Sticky and childish Friday Fun

To quote HM The Queen on Twitter this morning: “Thank Crunchie it’s Friday.”
I couldn’t agree more.

Some of you may wonder how I find inspiration for Friday Fun (I wonder myself actually). In the dim and distant past I used to rely upon contributions from friends whose discoveries I would disguise as my own; in these days of Twitter and The Hairpin, it’s more a case of keeping track of things that I like – which I usually do via a Post-It on my desk.

I love Post-Its, which I believe I may have mentioned before. Therefore I rather loved a couple of Post-It related videos I discovered yesterday:

1) Post-It Love – for the hopeless romantics amongst you.

2) Ode to a Post-It Note – A beautiful, award-winning short that reunites a humble yellow Post-It with its creator. No word of a lie, it nearly made me cry.

While on a bit of a YouTube kick, one of my favourite YouTube innovations has been the growth of the tutorial. We already know that you can find tutorials for practically anything (in fact, some ballet ones are helping me learn terminology and moves) and that some can be quite unintentionally hilarious – in fact, last year I even had a go at making one of my own. However, it comes to something when a 5 year old girl’s favourite game to play is ‘make-up tutorials’…

At this point, I would logically link to the videos, however in the last 24 hours they’ve been removed [i.e. in the time between me drafting this post last night & editing it this morning] which is gutting. So you’ll just have to believe me that at one point they existed. A few minutes ago I emailed Annabelle to tell her of this disappointment (she’s a fellow Hairpin addict and I figured she’d probably seen it) and she fabulously came to the rescue with this contribution:

I am a 4 year old – people lists questions that a 4 year old then answers. For example:
Q: If you had a whole day to do whatever you wanted, anywhere in the world, how would you spend it?

A: I would be the king! And I would kill everybody else except my family.
Fabulously, when asked “What’s the scariest thing ever?”, his response – “A green man changing into aliens who can shoot things out of his mouth and throw up and the throw up can turn into guns and start shooting people.” was then drawn by someone.
Finally, the Friday cupcake story. I’ve recently got into Groupon (I say ‘got into’, I’ve not bought anything yet, thought am very tempted by a deal on a massage today – especially as that would tick off another First) and at the moment they’re offering a cupcake decorating workshop. I spent some time yesterday investigating this, ultimately deciding that I’d prefer a (free) tutorial from my friend Mills and some experimenting at home, however, the company (Cocoa Box) in question also happened to have a cupcake related blog which proved to be rather interesting reading… 
In amongst tips on cupcake frosting and recipes for chocolate cakes (and breads, weirdly) was a post that caught my attention. It seems that a bakery in Soho (of course, it has to be Soho) is making erotic cupcakes. That really takes the cake…but would anyone be up for visiting Cox Cookies & Cake with me at some point? (They do sell non-erotic cakes too apparently.)  
In more staid cupcake news, new Hummingbird daily specials came out last week and are well worth a trip (I say that solely based upon photographic evidence – haven’t tasted one yet). I’m particularly excited about Tuesday’s S’moreAnne cupcake which may be the closest I can get to my all time favourite cupcake (purchased from Magnolia bakery during my last hours in New York), combining chocolate cake and meringue frosting. Yum, yum and yum again. 
Happy Friday people. 

Friday fun with children

I have enormous respect for parents, they really do have to contend with a myriad of challenges while bringing up their offspring. Even good things can cause prolonged periods of trial – like ensuring children develop musical skills. Its widely agreed that this is a good thing, but getting from the beginner level to the ‘pleasant to listen to’ level can take quite a while.

In my case, I tortured my parents with the descant recorder for quite a few years (I could produce particularly piercing top G’s) and now wonder if my move to the treble recorder was in fact initiated by my mother (how she hated the descant…) rather than my music teacher perceiving talent in my fingers. The piano’s not so bad – at least the tone will always be good, even if the notes aren’t; but my sister learnt the violin and trust me, it takes a very long while to get to ‘pleasant’ with that instrument.

