Thursday, 28 April 2011

Bye Bye 'Pider

I really don't like spiders.

I wouldn't say I'm an arachnophobe, I just don't like them. End of.

Photo credit: Ross Haddow
Unfortunately I married a man who can't even stand the thought of one, let alone to actually clap eyes on one. He puts them in categories.

"Heath! There's a category 2 on the stairs!" I'll hear him cry.

This poses a bit of a problem.

My dislike for the eight-legged blighters has been passed onto me by my mother and my husbands phobia has been instilled into him by his mother.  I really don't want us to end up passing this fear onto Mini Cheddar - our 2 year old daughter.

Basically I've had to grow a pair of balls, man-up and not show my fear when one enters our abode.  Luckily, during the dreaded 'Spider Month' (aka September) when all our eight-legged friends decide it's starting to get a little chilly and venture indoors, Mini Cheddar has been asleep so she hasn't heard the girly shrieking that goes on when one is discovered...or heard me trying to calm my husband down!

But lately I've noticed quite a few making an appearance around the house and garden during the day. Since Mini Chedder was tiny I've always tried to point spiders out to her if I see one crawling about.

"Oh look sweetie, there's a lovely spider"

Secretly I was screaming inside.  But lately I've become rather hardened.  Whether it's because I've grown quite fond of our creepy crawly friends or whether it's because there's this inner power within in me to hide my fear from Mini Cheddar, I don't know.  I just wish I could convince my husband adopt the same stance and not holler at me to get the vacuum every time he thinks there's one in the house.

Knowing the lack of spider love in the house my Sister bought us one of these spider catchers for Christmas and I used it for the first time last week.  I have to say it's amazing.  No, this isn't a sponsored post.  I just love the item so much.  You don't really have to look at them when you do it - genius.

I picked the scary offender up without harming him/her (how do you tell the sex of a spider?) and transfered him/her outside.  See, it's even humane!

"Bye bye 'pider" as Mini Cheddar says "Put 'pider outside".

So long as she's not afraid of them I don't mind.  My work will be done.  I just don't want her being so brave that she can pick them up and thrust them at me.  I've become hardened yes, but I still dislike the creepy little buggers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Gallery - Green

I have a confession to make. I usually look atThe Gallery theme as soon as it's announced on the Friday but this week I didn't...I've neglected by blogging duties over Easter and panicked yesterday morning. So I ran over to Sticky Fingers wondering what sort of mammoth task we'd been set this week.

Boy, was I relieved to see the theme.  Thank you Tara!  I owe you big time.

A really easy one for me this week and a chance to delve into the archives.

In 2006 my husband turned 30 and one of the things he had always talked about was seeing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and visiting a place called Tromso in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway.

So, being the kind, loving and generous wife I am, I secretly planned and booked a 5 night trip to Tromso over New Year.  Needless to say this was when I was working full time - now I just give him sex vouchers...if he's lucky (joke!).

I contacted a local Northern Lights guide called Kjetil Skogli to arrange a tour with him and even booked in a night of husky sledging too.  Kjetil is amazing, his passion for the Aurora Borealis is second to none and he will go to great lengths to track 'her' down.  He's a lovely guy who we still keep in touch with from time to time and since we spent the night with him he's even taken the lovely Joanna Lumley out to hunt the Northern Lights!

He supplied us with all the right Arctic gear, picked us up from the hotel and took us away from the lights of the city and into the total darkness of the mountains.  I can't describe what it felt like to be surrounded by complete stillness.  It was truly amazing. He dug a hole in the snow and made a camp fire. We ate reindeer (don't tell the kids!) and drank hot tea...we set up camera on tripod and waited.

Then, the most amazing thing happened.  The Northern Lights appeared.  They moved me to tears.

We saw them again the night before we were due to come home (2nd Jan '07) and they were colours of pinks and purple on that night and danced right across the city.  We were lucky enough to watch them from our hotel window.

Just because I love this picture I'm going to share this one too.  This is my husband and I, in the 'snow hole' waiting.  We didn't realise at the time but the Northern Lights were trying to peak above the mountain top which you can see behind us.

