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Monday, 31 January 2011

*CLOSED* My 100 Follower Giveaway!

Since I started blogging in September, I've been overwhelmed by the warm, welcoming arms of the blogging world.  To say thank you to all of the lovely people who have taken the time to follow my blog, read my posts and leave the wonderful comments which make me smile, laugh or feel incredibly humbled, I am holding a 100 Follower Giveaway!  It's also a lovely way to make new blog buddies!  If it's your first time Inside the Wendy House...here's a big HELLO to you!!


This giveaway is not sponsored in anyway or endorsed by any brand...it's from me...to you!


The Prizes


I decided to go with the theme of a "few of my favourite things!"


A box of Cupido Cherry Chocolates...everyone loves some yummy choccies
A fitness DVD...Claire Nasir's Boot Camp...after choccies we need to work off the calories
E.L.F. Duo Mascara...one beauty essential we all need
Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Face Masque...I absolutely love a pampering session :)
A Beads Unlimited  fairy brooch set...I wish I was creative enough to make such pretty things myself!


My glamorous Assistant!






How to Enter


To enter my giveaway please first follow my blog through GFC, if you don't already do so, and also like my Facebook page. (You can use the Like Button on the sidebar.)  Please leave a comment below to say you have done both things with a means of contacting you such as your Twitter id.  If you already do both...just leave me a lovely comment and you're entered:)  Thank you xxx


For an extra entry tweet this "I've entered @wendymcd83 's 100 Follower Blog Giveaway at http://tinyurl.com/45qyf4h"
Then please leave me a separate comment to say you have done so. 
(If you want give me a follow on Twitter too...I'll follow you back and enjoy tweeting with you!)




All entries, up to a maximum of two per person will be put into a hat (or hat-like object like a saucepan or a bowl...you get the picture!!) and a winner will be randomly selected.  I will contact you by the means given to let you know you are my lucky winner.  Please respond within 72 hours!!!  (Sorry but UK only please...I'm paying the p & p!!)  Competition closes Monday 21st February!  Winner announced on this post after that date.

Poundland for Cold and Flu Relief

If your household has been struck down my one of the many horrible viruses that have been doing the rounds this year, I have some news that you may help ease your symptoms without breaking the bank!  Poundland are stocking a range of cold and flu relief products for the fabulous price of......yes you guessed it £1!!








Big brand names such as Covonia, Beecham's, Lemsip, Hall's and Vick's are all available in store.   So whether you are stocking up just in case to be prepared (fingers crossed you won't be needing them) or if you have a family member who is already coughing, spluttering and sneezing, check out Poundland for some amazing bargains.




Hope you all stay healthy and well...but if not, it's reassuring to know that there are some top brand health products available at Poundland's amazingly low price!


While you are there, check out their extra value range with great bargains on everyday essentials...cleaning products by brands such as Astonish and Pledge; beauty care by Dove, Original Source and Johnson's; snacks including Weightwatcher's range of low calorie treats and even some DIY products including Hammerite paint.



Listography...5 Annoying Children's TV Shows/Characters

Here comes another chance for us to purge our souls as Kate asks us to list our top 5 most despised children's TV shows or characters.  Her inspiration came from being sofa bound with a poorly child, this is something I can totally relate to!  Thankfully, Freddy is hugely into Pixar films, so Toy Story at 4 am was not too arduous as a method of comfort and distraction to my poorly boy.

However, sometimes big sister Kizzy takes the helm as controller of the remote which is usually when I start to bristle.  Also, a couple of CBeebies offerings overwhelm me with the desire to throw things at the TV (don't tell my husband, he'd actually come out in a cold sweat if he heard me threaten his 47" plasma!)

So here is my list!

1: Sonny with a Chance....arrgghh!!!  With it's cheesy "Check it Out" catchphrase and the awful Demi Lovato, this show just makes me want to bury myself alive.  It's trying to be a clever parody of children's TV sketch shows, but it just epically fails.  It's not clever enough to be satire, so it falls into all the traps of cringe making TV itself, with none of the heart or originality of the Amanda Show (which is the kind of show it's attempting to mock).  Although she is nauseatingly annoying, I feel so sorry for poor Demi.  Actress, singer, Jack of all trades, master of none, child/woman.  She's just left rehab after months coping with "physical and emotional problems".  A victim of the too much too young American Teen Dream...and star of an incredibly bad TV show!

2: Gigglebiz...we all love Justin Fletcher on Something Special.  His TV show does so much to break down barriers and the children all adore him.  Then why oh why did he have to make Gigglebiz.  As far as I can tell it merely a self-indulgent vehicle for Justin to crack poor jokes and cross-dress.  Just no, Justin!

