Wednesday 29 August 2012

Three Men and a Baby

This photo was taken almost 8 years ago.
The Mr is proudly showing off our first born to two of his best friends.
I stood watching, marveling at how our lives had so completely changed, and how alien this baby was to our friends who hadn't yet had any children of their own. We were the first, the guinea pigs.

Three Men and a Baby

I had a moments fantasy where I legged it out the door and left them to it (only for an hour and only upstairs for a nap) not quite as extreme as in Three Men and a Baby, but close enough. I knew they would manage better than the men did in the film, in fact probably better than I was doing in my exhausted novice state.

But I sit here now, 8 years later, with an idea for a new film, Three Kids and a Dog. I wonder how they would manage if I were to pop upstairs for a hour?

Joining in with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers and the prompt of Movies.

Sunday 26 August 2012

365 Project Week 34

As the title in a book I'm reading says, "Love your dreams".
If you don't love them, they can never come to life, because you have to breathe life into them.

I've been dreaming a bit. Dreaming of getting back to being me - the me who had energy, had the patience to play, stood in awe of rainbows, stretched her wings, smiled into the sun, took a risk at the hairdressers and drank tea while it was still hot.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 34

I think my dream may come true, if I wish it hard enough, and will it into life.

Joining in with The Boy and Me.

If you would like to see any of this weeks photos in more detail, head over to my 365project.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Love All Blogs

Friday 24 August 2012

Saturday is Caption Day

While my house often looks like a crime scene, rarely are the clues so colourfully evident.
Does this photo need a caption or a crime scene investigator?
I'll let you decide.

I do worry (a bit) where they get their inspiration. 

Pop your caption in a comment and feel free to meander through the mysterious and often hilarious world of captions courtesy of My First Photo Blog (aka Mammasaurus).

Thursday 23 August 2012

Growing Up into Flower Girl

Today was the Princess' last day at nursery. In precisely 13 days time she starts school.
She is ready.
I am ready.

But is the school ready, ready for Flower Girl?!?

For fun, the nursery had a Super Hero Day. 'Come dressed as your favourite Superhero' the invitation said. However, the Princess couldn't think what superhero she wanted to be. (Actually she wasn't entirely sure what a superhero was, but lets gloss over that bit.)  We fired a few suggestions off but nothing seemed quite right, until we struck upon the idea of a made up superhero, and Flower Girl was born.

From concept...

Flower Girl concept sketches

through cut up sheets and dresses, and rather dodgy face painting by me, Flower Girl was born (or should that be bloomed?)

Flower Girl

Flower Girl

Special powers not specified, but she can zoom...

Flower Girl zooming

and can take out a baddie with one BLAH face.

Flower Girl BLAHing

In 2 weeks she will have a different uniform on and I know she will be as happy and confident then as she was today walking to preschool with her knickers on show.

Wednesday 22 August 2012


I've been watching planes fly over head, leaving vapour trails in their wake, and fantasising about where they are going or where they have been.

In another lifetime I would fly quite frequently, every couple of months, and loved the excitement and thrill of soaring through the sky. I would look out the window and admire the tops of the clouds, their magical landscape. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of the land or sea beneath, putting into perpsective the fragility of a lump of metal thousands of feet above, and the minutia of people compared to the earths mass. We are but a speck.

Looking up at the planes, they themselves disappear into nothing more than a speck.

Plane vapour trail

I wonder where they are going. And will I get a postcard.

Joining in with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers and the prompt of Sky.

Monday 20 August 2012


When it is hot, and everything is more of an effort than you have energy for, and it suddenly gets dark and rains, big fat raindrops, bouncing on the table and paving stones, and them stops just as suddenly, the sky returning to blue, that is my kind of rain.

We had a couple of showers like that this week. One I watched from underneath a tree with my children, waiting for it to ease up a little so our ice creams wouldn't wash away. Another I watched from my kitchen window, anticipating its arrival and then refreshed as the rain fell.

When it was over, I went outside and took this photo of the table in the garden.

raindrops on a glass table

The little pools of water are like continents of the world, but easily transformed by a fingertip, dragging across it's map. The sun shines again, glistening in the puddles marking summer once more.

I am joining in with a new linky on the block over at Cakes Photos Life called Monday Mobile. Just link up a photo you have taken on your mobile in the last week. Easy.


Sunday 19 August 2012

365project Week 33

I've been struggling this week with the school holiday blues.
Didn't I read somewhere that last Monday was supposed to be the most stressful day of the holidays for parents?
It has been a bit 'tense' in our house with children starting to irritate each other, tempers been well and truly lost (mine) and insufficient entertainment being provided (apparently).

I rebelled and told them all to get on with it and amuse themselves for a bit. They are still working on this.

