New Years Resolutions

  • I will lose weight.  Yes, I will!
  • I will plan my study time better, therefore...
  • I will not have a major wibble over every single assignment I have to write for the Open University
  • I will start that novel, or at least start the planning for it
  • I will find a magazine template for this blog that I can fit my header into - *
  • I will expand my social media network even further
  • I will attempt to find a magazine or newspaper that wants me to write for them - **
  • I will give up smoking properly and not pretend I have given up like now
  • I will complete the application form for Deal or No Deal
  • I will not buy another Filofax - ***
  • I will attend the Cybermummy '11 conference - ****

I may add to this over the next few days.

* NOT POSSIBLE - I cried yesterday trying to find a magazine template that would work with Blogger and their gadgets (mainly pages) and there isn't one.  This is the best you're going to get!
** As well as Flying Start Magazine
*** hahahahahahaha
**** My "looking for a sponsor" post will follow in early January

The 2010 Digest

How do you round up this year on a blog where so much has changed?  This year has been a defining time for the me as a writer.  I started out still finding my feet, addressed the community spirit, grew in confidence and wrote a lot of posts.  I have picked one post from each month of 2010 for you to revisit.  It definitely isn't the most popular post of the month or even the one with the most comments, but the one that you had maybe forgotten about and might enjoy again.  I'd love to know if there is one that you would have recommended for inclusion in the round-up too.

Blognonymous : The Appointment - Postscript

Editors note: A short while ago a post was published on this blog within the ethos of Blognonymous.  It was entitled "The Appointment".  Following the comments and advice left at the end of the post the author felt that an update and a Thank You was needed, so here is their post.

oOoOoOoOoOoOo

Buy your Filofax supplies and support the Breast Cancer Campaign


Are you ordering anything from Filofax in the near future?
(they have a sale on at the moment, don't you know)
Please click on the logo below or the one in the sidebar to visit the site.


The team over at the Philofaxy blog have an affiliation with Filofax UK and, for period of 16th December 2010 through to 31st January 2011, have agreed to donate all their commission to the very deserving Breast Cancer Campaign.

Boxing Day...1985?

This year, Boxing Day was dedicated to 1985 - or so it seemed.

It was shaping up to be a fairly boring Boxing Day.  We had no plans to do anything during the day as we were determined not to move the cars and lose our parking spaces - living near a Premiership Football Stadium has its drawbacks.  The morning film, Spy Kids, was coming to an end and the terrestrial channels looked a bit boring.  I had a quick flick through the millions of boring Sky channels and found a repeat of the 1985 World Strongest Man on Bravo.  We watched fat men strongmen lifting cars, hauling wheelbarrows full of heavy sacks, winching boats up from the harbour and generally oozing testosterone.  We cheered on our hero from back in the day, Geoff Capes, and he won... HOORAY!

A little later I sat and watched Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - not quite a 1985 version (it was the Donny Osmond made-for-video/TV production fom 1999) but it did bring back memories of watch Jess Conrad in the touring production during the early eighties.  We (mum, my sister and myself) were massive fans of Joseph and went to see the production each time it came to the Grand Theatre, Blackpool (four times at the last count).  We also took part in a AmDram version of it during the late 1980's.  Anyway, I sang along to the Donny Osmond version, teased son #1 about his love of the video when he was about 7 years old because of a flash of a dancer's yellow knickers during the Go Go Go Joseph song and wallowed in nostalgia for a good couple of hours.

Christmas Eve

It was Christmas Eve 1990 and, for the first time, I wasn't sleeping in my own bed.  My boyfriend and I had decided to share ourselves out between our family like the children of divorced parents; Christmas Eve and half of Christmas Day at my parents' house then the other half of Christmas Day and the whole of Boxing Day at his parents' house.

I had left home earlier in the year, an angry eighteen year old who knew it all.  I returned a more subdued, pregnant eighteen year old who now lived with her boyfriend.  My mum had stated quite clearly that my boyfriend was welcome to stay over at the house but we would not be sleeping together.  My argument?
"Why not? He can't exactly get me pregnant again, can he?"

