Sunday, 12 December 2010

Love the Place You're In

The snow has long since disappeared but I managed to take some beautiful pictures of one part of the Thanet Coast. I have long been in love with the Thanet coastline, indeed I have not found one I enjoy more throughout my travels within England. (Although Tintagel always holds a mystical allure!)






It was very cold and the snow looked ethereal sweeping across damp sand. Wouldn't it be perfect to have snow for Christmas day?





Hair, Hair I do despair!

I'm always frustrated with my hair. It's either too short, too fluffy, too boring or just too plain! Here are a few looks I've experimented with lately:






I'm not very adept at putting my hair up in artful styles maybe this will be my next task! Now I'm deciding on how to wear it for Christmas...wonder if it will grow a foot between now and then? Santa?


Friday, 3 December 2010

Snow but Bread

The much eagerly anticipated snow finally arrived much to the delight of Son and my Siberian husky. Son was overjoyed to have the day off school to play in the cold, white outside. Dog and Son were both scratching at the back door before breakfast had even been consumed.

We bundled up in warm clothes to head to the park. Snow still lay untouched like icing and we each raced to be the first to stamp in the crunchy freshness.






Later that afternoon we ventured to the coast and braved the icy-breath-catching wind blowing from the sea. We watched snow sweeping across the sand and jumped in snow covered piles of the same. It was bitterly cold, our faces numbed but the dog really was in his element, living up to his "Siberian" side.






The snow seems to have ceased falling at the moment much to Son's disappointment but we're off out to investigate what is left regardless!

Although we do really love the white stuff it is a complete pain buying bread in this area! All of the local supermarkets have run out, thankfully a bakers near to us is still operating normally. In one supermarket carpark there is currently standing a large delivery lorry, seemingly not delivering bread. So when the first flake of snow begins to fall next, I'm baking my own rolls and loaves...not that I really need an excuse to do extra baking but it seems a good excuse.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Snow what?

It may be a little early to be contemplating the installation of Christmas decorations in Mid-November but I can't help thinking how early Christmas started for me last year. Last October my family learned that my mum had only a few months left to live, so knowing how much she always loved all aspects of Christmas - shopping, decorating and baking to name a few, I pulled the decorations out at the end of October. However this year, although I wish for those trees to sparkle right now, I am impatiently waiting for the turn of December. I did, however, succumb to a little Christmas festivity and bought a snow-globe. Ground-breaking? Of course not. Exciting? Yes! I've never owned a snow-globe before. Son requested one of his own...until I reminded him that he already has three.



So even though this year is bound to be fraught with emotion, I'm wishing for the lights to sparkle brighter, twinkle stronger and the decorations to be even more beautiful. They have a task this Christmas time - to be seen from further afar than ever before.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Chocolate, Chocolate!

Today was another day for lunching. This time I decided to make only chocolates, although they did take quite a bit of effort and time to put together!

I made vanilla flavoured mascarpone chocolate cups with crumbled wafers and almonds and velvety, orange, brandy flavoured truffle cups with honeycomb. I'm thinking of more to make for Friday when I'll be seeing an old friend and her new baby.





Monday, 8 November 2010

Ladies Lunch

One of the many things I love to do; is to bake. I made some cakes and cookies for lunch with some of my family.

I made chocolate cupcakes topped with a caramel buttercream, swirls of caramel sauce and zig-zag chocolate sticks. I also made red velvet cakes finished with cream cheese frosting.

I baked some almond cookies. They were filled with American style frosting and strawberry jam then decorated with chocolate.




I'm thinking of making some chocolates for lunch tomorrow. Maybe truffles and mascarpone chocolate cups...yum!



Sunday, 31 October 2010

All Hallows Eve


Some of my Halloween art.















My Siberian husky as a Vampire Wolf.












The mannequin and head-lamp!













Me and my Son peeking out from under my arm!













Tombstones - the two large ones are home-made.













Boozy Jelly and pumpkin.












