A Mothers Ramblings: January 2010

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge - Week Twenty-Four

I remember when I first read the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (Thats right guys you get the planet with the scary monsters). If you haven't read the book then the main thing that I remember from it is that one of the big differences between the sexes is the way they tackle problems.

Men will see an problem and will start to fix it, however they think is best. This however is different to how Women react. When a problem is brought up Women will think about it and will listen and will then offer a few words if they think it is appropriate.

I know that I keep saying this, but this is my problem. I need to tackle my weight problem like a man. Rather than looking at it and saying a few appropriate words I need to kick my butt into gear and deal with the problem head on.

I know that I need to exercise more, but I don't.

I know that I need to eat better and drink more water, but I don't.

I know that I need to be firm with myself, but I'm not.

I'm never going to lose all this weight unless I take drastic action.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Daddy Date Nights

When Top Ender was 20 months old there were only two places that she was taken...
Thats right Mummy took her to Gambardo's and Daddy took her to the computer shop and her concept of amounts and time wasn't all that great either...

It wasn't exactly true however as Top Ender was also taken swimming (as you heard Daddy saying there) and it was only a few months later that I suggested that once a week Daddy and Top Ender went on a Daddy Daughter Date Night and do something fun on top of the weekly swim session.

When I first suggested the Daddy Daughter Date Night I think that Daddy thought that I was a bit odd (Haha, I heard that). Then as he thought about it it made him feel sad that he didn't get enough time with Top Ender that he had to set aside special time to spend with her. I remember him commenting that he felt like he was being looked at with pity, that he felt he was look at as if he was divorced or a single parent and he didn't like that.

He was however very pleased that Top Ender wanted to spend time with just him!

As time went on it became second nature that DDDN's (Daddy Daughter Date Nights) were nights that we didn't plan anything else on (well I did, I watched naff TV and ate snacks and had relaxing baths) and Top Ender was allowed to stay up a little later than normal if needed.

They started just going for little walks sometimes to local shops and the shopping centre. Taking a slow walk round looking at things they might like to buy, playing with the toys in ELC and John Lewis and buying mini sausages from Marks and Spencers to share sitting on the seats outside.

Sometimes they would go to a local lake and walk round that talking about the animals and plant life they could see. Sometimes they would stop off and buy food from a Take away or some picnic foods which depending on the weather they would either eat in the car or as they were walking round.

As Top Ender started becoming even more independent she would ask to go places. Toys R Us, Ikea, The park, Swimming, The Library, The Cinema. It wasn't about the amount of time, it was about the quality of time.

Sometimes they would just watch a movie at home with popcorn and banish me upstairs for the evening. It wasn't important if they went out or stayed in , it was the time spent together that was important.

One on one time. Quality time.

It became even more important to them when Daddy started working two jobs. Even though we only had precious few hours together over a couple of evenings the DDDN's didn't get cancelled. Top Ender and Daddy loved the time they spent together and they had this great bond and nothing was going to stop this.

Of course DDDN's have now evolved into days out and weekends away. They have been to Airshows and to London and camping and theme parks and Museums and have come back full of little in jokes that I don't understand.

And I'm not jealous.

It was my idea that they spend more time together.

Okay so I'm a little jealous.

And now Daddy is going to start having regular Daddy Son Date Nights with Baby Boy.

But I'm not jealous...

Friday, 29 January 2010

A Mothers Ramblings take on the Stories and Songs Meme

I was tagged by Angels and Urchins in one of the best meme's around, a Stories and Songs Meme that was started by Brits in Bosnia. The idea is great one, you have to talk about a song that reminds you of something, that has a story for you. Not necessarily your favourite song or a even a song that you love, but a song that instantly takes you back to that time and place.

Now Angels and Urchins song was Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. Great song and it stirred up memories for me too, but as they had already chosen it I couldn't choose it! So I started thinking and shuffling through the music on the PC.

Now something you might not know about me and Daddy is that we LOVE music. There are 500 CD's in our living room on shelves. There are probably the same amount in a cupboard. There is probably that four or five times over in boxes in the loft. Luckily with Daddy being a technology genius they are also all available on the PC and so I can use any PC in any room (We have a PC in everyroom apart from Baby Boys and the bathroom) to listen to any track.

I have so many songs that mean something to me or can take me back to a time and place that I was going to mention a few before I got on with the one I finally settled on but whilst I was jumping through tracks I suddenly had one memory stand out that I knew I wanted to share and it all happened back in 1994.

Technically this photo was taken in 1993, but you don't care about that do you?! I am (obviously) the one on the far right, and the only one not looking a fashion victim.

When this song came out I had just turned 15 (like three weeks before). I was still young enough that my parents were my world, (in fact I had just written a piece of homework a few weeks before about how my best friends were my parents and sister and I got an A***) and thought nothing of getting in the car with them at the weekend to go for a drive in the country as we were partial to doing.

