Thursday, 31 March 2011

We love Abba

Abba, the super group of the 70s, did anyone expect that kids in 2011 would be loving them as much now as their grandparents then?

Well they do, especially this track

There's no doubt that the film Mamma Mia helped the popularity of Abba music, but Rachel knows nothing of the film but chooses Mamma Mia on the iPod all the time.

Abba, we love you.

Art Attack Gallery

Rachel loves art, adores it, every aspect of it; she has creative bones where I have analytical ones. So it's no surprise that she loves Art Attack on CITV.

I loved that programme when I was a kid as well, shows just how long it's been on the TV.

The difference between our experiences though is that I liked watching it but knew/thought I could never produce anything which came half way close. Where as Rachel knows she can have a good attempt and that she'll produce something she's proud of.

Well this weekend she surpassed herself, completely blew me away and she is proud as punch. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Gallery of her Art Attack inspired watercolour wash paintings, soon to be submitted to the Art Attack Gallery.


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Signed versions available upon request :)

Is The Gruffalo on Kindle?


The sad answer is that no, unfortunately The Gruffalo is not available on Kindle, or any other e-reader. In fact, as reported here, Julia Donaldson has decided that she would prefer her fantastic books to stay purely in paper form.

I understand many of Julia's views and reasons for vetoing the move to electronic media, but I am disappointed that she can not see the benefit of having the books available electronically. The main benefit of e-children-books for us is that Rachel can read all sorts of books when we're away from home if they're on my Kindle, but if she forgets to bring a book then it's not available to her.

I have to say, I adore the illustrations of all Julia Donaldson's books (by the talented Axel Scheffler), but I love the flow and rhythmn and rhyme even more, and that is not changed whatever format they are read from. I hope one day in the future these books will be available electronically.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

What would you like?

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Today is a different kind of blog post.
Today we are turning the tables.
Today Rachel is sick again.

So today it's over to you!

What films and/or books would you like us to review for you?
And would you like it blogged or vlogged?

Our blog, for a few days only, is in your hands.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Rachel's ten best books

Rachel's ten best books

Here are Rachel's favourite books as chosen by her today, Tuesday 29 March 2011.

1. The Gruffalo's Child

2. Owl Babies

3. Winnie the Pooh

4. BFG

5. Mr Bump

6. Hairy Mclary from Donaldson's Dairy

7. Holly the Christmas Fairy

8. The Gingerbread Man

9. One year with Kipper

10. Paddington

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Would our kids do this?

It is all over the press tonight; that Yemeni children are demonstrating their need for change as their country fights for political change. It's amazing to see, it is inspiring.

It leaves me asking, would our kids do this?
And sadly I think not in the majority of cases.
But this is not a reflection on the apathy of our children, it is a reflection on the apathy of the adults they know.

So how passionate are you about social justice, environmental change, political reform and other issues which seem very out if our hands. Perhaps our childrens' ability to act is in our own hands.

VLOG t-shirt review

We were offered a t-shirt from to review. It arrived at our house in a mere two days, beautifully packaged and with the picture presented perfectly on the front of the packet.

We decided that the best way to review a t-shirt would be to video blog a q&a between Rachel and I. It's taken a few weeks but we've got there, learned how and practises a bit. And so today here it is our very first vlog reviewing the highly recommended Bespoke t-shirt printers at

Enjoy the vlog.
See the t-shirt in use.
Give us as many comments as possible to help us learn.

we were not paid any money for this review but are thrilled to be able to use the t-shirt provided as a new nightshirt for Rachel

Make a robot head

Today Rachel and I made a robot head, by which I mean Rachel made it and I "supervised" and wrote down her directions and took photos when instructed.

Here's what you'll need if you'd like to make one too:
- Head sized box
- Poster paints
- Paintbrushes
- Newspaper to protect your surfaces
- Artistic inclinations

1. Open up the cardboard box so you can see how it will go on your head.
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2. Select the colours you want to use and lay them out.
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3. Paint the inside of the flaps which will go around your face.
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4. Paint the outside of the box.
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5. Let the paint dry and do something else while you wait, I collected blossom. 
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6. Decorate with marker pen or felt tip to give it robot features like eyes, buttons, motors and grills.
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7. Show it to everyone.
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8. Wear it around and be a robot

Saturday, 26 March 2011

I'm not judging...

I'm not judging ....

I hope I'm not, 
I try not to, 
and if I slip then I correct myself 
because I honestly don't want to be judging anyone; especially not other parents, and definitely not other parents struggling in restaurants.

But it's hard, really hard; and not because I think I'm some great mum, I don't; but because I'm not used to toddlers anymore, especially not at meal times.  Sad but true.

Rachel was a blessing but a challenge; she hated daytime sleep until she was 3, she was constantly overtired and irritable, and by toddler age she was opinionated and demanding.  I loved her, but she was not easy. Luckily she tended to pull out all the stops when we were out and she'd mostly behave, but I know that was more luck than judgement or management.