I decided to have an impromptu Halloween party. Son, who is 10 years, was coerced into dressing up, even the dog participated!

Son and I painted signs, made sparkling flying bat decorations, created tombstones, I made a hanging vampire and we carved pumpkins ready for the party.

I made a boozy jelly for the adults, which seemed to be a hit - even if the vodka lime layer was a tad strong!

The mannequin had a witchy makeover and I displayed some gruesome digital art pictures that I had created of Son and me. The head-lamp I designed fitted in with the theme but I use this lamp all year round, not just for Halloween!

I ordered a new medieval dress from a lady who makes them on ebay. I styled it with a black wig, a curled black hair piece, dark make-up and towering platform heels to be a medieval vampire. I absolutely adore my Halloween costume and will feel sad wrapping it up for next year, maybe an excuse to have a Medieval Banquet Christmas party?

Tonight, on All Hallows Eve, light a candle to remember the dead. As the tale goes, the barrier between the afterlife and this world is thin on this evening thereby allowing spirits to pass into our world. Terrifying costumes where adopted to fool the evil spirits into believing the wearer was also evil thus ensuring the wearers safety. Spirits of the good and dead were also believed to be able to pass into this world and so the lighting of the candle was introduced as tradition on this night, either within a pumpkin (again a deterrent against those evil spirits) or a single candle. I will be lighting for my dearest mum who passed in February this year. Who will you light for?



Friday, 7 May 2010

Circle of Pearls

On this day of a Hung Parliament
Inside I lament
Thoughts should be of Parliamentary strife
Has time passed to ease pain?

Cold truth of mirror searched for resemblance
A hint of you
Behind these grey eyes blue
In each a word reflected instead; Why you?

The sun’s stillness heats
A calm before salty storm weeps
Should fists be beating on the floor?
Should locks bar tight that open door?

Pink fingernails torment
Remembering translucent ones of bearer fair,
Circle of pearls and gold encase a lock of beloved hair
Reminiscent mourning of Empress of India.

From finger to toe
I am the same through and through
Stick of rock cut open to reveal a message
I am lost without you.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Remember

I remember shopping trips,
Where all I wanted was a cake,
Packet of peanuts or something to make.
I remember linking arms through yours,
Silly boys calling us names we’d ignore.
I remember arms weighted with shopping bags,
Returning home to our dog with his stumpy tail wags.
Leisurely bath times, bubbles, gossip and more,
That always left Father banging on the door.
I remember you coming home with shoes for me,
Three pairs at once, you encouraged my shoe-addiction you see.
I remember my room, clothes strewn around,
You were talking to me, tidying while I lounged.

I remember the call, I was at work.
I remember the pain, I remember the hurt.
The hospital visits, cold and clinical.
I hated it there; it was not you at all.
I remember the changes to you,
Your hair, your tastes, your energy, your life,
The pain of my father of fear for his wife.
I’ll remember it even when I am old,
The way you are ill but are never cold.
I’ll remember the way your chest heaves
When you try to do the simplest thing, like breathe.
I’ll remember the way you’ve always loved me,
I’ll remember the way you give me strength to see
That it’s right to fight the hand we’re given in life,
Regardless of the effort, struggle or strife.

I’ll remember it most how I never want to be without you,
My mother, I am proud of everything you do.
You are strong, beautiful and true
I hope I can be just like you.




In Memory of Sharon Dickerson 1961 - 2010

Remembering Mum

I haven’t blogged for a while due to the passing of my much cherished mum on the 20th February 2010.

My mum bravely battled cancer from her first diagnosis of the disease in 2002. She fought off one form of cancer, endured operations, radiotherapy and years of chemotherapy. For a while we crossed fingers that Mum had successfully won the battle until the cancer returned in her lungs. Even with diminished physical strength my mum continued to work and show extreme strength of character, worrying how it would affect me.

Always having been close to my mum I have found this difficult to deal with but have been inspired by my mum’s strength.

