Friday, 30 March 2012

Flashback Friday - Happy Birthday Mum!

Today is my Mum's birthday so I'm dedicating this one to her and looking back at her surprise 60th birthday party!

I love arranging parties and when my Mum's 60th was approaching there was no way I was going to let it pass by quietly.  I knew that if asked Mum would not want big party and that going the whole hog with a party in a hall and lots of people would not be appreciated, so instead I arranged a small surprise party at our house. 

Mum was under the impression that the four of us (Mum & Dad, Aaron and I) were going our for a meal and we came up with a much discussed plan to make sure she believed this until the last moment.We told her in advance that we would pick them up so Dad could have a drink but was wondering how we could then explain driving back to our house!

In the end Aaron went to collect them on his own and told them I was not ready so they had to go back to pick me up, to add some realism to that Dad was a little 'annoyed'  as he hates people being late  (as do I was we hoped she'd conveniently forget that!)  a quick phone call on the way back meant Aaron could tell them I was still not ready and they should go indoors and have a quick drink whilst waiting for me.

Of course I was ready and was waiting with friends and family to surprise her!

There were about 15 of us altogether and as Mum entered I played Stevie Wonder's 'Happy Birthday to you' and everyone stepped out of the kitchen for the surprise..... and surprised she certainly was!

The party was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves,  Mum got loads of lovely presents and cards, and ended up with more teddy bears than a toy shop!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week there is no theme - just go with whatever takes your fancy! . If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Banana & Raisin Loaf recipe

Bananas and recipes including them are a recently new discovery to me, I grew up detesting them but actually  'taught' myself to like them!  When I started going to Slimming World I decided it would be easier for me if I liked them as they were a very handy and reasonably filling snack and so I kept eating the occasional one and eventually they grew on me - to the point where I'd have one every morning without fail and I'd be most upset if we run out!

After I'd hit my Slimming World target I continued to eat my new favourite fruit but realised I'd probably be able to improve it by putting it in a cake.   I've tried several different recipes now but this one for some reason is the best by far...

110g butter
110g sugar (can add some dark, but I didn't have any)
2 eggs
3 or 4 bananas (I used 4 and left one for the end so it was less mashed up)
225g SR Flour
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp cinanmon
140g raisins  (I used less than this as Leo ate loads while we were cooking!)

It's such an easy cake to make

  • Cream together the butter and sugar
  • Add the beaten eggs
  • Mash 2 or 3 of the bananas and chop one and add to the mix
  • Stir in the flour, bicarb of soda and raisins
  • Bake in a lined / greased loaf tin at 180c for 45 mins.
It went down very well with everyone except Aaron who detests bananas and so is always less than impressed when he realises I've made a cake he can't eat.....oops, more for us then!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Thrifty Cookbook - Review

Although I enjoy cooking I find I'm still not very organised about it, I buy the same things over and over again and rarely plan more than 24 hours in advance. I always have a vague idea in my head that I will make a plan and decide on a weeks' meals in advance therefore saving me the time of staring blankly into cupboards each day hoping for inspiration but I never seem to get round to it.

Over the years I hate to think of how much food I must have thrown away, before the arrival of Leo it would often be a last minute decision to go to the pub from work and not eating a proper dinner or the bright idea of some healthy eating which wore off as the fresh veg brought enthusiastically wore off as it went bad.

These days with money being tight I'm always racking my brains as to how I can save money, and make good meals inexpensively so I was excited to receive a copy of The Thrifty Cookbook

Apparently over 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the UK - a third of all the food brought and a fifth of the total domestic waste, and about half of that could be eaten!

The book suggests 476 ways to use up leftovers from the obvious (even to me) stews and soups to gratins, chutneys, marinades, and meatballs.

Although I've yet to follow an specific recipe from it I've read the book from cover to cover and it's really made me think how I can stretch our food shopping further and avoid throwing stuff away.  Since receiving the book I've made several soups with random selections of leftover veg and I've been making breadcrumbs for the freezer rather than throwing away the last couple of slice of bread and buying breadcrumbs from the shop!

