Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Post Christmas Conundrum


So Christmas, after all the build up, has come and gone. Presents have been opened and the mountain of recycling, from all the packaging and wrapping paper is clogging up wherever you leave your recycling.

Now Christmas is forgotten for another year (well, until September) and we look to the new year for new starts and new beginnings and it all starts again.

I am now grumpily looking at all the Christmas decorations and thinking, shit, it will take ages to take all this down. It will be all dusty and horrible and there will be sneezing, and I will marvel at how vast our living room is without all the crap that is associated with Christmas.

Now don't get me wrong, as I write this, I realise that I may be coming across a tad Grinchy. Which I am not. I love Christmas. The trouble is our decorations went up the first weekend of December (due to obligations we had on the other two weekends leading up to Christmas) so the decorations have been up for AGES.

I get all caught up in the excitement of it all, I watch certain films to get me in the mood (Love Actually and The Holidays), I build Lego Santa's and Christmas scenes, and they get 'distributed' at home and at work. My children, get caught up in my excitement - they write their letters to Santa and get their PNP message. They get a new Christmas tree decoration each year, or make something. They help me cook Christmassy fayre.


The point is, after all this, it can be a tiny little bit disappointing. I don't know what exactly I am expecting. A bit of real Christmas magic, a personal letter from Santa, a surprise stocking of my own. I have no idea, I get beautiful thoughtful gifts from my family and friends, I see the joy on my children's faces as they open their presents and their stockings, totally believing in all that is Christmas, and I marvel yearly that I manage to maintain this for them, surely that is the magic?

Is it just that I have finally grown up and see the commercialism and the ridiculous amount of money we spend? Beautifully wrapped presents, minutes later all that beautiful wrapping ripped, torn and thrown away.
Anyone who knows me, will know how sad it makes me a) to realise I am growing up, about anything! and b) to think anything beautiful is wasteful.

So a conundrum, maybe I am just on a post Christmas low, or am I growing up. Either way I have only two words.

Bah humbug!


Monday, 19 December 2011

The Gallery - Christmas of yesteryear





This is me, I would say it is either 1970 or 1971 I am outside my Auntie Helen's house where we went every Boxing Day until about 6 years ago before she got to ill (she has since passed away). Behind me is my cousin Steve and to be frank I think we look pretty darn groovy! I know that I am looking forward to my beef dinner and then opening Auntie Helen's beautifully wrapped gifts which she kept for us, so Christmas could last just a little bit longer.

For more like this - go here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Gallery - My Awesome Photo



Wow, Tara certainly knows how to set a challenge for The Gallery - I have lots of awesome photo's because they are little moments in time. My memory is awful so my photos keep my memory's alive. 

This is a photo of my Mum and me, back in the 80's. My Mum decided when we were at school she should do a degree to encourage my brother and I to study. She finished the year I got my degree. So we both got our degrees in 1989. This is the day of her ceremony, we were/are really proud of her - which isn't unusual, as I have mentioned before

This is a picture of my Dad, he is doing is 'Goons' face. Think Spike Milligan singing I am walking backwards for Christmas (I am seriously showing my age in this post!) I was trying to be all arty...


And lastly, this one is a picture of my girls. It's a proper snapshot taken at the end of last year in the snow. The girls were sledging, we hadn't been out much as the eldest had been poorly so it was their first chance to really play in the snow. They absolutely loved it. Probably as much as I love this photo.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The best Christmas song ever...

The lovely Tara at StickyFingers asked me what the best Christmas song ever was, now this is tricky as I pretty much love everything Christmas related. My favourite type of Christmas Song is Ratpack based and I nearly choose the Dean Martin version of this. Although I do have a soft spot for the David Bowie doing the Little Drummer Boy. 

Why do I love this song? I think it's because it's old fashioned flirty and makes me want to curl up in front of a log fire on a cold winters day with my loved one with some mulled wine. So have a listen and enjoy Baby it's Cold Outside. This version is sung by Brian Setzer and Ann Margaret.





I am passing this classic on to Mumra and Julia. Enjoy. 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ashtray's and fat TV's?

Have you ever wondered what happened to all those things that have become out-dated in our lifetime. There are a number of things that I used to use/need but now use less or not at all.


For example;

Ashtrays, people smoke less now, there is no smoking in pubs. My old ashtrays are tucked away in a cupboard. I have no idea why. I stopped smoking 6 years ago and stopped smoking in the house 9 years ago. What am I keeping them for? I have no idea. Only one of my close friends smoke and if people do smoke they do it outside. Apparently, if you placed all the old ash trays from all the pubs in England together, they would go from London to New York. That is a lot of ashtrays, so where are they? Have they been recycled into something else?



Fat televisions, we finally gave in and brought a flat screen TV a month or two ago. We left our fat TV by the side of the house to take to the tip, by the morning it was gone. Is there now a black market in fat TV's?  Maybe someone is putting loads of them into storage and saving them to refurbish and sell when they become retro again, like bakelite phones. 

