Friday, 29 April 2011

Reasons to be cheerful - Royal Wedding Special

1. Today, along with about a third of the population of our entire planet, I watched as Prince William married Kate Middleton in a tree lined Westminster Abbey and they became The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge. The unmistakable happiness in both their faces was such a wonderful reason to be cheerful. And yes, I whelled up. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

2. They drove themselves from Buck House to Clarence House in Prince Charles' Aston Martin. Number plate? Just Wed. Streamers and balloons and an 'L' plate? Yep. Just like any other newly wedded couple. Good for them.

3. When I was a child there was a Silver Jubilee street party outside our house. We dressed up in our best togs and ate celebratory cake with our neighbours. Some 500,000 people were expected to attend street parties in honour of the happy couple today and it makes me come over all patriotic thinking about it. S'funny but being away from home has made me realise how proud I am of how we do these national occasions. And instead of Brit Bashing like so many seem to be doing I'm going to stick my neck out and say that today I'm proud to be British. Good for us for having a jolly good knees up and celebrating the joining of a young couple so clearly in love.

What did you do to celebrate the Royal Wedding? Do you have other reasons to be cheerful or grateful this week? Jot 'em down and pop over to or . and let's celebrate together.

Photo credits: all photos courtesy of The best coverage of the wedding by miles.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Post of the week - Create

My post of the week this week is CREATE from the calm and wise Leo over at Zen Habits. I LOVE this post. It reminds me that 'creating' is important and reminds me to F.O.C.U.S.
Time doesn’t fall into your lap. It isn’t handed to you by a kindly old gentleman. You must create it, taking from the world the raw materials you need and shaping it with your bare dirty blistered hands, pushing the clay into form from its shapeless muddy glob. (Leo)
See what I mean? Wise. If you've got a project or 'to do' that's been simmering on the back burner for a while and you can't seem to get your mojo going on it - read this post. It will politely kick your lovely backside into gear for you.

Have you read a post this week that made your heart sing? Write about it and link up over at Notes from home.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen.... and wait for it... sixteen.

Ok, so I'm not good at doing one of these posts every day, I admit it. Expect round-up posts every day every so often until the challenge is over and you won't be surprised. Sorry 'bout that.

Day Thirteen: A book whose main character is most like you
Bum. I've already chosen Mallory Towers for another Day's challenge, which is a shame as the main character is a lot like me! Can I have it again? Thanks. You're very kind.

Day Fourteen: A book whose main character you want to marry
Mmmmm.... quite keen on Edward Cullen, but not sure I'd want to die to be his wife, and it'd be rubbish to grow old while he's running around all sprightly, so I'll choose the handsome prince in Sleeping Beauty instead. Nothing like waking up from a long restful sleep and being snogged by a gorgeous rich bloke I always say.

Day Fifteen: First 'chapter book' you can remember reading as a child
Looks like I'm going to have to choose Mallory Towers again (partly because I'm tired and want to finish this post before I retire to bed). Ok, don't expect you to let me this time, so I'm just going to take it without asking. So there.

Day Sixteen: Longest book you've read
Stephen Fry's autobiographical The Fry's Chronicles is pretty long but I'm only about half way through that at the moment so I'll choose JRR (John Ronald Reuel, in case you were wondering) Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' much of which was apparently written during the Second World War. I only managed the first volume and really must read The Two Towers and The Return of the King when I've got the odd month or so free...

Image credit: 'Lord of the Rings' image courtesy of

Monday, 25 April 2011

Listography - Wedding Day Revisited

So this week the lovely Kate over at asked what we'd change about our wedding day. Not much actually. I absolutely LOVED my wedding day. It rocked. From dawn to dusk and beyond. I'd do it again in a heart beat.

But if I was going to do it all again, I'd give myself some advice...

1. Don't be so bl**dy tight and buy the negatives off the photographer straight away. Waiting for three years until he'll just give them to you is no good if he's nowhere to be found. No digital pictures whatsoever of your wedding is not a good outcome.

2. Have a spare pair of tights/stockings around so that your bridesmaid doesn't have to give hers to your Mother who forgot to bring any. (Actually, don't bother, it was very funny at the time.)

