Tuesday, 29 June 2010

a gathering of wonderful women

Let me tell you a little bit about Lizzie.
We met via e-mail before we began university, connected through a Christian Student Network to put you in touch with fellow Freshers before you even got to university.

Out of this brilliant idea came an even more brilliant friend. During our first year at university we were like peas in a pod. Together, we put the world of children to rights as we studied Early Childhood Studies, spent great times in Uganda, took trips to her parents home when end of year exams were in sight, where we would swing in a hammock under the Summer Sun with a glass of wine after a day of hard revising. (This girl knows how to work hard.)

Together, we learnt how to burn chocolate into a crumbly state & find that it still tasted delicious, how to laugh at lot & how to kill cockroaches, among many other vital life lessons.

Six years ago, from the time we met until now, we would talk about our desire to be wives & share with each other how we prayed that God would be preparing the hearts of our future husbands for us to be their wives. Back then, we had no idea who these men would be.

That has all changed now. Two weeks before I marry John, I will be celebrating with Lizzie at her very own wedding to a wonderful man who has wanted to be with her since they were 15. 
(Their story is a beautiful one, which I might share with you some time. Just to give you a glimpse, when Dave asked Lizzie to be his wife, he sang her a song that he had written, played on the ukulele that she had bought him for Christmas, down on one knee at the beach, and that really is just a glimpse.)

So, this weekend, I journeyed to the Midlands to Lizzie's family home to celebrate with her and the wonderful friends she has made throughout her life, here, there, and everywhere. 

we ate cakes, canapes & coronation chicken 

we drank juice & pimms, wine & champagne

we wrote songs for Lizzie to sing to Dave

we rowed around a lovely lake where the only thing missing was someone reading poetry

we painted aprons & came close to the point of crying with laughter as some of the beautiful ladies stuffed their dainty little mouths with marshmallows in a bid to win chubby bunny

What a great privilege it is to have friends to celebrate life with.

Monday, 28 June 2010

strawberry gravy

With all of this glorious weather, it seems that the most fitting thing to drink is smoothies.

Last week, Grace & I had great fun whipping up a strawberry smoothie from a smoothie&juices recipe book that I had picked up earlier that day for 50p from a charity shop.

Grace decided that the only name fitting for our smoothie was Strawberry Gravy.

And here it is...

Strawberry Gravy 
makes 4 tall glasses

300ml strawberry & natural yoghurt - feel free to mix & match as you so wish
200ml orange juice
300g strawberries - fresh or frozen
2 bananas

How to...
::  Pop the yoghurt & oj into a blender and give it a little whirl to combine
:: Chop up the bananas and strawberries into small chunks & blitz them up in a blender with a little slosh of oj
:: Mix them all together & let them have a blitzing party. When you feel they've mixed&mingled with one another enough, pour into glasses & chill, or drink immediately if you so wish.

And there you have it. A perfect little thirst quenching tummy filler.

Monday, 21 June 2010

making up for lost time

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Having had my wisdom tooth removed at the beginning of the week, i was not allowed to drink hot drinks for 48 hours. This is not a huge problem as I am not your average English citizen who likes to consume ten cups of tea a day.

But, i have grown to love my daily afternoon coffee. My little bit of respite in the middle of my busy days.

So, having missed two days worth of coffee time, I more than made up for it by drinking a latte that came in a mug the size of a small boat.

I enjoyed every last sip of it.

Friday, 18 June 2010

the loss of wisdom

Author's Note: Just so you are not under any illusions from the title, this post is not speaking profoundly about wisdom. That post may come another day, but for now, here's a little insight into my extraction experience...

I had an encounter with the dentist this week. Well, to be precise, the dentist, his lovely chair, his big long needle & lots of his anaesthetic and his pliers.

Having already seen the needle that he inserted into my gums, when I caught sight of the shiny metal of his pliers that were big enough to cut a grown man's big toe off, I decided that was enough. I shut my eyes and decided I would not open them again until the extraction of my wisdom tooth was over.

