31 March 2010

The Gallery: Outside my front door...


The theme for Week 5 in The Gallery at Sticky Fingers is... 'Outside your front door'.

I live in Brighton, now. But that wasn't always the case. We used to live in a suburb of East London, which had absolutely no appeal, aesthetically or otherwise, but was handy for the commute into London. Also it was within mine and ex-hubbys, at the time, extremely limited budget.

We've lived in Brighton, my OH and my 4 children, for 10 years now and I truly, honestly would not want to live anywhere else, ever. Why would I? We have the the beach, the sea, the Pier, the most amazing shops in 'The Lanes', not to mention all the stunningly beautiful Regency architecture, 'The Pavillion' oddly beautiful... All within a 15 minute walk. There is an abundance of Arts, Dance, Music and Sporting Festivals, both mainstream and alternative, to enthrall and capture the imagination of everyone, from the most conservative palate to the downright outrageous. It's just as likely I'll be sitting having a drink or a meal in a bar or restaurant next to a bunch of 6ft transvestites, as a mum with 2 toddlers in tow. I did a shop at Safeways, in St James St, at the same time as cast members of the 'The Lady Boys of Bangkok' also happened to be shopping, and hardly an eyebrow was raised, not a twitch.

So for me, one of the main reasons I love Brighton so much, is the sense of openness it gave and continues to give my children. To be who they want to be, to express themselves in a way they choose and not be afraid, to reach and push a little further, in an environment which upholds acceptance and tolerance as an everyday way of life. 
Of course, that's not to say that there are not lots of other places where this would also hold true, but nowhere have I seen it in such abundance as Brighton.

Now, I suspect you were expecting lovely photos of all the above places...

No, this week I've taken the theme literally. This is a panoramic view from our loft windows, of the road in which we live. The windows actually face east and west, but the pictures are of north and south.

The last photo though, is as the theme suggests, right outside my front door...
Please click on the photos to make them larger, and then click again if you want to see most of Brighton in all its glorious detail...

Enjoy, as I constantly do...

28 March 2010

A whole lot of Laundry going on!

With 6 people living in a house, an awful lot of laundry gets done. Plus the fact, these people, are adult humans, not baby or toddler size. Although toddlers/babies do go through loads of clothes, I do vaguely remember. 
This is not helped by the fact that these adults are, in the main, Teenagers. 
Just getting them to bring their stuff down is a herculean effort. Constantly, daily, 3 times a day even, our mantra is 'Have you brought down your dirty......?' Often the response is 'No, I forgot, I'll do it when I come back down'. Some of the time they remember. Unfortunately, more often than not, we have to tell them to go back up and get it. 


The general rule in the house is 'You keep your own space clean & tidy. Bring all your dirty stuff like clothes, plates, glasses, downstairs yourself. If you don't bring it down it won't get cleaned'.  
Just recently I've had to put this this theory to the test. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see there are 3 very large piles of 'clean' laundry ready to be taken upstairs, about 7 days worth, they do like to wear lots of clothes these Teens. Yet we have 4 children. I'm not including mine and OH's laundry in this, we do the damn stuff & it goes straight upstairs, we don't need to be told!
Yes, there's a pile missing. 19 yr old son has a pile of dirty laundry 5 weeks high on his bedroom floor. No, I'm not kidding, 5 weeks. About 3 weeks ago I refused to do it for him, as even at that point there was so much. That's at least 6 or 7 machine loads. I'm not doing a backlog of his washing, on top of all these clothes you can see, plus bedding & towels. No way. We've told him he can do the backlog, he knows how to use the washing machine, then, and only then will we continue doing anything he brings down.

As of yet, there's been no sign of him doing any actual laundry, and his wardrobe is now starting to look suspiciously similar to his lovely girlfriends. I am starting to wonder about his pants though?...surely not?

Tell me your thoughts.

DISQUS - Testing again, please comment..

I'm testing the comments, again, they seem to work for older posts, but not new ones? Although they did work for a while, then seemed to vanish..confused? Yep that's me.. So if you're able to comment please do, so I know if its working or not...Many thanks!

