Sunday, March 31, 2013

sunday (today)

I've had such a lovely Easter Sunday with this girl and her dad.  Despite feeling a bit rough (is this really what two small rums will do to me now I'm a non-boozer?!) we have been busy and happy all day long, squeezing in two walks in two parks, an impromptu egg hunt, a visit from some friends, tasty sandwiches, Easter chocolate (Dulcie loved her chocolate bunny once she realised that it wasn't a cat and that it was edible) and much reading of books and playing of games.  I have been sneakily inventing games that involve a lot of cuddling.  Got to be done :)

There was something good in the air today, maybe because of the clocks going forward.  There was also a fair bit more blossom and a nice, laid-back holiday-weekend atmosphere.  I could get used to this.  Graham's got another three days off work (he's on baby-lifting duty while my mum takes a well-earned break at home) so hopefully we'll manage to squeeze in a good bit more family time.  This is such a novelty for us - we usually only see each other to hand over Dulcie between his shifts and mine, like ships that pass in the night.  I should undergo surgery more often - sick leave can be quite pleasant once you're a bit more mended!  Back to work tomorrow, incidentally, before anyone comments on my obvious lack of illness/pain now!

p.s. Dulcie's vintage Fisher Price TV in the top picture was yet another French charity shop find.  I thought I was going to have to fight my sister for it, but in the end she bought it and then gave it to Dulcie for her birthday.  It plays Row, Row, Row Your Boat and London Bridge Is Falling Down in a completely non-irritating way and the picture moves round on a loop.  Dulcie absolutely loves it and so do we.  Most times she likes to dance to it, but sometimes she just asks to have it on in the background while she plays with her other toys.  She can't quite wind it up herself yet, so she needs a bit of help and usually appears with the TV in her hand and a pleading expression on her face.  She is so incredibly lovely and clever and fun these days.

a handful of vintage buttons

I hadn't had a good rummage in a big old button box for quite some time, but enjoyed selecting these beauties this week.  They came from one of those buttons boxes that leaves your hands feeling manky and looking slightly grey - an unfortunate side-effect of the best kind of buttons!  Some day I'll get round to giving these a wash and adding them to my button jar.  I'm actually contemplating a button jar clear-out.  I'm sure I have lots of mediocre buttons taking up space that could be filled by beautiful buttons instead.  I think that could be one to file on the long-term to-do list...

p.s. Happy Easter!  Dulcie has a little chocolate bunny to eat later.  She won't know what's hit her :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

clear (imperative/adjective)

Hmmm.  Where to begin?  I always feel uncomfortable blogging about my health and other depressing subjects.  I'm mindful that it probably makes YOU feel uncomfortable and I don't want to do that.  I also don't want certain real-life people knowing everything about me and I know certain real-life people do lurk around here.  But there is some stuff that I want to get out in the open.  If you don't want to read about it, leave now and check back in a few days when I'll have got this off my chest (pardon the unintentional pun) and will be blogging about something else.  I bought some nice vintage buttons the other day.  You can come back some other day and  read about them instead.

I've been getting pretty frustrated recently at people knowing my business.  I thought I could be open about things with some people, the ones I chose to tell, but still keep things private on the whole.  Maybe it's my own fault for not telling my confidantes more explicitly that they were in the special inner circle and shouldn't share my situation with others willy nilly, but suddenly it seems like it's out of my control and certain people are knowing things that I don't want them to know.  A certain someone (who shall remain nameless) shared my "news" with some random guy that Graham went to school with when they met in the supermarket and justified this, when challenged by Graham, by saying that I had probably shared it all on my blog anyway.  I hadn't.  I'm not sure why anyone would presume that I had.  I found this out mid-discussion with Graham about who he could and couldn't tell when he went out with some friends tonight.  He said too many people already knew for it to be kept private.  I said I wished I'd never told anybody.  I do wish this.

