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

The Herb Don

Here we have a herby update! My original post and when I planted my little seeds was the 28th March. I’m not sure why my seeds are little in this instance. I think most seeds are. I’m no horticulturalist.

So first up, my tomatoes. These beauties look pretty strong and in dier need of re-potting now. A task for tomorrow morning I think. Dinah sneaking in the picture too.

Thyme. Now I’ve grown this, but I’ve never actual used fresh thyme (that I can recall) in any of the recipes I have ever made. So another task is to come up with or source a killer recipe that has thyme in it. It looks like a woody plant, the leaves are small and rounded but my seedlings are growing pretty good becauae I didn’t forget to water them. This for me is amazing!

My chives are not looking as impressive. They look all weedy and sparse. I watered these too, maybe I just didn’t put enough seeds in the cup. Again, I’m no gardener. Im just a woman trying to grow some god damn herbs.

My sweet favourite basil. Beautiful big green leaves. It’s flourishing, and I love it. I really can’t wait to use this one. Teacup basil, it’s the way forward I’m telling you.

Parsley, over used in my opinion cooks and chefs seem to throw it in just about anything to add some green. I don’t mind this one and it’s growing fairly well, but it’s probably not as full as what it should be. I have no idea, but here’s a picture because well this is a picture post!

So there you have it, an update on my herb teacups. Small and delicate. Edible? We will find out, and if there are no more posts you can assume I’ve been eaten by the dodgie looking chives.

My grandma gave me a plant today too. It’s an outdoor one thank goodness. At least that way if I kill it I don’t have to look at it so much. It is one of my favourites though.

My orchids are in bloom too. Maybe I’m better at this gardening thing than I initially thought. Just call me Don.

Love and flower power.

Xoxo, Don Lotty

Self Care

This week I’m running on empty. Tired, in need of a little me time and I’m finding it impossible to make any time for that. There is always something that needs doing, for baby, for Man, for dog or for the cats or even someone else.

Right now is literally the first time I’ve properly sat down all day. Not sure I’ll even get a breather tomorrow as man is out playing army with his friends. So taking advantage of the ‘right now and currently giving myself a pedicure. Although it’s only going to be half of one because I forgot to get nail polish remover and I can get rid of the old polish. That repainting is going to have to wait until tomorrow evening. I’m sat here with my feet in water, sugar scrub and lotion at the ready. A little bit of bliss in a bucket. Might even stretch and gel polish or Jamberry my nails this evening. It’s amazing what a mani or pedicure can do.

The older I get and the more everything else becomes a priority, the more I understand there is value in self care. The five minutes stolen when Dela is napping and I’ve rushed to get the kitchen cleaned, that five minutes for a hot tea, an actual comfy seat is very much needed. So when she wakes up as soon as bum hits the sofa, I’m a grumpy mummy bear and no mothettrucker better cross me for the afternoon.

I spent the morning with my Dad while Rob was at work. We went to B&Q to buy some maisonary paint and metal paint. I’ve set myself the mission to paint my outside window sills and garden gate. Got back to my house so my Dad could admire the new front door, took care of dinner for Delilah and Dad and then Man when he got home too.

I knew we were eating out for dinner this evening, because of the belated birthday meal with the family for grandad. I stuck to really healthy options again all day. Oats for breakfast, yogurt and fruit for lunch and a salad while we were out which was difficult to eat as Delilah had her hands in it. Although the salad was the lowest calorie dish on the menu, I was disappointed I had wasted 500 cals on it. I think I would have much preferred a chip or a singular bite of burger, or even 2 and a half pasta shapes. I’m glad I stuck healthy though; every cloud!! I better have lost weight or inches on Monday when I jump on the scales and do measurements. I have not deviated one bit, I’ve moved my butt every day and I’ve drunk a ton of water. So here’s hoping!

I have saved about 150cals for this moment. I made some mint bubble crunch and it’s lovely, healthy (ish) treat. It’s going down with a very green tea.

Happy Saturday. Try sneak in ten mins just for you.

Xoxo, L.

Belated Birthday

I spend the most of today with the man I call Grandad. My mum’s dad. I always enjoy our time together, but he gets increasingly more confused these days.

