Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Sunday cinema club- Alice in Wonderland

image: fanpop.com

This is a film that I have been meaning to watch for absolutely ages, but I was a bit worried that my daughter, who is 7, would be a bit scared. I shouldnt have worried though, she absolutely loved it and now has a bit of a crush on Johnny Depp. Which is better than One Direction I suppose.

Image: wired.com

I just love the colours and the craziness of it all. There's that definite Tim Burton feel to it which I just love and it's amazing how children just take this sort of thing in their stride without batting an eyelid. My kids love all sorts of really surreal stuff now. The weirder the better!

 Helena Bonham Carter is a fantastic queen of hearts, although I must admit that I find Anne Hathaway a bit...drippy. I still havent got over her destroying one of my favourite books, One Day by David Nicholls.

Image: quicksilversanity.blogspot.com

Since she watched the film, my daughter found a free copy of  Alice in Wonderland on my kindle and we have been reading it together in bed. Last night we were laughing about the Caucus Race, when you can start and finish whenever you feel like. I think I would be quite good at that one. I'm loving the chance to revisit my favourite books from childhood with her.


52 weeks of happy- week 5

I feel as though I am lagging behind a bit with the happy series...but I'm not going to stress about it. If my 52 weeks takes a bit longer, that's ok with me.

My four things which are making me happy are

1. Boxes of clementines

For me, this is a sure sign that Christmas is not far away! I adore buying these lovely fresh clementines by the box and my family will munch their way through them in no time.

2. Pretty little squash (es?)

I saw these in the shop and am a bit scared of cooking with them, but thought I would bring them home as the colours are so pretty. A last little reminder of Autumn.

3. A gift from a friend

This was actually made my by friend and given to my daughter as a birthday present. But I love her too, so she hangs in our hallway. Isnt she lovely? Her legs and arms are made from painted twigs.

4. A real kiss!

My son who is two has just learned how to do "real kisses". before he would just grab me and slobber on my face, but now he grabs me and gives me a big smacker, then nestles his head into my neck for ages. It's the best feeling in the world.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Morroccan lamb tagine

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. Life is busy right now. I'm doing two jobs, a course and I have essay deadlines and report deadlines to meet. Ha ha I should be writing the essay now but am doing a cheeky bit of procrastinating instead. At least it will all slow down a bit in a couple of weeks time.

I made this for the first time and it was really easy and very lovely. As a novice, I decided to use a ready prepared spice pack from Spicentice. This is a new company which was set up by a student, after her Mum used to send her to Uni with pre-prepared packets of spices so she would cook properly! Isnt that sweet? I used to live on supernoodles, beans on toast, flapjacks and the occasional chinese takeaway when I was at uni. And lots of cider of course.

Anyway, it was so, so easy to prepare as all the recipe instructions are on the back of the card. Even the children loved it so I will definitely use this again and perhaps try some of the other packets in the range.

Perfect winter food with a nice bottle of red wine.

Friday, 16 November 2012

52 weeks of happy- 4

This is going to be a very quick post as I'm off to a wedding today and the kids will wake up any minute!

Here are my happy moments this week:

1. Random loveliness

 I am totally shattered at the moment. I'm doing 2 jobs and a course and deadlines are looming! So I was very happy when a lady in the hairdresser told me she thought I was 28 and I look too young to have a 7 year old. Hooray, I feel more like 50!

2. Gingerbread porridge

 I found this amazing gingerbread porridge in Home Bargains for £1.28. I love anything with ginger in it and I adore Dorset Cereals. If it's good I'm going back to the shop to stockpile for the winter...


3. Tiny converse hi-tops
I really struggled with how to dress my little man for today's wedding. I dont know why, but I'm not keen in toddlers dressed in suits. So he has a little tank top and shirt from Gap, some new jeans which dont have pictures of diggers on them and these little converse from ebay. He loves them and cried when it was time to take them off at bedtime. A boy after my own heart. I love my cons too. 

