Archive for August, 2012

Although it’s hard to believe now, I used to love going for long bike rides round the surrounding countryside and pedalling for hours.

I’d cycle down the winding roads, up and down hills and sometime, if we’d been going for hours, plan our route so there’d be a rustic, country pub for  lunch to end up at.

Likewise with tennis. I used to love playing tennis, and go every week for a game.

Then, after moving here ( with nowhere to store bikes for a start) my bike started to gather dust and lie, unloved in the dark, for over a decade.

Until recently when I rediscovered it in an old outbuilding.

Covered in dust, cobwebs, and rusted up, it had started to think that it would never see daylight again.

So, after a while of knocking the dust off, I set off on a bike ride.

I only managed into the next village, and then came back which was no mean feat as it was all uphill and I thought my legs were going to fall off or something.

It felt good to be out in the fresh air, cycling away though.

I’ll have to look into trying to find a fold up bike that we can have here. There’s some lovely countryside just waiting to be explored by me around these parts….

Then on dismounting the bike on wobbly legs, I decided to show the now 9 year old how to play tennis, and showed him how to serve.

Now I’m back home, and have creaky feeling knees and a an overstretched right arm from all the serving.

Here’s hoping I can get out of bed properly in the morning……

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Silent Sunday




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Walking round the shops in town today, on stepping into the card shops for a birthday card I could have sworn it was the middle of December or something.

All along one wall was a huge Christmas display of festive cards, and a few Christmas stocking fillers.

Now forgive me for stating the bleedin’ obvious, but summer’s not even over properly yet, people.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Christmas. Really love it. I’m one of those who has the tree up the first weekend in December, and makes a whole morning of putting the tree up, and have to have the CD player playing all the cheesy Christmas tunes as we hang the tinsel.

A bit of Slade, and Wizzard, that kind of thing. I’m also the one who watches all the festive kids films and feels all teary as they’re trying to get Santa’s sleigh to fly again in Elf on the strength of Christmas cheer and singing.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Aww.

It’s pretty hard to feel full of Christmas cheer when the sun’s blazing down outside. The small ones are still in the middle of their summer holidays, for Goodness sake.

I don’t need to see this:

or this.

It’s pretty hard to get enthused about a snowman when he’d be more like Puddle Man in this weather.

Now come back in a few months time, and I might just be starting to get giddy at the thought of Christmas… just not now!! :-)

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Silent Sunday




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We’re halfway through the school holidays here, and with only three weeks to go the small ones are starting to get bored.

The way that they act when we decide to have a day in, you’d think they never got to do anything fun and exciting and we haven’t done anything at all for the past few weeks.

NO, I’m not going out every day with you. Some days, like today, we’re going to stay in as it’s ***** it down with rain out there.

So far this holidays, we’ve been for a day trip to York  and acted like a tourist, been to the park, Diggerland theme park, Eureka Children’s Museum in Halifax, been to Whitby for a day at the beach, and a trip to the soft play centre for them to let off steam plus a hundred other things I’ve forgotten.

So yes, today, we’re staying in. Until I find a great big money tree in the garden that’s spouting five pound notes in place of the leaves, we’re going to sometimes have days of sitting in and not doing much.

What’s so wrong with ‘being bored’ anyway? Why should we feel like we have to spend every moment of every day filling their time for them and ‘doing’ things with them?

They can get left to their own playing devices today. Use that thing called your imagination, it’s a great little thing, and best of all it’s FREE.

Anyone would think they’ve forgotten how to use it, or don’t possess one the way they’ve been going on today.

After a morning full of either taking it in turns on the computer or watching telly, I’ve decided enough is enough and turned the lot off.

They’ve got a room full of toys and books. They’re not hard done by. I’m just refusing to give them ideas what to do today.

If they use that imagination of theirs, who knows what they’ll end up doing?

I used to love using my imagination when small. Cardboard boxes can become things like ships.

Right now, they’ve dug out the Play Doh craft box and are busy crafting a Sunday roast out of it.

So far, they’ve made a plate, roast beef, teeny tiny peas, Yorkshire puddings and are now making the knife and fork to go with it.

See they CAN amuse themselves when they have to…. :-)

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The small ones are always drawing in this house. If it’s not the 8 year old drawing pictures of a football match in action, it’s the 5 year old drawing pictures of us all.

Me, him, his brother and Daddy.

So for a change to the usual normal, (boring) pencils, it was fun to try something completely new to draw their pictures with.

Smelly pencils. :-)

Or to be exact, Smencils.

A gorgeous, fruity smelling set of pencils that try to trick your brain into thinking you can actually eat them.

With five different ‘flavours’, there’s lots of drawing and sniffing of pencils to be had. Each comes in a little case that you can securely put each pencil in by screwing the lid on tight so that the pencil can retain its smell for longer.

On receiving the pencils, they were intrigued that they were ‘Fruit Shoot’ fruity pencils, and took great delight in unscrewing the tops and giving each a good sniff.

“Fruit Shoot Pencils that smell like actual Fruit? Can I eat them?!”

“Erm, no you can’t because it’s a pencil. Do a drawing with it you silly sausage.”

They do smell great, though. (I had a good sniff of them myself.)

They each have a strong fruity smell, and gave me a nostalgic flashback to when I was small and had a HUGE pencil rubber collection, with hundreds of smelly rubbers!)


- Blackcurrant and apple

- Tropical

-  Apple

- Summer Fruits (my personal fave)

- Orange

If you want to try and win yourself some of these fruity writers, Smencils are holding a Facebook competition here

Good luck :-)

(I was provided with one pack of Smencils for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own, honest account of what I thought of them.)

