Saturday, 17 January 2015

A mouse took a walk though the deep dark wood

Everyone knows this, I love the Gruffalo. Not so much the Gruffalo's child, but the first book, it was amazing. I used to read it to Alexandros all the time. We've got a battered board book, and it was great because from six months he could turn the pages and chew the corners. I'd recomend this to anyone with a child, it's such a sweet story and kids love the rhymes.
The book was so popular they made a second one. It was okay, but I felt it was pretty much the same story but in reverse. And more Christmas themed.
Then they made the film. I saw this when Alexandros was really small, it was great. I loved the voice actors, and the fact it was a mother telling the story to her children really touched me, as that's what I'd been doing. I'm waaaaay too sentimental.
And the amount to tat, or merchendise as it's really called, it shocking. I've got a figer puppet set and a trunki. And this is only part of it... there's colouring sets, pens, and these two little guys. The puppet really tempts me with the finger puppets, it adds more proportion. And the toy, it's cute. Heheh.

The thing with this is the parents like the story because it's quick, and easy to remember word for word. It's got the classic monster, and a hero. Classic animals, and a wood, which can be scary as it was in the film. It's also easy for the child to remember. Which I guess is why they like it.

These were the finger puppets I got. They're cute, I did another post on them a while back. I like them but they're expensive for what they are.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Is it over?

I really hope this is it. The death toll has reached a high enough number, the first attack saw to that.

Four more hostages in this anti-semantic attack. What's wrong with the Jews? They don't do anything.

But seeing the pictures of my city on the news. It's weird. I see the road signs that I know so well.

There's a national reunion on Sunday, I want to go, but it's a prime target if there's others waiting.

This could so easily become France's 9/11, France's 7/7. 1/15. Attacks for at least three days. How many terrorists are out there? This city is huge, so are the suburbs, and there's a big Islamic population, within that population are these extremeists, how many have been inspired while we've been horrified?

I'm thankful for the police, the military, and the way they've organised themselves so well and so quickly. Well done. They've minimised the death toll. Without them it would have been so much worse.

But with France still reeling, life won't go back to normal just yet.

Fucking Terrorists.

Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie. It's not everywhere, but it's appearing. I wasn't expecting it above a hospital though. People are acknowledging these attacks. But today seems to be worse. I didn't want to be in this morning so I said I had my classes just to get out, and I went to Chatelet for the free wifi. Because. I know those gunmen are still at large, but early morning is an unlikely time to attack. So I spent a couple of hours walking around while waiting to go annoy my psychologist on another grey January day. And they were saying the Montrouge attack was random, so I was hoping it was just a small isolated group of psycos.
The messages in the metro were playing more than normal, like yesterday, but there seemed to be more people today. I was hoping things were going back to normal. After my meeting I went back to Chatelet while a friend of mine was trying to get out, when I get a text from her saying they've got hostages in the 19eme area in the north of Paris. I phoned my mum hoping she'd seen something on BBC news, and she said to me that there were hostages in the south of Paris, at Porte de Vincennes. Near where I live. I decided fuck it. I was going back. But I walked past the screen showing a message for the line 1 (terminus Château de Vincennes) and it said that a part of the tram 3 (passes through there) and a chunk of the line 1 were closed for 'security reasons' as in, the attack. So I went onto the line 14 that I need, and on the screens, for the first time ever, is the big banner (all blurry) saying "don't leave your bags alone" which I've never seen before.
I had a complete spazzy moment where I dived off the train after seeing a man with one of those north african muslim hats fumbling with his rucksack. I just couldn't stay on that train. Not after 7/7. Too close. It's the scariest journey back I've ever had, and I think I won't be going out until I work tomorrow, and I'll be walking if possible. When I did get back, the screen that always says "the staff from the line 14 wish you a nice day" had been wiped and replaced with a message saying "don't leave your bags" and normally when they have work they keep the nice day message and just put the work underneath. It's scary. They also search each train as it comes into the terminus. Everyone is worried.

