Image

Winter is Coming (and why I’m not going to complain about it so much this year)

I hate Winter.  I have said this many, many times.  I hate it so much that now, when it is actually still Autumn, I am already complaining and wearing scarves and boots and generally walking around being miserable with a definite case of SAD.  I hate that I have to wear trousers and jeans – ugh!  I hate that my fingers ache and my nose is red and I can’t feel my toes.  I hate that my hair goes from being a bit mad, to downright mental and ridiculous.  I spend several months looking like a drowned, frizzy rat.

I hate that the mornings are so cold and dark, and getting up is not only miserable but confusing (Body : Why are we getting out of bed?  It’s pitch black outside – surely it is not morning yet, you stupid girl!). I hate that everyone else whinges about the heat in Summer (which lasts for about three seconds, as opposed to Winter which lasts FOREVER!!!) and “enjoys” the cooler days.  Bah humbug to them, I say!

But then, after the events of this week in Manchester,  I stopped hating Winter quite so much.  Because I’m sure that all of the parents that lost children in that attack would trek through snow and ice, in bare feet, carrying the weight of the world on their back, just to see their loved ones again.  I’m cold – they’ve lost a child.  There’s no contest there.  Teenagers and adults also lost their lives – they will never feel the sting of Winter again, never get to complain about cold feet or rain-frizzed hair, never get to snuggle up with the people they love and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

The world is so scary right now.  I don’t know how it will ever get better.  And, although we are all focused on Manchester right now, there are of course incidents like this happening all over the world, in many different countries, and we tend to become jaded and desensitised about it, especially when it isn’t happening in our own backyard.  People live with this kind of terror every single day, for years on end, and it barely gets reported or, if it does, it comes somewhere down the list below some football team winning a championship and Taylor Swift’s latest relationship.

I don’t claim to know anything about politics, religion, or world affairs, or much about anything, really.  I tend to not watch the news because it’s so dreadfully depressing and upsetting.  I find myself just NOT WANTING TO KNOW.  Which is bad, I know, but I feel helpless and sad and anxious when I see/hear things I can’t do anything about.  And nowhere feels safe anymore.  And I have little people in my life who are just starting out and I fear for them so much.  I just pray that they are the change the world needs to see.  I have to believe that their beautiful spirits and hearts can make things better.

I don’t know where I am going with this post.  My heart hurts and I am just feeling cold, inside and out, and Winter cannot be blamed this time.

Be kind to one another.  Be understanding.  Show tolerance and acceptance and empathy.  We have to stop this happening over and over again.

x

Image

Word Book

Sometimes I lose my words.  Not just when I’m talking, but also when I am crafting and using actual words.  Like, cut-out-of-books words, that I use for mixed-media projects.  Teeny, tiny little scraps of paper with EXACTLY THE RIGHT WORDS ON THEM THAT SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR WHEN I COUGH OR SNEEZE OR START WHISTLING.  Or, I cut them out and leave it on my desk where God only knows what could happen.  Because once something ends up on my desk, it is lost in no man’s land, never to be found again (or, at least, not until I’ve given up and used a completely different word which changes the whole meaning of the piece).

So, my Mum, ever the organised and, let’s face it, more mature adult, suggested I make a little word book, with all those little-bitty scraps in them, all neatly set out and ready to use.  Her idea is simple : stick the adhesive strip at the top of Post-It Notes onto a page in a photo album (the kind where you slip the photos in to little sleeves) and – voila! – you have created a perfect receptacle for your words, sentences and letters.  You stick the adhesive strip (sticky side up) onto the pages with double sided tape and then just pop your words on top.  They stay in place, the adhesive isn’t sticky enough to make the page get stuck inside the sleeve, and everything is hunky-dory, neat and tidy.  Genius!

IMG_8218

So, instead of losing those words, or having to hunt through piles of junk on your desk to find them, you have a perfectly organised little file, which saves you time and energy.  So you can concentrate on finishing your crafty projects, word art, or collages, and feel good knowing you have created some order in your messy life.  I don’t know about you, but I need all the order and calmness I can get right now.

IMG_8217.JPG

Hope this has been helpful.  You can thank my Mum 🙂

Image

Easy Lemon Delicious

Lemon Self-Flagellation Pudding. When you’re sad and hating yourself for being a not very good human being, cook a guilt-laden dessert for yourself and shove it in your gob. Salty tears and a scoop of remorse add a little savoury note.

It’s been a rough week.  I hurt someone’s feelings and I feel terrible about it.  I’ve apologised and I think they’ve forgiven me but I can’t get the yuckiness out of my brain.

