Monday, March 31, 2014


I found this lovely vintage birthday card on Etsy and it made me think of my friend, whose birthday was coming up.  While pondering whether it was OK to give someone a card with an irrelevant/incorrect age on it, I realised that she was going to be exactly 30 years older than the card's intended recipients, so...
...I created this little appendage.  Pimp that vintage card!  Hee hee!  I find it really hard to use vintage cards that have never been written on, so I made my little banner easy to remove and signed my name in pencil.  Her son will turn seven this summer, so perhaps she can recycle it for him.  Every modern seven-year-old boy's dream card, right?  Hmmm...
If I'm paying postage for something, I quite often like to treat myself to something else at the same time, so I bought this lovely wall-hanging flash-card thingummy from the same shop.  It's to hang on the wall of Dulcie's bedroom.  She's building up quite the collection, her room is going to be so lovely!  I was so delighted when I received this.  It's one of those things that is ten times nicer in real life than you'd ever imagined.  Dulcie likes it too and claims it reminds her of paper dolls.  Right now, Dulcie uses "girl" as a badge of honour, so this picture seems very appropriate for her.  When my dad was in her favour last week, he changed from a boy to a girl.  Even Graham gets to be a girl sometimes now, when he's not winding her up.

The shop I got these from was the lovely and incredibly reasonably priced Thursday Threepence.  When I say reasonably priced, I mean it.  The "girl" poster was only £3.  Go and look!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

did not buy

Here are some recent charity-shop finds that I left behind for someone else to discover.  A cross-stitched letter, but (sadly) not one of the ones I was looking for, unless I wanted to spell "hello" as "hellu".  Which I don't.  Still looking for an L and an O if anyone sees them, by the way!
The inside of this book was not nearly so exciting as the cover, so I took a photo and left it behind, even though I was also tempted by a book about small-scale weaving and a Basil Brush picture book.  I think it was four books for a pound or something, so I did well not to take any with me.  The photo is better - let someone who might actually become a glove puppeteer have this.  That is not me.  Well, probably not anyway!
This was also VERY cheap, in every sense of the word!  It did make me laugh, but I knew I could certainly live without it!  I just liked the fact it appeared to be the same make as those "World's Best Grandma" ornaments you see from time to time.  I wonder who had this and where it was displayed.  Prominently?  Who knows?

I don't take nearly so much home from the charity shops these days, or from any shops.  Even when I see nice old things that I like, because I have nowhere to put them, I tend to leave them where they are.  I'm looking forward to a time where our home is sorted and I can buy things I like without feeling bad about it.  It will be nice to buy things knowing I have a place to put them rather than knowing I don't even have a place to store them.

I considered doing a Less 365 type of idea this year, but decided against it as I didn't want to commit to having to record everything I got rid of - if I'm in the mood to get rid, I don't want to waste time by writing down what I'm doing!  I've kind of had it in the back of my mind though and, if I was doing it, I'd be well ahead of the game.  I've already got rid of well over 100 things I'm sure (maybe close to 200, I reckon) and it's still only March.  And you know what?  I haven't missed a single one of them.  Plus I love getting emails from the British Heart Foundation telling me what they've made from my items.  Sometimes it's been in triple figures!  Amazing!  Crazy to think my junk is finding new homes and helping to beat heart disease.  Much better that than stressing me out and gathering dust :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

big girl in the big girl bed

Big news this week - the big girl's big-girl bed finally arrived!  Yippee!  This was her, not dressed for bed, the first time she saw it fully constructed and with its "Peppa Pig cubbers" on.  Very excited, as you can see!
Right now, she has not moved too far.  That's our bed right beside her.  We are working on getting her own room ready as a top priority, but couldn't put off getting the bed any longer and have so much other crap furniture dumped in our room (as a result of trying to improve elsewhere in the flat) that we're not able to move her any further away.  One day, one day... Soon?!  Ish?!
Caressing the covers.

