Sunday, 30 September 2012

Just one more...

Last night I stayed up til 1am watching Game of Thrones.
Please understand I'm usually out for the count by 10pm by necessity so 1am is usually only known to me if Small wakes me up to perform some small but vital service to him in the night, such as locate the comfort item that has slipped an inch from his hand... Anyway, what I'm trying to communicate is the unnatural nature of my late night.
I only stopped there because Big was still out and regardless of his parents' frailties Small will get up well before 7am and tolerate no argument from us. I've jonesed lightly all day to see some more but when Small napped this afternoon, there was Dr Who to catch up on (Farewell Amelia Pond, you were the best assistant in a long time and I'll miss you)
Finally the little one was packed off to bed for the night and within moments I had the next DVD in and priming. That's the second ep of the night just finished, there's just two left to go and I want to watch them. I really, really want to watch them.
I'm being strong, I will complete this whiney little entry and then I'll go to bed and read Game of Thrones instead. I've been next to dead all day because of my choice last night and dammit, I will learn the lesson! I really will. I know how it ends anyway, I've only got a loan of the first series.

Ohhh but I really want to just finish watching it.

Saturday, 29 September 2012


This evening I'm watching Game Of Thrones. It's good. The casting, Mark Addy aside (he's good too, but he's not the Robert Baratheon I imagined) is wonderful and it's done better than I imagined HBO would do it.
But I miss Big. He's DJing again, as he was last night. It's funny, the whole time he was off work I craved a little time to myself and now I have it, I feel the space he's left.

I haven't the skills to cultivate very close friends, but he's my best friend and my pretty much all else. I miss him when he's not here. I miss him when I'm not there. Which is not to say I couldn't cheerfully strangle him half the time when he is there, but I understand this is what is called "marriage".

Friday, 28 September 2012

Late to the party again

But I've finished the first Game Of Thrones book.

I loved it! I finished it on Thursday and immediately got the next one wired to my Kindle. When I started reading it I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. It was a bit dark and dour and I'd just come off the Harry Dresden books which while they have their darkness, are playful and fun in tone with scattershot geek culture references.
There are no geek culture references in Game Of Thrones. It starts cold and dark and brooding and to be honest, it doesn't get any lighter. But it does get addictive. An Arthurian world but with the rose-tinted glasses pulled away to reveal the politics and machinations behind the chivalry and facades of honour. In Westeros, honour bestows a short life expectancy.

But you know this, because you've watched it on tv. I haven't, although I hope to have by the end of the weekend. I don't expect to enjoy it as much as the books. It's HBO, so it will have done what HBO does and take a story with the odd bit of sex, or reference to sex and produced a programme where people have sex constantly or are at least constantly naked to keep you entertained while going through all the dull exposition. Not that I'm saddling up to be the next Mary Whitehouse here, I'm not objecting to it in theory and it keep the channel going and producing interesting tv rather than talent shows and freak shows. And freak talent shows. I'm pretty much expecting a parallel with True Blood, I enjoy the show and the books but the two don't really bear much relation to one another beyond the names of the characters and a few of the plotlines. Neither one spoils the other unless you let yourself get upset about it.

It's wonderful though, fantastic to have the women being more than vapid princesses or evil witches, although  those tropes exist too. I can't wait to read some more of it, and to that end, goodnight.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thursday Holding Page

Rays have such cute little faces, especially considering they're essentially flat sharks. This is a baby ray and although definitely skirting the same cute/horrific line that the baby raptors did the other week, I'm definitely falling on the Cute side.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Panda Wednesday

It's cold out there, so snuggle down this Panda Wednesday.

Incidentally, feel free to alert me to any Panda snaps you'd like to see gracing this spot. Stick links in the comments and although I might not post the comments, I will post the pics if I like them and credit you into the bargain.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mists Of Pandaria, first impressions.

