TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Although i haven't been blogging of late i haven't forgotten or stopped permanently.
Things have been tough in our house and very hectic.
I am determined to get back down to it regularly in the New Year.

In the meantime i thought i would leave you all with the Warmest Christmas Wishes, and hopes that the New Year brings in everything that you all wish for.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Mums on strike latest no 3

Its been about a week since i went on strike due to the children arguing and refusing to co-operate with help around the house. The same night i talked the them about it and started the strike son backed down. See Mums on strike posts 1 and 2.

We set up a chart and i warned the children i would go back on strike and that almost happened again today. If it hadn't been for family friends coming for lunch and a short visit i would have been. The day started wonderfully, i had a cup of tea brought to me in bed and had a play with Yoda before getting up. Both children started to help me tidy the dining room and find the table so we could all sit and eat round it.
I started the lunch and asked them to wash up. That was it- world war 3 broke out yet again! Neither of them were prepared to do it. Yet again i took myself to the sofa, sat down, and refused to do anything. Youngest started moaning that she was the only one doing anything to tidy up, and son was moaning that he was always the one picked on to do the work.

While this is going on I'm reminding them of the agreement we all signed and refused to carry on with anything until they worked together to sort the washing up.

The whole sage continued until friends were due in an hour, I had to get on with the dinner or we would have nothing and they had a very long drive back to Cornwall. I don't know whether that changed things or they both came to their senses but they carried on tidying, and eventually some of the washing up got done by son, then i did some and then daughter finished it off.

They can never bring themselves to do the greasy dishes so i have that wonderful job tomorrow as i couldn't face it tonight.

We will be entering our 2nd week of the new rota and I'm hoping we will get into our stride and it will flow better so the arguments drop even more.

Until then its a case of carry on counting....

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Instilling Confidence

How do you instill Confidence in you children?

I shall set the scene and maybe you my readers can help me.
Tonight we went to visit our local Army Cadet centre. Son has been talking about wanting to join Royal engineers after finishing school, so it made sense to me to try and join the cadets as this will give him chance to experience a little of what he may expect later in life. While there daughter asked a lot of questions, i got all of the information we needed to join while son stood very quietly looking shy and nervous. The Staff there were lovely and made us feel very welcome. They agreed that it would be a good idea and that son would get over his shyness quickly and have a really good time.

Once home, Son was very quite and after sending daughter to bed i chatted with him and found out he wasn't sure what he wanted to do now. His view is that he couldn't do it, he couldn't remember it all, he'd never be good enough. I tried to re-assure him that he was and that he would learn everything needed.
Not long after i had  tucked both children in bed and was downstairs to do some chores. Daughter came down about 10 mins later to say son was crying. Son doesn't cry very often, not even when hurt so this was strange.

He was crying about the same things we had talked about downstairs. He he been 'kicked out' of Gifted and Talented as he put it. And therefor he can't do the GCSE he wants to do as you are invited to do it. That then means you can't do the courses at Uni he wants to and work where he wants. He's also worried that by changing his mind and not joining the Engineers he will let his dad down.

How do you console a child who's hormones are now beginning to work properly, and who's convinced he's not good enough. It broke my heart to hear him. My son is a warm, caring, talented and very intelligent child and now sudden;y he feels not good enough. One thing i do know is that it doesn't come from any bullying. I have always told him that i don't care what job he does as long as he's happy. And that if anyone tries to tell him he's not good enough then they can come and answer to me.
Yet this doesn't seem to be enough. So what do we as parents do to encourage our children and boost their confidence?


Monday, 26 November 2012

Mums on strike day 2

This is day 2 of my strike and things have moved on quite a lot. Daughter was basically ignoring the fact that i was not doing anything, and getting on with things the way she wanted to. I knew this would be the case as she is as stubborn as me, and when she has started the proper teen years we will have some major clashes.

Son came home and went told about it he was pretty much the same, except he said he would last longer before giving in. My response was basically we'll wait and see. I know that despite his stubbornness (yes they both get that from me) he will give in quite quickly.

True to form it came to dinner, Daughter made herself a packet of noodles- something she had asked for specially. I only occasionally allow it as i feel its too salty. Son went to make himself a packet of pasta- the type where you add the water and cook it, the sauce is in it already. He started making it and an argument ensued over a measuring jug.
Once daughter had cooked her noodles i went to make my jacket potato and salad. Son came over, gave me a big hug and said he couldn't cope with it. He was sorry and would start helping. "Please mummy come off strike" he sobbed at me.

This ended quicker than i thought. The compromise has so far been drawing up a new rota. And for each set chore they have we have each signed it so there is no arguing that they didn't agree to it.
I added that for every chore they do i will do something but if i see them not doing what they agreed to and helping with extra bits when i feel too bad, then i will stop too.

Today daughter came home and looked round the living room- "Why is it so messy in here mummy?"
Yoda had been tearing paper up, dragging things all over the floor. My answer was simply "Neither of you have done any chores so far, therefor neither have i." Daughter was not impressed!!

I wouldn't say i am now not on strike, but things have eased and a few things will get done.
Watch this space.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mum is on strike Day 1

Over the last week things with the children has been awful. Their behaviour over hepling and attitude with rudeness has got to the point where it was the straw. So today after being told by youngest that i am a lazy mother i decided to take action.
The normal punishments of grounding and taking things away, stopping all privileges and early bedtimes have no results at all. I am adopting an attitude of a mother i read about in America. Its drastic and many people were up in arms about it, but after a week her children suddenly sat up and noticed and the shock tactics worked.

