Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The spider and the maypole

I've come to realise that DD is not afraid of anything. Nothing. Nada. Not high walls she can fall off, or wasps that can sting her, dogs that look like they'll tear her arm off, elephants that could stomp on her or spiders. Even huge ones.

Case in point - yesterday when DD woke delicately from her nap with her usual dulcit tone (MUUUUUUMMMMMMY!!!) I noticed that there was a black saucer with legs sitting on the wall next to her cupboard door. The saucer twitched. I tried to ignore it. DD didn't.

'Spiiiiiiider!' she shrieked excitedly. 'Good moooorning Mr Spider!'
'Yes Good morning Mr Spider.'
'Kisssss it!'
'Errrr... no, perhaps not. I think he wants to be left alone.'

I have no idea at this juncture how it became a male spider, but there we are. Also, notice that it's morning in the afternoon. It's morning whenever DD wakes up. Especially when it's not. Like the middle of the night.

'Put him on my finger, Mummy?'
'You can if you want to, but I think he'd rather have a nap... oh, ok, don't poke him so hard, see he's hiding now.'

At this point I thought she might leave poor Mr Spider be and let him recover from the ordeal of being poked by a giant. I was wrong. Instead said spider was poked again and did the only thing that he thought would save him from a slow death by finger squishing and jumped straight into the air (didn't know spiders could jump? They can). He landed on DD's arm which was the cause of much delight as that was what she had in mind in the first place. Seeing her hand heading straight for him again, Mr Spider legged it up her arm, over her shoulder and down her back before circling her waist once and disappearing into thin air. I, meanwhile, was turning DD around like a spinning top, trying to find Mr Spider, persuade him that my daughter is not a maypole and reintroduce politely him to the ground. For a brief moment I thought he'd fled up her jumper or down her trousers, but after a quick peek he was nowhere to be found (except perhaps heading towards the spider equivalent of a large brandy).

Now I know a lot of adults who would have been gibbering in the corner at this point, but DD, having satisfied her appetite for some arachnid fun, was rather happy about the whole incident and resolute that her new playmate would be back again.

'See Mr Spider again later, Mummy?'
'Yes, I'm sure we will.'

But not, I think, if he has anything to say about it. In this house, it's the spiders that are scared.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

And the Tights Please winners are... has picked the two winners of the 
Tights Please  and they are...

Would like to be a Yummy Mummy


Congratulations to you both! 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Silent Sunday - The Recipe!

Had lots of requests for the recipe for my Silent Sunday post yesterday. Lots of guesses what they were too! Saw this recipe in a magazine a while back but I've adapted and messed with it a bit, adding the chorizo and pine nuts for some extra pizazz.

Courgette, Chorizo and Feta Fritters

500g/1Ib courgettes, grated
Sea salt
8 spring onions, chopped
125g/4oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp mint, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Large handful of pine nuts
60g/2oz flour
2tbsp vegetable oil for frying

1. Put the courgettes into a colander and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Mix lightly and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. In a hot frying pan, dry-fry the pine nuts until they are golden. Watch carefully that they don't burn. Remove them to a separate bowl and then, while the pan is still hot, lightly fry the chorizo to release it's delicious oils and set aside.

3. After 30 minutes squeeze out the excess liquid from the courgettes and pat dry with kitchen paper. Messy but necessary.

Batter in progress...
4. Combine the courgettes, spring onions, feta cheese, herbs, chorizo, pine nuts and eggs in a bowl.

5. Sift the flour and mix into the other ingredients to make a lumpy batter. Add salt and pepper if you wish.

Sizzle, sizzle...
6. Heat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Drop heaped tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain them on kitchn paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining mixture.

I serve them with tomato rice and a dressed side salad. Delicious! Any leftover fritters can be frozen to enjoy later as a quick supper dish.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 26 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

Another week has passed and I've got lots of lovely Reasons to be Cheerful. So it's mindbendingly irritating that yesterday I was so grumpy I could have cheerfully throttled anyone that came within a 5 mile radius. I blame a quick trip to a certain supermarket (rhymes with let's go... but I try not to) where customer service clearly got left out of the training manual. So it's probably just as well that I've got this little lot to cheer me up.

Time off. This week I got a whole FOUR hours to myself while DD and Nannie had some grandmother/granddaughter time and I took myself off to the hairdressers for a please-make-me-look-something-resembling-normal session. Can't blame them. They did their best.

