Halloween Hair {…or that time I looked like Tina Turner on acid…}

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BOO!

Fancy a fun afternoon?  Get Gary round, put a bit of a spread on and let him do whatever he likes to your hair.  Ooooorr, even better, I’ll do the above and share with you the hilarious results!  And a bit of a how-to.  Because Halloween isn’t just for the kids, bobl bach.  Oh no.

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“Omaigod! Ti’n edrych fel Tina Turner on Acid!” – a highlight of my week, for sure! haa!

I painted my face using white and black eyeliner, red lipstick and blusher.  Easy as.  I did this last year and I think false eyelashes did finish it off better, unfortunately, I haven’t got any on here.

To do my hair, Gary folded strips of hair in aluminium foil, folded them over concertina-style and using flat irons, clamped the foiled sections for around 15 seconds.  He did this until all of my hair was done.   A good blast of hairspray before Gary then backcombed the life out of my hair!  And then some more.  For my fringe, he curled it under very tightly, using the flat irons.  And then finish it off with all the hairspray.  All the hairspray.

The second look was a bit ‘Downton Abbey-style’…well, I took Gary’s word for it as I have never watched the programme!  *insert dirty looks from Cai here*

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We decided to just emphasise the eyes a bit more here…and I obviously need a bit of practice in perfecting the cat eye look…anyway, I was more in love with my hair!  Here, Gary backcombed the front of my hair and pinned it all back.  He finished it off with a strip of talc which you can see in the photo below.

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…as well as the main man himself, Gary Gwallt!

We both agreed that this would look great with one of those big, high neck gowns…anyone know where I can get one?!

A huge thanks to Gary for coming over and helping me out here.  Gary, ti’n bloody star!

{There really was a lot of hairspray used.  At one point Rolly {the dog} had his head sticking out of the cat flap to get some fresh air!}

What do you think?  Would you try any of these looks?  We’d love to know.

…if you’re nice, Gary might come back and give us some ideas for Christmas and New Year parties!..

42 / 52 {When we met Billy Amos}

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Robb & Alfie | You’d both discussed how you were going to just play with Harry when we got to Matty and Katy’s, so that he didn’t feel left out.  Probably because you knew I’d just want to squish Billy.  Good team work there bois, good team work :)

Harry was being the cutest big brother and helping out.  And Billy.  Ooh Billy.  9lbs of cheeks right there, if ever I saw some.

Love you Lowe Boys.

“a portrait of the bois bach, every week, in 2014″

Bois bach, de chi werth y byd  xxx

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“There’s this girl…”

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“What’s happened to your eye, Alf?”

“Oh, I just banged my head against Emily’s head in school, today.”

“Oh.  How did that happen, then?”

“It was an accident.  We just bumped heads, that’s all.”

From another room comes “ooooOOOoooh! Is she your GUUUUURLFRIEND?!!!”

*shrugs his shoulders* “I wouldn’t mind, but she hasn’t mentioned it yet…”

I.  KNOW.

Apologies for any heartache caused to those of you reading this ;)

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{the above photo has nothing to do with this post, other than it was one of the photos I took last night.  If I had taken a photo of Alf as he was saying it, you would have either got Alf butt naked in the bath, me just got out of the bath with no make up on {which is a frightful sight, paul will tell you} or Robb coming in to the bathroom with his tablet, hoping to get on the loo for half an hour.}

41 / 52

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Robb | You went to watch Wales play football this week and came home with this horn.  One guess to how we were woken up the following morning…

This year I have noticed a change in your attitude towards homework, which pleases me no end.  Now if we could only sort out the whole ‘socks-found-in-and-under-your-bed’ saga…

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Alfie | “Mam!  I forgot to put some pants on today!  Wanna see?!”

If there are somebody’s eyes that i lose myself in…it’s yours, Alf.  Always.  A lot of the time, they tell the story all themselves.  I’ve stared at this photo for longer than I wish to admit.