1st October 2009 the doctors diagnosed Mum with only having a few months left to live. We promptly booked a family holiday for my mum, dad, husband, my son and I.

1st December 2009 the next diagnosis was for a few days but Mum again surpassed the diagnosis and we celebrated Christmas together. Mum continued with her strength and determination until the cancer took its toll on the 20th February.

My dad and I arranged Mum’s cremation and funeral together. There was an amazing turnout for her funeral on the 3rd March 2010, most of her friends from her workplace attended and contributed to a beautiful butterfly shaped floral arrangement, which at the time of writing this, is still alive and sitting on my garden table.

We donated the remaining flowers to the local Hospice, where Mum spent a brief spell.

I am so immensely proud of my mum, of what she achieved in her life, in how strong she was, her bravery, determination, consideration for others and in how much love she bestowed upon the people she cared for.

I love her, much more than any feeble words can ever say and I will carry her always within my heart but there will always be a mummy-shaped hole in my life.

The next post will be a poem that I wrote for my mum before we found out about her few months diagnosis.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Twittering Twit

I've finally joined Twitter, although I wonder if I will ever tweet anything of interest.

I am also an Avon Rep and I dutifully filled out the forms that accompany the catalogues, putting the date for delivery as the 22nd Feb. Returning from visiting my parents I collected the catalogues and spoke to one of my regular customers, assuring her that the delivery date, albeit extremely imminent, was correct.

I pulled out the calendar when I returned home and realised that I was wrong. The 22nd Feb was actually the date I needed to log orders, I would deliver the following week. Frustrated, I kicked myself and decided I would need to print notes detailing such for my customers. For speed I decided to text the customer who I have a mobile number for. I quickly glanced at the calendar, typed in the date of Monday 27th and sent it winging its way to her. With a gulp I realised I had made a mistake yet again. What a complete twit. I now had to confess that I lacked the ability to read a calendar and sent the correct date to her (the 27th is actually a Saturday, not the Monday I intended).

I do wonder if I am setting myself up for a major fall in joining Twitter. I am certain that I will make a complete Twit out of myself.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Saze Interest

I started writing the “Saze Monnivan” blog page as a fiction-blog diary and intended it to be a long story posted almost every day. I am now wondering whether I should attempt to write this is a full length piece of work. I have written one full length piece of work that is sitting in a folder. I have also written almost half of a second and a third of another.

I know the Saze tale still needs working on as the entries on the “Saze Monnivan” page are only first drafts, written and posted immediately.

Have you found this story interesting? Would you want to read more to find out what happens to Saze? Are you interested in whether she ever settles with Mr. Cool, Mr. Dry, Mr. Nice or another unknown? Would you like to know whether the cake idea takes off for her or whether Mr. Him receives his comeuppance?

I am deliberating this now (I am concerned about copying of this story as I’ve noticed a link to a site with an altered name added into my writings) and am wondering whether to pursue this story or whether to pull out my first novel length piece and re-edit. I’ll probably end up doing both anyway!

Favourite Read

I love to read but this past year I’ve never seemed to have the time to devote to it like I used to.

Years ago, before my husband, I used to devour book after book. I would often sit after work, or at the weekend, with my head buried in the pages of a novel not resurfacing until I had absorbed every word. When I was a teenager I was exactly the same, waking in the morning I would reach for the book that lay next to my bed from the night before. I would walk to the kitchen with book in hand. I would visit libraries to buy a bagful of discarded books for some ridiculous price, say £1.00. I enjoyed the feel of an old, hardback, library book, the musty smell that defined them from new paperback books.

My favourite reading companion has always been a cup of tea (now changed from white, two sugars to green tea straight up), a cosy cardigan (in winter only), a soft seat or, in the summer months, a lounger in the garden with lemonade and lime (plus vodka occasionally).

I can choose a favourite place to read, a favourite drink to accompany that read, a favourite place to sit to consume those words, but can I choose a favourite book? I really don’t think that I can. I love, have loved, so many that to pick just one seems unfair. So, I decided to list a few of my favourites, in no particular order.

