Thursday, 29 September 2011

My Birthday and Beads.

Another year older again. It is expected that as you get older that you will care less about birthdays but what is not to like?

Mum organised a little tea party and baked a cake. Homemade Victoria sponge, just like when I was little (literally like mother used to make). Edie is first to the table of course.

We had all made a bit of an effort, meaning that the kids were less covered in crap than usual and the rest of us weren't just wearing dog walking clothes, as is the norm.

The cake is looking a little Fanny Craddock in this picture but multicoloured candles and glittery flowers add to the seventies appeal.

Mum had already bobbed down earlier that morning to bring some beautiful hydrangeas from her garden... very country living magazine. I was pleased as punch.

For a present from Mum I had asked for a jug cover. I remember playing with our muslin one when I was a kid. It's a totally retro item but I have found myself genuinely in need of one. On the mornings when I cook porridge, in true fairytale style, I find it needs to be left to cool. The girl's little bowls go out in the porch but there is always something buzzing around out there hence the need for a jug cover.

I had found the pattern free online at this wonderful blog Although her shots of blue wool looked great, I picked green because it is my favourite colour.

I fell in love with these beads that I found online, glass 'pandora-style' beads.

I could have bought hundreds of these. (Still loving macro mode on the camera)

Here it is all put together and insitu on one of our little porridge bowls. What a great present and what a clever Mum I have.

Not to be outdone, Dad made us a garden bench and table set using reclaimed, cast iron, ornate bench ends bought in the auction and sprayed 'Victorian' green. Very impressive indeed and they are perfectly in keeping with the house and garden. It had been noted that we had to carry our two chairs with us up and down the garden to follow the sun. Now there is always somewhere to sit and have a brew.

This is a dreadful photo, badly framed, badly composed shot and sun glare but it's the table and it's late.

Craig also played a blinder. He decided to buy me a Cath Kidston handbag... good choice but there are so many to chose from, I was a little apprehensive that he might have spent a lot of pennies on something that I didn't love. After a bit of 20 questions we ascertained that he had bought me the perfect style (mini tote) and in the matching fabric to my gym bag thus fulfilling my dream of matching luggage too. I don't know who was more pleased, I really don't.

Finally, Becky decided to pay for a return ticket to Dundee for the weekend at my earliest convenience. A little time to be myself rather than being somebody's Mummy, what a great gift... champagne thursday three days in a row.

While I write this Craig is killing Nazi zombies in 'Uncharted'... aren't zombies bad enough without being militant right wing fascists?

Friday, 23 September 2011

Ava Pizza Gala

Ava Pizza Gala is actually the name of a girl at Freya's nursery.... well not exactly. Freya used to come home shouting those three random and seemingly unconnected  words. We were amused but didn't really understand it until Craig spied an itallian looking name on the peg rack at Riverside. Needless to say, the post has nothing to do with that little girl but merely a reminder of something Freya used to do that made us laugh and a tenuous link to the local primary school Gala.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, the kids even got to wear shorts and sandals, a rarity. As ever, Freya accessorised her own top with some matching blue beads of nanny's, she just has an eye for colour. Her hair is long enough to plait now which makes her look like a proper little girl.

Edie is working a romper and matching hat.

A true family outing always has to involve Moomin, although she is just going to hang out with Buster and Benson a few doors down from the school.

The school had organised a big bouncy castle, a barbeque, mini jumble sale, cake decorating table, a place to get temporary tatoos and raffles etc. Freya enjoyed the bouncy castle with Hannah. Hannah lives two doors down and after being a bit bored this summer has developed a bit of an attachment to Freya. Harmless, but annoying when she is constantly picking Freya up in that awkward way that 10 year olds do.

A shot of Freya's fairy tattoo that she adored, don't know why I have never thought of doing it before. We got a few days out of it by carefully washing round it. In the end I bit the bullet and scrubbed it off in the bath while she wasn't looking.

We also got one for Hannah as she had spent her last fifty pence buying a cupcake to decorate for Freya.

