My Secret Shame – Part 1

Ah, secret shames…I have many but I feel it’s too early in the day to show my true strange colours so I’ll ease you in gently.

The Good Food channel. Oh sweet wrapped figs with Camembert how I love it. Show me a chef with a healthy sized tummy stuffing his dauphinois potatoes in the oven and I’ll show you a happy woman clutching a cup of coffee with her nose glued to the screen.

I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of recipes at this stage. You tell me the barren contents of your fridge and I’ll tell you how to knock up a show stopping beef Wellington with nothing more than a wilted leek and an oxo cube.

My addiction has become so tragic that I play it on a loop until my daughters eyes begin to cross and she has no choice but to wing something at my head and beg me to stop.

“Ooh” you might say “I bet she’s a whizz in the kitchen!” to which I would throw my head back, heartily cackle and ask “are you nuts??” In my house fish fingers are as cordon bleu as it gets. Alas, my cooking knowledge is entirely theoretical, if I can’t get it on a plate in 30 minutes I don’t want to know.* Slicing the odd spud and bunging it in the pot is as technical I get. I used to cook a long time ago, I think I had aspirations of being a bit of a stepford wife at the time. Obviously I was temporarily insane.

Recently I thought ‘hey I’ll get back into it’ and threw together a cheese sauce, chucked it over a bit of pasta and lovingly presented it to the apple of my eye, ear cocked waiting to hear the ‘yum yums’ that were surely on the way. “It tastes weird” arrrghhh!!! “It’s because it’s real cheese, it’s not out of a jar. You love cheesy pasta. Love it. Love. It. Eat it.” After she poked and pushed it round the plate for 20 minutes I conceded it wasn’t going to happen. To be fair having a slightly psychotic mother glaring every time she skewered a piece of macaroni probably wasn’t a the appetising mealtime experience she was hoping for.

With that, the pasta was catapulted into the bin and my cooking career came to a screeching halt. For the time being I shall continue to embrace all things frozen and pour boiling water into my daily pasta pot. If the good Lord has intended us to cook at home he wouldn’t have invented restaurants anyway.

*My one exception is Christmas dinner which is second to none and my stuffing wipes the floor with any of that trash that comes out of a box.

Sharesday!

Mexican wave! Sharesday is here again! Woo hoo!

I was perusing one of my most loved poetry books looking for a bit of inspiration and came across the ‘death’ section. I know, it’s a tad on the doom and gloom side but they always make me giggle.

Hope Thursday’s being good to you all….

The Versatile Blogger Award

Eek! So the lovely Becca at From My Lofty Hill has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks so much! This is the second award I’ve been nominated for in just a few weeks so I’m feeling mighty happy.

Like I’ve said before, I started this blogging caper for my own amusement but I’m really enjoying it and have been find myself typing away every chance I get. I’m clicking on links to other bloggers all the time and my list of favourites is slowly growing.

The rules for this award are below:

▪  Thank the person who nominated you.

▪  Write 7 interesting things about yourself.

▪  Next, nominate 15 other brill bloggers for the award.

Writing 7 ‘interesting’ things is easier said than done, but I shook the messy box that is my head and this is what I came up with:

  1. I have a deceptively large head. Serious, even men’s hats don’t fit me. Must be all those brains har de har.
  2. I am a sci-fi geek. Not so much books but I love watching any movie with space travel or aliens in it (if you haven’t seen Interstellar you haven’t lived). I even find myself watching documentaries about quantum physics, I don’t always understand them but tune in anyway in case I finally crack what’s beyond the event horizon.
  3. I never wear heels unless I absolutely have to. I always fall on my face and come home with 2 scratched knees.
  4. I can still do a cartwheel and a crabs bend.
  5. I wanted to be a baker or postman when I grew up. Mind you I never did anything to become either of those things.
  6. The worst job I had was in a call centre. People will say whatever they want to you when they’re not face to face so I had to develop a thick skin quickly. I’ve also worked cleaning toilets and the toilets are still more inviting than a headset.
  7. I’m obsessed with anything miniature. After reading The Indian in the Cupboard as a kid I was convinced I could make my own mini civilisation in my bedroom if I just wished hard enough.

Here’s my nominees:

1. Chomeuse With A Chou

2. Written In The Ink

3. Whatever I Write

4. A Hundred Falling Veils

5. Erik Rittenberry

6. Incidental Naturalist

7. Attic 24

8. In Search Of It All

9. Lancashire Lad

10. Lizzie’s Restless Feet

11. Maulik Pandit

12. Tea and Tales

13. The Jess

14. Whisper

15. Thoughts Of Adventure

I think some of the above have already been nominated and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to nominate non-Wordpress blogs but these a few of my faves anyway and are definitely worth a click!

Word Prompt: Constant

The boss was otherwise engaged this evening (my daughter has a better social calendar than I could ever hope for) so I took myself for a toddle around town and what a lovely evening it was! I plonked myself at the city hall and caught up on my fellow bloggers.

I know there’s umpteen thousand articles out there about self care but I read a post at https://jessikagouws.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/a-reminder-things-to-start-doing-2/ which put a little bounce in my step.

