Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year! (what else?!)

Well, what better way to end my first week of blogging than to schedule a New Year post for midnight!  I was trying on my outfit for tonight earlier and asked Leo and Jamie what they thought of it…as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman “big mistake…big…huge!”.

Never expect a compliment from 9/10 year old boy is the moral of the story.  This is how I looked…


“You look tall”…”Is that all?…”

And Jamie said…”You look…ummm…ummm…tall.”.  Leo didn’t even finish his sentence (“you look…yeah…”).

Anyway, hopefully anyone who finds this post has had an awesome and also epic New Years Eve (“awesome” and “epic” are key words in a household full of preteen boys and girl, it would seem…) and now it’s time to decide if I’m going to bother with new years resolutions, which seem to be the hot blogging topic right now…..

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“It’ll come out in the wash…”


Here is a small collection of random items that I have recently washed in error (ie they were in someone’s pocket…

  • a trolley coin (me!)
  • a marble
  • a drum key (David?)
  • a small hippo
  • a neatly folded kettle chips packet (this one went through the drier as well…)
  • nerf gun bullets (sigh)
  • a stone
  • a tape measure
  • a pink rubber
  • a GoGo
  • a £5 note (now mine, even if it wasn’t before….)
  • and the piece de resistance – Leo’s iPod (not pictured)…which I (huge sigh) managed to save by tying it into a bag with dry rice – thank you, internet!!!

So…what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever washed….?

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Doggy treats – the homemade kind!

Ollie, Sizzles and Leia

Ollie, Sizzles and Leia

….and they were POPULAR!!!!  Even the kids wanted to try them…

Homemade Peanut Butter and Bacon Dog Treats

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…more flooding in Berkshire (Pangbourne/Goring this time)…

Thanks to my mum and stepdad for more pictures of the flooded river Thames.  This time Pangbourne and Goring, although I am unable to distinguish, I have been reliably informed which is which!

Look at the useful bench in the middle of the flood – bet the ducks love it!


From the Bridge at Pangbourne…uses for that bench on a postcard, please…?


The Thames at Goring and Streatley

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Sometimes I just see beauty…

A few weeks ago, it was absolutely freezing here in the UK.  It’s now so mild that I think the flora and fauna are confused.  I took this picture near the kids’ school…

The beauty of a winter's morning

The beauty of a winter’s morning

That same morning, my car had such thick frost on it that it looked like a crown!  The kids couldn’t believe that it wasn’t snow…

Jack Frost was at work on my car!

Jack Frost was at work on my car!

I know my mother would curse me for this, but I am actually hoping for a nice thick blanket of snow…just for a couple of days, so that we can get the sledge out and maybe build a snowman.

The kids sledging on the driveway...

The kids sledging on the driveway…



I love being safe at home with the snow coming down thick and fast…one time that it did this, me and Dave walked the dogs up to the off licence in the village and bought a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the snow (winter 2010/2011).

...and this was *before* he started drinking...

…and this was *before* he started drinking…

That same winter, a couple of days after Archie started school, it was snowed shut.  The school asked parents to volunteer to come and shovel snow out of the staff car park.  Now, you must understand that at this point, parents had had over excited children at home over Christmas, and they had only managed either 1 or 2 days back before snow closed the school, so….

...our children *will* come to school tomorrow!!!!

…our children *will* come to school tomorrow!!!!

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I have a post on beautiful winter weather lined up for later, inspired by the weather being experienced by my sister and her family this Christmas. Snow. Sigh.

The Wonderful World of Ciaran

…what do you do? Well, first you need to dig out the car. Remember what it looked like last night?

We cleared a foot or two of snow from the sides, back and top of the car. Our snow ploughing service showed up. The guy ploughed our driveway and we rushed to get the car out so he could clear the parking space in front of the house. It then looked like this:

Five minutes ploughing vs who knows how long shoveling! Our driveway was cleared two or three times this morning rather than once in the previous twenty four hours. I think they received some complaints! Jules and Ciaran popped to Safeways because we had to have chocolates to hang on the tree, according to Jules. I managed to do a bit more marking after I dug out the garage!
Then we decorated the tree. Jules desire for a…

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Candle making with Francesca

Francesca was lucky enough to receive a candle making kit from Auntie Elly, Uncle Jules and Ciaran for Christmas.  So on Friday we had a go at making a stacking candle.  The minimum age on the kit is 7 years, but if I’m honest, I would say that it’s more suitable for older kids, maybe 10/11 since it involves melting wax on a hob.