Recipes. Don't you just love 'em? I just have to tinker though. Aside from baking (which, lets face it is a science more than an art) I always add something here, adapt something there. This week I made courgette, feta and chorizo frittas. Super delicious. Look out for the recipe here next week (and a sneak peak on Sunday. I assume you can control yourself).

Playgroups. We go to two lovely groups where DD plays very happily alongside the other littles (alongside, mind, never touching, clearly that's a no-no in toddler world) and I get to have a cup of tea that someone else has made. Best cup of tea of the day that one.

Warning signs. A reason to be grateful rather than cheerful I guess, but since we've come back home I've been overdoing it a bit on the caffeine front. I've jumped from a couple of cups a day (and by cups I really mean mugs. Cups are useful as American cooking measures only) to five yesterday. And the headaches have started. Mmmm... time to back off methinks. But isn't it great that your body does this? 'Hey, I'm going to make you feel a bit ill now, so ease-up on the caffeine, ok?' And when that voice talks? You listen.

Hope each and every one of you has had oodles of reasons to be cheerful this week. Pop 'em down and link up over at the lovely Seasider in the City who is guest hosting for the just as lovely  this week.

Image: healingdream /

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Music to spin by

Yes we all grim inanely while we're
sweating our butts off, didn't you know?
Last month I posted about my  which is my attempt to justify the purchase of an ex-gym spinning that's currently sitting feeling rather out of place in our office and my fab new spinning  which are still going strong. Since then I've lost my spinning mojo a bit. A new exercise routine's a bit like a new relationship in that way - it's all exciting at the beginning and then it starts to get all normal and you either lose interest or just let it sit there festering in a corner. Well ok, it's not THAT much like a relationship, but you get my point.

And so, inspired by the lovely Kirsty over at Imperfect Pages who's posting her fav running tracks later on this week (I'll be popping over there on Friday to check it out), I thought I'd share my current spinning soundtrack in an attempt to get me all excited about spinning again.

Spinning without good music is like cheese without pickle, Marmite without toast, lamb without mint sauce... ok I'll stop now. But it really is soooo important. A good track will keep me going when my legs are light lead and the stitch in my left side makes me feel like my appendix is going to fall out. The speed of the track needs to be just right too - too slow and I get lazy, too fast and I'm liable to spin right off the bike and into the wall. These are just about perfect...

As the Rush Comes - Motorcycle (Radio Edit)
Let me be your fantasy - Baby D (Trick or Treat featuring MC Tails Mix)
Put 'em high - Stonebridge featuring Therese (Seamus Haji Vocal Remix)
People Hold On - Lisa Stansfield vs The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Cut Right Through - Cicada (12 inch mix)
Flashdance - Deep Dish (radio edit)
Don't go - Third Dimension featuring Julie McDermott (Rhythm Masters Club E)
I'll Rise - Peyton (Eric's Beach Mix)
Heaven - Ian Pooley (Tonka's High Pass Mix)
Intoxicated - Raw featuring Amanda Wilson (E-Squire Remix)
Uninvited - Freemasons
Spin Spin Sugar - Sneaker Pimps
Fade - Solu Music (Eric Kupper's Anthem Remix)
High - Hyper Go Go (Rhythm Masters Remix)
Love is Gone - David Guetta (Original Mix)

(You can listen to the whole playlist at Spotify)

And for a very chilled cool down, there's not much better than Let you go from Hed Kandi's Summer Mix 2004. Makes me think of sipping cocktails on the beach (which is what I'd much rather be doing than sweating my butt off frankly but there we are.)

The albums these tracks came from (Club Anthems 2005, Ministry Of Sound UK Garage 2000, Kiss in Ibiza 1996, Hed Kandi Summer Mix 2004 and so forth) are a bit old school. The knowledge of which has the unique ability to make me feel both nostalgic and bloody old at the same time. On which note, I need to kick my old butt back into the saddle and get spinning again.

Do you have a favourite work out playlist? Current music or old school?


Don't forget you can still get 10% discount off a pair of Hotpants for yourself (or anyone else you'd like to treat) by using my discount code BODFORTEA at

Image: photostock /

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Born to Shine

Tomorrow night the final of Born to Shine is showing on ITV1 at 7.30pm. I'm not fond of these types of shows but this one was created by ITV to raise funds for Save the Children, so I'm all for it. Saving children's lives is more important than my tv viewing preferences methinks.