I wonder if someone has that much foresight. Maybe, there are massive warehouses with ashtrays in one and fat TV's in the other, floor to ceiling, hermetically sealed. I wonder if, someone thinks smoking will become all the rage again when there is a cure for cancer, or non-carcinogenic cigarettes are  invented. 

What about vinyl and CD's, they are already retro, and not as fast as just downloading. Downloading takes up so much less space. The same applies for video and DVD, all the content of these are easily accessible on-line. 

So, yes you have your traditionalists who collect vinyl but CD's, DVD's, and video don't appear to have the same kudos. 

I am more aware, of the recycling of DVD's and CD's, but video's what happened to them? And what happened to all the video players? Back to the massive warehouses, somebody must have had the sense to save all the trill phones, I mean who'd have thought they would have turned into a retro item. Even the mullet has made a reappearance, so there is no accounting for taste and at least you don't need to store mullets. So should I put all my CD's and DVD's into storage and sell them on eBay 30 years from now when they are back in fashion, or just get rid.

My mother-in-law didn't like clutter and so  my husband berates her whenever he sees some old toy he had in 'pristine conditon' sells for thousands, on one of those shows. 

Maybe, and this is my best theory, all this stuff is sent off into space and rotates around the world in the moons' orbit and then some evil genius who decides what's in fashion, like Gok Wan for example, decides that it's time to press his special big red button and one of his containers of old stuff comes back to earth as a meteor and just like that it is the thing de jour. 



OK that might be stretching the imagination a tad but you get the jist, unless you know where all the ashtrays are.......?



Silent Sunday - Children in Need


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Girls Toys Review


Today, The lovely Toyologist for Toys R Us ,Tara at Stickyfingers, is having a bit of a break and so my daughters and I bit her hand off  offered to help her out. We had three toys to review.

Baby Alive from Hambro

Lola felt she was best suited to review this toy. Her elder sister did not get a look in!
The excitement of a wee-ing and pooh-ing doll was palpable.
With the doll we received two food satchets and two nappies.


We read the instructions and off Lola went. To feed Baby Alive you have to give her plenty of food and plenty of water, just like a real baby. The food is a powder you just add water to and stir.










Lola was very gentle and fed her just like a Mummy. She called her Lily-Lucy.
The hysterical  giggles when she had her first pooh was hilarious.

I asked Lola what was the best thing about Lily-Lucy. She laughed and said, ‘the pooh-ing and wee-ing’.
Then more seriously, she said ‘and she has really pretty eyes’. I asked Lola if we hadn’t had her to review would she have liked her as a Christmas present? She said, ‘yes, I love her’.
Since the initial excitement has worn off, Lola still gives her water to drink fairly regularly and we find wet patches around the house. She wee’d on her older sister only today.

As a parent I would say that the only downside of this doll is that there aren’t enough sachet’s of food or nappies with the doll when you get her. The food and nappies were used up in the same day and to buy new ones is quite expensive (£9.99 for 10 more sachets and £3.99 for 5 nappies). Other than that, my 5 year old has really enjoyed playing with her. 

Girls World Bead and Style from Ideal

Heather my 8 going on 16 year old, reviewed this old classic with a spin. Heather loved doing the make up for her.

However, the beads for the hair were a bit tricky although there was thingy (I am sure there is a technical term for it, but that would mean reading the instructions!) to help her, and she did put beads in her own hair as a result (not leaving them in long enough for a photo though!).
She said putting on the lipstick was hard as her mouth didn't move (so a softer mouth maybe?), but she still manage to put loads on. With plenty of eye shadow, obviously.

The hair can be shortened or lengthened as you would expect and it is more natural feeling than I remember from my day. 

Heather enjoyed playing with her, but lost interest fairly quickly although she has gone back and played with her since. She says she likes it, and enjoys playing with it.

From my perspective, I would have liked it to come with a little vanity case to put all the hair clips, beads, the bead helpy thing, bands and brush in, these are just in plastic bags and go everywhere, but it is a fun toy for any girl probably well into her tweens. 

Paint by Numbers from Reeves

This is the third and final toy we had to review.

The box says this is for 8 year old's and over. We got everything out and there was a little easel, numbered paints, a couple of tiny brushes and a water holder. There are also three canvases. 


When we opened it Heather was a little daunted by the canvases. The numbers are tiny, the gaps are tiny, in fact, it is all pretty tiny. None the less, Heather started to give it ago, but within minutes found it really quite difficult to complete.

I think it is unlikely that she will come back to it and I am not sure that any eight year old would be able to complete this confidently. 

