Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Temporary Rescue/Dept Store Hell

True to their words, Meridian, her dh and ds we're at ours for 9am, so we loaded dd1 and myself into the car and set off into Derby.

The obligatory Starbucks was consumed, before we did a dash around the shops calling at Game for the kids to spend their xmas cash on Nintendo DS games and accessories, dd1 has purchased 'Dora saves the snow princess' whilst her friend got an Indiana Jones Lego cover and stylus set. I don't think they had the game he wanted, so he left it at that for today.
We scooted past the stationers, where Meridian got a fab storage box and headed back into the Westfield Mecca.

Cunningly Meridians dh then took the kids for a bite to eat, whilst we attempted to run around the shops. Monsoon came up tops and I have another daytime work type 3/4 sleeve warm jumper type top, whilst I got the kids the same top in different sizes (cream with sparkles) and dd2 got a leotard for ballet for a mere £4.50 :-)

Debenhams were next and I was giving them a go today as they usually have some ok stuff in there and they'd kindly sent me a £5.00 voucher to use, as I'd not shopped with them for a while and they wanted to tempt me back in. So voucher in hand off I went, I found clothes 2 x jeans to try on and a lovely Jasper Conran top. I went and stood in the que with Meridian, and waited, waited some more, drummed my fingers, tapped my feet, Meridian tried her tops on in the line as she got fed up.....the people in front of us, asked if any more changing rooms? no sorry, the other one is closed and the Warehouse one is full.......now from what I could see, we were in the entrance to a room, which could have held at least another 6 more cubicles than it appeared to have......we gave it another 5 mins, then Matt started calling to see where we were, so I passed the assistant my clothes and left. Meridian paid for her stuff, which was another one person on the till, 4 people deep que, so when she got to the front, not only did she complain, but I pointed out to the assistant that if their shop does go bust in the next few weeks, its not because of people not wanting to shop there, its due to lack of staffing in the right places and lack of rooms to try the damn product on in. Like most shop assistants these days, she just shrugged, another person not at all bothered to do a job well.

This has reminded me to stay shopping local, with stores whose proprietors and staff actually care about their customers. I shall be visiting Que's sale next week to get my jeans from there, they may be more expensive, but at least I can try the damn things on and get good service.

I dived into M&S to get some lovely desserts for New Years Eve, as we have a few people popping around for a glass of their choice and some games, although one person kindly told me yesterday that they will only be playing wargame based games, to which I sniggered and waved Articulate at them, so we shall see....I'm sure we can fit a few different ones in :-)

To finish the day off dd1 and I went for a swim, or rather more of a splash in her case, as despite my protestations about her trying to not wet my hair too much, I was drenched by the end of it, despite tying it up.....still her swimming on her back is improving, just really gotta get her feet off the floor when she's on her front, and it is pure lazyness that is making her put them back down, I think some more time in the big pool with her dad is needed. (I'm trying not to be pushy here, but her mates can happily swim on their fronts now and she will do it in class when asked, just never for me! oh the teenage years are going to be fun....)

Monday, 29 December 2008

Meridian to the rescue

I'm being rescued tomorrow and taken into Derby, bless Meridian and her DH, exploits to be revealed tomorrow!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A nice paragraph from an old friend

I found this, whilst perusing the internet this evening, from an old friend/associate John Harvey, who is also an esteemed writer, if your not in the know I suggest you check out his books, http://www.mellotone.co.uk/resnick.html
Sorry I'm a bit crap at the link thing, I must get Richard to sort me out!

'For most of the seventeen years I was in Nottingham, certainly once I'd started working on the Resnick novels, I would stroll around the city most days, sit on buses, walk the walk that Resnick took down through the centre to the Italian coffee stall in the market and sit there, never making notes, but watching and listening, occasionally chatting, feeling - if never quite rightly - that I belonged'.

That's nice to read, as mainly it was the 16/17 year old me that John was chatting to. Sometimes it was Sandra or Vito, but quite often me, (humour me fokes) he even turned up with a camera crew and Tom Wilkinson in tow one day (frapples ya got nowt on me mate) and thus I have appeared briefly on the BBC courtesy of John and his Resnick series. Last time I saw John I was running into a lift lobby, as he exited another lift, funnily enough in the Victoria Centre Complex Car Park, we both yelled Hi at each other, I still feel randomly guilty for not stopping and having a conversation, but sometimes you just don't you know? Hi anyway John, if you happen by this random post! doubtful I know, but Hope your doing good.

Bloody Garage

Bloody Garage......grumble, isn't open again until 5th January.....grumble.....no car until then, minimum.....grumble, grumble, grumble.....

Yours sincerely stuck in Ripley.

Please visit if you happen to be in the vicinity, I may well go slightly bonkers otherwise.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day and Christmas Car Tales

Merry belated Yule/Christmas to all who may happen by this post.

A good Christmas here, including my present, which is why I'm on here Boxing day eve, a new laptop for me! Lots of lovely gifts this year, including some small dice, thanks very much Richard, chocolate bread mix (which will be interesting to bake) a fabby collection of Meridians homemade goodies, which have a multitude of uses from kitchen to bathroom and beyond. Booze a plenty and my humourous 'Office Goddess Mug' off set by dh's 'I don't do Perky' one, cheers to our staff for those :-)
Thus all is good bar the car issue on the Eve of the big day, which will no doubt cost lots of money...here is our tale....

Dh finishes work and calls me asking what I have done to the car? which he is retrieving from the car park. 'Nothing' says I....'but its grinding on the drivers side?' says he.....so he limps the car home. My dad and dh examine it on Christmas day, the front suspension has popped its moorings and is embedded in the front wheel.......eeeeek.....thankfully it didn't happen at 70mph or whom ever was in the car, probably wouldn't be here to tell the tale......not something either of us are happy about, as it only passed its MOT, last Thursday! One is now pondering if the garage have put the wheel on right? after said MOT, as according to ones father, if its not on right, what's happened can happen......argh! Anyway am going in with dh on Monday am, both of us, in person to discuss them picking our car up and sorting it out, whilst questioning if they could be the cause of the problem? as surely this would have been spotted if a hazard at the MOT? non???

The car issue put paid to our Boxing day trip to dh's brothers anyway, which is a shame, as the kids were all looking forward to it, plus now they're missing their presents too......plus as it was Dh's bro's birthday yesterday too, he's missing his birthday present as well, poor love.

Thus I/we are stuck in sunny Ripley. SS's mum is sending stepdad down to get ss tomorrow am, as we have now messed their weekend up with our lack of transport too.......

As we're stuck, I attempted to go out on my bike today. Foiled by dh, who insisted that we all go out together (I thought he was safely ensconsed on the Xbox, but alas no) So rather than get an hour to myself, I ended up dragging the kids across town with dh to Meridians for a coffee and some cake. Meridian was highly accomodating, as ususal and my intended pop by for a quick coffee, ended up in a two hour stay and assorted nibbles, kids playing on ds lites and various wii games, plus a scooter around the close. Still the walk blew the cobwebs away, for me at least, it was getting bitter on the way home mind, am glad to be inside tonight.

Thus we are now living in technological heaven, him on the xbox and me on the laptop, modern living is complete :-)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Its a win for me.....

Ha, ha ha, ok sorry for the gloat but it has to be done, you see.......

Three weeks ago I thought I had over thrown the cold of wintery doom, so I booked onto pilates class. Tuesday morning I awoke and it was back with a vengance, so I called the leisure centre and cancelled, only to be told, not in time and a £3.80 charge was to be imposed....I protested, as at £28 per month that I pay for the use of their facilities, I wish to be able to cancel in good time and not pay extra, I feel the morning before a class justifies this. So I protested, they stood firm, so I cancelled my membership, (bearing in mind I haven't attended in a month at all due to said cold) que a week of wrangling, them saying, well how about this and me saying no, I want my £3.80 back, and thus it went on, I was offered 7 days membership for a friend, (I said I don't have any, like I'm gona recommend somewhere I'm trying to leave in a protest) and finally I win, they have given me back my £3.80 and have apologised for their crap policy. This does mean that I have agreed to carry on going for the time being (well it is winter, and its so cold outside for running, brrr) so its not a huge win of any great importance, but more a smaller challange to the larger silly bureaucracy I feel. Now I've got to start going again though, damn...maybe I should have thought that through more......

Goodies

I've treated our house to a few goodies over the past few days, whilst I've been on my travels, which is good, as I've been searching for one thing in particular for quite a while. Its our new telephone stand :-) a £19.99 bargin.

O.K. so you now all know I'm totally bonkers, but I'm happily bonkers. I've needed a new place to put our phone since our hallway got its door through to the garage and we finally got a plug point in which to add the answerphone plug bit, so we can actually have an answer phone, so people know we're not toally ignorant and we can call them back. The problem has existed for where to put the phone since the house was built, and BT randomly whacked a plug point in the hall way half way up the wall, with no thought to where an electric point was at all......typical jobsworth bodge job. Thus all this time the phone has had to sit on the stairs, as it never had enough wiring or tacks to reach the living room (well actually it did for a bit, as the internet with wires, remember that folkes? lived in there for a bit, but it was miles of messy cabling across doorways, walls and celings, so it had to go with the advent of dd1) Anyway I finally found a plant stand that I could afford and which by a stroke of luck matches the new light too, huzzah, cheap can look good too.