Meanwhile I sighed a lot and looked skyward trying to zone out the sound of extreme bickering. Fortunately the sun was shining so the sky provided some photographic inspiration, evidenced by a significant proportion of sky and blue in my montage.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 33

Blue shoes peekaboo
Blue skies soften the cathedral
Doodles chase away the grey
Entertaining himself
Afternoon skies sighing
The glisten of blue glass
Blue checks reflected on blue

But with only two weeks of the school holidays left I don't want to wish any time away before the Princess starts school, the Wee One starts nursery and The Big One starts key stage 2. The house will be very quiet without them.

Joining in with The Boy and Me.

If you would like to see any of this weeks photos in more detail, head over to my 365project.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

relax in a tunnel

Love All Blogs

Friday 17 August 2012

What are we doing today Mummy?

There are some questions that I am dreading passing the lips of my children.

Questions like:

"How do babies get into their Mummy's tummy?"
"What does f**k mean?"
"Is the Tooth Fairy real?"
"Where have all my Haribos gone?"

There will be others that I haven't thought of that will floor me, render me speechless, grasping for an age appropriate response that doesn't then beg another question in reply, thus leading to a confusing tale of storks, gymnastics and thieving elves.

But one question that keeps being asked to the point that the Wee One, whose speech is coming along leaps and bounds, can repeat perfectly, is "What are we doing today, Mummy?"

*mutters "Well I know what Mummy would like to do today."*

"Playing." A simple one word response is deemed inadequate.
"Entertaining yourself." Progress. A two word response. Also deemed inadequate.
"Making an 'I'm Bored' jar." More words. Worthy of a little consideration this time. However this requires me helping and frankly I've got stuff I need to do.

Obviously I have stuff I would like to do (see first answer) but there is lots of stuff that NEEDS to be done, like cleaning, cooking, paying bills, repairing broken (by children) things, fixing stuff, dog walking, researching for (it may happen one day) project, tidying. My list is very long and there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all, especially when there are three children at home who have forgotten how to play.

There are snatches of time when they do play together, I hear the Big One issuing instructions, I hear the Princess challenging her role and the Wee One not doing exactly what he was told. A bit of a discussion ensues and assuming everyone has compromised and concluded that their role is satisfactory, play begins.

It is probably my fault for directing them too much, giving in when they say they have nothing to do and offering up suggestions (hardly any of which are taken mind you). I should just ignore them and let them work it out themselves, carry on flicking the duster around and wait for them to get bored of saying 'I'm bored' and go and find something to do.

I could spend hours with them, just playing, reading, helping, but I simply do not have time or patience so they have to remember how to entertain themselves. I can do it. I can entertain myself for hours (given the opportunity) so why can't they? Or I could spend a small fortune on activities for them to fill the hours of every single day but who has the budget for that?

I remember my own school holidays and they were filled with games, reading, a bit of TV, bike riding, den building, playing with friends but very few days out. I don't honestly remember my Mum playing with us. She may have, and I've forgotten, or she may not have and *gasp* we played by ourselves. We had a holiday but outside of that we were at home and largely entertained ourselves.

So in the 2 weeks remaining of the summer holiday, one will hopefully be spent away together, but one will be at home with a couple of play dates thrown in. The I'm Bored jar has dust on it (I haven't had time to do the cleaning because they want entertaining instead) so they need to entertain themselves preferably without killing each other.

So how can I educate them to play by themselves? Am I neglecting them by not providing entertainment for each waking hour of the day? All suggestions welcome.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas

You know when you see a book in the charity shop that you have wanted read but haven't got round to buying and it is only 99p?


The Slap Christos Tsiolkas

The PR spin machine had been running at almost 6000 revs on The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, particularly in the parenting circles, because of it's controversial story line. A man slaps a child in public. The child isn't his. I was sucked in and was excited to read it.

I expected an addictive thrilling ride, through emotional torment, character assignations, tears even. I didn't get that. Instead I got a slow meander through boring repetitive 'plot' development, a seeping, creeping plod. I did like that each section focuses on one of the characters, I would say main characters but we drift off with peripheral characters too that don't really do anything for the story or for me. Problem was, I just couldn't connect with any of them. Some you should loath, some you should feel pity for, but mostly I felt ambivalent.

I kept turning the pages, hopeful for a reprieve, a revelation but it didn't come. Frankly I just wanted to slap it!

Now you really must get yourselves over to MummyBarrow because she has started up a book club for which this is the first book. If you've read The Slap, add your thoughts either here on my blog or on MummyBarrows blog and join in. The August book for the club is The Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

MummyBarrow book club


He was a nervous, non-daring, cling to my leg kind of toddler. He grew into a slightly less nervous, non-daring, hold on to my leg kind of pre-schooler. So when he said he wanted to go on the 50ft wavy slide at the beach I thought he would bottle it before he got half way up the stairs. He didn't.