3. Don't lose so much weight stressing out before the big day that your gorgeous dress almost doesn't fit! You're only going to wear it once and no, you're not going to dye it black and cut it down to make an evening dress. It's going to sit in it's box reminding you that you were once thin enough to wear it.

4. Think twice about whether it was a good idea to let the Uncles loose on the dance floor. Especially the one who relived Grease with every female guest. Twice.

5. Don't worry about whether other people are enjoying themselves and just have a ball. It's your day.

What would you change about your wedding day? Pop a list on your blog and link up over at .

Photo credit: First dance by Gregory Szarkiewicz at

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Mission Impossible

My effort for the lovely Mari's 'Mission Impossible' over at . I'm not so good at this photography lark - be kind!

Bod for tea goes dynamic

Ever wanted more ways to look at the blogs you follow? Errr.... nope me either, but I didn't want an Ipod until it was invented either, so bear with me. At the end of last month announced the launch of five dynamic views for its public blogs. These views are only accessible if allowed for by the blog author and only work in modern browsers such as Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 3.5+, Chrome or Safari. The geek in me loves new webby stuff so I've allowed the views for Bod for tea, just for you. I'm nice like that (sometimes).

Here's the full details from Blogger Help:

The new views are:

Flipcard: available at [blogURL]/view/flipcard
Mosaic: available at [blogURL]/view/mosaic
Sidebar: available at [blogURL]/view/sidebar
Snapshot: available at [blogURL]/view/snapshot
Timeslide: available at [blogURL]/view/timeslide

As an example, the URL for accessing the Sidebar view for Bod for tea is .

In all views, search is available in the upper right hand corner. Clicking on the ">" arrow in the very top left of the header bar will slide the header bar across and allow you to choose different views for the current blog as well as type in a new blog URL.


Mouse over any of the cards to see the post title and comment count. As you scroll down, additional posts will continue to load. Click on a card to see the post in full view. You can navigate through the posts using J (older post) and K (newer post) or the arrow keys. Hit escape or click Back to all posts to return to the Flipcard view. In the upper left, click to sort by Date, Author and Category.


Clicking on an individual tile will expand that post to the full width of the view, and clicking again will collapse the post back into its original position. The exact position of the tiles is randomly determined each time the blog loads, but they will appear chronologically from top left to bottom right.Once a tile is expanded, you can page down by using the "up" and "down" arrow keys as well as J and K.This view is optimized for the tablet viewing, and supports screen rotation.


Optimized for quick reading and browsing. Left sidebar is list of chronological posts, with comment counts and thumbnails for individual posts.J and K arrow keys will navigate through the posts.


I personally really like this view but it will only the posts which have images. Clicking through any photo will display the full post page, with naviagtion links at the bottom for Newer and Older posts. Mousing over any photo will display a post snippet


This view breaks the blog content down into three different areas: Left column: Enlarged picture with a post snippet, title, and snipppet displayed in chronological order. Middle column: Displays just the post title and snippet. Right column: Displays just the individual post titles. When searching for posts in this view, the results will be highlighted.

Want to enable this on your Blogger Blog? Read the Blogger Buzz article on . If you use Google Chrome there's also an you can install to quickly access the dynamic views if you're viewing a blog that's enabled them.

Image credits and info about the new views from Blogger Buzz and Blogger Help.

Friday, 22 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Twelve

Day Twelve: A book that is most like your life
I don't think I've read a story that's quite like the roller-coaster ride this life has taken me on so far, but there's a poem in Silvia Plath's that speaks so powerfully and emotionally about newborn life and how it makes you feel as a new parent that I had to include it here.

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at

Thursday, 21 April 2011

My guest post over at Maternity Matters

Today Maternity Matters is publishing for first part of our long and winding road to parenthood. I thought for a while about whether to share this personal account of our trials and tribulations outside of this blog. Infertility still tends to be a taboo subject which is fine for everyone who isn't affected by it. But for those of us who are, just knowing that there are other people out there in the same position, going through the same indignities, the same raised hopes and crushing failures, makes it seem less like the surreal nightmare it sometimes can be and more like just what it takes to make your family complete. I hope our story helps others know they're not alone.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Rewind and fast forward

Today I discovered that I don't quite have total control of my patience yet. The day started normally enough, DD didn't eat her breakfast, then she didn't participate in putting her clothes on, and didn't tell me when she'd done a rather large stinky one in her nappy before settling down to watch Rocket and Playschool on the Australia Channel. Same 'ol, same ol.