This particular weekend was a beautiful warm and sunny day. The sky was blue, the air was so clear and I was sitting in the back behind my Mum looking out of the window at a field which looked to me like something I just wanted to run into like they did in Little House on the Prairie. My Mum turned around in her seat and told my sister and I to open our windows as full as we could and she started to open the sunroof and her window whilst my Dad opened his.

She then put a tape into the tape player and turned the volume up as high as it would go. My Dad was suddenly on a straight open road and he put his foot down so that we sped up as the opening strains of "Love is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet reverberated all around and as my Sister and I pretended to play air guitar and we all sang.

Thats where I go back to whenever I hear that song. To a time before I knew what really went on. To a time where all that mattered was I was safe and loved to a early Summers Day in 1994.

And now I tag;

Becky at Single Mummy
Cave Mother at Cave Mother and
Kate at Two men, a cat and me

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Valentines Day on the cheap

If you didn't read my January Christmas Club post at the start of the week, you might not of realised that I am preparing for Valentines Day with Top Ender and Baby Boy in the evenings, making decorations and cards and getting ideas together for gifts.

Last year Top Ender and I made Gluten Free Gingerbread biscuits for Daddy (and us!) and Top Ender decorated them using icing pens.

And of course the ever so lovely Daddy left me a trail of heart post it notes to my new-to-me PC in the Kitchen, which is useful for tweeting whilst cooking, looking up recipies and part of my plan to have access to every room in the house via a PC....

Top Ender was a lot easier to please with a packet of Heart Shaped cheese twists that she had spotted in the Supermarket (and Baby Boy got a packet too) along with what ever dinner it was that she fancied that evening.

This year of course we shall make some gluten free Gingerbread to decorate as we did last year, and I am sure that Daddy is planning something for me (You are right? If your not then I have a list of ideas here that you may borrow and if none of those take your fancy then can I please have a hand sorting out my microphone levels?) and as Daddy isn't going to be at work during the day this year we shall plan some during-the-day-child-friendly-activities to do.

But as I mentioned at Christmas and when we were talking about giving to Charity what happens when you have little or no cash to spend?

Well you come here of course and get some ideas!

The following ideas are all things that will have even the most cynical of those amongst us (about Valentines Day and the commercialisation of the day, not just those who are cynical I haven't found a cure for that yet) celebrating or at the very least thinking which one they would like.

1.) Breakfast in Bed.

Its a known fact that any meal that hasn't been cooked by the person eating it tastes better. What is a not so known fact is that any meal eaten in bed also tastes better. Especially if there is a tray, a little flower in a vase and the person has had a lay in.

2.) Breakfast out.

Its not frugal! I hear you cry. Well you aren't going to the right places. Go to Ikea, go to the local Supermarket, go to the local Farmers Market! There is always somewhere that you can go that will do something cheap and yummy! Heck even Macdonalds do bagels and porridge if you don't fancy a "cooked" breakfast!

3.) Brunch.

Is it breakfast or is it lunch? Who knows, but there is something nice about brunch and being lazy eating a selection of whats best from breakfast foods and lunch foods!

4.) Stroll to the pub.

A walk together to the pub, with a chill in the air will get you a bit of exercise to burn off your pint or G&T or what ever your tipple is! Its a casual laid back drink and spending time with each other. Win win!

5.) A walk in the countryside

You know in magazines how you always see a couple holding on to each other with rosy cheeks, woolly jumpers, gloves and scarves (but no coats or unbrellas or small children or dog poo in sight) and think that could be me. Well make it you today.

6.) Window shopping or people watching.

Go to the local shopping centre (or arcade or high street) and walk along looking at what you could buy, or who you would buy the things on display for. Just don't take a debit or credit card. Alternatively sit and watch the people who go by. You could try and play a form of bingo and have to spot a kissing couple, an old couple, a married couple... I'm sure you get the idea!

7.) Bargin hunting in a £1 shop

Set a price limit and then go in the £1 shop and try and buy the best gift for the other, or the most tacky, or the most I-can't-believe-they-sell-this-so-I-brought-it-for-you-to-prove-it gift. The winner can get a bar of chocolate or a kiss...

8.) Picnic lunch

Picnics make any food taste better (its one of those things everyone know like eating in bed and someone else cooking as mentioned in idea number one!) and it doesn't matter where they are, on your bed, on the living room floor, in the car, at a park, in the woods... the ideas are as endless as your imagination!

9.) Make food together

When Daddy and I were first dating we had a meal that we loved to make together. Each of us would chop and mix and prepare side by side and our meal would taste wonderful (because both of us cooked it) or maybe it was just because we were too busy staring into each others eyes we didn't taste the food!

