Hello again!


Wowza! It’s been MONTHS since I last posted on here, where has the time gone?

Seriously it’s been pretty crazy. All four of us have had birthdays – Hubby turned 42, Tadpole turned 8, I turned 40, then Choochie turned 3. Tadpole went back to school (he’s in year 3 now, how did that happen?!), and I auditioned for a couple of shows. I sang at a local war re-enactment, Halloween came and went, then bonfire night, and now, here we are in the countdown to Xmas! We’ve also been redecorating our house, bit by bit, as well as laying a drive at the front (I say ~”we”, but I mean Hubby has been doing that while I look after the kids and make the coffee!). And now we’re preparing for Choochie to start nursery after the Xmas holidays too.

Oh, and those shows? Well, I’m playing the lead in two shows in the very near future. I’ll be starring as Candy, the Christmas Fairy in The Magic Toy Box this festive season, and as Puss in Puss In Boots next Easter. I am absolutely in my element to be treading the boards once more and the people I’m working with are just darlings, every one of them – I feel like I’ve adopted a whole new branch into the family!

So, as you can see, I’ve been rather distracted and have barely had time to sit down, let alone get to the computer. But I’m still around, and I’ll be popping in from time to time…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival!


On Thursday this week, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the very first time. Despite having lived in Kirkcaldy (which is only a couple of train stops away from Edinburgh) for the guts of four years, I’d never made it to the festival… Until now!

I was part of a team of people from Northumberland scouting some of the shows to possibly bring to our area (if not them, then shows like them), and so we all hopped on a mini bus at silly-o-clock in the morning and headed to Scotland for the day.

We saw four shows in total – all completely different from what we’d expected and totally different from each other, and each of them was wonderful in their own way.

The first show was Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners) by Will Pickvance at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This show was aimed at a younger audience, but there was plenty to entertain folks of all ages. The music was fabulous, and the story behind his love of the piano, accompanied by quirky animation that was perfectly timed, was absolutely adorable. This is a children’s version of a show he’s done for adult audiences, but it was well worth seeing.

After that, we went for lunch at Circus Bistro, which was just around the corner from the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It was crammed full of people who were in Edinburgh for the festival, but the atmosphere and the food were great. and then we were off again.

Next we saw Pss Pss by Baccala Compagnia at Assembly Roxy. When I saw the write up mention mime, by heart sank, because I don’t like mime and never have (I subscribe to Lord Vetinari’s idea of hanging mimes upside down in a dungeon opposite a sign that reads “Learn the words!”), but this couldn’t have been more different from my preconceptions if it had tried for a hundred years. There is no accurate way to describe this act – it’s like traditional clowning-come-acrobatic act with a storytelling element that is utterly delightful – we understood every single word they didn’t say (the only sound they uttered was a whispered “pss pss”). There was so much going on between the two characters on stage, and within the audience participation sections, that to write it all out here would take forever – what they conveyed with the slightest movement or facial expression was immense. They thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received at the end.

After the highs of Pss Pss, I feared that the next act would be a little depressing, based on the two-sentence summary I’d read. I have never been happier to be proven wrong!

One Hundred Homes by Yinka Kuitenbrouwer was presented in a large wooden hut at Summerhall, with the seating crammed together, There were blankets on some of the chairs, in case it got chilly, and we were all given cups of hot tea and homemade biscuits shaped like little houses (they were delicious, by the way!). Yinka visited over one hundred people, and talked to them about the idea of home. The resulting show, where she relates their stories and links the together in the most unusual manner, was most uplifting, filled with warmth and hope and the friendship she had developed with the people she interviewed. We were very pleased to be there when it was announced that she was the winner of an award – I think we all got a little emotional along with her, as it was very well deserved!

After being left almost completely speechless by Yinka, we headed to a giant  up-turned purple cow at George Square, where we watched Closer by Circa. This was another acrobatic show with elements of dance involved – it was a very lyrical performance showcasing strength and agility, with moves that had the audiences collectively holding their breath as they performed high above us. It was quite indescribable!

