Wednesday, 20 April 2016

To all the Mother's of the World......I salute you!

This is Lexi (my sister's baby)

My sister-in-law and my wee sister have both just become mothers.  This is weird for me as the oldest sibling of 5 and being 11 years older than my wee sister, because to me, she is still my wee baby sister even though she's 25 years old.  When I look at her, I still see the curly little blonde haired puddin', with her chubby wee cheeks and toothy grin, holding on to her life long companion and favourite doll, Lulu at the age of 3.  And yet here she is now, at 25 years the adult, confidently nursing her own baby girl with all the self assurance and fearlessness of someone who had been a Mother for years even though its only been a few weeks.  But don't get me wrong, my sister is not naive to the fact that Motherhood will be difficult, hard and even heart breaking at times, but the rewards that it gives and will give her in the future has afforded her the determination to do as good a job as she can but the grace and realism to know that she may not get it right every time.

This time last month all my sister had to worry about was herself.  Just her.  And after a few hours of labour.....which she completely owned by the way, she suddenly has this little human being that instantly means more to her now than she ever thought was possible.  Her life changed instantly, from the moment her baby daughter was born.  That little bundle of 8lb 9oz of dark haired joy that she has to live for and now sees as the centre of her universe is everything to her.  This is an incredible change in her life and one to be celebrated.  But as much as she is rejoicing at the creation of this little being, she is also very realistic at the hard work it takes to keep this little Bean in the manner of which she is accustomed to, previously in the womb....well fed, warm and loved.

So, whilst my sister shares various cutesy photos of her new born child with us all and photos of herself looking as fabulous as ever......she also sends me the not so cutesy ones and funny little videos of her new born baby making strange faces or a photo of herself without make up on, looking exhausted but ultimately happy as she ever could be because she's holding her whole life in her arms.  To be a Mother, you don't have to be able to "do it all" to be a successful parent and woman.  You don't have to be a Master Chef, super housewife and Top Executive glass ceiling breaker extraordinaire to call yourself a successful Mother.  To that end, I am here today to salute my sister, my sister-in-law, my own wee Mummy and all the Mother's out there for doing everything they can to be a good parent; but are accepting of the fact that they won't always get it right or do it like all these "Super Mom" blogs, YouTube channels and magazines that say you must attain a certain amount of success to be a real Mother.  I am sorry, but they sometimes set unrealistic goals and promote impractical practices on new Mother's who already find themselves in an overwhelming and emotional situation.  I'm not saying every Social Media outlet or Magazine does this, but a lot of them do.  I think in this day and age, there is a lot of pressure on women to somehow "have it all" and get it right at every turn.  But sometimes, getting a 2 minute shower amongst baby feeding, nappy changing and burping is an achievement in itself.  So, don't be too hard on yourselves ladies if the wash basket is over flowing or there's a dust ball forming in the corner of your living room.  That is just stuff!  And stuff gets done as and when it can.

So I write this post today to salute all the Mothers of the world who keep it real.  Who know that Motherhood is hard but they tough it out because they've created this little spectacular being who they love and will worry about for the rest of their lives.

To my own wee Mummy, who wanted to be a Mother from she was no age....I love you and admire you.  You have successfully raised (and let's face it....are still raising) 5 children.  And yes, you've told me many a time that as the first born I was the guinea pig and test subject in your new venture as a Mother.  But someone had to be and I wouldn't swap my position as the first born child for anything.  I had an awesome upbringing and love being the oldest so I can spoil my siblings when I can.  So, maybe you didn't realise that as soon as I was able to walk that you had to watch me like a hawk otherwise I'd be away up into the fields on my own trying to chase cows......I'm still alive today, regardless of my dangerous toddler adventures!  You've shown me that being a Mother is a full time job and no matter what age your children are or how much they tower over you in height (where did our height come from woman?), we are all still your babies and you'll love us and worry about us until the end of time.

To my wonderful sister, who is realistic about being a Mother and knows that sometimes it won't be all cuteness and light.  I love you, respect you and am so proud of you.  You recently sent me a photo of your newborn baby girl, wrapped up in a pastel coloured towel looking all cute with her fluffy dark hair, just after her bath.  It was beautiful.  But you also admitted what really went down just to get that photo.  We ohh and we ahhh, but the carnage in the background was real and she had no issues with admitting it either.  Yes, her little daughter wee'd all over her Daddy and then poo'd in said pastel towel whilst Daddy accidentally flooded the bathroom.  THAT is real and being a parent.....and you are awesome for admitting it.  Although, I know you wouldn't swap this new mess and carnage for anything in this world.

To the Mother who's hair looks a mess and can't remember the last time you ran a brush through it.....So what!  You made that little bundle of beautiful joy lying in your one can compete with that.

To the Mother who's bathroom hasn't been cleaned and you've lived on Super Noodles for a week.......your child has been fed, watered, bathed and clothed.  You are fantastic.

To the Mother who wants to bury her head under her pillow because her baby has just started screaming for a feed.....just as she herself is closing her own exhausted eyes for the first time in are stronger than you know.

To the Mother who thinks she's somehow a bad Mother because she either can't breast feed or doesn't want to breast feed.  They are your boobs and no one should dictate to you how you use them.  Is your child fed and content?  Of course.  You are a brilliant Mother and don't let any nurse, news article or blog post tell you otherwise.

To the Mother who feels a great sense of achievement when she finally pulls out that gross little booger that has been hiding in her baby's nose......Good for you!  It's not easy or glamorous picking someone else's nose but it has to be done.  It's the little victories that keep you going.

To the Mother that let's out a joyful "Woowhoo" when her baby finally lets rip of a massive burp after being winded for 20 minutes straight.  Who knew that a burp could bring so much joy but it actually does.

To the Mother who sneaks a peek at her phone to quickly check on her twitter or facebook page when her kid is off playing on the jungle gym (but is still within eyes and ear shot).  There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself a little internet time.....there are only so many photos or videos you can take of your kid going down the same slide, time and time again.

To the Mother who tells her baby sitter that she has an important hospital appointment to attend but really goes home to sleep for two hours....good on you girl, don't you feel one bit guilty.  Sleep is a rare and beautiful thing when you are a Mother.  And for you to be a good Mother, you need to see to your own needs too from time to time.  So off to the land of nod you go, guilt free.

To the Mother that cries uncontrollably because her baby is crying for her bottle......and the damn thing is still too cry as much as you want.  What ever happened to the days of pre-made bottles sitting all ready and waiting in the fridge?  If you want to cry because your baby is crying for a bottle that is still too warm, you go for it.

To the Mother that guiltily skulks into MacDonald's and buys their toddler a MacFlurry, just to keep them entertained for the 20 min drive home.  Don't feel's one ice cream for 20 mins of silence and it's not like you do it every day.

To the Mother that cried leaving their toddler off to pre-school for the first time, but soon began to enjoy those few hours to themselves whilst their toddler was at school......don't feel guilty.  You are entitled to a little "Me time" too.  You are still you, even as a Mother.

To all the Mother's out there who, despite all the messiness, lack of sleep and hit to personal grooming, manage to put every ounce of energy they have to keeping the little person they created, happy, healthy and loved regardless of how hard it can be sometimes, this blog post is for you.  Because every smile, giggle, kiss and hug is worth all of the hard work and stress.  You are strong, beautiful and powerful even when your hair roots are showing and you're wearing a t-shirt for the 2nd day in a row that is covered in baby sick.  YOU ARE AMAZING.

Monday, 7 December 2015

You can't be a Genius at everything.....

You've heard me speak (brag, boast, gloat.....etc., etc.) about my 15 year old brother Corey, a few times now I'm sure.  I'd love to say he gets his incredible intelligence from me,, no, wait....what am I saying?  Of course I should say he gets his intelligence from me.  Am I crazy?  Of course I want to say its all from me and nothing to do with our parents, or our 3 other siblings......or just his own intelligence, lol.  So....he gets his intelligence from me.....obviously, haha!

I dragged my little Minion down to my house last weekend.  There are desserts to be prepared for Christmas, like our coveted and secret family recipe for Chocolate ice cream that can not be given to anyone outside the family.....House Rules apparently.  Boy did that make for an awkward conversation one Christmas when I brought the ice cream up to my in-laws and they asked what was in it!  Technically they are my family.....but I didn't know what the "rule" was for when one of us gets married.  Could I give away the secrets from my side of the family to my husband's side of the family?  I was confused and didn't know what to say!  I just sort of sat there awkwardly, shifting in my seat, looking at my husband for support, who's head somehow conveniently at that very moment got lost staring into the bottom of his empty dessert bowl.  The bowl was empty!!!!  There was no more ice cream to find in there dammit!  HELP ME!!

