Passing Comets

Picture from here

Picture from here

Just home. I went to a wake with my parents. They have two to go to today. A young man of 27 has died of Leukaemia after a recurring hard, hard battle of 20 years. I was at Search youth group at the same time as him ten years ago. My parents and his are friends. The house was packed. His mother, devastated but smiling and hugging. She wanted it to be over for him, but she didn’t want her eldest child to go. His tall, funny, friendly father now sombre but thankful for mercies. My mum and dad keep saying that they are ‘salt of the earth’ people. And they are.

Young men guarded the door and wiped away tears. You search for the words, get in the way. There’s not much to say. I know that his suffering and his friendship and his life will have touched others, and I hope that he’s not in pain, that he is happy and at peace. I hope love and prayers will envelope his Mother, Father and three siblings, and they will have the strength to go on, always remembering.

My only clear memory of this brave man is from my first induction weekend to Search Youth Group. There’s a special prayer time, after all the fun and the show of the entertainment, and everyone settles on the floor, late at on a Saturday night with candles burning before bed for prayers. It was always my favourite time if I’m honest. He sat on a stack of chairs, high above the rest of us (where he no doubt shouldn’t have been!) and eventually spoke into the dark about the cancer that almost killed him as a child. I’m not sure if his brave tears were pain, fear, or relief. He was 17 then. He was in long-term remission if I recall, and he was grateful. It always stayed with me, I don’t really remember his words, but his emotion and the huge ordeal he had faced, and unknowingly had yet to face. The example of speaking out and of voicing thankfulness and maybe fear.

I don’t feel qualified to talk about him, and I’m truly not jumping on the bandwagon or attention seeking in any way. Being confronted with such sad death wont leave my mind and heart and I’d like him to be remembered. It’s devastating when someone so young dies, and after so much pain. I truly believe that nothing is wasted and there are many reasons, and someday we will know.

Maybe I will someday share this with his family, or maybe it’s rambling and selfish. Maybe we could all do with remembering what really matters. ‘Focus on loving’ is what my dear Mammy says and I agree for once.

A lovely man who sang in the choir at mass for many years died today, also after a short illness with brain cancer. At the wake the young man’s Dad told us of another Derry man who died today aged 29, six weeks after his wedding, from sudden cancer.

Last night myself and my bestest buddy found ourselves free at the same time and went out for a drink last-minute. We just were able to talk about everything, which I actually don’t know has ever happened! Despite being a little afraid of half of Wetherspoons knowing my business (gin=loud) I feel better. And closer to her, and just some magic human connection that we all need. Grateful to have her and loved ones in my life.

Yesterday at the amazing Women of the World event that has come from Southbank Centre London to Derry twice now, I recognised a woman and it took me a while to place her. She’s a Life Coach that I went to a few times last year. I had almost forgotten about it. Immediately I felt dread in case she saw me. My life isn’t looking like much at the minute, specifically career wise. Then after a beat, I realised that the main things that I was struggling and discussing with her, and giving me much pain – are things that I have totally turned around. I said this to her, and she ‘squee-ed’ at my going for the Journalism, leaving the job and all the relationship stuff. But she nodded knowingly ‘I thought that might happen’ ‘I’m so happy!’ and although she wants to take the credit, I left feeling happier. Maybe I don’t have it all figured out at 25, maybe I worry and beat myself up so much, it’s looking like I’m going to have to eat humble pie and go into retail for a bit. But I’m blessed and loved, I do my best – everything does happen for a reason. When I’m not crying at my keyboard I do ok!

I raise my mug of tea to good people gone, families’ strength, life and loving and friendship.

I’m just a big bag of emotions and I hope I don’t hurt anyone or say too much. Feel free to let me know.

A Visitor for the Funky Kitsch Inn

I have been meaning to post this all week, just a little busy so hoping it’s not too late. Wonderful local cupcake company The Kitsch Inn and cake extraordinaries Funky Cakes last year merged to make The Funky Kitsch Inn, which still stocks and creates fabulous and yummy creations but now runs a studio which welcomes birthday parties, workshops, hen do’s, afternoon tea, guest visitors and events where you will learn techniques to create stunning cupcakes and yummy treats.

Just over a week ago they welcomed celebrity of the vintage wedding cake world Tracy James to their studio for several masterclasses. The classes were booked up straight away and a busy, amazing and rewarding week was had by all at The Funky Kitsch Inn.

I wrote this piece about the visit :

Cotton & Crumbs arrive in Derry!

This week saw worldwide renowned ‘Cotton & Crumbs’ cake creator Tracy James host two sold out cake decorating classes in Derry.