10.) Do a jigsaw together

It doesn't have to be a jigsaw, it could be a wordsearch or a crossword or any project that you like. As long as you do it together and don't start arguing (thats why I haven't suggested a board game!) then it will be something that you enjoy and will remember fondly!

11.) Read to each other.

Daddy use to read to me everynight. He has a voice for radio (and commercials on the telly) and it is lovely to be able to listen to your loved one read a book (or poem, or newspaper) so that you can share a few moments together. Plus it always helped me fall asleep.

12.) Write a poem to each other

I am terrible at poetry, my old English teachers will tell you. Give me a piece to critique and I am fine, but ask me to write something and its terrible....BUT writing a poem to your loved one needs to be from the heart and anything written from the heart is beautiful.

13.) Have a meal at home

Instead of going out to a restaurant for a meal, cook one at home. You can plan your favourite meal, you know that it will be cooked wonderfully and if you combine it with number nine it shouldn't take a lot of effot. Of course this also works if you want to order in a Take Away. Just don't expect Chinese, as this Valentines is also Chinese New Year, so most Chinese Take Aways (if not all) will be closed.

14.) Watch a film together

Rent a video or DVD, buy a cheap one from the £1 shop (not *that* kind although they do sell those in our local £1 shop) or from the Supermarket, borrow one from the Library or choose one from your own collection (no not *those* ones!) and sit cuddled on the sofa, or bed, or floor and share a bowl of popcorn or chips and dip.

15.) Spend time together with no distractions

Turn off the TV, your mobile phone, your computer, your pager, your fax machine or anything else that you can and talk to your other half. If you run out of things to talk about then talk about a shared memory or something that you have planned. Oh and don't worry it doesn't have to be all day, it could just be half an hour!

16.) Learn to say I love you in a different language or write them down

I gave a jar of slips of paper to Daddy for Christmas the year before last. On each slip of Paper it said I love you, but written in a different language. Either learn to say it or write them down, it is something that is simple but effective.

17.) Take a photo

There are two ways to do this, you could go out and buy a cheap throw away camera and take silly shots of you both. As it is a disposable you will have to have them developed, but that adds to the excitement and also means you can't delete them as you would on a digital camera. Of course if you trust yourself you can do it on a digital camera. The other thing that you could do is take some more intimate photos. Everyone seems to have the old passport style photos of them and a loved one kissing, you could do the same or get more erm adult...

18.) Make a mix tape

"How original!" I hear you cry, but think about it a CD or tape or Ipod playlist of music that means something to you both is always nice to have and nice to listen to!

19.) Write a love letter

Write down just how much you love them, how you want to share your life with them... the things you would want to hear and the things you know they would like to hear.

20.) Do your partners least favourite chore

I hate doing the ironing and putting away clean clothes, I would know how much Daddy loved me if he did them for me.

21.) Love Cheques

You know how this works right? The I owe you one back rub, foot massage, cuddle, snog....

22.) Go to the bookstore and have a coffee and read books

Its fun to go to bookshops and browse books, especially if you have a bookstore that has a cafe too. Pick a book for each other or have to find a book that is something to do with romance or another theme!

23.) Give them something they need, a note pad a pen, new socks, new undies...

This will allow them to remember you when using something that isn't clutter!

24.) Buy some flower seeds

Cheaper than a bunch of flowers, last longer and is more fun as you get to watch things grow!

25.) Make paper flowers

Again cheaper than a bunch of flowers and they look great... try clicking this link to find ways to make them!

26.) Frame a favourite photograph

Maybe it is a photo from number 17, or maybe it is a photo from your wedding day, or mabe even one that they would of used in the Sticky Fingers Photo Meme... get it framed and it will be a hit!

27.) Make a Scrapbook

This can be done so quickly and easily. If you need ideas follow this link or make one for free using Picnik

28.) Treasure Map

A bit of local knowledge, a tea bag and a lighter and you can make a little map to a treasure... or a place to have your picnic, walk in the park or even to John Lewis to have a cookie!

29.) Memory box

Create a memory box together, place photos, letters, cards, old cinema tickets... you get the idea.

30.) Things I love about you

This was one of my most favourite things that I did with Daddy. We wrote down ten things that we liked about each other and ten things that we liked or that made us happy (like reading a book, having chocolate) and then we put them in a frame and gave them to each other. If we wanted to make ourselves happy we could read a reason why the other person loved us and if we wanted to make them happy we could read a thing to do. We still have them now!

