Project 365

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

I've actually managed to get a few pictures of Toots for this Project365. I'm sure everyone was starting to doubt I even had a daughter. She can be a little camera shy when it suits her.

But I'm very happy I've been able to get a few at least.

I love this one, she just looks so sweet. Like butter wouldn't melt.

This is another of my favourites. Although she isn't smiling and it isn't a typical "child portrait" there's still something about it I really like.

And she just looks so coy in this one, like she's been caught doing something she shouldn't be.

Of course, that's not to say there haven't been plenty of photos like this one.

Would you really mind this child being the ruler of all earth, because I'm pretty sure that's exactly what she has in mind.

And the photograph I'll keep and haunt her with well into her thirties...

And occasionally she still gives off stink about all the photographs. She hasn't quite got used to mummy having a camera for a face quite yet...

And don't forget, today is the last day to enter the the giveaway for the Charlotte Reid London bag. I'll close the comments on that post at midnight tonight and draw the winner tomorrow.

Good luck everyone and thank you for taking part.

Ghostly Art

Photo courtesy of dogtired on Flickr

I've been asked a few times now about "Market Haunting". I started to try and quickly explain the concept, but found (as usual) that I was going on for quite a while. Although I didn't take the photo shown above, it is my local market. You'll find me there almost every Saturday.

Mostly, if I have a specific idea of what I need to get at the market I'll go first thing in the morning. However, if the shopping list consists of fruit, veg and meat then that is a day for haunting.

Market haunting is a little risky, in that you could arrive home again empty handed but the rewards can be great, once you get the hang of it. Try to think of it as a bit of fun. You may have to be prepared to bulk buy some things in order to get a discount and process some of those things for freezing once your get home.

I'm lucky because my market is on a Saturday, which is the last food market of the week. If the stall owners don't sell their produce today, they have to throw it away, eat it themselves (equivalent to throwing it away in a vendor's eyes) or find some way of safely storing the produce and cross their fingers hoping that its still in a good enough condition to sell on Monday which is hard to do because they all go to the wholesalers on Monday and collect more fresh produce and people always pick the pretty fruit.

The idea is to go to the market, armed with a pocket full of change to make quick transactions, at the very end of the day. You'll have to get to know your market and find out roughly when the vendors start to pack up for the day and go about 20 minutes before that. You'll find that you are one of the only people around.

You need thick skin and a bit of an attitude to make this work. Being a bit brazen won't do you any harm either. Quickly scan the stalls to see what's left and what you would be interested in buying. I once took an entire box of mixed peppers off a vendor's hands for less than a quarter of the original price. If I'd only wanted one or two peppers then I'm sure he would have insisted on full price or close to it, as it was he was happy to have one less thing to store and peppers don't store well

Your plan is to get as much produce as possible, for as little as possible without pissing anyone off. I've been doing it for so long now the Vendors know me and they'll call out as I pass to let me know what they have left. They know I'm no idiot and they'll never be able to fob me off with rubbish so now I do pretty well. Meat, fresh fish and seafood are also easy to get for very little money, as well as baked goods.

Go on, give it a go. Worst case scenario, you get some fresh air and meet a few new people. Where's the harm.

Since Coming Out of Work

I've learnt a few very significant things...
  1. I have absolutely no idea how I ever had the time to work full time outside of the house. I'm amazed I managed it without having a nervous breakdown.

  2. I really enjoy being at home. I've definitely been a much better wife and mother since coming out of work.

  3. Toots enjoys being at home with me a lot more. We've been working on the discipline (hers and mine) the last week and we're enjoying each other's company a hell of a lot more. She's snuggled up beside me as I write and she has a little smile on her face.

  4. A husband, with a wife at home, who knows how to use power tools and isn't afraid to, is a very happy husband indeed. He arrived home yesterday afternoon, completely exhausted after a very hard day and was planning on getting stuck into some jobs he felt needed done. He wanted to mow the lawn because it has been dry for a few days. He also wanted to put up the hooks on the back of the larder door for coats and other bits and pieces, plus a vent needed to be installed on the outside of the house to cover an air intake which is no longer in use.

