Roller coaster rides

Things have been a bit crazy around our house lately.

It’s our first school holidays, our younger boy, Taj, just started walking and their Nana came and spent a week here for Taj’s first birthday.

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None of these things in themselves turn your life upside down but all combined with being a crazy cake lady, it makes for a pretty full on couple of weeks. First of all, Taj turned one…. Being the crazy cake lady that I am I set myself quite a challenge. A 3D treehouse based on the raa raa the noisy lion cartoon. The kids actually behaved themselves and I managed to get the cake done in a day. I am unbelievably happy with it.

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That day I had baked a giant carrot cupcake and a dozen carrot cupcakes, so when may husband went to pick my mum up from the airport I couldn’t resist and threw together some matching raa raa cupcakes a for his party. (I am such a sucker!) its amazing what you can achieve when the kids go go to bed and stay in bed!

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Having my Mum here is so nice, she adores her grandsons and they adore her. Especially Jayden who has cottoned on to the concept that nana doesn’t see him all the times so will buy him pretty much whatever he wants.

He has been asking for about a month for a toy that shoots spiderwebs like spiderman. When I said no for the hundredth time he suggested that maybe Nana might like to buy it for him.

When we walked into the shop my 4 year old led us to the toy section, then walked up the aisle scanning the bottom right corner of each shelf until he found it. He didn’t ask for anything else. That was it. We paid and he was a super happy lad… Until 5 mins after we opened it but that’s another story!

The day after mum got here, I got up early and finished the giant cupcake

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Then we had Taj’s first birthday party. We are a lucky family and have such amazing people in our life, it was a very low key but special day (cake went down a treat too!)

We also managed a 70th birthday party, an evening at the Theatre. Mary Poppins the musical. If you get a chance to see it you simply must!, a few cup of tea dates, a trip to the zoo and I also made this cake

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When mum goes home I always feel a bit low. It’s so hard not knowing when I’ll see her. Jayden also gets more demanding. Nana played with him WHENEVER he wanted! so surely mum should too. Taj started walking this week as well, and that’s been the biggest drop on my roller coaster! I’m so proud of him… But he seems to be so excited that he can’t sleep at night. I’m spending a few hours settling him in the evening. A few times it’s been midnight!!!!

I’m feeling pretty frustrated about how little quality time I get to spend with Jayden with Taj being so demanding at the moment. Jayden and I were so close when it was just he and I, now there’s very little time to do things together without Taj coming in and fighting for my attention (he has a short temper and makes things quite difficult!) plus he’s a school boy now and that is definitely becoming evident. He’s always asking to play games rather than play with his mum.

So I guess what I’m getting at, isn’t it funny how you can be on top of the world one minute and feeling so flat the next. I’m sure getting some sleep will help… But how does a 1 yr old wield the power to affect an entire family dynamic? WHY has my boy who has slept through just about every night since 6 weeks old decided to defeat me? I’d be pretty lost without my great friends to vent to that’s for sure. That has honestly taken me 4 hrs to write in between all my Mummy jobs and I am shattered!!!! So thanks for that my blog diary 🙂 I feel better now!

Best mates

Friendships are a tricky thing.

When is someone you know, a friend (no a Facebook friend does not count) when does a friend become a best friend…

Growing up, we moved around quite a lot. We moved from England to Australia when I was 5 years old and I left everyone I knew behind. Friends and family.

My Mum and Dad split up when I was 10. It wasn’t super traumatic, just sad. We lived with Mum but visited Dad and had friends at school, friends at Dad’s house and friends at Mum’s house.

A few years later, my Mum met a man and it was decided we move from WA to QLD. The man who would be my mums second husband had family there and my brother and I were pretty excited about living on The Gold Coast with permanent access (so it seemed) to the themeparks.

That move was harder, I had friends at a school and even though I could keep in touch while on our holiday access visits with Dad it was bound to be hard.

From 11 until the end of high school we stayed in the same area but for some reason I never seemed to hang onto friends. I had a new “best friend” every year, lots of friends in between and didn’t really mind.