Anywhoodles, I digress.  So I get my Wee Minkete down to help me (that's my pet name for Corey, its a hard one to explain, so I won't right now, lol).  He was actually excited to do a bit of baking because its basically science in his eyes.  You need to add exact measurements of this to certain measurements of that and bake it for this long and hey presto you get a beautiful dessert at the end of it.  Now he doesn't do much baking at home which is so strange to me as I was baking from I was 6 or 7.  I made my first Profiteroles when I was 12!  They were scrummy.  In any case, he hasn't had much incentive to bake basically but he said he wanted to get into baking and cooking more.  So he was all geared up for a bit of baking.   On the menu....the Family recipe of chocolate ice cream (no baking needed....that's all you're getting *wink, wink*) and a chocolate ganache cake (not for Christmas in fact....just for whenever he wanted it, lol).  But because of his inexperience with baking our baking session ended up being more of a comical evening with a mess in my kitchen that had never been seen before.  Let me begin......

Everything was going great.  We had gotten to the stage of merely mixing the ice cream and cream mixtures together so it could be put into tubs and frozen.  Needless to say when I asked him to separate the eggs into whites and yolks, his reply to me was,

"I can do it.  But is it important not get bits of yolk into the whites and possibly bits of shell too?

To which I replied......."I'll do it!"

So the mixing of the ice cream mixture requires a folding motion so not to deflate the air in the whipped cream but it also needed to be done with a bit of gusto because there was a lot of mix in the bowl.  And if you stand there gently folding, you'll be there pretty much all night.  So I showed him how to fold it in with a bit of a quick wrist action and I left him to it, turning my back to him to deal with the mess in the sink.  And then I thought to my self,

"Oh Jesus, if he has never folded anything like that, there's a chance its going to go flying out of the bowl".

So, I quickly turn to him and said... "Oh my God, I just thought.  Be careful doing that action or its going to go..........!"

And just as I said that, Corey flicked his little wrist and exclaimed "UH OHHHHHHHH".

And with that simple little wrist action and exclamation of "Uh Oh", there was our secret family recipe of chocolate ice cream.....having evacuated the mixing bowl and finding itself the whole way up my kitchen wall.  A large, long streak of dark, brown coloured ice cream mix, ALL up my WHITE tiles in an artistic splat strewn up the wall, like it was a Jackson Pollock painting.

Well, what else could we do but pause, stare at the mess and be in awe at the timing of both our exclamations and...... LAUGH HYSTERICALLY!

Then our brains kicked in and we were both scrambling for a cloth, cleaning spray, kitchen roll, dettol long haired fluffy cat.......pretty much anything that would clean the mess.  I'm busy saying things like

"Oh no, has it gone down the back of the cooker, because I can't pull that damn thing out". 

Meanwhile Corey is still laughing hysterically, trying to mop up the mess.  And I continue my monologue;

"Oh no, its all in the grout".

The response I received had me almost doubled over in laughter....again!

"Grout!!!!!  Grout??  What is grout and where is it so I can clean it?"

This is my baby brother who is basically a child prodigy and he'd never heard of grout before!  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed at this revelation because my Daddy taught me to clean grout with an old tooth brush and bleach solution.  And Daddy taught me how to clean....thoroughly and industrially clean, teehee.  Which meant he had never tortured....opps, I mean taught Corey how to do it!  So now I'm in stitches laughing at him, trying to point at the now brown coloured pasty looking stuff between my used to be white tiles.  But eventually, he got it all sparkling white again....even the grout.....and I didn't even make him use a toothbrush either, lol.

If that was the end of our giggles, I would leave it there.  But things just got giggly-er as the evening carried on!  We got over the ice cream/grout fiasco with the odd reminder of it every so often with a crack from Corey saying "Oh nooooo, my grout" in a mocking, girlie voice.   I won't bore you with everything that happened, but I have to tell you this one so bare with me.

It's the chocolate ganache cake's turn (it's pretty much a chocolate fudge cake but with ganache instead).  So the instructions for this cake is pretty simple.  No need to divide the eggs so I assume he can manage to crack those.  I even show him how to lift bits of egg shell out using the broken half of the egg shell to retrieve any wee bits that might fall in.  Now, Corey wouldn't be mad for his hands being dirty, gooey, slimy etc.  But I wanted him to go away with a bit of skill and knowledge.....even if it destroyed my kitchen.....which he was doing a pretty good job of by that stage, lol.  So I said,

"Let me show you how to crack an egg with just one hand".

He looks at me with large, horrified eyes.  Here he was having broken more eggs in 5 minutes than he'd ever done in his whole 15 years of life and I was expecting him to do it one handed.  But in his defence, he agreed to take on the challenge....he does like to learn new things.  So I cup the egg in my left hand (we're both lefties) and I'm showing him how to use his thumb to pull one half of the egg towards him, whilst using his index and middle finger to pull the other half of the egg outwards and away from him to release the egg.  But we only had two eggs left, so I could only show him one attempt of me doing it and then it was down to him to do the last pressure then?  So he watches me intently and he bravely picks up his egg, gives it a tentative tap off the side of the bowl........but instead of using his thumb to pull one half of the egg shell away from the other half...........he slowly and cautiously started to stick his thumb right into the inside of the egg.  Well obviously he realised this wasn't right.  But he couldn't adjust his was inside the egg!!!  And as it was the last egg and we needed it for the recipe, he couldn't just ditch it in the bin.  So he had to carry on with the motion he was doing as he couldn't adjust it by removing his thumb or he'd risk dropping the egg, lol.  So by now he was screaming;

"UGHHHHHHHH" in a high pitched screech that I didn't know was possible to come out of his mouth.  And as his thumb started to feel the egg squelching around his thumb, his panicked "Uggghhhhhh's" got louder and more frantic.

Well I mean the only logical reaction to this was.....yes you guessed it.....its payback for my grout......LAUGH.  And laugh I did.  I laughed like there was no tomorrow.  I enjoyed the lack of air in my lungs and the burning in my chest from laughing so much.  I took great pleasure in seeing his little thumb disappear inside that egg, knowing he had no control over the situation.  And for a young man who likes to know how everything works and control as much of everything in his life that he can....this was not a comfortable situation for him to be in, Mwahhhhh!

He was looking at me shouting "What should I do?"

I couldn't answer!  I was laughing, just staring at him with his disappeared thumb inside an egg!  And the more panicked and disgusted he sounded, the harder it was for me to answer him........or maybe I was just enjoying being the torturous big sister a little too much.....Mwahhhhh!!!  What?  Oh come on!!  A big sister has to get her kicks somehow you know, LOL.  And he can get me back by sticking me in a I'm 21 years older than him (yes....21 years older).

"AHHHHHHHHH, what should I do?"  He shouts again.

I try to contain myself and answer "Just keep'er lit.  We need the egg.  Just get it in the bowl and if there is any shell, I'll get it out."

Much to his disgust and with an exasperated "Ughhhhhh" he soldiered on.  But because of where his thumb was he couldn't do anything but continue to shove his thumb into the egg until it finally cracked open enough that he could get it into the bowl.  And as if to add insult to injury, his thumb had pierced the yolk (obviously!!  LOL) so the slimy, runny egg slid down his thumb and plopped into the bowl.  Corey quickly dropped the egg shell, looked at his hand with his fingers all spread out in front of his face.  He looked at me in horror and frantically shouts,

"PUT THE TAP ON.  PLEASE PUT THE HOT WATER TAP ON!!" as he stood with his hand held out like it was radioactive material.

Well that reaction did it for me.  I crack up again (excuse the semi-deliberate pun).  Here was my highly intelligent 15 year old genius wee brother......being beaten by an egg.  He had been confidently beating them 5 minutes before and now the tables had turned....oh the irony!  His horror at the sight of the sticky, gooey mixture of egg all over his hand had me in absolute kinks.  My sides were killing me!  He was even holding the culprit hand by the wrist with his other hand and holding it out as far away from himself as he could!  I was dying!  He doesn't get flustered over solving University level maths questions.  He can code a website in his sleep and talks about Quantum physics like he's discussing his shopping list.  But here he was, freaking out over his thumb and hand being all goo'ed up with egg.

Haha....maybe you had to be there to understand just how funny that night was.  But I had a blast.  And surprisingly.......Corey wasn't put off by his traumatic experience and even wants to do more baking with me.  Oh and the cake........OMG it was delicious.  And just to prove it, here are some photos.  Looks a bit messy with our awesome ganache spreading abilities....but it tasted incredible.

Nice little side view.  Excuse the mess.  We had just finished demolishing my kitchen!
This was so scrumptious.
Sorry this isn't a great profile photo of the cake.  Blame Corey!  He took it, lol.  In fairness though he was videoing it and managed the take a slightly blurry photo in the middle of recording.
There you have it.  Our fun filled, laughing 'til we cried, baking night.

Thanks for sticking with me.

Toodles Noodles.....Lee :)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

When Social Media gets a bit too much.....