“a portrait of the bois bach, every week, in 2014″

Bois bach, de chi werth y byd  xxx

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When Gemma went to Ghana

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Meet Gemma.  She’s been on a volunteering trip to Ghana…and is here to share her story with us.  And it’s a good one!  Not forgetting the longest blog post I have ever written!  High five to Gemma for that one.  I have known Gemma all her life.  We used to be next door neighbours and Gemma was the first {and maybe the only ?!} non-family member we trusted to look after our babies.  I had to laugh when I listened back to the recording I made when we got together.  I actually said to her “I’m not sure if your mam knows this story…but I dropped your brother when you were babies…” {she’s a twin, if you don’t know}…I mean, who says that?!  Or more importantly…who does that?!  Gemma also knows how to plan a good  hen weekend, just ask her mam.  She’s an all round good egg.  Anyway, Ghana!  Here’s her story.

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How did it come about?

Well, I’ve always wanted to do something like this. When I was 15 years old, someone came into our school and did a presentation on volunteering and how you can do it abroad and to put this on your CV when trying for Universities. From this I had this fantastic idea of visiting orphanages in Asia. Obviously that wasn’t very realistic. As all of my friends were away at University and I was in University {studying Youth and Community Work} but at home, I basically felt that, as I was working too, my student loan was being wasted, so that’s when I decided to do something with the money. I wanted to add something to my ‘Uni days at home’, instead of just being ‘at home’. 

Did you go through a charity? And did you have to raise funds etc?

I went through a company called ‘Original Volunteers’. {Find out all about it on their website}. I paid them a joining fee to register, booked it all through them and they invoiced me for accommodation and airport pick up. I booked the flights and informed them when I was arriving etc.

snowdonI also decided to raise funds, for the items I wanted to take with me, by walking up Snowdon {pictured above}. I managed to raise £400 and used this money to buy paint, pens, skipping ropes, bubbles, frizbees, balls, balloons etc. for the kids. I used the rest to buy waterpumps while I was out there. I also bought sports day equipment so that we could have a sports day with the kids, sticker books and loom bands, which they didn’t quite get the hang of, so I made my classroom a loom band each on my last day there. Obviously, I took a welsh flag for them too!

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So what work did you do while you were out there?

I did two weeks of teaching in the school in the community village {8am til 12pm, in the afternoon they would be taught in their own language} and a week and a half of conservation work…although I’m not sure why I thought I could do that, because I was really bad at it! But I mainly taught them English and Maths but also did a lot of art lessons as they haven’t got the right equipment to teach them those sort of lessons. But whatever we taught them, we made sure it was creative. I always prepared for the day’s lessons the previous evening. There were local people living with us making sure we got off to the right projects in the morning and every Sunday there would be a house meeting.

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The schools out there have got teachers, but unfortunately, the teachers are illiterate {couldn’t spell or didn’t know the names of the week correctly}, so when they’re teaching the kids, they are teaching them wrong. We were told that we needed to correct this, but obviously in a nice way. So we’d watch them for a day and a half to see how they taught and take it from there.

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We held a sport day while we were out there, which the kids absolutely loved! There was a girl there within our team from Pwllheli, and she bought one of the those colourful parachutes out with her and we played games with that too.

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Some afternoons we would do house visits. This is where we would go and see local families and speak to them, get to know them and see what we could do for them. There was one family where the Grandparent was looking after the children as their mother {his daughter} had disappeared. He was really old, ill with cancer and ever so fragile. There was nothing they could do for him as they simply didn’t have the resources out there. So we’d go there, make him comfortable and give him paracetamol etc.

