Thursday, 31 December 2009

Pictures at last!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally found a solution to my technical problems (with a little help from Peter!!) so here are some random shots of our trip so far:

JoJo and Chick at WetSide


Kangaroos


Mother and Baby


JoJo and I at Bundaberg...hic!!!


Bats


Chick moonlight paddling


Chick's new hair do....yes Mum I know it's short but it'll grow back ;-)


Happy New Year!!!

Bundaberg

So yesterday saw us on a mini road trip a couple of hours North to the Town of Bundaberg. To be honest it isn't the nicest of towns but JoJo suggested that we go there to visit the rum factory. Well you know me....typical English girl throw any kind of alcohol into the equation and I'm pretty much there!!! It was a bizarre place. As we drove up to the visitors centre you could see the factory which basically looked like some old rusted farm buildings, a couple of which were painted yellow with the Bundaberg sign on it!!

The Visitors Center itself was a lot more attractive and modern. There were a couple of different tours to choose from but because we were only wearing flip flops we had to go on the museum tour. It was ok but I'm sure the Factory tour was a lot more fun!! I can tell you now how rum is made although I won't bore you all with the details here, I'll save it until I get home!!! The tour ends at the bar which actually is a fabulous idea and I think more Museums should take this approach!!! Then we chose our rum and sat and chilled in the gardens for a while. Unfortunately as designated driver I was limited to one....booooo!!!! We then took lots of silly pictures with us all licking the twelve foot Bundaberg bottle and generally goofing around!!

Chick has developed a new passion in life for the beach. All she wants to do is jump the waves, swim and generally be wet so when we got back from Bundaberg we headed to the beach just before it started to get dark!! It was pretty cool to be on the beach with the moon out and reflecting off the sea and as we got back to the car there were thousands of bats flying overhead. It was a pretty amazing sight as some of them were as big as birds. Bats it turns out don't scare me....I know I'm a weird kind of freak when birds make me scream like a girl!!!

So with her obsession for the beach and swimming Chick's hair has pretty much been like straw and getting tangled and horrible so yesterday we made a radical decision and cut all her hair off....aaaarrrgghhhhh!!!! For those of you that don't know Chick's hair was long, almost all the way down her back and blonde at the ends.....well no more!! She now has a kind of shoulder length curly bob I guess and oh my goodness how grown up does the girl look....think my Mum will probably freak when she see's it but it's much more manageable now!!! I wish I could share pictures with you....it's sooooo frustrating.

Tomorrow we are taking off from Hervey Bay and working our way down the coast towards Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay and then onwards to Sydney to stay with my friend Dori so I'm not sure when I'll get chance to blog again. Until then a Happy New Year to you all xxx

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Woodgate Beach - Burrum Head National Park

Yesterday was all kinds of awesome as the sun came out properly for the first time since our arrival. We started off the day at the local Water Park called Wetside. I say Park but really it's more of a huge paddling pool with lots of fountains and falling water...a great aid for cooling off when it's 30 degrees (sorry to make you all sick when it's snowing in England!!!) The downside of course of it being so hot is that my lilly white skin burns to a crisp. I had Factor 50 on all day but by the time we got home I was so red and burnt that I looked like a big piece of raw beef!!!! My feet today have been so sore that I could barely wear Flip Flops although they seem to be calming down a little now!!! Chick really enjoyed being at the park and for the most part she managed to avoid being burned....must get it from her wonderful Father!!!

In the afternoon once we'd had a nap our host Peter asked if we fancied going on a trip to try and see some Kanagaroos, so of course we jumped at the chance. We went to a great place called Woodgate Beach up towards Bundaberg about 150km North of where we are staying. The beach there is unbelieveably lovely...great sand and just the right amount of surf which amazingly was almost deserted. So I sat in the shade (stupid lilly white English skin!!!) whilst everyone else swam and rode the waves and played Cricket. About 4.30pm Peter said it was optimum time for Kangaroo spotting so off we went to the National Park. As we were driving there we saw our first Kanga just sitting in somebody's garden munching on the grass!!!! We pulled over and took a couple of pictures and carried on until we came to a spot where there were just too many Kanga's to count.

They are so tame that we managed to get right up close to them. So close in fact that Chick and Peter were almost touching them (I'm obviously too much of a girl to get that close!!) I got some amazing pictures although they were much smaller than I imagined them to be. As we were leaving the park a different Kangaroo jumped out in front of us and Peter saw that it had a Joey in her pouch. We pulled over the car and managed to get close enough again to get one of the best pictures ever of the Joey with it's head out of the pouch and them both looking at my camera!! It was such an amazing experience and we are so lucky!!!

I'd love to be able to share these pictures with you but unfortunately I have a couple of problems. First is that my shiny new laptop that I wrote about a few posts ago is bloody rubbish!!!! There is something wrong with the security settings on it and I need a professional to take a look at it. Second is that when I was trying to be Technical (read - forcing the damn thing to work) I snapped my camera memory card!!!! On my normal laptop at home I insert the memory card and the pictures just pop up and I presumed this one would work the same way so I didn't bring any of the camera leads with me!!!! I'll try and figure something out as we go along but for now words alone will have to do!!!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Hervey Bay

I was expecting life in Australia to be different and more laid back but what I wasn't prepared for was the hours they keep. The sun comes up at around 5am and once it's up and shining it's pretty much impossible to sleep....especially when I have a seven year old that doesn't much like sleep anyway. The past couple of days has found us awake at 5am and 5.30am which is cool but means I can't stay awake past 8pm!!!!! (I thank God that Santa bought Chick a Nintendo DS for Christmas 'cos it means that I at least can nap on and off for an hour whilst she is entertained!!)

On the days when it's raining, we aren't woken up by the sun but by a cacophony of animal sounds. We have frogs that live in the hanging baskets right outside our window and man they are noisy especially considering how small they are. The other thing that starts making noise at the butt crack of dawn is the birds. Again it's like having my own personal avairy outside the window to keep me entertained.