I’ve always been a very honest person, and a bit of a nutter (my grandma would call me eccentric) and most people find that hard to deal with in the end!!!

Many of these friends, although not my best friends or even close friends I am still in contact with. Some are lost forever in the sea of time past and misspent youth that is remembered far longer than it was actually lived. My senior high school year is filled with more memories than I believe actually fit in that one year!

In 1999 in year 9, I was good friends with a girl, Katie, she continues to be one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Katie had a best friend, Amie, and when I started sitting with Katie at lunch (the early high school equivalent of moving in, it seemed) I met Amie and loved her straight away. She was quirky and cute and honest and fun.

Amie was soon and continues to be my best friend. Amie is “Aunty Amie” to my kids. She is my husband’s Drinking buddy and she knows everything about me it is worthwhile knowing (possibly that’s not a lot) she’s been there for me through every important aspect of my life and even when I throw a curve ball at her she says things like “I’ll support you whatever you decide to do” which really is just amazing!

Amie has other best friends (Katie for one) but she manages to be there for me in entirety when I need her to be.

She is the only friend I’ve never fought with. The only friend I’ve managed to hold on to and not alienate over consecutive years and truly one of the most important people in my life…. (and she’s single which is unfathomable to me!!!)

Friendship has always seemed like a taboo thing to me. For a long time (ok if I’m being honest – still) if I find someone who I connect with. I grip on really tight with both hands … And eventually suffocate them…

My Mum got let down by a good friend when I was young, I struggled with friends growing up and who knows 100% why, but I’ve never felt like I deserve friendship. Or the happiness that a really good friendship brings.

Since I’ve become a Mum. Friendship had taken on a new meaning to me. I look at my sons and I hope they will have a friend, they grow up with, someone he can share with, fight with, tell secrets to, hide from, and love. Other than each other of course.

This year though, I’ve been completely taken by surprise by making another Best Friend. Yes, that’s right, I in my bitchy bubble, apparantly get not one but two best mates! Go figure?

And I tell you what. Making a best friend when you’re all grown up (I’ll be 27 this month) is bloody weird! I’m constantly second guessing myself. I think of something funny and go to send a message and then think, stop harassing the woman, and then think, nah it’ll give her a laugh. Send it and then think …. Shouldn’t have done that… Must not message again until Tuesday! Lol. (she tells me I think too much and I know it’s true) I must be the only person on earth who acts like this.

I’m also a super affectionate person. I’m a cuddler. If it wasn’t socially unacceptable I’d cuddle for 5 minutes rather than the 5 seconds at the door! Lol. I like to give gifts, that let the other person know ” I was thinking of you” Once for Aims, I put together a little photo book of pics of us, and the kids and why she was so important to us…. Amie loved it, and I knew she would but now with BFF2 (have to work on that… ) I have to rethink my gestures… Sweet or scary? Touching or terrifying? Cuddle or Crushing? You get my point? Haha

Maybe the thing with best friends is that, it doesn’t matter what I do, it’ll sort itself out. I know if I did suffocate, scare or shock either of these amazing women they’d waste no time in letting me know. I know I can tell them anything, I don’t need to apologize to them for being me, I will be there for them no matter what, and love them no matter what. And that is something so special!

I haven’t written a blog in months but thinking about friendship seemed a good thing to come back for.

My long enduring friendship with Amie. 13 years, nearly half our lives
And this new friendship which makes me smile and blows my mind how important she’s become to me.
And the best part, about my “new best friend”: my best friend’s son, is now my son’s best friend!!!!

May you all be so lucky to have such great friendships. I’ll be treasuring these two with all I have 🙂

Until next time … Tanya

Cake!!!!!

When I was a little girl my Mum made all our birthday cakes. Among many I have vivid memories of a castle with turrets and chocolate doors and windows.