Everywhere we went throughout the day, the air was crackling with excitement – the atmosphere was electric! I don’t think any of us wanted to come home at the end of it, despite being completely exhausted. The entire experience was out of this world and I know that although this was my first time at the festival, it most certainly won’t be my last! I look forward to returning for future festivals, and also to taking Tadpole and Choochie along when they’re a little older, because this is something that everyone should experience, at least once, and it will never be forgotten!

A busy summer…


Crikey, it’s been just over three weeks since I last posted on this blog – simply because we’ve been so busy! It’s the school holidays, you see, and with both the kids at home, and Hubby having a fortnight off work, we’ve been all over the place on day trips and excursions to local events and attractions, which have included:

  • A music festival
  • A theatre trip (I went to see Chicago with my sister and niece)
  • A family fun day (with bouncy castles and entertainment stuff)
  • Rock-pooling on a tidal island with a light house
  • Going to the circus
  • Blackberry picking with the kids
  • A trip to Beamish (huge open-air, fully interactive museum)
  • A trip to the Hancock Museum
  • Watching a football match

This coming weekend we have a four day festival to celebrate the Tall Ships coming to our town. It’s all rather exciting!

Hubby has been working hard on DIY projects – he’s laid our drive (all lock-blocked beautifully), and has started work on a built-in cupboard and bookcase in our living room, as he’s about to start redecorating in there (it will be followed by the kitchen, all three bedrooms, and finally the bathroom, which will be completely ripped out, a new suite put in, re-tiled, and basically started from scratch!). He’s also decorated my Mum’s spare bedroom and kitchen – what a handy man!

Tadpole has lost not one, but two teeth during the holidays, and we have tackled potty training with Choochie – he’s now something of a pro (thankfully!), and we have no problem going out and about all day with him – he’s very good at “holding it in” till we can find a toilet!

I, on the other hand, have been busy in rehearsals for Sister Act, and have also begun auditioning for other shows, as well as preparing for singing at Blyth Battery again next month. And tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to Edinburgh for the day, to take in a few shows at the Fringe Festival – I can hardly wait!

So, if I’ve been AWOL for a little while, you’ll understand, as we’ve been spending most of our time outdoors and away from all things computerised!

Catching up…


Well, it’s been a while! Things have been busy, busy, busy here at Kincavel Korner!

12.07.16 aThe school year is now well and truly over, and Tadpole is now finished with Key Stage 1 – how did he get so big so fast? He did so well at his school sports day, coming first in not one, not two, but three races, and also gaining a second and a third place in two other events. He also got a glowing school report which told us he’s ahead of where he’s expected to be in almost every area, and he came home with both academic and sporting achievement awards at the end of the year. We are so proud we could burst!

06.07.16 aChoochie has finally taken to potty training like a duck to water. He took some persuading, but we finally got him to agree to saying goodbye to nappies, and jumped in at the deep end, tackling both day time and night time at the same time. It’s been a week now, with only a couple of little “accidents” that were barely accidents at all – and that includes at night! Again, we’re so proud we would dance about with glee if we weren’t so tired!

I’m now deep in rehearsals for a production of Sister Act, which will be performed in October. It’s only a very small non-speaking part, but as it’s my first show in fifteen years, it’s serving as a nice reintroduction to theatre I’ll be auditioning for a part in Annie later in the year (I’m hoping to get a slightly larger role in that!), and I have applied to possibly audition for a professional Christmas show – we’ll see if I even get an audition at all, but it will be nice to try!

09.07.16 cThe best bunch of strong, independent women you have ever seen all went out to have a meal together to celebrate my Mum’s freedom (the divorce isn’t quite final yet, but it will be very soon!), and had a fantastic meal at Pronto, a local Greek/Italian restaurant. A fantastic night was had by all, and I got chatted up by a gorgeous younger man when we went out for drinks afterwards, which was a major ego boost!

23.07.16 aI went out for afternoon tea with my Mum and step sister, at The Running Fox at Felton, and it was such a delicious feast! Honestly, I could barely manage everything, but I forced myself (oh, so reluctantly – not!) to finish every delicious morsel. Seriously, if you’re into the idea of High Tea, and you’re in Northumberland, go along to The Running Fox, and they’ll treat you like royalty!