It’s my experience that cliches are cliches because they’re true, and the phrase “be kind to yourself” is no exception. I have a terrible habit of overthinking things and on occasion, spend too much time on people and situations that really don’t do my head much good, but thankfully it’s a habit I’m slowly growing out of.

I supposed I just wanted to say that becoming the person you hope to be doesn’t just happen overnight, for me anyway. It takes a constant effort. Every time that yucky seed of self-doubt starts to sprout I have to mentally take my ‘bad thought weed-whacker’ (patent pending) and kill it. The nice thing is that when you do it enough, you begin to only hear the good things in your head.

It’s true that if you do something enough it sticks. I’ve learned that instead of listening to that negative voice making noises in my head, I can just put my fingers in my ears and sing “la la la” until it gets bored and goes away. And just like that – ta da! – only the good stuff is left.

Like I said it takes constant daily effort, I ain’t no Pollyanna 24/7 and have my off days same as the rest of the world. However, even though there’s much I can’t change in life, I can always change myself, which is a comforting thought to me.

On that note I’ll leave you with some words from Bruce Springsteen:

The Sunshine Blogger Award

🎶 Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…

Well something pretty amazing has happened this last week, first I got an amazing mention from the Blogging Detective at https://writtenintheinkblog.wordpress.com/ nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award and a couple of days later Mrs Chômeuse at https://chomeusewithachou.wordpress.com nominated me as well! I am literally over the moon…thanks a million, it means so much to me, it’s been a long time since I put myself out there.

I haven’t been blogging long at all, and to be honest I wasn’t really expecting anyone to read my posts but what I have found is that the blogging community is a great one.

There’s a whole big melting pot of people with loads of inspiring, interesting and heartfelt things to say, all encouraging one another. There’s literally a blog for every taste and I dare you to find something that doesn’t tickle your fancy.

I was terrified of writing anything at first, probably fearful I didn’t really have much to say to be honest, but I’m glad I finally dipped my toe in because frankly the waters feeling fine.

If you haven’t tried a blog before, don’t wait, give it a bash because there’s a whole bunch of people waiting to egg you on.

The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivety and creativity in the blogging community.

RULES

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to the blog.

2. Answer 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

Since I got nominated twice (thanks again ladies you don’t know what a boost this has been….I doff my cap to thee) I got 2 sets of questions, so I’m just gonna answer them all!

Questions from The Blogging Detective:

1. If you had to, who would you like to get marooned with?

Hands down, my daughter. She’s the best person I ever met and hilarious to boot. If she was with me, I don’t think I’d mind too much if we were ever found because we’d never run out of things to talk about.

2. If you got a million dollars right now, what would you do with it?

Buy a house in a little town I love in the south of Ireland, get my daughter a puppy and book us on a round the world trip. In true gloater fashion I would throw banknotes with gay abandon every step of the way.

3. If you had one superpower, what would it be and why?

Time travel, if there’s a place in time that it’s possible I could own a hover board I really don’t want to miss out.

4. What is your favorite hot (like cooked) dish?

Anything with an egg on it. There was never a situation in life that was made worse by the presence of an egg.

5. Would you want to be a singer or a dancer?

A singer. I can’t hold a note to save my life so it would be nice to pull a Mariah Carey one day and surprise everyone.

6. Favorite time of the day?

When my daughter comes home from school, she flings her shoes and coat off, grabs a snack and chills for a hour. I have a few coffees and a bit of lunch (usually the much celebrated egg) and we sit quietly snuggled on the couch together except for the odd hug and “I love you”…i always feel very content.

7. Why did you start a blog?

I never see things through, I was hoping that public scrutiny would finally encourage me to keep going at something, thankfully it’s working!

8. If you could pick, which celebrity would you want to meet?

Charlize Theron. I think she’s an amazing actress, with great range and would be great craic to have a pint with.

9. Would you rather travel on boats or planes?

Planes. They are massive metal birds that fly in the sky. In the sky! Mechanical marvels if you will.

10. Name one of your favorite words, and why?

Ooh this is easy: extrapolate….to guess or think about what might happen using information that is already known. My interpretation: use your own head and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.

11. Do you have a movie that connects you to your childhood, what is it?

Labyrinth with David Bowie. Me, my mum and sister loved it. The Bog of Eternal Stench never failed to raise a laugh and we would end up singing Magic Dance round the house for days after.

Questions from Choumeuse With A Chou:

1. Why did you start your blog?

See above.

2. What are your favourite things to do (when you aren’t blogging, of course)?

Watching movies (at the very least one a day-I’m a fanatic), crocheting, being with my baby bird, spending time with friends and walking everywhere.

3. If you could only visit one place, where would you go?

I want to swim with pigs in Barbados….then I’ll know I’ve made it.

4. Do you have a favourite post from your blog?

I only have a handful so far but I liked my Parenthood poem.

5. What is your favourite book? (If it is far too difficult to choose, who is your favourite author?)

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, it’s based on the W.B Yeats poem and blew me away. I’d love to know what’s going on in the mind of an author like that. Books like this one leave me in awe.