Between the two of us, my sister and I at various points studied the descant recorder, treble recorder, violin, piano, clarinet, percussion and singing. Inevitably, this meant that my parents were forced to attend a large number of concerts, assemblies and recitals in order to pay homage to our ‘talent’. Only recently have I realised just how tedious this must have been and how painful Junior Orchestra (and possibly even Senior Orchestra) were. However, I’m very certain that we were never as bad as this:

Growing up in a church environment, the other thing we had to get good at was reading aloud – particularly prayers and Bible readings. Every year our church’s carol service would feature contributions from a Brownie and a Guide and I think both me and my sister fulfilled this obligation at least once. [In my case requiring the step from our bathroom in order to reach the lectern (I was 8), but meaning that all the congregation could see of me was the bobble on my Brownie hat…]

As with musical performances, children reading aloud can have comic moments. At the same carol service, one particular Brownie reading went down in legend, thanks to her way of reciting a certain line from the Annunciation (Luke 1: 26-38) – “But I’m a virgin!” said with high pitched emphasis on ‘virgin’ had the grown up congregation stifling giggles. (I’m convinced that the Christian sense of humour never actually matures.)

Sometimes we just don’t expect children to be good at things. When I stumbled across a video of a girl telling the story of Jonah, I assumed that some kind of catastrophe would evolve. I was wrong, instead I watched 7 minutes of beautiful story telling, complete with gestures and excellent intonation (not to mention a fantastic choice of hair adornment). This video is long, but utterly worth it – I particularly enjoyed the voices she used for God and the ship’s captain.

By the way, that’s done completely from memory – she learned it from a children’s video. Quite impressive.

I feel like that’s quite a worthy Friday Fun, I do apologise. If you simply want something frivolously fun, how about this video of a cat who likes climbing into boxes being confronted with a series of boxes that are too small for him? Yes, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s super cute and funny – plus, the last box features Miffy. What’s not to like?

On the streets of London

Last week, something rather random happened to me on my way home from work, which I’m still trying to make sense of. However, it is very possible that no sense will ever be made of it…

Friday was a miserable day, I’m not sure that the rain stopped for one moment. Some light was brought to the day by virtue of the fact that it was Friday and that I decided to wear the wellies to work (complimenting my royal blue woollen tights perfectly). But, thanks to my own idiocy (I forgot both socks and my swimsuit) I couldn’t make a trip to the gym after work as planned.

This meant that I instead walked the 2 miles home from London Bridge, in pouring rain. By the time I neared home I was very weary and only kept going with a certain amount of good humour thanks to the discovery of several weeks’ worth of the Excess Baggage podcast. It was getting darker (curse the evenings drawing in) so I only had one earphone in, so as to keep my wits about me.

Walking along and chuckling away, I suddenly felt something not unlike a pinch on my backside. [Backside was mostly covered by the two bags I was carrying in addition to my handbag, so this was an achievement.] I turned round and saw two boys clad in hoodies behind me.

Credit: The Guardian

Hoodies, as they’re known, have a terrible reputation – but in south-east London it’s generally one to be taken seriously. There was a slim chance that their hoods were up in order to protect their heads from the downpour, but I suspect they’d have been up regardless. However, they weren’t both teenage hoodies – one was very small, probably no older than 7.

As I turned round, the older one said “it wasn’t me, it was him” – pointing at his younger companion who had been running away from me. I think I said something lame like “I didn’t think it was you” and “what did he do that for?” while walking away rather quickly, keeping a firm grasp on both handbag and iPod. Older hoodie then called after me “he just hasn’t had any p*ssy in a while”. Yeah, well, that would make it all ok then…

I could go off on a ‘what has the world come to’ rant, but there is little point. Could I just ask though, on what planet does a boy (and by which I mean an actual male child as opposed to men generally) think it’s ok to go up to a woman on the street and pinch her bottom? Genuinely, at the time, I was less concerned about the pinching and more concerned that I was about to get mugged by children, but in thinking about it since, I’m incensed.

Oh well, at the very least it’s simply another random encounter to re-tell in the pub at some point.

Happy Sundays

Something I learned very early on in my child-caring days is that small people and hangovers do not mix. Little people just don’t understand the need to lie in a dark room in order to die slowly and their favourite form of communication involves loud noises and sudden movements, which is less than ideal if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

Once a month I work with the under 6’s at church, thus once a month a Saturday night is pretty much written off. Only a couple of times have I forgotten the golden rule that happy Sunday mornings follow sober Saturday nights and it hasn’t been pleasant.

