Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Last Night

Tonight my beautiful Daughter & I bathed together.

For some reason, one which entirely escapes me, we have never before had a bath together.

I remember that as a child always I would frequently have baths with my mum. I suppose I thought nothing of it at the time but I realise that it really was a relaxing & natural way to bond. There is something about water that is so soothing, so healing. I realise that bathing seems to be a recurring theme these days - see Contentment - so I'll try & keep the talk of nakedness to a minimum from now on.

After we were dry we got into our pyjamas & went to the chip shop. As you'd expect, we got quite a lot of funny looks, me in bright pink leggings, complete with vivid green JLS hoody (yup, JLS the crap band) & daughter in her stripey pyjamas nicely matched with wellies & wet hair, but who gives a damn! Tomorrow we shan't live here!

Fish & chips were delicious, as expected & then a story was had & currently my little babe is curled up in my bed, or rather on my mattress as I took down her bed & my bedframe earlier today.

There is something entirely fulfilling about the feeling you get when you get out your [enormous] toolkit - steady now - & take something intricate to pieces, knowing that you are fully capable of putting it back together again.

I'm the kind of girl who does not need a man for any of the DIY related things. I'm practical & proud.

So what do I need a man for? Security? Love? Sex?

All of the above, I guess, but being the fully capable type of girl I am still not 100% comfortable with sharing my time. It's something I'll have to get used to, something I have little choice in now - the deed is done. having said that, this is all I've ever wanted & I am excited, I just didn't want it quite so soon.

Now that I re-read, I'd like to add that I am certainly not a fully capable type of girl in an all-round sense. I am fully capable in the technical/practical sense, but emotionally I guess, as we all are, I'm a a little bit fucked up & it's fair to say I function better when I'm loved. I suppose, then, that means I'm covered in all aspects now.

I don't know. I don't have the answers to how it will pan out or whether this will be exactly what I need. It feels scary, but at the same time it feels right. More right than any decision of this sort I've ever made in the past & that can only be a good thing, can't it?

All I do know it that I'm looking forward to curling up with my sleeping beauty tonight, just the two of us, for the last time. I know that I'm looking forward to pledging one half of my bed to my wonderful man tomorrow evening & I'm looking forward to him sharing it with me for the forseeable future. I'm looking forward to it being just the four of us. I'm looking forward to love.

I'm not, however, looking forward to painstakingly unpacking these & all their friends:

I should probably apologise in advance as we shan't have internet for at least 3 weeks. I think that I may go crazy, but apart from my loss of sanity it means that the Etsy shop shall be on vacation & I shan't be blogging for some time.

On my return I hope to have miraculously created a whole shop full of wonderful items, but something tells me that between unpacking, decorating the childrens' bedrooms & the arty commitments that I have all ready signed up for (an art exhibition & some pieces for the cafe, amongst other things) that wonders should not come so easily!

In the mean time, I wish you all well.

Yours, Gwin.
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Monday, 25 July 2011


Miscellaneous objects.
Refuse sacks.
More Dust.

Put the kettle on.

Saturday, 23 July 2011


I sit on my bed & I smell of coffee grinds. I ache, particularly my feet, though not in a painful way & I feel fulfilled yet tired. 

I finish writing Saturday’s blog & I do as I wrote I would & move from my bed into the bathroom to have a bath. I turn on the hot & the cold taps – the former is on slightly faster than the latter. I need to wash my clothes for tomorrow because pregnancy doesn’t allow a huge wardrobe, particularly not in regards to work uniform, & my laziness combined with the chaos of my house has prevented me from doing much washing lately. As I leave the bath running in a satisfactory manner I go to the washing machine & stick some white tops in the drum. I undress down to my knickers &, crouching beneath the window so as not to startle any unwitting passers-by, I put in the rest of my clothes. It's less than half a load – I select a rapid wash & dry. I know I should do a proper load, but not tonight.

I return to the bathroom. I am looking forward to my bath & I urge the water to fill the deep tub quicker. As I do so I pour shower gel carefully into the flow of the hot tap so as to give bubbles & aroma though I know that bubbles will soon disappear.

I close the door. Usually I would not do so when showering, I’d keep it open in case Daughter needed the loo & to allow the steam to escape through a larger space than the constantly open window. Today I close the door. I am alone in the flat so it does not keep anybody out & there is no need for it to be open nor for it to be shut but today I need it closed. 

I take off my knickers & I get into the bath before it is full. I can’t wait. It isn’t warm enough so I spin the hot tap to full & reduce the flow of the cold tap. I swish the water with my hands & feet so the temperature is even. I try to lean back against the plastic but it is cold. Usually I would just force myself onto it until my body warmed it but today I soak the sponge with the warm water & then squeeze it out over the surface until it too is warm.

