Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The white plastic horse

The pretty little horse was white plastic and it was mine. Except that in reality it wasn't. It belonged to the nursery school and I'd played with it that day. But to a three year old toddler that mere fact means nothing. I was playing with it, I liked it and it was coming home with me so that I could play with it some more. I don't remember actually taking it, or walking home with it in the sticky hand that wasn't clutching my Mother's oh-so-tightly, or even playing with it in our 1970s front room. I took it back the next day apparently and apologised to the teacher, but I don't remember that either. What I remember is my Mother's voice when she realised that I'd taken it. Stolen it. Her disapproving and disappointed tone crumpled my soft smile as I dissolved into tears, distraught that I'd done wrong, that I'd let her down. I would hear that tone occasionally during the childhood years that followed but that first time, that very first time, shouts out to me from the past as my earliest memory.

This week's RemembeRED prompt over at The Red Dress Club is a memory of kindergarten or it's British equivalent; nursery school.

Photo credit: The Toy Collector

Monday, 28 March 2011

Reminiscing about 50,000 words

This week is Book Week over at WHAM-BAM!. They'll be all sorts of fun stuff happening including round-ups of links to reading-related posts from around the blogosphere, reviews of books, discussion of book- and reading-related issues. Basically a great big celebration of books and reading. Each day will have a different theme. You can read more about it in Coming soon!

I've guest posted for today's theme - writing a book - about bashing out 50,000 words in 30 days as part of 2008's frenzied National Novel Writing Month.

I'm not throwing you out or anything, but pop over and read it and support Book Week if you've got a spare five mins. Ta muchly.

OH goes time travelling

If I had a time travel machine I'd pop straight back to my wedding day and have a ball all over again. I'd revel in wearing my gorgeous gown, drinking champagne and singing 'American Pie' with my nearest and dearest. But I don't have a time travel machine because OH stole it. So instead this is the top five places he'd travel to and his contribution to this week's over at the lovely Kate Takes 5's place. I'm off to sulk in the corner.

1. The exact moment when man first created fire - errr... why? I wondered. Wasn't this perhaps a rather dangerous time for us humans with sabre-toothed tigers and such-like roaming the planet? Yes, but it's also the most significant event in the history of mankind, he pointed out. (Rather than the invention of Spanx, that of course being the most significant event in the history of womankind.)

2. The Moon, just as Neil Armstrong walked down the steps - just to see the look on his face, OH said with a grin. Oh that's just mean. Delicious, but mean.

3. Riding to Barcelona through the Pyrenees on our motorbikes - OH says this is the trip that sparked his proposal later the same year. Was it watching my leather-clad bum on the bike in front of him hour after hour or the crash when I almost went over the edge of a cliff that ignited the spark I wonder?

4. Motown studios, Detroit, in the early 60's - seeing and hearing the greats record when they were jobbing musicians, chasing their dream together, would be pure magic.

5. London in the Summer of 1964 - I'm so with him on this one. Soaking up the swinging sixties would be great fun. And I'll bet there'd be some bargains to be had in Carnaby Street too.

Where would you go? Link up over at  (and be sure to tell her how lovely her blog looks with it's new togs on!)

Photo credit: Old time by Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalphotos.net 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday Sayings

I'm feeling a bit out of sorts today, all blobby and stuffed up. Jim Henson made me smile. Hope it does the same for you.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
Jim Henson

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, 26 March 2011

It's going to get dark tonight

Tonight, at 8.30pm, it's going to go completely dark in this house for one hour. What might happen next is anyone's guess. The possibilities are intriguing. OH and I could play naked Twister without me worrying about my wobbly bits, we could watch fireflies dancing in the night, we could light a candle and open a bottle of wine and well, whatever happens next would likely be very private indeed. Mmmmm... I'm liking Earth Hour already. What will you do when the lights go out?

WWF’s Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later it had become a global movement, with more than 50 million people participating in 35 countries.

This year UK landmarks including Big Ben, Wembley, Albert Hall, BT tower, Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, Salisbury cathedral, Stormont, Millennium bridge in Gateshead, and lots of castles  - Edinburgh, Inverness, Eilean Donan, Caernarfon - plus all 52 of Carluccio’s restaurants are taking part too. Will you?

Register now at wwf.org.uk/earthhour and show your support for our wonderful planet by switching off all non-essential lights for one hour.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A blog from the 17th century

Samuel Pepys - 17th century paper blogger
Blogging might seem a relatively new phenomenon in the scheme of things, but if you look at it as keeping an online journal (albeit that other people keep coming along and scribbling in the margins) then Samuel Pepys, the renowned 17th century English diarist, could quite possibly have been number one in the blogging league tables. If he wasn't long dead and buried of course. Anyhoo, I came across this site; Pepys Diary, run by the fascinating Phil Gyford, when a Google search went a bit squiffy, and I just had to snag the entry for yesterday, 23 March, in 1667.

