Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Goodbye November

The long dark days have certainly taken hold this month (in Scotland). When the clocks go back on the last Sunday in October, we know what November will bring. This year we have had a fair bit of wind and rain, no snow, and a little bit of crispness. Its the sparkly frosty, clear blue days I like the best, but we don't often get a lot of them here. Maybe living so close to the coast has something to do with it.

Oscar is desperate for snow. He has no recollection of last years blizzards since he was only 1 (and 3/4) at the time. His little red sledge is hanging in the garage in eager anticipation. I don't think he realises snow is cold, and since he is one of these children who would live naked day and night, I anticipate a few coat, hat and glove wrangles when it does come.

Its not been a bad month (back problems and migraines aside). I have been knitting and sewing and cooking and tending to the family. Isn't that what winter is all about? Our home, though 99% of the time untidy, has a light layer of glitter from top to bottom (and I mean literally because I noticed some in my pants the other day).

I only hope that the frantic pace of Christmas preparations doesn't overtake us. I want to enjoy every moment of it with the little guy. When you have older children you realise how quickly the early years pass, and I think it makes you more mindful when you share your life with little ones again.

Goodbye November, bring on December.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Still Making Christmas

I suspect that my slow start will see me 'making Christmas' right up until Christmas Eve, but hey it wouldn't be Christmas without a good dollop of anxiety right? I have a whole cupboard filled with materials for things yet to be made, and I don't mind admitting its a daunting prospect.

Off the pins over the last couple of days have been these,

The Pickles Plain Vest knitted with Chunky Knitting Yarn 100% wool, in 'Burnt Orange'


The Snappy Hat knitted in Merino/cashmere mix, 'Mid Grey'.

I have to admit I like the mixed wool so much better, its much softer and nicer to knit with. The wrist-warmers I made up myself using a 4 cable stitch (I think they were size 6mm needles, and 30sts, increasing every 4th st after band for cable).

I have also managed to pick up a bargain at the charity shop.

A Gainsborough Bone China Tea Set. I have a craft idea in mind for this, which I will show you when I find the time to do it (eek, not panicking at all).

What have you guys been making? Are you keeping up with it?

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Monday, 28 November 2011

Wedged Boobs

I have been tagged by Lucy at Lulastic And The Hippyshake to tell you 7 things you may not know about me, so here we go then.

  1. When I was an art student, we went to Paris. At the Metro station one day, a male friend persuaded me to sneak him through the electric doors on my ticket (his had expired). He got through, but the doors closed on me and I was wedged in by the boobs. An irate Frenchwoman took a running leap and kicked me through the doors (she kicked me in the butt). Fortunately no photo's of the incident exist. 

2. My Great Grandparents came to Scotland from Ireland, Co Sligo, in the early 1900's, making me part Irish I suppose.

3. One of my closest friends and I went into labour together (I was 14 days over and she was 5 weeks early, so the chances were tiny). I recognised her voice behind a curtain and pulled it back and said, 'What are you doing here?' We were in the labour suite. We linked arms and walked up and down together for 6 hours (she delivered first).

4. I was married at the tender age of 17 years and 10 months. The marriage lasted 9 years and 8 months. I met Duncan 1 year after my marriage ended. Duncan and I have lived together for 12 years, and of those 12 we have been married for 6.

5. I have been a dental technician, a medical receptionist, a nurse, a shop assistant and a DWP admin assistant. My shortest job was for Stormseal Double Glazing, which lasted 3 hours.

6. I was born in December 1969 although I was actually early and was not due until January 1970. Sometimes I read both Sagittarius and Capricorn horoscopes, even though I don't believe in them.

7. I have a WOW account, and I sometimes even play it, my favorite character is a Paladin.



Saturday, 26 November 2011

Light Night 2011

There was a torchlit procession, 2 pipe bands, Santa, the lighting of the tree, hotdogs, and (not too loud) fireworks. We were freezing and a bit crushed, but Oscar's smiling face made it worth while.