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Time Without End – Linda Lael Miller

Bless The Child – Cathy Cash Spellman

The Eternal – Mark Chadbourn

Melusine – Lynne Reid Banks (one from my teen years)

All of the novels by Jill Mansell

There was a book I borrowed from the library when I was a teenager, it was entitled “Beauty” but I cannot remember the author. It was a rewrite of “Beauty and the Beast” but more of a YA novel. I remember it as such a beautiful book.

I could list more from the hundreds that I own and the hundreds that I’ve read but it really would take me an eternity to remember them all.

What is your favourite read? Do you have one or many?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Mud Cross

My son participated in his first cross country race yesterday. He is a fast sprinter and loves running. However, he did not prepare at all. Actually that was mostly my fault as I completely forgot about it.

We trudged to the school field where the race was being hosted and I prayed for the rain to hold off, it was already really muddy. There were loads of children and adults milling around on the soggy field and I was thankful that I had decided to wear flat boots instead of my heels (I do tend to favour fashion in lieu of common sense). I pinned his number onto his red t-shirt with two mismatched safety pins.
'Mum,’ my son complained. ‘I look like a wally with this number pinned on. We’re not supposed to pin it on, we’re supposed to use Cellotape.’
I frowned at him. ‘It would fall off.’
‘Yeah, but,’ he continued, ‘the teacher wants to use them again.’
‘What?’ I asked. ‘This paper number?’
My son nodded. ‘Yeah I look stupid like this.’
‘You do not look stupid.’ I handed him his track top. ‘Put this on.’
‘We’re not supposed to wear anything over our t-shirts!’ he wailed.
I rolled my eyes at him. ‘It’s to keep you warm while you wait.’
‘Yeah, but we’re not allowed.’
‘It’ll cover up the number and the pins,’ I pointed out smugly.
He struggled into it as we squelched our way over to the post with the school name on. There were no other children from his school in sight. Eventually, one of his teachers stumbled upon us and pointed us to where we were supposed to be. At the start line of course, although it was near impossible to establish from a distance where the beginning actually lay, what with all the ropes here, there and everywhere. My son handed me his track top and was swallowed up by the mass of excited children. I manoeuvred my way through to wish him luck but he was already lost to me by this time, engrossed with chattering to his mate from school. Parents and spectators were herded into a containment area to be able to view their child.
Then, after a brief stamping of their feet, the racers were off. Their small trainer clad feet hastily speeding across the soggy ground. The race was 1.5k so the children’s cheeks grew redder and their pace lessened. At times I thought my son was going to stop and I willed him on, he would regret it if he gave up. He passed us for the first time and my husband yelled encouragement to him and I grinned like an inane idiot. The second time he passed I could see him flagging so shouted to him.
‘Go on!’ I shouted. ‘You can do it!’
My son mustered a tiny smile and forced himself onward. Then there was the home straight which was, luckily, on a minor downhill and he propelled himself past several other racers with a burst of energy and filtered into the counting lane. He was given a small medal and a bottle of water.
‘Yuck,’ he said when I reached him. ‘I think I can taste blood in my mouth.’
‘Drink,’ I told him. ‘It’s not blood, it’s just because you’re worn out. Well done.’
‘We’ll have to wait to find out where you came,’ my husband said.
My son shook his head. ‘No, they told me already. I came twelfth.’
‘Out of how many?’ I asked.
My son shrugged. ‘Fifty.’
We left the field and stomped our muddy feet back to the car. My husband and I told my son how well he had done, especially considering that it was his first time but my son was not so convinced. His friend had been four places ahead of him. I told him that he’ll have to practise on the running machine at home. The next one is in June, plenty of time for practise.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Who's in charge?

