Wednesday, November 26, 2014

swim challenge update

Polar bear swimming
Polar Bear Swimming print available from Yoote on Etsy.

I thought (since I've been all brag, brag, brag about the book challenge!) that I ought to update you with my progress on the swim challenge.  Remember that?  I vowed to swim the equivalent of the Channel in six months, which worked out at around 52 lengths a week.  I got off to a flying start and was feeling so positive about the whole thing.  I decided to start paying a monthly subscription the the pool, meaning I'd break even if I swam once every week.  That was probably about three months ago and since then I've been swimming maybe twice?  Of the 1360 lengths I need to have completed in around 8 weeks' time, I have managed the grand total of 256.  I have excuses a-plenty (in fairness to me, my determined rhythm was interrupted by no less than four stomach bugs) but basically I just failed/didn't bother.  There was a point about a month ago where I was considering still trying to meet my deadline, but I worked out I was going to have to do closer to 80 lengths a week and that just didn't seem achievable, so I did none, which was obviously the sensible and positive reaction, right?  Harumph.  I'm so annoyed at myself.  I mean, this is so typical of me and was the obvious outcome, of course, but I really believed I was going to stick to it and that made me feel great for a while.

So, what to do?  Well, I think I'll start again.  Now is definitely not the best time because, let's be honest, I know I won't make it to the pool much between now and the end of the year*, but I don't want to put it off too long, so (loathe as I am to be seen as a New Year Resolutionist) I'm going to set my ticker back to zero lengths come January 1st and aim to swim the equivalent of the Channel between then and the end of June.   And if I wuss out again?  To be honest, I probably just won't mention it and will hope you all forget I said anything :)

* Time is on no-one's side in the run-up to Christmas, I know, plus I'm off work again with my pesky heart and not feeling well enough to stir a pot of soup, let alone make it to the pool and back with a lengthy swim in between.  (Lengthy swim! See what I did there?) I'm hoping I'll be feeling better come January.  If not, I'll reassess.  Channel in a year?  Something like that.  One way or another I'll be going to that pool!

body shopping

I had a hospital appointment last week and treated myself to a wee wander through town on the way home - browsing in Paperchase, eating free cake in John Lewis... You know how I roll!  Anyway, for some reason I went into the Body Shop, maybe for the first time in about a decade.  I tend to find it a bit sweet, fruity and overpowering usually, but I found a couple of really fun items this time around.

First up was this atomiser-type object above.  The contents looked solid and I was rather confused as to how it might work.  Turns out it's called a Sparkler and when you squeeze the bulb it showers you with the finest and most even dusting of shimmery glitter ever!  Dulcie and I always cover ourselves with "fairy dust" testers in Boots etc, but this was in a whole sparkly league of its own plus no need to get your fingertips covered.  I couldn't justify buying it, what with my hermit-like existence, but I was seriously tempted and may yet change my mind.  I even considered getting it as a lavishly expensive treat for Dulcie because she'd be in heaven if I let her go wild and scoosh the whole lot in a oner.  But, you know, that's the sort of thing I'd do if I had a wipe-clean home and a member of staff to wipe it, which I don't.  But, oh, the fun we could have had!  This comes in a variety of scents/colours.  The scent wasn't really noticeable (good, I say, though maybe it would become noticeable as you sprayed more) and the difference in colours once it was on the skin was subtle, but the vanilla brulee one definitely had the warmest tone and was my favourite.
I know I suggested I don't really like the smell of Body Shop products so much, but their glazed apple range (maybe a Christmas special?) is lovely.  It has a slight sharpness to its sweetness.  The soap came in this very nice Tunnocks-rip-off packaging too!  I'm kind of wishing I'd got the home fragrance oil now, it might be a nice (less spicy) alternative to my usual Christmas smell selection.  Our oil burner is quite the wintery tradition - so cosy.

Apparently you can get 35% off all online orders over £15 at the moment with the code JOY.  So if ever I was going to treat myself to a ridiculous glitter atomiser for looking sparkly around the house, this would be the time.  I think I'll resist, lovely idea though it is :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

don't be stationary!

Claire the Bellwetherer is having loads of giveaways at the moment, clearing out fantastic items she has been hoarding and not using for years.  This is the stationery giveaway and, if you look very closely, you'll see it features some of my EastEnders notecards.  Oooh!  Visit Claire's blog for entry details and be sure to check out her other giveaways while you're there.  Having been quite good at clearing out this year, I'm not allowing myself to enter any of them (reserving the right to change my mind, of course!) but you definitely should.

Monday, November 24, 2014

book challenge update

My reward for working all weekend once in a while is that I get the Monday off instead.  Score!  Lord, I needed a day off today.  When Dulcie left for nursery, I went back to bed with a cup of tea and the book I'm currently reading as part of the Winter Book Challenge.  What a treat!

I had been struggling to get into The Past Is Myself, the autobiography of an English woman who lived in Germany during the Second World War, but I'm loving it now.  It's really a fascinating read (I didn't know much about the opposition to Nazism within Germany before) and this morning I was gasping and weeping all over the shop.  I think I'll read a bit more later.