11 Tips To Make Your Life Easier On The Run Up To Christmas

  1. After 20 years, I have realised that gift tags are a waste of time on the children's presents.  They see their name, rip the paper off, exclaim with joy and move on to the next present.  Black permanent marker is the way to go, scrawled across the back of the gift.  We don't rescue and neatly fold the paper.  We use it to keep the fire going.  Also, there is less chance of any gift tag being ripped off and wondering who the present belongs to.
  2. If a bargain was to be had, the cheaper price tag will be removed and the more expensive price tag will accidently-on-purpose will be left on.
  3. A spare room is a present-hiding godsend.  Especially if it has a padlock on the door.
  4. A 19-year old's pile of presents is a lot smaller than a 17-year old's pile of presents which, in turn, is a lot smaller than a 11-year old's pile of presents, even though you have spent the same amount of money on them.
  5. The present that cost the least will be the best present in the whole of the world.
  6. When you order from SportsDirect.com they include little gifts of tat that they can't normally get rid of like a mug with their logo on or a calender that displays a 30p price tag.
  7. Next year I am going to invent a gift-wrapping station that is approximately the height of my ironing board as my back is killing!  Or I might just use the ironing board.
  8. When wrapping track-suits, make sure you don't include the spare roll of sellotape in with one of them.  (Dear Michael, if you find a roll of sellotape inside one of your presents, please do not think I have gone mad.  Love Mum x)
  9. Stashed Christmas booze can always be replaced the next day.
  10. When booking a few extra days off work so that you can have a full fortnight off with your family, make sure you check the weather report in advance to see if you can get away with "Snow Days" (free holidays) instead of "Annual Leave Days".
  11. Arrange all gift-swapping trips that involve a journey over the Pennines for June or July.  You have less chance of any snow preventing seeing your sister for the first time since February.  For the second year running.

STOP FLASHING!

I've just been for a walk with the dog and almost every other window has a blue light display or flashing "icicles" hanging from the gutter.  None of the twinkling is coordinated with the house nearby and it's giving me a headache.  Some flash so fast that I feel dizzy and almost epileptic.

Multi-coloured lights look pretty and white lights look frosty and magical.  Decorated houses are a bit OTT but provide much amusement and entertainment for everyone else.  A couple of years ago, the odd blue light display here and there looked unusual and engaging but that bandwagon has rolled on by and everyone has jumped on it.  

Agree or disagree?  Are you one of the blue light brigade?


Picture Credit

What Does Father Christmas Bring Naughty Boys?

You know when your loved ones are being little shits at any time between October and December?  Do you roll out the old "Father Christmas is watching.  He's making sure who is being good and who is being bad"?  Well in our house we used to say "If you carry on with that, Father Christmas will only bring you socks and underpants!"


One year, Michael (now age 17 - oh, he's going to love me for telling this story) had been a complete bugger for ages so we rolled out our usual threat. He was about eight or nine at the time.  His behaviour improved slightly towards Christmas but he was still a handful.  


On Christmas Eve we arranged the presents as usual but we put his actual present of socks and underpants (What? It's tradition!) right at the top of the pile so that he would open it first.

What Do Tweets Make? Prizes!

On 2nd December I joined in a little Twitter Party during my lunch break.  Max Factor were working in conjunction with British Mummy Bloggers to gather together some "get ready quick" tips for busy mums everywhere.

I tweeted a few of my favourite tips (eyebrow threading is amazing, mascara and eyeliner is a must, Schwarzkopf Osis Dust-it powder is brilliant for short hair) and asked for some tips for myself.  It was a hectic hour on Twitter but there were some fabulous ideas flying around.  All tweets that included the special promotional hashtag (#5minmax) were entered into a prize draw for some fabulous goodies from Max Factor.

The following day this tweet arrived in my timeline...

Review Times Two : Simply Safety Solutions & CBeebies Song Time

I am very naughty.  Here at Typecast Towers I have had a couple of items to review but haven't had chance to publish the write up.  Massive apologies to the companies involved.  I hope these little tests help you with any last minute shopping ideas before Christmas.

* * *

(disclaimer: this is not our baby)
Click the picture to visit the
Simple Safety Solutions website
Simple Safety Solutions is a small company with child safety at the heart of their business.  They ask parents to review their products in the home in real situations.  They sent us a Tot Seat Travel Baby Chair Safety Harness (RRP £24.99) to try out.

This is a fantastic little invention.  It transforms any dining chair into a secure seat for babies and toddlers so is the ideal solution to meal times when the grandchildren are visiting.  It is also small enough to keep in your baby bag if you are going out to eat and comes with it's own drawstring carry case.

The harness is recommended for children between 8 months and 3 years old.  We tried Megan (8 months old) in the seat and found that even though she is sitting up unaided now, the harness wasn't really secure enough to hold her in place.  It was, however, great for tying up keeping Amie (23 months) on her chair at the table whilst we all ate our meal.  Highly recommended.

Click the picture to go to their website for more fantastic safety ideas for the home at very reasonable prices.

* * *

We have also been listening to the CBeebies Song Time CD (RRP £15.99).  This double CD is full of all the favourites from CBeebies, including theme tunes, the Something Special Hello song, In The Night Garden Time to go to Sleep track and the Teletubbies Say "Eh-Oh!" club mix (I am not kidding!).  You can find the full track list and buy the CD from here.

This would be great to play on a car journey or even just instead of having the television on for a change.  Watching the recognition on a child's face of hearing a familiar song without the moving pictures in sight is both funny and fascinating at the same time.