The first night Dulcie slept in the new bed, she kept trying to abscond in with us, but I blocked all her attempts and she backed down quite quickly.  The second night, she just needed a quick hand-hold once or twice.  The third night (last night) she slept for over 11 hours without waking up once!  I honestly don't remember her ever doing that before, maybe once or twice in her life.  The signs are good!  Hopefully by the time we're ready to move her into her own room, she should be totally comfortable and settling herself easily.  In general, Dulcie's sleep has improved amazingly over the last couple of months, still not perfect, but SO MUCH BETTER than it had been.  I don't think it's any coincidence that her improved sleeping/settling happened at the same time as I finally stopped breast-feeding all together.  Dulcie wasn't really keen to give up her bedtime feed, but the time had definitely come and, after a few nights of having to talk her out of feeding, she quickly adjusted and seemed less manic/anxious somehow.  She soon started dropping off more quickly (though I'm still having to lie with her until she's asleep), waking up less often throughout the night and settling back down more quickly when she did.  All of this confirms to me that the time was right to stop feeding and stops me feeling sad that those days are done.  It's all good positive progress, right?
For ages Dulcie has had a penchant for tucking her toys in, so it's very exciting for her to be able to tuck a pal or two in beside her of an evening.  Kimo the Eskimo was given the honour of the first try.
Lying down happily and... to sleep!

Yeah, it's not quite THAT easy, but it's still great and she looks so cute snoozing away in there, with her feet only about a third of the way down.  Aw.

I won't share the tale of the bed's construction.  Suffice to say, two of our family cried and the third swore a lot.  Hey, it's made now...  I just hope we don't have to take it apart to move it to the other room!  Ha ha!

Friday, March 28, 2014

where we've been

That was an uncharacteristically long blogging gap for me, by 2014 standards anyway.  We've been busy hanging out with my parents/Dulcie's grandparents.  First of all they were staying with us to do a spot of house-hunting.  (Don't know if I've mentioned they're planning on moving closer to us?  Yay!  Amazing what the lure of one super-cute girl will do to a grandparent...)  After that, Dulcie and I went up to stay with them in Elgin for a bit.  I was meant to be clearing out what remains of my stuff in preparation for their move, but that didn't really happen.  We were far too busy doing nice things and going on outings.
 The beach at Lossiemouth was FREEZING but good fun.  Dulcie met a friendly baby and was sat on by a friendly pug.  Sandcastles were built and instantly destroyed, ad nauseum.  Rock pools (well, puddles) were searched and treasure found - a shiny 10p piece that looked surprisingly similar to the one that went missing from my pocket at around the same time.
Dulcie LOVED having the garden to play in.  Here she is digging for wriggly worms with my dad.  She'd been going on about wriggly worms for weeks prior to this (she made an imaginary compost heap from a cardboard box following an inspirational episode of Peppa Pig) but seems to have gone quiet on the subject since getting up close and personal with the real deal!  She was rarely without her spade, watering can and plastic secateurs over the week.
 Here, she's shouting "Yee ha!"  She did this so much (always waving a plastic golf club round her head while she did) that the ladybird came to be known as Yee Ha.  Yee ha!
 And here she is sitting in a fancy dining chair eating porridge and generally looking like Goldilocks... minus the locks.  It's much easier to get a nice photo of Dulcie when she's in a nice house as opposed to our dung heap.  Everything was much calmer too, even when Dulcie was afflicted by a giant new tooth and screamed for about two days.

Will we ever be sorted?  Work continues behind the scenes (Graham has been snatching spare half hours to strip wallpaper and I am to phone the gas man today) but I'm perilously close to doing a TMI photographic post so you can all see what we're living amongst.  The cats, Puky and Hairy, are not helping matters in the least.  If Graham and I were married, I think he'd be using the threat of divorce as a bargaining tool to get rid of them.  As it is, he's powerless!  Ha!  (If he liked it then he should have put a ring on it etc.)  Anyway, back to the original subject...
Too cute!

