A Flicker of A Sweet Memory

It’s funny what you remember when you miss someone.

My Nana passed away sometime ago, while I was still at university studying (fat lot of good that venture did, but that’s another story). My dad’s mum, my nana was a larger than life character. Mum of boys, larger drinker, lipstick wearer and experimental cook. I knew I got my attitiute for cooking from someone, and I’m so giving my nana some of the credit.

I can’t even tell you what made my mind wonder to her sausages and flying saucer eggs today, but I found myself laughing as I remember dinner times at her flat. It was a smokey affair, she chain smoked when she chatted but because she had the window open as she did it, of course it wasn’t that bad (we would cringe now). Anyway, I digress. She owned a George Forman Grilling Machine. Or, in her words “George Formby Grilling Machine” she loved the thing, and it got used a hell of a lot.

My brother and I were always fussy with what we ate at nanas house, mainly as the older she got the more interesting the combinations became and the more the food tasted like smoke. She was however, a fabulous cook in her hay day. We ended up having chip pan chips, homemade of course or pancakes, finished off with crisps, chocolate and yogurt. All healthy stuff! My dad was subjected to actual real dinner, and this particular night was rather spectacular. I remember her wafting through the living room with dad’s plate in hand before plonking it down on the table. On the blue and white crockery was a breakfast for dinner. A staple of her household and very much enjoyed.

On dad’s plate there was a fried egg (sunnyside up), tomato, beans, bacon and what looked like two burgers. My dad stabbed one the burgers and held it in the air asking what it was. My nana asked him what the hell he was playing at waving that sausage about. We were hysterical, well all apart from my nana who was completely confused about the laughing. Dad asked why it was so flat, so she demonstrated her Formby Grilling skills in the air at the table.

She’d only gone and put butchers style (the really chunky, fat kind) sausages in the grill and squashed it down until the machine cliped shut. She returned to the kitchen to put her own meal together.

In the meantime there was the fried egg. Same meal, same day. Dad struggled to cut the white of the fried egg so picked it up to see what was going on. Turns out this egg had been fried to with an inch of it’s edible life. It stayed perfectly flat as he picked it up. He starts making his idea of UFO noises as the yolk balances on it’s white plate like shelf with a slight yellow wobble. Again, both me and my brother fell about laughing while dad tried to put back on a straight face as nana came to the table with her own dinner.

I still remember the smell of her pressed powder, the shade of her lipstick, her choice in skirts and how she always wore a pinny over them. Her kindness and patience. Her spoiling us and caving to our every request for sweets as children. I remember having to watch the snooker when it was on because she loved it but then she’d let us watch the Simpsons over dinner time and let us sit of the sofa instead of at the table with our food. I miss her, her accidental funny anecdotes and the liverpudlian twang that still remained from her younger years in her voice. The raspy cough and the way she would order herself two halfs of larger instead of a pint just because it wasn’t lady like to order a pint (but it was okay to sit with two drinks).

I miss her – photo from my 18th birthday meal. A day of mixed emotions, I lost a dear friend that exact day.

What sweet memories do you hold of a missed love one? I’d love to hear a story or two.

Xoxo, L

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Sit Still

Have you ever tried to take a photograph of a nine month old child? Yes? How much of a workout is that?

Heads up, it’s a picture dump post…

I had the brilliant idea when walking back from the village. I bought Dela a bubble wand, sensory play and all that. Yeah I’m down with baby sensory. Love the stuff in fact. ‘Wouldn’t it be cute’ I thought ‘to get a picture of her with bubbles around when she’s looking up at them’.

Optimistic me.

We started in our dark and (currently) shabbily decorated living room. Dela didn’t have a huge reaction to the actual bubbles, she was more interested in the wand so kept crawling straight to me to grab it. And I’ll tell you for nowt (Yorkshire term) it’s really difficult to take a picture, blow bubbles and fend off a child with grabby hands. As you can see from this picture of the first batch (oh there were many), the backdrop is awful and the baby isn’t even paying attention to the glossy bubbles falling around her.

‘I know’ my inner monologue piped up again ‘let’s go in Dela’s room and try with a nice, bright backdrop’. Tucking the baby under arm and doing a light jog up the stairs (she finds this hilarious), pop her on the rug in her room and we are joined by the menagerie. Yep, all three cats and the demon dog followed. So we’re sat (all of us) in a white and pink room and I’m blowing bubbles and trying to keep the baby in one place and the dog and cats out of shot. And breath.

Ushered the dog back down the stairs. Cats revert to basking in the sun on the window sill. Dela wanted to be everywhere but where I plonked her. In a wise moment I though the standing fan would make a great bubble blower, I’d still have to hold the wand but it would do the blowing.

No. Just no.