I think I've made it plain as day that I love the internet.  My love of Pinterest has exceeded "obsession" levels and of course, having a YouTube channel along with this blog and my Craft Blog shows that I definitely have a (un)healthy love for Social Media.  Social Media is a fantastic thing for someone like me who is creative and likes to keep up to date with what is happening in the Crafting Community, what new products are hitting the shelves and whether or not Vintage Grunge and Shabby Chic are still the "in" thing.  However, I don't have Twitter or Facebook or any of the other platforms and I will tell you why......

Sometimes Social Media gets so overwhelming and the constant bombardment of ideas, techniques, new products and styles can all get a little, well, to put it succinctly.....a bit.....AHHHHHHHHH!!  Don't get me wrong, I love that I can type a few key words into Pinterest and suddenly all these amazing links come up, showing me thousands of ways to do the things that I'm searching for.  Plus, being kept up to date with the latest craze in the crafting world is just mind boggling to me.  It used to be that you knew something was in because suddenly your local shop had a little stand at the front of their shop showing you the newest big thing that had just hit the shelves.  But now?  Well, now we know the newest big branded items are coming before they even hit the shelves and that is all down to the wonderful world of the Internet and Social Media.  Flip me, its so new and so current that you can even pre-order items months in advanced before they are even off the factory conveyor belt.  It's just crazy.

And this is where it gets a little bit too "Ahhhhhhhh" for me.  I am a bit ditsy sometimes......I know, hard to believe.  I have a bit of a sieve brain sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, I do have a brain cell or two.  I'm actually quite intelligent.......not to blow my own trumpet or anything (toot, toot, toot, tooooot!) but I do forget things sometimes.  Oh come on, I'm a blonde!  I have to be able to blame some of my bad habits on that surely?!  So, there I'll be, sitting watching a tutorial on YouTube and someone is showing a fabulous technique or using a new product that is out on the crafting market.  And I think to myself "Ohhhhhhhhhhh I could make that."  So, I go online and buy the new items or products that I need.  "Brilliant", I think to myself.  So, I have watched the video, made my mind up what I want to make for myself and have the items I need ordered.  I'll soon have everything I need to make this wonderful project.

Ohhhhh but wait!  I then see something else interesting on the interwebs.  And I think, "Yes, I can make that".  But I don't have the time just there and then to make it, so maybe I'll go into my craft room and get a wee box ready with everything I need to make that project.  So I'll go around my room collecting the craft products I need to make it and leave it neatly sitting on my desk, all ready for when I get the time to make the new idea.

THEN.........the Postie comes the following week with my new products.  I excitedly open up my order, admire all the lovely new crafty bits and bobs that have just arrived and then it happens.......

"What did I get this stuff for again?" I think to myself.

 Yes, that is right......I've forgotten the project that I wanted to make......already!  I only ordered the damn stuff less that a week ago.  But of course, by this time I have had a good 3-5 days of absorbing new ideas and techniques from the interwebs and my brain is over flowing with new projects now.  So I will go into my craft room, hoping I will suddenly be hit with inspiration or at least the idea that I originally bought these new items for.  And then I notice a little box sitting with all the wee bits and bobs that I collected to make another project've guessed it, I've forgotten what I wanted to make with those items too.  My head is literally like a sieve.  I have seen so many things on Pinterest and YouTube of things I want to make.  So if I don't have the items, I order the things I need and then because I have filled my noggin with more inspiration in the interim, by the time the new items get here, I have forgotten what it was I wanted to make!

Does anyone else do this?  Or is it just me?  Thank goodness I bookbind, because I need to keep notes of everything, all the time.  Therefore I have handmade books in every corner of my household with notes for this, that and the other, lol. I've even got notes on my phone to remind me of things I want to make.  I can't be the only person in the world that does these things, can I?  See?  Is it any wonder Social Media can get overwhelming.  Thank goodness I don't (yet) bother with Twitter or Facebook or whatever else is the new "in" thing to become a member of.  Because quite frankly, my head would be frazzled and there I'd be, sitting in the middle of my craft room, coming down with craft products and have no idea what it was I wanted to make.  So many ideas.......just not enough RAM in my brain to keep it all there, teehee.  Ohhhhh, maybe I need to upgrade my brains memory capacity?  Or just stick to writing notes everywhere in my house.  Yeah, the note thing sounds better and less.....invasive.

Let me know if you do something similar or if Social Media takes over too much or your spare time.  Thanks for stopping by.

Toodles Noodles...........Lee x

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Am I prepared for Auntie-hood?

I have a very close relationship with my siblings.  I'm 35 and the oldest of 5 children.  The youngest......well, he's 14.  Yes, go on....quickly work that number out in your noggins.  Take a minute, I'll wait.  Yes, that is correct.  There is 21 years between me and my youngest brother, Corey.  Yes, 21 years.....that isn't a typo.  Technically I was old enough that he could have been mine, lol.  He's not however.....don't get excited.....there is no deep, dark, family scandal here where I had a kid and got my parents to raise him......honestly.....he's not mine!!!!  Sorry to disappoint you are only my wee brother, so you'll just have to be content with having a wayyyyyyy older (but awesome) big sister, lol.

Anyway, I digress.   So, my brother, Jay (who is only 1 year younger than me) phones me one night recently and whilst talking to me, sends me a photo to my phone and asks me to open it whilst on the phone to him.  Now this is nothing brother is always sending me daft photos of himself and vice's what we do.  You have to get my family really to understand our strange behaviour in sending really stupid photos to each other.  Between all 7 of us (parents included...and don't even think about arguing your sensibilities Mammy.....Star Wars?  Remember?  That's all I'm saying, Mwahhhh) there probably isn't a sensible bone in any of our bodies, teehee.  Anyway, back to the photo.  So, here I am on my mobile, trying to open up this "daft" photo whilst attempting to not hang up on Jay at the same time.  But oh dear God, instead of there being a posy photo of Jay doing a duck-face on my screen, there was a positive 2-3 weeks pregnancy test staring at me.  I just sort of stared at it for a second, kind of confused as to why Jay would send me this.  And then the penny dropped.  OMG! I cried!  I screamed!  I think I just went through about 10 different emotions in about 10 seconds.  It was such fantastic news.  This was the first child being born of all of us siblings.  Then, my sister Tara (who is 24) dropped by just over 3 weeks later to say "hello" to me.  Again, nothing unusual so it was just like any other visit....or so I thought.  I had bought her a wee dress and I casually handed it to her, saying "I hope it fits you ok", to which she replied "well, it probably won't fit me for long.  I'm pregnant".   I swear to you now, I froze but at the same time, nearly fell off my chair onto the kitchen floor.  I didn't believe her at first.  I sort of laughed and then re-evaluated the look on her face.  To be totally honest, and please don't judge me for this, I answered both my poor siblings in the exact same way, weeks apart but unintentionally of course but looking back on least I was fair in my reaction and I didn't treat ones news any differently than the others.  No?  Yes?  Maybe?  Maybe not, when you hear how I replied to both Siblings, just weeks apart!!

"F*** Off, you are not!  Are you?"
Obviously, Jay is not pregnant!  But his wife, Karen is, lol

I know, I know!  I can hear your disappointment from here and the "Ohhhhhh Lee".   That was so un-ladylike and such an appalling reply.  But you have to understand, these announcements came out of nowhere!  Don't tell my Granda!  I'd die if he knew I'd used that word.  It was the shock Granda......honestly!  I was totally and completely shocked.  2 pregnancy announcements in so many weeks which just seemed to come out of nowhere and the bad word just kinda slipped out.  Im so sorry!!!!  I'm apologising to my blog readers for my reaction to my siblings pregnancy announcements......well that's a new feature, lol.

Needless to say, the whole family is delighted. My parents have been wanting Grandchildren for forever, and now it looks like they'll be getting 2 in the same month, lol.  Ha!  Be careful what you wish for, lol.  So, once I calmed down, I of course have been getting more and more excited for the arrival of my first nieces or nephews.  I heard my sister's Wee Bean's heartbeat for the first time a few nights ago and it had me almost in tears!

