Wednesday 30 May 2012

My Bloggerversary

One year bloggerversary

30th May 2011.

One year ago today I posted my first blogpost about my to-do lists. The first list was all about housework which still remains, a whole year later, on the to-do list. The second list was all the things I wanted to achieve. It was a short list but with some significant milestones.

  1. Top of the list was Make Things. Still on the list but only because as soon as I've made something there is something else to make. And add to that the #pinaddicts meme and I have to make at least one thing every month.
  2. Then there was Write Things. Still on the list (spotting the trend here?) only because this blogging lark is totally addictive and I love it so much. Why would I stop? The novel is still in draft form (in my head).
  3. Sleep more. Hmm, what I failed to realise was that blogging eats into your time and I think I actually sleep less. Oh well.
  4. The retreat? Zero progress on that one although I have a plan involving a shed and a tin of paint. Thing is, the Mr wants it for his den too. We may have to have his and hers!
  5. Be a retail consultant. Well I may not be a retail consultant (yet) but there are plans afoot to be a consultant of sorts, so maybe by my next bloggerverary...
  6. A Social Media Consultant will definitely have to wait. Actually it has completely lost its appeal. Having said that I love all things social media if I could only keep up with it all. Perhaps I just need considerably more practice ;-)
As nice as it is to look back at my year of blogging and laugh at my first blog post (and my first comments x) the real reason for this post is to thank anyone who has ever looked at my blog or even read some of it and taken the time to write a comment.

Lots of blogging love to my lovely regular followers. I love you all, especially YOU. x


Where Sunshine meets the Gallery courtesy of Tara.

I have a favourite sunshine photo which I took last week of my sunglasses but I already featured it in my 365project round up so had to find another. I didn't have to look far though. There she was, basking in it.

sun worshipping dog

Misty Moo is a complete sun worshipper and has a few favourite spots but favours the patio. Perhaps it is how the paving stones soak up the heat of the day and then give it back like underfloor heating. Then when she has had enough, she retreats to the hall and the coolness of the terracota tiles.

Oh to be that carefree, and unbothered about burning!

Monday 28 May 2012

Terms of Endearment

I love terms of endearment, the film and actual terms of endearment, darling, sweetheart, my love.

From people I know.

NOT from random people in shops, the market, or on social media.

I have an escalating scale from mildly irritating to "I AM NOT YOUR BLOOMIN' -------*"

*insert term of endearment here

At the more favourable end of the scale, which can be quite sweet if delivered by an elderly gentleman whilst holding the door for me, is Me duck. It is a local term, common in these 'ere parts and is generally used by those of a age older than myself who have lived their entire lives in the same postcode.

Darling can be lovely (from a certain person, in the right context and without any hint of sarcasm). But drop the g and you are in another league.

Sweetheart is old fashioned and has me thinking of post war years, make do and mending and cups of tea. I wasn't there, it just evokes that era.

Dear implies I am of a certain age, especially if delivered by someone younger than myself. I'm sorry but that offends me and sends me into Boots anti-wrinkle cream department forthwith.

Love. This reminds me of my parents. They use this a lot. I don't want to turn into my parents so I try not to use this myself unless administered with more than a dash of sarcasm. Should someone other than my parents use this directed at me, they will be on the receiving end of a stare Paddington would have been proud of.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that someone could use these terms collectively, within one short interaction, at the market say, whilst buying your satsumas. After I have been physically bowled over by the effusive love gushing in my direction, wondering if their partner knows about our affair, and how I will explain to my husband that I seem to have inadvertently become a lesbian in the last 30 seconds, I then feel an overwhelming desire to tell them "I AM NOT YOUR ------!" punctuated by the throwing of satsumas in their general direction. Failing that I mutter a thank you under my breath, walk home and write a blog post about it.

Then there is the ultimate, the "you really don't want to call her that" one, the off-the-scale endearment that is...


Used between women most commonly. Short for Honey one assumes so therefore SPELLED WRONG! This puts me into stratospheric state of satsuma lobbing pissed-off-ness.

