Friday, 22 May 2015

Fly On The Wall May 2015

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 17 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                         Baking In A Tornado
http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                         Spatulas on Parade
http://followmehome.shellybean.com                         Follow me home
http://www.menopausalmom.com/                         Menopausal Mother
http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                       Stacy Sews and Schools
http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                  Battered Hope
http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty
http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes
http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                           Someone Else’s Genius
http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky
http://dinoheromommy.com/                                 Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                           Juicebox Confession
http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/                   Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                      Searching for Sanity
http://www.southernbellecharm.com                         Southern Belle Charm
http://www.angelaweight.com                                  Sanity Waiting to Happen
http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk       People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge

This is my first Fly On The Wall so I've been trying to write a running post over the last few weeks.  It's a bit like when I text myself snippets of things as a reminder for blog posts and then I generally forget what I was talking about but hopefully I can remember enough to give you an idea what life has been like in the Mac household over the last month or so ...


I've had some triumphs and some disasters in the last few weeks.

The biggest and most ambitious example was Miss Mac's 16th Birthday cake.

I decided I wanted to do something special and settled on a Louboutin shoe box cake filled with cupcakes and a pair of high heeled cupcakes on the top.

Not a bad effort

She seemed pretty happy with it

Then I was sent a link on FB to some apple and puff pastry roses:

Not quite so successful but they tasted ok

And finally:

This was truly HORRIBLE!

It was a kind of cauliflower cheese, pasta bake.

What was I THINKING???

We ate in silence - when I'd eaten as much as I could stomach I looked at SD:

'I don't think I'll make that again' I said.

He looked at me - 'Promise' he said sadly ...

After months of moaning and groaning SD finally went to the doctor about his shoulder.

He has, after xrays and a physio session been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder.

After his physio I asked him how it went.

SD: 'The physio was really pretty'.

Me:  'Hmmmm .... !!!'

SD: 'I think she was really impressed with how strong I am - she even asked me to do my best 1950's calendar pose.'

Me: 'She didn't did she?'

SD: 'Well, no ...  but ... but ...  she said I was very manly!!'

Me: 'That's a lie isn't it?'

SD: 'Maybe ...'

Me: 'No ones actually EVER said that to you have they?'

Long pause ... and then, in a small voice ...

SD: 'No ...'

Update on the above!!

I may have misjudge SD after all - he got a letter through the post forwarded by his doctor from the physio referring him for further treatment in which she said 'Thank you so much for referring this very pleasant and charming patient' - SERIOUSLY??

Who has EVER had a letter from a medical professional that said something like that?


Looks like I may have some competition ...

A couple of weeks ago I was in the garden.  It was a really hot day and I'd been pulling up weeds and digging over the flowerbed ready to plant some bedding plants.

I was hot, I was sweaty, I was filthy and I was dressed in an ancient pair of cut off jeans and a vest top covered in paint.

Miss Mac came out to tell me there was a man at the door asking for me.

Trailing mud through the house and with hedge clipping in my hair I went to the door.

'Hi' said this impeccably dressed man beaming at my like a toothpaste ad.

'I'm your local Independent councillor standing for election  and (thrusting a huge television camera into my red and sweaty face)  do you mind if we film you?'

FB's Memories To Look Back On.

Finally FB have introduced an update that I really like!

Every day (well, on days that I have posted something in past years) I get a little message from FB telling me that I have memories to look back on.  It's fun seeing what I was doing/saying on that day up to 5 years ago (which is how long I've been on FB).

Here are some examples:

Fowers and chocolates are soooo last year. When someone gives you 369 pouches of cat food then you REALLY know you're being wooed!
Yep, worked for me as Tilly my cat had recently given birth to kittens on this day 4 years ago.

Finally I can wash the paint off my feet and the white spirit out of my hair - the dining room is DONE!!
That dining room seemed to take FOREVER! It didn't help that I decided to go for white over white which meant that I couldn't really tell which bits I'd already painted.

Just found the most enormous pair of M&S control pants in my back garden, am thinking they're not mine!!!!
This was the basis for my first ever blog post Today In My Garden

Photo Editing:

I love taking photos and I often edit them to some degree using a great photo editor Ipiccy.  If you like messing with photos then check it out, it's free and so much better than most

Generally I don't like photos of me.  I seems to pull weird faces almost all of the time or I'm standing at an awkward angle or SOMETHING.

SD loves to take photos of me and mostly can't see what my problem is with them.

