Listography : Simple Pleasures

Time for another Listography, prompted by Kate.  This week she wants to hear about simple pleasures. Mine are nothing amazing (and probably quite predictable) but they elicit a little smile and give me a bit of a much needed boost.


urban sunset
Urban living means that you don't see a great (true) sunset too often but you do experience some great skies so when I catch a sunset from the back yard it can feel quite special.

A Lie-In
On occasion, the alarm is turned off and I wake up naturally.  Knowing that I can get up and not have to rush about is a small luxury that isn't often afforded. On normal working/school days I am usually the first one up, letting the dog out, pottering about just doing those little jobs that take a couple of minutes and ensuring that everyone is up and out on time. 

crochet circle
Now that I have taught myself to crochet I am constantly on the look out for yarn to make another afghan throw and I'm practising new ways to use the stitches that I know.  I also still love to knit and I'm buying some wool today so that I can knit myself a dress. 

Finding a website where I can watch shows that I've missed.
I'm a HUGE Dance Moms fan (don't knock it until you've tried it) and since we cancelled our Sky subscription it hasn't been easy to keep up with shenanigans at the Abby Lee Dance Studio.  So when StumbleUpon threw up a website that shows the most recent episodes the day after they are aired in America then I get slightly excited.  The same exercise has also provided a website where I can watch TV boxsets for free too so Breaking Bad, here I come!

London Underground stickers
Unexpected Gifts
Friends that completely and utterly appreciate your inner geek send the most awesome stuff to cheer you up when its needed.

Your turn now.  What are your simple pleasures?

Over At The High Tea Cast... Facebook Oversharing

high tea cast logo
It seems like a while since I had any content published on The High Tea Cast but it's that time of the month again.  You can find me lamenting about the over-sharing of family photographs on Facebook (prompted by all the recent papping of Simon Cowell's baby).  Hop on over, have a read and let me know if you agree with me!


Friends... Hashtagged!

This week there was an article on Buzzfeed which pointed out that (the television series) Friends was pre-hashtag, i.e. there was no suggestion on screen telling you what to tweet or how to involve other Twitter users in your tellybox watching experience.  They already included my favourite three - #Pivot, #Unagi and #Seven - but to make them even better here they are in .gif format!

Friends, Pivot,

Friends, Unagi,

Friends, Seven,

Anyhoooo, I felt like it was only a quarter of an article because they had missed so many out. So, with a little help from my fellow Friends addicts actual friends here are the ones that Buzzfeed missed out with my ABSOLUTE favourite ever scene at the end.


Friends, Oh My God


Friends, Mississippily


Friends, Woopah


Friends, Princess Consuela Banana Hammock


Friends, Regina Phalange


Friends, Paper, Snow, A Ghost


Friends, je m'apelle Claude


Friends, Yemen Road


Friends, Moo point


Friends, Va fa Napoli



Friends, They've made a paste


Friends, London, baby





Friends, What did I marry into?


Did I include your favourite?  Did I miss out your favourite?  Let me know what it is and I'll add it in.  With thanks to Louis Peitzman of Buzzfeed and my mates Kate, Erica, Jane and Amanda for making me giving me the inspiration to do this.


Image credits


Soundtrack To My Life - Lesley

Soundtrack To My Life
Lesley writes for a living (copy writing, blogging, social media, poetry) and is also a winner of NANOWRIO - which means she wrote a novel of more than 50,000 words in one month - which is still waiting to be published. More about Lesley can be found on her blog (links at the bottom of the page) and for now, it's over to her Soundtrack To My Life choices.


Donny Osmond - Puppy Love

As cringeworthy as it is, I was about 4 or 5 and this was the first record I ever owned, a 45 and it was never off the turntable.

Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf

When I was an older teenager, the girls all used to use this song to laugh about all the boys we thought we could wrap around our fingers and get to do what we want. Those were the days when we all thought that our slim figures would just be there forever more and we were the creatures in control of the world.....Parents were just fun spoilers.

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

A favourite of my grandfather. A song that will always bring a tear to my eye as the only man in my life as I was growing up. He is sadly missed.

CBeebies - Bedtime Song - The Time Has Come To Say Goodnight

After four rounds of IVF and one failed donor cycle, adopting 3 boys with unknown prospects was absolutely incredible, however the amount of work and help they needed meant that for several years, this one song because the saviour of my lifetime as it signaled sitting down, all in one place and "SILENCE." I came to love this song with all of my heart.

