I'm terribly sorry about the last post. That was just me in full on grumpy cow mode, refusing the see the good in anything and allowing all of life's little niggles to crumple me into a tiny little ball and drop me unceremoniously into the waste basket.

I am feeling much better now.

For starters the weather is picking up each day, it's by no means guaranteed here but it means that the problems I've been having lately are lessened simply because Chloe and I can stick our coats on and go somewhere else. The main issue we're having at the moment is that there are no kids in our street Chloe's age, unless of course you count the pack of wild animals who walk on their hind legs and live around the corner. Seriously, if you were to give these kids a grain of salt, they would find something to do with it which would result in a neighbour having to call the police.

Chloe will be allowed to play with those kids over my dead body.

But we can walk to to my mum's house more often now where she has ample friends to run around with and scream and giggle as much as she wants, plus for bonus points it takes the pressure off me to be her personal court jester!

And walking is good, and Chloe needs to know that. She's growing up around so many people who firmly believe that to drive is to live, that it's even more important to me that she enjoys the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other. Aside from the fact that it costs a small fortune to learn to drive here, not to mention the three tests I'd have to take, plus our insurance company's quote of £678 per year to add me as a named driver (with restricted mileage) to our current policy, I just don't like driving and the older I get the more stubborn I get about the whole thing.

Obviously Chloe wants to go back to daycare because she doesn't have any friends at home to play with. I get that and I understand it and I'm better able to deal with it now. Chloe is incredibly social and even though she spends 7 hours a day in school, its a little too structured to be enough of a social experience for her. Plus I have to admit that a mother is never a suitable substitute for friends her own age. She's just needs to have kids her own age to play with and for them to be creative and lead their own play rather than under the instruction of an adult. I was never supposed to be the be all and end of her entire world. It's under consideration and the staff at her old daycare are very excited about the prospect of her coming back again, even if it is only an afternoon or two a week.

And we're working on the whole shyness thing. I've spoken with her teacher on Monday morning and from the admittedly small amount of useful information that we can get from Chloe it seems that she is convinced that talking in school isn't allowed, at all, ever! It's a bit of a mixed bag of where she's got this idea, but we hope a little more straight forward to fix.

It seems all the kids in Chloe's class were taught a little, well I don't really know what to call it, it doesn't rhyme, maybe it's a mantra but it goes something along the lines of "Eyes are for looking, Ears are for listening, Mouths are silent and Feet are still". The kids all know this by heart and can recite on command. Except Chloe, who knows it, but saying it out loud would be talking and that's not allowed.

I've tried pointing out to her that this is only the case some of the time, but it's fine to talk at other times. The problem is that she has a friend at my mum's house who is a bit of a tattle tale, but if the kids aren't doing anything wrong, she'll try to make them do something they shouldn't be doing so that she has a reason for tattling. I've been trying to point out to Chloe the idea of another person trying to get her into trouble which means that when I tell her it's ok to talk in school she thinks I'm trying to get her into trouble and the same theory applies to the other kids in her class.

Her teacher is going to spend a bit of time reassuring her in class that it's perfectly fine to talk and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and that the whole not talking thing isn't too firmly ingrained.

And I've even managed to finish a few things too. Except to cheer myself up, these are all entirely new things, rather than any of the things sitting around half finished. Still it's a start:)

I can't write

I really genuinely can't. I have a thousand ideas running in circles through my mind and I can't seem to string two words together, let alone a cohesive sentence about a single solitary one of them.

So you're going to be stuck with snapshots .....

I'm still pissed off after the parent/teacher meeting which took place way back before the Easter holidays because Chloe is apparently "shy" and "quiet". The little girl I know at home who can start a conversation in an empty room and constantly has to be discouraged from taking to complete strangers is shy in school. I can come to one of two conclusions. Either the teacher doesn't really know my daughter, or I don't. I'm terrified it might be the latter.

She also wants to go back to daycare. Kicked in the teeth is probably the best way I can think to describe how I feel about that at the minute, even though I completely understand why she wants this, it's just bloody hard to accept it.

I have a very confusing love/hate relationship at the minute about my home and more importantly the location of my home which will result in me talking myself round in circles for a month before doing absolutely nothing.

Almost all the issues I have with the house could easily be solved if I would just learn to drive, but I can't quite come round to the idea of putting yet another car on the road to ferry a child what I consider to be a reasonable walking distance.

Nobody else is able to see the whole 'learning to drive' thing my way.

Half of me is pleased with my recent weight loss (over two stone), but the other half of me knows that it has come off far too quickly and I'm paying for it. Headaches, general grumpy bumitis and pains and creaks and groans all mean I'd probably take the two stone back again , no questions asked.

