Friday 30 September 2016

Open Evening!

It is that time of the year, where all the schools are holding open evenings for prospective parents for the next academic year. I've got away with this for the the last few years, but this year, it was our turn.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my two babies are growing up, and this year sees Miss. D starting her GCSE studies in Year 9  and Miss. L entering the final year of her primary school education. It's scary to think just how quickly the time has passed by, but pass by it has and now we are looking at secondary schools (again).

Wednesday 28 September 2016

A Public Apology to My Teen

I have an apology to make to Miss. D. You see, she has been looking through my blog, apparently with a fine tooth comb, and has picked up on an absolutely dreadful error. It's almost too terrible to return to; I am so racked with guilt. I cannot believe I did this. I am a terrible mother!

What on earth have you done that is so bad (you terrible mother)? Well I have wrongly taken credit for doing something I do not do. I am so embarrassed.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

A Serious Word

I knew it! I looked at that face, and I just knew that he'd been up to something, I just wasn't sure what it was!

No Mum, I didn't do anything! I am a good boy!

There I was signing into my social media accounts and that's when I discovered what Max had done!
Hmmm, he clearly thought the cute factor would convince me he hadn't done anything, but he forgot that I have set new posts to pop up on Facebook and Twitter automatically, hence, Little Orange Dog is busted (I've always wanted to say that, perhaps I spent a little too much time watching Phineas and Ferb)! Oh Max, you cheeky, cheeky boy!

Monday 26 September 2016

Hello from Max!

Hello, Max here. Don't tell Mum that I have been using her laptop. She doesn't know that I am a clever boy. She thinks I am a bit stupid, but I'm not. I am clever!

Mum spends lots of time on laptop and I wanted to see what she has been doing. There are lot of pictures of me. I am a handsome boy! I know because Mum always tells me I am handsome! I love Mum so much! I want to be like Mum when I grow up, so I am helping her now by doing some writing for her. I am a helpful boy too! She will be very happy with me and I will get a treat.

She not give me many treats. She make me wait until I have been for a walk, then I get a treat. I like treats! Why do I not get more of them? Mum says I will turn into a footstool if I eat too much. I don't know what that is, but I think it doesn't get many treats. That is sad.

When Mum is on laptop, it look easy. Why it not easy for Max? My paws are bit big! Next time I will get Miss. L to help me. She talks dog, so she knows what I want her to say for me. I love her too. She plays games with me and she try to teach me tricks, but I not really like doing tricks.

Miss. D is nice too. I love her lots, but I growl at her because I seen how much she eats and I think she will take my food away or try to eat my toy burger. Mum never tells her she will turn into a footstool though. Why?

I got a cat too. She is called Sparkle. I want to be her friend. I try to play with her, but I no think she likes me. Sparkle always runs away and makes me feel sad. I just want to play!

Oh no! I hear Mummy coming back. I got to go now, I want to surprise her. I talk to you again soon.
Sssshhhhhh you not tell her what I done. Woof!

Sunday 25 September 2016

Tell Me the Truth...

So, that is my baby girl, Miss L, in a photo from quite some years ago. Cute wasn't she, and blonde too. She's still pretty cute, but she's not little anymore and this week, I've had a few reminders that she is indeed growing up.

First a letter from school came back explaining the transition to secondary school and how to apply for secondary school places. Confession time, I've not looked at it because a) I know what to do, I did it a few years ago, so I'm pretty confident I can manage this process and b) how is my youngest old enough to be looking at secondary schools, did I not just apply for a place at primary? Note to self, look more carefully down the back of the sofa, that lost time is definitely hiding somewhere! Don't get me wrong, I most certainly will not be crying at the secondary school gates when she trots off to big school next September, but I am a little, teeny weeny bit in denial about it because the time really has flown by! Also, I need Miss D to outgrow her blazer so I can hand it down to Miss L (isn't that what you're supposed to do?).

Today, I had a Facebook Memories notification pop up on my news feed from 7 years ago. This one broke my heart a little. You see, from a very young age and until about 5 years ago, Miss L, couldn't say 'footprints'. It was so adorable. If you asked her what her feet left in the snow, she would tell you 'pootfrints'. I told you it was adorable. I just love the way that children get words wrong. I remember the first time that she said 'footprints', I was so sad and ironically Facebook reminded me of it this week, the week that I have had to pop my big girl pants on and face up to the fact that this little one is now not so little.