There is a great section on ways to use up leftover cheese although this is a mystery to me - we never seem to keep cheese in our fridge for more than a day or so before we've eaten it all!  It's about as likely as having leftover chocolate or wine in our house!

I was sent this book by Bloomsbury Publishing for the purpose of this review,but the opinions are all my own.

Travel Ted - How it all began

Last month I introduced you to 'Travel Ted' - a mad endearing hobby of my Mums where she took her little bear all over the world and created a collection of photos of him on his travels.  I'm not sure she trusts me to explain the story without taking the mickey so I'll hand you over to my Mum so she can explain in her own words.....

Ted was lounging in an all items 50 pence basket in the corner of a shop when I first noticed him. Whether it was his wink or a cheeky grin, I decided he was due a more exciting life! So the story of Ted began.

I bought him a Passport on a trip to Brighton, where I could not resist popping into a Teddy Bear shop as I passed. Inside the Passport was a stamped mark - ‘Ironbridge’ so I decided that would become his place of birth and added underneath it -18th June 1996, he now had a Birth date.

I had the idea of taking photos of him with a different back ground each time we went on holiday, this turned out to be quite a challenge. On holiday I put Ted in a small plastic bag, later named as his travel bubble! and kept it in my bag, so he was always ready to take out for a photo shoot, as quickly as possible, so not to be seen.

Ted’s first ever trip abroad was in 1997 to Tsilivi, Zakynthos, Greece. He travelled at the time in my suitcase, put in at the last moment, so my husband did not know about my idea, nobody knew, except Ted!!

During our first week there, I wondered if I was ever going to get a photo, without anyone knowing. Ted came out of hiding and I managed to take one. It was not until we were back home and the printed photos arrived, my husband said “What’s that”? The cat, or should I say Ted was out of the bag. After that Ted became a bit of a legend and never travelled in a suitcase again, but always safely in my hand luggage, suitcases if you are unlucky can go astray. I must admit on many occasions when Ted popped out of his travel bubble, my husband or daughter popped out of sight!

Ted accompanied us on a Caribbean cruise. On arrival all passengers had to queue in the ballroom and go up to a line of desks, one at a time, to have their passport stamped. I asked my husband if I dare get Ted’s passport stamped, he replied “Well you’ll be on your own”, I said if the man seemed nice, then I might ask him, well I did and so the stamp for ‘Entry by Sea’ was added.

After this nerve racking experience I decided to ask receptionists at the hotels where we stayed to stamp his Passport with the hotel stamp. They were always obliging and loved the idea of Travel Ted. I always approached the reception desks, when there were no other holiday makers there.

At the Anastasia Hotel in Penera, Cyprus, the receptionist even gave Ted a peaked sun hat, although it was much too big for him to wear, it did present a different aspect for a photo.

Whilst in Aruba (Caribbean island) at the Volcanic rocks I took Ted’s photo, thinking no one had seen. Later that night at the hotel, we were talking to a couple and they remarked, “You’re the lady with the bear”. Next day we arranged to go on a helicopter flight with them. My husband said “You’re not taking Ted”, but the other lady said, “Oh you’ve got to take him”. So I managed to put him in my pocket and up in the air we went, snap, another photo, and on landing Ted even got his own ‘Wings’ certificate!

In Barbados as we walked onto the beach, there was a very small coconut tree, just the size for Ted to sit under! Back at the hotel I had an umbrella that is used in cocktail drinks. I imagined the photo, but each time we went onto the beach someone was always sitting there. So further down the beach one day, I decided to be brave and sit Ted with umbrella, under another one. My husband said “I’m off for a walk”. An older couple asked me if I was entering a photo exhibition, I replied “No, it was for my grandson”! I explained that I had wanted to use a smaller coconut tree, but there wasn’t one in the right place. With that the man got up and picked up a small tree saying, “Where do you want it”? Apparently when they are small you can move them anywhere and they just continue growing.