Swimming class went well, considering that Spring has officially been launched here and so all the heating has been turned off around the city, including the kid's swimming pool (28 degrees anyone?) and all the toddlers had blue lips by the time they started walking across the foam mat for balance practice. In the afternoon we had Crafty Wednesday over at Tall French Mummy's place and had loads of fun making decorated eggs for Easter by ourselves while the little'uns played with the little'uns.

When we arrived home DD chanted her usual hello - 'Maisy CD!' and I promised that she could watch it after both she and Maisy had finished their dinner. She seemed content with that and busied herself about the house, untidying this and drawing on that while I prepared food.

Once I'd cleared away all the uneaten food (and counted what she had eaten on the fingers of one hand), Maisy arrived and we settled down for a quite period of Woof cuddling and finger sucking. And that was just me. But apparently Maisy was out of favour today.

DD: "No, no!"
Me: "What's that matter?"
DD: "No, no!"
Me: "Ok... no what?"
DD: "No Maiseeeey. Bod, Bod"
Me: "You want to watch Bod?"
DD: (Excited giggles)
Me: (Changes CD over, CD starts)
DD: "No, no!"
Me: "What's that matter?"
DD: "No, no!" 
Me: "Ok... no what?"
DD: "No Bod. Maisy, Maisy"
Me: "You want to watch Maisy?"
DD: (Excited giggles)

I think you can see where this is going. Time did a strange rewind/fast forward thing for a while before I lost the plot and switched everything off. Cue meltdown. Cue Daddy arriving home and pleas for mercy from Bad Mummy. "Why can't she watch Maisy?" he asks accusingly and they both look at me with raised eyebrows.

Tonight's glass of Cab Sav tasted particularly good.

Photo credit: Loading a DVD into the player by Jeroen van Oostrom at

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Nine, Ten, Eleven

Well we're fairly zipping through the days now aren't we! I should be all caught up after this post. Phew!

Day Nine: A Book That Makes You Sick
Well now, I've never read a book that's actually made me vomit. That would be a bit weird. But James Herbert's The Rats has such vivid description of the little furry ones knawing away at people that I did feel sick to my stomach. It was the first of a trilogy, with The Lair and Domain click clicking their little claws behind it. The man's a genius. And a bit strange...

Day Ten: A Book That Changed Your Life
OH's lovely sister recommended I read Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin while we were on holiday in the Maldives and I devoured it in one sitting. It scared the bejesus out of me. Thus started my life as a vegetarian. And it was actually very easy. Until I got pregnant. Then my raging hormones had me craving a big, fat, juicy steak and I gave in. (At the time I didn't know that they'd also written Skinny Bitch Bun In The Oven.) As soon as we either get lucky and get bumpy again or call it quits and stop trying, I'm going to read it again. And I'll probably become a veggie all over again. Note: if you don't want to know exactly what you're eating, don't read this book.

Day Eleven: A Book From Your Favourite Author
I'll wax lyrical about a lot of authors including Yann Martel, Manil Suri, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffrey Deaver and James Herbert but my current favourite is Stephen Fry. Probably because I'm reading a couple of his books now. Well, I say reading, I really only manage to get a couple of lines in after tomorrow's breakfast for DD is popped in the fridge (home-made Bircher museli, sooooo easy), emails and blog are checked and Twitter's been perused, before my eyes shut up shop for the night. I used to be able to finish a book in day or two. I'll be lucky if I finish this one by 2012. Anyway, I digress. Mr Fry has a way with words that I find beguiling. Try The Stars' Tennis Balls on for size if you're tentative about starting to read him. It's brilliant.

You can read the full list of challenges .

