Thursday’s child is full of whoa!

I increased my hours at work recently but I elected to have a day off from work in which ‘stuff’ gets done. That is today

5.30am- tore myself from a very cosy bed to head to a Bodypump class

7.10am Returned home to a very quiet house and had a shower, and got breakfast sorted. I was going to take a photo of my porridge with rhubarb compote and a dusting of cinnamon, but I was too hungry and gobbled it all up. Likewise with the little espresso coffee I made when Mr BG got up finally (he’s unwell)

7.45 After a brief time perusing stuff online, I ponder breaking the  silence and go to rouse the kids. Master BG comes down and has his Rice Bubbles, followed by his second breakfast of Rice Bubbles (he has just started reading The Hobbit and is quite in tune with the hobbit’s need to eat- he is as skinny as a bean pole nevertheless!). Miss BG is awake but is not as silly as her mummy and chooses to stay in bed.

8.00 Making lunches and supervising Miss BG eating her porridge and peaches.

8.10 The ill Mr BG arises from his bed and makes his way to the kitchen

8.20-8.50 A flurry of activity as kids brush teeth, wash faces, get dressed and hair is done, bags are packed and hustled out the door. Kids are dropped off at school and I then head to…the supermarket!

9.30-10.30 Supermarket shop done I head home, drop off the groceries, put a load of wash in the washing machine then head back to school. I help out for an hour with the Preps answering such questions as “What’s your name?”(Steph)  “Why do you wear glasses?” (Because I used to read in bed at night and my eyes went bad) and “Why do you have a gold tooth” (Because I didn’t brush my teeth very well)

10-30-11.00 head to Wilsons, the fruit and vegie place, whereupon I slip and fall flat on my bum after slipping on a mushroom. Quelle embarrassment. Half the staff come rushing over and eventually the manager comes out, apologises and I have to fill in an incident report. I’m fine, thanks to padding the only thing bruised was my pride.

11.00 Wash out, wash in, tea consumed, beds made and I catch up on some much reading of blogs and news

12-2.00 Lunch and a spot of Game of Thrones watching (I have a backlog of Season 3 and no, I have not yet gotten up to Episode 9). I also do a spot of crochet while watching the PC.

2.00-2.30- Doctors appointment with Mr BG.

2.30- 3.30 Tea, another load of washing put on and dinner popped in oven before I go and pick up kids from school.

4.00-5.00 Head out to laundromat to get clothes dry. I don’t have a dryer and not enough drying space for 3 loads of washing. Miss BG comes out with me and we head out to get some extra bits and pieces.

5.00-6.00 Arrive home and with Mr BG’s help, peel some vegies for dinner. Kids are bathes and pyjamaed and dinner of lamb stew is served

6.00-7.00 Dinner eaten, clothes sorted and put away, school  books read and I call my mum (most important task of the day)

I didn’t do everything on my list. The microwave wasn’t cleaned and the vacuuming and kitchen floor not washed, but can do tomorrow. Ballet stuff for Miss BG will be done Saturday.

I’m definitely not a lady who lunches on her ‘day off’ :).

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Happy blogaversary to me!

Four years ago today I registered with WordPress and started this blog.

In that time, I have completed a Masters, seen my children grow and start school, gone overseas twice, and seen my time at work increase. I’ve blogged about op-shopping, recipes, learning, cats, my kids, my husband, my studies, libraries, reading, work, my extended family and lots of books.

I managed to keep a travel blog of my trip last year, on the go, thanks to free wifi and a tablet.

Through my blog I have also met quite a few lovely people who have said very nice things about my blog and who will often themselves be writing and sharing their words and thoughts, which is awesome.

I am not sure what is around the corner, but it may possibly involve more yarn and yarning about stuff…

I feel very fortunate to be finally doing something that I have always wanted to do- to write and to be read.

Thank you. xo

Mini BG

Here is a photo of me when I was 5. It was the day of my fifth birthday and my mum had dressed me in a pink crochet dress. The crochet had stretched over the years, as it was originally created to fit me as a two year old.

me on my 5th birthday

My mum, bless her, had kept a number of clothes belonging to my sister and I and passed them on to me for miss BG. This is she wearing said pink dress.

Pretty in Pink

It has stretched a bit and it’s missing a ribbon which was worn around the waist, but it’s cute to see her in something I remember wearing :). As a little person, she loves dressing up in mum’s clothes (and shoes and makeup), and this was one thing she could wear which remotely fitted her.

I don’t remember what I was like at that age, and my parents are somewhat vague on the matter. Was I as headstrong, funny,  needing to be cuddled, annoying, and lovable? I do look at her and wonder, how much of me is in her? She is a delightful puzzle and one I will continue to decipher…

Bookgrrl Travel Awards

Welcome to the Bookgrrl Travel Awards, where I give my stamp of approval, or a kick in the pants to the places we visited.