We also went for a family day out at Woodhorn Museum during Invasion 7, when all manner of sci-fi characters came out to play. It was a total blast! We took a little ride on the narrow guage railway, had a picnic, and played spot the character. I was so pleased to see a the Firefly crew represented by Kaylee and Wash (no Captain Tight Pants though, much to my sorrow!), as well as a plethora of characters from the Star Wars franchise, and various other sci fi favourites.

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09.07.16 aAnd finally, this will be the last weekend I have hair! I will be doing Brave the Shave in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on Monday 1st August. I will be sending my hair off to Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children who have lost their hair during chemotherapy, and then shaving down to a #1 all over! I’m actually rather looking forward to it. To top it off, 1st August is also my 13th wedding anniversary, and I’ll be going out for dinner and a trip to the theatre (to see Chicago) that evening too.

If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so via my Brave the Shave page HERE. Every little helps – thanks in advance!

And now we’re into the summer holidays, and although we have no plans to go away anywhere this year, we are planning several nice day trips and also attending several local events, which will no doubt be a lot of fun. So, on that note, I’ll disappear again, although I’m sure I’ll get back to check in every now and then!

Have a fantastic summer!

Busy, busy, busy!


I’ve been pretty much AWOL for a little while, simply because I’ve been so busy!

06.03.16 bTadpole has been preparing for his key stage 1 SATs (he started them this week), which I hate, because he’s been stressing out and personally, I think six and seven year olds are far too young to be sitting formalised exams, but that’s beside the point – he has to do them, so doing them he is! His first two papers were yesterday, and thankfully, he seemed to find them not too taxing (in fact, he said they were “A piece of cake!”).

17.03.16I’ve also just applied for Choochie to start nursery in January. He can’t start till then, because they can only start the term after their third birthday, so he’ll have to wait till after the Xmas holidays. Still, I wanted to get the application in early to make sure he gets a place – I can’t be traipsing between two different schools! Choochie also finally weaned (31 months of breastfeeding!), and has started potty training. He likes to sit on the toilet, but so far has only managed to squeeze out a tiny tinkle each time – he’ll get there eventually though!

Last month, I worked backstage on a pantomime – I did make-up for the Dame, which was great fun, and reminded me how much I missed the theatre, so I then went and auditioned for a show for the first time in 15 years! As a result, I have a very small role in a production of Sister Act, which will be performed in October. Officially, I am “Nun #11”, so as I don’t have a given name, I’ve chosen one for myself, and I shall be known henceforth as Sister Sara of the Two Mules (simply because I love Two Mules For Sister Sara). I’ve also decided to audition for a part in Annie later this year, so watch this space!

I was also part of the centenary celebrations at Blyth Battery this past weekend! Blyth Battery Goes To War is an annual event local to me, and it’s always a fantastic weekend, but this year marked 100 years since they started building it (it took two hears to complete), so it was extra special. And we got some wonderful weather for it too – the place was absolutely heaving all weekend, and the audiences were very appreciative. I got such lovely comments from people who watched my performances, my confidence was boosted a hell of a lot (I have an ego the size of Texas now!), and I was pleased to see  from photographs that I look half the size I did last year when I performed! And the most adorable little girl (who I think may well be my number one fan!) came up and danced with me during my instrumental sections – she was a superstar!

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Finally, I’ve done a fair bit of work on my Sky Blanket since I last did an update on it. I now have eleven rows joined, and I think it’s looking pretty neat! As Tadpole has been asking for a new “lovey blanket” since Choochie got his full-sized one at Xmas, I thought I’d give this one to him for Xmas this year. He’s been admiring it as it grows, so I think he’ll be very happy with it, and as I won’t actually have a section for every single day (or I’d have the wrong number of yo-yos for my rows), I will hopefully be able to finish it just in time, although it could mean a hell of a lot of border crocheting on Xmas Eve!

