Yes I know it’s corporate bullshit – but

Love Candles

Line the pockets of the card shop day…

Sell chocolate at extortionate prices day…..

Put too much meaning in a bunch of flowers day….

Valentines Day. I know it’s all corporate bullshit designed to make money, but still, I like it. Or I would if we celebrated, my husband doesn’t. He doesn’t see the point. Because of all the reasons I pointed out above and more, but I can’t help being disappointed.

He laughs at me for being so soppy, it’s good natured but he’s bemused that I feel the need to express my love for him on this one day – when he knows I love him, and I know he loves me all year round, so I don’t bother any more. We’ve never made a a fuss of valentines day, we hardly make a fuss of each other, dating is something we’ve never done. Meals out yes, we do that of plenty, usually because it’s a birthday, or it’s got too late to cook (this happens more than I should admit)  – But those surprising, romantic gestures for each other we rarely make for each other.

We’ve been together 9 years. married nearly 2 and I can count one one hand the number of times I’ve been truly surprised by him – and those times have been truly special – They really have. So do I put too mush weight on Valentines day? Probably. Does knowing that make me want to celebrate any less? Unfortunately not. BUT  Do I love my husband, valentines or not. Definitely,

 

Apple Swirls

2 Bramley apples (I use golden delicious instead – leaves for a smoother puree), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
20g butter
30g caster sugar
Ground cinnamon (to taste)
1x 300g Puff Pasty sheet
3 tbsp raisins (I never measure just scatter to taste)
1 orange, zest and juice (I don’t use the Orange zest or juice)
50g Icing sugar

Place the apples, butter, caster sugar and cinnamon to taste in a small saucepan. Add 1 tbsp water, cover with a lid and place over a low heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Lay out the puff pastry sheet and spread the apple filling over, leaving a 1cm border down each long side. Scatter over the raisins and orange zest then roll it up, from the longer edge, into a cylinder. Cut the roll into 12 discs (I did 18 Kat time) and lay them on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes until puffed up and golden.

Meanwhile, combine the icing sugar with ¾ tbsp of orange juice (i use milk instead of juice). Once the mini apple pie bites are cooked, remove from the oven and drizzle with the icing.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

So much love & wedding bells

Last month I had the privilege of attending one of, if not the most beautiful wedding I have ever been invited to and to top it all I wasn’t just there as a guest,  I was bridesmaid for one of longest standing best friend (and honorary big brother) John and his brilliantly extroverted husband Mike.

I can not even begin to explain the amount of love that we all shared that day.

Every detail was exquisite and every face wore a smile and yesterday I got to relive it all as John & Mike dropped me a line to say their very talented photographer Hannah May (having shot a couple of weddings myself I can tell you now how very jealous I am of her work) – had delivered their photos!

If I can share just one image with you that sums up this entire day for me it would be this, So much happiness and fun in one snapshot – from left to right there’s Leanne, Me, John Mike and Sophie, or the crazy friends, the smiling grooms and the perturbed cousin….

JohnMike-1192resize

 

…I’ll always be grateful I got to share this day with them!

Congratulations again Mr & Mr Burton-Fuller, I love you both very much!

When is a rational argument an irrational thing?

Irrational behaviors of individuals include taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not yet occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly (such as crying hysterically), maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct such as problem intoxication, disorganization, or extravagance, and falling victim to confidence tricks,

A rational argument becomes an irrational thing – when you are talking to an irrational person because no matter how many times you attempt to talk something through you’ll just talk your self in circles and you’re wasting your time.

When someone has decided their view of the world is the ONLY view of the world, however bizarre and inaccurate, when they are prepared to make bold brash statements that has huge fall out – and are so unwilling to even attempt to meet you half way then to keep trying is irrational.

 

So – this hurts more than a just a little bit.

My son didn’t have a security blanket when he was younger. No scrap of blanket that we couldn’t wrangle from his grip, or a teddy we had to magic away in the night to wash and dry lest he realise it had disappeared, so I’ve never *really* understood the seeming emotional turmoil these youngsters went through when they favourite blankie was gone…..Until now.

In the last week my world has been turned upside down and my security blanket hasn’t just been taken away for a wash, it’s been stolen. Yanked from my grip with me kicking and screaming and I am completely and utterly devastated. My family – the most important thing in the world to me have been cut in two by just one person via a simple text message and it feels as though things can never be the same again.

