Monday, 28 February 2011

Born To...Volunteer

Regular readers to my blog will know I recently took up a position volunteering my time in a local Save The Children shop.  I started last Friday and I loved it so much I wanted to blog about it - plus a few of you asked me to (thank you for your interest).

For those of you who missed the previous post, it would probably help to read my post 'Charity Doesn't Always Begin At Home' to understand why I decided to do it.

It's strange but whenever I've started a new job I haven't been able to sleep the night before, felt a bit anxious on the morning and all those usual feelings you get when venturing out into a new world of employment. However, last Thursday night I slept like a log.  I woke feeling refreshed and raring to go - this has been very rare for me lately. You know things are bad when your own parents turn up on your doorstep with the biggest bottle of Metatone Tonic you've ever seen in your life!  I was so excited, I couldn't wait to get there to help out - even though I had no idea what I was going to be doing.

When I arrived just before 10am I was greeted so warmly by everyone.  They were all older than me, which I fully expected, but they were delighted to see me.  I half expected some of them to see my young blood as a bit of a threat in a way....I thought they may think I was going to go all Mary Portas on them or something.

I was shown the ropes by a lovely lady called Jackie.  She took me on the guided tour which started with the most important place - the kitchen.  We went through everything, all their procedures and practices.  The shop was great and I instantly felt at home.  The shop is really large and the upstairs hub was clean and tidy and I was surprised how well organised it all was.

Helen, the shop supervisor, came in a little later on and she was keen to talk to me about Save The Childrens new 'Born To' campaign.  It was a chance to get back to my marketing roots reading through all the material and to understand what Save The Children were trying to achieve and the promotional items they are in the middle of producing.

The 'Born To' campaign is to raise awareness that no child should be born to die.  It's currently estimated that 8 million children under the age of five die needlessly every year - it's a shocking statistic and one that really hits home... especially being a mother of a 2 (next week) year old.

Save The Children work in more than 120 countries around the world, including the U.K. and the U.S. saving children's lives and fighting for their rights.  The work they do is incredible and they have a superb fundraising efficiency compared to other charities which means a huge percentage of money raised goes direct to the cause.

I give a monthly donation to 2 cancer charities as cancer has had a direct impact on my life but, as a stay-at-home-mum with no income I wanted to be able to help more. Save The Children was my chosen charity and I will fully support them for the rest of my life.

So, back to my first day.  I also got my hands dirty (not literally though) by helping sort through donation bags.  It probably sounds dull to a lot of people but this was actually my favorite job of the day.  Jackie said she enjoyed it too so the two of us started tipping out the bags onto the counter upstairs.  We chatted whilst sorting the wheat from the chaff...deciding what was to go on sale in the shop, then pricing it and tagging it.  It was great fun!  You know what I even did for a while?  I used the industrial steamer to steam some clothes for display.  Strange, considering most of the time all my iron does at home is collect dust!

I was only supposed to be there 10am - 2pm but I stayed until gone 3pm and I didn't want to leave I was enjoying it that much.  If I hadn't have been busy Saturday I would have been there again the next day.

The great thing about it is, everyone who works there is there because they want to be. Nobody is paid a wage at all.  Infact, the Save The Children charity is unusual in that most of their jobs, even managerial positions, are carried out purely by volunteers.  All the volunteers in the shop were lovely, a real mix of characters too - all with their own stories to tell.

I came away feeling fantastic.  Tired but full of energy and excitement.  Next week I'm going to be let loose on the tills for while to help out and I'm looking forward to meeting all the customers.  I've never worked in a direct retail environment before, but you know what?  I can't wait!

On Saturday I was alerted via twitter to the 'Born To Write' conference that had taken place that day at the Save The Children head office in London.  I just so wish I had known about it sooner, I was so upset when I looked into it - I would have loved to have gone but it doesn't stop me becoming involved.  My passion for this charity has grown massively since becoming a volunteer.  This 1 day has changed my life and had such an impact on me...for the better.

Yes, I now firmly believe I was born to volunteer.  What were you born to do?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Flashback Friday - School's Out

This photo was taken on my last day of high school some 20 years ago.  My best friend is on the left and I'm the extremely pale looking one between her legs (WTF?) on the right with the seriously bad perm.

I honestly don't know what we were thinking when we posed for this photo but then, I guess the prospect of leaving high school behind was obviously making us a bit giddy.

We've been best friends for 30 years this year and talking about her in my 80's post the other day made me dig out this photo.

