Archive for March, 2012

Today was the day of the dreaded Easter Egg Parade day at school, and I can now breathe a sigh of relief and safely say “Phew, at least that’s that over for another year.”

See my post here to see why I’m breathing a sigh of relief.  http://castawaywithdreams.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/argh-its-easter-bonnet-parade-time-again/

Although it was good to see all the different creations (with more than a helping hand from the mums and dads.)

There was the X Factor panel (or should I say the Eggs Factor) with the judges as eggs; the Olympics, as well as many others.

This was the 8 year’s old creation:

Football match “Eggstra Time.”

Chicks v Bunnies. Score!

Happy Easter holidays everyone….. two whole weeks of the little darlings at home…… eeek :-)

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What are you afraid of?

When I first saw that I had been ‘tagged’ in a ‘What are You afraid of?’ post by http://slummytoyummymummy.wordpress.com

who was wanting to know more about me,  my first reaction was that I wasn’t afraid of anything, really.

I’m not bothered about the dark, in fact I LIKE sleeping in the dark as it means I get better sleep.

If there’s a spider about (providing it’s not the size of my head) then I’ll simply wrap it up in tissue paper and deposit it outside the back door.

As for injections/shots? Nah, just stick it in and get it over with, I’m not bothered.

So this took some thinking.

What AM I afraid of?

In no particular order I came up with this:

- Getting lost. As pathetically stupid as that sounds when you’re a  30 something year old, I’m still reluctant to travel anywhere completely new by myself, as  I won’t know where I am or where I’m going. I need a grown up with me, goddamit. I’m still only 5 inside. :-)

- Getting old. I don’t want to think about it! My eldest is nearly 9. He’ll be starting high school in a couple of years. (Sticks fingers in ears and hums loudly, “la, la la can’t hear you…”) I’m in denial.

I’m not old. Just because I only have to look at that biscuit to put 3 stone on, or not have a bleedin’ clue what’s number 1 nowadays, or that my legs would look ridiculous in a teeny tiny short skirt, doesn’t mean I’m old. Okay?

I think that’s about it. I can’t think of anymore. So if anyone asks, I’m not scared of anything, really…… :-)

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As Royal Mail have announced another price hike this week with the cost of 1st class stamps rising from 46p to 60p, another bell sounded somewhere for the death of traditional postage.

Does anyone ever send anything by ‘snail mail’ any more?! It used to be the norm to write a letter, go down to the post box and send it through the post.

If you went on holiday, you’d buy a ‘Wish You Were Here’ type postcard, and post it in the postbox and have a competition with yourself to see if you could beat the postcard home.

More often than not you got home before the postcard did.

Now, with the rise of social media, people upload pictures onto Facebook  of themselves grinning cheesily on a beach somewhere instead.

If it’s someone’s birthday you can wish Happy Birthday via an ‘e-card’ or post on someone’s Facebook wall.

The art of letter writing is getting lost. In an age where you can instantly send things anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds, it’s very tempting to do it that way instead of sticking it in the post box and crossing your fingers that it gets there on time.

The one thing that all this computer technology can’t do though is deliver the personal touch.

If a handwritten letter has plopped onto your doormat, it seems a lot more personal and thoughtful.

Who can remember the last time they got a letter from someone? No, bills and businesses don’t count. :-)

Maybe we should all start writing letters again. If Royal Mail didn’t keep putting their prices up, that is…..

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Argh, it’s that time of year again where the little munchkins have to make an Easter bonnet, and then take part in the school Easter bonnet parade.

Now this is all very well and good, but when you’re all finger and thumbs when it comes to making crafty things like I am, you start to sweat and get  a case of ‘Can’t be arsed’ about it and leave it to the last minute.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a case of letting your little darlings loose to make their own like I do.

We’re going to be spending Saturday spreading pieces of silver and gold card out to make a nice crown shape, and the 4 year old will have a great time gluing shredded, coloured paper to the bottom to make a little nest and adding Easter egg shapes to it.

Now isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting the kids to do their own? Surely that’s half the fun and enjoyment of it. They love it, and I’m just left to supervise. Hurrah.

It’s when you get to school and see little Tommy wearing what can only be described as an Easter masterpiece on his head.

He’s only 4 year’s old and he’s managed to craft an entire basket onto his head, make papier mache Easter eggs and have a little basket of eggy delights worthy of a page spread in a magazine perched on his bonce.

Or his friend who’s managed to create a whole hen house complete with little chickies sat on it, surrounded by eggs and nests.

Yeah right, pull the other one.

The alpha mummies have reigned supreme and are all out for recognition and in competition with each other.

“I can make the better hat. Look at me, aren’t I clever?!”

When little Johnny is sat there twiddling his glue stick and thinking: “

” Mummy. Whose competition is this?! Will you put the hat down and let me do it my bloody self!”

Then it gets even more ridiculous when they get up to Juniors. Not content with making hats, it’s a competition to see who can be the most creative by making a whole Easter scene.