24 March 2010

The Gallery: Me, Forever...

Today in The Gallery at Sticky Fingers the theme is 'Me'...

Now of course this opens up huge possibilities for photo choices. I thought of trying to be clever and take or find a photo that represents who I am, not necessarily an actual photo of me. Something symbolic maybe, of who I believe myself to be. As I am many things, as are we all, daughter, sister, friend, lover, mother, dreamer, artist...
But the most life changing one of those for me is 'Mother'. 
So this is a photo of me. Taken 10 seconds after my now 22 year old son was born, still with blue fingers & toes and an interestingly pointy shaped head, caused by having been stuck on my cervix for 5 hours. 
His birth was the end of a heartbreaking 2 years for us, which involved the loss of our first son at 19 weeks the previous year, followed by many, many tests and lots of tears and soul searching about choices made.  
This was the moment I entered a wonderful world of love, hope, joy and fear, forever. And this is who I still am today. So this photo is the starting point of four wonderfully individual human beings, whose presence in my life has helped shape me into who I am today...ME.

23 March 2010

Blog Award - 10 random truths you always wanted to know!

Thanks Kate at Calamity, Kids and Other Stuff for my lovely Honest Scrap award. But, now I have to list 10 random but true facts about me. This could possibly get very boring, very quickly...But here goes...

I was a Gymnast, from the age of 5 until 15/16, at which point I discovered boys and other related  'non-gymnastic type physical activies'..Ahem.

I never have, and never do wear slippers, or anything on my feet in the house. Which causes lots of foot & toe related injuries. Breaking my little toe, by stubbing it on a door frame is a well remembered one. Arriving at A & E with a huge frozen bag of brussel sprouts on my foot & swearing like a trooper ensured it was quite memorable for the staff too!

I took a CSE qualification (if you're old enough, you'll remember these) in Typing at school. My kids find this hysterically funny. "Typing??!?!...you're kidding? Right? Why?"...

...And following on from the above fact, this now means I can touch type at 'the speed of light', without looking at the keys, or the screen. (So kids..impressed now?...Erm). Of course the speed of light in my mind is about 85 wpm.

I understand Binary and Hex. This was not through choice..Oh no, no, no. A work related IT course had the horrors of real 'Maths'..eek...in it. Fortunately for me, I have a maths 'guru' living with me, who was subjected to nightly assaults upon his ears whilst he tried to insert unwanted information into my 'mathematically' challenged brain. 
Did I mention?..I understand Binary & Hex!...Guru is very stubborn and has the patience of a saint!

I learned to harmonise to 'Simon & Garfunkel' songs. I can now harmonise to almost anything...

I can't eat food which still looks like it originally did while alive..So sorry, no seafood for me.

I prefer cheese to chocolate..

Members of the heavy metal band 'Iron Maiden' attended my & ex-hubbys wedding.

I now have to dye my eyebrows black, as otherwise they are nearly all white. I daren't look any further south..Aargh!

There you go, I think that's 10?...as I've just told you, maths is not my strong point.
I'm now supposed to pass it on to other bloggers.

22 March 2010

Spring is here and so are the Butterflies!

 Spring is here...

Finally, the sun has been shining. It's warmer. Flowers have been spotted, bravely pushing their way through the barren winter soil. How lovely, spring has sprung. It's making me smile. After all the freezing temperatures and excess of snow most of us have dealt with this winter, it makes me grateful and happy to watch spring stretching its fingers and warming up its toes.  Nature is emerging from its long hibernation. People are smiling more, are friendlier and have a visible spring in their step....Don't you just love it!

And to celebrate I have just made this pretty little Butterfly Picture, above, it makes me feel all spring like just looking at it...

19 March 2010

Yummy Feta & Chorizo Puff pastry Bake

I thought I would share my OHs simple and very delicious dish with you. In this house we have at least 3 of us who are seriously into cooking, so we do like to 'play' with food. 
I should add that this is not his own creation, I think he saw it on a cookery programme about a year ago, but he's tweeked it a bit. This serves 6.

