Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I'm having a bad hair day

Bunches, pigtails, pony tails, french plaits - they are all beyond me.  Okay, I lie.  I can just about do a ponytail in my own hair... the rest though, I haven't go a hope of achieving.

There's always a lot of talk about bad hair days... to be honest, it's more or a rareity for me if I have a good one.  My hair is naturally wavy, just had add a spot of humidity, or wind or rain and it becomes a mad puff ball that not even the strongest bobby pin could tame.  I've tried sparys, serums and gels to try and get it to do what I want, but I tend to end up with a greasy mess or my fingers caked in goo and sticking together.

I have a big event with work tonight.  I have a pretty dress and have dug out a pair of heels, and I really want to put my hair into some attractive up-do, but I just can't see how I'm going to achieve anything more than creating a matted nest on my head. 

This is genuinely how I might look tonight...

I've asked for advice.  I've spent evenings watching How-To videos on Youtube (yes, this really is how keen I am to make it look like I've done something with my hair), but the thing, even with all this prep, I still don't have a clue where to start.

I'm normally a 15-minute-to-get-ready girl, but the taxi is due in six hours, and I'm genuainely worried that this still won't be enough time!  I really don't know what is wrong with me.  I wasn't this concerned about my hair on my wedding day...

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Recipe: Blackberry and Apple Jam

I was lucky enough to grow up in a semi-rural village in Somerset. Not a pretty village I hasten to add, but still one surrounded by orchards.  My grandfather would pay me a one pound to pick the fallen apples off his lawn each weekend and my Nan would whip up a plethora of comforting apple filled puddings for Sunday lunch "afters."

My parents didn't have any fruit trees in their garden, but our driveway was in the shadow of a large, apparently fruitless, tree. After seeing no sign of blossoms or fruit for over a decade, the tree surprised us all one year by sprouting a bumper crop of cherry plums (clearly making up for lost time). The plums were lovely and sweet, but soon our drive was covered in their slippery skins as they slowly rotted... So to combat the tsunami of fallen fruit my mum decided to make jam.
What followed was our kitchen being full of empty sugar packets and saucepans bubbling for weeks. My mother slaved away. And yet not a single batch of jam set. All the plums simply become oversweetened slop.

This year I decided that jam-making inability couldn't possibly be inherited... So I grabbed my gardening gloves, and dragged hubby off blackberry picking.

It turns out that jam is very easy to make if you're sensible. Silly Mum.

Blackberry and Apple Jam
1kg of blackberries
750g green apples (cooking, about 6 peeled & cored)
1.5kg caster sugar
125ml water
1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1. Carefully wash all your blackberries to remove any dirt or bugs that might be hiding in them. We found a few tiny worms so check them carefully!
2. Chop up the apples into small chunks. The smaller the better as they'll cook-through faster, but if they are uneven in size the jam will have a more varied texture.
3. Cook the apples in the largest saucepan you have with the water until they ate sift. Add seasoning and berries.
4. Stir carefully until all fruit is combined and berries start to break down.  Gradually add sugar.
5. As the sugar heats up the mixture will start to spit - be careful. Hot sugar hurts! Do not cover but stir regularly until jam is ready. Test by dipping a tea spoon partly into the mix. Blow on the spoon to cool it. If a skin forms then the jam is ready, if not keep cooking!
6. Carefully ladle jam into sterilized jars and seal.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Fitting it all in

I love a bit of Sex and the City. It's a guilty pleasure. Carrie and her girl friends are successful women, juggling careers, men and their girly social life. 

I admit, I'm a bit jealous of their Cosmo-filled evening, their laid back breakfasts, and even their gentle coffee-sipping strolls through the city. But I simply don't understand how they have the time to do it all, and organise PR events, or get the latest column submitted.

I'm in the middle of rehearsals for a musical. Opening night is this month, so rehearsals are really heating up - two evenings a week, all day on Sunday - plus all the team-building social events that go hand-in-hand with doing a show. Add the day-job into the mix and I'm so busy that my feet hardly touch the ground. I can't even find the time to blog...

In the last week I've seen Hubby for just a handful of hours. He's out the days I'm in, and I'm out the day's he's not. We're more than ships that pass in the night, we're a strange tag-team.

A quick good morning, 15minutes wolfing down dinner, and then, if we're lucky, another 15minutes of snatched conversation before I topple into bed. We cram so much into that time. The basis of entire relationship seems to be broken down into quarter-hour intervals.

I look at Carrie and co who all seem to be able to sail through their busy lives, with time to spare to invest in relationship building.

Then I look at our current situation and I have to wonder:

Am I a good wife?