Tracy touched down in Northern Ireland for the first time, choosing The Funky Kitsch Inn cake studio in Derry-Londonderry to deliver a series of cake decorating master classes. Her next stop is Barcelona!

 

Cotton & Crumbs is an award winning cake company based in England. Tracy is renowned worldwide for her vintage inspired cake creations; setting the trend in wedding cake and cupcakes. When she isn’t baking the next many –tiered delight she travels the world, teaching the tricks of the trade to cake bakers and hobbyists.

 

Laura Cairns from The Funky Kitsch Inn said ‘Tracy is an inspiration to small cake businesses; the ease with which she has grown her home based business to achieve world wide acclaim is beyond impressive. Having been self taught, she teachers her skills with pride and passion and we are utterly delighted to have her here in Derry.’

 

The group in the Tracy James master class with their handiwork at The Funky Kitsch Inn, Derry. Photo from Cotton and Crumbs.

The group in the Tracy James master class with their handiwork at The Funky Kitsch Inn, Derry. Photo from Cotton and Crumbs.

 

Anticipating the week of specialist cake crafting, a status on The Funky Kitsch Inn Facebook declared, ‘What Tracy doesn’t know about sugar flowers isn’t worth knowing!’

 

Comments from participants of the master classes have been flowing in, The Rowan Tree Cakes said ‘I’m very happy with the results of my course at Funky Kitsch Inn in Derry by fabulous Tracy James from Cotton and Crumbs.’

 

Iliana from The Rowan Tree Cakes, Ballymena commended and thanked both The Funky Kitsch Inn and Tracy James saying it was ‘a fantastic experience.’

cottoncakes

Some of the final creations from the masterclass. Thanks to The Rowan Tree Cakes for photo.

Some of the final creations from the masterclass. Thanks to The Rowan Tree Cakes for photos.

 

She said, ‘I found the class extremely helpful for bakers like me trying to improve skills and give to their cake a modern make over.
I was impressed by the level of detail and finesse that Tracy put into every petal and piping on the cakes.
I definitely took a lot in from this course, it was a refreshing experience overall.’  (The Rowan Tree Cakes )
Check ‘The Funky Kitsch Inn’ Facebook page to see photos of the workshop and finished cakes from the special Cotton and Crumbs master classes. There were lots of regrets from people who missed out on the workshop this time, but keep checking the page for more classes, competitions and maybe Tracy’s return!

 

https://www.facebook.com/thefunkykitschinn

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cotton-Crumbs/47401303755

 

Halloween cupcakes from The Funky Kitsch Inn:

halloweencupcakes

 

They also designed my blog’s first anniversary cupcakes that I treated myself to! Two years ago now. Why ever not?!

These still get talked about in my house! Yum!

These still get talked about in my house! Yum!

 

The Great Divide

So, I logged on to wordpress today for some inspiration, I don’t like to let a month pass without blogging, and I was met by this question from The Daily Prompt. I invite you to take part also also and link back to the original.

When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?

I almost always choose fiction. My weakness and unfortunately my most commonly read books are contemporary fiction novels, paperbacks. I recently realised I have about four boxes of them in my (parents’) attic and although they will never be worth lots of money or look very impressive on my future fantasy bookshelves, they are words and stories that have kept me company and helped me along they way in life.

I often think I need to read more classics, or big statement books, sometimes I feel out of my depth when discussing books seriously, over wine, but reading is reading and I might get there someday. I’m only 25. Yes, only. Shut up.

Slide3Image from here.

 

I know it’s a cliché but I think I love fiction for escapism. Even now. Especially now. I’m applying for jobs or feeling guilty for not. I’m considering moving back to my university city as my sister’s got a fancy hospital job. Since Saturday night I have been devouring Gone Girl the ‘Thriller of the Year’ from 2012 by Gillian Flynn. It’s mostly to get it finished before my movie buff boyfriend wants to see the film, and censorship in case there are horrible rapes or something that I’d rather not see thank you very much. It’s addictive and I am loving escaping into it. I don’t know if I have read this type of book written by a woman before. It’s a clever story and a refreshing angle!

However, I think I like non-fiction more than I realise. On a fun night out with my Journalism course last year, I got into a conversation with one of they guys who said he usually reads non-fiction. I kind of said I never do, but I do enjoy a good biography and I got carried away talking about Letters of Note (Or Correspondence deserving of a wider audience)  compiled by Shaun Usher or the PostSecret books. So maybe I do.

But at the end of the day my little bookworm’s soul loves a good story and the best ones appeal to my creative side and make me want to create something as beautiful, and encourage me not to let go of that dream! A fat novel, tea and chocolate are usually a good treat and tonic for me. So fiction it is, what about you?