Monday, 31 October 2011

NaBloPoMo vs NaNoWriMo

NaBloPoMo vs NaNoWriMo. What the what?

Allow me to translate.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is a marathon to write a 50,000 word novel in November. Sounds oh so simple but oh so demanding on time! Seeing as I have a couple of ideas for novels floating around in my head, and I LOVE writing, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get one of these ideas, or more likely a mishmash of some of them, down in black and white, thereby facilitating my meteroric rise to fame as an accomplished contemporary writer. Aaand back in the room!

I have only just heard of NaBloPoMo thanks to BritMums and this post. National Blog Posting Month is a challenge to write a post every day through November. Now that sounds a little more acheivable especially considering normal family life, need for sleep and a few other commitments in November. But actually it is sometimes really hard to find your blogging inspiration, she says writing a post about writing a post a day!

I am in desperate need to get writing, proper words that tell a tale and get my imagination spinning off in various directions but hopefully getting somewhere in the process. So my challenge is this. Do I try to write 50,000 words in the form of a novel or do I try to write a blog post a day or do I write a novel on my blog in 30 posts hopefully hitting about 50,000 words in total? Or do I wish everyone luck who is attempting one or other of these writing challenges and sit back and read the fruits of their labour?

No pressure or anything (on October 31st)!

Did you consider one of these challenges? Did you decide it wasn't for you or are you going for it? Obviously I understand that you may be a bit tied up writing if you are!

Happy Halloween!

Haunted Bedroom


This is a true story.

It was the last night of my hen weekend in a country farmhouse near Kirkby Lonsdale. The other guests had to leave on the Sunday afternoon, not having the foresight to book Monday off work but my Maid of Honour, her 1 year old daughter and I were left to toast each other and toddle off to bed for an early night.

In the old part of the farmhouse, I had the pleasure of the master bedroom complete with 4 poster bed, somewhat wasted without the Mr-to-be, but still a lovely luxury. My Maid of Honour and her daughter were in the next bedroom.

We said our goodnights and took to our beds grateful of the early night after the excesses of Saturday. I tucked myself under the heavy handmade quilt and lay my head on the feather pillow, sneezed a couple of times and then fell into a peaceful sleep. As did my friend and thankfully her daughter.

However, a few hours later my friend was woken. At first she didn't know why. She checked the baby who was sleeping soundly and returned to her bed. Closing her eyes she heard a noise. She opened her eyes again, scanning the room looking for the source of the sound. It came again, this time a little louder, like the sound of footsteps. She opened her bedroom door to see if it was me padding about but my door was shut, and on checking, found me snuggled under the quilt.

She returned to her room convinced she was hearing things. Back in bed she heard the footsteps once more, coming from above her head, like someone walking on the floor above. Only there was no floor above. The beams had been exposed to the vaulted roof. Fear overtook her coupled with the need to go to the toilet. She picked her daughter out of the cot and made a swift exit from her room.

I woke the next morning after a very restful night to find my Maid of Honour with her daughter huddled under blankets downstairs. After she shared her experience from her night we were quick to get packing to head for home. But not before we had written in the visitors book where we found other tales of the resident ghost who walked around her attic room.

Happy Halloween everyone!


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Silent Sunday

Hunstanton Beach

One picture, no words.

Search #silentsunday on twitter for more fab pictures.

Silent Sunday

Saturday is Caption Day

Let the wit and hilarity commence!

Tis Saturday and I have a picture that desperately needs a caption. Please help!

Desperately seeks caption!

Leave your ideas as comments and then hop over to the amazing Mammasaurus where there will be many more captionless pictures in need of your assistance. Just click on the Saturday is Caption day badge.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Rosemary Loaf Cake by Princess

Princess has been baking.

She likes nothing more than to don her apron over her pyjamas and get mixing, squishing, licking and dolloping with her wooden spoon. As was evidenced this morning.

A friend had told me about a recipe for Rosemary Loaf Cake by Nigella Lawson so we decided to give it a go.

"Roll up your sleeves, give your hands a wash
With slippy dippy soap, Splish Splash Splosh.
Have you done your hands? Washed and dried.
Sleeves rolled up. Apron tied. 
What can you do? I can cook!"

Thank you Katy!