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And there was Fred and his family. Fred would make and sell his own bracelets for 5 cedi. Fred was one of 7 children {with another on the way} and he was making more money on the bracelets than his mam was in a week. And being young he didn’t realise the value of money and was spending it on rubbish, basically. So we decided to give him some advice. We told him with every bracelet he sold, keep one cedi for himself and put the other 4 in a pot. At the end of the week, we’d take him shopping into town to get supplies for him and his family to show him what other things and uses he could buy. Once he realised what he was able to provide for his family, he was loving it. Through this we got to know the family and learnt that his mum wanted to have her own hut to make her own bread and sell it. Since coming home, I have heard that Fred and his family have managed to save enough money to buy the wood and one of the volunteers out there {who is a carpenter} is going to build the hut for them!

*Can we all just take a moment to appreciate this story, please.

Done? Ok, let’s carry on.*

We would visit the really poor villages, too. On the way we’d stop and get food, worming tablets for the kids, drinks etc. and get there and just give it all to the villagers. That was the best bit for me. At one village we visited, we asked them what could they benefit from? As they only had one toilet for the whole village, which was just a hole in the floor, their request was for a private toilet. And as far as I am aware, that is being sorted out for them.

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Everyone had a child that they connected with. While she was out there, Gemma was known as ‘Madame Welsh’ by one 3 year old.

Do you need any qualifications to be able to do this type of work?

No. It helps that they’re English is ace and we taught them through the medium of English.

Did you know any of the people you were going with or get a chance to meet them before you left for Ghana?

I went with one of my friends who I was in school with. But as for everyone else going on the same trip, I had never met them before. I did get to chat with a few who were going on the facebook “buddy page” which is set up specifically to inform you who you are travelling with.

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What was your ‘home’ like while you were there?

We lived on top of a mountain in a rainforest. On the internet it sounded great, wi-fi, toilets, showers etc. but the reality was no wi-fi, no running water, toilet but no water and a shower was a bucket of water from outside! We only had electric for a couple of days, because in Ghana, once they use too much electric it just blows because they can’t cope with it all. While we were there it was the World Cup, so if Ghana were playing that evening, they would save all of their electricity for the game. Being there for that was such good fun, the atmosphere was great! There were four volunteer houses all together and we’d all go to one and watch the game together.

Did you work weekends too, or were they for you to do whatever you wanted?

The weekends were ours, so we made sure we did something every weekend. Because we lived in the middle of nowhere, doing something on the weekend meant we had to travel for around ten hours on a Friday evening to get somewhere. And then the same to get back on Sunday evening. We’d go shopping as there were stalls set up everywhere. I got myself some Ghanaian trousers {which I recently wore on our reunion trip in Liverpool}, a drum, paintings, bag etc. You could get custom made clothes, where you would choose your material, get measured up for whatever item of clothing you wanted and it would be yours for around £4 in our money! The roads were awful. So bad and bumpy, so bad at times that it make me feel really sick. The truck they sent would hold 12 people, but the minimum in each one would be 17!

{hmm…sounds like the old days heading out to Ruthin on a Saturday night to me!}…

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Speaking of ‘sick’, did you get homesick?

Yeah, I did. But it was worth it at the same time. I’d just kind of pull myself together and tell myself “Come on, you’re in Africa! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, just get on with it!”

Would you go again?

I would do it again, but not in Ghana. As much as I loved it, I feel that I’ve done that and so if I was to get the opportunity to do it again, I’d go somewhere like Thailand…where I would also like to do the ‘touristy thing’.

What have you taken/learnt from your experience?

The little things, like a shower! Before I went, I really wanted a new car and I’d only had my current one for 6 months. But now I’m thinking I’m not going to buy a new one until I have run this one to the ground! I thought this ‘lesson’ would only last a few weeks, but I still think the same. The worth of things, you know? The whole trip was just a massive eye opener! Also, the Ghanaians are soo laid back! Seriously! Like when we were making our way back to the airport, which was a 3 hour drive, our taxi guy told us he just wanted to make a quick stop to see his mate. It turns out he wanted to stop to sort his mate’s car out! 45 minutes we waited for him! And we waited 2 hours for a meal in a restaurant one evening too! It’s not a bad thing though really, and we didn’t see any sort of trouble whatsoever while we were there.

