Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review: Fabulous Bakin' Boys Mini Muffins

When a girl is offered cake what is she to do?! I couldn't refuse so I was sent a box of 12 Choccy Mini Muffins from The Fabulous Bakin' Boys to try.

I can't do cake in moderation so I don't eat cake as often as I'd like to but these gorgeous little muffins are ideal. At less than 70 calories each it's okay to have one (or two) without feeling guilty. They are perfect for the children and I had to fight all three to get a couple of muffins to test them! It's enough to satisfy those cravings.

My eldest two like to have a little bit of cake for lunch and these were great for their packed lunch boxes.

The boxes have 2 varieties of individually-wrapped muffin in; choc chip and double chocolate, both of which have chocolate flavoured filling in them. I enjoy chocolate chips and often find that products are a little on the stingy side but these muffins had plenty.

They were really moist,  delicious and a big success with the children and me too!

In the mini range you can also buy Mini Cupcakes, with boxes of an assortment of 12 fruity topped cakes or 12 chocolate topped cakes. The Fabulous Bakin' Boys range is available at the major supermarkets.

The Fabulous Bakin' Boys have a fab competition running at the moment. They are looking for a Mini Baker under the age of 12 to help sample new cake ideas and aid development of their product range. What a great opportunity!

There are more details below:

'National cake manufacturer, The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, has announced a vacancy for a new Taste Tester to help develop their next line of muffins and cupcakes.
In perhaps one of the most dreamed about work experience vacancies ever, the selected candidate will join the Flavour Development Team to test and ultimately decide upon the last remaining flavour for the brands new Mini cake range.
The brand, which has the Big Four supermarkets as customers (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons), currently churns out 20,000 muffins and 25,000 flapjacks an hour. The Oxfordshire based factory, which revels in its “Willy Wonka” style reputation, has never allowed a member of the public in the Development Department before.
As part of the ‘work experience’ opportunity, the winning candidate will undertake tasks such as sampling dough mixture, tasting chocolate chips and trailing exotic fruits in the quest to develop the next flavour for the Mini Muffin range.  The chosen candidate will also feature on packs to be sold in leading supermarkets next year. 
To apply, applicants must log on to the company’s dedicated vacancy website (www.minibaker.co.uk) and write a 50 word entry demonstrating their imagination when it comes to muffin flavours. No other qualifications or experience is necessary, but candidates must be under 12 years old. The development team will choose the candidate who dreams up the most inventive muffin flavour.
Gary Frank, Chief Taster and Managing Director of The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys comments: “We invest a lot of time designing and developing new flavours for our product lines. We’re eager to find that one cake flavour that kids just can’t get enough of, and there’s no better way to do that than by giving someone a chance to design that sought-after flavour.”
Gary continues: “It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.”'

A Year In Photos-Day 31

Today saw our weekly trip into Woodbridge for Tidgy's Pyjama Drama class. He's under the weather and has a nasty cough but after spending all day indoors yesterday, and most of last week too, I thought it would do us some good to get out.

We were in town a little early so we went for a walk along the river to kill some time. Tidgy was really grumpy so I decided to let him walk. It's a rare occasion as he then refuses to get back into the buggy! As you can see from the photo had loved it. He went along pointing out all the boats, ducks and swans so it took a while but it cheered him up.

I'm always in such a hurry, especially with school runs, and I really need to make more effort to let him walk more or he'll still be needing a buggy at the age of 5!

Ten On Tuesday No15

This week it's the turn of the gorgeous Shelley.

1-Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shelley Brinkley and I run Mama2mama Ltd. We offer antenatal and baby classes throughout the Ipswich area. Although it takes up a lot of my time it’s not my most important job! I am also mama to my beautiful, soon to be, 4 year old daughter, my cheeky 16 month old son and my baby girl due in about 3 weeks!