I picked Miss L up from school (I hasten to add, I do always pick her up from school; the school's tend to frown upon you if you don't collect your child), and we started the drive home. She's usually quite quiet on the way home from school, but then she asks the question I've been dreading... 'Mum tell me the truth, is the tooth fairy real?' Noooooooo! Not only has my baby girl asked the question, she's asked exactly the same way her sister did and at the same age. I am sad, but I can't lie to her so I have to tell her the truth.

Miss T. Fairy will shortly be putting her home up for sale!

So, yes I told her the truth and as expected she asked if it was myself whom left the money and took the tooth, again I told her the truth. Then she said that it was okay, I didn't have to leave the money anymore, I could keep it and buy myself something instead. Now I feeling even sadder, she doesn't want to even play 'tooth fairy' anymore.

However, it gets worse. It gets much, much worse, because the next question is, 'So, is Father Christmas not real either?' My world fell apart, now no one in my house believes in Father Christmas and I am sad, sad, sad!

Father Christmas will not be looking so jolly this year!

Of course, the stockings will still be hung up by the fire place, and we will still leave out the milk and mince pie for Santa (and a carrot for Rudolph), but it won't be the same. And on Christmas morning, the girls will come down and happily empty the contents of their stockings, but again it won't be quite the same. I suppose that on the plus side, I could now ask them to leave out a cuppa for Santa, or better still a glass of wine, as I really don't like milk! You see, there's always a positive side to everything!

Thursday 22 September 2016

Dinner Time!

Now, I am not really one for sharing recipes or pictures of food etc, but today I have to break that cycle. First, because K has asked me to share some of my cheats recipes and secondly because tonight's dinner was super yummy, if I say so myself. It was also stupidly easy!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Sausage and Bean Bake...

Apologies for camera shake, I was a little hungry!

I've been making this for a few years now after finding it in a cookery magazine; don't ask me which one, I can't remember what happened last week let alone where I found a recipe years back. Anyway, it's become something of a firm favourite as it is so simple to make that you could almost do it in your sleep.

Do You Know What To Do?

I've been a little quiet this week, which has probably been a bit of a blessing for you, lovely reader as it's given you a nice break from reading my rambling posts about all sorts of stuff and nonsense. Awfully, sorry to burst your bubble, but I've been away on a course and said course has got me thinking; and we all know what happens when I think, you get another post from me.

I think the picture at the top of the page gives it away a little, although I will excuse you if you know me well and, therefore, assume I have had yet another accident, but no, I have in fact been on a two day paediatric first aid course. Hence the plasters, because small people always need a plaster (or 5); some of them have a bit of a plaster obsession, don't they? Miss. L still loves a plaster. Any excuse and she's sticking one on! However, I digress, yet again.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Mister Orange Dog

Well, I did say in my last post that Mister Orange Dog, or Mister if I can't be bothered to type out his full 'name,' was busy picking his own pseudonym for the purpose of being referred to in the blog.

Now, at the time, this seemed like a perfectly sensible thing to do, let the gent choose his own name...what could possibly go wrong? It was after all a simple task, dare I say, a safe task with which to entrust to him, particularly given that he is really rather creative. He's also very competitive so I was very confident that he was going to come up with something completely brilliant.

And this is what he came up with; actually, let me just share how the text messages went, just so you get an idea of Mister Orange Dog's sense of humour...

Me: You need to sort your name out Mr. Orange Dog.

Him : Mr. Top Dog!

Me: That's verging on rude lol

Sunday 18 September 2016

Love Online

Floral Heart
Well I thought today, I might share my story of the minefield known as, 'Online Dating'. Eek just the term has a tendency to leave one cold, or perhaps it's just me?

Anyway, it is most certainly, not something that I had ever, and I do mean EVER envisioned myself doing, but when both a friend and my eldest daughter suggested I give it a go, I thought I should probably reconsider. What did I have to lose after all, other than my naivety?

Friday 16 September 2016

Thinking Of You Week

I wasn't planning on posting today, but then I realised that time is passing by very quickly since the children have returned to school and Thinking of You Week is creeping up fast.