I am a member of a facebook group, where everyone calls everyone Hun and 99% of the time, followed by a X. Should these people (women) meet in real life, I very much doubt they would get on so well and be in such admiration of each other that they would actually call each other Hun. I may be wrong. It is not a term I have ever used, in written form (except here obviously) or in real life, but it has been directed at me on numerous occasions and frankly I know those using it do not consider me their Honey. They are just using it instead of my name. LAZY.

My name is visible on the facebook group, so use it. If we meet in real life ask me my name, I will provide it, and you can use it, freely. I will not charge you.

The word Hun in the strictest sense relates to a group of nomadic people, the most famous of which is Attila. I don't know much about them but I have a feeling I don't really want to be referred to as one.

So best leave it there, eh Hun x

Sunday 27 May 2012

365project Week 21

It can dictate your mood.
At the start of the week I was feeling blue, fed up with the rain, the cold, and the grey.
I sought sollace in a cup of latte.
But then, from nowhere, the SUN!
I celebrate the colour that it gives to my world!
I worship in its satisfying glow.
The vibrance it brings to everything, even weeds.
And the sparkle it brings to the childrens eyes.
The joy of contrasting colours.
The pleasure of looking through shades.
The movement of colour in a welcome breeze.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 21

Happy Days.

Joining in with The Boy and Me

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Saturday 26 May 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

I love Saturdays.
I love this one particularly.
It is our 10th wedding anniversary today.
Ten years ago it was raining, which is considered lucky, but then the sun came out and shone on us as we walked out onto the Kings Road in Chelsea as Mr and Mrs.
I have a warm fuzzy happy feeling today and it can only get warmer and fuzzier with a few giggles, so come on. Slap a caption on this one ;)

rascullz shark helmet

Now I'm heading over to Mammasaurus who I am assured does a good line in warm fuzzy giggles.

Friday 25 May 2012

Snap Happy Friday

This morning we had the summer term Collective Worship at school.

It was hot and we were all crowded into the school hall to watch our clever year 1 and 2's present an assembly showing us their achievements from the school year. This consisted of genuinely funny and well performed presentations on mini beasts, science and healthy eating. There was a recorder recital, a work out, a couple of songs and a Benny Hill inspired run around.

I'm sure I would have loved it.

Had I not been smothered by a toddler and a pre-schooler howling like banshees because the recorders were too loud, they couldn't see, I wouldn't let him have my camera, and I wanted to remove the Rascullz helmet he had insisted on wearing instead of a sunhat (logical).

So I gave in and gave him my camera.
Some of the howling stopped.
Some was replaced by muffled snivelling.

I sat uncomfortably with snot being rubbed into one shoulder and a sharks fin being repeatedly poked up my nose and demonstrated my best 'Oh dear, aren't they little rascals, but isn't the singing great' face. I managed to smile encouragingly at The Big One who got his words right and were projected suitably loudly towards the back of the hall and, most importantly, we were there. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

The camera was clutched tightly to the Wee Ones chest through the entire morning, as we left the hall, dropped something off at the school office, did a bit of shopping and headed home. It was with a degree of trepidation that I finally wrestled it out of his hot and sweaty paws. The lens needs a very good clean but it seemed to be functioning normally. A miracle in itself. But then I had a quick look through the photos and this is what I found.

school hall

toddler photo

View from the school office

Prams eye view

Shopping toddler hell

An accurate report of our morning I think.
Enjoy your sunny Friday x

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Picture Postcard

One of the careers on my wishlist is to be a professional photographer.
Only a couple of things stand in my way.
The first is a decent camera, lenses, equipment in general.
The second is a few skills.

Should I be successful in acquiring one or other or both of the things on my 'need' list, I would consider myself a success if a photo that I took was published as a greeting card or postcard. In fact I have a little project lined up for the summer: Photos of Stamford. I may sell them.

In the meantime there appears to be a competition you can enter on this weeks Gallery to have your chosen photo printed onto postcards. It would be a start wouldn't it.

