Monday, December 31, 2012


I couldn't leave 2012 on such a negative note so here's a wee party tune to get you in the mood for however you might be seeing in the new year.  I'll be watching some good old Scottish telly (once EastEnders is finished) and eating plenty of snacks before the new regime starts tomorrow.  I might even treat myself to half a glass of sparkling wine.  Rock and roll!  Hope you have a good one, whatever you're up to.

goodbye 2012

2012 has been incredible.  I have loved spending time with Dulcie, getting to know her and watching her grow up, get stronger and become a happy little girl who makes me laugh every single day.  Other than that, though, 2012 has been incredible in the worst of ways.  Yes, you probably were made suspicious by that uncharacteristically positive-sounding opening statement, weren't you?  I was hoping I would be able to fashion some sort of positive response to the year, one full of lies if needs be, but this morning has been so typically 2012 (never try to get out of jury duty over the festive period even if you do have multiple valid reasons that can't be argued with) that I can't bring myself to say that this year has been anything other than utter shit.  Although I did enjoy the Olympics, naturally!  Wouldn't it be great if I could look forward to leaving 2012 behind and live in hope that 2013 would be better?  Well, I can't.  I am dreading 2013 and what it has lined up for me.  I already know 2013 is going to be even harder, even worse, even scarier and most probably with even more bad news.

So, resolutions...  Well, with everything that is going on, it seems churlish to make my usual faffy resolutions about crafting etc. (but I will in a moment) so my official resolution for 2013 is going to be a biggie:

I resolve to do everything I can to stay alive for as long as possible.

My time as a primary teacher taught me that goals need to be manageable and measurable, so I am going to break this resolution down into three parts:

i) I will eat healthily;
ii) I will continue to stay as active as I can for as long as I can;
iii) I will do my best to find a way to think more positively about my health and my "future" (e.g. by not putting quotation marks around the word "future").

And that will be it for my official resolutions, but of course I do have some other little ideas bobbing around my noggin, so I will have in mind at all times to make stuff and, more specifically, to make stuff that I enjoy making.  I'm also planning to keep blogging about whatever the heck I want (even if that is 99% baby) and to stop thinking about who might be reading so that I can be more honest/open about the bad stuff.  I think possibly I need another outlet to let off some steam!  Graham and I are also talking about making a wee list of things we'd like to do this year.  So far the list extends to seeing a 3D film, so you can see we're keeping it low-key and baby-achievable.

You should know that nowadays I despise people who are happy and healthy, but I will wish you all a good 2013 anyway.  Being on the list of people I hate won't do you any harm and may even be a positive thing to aim for.  Good luck with that.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I forgot to show you this

I bought this gorgeous vase in a French charity shop this October and never quite got around to photographing/sharing it before now.  Oh, I do love her.  The common consensus seems to be that she's intended for growing a hyacinth.  Once I lay my hands on a bulb, I will give it a go, but don't get your hopes up as my fingers are decidedly not green.
She's much nicer in real life, naturally.  I'm not sure whether my camera is dying or whether I am getting even worse at taking pictures, but nothing is turning out how I want these days.  Perhaps it's time for an upgrade.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

one year on

It's exactly one year to the day since Dulcie finally (finally!) came home from hospital to live with us.  I realise I haven't really shared any pictures of her this month, so here are some snaps of her December.
There's lots of standing going on (she even walked a couple of steps on her own last night) and lots of exploring.  That's why there are also lots of bumps and bruises!
This morning she woke up and gave me a massive grin, revealing... two front teeth!  Or two hints of front teeth at least.
She's making good progress with her talking.  I don't think strangers could understand her, but those of us in the know can make out a few signature words like "again" (and again and again and again) and "cat" and "tree".  She also mimics sounds now and again and has been roaring like a lion, squeaking like a mouse and too-whit-too-wooing like an owl today.
She's loving all her toys and is absolutely obsessed with her books.  She walks to the bookshelves and pulls down what she wants you to read to her.  She waves her hands when it's time to turn the page.
Talking of waving, she has just started waving goodbye and also gives high fives.  Right now she's dancing with her musical toy tortoise, a present from her granma yesterday.  Dancing is another very recent development.
So it's a time of lots of changes, lots of hard work and lots of fun.  And one year on from her coming home, my life and house are in an even worse state of disarray than when she arrived!  Ah well, she's worth it :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

we did it (or had it done for us)

 So how was it?  We had a lovely Christmas Day.  My mum (with her helper, my dad) did absolutely everything for us, which was amazing.  My input in the kitchen extended to putting sprinkles on top of the trifle and that was it.  We were truly spoiled.  Dulcie stayed in her cosy Christmas sleepysuit all day and was very good.  She sat through the whole of Christmas dinner (mmmm!) with no complaints and ate loads in true Christmas style.  Just check out that fat little face.
 We had gone pretty low key on presents, but she still had to open them in installments throughout the day as it was quite a taxing job for her and she wanted to examine each one very closely or wander off and read her books in between.  Her granma is coming to visit later on, so no doubt she'll have as many presents again today!  She really liked the little things we had chosen for her - a handmade decoration, an old book of nursery rhymes, a box of wooden biscuits and a little house-shaped jigsaw.  Graham has also done a song for her which he's getting made into a one-off record, but that didn't arrive in time.  She'll be none the wiser if she receives it in January, I'm sure!
Dulcie didn't want to wear her paper hat and was clearly quite embarrassed by her parents and their lack of street cred.  She posed like the Fonz and hoped her peers wouldn't judge her too harshly for her embarrassing mother.