For anyone who hasn't witnessed the beauty of the Northern Lights I can only describe them as magical, almost haunting and eery in some respects.  The different patterns and colours that are constantly changing are beautiful.  This video here will give you an idea of how they move.

I count myself very lucky indeed to have had this experience and it's one I will never ever forget.

Now head on over and check out all the other entries...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Movie Meme - Horror

It's Horror this week over at Hannah's blog.

This week she wants films that scare us.  I wouldn't say I get scared too much by horror movies (not like my wussy husband).  I'm not a huge fan of all the ones that are full of guts and gore that's for sure.  I love the creepy ones, the ones with atmosphere like Jacobs Ladder, The Exorcist, Poltergeist and Stir of Echoes to name but a few.

The film I've chosen for this week, like Hannah, is one that scared me when I was younger.  I can remember watching it on TV with my Mum and my older Sister when Dad was on night shift and I think I ended up in Mums bed for about a week!

It just happens to be an 80's film so maybe my love for 80's movies extends to this genre too.

My choice...The Thing.

Released in 1982 and directed by great John Carpenter who also directed Christine (another horror I love) it stars a young Kurt Russell in the lead role as MacReady who is part of an American science team in the Antarctic. The film starts in the cold mist with some Norwegians chasing a dog and trying to kill it but they fail. Later the dog starts attacking the other dogs and so 'The Thing' starts to move and mutate throughout the compound.

Being made in 1982 the effects aren't the best but it's full of atmosphere (and gore too) and the fact that you don't know 'who' has been taken over by The Thing makes it even more terrifying.

The classic moment in this film and the one that still scares me when I think about it now is the bit when they are trying to resuscitate a guy.  I remember it so clearly, the chest opening, the teeth, The Thing appearing but the worst part is the screams and the noise that goes with the scene. It's terrifying (well, it was to me when I was younger) and the head detaching itself, using it's tongue to drag itself then growing legs and running away like a freaking spider!

It's only 8am and I'm scaring myself.  Maybe I need to watch it again now I'm older and it won't haunt me as much.  For the moment I'm off to grab a cushion and get a cuddle from my husband.

Apparently they've made a sequel which is due for release this year.  I bet it won't be half as scary.

What's your favourite?  Head over to Hannah's blog and link up...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Flashback Friday - Daughter of Deirdre Barlow

Yesterday I posted this post and mentioned how, when I was younger, went through a stage of looking like the off-spring of Deirdre Barlow.

Well, you know what...I'm all for sharing those days in the spirit of having a good laugh.  I'm not embarrassed, I can giggle along at the big perm and the MAHOOOOSIVE glasses.

So, without further ado...let me introduce you to Miss Barlow...

One of my shorter perms that show off my plastic hoop earrings perfectly

I'm sure if I wasn't careful the weight of my perm would have sent me plunging into the sea

Sisters?  No, that was my Mum. OMG we even have matching straw hats!

Just to add to the bad perm and glasses we now have the cemented brace. Lovely.

Now head over to Cafebebe and check out the other entries...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Does My Belly Look Big In This?

Photo credit: luigi diamanti
It's usually "does my bum look big in this?", I know.

Thing is, I've been lucky enough never to struggle with weight gain over the years.  When I went past the age of 30 (*cough* over 6 years ago) I finally felt normal.

Up until then, in school especially, I was always the 'skinny' one.  I got teased in primary school for being thin. "Ethiopian" I'd hear them shout. Kids can be so bloody cruel!  I had HUGE ridiculous glasses too which were 'all the rage' then apparently. Oddly though, I never struggled with male attention - despite looking like the off-spring of Deirdre Barlow!

In my teens I was still thin but once I turned 21 I started to fill out a lot more but I was still very slim. In my mid twenties I was happier with my body and my stomach was so toned/slim that I had a feminine 6-pack. I've never gone over a size 10-12 (38-40) and I know a lot of people, friends included, who would kill for that.

