Friday, 29 April 2011

29th April 2011: What a memorable day

We didn't stand on the mall.
We weren't inside Westminster Abbey.
We didn't even get to a street party.

Instead we spent the day with fabulous friends, a TV tuned to the BBC Royal Wedding coverage and a BBQ. Perfect!

We watched the guests arrive and did the obligatory commentary on hats.  We agreed to disagree on trees inside the Abbey. We oohed and aahed at the bridesmaids.  We were enraptured by Prince Williams cool calm on his arrival. 

And then we sat transfixed by the glory and beauty of Kate.

It was partly the dress, partly the flowers; but for me it was mostly her composure. She was radiantly relaxed; obviously feeling comfortable in herself, her decision to marry this love of her life, and completely unphased by the world watching her.

I smiled myself sore; I shed a tear or two; I sung along to the hymns; I felt a part of their day; I felt proud to see this day.

I never expected to feel the awe and wonder I'd felt at Princess Diana's marriage to Prince Charles; not now I'm on old married woman.  And yet that's exactly how I felt.

The highlights for me:
- Kate entering the Abbey
- Harry's commentary to William
- William's "gorgeous" to Kate
- The pause at the Abbey door
- Duke and Duchess driving in the Aston Martin
- Sharing it all with Rachel and our friends

Tonight; with the memories of the day in my mind, I feel excited for the lives of William and Kate and hopeful about the future of the Royal Family.  

But mostly I feel lucky to have been able to share the joy and wonder with my nearest and dearest.

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Happy day.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Top Gun is 25

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I know it's almost impossible to believe, but according to Mr Tom shouldalwayswearaflightsuit Cruise himself on twitter
"We're about to launch an International FAN GIVEAWAY TRIVIA QUIZ to celebrate the Top Gun 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray and @AMCtheatres - Ready?"

Suddenly I feel really old, so to cheer myself up I'm going to spend a few minutes reminiscing about top gun.

I was only a tender 13 years old when I saw Top Gun for the first time. I was at a birthday party but I can't remember whose. Of course everyone was swooning over this gorgeous bloke in his flight suit.

But I was way above that; I was fascinated in the flying and the plot.
Ok, you got me, I was no where near interested in all that, I was bowled over backwards by Mr Gorgeous (and it hasn't waned much since).

I dread to think how many times I've watched Top Gun over the last quarter of a century. I've come to love the music as much as anything else. I've often laughed at the complete lack of laws of physics. Bit I still love it.

The only downside for me now is watching a film where Mr Gorgeous is young enough to be my son, that feels a bit weird, but I get over it. I always go right back to being a teenager and love every second.

So who fancies reliving the 1980s with me?
A room full of girls, too much chocolate and Top Gun; anyone joining me?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ovarian Cancer detection

I was reading the BBC News Site this morning and found this one about Ovarian Cancer. I for one am thrilled with this call for increased information about Ovarian Cancer and the undertaking of blood testing for those who display possible symptoms. Of course these are only guidelines set out by the NICE, but I really hope these are guidelines which are adopted.

Why am I so interested?
Mainly because I really think the NHS needs to be much more proactive about diagnosing cancer through patient information and early testing. But also because I've had the blood test to help rule out cancer in the dermoid mass on my ovary. It was found during infertility treatment and seemed to worry the specialists, although I was more interested in trying to become a mum than anything; and within a week I'd had a blood test and knew that it wasn't cancerous. I now have it re-run every few years to make sure nothing's changing with it and this provides me with huge relief about it's makeup and that if it did become cancerous it would be found early.

So now I'm off to email my MP and ask that the Department of Health brings into play the NICE guidelines and starts using the ovarian cancer blood test at the first display of possible symptoms, anyone joining me?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Campaign to show respect

I was blogging on my LLM Calling blog about respect and how little I think we show our respect and admiration for others. And it seemed the perfect subject for a campaign and a blog link up. Of course I tagged Major Love of Film so here's my contribution linked at Campaign to show respect.

