The Universe Is Testing Me…9 Sleeps To Go

The Universe is testing me.

Really it is.  I kid you not.

Absolutely, unequivocally testing me. Pushing my buttons. Stretching my patience.

All in the space of the last 24 hours.

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Weekends are a highly valued commodity where I come from, as I’m sure they are for you, so I like to plan a bit of stuff but also make sure I have time to chill out, avoid doing chores, write – you know the drill.

(The current silence tells me that the wet washing is ‘ready’ and will not hang itself out.)

With a weekend plan including a photos viewing Friday night on the way home, a haircut on Saturday morning and then off for a mani-pedi Saturday afternoon, I was looking forward to firstly feeling rather productive then followed by some serious chilling as a busy Saturday mellowed into a Sunday of pottering about.

So Friday morning I pick up a message from my hairdresser asking me whether I could turn up 15mins early.  Sure, I think, no problem.  I call back to confirm that this is ok to be told ‘No it’s ok we worked something out – turn up at 11.’  Great news but I’m glad I rang back instead of turning up early – tolerating lateness is not my strong suit.  Anyway, moving on.

I leave work a little early on Friday to get to my appointment to view my photos at 6pm (a 90min trip but it is a stop-off on my regular 2hr commute home. I know it’s long. Don’t ask.)  I reach Clapham Junction station which is about a 15min walk from the studio and get a message – which had obviously arrived during the underground portion of my journey – asking me to come at 7pm instead.  With an hour and a half of travelling under my belt already, my weary brain shouts ‘NOOOOO!’.  Long story short – we settled on 6.15pm instead. 

To kill the time, I take myself off to Caffe Nero for a white chocolate and raspberry muffin and a soya cappucino, thinking I will just chill for a little bit before wandering up Lavender Hill towards the studio.  Another message arrives, this time from the Mani-Pedi salon.  There’s a problem with my 2pm appointment on Saturday – can I come earlier?  Brain swears loudly.  Despite the ensuing conversation confirming that someone else will be available at the time of my booking to pretti-fy my paws, I feel mildly nervous walking up Lavender Hill, wondering whether I will receive an apologetic phone call Saturday morning (or better yet, be mucked about upon arrival).  I have next Friday off so I call back and agree to have pretty paws then.

Phew!

Photo viewing goes well (pics look amaaaazing – I will collect my chosen ones mid August and share with you) and I go to bed last night, thinking I will get up early-ish and dash into Kingston to do my errands before my hair appointment.  I’m up at 8.30am and, feeling mildly awake and presentable after my ablutions, am eating some vegemite toast before heading out.

There’s another message. 

My hairdresser (a new one, the lovely A having decided to embark on some world travelling for a while) has called in sick.  Brain sighs resignedly.  Little voice in my head reminds me to ‘breathe’. 

I’m going at 12.30.

In, out. In, out. Breathing, breathing. Time for a coffee.  And a post.

And if it’s really lucky, the washing will get hung out to dry.

ps…as I’m a little intolerant of lateness and would really love a chilled out, low-irritant birthday, I thought it prudent to remind you that there are now only 9 sleeps to go. We are now into single figures peeps so don’t be late – I can just see the good ship 42 coming into view.

All Things New…And 22 Sleeps To Go

It’s been a busy weekend and as a result it’s gotten to Sunday afternoon before I’ve had the opportunity to be tap-tap-tapping away in my front window.  But it’s been a weekend of some new experiences which I want to share with you.

The first happened yesterday afternoon when I went to have my very own studio photo shoot at insspire in Clapham.  Prompted by a couldn’t-resist deal on living social (and the fact that since I’ve had my hair cut short again, I do not have a lot of photos that actually look like me), I’d booked my session several weeks ago and so yesterday found me strolling up Lavender Hill in the afternoon sunshine feeling excited and just a tad nervous.

Taken in hand by the lovely (and official Master of Photography) Monika, first it was into make-up.  I don’t wear very much of this on a day-to-day basis so it felt rather Hollywood to have someone else doing the primping and preening for me – although it was a little disconcerting to have that same someone peering at my face wondering what she could ‘do’ with it.

Half an hour later it was back downstairs to the studio to start shooting.  What can I say except that it was fun and very, very weird.  There was lots of standing, sitting, leaning, lying and draping – and yes, that was all me!  Monika spent an hour coaxing me into different poses and faces: there were lighting changes, set changes, costume changes (well, just one – I changed my top) and even a camera change!

I left feeling a little tired, a little emotional, a little curious to see how the pics come out (viewing is not until the 19th July so stay tuned!) and a lot exhilarated.  Let’s just say that the small top-up Sainsbury’s shop I stopped to do in Wimbledon on the way home took a little longer than it usually does.

The second new thing for this weekend is that I have continued my foray into the The Great Bake-Off with a new challenge.  We are off to Kew the Music at Kew Gardens tonight and part of the deal is that we all bring stuff along to share.  A-down-the-hill let me know yesterday that there was marinated chicken, frittata, olives and snacky things and chocolate whoopie pies already on the menu so this morning I was whipping up a batch of Raspberry and Coconut Cakes (a variation on the Apple and Raspberry Squares I’d done previously).

But this is not the new thing.  Oh no!  I baked TWO things today – yes two! 

So I am enormously proud to present to you the latest addition to The Great Bake-Off family:

TAH DAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Walnut and Rosemary Bread

I want to take this little beauty intact to tonight’s festivities so there’s a huge risk posed by the fact I have not conducted my usual taste test – but it looks completely wicked right?

Time is a-ticking so I best be off to pack my baked goods and other essentials for tonight’s summer of fun (picnic blanket, folding chair, paper plates, plastic wine glasses, umbrella – yes sadly, showers are forecast).  In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for a dry evening and some tasty bread!

ps…you’ve had a few days respite from the countdown but with only 22 sleeps to go before the good ship 41 goes into dry dock, I thought it would be very helpful of me to give you a little nudge.  Best not stand next to the ship’s railing peeps – the nudging gets more persistent the closer we get and I wouldn’t want you to end up in ‘the drink’.  Or would I?