Image

Blogging Challenge – Day Twelve : Favourite Childhood Book

Howdy folks.  Yes, I am skipping challenges on the Blogging Challenge.  Just pretend you haven’t noticed ok?

30-day-blogging-challenge[1]

I was a big reader as a child.  From the age of six onwards, I always had my head stuck in a book.  I was the annoying kid in class who always finished the assigned reading way before schedule and had to be given other books to read while everyone else caught up.  Yeah, THAT kid.  I was like it in high school too.  It’s very possible I was the only one who actually READ the books we were assigned.  But I enjoyed them – everything from
Catch-22 to 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm.  I loved them all.

My Mum always read to us when we were little and I suppose that’s why we always enjoyed books in general.  As a child, I loved stories with animals in them, but didn’t like anything scary or dark.  I remember one book I read gave me nightmares and actually made me physically ill so my Mum had to go to the school and asked for it to be removed from the library.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a book of so-called fairy tales, and it had one story in it where a witch rips the faces off pretty young girls so she could disguise herself as them and get up to mischief.  Kinda gross.   A less sensitive kid might not have been bothered by it, but it frightened me and my Mum took action ha ha.

I know I had a book about a dog called Barney, that my Mum used to read to me (until it fell to pieces) but I haven’t been able to find it since.  Another favourite was “The Golden Egg Book” by Margaret Wise Brown.  It too fell to pieces from being read to death.

When I was a bit older, I read voraciously on my own.  Enid Blyton was an early favourite, particularly the “Magic Faraway Tree” and “The Secret Seven” (my Mum won a set of these in an art competition when she was ten years old – I have them now 🙂 ).  I still secretly read Enid Blyton books, when I am needing some comfort or just to take some time out.  There’s a been a bit of a backlash about them in recent years, with regard to them not being very politically correct, but I love them.

Of course, Judy Blume was a HUGE favourite as I entered into that tricky pre-teen period.  My best friend and I loved her books and read all of them.  “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret,” was probably devoured by more 10-12 year olds in the 80s than just about any other book ever written.

I also loved Ursula K. Le Guin and Paul Gallico, Beverly Cleary and Diana Wynne Jones.  I read all the classics – “Charlotte’s Web”, “Watership Down” (a little bit adult for me but I trudged through it when I was seven, not really understanding all of it I’m sure) and “Little Women”.

I read non-fiction too.  Mostly about animals and magic and art.  I Loved poetry and silly rhymes, and books about mysteries and fascinating facts.

I have a favourite children’s book now though.  It was given to me by a friend when I was in my twenties, and I dearly love it.  I would give it to my own children, if I had any, and have actually given it as a gift to friends and family (both children and adults).  My favourite children’s book is “A Little Bit of Winter” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.  It’s just GORGEOUS.  The story of Rabbit and Hedgehog, best friends in the wood.  It’s Winter and Hedgehog has to go and hibernate.  Rabbit is worried that Hedgehog will forget about him during the long, cold months that Hedgehog is asleep.  Hedgehog himself does not know what Winter feels like and so they are both missing out on something.  It’s a story about friendship, mostly, but it is SO ADORABLE and the illustrations are the best.  I love it.  I have to do the voices when I read it, which is quite sad, but it’s just so darn cute.  There are other books in this series, but this one is my favourite.

Do you have a beloved children’s book that is dear to your heart?  There’s so many great ones out there, new and old, modern and classic.  Don’t let the kids have all the fun – try a few titles for yourself.  They’re comforting and calming and make you feel better about the world.  And, if you do have children of your own, get them in to reading early – it’s SO important.  My brother’s children all love to read and it makes my librarian heart proud. I’d be proud of them, whatever they did, but the fact that they love books and often can be found with their little heads buried in one is just icing on the cake.

Happy Reading Everyone x

9780862649982[1].jpg

(Picture : The Book Depository)

BFF Weekend

BFF Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, I treated my best friend of 34 years to a weekend away.  CG and I have been friends for so long now, we’ve really become sisters.  I think of her as family.  She’s more important to me than just about anyone.  She’s always been there for me and I can always trust her to support and believe in me.

When we were seven years old, her family built a house on my street.  Long story short, we became neighbours and best friends in a very short space of time.  We saw each other every day, went to school together (our Mums took it in turns to take us to school and pick us up), and then hung out together every afternoon.