Daddy held on tight.
The Big One held on tight.
And then it was too late to change his mind.

Giant slide

I could hear him squealing all the way down, not breathing, just one long continuous squeal. The shot I took was quite near the bottom, at maximum speed and maximum squeal. I think it is safe to assume that an intoxicating cocktail of fear/excitement/fear/excitement occurred through the course of the 7 seconds it took to get from the top of the slide to the bottom. You can tell by the corners of his mouth reaching his ears and his eyebrows meeting his hairline.

When we go back now, he takes the lonely walk up the thousands of steps by himself, takes a deep breath at the top and launches himself off. No squealing, just begging to have another go when he gets to the bottom.

Joining in with The Gallery and the prompt 'Emotions'.

Monday 13 August 2012



Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?
Has anyone ever told you that you have a doppelganger?

I spotted two twitter friends in the crowd while I watched the Olympics closing ceremony yesterday on TV. Unlikely I know given that the crowd was about 80,00 strong. And even more unlikely it turns out, given they weren't even there!

Anyway, this reminded me of an incident in London many years ago. It was lunchtime and so, not surprisingly I went in search of a sandwich. I had my favourite hangouts but on this occasion I decided to try out a new cafe that had recently opened. I went in and as I queued eyeing up the array of breads and fillings, I became aware that the guy who was serving was looking at me in a slightly unnerving way. I did what anyone would, and pretended I wasn't really trying to see if he was still looking. He was.

I was trying to decide whether he was looking at me because I was gorgeousness personified or because I had bird poo on my shoulder, when he cracked open a huge smile and leant across the counter to give me a kiss on the cheek, asking "How are you? God, it's great to see you. How have you been?"

Slightly taken aback by the gushing customer service, I believe I mumbled something along the lines of "Fine, thanks. Can I have ham salad mayo on brown please?" but he was not to be deterred. He said how well I looked, admired my 'new' haircut and asked about my 'brother'?

At some point  in the stream of questions, perhaps given away by the look of shock/fear/disbelief on my face, a look of realisation dawned on him. "You're not Charlotte are you?"



After copious apologies and red faces he explained I was the spitting image of his friend, who he hadn't seen in a couple of years.

So turns out I had a doppelganger in West London. A small mischievious part of me wonders what would have happened if I had played along. How long would I have got away with it? Seconds? Minutes? Long enough to discover that Charlotte was in fact his ex and she had unceremoniously dumped him, while he held onto a hope that one day he would be the father of her children?

There's a plot for a book there people.

I also have a doppelganger who works in the antiques trade, given the effusive greeting I got at a antiques market a few months later. It is possible that Charlotte worked in the antiques trade of course.

So Charlotte, if you are reading this, and have been mistaken for someone else, it was probably me. We should get together and freak people out!

Have you got any cases of mistaken identity? And did you play along?

Saturday 11 August 2012

365project Week 32

I have a new lucky mascot.
He is called Mr Peanut.
He found my photography mojo for me!

Five Go Blogging 365project week 32

I started the week all vintage: peanutty, cobbly, shiny and glidey. I mashed up the old and new: new build glimpsed through old bows and new technology showcasing old builds. I ended the week in a splashy new pool.

I love mash ups. I love old blended with new, traditional with a modern vibe, using the past to influence the now. This may my new 'thang'.

Thank you Mr Peanut.

Joining in with The Boy and Me.

If you would like to see any of this weeks photos in more detail, head over to my 365project.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday is Caption Day

Quick! Call 999 (911 for US readers) (and er... *checks google*... 112 for most of Europe) (000 for Australian readers) (I could go on, but I'm boring myself).

There has been an accident!
Oh, wait. No, it's okay. He's got up. In fact he's... yes he is trying to lift the tractor himself. Oh my goodness. He seems to have developed super human strength and can lift 5 times his own body weight. No, hang on. No. We are going to need a pick up truck after all. What do you mean you don't handle that kind of emergency? Don't you realise that if he hasn't got his tractor back up and facing the right way in precisely 15 seconds I will need medical attention?


You may be able to think of a more concise caption. If you can, please feel free to share it in my comments x

Joining in with Mammasaurus and #Satcap.

Thursday 9 August 2012

A day out on a tenner?

If you had a tenner in your pocket and you wanted a day out with your three children that felt like a proper day out, the kind where you see amazing things, play till you are exhausted and have memories to keep for ever, where would you go? Yes, okay, apart from the beach.

Tough one eh? A tenner gets you nowhere does it?

