Caged Bird

I thought I was free,
When the cage door opened.
A bird in flying through the air,
Until I felt the string around my neck and I asked,
How long will you hold me back?
How long til I am free of this?
Free of the burden of you,
The burden of the past,
And then in the midst of my blue,
I found the other side of the string was not with you,
But every strand,
Held tightly in my own hand.

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They do not know.

The morning light is too bright.

It doesn’t hide the eyes of almost strangers,
Judging
Or wondering
Or guessing
They know but they don’t.
They know the aftermath,
The conclusion and the consequences,
The losses,
But they don’t know the fights and the battles and the constant fear and anxieties,
Living a prisoner in the place you’re supposed to call home.
The place that’s supposed to be safe.
The sleepless nights and running for your life.
The don’t know the stresses and the worries
The terror,
The pain endured every single day.

They don’t know the patience

They see what they see but not beyond.
So they judge
Or wonder
Or guess
But they do not know.

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An open letter to my husband.

All my life I have felt like an outsider; I have felt misunderstood. All I ever wanted was to feel loved. To feel above all that there was someone out there who would love me for all of the things I hated about myself, to love me in spite of what I felt where my shortcomings and to love me enough to heal the wounds of my past. This is why when you told me you wanted to marry me, I threw myself in to you blindly, ignoring all of the reasons you were wrong for me. And trust me, there were plenty.

I wanted someone intelligent, someone who would have long intellectual conversations with me in to the deepest and darkest nights, someone sensitive and with a sharp and witty sense of humour. You were none of those things, but for some reason I found myself falling for you, falling for your lies.

I began ignoring all of the warning signs and somehow and some point I made a sub conscious decision to love you unconditionally. But the thing about the way that I loved you is that I forgave you, over and over again for the unforgivable. I made myself stupid and dependant for you.

I wish there was just the one reason we fell apart. I wish there was one thing and only one thing, so that when I looked back on the memories I shared with you I wouldn’t have to realise that every single one of them was fake. I wish that I never knew all of the things you had done to me without my knowledge.

I didn’t know that when I met you, you were unavailable. You had promised somebody else that you were going to marry them and didn’t follow through. I also didn’t know then, that even she, was not your only one. I thought you were mine and mine only. I believed that the secrets we shared in whispered conversations for hours on the phone every night were sacred, that they were special and only ours.

I tried to kid myself and convince myself that you were a good person and that in the beginning at least we had something real and passionate and beautiful. But you had every opportunity to come clean, to save my faith and trust and instead you chose to break me. The way I see it, if you were a decent man you had two choices. When I began baring my soul to you, when I began telling you my deepest fears and my longest held secrets you could have told me you weren’t ready. I would have backed off and I would have been saved all of this heartache. Or you could have made the choice to stop what you were doing and become loyal to me. You chose neither. You chose to pretend through our love affair while having others of your own.

Every time I found out about what you were doing you became more aggressive towards me. You would hurt me, manipulate me, control me, threaten me. You knew I was weak and vulnerable and you used it to own me. By then you already knew I was so deeply in love with you, that you could be my puppet master and pull my strings.

You would hurt me, physically and emotionally and somehow after I dried my own tears, I would be wiping up yours, comforting you, convincing you I was okay, accepting your apologies that this would never happen again. But it always did.

You made me live like half a woman. I was a prisoner in my own home. You made me afraid. You knew exactly how to get me to do whatever you wanted to do and I did. I accepted whatever you threw at me because I was convinced that the pain I was feeling then was nothing compared to the pain I would feel if we weren’t together.

I know now that I was wrong. I was wrong because it wasn’t real to you. I was just a piece in the game you were playing. You took my dignity, my creativity, my soul, my happiness and you crumpled it up and threw it away.

I live now, broken by the cruel acts of hatred you made me live through, the lies and deceit that you used to manipulate me. I convince myself that had I been smarter I would have left when I first found out or at least when you started to be someone I no longer recognised. That I shouldn’t have stuck it out. But I did. Because my heart was clear. I was always honest with you. I was always faithful to you. I always loved you, no matter what.

I thought getting married would be the start of something amazing. I thought being with you would be the most fulfilling thing I ever did. But all it truly did is leave me broken. I don’t know now that I will ever be able to trust or be truly happy. I know that I will never feel that innocent excitement and curiosity ever again because of you. All I can do now is hope that I teach my son to make the right choices and to treat people with kindness and respect so that he never breaks a woman, like you broke me.

