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Showing posts from September, 2011

We Won!

The MAD Blog Awards are going on right now, I've just snuck away for a few minutes to come and collect my thoughts. You see the most amazing thing happened. Something that I really didn't expect and something that has left me grinning wildly.

I won.

Again.

Thank you everyone so much. I will blog again later, but right now I'm too busy grinning.

I'm on my way to the MAD Awards

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Right about now I should be on a train going to London if everything is going the way I have planned. I have been lucky enough to have been nominated again for the Family Fun Category in the MAD awards, which are being held at the Talk Talk Customer Experience Centre. I've been dressed by Simply Be, and the lovely Vertbaudet (who are sending me some baby clothes for my Sister) have sponsored me in order so I could afford to come stay down in London (and to have a sneaky packet of crisps and bottle of Dr Pepper to enjoy whilst on the train) and I'm really excited to be going to find out if I shall be increasing the number of trophies on my fireplace.


No seriously, for me this isn't about trophies or prizes and it isn't even about winning. The very fact that I was nominated and then voted for by people who read this blog is just so amazing that it makes my head hurt thinking about it. What started as a diary of things I wanted to remember in years to come and share with …

Top Ender's Friday Lunches

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At the start of the school term Top Ender and I agreed that every Friday and on special days I would prepare a special lunch for her to take to school. I looked at it as a chance for me to show Top Ender how much I loved her, that I was thinking of her when we weren't together at home, a chance for me to be creative and also if it was only once a week then it wasn't going to cause too much issue and Daddy and I could just slap dash her lunch together on every other day of the week! The problem came when term started and the first day back to school (which was a special day) was a Wednesday. So a special lunch was created for Top Ender to take in on her first day. It was a fish because Top Ender had been working on a Sea Creature Summer project which was the theme for the first few weeks back at School too.

Of course that first Thursday at School was a special day, seeing as it was the first Thursday at School and so I had to prepare a special lunch on that day too


and then the …

Home - The Gallery

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This week the gallery theme is home.

My home isn't all that I want it to be.

I mean the carpets aren't what I would have chosen (but there is nothing wrong with them and I can't afford to replace them just because I don't like them).

The central heating was put in after the house was built and so there are pipes all along my walls making it a dust trap.

The kitchen is country style and I'm much more of a stainless steal and shiny black kind of girl.

The bathroom is tiny. And the tiles are horrid. And they aren't put up right.

My bedroom is only half painted.

The garage is falling down and probably has asbestos in the ceiling.

Next door got permission from a former owner to put a waste pipe into our waste pipe at a stupid angle that causes my toilet to block up roughly once every two years.

The garden is over growing and old fashioned.

The last few fence panels at the back of the garden need replacing.

The Kitchen roof needs replacing.

The window next to the fro…

Zingzillas at Harveys - Wordless Wednesday

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My Nieces, Top Ender and Big Boy got to meet the Zingzillas at Harveys Furniture store this past weekend. Apparently it doesn't get much better than this and Auntie kitty and I were pretty chuffed to meet them too!


Death and Guilt

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The other weekend we were travelling home in the car, from a fun filled family day out, when Top Ender said in a quiet little voice;

"Mummy? Do you know why I was crying a few minutes ago?"

I didn't. In fact, I didn't even know that she had been crying. She explained that she had been thinking about Nanny Maw (my Maternal Grandmother who died on Top Ender's Fifth Birthday) and about how she didn't spend enough time with her when she was alive. This broke my heart, as a seven year old shouldn't be suffering from guilt over the time not spent with someone whilst they were alive. In fact nobody should be judged over the time that they did or didn't spend with relatives or friends whilst they were alive.

I tried to put Top Ender's mind to rest with the a promise of a big hug when we got home and then I started telling her stories about Nanny Maw that soon had us both giggling again, but as I sat in the front of the car in the dark I started to cry aga…

Caption It Monday! #5

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This past weekend Big Boy had his face painted by Little Stars Face Painting, at Harveys Furniture store and they did a fantastic job. Seriously they were so amazing, I shall put up the other work that they did on the rest of the family over the next couple of days as you will love it. Anyway, the picture that I thought would be fun for you to caption is below which was taken just after Big Boy had looked in the mirror to see his face with the addition of a dinosaur! 
Now last week there was a prize for the best caption of a photo taken of Daddy and I on our wedding day ten years ago so scroll down to see if you have won!
Runners Up

"Stop standing on my foot (said behind a smile)" from Mum in the Madhouse

"Shit, who invited the stripper from my stag night?" from Crystal Jigsaw

"Did someone just say we'd have two children? They're joking, right?" from Rosie Scribble


Winner


"The groom forced a smile as his new bride just announced her mother was…

Tin Can Tea Light Holders

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Yesterday for my Wordless Wednesday post, I posted this picture.