2-How did you get started?
I am going to answer this question about mama2mama not becoming a mama, we all know how that happens ;-) I started when I met Julie Long, founder of Lazy Daisy Ltd. I attended both her pregnancy yoga class and her Hypnobirthing workshops when I was pregnant with my daughter. She helped me and my hubby to have the most amazing birth experience, I truly don’t think it would have been that way if we hadn’t met her. Julie then developed her own methods, Daisy Birthing™ and Daisy Baby™ and I was in awe. Looking for work that would fit round my family I started training with her and became one of her first employees. As the company grew and became nationwide, the Ipswich classes became a franchise of their own and I decided to take this on. Over the past year I have worked very hard launching Mama2mama, allowing me to offer more classes and support local families in the way Julie supported me.

3-Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am a self confessed control freak so without a doubt a have a 5 year plan. In a business sense, I have lots of new projects launching for mama2mama. In 5 years I hope to be offering both Lazy Daisy and Daddynatal classes alongside our own classes, workshops and support groups. All of this running out of our own premises. On a personal note we hope to be buying our first house as we currently rent. We also plan to take the kids to Disney world, Florida Shhh! Better start saving.

4- What is your guilty pleasure?
I hate questions like this. Ok so this may gross you all out a bit but it has to be picking spots on my husband’s back! When he’ll let me that is, he’s an absolute wuss and hates me doing it. I don’t know why I love it but I do, I find it very satisfying!

5- If you won 1 million what would you do?
Firstly I would buy a family home, I really want to be able to provide my children with a stable home (we moved three times in my daughter short 4 years) I do the obvious rid myself of any financial burdens’ or commitments- BORING! Ok so the fun stuff, definitely buy season tickets to White Hart Lane (Tottenham) for the whole family. Maybe we’d invest in a race horse! Hubby is a massive racing fan and we do enjoy a little punt every now and again. I definitely couldn’t see myself giving up work. I think I would put a lot of money into the company allowing my hubby to work for me full time so he can quit his job! We are both so passionate about Mama2mama its part of our family now.

6- Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter! Without a doubt! Twitter allows me to air my views and opinions and say what’s on my mind without 37 so called ‘friends’ asking me what’s wrong or who it’s about! I can follow people who interest me and share the same sense of humour or values without the fear of offending people I know in the real world. Twitter is not about who’s friends with who and that’s what I love about it!

7- Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Well considering I’ve been to Kardemena on the island of Kos (Greece) 6 times, I would probably say yes! However saying that I haven’t been there since my children were born. It started out on my first visit as a quiet little fishing town, with a few bars and friendly locals. By my sixth visit there were nightclubs, hen parties and a McDonald’s!! So I can only imagine what it’s like now, probably no longer the resort for me. Nowadays we tend to head to a Centerparks for our holidays, Sherwood being my favourite location. A lot easier and less stressful than travelling abroad with young children.

8- What was the first record you owned?
Now that’s a tough one! I honestly couldn’t tell you, I’m pretty sure I remember a ‘Now’ album and I probably had some Kylie! I am actually very into my music, it’s a big part of my life. As a child I loved all my parents’ records and listened a lot to the radio so buying music wasn’t really a priority for me. My mum had a radio in the kitchen which was turned on when we got up in the morning and didn’t get switched off until she went to bed! This I believe is what fuelled my love of all music and turned me into a human song lyric dictionary!

9- What is your favourite film?
Easy! Mannequin! And it always will be. I simply love it, I’m an old romantic at heart and adore a love story. I really enjoy the mix of love and humour in this film and it still makes me cry at the end. In fact I can’t really listen to the song ‘nothings gonna stop us now’ without shedding a (happy) tear!

