Announcement!

Hello you lovely lot…

I’m currently in the process of moving my blog onto my very own domain, I should be all done and dusted in a few days but any future posts will be done on my new site. Please, please, please bookmark my new site, follow it, love it, be its best friend, whatever. Please show it some love. And if you see anything horribly wrong with it, please let me know and I’ll be on it like a car bonnet.

You can now find me at http://hodgepodgedays.co.uk hope to see you over there!

Jane xx

Snow Joke – my weather based phobia!

snow_symbols_203_203x152A little while ago I wrote a post about facing my fears. One of my biggest fears is snow and ice. I cannot bear it. I’m watching the weather forecast now and they’ve said it might snow this week. I’m already starting to feel sick.

I hate the snow and ice. I have a real fear of slipping and falling and hurting myself. I used to slip and fall and bounce. Then when I fell I started breaking things (mainly myself) and now since I’ve ruined my spine and had the operations, I’m terrified of falling and ending up in a wheelchair. It could happen.

For years I couldn’t leave the house when it snowed, I’d call in sick at work and just ride it out. Then I was given a pair of those ice grippers which genuinely changed my life and I could leave the house again. But I’m still frightened to go out, especially by myself. I know the chances of me falling are vastly reduced with the grippers, but if I’m out by myself there’s a real, genuine fear that I’ll topple over and really hurt myself.

If it doesn’t snow this week then it might happen next week. It’s pretty much guaranteed to happen at some point over the next few wintery months. The thought fills me with horror. No really. I know like half the nation I should dance with joy, get the sledge out and start building a snowman, but really that’s not for me.

You can keep your snow; you can keep your ice. I’ll stay inside and keep warm and safe if I can. I’m slowly getting my nerve up, it’s a vast improvement on where I used to be and how I used to panic at the very thought. I still feel sick though, horribly sick. It’s snow joke.

Coeur and Cava on The Cobbles

Approximately 12 million years ago when I was a mere slip of a girl, I had a Saturday job on Warburton Street in Didsbury. I worked for Morten’s Bookshop doing the lowest paid job in the history of the world. It did however mean that for years after, I had a Rain-Man style ability to name the author of any book you could think of. That’s gone now. These days I can barely name the people I’m actually related to, but I digress.

Last week Harriet & Dee invited me back to the second most famous cobbled street in Manchester, (the first being Coronation Street, obvs) to have a look at their range of Coeur De Lion jewellery and have a gander around their gorgeous, glittery Santa’s grotto of a shop. They also said something about Cava and mulled wine, but we all know I rarely touch the stuff (what? Don’t look at me like that).

Harriet & Dee is a gorgeous boutique gift shop, there’s one in Didsbury and one in Chester. I frequent the Didsbury one and it’s a cracking little shop with a really interesting and well sourced array of cards, gifts and jewellery. It is like no gift shop I’ve ever been in. I basically walk in and just mutter “I want that, I want that, I want that” under my breath all the way round.

Coeur modelled by the lovely Nola

Coeur modelled by the lovely Nola

I do love what Harriet & Dee have done to Warburton Street; they’ve taken the lead in turning a little hidden corner of Didsbury into a sparkling gem. The Christmas lights and displays along the lane are beautiful and really stand out against the corporation lights on Wilmslow Road. It’s a festive treat just walking past.

Being teacher’s pet (Who Sir? Me Sir? Yes Sir), I was first through the door to meet an affable chap from Coeur De Lion. He showed me some of the Coeur range, talked me through the ethos and history of the company and even (get this) let me touch some.

1For those not in the know, Coeur De Lion is a German jewellery company who hand make all their pieces in Stuttgart. Their jewellery is stunning and right up my cobbled street. It’s simple, colourful and versatile. To be honest I could sit here and struggle, like I am now, trying to find words to describe them, but life’s too short, just have a look at these pictures instead.

I love the style and simplicity of the pieces. A lot of them could be every-day wear which you can dress up or down. I’m not much of a jewellery wearer, but Coeur De Lion is so different, special and eye catching I quite fell in love. It’s also not hideously expensive. I have a brochure at home and I’ve already been through and circled what I’d like Father Christmas to bring me, that’s if he thinks I’ve been a good enough girl.

My magnificent bauble

My magnificent bauble

After I’d finished coveting shiny, gorgeous things, I tottered across the cobbles to the gift shop part of the Harriet & Dee empire. It was there I was forced, yes, FORCED to drink my first mulled wine of the season. I exchanged disdainful glares with Laura the shop cat and then decorated a bauble.