This particular week is very close to my heart for many reasons. If you read the blog from time to time you may have seen the post I made on World Suicide Prevention Day, where I shared my own personal story of losing someone in this cruel way. However, I am also aware that I have friends who have suffered or do suffer from some form of mental illness and have myself suffered from depression in the past.

Thursday 15 September 2016

When Did That Happen?

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I love my girls, but I am trying to find those years that seem to have rushed by whilst I wasn't looking. You know, the ones where they suddenly went from baby to independent tween/ teen. I've tried checking behind the sofa, but they're not there, nor are they hiding under any of the beds. I've even checked in the chaos of the garage, and yet those elusive years remain just that, elusive.

Victorian Day at School
 And now they are big. Miss D was in Year 5 when this photo was taken, she is now in Year 9, about four inches taller than me (to be fair, this is not a particularly difficult feat, given that I am rather vertically challenged at only 5' 1'') and Miss L is now in Year 6.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

I'm a Blogger?

I thought it was about time I addressed this one, as I have had a few conversations with a certain blogger who has to remind me that I am a blogger. Eek! My response is usually, no I'm not, I just have a blog, to which his response is, 'You have a blog, therefore, you are a blogger.'

He's right of course. I do indeed have a blog and I do try to post regularly, so why do I not consider myself to be a blogger?

Well although I started the blog a while ago, it wasn't until July that I really started to get serious about it. And by serious, I mean posting regularly and making myself accountable to three friends already blogging. That was a good move as I can also pick their brains and pick away I do, but my goodness, what a can of worms this blogging lark is! 

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Meet the Parents

For those of you who read the blog regularly, you'll know that in my last post I alluded to having a rather lovely man in my life.

Well I'm pleased to say, that we are, a year and a half after meeting, still going strong. He's rather lovely (yes I know I've already said that, but humour me a little here), he makes me laugh, a lot and is very kind and thoughtful. He's also a little sad that he has not yet been included in any of my posts.

Saturday 10 September 2016

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, Saturday 10th September, 2016.

I was unaware of this until a couple of days ago when I read a post by someone who had suffered the trauma of losing their beautiful child. It was the first I'd heard or WSPD. I also hadn't realised that it is actually today and that since 2003 has been run every 10th September.

So why am I, a happy, slightly crazy, single mummy of two writing a post about World Suicide Prevention Day? Deep breath, I can feel the tears stinging my eyes even as I begin to tell you...I have a story to tell of loss of a loved one who felt there was no other way.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Back to School - Back to Normal

Well, we've almost done it. We have (almost, because it's not quite Friday) survived the first week back at school after the long summer break.

The girls seem to have taken to it better than I have. Miss D is her usual studious self. She gets herself up early to get ready for school, goes off with no complaints whatsoever and never has to be asked to do homework or revision.A slight aside, but on the rare occasion that she is poorly, I have to send her back up to her room to change out of her uniform and go back to bed. That said, Little Miss L is starting to get up earlier now; although she is really not a morning person, so she tends to be a little grumpy until we actually get out on the school run. Oh and of course two days in and she has spent most of the day sitting the various papers that make up the Kent Test (11+). Her verdict, 'It wasn't easy, but it wasn't too difficult.' I'm not entirely sure what to make of that comment, so will pass judgement when the results arrive in October, but having done her best, I'll be happy whatever the result.

I must confess, I am struggling to get back into my 'normal' routine, not helped by the first day of Miss. L's school year starting on a Tuesday. I can't cope, it's thrown me out completely.  I almost missed a Doctor's appointment because it was booked for Wednesday (yesterday) and I thought yesterday was Tuesday. Does that make sense? You see, I really am confused! I made it, thankfully, with help from the lovely K who collected Miss. L from school. She is such a lifesaver!

It's not just forgetting what day of the week it is though. It's all those little things you have to do when the kids are back at school. Of course there is the alarm going off before 6:30am (urgh) and the school runs, but there are all those little things you don't need to worry about during the holidays. Once this week I have remembered to plait Miss L's hair before we have to leave the house. We've been rushing out of the door with me shouting, 'Don't forget to pick up your hairbrush and hairband.' Is it just me that can't remember to do such a simple thing? I think it is, I've not noticed any other mummies attempting to plait very long hair in the confines of a little car (a challenge in itself).