He mentions the Great Fire of London from the previous year in passing as 'the fire' in much the same way that we might mention a disaster of our times. It's fascinating. Makes me wonder what the history books of the future will include from the 2000's. I love that Pepys had a dinner party, had lots to drink and ended up singing the night away. Happens to us all. Just shows that some things haven't changed much in the last three hundred and forty odd years. Enjoy.

Monday 23 March 1667/68

Up, and after discoursing with my wife about many things touching this day’s dinner, I abroad, and first to the taverne to pay what I owe there, but missed of seeing the mistress of the house, and there bespoke wine for dinner, and so away thence, and to Bishopsgate Streete, thinking to have found a Harpsicon-maker that used to live there before the fire, but he is gone, and I have a mind forthwith to have a little Harpsicon made me to confirm and help me in my musique notions, which my head is now-a-days full of, and I do believe will come to something that is very good. Thence to White Hall, expecting to have heard the Bishop of Lincolne, my friend, preach, for so I understood he would do yesterday, but was mistaken, and therefore away presently back again, and there find everything in good order against dinner, and at noon come Mr. Pierce and she, and Mrs. Manuel, the Jew’s wife, and Mrs. Corbet, and Mrs. Pierces boy and girl. But we are defeated of Knepp, by her being forced to act to-day, and also of Harris, which did trouble me, they being my chief guests. However, I had an extraordinary good dinner, and the better because dressed by my own servants, and were mighty merry; and here was Mr. Pelling by chance come and dined with me; and after sitting long at dinner, I had a barge ready at Tower-wharfe, to take us in, and so we went, all of us, up as high as Barne-Elms, a very fine day, and all the way sang; and Mrs. Manuel sings very finely, and is a mighty discreet, sober-carriaged woman, that both my wife and I are mightily taken with her, and sings well, and without importunity or the contrary. At Barne- Elms we walked round, and then to the barge again, and had much merry talk, and good singing; and come before it was dark to the New Exchange stairs, and there landed, and walked up to Mrs. Pierces, where we sat awhile, and then up to their dining-room. And so, having a violin and theorbo, did fall to dance, here being also Mrs. Floyd come hither, and by and by Mr. Harris. But there being so few of us that could dance, and my wife not being very well, we had not much pleasure in the dancing: there was Knepp also, by which with much pleasure we did sing a little, and so, about ten o’clock, I took coach with my wife and Deb., and so home, and there to bed.

You can read more about Samuel Pepys and his diary entries at Pepys Diary.

Photo credit: Guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Liebster award - discovering new blogs

The rather lovely Liska over at has very kindly given me the Liebster Blog award.

Apparently it’s for ‘little’ blogs (with less than 300 subscribers) to share blog love and spread the word.

The rules are:

1. Post displaying the award (done), linking back to the person who awarded you (done)
2. Choose your own blog picks (below) and let them know they’re awarded (that might take a while...)
3. Hope everyone discovers some new favourites
4. Revel in the blog love!

I choose to award the following wonderful mummy bloggers who I've also discovered rather recently:

Mummy Loves Tea

If you've got a cuppa on the go and a little time to spare, pop over and share some bloggy love with these lovely ladies.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Robert Redford

This week Hannah over at Metal Mummy's Movie Meme posed us this question 'Who is your favourite actor?' She stole Gary Oldman right from under my nose grrrrr.... so while I was pondering who to choose instead I perused some of the other posts. How about Robert De Nero? The man's a legend in his own underpants after all. Nope, already taken by . Alan Rickman? Gone. Johnny Depp? Ummmm...

And then I realised who hadn't been taken. He was standing on the sidelines smouldering (yes even at his age), so I called him over, we had a chat, and he agreed to star in this 'my favourite actor' piece. The fee was exorbitant, and I'm not even going to talk about the trailer I've had to hire (it's squashing the rhododendrons).

Say hello to Charles Robert Redford Jr, 
better known as plain old Robert Redford. 

He's been in some of my favourite films -'Barefoot in the Park' with Jane Fonda; 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' with Paul Newman; 'The Sting' (he was nominated for an Oscar for this one); 'The Way We Were' with the amazing Barbara Streisand; 'All the Presidents Man'; 'The Great Gatsby'; 'Jeremiah Johnson', and the list goes on.

Unbelievably he has never won an academy award for his acting. Lots of BAFTAs though and he received Best Director for 'Ordinary People'.