I relax & lay back. My glasses still on my face & my hair still tied up from work. I sit a while &, occasionally adjusting the taps with my toes, wait for the water to reach an adequate level. After a little while it does.

I sit, contemplatively. Though what I am contemplating is not yet clear. I know that I will not feel fully at ease until the hot water has saturated every part of my body. I take off my glasses & take the bobble from my hair. I soak myself with the sponge, ensuring every tress of hair is reached by the water & I wipe my face hard. I do feel satisfied now. 

I sit back again. 

I look down & I become suddenly aware of my body. I realise that this is the first time I have had a bath since my bump started to show. I remember how, during my last pregnancy, we didn’t have a shower so I always had to take baths. I remember how the bath in that dingy bathroom was metal & harsh, somehow grating to touch. I remember that I did not take baths as often as I should, but I remember so very clearly how much more familiar I was with my body in my previous pregnancy. How, when my bump was big, I would stare down at it but I would not think very much. I remember how my then partner would sit with me in the bathroom & mainly watch me, occasionally chatting. I remember how I never much liked being watched. I prefer it now, being completely alone. With the heavy door shut.

I look at my body again & think how beautiful my bump looks. I do not have my glasses on & the assorted bottles which gather around the bathtub edge are out of focus but I can see my body clearly. My stomach is perfectly round, like a smooth planet surface with a crater exactly in the middle. The crater fills with water from the bath. This pleases me.

I am suddenly thankful that, unlike before, baths are a luxury. I prefer showers but when I do bathe it’s usually by way of loosening tension from my muscles or allowing the notions in my brain to find their place – not through necessity to wash.

I stare at length at my body. My breasts are full, though from them you can tell that this is not my first pregnancy. They part quite widely so that I can see between them almost the full curve of my tummy. My left hand is in its natural resting place: flat; just underneath my bump; only just visible. Beyond this my legs stretch long & slender, one knee raised slightly & resting comfortably on the other. Past my knees I see my toes, playfully & happily poking upwards, slightly turned in, paying their attention to the overflow plug.

I feel proud at just how much of myself I notice & how much I enjoy seeing what I see. Usually my body is a source of anguish & insecurity for me but not today. I turn my gaze back to my bump & a wisp of thought wondering ‘what will be?’ enters, then swiftly leaves my consciousness. I see my tummy rise & fall slowly, keeping a reassuringly even pace as I breathe, interrupted only by small, sporadic twitches & intermittent sweeps caused by my baby kicking & moving. It’s truly incomparable to anything & I could not feel more at one with my unborn.

I decide I shall write about this. I decide I must take a photograph of myself as I see me right now & I must capture this on canvas. I must not forget this moment.

I try to think & to absorb as much as possible but Bob Dylan is singing his song too loudly from the tinny confines of my iPhone. I turn Bob Down & feel better.

I feel the cool air from the window on the parts of my body that are not submerged – my breasts, my stomach & my thighs. It feels wonderful. I am not too cold nor am I too hot, as is often the way when I have previously tried to enjoy a bath. I squeeze the sponge over my bump & watch the water gather, forming a deeper pool over the crater. I squeeze the water over my breasts & smile as the water runs off my body as a stream would rapidly course down a hillside.

I lay & think of nothing much except how still & calm I feel until I know that I am done. I haven’t taken too long. Just long enough. 

I decide that I need to be clean so I scrub myself all over with a stiff brush. I could leave the bath now & feel satisfied but I know that I must shampoo my hair so I do so to the soulful tones of James Brown singing 'This is a Man's World'. But it would be nothing - not one little thing - without a woman or a girl. I smile.

Now that I am clean my thoughts are aligned; my muscles do not ache – though I had not noticed any particular point they had stopped aching –; I am complete. I get out of the bath; I struggle to find a towel, until eventually, after leaving a dripping trail around the house I find one in the hallway. I dry myself off in the perfect space of the bathroom – the rest of the house is too cold – & put on a clean t-shirt & clean pyjama bottoms. I cross the hallway to my bedroom & pull back the duvet. I sit on my bed, pull my laptop onto my knee & I write. It’s been too long since I last did so.

Friday, Saturday & a fulfilling sense of fatigue.

Friday & Saturday: bus-rides; train-journeys; baking; coffee-making; high spirits; terrifying information; jingling keys & achey feet.

Tomorrow, I shall expand on that.

Now, I intend on having a hot bath - sorry baby - in which I intend to have a decadent amount of bubbles; soak & scrub my sorry soles & take a firm grasp of all the thoughts which are floating just out of my mind's reach. I then intend to ruminate said beholden thoughts whilst laying in my bed with a cup of tea. Then, perhaps, I'll make a list of two; perhaps I'll just sleep or perhaps my packing & moving will wondrously do itself so I have no need for lists or excessive sleep in preparation. Who knows?

