Thursday, 22 December 2011

Chanukah pyjamas

Small child got pyjamas as her gift on the first night of Chanukah. Admittedly she helped choose them but that was months ago so we figured she wouldn't notice that we'd squirrelled them away until now.

"Ooh" she said "how lovely. Now I've got 2 pairs like this".

"No you haven't" I said.

"Yes" she insisted. "These ones and the ones we bought a few months ago. Remember? In Hennes when we bought my coat".

Outsmarted by a 3 year-old. I may as well give up now

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The One With The Pudding

Dear Cari

How would you fancy an evening of great
company in a posh hotel with all the
desserts you can possibly stuff yourself with?

Best wishes

(Really Kid Friendly)

OK, I admit I may have paraphrased slightly. But what finer invitation to receive on a rainy winter's evening when you have run out of chocolate and there is a pile of laundry that is so large that it can be seen from outer space?

And so I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming, accepted with indecent haste gusto - and headed for the Athenaeum Hotel at a speed that would probably have impressed Usain Bolt.

And yes, the surroundings were plush and opulent. And indeed, the company was marvellous. And, dear lord, the puddings... Mr Dukan and Doctor Atkins, should you be reading this (in the case of the latter admittedly from beyond the grave) you might want to look away now.

I would like to say that I sampled all of them, but (remarkably) after three puds (ok, ok, three and a half, who's counting...) I was stuffed.

Top marks go to the lemon meringue pie, partly on the basis that a shortbread style 'boat' filled with lemon curd and topped with toasted meringue is probably as close to heaven as it is possible to get on this earth - and partly because it always reminds me of a story a medical student friend told me in my first year at university.

"What does LMP stand for?" boomed the consultant to the terrified fledgling doctor on his very first ward round.

"Um... lemon meringue pie?" quivered my chum.

(The actual answer might be 'last menstrual period' but I still prefer his version).

Anyway, I digress.

In second place the most mouth watering rhubarb crumble you could ever imagine (and this from someone who's not usually that keen on rhubarb) and an honourable mention to the chocolate mousse in chocolate cup.

Beaten, I staggered home wishing I'd managed to try the rest of what was on offer. But hey, a little training over the festive period and I'm sure next time I'll manage to do better.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Friday, 21 October 2011

My Most Embarrassing Moment

Towards the latter point of my television career I found myself overseeing a veterinary series for Animal Planet.

Short of a location for one particular shoot I volunteered my own home. And so it came to pass that there was an anorexic boa constrictor (yes, really) on my dining room table and a vet, a zoo keeper and a film crew in my kitchen.

As we were about to start filming the vet realised that he had forgotten to bring along the lubrication needed to complete the examination. I volunteered to pop out to the chemist on the corner - and armed with instructions of what to buy, sallied happily forth.

"May I have some KY jelly?" I asked the pharmacist, before adding (without thinking - but in a bid to make polite conversation, as you do) "I'm in a bit of a rush. I have an enormous snake waiting for me back home..."

Postscript: I am pleased to report that there is an abundance of other chemist shops in the area and thus I have never had to return.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Silent Sunday (16th October)

One picture, no words, summing up my week.

Friday, 14 October 2011

When I Was Young

When I was young it was quite a long time ago – longer than I care to admit (though I kind of blew my ability to gloss over any mention of age by outing myself rather publicly on the cover of "Secret Diary". In retrospect a major blunder.)

It being a bygone era, where fresh air was all the rage, I spent much of my babyhood in the back garden in a pram so large it could be seen from outer space.

Robust, yes (40 odd years later it’s still in use for the next generation). Practical – not so much. Certainly no question of popping it in the boot of the car - indeed it was substantially bigger than the vehicle* in its entirety.

*(a Hillman Imp in case you were wondering)

But no matter. I was content in my leafy paradise, tethered to the drainpipe (the pram – not me) with only a rabbit for company. A rabbit without much in the way of ears it seems. But I loved him still.