So here my 30 things to do for Valentines day frugally.... just look out for my things to do for Children on Valentines day this weekend!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Bunny Blind Date

(I know its supposed to be Wordless, but pretend you can't see this, thats why I have made it small and everything. Top Ender has had Daisy for several months now (almost a year) and it was decided that for her Birthday she would make Daisy a husband. Daniel was made at Top Enders Birthday party at the start of the month and as you can see we did the reveal in true Blind Date style! They are still dating, but will be going at it like... err Rabbits once they are married this spring....)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Baby Boy Giggles - Lets Get Physical

Daddy walked into the living room to find this sight greeting him. 

Guess I must do some exercise occassionally then!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns Night - A Mothers Ramblings Style!

Today is Robert Burns birthday, and so traditionally today is the day where there will be a celebration of his life and poetry works... altough a Burns night can be held on any day you like.

My Mum is Scottish, and so I grew up knowing about Burns and about his poems and even memorised one which my Mum taught me (To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough) and I can only say in my fake Scottish accent (I say fake as I am 100% English and my Scottish accent is very dodgy) but I have never been to a Burns Supper.

Tonight however I will serve neeps and tatties (mashed turnip and potato) with mince and onions to my teaghlach (Yes I know a few bits of Gaelic, the best bit when I was growing up was learning Gaelic swear words to use during school until we got a Scottish Teacher and luckily she laughed it off) and we shall have a mini celebration of Burns.

Luckily I know the proper format of the evening thanks in part to a conversation with my Mum yesterday, a long ago conversation with my Gran (who even after living in England for about 44 years never lost her scottish accent!) and of course a Wikipedia search which is;

Start of the evening (General socialising, so in other words normal in our house)

Host's welcoming speech (Me explaining what is going to happen and The Selkirk Grace)
Entrance of the haggis (which I won't do as I know what it tastes like and I don't like it and the poem is sooo long and hard to make funny!)
Supper (the affore mentioned mince, neeps and tatties)
Immortal memory (a quick bit about Burns)
Appreciation (will be skipped)
Toast to the Lassies (About women in general and Top Ender and I)
Reply to the Toast to the Lassies (About men in general and Baby Boy and Daddy)
Other toasts and speeches (Hopefully a quick Thank you Mummy!)
Works by Burns (My party piece)
Closing (Bed time!)

So tonight, if you are celebrating with a Burns supper or not please do raise your glass and think of a great Scottish hero.... or my Gran who will always be my Scottish Hero.

Christmas Club - January!

Well, if you have stumbled upon me today not knowing that I was planning on preparing for Christmas please don't run for the hills screaming that Christmas is coming soon, you haven't fallen asleep for a really long time, Christmas Day was really only one month ago and the big event for 2010 is still a whole 11 months away... but who doesn't like to be prepared before the big event?

If you too want to prepare for Christmas, then you are welcome to join me! And if you have any ideas or suggestions the comment box is always open! What I am planning on doing is each month tackling a small area of Christmas planning as well as the planning for celebrations in the month. Like for example today is Burns Night, and so last month I made sure that as I was going to have a small celebration with my family that I would remember to buy a Turnip for neeps and tatties to go with the mince and onion. (And tomorrow we will have Stovies, but thats another story)

Today however I am going to walk around the house and make sure all Christmas items are away, I know Top Ender and I know there will be a couple of decorations hidden somewhere in her room... and I also know that there is a box of Christmas paper still to go up into the loft in my bedroom.

I am also going to catalogue the gifts that were given to me this Christmas that I won't use and so are either going to regift (not to the person who gave it to me) or take to a Charity Shop. For example next to my bed is a bottle of Red Door perfume which my Mum loves and my Great Nan got confused and thought I loved. But on me Red Door doesn't smell as nice as it does on my Mum!

I must admit this year I have been really bad and still haven't handed out thank you notes. It isn't too late to give them, and just a quick reminder if you haven't sent yours don't say you have been busy and that is why you haven't written them! Say something along the lines of "Please forgive me for not having expressed sooner how greatful we were for your lovely..." and please remind me to follow my rules for writing Thank you notes next time.

Seeing as I am going to be writing I will also make note of Good ideas from the Christmas just gone that I liked or the children like. For example this year we sprinkled glitter on the driveway for Santa to use as a Landing Marker. It was such a simple thing to do, but it was great and we had fun doing it as a family.

This is also a great time to note down things that I know other people might like, and if needs be put a copy of the ideas in with the Christmas decorations. A few years back a family friend joked when we gave him and his wife a lamp for Christmas that for the last four years we had slowly been replacing the furniture in thier living room and would we be buying him a three piece suite the following year. We remembered this and the following year presented him with his own gift in a tiny little gift box...

A three piece sweet...

I have already set up this years Gift list ideas file and have a copy on my ipod touch, a copy on the calender and a copy on the main PC. I have ideas for birthdays and for other celebrations such as Anniversarys, New Baby Gifts etc. That way if I happen to be in a shop and see something that would make a great gift, I can check that I haven't already brought something for them.... like the beautiful baby coat I have brought for my Sisters 3rd Baby which is due in late May!