Why not air your photo memories and link up with Karin?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Charity Doesn't Always Begin At Home

So far only my best friend and my husband know about this but as from tomorrow I will be officially volunteering my services to charity.

I don't want a badge, I don't want praise, I'm doing it for me if I'm honest.  It involves giving something back and doing good obviously but that, in turn, will hopefully make me feel better about myself.

Throughout my working life it's always been something I wanted to do but my weekends were precious to me then, they were a time to have fun with my friends or my partner.  They were a time for drinking, socialising and merriment.  They were a time to splash my hard-earned cash on going out to pubs and clubs.  Now my weekends are spent as our family time - my husband, my daughter and me.  My in-laws live 100 miles away so are not fortunate enough to pop in during the week so every two weeks we meet up with them, they come here or we go to them so it eats into our 'just the 3 of us' time quite a bit. So again, I feel (and justifiably so this time) that my weekends are precious.

Now I'm a stay-at-home-mum, I have all the time in the world during the week don't I? No, between the bits of blogging I am able to write, I'm a mummy - I teach my daughter new things every day and I'm loving it.  I'm also friend, a daughter, an acquaintance, a cleaner, a chef, a maid, a shopper and a relaxer (yes, it's nice to have 5 minutes to myself with my feet up and a cup of tea).  The days literally fly by!

My parents have my daughter for me every Friday now and what do I do with that time?  I usually end up cleaning the house and getting the washing done.

I spoke to my best friend about it a few weeks ago and she asked if I wanted to go back to work part time.  "No" came my immediate reply.  I surprised myself at the quickness of my response as I did actually love my job - although maybe not the commute.  Then it struck me.  I'd always been so jealous of people who dedicated some of their time to charity and I'd never been in a position (or so I thought) to do it.  My brother-in-law volunteered at an Oxfam shop for 18 months, which, at the age of 23 I admired so much.  A young lad working in a charity shop for no wage at the age of 23 wasn't something you come across every day.

I spoke to my brother-in-law about it and he said he loved it.  He got to meet so many different personalities and he enjoyed dedicating his time to the charity.

I spoke to my husband about it and asked what he thought.  His response...

"No, charity begins at home".

Now don't get me wrong, my husband is quite charitable - he gives monthly to charities, as I do, and he will always give to Children In Need and other major charitable events. So this retort shocked me.

"No it doesn't" I replied.

He then explained that since I gave up work to be at home we aren't as financially well off as we once were.  I sit and look at the things we bought BC (before child) and I cringe at the money we fritted away on things that we didn't need.  We may not be as well off but we certainly aren't hard done by.  We still managed to splurge occasionally and our daughter never goes without.

I explained my thoughts and feelings to him and also reminded him that his own brother had done it.  He soon realised I was deadly serious and realised the benefits that it's going to give me.  Sure, it's not going to bring any extra money into the house, but so what?  I never did get people who were always striving to make money and weren't content with the things they had or trying to get the most out of life.  I want this to be something I can look back on and be proud that I did it.  I want my daughter to be proud of her mummy.

So, the next day I rushed off to get a volunteer form, spoke to my ex boss and an ex work colleague to provide me with a character reference and went back with the completed form in hand to drop it in personally.

I got the phone call on Tuesday.

I start at 10am tomorrow.


Five Things I Want My Daughter To Know About Me

I'm joining in with Ella's fabulous Friday Club Carnival again this week because I started this blog, not only for myself but for my daughter.  This weeks theme is 'Five things you want your children to know about you and why' so here goes:

1. This blog.  As soon as my daughter is old enough to read and understand this blog in her teenage years, I want her to be able to read it.  I want her to have an open and honest 'library', as it were, to discover her Mum.  This blog wasn't started for readership popularity, it was started for me and my daughter - a place to document my thoughts, my fears and my life...with her in it.

2. Making mistakes.  I want her to understand that it's okay to make mistakes in life and that making mistakes only makes us stronger, makes us who we are.  I want her to know about the mistakes I've made in life like getting married far too young first time around when I thought I knew it all.  Without my subsequent divorce, I wouldn't have met my gorgeous husband Matt and we wouldn't have her, our beautiful daughter.