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Nursery Art

When I first discovered that I was pregnant, I knew instantly that I wanted to make, knit and hand create everything that would be important to my first born child. Unfortunately, the trials of pregnancy sometimes make that desire completely impractical, which might be one of the reasons this blog has been dormant for a very long time.

For the first 8 and half months of my pregnancy, I barely found the time to wash my own hair, never mind sit for hours making things I’d seen and fallen in love with on Pintrest, but now in the last couple of weeks as the new found freedom (and boredom) of maternity leave kicks in, I thought I would take the time to share some of the things I have actually managed to make myself.

Button art has always been something I have loved and it was something I wanted to incorporate in to the baby’s room. I eventually chose to have a go at a making a hot air balloon and a yacht after seeing similar art online. While mine is definitely more rustic and not quite as neat as I would have liked, I think for a first attempt the canvases turned out pretty nice. I will probably go back at some point (hopefully before I go in to labour) and neaten out the edges of both of these canvases.

 

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Baby Booties and Hat (Hand Knitted)

Around 10 months ago God blessed my brother and sister-in-law with arguably the most beautiful baby girl alive. In true fashion I knitted her a few pieces from a pattern I found on Etsy. See below for images.

 

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The Hypocrite at Number 10

“He has no democratic mandate. He has a reputation tainted by the failures after a decade in office. And he has no new ideas. An early election? Bring it on.”
These were words spoken by our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, in 2007 when Tony Blair stepped down and handed over to the former chancellor, Gordon Brown. 
Today, after the support of 199 Conservative MPs, Theresa May became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. To put that into perspective, that is 0.0004% of the UK population. 
This is a person who has voted for devastating air strikes in Syria, voted for the destructive, damaging and misleading war against Iraq, and has, on a number of occasions, spoken out against basic human rights. She has openly declared her opposition of the European Convention of Human Rights which holds each participating country to account on the rights and freedoms of their people. This is a person who has failed to speak up for ordinary working people, who has not been democratically elected and will further worsen the apathy and disengagement of the UK people. And to top it all off, one of her first acts as the new PM was to appoint Boris Johnston as the foreign secretary. 
She has no democratic mandate. She has a reputation tainted after years of failure in office and she has detrimental and calamitous ideas. An early General Election? Bring it on! 

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Possibly the Best Brownies You’ll Ever Make

brownies

Let’s face it. Brownies are the best. Whether you like them gooey, gorgeous and melting in the middle, or with a beautiful bite, they are quite possibly the most indulgent, delicious, chocolate dessert ever. Brownies are a favourite amongst everyone, unless of course you find one of those odd people that no one quite understands, that doesn’t enjoy chocolate. This recipe is not for them.

This is one of those rare and perfect recipes that you can easily adapt to your preference of brownie style with just one extra ingreedient or a few extra minutes.

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Ingredients

  • 120g of dark chocolate
  • 65g milk chocolate
  • 185g of unsalted butter
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 85g of plain flower
  • 3 eggs
  • 275g of golden caster sugar
  • generous handful of milk and white chocolate chips or pecans, or any dried fruit/nut of your choice.

Method: 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius  and line a brownie tin with grease-proof paper
  • Melt 120g of dark chocolate, 65g of milk chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and golden caster sugar (with an electric whisk if you have one), until it resembles a pale, thick milkshake.
  • Add the melted chocolate and butter to the egg and sugar mixture and stir until fully combined.
  • Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder in to the mixture and fold in gently until all the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Add in your chocolate chips or fruit or nuts and stir.
  • Pour the mixture in to your prepared brownie tin and bake in the oven.
  • If you like your brownies softer and gooey in the middle, bake for 23-25 mins.
  • If you like your brownies with a more cakey texture bake for 30 mins.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool.
  • Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!
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Home Grown Cherries and Cherry Curd Recipe

cherries on treeEight years ago, when we knew very little about trees or gardening, we planted two trees in our garden, about a meter apart. One was a dwarf plum tree and the other a cherry tree. The plum tree never gave fruit and the cherry tree gave very little, but what it did give was bitter and inedible. We couldn’t figure out why, until last year in the fierce winds, the plum tree broke and we had to uproot it. Since then the cherry tree blossomed and this year we’ve had more cherries than we could more cherriespick.