10- Which 4 people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
Firstly Charles Darwin. I love intellectual debate and fell in love with both his theory and books as a teenager. I would love to discus my own theory of ‘de-evolution within the human race’ with him. I won’t go into it but if you’re interested am always happy to discuss over coffee or red wine!
Next is Sean Bean. Simply to look at! And if he could come dressed as Sharpe and somehow rescue me from someone/something even the better!
I love to laugh so would have to invite someone to help with this. When I look back at my childhood one name springs to mind, Tommy Cooper. I was always told I possessed an adult sense of humour as a very young child as would spend hours watching him and laughing out loud, t would appear I understood the humour!
Lastly but by no means least is my grandma, Iris Clarkson. Although I would invite her as her 30 year old self. My Grandma is still with us bless her, but it is very much only in body. She is my idol, I love her so much. Never have I known a woman with so much strength and faith but with the compassion, open-mindedness and impartiality to welcome anyone into her arms, a true Christian. Never in my life has my grandma ever judged me or acted shocked by anything I have ever done. She is an intelligent woman who had a place in her heart for everyone no matter race, ability or wealth. I would have loved to have been her friend.

Great answers Shelley and I loved reading them. Thanks for taking part. I haven't seen Mannequin for years but I remember that it was one of my sister's favourite films. You were very honest in admitting your guilty pleasure. Well done!! Your Grandma sounds like an incredible woman.

You can follow Shelley on twitter as @Mama_Brinkley and @Mama2MamaLtd

Monday, 30 January 2012

A Year in Photos-Day 30

While the electrician was busy downstairs and the toddler was asleep I decided to have a sort out in the cupboard on the landing. I was primarily looking for my box of photo albums as I needed a photo of my Uncle who is celebrating his 50th this week but other boxes needed sorting. It's the type of cupboard where you have to have a hand ready as you open the door, as things start falling out!

It's rare that I will keep a book after I've read it as it's unlikely to be read again but there are a few that I have kept over the years. Anything to do with Monty Python and any of the Pythons, particularly Michael Palin's travel series, sit there year after year probably never to be read again but too sentimental to part with and the only other books I have kept are those of Sue Townsend.

I loved the Adrian Mole books and the TV series too. I wanted to BE a female version of Adrian Mole, although I didn't want to host a cookery show called Offally Good! I even began writing a diary because of this nerdy teen.

I have read the early books in the series over and over again but found myself disappointed with The Prostrate Years. When I get time I'd like to read the series from start to finish again. 

I also enjoyed The Queen and I and Queen Camilla. Sue Townsend's writing makes me smile. Her writing style isn't particularly spectacular and it doesn't tax your brain reading her books but I love them.

Call them my guilty pleasure :)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 29

As it rained today we didn't do much. We did have a brief, bitterly cold walk along Woodbridge riverside but it was too cold to get the camera out!

We sat in the car while hubby popped into a shop so I had a play around with the camera settings on my phone and took this. 
It's rare to get one of all three of my children sitting still and smiling.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Ravensburger Loopy Laboratory Puzzle 8+

The 200 piece Loopy Laboratory puzzle arrived from the Ravensburger Puzzle Club and the children couldn't wait to get started!

The puzzle is suitable for 8 years+ but 5 year old Middle was very keen to put it together as well. The picture is intricate and looked complex on first inspection but using our Puzzle Store we sorted all the pieces out into different sections. At one point there were 4 of us doing the puzzle and although it was fun it was perhaps a case of too many cooks...!

Once we'd got the edge pieces together the children chose a section of the puzzle to work on individually, with only a little help from either hubby or myself and even Grandma got roped in when she was babysitting later that evening.

Working together it didn't take long to complete the puzzle and Middle had no problem putting the pieces into place with a little guidance from the picture on the box. We have often commented on how good he is at puzzles and he thoroughly enjoys doing them. It's an activity that we can all do together when we want some quiet time or he can do it alone if he wishes. When I got home from my meeting they couldn't wait to show me the finished puzzle.

The quality is, as with all Ravensburger puzzles that we've had, top notch and we don't hesitate to recommend this if you love puzzles.

A Year In Photos-Day 28

It's been one of those weeks again where I've been stuck indoors with poorly children a lot so I was looking forward to going to the hairdresser's today, albeit for half an hour. Girl asked if she could come with me and it was quite nice to have some girly time as we are rarely alone.

We walked home as hubby took the boys grocery shopping and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to chat to her without interruptions. She's been having a few attitude problems lately and I do believe that a lot of it is down to lack of attention from me as I'm so busy with the others.