For today I leave you with a work in progress:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Packing, Procrastination & Apprehension.

Today, I shall mainly be packing. That is, whenever I am not on a tea/blog/procrastination/wee (not meaning to be vulgar but it's a joy of pregnancy) break.

I have, however, had two small set backs. The first is that I've used half my previously-thought-to-be-adequate supply of boxes in the kitchen alone, & that does not even include half the crockery & cutlery I am leaving until the final hour to pack, nor the crap that I can't be bothered to wash up (the latter probably counting for about a third of my kitchenware).

So, currently my kitchen looks like this:

My second set back is that being five months pregnant makes it increasingly difficult to move, let alone lift, heavy objects. If you are a shrewd observer you may have noted the four heavy-looking items right in the middle of my kitchen floor. Appearances are not deceptive & alas they are heavy & indeed they are stuck there. The man is not due around until next week so I'm facing a weekend whereby the simple acts of getting daughter's cereal or cooking risotto are going to become stealth missions of great peril (particularly the half-awake morning parts) made even more treacherous to navigate given my current heffer-like state.

When I'd got quite fed up of inky-black hands & deciding which junk to keep & which junk to palm off on some poor unsuspecting friend, who once politely expressed some vaguely-positive opinion of said junk, I decided that I should probably let you know about the latest additions to the very, very slowly but sort of surely expanding bits & bobs on the Etsy shop. I also decided that I should try to use more full stops & apologise for that last sentence!

Here are the bobs:

You've probably seen the Green Love Owl (#1) before, but there's also Fiery Love Owl (#2) & Love Cat (#1) Daughter is still rather fond of these so I'll have to do something nice for her new bedroom.

I still can't quite believe that I only have three more full days left to pack - we don't move for a week but the rest of my time is full with work & other errands - nor can I believe that when we are all moved in & settled that a couple of months down the line we'll have a new addition to our only just newly formed family. I'm just coming to grips with the idea of sharing my time again, & when, between nappies, man, toys & housework will I fit in art & blogging & a quiet cup of Ovaltine? Well, to be fairly honest I'll probably fit the nicer things in where I should be fitting the housework but let's hope some miracle occurs & I somehow transform into a goddess of the domestic variety.

The thing that I feel most apprehensive about is not being the bread-winner, or the provider. Sure, I'll work until 6 weeks before The Big Day, but only part time. I shall struggle to make half the rent. I've struggled before but never have I been in a position where the struggle isn't needed - I won't have to pay half the rent, though of course I'll put in all I can. Never have I had someone take the reigns in that respect & that scares the crap out of me.

Of course, I am more than grateful, but that makes it no less scary. I've allocated myself the job of chief nest-maker which you may think is given, but last time I was bread-winner, nest-maker & nappy-changer, amongst other things. I find it difficult to feel satisfied that I am putting enough in - but is that because I'm used to being the only source of input? I feel simultaneously lucky & guilty. Not that my man makes me feel any guilt, quite the opposite, but because it's just such a shift in the way I'm used to living.

Maybe I'll quite like the lady-of-leisure lifestyle. I will certainly try to enjoy it & make the most of the valuable time I spend with the children. That, of course is the most precious reward I could get.

I guess the only thing to do is sell more art.

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Did a little dance; Made a little Love[Owl]...

This week, besides over-eager consumption of Ovaltine, we have been trying to spend time - real meaningful time. Therefore packing has taken a back seat (where I expect it to stay until about two evenings before we're due to move when I will be frantically throwing random objects into unsuitable containers) & instead we have had some lovely activities on the go.

I finished my previous job on Thursday & all though I have been a little busier than usual with preparation for the opening of the new/old cafe that I shall be working at (new/old because I worked there for the previous owner who also happens to be a wonderful friend too), it really has felt blissful to have a weekend all to ourselves.

On Thursday I got all too excited about the choice of coffee for the new cafe (celebratory dancing & a wide grin in anticipation of a coffee tasting on Monday - though I will have to spit so as not to create a hyper child!).

On Friday I made a little Love Owl (#1)

Daughter was quite taken with him, but alas he was purposefully made to sell ~ here ~ so we decided that we should make our own, for her to treasure.

I think that I shall certainly treasure him in future - he's a joint effort, Mummy did the outline & Daughter chose her colours & [with a little guidance & tips on how not to brutally destroy a paint brush] gave them to him. She then, of course, signed her mark - a backwards 'E', followed by a forwards 'E' (clearly done on-purpose...) - & I duly dated it 2011 & made note of her being age 3. Certain to say there was much pride from both of us.