3: Mister Maker...being a person of a certain age, I was brought up with Vision On and the late, great Tony Hart. He was like a stern uncle who was very good at drawing.  Over the years the format of art shows for children has changed, becoming funkier, funnier and more child friendly.  Sadly the latest incarnation for creativity for toddlers has totally eroded the genre away to nothing more than a weird, talentless shouty bloke making rubbish out of otherwise useful household objects.  When he turned a fiver's worth of Vileda washing up sponges into an abomination which was meant to be a portion of fish fingers and chips, I had to shout out "Why???"  We're in a recession.  Don't waste useful items and turn them into utterly pointless bin fodder!!  I can only imagine the amount of small children raiding the kitchen for things to destroy in the name of Mister Maker!

4: Zingzillas...This could almost be good.  Introducing different genres of music as diverse as scat to bhangra, to a young audience.  Why or why did they see the need to do this via the medium of actors dressed in giant monkey suits?  The costumes are silly, their mouths don't move right and they are just so annoying.  With the incredibly catchy ear-worm of a theme tune, this show drives me insane.  Children aren't idiots, they don't need OTT characters with grating personalities to deliver an appreciation of music...strip it back and maybe it'll work!

5: Sarah-Jane Honeywell...as sweetly sickly as her name suggests, this perky little bundle of energy is the total antithesis of me!  She first came to my attention in Higgledy House in 2005, where she was the cutesy, girly sidekick to Justin Fletcher.  Her peppy, childlike persona belies the fact that she is in her late thirties.  She now graces our screen in an all  in one red superhero outfit in Mighty Mites.  It upsets me greatly to think of her as a full grown woman with a full grown woman's needs!!  It's sooooo wrong!!!!!!!!!  I leave you with her single from 2008...an uplifting ditty to fill you with joy and make you forget the recession, the weather or the state of your post Christmas finances! (In googling this, I just discovered that Sarah Jane plays Panzee the chimp in Zingzillas...that figures!)


Photobucket


Link up at Kate's to find more annoying children's TV stars and programmes that blight our lives!

Childhood Sweethearts!

My Son's Romantic Love Story!


I've had a lovely weekend.  Freddy has perked right back up and is his normal full of beans self!  I love how resilient children are.  One day you are worried sick by their lethargy and lack of spark...next day you are chasing them around to keep them out of mischief!  Wonderful :)

As Freddy was so much better we decided to keep to a previously made plan and visit our eldest in Northampton. He has recently moved into a lovely little semi-detached starter home with his much adored girlfriend Jade. I love visiting them and the three youngest adore their big brother, so I was so glad that we didn't have to cancel.

Jade cooked for us for the first time...we usually go out to a restaurant but they wanted to treat us.  She made an exceptionally yummy vegetarian shepherd's pie.  She'd also made cakes, but they'd eaten them the night before (typical of my son!)  so a visit to Costa Coffee with muffins and brownies followed.

I am so proud that my son is so demonstrative and loving to Jade.  When she came down from getting changed to go out he told her that she looked gorgeous.  He kept stealing little kisses and told her that he loved her.  It comes so naturally in their relationship that you can just see how happy they are together.  It makes me so proud that my first born has reached this point in his life where he has a job he loves, a girl he loves and a future to look forward to.

What makes Joe and Jade's romance even more special is the fact they I was best friends with Jade's mum years ago when they were little.  Her family moved away and a few years later we moved too and we simply lost touch.  Then ten years down the line, Jade found Joe on the internet and they started chatting online.  This lead to phonecalls which resulted in a visit.  From that moment on they've been inseparable.  He made the decision to move to her hometown for them to be together.  He found himself a job there before leaving home, at the peak of the recession, such was his determination to be with the girl he loved!  Then in May 2009 he left to start his new life.  I couldn't be more proud of them...it's not been easy.  Living together is a big step.  Going from the comforts of home to being responsible for washing your own underwear is a huge step. It's only then that they realise that the fully stocked fridge at home isn't kept topped up by the snack fairies!  But they are doing brilliantly well!

1996

2010

Knowing how my son found his true love makes me look hard at who my 8 year old's friends are now.  Who knows...in ten years time one of them might just be the future husband of my little girl!!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Silent Sunday

Cake!!


Silent Sunday

Valentine's Pampering with Montagne Jeunesse...go on spoil yourself!

January will soon be all but a memory and we find ourselves looking forward to the most romantic day of the year....  Valentine's Day!  A day of love hearts, romance and true love :)

To prepare for a passion-filled Valentine's this year, Montagne Jeunesse recommend these four lust-have lovelies!



Reveal your inner seductress and bask in the confidence of your cleansed, clear complexion with the Passion Peel Off  face masque.

The blissful blend of pomegranate and passion flower, infused with raspberry, grape and cranberry banishes blemishes and leaves skin fresh, purified and primed to get up close and personal! Simply smooth on, relax while it sets and peel off for gorgeous, kissable, totally irresistible skin.  Perfectly packaged at 99p a sachet there's no excuse for not having a loved up Valentine's this year with a Passion Peel Off!