The last thing I need to do is to check next month for dates that are coming up. I have Valentines Day (Top Ender, Baby Boy and I are making a lot of cards this year!), Chinese New Year (which is the 14th February this year), Big Cousins Birthday, Half Term a few friends Birthdays and of course it is also Jo Beaufoix's birthday... Need to plan something big for that one.

Image stolen from Jo's blog. Hope she doesn't mind. If she does I shall make sure the Male Strippers for her Birthday make up for it. They shall be Tweet Strippers...

Oh and the absolute last thing I am going to do is to write a couple of lines about January so that when I come to write my review of the year post in December, I'll remember what I thought was important!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge - Week Twenty-Three

I've been thinking this week. Its a dangerous habit, but one I haven't ever been able to kick. I think that if I could I would live inside me head, but I know that it is selfish and dangerous so I won't try it (for extended periods of time anyway).

I have been thinking about what stops me from doing what I want to do, what I need to do in order to lose weight. And the answer didn't surprise me at all.

You see it isn't that I don't want to or that I can't. It's not that I don't have the time or even the tools. It's not that I am lazy (although I am sure that I am!). Its the same problem that causes me to want to follow the Flylady system for keeping my home clean.

My internal voice says to me "If it isn't going to be prefect then why even bother?" and that internal voice isn't the Still Small Voice that tells me that I am loved by a Heavenly Father... this one is a mean internal voice.

When I realised this it all suddenly became clear. I knew what it is that I have to do. I know now that I was setting myself up to fail by attempting so much. Its not like I didn't know to set small goals, but for some reason it hadn't registered until yesterday.

I have set up an alarm on my IPod Touch that at 12:30 when Baby Boy has a sleep I have a two 15 minutes periods of exercise. Thats it. If I walk to town in the week or do more than my 30 minutes total each day then that is fine.

So maybe next week I will lose more than the 1lb that I lost this week!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Daddy Giggles - A Very Yummy Mummy

At Christmas Baby Boy was a lucky young man and got two new plates and bowls. Daddy had been with me when I got them. Daddy had actually seen them, held them and paid for them.

Daddy was sitting with Baby Boy as he was unwrapping his presents. As such this meant that Daddy was able to examine each new gift after Baby Boy had passed his own judgement on them.

When Baby Boy got to the plates and bowls he immediatly passed them to Daddy, with more interest in the paper that had previously been wrapped around them.

"Bit self indulgent isn't it?" muttered Daddy
"Pardon?" I answered having really not heard
"Yummy Mummy" he quoted showing the plate to me

It took an "Oh-my-goodness-can't-you-read" glare and a second for Daddy to realise.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Things I would like

I don't think of myself as materialistic and of course I would love for the world to be free of war and famine and disasters, but sometimes what I need is something for me. And so I dream about what I would buy, and I look in the shops and touch all the pretty things. I don't buy them though because I'm not materialistic.

So with that being said I would love;

A New Camera. After Top Ender accidentally dunked my old one, it didn't work properly, but it did work... until it well and truly gave up the ghost. I would like one that has a view finder and a screen on the back and lots of little extra functions like my old Sony Cybershot DSC-W55... but I wouldn't be too fussy.

A New Dirty Laundry Hamper. It needs to be one that you can sort the clothes into at least three categories and not something that cats could scratch to pieces as they have done my last three hampers. And it would be nice if it had a magical elf that came with it to fill it up with the dirty clothes that get left in corners of bedrooms and who also washed the clothes. And ironed them.

A New Pair of Trainers. They need to be a size 7 and as long as they aren't the cheap ones that I have been buying I don't care what they look like or what colour they are. But I don't want glow in the dark ones. Or ones that make a lot of noise. Or Thomas the Tank ones, but I do want Thomas the Tank Slippers like Charlie has.

An IPhone. Daddy has one and although I have the ipod touch, I still think a couple of extra functions, like the camera and the phone, would be nice. (But I don't really so don't buy one for me Daddy!) Or maybe I could have the next big thing. Whatever that is going to be.

A Landscape Gardener. Just so that they could come round and do something with my garden. I have started and I will finish... but a landscape gardener would do it so much more quickly... and nicely... and with plants... that wouldn't be dead before I planted them... and would know the names of them... and would put them in the right places not just where they thought they would look nice.

A King Size Bed. I don't need one of those fancy ones with his and her adjustable mattress things, I don't need one that is really expensive... but I would like it to be of good quality and to have underbed storage and to come with new bed linens and also if I could have some of those expensive sheets. Actually a waterbed might be nice!

A New Buggy. Its the occasional buggy that lives in the car that needs replacing. The wheels are going funny and it doesn't push all that good and I don't think that Baby Boy is all that comfortable. I know that we won't need it soon as Baby Boy will be walking everywhere, but still until then a nice new one would be great. And then I could be posh looking.