As of today i am on complete strike. I will literally do nothing for them, apart from Opticians for Rhys as he has to go with an adult tomorrow.

Now up to this point i have instilled a lot of Independence into my children as they can manage simple cooking, they know how to use the washing machine and they do take themselves to school and back. So for the first few days they will be OK and won't starve.

I am hoping that the shock will really kick in when they can't get to gym, or when it is tipping down and they will get soaked on the way to school.
Although they can wash their clothes they never bring them downstairs so they will run out of them soon enough and the biggest thing of all is the dishes- we have already used most of them before the weekend and all this really started. I'm estimating we have a couple spoons and side plates left until they are all spread on the kitchen side dirty.

The news of my strike has gone down like a lead balloon and they are arguing over who's fault it is- so far no changes.

I will keep my readers updated on the daily changes (if there are any) now i am off to make myself some dinner and get myself a drink.

Good evening all

Dragons: real or myth

A creature i have loved for a long time is Dragons, particularly Gold dragons. I feel a connection to them. Some say this is silly because they are only mythical creatures and from stories. Some say they really existed but is times gone by. There are those anthropologists who say that we have evidence of their real existence from living animals now, as they have developed over thousands of years. and there are another group of people who believe that out there somewhere remote dragons do actually live.

I personally am not bothered by anyones thoughts or beliefs on this, i like them and think of them as strong protectors in my life.
The picture below is how i see my protector in my minds eye.

Admittedly this is a little more cartoon like than i really see but having looked through countless pictures on the Internet this is the closest i could find. If i had some skill in drawing i would do so myself and upload that, but people who know my would agree i can't draw for toffee.
I call her darling. During my meditations i talk to her ask her to watch over me and guide me in life with all the decisions i make. I like to think that i don't go far wrong. but as with everything i do have a very strong will and i know i do go the wrong way from time to time. but eventually i get back on course and pootle along quite happily.
So any readers out there; what are your thoughts on dragons, and do you have an animal that you feel strongly connected to as a guide.
 I look forward to your comments,
C x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Update on the dog sitting

What a few days it has been and we're now half way through!

We've had some drama's and some laughs. The bad could have been really bad and the laughs have been down right funny.

for now I'm going to share some pictures of the doggies enjoying each others company.

The bad times we have had have been the two of them getting used to each other, and the fact that they are both jealous of each other. Whenever the other one wants to come near me, i play referee. Yoda is very protective of his mummy, and Marley is protective over his friend and they are not willing to share.
Over the last few days this has changed and they have warmed to each other to the point of playing. Its in a strange manner and needs supervision, but it works for them. Yoda is on the sofa and Marley is on the floor. I have videod it and its so very funny to watch, Marley is trying to be gentle but being so big he forgets and starts to jump on the sofa. Yoda just yaps away as he does when he plays with his sister and mum.
Playing outside is a great deal of fun, they both chase after the ball, and when Marley gets it, Yoda come running back before Marley can turn round. Its almost as though he knows once Marley does then he'll be squashed under the stamped.
Now they are both peacefully sleeping after their evening walk and play on the sofa/floor. Roll on tomorrow for another exciting day for them.

Do you sleep better alone or with children at home?

This is something i have been thinking about for a long time, and i thought i would see what my readers thought.

I am in the situation where my children go to see their dads every 2 weeks, the other goes 3 weekends out of 4. In between those times i am basically on my own with them. I do have a fantastic support network of friends and family, but at the end of the day evenings and night items i am alone.

I find i sleep much better when they are not home, or in the mornings when they have gone to school.
Its almost as if my brain is saying 'ok you can relax now'. I have now wondered for a long time, is this something that affects other single parents or am i just weird?

Having said that, does this affect parents who get the odd weekend away from their children when they go to friends or family members for the night?

Look forward to hearing your views dear readers


Friday, 16 November 2012

Dog Sitting

This next week will be an interesting one.

I am dog sitting for a lovely friend of mine. The dog i will be looking after is a German shepherd. It does raise a chuckle, the thought of him with Yoda a long coat Chihuahua. The size difference is massive. Yoda is only 6 and 1/2 months so far and not fully grown so there is a bigger difference than with an adult.

Things are going well so far, they were introduced slowly. We had a bad moment when sharing treats, i had Yoda in my arms and knelt down so they were on the same level. Marley wanted Yoda's treat as well as his own. Something that's fairly normal for dogs, they don't really want to share treats.

Today we went for a walk to the local field and they were both let off. it was great to see both of them chasing after the Frisbee. My friend joined us with her 3 dogs and they all played together nicely for a while. It was very wet on the field though so we didn't stay long. It was back to mine for a cuppa, well deserved too!

That was when things got a little trickier.... Marley was trying to play with the puppies in the house, something a little difficult since my living room isn't the largest and i have lots of furniture in there. Then we had the jealousy too when i had all the small dogs on my lap- Marley wanted to come too. Not possible you say, and i agree with it. But the dogs thought they could fight a little. Things got a little tense when Marley snapped back.

It seems that i have loyal friends in all of them, and they all want me to have them as my favourite.

