Saturday, September 06, 2014

When ginger bear went to @efteling

My family loves efteling, so we just had to take ginger bear there.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

Some liturgy for the renaming of an adult

A friend of mine recently changed her name, and we marked the occasion with a little ceremony. This is my first attempt of liturgy writing, as I did alot of searching online and couldn't find anything suitable. So I'm saving it here for other people to use, it's adapted from The Church of England's baptism liturgy in Common Worship:

Jane's celebration of taking on a new name.

The blessing of the new name

Today we are celebrating the decision to take on a new name. We open with some words of


Genesis 17:

5 No longer shall your name be Abram,* but your name shall be Abraham;* for I have made you

the ancestor of a multitude of nations.

6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from


7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their

generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring* after you.

15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her


16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise

to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’

Addressing the person with the new name: What is the name you have decide to take?

[Answer from Jane]

Jane, we thank God for your new name and what it represents to you. We ask God to bless

your new name and this new chapter in your life.

Jane is now going to renew her baptismal vows in her new name to represent her continued

commitment to Christ.

Prayer over the water

Praise God who made heaven and earth,

All: who keeps his promise for ever.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All: It is right to give thanks and praise.

We thank you, almighty God, for the gift of water

to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life.

Over water the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation.

Through water you led the children of Israel

from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.

In water your Son Jesus received the baptism of John

and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ,

to lead us from the death of sin to newness of life.

We thank you, Father, for the water of baptism.

In it we are buried with Christ in his death.

By it we share in his resurrection.

Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, in joyful obedience to your Son,

we baptize into his fellowship those who come to him in faith.

Now sanctify this water that, by the power of your Holy Spirit,

they may be cleansed from sin and born again.

Renewed in your image, may they walk by the light of faith

and continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Lord;

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be all honour and glory, now and for ever.

All: Amen.

Renewal of baptism vows

In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.

Therefore I ask:

Jane, Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?

All: I reject them.

Jane, Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?

All: I renounce them.

Jane, Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?

All: I repent of them.

Jane, Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?

All: I turn to Christ.

Jane, Do you submit to Christ as Lord?

All: I submit to Christ.

Jane, Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?

All: I come to Christ.

May God, who has given you the desire to follow Christ,

give you the strength to continue in the Way.

The Profession of Faith

The president addresses the congregation

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess the faith of the Church.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father?

All: I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?

All: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

All: I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.


The president says

Almighty God,

we thank you for our fellowship in the household of faith

with all who have been baptized into your name.

Keep us faithful to our baptism,

and so make us ready for that day

when the whole creation shall be made perfect in your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

All: Amen.

[Sprinkle Jane with water to represent baptism]

May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith,

that we may be rooted and grounded in love

and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.

All: Amen.

Some alternate words to the 'giving away' bit of a wedding ceremony

When we got married, I didn't want to be given away. But I still wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I wanted some way to reflect the creation of our new families. I'm saving them here in case anyone else ever needs them.

I found this on


Priest: Sharon and Ashley, your daughter, Alex, has chosen to share her life with Tom. Will you receive him as your son, and at all times give him your support and understanding?
Sharon and Ashley: We will.

Priest: Eunice and Norman, your son, Tom, has chosen to share his life with Alex. Will you receive her as your daughter, and at all times give her your support and understanding?
Eunice and Norman: We will.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thoughts from Summer

The diet has begun again in earnest. Fed up of being out of breath when I walk up and down stairs. with Tom for two hours into town and back last night. Have the blisters to prove it.

Town in the evening sunshine was charming.  People not quite spilling out of bars because it was a Tuesday.  So it was quiet and glowing in the sunshine. I looked for odd architectural details above the buildings like drain spouts shaped like dragons.

The wind was warm as it whooshed past us gently. We even went home via the national rose test beds in the park. Now slightly past their best, there was still a heady scent rising in the heat.

On the stairs at the station today I caught a glimpse of star covered socks above brogues in that ever increasing gap between shoe and cropped skinny trousers that men are wearing. It surprised me and made me smile because the socks were fun and the trousers sombre. 

I created wedding flowers for a friend of a friend this weekend gone, and the flowers there made me smile. It was the first bride to say “I trust you, do whatever you think’s best – but please may it have a little yellow” So we had pompon Viking chrysanthemums, September flower in blue and white, gyposphilia, yellow limionum, sunflowers, yellow spray roses, nephrolepis leaves,  yellow ilios roses, high and mighty yellow and red roses, and yellow red and orange gerberas. The buttonholes were nephrolepis tops, peach carnations, limionum and pompon Viking chrysanthemums. The bouquet, peach carnations, ilios roses, nephrolepis tops yellow spray roses, gypsophilia and limionium, with lots of buttons and brooches on wires throughout, wrapped in ivory satin. I didn’t get a good picture of that, must ask the bride.