So who do I respect and how do I show it?
Today I had a delivery from a local delivery firm with two guys. They arrived on time, they smiled, they even carried the heavy boxes into my house for me. When they were asking for my signature I asked of there was a number I could ring to express my thanks for their work today. I could tell they'd never heard or expected that before, but they found a number.

So I rang the office and told them who my delivery guys were and how impressed I was with the service. I'm taking the silence that I received as stunned silence but eventually they pulled it together and said they'd make a note and pass on my thanks.

So today I hope I've started the campaign to show respect well and truly.
Now all that's left is to tag some others to do similar and link up here

You're tagged: @erika @ipswichmummy @susurem @pamelotH @mrspandp @northernmum1 and @therealsupermum

Monday, 25 April 2011

Royal Wedding; souvenirs and tat?

I was in year 1 when Charles and Diana got married.  Rachel is in year 1 now for William and Kate's wedding. What coincidence. This has got me thinking, what was my favourite royal wedding souvenir? And what might Rachel like?

I was given a book as a guide for the day, I don't remember being that impressed.
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I was also given a book afterwards, one I read over and over, marvelling at 'that dress' mainly.  I loved it.  That is the souvenir I remember.  
And here it is:
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So what is there out there?
Well, from small thoughts comes an eye opening, jaw dropping hour of research; and I might as well share it with you.  Where to start?

How about with the toys that I'm impressed with and from which I've bought for Rachel.  And no I'm not doing this as an investment so yes, she will be allowed to play with it.

Over to you to guess which I bought.

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Sylvanian Families
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Classic car
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Good old mini
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Top Trumps
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Then there's the clothes available

Pyjamas - pretty and pretty cheesy
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Bibs - cute but ....
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T-shirts - no no no, not for me
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So how about classic china memorabilia? [please save me]

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And if you like that, is this tat or tasteful to you?

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Funny plates
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And then there are the items that make me cringe, the ones I think should have been banned.

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Face masks
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And finally. Two things have really caught my eye this morning.

Firstly it's the fantastic Legoland mini-land creation of the royal wedding, amazing.
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And secondly it's this mug
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Because I have a friend for whom this says it all :)

So come on then; what would you choose?  Apart from the toy for Rachel I am still holding out for a souvenir book with photos and details, that'll be my choice.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Is it St George's day?


After informing over a dozen people on Twitter I've decided to write this post to put int fact, once and for all, that....

23rd April 2011 is NOT St George's Day!

When Saints Day land on Easter they defer to their Lord Jesus Christ and move themselves to the first Monday after Easter.

This means that this year, we will celebrate St George on Monday 2nd May 2011.

And if you don't believe me, here is proof from
Wikipedia (not that that's any guarantee, but get)
The sun newspaper

I would like more sources to show you, but it seems the media have let this pass them by, hint hint!

Oh and in case anyone wondered, it moves next year as well, to Monday 28th April 2011

Easter egg hunt

Today I will host an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the close and some of Rachel's other friends, twelve kids in total I'm expecting.  I must be mad, Or I'm still a big kid; take your pick.  I can't wait, I think I'm almost as excited as Rachel in fact.  It's the joy of being able to get families together and celebrate Easter, especially in all this sunshine we've got.

Now don't get all over-impressed and think I'm a kids party planner extraordinaire, I'm not.  Although I do love planning; any excuse and all that.  This is nothing complicated; just homemade masks, baskets and a few signs, a stash of eggs and the vital ingredient: super excited kids!

So if you fancy doing the same, heres the equipment and eggs we are using:
- Easter eggs - small
- Easter eggs - tiny
- Easter chicks
- 6 locations hidden but not impossibly
- A few cardboard signs with clues
- A mask for each child - they'll make their own before they start
- a homemade basket for each child
- a few willing adults to shepherd and break up any arguments over eggs

Oh and my top tips from previous experiences with under 7 year olds.  Have a few locations which each have one type/size of egg.  The rules are then simple; find the stash and quietly put ONE in your basket.  Yes, I prefer to avoid the tears when all the eggs are found by only the oldest egg-hunters.