And because of these and a whole host of other little niggly things I'm having a complete crisis of confidence. You can imagine just how many boxes of half completed stock are sitting around here at the minute, can't you? Normally I'm very sure of myself, probably a bit too sure of myself to be honest, so when I feel the way I do at the minute I haven't the first clue about how to deal with it.

Even having Robert at home more often isn't helping, in fact because it took away my one big grumble I now have more time to spend on all the little grumbles.

I think it's time to just bury the ol' head in the sand for a day or two. I think if I can just finish one thing or find a solution to even one problem or make a decision and stick with it then I'll be on my way back to my usual self again.

The fact that none of the above, in the grand scheme of things, actually qualify as "problems" hasn't escaped me, but it doesn't make them any easier to deal with either.

Perfect weather for ducks

The past couple of weeks have been such a joy having Robert at home more often. I mean just to give you some idea of how much more time we've had together as a family, he arrived home one day last week at 5.20pm and apologised for being late because he stopped to pick up a few things for the next day.

More than anything, it's meant that we have more time for days out together whereas before he was simply too exhausted to even think about doing much at the weekend.

Notice how far back from the pond (and the chance of encountering geese) I'm standing.

Not that it mattered as these two geese followed us the entire way round the pond. They put me in mind of two gossipy old women with the rollers in their hair. You should have heard the two of them honking away at each other.

And chasing off any other birds you dared come near them!

And of course Chloe has transformed into a complete daddy's girl lately. She just can't be parted from Robert at the minute.

I hope you are all getting the chance for some family days out too.

How to have a preferrably forgettable day at the beach

Start with a beautiful little five year old girl. Ideally the little girl should not have been entirely 100% health wise lately and if possible, should have had a slightly broken but not entirely awful sleep the previous night. Your own sleep should also have been broken resulting in you waking with the mother of all headaches.

Take two paracodol.

Enjoy a relaxing and rather lovely morning at home and pottering in the garden, rush at the last minute to chuck your whole world into a bag.

Take another two paracodol.

Take the bus. Take the mid week bus in the middle of the day to a small seaside village. Take the bus commonly referred to as the bouncy bus, the old bus or the hole in the hedge bus when both you and the little girl have been known to suffer from travel sickness.

Arrive at the beach when the tide is well and truly in, leaving yourselves only stones and rubble to play in.

Take one 500mg paracetamol.

Explain to small child the idea of "sea glass" and "sea pottery" to make the whole tide being in thing more fun (and possibly profitable too)

Marvel at how quickly the little girl, having heard only the word glass, can fill a bucket with the arse ends of empty Old English bottles on what appears at first glance to be an immaculate beach.

Walk a long way.

Stay long enough for the tide to be well and truly out.

Bring crap to eat instead of real food, because you had lunch at home and have a lovely dinner in the crockpot, so you'll only need snacks.

Stay long enough for the sun to begin setting and a very slight chill to rise in the air.

Bring everything apart from the kitchen sink because you figure that when nature gives you grit betwixt your toes, she also provides a conveniently located (if a smidgen on the cold side) body of water to wash off in and a blanket because of how glorious the weather was before you left the house.

Build a sand castle with sand too wet for castle building.

Walk down to the water's edge to wash off and half way there tell the little girl to watch out for crabs.

Carry the little girl and the rucksack containing your whole world and the bucket and the spade and two pairs of shoes the remainder of the way to the water's edge.

Repeat only travel in the opposite direction.

Fail to take into consideration the fact that slightly sleep deprived and not 100% health wise little girls will be more acutely aware of the chill in the air.

Arrive at the car park just in time to get a signal on your phone for what you realise to be the first time since you arrived and receive a text from your husband saying he will be one hour late to the beach.

Sit down on the grass and add all available layers to the little girl, including wrapping her in the towel and then spend the remainder of the hour looking at the lovely car park with its freshly painted lines while the little girl snores peacefully in your arms.

Take two more paracetamol. Come to the conclusion that someone has swapped out the meds for tic tacs.

Wish you'd stayed at home where you could be snoring peacefully too.

Hope the little girl forgets about this day at the beach and remembers all the lovely times we've had at the beach in time for our summer holiday. A full week camping ..... at the beach!