'I can't believe you've lost that charger!' I yell at my nine year son.
'I haven't!' he yells back. 'I just don't know where it is.'
'You have lost it,' I continue, 'it's not in the kitchen drawer and it's not in the lounge either. I've ransacked all the rooms downstairs.'
'So?' he says with a pout. 'I just won't use that phone any more.'
I have to push my eyes back into their sockets. 'Not use it any more?' I echo.
With a tilt of his chin, my son nods and shrugs nonchalently.
Eyes firmly replaced, I count to ten. 'That phone was expensive,' I hiss through gritted teeth. 'Now you will go and search that bombsite bedroom of yours until you find it.'
'Huh!' he huffs loudly before stomping off, only to return minutes later claiming he has searched all over and not a charger to be found.

The following morning with son at school and still no hope of charging his wretched phone, I pull out my laptop case which has been sitting neglected for a few days. Reaching inside I pull out my laptop. Plus the missing phone charger. I consider telling my boy that it was his fault anyway, that he must have slipped it in there when I wasn't looking, that sounds a good idea so I wait for school to finish.
'I found your charger,' I tell him as soon as I see him.
He looks at me, half-relieved, half-nervous. 'Where?'
I remember what I thought I would tell him - that it was his fault. I look at his cute little face and tell him...the truth.

Feather I do adore thee

My feather cape from ASOS Black arrived today. Unable to buy this on ASOS I managed to track one down on ebay and swooped upon rather rapidly. It is absolutely gorgeous and will fit completely with what I have in mind. At the moment my mannequin is modelling it rather well but I am going to have to swipe it back from her because I am afraid that she may actually look better in it than I.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Second Year

My husband and I have been married for two years and to celebrate our anniversary we booked a three-day break. The hotel we decided on was Elmers Court Hotel, part of the Macdonald Hotels and Resorts chain. We have previously stayed at another of theirs called Botley Park, which is near to Southampton and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The main Elmers Court Hotel building is an impressive manor house dating from the 1800’s and boasts a fine restaurant, Tudor bar, family restaurant and comfortable grounds with views over the Solent and has two pools plus other gym equipment that I am sure would have been great fun if only I hadn’t been too lazy to use it. Staff were accommodating, efficient and friendly as we had expected and the room we stayed in was spacious and comfortable. Ducks quacked and waddled throughout the grounds, ensuring that they were noticed just in case a treat fell their way. The whole resort exuded an air of calm and sitting on the terrace outside of the Tudor bar on our first night, we took full advantage of this and happily shared a chilled bottle of sparkling wine. The second night we dined in the restaurant and were served three fantastic courses, this was on top of the plate of appetisers with ‘pre-dinner drinks’, and finished the night off with some more chilled wine on the terrace.

We visited the Isle of Wight, the ferry terminal to The Wight Link being only a one minute drive from the car park of the hotel (it really was; we timed it being the saddo’s that we are). Unfortunately the only connection available for the journey across to the Isle of Wight was at 6.45am and this meant I had to drag my normally lazy body out of bed at 5.30am to be ready in time. The ferry was relatively empty on the crossing over and there were not many cars on the road on the Isle by the time our wheels touched down upon them. The bonus was that we were able to park in a free car park that probably would have been bursting to capacity later in the day and trundle to a view point at Tennyson's Monument. It was so quiet that we could hear the sheep bleating in a distant field and luckily no-one was around to witness my continual complaining as I tackled the ascent to the top of the hill. The view was beautiful, albeit slightly hazy, but in all honesty I was simply glad to be able to rest from the gruelling uphill climb. It wasn’t really very steep, just really really early and at such an hour, I would normally have been lazing with breakfast and a trashy magazine.

From Tennyson’s Monument we drove to a car park near St. Catherine’s Oratory and trundled through a field of cows, yet another uphill climb. St.Catherine’s Oratory stood on top of the hill, surrounded by cows and calves, the Oratory striking a surprising resemblance to a rocket. Being rather a wimp I persuaded my husband that we did not need to study the structure at close proximity, in truth I didn’t fancy wading through the herd in case they felt we were a threat to their young, charged us and made me scream.