This is book three of the challenge for me.  East, West had some fantastic stories and some that did nothing for me.  Buddha Da was an easy read and good for taking on holiday, but a bit too kitchen sinky for my liking and maybe at that awkward age of seeming dated more than set in its own time?  But it was all right.  After those two books, I started reading The Cat Who Could Read Backwards.  Two chapters in, I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it, so I was quite relieved when my sister picked it up and noticed it was only 190 pages long and therefore not eligible for the challenge!  Whoops!  I had pretty much decided to abandon it anyway when I lost it somewhere in my sister's house, so that was that.  Now I need to find another first-in-a-series-new-to-me book, or tweak my other categories as The Coroner's Lunch is first in a series too.  My sister was recommending The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie, so I might go for that.  Plenty of time to think about it anyway as I have another ten or so books to get through as well.

My other problem with the book challenge is that I've already got two contenders for the freebie category that I was saving for emergencies.  I am itching to read I Capture The Castle (thanks for the recommendation, Lynsey!) and In Cold Blood.  Which to choose...?  I guess I can wait until February for one of them.  What with Christmas, I'm sure February will be here in no time.  Better get reading!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

bonfire night and this night (fi-i-i-i-i-i-ight!)

Kaboom!  This year we took Dulcie to the fireworks on Glasgow Green, along with about 15,000 other people.  It was Dulcie's first real-life experience of fireworks and the first time I'd been to a big display in ages.  We saw some toddlers freaking out a bit, but Dulcie absolutely loved it, especially the noise.  The fireworks had a superhero theme, lots of TV and film theme tunes - Batman, Wonder Woman and the like.  It was fun.
We started our evening off with a fish tea in an old-school type cafe not far from Glasgow Green.  Central Cafe?  Well, it was an interesting experience, but the food wasn't great and I wish I hadn't seen the nook and miniature sink (barely visible under all the dirty plates) that counted for a kitchen...  Thinking Dulcie was finished, Graham polished off her food while she was in the toilet.  This did not go down well!  He tried to claim he'd left her some, but even Dulcie was perfectly aware that green slivers of chip did not count.  Lack of flavour and hygiene notwithstanding, it was fun and CRAZILY BUSY with firework types and the waitress was nice.  It did take about 20 minutes to persuade someone to stop making chips long enough to take our money, though! 
Here we are all cosy, just waiting for the fireworks to start.  Dulcie's massive cardigan and bodywarmer combo made her head look tiny!
And here's one of the three of us taken by a kindly passerby. Very blurry, but family photos are rare so I'll share it anyway.

The journey home was quite an experience.  15,000 people filtering out a few small gates was sardiney to say the least and Dulcie was ready for bed by this time so I had to carry her, totally unable to see where I was putting my feet.  Graham cycled home while Dulcie and I got the underground.  I had never seen it so busy.  It took us about 20 minutes to get through the turnstiles and then Dulcie promptly fell asleep on my knee as soon as we got on the train.  A nice lady had offered us her seat, thank goodness.

That night Dulcie had a dream that one of the fireworks popped on her trousers and this is the news she'll share with anyone who asks what the bonfire was like. 
I think I'll have to give Dulcie one of these talks!

Ah, it was a fun night and sometimes it's good to focus on the positive past and forget about the crappy present, like the fact that I felt heart-horrible again all day, only to get in from a ten-hour shift (three hours of which were spent trying to solve an IT problem) to find someone had left Dulcie's bedroom door open and the cats had got in and poop-bombed it for a second time, adding a massive pool of furball-riddled vomit for good measure.  The only new carpet we've ever had!  Why, cats?! Why?!  By the time I'd cleaned that up, Dulcie was late for bed and I was puffing and panting like a dodgy phone caller.  Then there was the small matter of getting her to sleep and her nursery stuff to be sorted for the morning...  I HATE FINISHING WORK AT 8PM!

Well, you know what?  Now that I've written that, I'm feeling like kind of a superwoman.  I worked all day, sorted out a very tricky IT problem, dealt with cat excretions efficiently, read Dulcie's bedtime stories in a loving manner, made her a healthy lunch (home-made soup, people!) AND sat down to blog.  Yep, I'm amazing.  Some days muddling through IS amazing.  And I've got a toddler-free day off tomorrow to recover/achieve yet more :)

Go, me...  Yawn...

Friday, November 21, 2014


My mum and dad were in Islay recently for my cousin's wedding and while they were there they kidnapped my home-loving granny (a.k.a. the Cailleach) and FORCED her to come back to the mainland with them for a wee break.  Dulcie and I went to visit them all today.  Dulcie was a bit shy with the Cailleach for most of the afternoon but came round eventually, managed to have a good giggle with her and gave her a big cuddle before we left.  Here's a wee snap of the four generations together - Dulcie, me, my granny and my mum.  I'd say this is a very rare sight, but it did happen around this time last year too.

And here's a nice one of Dulcie and the Cailleach together :)

I'm feeling very behind in my blogging, most particularly in terms of some great times I've had with Dulcie lately.  Halloween was awesome, bonfire night was awesome, Dulcie's birthday was awesome.  (We watched the Lego Movie with my nieces and nephew last week - everything is awesome!)  I know some of these things seem very last-month but I am still going to blog about them all, hopefully very soon.  I might start with the birthday since I've actually had a bona fide request to see the cake!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 27 - the final instalment!)