3. Being young and carefree (aka stupid).  I would like her to know about my teenage years and the things I used to get up to and what I hid from my parents.  I want her to know that there was once a time when I was young and I did things that I look back on now and shudder at the thought of.  I want her to know that I once went to Blackpool for the weekend with my boyfriend and a couple of friends when my parents thought I was staying at a friends house.  Thankfully nothing went wrong but imagine if something had happened?  I want her to know that I would like her to tell me everything for her own safety and that she can trust me completely and I'm a cool Mum.

4. Friends.  I want her to know that my friends are hugely important to me, like an extended family.  I want her to understand what the true meaning of friendship is and to hold on to a handful of true close/best friends throughout her life.  I want her to know that, when I was in my teens and first started showing a proper interest in the opposite sex I still made time for my friends.  I believe that is hugely important lesson in life because boyfriends come and go but true friends are there for life.

5. Last, but by no means least, I obviously want her to know just how much I love her. I want her to know that her Dad and I worship the ground she walks on.  Every smile, every look, every word, every giggle, every tear and even every tantrum is felt with such unconditional love that I can't imagine a time when she wasn't in our lives.  I started on my parenting journey later in life but she was definitely worth the wait.

The Friday Club

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

E is for...Eighties

Click play to reminisce (may take a short while to load) 

I'm well and truly an 80's girl at heart.  I love the 80's as I spent most of my childhood in them - from the ages 6 to 16 in fact.  I know some people hate the 80's so much that they shudder at the thought of mullets, curly perms and banana clips.  But for me, the 80's was the best decade, the decade of fun, the decade of high fashion and neon clothing, the decade of new romantic music and the decade when my Dad made a go-kart for me that was the fastest thing on earth!

I've already talked about my love of 80's films on my blog and my obsession with the mighty Depeche Mode which started in the 80's but there is so much more that defines the 80's for me.  So much more that even after I've posted this blog, I know I'll think of something else.

80's music played a big part in my life and even now, throw on a bit of 80's 'cheese' and you can never fail to get me up on the dance floor.  In fact, I used to frequent my local nightclub during the nineties and noughties most weekends...would I be on the ground floor listening to the indie tunes?  No.  Would I be found on the first floor raving it up to some club classics?  No way!  No, I'd usually be found in some drunken state getting my groove on to Tiffany or some other cheese-fest musical memory on the 80's floor. Usually after a few too many TVR's!

Tiffany and cheese aside, the thing I love the 80's for most is the new romantic music it brought with it.  Bands like Depeche Mode, The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and The Human League were everywhere and I couldn't get enough of them.

The 80's saw the birth of MTV to our screens, I remember a friend of mine who's parents always got the very latest technology.  I'd spend so much time at her house for sleep-overs where we'd watch MTV all night and dance around the living room in our pyjamas.   To sit and watch music videos in your living room was just amazing.  MTV also brought with it a change in fashion.  Most of us wore ski-pants with over-sized shirts or bat-wing jumpers and big thick belts.  Our clothes were bright and in your face.  We didn't just accessorize we excessorized!  We went over-board on big and bright plastic earrings, necklaces and bracelets.  The American influence saw us going big (quite literally) on huge shoulder pads so we looked just like Crystal Carrington.  I think the 80's is such a mix of fashion from one extreme to another...and although I look back at pictures of myself and shudder, I can't help but smile and love the 80's for all it's nuttiness!

I have such fond memories of racing to the local news agents on a Thursday to pick up my weekly copy of Smash Hits Magazine.  I would study the magazine for hours, pouring over the latest bands and heart throbs.  Then, when I was done, I'd rip out the lyrics pages so I could get ready to sing my heart out (badly) whilst listening to the Radio 1 chart countdown every Sunday.  On that Sunday I would get my trusty tape cassette deck out, insert my memorex tape and have my fingers poised over the record and play buttons ready to record the songs I loved.  I remember just how pissed off I'd feel if I mis-timed it and ended up with Bruno Brookes talking on my tape!  I'd be frantically rewinding and re-editing, trying to cut all the talking out and then writing the songs on the label insert.

I'd spend lots of time with my best friend (and she's still my best friend now), looking through Smash Hits and singing along to our newly compiled tapes of chart hits.  We'd sing into hairbrushes.  We'd even knock on her brothers bedroom door and sing to him or plead with him to do his impression of Vivian from The Young Ones.

That's another love of mine from the 80's - The Young Ones.  Maybe it's where my love of toilet humour stems from?  Maybe it's the fact that my Mum didn't really like my older Sister and I watching it but we used to twist her arm - the great thing about your Dad working nights!