I thought it was only my little baby that was jealous. I feel most honoured by this, and don't know what i have done to earn this love and loyalty to them. if anything i am very strict on them and insist on impeccable behaviour.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Latest show pictures of Yoda

This top picture is Yoda when we went to a show in Kent. As can be seen from the various rosettes he gained places from 1st to reserve and we came home with 8 rosettes in all.
The bottom picture is of Yoda this last weekend at a limited show, he gained 2nd place in the toy open class.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Book Review: Sarah Quanli by Jackson Keene


The beautiful yet deceitful Rossalyn McDonald had twisted the knife deep in David Adam MacDougall’s big heart. He was extraordinarily handsome: chiseled muscles, kindly soul, thoughtful personality, and totally faithful. Any other lass in his Scottish Highlands village would have cheated her own sister to become his bride.

Now David’s entire being felt broken into a thousand pieces. Now he only wanted to reach the faraway city of Beiping China where he was called to be a missionary. But before arriving in that mysterious mistress of the orient, he would face uncertain dangers.

The year is 1904. The bloody Boxer Rebellion is only four years past. Much of northern China still seethes with undercurrents of resentment and hatred of all things Western. If David can just make it to the ancient city with body and soul intact, if he can just survive, there he’ll find his new purpose, his new home, and his new people.

There, he’ll meet the woman he comes to believe is the love of his life. The lithe, athletic, saucy, highly intelligent and equally independent Xiu Li!

My Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed the book, i liked the way it was written in the style of a true story. It reminded me of the Autobiography of "Tisha" The story of Anne Hobbs who was a young teacher who went to the wilds of Alaska make a difference. It also reminded me of the story of the nun who worked as a missionary in China, sh led 100 children to safety and was part of the unbinding of the women's feet. Forgive me if i can't recall the name of the book or the lady it was about.

I very much like reading about people who gave up everything to go and work in remote places against all odds to make a difference.

I give this book a 5/5

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Author Interview with Jackson Keene for new Book Sarah Quanli


Q. There are all kinds of fiction genres that authors write for.  You’ve written two books (NOLICHUCK, and now SARAH QUANLI) in the vein of historical fiction.  Why is that?


Having earned undergrad and grad degrees in history, plus having spent a year toward a doctorate in same, I’ve always had a healthy fascination with long ago events and individuals (whether common folk or famous personages), with major trends and traditions, and how such evolved through time. 

Q. Please go into more detail why the historical genre appeals to you so much.


It’s interesting to dig deep into how people carried on – how they managed – during the great epochs of past; how they lived, loved, survived, overcame, left legacies and lineages to continue their name and blood-line.  How each generation is beholden to the last, but still tasked with creating its personal stamp for the next generation to come. 

Q. What are the major elements that come to play in the story behind SARAH QUANLI?  What led you to include those specific aspects in your narrative?


I’ve loved and played the sport of basketball since childhood.  I greatly like Chinese people and China as a country.  In fact, I have several Chinese friends with whom I play pick-up basketball games most every week.  In addition, I’m an evangelical Christian.  Plus, I love action and adventure, both in movies and in reading.  I’m also a very passionate (highly romantic) person.  So it almost seems natural I would write an historical novel with romance and danger that combines all these things into a unified story.

Q. So what makes SARAH QUANLI so uniquely different from other historical romances?

In some ways, the continuing saga of SARAH QUANLI has elements of both The Good Earth and East of Eden.  It’s all about the lives and loves of several generations of a Chinese family, begun when a handsome Scottish missionary marries a beautiful Chinese girl.  The newly published Book One covers the time period from the birth of David Adam MacDougall in 1882 to the birth of his first child, a daughter, named Sarah Quanli MacDougall in 1916. 

Q. Will there be other books in the story of SARAH QUANLI?

Yes.  Books Two, Three, and Four – still to come – will take the reader through the brutality and turmoil of strife-torn twentieth century China, and later, concurrently, through the social upheaval of the 1960s and beyond in golden California.      

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Book Review: The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlin Duffy

The Rock Star's Daughter (Treadwell Academy, #1)

At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer.
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent?
Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines.

My Thoughts

I wanted to read this book when i cam across it in the free books section of Amazon Kindle, because despite how think of my daughter still being a little girl, she is growing up. It won't be long before she's out of the Jacqueline Wilson books and into something more grown up, and this seems to fit the romance type book for a teenage girl.
When i was a teenager it was sweet valley high books, but like it or not the world has moved on and children nowadays are growing up more quickly.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book, i would recommend it for a teen younger than at least 14 since the subject of drinking and nightclubs is involved and the mention of drugs does come in a couple of times. But on the whole i think the author has dealt with the subject of being a teenage girl who is naive, being thrown into a world she doesn't understand and dealing with the grief of her mum dying very well. She has shown the mixed up emotions of all the changed that the teen encounters, how she tries to please her peers, the instant love that teens all feel on seeing a boy they fancy, the grief from parents too wrapped up in herself.
Within this book she has packed a lot of emotions and topics dealt with in a changing emotional state, yet somehow managed to keep the realism of it.

I would be quite happy with my daughter reading this once she has reached around 14

My rating is a 4/5

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Half Term Muddy walk

Today was a lovely sunny day so instead of crafting- which i should have been doing i decided on a walk with my friend and the dogs.

Because the weather has got colder of late they are all wearing t-shirts to help keep them warmer. They had a lovely time running in the mud.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Author Interview with Jerome Brooke, in advance of my review

In Advance of my reader review of The City of The Mirage i have been sent an interview prepared by the Author giving some background of himself and the idea for the book.