    He hadn't noticed before that I'd already done all those things, plus a few others he had forgotten about over the last few days. Needless to say he was a very happy man. He was able to sit down and relax with a meal and his family and then spend the rest of the night winding down.

  5. Being at home during the week, means that I can stay on top of all those little things which used to interfere with our weekend, grocery shopping, fish tank water changes, car washing and just the general cleaning and tidying which I would normally have done every weekend. All these things I now do during the week leaving all of us to truly enjoy our weekends, whether its a day out to the forest or the beach (still wrapped up warm though, we don't live in the tropics) or even just going out for a walk or spending time at home together.

  6. We're eating a lot better than we did. When I worked full time I tried OAMC which sacrifices freshness and I always prefer fresh. I would end up coming in every evening and preparing something quickly. I still tried to cook from scratch which means having to buy better cuts of meat which can stand up to quick cooking but also cost a fortune and are usually lacking in taste. Now we have a good meal everyday, Toots is really enjoying her lunches because she decides (to a certain extent) what to make and she helps me to prepare the food, plus the husband is enjoying the variety of lunches he gets sent to work with along with the baked goods. We eat a lot more fresh vegetables and fruit because I always have time and I'm not to tired to run to the market at 6.30am on a Saturday morning and I'm really starting to feel the benefit of eating all this fresh food.

  7. The garden is better organised this year. I already have all the plots of land cleared and have some of the earlier seeds in the ground and they're sprouting already. Last year we were all good intentions but wound up making a bit of pigs ear of things, planting seeds when WE had the time rather than at the right time, forgetting to water during the summer months and not picking the few things that did grow when they were at their best.
I could go on about this for hours, but I won't bend your ear for that long. If you stay at home, do you enjoy it? What are some of your favourite things about being at home? And if you work outside the house, how do you make it work for you?

WFMW - The Humble Cocktail Stick

Poor little cocktail stick, taken for granted.

This little wooden stick has really come into its own in the last few weeks. Toots has been off her food since coming out of full time daycare. She's a very social eater and was always a lot happier eating in company, especially if that company happened to be kids her own age so its been a little difficult to get her to eat regularly since the start of the year.

I was at the end of my tether, although I knew that she would eat when she was hungry I felt awful watching her eat a quarter slice of toast for breakfast or three mouthfuls of pasta at lunchtime and claim she was full up.

I'd tried everything, sandwiches cut with cookie cutters into cute little hearts and stars, painting smiley faces with an edible ink pen on the side of cherry tomatoes, I even resorted to that novelty convenience food, you know the ones turkey dinosaurs and such. 1% turkey, 99% water and sawdust.

Then a little over three weeks ago she went to a birthday party with my mum and she noticed that the mother of the birthday girl had made a load of mini cocktail sausages, red Leicester and cheddar cheese cubes and big bowls of fruit salad. The thing is she had set out a big glass full of swizzle sticks for the kids to skewer the food and Toots was absolutely hoovering it up. My mum said she completely stuffed herself and almost wasn't able to play on the bouncy castle.

For a few days I put it down to the fact that she had been surrounded by other kids and her social eating had kicked in again, even though my mum kept insisting it was the swizzle sticks. After a couple of days of being back to square one I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a go.

I took a few bog standard cocktail sticks.

Then I made little balls of playdough and stuck them on top of the cocktail sticks, leaving them over night for the dough to dry. The little balls work perfectly, they dried solid with a little hole to allow me to replace the cocktail sticks.

Best of all Toots is back to eating what I would consider to be a full meal for a preschooler and she's also asking for snacks in between.

It also seems that the old saying "the more you eat, the more you want" is very true for Toots because once she was eating larger portions with the cocktail stick, she started to actually enjoy her food again and hasn't really bothered with the cocktail sticks in the last few days, she just wants the food now.