I should probably mention at this point that I really dislike animals of every kind. I don't even like cats/dogs/cute bunny rabbits although I can suffer them if I have to but what I hate with a passion is snakes,frogs and birds....imagine if you can my joy at being surrounded by them at 5am!!!!! Everywhere you walk you see some kind of wildlife which for the first day freaked me out and then I decided that I can't spend the whole of the next month get scared every two seconds, so I'm gonna have to be brave and just suck it up!

It's working so far as last night I sat out with JoJo and let the frogs jump around us (it was horrible....uuurrrggghhh!!!) but I didn't freak out (too much!!). Watch this space though as I'm sure the second I see a snake or a huge bird I'll be back to quivering in my flip flops!!!

We have quite a chilled out day planned today and are off to explore the Hervey Bay Esplanade and maybe swim in the sea again. The rain has stopped and the sun is trying very hard to come out thankfully, so maybe today we won't get soaked to the skin!!!!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Would you believe it?......

......we've flown to the other side of the world and it's bloody raining!!!!! I kid you not! Although it is about 29 degrees so no real complaints as I sit here typing in my shorts and vest and praying that the sun will come out at some point. My Australian hosts keep telling me to make the most of it as when the sun comes out I'll be moaning that it's too hot...quite true I'm sure.

We managed to make it to the beach yesterday though and I swam in the sea for the first time in about 10 years. I don't do well in the Ocean mainly because I have an over active imagination and in England the sea is normally brown and 10 degrees below. A combination of these things just makes me freak out so I tend to avoid it!

The flights here were generally ok. On the first flight the entertainment system didn't work for the first 5 hours which tested my patience some what but Chick was luckily behaving like an Angel so I didn't have a complete breakdown. The 5 hour wait in Hong Kong was a lot less fun and I think I added a few more grey hairs. On the second flight we had some kind of medical emergency which sent all of the cabin crew rushing to one place but thankfully we were almost in Brisbane by then and the lady survived!! Quite a bizarre experience to be stuck on a plane watching someone fight for their life without any medical staff on standby when you haven't slept for 2 days!!!

First impressions of Australia (bearing in mind that we haven't seen much yet!) are that it's like a bizarre cross of England and California. So we have the warm weather, wide open streets, 7Elevens and air con on the CA side. (on a side note it's odd being somewhere so like Cali and not seeing my American family....makes me sad!!) On the english side we have architecture, crap roads and Woolworths. We have yet to see any Kangaroos or Koalas but apprently we will later on today....yippee!!! Also hoping to head out to Fraser Island later on this week...maybe the sun will be out by then!!!

Have to dash because apparently we are going shopping. Hope you all had a fabulous holiday season!!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Sabbatical

As most of you know on Christmas Day, Chick and I will be heading to Australia. As a Christmas present to myself I have purchased a shiny new blue, easy carry, 10" mini laptop with a 9 hour battery, mainly for blogging whilst I'm away:


I'm not sure how often I'll get to update my blog but it'll be my primary tool for keeping in touch with people whilst we're away and I'll try as often as possible, although it will depend on internet connections.

Regular readers may also notice over the next few days that I am amending or even deleting the odd post!!! Since I started writing this blog I have let very few people in my real life know about it, mainly just my friends and family that live abroad and a couple of my best friends. As I'm now going to be gone for a month everybody wants to have the link to my blog so that they can follow our travels and I thought I'd better remove some evidence from previous postings so as not to upset anyone!!

The plan at the moment is to fly from London to Brisbane on 25th December (if all the snow has melted and planes are taking off again then!!!) From Brisbane we will drive North to Fraser Island to meet JoJo and to chill out on the beach for a couple of days. We are then going on a huge road trip with an itinerary that will probably go something like this:

Brisbane - Gold Coast

Stay for a couple of days to go to SeaWorld and swim with Dolphins

Surfers Paradise

Drive down Coast randomly stopping wherever we fancy and enjoying the sunshine!!

Meet JoJo's Dad & Partner for some wine tasting in Hunter Valley

Relaxation

Sydney - Opera house, harbour bridge, surfers....I'm all over it ;-)

Melbourne

Hang out with Sam & Jo

Hen Party

Melbourne - Hervey Bay.......1081 mile drive just me and a 7 year old!!!!!

My Best Friends Wedding.....Awwwww

Soak up as much sun as possible before returning back to cold, grey England!!

Return home.....Boooooo!!!!

It's only today that I'm finally beginning to get excited about going. Up until this point I've been stressing about things in my usual whiny way!!! Stressing about how we'll pay for it, about the dresses for the wedding, about where we'll stay. Also when I'm this stressed and planning to travel my OCD kicks in big style which doesn't help!!! Anyhow today I finally finished all my Christmas stuff, got mainly done at work, have some funds to pay for fun stuff like for Chick to swim with Dolphins and also got to relax a while with JoJo's Dad. So now I'm all set the countdown can begin.

Happy Holidays and Good Wishes to you all xxx

Monday, 21 December 2009

It's behind you!!!

Now as you all know I don't have much Christmas spirit this year.....bah humbug and all that, but one of the best things about this holiday season is the Panto. Tonight we've been to see Beauty and the Beast with Lesley & Nat at the local Town Hall. This is them all dressed for winter as it's about -2 and not really fit for being out in:


Obviously Chick needs a flashing rose and a Tiara to be a Princess as well as a big thumb to give her enough courage to boo loudly at the bad guys (who fyi in Panto are generally hot!!!!):


These guys were the stars of the show although it took Chick about 10 minutes to stop giggling 'cos one of them was called Willy:


What a fab night full of laughter, cheering, jeering, booing and lovely company. Chick wants to go back tomorrow and I'm not sure you could get a higher accolade than that!!!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Friday Foto

Yeah so I guess it's not technically Friday but anyways I took this picture of some of my Family yesterday after a huge snowball fight and it makes my heart warm so I thought I'd share it with y'all:


From l-r: My Grandma, Mum, Cousin, Auntie & Chick at the front.....dressed in a combination of party dress and everything warm I took with us!!!!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Friday Questions

I kinda borrowed this Meme from Jenna over at All About Avacakes. Feel free to add your own answers in the comments. Happy Friday Everyone:

Name someone with the same birthday as you?
Meryl Streep and Cyndi Lauper according to Google!!!