I had to do something with the cherries; eating them, making smoothies, mixing them in icecream just wasn’t enough. I wanted to make cherry curd. So I searched the internet for recipes, and there wasn’t any. Perhaps cherries are an unusual fruit to make in to curd, but I had this idea of a smooth texture, with a lovely tangy taste, and so I had to try it out, and just go by what my baking instincts told me. So this is what I did…

Ingredients:

  • 600g of cherries (pitted)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 90 grams of butter (cut in to chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 170g of sugar

Method:

washed cherriesPit your cherries until you have 600g. If you have a cherry pitter, use that. I did not, so  I pushed the stone through the cherry with a straw.

Put the cherries and the 2 tablespoonsof sugar in to a sauce pan and cook on a medium heat until the cherries start to disintegrate.

Put the egg yolks, the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and about 5 table spoons of the disintegrated berries in to a heat proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water, but is above it.

Whisk continuously to avoid the egg scrambling.

Cook and whisk until the mixture thickens to about the consistency of ketchup. This could take around 10 minutes.

Pour the egg mixture in to the saucepan with the rest of the berry mixture and butter and whisk on a low heat until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture in to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour in to a sterilised jar and chill (to firm up) before using/serving.

curd

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3 Layer Chocolate Mousse

IMG_3753There is nothing as deflating as being in the mood to bake and finding out that a piece of your equipment has given in. These past two weeks have been all about experimenting and making something I haven’t before. And then my whisk broke. So I scoured the internet for recipes that didn’t need an electric whisk and I came across the Sorted Recipe for chocolate mousse in the video for which they whisk entirely by hand. Unfortunately I realised too late that there was 3 of them and only 1 of me, so by the time I finished making this mousse my arm was ready to drop off, but with an electric whisk this would have been a doddle. Chocolate mousse is one of my favourite desserts ever, and I unfortunately, recently found out that Asda have stopped making their vegetarian version, which seemed to be the only veggie mousse on the market.  So I decided to make my own. The Sorted recipe is a dark chocolate and orange mousse. I have taken the basic method from them and adapted it to make my own 3 layer chocolate mousse.

Makes 8 large individual mousse.

You will need: 

  • 160 g of Dark Chocolate
  • 160 g of Milk Chocolate
  • 160 g of White Chocolate
  • 200 ml of Milk
  • 560 ml of Double Cream
  • 6 Large Egg Whites

Method: 

  • Chop up your dark, milk and white chocolate in to 3 separate bowls and divide the milk equally between them. IMG_3749
  • Melt each bowl of chocolate, either one by one over a pan of simmering water, or one by one in the microwave in 30 second bursts. (Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, microwave. This should take around 2 mins per bowl). Leave to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl whip up the double cream until it reaches soft peaks.
  • In another bowl whip the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. IMG_3750
  • Divide the whipped cream equally between each bowl of chocolate and gently fold in until combined and you can no longer see streaks of cream.
  • Divide the egg whites between the each bowl of chocolate and gently fold in. Take your time on this part as it’s important not to deflate all that air that has been incorporated in to the egg whites.
  • Starting with the dark chocolate mixture spoon about 2 tablespoons of mousse in your little pots, ramekins, or cups.
  • Do the same with the milk chocolate and then the same with the white.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then enjoy chilled.

Notes: 

  • Make sure both your bowl and whisk are completely clean from any dust or fat when whipping your egg whites or they will not reach a stiff peak consistency.
  • Because white chocolate does not contain any coco solids you might find that the white chocolate mixture is a little runnier than the others. Just stick it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before adding your final layer to ensure the white chocolate does not run in to the other layers.
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The Note-Worthy North: Roundhay Tropical World

The North of England is generally underrated. Tourism is attracted to the big cities down in the South, and the North is left, with its beautiful treasures, without any credit. Through out these Note-Worthy North posts I will be taking you through some of the most…well note=-worthy,  beautiful parts of this country, and they can all be found on the right side of the Pennines!

To kick start this new section is one of my favourite places ever, Tropical World. Roundhay Tropical World is situated in a garden, that is within a park. The garden is beau1tiful with its fragrant flowers and tall willowing trees, and mini fountains on a little pond stream. The park is yards upon yards of gorgeous green fields, with little playgrounds and play areas where children can enjoy themselves whole heartedly. But the very best part, without any doubt is the little animal sanctuary that holds some of the most beautiful animals and insects from the Tropic.

