday, 1 February 2010

January Books

First of all thank you for your words of advice – having a look through it I think there’s a general consensus that I should just leave him to get on with things. He knows he can talk to me, god knows I’ve said it enough, so I shall continue with my inane chatter until he decides to speak.

Now. On to more uplifting things.

The observant of you may have noticed that a new box has appeared on the right hand menu. (I’ll give the less observant a moment to frantically scroll up and down the page to figure out what it is they’ve missed.)

Found it? Give up?

I have decided to keep track of all the books I’m going to read in 2010. I thought it would be nice to keep track of what I spend my time doing when I’m not stabbing a needle through a piece of fabric. I started the list and then had a rather marvellous thought. I shall do a speedy review at the end of each month of the books I’ve read, pick a favourite and there we go, a recommendation for my blog readers. How. Lovely.

I have already noted the potential pitfall of this idea. There’s going to be a month where I don’t finish a book. Or I only finish one. But that’s ok. I have acknowledged this, accepted it and I feel ready to barrel on regardless. There’s also another potential hazard. I suck at talking about books for some reason. I feel able to say whether I did or did not like a book but lose the power of speech when it comes to the details. But let’s just ignore this hazard.

Got off to a good start this month, 4 whole books read although a couple were technically started in December and one was really short BUT THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT.

The Selected Works of TS Spivet – a purchase that was the result of me spending too long in a bookshop. I begin wandering and looking through every book in front of me. I came across this wee beasty when I was in Manchester a while back. I liked it because a) it had pretty maps and drawings in the margins of the pages and b) Stephen King said he liked it and what Stephen likes, I like (have I revealed my King obsession to you yet? Don’t judge me please.)

It’s a story of 12 year old T.S. who maps and draws every aspect of his life. He is awarded a prize for his drawings (they don’t realise how old he is) and he runs away from home to travel across country to collect his award. In a nutshell.

I guess you could say it’s about growing up – about the way in which a child and an adult view the world, how they deal with what life throws at them. The adults in T.S.’s world seem a little one dimensional at times, like Larsen only took the time to briefly sketch down some notes about their character and didn’t bother filling them out. But then was this on purpose? Is this just the way that TS sees the adults in his life? (And here begins the merry go round of discussing a book.)

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match – A TV Book club book this one. You’ll hear them say that the story seems too wild to be true. They’re not kidding.

Mary Bowes is tricked into marrying Andrew Stoney when he pretends to be mortally wounded after a duel defending her honour (as you do). Once wed he makes a miraculous recovery and then spends the next 15 years or so making the woman’s life hell, routinely beating her, keeping her away from friends and family and keeping her a virtual prisoner. She eventually escapes, only to be drawn into the surreal world of the law in Georgian Britain which did little to protect women’s rights.

Considering the potential for a factual story to become a little dry, this book races along at breakneck speed, the unusualness (is that a word? Who cares! Onwards!) of the story means that it’s very difficult to lose interest.

One thing that’s sad about this book? Mary is supposed to be a champion of women’s rights, taking on the law courts at a time when women had no rights in the eyes of the law, but I couldn’t help feeling a little uncomfortable that the same thing still happens in society today. Yes the law has moved forward but there are still women out there, kept in their homes and subjected to terrifying abuse – they might be able to escape and find some recourse in the law but shouldn’t we be trying to stop it happening at all?

Mister Pip – I feel a little ambivalent about this one. Africa. Civil war. White person who is viewed with suspicion and fear at first but then turns out to be good. Bloodshed. Blah blah blah. I feel like I’ve read it all before.

In fact I cared so little about it I can hardly remember what it was about. Maybe there was some subtle message that was so subtle is got lost along the way for me.

Best thing I can say is that it was an ok story. I didn’t have to abandon it halfway through, I kept reading to the end. But I put it down and didn’t think about it again. Not a good sign.

The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart – you see this is why I was going on about independent bookshops when I was in London – you’re not blinded with the agenda of the Waterstones Board who want you to buy the books they want you to buy. You are free to wander and pick up what you will. Which is how I came in to possession of this little fella.

When Jack is born his heart doesn’t work properly so he has a cuckoo clock grafted on to his heart to keep it ticking. It comes with a warning that he’s not to fall in love – his heart will not be able to cope with the inevitable grief. So, like all good characters in a book, he goes and falls in love, with disastrous consequences.

It’s a small book, you’ll most likely be done with it in a weekend and I guess it falls in to the genre of fairytales for grown-ups, although I feel like this is doing it a bit of a disservice. It is translated from French, but I didn’t pick up on that to be honest, sometimes translated books feel a little stilted I think but this flowed nicely and carried me away with it. Apparently the film rights have already been bought – I pictured a Tim Burton, Nightmare Before Christmas or Coraline type film, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Now to pick just one to recommend....

(I think we know what it’s not going to be)

And I reckon Wedlock has enough publicity at the moment, being part of the TV Book Club.

I’m going to go with The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart although The Adventures of T.S. Spivet is running a very close second.

It’s short and sweet and you’re more likely to miss it than any of the other three. And sometimes, we all need to hear a fairytale (even if it doesn’t have a normal fairytale ending). Reading for me has to be about being transported away somewhere else for a little bit and this book did its job perfectly.

Now leave me be, I have to make sure I’ve read some books for next month. Why is February so short? I could do with an extra couple of days!