However, when I hit my late 20's/early 30's that's when I developed what's known in our family as 'The Robinson legs'. They stem from my Mums side of the family. Mum too, like me, had a great set of pins on her when she was younger but all of a sudden they filled out. The same thing has happened to me. I hate my legs. Actually, no, I loathe my legs. I hate the summer time when everyone starts wearing shorts. Most of the time you'll see me in linen trousers even when it's scorching - that's how much I hate them. They also never tan so they resemble the shade of Casper The Friendly Ghost most of the time.

People always think that thinner people are happy with their bodies - they aren't. I still squirm and get offended when someone calls me 'skinny' and I point out my thighs to them. I guess those are scars from my school days that have never really healed.

I put on 3 stone in weight when I was pregnant with Mini Cheddar.  6 months of solid breast-feeding saw the weight come straight off. Since having her my body has taking a battering. I don't have any stretch-marks but my boobs have headed south and it's my belly that's starting to become a problem. I'm forever sucking in it for fear of my parents people thinking I'm pregnant. I'm not.

I've just tried a new top on that I've bought. It's lovely but it ties under my boobs. I study myself in the mirror. In my eyes I look pregnant. I'm not sure if it's the cut of the top or the fact that most of my old maternity tops were cut in this way so I'm just paranoid that people will think I'm expecting. BMC (Before Mini Cheddar) I was always wearing tops like that.

Mind you, before I had Mini Cheddar I could sneeze without thinking I was going to pee my pants.

I guess times have changed.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Gallery - My Blog

That Tara is a pesky lady.  She tries to stump us last week with the 'Tomorrow' theme and promises us an easier week this week.  What does she do?  She goes and picks the hardest theme yet *shakes fist at Tara*  I will NOT be beaten...WILL NOT I tell you! 

So....'My blog'.

I had no idea when I started blogging at the beginning of the year where it would take me. I didn't realise there was a whole world of 'mummy bloggers' out there and just kind of stumbled across British Mummy Bloggers (aka Brit Mums) when I saw the badge on another blog - I joined up and hey presto, I was thrust head first into the lovely world of blogging.

Two weeks after my first ever blog post I discovered Jay's Silent Sunday and indeed The Gallery.  My passion for photography lead me to not miss a week of these link-ups yet!

So this is the photo which I think sums up my blog:

My daughter, Mini Cheddar, is the main focus of my blog.  I started my blog because I wanted somewhere to document my journey as a stay at home mum with her - for her.  Like an online diary. I never expected anyone to read it but it's rather lovely that it does get readership and I've made some fabulous new blogging friends.

As I've already mentioned, I have a mild passion for photography which sees me owning 3 cameras plus my iPhone camera (I took this photo with my iPhone).  There's my trusty Nikon DSLR, my Canon 'point and shoot' and my Diana which Mini Cheddar is kindly modeling.  Taking part in Silent Sunday and The Gallery is now part of my weekly routine.

My blog is also about me but I decided not to appear in the photo because a) I look like crap at the moment and b) It would involve me having to get my photographically challenged husband to take the photo.

Oh and some of you may have noticed the stuffed toy dog in the nappy.  That's because I couldn't mention my blog without mentioning that post now could I?

Now head on over and check out all the other entries...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Movie Meme - Favourite Actress

Apparently last weeks theme of 'World Cinema' was a bit of a toughie. I found it really easy to pick a film, a lot easier than I've found todays theme...

I can honestly say I don't really have a favourite actress. I've been busy all day in the garden with a crazy 2 year old and inbetween fishing compost out of her mouth I've been trying to think of who I could write about.

If Hannah hadn't already picked her, I could have easily picked Helena Bonham Carter - I've always loved her for her amazing acting skills and quirky ways.

So, wanting to pick some home grown talent I've decided to write about the lovely Julie Walters.

The younger generation (how old do I make myself sound?) will probably know her best for her role as Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter films.  However, I remember her fondly for her role in the amazing film Educating Rita and as the mad and shaky Mrs Overall in Victoria Wood and Acorn Antiques.  Whenever I see my daughter trying to carry a tray of things I always call her Mrs Overall.  I also have memories of her as Adrian Moles mother!

