The one where I encourage you to find joy in the little things…

There have been a lot of tears this week. And I’ve had to remind myself that also this week my friend announced a pregnancy, another friend gave birth to twins, and I was asked to be a godmother. And they are wonderful, wonderful things. My Guides made me giggle with their holiday pitches to planets in the Solar System and why THEIRS is the planet to visit (Not only does Saturn have many rings around it, but also has some of the best restaurants with every orange food and drink you can imagine). And I found out just how competitive some of the Senior Section are when they created a game of Harry Potter themed pictionary.

So as well as tracking down car hire deposits, fighting with electricity companies tenants signed me up for by way of lying (cheers for that) and just another week of being kicked down just as you think things are getting better…there have been little things.

The meeting I had with two guys about creating a website and chatting about community building. The ‘alien’ we came across in my old hometown caused by someone spilling paint on the abandoned road. The fact that I got some fresh bread in my supermarket delivery after work on Tuesday night which meant I was able to have lovely thickly cut warm buttery toast on Wednesday morning. Getting thanks from teachers and parents and grandparents at my workplace. I got to meet my friend’s baby girl for the first time and got in some baby snuggles (and yes, said baby tried to eat my clothes). I discovered a girl in my church I hadn’t met before is doing my postgrad course, and I was able to lend her my old textbooks.


There’s little scraps of joy in amongst the many hours of crappiness. And I’m holding on to them.


The one where I admit I one of those people you were warned about…

Hi from the koala tree!

This koala is still a little sleepy, and is now working 5 days a week, plus two evenings with Girlguiding and a few hours with Positive Transitions. There’s also been lots of exciting things like Gavin and Joy getting married, and then a certain blogger getting a VERY exciting phone call which means she’s currently in hospital but for the BEST of reasons, and then last night I got an exciting phone call myself as I’ve been asked to be a godmother to an amazing much prayed for little man.

But the main reason for my quick post is because I was having some major giggles on the bus back from a meeting today, reading this post by Mark. Two days after I came out of work to 17 tweets from an anonymous tweeter who was accusing me of being “a liberal elite, pro choice, Hillary Clinton supporter, hypocrite and encourager of sexual assault (amongst other things…I lost track and I eventually used the power of my block button).

This post amused me because

1. I’m pretty much a vegetarian

2. Despite being both a left wing person, vegetarian…and NOT EVEN AMERICAN (never mind not Southern!), Mark and his family allowed me to honour his daughter through Airmail Christmas and by sending me Smiley for Kylie stuff to wear during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

3. Starting up a conversation in a café with a total stranger is totally something I would do. And have done.

Basically, I’m exactly the kind of person Mark’s friends warned him and his wife about finding on the West Coast of the USA. Except I’m in cold, grey rainy Scotland! ha ha!

But mostly, I love the important message that Mark is trying to get across in a really non threatening and hilarious way that I would never be able to achieve.

And to address the anonymous twitterer – For the record, I’m not a Hillary fan (I was all about Bernie, and moped that he couldn’t be our Prime Minister), but it would be true to say that I think that she is capable of doing the job of president where as the Republican and Libertarian candidates are not. I don’t agree with some of the things she’s done in her past. However she does have some policies that I would stand with her on, and I couldn’t say the same for Donald. And I don’t know if Gary has any policies as he didn’t seem to know any world leaders and I’m not sure blowing a long raspberry counts as a policy statement. If Samantha Cameron runs for Prime Minister of the UK in the future then I won’t be judging her based on how much I despised her husband’s acts as Prime Minister from 2010-2016. And I’m a fan of Caroline Lucas, but trust me if it came out that she’d said “Oh, I can grab a man’s **** whenever I like because I’m the leader of the Green Party” I’d take issue with that as much as I have at a certain presidential candidate saying something similar – I wasn’t surprised that video came out, it’s not exactly news that he says and believes heinous things. Ugh. And USA, I’m sorry he’s been dragging my least favourite British politician over to ‘advise’ him on his campaign. You should know however that his adviser has caused our country’s economy to go pretty much down the toilet, increased hate crime (of all kinds) to increase by over 100% in the UK and people who believed his campaign which was mostly based on twisted truths, made up promises with no research and blatant lies are now scratching their heads and wondering what the heck has just happened. And you just had 8 years of a president people told me was the anti-christ, who has treated people with respect and not had a personal life scandal before or while in office. I think that shows some good ‘family values’…or am I completely missing what the meaning of that strange (to me) phrase means?