This was not a fun experience and I would not recommend it. That's the simple truth.

So, my little outing to the elevating chair went from being a relatively normal experience, to entering into the realm of the surreal when I found myself with my legs up in the air, elevated above the height of my head, in order to prevent my iminent descent into unconsciousness. Yep, my body didn't really like having a needle stuck in it, and quite frankly, I agree with the response my body chose. I think unconsciousness would have been a far happier state to be in.

That was not to be, and so, as I lay there, listening to the sounds in my ears that I likened to hearing the bright surgical lights talking to me, my mind kicked into overdrive as it dealt with the minute by minute mini-trauma it was facing.

I found myself thinking of old hymns, trying to bring a sense of calm to my incredibly tense body that felt like it was somewhere in between shivering as it would on a very cold day, and the nerves you feel when you take your driving test - the kind that take over your whole being - making you shake. I thought about the motion being induced on my head, and in trying to relax, imagined I was in an exercise class, warming up my neck muscles. I thought about how thankful I was that I was fortunate enough to be able to undergo this procedure with anaesthetic and knew that I simply couldn't imagine how much more painful it would be to go without.

Ultimately, no matter how hard I tried to engage in this method of self-preservation, I could not get past the fact that I was pretty sure, sooner or later, my whole jaw might just detach itself from the rest of my head from the pressure being applied to it, and that there was a man and his pliers inside my mouth, trying to pull a tooth which he had said he just might not be able to get out on this occasion.

And so as he announced that he was going to give it one more minute's worth of pulling, I prayed.

I'd like to say I was thankful when it popped out, but I have to say that I did not feel particularly thankful for the whole experience.

After shedding a few tears, I left the dentist's in a slight state of delirium and wandered the streets of St Paul's, trying to figure out an action plan for getting home, as I was not permitted to cycle. One man whose brain seemed to be slightly more addled than mine at that point in time told me that I had a bomb in my hand and that there were dogs after me. Thankfully, although I was not fully with it, I was of a good enough state of mind to know that this was not true.

My wonderful fiance says that the remedy to stress is sleep. Having been rescued by a friend and her car, I went home and slept the afternoon away. John is absolutely right, sleep is a good remedy.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

little authors

Here is another of the brilliant stories that the children at Nursery have written this term....

On a sunny day, Isobel and Speedy were walking in the woods. Isobel found a flower and took the pollen, and Speedy was climbing up the trees and cutting them down because he really liked cutting them down. They fell really quietly.

Speedy and Isobel made a home with the trees and a model of an elephant. A fairy camed and magicked it into a real elephant.

The fairy, the ant and the butterly all rided on the elephant. Speedy had to rest on the elephant.

The elephant took them to South Africa and they went to the beach and had a chocolate ice cream.

Then Speedy speeded away to the chocolate shop and sat down cos he needed to rest. He really liked resting.

Elephant, fairy and Isobel ran away to the woods again. Speedy thought they went to Australia so he went to Australia and he looked around but he couldn't find them. So he went back to South Africa.
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this week.

I have been...

baking huge blueberry muffins (post to come soon on bake2010)

dreaming about old school friends who I haven't seen for 7 years (is this my mind trying to prepare itself for the changes that are ahead - for the move from 'me' to 'we' as I become Mrs King?!)

getting lost in the reclamation yard looking for vintage touches for my wedding

dreaming about bridesmaid dresses

looking endlessly at dress patterns for my bridesmaids having failed to find their dresses anywhere else

listening to 4 year old boys adoring books & helping each other learn to read

having my bounce stolen on the trampoline by children (which they love because they get catapulted into the air)

feeling like it's November again as I look up at the gray skies

celebrating the end of medical school with my old housemate. 6 years of studying and she is a doctor with 2 degrees.
I am beyond impressed.

loving seeing my Mum who never ceases to amaze me with her amazingness.
She came to my rescue, travelling for hours on a train to help me find fabric for my bridesmaid's dresses which she is going to sew with her own fair hands.
I hope to be as brilliant as her if I ever have children.
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

all bound up & ready to go

Last week was the school half term holiday, which meant I had a week off. My job for the week was to make our wedding invitations and I could not have asked for a better job.