With the cash he'd made from acting, Robert Redford bought an entire ski area in Utah which he renamed "Sundance". In 1981 he gathered some movie mates around and founded the Sundance Film Festival north of the area.  According to Wikipedia, in 2008, Sundance exhibited 125 feature-length films from 34 countries, with more than 50,000 attendees. Oh and the name Sundance comes from his character, the Sundance Kid. One of my favourites.

Who's your favourite actor? Pop over to Metal Mummy and wax lyrical.

Photo credits: Wikipedia, The Leading Speakers Bureau and Sundance.org

Monday, 21 March 2011

When did I forget how to relax?

On Sunday we had nothing to do. No play dates, no get-togethers, no parties, no shopping to do, no plans whatsoever. And I hated it.

Before DD was born I LOVED do-nothing Sundays. OH and I would lie in late, watch TV and read the papers, doze a bit and usually one of us would be tipped out of bed to grab breakfast and bring it back for the other one. We revelled in our freedom. When did I forget how to do this, to be this, to relax?

Ghostwritermummy wrote a fab post recently about not wanting it all and perhaps wanting to be a stay at home mum or work at home mum. I commented that I'm grateful every day that I can stay at home with DD and experience her growing up through these precious early years. But perhaps that's also my problem. I need to have purpose in my day. I'm a type A, certified 'to-do' list writer.  I think DD would happily play in the house all day but I need to get out and about. I need to know that there's something planned coming up, at some point, to give me a reason (other than DD of course) to get out of bed. Like plugging my laptop in at night, it gives me my charge. Now that I don't work, I don't have that as a purpose. Without that purpose, and all the doing that follows, relaxing isn't down-time, it's boring. The weekend is OH's break from a hectic week. But for me, the weekend is just another two days tacked onto the first five. I get fidgety if there's nothing in the calendar. Perhaps that's why I've made myself so busy with Mummy and me activities during the week. And perhaps now I'm addicted to my own busyness?

I can hear you whispering "she's totally nuts" into your tea. And you're right. It's crazy. The do-nothing days should be precious little oasis of calm in the hectic week that I've created for myself.  They should be family days where we hang out and just 'be'. But I fill every little moment of my day with something to do. I can't remember the last time I just sat still and did nothing.

Actually I can. When I was pregnant I took an online meditation course and I did just that. I sat. I fidgeted. And I sat some more. And eventually, somewhere towards the end of the course, I stopped fidgeting. But that was back when I thought I was going to be a baby-whispering earth mother. Who was I kidding? I blame the hormones. Again.

And so I'm resolving to learn how to relax again. To embrace do-nothing Sundays and wallow in the luxuriousness of their freedom. But first, I must just go and fold up that dry washing...

Photo credit: Checklist by Rawich at freedigitalphotos.net

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday Sayings

This week's Sunday Saying has me reflecting back on a week that didn't go quite as I'd hoped but at the same time realising that I'm strong and resilient and that I'll get through this and then some. Oh, and I just happen to be having a cuppa while I write this.

"Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they're put in hot water." 
Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.ne

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Looking for reasons to be cheerful this week

After last week's highs, this week's lows we're very low indeed. (In fact they were lower than a low thing, on a low day, in lowville, but that might be overstating my case just a teensy bit I think.) But weirdly a sort of balance has been restored. Without Yin there would be no Yang. Without Bonny, no Clyde. Without lemons, no lemonade (not sure about that middle one, weren't they both baddies?). I'm searching for my reasons to be cheerful/grateful this week with a magnifying glass rather than having them jump out at me but that's ok. It's all in the mix.

1. DD has been a joy to be with this week. She's taken to running up to me with a 'Harrow Mummy!' greeting, head butting my leg and then running away again tossing 'Bye bye' over her shoulder. She's had tea with her toys and read them stories. She sat within touching distance of some of the other children at our various play dates (unusual) and even gave one of her friends a hug goodbye. And she ate another new food after a five month hiatus - tomatoes. Her joy at just being alive and in the world is infectious and lightens my heart. Long may this sweet spot last.

2. I've had such wonderful support from my friends, both in 'real life' and in the blogosphere since we found out this week that our IUI had been unsuccessful this time around. I had about it and you lot gave me a big virtual hug. Thank you SO much.

3. The terrible devastation that has passed across our television screen this week since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan has made me so grateful that organisations like The Red Cross, Shelterbox, Save the Children and others exist to reach out a hand and help the thousands of people that have been affected. Please give whatever you won't  miss to help them help others.

Do you have reasons to be cheerful or grateful this week? Pop 'em down, link 'em up and then leap over to the lovely Mich over at  and  over in Oz to share the love.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Some things you should know about me...

Dear Darling Daughter, there are a few things you should know about Mummy ...

