The story of Hurricane Amie and her trail of destruction

The ruler of all our family came for a visit today - HRH Amie-Leigh - my grandaughter.  In the space of an hour she had left a trail of destruction that any one year old would be proud of.
(click all pictures for larger version)

First of all she set about tidying my pan cupboard...

...and climbed in to reach the final pan lid...

...but didn't have enough turning space to get out.

She helped Mummy find a nine-letter word on Countdown...

...and made everyone have their hair brushed, whether they liked it or not...

...including Nana.

She had a quick read of Linda's book...

...and decided that she would help me with my assignment that is due in on Tuesday!

I'm going to send it off now - it's a much better job that I ever could have done.


Filofax Friday - What goes around, comes around

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much of an 80s chick I like to think I am.  I can bore the best of them with trivia about the music of the decade, I am in love with the current toned-down and recycled fashion of that era and, best of all, the Filofax is finally making a comeback.

Mentioned on the Philofaxy blog this week were two articles from The Telegraph about the return of the Filofax: (24th Feb 2010) (25th Feb 2010)
Return? Well then, that must mean that there are a fair few of us that have been "on trend" for the past 25 years or so!

As I have blogged before, I love my Filofax.  It does so much more for me than any iPhone, Blackberry or PDA could and I believe that if you don't accept or understand the concept of the Filofax then you'll just think that I'm plain daft.  For me to write something down makes it permanent in my eyes - I can't just delete it and forget about it at the touch of a button and the writer in me loves putting pen to paper, especially when the majority of my life every day is spent in front of a computer screen.  I appreciate the tactility of having all the information I need in once place and
  1. it doesn't have a battery that needs charging
  2. it will never "crash"
  3. it is instant
  4. it is very unlikely to get "hacked"

I'm currently transferring to two Filofaxes.  I have been using my black leather A5 Metropol Zip for a couple of years now and it incorporates my work and personal life.  I have decided to utilise my Personal sized Graphic Zip to house my project work and I've just got a little over excited on the Filofax UK website ordering extra inserts (I have a bit of a stationery fetish obsession addiction...  erm... I love stationery) - E.T.A. 2 days and counting.  I also have a red Filofax on my "wish list" and I'm on the look out for a new pen just in case anyone is stuck for a birthday/Christmas present for me... 

So, the question for today is are you going to pick up on this "new" trend or did you never give it up in the first place?  If the answer is neither of the options, what is your current choice of diary management?

Related articles:

*AARRGGHH* World Book Day Alert!!

With thanks to Liz from Living With Kids, I was reminded of the fact that it is World Book Day next week - 4th March - but I already have that date highlighted in ORANGE in my filofax as it is the last time EVER time that I will have to panic over producing a respectable costume that a child who hates reading will wear for the day.

*Proud Parent Alert*  My most ingenious ideas have come to me with only an evenings notice (yes, of course I ignored the original letter) and on each occasion I have my child has won first prize.  Today is your lucky day as I intend to share a couple of my most creative ideas

The first costume that created ripples around the primary school was when son #1 went as James from The Snowman (Who?  The little boy that build The Snowman, of course!).  That was simple - a pair of plaid pyjamas, a warm dressing gown, slippers and a small cuddly snowman.  Sadly, no photograph exists of this amazing creation as it was cobbled together in the short space of time (7 minutes?) between breakfast and leaving the house at 8.30am.

This book was "Treasure Island" (well, Jake thought he was Jack Sparrow but we'll gloss over that for a few minutes).

Our model is wearing mummy's holiday bandana with "Ibiza" printed randomly across it, mummy's glittery "going out" scarf, mummy's work blouse and jacket with the sleeves rolled up, mummy's belt from her jeans and another of mummy's glittery "going out" scarves.  Our model is wearing his own jeans and trainers and adopts an appropriate "AH-HAR" stance.

Next we have "Cat In The Hat".  This 'favourite' took slightly more planning time.  For this one, we started at approximately 7.30pm on the Wednesday night and finished at around 11.00pm  The model had his picture taken at 8.15am the next day.

The hat is constructed from a pizza box base

Four pieces of A4 paper sellotaped together and then painted with pink poster paint
(we had no red) 

All randomly stuck together and plonked on child's head
(please take note of how incredibly excited said child is to be wearing this hat)

Here we have the model wearing his own black t-shirt, black cords, and black pumps.  He is also wearing his sister's black fingerless gloves.  The white "tummy" was a haphazardly cut piece of white A4 printer paper, snatched from daddy's printer.  The neckerchief is the bottom three inches of mummy's second favourite red top.

So the key is not to plan anything until the night before, at the earliest.  First prizes all round... kudos in the school playground... brilliant pictures for the slideshow at the child's 18th birthday part.  Everyone is a winner.