Mists Of Pandaria launched last night/this morning depending on your time zone. I've had one of my busy, busy days which began with hauling out of bed at 7am with Small on a running start to go get a blood test (again) that just had to be done at 9am at the local hospital and ended about 10 mins ago when I finished polishing and spraying wet weather protector on my shoes. My, that was a long sentence.
Anyway, I haven't had a lot of time for gaming. I nipped on as my new character and there was no difference for her, so I created a new Pandarian character and played for about half an hour while giving my poor back a wee rest. Not really enough to judge maybe but enough to get a first impression.

Now, I started a new character when I returned to WoW a week ago so I can pretty much judge the difference quite fairly. My Worgen character hit the ground pretty much running and was a lot of fun to play, I was hooked in right from the start and keen to finish quests and bump her up the levels. She also got some cool trebuchet things to play with early on, got to fly a giant bat on bombing raids on her second day... fun.

The most fun I had with the panda was choosing her appearance. She's cute as a button, in a very Princess-Fiona-As-An-Ogre way. Out of habit, I selected her to be Hunter class, because I like being a hunter, so she got a crossbow very early on but where the Worgen started off with a range of shot options and her pet had some interesting battle functions, Panda-girl has a single shot and a turtle pet who doesn't seem to anything much. Oh, it fights but it doesn't have the cool options that my Worgen's pets have. Neither does Panda-girl seem to begin with the ability to tame her own pets. Then they send you out of the training academy to get set upon by killer monkeys who're actually a little tough for such a low level character. When he tried, Big's Panda character got killed by his first encounter with the monkey things and he was only on his first quest! He's also a much better player than me, so it really shouldn't have happened.

I'm not by any means a hardcore gamer, all I ever played is WoW and even then I've not explored the whole gamut of what the game has to offer and as I say, it was only a tiny little taste of the new launch but my first thought was really just that Pandaria is not as fun a game and I will have to think about whether I want to bother giving my panda a proper chance and see if it gets better or just concentrate on my Worgen for a while.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Career choices.

This is fairly apropos of nothing. I was just thinking about it today and wondering what I would say to Small in 10-12 years time when he's got to start looking at careers.
Firstly I think it's slightly obscene that a society that doesn't grant it's youth enough maturity to choose to smoke until 16, get married until 16 and drink til 18, nevertheless expects children as young as 12 to make decisions that will shape it's entire future and gives very little opportunity to backtrack later. Yes, you can do it but it's not made in the least bit a straightforward or easy process.

Anyway, I never had a clue what I wanted to do for a living, still don't really. Careers Advice at school wasn't up to much, to my memory it consisted of a maths teacher being taken out of timetable for a week and interviewing each kid in turn, telling them what subjects they needed to follow that path. If you didn't know, you were given access the Big Book Of Jobs (not it's real name I'm sure) and told to pick something.
Not having a dream to fulfill, at least in my case, made things much harder. In the end I just a few subjects I liked and the rest of my timetable was filled with compulsory subjects and ones that were the least bad of what was left. There was no feeling of having to do well, because I didn't have a goal to focus on and  anyway I was busy being adolescent and angry and unpopular.
It seems to me now that it might have been valuable if someone had helped me find a goal, a dream, something I badly wanted to do. I think I went about it all the wrong way. My memory of career choices as they were presented at school was that girls could either aim to be a doctor or a lawyer at one end of the scale, a secretary or nursery nurse at the other. I didn't have a clue about what those jobs actually were about, I didn't know what other myriad choices there were out there. It was all the wrong way round. I shouldn't have looked at the list of jobs and tried to find the one I could aim for. I should have looked for the things in my life I enjoyed - not the subjects, gods if only someone had told me then what a false, fleeting misrepresentation of life school subjects are - but actual activities, interests, events that I was happiest when I was doing and then found a job that let me do them. But back then there was so much focus on how you should do the subjects you were good at and that would lead you to the job you were aiming for. Such silliness, being good at something when you're 12 might be talent but talent only takes you so far. It's hard work that you the rest of the way and if you have to work hard anyway, you might as well give subjects you're not so natural for a go if you have the drive to make yourself do well and achieve your dream.