The City of the Mirage (Books to Go Now-Amazon)

The City of the MirageThe City of the Mirage by Jerome Brooke is now on Amazon. The Divine Astarte is one of the last of her race. Her kind seeded many worlds with life. One of these realms was the planet of the Warrior.

The City of the Mirage in a dark fantasy!

Astarte is feared, not loved by her people - she is the Destroyer of Worlds. She is served by a legion of shield maidens. These cruel warriors are feared by all. They commit all manner of atrocities, such as impalement.

The people of her empire are also terrorised by the Beast Men. They are the offspring of members of an alien race and the daughters of men. They feed on human flesh.


The muse stood at the side of the blind bard.  She whispered in his ear, telling him the history of the demigod, of the Conqueror. 

Myth of the Lady of the Myst, II, vii.           

The mirage appeared very close.  I could see the white towers of the city, as they shimmered on the horizon.  I wiped the sweat from my brow with my sleeve, and took a sip of water from my canteen.

I looked over my shoulder.  I could no longer see the enemy chase cars. They had been in pursuit since last night, when my plane went down.  I had parachuted from my wounded craft, and landed in the desert. After I landed, I fled into the empty waste, hoping that my beacon would be heard by our rescue.

I resumed walking.  Perhaps I had come all this way only to die of thirst in this wasteland.  I checked my canteen.  Almost empty.

I tried my radio once more.  Nothing – not even static.

I continued walking in the light breeze.  I soon came to a boulder field.  I walked among the rocks for a few minutes, until I came to the edge of a ravine.  I glanced over the edge, and saw a fast moving stream below.

I climbed down the steep slope to the floor of the ravine.  I filled my canteen, and pulled off my flight suit.  I plunged into the water, and rinsed off the dust.

I sat upon a rock near the edge of the stream, to rest for a time.  I soon pulled on my flight suit, and began to follow the stream.  As I walked, a strange blue mist began to form, near the ground.  The mist persisted, even tho a breeze began to stir the air.

I came to a large bolder jutting out into the stream.  I walked around it, and saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  I turned, and saw a woman of middle years stepping out of the stream.

“Hello,”   she said with a smile.  She spoke with a heavy accent.

“Hello,” I replied, and smiled.  She had black hair, and dark, olive skin.  She did not seem to mind that she had nothing on, in the strong breeze.  This was all passing strange.

“I am the Lady of the Myst.  Are you lost, Warrior?”

“Well, yes.  I am heading west,”  I managed to collect myself and say.

She pointed down the ravine. “Follow the stream.  It leads to the plain.  If you see anyone else, they may help you.”

I nodded.

“I must leave you now.  But you will see me soon, when you are ready.”  She came up to me, and wrapped her arms around me.  She kissed, and gently bit my neck.  I felt a little dizzy, and also felt a strong attraction to her.

“Am I Enthralled by the Lady, the beautiful Lady Without Mercy?”  I asked myself.

http://city of

Interview With Jerome Brooke

Jerome Brooke was born in Indiana. He now
lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He has written
The City of the
Mirage (Amazon) and many other books.

Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana. He attended Indiana University – MLS, JD. He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is married to Jiraporn Sutta, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He is the father of two children. His daughter, Jirachaya, is six. She has been crowned as Miss Superstar 2011. His son Justin, 40, is a sales executive in Shanghai.

He is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Indiana. He served as City Attorney, for Ellettsville, Indiana. He also served as Judge Pro Tempore for the Superior Court of Monroe County.
His work has recently been published by a number of journals, including World of Myth – Welcome to Wherever – Danse Macabre -  MelBrake Press blog – First Literary Review – and Bewildering Stories.

His work has been described as:

The poems are savage and barbarous … intricate and complex … horrific. …talent, interest, and clarity of diction. Joseph Hart. — Isles of Myst Review

The poems remind me of ancient primeval legends … . The imagery is active and personified. Joseph G Phillips. — New Mirage Quarterly

A terse series of quatrains which evoke the cold and dark realms … of the Ice Age. — Carol Hamilton, New Mirage Quarterly

A timelesss tradition of honor, bravery, and romance. … tales of mediaeval warfare … spell-binding. Charming and seductive … . — Lorraine Tolliver, New Mirage Quarterly

Battle, victories, defiance, perseverance ring melodiously throughout the pages … . The victor within us all prevails. — Paul Truttman, Western Archipelago

Primitive, barbaric, spare, austere, but eloquent … frightening. The images .. are savage. The poems are exciting and moody. — Joseph H

He is the consort of Jira, princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has written The City of the Mirage (BtGN) and many other books
What is the working title of your book?

Morgana the Queen

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was inspired by the Muse – she told me of the myths of ages past and sang of the history of worlds as yet unborn.

What genre does your book fall under?

Erotic Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

In my day – a young Elizabeth Taylor for Morgana, and a young Eartha Kit as Roxana.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Morgana the Queen, with the Duke Valarius her paramour, defeats the rebellion of a province of her realm.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will seek out a trade publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not long – I write my material very fast.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

My books have been compared to the Conan series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I like to read the Iliad, Beowulf and the Gallic Wars of Caesar.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book is a dark fantasy. Like in the classics listed above, the people do not conform to the values of the USA in 2012.


