Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A (half) Day in the Life Of!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I saw on awesome post on Betty's blog that was a day in the life of type thing. She had all these amazing pictures of what she did during the day so I thought I'd go ahead and try it!!! I started off well with Chick leaving the house:

Then a picture of her smelling the lavender:

Bit random but then this is what we do every morning! It's also at a funny angle because the people who own the house were watching us from the window thinking we were completely insane!!!

Every day when I get to work I have a lovely, healthy, well prepared breakfast of erm....well toast actually.....which doesn't make for that interesting a picture:

By now you are all really jealous of my fabulous life, right???? Hahahaha! This is my (very messy) work desk:

And now all my colleagues are looking at me like I'm completely nuts and wondering what the hell is going what's a girl to do???? Take a picture of them obviously!!!

With my day at work covered, what next? Well I went shopping at Sainsburys but didn't dare take a picture there in case they wondered why I was behaving so strangely.  I came home and cooked dinner which looked awful so I thought I'd better not take pictures of that either!  Then, I'm all ok....I'll take a picture of us chillaxing in our lovely lounge hmmmmm......but it's a bit messy so maybe the bedroom instead.....not so much because it looks like squatters live there! So instead I leave you with half a day in the life of!!! Next half coming soon ;-)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

VIP Bloggers Day Out

My lovely regular readers will know that I'm a very lucky lady and that I occasionally get asked to attend completely amazing events. On Friday myself, Josie, Victoria and children were invited to be VIP's at the Sea Life Centre in the heart of Birmingham. We were greeted by Louise the Marketing Manager and our very knowledgeable guide for the day, Dave.

After a quite delicious breakfast to help us recover from the traumatic journey (another post that I'll come back too!!) it was time for our very own VIP tour. We started off by attiring ourselves with a lovely shark hat and then heading for a look at the Rays and Sharks:

Next stop was the crabs and Starfish which we all got to touch. The crabs Dave was able to pick up but we had to stroke the Starfish in the water as they are soft and so unable to be handled:

Obviously when I say 'we' touched the creatures I use the royal 'we'! I touched nothing because I'm an absolute girl but my daughter reliably informs me that the Starfish were soft but furry and the Sea Anemones were sticky and horrible!!!

We then wondered amongst the fish tanks looking at some amazing things although my favourite are always the Clownfish!!! Unfortunately at this point Chick started feeling unwell and then promptly threw up (all over the Cafe!!) but the others went on to feed the Stingrays, look at the Turtles and see the only Hammerhead Sharks in England. I'm not jealous much honest ;-)

After a lie down Chick perked up for a time so I got to eat lunch and talk blogging with the Ladies and we all posed for a group pic:

We made it to the 4D cinema experience which was fabulous even with the goofy glasses that you need to wear. Next up was a trip through the Mirror Maze on the way to finally catch up with the Sharks. I managed to see this much shark before Chick was to ill too continue and we had to go home (bless her):

Obviously this now warrants a return visit to catch up on the things that we missed!!! I'd like to say a huge thank you to Sea Life for having us and also for being completely unfazed by Chick throwing up everywhere and for their concern about her being ill! They were also kind enough to give Chick a goody bag:

For more pictures of the day click the slideshow below:

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Secret Post Club

This month I received a parcel from the lovely Susan.K.Mann! It was lovely to be linked up with her as we'd just followed each other's blog's a few days before! This is what Susan sent to me:

A book light and a range of stationery from a fabulous company called Smiggle. I've never heard of them before but their stuff is funky and very, very cool! So cool in fact that my daughter promptly stole it all away from me and banned me from using it!! Her favourite is the bendy pencil made of plastic! A huge thank you to Susan for the awesome gifts.

If you fancy looking at some of the other cool parcels received then head on over to see Heather at Notes from Lapland who kindly organises this each month!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Gone Fishing..... Somerset but you can find me here:

I was going to start off by saying that Bradgate Park is one of Leicestershire’s best kept secrets but then I read that it has a million visitors a year so that may well not be true!! Since I was a child Bradgate has been the place that we go to as a family for bike riding, fishing, dog walking and hiking, no matter what the weather.  Glorious in Summer and beautifully wild in Winter, it’s a truly awesome place all year round.
Bradgate was originally created as a hunting park around 750 years ago from Charnwood Forest.  The park is 840 acres and once you are surrounded by the slopes, bracken and rocks, it’s hard to believe that you are only six miles from the Centre of Leicester.  There are three different routes into the park and each one is vastly different.
Head on over to Smitten by Britain to read the rest of the article!