To this day, my favourite episode of The Young Ones has to be 'Bambi', the one where they go on University Challenge.  Music also played a huge part in The Young Ones...where else could you get to rock out to tunes whilst chuckling away over jokes about bogies, trumps and crap. Even now I can't listen to Ace Of Spades by Motรถrhead without giggling like a silly schoolgirl.

The other night my husband was flicking through the TV channels on Sky (typical man) and I suddenly stopped him.  "Quick, quick, go back a couple of channels, I used to watch that programme in the 80's" I cried.  What was it?  Some cool kid or teen programme?  No. I was referring to 'Thirtysomething'.  I used to watch and love this programme in the late 80's.  When I look back, I wonder if the 80's made us all old before our time or is this something that all kids do?  Watch a programme about people so much older than them and so different.  Why would someone in their early teens love a programme about baby booming yuppies in their 30's?  But it made me stop and think about all the programmes I genuinely loved in these years - Moonlighting, The Love Boat, Dynasty, The A-Team, CHiPs, Beauty and the Beast, The Cosby Show, Diff'rent Strokes and The Fall Guy to name but a few.  Perhaps I was old before my time?  Perhaps we all were in the 80's or perhaps it happens within every generation? Perhaps children born in the late 80's used to sit glued to 'Cold Feet'?  Who knows?

This blog post could quite easily go on and on, talking about the kids programmes I loved of the 80's like Metal Mickey, The Adventure Game (remember 'Grandad' the talking plant?), Fraggle Rock and The Moomins.  I could talk about the toys I loved (and loathed) like Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pound Puppies, Glo Worms, Lolo Balls, My Little Pony, Popples and Cindy Dolls.  But I won't...I just wanted to spark some memories.

For me, the 80's have to be the most influential decade of my life and I'll never stop loving them.  Do you love or hate the 80's and what are your memories?

Part of my A to Z posts
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The Gallery - Expressions

The subject of The Gallery this week over at Sticky Fingers (aka Tara) is Expressions. I've really struggled with this as I have so many photographs I could use.  I got it down to 3 and I've been sat on them all week wondering which one to pick.

In the end I got sick of deciding so I'm posting all 3 - sorry!

Ice cold water on a boiling hot day after a game of football

(aka The Football Hooligan look)
Giving 'Big Teddy' some grief

The Betster and I bearing our gnashers

Head over to Tara's place to check out all the fab entries...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Movie Meme #1 - 21st Century Films

The rather lovely Hannah (aka Metal Mummy) has started up a fab movie meme where us movie fans get to choose a film from a genre each week and write about it.

How could I not join in?  I love films...I wish I had the time to watch more and this meme will certainly open my eyes to films I haven't seen so they can go on my 'to watch list'.

This week the theme is films from the 21st century.   It's really difficult to pick out a favourite film in this genre as there are SO many that I could easily rave about - The Prestige, Pan's Labyrinth, Lord Of The Rings, Inception, Donnie Darko, The Departed, Tell No One, The Kings Speech etc.  There are so many I love!

picture source: wikipedia
However, I'm choosing Memento.

In a nutshell it's about a guy with amnesia who's wife has been killed (that is his last memory) and he uses notes and tattoos to discover who has killed her as he's unable to store new memories.  It's one of those films that starts at the end - it's one of those films that really makes you think.  It's written and directed by Christopher Nolan - the mastermind behind Inception and The Prestige.

The film stars Guy Pearce in the lead role and he's amazing.  "What?" I hear all you Neighbours fans cry "Mike Young?"  Yes, Mike Young from Neighbours.  He's long since shed the Aussie Soap badge and is a fantastic actor - also stars in The Kings Speech (another of my faves) and The Hurt Locker.

If you haven't seen it, pick up the DVD.

Also, check out 'Tell No One' or 'Ne le dis a personne' from the films I've mentioned above.  I so very nearly chose to write about that instead as it's a French (subtitled) thriller so you may not have heard of it.  It's an great thriller, real 'edge of your seat' stuff based on the novel by the great Harlan Corben.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Operation Spring Clean

Every year I tell myself that I will give the house a proper 'Spring Clean'.  Every year I fail.  I usually end up doing some half-arsed tidy up with the odd spot of oven cleaning thrown in for good measure.  This year is going to be different.  I hope!

I do like to have a tidy house I must admit. I find myself feeling really fed-up when I let it get on top of me.  I'm a firm believer in the saying 'tidy house - tidy mind'.  Sad really but I feel so much better about things and so much better about myself when the house is clean and tidy.

