18 December 2014

GIVEAWAY: Terrific Project Calendar from Veronica Dearly

You know what I have never done on this blog? A giveaway! But when better to start than a week before Christmas, right? 'Tis the season of goodwill and all.

So here it is: your chance to win a 2015 Terrific Project calendar from Veronica Dearly.

2015 Terrific Project Calendar Cover

These calendars are loads of fun. Every single day of the year has a suggestion for making it more enjoyable (and you know how I love a big long list of ways to make life more enjoyable). There are all kinds of ideas from watching the sunset to baking, painting portraits to lazing around in your pyjamas.

Despite being a techno-attached Google Calendar girl, I bought a Terrific Calendar for myself last year and got a real kick out of turning the page each month and seeing what was suggested. This year, I got chatting to Veronica when I bought one as a gift for a friend.

2015 Terrific Project Calendar - January Page

If you don't want to take your chances with a giveaway, the calendars are available for sale here. There are also different versions geared towards families who want to have fun, couples seeking a dose of romance and business owners needing a little inspiration.

For your chance to win follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (blog comments are mandatory; tweets and Twitter follows - for me and/or Veronica - are optional but do boost your chances of winning).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing you all the best of luck!

17 December 2014

When Pregnancy Becomes a Pain in the... oh... Everything...

Last week I mentioned that I'm having a lot of pregnancy-related hip and back problems (time and time and time again). I don't intend to go on about it; I intend to make a marvellous, miraculous, completely full recovery and to write one very helpful blog post about how I managed that. My back up plan is to just shut up about it.

I don't just want to shut up about it because I know how dull it can be, hearing somebody go on and on about their health issues; I want to shut up about it because I am very aware of how fortunate I am to be pregnant and it seems churlish to moan about a situation I'm lucky to be in. I never - not for one moment, no matter how bad the pain gets - forget that the short term pain is a small price to pay.

But the pain is a much bigger issue than I would ever have anticipated and I want to acknowledge that; I don't believe in being all "everything in my life is sweetness and light" on my blog - I want to tell the truth. I believe that women deserve more honesty about how difficult becoming pregnant, staying pregnant and dealing with being pregnant can be - acting as though it's always easy doesn't help us to cope when things go wrong.

Plus, I'm stuck indoors and can't sit still long enough to watch a film so, you know: what else am I going to do but write about this stuff?

So... I'm twenty-three weeks pregnant now (twenty-three?! Can that be right?!) and I've been aware of pains in my hips since week ten. Around one in five women has some degree of hip or back pain in their pregnancy but week ten is unusually early for it to set in. This might be because I had clicky hip when I was born; it might be because of a leg injury several years ago; it might be because I have hypermobile joints (which, as a child who wanted to be a ballerina - and a young woman who wanted to impress the boys - I had always kind of thought of as a good thing); or it might just be bad luck. I don't suppose that matters - the point is that it's happening.

My (lovely) midwife was quite upfront with me: hip problems just get worse; I would most likely need to be signed off near the end of my pregnancy; my commute (thirty minutes by bus and thirty minutes on foot) was probably too long.

When the pain progressed from occasional to persistent, she advised me to book in to an NHS pregnancy physiotherapy session. That was a month ago. There were six pregnant women in the group and five of us were already having pains.

The class was really useful - we were shown how to move around (get in and out of bed; of cars; the bath) without causing further damage; we were taught exercises to minimise our symptoms; we were given whatever sort of support clothing the physiotherapist thought we needed. I was given a support belt to wear when standing or walking and a tubigrip to wear the rest of the time (I've found over the bump maternity jeans and tights do a better job, though!). The physiotherapist banned me from doing housework and told me I would most likely need to be signed off work for a chunk of the third trimester.

So I kept that in mind: I would most likely need to be signed off in the third trimester. I would be capable of soldiering on until at least week twenty-seven.

Except I wasn't.

Things went from bad to worse. Sitting upright for more than half an hour was so painful that I was having to leave work early at least once a week (and bear in mind: I only work five hour days). Climbing the stairs to the toilets was so difficult I would find myself sitting there, fighting back the tears. I was struggling with what seemed like ridiculously trivial things - bending to reach low door handles; twisting to tear off toilet roll; standing at bus stops for more than a couple of minutes.