The most fun part was decorating a willow arch under which the couple would say their vows. I was really pleased with the way it turned out, whole stems of September flowers appearing from the ground between the willow. 

Now there is a cloud of gypsophilia on my table and a stem of pompon – and I think those little yellow lovelies are my new favourite.

I haven’t managed to get on with much sewing yet. The bodice is complete bar embroidery and trim. I need to spend some serious time cutting out the panels for the skirt, but we’re off to France soon so I’m rapidly running out of time. I will try and squeeze some in when we get back – perhaps I can take the cutting out and tacking to Tom’s mum’s when we go down for her birthday.

I still need to pack for France. Camping this time, on the lawn again like previous years. I’m rather worried now we’ve forgotten something.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014


What with my sister requesting Anna's coronation dress from Frozen for our upcoming trip to Efteling, and the same sister asking me to make my own and another's bridesmaid dress for her April wedding, I thought I better get some sewing practice in. Here's a guide for me to refer back to.

What Ellie wants me to make next - I have until August

I'm making a Cambie dress from Sewaholic, in a loud green peacock feather on black print. With a lime green lining. As you do. I may well even sew a ruffle on the lining to make the full skirt fuller.

This is the fabric for my dress

Sew (see what I did there) far, I have impressed myself by finishing my bodice seams with a turned under seam, and am pondering what finish to use with the skirt seams. Even more impressive as you can't see them because it will be fully lined. I want no fraying here!

I have sewn in my first pockets, and have understitched the pockets so there's a nice crisp edge to the top fabric. The pattern didn't call for this, so I feel extra smug for adding it in.

I'm going to need to read this tutorial from Sewaholic to help with adding the lining as it has a clever trick to make the zip look awesome. This one might be helpful too.

I am just loving the sewing. The thrum and the whirr of the machine is so soothing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A better resurrection

A better resurrection “…So we enter a world where we know something new about healing, which is that probably we will never really be healed, although we may well be resurrected. What we are offered is a new life, not a patched-up old life.I struggle to get my mind fully around this, just as I struggle to imagine writing the story that John writes of Jesus’s resurrection. There are memories, and actions, which I would like to be able to wipe out, to fully expunge from the record. I would like the ‘forgiveness’ or which Jesus speaks to mean that these things cease to be. But I think that that is not what is on offer. I suspect, reading this story, that forgiveness actually means that I will carry these holes in me forward for ever. A hole in my side wrenched by a mercifully lance and cruel damage inflicted intentionally to hurt me. They are mine forever.I am not offered that these things will vanish. Instead, what I am offered is that they will become for my good, and for the good of others. If, in some ways, they will always define me, they will also become creative. I think, and I say this very tentatively, I think this is true. I suspect that the more I try to turn my face towards all that is good and positive, the truer it becomes.”


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Monster, Baby


At the checkout desk:

Toddler #1 [holding a DVD]: “I like baby monster. I like it a lot.”

Toddler #2: “I like baby monster, too.”

Mother [to me]: “They mean Baby Mozart.”

Toddler #1: “Baby Mostarrr.”

Toddler #2: “Baby Monzter.”

Me [to toddlers]: “I like it better your way, little guys.”

via Tumblr

Friday, March 28, 2014

"“How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body,..."

“How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works. Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.


(via ittaco)

wow well this made me fucking bawl my eyes out

(via bewarethefrozen-heart)


via Tumblr

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lent 22: Laughing

Write a letter to the person who made you laugh when you really needed it.

Dear Friends,

It had been a hard week. Church politics, busy times at work. I'd been feeling drained. So tired.

So I wasn't really looking forward to being polite all evening whilst I sat through more board games.


You're all so welcoming, so eager to make me feel included. The food was tasty and gradually I started to unwind.

Then you brought out the trump card. Cards Against Humanity.

This is definitely a game you can only play with good friends. It is not, and I repeat not, one to play with your parents.

If you've not played it before, well, how would I even begin to describe it? The card czar reads a question like " I was late to work because..."  from a pile of black cards and we have to use one of our ten white cards to finish the statement, or answer the question. One of the very first white cards I picked up was "Queen Elizabeth II's immaculate anus" And that's one of the cleaner ones.

Everyone submits their answers face down, and the card czar then reads them out in turn, picking a winner. The winner gets points, the most points wins. The card czar rotates each round, so we all had a turn at reading out the stupid, crass, rude and hiliarious statements.

And how I laughed. Laughed and laughed and laughed. Tears streaming from my face as the statements got closer to the bone and sillier and sillier. We were certainly spoilt by having two very good mimics in the group, who when card czar would put on great voices to read the statements.