Anyway, I started to obviously think about being an Auntie.  And then I was thinking about the influences that my Aunts and Uncles have had on my life.  Then I was thinking, OMG will I be any good at this Auntie malarky?!  Obviously, I was 21 when my wee brother Corey was born so I know how to do all the baby stuff like feeding, cleaning, dressing, bathing etc.  But what about all the other stuff that Auntie's bring to the table??  I'm not sure I'm ready for this.....I'm too immature (at 35!).  My Aunts and Uncles were awesome to us as kids and adults.  But I don't even class myself as an adult even though I'm practically middle-aged!  Will I be any good at all?  I sat here for ages just thinking about my childhood, my upbringing and my how my Aunts and Uncles influenced my young life to make me into the (somewhat) adult I am today.  And sitting here thinking on it, I didn't realise just what an influence they all had on my life but really, the impact my Aunts and Uncles have had on me has been quite massive.  Not only am I a product of my upbringing from my parents, but a product of my Aunts and Uncles too.  That is a pretty massive thing to realise!  How am I going to compete or even measure up to these wonderful people?  I sat there thinking about them individually and all the great memories of each of them that I have.  Here are just some of the things that I remembered:

How my Auntie Fiona had the patience of a Saint when I tried to learn, well anything.  I remember specifically trying to grow out my nails.  And even though my nails were virtually non existent, she came up to our house to show me how to file them and look after them properly.  I thought I had done an amazing job at growing them out but being a real wee Tom-Boy, I did tend to break them a lot and found it hard to grow them with me climbing trees and basically doing everything that little princess girlie girls didn't do, teehee.  But when I thought they were "long", there was my Auntie Fiona, loaded up with her full nail gear, graciously congratulating me on doing such a good job on growing them out.  And even though they hadn't really grown out much more than a millimetre, she patiently sat giving me a manicure on my non-existent nails and taught me how to file, paint and maintain them.  Or how she taught me silly words like "diddle-lumps" which was a much more polite way of saying "boobs". Or how often she babysat for us, eating Tayto cheese and onion crisps and galaxy chocolate in one bite whilst playing Twister or Kerplunk!  Or having her boyfriend write me a letter from Santa, because I had had a fight with a boy at school who insisted that Santa didn't exist and I came home so upset.  But because I knew my parents and her hand writing and not wanting me to be upset, she got her then boyfriend to write me a letter from Santa.  Boy did I shove that letter down that boys throat next day at school, lol (not literally of course!).  Her affection for her nieces and nephews is as loving as any parents could be.

And my Uncle Paddy & Auntie Jennifer who have supported me in more ways than I could ever imagine.  They took me and my brother, Jay down to their house every year for some fun, regardless of where they lived.  So, be it Bangor, Scotland, Wicklow or wherever they lived, it never seemed any trouble for them to have us stay and spoil us rotten, even when Jennifer was heavily pregnant and was probably knackered with tearing after two excitable children.  Nothing ever seems to be trouble for them.  Their home is open to whomever wants to visit.  You'll never meet a more welcoming pair.  When they went on holidays, they always gave us their house for the 2 weeks so my family could get a holiday away.  Nothing is ever a bother to them.  I love nothing more than a good sing-a-long with my Uncle and listening to one of his funny stories, of which there are many.  And Jennifer is always so welcoming and generous with her time and home.  They have been so wonderful to me and to all my siblings.  We are so lucky to have them in our lives.

Uncle Cathal & Auntie Bernie.  Here is a man, that no matter how much I jumped about him, shouted "UNCLE CATHAL" at the top of my lungs and acted like a total idiot out in public in front of complete strangers, never once got embarrassed, upset or annoyed by my obnoxious behaviour.  And the more I tried to embarrass him (in good humour of course), my Uncle Cathal always laughs and greets my madness with affection and acceptance.  As soon as I need anything.....there is my Uncle Cathal, always happy to help.  If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have a floor to walk on in my home.  But one request for his joinery skills and there he was in a flash to put down my floors in my new house.  Nothing seems to be a bother for him.....even when I'm being a bother.  You'll not meet a nicer gentleman than my Uncle Cathal.  And Bernie, his wife with her quiet demeanour and glowing grace always has a smile, laugh and a little "Oh Lee" when I say something a little bold or cheeky, but is always completely accepting of who I am and what I am like.  There isn't a thing these two wouldn't do for you.  If I live my life having half the humility or being half as kind and considerate as these two wonderful people are, well then I'll be a happy camper.  I only hope I will be as kind and generous as my Uncle Cathal and Auntie Bernie have been to me.  I don't think they quite realise just how much they have graced my life with their loving presence.

My Uncle Morgan, although he lives in Turkey has always had a big influence in my life and has always supported me in my academic endeavours and everything I've ever wanted or tried to do.  He encouraged my love of birds as a child by giving me a bird book and his very expensive binoculars to use for the weekend, even though he was only home for a short time and probably intended on using them himself on his many adventure walks into the Mourne Mountains.  And to trust a 10 year old with those binoculars, didn't even spare him a thought.  I like to think I've inherited his dry sense of humour too.  And of course my love of pistachio nuts because he arrived home on one visit with the biggest bag of pistachios that I have ever seen, lol.  Bless his cotton socks, he even proudly showed off my handmade wedding invitation to all the ladies at his school, even though it was early days in my crafting endeavours and they were probably a bit rubbish, lol.  He always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do but never made me feel like a failure if things didn't quite go to plan.  And although he lives in Turkey I know he is only a phone call away or a funny little email away, whenever I need him.

My Auntie Anne-Marie lived in Scotland for most of my life until a few years ago.  However, the distant doesn't mean she didn't have any influence in my life.  Thankfully My Auntie Anne-Marie now lives back in Northern Ireland but even when she lived in Scotland, she always had an open door whenever I wanted to visit.  She encouraged my love of reading, patiently standing for what must have been over an hour as I strolled around Waterstone's and then Eason's, taking in as much as I could.  And of course.....leaving with as many books as I could carry, kindly provided by Anne-Marie.  She has the most amazing hearty laugh and a hug that just pulls you in so much that you never want to leave it.  I remember vividly her showing me how to do the breast stroke in a swimming pool in Scotland, and how to do it properly without drowning myself, lol.  And how she would raid her daughter's wardrobe and send me bags of the most amazing and gorgeous clothes, as I was 2 years younger than her daughter, Kerry.

My uncle Tony, well what can I say....Big T?  Everything he did, I wanted to do.  He is a successful actor and director in the South of Ireland.  And boy did I want to be a Thespian, just like him.  I was very active in acting and singing as a child, in school, the local dramatic society and entered as many acting and singing festivals and competitions as I could and that was all down to my Uncle Tony.  His fantastic comedic sense of humour is addictive and when he sings, he could silence a room in seconds.  He has incredible time and patience for children and gladly nurtured my desire to perform.  I followed him about like a little shadow and he never once made me feel like I was a bother or a burden.  And although I don't get to see him now as much as I'd like, he had a great hand in my overflowing confidence as a child.  He instilled a sense of self-confidence in me that couldn't be shaken.  I proudly got up on stage and sang and acted my little childhood heart out.  I had a dress sense, that although was probably a little embarrassing to look back on now to say the least, I loved it and it was mine and no-one would tell me otherwise.  If someone didn't like something I did, wore, liked or had, well that was their loss.  He taught me not to conform and that it is perfectly ok to be different and not be a sheep like everyone else.  So, I would proudly strut my stuff down the school corridors wearing my bright florescent green or orange socks, even though everyone else was wearing boring navy ones.  And I didn't give a damn if they liked them or not, lol.

So, with all these wonderful Auntie's and Uncles, I've started to panic a bit wondering am I ready for the responsibility of being an Auntie, lol.  What could I possibly have to offer these little lives that will be coming into my life very soon?  I know I'm 35, but am I even mature enough to be an Auntie?  Let's be honest here, I may be the oldest of all 5 children in my family......but even my 14 year old brother can be more mature than me and I'm not even joking.  You should see my ridiculous hat collection that I have no problem with walking out in public in, teehee.  I misbehave something shocking sometimes.  Nothing bad of course.......just playing about and embarrassing my family in public in any way I can, lol.  Or just acting like an eejit.  But maybe they are perfect traits to have in an Auntie.  Maybe I have nothing to worry about at all.  Maybe I'm just being silly, after all I'm not going to be a parent so technically I can be the fun, silly Auntie who gets to do all the fun stuff without all the hard stuff, teehee.  But just thinking about how my Aunts and Uncles had such a profound impact on my life, I only hope I will do as good a job with my nieces and nephews.  And really, kids don't have expectations of grandeur, they just want to be loved and don't expect much more than that really.  But reminiscing about my wonderful Aunts and Uncles, I'm thinking I have pretty massive shoes to fill.  But I hope I will be able to take a little bit of each and every one of them and share that with my own nieces or nephews.  I suppose, I can only do my best.   And if I have a positive impact or influence on my nieces or nephews, even if its a fraction of how my own Aunts and Uncles have had on me, then I think I'll have done a good job.  So roll on Spring 2016 and bring on the babies!  I'm ready for you......dirty nappies and all, lol.

Thanks for stopping by folks.

Toodles Noodles..........Lee xx

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Has English evolved and someone forgot to tell me....?

Ok, I may get a bit of flack for this post, but...... this is my Blog and I'll moan if I want to.....Sing it to me (in the tune of "It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to).  So, sit back, get strapped in and pile on all the protective gear you can find, because this is going to get hairy and scary, so you'll need a thick skin for this post.