Fun. - Some Nights

I really had it hard to pick this one. So many that mean so much to me form Sunday Girl from Blondie, Mama Told Me Not To Come (Three Dog Night), Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses, ZZ Top Legs, Aerosmith and many more. As you can guess, I have always been a bit of a soft rock type, although the songs I've picked for this are more to do with landmarks than daily listening. The winner has to be Some Nights from Fun just now, and just because I like it, it reflects a bit of how I feel about my kids life and it always makes me tap my fingers.


Soundtrack To My Life

Lesley is a bit like me in the fact that she blogs about everything and anything at "Scottish Mum".  She describes herself as a mum who blogs and is Scottish... hence the blog name!  You can also find her on Twitter as @Scottish_Mum.

You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

RECIPE : Cherry Cookies

I fancied baking something this week and got out my trusty recipe book but then realised that I hadn't got quite the right ingredients in to make some cookies.  In for a penny, in for a pound, I replaced some of the ingredients and hoped for the best.  My 14 year old chief taster has pronounced them "not bad really" which is high praise indeed.  I love the rustic look of them too so here is the recipe for you to try this weekend. This recipe makes about 12 cookies.

Recipe - Cherry Cookies -


  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 75g of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 125g of self-raising flour
  • 15 glace cherries (chopped into small pieces)
  • Large baking tray covered with a layer of baking paper.


Recipe - Cherry Cookies -
  1. Preheat the oven to 180F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Beat the butter/margarine, sugar and vanilla essence until soft.
  3. Sift in the flour and mix well.
  4. Add in the chopped cherries and mix again until the mixture forms a soft dough.  It will be slightly sticky
  5. Wrap the sticky dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about half an hour
  6. After chilling (you and the dough) open the clingfilm and break off small pieces of the dough (about the size of a walnut).  Roll these into a ball and place on the baking paper and squash slightly.  Make sure you leave plenty of room between each dough ball as they will spread during baking.  You should be able to make about 12 dough balls.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray after removing them from the oven and then let them fully cool on a wire rack. 
  9. Store in an airtight container if you have any left after the initial tasting.

Top Tips

  • I have a silicone spatula. It only cost a couple of pounds but is invaluable when I'm baking. It beats the sugar and butter brilliantly and scrapes the bowl perfectly.  It is really worth investing in one.
  • Wet your hands before rolling the small pieces of dough to stop it from sticking to your hands.
  • You can replace the cherries with dried fruit such as raisins.  Let me know if you experiment yourself. 


An Interview With... Me!

It's been years since I took part in a Q&A session prompted by another blogger but Liska at New Mum Online has included me her list of favourite bloggers victims.  At first I read her post when I'd had a glass or two of wine so set off answering the questions that she'd answered.  Then I realised that she had made her own questions up at the end and I'm supposed to answer those.  SO MANY RULES - I'M SO CONFUSED.  Anyway... I'm not sure I've answered them all as expected but then that's the risk you take when you ask me questions.  


If you're into soaps, are you a Corrie or Enders girl?
Neither.  I used to spend half my evenings glued to the soaps, getting attached to all the characters and their story lines and investing too much time in pretend situations.  I can't remember when I tore myself away from them but that part of the evening is now dedicated to replying to emails and studying.  

What's your favorite You Tube video?
This one.  I bet you thought it was going to be a music one, didn't you?  More of the same here

If you were to be rescued from a fire and given a fireman's lift by a celebrity, who would he be?
If it has to be a man then it should be Simon le Bon or Mark Salling.  If it was a woman then it would be Emma Thompson or Uma Thurman.  

What is your favourite childhood book?
Maggie and the Roundabout and The Turbulent Term Of Tyke Tyler.  Oh and Forever by Judy Blume. I still have my original copies of all of these along with a whole load of other favourite books from my past. You can read about those here

Are you a Mummy or Daddy's girl?
I'm not ready to answer this question.  

Bath or shower?
Both (not at the same time...) - bath to relax in, shower for speed.

Have you ever seen or sensed a ghost? Tell me about it!
Don't make me roll my eyes.  o_0

When do you feel at peace? How? When?
I like the end of the evening, just as I'm climbing into bed, when the whole house is quiet and everyone is asleep (I'm usually the last one to bed).  I know that we are as secure as we can be, I am warm and comfortable and I am just about to listen to a podcast to help me wind down completely.

If I voted you for PM, what would you change about the UK?
Where to start?  I would create a "super Government" which would include one representative from each party and all decisions would be made by round table discussions.  Real people with real opinions would be given the chance to come and work for me and share their thoughts, moving forward to adjust existing policies accordingly to make a fairer system for all.  I would also create a scheme that allowed school leavers to participate in a confidence/motivation course and then to train for a career or a trade or to opt in for National Service.  The idea behind this would be that school would be based on ability rather than age and would be for learning basic curriculum and life skills eradicating the need for 14 year olds to choose what subjects to study that may (or may not) shape the rest of their lives. 