You will need:
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
200 castor sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
1tsp vanilla extract
2tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
approx 4 tbsp milk
1-2 tbsp Rosemary sugar or castor sugar for sprinkling on top

And a loaf tin 23cm x 13cm x 7cm greased and lined.

Preheat over to 170c
Grease and line your loaf tin.
Cream butter until very soft (or until a little girl can stir it easily) then add the castor sugar and continue to cream together until pale and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. (More washing up but sadly necessary for the light fluffy cake. Also great for creating a flour cloud in your kitchen thus causing much hilarity for some and grrr factor for others).
Beat in 1 egg at a time adding a tbsp of flour mix with each egg. (Little girls are very good at this bit).
Add the vanilla and mix. (And lick the spoon).
Fold in the rest of the flour. (A little girl may not have the best technique for folding. She may create another flour cloud and beat the cake to death. Possibly).

Add the chopped rosemary and fold together. (Pinching fingers are great for adding the rosemary).
Add enough of the milk to get a soft dropping consistency. (Mixing milk in makes a great plopping sound and can splash milk up your arm, we have found).
Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle with the additional sugar. (Pinching fingers again).
Cook for about an hour. Test to see if it ready by inserting a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean it is cooked.

Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for as long as you can resist. (Not very long in our house. In fact not time enough for me to get a picture of the whole cake turned out).

And there you have it. Delicious.

Now then Katy, what was that song about washing up?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - A Review

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Review by Five Go Blogging

You may have already read Actually Mummy's guest review of the film The Help but now you can read my review of the book, and what a corker it is.

I was totally absorbed by the deliciousness of this book, the characters, the writing and the story line. Each dripped with a sweetness and lightness that, despite the dark underlying theme, brought smiles to my face.

Skeeter, the daughter of a cotton farmer in Mississippi, is an aspiring writer who lands a job on the local newspaper writing a household tips column. Knowing next to nothing about housework, she enlists the assistance of Aibileen the maid to her friend Elizabeth. Talking to her reveals her deceased son's idea to write a book about the black maids in service and their tales, and this gets her naturally journalistic mind plotting. Together with another maid, Minny who has a bit of a reputation locally for talking back, Skeeter sets out to write the book.

Set in the 1960's when crossing racial boundaries was not tolerated, the relationships that develop between the black Help and the white employers is startlingly rich, involved  and sometimes very candid. It is interesting to see how the boundaries are crossed, a little here, and a little there, where a black maid is trusted to practically bring up a white child, just as Skeeter was brought up by her maid, yet they are required to use a separate bathroom because they are dirty and germ ridden. Today this seems completely outrageous and contradictory yet this was the way of life in this era.

I hate using the word 'journey' unless you are packing a bag and using some form of transport to get you somewhere, but following how Skeeter's character develops and grows as she returns from college and her career aspirations unfold, remind me exactly of a journey that is full of adventure. There are laughs along the way and a dalliance with romance, but the undercurrent of tension as each woman fears they may be found out, is perfectly balanced with day to day life.

All I can say is read this book. Even if you have seen the film, it is worth breaking the unwritten rule for. (The one where you should never watch the film of the book or read the book of the film).

(I've just written the unwritten rule now. Oh.)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Gallery - Faces

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to ... Hunstanton.

Grandma and Grandad by the sea live there. As opposed to Grandma and Grandad who don't. The 'by the sea' is the differentiating point. Isn't it confusing for children to have Grandparents that are called the same thing? I suppose that it is possible one set of Grandparents like to be called Nana and Grandad and the other might prefer Grandma and Grandpa. Or the children may sadly only have one set of Grandparents. However, in our house they like to be called the same, so we have to differentiate by adding 'by the sea' to one set. Confusingly, this set can't seem to get it right. 10 out of 10 for effort but the Birthday and Christmas cards are always signed Grandma and Grandad 'at the seaside'. After almost 7 years you would have thought they could get it right.

*sigh of exasperation*

We visit Hunstanton regularly. We know every inch of the sand and every ice cream stall along the promenade. And we love Wiley, the Wash Monster. Particularly his shark-like grin.

