Friday, 29 February 2008

"Go play outside" or The Guide To Idle Parenting.

Us Mummies beat ourselves up constantly, we live a life filled with maternal guilt, but Telegraph writer Tom Hodgkinson explores the merits of inactive parenting -

Learn how to Idle parent!

The basic premise is that children mature better, left to their own devices and left outside! All you need to do is build them a treehouse and give them sticks to play with!

I think I may subscribe - we've already got the treehouse!

But a word of warning - according to our local council, the sodding treehouse needs planning permission....We've told them that the children will apply for retropective permission!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


He who knows he has enough is rich

Tao Te Ching (260 BC)

After enjoying reading this months virtual book group book - Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I was left feeling that I wanted to give my thought processes a bit of a prod.

I did have, BC, (before children) proper thought processes - but they flew out with the placenta, and now the feeble remaining grey cells struggle on - flailing around inadequately.
So, after finishing EPL , and not having the time to follow Gilbert’s globetrotting footsteps, I skipped off to Mr B’s to find further enlightenment - Bath is closer than Bali!
I must confess here and now - I don’t ‘do’ self help books, so I was looking for something to challenge me...and of course, they had just the thing - John Naish’s book “Enough”.

I was looking for a prod - I got a kick up the backside!

His first page starts -

“If alien spacecraft were orbiting the blackened husk of Earth in centuries’ time, it’s pilots might be appalled to learn how the human inhabitants had been wired to get such kicks from producing and consuming more and more of everything, that they had ultimately burnt the whole planet out. ‘Daft buggars,’ our aliens would say, shaking their silvery heads. If those visitors had also learnt how we had only got grumpier, sicker and more exhausted as our pursuit of more reached it’s climax, they would scratch their scalps and ask: “What were they thinking?” One of the wiser ones might wonder, “How on Earth did they fail to evolve?.”

Ok - I can hear you - this doesn’t sound like a cheery read - well dear reader, you’d be wrong - Naish is in fact very positive, making practical suggestions about how we might rein in our constant desire for more.
Whether it be advertising, eating, technology, things, work - he doesn’t recommend abstinence - just to question how much we really need these things - and make some adjustments.

The most interesting thing about this book (and it isn’t a hand knitted, hair shirt affair) is it that it’s scientific - explaining and giving the evidence for his reasoning.

For instance did you know that all our problems are down to our wiring? Apparently it’s massively outdated, dangerous - it’s equivalent to an ancient Amstrad computer - it can’t cope with the demands of modern life!
It is somehow comforting to know that my fetish for ‘things’ is a result of dodgy wiring and chemical leaks in my brain!

Will I be giving up my worldly possessions? No, that’s not recommended - but I will probably buy fewer 'things' in future and re-use and recycle more than we do already.

Will I be turning my back on technology? No, I love the blogs I read, and being sent emails showing photos of smiling loved ones in unknown lands, and having a mobile phone is jolly useful when the car brakes down. It just requires time management.

Will I be eating less, sleeping more and quizzing myself about future decisions - you bet, because what I really WANT is

Enough happiness!

...and that comes from having enough love, enough friendship and enough personal growth.

So, thanks Elizabeth Gilbert, and thank you Jo for choosing to challenge these dusty old grey cells into realising this - this is the start of a journey of my own!

‘Enough - breaking free from the world of more’ is written by John Naish and is published by Hodder & Stroughton

Eat Pray Love is written by Elizabeth Gilbert and is published by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-0-7475-8566-4

Monday, 25 February 2008

Winter wonderland walk.

Last week was half term, the children went to stay with my in- laws... and we sneaked off to the Lakes to stay in a very inspirational house on the edge of beautiful Lake Windemere.

Before I went away I offered you a day out - a walk was the most popular, as we were away somewhere desperately pretty I thought we'd walk....
Hardknot and Wrynose pass are vertical, but very you feel puffed out yet?

No? We'll continue...

The husband pauses to admire the view....stunning isn't it/he!?

It's very peaceful - and the natives are friendly!

Fabulous blue skies, but it is really cold!

Minus 7 last night!

But I still think it's VERY beautiful....back to the house for a drinkie!

Should you want to stay at Broadleys - Christine and Kingsley are super hosts -they can be contacted through - Broadleys
we loved our stay here - it's a very special place indeed.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Valentine Chocs

These are for anyone out there, who didn't have a treat yesterday....enjoy!

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I woke this morning to the arrival of my usual cup of tea - I can't function without this first cup of tea - and I love him to bits for bringing me my cup of salvation every morning.
I opened one eye and spotted a red envelope - ooooh! I opened the other eye and spotted a Jo Malone bag....oooh today was looking very positive indeed!

I gave the lovely husband his card and pressie from me, and with great expectation (because he ALWAYS writes such great things) I ripped open the card.
The children clocked my stunned expression and came and read the card....there was a deafening silence!

"Well" said No 2, with her hands on her hips "You are going to have to do something very special to get out of this" (she is 9)!

The reason for this silence - the normally poetic, erudite husband had written "Thank you for being my special friend".....
she's right...he's going to have to dig deep to get out of this one!

That will teach me for being smug about Valentines day!
What a bummer.

UPDATE!! The Husband said - "that's the last time I write a card at 6am"!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Store Cupboard Curry

Lovely blogger wrote of her supper angst...and mentioned that familiar feeling of 'not feeling' like cooking!

This is my stand by supper - it doesn't take long to make, the children are guaranteed to eat every scrap, there isn't too much washing up, but does give you plenty of time (whilst stirring, with one hand free) to have a little sippy or two of wine!

Here goes -
In a wide, low pan -
Chop up an onion into rings, fry in a mixture of oil and butter, fry VERY slowly ( drink here )
When caramalised add the following -
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
half tsp ground tumeric
half tsp ground cayenne pepper
Throw into pan cubed chicken pieces and brown (drink here)
Add water to half cover contents
Add sachet of creamed coconut
Add handful of sultanas
Add handful of sliced almonds
Add big handful of ground almonds
Put in baking oven or at 180 degrees, and leave while you have another sippy!
Cook rice
Take curry out of oven and stir in a cup of yoghurt.
Serve up supper with any remaining wine!!

Cin Cin!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Virtual traveller

From one extreme to another, after religion and politics (how can I top them) I decided we needed something light!

Since Spring seems to have sprung ... I thought I'd take you lovely blogging girlies out for the day - virtually!

When we have guests to stay we suggest ideas of things to do or visit in or around Bath - so I'm going to give you the same options - and you can choose where to 'virtually go'!

1 The Roman Baths - Bath
2 Georgian Bath
3 Lacock Abbey and village - you would recognise this village from 100's of films!
4 Dyrham Park - beautiful 18th Century house and garden now National Trust
5 A country walk
6 Shopping in Tetbury (cotswold town & home to Prince Charles)
7 Stourhead - stunning 18th garden now owned by the National Trust

The place with the most votes gets chosen for our first trip!
Answers by Tuesday please....I will post the trip later in the week!
See you - virtually!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Religion and Politics - it's a bad mix.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams put the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday, when he was interviewed on radio 4:

Dr Williams said the UK had to "face up to the fact" some citizens did not relate to the British legal system.
He said adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law could help social cohesion. For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

Yes, Dr Williams - it will really to cause even more friction and division than already exists.
It leaves me speechless, that a man of such alleged intelligence can come out with such a crass comment.
He really hasn’t thought this through -
Ok, what if a muslim man wants more than one wife - and this is ok under sharia law...he lives next door to a non muslim, who after seeing his neighbour take more than one wife, decides to follow suit. The non muslim will get prosecuted for bigamy...but the muslim next door won’t! I personally think It would be fair for the non muslim to question if this was racist?

It’s not about ‘relating’ to the British legal system...lots of us could decide there are laws we don’t like, or agree with - but they are LAW nevertheless. For fairness, law must be abided by all, for the good of a whole society.

This is Britain, we are culturally diverse, and proud of it, but ultimately British law rules, anyone living here, or deciding to live here simply has to accept that - in the same way we must accept and respect living under sharia law if we choose to live in the Middle East.
Trevor Phillips of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said “[The] implication that British courts should treat people differently based on their faith is divisive and dangerous.”

Williams went on to say "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".
Oh, for goodness sake, do you seriously expect to be able to draw a line?

Thank goodness, just for once, the politicians showed some sense -
Conservative Baroness Warsi said the archbishop's comments were "unhelpful".
She told BBC News 24: "Dr Williams seems to be suggesting that there should be two systems of law, running alongside each other, almost parallel, and for people to be offered the choice of opting into one or the other. That is unacceptable."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he had "an enormous amount of respect" for Dr Williams, but could not agree with him on this issue.
He said: "Equality before the law is part of the glue that binds our society together. We cannot have a situation where there is one law for one person and different laws for another.
"There is a huge difference between respecting people's right to follow their own beliefs and allowing them to excuse themselves from the rule of law."

Gordon Brown's spokesman said the prime minister "believes that British laws should be based on British values".

AMEN to that.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Bigger picture

I thought I would do a little biog, and rather than writing masses, and boring you all senseless - here are all the things I pictures!

Everything I know, I learnt from my cat...