In truth, we were, at least superficially, very different people.  I was short and awkward, clumsy and hated sport.  CG was tall and athletic, captain of the sports team, good at everything.  She was fashionable and pretty, I was dorky and a bit clueless where clothes were concerned.  But we bonded over books and toys, music and a love of tadpoling.  We shared hobbies and interests, celebrity crushes and talked about everything under the sun.

I’d never met another kid who knew how to play.  I didn’t have to explain the concept of playing “shop” or “detectives” or anything else.  She knew how to do voices for her Barbie doll and didn’t feel silly doing it.  She was happy to play with baby dolls and Star Wars figures equally.  We built cubby houses together and miniature cities for snails (not one of our best ideas, I have to admit) and dressed our dolls in clothes made from scraps of fabric or tiny sweaters knitted with fine wool on toothpicks.  I had my first proper tea party with her and countless sleepovers.  We sang and danced in my lounge-room with my brother and stayed glued to our radios at night, listening to the Top Ten countdown of chart hits.  We watched “Grease” approximately a million times.  We cried when Johnny Depp’s character was wrongly convicted and sent to jail in “21 Jump Street”.  We stuck posters on our walls and wrote in our diaries and talked about boys.

In year eight, we went to separate high schools.  I thought my world had ended.  I was lost and frightened and lonely and felt sure all my primary school friends would forget about me.  But not CG.  If anything, we were even closer and now had even more to talk about.  We still saw each other most afternoons and started the process of growing up and changing and navigating the trials of teenage-hood.  Throughout high school we remained best friends, even though we had our own separate groups of buddies in our own respective schools.  I was very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, that I am still close to to this day.  But CG was always by best friend.

Fast forward a couple of decades and here we are – still best friends but with different lives and trials and realities.  CG got married quite young, to her high-school sweetheart (luckily, I approved of him, much to her relief) and went on to have two gorgeous kids.  I did the opposite and got married 15 years later, divorced and remained childless.  But we are still close.  I often say we have nothing in common but, truthfully, we have one major thing in common : each other.  Our core values are the same and I think our hearts beat to pretty much the same rhythm.  Our mothers have remained firm friends over the years and have moved away from each other, only to very quickly move to the same neighbourhood, just streets apart.  My Mum sees CG as another daughter, and I know CG’s Mum feels the same way about me.  We all see each other at Christmas – usually spending Christmas Eve or Christmas night together.  It’s been that way since I can remember.

So, this weekend was a celebration of that bond.  We hardly ever get to spend time together these days.  CG works extremely hard at two jobs, plus she has to coordinate the sporting and social arrangements of her children, one of whom competes at a National level in her chosen sport.  It’s not easy for us to find a window of time that can be spent together.  I wanted to spoil CG and give her a relaxing break and enjoy some time together, like the old days.  This was also a gift for her 40th birthday (which was in December) – I figured the thing she needed more than anything was a rest and some indulgence.

We stayed at the Hotel Rendezvous in Scarborough, overlooking the ocean.  The view was lovely, even if it was too cold to actually go out on the beach itself.  We watched the (crazy) surfers out there on the water and enjoyed the sunset.  We went out to dinner and ate our bodyweight in desserts.  We stayed up late talking and catching up, in our PJs of course, just like we would have done 30 years ago.  We drank tea and relaxed and bemoaned our ever-increasing age (although we think we look pretty ok for two women in their forties) and slept in.  We went to a movie and had afternoon tea (there was a lot of food involved in this weekend – can you tell?) and a delightful couple of hours in IKEA looking at all the pretty things we wanted to buy but didn’t really need.It was so nice just to hang out together with nowhere to be and no one to bother us.

I am so lucky to have had a lifelong friend and I hope we will always be close, no matter where life takes us.

To CG, I will say this : Thank you for always being my friend, through all the ups and downs, through boyfriends and heartache, from childhood to adulthood and beyond, through weight gain and weight loss, from illness to health, babies and career changes – I love you lots and wish you nothing but happiness and contentment all the days of your life.

