Sunday, 31 January 2016

Winter in the Garden

Our garden was designed so as to have year round interest. It is looking a little scrappy at the moment though (few don't in January) and I had a little potter out there last weekend with the small boy, trying to spot the interesting stuff...

Thought I'd get one last shot of the hydrangea heads before they're chopped off but I've been told I should leave them as they protect the new shoots - so you learn something new every day (they're still there!). 

I also thought it might be a good opportunity to seek inspiration for a workshop I've signed up for. I'll be making silver clay jewellery with Emma Mitchell (you can see the sort of thing here) and at the moment I'm struggling to decide what I want to make. Do I go organic as Emma does with her own beautiful work, or do I try something completely different? Let me know if you have any thoughts! 

I may have failed on the ideas front but it is always nice to do a lap around our little plot - especially when the sun's out and it's not too cold. I'll share some more pictures as the flowers start to show themselves in the spring. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Quiet Weekends

As I type this, we're mid-way through a run of weekends where we have NO PLANS. None. Zero. This never happens around here.

Now, I am a bit of a planner (and you'll know if you've been reading this blog recently that I really do prefer to be busy), but I often find it a little overwhelming when every single weekend for the foreseeable future is full. At this time of year I tend to be pretty quiet work wise (although this year I have a lot more work on than I've ever had before) and in the past I've probably filled the weekends to make up for it. But not this year. 

Two weeks ago, the little man and I spent the best part of an afternoon making crafts, drawing and collaging at the kitchen table - him working on one project, me working on another - one thing that never happens. When he was a baby I had this little rose tinted vision that we'd do this sort of thing, that weekend was the first time. He's getting on for 6...

We've also spent a lot of time by the fire (it has been rather chilly), and just enjoying being at home. I've managed to avoid weekend Post Office runs (although I have had some work to do - not too much though) and have spent a little less weekend time on social media (I've gone off Facebook completely - a couple of minutes at a time is just about my limit - so apologies to friends whose posts I've failed to like/comment on, when I would've done in the past, I haven't seen them - and it's not you - or me for that matter - it's Facebook). I think I feel better for it.

Last weekend it snowed. Mr M and the little man managed to conjure up a snowman from basically no snow. I tried not to be too alarmed by the sight of a flowering agapanthus amongst it.

And thanks to some really painfully sore muscles (I won't bore you with the story, I've just about had enough of it now!), I got to have an afternoon bath - yes a bath in the afternoon - yes I have a child. A miracle I know (it was lovely - I stayed in the tub for an hour).

And do you know the best part? At the moment we don't have any plans for next weekend either! I probably should make some effort to see friends, do something productive, take the little man out somewhere, but just staying at home and not doing much is fun! Oh, and fortunately come February we start to get busy again!!! 

What do you like to do when you have nothing to do? I like the idea of sitting in bed reading the Sunday papers and then going for brunch, but as I said I do have a nearly 6 year old... 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Migraine and the Spicy Meatwich

So I suffer from migraines and I have since I was six. The first one happened when I was sitting at our kitchen table talking to my Mum. I stared across the table at some bananas in the fruit bowl and they became all pixelated and out of shape. It completely freaked me out at the time, but when I described what I could see to my Mum (who also suffers from migraines) she told me what it was straight away and said not to worry. I did get a headache afterwards but I don't remember it being too bad and we went to the doctors and opticians to get me checked out (and low and behold I needed the glasses I still sport to this day) and that was that.

As time went on I developed a second type of migraine - the visual disturbances aren't as bad but the headache is an off the scale, nausea inducing, darkened room doesn't help type affair. These are hideous, and sadly nowadays a lot more common.

As far as I'm aware, my migraines are caused by stress (usually relaxing after a period of stress rather than at the time, which is helpful I suppose!!), flickering light patterns (trees flickering in the wind behind a blind on a sunny day, driving past rows of trees with the sun streaming through - both of these have set them off) - this type is more likely to cause the visual disturbance migraine than the "I want to die it's so bad" headache type, and dehydration.

So, after nearly 32 years of migraines I've more or less pinpointed what causes them!!! Now, what to do to alleviate them.... Before I was pregnant I discovered that codeine is just amazing - makes me feel weird (in a not good way) and excessively thirsty for ages (but it's good to get lots of fluids when I have a migraine so it reminds me to drink more!). Even the worst migraine is usually cleared after a couple of rounds of ibuprofen and codeine. Then I got pregnant and panicked - how on earth would I cope with a migraine if all I could take was paracetamol - it'd be as good as useless. But by some miracle (or mother nature or something if you believe that) I didn't have a single migraine during my pregnancy or when I was breastfeeding. In fact I didn't have one until I started to get stressed about returning to work...