On the Friday of week twenty-one I found myself sobbing all over one of the women at work. She told me straight out that it was time to get myself signed off - I had to put my health and the health of the baby ahead of anything else.

But nobody likes to admit that they can't cope. I didn't want to be the one saying, "I'm only halfway through my pregnancy and I can't keep going to work." It felt to me like everybody else manages to cope with their pregnancies; everybody else has aches and pains and keeps on going. I didn't want to be the person who uses a perfectly normal, perfectly natural, every day situation as an excuse for a great long skive.

I had the following week booked off as holiday and I decided that, when I returned, I would talk to the woman who handles our HR about working from home some of the time. That would do. I had a plan.

But on the Saturday morning I woke up in so much pain that I couldn't move without screaming. And I'm not somebody who makes needlessly dramatic noises about my health.

For four days, I couldn't stand up without Steve's help (think about the practicalities of visiting the bathroom here...); I couldn't stay in one seated position for more than ten minutes; I couldn't lie down for more than two hours (so, not much sleep, then...); I couldn't put my own clothes on or dry my own legs; I couldn't do anything on my own except whimper self-pityingly. For all the operations I've had, for all the endometriosis, I have never felt pain like it. It was staggering; it was indescribable. Painkillers didn't touch it and hot water bottles were little more than placebos.

And I was terrified that that was it. That was me for the next four months. That I had pushed myself too far past my limits and effectively crippled myself from then until the birth.

Luckily, by Wednesday - with a lot of care and a lot of stretching - things had become much more manageable. I am aware of the pain 100% of the time but I can now move around without help, sit in one position long enough to watch a TV show and squat down to stroke the cats (well, to stroke Gizmo; Polly is smart enough to jump up onto high, easily reachable surfaces if she isn't getting attention).

On Monday, I saw my GP. The surgery is, at most, a five minute walk from our flat - I expected that walk to be challenging but I was stunned by how quickly the pain kicked in and by how severe it felt; it was as though somebody was cleaving my pelvis in two, straight down the middle. I'm still waiting - hoping - for that particular pain to subside.

I've been signed off work until the middle of January but, realistically, I'm unlikely to return to the office. The best case scenario is that I am certified as fit to work from home.

And I hate this. I hate that I'm the one who can't carry on with day to day life because of something as standard as pregnancy.

This isn't how I pictured my pregnancy going. I was going to be one of those elegantly expectant women. I would have a trim bump and a big smile and drift around, getting on with being wonderful, with no more than one fleeting touch to the small of my back once or twice a day. Or, at the very least: I was going to cope.

I wanted this pregnancy so badly, I feel kind of cheated that it's turned out to be so hard.

In good moments, I feel like I'm skiving; in bad moments, I feel jealous that Steve gets to the leave the flat and do such exciting things as put the bins out and go to the shop for cat litter.

But, mostly, right now, I feel relieved that the GP took me seriously and relieved that I don't have to try to gauge my own physical limitations any more. Because clearly that's something I'm not very good at. And it's time to stop doing myself harm.

16 December 2014

What We Did on Our Week Off Work

Bruce drilling a hole in the wall

Called in some favours from friends (Martin helped us assemble the buggy; Bruce stepped in and helped with assorted Two Person DIY Jobs when I was too sore).

Buggy being assembled
Sarah with hot water bottle shoved in maternity jeans / Steve reading a cookbook

Found new, unadvertised uses for maternity jeans. Read a lot.

Unwrapped Steve's birthday presents. Unwrapped my birthday presents. Wrapped presents for other people.

Lots of wrapping paper
Stacks of wrapped parcels
Laptop, hot water bottle and cushion on a dining room chair
Christmas baubles in a Kilner jar / Sarah asleep on the sofa with a cat
Dishes, phone, Kindle and cardboard Christmas tree
Clementine peel / a tiny birthday present
Raindrops on a window pane

Took it easy. Hung out with the cats. Fed Steve's parents. Ate lots of cake.

Made paper chains. And a Christmas tree. Had tiny bursts of festive decorating enthusiasm.

Tiny Christmas tree amongst pictures on a wall
Sellotape stuck along edge of table
Cardboard Christmas tree
Black bauble
Coconut soup


And generally relaxed.

15 December 2014

What I've Been Reading Recently



Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I bought this based purely on the name so I had no idea what to expect when I started reading. What I got was this: a web designer working in a bookshop full of mysterious coded volumes; a whizz kid from Google; a secret cult; the collision of printed books with modern technology; an adventure. The writing is simple, the plot is intriguing and it touched on a lot of things of interest to me. I raced through this in an afternoon.