  • Mummy knows when you've pooped, even when you say you haven't. I can smell it a mile off.
  • Mummy DOES have eyes in the back of her head and yes I CAN see you climbing up on the sofa to play with the light switch even when I'm in the kitchen making dinner.
  • Mummy will not always take 'no' for an answer, not even when you mean 'no' rather than 'yes'
  • Mummy is not trying to poison you. It's good food I'm putting in front of you. Honestly, just try it and you'll see. Yes, even the green stuff.
  • Mummy cannot magically make Daddy appear when he's not in the house. He has to go to this place called 'work' every day and while I can do a lot of things, I can't make his employers pay him for just hanging out at home with us. He's not Jonathan Ross I'm afraid.
  • Mummy has your best interests at heart when she tells you - repeatedly - not to stand with your nose pressed to the TV when your Maisy DVD is on.
  • Mummy is not being mean when she says that some of the toys have to stay home when we go out. Toys need a rest sometimes too. That's why they have to stay home. Honest.
  • Mummy is a little bit sad at the moment. It's got nothing to do with you. I'll be my usual sing-song-smiley self again very soon, I promise.
  • Mummy loves you more than anything in the whole world. You are the sunshine in my heart and make every day so special (except when you do the exorcist puke thing, that's a bit scary).


Photo credit: Old Letter by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

It didn't work

Today I want to scream. I want to punch pillows and rip things into tiny shreads. Then stomp on everything until it's a mushy, slushy mess. I want to scream out 'It's not fair!' Why do we have to go through all this again only to have it fail... again? Why can't my body remember that it's already carried one baby (almost) to term and just give in gracefully and do it again? Why can't DD have a brother or sister without (at least) another month's worth of a pills and injections in Mummy's butt?

Why? Because that's the hand we've been dealt and just the way it is. Perhaps Mother Nature thinks we're strong enough to go through all this again. And she's probably right. And so instead of doing all those destructive things tonight, I've drunk half a bottle of wine and eaten too much food. And tomorrow we'll get back on this horse and ride it for all we're worth. That's how we got DD, so that's what we'll do again.

But it still hurts like hell.

(If you're wondering what on earth I'm on about here, I apologise for ranting. If you've got the time read my and hopefully all will become clear.)

Photo credit: Reflecting by healingdream at freedigitalphotos.net

Monday, 14 March 2011

How not to arrive for R and R

I thought I was going to die yesterday. It seemed simple enough to take a taxi ride across town for some lady maintenance while Daddy and Curly Girl had some quality time together. But I hadn't banked on my driver being a shoe-in for the next open spot in F1. There are two taxi speeds here, normal and warp. Unfortunately, I got the latter.

We shot down Danshui Lu like a bullet from a gun with scant regard for anyone in our path. My life flashed before my eyes on more than one occasion as we swerved to narrowly avoid cyclists turning across our path without a) signalling or b) checking to see if there was a mad taxi driver hurtling towards them on a direct collision course. The main roads here are pretty good but the ride in this charabang was bone-shaking. At least my cellulite got a good work out. At one point I thought we were going to lose the car body and carry on without it, Laurel and Hardy style.

So I decided the best option was just not to look out the windscreen at all and passed the rest of the ride looking through my fingers as this travelling horror movie unfolded before me. When we finally arrived I waited for my stomach to catch us up and reflected that this probably wasn't the most relaxed way to arrive for some R and R. But on the plus side, people pay good money for roller-coaster rides and this one only cost me the equivalent of £1.50.

Photo credit: Me :D

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday Sayings

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
Oscar Wilde

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Reasons to be cheerful; 1, 2, 3

Sometimes a week comes along that you just don't want to end, a week so good that you want to bottle it up and uncork it from time to time to just have a sniff as a reminder of the good times. This week was one of those weeks.

One... after five months, DD has finally started eating meat! If relief lightens your load I'd have to tether myself to the nearest heavy object at the moment to stop me floating off into the stratosphere. I've post about this (err... the eating, not the floating) in my post for .

Two... DD was such a star at her swimming class this week, heaving herself out onto the side on her own, actually kicking her legs a bit (rather than floating like a jellyfish while I pull her around), and even going under water without comment. Maybe she has got my water-baby genes after all!

Three... I'm full of optimism at the end of our first week of waiting to see if our latest IUI procedure was  successful in getting us pregnant. One more week to go. This time it might just work! (Wondering what on earth I'm going on about here? Read my .)

Do you have reasons to be cheerful or grateful this week? Pop 'em down and link up to the lovely Mich over at and over in Oz.

Friday, 11 March 2011

I can't take a compliment

I'm rubbish at compliments. Not giving them, I'm great at that, love dolling them out left right and centre. But receiving them? Nope. When I should just say 'why thank you' and smile warmly, I usually list all the reasons why the compliment doesn't actually fit me after all, and then watch the giver walk away muttering under their breath. But I've resolved that this is something I need to be better at, so it's wonderful that the very talented Kate over at (there I go again complimenting others, see what I mean?) tagged me for the One Word Meme.

