Tuesday, February 28

We’re on the move
Mr Meep and I have decided to escape the dirty people and move to pastures new.

I have some savings, Mr Meep’s job situation can only get better now he is fab web design-type person, so we’re off. Off to lovely North Cardiff (hopefully) – home of leafy parks, delis and coffee shops and Guardian-reading artist-types. Ok, maybe that's slightly rose-tinted, but it’s a lot better than the chav-tastic location we are currently residing in.

Here are some things I won’t miss about living in the (ahem) up and coming suburb of Splott.

1. The electronic message board in the window of the local leisure centre that offers ‘Badmington’.
2. The woman with no manners in our local newsagent, who shows customers photos of boobs from her copy of the Daily Sport.
3. The shop that’s just invested in a new sign advertising that they are an Off License.
4. The teenage whore who screamed “Get your fucking rat away from me” in my face the other day when I was walking Blod.
5. The people who let their dog shit all over the pavement in our street.
6. The family up the road who let their teenage son have a drum kit in the shed, and their tone-deaf 7-year-old daughter have a karaoke machine in the garden all summer.
7. The charming youths who threw a stone through my spare room window last year.
8. The other charming youths who threw eggs at the front of our house on Halloween.
9. More charming youths who pulled the side mirrors off our last two cars.
10. The even more charming youths who were jumping over our gate into our garden last Sunday night (the last straw – but thanks, kids, for spurring us into action!).

When I think “Aw, but I’m going to miss my lovely little house”, I will remember all these horrors and reassure myself that I’m doing the right thing.

Anyone want to buy a two-bed end of terrace in an exclusive Splott cul-de-sac?

Saturday, February 25

Weekend Walk
Today was going to be a quick skoot around the local park as I had a busy day of cleaning and cooking planned. But Mr Meep, being the mumpet that he is, cleaned the entire house yesterday, so my morning was free.

We wrapped up in a squillion layers to keep out the wind, then hopped in the car, packed a flask of tea, and headed for Casehill Woods.

We walked through the woods for a bit and saw our trees. When we got married, instead of having a gift list, we got people to contribute to a tree planting scheme in these woods. The saplings that were planted are really growing up now they are two years old.

After we'd passed through the woods, we followed the path along a gorgeous stream and into some really old woodland.

After about an hour, it was time to stop for a nice cup of tea. We rushed it a bit though, as it was really windy, totally deserted and the trees creeking in the wind was all a bit Blair Witch.

I took some lovely pics of leaves and fungus and all kings of twiggy, naturey-type things.

Friday, February 24

The Friday List
I was going to write a dreary old self-pitying post about how much I hate my job/hair/life/face. But no-one wants to read that, so instead here’s…

10 ways to make your – or someone else’s – weekend magical

1. One night, take your duvet and a flask of your favourite drink into your garden. Cosy up, look at the stars and propose a toast to the moon. You may need mittens if it’s very cold. Maybe a hat too.

2. Pack a picnic and go to the beach. (This is my favourite – last week was Barry Island beach with Earl Grey and chocolate brownies.)

3. Write a list of your 10 favourite things to eat and drink. Pop out to the shops and buy them, then eat one every day until next Monday. I'm choosing: avocado, carrot cake, pizza, sweet potato, stuffed vine leaves, Beaujolais, houmous, Kettle Chips, a P&J smoothie and watercress soup.

4. Write a list of reasons why you think a friend is fab. E-mail it to them. Feel the karma.

5. Hide a little treat in a cupboard in your house. Make a mini treasure hunt to lead your partner/housemate/friend to it.

6. If you’re going shopping, buy a bunch of flowers from the market and give them to an old lady wearing a groovy hat.

7. Make your dinner into the shape of a smiley face or a funny animal. I'm a big fan of the mashed potato dinosaur.

8. Visit a forest or park and hug a tree. Get someone to take a photograph of you and your new friend.

9. Leave a post-it note on a park bench, saying “Hello, you look fabulous today”.

10. Switch the lights off for the whole weekend and do everything by candlelight.

Thursday, February 23

Why I like... Spring
(because it's here in four weeks - yay!)

I always say to Mr Meep, "Mr Meep, people often ask me what my favourite season is, but the thing is, I can't answer, because I like all the seasons."