Perfect by Rachel Joyce
Two stories: in 1972, two eleven year boys try their best to stop a mother from falling apart after an accident; in the present day, a man with a history of mental health issues tries to protect himself from life's uncertainties. Gorgeous writing and a heartbreaking book about the damage other people can do to one another - this was by no means a happy read but it was rather lovely.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Two families come together in one house to prepare for their children's wedding. The book largely follows one father, Winn, who is a well-intentioned man hampered by his own rigid views of success and morality. All of the characters are flawed but likeable people and they all have seemingly trivial but ultimately emotional moments. And I enjoy that kind of thing.



The Most Beautiful Thing by Satya Robyn
In the first section of this book, teenage Joe is sent to spend the summer with his aunt in Amsterdam. In the second section, he returns to spend another summer with her, this time as an adult. I really loved the first part - Joe is awkward and uncertain and his aunt is a struggling, sometimes misguided artist; their relationship is appealing. I was less keen on the second part - although this is where the actual story unfolds, it felt colder and more distant and I lost my compassion for the characters.

The Brain-Dead Megaphone by George Saunders
Having read and loved quite a lot of George Saunders' (smart, surreal) fiction, I had high hopes for this and it didn't disappoint. I'm not sure if I knew (or cared) when I bought it that it was a collection of factual articles; I had forgotten by the time it worked its way to the top of my To Read pile so was surprised to find myself reading very intelligent thinkpieces on the real problems with the media, racism, the weakness of assorted arguments for war, and some of Saunders' favourite books. The book is a few years old now so some of the references were a little out of date but the premises were timeless. Well worth a read.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1
When it says tiny stories, it means tiny stories. This is an anthology of greyscale drawings accompanied by just two or three sentences each. Some are cute, some are serious, some are downright silly and you can read the whole book in ten minutes but it is really quite adorable - possibly too pricey to buy for yourself (at around £8 it's a lot of money for a tiny amount of content) but it's a perfect stocking filler for arty bloggers. I've added the second and third volumes to my wishlist already.

*Affiliate links are used throughout this post. Some of you may prefer your library to Amazon, though. :)

14 December 2014

On Enmity and Empathy

When I was at university, my favourite class was a sociology seminar called Sex and Gender. It wasn't a course anyone with strong negative views about women's rights, say, or homosexuality would have signed up for but, listening to the students speak, you would never have known we were (presumably) all left wing liberals.

Each week, the class was presented with a statement such as "Sex before marriage is a sin" or "Real men don't show emotion". Half of us were told to agree with the statement, half to disagree. We were then given seven days to research the arguments for our assigned attitudes before coming back and having a debate.

It wasn't easy, reading up on points of view I deeply disagreed with - it was particularly difficult to voice and defend beliefs I didn't hold - but it was an incredibly powerful lesson.

Like so many people - like, I think, most people - I was very certain of my own opinions but without having ever really scrutinised them. I knew, for example, that I supported gay rights because duh, I'm a good person - why wouldn't I? But I wasn't in any position to defend that belief; I didn't have the facts or the figures or even just the rhetoric to fend off an attack.

More importantly, I didn't have the facts or the figures or even just the rhetoric to change anybody else's mind. My take on homophobia was, quite simply, "It's wrong." And nobody's mind has ever been changed by such a flimsy (and, to them, insulting) argument.

To influence people's opinions, you have to understand why they hold them. In this example, that means accepting that homophobes are not (generally) inherently bad people - most of them are just scared. They're scared of being alienated if they go against their crowd; they've been taught that non-procreative sex is a sin and can't get past that; they fear that being gay would relegate their child to a life of bullying and beatings; their only experience of gay people is big, noisy rallies which they found terrifying to walk past; and so on. It's only by understanding their fears that we can hope to alleviate them and potentially change their minds.

In my last job, my main task was to research and write a magazine showcasing local charities. I must have spoken to fifty or sixty different organisations over the years and every single one of them was inspiring in its own way. But what really struck me was the compassion which the majority of them showed not just to their clients but to the friends and families of their clients and, perhaps most notably, to the people who wished their clients harm.