Now, I need some inspiration for this year...


The Body Is Back

Pipe down fellas, I didn't mean Elle McPherson but you may want to stick around to read the rest of this post.
A link flashed up in my Facebook feed earlier and I gawped in horror... THE BODY is back and this time it's being used as OUTERWEAR and not underwear!! 
Now, I'm no fashonista but the last time I wore one of these was in the early 1990's and it was one of the most uncomfortable experiences that I have ever had.
  • They are never long enough for my body
  • The "smooth lines" they create just emphasise all the flaws; the lumps and bumps
  • Fastening them up requires me to become a contortionist and fold myself in half somehow.  And if, god forbid, I'm wearing my glasses, as soon as I bend over and look between my legs then the glasses slide down my nose and swing from my ears rendering me almost blind
  • Going to the toilet is impossible as I have to re-create Point #3 
  • They unfasten at the most inopportune times
  • I'm forever picking the material out from between my arse cheeks
So, rest assured, I won't be purchasing anything remotely "clingy" or "fitted" or body-shaped in the near future - I wouldn't subject you to that.  However, in a weirdly connected way, kudos to Katy Brand for her performance on Saturday on Let's Dance For Sport Relief.  This is how the slightly larger women can look FAB-U-LOUS in a leotard.

Footnote:  Do NOT search for "body stocking" on Google, on a work computer, without the safe search activated.


These Boots Were Made For Walking

After reading the most recent blog post over at Cherished By Me -  a post devoted to buying shoes but getting a bargain - I remembered that I had this draft post stored and now is just a good a time as any.

I love shoes.  I love boots.  I like wedges.  I love trainers.  I love pumps.  I love flip-flops.  I don't really get on with sandals.  I think my taste in shoes and boots is not what you'd think from me - I veer from one extreme to the other.

The boots on the right are my latest purchase and the BIGGEST bargain I have ever experienced.

A fellow member of a parenting forum announced that her brother-in-law's online shoe company was going into administration so we were to make bids for the footwear that was available on his website.  Being the nosy person that I am, I navigated over to the website and fell off my chair when I looked at the prices.  The shoes were £75 and more!!!  And they were U.G.L.Y.  For a laugh, I carried on browsing through the pages and spotted some boots that looked almost normal.

I stared longingly at them...
Then I saw the price...


But this is a guy who needs to get rid of stock.  And quick.  So I sent a message to my friend and asked what sort of prices he was expecting.  She said that she didn't know but knew that he would accept "silly offers".  Ooohhh, a challenge.

I emailed him, offering £20, expecting to be ignored, but this was seriously all I could afford - even as a treat for myself.  He emailed me back within the day, explaining that he couldn't accept less than £29 but would only charge me £3 for delivery.

I unplugged the laptop, sidled up to my husband, showed him the boots, reminded him of the chainsaw that I'd just bought him from eBay (don't ask!) and told him to transfer some money into my Paypal account.

*ha ha ha ha ha* they are all mine!!!  *strokes screen*

This is my other "extreme footwear".
My New Rocks 710's
All £120 of them - delivered direct from Spain

I won a good chunk of money in a radio competition and had been admiring these for ages.  As I'd never won a substantial amount of money before - and it had been earmarked as "splurge" money - I decided to go all out and buy these.  

Fuck me, they hurt the back of my heels but the look on people's faces is SO worth it!

I have loads of other types of shoes - my black & yellow Dunlops, the black Mary Jane work shoes and my purple Dr Martens spring to mind - and I don't think I'll ever settle into one style... that's just not me.


Mu-uuum, I'm sick!!

For my children to warrant a day off school they have to be deathly pale (almost transparent), have shown some basic signs of illness (actual vomit, diarrhoea, coughing) and risk be infectious (spots, more coughing).  So when the youngest moans of tummy ache last night at about 10.30pm on the last day of half term, I ignored his whinging, putting it down to don't-want-to-go-back-to-school-itis - a well known virus round these parts.

Again, this morning, the determined child mentioned an extra trip to the toilet and a slight belly rumble.  Pah! I AM MOTHER, HEAR ME ROAR!!!  I zipped up his lunch bag, made sure that son #1 had his lunch money, threw my coat on, defrosted the car and made the usual tribal call of GETYOURARSEINTHECARNOW-ITSTIMETOGO....  I stopped at the shop on the way for milk for work and booted him out of the car at the school gates, slowing down to an almost-stop.

*Ring-Ring, Ring-Ring*
It's my husband on the phone:
"Hello love.  The school have phoned.  Jake has been sick everywhere so I've to go and pick him up.  Oh, and by the way, my stomach has been a little off too.  See you at half-five..."  

Um... ok.  Two family members down, two to go.  Oh joy!

And you know that I'm going to be greeted with a grumpy "I told you I was ill" when I get home, don't you?