And brilliantly, to help raise even more money on the night, the UK government will now match every pound given to help children overseas. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell people you don't know on the street. And tune in tomorrow night if you can.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Giveaway: Back to school with Tights Please

Early morning is a very special time of day. Getting just that little bit of me time before the rest of the house is awake sets me up nicely for the rest of the day and reminds me, fleetingly, that adult life continues outside of toddlerworld. Having this head space to think often leads my mind down strange and interesting pathways and so it was that this morning, as I was waiting for the coffee to brew, filling DD's syringe with iron (no we don't inject her, but it's the only way to get the blessed stuff out of the glass vials) and desperately trying not to look at our blocked sink (blocked despite OH going at it with a plunger and me pouring a bottle of danger-corrosive-orange-gloop down it), it struck me that in two years time I will probably be sitting in the same spot sewing name tags on every item of DD's clothing in preparation for her first day at school.

After I'd wiped the cold sweat from my brow, soothed myself that this milestone is really quite a long way off and so I don't need to start panicking about it just yet (although I did have to resist the urge to set a task reminder for 24 months ahead), I started thinking about back to school time. The brand new pencil case and sharpened pencils, shiny black patent shoes polished to within an inch of their lives with Vaseline (just my family then?), lunch box jammed full of healthy grub that will be swapped for crisps and chocolate in the school canteen.... and the tights.

Bit of a sore point here. When I was a girl *thinks back wistfully before realising just how long ago that really was* it seems we had to wear navy blue tights regardless of the weather. Warm day in September? Tough luck. Get your tights on. As I moved up through the school I swapped navy woolly tights for natural 15-denier grown-up ones and spent most of my break times repairing the holes in them with nail varnish. Will this cycle repeat itself for DD? I wonder...

Well best to be prepared I suppose, so it's helpful that Tights Please sent DD a pair of lovely creamy yellow Sarah Borghi tights and asked us to review their site. (P.S. There's a giveaway coming up so keep reading!)

Tights Please was born in 2000 out of the frustration at the inconvenience of going to the shops to buy tights, stockings, hold ups and socks. 'What is the point in going to buy a pair of tights for a few pounds and paying at least as much again in petrol and parking?' they thought, 'only to then find the shop didn't stock what you wanted in the first place!' Quite so. Since then tightsplease has grown to be one of the largest online hosiery retailers in the world and at any one time they stock over 15,000 pairs of the tights, stockings, hold ups, socks, lingerie and shapewear. (Phew, wouldn't want to do a stock-check at their place.) Here's what we thought of their shopping experience:

Delivery - Quick and easy and packages come in small, convenient sizes to fit straight through your letter box. If you order before 4pm they'll despatch the same day if what you want is in stock. DD's tights arrived wrapped in tissue paper with a sprinkling of fabric rose petals inside. So pretty and an attention to detail some bigger names could take note of.

Customer Service - Good returns policy and 100% price match guarantee means I'd shop without worrying.

Website ease of use - I was surprised that there was no 'back to school' banner on the home page (it appeared later the same day though) and I actually found it surprisingly difficult to find the kids section as it doesn't have its own tab on the site. You have to click on tights and then select kids under the customer tab. A lot of people will assume their isn't a children's offering and click away, which is a shame. That said, the site is quite easy to use once you get to the kids section with the ability to search by different criteria and I know from speaking to them that Tights Please are working on the navigation to make it more intuitive.

Range - Considering that this is the prime time to buy back to school tights and socks for children there was a smaller range available than I expected, and very little for toddlers at all. Again, I raised this with Tights Please and they're looking into getting a broader range of children's products. Although the range is small, there are some good deals including 5 and 15 pair packs.

In a competitive marketplace with other online tights retailers such as UK Tights, Sock Shop and My Tights all vying for customers there are some improvements that Tightsplease could make to their online shopping experience but I love the delivery times, attention to detail, the customer service promise and their quick responses to my comments.

I've got two packs of 5 Sarah Borghi girl's tights to give away courtesy of Tights Please. They're perfect for going back to school and come in dark navy or black. Just leave me a comment below with your email or Twitter address and let me know what colour and size (2-3 years, 4-5 years, 6-8 years or 9-11 years) you'd like if you're the lucky winner. For an extra entry, tweet: I've entered the Bod for tea back to school tights giveaway, have you? #Bodstights and add a link to this page.