99 Things

or Shameless Pilferage from the Blogs of Others. Your choice of title entirely:)

Simple enough concept, just a list of 99 things and I've highlighted the ones I've done so far:)

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to DisneyWorld

8. Climbed a mountain (the Mourne Mountains count)

9. Held a praying mantis 

10. Sang a solo

 (singing in the shower probably doesn't)

11. Bungee jumped

 (Laganside for Cancer Research UK roughly two and a bit years ago and it was blowing a gale and I almost bottled out, but glad I didn't)

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (baking, sewing, knitting, jewellery)

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort (a wall to hide behind like a big girl's blouse counts)

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping


27. Run a Marathon

 (half marathon, half walked, half jogged, half dead on completion)

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (the Venetian doesn't count)

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
 (only for a day though, I don't do the captive audience thing for too long)

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (I might have done, couldn't honestly tell you)

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

 (do you think garbled baby nonsense counts)

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

 (does it count that it was a chippy and I found him looking in the bin for food outside)

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

 (once with my brother when we were kids, I called him Ginga Ninja and told him he could kill a man with his bare feet just by waving them under his nose. We both fell about laughing, me more so than him, and it was probably best that we never went back again)

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason
 (only the once, don't kill flowers that are perfectly content in the ground for no reason, the hubs learns fast)

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a cheque 

68. Flown in a helicopter

 (three times, but I prefer Cessna planes)

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

 (definitely an acquired taste and I can't afford to acquire it)

72. Pieced a quilt


73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

 (why would you)

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

 (no but somebody saved mine, very grateful I am too)

90. Sat on a jury

 (I was exempt for years, but now I'm not and Ta for bringing it up within earshot of Murphy)

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby

 (one, a tad more painful than tattoos)

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

 (that's like a mobile phone, right?)

99. Been stung by a bee (nope, just a hornet)

Feel free to pilfer this yourself.

Featured on Folksy Friday

I'm very pleased to have my Sun Blush Scarf included in this week's featured items page on Folksy. I'm particularly pleased because the scarf makes six items featured to date, actually it may be seven I think I'm forgetting one. I was sure my luck in being chosen for features had run out, but at least it tells me I must be doing something right.

It's a shame though that not all items fitting a theme can be chosen and I wanted to add a few of my favourites to the list.

I'm already a big fan of NelliD's work and the proud owner of the first teapot brooch available in yellow. I warned her I would go on about that for years (incidentally it's out of stock in yellow at the mo, so neener neener).

At least you can console yourself with the fact that you can show your love for the rain for one of gorgeous Rainy Day Brooches

And I love Firebird Jewellery's Prairie Rain Necklace. It looks as though it is lit from the inside and actually does look like a raindrop, it's so smooth. I'm normally more a fan of silver, but I must say paired with the gold this really is beautiful. I think it does it more justice than silver could.

I don't know nearly enough about art to tell you why I like this. I just do. It reminds me of days spent in the rain, being caught in the rain at the beach (or waking up in the rain and going to the beach anyway) and water streaked windows and birds flying low and a whole load of other things that I can only recall the memory of rather than any detail. Passion Paintings have a few original canvases currently in stock, though Good Earth Rain Dream is my personal favourite.

All the very best rainy days end with a Rainbow. Again, Glassprimitif is another shop I'm a big fan of and have already given this gorgeous green leaf plate a home, so I know from experience that photographs just can't do these pieces the justice they deserve. They're so much more tactile and have more depth than any photo can convey. You can take my word for it, or you can grab a piece of your very own.

And if you think that rain is a rather dismal choice for a feature, just remember all the wonderful things about the rain, like not having to wash the car, or cut the grass, or water the garden, but you can still go to the beach:)

Rainy Days

Rain we can deal with. Rain isn't a problem. Rain and you'll usually find us still playing outside in our wellies or making a complete mess of the poor husband's lawn by making mud with our bare feet.

However, rain which comes at us sideways is a different matter altogether. Not even Chloe will brave rain in a storm for the sake of a muddy puddle.

Still at least a morning stuck indoors ended with a few things to brighten up her room until Summer when she'll spend a few days with my mum while we repaint and carpet the room for her.

Bunting by mum....

And a kite by Chloe .....

At least the sun has come out since, we might even have to resort to buckets of water to get those muddy puddles on the go again:)

Frugal Finds

I love a good old plunder around charity shops, though if I'm honest I'm rarely very lucky where greats find are concerned.

For instance, I've yet to find the bin bag stuffed with vintage Laura Ashley fabric for a tenner, nor have I come across the shoe box stuffed with great granny's buttons for a quid. It just doesn't happen to me.

But occasionally I do find some real gems, especially on days when Robert has been abandoned very kindly offered to stay at home with Chloe while I go a rummaging.

On Saturday I snaffled these lovely patchwork pillow cases out from under somebody else. A lad had been looking at them and had hung them back on the rail again, but I could see her mulling it over so as soon as she turned her back I grabbed them.

Not very nice of me I know, but you snooze you loose:)

I do have a thing for the flowers, don't I.