Sleepover results.... Happy half term

It is now the morning after the night of the sleepover.... and what a night it was, girls finally went to sleep around 1am, followed shortly after by an exhausted me.
Son was complaining all evening that he was on his own and had nothing to do. The girls were noisy but had fun and i was stuck in the middle trying to keep my sanity :-)

Then came today. I heard something while it was still relatively dark but couldn't be bothered to check the time, by 8 am and the wails of daughter from the bathroom i realised it was son getting up so early. Daughter was wailing due to being sick, at same time she was sitting on the toilet! Her friends were looking very concerned asking what was wrong.
The morning continued like this while i changed our plans for the day by alerting the parents and arranging early drops home.
In the meantime I'm also trying to sort an appointment for the cat at the vets as he's become ill over the weekend, sneezing mucusy blood last night.
By breakfast time I'm trying to sort 2 girls, son and myself with food, the phone rings and daughter is ill again.

It can only be half term.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

What have i let myself in for

To me half term never really starts until the evening of the sun when the children break up, that is when i start to relax. I have then generally done the uniform washing and got the children to make sure they know exactly what homework they need to do, and to have started some of it.

This weekend because of a Halloween party at their gym we haven't done that, and tomorrow afternoon i have arranged for Daughter to have 2 friends round for a sleep over. So instead of relaxing and thinking yippee half term has started, I'm going to be trying to keep them from creating havoc.

"What have i done?"- i ask myself. I have enough trouble managing when one friend comes for a sleepover, now i have arranged two, and i know that its going to end up with a '3's a crowd' situation at some point. I have nothing arranged to do with them, and i don't think daughter has- she's been too busy planning her outfit for the party.

Come Monday evening when the girls have gone home and we have done our normal Ring craft time i am going to be exhausted. I can't imagine the girls going to sleep much before midnight if at all, and they are bound to be up at the crack of dawn giggling away. I think i may end up getting my evil mum head on to deal with them.

Wish me luck x

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Manston and District Dog show in Kent

The latest show we went to today was in Kent. In a small village hall in the middle of no-where. I went with my Friend and Breeder of Yoda, and two of her dogs. It was a very early start and we got lost on the way there- i was actually forced to resort to the sat nav on my mobile, What fun that was. not surprised we got lost really, i would never have thought of a show being held that far out of the way.

Even more surprising was the lack of local people there supporting the show. Personally Yoda did very well. He came away with 8 rosettes- Even now i am surprised at the amount.

His 1st place was in the toy class, 2nd in mystery class. The mystery was that they had asked the organiser of the show to pick her favourite, the other 2nd was for the judges choice. The 4th place rosettes were for best puppy, waggiest tail, and cutest couple with Shelby his sister. He also got part of a 4th place with his mum and sister in the Best trio class, He was handled in this class by his breeder. The rosette for 5th place was for most appealing eyes and special reserve  for best conditioned dog. I am so shocked but happy. He wasn't on his best behaviour, his latest habit seems to be for standing on his back legs as soon as i tell him he's being good!

I'm hoping that now i have recovered from this dreadful cold and sinusitis i can get back to daily training for him and he will calm down again. The last couple of weeks have been lots of play times with him and the children trying with the training, but both giving him different signals. Because he's still so young he's easily confused by it.

Our next big show is middle of Nov. By then he should be listening a lot better.... here's hoping at least.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Gymnastics for children

I don't think this is something that i have written of before, so i will regale you with it now.

Daughter with her Level 1 and the Bronze part she recently earned. 
My daughter has been doing gymnastics now for about 2 years. We started off with 1 hour a week and after about 6 months this increased to 2 hours a week. She has worked her way through her badges from Level 8 down to Level 1 and is now Working on Bronze to gold, so far we have a certificate for Bronze vault and something i don't pretend to understand. There are still some sections of the bronze to earn though. She used to come home telling me of all the things she'd tried doing and how much she enjoyed it.
Its not been without its worries though, since doing gym she's been up to casualty with a sprained ankle, sprained wrist and the most recent a fractured thumb! Combine that with my sons trips up there they will soon be worrying about the care i provide for my two.

Anyway, over the last few months the training increased to 4 hours a week ( 2 lots of 2 hours) and in the last 2 weeks, 3 sessions a week. It has now got to the point that i stay for the sessions, as it would be costing me a fortune to travel too and fro in rush hour 3 days of the week.
So far she is doing so well that we've been told she will do competitions next year if she wants, so as it stands shortly after Christmas we will be buying her her first competition leotard. Something that i am so excited about. Her first full gym track suit is on order so she will be wearing this to gym and to the competitions once they start.
Its all go in our house in the evenings now, at least it gives me 2 hour blocks to get on with some craft sewing or knitting.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Review of: Time Bomb by Nicholas Cross

This is the latest book i was requested to review.


