Archive for July, 2012

As anyone hailing from ‘God’s own county’ will (or should!) know, is that August the 1st is also known as Yorkshire Day.

So in celebration of all things Yorkshire, today’s blog post rounds up all the best, weird and downright great things that hail from Yorkshire.

Welly Wanging Competitions

A great tradition that is thought to originate from Yorkshire.

Basically what you have to do is hurl a wellington boot as far as possible within the boundary lines.
Flat Cap Frisbee

Being held at Scarborough Castle on Yorkshire Day this year, this sees the old flat cap being thrown, frisbee style, and is suitable for young and old.

The object being to fling it from tee to flag, to see who can throw it in the least amount of throws.

As well as the Yorkshire games, you can’t beat the food:

-Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings

- Yorkshire salad. It’s only recently I have discovered this great dish, and can’t believe I have never heard of it before. Sunday dinner wouldn’t be the same without it now.

Stick it on yer Yorkshire’s – basically a vinegar type dressing, with chopped spring onions and cucumber. Yum.

- Parkin

- Yummy cake traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night.

Yorkshire Tea

Preferably in a great big mug, nice and strong. Not in any china nonsense, here.

Many a great TV programme has come from round these parts as well.

Remember -

Last of the Summer Wine

With Compo, and all his cronies racing around the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.


set in the idyllic setting of Goathland near Whitby

Whitby also being a famous Yorkshire seaside town, and home to Dracula.

Any other Yorkshire stories/traditions/your favourite Yorkshire food I have missed, I’d love to hear them.

It’s got to be said, it’s always great to visit other places and explore, but Yorkshire’s where the heart will always be. :-)

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As a new survey is out that shows children are increasingly turning away from drink and drugs, it comes as a small relief to parents who hope that their children don’t fall in with the wrong crowd and start on something they shouldn’t.

Girls are apparently emulating heroines such as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series, and drug, alcohol taking and smoking is apparently down in general.

Yes, we all hope that our children choose the right path and choose not to do something. When it comes down to it, though, it is entirely up to them as an individual to pick the right choice.

You can’t stop them from making mistakes, and just hope that they come to the right decision by themselves.

At school, it was always a case of my best friends going down to the end of the school field for a smoke while I’d rather sit it out and go to the library or something than get involved as I couldn’t stand smoking.Yech.

At my year living away from home, when I was on my journalism course, I was the one who would be sat quaffing away on the drinks and having a chat in the kitchen rather than do the whole smoking cannabis thing going on in the living room.

I didn’t want to know.

Same thing for friends back at home, too, wanting you to do it.

It all comes down to personal choice. Nobody can MAKE you do it. It has to come from within. Keeping children educated and well read on the matter is the only way to stop them, and make them choose their own way.

If characters like Hermione Granger are making it seem more normal, and the way to be to be ‘cool’, then all the better in my opinion.


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Watching the Olympics

As London gears up for the Olympics, are you ready to cheer the UK on? After all, the last time the United Kingdom hosted the game was post war 1948.

I’m all for cheering on my country. I’m patriotic if nothing else. I can’t get enthused at sport though, I seem to draw the same mental blank I get when I hear the word “football.”

My eyes kind of glaze over and I tune out. Nothing to do with you, just the subject you’re on.

Football, you say? Zzzzzzzzz……

The same can be said with the Olympics. I can imagine PLAYING sport. I’d like to do that, and can see the appeal. Actually sitting and watching it though?!

No, I’m falling asleep before you’ve even uttered the first syllable.

My 8 year old is suitably impressed, though. From Olympic fact sheets, to colouring in pages, to sitting and watching the Games. he’s interested in them all.

Me? Not so much.

After saying that though,  I hope the UK brings home a a few medals. Come on, Team GB…..

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In between all the day trips, park visits and picnics of the summer holidays, do your small ones do any school work?

Mine do.

I don’t mean get them kitted out in school uniforms, park them at the kitchen table and not let them move until it’s break time, toilet time, or the scheduled lunch break.

They’re off for a whole six weeks, after all. They need a bit of mental stimulation as well, otherwise come September, the grey matter might have dusted over with cobwebs and they’ll have forgotten to hold a pen properly. Well, maybe. :-)

Here’s some ideas to keep them occupied and not too much of a stranger to actual work when the holidays roll to an end:


- Read bedtime stories. I read a page to my 5 year old, he reads the next one, then me, and so on.


- Bake a cake. They have the scales and have to read the ingredients and weigh out the correct measurements, eg 4oz of flour gets tipped in by them.


- Get them to write a shopping list for when you’re next in Asda, Tesco, Morrisons or wherever.