There's actually a lovely story about how this meme was conceived of by Mich over at so I'm going to copy Kate and reprint it here:
This got me thinking about an email I received a few years back, one of those circular things that I normally hate but this one I loved and have never forgotten.  It was about the power of positive affirmations and how knowing what positive things others think of you can boost your own self-esteem.  It talked of an inspirational teacher who got all her children to write one positive word down to describe the other children in the class and then they had to hand them in.  The teacher then collated all the positive words for each child into a special sheet for them and handed it to them to read and keep.  They learnt that their peers saw them in ways they had never imagined and it had an immense effect on them.  The story goes that one of them died and a number of them attended the funeral and it was found that they all still had their lists 20 or so years later as they had been really touched by this loving gesture.  Did this really happen?  Who knows, but I love the sentiment of this story and therefore it does not matter to me if it was real. Well, what about if us bloggers and virtual friends did something similar?  

There you are. Nice idea isn't it? So, I'd be most grateful if you'd help me out in my quest to be a better compliment taker by posting one word that describes me from your point of view in the comments below. Right, go for it, I'm bracing myself!

(Note: the word 'compliment' is key here. If you're nasty I'll send DD round to whack you with her teddy.You have been warned.)

As this is a meme I need to tag some others to take this gruesome challenge... ghostwritermummy, , , you're all fabulous and you deserve some compliments :D

So there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

There is a banner waving gently in the breeze outside our window, it curls around itself and when it unfurls again you can see the words writ large in bright red letters...


Ok, so I lied, there isn't really a banner, but there should be because we are celebrating in this house! Finally, after five, yes five months, DD is eating meat again. How did this dramatic event come to pass? Well, I had a revelation last week after keeping a food diary of her fussy eating habits for just under a month. She is at her hungriest at breakfast and lunch, with the latter being her biggest meal of the day, and she can take or leave dinner altogether. Sounds bloody obvious to me now, but I think I was blinded by my own panic and frustration at her limited diet. Anyway as a result of this I realised that trying to get her to eat a portion of our food a.k.a. 'new food' at dinnertime was a complete waste of time. I reckoned she was also most likely to try new foods at lunchtime, when she was actually hungry.

And so last week, instead of the usual bits and bobs I'd been popping in front of her (bread, cheese, yoghurt, cheerios etc, the things I knew she'd eat) I baked a batch of Tuna patties and popped a couple in front of her one lunchtime with a squirt of tomato ketchup. I picked one up myself, dipped it in the sauce and took a bite. 'Yum!' I said. And then I took a deep breath and walked away. Well only as far as the fridge, but the important thing was I ignored her. I didn't cojole her into trying them, or make them into aeroplanes and aim them at her mouth. I let her get on with it.

She looked at them, poked them a bit and looked at me. I made myself look busy moving things around in the fridge. Then an amazing thing happened, she actually picked up a patty herself and dipped it into the ketchup. Her arm arced towards her face and she licked the red sauce. I held my breath. She took a bite. And chewed. And swallowed. It was all I could do not to run around the kitchen with my t-shirt over my head whooping with joy. She polished off one and a half patties that day and I've since made her mini beef burgers and she's tried them too. And cheese and tomato pizza. This morning she had a few mouthfuls of home-made bircher museli and some fruit shake too. It's amazing.

What else has helped?
I choose now - I'm being stricter with her diet. Less processed and more home-made foods, less kiddy biscuits and more fruit and raisins, less at snack-time and more at meal times. Less sugar generally. She gets what she gets mostly and she either eats it or she doesn't.
Remove temptation - DD has her breakfast and lunch in the kitchen and so I've also covered up the clear box I keep her snacks in with paper so she can't see inside it and ask for things I don't want her to have - yes she was that smart.
No more chocolate milk - she used to have a carton of this when she woke from her nap after lunch and it really filled her up. It's an occasional treat now and she has ordinary whole milk instead.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to see my little twenty month old eating again. I was so worried about her limited diet that she's been on an iron supplement and vitamin drops for the last four weeks. And actually I think that has helped increase her appetite. Being iron deficient can stop you wanting to eat apparently. Now, I don't want you to think she's gone from not eating anything to eating everything in sight. Far from it. She still refuses adamantly to eat vegetables so I'm supplementing with a vegetable puree juice drink at dinnertime when I know she'd rather drink than eat. But it's a start, and a great one at that. Yay!

This post is part of the . Do you have a fussy eater? Want to share your story or just have a good whinge about it? Pop over and share away.