Wiley the Wash Monster Hunstanton Beach

He is an amphibious vehicle driving up to the wall to collect passengers and then driving into the sea to chug along the coast. He is amazing and really captures the children's imagination. As yet we haven't been for a ride. Small children and water are not a great combination and until the Wee One is bigger we wont go. But to be honest, the excitement is seeing him rise out of the water and drive up the beach. If you were sat on his deck you wouldn't have the same view so I don't feel like we've missed out.

Next summer we will go for a ride. Definitely.

I'm joining in with the Stick Fingers Gallery theme of faces. Go over and say Hi.

10 Things I'm Glad I Know

I worried myself unnecessarily because I couldn't think of 10 things that I am glad I know. Is that bad? Does that mean I don't know very much? Or does it mean that the things I do know, I am not glad about?

*Pauses to stop brain spinning*

There are many things I could list that I am not glad I know about. Like what it feels like to grieve, the sound a bone makes when it is being broken or Jedward.

But to actually list the things I am glad I know was very hard. I have, however had a go. Would have been a very lame blog post if I hadn't, wouldn't it.

I'm glad I know:
  1. The Polish language. A tongue twister of a language with way too many consonants. I learnt French at school and grasped enough to order a beer and a croissant, although I wouldn't order them both at the same time ordinarily. But I lived in Poland for a few years and being immersed in a language accelerates the learning process remarkably. Pivo and Perogis for breakfast? No problem. Living near Peterborough it is also very useful for eavesdropping.
  2. How to sew. I love sewing. I would sew all day if it wasn't for small people who demand varying degrees of attention. I just want more time to do it. I can repair the hem of a trouser, replace a zip, knock up a quick dress or make a pair of curtains. A useful skill that I really want to pass on to my daughter. I also love anything crafty and have so many ideas for sewing craft projects. Really must build that studio!
  3. How to cook. Because otherwise I would be a tad hungry. I am not a chef but I can rustle something up and I can follow a recipe. I just don't quite have the patience for it if I'm honest. But families need feeding I have found.
  4. What it is to have a high disposable income and what it is to have no disposable income. God, I could spend money! If I had the disposable income now that I had then, I would know what to do with it. But that is what youth is about isn't it. How to fritter away cash and have nothing to show for it!
  5. How to drive. I have had periods of time this summer when I have been without wheels and it was really limiting. Having said that, it was good exercise and you get to see things that you wouldn't see if you were driving. It is amazing what you see if you take the time to look around you.
  6. How to be grateful for what I have. There are times when I despair at my wardrobe. The 'nothing to wear' syndrome is a frequent visitor, but I am grateful that I have clothes to wear at all. I am grateful that I can repair, modify and accessorise clothes so I feel like I have something new to wear.
  7. How to sleep at night. I have trained the small people in the house too. None of us are early birds thank goodness so no one is allowed to be awake before 7.00. There are the occasional exceptions but I count myself very lucky that they all sleep through the night.
  8. The pain of a tattoo. I was celebrating an event in my life as was a good friend of mine. We wanted to mark the occasion, so we both got tattoos. Seriously ouch and on a par with childbirth (well I thought that at the time but I hadn't actually had any children then). No regrets.
  9. The pain of childbirth. Hurts doesn't it. But I am so grateful that we were fortunate enough to be able to have children.
  10. What champagne tastes like. Mmm.
Thank you to Bumps 2 Babies for tagging me and now I believe I am now required to nominate other bloggers to differentiate between things they are glad they know and things they aren't glad they know.

Good luck to:

Brink Of Bedlam
Posh Totty Palace
Mum on The Run

And go over to Perknitious from who I 'borrowed' the 10 things picture, a fab knitting blog x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday, one picture, no words.

Go to Twitter and search #silentsunday for more.


Friday, 21 October 2011

10 ways to start a war before breakfast

Kids Temper

It's half term which can only mean one thing, frayed tempers!

And it doesn't take long for a temper to fray, in fact any time between waking and breakfast would do.

Wouldn't life be dull if there were no shouting or screaming between siblings. Heaven forbid. So just in case you are in danger of having a peaceful half term, here are my top 10 ways to start a war before breakfast.
  1. Enter the room.
  2. Try to brush their hair.
  3. Ask them to do something. Anything.
  4. Allow one child into bed with you.
  5. Encourage them to brush their teeth.
  6. Suggest that they might want to get dressed.
  7. Ask what they would like to do today.
  8. Offer one child something different to the others. Superior or inferior, it really doesn't matter.
  9. Offer a choice of coloured cups. 
  10. Fail to purchase a reserve box of cereal when you are down to one serving left in the packet.
Enjoy your half term.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Mary Portas Needs My Help, Possibly

Mary Queen of Frocks

I have watched Mary Portas with great interest.