These are tin can tealight holders which I am giving to Daddy for our Tenth Wedding Anniversary next Thursday. I thought it rather apt because the tenth wedding anniversary is marked with a gift of tin and I've ten of them (four of them are hiding as Daddy needs a bit of a surprise right?). I had originally seen Tea Lights Holders similar to this on Pinterest and really wanted to make my own and so here is how to do it.

First of all do the world a favour and save some tin cans from being recycled into more tin cans. Make sure you really clean them up inside and out as you need to remove the label and the sticky glue and any traces of food from inside the tin. I ended up soaking mine in the sink over night and using a bit of WD40 on the sticky glue bit! If you end up using the WD40 too then make sure to really clean it all off as it will effect a later step.

Once they are all dry fill the tin cans with sand and then a…

Home Made Tea Light Holders - Wordless Wednesday

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These are going to be presented to Daddy on our wedding anniversary. There are ten of them (four of them are hiding so he gets a bit of a surprise), and they are made of tin! Perfect for our Tenth Wedding Anniversary right?

Angel Delight Ice Cream

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Wednesday the 21st September is apparently the anniversary of the ice cream cone being invented. It's hard to say if it is true or not but to celebrate we made some Angel Delight Ice Cream which we had been sent to try before it is on sale in the shops. I'm not sure, but I read on the web somewhere that it might not be on sale until 2012 and although it is only a few weeks ago I'm not sure I can wait...
We made three different types, the ordinary Vanilla (centre front), chocolate with chocolate chips and marshmallows (back right but you knew that right) and then a fruit one which was Blueberry and Strawberries (because that is what was in the fridge!). We threw them into the freezer, went out for the afternoon and then had them for supper when we got home.

The chocolate one was a firm favourite with Daddy who claimed that it was very similar to a popular luxury ice cream and a fraction of the price if it costs less than £5 for an Angel Delight Ice Cream powder mix packet!…

Caption It Monday! #4

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In my Mind four weeks is a month, I know that this isn't strictly true but seeing as this is Week Four of Caption It Monday! Then I'm quite pleased. I think that the picture #3 which was of Daddy last week had you all a little puzzled as there weren't half as many abusive captions as I thought that you could come up with, or maybe I'm just more practised at abusing him?! Well, you get another go with this weeks picture and not only does the caption winner get some linky love, but they will also win a prize thanks to Carte Blanche Greetings (UK only). That's right real prizes this week!


You see a week on Thursday it will be my Tenth wedding anniversary. That's right, Daddy and I will have been married for Ten years and so this adorable little puppy will be given with love to my best friend... and then stolen back so I can keep him forever and ever because he is just so darn cute and soft. So keeping with the wedding anniversary theme here is the picture to capti…

Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro and Hitachi Backup - A Review by Daddy

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A tale of two backups!

We received an Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro external hard disk to review, which came with a free Hitachi Backup account.

In the "good old days", when photographs came from film and film came from the chemist, you were probably as selective as us when it came to taking a photograph. Nowadays, with the advent of digital photography, you probably take 4 digital shots for every 1 you would have taken on film. And why not.

Unlike photographs, which you might put in a frame or an album, you probably tend to store your digital photos on your computer. In fact, talking to Mummy, we worked out that - with the exception of a few documents - photo's make up the largest, irreplaceable, part of the data on our computer. Software and applications can be reinstalled, emails and blogs are all stored online - but our photos are not.

So, when Hitachi asked us to review their Touro Mobile Pro hard disk, and the "cloud" environment Hitachi Backup, we decided it w…

The Can Be A Good Mother at Times Guide to the School Run

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I was reading Sally's The Bad Mother's Guide to the School Run and despite my smirk (totally not a self-satisfied smirk) I realised that Sally did sort of have a point about the School Run. So many parents dread it, not because they are bad parents (although Sally is a really bad parent*, she didn't even recognise her own daughter in a school photo!) but because they expectations they have of themselves and their children just are not realistic.

And so I present to you The Can Be A Good Mother at Times Guide to the School Run!

Tip One Don't allow time for things to go wrong. By planning ahead.

The morning is a rush. Everyone wants a few minutes extra in bed, everyone wants a turn in the bathroom and everyone needs to be out the door without losing any limbs. So plan. The night before make sure that everyone has clean clothes for the next day, make sure that buttons have been sewn on (or sent to Grandma's/the lady down the road who sews things up) and that party RSVP…

A Rainbow at Big Ben

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We took this picture on Saturday just gone, we had a fantastic fun filled family day out and the rainbow over the clock tower (and the bell inside Big Ben) just seemed to sum up how we were all feeling! Don't forget to leave a comment after you link up!