Watch this space for photos after the event. Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Why Easter Eggs?

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Following on from my post "why hot cross buns"  I have had a request from a reader (and friend) to provide the answer to the question "Why Easter Eggs" so here goes.

At Easter millions of people give and receive Easter eggs.  Some of us are Christians and we do this as part of the Easter Sunday celebrations.  On Easter Sunday we celebrate the fact that Jesus was resurrected after his death on the cross. 

For Christians the egg represents new life hidden within a shell which does not seem alive.  It is a symbol of Jesus' resurrection; of his new life resurrected and of our new life which his resurrection gives us.

Many Christians will also say that the Easter egg is a symbol of the tomb from which Jesus rose again.  The egg looks solid when sealed shut, but when broken open we discover it empty.   

Here's something I learned today when researching this post; eggs have been symbols of festivals long before Jesus' time, most likely because of their amazing contents of life itself.

And when did eggs become associated with Easter? I can't find any specific answer, but there are myths that mary magdalen had eggs with her when she found the empty tomb.  

Historic fact provides that carved eggs have been given for many centuries and marzipan eggs are first recorded at the turn of the last century in Victorian times, which became chocolate eggs as we now know them.

I hope that helps.

If you'd like to know about this year's new Easter Egg which combines fabulous fairtrade chocolate with the Christian Easter Message - the Real Easter Egg - then I wrote about it here  I haven't yet eaten one of these so you'll have to wait till Sunday for my review :)

Why Hot Cross Buns?

On Good Friday Christians eat Hot Cross Buns.   

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I'm sure you've seem them, all over the shelves of every supermarket at this time of year.  

They are pastry buns with raisins and sultanas in the dough; on top is a cross in White dough or icing.  The cross on top of the spiced bun is the symbol of the cross that Jesus died on.

I've blogged about Good Friday and Jesus' death here at LLM Calling.

Hot cross buns were always eaten straight from the oven at breakfast, hot. In our house we still eat them for breakfast, but not necessarily ONLY at breakfast.

And yes, the hot cross bun song does have a source; it was often sung by those selling hot cross buns on the streets.

"Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns, 
One a penny, two a penny, 
Hot cross buns."

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Rachel gives lessons in swinging

Rachel yesterday, completely out of the blue, managed to co-ordinate her legs and body and ..... Bingo she learned to swing.
She is blown away with this new found skill, completely loving it.

But enough of me, see her in action:

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Real Rio

After seeing Rio this morning I remembered Sunday.

There we were, in Burley, in the New Forest, sitting in The Queens Head Pub beer garden when, out of the blue, there was a parrot.

Not a stuffed one, not a pretend one, but a real life parrot; walking along the fence, chatting away and loving all the attention it was getting.

Of course I took photos

and even videoed a little of it's shenanigans; enjoy.

Oh and yes, we all recommend The Queens Head in Burley for good value, home cooked food and the best beer garden in the village. Well worth a visit.

Rio reviewed by Rachel

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Rio is very funny. 
It's about a bird, a blue macaw, that can't fly, called Blu.  He goes to Rio to meet the only other of his species.  She can fly and thinks Blu is a silly pet.

They get kidnapped but then they escape but then caught again but in the end they get out.  There are lots of other birds helping them who are funny.

In the end Blu can fly and they are in love and it's all brilliant. 


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Yesterday: would have been....

Yesterday would have been
A birthday party
A boys party
Perhaps football
Or go-karting
...Who knows

Yesterday could have been
Noisey and boisterous
Filled with laughter
And Balloons
Or horns know?

Instead, Yesterday was...
Reflectively peaceful
Filled with laughter
love, cuddles
And joy
...Joy I know

Yesterdays day will always be
A day of remembrance
Of what ifs, but also
Full of love
Fully known now I truly know.