I've also been keeping my eye out for a summer quilt or blanket for Chloe's bed. During the Summer the front of our house is baked by the sun for most of the day and Chloe's room is at the front of the house. It's not a problem if we're just pottering around the house and in the garden because I have all the windows open, but if we've spent the day at the beach and arrive home at about 6pm the heat in her can be powerful and by that time opening all the windows is like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

I found this lovely, very light quilt (I've said before I don't do ironing, don't you judge me). It's a very pale yellow with little feather prints all over it. She really loves it and I'm hoping that because it is slightly satiny (not a word) when she turns over in bed the quilt should just stay on top of her rather than getting tangled around her and making her sweat.

Well, I hope so anyway.

Menu Plan Monday and some general destruction

As far as a menu goes this week I've got nothing. What I do have is a freezer full of leftovers, stews, lasagna, shepherd's pie, all the boys are in there so I'm just going to work through as much of those as possible this week.

In other news, Robert's off to a new job. He was offered it a couple of weeks ago and starts on Wednesday doing access control and biometrics. I means more money, less hours, he finishes at 4pm every day and most importantly an end to call out so we'll hopefully get some semblance of a life back again.

To celebrate I put him to work in the garden, cause I love him that much:)

He emptied the large trough planter in the corner and he and Chloe planted up the first layer in the potato sacks with three early varieties.

Sack planting potatoes is really easy, you just put about 6 inches of soil in the base of the bag, place four or five sprouting spuds on top and cover with about 4 inches of soil then every time the greenery makes its way above the surface of the soil, add another handful of potatoes and another four inches of soil until the bag is full. We should see 15 - 20lbs of potatoes out of each bag and they take up very little space.

To make more room for other veg in the garden, all of my trees and plants are being re-homed. This one is on its way to my mum's house so at least I'll still get to see it regularly:)

And we managed to get some herbs back into the garden too, starting with oregano, garlic and thyme. I've even managed to sneak in a lavender plant, after the plant I had (which had become more tree than shrub) was removed by someone who, in his great wisdom, decided it was getting too big.

One whole side of the garden has now been turned over with course sand and compost dug in and should be ready for planting next weekend.

Which only leaves this madness to sort out...

Folksy Friday - More, Bigger, Fuller, Better

I'm currently experiencing a serious case of the dullsies where fabric is concerned at the minute.

I'm sure we all get it at some point or another but because my local shop is whittling down it's range even more, leaving me no option but to buy the very same fabric that everybody else buys online or the very same fabric that everyone else buys at Ikea, I've been a bit bleurgh about the whole thing lately.

Until I found a new love in tucks, rolled tucks, pintucks, gathers, frills and flouncy bits. It adds so much more depth and texture to an item that can otherwise seem quite flat and samey.

I mean for instance you could have a regular, square cushion, or you could have this one.

Trust me when I tell you that a lot of work and patience went into that cushion. Sewflair marked and pinned and sewed and pressed and marked again and lined up and pinned again and sewed and pressed and rolled and stitched and, look I could go just trust me, tons and tons of work.

I'm a complete sucker for a brooch, it's the one piece of jewellery I wear more often than not.

And this one from Midsummer Stitches is my absolute favourite. It's made of vintage lace, fabric, beads and even the buckle frame. Plus don't you just love the contrast between the delicate little flowers and the sturdiness of the frame surrounding and protecting them?

Speaking of delicate, how much do you love this little capelet?

Proving that knits are most definitely not all about the thick winter woollies, Maggie Cook has an entire range of these beautifully feminine little capelets in stock. Naturally the gorgeous corsages are included too!

Even though it doesn't look it, I'm an incredibly messy cook. Honestly, there's usually a frantic spit and shine preceding all of my foodie photos. And because of that I do need a good apron, I've ruined more clothes than I care to remember without one and absent mindedly wiping a buttery hand on jeans. Handily enough Birgitta Designs happily fills my apron needs and my new penchant for frills...

Would you look at all those ruffles. They're splendid, it's the only word good enough to describe them. Go on, say it out loud... Splendid. It just sounds full doesn't it.

I honestly do believe that I'd be a better cook wearing this apron, I really do. I could invoke the spirit of some totally awesome 50s housewife who could knock out seven course meals all while wrangling five kiddies and not even break a sweat.

What I've been up to

While I haven't been here.

First of all I started by letting the rain get to me and fought back by making summery purses.

The brighter, the better imo!

Then I let the fact that all fabric looks exactly the same get to me, so I spent a while doing something different with it. By the way, I really love sewing tucks. It drives most people to drink but I enjoy it.

And then I started another tea cosy. A lady asked me for a tea cosy in the shape of a teapot a few weeks ago and I happily obliged and I liked it so much that I've started another. Nothing wrong with a teapot shaped cosy if you ask me, besides nobody ever said they had to be in the shape of big chickens and phone boxes anyway.

What have you been up to?