Listen to me, like I'm delivering a revolutionary new way of educating our young. I know it's not an epiphany and I know that what a 36 year old woman thinks would work is not the same as what a 12 year old thinks would work. Maybe though, if I can keep hold of this thought for when the time comes, I can help Small not to flounder, not to struggle, not to feel that he's being left behind in a world where everyone else knows what they'll being doing when they're 40 and he barely knows what he'll be doing next week. I hope so.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A late spring clean...

I've gotten a bit of a stress on for clearing up and clearing the house of late. We've only been here two years and I thought we'd binned a lot of junk when we moved but junk just seems to breed when you're not looking. Surfaces in every room get cluttered with stuff that is put down for a minute until we can find a home for it and then that becomes it's home. It's maddening and you reach a point where you think you've tidied up  then you realise you've just worked back to the level of untidiness you're accustomed to.

Today I went to Costco and came home with one of those chrome wire racks that they do for the kitchen. We've got a few already, I keep the towels and bedding on one in our airing cupboard and Big keeps his comic book coffin boxes on another couple in our spare room. Now I have another one actually in the kitchen where they belong. It's now home to our bins on the bottom shelf, both general waste and recycling - off the floor where I can get cleaned around and under then more easily. The next shelf holds my baking bowls, my cake decorating toolkit and bobs (yes, I keep all my sugarcraft stuff in a toolbox, and?), foil, cling film, baking parchment and polybags on the next one and then slowcooker and other electrical gadgetry on the top. I'm not sure that's how it's going to stay, I might move some stuff off and swap it for other stuff but at the moment I'm happy. It's cleared some space from the worktops, made the stuff I use daily a bit more accessible and gives at least the impression that those things belong there rather than were just put down there for a moment and forgotten.

I'm not even done yet, I've also bought a proper big clothes drying rack. Very big actually, so big that once I'd unfolded it I realised I don't have anywhere I can put it where it won't dominate the entire room. However, it's better than using the sides off Small's cotbed to hang clothes on when I get the laundry out on the line. And it being in the way means it's more likely I'll fold and sort it as soon as it's dry. I've already made a start on clearing away old toys of Small's and will be tackling other ignored corners of clutter as I go over the next few weeks.

I have no idea what's got into me.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Winter Is Coming

Yes, I'm reading A Song of Ice and Fire at the moment (Game of Thrones) so the title came easy.

It is though and the change of seasons is more pronounced than the spring/summer change was. The air is chill, although it doesn't yet have the bite that will come in another month or two. The winter pansies are in bloom, the leaves are starting to turn, it's damp and misty and the nights are noticeably drawing in.

I love summer, but I love autumn too. All the seasons have their place, especially when they behave as they are supposed to and of all the seasons, you can pretty much rely on Autumn being Autumn.
It's a good time, cheery lights brightening the dark nights, warm homes to come in to, hallowe'en, bonfire night, stews and soups and harvest foods, comfort foods. You can enjoy all the benefits of winter before it gets too hard and dull and the novelty's worn off. Then of course there's the slow meander through early winter and into Christmas. The whole time is steeped in traditions and customs that remind you of how much easier our lives are now, how this time used to be a time of preparing to literally survive until spring. Of course, many wouldn't survive. Bonfires are about more than Guy Fawkes, people lit bonfires at that time of year long before he walked into Parliament with his honest intention. Fire was important, fire was the difference between life and death. We're lucky that the worst we have to face in winter now is the odd day where the buses and trains don't run. I think we often forget just how lucky we really are.

Oops, didn't mean to get melancholy, this is what Game of Thrones does to you. It's a happy time really, at least for me.
In deference to the Equinox, the season shift and the harvest, today I have baked an apple cake, the recipe one I got from a friend who lived in Sweden for a time. I haven't eaten it yet, it's for later but because I made it, it's heavy on the cinnamon and smells wonderful. Yum Yum.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday Holding Page

Bear Cubs = cute
Polar Bear Cubs = CUTE!
Damp Polar Bear Cubs = OMG SQUEEEEE!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Panda Wednesday

For anyone who feels a bit out on a limb, I give you - Panda Wednesday.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sucked Back In

So not two minutes after I finished posting last night's blog, I thought I'd happen by Battlenet and see if I could even remember my old sign ons. I did.