It'll make you feel fruity!


Keep the passion alive longer with a fabulous Tottle (the love child of a tube and a bottle!)  With ten applications they contain plenty of the gorgeous masque...enough to share a pamper session with a loved one!

Revel in the romance of the divine Damask Rose Deep Cleansing Masque.  Renowned for its cleaning and hydrating properties, delicate Damask Rose is infused with Africa's miracle Marula oil, ridding the skin of anti-oxidants and leaving the skin deeply moisturised.  The sensual blend of Shea Butter and creamy cocoa butter leave skin feeling soft and enticing. The inviting floral fragrance will leave your man completely love struck.

Make sure this Valentine's Day you get your roses in Tottle form for around £5...it would make a long lasting gift to yourself!

As well as roses, chocolates are another perfect Valentine's gift.  This year indulge in a guilt-free chocolate Valentine's Day treat...with a zero calorie Chocolate Mask!

This deep cleansing and luxurious Chocolate Mud Masque is rich in natural ingredients which help to unblock pores, drawing out impurities.  This scrummy mask is devoted to love!  With skin healing properties of Dead Sea salt and moisturizing benefits of cocoa and Shea butter you'll be left with renewed, re-hydrated and irresistible skin...a chocoholics dream beauty product.  You'll be sure to melt any hunks heart for 99p. Mmmm...divine!


Are you desperately dreaming of a perfect, kissable pout?  Then this natural, super soothing lip balm is an absolute must have for Valentine's!  The yummy Cranberry and Aloe Vera balm with 100% natural beeswax will ensure your lips stay magically moisturised and hydrated for all unexpected lip locking moments!  A blissful blend of juicy cranberries, soothing Aloe Vera and smoothing Shea Butter and pure beeswax will guarantee you have gorgeous, kissable, luscious lips all day long.  At around £3 these fruity faves are a beauty bargain.  Perfect for popping in your handbag to keep your lips lush all night long.


Montagne Jeunesse products are bursting with natural ingredients and goodness and are as eco-friendly as possible.  All products are vegetarian and animal friendly.  

Montagne Jeunesse love the planet and our animal friends making them the perfect choice for Valentine's Day!


If you don't have someone to love this Valentine's Day, spoil yourself with a Montagne Jeunesse face masque and a good romantic chick flick!  Lovely xxx

Montagne jeunesse, face mask, PS I Love You, Valentine's day

Dear So and So...

Dear Virus,


I appreciate that everyone has a fundamental right to a home, but I respectfully request that you upsticks and leave your current choice of abode.  Squatting in the respiratory system of my two youngest children is just unacceptable.  I hereby am serving you notice to quit with immediate effect and not to return again.


Yours Very Tired Mother/Nurse of Aforementioned Infected Children


Dear Fat,


We have been very close for a long time.  We've done everything together and gone everywhere together.  I'd go as far as to say that we have been inseparable.  It is therefore with deep regret that I have to inform you that it is over.  We can't be together any more.  I need to go my own way.  You suffocate me.  I need to be free.  I need to feel like me again.  So this really is good-bye.  I hope you won't drag out this separation.  I hope you will leave quickly and painlessly and be happy for me.


Yours Overweight


Dear Student Finance,


I have phoned and written numerous times.  You ignore me.  You tell me you can't discuss cases that have gone to review.  Well, let me tell you this.  How can you give my poor impoverished student daughter less money this year when I'm unemployed and with an extra mouth to feed, than you did last year when I was still working?  How can you say you'll give her five grand....then drop it down to three?  It doesn't even cover her rent and bills.  She is there to better herself and make a future where she will contribute to society.  She can pay it back...it is a LOAN!  We're not asking for a hand out.  We claim nothing.  We work hard.  You and your fellow misguided government officials persecute us hard working middle class families.  No EMA, no grants, soon to be no child benefits.  We are not rich.  We can't pay for the rent on an overpriced student house for our daughter.  But you expect us to.  You should get your spending priorities sorted out.  You frustrate me.


Yours Financially Overstretched Mother   


Dear Husband,


I love you.  In light of my recent confession on this very blog as to the happenings of New Years Eve three years ago, I wish to thank you for not getting angry at your appallingly behaved spouse.  You understand me. I am very, very lucky.


Yours Wife

Got stuff on your chest? Let it out and link up over at 3BedroomBungalow .

Friday, 28 January 2011

What's In a name?