Knitting Or Cross-Stitch?

Jumper - cross-stitched using "knit stitch"
Today, I was hunting for a gift box that I knew I had stashed somewhere and I stumbled across my craft bag.  Well, I say "stumbled" - it was more like "oh, bugger, I'd forgotten about this..."  This bag is where I store my current craft project, whether it be cross-stitch, card making or knitting.  I *adore* cross-stitching and have lots of finished projects proudly displayed around the house.  When it comes to other crafty things, I tend to lose interest fairly quickly.

My mother-in-law is now the proud owner of all my rubber stamps and a large box of "bit's and pieces that might be useful for card-making" after it was found in the spare room and I realised that I hadn't touched it for over a year.  I thought it was safe to say that the novelty had worn off.

I think that now the same can be said for my most recent knitting project.  When I found out my daughter was expecting her first baby I decided that Nana-to-be would knit the baby a cardigan.  I scoured the craft stall at our local market for just the right coloured wool, purchased the correct sized needles, waved a dismissive hand at the rolling eyes and the "you'll never finish it" comments from various family members and cast on 70-odd stitches.

For two weeks I slaved at that cardigan, watching my project grow and develop.  Then I had an assignment due for my Open University course so something had to give.  The knitting was safely stored in my craft bag and put behind the chair, ready for the following week when stress-time was over.

My granddaughter is now 14 months old and this is what I found today:


The positive is that my daughter is pregnant again so I could attempt to finish it.  But there's another two assignments due...  I think I'll cross-stitch her something instead.  At least I know I'll finish that.


My Sunshine Award

I received the Sunshine Award four times this week and, being so new to the blogging community, this means a lot to me.  It is now my duty to pass it on and, whilst this may be sent to previous recipients I shall explain my reasons for offering the award. 

Before I do that, there are some rules to follow:

  • Put the Logo on your sidebar, or within a post (or on a special page like I have) 
  • Pass the award on to the Bloggers you deem worthy of it 
  • Link the nominees within your post. 
  • Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog. 
  • Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

First of all, I'd like to reciprocate the award to the four people who thought I was worthy of it

Catherine at Baby Genie (@baby_genie)
Paula at Battling On (@peabee72
(yes, I'm sure you know that link by now - it's like a weekly advert, isn't it? *yawn*)

Secondly, the following people deserve this award for brightening up my online life over the past few weeks

Manda at Flying Start Magazine for being almost related to me (that was a close one, I'm telling you) (@FlyingStartMag)
Cosmic Girlie at Mocha Beanie Mummy for blogs and tweets that say it as it is! No sugar-coating (@cosmicgirlie)
Eileen who sits there on Twitter keeping me amused (I have no idea if she has a blog or not) (@eileenhaveron)
Ade from Blog Ibiza who writes about one of the most beautiful places on this planet (@blogibiza)
Dawn at The Moiderer for being just lovely (and I'm convinced she's got a new banner but she swears blind she hasn't) (@The_Moiderer)
Joise from Sleep Is For The Weak for the effort that she puts in with the Writing Workshops and for helping me with some HTML code this week (@porridgebrain)
Erica at Little Mummy for creating THE best Beginner Bloggers course EVER - see her website for more details and to sign up (@Erica)

and finally I have one award left.  That is for a very special person.  
If you're reading this blog post, whether you've stumbled across it or if read here regularly, and you haven't received one of these awards already, then this award is for you.  Blogging is only successful if you have readers, comments and feedback and that's not possible without people like you.  It's corny but it's true.

To make it easy for you, I have created the code for the award for you to copy & paste directly into a blog post - see below:

Interviewing My Child

I know it's a little late but this is my first real day off from work and I have just remembered that I hadn't done this yet.

Interview with Jake, aged ten-and-three-quarters

1. What is something mum always says to you?

2. What makes mum happy?

3. What makes mum sad?

4. How does your mum make you laugh?
*eh? no, I don't know either*

5. What was your mum like as a child?

6. How old is your mum?
*spot on*

7. How tall is your mum?
*he's not bigger than me - I've just proven it by standing up*

8. What is her favourite thing to do?

9. What does your mum do when you're not around?

10. If your mum becomes famous, what will it be for?
*um... moving on...*

11. What is your mum really good at?
*jazz hands*

12. What is your mum not very good at?
*I could have sworn the bedroom door was shut...*

13. What does your mum do for her job?
*not a bad guess - I like to think it's more than that*

14. What is your mum's favourite food?
*urgh, no it's not*

15. What makes you proud of your mum?
*yes, I bloody do - mum-taxi*

16. If your mum were a cartoon character, which one would she be? 
*he means Velma - it's a long-running family "joke"*

17. What do you and your mum do together?

18. How are you and your mum the same?

19. How are you and your mum different?

20. How do you know your mum loves you?

So there you have it.  This is the next generation.  Scary stuff!!