Then they can read stuff off to you and find it.


- Make a shop at home. Use old cereal packets, tins of beans, sweets etc. Use a toy till to keep the money in (or a tupperware box if you haven’t got a till!)

Then go buy something from their shop and they have to work out how much change they owe you.


- Science type silliness for small ones. Get a big bowl of water and several different objects (rubber duck, a pebble, piece of wood etc.)

They’ll have great fun seeing what sinks and what floats, and in guessing which object will do what!


- Static electricity – what happens if you rub a balloon against your hair then slowly move it away?!

- If you’re going on your holidays, get them to practise their handwriting by writing a postcard back home to the grandparents, or their friends.

See if you can get home before the postcard does!


Geography – pick up a children’s atlas cheaply from Ebay, or Amazon. Failing that, Google maps are great for a bit of world travelling from your own home!

Find your own country, see what countries are bordering yours. Do you have to cross any seas to get to any other countries? If so, which one?

Pick a random country. What’s the capital city called? Does it have any famous landmarks? Go zoom in on it if you’re on Google map, do a little street view tour as if you’re really there! :-)

(My eight year old is geography obsessed, he loves anything like this!)

Before you know it, it’ll be September again…….

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It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes ago, let alone a whole YEAR, that the then 4 year old was about to leave the safe confines of nursery and be thrown into the full time school thing.

Yet here we are, a year down the line, and he’s all ready to be marched from reception class and into the Infants.

The 8 year old is about to leave Lower Juniors and start Upper Juniors, but he’s an old pro at this school malarkey, and knows what to expect.

For the small one though, it’s quite a big jump.

The ‘transition meeting’ all parents went to in order to let them know what was to come in the infants reminded us that:


- They’ll be expected to be able to get their clothes untangled by themselves after P.E, so if they don’t already know how, they should spend the holidays practising how to turn their clothes the right way out if they’re inside out…..


- In will come homework booklets, which they bring home each term to complete.


- In will come more writing and work in general, as opposed to play based learning.


He won’t know what’s hit him…. :-)


He loves doing school work though and is a hugely talented reader already (way beyond average for his age, said his school report yesterday) so I’m sure he won’t flounder too much.

Here’s to September, a fresh school year and new part of the school for the pair of them……..



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There used to be a great little sweet shop in the village when I was small.

Sat in the heart of the village, and across from the village green, was situated the local grocery shop that had an old fashioned till, a long counter and shelves upon shelves behind it filled with heavy jars with screw top lids.

Filled to the brim with proper, old fashioned sweets that the shopkeeper used to dive into, weigh out onto his scales and tip into your paper bag before totting up the price on his piece of paper he kept next to the till. (None of your fancy till doing the work for you back then.)

To small children, the sweets were a great sight, and especially the penny sweets. You could fill your bag for 10p back when penny sweets were just that – a penny.

Now you’d be lucky to get one sweet for 10p, never mind ten.

These were the firm favourites:

Cola cubes

One of these would last for ages. Mmmm

Sherbert lemons

One of my all time favourites. Suck it until you get to the middle and all the fizz explodes on your tongue…..

The best time of the week was when we could go and choose what sweet to have out of the many jars.

Or, if you wanted to help yourself to the pick and mix bit opposite the counter, these were always the best to go for:

Fried egg sweets

Squidgy yumminess.

Popping candy

Recently introduced to my two on holiday, and they found it hilarious when it all started exploding in their mouth. Should have had a camera handy for the expressions…. I had to have some myself of course, for nostalgia’s sake…. :-)

Chewy bananas

Squashy little mallow type bananas. I used to love these things.

It’s a wonder all my teeth haven’t fallen out over the years, really…..

What were your favourite sweets? Do you have any sweet memories?! To see what others chomped away on, visit http://saveeverystep.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/penny-chews-lifes-a-journey-link-up-week-27/

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There’s apparently a slowly growing trend for photographers to capture every moment of your baby’s life, right down from when they first appear into the world.

A lady called Shelley Brinkley is in today’s papers who declares that it is great to see your child born yourself, and has a PG version that she shows out to friends and family.

We’ve certainly come a long way from years ago when nobody was allowed in and the husband had to pace up and down wearing the floor out outside the delivery room. Seeing anything would have just been wrong.

Nowadays, not only can the father be in the delivery room, you can get the world, his dog, and a photographer click clacking away in the corner to watch every moment of the baby about to shoot out of your bits and share the moment to the world.

You want to put it on a dvd? Great, yes we can do that. Pull up a chair, grab your popcorn and watch a baby shoot out of your relative’s fuff. We’ll make a cinema night of it.