So under Francesca’s guidance, I made this candle.  It wasn’t quite as fiddly as it seemed when I first read the instructions and (to my surprise) it actually lit and burned perfectly well!

It's as exciting as watching wax melt ;)

It’s as exciting as watching wax melt 😉

The finished candle

The finished candle



She wants to try a floating candle next…pass me a glass of wine… ;P

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The Tragedy of Amelia Saunders

Amelia Saunders is a little 4 year old girl from my home town of Reading, Berks, UK.  She was disagnosed in February last year with an inoperable brain tumour.

I was heartbroken this morning to read a statement from Amelia’s mother (in response to an inaccuracy in a Daily Mail article).  She says:

“I want people to understand what my life is like right now – I have a child who wants me by her side 24/7, she can barely communicate with me and gets very frustrated all the time. She will not let anyone else feed her, dress her, give her medicines. I have to nurse her until her death, we have no idea how long that will be, in the mean time I just have to keep her as happy and comfortable as possible – read her stories, show her photos and talk to her about happier times.” (italics added by me).

When I first heard of Amelia’s plight, I was all ready to donate as her parents wanted to take her to the Burzynski Clinic in Texas, for which they required £200,000.  I feel relieved that before I donated, I was pointed in the direction of some facts about Burzynski.

  • His “treatment” is, in fact, a clinical trial…which has currently been going on for around 30 years – to me, “treatment” should mean just that – a treatment – not a trial.
  • Participants in the trial are required to pay.  A lot.  Just to take part.I’m sure I was PAID to take part in the trials that I have done…

Don’t get me wrong, I have SO much sympathy for this family.  As a mother myself, I can empathise with the desperation that they must have felt when told that their dear, sweet, beloved daughter had no options.  But I feel angry for the people that Burzynski is tempting with his “miracle” treatment, which seems to not really work anyway.  Relaible, peer reviewed publications are few and far between (ie non-existant).  The “trial” seems not to be progressing at any great rate…

When Burzynski’s potential “quack” status was first pointed out to me, I watched the family’s FaceBook page with my heart in my mouth.  I hoped beyond hope that those attempting to expose Burzynski were wrong.  And in November, the family reported that the tumour appeared to be changing (for the better).

But tragically, now little sweet Amelia is in hospital and she is dying.

So I am adding another blog to the many blogs and articles already out there (a couple of links below) to beg families in these situations to reconsider lining Burzynski’s bulging pockets.

And I wish Amelia and her family peace and love in the time that they have left together.

Burzynski Institute: Patient Exploitation in the Name of Research

More patients whose deaths Burzynski has presided over…

More sad news about a Burzynski patient

Yet another patient wasting money on Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons while Burzynski apparently slithers away from justice yet again

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Flooding in Purley-on-Thames

Purley playing fields

Purley playing fields

My mum sent me these pictures of the floods near her home in Purley-on-Thames.  We take the kids to play at this park often in the summer…

Mapledurham Lock (in the distance!)

Mapledurham Lock (in the distance!)

In the summer (and sometimes in other seasons!), we walk across the field under this water to the lock that is just visible in the distance.  This is in large part due to the irrisitable draw of the ice cream shop on the lock!!!  There is also a geocache near the lock…Thames Path – Mapledurham Lock, although you’d have to swim there at the moment!

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Top Unusual Names 2012

Ohhhhhh dear!  I came across this article on the Yahoo! news website…

1.    Tinkerbell – Girl
2.    Nemo – Boy
3.    Sailor – Boy
4.    Buzz-Bee – Boy
5.    Zed – Boy
6.    Blade – Boy
7.    Zico – Boy
8.    Diesel – Boy
9.    Buttercup- Girl
10.  Bliss – Girl

There are no statistics as to how many children have been given these names…but I had a guinea pig called Tinkerbell once…and a bunny called Buttercup!

And Buzz-Bee?  Really?  Does this pass the “park” test (how does it sound when you call your child from the other side of the park)?  Or maybe the “register” test – how likely is you child’s teacher to gaffaw when they call their name from the register.  Or the “teenager” test – is your child going to ask to be called by a different name as a teenager and change their name by deed poll on their 16th birthday?

I thank goodness that my parents were sensible when they named me!!!

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