Then I thought I'd just check out how much it would be to play again but first I updated my email details and stuff and before I knew what was happening, I was entering card details and upgrading to Mists of Pandaria in readiness for it's release next week. And playing.

Somehow, it was suddenly after midnight and I was still playing. Ooops. It's like crack, you can't just have a little WoW.

And it's communicable. I hadn't finished arguing with Battlenet to stop messing around and let me in (par for the course, that much hasn't changed over the years I've been out) before Big was also resurrecting his account and re-entering the fray. He's managed to recover his old character on his old server though and I couldn't figure out how to do that so I'm playing with a new character, a werewolf. I've got her to level 10 already so quite happy with that.

Oh dear though, it does suck away your life. Hours fly by and you don't know where they've gone!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Attack Of The Killer Pandas

Or if you want to be all official about it, World Of Warcraft- Mists Of Pandaria.

I'm tempted. Oh yes. Pretty much because it's pandas and well, you know me by now. I used to play WoW, back when I was childless and flush with money. (these two circumstances are not co-incidental). Even in the realm where the maladjusted, socially awkward geek is standard, I was still On The Edge. I played alone. I played for the Alliance - don't judge me - I was a Draenei, a hunter with rather excellent skinning skills and a pet sabrecat I called Baby. I avoided fights with any other players and avoided alliances just the same, except when I had a mission I couldn't quite finish on my own, then I'd call Big over for help.

No guilds, no socialising, no being shown up. Just jogging lithely over a mystical landscape with a giant tiger. Happy days. I'd actually been looking forward to maternity leave and being a beached whale for a while so I could just sit there and play and no one could object. Then of course Small arrived 3 months early, before I'd actually stopped work and there was no time and then no money so I cancelled my subscription. I miss it. And now it has pandas in it. I wonder if I can remember my account id and passwords. I wonder how much it is now. I wonder where I can hive some game time from.

Yes, I know. I'm a sucker.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Autumn cooking

This weekend has been largely about food. I've baked and cooked a fair bit, even for me. Yesterday as I said I made scones and macaroons, the day before I made rhubarb crumble muffins. I started today making bacon, scrambled egg and toast sandwiches for breakfast then went on to cook lentil soup for eating later in the week and fried onion bread, some of which will be eaten with the soup and some was for making steak sandwiches for tonight. The weather has been a bit dull and wet so it's just perfect for some lovely comfort cooking. I thought for today's blog I'd post up some of the recipes.

Rhubarb Crumble Muffins.
For the muffins
13oz plain flour
7oz caster sugar
1&1/2  tablespoons baking powder
half a tsp salt
6oz room temp butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
6fl oz milk
1tsp ginger or mixed spice
6oz chopped rhubarb

For the crumble topping
3tbsp plain flour
1/2-1oz butter
1tbsp demerara sugar
1tsp ginger or mixed spice
Rub butter into flour and then stir in sugar, baking powder salt and spice. Separately, beat together the eggs and milk then add to the dry ingredients with the fruit, mix until all combined but don't beat or overdo the mixing. Divide the batter between 12 muffin cases in a muffin pan and then sprinkle over the crumble topping. Bake at 200C for 30mins or until a skewer comes out clean. 

Lentil Soup

1 large onion
3 medium carrots
1 medium sweet potato
2 sticks of celery
2 pints of veg stock
3oz red lentils
a drop of oil

Chop all the veg up into small pieces. Heat the oil in a big pan then add all the veg together and stir around so they start to cook a little in the oil. When they've taken on a little colour, add the stock and lentils. Simmer long enough for all the veg to be cooked then blend til smooth. 

Fried Onion Bread

1lb Strong Bread flour (White or half and half white and wholemeal)
1 sachet instant yeast
1 tbsp butter
tsp salt
11floz half water half milk, tepid
I large onion, chopped. 