When I watched her show, Mary Queen of Shops, I was impressed with her knowledge, her focus on customer service, her ability to identify the underlying problems of the business and her discipline in turning retail businesses around. I have watched her turn a dated, fusty charity shop concept into a destination store, bringing the ageing volunteers right along with her so they were flying the charity flag and completely engaged in the business. I have also watched her highlight and overcome the challenges of customer service in "Secret Shopper".

I suspect David Cameron watched these shows too and thought to himself, “She knows what she is doing. She'll know what to do about our ailing High Streets.” Well perhaps not David, but a trusted advisor who may or may not have been approached by Mary's people.

I feel very strongly about the issues facing independent retailers in our towns, and their plight to survive in an economic downturn. I want them to survive. I want to be able to shop in a varied and interesting environment where I am not just faced with the same old stuff that I might find in any town in the UK. I want customer service too. I am not saying that customer service does not exist outside the independents. Far from it, but I want it in an independent retailer that isn't facing closure.

I have worked in retail for many years, initially on the shop floor and then behind the scenes in head office, and have had responsibility for the commercial success of departments, so I fully appreciate the challenges that exist for retailers. Yet I found myself shouting at the TV on Tuesday, and the previous two Tuesdays, when Mary Queen of Frocks hit our screens. It was because I have great respect for Mary Portas that I stuck it out and watched all three episodes. That and the fact that an affordable fashion range for 40-something women is desperately missing from the High Street, so states a 40-something woman.

Why was I shouting at the TV?

If I did not have any retail background I would probably have enjoyed the shows, loving Mary for her severe cutting remarks, her inability to make eye contact when she is being sarcastically critical (most of the time), and her original fashion sense. But I do have a retail background and, if I am honest, I want to emulate her retail consultancy business in a much smaller way in my area. Consequently I was watching the show with a critical eye, wanting to take mental notes and pick up a few pointers that I could apply. All I could see however was a stream of inconsistencies and contradictions.

She constantly referred to the store as 'her shop'. Yes, it is her brand and concept, but the shop was House of Fraser, the stock belonged to House of Fraser, House of Fraser payed for the shop fit and staff and the supply chain was run by House of Fraser. So not actually your shop at all, Mary. If she had wanted her shop on every High Street as she proclaimed, then the House of Fraser route to market wasn't the ideal choice.

If it was 'her shop', her name in neon lights, her red bob hairstyled mannequins, and her name on every label, swing ticket and hanger, why was she so adamant that she was not the brand, and her face should not be in the advertising? I think, this was the point at which my cynical self knew this was a marketing exercise for Mary Portas who needed retail credibility in the public eye to be the Government's saviour of the High Street.

Then there was the whole charade about the location. So, again, she wants 'her shop' on every High Street appealing to the 40-something market yet Guildford isn't it? London, Paris, Milan and *ahem* Guildford. Not quite the kudos she wanted. Finally, last night she admitted she was a fashion and retail snob whilst standing in the House of Fraser store in *ahem* Guildford.

I could put these contradictions aside on the basis that they are great for TV. Who didn't have a silent chuckle when she looked down her nose at the Chief Executive and declared she Would Not be wearing a pink name badge. But I could not understand her ignorance when it came to some really quite basic retail principles. In the first show she was shocked at the turnover her shop would need to achieve to pay its way in the House of Fraser store. With her experience and knowledge of the retail industry she should know the sales needed for the square footage of her retail space to be profitable. On launch day sales were about £18,000. Not bad. But her annual turnover target is £3million, or about £8,500 per day. On a launch day, with huge media hype behind a public figure, on Oxford Street, I would want to take at least £30,000 in sales. 