Oh and let's not forget the packed lunches! Now, I am absolutely sure it's not just me, who really dislikes making packed lunches. It's crazy really, because if I timed it, I would probably find that it takes less than 10 minutes to make, and yet those are the dullest 10 minutes of the day! However hard I try I just cannot find a way of making this particular job interesting and fun to do. Suggestions in the comments box, please!

And of course there are the weekly chores. I love the summer break, because it means less ironing. Most of the girls summer clothes don't require any ironing (fabulous), but school uniform is another matter. So it's back to weekends of ironing pleats into skirts and pressing blouses, ready for Monday morning and do not forget to clean and polish those school shoes!

But the biggest thing, that I'm struggling with, is not having the girls around as much. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased they're back at school (I don't have to hang around waiting for them to get ready just so I can walk our Little Orange Dog), but it's still strange after so many weeks of us being together. The house seems a little too quiet and I don't have to clean up after them as much. We've had a lot of fun these holidays with days out, seeing friends and a spot of crafting and I intend to keep it up. No more wasting the weekends! Of course, now that I've just put it in black and white, I am now accountable to all you lovelies to keep to my word.

And do you know something? Ssshhhhhh, don't tell anyone else, but there are only six weeks until the next school break ;-)

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Wednesday 7 September 2016

Max's Favourite Spot

Little Orange Dog has a few favourite places to sit. Obviously, the first is a lap; any lap, it doesn't really matter to whom the lap belongs, so long as it's comfy and not likely to need to move for quite some time. Next is the sofa. We have three, which I realise sounds greedy, but we have one in the playroom and two in the living room. Max likes to stretch himself out and have a whole sofa to himself if possible, or curl up in a corner and rest his head on the arm.

What do you mean, it is my sofa!

Sometimes, he just likes to curl up on his own cosy cushion...

This is quite comfy too!

...but Max has another favourite place to sit and almost every time I go out I find him in this spot when I return. 

So where else does he sit? On the stairs, of course. I can only imagine it's because he has full view of the front door and he can keep watch for me, but it does rather remind me of Kermit the Frog. Please bear with me here.  You see, as a child of the '70's I was a huge Muppet fan and still am. I watched it every week and had the songs on a cassette (anyone else remember those?). Anyway, one song has always stuck in my mind and every time I have to step over Max, either on my way up, or down the stairs it springs to mind (and then stays there for the rest of the day). It was a song sung by Kermit's nephew, Robin and it was called 'Halfway Up The Stairs' If you are not familiar with it, Robin sings about how he likes to sit, well, halfway up the stairs.

So, not a little frog, but a little dog (not quite sitting) Halfway Up The Stairs.

'There isn't any other stair, quite like it'

Cute isn't he?

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Monday 5 September 2016

Welcome to Year 6

So as our little ones are preparing to go to school for the first time, let's not forget that our Year 6's are about to embark on their final year at Primary school. This final year, for them, is a preparation for their secondary education. A year of revision, more homework and tests.

For those of us living in the beautiful 'Garden of England' this means that within days of returning to school, they will be sitting the Kent Test (or 11+) which will determine what type of secondary education is going to be most suitable for them. In other words, Grammar or Non-Grammar school education.

When I was at primary school, back in the late 70's, early 80's we were all very aware of the 11+ test, but it wasn't such a big deal. There was no real preparation, we just went in to school one day, were told we were sitting a test and well, that's pretty much it. The results, of course, were a different matter, we were all desperate to see how we'd done with some people jubilant, and others a little disappointed. However, all those feelings died down remarkably quickly as we returned to doing what kids did in those days, riding our bikes, playing football and just generally being out of the house with our friends in the fresh air (no computers or phones for us).

Not so today. Today, we have to register our children in Year 5 to take the test in Year 6. They are already aware of the test, but this whole registration, together with the CAT test (Cognitive Ability Test) gets them thinking about the upcoming 11+ and, yes it does add pressure. Now, add to that the children who are tutored to take the test and you've got a melting pot of emotions that never existed when I sat the test all those decades ago (I could even say last century, eek).