So that’s how Ted became to be known as Travel Ted and without really thinking has been referred to as a ‘he’ for many years, but in reality it should be she, considering Ted has a skirt on, I was tempted to put a stitch in it, making it into shorts, but decided to leave well alone.

Ted officially retired in 2011 on his emigration to Cyprus after many travels and friendships made. His has three photo albums in all and I wouldn’t really be surprised if he pops up in the odd photo, in years to come.

ShowOff Showcase     Linking up to Showoff Showcase over at TheBoyandMe

Monday, 26 March 2012

Baby & Toddler Exhibition - Cyprus

Yesterday, for the first time in the two years I have known my friend Sam we finally escaped the kids for the whole day and had a day out without the little darlings!

We went to Nicosia to the Baby, Toddler and Christening exhibition held at the Cyprus State Pavilion.  I was really looking forward to it, and after attending several events in Cyprus which didn't live up to my expectations was intrigued to see how successful it would be.

Before I get moaned at, I realise Cyprus is not England, and that it is a small country but often I get frustrated with how easily things could be improved - events are not always well publicised and I feel the internet  / social media is rarely used to its full potential,  not that I claim to be an expert by any means but if I can see ways to improve things then they must be there!

I was excited to see in the run up to the exhibition that the organisers were using their facebook page along with various groups to promote it.  I was therefore hopeful it would be worth the drive to Nicosia (it's only about 40 minutes but on a small island people tend not to drive that far very often!)

We arrived just after opening time at 11am and didn't leave until 4pm, we had a very enjoyable time chatting to the various exhibitors, some of which we had met before and some we discovered for the first time.

Greek 4 Kids, Mum's in Cyprus, The Maternity Wardobe and Emma's Lunch.  - just a few of the  exhibitors.

It was nice to see a few companies from Larnaca and Limmasol represented at the show but being as the show was held in Nicosia most of the companies were based in the capital. I hope the show will happen next year and it would be great if it could be expanded to cover the whole island from East to West as well.   I think with a larger range of exhibitors and an island wide advertising campaign both on and offline this could be an amazing opportunity for both business and families.

Although we chose not to take our toddlers there were plenty of activities for children to take part in, Little Kickers gave children a chance to try out their football skills, Early Learning Centre Cyprus were there with craft activities and there was a really cool looking bouncy castle which unfortunately I was too big to go on and free face painting for the kids..... and the big kids as well!

We collected plenty of information about the different companies and saw some amazing products, from all kinds of different cakes (which got sampled in the interests of research) Sun-protective swimwear,  handmade gifts, decorations, nappy cakes, photographers, event planners and more.

I left the show feeing quite inspired and hoping that one day I can get involved with a company providing a similar service.  My dream job has always been in event planning and I've always loved this type of big exhibition.   After attending things like the Ideal Home show in the UK and more recently the Baby Show at Earls Court I was very pleased to say that one day I can see this being on a similar scale...... and if they need a hand I'll be happy to help!

I attended the show as a member of the public and am (unfortunately!) not working in conjunction with any of the companies  - I added the links to companies that I have used before or discovered yesterday that I like and received no compensation to do so, all the views are my own! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Flashback Friday - 2008

For this weeks Flashback Friday I'm taking you back to 2008....

Gravesham Pool league presentation night - our team 'Spots and Stripes B' had won the cup and come top of Division three.  Of course, when I say 'our' team I don't mean I actually ever played with them, if I had they would not have been winning anything!  I was there though every Wednesday supporting them and watching the match. 

(By supporting them I mean often sitting at the bar talking to my friend Larisa or watching the match trying to remember which colour they were, but I was certainly there every Wednesday anyway!) 

I'd been to several presentation nights, this one being my favourite. Starting of reasonably quiet in The Bat and Ball pub in Gravesend, and then heading 'home' to the pool club where there was much rejoicing!  It was a rare event for Aaron and I to both be drinking as we lived too far from town to get a cab home, every now and again it was managed though and this was one of those nights. 