And why was she (retail Guru) surprised by the stock lead time of a fashion range? It was evidence that she had cast aside all her business acumen and allowed it to get personal, almost to the point of foot stamping. “But why can't it be here now?” I really wanted the commercial director of House of Fraser to start spelling it out. Well, we have to design it and then order it. The factory have to schedule our production run in with the other orders they will have and then it has to be delivered from the Far East which can take from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on whether it is flown or comes by ship. And until you can decide on the colour of the fabric nothing will happen. There was a definite 'tension' between Mary and her idealised vision, and the Commercial Director with her 'You need me to make this happen' air. Loved that.

The final straw for me was her constant harping on about name badges. She has a meeting with the Store Manager who presumably is a busy man. Granted she is too, but I'm sure he managed to schedule a window for the TV camera. But given time pressure, and the priorities of selling stock, surely she should have been challenging the replenishment of her best selling lines rather than banging on about name badges. I know that the meeting will have been edited for good TV but surely, as a viewer, who could also be a new customer, you would want to know that her dresses were going to be back in stock. Hilariously someone tweeted during Tuesday's show that the infamous Aurora Dress was in stock online! Phew!

I respect Mary as a very successful business person who has found her niche in retail but what 'Mary Queen of Frocks' clearly demonstrated to me was that she has never actually been a retailer. This was a major gap in her credibility which was why her retail venture was absolutely necessary. We learn through making mistakes and I think she has learnt a lot. In the meantime us 40-something plus women are grateful for her efforts, appreciate the lovely Lesley, Spencer and Mark and will wait patiently for the roll out to our own High Streets. 

Mary Portas
Mary considering my CV

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sloe Gin by Me and Seamus Heaney


Sloe Gin. Too slow for me!
I was waiting for the first frost which didn't come.
So I gave up, picked the sloes anyway and took the advice to freeze them overnight and then thaw them to mimic the frost.
Were they fooled? Only time will tell. Ten weeks time apparently.
I only bottled the ingredients today. The kitchen smelled fantastic although not entirely appropriate for 10 in the morning.
Counting on my fingers, I can crack open the first bottle on Boxing day.
Apparently I can keep the second bottle for another year.
We'll see about that.


The clear weather of juniper
darkened into winter.
She fed gin to sloes
and sealed the glass container.

When I unscrewed it
I smelled the disturbed
tart stillness of a bush
rising through the pantry.

When I poured it
it had a cutting edge
and flamed
like Betelgeuse.

I drink to you
in smoke-mirled, blue-
black sloes, bitter
and dependable.

-- Seamus Heaney

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday is Caption Day

This picture really had me smiling this week so it seemed a perfect shot to use for Caption Saturday!

All you have to do is scratch your brain and come up with a clever, funny, witty or just simply amusing caption that fits this photo and then comment on this post.

I will review your entries and deem one of you the cleverest, funniest, wittiest and most amusingest and award you a confectionery pig. I will even eat it in your honour.

Can you think of a funny caption for this?

Insert caption here!

Now head over to Mammasaurus for more Caption Saturday fun!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Mystery Of The Missing Vowel

In the summer holidays the Big One discovered the Cbeebies Jackanory game where you chose your character and then told a story about it. It was great fun but I think it has been removed from the site because I can't find it anymore :-(. You could then print it out and make it into a little book. He made a few of these stories over the holidays and was very proud of them.

I was having a clear out today and found this one.

The Big One tells the story of Super Sammy. It is a lovely story about his hero rescuing a dog from a building and they live happily ever after.

Shame about the typo on the cover though!

I am joining in with Actually Mummy's Wot So Funee Meme.
Go and have a giggle!

Wot So Funee?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bed Hopping - The Family Edition

There were 5 in the bed and the little one said...

Hmm. I thought bed hopping might get your attention!

But this is a family blog and I refer to the nightly maneuvers of squeezing 5 people and a dog into a 3 bedroom house.

Fortunately for me the dog has long since been banished to the kitchen in her indoor kennel. It doesn't quite stop her hopping through to the sitting room and getting nice and comfortable on the sofa, even to the point of resting her tired weary head on a perfectly plumped cushion. Bless.

But back to the remaining 5 bodies that have to share 3 bedrooms.

Well me and the Mr are perfectly comfortable thankyou. Nuff said.