Here is my entry. I think it would make an interesting 'Hello' card, 'Just to say...' card or possibly 'Is that the time?' card (if one should exist).

dandelion clock

I'm off to the Galley to take a peak at the competition ;)
By the way, this is Tara's 100th birthday. She looks good for age doesn't she? Actually it is the gallery's 100th birthday (minor difference) so congratulations Tara on reaching your century with such a fabulous concept x

Sunday 20 May 2012

365project Week 20

Let inspiration flow. So easy to say but really difficult if you feel you NEED to be inspired, if you are on a deadline to be creative.
That was how I felt this week. A brainstorming session with a friend to think up our next (first) big idea was planned and I wasn't feeling it, until a throw away comment sparked a seed of an idea which we hope could be fun and could actually be a step in the right direction for us both.

Look differently.
Look to the stars, to the clouds to the birds in the sky and hope.
Look closer at what you see everyday and notice something new.
Look at what is familiar and break it up into tiny pieces.
Look really closely at the minutia and see beauty instead of a weed.
Watch for that seed to grow and become something great and whole.
Look what happens when you mix things differently, they become funny and weird.
Letters become words become ideas.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 20

Joining in with The Boy and Me.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday 19 May 2012

Silent Sunday

Saturday is Caption Day

We were sitting in the garden this week, not wearing wellies or coats or sou'wester (which was nice), and incredibly, the sun was shining. The sky was blue and birds were tweeting their delight at the beautiful weather, when suddenly, it all went quiet. I looked up from my weeding and I saw this...

shadow dog

Crying out for a caption? I think so!

And when you've finished here do send my regards to Mammasaurus wont you.


Friday 18 May 2012


pen and paper, brainstorming

Its a funny phrase, brainstorm?

I had a brainstorming session yesterday, which was quite an achievement given the closest thing to a storm my brain has seen in the last 3 years is a bit of drizzle, possibly light rain with a stiff breeze but certainly not anything close to a storm. But like after a good thunderstorm, my brain feels refreshed and mildly more functioning than it was pre-brainstorm, which is good.

To recap, I was asked by a friend recently if I wanted to work with her on a project (as yet unspecified). After a few moments of panic, confusion and flicking through my dictionary to refresh my memory on the definition of work, I thought "Hell, yeah!". And so I found myself sat with pen and paper in hand opposite my friend throwing ideas around and scribbling random words onto paper to see if a pattern emerged.  It did.

This could mean I am actually going to apply myself to something other than grocery shopping and children. And I am excited. The idea is very rough, but sound at its core. There are bits which scare me, and bits which excite me, but the very act of using my brain and the skills I have acquired in my working years was thrilling and I didn't want to stop. I could have sat there (perhaps after a caffeine refuel) for another couple of hours, throwing more ideas around and scraping a plan together.

After a couple of years of not working, I was confused about what I wanted to do but knew I wanted to do something that was flexible, used my skills and was rewarding. So many women must be in a similar position, youngest child just starting school and an opportunity to go back to work, but lacking confidence and direction? Are you going to be in this position in September? What are you going to do? *poised to steal ideas*

My friend and I are getting together again very soon for more planning. And I can't wait.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Morning Cuppa

Morning cup of tea - Earl grey tea
Photo edited using LittlePhoto App for Android

Earl Grey is a gentleman, dark, smokey and intriguing with his hint of bergamot to add a little spice. He is strong enough to rouse me yet playful on the senses. I find I prefer him with just a smidgin of sugar gently stirred into his dark depths. His wife, Lady Grey, is altogether more flighty with her dashes of orange and lemon, but on high days and holidays she will do, adding a zesty tingle to my faltering morning step. I hear they have a daughter who has been frolicing in the lavender bushes but I wonder if that is like drinking tea in the bath or if it's gentle fragrance envelopes you in a comforting hug like Grandma used to. She has sisters too, Blossom and Jasmine, who I'm sure could lull me into a peaceful afternoon nap, with the sound of children playing in the distance. Perhaps the teaspoon stirring the tea in the pot may then waken me once again from my slumber....