With love xxx

IMG_9502 IMG_9496 IMG_9501 IMG_9480

Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Well, this week has been a busy, stressful and tiring one.  I’ve been a little bit unwell – nothing terrible, just bad neck and back pain combined with some nausea and headaches – and have had some time off work which I rarely do.  I think I was just a bit stressed out and it always affects me physically.  I had been helping my cousin get ready for her 40th Birthday and that in itself was a stressful situation (you think I’m a stress-head? Amplify that by about a million and you get my cousin…) with drama after drama, dresses not arriving, worries about catering, finding wait-staff etc etc turning what should have been a nice backyard celebration into a full-on spectacle.  It all ended up perfect of course – the long-awaited dress (bought on Ebay) turned up the day of the party, the food was all gorgeous and there was plenty of it, wait-staff were booked and performed admirably and everyone who attended had a great time and went to great effort with their outfits (it was a “Fire and Ice” theme).  I cannot say I enjoy parties.  I try to, I really do, but I just don’t get them.  I’m just really uncomfortable and nervous and shy (ugh – I hate saying that; it sounds so lame and childish) and I hate the noise (God, I am so old!) and trying to talk to people by yelling and having to be sociable.  So, really, I am just a party-pooper.  I don’t drink so I tend to feel a bit of an outcast around all the other people who are generally drinking, or already drunk.  I’m not saying you have to drink to have a good time – far from it – but sometimes being a non-drinker kinda places you at a disadvantage.  I don’t want to drink and even if I was able to have alcohol, I wouldn’t anyway because I am always the one driving.  Plus, I am a control freak and don’t like anything that alters my ability to have a handle on any situation.  Luckily, my brother and his partner were there, with my darling little niece, my Mum and all my cousins and Aunts and Uncles too.  Plus a couple of people I knew as friends of friends etc.  So I had some people to hang out with.  I still managed to occupy my usual haunts which (at any given party) are a.) the kitchen and b.) a handy dark corner.  I kinda used my Mum as an excuse to stay wherever she was (it would have been rude to just leave her on her own…) and the kitchen always needs an extra hand.  I did also supply a large batch of cake pops (the bloody things took forever to make…) so I had to supervise their display and serving…  At the end of the day, the party was for my cousin and she enjoyed herself immensely with all her friends and family and looked beautiful and was thoroughly spoilt, which is the most important thing.  I think I was just feeling blue because I’m on my own again and don’t have that significant other to fall back on (so to speak).  I felt like the odd one out yet again and it kinda sucks.

During the week, I did find time to make a couple of things (I had one glorious day off work where I sat and crafted all day, trying hard not to feel guilty about not being at work.  I was just so tired and mentally exhausted – I needed a day off to recoup and regroup) so here is a selection I made whilst watching, ahem, Dr Phil…

IMG_5046

Little owls!  I’ve already sold a couple of pairs of these earrings – owls are the “in” thing apparently…

IMG_5047

I really like these green ones…they look almost vintage…sort of…

IMG_5048

Birds’n’berries (that’s what they look like to me – berries!)

IMG_5050

This is a particularly bright and bold necklace but I figure some people are bright and bold (unlike me who is meek and boring ha ha)…

IMG_5051

I call these the “Royal Sugared Almond” earrings…don’t you think they look edible?  Have already sold them…

IMG_5063

Blue cubes…

IMG_5062

Blue and white and swirly…

IMG_5064

More birdies…this time on toadstools…

IMG_5065

Black and sophisticated pearl…

IMG_5049

Glass “gem stones” – love these beads…

I also had to find time to gather up some old photos for my cousin in England who is doing a photo book for my Aunt who has been unwell.  My cuz wanted a few pics of my Mum and us kids when we were all younger.  Some really nice ones of my Mum and I was kinda cute I suppose…

IMG_9760

Look at my Mum – such a hottie hee hee!  She looks like a Charlie’s Angel or something 🙂

IMG_9762

And me…rocking the socks-with-sandals look.  Hey, it was the seventies alright!?  You’ve gotta love the Tinkerbell pinny though!  And oh, the blonde hair!  Sigh…where did it go?

Now it is time to do some laundry, tidy up my house and get prepared for tomorrow.  I’ve got a hospital visit first thing – got to see my renal specialist for my 6 month check up.  Always makes me nervous but I hope everything is ok.  Then it is back to work – hopefully for a less stressful week and not too many dramas (last week was a tad hideous in many ways).

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend and are planning on having a wonderful week! 🙂