If we did fancy going further afield then we turned to the very latest model in mobile babydom. Not so much a pushchair, more a carrycot shoved on the back seat (seatbelts? Don’t be daft. This was the swinging 60s) and wheels strapped firmly (ish) to the roof rack.

Rather jaunty don’t you think? Albeit hardly Bugaboo…

When I was young bedtime meant a cot not so very different from the one we bought our daughter four decades down the line. Drop sided too. We were ever so fancy.

But what of leisure time for our chubby er, charming moppet? Well they say the camera never lies – and if that is indeed the case may I present you with the must-have play thing of 1966…? The empty Liquorice Allsorts box topped off with the very latest in newspaper hats. (And this was considered flash: don't forget, it was grim oop North)

They seem so long ago now, those days when there were only 3 channels on the (black and white) telly and it was ‘Watch With Mother’ or nothing. Those days when even the little kids could be out on their bikes all day long, sarnies and Spangles for sustenance. Those days when my friend Anna and I would walk a little too close to the side of the road in the hope that Starsky and Hutch would speed by, knock us down* and be so overcome with remorse that they would adopt us.

*We clearly hadn't thought through either the pain factor (mangled limbs, months in traction etc etc) or the probability factor: chances of two Hollywood stars breaking the speed limit on a suburban Manchester side street possibly weren't as great as we believed. Still, hindsight is a wonderful thing. And even thirty years later, I still greatly treasure this board game, a favourite amongst my childhood toys (along with Mousetrap, Operation and the obligatory Knitting Nancy).

The funny thing is that while technology has got more, well, technological and fancy goods ever fancier, there are many things that haven’t changed at all. My daughter loves collecting snails and splashing in muddy puddles just as much as I ever did. I liked messing about with paint. She likes messing about with paint. Baking (and licking out the bowl) hold as much appeal today as they did all those decades ago.

And should any further proof be needed take a look (behind me) at what I got for my first birthday...

...and just look at what she got for hers

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Curly Girlie Review Spot (No 2)

Happy Birthday Postman Pat

Note from mum

Hot on the heels of review spot no 1 comes, somewhat predictably, review spot no 2 - this time celebrating the 30th birthday celebration DVD of our favourite Royal Mail employee and his feline friend.

The girl's verdict

"I like it a lot. It's very good. I like the cat. I would like a cat. My grandma has a cat called Sam *glares at Daddy who is allergic to cats*

My favourite is Postman Pat's Great Big Party (Ed: because?)... because it's a great big party *withering look*.

I like the pirate treasure too because I am a vey good pirate. I have an eye patch. *Shouts* Shiver me timbers (*and does scary things with a cutlass*)

Editor's Summary

With eight adventures and a free party cd this was a big hit with small girl and with over three hours of material one that will entertain for ages.

It also inspired the following art work. The first by Daddy (all his own work)

and the second by the girl herself - all by herself

I have no idea what happened to the black and white cat but I should probably blame the bloke with the Clarityn in the kitchen.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Friday, 30 September 2011

Because I'm (clearly not) Worth It

The unseasonably warm weather has presented a dilemma for those of us of pasty leggage who had believed that we were safe for another year.

Day 1 I went for the denial tactic - boots and tights - and almost expired from heat exhaustion. Day 2 - jeans and Converse...not an awful lot better.

Then yesterday morning I chanced upon a can of L'Oreal spray tan in the bathroom cabinet and figured this was a sign from above that I should dare to bare like the rest.

'Streak free' proclaimed the can. What could possibly go wrong?

I sprayed, according to the instructions. I dried as it told me to dry. My legs were still white enough to be seen from space so out came the long trousers again and a jolly day was passed with family and friends. Until...

Bedtime. Removal of trousers. Discovery that I had turned into a (mutant) zebra. Much hyperventilation, panic and scrubbing. To no avail.