I am very aware that language evolves and changes throughout time.  We see that with our wonderful teachings at school in our History, English and Drama classes.....No-one is speaking Shakespearean any more, that's for sure.  And yes the English language is a very complex beast with differences in our accents and even different words meaning different things in different places and we all have regional dialects.  That's all lovely and completely forgiveable in my opinion.  For example, I'm from Northern Ireland which has a particularly unique strain of the English language all of it's own.  Yes, you may need subtitles as we tend to speak incredibly fast, but we also have a language of our own within the English language itself, again, its down to regional dialect.  For instance, say two young gentlemen, who happen to be friends come across one another on the street, this is how the conversation might go...

Sean:  "Well, whatabout ye big lad.  How's she cuttin'?
Translation:  Hello there dear boy, how are you?

Patrick:  "Aye, dead on big fella.  what's the craic with you? 
Translation:  I'm fine thank you my friend, and how are you?

Sean:  "Ack, nothin' much.  I had a bad dose of the flu there last week and it wrecked me.  I was weak as a kitten.  And now my car is banjaxed.  And because the car is knackered I told our Sadie she had to walk to school.  She ended up jippin' aff school.  The school ended up callin' me and slaggin' aff my parenting skills.  I was scundered.  I ate the head aff our Sadie."
Translation:  There is not a great deal happening.  I took a bad flu last week that had me very ill.  I was left rather weak.  And then my car broke down.  And because the car was no longer in working order, I had to inform my daughter, Sadie, that she'd have to walk to school.  She then proceeded to skip school without permission.  The school telephoned me and criticised my parenting skills.  I was so embarrassed.  I greatly chastised our daughter, Sadie.

Patrick:  "Jesus Sean, that's khyet.  Your Sadie is a wee chancer.  Do you want me to take a gander at your car?"
Translate:  My goodness Sean, that is terrible.  Sadie would try anything once.  Would you like me to have a look at your car to try and fix it?

Sean:  "That would be great Patrick.  Cheers big lad."
Translate:  Why thank you Patrick that would be wonderful.

Patrick:  "That's dead on, no bother.  Sure, I'll crack on here.  I'll take a wee gander at your car some time this week."
Translate:  That is fine, it's no bother at all.  I must go now.  I will have a look at your car this week.

Sean:  "Dead on big man.  Keep her handy".
Translate:  Brilliant, thank you.  Take care.

So there you have it.  Just a quick little titbit as to how a conversation might go in my neck of the woods, so to speak.  But as that is regional dialect, I think it can more than be forgiven for its strange language.  However, it feels to me that there has yet again been a major shift in the English Language and someone subsequently forgot to tell me.  I am a big fan of YouTube.  I even have my own channel should you be brave enough to tackle my accent (it is coined with my craft blog, not this particular blog.  Click here if you want a nosey).  And with watching various YouTuber's who just so happen to herald from all over the world I have happened upon a great many anomalies in the use of certain words.  Now, I can't blame these anomalies on non-native English speakers because those that are using these words are mostly English, American or Canadian.  I am not mentioning any of the offenders as I am not in the business of calling people out.  This blog is meant to be a humorous place to drop in on......not a tell tale blog.  I am no snitch, lol.  In any event, here are some of the words and phrases that when I first heard them, I paused the video, went back, re-played it for clarification, and then attempted the pull my dropped jaw from the floor in complete and utter disbelief.

Have you ever heard something like this?:

 "So, take your ruler and pencil and draw a line acrossed the page", or
"I took my ruler and pencil and drew a line acrossed the page."

Do you see the mistake?  Please tell me you do because I can't be the only person to be completely and utterly stunned by this totally made up word.  Yes, I said made up because there is no such word as ACROSSED!!!  Seriously?  Acrossed?  There is such a word as ACROSS and even CROSSED but there is most definitely no such word as ACROSSED.  What happened?  Did "Across" and "Crossed" bump into one another one day and make "Acrossed" babies because that is the only explanation I have for this word coming to light?  And you may try and say its a regional dialect term but, I can only disagree wholeheartedly.  Simply because I have heard people from all over America and Canada say it.  That's not Regional......that's Continental!!  Therefore this word is forbidden from the "Regional dialect" bucket and is going straight into my "What?  What?  No!" bucket.  I'm sorry America and Canada.....but there is no such word as Acrossed.  And I'm not picking on you guys, honestly I'm not.  I just haven't heard anyone from the UK or Europe or anywhere else worldwide use this term in a video I've come across yet.....or should that be "acrossed", teehee?  But if I ever do......this is the place I will tell you, I promise lol.  So, I think I've cleared this little mishap up.  It's either "Across" or "Crossed" if that's the word you mean and most definitely NOT acrossed.  And just to clarify, the sentence should therefore read:

"So, take your ruler and pencil and draw a line across the page", and 
"I took my ruler and pencil and drew a line across the page."

And don't give off to me and say "Did you read the made up words that you have in your "regional dialect" bucket in the Northern Ireland discussion further up there?  So, how can you point fingers?"  Why yes, I am aware that we have silly words for different things, but they aren't real words that are being incorrectly used.  "Acrossed" has come from two pre-existing words that are being incorrectly pronounced.  The word "Across" and "Crossed" already exist.  And somehow the two have been incorrectly smashed and mashed together for whatever reason and have made this abomination.  So when the word "Acrossed" is used, they in fact actually mean "Across" and aren't using a funny wee made up "regional dialect" word.  They are just incorrectly saying it.....please let it just be a pronunciation error and it's not actually being written that way too (face palm!).

There are so many pre-existing words that are incorrectly pronounced, that there are too many to list but here are a few that I catch being used wrongly on more occasions than not, sadly.  Here we go.....

This one drives me bonkers and it is "Simular".  Yes you read that correctly.....SimUlar.  Not Similar as it should be.  I just don't know what to say about this.  I have heard many people say this word incorrectly, so it's not just a one off.
And here is a big one......EXpresso!!!  I can't forgive this one, sorry.  Not only am I a language snob, but I'm a coffee snob on top of that.  It's ESpresso....for the love of coffee people!
And just before I finish this part of my rant, it not pronounced Nitch!  I don't even know how you get "nitch" from "Niche".  It's pronounced Nee-sh".

Oh Jesus, I can just hear all the ranters and ravers now, shouting furiously at their screens, screaming at me "Who bloody cares how its said?"  Well, frankly, I do!  And only people who use words incorrectly would get that irate at being corrected, in my opinion.  Personally, if I say something wrong, either pronouncing it incorrectly or using the wrong word, I would prefer someone would politely correct me so I know for again to say it right and don't look like a complete tool for eternity.  In fact, my husband and I have promised to always correct each other if one or the other says something wrong.  I think it just makes sense.   But hey, that is just me.

And then there are words that are actual proper words that are correctly pronounced.......but mean a completely different thing altogether.  I could cry just typing these words out for you but, I assure you, I have heard these words being used on YouTube videos, I have read them being used on blogs, comment sections, articles........anywhere and everywhere across the inter-webisphere (and yes, I made that word up..did you catch it?  Teehee). And they are rapidly spreading the world over, infecting our lives from the inside out, spreading like a plague or zombie apocalypse!  And it must be stopped people, STOPPED I tell you!!  Language Snobs of the World UNITE!!  Ok, so that might have been a little dramatic, but I'm feeling like a Drama Queen today, so let me have my moment.  I will again give you some example sentences to see if you notice the faux pas:

"I would be very weary of sites like that."

Really?  Well, I am growing weary of people using this word incorrectly!  It's wary!  WARY!  Are you trying to tell me you are careful and dubious about "sites like that" or are you telling me you are really tired or exhausted by "sites like that"?  Because I am pretty sure you are trying to say the former but instead are using the latter.  And quite frankly, I am growing weary of its misuse.

Here is another example and I must admit, I mostly hear this one being incorrectly used in the UK.  Particularly English and Scottish people.  I have yet to hear a Northern Ireland person use this particular word incorrectly or a Welsh person either.  But then again, I am not saying there aren't those who use it this way.  I am merely saying that I have yet to come across them.  So no bitching please.  I can only comment on what I have access to, ok?  My eyes and ears aren't everywhere.

"At the craft shop today, I brought loads of scrapbook paper."

Now, I am sure you caught this one? Please tell me you caught it.  Brought?  "Brought" is the past tense of "To bring".  And "Bought" is the past tense of "To Buy".  Therefore when you buy something and are using it in the past tense, you BOUGHT it.  You did not "bring" it.  If I was to ask you the question that yielded the above statement as an answer, it would have sounded ridiculously like this:

"What did you bring at the Craft Shop today?"  And it's very obvious from that question that "Bring" is not the correct word which has a past tense of "Brought".  What I should have asked was:

"What did you buy at the Craft Shop today?"  And the answer would be:

"At the craft shop today, I bought loads of scrapbook paper."