This is a story about a man named Martin Short who has chosen to live a safe, conventional life. He has allowed himself to feel content for many years, secure in the certainty that he has made the right choices.
Martin’s life begins to unravel when a flamboyant Italian playboy named Giorgio moves in next door to him. His existence is a slap in the face for Martin, an undeniable example of happiness and joie de vivre.
Martin begins to become obsessed with Giorgio and starts to entertain paranoid delusions. He convinces himself that Giorgio is a malignant beast, plotting to destroy him. His orderly life starts to fall apart with hilarious consequences.
But underneath the funny lunacy of Martin’s irrational hatred for Giorgio lies a very serious problem. Something that Martin has locked up inside himself for a very long time. Martin has a secret so weird that he has managed to forget it.
Eventually, in the grip of madness, Martin decides that Giorgio must die. But Giorgio is not going to be easy to kill…
My thoughts-
The author describes himself as having a unique style of seeing things and way of writing. Well... I would have to agree with him there.
This is not a book that i could read in one go, it was one that i found i could put down and when thinking about reading a book was more of a "do i want to read more of that now" scenario. I normally have a personal choice book and a review request book on the go at the same time. This one i found i had to persevere with, and unless i am lacking in a few braincells i found it hard to link all the pieces together at times. Unless this was the purpose of the story, i find i don't really enjoy this style of writing. All the elements were there, but something about it was disjointed. Then again maybe this was the point considering that the main character in the novel ends up with a disjointed life.
I think this is one book that has to be specifically chosen by the reader as your own sort of book, not one that anyone can just pick up and enjoy for leisure.
I give this book 2/3 out of 5 of my stars.

Yoda's latest achievements

Yoda's latest achievements arrived in the post yesterday. He won 3rd place in two classes of an on line competition.
3rd place in Best puppy and 3rd place in Best comedian.
I was so surprised as the competition was fierce, there were an average of 25 or more dogs to chose from in most classes, so this has made me really happy.
Our next definite show will be with our local Ring craft group and is a KC show! So competition is even tougher. We'd better start training harder to be in with a chance.

More news from Yoda as it unfolds


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Walk in the woods

Today i took Yoda for his first walk in the woods. We went with his mum, sister and "Auntie". Their owner- his breeder and my wonderful friend came with us. It was fantastic to see all of them off the lead and running freely as dogs should do. Despite being show dogs our dogs are still treated as proper dogs. They aren't panpered and preened all of the time.
For me of course the most wonderful part was to see my wonderful Yoda on his first time off the lead. To start he seemed almost unsure what to do but then once he had seen his mum wander off, he was away with the rest of them. All of them were so good too, Yoda and his sister came back to us when called- they are both still being trained, although his sister is better at listening than him. His mum is the most obedient dog I've ever seen so there was no problem with her. "Auntie" however is another story altogether, she got a smell up her nose and she was off, she never went far, but it took a little longer to get her back.
Luckily a large supply of treats helped wonderfully.

Unfortunately this picture only shows three of the dogs.

 We have recently had a spate of dog napping in this area and other areas not so far from us so everyone is being extra careful with their dogs. If i had been on my own there is no way i would have had the confidence to let Yoda off the lead, but with four dogs and two humans we knew it should be fairly safe.

The dogs and my friend came back covered in mud and needed a bath. Yoda is still waiting for his as my two came home and needed sorting and since hes been asleep all the time, we must have exhausted him. I'm so pleased that i chose to take this option for our afternoon instead of doing washing and housework. We had a great time and got some exercise ourselves.

Friday, 5 October 2012

More trips to A+E

Last night was yet another trip to A+E! This time with son. He's been tripped up at school and had hurt his knee after hitting it on metal railing and then landing on the concrete on it. This time we were up there for 3 hours, He had an X-ray and said leg was pulled and poked about a lot to check for things shifting. Luckily there is nothing broken and its a sprain. So crutches handed out and advised the keep off it for the next week at least, then start with small pressure we came away. £4.10 lighter for the parking.
This trip comes 3 weeks after Daughters trip for fractured thumb. I'm beginning to think that if they keep seeing my two children up there they will start asking questions. I think in the last year we have managed to knock up over 10 visits between them and single handedly added an enormous sum to their parking charges. I want my own space and seat in the waiting room now.

To make the day worse, when son arrived home he said the accident happened at break time in school and he'd been to see the nurse at lunchtime. she dismissed him and said he'd be fine. I was not informed and no records were filled in!! Needless to say i e-mailed the school as soon as we were home from the hospital and have spoken to the school and told them i am fuming with the way it has been handled. Having been a child minder and done a first aid course i know where children are concerned you need to record everything and check them out even if it is nothing. The form teacher is understanding of my anger and has promised her will be contacting the head direct about it and i will be copied in on any e-mails and be kept informed of what is going on. They are very lucky that it is only a sprain, had there been a chip in his knee cap, or something shifted out of place in the knee they could have been in very serious trouble. I understand that children have accidents at school and i don't molly coddle my children, but while in the care of school i expect and accident such as this whether deliberate by another child or my son just not looking where he was going to be recorded and i should have been informed. Not have him walk home on his leg and find out by seeing him arrive in tears.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Yoda's competitions

Yoda is doing well at the moment. I entered a competition recently for some doggy treats. It was your basic like a page then share it. Not thinking I'd get anywhere i did it as i do many others. To my surprise when i read the list of winners my name was there. I had to read it twice to be certain i wasn't seeing things.

Today things got even better. It was our first Match Night at Ring craft. We go here every Monday evening as its good socialisation for dogs, and for us as owners. It also teaches the dogs how to behave in the show ring, and to let lots of different people handle them. Each week the routine is slightly different, one week it will be purely ring craft, which is practise, another week will be Knock out. This is where two dogs are put up against each other and the winners owner has to judge the next two dogs until the end and an overall winner is found. With the exception of Match Night the dogs also earn points which are carried forward to the end of the year- I'm not entirely sure what happens then but I'll find out.
Anyway back to tonight, our first Match Night. Yoda was not on his best behaviour, he going through his teenage stage right now and not really willing to listen properly. He's also very gangly legged and walking like a gangster (if you can imagine how they bowl along, that's what he's doing). Add to this the teething which means his ears are flopping over at the top he looks quite a state. The best bit about him is his gorgeous eyes (admittedly with some tear staining from teething) and his coat is in a fabulous condition.
 Tonight he decided standing on the table was OK, and didn't really try to escape, but walking up and down and then in his circle was not happening nicely. He was leaning at an angle away from me the whole time, he was also pulling on the lead. This isn't normal as he can do it perfectly. And at home in the garden he doesn't even need a lead.