And I'm a very happy mummy again.

All thanks to that little cocktail stick.

Cocktail sticks definitely work for me.

Its Kristen of We are THAT family's first week hosting Works for Me Wednesday, hopefully with many more to come. Head on over (or back) and say Hi.

The Do's and Don'ts of Beiing a Good Neighbour

Some new neighbours moved into the house across from us last month. After getting to know my new neighbours it came up in conversation that we are the only family in the area they have met. I know everyone is busy these days but this completely shocked me. Is being a good neighbour archaic? Did I miss a memo?

The way I see it, there are some basic do's and don'ts that I always follow as far as neighbours, new and old, are concerned.


1. Don't rush. Assume that in the first few days your new neighbours will have more important things to do than meet you. Leave it a few days or so to go over and properly introduce yourself, have a chat and get to know them better.

2. Do offer food in the first few days. This may seem like a contradiction to #1, but it really isn't. We all know how exhausting and stressful a move can be. Pay a quick visit with a prepared lunch or dinner. Let your new neighbours know who you are and where you live, offer the food and excuse yourself as having something to do or somewhere to be. Try not to linger too long or they may feel obligated to invite you in and the house is likely in chaos. They'll be grateful you excused yourself, trust me you won't seem off standish.

3. Do try and establish whether they are completely new to the area. You may be able to offer valuable information, in my case a shortcut to the town centre which shaves about over a mile off the journey and cuts out a really big hill on the way home with heavy bags. Offer the information you may take for granted, when rubbish bins are emptied, recycling collections days, the location of the "good" butcher or bakery. Simple things which may otherwise take a long time to figure out.

4. Do offer to help, and mean it. If you genuinely believe that you are very busy and aren't in a position to help, don't offer. Offering assistance and then refusing every request is worse than not offering at all. If you happen to be going to the shops, ask if they need anything. They may not have time to do this themselves and not having to think about going to get bread and milk when they're trying to get all their ceilings painted before the carpet guy arrives can be a great relief. Maybe is they have little kids and so do you, you could offer to let them play in your garden with your kids. You can keep them well fed and watered and they're still in mum's line of sight without being under her feet. You know how much more can be accomplished during child free time.

5. Do keep in touch. You've made the first move, now keep up the good work. Say Hi when you see them in the street, stop for a chat if you both have the time. Encourage the kids to play together if you have them. Be polite and considerate, but also respect boundaries and privacy. Don't get a reputation at the nosey neighbour who calls by everyday.


1. Do help your elderly neighbours. The most important thing in my opinion is to consider you're elderly neighbours. Help them at every opportunity. I always help an elderly couple who live directly facing me. They're a lovely couple and are always very nice to Toots. While they do have children of their own around my age, they don't visit. They are capable of getting about themselves as they do drive, but living on a pension can be difficult enough without spending half of it on petrol just to go and buy groceries. I always shop for them and if I'm ordering online before Christmas I place an order for them too. Try to think about the little things, if you're cutting your own lawn would it be so much hassle to cut theirs while you're at it. Making dinner, make a bit extra.

2. Don't be a noisy neighbour. A lot of people today are very firmly entrenched in their own little bubble and its true that some people are very unaware of their own noise. Try to be respectful of your next door neighbours while inside and everyone else while outside. I'm not saying that you should tip toe around on egg shells, everyone has to make some noise to some degree, just be nice about it. Planning some noisy work, let your neighbours know ahead of time. Nobody wants to plan a barbecue or get together with friends only for you to start jackhammering an old patio right in the middle of it. And if your neighbours have kids who regularly play in their own garden, don't be that person who sits talking on her mobile in her own garden, swearing like a sailor at the top of her voice. Nobody likes that person.