A Year In Photos-Day 27

As a pedant this sign irritates me...
Surely if EVERYONE is talking about the new salon they wouldn't need to ask the question 'Have you heard.....?'

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 26

Although I should only post one photo a day I feel the need to break the rules today. The first photo was taken at a couple of minutes to 3pm and the second at 3.23pm. The dramatic change to the sky in such a short time is incredible.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 24

Middle has been off school today because of nasty cough that has been making him sick. This is a picture of him sleeping peacefully....at the moment. I foresee a rough night ahead for my poorly little man.

Ten on Tuesday No14

This week I asked my husband @IpswichRantMan to have a go at Ten on Tuesday, interested to see what his answers would be!

Who are you and what do you do?
I'm an opinionated husband, and father who spends his time convincing others that he is right about whatever topic i happen to be discussing.  Work, social, current affairs, sport.... the topic is unimportant..... what i do is have an opinion on it, share that opinion, ensuring everyone else is aware of it and influenced by it.... whether they like it or not.

If you won £1million what would you do?
Buy a house, go on holiday, buy gadgets!

If you had to write a bucket list what would be the top 3 things on your list?
Go Tobogganing, Go to a Football World Cup Final, Swim with Dolphins

Which 4 people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?

Frankie Boyle, Liam Gallagher, Jade Goody, Michael Jackson...... the first two, to entertain me through ridicule of the latter two!!

What was the first concert you went to?

Nolan Sisters ....... I was in the mood for dancing!!!

Describe yourself in 5 words
Opinionated, Juvenile, Pedantic, Competetive, Flatulent

Do you have an embarrassing moment you’d care to share with everyone?
In my first 'Important' meeting at work, very senior managers and executives present..... building up the courage, ready for my presentation.... bit on my Bic Biro, shattered my tooth, blood and tooth everywhere, including dribbling down my chin!!

What was the last website you visited?

What’s your favourite film?
Shawshank Redemption... I don't watch a lot of films as I have no imagination!  This film was fantastic though. 

If a film was made about your life who would play you? 
Peter Kay

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 23

Most Mondays my Mum comes over to spend time with the children and she gets the eldest two from school. Although I pick them up every other day I love it when they come running through the gate, excited to get home to Mummy.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 22

I haven't been sleeping well lately and I've been really stressed with the children so I've been exhausted. Hubby has been working away and is away again this week so it's all catching up with me. He let me lie in this morning so that I can catch up. I haven't slept this late on a Sunday since Girl was a baby, when it was a regular occurrence! I certainly feel a lot brighter this morning.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 21

I didn't take any photos until tonight and one I was going to use was of Tidgy with a brilliantly cheeky grin on his face as he was caught doing something he shouldn't but I thought it time I posted a photo of one of the other children so here's Girl:

Friday, 20 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 20

I had a brief conversation on twitter yesterday about how I am always behind the camera and there are very few photos of me. The most recent ones, taken by Girl & Middle with their cameras, consist of my huge rear for some reason! So, my Project366 for today features ME!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 19

To encourage the children to eat their sandwiches we use cookie cutters. Normally hubby makes their packed lunch but as he's away it was my turn today. I let the children choose and I don't think Middle's could have been a stranger combination!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Today's post is brought to you by the letter...


It's been an interesting day. Most if it spent with me feeling peed off!

This morning my tweets were all about poo, rather the lack of it. Poor Tidgy has been very constipated and understandably grumpy so I looked to twitter for some recommended remedies.

I've spent the day procrastinating about how much I needed to and how little I've actually done and have spent more time than I needed to on twitter.

I've been suffering with terrible period pains but the less said about that the better! I also have a migraine so I've been popping pills like they're smarties.