I'm sat here on my laptop...my respite from the poorliness that has descended Inside the Wendy House.  The two youngest are struck down by this nasty bug that sets up home in the ears and throat rendering them into husky, grumpy and moany versions of themselves.  Bless them.   :(  Sleep has not been forthcoming for the last 48 hours and I am at that slightly spaced out stage of sleep deprivation where I feel certain that Tyler Durden will appear at any moment and try to sell me hand made soap made from the by-product of liposuction ( a little Fight Club reference there...in case you're not a fan and think I've actually gone completely mad).


So, I'm sat here wondering what to do, to help my poor addled brain cling on to its last scrap of sanity before it shuts down and gives up the will to think!


My idea for this post has arisen from my daughter Kizzy who recently googled her name.  She approached me and said " Mum, am I a Hebrew?"  This, unexpected question that came from seemingly nowhere struck me dumb for a moment, until she continued "...because Kezia is Hebrew and it means tree bark."  It then made perfect sense and I was relieved that she wasn't intending to join the Kabbalah and wanted to check her credentials first.  But then she wanted to know why I named her after the outer coating of a deciduous tree.  This got me to thinking do name meanings actually influence our decisions as to what we call our baby?  Or is the process far more complex.


We've all read about celebrities naming offspring after the place where their child was conceived, started by the Beckhams and their little Brooklyn.  This trend has spread out across the class system with the birth of little Number 16 Bus Shelter in 2008!  Classy!  Sometimes, we give our precious baby the name of something special to us, which holds great meaning and affection...sad then that twins were given the name Benson and Hedges recently.  Poor creatures blighted to a life of social handicap in a world that is hard enough without being   named after a 20 pack of fags!


My own children's names were all deliberated over from the moment those pink lines appeared on the pregnancy test.  With a mix of excitement and a sense of enormity for the responsibility, I came up with five perfect names!!


Joseph
Anyone who watched Blue Peter in the early 80's will remember the amazing man Joey Deacon.  Born with severe cerebral palsy and institutionalised as a child, he was virtually written off by society.  However, despite this, with the help of his friends, he wrote his memoirs "Tongue Tied" and went on to be quite a celebrity.  His influence on my life was immense...his triumph over adversity was inspirational.  So much so, that when I went to a fair and won a goldfish, I called it Joey!   Seven years later, my first born son was born.  What else could I call him...
                                                           




Megan
At the time Megan was quite a rare name in the UK.  People would comment on it and ask if I was Welsh.  Since then it hasn't dropped out of the top ten baby names for girls, much to my daughter's disgust.  She wanted a name as rare and beautiful as an exotic flower...instead she wound up common!  Her name was a bolt out of the blue decision that came to me whilst watching Jamie Lee Curtis in Blue Steel.  



Ella
The amazing Ella Fitzgerald was the inspiration behind our daughter's name.  How did we know she was destined to be the musical one!!!  Coincidentally, when we were first together, me and Ian liked the group The The and their song Love is Stronger than Death was played at our wedding.  El...is the in Spanish and La...is the in French.  So there you have it!!  Cosmic powers at work!!




Kezia
She was not named after tree bark, she was named after the main character from the book The Diddakoi and its TV adaptation, about a little Gypsy girl....Kizzy.  Shown in 1976, the drama about a little outsider who found it difficult to conform, really resonated with me.    The lonely, sullen girl was someone I related to.  Thankfully, my Kizzy is the antithesis of this.  She is gregarious, funny, friendly and adventurous...reality did not imitate art.  I am most pleased!  Kizzy was delighted to meet a fellow Kezia in the Sea Life Centre at Chessington who was also named after the Diddakoi.  I am not the only one!




Freddy
My baby boy, my late life gift who made my family complete could have only been honoured with a name that truly meant something to us.  He had to have the name of the best nightmare, dream stalking, knife gloved, stripy jumpered, fedora wearing horror icon.  My beautiful baby's namesake is indeed Freddy Krueger.  







So where did your children's names come from?  

Thursday, 27 January 2011

T Shirt Printing.net Review

T Shirt Printing.net is an online store with over twenty years of experience that provides bespoke printing on a wide range of quality garments for all occasions. 


Offering highly competitive pricing; a huge selection of garments and colours; high quality silk screen printing and fast turnaround times on quantities from 12 to 100,000 items, they are the "number one destination for screen printing your personalised T-Shirts, hooded tops, sweatshirts and workwear".


They stock a wide range of products in sizes from kids' to adults' from an array of suppliers such as Fruit of the Loom and Screenstars, and even offer an environmentally friendly organic ladies' Tee!  Or you can source your own garments ready for them to print.  


Perfect for work wear, sport's teams, charities, fashion lines, stag and hen parties or promotions, the team at T-Shirt Printing will be happy to discuss your requirements on their freephone Customer Services line on  0800 046 7633.  They pride themselves in providing an honest and easy to understand way of doing business and a "real person" to speak to, who will help fulfil your printing needs with minimum stress and total satisfaction. 


Sounds fab, but what about the merchandise itself?