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Thursday, 24 November 2011

This Time

This time last year, I had a miscarriage. To be honest, I was not really thinking about it too much. I knew when it was, because it was a couple of weeks before my birthday, but I hadn't really equated it to this week. A chance encounter with a stranger at a bus stop, was what reminded me. The nice lady began talking about last year at this time, and for a moment I was a bit blank, then she started chatting about the snow storms which swept the country (leaving much of Britain at a standstill). That's when I remembered. Three trips to hospital. The first trip going hopefully to get a scan picture of a little peanut, only to be told things weren't as they should be, and 2 more trips to make sure my miscarriage was progressing (my body was holding on to things). Only a few buses were running and the snow was banked so high up the pavements walking was impossible. Even though my body was slowly letting go of the baby, the morning sickness was still horrendous and knowing full well I would have to wait an eternity, I had to get off one bus to be sick and then have Duncan hold me up until the next one came.

Its amazing how quickly these thoughts can fly through your head as a nice old lady chats about gritters and sledges. Its also amazing how quickly a year can pass by while life carries on. Still a family of 5, we may never be a family of 6.

As predicted, Oscar dropped off in the pushchair in town(its going to be a late one).

And when I got home I realised I was wearing fertility beads.

Oscar had found them on a dusty shelf and made me wear them, saying they were his present to me, for our getting married (him and me). I expect he will get an extra few Mama squeezes today.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


We didn't manage playgroup yesterday, in fact we didn't manage a whole lot. Sometimes we have days or even weeks like that. Oscar is grumpy, Mama is tired, the weather is against us and we all sink into a bit of a rut. I am still in pain with my back, and the painkillers are making me tired and irritable (some people may say they cant tell the difference from usual). Oscar is grumpy too, we are still trying to get into the swing of the clocks changing. During the summer (in the country), Oscar was sleeping until 8am at least, sometimes 9am (bliss), and going to bed about 8pm. Lately he has been up at 6 - 6.30am and trying to go to sleep between 5pm and 6pm in the evening. I am not too bad at getting up in the morning, but its the tail end of the day I struggle with. By 4pm we are both very tired and VERY bad tempered. Its difficult right now to see it as a stage/phase and I have to keep telling myself it will change eventually. Oscar, technically, still needs an afternoon nap, but if he has one (he generally has to be out in the pushchair to drop off), he seems to want to sleep for hours and hours and then play all evening (its been known to have him bouncing around at midnight). Just what I need when my eyes are closing at 7pm.

We did manage the peppermint creams though, and delicious they are too, providing you like sugar.

And of course, we also managed our new daily activity -

Colour me glitter.

At the tail end of yesterday, just as the sun was sinking, Oscar decided he wanted to run around the garden with a torch, (you would be surprised how often that happens around here). Its a blessing and a curse really. It amuses him until dinner, but it also makes him even more tired when he comes into the warm for food.

Ah well, hopefully it will get better, I am thinking that Christmas is just around the corner, Daddy will be on holiday for 3 weeks over the holidays and routines would go out the window anyway (if we had one).

Right, time for fortification before we head into town. We ran out of glitter yesterday, Gasp!

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A hole

This morning I took out some of my knitting to photograph for the blog, and one of the hats I have knitted (an elf hat for Oscar), has a gaping big hole in it. I cant tell you how upset I am, and to make matters worse, its stripped and I have cut and bound all the edges, so virtually impossible to rattle down and start again. The silver lining being I can order more wool, of which I have a considerable list saved ready for purchase. Still, hours wasted, and Duncan had even started making a pom-pom for it (I think he was regretting volunteering for that one). The hat was intact when I saw it last, but one of the woven wicker craft baskets has bits on it which could technically snag wool. I have my other finished pieces in bags now, so lesson learned I guess.

SO, instead of hats, here are wrist warmers and a necklett. I wasnt sure about the sequins, but the recipient is 12, so I thought maybe it would 'funk' them up a bit? (but what do I know, I just used the word funk!).

I intend on edging the necklet with sequins.

You can expect plenty of craft/knitting posts over the next few weeks, because I have a list of things to finish for Christmas.

Today is Mother & Toddlers group, but Oscar has been struggling to make the afternoon session (Tuesday afternoon, Friday morning), because he is often in need of a nap by 2pm and very grumpy. I shall play it by ear. Also on the agenda today is a practise run at making peppermint creams. I plan on letting Oscar make some as gifts on Christmas week, but a wee trial run is definitely in order. You can find the recipe online, but here is the one I will be using.