They all understood that to raise awareness - to gain the public support and to raise the funds they needed - they couldn't go around telling people, "You're flat out nasty because you don't like single mothers/homeless people/drug addicts/people with disabilities/starving cats." They had to look at the reasons why the public was scared or suspicious or dismissive of their clients and work to address those, often deeply ingrained, beliefs.

Empathy is something which we on the left like to think that we're good at. We're nice people. We support equal rights and the alleviation of poverty. Our core value is that everybody deserves dignity. We are good people. We may not be so smug as to say it, but we believe that our opinions make us better than those bigots on the right.

But I think that this can be a dangerous attitude to have. It might be easy to assume that everyone on the right is naive, uneducated and overly influenced by the tabloid press but there are plenty of very intelligent, very successful people over there, firmly convinced of their own intolerant attitudes. If we don't understand their desire to protect their families or their deeply ingrained belief that we are each responsible for fulfilling our own goals or simply their blissful lack of awareness of just how quickly and how easily life can become tough for people who don't have a big, thick cushion of savings, we can't hope to make them understand our own side of the story.

Too often, I see smart people, empathic people on the left dismiss anyone who holds an opposing view as "evil". That's it. That's the whole argument. The wrongness of the other person's beliefs is so clear to us that anyone who can't see that must be inherently bad.

But if a person is inherently bad, what hope is there of changing them? If we dismiss a huge chunk of the population as either "evil" or stupid, we rule out any chance of influencing their opinions; it's only when we accept that most people mean well that we can hope to change their view of what "well" means or of which groups to extend that good will to.

And, increasingly, I'm seeing those of us over here on the left being swept up in lazy generalisations and social media hysteria.

There are accepted views we are expected to hold. We know, without question, that big corporations are bad (even when they treat their staff well and have laudable charitable campaigns) and that local stores are good (even when they take a rather loose approach to employment law and taxation). We simultaneously believe that something must be done to tackle the severe housing shortage (doesn't the government care about the homeless?) and that all new housing projects are ugly and unwelcome (not on my doorstep!). Certainly, in Aberdeen, there is a belief that anything the city council suggests must be a deeply flawed idea (although why all of the councillors would be so intent on destroying the city they live in, I'm not entirely sure).

And there are knee jerk reactions all over Twitter. We are quick to attack when visible feminists don't phrase their arguments exactly how we would have phrased ours. There is outrage when we think supermarkets are profiting by exploiting war veterans or by trying to sell us "ideal for the foodbank!" canned goods followed by quiet retreat when we realise that these were well intended campaigns run in conjunction with national charities. Too often I see people explode with rage at politicians or celebrities only to realise that they've been taken in by a prank account or a quote is being tweeted around out of context.

So what am I saying?

I'm saying let's slow down. Let's fact check before we retweet. Let's find in depth articles which explore the situation before we accept a 140 character statement at face value. Let's question every negative assertion and character assassination before we make it public.

But mostly, let's work from an assumption that most people mean no harm.

Sure, some of them are selfish or intolerant of others because they don't see that those others are real human beings with their own need to protect their own loved ones. But, equally, we need to understand that people with opposing views are real human beings with their own need to protect their own loved ones.

Insulting them isn't going to change that. Nor should it. We shouldn't be expecting anybody to stop caring about their own friends and family; what we should be doing is encouraging them to widen the circle of people that they consider worthy of protection and to question their perceptions of threat.

And, no, I know that patience and empathy won't change every mind, either. I've had enough debates to know how stubbornly views are held - theirs; yours; my own. But if we want the country - the world - to be a better, more empathic, more supportive place, then we need to be better, more empathic and more supportive.

You don't lead by telling someone, "You're evil." You lead by setting a good example. If the right's good example is getting rid of everything they perceive to be a threat, our good example is facing up to the scary stuff and saying, "Turns out we're all just human after all."

13 December 2014

My Birthday

Stack of books

Yesterday was my birthday.

I'm 36 now which surprises me because I've spent the last year convinced I was 36 already. That said, I gave up worrying about what age I am when I was in my mid-twenties and realised it was too late to be one of those teen prodigy novelists; I could also rant for quite some time about people's insistence on saying things like, "Twenty-one again, eh?" to women, as though the passing of time is something which should shame and embarrass us. But I'll skip that for today.

Today, I'll just bask in having had a quiet, relaxed day of feeling loved.