I was lucky enough to receive a sample unisex T-Shirt to review.  I'd requested an XL one and it was very generously sized.  The quality of the material (90% cotton, 10% polyester) was evident and the seaming was strong and neat.   The screen printed logo was of a funky monkey face.  It was well applied, vibrant and colourful...not to mention fun!







I made my willing husband model the T-shirt and it fitted well and was comfortable to wear.  He happily wore it all day and said "It's a good fit, the quality is great and the design is well applied.  Our little lad loves the monkey face so it's got his seal of approval too!"






When reviewing any item of clothing, the washing is always a consideration.  This pre-shrunk garment can be machine washed inside out on a warm wash.    I put mine in on my usual 40 degree setting.  It can be tumble dried on a medium heat but I drip dried mine as I don't use a drier for my laundry.  The garment is non-iron which suits me just fine (I argue that I am saving the environment by reducing my carbon footprint.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!)


I have to say this T-shirt washed up as good as new.  The printing was just as bright and vibrant and showed no signs of wear and tear.  There was no shrinking...definitely a quality garment!  Impressive.


As T-Shirt Printing UK offer a bespoke service, they offer you a no-obligation quote to suit your requirements which promises to be competitive.  The minimum order is for 12 garments which would be perfect for a party, a night out, a holiday or special event when you want your group to stand out and be noticed!    Or how about ordering for your playgroup, nursery or school?  Give them a call and have a chat!










Reasons to be Cheerful...a Bittersweet Post

I can't believe that the first month of 2011 is almost over.  Time is flying by, which is why I love pausing for thought to think of three reasons for feeling cheerful.  It punctuates my week reminding me to find the joy in little things.  This week however has turned awful and I am struggling to be cheery.

Little Freddy is poorly.  He is running a fever, won't touch food or juice and has two infected ears and an infected throat. He's been under the weather for a few days but the infections came on really rapidly and from 1am this morning until falling asleep a couple of hours ago he has screamed in pain.  Thankfully we had a doctor's triage appointment, thus the diagnosis, and we now have antibiotics.  Now although this is not a good thing on any level, I have found some things that I am mercifully happy about.

1:  The fact that I still breastfeed him has made me really happy.  I am able to offer him something that can help.  Last night he couldn't even feed because he was so distraught, but today he is back on the boob.  I know he is getting nourishment and fluids, as well as comfort.  I am so glad to be able to do this for him and it justifies my decision not to stop on his first birthday, which everyone expected me to do.

2:  My faith in "Team McDonald" has yet again been strengthened.  My husband stood and rocked his screaming son for hours last night.  Fred was inconsolable and lying down made him worse, so his Daddy thought nothing of standing up in nought but his boxers cradling his screaming son to give me some respite.  He came with me to the doctor's knowing how frantic I was and how, with crumbled nerves and no sleep, I would have found it hard to cope with holding Fred down as doctors probed his ears and stuck tongue depressors in his tiny baby mouth.  We are united in our dedication to our family and our parenting views are mirrored in each other.  I couldn't imagine parenting with any other man in the world :)

3:  I am so thankful that Freddy's illness is so easily fixable.  In a couple of days he'll be back to his cheeky, boisterous self.  I am so thankful for this. At 3a.m. my mind considered all the possible and much bleaker scenarios and gripped my heart with fear.  Although my little man is still feeling sorry for himself, and still hurting he'll be OK.  I've been overwhelmed by my lovely friends, family and neighbour's support.  I might not have a big social circle, but there are a lot of people who care about me and mine which is another reason for me to smile.  In the words of one of my friends:
"Today is the bottom of the curve.  The only way is up..."  a reason to be cheerful indeed!

He'll soon be up to mischief again!!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

Memetastic Award...another joyous bloghop moment!


The lovely Heather over at Stay at Home Mum Loving It has been kind enough *coughs* to tag me to receive this most honourable of honours...it is indeed "Memetastic"!


Like her, I'm going for the copy and paste route (but I'm censoring the really rude words in case my 8 year old reads her mummy's blog!  Please don't judge me!)


1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don't have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here. If you need a higher resolution version... I totally have one!!  

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some s**t up, we'll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we're just on the honor system here. I trust you. Except for the 4 that you lied about, you lying b******s! But don't go crazy trying to think of stuff, you'll see by the example I've set below that we're not really interested in quality here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don't really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will  hunt your ass down and harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don't know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I'll leave you alone. I'm serious. I'm going to do these things.

5. This one isn't actually a rule, but once you do the above, please come back here and link up to the Memetastic Hop so that I can keep track of where this thing goes.





So, forearmed with that rather forceful list of instructions, I have no choice but to participate or incur the wrath of the creator of the Memetastic Award.  So I give to you five facts...only one of which true...feel free to leave a comment...I'd love to know what you think is true!