I found the plant stand whilst out with my gran (great gran to the kids) who at the fantastic age of 94 is still just managing to hobble around without a walking stick, although she gave me several frights this weekend on the ice, by trying to insist on walking by herself, oh we're stubbord old things in our family, the women that is ;-) whilst I insisted that she hold my arm, and prayed the little ones didn't trip her up. I also got two lovely tea light stands for the Christmas dinner table, cheap as chips and the girls chose two dangly twiggy things with clear hearts on them, which are residing in a vase looking pretty now too.

Gran has enabled a lovely purchase for our family too, and we're very grateful to her, as she gave me and dh some money for Christmas, so we have wisely invested it in some new plates, which we have been needing for a long time, ok so its more of a dinner service, than just a few plates. It was a bargin however, as the shop we got it from had an offer on a 5 piece service. We've never had anything that looks remotely like a proper dinner service, so it will be a joy to eat from, particularly this Christmas, when we will use it with the lovely wine glassesthat Jon, M, Phil, Emma, Ashley and Jane clubbed together to get us when we got married :-) (that was a glass per person, you got it :-) ) crikey I'm sounding all grown up, that can't be right, mind you my friend hit 35 the other day, so that means there are only 3 more people, who I'm close to before its my turn, eeeeeekkkkkkkkkk, that's half way to 70, ok now I'm scared.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Crafting/the onslaught of Christmas

Well folkes, its been a while, but whilst I'm babysitting at Meridians I thought I should sneak a little blog....

I've finally found time to do some crafting over the last week or so, as life has settled into a brief routine. This means i've managed sit at home, apparently ignoring dh, as I twiddle with things, some I can't mention yet and some I can, all will become clear after Xmas! mwah, haha. In fact when I'd finished the 1st item, dh was rather impressed, something I don't get out of him very often :-)

Carol knows about this so I can mention it! as she's commisioned me to do her a knitted belt for her larp, as we saw one up at the larp fair in barnsely, but rather than have her part with cash for it, I said, don't be daft I'll make you one for Xmas. Seems silly not to really, when the one thing I can do with a pair of needles is knit in a straight line. Thus this is my main project at present. In fact it'll be two belts, as I'm experimenting with one, whilst I find exactly the right shade of wool for the other, which is taking time. In fact I may feel a visit to Litchfield coming on in an effort to get what I want......its either that or oneline shopping, which I fear could be the opening of a very dark door, so I'm avoiding it like the plague.

So I am trying to get organised for Christmas.....to be honest I'm not doing that badly really. I have stuff for the kids, as they're not getting much this year, Santa being skint n all that jazz, but feel the odd stocking filler more may be required per child, not much mind, maybe just one more item each I think and the obligatory orange, just so I can listen to the chorus of 'I don't like these' from the eldest girl ;-)

I still have dh to buy for, and my mother, but that's it, everyone else is just about sorted. Not bad for mid Nov, oh that been said, a quick trip to Belper to
http://www.i-shouldcocoa.co.uk/about_us/ which is the fabulous little shop Meridian and I stumbled across the other week, whilst dh was in York, and I was letting our staff slave away in the shop. After all the kids needed entertaining dahling, and what better way to do it, than pop to the Farmers Market in Belper (they grazed their way around) followed by lunch a la chocolate shop (which is also opposite an amazing deli!) Which reminds me I have a problem for our next event, as parents away, one member of staff has left.....which leaves me.....paddle, creek, oh drat, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Our half term story

I'm briefly online at the moment, as I'm still at work. The reason? dh is ill.....last seen in the vacinity of the toilet with a tummy bug, which we think ss had on Sunday night, probably picked up here in the store, by eating without washing his hands at a guess, after contact with who knows who? as its apparently going around.....I'm really hoping I don't get it, as dh is away this weekend (if he's better) running larp at York. Thus I need to be here to open and close the store (we have staff now, so they'll manage during the day)

Since I was last here we've experienced dd1's 5th birthday, a trip to the zoo, a trip around Meadowhall and the trip back home from ss's house, not all on the same day I hasten to add, but still the same week, in fact half term was positively mad.

The first Saturday we hitched a lift with C&M upto the LARP kit fair in Barnsley, I acquired some Xmas presents for Gabriel (being sent to Santa obviously) and had a nice pootle around a few of the buildings/stores in the same site, picking up a few other Xmas bits and bobs too. The Sunday was spent running Pokemon for me, whilst dh and the girls did? in the evening we trundled to H's birthday party, Halloweeon theme, which the girls enjoyed immensely. Monday the girls went to Butlins with the GP's (grandparents) whilst dh and I worked, mum kindly had the kids the next day till 4pm as well, so dh and I stole out to dinner via Toys r Us to get Birthday and Xmas presents. We attempted a romantic meal at Frankie and Bennies in Derby, only to be scuppered by knowing 3 people the moment we walked in, followed by a further 2 a few minutes later, lol.

Wednesday saw us attempting to pick ss up, we managed this bit, only to be scuppered on the way home, due to an unfortunate accident on the M1 (some poor soul died) thus a 4.5 hr trip home, via Sheffield, A61 to Chesterfield and the Ripley ensued. At 6pm I bailed us out into Frankie and Bennies again, as I was going potty in the car for 3.5hrs with the kids, who were being remarkably good in the circumstances, but teatime is teatime and an expensive one at that.

Thursday we all went to the Zoo to meet Auntie L and cousin W, I think the kids all enjoyed themselves, SS enjoyed the ghost train the most, even the bloke rattling the chains in the back. The dd's made witches hats and liked the rides there too, not sure how much interest the animals got, although dd2 keeps rattling on about the monkeys, so she must have paid some attention. T popped over in the evening and we had a lovely natter and catch up, as it's been over a year since I saw her last, due to work and life commitments on both of our parts. Doesn't time fly when your having fun?

Friday was Halloween, spent mainly at home, L was turning up, but postponed until Sat. I ran Halloween Pokemon in the evening, the joined dh at home, where I ended up back at Tescos, as we needed party food and stuff to sculpt dd1's birthday cake, a magnificent set of 3 swiss roll towers, in white icing :-) with an icing dragon and icecream cone towers, which dh and I completed in the early hours after much messing about, but it was worth it for the look on her face :-)

Saturday was dd1's birthday, L, finally turned up as did various relatives and fun was had by all. Plus a fair bit of catching up too.
Sunday was the birthday extension, as this time it was the friends party at a play centre, which was fun for them all too.

and that my readers is the story of the last week or so.... I hope you weren't too bored by it all, I'd love to post that I'd done crafting or something nice, but, oh hang on, actually I did manage a bit of cooking storage on Sunday whilst L was entertaing the kids for me, that was it, I peeled 30 apples, stewed and froze them, followed by par boiling and freezing the parsnips and making up soup for lunch which I also froze afterwards. Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it all.

Monday, 20 October 2008

AWOL

Sorry if I've been AWOL for a while, I do have a good reason, no Internet access at home.
WHAT I hear you ask? no Internet?
Yes, that's right, I am net less, sob. The reason is not a lack of broadband, but rather a lack of computer at home. My pc has gone shopwards, as we now have an office upstairs there, so technically I can do accounts and personal stuff whilst at work, rather than at home. At the moment however this has not gone as planned, as our workload has increased on the run upto Christmas. Never mind, I'm sure it will all pan out in the long run, it'd better I only have a month left until year end......
So in the meantime I'm blagging the use of other peoples Internet, like Meridians now, as I'm babysitting round at her's, whilst waiting for Santa possibly to deliver me a cheap laptop of my own? maybe???

Hum, so what have I been doing for the last month anyway?

I can remember what I did yesterday. The kids, Meridian and I took a trundle out to Chatsworth House, for a wander around their farm park, with its fabulous play area. I took us some hot dogs in a thermos, for lunch, and I slipped down to the farm cafe to grab a take away hot chocolate, which I think tastes wonderful on a cold morning amongst the swirling leaves. Meridian begs to differ however, she's not into Styrofoam cups ;-)
We saw some roughly week old piglets, and a lovely Shetland pony, who had just been sold to the lady who had seen him before us. Plus the usual cows, sheep, goats, horses, guinea pigs and chickens.
The leaves at Chatsworth were a treat, not quite as red as you would get stateside, we don't get quite the same weather to create those colours, but there certainly was a lovely set of autumnal shades to the canopy, and we enjoyed sitting in a shower of leaves, whilst the kids ran riot around the park. When it got too cold, we retreated to the cafe for coffee and cake. Indulgent us?