Although I've just loved looking through the photos from the evening, there are few I think the boys (and Ceri) would be 100% pleased about me posting - considering I've been told off for putting too many on facebook more than once!   As was the norm for a good ol' Gravesend night out there was much silliness,  random poses with trophies, rousing renditions of 'We are the Champions' and the obligatory drinking of strange concoctions of spirts from the trophy. 

There was of course the standard team photo posing around the collection of trophies, for me though, this is the best one....

The following year, Leo had arrived and so I was waiting outside in the car (with a sleeping 3 week old baby) for the drunken champions (again!) to emerge from the pub for lift home.  Since moving to Cyprus Aaron has continued to play pool and these days we can take Leo with us as he's allowed in the pub. It's good we can still go, and he gets to be a part of Daddy's sport but means that pool presentation will never be the same again!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week there is no theme - just go with whatever takes your fancy! . If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

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and join in

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Colour mixing fun!

Leo's never been one for getting dirty, once I would have thought that a good thing (and it has some advantages!) but on the whole it's something I've been trying to change.  Last year I made some cornflour goo and that didn't go down very well!  and he would moan about getting paint on himself.

We have done hand print paintings before but usually only getting a few prints out of him before he realised he was covered in paint, his favourite part was washing his hands at the sink!

This week however I was very surprised...

After some hand prints and painting I tried to show him how blue and yellow mixed together would make green, he was not at all interested until he realised that he could paint his hands with both colours and see those turn green!      All of a sudden it just got interesting!

Linking up with The Gallery  - this week's prompt is Colour

Monday, 19 March 2012

Potty training

Back in June last year Jenny and I ran 'Going Potty' - a Potty training blog carnival something I hoped would assist me in what I thought was imminent potty training. In August I blogged about when I should start as Leo was not at all enthused about the idea.  There were some great comments about how I should wait until he was ready, and when he was it would all click into place.

Hmmm, really?

Out of his friends (all of which are 6 months older) he is the last to still be in nappies, I've tried to use this to our advantage as he loves his friends and will often get dressed / go to bed/ etc if he thinks the others (especially his 5 yr old friend Jack) are doing the same. It seems this tactic works in every way except when it comes to potty training.

Google 'potty training signs' and you are presented with many lists of what to look for...

Able to follow simple instructions, - yep, when he feels like it that is!
Dislikes the feeling of a dirty nappy - doesn't seem to care, although is telling us a bit more often now.
Can walk and sit down - no problem!
Can tell you when he is going to do a wee or poo - he is sometimes telling us now as he is doing a wee, and will usually say he hasn't pooped when he quite clearly has although I think that's just a tactic to get out of nappy change. 

We talk a lot about 'doing wee's and poo's on the toilet' and he understands the idea. He says 'Big boys do wees on the toilet, but I'm not a big boy'   and he doesn't want to be one apparently!

He likes to come with me (and anyone else around!) when I go to the toilet, I let him so he can see what I do, but Aaron won't let him go with him.

This week I had the genius plan of putting pants on some of his cuddly toys, (hence this week's Silent Sunday post) he loved that and I showed him how they pull their pants down and then wee on the potty.... if only it was that simple for toddlers!

The only plan I have is to wait until it is slightly warmer (not long now!) and just put him in pants and see how it goes, I know everyone says to wait until they are ready but he's not far off 3 years old and he does understand the concept.   He's never really been without a nappy on except in the bath so I think he needs to notice what is happening a bit more. I realise now I should maybe have let him has more nappy free time - I've always taken one off and put new one straight back on!

I think I'm now set for the fun and games.... got plenty of pants (and some with Thomas on them), got a reward chart - with Thomas on it from Pinterest.  Got stickers, and even got some 'special' Thomas wet wipes.    In case you hadn't guessed, Thomas the tank engine rules in our house!