The fan blew the bubbles in an upward frenzy and popped against the walls. Sigh. Still no nice photo.

Dogs pushed his nose through Dela’s bedroom door, cats sat hissing at him, Dela is chasing the cats round on her hands and knees. ‘Maybe an outfit change’ inner Lotty chimes into the chaos. The bubbles now lost in the mix.

I westle with the baby to change her outfit. For every item of clothing I took off her she made a dash for a cat. “DAT” she’s shouting them. “No Delilah sit still, let mummy just… urgh” she’s pinned India to the floor and started to ‘pat pat the cat’. I’m so pleased India is the softest kitty ever, I’m afraid any other cat would have swiped out for this treatment. Lucky, lucky Dela. I shuffle my backdrop as she’s distracted by the purry furry, grab her and set her down and start snapping.

As you can see it went really well!

She got adventurous and crawled between her wardrobe and cot, but then she got stuck so had a melt down. “Delilah will you sit still!” I felt like I was going to follow suit with the melt down front.

She gave me the run around, but apart from the ‘I got stuck’ melt down we were pretty happy. A fidget but happy all the same. Finally, finally I got a couple of okay shots. Some are a little hazy, but I liked them anyway and no bubbles in sight.

Im no photographer as you can very much see, but we got there in the end. The best bit was she crashed out for a nap as soon as I put her down. All that run around really helped.

Star cushion was from Next (last year). Rug from Ikea and Delilah’s all-in-one from George @ Asda.

Now I’m going to fall in a heap on the sofa and enjoy a glass of wine. Happy Friday Lovers.

Xoxo, L.

Why I Will NOT Call My Daughter Princess

Before Delilah had arrived, I had already built a picture in my mind of how we would raise her. And the term ‘Princess’ was a huge no right from the start.

Before I get into this, I have to state that this is my own opinion. I do not force my view on other mums, I appreciated we all have a different idea on how to raise our littles and my goodness it’s hard enough with out a judgement, know-it-all saying you shouldn’t say this, or don’t do that. You, yes you! The mummy in the front row; regardless of your opinion on the matter and what you pet name your littles, you are doing an utterly amazing job.

With that out, here’s my rant.

When I hear the word princess, I automatically have images of a damsel in distress. Over ruled by parents and waiting to be saved by Prince charming. I will not be an advocate for this. Just as I am working on self image, body positivity and getting my relationship with food in a good place. It’s all to have a positive influence on my girl and any future children.

I don’t want to give my daughter the message that she has to wait for a man (or woman) to come and ‘save her’ because in short, it’s absolute bull shit. Nor do I want to give her the impression that, we as parents would rule over her in every aspect of her life. I think princess culture is a little over rated and borderline dangerous for young minds, and I’ve never been one to jump on board with it.

I was once called ‘Princess’ on a work phone call and went absolutely ape shit. Although it was said in kindness, this simple pet name stoke up a fiery rage in me that all my colleagues heard about that day. I thought it was entirly unprofessional and I was completely offended (I don’t become offended very easily). Maybe it was a generational difference, meant as sweet but turned out sexest remark. A coworker dubbed me as princess from that day forth to get my blood boiling, of course to no avail. What was done purposely has no impact. It was the unintentional nickname over the phone that really pushed my buttons, because I truthfully have no idea where it came from. I certainly don’t go giving off any ‘princess’ vibe. I’m not in-your-face girly, obsessed with anything that would be considered as glittery or pink or obviously classed as ‘For girls’. It was and still is a mystery.

Delilah will grow up to know that she can make her own decision. Clearly within reason as a child, but as an adult I want her to know her own mind and not have to wait for validation from peers. Indecisiveness and a want for validation is something I hope she won’t pick up, and it won’t be from me if she does. She will not be a damsel in distress.

I hope and wish for her she will never feel like she can’t do something alone. I’ve never had that problem, and to some people that’s a threat. I hope she feels the same. I will lead by example, because our children follow our ways and actions speak louder than words.

For me the only sweet thing about the term Princess is the image of what one might wear. I’m talking Disney movies. This word has negative connotations and I don’t want negativity to have any part on my children’s upbringing. Now if my girl chooses/requests to play dress up as a crowned wonder, and wants to make believe that she’s a character from a fairy tale I will encourage and play along with a smile on my face. Because imagination is to be celebrated and nurtured. Imagination is intelligence being creative. But as a pet name, that word has no place here.

I’ve banned Princess as a pet name in my house. It’s something I feel strongly about.

What’s you opinion on pet names? Are there any thay grind your gears?

Xoxo, L.

Branching Out

I’m giving myself a task next week. I’m going to make the effort to go to a baby related group every day.