I have to say this weekend was much better than last. I was supposed to be saying goodbye to my old friend Darren, who is off to New Zealand for a better life. As it was dd1 went down with tonsillitis on Friday, only it wasn't diagnosed until Monday, so whilst Andy was away larping all weekend, I was at home with a very poorly child (who yet again was supposed to have gone to Grans for the night, but was ill and unwanted because of that) so poor old me had to stay at home with sick kids, whilst all of my old mates went out to party and say goodbye (I have to say I developed a stinking cold too on the Sunday). Life really doesn't want me to party this year at all.

I did get around to Darren's to say bye on Thursday night, again with the kids in tow, and once dd1 had gotten over her screaming fit, we managed a drink and a bowl of ice cream and a play with his daughter too. I dare say I shall be popping back to Nottingham a few times to say goodbye to his wife and dd, who are following him later in the year, as the house still has to be sold, and things packed into containers etc. But I'm guessing it will be a long time before we see them again, bar via web cam, as New Zealand is quite a trek away.

Monday, 29 September 2008

If I ever get to go larping.....

Scuppered again.....so just when we thought getting staff would do the trick and free me up to be able to do some more larping, my babysitting during the xmas party weekend in Dec has let me down, by ignoring the fact that they'd agreed to look after the grandkids, in favour of a lovely holiday in Tenerife, well you would really, wouldn't you? bugger and damn nation.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I bet the kids won't get up in the morning.....

Cause Meridian and I kept them out far too late tonight!

Oopse bad parents we are, we ran off down to Asda (Walmart) in Spondon, to look at/purchase a few Halloween goodies for that fantastic evening that is Halloween.

I'm so glad that the English are starting to have fun with it like they do in the states, although I have to admit, that most of the stuff I brought, is for the shop, as its our Pokemon Evening, so I'll be there with lots of kids in tow having scarey fun. We also need to do the windows up for the month, so should look good now, with the bits I've brought! I still need to go to Sainsburys for the giant spiders though, as they have the best I've seen this year!

Meridian is now kitted out with stuff for her son's birthday party too, so all good there. dd1 and dd2 have new outfits for the day too, dd1 has gone girl devil, whilst dd2 witch, minus the hat, as it was the last costume on the rail in her size, and she wanted that one and only that one, but at aged 2.5 I doubt she'll wear a hat anyway?

What have I got? I purchased a 'bad fairy wig' so if you want to see what that looks like, may I suggest you visit the shop on halloween, or hope someone gets a photo of me in it! well it was that or the pink bob wig, that's lurking in the larp kit.......which reminds me, I have some bloodied angel wings in the loft......

Monday, 22 September 2008

Oh its Julie!

My follower, bless you me dears. I knew someone out there was mad enough to follow me :-)

A Follower!

OMG my pathetic excuse for a blog has a follower! must go and find out who it is now, I'm just in shock spotting it!

Monday, 15 September 2008

August and everything after (plus a snippet of July)

It's been a while since my last post, mainly due to the kids summer holidays, which has meant all hands on deck in the shop, running games during the day and night time, whilst also juggling our own 3 kids (ok only 2 are technically mine, but I'm sure ss, will be happy to be included in the equation) and running the larp as well, phew, how do we do it! with exhaustion probably ;-)

I'm actually sat round at Meridians blogging away on her laptop at the moment, whilst babysitting her ds, so bless her for leaving me her internet access, plus access to great coffee and her wonderful apple muffins, which she hasn't blogged about yet, but surely should do as they're scrummy too.

I'm trying to think what we've actually done that's worthy of note during the month, so bear with me whilst I pootle on through.

The end of July saw me, the baby of the school year turn 34. On hand to help me celebrate were Liz and Jackie my old school chums, Merdian, Sarah and Alex, my maternity mates and Sue, my old UPS Pal and ex housemate, a lovely cross section of people from my various points in life. I also got a variety of apologies from other people, who opted out once we discovered I couldn't go out for the night, as it clashed with Magic the Gathering Eventide release at the shop. This was actually good, as not many more people would have fitted comfortably anyway. So instead we had a night in at my house, with pizza, nibbles and several bottles of wine, or none alcholic larger in Sue's case. Jackie kindly regaled everyone with tales of what a pair of minxes we'd been whilst growing up, including several incidents that I cannot remember happening (did I ever use a taxi and leg it down a twitchell (alleyway, or gunell, depending on where your from) without paying the driver :-O) She assures me I did, how embarrassing and slack of me, the things you don't remember when your drunk..... She also reminded me of poor old Oz, who apparently so wanted to be my boyfriend, only he never quite had the courage to ask, so just instead used to put up with me drunkenly snogging him when I'd exhausted my other options of an evening on a Friday night at Rock City.....oh yes, you can rely on your old mates to suitably embarrass you in front of your newer ones. I wonder what happened to the old crew we used to hang about with? neither of us see any of them anymore, yet we all spent a good 3-6 years in their company, before we stopped clubbing and drinking quite so much and got on with our lives.

Dh took me to see the latest Batman at the new Showcase Cinema De Lux for my birthday and it was lovely, now that is the way to do cinema. May I highly recommend you go and see both the film and the cinema. We had to do the old showcase the week after for Wall E with the kids and it was like sitting in a smelly cess pit in comparison. Lordy I'm turning into a cinema snob. Afterwards we attempted to go to Nando's for tea, but they decided to close early, thus denied, so we legged it back to our local pub and just scraped in before closing for a quick bite. I think I have a spot of karmic bother with Nando's however as the next time we went there, I was in my heals and went stunningly flat on my face ( keep your eyes on you've been framed for the footage off the cctv) when the nice young man seating us, took me by the hotplates, where the floor was covered in grease, and my legs went completely from under me on a lovely tile floor....good job I know how to land face 1st, or it would have been a very different story on the Suing front, as it was my Aikido and larp training was put to full use in a milli second and I merely stood up and dusted myself off, whilst wondering exactly how stupid I had just looked. The waiter did apologise, but dh for some reason did not get anymoney off the bill when he paid. We will not be visiting that branch again. (Westfield Derby in case your wondering)

DH did the 11 day larp event in Wales during August, whilst I shop sat and looked after the kids, with help from nursery, Meridian, my parents, Becki, Mike and Richard at the shop. Needless to say I am currently running behind with a lot of work, primarily the accounts after this, but I'm slowly catching up.

Dd1 started school the other day, along with Meridians ds and another good friend of her's, so she's happy with it all. In the week prior to her 1st day at 'Big School' she had a morning with her dad, where they went swimming, and then the afternoon with me, where she chose to go to 'Build a Bear' in Derby's Westfield Centre. This cost a small fortune, but at least its another thing that she can ask Santa for clothes for, right! Its quite sad that this is all we could manage with her this year, due to us having started the shop and having to work lots of hours, but hopefully come next year and the following years after all our hard work will pay off and we will be able to take weeks at a time to spend with the kids and hopefully have the money to spend on them too.

Meridian kindly took our dd1 with her ds to Warwick Castle for a lovely day out, before they started school too, so that kind of made up a bit for dd1 having to spend so much of her summer still at nursery. Now that she's at school of course, she's coming straight to the shop afterwards, so seeing more of us too, even if it is a working environment. She's started to do small jobs for us too, earning her pocket money, rather than just getting treats. So I now have a postal helper, who also cleans shelves in the store. She's also tidying her room at home and cleaning her school shoes :-) jobs mean cash prizes.

I guess that's been it really, not much of a summer to write home about, kind of like the weather really, shoddy with the odd snippet of sunshine to brighten up the week.

Friday, 12 September 2008

More coming soon

Due to having been very busy, here's another coming soon post.
Once the accounts and vat are sorted out, then I'll be back on here properly.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Later this week

This poor blog will get a proper, what's been going on in the last month post on it, honest.

Later this week

This poor blog will get a proper, what's been going on in the last month post on it, honest.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Countryside Meanderings

The girls and I had a lovely Saturday afternoon pootle today.

Dh brought the girls into work and we swapped over at lunch time, so we left him and ss in the shop, took a quick trip up the high street and grabbed some ham, sausage rolls and fruit and headed home for a quick lunch before we were on our way.

First stop was Crich Village Fete, so dodging the showers, and holding onto our coats as it was very windy, we admired the tractors, the girls slid on the inflatable slide, whizzed around on the waltzer ride (the girls not I, getting too old to get too dizzy ;-) and then manged to win two froot shoots on the Tombola, just in the nick of time for the girls, as they were getting thirsty. We also won a bottle of lemonade on the raffle and some nice bubble bath for me :-) I didn't get the bottle of Brandy I was after for dh, which was a shame, as it was a bloomin good bottle, but hey I reckon we got our monies worth.

We also played on the park and purchased some lovely homemade cakes and biscuits, which is what these very British fetes are all about surely. I also now know that Crich has a huge field in the middle of it, with a park attached, that I never knew was there before, I guess you wouldn't unless you live in the village, but for the size of house we need, its currently out of our price range. Oh and the other fact that its in the country, which dh maintains he'd be happy to live in, but I'm not convinced, or I think he'd be in far more of a hurry, he's a townie really, although loathe to admit it. I hate to say, but I think I may be pushing it to get him out of the small town we're currently in......