Photo credits: Jamer Herbert image: Pan Macmillan; Skinny Bitch image:; The Stars' Tennis Ball image: Goodreads.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six, Seven & Eight

I've gotten a bit behind in the book challenge, (there was a involved that took some thinking about; that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) so I've clumped together three days worth to catch up.

Image courtesy of

Day Six: Favourite Young Adult Book
Harry Potter or Twilight? Hang on. *Scans list of other days' questions to see if one of them could be used again...ahhh* Ok, Harry Potter it is. J.K. Rowling gets a lot of flack but according to Wikipedia, As of June 2008, the book series has sold more than 400 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages, and the last four books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history. Knock her all you like, the woman can write books that sell. I bought 'em and loved 'em.

Image courtesy of

Day Seven: A Book You Can Quote/Recite
I'd like to recite something profound here that makes me seem worldly and intelligent.
"Here's a little baby, one two three, stands in his cot and what does he see?"
Ok, perhaps not. Still, Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlbeg is a fab book and DD loves it.

Day Eight: A Book That Scares You
When I was about seven or eight I crept out of my bed and tiptoed to the door of the living room where my parents were watching the opening scenes of "Jaws". That music, those images. I couldn't look away. And I didn't sleep a wink that night. My poor parents. When I was old enough to be interested in reading adult fiction I plucked Peter Benchley's novel from their bookshelf to read it for myself. It couldn't be as scary on paper surely? 
Image courtesy of
At first the woman thought she had snagged her leg on a rock or a piece of floating wood. There was no initial pain, only one violent tug on her right leg. She reached down to touch her foot, treading water with her left leg to keep her head up, feeling in the blackness with her left hand. She could not find her foot.
Yep, it could. Still gives me chills now. Brrrrrrr.....

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at Other images as per captions.

Monday, 18 April 2011

It's all me, me, me

The amazingly talented photographer and rather lovely person; Mari over at has tagged me for a sort of 'getting to know you better' MEME. I know some people roll their eyes and tutt when a meme post pops up so if that's you, I'll never speak to you again I won't be offended if you skip this one and move on. Seriously, no hard feelings.

Here goes...

If you could go back in time to relive one moment, what would it be?
Sorry, gotta pick two here. Firstly my wedding day. Making it official with the love of my life, surrounded by my wonderful friends and family, and wearing a seriously gorgeous dress that I will never manage to squeeze into again. So glad I went with the veil too. Well, when else are you going to wear one? Secondly, the day I found out I was pregnant with DD after over three long years of procedures, potions and patience. Pure unadulterated joy.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I wouldn't. Any changes I made might send ripples out into the ether and remove other wonderful moments that I've been blessed with. 

What movie or TV character do you think you resemble most in personality?
Oh is this like the Friends question? You know, which character from Friends are you most like? Well I'm Monica. Take from that what you will.

Which TV or movie character would you like to be?
Harry Potter. What I couldn't do with that wand around here...

If you could push one person in the whole world off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
It's tempting but I'm not that way inclined. Get out and move on. Life's too short. 

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
Snacking while I'm making dinner. I'm usually full before we even sit down to eat. It's soooooo bad.

Describe yourself in one word.

Describe the person who named you in this MEME in one word.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
To stay sane but I don't think it's working...

Name at least 3 people or more to send this MEME, and then inform them.

The Headmasters Wife
What's Happening At My House

Photo credit: Bride and Groom by Sharron Goodyear at

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday Sayings

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Maya Angelou

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at Read more Maya Angellou quotes over at Brainy Quote

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Reasons to be cheerful; 1, 2, 3... 4

All sorts of lovely reasons to be cheerful and grateful this week and I'm linking up again with the rather spiffing linkys;  over at Mummy from the Heart and  at Maxabella Loves... Do you have something to be cheerful about or grateful for? Link up!

1. The Happiness Project - I'm joining the Seven Cherubs challenge to a write a one sentence happiness journal for one month. Each day we write about something positive that's happened to us that day and at the end of the month we post our positivity out into the ether. There's 111 of us at the moment and that's a lot of positive energy. Nice.