‘The Room with a view’ award

This award goes to the most picturesque place we visited, that could be seen from our windows of our accommodation. We had to rule out Paris, as the much vaunted view of Sacre Coeur could only be seen if you opened the window, stood on your tiptoes and craned your neck to catch a glimpse of it. we could see the tour buses which stopped nearby from our windows though 🙂

So drumroll… the award goes to the Bourgoensch Hof in Bruges, where we were awarded views of the canal, and bridges, and people strolling and riding their bicycles.

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An honourable mention to our house in Skye, where you could see the sheep on rolling hills, the sea, and ‘our’ mountain whose mood changed from minute to minute.
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It does not go to the Bayview hotel in Portballintrae, which heralded its view of Bushmills, which turned out to be a view of… the carpark.

The ‘Pinch me now, I can’t believe we’re here’ award goes to the place where the sudden reality of where you are just smacks you in the face.

That award goes to coming out of the Colosseo station in Rome to be greeted by the Colosseum!
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An honourable mention also goes to turning a corner and suddenly seeing the Duomo in Florence. Actually it wasn’t so much a smack your face, as at the moment I had been horribly lost, and seeing it was a huge relief as I now knew where I was. Then I proceeded to get lost again 🙂
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The ‘Can’t swing a cat’ goes to the smallest accommodation we encountered on our stay.

It is awarded to the Premier Inn in Islington, which was a standard room, with a couch made up and a trundle bed set up to make it a ‘family room’. There was no space between all three beds, and if you wanted to move about the room, the rest of the family had to be sitting on the beds. The bathroom was palatial compared to the bedroom.

An honourable mention goes to our flat in Paris. When we first arrived, the kids asked, where’s our bedroom? I pointed to the sofabed, and they looked at me, laughed, and said, ‘ No really, where IS our bedroom?’

The ‘Brady Bunch’ award goes to the accommodation which was the most family-friendly.

This involved much deliberation with everyone in the family, with a winner and 2 honourable mentions the result.

Our flat in Highbury/Islington in London was a clear winner. There was a backyard, the playground across the road and there was also ‘no big stairs like there were in Florence and Edinburgh’ as Master BG said. There were also kids to play with, the Tube and bus stops 50m away, as well as a supermarket.

The honourable mentions went to our flat in York, which had a well-stocked toy cupboard and kids books available,and also had a WII, which, being an absolute numpty, I couldn’t get to work.

The second honourable mention went to Skye, as chosen by the kids. They loved the cottage as it had stairs (only one flight), they had a room of their own, and a garden in which to play. There were also lots of sheep to look at.
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The “If only we could come back without kids” award goes to the best hotel room. That award goes to the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, which is attached to Grand Central Station and has recently been refurbished. The beds were king-sized, with plasma TVs, the room was huge and the bathroom had a heater behind the mirror, so it would not fog up when you were in the shower. They also win the ‘Scrumptious’ award for the best meal we had.

The ‘Host with the most’ award
I would have liked to give an award for the most friendly hosts, but there were so many it is hard to pick out a winner. Everyone was incredibly nice, but these are the standouts. I have linked to them because I want to spread the love for any aspiring traveller.
Gaia of the Casa Valadier in Rome, for her card and wine, and very comprehensive list of where to find everything in Rome. She really set a high standard!
Alan and Emma in Highbury, London
The staff at the Waterloo Lodge in Dublin
The staff at the Belmore Court Hotel in Enniskillen
Stuart and his cat Daisy in Skye
The staff at the Loch Erisort Innon Lewis for getting a waitress to wear an Aussie rugby jumper to make us feel at home, and for sending in a sticky date pudding with a candle for Mr BG to celebrate his birthday.
The staff at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow
Patrick and Helen of the Riverside Apartments in York
Howard and Ros in Stanton Lees, Derbyshire for feeling more like friendly neighbours whom you could pop in and ask for anything.

Likewise I would have liked to give an award for what I miss the most from my trip overseas, but there are heaps! So here is a short list

    Wifi on trains, buses and in parks
    The coffee in Florence
    The gelati in Florence
    The lemon curd icecream in York
    The northern accent in York
    The chips in Ireland
    The beer in Bruges
    The porridge oats in the UK (weird I know, but they’re so much creamier!)
    Jamesons caramels
    The weather in Italy
    My brothers in London
    My family in Ireland

That’s it- I just have to go back.

Birthdays Birthdays Birthdays

Scene 1

Saturday. 7.15am. Bookgrrl’s bedroom.

Bookgrrl and Mr BG are asleep in bed. Bookgrrl is awakened by someone entering the room.

Master BG: *loud sigh*

Bookgrrl: mmph?

Master BG: I’ve had the most terrible start to the day (in a dramatic tone)

Bookgrrl:(muffled) And why is that?

Master BG: Because no-one has wished me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Bookgrrl and Mr BG (in unison): Happy Birthday!