Start by frying the onions very gently so they soften and brown and crisp at the edges but don't burn. Set aside.
Combine the flour, yeast, seasoning and butter with the liquid in either by hand or in a food processor and mix until it forms a ball. If using a processor, let it run a little while to knead or knead by hand until the dough is soft but not sticky and a pinched bit of dough reveals a network of bubbles underneath the surface. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too wet. Knead in the fried onions then place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film, place somewhere warm for an hour to 90 mins until doubled in size. If using a breadmaker, just throw in the onions once it's mixed it into a dough and let it knead them in but a food processor will just blend the onions into the dough which isn't as nice. 
Turn the raised dough out onto a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes then form into your chosen shape. I did two baguettes and a cottage loaf as you can see, but any shape will be fine, or turn into a  loaf tin. Cover with oiled film again and allow to prove for another half hour before baking at 200C for about 30 mins for a single loaf, less for multiple smaller breads. You know they're ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the underside. 

These are my recipes. They are either based on ones I've gotten from friends/family and adapted for my purposes or are entirely cobbled together by me as I go then written down while I still remember what I did. I'd love to hear how you got on with them if you make them but if you repost these recipes as they are here, a credit and link back would be nice. 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Saturday Night Fever

It's the weekend, I'm a *cough* young *cough* woman it's time to PARTY!

No wait... it's time to watch Strictly, Dr Who then Man V Food while doing some embroidery. Wow, Rock and Roll :D

I'm not even all that bothered, I haven't enjoyed a night out that didn't involve a gig in about 18 years. I don't drink and whatever anyone might tell you, going out on the town sober is not fun. That's why everyone else is  busily getting a skinful. No, maybe that's not true, I am after all basing my opinion on mainstream nights out, in mainstream bars and clubs with mainstream people. I get annoyed by the music, the drunk people, the heat, the barging, the interminable wait at the bar to buy drinks that are too expensive and watered down to boot. Besides, there are people there and I don't really like crowds of people I don't know. I barely like crowds of people I do know.

I should actually be out, I was invited to, had accepted and was with every intention of attending my friend's little gathering of Ladies for dainty foodstuffs, pampering and yakking this afternoon/evening and was booked to provide macaroons and scones for it to boot.
Then Big's employer dropped another whammy on him, or rather refreshed the whammy that's been hanging over us most of the year and suddenly I was less confident about waltzing off to spend best part of a day having fun without him while he minded Small. I pulled out, but still did the baking and dropped it round then he tells me he's agreed to take the other DJ's night at the Turk as he wasn't needed for his night yesterday and it turns out that I couldn't really have gone anyway. So here I am, watching TV on a saturday night while my twitter feed informs me of every track Big is playing, just to remind me that everyone else, even non mainstream people, have a better social life than me.
And to be quite honest, I even like it this way.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Of Bugs and Boys

I was going to write about the turn of seasons today but I can't now, I have to talk about my kid.
Hey, sue me.

For the last couple of weeks Small has taken an interest in dressing up. He sees kids doing it on the tv and gets all excited and wants to do it too. The problem is that despite being over two and a half, The Prince of Dinkiness is only wearing clothes sized for a 18 month old. Dressing up outfits around here tend to come in size 3-6 years. Oh, not little girl outfits. You can get cute little fairy dresses or witch dresses or whatever for baby girls of all ages. Around Hallowe'en you can usually pick up some very sweet costume babygro things for babies and up to about 18 months but he's too old to wear a vampire baby gro for heaven's sake!

I suspect at this point you might be thinking "oh it doesn't matter if the outfits are a bit big, it's playing" or possibly "just make some costumes!" or even "do you know that on XYZ website they do really cute dressing up outfits for all sizes and I'm sure you'll find something there"

  1.  Small is a precise child, if something is too big, he tells you so and shrugs it off in seconds. I took him to the toyshop and tried to put a doctor's coat on him that even came with a stethoscope and he loves stethoscopes but no "It's too big Mummy" and on the deck it went.
  2. I possibly could make a costume, if I could find somewhere in Huddersfield that sells fabric, if I wasn't a bit completely hopeless with my sewing machine, if I could even dream of measuring Small without him squirming out my grip and making off with the tape measure and if I could somehow shoehorn in some time before I pass out with exhaustion every evening. 
  3. I have looked, there are some real doozies of costumes out there and they cost a flipping fortune! 
We saw some really gorgeous costumes in Costco the other week, there was a spaceman one Small was particularly taken with and even though it was quite dear Big at least would have given buying it serious consideration if they'd had one even approaching his size but they didn't. It's annoying.