So I've been there, I've done that; and yet my tolerance is reducing back to pre-motherhood levels when we are out in restaurants.

I still coo at babies, chat to new mums, smile at most toddlers and commiserate with stressed parents.  But then there are the screamers, the temper tantrumers, the answerers back; I can't help but be shocked.

I don't frown (I hope), I don't tut (ever) and I don't make any comments; but inside there's s little bit of all of that going on. 

I admit it, I'm judging; I'm sorry, I don't mean to, I will try better, I understand if I engage brain and so I will engage more brain when eating out, I promise.

Friday, 25 March 2011

I would like to thank...

First off we'd like to thank Lara at my ramblings for awarding us this award. I am ashamed to say I hadn't discovered her blog before now, but I sure how now and she's fabulous - go see.

I'd also like to thank Rachel, and now she says she'd like to thank me; we are a great team online and off line. Love you baby girl. And how could we forget the man in our life, Mike you rock as our rock.

This award is for ‘little’ blogs (with less than 300 subscribers) to share blog love and spread the word. The rules are as follows:

Post displaying the award, linking back to the person who awarded you.
Choose your own blog picks and let them know they’re awarded.
Hope everyone discovers some new favourites.
Revel in the blog love!

I follow a huge number of blogs, but most of them are on the larger side, but these ones are the smaller ones I love, they are right now awarded the little blog award. for her fabulous style and sense of fun where I especially liked "learning is boring"

Have Love Will Travel for just the hardest and happiest journey ever for the love, laughter and making cloth diapers

So please send them your congratulations and keep the award going.

what are we to you?

We are chuffed to bits to be tagged by gorgeous Ruth at GeekMummy as part of The One Word Meme. Thanks Ruth.

The Meme was started by Michelle at Mummy from the Heart who wrote

I am creating a meme, called the 1 Word Meme and I would love for every one of us to be able to collate all the the positive words left by our real life friends, virtual friends and fellow bloggers so that we each have a sheet of positive affirmations to treasure and boost our self-esteem.

Now all who read this blog or know me in real life will know that I (Emma) am the first to pour praise on Rachel, I believe positive affirmation comes second only to unconditional love in parenting. But you will also know that I find it very hard to take positivity back on myself; so this feels very vulnerable. And to be honest I'm pretty convinced no one will comment at all!

But hey, it's the rules, and we are both rule followers so here goes nothing (everything).

And now to continue the Meme, we are tagging

Scarlet Fever - not the red nose we were hoping for!

Hi everyone, how are you all?
sleep deprived?
sore throat?
red rash?
well then it's possible you have scarlet fever; although I'd recommend you go to the NHS to confirm this dodgy diagnosis!

We have scarlet fever in this house, it started with a massively high fever, progressed through everything else and now has left a red rash in its wake.
oh and exhaustion, it's left that too, mostly experienced by Mummy!!!

The thing is I feel cheated; when we raised money for red nose day we didn't expect to end up with an actual red nose childhood illness, it's just not fair!

Mumpreneuring: making the most of what I have

Who doesn't need to earn a bit more money these days? I do.
The problem: I don't want to reduce my volunteering, church work or Rachel time.
The solution: Mumpreneuring!

Look to the right of this post and you will see a button about "BaM!" - Become a Mumpreneur.
Here it is:

Become a Mumpreneur

I really recommend this programme, a fantastic book and support with a 30day email course, full of top tips on how to make the most of what you have to make money.

For me this has already achieved the following:
1. Launching spinning careers
2. Knitting in a more focussed way to make sellable scarves and broaches
3. Offering our seaside flat for holiday lets
4. Using my people skills to party plan with Jamie Oliver
5. Offering advertising space on my blogs

And it's working; I am making money, more than I expected, and not sacrificing the work and motherhood I prioritise in my life.

You can do this too, we all can; it's not a con, it's using what you have.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Free schools: creationism, science, RE and teachers.

A copy of a blog post at
So important it deserved 2 Hostings (or.. Don't manage your blogs when tired!)

This article in The Guardian has caught my attention.  

The article is centred around the fact that creationism will not be allowed to be taught in free schools, that science is science based on facts including evolution. Fabulous, I agree.

Of course I would also like to see that free schools, in fact ALL schools teach religious education that covers the broad spectrum of beliefs in all world faiths. Surely our children need to be taught varying beliefs, practices and views to be able to understand and be tolerant.

But that aside, what worries me in the article is one little sentence hidden away:

Teachers working at free schools will also not need to have formal teaching qualifications

Pardon me? Are you kidding?  So these are state funded schools, that don't need qualified teachers? 

Now surely that should be the headline!