Where was your first kiss?
On the park near my house when I was 14 with an 18 year old!!!! Always was a hussy!

Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else’s property?
Not that I remember? I was kind of part of a party that ruined a wall in JoJo’s parents house with a food fight when we were 16 but it wasn’t malicious

Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
Errrrmmm…….yes I have….got caught in between a couple of Army fights when I lived in Germany and couldn’t keep my mouth shut (I know…..surprising huh???)

Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
Only when I was a Camp Counselor or when extremely drunk at Kar-e-oke and only ever very badly!!!

What’s the first thing you notice about your preferred sex?
If they have a pulse! No….erm…..not really sure to be honest!

What really turns you off?
Rudeness…urgh and Arrogance that can’t be backed up!

What do you order at Starbucks?
Cake because I hate coffee.

What is your biggest mistake?
Wouldn’t want to admit it here…..you live and learn and all that!

Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
No, why?

Say something totally random about yourself.
I have OCD at work but am very messy at home, I hate pickles and I whine a lot!!!!

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Only Mandi Dingle or Dawn French…..flattering I know!

Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows?
God yes….we are all about Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus at the moment but it also means I get to watch Saturday morning kids t.v. guilt free!!!

Did you have braces?
Nope, but I should’ve done when I was younger ‘cos my teeth are awful now!!!

Are you comfortable with your height?
Yep, I love being 5’ 11” and wouldn’t change it for the world!!! Hope Chick feels the same ‘cos it’s looking like she’s gonna be huge!!!!

What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you?
A certain person who will shall call ‘The Organ Grinder’ (because his staff are in fact Monkeys) (who has been wanting a mention on my blog for ages!! Hey you….consider yourself mentioned!!!) Last year on St. Valentine’s day excelled himself and had delivered to my work one of the biggest bouquets of flowers that I’ve ever seen. The best thing about them???? They were all white because he knows that I hate roses, hearts and uninspiring flowers….bless him!!! I was overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness and how well he knew me!!!

Second place (for thoughtfulness not romance) goes to ‘Ghost’ for the hand-made Tom Jones compilation he took the time to make for my birthday this year……you are awesome xxx

When do you know it’s love?
Pass!?!

Do you speak any other languages?

My honest answer should be no but I do speak a very small amount of school girl French and I can order a beer and say excuse me in German!!! Not very impressive when I lived there for 3 years!!

Have you ever been to tanning salon?
Unfortunately when I was younger, sleeping on tanning beds used to be my way of relaxing. May account for the reason that the sun only has to wink at me now and I turn into a red, sore mess!!! Oz is gonna be a lot of fun!

Have you ever ridden in a limo?
No, but the next time I go to Vegas I’m determined to get one from the airport to the Bellagio!!! (I like to delude myself that I can afford to stay there when in reality it’ll probably be Circus Circus!!!)

What’s something that really annoys you?
Rude people, bad customer service…..I think everyone in England should be trained like the Greeters from WalMart, people hiding behind anonymous comments on the internet, Christmas songs!!

What’s something you really like?
Vodka, sunshine, snuggling with Chick, laying in on the weekend, sunshine (sure I lived in CA in a past life!!).

Can you dance?
Physically? Yes! Without looking like a dumbass? Not so much!!!

Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?

Yep, when JoJo fell down my cellar stairs after a Lambrini night and broke both wrists. On the plus side the ambulance man was hot, hot, hot!!!!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Busy

So, you know how I like to be busy right? Yeah, well this is kinda what the next couple of weeks look like and it just makes me want to take a nap:

Today – 3rd Christmas dinner....mmmmmm Turkey & stuffing, Christmas pud and copious amounts of wine at lunchtime.......can’t really complain!!!!

Tomorrow – Work and Christmas night out (again)(must find babysitter!!)

Saturday and Sunday – Mum’s for Family Christmas. 2.5 hour drive, lots of lovely presents, try not to get drunk and fall over or dance on tables topless......don't really want to give my Grandma a heart attack!!!!

Monday – Drag ass out of bed for work and then Panto with Chick, Lesley & Nats (yee ha can’t wait....I lurve Panto ever since the baddy a couple of years ago.....can anyone say HOT?????)

Tuesday – Work again and then a present-less Christmas visit with Chick’s Dad (yep......REALLY looking forward to this one......NOT!!!!)

Wednesday – Prise eyelids open for work and then drive an hour to Miley Cyrus (Wooooo.......or not!!!), arrive home around midnight, deal with over excited, overtired child, wonder why the bloody hell I bother, then try and speak to everyone we aren’t gonna see for the next 5 weeks and wish them Merry Christmas, finish packing....remembering bridesmaid dresses and Spanx (can’t do Oz without these!!),try to keep eyes open, wrap Chick’s presents from Santa, try and sleep for an hour!!!!

Thursday – Santa is coming early so wake up after 3 hours sleep. Unwrap presents with Chick, visit everyone we’ve missed so far and deliver presents, finish packing, take down tree and decorations, field phone calls from all we haven’t visited so far, re-check passport, money, bags for Oz, try not to let OCD take over. Arrive at Train Station at 2pm, Sit on train and take Valium, trek through London on Underground with 2 huge bags, 1 small bag and and a 7 year old, arrive Heathrow, take more Valium, find hotel, mix mini-bar with valium, relax and watch crap T.V.

Friday – Santa is bringing stocking today so wake up after 3 hours sleep, finish Valium & mini-bar, open last of presents, trek from crap cheap hotel to airport, buy champagne to celebrate the fact we are getting the hell out of England in December and January and because we are now on holiday after all, pretend we are rich enough to shop in Harrods at airport and buy prezzies for the lovely Angels who are putting us up in Oz, find gate, drug daughter so she doesn’t bug me for 36 hours.......oh, I joke people, I joke....honestly!!! Sit on flight for 36 hours apart from a 5 hour break in Hong Kong. Try not to lose plot completely.