Photo credit: Train tunnel by Sura Nualpradid at freedigitalphotos.net 

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Gallery: One Word


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

DD's top 5 children's books

This week Kate Takes 5 has a rather marvellous guest post all about reading with children. I heartily recommend that you read it too. And so this week's Listography is our top 5 children's books. I consulted DD on this and she was quite adamant that we included the following books so, taking Kate's lead, I've allowed her to guest post today too...

by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

"This is my bedtime book. Mummy reads it to me every night while I drink my milk and cuddle Bunny and Dolly. The illustrations are a slice of a bygone era in Britain (so I'm told) and the story is a bit like my daily life really, all in poem form. Mummy's taken to singing it to me to the tune of  'I'm a little teapot'. No idea why but she seems to enjoy doing it, bless."

Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr Seuss

"This is the first book that Mummy read to me, even before we met. It sounded a bit different in there, sort of mwah mwah wah wah mwah, but still very comforting. It's all about this grumpy guy who says he doesn't like green eggs and ham, but he hasn't even tried them! Er... that sounds familiar."

Maisy's Bathtime
by Lucy Cousins

"There's so much too-ing and fro-ing at Maisy's bathtime it's a wonder she ever gets clean! And then Tallulah chicken ends up in the bath with her!! Looks like fun, but I'm not ready to share my bath toys with any old farm animal just yet. A toddler has to have standards you know."

The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams

"Bunny likes this one, it's about one of her cousins I think. A toy rabbit is so loved by it's owner that one day it becomes real. Am giving Bunny an extra smoochy kiss just in case it comes true for us too. Oh, Mummy just pointed out that Bunny might hop off then. To love and then to have lost so young! Perhaps just a big hug then."

Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown

"Mummy doesn't like the pictures in this book but I love it! It was my first bedtime book and you never forget your first, do you? Another little bunny (there's rather a lot of them about) won't go to sleep at the beginning but  by the time he's said goodnight to everything in the room, including the moon, he's sparko. Yawn, I know that feeling."

And so there we are. DD has spoken.

Incidently, while I was writing this post and looking for piccies of the books, I came across a fab blog, Reading to George, chronically the children's picture books that the author is reading to their son. It's a treasure trove of lovely books for little ones.

Photo credit: All images courtesy of Amazon.co.uk and readingtogeorge.com

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

My love/hate relationship with a Swede

Mmmm... not sure about that headline, makes me sound like I'm in some dodgy love triangle with a vegetable. Oh well, time is short today so I'll just crack on. What I really wanted to ask myself is 'Do I hate IKEA?'

I have a strange relationship with this Swedish retailer. I love their products, especially their kids stuff, but I hate the whole experience of shopping there. Now, I'm not one to forsake a good purchase just because the experience is tedious, but it would be kinda nice if it was a little less stressful. Shopping in IKEA is a bit like going to a supermarket and coming back with a whole year's supply of orange juice in one trolly. Plus you have to go out the back to the warehouse to take the crates of oranges off the shelves yourselves and stagger back to the car with them. And when you go home you have to pulp your own oranges to make the juice, stick all the packaging together with glue and colour in the box with crayons. Not ideal, you do understand.

Ant then there's the traipsing through acres of beautifully made-up rooms before you get to the actual shopping bit. I know it's to whet your appetite to buy more than you thought you wanted, and I respect a good marketing ploy when I see one, but please, can there be a short cut for those of us with toddlers?

They're actually super clever, these IKEA bods. They make us do all the work. We pick, we pay, we pack. I'm sure they'll say it keeps the costs down, and you can't argue with their prices. Or the designs. A lovely Mummy friend and I popped over to IKEA this morning (I say 'popped', what I really mean is drove through mad traffic for an hour) and we bought the shop. I can't help it. I get IKEA fever and I want everything on the shelves.

Today we came home with a blue mammut table and two pink Mammut chairs for DD...
MAMMUT Children's chairMAMMUT Children's table
... golden retriever soft toy (Gosig Golden) that I couldn't resist (and DD wouldn't let go of)...

GOSIG GOLDEN soft toy yellow Length: 40 cm
... a Billy bookcase for the nursery, paintbrushes, plastic spoons (I always seem to lose these, where do they go I wonder?), a push along cart thingy (much more practical than a toy pram), stickers, a card craft kit and countless other bits and bobs.

It's amazing. I went in for the spoons. Do I hate IKEA? Clearly not.

Photo credit: all photos from IKEA.com

Monday, 7 March 2011

Can a pasta necklace save a child's life?

Save the Children Born To Campaign

Perhaps, if it's made at a fundraising playdate.