SD took this photo of me a couple of weeks ago.  We'd been caught out in a shower and my hair was hanging in rats tails around my face.

SD said I looked beautiful.

Got to say the resulting photo which he took RIGHT IN MY FACE didn't really say that to me but, with a little editing ....  I used a Polaroid filter which, as well as taking all of the colour out also gave a slightly over exposed effect (blurring lines and wrinkles so a bonus!).  I then reintroduced the colour in a few places that I wanted to stand out.  My eyes, a touch of colour wash on my lips and my earring.

Finally ending up with a photo that I liked too:

Some photos don't require editing.

This is a tiny corner at the farm under the plum tree by the end of the barn.  The cow parsley has gone a bit wild and the late evening sun was catching the stonework by the window - beautiful!

Prom Shopping

Miss Mac leave school this year and so the big event (other than exams of course) is the Prom!

We had a look around the shops the other week so she could try some on and get an idea of what suited her.

The answer was EVERYTHING!!!

She's 5ft 8(ish) and a size 8 to 10 and so clothes fall really well on her, she's very lucky.

I fell in love with the very first dress she tried on:

For me, this would be the one!
But it wasn't quite what she wanted.

We have found the right dress and it was delivered just a couple of days ago and it's STUNNING - no photos yet but there will I'm sure be a post on the whole event in June when it takes place.

In other good news.  Miss Mac and two of her friends were presented with free prom tickets in assembly the other day as a thank you for all their efforts to raise money for the Prom.  They raised a record amount which meant that everyone's tickets have been reduced by £10 each and it was lovely that they were recognised publically for their efforts.

Carboot sales, Charity shops and craft markets are something else I love and we have had an abundance of them in the last few weeks but to tell you all about them would make this post far too long so I will save that for another post (or possibly it will go out before this one which I am writing as and when throughout the month).

One find I will share with you though.

I found these earrings (seen in the photo above) at a carboot sale a few weeks ago.  I have a collection of small flower stud earring and these were a really pretty addition. When SD and i spent the day in Paignton for the BMad bike festival we found a necklace that exactly matched them on a stall.

SD spent last weekend on the Quantocks.  The Quantocks are a range of hills that stretch for about 15 miles across Somerset right down to the Bristol Channel.  They are incredibly beautiful especially when the Heather is out.

Anyway, SD had been roped in to help with a Duke of Edinborough event taking place as he is one of the few people at the school that can a) drive a minibus and b) put up a tent.

The children had been given a list of things that they needed to bring with them.  They were dropped off several miles away from the campsite with a map and grid references and had to make there own way there carrying all their stuff.

When they arrived they unpacked.

Spare clothes - cooking equipment - bedding etc.

Except for one boy ...

SD looked on in amazement as he pulled out his phone (they had no signal - phone charger - no electric - ipad (ditto) and finally these ...

A pair of Highland cow slippers!!!
A boy after my own heart :-)

That's about it for this month.  Somehow I thought I'd be funnier ...  Maybe next month!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


I don't know what brought Jessie to mind this morning.

Something prompted memories of my childhood, of days long ago walking the long smugglers path to Arymer Cove.

Of Robert, the son of my mothers friend, just a few years older than me who was tragically killed on his motorbike when he was only 19 years old.

I wondered who (other than his family) still thought about Robert more than 30 years after his life ended and it led me on to thinking of Jessie.

Is there anybody left to think of her?

Jessie lived opposite us with her elderly mother.  I don't recall their surname, I don't know why that bothers me.

I think that little was known about Jessie.  I don't know her age.  She may have been anything between 30 and 50 but at the age I was (about 9 or 10) all I knew was that she was a grown up.

I don't know if she worked or if she had any hobbies, if she'd ever been married or even had a boyfriend.  I know so little about her other than the fact that she lived with her mother in the row of  6 or 7 Council owned houses across the road.

Jessie had a dog called Mutley.  A small black and white rough haired terrier who occasionally used to escape and come chasing across the road to our house to be made a fuss of.  Once he had had his fill of petting he would race back across the road to home.

Jessie walked Mutley for miles.

I often used to see her as she passed by.

She was tall and slim with short cropped dark hair.  Always in dark clothing.  Often wearing a long dark overcoat that may well have been a man's.

She only ever spoke to say hello.  She had a deep voice for a woman, but it was soft and melodic with no discernable accent.  She would nod politely in my direction, voice her greeting and pass by.

The day before she died I saw her.  I was sitting on the bank by our garden gate.  I saw her leave her house with Mutley pulling on his lead.  She turned and checked the door was securely fastened before walking down the path towards me to the road.