This makes me wary of putting it out there so publicly.  Once people know things, you can't take it back and I really do regret telling anyone who did not need to know.  I have wanted to blog about things more, but didn't want to be left wishing I could take it back.  I also didn't want to feel embarrassed by a so-called self-indulgent post.  I know other bloggers hate them.  But this is MY blog.  Even if I'm only posting something lovely I've seen on etsy or what I bought in a charity shop, it's all about me really.  So why shouldn't I share the things that are actually central to my life and existence?  Anyway, once I had calmed down and stopped wailing about how Graham and all his acquaintances could continue gossiping about my failings once I was dead and they were all still alive (yes, I really do say such terrible things when I am in that dark place) I realised Graham was right, that the news had already gone too far for it to be a secret.  I don't exactly know how to explain this, but I felt I would be happier telling everyone on my own terms than having some people knowing bits and pieces and thinking they had some sort of...  power over me?  That's not really what I mean.  I'd just rather assume some control over the situation again and the only way I can think of to do that is to be more open about it on my blog.  I promise not to harp on about it after this post (where I suspect I will harp on A LOT) but it would be nice to be able to write freely, mentioning it now and again and not feeling like I had to hide stuff.

God, what a build-up.  Brace yourself for the anticlimax of the century...  I am now a cyborg.  Sorry, just trying to make it sound more suitably dramatic!  The more boring truth of the matter is that I have had a device implanted in my chest in the hope that it will make my heart start doing what it's supposed to and stop me dropping down dead as I go about my daily business.  The way this device does this is a) by using a type of pacemaker to resynchronise the two sides of my heart, which have been beating out of time with each other since my heart got so stretched/enlarged, and b) by having an in-built defibrillator (like those scary paddles on Casualty - CLEAR!) that is on constant standby, ready to administer an electric shock to my heart should it start misbehaving and try to kill me.

This is great in so many ways.  When I saw my cardiologist after the MRI I had in November, I really thought they'd be telling me it was time for a heart transplant.  This situation I find myself in now is obviously MUCH less scary/serious than that.  Also great, my device is proper state of the art.  It costs nigh on £30,000 and will have to be replaced every five years or so.  And the NHS gives me this for nothing and doesn't even ask me to prove that I am the sort of person who deserves all this money being spent on keeping me alive.  I mean, do I really contribute enough to society to deserve this?  The NHS doesn't even question this and I love (love, love, love) them for it.  Thank god I live in a country where I can get the treatment I need and not have to worry about whether I can afford it.  So this is all great.  Also great is the fact that I have an understanding employer who has let me take all this time off to recover without so much as a raised eyebrow.  And, of course, the fact that my family have been there to help in practical and necessary ways.  

So I know there are a lot of positives and that I am lucky in many regards.  But I think it's also fair to say that my situation sucks and that there is a lot of negative stuff that is really hard to get used to and to get my head around.  Some of the negative things are so awful that I can't share them here, some are so awful that I can't share them with anyone.  Other negatives might seem superficial or irrational, but they do bother me and I don't think it's wrong for me to be bothered by them.  It's mostly these superficial negatives that make me angry that people only vaguely connected to me think that they know (or have a right to know) what is going on, let alone think that they have the right to share this information as if it is their own.  

Firstly, I hate the term "pacemaker".  Everyone knows someone who's had a pacemaker.  Usually it's some elderly relative who's had one fitted in their seventies or beyond.  This drives me crazy as it makes people think this whole procedure is no big deal.  I can tell you that having heart failure as a woman in your early thirties is a big deal.  It's also a big deal that the medication (my great hope) hasn't worked, hence why we need to try this.  It's a big deal to know that the pacemaker might not work either (there's a 30% chance of that) and that, even if it does "work", it won't actually cure me, just hopefully stop me dying quite so young.  So, no, I don't care if your friend's great-granny has a pacemaker and can still make it to the local corner shop on a good day.  That sort of information does not make me feel better about myself or my situation.  Also, whoever gave my contact details to Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland can consider themselves blacklisted.  Receiving quarterly leaflets with pictures of geriatrics exercising from the comfort of their armchairs in the old folks' home does nothing to lift my spirits.