I am, without a doubt an introvert. I am happy in my own little world, but that little world is mighty small sometimes. I never fall out with anyone, I simply loose contact. Although this hasn’t had a major impact on my life, I am worried that I don’t keep friends close enough to lean on if I ever need it. Maybe a selfish outlook, but I see everyone has someone. My closest friends are either miles away or just as good as I am for keeping in contact.

So the plan is to make some mum friends. I managed today perfectly well.

We always spend Tuesday with my mum, and my sweet niece. Today way no different. We walked the 3 and a half mile trip to Brighouse and tried out a little play gym called Rowley Poleys. I’ve been once before with my sister-in-law and the kiddies loved it. Tons of activities for them, different sections with different toys in as well as good facilities and a sweet little cafe. I spoke with two other mums and had no issue. I’m not shy, I’m just in my own little bubble most of the time. The other mums were truly lovely and shared their birth stories with me. I do hope to meet them again some time, they’ve almost restored my faith in other parents. After a strange encounter with a mum, who tried to sell me a pram while I put my daughter in a pram to leave a play group, I was convinced I was better off without mum friends.

Delilah had a blast in the ball pool section. Her big cousin threw raisins at her from a high chair while she sucked the life out if a tomato when they stopped for lunch(still no teeth).

Me and mum were done in by the time we had walked home up that huge hill on the way back from Brighouse. At least we hit the step count for the day. We did however get caught in the rain. Rainhoods up babies!

I know I’m bias, but she is the cutest. My little sunshine.

Xoxo, L

Family Sunday: Burnsal

Sunday’s are for lazy mornings in bed, playing peek-a-boo and planning an afternoon out. It’s for cats and babies to become friends.

Bacon butties and a coffee later we were packed up ready to trip out to our favourite spot in the Dales. It was where my Grandma grew up and I spent many childhood afternoons walking by the river Wharfe, as well as swimming in the deeper parts of the water. Burnsal has my heart and I really can’t wait for warmer weather for more visits. I even like the drive to and from. The scenery is so beautiful, I have convinced myself that when I’ve made my millions I’ll be living there. And that’s not an ‘if’ it’s a certain when.

Delilah in her sling, demon dog on his lead and we set out for our picnic by the river. It wasn’t as warm as the weather forecast had promised, but we’d packed a flask of coffee to keep us warm. Delilah threw bread on the floor while we had a sandwich and Aro whined longingly to be let off the lead to do what he does best.

Demon dog got his way. He took large stretched out leaps around the field and just like his name sake flew very quickly dead set in his chosen direction. He’s pretty good off the lead and generally comes back when called. He also stays close by and follows when you walk. So despite his nickname he’s really a gem when we’re out and about. I love to watch him stride on a good run. He’s got sighthound in him making him pretty fast. Although I once let him play with a whippet who ran circles round him, poor boy had never been out run before. He’s a good old mix of greyhound, whippet and collie and he’s at his happiest running about like the mad thing he is.

Man skimmed stones on the river. Delilah and I wobbled about on the stoney river bank; dreaming of sunnier days to come as the impending rain clouds got closer to our haven. Man took some pictures for memories, they didn’t turn out that badly. Actually love Delilah’s face in both pictures of her.

I love Sundays like today. They’re good for the soul. We’ve decided to make a list of places relatively close by to visit for the rest of the year. We figured a little adventure every other weekend would be a great escape from the mundane sometimes.

Happy Sunday lovers.

Xoxo, L

Pen Pals

Once long long a go, I had a pen pal. I’m not sure what made me think of my pen pal this afternoon, but I’ve found myself replaying old memories and she popped up.

Her name was Rachel and she lived in Cornwall. Her grandparents rented their beautiful house out ever year for the holiday season and that’s how we met.

The house was a three bedroom detached with a pool, an edible garden and orchard. I’m pretty sure we spent 4 or 5 summers at this beautiful house. The lady (Jean) and her husband (Ray) were always so welcoming. They looked after us, even though that wasn’t part of the holiday rental agreement. They were the kindest couple. Fun loving and gentle, they helped to fill our home from home with sunshine.

I met Rachel and her brother Mark one day while we were swimming in the pool. Rachel and I were a similar age and her brother Mark was a similar age to my brother. We had a love of nail polish in common and that’s all it took for an eight year-old me to develop a new friendship. We spent 2 weeks of the holidays together for a few years before we decide to write each other. We wrote before becoming too busy for one another. The time between letters got longer and eventually we just stopped writing.

The first ever letter I got from my pen pal was written in different coloured ink. It must have taken an age to write, and I was envious of how her writing looked so perfect to me. My handwriting changed all the time, as a child this was slightly annoying. Even now it’s never the same and it depends on my mood as to how it looks. I attribute this to my mental issues, but I like this. I don’t like to always be the same after all.