Following this we stopped at Appuldurcombe House and marvelled at the exquisite English Baroque facade that remains of this grand country house. It is hard to believe that there are only three rooms structurally intact behind this impressive, extensively ornamental shell. The rooms themselves having been subject to restoration work. Appuldurcombe had been abandoned in 1909 and was occupied during both the World Wars, falling foul to a nearby land-mine in 1943 which added to its decaying state and led towards the remains as they appear today. Being able to visit the house early was a bonus, throughout our visit we only encountered one other person, leaving before a school visit was due.

Then there was Carisbrooke Castle with its fortified gatehouse and history of housing a Royal prisoner. Charles I was held at Carisbrooke for some time after his defeat by Parliament, Carisbrooke being the last of his ‘prisons’ before leaving for Whitehall and his execution. With many other historical connections, which are interesting, the thing that interested me the most at this castle had to be the Carisbrooke Donkeys. Such a shame that they were not in accessible stroking distance. Carisbrooke was busier than Appuldurcombe, there were numerous groups of school children of varying ages and, if a peaceful visit is favoured, it would be prudent to arrive early or off-peak for we were unable to walk the entirety of the Wall-Walk due to the groups occupying a vast majority, un-movingly but this did not impair our visit to this fine castle.

Next came the Osborne estate with its Italianate design and extensive grounds. The house, as it appears today, created for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was constructed primarily as a seaside family home. Queen Victoria used the house for some fifty plus years and the planting in the grounds were designed by Prince Albert. The house is truly magnificent with sumptuous furniture, ornate ceilings and works of art. I do enjoy walking around historic buildings but felt the experience was somewhat marred by the presence of an overwhelming number of visitors and would love to return one day, in a less busy season, to be able to appreciate the true beauty of the house without being jostled, herded or slowed to a deathly pace. The grounds offered more room to breathe and we walked some twenty minutes to the Swiss Cottage that was built for Queen Victoria’s children. It was here that the children would spend their time while the Queen entertained at the main house and also here that they stored their own collections. The Cottage had a housekeeper and apparently the children also came to the Swiss Cottage to learn how to keep a house. When the children's collections grew too large for the Swiss Cottage another building was erected for them, the Swiss Museum. They also had their own mini play-fort with a drawbridge, I know that my own son would love to have such a play-thing although our back garden is a tiny bit smaller than the Osborne Estate so, regrettably, not an option.

We returned from the Isle of Wight to our hotel and spent our last night dining, drinking wine and relaxing. I would definitely recommend the Isle of Wight to anyone who has not been, it has a lot to offer, even if only to see Osborne and the other historical sites but it would be a crime not to appreciate the Isle’s coastal beauty and natural attraction.

This could be Heaven or this could be Hell

Half term seemed to descend upon me rather unexpectedly last week. I never recall having as many holidays when I was at school, there never seemed anywhere near enough! So, I thought, what to do with a whole week of entertaining my son? Take dog to the park every day; should fill at least an hour…hmmm definitely need to think of a little bit more to do. Watch a film that my son has been dying to see; great that was two hours sorted. But what should I plan to do with the remainder of the week? Can I squeeze some writing in? Certainly, if I can tune out of the ‘MUM!’ calls, ‘Can I have?’ questions, ‘The dog’s …’ screams and ‘What are we doing today?’ daily ten thousand times per day question. It’s strange that when I have a whole ‘free’ week I don’t mind if I can only write for an hour a day, but take the option of free-writing away and I am grumpy, frustrated and sometimes feel the urge to stamp my feet like a small child who has just been refused a lollipop.

But the plus side was that I was able to spend time with my son when he wasn’t grumpy, frustrated or stamping his feet because he’d spent all day at school/clubs/cricket training. It was lovely wandering around the park with the dog on a long lead and chatting to my boy, well it was once my son had stopped complaining about how boring it is to walk, how he wanted to play on his computer games instead, how unfair it was that I was making him come out with me. By the second day, I think he really got into the swing of it and, shock horror, actually started to enjoy accompanying me.