At least the internal defibrillator has a touch of glamorous danger about it, I suppose, but it's this danger element that makes it so hard to get used to.  When I've blogged about going to the cinema recently, it hasn't just been in order to take my mind off things or to pass the time while my insignificant external wounds heal.  It's actually really scary to be on your own, knowing your own body (or something within your body but outwith your control) could deliver an electrical charge straight to your heart, potentially rendering you unconscious or even killing you.  The cinema seemed like one of the most isolated/private public places I could be and it was a psychological trial, a fear to be overcome, for me to go.  I texted a friend from the cinema yesterday to tell her my dead body could be found in screen five should I fail to make it out alive.  I was only half joking.  A big part of the reason behind why I've delayed my return to work is because I'm scared of being shocked in that environment where I might not even be discovered for hours on end and where nearly no-one knows about my new cyborg status.  A medical professional recently pointed out that I should have been more scared without the device.  If I do receive a shock (and maybe I never will) it will be in a situation where I would have dropped down dead otherwise.  I'm safer out on my own now than I was before.  I know this is true and it does make me feel slightly better to think along those lines, but I think it will be some time before my mind lets me really believe it.  How long do I have to go without being shocked for me to stop waiting for it to happen?  Incidentally, even if the shock doesn't render me unconscious, it will still feel like being kicked in the chest by a horse, something I have no desire to go through, or should I say, something I have no desire to go through AGAIN.  The defibrillator has to be tested during its implantation.  They use the pacemaker to put your heart into a dangerous rhythm and sit back and wait (with Casualty-style paddles on hand) to see if the defibrillator will successfully deliver a shock and get your heart working again.  And you are awake while they do this.  My memory has, annoyingly, blanked this experience out, but I am told that I screamed a lot.  I don't want to scream like that in public, especially not in front of colleagues or friends-of-friends etc.

I don't like this situation feeling like it's out of my control or that it is a major part of who I am.  I've been advised to wear medical alert jewellery, something I am loathe to do.  I have to carry a card (and I mean an A4-sized card, not a credit-type card!) everywhere I go with details of my device's settings.  According to the charity for Scots with implanted defibrillators (I forget their name as I'm not ready to associate myself with them) I should no longer ride a bike or climb ladders, neither should I holiday anywhere other than a major city with a dedicated cardiology hospital.  There are implications for driving too.  I have to keep my distance from mobile phones, hair dryers, sewing machines, airport scanners and shops' security gates.  I negatively judge those who belong to societies/forums for people with implantable cardiac devices.  I'm sorry, but I don't want to be one of you.  I am one of you.  I hate it.  I have a scar and a lump on my chest and am young/vain enough to care a little bit about that.  I have a constant physical reminder that my heart is scarily buggered.  Dulcie has a mum who gives her a metal clank on the head every time she tries to cuddle her.  None of this is who I want to be or how I want to live, so why would I want every vague aquaintance to see me in that way?

Despite the fact that all of this IS out of my control, I feel like a failure.  I feel like people judge me for this.  I am embarrassed that I couldn't make it to the end of a pregnancy, something that other people do with ease.  I feel like I let Dulcie down before she was even born, made her start her life at a disadvantage.  I feel like everyone knows I did this.  I feel like I am not doing the great job I wanted to.  I feel like a failure.  If you have a baby, I probably hate you.  If you have more than one baby, I almost definitely hate you.  I wish this wasn't the case (it would certainly make attending toddler groups a lot easier!) and that I could take this on the chin, look on the bright side, be more generous.  I feel like a failure because I can't do this yet.  If I am walking with someone, I will try to engineer the conversation so that they do the talking when we are going uphill or up stairs.  I don't want people to notice I might be out of breath because this makes me feel like a failure too.  I find it hard to imagine a future where I am not scared and unhappy, or a future where I can forget about my heart or be able to do the things I really want to do.  This makes me feel like a failure and like I might always be a failure.  I hate the thought of the people I love worrying about me.  I hate feeling like I am responsible for making them sad.  I try to hide how I feel.  Sometimes this means I can't think of anything to say for days on end.  I feel like I have nothing good to offer my friends and family at the moment, I feel like I have let them down, that I am a negative addition to their lives.  This makes me feel like a failure.  Sometimes I feel the same about blogging and feel like a blog failure too.  I notice certain people in the real world (not the important people, thank goodness) slightly enjoying my situation.  I see them storing up information about me and looking forward to sharing it with others.  These are the people I wanted to keep from finding out.  Them knowing but not really caring makes feeling like a failure seem even more lonely, sad and real.