Despite all of this look what we came home with:
I am so proud of this as it is his first rosette. It will take pride of place on his board where i hope we will soon be adding lots more to it.
I have to give lots of thanks to his breeder who has 1. Given me this wonderful new family member, 2. Has helped me so much with learning about showing dogs and allowed me to come along to ring craft with her, and 3. Is really just such a fantastic friend in general. I wouldn't have been able to start on this road without her.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

ESAS Trip to Greenwich Observatory

Yesterday we went on a wonderful day trip to London with our local Astronomy group.   I had been really worried about the weather as during the week it had be horrid, but i needn't have worried. The day turned out to be beautiful.
We left home around 8 and by 11 we were in London and taking pictures from the Greenwich Observatory.


View of the remains of Olympics stands

Original Observatory building
Sun Dial using Dolphins to register the time
Greenwich Mean time line
Tired no 2

The Observatory itself holds a great deal of history, and some fascinating technology showing how our exploration of the night skies have helped us find our place on the map and how to divide up our days. Some of the objects held in this great place are the earliest telescopes, the earliest watches and one of the most sophisticated time pieces in the world. If you ever get a chance dear reader to visit the Observetory it is very worth the time you will spend there.
As can be seen from the pictures a lot of fun was had. We returned home around 8pm worn out, but having had a great day.

We visited another few places during the day but they are being saved for another post, and because there are far too many pictures to show in one go, and would cover many topics at the same time.

In the meantime, i hope you have enjoyed my brief snapshot of our day, and will join me for some more another day.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Applying for schools

Its that time again for me. It feels as if i did this only 5 minutes ago, not almost 2 years.

My youngest is now in year 6 and the applications for secondary schools are now being started. Although i haven't visited any local to me so far i have just sent my application in. I will however take her to visit the two we have selected. One of them and the preference she has already been round with my eldest, so she has some idea, but this time the spotlight will be on her. The other we didn't visit last time because my son knew where he wanted to go. So it will be an interesting visit.

I am still keeping my fingers crossed that she gets to go to the same school as her brother. I still have to fill in the written application to the school itself. I will be calling them tomorrow for the pack, then all i have to do is wait until the 19th of April for the result.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Catching up

I spent a lovely day today with an old friend of mine.

We have been friends since i moved to the UK when i was 12, and despite our arguements and changes in our lives we still get on really well.

What with busy lives and illness and work and children we haven't actually seen each other in over a year. Terrible to know that it had got so long. But despite this we had a great time catching up, and laughing at Yoda. She was made up with him and he charmed another person into changing their mind about his breed. Before meeting him she admitted that she had thought of them as ankle biters! Yet she said he is the most adorable and calm puppy ever, she now wants one of her own. WEll done Yoda i say.

The sad thing about not seeing each other for so long is the changes we have missed. She has been suffering stress with various things and the same with me, we've always understood each other and been there for each other. I was there when she had her 1st baby, she when i went through both of my divorces, she's helped in so many ways in my life and vice versa.

We made a sort of pact today that we will make more of an effort to get together more often, we won't leave it so long. After all she only lives down the road and with the children getting older its easier to get together.

I am really looking forward to our next visit and the laughs we will be having.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Online dog competitions

I have entered my gorgeous puppy into an on line dog competition. The following photo's were my final choice for his categories.

The picture to the left i chose for the Most appealing eyes class.

Below is entered in the Best comedian class

This picture to the right in his best pose i have entered into 3 classes, Best Pedigree, Best puppy and Most Handsome Dog.
I am now keeping my fingers crossed for the 9th of October when the results come out. So far he hasn't won a rosette, but we keep training and trying.
This Sunday we are going to a charity dog show for Progeria, the young lady whose family are running it live in our town and Hayley (a progeria sufferer) is a fabulous young girl. I am really looking forward to going. That will be another show i will be keeping my fingers crossed for. Yoda will be bathed on Saturday evening and i will be taking his grooming kit with me to ensure he looks his best. I am just hoping that this time it doesn't rain. At the last outdoor show we attended it started raining just after we arrived and by the time we had the class for the waggiest tail he didn't want to go and play. This is normally not a problem for him, he wags his tail so hard his whole bottom wiggles. so much that my Nana has nicknamed him wiggly bum.
so everyone please keep us in your thoughts on Sunday, i will endeavour to take pictures and let you know of the outcome as soon as i can get the pictures on my laptop.
Take care for now xx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Book Review: Nolichuck! TJ's Wild Frontier Adventure by Jackson Keene