There was nothing special or significant about my last sighting of Jessie.  She gave me her usual greeting and carried on down the road towards the village as I watched until she rounded the bend in the road and disappeared from my sight.

Had I know it was the last time I would see her I doubt anything would have been different.

Jessie died the following day walking Mutley late at night.  She was struck by a motorbike.

Perhaps it was remembering Roberts untimely death that reminded me of Jessie although Robert died several years after she did.

The boy who's bike hit her was the brother of a boy I went to school with.  He rounded a bend on the way into the village and just didn't see her next to the hedge in her dark clothing.

He didn't even know he'd hit her ...

He came off his bike and possible was even knocked unconscious - I don't remember the details.  He picked up his bike and pushed it home where he told his parents about the accident still not knowing what had caused it.

The alarm was raised when Mutley returned home without Jessie.

Again, I don't know (or remember the details) but at some point the connection was made between the boy's accident and Jessies death.

I don't remember what happened to the boy.  I don't know if any blame was attached to him.  I remember that it was talked of as a tragic accident and I remember that at some point Mutley just wasn't around any more.  I don't know if Jessies mother couldn't cope with the reminder of her or if she felt that somehow the dog was to blame for the accident.

It was the first time this kind of death had touched my life and I wish I knew more about Jessie.

I wish I remembered more - I wish  I could tell her story properly.

Perhaps it's enough that someone just remembers her from time to time.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Wookiees and Watches

God, those FB quizzes!!!

Do you get sucked in???

I DO ... occasionally ... sometimes ... when I'm bored ... hardly ever!!

So one of my 'friends' did one about how many children were you meant to have and I gave it a go.

I got 15!!!

FIFTEEN for god's sake - I practically FELT my uterus wince!

I moved on pretty quickly to 'What Kind Of Alien Are You?' because frankly, that seemed less scary and guess what I got??

You got: Wookiee

You’re cool and unpretentious, and extremely loyal to your friends and family. You have a lot of talents, and you’re generally a helpful person to have around.


Seriously, I've written many MANY post about how helpful I am, I even titled one 'Sarah Helps Out' and then there was this one 'Helpful (Oh Yes I Am)' and, as you know, there are LOADS of other examples on this blog of just how helpful I am!

(obviously I am FAR too unpretentious to link to them though ....)

And then check THIS out and tell me those FB quizzes don't know what they are talking about!

I went into Boots the other day with Miss Mac as she wanted some photos from her phone printed out to go in the year book she is putting together as a reminder of her school days.

Standing at the counter waiting to be served I glanced over at the next till where a very young lad, tall and skinny, was serving someone.

I nudged Miss Mac and whispered:

'Have you SEEN the size of his watch?'

(It was HUGE - like about 3" across and it looked even bigger on his skinny wrist).

Miss Mac looked a little startled and frowned at me.

'Look' I said, 'it's MASSIVE - why would you want one that big?'.

She continued to look puzzled and, to be honest, just a little scared.

'L O O K  A T  I T'   I insisted - I've never seen one that big before - just LOOK at it!'

She shrugged and leaned over the counter and stared at his nether regions.

'What are you DOING' I hissed pulling her back.

'I'm looking at his cro ....

'WATCH - I told you to look at his WATCH!!!'

Friday, 1 May 2015

All That Giltters ...

Is far more likely to be silver than gold in this house.

So yesterday Miss Mac turned 16.

WOW ...

All my babies are grown up ...

I could regale you with the story of her birth but to be honest, you probably don't want to hear it and again, to be honest, it was a simple, straight forward birth, no dramas.

My beautiful girl was born on her due date and the entire process took less than 3 hours from start to finish.

I remember the first time I looked at her.  She seemed to be enveloped in a cloud of glitter and no, I didn't have any drugs that could have accounted for that.  The air around her just shimmered with a silver haze and I still see that every time I look at her.

I told you about my plan for making her a shoe box cake for her Birthday.

Well, I gave it a lot of thought over the past few weeks and drew a lot of designs as well as trawling the net for ideas.

I'd already seen these on a friends FB and knew that I wanted to give them a go:

There is a tutorial and I will add the link at the end for anyone else who wants to try them.

But I also had this idea that I would make the shoebox for them to sit on.

I soon realised that a shoebox size cake would be huge and there was no way we would be able to eat it all unless we were throwing a massive party.