4. Cuddles
Sadly I went to the memorial service of my friend who passed away last week. She was an amazing nurse who touched the lives of so many people and left behind 2 fantastic children. She was too young to go but she made the most of every day. With this in mind, I have spent lots of time with the kids, watching films cuddled up on the sofa with a little one under each arm.

Have a great weekend x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Flander's Field

Here is a picture that my daughter drew of Flander's Field. She's at brownie parade now. Very proud Mummy.


Yesterday was the first anniversary of my father in law's death. At times, this has been hard for our little family, especially for my daughter who was very close to her Grandad.

Grandad was a huge steam train fan, so in order to remember him and celebrate him, we all went for our first ride on a steam train. Including Granny who is 77!

We went to the Severn Valley Railway and we had an awesome day. The sun shone, the inside of the train was beautifully refurbished and the scenery was just stunning. I felt as though I was an extra in a Miss Marple murder mystery. The guards were lovely and my daughter was allowed to go into the ticket office, look at the old machines, lights and try on a guard's cap.

The most bizarre moment was when we drove through a local safari park and could spot elephants and rhinos from the train!

My son adored going to the engine house, eating a picnic next to the engines,  inspecting them thoroughly and discovering a train table with a Cranky on it. Toddler heaven.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

52 weeks of happy- week 3

Well a whole week has flown by, so I am just trying to pick the best four little things which have made me happy this week.

1. Giant jumpers.

 I bought a vintage brown and purple stripy jumper at a festival this summer and I havent taken it off all week. It feels like the sort of jumper that you wear when you are poorly because it's so soft and comfy. A sartorial cuddle.

2. Great TV!

I am really enjoying watching George Clarke's amazing spaces at the moment. Owning a campervan with 2 small kids means that we have become fairly expert at living within a small space. I just loved the ingenious beach hut, the modular eco lodge and the flat made out of a shipping container! I was shaking my head sadly at the airstream conversion- too much of a dodgy nightclub/ keys in the fruitbowl scenario going on there for me...

Oh yes, I loved the bus too! Here are some images from their website, majesticbus.co.uk. I would love to stay in this bus for a weekend :)

3.More great TV!

Did you see Kirstie's vintage home this week, with the amazing 60s makeover? Loved it. Cant wait to see the next episode.

Images: kirstieallsop.co.uk

4. Watching live music.

This week I was a free ticket to see Jack White (previously of the White Stripes) play in Birmingham. As I edge ever closer to 40 I am much more content to watch my live music with a mojito in my hand, on a picnic blanket, whilst my kids run feral with glowsticks. However, there is something just amazing about watching talented musicians play, entertain you and make you dance like you're 19 again. Shame I had to wake up at 5am the next morning with a toddler. But even in my sleep deprived state, the cuddles are worth it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Letting go

Over the past few weeks I have been avidly reading some thrifty blogs. Some of the bloggers out there are just incredible at spending absolutely no money! Thrifty Queen is the most hardcore blog I've seen and she is incredibly productive- quilting, baking, sewing,, upcycling whilst doing a full time job. Frugal Queen, I salute you! I've also really enjoyed reading the blogs by a thriftymrs and just a little less by Dolly Mixtures. In fact, I think it was her blog which opened my eyes to this way of being.

In the past, I've always been very careful with how I spend money and if I want nice things, I save up/ ebay other things first. I also buy most our furniture from ebay and prefer handmade stuff from the charity shop than big chainstores. I hate going shopping in "real" shops and would much rather go to a carboot sale or buy from Etsy or Folksy. I love reading the Money Saving Expert Grabbit boards and have bought some brilliant toys through there. So the thrifty blogs are not completely unfamiliar to me, but I realise that I could do more.

One of the things I've learned from the blogs is that being thrifty is not about being stingy or having a miserable life with no joy in it. It is about thinking hard before you spend your money, making things yourself and with love and sharing this love with the people around you. It is also about leading a "lighter" life- less stuff, less worry about acquiring more stuff, having a calmer home and a calmer mind.