Upon entering Tropical World you are met with a gush of hot, humid air, mimicking temperatures of the native countries of the creatures that reside there, and also, butterflies. There are caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies of many varieties and colour, flying around you.

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They can, and often do land upon you as you enter their little world. As you walk around 5you are greeted by tropical birds, tortoises, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, but perhaps the most popular animals by far, the Meerkats! Who, are every bit as full of character and cheek as the ones you find on Compare the Market.

This one even jumped onto a rock and posed for me.

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Tropical World is a place people of all ages can enjoy. The animals are lively, animated, and literally close enough to touch. It’s a beautiful place to sit and have a picnic, enjoy the animals, and then finish off the day by taking a lovely, afternoon stroll through the park.

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One Of Those ‘Sorry For My Lack Of Blogs’ Post

It has been a while since I wrote anything or updated my blog, unless you count my quick post election rant, which I felt was completely justified, given the shock of the results. I wish I had some amazing excuse for why I haven’t had the time to write, but honestly, after finishing University, I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything structured, or really anything at all. But writing is one of my greatest loves, and like all great loves, I find I keep coming back to it each time with a renewed passion. Even now as I write these words, meaningless as they may be, I feel a little bit more peaceful. Now, after my writing break, I feel like I have a few more things to offer, that will hopefully manifest themselves into blog posts over the coming months.

First of all, with my brothers wedding coming up soon, I’ve found myself feeling extremely creative, and offered to make many things, that could of course be bought, but I thought would add a lovely personal touch to the wedding if I made them myself, so there will certainly be some arts and crafts related posts. Secondly, I have no where to be for the next 2 months, which gives me plenty of time to experiment with baking and cooking and with my camera, so expect some new recipes, and photos of the great outdoors. And finally, I start my Secondary Teaching Course for teaching GCSE and A Level English in September, so I will be reading plenty, which I’m sure will make me want to write reviews, or even give me ideas for my own original writing.

Basically, what I’m saying is, stay tuned. There will be more to follow.

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Pink Rose

SAMSUNG CSC

Copyright 2015 Creative Mismatch

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Post Election Madness (Scrapping the Human Rights Act & Ignoring Austerity Protests)

This week, one week after the UK General Election, has been one of the most prominent weeks in politics in the 21 years that I have been alive. After the shocking Exit Poll results on the night of the 7th of May I asked myself if the whole country had Stockholm Syndrome, or if it was just bent on repeating the history of the Thatcher years. Those thoughts were mild however, compared to the thoughts I have now, after hearing David Cameron’s victory speech, and reading all the essential parts of the new Conservative manifesto that they conveniently hid pre-election.

While I could argue about the fact that the Conservatives got only 37% of the votes this election, yet managed to secure 51% of the seats in Parliament, and argue against the electoral system, I am resigned to the fact that the country voted ‘NO’ to the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011. Yes, I would prefer a system of proportional representation but First Past the Post is not all that’s wrong with the new government.

Firstly, it seems important to note that the austerity protests taking place in the country have received relatively little if any mainstream media coverage at all this week. Whether that is stop the spread of so called ‘riots’ as in 2012, or to try and keep the public as uninformed as possible I do not know, but with thousands of people marching outside Downing Street, 30 people injured and 17 arrests, you’d expect a media frenzy. But since there’s been a media blackout concerning the subject, I can’t help wondering what they’re hiding.

David Cameron began his victory speech claiming the government he led ‘did important things,’ and that it ‘laid the foundation for a better future.’ In reality what he has laid the foundation for is £12bn of welfare cuts, a massive fall in unemployment, 400,000 more zero-hour contracts allowing large corporations to exploit their workers, a continuing rise of people needing to use food banks because of spiralling poverty, an increase inequality through tax cuts for the richest, more privatisation of the NHS and educational institutions and cuts to local councils and local services such as the police and fire departments. While all of the above things are terrible and I truly believe it could lead to unrepairable damage to our society, it was more or less what I would expect from a Conservative majority government. What did shock me though, was the announcement that the Human Rights Act would be scrapped.

