Thursday, December 18, 2014

Prepping for Christmas

The tree is up

and my secret Santa present for work was well received. I was blocking and weaving in ends right up to the last minute and didn't want to give it away. Time to save up to knit my own. Ombre of greys I think.

Top down raglan loosely taken from a number of online calculators with my own short row bust shaping and decrease increase waist shaping. Assorted stash yarn.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The importance of traditions

I'm dying of a sore throat and flu like symptoms.

It's clearly punishment for a lovely weekend.

First a trip to the mother in laws farm, with a walk around a sunny end of autumn Stourhead, and a fun curry at the local curry house.

Then to my parents for the annual advent service in the box pews and puritanical crispness of St. Marys Old Dilton. Tom dashing around with my dad lighting candles, and serving mince pies. Old old old carols soaring, sometimes in tune.

I love this. Something I remember from many years past. Singing what people will have sung there for centuries.

Then a jolly evening over soup and snacks at my parents' house, Tom's mum there as well. Even though my cold had kicked in, just lovely.

Today I have been mainly sleeping, trying to shake off these, shivers and get my voice back.

Friday, November 28, 2014

NaBloPoMo 27 & 28

Yesterday I spent a lot of time doing tech support and graphic design. Then I popped in to office to review lots of images. Dinner with Tom and dad, who had come round to give us an estimate of the volume of stuff in our house for moving. Then bible study in the evening.

Today, off to London at some godawful hour of the morning to sit in on a training session. Lots of friendly faces in the student body, so had a very happy, productive day.

Enjoyed watching the little kids singing through all the songs they knew to pass the time on the train home, they being without seats, as was I. Had to hold back from joining in with Let It Go and Wind the Bobbin Up. The little sister trying to steal her brothers thunder by getting in first with the 'the cold never bothered me anyway' line was especially cute.

Also enjoyed advising an elderly lady on what to do in Southampton on the days before her cruise, and advising a miffed mum and son who couldn't find a Santa's grotto in London to check out their nearest NT place.

Straight off the train to pick up a free telly from someone from to donate to another friend helping someone set up a home after being homeless. Then to the pub for pizza with the Friday night crowd. Decided not to stay as beer festival on, and no seats, so back to ours for drinks and chatter and pizza off boxes on laps.

Evening topped off with scones baked to eat the lovely raspberry jam given to us by Olivia and Robin. Exceptional jam on scones from a work recipe. They never disappoint.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NaBloPoMo 26 - skating

I was a deprived child. My parents never took me ice skating.

Ok, so not really deprived, but I like to tease my parents on this one.

Tom took me skating at Winchester Cathedral.

As I clung to the barrier, going round in slow tedious circles for an hour, tense to the core and shitting myself with fear, I agreed whole heartedly with the lady wrapped up warm watching from the stability of the pavement who said "I think skating is one of those things you have to learn as a child".

I did get noticeably better in the course of the hour and only fell over once.

However, with cramp in the arches of my feet, and aching legs, I think I will only be going skating again if I can go for a beginners lesson, on a rink where there aren't spectators, or lots of little girl guides on a unit outing whizzing around making me feel even more like an idiot.

Tom was very patient, and went for a few faster laps at the end. Here's a blurry pic of him in action.

It also reminded me of my intense dislike of not being good at things right away, and dislike at failing at things in public.

As a reward for trying skating, Tom took me out for dinner. We went to Fish Tale, a relatively new restaurant in Winchester. The food was fab. We shared a mixed platter of deep fried fishy things, butterflied prawns, beef croquettes and curried soup to start. I then had scallop and prawn thermidor, and Tom had chorizo, smoked haddock and prawn chowder. The portions were so large that I brought home a third of my thermos and ate none of my chips. The prosecco was also fab. One to only order mains at next time I think, unless they make all the portion sizes a bit smaller and knock a few quid off the prices to match.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaBloPoMo 24 25 - report

Today there is nothing to report from yesterday other than a cream tea with colleagues and knitting and talking house buying with Laura into the evening.