And I've heard they've found the gunmen, but the hostages is a friend of some sort trying to bargain for the release of the Charlie murderers. All the details are sketchy. Yes I have a smart phone, but getting the info isn't as easy as you'd think.

I didn't sleep last night. I'm wondering if it's stress from the terrorism or what, but there's something tired about this face.

It's weird living in this stressful environment, where you know there's a real danger but not where or when it'll strike if it'll strike a target or at random. Or if you'll be caught in the crossfire in your everyday life.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Life in Paris with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of January 2015

A new year, the first month of it, and this happens. Yesterday 12 people were shot dead, others were injured in the name of the religion in pieces, Islam. Seriously, fuck that, that is not how to behave in the name of your religion. Also why is extremism a predominately Muslim thing? I've met loads who are okay, who are great people, but why are there so many terrorists tainting the overall picture?

I was out doing the sales, it was the first day of them yesterday. I'd been at Chatelet with a friend, in the very centre of Paris, then we'd gone off to the north to see somebody else. Although I had my phone I didn't hear anything about it until I had a text from someone at church saying "Pray for the 12 victims of the terrorist attack" someone who I was with said it was at Republique. There's 5 metro lines going through there and as someone who grew up in the aftermath of 9/11 and the 7/7 attacks my first thought was a bomb. And we were heading back towards to metro to go somewhere else.

It sounds strange but my instinct was "maybe I should walk to the other side of Paris rather than get the metro". But when I saw that it had apparently been a targeted shooting I felt a bit safer. It was difficult to find out what was going on as nobody seemed to know anything. Nothing awas online, we had to wait for the info.

And worse still, there's two psychopaths, armed, free in the area. There's loads of people in Paris, loads of flats, and a very big Muslim population. What's to say they're nothing hanging out at a friend's and waiting to target someone else?

Today I was out early, during the rush hour, but there seemed to be fewer people. I had a meeting at 9.30am, meaning I needed to be out about 8.30am, I had to go through the metro at Republique and to me it seemed quieter. I went to Chatelet again afterwards and it still seemed quiet. I also noticed there's more armed police in the metro, patrolling, and watching. There's some kind of alert around.

A little after thought, at this meeting someone came in saying "hello, I'm Charlie" the je suis Charlie thing that's going around. I saw it in a bus too. But it's not everywhere.

At lunchtime, 12pm exact there was a minute silence, all the traffic in the metro stopped. It was good to see a sign of respect like that. However they're also hugely cautious, the "don't leave your bags" message rarely plays, and sometimes only in French/English, now it's being played every 15 minutes in at least five languages.

This afternoon I drifted off to another appointment in the suburbs. It was about average for the number of people I saw, which was reassuring, but afterwards when I went to the shopping mall they were searching bags at every entry. You couldn't get in without being searched. The mall was busy though.

I got the metro back, and it seemed to have the normal number of people, however the tram was almost empty.

Personally, with two armed psycos out, I'm avoiding going out, but I hate being in this place.

There is definitely a tenseness in the air. And people don't seem to know what's going on. It's kind of scary, but personally, where the attack was targeted, it seems a little less scary that the 7/7 random bombings. They chose their victims, where as fate chose the victims of 7/7.

But really, Islam, if you want to be seen as peaceful, whatever you're doing that breeds extremists, stop it. As an outsider, it doesn't make me a fan of your faith.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Hogmanay 2014-2015 outfit/makeup of the day