The new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove (note the irony; the man who wanted to bring back the death penalty and almost destroyed our education system), will lead the act of repealing Human Rights, which were enacted in 1998, to acknowledge every human being had basic and universal rights, which include the right to life, liberty and security of person; the right to a fair trial; protection from torture and ill treatment; freedom of thought, conscience, religion, speech and assembly; the right to marry; the right to free elections; the right to fair access to the country’s education system; and the right not to be discriminated against. All of these are basic and simple rights that we’ve grown to take for granted, but which one, or more, of these is it that the Tories are unhappy about? While those in charge spurt lies about how it is to stop interference from Eurpoean Courts, this Guardian article explains how those claims are false and how the repeal deprives people of basic and fundamental rights, and will cause major divisions between nations at home and abroad.

The repeal of the Act will allow Britain to have the final say on court cases within the country that may clash with the European Convention of Human Rights. The government claim that foreign nationals use the Act to stay in the country after committing crimes and that they are given too much freedom under the Act, but it affects all of us, those native to the country and those who are not. The repeal of the Act will lead to a constitutional crisis and if something as monumental and terrible as this has been announced just days after the election, I have to wonder what more they have in store. It’s going to be a hard 5 years for the British public.

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Oreo (Cookies and Cream) Cheesecake

image6 (2)Everybody has a signature dessert. One that they’ve adapted and changed until it’s just perfect. They don’t need a recipe, they’ve made their own up from all the changes they’ve made to make the dessert exactly the way they want it. For me, that dessert is cheesecake. It’s one of my favourite things to make, and I’ve been making it for about four years now, experimenting with taste and flavours until it’s creamy, slightly tangy and with a lovely crunchy base. Oreo’s are extremely popular and the chocolaty, creme filled biscuits make a perfect combination with cheesecake, so I thought I would  share my recipe for a no-bake oreo cheesecake.

Serves 16

Ingredients:

  • 300g of Oreos
  • 300g of full fat cream cheese
  • 280ml of double cream
  • 300g of white chocolate
  • 40g butter
  • The juice of 1 lemon (optional)
  • A few squares of dark chocolate

You will also need:

  • One 8 inch loose bottom cake tin

Method:

The Base:

  • Crush around 200g of the oreos for the base. You can either put the Oreos in a sealable food bag and crush them with a rolling pin, or stick them in the food processor and whiz them up.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave.
  • Combine the Oreos and butter and press them in to your cake tin. Make sure they’re pressed in quite firmly so your base doesn’t crumble.
  • Set aside.

The cheese:

  • In a heatproof bowl, over simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Once GetAttachment (3)completelymelted, take the bowl of the heat and leave to cool down.
  • In a large bowl, whip the double cream (with an electric whisk) until it forms peaks.
  • At this point you can add the juice of one lemon if you would like a  slightly tangy cheesecake, but if you prefer a sweet one, leave the lemon juice out.
  • Add in the cream cheese and mix until combined.GetAttachment (2)
  • Mix in the melted chocolate and whisk together.
  • Crush most of 100g of Oreos in to large chunks with your hand, and stir into the mixture. (Leave a few for decoration).
  • Pour the mixture over the base, and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Decoration: 

  • Melt the dark chocolate and lightly crush the left over oreos.
  • Sprinkle the oreos over the cheesecake
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake.
  • Cut in to slices and serve.

image5 (1)

Tips and Variations:

  • You can use any chocolate biscuit if you’re not a big fan of Oreos.
  • The white chocolate does not have to be of an amazing quality. I use Sainsbury’s own brand.
  • I’ve used both Philadelphia and other brands of cream cheese and they all turn out the same as long as you use full fat cream cheese.
  • You do not need to mix the mixture once all the ingredients are in for too long. It will all set and become solid in the fridge.
  • This can be made the night before for dinner parties. In fact I think it tastes better the second day.
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Rainbow Cookies 

Let’s face it. The inner child in us loves bold, bright colours. It doesn’t matter how classy or sophisticated we try to be, we can’t help really craving the sweet, chewy texture of cookies combined with the little drops of chocolate covered in coloured candy shells. It’s just part of who we are. This recipe is super easy, tastes delicious, but also looks absolutely amazing.

