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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Gallery - Animals

I have done as Tara encouraged and thought outside the box for this week's theme of animals.

I have 3 children and we talk quite regularly about their Chinese Horoscope animal signs.

I have a rooster, a dragon and a monkey. But how can we work out which is which?

Here are images along with descriptions from the Chinese Horoscopes.

Who's who?

They love to be the focus of attention, showing scant regard for the feelings of others and as a result they are often susceptible to flattery and sycophancy. Other personality traits include: vigilance, decisiveness, straightforwardness and accuracy. They have a love of debate and dispute, but can also be very critical and forthright. Roosters tend not to be very creative or adaptable, but still like to be noticed and especially to be given awards.

Although energetic they are liable to become obsessive. On the plus side they seldom hold grudges and are generally quick to forgive. Dragons are said to be able to accomplish great things and those born in this year are also said to represent the horns of destiny. Needing a cause for which to fight, Dragons will never merely stand back and accept their fate or what life brings.

People born under the year of the Monkey tend to be generally good at " mastering anything" they put their hands to, they are also successful. This is possibly due to a combination of personality traits including: charm, cleverness, quit wittedness and their love of a challenge. They are also crafty, competitive, envious and have a flexible character. At times they are capable of great dishonesty, they can be both self-centered and narcissistic and can often have a superiority complex, believing themselves to be above others.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Magpie Monday

Joining in with another favourite blog hop, Magpie Monday, where we celebrate bargain finds.

I don't often buy from Ebay although once you go on there, you realise that it provides a whole new treasure trove of lovelies to lust after.

I went on looking for a table and chairs so that we can do that perfect family bit where you sit down and talk over dinner. I saw a lovely maghogany one with chairs and saw it steadily increase in bids until it was more than I wanted to pay. Narked but not for long because one that was the same but with a tiny picture came up the next day. I was the only person to bid on it. Was it the little picture or was it the fact that it only had 5 chairs that held it back. I don't mind as we only have 5 regularly eating here together so it is perfect for us.

We reckon it is about 40 years old. I love it because it is great condition but not perfect so I don't have to badger the children if they damage it. It comes with a cover to protect the surface so we keep that on most of the time. Him Indoors loves it because it has one carver so he can sit in it and pretend he is in charge of us all. The children love it because we do the family together meals and also because it just tempts you into getting a board game out to play too. Another reason to love it is that I got the whole lot for a tenner!

The table sits on a rug acquired for £15 via Netmums Nearly New Boards.

And finally, if you can bear it scroll down to "The Happy Couple" post below where you will see me in other Ebay finds on my wedding day.

Now go forth and see other lovely bargains from some very lovely ladies.

The Happy Couple

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Reasons To Be Grateful

Joining in with the wonderful blog hop organised weekly by the Maxabella Loves blog where we say what we are grateful for.

1. I am grateful for cupcakes. My daughter and I tried out the most wonderful Greens packet mixes today for cupcakes and they were yummy. I so love baking with the children.

2. I am grateful for getting out of the house more even if the weather is wet and yucky. We had fish and chips in the car last night parked up as the rain poured down but we had fun. Well, Him Indoors had less fun as he stood for 40 minutes in the rain waiting for the fish to be cooked to order.

3. I am grateful for the ability to laugh even when things are not perfect.

Now, if you would like to make blogger friends from far-flung places, get yourself across to Maxabella Loves and check out some very appreciative bloggers.

Seem to be having trouble with the badge thing this week but Maxabella and her community of lovelies are here

Friday, 26 August 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

My very favourite blog hop this week hosted by the lovely Seasider in the City.

1. My husband is cheerful about time off work for the Bank Holiday weekend.

2. My daugher is cheerful about sticking her tongue out (but is now panicking and saying she was only joking).

3. My son is cheerful because his mummy loves him (this honestly was not prompted by me)

4. My other son is cheerful because he is with his Mummy (also not prompted)

5. I am cheerful that even though my brother did not go on holiday last weekend as we hoped, he did spend a lot of time away from here. When he is not here, I feel less got at, judged, name-called etc. So a big reason to be cheerful.

6. I am cheerful that a new tenancy has been offered to us. Appears our escape to the country can continue for another year after all.

Will that do?

Now check out some superb reasons from other lovelies.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Gallery - World Photography Day

I do care about the environment but sometimes when I consider all the rules and regulations around bins, bin days and recycling ....

I end up thinking "What a load of rubbish!"

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

I am linking up to one of my favourite weekly blog hops so that I can celebrate the positives in this corner of the universe.

1. We have a new car and it works. Have had serious worries about the old one and when it failed its MOT, we realised we had to face facts and purchase a new one. So we now are taking every excuse to go out in our new (to us!) Renault Megane Scenic.
The downside is that I keep looking for the wrong car in car parks.

2. I got into serious self-loathing mode about my looks and weight yesterday. Twitter provided brilliant support and made me realise I am not the only one who has days where they can't bear to look in the mirror. I also read some inspirational stories from mums who have turned their lives around and that gives me hope. With a little commitment and effort, I may yet be a babe by 50.

3. I have just bought a new carpet in the Carpet Right sale. This is not a sponsored post before you get suspicious. It is just that I really appreciated the 66% off sale arriving just as I needed a new carpet.

4. My brother is out of the UK for a week.

Short but sweet this week. Now check out the other chirpy people in the blogosphere. If you blog, I strongly advise you to join in and make new blogger friends whilst thinking of the good things in your life right now. On the worst weeks, there are always little glimmers of good bits.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Gallery - Black and White

The Gallery theme this week is Black and White.

It was an easy choice for me this week although I apologise for the quality of the images used.

Black and white are the colours of my old college, Trinity Hall. I was always pleased that they were subtle colours and that we had a lovely crest with a crescent moon on it.

I remember going and getting my gown on the first day with my Mum and Dad. They insisted on buying me the college scarf too even though the tailors told us nobody ever really wore them. I think they were determined that I would not appear like the working-class pauper so I had everything. It was many years later before I realised this probably cost them dear.

I have spoken before about how much Trinity Hall means to me on this blog so I won't go on and on. I still love how you feel part of that special community and how you get magazines, invitations and Christmas cards from good ol' Tit Hall as students affectionately nickname it.

There is a lot of nonsense talked about Oxbridge. I have never felt so at home and welcomed into a place. Not before, not since. I have the privilege of still hearing from some of my peers including those that I did not have as close friends at the time. I think that says a lot for the place too.

Black and white also brings back memories of graduation day where we had to get all tarted up in black and white. Black gowns and white ermine don't you know? You see, once upon a time, I almost became posh!

I am the one with the big brown Eighties hair and the legs. My brother gave me a suit to wear that was decidedly short. This was a worry as it did not meet the dress code specified by college. All day, I was terrified that they would end up not letting me graduate for flashing too much leg. The lad behind me told me he thought when I knelt down to get my degree that the Chancellor was likely to have a coronary as a result.

Graduation Day was very bittersweet. Relief that I had got the degree but deep sadness at the thought of leaving college. That sense of loss has never totally left me to be honest.

Was it the sense of history, of learning or of community or the combination of all of them? Trinity Hall remains a very special place.

My parents commissioned one of their friends to paint Trinity Hall for me as I left. Here is that picture that follows me wherever I go and whatever I do.

I will take this opportunity to wish everyone who got A-Level results today a very positive day. If your results were not as you wished, take heart from the fact that loads of people prove that you do not need qualifications to make a success out of life.

I will also state that I think it is truly awful that young people have to panic about money so early these days. I had the fortune to go to college at a time of grants backed up by good parental support too.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Here are my Reasons to be Cheerful this week.

1. I think this is the most important one of all. Today, my children ran off to join their Dad in the park and as I strolled down the path towards them, I suddenly realised that I am a Mum and just how wonderful that is. Usually in the mix of juggling it all, I enjoy motherhood but don't really stop to reflect on just how amazing it is to have given birth, coped with all those milestones so far and being told every day that I am loved and to tell them that too. Advice to all Mums - stop, breathe and recognise just how blessed you are.

2. I am pleased that I have followed my heart and not rehomed my dog today.

3. I have found a lovely home for the last kitten.

4. I am pleased that I am informed enough with real facts to be able to analyse the current crisis regarding public disorder in the UK. I will be blogging my views shortly.

5. I am happy that my Dad can take all his multiple health threats in his stride and carry on smiling. He is a true inspiration. I am also grateful to him for appreciating all that I do, maybe haphazardly or inadequately, but with good intent.
He is always telling me to make time for me, do less housework etc.

6. I am pleased that after a week of ill health I feel much better. I am also delighted that the pain has given me the impetus to give up on booze and start eating healthily. I doubt I will be teetotal but it feels great to say "No thanks" when drink is offered to me.

Loads more I feel but that will do nicely for now.

Thanks again to all the lovelies who have supported me particularly through all the hassle with my so-called brother. I have things in much better perspective now and am determined to live my life my way. As one of the 7 dwarves says on that documentary, if you don't like it, jog on.

See you next week if not before.

Now check out some very lovely people blog hopping cheerily over at

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

More Reasons To Be Cheerful

I am on the cusp of being very cheerful indeed. Not quite there yet after a stressful few weeks but definitely can feel that the good times are coming. Some are even here already so here goes.

1. My brother is not in the building tonight. This means that we will be far more relaxed and feel OK being us rather than watch him looking at us as if we have crawled out of the proverbial cheese. We may celebrate with takeaways and a tipple plus treats for the children.

2. Although we were desperately sad to rehome one of our dogs last week, we are pleased he has found a happy home with a really lovely family. We have had this dog since he was born so we miss him heaps but had to let him go as we caved into pressure from brother dearest. The family are not too far away and say we can go and see the dog whenever we like.

3. The school holidays are wonderful in terms of long lie-ins, fun, games, activities and just being together as a strong family unit who can take on the world (and my brother lol).

4. As well as steam-cleaning the house this week like a good and meek little woman, I was also able to use my brain and I hope assist some truly inspirational women. Made me remember that once upon a time I had a fair few dazzling careers, to recall that I have a second-to-none education and that I have kicked ass more than once and can do it again.

5. I had a little talk with my Dad where I explained that I refused to be bullied by either of my brothers anymore and that if they disapprove of the way I live my life, all they have to do is look elsewhere and leave me the hell alone. It felt very good to state my case to a man who seems able to love me whether the bloody kitchen floor is sparkling or not.

I need to keep in mind that I am 42 years old, I am loved, I have support and I have a right to be myself. I have run scared and that is stopping right now this minute.

Much of that inner belief is due to the wonderful support received from some very generous-spirited people. Thanks to those have reached out some of whom I have met and some who just empathise or seem to think that I am actually OK deep down. May karma or whatever higher power you believe in send you some truly wonderful things and soon.

Check out the other Chirpy People Out there

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Thursday, 4 August 2011

How Normal Am I?

Recently,I have had heaps of criticism from a certain quarter so I wanted to check with real people and mums in particular if I am vaguely normal or not. What do you think?

1. Until recently, I did not clean my kitchen floor every single day. Now I steam clean it every day.

2. I wash clothing almost every day if not every day some weeks

3. I like to have pictures, ornaments and children's artwork displayed in my home

4. I enjoy having pets and do not feel the children are threatened by having them

5. As my children can have lots of meals and snacks in a day, I sometimes save up the washing up and do it all in one go.

6. I don't think I am boring, not really or all the time anyway

7. I clean my toilet every day and think that is sufficient

8. I think there is more to life than housework

9. I resent the implication that it only my job to do housework when I live in a family with 4 adults and 3 children

10. I am a worm who is mightily tempted to turn and very soon too.

Seriously though, having being defined as filthy, how much housework should I do in a day? Happy to do it but would like to know what is normal and acceptable to real people and mums in particular.

I am a bit scared to do this post now as I might be hit with a load of criticism. I am happy to step up my game but don't want to be bullied by just one person.

Does that make sense?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Magpie Monday On A Tuesday

Apologies for linking up late to the wonderful Liz's blog hop, Magpie Monday where we shout loudly about our bargain finds.

Me and My Shadow

In the last couple of weeks, my brother came to live with us and as well as calling me filthy and bemoaning my lack of quality housework, he complained about what he termed clutter.

I like to make a home and that involves quirky charity shop finds being on display along with my favourite artwork from my 3 children and so on. Apparently, this makes me something akin to the devil so it must go. The reality is that I have removed it and hidden it in the hope he will move out soon so that we can live as we like to.

Just to complete the picture, he thinks the fact that I have pets is a sure sign of child abuse on my part. He wants me to get rid of the animals and the first one was rehomed at the weekend.

Unsurprisingly, in this situation, there seemed little point popping along to the charity shop which as regular readers will know is one of my favourite weekend activities.

So this week, as well as requesting all fellow Magpies to take out a hit on my brother, I am sharing a story of how you can do a wedding on a budget.

I got married 3 years ago. I bought 6 dresses off Ebay as I did not fancy taking my size 20 frame for fittings and so on. By the day before the wedding I had still to decide between my favourite and one I knew my mum would approve of. On the morning of the wedding, the one I chose was the one my mum would like. It would not do up so in the end, I had to go with my choice. Ivory, strapless with embroidery and a stole for over my shoulders. I wore it for about 5 hours and then re-sold it on Ebay.

I also bought my shoes second-hand from Ebay and my lovely lingerie.

We had a very happy day and I think it was really helped by knowing we had done things on a realistic budget and not landed ourselves in debt.

I will try to upload a photograph of the day if people would like to see me in the finery.

I intend to get my own life back by September so the charity shops will be taking a hammering at that point.