We also visited one of my son’s favourite wildlife parks. There’s goats to pet, deer too if they’re feeling so inclined. The little goat kids were really endearing, they were my son’s favourite, he loved it that they are still at the size to be able to squeeze out of their enclosure and come right up to you! Of course, I had to stroke them first. Just to make sure that they wouldn’t bite him or anything, that was the only reason. Yeah right, I hear my son scoff in the background. There were baby prairie dogs that were the size of Russian dwarf hamsters and walking through their enclosure, I willed my son not to accidentally step on one.

Then there was the usual reading, drawing and playing in the back garden that my son loves to do, but only if he has chosen to do one of the aforementioned activities himself. If I tell him to get off the computer games and out in the back garden, I am often met with ‘That’s waaayyyy unfair!’ or ‘I’m just gonna sit on the step and do nothing then!’ to which I find myself responding by telling him that I never had computer games like that when I was his age (there was Acorn but that really wasn’t the same), nor did I even have a TV in my bedroom let alone the four computer games consoles, video and dvd player, stereo (okay, I did have a stereo!) until I realise that I sound rather like the nagging mother that I swore I’d never be! And I’m only 29 years old, for heaven’s sake; it’s hardly like I grew up in the middle ages.

The park was particularly empty one day during that half term and the sun shone on as we frolicked (the dog, I hasten to add) through the grass and trees. Right there and then, I remembered how it felt to walk with my own parents around that same park with our dog that we’d had when I was a young girl. I just hope that my son will remember such times and decide that it really wasn’t complete hell; going for a walk with his mother.

To Wig or Not To Wig

Magazines, newspapers, billboards, where ever I look there are images of models with luscious locks taunting me from their vantage point. Whether the hair in question is long, short, blonde, dark or highly coiffed, they all have one thing in common. Shine. Yes, there are probably a mass of lights reflected upon their tresses, and yes they have probably been styled by the hottest and most in demand hairstylist. Even though I know this, I still suffer from hair-envy.

My own hair is of shoulder length and never seems to grow. This may be due to the amount of extreme styling it has had to suffer throughout its life. I have still yet to achieve the perfect shade of white-blonde that I so desire without my hair burning to a frazzle and sticking up in an odd clump-like style (ashamedly I once dyed my hair so much that a section broke off to an actual inch of its life).

Having suffered since my teens with hair that if allowed to dry naturally turns into a blonde fuzz bomb, I decided that it was time for a change. Did I want to have it cut into some funky style that I knew that I would tire of within a few weeks? No, I decided the only way to go was long. Having looked into permanent hair extensions, human and synthetic, I decided that in this current economic climate it was just not possible for me to splurge on such an ongoing expense, I opted for the clip-in variety. I’ve used clip-in human hair extensions for a number of years but although these are relatively quick to apply, they do require some practise and perseverance to discreetly hide the clips. I still love my clip-in extensions and have several variations in colour for when the mood strikes me, I bought a huge 4ft weft and sewed in my own clips, dyed the hair and it now resembles my own in colour. But on the downside I find that the clips leave me with a headache after wearing for more than a few hours, so the clip-ins are relegated to evening out only use.

Then I stumbled across wigs. Ha, I thought, they won’t look any better than the ones I’ve worn occasionally for Halloween parties. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They are now available with a realistic skin-top and use a revolutionary fibre from Japan that is supposed to closely resemble human hair. The pictures I saw on the internet did indeed look very realistic so I ordered one. The one I ordered was completely different from my own hair, long, wavy and multi-tonal brunette in colour. When it arrived, I carefully unwrapped and dubiously tried it on, expecting to look rather foolish. It surprised me with how it actually looked. I hurried out into the kitchen to slap on some make-up. Yes, I keep my make-up in my bottom kitchen drawer as I have no room for it in my bedroom or bathroom, maybe a sign I have too much. Once my face was suitably prepped, I pinned up my own hair and donned my new style. Hurriedly, I posed and pouted with my camera phone and sent a picture to my husband. I was so impressed with it that I wore it to my local pub that evening, the landlord even commented that he thought my husband was with another woman.