2. The countdown's beginning. It's only just over three weeks until DD's Nana arrives. We haven't seen each other in the flesh (so to speak) for three whole months. Can't wait! We are going to have soooo much fun. And shopping. And fun. And shopping. Can you tell I'm excited?

3. New pans! OH trundled off to the catering wholesale market today with his Chinese teacher and came back with two lovely shiny new pans for our culinary pleasure. We're christening them tomorrow with a lamb stir-fry. Yum yum.

4. DD has a new friend. She is as pretty as DD is, as funny, as bubbly and similarly covered in yoghurt. DD met her this morning in the mirror and they instantly became bosom buddies, laughing and squealing at each other, pulling faces and generally having a roaring good time. It was a precious, hilarious moment and something to be very, very grateful for.

Friday, 15 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Five

A Book You Wished You Lived In

As much as I enjoyed a good part of my school days, I wouldn't want to go back and do them again. Unless I was attending Hogwarts perhaps or Mallory Towers.

I loved the boarding school series  as a young 'gell'. I had (and still do have) a terrible temper like the main character Darrell Rivers and the jolly spiffing friendship she strikes up with Sally Hope was not unlike my own best friendships back then.

Generally Darrell is an all round 'good egg'. When she first arrives at school the headmistress tells her and the other newbies that the school wants to turn out 'good strong women the world can lean on'. Darrell resolves to be one of these women. I cheered and was hooked. All good clean fun with a sprinkle of challenges which are not too taxing, lashings of moral messages and of course all's well that end's well.

Never read it? Here's a book summary from Enid
Malory Towers is a boarding school for girls in Cornwall. Enid Blyton wrote six books for this series between 1946 and 1951. The heroine is Darrell Rivers, who enters the school in the first form and becomes head girl when she is in the sixth. But of course it's not all plain sailing for Darrell and her friends! Malory Towers has six forms, from the first to the sixth, and four house towers—North, South, East and West. There are about forty girls in each form, divided among the four houses. Darrell and Co are in North Tower, where most of the action takes place, and where the girls try not to run foul of strict housemistress Miss Potts, or the equally strict Matron.
Oh and before you go, if you fancy a bit of a giggle and some jolly japery, read what happened to the Mallory Towers girls after they left school in 'what happened next' (not for little ones, ahem).

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at, First Term at Malory Towers image courtesy of

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The elasticity of time

I was taking my unpatented hangover cure this morning, well I say hangover, it was more like 'you had one glass of wine last night and now you've got a headache you cheap date you', and it's less of a cure and more of a strong cup of tea and a desert spoon of lemon curd, but hey, it works for me, and I got to thinking about the elasticity of time.

Sorry to get all existential on you (is this existential? Now that I've typed it I'm not so sure, will go and Google it and get back to you later), but time's a tricky thing. You've got to keep and eye on it.  When my alarm went off this morning at 6am (I know, I'm mad getting up an hour before the rest of the house, but this is my little piece of time) I blinked and it was 6.30am. Where did that half hour go? See, time up to it's old tricks again. One moment it's dragging it's heels like a schoolchild that doesn't want to go to double Maths and the next it's slipping through your fingers like silk. Everybody claims it as their own, we can save it and spend it, but nobody seems to have enough of it. It slows down at the dentist but speeds up at the cinema. Time loves to eat and drink - lunch time, tea time, dinner time, and my favourite, Pimms o'clock - and doesn't mind getting wet at bath time, but seems to run around stark naked (there's no getting dressed time, eh?). It has no beginning and no end but each of us can claim only a relatively small amount of it. Is it recycled I wonder?

Oh and by the way, I've checked, the elasticity of time isn't existential. Just to let you know, in case you were wasting time wondering. Time for me to go.

I really shouldn't have had that glass of wine.

Photo credit: Time by healingdream at

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Four

A book that makes you cry

It's usually films that turn on the waterworks for me rather than books. Case in point, I was going to write about Watership Down by Richard Adams but then I realised that I haven't actually read it and cried my eyes out at the film instead. In fact I'm getting all misty eyed just thinking about it. 'Bright eyes, burning like fire...' *sniff, sniff*.