Masterpieces created out of cardboard, and eggs decorated and dressed up as Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Shrek and his donkey, or footballers.

Yeah, you really did them all by yourself.

Mummies have been up all night, bleary eyed and hair askew, feverishly gluing, sticking, and pen brandishing to get it all perfect. All the while thinking “Mine’s best, I’ll show them who’s best at this art thing.”

It turns into a competition to see who is the best creative and clever mummy.

You know what? I’ll come out and say it – I don’t give a stuff if our creations don’t look like it’s been done by a professional artist.

The kids will have loads of fun sticking on stickers, painting hats and it’s going to be their own handiwork.

Which is surely what it should all be about in the first place?! :-)






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If you’re like me and grew up in the Eighties, the words ‘Stock Aitken and Waterman party in the Park” will either have you screeching and running for the earplugs, or jumping up and down with glee.

I’ll come out and say it as I have no shame – I’m firmly in the latter camp.

If you were pre-teen like I was in the height of their popularity (1988 – 89) then the age of Stock Aitken and Waterman was all about rushing out to the shops to buy the latest Look – In or Smash Hits magazine, and pinning the posters of Jason Donovan or Brother Beyond all over your wall.

It was primarily aimed at all the little teeny boppers like myself who wasn’t quite 13 and too cool to be listening to such crap – by the time I’d hit my teens, I’d outgrown them and was listening to ‘proper’ music such as Queen, Bon Jovi and stuff like that.

Stock Aitken and Waterman? Pfft, yeah as if I’d be caught out listening to that rubbish.

Now as a so called ‘grown up’ I’ll admit to being one of the ones who would love to go the concert with all the acts such as Sinitta, Jason, Rick Astley etc.

It all evokes a memory of a simpler age where people were gluing bottle tops onto their shoes a’la Luke and Matt from Bros, or collecting those Garbage Pail stickers with charming names with things like ‘Snotbag Sarah’ or ‘Pus Filled Pamela.’

Or in the case of the Stock Aitken and Waterman hit by Sabrina – Boys, Boys Boys it conjures up memories of the Primary School Leavers Disco (no stupid fancy proms then) with this song playing, boys in one corner and girls in the other, with the girls shouting and pointing ‘boys, boys, boys’ while the boys did the ‘girls, girls girls’ version and pointing back at us all.

Who was the best to fancy, Nathan from Brother Beyond or Jason Donovan? A fierce debate in the playground that summer.

So I can safely say that as much as it pains some people (and my grown up self which is in conflict with my inner child) that the Stock Aitken and Waterman concert is going to be a HUGE hit – and full of mid 30 year old women screaming and getting giddy as they are transported back to being about 12 years old again. :-)

Bring it on (and nearer to me please, get it touring!) I’d be there singing along at the front because I bet I still know all the words… :-)

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You know you’re a mum when……….


- Remember when you used to be able to just go out of the house in a morning in the space of about 5 minutes flat? Yes? Well, forget that.

You know you’re a mum when it takes about 3 hours just to round them up to go the local corner shop.

They’ll need a wee, or a drink, or lie flat out on the floor like a piece of stiff cardboard so they don’t have to put their coats on.

Or when they were really small, you had to stop the pushchair every 5 minutes to retrieve flying socks that they’d pulled off their feet or hats off their head.


- No more trying to go to sleep in the car.  Instead you’re trying to keep them from killing each other in the back by playing games to amuse them, such as the ‘Numberplate Game,’  ‘See who can spot a red car first’ game, or the ‘Find something from every letter of the alphabet game.’



- Instead of having a nice tidy living room floor, you find yourself nearly breaking your neck on stray Match Attax tins or toy cars lying on the floor.



- You find yourself saying such gems as:

“I don’t give a flying fig what little Johnny in your class does. If little Johnny flung himself off a cliff, would you follow him?!”


- You’re looking forward to a night out for ages. Whoohoo, no kids for a weekend! You can hardly wait. Then when it comes, they’ve been gone about 5 minutes and you’re missing them already.



Yep, that’s being a mum for you!


To find out what others are thinking, head over to http://katetakes5.blogspot.com


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Well, so much for the lie-in, there was far too much noise coming from the small ones to enjoy staying in bed.

Even sticking the duvet over my head and trying to pretend I couldn’t hear anything didn’t work, so I got up.


It was all worth it when I did though, as two pairs of hands thrusted these on me……..



The 3D daffodil card on the left was made by the 4 year old in his reception class at school

The intricate ‘Mum” design on the right was made by the 8 year old in his class

and the one in the middle was made by both of them at Nanna and Grandad’s house when they were there yesterday and has a lovely picture of them both in the middle.


Then there’s this lovely bunch of daffodils…..


and a book I’ve been wanting…..


which I’ll hopefully get to read in peace when they’re all tucked up in bed tonight. :-)


They can be lovely when they want to be – thank you for your lovely creations,  kiddywinkles…….

They certainly don’t get their artistic drawing streak from me!


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Mother’s Day. The day I’ll be instructing the husband to get his arse out of bed and get up at at daft o’clock with the two small ones, as this time it’s MY lie-in.

