Archive for October, 2013

Ok, I might be Halloween’s answer to the Grinch, but I’m not ignoring it altogether.

Look at our cool skull net type tablecloth.

We’ve even got spooky Betty’s goodies for tea.


spooky tablecloth tablecloth and betty's



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I ask myself this question every year at this time, and after a lot of umming and ahhhing usually end up with a big fat NO.

NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Post Month to the uninitiated) is the bloggers equivalent to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.)

Whereas NaNoWriMo sees people getting stuck into writing novels for the whole of November, and writing 50,000 words in a month (yikes)  NaBloPoMo sets bloggers the challenge of writing a blog post every day in November instead.

Yes, I could do this, but if I tie myself to writing a post every single day for 30 days, I run the risk of spouting rubbish just for the sake of something to write about.

NaNoWriMo by the way brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

What do you think?

Are you doing either of them?

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Each year, we make up a shoebox and fill it with lots of little treats so a child somewhere has a Christmassy box of goodies to open.

We’re quite organised this year for once, and we’ve nearly finished the box already.

This was last year’s box which was a box for a girl, but this year we’re doing a box for a boy. I’m tending to find this year’s box easier to find things for because with two small boys, that’s what I’m used to shopping for!

This year’s box (so far) looks like this:

shoebox 2013

It’s got:

– a cuddly teddy

– big bag of sweets

– pens

– notepad

– toiletries (flannel, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap)

and things still to buy on the list include hat and gloves set, and a few things like a sheet of stickers and a bouncy ball.

It’s surprising how much you can fit in a little shoebox really!

When it’s all full, I’ll be covering the shoebox in Christmas wrapping paper to give it some festive cheer, and handing it in to our nearest drop off point.

If you’d like to make up your own shoebox and spread your own bit of Christmas cheer, visit the OCC website where you will find details of how to make your own shoebox up and find out where you can drop it off.

Boxes can be dropped off between November 1st and the 18th.

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It’s not like we don’t HAVE any other food in this house and the poor little darlings are deprived of breakfast when they get up in a morning.

Although you’d think that was the case when the 10 year old gets up at ridiculous o’ clock (he STILL hasn’t got out of getting out of bed at 5.30am some mornings, grrr).

He’ll sit and read his Harry Potter book on the sofa, or watch some cartoons.

If there’s any crisps, bars of chocolate or whatever lying about, he’ll make a beeline for that as soon as he gets up.

Then not want any ‘proper’ breakfast when everyone is up at a reasonable time (ie, 6.30 – 7am).

It doesn’t matter that I’ll lay out a full breakfast table to try and pre-empt his wily ways and stay off the crap.

Before going to bed, I’ll put out bowls, spoons and cups, and some fresh fruit on the table, and an assortment of cereals, such as Rice Crispies or Cornflakes so he can help himself.

I even put croissants, ready made scotch pancakes, brioche or pain au chocolat out on the table as well some mornings.

You’d think that’d be enough.

If there’s anything in the cupboards that even resembles crisps or chocolate bars though, he’d rather scoff them.

Now, I’m not the Food Police  and don’t object to them eating sweets and chocolate. They do.

Just NOT at 5 o bleedin’ clock in the morning.

You need a proper breakfast to get you through the school day.

So, from now on, I’m going through the cupboards and taking out any chocolate bars, or crisps and hiding them under the bed.

The breakfast table will still be groaning under the amount of food he CAN eat at that time of morning.

The crisps and chocolate will have to wait, though.

What do you think? A fine plan, or plain mean?! Although I can’t see what’s so mean about not letting them eat shite first thing on a morning and having proper food to set them up for the day instead…

the chocolate can wait until he comes home from school!



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The other year, I described how my kids don’t go trick or treating and how we found other things to do instead.

Ever since the eldest was born (who is now ten) we’ve had the tradition of “Spooky tea” on Halloween to appease them to the fact that yes, we do naff all at Halloween and that’s just the way it IS.

Instead of sitting in the dark and having to be quiet and pretend we’re not in (they don’t DO quiet, they’d be pulling the curtains back and gawking out of the window to see who was there and why they couldn’t answer the door) I thought we’d have a tea instead.

It’s worked so far.

We buy a scary tablecloth (this year it’s a spider’s web) and we’ve bought a jelly mould in the shape of brains so that we can make a jelly brain for dessert.

The main course will be something like witches fingers like these ones here and some monster mash (mashed potatoes with peas mashed in for a nice green colour…)

Why, then, should we do trick or treating as well?!

10 year old wants to go this year. One part of me says “YOU wanted to go at the age of 10, don’t be so bleedin’ mean,’

Then another voice chimes in ” What the chuff do you want to go out begging at people’s doors for?! Yay, let’s go cold calling and asking for sweets. Then playing a ‘trick’ if we don’t get our own way.”

Yup, trawling the streets hoping for some friendly neighbours doling out sweets and not some cantankerous old person answering the door wanting to tell us to bog off isn’t my idea of fun.

We went to a children’s Halloween party last year, actually. The first time I have EVER done anything kids like for Halloween. It was actually a really great party, and they loved it.

So did I.

(I’m not counting the only other party I ever did at Halloween as that was an adult one (pre kids.) Loads of vodka from what I can remember….. nothing children like there!)

So. To trick or treat or not to trick and treat?!

What would you do?!


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Going on a bike ride

Way back in the mists of time, before the invention of the internet and before my terminal ‘lazy’ condition set in, I used to love cycling.

Being blessed as we are living on the doorstep of some wonderful countryside, getting out on a bike is a lovely scenic way of getting fit.

Pre-kids, we used to do a ten mile bike ride (making sure there was a lovely pub at the end of the ride for a spot of Sunday lunch).

However, over the past ten years my poor little bike has laid chained up in an outbuilding, slowly rusting away and crying.

Today though, it’s been liberated from its dark, dank prison and has been stretching its wheels as I took it for a ride.

It’s true, you really DO never forget how to ride a bike.

It’s felt sunshine again, and I’ve remembered what it feels like to actually go out and do some cycling.

(The fact my thighs started to ‘burn’ after venturing 5 minutes down the road is neither here nor there.)

It might have only been practically a 10 minute ride today, but the saying ‘baby steps’ is relevant in my fit state at the minute.

Tomorrow might see me taking in scenery like this canal


I’ll be back up to the ten mile rides before you know it. Just point me in the direction of the nearest pub to collapse into at the end…

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exploring castle s

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