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Would you encourage/recommend others to do this type of work?

Definitely, but your heart has got to be in it. Don’t go there expecting a holiday! You’ve got to be mentally prepared. It’s tiring, the mozzies drive you mad and you do miss home.

You’re recently had a reunion with those that you went with. What was it like to see everyone again and in totally different circumstances?

I was worried that it was going to be awkward maybe, but I shouldn’t have worried at all. These people, these friends that I’m sure I will be friends forever with, I have gone through things with these people that I will probably never go through with my best friends! They see the best and the worst of you – it really is an emotional rollercoaster out there. It amazed me how close you can get to some people when you are thrown into situations like this with them. In Ghana, we all had different issues/worries we were dealing with at home and yet there, they all seemed to vanish. Whether that had something to do with those issues being irrelevant when you are in somewhere like Ghana, I don’t know. But, I suppose, we were so focused on the job we had to do out there, that we didn’t have time to think of other things. And when we had our reunion in Liverpool, the same issues/worries disappeared again! It was such a nice feeling. Just a great feeling amongst everyone there. Friends forever, definitely. I’m trying to arrange a trip in January too, for us all to get together.

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Now, I’ve got to mention your Mam, otherwise she won’t be happy at all…but how was she with the whole idea of you going to Ghana?

She wasn’t too happy about it when I booked it, but soon got used to the idea. There were a few tears when I left her at the airport! She was in on my plan to surprise Alun {boyfriend} when I got home. I text him to say there would be a Special Delivery arriving at his on the Sunday, which was going to be me! Little did I know that she was in on his plan to surprise me at the airport too! I should’ve guessed when she texted me saying “Make sure you look nice” and I was all like, “I’ve been travelling for hours, look a mess etc. etc.!” She told me it was for the pictures…so when I got back to the airport, we were hugging, crying etc. She had instructions to meet me at the airport with some pop, a packet of crisps and a chocolate bar, she greeted me with two of these items. And then Alun came round the corner with my chocolate bar!

See?  I told you it was a good one!  And a huge thanks to Gemma for telling us all about it, what a star!

40 / 52 {on the hunt for conkers}

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Robb | I think you counted 52 conkers by the time we got home!  Not captured on camera: You asking Alf if he saw flying unicorns as he came around from his anaesthetic after having his teeth pulled out.  And that hug you gave me the other night?  See below, I think that’s what brought that on.  And why do we decide to chop all of your hair off as soon as it gets colder?!

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Alfie | “DAD!  I can see a massive one down there!”  Not captured on camera: Your braveness as they explained they were going to put you to sleep for a while, and your attitude was just ‘yeah, just get it over with’.  Also, your response to me asking if you were ok when we were out collecting conkers, “Of course I am, Mam.  I’m on my bike and I’m with my family”…you really do say the sweetest things Alf.  And another gem I found on my phone, “If I was 5, I’d be littler and trying to kill birds”…?!

“a portrait of the bois bach, every week, in 2014″

Was there a full moon Sunday evening, or something? Paul seems to think so.  Because, there I was, just making myself a drink and out of nowhere, it hit me.  Out of nowhere came this huge overwhelming, all-consuming feeling of motherly love, pride, joy…and slight panic, I think.  I tried my best to explain it to Paul.  It probably didn’t help that as I was trying to, it all sounded soo daft, that I started laughing hysterically?!  “They’re good tears!” I kept repeating…and then I’d sob again…”Robb and I, we…just…we just…” {laughs hysterically!}…”ooh, {scrunches up face really ugly} do you think the bois know how much I love them?” {starts sobbing again…}.  Anyway, it happened and I’ve mentioned it here because as weird as it sounds…I kind of don’t want to forget about it, and that’s one of the reasons for this blog of mine.  To remember it all.  Even the scrunched up ugly faces.

Thank God ‘Mock The Week’ came on to snap me out of it.

 Bois bach, de chi werth y byd.  Blydi hell de chi werth y byd a mwy. xxx

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