1:  I am a huge animal lover and we have three cats, four guinea pigs, eight goldfish and a snake called Courtney.  I'm hoping to add a puppy to the family when Freddy is a bit bigger.  I want to name it Buster after the Labrador I used to have as a little girl.


2:  I have five tattoos...one bracelet on my wrist, a dragon on the small of my back, five entwined love hearts on the back of my neck, a tribal design on my thigh and a butterfly on my ankle.   Each one commemorates special events in my life. 


3:  I am tee-total because on New Year's Eve three years ago I drank so much bacardi  that I ended up snogging a 19 year old friend of my niece and put a condom on my head and posed for photos.  The ensuing alcohol poisoning rendered me bedridden for three days.  I vowed I'd never drink again!


4:  I have a collection of pigs.  China pigs, plastic pigs, pigs on tea towels, pig T-Shirts, pig jewellery, pig crockery, pig topiary and most recently a stuffed leather pig door stop.  They are so cute.  I even own the Nat West piggy banks that I collected as a child for saving at the bank.  That was the start of my collection...I was hooked from that point :)


5:  I was a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in 2003.  I didn't make it into the chair because I failed to put the order of four Dustin Hoffman films in chronological order quickly enough.  The woman who did went on to win £64,000...grr could've been mine!  




Now to tag some other lovelies and force them to bare facedly lie in a public forum.  Ooh we are naughty!!!


Qwerty Mum
Not Met Megan
Bloggomy
Carole Finds her Wings



Wednesday, 26 January 2011

You turn your back for a moment...

You know that moment when your boisterous toddler suddenly goes quiet.  There you are preparing lunch whilst your little one pulls the fridge magnets off of the freezer door.  You become momentarily engrossed in arranging mini sandwiches, cucumber slices and satsuma segments on a plate, when you realise the clatter of Magnetic Letters being used as projectiles has stopped.  You instinctively know something is amiss and set off at speed to locate said toddler, knowing they couldn't have got far!  That's when you see your mini-escapologist/stuntman sat on top of the dining room table having stolen your unopened box of Thornton's Continentals that you were saving, ripped off the lid and commenced consumption of a Marc de Champagne Truffle.  Knowing he was safe and sound I did what any self-respecting Mummy Blogger would do...grab my camera!  




Mmm truffles!
Have a little nibble.
If I put the lid back on I might get away with it!
Uh-Oh!  That scuppered that plan!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Gallery...Children

The Gallery's theme on Tara's blog this week is children.  I've thought of different interpretations for this, but at the end of the day, it's my own precious children that I want to honour in the Gallery by posting one photograph of each of their childhoods that I think best represents their personalities.  Here is my entry to the Gallery week 43.

Joe 1988...cheeky chap
Megan 1991...wide eyed 
Ella 1996....wistful
Kizzy 2002...adventurous
Freddy 2009...fun filled

                                                 

Music I want my Children to Listen to...

I've enjoyed reading all the posts about music that has been influential to fellow bloggers.  How music provides the soundtrack to our lives, evoking memories of people, places and times that are important to us.  I have thought really hard about what music I'd like to be influential to my children.  They really do already show signs of having great taste and I am learning from them as much as they are learning from me.

There is however, a type of music that I would be devastated to see excluded from their repetoires.  That is Disney Songs.

As a child I was given the Reader's Digest Box Set of Disney LP's.  Each of the six discs had a full coloured cardboard sleeve which showed a scene from a Disney film.  I vividly recall studying the covers depicting Lady and the Tramp, Mickey Mouse as The Sorceror's Apprentice and The Jungle Book.  The tactile glory of a 12" album cover has never been replicated by a CD box.

My stereo was one of those portable record players in a box.  It had a blue lid and a cream base and I thought it was utterly precious...my prize possession!

The songs on the albums were originals from the films.  My particular favourites were "Ugly Bug Ball" and "Everybody wants to be a Cat".  I made up dances to both songs...literal interpretations of the lyrics with dramatic mime-esque movements.  My bedroom was tiny and the space was so limited, I used to whack my hand against the wardrobe or the bunk bed.  But in my mind I was performing on the West End.

The Rescuers song "Someone's Waiting for You" didn't have a dance.  Instead I sang it with intensity and sincerity whilst gazing wistfully out across my bedroom floor.  These were my special moments in our over-crowded childhood home.  My escape.

My love of Disney songs has never diminished.  My niece sang "Beauty and the Beast" at my wedding during the wedding speeches, which was a beautiful moment.  (I just hope I wasn't the beast in her mind!)

Pixar films are wonderful and I love the Randy Newman soundtrack to the Toy Story films, but the classic songs remain unbeatable. I hope the wonders of "The Bare Necessities", "Baby Mine" and "Be Our Guest" live on in our family for generations to come.  I still have my box set and my husband converted it into MP3's on my laptop, but it's just not quite the same as playing them on my precious crackly little box.