As well as all these activities, we went charity shopping a couple of times (Dulcie got a few bits and bobs and I got an amazing vintage baby item for my friend's forthcoming offspring, but I can't share it until the baby is born for fear of ruining surprises), had giant pancakes at Baxters and visited the GIANT rabbits who live in the nearby garden centre.  Everything is bigger up north!  Ha!  Honestly, these rabbits were huge, easily as big as Dulcie, and were dragging their handlers around at the end of their leads.  Dulcie managed to get a quick cuddle with one of them, to her great delight.

Anyway, we're back now and I have a few blog posts lined up in my head, I'm just struggling to find my old rhythm and can't quite remember how I got things done while looking after Dulcie on my own.  I'll be back on top of (er, underneath) things soon!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

harrowing comedy for quiet nights in

Did you watch Inside No 9?  I'm a bit sad it's finished (I like having something to look forward to on weeknights at home in my sad existence!) but have just discovered there's an extra episode online, so I'll look forward to watching that later.  The final episode, The Harrowing, was great but SO SCARY.  I can't believe something with a definite comedy element throughout could have terrified me so much.  Graham is revelling in the new power he has to torment me by whispering, "Mischief... Mischief..."  If you like horror, you must watch it... but maybe not when you're home alone or hoping to have a good night's sleep uninterrupted by nightmares.

All six episodes were enjoyable, actually, but A Quiet Night In was the best thing I've seen on TV since...  Well, ever!  After watching it, I said I could imagine it being trawled out for decades to come like Morecambe and Wise's breakfast dance.  I can't believe I haven't heard more people raving about it.  Honestly, it was televisual perfection and absolutely hilarious.  You must, must watch it.  It didn't have so much of the horror element (just a bit of suspense and tension) so don't let your nervous disposition put you off!

You can find all the episodes on iPlayer here, though, since the DVD is due out soon, I'm not sure how much longer they'll be available for, probably just a few days.  Watch them while you can!

Friday, March 14, 2014

more life in (and on) the doll's house

Just a few pictures of Dulcie playing, in her own unconventional way, with our doll's house...
...wearing my shoes while she's at it.
It's been good to get a bit more up-close-and-personal with the doll's house lately, it makes me see its potential once again.
I definitely want to go with '70s-esque decor, though I'm not going to worry overly about authenticity etc.  I found a great wee shop on etsy who sells all sorts of doll's house goodies, including wallpaper.  I think I'm going to order enough for one room soon to see what the quality is like.  If it's good, I will go ahead and order some more.  There are a fair few designs I like...and I'm trying hard to resist venetian blinds!  Maybe I'll make some of my own?
I think I might go with this wallpaper first - a bold statement piece!
Or this one?
Dulcie couldn't care less about the decor.  She just loves climbing on the roof with the teeny tiny broom to do some sweeping while she sings "When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney".

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

is spring really springing?

I took these pictures on our first proper outdoor picnic of 2014 a couple of weeks ago.  Picnics are a great way to pass the time with a toddler in tow - fun times, fresh air and no mess to clean up at home.  Since this day (following a lapse back into grey skies and hailstones for a while) the sun seems to have had an energy drink or two and has now been here for three days in a row.  Isn't it glorious?  Is spring really on its way?  Is it here already?  Yippee-ay-eh-oh!
Yesterday was particularly nice weather. I had a hospital appointment first thing in the morning. My parents were happy to be looking after Dulcie and Graham's work made him use up a whole day's annual leave so that he'd be able to accompany me, so once we were done at the hospital, Graham and I spent the day doing our old charity shop route in the sunshine.  I only managed it by having an actual nap on one of the bus rides and by necking a can of chemical and sugar filled Barr's limeade, but it was great!  We stopped off for a nice lunch, had coffee and contraband cake (we smuggle nice cake into the place with nice coffee) and walked through the park eating ice cream etc.  Graham very kindly swapped his delicious black forest ice cream for my gingerbread one after I regretted my choice.  What a guy!  I didn't buy anything in the charity shops for most of the day and then had a wee flurry of lucky finds in the last couple of shops, which was perfect.  I felt satisfied with my finds, but hadn't had to carry heavy bags around all day.  Woo hoo!