Friends who visit my house are forever telling me my house is always clean and tidy - but chances are it's because I've run around like a loon cleaning up because I know they are coming.  I do try my best to keep on top of things though, for my own sanity.

Don't get me wrong, although my house is clean and tidy it's still a home.  There is nothing worse than a house that is so clean and tidy it doesn't look lived in.  You know the houses I mean.  They look like some sort of Show Home straight out of a housebuilder brochure.  When I was growing up I had a friend whose Mum kept one of those homes.  You couldn't even put a drink of squash down on the coffee table without feeling out of place.  I hated going there.

Because I've not been feeling great lately I've decided it's time to have a clear-out.  I've decided to be ruthless.  I'm going to attempt to tackle a room a day doing 2 or 3 rooms a week.  That way it's manageable, that way I don't burn myself out before I've even started and that way, more importantly, I am still there for my daughter.

I'm currently making a plan of action (aka list) of things I need to do.  Hell, I'm even going to pull all the white goods (ok, they are silver/grey in my kitchen but who cares) out and clean under them.  Yes, I mean business people!

I'm also having a mass fashion sort out.  I say the word fashion loosely though...I must have well over 2,000+ items of clothing bursting out of wardrobes, drawers, storage boxes and even the loft and I still complain I have nothing to wear.  Gok Wan would have a field day.  If he even tried to 'fashion fix' me he'd seriously have to buy up the worlds supply of clothes pegs to hang my sad attire out at the beginning.

So, over the course of the next month, if you see a couple of random tweets about Stardrops or Astonish, just ignore me and move along.

Photo credit: Suat Eman

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Filling In The Blanks

My lovely friend Wendy from Inside The Wendy House has tagged me in a lovely meme where you are given prompts and you have to 'fill in the blanks'.  The meme originates from this lovely blog here if you fancy joining in.

Here goes...

1. I am...  a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a loyal friend, a lover, a companion, a bit of a tom-boy, a photography lover, a film critic, a food lover, a dog owner, an animal lover, a worrier.

2. The bravest thing I've ever done...  was admit that my first marriage was over and not worth continuing.

Photo credit - my fabulous friend Claire Penn
3. I feel prettiest when...  I have my daughter in my arms and her smile makes me smile naturally with openness and unconditional love.

4. Something that keeps me awake at night is... anxiety.  There I said it.

5. My favourite meal in the entire world is... roast beef (cooked with ginger, garlic and rosemary), homemade yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes made with goose fat and semolina.

6. The way to my heart is... honesty, loyal friendship and laughter.  Or a roast beef dinner ;)

7. I would like to be able to be strong enough to stand up for myself sometimes.

Silent Sunday #6

Silent Sunday

Friday, 18 February 2011

Flashback Friday - Me, Tina and the beloved Vauxhall

Well, as I'm useless I've only just discovered the lovely Karin has started a new blog hop of 'golden oldie' photos.  I absolutely adore looking at old photos so I'm really looking forward to this one!

This is little old me outside our old house in a village called Mynydd Isa.  It was probably taken in about 1977-1978 I reckon as we moved from this house in 1979 when I was almost 5.  That's not a stuffed toy, that's the family dog - a toy poodle called Tina who I used to wind up something rotten...poor pooch.

Star of the show though (and probably the reason my Dad took this photo) is the trusty old Vauxhall Cresta in the background.  My Mum & Dad actually met at Vauxhalls in Luton, Bedfordshire so they have ALWAYS had Vauxhall cars.  Even now my Dad drives an Omega and my Mum drives a Corsa. Sad.

Why not air your photo memories and link up with Karin?

I'm back...and I'm cheerful again!

I've been in on the wonderful Michelle's Reasons To Be Cheerful from the start but I've been absent the last couple of weeks.  Basically I've been in a bit of a shitty place.  It's been building for a while but I finally went over the edge due to a couple of reasons, one that I can't talk about right now.  BUT...the good news is I'm feeling much more myself and am getting back on form so here goes...

1. My life

I'm truly blessed in my life.  I have a wonderful daughter and an incredible husband. Yes, he's fractured his ankle.  Yes, he's a waste of space at the moment.  Yes, I'm doing everything for him.  But you know what?  It's temporary.  I've had my nose in a lot of blogs over the past few weeks and some of the heartache and problems that people are going through are unreal - I can't even begin to imagine what things are like for them. I on the other hand have just been feeling sorry for myself over problems that pale into insignificance compared to others.  I should be thankful for what I've got...and I am.

