Monday, 13 April 2015

Outlander - Enough to get me blogging again!

Okay....first of all, many apologies for my long absence from this blog.  I have had a few health issues (all explained in my other blog) and time has been pretty tight.   But with a couple of hours in hand I felt compelled to rejoin the Red Wine and Wrinkle Cream world to talk about my new favourite TV programme......Outlander.

Where to start?  Hmmmm........I know.......Jamie Fraser/Sam Heughan.  Wow!  If that isn't a good enough reason alone to give this show a watch, I'm not sure what is!

Jamie is a man driven by principles and a deep love for time travelling "sassenach" Claire Beecham.   He even manages to make a kilt look sexy it seems!

Claire is the main character in the show, having fallen through a lump of rock, landing in the highlands of Scotland in 1743 (as you do) and rather fortuitously almost straight into the very muscly and capable arms of Jamie.

Hubby and I watched the first eight episodes in three days thanks to an accidental subscription to Amazon Prime but are now forced to endure the full seven day wait for it to appear every sunday for the second half of the series/season.

Now I could go on and on about the plot and depth and breadth of the characters and storyline but as I sit here typing this, I realise that in actual fact, there is really only one thing that I really love about the show.......so here it (he) is.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Surviving Burglary - Has anyone seen my handbag?

Four months ago, we were burgled.  Whilst my husband, son and I slept soundly upstairs, someone (well four someones as it turned out) hooked my house and car keys from the hall table, pulled them through the letterbox, let themselves in and proceeded to search the entire ground floor to find the keys to my husbands car which was (thankfully) blocking mine in.

They took everything portable and of value (almost exclusively my stuff) and every bag that they came across in case the keys were inside.  Even my son's school bag.

I came downstairs the next morning to walk our 4 month old puppy and noticed that something was wrong.  Contents of drawers were all over the floor, the curtains that we pull across the front door were just slightly apart.....and the hallway was empty.

My husband came down and we checked each room, not really taking in what was missing at first - that came as a series of sickening waves as the realisation that each item was gone hit me.  We found our puppy hiding in her crate and immediately suspected she had been restrained in some way.  Four months on and she is still reluctant to come out of her bed until she knows that it is one of us that is in the room and she is still very jumpy at night.

We found all of the bags dumped just down the road, contents spilled across the pavement, anything of value taken.  My son's schoolwork was strewn in the bushes and my iPhone case was a few yards away, lying in the grass.  

A few weeks later, my laptop turned up (thank you "Find my iPhone"!) in Islamabad of all places and my car keys were discovered a few streets away shortly thereafter.

Eventually, life gets back to normal.  You replace what is lost (or at least, the things that can be replaced) and you get your house and car locks changed.  The house is now like Fort Knox but the experience has totally changed how we live our day to day lives.

Not a day goes by when our behaviour isn't different because of the burglary.  We don't leave things lying around like we used to.  I cannot leave my phone in the kitchen if I am going to be in the lounge.  If I am going out, I take as much of what is important to me with me so that I know where it is.  I hide things....even if I am just popping out to the shops.  I hide them so well that even I can't find them.  An entire handbag is missing and I have no idea where I have put it.

The experience of burglary has destroyed my trust in my home.  My home no longer feels like a safe place.  It feels safer.  It is safer than it was.  But it will never feel like a sanctuary again.  

Four men walked into my home and took away more of my life than I suspect even they could imagine.  

I have the satisfaction of knowing that the police have arrested and charged at least one of them, and he can best be described as someone who you would never want within a mile of your home, let alone in it, while you are sleeping.

And I also have the satisfaction of being able to say that we have moved on, and will continue to move on.  But life will never be the same.......and I still can't find my handbag!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Cook? Me? Pass the Vodka please!

So I'll admit that my bucket list list is pretty unadventurous in the eyes of those who don't know me very well but for those of you who do, you will know that for me to have any target that involves food preparation is, well, foolish.
If Nigella Lawson's talent for cooking is a swimming pool, my own talent is a raindrop in comparison!
I will admit that I enjoy a bit of baking, and I have turned out some reasonable danish pastries in my time, but give me anything savoury to prepare and I literally fall to pieces.
Anything that requires multiple cooking times, more than one cooking temperature or any form of advance prep and I am a ball of nerves.  The kitchen is less zen-filled creative space and more chaos-meets-confusion-meets-meltdown!
Christmas dinner is my one exception.......and this is (to my utter shame) only the case because my husband has realised that after several extremely stressful Christmas days, the only way to get me through it is to ply me with alcohol.  Sadly, the more I drink, the better the meal.  Fact.
Having set myself a target to prepare one new meal each month for the next 12 months, it could be said that I have set myself up for failure before I have even begun.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