I also adore the film Billy Elliot and she appears there as Billys ballet teacher.  She has some amazing performances to her name and no more so than her heart-wrenching portrayal of Dr. Turner in the TV film called A Short Stay In Switzerland.

I think the only downside to her acting career was to put her name to Mamma Mia along with another great actress I almost picked - Meryl Streep.  Shame on them!

What's your favourite?  Head over to Hannah's blog and link up...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Missing In Cyberspace

As the technological world grows more vast we rely on the relationships we build up with people we've never even met before. Although we've never met them before we feel close to them.  I've built up some fabulous relationships on BabyCentre, Twitter and through blogging. Through these digital social networks I've met what I consider to be friends even though I've only ever 'spoken' to people with type and only ever seen photos of them.

Photo credit: jscreationzs
We make friends with people all over the world and build up fabulous online relationships, sharing little corners of our lives with them. Laughing at jokes, crying through sad times, congratulating eachother on achievements and special occasions.

I've blogged about how online relationships really matter to me before in one of my first ever posts. As a stay at home mum, sometimes these connections are so important - they really kick in when you have a poorly little one or the weather is bad and you can't venture out into the 'real world'.

Over the past couple of weeks I've become increasingly concerned about a blogging friend of mine.  She's not posted on her blog or on Twitter for 4-5 weeks. There was no notification that she was going away - it just stopped. This is someone who I considered a friend even though she lives far away from me and I've never met her. I've messaged her on Twitter and nothing and still her blog remains untouched.

It's got me worried that something serious has happened. I hope it hasn't, I hope she's just taking some time out from the digital social network.

I think this is the real downside to online relationships.

I read a couple of years ago about this happening. People will lose touch or go AWOL from cyberspace then eventually it becomes apparent that the person is seriously ill or even worse, has passed away. After all, we don't truly know these people. The only contact we have with them is through the Internet so when something like that happens, they just go missing.  Like they've dropped off the face of...well, cyberspace.

It's moments like this when I dislike the 'virtual world'. I hate not knowing if something bad has happened to someone or if they need help in some way. It's totally out of my control as I sit at my laptop not knowing if someone, somewhere in cyberspace is going through a bad time.

I hope she's okay.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Guardian Questions & Answers

I was tagged by Jayne over at Mum's The Word today for this 'Guardian Questions & Answers' meme that's going around.  

I feel guilty as I have a few memes waiting in the wings.  One from ages ago too - sorry Jenny!  I also got tagged in that damn fridge one...I'm waiting until my fridge stocks are low as it's too full to list everything at the moment.  Man I'm so lazy.  Sorry this one has jumped the queue.  I wish it hadn't - the formatting on this post has taken me forever and I almost lost my Mac in fit of rage.

Anyhoooo....this meme was born over at Mrs Lister Writes and it's basically nicked devised from the questions in The Guardian Weekend Magazine.

Here goes...

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I've left this one till last and I still don't know.  I guess I must admire a few people. What a rubbish start eh!

When were you happiest
Other than when I had Mini Cheddar I would have to say when I was standing on a snowy mountain in the Arctic Circle in the absolute stillness of night with no-one else around (apart from my husband and Kjetil Skolgi) and the Northern Lights appeared.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Probably when I was about 19 and I snogged one of the Land Department guys at a works Christmas party. He must have been in his early 30's!  We were sat at the bar chatting and I was getting more and more drunk.  I can't remember how it happened but next thing I knew we were kissing frantically.  Then I heard MY BOSS say to MY MUM (my Mum used to work at the same place) "Look away Pauline, look away".
Most of my most embarrassing moments are down to my evil vodka twin.  Just ask my friends.

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
My car which I bought about 18 months ago.

What is your most treasured possession?
My photographs.  Just reminded me I'm long overdue a back-up. Geek alert! I had lots of photographs on my old iPhone - some baby pictures of Mini Cheddar and I don't know what happened but iPhoto didn't back them up.  My phone broke and I lost them all, I was so upset.

Where would you like to live?
That's a tough one. At this moment, I'd have to say Norway.  I love that country.  There or Vancouver.