And if I buy something from your shop, I am most definitely a Customer and NOT a Costumer as so many numpties are saying.  Yes, I'm getting annoyed now.  Can you tell?

And don't forget the words that already are words, that are used correctly, but just said completely wrong!  Like HEIGHT.  I am stunned by the amount of people who pronounce height with a TH at the end.  So they say height the same way as you say width.  But its not TH at the end, its HT!!  And then there are names like a particularly popular Craft Paper Line that came out a couple of years ago by DoCrafts, called "Madame Payraud".  The amount of people that say that wrong, is well, everyone I've ever heard say it actually.  Don't say it like you see it, in this instance people.  Its actually pronounced;

Madame Payraud.......Madame Pay-row.  I know.....mind blowing isn't it?  That was a rhetorical question of course with a little bit, ok, a lathering of sarcasm, lol.  Now I knew how to pronounce this name so it was never an issue for me.  But if you didn't, you can actually Google "How to Pronounce......such and such a word, and in most instances there will be a little speaker sitting there ready for you to click and hear how a word should be said.  That is of course if you wish to know how something is pronounced properly.

Ps....Rondelle (a jewellery embellishment) pronounced.....Ron dell.
Don't use Then when you actually mean Than, eg, I spent more Than I should have, and NOT THEN.
And here's one for the Northern Ireland people ......I done that NOT correct!  It's, I did that already!  And I've went there before, is actually I've gone there before!!!  Come on Northern Ireland-----you're letting the side down.  I watched Grand Designs recently with a couple from Northern Ireland and I wanted to shake the guy and kick him up the arse for using "Done" incorrectly!  And he was an educated guy who was an architect.  He should know better.  See?  Us Northern Irelander's get it wrong too.

So, I think we have established that I am indeed a language snob.  I can forgive regional dialect because I am aware that language is an ever evolving beast.  New words will inevitably come up and land themselves into the English Dictionary......whether I like it or not.  However, I cannot stand words being used incorrectly or perfectly good words being butchered.  I also cannot abide bad grammar.  Ask my good buddy Dave.....or Ravey Davey as I affectionately call him.  That poor fella can't get a sentence out without me butting in and correcting his use of "Did" and "Done" , "Went" and "Gone".  And bless his wee biker socks, he curses under his breath (sometimes not so under his breath), takes my correcting of his grammar on the chin, repeats the proper word and carries on with what he was saying.  Only to be interrupted again by me correcting more grammatical errors.  But it has become a bit of a running joke now.  He says something wrong, I correct him, he curses at me and corrects himself.  Mind you, how he hasn't hit me over the head with his motor cycle helmet and buried me in his back garden is beyond me.  Now that is a sign of a good friend, lol.

And I am not saying that people aren't forgiven for making mistakes.  I make mistakes too.....I know, hard to believe, lol.  I'm only jesting, of course I get words wrong and make mistakes. Goodness knows how many are in this lengthy blog post.  My mind races quicker than my typing can keep up so that is usually my downfall, silly mistakes and errors.  I think the difference is knowing when you've made the mistake and correcting it or making the mistake and carrying on regardless because you don't actually know you've made the mistake in the first place.   In all seriousness, (yes I know, I can be serious sometimes),  I think as a world of highly educated people we have become very lazy with our language.  We allow auto correct to do the heavy lifting for us so we don't even bother to learn the word or spelling.   And yes, in comparison to early Neolithic people or Mediaeval people, of course we are highly educated people now.  And I for one do not take that for granted.  "We" as modern human beings have become lazy with our language.  And considering the wealth of knowledge at our finger tips with access to the Internet, I think it is a crime that we have become so lazy.  If you don't know a word, look it up.  You'll have your answer within seconds when you do a search on the internet.  Don't know how to pronounce a word?  The answer is only a few seconds away on a search engine.  And, if you see something constantly written or said that is not how you say it, ask someone or check online to see if your way is correct or not.  If you say "SimUlar" but you are constantly hearing other people pronounce it as "Similar", surely you are maybe a little curious as to who is right or wrong?  Or is that just me?

I am a big believer that reading breeds intelligence and a greater knowledge and appreciation for language. And I'm not saying everyone should read a classical novel or immerse themselves in Shakespearean prose, particularly as so many of those specific books are far outdated, modern language wise anyway......sorry Mr Kevin Murphy, don't hate me, but they are, lol (Mr Murphy, my A-Level English teacher, bless his scary cotton socks.  And for some reason was always called, Mr Kevin Murphy.  Of course, that was his name.  But students and teachers alike always referred to him and called him by his full name, all the time. So not Kevin or Mr Murphy.  But always, Mr Kevin Murphy. lol)  I'm merely saying read something, anything.  Pick up a book, a novel, a fabulously trashy vampire romance (ahem....I may or may not be guilty of this one); read the paper or a news story or article on your laptop or even listen to an audio book, I don't care.  Just read something.  Reading will give you such a wealth of knowledge without you really realising it.  Obviously there will be a bit of a difference in the type of knowledge you obtain depending on what exactly it is you are reading, lol.  But inevitably, you will learn how words are written, spoken and spelt and reading is the fundamental stepping stone for helping you create and achieve a better understanding of language, grammar etc,.  How can we expect others to learn to speak English if we ourselves do not speak it correctly?  We are so lucky to have a language that spans across our world allowing us to communicate with people thousands of miles away from us.  We are incredibly lucky to be able to lift up a book or a Kindle or Tablet and know what all those thousands of grouped together characters mean, throwing us into the realms of our imaginations or providing us with a wealth of knowledge.  Some people might think "Oh for goodness sake, stop being the Grammar police, its only one word."  But if everyone was to think like that, what state would our language be in, be it written or spoken?  I am very appreciative of the fact that I live in a time and place that gives me the right to a good education.  I cherish my relentless passion for reading and my parents good sense to read to me every night before bed and then sticking a book in my hand when I was able to read myself.  I'm proud to say that they nurtured and encouraged my devotion to reading and always having my head buried in a book even when it meant getting told off because my dinner was getting cold or not hearing them when they called me for the tenth time because I was so engrossed in a good book.   I am not ashamed or embarrassed that I speak properly or accurately write my grammar and spell correctly.  Why should I be?  I am however, ashamed to say that I don't fluently speak French, or Irish, or German or any other language for that matter.  Therefore, I will be as impeccably correct as I can be when speaking and writing the one language I do far as I can help it and my wee fingers can type it.

So, although I ranted and raved about how others are using words incorrectly and how "we" are becoming lazy with language, I am also very aware that language evolves and changes.  That is something that is inevitable.  And can I be forgiven for using "lol" and "teehee" in my sentences to signify humour or is that just wrong?  Is it a sign of language evolution or just bad grammar?  How "we" spoke 100 years ago is different to how we speak now and how we'll speak in another 100 years time.  However, there is a difference between the evolution of a language and the words within a certain language simply being used incorrectly.  And evolving language is not an excuse for being nonchalant in proper word use, I'm afraid.  Sorry, but that just won't cut the mustard, as they say.  Ok, so maybe you think I do not have the right to sit here and dictate to you how you should speak or what words to use (unless your name is Ravey Davey....sorry Dave).  I am not going to be the one to "save the English Language".  Who am I?  I'm just some woman giving off about grammar and proper word use behind the screen of her laptop.  But if you read this and it maybe makes you think about the words you use, how you speak or how your children speak, well then I would be pretty pleased with that.  And if this blog post doesn't touch a single, solitary soul, well then, I know I will try my very best to ensure that I never become lazy with language or grammar.  Because I have been given a gift of education that so many do not get a chance to have.  So, you can call me picky or particular or a language or grammar snob, but I personally will not see that as an insult.  On the contrary, I will take it as a compliment and a sign that I have respect for the language and education I have been given.

And on that note......."Keep 'er handy now, big lad."

Are there any words that are incorrectly used or made up that drives you to distraction?  Let me know down below in the comments.  I'd love to read them.  And if I've made a million and one mistakes in this post.....feel free to pull me up on it, lol.  But I promise was a genuine mistake!  Teehee.  x

Lee xx

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A little Cat ........A lesson in French

My Parents and youngest brother, who is 14 are not long back from 10 days holiday in the South of France.  My wee Brother is pretty good at speaking French and was trying to teach my Daddy a few things too.  Who am I kidding, my wee bro is pretty fluent in French.......he got 100% in his French exams and when I told him I wanted to buy him a wee treat, he asked for a French linguistics book to improve his French as he wanted to be able to speak "proper French" and not the French he is taught at school.  Had that been me when someone asked me if I wanted a treat, it probably would have been a book too........but certainly nothing school related.  No way!  But this is the kind of kid Corey is.  He always wants to improve upon everything he does........even when he gets 100% in his exams, lol.  So he's pretty good at speaking the old French.  Oh and did I tell you that he's teaching himself Italian and Russian too?  Yeah, I know!  But that's a completely different story for another day, lol.