I wanted to take the kids out for a day to remember, a day they would tell their friends about, a day that they would bore their grandparents with after 10 times of telling. And then I remembered the Jubilee Play Centre at Shuttleworth, overflowing with climbing, spinning and sliding action. For £3 you park your car and then the park is yours for as long as the gate is open. There are enough things to play on for all age groups, my toddler was more than happy, the Princess (not known for being adventurous) found plenty to climb on and the Big One wore himself out too.

Jubilee Play Center

Jubilee Play center

Jubilee Play center

Jubilee Play center

There are lawns and benches so I took a picnic and we noshed and played some more. There is also a restaurant where you can redeem your £3 parking ticket against a hot meal if you wish.

Then you can go for broke and splash out on tickets to go into the Birds of Prey Centre, the Shuttleworth Collection and the Swiss Garden. The cost? Ten quid per adult and children under 16 are FREE! Yes, I know. I gasped too!

We had already peeked into a couple of the hangers to see some of the amazing old planes they have in their collection and thought it would be fun to have a look around and repeatedly shout "Chocks away!".

Shuttleworth Collection

Shuttleworth Collection

But it was too nice outside (for once) so we went to see the birds.

To give you a taste of what to expect, the Big One had a very close encounter with a pelican, the Condor fortunately was too young to fly but with a 6ft plus wingspan already I wouldn't want to get too close at take-off, an owl slightly misjudged his flight path and skimmed my head and objects (eagles) seen through your camera lens may be closer than they appear. Apparently there is no point ducking, they are faster than you are.

Birds of Prey Shuttleworth

Birds of Prey Shuttleworth

Birds of Prey Shuttleworth

Birds of Prey Shuttleworth

We watched a very impressive show that lasted about 45 minutes, with great commentary that climaxed in a display of flying owls just centimetres over our heads. I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking "I hope none of them needs a poo." Afterwards we had a stroll around the centre and had an opportunity to hold an eagle owl which the Big One was desperate to do. (But I'm saving that photo for my Silent Sunday post so you will have to come back again *cackles selfishly*.

So for (a tiny bit more than) a tenner (£13 to be precise, excluding icecreams) we had a brilliant day out, scaled the highest heights of the climbing frames, got smacked in the head by a pelican's wing, held an eagle owl, ducked too late to dodge an owl and watched another owl projectile poo the back wall of it's den (the boys missed this thankfully, or I would never had heard the last of it).

As we still have 3 weeks left of the Summer holidays, where else could I go with a tenner in my pocket? And I don't mean the pub. You need more than a tenner for that.

Just in case you were wondering, I did actually pay. This isn't sponsored. I wrote this because Shuttleworth is awesome. Fact.

Wednesday 8 August 2012


Watching the Olympics is incredibly inspiring but when it comes to sport I am easily inspired. I watch Wimbledon and hanker after a game of tennis. I watch the London marathon and fancy a jog. I watch the athletics and fancy a quick throw of the javelin. It makes me want to get out there and have a go and banish the wobble. Maybe I will, gently. I don't want to do myself an injury.

The Big One, however, is inspired and is throwing himself into it. He fancies himself as a runner and runs at every opportunity shouting out for me to time him. He is naturally competitive, everything and anything can be a race, from getting dressed in the morning, to riding his scooter down our hill (and terrifying me in the process). The fallout isn't so much fun if he loses but to compete you need a winning spirit, and this he has.

The Big One running

This picture was taken last summer. He hasn't stopped running yet.

Joining in with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers and the prompt 'Sport'

Sunday 5 August 2012

365 Project Week 31

Like many of us, I have been glued to the TV this week, watching people achieve staggering heights, speed and feats of strength on the Olympics.

I blame this for a few last minute, quick, grab the camera, shots. I admit I have been distracted by Team GB and have not paid enough attention to my own discipline, my own specialised sport of  photography. I have not been putting in the training.

I plan to rectify this. I'm upping my game this week. I'm going for a personal best!

Five Go Blogging 365 Project Week 31

If you would like to see these photos in more detail, please head over to my 365project where you can see them in all their glory.

Joining in with The Boy and Me for the 365 Project

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Love All Blogs

Wednesday 1 August 2012


It can be as gentle as butterfly kisses on your cheeks.
It can be as fast and furious as a bucket full of marbles being tipped.
It can be as shocking as stepping into a cold shower.
Or it can as delicate as walking through a teasing mist, lulling you into believing it it is weak and harmless, but those minute droplets of moisture have hidden strength, leaving you soaked through in your cardigan, dripping from the cuffs.


But my favourite kind of rain is the one that traces delicate streams down window panes, chased by warm little fingers from within.

raindrop races

Joining in with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers and the prompt 'Delicate'