Makes 15 large cookies 

You will need: 

170g of butter

– 130g of white granulated sugar

-140g of light brown muscavado sugar

– 1 large egg

– 1 egg yolk

– 260g of plain all purpose flour

– 1tsp of baking powder

– 1tsp of Vanilla extract

-200g of chocolate M&Ms

Method 

Cover 3 baking trays with grease proof paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

 – In a large bowl using an electric whisk (or some serious hand power), whisk the butter. I use the butter while it’s still quite cold so I can bake the cookies straight away.

– Add the light brown sugar and caster sugar to the butter and cream together until fluffy.

– Mix in the egg and the egg yolk and mix well.

– Add the flour and the baking powder until the mixture is properly combined.

– Use an icecream scoop to make balls from your mixture and put them on your baking trays. Don’t put more than 6 to a tray because they will spread out.

– Flatten the balls slightly and lightly press around 10 m&ms in to each one.

– Place in to the oven for 14 minutes.

– Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes before digging in.

Tips and Variations: 

If your butter is at room temperature and your mixture is too soft, stick it in the fridge for about an hour to toughen up.

– Go through your light brown sugar and just squash any lumps before you add it to your mixture.

– If you don’t have an icecream scoop or would prefer not to use one, you can make little balls with your hands. I just find an icecream super easy to use and they all come out perfectly round.

– You can use smarties, peanut M&Ms, raisins or whatever else you fancy instead of chocolate M&Ms

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In the Spirit of Mother’s Day

In the Spirit of Mother’s Day

f015aadfb3950e3f1bde4ea8eed9717eYou are my best friend. Even when I didn’t know that the people I called friends were just enemies disguised by smiles and friendly fire, it was you who I came to. It was always you, at the end of the day that would talk to me and tell me, maybe not what I wanted to hear, but what you thought was best for me. That’s the difference between ‘friends’ and the people who really love you. They’ll always do right by you, even if it doesn’t start with happiness. You took my hand from the very first day that I came in to this world, and you never let go. No matter what life threw at us, you were always there, pulling me through the storm.

John Steinbeck wrote in East of Eden that perhaps it takes courage to raise children. It’s true. It is a matter of nature to become a biological mother, but it takes so much more to raise a child. To give your life and soul and your dedication to growing a life, and trusting that you did enough to ensure that child will become a good, moral and happy adult for the rest of their days.

I remember being six years old and looking up at you and thinking, that’s who I want to be. I would dress like you; try to act like you.  As I got older I realised that it was your strength, your dependability, the goodness of your heart, always doing right, even if it was the tougher road that I was sensing when I was just a child. Dumbledore said we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. And you never did what was easy. You would sacrifice everything, your sleep, your time, your energy. Whatever it took to make sure I was okay.

I remember being thirteen and not understanding how people could be so mean. I remember being fifteen and thinking that I needed the people who hurt me. I remember being eighteen and thinking I would never be okay. But through it all I remember you. Even when nothing seemed to be working, you tried and persevered. Through it all, you never gave up on me. Things have been hard for us. I know there were times when we would rather just pretend life wasn’t happening. But the thing about me and you is that we’re a team. It’s us against the world. Together, we are invincible.

You’ve never even needed a title. Mum, sister, friend. Therapist. You are everything, without me ever having to ask. Now, I see people come and go. Those who I thought would be beside me forever, left. But no matter what happens, no matter what situation, no matter how difficult I know you’ll always be the one next to me. And you are all I need. My role model. My inspiration. My motivation. You lead your life as an example. The truth is, if I become half the woman you are, I’ll have done a good job. Even when we disagree and we get upset, I look at you and thank God, because out of all the things I have, the biggest blessing He showered upon me is having you as my mother.

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Dear Me: Advice to my Younger Self

Silence is not strength.

It is only a way to let your worries win. It does you no good to keep everything bottled up. You’ll realise that one day. But wouldn’t it be better to realise that now?

Crying is not weakness.

Think about how strong it makes you to stand up and say you’re not okay. Think about how much courage it takes to stand up to your fears. You are not weak. No matter what they tell you. You are strong. You will always be strong.

Don’t let them to tell you what to do.

You are different. Be proud of that. You don’t have to be the same as everyone else. You don’t have to follow their rules; you don’t have to play their games. You and only you, are in charge of your own life.

Stop torturing yourself.

I know that you want to be accepted, and I know you want to fit in. But the people who accept you, will never want you to fit in, they will love you for who you are. You might not have found them yet, but the most precious things in life, are worth waiting for.

Stop being afraid.