Yes, you can make me a cup of tea and bring it up to me in bed, thank you very much. I know past form has proven that I’m likely to say a half asleep ‘ooh, thank you!’ and then promptly go back to sleep and leave it to go stone cold at the side of the bed.

That’s my prerogative, though. It’s Mother’s Day, and even if I’m snoring my head off at the cup of tea, I’d still like it brought up just because it’s the thought of it that counts and all that guff, thank you very much.

As for the small people, when I do finally get out of bed at 9am (yes, sadly that is a big lie in to me nowadays) I’ll have a cuddle and open my present/card which they’ve made for me.

No fighting with each other today. You’ve been told. Show your brother some brotherly lurve and play all happily and serenely.

Then, it’s a case of husband cooking Sunday lunch for me, my mum, mother-in-law and the small ones in the late afternoon.

I’ll just Twitter, maybe blog and have a glass of wine while it’s cooking. Well, you’re doing your Keith Floyd impression and having a cheeky lager yourself while doing the dinner, so I’m having a cheeky Chardonnay. Well, if you are….  )

Yup, I’m just going to take it easy,  scoff Sunday lunch and (hopefully) be waited on hand and foot.

Suppose I’d better get bribing the kids soon then….

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It hit me today while thinking that I should really start to book my birthday weekend away (it’s next month!) that there really are some jobs that I just don’t like doing.

That being one of them – booking holidays by myself. Yes, I know that it is really easy nowadays to just book the bloody thing yourself. Fire up the computer, log onto the world wide t’internet, and get booking by yourself.

It’s not like I don’t know how to use the computer. (Hell, I’m hardly ever off the thing.) I do. I’d just much rather wander into the local high street and get the nice friendly travel agent to do it for me.

It’s a lot easier than navigating all the online forms yourself. Just get Mrs Smiley behind the counter to do it all for you.

So what other jobs would I like to delegate to someone else if money was no object?

- I’d hire someone to walk 5 feet behind the husband whenever he comes in – pick up the shoes that get kicked off into the middle of the floor ready to fall over, direct him in the direction of the nearest coat peg (yes, it may look like a coat peg (?) but the back of the dining room chair is in fact just that, a chair.

- A Mary Poppins to ‘play games, sing songs’ and take the little one into chalk drawing fairgrounds and have tea-parties on the ceiling. It might keep them occupied for longer than 5 minutes.  (Now, which cloud does she live on again?! )

- My own personal tea re-filler to keep my tea cup topped up when I’m writing, like now.

- A birthday and Christmas present wrapper. It doesn’t matter what I buy, or even if it’s in a straightforward box, whatever I wrap always look like it’s been sat on by a baby elephant.

Then I end up getting the Sellotape in a tangle and/or losing the end (and my sanity.)

So someone to wrap any presents up for me. (They can buy them too, come to think of it.)

So what jobs would you gladly give to someone else to do? I’m sure I can think of many more………

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If there’s one thing we do lots of in this house, it’s cooking.

Or should I say, if there’s one thing the husband likes doing lots of in this house, it’s cooking.

I like cooking as well, although where he does it for fun and because he enjoys it, I do it because I have to! :-)

So one thing we’re definitely not short of in this house is cookbooks – we’ve got millions of the things.

Here are my top 5 Cookbooks:

Hairy Bikers Mum Knows Best

A great cookbook with lots of simple, classic recipes your Mum (and Grandma) used to make.

Netmums Feeding Kids Family Recipes

This one is definitely my favourite, and the one that I have used LOTS over the years.

Plenty of family recipes, from baby age to hungry older children ages. Lots  to keep the adults happy as well, they’re really simple and easy to make.

Simple stuff even I can make, like tuna pasta bake and shepherds pie, to lunchbox  fillings and menu planners.

It’s brilliant, and has been well thumbed over the past 5 years, it’s a wonder it hasn’t fallen to pieces by now.

(No Netmum’s aren’t paying me to say that, it really is a great book!)  Although they’re more than welcome to if they want to. :-)

Good Housekeeping Family Meals For a Fiver

This is an excellent book if you’re on a budget, or wanting simple, easy to make meals.   Great for using store cupboard staples up.

Bake – by Rachel Allen

A great all rounder cookbook, with lots of nice baking recipes, from biscuits to pies. Yum.

As you can see, this is also another one that has been used lots. Just noticed a mark on her head. Whoops. What can I say, I’m a scruff. :-)

Last, but not least:

Tana Ramsay’s Family Kitchen

The husband’s got all of Tana Ramsay’s famous spouse, Gordon Ramsay’s cookbooks, but I much prefer his wife Tana’s book – much more easy to follow and family orientated in my opinion!

So there you have it, my Top 5 cookbooks. If you like simple, easy to follow recipes (like I do, I can’t cope with long ingredient lists and lots of dithering about!) then these books are brilliant,

To get more cooking inspiration, head over to http://katetakes5.blogspot.com to see what other people’s favourite cookbooks are.

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