13235220_10156817102490386_7625483622086569872_oOn top of all that, I’ve picked up my cross stitching in earnest again for the first time in a good few years – I stitched a little sampler for my best friend’s wedding last November, and now I find the bug has crept up and bitten me again, so I’ve taken up a few of my UFOs to see if I can finish a few of them. I’ve stitched a few bookmarks to send off to my pen pals, but I’m also working on my Rules For Life sampler, which I started before Choochie was born – hopefully it’ll be framed and up on the wall before the end of the year!

Speaking of pen pals, I’ve picked up a few new ones, and I have been involved in making pocket letters and flip books for them – I’ve been going paper-crafting crazy, and writing letters like a mad woman. Actually, I have one to write today, so I’d better get a move on!

And so, I hope normal service will now be resumed, although I seem to have even more things demanding my time and attention than ever, what with getting involved in a show again!

 

 

Blyth Battery Goes To War – 100 Year Celebrations!


12814015_10154012320291255_2977294936568317673_nIt’s that time of year again, but this time, it’ll be something extra special, because Blyth Battery is celebrating its 100th year!

There will be all manner of flashes and bangs – loads to see, do, and hear.

I’ll be singing in the entertainment tent
in front of the cafe
at 1pm and 3pm
on both Saturday 21st May and Sunday 22nd May.

So, if you’re in the area, come on down to the beach and be entertained, wartime-style – you’ll be given a very warm welcome, and it’s a FREE event, so bring the whole family for some fun!

I hope to see you all there!

 

World Book Night 2016


wbn 2016It’s official – I’ve received my email notification that I will be a giver on World Book Night again this year, and I’m totally stoked, because the book I’ll be giving out is my first choice – Band Of Brothers by Stephen E Ambrose. It’s a non-fiction book about the E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, about whom the TV show of the same name was made. This one’s particularly special to me, because I know someone who was in the show (and it’s one of my favourite shows ever!).- Robin Laing who plays Babe Heffron was in my class when I studied drama at college. I also have a fascination for all things WWII, and I often sing wartime classics at local WWII re-enactments.

This will be the fifth year in a row that I have given books on World Book Night. Books I’ve given in previous years are:

  • 2012: The Damned United by David Peace
  • 2013: The Dark Judges by John Wagner and others (graphic novel)
  • 2014: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
  • 2015: Skellig by David Almond

BOBEach year, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my first choice book. I think in the main it’s because I’ve had a slightly unusual audience for distribution. I think most givers tend to be female and give the books to other women, whereas I worked in a bookies for several years, and so chose books that would be more likely to appeal to my customers, the majority of whom were men. Then last year, I gave them to parents in my kids’ school yard, so I chose a book that they could share with their children.

This year, though, it’s purely down to personal choice. I don’t often read non-fiction books, but the heroics of Easy Company were so epic that I felt compelled to read the book on which the show was based, and this was my chance. I’m glad it paid off!

I shall look forward to reading it myself and passing on all sixteen of my copies to others for their enjoyment.

I love World Book Night!

At last! Snow!


12523041_10156314975435386_41843881686282257_n(1)
Tadpole and Choochie in the snow A bit of snow had just gone down Tadpole’s neck as I snapped this photo!

After two years, and this being our third winter being back in Northumberland, we finally got snow this morning! Understandably, the kids were mega excited. Tadpole has really missed the snow since we left Scotland (so have I, if I’m honest!), and Choochie is too young to remember seeing it when we visited Scotland last Easter, so this was his first proper experience of it.

Actually, Choochie was pretty hilarious about it. Tadpole laughed and cheered all the way to school, but this was Choochie’s reaction:

Choochie: I like the snow.
Me: That’s nice – I ‘m glad you do.
Choochie: No, I don’t like snow!
Me: You DON’T like the snow? Oh, OK.
Choochie: Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrggghhhh!
Me: What’s up?
Choochie: I DO like the snow! I DO like it!
Me: OK, you don’t have to scream about it – it was YOU who said you didn’t like it!
Choochie: Aaaaaaarrrggghh! I DO like the snow! I DO!
Me: OK.
Choochie: (very quiet, sullen voice) I don’t like the snow.

I’ve already enough of the nasty, wet, slushy snow now. Can we please have the pretty, white, powdery kind instead? You know, like, PROPER snow?