I’m bereft with no solution in sight and the person who is the ONLY person who can move towards fixing this, is also the person who is is responsible for breaking it in the first place, and they’re so willingly oblivious to not only the pain they’ve caused me but the ramifications of their actions to us all they’re completely unprepared to even try and face what they’ve done.

I’m heartbroken over what all this could mean.

 

 

Working For Podnosh. But, What is it you do?

The other day I was asked where I worked – Podnosh I replied….which resulted in a  quizzical look and the follow up, “Huh – What do you do?”

This isn’t a unique response – I get it often when I respond to the “Where do you work?” question.  Podnosh – it just  doesn’t resonate with people as much as If I worked for a big retailer and so people can’t make the usual assumptions that they would if I replied “Sainsburys”.

So what is Podnosh – what do we do?

The simple answer would be “We teach people to use the internet”. It’s accurate, technically – but it down playing everything we stand for – and everything else we do.

We work towards making things better.  We do this  by teaching people to use digital skills and online tools to improve things for themselves, be this by building relationships,  teaching better communication skills or improving access to services –  and we’ll work with anyone. Individuals, big structured organisations or small community groups, and anything in between – anywhere that our support will help make a difference.

We’ve worked alongside individual community volunteers, business managers and staff, cabinet members, councillors and MP’s – and we work even better when we can bring these people together in the same room to learn together and improve their togetherness.

In the past we’ve worked with local authorities to improve perceptions of safety in neighbourhoods, and to improve access to information that will shape cities, with schools to help with online bullying issuesbrought people together to forge stronger communities and with councillors to open up the civic conversation to entire communities.

And that’s not even half of it – we’ve supported groups saving heritage building and Women’s groups reach a wider audience. We’ve worked with young people to make them feel part of a community and with scientists who just want to make the world a better place and so much more.

We’re also so very close to finishing developing an app that will really allow us to help people to tell the stories of how they are improving things for the people they work with too – the Podnosh Impact Assessment App. One of our clients Gateway have been using for a while – and we’ve already seen it make a difference in the way they are able to tell the stories of the people they support and the impact they have to their lives.

Making things better

Our company values are Think, Make A Difference and Give A Fuck and we work with those values in mind whatever we do.

Think: Can we help? Are these the right people to be working with? are we the right people for the job?

Make a difference: Will something be improved by our inclusion.

Give A Fuck: care – want to deliver the best we can – for ourselves and the people we work with.

So where do I work?  Podnosh.

What do I do? I think, I make a difference, I give a fuck! – and I’m really proud of that!

Heavy hearted

Yesterday we had a death in the family, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel. I shed a few tears last night and again while writing this but I can’t explain why. Was I crying for myself, for his children or for what might have been.

Richard Kelly, was my godfather, my dad’s best friend, ex husband of my cousin and father of 2.

We hadn’t spoken in years.

In 1985 when my Dad died, I didn’t just lose a father I lost an entire family. For reasons known only to them they chose to turn their backs on 2 little girls without a father. In my opinion some were just selfish, some were young with young families of their own and other priorities, others were too young to make the decision for themselves and took their lead from the adults.

I’ve never written about it much before because while of course my history has helped shape who I am today, it does not define me. I hold no bitterness or malice towards my family in fact when I got married last year some of my Dad’s side were there in the evening to celebrate with us, including Richard’s ex wife and daughter, because as an adult I have formed connections with them.

But, while Richard wasn’t there at the wedding or for milestones before, his presence was always a constant in my life. He was always in the background. He knew my entire family on both sides and and has always been a familiar name. Many, particularly the funny stories of my Dad start with his involvement. His children often spoke of him, and photos regularly appeared on facebook. In my early teens when I decided to try and connect with my paternal family, it was Richard I contacted and through him that I met my one aunt and a whole lot of other extended family members, we fell out of touch again, because as a teen I had other priorities and then life got in the way.

As an adult we reconnected briefly and made plans to meet once again but that fell through. Unfortunately it was while I was at a particularly low point myself andI thought that was because he didn’t care and didn’t really want to know. I made a decision to stop trying  but as time went on I always secretly thought that one day we’d meet. But one day never came, and now it never will. I regret not trying now, and I understand us not meeting wasn’t because of him, or me, but because of circumstance, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So who I am I crying for? The missed opportunities? Another connection to the Dad I barely knew disappearing? or through empathy for the terrible loss I know his children, family and friends are experiencing. Maybe it’s for all of these things, but through my tears I’ve made the decision to stop “not trying” –  there’s a whole lot of other people out there I need to try harder with and I don’t want there to be another time where the day can never come.