Thursday, 28 February 2013

Spring Sunshine

It was a trip to the park this afternoon in the gorgeous spring sunshine.  Looking out the window it looked so inviting.  The sky was blue, the sun was shinning but it was absolutely freezing.  The kids didn't care they were running and climbing but for us adults stood chatting and supervising it was enough to turn you blue. 

I'm a warm weather person.  I hate being cold and I need these chilly temperatures to increase just a bit.  My man laughs at me when he arrives in an evening to find me sat huddled in big jumpers, heating on full, fire on full and wrapped in a huge fluffy white throw that he calls the sheep.  Being cold is just something I can't cope with.  I think I should emigrate to warmer climes.  A next baking 40 degree constant temperature would do me just fine. 

It does make you feel so much better to just have that little bit of sunshine.  It's beginning to feel like this long cold winter is finally coming to an end.  I've noticed this week that the daffodils are not poking through the ground and once you see that flash of yellow you know spring has arrived.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review of The Rest is Silence by Carla Guelfenbein

I can't say that I enjoyed this book.  One of the main problems I found was that each chapter was from a different characters viewpoint, (nothing that hasn't been done before and worked) the problem with this book was it took the first page of the each chapter to work out which characters viewpoint we were learning about.

I do think there was a lot of emphasise of minor details that didn't really add much to the story and places were I wanted to know more, eg Tommy the main child in the story wasn't given enough pages.  I wanted to know more about him and wanted to really get to know him.  I don't feel that I really identified with any of the characters in this book.

A lot was left untold and I think more could have been added to the ending.  I know a lot of people have rated this book very highly but it just wasn't for me.  

Monday, 25 February 2013

Fussy Mother

Today I am a very proud and fussy mother.  I've been to parents evening and heard what every mother wants to hear.  My princess is in the top Maths group. She has also just progressed to the top English group, and she's been described as a lovely polite girl that is a pleasure to have in the class.  She makes me so proud.

I know every mum thinks they have the best children in the world, rightly so, but to hear compliments from an impartial third party is what brings the smile to your face and the feeling of pride so intense that you think you might burst.

So now because of the good report I informed Faye that she could have a little treat.  Well what a decision this is turning out to be.  She would really like to go to Chiqiuito's Mexican restaurant for her tea, she would also like a toy, what toy she hasn't decided, or should she have some money to save in her money box or should we all go for a day out.  Decisions, Decisions.  I've told her to sleep on it and get back to me when she's decided.  I'm hoping she goes for the cheapest option!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Spoilt Rotten

I've had a lovely child free weekend and I have been spoilt rotten by my man.  Yesterday was a day out to York where we spent time wandering around the shops. For once I managed not spend much.  In fact, my grand purchase for the day was a tube of hand cream.  Very rock and roll.  It's was nice just to be able to wander around and browse.  We grabbed a spot of lunch before wandering round a few more shops.

Last night I was taken out for a meal.  It was a spicy Mexican enchiladas followed by a very naughty dessert of hot chocolate brownies, ice cream, strawberries, chocolate dipping sauce and hot chorros (which are a type of doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar).  It was to die for but I dread to think how many calories I consumed.  From there it was off to the cinema to watch the amazing Django.  To be honest, I didn't think this film would be something I would enjoy but despite the numb bum from the awful cinema seats it was a really good watch and up there with some of the best films I have watched recently.

Today, it's a story of more food.  I was taken out for a lovely Sunday Lunch and I'm currently fit to burst.  I don't think I'll need to eat until Wednesday now.

 Prior to that we popped to the local supermarket.  Going our separate ways I went off to get my bits and typically then spent around 10 minutes walking up and down the aisles trying to re-find him.  Once located I marched up and said "Have you been sneaking off to look at the DVDs again?"  To my surprise he hadn't.  He had been down the book aisle and found me the new Lesley Pearse that I've been after.  I can't wait to snuggle up with that one.   I have warned him that once I start that book he will lose me for a few nights as if it's anything like her other books I can't out them down.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Just go to the Supermarket!