3. Do always know the whereabouts of your kids. They might think that its perfectly harmless if they kick a ball into your neighbours garden and have to go and ask for it back. You might agree. Your neighbours won't if its happened 18 times in one day. Your neighbours don't want to feel like they have to babysit your kids while your in the garden swearing like a sailor on your mobile.

4. Do look after your animals and clean after them, especially if your garden is attached to a neighbour's garden. Nobody wants to go out into the garden on a hot summers day to cool off and be hit by the smell of dog mess. That stuff stinks on a hot day and just because its in your garden doesn't mean it doesn't travel. Make sure that if you're gong to have animals that you train them properly. If the dog goes absolutely nuts when someone walks by your house when you're home and you have to tell the animal to be quiet, assume that they also do the same thing when you're not at home, except then its without restriction and can go on for hours.

5. Do accept any complaints from your neighbours with grace. Try not to go on the offensive, claim you don't know what they're talking about and close the door in their face. Bear in mind that the law is NOT on the side of disruptive neighbours. The problem will not go away just by closing a door. Believe it or not your neighbour was being extremely nice by trying to call the problem to your attention first. They had a multitude of other options open to them, most of which involve complaining to an authority. Did you know that excessive dog barking in a built up area in the UK can land you with a fine of £1000 for each animal and for each offence. That can add up to a hell of a lot of money. Try to sort out problems amongst yourselves and only contact authorities if you feel your complaints are being ignored.

When dealing with neighbours, respect is the key. Always be respectful of your neighbours and you can expect the same in return.

What do you think? Are you a nice neighbour? Do you have an awful neighbour (in case it wasn't immediately obvious, I do)? How do you greet your new neighbours?

Menu Plan Monday - 23/2 to 1/3

Its that time of week again. Last week went pretty well. A couple of meals were switched about but apart from that I managed to stick to the plan.

On Sunday I nipped out to the local petrol station to grab some milk and they had whole chickens reduced to £1.79. There was still two days left on the sell by date so I grabbed two and as I'd already defrosted a chicken for Sunday, I roasted all three.

So whereas last week was heavy on the veggies, expect to see a lot of chicken on this weeks menu. Needless to say the husband will be having a lot of it for lunches too.

Lunch: I have bread in the fridge which I'll bake tonight (Sunday) and we'll use that for sandwiches.
Dinner: Mild chicken curry. I'm trying to get Toots to eat more of a variety. She likes spicy as in peppers and paprika but she's only really starting to come around to the idea of curry. I'll keep some yogurt handy in case she thinks its too spicy for her.

Lunch: Omelets. I helped my mum's friend with a bit of typing and paperwork over the weekend. She keeps chickens so now I have 30 eggs in the fridge.
Dinner: Chicken lasagna with salad.

Lunch: Hopefully (weather depending) we'll be out, so I'll pack a lunch. Some chicken drumsticks, bread, tomatoes, fruit and maybe a couple of pieces of cake.
Dinner: Chicken and vegetable soup. We may not get back until late so (if I remember) I'll have made this on Tuesday.

Lunch: Leftovers. I'm finding by this stage in the week I still have a few leftovers even with advanced planning and Toots really enjoys having a choice of things to eat.
Dinner: The husband is on call so it needs to be something quick like fajitas and salad.

Lunch: Again we'll be out but should be back around lunchtime. I'll take a snack with me in case we're a bit late and throw some pasta and sauce in the crockpot in the morning.
Dinner: Pizza. I've been getting away from this lately for some reason and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

Lunch: Last week I tried having a very light breakfast (just some cereal) and then a brunch around 11.30am. Toots has ballet at 1.30pm and this seemed to work well, she had more energy come 1.30pm and was a lot more cooperative. We'll have soda bread with bacon and maybe some scrambled eggs.
Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken with egg noodles.