Well, Miss Mac doesn't want a huge party.  She wants a few friends over at the weekend for pizza and a sleepover but I still wanted to make the high heeled cup cakes.

SO ...

I decided to use a real shoe box.  Make a couple of the high heels to go on top and then fill the box with cupcakes!

My first idea was to make a box like a Louboutins shoe box, like this one:

That would just have involved finding a shoe box, covering it in brown paper and writing the logo on it.

SIMPLE!  Until ...

I went into The Works, one of my favourite shops for crafting supplies and I saw, self adhesive glitter paper - GENIUS!!!

I loved it!

So the design changed.  I was going to be an over the top GLITTER cake!

Covering the box wasn't as easy as I'd thought (things rarely are!) but with a little time and patience I got it done.

The only problem was that I wasn't able to drawn the logo directly on to the paper.

I bought some white card and carefully copied the logo.  You could trace it if you aren't confident at drawing.  I then used a sharpie to go over the logo and cut it out so I could stick it to the glitter paper.

When I placed the logo on the glitter paper I realised that the white card looked much too harsh and really didn't look very good so I got a silver pen and coloured in the white and it looked much better!

Unfortunately the glue caused the glitter paper to bubble a little so if I did it again I'd use a different faster drying glue rather than PVA but I decided it didn't matter too much.

I was going to add diamante trim to the L but I decided there was too much scope for messing that up so I just added a single pearl to the design.

I also wanted to write Happy Birthday and I had some silver self adhesive letters so I cut out some of the glitter paper, wrote the message and then stuck it on to the box.

I also wanted Miss Mac to be able to keep the box after if she wanted to so I stuck some of the glitter paper on to card to make a small cake board for the high heeled cup cakes which could sit on top and avoid getting icing on the box itself.

It's not as perfect as I'd like but not a bad effort.

To make the box I needed:

A shoe box
Self adhesive glitter paper
Silver letters
A black sharpie
A silver pen
White card
Tracing paper (if using) and a pencil
Glue to stick the logo on with
Self adhesive gems
Tissue paper to line the inside.

Then I made the cakes.

Usually when I do something like this I tell you at the end how much cheaper it was to make rather than buy but to be honest, I could probably have bought 3 cakes for the price of this one!

You need:

Basic cupcake ingredients (which I already had).
Something to make the soles and the heels.
Edible silver glitter
Silver dragees
Any other kind of decoration that takes your fancy.

The things I really struggled with were the soles of the shoes.  I bought some Langues Du Chat thinking that they would be perfect but when I opened the box they were far too small!

So I settled on some Madelaines which were perfect!

The heels were a nightmare too.  I knew exactly what I wanted but it seems that finding chocolate filled rolled wafers at any time other than Christmas is not easy!

Eventually, after trawling all the local supermarkets AND the small independent food shops I found the perfect chocolate filled wafers at Poundstretchers!!

I'm renowned for my lack of ability at icing and I think it might be partly down to the fact that I make my icing too slack.  I read up a bit on buttercream and the perfect way to make stiff icing is to have a 1:2 ratio of butter to icing sugar.  Beat the butter first until it's pale and creamy and then add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time beating in between.  When all the icing sugar is incorporated add a little milk to let the icing down and then add any colouring.  Seems to work!

My icing skills still leaves a lot to be desired but it's a huge improvement!

Fill the box with decorated cupcakes (that's edible glitter making them shine)

and place the shoes on top

Usually at this point when I've done a crafting post or something I'll tell you how cheap it was to make.

Not this time!!!

Ok, so I had all the stuff to make cupcakes but all the extra ingredients along with the stuff to make the box probably cost me ....

I'm mentally adding up here - been too scared to up until now!

Hmmm, about £15 so not as bad as I'd thought (that include the Langues Du Chat  mistake - about £3).

For those of you who are concerned by recent posts, don't worry - normal (for me) scatty, disorganised and ridiculous posting will resume shortly!

And, if you want to have a go yourself, check this out:

artist! http://youtu.be/hCfoLHlvNCQ 

Small update (to avoid me having to write yet another crafting post!)

I also went with the silver theme for Miss Mac's presents wrapping them in silver paper and cutting out some heart shaped tags and covering them with some of the silver self adhesive paper and adding contrasting ribbon:

Like this
I didn't want to just throw the tags away after as they were so pretty so, using some more of that silver wire and some of those teardrop beads I've used before I turned it into bunting to string across the blind in her bedroom (obviously the blind is ALSO silver ;-)

I think It's a pretty addition the the hearts and silver theme in her room