Panic is starting to set in as I have a wedding to go to in May and I have no idea what to wear. I favour the slummy mummy look and live in jeans. I don't do smart and wouldn't know where to begin. Our budget is limited but it's going to be more than a tad posh so I want to at least look like I made an effort. Employing the services of a Personal Shopper has been suggested. Another fab suggestion was getting twitter followers and blog readers to send me links to outfits that they have 'chosen' for me. So...get your thinking caps on!

Every waking moment I'm trying to find great photo opportunities for my #project366. Today's was one of those moments where I was glad that the camera was handy.

My patience was already wearing thin by early evening so when Middle decided to start banging and crashing around in his & Tidgy's room soon after I put Tidgy to bed I was not impressed.

I'm in the middle of trying to plan for our anniversary and it's hubby's 40th this year so I need to organise a birthday to remember. It's not going well. Iron is the traditional gift for this anniversary and I am stumped for ideas. Tidgy doesn't like shopping so at the rate I will end up buying hubby pants!

Now that the children are finally quiet and asleep I'm sitting down with a tub of ice cream and then I'm going to pamper myself with a soak in a hot bath while I read Pigeon English. 

A Year In Photos-Day 18

It's been a bit of a boring day for a toddler so Tidgy decided to cause mischief in the kitchen by emptying all the cupboards, and using an upturned cake tin as a makeshift step!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 17

I had a meeting at Dance East this evening and took my camera along as I was hoping to get some great shots of the waterfront, but it wasn't to be. I have yet to suss out the settings on my DSLR so most shots were far too blurry to use but I did get this colourful shot of Jerwood House.

A section of Ipswich Waterfront is currently being lit by an installation called Light Waves and we love it! I particularly like the purple as it's my favourite colour. I've asked hubby if we can do the same to our house....

Role Models

I was tagged in a meme by @littlemisstress who wanted to find out about our role models.

Both of my role models are relations of mine.

It wasn't until late in her life, and too late to tell her, but I realised that my Nanna is an important role model for me. She was in charge of running the home, looking after her 5 children (one of them my Mum) and then grandchildren & great grandchildren, often holding down a job and also helping older family members out. She never appeared stressed and she would welcome us at any time of night or day.

She treated each and every one of us the same and would regularly bail one of us out of trouble! When I left home for the first 2 years she often sent down 'Harris Red Cross' food parcels and no matter when you arrived at her house, planned or unplanned, she could whip up a delicious 2 course meal for you or the plate of cakes and biscuits would come out, no matter that you'd just eaten.

My Nanna spent her life looking after her family and I never once heard her complain that she didn't have time out from family life or that she'd had enough. All she asked for was one night a week at bingo. In the month's after she died I found myself doing more and more like she would have done and I caught myself saying things that she would have said. I think it was my subconscious wanting me to be more like her and it made me smile.

My second role model is my aunt (My Nanna's other daughter). She is so similar to my Nanna and I can see that her Mum instilled in her the importance of family. We turned up on Christmas Eve with less than an hour's notice and she welcomed us with open arms. She would never turn anyone away, despite going through a rough time personally, and like my Nanna, you can never leave hers feeling hungry!

They are a great combination of role models to have and I'd like to think that I could emulate them in some way one day. My Great Nanna was much the same and I'd like to think that it could continue through the generations.

I tag

Ten on Tuesday No13

This week features the lovely (and very busy!) Gayle. @gaylemacgregor

1.Who are you and what do you do? 
Hello, I'm Gayle. 7 days a week I am Mum to a 4 year old boy & do all the housework! 3 days a week I am Chief Operating Officer for Flumes www.flumes.com, a technology company which my husband & I set up in November last year. I also run the Waterfront Book Club which meets twice a month at DanceEast & the Waterfront Film & Theatre club which meets once a month to see a film/show & chat about it afterwards.  

2.Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?  
Hopefully, I will still work for Flumes. With a bit of luck it will be a successful & profitable company by then & and we will employ a small team of people & have a local office. I have no plans to ever move out of Suffolk, (10 years in Cambridge was enough time away from this beautiful county for me). I'm also loving watching my son grow up & I'm very interested in teaching him things & getting involved in school life.