Anyway I digress a bit (as usual). The book that most recently made me cry is  written by Ina May Gaskin. Of all the books I read while I was pregnant this one affected me the most emotionally. The detailed personal stories of women and their childbirth at the Farm Midwifery Centre near Tennessee had me craving a natural birth for our baby. And most of all it took away the fear of childbirth for me, reassuring me that my body was designed to carry a baby and give birth to it (albeit, as it happened, very reluctantly in my case and not without the help of a myriad of drugs and medical interventions, but I wasn't to know that at the time). 

OH says that pregnant women are second only to new mothers as the most gullible people on the planet and perhaps that's why I relished the idea of an orgasmic birth (apparently they're possible), a woman-centred labour, birth without drugs, and all the other possibilities that Gaskin writes about. But I think that as she's personally attended over 1200 births, the lady probably knows a thing or two about it.
"Her promotion of a low-intervention but extremely effective method for dealing with one of the most-feared birth complications, shoulder dystocia, has resulted in that method being adopted by a growing number of practitioners. The Gaskin maneuver is the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife. Her statistics for breech deliveries and her teaching video on the subject have helped to spark a reappraisal of the policy of automatically performing cesarean section for all breech babies."
See what I mean? She's quite an amazing woman. Sadly natural childbirth wasn't to be for me, but if I am lucky enough to get bumpy again I will read it all over again, cry all over again and be hopeful all over again.

If you're interested in reading more about Ina May Gaskin and her approach to midwifery including her biography, take a look at her website. You can also read the full list of challenges for the 30 day book challenge.

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at Ina May's Guide To Childbirth image courtesy of

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Letters to DD - Don't

Dear DD

Don't sweat the small stuff.
Don't let a day go by without finding the silver lining.
Don't be afraid to travel, see the world, drink it in. Lift your roots and decide where to carefully replant them.
Don't think of exercise as a chore; celebrate that you can walk and run and push and pull, revel in the power and grace of your body.
Don't think that English is enough. Try new languages, roll them around your mouth, taste cultures and people through their words.
Don't forget to be polite and fair to everyone you meet. Also, cultivate a good left hook.
Don't take drugs. Please.
Don't restrict things from your life - live life to the full and enjoy every minute of it. Hearts were made to be broken, bodies made to be enjoyed, chocolate made to be eaten. (Caveat: see above)
Don't underestimate the power of a hug or a smile.
Don't forget to dance. Lots.
Don't read women's magazines. Their world is fictitious. Women have boobs and bums and not-perfect skin and cellulite and off-white teeth and that's all fine. That's all life.
Don't think you need to be anything other than you already are, perfectly you.

And whatever you do, say, think, or feel, don't forget that I love you, unconditionally.

Mummy x

Monday, 11 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Three

Day Three: A Book That Makes You Laugh Out Loud

If I'm not grabbed by a book by the end of the first chapter I don't usually finish it. I'm not a masochistic reader and my time to read is short. It either grabs or it goes. And then it goes out of my already-too-full-of-useless-stuff brain making this post nigh on impossible. So I'm skipping Day Two: Least Favourite Book and going straight to day three.

Cop out? Bite me. (Always wanted to say that.)

Last year when I was in a bit of a bad place, a book came along at just the right time to lift my spirits and have me crying with laughter. Dawn French's autobiographical is as brilliant as you'd expect and a combination of memoir, letters and funny stories. I read it when DD was finally asleep and often had to muffle my snorts with a pillow.
From her earliest memories (including the funniest episode with her father's 'trouser snake') to boarding school, meeting Jennifer Saunders and others, her relationship with Lenny Henry and adopting her daughter, I zoomed through this book wishing it wouldn't end. I have a lot to thank Ms French for, she reminded me that laughter really is the best medicine.

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at Dear Fatty image courtesy of

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sunday Sayings

Following a bit of a bad week this week (you can read why in and ), a quote for this week's Sunday Saying that reminds me of something my Mother says - 'this too shall pass'.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: 
it goes on."
Robert Frost

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at

Saturday, 9 April 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day One

So I was perusing some of the lovely bloggers out there and came across this interesting idea over at Carole Finds Her Wings and she kindly let me join in. Thanks Carole! You can see the full list of challenges here.