Buggy Tug Launches in UK

We were all horrified when we saw footage of a pushchair rolling off a station platform into the path of an oncoming train.   We all felt the mother's panic as we saw her frantically attempt to grab the pram as it rolled out of her grasp.  She had only released her hold for a moment but that was time enough for the buggy to roll across the platform out of her reach and fall onto the tracks. Thankfully and amazingly, the baby survived.


We've all had moments when we have inadvertently let go of our buggy handle.  Most of us have experienced that heart stopping moment when we realise that our pushchair is rolling away from our grip.  We don't apply the brakes every time we are stood still and sometimes we misjudge the gradient of where we are stood.  A split second mistake could change our lives forever.


In the recent cold snap, walking with a buggy was treacherous.  If we were to slip over, we could easily lose our grip on the handle which puts our baby at risk from rolling away.  It really doesn't bear thinking about.  The consequences could be tragic. 


Just launched in the UK is a product that offers a solution to this potential danger.  The Buggy Tug.  It is  the UK's first wrist pram strap.  Made out of neoprene for comfort, the strap is connected to the buggy's handle and to the pusher's wrist.  It has been safety tested so you can be sure it won't let you down in your hour of need.  It is discreet and you'll forget you're wearing it...unless your buggy starts to roll away, then you'll be glad to have it on!


I have been lucky enough to have won a Buggy Tug, which I agreed to review.  It is such a simple idea, but the potential to save lives is priceless.  For less than £4 (less than the cost of a latte and a muffin in your local coffee shop) you are protecting  your baby from a host of preventable accidents.  In Australia, pram straps are now compulsory following the deaths of two infants who drowned after their buggies rolled into lakes.   So many unforeseen tragedies could have been prevented with this simple device.  This product is an absolute essential!








Check out the Buggy Tug website for further details and stockists or to buy directly.
Go and say hello on their Facebook page...don't forget to say you came from 'Inside the Wendy House'!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Listography...5 things I wish I could do

  This week Kate Takes 5 has got us thinking about things we wish we could do.  This is a tricky one...do I go in glibly and wish I could pick those six numbers that would make me a millionaire?  Or do I dig deeply and profoundly reflect upon my earlier failings, wishing I could turn back time and rewrite my wrongdoings in some way?   Tricky indeed!

1:  Have a grasp of Spatial Awareness...I am so spatially challenged it actually handicaps my functioning in everyday life.  For example...my husband has actually found me sobbing, unable to complete a 32 piece Beauty and the Beast Jigsaw puzzle.  I can not read a map, work out directions or even understand a Sat Nav ( all that talk of left and right is way too complicated!)  I am the butt of family jokes when the Tangrams come out and I struggle to make a rectangle out of two triangles.  Most humiliatingly of all was trying to teach Symmetry to my Class 4 children in my role of Teaching Assistant...oh the shame!


2: Exercise...I have taken part in many an exercise class.  I have tried yoga, pilates and holistic training.  I've done a dance class and I've joined a gym, which I was attending three times a week at my peak.  However, I am rubbish.  Firstly, the left and right thing raises its ugly head.  In one particularly energetic dance class, I was  going the opposite way to everyone else and causing chaos (much to my sister's amusement!)  I ruptured my groin on a thigh press.  I put my back out and couldn't walk for three days doing a Pilates Spinal Curl (meant to strengthen the spine indeed!)  Walking hurts my bunions and my cartilages pop out of my knees with the least encouragement.  Some people are better off as sedentary social media addicts!



3:  Dance:  I guess this carries on from point 2, but has a whole new set of reasons.  My sister can dance...she belly dances, waltzes, foxtrots, tangos and pole dances.  Me...I goon around in a comedic, David Brent style, in a literal interpretive fashion, going purely for laughs, knowing full well that if I actually tried, everyone would laugh even harder.  My sister loves her ballroom dancing and constantly tries to teach me but to no avail.  I waltzed at her wedding and crashed into her new parents-in-law who, up until that point were floating elegantly around the dance floor.  At a family party, my husband dumped me as a partner to dance with our 6'4" nephew who was more elegant than me. My sister once tried to teach me to belly dance...my dad said it looked like an ironing board trying to dance :(  In my mind's eye I am elegant and graceful.  In reality I look like a six foot, uncoordinated version of this dancing cat!