3.What was the first film you saw at the cinema? 
I asked my Mum this one, & she had no idea. I have no idea either, but my earliest memory of going to the cinema was in 1987 to see Three Men & A Little Baby. I was already at high school by then, so it can't be the first the first time I went to the cinema, but I just don't remember anything before that!

4.If you won £1million what would you do? 
As someone with a bucket list that has over 130 things on it, it is not difficult to answer this question as I would focus on ticking things off that list. Basically I would travel until the money ran out. I have already travelled a lot, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, South Africa, but there are still so many things to do & see.  Before I left however, I would buy a house - I love travelling but I love coming home more.  As we are currently renting, I can't wait to put down firmer roots here in Suffolk & start making the house my own. I would also consider buying a plot of land & building my very own Grand Design - I love that programme!

5.Do you have a favourite holiday destination? 
Although I do not like to return to exactly the same place twice on holiday, I guess my favourite country is Italy. We have had several family holidays in Italy since we had our son, with my brother, his wife & my parents, and these have been particularly special. This year we went to Castellina in Chianti (near Siena), Tuscany. We hired a gorgeous, isolated villa with a private pool & were thoroughly spoilt with temperatures of 35 degrees everyday & lots of lazing around, eating & drinking.  My brother also got married during that holiday, so of course that helped to make it very special indeed.

6.What would you say is your guilty pleasure?
Firstly, Internet shopping. Secondly it's "DVD night-in" which includes a takeaway, a DVD & numerous cups of tea.

7.Do you have a claim to fame?  
My brother & sister-in-law are actors.  My brother has done several things on TV - he is in the first scene of "Love, Actually" with Bill Nighy & Gregor Fisher & more famously he was Colin in the first 4 series' of the BBC's MI5 drama "Spooks".  My sister-in-law stars in Blood Brothers in the west end. I also saw Griff Rhys Jones in the Ipswich Marks & Spencer car park once!

8.Describe yourself in 5 words - calm, quiet, organised, indecisive, stubborn

9.What was the first record you owned?
The Tide Is High by Blondie.

10.Which 4 people, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner? 
My Gran, My Grandad, My Great Grandad & My Great Grandma.  I love family history, and have researched my family tree back to 1750 something.  I knew & loved my Gran very much, & I think it would be fascinating to have dinner with her generation of our family that I have never met. 

Thank you so much for answering these questions Gayle. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers and finding out more about you. 

I enjoy reading up on family history and have started researching my family tree but have only been able to go back 5 or 6 generations so far. I would love to be able to see my grandparents and great grandparents again.

I remember your brother in Spooks!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Childhood Friendships

I'm after a little help here. 

Girl has few close friends at school but last year she found a best friend. The girls got on fantastically and never fell out. They were really close but then 'A' suddenly moved away. Girl only found out on A's last day at school as it was a move that happened very quickly. Her family had been evicted from her grandparent's house and the council had placed them into B&B accommodation out of the village. 

Girl was distraught. A & her family didn't move far away but I had no way of contacting them as I'd lost her Mum's number.

Over time Girl has been getting more and more upset and regularly bursts into tears, sobbing "I miss A Mummy. I miss her so much and want her to come back" It's awful. I find notes dotted around Girl's room where she's writing about how much she loves A and wants her to return. 

I recently found a phone number for A's Mum and it turns out that they are moving closer to us in February so we have planned to get the girls together.

I'm glad that Girl can express herself with her notes but it upsets me that she has been so affected by A leaving. I've explained to her that sadly you do lose touch with friends over the years but can I make things better for her until they see each other again? Do I need to do anything? On one hand I feel like I need to toughen her up but on the other I am so glad she has found a kindred spirit.

What would you do?

A Year In Photos-Day 16

Mondays are Housework Day and other than taking another photo of my cleaning products I didn't think much else was going to happen today worthy of a photograph so I took the camera outside and took a snap of the frost this morning. That's as good as it gets!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 15

We went out with the in-laws to celebrate father in law's birthday. Middle decided that he & Grandad would share a dessert but he ate most of it by himself. Greedy boy!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Friday, 13 January 2012

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 12

Today was a day. Until this afternoon, that is. Middle had one of his episodes and Tidgy was a right old grumpy so and so at the dinner table.