(I offer only a small example of the horror - there is only so much leg I can expose on the world wide web under any circumstance)

Realising I had to take the girl swimming within hours I turned to Twitter for advice...which ranged from helpless laughter to the suggestion I buy a burkini.

The lack of late-night burkini shops in North London left me no option but to go for the only other advice from the Twitterati: lemon juice.

Now, in the cold light of day I am able to report back.

- I still look like a zebra.

- I smell like a pancake.

- I am being attacked by wasps.

- The 3yo has just seen the stripes and recoiled in horror.

- I have run out of time and options.

Don't suppose anyone has a wetsuit I can borrow?

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Curly Girlie Review Spot (No 1)

As the girl has been asked for her opinion on a number of things of late she, er, we have decided she should have her own guest spot on the blog to add her two pen'orth whenever the opportunity arises.

And so here, for your delectation, is the inaugural Curly Girlie Review post.

NB: she talks, I type. She hasn't quite mastered a qwerty keyboard yet - nor indeed the letters q, w and y...

Note from mum

My name is Cari and I am a Lakeland-a-holic. Whether it's my inner baker or my obsession with what OH refers to as 'kitchen porn' I cannot say - but it definitely tops the table of my favourite shops on the basis that a) it sells soup bags b) you don't ever have to try anything on and c) it's full of so many things I had no idea I ever needed. But oh I do need all of them.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview of the Christmas range (my list is long - very long) and to get a chance to try out some of the goodies for myself. The review for the fabby ice-cream maker will follow as soon as I've squeezed into the dress for my brother's wedding and can gorge on dairy desserts with gay abandon. So first up, the rather healthier Zoku 'Quick Pop' maker (RRP £34.99)

The core unit goes into the freezer for at least 24 hours before you want to use it. You then pour whatever juices (etc) you like into the slots and seven minutes later - hey presto, lollies. The three three year-olds who were trying this out fancied stripes - so stripes they got (simply pour in one colour leave for seven mins, pour on the next and so on)

The girl's verdict

First we put the sticks in and then mummy poured in the juice. It was a bit messy.

You had to put an orange handle on the end of the stick and turn it to make the lolly come out. It was a bit tricky so mummy had to help.

And then we had stripy lollies. Scrumptious. Can I have another one?

Editor's Note

The kids loved this, the mums had quite a lot of fun too. Someone with a steadier hand than me may not have made quite so much mess pouring the juices in - I found it a bit tricky to gauge how much I'd put into each slot but that's not a big deal unless you want every one to be exactly equal (in which case may be worth measuring the juices out first rather than sloshing them in and hoping for the best). We used orange, apple and cranberry but the possibilities are endless (tho low sugar drinks don't freeze well)

Screwing the orange handle round to loosen each lolly was easy enough for the grown ups but the kids struggled with it - although they were content enough just to see the results and get their hands on them as soon as possible. You could be a lot more adventurous and add chopped fruit etc as shown on the box - but we were all happy with the stripes.

One mum questioned whether she'd splash out when she could just make lollies in a regular freezer container - but the joy of this is not simply the end result - but the fact that you achieve it so quickly. Even the most impatient of small children can hang on for seven minutes and the instant ice was what we all liked best. You can make up to 12 lollies (ie three loads) before you have to refreeze so there are plenty for everyone.

I'd probably class this in the same way as something like a chocolate fountain (which retails for around the same price) - not something you're going to use every day but great fun when you do get it out of the cupboard and perfect for a treat.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Silent Sunday (25th September)

One picture. No words. My week

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Ten Years Ago Tonight

Ten years ago tonight I was saying goodbye to my brother in North Carolina and boarding a plane bound for London.

Ten years ago tonight I was flying over Manhattan when the plane encountered unexpected turbulence and the pilot told us to take our minds off it by looking out of the window to see "the magnificent sight of the twin towers".

Ten years ago tomorrow I finally arrived back at my flat and called my brother to say I was safely home but we'd had quite a lot of turbulence (I hate flying with a passion and bouncing around really doesn't help any).