Anyway, all this depends upon the severity as sometimes I wonder if I can keep the codeine down, and they work much much better with food. Greasy food. Hangover type food. Here comes the spicy meatwich!

Now, I have a (slightly off topic) confession to make. I love watching Man v Food. I may not strike you as the type, but I do. Portion sizes aside (I honestly think I would keel over and die if I even attempted one of those, quite frankly obscene, eating challenges) but the food itself makes my mouth water - for the most part at least. This is also the type of food, which when combined with the painkillers, really helps my migraines (if I don't feel too nauseous that is!).

So last week, inspired by Man v Food and with a migraine which just would not go, I created the sandwich above, which I have snappily named the Spicy Meatwich! It contains...

Lovely fresh crusty bread roll
Barbecued pulled pork (heap of)
4 slices of spicy pepperoni
Piri piri coleslaw (heap of) - see some veg!!

This could (possibly) be improved with a slice of melted cheese and some sliced jalapeƱos on the top to make it spicier - if you're a fan of properly spicy, it's currently not that spicy if I'm honest.

Then washed down with gallons of Diet Coke (yes I'm still thirsty). Full fat coke is probably best here as I often feel that my blood sugar is low, but I just can't drink the stuff, it's too sweet.

Anyhow, on this occasion the migraine really took some shifting but I do have a really great favourite new migraine (and almost certainly hangover) busting meal which I can look forward to the next time one strikes!

Aside from the meatwich, I need to think of other ways to handle the old migraines. Migraines and small children DO NOT MIX - it's hell. They don't understand. You have to carry on as normal no matter how ill you are. I also run my own business now - of course back when I was working for someone else, if I had to take a day off with a migraine I'd spend the whole of it panicking that it'd cost me my job, but it never did and there was always someone else around to do the urgent stuff. There isn't now...

So - I think I need to look after myself a little better - fewer late nights, less alcohol (more other fluids too), exercise and maybe attempting to take a day off once in a while (as I mentioned in last week's post I really struggle to do this so it'll be a challenge!). Oh and if I have a migraine, don't worry about the migraine. Go back to bed for a while if I can (after the school run) and don't get stressed. Easier said than done perhaps!

Do you suffer from migraines? I know that everyone gets slightly different types and finds they're own ways of dealing with them, but do share any tips you may have!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Bloggers Block....

Happy New Year!

I've discovered something about myself in the past few months - something I probably already knew but it has now been confirmed. I can't take a break. Not a proper one anyway.

When I take a break from my business I get stressed - I either worry that I'm missing out on something (I'm almost certainly not!) or I start thinking of all the stuff I have to do, worry about when I'm going to get it done, and just start working again anyway.

I've also discovered that the old adage that the more you use your creativity the more of it you have, is true. Take this blog as an example...

I started writing this blog back in August as I fancied a fun little blogging project with no pressure. I didn't even intend to post that regularly (if I didn't want to) and the first posts were massively sporadic. My friend then pointed out to me that with a title such as the one it has, a weekly Sunday post might be appropriate (oh yes, why hadn't I thought of that?). But then there was an issue. I had to think of stuff to write about.

Rarely a problem with my other blog. I post 3 times a week. I have a set list (albeit in my head) of what I will and will not write about - I like to keep it "on brand". This blog is all about the stuff I can't write about on that one because it doesn't fit, or the tone isn't quite right. To start with it was fairly easy, although I've realised that I'm still not that comfortable sharing too much parenting and small child related stuff (sorry - it's me not you), and that Made By Mrs M is actually very me (so I'm the "brand" - hooray! That makes life easier...).

Anyway, so here we are 3 weeks after I decided to take a Christmas and New Year break from this blog (I took 1 day off from the other one!!!) and I'm stuck for ideas...  Well yes, I did have a very nice Christmas thanks, but you don't want to hear about that on 10 January do you? Aside from having masses of work on (thank you for keeping me so busy folks - see not taking time off from my business has resulted in loads of orders - someone give me a slap please), I haven't got anything exciting planned this month. I could write about my Christmas presents but they're all so "on brand" they'll be featured on the other blog!

So instead I've written a semi steam of consciousness post about how I have nothing to write about!

Do pop back next week to see if I come up with anything more exciting. Alternatively you could let me know if there's anything you'd like me to cover in the comments. I've illustrated this post with some nice little shots from a couple of days out we had over the holidays - a blustery day in Brighton and a grey but very pleasant walk on Epsom Downs. See you next week!