Miss L, is a bright little button, she did well on her CAT test (no, I will not divulge her score, whilst proud of her, I personally find bragging about my children's achievements rather vulgar, but that's just me) and she is expected to do well in her 11+. But or even BUT (because this is a big thing), she had a total melt down the other day about random, silly things that were all unrelated. Everything and anything was upsetting her. We finally got to the bottom of it and guess what the root cause was? The 11+ Test! Now, this is a child who has not been tutored, is naturally bright and has always been told that as long as she's done her best, that's good enough for us. I must add here, that just because she's not been tutored doesn't mean we've not prepared her at all, she has had access to the Bond 11+ practise online and has used it, when she wants to. So, no pressure from me or her Dad at all, and yet still she is worried about it.

This made me really sad. She is 10 years old and already getting stressed and upset about a test. The crazy thing is, neither she, nor I want her to go to the grammar school. It's an all girls school and Miss L is not really a girly girl, she's a tomboy and enjoys being around other tomboys and 'real' boys. We talked about this as I thought it may help to relieve the pressure, but she still wants to pass so that she can go straight in to the grammar stream at her sister's school. I've decided to avoid any further upset by not talking about it now until the day, then it will be, 'Good luck, Do your best and I'll be proud of you whatever.'

And yes, they do have grammar streams in non-grammar schools (well we do at least, in our County)! You see, all is not lost if your child doesn't quite manage to get that much coveted grammar school place. Yes, you can go through the appeal process, should you wish to and I may have done so with my eldest, if I were confident that she would cope with the pressure of grammar school combined with the pressure she places on herself to do well; or you could send them to a non-grammar and encourage them to work hard to get a grammar stream place. What I personally like about this option is that it is not a guaranteed place, so they have to consistently work hard to maintain it.

It's not really about us though, it's about our children and what's best for them. Some children who are bright will suit a grammar school education, others may flourish better in a non grammar where they have the option to explore some less academic subjects (for instance, my eldest has been able to study Child Development at her school, not a choice she would have had at grammar). What grammar schools give us as parents, is a wider choice of schools and for those of us that have this option, we are very lucky.

So, remember that Year 6 is a tough year, and please, don't make the 11+ something more than it is - a test to determine the type of education that best suits the child. All our children need from us is to know they are loved, and that we will support them whatever. There will be much bigger and more important hurdles to get over later in their school careers.

Sunday 4 September 2016

First Day at School - The Alternative Tips

So this week sees lots of our beautiful little darlings starting school for the first time. For lots of mummies this a stressful and upsetting time. They'll be lots of tears and a real risk of seeing panic buying of tissues from supermarkets, pharmacies and corner shops! For these mummies, there are a host of useful tips available on the Internet.

However, what if you're not one of the emotional mummies? What do you do? Well especially for you, here is my alternative, and somewhat tongue in cheek, list of things to do on your little ones first ever day at school.

  1. Keep your excitement in check at the breakfast table. You don't want your little cherub thinking that you can't wait to get rid of them for a few hours. If you really have to do the Happy Mummy Dance find somewhere out of cherub's view!
  2. Do arrive at school nice and early, parking spaces are limited and can cause all sorts of drama. Getting there early will not only secure you a parking space, but if you choose your space wisely, will give you a fabulous vantage point of the unfolding mayhem that will almost certainly occur with the latecomers. 
  3. (Or perhaps 2b) Do not under any circumstance get caught sniggering at the car park fiascos! Apparently, it's not socially acceptable, but very amusing all the same.
  4. Do go loaded with tissues. You will be everyones new best friend.
  5. Once you have deposited your little darling with a quick hug and 'have fun' (ignoring any tears or tantrums) do not, I repeat, do not get the bunting out and start waving flags or blowing whistles in celebration of your new found freedom. Again, it is not deemed socially acceptable. Instead, retreat to the safety of your car to do the Happy Mummy Dance. Try not to be seen, you may get funny looks and find people giving you a wide berth, or calling the men in white coats.
  6. Do find another like minded mummy; you won't be the only one celebrating, and exit stage left (or right) as swiftly and preferably as covertly as possible. Retreat to the relative safety of the car park and do a joint Happy Mummy Dance.
  7. Go home, put the kettle on and enjoy the peace and quiet. You're going to need a rest ready to run the gauntlet otherwise known as, the afternoon school run (return to point 2).