Preparation method

  1. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice, peppermint and icing sugar to a stiff paste.

  2. Tip the peppermint mixture onto a work surface dusted liberally with icing sugar and roll out thinly.

  3. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to cut out circles and place them onto a baking tray. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until the mixture has set.

  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.)

  5. Dip each peppermint cream into the melted chocolate and set aside on a baking tray. Chill the peppermint creams until set.

How much mix/chocolate do you think Oscar will eat straight from the bowl?

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Monday, 21 November 2011


Here I am, back again. I have been lying flat out for the last week and a half with back problems. I have crumbling discs which flare up to excruciating pain every once in a while, (although I have been taking pain medication for it every single day for almost 3 years).

I have not been completely idle though, no no no. I have knitted 4 hats, 2 pairs of gloves, and a scarf. I have also been making an advent banner for Oscar. This involved making 24 little felt stocking. I have a sewing machine, but there was no way I was going to be able to sit at it, so they were done lying down by hand.  I know I could have quite easily bought one. But I like the idea of having something hand made, something Oscar will think of as slightly wonky but fondly because his Mama made it. Besides, I had left over felt and ribbon, so this has actually cost me nothing to make.

Oscar and Daddy caught the Christmas bug yesterday and they had a great time with glitter, glue and cotton wool. I have said it before, and I still stand by it, its the time tested simple things which work out the best.
I am hoping to leave the house today, because I am going crazy being stuck in. We are also in the midst of a small DIY project and it has left the lounge in a bit of an uproar (when I say we, I mean Duncan does and I supervise from the sofa).

If I dont manage though, I am sure Oscar can keep me amused one more day.

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011


We are on a break just now.

Don't go kissing anyone else while I am gone.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


The best laid plans go asunder, and what is meant to be a pretty little crafting session turns into the creation of a 'terrible green creature'. 

Its days like this, when a migraine is raging, my back pops out, and everything between the table and the sink gets splattered with 'green stuff', that I wish I could hop on a train out of here.
But then, I would miss him, and he would miss me, and I will look back at these photo's and laugh at the fun he was having, whether I was along for the ride or not.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Feline Friends

Today I want to dedicate a little post to my cat Gomez who left us for a better place on 5th November 2007. I think about him every year at this time and I still miss him. He was one of those amazing animals who don't seem to realise they aren't human.

So Gomez, 'Thank you for being our cat. I forgive you for learning to open the fridge with your head and eating our Christmas turkey, and for following Duncan and the children to the corner shop and back (like a dog), and giving me heart attacks, and also for running up and down the velvet curtains 100 times a day until they were shreds. But mostly I wanted to say we miss you even though you do live on in the dopey little kitten you left behind.





Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Weekend Round-up

We have been having internet connection problems this weekend, in fact we still are, so I am not 100% convinced this post will go up, but I will try anyway. Apparently an engineer is 'dealing' with the problem (is that media engineer speak for sitting on their bot eating bacon sandwiches while reading the newspaper?).

On Saturday we decided to take Oscar to the organised (city council), firework display.  It was a miracle of miracles because when the sun set, the evening was clear, I cant tell you how many displays we have went to over the years in the pouring rain, or even sleet and snow

Oscar was really excited all the way there, and we kept telling him it was going to be very noisy, but pretty

Unfortunately, Oscar lasted a whole 5 minutes before he was crying in Duncan's arms begging to go home. So home we went. I had 2 sky lanterns tucked away in a cupboard so we made some hot chocolate and went into the garden and lit the lanterns.  This was much more to Oscar's liking, although I suspect he enjoyed running around the garden in the dark the best.

In other news, Oscar and Daddy finally got the time (and the weather), to build our shed. The debate about painting it is still on. Oscar says red, blue and green, Mama says green with a red love heart on the door, and Daddy thinks we (and by we he means me), should paint it like the Mystery Machine, which coincidentally is 'red, blue and green'.
Yesterday we had a complete change in the weather and I loved it. No wonder Oscar is a Goth baby.

Of course the boys had to go down to the shed with torches to investigate.
And finally, I have been back to life drawing and really enjoyed it again, and in fact, after feeling guilty about slipping out one night a week.