Hopefully it won't be too bad, and I'll get a few months off nappy changing before it all starts again in August!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Flashback Friday - Mum

My parents always spent a lot of time in the garden as I was growing up, it had several re-designs over the years and of course there was always general day to day stuff to be done. I remember spending a lot of time out there with them, sometimes helping (well, I say helping but I know how much Leo 'helps' so I think they may not agree with that!) and more often than not running around playing with the dog or probably just making a general nuisance of myself.

One summer's evening (in 1983 to be precise - thank you Mum for dating every single photo!)  Mum was creosoting the garden fence.  I remember hanging around, probably moaning I was bored as I was prone to and after taking this photo, was given the job of watering the plants.

Using the hose was always lots of fun, and I was usually told off for drowning the plants, on this occasion however I casually asked....

'Mum, are you a flower?'

Engrossed in her painting and not really listening to the question she off-handedly replied she was,  at which point I turned the hose on her to ensure all the flowers were watered!

Funnily enough she was less than impressed by suddenly being soaked and went MAD,   asking what on earth I thought I was doing.   As I backed up the garden I explained I'd asked a question and was just following her instructions!

Despite the soaking I was not in trouble, although I think Mum vowed from that day to always try and pay more attention to what I say!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week's theme is Mum. If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

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and join in

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Maidens' Trip - Book Review

Many years ago on one of my regular library trips with my Dad, I chose a random book which caught my eye - London Pride by Beryl Kingston. It was I think the first book got from the adult section, I remember feeling very grown up to be able to leave the kids area behind along with it's Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High!

London Pride' started me on a love of wartime stories and since then I've read countless different ones, so I was very excited to read 'Maidens' Trip' by Emma Smith. 'A Wartime adventure on the Grand Union Canal'  as I've spent time on the Grand Union myself.

Maidens' Trip is the memoir of Emma, who in 1943 at the age of 18 left her middle class background and joined the Grand Union Canal Carrying company under their wartime scheme of employing women to replace the boaters.

They very quickly learn, by necessity how to handle a pair of 72 foot long boats, while carrying a cargo of steel from London to Birmingham, and coal from Coventry.  Before they know it they are splicing ropes, bailing out bilge water and working their fingers to the bone.As the weeks go by they get tougher and dirtier whilst laughing and quarrelling throughout it all.

I found the book a real enjoyable read having been there myself, albeit in a much more leisurely situation!  I loved spending time on the boats, and it brought back lots of happy memories.

It made me wonder what I would might have done if I was of an age back then. Spending the war on the canal was a world away from 'real life', news did not often reach the girls and the boaters and they were also largely unaffected by events unfolding. It sounds like an ideal place to assist in essential war work but I'm not sure I would have been able to cope with the hard work that would have entailed.  I know how exhausted I've been after a few days on the boat - not even doing a fraction of the work those girls would have or at the same sort of pace!

I was sent this book by Bloomsbury Publishing for the purpose of this review, the opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Keeping up with the kids!

Σ 'αγαπώ μαμά or μαμά μυρίζεις 

Which would rather your darling child wrote in your Mother's day card?   
It wasn't very long ago that I would have had no idea and would have assumed either was something nice.  I often joked that Leo would be coming home from school speaking Greek while we all smiled and said how clever he was when in reality he could be swearing and saying all sorts and we would have no idea!

Although we've been trying to teach Leo as much as we can at home, and taking him to Greek4Kids lessons, it's important to me to learn myself. 

I want to be able to understand letters and information sent home from his school.
I want to be able to help him with his home work.
I want to be able to talk to his teachers and not struggle to understand what is going on. 
I want to show him that learning other languages is a good thing to do and to make him feel at home - rather than a 'Brit abroad'

My parents are also learning, they attend a weekly lesson and also learn at home the same way as I do, with Rosetta Stone. I've written much about my experiences so far with the course, which are all good.  I've just got my Mum set up to use the program too - I think her original plan was to learn from Leo as he gets older but she's decided to get a head start! 

I'm sure she won't mind me saying but it's been a few years since she was at school, and learning new things does not come as easy as it once did.  We often joke about her mis-prouncing things and it's a family pastime to have a laugh and joke (in a nice way!) at her expense, but I must say I'm very impressed with how well she is doing. 