1 Pack of Jus-Rol Puff pastry (2 x 340g)
2 packs of Feta cheese, thinly sliced.
Chorizo (or any ham/Deli/spiced style meats) thinly sliced.
OH decided to add leeks this time, sliced and gently cooked in extra virgin olive oil.
Large bag of fresh spinach.
Large roasting tray.

Pre-heat your oven to 150c. 
Grease the roasting tray. 

Divide the pastry into 3rds. 
Roll out and place the 1st layer of pastry in the base of the tray.
Cover the pastry with the sliced Feta, and add the cooked leeks on top of the cheese.
Place the 2nd layer of pastry on top of the cheese & leeks.
Add the sliced chorizo, to cover the pastry, then add a thick layer of spinach on top of the chorizo. If you want to make a veggie version, you could replace the meat with sun-dried tomatoes.
Finish off with the 3rd layer of pastry and brush with egg.

Chuck in the oven, 150c for about 20 minutes (low to make sure the feta melts before burning the pastry...Oops). Then turn it up to 200c for the last 10mins or so.

Slice and eat quickly, while trying not to burn your mouth *ahem* ouch, before everyone else finds it!  Must just add, it's really yummy cold too...

18 March 2010

Tagged - A photo Meme - Art & Design Textiles

Gigi's Ramblings has tagged anyone with this meme and with me being the ultra lazy blogger that I am at the moment, I swear my brain cells have been replaced with air bubbles, I thought I would run with it.
And wouldn't you just know it, it's a photo of one of my Teen Daughters Textile projects...Grrr!

This is a particular bugbear of mine at present. Last September TD chose Art Textiles and Photography as her A-level subjects (plus 2 other re-takes). Now, just in case none of you are aware, both of these are HUGE coursework based subjects. During the first year they have to produce 3 separate finished final pieces (for each subject), with large, fat sketchbooks to support the work.  TD had completed (ish) 2 and had number 3 underway, when a meeting at college was called and we were told, reading between the lines, that given the work she had done in Textiles so far, she probably wouldn't have a place at the college for the 2nd year! WTF...
TD was fine with this, she had already decided mid way through the first textiles assignment, that she'd made a mistake and wanted to change courses, too late of course. So she struggled through, with  gritted teeth (both mine and hers) I might add. 
When we had this meeting (only last week) she was 7 weeks away from her final exams (May this year), and their suggestion was that she drop textiles, there and then, with nothing, no qualification at all to show for it. So 2/3rds of the work was a complete waste of her time...as I said Grrrr!! Also, I'm not a believer in starting something and not finishing, I think it conveys a message of "It's ok, if its too hard you can just give up". She is continuing with her Photography course, but only till the end of this academic year. So we are now looking at other courses at different colleges for her, as you have to have a minimum of 3 A-level courses to attend the college, which she now won't have. More Grrr...

Anyway, rant over, back to the photo...

The first photo is of TD's final piece (not quite finished) for her 2nd project based on the title 'Lost & Found' with a sub-theme of 'Body Adornment', using some of the methods she learnt, plastics, jewellery making, etc..
She used only items found in the house. Plastic sandwich bags and fine copper wire from cables and melted them to create shapes.  Which she then turned into this 'neck piece'.
In fact, because she put a lot of hard work into this piece, contrary to college opinion, I'm going to add more than one photo, so it's the tenth, eleventh and so on, photos...well, I'm already in the folder anyway, so I may as well.

The rules are:
Open the first photo folder you find.  Scroll to the tenth photo. Post the photo and tell the story behind it.
Tag five or more people. But I'm not going to tag anyone, just jump in if you feel the urge.

17 March 2010

The Gallery: Colour - Sail away

The Gallery theme over at Sticky Fingers today is Colour. Unfortunately, my inspiration seems to be very lacking today, so this is a photo I took 2 or 3 years ago on Brighton beach. It's my OH, TD and OH's son, checking over the sail on our hobie cat. It's not a brilliant photo technically, I cut the top off the sail for one (tut tut) but I do love all the colours. 
Oh, and roll on the summer...