I’ve always been interested in food but I’m really not a fantastic baker. I’ve just always been more of a cook a fantastic dinner sort of girl.  Saying that, I’ve made an effort to try and make cakes for my stepson’s and I made Jayden’s 1st and 3rd birthday cakes (we were in Bali the day he turned 2) 1 for his party and 1 for the night of his birthday. The 3rd birthday cake I made Jayden was a Ninja Turtle cake tin, cake. Iced pretty well for my first time icing to a design instead of freehand. I was so proud of it and Jayden was pretty happy with it too!

Previous attempts….

Anywho …. so there was me. Happy to make cakes for my kids and loving to get the piping bag out but definitely not a cake decorator or cake fanatic.

Then someone on my Facebook page ‘liked’ Sandy’s cakes. I stopped by to have a look and was instantly inspired. Her work looked amazing and I decided – my kids were going to have cakes like hers for 2012….

My very favourite cake of Sandy’s is

http://cakesbysandy.blogspot.com/2011/11/cat-in-hat-for-kai.html

this one. It just blew me away.

I was imagining all the training she must have had when I came across her Blog link and could not believe it when I read ‘I made my first fondant cake for Easter this year, 2009. I have had no formal training but have learned through watching YouTube demonstrations, reading and practice.’

INSPIRATION COMPLETE – I CAN DO THIS!!!!

So off I trotted to YouTube which to be honest I’d never really even thought about looking at before. I’d assumed it was all piano playing cats and dogs riding jet ski’s? Apparently not. I did a lot of fondant surfing and then also found a recipe for fondant on this website which had, had rave reviews. http://thecookduke.com/fondant-recipe/   My first batch of fondant came out REALLY well. This recipe calls for corn syrup which I wasn’t able to find here, so I made the sugar syrup as suggested. I mixed it a bit in my new MIXMASTER a present from my hubby and kneaded it out by hand after it came together. I think after working with it, it may be a tad dry but I will adjust that next time.

I decided to make a cake for one of the activities I do with my boys, Mainly Music at the Salvation Army. So I had a week and a half to figure out what I was doing and put together a cake.

My first problem was that I really don’t have any cake making supplies, and not being sure if this was going to work out AT ALL, I didn’t want to buy a whole heap of things I’d never use again.  I did however have some brown, green and red gel colour from Jayden’s turtle cake, and some liquid colours so I decided to just stick with that.

My very first creation was this little snowman….He’s not great – but he really gave me an idea of how much I needed to knead out the fondant, how pliable it needed to be. The way it absorbed the colour. And how to use water to attach it all together. Pretty informative little guy really. I wasn’t sure how to do eyes so I dotted a toothpick in the colouring and into his eyes…. I also wasn’t sure how to store the fondant and after popping him in the fridge his eyes ran…. Poor frosty. He didn’t make it onto the cake in the end, I made a new snowman. It turns out the best way to store fondant decorations is to pop them in a cardboard box with those silica things still in the box. WHO KNEW?

I found a useful YouTube video on using scissors to create the fronds of a christmas tree and I made a jolly little santa claus out of my head which I was pretty happy with. Years of playing play doh with my boys really started to pay off here.

The day before the party I cooked a marbled green and red butter cake. It came out well. I got my hubby to trim it and then let it cool. I had read somewhere (my head is a sea of fondant and cake decorating info at the moment) that you should do a crumb coat and that buttercream icing was a good icing to use…. mmm I had just made these tasty little morsels … and I had the green icing leftover … MISTAKE!!!

Back to that in a minute…

So once I was sure the cake was cooled, and also once I was sure that the boys were both happy with their Dad so I could do this uninterrupted. I sifted out some cornflour on my work space and got to work on the fondant, I microwaved it for 15 seconds to warm it, kneaded it a bit and then rolled it out. Lay it over the rolling pin like I saw in the YouTube clips… took a DEEP BREATH and… lay it over my crumb coated cake.