Monday, 18 October 2010

So Many Lies - A Guest Post

As I'm on holiday this week I have a guest poster for you.  Kerry from And Then All I Thought About Was You who I first met at CyberMummy and have kept in touch with ever since! She is Wife to Mr.L, Mum to Baba and moving up the rankings to become an Avon World Sales Leader! I think that she's awesome and I'm sure you will all agree!!!
You were so so clever, you took it to your grave. But do you think that was really the best thing to have done? You have left us with so many questions, so many answers not given, that we all need to know. Do you not think that by not telling her, you were doing the right thing?
Sorry you probably did!
Let me tell you something though, you have ripped a piece of her apart and she will never truly rest now. Is that really the outcome you wanted? Is it? I don’t think it was, was it?
We all know that you obviously had your reasons, and we respect them, we do 150% respect them that is fine, but do you think that maybe you should have just written it down for her to find when you were gone. Just a name would have been fine. You know I would have found him, that would be all that she needed to know.
It’s just the not knowing that she hates.
She always grew up thinking she had a hero in her life, a man who died in the war. He died alright, but the only thing we know for certain is that he died in your eyes. We are not sure when, how or even if he has died in real life. I think that is the thing that I find the hardest. I was always proud of the story of him dying at war, proud that we had someone like that in our family. Couldn’t wait to tell my children what great ancestors they had, now, well I have nothing to say. We know nothing.
You made sure of that!
I think you even made your brother swear and he loves you so dearly, nearly six years on he is claiming he doesn’t know. He is nearly ninety years old and keeping your secret save, a loyalty to his sister no one can break. I wonder how that makes him feel, knowing his niece and great nieces so desperately want to know and not wanting to go back on his word! Did you ever think of that? Did you ever think about your actions? Or were you just blinded by what you wanted to do?
We understand that there may have been a reason, that he may have done something bad, that you were protecting her. Of course you would do that, it was your job, but do you not think she was capable to know the truth at 20, or 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years old? Do you not think she was strong enough? Or were you worried about the response you would get? Did you then leave it for too long?
I wish I had one more day with you just to ask you everything that we all want to know. Where did you meet him, his name, what happened? Where was he from? Why did you sneak off and get married 30 years after you said you had? What happened there? 
She has so many questions for you too. She vaguely remembers being whisked away in the middle of the night, and being moved down here to a whole new place. She knows he came with you, and from that moment on you were married. You told her that you got married when she was at school. What a huge lie that was! You didn't get married till she had a seven year old and was going through the worst experience in her life!
Do you know what she said when she saw your marriage certificate! That it was the weekend her life was broken. Her birthday weekend in fact! The one where she lost the babies, and you were on holiday and didn't come home for her, she remembers that. She said it was so out of character for you and she never understood why you did it. Now she knows you were getting married! But you put down false addresses! So where you ever really married? And what were you going to do when she was twelve and you asked if he wanted to adopt you, I think you were really lucky she said no, weren't you how were you going to get round that? Especially as she already was by someone else and no one knew it!
I have a theory we know you were married! But I think that he was too, and he just up and left for no reason, so you had to wait until she died before you could do it yourself. What a life of lies you too must have lead, was it really worth it all in the end?
Is this the reason why you and your sister-in-law fell out for so many years? You know you never said why you did! Did she tell you that you were in the wrong? Maybe it is maybe it isn’t, it is something that we will never ever know and it drives me mad, it drives us all silently insane.
I just don’t understand, I want to scream and shout at you. You have made us all so mad did you not know that? Why oh why did you leave such a massive thing unsaid and rip a dream apart? Why? As I have already said, if you didn’t want to be around when it happened, fine, but why didn’t you write it down so that we could at least understand?
I tell you what though you have covered your tracks. We have tried everything to find the truth and there is nothing out there so well done you, I congratulate you with a sickly sweet taste in my mouth because I hate the fact that you have made it impossible to find out. I don’t want to dis you I love you, you will never know how much, but I really want to shout at you, it is not fair. Everyone should have the choice on this matter.
You should never have taken it away from her, it was not your right! Do you know that, it wasn’t your choice, or your right and that is what is bloody unfair.
Your brother gave her a photo you know, he feels for her so badly and is truly torn in two. He told her that one of them is the one, but he can't remember which one. Every one knows he is lying we all know that for certain. He said he met him once, but you weren't going to get married. So she has a photo, of two men, one being the one! We have found out he was a chef, he has let us know that but what a burden he carries, and that is because of you, and you alone!
So this is the story I have to tell my children, the story of our ancestors, how you kept the biggest secret there is in our family and took it to the grave. I hope that maybe just maybe I will find the truth. I know she will always live to regret not knowing, and it saddens me deeply to see that in her eyes.
You were fantastic in many many ways, and never to be faulted, but this, this here everything that is written down is your biggest fault.
You forget to mention something major, you upset her, then you were gone, and it could not be fixed.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Town Called The Past