Today I am struck by a vivid memory of using the sixth form computer room in the silence in free periods to knit and read websites. As I do the same today in my lunchbreak in a peaceful barn conversion of an office.

Louisa and Andy's for dinner tonight - fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NaBloPoMo 20, 21, 22, 23

Failing again, oh well.

I have been off to London for work, and enjoyed the luxury of a desk and trying to clear my to do list.

I've been to my house group and talked through trying to get to know people at church better.

I've been for a run and a couple of long walks.

Friday saw me inventing a dinner of pesto marinated chicken, cauliflower, broccoli and courgette cheese and jacket potatoes for Tom, Marmers and I before a Hattie Jaques Playlist gig at the Talking Heads. We bopped the night away to fubk soul and bizarrely, Brit pop covers.

I've knitted, caught up with work and done lots of washing whilst Tom was at a service of celebration for dessert mission action planning at Winchester Cathedral.

There was lots and lots of sleeping. I may have just caught up with the sleep debt.

Then there was sushi. Toddy and Adam were gracious sushi teachers and hosts whilst showing off their wedding presents happily. I'm pleased to say I make a mean roll, and it was nice to catch up with lots of old friends.

Today, I have slept, shopped and spent lots of time helping Olivia unpack whilst Tom helped Robin with DIY in their charming new home. I like helping. And being given champagne with my lunch to celebrate new houses.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaBloPoMo 19 - date night

Today I spoke at a conference briefly and think I acquitted myself well.
After work it was date night.
Tom and I walked into town, to start the evening with a sock buying challenge as today is Autumn Socks Day.
...and lo, Tom did say once upon a time 'autumn sucks'
Alex cried 'no, autumn rocks'
And Tom said, ' no autumn socks'
So Alex laughed and gifted Tom with socks to make the mellow mists of autumn more bearable.
Thus it came to pass that socks were ritually exchanged on the 19th November.
We have both had a busy few weeks, and so decided to buy our socks on the same day. We split up in West Quay with half an hour to choose our socks.
I was scuppered by there being only 3 choices of 100% cotton socks for men  West Quay, all plain boring colours.
So with Tom's permission I ended up buying him a pair of merely 80% cotton from a Swedish company called Happy Socks like so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaBloPoMo 18 - pictures instead today

 different place for work today

NaBloPoMo 17 and 18 - gah

I think I struggle to post on days when I am helping to run training at work because I've been inside helping people and can't publicly go in to more details.

We also had a PCC meeting yesterday at church. These are usually tedious procedural things, and last night was no different. Money, buildings and the like.

Today I'm off to visit a new place for work, and then attend another church meeting. This time a children's ministry one, with my safeguarding officer hat on.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NaBloPoMo 16 Westbury

Today we slept in after our night of Bellowhead dancing, wrapped presents for my dad and sped off to Westbury to see him and my mum.

It was lovely to see them. Tom had not seen them both since August, and I drove l since the end of September when Dad had been licenced as a lay minister.

Our main present to him was his master's degree academic hood, which a few of us family had gone in on. So now, if he's ever required to be in choir dress, he'll be adequately robed. It's one of those silly Anglican nice to have things that's perfect for a man who likes a bit of dressing up. He was suitably pleased.

After a pleasant after noon chatting and catching up and trying an avocado based chocolate mousse made by Grace, (mum and dad's goddaughter who's living with then at the moment ), we're now back home and in bed, ready for another long week of work.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaBloPoMo 14 and 15 - lalala

Another fail. But for exciting reasons.

After a smear test,welcoming Martin and working very hard on Christmas content on Friday, I flung myself into getting ready for a wee party.

We had 11 people in total for spicy and mild nachos, pork tacos with an apple and avocado salad and lots of wine and cocktails.


I drank raspberry kirs and manhattans.

We went to bed late after talking house buying. Ah the grown up life.

Today, we tidied the house madly before our buyers came for a measure up and another look round.