Anyway, I digress (with talking up my wee bro as a Super Genius.....which he is to me, lol).  Corey was sitting with my Daddy trying to teach him just some simple things in French which in turn my Daddy would impress my wee Mammy with his multi-lingual prowess.  So, Corey sat very patiently teaching my Daddy how to say,  "A little cat" in French.  He sat repeating and repeating:

 "Un petit chat", "Un petit chat", "Un petit chat"

But it was a bit too much in one sentence for my Daddy who is a pure Northern Ireland man through and through and has only ever spoken English his entire life.  He didn't learn languages at school so never had a chance to learn another language.  But because he wanted to try speaking some French, Corey was more than happy to oblige.

And so, Corey with his everlasting patience decided to break the sentence down for my Daddy even more so he would be able to hear and understand the sentence.  So Corey says, in his beautifully honed French accent;

"Repeat after me........UN"

Daddy replied......"Un" (in his gruff Northern Irish accent)

"Ok, now say "Petit"

And because he pronounced "Un" so well, my Daddy is getting pretty confident in his French speaking abilities.  So he replied  with "PetiT"

"No, no don't pronounce the T so harshly.  It's a soft T, barely audible, if at all.  Pretend the last T isn't even there.  So try again: Petit".

This time my Daddy gets it right and says "Petit".

"That's good.  Now say "Chat, but again with the T barely there are all "

Again Daddy replied with "ChaT" as harsh as ever.  But Corey quickly prompts him again and he tells him how to say it.

So again Daddy says "Chat", with less of a T this time.

"Very good.  Now say, Un petit chat".

And to Corey's amazement my Daddy replies "Un petit chat",

"Brilliant, that's it.  So just repeat that over and over until you remember it perfectly", Corey said.

And with that, Corey goes about his business (building a website of all things!) and my Daddy sits watching tv and every so often says "Un petit chat".

Next morning, Corey and my Daddy are down stairs chatting and having breakfast.  My Mammy comes down to join them and Corey thinks to himself that now is the perfect opportunity for Daddy to impress Mammy with his French skills.  After all, he sat repeating the sentence to himself all night and as its early in the morning, Corey believed it should be still pretty fresh in our Daddy's mind.  So Corey says:

"Daddy why don't you say that sentence in French for Mammy".

"Oh", Mammy replies "What's this about?"

My Daddy sheepishly looks at Corey and says "What sentence?"  My Daddy tends to get a little embarrassed and shy when he is put on the spot, it's actually quite adorable, lol.

Corey says "You know, the one I taught you last night.  Say "a little cat" in French".

So, my wee Daddy with his wee shy face, musters up the best French accent he can and proudly announces to my Mammy.......


Yes, you have read that's English.  And not only is it English and not the French statement he was meant to say, but he repeated exactly what Corey told him to say, in a fictitious French accent.

Well of course as soon as he came out with that, the 3 of them erupted with laughter. The poor man had already forgotten what he was taught the night before and Corey put him on the spot the next morning, so he had to say something.  He must have thought he would get away with it if he put on some kind of strange accent, teehee.

Ahhhhhh my family.  I do love them to bits.  And believe me, this silly story is only a taster of what every day life is like in my family.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this silly little story and it gave you a giggle as much as it did me.  Have a great day whatever you are up to.

Toodles Noodles....Lee xx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Will I ever do anything from my Pinterest Boards?

Yes, I know.  I'm just like you.  My name is Lee and I am a Pinterestaholic.  There, I said it!  Phew, that felt good!!  First step is admitting it Lee.  Next step is realising that approximately 99% of the things I've pinned on my numerous Pinterest boards will simply sit there and never in fact see the light of day or be seen through to fruition.  I can browse for hours looking at the many wonders of Pinterest, pinning this and that and thinking to myself;

"Ooooooo I could definitely make that." or

"What a great idea for Christmas gifts." OR

"How did I ever cope before this ingenious piece of pin-tasticness?"

Even my Husband is unwittingly benefiting from my Pinterest addiction because any time I now have a laptop problem or I have to switch browsers, he doesn't have one million and one bookmarks in the header of my browser that he has to save and painstakingly ensure that they are all dragged over to whatever new browser I am now using.  Most of the bookmarks I previously had saved were maybe of one wee thing that I happened to find interesting or liked on the whole entire website and the only way to save it or remember where it was, was to Bookmark it on my browser.  Now, they are all just Pinned to my Pinterest Boards and even Scrubby has one less thing to deal with when fixing my laptop.  So really, my Pinterest Addiction is helping not just me.  It's helping all the PC and Mac fixers of the world!!  It's quite a selfless platform really!

However, I've come to realise that all those hours I've lost myself in Pinterest, pinning away until my wee heart is content, has meant that I have pinned hundreds of items to tonnes of boards and ultimately, I have so many pins that I've forgotten half the things I've pinned.  Is this only me?  Am I alone in this?  So because I've forgotten what I've pinned, I have to go back into Pinterest again to remind myself what I've pinned.  Then I get completely distracted and spot an interesting Pin on my Follower's Board and the whole cycle begins again.  So not only have I forgotten what I came on to Pinterest for in the first place, but I've added more Pins to my ever increasing repertoire of pins that I will most likely forget that I've pinned!  Are you still with me?  Good.

And then there is the time that mysteriously disappears when I'm on Pinterest.  I swear time goes faster or someone is messing with my clock when I'm browsing the many pretty and colourful boards that entice me in to have a looksie and maybe even pin to my own boards.  No one is judging you, its just another chocolate torte recipe Lee....go on, you know you want to Pin it!  And then I suddenly look up from my laptop and realise its 2am in the morning and 4 hours have passed without me coming up for air!  Where's my Husband?  I don't remember him kissing me I look down at my stone cold cup of coffee he so kindly made me 4 hours earlier.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest.  I think it is one of the cleverest virtual pinboard platforms ever made.  But just how many of those thousands of chocolate desserts have I actually made?  And do I really think I'm going to make that gorgeous, shabby chic headboard out of old reclaimed doors?  And let's be honest, I was full of good intentions when I decided to do the 2015 52 week Savings Challenge, but I will hold my hands up and say by the time it got to saving the double digit amounts, I was terrified and couldn't save that amount of money every day!  Let's face it, I'm a Pinoholic, just not a Do-The-Pins-oholic.

So what about you?  Can you get lost for hours on end, browsing the plethora of pins on Pinterest?  Have you successfully completed a project or made a recipe from any of your many boards?  Are you strict about what you pin and give yourself a set time in which to "complete" an actual pinned idea or item?  Let me know you Pinterest secrets, I love to hear them.

Laters Gators.....Lee :)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Belching Bovines

I just learned something today from an Article from National Geographic which completely stunned me and I felt compelled to tell someone.  So after texting my 14 year old brother and telling him, because that is the type of strange but interesting sister I am, I thought I'd come on here and tell you lot.  And yes, I may be 35 and rushing to my phone to share my strange readings of the day to my very much younger 14 year old brother.....but he has a brain like mine therefore very much understands me and my odd thinkings.

Did you know.....(now this might come as a bit of a shock, so brace yourself for this information) that 26% of the United States total Methane Emissions comes from.....wait for it..........COW BURPS!!  Yes, you read that correctly.  The smelly, methaney burps of our Bovine brethren is highly contributing to methane emissions in the USA.

This has become such a concern that Scientists are actually working on a special type of drug that can be mixed with the cow feed that will help curb the burpy bovine's belchy stench.  It's strange to think of scientists running around a field, chasing cows and trying to attach a harnesses to them that would monitor said cows burps.  I can just see them all now, crowded into the corner of a farmers field with their wellie boots and white lab coats, arms outstretched holding the "harnesses" and nervously saying "Here Bessy, Bessy, Bessy.  Come get your harness on."  The cows.....well, they are just all standing around like they normally do, nonchalantly chewing grass and burping (obviously) and randomly looking up with a sense of boredom at the crowd of cornered Scientists holding strange burp monitoring harnesses.  It's all very strange really.

And just think, millions of years from now the earth may not even be habitable for humans to live on anyway, regardless of Methane Emission and Environmental factors that we think are important now.   And that's if we as a species even get to exist into the multi-millions of years anyway.  We are youngsters in the grand scheme of things.  Why aren't we putting more money into Space Exploration, someone please tell me??  I tell you what, if my Great, Great, Great Grand nieces and nephews (times a few more Great's onto that) are anything like me........they'll be wondering why we didn't stick more funds into Space Exploration too.  They'll be laughing (or crying!) and calling us the naive idiots just as we laughed at the thought of early man banging rocks together and making flint tools to splash about like eejits in the water trying to stab fish for their dinner.  If we are lucky to span millions of years old as a species but things end up going tits up for us here on Earth either because of war, over crowding, famine, disease, environmental factors, our Sun goes kaput or a great big meteor comes down and flattens us all (where were you and your big drilling rig when we needed you Bruce Willis??)....well, we are going to have to find somewhere for us to go if we don't want to be a footnote in history.  And if this rock that we squat on isn't going to be habitable for many future generations anyway, does it really matter if the cows highly methane emitting belches are that bad?