The past is a Town that I don’t like to visit too often, but when I was offered a holiday cottage in a place I lived in 16 years ago, I didn’t even consider it to start with. We arrived today after a four hour drive with two kids and a dog that needed to run wild for a while, so we headed straight to the beach and let them all off the leash.

The beach runs parallel to the place that I lived at and we could hear the music booming. At first glance the only thing I recognise is the coastline and as this hasn’t changed for thousands of years, I guess that’s not so surprising! What worries me most is that being here takes me back to a horrible, dark place that was me sixteen years ago.

Sixteen years!?! Man, that’s a whole damn lifetime. My Dad had died three months previously. I’d been rejected by Disney who felt that I was too young to work for them. My whole family was in complete disarray and so I ran away to the other end of the Country to try and deal with life.

I didn’t eat or sleep properly for the whole summer. I lived in the most horrendous accommodation EVER! I tried to deal with my Dad (and Kurt Cobain!) being gone. I tried to ignore all the rumours from home about my Dad’s other half being involved with someone else. I tried to ignore the rumours about my boyfriend shagging around. I lived in the moment partying harder than I ever had in my life!!

It’s not a time I think about to be honest apart from to tell the funny stories about when I was young and lived at a holiday camp. I file it away in that time of my life that was utterly shit and doesn’t need to be talked about and it’s so long ago that it’s not relevant enough to be discussed.

I feel really off centre being here and I keep reminding myself that I’m thirty four and not eighteen and that my Dad died sixteen years ago, but it doesn’t seem to make it any easier and I don’t know what I can do to disassociate these thoughts and enjoy the holiday. It's made all the worse by the fact that I'm completely blind sided at being bothered by the associated history.

I really want to phone my Mum and my Brothers to discuss it but it wasn’t the best time in their lives either, so I’m battling on and trying to ooh and aah at the cottage and be excited with the kids and join in the fun and games but what I really want to do is sit on the beach and cry like I did sixteen years ago and mourn the loss of my Dad!

I guess I’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hints and Tips for Job Seekers

I originally posted this over a year ago on my old Wordpress blog but after the day I had today I was reminded that some of my advice was very good and I think that you should all read it and pass it along ;-)

Other bloggers swear by not mentioning work at all so I hope that I’m not going to get fired for this post!!!!  I find myself in the lucky and very fortunate position of having an awesome job that so far hasn’t been affected by the credit crunch and (touch wood) won’t be affected for the foreseeable future.  Today, I was helping a good friend of mine by filling in an online application form for a new job at a reputable learning establishment and all I can say is Oh My Gosh....why do they make these forms sooooo unworkable???  

Normally I find myself on the other side of the fence reading submitted application forms and bemoaning the fact that nobody these days can spell and in some cases write nothing at all on the application form.  Having been on the flipside of that today?  I think I have to go back to the application form on our website and make it simpler and less frustrating to fill in.  I’m not surprised candidates get fed up of trying to make it work and end up leaving it blank!!!

So from being the person that receives the application forms and makes a decision about who we interview and who we don’t, let me offer you a few words of advice*:

Application Process

        Apply in the way the Company asks. For example, if they don’t accept CV’s it would make no sense to send one!!  But yes, people still do.

         Don’t phone every single day to see where we are at in the application stage when it obviously tells you the timeline on ALL the paperwork.  You are just going to annoy the nice lady in HR (me) and get a reputation for being a pain in the ass.

          Explain gaps in employment.  We don’t care what you were doing but leaving gaps lets my imagine run wild and by the time you get to interview I will have convinced myself that you were imprisoned for being an axe murderer!!! (What?  Y’all know I’m a drama queen!!!)

          Strangely enough I don’t want to know your life story.  I want to know why I should hire you and how you meet the Person Specification that I took 4 hours to write!