Dulcie, meanwhile, went for a picnic and a long play in the park with her grandparents, so a good sunny day was had by all.
Dulcie is a great picnic companion, especially for impromptu weekday picnics, just the two of us, where I raid the fridge and cupboards for whatever is available.  This girl will eat pretty much anything and even manages to look like she's enjoying it.  Here she is having a cheese and houmous wrap.  I bet the picnic my mum made was much nicer, but Dulcie would never be mean enough to say so :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

making time for making

Since my work hours changed, I've been able to make a bit more time for making.  These are some things I've made for other people over the last few weeks.  I made this crochet hook roll-up for my mum's birthday.  She's a knitter by trade, but has been expressing an interest in learning to crochet lately and I'm always keen to convert people to the hook, so I got her a book about crochet and a set of crochet hooks.
The hooks themselves (bamboo) were quite nice, but the packaging the came in was definitely not.  Nasty, huh?
I think the addition of a handmade hook roll-up (made from an old pillowcase and a piece of perfectly co-ordinating grosgrain ribbon I had already) really up-levelled this gift.  My mum seemed pleased and she had commented on how much she liked this fabric before, so I knew that was a good choice for her.
I crocheted this cardigan (like the ones I made for Dulcie when she was wee - pattern available here) for my friend's new baby boy.  I say new, but he was actually born in December. Yes, I was a bit slow off the mark, but I made this in 3-6 months size and babies really need cardigans all year round.  You should know, if I'm making things for your baby, that I must hold you in very high regard.  If I'm not in a good frame of mind, every stitch is like a tiny kick in the kidneys to me.  That's devotion for you!  Sheesh...
I also made my friend some fingerless gloves, the first time I had used any of the jumpers I felted about five years ago.  A pair of fingerless gloves was one of the most useful gifts I got post-Dulcie, but wasn't something that had occurred to me.  I don't know how well these will stand the test of time, but they turned out pretty cute and literally took five minutes to make.  I wish I'd managed to get them to her in December rather than February, but I'm sure there will be plenty of cold days still to come.  It's a shame she thought they were odd over-sized legwarmers for her baby!  Ha ha!  She knows what they are now.

I'm LOVING making things again.  I'm not sure I realised how much I'd been missing it.  I've got lots more crafty ideas in the pipeline too :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

more library luck

I haven't shared any library scores for a while, but we've had loads of good picture books over the last few months.  Here they come...

 How To Hide A Lion by Helen Stephens

This is a simple tale of the old-school variety.  A misunderstood lion is run out of town, so a little girl called Iris attempts to hide him in her house.  Among other activities, they read The Tiger Who Came To Tea together, which I thought was a lovely nod.  The illustrations are jaunty and fun and everything gets satisfyingly tied up at the end.  Just lovely :)

 Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Oh No, George! reminds me of my philosophy dissertation from my university days - is an existentialist ethics possible?  It draws the same conclusions as I did, only in 9,900 fewer words.  Approximately.  It's a fun book with modern illustrations that Dulcie really enjoyed.  Basically, George the dog really wants to be good, but he also really wants to do the naughty things.  What will he choose?

 Rollo And Ruff And The Little Fluffy Bird by Mick Inkpen

I would never have picked up Rollo And Ruff off my own back, but my mum borrowed this when she was looking after Dulcie one day and we've had it out a few times since.  It's one of those books that makes you feel like a master story-teller when you read it aloud.  It's so nicely written, sparse and straight to the point and subtly poetic.  Maybe we'll buy this one some day as it's great for winding down at bedtime and Dulcie and I both love it.

 Sniff by Yokococo

How could I fail to borrow a book once I saw it was written by someone called Yokococo?  Is that not just the best name ever?  I picked this up thinking it would be a comedy number about a little dog with a slipper stuck on its nose.  Instead, it turned out to be a sad and thoughtful book about grief from a little dog's perspective.  Like many of the other books we've been enjoying lately, this one is simply written - short, sweet and to the point.  And like Paper Dolls, I'm yet to read right to the end without having to pause to stop from crying.  Dulcie was quite concerned about me the first time I read it, when the ending caught me unawares and had me whimpering away.