Day One: Favourite Book
God this is a hard one! There are soooo many I could choose here. But I'm going to go for by Yann Martel. It didn't appeal at all when I first read the blurb about it but the reviews were so strong (Booker Prize anyone?) that I hung my judgement back up in the closet, shut the door and ordered the paperback from Amazon. The reviews were spot on. The writing is magical and transports you into a frankly bizarre story that I couldn't tear myself away from. A boy trapped in a lifeboat, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with a tiger? Yes I know, but read it. Seriously.
"Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher. Physically it is extraordinarily arduous, and morally it is killing. You make adjustments if you want to survive. Much becomes expendable. You get your happiness where you can. You reach a point when you're at the bottom of hell, yet you have your arms crossed and a smile on your face, and you feel you're the luckiest person on earth. Why? Because at your feet you have a tiny dead fish."

Photo credits: Pile of books by Felixco, Inc. at, Life of Pi image courtesy of Goodreads

Friday, 8 April 2011

Fussy Eaters Support Club - April

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 APRIL are now open!


Why don't people get it? Won't don't they understand the frustration and concern that comes with a child that won't eat? Why don't they feel it too?

'She'll eat when she's hungry. Stop worrying about it.'
'She's just being independent. Stop worrying about it.'
'She won't eat just because you want her to. Stop worrying about it.'
'You're making it worse by worrying. Stop worrying about it.'

Really? You think I can flick a switch and stop worrying? Stop worrying that she hasn't eaten anything this week except a spoon or two of oatmeal, some watermelon, a bite or three of toast and a few cheerios? Stop getting frustrated when I have lunch with other Mums and their toddlers and she's the only one who refuses to eat a bite and just draws on everything instead?

Why don't they see that I'm programmed to need to feed her? And why isn't she hungry anyway? How is she functioning on so little food? How can she grow and develop and learn and play without nourishment? Why does this situation make me so angry, yes angry, and gnaw away at me until I'm crying with frustration? Why can't a hug be offered instead of advice? Why do I feel that I have to be so in control and why can't I just let it go?

Photo credit: 3D character with question mark by renjith krishnan at

Reasons to be cheerful; 1, 2, 3

I haven't much felt like posting any reasons to be cheerful for the last couple of weeks. Not sure why. I think walking down our long road to parenthood for the second time is getting me down more than I realised. It's easy to get distracted with DD running around and being so fabulous but it's always there in the back of my mind, and of course there's the trips to the hospital every week... but that's all for another post. THIS post is a kick up the backside to remind me of all the wonderful things I have in my life that I should be cheerful about and grateful for.

1. Crafty play dates with special mates
No, I don't have to sneak out and have them when no-one's looking, although come to think of it I like the idea of a crafty Mummy playdate including the odd margharita.... but I digress. I have a fantastic group of friends that I met when we were all pregnant together here in China and now that the little ones are all toddling around we've taken our play dates on a step to include basic craft activities. This week we had Spring in our hearts to we thought we'd try our hands at egg blowing in preparation for decorating them next week and displaying them prettily for Easter weekend. Some of us were better at blowing than others *cough*. Fab, fun afternoon.

2. BBC iPlayer
I'm feeling a bit homesick at the moment and listening to Alex Lester, Sarah Cox and friends on Radio 2 gives me a shot of Britishness with the added bonus of some good toons. I love the zaniness of the Best Time of The Day Show and it reminds me of the insanely early starts when I was working. I must have been mad!

3. Yoga
Back ache, urgh! DD has been a bit clingy recently and as she gets heavier my back gets sorer. Plus I'm still carrying a good 10 pounds of excess baby weight so I've started practising yoga every day again to help strengthen my back, tone up my stomach muscles and remind my body about good posture. I grab 30 minutes while DD is napping and I always feel so much better, physically and mentally.

4. Spring!
The Sun has finally got it's hat on over here and its great to be able to get out and about without bundling up in layers of coats and scarves. Watching DD running around the park, gleeful in her own freedom just to zoom around outside, reminds me that the simple pleasures in life really are the best.