Then it was off to Jon and Hannah's for a tour of their delightful new place, curtain adjusting and a soup and cake lunch. I am in awe of the amazing windows that let in loverly light and views.

We then sped off to do science with Louisa in Winchester, and stopped for a drink in the Black Boy, walked over misty meadows and had dinner in the Royal Oak. I love waking through the quaint higgely piggely streets in the dark.

Tonight was the Bellowhead gig at the Guildhall! This was my birthday present from Tom. Ever since Cecil told me about this band, saying they're so up your street you'll meet them coming back down again, I've wanted to see  them live.

They did not disapoint. It was one big party, with talented talented people. My feet, hands, knees and throat hurt from clapping, dancing and singing along.

It's fab to see a band that appear to be having such a good time on stage, and as short person I really appreciate their tiered set, which meant I could see of the 12 band members  all times they larked about.

Roll on the next gig!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NaBloPoMo 11, 12, 13 - sometimes things are better

I had two working from home days today. Which were peaceful and helpful after all the travelling I've had to do. Roll out of bed on to the laptop. No excuse for not blogging though!

I've been working on making some craft tutorials for our social media content, and I enjoyed making up some Christmas stockings. I need to edit all the photos and send them over to the person uploading the content to the website. They came out really well.

I also got to make some animations which was fun too.

We had an awesome dinner at Louisa and Andy's. Even though it didn't quite go to Louisa's plan, it was all delicious, and we chatted the night away which was really fun. I made sure we put a date in the diary to do it again.

I also nipped into town to pick up some more Christmas presents. Getting there with the Christmas shopping now. Just need things for Tom's side of the family really.

Last night I had a night to myself as Tom was out with the boys. I enjoyed my sewing, and watched Strictly Come Dancing, and tried to do something about our duvet shifting around inside it's case. Need to finish that!

Today  I was in Surrey for a meeting and then dropped my colleague back to Winchester on the way back. She invited me in for a cuppa, and I enjoyed gently easing back into the world in her peaceful living room.

It's off to bible study tonight - so I should go and print the prayer resources and then I think I will do some more of my knitting project.

Night all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

NaBloPoMo 10 - cocoon

Driving around today in my warm car, huddled in traffic jams, I felt like I was cocooned in the belly of a snake, with multiple red eyes drifting off into the distance.
I've been reading Joe Moran's book, On Roads, a Hidden History. The way it sauntered though topics, it could be a dreamlike journey on a motorway.
I encountered a serious motorway crash on the way home, and as I prayed for the person receiving vigorous CPR, my mind came back to the passages from this book on rubberneckers, accidents and modern safe roads.
Not sure where it went next, but it went there caressed by the soft tones of Eddie Mair and PM as I gently pressed onwards.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

NaBloPoMo 9 - stuck in the middle


Today Tom and I managed to drag ourselves out of bed in time to give two of the older members of our church congregation at lift to the early service.

We stayed to help with the AV in the second service, and I managed to knit a fair bit on my secret santa present during the second listening to the same service.

I tickled the vicar with my subversive white poppy within the flowers I had arranged.

After church we scurried back home to find Dad had gone out, so we had a quite lunch of leftovers to make space in the freezer.

When we returned, we packed up into the car for a trip to Hinton Ampner. Whilst it was very rainy, we had a quiet mooch round the house. Tom and I had to keep reminding Dad not to touch things which was amusing, like having a small child with you rather than a pensioner.

It was too wet to walk round the gardens, and Dad didn't fancy too much more in the way of walking, so we had tea and cake in the tea-room, or in Dad's case coffee and scone. I had a nice little chat with my friend Lou, who works at Hinton, and I managed to get in a spot of Christmas shopping in the shop as well.

Then home again home again jiggety jig to start on a lovely roast beef dinner. Apart from the fact we'd run out of potatoes, so I had run round the corner to the corner shop to stock up. I frequented the corner shop that has been there the longest, rather than the upstart that opened recently right next door to it!