Saturday/Sunday - Arrive Brisbane, taxi to hotel, sleep and then sleep some more, pick up hire car, drive 4 hours to Jolene and Mike, lots of hugs, drop off daughter for quality time with her Auntie JoJo and Uncle Mike, go to beach and sit in the glorious sunshine ALL ALONE for a couple of hours (at least!!) with only a book (and maybe a hunky Lifeguard) for Company!

Monday 28th December until 21st January – RELAX!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Carols

One of the hard things about being a parent that works full time is that occasionally I have to make a choice between work and Chick. Take yesterday for instance. It was Chick's christmas carol concert at the local church and I had offered my services for the walking bus so that they had enough Parents to help with the kids. My plan was to walk with them and then sit and enjoy the concert before returning them to class and going back to work. I then had a huge problem with the payroll and if I didn't go into work then 900 people wouldn't have been paid in time for Christmas.

Really awful decision to have to make but unfortunately on this occasion work had to win. I made it to the church just in time to see Chick's class to sing 'When Santa got stuck up the Chimney' which was all kinds of cute!! Also as she is part of the school Choir she got to sing another song (excuse my shaky camera work!!!) :
video

It's an Italian Christmas song and I'm not sure if you can tell by the sound quality just how beautiful it was!!!!! I'd kinda forgotten that she is even in the Choir as she can never remember anything that she's done at school by the time I pick her up so doesn't really tell me what goes on at school!! I looked like the worst Mother in the world as all the other Mum's were singing along and I was standing there with a look of complete shock on my face at how awesome they were!!!! I just hope that chick remembers that I was there when she's a World Class Opera singer and not the fact that I arrived late and left early!!!!!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Dear Santa

I have been an especially good girl this year so I’m sending you my Christmas list. Please could I have the following:

- A big lottery win. Preferably around £10,000,000 but I’d settle for £7 Million!!!!!

- If you are unable to manage the above could you please give my Bank Manager a heart and persuade him to lend me some money!!!!

- I would really like to swim with Sharks whilst in Oz so could you please magic me a babysitter for the day so that my daughter doesn’t have to watch!!! I’m not sure that watching your Mum face-to-face with Sharks would be fun at 7.

- It would also be very helpful if you could arrange for Chick’s After School Club to not close down as I don’t have enough time to sort anything else out!!!

- I’d also be a more than happy girl if you could leave me a pair of Christian Louboutins under my tree. Any shiny or sparkly size eights would do. Could live with Manolos or Choos if you can’t get the Louboutins in time!!!!

I know when Chick saw you yesterday she reminded you of the need to come early before we go on holiday and said she wasn’t sure what she wanted as she knows all the Miley tickets have sold out. She has now written a Christmas list (as you suggested) which I’ve taken a photo of and put below as I don’t think you’ll receive in time if I send by snail mail....Apologies for being so unorganised:


Thanking you in anticipation
Emma

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Seriously?

You know sometimes when you have to deal with people or see people on T.V and what you really want to say to them is 'Seriously? WTF?' so I'm going to get them all off of my chest in one go:


Tiger Woods - 'Seriously? WTF?'

Simon Cowell - 'Seriously? WTF?' If you are going to fix the results at least make it look like a competition you do actually have enough millions to be able cover it up!!!!

Chick's Dad - 'Seriously? WTF?' If you can't afford to buy your children Christmas presents then that's fine but don't buy for one and not the other you stupid, stupid man!!

The Bank Manager - 'Seriously? WTF?' I understand that you have a job to do but it would be nice if you weren't such an arse about not lending me any money. Please remember that I do indirectly pay your wages!!!!

My Body - 'Seriously? WTF?' A sickness bug and voice loss all within three days....you are actually having a laugh and I'm fed up of being ill now!!!!


OK I'm all done...I feel much better for getting all that out!!!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

A-ok

Today we’ve been for Chick’s 18 month check up for her ears and thankfully everything is fine and she now has perfect hearing. I was beginning to think that her hearing was deteriorating again but the Doctor reassures me that it’s just 7 year old selective hearing rather than an actual problem!!

When I was young I had exactly the same problem as Chick and I always tried to fool the hearing test machine. When we go to the Docs and she has the test it makes me cringe and takes me right back to the 5 year old that I was, sitting in the Headmistresses Office thinking I was clever enough to fool the test. Obviously didn’t work as when I was about 6 I had to have grommits. I remember my Mum had to leave me at the Hospital because back in (*ahem1981*ahem) the day they didn’t have beds for Parents or have day patients like they did for Chick.

So, now she only has selective hearing we don’t have to make our 6 monthly visits and I no longer have to deal with regressing to a 5 year old. I think that’s a pretty good note to end the week on!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Love

As you know at the weekend we went to Andrew and Roxie's Wedding which was a lovely low key affair attended by family and close friends so here as promised some pictures. Neither Sarah or I are particularly photogenic but we managed to get an ok picture together:


And of course the Bride & Groom:


The image of the day for me though was this:



The Punk's first time being a Bridesmaid and she just looks like a Princess. I almost cried when I saw her looking so beautiful and grown up!

Huge Congratulations and love to Andrew and Roxie as they set off on married life together xxx

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sick

I know that my last post was lame and unfortunately this post is heading the same way. I spent a lot of the weekend being extremely sick with a dodgy stomach bug that I've picked up from somewhere and no it isn't alcohol related!!!!! I still feel kind of off today and have had a terrible day at work. I can't even blog about work because I'm so furious that anything I write today before I calm down will probably see me getting the sack.