The youth of today are....... [finish that sentence]
Not given the chance to be heard.

What's your superfood of choice?
I have no idea what a "superfood" is. Is it a new buzzword?  If it is food that I think is super then I choose Holland's steak pudding and proper home made chips.  


So, now I have make up some questions and ask people to answer them.  I'll add in links to their answers when they complete them.  And yes, I will hunt them down and make them do it!  Feel free to join in too and let me know when you're done.

Who would you like to dance with and why?
Roller Disco or Ice Skating?
What music do you listen to?
Mayo or Ketchup?
How do you evaluate success?
What is your social media platform of choice and why?
What would be your chosen superpower?
Going out or staying in?
Who would you like to have a brew and a chat with?
Who is your biggest female influence?
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?



A great opportunity to read other people's answers and to discover some new blogs.


Soundtrack To My Life - Gwyn

Soundtrack To My Life
This week's Soundtrack To My Life is from Gwyn.  I really can't remember how I got chatting to Gwyn on Twitter but I'm sure he will remind me.  It was probably a random connection but one that has lasted a few years now. We share a love of music, quizzes and dead celebrities (more of that at the end of the post) and enjoy a good old discussion.   Enjoy the journey through Gwyn's memories...


George Baker Selection - Una Paloma Blanca

Now, some of you might wonder why I'm choosing a song that was in the charts when I was barely 6 months old, but apparently this was my favorite song as a baby. When it would come up on the radio I'd go mental and start bobbing around like a meerkat on acid. Little did I know that Jonathan King, the notorious paedophile, would later release it on Top of the Pops in the same year, introduced by none other than Jimmy Savile. Yup, I sure picked a good one there. Luckily The Wurzels stole the tune for I'm a Cider Drinker, thus ensuring that I was influenced to be an alcoholic rather than a child molester.

Queen - The March of the Black Queen

As a kid I was never into music, I was far too busy playing outside, building camps and making fires. I usually just listened to my mums music, which was always stuff from the 50's onwards or my sisters preoccupation with Bob Marley or Toyah. But one day my sisters boyfriend introduced me to Queen and from that day onward I was hooked. I'm choosing this song from the Queen II album, which is by far their best work in my opinion, because I first listened to it whilst reading a book by Colin Wilson called Spiderworld. I wont go into it too deeply but at the exact part of the book I was reading, this song was a perfect soundtrack, never has there been a perfect meld of imagery and music, but obviously this was all in my mind, but it influenced me to take an interest in film which eventually led me to take animation and film at university.

The Bucketheads - The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)

Ahh, 1995, those heady days. I was 18, stupidly affluent and full of self-confidence. Back then our little part of Wales was an alcohol free area on a Sunday so the whole town would jump onto minibuses and travel just over the border to a place called The Grapes. Much can be said about The Grapes, during the week it was a lovely place to take your girlfriend for a meal, but on a Sunday it transformed into a drinking hole with loud music and lots and lots of women! It was the one place everyone went and when you're so full of alcohol and confidence, it was the easiest thing to pick up potential shags, and I did.

Dirty Vegas - Days Go By

I'm choosing this song because the video is so awesome, plus the song is ace too. The narrative of the video compliments the lyrics but sadly I heard this song for the first time as my heart was broken. So this became my 'Every Loser Wins' song. I played it endlessly whilst moping and wishing I was dead. I'm one of those people who doesn't fall in love very easily, it has to be someone very special so when things don't work out I tend to take it badly. So at the time this was in the charts I had visions of getting back together with my ex and this song fit the bill nicely. Obviously I never saw her again, but this song reminds me of what can be, even if I never find it again.

The Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive 

I'm going to cheat for my last choice as I'm going to pick a full soundtrack - The Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever - but if I have to pick one song it would be Stain' Alive.

Back during the Sixth Form I was continuously taken the piss out of for liking the Bee Gees, I couldn't see the problem myself, so what if Blur and Oasis were cool or if everyone else was listening to Madonna, I loved the Bee Gees. I think I'm safe in saying that everyone has a guilty pleasure in listening to their music anyway, you just hate to admit it. There's nothing better than getting ready to go out of an evening listening to Stayin' Alive with the image of John Travolta combing his hair in a mirror or strutting your stuff walking to the pub with the beats of Saturday Night Fever earworming in your brain. And who can say that they haven't done the Travolta moves on the dancefloor whilst grooving to You Should Be Dancing! To me this is the ultimate feel-good sound, a blast of 70's disco goodness, it sets me in the right frame of mind to enjoy myself and we all know this world needs much more of that!