Upon my return I was put in charge of yorkshire puddings. Which came out beautifully. I think it was the mother-in-laws happy eggs. I put in 1 more than the recipe called for as a couple were very dinky eggs indeed.

We also had very purple carrots, with a cooked texture that felt something like beetroot, but tasted like carrots. They turned the cooking water a very deep purple. I felt like I should dye something in it.

The roast dinner consume with relish, I have since cooked the leftover yorkshire batter as pancakes, boxed up two roast dinner packed lunches, two roast dinner boxes for the freezer, and made a huge batch of soup. Now Tom and I are curled up updating Amazon wish lists, and doing online Christmas shopping in a bid to spread the cost of Christmas out a bit.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

NaBloPoMo 8 - rain

Today it mostly rained.
First full rainy day of winter.
Biting driving dripping soaking rain.

After a delicious warm lie in, I scootched out of bed. Breakfast was yogurt, honey, bananas and hazelnuts. Yum.

Then off to church for flower arranging.  I seem to have been assigned Remembrance Sunday every year for some reason. I went for a different selection of arrangements this year due to some changes in the layout of our worship space.

I think using the invisible thread to make the floating poppies came out well. It was a lovely peaceful couple of hours in the silence being creative.

Tom and Dad had been out running errands, and we met back home for lunch.
We mooched off to Stockbridge after eating so Dad could interrogate the fishmonger on if he could buy whole smoked haddock.

Apparently there's no call for it any more. 

So we walked up and down the high street peering in windows and ducking the rain.
Then we had hot drink in the delicatessen to warm up before trundling home.

I did more knitting, and this evening, we met up with Tom's brother, sister-in-law and niece for dinner in a country pub so they could catch with Dad whilst he is over.
Now we're watching Dr Who and I am about to do more knitting. Fab.

NaBloPoMo 7 - nothing of note

Well, first fail of the month.

Oh well.

Today I drove off to High Wycombe to sit in on some training I'm going to be delivering later this year.

Traffic there and back was terrible, but I had Radio 4 and 4 Extra to keep me company.

Once I got back, helped Tom with dinner I sat down to tasty curry.

Then it was time for some knitting in front of the telly, chatting intermittently to Tom and my father in law until it was bed time.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

NaBloPoMo 6 - Surrey

Again, whizzing off up the A3 to planning meetings in Surrey. Today with a hastily purchased £8 bunch of flowers from my favorite wholesalers - titivated with my wrapping skills in the car park - for a lovely colleague's birthday.

Work was planned, birthday cake was consumed, then off to provide coaching on how to create web pages at one of our countryside places.

I love these sessions. More and more I enjoy training others, watching them have their light bulb moments. I must have done well today as I was rewarded with an unexpected Rocky bar and a chewy lolly. This was pleasing.

I rushed home, as much as I could with the traffic. Welcomed my father-in-law who's here for a short stay. Checked tomorrows work diary, scarfed my dinner.

Next up was our bible study discussion group, we're looking at church welcoming and hospitality. And now bed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

NaoBloPoMo 5 - Fireworks

Driving back from Birmingham was intense. For someone who only learnt to drive recently, I sure am getting in some serious driving experience.

I drove back to Marmaduke's house for a fireworks party. I love fireworks. Deep childhood memories surface of houses full of friends and food. Barriers made from rabbit hutches holding excited children brave enough to be outside. Whilst dads light fireworks at arms length vertically, not horizontally. 
Little children's faces lit by sodium pressed against the glass of upstairs bedrooms. Sparklers. Mulled wine. Shouting out the colour of the next rocket before it explodes.

I think some of my love of hosting parties come from these memories.

Certainly, they say you marry someone like your dad. Watching Tom setting off 4 fireworks at a time with Luke, I certainly saw echoes of Dad's pyrotechnic glee.

Marmers had us safely ensconced on a terrace overlooking a sunken lawn and so the fireworks felt like they were exploding at eye level.