They children are all now in bed so I'm go to sit down with my guilty pleasures: Strawberry Cheesecake Haagen Dazs and twitter!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day 11

Hubby woke me with the news that they boys were both grumpy. 7 hours later Tidgy is still grumpy...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day Ten

Today was a bit more fun that yesterday. This morning saw our first session of Pyjama Drama for 2012. Tidgy went down for a nap when we got home so I had lunch in peace and lay on the sofa to watch tv. The Downton Abbey Christmas special, in fact. I didn't watch much though as I fell asleep myself!

I love relaxing afternoons like that :)

Ten on Tuesday No12

I am delighted to have the awesome Jane Cole taking part in the first Ten on Tuesday for 2012.

1.Who are you and what do you do?
Jane Cole

For a living I am the Franchise Manager for Pyjama Drama (Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge) which I love doing.

I’m also a part-time actor although nowadays this tends to be as a muse for new local writers.  I love the whole creative process of seeing a new piece of work develop from inception to production and developing a brand new character.

2.What’s your favourite thing about being your own boss?

I love the challenge of running my own business and the creativity that comes with finding out what works and what doesn’t in generating new business.  I have a passion for learning and embracing new ideas.

I also love the flexibility of being able to work the hours that suit me and not being tied down to the 9-5 routine which most definitely does not suit me!
3.Is there a part in a play or film that you would love to play?
I would absolutely love to play Lady Macbeth.  I love Shakespeare’s plays but as yet performing in one has eluded me.  

4.Which 4 people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party?

Only 4 – oh dear I have so many I’d like to invite!

William Shakespeare
Mike Leigh
David Tennant
Baz Luhrmann

Oh gosh they’re all men – what does that say about me?!
5.If you won £1million what would you do with the money?

And then after that I’d give most of it away to different charities close to my heart, family and friends.  I’d keep just enough back for me to buy my dream home, a new car, a holiday to New Zealand and have some to invest for a rainy day.  

6.Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

This is difficult because by nature I’m very much a live for now person.  However when I purchased the Pyjama Drama Franchise I had to have a business plan which forced me to look ahead.

So in 5 years’ time I very much hope that I’ll be running a successful business with at least two members of staff one of which will be session leader allowing me to introduce more classes and the other a PA – I need one!!

Owning my own home with a garden as opposed to renting and with at least one cat!

I’d also like to think that in 5 years time when I will be approaching 48 that I will have found a new partner and soulmate to share my life with.  I don’t see myself getting married again though but hey I never say never so who knows.

7.Do you have an embarrassing moment you’d care to share with us?

Yes, last year I went to Harrogate to meet a friend who I’d met on Twitter and see him in a show he was performing in.  I booked myself into a Bed and Breakfast but unfortunately managed to lock myself out of the room (my key wouldn’t open the door) and had to wake up the owner at midnight.  If this wasn’t embarrassing enough the spare key wouldn’t open the door either, so I had to sleep in another room and the next day a lock smith had to be called to break open the door.  The landlady was not amused although I still believe that it was a dodgy lock and not me leaving the deadlock on as she claimed I had. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get out of the bed & breakfast and just put that one down to experience!

8.Do you have a favourite song that brightens your day as soon as you hear it?

Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N

9.Describe yourself in 5 words

Impulsive, independent, passionate, loyal, positive

10.Do you have any plans or resolutions for 2012?

Keep growing my business, see as much theatre as I can, fill my social diary more, work hard at my volunteering duties as a New Wolsey Theatre Ambassador, maintain my weight loss from last year, increase my fitness levels by swimming more, keep going to Yoga that I started last year and learn to tap dance.

Thanks so much for answering these questions Jane. Good choice with David Tennant for dinner, he'd be my choice too. Not for the conversation, I hasten to add! 