What’s your favourite smell?
The smell of Mini Cheddar (my daughter - not the little cheesy crackers!) when we snuggle up together. That or roast beef dinner! Om nom nom.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Oooh blimey, that's tough...I think I'd choose Emily Mortimer.  

What is your favourite book?
Captain Correlli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres.  The first 100 odd pages I almost gave up on it but it's brilliant.  Unlike the crap film they made with Nicholas Cage.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Biting my finger nails.  Occasionally I stop but then anxiety kicks in again and I nibble at them.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Anything 80's.  Man I love that decade.  Have I said that before?  80's, 80's and more 80's!

What is your earliest memory?
Probably seeing our poodle rolling in a dead hedgehog in the park.  I also remember the smell.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Going through Silent Sunday posts just so I can be nosey. 

What do you owe your parents?
A lot. They struggled financially when my Sister and I were growing up and they went without to provide for us. They are now very financially well off and are always so generous with their love and support.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To my husband for being a bitch at certain times of the month.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Obviously my husband.  Him or vodka/wine/cider.  My love for Mini Cheddar goes without saying, obviously.

What does love feel like?
It feels all squishy and warm but also all exciting and scary - it's a range of emotions but it's the best.

What was the best kiss of your life?
Definitely the first kiss with my husband.  We met online and then went out on a date.  He came back to mine and we sat on the sofa chatting.  He turned to me and said "Can I ask you a question?" So I said yes and he just said "Can I kiss you?".  He had my heart right there and then and I knew I wanted to be with him.  Now he just just grabs my boob or shakes his willy at me *sigh*

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
No. Stop it. Get down. Don't run. Don't touch.

What is the worst job you've done?
Bagging brussel sprouts.  I was 15 and I hated it.  Especially as the boss was a cock.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I don't think I'd change anything.  People often ask me if I wish I'd not married my first husband but I think that marriage has made me what I am today.  If I hadn't done all the things I've done in life I wouldn't be at the happy point I am now.  Although I do wish that after I did my CBT (compulsory bike training) I continued to pass my full motorbike test.

What is the closest you've come to death?
When I was about 3 and a biro pen pierced my throat.  The ink infected it and I was about to undergo emergency surgery when it exploded.  Think green goo Ghostbusters stylee.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Without a doubt that has to be Mini Cheddar.  A joint achievement with my husband obviously.

When did you last cry, an why?
I cried watching DIY SOS Big Build the other week.  Look, it was THAT time of the month okay?

How do you relax?
With my husbands shoulder, a good film (or some comedy), a glass of wine and some chocolate.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Some more money? A cleaner? An iPad? Some sunshine?  Do I really have to pick just ONE?

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Just be yourself - don't hide behind falseness and something/someone you're not. Also, no matter how friendly and loyal you are, there will always be a couple of nasty self-important people that are always willing to shit on you.

Now I'm supposed to tag some people, I hate doing this so I did a shout out on Twitter and these silly people said they wanted to be tagged...GO! 

Silent Sunday #14

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 16 April 2011

My Writing Space

Melinda over at Her Melness Speaks...Out has been asking what people's 'write rooms' look like.  I thought this was a really fantastic way to get to see what surrounds bloggers when they write.  A great chance to be nosey really!

Most of my blogging has been done from the sofa or from my bed! I used to have a desk in the office upstairs but we had a log cabin built in the garden at the end of last year, so as the weather has become warmer over the past weeks, this is where I'm spending most of my time:

The cabin which I call the 'den' is at the bottom of the garden behind the garage and has two rooms.  The back room, through the double doors, (which will become the office) is full of boxes at the moment until we get sorted.  So, the front room is where I will write my 'proper' posts* from.

The TV in the corner (just out of shot) is sat on the side table at the moment so I have to make do with my daughters wooden chair to rest my brew on until the entertainment unit arrives.  The only other things I have are my MacBook Pro, my iPhone and the baby monitor - so I can hear if my daughter wakes up inside in the house.

At the moment this is where I am sat writing this post.  All I can hear are the birds tweeting.  It's bliss!

However, in about 30 minutes my daughter will wake from her nap and this picture will be littered with toys.

Head over to Mel's place and have a nosey around everyone's writing know you want to!