Actually, I know (when I'm in a more rational mood) that I'm not really a failure.  In fact, sometimes I even know that I have mostly done really well in a very difficult situation.  But that is just it - this IS a difficult situation.  It's also MY situation to share/hide however I see fit.  I don't want people to know about my weaknesses, so of course I don't want all and sundry to hear the word "pacemaker" third hand and think they know what I'm going through, lumping me in with every other OAP in the western world.  But if I choose to tell all to whatever random person happens to stumble across my blog, that is up to me.  I'd just rather I got the opportunity to tell you in a bit more detail, even if that does make me come across as a self-indulgent wank for a time.

So now we all know - I have a pacemaker and an internal defibrillator and, because I am a conscious being with thoughts, hopes and feelings, I am finding it a little tricky to come to terms with this.  I think most people would.  I think I am doing OK.

Gosh, I got quite depressed somewhere in the middle of that, but actually I feel much better now.  I hope you'll forgive my self-pitying/bitterness/negativity just this once.  Hopefully getting it all out in an overlong oner means it won't have to rear its ugly head here again for quite some time.  I think now I can stop worrying about who knows what and what they make of it.  I'll just presume we all know I'm a cyborg now and wear my scar/thoughts out on show whenever I feel like it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

curiously interesting fact

My sister sent me this fact discovered in her Altoids packet.  Most curious!  I've never considered mermaids as being pregnant.  It seems more likely to me that they'd lay eggs or that the mermen would incubate babies in a special pouch a la seahorses.  I guess we'll never know...


 Turns out I didn't really need any encouragement to get my hacked-up decolletage out on show after all!  Here's my scar (and bruise) as it was a few days after my operation.  Glam-tastic!
And here's how it looked just under two weeks after the procedure.  (I don't ALWAYS wear this top, you know!)  Not bad, eh?

My scar is not really painful any more, just the odd twinge if I move the wrong way, but, man oh man, is it itchy!  I am doing my best not to scratch.  My mum always told me that an itchy scar was a healing scar, so I'm looking on this irritation as a good thing overall.  My aching muscles (the bigger problem) are doing much better now too and, since I devised a pillow prop, I have been able to alternate between sleeping on my back and on my right side, which makes sleep much easier and less uncomfortable.  I have an occasionally twitching diaphragm as a result of the op, but it is gradually settling down (it was constant for the first few days) so I'm hoping it will sort itself out eventually.  It feels a bit like hiccups and drives me bleedin' mental, guv!

The doctor who carried out my operation said she had worked really hard to give me a nice, neat scar, partly to compensate for how horrendously every other aspect of the procedure went.  (Maybe I'll share that traumatic tale some other day...)  Every doctor I've met since has greeted me with, "Nice scar!" or similar, so I guess she did do a good job.  It does look much less noticeable than I had expected/feared (and I don't think you can tell I have a big metal box lurking under my skin, or not at first glance anyway) but I seem to scar really easily these days so I don't have particularly high hopes for it fading to a barely-there white hairline.  Most of my clothes (basically anything other than a blouse-type top, of which I don't have many, or a high-necked dress, which is no good for breastfeeding purposes) leave it very visible, so I'm hoping I don't mind showing it off once it's a bit less pink and scabby.  Fashion isn't really high on my agenda at the best of times, but I'd prefer not to have my wardrobe choices dictated by my scar.  I guess it's all a matter of attitude... and posting pictures on my blog is probably a good start!  I'm trying to think of a mantra along the lines of, "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!" but with something referring to having a dodgy heart and various related war wounds in place of the queer part.

Scaramanga, baby!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

nearly-new shoes

Just dropping by to share (better late than never) this super-sweet picture of Dulcie taken about four weeks ago, trying on her first pair of proper shoes.  We got them in Clarks, where they take a photograph of the occasion and give you this little souvenir booklet.  I love the way Dulcie's picture turned out - she looks so pleased with herself (as she was!) and it's definitely one to stash away in a safe place for a future nostalgia-fest.
 These are the shoes she got.  They were actually the only ones in the shop that fitted her skinny little feet, but I was quite pleased with them, being the least pink and least patent pair they had.  Since getting them, she's been having lots of fun toddling around the park, when it's not been too cold.  I've had enough of this freezing weather!
It didn't take Dulcie long to master the art of velcro, unfortunately.
 Dulcie thinks she's the bees knees when she's got her swanky shoes on.  We were taking some bags to the charity shop when I took this picture and she was completely oblivious to how much of a bag-lady she looked.  Check out that leg hanging over the side of her pushchair!  Too cool for school, Dulcie!  This jacket she's wearing is her other favourite thing in the world.  She's verging on a jacket obsession and pats her chest with both hands saying, "Daddet," whenever she's wearing it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

not to be sniffed at

I put together a little treasury of hankies not to be sniffed at over on etsy.  You can find it here.