After the fete, we decided to go and feed the Ducks, so it was off to Cromford. We parked at Arkwrights Mill http://www.derbyshireuk.net/mills3.html and proceeded to get 30p's worth of duck food, which kept the kids and the ducks entertained in the random shower that appeared the second we got outside, thus I ended up drinking my hard earned coffee in the rain, whilst reminding dd2 to stay away from the edge of the canal, least I end up having to fish her out, a prospect I could do without.

As the rain was intermittent we decided a walk to the Troll Bridge (1st bridge along from where we were) would be a good idea, so goading dd2 with 'look there's another puddle' we bounced along the path, splashing Peppa Pig style in all the puddles (thanks to Crocs, no shoes were harmed in this process) to the bridge, and then it was goading everyone to walk back with the prospect of an ice cream at the van in the car park.

Ice creams consumed, we admired the old mill site, mooching around the stores and purchasing a notebook for dd1 and a pink watering can for dd2. We had a good look at the old water flow, which used to keep the mill running too, whilst I explained to dd1 how it was used to power the mill in the days prior to power stations. Then we headed home to eat pizza for tea, my lazy Saturday night treat to myself.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Blueberry Muffins


Tonight I've made Blueberry Muffins.

Two ants were harmed during the making of this recipe, but none are in the cakes.

Heat your oven to 210 oc

Get a muffin tin and place paper cases inside.

Then get a bowl and a spoon

Put in the following:

12 oz self raising flour, sieved
4oz plain flour, sieved
3.5 oz of soft brown sugar
1 punnet of blueberries
and mix together.

In a seperate bowl or jug whisk the following

8 oz of milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

make a hole in the flour mix and pour the milky mix in and stir.

Melt 4oz of butter or marg and mix this into the mix also.

A metal spoon is advised for use in this recipe, as the mixture sticks to it less.

Spoon into the Muffin Cases and bake for 30 mins, test to ensure the middle is cooked.

Enjoy with a nice cup of Earl Grey. (and no ants)

The March of the Ants


Roughly two weeks ago today, I opened the cupboard next to our dishwasher, to find an invasion taking place. A small invasion, but none the less one that could grow in size if left un interuppted. Yes, we're talking about ants here, so I promptly set about squashing all the ones I could find with some kitchen towel. Highly technical I know. Dh said, 'we need to find where they're coming from' Sherlock that he is, so 'we' (read I) emptied out the cupboard, mainly cereals on the bottom shelf and sealed biscuit tin on the top one. I gave it a good clean and we waited a bit. When we looked again an hour later, the kitchen towel came in useful again, seems our invasion is coming up the water pipe, from under the cupboard. I can only sumise that when we paved over the lawn a few weeks ago, we upset the food chain somewhat, so they've decided to look inside for additional fodder. So 'we' set about putting a stop to it.

The next day I purchased an ant trap from Wilkos, courtesy of the company Nippon. This proceeded to sit in the cupboard until tonight, unopened, as the one thing I asked dh to do, two weeks ago, was to pop 4 holes in the side of it, put the bait in it and install it in the cupboard. This he failed to do.

I had thought that my squashing and constant cleaning efforts were working, as the ant population has been negligable in visibility for a about a week, but tonight, I've spotted two of the little munchers already. I'm pondering if it's the rain that's bringing them in? as it was rather wet, the first time we noticed them. Which ever it is, I've squashed two on the counter top tonight......and I've given up waiting for dh to do his bit in the household and have set up the ant trap by the water pipe myself. Fingers crossed, this should do the trick within the next week. I apparently have to top it up daily, so we shall see. Might be a bother if the ants are coming in elsewhere as well though?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Movie Fix

Our family finally got a movie fix this Sunday with the release of Kung Fu Panda, it meant a movie had finally arrived that we could take the whole family too. So come Sunday teatime, dh and crew, shut the shop and arrived at our house. Crew I hear you say, yes, of course. We had a 'shop outing' and took Mike, Richard and Richard H along with us all too, hell, can't have too many grown ups going to a kids movie, without some kids in tow, right :-) Thus the 10 year old, 4 year old and the 2 year old, got to enjoy the movie with a pile more people to bug too.

SS bailed out into the 'boys' car at the 1st hurdle, leaving dh, the girls and I, to venture to Derby on our own. We convened in the cinema reception and loaded up with popcorn, sweets, drinks, and in Mikes case a hot dog and ice cream too. Unfortunately for us, we arrived a tad early, which I think was dd2's downfall in the end, as not only did we take her to the cinema for a 17:45 showing, we also made her sit there for longer than she wanted........yep you guessed it, the last 25 mins or so of the film got missed by dh, as dd2 threw a bored paddy! ho hum......he didn't have to take her out, his choice, I'd just have paced the back with her for a mo, but dd1 was cuddled upto me for the 'scary' bit, so I got away with it. Shame really as she sat through the whole thing that was Mims Island the other month.

Anyway seems on the whole Kung Fu Panda was a hit with the family and friends alike, so much so that I got begged for the sticker book and stickers earlier today, so now we're collecting those as well. Pondering how many wushi finger holds we'll see at the event this weekend.

Monday evening, saw Meridian giving dh and I a much needed night out, so whilst she looked after the kids, we did cinema again, this time to see Wanted. Woooo Hooooo, what a fab film, it doesn't stick too closely to the graphic (do these things ever?) but yay how cool was that. Angelina good in it (did you ever expect her not to be, she loves those chick with gun roles) James MacAvoy, wow, loved the metamorphosis in this one, mind you I liked him in Shameless too. Meridan made me laugh, with her comment of, 'when did he get hot' good to see that other English chap in it too, the one who was in Hustle and Game on, can't remember his name though!
So if you want to have a great action packed night out, go and see Wanted its marvelous.

This weekend I also inflicted my Banana cake on Richard H, which I think he liked? Dh says its nice too, but he could just be making the right noises. Dd1 likes it, dd2 is non plused by cake, unless she can eat the icing off the top, or its lathered in chocolate. Well what else is a girl to do with food that's heading for over ripe, and what with Gordon Browns blatherings this week, about food waste (like we ever have enough around to waste) .

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Pink Cakes on Wednesday


I've made some lovely Pink Cupcakes this evening.
The whole cake isn't pink obviously, just the icing, but I've tried one and they're yum.
I had a random 5 seconds where I didn't have much to do, so cakes to fill the cupboards it was.

If you want to make them, here's what I did

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz Butter/Margarine
8oz Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Mix the lot together and spoon into Muffin Cases.
Bake for 20 mins
I did mine at 180 oc in the Fan Oven, so you can guesstimate from there.

Leave to cool, then do an icing of your choice. I did buttercream

3oz Butter/Margarine
6oz Icing Sugar
half tsp Vanilla Essence and half tsp Red Food colouring

Sieve the icing sugar over the Butter and then mix it in, adding the essences. If the butter is a little stiff, you can add half a table spoon of milk, but margarine won't need it. Then pop on top of your cake.

It was nice to eat one of these and relax for a minute once they were cool, as it has been a rather hectic day, with pre-school runs, swimming, proper school settling sessions and ballet all in the mix. I even managed to attend the start of a local stores sale, where the dd's got a new umbrella each, which dd2 promptly put the curved end in her mouth and got it stuck, it retrieved fairly easily, but she got a sore mouth from it and wasn't impressed......trust a two year old to try and eat an umbrella.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

100th Post

Cripes, I've managed 100 Posts over the last year or so.
I blame Meridian for it all.

If I were crafty, I'd do a giveaway to the nicest comment, but I'm not particularly crafty at the moment, so I think I should do something else.....but what.....
Maybe I should do a cake give away? but how will I post it, if some random person from far away makes a lovely comment?
I could just be a total humbug and say stuff it, but surely that wouldn't be good....
Maybe if the nicest comment is local I could do cake, and if its far away I could get Meridian to do something, oh no, drat that will never do......
If in doubt I could resort to offering a bag of Crazy Bones! that's it, that's what I'll do, Crazy Bones x 1 pack to the nicest comment then, wonder how many people will now do this, just for the sake of their kids eh???

So disaster struck this weekend, or at least in the eyes of dh and I, as we had planned a wonderful night out without the kids, for the 1st time in over a year. As we have very busy lives at the moment and hardly see each other, let alone by ourselves, or see our friends, we had been really looking forward to this. Plus its about the only weekend until Xmas Day that we're in the same part of the country together, without work getting in the way, gah!
I drove the kids to grans (1 hr away) I drove back, I went to get dh and our friends, all 10 of them, we got to the pub, ordered a drink and my mother phoned and said 'come and get the kids, dd2 has been sick, she needs her mum' Which is not what I was hoping for at all...........
So dh and I drove an hour to mums, got the sleeping ill child, who remained fast asleep until 6am......and got dd1 who wanted to stay, but it appeared the gp's weren't interested in this........

Anyway dd2 is off her food a bit today, but bar that seems ok in herself.....so our one chance of a night out this year, without having to come home early for a babysitter has passed us by. Gutted sums it up I think.

Yoghurt Ambrosia

So Richard popped by Friday night, so I thought I'd try out this recipe on him.