Now to be honest I had expected to absolutely screw this up first time, but it went on really well. I smoothed out the bumps that I could…. trimmed it up and it looked bloody fantastic! Smooth and shiny and pretty great really. …. Then I noticed that the green buttercream icing that I hadn’t bothered to whip up again in plain white (I HATE waste!!) had come back to haunt me… it was just visible around the bottom of the fondant. GRRRR…..

I had noticed on another cake I’d seen recently that sometimes ribbon was used to decorate. So I tried this. I was pretty happy with it but was haunted with the idea that … It just needed something.

In the middle of the night it came to me – holly! In the end the holly leaves were just going to be too difficult without a cutter so I made normal leaves with a toothpick to make the indentations and that worked out well enough for me…

So here is the finished product… MY FIRST FONDANT CAKE!

It really is easier than you think!

Although I’m definitely not going to have Sandy Quality Cakes for my boys birthdays but they’ll have cakes made by Mummy and that should be good enough?

Until next time …

Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson

When Steve Jobs died earlier this year. I really felt the loss in terms of the amazing products he had been a part of producing at Apple. I was also aware of his time at Pixar which produced movies that I have enjoyed since my Dad took my brother and I to see Toy Story.

iPods, iPhones, iPads and iTunes have changed the way that we do many things. I am constantly thankful to the technology that makes it possible for me to photograph my children and email them to my Mum in Queensland 5 seconds later. I use FaceTime to share moments with family such as Taj’s first bath with his big brother or Jayden reading Green Eggs and Ham in bed.

I’m not saying that these products were Jobs’ innovations alone but he had a clarity of design, amazing marketing skills and an intuitive knowledge of a product that we can’t live without that last week we never knew we needed.

This book was a great insight into what made Jobs’ tick. It wasn’t particularly well written and was in need of some editing but the detailed look at the people in Jobs’ worlds at both Apple and Pixar was just so interesting.

Everyone new that Jobs’ and Wazniak started Apple in a garage in the Silicone Valley but there were so many incredible feats of ingenuity in their rise to the top that it takes your breath away.

I felt the author let a few things slide that would have been very interesting to know about. For example much of the book detailed Apple’s “end to end” concepts – producing the iPod, iTunes store to work together and the fact that most of his late products are “closed” you can’t even change a battery, and no other developers can change your hardware etc. considering how often this was mentioned I was looking forward to hearing Jobs’ opinion on “jailbreaking” and “firmware” where Hackers open the closed software making it possible to put illegally downloaded content onto an iPod or iPhone for free. It is also possible to costomise icons, and access content that iTunes does not allow. Based on Jobs’ desire to control every aspect of the customer experience and also based on Apple’s hacker heritage I thought this was a big topic to leave untouched.

The chapters centre around different themes, mostly chronologically. I think that the editing may have been missing is some cases where a point has been covered earlier and is then echoed later on in the book, perhaps some people like the reminder … To me it makes a book feel clunky.

The best part about this biography is that although much of it is based on interviews with Steve himself, the biographer doesn’t fail to show the flip side of an argument and the way that Steve has a terrible way with people. In fact his wife apparently asked Isaacson to ensure that Steve was shown as true to life as possible. He was not a very nice person by most accounts. Tyrannical and pigheaded. He was a vegan and had strong opinions on his Zen lifestyle. It is amazing to read about his reaction to his cancer diagnosis and his dogmatic desire to pretend it would go away.

If you own an Apple product then this book is well worth a read. It will give you a much better appreciation of the minimalist design and the teasoning behind them that you have taken for granted.

Things I had forgotten from last time around …

My 7 month old is on the move. I am terrified!!!

Of course he is my second so I’m not quite as caught by surprise as I was with every turn my life took when Jayden was born. However Jayden was quite lazy and didn’t crawl until 10 months. Taj is moving from room to room now at 7 months. I’m impressed and proud, but also sad at how fast he’s growing up, and truth be told, a bit annoyed too!

It is soooo much more work. Vacuuming, which was a once a week chore is now a daily task that I have to try and fit in while both children are occupied but not asleep. I am constantly “tidying” (or more accurately put, cleaning up after my whirlwind almost 4 yr old) and all of a sudden we just seem to have too much STUFF!!! There are little spaces everywhere that Tajy can crawl into but not crawl out of!