This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household, and will be open until 1pm on Tuesday 30 August 2011. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random. You don't have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my or follow me on as part of your entry. (But I wouldn't complain if you did!)

Disclaimer: sent us one pair of toddlers tights to review and two packs of 5 tights to offer as a giveaway prize. All the opinions in this post are my own.

Image: photostock /

Monday, 15 August 2011

Eton Mess with a twist

I love Eton Mess in all it's calorific glory. Crushed meringue and double cream oozing with summer fruits. What could be better? Well, if you'll indulge me, perhaps this, my own twist on Eton Mess with added crunchy chewy bits from vanilla blondies. I made a batch a while back for a friend's kiddie birthday party and had a few left over (plus the harder bits I always seem to get round the edge) so I froze them. When Eton Mess day arrived (doesn't everyone have an Eton Mess day? Oh, it's just me...) I defrosted them and blitzed them in the food processor until they were small chunks but not totally crumbs and added them to the meringue before stirring through the other ingredients. OMG. Heavenly.

Here's the full recipe if you fancy giving it a go. You can of course make it with or without the blondies but for a great vanilla blondie recipe I'd recommend Vanessa Kimbell's book ''.

Eton Mess with Vanilla Blondies (serves 6-8)

4 large or 12 mini meringue shells
2 tbsp icing sugar
600ml double cream
500g mixed berry fruits
Vanilla blondies blitzed into small pieces (optional)

1. Put the meringues into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they're small chunks. Great for releasing all that pent-up anger (err... just me again?) but don't whack them so hard that they turn to dust. The chunks are the best bit.

2. Whip the double cream with the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks, not too stiff though.

3. Add the meringue and blondies (if using them) to the double cream and fold together. Then either add the berry fruits and fold once or twice only or add the fruits to the glasses afterwards as I've done in the photo. Either way you want to be able to see some of the fruit without it being totally hidden by the cream.

4. Spoon into pretty glasses lick out the bowl and serve to your guests.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 12 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

Lots of lovely reasons to be cheerful this week...

We're having a 'staycation' this summer instead of going away and it's really making me appreciate the attractions on our doorstep. Even on rainy days it's a pleasure just hanging out indoors now that the house is starting to look more like a home and less like a jumble sale (I am NEVER moving countries again. Please remind me of this if I ever mention I want to). But I am wondering whether a mummy can really have a holiday at home? What do you think?

With MIL relatively close by in the village DD is getting to spend lots of time with her and they're both loving it. Overdue and much deserved on both sides.

Big family dinner this weekend and we've invited the whole Bod for tea brood round to share roast lamb with all the trimmings and my terrifically indulgent Eton Mess for pud. Yum!

What are your reasons for being cheerful this week? Pop 'em down and share them over at lovely 's place.

Review: Will this help DD drink more water?

It's been unseasonably warm the past few days and I've been consciously trying to get DD to drink plenty of water so that she doesn't get dehydrated in the sun. But getting a little to drink water isn't always that simple. When we get thirsty, we drink. It goes something like this:

Me: I'm thirsty. Think I'll get a drink of water. *Gulps*. That's better.

For DD it's more like:

DD: I'm thirsty. Oooo look at that butterfly... chase you! Gimme, gimme, gimme..... get that cup out of my face Mummy, can't you see I've got all this playing to do??!! Oooooo... what's that? *Runs off in opposite direction*

You see my point.

So when Silver Spring sent me over some of their new kiddy size bottles of water to try, I was eager to see how DD would react to them.

These bottles are the perfect size for small hands
The 300ml bottles of HiT Children's Spring Water are ideal for small hands and the perfect size for lunch boxes, a handbag or baby bag. They cost 49p per individual bottle or £2.49 for a pack of 6. Bottled from source from the North Downs of Kent, they contain naturally present calcium, come in four colours and feature kiddie favourite characters Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, and Thomas the Tank Engine. I though DD would head straight for the pink Angelina bottle but her favourite colour seems to be red at the moment so Fireman Sam got her vote and she grabbed it off the table before I had the chance to open it.

"Open it, open it!"

Mmmm... patience is not any two year old's strong suit I s'pose. But I was pleased the bottle grabbed her attention. Tick. Once the cap was off (not attached to the bottle unfortunately so could be a choking hazard, but that's the same with most bottled waters) DD was straight in trying to drink the water. She did find it a bit hard to get any out at first as it has the same top as an adult bottle and it does take a bit of sucking to get the water flowing. I must admit she lost interest for a while until I showed her how to do it. 