Craig and Edie by the 'stalls'

It was a good opportunity to have a little nosey in the school seeing as how it is literally a minute walk from our house. Mum pushed us towards the headmistress who happily took our name despite our Godless tendencies. We didn't admit the Craig is a rabid atheist with strong views on catholic schools and public funding. It should count that Nanny knows her catechisms though shouldn't it?

Again with the picking up.

Edie showing off her new jumble sale giraffe, we also got a high chair for Marie-Lou (involuntary shudder) and a new touchy feely book about puppies.

The weather was perfect for it.

Edie about to vulcan death grip Hannah's nose.

All in all, a pleasant few hours and at least our children's religious future is back on track.

One of our dinosaurs is missing.

No, I am not referring to the awesome Disney film circa 1975. Incidentally, we have just added it to our collection under the heading  'films we loved as kids but modern youngsters find tedious'. I am referring to the distinctly dinosaur theme that everything has taken on recently.

It started with me purchasing a few ELC dinosaurs with a view to planting up a live jungle for Freya to play with. Here's our brachiosaur...

Then there was a little wrestling with a 'full size' one at the shop (or at least in  Freya's eyes) you could buy these, God knows why.

It finally ended up with an impromptu lecture about the Deccan Traps theory from Professor Chambers, head of paleantology (palaeontology! - your loving professor ;-). I love bath crayons, we have good times with them but what a mess to clean up.

Never one to only give one side of an arguement, he goes on to compare alternate hypotheses with a bloody great meteor.

If you squint you can see, Craig's meteor heading towards the carefully labelled Yucatan pennisula.

He may have a big brain but he can't draw a T-Rex for shit.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

The problem with falling off the blogging waggon is that when you finally do a mammoth catch up, you can't remember the details or it seems really irrelevant.

To illustrate the second point, our garden is a wind battered overgrown/ half dead wasteland now. We probably need to do a winter tidy up, storing things in the garage, sweeping leaves and weedkilling everything, but here are some of the highlights from the garden this year.

Starting at the front, our beautiful peony bush that mum and dad left in the garden when they moved. I shudder to think that I wanted to get rid of it when I was young and minimalist obsessed. I wanted gravel and box 'balls'- ridiculous... thankgod I am chronically lazy when it comes to gardening. The peonies are beautiful, shame we only get a few, I think the weather is that dreadful down here that a lot of them rot insitu. When they do come, I love them, sweet smelling and girly.

I have had real success growing sweet peas from seed and will do that again next year. I filled our kitchen window box, they are growing up the sides of the loveseat and I have a small tub on my new garden table (made by dad, photos to come in a later post) The colours are bright and cheerful, vibrant pinks and delicate white.

This was going to be a fun project, that never came to fruition. I had planted each of the girls a sunflower and I thought they could have a 'race'. The slugs soon put a stop to my idea and Freya got assigned the only survivor, it even has a little plaque.

We attempted to grow peas, errecting a series of poles, optimistically I might add. What was once a promiseing little veg patch is now a waterlogged mess. The peas rotted just above ground. I did shove a few leftover seeds in an old container, not wanting to waste them. Hey presto, a perfectly functional little plant that even needed me to fashion a little wicker tee-pee for support. We got a few peas off it, however, once Freya learned what they were and that she could reach them... it was like a biblical plague.

Slightly more successful was our attempt at growing potatoes. We had two bags each of King Eddies and some New potatoes that had slightly different instructions which we proceeded to mix up. Here's Freya having a little morning constitutional round the garden in her pyjamas getting lost in the potato forrest.

One summer's evening we decided "Balls to it" we'll just harvest them now. The girls seemed to enjoy the whole PYO experience.

Even Edie got involved, although I think given half the chance she would have just eaten them raw.

Not bad little specimens.

This is the haul that we finally ended up with.

From soil to table in less than an hour. I don't think Freya will have got any of the 'Isn't it wonderful (but middle class) to grow your own.' But they were delicious, potatoes are definately worth growing your own... simple really.

There have been some disasters and we will need to rethink our growing strategy next year considering our decreasing free time and the fact that the veg plot seems barren, maybe raised beds at the side of a lawn with a wendy house on. Now where has that euromillions ticket gone...