I enjoy reading a bedtime story for the kids.  It's something I started when they were babies and although nowadays we don't get the chance to read as often as I would like, I do try to make time to read to them when I can.

They have both been to their dads for tea tonight so when they come home it's nice to have some quality time together before they go to bed.  There we were snuggled in my bed, me in the middle, squashed either side by two little people, so much so that I could barely move my arms to turn the pages.  The book choice for tonight was "The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl"

If your not familiar with this story it's about a little girl who has a magic finger.  When she gets angry her finger tingles, she sees red and a spark like electricity causes things to happen to people.  The family at the farm opposite hers enjoyed hunting animals and she hated seeing them with their guns, so yep the magic finger comes into action and the family see what it's like to be the hunted and soon see the error of their ways.

As we are reading and I explained to Faye about what hunting means she turned around and said to me, "Mummy, they are horrible people.  You shouldn't shoot animals, should you?  If you want to eat them you should just go to supermarket and buy them." How do you answer that one ?  Needless to say I simply nodded and continued to read.  I didn't fancy getting into an in depth conversation on the issues of either hunting or the rearing of meat for supermarkets, neither of which are pleasant bedtime topics.  We did however really enjoy the book

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Review of Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson

What an amazing book.  Set in Nigeria this books tells Blessings story.  Her life starts in the richer part of town but when her parents split 12 year old Blessing has to move to her grandparents home.  She has to adapt to living in poverty with no electricity or running clean water.  The threat of violence is all around and Blessing sees and experiences things that no 12 year old should.

Blessing follows her Grandma and soon becomes her assistant and aids with the delivery of the villagers babies.  Faced with the tragic mutilations of the woman due to cutting (Female genital mutilation) Blessing has some big decisions and soul searching to do.

When her mother meets a new man - a white man - employed by one of the oil giants the situation gets out of control.  Her brothers hatred for the new man escalates and the local rebel Sibeye boys known for the violence get involved and the situation is soon out of control.

Blessing has the chance to escape this country and leave all the heartbreak and violence behind and start a new life in London, but will she go or remain faithful to her beloved Grandma?

This book will make you laugh and make you cry.  It will horrify and then leave you smiling.  A story of faith, humanity, religion and above all love.  Amazing!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Crazily Busy

I've been so busy these last few days that I've met myself going backwards and the time to write a post has been non-existent.  After a busy day at work, followed by shopping and I even managed to squeeze in a bit of cleaning I finally have a spare half an hour.

With the Sun shining at the weekend it was a chance to get back outdoors and blow off the cobwebs.  It's been a long winter and I'm not one for the cold so I have spent most of it wrapped up nice and warm inside, hibernating.

The kids had been stuck inside most of the week and due to half term and me being at work it;s difficult to do much. I don't work Fridays, my man booked the day off and we headed off for a day at the Zoo.  We visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com near Doncaster and had an amazing day.  The kids loved getting up close with the animals.  They loved hand feeding the wallabies and Faye said her favourite part of the day was when the lion wee'd on the tree.  Charlies favourite was seeing the meercats and me I just loved all of it.  It was a proper family day out complete with picnic.

Saturday was cinema, for the movies for juniors followed by park and then onto swimming.  Sunday was a day at the beach complete with Fish and Chips.  I have to say that the seaside was bitterly cold and I was frozen through by the time we left.  It was a pretty exhausting but brilliant few days. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Such a Sweetie!

This is just a quick post tonight as I am busy with preparations for my romantic night.  Despite agreeing that we would be celebrating Valentines Day last Saturday my man and me had a bit of a big falling out at the start of the week,  Hands up it was my fault.  To try and make amends, and to show him how much I really do love him, I have planned a special night for us tonight.  Not saying too much as he will no doubt read this in an attempt to find out what I am plotting. 

