TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

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.