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Showing posts from March, 2012

Flashback Friday - Happy Birthday Mum!

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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 peop…

Banana & Raisin Loaf recipe

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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 w…

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 th…

Travel Ted - How it all began

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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 ho…

Baby & Toddler Exhibition - Cyprus

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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 hopefu…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - 2008

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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…

Colour mixing fun!

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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

Potty training

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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…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - Mum

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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-h…

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 Cov…

Keeping up with the kids!

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Σ 'αγαπώμαμάorμαμάμυρίζεις

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 lear…

Flashback Friday - Week 4 Theme

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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
<a href="http://www.emsyjo.blogspot.com/&qu…

H is for home

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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…

Silent Sunday

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When the world was waiting

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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…

Flashback Friday - Toys & Games

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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 198…

On my birthday...

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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…

The light at the end of the tunnel.

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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!


Flashback Friday - Week 3

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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
<a href="http://www.emsyjo.blogspot.com/" target=&…

Silent Sunday

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Flashback Friday - week 2

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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 …