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As someone who grew up reading all the children’s classic comics such as The Dandy and Beano, I find it incredibly sad that the Dandy is facing closure due to low circulation.

I even used to subscribe to the Dandy, and waited eagerly every week for the postman to deliver it so I could catch up on the antics of Desperate Dan et al.

That’s if my Dad didn’t get to the doormat first, as I had to get in quick as he always wanted to read it before me! Cue a small me sat twiddling my thumbs, huffing and puffing until he’d finished.

I was even a member of The Desperate Dan Club. You got sent a badge, and had a secret Desperate Dan club password that you weren’t allowed to tell anyone who wasn’t part of the ‘Club.’

Ah, those were the days.

Which is why I think it’s such a shame that it is now facing closure due to not enough children being interested in magazine reading, and would rather play on games consoles instead.

Do they not know what they’re missing out on?!

Fancy preferring to sit there in front of the tellybox instead, or playing some inane game.

What they need is a good comic to stimulate their imagination.

I’ve bought the Dandy a few times in the past couple of years in the hope that my 8 year old would read it. (Well, I bought it on the pretence it was for him. It was for me really.)

After choking at the price (HOW MUCH?! It was about 27p last time I bought it! :-) ) he did have a read, and a chuckle.

Then promptly went back to his preferred magazines of choice, namely Match, Strike, Kick, and all the other football related ones.

Well, at least he’s got a magazine habit. Which, apparently is more than can be said for most kids these days if the slump in kids comic and magazine sales is anything to go by.

If we want to keep the comic industry alive, let’s all revive our children’s interest in cartoon characters.

Where would be without these?!

Desperate Dan and his cow pie

The Beano

Dennis The Menace

The Bash Street Kids

Plug and Smiffy being my two favourites.

Or how about Colonel Blink from the Beezer…

Don’t let a whole new generation miss out……


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It’s one of those things in life that is inevitable – if it’s pelting down with rain outside, the small people are stood at the door, straining to go out like they’re caged animals, pacing up and down.

When it’s lovely and sunny outside, with beautiful blue skies and not a cloud in sight, the little blighters won’t step foot outside and even when gently coaxed out of the door they come straight back in like a mini boomerang.

Inevitable? More like Sod’s Law.

Which is exactly what the five year old was like today.


Me: “Why don’t you go outside and have a play in the garden for a little bit? It’s lovely and sunny.”

5 year old:

“No, I don’t want to. Can I go on the Wii?!”

“No, you can’t. You’ve been on the Wii two times already today. It’s tired. It’s having a rest.”

“Can I watch Cbeebies instead then?!”

“Why don’t we just give the telly a rest for a bit. Go play on your scooter or skateboard instead.”

Or the inside my head version of that last reply, which was “No you can’t watch  Cbeebies instead. It’s on bloody loop or something, I swear – do they not HAVE enough programmes to put fresh ones on all day or something?!

If I have to watch Pack Lunch Pete drop his dinner again in Gigglebiz, or Pippin the dog get lost AGAIN in Come Outside, I’m likely to SCREAM.

What’s the betting that tomorrow it’ll be pouring down with rain again and he’ll be feeling all hard done by as he can’t go out and play properly.

Gah, kids…..

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As the Olympics is in full swing and Team GB are currently doing us proud (go, Team GB!) it brings a stark contrast to how competitive sport is now almost obsolete in various schools across the country.

When I was at school, it was a case of there being 1st, 2nd and 3rd places as we all raced for ourselves.

Nowadays, and as was the case at the small ones school this year, there is no such thing as competitive sports.

Children don’t race for themselves. Instead they race in teams and collect team points. So, no medals, and in effect, nobody ‘wins.’

If you do, it’s not a personal achievement – it’s for the team.

Now, teamwork is all well and good, and also an important life lesson.

Should it apply to sport though?!

If children have never had the opportunity to win or lose, then how are they going to cope with life if they are beaten to the post as grown ups? It’s just as an important lesson to learn than working well in a team.

The athletes at the Olympics are getting the chance to run, do their best and win a gold medal if they really shine.

What would happen if the non competitive school rules were in place for the Olympics? There’d be no gold medals for starters.

It’d be a case of everybody getting a shiny medal, regardless of if they came first/last/ fell asleep half way round – and  all the same colour so nobody felt left out.

Give the children a chance to be recognised for their achievements again.

After all, we let the athletes…..

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When you grow up in a beautiful city, you completely take for granted all the sights and wonder what on earth all the mad tourists are doing coming there (apart from coming to annoy you, that is.)

Yes, I was one of those locals who would be walking my way through the city centre of York every day on the way to work, muttering at ‘all those bloody tourists’ who would stop slap bang in front of you to gawp up at The Minster, making you go nose first into them.

So today, as we have now moved away from York, we decided to go visit it and do the whole tourist thing.

We even got on one of those open topped bus things that drive round the centre, giving a running commentary on all the sights as you pass.

It was kind of strange seeing it through the eyes of a visitor, and I was the annoying one on the bus who was pointing out things and saying what they were before the recording got a chance to tell you what it was.

Cliffords Tower

Boats going down the River Ouse

The ‘York Eye.’

(Not for those who don’t like heights!)

Yes, I went on it. Then tried not to get the jitters when it stopped at the top for what seemed like ages!

“Up above the streets and houses”…. at the top looking down on York Railway Station.

The small ones didn’t help matters. Even though they loved it.

“What happens if it breaks down and we stay up here FOREVER?!”

“Ooh, look, there’s a gap at the bottom of the door there.”


We came down eventually. Phew.

Next time, I’m returning as a native and sharpening my elbows to make my way through the shopping throng. :-)

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