What? where? who? *wipes sleep from eyes*

Wow that was a vivid dream!

Now where's my tea?

I am joining in with Tara's theme of Morning for The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Silent Sunday

Mocha Beanie Mummys Silent Sunday on LAB

365 Project Week 19

This week was the week I didn't get through to the finals.
But I'm okay with that. No really I am.  I'm keeping it in perspective.

Five Go Blogging 365project Week 19

You see it depends on your point of view.

You could be sitting with your chin on a table to get a close up of a business card holder you have designed and made out of an old pair of jeans.
You could be lying on freshly cut grass regretting wearing your white trainers and wondering how easy grass stains are to get off rubber.
You could be squatting on a pavement when you are supposed to be getting to school so you can see the snail's shell properly.
You could be sitting in the park with a pile of pinecones fighting off squirrels.
You could be hanging out of a car window on the A1 in the driving rain.
You could be ignoring the queue of Mums waiting for their cups of tea.
Or you could be inside looking outside and being grateful for double glazing.

I'm happy with my point of view.

Joining in with The Boy and Me (who is deservedly up for a MAD award and a BiB) and the 365project.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday 12 May 2012

Alternative Blogging Awards

Alternative Blogging Awards 2012

Now I haven't made the finalist stage of ANY blogging awards I feel a little deflated. That was going to be my excuse to get a new frock and now I don't have an excuse or a budget so I'll be crocheting something out of old t-shirts I expect for BritMums.

However I do feel that there are some blogs out there that may have fallen through the cracks, that haven't been given the recognition that they rightly deserve (apart from mine obviously). This could be because they just haven't got the following yet or it could be that they didn't really fit into the right category.

In fact I really feel that there were some categories that were missed. This may have been a genuine oversight by the organisers, or a deliberate ploy to avoid having to make too many trophies due to budgetary constraints and the price of tin these days. Whichever the reason I would love to recognise some of those less well known bloggers who's niche is so niche it could be considered a niche of niches in blogging.

I have a couple of suggestions but I am eagerly anticipating a deluge of alternatives from your good selves. Hey, if this takes off 'we' could organise our very own Blogging Awards!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Blogosphere, I would like to open the alternative category debate with a couple of suggestions designed to provoke thought and blogging discovery:

Best Blogger that isn't a Blogger but should be
Best Pet Blog
Best Crap Crafting Blog
Best Blog Name
Best Use of a Blogging Widget
Best Gin-swilling Blog

Oh the list could go on, which I hope it will with your suggestions?

What category could your blog win? Mine? Best Use of Emoticons ;-)

Friday 11 May 2012

Caption me up!

What with bank holidays and blogging events I have no idea what day of the week it is.
I almost sent the Big One to Monday night football on Tuesday. And he was almost a day early for Beavers too. I went out for coffee with a lovely twitter friend on a Thursday which is not a coffee day so it must be Friday  And then, Mammasaurus has to go and hold Saturday is Caption Day a whole day early so those who are going to Cybher can drop their comical captions in your comment box before the great and good of blogging become greater and gooder.

Fairy Nuff.

So today, for the sake of captioning, is Saturday, right? But those of you with children will find it is still actually Friday and the kids do need picking up from school.

*head spins*


What, in the name of Fairy Nuff, is going on here?

Add your caption to the comments and I'll be sure to pop over to Mammasaurus to spread my captioning love too!

PS I am not going to Cybher. But I am going to BritMums so hopefully see you there :)

Wednesday 9 May 2012


Is it time to get back in the saddle?
The saddle that was using my brain for anything more than deciding what to cook for tea.
The saddle that generated income and meant I didn't wince every time I wanted a coffee in town.
The saddle that is working.

After 2 years of doing very little other than childcare I will soon have an opportunity to be child free for some hours of the week and I am trying to work out what I will do with those precious hours. Given I will be paying childcare for the Wee One, it needs to generate an income because reading blogs, reading kindle, watching DVD box sets, drinking coffee just isn't going to cut it (unless they are paid reviews of course).