So it was a great day, all in all.  I got some really lovely presents too and felt thoroughly looked after and well loved all day long.  What we saw of Christmas telly wasn't bad either.  How amazingly over the top was the ending of EastEnders?!  Loved it!

I hope you had a nice Christmas too.  I'd better go and get ready for Xmas Part Deux with the in-laws today.  I say, "Get ready," but my parents seem to be doing most of the hard work again.  Man, I'm spoiled these days, but I'm making the most of it :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

merry christmas

 Here's a festive little elf to wish you all a merry Christmas.  We found this outfit in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago and it was possibly the best £2 I ever spent - worth every penny for the amount of Christmas cheer it's bringing us all today.
And here's a second (very similar) picture just to report the news that Dulcie can now stand unaided, albeit only for the amount of time it takes her to realise she's doing it, panic and fall over.  That's usually about three seconds.  But still, amazing progress!

Gah, Dulcie is so cute and seems to be loving the festive season, not that she has any idea what's going on, of course.  But the tree and the decorations (especially the edible ones which she's surprisingly skilled at identifying) and the parcels and her advent calendar are all the cause of much excitement.  I can't wait to see her open her presents tomorrow morning.

Have a great Christmas if you're reading this, or even if you're not.

From Laura and Dulcie xxx

Friday, December 21, 2012


Back with another YouTube video post, I'm afraid.  Bad blogging, I know.  Rubbing moisturiser into my face makes my arms feel like they're about to drop off, so I am cutting myself some slack.  Maybe in the new year I will manage to return with some real life and a photo or two.  This is probably about the least festive song you can imagine, but I wanted to listen to it since it is the shortest day/longest night of the year (isn't it?) and once I heard it, it felt kind of relaxing in its un-Christmassyness.  So maybe it will be just what you need.

My parents will be arriving in a few hours to spend Christmas with us.  My mum is essentially bringing Christmas with her, having loaded the car with food, plates etc.  She even phoned this morning to check whether she needed to bring her own trifle bowl.  Meanwhile I have done nothing and my mind is blank.  I feel useless and awful for dragging my parents away from their beautiful festive home to spend Christmas here.  We have the Christmas tree up as well as a few bits of tinsel here and there, but I am not getting a festive vibe from our home at all.  Perhaps it is masked by the mess.  I've been trying to clean and tidy all morning, but I don't think it has made any difference other than making Dulcie even more grumpy.  Thank goodness for my parents and thank goodness that my parents see time with Dulcie as the world's best reward.  Let's pray that my mum works a wee Christmassy miracle when she gets here.  If anyone can, she can!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a christmas headbutt and a walk down memory lane

The other night, while trapped under Dulcie, I watched (for about the umpteenth time in my life) a Top 100 Christmas Moments programme on More4.  It was a terrible selection, mostly.  The list was compiled in 2005 and at least 90 of the clips were taken from programmes made in 2003/2004 that have not stood the test of time.  However, it did also feature this clip of the time my primary school teacher, Mrs Smith, appeared on the This Morning nativity with Richard and Judy.  The clip has gone down in history because Richard Madely headbutts one of the children from my old school while impersonating a donkey.  And no, I am not in the clip.  I had long since left Drumblade Primary by the time they made it to these dizzying heights of fame and fortune.

Mrs Smith was my teacher in primary one, primary two and primary three.  That's because my primary school was tiny (less than 40 pupils) so only had two teachers/classes.  Before I started school, my dad was the other teacher alongside Mrs Smith.  When she retired we went along to her retirement party.  In her speech she spoke about her three happiest memories and I was one of them.  Aaw!  Before I was even at school, Mrs Smith had to have brain surgery.  She was really anxious about going back to school in case her appearance (she'd had her head shaved and had lost some movement in one side of her face) frightened the children.  A few days before she was due back in school, she bumped into little three-year-old me and thought I would be horrified, but I marched straight up to her, threw my arms around her neck and gave her a big kiss.  I have never managed to do anything so socially unawkward since, I'm sure.  One of the other memories she used in her speech was a story written by a boy in my class called Garry.  In the story he had magic powers and used them to turn his little sister Debbie into a football before smashing her repeatedly against a wall.  Hee hee!

Mrs Smith was a great teacher.  I'm sure it was her teaching me numbers as shapes (using those plastic bricks that lock together) that resulted in me being able to add things up in my head even now.  I remember her wearing great boot/skirt combos and the day she walked in and caught my friends and I kneeling then leaning backwards so we were lying on the floor with our legs bent back up our sides.  She promptly joined in and put us all to shame with her flexibility.  She probably wasn't that old then, but to us she seemed ancient.  I also remember the day I didn't want to share my pens and Lyndsey Scott told on me. Mrs Smith said, in her best north-east accent, "Ach, dinnae be coorse!"  For some reason, that minor telling off really stuck with me and I often say it to myself (or to Dulcie) now when a reminder to be kind is needed.  