I’ve since ordered another three since my first foray into wigdom and couldn’t love them more. They offer a quick style change and are not uncomfortable to wear. I have two darker ones, both curled, one strawberry platinum mix straight and one white and straight. I can throw one on and have instant long, styled hair that is shiny and light upon head. It’s not that I am following a celebrity trend, indeed I was not even aware this was a rapidly growing trend until I typed in ‘wigs’ on the internet and read a few news blogs, I simply love change and experimenting with my look, while having fun at the same time.

For me, I have decided to wig, well for now at least.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Timmy's Lost His Tommy

I had two guinea pigs, Timmy and Tommy, who have lived together since I brought them home from the pet store. Admittedly, they squabbled over their food, if one had something in his mouth the other one wanted it, even if he was already eating the same. At the rustle of a bag, the opening of the fridge door, or the sound of a voice at that time they knew was dinner time, they would both be at the edge of their outdoor enclosure – wheeting their little heads off.
One evening, Tommy did not seem himself. He was fluffed up and sleepy and I guessed that maybe he wouldn’t last very long. Timmy kept snuffling him, perhaps trying to coax the other into action.
The following morning, I hurried to the enclosure to check and Tommy had indeed passed through the night in a sleep from which he would not wake. Standing at the window, indicating to my husband that Tommy had died I felt absurdly sad. Sure, he was only a guinea pig; it wasn’t like the dog had died. But as I realised I would never see his little ginger-furred-face look at me again; I blubbed. Tommy was duly boxed and buried in the garden, a plant to mark his final resting place.
Timmy, now alone for the first time in his life, sniffed the floor where his room-mate had once slept and laid there for quite some time. Now he has to make do with looking through the fence to the other side of his enclosure, where Oscar the rabbit spends her days. But I doubt anything will fill the Tommy-shaped gap left behind in his life.

Desperately Seeking Dress

I need to buy a dress for an early summer wedding plus one to wear for an occasion further into the summer. So, I thought, simple solution would be to buy one dress for both occasions as there is little chance of the same people being at both. Great idea but simple? Absolutely not. I have been looking for months for a suitable dress. Not too short, not too bright, not too stunning, not too frumpy, a flattering shape but not revealing or too tight, one without a floral print (I don’t do patterns), not too low cut on the cleavage area. I even ordered a couple from my usual catalogue which looked absolutely stunning on the models on the website.
Eagerly I awaited their arrival and as soon as they did, I had the packaging off in 30 seconds flat. I doubt a piranha could have de-skinned them as quick as I. The first one had a fantastic bubble-hem skirt and high neck top. Once on, it made me appear as if I were an eighties shoulder-pad-loving- woman-who- lunches, not there is anything wrong with that; I love the eighties, but the thing that really miffed me was that dress was actually sleeveless. The second dress had gorgeous beading detail under the bust, but was far too low, I mean my cleavage does not end at my navel so do I seriously want a dress that makes me look as if I am in need of industrial scaffolding? And the skirt part of it…well there’s not much I can say on that except boring with a capital B.
As I feared, it will be back to the local shopping centre for a dress-trawl. I do not hold much hope considering I have looked there many, many times before. I’ve even resorted to wading my way through items on an online auction site, but still not a dress for me in sight.
It’s not like I don’t have plenty of gorgeous dresses in my collection – I do, full on vintage eighties, glamorous full-length (a complete no-no at any wedding other than your own, unless you are part of the bridal party), full skirted fifties style, sexy short evening dresses, sparkly disco but, unfortunately, not a wedding appropriate one do I own.
Maybe I’ll have to dust off the sewing machine and make my own…hmmm I’ve never been any good at reading instructions which means the design would certainly be ‘unique’.