Another outfit/makeup post. This is what I wore to the Hogmanay party I went to. I wasn't sure if it was going to be causal or formal or anything, because it was organised by another shelter thing like this one, but a larger one with more people. The thing is I have nice clothing so I might as well wear it, with some more natural makeup. I felt stupid on arrival though because some of the residents were just wearing their PJs, well, I saw two or three out of the people doing so.
I really like how this look turned out, although my fringe was annoying. It wouldn't look good, and when I pinned and clipped it I was worried it looked weird so I took it back out. As you can see it's a little messy. So the outfit I wore isn't that visible in the photos, but it was this shirt I got for £10 in this Next sale. A black blazer, black skinny jeans from primark and a pair of black ballerina shoes. I would have worn my high heel boots, but I had to leave them behind at my mum's.
It took me around 2 hours to get ready, clothing, makeup and hair. To begin with I was just going to wear it down, but it kept going frizzy because of the nylon shirt. I thought the easiest solution was to put it in the doughnut bun. But all of this was after I'd done my makeup.
For the makeup I used brown, earthy tones. I used a Jelly Pong Pong eyeliner, and the Sleek Au Natural palette. I also used a Max Factor black/brown mascara, and a red lipstick, to bring out the flowers on my shirt. I wore silver tone jewellery because my jacket and bag have silver zips. Although in one ear I have a 4mm stretcher so I only wore one earring.
I did put on nail varnish too. A black by Max Factor. I also had a very pretty hospital bracelet due to a second asthma attack within a month. I hate winter. I had one on the 23rd of December and one the morning of the 31st. Yay. But to be fair I've had a flu like thing.
And this photo was sent to an anonymous gay friend who said it was hot. So, I was proud of that.
Otherwise, this was it. I did play around with the fringe, but it wasn't that manageable. 

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Gruffalo Finger Puppets

This was one of the presents I got for Alexandros this year. The gruffalo has always been a great kids book, at least in my opinion. It's short, it's got a lot of nice pictures, and it rhymes which makes it easier for kids to memorise. Technically this is the gruffalo's child, but I don't see any major difference myself and I'm thinking I can use this to act out both.

So you've got a little tree pouch, that's big enough to store the puppets in so they don't all get lost, and five figer puppets. The mouse, the guffalo, the fox, the owl and the snake. They're very cute, each one made with a fabric that represents the likeness and it's obvious who each one is. I think they're very well detailed for something so small. And they fit on my small hands without too much trouble, so they should fit on an older child's to an adults hands without a problem. Everything is very nice and soft.

I got very lucky getting this half price with a lightning deal before Christmas. Otherwise I feel it's a very expensive gift. Personally I wouldn't pay more than £10-15 for this, but if you're looking for something for a major gruffalo fan this is a real thing to get.

I'm not sure how well Alexandros will react to this present, but we'll see. He might like it, I think he will. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Next and Primark sales

 I got lucky again! Sales hit, right on Boxing Day, and I was around to profit. Yay! So I got some more 2-3 clothing, and some 3-4 and a bit of 4-5. Annoyingly some of the things I really liked weren't in the right size, and Next sales are always so busy that you have to grab it and look later. I actually had someone try and grab something out of my hand while I was holding it, but I did pretty well. I've got a few things to take back though. So £300 and four big bags later, this is what I've got.

Some bits were for me, but I'll write about those another time.

First up is the possibly girls' coat. It was reduced to £5 in Primark, it was nice, and it was 2-3. It would do. I really like it but I'm now wondering if it's girls' or feminine boys'.

The thing is it's blue, I like it, it works.

So we're using it. And I love foxes.

 A few of these things were fully priced. It just worked out like that, I didn't plan to spend a lot of money, but it happened. While wondering around in Primark I found another one of those Super Baby t-shirts, with a cape, and it was cute. And the red jeans! I love the colourful jeans.

I worry a lot that he won't have enough clothing for the next year or so, that's why I'm stocking up.
This was great. It's a fleecy knitted hoodie, but it's so thick I think we could use it as a light coat if need be. The lining is so soft.

And it would probably go with some things from Asda I got the other day.

I love knit wear. And Sandy seems to feel cold, once we were in a warm room and I took his long sleeved top off to leave him in a long sleeved vest while I was in a short sleeved shirt, and he starts saying "cold" it's funny in a way.
 I got this body warmer, thinking he could wear it if it's a little chilly or similar. Not sure how useful it'll be but it's got dinosaurs. I don't really have much that'll go with it, but it does go with these blue trousers that I found.