The weekend held a trip so see some lesser-seen family & some much appreciated fish & chips, gobbled with greedy delight in the perfect warmth of Friday evening sunshine.

There was shopping on Saturday... a pram was chosen... very exciting... & today, well today we decadently layed in until our stomachs decided that it was time for pancakes (crepes) & later took an amble in our wellies to get much-needed supplies for yet another indoor picnic.

This evening consisted of me taking apart of my coffee grinder. I now have rather oily hands & a lovely aroma but best of all the cleanest coffee grinder in all of the North East of England at the very least!

This weekend was one of the loveliest & I feel more than lucky that a lot of times recently have been some of the loveliest.

My man is strong & loving; My daughter is short, perfectly-formed & cherished; My bump is petite, all in front & contains a healthy babe. How could I be more blessed?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Lovely things.

It's all about the simple pleasures:

Milky, malty, cocoaey goodness.
A pregnancy comforter - never before in my life have I enjoyed a cup of Ovaltine but there was a sachet in my bag-of-free-crap that they palm off on you when pregnant & lo & behold...addicted! That's marketing for you!

Armadillo. He is what he is.

On toast.



Sunday, 10 July 2011


This week has felt like a creative & productive one.

There have been beginnings.

It all started with this chap...

I love working in pen & ink. There is something that is so bold yet fine about the detail. Cross-hatching & seemingly random strokes. Bold solid lines aside empty spaces. Black & white. All combine to make something almost abstract but surprisingly real.

Then, there was a shop. It's begun & I feel excited that it could be the creative outlet I crave. Something to fill the quiet evenings whilst the children are (we hope) soundly asleep in their beds. Something that calms & hopefully, something that is productive. Artistically fulfilling.

There is a lot of 'hope' in my words.

We shall see where it takes us, if anywhere. At the very least it is therapy. Thank goodness.

Here we are ~ on Etsy & on Facebook

We are quite learning to walk before we can run.

Bear with us.
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Friday, 8 July 2011

Well, today I am 20 weeks & 6 days gone & today we had our second scan - the nerve racking one where they measure your baby up & tell you whether it's normal & healthy or not.

Our baby may look quite scarily like something you'd dress up as for Halloween but it is, as far as we can tell, far from ghoulish. I'd say perfectly healthy.

Oh the relief! Almost as satisfying as the relief I felt after holding a litre & a half of water in my bladder for far longer than is natural & finally being told I could go for a wee!

Good times!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Moving & Shaking

So we finally have a moving date! Hurrah! I have two weeks to pack us all up & be away to our lovely new house.

Everything seems to come at once - I'm away this weekend & haven't even begun to pack let alone plan what I'm going to do with a weekend with no man & no children (except the one that I can't leave at home!).

Also, there are some prospective tenants viewing the flat whilst I'm away so this leaves me tomorrow only to tidy up my house, but given that the living room currently looks like this...

...I'm not feeling too chilled. As well as clearing the bomb site tomorrow, I have to go to my current work place & hand in my notice. This is extremely scary as I haven't been there too long & have a feeling that they shan't be too pleased...however...the good news is that I've been offered a job that is much more suitable & convenient to our moving so I am smiling tonight!

I'd also like to apologise for neglecting our little pea green corner as we have only just returned from a little getaway (I say only just - we got back over a week ago but forgive me - there's a lot going on!) just the two of us grown-ups...blissful. Before leaving, however, I knew how much I'd ache for my girly, so we made some time & had a little indoor picnic - with rabbit, of course...

 ...she then went to enjoy a week at her Nanny's, while we made our way to the so-called 'Capital of Culture' (I might add that I was pleasantly surprised at just how much it had going on, it really was a worthwhile trip & is a beautiful city). When we got to Liverpool, we enjoyed a few days of museums, art & indulgent food, amongst other things. I met a handsome chap...

...I thought him rather charming. (Though maybe not the bin that stands beside him!)

After this, we visited a new arrival in North Wales to whom I am a very proud godmother. I thought her even more charming...

...& then we went on to bonny Shropshire (dairy country!) to visit someone who may not look so charming, but she really is...

...she will kill me if she sees this...but this is one of my loveliest friends - we have known each other since age 5 & seem not to have grown up since then when we get back together again.

This was our June...

...filled with love, laughter, warmth - in all possible ways - & lots of travel.

Our perfect week away was topped off with some delicious sunshine when we arrived home & the bliss of watching my beautiful daughter tie herself up in a million miles of hose-pipe whilst watering the garden, before deciding that one day she might like to be a photographer...

June was wonderful...July looks set to be busy but blissful.

I can't wait.
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