Our gap between boys is larger than most of my friends’ kids at just over 3 years, and I am feeling the gap mostly in that I had forgotten how much harder a 0-2 yr old is to look after than a 2-4 yr old.

From around 2 years old I could put Jayden in the bath and then go and get his dinner ready, or get ready for work (when I worked nights) all in the next room, and all the time listening and talking to him. But my hands were free! Now I’m back to sitting in a puddle on the bathroom floor, while I try to correctly anticipate each boys hunger/tiredness level and time the dinner, bath, bed routine correctly… Time management at its most difficult and that’s only with 2 – you ladies with 3 or 4 kids are amazing!!

Being that I am a sucker at heart, and love seeing Jayden’s face light up at the sight of a tree. Jayden and I dug out the Christmas box this week and erected our tree, in the process creating a giant, twinkling, dangerous obstacle for Taj to be constantly drawn to!

I had forgotten the simplicity of being able to say “no” or “stop” to a child and them understanding!!!!

Taj is a great sleeper, which in honestly I had not been prepared for at all. Jayden was a nightmare from birth – 3 inclusive. No joke!!! He needed to be rocked to sleep as an infant (our fault) and poor Jon and I would have to tag team in our efforts to put him to sleep at night. He would wake for 2-4 breastfeeds a night and when he was 14 months and I cut out the breastfeeds he just went on waking for a bottle. When we transferred him from a cot to a toddler bed, he would let us tuck him in, wait til the door was shut, and hop right on out and sleep on his carpet!!! We tried EVERYTHING, he did that for about 9 months and then one day just decided to stay in his bed….

Anyway, all that kept in mind, the part I was most terrified about having another baby was the sleepless nights. Especially considering that I really was only getting sleep for the last 2 months before Taj was born. Taj has slept through 10-12 hrs 95% of nights from about 6 weeks. He is AMAZING! I did use sleeping bags with him from about 6 months, try VERY hard to never rock him to sleep unless he’s very distressed and think we’re generally just much calmer with him but that part has been a lovely surprise.

Even with all the surprises having two kids has brought, and all the little details I had so conveniently forgotten, I’m finding it truly amazing to see how two little people, from the same parents, brought up in the same environment can differ so dramatically.

I wonder in what other ways they will differ and what common interests they will share.

One thing is for sure, the greatest gift I have given Jayden, is his brother Taj. They adore each other and watching them play is the highlight of every day.

Anyway, I’m off to vacuum, tidy a toy room and childproof a Christmas tree.

Until next time …

The year Jayden met Batman

When I read The Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, the one thing I loved was the way that they named the years.

In their post-apocalyptic society they decide not to continue keeping time as we had done previously and instead of having a numbered year, each year would be named based on something that stuck in their minds.  I can’t remember them all now, but they were things like. The year the grasshoppers came, The year Jessie learnt to read, The year of the great fire etc

This year has been full of ups and downs. We have lost and gained family members and had too many hospital visits, but I’d like to think when I look back on 2011 that I get this image, and think of it as “The year Jayden met Batman”

It was a great way to spend time as a family, seeing the joy on our son’s face.

We went to the Gold Coast to visit my Mum. We hadn’t seen Nana Max (as she is affectionately known to my kids) since May and Taj had done a lot of growing since then! I struggle not living close to my Mum. I’d love to have her over for dinner, to pop round and discuss our latest reads over a pot of tea. I did miss her a lot when I first moved to WA but I miss her 10 fold now I have kids and I can’t share the hilarious things that they do!

Sometimes I think the anticipation is just as good as the thing itself, This was almost the case with this trip. Jayden was telling anyone who would listen, even before Bali, that he was going on a holiday to see BATMAN! When he said Batman, his voice would get very serious and there would be a huge hand gesture to go with it. It was really exciting. I made sure to introduce Jayden to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Scooby Doo via cartoons so he could get the most out of this trip and his reaction didn’t fail to disappoint.