354 Days to go until the big Four-Oh!

Okay, so this is my first countdown blog post and I have 354 days to go until i hit the big 40.
Yes, I know that its only a number.  Yep, I get that I am fussing over something pointless.  Of course I can see that it is nothing to be genuinely worried about.
I get all the logic, all the "its not that bad", all the "life begins at..." stuff and I remember how I felt when I was approaching 30.
But this feels a bit different.
The thing is, I remember my mum turning 40.  This is the first age that I can remember my mum being!  That feels very strange.
I remember wearing a dark pink and black, drop-waisted candy stripe dress with spiky hair and black stilettos to her 40th birthday party.  Images of a load of grown ups dancing to Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come on Eileen and then slowing it down with The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush.  I can see it all.
Not that the memories are bad ones - it was a good night - its more that I am approaching an age which I thought was really old when my mum reached it!  
Weird.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

My "Facing Forty" Bucket List

Before you read this list, you need to understand something about me.  I am basically scared of everything - spiders, heights, over-taking big lorries on a dual carriageway, flying, driving places I don't know very well.....you get the idea right?  Scared. 
Not the greatest person to come up with a list of dare-devil things to do before she reaches 40 then?  No.
So my list is pretty short and not that taxing to achieve, but it does present some challenges for me and I am placing it on the internet to increase my chances of actually doing it.....so here goes.
  • Write a short story
  • Get someone to publish said short story (nb. that could be me, on this site...depends how desperate I get!)
  • Cook one new savoury dish each month
  • Write a letter to myself to be read when I am 49
  • Drive on a motorway (yes, really!)
  • Start a business (more later in the year on this one)
  • Re-open LifeRedesign (my 'old' business venture)
  • Make a will (I know, irresponsible and boring but by outing myself as will-less I might actually make one!)
  • Do something that terrifies me at least once 

I might add to this as I get more brave.  For now, this feels like enough!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Red Wine and Wrinkle Cream

Yesterday I turned 39, and almost immediately became gripped by the need to do something with the last year of my 30's.
A glass or two of red wine later and here I am.....back on my blog.....but what should I do?
I contemplated a Bucket List and it was all going really well until I remembered that I am terrified of heights, unable to swim (and with no inclination to so much as dip my toe in a puddle), and have no sense of balance.  I am fundamentally anti-social and cannot stand opera.
This pretty much ruled me out for the usual Bucket List suspects - the parachute jump, cross channel swim, tightrope walking, going to an opera (yes, really!  I googled it!) - so what to do?
Well, I have often been called opinionated and I do enjoy a bit of writing so I hit upon the idea of doing something less physically challenging......sitting down and redesigning my blog into a place where a 39 year old woman can pour her thoughts, ramblings, insightful commentary and cutting edge observations.  Not a puddle or parachute in sight.  Brilliant.
So here we go....a new name which I feel reflects where I am in my life and a new purpose.  
Ladies.  This is a call to arms.  Grab your red wine.  Smear on your anti-wrinkle cream and join me as we stand together and take on our forties!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

This week has been rubbish - there have been hormones, ultrasound scans (not pregnant, just a check up), constant headaches and a feeling of overall dumpiness that I guess comes with the hormones but is unassisted by my need to wrap myself up warmly on a chilly evening.

I look just like this now!
So, I decided to take the bull by the horns and end the week on a dramatic note.  I have dyed my hair!!   Red!!!  It's cool!!!!

I should explain that my natural hair colour is an unimpressive and thoroughly forgettable mouse/rat brown.  Kind of nondescript really.  Neither blond nor brunette but somewhere in between.

I have had highlights in the past and have managed to make myself pretty blond/ginger with the liberal use of some bleach in a spray that was all the rage in the early nineties.....but these days, I am just plain mousy.

With the arrival of autumn and with all of the lovely reds and oranges and yellows as the leaves change and fall, I started playing with the idea of becoming a redhead for a while.  A few celebs have done it and they looked great, so why not me?

I marched out to the pharmacy and bought a semi-permanent dye and it has been sat in the bathroom for over a week now while I talked myself in and then back out of doing it.

Part of my concern was that at 35 I would look like I was trying too hard.....soon snapped out of that though.  I mean.....35 is not old is it!!  I seem to have written myself off as ancient and it is time to stop.

So this afternoon, halfway through my chores and up to my eyes in laundry, I dropped everything and did it.

As I sat waiting for the 15 minutes to pass before I could rinse off the dye, I started to have doubts, but heck - it was too late by then so I ploughed on, and voila.......my head is now red.  I am officially a redhead.

And the best news is......I absolutely love it!  I feel like a million dollars.  Best thing I could have done to lift my spirits.

I am hot!  Red hot!