I recently found out about the Save the Children Born To campaign after reading a post over at the lovely . I learned that in the poorest countries, children are dying, at a rate too awful to think about. I learned that basic illnesses claim 8 million young lives a year. I learned that it’s in our power to stop this - no child is born to die. It moved me so much that I decided to give myself the personal challenge to fundraise for the campaign and raise some cold hard cash for this very worthy cause. 

So this week, at my regular playdates, I asked everyone if they would be willing to contribute whatever they wanted to for the campaign. It doesn't take a lot. Just £25 can pay for enough medicine to treat 82 children suffering from deadly pneumonia, the biggest killer of children under five years old. I'm proud that together we raised £80 for the campaign and helped to save children's lives.

"So, err... where do the Pasta necklaces come in?" I hear you ask. Quite so, thanks for reminding me. At our regular Crafty playdate we used some pasta shapes that I'd pre-dyed to fashion some rather fetching necklaces with the little ones. I've shared the know-how below. Afterwards, we hoovered up some yummy biscuits and lemonade. Sorry, can't share those as they've all gone.

Seriously though, if you've got five minutes, pop over to the Save the Children Born To campaign and find out what a difference your help can make to children who really need it. Thank you.

Fancy making your own pasta necklace? 

You will need:
Pasta shapes with holes large enough to thread wool through by hand
White vinegar
Food colouring
Small plastic food bags
Greaseproof paper

Here's what you'll need - plus vinegar and wool
Step 1: Put a handful of pasta into the food bags, one for each food colour you have.
Step 2: Add 1tsp vinegar to the bag and then add 5-10 drops of food colouring. 
Step 3: Shake the bag to distribute the colour evenly. The pasta should start to take on the colour of the dye. If the colour isn't strong enough for you, add more drops and shake again.

Pasta baggies
Step 4: Turn the pasta out onto the greaseproof paper and leave it to dry.

Time to dry out

Step 5: Cut a length of wool. Get your little one to choose their favourite shapes and colours and help them to thread each one onto the wool to make a necklace. Tie the ends together and hang your masterpiece around their neck. Voila!

Photo credit: Save the Children

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Fussy Eaters Support Club - March

One of the things I love most about blogging is knowing that I'm not alone in the the trials and tribulations of mummyhood. A problem shared is a problem, well not quite halved, but it's certainly a lot less stressful knowing there are some other rowers in the same boat as you. My current trial du jour is the seemingly never-sending saga of DD's fussy eating habits. We've tried puree, we've tried baby-led weaning, we've tried it all. She still only eats a small range of foods and refuses meat of any kind.

I got to thinking that there must be other Mummy and Daddy bloggers out there who have the same goal that I do; for DD too eat as much as she wants of what we're eating as a family, but to at least eat some of it. Perhaps we can support each other? And so the Fussy Eaters Support Club was born. Each month I'll post up a linky thingy for anyone with a fussy eater to air their story, shares recipes and their tips for what works (and what doesn't), to celebrate their fussy eater successes or to just have a good old fashioned whinge about it all.

The Fussy Eaters Support Club doors for MARCH are now open!

A small moment in time

The DD alarm rings out one hour early this morning. Stumbling into the nursery in my pyjamas, my body still full of sleep, I'm greeted with her customary cute 'Harrow'. Although it is already getting light outside, something, some instinct, makes me hesitate to open the curtains. Instead I pick her up, still hot-water-bottle warm from sleep in her baggy, and she snuggles her head straight into my neck. So I don't invite in the day to join us just yet. I pull out the recliner chair in the corner of the nursery that up until four months ago was our breastfeeding home. We lie back together in the semi-darkness, the warmth of her small body on my chest, her fine blonde hair tickling my ear. I close my eyes and drink in her baby smell. Every so often she twitches her leg or wiggles her body, the dance of the dozer. I'm reminded of the countless nights and mornings we've done this, she and I, locked in a battle of sleeplessness. She was much younger then and not able to sleep alone. Now by day a feisty toddler, in my arms she is still my baby. We'll be tired later but for now we share this small moment in time, this pure, blissful hour of togetherness.

Photo credit: Sunrise by Nicholas Tarling at freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Dear So and So...

Dear busybodies

Seriously, can you mind your own damn business? DD will not die if she doesn't have fifteen layers of clothes on. And to the woman who stopped me on the street to tell me DD wasn't wearing a hat, I know that, funnily enough I am her mother. It's not that frigging cold! Why do you think that you have the right to tell me what to do? I am more than capable of looking after my own daughter.

Yours annoyed
Capable expat mother


Dear busybodies

Very sorry about that rant. I'm not usually so rude. I do respect our cultural differences, really I do. And I do like living here. Some days it just gets to me being here so far away from home and today was one of those days. Also we've been building up to something and it's about to happen, not an excuse I know, but hopefully you'll understand.