Well, this is only actually partly true. As December kicks in, I look forward to months of mulled wine, mittens, furry coats, twinkly lights and mashed potato. I feel full of cosiness and festive love. Fast forward to February (ie now) and the sparkly glow has gone, to be replaced by much moping about, grumpiness and complaining about the cold. Not even putting on my pink socks with glittery pom-poms on the toes can cheer me up.

The annual conversation goes like this:
"I'm sick of the winter - it's rubbish. Can you make it stop?"
"What don't you like about the winter?"
"It's cold and dark and I never get to see daylight. And I've got Seasonal Affective Disorder."
"But I thought you liked all the seasons?"
"I do, just not the winter."

But not to worry, because spring is almost sprung. Here are some reasons why it is the best of all the seasons.

  • Lambs
    Lambs rock! They are so cute and small and cuddly, and are a symbol of fresh starts and new beginnings. I especially like it when they gambol and their little legs fly out in different directions. Eeek! Last year, we drove past some lambs and they were being highly lazy and just, well, sitting about in the field. I had gone out specifically for some gambolling lamb action, but there was none to be found. I was cross. I was so cross that I opened the window and shouted "Gambol, you buggers" at the field of confused-looking sheep.

    It didn't work.

  • Flowers
    One of my favourite flowers are about to put in an appearance - daffodils. They are yellow and sunshiny and make me feel so happy, happy, happy. I want to lie down in a big field of them with Mr Meep like this.

    Us Welsho daffodil-fanciers are especially lucky - the council go daffodil bonkers and plant them all over the city in spring. It's gorgeous.

  • Coat/sunshine combo
    Even though it is genrally a bit sunnier in Spring, it is still not cold enough to strip off and leap around in your pants. So you get the benefit of my favourite combo of fluffy coats (to keep out spring chills) and sunglasses (to protect eyes from newly-hatched sun). This does not apply to the dirty people, who will be in their vest tops at the first sign of daylight saving.

  • Easter
    Not because of all that stuff about the bloke on the cross. But because you get a really nice long bank holiday weekend off work, plus everyone buys you chocolate, and you can eat cakes topped with the yummiest thing ever - marzipan. AND Green and Blacks are doing a great range of eggs this year (all gifts gratefully received - and you get to help the poor chocolate farmers too).

    Bring on the gambolling, daffodil, choco-munching spring shenanigans.
  • Wednesday, February 22

    Organised blogging
    Yesterday I had an idea (insert ‘eureka’-type smiley). I’m going to introduce more ‘regular features’ to my blog. These are going to include:

  • Recipe of the week, plus a photo of said recipe
    I’d love to write a veggie cook book, so a good starting point and a have been doing a lot of ‘creative cookery’ lately (ie no time to plan meals so just concocting something out of whatever’s lurking in the fridge – isn’t that how all the best chef’s start out?).

  • Cake of the week
    Although this might not be every week, as I was getting a bit fat in January due to 48 homeless fairy cakes sitting around my kitchen at various times (although Mr Meep was quite keen to help out with them).

  • Weekend Walk
    Most weekends, I go for a walk somewhere beautiful. What a great opportunity to take some nice photos and write about the adventures I have along the way. If only I’d thought of this when I went to Pontsticill reservoir recently and found discarded pairs of pants randomly scattered all around the perimeter.

  • Why I like…
    Yes, it’s stolen from The Guardian from ages ago, but a good little creative writing exercise that will make me feel happy. I’m thinking bunnies, I’m thinking cakes, I’m thinking tea…

  • Reflective Wednesdays
    I get really down on a Wednesday – already been stuck in the office for three whole days, and another two days of drudgery to go. What a good time take to reflect on the good stuff that’s happening to me at the moment and cheer the fuck up. (I may also introduce swearing for effect.)

    And that’s it. An exciting adventure in blogland awaits.
  • Tuesday, February 21

    The Great TV Experiment: an update
    What started as an experiment back in October 2005 has now become a way of life.

    I no longer watch television.

    None at all.

    Nope, not a sausage.

    The last thing I watched was a 'Review of the Year'-type quiz on Channel Four over Christmas. It was the only Christmas TV I watched and it was instantly forgettable.

    Mr Meep and I were chatting the other day, and agreed that we couldn't imagine sitting on the sofa and staring at the TV any more. It seems like an alien concept. When I've been to friends'/family's houses and the TV is on, it seems so intrusive. Even if you're chatting and it's on in the background, you can't help looking at it or trying to tune in to what's being said.