You are intelligent. You know your own mind; you know what you want. Stop trying to dim your light because  you’re afraid of what other people will say and think. Stand up for what you believe in.

Start today.

You have so many ideas and thoughts and things you want to do. You could always start tomorrow, but think where you would be if you made that change now. Think about all the possibilities, all the things you could achieve, think about who you could be.

Learn to accept yourself for who you are.

Things get hard, you know that. Your past is your past. And people will say it doesn’t define you. But it does. It makes you stronger. It makes you more aware. There will always be days when everything seems too much and nothing makes sense,that’s a part of who we are, but always remember, after every hardship comes ease, and all you can do is pray for a better tomorrow.

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Just Human

Blame me for the wars,

For the terror; for the fights,

Accuse me of violence and bloodshed,

Because of who I pray to at night.

Humanity lives on a double standard,

Hung on an illusion,

The truth hidden behind lies and hypocrisy,

‘Equality’ and ‘Freedom’ are nothing but

Prejudice and oppression,

An obsession

To find someone to take the fall.

Shoot me down,

Spread hatred, misanthropy, poison their minds,

With the phobias and chaos you wreak,

You have the whole world blind.

This is what it comes down to,

My worth, my status,

Determined by religion and the colour of my skin,

All we want is peace,

What we have is a decrease,

In trust,

In tolerance,

In love,

If we all fear each other we forget to mistrust you,

When you’re surrounding innocent children,

With your bombs and your guns and your weapons,

You tell the world they’re evil and no good,

While they’re surrounded by the bodies of their dead parents,

Who you shot down just because you could.

You could make the whole world bulletproof if you lay down your guns,

Take off your masks and your uniforms,

Put down your flags,

And see me for who I am.

Not black.

Not brown.

Not white.

Just Human.

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Fun Art: Melted Crayola Canvas

IMG_2800Many of you might have seen the beautiful pieces of art created from melting crayons. The way the colour merge together and drip down the canvas is beautiful. For years I’ve seen these around and wanted to try it, but for some reason always thought it would be very complicated. The truth is, it’s one of the most simple pieces of art I’ve ever done. I chose to make silhouettes out of black card to make my piece more interesting, but that part is optional.

You will need:

  • A Canvas
  • Crayons
  • A Hot Glue Gun (or extra strong glue)
  • A Hairdryer
  • Black Card (optional)

How to:

  • Arrange the crayons in the colour order you want. I chose a rainbow order, but you could do any combination you like.
  • Using the hot glue gun (or strong glue) stick the crayons to the top of your canvas as straight and as close together as possible.
  • Draw any shapes or silhouettes you want on to your black card and cut them out.
  • Cover your work area in newspaper to avoid any surfaces getting covered in melted crayon.

IMG_2781 IMG_2784 IMG_2788 IMG_2791 IMG_2801

  • Using your hair dryer melt the crayons. The crayons usually take a few minutes to heat up and then they will drip down your canvas. If you use the hair dryer on the already melted drips of crayon it will cause them to drip further down.
  • When you are happy with the melted crayon canvas, decide where you would like your black card shapes and then stick them on.
  • The crayons only take a few minutes to dry, and then it is finished
  • Hang the finished work on the wall or give it as a gift.
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Beautiful Baby Blazer (…and Knitting Pattern)

If, like me, you live in England, or any other relatively cold country, you’ll know that baby blazer 1jackets, jumpers and cardigans are essential all year round. You never know when the beautiful sun will turn in to a gusty wind, and you need an extra layer to keep warm. If you’re a parent, you’ll know it’s even more important to keep your little one protected from the cold. With a close family member pregnant, and soon moving to Scotland, I decided I wanted to knit something warm and cosy for her beautiful baby. This baby jacket is perfect. It’s knitted in garter stitch which means that it is chunky and has a lovely thick texture and because the bottom is knitted in one piece, it mean you have a beautiful seamless side.

As I’ve mentioned before on an earlier knitting pattern, there is great satisfaction in making your own gifts, and knitting especially because everyone appreciates how much time and effort goes in to it.