Ten years ago tomorrow my brother replied "you better switch on the TV". So I did. And like millions of other people across the world sat and watched in horror for hours without moving.

Never have the words "there but for the grace of god" had more resonance.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Little Makeover

It's becoming increasingly clear that I am a hopeless case.

Have I remembered to put on the fabulous new mascara? Um...nope

Is my hair doing anything that I try to make it do? It is not. The dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look is entirely unintentional

Can I walk in heels over an inch high? Alas no - if it's not Converse I've had it.

So this week I have focussed my attentions on making the blog look pretty instead on the basis that it doesn't involve trying anything on or standing in front of a mirror.

Thank you lovely Alex for your technical wizardry.

And I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Why? Years

I been on this planet for *coughs and mumbles a bit* years.

Surely that is more than enough time for someone to have warned me that it's not so much the ‘why?’ years as ‘who, why, what, when, where…?”

As in:

Child - Why did we just stop in the middle of the road?
Me – To let that lady walk across the zebra crossing.
Child – Which lady?
Me – The one who is – logically enough – walking across the zebra crossing
Child – What is she called?
Me – I have no idea
Child – Why?
Me – Because she is a random stranger that I have never seen before
Child – Where does she live?
Me – Please refer to earlier response
Child – Why is she carrying a suitcase?
Me – Perhaps she is going on holiday
Child – Where to?
Me – Let’s go back to the bit about her being a random stranger…
Child – What has she got in her suitcase?
Mebangs head several times against steering wheel…
Child - ….Muuuuuum
Me – Yes darling
Child – What’s that lady called…?

Gin anyone?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Silent Sunday (28th August)

One picture. No words.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Why I'll Never Be A Grown Up Lady

I don't think I will ever be a proper grown up lady, no matter how old I get.

My hair never seems to do as it's told.

Friends talk about lovely 'pieces in the A/W11 collections' whereas I just mention I've seen a nice top in Gap.

Others seem to be perfectly made up no matter what time of day - whereas it would no more occur to me to put on make up of a morning than it would to fly to the moon. I can't even blame lack of time. It truly is something I never, ever remember (unless I'm going to a wedding or some such occasion - and even then someone usually has to prompt me).

Yet recently I've started to think that it might be rather nice to make a bit of an effort, to at least aim for stylish rather than the default scruffy setting. So when John Lewis asked me if I'd like to review a new mascara I jumped at the chance.

"It's a sign" I cried, "a sign that I was meant to be womanly and winsome".

I could barely get the lid off fast enough.

The cosmetic in question was the Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara which promised to give me "separated, thick, long "nylon shine" lashes". I must confess I had never thought of nylon as being something to aspire to - but undaunted I gave it a go.

And you know - it was rather marvellous. One small step for (wo)mankind perhaps but even a light coating (is that the technical term?) made a real difference.

"What do you think?" I asked my husband when he got back from work.

He stared at me for a while, realised he was supposed to be commenting on something then asked if I had ironed my jumper.

But bear in mind I had five inches cut off my hair a few weeks back and it took him ten days to notice - and perhaps he wasn't the best person to ask.

And actually I love my new toy. Is it a product I would recommend? Without question. Will I remember to put it on every morning? I'm rather doubtful. But I'll certainly try. And hey - maybe I will end up being a grown up lady after all...

Monday, 22 August 2011

The One With The Poo

We did the tourist thing today. We 'drove' a DLR train (for those unfamiliar with this mode of transport, it's an east London line that operates without a driver so you can sit right at the front and pretend you're the one in control). I'd be hard pressed to say which of us enjoyed it more, though for the sake of any remnant of street cred I possess I'll say that the 3 year-old just edged it.

Then there was a river boat from Greenwich to Tower Bridge (which thanks to my Oyster card was a bargain fiver for the both of us) and finally the fountains up by City Hall - fantastic, free and a lot of fun.