So nice to have the time to do pointless things, though it does still stress me out to "waste" time like this.

My mum is still here.  Only another three weeks or so of not being able to lift Dulcie.  Urgh!  I still haven't gone back to work yet (I think I'm returning on Monday) but have made it as far as the cinema and out for lunch once or twice.  Who's up for seeing my scar?  You know you want to... but perhaps you shouldn't encourage me - I'm THIS close to an undignified tell-all post featuring my hacked-up decolletage!  Actually, my scar is looking pretty good - not too big and healing up quite nicely.  Dulcie points at it pretty much every time she gets near me.  Lucky for her I don't have too much of a complex about it!  I have a scar on my neck (a consequence of  Dulcie's dramatic delivery) that looks like a permanent lovebite, which is worse.  I've heard it said that chicks dig scars (and I do believe this to be true) but I am not much digging all mine.  Still, could be worse, and I do kind of love the little scar on my wrist from my angiogram.

How did I get from hankies to this?  Anybody reading this got any scars/scar stories they'd like to share?

Monday, March 25, 2013

tea for three (generations)

Yesterday we took my mum out for lunch to thank her for all her hardcore grannying.  By the time evening came, we were still fairly full from our midday feast, but I didn't want not to eat, so we revisited an age-old Donald family tradition of a sandwich tea by the fire.  Any excuse to bust out one of my cake stands!  There were sandwiches (cheese and onion, egg mayonnaise) and cakes plus a pot of tea for my mum and I and a beaker of milk for Dulcie.
Dulcie had a slice of French toast.  She started off on the floor...
...then moved to the couch beside her granny (since the cats were trying to steal her food) and then we ended up bringing her high chair through because she was seeming a bit confused and not eating much.

I love these types of teas.  We used to have them fairly regularly on Sunday evenings when I was wee (because we'd usually have a big Sunday lunch) but particularly during the winter months.  The teapot would be kept warm by the fire while we munched our way through sandwiches and cakes galore, usually wathcing the Sunday evening winter drama on the BBC, The Chronicles Of Narnia or something similar.  It was fun to continue this tradition with Dulcie.  Now, if only we could persuade her father...

ps Apologies for yet more dreadful photos!

Friday, March 22, 2013

on my wall (wonders will never cease)

 Despite having bought these pictures in August of last year, I am blogging about them in a rush, so excuse the poor photos, taken on my phone in the half-light of an energy saving light bulb on a snowy evening.  Well, what do you think?  They're kind of love them or hate them, I know.  Amazingly, Graham and I (who never agree on anything to do with interior design/wall art) both love them.  We found them in a great little antique shop while on a day trip to Dunkeld.  Ignore the bunkum sitting underneath them.  I was experimenting (about a month ago!) and haven't got around to finalising these "arrangements".  I wish I had the knack of displaying little things in groups, but they never ever look right.  I think perhaps I need to be more selective, something I'm not great at.  Those little cups and eggcups are destined to hold succulents (once I decide which ones to use and how to arrange them).  The pictures are just a few family snaps that I should probably update and reframe at some point.  At what point, I do not know!
 Anyway, back to the pictures.  They're from the 1960s, by a Mexican artist called Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo.  This one is called "Future Scientist"...
...and this one is called "The Love Letter".

Kind of creepy, kind of great.

Will it be another 9.5 years before Graham and I agree on anything to do with the house?  Quite possibly.