*My ramblings that I slot frantically between the Silent Sunday, Movie Meme, The Gallery, Flashback Friday!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Flashback Friday - 21st Strip-O-Gram Shame

I went looking for some old marketing books in the loft the other week as I promised I would look for a friend who's currently doing her CIM.  I ended up being up there about 40 minutes rummaging around.  I found 'Tessy' my old Teddy bear that I've had since I was born.  My husband wants me to throw it out as it looks disgusting.  How dare he!

Anyway, in amongst the boxes I found some photos that made me actually laugh out loud - however, they also made me cringe.

This week I'm taking you back to 1995.

I was working at a company called Redrow (the housebuilders) and I actually got on with a lot of the blokes there.  It should have been a usual working Thursday but this particular day was my 21st birthday. A few of the blokes kept winding me up that they'd chipped in for a strip-o-gram for me.  I spent the day totally on edge.

Reception kept calling me up and asking me to go downstairs.  Thankfully there was a balcony I could peer over before I made the trip down the stairs.  I'd see flowers and gifts sat on reception and I'd breathe a sigh of relief.

As the day drew to a close I began to relax.  Reception called me at 4.30pm..."Heather, can you come downstairs please, there's something in reception for you".

Oooh who could these flowers be for I wonder?  I glanced over the balcony.  There was a Policeman standing there - a very young Policeman with an earring.

Alarm bells start ringing.

I ran as quick as my legs could carry me out of the back door and into the car park but it was too late. Two of my work colleagues, Steve and Dave grabbed me and dragged me back in the building and into the canteen where practically the whole office (probably about 70 people at the time) and this 'Policeman' were waiting for me.

I won't tell you what happened...I think the series of Polaroids that my 'friend' Dave supplied me with afterwards speak for themselves.

For someone who hates to be the centre of attention, this was a truly awful experience for me.  I was SO embarrassed.

Added to the fact the stripper had dirty finger nails.

Hello hello hello! Who's been a naughty girl then?

I think I must be laughing at the fact the menu says baked potatoes are 65p!

Yes, I was handcuffed and the bugger kept pulling the balloon back - gross!

Yes, blindfolded. And handcuffed. In a canteen. With a stranger. And 70 work colleagues. Nightmare.

He's clearly clenching and look how grubby his feet are

It may be a 'sweet' note from the blokes but I'm going to bloody kill them!

I'd just like to add that 'hair scrunchies' were still in fashion then.

I did check with Karin at Cafebebe if it was okay for me to post a photo of a naked backside for Flashback Friday but obviously I didn't check if it was okay for me to post a photo of me trying to pop a balloon between a strippers legs.  Karin, please feel free to unlink me if you wish - I won't be offended at all.  I don't want the good name of Flashback Friday tainted with my filth!

Now head over to Cafebebe and check out the other, not so filthy, entries...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Broken Bird

The other day my daughter and I went out for a walk together. Mini Cheddar was proudly pushing her pram with Minnie Mouse and Pluto in. Yes, all the dolls get thrown away to make way for Disney characters!

We left home, stopped off at the bank, then went by the duck pond on the way to the local shop.  On the way I saw a dead pigeon on the grass verge.  I tried to steer Mini Cheddar away from it but was too late, she doesn't miss a trick.

"Aw broken bird" she said pointing at the poor bird and the mass of feathers surrounding it.  Then she looked up and me with sad eyes and said "Poor bird".

It made me smile even though it was a sad thing to see.

Before she went to bed we were talking (I use the term loosely as she's only just turned 2) about her day and she recalled the 'broken bird'. She looked sad again and said "Mummy fix bird".

It choked me up.

Isn't it amazing how children look at things through different eyes to us? Innocent eyes.  Eyes that see the world in a better way than we do most of the time.

I've had a lot of things niggling away at me recently.  Things that keep me awake at night. Things that matter. Things that don't. If only I could take Mini Cheddars way of seeing things from time to time, maybe it would help.

I think sometimes we can learn such a lot from our children. Their innocence is a great joy to experience and one to treasure forever.

I don't want her to grow up.

