V is for …. VIP!

My baby, I can hardly believe I’m writing this, turned 16 yesterday! How the heck did that happen?! Only seems like minutes ago I was in the car on the way to hospital…. and we’ll go no further with that line of thought!

Yesterday was a lovely day…not quite how I’d imagined she’d want to spend her 16th birthday – paintballing with a group of friends – but they had such a good time that it really was the right choice. She’s a bit sore today but, hey, that will just remind her what a good day it was….every single time she tries to move!

I’ve spent this morning looking through old photos so I could put together a couple of montages to show her what a very important person she is. Hopefully none of them are too embarrassing?! The first is a selection of, mainly, birthday cakes! Lovely to see that her friends from the earlier photos are still in yesterday’s photos too. I’m hoping they’ll all be able to stay in contact after they all go their separate ways once exams are done in July this year.

Holly Birthday

The second set is just a collection of photos from over the years. Some of them are firm favourites and others are the ones that she’s edited in herself!! Not sure she’d have included the one of her hoovering for the very first, and last, time though!

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Happy 16th Birthday Holly – you are and always will be my VIP xxx

 

Are Good Deeds A Good Idea?!

Nan started this one off….. When we visited her last week she was STILL talking about the time, two Christmases ago now, when she went shopping in her local shop to buy biscuits for her carers. The lady who was helping her reach them down from the shelf took the biscuits and other things she’d picked up to the counter while she picked up one final item. When nan got to the counter and got her purse out to pay she was told that she owed nothing as the man in the queue before her had paid for all of her shopping as his good deed of the day.

As this event, given she’s still talking about it 2 years later, obviously meant so much to nan, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to try and do as a kind of new year’s resolution?

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions as a whole. I’ve Googled some lovely definitions of them though –

“A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.” (Ahhh, can you imagine spending the whole year hanging out by doors in the hope you can open them for someone?! Slightly nice!)

or

a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year: “Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?” “Yes, I’m going to eat more healthily and give up smoking.

If you ask me these should, on the whole, be redefined as a brilliant idea at the time (especially if you’ve had a new year’s bevvie or two) that might well set you up for a fall either sooner or later and make you feel worse about yourself and/or fatter/unfitter/smoke-ier when you comfort eat/sit watching tv/smoke to get over your remorse! (All power to those who do make resolutions and manage to stick to them though!)

Anyway, I decided that I would try doing a good deed every day.

How long do you think I lasted?

Well, someone took the mickey on day 5 which made me feel exceptionally bad tempered. However, that instance might have been classed more as a favour rather than as a good deed as I was specifically asked to do it, rather than finding something nice to do and doing it off my own back. So really it wasn’t my fault when a further 4 caveats were added to the favour after I’d agreed to do it, leaving me feeling pretty put upon and generally growly rather than light, fluffy and full of favourfulfillingfluffiness (yes, that is a thing).

However, that grumpiness carried on to yesterday when my good deed was “Didn’t have a hissy fit when the ignorant man in the queue at the bank pushed in front of me even though he and the cashier knew I was there first and despite the fact that I was trying to get to work on time when he was obviously just dossing around and had nothing better to do than stand behind me in the queue or, as it happened, blatantly push in front of me completely underminining the purpose of having a queue “. It’s not going so well is it?! It’s just as well I was such a rubbish Brownie as doing a good deed every day at the age of under 10 years old may just have set me up for a lifetime of therapy!

Then there are the people who don’t actually want you to do a good deed for them. A few years ago now I was in a local shop and the lady in front of me was 2p short for her shopping. The guy behind the counter was obviously not going to help her, just sitting there staring at her and she was getting flustered and trying to find an item to return to the shelf, so I stepped in and handed over the 2p, as I’m sure most of us would. She was grateful, he was very grunty and I felt pleased I could help. However, next time I went back there he handed 2p over to me as the lady had gone back and given him the money to give back to me. Perhaps it was just her very good manners that made her do it, but it left me feeling a little sad that she felt the need to do it.

One of my friends posted the following on Facebook recently, and I’ve seen it posted before on other peoples pages in the past too:-

“To start this year off in a loving way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. …These five people must make the same offer in their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile, so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2015,without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love filled year.”

It’s a really lovely idea and I wish I’d got there within the first 5 people to have a go…which left me wondering how you’d feel if the first 5 people weren’t those that you’d have chosen if you’d wanted to do nice things for 5 people? Or what if these people went back on their word and didn’t make the same offer on their own page? The Pay It Forward idea is great though – did you see the film about it?

So, rather than have a complete nervous breakdown before the third week of the year by trying to do good deeds, I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person who would do a good deed anyhow if it needed doing (ie picking up the woman out of the road outside the pub on 4th January when lots of other people were walking straight past, assuming I guess that she had been drinking when in fact she’d turned her ankle stepping in a pothole) or when I felt like doing something nice for someone. Hopefully that way I’ll be making some people out there happier this year, making myself feel a bit better at the same time and not risking my health by feeling obliged to go into my daughter’s room to tidy it as I can’t think of anything else good deed-y to do today! Although, perhaps the advice I’m giving you in the photo below could be my classed as my good deed of the day?!

 

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#MakeSummerAmazing

Have you had a good summer so far? We have, but we’ve had a little bit of help!