I received a stack of gorgeous books, assorted means of keeping myself warm, some chocolates and a gold elephant teapot which I had hinted about VERY HEAVILY on Facebook (so heavily I was a little concerned I might receive six of them. But not overly so. Because a herd of gold elephant teapots would be an amazing decorative touch, right?).

Me with piles of presents
First cartoon in "Tiny Book of Tiny Stories volume 1"
Gold elephant teapot

Our friend, Graeme, has the same birthday as me and, because Steve's birthday was a week ago and Graeme's wife, Laura's, birthday is next week, the four of us went out for a December Babies' Brunch.

What with the current state of my back, there was some discussion about having the brunch at our place but I really, strongly, badly, urgently wanted to leave the house once on my week off. We decided to go to Giraffe in Union Square, the theory being that there is plenty of parking so I wouldn't have to walk far. Well, the short amount of walking was pretty awful but the passenger seat in Laura's car is the most comfortable thing I've sat on in about a month so: win some, lose some. The meal was fun.

Steve and me in Giraffe

And a huge shout out to Steve for not only buying me a box of chocolate coated marzipan (he hates marzipan; he doesn't want to share; it's mine all mine) but also for getting me a banana birthday cake (he hates bananas but ate his slice without pulling a single disgusted face).

I think that man's a keeper.

Cake and candles on vintage plate

10 December 2014

On Men, Impending Parenthood and Gender Roles Within the Modern Home

Steve and I are on holiday this week but our original plans of doing DIY and leaving the house now and then have been scuppered by me putting my back out.

Me putting my back out isn’t a huge surprise. I’ve been having trouble with it since the first trimester; I’ve been to the pregnancy physiotherapist; I’ve got support clothing and special exercises but the professionals have never pretended that it would get anything other than worse as the pregnancy progressed.

Three things are getting me through this:
  1. An awareness of how lucky I am to be pregnant at all.
  2. The knowledge that, at this point, I have no choice but to grit my teeth and wait it out.
  3. Steve.
It’s Steve that I want to write about today. Steve, and fathers-to-be in general. I’ll moan about the aches and pains some other time.

Because the fact is: as hard as this is for me, it’s hard for Steve, too. He’s the one having to get up in the middle of the night to help me out of bed (because I need to pee; because I need to walk off the worst of the hip pain). He’s having to dry my legs after I shower and help me get dressed. He’s having to make me cups of tea and hot water bottles (because I can’t lift the kettle) and give me seemingly endless back rubs.

More than that: he’s having to do all the housework. Not some. Not half. Not a sizeable chunk. All of it.

And he’s doing it all without moaning.

This doesn’t surprise me, of course. I wouldn’t have chosen to have a child with him if I didn’t think he was a good, stable, patient person. But, still, it’s a lot that he’s taking on and I’m hugely grateful to him for doing it without either complaining or preening.

But I wish that all of the pregnancy and parenting advice thought as highly of him as I do.

Pregnancy information is, understandably, largely geared towards the mother. It focuses on the changes happening to her body and her choices when it comes to labour and the reasons she may or may not choose to breastfeed. There’s not a lot there for the dads.

And now that I’m reading up on pregnancy-related hip and back problems, I’m finding out why: because a lot of the information providers are harbouring some (hopefully) outdated notions about men.

“Avoid doing the dishes!” they tell me. “Show your partner how to do housework! Train him to pull his weight!”

Show him how to do housework? Train him to pull his weight? What decade were these information websites written it?

It’s 2014 and Steve knows how to scrub the shower.

Steve

To be totally upfront here: I do do most of the housework, most of the time. This is because Steve works much longer hours than I do and, to me, it seems only reasonable than the person spending four to five more hours a day in the flat gives up ten more minutes of each day to keep the place clean and tidy.

Steve would also admit that his tolerance for mess is a lot higher than mine. I’m more likely to be bothered by the misplaced shoes and the denuded toilet roll tubes and, therefore, to put them away.

But he knows how to do the dishes and how to clean the toilet and how to put the bins out. He does his own laundry. He does almost all of the cooking. He is perfectly capable of doing every bit of housework that ever needs doing. And he does it without prompting and without expecting gratitude or praise.

Because that’s what grown ups should be doing, regardless of their gender.

The majority of the couples we know are in similar situations. They both know how to take responsibility for their home. They have devised a routine and a division of labour which suits their own circumstances. They each take responsibility for what they have decided is their fair share and they do it without making a big deal about how modern and considerate the man is for “helping the little lady” put the bins out.