So to all of you with little ones starting school this week, good luck, have fun and whether you're a happy mummy looking forward to it, or an emotional mummy dreading it, enjoy your babies and all the exciting things they will make you at school; the drawings and scribbles the junk models and glitter cards and do a little Happy Mummy Dance :-)

Girls Garden Party

So you may remember from my last post 'Birthday Blooms' that I was super excited about meeting up with the girls to belatedly celebrate K's birthday.

Trust me, the excitement didn't wear off. I spent all of Friday, trying to find things to do to keep busy. And I certainly managed that, starting with a trip to Dunelm to buy a new bread bin. I really do know how to lead the high life, I can tell already you're jealous. Of course, I didn't just leave with a bread bin, there were lots of beautiful buttons and some gorgeous jute ribbon and twine that just happened to jump into my basket, along with a rather plain hanging heart that is just screaming to be made more interesting. From Dunelm it was a quick sprint to Homebase to buy plants for the new season and for little Miss. L to pick up some colour charts (apparently she is wanting to give her bedroom a nautical theme. I imagine, she is expecting me to foot the bill, but at least she is being creative). Anyway, plants and extra compost purchased, we headed off home.

Now I had a distraction, which was just as well as I was already planning what time I could start getting ready and what I might wear. I really do need to get out more often!

With rain forecast for later in the afternoon, I decided that we'd best get out in the garden and get planting. We kept it simple, pansies, violas and cyclamen. Oh, and some bulbs for a bit of colour in the Spring. Miss L was a great help as always, she really does enjoy gardening. She was truly fabulous at the tidying and was a whizz at planting.

Planting the Cyclamen

Is it just me, or does anyone else think pansies have cute faces?
Would you believe, we ran out of plants and compost, so we still have two pots with dead summer flowers in, but hey ho, at least we have another project for another day!

So with the gardening done, I checked my watch to see if now would be a good time to cover those pesky grey hairs with the dye I brought earlier in the week. Still too early, so I set about housework followed by a dog walk and finally, I could justify starting to get ready! 

I'm a mummy whom, we have already established doesn't get out much so the whole getting ready process takes a long time. I want to enjoy it and have a jolly good pampering session and pamper I did, finally finishing barely minutes before the girls dad turned up to collect them and take them for dinner. Then another quick dog walk (in heels, I really didn't think it through) and it was off out to collect the big girls for our Birthday Garden Party at K's.

Thankfully, the weather was kind to us and we were able to use the garden as planned. We were all super excited to find that not only was it dry, but K had her chiminea burning and giving out lots of lovely heat to keep us toasty warm. Better still, there was an abundance of lovely snacks to enjoy and C had made a birthday cake. We got started on the drinks and natter quite quickly ( I was on the hard stuff, cherry cola). The birthday girl opened her pressie, relief at this point from me as she was very pleased with her gift, and back to catching up. 

Time just flew by, and soon the poor chiminea needed stoking up again, And this is where it gets really interesting. K's husband had originally got the fire going (men are so good at that kind of thing aren't they?), but now it was K's turn. I'll be blunt, I'm sure she won't be offended, especially given that it got mentioned a lot on the night, but it wasn't really a great success, and well this is what happened...

Look closely, amongst the smoke is a chiminea! you can see, or not as the case may be, there wasn't really much going on in the flame department and actually, the smoke seemed to be following me. I felt like a smoke magnet. Every time I moved, it quite literally followed me! Eventually Mr. K was called and he got the flames going and the smoke away before braving it with us girlies for a quick drink.

As mentioned, C had made a lovely chocolate birthday cake, so we popped indoors to arrange some candles on it and then came out singing the obligatory, Happy Birthday song! It was a bit breezy, so the birthday girl only got to blow out the three or four candles not already extinguished by dear, sweet, Mother Nature. Now K was very excited at this point as she had an excuse to use her new cake slice; it was a very beautiful gift given to her recently, a white ceramic cake slice. She was busy telling us that she didn't dare put in in the drawer as she was scared it would break and Mr. K added his two pennies worth saying he gave it's life expectancy as four months. It actually lasted the sum total of four slices, before this happened... can probably imagine the hilarity the breakage caused, given that by this time, most of the girls, (okay all but me) had consumed a few glasses of wine. 