 I’ve had to say goodbye to people this week, a dear friend lost her beloved four-legged best friend, I’m anxious and tired, and everything seems tricky and hard.

Feeling miserable and sad and not liking myself very much, I turned to food.  Because that’s what I do.  I have been trying so hard to be good but last night was NOT the time to be disciplined.  So, baking was on the agenda.  The fat and sugar-laden agenda.

I had some lemons that were beckoning me (they’re fruit – that’s healthy, right?) and I was not looking to create anything too difficult or taxing on my limited energy.  I wanted comfort food.  I wanted sweet, lemony, saucy comfort food.  So I made a Lemon Delicious Self-Saucing Pudding.  And then ate pretty much all of it.  Hating myself with every bite. Crying over the bowl as I stood at the kitchen counter.

I use this recipe from Best Recipes.com – it’s easy and fool-proof and takes no time at all to whip up and devour.  Which is good if you want to bake it and eat it in record time so there’s no evidence of your bad adulting left behind. Unless of course your brother comes home and catches you, standing in your PJs, sobbing into a steaming hot baking dish, your face smeared with lemon sauce and cake crumbs.

Lemon Delicious (Self-Saucing Pudding)

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind grated
  • 2 tbs butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind grated
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C.
Sift the flour and pinch of salt together.
Add sugar and grated lemon rind, mixing well. Stir in melted butter, vanilla and milk.
Turn into a greased, ovenproof dish with deep sides.

Sauce: Sprinkle mixture with the sugar and lemon rind.
Combine boiling water and lemon juice and carefully pour over the mixture in the dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tears optional 🙂

 

IMG_8184

Image

Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit.  There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife.  Yes.  That is me.  Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out.  But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs.  I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb.  Preparation – apparently not my thing.

IMG_8087

However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike.  The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll.  My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

IMG_8090

The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo – they are just gorgeous).

IMG_8085IMG_8088IMG_8086

Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked.  But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning).  The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed.  Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous.  I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about.  I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

IMG_8089

All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia.  Worth a look 🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers – your support is very much appreciated! x

Image

Taking Stock in May

Aggghhhhhh.  I had written a fairly long post here and it JUST DISAPPEARED. [insert swear word here].  I don’t know what happened.  It was there – and then it wasn’t.  So annoying!  I have no idea what I even wrote.  So I have to start again.  Sigh.  And, of course, what I wrote before would have been BRILLIANT to the point of being genius.  Now whatever I write will be rubbish!  Double sigh.

Anyway, moving on… What I had been saying, before I was rudely interrupted by computer tomfoolery, was that one of my favourite blogs is Meet Me at Mike’s, created by the very talented Pip Lincolne.  It’s a great little blog, with lots if inspirational ideas and good stuff.  In fact, the blog’s tagline is “Good Stuff for Nice People”.

One of the regular things Pip does is have a “Taking Stock” post, where she lists the things she is doing that month (or week, or whatever), the things that are inspiring her and the every day stuff that is making her world go ’round.  She’s even kind enough to have a prompting list you can copy and paste.  And you know I am lazy and need that kind of help in my life.  I pretty much wish that life could be one long list that someone else writes for you, and you just have to fill in the blanks.  Even better if they let you fill in the answers with a pencil.  That way, if you make a boo-boo, you can erase it and start again.  I’d probably go through a lot of erasers.