Soundtrack To My Life

Gwyn's website is called King of Ankh and it incorporates his blog, his design company and The Dead Pool! This is a bit of a macabre activity (a point scoring game for guessing which celebrities may kick the bucket over the next 12 months) but a whole load of fun with a weekly newsletter.  It's too late to join in for this year but you can be added to the mailing list in preparation for next year.  Give Gwyn a shout on Twitter for more details.

You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

...And Then You're Dead by Jim Rai [BOOK REVIEW]

...and then you're dead, book set
I dabble in finding ways to organise my thoughts and motivate myself.  I download inspirational podcasts to listen to whilst I am relaxing, I read self-help books and, in more recent times, I have taken opportunities as they have arisen because you're only here once, aren't you?  So when presented with the book set "...and then you're dead" along with its complement "...and then you're alive" and saw how they worked in tandem, I was quietly excited.

I'm a lover of lists and notes and jotting down ideas and this is the ethos behind these books, written and created by Jim Rai.  
Jim says:  "I wrote the book after experiencing a major setback in life - which we all experience from time to time.  As I prepared to write my thoughts and feelings, the words came pouring out and it had a therapeutic effect on me, giving me not only a sense of control and determination but also a feeling of hope and desire.  I felt compelled to share this feel-good factor with others, which I aim to do through the collection of thoughts in this book.  Even if it's only one thought that inspires one reader, it would all have been worthwhile."
Jim has written 47 chapters in his book (one for each year of his life) and each chapter reflects on his life so far and invites you to reflect on yours along with some motivational prompts to plan your future.  The introduction suggests that the book would only take 90 minutes to read and to think about what has happened in the past and what lies ahead.  Chapters include "Life is life, fight for it", "Your happiness rests with you" and "Same old... day in, day out".

But why the complimentary notebook?  The notebook is split into 'chapters' each with the same title as the main book.  This is a great opportunity to jot down notes, make plans or just doodle as you read the book. The notebook then becomes the start of your own future plan.

NOW do you see what I am so excited about this?

When I first opened this book I thought it should have been a 52-chapter book so that there was an opportunity to sit down once a week and think about a specific subject but now I have had chance to review this concept properly, I haven't read the chapters in order - I have just picked up the book and read for a couple of minutes when I have had time.  There are also blank pages at the back of the notebook for you to create your own 'chapters' or write further notes.

I love this book set and I think you will too!  You can find out more about it here on the ATYD book website and you can buy direct from the website too (special launch prices are available- £16.97 for the hardback version and £9.97 for the softback version at the time of writing).  It is also available on Kindle.


Win a complete set of "...and then you're dead" {now closed}

If you love this self-motivation concept you can win a full hardback set of the "...and then you're dead" book with complimentary "...and now you're alive" notebook.  To enter please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below- the qualifying entry is to leave a comment answering the question.  There are also additional entry options available.  If you are using a mobile device or an RSS reader you may need to click through to the web version of this post to enter.  If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around.  There are some subscription options in the sidebar.

* This giveaway will begin at 4pm on 14th February 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 23rd February 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers in the UK or with a UK postal address * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * To enter you must leave a comment answering the question.  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget. * There is one (1)  prize in total.  * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirement will be disqualified. * The winner will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw.  If the winner does not respond within fourteen (14) days a new winner will be drawn. 

Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

My Dr Martens Stand For Lancashire

I saw the #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign tweeted out by Dr Martens a couple of days ago. I then saw that my buddy, Sian, had designed her own boot using their Facebook app so I've jumped on the bandwagon. 

Dr Martens #standforsomething

Seeing as though Sian totally stole my idea I decided to stay local and stand loud and proud for Lancashire. I never thought that a slightly out-of-focus picture of Blackpool Tower could look so awesome.

There are much more meaningful campaigns on the Dr Marten Facebook page. Go and make your own on the Facebook app and then leave me a link to the picture in the comments so I can have a nosy.

Edited to add:  I got a bit carried away and designed another. Now I can't decide which I like best. Which one would you choose?

Dr Martens #standforsomething


Soundtrack To My Life - Sadie

Soundtrack To My Life
This Soundtrack To My Life is from Sadie who is one of my "online friends" (yes, another... ).  Her tunes are exactly what I'd dance to and I've even had the first one as my ringtone too.  A great mix of genre with some fabulous memories attached.  Over to Sadie...