Anyone have any top tips on creating little object groupings on surfaces?  I think I need help...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a toast to convalescence

So who hasn't seen (and most likely favourited) Charlotte Mei's toast plate already?  I think hardly a week goes by where this little beauty doesn't pop up in my etsy activity feed somewhere.  Still, it is the perfect lovely picture to steal for this 5am blogging malarkey, whether it's new to you or not.  You can't deny it's pretty, even if you have already seen it a million and one times.  And it's totally relevant because I'm sitting here eating toast with lashings of butter and getting crumbs all over Graham's keyboard (don't tell) while guzzling paracetamol.  Well, when I say "guzzling", what I really mean is swallowing the maximum dose of two in a slightly frenzied manner.  (Don't panic!)

I've been in hospital this week for a "minor" surgical procedure.  While I am sad and sore and sorry, I have to admit that this is all far more bearable than the months of having it hanging over me while I waited for my appointment.  I am doing OK, recovery wise, but am finding it hard to sleep.  Lying down seems to make it all more painful and I can only lie in one not particularly comfortable position.  Plus that baby is pestering me, not understanding that I might need more than my allotted 20cm of bed space for a week or two at least.  After two hours of sleepless clock watching, I decided to get up for toast and paracetamol.

But what to do now?  I have to admit I was vaguely looking forward to this convalescence time.  My mum is here taking care of Dulcie (and me) as I'm not allowed to lift her (or anything else) for 4-6 weeks and I naively thought I'd be sitting crocheting or reading my book or doing a spot of embroidery.  In reality, the sad-sore-sorriness has been too much for any of that.  Maybe today will be the day.  I am feeling better all the time.

Even though I have been strictly instructed not to do "anything more strenuous than making a cup of tea" for a fortnight or so, I still feel guilty for mooching around while my mum (and dad and Graham) cooks and cleans and baby wrangles.  And it is so hard to be around Dulcie but not really be able to look after her.  Even though other trusted people are watching her all the time, I can't relax when she is in the same room as a hot drink, sharp edge or dangerous precipice (we're having stair gate issues...) knowing that I'm not able to fly across the room and grab her.  And when she does fall over and bump her head (which she does a lot) it feels horrible not to be able to just pick her up and give her a cuddle.  I am managing to play with her on the floor and read her stories and even breastfeed her (with embarrassing assistance) but it's not quite the same as being her go-to girl.  I kind of wish I could switch her off and put her in a drawer for a couple of weeks.  My mum is being very understanding, taking Dulcie out for long walks in the pram, come hell or high hailstones, so that I can get time to relax properly.  I'm thinking maybe I should take myself off to the cinema some afternoon and convalesce there, in the dark, but is it OK to hang out in the cinema when you're off work sick?  I don't know.  I think part of the problem is that, at times like this, I'd ordinarily want my own dark space to get used to things in.  That's just not possible with Dulcie in tow.  I guess I need to suck it up and thank my lucky stars that I do have people willing to take up my slack when I need them to, even if I would rather not have witnesses to my strange-smelling slowness.  (I am reminding myself of the poor cats when they came back from the vet's having had their ovaries disconnected, though my surgery was nothing so intrusive and I probably do them a disservice to compare.)

I wish convalescence was more of a "thing", like it was in the olden days when people got sent to the Alps  for some good air.  Modern convalescence seems to consist of getting a sore bum while moaning about the state of daytime telly.  Yawn.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

homemade toys

Two of Dulcie's favourite toys of late are both handmade.  This gorgeous doll was made for her by my sister.  Dulcie and I both love her (I mean the doll, though we love my sister too).  So far she's called Dolly, we'll see if it sticks.  I'm hoping Dolly might come in handy in the weeks/months to come.  I'm still hopeful I can persuade Dulcie back into her own bed without resulting to meanie-mum tactics, so a bedtime companion as snuggly as this might be a useful secret weapon.

This toy she's playing with here was one I made for her.  I think I mentioned it in a previous blog post, not that it really merits two mentions!  It doesn't have the same aesthetic appeal as my sister's doll, I'll admit, but as you'll see, it keeps her very entertained and has been a great help in developing her hand-eye co-ordination etc.  The plastic discs are ones that used to house my grandfather's coin collection.  Rather than throw them out, my forward-thinking parents kept them for Dulcie to play with.  I cut a hole in the top of an old ice-cream tub and Dulcie can spend ages posting the discs through the slot.  She looks like an old pro now, but she hadn't managed to get a single disc through until just a couple of weeks ago.  I do have great plans for this toy, actually.  Since the discs come apart and are hollow inside, I'm planning to fill them with interesting objects just as soon as I have a minute. That way I think this toy could keep entertaining Dulcie for years to come, giving her a chance to learn about colours and sort them into different sets etc.  (Once a primary teacher, always a primary teacher, I guess.  I am excited about developing this resource!  Ha!)