The reason for this post is to say Thank You to my gorgeous kids for my presents this morning.  Despite explaining to my Princess that Valentines Day was to show someone, your boyfriend, husband etc,  how much you loved them she decided that she needed to buy me a present to show me how much she loves me.  I was surprised this morning with a teddy, balloon and a tacky love heart, foil, garland, which is actually amazing because she picked it and the best ever homemade card.  I really am lucky to have a wonderful man and two brilliant kids in my life.  Anyway enough of the soppy stuff.  Enjoy you day everyone.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Review of Easy by Tammara Webber

Billed as the 'New York Times Bestseller' I decided to give this book a go.  The first chapter totally grabbed me and pulled me into this book.  A spilt from a long-term boyfriend, attacked in a parking lot by a known and fellow student and rescued by a dark and handsome stranger left me turning page after page.

To be honest It all went a little flat for me. As we went over the split and we had the Lucas / Landon flirting but getting nowhere scenarios.  At this point I found the book to be very easy reading and yes enjoyable but nothing keeping me awake and needing to read more.  The whole Lucas / Landon scenario was a little predictable and I almost gave up on this book.

I am so glad I didn't.  The last few chapters of this book were amazing, really bringing the story together and explaining the unsaid things from previous chapters . The revealing of the deep dark secrets and the under lying relationships with the shock of a  further attack left me churning through the pages to get to the ending this book so rightly deserved.

This book would probably appeal to the younger end of the market with it's college campus setting.  However the message this book is getting across is really strong and applies to woman of all ages.  Story lines relating to rape can sometimes come across as a little predictable and preachy but I found this one to be handled really well.

I fell in love with the main hero of the book Lucas, although he couldn't be described as my ideal man, with his tattoos and lip piercing,not a look I'm generally attracted to.  As a character he totally pulls at the heart strings and you feel his pain.  

This book is well worth a read.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Early Valentines Night

My man and me had decided that as Valentines day this year falls on a Thursday, which is not the easiest night for us, what with him commuting to work and me having the two kids, that we would make last night our Valentines night.

I have to say that he has well and truly spoilt me.  He arrived to pick me up at 7.30 holding a lovely bunch of pink and red roses and I got not one bottle of perfume but two.  On top of that we went out for a lovely meal to one of my favourite places and had a fantastic night with a few glasses of wine and some good food.  I even managed to have a very rare Sunday morning lie in. 

All in all it has been one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Feeling Nervous.

I've been working hard on a few writing competitions entries just lately and with the closing date looming I have spent the majority of today going over and over the stories.  Scrutinising the individual competition rules  and guidelines and making sure I have adhered to them.  Being fairly new to the world of competitions I have checked and double checked that I have done everything has been stated.
  • Have I stuck to the stated word count - check
  • Name not on main body of the story - check.
  • Document double spaced - check.
  • Word count added to document - check
  • Required details added to header - check.
I've read and re-read my story.  Checked for spelling mistakes, checked the grammar.  Are we good to go?  Erm, I think so ...

Why then as I'm placing the story into the envelope and about to seal it down do I feel the need to re-read just one last time? I just have this feeling in the back of my mind that there is something I have missed.  Anyway, it's done.  The envelope is sealed and the next step is the post office.  The it's the nervous wait to see if I here anything back.  Fingers crossed.




Thursday, 7 February 2013

Life without TV

I have to say I have had a brilliant day today.  Starting with shopping. Your can't beat a good spend, especially when you hit an unexpected sale and find so many bargains.  To walk out of a shop laden down with bags, whilst knowing the credit card hasn't taken to much of a battering is a good feeling.
After shopping it was a quick catch up with a friend for a coffee and chat before heading back out for a little more shopping.

It's hungry work all that shopping so with the kids at their dads tonight.  My man and me got to spend some quality time together and headed out to the nearby carvery for a slap up meal.  I have to say I am full to bursting. It so nice to just have a few child free hours to be together a a couple.  It's lovely to be able to just sit and have a proper chat over a nice meal with a glass of wine without the distractions of the TV.