Raise the praise

There have been many blog posts and news articles over the few years that I have been reading all there is about child development; they include whether or not to praise kids, how and when to praise them and what might happen if we get it wrong.

The blog that spoke to me the most this week was this one by Ghost Writer Mummy who shares openly that she's more than happy to raise Praise Junkies.

Then today the BBC Magazine published this article on two forms of praise and how they can affect a child's desire and motivation to try tasks and work hard.

I openly and enthusiastically praise Rachel for
helping and caring for people,
trying hard to read a tricky book,
winning a game,
loosing a game and coping well with the disapppointment,
calming down from a tantrum,
learning a new gym trick,
making me laugh,
and a million other things I can't think of right now.

I don't care if I create a praise junkie. Praising children for the things they achieve is extremely important; it teaches them that trying hard is worth it, that there is reward in working at something and that you as a parent appreciate them. Emotionally healthy adults come from supportive families, who praise.

And yes, I find the research discussed by the BBC fascinating and is something I try to manage. It is oh so easy to praise only for the success achievements, much harder to remember to praise for the trying hard; but I feel part of praising is about supporting our kids when they are disappointed in themselves, helping them know how well they did in their trying.

so what do you think?
do you praise, or not so much?
do you focus on achievements of effort?
I'd love to know.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Wild meadow lawn

A post by Rachel

We had a great time in the park today and now I am eating an iced lolly in the garden, it's blackcurrant and it's yummy.

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We have a very flowery lawn, full of daisies and dandelions and other things, and bread for the birds. Mummy says it's a wild meadow lawn, I think she's being sarcastic, I think it needs the lawn cutting. It looks very pretty and we have lots of birds but also lots of bees. I don't know, mummy are you being sarcastic?

A response by Emma
How do I introduce the concept of creative truth without encouraging her to follow suit?
Perhaps we should just tend to the garden.
What do you think?

Rachel invents a dus

Come and hear Rachel tell her story of the Dus.

And here it is to look at and read at your leisure.
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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

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Silent Sunday

Easter-time fun-time

Easter-time fun-time

What is Easter to you?
To me it's a celebration of the fact that Jesus died to forgive us our sins and bring us everlasting life, shown through the awe of the risen Christ.

But let's not pretend that the trappings of Easter aren't fun!
I love the bunnies and chicks and eggs and chocolate and Easter egg hunts.  All these things are as much a part of Easter as giving presents are a part of Christmas.  They're ways of celebrating these Christian festivals.

And this week, the week before Holy Week, we have been concentrating on the sheer Easter- time fun-time.

We've made Easter bunny masks

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We've eaten Cadbury's mini eggs puddings

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We've seen baby lambs, chicks and bunnies

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We've celebrated in advance!
And we've still got a couple of Easter Egg Hunts, Hot Cross Buns and the Easter eggs themselves to come :)

If you'd like to know more about the Christian festival of Easter itself please visit where I'll be sharing through Holy Week.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Rachel and the caterpillar

Rachel finds a caterpillar

Today we were sitting quietly on a cliff top bench when Rachel found a caterpillar.  

Here you see her holding it on a stick
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And the caterpillar on her fingers
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And here she is telling me all about it and trying not to loose sight of it.

You can only imagine the debates that followed with her trying to convince me that she'd look after it as a pet!  

And no, it's not been removed from it's natural habitat.  No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Easter holiday by the sea shore

Easter holiday by the sea shore

There is no greater joy than driving an hour to a bolt hole as comfy as our own home and feeling like we're a million miles away.  Immediately we relax, slow down, start meandering rather than rushing and generally chill out.

This week we did just that; for five days we escaped the world.

We walked on the sea cliffs
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Ate meals at friendly pubs with play-gardens
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Visited deserted beaches
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Enjoyed ice cream (holiday must do!)
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Went to museums, farms and any random place that looked fun
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Played games and watched DVDs
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And had loads of family time which would have been distracted by the chores of life at home.

Everyone should schedule in regular time like this, it's a tonic.
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