I think I fell off my chair laughing.

It was certainly what the doctor ordered that week.

So thank you nice friends.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lent 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

Lent 17: Entertaining

Plan a party

Tom and I were talking about this just the other day. Where he's been away, we've not done our usual gamut of entertaining. But I like to think our predilection for it is rubbing off on others. Friday often see us traipsing around Southampton to a different friends house for food and games and laughter.

It doesn't have to be big, or fancy. It's normally a simple pasta bake or takeaway. But I love being with people.

I'd still like a party later in the year though. I'd like a summer afternoon garden party, where people can drop in and out. Where the BBQ is going and the pink fizzy wine is chilled and people are laughing and lazing outside.

Will work on that.

Lent 18: Listening

Listen to your inner child: what does she want to do today?

I want to play with a friend today. Fortunately, this will happen, as Nicky is coming over to learn how to knit, and I have the ingredients all ready to go for a Greek feast for dinner.

What do you hear when you hear silence?

There's the buzz of computers, and the chatter of typing and the whirr of a strimmer outside.

I can just hear birds chirping too.

Lent 19: Sharing

This prompt suggesting sharing one of my blog posts with someone else and discussing it. I think I've already covered this one, as some of the lovely ladies at church have found this blog through Facebook and have been reading along - *waves*

We talked about children's books and which ones I loved that they had read to their children.

Lent 20: Charming

Be your best self and turn on the charm to make someone feel extra special.

I love charm. I think it's underated. It's like the oil that keeps the wheels of the world running smoothly. When I think of all the people who annoy me, it's usually because they have no charm, tact or diplomacy.

 I know honesty is the best policy et al, but I think you can be honest in a charming way.

I will never be a great beauty, or a have great power, but I know how to use charm to work a room, and control a crowd. Charm helps when consulting with people, charm helps when in a meeting to bring people with you and get what you want.

But how to be charming? It's being gracious, listening to others, smiling, thinking before you speak, paying attention, observing and responding in a way you would want others to respond to you.

Lent 21: Surprising

This prompt wants me to surprise the neighbours. I don't know if I'll manage it tonight, but I like the idea of leaving flowers on their doorstep!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feeling loved

Wearing shoes from Martin, and shrug crocheted by Lula.

Thanks Todd and Adam for evening of food, laughter and figure skating movies. X

Lent 16: Giving

What is the most surprising gift you’ve ever gotten?

I think the most startling gift I have ever been given was the generosity shown by some people we barely knew for our honeymoon.

We met the pair at an SCM event, just after we got engaged. They said "Oh you must stay in our holiday house in Co. Leitrim for your honeymoon"

We liked the idea of a slightly more local honeymoon, and so when we returned, we emailed them, thinking we'd pay towards it. They said no, no, just come and stay! 

So flights were booked, and we drove to their other house in Ireland to pick up the key. When we arrived, we were treated to a tour of the house and gardens, and a bag was produced, and we were told to pick what we liked from the vegetable garden to feed ourselves for the week.

Once inside the house, there was a another bag with groceries like bread, butter and cheese to add to the vegetables.

But it didn't stop there. We shared a delicious lunch and then it was said "Oh, we have a wedding present for you".

A wedding present? After the offer of the holiday house, and the groceries, and the vegetables and the lunch? 

It was a beautiful watercolour of the view from the holiday house, created by a local artist.

So we'd always have a reminder of our honeymoon.

I nearly fell off my chair.

To give and give and give and give some more, to some youngsters you met once at a random event.

It blew me away. I know it deeply affected Tom too. Such an example of love and neverending kindness. God's love in action?

It's certainly changed the way I want to act. I want to give, and give and give some more too. It made our lives so much easier not having to worry too much about our honeymoon when we were trying to sort the wedding. I want to help other people like that too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Down Raglan Pullover-Metric

Top Down Raglan Pullover-Metric:

Useful to remember for Tom’s jumper

via Tumblr

Lent 14: Reading

Did you like to read as a child? Do you read more or less now? What were your favourite books?

I loved reading as a child. Loved it. I'd read under the covers with a torch. I trained myself to read in the car so I wouldn't feel sick. I'd read in the bath and get in trouble for dropping library books in the water - I don't remember much washing in the bath once I was old enough to be left alone!

Richard Scarry's Tinker and Tanker was a favourite as a tiny, making my dad do the voices. If we have kids, it's one I want to hear him read to them. The hippo has to have the squeaky voice, and the rabbit the deep one. I loved Mr. Magnolia Has Only One Boot and Spot the Dog too.

I loved curling up in bed to be read to. Before breakfast we'd sneak into Mum and Dad's bed. Dad would be snoring, and Mum would read to us girls. Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians springs to mind.