Hoping the best for you (and in turn, the rest of the world because who you vote for affects all of us over the next 4 years) next month on election day USA!🙂

Flashback Friday: Apple & Bramble Crumble

Originally posted: October 19th 2013

Autumn is a yucky time of year – the nights start drawing in, the weather gets properly minging with lots of grey skies and windy days, leaves fall off the trees making the likeliness of standing in dog poo a whole lot more likely as it’s hidden under all those mulchy leaves! What to do? Bring out the comfort food, and take advantage of the season’s harvest! This recipe should serve about 6-9 people depending on how big you make your portion sizes.20131012-233555.jpg

For fruit filling:

1 large cooking apple (or 2 medium ones)

2 punnets of blackberries (AKA brambles!)

25g light muscovado sugar

25g golden caster sugar

For the crumble:

175g plain flour

75g golden caster sugar

100g unsalted butter


Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan assisted oven) 200°C (normal oven)

Grease your pyrex dish with a teeny bit of butter (this will make it your crumble way easier to extract and your dish easier to clean later!)

To make the crumble mix, chop your butter into smaller pieces, then put your butter, flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub it all together with your hands until it all looks like breadcrumbs, then set to one side…

Rinse your fruit. Peel and chop your apple(s) into bite size pieces. Make sure you’ve got no leaves or anything attached to your blackberries!

Spread fruit evenly in the pyrex dish, sprinkle your sugar over the fruit.

Sprinkle your crumble mixture over the fruit til it is completely covered.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until the crumble is golden and fruit is bubbling. It might need 5-10 minutes longer depending on your oven.

Bring out leave to cool a little bit, then serve with cream or ice cream (or whatever you like).

This can also be split into portions and frozen – that’s if none of your friends or relatives are helping you to eat it that day!😉


The one where I hired a car…

Oh my gosh, it’s been a week! So when I last wrote I was soon to be heading south of the border to celebrate my friend getting married. Gavin and I have been friends for almost a decade now, as we were the two twenty-somethings in our smallgroup when I first became a member of a church in Edinburgh. He met a lovely lady last year and they started dating, and once we found out she was willing to put up with his tarantulas, we all knew she was the one for him.🙂

Two years ago myself, Gavin and our friend Beth travelled to celebrate a mutual friend’s wedding. I was designated driver and organised our hire car. Beth and I decided to do the same thing again and Gavin put another of his friends who we had  met a few times in touch with us so we could travel together. We decided to start the journey the night before in case we got stuck in traffic travelling down the morning of the wedding. We didn’t want to miss the ceremony!

After a long day at work, I got home and cooked and ate half a pizza as I threw items in a small suitcase and changed out of my work uniform. Then I headed to the airport to pick up our hire car.

This turned out to be the first drama of the evening. Instead of the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus manual car I had clicked on, they gave me a very bashed up Toyota Prius. Getting in the car it was no wonder the car was covered in dings and scratches…this was more computer than car. After finally getting the car switched on, weird messages appeared on a screen. “Can’t drive, not in drive mode“…”Do you want the Anti-Theft Device on?” The car seemed to have a mind of its own and the idea of trying to navigate it around country roads without being able to manually change gear – never mind being stuck trying to switch it on began to panic me. Eventually I abandoned it and demanded a manual car. Oh. And this was after they tried to take £1000 off me because I didn’t have a ‘proper’ credit card.