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Friday, 4 November 2011

Crafting Hands On

For now, I wanted to mention a website I stumbled across (via a Twitter link I think). Its called Hands On As They Grow and it is excellent for crafting and activity ideas.  What I like about it, is that the ideas are so simple. Sometimes the craft ideas on other sites, supposedly suitable for under 5's are far too complicated, and mama ends up doing most of it and the children wander away bored (or in Oscar's case, flinging paint/glue/glitter etc all over the place).

We have tried a few of the ideas including yarn monsters, potato printing and string painting -

Even Daddy got in on the action and Oscar and Daddy made some tin can and balloon drums.

I am still a fan of Filth Wizardry and now Oscar is a bit older I may start going back to her earlier posts (when her children were smaller), and look for age appropriate crafts.

If you enjoy/do crafting with your littlies I really would recommend both.



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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Is It Just Me?

I had hoped to tell you a tale of how well Oscar did alone at nursery today, but I cant, because I didn't leave him.  There is nothing 'wrong' with the nursery, but there are a few little niggles and they are enough to make me question all over again, does he really 'need' to be at nursery (he is 2yrs 10 months). 

I have been convincing myself for the last two weeks that it will be good for both of us to spend some time apart, and that is still true. Paying £50 a week for 2 mornings when I am not 100% happy seems silly though. 

I am willing to accept its just me, because we tried 4 mother and baby groups before I settled on the one we are at, and I have only 'left' Oscar 4 times (once for an evening wedding, once for a funeral and twice with my sister, to the park).  I don't really want anyone to 'take' him for me, I just wish being at home alone every day was a bit easier. I guess that's down to personality though.

I was not nearly so picky with my elder 2 children (sorry Christopher and Aimee), but I wasnt. They went to nursery so I could work and go to University, its different from coming home to load the washing machine and do a bit of knitting/sketching/cooking.

So the nursery. Well, they start to tidy up for lunch at 10.30am and the first sitting are in their chairs before 11am. Is it just me or is that odd? Oscar wont be arriving until about 9am and he will no sooner settle in then its tidy up time (he will leave at 1pm). The 2nd sitting have to sit in the corner for a story while the first sitting eat. Oscar flat out refused, he was very clear on it,

"Oscar would you like to come and sit for a story?"

"No fank you very much"

I was observing from the back and they left him to play for the half hour on his own, but told me they would train him to sit with the others eventually, none of them want to sit when first start.  I am not sure what to think about that.

Its not a bad nursery I can see that, but there are less toys than we have at home (hands up to having far too many though), and the room isn't much larger than my lounge (again, I admit its a large house). I can see Oscar getting bored pretty quickly and there were quite a lot of crying little ones who don't seem to match his development, although I have been told he is quite advanced.

So, should I wait until April until he starts nursery school at age 3, or do I give it a try. Daddy and Mummy have some talking to do.

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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tickled Pink

Things have been pretty slow around here knitting wise. It tends to be my way of working though. I knit like a crazy woman for a few weeks, then I drop it for a few weeks. I am still determined to knit a hat for everyone (one each not one hat, you know what I mean lol), for Christmas. I have managed 2 so far, not exactly ploughing through then, but at least I have made a start.

On Monday I was trying to get myself motivated to get on with it when Oscar lost another hat, the 3rd one this Autumn. I decided that knitting him a new one would get me back into the mood of knitting. I normally just choose a simple pattern and knit it up in a wool of my choosing. This time I asked him to choose his own wool. Anyone who has read my posts about my little Goth Baby wont be surprised in slightest by his choice.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Happy 1st November

Well, I guess its time to move elegantly into winter, although I don't know about elsewhere, but we had a very mild Halloween weather wise. I suspect though that Scotland will be consistent and on Guy Fawkes it will be pouring with rain (like every other year lol).

Oscar had a lovely time yesterday, despite be very tired, due to his first proper nightmare the night before (vivid dreaming runs in the family, ho-hum, wonder who he takes that from), and also with the clocks changing his wee body is running an hour ahead of the time.

Sorry about the volume of photo's but they are all so cute I didn't want to leave any out. We had friends visit in the day and family in the evening, then a reluctant ghost flopped into bed and slept through (no bad dreams).

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