It was there that the 'incident' occurred. The child had been running merrily in and out of the jets of water and was soaked to the skin (& yes, in an untypical burst of organisation I HAD remembered to bring a change of clothes. Plus a towel...) when suddenly

"I need a poo. NOW"

There were no public toilets to be seen (I subsequently discovered one a few minutes walk away but a) that would have been a few minutes walk too far b) there was a mahoosive queue and c) I knew not of its existence at that stage - so essentially a fat lot of good on all counts.

There were a couple of restaurants up behind the fountains - but given the child and all her clothes were dripping wet I wasn't convinced that I'd find an obliging maitre d' who'd allow us to trail water all the way through his fancy eatery to use the facilities.

There were acres and acres of flat. exposed concrete - and not a tree or bush to be seen (other than a teeny hedge thing that even a chihuahua would have struggled to squat behind to preserve its modesty).

It was clear that my options were limited - or non existent - and the child was making it clear that there was no time to dither.

The day was saved by a Sainsburys carrier bag and an uncharacteristic display of hand/eye coordination on my part. And all was well that ended well - though I feel I should offer my apologies to my friend whose bag it was (she was suddenly less keen to use it for her kids' wet clothes than she had been at the outset) and to the posse of suited and booted business men who passed behind us at the clean up stage and possibly got more than they bargained for.

But it could have been worse. Halfway up the Northern Line and we'd all have been scuppered (though I guess at least we'd have got a seat...)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Silent Sunday (21st August)

One picture. No words.

Silent Sunday

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Silent Sunday (14th August)

One photo. No words

Silent Sunday

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Silent Sunday (7th August)

As picture. No words.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My Mini Picasso

I'm not entirely sure that my daughter has a future as an artist. And she's probably not helped by the fact that her mother failed art O-level (for that is GCSEs were in days of yore) not once but twice.

But she's enthusiastic and I like to think that's what matters.

This is my favourite from her "Scottish Holiday 2011" collection.

What is it? I checked with her and she assures me that it's a sheep...

Or possibly grandma

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Top Ten Things About Holidays

We are back from our trip to bonnie Scotland - and already planning our return. I've done some in-depth research bribed the girl and the other half to put together a list of what they liked best in case it might be useful to anyone else planning a sojourn north of the border. So here are our highlights.

1) Castles It must be said that Scotland does castles rather well. We like them a lot. Especially when they have a tea shop ones that you can do lots of climbing in

2) Scenery Stunning. The hills. The mountains. The colours. Just fantastic.

3) Giraffes Yes, giraffes. (Small child insisted that this had to be on the list). Yes, Scotland is famed for its wildlife. Yes, we saw cows and eagles aplenty. But giraffes are better. Apparently

4) Scottish Tablet If you've never had the pleasure you have missed out big time. Think of the creamiest, crumbliest fudge imaginable, then eat an entire packet every night of your trip. You might put on a stone but it will be worth it

5) Jumping (another contribution from small girl) Not something I believe to be exclusive to Scotland but a high point of the holiday nonetheless

6) Shortbread You might be forgiven for thinking all we did was eat *coughs loudly and adjusts waistband* (Please refer to earlier note about weight gain/pleasure ratio)

7) Strawberry picking - and boy do Scottish strawberries taste good

8) People Everywhere we went we met the friendliest folk imaginable. As ever there was many a conversation abut small girl's hair. I have finally learned to nod proudly when people say how much they love it - and smile politely when they add "but she'll hate it when she's older".

9) Horses The girl had her first go in the saddle and loved every second. In fact ever since she has talked about nothing else and there's many a poor stranger who has been accosted by a small, wild-haired beastie proclaiming "I went horse trotting".

10) 'Everything' says the girl. She's probably right. We can't wait to go back

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Silent Sunday (31st July)

One picture. No words. My week.

Silent Sunday

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Silent Sunday (24th July)

One picture. No words. (A fair amount of coughing)

Silent Sunday