Considering the fact that it's not just learning a language, Greek has a whole new alphabet to contend with and from using Rosetta Stone she's actually seems to have overtaken my Dad with what she has learnt..... this is no mean feat as he has often been referred to as the 'font of all knowledge'!

We still get to laugh though as we hear the brilliant things that come into her head when trying to remember words.....
Αγγλικά  (Anglika)  - ugly car      being one that springs to mind!

In case you were wondering.......   
Σ 'αγαπώ μαμά  - I love you Mum
μαμά μυρίζεις  - Mum you smell!

(and I'm pleased to say I only had to Google it to double check the spellings!)

This is not a sponsored post - I received (and reviewed) the Rosetta Stone  program a while back and still love it! The opinons are all my own

Flashback Friday - Week 4 Theme

Welcome to week 4 of Flashback Friday!

This week as it's almost Mother's Day the theme is Mum

Your Mum, maybe your early days as a Mum?  Grandmothers, whatever comes to mind. 
(also as I had said no theme - feel free to link up if you have fancy writing about something else - a Flashback is still a Flashback!) 

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!

If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up. The linky will stay open until the following Thursday for you to add your posts.  If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

H is for home

What does make a house a home?

Furniture?  Who you live with? The decor?  The location?  or something else?    It's something I've often wondered over the years and I still can't quite put my finger on it.  I left my parents house at the age of 18, that was home and continued to be 'home' even though I'd moved out.  I then lived in a shared house with Aaron and a couple of others and although it was fun, it was never a home - there was far too much beer and not enough food to class it as such!

I then lived in a flat on my own for a while, it was nice and after a shaky start I did love it but although it was 'my little place' it never felt like 'home'. In 2003 Aaron and I brought our first house, it was nice and exciting, much better than the one we first lived in, and this one was 'ours'  Over the years we decorated it, brought new furniture and also did an amazing redesign of the garden, but still I always felt something was missing?

I found these photos the other day after not seeing them since we left,

I was quite excited and nostalgic for my old house, and surprised at how tidy it looked when I remember always struggling to keep it like that. (they were taken by the estate agent but the front room was pretty much always like that - maybe with a few more dog hairs!)

I loved the kitchen which Aaron designed, although I love mine now, with my big fridge/freezer and breakfast bar - a combination of the two would be nice! Our garden was quite big, and after a brilliant makeover by Aaron and my Dad was gorgeous. (must dig out some photos on that)   It was a 3 bed house, so now I can really appreciate the space we had there but all the time we said something was missing and I'm still none the wiser as to what it was!

Strangely, within a matter of days our apartment in Cyprus felt more like home than anywhere since leaving my childhood home. This surprised me as I'd spent only 25 days in total in the country previously and knew no-one here at the time. It seems a bit odd that not only had I moved house but also left the country I'd spent all my life in and still I felt like I had come home.

Written as part of my A to Z posts.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

When the world was waiting

We recently told Leo that 'Mummy has a baby in her belly', he obviously had no idea what we were talking about and after looking interested for about 10 seconds promptly asked for his trains!   Since then it's been mentioned a bit more and although I'm sure he has no idea what it really means he talks about it of his own accord.

I've been trying to explain that he was once in my belly too - he nods and says he knows and he remembers being there, I get the feeling he is humouring me most of the time, I think Daddy must have told him to just 'smile and agree' most of the time!

A more effective way, I thought was to find a book to help explain. 'When the World Was Waiting for You' is a board book designed to help prepare children for the arrival of a sibling or learn about their own arrival.

Leo wasn't initially impressed with the book but I had made the mistake of giving him The Wide Mouthed Frog book first, and that must be more exciting when you are two!  Some time later though he picked it up and asked me to read it and then asked to hear it again straight away so it can't be all bad!

I think it's a lovely book  - it tells the story, in rhyme of how a family of rabbits were waiting for the new arrival.  It would make a lovely gift for a new Mum / baby and a lovely first story to read to baby.