2. Laughter

The laughter in my life this week is mainly down to my daughter.  She's just turned 23 months and she's hilarious.  Today we went into town together and she was just amazingly cute.  Of course we just HAD to go to the Disney Store or "Minnie Mouse Shop" as she calls it.  She's obsessed with Minnie Mouse and as soon as we get anywhere near it she starts running down the street squealing "Miiiiiinniiiiieeeee Mooooouse" really loudly which delighted all the shoppers passing us.  Then we went to Starbucks, as a treat, for coffee and cake (coffee was just for me obviously) where she entertained the patrons with her newly acquired Minnie ears!

3. A 'free' meal

My best friend is going through a truly awful time at the moment and I'm supporting her as best I can.  We decided we both needed a break and a nice treat so we booked a table for 2 at a lovely French restaurant last night.  We had a lovely evening and a really good long natter for a few hours over 4 courses and some wine with no distractions.  My husband demanded he paid for our treat so he sent me out with his credit card.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

What are your reasons to be cheerful this week?  Join in the hop...

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Stop! Baguette Thief!

The fabulous Paula over at Qwerty Mum has come up with a lovely linky to share the things that our kids do - both naughty and nice it would seem (just have a look at Bloggomys entry in particular ewww).  Also re-posting for the lovely Jen at The King And Eye for Blog Gems.

Only 2 days ago I had slow-cooked a rather delicious stew - even though I do say so myself - and I had 2 baguettes to warm in the oven so we could eat it with some nice crusty bread.  The stew was finishing off nicely and I was sat at the dining table sorting some paperwork.  The baguettes were, so I thought, on the worktop ready to go in the oven 5 minutes before we were due to eat.  My daughter had been playing with her HappyLand toys, or so I thought,  in the lounge.

Next thing I hear her running full pelt across the laminate floor of the hall and into the kitchen whizzing past me at record speed saying "Hello Mummy" and then as I turn around she's running towards me to go back out of the kitchen shouting "Bye Bye Mummy" whilst laughing.  At this point I realise she has something in her hand.  A baguette!  I grab her before she darts away and I manage to remove the food item from her tiny clutches.  She giggles and says "Bye Bye Mummy" again and she runs off back to the lounge.

I walk back into the kitchen to put the baguette back on the work top with its partner and as I do I suddenly realise that I'm down a baguette.  I look around the kitchen work surfaces wondering if I've put it somewhere else, I even check the fridge (I seem to have developed a weird habit of putting random objects in our fridge) but nothing.

Then it dawns on me.  I dash into the lounge and this is what greets me...

Butter wouldn't melt

The Things Kids Do   

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Gallery - Togetherness

For the previous weeks I've entered The Gallery feature I've used a stock shot (apart from 24 hours obviously) but Tara asked us to go out and spread some love this week.  Well, I'm not feeling any love right now and as of Monday I'd decided I wasn't going to join in.  Yeah I know, bah humbug and all that.... I'm a miserable bugger at the moment, sorry.

I had a lovely day with my daughter yesterday and she decided to climb up on her toy box in her room and sort out (with Mummys help) her cuddly toys that are now sat atop her old changing table.  You can't help but smile when you see them all together and they bring so much joy and love to my daughter.  Every time she picked one up she cuddled it tightly before setting it down.  So these are my lame entries this week...

My daughter has her 3 favourites she has to sleep with...Moomin, Pink Dog and Minnie.
For my daughter, this is her togetherness every night.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Listography - 5 Top Movies (it's an 80's thing!)

Since I started blogging I've been joining in with the Kate Takes 5 Listography but I missed out last week because of real life - damn that real life getting in the way ;-)

When I saw it was films this week I had to join in. I'm a big film fan.  Infact...this (right) is just part of our DVD collection we have at home.  I say part as we are having a big sort out at the moment...infact I may be brave and sell some *gulp*

Oh and yes...they are all in alphabetical order.  I'm a freak.  I admit it.

Anyway, it's really difficult for me to pick 5 films as there are so many so I decided to pick my favourite 80's movies so I could be more specific.  I have a bit of a thing about 80's movies and those with very quotable lines that you never forget, these do it every time...