A New House. Technically I don't want a new house. I just want this house to be knocked down and rebuilt to suit me. I want an extension and for the pipework for the heating to be in the walls and I want the garage to be changed into a den, with a projector and screen and a little room for Daddy to fly his planes in. And big glass doors so I can sit in there and watch the children play in the garden. Oh and the bathroom need to be made bigger... and moved upstairs.

A New Fence. Well not all of it needs to be new. Only about four panels. I just can't afford to get the last four done just yet and I want to get them done.

A New Kitchen. Like the one I saw in Ikea, although it doesn't have to be the one in Ikea. Any new Kitchen would do. If you want to make me a bespoke Kitchen I won't complain. Although I want a TV in there. And speakers. And lights under the units. And glass splashbacks. And a Dishwasher. And Underfloor heating.

A New Carpet. I don't like the one that we have. I didn't like it when we moved in, but until it is worn out there is little point in replacing it. If I jump up and down on one spot will that wear it out quicker?

A Fireplace with a TV inside it. They exist. I saw them at the Technology home show. Whilst we are at it, can we put in the thing that Daddy explained to me the other day where there would be a little screen in everyroom and we can listen to music or the TV from any room in any room? And also can they be touch screens. And can I also have the ability to turn lights on and off from any room in any room. Heck just give me the Media Centre House and I will be well pleased.

A New Coat. I want one that makes me look taller and slimmer please.

<---- Example of what said Magical Coat may look like.

A set of Metal Mixing bowls. I like metal mixing bowls. I like the sound when the whisk hits the side. I like the sound when I clang them together. I would bake more if I had some.

Stephen Fry. I would share him with The World obviously (and Rosie Scribble in a time share type agreement) but he would be great to have round the house wouldn't he? Maybe what I really need is a Stephen Fry app for my ipod touch. Then I could keep him in my pocket...

How to buy gifts for tricky people

On Christmas Day my Mother In Law had popped round to see us and to swap gifts. Whilst she was here Daddy had to quickly use the Carpet Sweeper (or the hodduhuduhduh as it is known in our house thanks to Eddie Izzard) and she made a comment about how she didn't have one and would like one.

"Brilliant!" I thought

I made a mental note for a future gift for Mothers Day or Birthday or one of the other million reasons there are per year to show apprecation for those around us and carried on enduring enjoying her visit.

It was decided between Daddy and I later that day, that because she has been having a bad time of it of late, that we would purchase one and take it round on New Years Day, a clean start to the New Year sort of thing.

So we took it round on New Years Day and discovered that she had already brought one...

It was the Digital Camera debacle all over again, but that is a story for another day.

It was with thanks to my MIL that I made sure that I wrote down my unofficial rules that I try to follow when buying gifts as I do through out the year and they are;

1) Will this add clutter to someones home or will they use it?
2) Is it something they would like?
3) Is it something they might have already?
4) Is it something they have asked for?
5) Is it something they would buy for themselves?

And I also want to remind everyone to start thinking about the Christmas Club, which will start on the 25th of January!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Top Ender Giggles - Death by Top Ender

"Sorry, but Mummy is suffocated on my bedroom floor"

That got Daddy running upstairs quite quickly, but he soon realised he didn't need to worry as he could hear me giggling into the carpet.

You see if we rewind back 15 minutes you would see that Top Ender had been throwing a bit of a strop in the car. It got to the point where she was repeating "Turnaround" every few seconds.

After a minute of this I started singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" well actually Daddy did because he knows the words better than me (Can you say Karaoke King?) and whilst Top Ender was still in a strop at least she had the decency to giggle at our OTT performance.

When we got home it was suggested to Top Ender that she might like to go upstairs to her room for a little while. I went with her and we sat cross-legged on the floor talking until she had calmed down. She climbed on to my lap to give me a hug and in doing so accidentally banged my head on the bedframe.

I decided to pretend to have been knocked out.

Top Ender knew that I was pretending and so did a couple of silly things to try to get me to react like ticking my very ticklish feet.

I didn't react.

And thats when you entered the story!

Top Ender Giggles - Well you never call me!

"Top Ender, can you please go up to my bedside table and get me my mobile phone?"
"Okay!" she answered

Top Ender returned a few minutes later with my alarm clock...

Monday, 18 January 2010

When you can't afford to give

I stopped watching the news years ago. It seemed that everyday there was something terrible on the news and I would fret on things that were not in my control. I don't like hearing about people being murdred, children being abused or about Terrorists who have blown up innocent people because they think it is the only way for their voice to be heard.