Yoghurt Ambrosia

300g of Greek Yoghurt (I have no idea why Greek? I used 0% fat btw)
300g of Double Cream (which is why I used the 0% fat Yoghurt!)
and Dark Muscavado Sugar
Ramekins
Clingfilm

Whip cream, then fold in yoghurt, spoon into Ramekins
Sprinkle the sugar over the top, then pop clingfilm over.
Place in fridge overnight, the Sugar melts into a gooey stickey layer.

Eat! I wasn't sure what these would taste like, but for a quick, icky sticky desert they're quite nice. Dh and Richard said they thought so anyway. Will try one out on Meridian later......

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Sundays Cheesecake

I'm avoiding walking down the driveway in the rain to put out the remainder of the recycling, I'm also trying to ignore the huge pile of ironing awaiting my attention, I really must try and buy more none iron items......

So whilst I'm taking evasive action I thought I'd share that cheesecake recipe I was rattling on about in my previous post.

1 x 300g pot of cream cheese
1 x 300g pot of double cream
150g of light brown sugar
about 10 digestive biscuits
50g of butter
and
Some ramekins (I use the empty Gu pudding ones, great for kids jelly's too) but you can use a larger dish if you like?


Pop your digestive biscuits in a zip lock bag, get a rolling pin and hammer until into little crumbs = very good if your in need of aggression release :-)


Melt the butter in microwave or a pan, then mix the biscuit crumbs into it. Pop into the bottom of your dish and then leave to set in the fridge for a bit, whilst you make the topping.


Mix the sugar and the cream cheese together

Whisk the cream in a separate bowl or jug until thick, then fold into the cream cheese and sugar mix.

Pop the mixture on to the top of the biscuit base and chill

Top with fruit, I went for Strawberries, but you can fold in berries to the mixture, or caramelise some apple and drizzle over the top, ooh the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Catching Up/Manic Sunday

Sunday was spent catching up with a variety of people.

The day started with a family breakfast, all 3 kids, dh and I in the same place, at the same time, rarity these days. Eggs, Bacon and Blueberry Pancakes for all bar dd1, who insisted on Chocolate Brioche instead? 4 year olds eh! Oh and lots of lovely orange juice, got us all set for the day.

Dh and son headed for work, whilst the girls and I headed for McArthurGlen http://www.eastmidlandsdesigneroutlet.com/consumer.asp to meet Carol and Mike for coffee, catch up and the latest edition to our family, Carols old bike, which is getting no use from her, so she's loaned it to me in a semi-permanent move :-) I just need to get two new inner tubes and we're in business, yay.
A good vanilla latte later, with a spot of fruity toast, plus smoothies for the girls, we set about on a wander about, pausing mainly at the play area, where dd1 met a friend from nursery, which made the whole trip even better for her. She also got to spend her hard earned cash on Plasticine, which some fabulous sculpture work came out of later in the day too.

The afternoon saw me making Cheesecake in preparation for my friends coming over in the evening, but 1st we had dd1's nursery friends to contend with. The two girls and a boy arrived in due course and they set about playing, mainly nicely for the whole, just a small wobble from dd1, when she realised she had to share all her stuff with them, but she soon got over that. They all stayed for tea, then I took two of them home, whilst H, dd1's 'boyfriend' stayed later, as agreed, so his parents could get to see Iron Man (what a fabulous film) I left dh with instructions to get them in the bath, whilst I was gone (yeah like that happened).

A small run to a close by village, and up a wiggly road in the middle, 'bakers hill' which I later discovered was named as such as in days gone by, the community bread oven was at the top of it, where the whole village went daily to get their bread/bake it! One child was dropped off and the other on the run back into town a few minutes later.

Upon arrival home, the kids were still not in the bath, and of course the next set of people, my old friends Liz and Jackie, and Jackies Dh Kevin, arrived. I'm not quite sure what they made of the chaos that greeted them, but they treated it with good will, and approximately two hours later, we'd managed to pack all the kids to bed and Meridian and dh had met my friends, slurped a coffee, then extracted a very happy and excited son to his home. At this point we put Pizza in the oven for the starving and munched the remainder of the tea I'd also produced earlier with dual purpose for the kids (dips, cucumber, peppers, cold sausages, pesto pasta, cheese and of course the cheese cakes! I'll post the recipe soon)

We spent a lovely evening chatting amongst ourselves about life the universe and everything. It was nice to meet Kevin, Jackies dh, as if you're a reader of this blog, you'll realise we've not met before, as Jackie and I have only recently got back in touch after about 15 years of no communication, again just due to life, the universe and everything. I'd also missed Jackies BBQ on Saturday for her birthday, as we'd all concluded that the kids wouldn't stand the rain and Jackies house, didn't need a party plus our 3 manic kids being bored in it. So was very happy she'd made the effort to come over and see us, when we'd so spectacularly let her down the day before on her birthday.

As you can see it was a manic Sunday, but a lovely one, what better way to spend a day than with friends.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Rhubarb Cake/Rhubarb Fool

Ok, so this post is a few days later than I'd promised, sorry life and the vat return got in the way.

Here's what you've all been waiting for anyway (or so I like to kid myself) the recipe for Rhubarb Cake, courtesy of my mother, who again got it from her mother, you get the gist.

Rhubarb Cake

1lb Rhubarb, stewed and liquidised (this should make approx half a pint of puree cold, you can just mush the Rhubarb if you don't fancy liquidising it)
6oz Golden Syrup
6oz Caster Sugar
6oz Margarine
1lb Self Raising Flour
(or 1lb of Plain and a teaspoon of Baking Powder)
2 tsp ground Ginger
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
2 Eggs

Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

Pre-heat oven to Gas 4 (about 160 works nicely on our fan oven)

Put the syrup, sugar and margarine in a saucepan and melt over a low heat.

Sieve the flour and spices into a bowl, mix, then make a well in the middle.
Pour in the syrup mixture from the saucepan, give it a good stir.
Lightly beat the Eggs and add these to the mixture, again giving it a good stir.
Then finally add the Rhubarb, again mix it all in well, with a wooden spoon or good none stick spatula.

Pour the mixture into your loaf tin, and pop in the oven for 1 and a half hours, if it needs a little longer, so be it, but don't forget to test your cake with a skewer to ensure the middle has fully cooked.

Please leave plenty of space above your tin as well, as this cake will rise :-)

Enjoy with a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea or a nice Coffee.

If you happen to have any Rhubarb left over, pop it in a few ramekins, chill, then top with whipped cream, with a sprinkle of sugar on top, for a lovely Rhubarb Fool desert.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Accessories

So yesterday I worked in the morning, then after dh and I swapped it was time to do the chores and also accessorise the new driveway.

The kids and I dug the Fathers Day cards out and got those sorted, did a driveby on Carols and dropped her Birthday Card too, then it was onwards to the Garden Centre.
As obviously everyone was asleep when we got there, I had two very grumpy kids on the way around. Thus I opted to pop them into a wheely cart, which I discovered only upon our leaving, appeared to also have a battered note on it, stating that customers should refrain from putting there kids in, ahem, never mind eh? They had just take the best part of £25 off me in plants, so surely no reason for complaint.

Then we hit Tesco for the rest of the weekly shop type thing, I did only intend to get a few bits, but you know how it goes, I'm rubbish at sticking to lists, when there's a bargin to be had.

Once home I got all creative in the planting department, and with my trusty mob in tow we created two hanging baskets, and filed 3 Torbay Palms into some pots acquired from Ikea earlier this week, once I get a decent photo I'll post it up here. Then I managed to miss the begining of Doctor Who, which wasn't a bad thing as it wasn't a good episode by any stretch, but the reason was the Rhubarb Cake that I made, which shall be my next post on here later.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

LARP and after.....

So after Mallorca, spent a whole day at home, prior to leaving for Wales to run www.ascendancylrp.co.uk on behalf of my missing other half. He who decided that running D&D 4th edition, in store with 3 kids in tow was a good idea, ha, ha, haaarrrrrrrr (he won't be doing that again)

So basically I took the van to Wales, Grum organised the event (whilst being very poorly, so we stuck him in a directors chair and he did fine from there) and Colin, Richard and Jeff did a damn fine job of Refing it. I did reasonable hitty crew, along with the usual suspects and Iz did a great job with the kit as usual. From the feedback on the boards the players liked it too, so yay for good event all round. Made a huge change for me to be there sans kids, 1st time in 4 years I actually got a whole weekend of crewing with no nagging bother, love the kids, but bless em, nice to have a play without :-)

Since the weekend its been work, work and more work, with horrible tonsils and a bit of gah? inbetween.
Speaking of which dh has just rung me at 23.25 to say he's on his way home, can I get tea on (its cooking as we speak) let it not be said between us, that we're not working the hours to attempt to get this business to work.

Our driveway got finished by my Dad today, hurrah....on this note, I went into the kitchen earlier to find the sink mixer tap has split up the back WTF???? never heard of one doing this, not ever.....water spurts out of it when its on, merely trickles when its not........so more expense, just when it was looking like we were getting straight. Crap house.