I remember the thrill of going to the library and rummaging through shelves and boxes of books for good ones. Being moved off the reading scheme at the infants school, and reading Stig of the Dump from the library shelves. It was a paperback without pictures, and it had an earthy smell to the pages - musty I suppose now, but exotic then.

At Junior school I read the Scarlet Pimpernel, and books about historical fashion, and discovered if you liked one book by an author you might like another.

As a precocious year 8 I picked Pride and Prejudice for a book project. Reading it back as an adult, I understand far more of the humour. I read lots of James Heriot, and classic scifi like Ray Bradbury. Trashy chick-lit and anything. Anything I could get my hands on. I love falling into a story. Caring about the characters. Learning about people's ways of living.

As an adult, the history put paid to reading for pleasure for a while. Hard to stop reading and taking notes once you're in the habit. I do read less now. More online, less books. I have some old favourites I'll read every year, Chocolat, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Floating Book, The Red Tent. Tom always buys me some excellent peice of non-fiction for birthdays or Christmas.

But I feel I should read more again - and I feel like novels at the moment. What would you recommend?

Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul. -Pope John XXIII

Lent 15: Receiving

List some things you received today. Did you consciously accept these gifts?

Today I received :

A lie in because I could work from home.

Time out of my busy day to exercise.

A really lovely dinner and evening with Todd and Adam.

I feel I consciously recieved these because I am aware of them. 

Thinking back, I also had lovely weather on my run. I recieved thanks for my hard work from clients too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lent 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

I did go on my adventure. I went to town last week after work, parked up in a different place from normal and went on a long walk around the city centre, going down streets I'd not walked down before. I noticed glowing neon signs, a family run Greek restaurant that looks like it's not changed since the 1950s and snippets of Georgian architecture amidst chunks of 1960s concrete.

Lent 8: Creating
Have you ever astonished yourself by what you created? What did you learn from it?

I love creating. I love making. I want to own the title 'Maker' I like how it feels to make it myself. I astonished myself when I made my King and I dress - mum bought me the fabric, patterns and notions and said - you can make this, and I did. It involved elasticated puffed off the shoulder sleeve with the elastic hidden from view. My first piece of serious dress making.

I astonished myself when I made a patchwork quilt for the first time - how satisfying it was to make, how lovely it looked when I finished. It was one of the first things I made where the end product was as satisfying as the process. I wanted to keep the finished object.

I astonished myself with Tom's Robin costume - it came out looking so good! So professional.

What have I learnt? To take things slowly and concentrate on the finish. Bind the seams. Pink the edges. 

Lent 9: Inspiring

Ask someone you love to show you what inspires them.
Ask someone you love what you have done to inspire them.

 I will come back to you on this one!

Lent 10: Loving

Write some affirmations for yourself. Post some pictures of those you love.

I am loved. I am working hard. I have lots to give. I have happiness.

Lent 11: Dreaming

What is your personal dream? What would happen if your dream came true? Have you ever had a dream come true? Have you ever had to let go of a dream?

I dream of a big house filled with friends and family eating. If it came true, I would be very happy indeed. We would need to move to make this dream come true, and possibly start our own family.

I can't think of a specific dream that has come true. There are fragments here and there. Drinking prosecco in a lakeside cafe in Italy. Driving along in a soft top car with the roof down with big sunglasses on. Dancing all night in a swirly skirt to a live band.

I let go of the dream of doing post graduate study. When I was at university, I thought this would be my future. But when the time came, I didn't have the money, I didn't want to move to Durham. So I stayed in Southampton and got a job. Whilst I didn't enjoy every day of that job, it gave me the skills for my current job, which I adore, and am good at. And so it feels like everything worked out.

Lent 12: Procrastinating

What are you putting off? What bad things would happen if you stopped making excuses and tackled something today?

I am putting off vacuuming the living room and doing exercise. I will try and tackle both of these today. Keeping the house up together is hard when you're working full time, but my cleaner will be back next week! Woo! 

Exercising is a long term battle with me. The only exercise I like is dancing. I'm going to be doing that with Lula again going forward, but not for a fortnight. So I need something in the interim. I will try and do my pilates video tonight.

Maybe that should be a goal? One bit of cleaning and one bit of exercise every day?

Lent 13:  Beginning

Look for chances to begin. Hidden new opportunities every day.
Have you ever just quit something… without regret?

Depending on time, I will be beginning my new dress making project this week. I am beginning to rework the garden.
I quit a contemporary dance class. I wasn't enjoying it. I was the oldest lumpiest person in the class, and I was so out of practice that it just wasn't fun. So I quit - and immediately it felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders!