28 October 2010

A Grand Day Out

Look at us! That's Jen from The Madhouse and I standing in front of THE Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films.


We took our families out in the pouring rain to visit the National Railway Museum in York this week. It was totally worth being sat in a car for a couple of hours each way. Getting there would have been quicker if a) there was a brown sign where you have to turn left to the museum from the A64, b) we'd used our satnav or c) we'd been able to travel by train. Don't get me wrong, I like York, but we didn't need to drive through the city centre and the wrong way around the ring road. Not this week, anyway.

Despite all this we did indeed have a grand day out, apart from one minor incident where Cash jumped out of his skin when a train blew its whistle! Our boys got on well, as did the grown ups. Presley's highlight of the day was 'sitting round the table, eating sweeties'. I enjoyed that bit too! 

The National Railway Museum is a wonderful place (I never thought I would say that, trains were never my thing). The old steam trains are big and reliable looking, travelling by train was something special then. Andy and I both admitted that we'd always wanted to travel on a sleeper train. The Japanese bullet train was larger inside than I'd expected. The museum was busy, but it wasn't too crowded. I think we managed to see everything.

I liked the way the man who explained how the turntable worked had 'explainer' on the back of his shirt. No fancy job titles in York!

I also had meatballs and a mooch around Ikea with the lovely notSupermum this week.

These friendships, made through blogging, are real and genuine and easy. We're not all weirdos on the internet you know!


26 October 2010

Funny Bird

This is my contribution to The Gallery at Sticky Fingers. This week's theme was show me the funny!

Has anyone else seen birds doing this? I'm guessing they're sunbathing. It always amuses me and I was over the moon to capture it on film.


24 October 2010

Next Baby Boutique Model Competition 2010

*** This competition is now closed ***

Do you have a beautiful smiley baby? 

Could they be a model?

Next (in association with Prima Baby) have just launched a nationwide search for a ‘superbabymodel’. Well, two ‘super baby models’, actually. They’re looking for one newborn baby aged from birth to 18 months and one slightly older baby (19 months to 36 months max). Each has to have the cute grin or adorable smile that cameras love.

The competition is all happening on Facebook. Entrants will have their pictures posted in an online gallery and a public vote will determine the top 24 babies (12 from each age category) – all of whom will be invited to the photo shoot finale. Both winners will receive a £500 spending spree at Next and our winning models will participate in photo shoots for Next and Prima Baby magazine, plus win a year’s contract with top junior model agency, Urban Angels. Not bad at all!

Good luck if you're entering the competition!

Edited 25/10/10
I have been advised by Next that each entry has to be approved by their team of moderators. This is taking approximately 48 hours. If your entry has not been approved after this time, please contact Next via the Facebook page. I have passed all of your email and comment queries onto Next.

This is a sponsored post



21 October 2010

I Want...

This post has been ripped off inspired by Jack from The Thoughts of a Broken Clock. I met Jack at a creative writing workshop recently and thoroughly enjoyed spending a few hours in his company and finding a new blog to read.

I want...

  • world peace and an end to poverty etc. (let's get that out of the way first), oh yeah, and a cure for cancer
  • a Mulberry Alexa handbag
  • to be more confident
  • to think of the right thing to say at the right time and not three hours later
  • a holiday
  • Steps to reform (I completely copied that one from Jack)
  • to be a size 12
  • to commit to doing NaNoWriMo, no messing about
  • to be proud to call myself a mummy blogger
  • people to be more kind to each other
  • Pamela or Matt to win Strictly Come Dancing
  • to stop having nightmares, especially the ones where I wake up on the floor screaming
  • a chippy tea tomorrow
  • to be fearless
  • to have more patience with the boys
  • more hours in the day (to myself)
  • to care less about being dumped by someone I called a friend
  • a decent cup of coffee at Costa in Walton-le-Dale
  • to pick up a packet of biscuits from my local garage and find that they are actually in date
  • to stop eating biscuits
  • someone, anyone, to buy our house
  • to be less sensitive
  • to have a thicker skin, one that allows me to go online without getting upset on a regular basis
  • to make my husband and children happy
  • everyone to stop smoking, especially the man who flicked ash on my toddler in his buggy yesterday
  • a new bra, to replace the one that pinged off (Barbara Windsor style) this week
  • the dark cloud, that follows me around, to lift


19 October 2010

The Gallery: Red

How to make the most of a rainy day.

I wish I'd joined them, but there I was - as usual - behind the camera!