1. Heathers (1988)

An obvious choice for me really isn't it?  Although I should hate a film about someone who loathes 3 girls with the name 'Heather' but this film rocks.  It's an amazing satirical take on life inside a high school with the 'popular' people and the black comedy is just genius.  Plus how can you not love a film with these lines in it:

"Grow up Heather, bulimia is so '87"
"Heather, why can't you just be a friend?  Why do you have to be such a mega bitch?"
"It's your turn Heather"..."No Heather, it's Heathers turn.  Heather?"..."Sorry Heather".
"I brought you to a Remington Party and this is my thanks? It's on the hallway carpet.  I got paid in puke!"..."Lick it up!"
"I use my grand IQ to decide what colour lip gloss to wear in the morning"
"She's my best friend.  God I hate her"

2. Top Gun (1986)

Yes it's incredibly cheesy but I love it.  These are the days when Tom Cruise wasn't a big alien loving freakoid but an incredibly scrumptious bit of eye-candy.  I think I have watched this film more than any other film in my DVD collection.  My love for this film is what brought my husband and I together before we'd even met (we met online) and I even recall when we did get together he left me a paper aeroplane note on my pillow one morning. Cheese overload!  Word of warning, don't ever watch this film with me as I know pretty much every line.  I'm not going to line quote as you'll know them but just leave you with my favourite:

"If you screw up just this much you'll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong"

3. The Lost Boys (1987)

For me, this is the ultimate vampire flick (although I do also love From Dusk Till Dawn) long before the days of Team Edward and whoever else is in the Twilight saga.  Some great performances from the young actors in this movie (and the Grandpa has some brilliant lines) and the best by far from a young Corey Haim - I still love the bath scene so much and when Max comes to dinner...hilarious!  Some of my favourite quotes have to be:

"No.  I just like to read the TV guide.  Read the TV guide, you don't need a TV"
"You're a vampire!  I knew it!"..."No I'm not"..."So what are you?  The flying nun?"
"There's one thing about living in Santa Carla I could never stomach. All the damn vampires!"

4. Weird Science (1985)

This is a strange choice I know - it's the daftest story...2 geeky guys crave female attention and end up creating a woman who ends up wreaking havoc in their lives whilst their parents are out of town. Again, I think I love it for it's comedy and daft quotable lines...and maybe the toilet humour.  The bit when Garry takes Lisa to meet his parents is genius and has me laughing my ass off every time.

"Mom, I never toss off to anything"..."You told me you were combing your hair!"

5. The Breakfast Club (1985)

It was hard for me to pick a 5th as there are so many (see below) that could have easily made the list.  The set up for this movie sounds as dull as anything - 5 students in detention over a weekend. But the mix of personalities from these students who have absolutely nothing in common apart from their punishment is fabulous.  This is the ultimate                                                          'Brat Pack' movie.

Some more 80's movies I like: All Of Me, Back To The Future, Big, Brewsters Millions, Class, Cocktail, Coming To America, Dirty Dancing, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Footloose, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Gregorys Girl, Highlander, The Karate Kid, Labyrinth,  Mannequin, The Money Pit, The Never Ending Story, An Officer And A Gentleman and Risky Business


D is for...Depeche Mode

Got to love the 80's
Anyone who knows me well enough knows I love Depeche Mode.  I have so many vinyl albums and 12" singles lurking in a box up in my loft it's untrue.

I was well aware of DM from a very early age but I'd say I fell in love with them properly back in about '86 at the tender age of 12. Infact, I think 'Black Celebration' was the first album of theirs I bought with my hard-earned pocket money.

I used to adore them - they were different, they were more edgy than your standard groups at the time. I used to sit and listen to their 'Violator' album so much I'm surprised I didn't wear the vinyl out. Unbelievably, at the age of just 16 I was allowed on a coach trip with a friend of mine to go to the NEC in Birmingham to see them in concert.   How my Mum ever agreed to that, I'll never know.  But, for me, it was the start of something beautiful and I still go to see them live whenever they tour.  Thankfully my Sister loves them too and we've even dragged our husbands over to Prague to see them (although they declined the concert tickets but joined us for the trip)!  

My husband always used to struggle with my love for them...well, at least I thought he did until I discovered he had some of the greats like 'Enjoy The Silence', 'Never Let Me Down Again' and 'Behind The Wheel' on his iPod.  

When they did their 'Music For The Masses' tour it was just breath-taking.  How envious I was of all those people who went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California to see that final concert. The 101 DVD is still one I never grow tired of.

