Wednesday, 28 April 2010

am I the only one....

who can't help crying at that new John Lewis advert?

I don't know what it is but watching what seems to be one woman's whole life just gets me blubbing.  I don't know who directed it but I'm obviously at high risk of forming an unhealthy relatinship with JL.  

I do love their stores, especially as I am poddling through my forties.  They are reassuringly stable and I think that must be their USP for all of us in this topsy turvy, economic free-falling world.  Here I am, off to contemplate my navel and study fine art for three years but I'll always need JL for my sheets and my bin bags.  Like the advert so blatantly suggests, they'll always be there for me.  That's it, they've got me hooked.  I only hope it's a good sign that I know I've been hooked.
I am being denied the opportunity to watch 'The Edible Garden' which I have been enjoying immensely because the men in the house need to watch some italian and spanish people play football.  I'm having my own experiement with filling my garden with vegetables and herbs but I don't think I'll be able to do it as stylishly or as productively as Alys Fowler.  My children, when they watch it, find her trips to George, her allotment friend, a great big cheat.  'She just goes off on her bike and steals his rhubarb.  That's not fair.'  I have to say I agree.  I have found an old wine box which I got G to drill with holes in her honour.
Although not a great fan of the interminable election coverage, I enjoyed a section on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.  One of their very nice interviewers was speaking to a group of 18-23 year olds who were 'not in education, employment and training' or NEETs.  

I have a great deal of sympathy for young people who can't quite get their act together.  I was one of them, despite the advantages my education gave me.  The interview was all a bit pre-1997, everyone a bit disaffected, some saying they wanted to work but there were no jobs, some saying they didn't trust politicians, it was kind of predictable until, when asked if she felt guilty about not working, one of the young women said something like 'no, I pay taxes when I buy my cigarettes, I'm putting in and I'm getting back' .....

kids, eh, don't ya just love 'em?

Monday, 26 April 2010

focus, woman, focus

Too many cooks spoil the broth?  Too many broths turn the cook potty!

I know everyone is busy but I think my problem is internal prioritising.  Like all my friends and colleagues my to-do-list never gets any shorter.  I can cope with that.  What I can't cope is the flitting and hopping between too many disparate things at once.  Sometimes I can feel my mind thinking about two things whilst doing something else. 

If I'm cooking, I'm thinking about the laundry.  If I'm working on one project at work, I'm worrying about another.  Deep breaths, a sharpened pencil and a new pack of post-it notes is what is required.

I've only got a month of proper work yet - perhaps that will help...I hope so!

Friday, 23 April 2010

work, cook. sleep. knit.

I thought I had everything under control.  It would seem that I don't.  I have a pile of ever-growing paperwork that must be dealt with. Now.  Well, tomorrow.  Maybe Sunday.

I'm also planning to participate in the Knitting and Crochet blog week over at  I might indulge in an overnight blitz on my office.  I like to do that sometimes.   When I wake early, I prefer to get up and do something.  It feels like I've accomplished lots  whilst being half asleep.   It makes paperwork a lot less painful but can have a detrimental effect on sleep patterns.

I am off to Wonderwool tomorrow (not doing paperwork).  I went last year with E & N and tomorrow I'm gonig with S & N.  It's going to be hot and I've laid out the folding chairs and the picnic blanket in anticipation. It promises to be a good outing and there will be wool to be bought and looked at and admired.

Enjoy your sunny weekend.

Friday, 9 April 2010

projectforty - the review

I recently had a RAG review at work (Red - alert, attention required, Amber - OK - room for improvement, Green - marvellous and whizzy, continue).  I thought I'd give the original projectforty list the same treatment:

drink more water
tick - lots of water drunk every day, helps to pump out wrinkles
eat more good stuff
mmm - if this means, eat more chocolate and yummy cakes, then yes, if it means, eat more vegetables, salads and pulses, then no
does slumping on the sofa and falling asleep before 9pm count?
I've simplified my exercise routine by not doing any but other facets of my existence seem to be more complex than ever
get grooming
have realised that this requires persistence, I'm good at cleansing and moisturising, not so consistent around eyebrow management
watch less tv
tick - am watching more DVD box sets instead, the Wire and Madmen, sometimes on the same night
dance more
mmm - have been advised by the smaller people in the house that this is not a good look, in front of anybody
do new 'stuff'
tick - my attendance at unlikely random events is increasing
create more
tick - but not for public consumption
less caffeine/alcohol
more of the first, less of the latter (except for the last couple of weekends)
I think amber, don't you? OK with room for improvement. I feel confessed and cleansed by my own personal review but a little underwhelmed by my progress.

My main priority is, as usual, to get a little fitter and shrink a bit.  I think this might have to be my main extra-curricular focus for the next few weeks.  As I'm coming up to my 400th post, there's a definite need to revamp and rejig the original list.  Looking back, dear old projectforty has served me well.  Like all good regimes, it needs a shake-up.

Like the Russian dolls, I'll be trying to shrink - first deadline 30th April, the day before our next family reunion and 3 weeks away.  At 2lbs a week, that's 6lbs.  Better dispose of the Easter eggs then.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

nice but naughty

My beautiful satchel, bought as a Christmas present from the Cambridge Satchel Company.

I lusted after this bag on the interweb and G granted my wish for a retro, red satchel.  Little did I know that it would cause injury to my dear friend LBD.  I know it's an inanimate object but I shall be careful now on to keep it in the back seat whilst travelling accompanied.

Our kitchen cupboards are now stuffed with chocolate.  We have had a lovely family time over Easter, catching up with our nearest and dearest.  Everyone kindly fed us to the gills or left us with supplies of cakes and yummy treats.  Miraculously, no additional pounds have been accrued but my willpower is going to be tested over the next few weeks.  My brother-in-law has lost a good deal of weight and reduced his cholesterol by half during six weeks of careful living.  I'm not sure I can rise to such heights of abstemiousness (?) but I've got a term of working approximately 2 minutes walk away from our local gym at a school-staff reduced discount.  It's got to be done.

These daffodils are casting a beautiful spring-like glow over our kitchen table.  They are curly and pretty and incandescently yellow.  I know I'm not the only blogger to post a picture of a daffodil at the moment but I simply couldn't resist, particularly as I can't eat them.

I managed to get the children out of the house for a couple of hours. We popped to Chippenham and did a circuit via the library, the bank, the pet shop and Wilkinsons for some amazingly cheap seeds and seed trays.  I think I managed to get 6 packets of seeds for £3.  There is probably a horticultural wizard out there who will say those seeds are doomed from all sorts of ecological or environmental shortcomings but I've got a lot of border to fill up and not a lot of pennies to fill it up with.   My idea is to make the garden as well as the allotment as productive as possible, if not with food, with plants that the birds and bees will take a liking too.  I'm sure I'll be waist high in nettles and ground elder by May but my intentions are good so far.

My children don't like to leave the house during the holidays which is a strange, limiting phenomenon.  They like to stay in their pyjamas and become inert objects, clad in fleece and cotton jersey.  This is great from the point of view of getting work done.  I sent a survey out a couple of weeks ago and now have approximately 500 questionnaires to process.  I need to sit still for a while and tick boxes and learn how to use Excel.

On the other hand, two agoraphobic children means a lot of snacks and very little fresh air.  They are not quite of an age where they can be left alone together for longer than 20 minutes.  Small disagreements can flare unpredictably.  A short trip to the greenhouse in my wellies may have to be paid for by half an hour's refereeing and supernanny-type negotiations.