After an hour and 15 mins I was finally able to leave the awful place, and then discovered while trying to park the car outside the house that the car wouldn’t go into reverse. Of course at that point a car came up the street from the other direction and couldn’t get past me as I was straddling the road. It took two of us to eventually work out how reverse gear worked after trying all the usual tactics of ‘Push down and into reverse?” “is there a button?” “Do I pull up stick as I’m putting it into reverse?” Turns out that you had to really thwack the thing into reverse gear much more forcefully than 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th!

By 11.30 p.m. (2 hours later than planned) I had Beth and Catherine in the car and we were making our way to England. I decided (sensibly I thought) to take the slightly longer motorway route via Glasgow to the M6 rather than my usual country route through the Pentlands to Dumfries and Galloway since it was late, I was tired and motorways tend to be more well lit. This turned out to be mistake number 2.

The BMW sat nav lady kept trying to get us to turn off the motorway through towns that I knew were not the way to the M6. I ignored her. Turns out there was a reason – the motorway was closed at Glasgow. And so we hit a traffic jam. AT HALF PAST MIDNIGHT. And then we followed diversions. And we made it back on the motorway, only for a mile later for it to be closed again, and more diversions which Ms Sat Nav did not like. She took us through a housing estate in some random little town, tried to get us to drive through traffic cones and we discovered a few of her more bizarre ways of communicating like ‘Go half left’ and ‘prepare to turn right‘ when there’s about 5 right turns before the one she was wanting you to prepare for. Thankfully Beth and Catherine stayed awake to help me make sense of the instructions (and decide which ones we should ignore) so I could focus on driving the car in a safe manner.

It was 2.30 a.m. when we crossed the border to England in the end, and at that point I cried uncle, pulled into a service station to nap under one of the fleece blankets I had grabbed for us. 2 hours later I woke having slept in an extremely awkward position and we continued on to our destination. Or as Ms BMW Sat Nav lady would say “Go straight on, and then straight on“.

It was also then that I realised I hadn’t had a chance to take my daily “Glow Gold Selfie” and it was the last day of childhood cancer awareness month. I took it in the car park just before I fell asleep – it was almost 3 a.m. on 1st October in the end that it got taken. Oops.


At 6.30 a.m. we arrived at our first point of call. Beth’s parents home. This was to be our bed for the night, or as it turned out…our bed for the morning. We got out the car, grabbed our wedding gear and suitcases. Beth’s lovely parents had left their porch light on to welcome us.

We discovered that another group had thought the welcome was for them.

This group? A swarm of HUGE wasps who were crawling over the handles, the doorbell, the door and buzzing around the light.

I am very thankful that Beth made a quick decision that she did not want to go to a wedding covered in wasp stings, but felt terrible for Beth’s poor Dad who was woken up by a phone call and came down to let us in through the back garden. We all went to bed, knowing that we would be leaving for a wedding in 6 hours time!

Beth’s lovely Mum greeted us when we awoke a few hours later, with freshly made fruit loaf to toast and even made us all sandwiches to take to eat before the wedding. Beth’s Dad had instructions on how to get to the church – with helpful notes about motorway junctions that were difficult to navigate added to them so we could check if Ms BMW Sat Nav Lady was leading us astray again.

Hurrah, we made it in plenty of time, found our other friend who had flown down by plane and we were sharing a B&B with after the wedding reception and sat in the hire car and ate our sandwiches, touched up our lipstick and found some seats with a whole bunch of old friends all of whom at one point or another had been part of our church in Edinburgh. We discovered another friend had just got engaged, oohed and ahhed at our friend’s baby – now toddling around.

We sang, we prayed, we made our vow to support our friends in their marriage. And then we partied to the cheesey tunes of the 90s. And a few 80s tunes thrown in (can you have a party without doing the Y.M.C.A.?)