Caption It Monday! #3

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I have had a few amusing comments passed along to me about Caption It Monday, and a couple of questions. Yes, you can suggest any caption for the photo that you think fits and as long as it isn't too rude, contains swear words or I consider it abuse I will let it stay! Just to confirm too that last week it was Top Ender in the picture and she was about seven months old. We had been for a BBQ at my parents and for some reason the wigs came out. I do have more pictures of other family members in the wigs and I will accept cash donations for not publishing them... I'm hoping that this week's picture will spark a caption in you as it features Daddy!

As usual the winner and runners up will get some linky love next week and so here are the winners from last weeks Caption It Monday!


Runner Ups


"*Sings*
#On the good ship, lollipop#" from Nickie

"A rare, early glimpse of Lady Gaga, performing." from Sally

"Darling, shouldn't you have left the cabbage pat…

Tilda Mummy and Me Cookery School

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A few weeks back Top Ender and I were invited down to Waitrose Cookery School to take part in a Tilda Mummy and Me cookery School. I was quite excited as Top Ender has only recently discovered that she likes rice, but was pretty certain that she only like plain white boiled rice and trying to get her to try other types of rice was proving near impossible. We made our way to London and found the Waitrose Cookery School in good time, even managing to squeeze in our little radio slot on BBC Three Counties Radio before the cookery session began. Top Ender was immediately drawn to the breakfast pastries put out for the attendees of the event and the fresh fruit juice and not just because she wasn't expecting to eat anything she cooked!

We started the session by going into a rather clever hidden cookery demonstration area. I felt a bit like I was in the audience for some TV programme, but Top Ender quite happily jumped up on to a stool at the front of the room to get the best view she …

Chocolate and Banana Rice Pudding

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This Chocolate and Banana Rice Pudding was the second dish that Top Ender and I cooked at the Tilda Mummy and Me cookery School. It says that it serves six which it can do easily, possibly even eight if you have had a big meal!

Ingredients

1 pack Tilda Steamed Pure Basmati rice
500ml semi-skimmed milk, plus extra for serving (optional)
50g caster sugar
50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced 
Method

Tip the rice into a non-stick saucepan and add the 50g of sugar and 500ml of milk. Bring to a simmer and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. 

Add the chocolate and stir until melted, whilst the pan is over a low heat (if it's high you might burn your fingers like Top Ender nearly did). 

Remove from the heat and add any extra milk according to preference. You can stir in the bananas and just remember to leave a few pieces to decorate the top.



Tilda Special Fried Rice Recipe

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This Special Fried Rice was the first of the recipes that Top Ender and I made at the Tilda Mummy and Me Cookery School. I can't believe how simple it is to make something so tasty and we have been making variations of the meal since we got home. The details were were given said that it serves four small portions or two adults portions, but I added another packed or rice and found that it served our family of four and gave us a lot of leftovers!


Ingredients
1 pack of Tilda Steamed Basmati Egg Fried Rice 2 chicken breasts, skinless 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp runny honey 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil 4 spring onions 150g green beans 75g sweetcorn 100g pineapple, chopped (fresh or tinned in fruit juice and drained) 
Method
Thinly slice the chicken breast, place in a bowl and stir in the soy sauce and honey. Put it to one side to marinade whilst you take the next steps, if you really wanted to you could put this in the fridge over night but the taste is there after a few minutes which I thi…

Making Chores Fun - Making the Bed

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Making the bed is a chore that like cleaning the bathroom is so simple that I don't mind doing it, which is probably a good thing seeing as I make my bed every day! The everyday making of the bed is something which for beds in this house just involves a flick of the duvet and repositioning of the pillows and toys or cushions that sit on the bed. We don't do blankets, turn downs or anything like that as we are simple creatures really. We start off with a bit of fun by having the child who is making the bed or who is at home laying in the bed. Then flipping the cover in the air so that it wafts down on to the top of them. We do that a few times (it's always fun to have a duvet land on top of you!) before Top Ender or Big Boy has to quickly scramble out of the bed so that the duvet cover will land nicely over the mattress.
Watching Top Ender or Big Boy then loving place back on to their bed the teddies and cushions that they like to keep on their bed in the day is so sweet. Th…

Nature Adventure Club Walks

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With Autumn apparently having arrived already in rather a wet fashion, Top Ender and Big Boy thought that they had seen an end to our Nature Club walks. It amuses me to see how little they remember of last year where they were taken out every weekend to burn off some energy on some rather long rambles! Anyway with a bit of wrapping up warm (and adding our lovely wellies to our list of things to take with us when we go out) and a bit of protection from surprise rain showers we have been off following the cards from the Nature Club looking around us for signs of the changing seasons. We went to one of Milton Keynes Park Trusts managed green spaces called Linford Wood. 