Twitch and Bitch

The best piece of kit you can buy for your house is not a state-of-the-art security system, not three different colours of gravel for the ornamental garden and definitely not a doorbell that plays an array of chintzy tunes including “You Are My Sunshine”.  The most valuable item you will ever buy for your property is a set of net curtains.

This magical piece of material that hangs on a covered elasticated wire across the width of your window not only prevents passers-by from looking in but also allows you to see out without being noticed.

I have perfected my “neighbourhood watch scheme” from behind my net curtains.  I stand slightly back from the window so that I don’t cast a shadow and ensure that there is no light behind me; all the light has to be on the subject outside or you’ll end up putting yourself on show like a mannequin in a shop window.

I loved living on a council estate because it was never boring.  From my secret vantage point I saw parties, arguments, break-ups, make-ups, blue lights, families of foxes hunting for food, dogs shitting, their owners pretending not to notice, cars being dumped and torched, underage drinkers, drug deals, fights, prostitutes touting their wares and their clients baring theirs – and you learn early enough not to involve yourself... I mean, we watch reality TV shows for entertainment but we don’t necessarily want to be part of them, do we?  Plus, the “laws” of council estate territory are a whole other story (or blog post).

If you’re not lucky enough to have all this happening on your doorstep then make something up.  That bloke who always walks past at 7.30pm ON THE DOT - where is he going?  That woman who visits number 18 – why is she there? 

So, invest in a set of net curtains and next time there’s nothing on television (next Wednesday?) turn all the lights out, spin your chair round to face the window and settle in for some of the best free entertainment you’ll ever get.


It's like Christmas 12 times a year - Secret Post Club #1

A couple of weeks ago, Heather at Notes From Lapland decided that she wasn't causing enough havoc around the blogging community so wrote this post about the joys of receiving real letters or parcels that are just for you, delivered by a real postman, and not boring, responsible, adult stuff like bills or mundane spam emails whilst sat at your computer.  The response to this post was overwhelming and loads of people wanted to join in with what is now known as the "Secret Post Club".  Look, we've got a badge and everything!!  More details are available on Heather's blog, it's not exclusive and if you don't want to join in one month then just you just let Heather know within the time limits that she has clearly laid out.

Ever efficient, Heather set about organising everybody and letting us know who to send our first Secret Post Club parcel to.  Fast forward to today and mine has arrived!!!

Childhood memories that make me smile

You can blame Manda (from Flying Start Mag) for this blog post.  I read her blog post about shiny, happy, feel good stuff and saw that I was tagged.  I thought I could get off this one lightly because I'd already joined in the Shiny, Happy Meme but then there was the twitter alert and the fact that she'd moved the goalposts by making a list of 20 (yes, 20!! Has she nothing better to do?) things that make her feel happy.  So I left a jokey comment about having to use my day off on Friday to write this one up and I got told that I'd have to compile a list of 21.  That'll teach me to keep my mouth shut (or fingers still... whatever)!!

So, how do I move the goalposts myself and *still* achieve one-upmanship?  Oh yes, I know... a list of childhood memories - the stuff that makes me yearn for "ye olde days" of being a child, with no cares in the world.

Click this player and listen to the music whilst reading the rest of the blog post
The Noveltones - Left Bank Two .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Remind you of anything?

6 TV Programmes

In order: 
The Magic Roundabout
Play Away with Brian Cant
Worzel Gummidge (it used to scare the shit out of me when he changed heads)
Take Hart (and Morph)
Grange Hill - The Zammo years (Just Say No)
Blockbusters - can you still do the Blockbusters Hand Jive..?  Go on... give it a go.

5 Musical Memories

In order:
Brotherhood of Man, Save Your Kisses For Me
Showaddywaddy, Under The Moon Of Love
T'Pau, China In Your Hand
Yazz and the Plastic Population, The Only Way Is Up
Live Aid!!!

4 Fantastic Films

In order:
Back To The Future
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Breakfast Club

3 Sporting Moments

In order:
Jane Torvill & Christopher Dean - Barnum on Ice
Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards - Calgary 1988
Daley Thompson - Decathalon 1984

2 Board Games

In order:
Trivial Pursuit

1 Computer Game

Jet Set Willy

Aaahhh the memories!!!  Yes - all 21 of them!!!
I'm now off for a lie down in a darkened room...

So, who to tag now??  I think I'd like to see a childhood memory (just one, no need to go mad like me, unless you want to, of course) of the following:
Battling On
Celestial Motherhood
Bumbling Along
A Mothers Ramblings
Not Such A Yum Mum

If you've been tagged, when you've written your blog post, please come back and leave the link here:
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