There was a whole lot more hilarity as the evening went on. Lots, and I do mean lots of both intended and unintended innuendos. E was left literally crying with laughter at a comment made about an organ (as in church organ). C was desperate to call the Fire Brigade to the chiminea as she wanted to see the firemen, but forgot all about them when she got excited about The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Little K discovered who said Chili Peppers were and we all discovered that E and C were both too young to know who Val Doonican is/was. And the lovely A who turned up later, was delighted to find she could have a glass of wine and get a lift home rather than joining me on the soft stuff.

We finally left at 12.20am, which given that we're all mummies and with the exception of myself, have young children, was really rather impressive. I popped on my taxi hat and made sure everyone got home before arriving back to my own home and relieving the girls dad of his babysitting duties, along with huge apologies for my lateness. Once he'd left I realised just how badly I smelled like a bonfire and having just changed my bedding, didn't want to make my nice clean, cosy bed smell smokey, so at 12.40am it was off for a shower and hair wash before finally collapsing into bed at 1am only to have to get up at 8am for a meeting. 

I'm actually, still recovering from the lack of sleep, but the fun and laughter with good friends, is well worth it!

So roll on the next birthday celebrations and more fun, and laughter, with maybe a little less smoke ;-)

Friday 2 September 2016

Birthday Blooms

As a single mummy, okay as a mummy, full stop...I generally, find that my kids are out and about more than I am and that their social lives are far more interesting than my own. I don't really mind this too much, it's part of growing up, making new friends and developing personality and independence etc. I'm generally quite happy at home on my own, reading, crafting (I am so getting into this crafting lark) and walking our little orange dog, but sometimes, it is nice to get out and see other adults.

So how thrilled was I to get a text from one of my best friends in the world, inviting some of the 'girls' round to her house on Friday for a belated birthday celebration. I can't wait, within minutes of receiving said text, I'd managed to persuade the girls dad to have them for a few hours (not that it took much persuasion) and texted back with a big, fat YES count me in! Next was the gift.

Now, cards are not a problem in this house, thanks to my lovely little business selling them (have you visited my website yet? You really should, there's a lovely little link in the top left of the page for it, give it a click). Gosh that was very cheeky of me, wasn't it? Anyway, back to the gift. I was a little stumped to be honest. This friend is so special that I didn't want to get anything too run of the mill, but then a sudden surge of inspiration hit and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

So whilst out in town and having purchased hair dye (I need to make sure I look lovely for our girls night) I popped into Wilkinson's to get some craft supplies for my birthday project.

Back home and a dog walk later, it was time to get started. First off, get all my bits and bobs ready and think about how I'm going to arrange it.

And then the best part, gluing, with my new best crafty friend, glue gun! I do like a bit of gluing, I find it very relaxing. Lydia also seemed to enjoy the gluing she was doing finishing off her decoupage lizard (once it's finished properly, I will do a separate lizard post).

I started off with the main focal point then checked it in the frame to see what, if anything, needed to be added. Libby suggested some jute ribbon around the edges, so I added that. It looked nice, but it was still missing something...of course buttons (I just love buttons) so they were added too and well, here's the finished result.

I just hope the birthday girl likes it.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Christmas Has Landed

I know it's only September, but Christmas has landed and if you are anything like me, you will want to avoid the torture of shopping centres and the like as though your life depends on it.

Well the good news is that it's never too early to get started and a browse through the Autumn/Winter Phoenix Trading Brochure or website ( will help you find everything 'stationery' you could possibly need  without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

And the best part? For every Christmas card sold Phoenix gives 1p to it's charity Phoenix International Charity which supports a broad range of different charitable organisations. For more information, please do take the time to have a look at the website

So here's just a little preview of what's available this Christmas and remember to get your orders in early, if you have friends and family overseas.
Advent Calendar Card 'Rudolph' (code: XM135)£2.50
'Flying Over the Rooftops' (code: XS13)Pack of 8 Cards £3.75
And finally, it just isn't Christmas without an advent calendar...

'Santa's Workshop' (code: ADV41)£7.50
So what are you waiting for, Christmas? Sorry couldn't resist a bit of humour :-)