Now Linford wood is a little famous in some circles because it houses the one and only ever built staircase that was designed by Chris Lowe when he was a student architect and before he became one half of The Pet Shop Boys. See famous.
Top Ender and Big Boy had a blast walking round the woods and completing the different…

Top Ender's First Day Back At School Lunch

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As I mentioned the other day, after I went to the Disney round table about the Ultimate Packed Lunch, Top Ender and I agreed that on special days, holidays and Fridays I will create a special packed lunch for her to eat at school. If you have been following me on Pinterest you will have seen a fair few pins being put up of ideas to inspire me for these lunches. With today being Tops first day back at School I figured that we needed a special lunch to celebrate and also to mark our commitment to this new Friday oekakiben inspired lunches.
I thought I would ease myself in slowly and so started with Top Ender's morning snack. At the school Top Ender attends children in the Key Stage 1 years are provided with a morning snack of some form of vegetable or fruit. I actually found this to be a pain as we weren't told in advance what the snack was and so on some days Tops ended up eating the same fruit or vegetable as she had for her morning snack as part of her lunch too. Now that sh…

The Spider

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I'm not frightened of Spiders, I rescue friends from Giant-Hide-Behind-The-Sofa Spiders. In fact anyone who knows me, knows that the only thing I am frightened of is Snakes, not teeny weeny Spiders. The other morning I was up very early and sitting on the sofa when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. I was more than a little sleep deprived and thought for a moment that it was one of my Cats, it was about the same size after all. Then I remembered that the cats were still snoozing in the kitchen behind a closed door.
I looked over to see a spider calming walking across my living room towards the TV unit. As he ducked to go under the Television Unit (I've measured the gap it is 2 1/2 inches) I swear that he looked back at me over four of his eight shoulders with a "How You Doing?" sort of look. I decided like all sane and rational people that I had imagined this. I mean nobody has house spiders that big, I was obviously hallucinating.
The next night I wa…

Carrot Apple and Sultana Muffins Recipe

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With Top Ender going back to school this Wednesday, and the Carrot, Apple and Sultana muffins (that I was taught to make by Annabel Karmel at the Ultimate Packed Lunch round table) being suitable for freezing, we decided to make some for a treat today and for Top Ender's lunch box for the days she was at school.

We made Winnie The Pooh shaped cakes (and some in cases and a loaf cake for freezing) and used our wheat free flour so that Daddy could eat them too (if there are any left by the time he gets home!) but because they are so tasty here is the recipe for you too;

Ingredients
200g (7oz) Self-raising Flour 1tsp Baking Powder 3/4 Bicarbonate of Soda 1/2 tsp Mixed Spice 1/2 tsp Ginger 200ml (7 fl oz) Sunflower Oil 100g (31/2 oz) Caster Sugar 2 eggs 100g (31/2 oz) Carrots, grated 100g (31/2 oz) Apple, Peeled and grated 75g (3 oz) Sultanas
Method
Preheat the over to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4
Put all ingredients into a bowl. Whisk together using an electric hand whisk until blended (although …

What Goes In Your Lunch box?

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I don't think that I am Super Mum, although according to a couple of playground Mums I am one of those Mothers. I mean, yes I do try to make everything fun and interesting and exciting and that does stretch to food, but I am by no means a culinary genius. When it comes to Top Ender's Lunch box the items that go in are pretty much standard, and yes I do cut the sandwiches up using my cookie cutters or I might theme the lunch around a project she is doing at school but the actual food is a bit boring really.

So when I was invited to be part of the Ultimate Packed Lunch round table with Disney and the lovely Annabel Karmel I knew that I had to go so that I could get some ideas. Ideas that would inspire me to fill the lunch boxes with food that my children would love to try. The round table was fab, we got to share stories, ideas and find out about how Disney take seriously the branding of food products with their name and I'm not quite sure what I shared just before the photo…

Caption It Monday! #2

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Well we had fun last week with the first Caption It Monday! I can't believe the amount of you who emailed me with some rather risqué comments and yes thank you the pants were rather fetching and to those of you who asked they were Dr Pepper pants... Anyway here is a picture of Top Ender to caption this week!

Don't forget I will list and link to the best comments next week for this photo and now on to the caption winners for last weeks Caption It Monday!

Runner Up's

Something had gone awry with the fake tan. from Sally

And after 4 hours of hard slog, super mom finally defeated the housework! from Nicola

As usual, Pips forgets just where her underwear belongs... from Vic

Winner

"Phew, they do chaff less on the outside" from Nicki


Thanks for joining in and I can't wait to see what you come up with this week!