He suffers with vascular dementia and the signal from his eyes to his brain is not all that great. The smallest tasks are difficult for him and his known and loved personality is fading. It’s a killer for him, in his most lucid moments he tells us he hates it and he can’t go on. It’s hard for us around him becauae he is a shadow of the man he used to be. All because of dementia.

Delilah, Demon dog and I walked to the grandparents place this morning and arrived at about 9.30ish. Grandma had already set off for her morning out with a friend. They were off to see some historical picture at the film and photography museum. Grandad was waiting for us with the front door open, I just hope he wasn’t standing there for too long as I’m not sure what time grandma left.

Parked the pram up, got baby and dog inside and made us a cuppa. We had an upbeat morning together. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about. I’m finding it harder and harder to tell what he is talking about. I agree to most things and try talk with him about things in his distant past. Asking him questions about his old hobbies, cycling or bodybuilding or even his work. He was always so passionate about everything he did, almost obsessive. He’d have the best of everything and do things to extreams. He was, as far as I’m concerned, good at it all.

We’ve always had music in common, but he’s lost the ability to stick on a CD or even work the radio. He used to play guitar and banjo, relatively well; he can’t see where he’s putting his fingers now. He does love hearing his old favourites. Old rock and roll stuff like “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino. He lights up when you put on some music or they play live music at his dementia club on a Wednesday morning.

I miss him. His calming influence and his logical thinking. Always positive and very much an engineer with his approach to life in general. I’d like to think he’s taught me a few things over the years. (Delilah’s snap).

Mid visit, we had to take demon dog out to the toilet. Just so happened the post man came to visit at the same time. Demon dog decided to give the postie a head start before chasing him down the street. Playfully of course, but all the same running after the dog with baby on hip is a hardship. Poor postie must have been pooping himself, I mean know one else knkws hes harmless. He came back with his tongue hanging out and his ‘I’m pleased with myself’ playful ears on. He has demonic moments, hence the name. He is actually a very sweet dog, just a little mischievous on occasion and always protective.

Another cup of tea, and four hours later Grandma came home. Absolutely inspired by the film she saw and singing it’s praises, telling me I must go see it. I wanted to stay a little longer, but Dela decided she wasn’t going to nap. I knew as soon as I go her in the pram and set off she’s fall asleep, so I packed her and demon dog up and off we went.

It was a lovely day. One to memory bank. I hope for more of these with him, and I’ll continue to miss the man he was.

Xoxo, L.

Bullet Journal Update

Hello! I am exhausted! My day was utterly messed up by my new front door.

It’s my Grandad’s birthday! Happy birthday Grandad. You’re amazing; your fight, your stubbornness, and your sense of humour. Some days we don’t see these things because of the vascular dementia but I know you’re still there and we get glimmers on good days. I love you and I can’t wait to spend tomorrow with you. Here’s a picture of him when my mum’s dog decided to share seats. We were all in stitches including Grandad because she just bounced right up there on his lap.

I missed his birthday lunch because I was waiting for my new front door to be fitted. Initially they were supposed to come in the am. They didn’t and it got pushed on and pushed on till 2pm! Now I get that the office staff clearly are clueless about the times for fitting a door and/or Windows and it’s something that will occasionally happen. However, if communications had been more clear, I could have made the birthday lunch and got back in time for the door to be fitted. So tomorrow I’ll spend the day with him in hope to make up some lost time.

I’m still setting my journal up, and as it’s my first go it’s a little sketchy. But here is what I’ve got so far: year overview, a key, birthdays, fitness tracker and mood tracker. It’s a start. A work in progress.

I’m finding it super relaxing and good for tracking water intake, workouts and food each day so far (day 2, so think of that what you will).

In my wait for the door being fitted, Dela and I (along with the dog and all 3 cats) were banished to the kitchen to keep out of the way. For three hours. THREE HOURS! This, ladies and gents is why I’m exhausted. Keeping a baby entertained while stopping the cats beating up the door for this length of time is hard work! Anyway, I made shepherds pie, times 2 because man doesn’t eat the mash I have on my healthy version (cauliflower and sweet potato). So two shepherd’s pies later there is plenty for the freezer. Bonus. Any way now it’s cooled I’m off to portion the rest up and stick it in the freezer. I’m afraid this kind of oil ain’t pretty on a plate, but I assure you it was pretty good.

Happy Wednesday.

Xoxo, L.