For more great photographs head on over to the excellent Sticky Fingers, home of The Gallery.


18 October 2010


...over on Sandy Calico Reviews I've written about some of the things sent to try us. Oh no, that's wrong! Try again, I've written about some of the things I've been sent to try. Yes, that's more like it. ;-)

Since becoming Toys R Us Toyologists we've had quite a few toys to test. Find out what we thought about the Tomy Aquadoodle Desk, the Timmy Time Pop-Up Game Old MacDonald Lotto, the Crazy Chefs Game, the Fireman Sam Fire Engine Convertible, the Moon Sand Demolition Kit and the Mega Bloks 2-in-1 Buildable Thomas the Tank Engine.

We have also reviewed the ZingZillas CD and My Favourite Nursery Rhymes DVD.

I was given some clothes to wear to the MAD awards by Very.co.uk and my underwear was provided by Spanx Higher Power. What do you mean you don't want to see my pants?! I was also sent my first pair of Converse trainers by Rubber Sole.

Finally, Sandy Calico Reviews... DotComGiftShop - just in time for Christmas.



13 October 2010

Doctor Presley

What do you do when you you're a blogger who doesn't show their children's faces on their blog, but still wants pictures of them to illustrate a post? The answer is you take loads and loads of photographs of the backs of their heads. Even your long-suffering husband does the same.

Here is my favourite photograph of the back of Presley's head.

When Presley's younger brother, Cash, goes for an afternoon nap, Presley makes sure all the teddies have a nap too. He uses muslin squares as blankets and periodically goes to check on them.

Here it looks like he is applying CPR to Big Teddy. You'll be pleased to know that Big Teddy survived his ordeal and is alive and well!

The boys pretend their teddies are sick. They clean them up and sit with them, rubbing them better. It is too cute for words and I usually get the camera out.

Yesterday they were playing the sick teddy game. I said 'ahh, lovely boys looking after your teddies'.

Presley said 'Mummy get the camera'.

I got the camera.

You can check out more favourite photographs in The Gallery.

3 October 2010

Dear Sandy

Last year I wrote a letter to my 16 year old self. It was a wonderful way to recognise the poor decisions I had made in my life and to be kind and forgiving to my younger self.

It didn't do much to help me now though. My life is generally good, but it is not perfect. My husband and I had a state of the nation conversation last week. We talked about how we feel now and about what we would like to change.

We found it useful to look ahead, hoping that the future would hold long life and happiness for us and our children. We imagined ourselves at the end of our lives, with our children beside us and maybe grandchildren too.

We wanted to know what we needed do NOW to enable us to die happy. So we imagined being old and looking back over our lives to this point in time. What did we hope for ourselves, as we lay on our death-beds, and what could we change now to make that happen?

I decided to write this letter to me now, to gain some perspective on what is important and what is not.

Dear Sandy,

Your priorities are your husband and your children, everything else is a distraction. 

Remember to make time for you and Andy. Remember why you fell in love with this man, almost at first sight, maybe before. Spend time together as Andy and Sandy (yes, I know, we rhyme). Arrange dates and stick to them, even if the 'date' is a night in front of a DVD with a bottle of wine. Talk.

Appreciate your beautiful children while they are young. Remember that they are children and they will act like children. You can not control them, they are their own people. Try to keep your temper. If they smear yoghurt all over the table for the fiftieth day in a row, screaming and shouting isn't going to make any difference. Just clear it up, it doesn't matter.

Enjoy playing the same games over and over again. Read to them and sing and dance with them. Cuddle them more than you think is necessary now, when they are older they won't be quite so keen.

Allow them to make their own mistakes, but be there to help them pick up the pieces. Keep them safe, but let them flourish and grow. Prepare them for the world by teaching them manners, tolerance and compassion.

Be there for your friends. Nurture those relationships that make you happy. Make the effort to keep in touch with people who enrich your life, no matter how far away you all live. 

You can be viciously self-critical. There's no need to be so hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can only do your best. You are loved.

Remember what you once heard: when you're in your twenties you care what people think of you. When you're in your forties you don't care what people think of you. When you're in your sixties you realise no one was thinking about you anyway.

When something or someone makes you unhappy you need to take a step back. Balance is everything. If you want to write fiction, just write. Don't make excuses. Turn off the internet.

Go outside more, walk and breathe in the fresh air. Practice yoga everyday. Smile more. Keep reading every day. Keep learning. Eat to live.

Do things that make you happy. 

Be happy.

Love, Sandy x


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