Ms Sat Nav Lady took us to our B&B – a rather scenic route, but we had no clue where we were, or where we were going – so who knows?! And we fell asleep quickly, then laughed when we used the Sat Nav to take us to the train station to drop off two of us – one headed for London, the other for the airport – and the train station turned out to be round the corner from the B&B!


Beth and I had a lovely sunshiney drive back to Edinburgh, with quirky tunes, and of course some Hamilton. We stopped to take some photos and I found a very awesome tree. And then we had lunch at my favourite UK service station and watched some sleeping ducks. We watched ducks for too long as it turned out, and didn’t have time to drop off our stuff at our homes before returning the hire car…and ended up having to drag it all from the car hire company’s car park to the airport terminal where we were greeted by a bagpiper leading a procession of tourists to the bus and tram stops. Bemused and irritated by the drone and whine of the bagpipes, we jumped on the airport bus back to the city where our beds awaited.

Needless to say, both of us report to still be trying to catch up on missed sleep this week. I’ve pretty much only succeeded in going to work, eating food, showering and sleeping. There is a big laundry pile that I only partially got through and a stack of errands to run. In other news I also started a new role this week, volunteering with a youth work project called Positive Transitions. My first two workshops I helped to run were in my old high school. High school was not a happy time in my life, and I have to confess to have a near panic attack walking up to the doors. I also ended up in my old registration classroom – where I started my school day for five years straight. I was glad to only see one teacher that had been there when I’d been a pupil and she had never been one of mine. Phew.

Next week life goes back to normal, and hopefully I’ll have enough energy to take a breath and get some more blog posts written. At the moment, my laptop goes for days without being touched as when I come home from work I simply eat, watch something on Netflix and usually fall asleep and wake up to discover I’ve apparently “watched” five episodes of a show. I’m also hoping that at some point I’ll be able to make it to a ballet class again. I’m really missing my ballet Fridays, but I now work most Friday nights.😦 Oh well. At least this Christmas I’ll have pennies to spend on presents for people. yay!


The one where it’s my weekend…

…and after 36 hours of migraine (ick) I feeling a lot more human today! Actually, over the last few days, I’ve begun to feel less fatigued and tired after weeks of feeling rubbish. And today I’ve taken advantage of that by cooking vegetarian bolognese for the first time  (success, it tasted yummy) and a toffee pear crumble (a fail, it’s waaaayyy too sugary). And started to wash through the box of winter clothes (they smell of plastic box, and I’m loving the 20 min quick wash option on the new washing machine), I have clean sheets on the bed and towels and blankets have been washed.

I’m hugely grateful that I’m feeling better as the next week is going to be pretty full on. A long day at work followed by picking up a hire car and driving through the night with two women so we can watch our friend get married on Saturday. And then youth work and paid work…

Tomorrow will be the last day of childhood cancer awareness month too. I’ll miss the yellow, but now that the weather has turned I’m happy to exchange the gold shoes for my boots and my yellow summer tops for long sleeves! But the Smiley for Kylie bracelet is staying on for a long time to come.

And I hope that I’ll be feeling ok for ages so I can get back to regularly blogging something a bit more thought provoking than me whinging!🙂




The one where I confess to ideas I haven’t written…

It’s a shock when I suddenly start getting notifications about comments on posts…I forget that I’ve scheduled different ‘Flashback Fridays’!

Life goes on, with continued rejection, continued issues with the flat, continued fatigue and today a little bit of grumpiness because when I don’t have proper meals, I get grouchy. Or I just start crying for no reason. Because apparently I’m a toddler.


I’m thinking a lot right now. About what I want to do, why all the doors I try keep getting slammed in my face (or closed politely) and ways to keep myself sane.

All while I wear gold and yellow.

Although I haven’t been writing much on my blog – I’m finding the fatigue is getting in the way of writing…too many evenings or mornings, I’ve sat staring at my laptop. I have found new quotes and written them out with my rainbow of sharpie markers. I have got the latest book from Our Shared Shelf to read. And another which means I likely will not be socialising (or eating well) at all next week in the lead up to pay day (and wedding weekend). There are things happening in my  brain, they just aren’t really getting out of my brain and being articulated via my keyboard.