So many people have said to me that making your own wedding invites seems like a fun thing to do, but after the first 20 you get bored. I can honestly say that this was not the case for me. Knowing that this is the one and only time in my life where I will ever be making my very own wedding invitations, I wanted to savour each stage of the process.

As I cut up each invite, I smiled to myself at the very worthy investment of a paper cutter. It didn't disappoint - there is something so very satisfying about cutting perfectly straight lines, isn't there? Much to my amazement, the whole process has gone without any hitches or glitches, which has made it an even more enjoyable task to have engaged with.

I have some brilliant friends who had offered to help me with making the invitations. So, on Friday night, we packed up our sewing machines in our cars & gathered together to stitch&sew. After three hours of chatting, we decided maybe it would be a good time to start sewing, so we did just that, at 11pm. What a team we were. In 45 minutes we'd completed 70 invitations. Maybe we should start a business...

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Sunday, 6 June 2010

London Clouds

And so my love of clouds continues, which means my collection of cloud photos grows. I think I might just have to create a cloud folder.
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

building stories

On Friday I had the privilege of going to London for a staff training day with the teachers from school.

As the coach drew closer to London, I started taking in the array of architecture around me, that is gradually becoming more familiar as I make more regular trips to visit my future in-laws.

I thought about how all of the buildings - old & new - have stories behind them. Stories of people with a vision to start something new in the business world; stories of families from all walks of life occupying the houses, stories without words of the history of London. I wondered at how I will never know of most of these stories because, most likely, I will never have the opportunity to ask questions of those who live & work in them.

My mind wandered back to Bristol and the children I see for five days of the week. I thought about the stories they have been creating, realising for the first time in their lives that they can be authors as well as readers. We've been teaching them how to use their wonderful imaginations to construct their very own stories where anything can happen.

I love that with all stories, there is a beginning, a middle and an end. With some stories - the unwritten kind - the stories I saw in those buildings - you might never know all of the parts to the story - but I love that you can always imagine.

And that is what children are utterly brilliant at doing.

So, settle back and enjoy one of the carefully & crazily crafted stories of my children.

The Scratchy, Max & Spots Adventure

On a cold, snowy day, Max the Grasshopper was going to sleep and a funny, scary spider came along. Then Max woke up and frightened him away. Scratchy the funny spider said, 'Ola!'

'You can't sleep with me', said Max. So Scratchy had a sleepover with Spots the ladybird on the ground cos that was their house. Max can't have a sleepover because he's got a sore toe. He's happy and he goes over to Scratchy's house.

Then the funny eyes camed and they were really scary. Funny eyes climbed on the wall and Scratchy just said, 'Rah' and frightened funny eyes away.

Scratchy, Max and Spots the ladybird went to Africa and looked behind them and there was a scary lion and they had to go somewhere new. They went t o the police and asked them to take the lion to jail. The lion was running and they went in their car and they catched up with him and put him in their car. And the jail was in the car.

Scratchy was trying to spin a web. Spots and Max climbed up to it and they flew home.
'Wow! I'm up in the sky! Wow! wow! wow!' said Max.
You're allowed on my back', said Msx to Scratchy, 'cos I've got a bigger back. Would you like to come on my back, Spots?' said Max.
'You're too big for me' said Spots.

They take thirty minutes and then Max said, 'Where are you Scratchy?'
He's lost because he was sick on the way home and he needs to get back home to his cave.

Scratchy was dead. He died by a dragon in the sky and Max and Spots were still in the sky. They landed in the jungle and then they ran home.

The end.
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