Mallorca

Lol, can't believe I got comments for my teaser post!

Oh cripes can't even think to write what the hell I've been upto....ok here's a rough guess.

Got out of bed at 'Oh God' o'clock and got on a plane. Did this without dh, as he had to stay and man the shop, but with two kids (insane yep) and my parents (barking I know) but hey, they paid for it, I only got to go, as I was needed to do the horrible bits with the kids, like the screaming tantrums etc......
Arrive at Mallorca at 10am ish, Raining, hard. Got luggage, which miraculously had survived transportation and baggage handling and got on taxi bus. Got to hotel, settled in, rambled onto beach, kids played, as vaguely sunny in afternoon, had hotel buffet tea (usual Spanish buffet oddities) took kids to kids disco, dd2 slept for 1st and last evening, dd1 partied, then we all went to bed.
Remaining days were breakfast buffet, poolside (pool bloody freezing dd2 refused to get in and exclaimed when we got into local pool for lesson yesterday, pool warm mummy!) or beach, with random coffee from shops (all Spanish local rubbish, no good lattes in sight) followed by buffet tea, kids disco and bed. 2nd day evening mighty horrible for me, as dd1 knackered and needed bed, but dd2 wouldn't drop, was still bouncing on my head at 1am demanding TV on mummy...'to which my answer of, but its all in Spanish, German or French and Porn dear' wasn't really getting the message over........she finally fell asleep to Rock World TV, a chip off the old block........
The kids had a great time, bar dd1's incident with a Jelly Fish, which had managed to get through the nets and stung her knee, but half an hour later, she got the requisite fix it cream, after I'd waved her inflating knee at the Pharmacist and mouthed loudly in English 'STING' at her, my Spanish for this incident being sadly lacking, ahem. Anyone know the Spanish for Sting?
I was quite thankful we got some stuff to shut her up though, as left to my Dad we'd have spent the night in hospital, with his declarations of 'her immune system will sort it out' as her knee inflated even more.......he shut up after I informed him, he'd be looking after the remaining child if I were to spend the night in hospital........
Rest of time was good, I got a whole hour a day on a beach roughly to myself, so managed to read a magazine in three days! woo hooo
I also got half hour snorkling with my dad, whilst gran played with dd1, dd2 being fast asleep, awww. Saw a starfish and several larger ones too, was also pleasantly surprised by the smaller fish actually coming right into shore, so both dd's could watch them swimming around their feet.

Flight back was amusing, 23.30.......last flight out for the night......dd2 all way home, after seeing Doctor Who in the inflight magazine kept saying, on repeat, Doctor Who, Monsters, Buzzy Bees.....her dad has something to answer for.......

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Coming Soon

A proper post! in which I details life the universe and everything since Mallorca, bet you can't wait.....

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Blogging Meme

1. Why did you start your blog?

I'll blame Meridian for that and possibly Richard. I think it came out of a novel writing course, that Meridian had spotted and I agreed to go to, so we could both get a kick up our respective bottoms, with regards to doing some proper creative writing, that might actually get published eventually. I think we reasoned that a blog would get us writing on a regular basis (if once a week is more regular than I used to write I may be doing ok....)

2. How did you come up with your blog name?

I thought at the time it kind of summed up where I am, however I'm not quite so sure I'm mid life these days, as the goal posts have shifted somewhat. Some people say 40 is the start of midlife now, whilst another programme I was watching on Genetics last night mentioned that our generation may live to 120-150 years of age, which doens't put me anywhere near mid life yet? So maybe I'm not midlife, but hey, I kinda feel it at the mo.

3. Do your friends and family know about your blog?

Some do, some don't, I don't keep it quiet, but I'm not sure who reads it, if they don't leave comments!

4. How do you write posts?

When I get time, which isn't often at the moment, as I seem to be on a constant loop of rushing around working, cleaning, working some more. Not much me time going around.

5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?

Not that I've noticed.

6. Do you check your stats? Do you care how many people read your blog? If you do care, how do you increase traffic?

I didn't till I read this, but I've gone out of my way and taken 10 mins to install a stat counter! will see if my tinkering works now?

7. What kind of blogs/posts interest you?

I like to see what my friends have been upto, Meridians jewellery and recipes cheer me up, I keep tabs on Julies Sock adventures and enjoy having a laugh at Richard and Flames debarcles, bar that I don't hop about too much reading anything else I just don't have the time at the moment.

8. What do you like and dislike about blogging?

Like: All the different things you can find out about.
Dislike the time it takes up to post somedays and the fact that sometimes of the day you can never get a photo to upload?

9. Tag 5 other bloggers.
Yikes do I know 5? Julie, Richard, Flame, Charlie and erm, oh stuff it four will have to do!

Mark and Jen


I just found this photo, whilst I was sorting out shop stuff from home stuff on my pc. It's from earlier this year, when Mark and Jen came over from the States, visiting Marks family and they found a spare evening to pop up and see us, so with us blagging Meridian to BB Sit, we legged it out to The Dog, a nice pub grub place at Pentrich for some food and drink. Mark and Jen are on the right of the picture, dh and I on the left. A lovely photo, to sum up a lovely evening in good company. Quite good to catch up, as our previous meet had been in Atlantic City, when Liz was still living in NJ, and so were Mark and Jen!! so, oooooh many moons ago, pre kids for me! about 6 or 7 years......far too long. We have stated it won't be so long next time, so its either Owings Mills (MD) for us, or maybe we can persuade them south to Florida sometime?

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Under Construction

Our front garden is finally taking shape or should that be the garden is on its way out and the driveway is finally on its way in.

This project was started last September, when dh and I de-turfed the lawn and then dad and myself dug out half of the soil ready for hardcore to go in. Then things ground to a halt until I got antsy about the mess a month or so ago and begged a lad, who kept appearing in our store during the day with not much to do, to come round and finish the hole digging, as everyone else appeared to not want to do it, but didn't want to say so.

Thus two weeks ago the hole was completed, last Thursday the hardcore went in and the whacker, whacked it down and then finally today another week on, some bricks arrived, along with edging stones, hurrah we're finally underway to having more parking space at the front of the house (and less grass and weeds to cut). I hope to post photos soon of the work in progress, fingers x'd it'll get finished without too much delay......and we can stop annoying the neighbours with cars all over the place.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Paris

Oh what a fabulous two days we've had in Paris
:-)

Three mums, three kids, all four year olds and one very early flight out of East Midlands Airport (EMA) later (6.40am yawn) and we were on our way to Paris. Landing at 8.50am, a bit late due to French ATC delays, we were on our way into Paris. A quick negotiation of the terminal signs to the Gare, and a quick banter by another mum to a sour faced woman on information (the most miserable person in our whole time there) We were sorted out with two day transport passes and on our way via the RER B into central Paris. The train trip in confirmed that the place is far more civilised than England, one of the first things I saw, was a man, giving up his seat for a woman with a suitcase, which he did so out of common courtesy and genorousity, a practice sadly lost over here......

We emerged at Chatelet and after a false start at a cafe with no Pain au Chocolate (a must in our four year olds eyes) we re positioned ourselves at a Patissiere with the aforementioned breakfast bread and coffee and other delights. Once sated, we ambled through the streets towards the Pompidou Centre, where we sat outside admiring the architecture, phoning our respective otherhalves, telling them how wonderful and sunny it was, whilst they were being gutted back in the UK.


Our gloating ceased, we ambled down towards Notre Dame, pausing to wander around several shops. Photos outside the church over, we sauntered around the Latin Quarter, lunching at an extortonate pavement cafe, for the 1st and last time of the trip (random bread and cheese feasting took over, our wallets hammered) A walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg later, ice creams all round and a ride on the Carousel for the little ones, we mooched to our apartment (corporate, sorted out by another mum) by the Tour Montparnasse and put our feet up for an hour.


















As we were ready to depart to discover more shops and items for tea, the heavens opened and a huge thunderstorm ensued, so we stayed in, with all the windows open, whilst the heavens rumbled, then it was time to grab food, whilst the kids ran around the store, marvelling at frozen snails filled with garlic butter, and choosing from a fantastic range of biscuits, cheese and meats for tea. The evening was spent persuading the kids to fall asleep in a room together, whilst us mums chatted, drank wine and hung out the windows savouring the atmosphere of Paris.

One of the mums braved it out for fresh coffee and pastries the next morning, and after our feast, we packed up and headed via the metro to the Eifel Tower, where we braved the 2nd floor, photos taken all round, we lunched underneath on our remenants from the night before.
Then Sacre Coeur called, so via RER C and the Metro we got there, the kids rode another Carousel and played for a bit, then we walked to Gare du Nord, decided it was an awful area, and metro'd it back to our original starting point, where dd1 and I legged it to a previous shop to get cards and presents, whilst our friends drank and snacked at a cafe. A last few photos by a fountain together and we legged it onto the RER for the airport, just making it through the security ques and into the waiting lounge in time for departure back to EMA. The kids yelling bye to Paris on the plane and hello to EMA amused our fellow passengers and I think dd1 summed it up, when she heard our friends planning to go back sometime soon, she asked to go too, the reply was 'what about your mummy'?, 'oh I don't need her, I can go with you,' she replied. She's been asking to go back since, including a 'can we go back after the weekend Mummy?' and 'can I go to school in France Mummy?' I think I've created a Francophile and I can't say as I blame her.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Weekly Post

Seems I'm managing a weekly post on here these days, guess I must be busy eh?