Yours apologetically
Ashamed expat mother


Dear tadpoles

Go! Go! Go! You've been given the best shot at it thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and we're keeping our fingers crossed that you'll get it together with Ms Egg this time and give DD a little brother or sister.

Yours hopefully
IUI Mummy


Dear DD

Thank you for being so wonderful today at the hospital. It was super boring for you waiting for Mummy and Daddy to do their thing and you missed your lunch and you were late for your nap and it was SO hot. Sorry, sorry,sorry.

Lying down Mummy


Dear Tots 100

Wow! I made it into March chart at 307! Thank you!!!!!!!!!

Yours so chuffed I can hardly speak
Mummy @ Bod for tea

TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

Thursday, 3 March 2011

What's your favourite black & white film?

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Love movies? Me too. This week's theme over at Metal Mummy's Movie Meme is black & white. I haven't seen any black & white films for years, they don't get shown on network TV much and I don't have any on DVD, but I do have some favourites...

Harold Lloyd was quite possibly the bravest actor EVER. Have you seen the film 'Safety First' (1923) where he hangs from the hands of a clock face, high above the street? Check out the picture at the top of this post. Back in the day there was no CGI and no stunt double. This is the real deal people.

Laurel & Hardy - classic black & white comedy. I challenge you not to laugh when they work together in a saw mill and end up sawing their car in half. Still makes me snigger. And the 'Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia'? Tee hee!

The Wizard of Oz - bit of a cheat here as only the beginning was in black and white but I do love the film,  especially the Wicked Witch, so I had to include it.

What's your favourite black & white film? Pop over to Metal Mummy and let everyone know...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

This is me - warts 'n all

The lovely Michelle over at has tagged me for a meme. Secretly I think she's a stalker and just wants to find out more about me. Is it sad that I'm so chuffed about that? Probably. Anyhoo, here's some things about me...

I am currently smelling of vomit. As is the rest of the house. DD was sick twice this morning. Don't you just love the way toddlers can projectile vomit vast distances and then go off to play as if nothing happened? And now I have six Mums arriving for a play date in one hour. The washing machine is on strike due to overwork and my air freshener has just run out. Nice.

The bravest thing I have ever done is continue with my c-section even though the epidural didn't work properly and I could feel all manner of horribleness as the doc literally ripped DD out of me. She was stuck fast (DD, not the doc). OH led me through a visualisation where I followed him down a mountain on skis to try to take my mind of the pain. He was my rock that day. Thankfully as soon as she was out they knocked me out so I could recover.

I feel prettiest when I am about 10 pounds lighter than I am now, with straight hair. But my hair isn't straight. Bum.

Something that keeps me awake at night is insomnia.

My favourite meal is anything that someone else has cooked for me. Especially if there is a large glass of red wine sitting next to it.

The way to my heart is to love me because of all my faults, not despite them.

I would like to be pregnant again. Fingers crossed.

Sorry, a bit flippant about some of these. It's been one of those days.

Now of course in true meme style I have to tag some other peeps. No pressure, I won't think any less of you for not doing it *but has pen poised to strike said people off Christmas card list*...

Alyson's Blog 

Photo credit: Red wine bottle by Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

Where are the pixies?

I have no internet access. This is particularly annoying as a) I got up at the crack of sparrow fart to write my blog and b) it's just annoying. I've crept around the apartment here in China, checking the lead that snakes behind the television before entering the wireless network, I've clicked the 'diagnose' button in Windows 7 (against my better judgement, and I was right, it didn't help), and now I've just switched the whole damn lot off and one again. Nothing. Clearly the little pixies that run around making the Internet work are having a lie in this morning. So I'm writing this on a rather nifty Digital Post It notes progamme in the hope that it all works again at some point today so that I can upload this post.

I wasn't planning to post about my internet connectivity problems, but they do raise an interesting question for me. What would I do if I couldn't blog any more? Sorry, had to go and get a tissue to wipe away the cold sweat that just broke out on my forehead. Hard to type when you have panic dripping into your eyes. But if I couldn't snuggle down with Bodfortea I'd definitely have more time on my hands. I might use that time (generally when DD is asleep, hence the early start *yawn*) to do more yoga, bake cakes, start painting again, tidy up the house and generally be more prepared for everything. I've only been blogging for just over two months. Is it really that impotant to me? Hell yeah it is. Blogging is my creative outlet, my vent container, my connection to the outside world outside of My World.  Just having that time for me makes me a nicer person, a less grumpy wife and a more focussed Mummy.

Well, whadaya know. I've just got connection again. Maybe all my ranting woke the pixies up...

What would you do if you couldn't blog any more?

Photo credit: tied hand by Filomena Scalise at freedigitalphotos.net
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