          Use spell’s there for a reason people, especially if you are applying for a Teaching post. Why am I going to give you a job teaching my students Physics/Maths/English if you can’t spell any better than my seven year old or be bothered to use spell check???

          If you have untidy handwriting apply online instead of sending me cross-eyed trying to decipher your writing. See above!!!!

Interview Process

          My Apprentice and I spend a lot of time putting together all the paperwork that gets sent out to you as a candidate so the least you can do is read it properly and reply appropriately!

          Prepare for the interview....I know, it’s like Rocket Science huh?  You’d be surprised by how many people don’t even check out the website or have a prepared list of questions to ask....yep, it makes you look uninterested and we’ll give the job to someone who cares!!

          Try and anticipate the questions! Obviously not all of them or else I’m not doing my job properly but you could take a wild guess at some of them at least and prepare possible answers so that you aren’t completely blindsided.

          Don’t steal the food at lunchtime!  Somehow it doesn’t impress me when I hear of interview candidates stealing the sandwiches and biscuits to eat for their Dinner!

         And finally............if I ask you how flexible you are?  Please don’t touch your toes!!!!

I hope this helps some and that I haven’t given away anything too personal about candidates that I’ve seen (that will get me fired).  Now I’m off back to the dumb application form that I started four hours ago and still haven’t finished and need to complete as the closing date is tomorrow!!!!

(* I can take no personal responsibility for people following my advice and not being shortlisted or appointed ;-)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Gallery - Favourite Photo

I'm sure that Tara didn't know the hell she would put me through this week by asking for our favourite photos!!!! I've trawled through album after album looking for the perfect picture but whilst in the process of doing this, some things have happened this week that made me realise that perfection is just an illusion. What really matters are my family and friends and as long as they are healthy and happy then all is good.

It also made me realise just how lucky I am. My family are truly amazing and I'm lucky enough to be very close to my Mum, brothers and sister in law and we do some pretty cool stuff together. My friends aren't bad either!! Obviously the person in most of my pictures if my lovely daughter but because we spend a lot of time with just the two of us I tend to take pictures of her and not us together!! The ones where we are together are taken at random angles by me but I decided that was ok! That's who we are and there is just the two of us so I may as well go with it:

This is us on holiday in Norfolk last year! I'm windswept and Chick is being a goofball but this picture makes me smile a lot! It was such a fabulous holiday mainly because we were camping and after a couple of days the phone, laptop etc died and there was just us. Us playing games, jumping in the sea, looking longingly at beach huts we'll never be able to afford, playing bingo, eating fish and chips and going to bed when it got dark and just being together and enjoying each other and that's why this is my favourite photo!

Why not pop over to Sticky Fingers and check out all the other entries?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Letters of Intent

Do you have something that you need to get off your chest but can't say out loud? Why not write your own letter of intent and link up with Julie over at Foursons!
Dear Chick

So, parents evening was awesome but I always forget just how much like Uncle Number Two you are....namely intelligent and gorgeous but without an ounce of common sense! I know that you can do the work set out for you so please stop messing about with your pencil case/friends/toilet needs and just do the damn work.

Being the frigging terrible awesome Mother that I am, I agreed with the Teacher that she will stop you from playing until the work is done! You think I suck now but you will thank me when you are a Doctor/Vet/Rocket Scientist!

Momma x
Dear Chick’s Teacher

I know that my daughter is a complete Drama Queen! I know this because she gets it from me! I also know that it must be hard for you to know when she’s exaggerating but you are gonna have to learn when she’s not because you keep getting it wrong.

Last week when she had a suspected broken wrist, I kind of understood why you didn’t call. Don’t get me wrong.....I was completely pissed.....because she spent the whole night crying and then we spent a morning in A&E but I understood.

On Tuesday when she rocked up with her whole arm bandaged from fingers to shoulder and explained that she crashed into a bollard, you could maybe have been slightly sympathetic and let her skip PE???

On Wednesday when she said she had a headache at morning break, I get that you might have thought she was crying wolf. What I don’t expect, EVER, is for my daughter to have to manage the whole day and to leave school in so much pain that she is crying. My child went to my best friend at the school gates and BEGGED her to take her home! How do you think Chick must have felt to have to do this? My best friend was distraught because Chick had to go with After School Club.  Luckily she phoned me straight away to alert me so that I could collect my sobbing child!