I was going to write a post about the wedding that we went to at the weekend and show you some pictures of The Punk looking like a Princess but then Chick came home from Brownies and was violently sick so the nice stuff will have to wait until tomorrow!!! Aren't you glad that you came by today to listen to me whine again???? I promise tomorrow there will be a shiny, upbeat post to read but until then I'm gonna go do the Mummy thing!!!!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Lame

Today I have nothing. I only got done with work about an hour ago and I'm so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. My new shiny hard drive arrived today and being so Rock 'n' Roll I was planning on spending my evening backing up all my precious documents and pictures.

As I'm so knackered I'm going to be super lame and send you all over to Chanel's blog. Chanel is my American Sister-in-Law and she is tryng to post every day during December to raise some money for the Salvation Army to help people that won't get a Christmas this year because they are too busy trying to survive. Swing by and say Hi to her or throw some money in her Red Bucket I'm sure she'd love to see you:

http://overactiveovaries.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ok I give in......

......we are doing Christmas after all. You know I used to love Christmas right up to the point where I got old enough that it all became about the money. With us going to Australia this year I decided that apart from a few presents for Chick we wouldn’t do Christmas at all. Like no tree, no decorations, no cards and definitely NO Christmas tunes. Again I used to love Christmas songs but my problem with them is that we hear the same 20 songs every goddamn year....why can’t we have some new ones???

But I appear to have had a change of heart. I’m not sure if it’s because we went to see Dora The Explorer turn on the Christmas lights on Sunday or if it’s the fact that actually it’s now December so it’s ok to feel Christmassy? Maybe it’s because I finally got my hand on tickets for Chick to see:


Yep that’s right....another thing that I gave in on. It may have taken me 3 months of surfing the internet every single day to look for them but I have them. I hope that Chick will be VERY excited as I almost had to re-mortgage the house to pay for them!!!

So with all that said and after being tortured by my colleagues with Christmas songs I figured that I may as well stop being all Bah Humbug and at least try to make some effort for Chick’s sake if not mine. We started by putting our new (very complicated) Tree up and then Daddy came for Chick’s usual visit and she must have told him about my aversion to the songs because I went to hunt out the lights and when I came back down the stairs Slade was blaring from the stereo and they were both dancing around the Lounge like idiots. I’m happy that after everything they get on so well and are as Goofy as each other!!! We've also been playing a Christmas CD that Red bought when Chick was little that sings a special Christmas song with Chick's name in it....we had lots of fun singing along!

So we finished decorating the tree reminiscing over the decorations that we’ve bought, been given or have been handmade and I’m really pleased with how beautiful it looks:


Happy Holidays!!!!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Moving On

Since Chick was seven a couple of weeks ago she is now old enough to move up to the next group in the Guiding movement so is now a Brownie instead of a Rainbow. I finally got around to getting her new uniform in time for her session today:



She is so cute but so grown up at the same time. Today they made Christmas presents for their Mum's at Brownies but Chick wants to give hers to her Teacher instead. I don't know whether to be sad that she doesn't want me to have it or grateful that she gets on with the Teacher so well!!!! She can also start working towards all her Brownie badges now for being kind and helpful. I'm really looking forward to helping old ladies cross the road and packing shopping bags with her!!!!

I can't believe how quickly her childhood seems to be disappearing so I'm trying to make the most of it and join in with the things she wants to do as much as possible while she still wants me there. She already has the attitude of a 17 year old most days so I'm guessing it won't be too long until she doesn't want me around at all!!!! Until then you can find me watching her help old ladies cross the road!!!!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday Foto

In 4 weeks and 1 day we'll all be together again and I cannot wait:

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving in America and seeing as I’m kind of an Adopted American I thought that I’d join in the celebrations!!!! Not by eating Turkey or Pumpkin Pie (urrggghh!!) but by giving thanks for all the amazing things in my life:

- Family and friends near and far. From my home town to London to New Zealand and California I’m grateful for all the wonderful people that I’m lucky enough to have in my life.

- A steady job. That may sound kind of cheesy but with the way the world is now it’s a weight off my mind that my job is secure and not under any threat of redundancy like many people I know.

- Enough money to pay the bills. Kinda related to the point above but if I have enough money to pay the bills and to keep the roof over our heads then I can generally work the other stuff out.

- The Internet. Yes I could live without it but it makes keeping in touch and up to date so much easier and what would I do each evening without my little blog to write???

- Christmas songs - will soon be gone again for another year. Don’t misunderstand me I DO like Christmas just not the songs that start in October.

- Health. Ok so I may not be the healthiest person in the world with my liver stuff still ongoing but at least I and my family are not in pain or suffering. Prayers to the Mayhew family that Anissa keeps improving.

- Love. I may not have found THE one yet but I have plenty of love in my life from aforementioned friends and family as well as JoJo & Mikes beautiful beach wedding to look forward to. It constantly amazes me the unconditional love that I receive from a certain 7 year old no matter how cranky I’m feeling and she of course is my number one reason to be grateful:


Happy Thanksgiving to all xx

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Twilight Obsessed.....Who me???

So occasionally something happens and I forget how old I am until someone makes a comment and it reminds me that I’m not 18 I am actually 30-something!! Take the whole Twilight obsession. It took me a while but as most of you know I hate to feel like I’m missing out on anything and seeing as the whole world was talking about it I figured I’d better read the books. I bought Twilight and before you could say ‘Edward’ I was hooked. I bought and read the remaining three books in the series within a week and have read them a few times since.

I’m not sure what it is that appeals to me. I would guess the love story side of it but I’m not sure how well I would deal with someone in real life that is as obsessive as Edward (Actually I do know.....I would avoid them like the plague and drink massive amounts of vodka until they left me alone!!!) I don’t deal with the whole commitment thing so well......but that’s probably a story for another day. Maybe it’s the whole teenage angst, abstinence and first love thing. I imagine we all remember those days with a sense of nostalgia. Then of course I had to see the movie, which is beginning to grow on me but still doesn’t fill me with joy like the books. One of the best things about the movie is Robert Pattinson.