For toddlers, especially train mad loud ones it's a little bit too cutesy - Leo has progressed to a new stage of books now but I can see him later on reading it to his little brother!

I received this book from Bloomsbury Publishing for the purpose of this review, the opinons are my own - and Leo's!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Boy or girl?

When I was pregnant with Leo we found out he was a boy at my 20 week scan (the 2nd and last scan you have in a 'normal' pregnancy) Many people told me I should wait as it would be a lovely surprise but I was so glad I found out.

This time there was going to be no debate about finding out or not, if for no other reason than practicality.

I had a scan this week and asked if we could see what it was, the doctor said she would tell me if she could but it was not always clear enough at 16 weeks.  As it happened, she started scanning and laughed - showing me the screen and saying I could probably work it out for myself.

Bubs was more than happy to waggle it all about!


Flashback Friday - Toys & Games

I was very lucky growing up in the fact I always had plenty of things to do and play with, of course I didn't always realise this and used to drive my Mum crazy with repeatedly whining 'Muuuuum I'm bored'   I did suffer from a huge lack of imagination and I hope Leo doesn't take after me in that respect - it seems so far though he's streets ahead of me already in that respect!

I remember setting up my Sindy house and dressing the dolls and then not really knowing what to 'do' with them, once I'd played the same thing each time with them   - Wedding, with Sindy marrying Ken, (while Barbie was bridesmaid in what now seems a bizarre love triangle kind of fashion!)  My favourite part was organising the wedding, setting up the house and the chairs, arranging the food and dressing the dolls only to then be a bit stumped for further scenarios to act out!

Looking back it appears that all my playing was based in reality, as you can see in this photo from 1981.

This is me playing 'house' in our dog's kennel which became mine as the dog never used it!  

I loved my little house and you can see it became very well equipped with table and chair, (almost) fitted carpets, and pots and pans.  In the edge of the photo you can see my baby's cot and pushchair, I am guessing the baby was asleep and I was therefore having a nice sit down and cup of tea!

Yep,  certainly realistic - you will rarely see me running around doing housework instead of having a rest while a baby sleeps!

This post is for my Flashback Friday, this week's theme is Toys and Games. If you'd like to join in you can read all about it here. If you wish, grab the code for the badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Thursday, 8 March 2012

On my birthday...

Another day, another meme, but this one from Kate at The Five F's looked quite interesting.... I even had to do research go to Wikipedia.   The task is to answer the following questions about your birthday, I didn't actually know the answers to any of them, (except 'When is your birthday obviously') until I consulted my good friend the inter'web.

When is your birthday?
11th October

Pick 3 people who share your birthday and share what you know about them.
 I did know that Luke Perry shared my birthday as I had a bit of a thing for him back in the original 90210 days.  Neil Buchanan (remember him?) was also born on 11th October - he was the presenter of CITV program Art Attack but I remember first seeing him in Saturday morning show No.73 (which few people seem to remember except me!)
Also Dawn French - I don't think she needs much explanation though as she's a bit of a legend.

Is anyone listed as being born on the same day as you (ie the same year) If so, what do you know about them?
There are 4 people listed as being born on the same day and I hadn't heard of any of them.  Although when I read a bit more I discovered that one of them - Matthew Bomer was in 'In Time' - a film I watched last week and has also been in Glee.

List 3 people who died on your birthday and tell us what you know about them.
There is a big long list of people but I'd only heard of one of them, Edith Piaf and all I knew about her was that she sang the famous French song 'Je ne regrette de rien'

List 3 notable events which took place on your birthday.
Again, I didn't know of any but I thought the most interesting was the fact that the date did not exist in the year 1582 due to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, when Thursday 4th October was followed by Friday 15th October.
In 1968 NASA launched the first successful manned Apollo mission, and in 1982 the Tudor ship, the Mary Rose was salvaged from the sea bed of the Solent, off of Portsmouth - a place I visited as a child.