18th July 1988
I stayed at home.  Lovely weather.  Very bored.

19th July 1988
Today Kerry and mum went to Aberdeen.  I stayed at home with dad, poor me.  I joined the library.  I got four books because that is the most you can have.  Flora Finlay and Linsay came to see us.  The weather was quite nice but it did rain.  Dad and I went down to see Gail and Peter.  Peter wasn't in.  Barney the dog and Gail were though.  Barney tried to get into the car with me to go home.

20th July 1988
Police academy five.

21st July 1988
Went to Aberdeen to see Scot and Angela.  We got Peter and Diane's wedding present today.

22nd July 1988
Kirk Caldich.

23rd July 1988
Finlay Flora Linsay
Tidied Bedroom
Martin Julia Gave Presents

24th July 1988
Our (Kerry and I) III cousins came to visit us.  They are from America.  They are Bob, Joanne and Vion (Vione) (Vionne)

And this anti-climax is where my notebook runs out of space, making this the last Time-Travelling Tuesday.  I hope you've enjoyed reliving my 1988 with me :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 26)

(Glasgow Garden Festival and the Clydesdale Bank Tower.)

11th July 1988
Went to Craigtoun country park.

12th July 1988
Crocodile Dundee II.

13th July 1988
I got a toy seal and I called it Sapzo.  (Said as Zapzo)
[This seal is now a favourite of Dulcie's when she visits my mum and dad.]

14th July 1988
                          when we went to it.

15th July 1988
and bird


16th July 1988
Arrived home.  Went to Glasgow Garden Festival.  We went on CB tower.  We qued for an hour.  It goes up to the top and then down again.
[And I did a drawing of the tower, which looks nothing like the picture at the top of this post!]

17th July 1988
Home sweet home.  I had a long lie.  I did not go to church.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

hot bot

 It's Dulcie's birthday tomorrow.  She'll be three!  Can you believe it?!  Being mid clear-out, we decided to go low-key on presents, not wanting to re-clutter the place already, but I think the simple little things we're giving Dulcie will be well received as they're all things chosen most specifically for her.  As well as a skipping rope and a Ladybird book of The Billy Goats Gruff, she'll be getting a hot water bottle, something she's been coveting for ages.  And that's it.
I made this cosy cover for her hot water bottle from a lovely jumper (that originally belonged to my friend Lorna before it came my way) that I accidentally shrank and then purposefully felted.  It's so snuggly.  The buttons at the neck hole allow the bottle to be taken out so we should be able to replace it if we ever need to.  I hope Dulcie will be snuggling up with this beauty for many years to come.

Right, I'd best be off.  I've got a Billy Goats Gruff cake to make... Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

reading challenge update

Here's my book pile for the Semi-Charmed Winter 2014 Book Challenge, or my book pile SO FAR, I should say, as I'm still waiting for a couple of titles to arrive.  I got off to a bit of a flyer and have already clocked up 20 points by finishing East, West.  Go, me!  It helped that Dulcie and I were staying at my mum and dad's this weekend - I had plenty of reading time by the fire and under the covers.  East, West turned out to be a book of short stories rather than a novel (this was news to me!) and was fantastic in parts, not so fantastic in others.  I absolutely LOVED the East stories, didn't like any of the West stories and quite liked all the East/West stories.  Definitely worth reading, on the whole.

I'm now reading Buddha Da, which definitely meets the "local" criteria - it mentioned locations a few hundred metres from home within the first six pages!  I think it might take me a while to get used to the vernacular style, but I'm hoping I'll enjoy it in the end.  

Buddha Da had been on my bookshelf for years and years.  East, West had been on my bookshelf even longer, for well over a decade, maybe closer to 20 years now I think of it!  Yikes!  This challenge is proving to be a great way to make myself read some of these titles I've never quite got round to before, which can surely be no bad thing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 25)

We found a fish for you, could we please have our umbrella back.  Limited edition 11x14 print by Matte Stephens.
Print by Matte Stephens.

4th July 1988
Today we went swimming.  I met a man that was working on the porch and he said is your mom mom at home.

5th July '88
Watched a film until 11 o'clock.

6th July
Tidied our bedroom.

7th July 1988
I got two of the workmens (on our porch) aughtographs.  One of them is Steven Moir and the other one is George Wright.  It is quite a hot day.  But we did hear some thunder.  They didn't do kisses so I did some for them.  I wanted to say to Steven will you marry me Stevy Wevy.
[Har!  Then there are my copies of their signatures.]

8th July 1988
Went to bank in Huntly.

9th July 1988
Arrived at Fife.

10th July 1988
We went to water life.  I liked the seals and sealions best.

Monday, November 3, 2014

doesn't everyone love toast?

I'm very excited that the new series of Toast Of London starts tonight!  I'm looking forward to weekly instalments of giggling.  Ray bloody Purchase...  So good :)

It's on Channel 4 tonight (Monday) at 10.35pm.