The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

I thought this book had a retro feel to it and reminded me of my own childhood, what we wore and what the houses looked like.  Then I realised it was published in the late eighties!  Dur!  This book is really pretty creepy, but Dulcie loved it, especially the scary double-page spread with no words and lots of gnarly trees with creatures hiding amongst them.  Since reading this, we've discovered a few more Anthony Browne titles that Dulcie has really enjoyed.  My mum got a copy of Willy The Dreamer from her local library sale and we had to read it ten times a night for over a week.  Nothing much happens in it (Willy dreams about being various different things) and the illustrations are very surreal, literally surreal.  I like it, though I'm not sure what it is about it that appeals so much to a two-year-old?  Whatever, she loved it and the week we had to read and read and read it was a good one.  Recently we read Me And You, a strange take on Goldilocks, while we were hanging out in the library.  It's not easy to read aloud (one side of the story is being told in pictures while the other side is told in words) and was another one where I couldn't see the appeal for Dulcie, but she really enjoyed it too.  Social commentary for toddlers!

Foxy! by Jessica Souhami

We have this book out from the library at the moment.  It's a traditional tale told in a really traditional way and is pretty dark and faiy-tale-ish, so is right up my street.  I'm glad Dulcie's enjoying it too.  Foxy tricks various people into surrendering their animals to his sack, getting more and more valuable/tasty as he goes on his travels, until eventually he captures a little boy.  Scary!  The book has lots of repetition in it and Dulcie can read a lot of it to herself already.  She mutters, "And he travelled and he travelled and he travelled," then shouts, "Don't look in the sack!"

Sad, scary, simple, that's the theme of our borrowing, I think.  It's funny, but my taste in children's books has changed (or expanded, I suppose) since having a child to read them with.  I've always had a penchant for scary picture books (I wrote a dissertation - yes, another one - on that very subject) but I'm only now beginning to see the appeal of simplicity.  I think I blogged about my own books before?  Maybe not.  I wrote and illustrated two very much unpublished books in the days before I began blogging.  I reckon, in a few year's time, I might be ready to try writing a book of my own once again and I'll do things a bit differently.  Thanks for the education, Dulcie!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

hot chocolate

Dulcie loves hot chocolate.  Little does she know that HER hot chocolate is none too chocolatey and is really closer to hot milk.
Now that she's getting a bit bigger and more trustworthy (sometimes!) she is able to have hot chocolate from her own special mug.  She drinks with great gusto, as you can see, polishing off the lot in a jiffy.

Today Dulcie spent the afternoon in hospital getting lots of tests.  (She's fine.)  She was so good, really interested in everything that was going on, definitely helped by the amazing staff at Yorkhill Hospital, who all had a great rapport with her, and by all the toys in the various waiting rooms.  She was in super polite mode too - "Thank you, doctor. Thank you, lady.  Bye-bye, hospital."  Such a sweetheart.  On the way home we stopped off at a cafe and shared a slice of chocolate cake and drank hot chocolates.  It was a surprisingly nice afternoon :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

happy pancake day!

 Coming to you practically live from our kitchen!  Dulcie and I have been making pancakes.
 I'm not sure the rubbery finished products are worth all the mess, but Dulcie enjoyed herself.  Here she is stirring.  "Stir, stir, stir," she says.
According to her, they passed the taste test, but, like her father, she'll eat any old shite!  Ha!  Mind you, we did put some cinnamon in them which hides many sins.  We'll have the rest for pudding tonight, I think.