That a bit too graphic? They do PG  versions too, you can just share your crucial bonding moments and baby falling asleep on you at the skin to skin contact moment and you looking like death warmed up and thinking “thank ***** that’s out of me at last.”

(Or maybe that’s just me.)

Is nothing sacred anymore?! Come on people. I’m all for sharing via media (heck, I’m on the internet often enough) but some things you just need to draw the line at.

Some things mean a whole lot more when they’re something special between you and your partner……

What do you think?!


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It’s the last week at school this week for the small ones, as this time next week they will be on their summer school holidays.

Six fun filled weeks of days out, finger painting, making papier mache ornaments and riding on their bikes with the wind blowing through their hair while laughing and singing.

Although, if you really want me to come down to earth with a bump and unstick my head from Cloud Cuckoo Land, six whole weeks of whining they’ve got nothing to do from two days into the holidays. If I’m lucky.

Even if you’ve got a whole itinerary of fun days out planned for them, on the one day you do stay at home they’ll still manage to moan they’re bored. Sheesh.

They’re starting to wind down at school now, and apparently they’re just doing fun things like watching dvd’s. The other day the eldest watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, and they’ve been designing posters and the like in class.

Today saw the end of year school disco, and great fun was had by them scoffing hotdogs, spending all my money on the games in the school hall such as ‘Pick a Winning Drawer’ which gave out sweeties and lollies.

The 5 year old lived up to his reputation as Best Dancer by busting some seriously impressive moves on the dancefloor. Yes, he’s the one who for the past two years running at parties has won prizes for ‘Best Dancer.’

He definitely doesn’t get THAT from me. I’ve got all the grace and poise of a baby elephant

As for me? I had a go on the ‘Bottle Tombola’ and won a bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay (my favourite, well done me) and a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Lotion.


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As schools are getting ready to break up for the summer holidays around here, playground talk has switched to what to buy the teachers as a leaving present.

Even the card shops are all at it, and cashing in on the trend of buying your class teacher some nice tat to take home with them for the holidays.

From “To the Best Teacher Ever’ mugs, to “my favourite teacher in the whole wide world” photo frames, there’s something for just about every taste out there.

I’m probably in a minority here, and prepared to be told that I need to stop being so tight and miserable, but I just don’t see the point.

Yes, the teacher’s lovely. We all know she is. Why the current trend  for competitive present buying just to show that fact?! Do you love the teacher more just because you bought her a mug to tell her she’s lovely? Or bought the biggest tin of Roses?!

She’s doing her job, after all. A very fine job, at that. Both my small ones have great teachers. They’ll get a card to say thank you (see, I’m not THAT unreasonable, after all.)

I just think they’ll be sick of the sight of chocolates by the end of the summer holidays, and there’s only so many mugs you can slurp your tea out of at once, anyway………..

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It’s always lovely to have birthday parties for your children, but one thing that I never think is lovely is the amount of planning that has to go into them.

It’s alright when you’re small. As the birthday boy turned 5 last week, all he had to do was turn up, graciously thank all his little friends for his lovely presents, jump up and down lots on the soft play structure then go and stuff his little face full of party food afterwards.

Not poor old mummy, here, though. It starts with having to book the place up to a month or two in advance, then having the dreaded task of handing out invites.

Dreaded because it doesn’t matter how you word it, there’s always going to be some parents that you’re chasing down the street and trying to get replies off only a few days before the actual party.

Even if you write “please RSVP to Wendy on mobile number ********, ” there’s always going to be a fair few who just don’t reply.

You could scrawl it in bright red pen, or go to school with a sign round your neck saying “Have you replied to me yet?!” and you still wouldn’t get an answer.

(The latter’s more likely to get you a few strange looks than someone talking to you, though.)


Then there’s always the obligatory one or two who say they’re going to come, get paid for and then just don’t turn up, so you end up having to pay for them anyway. Which is what happened the other year.

Double aaargh.

If that’s not enough to contend with, there’s also the party bags. Filling and organising 20 little party bags full of cake, sweets, balloons or whatever.

Remembering to take them all with you, and not leave them at home.

Panicking that you’ve made enough, as the last thing you need is little Tommy crying as there isn’t enough party bags to go round and he needs one too.

Double checking you’ve put the same amount of things in each bag, as that’d go down well if Tommy and Jane decided to peek into each other’s party bags and find that one had a balloon and the other didn’t.

All hell would break loose.

It all went smoothly in the end though. Phew. Even though you can’t see an end in sight when the preparations are under way. A good time was had by all, and that’s the main thing.

My stress levels have now returned to normal – just in time to do it all again in another few months for the 8 year old’s birthday…..


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