Then it was time for jacket potatoes, drinks and chatter. Cosy and happy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

NaBloPoMo 4 - Birmingham

It was a restless night last night. And an early start today. I leapt out of bed, fixed my face and grabbed my suitcase before dashing out the door.

Today I had a meeting about internal comms and a big systems project, at Stowe in Buckinghamshire. So off up the A34 I bombed. Traffic was kind, and I made it there by 10:30am, in time to grab coffee and a tasty flapjack before trying to kill my inbox. I managed to scrape some desk time whilst the people I was there to present to took a tour of the beautiful gardens.

I enjoyed the afternoon session, getting to unleash my creative beast drawing out maps for the group to stick post it notes on.

Then it was time to hit the road again, this time a first for me, driving into the centre of Birmingham. I have meeting with all the other mes from around the country tomorrow, so I didn't think there was any point in driving back to Southampton to get on a train tonight, or at some god-awful hour tomorrow.

So here I am in a Travelodge, again, trying to catch up on email before I hit the Mailbox for dinner with colleagues.

Monday, November 03, 2014

NaBloPoMo 3 - London

I struggled to get up again today. Bed was so warm and cosy.
But get up I did. Looking in the mirror, I felt I looked rough, so I took a little time to put some slap on. A bit of Benefit blusher goes a long way.
Armed with the decadent purple devore scarf that was once a secret Santa present, and my red and white poppies tucked in my ruby slippers brooch, I set of in to the chill.
I nearly didn't make the train, but it was delayed, and off I zoomed. Southampton Central, where I stood in the rain on a crowded platform.  Then grabbing a seat, settling in to clear my inbox over a cup of tea and a kitkat from the trolley as the dreary south passed in a blur.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle as we neared Clapham Junction, as a drunk looking man in puffa jacket and baseball cap ran through the carriage. Well climbed over legs and feet as fast as you can in a crowded carriage. A disgruntled commuter was it hot pursuit, yelling 'Stop that man, he's a thief! Get the guard!'
After they had passed, the sacred silence of the railway carriage broken, my fellow commuters began chatting  each other in indignant 'well I never' tones. And then the announcements started.
Prerecorded 'can the guard contact the driver'. Then the guard himself, 'If there are any off duty members of staff or police officers traveling, please contact the guard in carriage 5'.
A man in our carriage got up and made his way towards carriage 5. As he passed, I noticed a large and livid scar on his neck curving from left ear to Adam's apple.
When we all disembarked at Clapham Junction, British Transport Police were waiting to board the train. I climbed the stairs to make my connection, the man with the scar ran from one end of the platform to the other. I couldn't see if he was trying to aprehrend someone through the bodies on the staircase.
Morning excitement over, it was then on to the Victoria offices for meetings. I made the most of a day in the office and tried to clear as much of my to do list as I could in one afternoon. So much so, as I didn't leave until after 5.
I chattered away to a colleague as we walked to the tube, learning she too used to dance on tables at the Frog and Frigate. We both missed the rush hour tube entrance, failing that particular cognitive charge challenge.
The train home was less eventful. Between reading blogs on my phone, I watched the woman opposite me remove her gold glitter nail varnish through strength of will and picking alone.
Once safely back at home, having made Tom jump by sneaking in the kitchen as he cooked, and packed for staying away tomorrow, we sat down to a dinner of shakshuka, and a leek gratin. I convinced Tom we should do something nice with our evening.
Tom fancied some pfeffernusse, so we bimbled back out into the cold and rain to try and make it to Waitrose before it shut. They sadly had none in stock, so we went for a conciliatory  drink instead. Over our beverages, we teased each other, and worked on a document of useful house quirks for the people buying our house.
It is now sleeping time, so I shall leave this here.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

NaBloPoMo 2 - Miserable

Today I woke up too late to go to church. Clearly all that walking tired me out yesterday. In fact, I woke up feeling thoroughly miserable. Like I wanted to cry. So I stayed in bed, all curled up under the duvet until 11am, whilst Tom went about doing housework and making breakfast.