They're a bit think, but the colour is bright, and the waists are adjustable.
And a last pair of jeans in 2-3 years. They were reduced, I guess I can't have too many of them. But they are a little light weight.

And thermal socks. I didn't get many socks because the socks from last year are still fitting. But they're normal weight. I don't think he'll really need thermal socks, and I should probably knit some, but for now he's got these. If they prove popular we'll see.
 This I love. It's Next, they have some really good things. Like a shirt with a rocket on it. It also has this little map on the back, which is cute. But he's not really into space, that's my thing.

 I did eventually get a biker jacket, the one I wanted originally was around 50€ and in the end I decided it was too expensive so I gave up on it.

Then I got this for £13! YES! But it's 3-4, and I have the 4-5 too, I'll be taking it over and rolling the sleeves up. I've got one that I wear daily, so I'd like to match him a bit.

It's not the warmest jacket, but with a jumper under it he'll be fine. Or he could wear it in the spring and autumn months.

 This I loved too. It was a shirt, with a tie, and a waist coat. A bit of a gimmick, but pretty cool. And very cheap. It's my kind of style. I got this in two sizes as well.

A 3-4 jumper, it's acrylic/wool blend. But very colourful fair isle.

My mum liked it too.

The argument is we could have knitted it, but it would take longer, and it would be less colourful and this and that.

So we bought this because it was on sale.

He has much more than he needs now.
 Another cute thing. A little shirt with a bow tie. Cheap, cute and a little formal.

I'm trying to get him a girlfriend, so he needs to dress well.
I love this fair isle seasonal jumper. It's a bit late in the year, he'll have another month in it I guess. But I'm really hoping it'll fit next winter because he's so thin.

If not then it's not too bad, my mum said these kinds of things sell at the NCT sales.
 I got a pair of t-shirts too, a long sleeve dinosaur top that made me laugh. Very boyish colours and kind of classic.

The other one is red and has cars, he loves cars, so he'll love that. I hope.
In the end I got the PJs from Primark, I got three pairs, on saying "This is what awesome looks like" because my boy IS what awsome looks like. A pair with rockets, a dark pair, and a pair with a face on them.

Some were £4 a pair, others £5. I like the button up PJs in the middle, they're really soft feeling.
 I had a coat that was in this colour scheme, but once I looked at it at home I realised I'd grabbed a 2-3 year hanger that had an 18-24 month coat on it. So that'll be going back.

The shirt is nice and thick, as is the cardigan.

It'll be good for the cold snap that should happen sometime if we get a winter this year. I don't know what to buy any more where the seasons are out of sync.
A pair of 4-5 jeans, with suspenders. I wanted 3-4, but they didn't have them.

Next jeans are my favourite if I can get them in the sale, so I'm moving onto getting bigger sizes.
 And some big t-shirts, with cars/tractor things on them.

Because if I can get the things in ahead it just seems easier.
This too is too big. I liked the colour, so I thought it would get used.

The thing is now I have this I'll be looking for a matching coat for when he'll be using it.

Hoodie and short sleeve top. Unisex I guess, but it works. I like grey and black. It'll work. I found some shoes that go with it too.
I got an EU 23, because he's currently in a 22. The thing is I never see the shoes I got him, he keeps wearing leather shoes, and as a vegetarian I really don't like it.

I've tried explaining it but nobody listens. So I've got some thicker shoes. And these looked about right. At least they'll be too big.
And all of this is to go back, for various reasons.

A few of the Next things didn't come up as the labelled price, so we're going to ask about it or get the money back. And some of it my mum grabbed but I wasn't too keen on.

My real advice on saving money when buying kids clothing in the sales? Work out what you need before you go, and stick to that. Don't get extra things because they're cute or cheap. It's too easy.

And seasonal stuff isn't great either. Which is why the elf and snowman jumpers are going back.