A chance meeting in Waitrose this morning sent my head into an almost spontaneous meltdown. A friend from years ago, met in Warsaw, and we now live 5 miles away from each other (small world), has been scratching her very intelligent brain trying to come up with a plan to occupy her while her 2 children are at school. But by her own admission she is not self motivated and would much prefer to work with someone, where ideas can be batted back and forth, where problems can be shared and halved and gossip can be discussed over tea and cake.

Then she casually dropped this little idea into the conversation. "Maybe we could do something together?"
That is, work together. The W word.

Thoughts at this point were:

1. But you are far cleverer than me.
2. I have forgotten how to work.
3. I will be shown up as a fraud.
4. I am terrified.
5. I have forgotten how to wing it.
6. I have nothing to wear.
7. Ooh, we could do *****
8. Or we could *****
9. And if we did ***** then we could do ***** as well.
10. Shit.

So we are meeting for coffee next week. I will have a notepad and coloured pens with me. Dress code: casual. We will brainstorm our strengths and experiences, put them in a blender, bottle it and try to decide if anyone would want it, and maybe, possibly actually pay money for it.

I may take a calculator. I always felt prepared in meetings if I had a calculator with me. I will also take notes during tonight's Apprentice. I always know what they are doing wrong in that show so I'm sure I will learn something that may be useful.

I am going to write down what I think I could contribute to the blender of experience and strengths and then probably have to cross half of them out because a) I may have experience of it but that does not make me good at it, b) it is not an experience or strength relevant to proper grown up working, or c) or I have forgotten how to do it and no amount of cramming with a Harvard Business Review is going to revive it. I may use post-it notes.

I am excited and terrified in equal measure. And all this before 'we' even have any idea of what 'it' is.

You can imagine how tense I am going to be by next Thursday!

Any back to work tips anyone would like to share are truly welcome. *pen poised*

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Recycled Business Card Case

A couple of weeks ago I had a very fanciful idea of making 25 things out of an old pair of jeans or two. I then whittled  it down to a shortlist of about 6. I then forgot all about it, distracted by life and family until last week when I remembered it was Pinaddicts time and I really wanted to get crafty.

So out of the short-shortlist I found this.

And this.

I find it really easy to be inspired to make something. And even easier to run out of motivation/energy so this was a bit of a rush job at the last minute (last night in fact). Subsequently I have failed to take any photos of the work in progress (candle light is so hard for photographers you know) but instead I found this handy little tutorial which give full instruction on the main construction elements.

And here you are - the resulting recycled jeans business card case:

Recycled jeans business card case

The decoration started out as post it pad illustrations that I then interpreted for the sewing machine. I had an hour people so don't be too critical!!

However it gave me a little inspired lightbulb moment!

Who fancies a business card case for Britmums? I would have said Cybher but time is somewhat limited now!
I can knock one up for you from one of 3 designs for the not too princely sum of £6 + £1.50 p&p.

Design choices:

recycled jeans business card case

If you are interested, email me with your preferred design choice (cassette, camera or @), your name and address would be handy, and I'll send you paypal details for payment. I reckon (depending on demand *ahem*) I can get one to you in 5 working days.

The outer fabric will be denim but the inside lining material may vary depending on demand!

How cheeky am I?

And here are some other crafters that have been a bit busy interpreting their Pinterest finds for #Pinaddicts.


Sunday 6 May 2012

365project Week 18

When I take photos for this project, I don't have a theme. I just run with it and wait for a shot to catch my eye. But at the end of the week, when it comes time to post up a little summary, I can often spot a common denominator and this week it is Discovering.

Five Go Blogging 365project Week 18

Discovering pride in belonging.
Discovering the feel of an others shoes.
Discovering the light around and behind could be more interesting than what it is shining on.
Discovering a sense of adventure and freedom.
Discovering new flavours are not going to poison you.
Discovering cause and effect and a natural musical ear.
Discovering new friends @StamfordTerry, My Cuntry Manor, Midwife to Mum and Ministry of Mum.