Incidentally, that was one of our topics of conversation.  The fact that I really don't like the TV and I could quite happily live without one.  I don't think many people can comprehend this but in my opinion it quite simply seems to take over and manages to rule life.  How many people programme their lives around the TV schedule. It causes so many arguments in my house.  The kids fighting over which channel they want to watch.  My answer to this is, "Either decide what your both going to watch or I'll turn it off and nobody will watch anything."

 Take right now, the kids are in bed,  I'm home alone.  The TV is off and will remain off until the kids get up in the morning and proceed to inflict Cbeebies on me.  I love nothing better then sitting here in silence.  Just chilling out in the peace and tranquillity and after writing this I will no doubt snuggle up with a book. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Review of This is Life by Dan Rhodes

This is the first book by Dan Rhodes that I have read and I can only say it was bonkers.  People meeting their soul mates and falling in love, is an everyday occurrence, but when you do that based a single photograph and then travel half way across the world to be with your soul mate.  Really?

When art student Aurelie sets out on her project little did she know that her chosen subject would create havoc in her life culminating in her being handed a baby to care for for the week.  A baby that she explains away as being rubber and then accidentally ends up shooting  She also falls madly in love with a crazy artist named Le Machine.

Le Machine has numerous issues and is embarking on a 3 month exhibition aptly named Life.  Le machine exists on a stage for a 12 week period.  Totally naked and recording all his bodily wastes all int he mane of are.  Would people really want to go and watch something like that? Yeah, I suppose there would be a few.

The book was at times just plain silly but the characters were brought to life in such a way that you instantly connected with them.  For all it's silliness this was a book that I couldn't put down and it was just a pure escape from reality.  I thought it was totally brilliant and will definitely be looking out for more of Dan Rhodes books. http://danrhodes.wordpress.com/books.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Awkward moments.

I did something that I very rarely do today.  I tackled the food shopping at the local asda on a Sunday afternoon.  It was horrendously busy and I now remember the reason that I don't do the food shopping of a weekend.  It definitely won't be happening again anytime soon.

There we was the four of us, me, my man and the two kids.  Now, my man was being very brave as it was as it was his first experience of doing the weekly shop with two kids.  There he is pushing the trolley around with charlie sat inside and Faye swinging of the ends whilst I nip here and there dodging in and out of people trying to get what I need.  Suddenly "Grandaaaddddd" came the shop down the aisle and Faye whizzed past me and flung herself into the arms of her grandad.  The grandad being the dad of my ex-husband. 

Now we haven't really seen that much of each other since the split. We made small talk for a little while before I made my excuses and headed off down the aisle.  As I turned the corner I bumped headlong into the Ex, with his girlfriend and new baby.  Oh, how awkward it all felt.  It such a weird feeling to be caught between the past and the present.  Typically  every aisle we then found ourself in we were assailed by one or the other of them.

I couldn't wait to check out of the place.  It's an experience I am not in any hurry to repeat. 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Glorious Guitar

Ever since we visited the local toy shop and Faye spotted a pink guitar she has wanted one.  My immediate answer was, "Well, you'll have to save your pocket money and you can buy one yourself."  On reflection I decided that actually I would give her some money towards it. I like to encourage my kids and if her interest lies in music that can only be a good thing.

She come home from school yesterday and there to her surprise was the guitar complete with an instruction book.  The plan was, as I also have an interest in playing musical instruments, that it was something we could try and learn together.  I also opted to bring the keyboard that has been sitting at her Nanna's house to my house to encourage her to learn to play that as well. The problem is the keyboard has a very loud microphone to.

Hmmm, I am beginning to regret my decision now.  After hours and hours of endless random strumming and her singing very badly at the top of her voice.  My head is aching and my ears can't take anymore.  I really wish there was a volume switch for both the guitar and the child.