I get my news online, I know that if the title of a piece looks like it is going to make me upset that I don't read it. Of course that doesn't stop me hearing about big disasters. I first hear about the Haiti earthquake on Twitter. I knew from the trending topics that it was something that I was going to fret on.

I knew that I would want to give to the people of Haiti who will of lost family and friends and homes and the ability to carry on with a normal existance.

And Bloggers responded loudly with donations at a specially set up Just Giving page. Currently the donations will allow four (nearly five) Shelter boxes to be given to the people in Haiti.

But what about when you can't afford to give?

Without going into personal details we can't afford to give money to charity. We like many others are in a position where our budget is balanced with our outgoings and incomings matching exactly.

So what can I do? Or what can you do if you are in a similar position?

1) Give your time. You might not be cash rich, but you might be time rich. A local organisation might need help for an hour a week or a month. They might need more, but will accept what you can offer them.

2) Give your expertise. Have you got a skill that could help? Look at what you could do that might help someone, even if it is something you feel is silly such as being able to organise a committee!

3) Give what you can. I give all our old clothes, toys, bed linens, books and countless other things to local Charity shops. Just because I can't give money doesn't mean I can't give things.

4) Use Charity gift services. I love Oxfam Unwrapped. For the people on my Christmas list that I want to buy something for, but don't know what to get them or have been told not to get them anything I buy something from there. It makes me feel good and the person I have brought the gift in the name of. You can even use your Tesco clubcard points to buy Charity gifts.

5) Use a Charity credit card or better still as Martin Lewis on MSE says use a Cashback Credit card. Charity credit cards mean that for any money spent on your credit card that the named charity gets a percentage of what you spend. However a Cashback credit card will give you a better return percentage and will give the cash back to you. Which you can then donate to a charity. You could also do this with cashback from other purchases from cashback websites.

6) Buy things that you do buy through a charity portal. There are so many online stores that give commission to web sites that drive traffic to them and if you are making a planned purchase why not see if you can help a charity at the same time?

7) Spread the word, just like I have done in this post. Let other people know about a charity that they might be able to support if they have the funds. Highlight a cause and you will be giving.

I am sure there are other ways that you can give and I hope that you will tell me in the comments of things I may of forgotten or not know about and if you can afford to give please, please, please, please do.

100 Books Challenge

I read a lot.

I read in the bath, and in the shower, whilst on the toilet, whilst cooking dinner, whilst sitting in the car, whilst sitting in bed, whilst on the PC, whilst I am at work, whilst I am hoovering, whilst I am breastfeeding, whilst sitting in the garden and once whilst I was donating blood.

It makes me wonder why I have never taken part in a reading challenge before.

This year though I am going to do something about it. This year I am taking part in a 100 Books Challenge.

So far this year I have read;

1) Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel

2) Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

and I am now reading;
3) Last Christmas by Julia Williams

And that means that I am already two books behind schedule, as to read 100 in one year I will ned to read on average two a week!

Now the challenge does say that you can read anything that has an ISBN, which does mean that some of Top Enders and Baby Boys books, which take minutes to read, could be included to bring up my total... but I am not going to do that (well I say that now, but stop by on December 30th to see if I stick to that lol).

Well I am going off to read some more of my book, but why not join me in the challenge?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Best Holiday Ever...

We have been on lots of holidays Daddy and I. We stayed in a tent in Wales when we had really only just met.

There was the time that we went to Greece (our Honeymoon) and swam in clear oceans and hired a little motorbike that when we were riding on it we were overtaken by people walking.

Then there was part two of our Honeymoon where we went to Geneva and on our first night it snowed and we woke up to a beautiful wonderland and we spent a fortune on a trip to Mount Blanc, but it was worth it because we had out own private tour guide.

There was the trip to Paris, a few more to Wales, one to Scotland and countless others that I have probably forgotten, and even if I got a visual reminder then I would still swear blind that the event never happened... not that that has happened or anything (Good job Daddy never comments on this blog!) because my memory is great and I never forget anything. But none of these were my best trip ever.

We have been on a few with Top Ender too. A few more to Wales and other various parts of England but none of these were my best trip ever.
It wasn't the first trip to Disneyland Paris with Top Ender and Daddy.

It wasn't the second trip to Disneyland Paris with Top Ender and Daddy.

It was, however, our trip to Italy in 2007.

Daddy and I knew where we wanted to go and we knew we wanted to set our own schedule. We wanted to see all the things that you have to see in Italy and so we made a list of all the places we wanted to go and then plotted them on a map. We ended up just doing the North of Italy and are planning a second trip back so that we can do the South!