Master BG, now satisfied, exits bedroom.

10 minutes later, Master BG gets his birthday present, an iPod touch, with 2 songs loaded and about 10 games already on it.

Scene 2

Sunday. 1pm. Windsor Hotel Melbourne.

Attending is Bookgrrl and the lovely Ms S.

Occasion: Bookgrrl’s 40th birthday extravaganza celebration. Good things come to those who wait.

Sandwiches were lovely, but I have better scones at work.

A delightful way to celebrate my birthday with wonderful company :).

The Third Degree

No this is not about my undertaking more study (something which I have told Mr BG to NEVER allow me to do again).

When I moved out of home at the ripe old age of 24, I was looking forward to my time alone as I said earlier. Yet I spent the first night of imdependence crying myself to sleep in my beautiful little flat. I missed home, I missed my parents and even my annoying brothers, who were promptly sizing up  the dimensions of my room and deciding who was going to move in.  Above all, I missed that comforting ,yet at the same time claustrophobic sensation of being asked “What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you going with? How are you getting there? What time will you be back at?”

This had been going on since the dawn of time. It seemed to escalate a bit when I became old enough to go out with friends, and really ramped up when I finally had a boyfriend. When I arrived home late, I had to go in the front door, as it was right outside my parents’ bedroom, and they would know I had returned. I often heard the bed creak as my dad turned over as I crept down the hall. My mum said to me later ‘You father would only fall into a sound sleep when he heard the key in the lock.’

Even though I was heartily sick of it, I still missed the third degree. I would still get it when I arrived home (and still do when I visit), and it was annoying yet comforting at the same time. It was my parent’s way of indicating they cared; I would often do they same thing, thinking that that’s what everyone did.

Not exactly. It’s been the cause of a bit of grief over the years, with friends and loved ones. I have been called nosy and told to give people space and to mind my own business. It’s a habit that is hard to unlearn, as I feel  rude and uncaring for not asking.But I’m trying.

Crochet Mojo or 10 things I’ve been doing that don’t involve blogging

I’ve finally have 10 minutes to sit down and say hello to my blog, and to you! It has been a busy few days chez Bookgrrl, as is the usual case when it is school holidays. So here is what I have been doing which has caused me to neglect my blog.

1. Swimming lessons at the YMCA- the kids have had fun this week and are gaining in confidence in the water. While I have been sitting out watching, I’m going to take advantage of my membership and do a few laps in the big persons pool tomorrow!

2. Painting splotches of paint on the lounge rom wall. Sample pots are a boon, though the lounge currently looks like a young child has decided to become the next Picasso in his ‘green period’ 🙂

3. Dentist visits. Both children needed fillings this week and appointments were scheduled on separate days so I could go in with them separately. Master BG was full of questions, even when he had happy gas, anaesethetic, and copious dental tools in his mouth- that boy could talk underwater! Miss BG, apart from an inital case of nerves, that involved onyl sitting in the dentists chair, as long as I was sitting there with her, was a trooper, and both of them deserved a…

4. Trip to the bookstore. This was the promised treat for being so brave at the dentist’s (I kinda figured that sweet treats were out of the question). Mr BG ended up with a Horrible Histories activity book, Miss BG loves her new book of fairy tales and I came away with two classics, The Harp in the South and Playing Beattie Bow. The last time we were there, Master BG came away with the idea he wants to buy the bookstore when he’s older. I suggested going to the library was a cheaper option…

5. Shivering. This is something I am used to doing for about 6 months of the year in Ballarat, but January was not a time I was expecting to have to put the heater on. It’s been bitterly cold the last few days which was probably why I was inspired to start…

6. Crocheting! It had been ages since I last picked up a hook and with an impending project I have to start soon, I thought it was as good a time as any to practice with granny squares. They’ll be joined up soon to be a rug for my bed. It’s being worked in blues to complement the bedroom which is blue and white. I have been crocheting at night on the couch, and for the past couple of days at the swimming pool. The aspect of crochet I like is that there’s only one hook, rather than two knitting needles and it’s faster than knitting.

7. Reading books, as opposed to reading blogs. I’ve been dipping into crochet books, but I have started a couple of books which hold promise.

8. Watching TV with the kids- now this is a bit unusual, as we’ll watch DVDs together, but TV shows are a bit hit and miss. This has been made easier for us by the ABC which is currently screening Doctor Who  from 2005 onwards at 7.30 pm. If anything it reminds me of my own childhood, watching Doctor Who with my parents and sister and brothers a long, long time ago.

9. Plotting stuff for the blog. I may not be writing anything down, but things will pop into my head, while I’m hanging out the washing. The washing line is where a lot of my thinking about life takes place, as it’s as far away from the house as possible and I can’t hear the kids :).

10. Getting acquainted with Pinterest and reacquainted with Tumblr, though admittedly not spending a great deal of time with either.