Now I understand that I’m maybe a little older than his 20 years but as a Vampire he’s like 110 or something so that balances it all out!!! Taylor Lautner who plays Jacob is however completely off limits because hot as hell body or not I am so totally old enough to be his Mother (Sorry Sarah but I am!!!!) (A quick Wikipedia search tells me that he is younger than my youngest brother.....wrong on so many levels!!!) On Saturday night I get to go and see New Moon with someone else my age who is also Twilight obsessed but is pretending she’s too cool and doesn’t know what all the fuss is about (you know who you are woman!!) I may be the slightest bit excited about it!!!!

Last week I was maybe a little bit tipsy and decided to pledge my allegiance to Team Edward or Team Jacob before we go to the cinema. I randomly Googled each Team and was swamped by choices of crap to buy to support both Teams. I considered buying a Team Edward t-shirt and texted a certain friend to ask what she thought. The conversation went like this:

Me: Would it be really tragic for a rather large, 33 year old Mother to buy a Team Edward t-shirt???

Her: Honestly? Yep!

Ok....so that was kinda the answer that I was expecting!!! I decided instead that maybe I’ll go for one of these badges....all of which made me giggle when I was a bit drunk:

And this is my absolute favourite:Then I thought actually seeing as I'm soooo old I'll wear what I damn well choose even if people think I look ridiculous, so now I'm torn between these t-shirts:


I think it may have to be this one though:

Just take a minute to imagine that.................I know, I know I am a brazen hussy (Sorry Mom!!)....but there is nothing wrong with a girl keeping her options open or joining them together!!!! So, I guess this is my confession to my obsession...I’m a 33 year old Mother who is obsessed with a 17 year old Vampire and a 16 year old Werewolf. You can find me on Saturday night at the cinema drooling over Edward alongside all the other (17) 33 year old women in my threesome t-shirt!!!!

Countdown

Sooooooooooo in exactly four weeks and three days Chick and I will be on one of these:
To here:

That right 4 weeks and 3 days.......It’s just so soon and I'm nowhere near ready:

1. I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet
2. I can fit into my dress but I’m not looking as great as I want to
3. I may have omitted to tell the school that I’m taking Chick out
4. The car hire is getting all booked up and I don’t have the Finance to book it....I’m gonna end up with some massive Jeep that only does 10 miles to the gallon!!!
5. We only have 4 nights of hotels booked out of all the weeks we are there.

On the flipside of that:

1. We aren’t doing Christmas anyway
2. Hell, I can fit into the dress the photographer can ignore me if he needs too
3. What are they going to do about it???? Probably a slap on the wrist!!
4. At least we’ll have a car and if we only get a Jeep they’ll be room for more shopping.
5. We’re adventurers and if needs be we’ll buy a tent and camp every night. I'm sure I can avoid spiders and snakes whilst camping right?

The absolute best thing about it???? In 4 weeks and 3 days I get to be with my best friend in the whole wide world. Everything else I can figure out.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Anissa

This post has taken me a few days to compose as I’m not really sure how to put together what I feel and all the bloggers that I read have been so much more eloquent!!! I think I have mentioned previously that the blogging community is a little like my home town in the fact that everyone seems to know each other and are all inter-connected in some way. Now I know that I’m fairly new to this blogging thing but as you know there are several blogs that I read every day, most of which I never comment on as I don’t really know the people involved and I guess I feel like some weirdo voyeur!!!

Earlier this week though something happened that affected me far more profoundly than I ever would’ve guessed. An amazing lady called Anissa who you can find at Free Anissa and at Aiming Low suffered a stroke. I cannot even begin to describe how terribly sad this made me feel, not just for her family and friends but also on a personal level.....I actually cried with shock when I read the news. I read Aiming Low Monday-Friday and also check in at Free Anissa pretty much daily as well as following her on Twitter. I understand that we don’t have a friendship or know each other at all but also I feel that in some small way I do know Anissa just through her writing and she seems pretty cool even with her @RalphMacchio obsession ;-) (for those of you that don’t know he is Anissa’s teenage crush and the original Karate Kid!!!).

You know the saddest thing about the whole situation is that the family have already been through so much. On 12th November Anissa and Peter’s daughter Peyton celebrated her one year anniversary of her last dose of Chemo and now this. I’m sure that they don’t need or want my sympathy but it just makes me want to rage at the universe....how much crap can one family take???

So I got to thinking about this whole thing (sensibly when I was done raging at God and the universe) and I guess even though it’s just through a computer the connection I feel shouldn’t be and isn’t any less real. I read about Anissa’s life and family at least on a weekly basis so I think it’s reasonable that I should feel a personal sadness.

Anissa, I’m hoping and praying that you keep taking small steps to improving and that you hurry on back to your family. I wish I could say more or offer more to help but for now I guess my prayers will have to do.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Kasabian

Last night we went to see Kasabian as one of Chick's birthday presents. They are an awesome band that I got into after Sarah and I went to see them back in May. It was possibly one of the best gigs I've ever been to.....I couldn't get over how fantabulous they were live. We also followed them to Wembley where they were supporting Oasis and they were once again unbelieveably outstanding. I enjoyed it sooooo much even though I was so sick I could barely bounce!!!

Obviously since May I've had the cd on in the car non-stop which is why Chick was desperate to go and see them. So we fought through the howling wind and miserableness that is a cold November night in England, paid (through the nose) for car parking, t-shirts and food and got ridiculously excited. This is Chick waiting for Kasabian to come on stage:


Originally the Lead Singer Tom was the object of my affections but since he had his hair cut he looks like every other chav in our home town (albeit a bit cuter) so I've had to switch loyalties and go with Serge:


Crap picture I know but we were sitting at a funny angle. It was pretty cool but nowhere near as good as the other two times I've seen them. I can't put my finger on what the problem was. I don't know if it was the atmosphere or the fact that I had Chick with me so was on best Mummy behaviour instead of drunken jumping around Kasabian behaviour or if it was them playing soooooo many slow songs??? Chick really enjoyed it until about half way through and then once they had played her favourite song she was all for going home as she was tired. Because I'm a mean Mummy (and I wanted to stare at Serge) I made her stay pretty much to the end. This is her tired face as we were leaving, very unimpressed that I was taking a picture of her with them in the background:


I wonder if she'll want to stay to the end when I sell my soul to buy Miley Cyrus tickets for her for Christmas???? ;-)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Birthday Fun

So, some of you may have noticed that my little Chick was 7 on Saturday and that she also has a bit of a Hannah Montana obsession. With that in mind I'm pretty sure that you can guess what kind of party she had.....we kinda made it a Rock Star party too so that the boys she'd invited would want to come. We had some lovely party food:

Some gorgeous fairy cakes made by my delightful Apprentice and decorated by Chick and I:

A Hannah Montana Rock Star cake:

All the kids came dressed up and this is Chick as Hannah Montana:

Chick had some amazing presents from everybody mainly Hannah Montana obviously, but lots of other cool stuff. She had some tickets to see Kasabian tomorrow night (yay!!!I'm excited) and a new bedroom from me but I think her favourite present was this:

Yep that's right my seven year old has her very own laptop. It's my Mum's old one and before anyone gets their knickers in a twist about it Chick isn't allowed on it unless I'm around and watching, it has very strong parental locks and she isn't allowed on it every day!!!

Think it's safe to say she had a fabulous birthday.......a million thanks to everyone for their presents and birthday wishes. The only problem now is where the heck to put all this lovely stuff!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Seven

Dear Chick

I cannot believe that you are already seven...I don’t understand where the time has gone. I always knew in my heart that my first child would never be with a man I was married to. I don’t know if I had some weird premonition or if my lifestyle at the time made it more than likely but it was always the way I thought things would work. If I’m honest I hated being pregnant. It didn’t suit me in the slightest. I got sick from about 3 and a half months when I was travelling in Vietnam and the sickness didn’t stop until I was 8 months gone. However, everything changed from the second you were born. When Nana cut the cord and they laid you on my tummy I just knew that you’d always been my girl.

You were the best baby in the entire world. From four weeks old you slept from 10pm until 5am, had a feed and then went back to sleep until 9am and everyone in my Mother & Baby group hated me because of it!!! I wish you were still as good at sleeping now!!! I also had the added bonus of Uncle Nick helping us out. He used to call home every afternoon to see if I needed him to come home and take care of you or to see if he could do anything to help. I don’t think that I ever said yes but the fact that I knew I could made the world of difference to me and my mental state. We also had the great help of Auntie JoJo and Auntie Red when you were little and I’m not sure they realise what a godsend they were.

We were always so busy even in those days. From about 8 weeks old we already had a schedule of music group, swimming lessons, as well as mother and baby group. You’ve been the first from that group to do everything from walking and talking to losing your baby teeth. I used to feel a massive pressure in those days to prove what a good Mum I am and to try and lose the ‘Single Mum’ tag so you were generally in ridiculously expensive clothes that I’ve only just finished paying off. It took me a long time to realise that it didn’t matter how other people categorized us and that all that matters is that you are a happy, (generally) polite child and that you realise how loved you are.

The hardest years for me I think were from 18 months to 3 and a half mainly because you were never still for a second but also because that’s when I felt I was losing myself so I rebelled against being a Mother by spending too much time out getting drunk with my friends and kissing inappropriate boys. I kinda regret now losing that time but looking back I needed to go through that to become the Mum (I hope) I am now.

Since you started school the time has flown by even more quickly. I remember your first day at school and having to leave you there in a class of 20 kids you didn’t know with 2 grown-ups you’d never met before. I only just managed to keep it together to get through the door and then went and had a good cry in the car for 10 minutes before I went back to work!!

Now look at you!! You love school and cannot wait to be there every day. You also love the clubs that you are involved in and are so committed for a 7 year old it just blows my mind. Normally it’s me saying ‘Do you really need to go to Rainbows/Gymnastics etc tonight? Can’t we just get a dvd and chill’ and you are all ‘No I want to go and do the activities’. Which brings me to another thing.....you really need to stop arguing with me kid. When I say stop arguing what I really mean is ‘Shut Up’. Stop your back chat.........you will learn in time that I am ALWAYS right (at least until you leave home).

Most people discover that about their parents once they are in their late Teens or early Twenties but I’m trying to give you a heads up now and you need to listen to me....contrary to popular opinion I am not interested in the sound of my own voice I am trying to teach you stuff!!!! On the other side of that I’m sorry that I shout so much in the Morning but again if you listened to me the first time, I wouldn’t get so irate by the fifth time of telling you and need to shout. As I’ve explained time and again I still love you very much, I just need to shout to get your attention and to shift your ass!!!!

You are always very helpful...not just to me but to the other kids that you know. If someone has forgotten their coat you give them yours and you go cold, if someone falls over in the playground it’s you that picks them up and takes them to Medical.....I hope that you don’t lose this quality as you grow but learn to balance it with keeping some of yourself back. You adore younger children and I’m sure that being an only child is occasionally lonely but I try hard to make sure it isn’t!!!

Which brings me back again to you being 7. I’m not sure what most 7 year olds want for their birthday but I’m guessing they don’t want Ponies, laptops or tickets to see Kasabian but then I guess most 7 year olds don’t have kick ass taste in music (Miley Cyrus obsession aside ;-) You won’t know it yet but tickets to Kasabian is exactly what I have bought you. As much as I love you I’m not exactly sure WTF we would do with a Pony so have refrained from buying one.

Have an awesome 7th birthday baby. I hope your Hannah Montana/Rock Star party is an absolute blast and you have the best time in the world. I also hope that you get everything your heart desires (apart from a goddamn pony).

Love you to Jupiter and back.
Mummy xxx

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Friday Foto - Happy 30th Birthday!!

Today is a Friday Foto with a difference. Today my little brother turns 30 so I thought we’d have a little trip through the photo albums of yore. Happy 30th Birthday Christoph. I’m not going to get all soppy because he knows exactly how much I love him.......I’m just gonna embarrass him by pictures:







All the fun of the fair!!