I dragged myself downstairs and hung up washing, before sitting down to grilled croissants, scrambled egg, salami and red peppers for breakfast/brunch. Tom and I did some menu planning over the food.

I did a little more housework and curled up to knit feeling sorry for myself. Tom convinced me to come out shopping with him.

I'm glad he did, I felt a bit better for some fresh air, and something to think about. We started by going to B&Q to see if they had any Kilrock cleaner as our dishwasher has needed some industrial strength cleaning attention. They didn't, but we had fun looking at paint colours for the house we're trying to buy.

After that, Tom was all inspired, so we went to Wickes to look at bathrooms and flooring, and then on to Homebase to get the Kilrock and look at their bathrooms and paint too. It was at Homebase I had the realisation that I might be feeling so horrid because I'm at the end of the first packet of the pill since I've had my implant removed after it ran out. I'd forgotten that being hormonal made me feel so sad. So I bought a Mars Bar and scoffed it in the car in a big to appease the hormone monster.

On the way back home, we stopped at Sainsburys for groceries, and nipped over the road to International Foods to get all kinds of interesting spices for the week's menu. I love going round this shop, it's arranged by cuisine types, not by type of food, and so it does feel a bit like going round in circles sometimes as you come across another lot of spices, or tinned goods. But it even has an Iranian section and so it's a fascinating walk around.

When we got back, I curled up for more knitting, which has been the theme for today. This was in between helping Tom make tilapia tikka, orzo with lemon and roasted veg, and salad with a yogurt, zatar, lemon and sesame dressing.

This evening, I've been doing my expenses as I will have no time this week, and looking at my Christmas shopping list.

Hopefully tomorrow will be cheerier mental health wise.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

NaBloPoMo 1 - Walking

Welcome to November, the month where I post random stuff every day if I can!

November the 1st.

Today we had a gentle weekend lie in, then I made Tom and I grilled croissants with salami and cheese for breakfast. Note to self, if doing this again, cut up salami into little pieces and mix with the grated cheese. The rind on the salami shrank under the grill and made it into a little cup with all the melted cheese in the middle.

We then did some housework, and I worked on my latest knitting project for a bit, whilst we waited for the lovely Rob and Louise to arrive. I'm kind of knitting another Christmas jumper, but as always, I'm not really using a pattern, and I'm making it up as a go along. Hate patterns. I wish I could cut my own sewing patterns the way I make up my own knitting patterns.

Once Rob and Louise arrived, and Tom and I had finished faffing, we loaded up walking boots and water bottles and drove off up the A3 to Winkworth Arboretum to take in the autumn colour. It was heaving as it's  prime autumn colour time, but the weather was so glorious I thought it would be worth it.

It certainly was. We had a quick lunch in the tea-room and got walking. They've got three waymarked routes, so we went for the longest one that took in most of the site. The trees were amazing. The man who created it was said to have painted the landscape with the colour of the trees, and it certainly felt like it. We saw plenty of acers, and sorbus, and some fantastic trees that went from red at the top, through yellow into green, all on the same tree!

Here's a good photo I took of an acer with my new phone:

According to Runtastic, we walked 3.38km in 2:06 hours. I always forget how much I love walking until I go on a walk like this. It was lovely to bimble along chatting away and catching up, stopping to take pictures and to take in the views.

In fact we enjoyed the walking so much, we walked round rather quickly, so we ended up stopping at the Devil's Punch Bowl on the way home and walking round the bowl here as well! Certainly getting our National Trust membership money's worth! Here we walked along the route of the old A3 that's been superseded by the Hindhead Tunnel and back along the old coaching road. Louise and I rather liked the look of the routes down into the bowl, but the chaps weren't feeling that adventurous.

We sped back to Southampton and after much too-ing and fro-ing on what to do about food, we ended up getting takeaway, and watching Strictly and Dr.Who over our food. This was rather cosy, and a pleasant comfortable end to a lovey day with good friends.

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.”


Monday, April 14, 2014

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!