Why can't I make pancakes?  Even with a recipe, I fail, not like Mummy Pig who can whip them up in a jiffy with no recipe at all.  I suspect this is because she is a REAL MUMMY and I am an IMPOSTOR.  And I'm sure I found them easy to make as a child.  Now I always end up with one lovely side and one side that is half charred and half uncooked.  And let's not discuss the middles...  I suspect it's a problem with pan temperature.  You know what, though?  They were better than last year's, I think.  (Ooh, hasn't Dulcie grown?  Aaw!)  Maybe I'll be able to make them properly by the time Dulcie is old enough to be able to remember having eaten them.  We live in hope...

Other things I just can't do - take decent photos inside with my phone.  Grrr.

Monday, March 3, 2014

gigging girl

 Yesterday (while I was working - boooo!) Graham took Dulcie to her first gig.  Apparently she had a great time, dancing and clapping non-stop before flaking out and falling asleep through the last few numbers.  We managed to borrow these ear defenders for the day, but I think we might get her a pair of her own for future use, since she had such a good time.  One of Graham's friends gave them a lift to the venue and I think the car journey was probably just as exciting as the rest of the day!  Dulcie was full of news when I got home from work, which was lovely.
And here she is (post-nap, I think) hanging out with the drummer from the band.  He's actually an old friend of Graham's, we don't just hand her over to any random man with a pint really!

I'd better get going.  I've got a day's annual leave today.  I booked it ages ago for no particular reason and then forgot all about it until a few days ago.  I'm having a really good day so far, helped in no small part by the blue skies and sunshine.  I dropped Dulcie off at nursery a bit later than usual and then headed straight into town to look for pyjamas since Dulcie has suddenly out-grown all her sleepy suits.  I hate looking for clothes etc. for myself, but choosing bits and pieces for Dulcie is fun, fun, fun.  While I was in town, I paid a visit to Niche Optical Tailor and chose a new pair of glasses for myself.  I'm so excited about this as I have been trying and failing to find new frames for a year or so thanks to my incredibly wide head.  No, really.  You might remember Niche sorted me out with my last frames (over three years ago, I think - wowsers) after much fruitless searching elsewhere, and the service today was just as good again.  I must have tried on about 50 pairs.  At one point the young man who was helping me said, "What time do you need to pick your wee girl up?" and I replied, "Don't worry, not for another six hours or so."  He really did look worried, the poor boy!  In the end I was pretty decisive (by my usual standards!) and I'm really happy with the frames I chose.  They'll be ready within the week and I can't wait!  I'm getting my hair cut today too.  I'll be all neat and tidy and shiny and new in time for the springing of spring :)

P.S. Would you belive Graham has a background in photography?  No, me neither!  Ha!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

snack station

I love the way Dulcie is becoming her own little independent person these days.  She always does things her own way, sometimes quietly and sometimes with a determined digging in of heels and a, "No, Mummy!" or (more likely) a, "No, Daddy!"
Some of her steps into independence are tiny but (I think) significant, like the way she uses her surroundings now.  Yesterday I gave her a snack and she immediately scuttled off with it.  I found her, quite contented, having made a wee seat for herself out of this cardboard box (full of glitter, unbeknownst to her) that has been sitting in the hall.
 Lola is never far away when food is a possibility, but Dulcie is more than capable of defending her bounty!  They have a funny little relationship, these two, Dulcie ("Come here, Lola!"/"Go away, Lola!") being at once bossy and affectionate, Lola trying to keep her distance but knowing that Dulcie is the most likely source of food in the house.  This morning, while I was hoping that Dulcie was going to snooze on long enough for me to have a cup of tea, Lola broke into the bedroom, jumped up on the bed and woke Dulcie up.  Dulcie was unfazed, responding with, "Where's Mummy gone?  Miaow!"  A regular mini Dolittle...maybe.  In all honesty, she is becoming something of a master conversationalist these days, which I love :)
Snacks + (relative) autonomy = happiness.  One of life's simpler equations.

Incidentally, I think I'm going to have to stop using the "baby" label for posts about Dulcie as she gets quite cross if anyone makes the mistake of referring to her as a baby these days.  "Dulcie is a girl!" has become one of her catchphrases.  She'd be furious if she discovered my lazily inaccurate blog-post labelling...