Tell us about a holiday which falls on your birthday.
Meditrinalia -  apparently an obscure Roman festival celebrated in honour of the new vintage, when Romans used to then start to drink the new wine, there are also several Christian feast days which I think are a great combination of holidays to share my birthday with!
It is also Old Michaelmas day, which says that blackberries should not be picked after this date, folklore says that on this date Satan fell from heaven into a blackberry bush and cursed them as he fell.

Well, they say you learn something new every day!

On my birthday

I'm going to tag Real Housewife, Lauren to join in too, if you fancy joining in,leave me a comment or a tweet and I'll add you in below!

I really enjoyed finding out this information and may just be back soon with the answers for Leo's birthday in case he's ever interested!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but there might be a bend in the middle blocking the view.

Eventually you come out the other side....

This photo sprung to mind as soon as I saw this weeks Gallery prompt - Light.   I took it several years ago on my first narrowboat trip on the Grand Union canal, just as we came out of Blisworth tunnel.

The tunnel is 2813m long and after doing that in the dark the daylight is lovely to see as you emerge.

After digging out this photo it's now taking pride of place on my fridge to remind me that we'll always reach the light eventually!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Flashback Friday - Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of Flashback Friday!

This week the theme is Toys and Games.

Maybe you as a child with a favourite toy or playing games with siblings / friends or improvised toys - often the best, those made from boxes or other random household objects.    Or even your own children when they were younger?

As ever you can interpret this as you wish, and if you don't have a photo but would like to share a story then feel free to do that too!

If you want to join in, write your post and come back on Friday to link up. The linky will stay open until the following Thursday for you to add your posts.  If you're linking up please visit as many of the other posts and see what they've come up with too.

You can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post but the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

Friday, 2 March 2012

Flashback Friday - week 2

Welcome to week 2 of the new Flashback Friday, last week I was pleased to see seven of you lovely bloggers joining in, not bad at all for the first week!  This week I thought I'd help you out (hopefully!) and give you a theme...  Home.

I've lived in 6 different places but they haven't all felt like 'home' I'm not sure what was missing and what a house actually needs to really feel like home but maybe I spent many years missing my childhood home!

We moved into the house I grew up when I was 2 years old so it's the first house I remember. I moved out when I was 18 so its where I've spent the most time living so far.  I have so many memories from there and even after I moved out I still considered it more homely than the place I went to. (maybe because there was heating and food in the fridge there and Mum would do my washing!)

In the early 90s my Dad redecorated my bedroom - the part of the house that was 'mine'. Looking back the colour does seem a bit sickly, but at the time I absolutely loved it..... I was such a girl!

I love these photos now, and am so glad I took them, I remember taking them and trying to capture my life at that point. Looking at them now really takes me back...

I can remember some of the books on the shelf (Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' books,  'Choose your own Adventure' books,  Malory Towers and 'Forever' by Judy Blume)
The random bits on the notice board - photos of my friend and I messing around in a passport photo booth, poster of Eric Stoltz and Memphis Belle movie poster - obviously my love of the time, and another 'hunk' that I now have no idea who!
A big selection of body shop bottles - probably Peppermint foot lotion, orange bath oil, and strawberry bath bubbles among other random bits and of course Boots '17' make up.

I spent hours in my bedroom, I was very lucky and had a computer (Commodore 64) and at this time had recently acquired my own video player after my Nan upgraded hers..... How excited I was!

It's quite telling actually that when I showed my Dad these photos the other day, he looked confused and couldn't picture it -it's possible I didn't let my parents in for several years!  I do remember having a strict 'knock before entering' rule that I'd be most upset about if ignored!

I used to spend most of my time there, reading, doing homework (yes, really!) watching tv, and listening to music, although at the time I'm sure I would have loved to have a whole house of my own I do miss having a little space just to call 'mine', a place to chill out in without sharing or cleaning!

Now, let's see your 'Home' pictures and stories - 

If you wish, you can grab the code for the  badge to display on your post, the important part though is to come back and add your post to the linky, then visit some of the others for a lovely nostalgia fest!

Grab my button
and join in

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