I love the animals, but I do like the place to smell good - mmmm, burnt orange - yummy! (my fav smell is Agraria)

I love art - can't paint myself, but I adore abstract images...they make me dream!

You can tell alot about a girl from her shoes - not sure what this says about me?

I drink too much tea! (and too many cocktails) -

And I love reading, especially recipe books

Most of all I love my family - this is us!

I'd love to see you all too.....

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Bathing Beauty?

This time last year I would get up, and have a bath in this-

It was lovely, a santuary, a home spa.....then we moved....

and now this is our bathroom...

While I was cleaning it this morning, I thought back to my lovely bathroom, and said to myself "We must be bonkers!"

PEACH - UGH, for me it's the one colour guaranteed to make me twitch, no really, it actually does.
FLORAL MOTIFS - DOUBLE UGH....and we've improved this (unbeliveable, I know) by removing the matching (ugh) Peach shag pile carpet complete with pee,pee stains (blahhhhh).

I'd love to take the person who 'designed' this bathroom to task...I do appreciate in the big scheme of things a dodgy bathroom doesn't rank too highly compared to world debt, poverty, savage wars etc...
But honestly, I hate this room so much, it's a complete aberration and I can't wait to take a sledge hammer to it!

But before the builders move in and save me from a fate worse than a peach bathroom, I wonder if anyone out there can tell me if they have a room uglier than this?

Bet you can't!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Better than a Bafda!

I have been given this fulsome award by the lovely Green Girl in Wisconsin - and I have to say was rather thrilled. Apart from winning a fancy dress competition when I was 12, I've never won a thing!

Being a new Blogger, I believe the form is for me to pass on the honour to another jolly blogger....this could be tricky on two counts - Firstly, Green Girl has already mentioned all of those Bloggers I most admire, and secondly (V. embarassed about this) my techno skills are such that I struggle to make my links to other people actually work.
I have managed to get the links working at the side of the page - so please bear with me on this one -
I pass on this lovely award, and the warm and fuzzy feeling which comes free with it to all those in my list (eyes right ->)
Should you care to click in their direction you will be guarenteed a smile in your heart, a thought for the day and a series of very healthy laughs.
But there is one other person I would like to pass this on to, she hasn't got a blog (she is even more techno-phobe than me) but she is all of the above - so Lady B....this one goes to you too!


PS. OH POOH! Just realised I didn't get this right either - no picture - help - I need the IT dept????....

OK, OK, I give up.....I can't send the award.....failed with the IT, But I CAN send you a Lovley big G & T!!!!

Blind date?

Mrs G over at Derfwad Manor -
wrote a great blog yesterday - she set me thinking about blind dates I have known!

A great South African friend of mine would pick up strange (yes, I do mean strange) men off the tube - it was always amazing to me that she never came to any harm...going off into the night to spend the evening with a total stranger.
She would tell us "He has this amazing smile....." it left us hardened Londoners breathless, we admired her level of trust...but also feared it.

For me, I have only ever had three blind dates -

1 Arranged by aformentioned friend - enigmatic smiler, but did absolutely nothing for me, to be honest I wanted to leave the supper table after five minutes. All my friends will be shocked - I love my food, but not enough this time!!

2 Arranged by a colleague who fixed me up with her tall, blonde Scandnavian banker brother - all looked terrifc, the evening centered around a ball at a club in London - it all sounds fantastic doesn't it.....and to be honest it was....until we danced!
He could groove with the best of them, but this was the Eighties....a bad time fashionwise.
I had gone to a huge amount of effort with my frock (it can only be described as this) it was a short ball gown with purple velvet strapless bodice, and a shot taffeta purple and pink skirt, which had shocking pink net underskirt to make it stick out (blah!).
All was well until I really got into the groove (I can't remember the song - I have blocked it out for mental reasons!) but there we were twirling around...then I noticed his face had changed - did he think my dancing was uncool? Had my make up run? Sadly, NO....
...due to my lack of boobs, the frock had turned round! The front was at the back....and lo, the low back was revealing my concave chest......mmmmmm.
He looked mortified, rooted to the spot staring at where a generous bosom might have been, I was mortified too and had a cinderella moment... I legged it!
You won't be suprised to hear, 'Prince Charming' didn't come chasing after me!

3 The South African friend then arranged another blind date for herself, which had a spin off blind date for moi.......and the rest as they say is history, and almost two decades later here we are......I still love him with all my heart, he is my best friend, my soul mate (don't throw up)....he makes me feel so content and so lucky.

So it just goes to find your prince you do have to 'kiss a few frogs'....some of which won't be quite what you hoped for....but you can also strike gold.