Synopsis:  TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school: A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.
Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.
And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past. And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living! Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.
And he thought his present life was bad news! But TJ’s adventures are only beginning. Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.
When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––but there's killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he's hasn't even seen yet. And the aftermath of the little green book to deal with!
My Thoughts: Following the guest post i held for the author i have read the book (admittedly with a delay due to moving and then having no Internet to post my thoughts) and i have asked what my son thought of it. My son is almost 13 and has some dealing of bullies in the past so i thought it would be interesting to see what he thought. Unfortunately he read the overview of the book and decided it was not his thing, i couldn't persuade him to try it even throwing in the idea of the history- of which he has a great interest. This is therefore based on an adult viewpoint and not as i had hoped a teenage one for which the book was written.
I like the concept of the story, the modern and going back in time, i felt it had some gaps. There was no real explanation of the dads disappearance and how he was suddenly so clever- some background may have slotted things together better. I'm not sure that a boy of 14 would really accept as easily that he had gone back in time and just "get on with it" as it were. I felt that the travel was made too easy, and the reader was expected to just assume the boy had understood how to keep quiet and make up a story about his life. Would people in the wild west have been as accepting as they are in the story?
In general if you don't think too much about the history then the story works and as a light hearted book with a deeper message to convey it is a good book.
My rating 3/5

Monday, 17 September 2012


You may probably gather from this post i am back on line! I can say i have missed this and reading my friends blogs i follow.
I report a fault on my phone line last week and have now had it fixed. I have to admit as much as i don't like BT for things they have done in the past they were great today.

My time slot was 8am-1pm. The man arrived at 9.15 and was very nice, he checked everything out and said there was a problem with my line outside. I expected him to say he'd have to come back but to my surprise he said he was off to fix it! An hour later and voila- he was done. I now have a new line from the pole to my house and have my phone and internet working. I'm a happy bunny, i have missed sharing my thoughts- i know they may be boring to most, but i find it cathartic.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


My Little Yoda has discovered he can escape from the garden through a few holes in the "fence".

I say that in the loosest terms because its a mixture of "fence" in the form of chicken wire, and a form of hedge. I think in fact it was originally a fence of chicken wire type material and the then the hedge was grown on my side of it. But over the years more trees and bushes have been planted and the fence has been damaged.
Until now it hasn't mattered- now however with a small escape artist around it does matter.
today he escaped twice, luckily he is fairly well behaved and came back within a few mins with lots of coaxing and trying to get his attention with treats.
Now the holes have scaffold boards in from of them in the hopes that it will put him off. Immediately after putting them there he did try to escape and looked all confused when faced with a board.
His little face was saying- "that wasn't there before"

We'll see how long it lasts and in the meantime i have to look for an affordable solution. I certainly can't afford 160ft of proper fencing. This would also mean hacking back lots of bushes and hedging, or losing 3ft in some places in width of the garden- something i think the landlord will not like.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Small picture of Yoda as he has grown so far

I have stolen a few photo's of Yoda from his breeder (i know she won't mind) to show how much he has changed since his birth 18 weeks ago tomorrow.

5 days old!

2 weeks old


4 weeks old


9 weeks old

17 1/2 weeks old

As you can see he started off as a really dark little thing and now he is very light tan, when you look up close at him it is possible that he may end up with his mothers colouring once fully grown. He has some very light areas coming through under him. I hope however he doesn't lose his black stripe down his tail- its very cute.

More of his escapades to follow in the future.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The latest addition to our family

I thought it was about time i got round to introducing the latest addition to our family.
His name is Yoda, he is a long coat Chihuahua and will be 18 weeks old in 2 days. This photo was taken by a gentleman called Mike Jackson!/MikeJacksonPhotography
at the Naturally Pets Fun Dog show. It was Yoda's 2nd show and he was brilliantly behaved.
Lets hope as he gets older he will win lots of rosettes and continue to improve as quickly as he is now.


The picture below is of Yoda's mum Maisie. She is also a long coat Chi and has won over 100 Rosettes and awards. She is a wonderful specimen of the breed and is so good natured and has been such a brilliant mum. My daughter used her on Sunday for the Child handling class and won 2nd place. This was only her 2nd show so she's doing really well. Lets hope Yoda turns out to be as wonderful as his mum.
All i can say is that with his mum and the breeder he has had a wonderful start to life. e continues to see his breeder regularly and she assures me he is doing really well.


Either way, whatever happens in the future, we have a loving and gentle pet who so far is providing us with hours of fun and plenty of distractions. I will keep everyone updated on Yoda's progress in the show ring and how high he reaches.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I am back

Although the move isn't completely finished yet i am back. I still finishing up the cleaning of the old house and moving the last few bits over.

I do now have my broadband live in my new house!!! I am so happy about that, i have really missed it, the mobile is ok but rather limiting in what i can do.
I am looking forward to catching up with the blogs i follow and writing my own again. The adventures of training our new puppy, how the unpacking is going and the landscaping of my huge garden. I have some pictures but not uploaded to laptop yet so they will form the basis of a post on their own. I will then aim to do before and after pictures of the changes i make in the garden.

In the meantime, i look forward to entertaining you all once again. Many thanks for reading, and for your patience while i have been off line.

C x

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Puppy's help

I wasn't intending to write a post today but was inspired to by Yoda.
He's my 16 week old long coat chihuahua.

He's been with the family for 5 days and has settled in well. I was going to save writing a post until i had a few more pictures to post, but as i was borrowing my mum's laptop to check my mail he has been trying to help. He's been licking the the keys, and had his paws all over the mouse pad making it very hard to type and add anything to my pages . Every time i move him he moves back and puts part of himself on the keyboard.