Anyway, he's been particularly keen over the last couple of weeks to dress up as a ladybird. I've seen ladybird costumes but based around a black and red dress. I've seen bee costumes too (Small loves bees almost more than ladybirds) but again, dresses. Much as I disapprove of gender stereotyping and constricting a child's choice into Boys Things and Girls Things, I'm not going to put my son in a dress. Sorry.

Today I happened into Clare's Accessories, a shop I visit once a year maybe and was showing Small the witches hats stuck on hairbands that they do and generally messing about when I said to him "I know babe, it's not a ladybird outfit is it?" when the sharp eared sales assistant piped up "We do have ladybird stuff, it's over here" and directed me to a wall display with packets of wings, antennae hairband and ladybird wand (no, I didn't know ladybirds had wands either, but it's a bit reminiscent of a jester's stick so I like it) Sold to the woman with the cute insect fixated small boy. 

And he loves it

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thursday Holding Page

Well I think this is cute. I am a big fan of raptors in general and kestrels are so beautiful. Look at those wonderful eyes.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Panda Wednesday

I'm having problems with this one, I can't decide if I think it's real or not. But then my common problem with pandas is that they don't look quite real even when they are, they look too much like a guy in a suit.
Of course, the anthropomorphism is why we love them so much.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Who needs to run?

Well frankly, not me.

I've sacked it off, for now at least. The doubts I discussed after completing the first week of the programme didn't really get resolved and then I found that Small wasn't as adverse to finding himself back in the pushchair after the summer break as I feared and when you're pushing a two year old up hill and down dale through Huddersfield for a couple of hours a day, there is neither the need nor the inclination to then haul yourself out for a run as well. I'm comfortable with that.

Besides, the walking isn't all I'm doing. Now Big is firmly back at work and not messing the place up, I'm slowly but surely reasserting some kind of order into this three storey Clutterfest of Doom. On top of that, I'm keeping a two year old entertained and cooking daily meals. I'm busy. Today I cooked not only for today but for the next two days as well, this was after the two and a half hour tromp around town (where I actually remembered to book a contact lens check up and if I remember to attend it too, will have averted them stopping my direct debit and washing their hands of me entirely)
Not content with this for a day's activity, after Small's nap we also did some painting.
Small loves painting. Or I should say, Small loves getting all the paint stuff out, covering every available surface, including himself, in a blend of all colours of paint then dropping all the paint things on the floor and asking to get down. Why yes, he is only allowed to paint from within the confines of his highchair, I'm not an idiot. Not entirely anyway.
It's usually a very messy way to fill about 30-40 mins before he gets fed up and wants to do something else and it's sort of awesome to just resign yourself to the fact that it's going to be a big clean up, do what damage limitation you can and let him go for it. Just on occasion.
So yeah, don't really need to run.  

That's right, the pic on the fridge is not the pic he's waving at the camera. Because the pic he's waving at the camera "wasn't finished yet" and indeed wasn't finished until so saturated with paint that it disintegrated. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Kill me now.

It's September the 10th.
Yesterday, my mind wandered while I was doing the ironing and I found myself checking with Big our plans for Christmas dinner. (We take turns spending Christmas in Hudds or Aberdeen. As this is a Hudds year, either I decide to cook for the three of us, or we go his Mum's)

Today I found myself clearing out Small's Amazon Wishlist for his Christmas and Birthday presents, ready for this year's entries. And I added some too.

Lets say it again,


It's too damn early to think about Christmas. It's too early to be thinking I'd better start picking up stocking fillers to spread the cost. It's too early to start thinking about what I'm going to cook and what I can get done in advance and freeze. It's too early to watch Small like a hawk in toy shops to get ideas to direct people to.