Filofax Friday : One In, One Out

this picture does the Chameleon
no justice whatsoever
Be still my beating heart.  I am now the proud owner of a Chameleon Filofax in Spring Green.  You may remember seeing it on my wishlist a short time ago.  I couldn't wait until Christmas so ended up buying it anyway.

Because the Filofax is so customisable, I have already decided on a theme for my Chameleon (although the name suggests that it may change over time, yes?).  I am going to use cream dividers and green notepaper.  I also want one of the new 2011 diaries that are a-week-per-page-with-notes - a theme which I tried to mimic myself earlier this year but ended up with too much bulk.  I am also going to purchase this style diary/note pack for each of my other two Filos - work/home and writing.  Also, I think my next Filofax blog post is going to have to be "Are my Filofaxes streamlining my life or am I streamlining my life around my Filofaxes?"

Twats on Twitter



*big sigh*


Recently a number of celebrities have been caught up in public spats on Twitter and it's all getting rather boring now.  Can someone make it stop please?


The latest few appear to have featured Sir Alan Lord Sugar and whoever has narked him today.  His most recent 'victims' are Kirstie Allsopp, Chris Evans and Piers Morgan.  Having said that though, the latter has embroiled himself in a battle with Sugar for the highest number of followers.  The 'loser' pays out a few thousand pounds to charity.  I'd yawn but there's a nasty taste in my mouth and I need to get rid of it.



I did initially consider the fact that the Sugar and Morgan accounts were not real.  The people behind the @sy_cowell and @walshlife accounts could have concocted this little saga too as part of their marketing profile - showing the power of Twitter and how it can be used for promotion purposes.  The only spanner in the works of that little theory is that the both accounts appear to have been officially validated by Twitter.

Proud

Last week an envelope dropped onto the doormat addressed to Michael (son #1).  The envelope was embelished with the NHS logo and my first thought was "junk mail".  He is 17 now, at college, has his own bank account and pays his own mobile phone contract.  He is just about the right age to start getting his own crap in envelopes.

How wrong was I?

Finding Your Blogging Feet

I was reading a couple of posts written by new blogger, Becki (at Pelvis, Interrupted) yesterday.  She wrote about how she wasn't feeling true to herself with her writing and then her "epiphany", for want of a better word.  I think she had been trying too hard as a new blogger to please her audience rather than writing within her comfort zone and letting her audience find her.

Blogging is becoming much more of a social concept.  I wrote an article for the winter edition of Flying Start Magazine (page 36) aimed at new Parent Bloggers, although the advice is the same for everyone.  One observation I made was that blogs used to sit in their little corner of the internet, waiting to be discovered or they were read when you happened to mention to a friend that you wrote a blog.  Very often, blogs were considered a dirty little secret.

Review : Hexbug Nano

"What on earth are Hexbugs?" I hear you ask.  Well, when we opened the parcel with our three Hexbug Nanos in, both mine and Jake's reaction was "Eh? What are these?"  About 0.3 seconds after taking the first Hexbug out of the packet Jake was full of "Oh, WOW" and "OH MY GOD, THESE ARE BRILLIANT!!"


Hexbug Nanos are miniscule robot bugs, no bigger than your little finger.  They are powered by a tiny battery-operated motor that makes them vibrate and scuttle around.  You can build complex mazes (we built one with Lego) for them to find their way around or just watch them flip and bounce off random objects on the kitchen table whilst the dog goes a bit loopy trying to chase after it!  The green one is my favourite and I'm keeping it as a pet.


The Hexbug Nanos are collectible and there are five in each series.  Each Hexbug comes with its own unique serial number so you can register it online, where there is loads more information.  Individual Hexbug Nanos cost £8.99 each and are available at outlets such as Next and Selfridges as well as the Hexbug website.  There are also five-pack complete collections available, cases to store them in and tracks for them to wiggle around.  If you want to get involved in the talk on Twitter then we are using the #hexbuguk hashtag.


Wiggle it. Just a little bit!

Last Wednesday evening I crashed unceremoniously from the table top I was dancing climbing on*.  I was in tears and the dog thought it was a game so leapt all over me.  Son #1 tried to help me up and shoo the dog away at the same time, then got a bit arsey when I cried big, dolloping tears in his face and yelled at him that I couldn't move because my leg hurt.  Kev came in from the other lounge to see what all the noise and then walked out again thinking I was over-reacting.

I limped to bed, in tears.  No-one cared.  My left foot hurt like hell and my right leg was just as bad.

The Gallery : Another Celebration

Recently I have regained contact with one of my primary school friends, Stephanie.  We were having a bit of a catch up and I directed her to my "Old Photos" album on Facebook, where she featured in a couple of the pictures.

She responded by immediately uploading some pictures of her tenth birthday party.
Don't we look just lovely?