Soft Cell - Tainted Love 

This is the song that was playing when I first realised that Boys were attractive. I was 11 and his name was Jamie, a very exotic name in 1981!. I remember being stood by the stage at the Youth Club, listening to this song and looking at him surrounded by girls. I was so shy and although I think my friend told him, I don't think my love was reciprocated. He left our school to go and live in America (I don't know how true that was!!) and I didn't have a boyfriend until I left school! Tainted Love is now my ring tone as it catapults me back to the beginning of my adolescence, and the start of the wonderful eighties.

The Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash 

Growing up we had one of those radio grams it looked like a sideboard and housed a record player one end, a radio the other (with stickers on for the new frequencies!) and my Dad's vast Stones Album collection. Music was played a lot and the Stones were a massive early influence. I chose JJF because it's simply my favourite. For non Stones Fans, I could have taken influence from my Mum's taste in music and we'd all be listening to Mandy by Barry Manilow (everyone's singing it in their heads now!!)

Grove Armada - I See You, Baby 

It's all to do with the line 'shakin' that ass'.

I laboured with my Daughter standing at the end of the hospital bed rhythmically shaking my bum, singing this and laughing on the entinox. We went on to have a rather fraught forceps delivery with some issues, so this reminds me of that nice point in her birth that I was very happy and excited about becoming a Mummy.

Eminem - Lose Yourself 

Like lots of people I suffer bouts of depression and during a very low point after having my children a colleague took advantage of this and I was bullied at work. Now I'm not sure of all the words but the attitude of the song worked for me as each morning I played this on my ipod on the walk from my car. It helped to make me determined not to let this person win and I would sing it to myself if it was all getting too much. On a lighter note, I am surprisingly a 40 something Mum of two who LOVES Hiphop (and I occasionally wear a hoody, although not with one trackie leg rolled up, WTF???)

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

I know, I know but it was all over the place when I met my Husband, and we consider it to be 'Our' song. Although we couldn't really have it as a first dance at our August Wedding! And I DO really, really love Christmas!


You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

Six Reasons To Play Online Bingo

I'm a regular down at my local bingo hall (and have been for many years now). Speed, concentration, a lucky dabber and a bit of luck are all you need to stand a chance of winning the prize money on offer.  

The attitude and image of bingo has been brought right up to date recently and has definitely moved on from the stereotypical blue-rinse brigade in a fug-laden room.  Popularity has increased and players of all ages are now taking part especially now you can play online bingo with companies such as Paddy Power. 

So here are my six reasons for playing bingo at home:

  1. I don't have to find a babysitter - I'm £10 up already.  YAY!
  2. I don't have to run around for an hour beforehand, tarting myself up - there is something decidedly recalcitrant about playing online bingo in my pyjamas, with a dye kit on my hair (NOT a blue rinse, before you ask).
  3. I can "talk" to my fellow players during a game of online bingo without anyone saying "SSSHHHHH" - the complimentary virtual chat rooms are great for dipping in and out of.  I can also supervise homework, watch X-Factor and have a drink of choice (tea or wine, depending on what night of the week it is).
  4. I can choose how much to spend on each game - opening an account is easy and there are always special promotions available.
  5. I can pick a game with less players so I have more chance of winning - I do try to stop myself from humming the Abba hit Money, Money, Money, I promise.

As with any form of online gambling I am always aware of getting carried away in the moment and ensure that I am following all the guidelines for responsible gaming which include prevention of compulsive gambling and instructions on how to self-limit your spending.

This is a featured post. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Elephant Dress from Tigerlilly Quinn

Elephant Print
It's not often I go loopy for an item of clothing but I just had to share this with you.

I ordered this gorgeous little Elephant Dress from the AskHerFriends website along with two other items - a present for a friend and another handbag - and didn't really take much notice of the seller (AHF is a crowd-sourced marketplace - read more about it here).  It was a lovely surprise to find out that the dress had been stocked by fellow blogger, TigerLilly Quinn!

Because the sizing was a bit vague, I ordered a 'Large', crossed my fingers and thought that I could gift the dress to my daughter if it didn't fit me or didn't suit me.  Well, there's no way she's getting her hands on it.  I'm a size 16 and the 'Large' fits perfectly because of the slightly stretchy material.

I'm wearing it for work on Friday teamed with the boots I bought from the John Lewis sale, a boyfriend cardigan I've had for ages from Zalando and some trusty black leggings from Tesco.  I'll also be wearing some cheeky Union Jack socks but you won't be able to see those!.

I've created a little mood board.  What do you think?

Elephant Print dress from Tigerlilly Quinn - mood board
Don't forget, there's a 5% discount code in Feburary 2014 for readers of Typecast at  Use TYPE5 when prompted at checkout!

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