I suppose as the intelligent race and essentially custodians of Earth, we have a duty of care and we must make the best of what we have right now and attempt to make the world we live in a comfortable place for as many future generations as we can.  But as I said, we are youngsters in Earth's timeline.  And there is nothing that says as a species we will last forever.  Look at the people of Easter Island.  They essentially wiped themselves out and it all started because they knocked down the last remaining tree on their Island.  They decimated the Island that they lived on of its natural resources which inevitably lead to their demise.  Just because we are a highly intelligent race, doesn't mean we actually "own" the planet we sit on or have a right to be here either.  We are merely renting space here.  So is it a case of preserving what we have now and do our best for the planet, for as long as we can for future generations?  Or do we just throw our hands up in the air, and say "To hell with it", do what we want, when we want because as a species, we are no different from any other life form, virus, plant or bacteria on this planet and could go extinct, just like that?  I personally think environmental issues are very real......but only to us human beings.  I think it is difficult to make plans and think we can save the planet for future generations beyond say, 100 years ahead because we actually don't know what is around the corner for us as a species or in what state our planet will be in then.  I'm not saying that we should therefore tear down every last tree and eat the last fish in the sea because we might not make it passed 100 years anyway so what is the point?  That is not what I am saying.  But, I also believe at the end of the day, Earth will essentially look after itself as it has always done, before we were here and most likely way after we are gone, whether we try to save the trees or stop polluting our oceans or switch to natural resources to heat our homes.  Really, the issues we have with the environment and finding better, cleaner, cheaper and healthier resources to power our lives is all about making our lives and existence more comfortable and pleasurable.  Earth?  Well, this planet quite frankly doesn't give a damn whether we live for the next one million years or go extinct after 100 years. This wee planet will still go about its business, doing its own thing as its always done, whether that means its a world full of volatile volcanic landscapes with seas of lava or a lush green and blue oasis filled with human beings.  We weren't always the "Blue Planet" you know.  Because we as a species, as much as we like to think we are in control, actually we are not.  We can help ourselves by not over fishing the seas or stop contributing to the Ozone layer slowly disappearing.  But these are all things we do to make our existence a little more bearable for now and the near future.  This planet will carry on in its little cycle of whatever it's bound for whether we are here or not.   And honestly, there is nothing we can do about that.  We are not in control as much as we like to think we are.  And let's face it, if history has taught us anything, its that it tends to repeat and well all I'm saying is.......have you seen any dinosaurs around lately? lol.  And just think how much they'd be contributing to methane emissions with their dino sized burps!!  Maybe it's a good thing that they went extinct because I wouldn't want to be the one trying to put a Methane Emissions Reader harness on a T-Rex!

Right, I'm away out to my back garden to start working on my space ship for exploring the stars in order to find a new home to settle on.  I'm nearly sure Blue Peter said I could make one out of a toilet roll tube, some tin foil and duct tape.

I do realise that this post is undeniably random and strange.....but I did warn you that this might happen on this blog.  This is how my mind works.  Welcome to my brain people!  You're Welcome!

Lee :)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Walk 20 miles in his/her shoes......

So, I'm sitting slurping my morning coffee, looking out my front window and wondering if the Summer is ever going to reach Northern Ireland when I see my Postman, happily whistling as he walks up our path. He stops, checks his bag one last time (he's a thorough fella, our Postman) and stuffs his delivery into the letter box in our front door and goes about his round.  My Scrubby collects the post and announces

"Nothing in the Post, its only advertising."

I tutt ungraciously replying "I don't know why he insist on stuffing our letterbox full of that crap that is only filling up our recycling bin."

So I had a rummage through the "Post".  A menu for a local takeaway that we get at least 4 times a month, a leaflet with the latest deals from a local hardware shop, a leaflet with offers at the local Spar....Ohhhh, buy 1 get 1 free on Andrex toilet rolls.....Yippee!!  But basically, what was put through my door was recycling fodder.

But then I had a thought.....My Postman had to come to our door today.......even though there was no specifically addressed post for us.  So, not only does my Postman have to get up at around 4am to start his shift for the day to deliver letters and parcels to specific addresses, but he has to then deliver advertising that will inevitably wind up in the recycling bin to houses that didn't even have post to be delivered to them in the first place!  Of course I'm sure Royal Mail gets a handsome little sum for all this advertising to be posted through every single door in my town.  But does that mean the Postman gets extra for delivering to every door?  And if they do, is it enough of a pay rise to justify getting up at 4am and delivering to every single house on a street rather than just those who actually have post addressed to them?

I am at the end of my road, so I know that that is nearly 200 houses my Postman has to deliver to.  And that's the houses I know he delivers too.  He could also deliver to the road across from me too.  So, not only does he deliver addressed letters and parcels but he or she now has to deliver to every single house whether they have addressed post or not because advertisers have paid Royal Mail to deliver their offers, menu's, leaflets etc.  And not only does my poor wee Postie have to go to every house (in the fine Northern Ireland weather)..........but I can guarantee you, that all those households that didn't in fact have addressed post that day........they sure as hell didn't want to see a load of old crappy advertising being shoved through the door!  I know I certainly don't want it.  We get plagued with the stuff.  I hate unnecessary waste and this stuff immediately goes into my recycling bin.  But I will never give off to my Postie about the "crap" stuck in my letterbox because chances are, he or she hates having to go to every single house instead of just those receiving genuine post.

And another thing Royal Mail......your price hikes are ridiculous.  And I don't care if you say you are delivering more parcels than letters now, you were more than likely going that way anyway to deliver other things.  Let's face it, f my Postman has to deliver advertising to every single household anyway, including the usual parcels and are still getting paid either way, should it be by the Advertisers, our letter postage fee or parcel postage fee and my Postie still has to deliver to EVERY single house.  So don't cry about having to deliver more parcels when you are obviously sending your Post People to every single household anyway, delivering rubbish, spam and advertisements regardless.  The Big Boys are all about keeping the Shareholders happy and boy they must be ecstatic and laughing at all of us spending almost £1 for a tiny letter!

So, next time you see your local Postie coming down your path and you want to tackle him or her to the ground for putting crap through your door, maybe consider just how far he or she has walked that day and all the unnecessary miles they've had to walk just so the Fat Cats at Royal Mail can get their year end bonuses and pat each other on the back, congratulating each other on being Masters of the Universe.

And to my local Postie.........You're the Man (or Woman)!

And any Postmen or Women out there who want to give your tuppence worth, feel free to leave a comment below.  You are all stars.  x

Thursday, 18 June 2015


Yes, you'll see from the "About Me" gadget just over there, that apparently my name is Crafty Loops.  Well, it kinda is in a Blogger kinda way, but you can call me Lee.  Crafty Loops is my Crafting Blog.  Anyway, I'll probably just keep the "Crafty Loops" title as the thought of my full name being plastered over Blogger just makes me feel weird.  Ridiculous, I know considering the Social Media explosion of the last 10 years and a lot of people share pretty much everything including the birth of their first child and their end of year bonus figures.  Nah.....not me thank you very much.  Regardless of names etc., this Blog is something entirely different from my Craft Blog.....and this may in fact go no further than this post.....heehee.  Now wouldn't that be annoying.

I just decided on a whim to make this little blog.  I have been told on my Craft Blog and YouTube that I have a rather unique style of writing.  Of course, "unique" could basically mean anything from "OMG, this woman is so weird.  She's wired to the big light" to "You deserve a Pulitzer young lady", lol.  I'm not blowing my own trumpet here (she says with the sounds of angels tooting horns in her head), but I thought "what the hell", I may as well write about something that doesn't involve double sided tape and explaining the Coptic binding method to people.  It will be random "stuff" as the name of this blog so aptly suggests.  I may decide to talk about something I heard on the news, or a thought that entered my noggin or write about a fabulous adventure day I happened to have.  Then again, this blog may not have any of those things at all and I decide to write about something totally random like, why is it every time I walk passed my cat when she's sitting on the kitchen chair, she swipes at me and tries to trip me up?  What is that about?  I haven't disturbed her in any way, I haven't tried to move her or stroke her lovingly.  I've simply gone passed her on my way to the fridge or kitchen cupboard and BAM!!  There she is with her furry, clawed paw, aggressively swiping at me in an attempt to trip me up and laugh as I land on my face.  Either that or she just takes great pleasure in plucking my trousers.

Anyway, there is a random taster of what's to come.....or not to come as the case may be.  You might want to read, or you may not.  Either way, I may write.......I may not.  Who knows?  The joys of being me, eh?

Laters Gators......Lee X