Here's a video of Dulcie playing with her tub and discs the other day.  It's kind of long and is probably not that amazing if, unlike me, you are not besotted with the girl, but the last 30 seconds or so are undeniably pretty smart, if you ask me.  And it does show how much this simple toy can hold her attention.

Do let me know if you've ever made an inspired toy for a baby/small child.  Cutting a hole in an ice-cream tub is probably about the level of craftsmanship I'm thinking of here -I ain't no Geppetto!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

shop news

I have decided to close down my etsy shop again.  I know some people manage to do all sorts of amazing things with a baby in tow, but it's time to admit that I can't.  Not right now, anyway.  Much as I love the thrill of making a sale, each one also fills me with way too much stress.  It sounds slightly ridiculous, but I just can't package items when Dulcie is around.  And she's always around.  The only non-Dulcie time I get in a 24-hour period is a) when I'm at work with no access to items/packaging and b) when Graham is giving her a bath in the evening, when there is always washing to be folded or toys to be tidied etc.  Hopefully I'll be able to reopen one day, but I think my plate is more than full for the moment.  I was just going to let my items expire (the majority of them will expire at the end of this month anyway) but I've got some stuff coming up over the next couple of weeks, and I don't think I'd be able to juggle that with anybody ordering anything - long shot though that is - so the shop has to go.  I'll be closing up at the start of next week (Monday, maybe?) so if there's anything you really, really want, make sure you order it by then... and don't get your hopes up for pretty packaging!  Hmm, I think I need to work on my sales patter too :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

thank you from the bottom of my heart

I just did my sums (oh, my aching brain!) and can now reveal that my efforts to do something for the British Heart Foundation in February raised a grand total of £46.  That's not too bad, is it?  Thank you so much to everyone who made a purchase, big or small, from my etsy shop last month!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

happy hina-matsuri!

I got the best girl in the world (in my biased opinion) to help me choose the three winners in the Girls' Day giveaway.  Unfortunately, she found this post-bathtime task so exciting that she has only just gone to sleep and Girls' Day is nearly over!  C'est la vie - the results are in, albeit at the (almost) eleventh hour.

The three names Dulcie selected from her plastic bowl were...



and (drum roll)


Congratulations!  I'll be in touch shortly to get your postal addresses. Thanks to everyone who took part and happy Girls' Day :)

top-secret mission

This blog post will self destruct on reading.
Dulcie and I are back from our secret mission.  We went to Elgin along with my sister and her family to surprise my mum for her 60th birthday.  We all had a lovely time and my mum genuinely didn't suspect a thing - there were many happy tears when she answered the door to find her two children and five grandchildren all on her doorstep!  Dulcie and I stayed for a few days.  My sister will be there a while longer, having travelled from France and all.  Dulcie had a great time with all her cousins and it was especially funny to see her and Elsie hanging out together.  They were due just a few weeks apart so are kind of doing all the same things as each other, although they have almost opposite personalities.  I'm hoping they'll be able to be friends as they grow up, despite living in different countries.

Not a lot else to report really.  I ate lots of food that I shouldn't have (my dad had, quite sweetly, baked his first ever cake for the birthday girl) and Dulcie, who is getting to be quite the little walker, got her first pair of proper shoes.  She is mega chuffed with them.  I'll try to post a photo or two some other day.

Remember you have until this evening to enter the Girls' Day giveaway...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

there's still time...

Hina Matsuri - 雛祭り by ajpscs
Hina Matsuri - 雛祭り, a photo by ajpscs on Flickr.

There's still time to enter the Girls' Day giveaway by leaving a comment on the post linked to there.  Three lucky winners will each receive a Graze box crammed full of handmade and stationery-type goodies.  I'll be drawing the winners tomorrow evening, so you still have around 24 hours to add your name to the hat.  Good luck!