Heather really wanted to complete this but she also wanted it to look good, she felt that she wouldn't be able to achieve this. I think, many adults would find this challenging and would be better suited to an older child. Personally, I think this should be targeted to 12+ 

(I might try to do these if I have some free time, I like the look of the horse one)



To see more reviews like this go to the Toybox here 

Silentish Sunday - The excitment of Fireworks Night


Saturday, 5 November 2011

I'm taking part in the Kodak Big App Challenge

I'm Taking Part in the Kodak Big App Challenge

So the clever people over at Britmums have teamed up with Kodak and come up with a great competition. 


The challenge is to find a photograph that you want displayed BIG. Kodak has created an easy online tool to upload images and then print them out to create big wall-size pictures.


So if you want to take part Click Here and add your linky.


But for now, as I can't pick just one, here are three photo's that I really like.


This is Lola, on a typically British day at Clarach Bay. Discovering the joy of soggy sandcastles.


This is Heather, a year later, with gorgeous sunshine beating down on her at exactly the same beach as Lola, above.


And now for something completely different, as I am posting this on the 5th November here is a picture from last years firework display.



Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Gallery - The Letter T



So what is the letter T all about. Yet another curious challenge from miss Tara at Stickyfingers for the Gallery.


Is it about being at the very Top?
Is it about Toes?


















Maybe it is about Tongues?


Maybe not.















Or Tattoo's?












No......





Or maybe, Tall, Tall and really Tall?




















Or doing Things Together?















You know what, maybe it is all about Tongues?





















Or is it the number Three?













I know, this is for Tara. It must be Tall Tree's




















Is it Tickles and sTaTic?




















Oh, Maybe it's Tag, or Tig, or Tick? (depending on where you come from)



















Or Tao Meow our cat?


Do you know what?

I Think I may have missed the point.

I Think this is all about ......













Tara

Who we wouldn't get to do the Gallery without.

You're Terrific.

xxx

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween.......

My girls embrace Halloween, this year they went a little crazy with the blood...

Heather was a pirate of doom and Lola was a vampire - just to put the pictures you are about to see, into context.

Be afraid........

                         ............

                                         ..................................!



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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Officially Amazing!

A few weeks ago the kids, hubs and I were all invited to go to the Guiness Book of Records HQ in London.

Naturally, we said yes we would love to, especially when we were told we were likely to meet record breakers and maybe even break some records ourselves....At this point my natural competitiveness took over and we were definitely going, whether the kids wanted to or not (they did). We were sent the Guiness Book of Records 2012 book to review and loved all the weird and wonderful records it showed us.

So on Thursday we went on our visit. For both my kids it was their first time to London, and I had everything crossed that this would be a good day for them as I wanted their first memories of London to be special.

They were very excited on the train, even though it was massively busy. The excitement level went up a gear when they realised they were VIP's



Whilst we waited for the main event there were lots to see, here is a life size cut out of the smallest man in the world.

When everybody else had arrived we were introduced to the worlds biggest rabbit. His name is Darius and he is MASSIVE. He was clearly used to this kind of thing and seemed completely un-phased by the whole thing.
The kids loved him.

After, meeting Darius all of us sat down and had a presentation from Craig Glenday the Editor-in-Chief. Craig, was one of the most likeable people I have met for a long time and he held the children's attention brilliantly. He gave us a brief history of the Guiness Book of Records and what criteria they use to decide what goes into the book. So for example, the world's ugliest dog didn't make it in (imagine the Euergh's from the kids when they saw this!) because it's not measurable, but the world's widest mouth did.

Once we had finished learning Guiness Book of Records 101, we were introduced to some record breakers.

This is John Farnborough who has broken records doing freestyle football stuff, he holds five world records.
 

Then we met Sean who is the fastest talker in the world, we watched him recite Bohemian Rhapsody in 47 seconds!

 The big hit for my girls was Sam Sam the Bubble man who has loads of Bubble related records and is an official bubblologist. He put little bubbles in big bubbles, he made big bubbles, long bubbles and a bubble called the Loch Ness Monster
 

 

But the last thing he did was put both my girls inside the same bubble, they both loved this and I have never seen my smallest so excited.

We had a tour of the offices and met some of the lovely people who work there. They have pictures and display cabinets. On our tour we got to hold the oldest vomit (Ick!) and try on the biggest shoes.
 
Then we had the official record breaking to do, they had adjudicators and everything. We all got to try stacking dice (or die, if you want to be exact), stacking domino's and building a Mr Potato Head and one person did actually break a record. Which was pretty amazing. Sadly, it was none of my family : ( although we all tried really hard.

 

And as the end of the day approached, the girls got interviewed, and got to see what next years Guiness Book of Records cover may look like, but the best was yet to come.

A trip on the fastest sofa in the world! It goes 87 mph and the girls and hubs got to go for a drive in it. Fab.

So after a long day, and even though I was non-too impressed with this woman's longest legs in the world. I am happy to say, we all had an Officially Amazing day out at the Guiness Book of Records HQ.





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