22/03/2014

Collette does... Circus Vegas!

Last Sunday, after dropping Caelen off to my dad, Tommie and I went to the circus.  After a failed attempt to go earlier in the week, we took advantage of the fact my dad already would have Caelen for the afternoon and filled my handbag with tasty treats.  We had heard that the tickets were down from €24 to €12 on the Sunday, but when we got there we found out that it was only if you handed in a flyer when purchasing your tickets.  Thankfully a lovely lady in the queue in front of us had a spare, so we didn't have to go home without seeing the circus!
I love the circus.  Every year, it would come to town and I would beg to go.  And later, when I got older, I would bring my youngest brother, Mark.  The trapeze artists were always my favourite.  The very idea of being able to fly through the air with such grace and poise, I wanted to be one.  I wasn't, however, willing to give up my not so healthy diet and start exercising.  Instead, I'd just visit the circus whenever it was in town to get my fix.  And of course the prospect of popcorn and candyfloss was too much to turn down!
Circus Vegas was a different experience, however.  Instead of using animals, this circus depends on entertaining the crowd with extreme stunts and daredevil acts.  From Hercules the Canadian strong man to the Extreme FMX Freestyle Team, to Miss Elaine Princess of the Air to the Nutty Professor, not to mention Dexter the clown and scantily clad female dancers, there was something for everyone.  The acts themselves flowed seamlessly, with Dexter running about to distract everyone from the next act being set up.  I will admit though, I was not a fan of the whistle he was blowing constantly!  After the final act, the ringmaster told us to head across the road to watch a monster truck display, which was an unexpected bonus.
Overall, it was grand.  I wasn't completely blown away by Circus Vegas.  I'm not sure whether it's because I'm older now, and the magic has worn away, or if it genuinely wasn't exciting.  That said, it is worth a visit.  Is it worth the original €24?  Not at all.  If you're planning on going (it's in Dublin at the moment before heading back to various places around Europe), look out for a flyer or two for reduced prices!
All photos are from Tommie's iPhone.  I may have forgotten my camera.  And to free up space on my own phone.

















  

10/03/2014

That's How The Cookie Crumbles

During the week, my kitchen is usually only used for tea, toast, sandwiches and Caelen's meals, with the occasional quick meal thrown so I don't feel so guilty.  The weekends, however, are filled with lovely food (generally thanks to Tommie!) and the baked goods are left in my not-so-capable hands.  Today was no exception, with a dinner of stuffed chicken and potato gratin, and ooey, gooey cookies for dessert.


Recently, I've been cutting corners with my baking, but today I threw caution to the wind and made double chocolate peanut butter cookies from scratch.  And boy, were they good.  I'd spent the last couple of days searching for something  relatively easy and delicious to make on Pinterest, but I hit hurdles every step of the way.  Like the amazing looking chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie dough bites?  Sounds mouthwatering, right?  Until I realised that the main ingredient was chickpeas.  Who the fuck bakes chocolatey treats with chickpeas?  Not me, thats who.  




But back to the cookies.  I used this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything that I found on Pinterest last night.  Not having ANY form of proper measuring equipment, I had to make do with a Pyrex measuring glass.  Next time, I'll be stealing my chef brother's gear and making them right.  The resulting cookies were really moist and sticky before they went into the oven, so much so that I was afraid that they wouldn't work out.  The dough tasted absolutely divine though.  That said, they did go down a treat, even if we did eat almost twenty large cookies between us.  Now, it's time to finish my tea and lie down from all of the eating I've done this weekend!



05/03/2014

Hello, Book! The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories volume 1

Previously posted on "Daiquiris & Denial" in May 2013.


Coming home from Dublin in the car last Sunday, I ended up browsing Amazon.  After finding a beaker suitable for Caelen, and shoes for his mama, I came across this little book.  "The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories", produced by the rather delectable Mr. Gordon-Levitt.




A little curious, I ended up buying it with  the rest of my basket and thought no more of it until it arrived this morning.  Simply put, I devoured it.  Each story is only a few sentences long, and beautifully illustrated.  Some are funny, others more poignant, all of them make you think.







It's a cute little volume, and one I know I'll end up dipping in and out of from time to time.  Now I just have to decide whether to buy the second volume!





Hello, Book! Wreck This Journal


I've always loved books.  Even from a very young age, books were my escape.  I was always so careful with them, never damaging the spine or turning down pages.  Ever.  When I was little, my grandfather used to bring me and my brother to car boot sales every Sunday, and he would fuel my love of reading by buying me a new book every week.  I was always afraid to lend people books, in case they didn't come back in the same condition I'd given them away in.  Crazy lady behaviour from a very early age.




Then, I heard about Keri Smith's "Wreck This Journal", and I was intrigued.  A book where you're actively encouraged to destroy it, instead of keeping it in pristine condition.  I was sold.  I bought a copy over two years ago, but what with getting pregnant, changing rooms, Caelen coming along, motherhood, dramas and moving house, I forgot all about it until I finally moved over my bookcase and books last week.  





Now, I can't wait to get stuck in.  I've always been on the crafty side, but recently I've found that I've lost my inspiration.  If I know I can't do something right, I won't even attempt it.  With the craftier endeavours in my life, I strive for perfection, instead of learning to embrace my mistakes.  Now with the help of the prompts on each page, it should help me get back into it.  