4: Be Crafty:  I am quite the academic.  I collected A Grade A'Levels when I was a SAHM to my first two babies (in the days before Social Media!!)  I love essay writing and producing spreadsheets and collating evidence. I realised I was not testing the creative side of my nature and took classes in pottery and drawing.  I had visions of unleashing my inner Picasso.  Instead, I made a clay pinch pot and failed my shading assignment.  Seriously, in pottery everyone was making lamp stands except for me who never progressed beyond nursery level pinch pots.  I once tried to make curtains.  All I had to do was stitch up a hem in a straight line, but I didn't put the foot down on the sewing machine.  I wondered why my line was so wonky and hard to control.  I once knitted a toy lamb for my first born...it looked like a holey carthorse on steroids!  I so want to be able to do these things and I know I should be able to...but my hands just do not do what they are told!

5:   I wish I could be less obsessive!  I've given up alcohol and caffiene because I can not moderate.  If I'm eating I binge.  If I diet I starve.  If I take on a challenge (like blogging for example or my Graco Advocate Competition) I simply can't do it by halves.  I have to throw my self into everything 100%.  I avoid starting a book unless I have a whole day free ahead of me because I know I'll be unable to put it down.  However, I'm a slovenly housewife...until I get an urge and am taken over by the desire to scrub the entire house with a toothbrush and end up pulling everything out of cupboards to sort it all out.  I'm glad I'm not vain because I would spend hours and a fortune on hair, nails, clothes and make-up.  I'm glad I'm not 12 because I would probably chain myself to the rails of R-Patz or Justin Bieber's hotel (OK, maybe not!!)  luckily, my husband and family are my obsession and I wouldn't have that any other way!!



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Blue Shropshire Cheese Topped Stuffed Mushrooms

Recently, Philadelphia ran a competition to come up with a simple recipe using their cream cheese along with some local produce that came from your region.  Coming from Shropshire and being vegetarian, the obvious choice for me was to use Blue Shropshire Cheese, a deliciously mild blue veined delicacy!  
The recipe I came up with, which had to be ready to eat within 30 minutes and use only six ingredients was Stuffed Mushrooms with red onion, spinach and cream cheese filling, topped with crumbled Blue Shropshire.
Here is a video of me making them...I thought I'd share it.  They really are quite delicious!

Ingredients
5 Portobello Mushrooms
150g Cream Cheese
3 Red Onions chopped
75g Baby Spinach leaves
50g breadcrumbs
50g Shropshire Blue Cheese

Method
Remove stalks from mushrooms and chop.  Fry with chopped onion.
Meanwhile fry the Portobello Mushrooms until cooked through.
When onions are soft add spinach and wilt.
Stir through cream cheese and add breadcrumbs and seasoning.
Top cooked mushrooms with mixture and then crumble over cheese.
Cook at GM 6 for 10-15 minutes until bubbling!
Serve with salad!




Why parenting is not for the squeamish!

Part of being a mother is the sudden realisation that you can never again be squeamish.  Having a baby opens you up to a whole world of bodily processes that your adorable newborn bundle has no control over.  The contents of baby's stomach, whether from attic or basement will, at various inopportune moments, be expelled at high velocity.  It is our job to be on hand with babywipes to mop up either end, thus keeping our precious little one sweet smelling...unfortunately this does not extend to us mums who end up with possett on our shoulders and luminous yellow nappy overflows on our laps.  The amount of times I've found myself in public toilets stood under the hand drier trying desperately to dry off my attempts at washing off the latest offering.


As baby gets older, the expulsions of bodily waste have an altogether different set of problems.  Baby suddenly takes an interest in the contents of their nappy.  Nappy changes become fraught with a new danger...the grab!  So whilst picking up a squirmy baby by the feet, diligently cleaning the cracks and crevices, working quickly and under pressure in case of any further expulsions, we also have to be on guard for the slight of hand movement whereby baby grabs the soiled nappy and flings it across the room.  Worse still, the more dextrous baby with a firmer stool can go the whole hog and grab the nappy contents itself.  It takes a moment to register the fact that sweet gurgling baby is in fact moments away from teething on their own poop!  It's a horror moment in deed!


Toddlers take this scatology to a level that would rival a German Scheisser Movie.  We've all experienced the stomach churning moment where we realise that what we are seeing is not brown crayon, chocolate or clay.  Our little one has got creative with their bodily waste.  With the enthusiasm of an H-Block smear campaign, the nursery walls, toys, cot bars and indeed baby himself, become coated in thick brown excrement.  For us the phenomenon manifested itself when my angelic little girl decided to decorate her sit 'n' ride toy.  The assault on the senses was a slow burn fuelled by disbelief.  As the reality of the situation dawned on me, all I could do was gag and do the one thing that needed to be done...shout for my husband!


 


Don't think that it stops with competent toilet training either.  During the launch of the Playstation One, one of our offspring actually peed themselves because they refused to tear themselves away for a toilet break.  Then in another unrelated incident crapped his pants because he was playing outside with his mates and thought it would be embarrassing to tell them he had to go home to go the toilet!  Oh the logic!


So, don't ever get complacent.  As a mother you sign up to be a gusset scrubber forever more!



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