There’s so much I’d have liked to have done, but haven’t managed. My working pattern sucks too and isn’t going to make it any easier!

For now, all I can leave you with is my ukulele playing minion – nightguard of my Smiley for Kylie bracelet, gold hair tie and russian wedding ring (AKA the only gold jewellery I could locate) and hope that some day soon, I’ll manage to write something a little more interesting. And new.



Flashback Friday: Quote of the Week 5

Originally posted January 31st 2013


There is a wonderful movement of people who share their stories. Stories of second chances, deep inward battles and triumph over difficult circumstances. The idea is that by going first, it will encourage others to be able to say ‘Me too‘.

So often we think that we are the only one with a particular thought, experiencing a certain emotion or in a circumstance none of our close-knit friends or relatives could really understand what it is like to go through.

There is such power in sharing our stories honestly.

And even more encouragement when someone responds with ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one

In 2009, I went to South Africa for two weeks. The battle to get there was so exhausting that I didn’t really have time to think too much about what it would be like, and to be honest I had very little idea of what to expect. On arrival though, one thing made me very uncomfortable and that was the idea that somehow all us ‘privileged’ folks from the UK (and other countries) were there to help the ‘poor black people’. I kept my mouth shut about it, and was sincerely glad for the wisdom of our hosts at the Seed of Hope who made sure that was not going to be the case as young people from the township  and our two teams mixed up to make 3 super teams doing the DIY in the two local schools and running a holiday club in the township. We were just extra hands so the workload could be achieved in a short space of time and there were much more of us to give hugs, carry little ones and be climbed all over!🙂 I knew though that it wasn’t the same for all the other teams…

One day my roommate came back from her project in a bad mood. I think I was probably lying on my bed feeling like death warmed up when she arrived back. And after about 10 minutes she began to express her anger about the attitudes of white British folks feeling sorry for the ‘poor black people’ that apparently needed their help. And with that came her frustration of people brandishing the continent of Africa with mass generalisations, all the charities that think they help but actually perpetuate a culture of helplessness and so on. I was relieved I wasn’t the only one feeling the way – ‘Me too’!

After that we had daily conversations after our project, we prayed together and were very thankful to be in a room with each other. Our conversations carried on long after we left the country that we felt great affection for.

And then there is blogging. I have established several friendships when I first shared my story of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Quietly woman after woman (and a few guys) e-mailed or tweeted me privately to say ‘Me too’. Other fellow aliens on Planet Christian have come out to say ‘me too’. We’ve bonded over cupcake baking, being women, loving American TV Dramas, musicals, Australian soap characters, anger at the messed up world we live in, uniting in the face of bullies in whatever form they take…

Many people blog to share sage wisdom and knowledge. Perhaps to promote the work they do. I started blogging to try and make sense of everything I was feeling and experiencing in that moment of writing. It was only when strangers starting coming alongside me and leaving comments of encouragement or understanding that it began to grow into other things and though the comments aren’t so many these days, I would just miss my online friends if I stopped! In some ways they are more authentic that the ‘in real life’ friendships I hold with others.

Do you agree? When do you think friendship is born?

Original Comments: 

  1. Doctor Idgie

    in the last month, two of my close friends have lost family members (a brother to suicide and a father to a horrible illness) – and I’ve been so grateful that when I was having a tough time, they were there for me, and that set the tone for a friendship that enables them to trust me with their feelings now.

    Aside from that, the first time I met someone with my personal ‘big issue’, it was like a lightening bolt – she was a few years ahead of me, and seemed to be ok, and it gave me faith that one day I would be too.

  2. Rebecca

    Have you thought about being a motivational speaker? You’re so good at these type of posts. I found myself saying ‘me too’ throughout this!