Please ensure this doesn't happen again!

Chick’s Mum
Dear Self

You have the Flu and have had for almost a week now. You are allowed to get sick and stop for a couple of days!

Me x
Dear Chick’s Dad

I appreciate the fact that you put yourself out for me today.

I appreciate the fact that you understand that I do the hard work.

I don’t appreciate that I’ll still be left to deal with everything on my own.

I would like you to sort your life out NOW please!

Me x
Dear Blog/Review Blog/Facebook followers

I love you all dearly! Seriously, you are the hottest people I’ve ever known!!!!

Adventures of an English Mum x
Dear God/Luck/Fate

Please, please, please, let me win the Euromillions Lottery tonight! I could do quite a lot with £113 million pounds!

I may even give a pound or two to charity and I promise not to spend more than £25 million on houses in Leicestershire, London, California and Australia!!!

Much Love in advance
Me x
Dear Mum

I feel really ill and so does Chick. Could you please come stroke my head and tidy the house and generally take care of me until I feel better???

Love you much
Em xxx

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Toys R Us - Competition Carnival

This month the Toys R Us Toyologists have brought you something a bit special.  We're all a little overwhelmed with the number of toys we've been sent and our children are worn out testing and reviewing them.  If you're wondering what to get your children for Christmas, keep an eye on the Toys R Us Facebook page, which carries links to all the reviews we've been doing. 

Lots of the Toyologists have been doing some fantastic giveaways on their site, so we thought we'd all get together and bring you The Great Toyologist Competition Carnival!  Throughout October we will be bringing you not one, not two, but EIGHTEEN different giveaways.  There are some really fabulous prizes on offer, so keep your eye on the schedule and enter as many as you like.  Each of the competitions will provide a link to the next one, so you can easily keep your eyes on the prize.

The Competition Carnival started today, with the first giveaway offered over at Notes from Inside my Head.  It's a fantastic prize, so I wish you the very best of luck.  I'd enter myself, but I'm not really short of toys at the moment...   

Competition Carnival Calendar

Tuesday 5th October          Notes Inside my Head

Thursday 7th October         All about the boys

Friday 8th October             Emmaand3 - reviews

Saturday 9th October         Adventures of an English Mum

Sunday 10th October         Perfectly Happy Mum

Monday 11th October        Not Supermum

Wednesday 13th October   Precious Memories

Thursday 14th October       New Mummy's Tips

Saturday 16th October       Carrots and Kids

Monday 18th October        The Five Fs Blog

Tuesday 19th October        Glowstars Reviews

Friday 22nd October          Sarah Cookson

Sunday 24th October         A Modern Military Mother

Tuesday 26th October       More Than Just a Mother

Thursday 28th October      Flower Fairies and Fairy Cakes

Saturday 30th October       The Babbling Mummy

Sunday 31st October         A Mother's Ramblings

Tuesday 2nd November     Are we nearly there yet, Mummy?

I totally stole this entire post from the gorgeous and lovely Emily over at More Than Just a Mother.  I did however have her permission!!!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Disney on Ice

The lovely Voucher Mum is running a competition over on her blog to win tickets for Disney on Ice and we were lucky enough to win the first family pass. There are still some dates available so go over there and enter and then come back and read all about it!  

Last night saw us on the rainiest, most miserable day of the year so far on the train to Nottingham with Chick and the Punk.  As I'm a terrible Mother I took them to McDonalds before we headed to the Ice Arena to partake in the buying of lots of plastic rubbish that lights up and swings around their head for the show ;-)

Thanks to the fact that we'd won the tickets we had the most amazing seats:

The whole show was hosted by Mickey and Minnie and was completely amazing. It included songs from Aladdin, Pinocchio, Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, Mulan and my absolute favourite The Lion King which was so good it made me want to go and see the stage show even more! There was also a dance where the castle turned into the Small World ride from Disneyland and all the characters came skating out, as soon as the music started there was a collective groan from the parents which made me chuckle a lot!!!

The ice skating was brilliant and the show is very well thought out and put together.  A couple of people did fall over but I guess that's to be expected when you are watching ice skating.  We would have been more than happy for the show to last even longer and it definitely left us wanting more.  Chick wants to know if we can go back each night that it's there!!!!

I took loads of pictures but my camera isn't very good at capturing moving objects....a few of them are ok though:

If you get the chance then you should definitely go and see it. We thoroughly recommend it :-)