This weekend I accidentally overdid it. I say ‘accidentally’ – the equation went something like this:
Last minute invitation to picnic + cider + limited food intake [despite ‘picnic’] + champagne + pepsi & rum = not fully compus mentus Lizzy

A large quantity of water, some paracetamol and a decent night’s sleep helped repair the damage, but yesterday morning was still a bit of a struggle. I sat on the tube trying to get my head round Jesus healing a man of leprosy (the designated story of the day) and wondering if the moral of the tale (‘Jesus can heal us’) couldn’t be applied to me as soon as possible.

Despite my fragility, my morning turned out to be rather lovely in a warm and fuzzy way. A good start was the free bacon sandwich I landed on arrival at church (pleasingly was also virtually perfect in crispiness). Even lovelier was when a small child informed me (whilst wearing a Christmas dress from Tesco – in June) that when she grew up she wanted to be Santa. But the crowning moment was when a nearly three-year old boy kissed my feet…

I probably should expand upon that last one.
The boy in question is an absolute sweetie and, though I don’t have favourites, on a hypothetical list he’d be near the top. During news time (a round-up of who’s been swimming or gone to parties) this child was attacking his big sister with kisses and licks – to the extent that she referred to him as a ‘lickosaurus’.

In trying to encourage him to stop, another adult said that if he wanted to kiss people he could kiss her. He then went round all the grown-ups and kissed the nearest bit of anatomy he could get to.  Unfortunately, his height now reaches the top of my legs, which meant that when he kissed me he ended up pretty much on my crotch. We won’t dwell on that…

A few minutes later, I was sat on a small chair intended for very small people, minus my shoes, whilst the children attentively listened to a story. Kissing child was not listening, instead he crawled around on his hands and knees. Reaching me, he approached my feet, slathering my toes with very wet kisses – it was rather reminiscent of a phase the family labrador went through. The other adults noticed and struggled to keep a straight face, I kept quiet so as not to distract the other, perfectly behaved children, but when he came round for a second go, the giggles were hard to smother.

Not only did I feel loved (albeit in a slightly worrying/gross way) but I also had the joy of informing our esteemed worship leader that his son’s developed a foot fetish…

Life is so much more fun when you’re 8

If you’re feeling a bit old and out of it, I highly recommend spending some quality time with a small (or not so small) child. [Please have their care-giver’s permission first, obviously!] If you let yourself give up boring, grown-up ways for a couple of hours, it’s amazing the difference it can make.

Doris is my favourite 8 year old. (Though I dearly wish she wasn’t growing up quite so quickly.) On Monday we spent the evening celebrating her brother’s birthday. Before birthday boy finally arrived home after an afternoon at the BMX ramps, we engaged in a little Gleek conversation and Doe demonstrated her rather considerable hairography skills. She had more hair to toss than most of the rest of us, so we just sat back and let her go to town. She was so keen to get on with it that we didn’t have chance to provide background music – instead this video has me & Mim in the background issuing directions and taking photos.

Note how extreme hairography can leave you a little unbalanced…

I defy anyone not to be happy in an 8 year old’s world. Nandos was a paradise of endless trips to refill drinks and use the ice machine, not to mention a highly diverting bird themed wordsearch and colouring-in activity. (Having said that, eating corn-on-the-cob minus her two front teeth was something of a challenge.)

The other bonus of being 8? You can do things that would be considered socially unacceptable, but age 8, are seen as simply not knowing any better. An hour or so into our meal, a woman appeared in the restaurant with a word tattooed across her cleavage. None of the adults could see from the table what this word was – fear not, Doris was able (on her multiple drink missions) to keep looking and trying to decipher it. I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to have a word emblazoned across your breasts in permanent ink, you deserve to have everybody staring at your cleavage… [Oh, and incidentally, we never did work out what it was. Last suggestion was that it involved Latin, which I doubt would be the case.]

The icing on the cake was the walk home. Doris and I decided not to walk, we skipped. Honestly – the most fun. (There may even have been a point at which we pretended to be galloping horses.) Excellent exercise and  terrifically energising. Who cares if passers-by think you’re weird? Frankly, the sight of a 28 year old cantering along the street in the company of a small person clad in a furry coat (reminiscent of Cuppa Soup’s ‘hug in a mug’ adverts) must have been bizarre, but Gloucester’s probably seen a lot worse.

Don’t go through life being a boring adult. Spend time with children, or put yourself back into their mentality – it’s amazing the difference it’ll make, promise.