Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tricky Stuff

Ok so I'm being honest here. Before I start please don't worry about me. This is me recognising a problem and talking about it so I can make sense of myself and tackle it.

I've been crying this last week. Once every day in fact. Sometimes because I'm worried about my daughters. Sometimes because I felt overwhelmed. And once because I read a post about a teacher on the internet.

I have a tense feeling in my stomach.

I'm a bit ill which doesn't help. I have a shocking sore throat and feel dizzy and tired, with a definite twitch in my left eye. I've been sleeping more than usual.

My food intake so far today has consisted of a bagel, half a packet of fizzy strawberry laces, some dark chocolate, a glass of orange juice, a salmon fillet and a can of diet coke. That's all the food groups covered there surely. You'll be reassured I've now filled my fridge and fruit bowl and planned what we are eating all week.

I tried to launch myself into exercise on Monday to fix things. I walked to work and back and my hips hurt for two days afterwards.

I know Autumn is a trigger period for my moods. Post September I seem to slump and feel lost. I know I have to take action, but it's hard. Maybe if I make a pledge publicly I hope it will help me stick to it.

1. I will do 20 minutes yoga as often as I can - with the kids. We have finally got rid of the carpet covered in dubious stains so it's quite appealing to lie in the middle of the living room floor.

2. I will keep talking (my husband is brilliant at listening to me) and writing.

3. I will follow the planning meals and eating fruit and veg thing. Chocolate will however also feature but I'll give the kids the rest of the fizzy laces.

Anxiety is a bummer. When I start to feel symptoms this is usually when I shut down and stop communicating so this time I'm not. I'm sticking two fingers up to my amygdyla.

Edited to add - this is not the only or even main thing in my life. Writing about it may look as if it is. My anxiety exists alongside me doing things and having fun. Some days it's worse. Some days it's better. It isn't all encompassing. I know this is lucky and might seem weird. It definitely is hard to explain.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Vintage Flea Market

I've become quite partial to a vintage flea. Plus I adore Abbeydale Picture House so I always enjoy a couple of hours mooching about the stalls.

This time it had the added benefit of hosting 1980s themed fashion shows. I don't think I ever expected to be explaining puffball skirts and shoulder pads to my daughters - which was weird enough - but them being fascinated and almost impressed was even more bizarre. Their faces were a picture - they looked like they had landed on Mars.

We sorted through the frocks, maps, crockery, jewellery and biscuit tins. We drooled over vinyl and enjoyed Whirlow Farm lunch. If I could have got away with a glass of prosecco believe me I would have done.

 An extra joy was bumping into people I know. Students from theatre school, my singing lady friend who collects beaded evening bags, stall holders from my Barefoot days and gorgeous flamboyant people I hadn't met yet dressed in 1950s dresses and three piece suits (shopping for a chair for their tattoo parlour). It doesn't get more eclectic than that. It's a community I like being a very small part of.

So I'd recommend a mooch. It's £2 to get in and you have the added joy of seeing this stunning picture house which one day I hope will be returned to its former glory. It's musty and dishevelled, broken and beautiful and full to the rafters of fabulous people. Plus I expect you will come home with something you didn't know you needed...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Musical Instruments

Advice for parents of children who are in the early days of playing a musical instrument:

1. Paying for your child to play an instrument is a good thing.

2. Brace yourself. There will be screaming.

3. You will have to join in and play terribly to show the child that they are way better at the instrument than you. Not difficult in my case for the clarinet.

4. The noise is a challenge.

5. Paying for your child to play an instrument is a good thing.

6. Your child may not be thanking you for encouraging them to practice but...well they aren't thanking you. In fact no-one is.

7. Very occasionally your child will achieve something cool and they will smile. This is rare and the only positive you will see for several weeks so grasp onto it.

5. Paying for your child to play an instrument is a good thing. Really it is.


So we are officially 40. I say 'we' because you may not be aware that my husband and I share our birthday. Yeah I know, isn't that unusual? It is. Although having spent the first 21 years of my life sharing my birthday with my dad, I was greatly surprised by yet another person entitled to slices of cake.

I actually liked sharing my birthday this year. After about 3 years of fluctuating midlife crises I think I've finally accepted that 40 will be ok. And sharing that special event with my husband couldn't be much better really. Plus we were very grown up and talked about it properly this time giving the kids lots to do - I baked the cake with them (it was awful) and he made breakfast with them (which was lovely).

We also had a party. This was a child free, friends party with lots of cocktails. Which also means we get to celebrate with family in due course. I do like a drawn out celebration.

We haven't had a house party in years. I won't bore you with details but it made us both very happy. Very old friends travelled to see us. They know who they are - I won't go on but I did cry.

My singing friends even sang with me, giving up their time and being brave enough to face a crowd of drunken revellers. We had juggling, blindfold origami, magic, a self penned comic song and everyone (well almost everyone) learned a song acapella, led by my brilliant singing teacher and friend. One of my friends even learned to play Waterloo on the recorder although she only displayed this to private audiences. The chiminea got a bit hot and there was pina colada on tap. Not bad really.

So this post is to say thank you to my friends - for celebrating with us. We are extremely lucky to have you in our lives.

Now back to planning a lovely celebratory lunch with family. I rather like this 40th birthday thing. Even if I do have to share it.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

I wasn't entirely sure of this if I am honest, simply because I saw the National Theatre Live version last year and despite it being a cinema link up I was blown away. It seemed unlikely that the show at the Lyceum could have the same impact.

But in spite of the set and the script not being a surprise I still adored it. The choreography is beyond words and that coupled with superb acting and innovative projection conveyed a real feeling of the sensory overload autism can bring.

The play is about a fifteen year old boy with autism who discovers the murder of his neighbour's dog and sets about solving the crime. Although of course it is really about human relationships, disability and connection. Half way through I was desperate to hug my children at the thought of not being able to.

The cast must be mentioned - Joshua Jenkins was stunning as Christopher and the supporting cast were all memorable and comedic. Their energy, timing and focus was incredible.

But the set designers have to share the limelight. This show is nothing like you have seen before. Unless you've seen it before. But even if you have, go again.


Friday, 4 September 2015

Gin Fest

The taxi driver was confused when I said I was going to a gin festival. I suppose it isn't your usual Friday night out.

When I was at university the twelfth gin made me cry. But that was terrible gin and, well it probably wasn't twelve since I usually lost count around six.

I don't drink gin in excess anymore. A beverage that I associate with weeping isn't usually my first choice. Although I do really really like it. It reminds me of trips to the pub with my friends at 21. And Christmas.

So when my friend asked me to drink gin on a Friday night I jumped at the chance. A night out with a very good friend and the chance to drink gin, listen to music and try to stay vertical? What's not to like.

I didn't realise there were over 100 types of gin. I also hadn't fully appreciated how many types of gin cocktails there are. It's mind boggling.

In case you, like my taxi driver, are wondering what happens at a gin festival it's essentially as follows. You buy tokens (4 for £20). You then flick through the brochure of too many gins to comprehend and randomly pick one. You then drink it and go and get another one. Then you drink gin and tonic with gin flavoured ice cream in it through a straw. Then you drink some gin cocktails. You also watch hipsters and ladies in 1950s frocks. And you try not to fall over.

What I learnt was, well I still like gin, Especially good gin (Sir Robin of Locksley is fab and I failed to remember any of the others I tried.). I also learnt that palma violet flavoured gin is just plain wrong.

Great night.