Do you have reasons to be cheerful or grateful this week? Don't forget to link them up over at  and .

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Dear So and So...

Dear boobs and bum

Look, we need to have a serious talk. One of you is getting bigger and the others are getting smaller. This was not what we agreed. Can't you do a job swap or something? Seriously?


Dear ignorant man in restaurant

If you really wanted a quiet lunch, why did you wait ten minutes for the table in front of us to be empty, knowing full well that there was going to be a toddler sitting right behind you? And why did you think it was a good idea to have this conversation with me while DD was shaking my chewing gum box as a rattle to stop her from having a meltdown?

You: Doesn't he have ANY other game he can play?
Me: First of all, he is a she. And is it a problem?
You: Well, it is a little LOUD.
Me: She's a toddler, that's what they do. You can always move.

Wishing I'd just said f**k you, but of course I'm not as rude as you

Dear Janice Long

Thank you so much for playing 'It takes two' by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock today. It had me bopping around the bathroom in my towel and put a big grin on my face for the rest of the morning.  Wooooo yeah!

I wanna rock right now

Dear Me

You're embarrassing yourself. Really? Twilight? At your age?  Get over it.


Dear DD

Sorry your gums are sore my darling. You've got four more teeth growing there waiting to poke through. You go ahead and stuff everything in your mouth if it makes you feel better. And while you're at it, why not try popping some food in there too?

Love you
Your 'still wishing you'd eat more' Mummy


I'll be linking my Dear So and So letters over at tomorrow. Who will you be writing to?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The MADS 2011

MAD Blog Awards 2011

Not, as I first thought, a set of awards for those of us who are fruit-loopy enough to spend our spare time blogging instead of having a well-deserved rest, the MAD Blog Awards are in fact a celebration of great British families and their blogs - from beautiful design to inspirational writing, humour and innovation.

I love awards. They're a chance to give a big 'high five' to those blogs that I've enjoyed reading and commenting on. And they get a bright, shiny badge to display in their sidebar. Everyone's a winner.

I've nominated my favourite blogs - have you?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Musical Memories Part II - OH guest post

So I was talking to OH about my for this week's Listography over at , and he went all misty eyed and started reminiscing about his own musical memories. "What were your first five albums?" I asked him. Cue muttering, giggling and general preoccupation for a while until this appeared. Yes, I know there's six instead of five, but I let him have one extra. I'm nice like that.

With not much money around my early years were spent mostly with copious TDK C90's and 49p singles from Woollies. LPs purchases were pondered for weeks. Here's my first six...

Saturday Night Fever, The Bees Gees.
NY Disco goes global. So familiar now but ground breaking at the time. I dare anyone to listen and try not to dance. And the film (well Travolta actually) legitimised male grooming for a generation. YW says –' thank you John.'
(Editor's note: YW - Yummy Wife - gotta love him for that one)

Grease, The Movie Soundtrack.
Saw the film 3 times in a month, wanted to take 'slutty Sandie' (and Greased Lightning) home every time (still do). Stage a film sing-along every year with YW, SS and BIL. Will get a hot rod one day.
(Editor's note: SS - skinny sis, BIL - brother-in-law.)

Never Mind the Bollocks, Sex Pistols.
Here's the Sex Pistols. US version (pink cover). Covered the 'B* with tape so as not to upset me Mum. Love it to this day. UK '77 frustration smashed into vinyl'

Germ Free Adolescents, X Ray Spex.
The mayflies of punk. Poly Styrene’s manic vocals, real lyrics and urgent sax. Cut into my musical brain in '78 and never left.

Parallel Lines, Blondie.
Debbie Harry knocked Farah Fawcett off my bedroom wall. Bread pudding beats cheesecake every time. Sign of the times - New Wave becomes Discopop.

One Step Beyond, Madness.
3 button suits (second hand from the Rag Market), Granddad's Trilby and Loafers. Local girls' school suddenly full of Steph (from Quadrophenia) lookalikes. Partied for a year – good times.

Photo credit: All album covers courtesy of Wikipedia.
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