Good luck with the tap dancing. 

I haven't heard that Noah & The Whale track so I'm now off to search for it on youtube.

I'll get my CV ready for the PA vacancy ;)

Thanks again Jane.

If anyone else would like to take part in this please let me comment below or contact me on twitter (@Him_Me_Three)

Monday, 9 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day Nine

A photo a day, showing something that you've seen or done that day. Hmmm, today was tough. Monday's are housework day. So here's what kept me busy today.

Review: The Silent Owl and Little Penguin Learns To Swim (Top That!)

After the chaos and manic days over the Christmas holidays we needed something to calm the children down in the evenings. I did toy with the idea of a tumbler of whisky (more for me than them!) but decided against it.

Top That! sent us two story books to review and they were perfect calming and bedtime reading. Half an hour or so before bedtime we'd all snuggle up on the sofa and read the books together. I love storytime with the children and I'm a firm believer that books enrich children's lives. Thankfully the children love books as much as I do.

We were sent The Silent Owl written by Clemency Pearce and Little Penguin Learns to Swim by Eilidh Rose.

The Silent Owl is about an owl that lives in the deep, dark forest and he is, well, silent! All the animals try in vain to get him to make a noise as they are worried about him but there he sits and sits...until he surprises the forest animals.

The text in this book is simple but fun and the illustrations by Sam McPhillips are gorgeous. It's a delight to read to my children.

In Little Penguin Learns To Swim the main character is building up to going swimming for the first time.  He is naturally nervous about this and as he meets his friends along the way he gradually overcomes his fears. This book has helped us explain to Middle, who has severe anxieties over the unknown, that it's okay to be wary but to give anything new a try and to practise. The text is clear and easy for little ones to understand. 

I love Dubravka Kolanovic's artwork in this book. It's very 'fluffy' and warm, despite being set on an iceberg, and I think would make a great touch and feel book for younger ones. 

These are both top quality books from Top That and I highly recommend them, particularly for bedtime reading.

Both books are available from Top That's website by clicking on these links Little Penguin... and The Silent Owl

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Move over Supernanny...

Photo credit
We were having a conversation over dinner tonight about how badly behaved Girl has been in the last week or so. We were trying to get through to her that it's just not acceptable and something has got to change.

During the conversation I said something, in response to a statement of hers, along the lines of "...and I don't want to have to deal with your tantrums"

Her reply was "Well, you shouldn't have had children then, should you Mum?"

I'm clearly a parenting failure. My 7 year old obviously knows more about child-rearing than I do!

A Year In Photos-Day Eight

It's a late entry from me today. I kept hanging on hoping something exciting would happen or at least I'd see something worthy of a photo but no, the highlight of my day was these......

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A Year In Photos-Day Five

In honour of the Wizard Of Oz mentions over the last few days, with regards to the wind, I thought I'd have a stab at re-creating a scene from my all-time favourite film...

Monday, 2 January 2012

Boris Johnson's lovechild. A Year In Photos: Day Two

Tidgy's nickname (from hubby) is Boris. He's having a haircut tomorrow so I'm hoping he'll look a little less like the Mayor of London!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A Year In Photos:Day One

I'm always looking for something to focus on and get me through day to day life so I've decided to take part in #project366.

One photo, each day of 2012, depicting something I've done or seen that day with a few words about it. 

Bear in mind that I'm not a great photographer (as many of my Silent Sunday posts have shown!) I wanted to do it so that I have something to look back on in a year's time.

Here is today's offering:

This was taken at CurveMotion, Bury St Edmunds. Girl and Middle persuaded me to go into the playframe with them while Tidgy was with hubby. So I duly followed them and then I realised I was a few storeys up!! I don't mind heights but I'm claustrophobic and hate not knowing how to get out of somewhere.

Once I'd calmed myself down I had a great time playing with my two children and somehow found other children shooting at me in the ball cannon battle zone! I even went on a few slides. I was 8 years old again.......

Happy New Year.

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