I know some people think Depeche Mode are dark and dreary. I myself had a a couple of years in the late 90's when they were a bit too much for me.  Infact, even though I own the album 'Ultra' I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've listened to it.  I can't even bring myself to watch the 'Barrel Of A Gun' video as it freaks me out.  These are the days of DM I'd rather put to the back of my mind even though I love them for being different.

Dave Gahan = legend
I adored Dave Gahan (and still do).  That man can gyrate and build the crowd up into an incredible frenzy.  Sure, he's had his problems - being addicted to heroin, trying to slit his wrists and his heart stopped once but I'm not going to hold that against him!  He's fast approaching 50 years of age and I only saw DM perform last just over a year ago - the man still has an amazing stage presence.   His live performances are absolutely mind-blowing.  Despite his dodgy past, the man is an absolute legend.  Every time I see DM live I can't speak for two days for singing my heart out and screaming.  Yes I know, a 36 year old acting like some crazed groupie but my Sister is 3 years older than me so she's worse.

I have some very suspect photos of me in my teenage years trying to carry off the 'Dave Gahan' look, wearing black vest tops and pure white tight denim jeans.  I know that when my daughter sees these she will cringe just the way I used to look at photos of my Mum wearing her velvet mini dress in the 60's.  Now I'm older though I look at photos of my Mum and hear stories of her seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, getting up on a table for a better look and to dance and I smile.  I hope my daughter thinks I'm a cool Mum for loving Depeche Mode for so long - at least I didn't give up on them up in the late 80's to decorate my shoes with Grolsch bottle tops and worship the blonde chimp twins that were dross Bros!  Depeche Mode are amazing musicians and performers and I'll always love them.

Part of my A to Z posts
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Also posting this for these great blog hops:  
                        GhostWriterMummy     Adventures in Estrogen
(yes, killing THREE birds with ONE stone)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Gallery - 24 Hours

When I saw the topic prompt from Tara I wasn't sure I was going to join in with this as I couldn't imagine ANYONE wanting to see photos from my day being a SAHM.  Me teaching my daughter, playing with her and cleaning.  Wow!  But then I thought I'd give it a go just for laugh.   So hold on to your hats for a roller coaster ride of excitement *sarcasm* here's how I spent Monday 7th February 2011...


Breakfast time.  Mini Cheddar (aka the human dustbin) ploughs through 3 (yes 3!) weetabix.  Then begs some "Mummy toast" from my plate.

Then it's wait for my doofus of a husband (aka 'Daddy Leg' as Mini Cheddar now calls him) to slide downstairs on his bottom - he's fractured his ankle and is in plaster...I may have mentioned it this once or twice ;-) - so I can make his coffee and breakfast.  Joy.


Having provided said plastered husband with provisions for sofa-based nappy changing I arrive at the dentist and sit in the waiting room.

The prospect of having a filling removed and replaced is not one I'm relishing.


I arrive back home to find my lounge trashed with toys.  Husband in plaster (foot up) trying to work on the laptop from the sofa.  Even Dory the fish looks pissed off!

I can't even moan at them both as I can't speak properly without dribbling out of the side of my mouth.  Damn dentist!

I make them both cheese on toast for lunch which they scoff on the sofa and jump back in the car.  I'm unable to eat.


I walk into the doctors waiting room and an amazing sight greets me, one I've never experienced!  It's empty!

I'm so happy to take this photo as next time I'm stuck in there with the loads of the silver-hair brigade coughing and a thousand kiddies running around snotting everywhere I'll remember this moment. Ah!


After a quick pit stop home to settle Mini Cheddar down for a nap (and check on useless man in plaster) I pick up some letters and head out to the 'Swyddfa'r Post'.

That's Welsh for Post Office incase you were wondering.


Just a quick 5 minutes before Mini Cheddar wakes to grab a coffee and a choccy break.  Not exactly what my dentist would approve of after all her hard work but hey ho I need a sugar fix!


Mini Cheddar decides that Teddy has come out in sympathy for 'Daddys Leg' so we have to bandage Teddys leg too and give him lots of cuddles.


Start to make dinner, set table and generally try to keep Mini Cheddar from trashing the place whilst I do.


Mini Cheddar and Minnie Mouse ready for bed!


2 very LARGE glasses of Baileys and ice and a selection of naughty treats for husband and I to relax and watch a film.  Well, it's been a rough old week ;-)

Bed at 10.30pm.  So rock 'n roll.

Rinse and repeat.

(I'll omit photos of us all asleep)

See, told you it was thrilling!


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