It's not that I dislike the whole Yuletide deal, I love it. But I love it in December.
I don't want to even acknowledge that it's coming until Hallowe'en is out of the way. It's not fair.
This is what being a parent does to you, it makes you start thinking about the end of the year when you're still trying to enjoy the middle!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Superpacked Sunday

Wow, I've done a lot today!

Small got me up at the crack of dawn, then once Big had been similarly dragged from his pit and a large quanitiy of coffee had been consumed it was time to boot up and head off into what Big terms 'enemy territory' or Lancashire. Bolton to be precise, for a much overdue, if brief meet up with fellow Mum, fellow blogger and all round bundle of awesome, MermaidinJeans and her very beautiful family.
Small, a boy who unlike his mother is completely unperturbed by meeting new people - came in, sat down and started working his way through all the toys on offer. I can only apologise to our hosts for the utter devastation he left in his wake.

Small had half his nap in the car on the way home, falling asleep three quarters through the sandwich I'd for once remembered to bring. Then was straight back into his own bed once we got back, leaving us free to have our own lunch before spending most of the afternoon doing laundry, taking yesterday's grass cuttings to the tip, and cooking a thyme roast chicken so good I'm fairly sure that if the chicken had known it's fate it really wouldn't have minded at all.

And yet I'm confused as hell as how it is that I seem to spend every waking moment of my life tidying up and cleaning but my house is still a tip! Seriously, it's a frigging sty and I have no idea why. I suspect that allowing people to live in it has something to do with it mind. And I still have the ironing to do.

Tomorrow my sudden transformation into a social butterfly continues as Small and I spend the morning at least with the third friend in four days. I could get used to not being a pathetic, desperate loner.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Indian Summer

Today has been cracking. This week has featured some of the nicest weather we've had since our week in Cornwall and today really topped the chart.
The heat wiped me out a wee bit, I'll admit and while the mind was willing to take Small to the park, the flesh was weak. Nevertheless, we have a garden for a reason so after we got back from the supermarket shop I cut the front grass and Big did the back grass and we set up for a barbecue and a play in the backie for the afternoon. Lovely.
I made some simple chicken and sausage kebabs and we just had those plus the rest of the pack of sausage with some tortillas and a couple of buns. Small is a bit meat fussy at the moment so wasn't keen on either option so we just out our smallest le cruset pan and heated up a tin of sausage and baked beans for him instead. It worked better than I suspected it would actually! Also barbecued a potato waffle with slightly less success, but Small ate most of it anyway.
It was a lovely way to end the day, with the added bonus of actually getting to christen our bargain new garden table which we picked up the other week in the Ikea sale! Now I'm blogging away to the sound of Big giving Small his bath and putting him to bed, the earliest Big has taken him in weeks, because we both want the little dude settled and fast asleep before Dr Who comes on with dinosaurs on a spaceship.
Oh yeah.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Thursday Holding Page (a little late)

Whoops, brain fried more than usual yesterday and I totally forgot.

Worth waiting for though, no? Oh come on, it's BAMBI!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

1st week complete

I've now done all three workouts of the first week of my running programme. All in all it wasn't quite as horrendous and embarrassing and painful as I feared it might be and despite the odd moment of doubt/despair, I completed all three workouts as directed.

At the moment, I think it's something I could continue and start building up my running times but my concern is with a route or venue to do the running in. I live in a very built up area with steep hills and not very well finished pavements. The first time I ran, Friday, I ran around the local cemetery. Which was fine even on the paths which have mostly grown over, and it was raining. The problem with running there is that it's not lit at all so as the nights draw in, it'll be pitch black in there.

Sunday I thought it might work better to run in the day, rather than evening so Big and I took Small up to the park, I ran round the park and they played. That worked out better than I thought as I wasn't as embarrassed about hauling my wobbly bum round a busy park in broad daylight as I thought. I might be able to keep running there on Sundays around the same time, so long as I can promise to not need my sunday afternoons for anything else (Big doesn't get up on Sunday mornings). Indeed, the local parkrun uses the same park.

Today, I tried exploring a route running around the block. The way up the very big hill was painful and I think running back down it was probably cheating. Even so, I ran out of block and had to head into the cemetery anyway. Extending the route any more would involve too many busy roads to cross that would break the flow. And a fair stretch of that route doesn't have a pavement at all, which will not be fun or safe in the dark.