Although a standard double bed is sometimes required to accomodate 3 bodies when a nightmare or just sheer stubborness prevail. Clinging to the edge of the bed while a small person does a starfish impression in the middle does nothing for my bad back. Nor does the stupidly expensive and ineffective memory foam mattress. But I digress.

Two of my children have to share a bedroom, which is nothing unusual I know. The two who share are the boys, the Big one who is rapidly approaching 7 and the wee one who is 20 months old.

The difficulty I have is that if the Wee One is not asleep before the Big One gets into bed I have at least an hour of shouting, screaming, laughing and chatting from the Wee One which does nothing to aid the Big One to sleep.

What do I do?

The Big One is a grump when he doesn't get at least 11 hours sleep.
The Wee One is a grump if he doesn't get at least 12 hours sleep.

They are both grumpy!!

I need to let the Wee One settle himself or I know from bitter experience I will spend hours trying to settle him myself. If I let the Big One go to sleep in my bed and then move him later he still has a disturbed night. If I wait till the Wee One is asleep before the Big One goes to bed he will be knackered.

I know I need to ration the Wee One's afternoon kip which is being actioned forthwith.

But what worries me is what happens in years to come?
Big One has homework versus Wee One playing.
Wee One needs a nap but Big One wants to play in his room.
Big One wants to read in bed but Wee One can't.

I know the simple solution is to build an extension but while I whittle a few bricks from the quarry, what do I do in the meantime?

I would love to know how you have coped with room sharing, what problems have you had and how did you overcome them?

This post is joining in with PinkOddy's Blog Thursday's Thought Meme. Join the debate!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Help - A Review

This is a guest post from the very lovely (and ever so slightly lippy ;-) ) Actually Mummy who was treated by Disney to a fab night at the movies courtesy of Britmums.

"Mummy has been treated well this week, and me and the Bug have been abandoned children yet again. Her blogging friend invited her to a glitzy film screening of "The Help" in London, but couldn’t go at the last minute* and gave both her tickets to Mummy. She tried to get another blogger to go with her, but for some reason none of them were free (maybe it’s her reputation for drinking and talking rubbish – I’ve told her people like to get a word in edgeways sometimes).

Nor could she get a babysitter to allow Daddy to accompany her. Do you know what she did? She made our regular babysitter (who could only manage until 7.30) rope in some of her friends for the later stints, engineering a kind of babysitting relay of girls we (and she) had never met! Off she trotted with never a backward glance for ‘pre-screening drinks’. Oh yes, I know where Mummy’s priorities lie!

So, did she think the film was worth the weekend of reproach I have doled out? Well, she read Kathryn Stockett’s book a while ago, loved it, and has discussed it at her book club, so it wasn’t boding well. You know how it goes, love the book, hate the film and vice versa. (Although personally if they made a film of all 113…114….115…Rainbow Fairy books I would promise to love each and every one of them!).

Well, she came home happy, and it wasn’t just from the wine at the event. She says "The Help" is a great watch, although probably one to watch with the girls. Emma Stone as Skeeter was way more beautiful than depicted in the book, but was so engaging as the would-be journalist with a bee in her bonnet about the shoddy treatment of African-American maids at the hands of white homeowners in Mississippi during the 1960’s. Viola Davis shone with the dignity of Aibileen’s character in the book, but Mummy was surprised that Octavia Spencer as Minny was not as feisty as her literary counterpart. Even so, this is a great story, with some tears along the way, as well as a couple of wine-snorting moments of giggling. I would have liked to see that: 40 bloggers snorting wine must be an interesting sight! It seems that Mummy and Daddy had a great evening, and must surely owe Five Go Blogging a lovely treat sometime soon!

And how did our evening go? Pretty well, actually. We wound up our regular babysitter with the usual fun and games, and then conned the new girls into the belief that it is entirely normal to need warm milk and a packet of raisins an hour or two after going to bed!"

Thank you for the great review Actually Mummy. I hope daddy wasn't too bored and that the babysitters have recovered! I look forward to seeing Mummy very soon when it is highly possible more babysitters will be required!  

*I'm still narked about that!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Silent Sunday

One picture, no words to sum up your week.

Go and search twitter for #silentsunday for loads more photos, one picture, no words, summing up your week.
There's bound to be one at Mocha Beanie Mummy too :-)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday is Caption Day

All you need to do is come up with a fitting caption for this photo!
Write your idea in the comments box and I will randomly pick a winner.
No prize except for the glory of knowing your wit rises high and shines above others!