Since I blogged last I've been royally doing the following:

Swimming with the kids on Wed.
Working in the shop www.chimeraccg.co.uk on Thursday

Then Friday I drove to Wales for www.ascendancylrp.co.uk
I got to site after the usual pootle around Tescos for about 15:30. Keiran was waiting by the gate for me to turn up, bless him, I did tell him, he could have gone in, but he was happy waiting. He then helped me put my tent up, the huge familysized Outwell 10 man one we have! which comfily sleeps all of us, plus roaming room when its raining, which being Britain, is quite often. I then unloaded the kit and greeted people arriving on site. Kick off was 9pm ish and I actually got time to roleplay, as dh and the kids didn't arrive until the next day! (just after I'd got a cup of tea, courtesy of Julie and Dave's kettle) and was about to sit down with a magazine and an almond croissant for a bit of me time, whilst waiting for the rest of the camp to wake up. I did get breakfast, but the magazine went out of the window.

Saturday went by in a blur of some role play, chasing the kids about, and general camping stuff. The kids slept most of the night ok in the tent, with dd2 waking once for the loo courtesy of the neighbouring Wedding (approx 2 miles as the crow flies) that was blasting out Venga Boys as max power.......sigh.......and once about 3am, when we took her in with us, to save any further hassle, oh yeah and again, randomly when she was sandwiched between dh and I, with a yelp of terror and a very scared look in her eyes, which I guess was just night terrors type thing, as we calmed her and got her back to sleep within 5 mins. Not bad for her 1st try in a tent, in a room on her own. (we figured she'd wake dd1 and ss if she slept with either of them, maybe when she's bigger she can share with dd1, and ss will probably end up too big to share with either of them soon, he's 10 in about a week, where did that time go?)

Sunday we finished roleplaying, cleared the site up and did the drive home, with dh having a paddy at the M5 seriveces, due to once again the Pizza place closing?????? at 7pm as we arrived for tea. What's that all about then? services closing? rubbish. We made do with Ginsters for ss (yuk) a shared ham and cheese toastie from Costa for the girls and I had the worlds worst Iced Latte, which I'm still debating complaining about, but don't think I can be arsed to be honest.

Work yest and today, Richard and Meridian came into keep me company, so between their visits the day passed quite quickly :-)
Dh is having two days off, though is grumbling about the amount of housework that needs doing today, but I did point out, that's my normal day off too.......
He's also sulking cause I'm swanning off to Paris tomorrow with dd1 and our friends :-) I did point out he can go anywhere he likes for his day off too? This is, after all a cultural trip for dd1, with our friends, before she starts school in Sept, right?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Ok I'm getting on with it

Ok, ok point taken Richard, I've not been posting enough, random unconnected comments, yes I get the hint.

I've been busy alrighty?

What? you have been too?? mainly in our shop.....ok, point taken, Frizbe must make more time to blog.

Sooooo here's what's been going on.

Meridian came home, which was nice, poor woman had us camped out at her's for two days, in jubilation of the fact that decent company and coffee had arrived back in town. Now her neighbours have royally pissed her off, by letting their staffy dogs, stand on the table, next to the fence, over which they can leap if they want and eat all of our combined children, which is not good, so she's looking to move house. Hurrah, I can exercise my favourite passtime of house hunting :-) Sad I know, but its the builders daughter in me, I'd so love to develop, just not ever had the cash or the sense to save it. (me wasted my money in my yonger years, ahem)

Damn annoying for Meridian though, as the neighbour has her head in the sand about the dogs totally....she even avoids answering the door....and today cut the grass without shifting the muck, you can imagine the smell......poor Meridian, I hope they get a quick sale.



Meanwhile back at the ranch, or Chimera shop as it goes, here's what we've been upto.

International Comic Book Day on Sat 3rd of May was very busy, the girls, dh, Bridgette and I spent the morning in the shop, with dd1 helping give out bags to put comics in, which made her very happy to be useful and working. Then the mob got restless, so we bailed out for lunch, which turned into dh not wanting the kids back in the shop, even after good behaviour, so we went to Meridians as detailed above.

Prior to that the previous weekend was the Ascendancy Battle at the shop, which was attended by Richard, Julie, Mike, Jock, poorly dh (tell you about that in a mo) Jack, Sam and Colin, Richard and Amy for a few mins. I had initally thought it looked like the players were fighting over a giant cucumber, but was rapidly assured this was not the case :-) and that it was infact an amplifying artifact. Anyway full details can be found here www.ascendancylrp.co.uk but sufice to say the players just managed to win this one, phew. After it was all over, Julie, Richard, Mike and Jack(or is it Dave really) came back to ours for Chinese, which was lovely as usual, then I tempted people with M&S nibbles I'd grabbed on the way back from picking up Gabe the night before, tis rude to drive past M&S Food, without visiting surely? Have to say they do the best rocky road I've tasted, way better than Starbucks, and slightly better than Meridians, sorry M.

Dh was nursing his injury on Saturday, this being due to his 2nd vascetomy operation, one of these days, the big stud that he is will stop producing sperm. He'd had to go back for a 2nd op, as due to major healing factor, one of his tubes, upon closer inspection by the operating Dr, had apparenlty re sealed itself......good job we waited for those test samples, I know a few people who didn't, all of whom were aghast to hear our story.

Sure there is lots more to tell, but its late and brain fried. More anon.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Saturday night in Brum

Went for a night out in Birmingham last night, with two of my oldest friends, Liz whom I met when our parents introduced us in our buggies, aged 6mths or so and Jackie, who arrived on our 'block' (our houses were on a 4 street mini block, which aged under 12 seemed like and age away from the rest of our village, where we weren't allowed to go and play as it was too far) aged about 7 I think? I do remember we were in 2nd year junior, Mr Everingtons class, so that guess should be about right? Jackie and I lost touch over the years, for reasons which we can't remember, or at least after discussion last night, we couldn't remember, I guess our lives just took different turns? Liz however has remained in touch with both of us over the years, so at Christmas she got us back in touch properly, so as we all still get on we met up again last night.

I was last to arrive as I had to wait for dh to get back from work. Surprisingly the girls had already nearly polished off a bottle of wine between them (I arrived at 7.15) so they kindly poured me a glass and insisted I catch up, whilst Liz did her hair and checked the train times into town, so save us waiting on a wet and windy platform, all of which failed, as we went with the listed times, but the train didn't.

We headed for the mail box for a meal http://www.mailboxlife.com/ avoiding Malmaison, as way out of our price bracket (wishful thinking). Instead we had cocktails whilst waiting for a table at Red Peppers, followed by Enchiladas for me, Moussaka for Jak and Moules Marinare for Liz (yuk!) another bottle of wine and desert with coffee. Later we pootled off to a bar called Red's, in town close to the Cathedral, where we continued to drink G&T's,(although I gave up at 12:00, and opted for lime and soda, as had to drive home at 7.30 this am. ) and we danced the night away to a bizarre selection of music, from R&B to Guns and Roses, the DJ was well and truly weird.

So a good night for all. Nice to catch up with the girls, although sad to hear that Jackies dh has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and that life will be not much fun from here on in for them, they're making the best of the quality time they have now, I guess everyone should really live for the moment, but how often do you eh? On a more positive note good to hear Liz appears to have kicked Mr America into touch, I'm hoping this time its for good. So on that note, we're shopping for a replacement bloke for her, any offers out there?

Monday, 14 April 2008

York

Took ss home to Leeds this morning, (dropped him off at school) then carried on my merry way to York to meet Amanda for a swapping of Tardis Miniature Boxes for monies and a few Lattes on the way :-)

I arrived about 9.30 and took a mooch around a largely still unopen town, I guess they don't open till 10 cause of the tourists? so stay open later? I'd managed to park just outside the wall in Longstay for £4, which turned out to be a bargin, as across town, someone attempted to charge Amanda £10. Surprisingly she told them to stuff it, which sounds great in that geordie lit of hers.

Town only just opening I dived into WHSmiths and got myself a small journal to write in and headed for Starbucks. There I was presented with two drinks, when I'd ordered one, so got some money back off them (I'd ordered toast too and wasn't paying much attention to price, as not used to getting up at 6am) and there I waited for Amanda who was stuck beind a tractor, to get to me.....in the meantime I met a stressed out woman with a young son, whom I waved the spare seat at, boy did she need a coffee, turned out she was moving to Germany in three weeks and getting married in six (if you're reading this by random chance I hope it all goes well for you)

Amanda arrived in due course having wrestled with the carparking situation and several slow drivers and tractors and we pootled about York all day in a merry way. I attempted to look for some new trainers or shoes, but York is quite pricy for this, so I popped into McArthur Glen when I got home (didn't have time for York's one today) and got myself some new trainers, as my old ones have been falling apart rapidly, I will not be buying that brand again. So a lovely day of window shopping, bar a sleeping bag I brought for dd2, as now she's a big girl, she'll need her own for camping this year Oh and of course the brownies I got for tea and the kids cookies from Betties!