Note: I'd just like to point out that I'm not in the habit of photographing dead pigeons.  Pigeons getting jiggy with it maybe but this pigeon passing was a one-off - promise!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Gallery - Tomorrow

Blimey, Tara stumped me a bit this week.  The theme she gave us on Friday for The Gallery was 'Tomorrow' and I sat at my laptop with a blank look on my face - an expression I've perfected over the years!

I toyed with talking about anxiety and the hope that tomorrow was a better day but I didn't want to get too deep on your asses. How wrong does THAT sound?

So I used one of the first 'tomorrow' songs that popped into my head from one of my favourite TV shows from my childhood (yes, I'm showing my age) and my daughter.  So come and join me for this rather lame (but cute) 'Tomorrow' Gallery...but hey, this week it has sound ooooooh!

Click play to complete your gallery experience!

She has this LittleLife turtle backpack we bought for her when she was 1 and she loves it.  It's the cutest thing.  She still wears it now and I always refer to her as the Littlest Hobo.

Yesterday she took our dog, Betty (yes, she's still with us) for walkies around the back garden.  The Littlest Hobo takes The Hairiest Hobo for a walk...

Maybe tomorrow they'll get to venture outside the confinement of the garden fence eh!

And for those without sound...sing along in your head...all together now:

There's a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that's where I'll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can't stay for long, just turn around and I'm gone again 

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on. 

Down this road that never seems to end,
Where new adventure lies just around the bend.
So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style. 

Maybe tomorrow I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home. 

So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style 

There's a world that's waiting to unfold,
A brand new tale no-one has ever told.
We've journeyed far but you know it wont be long;
We're almost there, and we've paid our fare with this hobo song. 

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on. 

So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style. 

Maybe tomorrow, I'll find what I call home, Until tomorrow, you know I'm free to roam.

Now head over and view all the other Tomorrow entires, I can assure you they'll be better than mine...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I'm Not MAD...I'm A Bit Sad

I wasn't going to do this.  I told myself I wouldn't blog about it but the more and more I think about it the more I feel I have to.

Basically, the MAD Blog Awards are underway - they celebrate the best parenting bloggers in the UK. When the nomination form went live last week I saw posts popping up asking for nominations and I felt a little dubious about it. Maybe it's because I'm a new blogger or maybe it's just because it came on the back of the whole Tots 100 controversy.

For those of you who didn't hear (although you'd have to be on another planet not to) there was a big hooha - I've just discovered hooha is also a word used for vagina, I did not know that - anyway, yes there was a big hooha about a lot of people dropping way down in the Tots 100 ranking last week. Some people took to their blogs whilst others took to Twitter.

A few of you know that I felt extremely uncomfortable about the whole thing.

Why? Because I'd only been blogging 3 months and I went up 200 places from 262 to 62 so I made it inside the top 100.  I know I should have felt happy but I didn't, I felt rotten. I felt awful because there are so many amazing blogs ranked way below me that should be above me. Yes I've worked hard on my blog, I take time out to talk to people, I try and join in with great memes as well as ramble on with my own posts (not always poo related) but I just don't feel like I deserve to be above some of the people on there.  I actually lost sleep over it. I know, I worry too much!

I'm not a competitive person in the slightest and I think the rankings and ratings brings out a side sometimes that I just don't like and I just didn't feel happy with the whole situation. I got over it after a few days though and moved on.

THEN, the first taster of who had been nominated for the MADs came out on Monday and I was on there. I was alerted via Twitter and excitedly clicked straight on the Best New Blog....I was there.  I was happy. This was the one I was kind of hoping I may get nominated for. Just to be nominated was enough, I don't expect to go on and win it.  I struggled to vote for this myself as there are so many amazing new blogs out there so I voted for the one that, when I first started blogging I never realised was a relatively new blog. I think that's the sign of a great new blog.

Then I started looking through the other nominations to check the people I'd voted for were on there. I was on quite a few of them too. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I can be a little insecure and I shy away from attention, hence my feelings on the Tots 100 ranking.  Maybe it stems from my Dad being on the local Carnival Committee when I was young and to 'make up the numbers' he made me enter Miss Mynydd Isa one year and I slipped over walking in front of the judges! Who knows? Damn, I should have saved that story for another post!  I've also blogged about my issues with shying away from attention here.