Walking to school with the boys, Josh managed to splash slush all over my feet and up my legs. I couldn’t see for melting snow on my glasses, so when we got to school, we went to the bench under the shelter, so I could sit down and clean my glasses, but the snow had blown in and soaked the bench too, so my butt got drenched as well. Trudged home again. Had to get Choochie’s trousers changed, as they were soaked (he was wearing wellies, at least, so his feet were dry. Had to get myself changed right down to my undies coz I was soaked through.

Feeling cold and miserable. Trying to get warmed up with a hot Ribena and a big blanket, and chucking some paracetamol down my throat for the foggy-headache I have from this damned cold. Talk about timing, eh?!

OK, moan over now. Gotta crack on with things.

Hey, at least I get to crack open the sparkly white yarn for my Sky Blanket today!

Pick your own fruit…


15.08.15 - Fruit Picking 2Today I went to a pick your own fruit farm with Tadpole, my big sister, and one of my nieces

Despite feeling a little under the weather, it was lovely to get out in the sunshine and pick our own fruit. We filled our baskets with the sweetest most delicious strawberries and raspberries (and more than a few were eaten while picking, as those jewel-like beauties were just too hard to resist!), and got in a little exercise at the same time – all good!

Our resultant haul was a lot cheaper and far tastier than we would have got from any shop, and we had fun doing it too.

Definitely a worthwhile endeavour.

15.08.15 - Fruit Picking 3It’s worth mentioning, when we got there, the sign said the strawberries and raspberries were “extremely limited”. I have to say their idea of limited wildly differs from mine, as there were loads to be had and we didn’t even have to look very hard – they were right there and easy to find.

If you have a pick your own fruit farm nearby, I highly recommend going along and doing a little Body Magic while you bag yourself some delicious speed food!

This is my island in the sun…


Today we took advantage of the sunny, warm weather and the long tide times, to visit Lindesfarne – an island about an hour’s drive from our home which is reached by tidal causeway.

The island is steeped in history – the monks built the priory there almost 1400 years ago (yes, you read that correctly – fourteen hundred years ago!!!), and the castle is 16th century.

It’s such a lovely place to visit, especially on a sunny day, even if you do have to wait till the tide goes out to get there, and make sure you beat the tide coming in again to get home (that’s part of the fun, really, although the tide times are all clearly posted, so it’s easy to make sure you can cross safely).

Today we all headed there with a picnic, part of which was eaten right out of my hand by a cheeky little sparrow – she was hopping very close to pick up crumbs, so I lay my hand flat with a bit of bread on it, and she just came right up to me, bold as brass, and ate it right off my fingers! Then we had a nosey round the old priory, which was founded by the venerable St. Aidan, and housed the Lindesfarne Gospels, which are some of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts you’ll ever see.

We took a little stroll on the beach, where we collected some stones and very pretty shells, and spotted a couple of seals frolicking in the sea, which was very exciting.

Next, we wandered round the village and popped into several of the lovely little shops (there was one filled with the most delicious looking fudge, but I managed to resist diving in there and never coming out – only just!).

Then we ambled our way out to the castle, which was built around 1550, and is remarkably well preserved. It’s all spiral staircases and turrets and battlements, the way a castle should be. To be honest, most of the castles in Northumberland (of which there are more than seventy!) look like they were ripped right out of the pages of a book of fairytales – they are stunning!

After we’d worked our way round the castle, we headed to St Aidan’s Winery, where they make the world famous Lindesfarne Mead, a unique alcoholic fortified wine made on the island.

By this time, we were all exhausted with all the walking around (especially Choochie, who is only just coming up on 22 months old), so we headed back to the car, and all fell asleep on the journey home (apart from Hubby, obviously, who was driving).

We had such a lovely day, and I brought home a few little momentos – a leather bookmark for me (I love to collect them wherever I go), and a miniature bottle of Lindesfarne Mead as part of a gift exchange I’m taking part in this month. Tadpole bought himself a little compass (so he could find his way home) and a moonstone pendent on a leather thong, as well as those stones and pretty shells from the beach.