What's a fitting caption for this?

Over to you!

You can see lots more captionless photos on Mammasaurus's blog just waiting for your funny ideas.

Friday, 7 October 2011

I Have Won The Liebster Blog Award

I know! Hold be back because I am about to explode with sheer joy.


*Pauses to figure out what a Liebster Blog Award is*


So anyway, I won it so I am jolly well going to shout it loud and proud.


And it is all thanks to the marvellous, hilarious, biscuit loving and gorgeous (I assume gorgeous, as I haven't actually met her in person. Blimey, I suppose it is a her. You never know do you. This whole cyber world stuff. She could be a man, an old man, an old man with not many friends. An old man with not many friends and a laptop. Obviously likes biscuits) Motherventing.

I am following her instructions here because aparently you can't just walk up to the podium, give a gushingly sycophantic speech, bask in the applause and then dab your (fake) tears. Oh no. Move over Kate Winslet.

In order to claim and then display your award in your trophy cupboard, you need to follow the following steps:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog. Check
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you. Check
3. Copy & paste the award onto your blog. Check
4. Nominate 5 blogs to receive the award. See below
5. Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog. Next on the list.

So I move swiftly on to nominate 5 blogs that I believe are worthy of this award.
The rules are that they are should be new bloggers with not the largest number of followers imaginable (<200) but have one very important follower, namely ME.

So here they are (in no particular order)

DorkyMum - Just discovered this blog through the marvellous LoveNewBlogs (double hit of links there) and she is very funny and worthy of a real proper LOLs

Crummy Mummy - Another very worthy nominee who had me when she blogged about a papier mache gazelle (as you do).

Bye Bye Birdie because give her a camera and what she can do with it has be awestruck all the time

Mum of One - Inspired by her Day Zero project and I love her rubber duck

Flossing The Cat - because you cannot read her blog without weeping with laughter.

So from this award winning blog writer, bye for now.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Ooh Ahh Orange - The Gallery

Tara's prompt this week is 'Colour' inspired by raising money for Unicef.

So of course I clicked over and found my perfect colour, Ooh Ahh Orange which I now own. I can see it as the hot 'on trend' (according to moi) colour of the season. So expect plenty of Ooh Ahh Orange on the High Street and in those interiors magazines. Remember you saw it here first!

Ooh Ahh Orange was in abundance as I looked around Grandma's house. From the fruit bowl, tablecloth, garden and hall, my suspicions were confirmed. Grandma is a trend leader in colour and the juiciness of orange was spilling out everywhere I turned.

Glowing in juicy orange :-)

Sticky Fingers has lots more colour so go and take a look.

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Artful Alphabet - Martina Jirankova-Limbrick

I am a bit of a charity shop addict, trawlling the shelves waiting for something to catch my eye. I have picked up a few clothes recently that are the perfect addition to my Autumn wardrobe (when it is cold enough) but I mainly buy books. Just plain old common paperbacks, normally off the Amazon best sellers list because I am not that adventurous and my window of opportunity for reading is pretty slim on an average day.

I also like to pick up classic childrens stories, with a particular attraction to anything Ladybird. I managed to pick up a box set of Roald Dahl for the princely sum of £7 albeit that The Twits was missing. No matter, I'm sure I'll find The Twits on one of my forages.

Anyway, to the case in point (finally). This gorgeous book screamed out to me with it's beautiful cover and when I started to flick through the pages I was hooked.

A small girl, a dog and a magic hat create amazing alphabetical scenes that come to life. 

Each page tells a story, full of animated characters and letters.

The fun, lively and enchanting illustrations draw you in, only revealing themselves a bit at a time.

I love the style and colours of the illustrations.

Each time I look at the pages I spot something I hadn't noticed before. I can't imagine ever tiring of them.

It's the sort of book that just leaves you happy :-)

And no, the children aren't allowed it. It is just too wonderful.

For more Magpie Monday finds go over to Me and My Shadow.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Silent Sunday

Go and search twitter for #silentsunday for loads more photos, one picture, no words, summing up your week.
There's bound to be one at Mocha Beanie Mummy too :-)