Overall, I'd give HiT Children's Spring Water the thumbs up. Anything that gets children drinking water is brilliant and while DD had some trouble drinking from the bottle I expect that's because it's aimed at slightly older children. 

Disclaimer: I received three bottles of HiT Children's Spring Water to trial and no other compensation. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.

Image: Silver Spring

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Seven words

Me likey this linky. There's a simplicity about the requirement to crystallise your week into just seven words that makes the result ring so true...

What, more boxes? You cannot be serious.

A 'moving' tribute to Mr McEnroe, perhaps? (Sorry)

Why have we got lots of boxes? Read why  and  and then pop over to for more seven word fun.

Monday, 8 August 2011

What really happened on Silent Sunday

For a squillion very good reasons (which you can read here) and because it's the uber talented Mocha Beanie Mummy's show and she says so, Silent Sunday is silent. That means no explanation. In fact no words. None. Nada. And so to everyone who was squirming in their seat when they popped over yesterday expecting to see a nice field or perhaps some fruit, I'm sorry. But you see I couldn't prepare you for the clearly rather scary little fellow that I snapped this week in our kitchen eating it's lunch. Need a reminder? Look away now if you've got even a slight leaning towards arachnophobia...

Mmmm... lunch
Now that it's Monday, let me explain. I came across Sid (we Christen all our spiders Sid, for reasons lost in the mists of time) in the kitchen on Friday. It (he/she??) was motionless and about the half the size of the palm of my hand including legs. We have a lot of spiders in this house and while I wouldn't want them crawling all over me, I'm not terrified of them so I stopped to see what it was doing. I thought perhaps it was dead at first, then I saw that big bundle and wondered if it was an egg sack. Then I wondered whether the sack would burst open and shower my clean kitchen floor with a gajillion baby spiders. And I'd just mopped. But then I got down on my hands and knees and took a closer look through the camera lens and I realised that what it was holding was actually lunch. 

Now lunch for a spider in this house requires another explanation. We have house martins. I love the sound they make as they twitter to each other and I love watching them dive across the sky catching food for their babies. I DON'T love the copious amounts of poo that they generate all over our patio, window ledges, car, plants and any other solid surface. It makes a mess and it attracts flies. And what like flies? Exactamente. 

Anyhow, back to Sid. Just above where Sid was sitting is a fly exterminator. No, really. It's an electric circle of death for insects with an ultraviolet light that attracts them in and then zzzzzzaaaaappp! You used to be able to find them in chip shops, remember? We bought it in China when DD was teeny tiny (and she was a very teeny tiny - just 4 pounds) to stop the mosquitoes from eating her alive. But when we discovered it while unpacking our mountain of boxes that arrived last week I saw a glint in OH's eye. It was the same look that lions get when they spot a wounded animal on the great plains. Kill. And so it now sits in the kitchen despatching the flies and wasps attracted by the bird poo. Anyway (again) one must have been zapped out of the circle of death and landed on the floor. Hence lunch for Sid.

Shall I tell you about the even bigger and hairier Sid that was sitting in the bedroom yesterday? And that when DD poked it in the eye it jumped down (yes jumped) onto the floor in front of her? No? Oh, ok then.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 5 August 2011

Dear So and So...

Dear 80+ boxes of stuff,

Seriously, I know it's a long way, and you probably got a bit bored, but did you breed on the way over from China? Seems like a lot more of you than when we left...

No idea where to put you and still can't find the Clippits.


Dear workmen coming to the house,

I have a toddler. She naps well but NOT IF YOU SHOUT AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE. If you could lower the volume just a touch I'd appreciate it muchly. (And I don't need the smart arse comments about DD being a light sleeper and how your child/grandchild/neice could sleep through an earthquake either.)

Not enjoying afternoons with an over-tired toddler.


Dear DD,

Thank you my darling for taking all this change in your stride and not batting an eyelid. You're one cool kid, kiddo.

Adoring Mummy.


Dear lovely new Mummys I'm meeting,

Thank you for not mentioning the slightly wild look I have in my eyes at the moment. It will pass as soon as we're settled and I get to know you better. (I hope) If I scared you but talking non-stop and laughing just a little hysterically, I'm sorry. Too much coffee, not enough sleep and a house that looks like a jumble sale  can do that to a control-freak gal like me.

Gibbering wreck.


Do you have any letters this week? Link 'em up over at .

Image credit:
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