We drove from the West coast to the East Coast taking in Pisa, Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, Sirmeone, and up the Monte Baldo in Malcesine. We spoke Italian (badly), ate great food and enjoyed some brilliant weather. We stayed in some great hotels and some not so great hotels. We watched cartoons in a language we didn't really understand, but didn't care because we did it together.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Top Ender wearing a Venetian mask,
The balcony of Juliet (had Juliet existed), Us at Lake Garda,
Top Ender watching Cartoons in Italian, Us in Venice

We ate iceream in the sun, we spoke to old Italian men and women who thought Top Ender was adorable because she had fair hair and tried to speak Italian, we worked out what "L'Accesso Non E Consentito A donne in gravidanze" meant (Access is not allowed to pregnant women) because it applied to me and Daddy found out that the Italian motorways are fantastic to drive on!

This holiday was the best holiday ever, it was full of all the things that for us the best holiday ever should contain. This is the holiday I dreamt about and is the holiday all other holidays will no doubt be compared to... until our next best Holiday ever!

The Yummy Mummy With No Tummy Challenge - Week Twenty-Two

I didn't really try this week, I was careful not to eat too much rubbish and junk, and to try to exercise as much as possible but my heart wasn't really in it.

I'm at the point where I know that I want to lose weight and I know that the only way to do that is to modify my diet and increase my exercise but I'm bored of being good and healthy.

I'm bored of looking at clothes that I want to buy, but can't because they don't do my size.

I'm bored of meals that although nutrious and healty and yes tasty aren't what I really want to eat.

I'm bored of being hooked on junk food.

I know that this week if I don't make an effort that I will end up giving up and that isn't something that I want to do. Tomorrow the newest NEWO (No Excuse WorkOut) challenge from Jonathan starts and this time instead of just being half hearted about it I am really going to go for it.

This week I am going to be the one that changes.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Making Friends Sucks - Part Two

Now those of you who know me in "real life" are going to be divided into two camps over this post. The first lot of you are going to have one of those "aha" moments about me and the other half of you are never going to believe it.

I'm shy.

When I posted last week about how Making Friends Sucks, I didn't really talk about the friends I do have or why I have more online friends than "real life" friends, but the true answer is because I am shy.

If you do know me in real life you will know me as a quite bubbly character, who either never shuts up or who is a bit of a comedian. I admit that these characteristics don't exactly scream shy, but this is because it is a persona. This is the kind of person that I want to be and so I have created a front that is this person.

Its easier with Online friends. For a start they are a lot easier to come by, there isn't always somewhere where you can find someone to talk to who will have something in common with you.

Even if your hobby is knitting in the nude, there is bound to be a chatroom out of the 33,900,000 results for chatrooms in Google Search that caters for you.


Online friends are easier to find. Easier to keep in touch with and in my opinion a lot harder to get rid of.

I should know. I married one of the friends I made online!

Friday, 15 January 2010

And whilst we are on the subject

This was a man I saw.

He was pushing a pram, and so I guessed that the woman that was with him was his other half.

I just hope he was wearing it for one of the following reasons;

A: He lost a bet
B: It was all the seaside shop had in stock in his size and he couldn't wear his top for some reason (like Baby Sick)
C: He is hinting to his partner

And not one of the many other reasons I thought of.

Top Ender Giggles - X-Rated

Top Ender uses some phrases that we have to explain to her as being "Grown up phrases", and just confirm with her that maybe she shouldn't use them in front of others.

Sausages looking like they are having Sex is one of them, Pole Dancing is another.

To her pole dancing is something that is fun (well thats true for the Grown up Pole Dancing too isn't it chaps?) and involves dancing round a pole (again nothing different there).

When she shouted at the top of her voice at Adventure Island in Southend that she was Pole Dancing whilst wrapping herself around a pole we explained that it wasn't something to shout about in public due to it being a Grown up Term.

Especially as the wrapping of her body around the pole was quite contortionistic.

Pole Dance
Originally uploaded by kularock

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when Top Ender called to me;

"Look Mum I am pole dancing again!"
"What did I say about that?!" I called back through without looking up from the food I was preparing

There wasn't an answer, so I looked through the open Kitchen door to the living room to see Top Ender holding a cardboard tube from the inside of a roll of wrapping paper behind her with one hand. With her bottom... well you get the picture.

"Top Ender what are you doing?" I asked calmly (but slightly amused although I didn't let her know that)
"Errr, Pole dancing?" came the tentative reply.
"Yes, but why like that?" I asked with as little sarcasim as I could manage
"Grown ups pole dance naked with their bums on the pole. Just ask Daddy."

As far as I know Daddy has never been pole dancing...

An Introduction to todays posts

Todays posts are all on a similar theme, and that theme is Not Safe For Work.

Please, please, please, don't read these if you are at work as I don't want to be the reason you are fired. Or the reason why your IT department are annoyed with you because there is coffee all over your screen and in your keyboard.

That being said if you have an understanding boss read on!

Top Ender Giggles - X-Rated
And Whilst we are on the Subject