So, my “Taking Stock” list for May…

Making : A mess.  Always.
Cooking : Lots of comfort food.  It’s cold and I am sick of eating salad.  So, soups and polenta and porridge are the go.  I am trying to avoid making cookies…sigh.
Drinking :  Tea.  Always tea.  But a lot of Passionfruit and Hibiscus tea.  Because it is      delightful.  I don’t normally do “fruity” teas.  They smell wonderful but taste pretty insipid.  Like watered-down cordial.  But this tea is fab.  It does, unfortunately, smell a little bit like cat pee.  But it tastes delicious.  You should try it.
Reading : I just finished “The Good Mayor” by Andrew Nicoll.  It’s bloody delightful.  One of the reviews describes it as a book that “makes you want to go out and fall in love” and, indeed, that is very true.  I don’t read romance novels (AT ALL) because – hello! – I’m bitter and twisted, but this one is different. It’s quirky and funny and heartbreaking and, oh, just read it already!  I couldn’t put it down.  You won’t be able to either.
Trawling : Job sites, sadly.  Times are a-changing.
Wanting : A steamer for my clothes.  I know – pathetic.  But some of my clothes are very tricky to iron and I don’t end up wearing them much because I dread the inevitable crease-fest.
Looking : Home-decorating books and magazines and websites.  My house does not reflect this, but one day it shall.  Oh yes!
Deciding : Whether I should get rid of my bead / jewellery-making stash.  I need to de-clutter and figure out exactly what I want to do, craft-wise.  But I know that as soon as I get rid of it all, I will need/want it.  Such is the life of a hoarder…
Wishing : I could win the Lottery.  The big one.  The one where I could buy my family and friends houses and set everyone up for life.  Money can’t buy happiness but it can go a long way towards taking some worry and stress away.
Enjoying : My guilty pleasure is Catfish.  The TV show, not the actual fish.
Waiting : For a family announcement.
Liking : Hiking.  Ooh, that rhymed!  I am very unfit and hurt for days afterwards, but I do enjoy getting out and walking in the sunshine and fresh air.  Exercise doesn’t have to suck.  I’m not going to be scaling Mount Everest any time soon, but I am liking trekking around our local landscape.
Wondering : Why I am like I am.  But I cannot afford more therapy so I will have to figure it out on my own or just quit wondering.  Embrace the weirdo that is me!
Loving : My family and friends.  I am so blessed.  A lot of people have come into my life that I am so grateful for.
Pondering : Life, The Universe, and Everything.  And also why I can’t stop thinking about food for three whole seconds.
Considering : Taking up yoga.
Buying : Home maintenance stuff.  My house is falling to pieces.
Watching : I’m a bit obsessed with Russel Brand this month.  So I am re-watching a bunch of his DVDs.  I mean DVDs with him in it.  I don’t mean I broke into his house and stole a load of his personal DVDs and then watched them.  That would be weird.
Hoping : That things will be ok.
Marvelling : At how beautiful, wise and loving my nephews and nieces are.  They never cease to amaze me, and give me hope for the future.
Cringing : At how much Income Protection insurance costs.  When you have pre-existing conditions, you basically have to pay double what everyone else does.  So I get to have a kidney problem, mental heath issues AND a huge insurance fee.  Awesome.  Two thumbs up.  As soon as I decide to drop the insurance, I know I will get hit by a car or attacked by killer bees or something.
Needing : Better exercise clothes.  I tend to do the baggy-pants-and-baggy-t-shirt combo and I generally look like a bag lady.  A sweaty, wheezy bag lady.  I am not confident enough to wear the tight, workout gear everyone has these days.  But I should probably try to be – it would give me more incentive to actually get my butt into gear.  So I can get my butt into the trendy gear, so to speak and look less homeless.
Questioning : My life.  What the heck am I doing with it???
Smelling : The lack of perfume on me.  I have run out of my favourite scent – “Butt Naked” by Somethin Special.  Terrible name but I love the smell of this perfume oil.  I always get complimented on it and it’s just a happy, yummy scent. It’s got top notes of strawberry, cherry and coconut, which is just delightful.  Plus it is not tested on animals, which makes me very happy indeed.
Wearing : Warmer clothes.  And Pants.  Ugh.  I hate pants (trousers, slacks, jeans).  I did just buy some cropped, linen pants which I actually don’t hate.  They are very comfortable and I don’t feel like a lumpy, dumpy sausage in them.  In fact I feel rather nautical.  If I wear them with a blue and white stripey sweater, I feel downright jaunty!
Noticing : How people don’t say “Bless You” when you sneeze anymore.  It’s so rude.  I just say “Bless Me” when I sneeze now.  Cuts out the middle man.
Knowing : I have a LONG way to go before I am an adult.
Thinking : Way too much.  But not about the right stuff.
Admiring : Sarah Michelle Gellar.  She just seems like a decent human being.  A great Mum, and wife, and she doesn’t get caught up in all the celebrity nonsense.  Plus, y’know, Buffy kicks arse!
Getting : Lots of bills.  Man, they are all coming at once!  Pretending they are not there does not help.
Feeling : Anxious.  Lots going on.
Hearing : At the moment I have Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” in my head. Constantly.  That’s probably because I keep playing it. Constantly.  Don’t judge me – it’s a good song.  I miss the 80s.
Embracing : Wearing glasses.  I am trying really hard to remember to wear them.  Most of the time they end up on my head, like a hair band, rather than on my face.  But I’m trying…

So that’s me for the month.  Lots happening and lots to think about and worry about.  What are you up to in May?  Any big plans for change or transformation?

Thanks for dropping by – and DO check out Pip Lincolne’s great blog, Meet Me at Mike’s – you’ll get lots of inspiration and ideas 🙂

 x