Friday, 11 April 2008

On my lonesome

On my own today, everyones gone and left me stuck in Ripley on my own.......sob......well I've got the kids to keep me company tonight, but still all the adults are off having fun.......

Andy nearly had to stay, as the van wouldn't start this morning (after all my efforts cleaning it yesterday as well) So we called Manders Garage and they came and towed it round, sorted it out with a new battery and plugs, but they've said the starter motor is on the way out.....more expense ahoy. To be honest we need a new van, its too small anyway, plus its on its last legs, the undercarriage won't hold through the next MOT, this much we know, and we already had a major weld job done on it the previous year. It's an old R reg, so I think it's time to call it quits and get something newer and more environmentally friendly too. Now we just have to find the cash for it, time to save up.

So Andy is off to Candleston www.ascendancylrp.co.uk if you want details. To rub it in several of the local to here crew popped in the shop this morning, to say goodbye to me and tell me they'd miss me, which I appreciate, but sulk, I wanna go to, (throws dummy out of pram and stomps feet in a 3 year old manner)

Ben hasn't gone, so he popped in to keep me company this morning, so I took advantage of him and sent him to the post office with the days post (well he had nothing else on) and since then, I've had a few more teenagers in for a chat about life and games, so it's not been too bad really.

I'm missing Meridan too though, normally she pops by with a huge mug of coffee for me on a Friday afternoon, but she's off home to USA visiting her old haunt of San Francisco, followed by her parents in Idaho for the next three weeks or so. So I can't even have a girly gossip over a latte, what is the world coming to? I've been feeding her cats whilst she's gone in conjunction with Grandma Pam. I'm on morning shift, which includes hanging the washing out, then Grandma Pam takes it in dry later, this is the theory. In practise today, I think it may have rained on it all, before she's got there. It was fine till about 11am, then wooosh....ahem....might be heading for the dryer that load. Still at least April is being showery, which might just mean a reasonable summer (by UK standards, that's a teeny bit more sunshine than rain).

So I appear to have a working weekend spreading out before me. I wonder, do you think I should try World of Warcraft, whilst the boys are away?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

A small white Tardis

Today has been fill the van with lrp kit day.

3 hrs after I started on it I finished.

3 bags of rubbish have come out of it (how many empty Red Bull cans?)

Elbow grease and hoovering, plus lot of kit has gone into it. Plus one tent, two pillows, two sleeping bags and two airbeds for Dh and SS.

I'm quite proud of how clean the van is looking and of course, it still has at least one layer of sand in it, but compared to how it was looking before, it looks marvelous. Even the outside is clean. So if anyone sees a small gleaming white Tardis driving down the M5 this weekend, that's my hardwork, allright.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Attempted colouration

Well tonight I attempted to dye all the hats that Dave acquired for larp from Primark.
This was my first attempt at dyeing something.

As soon as I read the instructions inside the dye pack, as opposed to the ones on the outside, it became clear that this was not going to be possible. So I gave them all a quick wash as perscribed anyway, just to see what state they were really in. I chose the four lightest coloured hats to attempt to dye (by seeing what would fit in the sink when squished down) One hour later and they were ready, they're drying at the moment, but I think we may have a spot of spotting on the top of two of them, wondering if it can be covered by pinning into a shape (tri-corn for instance) if I need to dye them again?
The kitchen table is covered in drying hats, as is the drying rack in the kitchen and in the hall. The dyed hats are drying on the utility floor, as I figured, it doesn't matter if any of the washed off dye ends up on the floor, as its being replaced eventually.

I've also sewn up two costumes tonight, so have been fairly productive all in all.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Kit, kit, oh the washing of kit

The weekend went in a whirl.

Saturday, I worked all day, www.chimeraccg.co.uk, as the girls voted to see dh, as he's away with ds all next weekend, larping www.ascendancylrp.co.uk if you want to see what they're doing. Sunday was a pleasant resting day, with coffee at Starbucks, here at McArthur Glen http://www.eastmidlandsdesigneroutlet.com/consumer.asp
with Mike and Carol. It was here that dd2 attempted to kill herself again. Firstly by coming fact first down the cargo netting in the play area.....secondly by just jumping at the fireman's pole and missing, thus landing face first on the floor, which luckily was bouncy. I definitely have a two year old with no fear. I also know the play area said 3-12 only, but you try telling a two year old they can't go on it, especially one as willful as dd2. A small cry later and she was happy and having another go at it all, I do wish she'd listen, when either I or her sister tell her not to do something.
Sunday afternoon, Chris and Louise popped round with Freddie, their little one, its the 1st time we've seen him, and at 7mths old, he's quite big now and a lovely little chap. He sat happily on our floor, playing with some blocks, whilst the dd's negotiated their way around him. Once dh left work, we all met Richard http://richtea-xl5.blogspot.com/ at the pub for dinner and three hours passed in a flash, a good evening had by all. I even remembered to feed Meridians cats on the way home as she's gone Stateside for a visit to her folkes.

The beginning of this week has so far seen me mainly feeding cats, washing lrp kit and doing the accounts (yawn) The crew kit, is now finished, the last lot in the dryer as I type. I just have two things to attempt to sew up, a horribly ripped and heavily padded waistcoat and a robe. I have binned dh's favourite waistcoat, as he's ripped it top to bottom and being leather is a sod to fix, and as I don't have a machine, or any leather needles, I've declared it beyond repair (it might encourage him to get me a machine at some point!)

This evening I have also been left exhausted by aerobics followed by pilates......it was supposed to be Hula, but due to teacher being awol, and lack of replacement being found it turned into aerobics, much to all our shock and horror. The annoying thing was, in our class was another aerobics teacher, who had turned down the chance to do the class, as she didn't feel confident enough at hula, so when she had to do aerobics under another teacher, who was effectively taking the cash she could have had, had she chosen to wing it, you can imagine how annoyed that made her, and us on her behalf too. She's promised to wing it for us next time! Pilates has finished me off, so I'm going to head for my latest book now. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, if anyone fancies a good read? Hat's to dye tomorrow night....might tell you about it then.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Cake, I nearly forgot

Dd2 and I made Cake yesterday and I nearly forgot to tell you.

Due to an excess of spotty bananas we rattled up a banana cake, we even took some to Meridian and her ds to cheer her up, as her boy is poorly......she liked it, although it was rather funny, as she was about to do the same and as you will see from her blog did, except she made muffins.

Our Banana Cake Recipe

3 x Bananas (add more if you have them)
325g plain flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb of Soda
200g of Sugar
65g Milk (any you have, though not sure skimmed is as good)
3 eggs
1 x lemon plus grated rind
1 tsp vanilla essence/flavouring

Grease your cake tin (any will do)
Mush Bananas
Chuck everything but the flour into a bowl
Mix it up
then add flour and fold in

Put into tin, put in oven at 180 degrees for 40mins.
Voila Banana Cake.

Eat with honey, Meridians Honey Butter, Maple syrup or a good Coffee ( I suppose Early Grey wouldn't go amiss either)

Random things

This week I've mainly been doing a few random things.......

Monday night I went to aerobics, but ended up doing Tai Geri, as aerobics teacher off sick. Tai Geri can best be described as aerobic boxing, which was a refreshing change from the aerobics routine, as Mondays teacher likes to stick with what we all know. This is probably a good thing, as otherwise we all end up going the wrong way, Muppets that we are.

Tuesday night I managed Hula class followed by Pilate's, both of which are doing wonders for my fitness and I'm slowly getting to know other members of the class who go on their own too, so its not so scary by myself anymore. Meridian comes with me sometimes, but due to classes getting booked up and life hasn't made it for the past few weeks and is now off to USA for remainder of April.

Last night whilst dh worked late, dd1 and I tacked her room. This took two hours, but we threw out a bag of rubbish and 3 things to charity. Dolls and Ponies now live together, Powerranges and Railways together, Fuzzy Felt, Dora and Pens together, Cars, Potato Head and Magnetic numbers too. The result was the girls went to bed at 8 instead of 7, not that this mattered as dd2 excelled herself and stayed awake till 9.55 when dh walked through the door, another daddy's girl in the making me thinks. So with dd2 rattling to herself upstairs, I sat downstairs re sewing rips and tears in LRP kit for www.ascendancylrp.co.uk

Today I put the shirt box into the wash before I left for work, with instructions to my Mum, who is kid sitting to get it in the dryer and load another batch, so I have more to crack on with tonight/tomorrow. I've also been out and purchased black dye for the 15 assorted hats, Dave kindly picked up from Primark for us to convert. Which reminds me I need to link to Dave's blog if he has one?

So you can see my life has been a bundle of excitement so far this week (oh how I hate the fact that blogger won't let me use exclamation marks)