10 March 2010

One Passion...The Gallery at Sticky Fingers


The prompt for 'The gallery' over at Sticky Fingers today is....A Number.
I've chosen the number ONE...

I took this photo of my Gorgeous 18 year old son playing one of his guitars. Playing music, his guitar is his love, his number one passion. In his own words "If I don't play my guitar everyday, I feel something is missing".

And just because I can, I'm going to add sound here (Apologies to those of you who've heard it before).  My son playing (the guitar in the photo) and TD singing...
So you can hear him with his 'One Passion'...

5 March 2010

Guest Post Day - Sticky Fingers

Today, thanks to Little Mummy, is the day of many bloggers swapping blogs.

Yes, its 'Guest Post Day'. Drum roll...

So you will find Tara of Sticky Fingers fame here and I'm hanging out at hers for the day.
Tara has, in her words, two 'lovely little munchkins', aged 7 and 4. And although mine have long since passed this stage, I love reading about her 'munchkins' as it reminds me of how my now, hormone overloaded teenagers, once were. And trust me, with rampaging teens in the house I need all the reminders I can get.
And so, gently does it, try not to scare her off with all the possible horrors of teenagedom!
Please be upstanding for Tara...

"I have to chuckle when I read new mums talk about the cheek burning embarrassment of being caught in a trendy clothes store with their nipples leaking or walking into their posh office with baby puke on the shoulder of their work suit.
They are the sort of moments that make you want to turn to drink, or turn to stone or just turn and run away.
But I want to say to these women: nipple leakage? That's just a start. Wait until they grow up!

I have two young children. 7 and 4 (going on 14).
I know that once they hit their teens or tweens I'm going to be pulling my hair out because even now the embarrassment levels are dangerously high.

I remember when I was breastfeeding and a Savoy cabbage leaf popped out of my bra while I was at a posh spa hubby had treated me too. It was all white coats, minimal decor and scented candles. I like to think the tall, willowy, twentynothing assistant could recognise a breastfeeding mum suffering at the hands of a particularly hungry baby, but the look on her horrified face said otherwise.

Then we reached the Terrible Twos and my toddler managed to be violently sick in the children's aisle of a Wilkinsons megastore - all over his pushchair, clothes, floor and, mortifyingly, the display of books nearby.
You can actually feel the red hot burn of disapproval from shoppers boring in to your neck as you're down there on your hands and knees trying to mop it up with the scrap of tissue you managed to find at the bottom of your changing bag.

And don't get me started on when they can talk.
Walking hand in hand with my son around Ikea behind a particularly large gentleman he stage whispers to me: "That man is so fat, mummy". Of course, to a toddler 'stage whisper means say it as loud as your lung capacity will allow and what actually came out as was "THAT MAN IS SO FAT, MUMMY"
Then, while sat round a camp fire with new friends on a camping trip, my angelic little man is clearly bored with the conversation as it doesn't involve Ben 10/chocolate/him so randomly declares to all: "My mummy has two bottoms. A front one and a back one."

Supermarkets? Why do we not avoid them like the plague, because we know, we absolutely know, we're going to have an inquisitive child demand 'what the hell is that?' when someone slightly different talks to them (yes, yes I've been there too).

Ah leaky nipples, those were the days . . .

I know, I know, there are probably a whole host of you rolling your eyes and saying 'she has NO idea of what's to come'.

So tell me - gently - what is to come?"

3 March 2010

Sticky Fingers The Gallery....Beauty


Tara at Sticky Fingers has a photo gallery link and the theme today is 'Beauty'
So here's mine.

I took this photo last July on the island of Poros, Greece. 

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is one of my ideas of 'beauty'.

It's the branch of a tree, which reaches out over the sea, in an idealic place called 'Love Bay'.  
A beautiful name for a beautiful place...
I know that for all of us it was one of those holidays you hold close to your heart and carry forever...