Rachel reviews Barbie Mariposa

Scarlet Fever stinks but we have got to watch quite a few films. Here is Rachels take on Barbie Mariposa

I like the animal at the start of it best, it's so cute.
The fairies are like fairytale people, good ones and bad ones and I think the bossy girls are the ugly stepsisters.

It is an ok film but not great.
Not for boys.

I like the barbie Mariposa dolls and love the wings you can wear.

Ps - opinions please: I currently wrote what Rachel says in her review. Do you think a videod review would be cool?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mother of a sick child

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Don't get me wrong, I count my chickens and thank God morning, noon and night that Rachel is happy and healthy thanks to doctors and prescribed medication. But when she is sick, like today, it is the most traumatising, helpless feeling in the world.

Today she is running a high fever which might hopefully be just a virus, but is being "watched" for scarlet fever. Never before has a doctor shown me pictures of what "might likely" occur in the next few days.

I know this is nothing major, I know this is a childhood disease, but boy does my heart flip over and my emotions go on a rollercoaster. So today as I watch her sleep I pray that she recovers quickly.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Raising money for charity

It never occurred to me that Rachel, age 5, would watch Blue Peter and decide that she could raise money to help children in Africa.  I thought it's be another couple of years before she realised what she could achieve for others.

I underestimated her.

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It was all her idea:
"I can bake cakes"
"people can sponsor me to bake lots"
"I can sell the cakes"
"I will make £200"

I was sceptical but positive with responses like:
"absolutely darling, we will see how much you can get, every little bit is brilliant."

And yes of course I helped her, she's only 5!  I helped her choose which cakes to make, helped her buy ingredients and helped her spread the word and get sponsors, liaised with school to arrange the cake bake etc.  But very much I see my role as her cheerleader/assistant.

What impresses me is that she knew she could make a difference and over a four week period made it happen.

We have a lot to learn from our Children's faith that they can make a change for the better!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Knit knit knit knit knitting

I am loving knitting so much, it's relaxing and therapeutic and creative and even creates beautiful things.

Rachel loves knitting, both mine for her and her own creations.

Now I just need to learn how to read a knitting pattern, easier said than done, it can't be beyond me though!

But for now, I'm proud of what 6 weeks of knitting can produce.

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Friday, 18 March 2011

Rachel raised £275 for comic relief on red nose day 2011

The title says it all

Rachel raised £275 for comic relief on red nose day 2011.

1 month in the planning
2 people organising (Rachel age 5 and her mum)
3 types of cake made - chocolate, plain and crispie
4 weeks gathering sponsors
5 eggs whisked into cake mixes
6 adults helping to sell the cakes
7 children baking altogether
8 trays of cakes baked
9 different toppings
10 out of 10!

I am so proud of her.

Thanks to all who encouraged, sponsored, baked, sold and bought.

Especially to Ben and his friends; Rachael and family, and Adam and Ben.

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It's red nose day

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Roll up
Roll up

Cakes for sale
Cakes for sale

We are raising bucket loads of cash for comic relief.

What are you doing?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Red nose day cake bake day 4

One day to go
Cakes baked and decorated
Now it's onto telling everyone at school to buy some tomorrow

And here are Rachel's handouts
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And posters
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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Red Nose Day cake bake day 3

Today was the day, the day of baking cakes all day long.

We started the morning baking 48 chocolate cakes before breakfast.

We then got back to it after school and baked another 36 vanilla cup cakes and 2 full sized chocolate cakes.

When our friends arrived they helped us bake 30 white chocolate crispie cakes.

And they also helped us decorate the cup cakes made earlier.
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By 7pm Rachel was asleep, I was half asleep and the cakes were all packaged up nice and safe ready to be sold on Friday.
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and just now I received this fantastic news in my email - Rachel has already achieved her target, proud am I!

If this doesn't deserve your donations to comic relief nothing does! If you like what you read please donate some money to red nose day, or sponsor Rachel directly at

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sony production awards

Red nose day cake bake - day 2

It's Tuesday, day 2 of Rachel's cake bake for comic relief.

Sponsorship is pouring in. £30 was given yesterday, so she's nearing her £200 target, just £65 to go. Of course we know she'll make more than that on the cake sale, but she now says she wants £200 in sponsorship.

I, the cake bake organiser, have noticed a slight flaw in the plan, we need more cake cases!
How about these?

We will be blogging the whole week long, if you like what you read please donate some money to red nose day, or sponsor Rachel directly at

Monday, 14 March 2011

RND Rachel's cake bake: day 1

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Today, Monday 14th March is day 1 of Rachels cake bake week for red nose day.
We will be blogging the whole week long, if you like what you read please donate some money to red nose day, or sponsor Rachel directly at

This morning was day 1 of preparation; what cakes to make.

Rachel thought of all sorts of options including rice crispie cakes, a big cake, gingerbread men, chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins.

But in the end she has decided on chocolate brownies and normal cupcakes.
Watch this space for tomorrows activity in Rachel's RND Cake Bake.