The first day we had a quiet day, after traveling all night. Jon and I took it in turns to have a nap while Jayden and his Nana had some bonding time and Taj caught up on his sleep. I think they had a great day together.

The next day Jayden woke up and said “Now we can go see Batman!” There was no distracting him. As we walked into the gates of Movieworld you could see he was overwhelmed. There was just so much to look at. We took a seat at the Looney Tunes “What’s up rock” show, well more accurately we sat on a curb… We watched the whole show, which was actually pretty good, he took some pictures and watched it but as soon as it was finished… you guessed it. “Now we can go see Batman!”

I had organised to meet a friend of mine from school at Movieworld. Alana and I hadn’t seen each other since high school and hadn’t really been friends since 97 or so, so it was exciting to catch up. We’ve recently reconnected through “Words with Friends” of all things, and it’s so nice to reconnect with someone who you have so much in common with. We have the same family values and the same opinions about most things so I was looking forward to seeing her.

We went over into the WB Kidz zone and despite all the amazing rides, couldn’t distract Jayden even for a second, from the fact that he hadn’t yet seen Batman. So I got a 2 minute chat with Alana, her partner and niece before admitting that if I wanted to make it through the day, it would be best to locate Batman ASAP!

We headed back to Batman’s alleyway, but it was empty…

I popped my head into the photo counter and asked when we might expect to see him and the ULTRA FRIENDLY photographer sorted out a good photo package for us and 2 minutes later, my 4 year old, who for all intents and purposes fully believes this scary serious, masked man dressed in black to be the ‘caped crusader’ wanders away from me without even a backwards glance!!!!! Honestly I’ve got it on video!!!

I had been a bit worried that when it came down to it he would be afraid of Batman but he definitely wasn’t! Jayden had a little chat, a photo taken, gave Batman a high five and came back looking about 6 months older. He was so proud of himself!

I won’t forget that 5 minutes as long as I live. It was the memory of a lifetime for him.

We turned the corner and Flash and Green Lantern had just walked out onto Main Street. Jayden just about screamed and went and had his photo taken with them. When the Green Lantern showed him his ring, Jayden asked if he could have it and was a little disappointed when he was told that he couldn’t! We went for a walk to catch up with my friends and then poor Jayden burst into tears. It had all just hit him. I guess he must have felt a little like a 13 yr old at a Justin Bieber concert! He had met his idol! Batman!!!!

Flash and Green Lantern

There were so many other fantastic memories of that day, when he watched the Batman show and walked away shaking after watching Batman be taken into custody and then fought his way through some dancing Ninja’s to save the day. When he went on a ride in a car and gave up half way and walked back, or the second time he visited Batman and took his Daddy down to meet him,  I could go on and on.

Poor Taj didn’t get up to anything exciting at Movieworld. He spent most of the day in the pram, and getting frightened by the big costumed Bugs, or the crack of Catwoman’s whip.

Daddy and Nana Max loved seeing everything from Jayden’s point of view. It was pure joy to watch.

Batmobile at Gotham City Cafe

I managed to sneak in my first roller coaster in about 10 years, while Taj had a nap! And I still feel really bad for laughing when a mystery man opened a door while we were in the queue straight into Alana’s back, I hadn’t realised how hurt you were. Sorry Lana!!

At 3:30 pm they have the end of day parade. We sat down on the curb again, giant stuffed Batman in hand, courtesy of Nana. Bugs and Lola come down in an old fashioned car, Sylvester in a cat head shaped car, Daffy and Tweety, The Scooby gang, The Joker, Justice League, Catwoman, Batman and the Batmobile, and the stunt car. They get down the end of main street, circle around again. This time the looney tunes pull out a wicked little dance sequence and everyone interacts with crowd. I can’t say enough how fantastic these guys are. They really make the time to make the kids feel special. It was magical. Batman goes past high fiving everyone and then gets to Jayden. Batman crouches down, points at the Batman toy and tells him (Jayden or the toy?… not sure) that he’s cool, gives him a high five and a ruffle of the hair. Honestly he made Jayden feel like the most special person on the planet and Mum and I were there sitting either side of him with a little tear in our eyes. The Flash was great too and remembered Jayden and had a chat.  They all made sure that we had a fantastic day and we really enjoyed it.