Whilst looking for things to do I came across a blog post from Dragons & Fairydust which linked to a page on the Hillarys website which contained not one great list of things to do but FOUR of them, with a massive 40 great ideas for summery activities, ranging from the quick and simple to the more complicated and challenging but, best of all, cheap or free things to do! Hurray!!

I toyed with the idea of coming up with a new ending for one of my favourite films from when I was in my teens, Pretty in Pink but, without giving too much away, if you’re more of a Duckie fan than a Blehhhhane fan, you should read the book anyway instead of watching the film for a far more satisfactory finish. Oh. Um. Actually that did give a bit too much away didn’t it?!

'ere, 'ands off my blackberries you!

‘ere, ‘ands off my blackberries you!

 

We attempted a blackberry hunt but were a little early to find any ripe and when we did find some growing they were being guarded by a big and fierce protector, so we gave that a miss.

 

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Cauli/Explosion/Geyser/Geezer?!

Our true decision on a summer pursuit was, however, decided for us. We were sat in the car after a trip to Dartmoor when Kev said “Blimey, look at that geezer!”. My eyes shot left and right looking for an escapee from Dartmoor Prison running past in a suit covered in arrows (I’m so old) being chased by a gang of policemen blowing whistles and waving truncheons (so, so, so old!) but my daughter was more astute saying “That’s no geyser, it’s an explosion!!”. I was getting seriously worried by then! I finally looked upwards at their pointing fingers and found out they were both wrong, there was actually a cauliflower in the sky.

Of course then the madness really did begin. Here’s a set of clouds depicting He-Man running (sideways on, the big cloud with the grey is his muscly arm…honest!). What can he be running after? Turns out it’s a fox. Well, that’s not very He-Man-ish is it?! Well, get this, it’s SO not He-Man-ish as both he and the fox are being pursued by a big fat cat (not even Battlecat!!) which is about to bite He-Man’s bum!! Tut. So much for heros! Next time we look for She-Ra!

He-Man? Superhero? Pah!

He-Man? Superhero? Pah!

Going off at a tangent….feeling hungry? Well maybe you will after this amazing BACON cloud!!!

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(VERY spookily at this point that nice Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 has just started playing Cloud Number 9 by Bryan Adams – I have goosebumps at his timing!)

There’s hope for the lovelorn amongst us too, thanks to this cloud which clearly shows there is a bright shining light of hope coming through behind that poor old broken heart…

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We found this lovely mole poking his head out of his hole and looking to his right to admire the sunset….

Goodnight Ratty. Goodnight Mr. Toad.

Goodnight Ratty. Goodnight Mr. Toad.

And of course we had to look for a dragon in honour of Dragons & Fairydust as a thank you for pointing us in the way of Hillarys’ summer of fun (and madness, and neck ache!). Here’s one in the evening sky (with close up of his head just in case you can’t see it as clearly as we can!!).

2014-08-211So, a HUGE thank you to Hillarys and Dragons & Fairydust because we’ve had such great fun looking for shapes in the sky. I won’t bore you with the hundreds of photos we took of what we believed to be hilarious clouds which we just couldn’t fathom out when we got home!!

I’ll just leave you with this fantastic thought (you’ll love me for this one!!) – it’s only 126 days until Christmas – which is why Rudolph’s out practicing for his night out on the skies with Father Christmas (see, even a red nose! See? SEE?! PLEASE tell me you can see! And pretend you can’t see he morphed into the dragon a little later!).

Go Rudi, go!!

Go Rudi, go!!

Remember, even though Christmas is looming, summer is not over yet! Please go and check out the list on Hillarys’ website for yourself and have some summer fun. Summer’s certainly looked up (groan!) for us since we visited the site!

 

Need For Speed

So, following on from my previous post, here’s a collage of the photos that didn’t work at Weston Pier! Even with the flash on it was so dark in there that the photos blurred. Then I thought, well, it was a high speed day for my daughter and her boyfriend so why not show that?

They used to say at our local fair “scream if you want to go faster” – someone must have had a big set of lungs on them this day!!

SCREAM!!!!!

SCREAM!!!!!

Blow Harder!!!

I have to admit that I was a bit sad when I looked at the photos I’d taken for my daughter’s 15th birthday. Both the ones I’d taken at mum’s during our tea party and the ones the following day at the pier in Weston-Super-Mare were pretty poor quality. Rather than stay sad though I thought I’d stick them all together and have a bit of fun instead.

Mum claims that she didn’t know that the candles she bought for my daughter’s birthday cake were the very annoying ones that don’t actually blow out! My daughter quickly sussed it and took it all in very good humour. Mum did something similar to my sister when she was little with not such a good outcome. We were all biting our tongues not wanting to bring up the past….until fortunately my sister said “hey, didn’t you do that to me and I spent the rest of my party crying?”! Thank goodness she remembered herself, brought it up and now could laugh at it – and thank goodness the trick went off better this time!

My sister was actually the person who put my daughter out of her misery and showed her how to kill the bloomin’ things off for good, by wetting her fingers and squishing the wick – kids, don’t try this at home!

In the meantime I’ll blame the amount of smoke coming off the candles for the poor quality of the photos!

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