Of course, I realise that there are exceptions. There are a handful of women I know who complain about their inefficient partners, who do all of the housework and who loudly resent it.

Their partners are partly to blame because their partners are adults now and should know better. It’s difficult to recognise lazy behaviour in ourselves and it’s difficult to change those bad habits, even when we do see them, but, as grown men, they have a responsibility to ask themselves whether they are playing their part in the relationship and to alter their attitudes as appropriate.

Their parents (or their parents’ generation) are partly to blame. I know several people who were brought up in traditional households, where the mother stayed at home to clean and nobody thought to teach the boys how the washing machine worked. Those sons have had to make conscious choices to learn how to take care of themselves; those daughters have had to make conscious choices to build different family structures. And the majority of them have done so.

But women – and society as a whole – are also partly to blame. Because when we talk about our lazy partners as though their behaviour is typical, when talk about “having” to do their ironing for them, when we act as though they should be thanked and babied every time they make an effort, we reinforce our own acceptance of the situation.

I don’t have easy answers here. I’ve had lazier partners and I’ve despaired of them and I’ve not worked out the best approach for addressing the issue.

But I do know that talking about it as if it’s normal is not effective.

Saying, “Well, that’s how it is in my household and lots of other households,” doesn’t help to improve things. It doesn’t prompt the men to question their behaviour; it doesn’t push the women to expect more; it encourages us to shrug and think, “It’s not fair but what are you going to do?”

I like to think I’m preaching to the converted here. I like to think those of you in couples have worked out how to share the housework in ways which work for you; I like to think the women never find themselves thanking the men for their efforts or feeling guilty for asking them to put their own socks in the wash; I like to think your male partners do their share without ever stopping to feel smug about it.

But I wanted to rant.

Because why am I reading professional, sometimes official, guidance aimed at mothers-to-be which implies that their male partners are useless, lazy, inefficient apes who don’t know how to scrub a pan and have to be guilt tripped into taking good care of the woman they presumably love?

Why, when those couples are about to enter into a stressful, exhausting, total upheaval of their routines, are they being told that the men are hopeless and the women will, effectively, be mothering both father and child? Who does this benefit?

It’s time to ditch those lazy stereotypes. It’s time to update our notions of normality. It’s time to not only include fathers-to-be in the future of their family but to talk about them – and to them – as if they have recognised and accepted responsibility for their own partner and their own child without being patronised or prompted or pleaded with.

It’s time to start talking as though men are capable and conscientious.

It’s time to stop talking as though the good men are the exceptions.

And that is me ranted out. But, for a new father’s take on life after birth, I recommend reading my friend, Dave’s, blog post over here.

09 December 2014

Festive Flowers from Floric

Roses

How pretty are these roses?!

Recently, Floric offered to send me a bunch of flowers from their festive selection and I jumped at the chance - especially as I realised they would be arriving the week of my birthday! They might be intended as Christmas gifts but us December babies need to grab our share of the sparkles where we can.

Red rose
Roses

As it happened, the timing couldn't have been better. I woke up on Saturday morning in an enormous amount of [pregnancy-related] pain; I couldn't stand up without Steve's help and I couldn't sit in one position for more than twenty minutes without wanting to cry.

A huge bunch of flowers arriving with the morning's post went some way to cheering to me up.

Peach rose
Red rose
Vase with notecard

Floric had offered me a choice of bouquets; I opted for the autumnal roses because I like bright colours and I knew I had a vase which would suit them but I was tempted by the Christmas tulips (because I do so love tulips) and the sparkly, wintery "Jack Frost" bouquet (how to make your home feel Christmassy in one floral step).

Would I recommend them? Absolutely! The flowers are lasting very well, the prices are reasonable and you can select the most convenient date for delivery.

Yellow roses
Roses
Vase full of roses

I try to make a habit of sending my gran flowers now and then (in fact, we told her the baby news by sending her a big bunch of red, orange and yellow roses not dissimilar to this one!) and I'll be keeping Floric in mind for the next time.

Come to think of it, we haven't got round to sending her a Christmas card yet - perhaps this year we'll step things up a notch and send her some flowers as well.

How about you? Who was the last person you sent a big bunch of flowers? 

Roses

Roses c/o Floric. Thanks, folks - they really made me smile!