6. What are your goals for your blog?

I have none, to be honest I’m still gobsmacked anyone has read my posts so I’m happy enough.

7. Which three possessions would you grab in the event of fire?

Truthfully if I got my daughter and the goldfish out safely I’d probably just let it all go. Stuff can always be replaced.

8. Do you live in the town or country where you were born?

I do, I have escaped on several occasions only to return. After all this time I think I’m finally enjoying it.

9. Do you have any unusual phobias?

I detest anyone touching the inside of my elbow. I hate it so much it has become known as my Krelbow. My daughter takes great delight in winding me up and touching it while I make “I’m gonna be sick” faces.

10. Do you speak another language?

Conversational Spanish (badly). I used to live on a Island off Spain for 3 years and picked it up. My accent is diabolical though, I understand more than I speak.

11. If you could chat to any person in history (real or literary) who would you choose?

That’s super hard but probably one of my favourite actors like Gary Oldman or Paul Giamatti.

My nominees:

1. https://whateveriwrite195837201.wordpress.com/

2. https://jessikagouws.wordpress.com/

3. https://russelrayphotos2.com/

4. https://jamesistrying.com/

5. https://planet-dom.com/

6. https://diyingmachine.wordpress.com/

7. https://glennstuart.blog/

8. https://latebloomingdrummer.com/

9. https://ahundredfallingveils.com/

10. https://achlamydialist.wordpress.com/about/

11. https://rosyscorner.wordpress.com/

My questions:

1. What has been the best thing about keeping a blog?

2. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

3. What’s one of the best pieces of advice you ever got?

4. Did you become what you wanted to be when you grew up? (Or if you’re not grown up, what do you want to be?)

5. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

6. What was your favourite book as a child?

7. What is the ultimate thing on your bucket list?

8. If money was no object, what would you spend the rest of your days doing?

9. What was the last book you read?

10. If you could travel to deep space or deep ocean which would you choose?

11. What inspires you?

I hope my nominees choose to join in because I’m looking forward to reading your answers!

Sharesday!

See what I did there with my little play on words? Thursday…..Sharesday….geddit? No one?? *tumbleweed breezes past* Ok then, moving swiftly on….time for my weekly share!

This is one of my all time uplifting poems, every time I read it I imagine each person secretly housing a little songbird inside them who begins to sing when we need it the most.

I take comfort that hope isn’t something that we can drown out. Even when we’re not listening, it’s there, constant, waiting to be noticed again. I imagine that little songbird giving me a gentle peck when I try to ignore him, reminding me that time cures all ills.

I asked someone close to me years ago had they any words of encouragement for when life was getting rough and they said “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.” As a teen, caught up in hormones and no doubt seeking some profoundly romantic piece of advice, I wasn’t too impressed. But now I understand it better, it’s during the tough times that I need to dig deep and keep hanging on. No matter how things seem to be, keep the faith because no problem is insurmountable and really, none of us know what life has waiting in the wings.

Here’s me and my little songbird hoping good things are on the way for you too (or even better – they’ve already arrived!)

If you’d like to share your favourites, a happy thought or your own work, please feel free to pop a link in the comments.

Valentines Voodoo

The dreaded day is here. The day when self respecting adults the world over, bolt the door, build a fort out of the couch cushions, retreat clutching a bottle of Tesco’s finest vino and wait for the whole godforsaken debacle to be over.

I can’t remember the last time I went out for a Valentines date, I’m pretty sure there were still only 4 channels available on the TV. I shun Facebook because all those “date night with my baby” posts just give me heartburn. Roll on the 15th so I can bag a load of chocolate half price…

But! There is one good thing about Valentines for me, it’s my nieces birthday and each year I reminisce about the night she was born…so ladies and gents, I present to you…some Valentines Voodoo.

So, jump back eight years ago and I was chewing my nails to a stump waiting for this baby to arrive. My boyfriend at the time was a musician and I was at one of his gigs waiting for the news.

It had been a tough few days for my sister and it was her first pregnancy so it was all very nerve wracking. I said a wee prayer to God: “If you let it all go ok I swear I’ll change my ways” (God most likely rolled his eyes and thought “yeah sister where have I heard that line before?”). Anywho after some time I got the call, the baby and my sister were both safe and well and they had decided to call her Casey Elizabeth. After a little jig of happiness a lady who had been sitting beside me said “Well? A boy or girl?” With a dopey proud auntie smile across my face I replied “A girl, Casey Elizabeth”. To which she said “you’re kidding right? ….I’m Elizabeth Casey.”

Now if I ever needed reassurance from the universe that everything was well under control, that was it. I like to think something was letting me know that this kid was destined for big things…which of course she is, to put it simply she’s made for the stage. So each year when I’m dodging Valentines with a blanket over my head, the memory always puts a smile on my face.

For those fellow cynics out there I’ve included a link to one of my favourite love songs below….Happy Valentines, whatever you get up to.

https://youtu.be/3s5xsVHOJQs