So, for now, it's time to live recklessly.  To get creative, and dirty.  Wreck a book and have fun in the process.  I'm looking forward to sharing my progress!




04/03/2014

Archive // You Write Like A Romantic

via


Today at work, I served an old teacher of mine.  She taught me when I was five, and again when I was nine, and I hadn't spoken to her in over twelve years (Ok, I feel a little old now!).  We chatted and laughed as I scanned through her shopping.  How long it was since I was that young little girl in Paddington Bear glasses and frizzy hair.  Her (now all grown up) sons.  My son.  The weather.  We ran out of conversation after that, it was a little awkward.
After she left, I sat for a while and thought about my time with her as my teacher.  I was quiet, always had my nose buried in a book.  I had a small group of friends, and was possibly the least likely person to cause any trouble.  So when one day, I got called up to the teachers desk after school, I had a mini freak out.
It turns out I shouldn't have worried too much.  I wasn't being accused of bullying.  Or not doing homework.  Or whatever nine year olds do to get given out to at school.  It was my work that was the problem.  "Collette" she said "you write like a romantic."  I started feeling optimistic.  Sure, I knew what romance was.  I'd seen Disney movies, I'd read books.  Did she mean that I wrote so well the love was leaping off the page?
No.  No she did not.  She explained further.  "Sometimes, your sentences are so long they go on for lines at a time.  It's a little hard to understand sometimes.  Maybe you could practice making them shorter?".  I was gutted.  Standing there by her desk, with her smiling at me, I almost wished she had thought I was a bully.  
But being the good little scholar I was at the time, I did.  I went home and I practiced and practiced.  I remember getting really frustrated and actually tearing up a copy because I just couldn't figure out this shorter sentence business.  I even got my pencil out to the book I was reading and underlined all the short sentences, so I could try to figure it out.  I just couldn't do it.  Instead, my nine year old mind just got a little stubborn and I decided that my teacher, and everyone else, would just have to like my super sized sentences, and I never looked back.
It's funny how seeing some people will jog certain memories.  I hadn't even thought about that in so many years, but now all I want to do is dig out my old photos and school things in the attic and have a nose through them.  Maybe next week, or something.
 

01/03/2014

Life Lately 001



Eating
+ All of the junk food.  Pizza mainly.  And chocolate.  And sweeties.  I really need to get that in check.
+ Candyfloss.  All of the candyfloss.  Because that doesn't come under the same category as junk food apparently.  It's like little clouds of happiness right there in my kitchen.

source unknown


Drinking
+ Tea
+ Coke.
+ Morgan's Spiced Rum.  With Coke.  And lime cordial.
+ Basically, lots of caffeine.  Yet I'm still tired allllll of the time.

Loving
+ That during the week Caelen is in bed early, and I get full control of what's on television.
+ That the days are getting brighter, and Spring finally feels like it's on the way.
+ Days spent curled up under a blanket on the couch with a huge fire and something good to read. 

Making
+ A mess.  Last weekend, I decided to try my hand at apple crumble, easily the simplest dessert to make aside from throwing a chunk of Vienetta into a bowl.  It was a success, but now I have to make more for my grandparents this weekend.
+ the time to actually use my camera, instead of relying on my iPhone.  Caelen's been the perfect subject all this week.



Wearing
+ My work uniform
+ Dresses with tights, shorts with tights, anything but pants because they're getting rather snug (see Eating, above)

Reading
+ "Candy" by Kevin Brooks
+ Blogs!  It feels like so long since I sat down and read blogs, that I'm really enjoying it now.

Craving
+ Beef satay, with fried rice, and some prawn toast on the side.  I was meant to have a Chinese during the week, but decided against it.  Now, it's all I can think about.

Watching
+ Harry Potter.  After agreeing to watch Star Wars, it was only natural that Harry Potter would come next.  Three more left and then it's time to decide what comes next.  Send your suggestions this way!
+ First Dates
+ Frozen.  Literally every day.  Since he first watched it, Caelen has insisted on it being put on EVERY single day.  Not that I'm complaining.  I get to sing along to call of the catchy songs, and I love Olaf just a little bit.


Looking forward to
+ Spending time with my extended family for two of my cousins confirmations this month.  Even though it means I need to find (buy!) two new outfits.  
+ Pancake Tuesday.  This should not need an explanation.

Learning
+ How to play the ukulele.  I got a beautiful purple one for Christmas, but I can still only play one song.  It's harder than I had anticipated, but I'm enjoying learning it.  Even if I did have to butcher my nails so I could play the chords.

Working
+ harder than usual.  Which considering I get a decent amount of work done with the hours I have, I was on absolute fire all this week.  Let's just hope I can keep it up.
+ on making this little blog work.  I said it for months after I had to get rid of Daiquiris and Denial, but I didn't have the heart in a new blog back then.  Now, I feel like I'm finally ready to make a go of things.

Enjoying
+ Finally being able to give Tommie his very, very belated Valentines present.  And then plotting how to steal it for myself.



Anticipating
+ Giving this house of mine a good Spring clean, making it bright and fresh in time for the changing weather.  It is going to get better, right?

Finding
+ That I still have boxes and boxes of things to sift through in my parents shed.  Technically, my dad found them, but I can't wait to see what forgotten things I discover on Monday.