I sat in stunned silence and felt that awkward uncomfortable feeling like I did with the Tots 100. My real life friend Alyson over at Alysons Blog has taken the decision to remove herself from the nominations.  I thought about following her lead but I don't think I need to. I think I just need to be open about my feelings on the awards I have been nominated for.

Looking through the nominations I think there are some AMAZING blogs on there, blogs that really truly deserve to be there. There are also some blogs that I don't think should be on there (me included) but that's just my opinion, I guess these awards can be interpreted in different ways. Looking through some of the categories I've been nominated for makes me a little bit sad (an embarrassed sad) if I'm honest.

This is what I have been put forward for:

Best Family Fun Blog (blogs that inspire to get out and have fun with our families)
I don't think I should be in this category.  I did do a post about Mini Cheddar learning through play and have done a few others and some Gallery and Silent Sunday photos about it but that's it.  My blog doesn't inspire people to get out and have fun with their families - there are so many great blogs that do.

Best Family Life Blog (blogs that don't fit into a niche like craft or cooking etc.)
I guess I could just about see why I'd been nominated in this but the list of nominations in amazing and there are some great family life blog examples there.

Best New Blog (blogs that have made a big impression before their first birthday)
This was the one that I hoped I was nominated for so THANK YOU.  I've only been blogging 3 and a half months and I know that a lot of people are amazed when I tell them that - that is the biggest compliment ever.

Best Writer (blogs that we love for their writing)
This made me feel uncomfortable.  Seems whoever voted me for this loves their poo posts!  Thank you but honestly, I'm no George Orwell. There are some amazing people out there who write brilliantly.

Blogger Of The Year (all round blogger who moves, inspires and entertains us)
Well, I'm clearly moving people with my poo posts so why not?  No, seriously...I've only been blogging a short while, there are some amazing bloggers that I adore out there so if you're stuck for who to go for I can point you in the right direction!

Most Inspiring Blogger (those who inspire us with their words, courage or amazing spirit)
Like Alyson, this was the one that made me feel the most uncomfortable about the whole thing when I saw it. I should actually laugh - I'm not inspiring at all.  I mentioned this on Twitter and the lovely Claire over at The Grumpinator - Wean Machine said it was her who nominated me for this.  I was really touched but asked her why.  She emailed me with a lovely response but still, I honestly don't feel worthy of this.  Thank you again though Claire.  There are some incredibly inspiring bloggers out there, there are bloggers who I sit in awe of at their lives and their writing and bloggers who despite hardship, illness and family troubles are always positive and it really shines through in their blogs.

Post Of The Year (a post which celebrates a stroke of genius and stands out in the last 12 months)
I was honestly a little chuffed that my (I'll say it again as you can never have too much poo in one post) poo post made the list!  I've actually done a follow-up here if you fancy reading it (are you mad?).  I too voted for the post that made me smile the most so I'm glad that someone saw fit to smile enough to vote for it.

Best Pre-School Fun Blog (celebrate blogs with children aged 1-4)
Well, I guess my blog fits into that category so I don't have much of an argument for that one do I?  The lovely Liska at New Mum Online voted for me on this one I believe.  Thank you again Liska. Again though, there are far more worthy blogs than mine.

What I'm trying to say in a long-winded way, as usual, is that you should vote for the blogs that you truly 100% think deserve these awards.  Please PLEASE vote wisely. The blogs rely on the amount of nominations they receive to take them through to the next round so I'm hoping that the right blogs go through.

I'd also like to say a massive THANK YOU to those who have voted for me - even though a few of the nominations don't sit comfortably with me that doesn't mean I'm not extremely grateful.  I haven't divulged my blog to my friends and family so it's nice to know that people who actually read my blog and haven't met me in real life have voted for me.

If you haven't voted yet, take time to think about who you really care about in the blogging world.  You can use the link below (or the one on the side of my blog) to go through and vote.

MAD Blog Awards 2011


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