I'm not going to stop buying nice things but I am going to have a good old think to make sure it's something I really want and need before I do so.

With this in mind, I have started to have a major declutter. I have gone through my drawers and thrown away clothes which dont fit me or that I dont like but felt guilty about giving them away. I have advertised my beloved pushchair in the local paper. I have deep cleaned my bathroom and given a load of toys to the charity shop. It feels really good.

I've also decided that it's time to let go of some mental clutter that was bothering me. I was feeling miffed that a job I had expected to get when my boss retired was cut, as part of the NHS cuts. I was fed up with trying to find babysitters when all my friends seemed to have lots of support.

And do you know what? This week, amazing things have happened.

I have been approached to do some work by three different people. I have had old friends get in touch. I was given free tickets to see Jack White and had a great time dancing. And I had an offer from a friend to babysit my kids next year so I can go and see my favourite band in London with my husband. How good is that.

Do you have areas of your home or life that could do with a good declutter? Honestly, I feel as though I am on a roll now. Dont just think about it, do it!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bonfire night art

It was my turn to help at playgroup today, which meant I had the pleasure of creating 30 fireworks pictures with the toddlers! I quite enjoyed myself actually.

Here is my son's effort: (art critics go easy, he's only 2!)

This afternoon, in some uncharacteristic fit of domestic goddess-like behaviour, I cleaned the windows, scrubbed the stained glass window and scrubbed the tiles in the shower with a toothbrush until it shone. Then I made homemade pizza with the kids.

(wow, that's my first photo collage! Chuffed :))

Unfortunately, both kids said "yak" after they tasted it and I ended up making them sausage and spaghetti hoops. Not such a domestic goddess after all... looks like I'm having leftover pizza for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

52 weeks of happy- week 2

I'm joining in with Little Birdie's 52 weeks of happy. Weeks 2 and 3 were a bit rubbish, so I'm just going to forget about them and start again.

4 things that are making me happy this week:

1. Flying paper aeroplanes in pyjamas...

2.  My son's new favourite game. Rolling his metal truck down the slide with huge fits of laughter.

3. Enjoying the last flowers of the summer. I picked up some really reduced clematis viticella plants and planted them.  They need to be heavily pruned in the Spring but will then be as good as new. I heard someone on Gardener's World call it the "Valentine's day massacre!", so hopefully I wont forget to do it. I'm hoping that next year, our old pergola is going to be covered in flowers.

4. Wrist warmers- yay! How can gloves make you smile so much?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

sneaks in at the back...

Hello there. It feels like ages since I've been on here. I was doing two jobs, a course, looking after two little children and an elderly mother in law. Things had been difficult at work too. My manager, who I was very fond of, retired and one of my colleagues passed away after a long battle with cancer. I was getting more and more exhausted and depressed and was fighting off coughs and colds, but kept on soldiering on.

As soon as half term arrived, I got sick. Proper sick and I just couldnt get out of bed. Not exactly great timing when you have to be responsible for a 2 year old and a 7 year old for a week. Luckily my friends and my husband rallied around and took the kids out as much as they could and I stayed in bed. After a week I still wasnt better and got some antibiotics. Almost a week later and I still feel a bit rough but am definitely on the mend.

I didnt feel like blogging because I wasnt feeling happy. Each blog I read made me feel as though I wasnt cool enough, not creative enough, not popular enough...just not enough. Even thinking of little things to share became a struggle.

I started to wonder whether I should give up blogging if it was making me feel this way. But I really dont want to do that. This is a little space where I can create some time to be me. Not particular cool, or popular or creative, but just me.

I have started to read a few blogs on living a simpler life, with less possessions, spending less money and enjoying the simple things. The song I walked down the aisle to was "All I need" by Air. We didnt have an expensive venue or flashy reception. Our wedding car was our yellow vw camper, covered in balloons. We then took our friends to the pub and had a BBQ in the evening. It was my happiest day ever. I want to try and return to that philosophy of living simply and having fun.

Anyway, if you are reading this now, thankyou for bearing with me and I hope you will stick around x