Now, I’m not very arty, but I was quite pleased with my efforts. If anyone wants to make me a Dragons Den style offer, I’m happy to discuss rolling out a range of baubles along similar lines. Or not, it’s fine.

So, if you want to start feeling festive, get yourselves down to Harriet & Dee. If you’re lucky Laura (the cat) might deign to say hello. Whatever you do, keep your eye out for my range of wonky baubles (not) coming soon to a shop near you!

Harriet & Dee is located at 8 Warburton St, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6WA Tel: 0161 438 2500

Silent Sunday 17/11/13

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The Gift of a Hug

It’s World Prematurity Day on Sunday and a lot of us are getting very excited! This year the theme is #GiveAHug. We can all give hugs and write about them. If you would like to join in blogging for World Prematurity Day all you have to do is write a post about hugs! We would love to put this link to Bliss in your posts, and on that page you can read more about how you can get involved with social media on World Prematurity Day. – See more here.

I’ve always been a hugger and a cuddler. I don’t actually like being touched by people; but show me a friend in need of a hug and I’m straight in there. I used to give the best cuddles, but my gorgeous son Splodge has stolen my crown. He gets right in there; arms squeezing you tight, head buried in your neck, that boy hugs for minutes, not seconds. He even has his own name for them, they are duggles. We no longer cuddle in our house, we duggle.

It’s a bit of a weird thing to look back on but there have been cuddles, sorry duggles, at key times in my life that have been game changers.

The hug Hodge and I shared when he wrote his car off. Silly him was worried about his car, I just clung to him because he’d been in a nasty car accident and walked away unscathed. A small brush with mortality that made me appreciate him more.

The hug we shared just after I peed on a stick and a coloured line appeared. That was a hug of joy, but mainly terror, massive amounts of terror.

The hug we shared when we were told that we’d need further tests on our unborn baby to see if it would live or die. He lived and thrived and has just turned three; but we had a tough time and a fight on our hands to get him here.

The hug I shared with my brother when we realised our very much loved Nan was dying. He’s very controlled with his emotions so it was a rare thing for him to show his vulnerability.

Cuddles with Grandad

Cuddles with Grandad

Every hug with my son is special and beautiful. Even the ones where he turns and coughs in my face; or wipes his nose on my shoulder. Boy, that kid can cuddle, sorry, duggle, and he’s not shy about giving them either.

So if you’re feeling low and need a duggle give us a call, but be prepared to leave with a snotty shoulder and a smile on your face. Congrats, you’ve just had the hug of your life!

Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play – Preview

photoWhen I picked up a leaflet advertising Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play I just knew we’d have to get tickets. Splodge loves Charlie and Lola (or LolaCharlie as he calls them), and he loves going to the theatre; throw in a ride on the tram to get there and you’ve got yourself the makings of a successful toddler outing.

We’ve thought about taking him to see a pantomime, but at just 3 I think he’s a bit too young to fully appreciate a panto; plus panto tickets are usually extortionate, but at £10-£15 a ticket a trip to Charlie and Lola is financially more do-able. The theatre is slap bang in the middle of Sale, surrounded by great family friendly restaurants, so we’ll be going for a family bite to eat too.

From 12 December 2013 to 4 January 2014 Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play based on Lauren Child’s books will be at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale. Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play uses specially made puppets. Charlie and Lola appear as cut-out cartoon characters in the same magical world they inhabit in the books and TV series. From pink milk to party rings, everything you expect from the books and to series are there.

During the show we’ll go on a magical journey through the seasons, as Charlie and Lola discover that everything is different and not the same. What happens when Lola and her best friend Lotta say they will honestly and promisedly look after Sizzles? And what happens when they follow Charlie and his best friend Marv on a Pirate Squidbones adventure? Playful, funny and full of surprises, reviews for the show have been excellent and I can’t wait to see his face when he sees LolaCharlie!

Charlie & Lola are at the Waterside Arts Centre, Waterside Plaza, Sale, M33 7ZF, Tel: 0161 912 5616
Dates: 12 December 2013 to 4 January 2014 showings at 10.30am & 1pm term time, 11am & 1.30pm Xmas holidays Tickets are £10 – £15

Mullen Bartending Cocktail League Round 5, Walrus, NQ

When my lovely friend Liz, aka top foodie blogger, Things To Do In Manchester asked if I was available to cover her spot at a cocktail judging session I positively leapt at the chance, here’s how I got on.

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Clue: I still wasn’t sober by the next morning. Oops!