What did you discover this week?
And now I'm off to discover some new 365projects at The Boy And Me.

Remember you can see all of these pictures and the stories behind them on my 365project page :-)

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday


Mocha Beanie Mummys Silent Sunday on LAB

Friday 4 May 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

As if Saturday could be anything else?

So last week I caught the Wee One doing this. Apparently he climbed in by himself because... well because he could and as a two year old that is as good a reason as any.

wee one in a toy box

Thing is, I'm sure he was thinking up a plan, a cunning plan. Can you imagine what that might have been?
Furnish me with your captions and I will pass them on to the Wee One for his next big idea.

And while you are about it, Mammasaurus has a veritable flock of photos all gasping for captions so make sure you head on over.

Tuesday 1 May 2012


You'd think that after 7 years I should have had an appraisal by now.

Be A Better Parent Tea from

I mean, I took the job, without any qualifications, no trial period, no clear objectives and only the basic rudimentary training. Initially I was happy just to get through a day without being found out and given a written warning. I wasn't sure how many strikes I would get before I was out, but there was always that uncertainty hanging over my head, waiting to be tripped up by something unexpected or really random.

The infuriating thing is I didn't really have a boss, no line manager to report to, get a bit of coaching from or reassurance that I was on the right track. I would have to stumble through the day, trying to work out for myself what the priorities were and whether they were going to change at any minute. What was I thinking, taking this job on?

I may have been sold on the job description (abbreviated edition), where you get unconditional rewards, annual bonuses and job satisfaction. What wasn't explicit were the key responsibilities, the working hours, the thankless tasks, the repetitive jobs that sap every ounce of patience from your soul.

After a throwaway comment to the Mr where I failed to have a washed and ironed duvet cover for the Princess, "So sack me", I decided it was about time I was appraised in my position as Parent. In order to do this however I require objectives. Having no boss to write these for me I have (albeit after the event) written my own, thus:

  1. Feed them when they are hungry
  2. Spend  more time with them than blogging/on twitter.
  3. Wipe their bums and noses.
  4. Count to 10 before screaming at them for their misdemeanors.
  5. Wrap them in love.

And here's where I have to be very honest and give myself an appraisal, remembering to be constructive in any/all criticism.

  1. I feed them. I provide food on plates 3 times a day. I provide food out of packets and biscuit tins at what feels like 30 minute intervals between the 3 plate full of food. I provide sustenance contained in either a coffee cup or a tall glass for myself as required. So far they have grown, judging by the rate at which clothes need to be provided, and only complain of being hungry 15 times a day. Result: Satisfactory.
  2. This was a no brainer with the first child. Twitter wasn't even invented yet and I didn't know a blog from a bog. With the second child I was blissfully ignorant of social media. So result: Outstanding. But then came the Wee One, and *ahem* twitter started winking at me, and then I was told I could write and I should start a blog. So technically you could say I was led astray. Current result: when the kids are awake I am hitting a good average in their favour. And when the kids are asleep, well the Mr is neglected but he isn't part of the objective so I still score!
  3. Noses are clean and bums are sparkling. This is one objective I can say I have absolutely achieved. I should have shares in baby wipes and kleenex. Admittedly the younger model is still reliant on nappies but potty training is one of my short term goals. Result: Outstanding.
  4. Hmmm. Patience. Actually, I am quite glad I haven't been appraised on this objective until now. It is a skill that has taken a considerable amount of time to master. Initially I felt this objective was completely irrelevant, and then the sweet innocent little bundles grew up a bit and suddenly it seemed the most relevant. I have had considerable practice and it is starting to come a little easier now. Result: Satisfactory  but do not become complacent.
  5. Yes. That. And a bit more. Consider them smothered. Although that may not be good. Breathing should be an objective too, shouldn't it? Result: Outstanding.
So do I get a promotion? No. Never. Whatever happens, and however long it takes, I'm always going to be their mother and I can't be sacked, no matter how bad a job I'm doing.

If you had to give yourself objectives, what would they be? And, how do you fare against them?