Mrs Smith passed away a few years ago now, but thanks to Richard Madely's headbutt, I will get a nice little reminder of her every Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

secret santa stress

Secret agent stocking by Secret Agents found via Super Cute Kawaii

This year I am taking part in an Indie Secret Santa organised by Miso Funky's Claire.  I should never have done it!  Secret Santas always stress me out in the end, but I convinced myself that this time it would be different, spurred on by the thought of the lovely present I might receive.   Of course Christmas is about giving rather than receiving really (ha!) and I was genuinely excited at the prospect of having an excuse to buy one of the many handmade items I'd been swooning over.  So I blustered ahead and signed up... then panicked and blew it!  My "giftees" (a recently married couple) appeared, after a bit of online snooping, to have very different taste from me with a leaning towards the traditional/chintzy/grown-up side of life.  Not being into that type of thing myself, I was finding it impossible to tell what was good chintz and what was bad chintz so I decided to go for a his 'n' her themed variety package with one central handmade gift purchased from someone else and a few additional items made by me.  When the central item finally arrived (late enough for me to miss the posting deadline - instant stress) I started to doubt its appeal.  Somehow it didn't look as good in real life as it had on screen.  Had I really, faced with infinite options of handmade greatness, purchased something totally crap?  And then when I added the over-familiar items made by me, the package began to look as if I was overcompensating with quantity as opposed to quality.  Claire's horror story of a past Secret Santa using her parcel as an excuse to offload old drawer junk weighed heavily on my mind.  Would it look like that was what I was doing?  Adding my atrocious wrapping skills to the mix, I plodded to the post office with a heavy heart, picturing the lovely couple's crestfallen faces on Christmas morning.  Sigh...  You know what?  I really did try.  I just hope my giftees realise that.  Meanwhile, I have an enticing mystery parcel waiting for me under my own tree.  I just hope the guilt doesn't stop me from enjoying it!

Maybe next year I should take over the organising of the Indie Secret Santa to atone for my failings, counting myself out of all giving and receiving.  And wrapping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

indecision (help!)

 For many years I thought that if I ever had a baby, I'd like to give them a Jane Foster screen printed cat.  What better time to come good on this plan than this Christmas?
 But I have hit a stumbling block and can't decide which cat Dulcie would most love.
 I've narrowed it down to these three designs, all made with gorgeous vintage Scandinavian floral fabrics.  I've been going back and forth over the last week, but can't quite bring myself to commit to one and leave the other two behind.

Fancy giving me your expert opinion, anyone?

You can find these cats and all Jane Foster's other lovely items at her etsy shop here... but please don't buy any of these three designs until I have made my mind up!

Is anyone feeling festive yet?  I have made some progress with gift buying (not sure how!) and our tree is up (yay!) but generally I am not in the yuletide zone.  Yet.  With a teething baby, hospital appointments coming out of my ears and jury duty coinciding with what is meant to be my first week back at work (why?!) I am more prone to the bah humbug side of things, I'm afraid.  But I am looking forward to the day itself and have been enjoying the odd mince pie (or two) while I ponder presents etc.  And it's fun buying stuff for Dulcie.  Not being able to choose which lovely thing to buy for her is what could be described as "a luxury problem" for sure.  Oh, and there's even been some MAKING going on behind the scenes!  Not a lot of making, admittedly, but enough for me to give myself a mini pat on the back.  Well, it's not easy when your day consists of 45 measly (glorious!) minutes without a baby attached to you/screaming at you.  See?  I'm trying!   :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

baby, it's cold outside

 Well, this seems like an appropriate post for the first day in December.  I've been snapping photos with my new phone on our various frosty walks round the local parks this week.
 The duck pond was nearly frozen over, with just a little moat of open water around Duck Island.  Did you know there is a flickr group called Stick Figures In Peril?  I should really upload this photo and add it.
 The rhododendrons were a bit on the frosty side and looked like unseasonably plump pea pods under their white winter coats.
  Even the pretty purple cabbages were frozen.  I know we're not supposed to steal the vegetables, but this did seem like rather a sad way for tasty cabbages to end up.  They would have been much better off being boiled alive in a big pot on my stove - mwahahahahaha!
I finally found my gloves, thank goodness.  They turned out to be in the pocket of last year's winter coat.  My sister gave me these lovely gloves for Christmas last year.  They're by Clovaknits who also makes the most gorgeous personalised cushion covers and hot water bottle covers.  Her shop is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for any nice handmade gifts.  All her stuff is so cosy and perfect for this time of year.
 I didn't much fancy resting my legs on any of the benches.
I'm sure this would have caused quite serious frostbite of the bottom.

Right, I'm off to have a lovely hot shower.  All these photos have made me a bit chilly.