I miss writing letters. Taking pride and time in cursive script and double checking all my spellings. I must have wrote and re-wrote my letters a dozen times before I finally sealed an envelope and stuck on a stamp. I miss pretty stationery. I miss the pure art of letter writing and what technology doesn’t give us.

I’m open to a pen pal. It would be great to have a go. Read without judgement and write just the same. There is something so personal about a hand written letter. Raw and beautiful. Fancy having a go? Get to my contact page and email me; we could switch addresses and start putting that cursive to good use.

Xoxo, L.

Why I Handle Things The Way I Do.

There’s certain things in our life that mould us. Situations that make us react in certain ways and influences everything that happens in our lives. This can be good, bad or indifferent.

I remember in the first year of sixth form I was taking psychology as one of my classes. It was an outside tutor that appeared once weekly to talk about his self and every achievement he had ever accomplished. Class A bell-end. A conceited, haughty, selfimportant twit decided it was his job to preach his life freaking story once a week to a bunch of teens who wanted a psychology A-level.

Despite the douche-bag’s demeanour, psychology was an interesting subject and one that has kept my interest for all these years. I’d complete the reading and homework each week. I’d enjoy the classes; well the content at least, but never the teacher. He wasn’t relaxed enough to have a good report with any of his students and I’m pretty damn sure the rest of my class felt the same way.

We were almost a full year into the course and exam preparation had started. I remember the classroom. We sat in a room in the sixth form building. It was a class of about 15ish students. There was a whiteboard with a projector pointing at it where we would see the pompous bastard’s weekly slides. We’d answer questions in class while discussing the topic of the week. One word answers required or at least simple arguments for or against what ever a study had shown. Each of us took notes, but the class discussions were mainly opinion based.

One particular week the class had been set the task to complete a practice test paper. The test paper was comprised of essay style questions. Long answers. Write in paragraphs, opinions backed up with studies. We had never, in class prepared for this, or been told about it. Each of us tried the best we could and handed it in the following week.

The week after hand in, I wasn’t in class. In was away, at home sick. After he had marked the classes first attempt at the practice papers, there was a mass failing in the air. Every single member of the class did crap. I’m talking no one got higher than a D. Now, as I’ve already mentioned I was away from that class. This, unfortunately for the toolbox teach, was the week he decided to make an example of my work.

He slated my paper for a full 30 mins of a 45 min class. He trash talked me in front of my peers. In front of friends. In front of everyone else who had done equally as badly as I had.

BIG MISTAKE CHUFFER!

If there was one thing I loved about sixth form, it was the solidarity between students. Despite the clique you belonged to, your social background, whether you got on in high school or hated each other; sixth form happened and against the teachers, the students stood united – no matter what. They told me everything that verbally vomiting, micro organism had said about me and my paper.

I’ve always been good with words on paper (apparently not so much in a psychology practise paper – lol). So naturally I put pen to paper. I wrote a letter and addressed it not only to him but to our head of year. This caused some chaos. He probably regretted using me as a target for the class. Using my work as his shooting range in his highly unapologetical rant at how shit the class he had taught was.

A few point I stated in my letter:

1. Is it fair to make someone who isn’t in the room a victim of your slating in front of their peers?

2. Is it fair to say that speaking about your own life, and how amazing you were to over come the obstacles you have faced has mainly nothing to do with Freud, other psychologists or theories they have presented?

3. If the entire class failed miserably on a practice paper, isn’t this a reflection on the teacher rather than the class?

We were pulled into a meeting to discuss and I let him have it, both bullets in front of the head of sixth form. He apologised (but not publicly) for humiliating me in front on my peers. He offered to re-teach the last year to me in a one-on-one situation to which I replied “I wouldn’t waste my time”. His egotistical nature had him deluded him into thinking he could teach in the first place. I wasn’t going to fall for that one.

I gave my official notice and never attended his class again. At the end of that same term, he was moved on. Now I’m not saying that was my doing. I’m only saying I hope I had a little helping hand in having them realise the man was full of BS.

This incident still holds some resonance with me. I’m still that sassy girl. Quiet, understated and when cornered – a full on queen bitch. And yes, I am proud of that. Sometimes arrogance needs a mirror holding up to its ugly face…. sometimes you have to smash the mirror over that ugly face.

Till this day, I will take so much agro from someone before reacting. I’m okay with that. It builds up, and builds up until I flip the switch and make sure the agro stops. I might be wrong in how I deal with certain situations but it’s the only way I know how.

How would you deal with this situation? What do you do when you’ve had enough of the BS?

(Some of the sixth form girls, I’m in the red, looking giggly as we had just photo bombed this pic. Each beautiful woman in this picture will always be welcome with me)

Xoxo, L.