I could run up the other big hill to the park then run around it and back home, but the problem there is that it's a very old street and the pavements, although newly resurfaced, are extremely narrow. The road is very steep and the park closes at 6pm in the winter. I can't run when there's no Big to mind Small, I can't take Small with me, I can't afford to join a gym and run there.
I don't really know what to do.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Baking with Toddler, success!

Decided to take another shot at baking with Small. While he napped this afternoon I got all the ingredients sorted out for shortbread, creamed the butter and sugar together and left the flour aside for him to mix in as he likes mixing.
When he woke up I gave him enough time to come round a bit then said we were going to make biscuits for Daddy. This was accepted cheerfully as Big's new term started today (no kids but still need the teachers in) and Small was not adjusting well to Daddy being missing. We mixed in the flour, turned out the dough and cut out star shapes with cutters. Small got a bit carried away and just liked plunging the cutters into the dough, regardless of whether that bit of dough already had a shape cut out of it and ate a fair bit of the raw dough too but we had fun with it and wasn't too messy. He even helped with the washing up afterwards bless him.
So the trick seems to be to pick your recipes carefully and make sure there's a bit where he can just play and have fun and it doesn't matter.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

DVD Extras

I have one massive failing in my geekdom, my complete and utter lack of interest in 'extras' I don't watch Dr Who Confidential. I haven't watched a DVD extra since DVD's first came out. I'm just not that interested.

Thing is, if I want to see the film, I want to see the film. I don't particularly want to be distracted from the film by listening to the director or cast waffling over the top of it. You'd shoot them if they tried to do it while you were sat in the cinema after all.
Added to that, if I want to watch the film then I probably have a couple of hours spare in which to do it, not a couple of hours then another hour or so to watch behind the scenes stuff and blooper reels that frankly, aren't that entertaining or enlightening. I've seen the odd blooper reel that looked somewhat scripted too, what's the point?

Lets face it, extras were invented to encourage people to move over to DVD from VHS. Now it's being used to encourage people to move over to Blu Ray. I don't want to move over to Blu Ray, I've barely managed to replace my VHS collection with DVD! There is a limit too, to how much I care about the picture definition. I can see it, and see it clearly. That'll do me.

A facet of my grumpiness with regard to it all is how distributors and studios work so hard to exploit us all. This new habit where they release different versions of the DVD and Blu Ray with a variety of different extras to try and get complete-ist geeks to buy all of them and raise their revenues more. I know that the home cinema market has impacted on Hollywood profits over the last few years and there's a constant battle to recover from that but I can't help but feel there better ways to go about it. Less pointlessly expensive CGI which still fails to be as convincing as promoted would be a good start.

I'm probably wrong, I know Big loves his insights into the making of the films and tv shows he loves but I rather want to protect my ignorance. For me it's like the Golden Days of Hollywood in a way, back when studios despotically controlled what information on their stars' lives got out to the public. Perhaps it wasn't in the best spirit of press freedom but not knowing their every failing, every bad choice and what they had for breakfast all added to the experience. Sometimes it's better not to know and to let the story you love live on.

Oh and don't even get me started on 3-D!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Dr Who Night

Tonight the new series of Dr Who airs. This is an event of no small importance in our home. We love Who. Big is a truly dedicated fan with a carefully built library of 40 years worth of episodes.

It's no small measure of how dedicated to his dj spot at the Turk Big is that when he was asked to swap his Friday night gig for the Saturday that he agreed even though it meant he'd have to miss it. Of course we're recording it, but it's not really the same. Because I am a good wife, of course I have decided to sit here and watch Man V Food reruns instead of Dr Who tonight, we will watch the season premier together. (it's the episode with the Doughman challenge, which would just make me heave. I like the idea of candied bacon on maple cupcakes though)

Small, being our child and subliminally aware at least of the importance of these things, aided me in keeping up my resolve by refusing to settle to sleep until enough of Dr Who had elapsed to make it pointless tuning in. What a wee hero.