    We still have a TV as we're such film buffs, but unless we are watching a DVD, the TV stays switched off. It's such a simple thing - and not something that I thought I'd stick to - but it's really improved my quality of life.

    I'd like to be able to tell you that I've done many amazing things since pressing the off switch, but I haven't. I've just enjoyed doing more of the simple things that I enjoy - more cooking, reading, talking, writing, drawing, walking. My lounge has become a place to chat, to browse newspapers and magazines, to drink tea, to listen to music, to stroke my cat, to play with my dog, to write, to play games, to do art.

    I'm sleeping better, I feel more relaxed and - with the risk of sounding pretentious (not meant to) - I feel more fulfilled.

    Go on, turn it off for a few weeks and see what happens.

    Monday, February 20

    Munching lunch at Borough Market with the lovely Jon and Emma  Posted by Picasa

    Tuesday, February 14

    Valentine Day Horror
    Euw, the horror of Valentine’s Day. We boycott it in our house, under the guise of ‘we are nice to each other every day’. Which might sound a bit smug, but not as smug as the people who are flaunting their love with material tat.

    Here’s a list of things I will not be doing today.

  • Sitting in a restaurant, which has hiked its prices up by at least 50%, surrounded by 50 other couples all sitting on tables for two with a candle plonked in the middle.
  • Feeding my valentine across the table with symbolic spears of asparagus dripping with creamy hollandaise sauce, and eating it with much exaggerated tongue action and licking of fingers.
  • Listening to a compilation CD featuring any of the following: Barry White, Robbie Williams, Celine Dion, or a picture of some little kids kissing in soft focus.
  • Parading around the house in some small red pants with lots of lace and marabou fur. Mr Meep would be frightened.
  • Making slow luuurrrve… Well, I might if I feel like it, but not just because it’s the Day When You Must Have Sex.

    Instead, I will be going home, walking the Blod, having a nice glass of Beaujolais, a Shepherd’s Pie and watching a film about a mental patient and a porn star. You can’t get more romantic than that.

    Happy Valentine’s Day lovers!
  • Monday, February 13

    Friday, February 3

    The Friday List
    Another one stolen from 100 things: List 10 of your habits

  • I drink a glass of water as soon as I wake up
  • I say 'lush' a lot
  • I also say 'bonkers' a lot
  • I eat things sideways (eg I would take a banana out of the skin and eat from side-to-side instead of top to bottom)
  • I always sleep with a sleepy mask. Current fav is this one.
  • I write lists every day
  • I always go to the loo at the cinema before I watch a film, even if I just went before leaving the house five minutes before
  • I fold up empty crips packets and make them into bows
  • I always wear matching underwear (I think I blogged that before - how boring)
  • I make little spirals out of the corners of paper tissues and tickle my nostrils to make myself sneeze
  • Wednesday, February 1

    52 Figments
    One of my New Year's Resolutions, especially in light of the television's total departure from my life, was to be more creative. While wombling around the blogosphere one day, I came across the 52 Figments project. Each week, you get a question and you have to write/draw/paint/doodle the answer. What a great idea - I like drawing but lack inspiration, so this was just the thing to get me started again. I've done three so far and here they are.

    Disclaimer: While Miss Meep likes drawing, she does not profess to being any good at it, so please don't laugh at these.

    Week One: What is your theme for 2006?

    Week Two: Money is no object and your safety is guaranteed... where in the world do you go?
    (NB Zebedee the cat came in from the rain and decided to sit on this one, so it is a tad smudged.)

    Week Three: Imagine having a conversation with yourself in 20 years time. What question do you want to ask?

    I have a confession to make...

    I am officially a bonkers.

    As of today, I am now the proud owner of a self-help book. It's this one. My life coach (yes, I am from Cardiff not California - although I also regularly see a psychic and a reflexologist) recommended it, as she says the only thing that's holding me back from following my dreams is THE FEAR.

    It's all to do with this being unhappy/trying to find my vocation/pondering the meaning of life stuff that's going on in my head at the moment. I'm hoping Dr Jeffers - or Aunty Suze as I like to call her - will, as the blurb on the back of the book claims, help me to "turn anger into love and indecision into action".

    Well, you'd better watch this space. There'll be a lot of love and action coming your way soon.

    Unless I'm too scared.