This jacket is fairly simple, so if you’re a beginner you could certainly give this one a go. The neck band is slightly trickier, but some perseverance will get it done.  I also added a little knitted flower to this jacket to give it a little more character, and made a matching head band to make a gift set.

baby blazer 2Tension: 

17 sts and 31 rows to 10 cm over g st on 5 mm needles

Size: 

To fit a child age 1 (2: 3) years old

Materials:

  • Yarn A: 200g of your main colour choice. ( I have used StyleCraft Special Chunky in Raspberry)
  • Yarn B: 50 g of your secondary colour choice. ( I have used StyleCraft Special Chunky in Fondant)
  • 1 x 4mm needles
  • 1 x 5mm needles
  • Blunt ended needle
  • 3 x stitch holders
  • 3 x 22mm buttons
  • Sewing thread to match yarn.

How to Make:

Back and Front (in one piece):

  • Cast on 134 (142: 149) sts in Yarn A with 5mm needles.
  • Row 1: (WS) K to end
  • Row 2: K to end
  • Repeat row 2 ( knit each row) until work measures 13 ( 15: 17) cm, ending after a RS row.
  • Next row: K 4 ( 4: 4), [ K2tog, K3] x 26 ( 28: 29). (108 (114: 120) sts remaining).

Divide for Armholes:

  • Next row: (RS) K25 (26: 28), then transfer these sts for Right Front to a stitch holder, cast off 7 (8: 8), k43 (45: 47) and transfer these to another stitch holder for the Back, cast off next 7 ( 8: 8) sts and K to end.

Left Front:

  • Continue in g st on these 25 (26: 28) sts until work measures 23 (25: 28) cm from cast on row, ending at the front edge.

Shape Neck:

  • Cast of 6sts at beginning of next 1 (  2: 3) alt rows and 1 st at beginning of next 5 (4: 3) alt rows.  (12 (12: 13) sts remaining).
  • Continue in g st until work measures 28 (31: 34) cm from cast on row, ending on armhole edge.
  • Cast off.

Right Front:

  • Rejoin yarn to armhole edge of sts on stitch holder and complete the instructions for Left Front, but reversing the shaping.

Back:

  • Rejoin yarn to sts on stitch holder and continue to work in g st until work measures 27 ( 30: 33) cm from cast on row, ending with RS facing.

Shape Neck:

  • Next row: (RS) K13 (13: 14) and transfer these sts to a stitch holder, cast off 18 ( 20: 22), K to end.
  • Next row: Working on 13 (13: 14) sts for Left Back, K11  (11: 12), K2tog. (12 (12:13) sts remaining),
  • Next row: K
  • Cast off
  • Rejoin yarn to neck edge of sts for Right Back, K2tog, K to end (12 (12: 13) sts remaining.
  • Next row: K
  • Cast off.

Sleeves (Make 2):

  • Cast on 39 (41: 43) sts in Yarn B using 4mm needles.
  • Row 1: (WS) K
  • Row 2: K
  • Row 3: K
  • Change to 5mm needles and Yarn A, working in g st, inc 1 st at each end of every 8th row x 4 (5:5) (47 (51: 53) sts)
  • Continue in g st without further shaping until work measures 19 (21: 23) cm from cast on row.
  • Cast off

Button Loops (Make 3):

  • Cast on 18 sts in Yarn B with 4mm needles
  • Cast off

Making Up and Neck Band:

  • Join shoulder seams.
  • with RS facing with 4mm needles and Yarn B, start at the Right Front edge, miss the first 3 sts then pick up and K 4 sts on cast off edge, 15 sts up neck edge, 4sts down Right Back edge, 18 (20: 20) sts from cast off edge at center back neck, 4sts up left back edge, 15 sts down front neck edge, and 4 sts on cast off edge at front neck. (64 (66:66 sts).
  • Work 10 (12:12) rows in g st.
  • Cast off loosely
  • Fold Neck Band to inside and slip stitch edge of Neck Band to inside edge of neck opening.
  • Join sleeve seams starting at cuff and stopping around 3.5 cm from top.
  • Join sleeves to armholes, and sew down open edge of sleeve seam.
  • Stitch two short ends of each button loop to one front edge of jacket, and stitch buttons to opposite side, about 4-5 cm from the edge.

Notes: 

  • For a girl place the button loops on the right.
  • For a boy place the button loops on the left.
  • Choose buttons that compliment your yarn choices.
  • This knitting pattern has been adapted from DK baby and toddler knits – I made changes depending on what worked and what didn’t and added some variations for  a more personal touch.
  • Using a cable cast on method works best for this knit because it gives a firmer edge to the jacket.
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