Every year since 1221 a street fair has been held in my home town. I’m not entirely sure how it all started but I’m thinking it’s maybe changed a bit!! All the roads through the centre of Town are shut down and the fair rides and stalls set up in every tiny bit of space possible. On some of the rides you feel as though you may fly through a shop window at any second.....apparently it all adds to the excitement???

I very rarely go on the rides anymore but I still get excited like a child when it comes to fair time. Growing up in this town it’s one of the highlights of the year. A few days before the fair starts setting up the lorries park outside the town waiting to move in and that’s when the excitement begins. The whole school is talking about what might be there this year, will there be anything new, who will you go with, how much money will you get out of your Parent’s......so yeah it’s a big thing as a kid and I guess that’s why I still get excited is because it’s so ingrained into my brain.

Chick has been suitably excited all week exacerbated by the fact that it’s also her birthday week. (I honestly think she’s going to be sick by her birthday she’s been soooo over-excited all week!!) The good things about the fair:

- You see everyone you’ve ever known. Old school friends, people that are on your Christmas card list, everyone you can think of.

- The food. Hot dogs, burger, candy floss, toffee apple....yum!!

- The excitement. It’s a good vibe and generally people are happy.

- The lights....the best time to go is at night...all the lights are on, the music is blaring...it’s fab!



As with all things there is also a downside. So here goes with the bad things about the fair that you tend to forget until the second you start walking around:

- You see everyone you’ve ever known. Every boy you’ve ever dated, the people from school you’ve lost touch with on purpose, people you avoid at all other times!

- The common people.....unfortunately I live in a town of Chavs and the fair brings them out in force....booooo!

- The busyness.....OMG you cannot move. Shops either side with a huge fair ride and a town of 57,000 trying to squeeze through.....it's about as much fun as it sounds!!! Also no-one seems to notice kids, so Chick gets trodden on or hit with handbags quite a lot. Think of the busiest festival you’ve ever been too? Now put all those people into an English street at the same time? Yep that’s how busy it is.

- The weather. It doesn’t matter how good the weather is before and after but for the four days of the fair it is freezing cold and usually raining and makes me want to move to California more than ever!!!

- The teddy bears. See this one I just don’t understand but the aim of the game is to win the biggest bear possible which I’ve never managed until this year and then this happened:




Yes that's right it's almost as big as Chick!! Oh the fun of the fair I love it!!

Remembrance Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we shall remember them.

Rupert Brooke - The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Monday, 9 November 2009

We Will Remember Them

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday and I along with two other generations of my family went to the Remembrance service and then watched the parade through Town afterwards. I take Chick every year as I think it’s important for her to acknowledge the sacrifice of previous generations and to realise how damn lucky she actually is. I’ve been attending various services ever since I was in my late Teens and today was the busiest that I’ve ever seen it. Some of my friends don’t agree with my point of view on this subject which is absolutely fine. I have no intention of upsetting anyone with my point of view and I’m not about to argue with anyone who doesn’t think the Remembrance is worthwhile but I have several reasons for wanting to remember.

Both my Grandfathers were in the Army during the years of National Service that followed WW2. My Great Uncle fought in World War Two and My American Dad was in the Air Force. For three years in my early Twenties I worked alongside the British Army in Germany and I’m proud to be friends still with some of these guys. Part of my reason for the Remembrance is because of the guys and gals above. I want them to know that I’m grateful that they are prepared to lay down their lives for us, even for wars or causes that they don’t believe in and that some of us in England do care and do appreciate that they are stuck in hellish conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It bothers me that the government has got us into these wars and cannot even afford to send the Troops out with the proper military kit to help them survive. Sub standard boots, trucks that are neither use nor ornament and not enough air support as the helicopters we need are stuck in a hangar somewhere. Two years ago a charity was set up by Bryn and Emma Parry called ‘Help for Heroes’ to help wounded Personnel get the support that they need. It’s quite well supported in England but we shouldn’t fu**ing need it. The government should be providing the wounded with all the help they need not leaving it to the fundraising abilities of the good British people. (As a side note I’ll be climbing Kilimanjaro in January 2011 for Help for Heroes....more details to follow if I can ever afford to get myself registered on the climb!!!!)

When I first moved back to England from Germany, I went back to school and did a History course. As part of that course we visited the Battlefields of the First World War. Before we left I read everything that I could get my hands on relating to the war. I cannot even begin to describe how heart wrenching the trip was. At all the (huge) memorials there is just row upon row upon row of names of the dead. We visited the Town of Ypres and the Menin Gate Memorial where each night at 8pm the last post is played and you can’t help but be moved, in fact it just sends a shiver down my spine!! It’s only in recent years that I can bear to read anything about the conditions they fought in, so profound was the trip.

This year for the first time World War One has gone from living memory to history after our last surviving soldiers from WW1 Henry Allingham and Harry Patch died. We may have none of them left but I will always remember them and the guys that they had to leave behind buried in mud on Flanders fields and I want to part of the movement that keeps their memory alive.

So this is why I want to remember and why Chick and I both bought poppies on the day the campaign started. Each time I open a paper and read about more deaths I’m always half expecting it to be someone I knew in the past and for this reason we will be wearing our poppies until Wednesday when I’ll probably post a poem or something in Remembrance. If you don’t want to remember that’s fine.......I won’t be offended if you give me a miss on Wednesday.

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"
John Maxwell Edmonds

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Fireworks...ooohhh....aaahhh!!!

I know that Bonfire Night was actually on Thursday but there didn't seem to be too much happening and to be honest Thursday is the day when Chick and I crash in front of the t.v. because we are too shattered to do anything else! We had thought about going along to the biggest display in the Area but then we got invited to a small fireworks party and thought we'd go with that instead even though the fireworks may not be quite as grand.

I absolutely adore fireworks. My favourite in the world are the 4th July fireworks at Lake Tahoe followed closely by the ones in London on New Years Eve so these didn't really compare but we had a lot of fun even if my pictures are slightly pathetic!!! (I may have been too busy gossiping to catch the good ones!!!)