The rest of the holiday was great too. We went to Seaworld, and Jayden went on the flume ride and held his hands in the air and screamed as the boat went down the ramp. I was so proud. Both the boys seemed to love the dolphin show, and I LOVED it when a dolphin came up next to us from her pen and started clicking in conversation. Honestly, they are amazing creatures. Mum and I had a fantastic High Tea and I came home with a beautiful glass teapot and some “blooming tea” which I LOVE! Jayden bonded with Mum’s partner Wayne over some xbox games and Taj took his first 3 crawling steps (but saved the real crawl for his Mum when we got home)

We had such a great time, but for me the whole holiday is summed up in that first picture. I smile every time I look at it and love hearing Jayden tell his friends. I went on a holiday and I saw ‘My friend Batman.’

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

Well if she did I’m surprised it wasn’t a nightmare. Honestly, the unnamed Narrator who becomes the second Mrs de Winter didn’t have a very good run at Manderley did she?

I started listening to the audiobook of Rebecca with no preconceived ideas which is always lovely. I was expecting a Bronte-esque style of novel similar to Jane Eyre, although to be honest I’m not sure why I thought that much. Perhaps that was how Mum recommended it to me?

Our narrator, travels back in time and retells of her time at Manderley. How she met Mr de Winter abroad as a young woman and marries him, how she returns to Manderley as Mrs de Winter within a year of Rebecca’s death. It seems almost as though Rebecca is a main character though she is dead throughout the story. The second Mrs de Winter can feel that shadow over her shoulder. She is convinced that when her husband is looking at her, he is thinking about how much he misses the first Mrs de Winter, that the staff when attending her are wishing they were attending Rebecca. Mrs de Winter is a shy creature, socially awkward, young, and from a different class than is usually seen at Manderley.  She tries to keep things run as they have always been run, she eats of a menu chosen by Rebecca, amongst furniture chosen by Rebecca, with a husband who had chosen Rebecca.

This, up until this point is pretty much the novel I was expecting to read. Enter Mrs Danvers. Mrs Danvers is the nastiest piece of work in any piece of literature I’ve read for quite some time… Keeping in mind I just finished reading DRACULA!

Honestly when she started talking to Mrs de Winter and explaining how devoted she had been to Rebecca and how Mrs de Winter will never live up to Rebecca in anyone’s mind, especially her husbands. I wanted to push Mrs Danvers out the window myself! What a horrid creature.

The main thing I love about this story is the way that Daphne du Maurier talks about things that may have been. For example one night when Mrs de Winter has been upset and is considering not attending her own ball, she looks ahead to what would be said about her. The way the guests would talk, how the staff would sit around drinking coffee and discuss why their mistress hadn’t come downstairs, what Mrs Danvers would think. This technique was brilliant. I think it showed a great awareness from Mrs de Winter, she was no fool and as she grew up, her thoughts more accurately depicted her social standing. Rebecca takes quite a lot of twists and turns and things are not as they seem in the beginning at all. Rebecca does in a sense return, to complicate the newlywed’s marriage, and there is an inquest to get through, and some detective work on the part of our main characters. I won’t go into detail because sometimes it’s quite nice to not know what to expect. Although after reading some reviews it seems like a lot of people are made to read this in school? I wasn’t, but I’m glad to have read it now.

I have since learned that there is a Hitchcock movie adaption so I will try to get my hands on that and see how it measures up. My Mum tells me that Mrs Danvers is miscast so if that is the case, it won’t stand up at all.

If you haven’t read Rebecca already, pop off to the local second hand bookshop and give it a go. Or even better, get a copy of the BBC audiobook. You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time…