Lunch: "Fingers crossed" the car will pass its MOT on Thursday and we'll be at the beach. The weather has been lovely the last few days here. I'll make up a chicken salad and a tomato salad and cook some burgers on the gas camper stove at the beach and as always I'll make the rolls myself.
Dinner: We'll be tired, I know we will so we'll probably just clean the fridge out of any leftovers and failing that I'll make some soup.

For more menu plans along with some great recipes head over to Organizing Junkie.

Sore Boob and Mating Season

I've pulled a boob muscle. Obviously not a technical term or anything, but ladies you'll know which one I'm talking about.

It happened on Wednesday and its been killing me ever since. Still, life goes on.

We took a trip to the duck pond again on Wednesday, partly because it was a nice day and partly to knacker the child.

Seriously if I could just bottle some of the energy that Toots puts out, I'd be a millionaire.

Or at the very least I could keep up with her.

We arrived at the duck pond and the place was pretty much empty save for a few dog walkers. Normally this place is quite busy even during the week and I couldn't figure out what the problem was.

We had quite a nice little sprint walk around the first half of the pond. Most of it is pathways which are fenced off from the pond, although there are a few areas passing over old stone bridges meaning we could get a glimpse of some geese.

And whatever the hell these are...

As we reached the halfway mark, the fences end and the pathway runs down to the waters edge. There are a few benches for exhausted mums to sit and take in the view. Except today as soon as Toots saw the fence end she ran like lightening over the brough of the hill and down to the water. It was only once I managed to leg it to the top of the hill myself I heard the noise.

God the noise.

It must have been mating season. All of these geese are standing around yelling their heads off at each other, with their wings flapping like mad...

And Toots, my ickle 3 year old, standing in the middle of it all waiving a slice of bread at them.

I swear they were actually hissing at her.

Now in my humble opinion 3 years isn't exactly what I would call "a good run". So in I went, handbag, coat, bag of bread flying in all directions. I managed to grab her under my arm and ran like the clappers. Hence the boob muscle.

Big day for me people. I hate geese. Petrified of them actually.

There isn't really a good reason why, all I know is that they scare the life out of me. My mum's the same except for her its a mutual thing. And there's a trend. The bigger the bird, the longer it will chase her. A swan once chased her through the lead mines for a solid 15 minutes and she's never gotten over it. Also she never forgave my dad because he just stood and laughed. She's convinced it could have killed her.

Anyway, we managed to find a quieter part of the pond so that I could whip the camera out and let Toots feed some birds.

A couple of them were quite happy to quietly eat bread and entertain the child for a few minutes, but of course then she managed to hit one of them square in the face with a full slice of bread and piss him off.

Moving on...

We had a bit of a picnic at the front of the park, before heading to the playground where she managed to scare a small child and her mother with her laugh. The devil lost it to her in a bare knuckle match.

Its the laugh of a child hell bent on world domination.

We spent the rest of the morning at wacky whizzards again and then she visited her Nana returning later that evening completely exhausted.

All in all a very good day.

And just for a bit of fun....

I took this photo as part of my Project 365. This week's Friendly 365 challenge was "Tacky" chosen by yours truly because I won last week:) What do you think?

And the "Crap Mummy" Award goes to......ME

I should probably clarify right at the outset that I don't think I'm a "Bad Mum". When I hear that term I always think of someone who is abusive or neglectful of their child and I am neither of those things.

What I mean by being a crap mummy is that I'm trying my very best and in my opinion, failing really rather miserably.

My daughter hates me.

Allow me to explain.

In September last year we received notification that Toots' daycare fees would almost double the following month. We tried through October and November to keep up with the payments.

I won't lie, we were more than a bit disgusted at paying so much money for daycare, but at the same time we were afraid of the effect taking Toots out of regular daycare and away from her friends and routine would have, especially since she only had to go one more year in full time care. So we tried.

In November the husband's job changed quite a bit, he was working further away from home and I was having to commute back and forward to work as well as drop Toots off and pick her up from daycare. The cost of this together with her daycare meant that I was spending more money than I earned every month. Something had to give and it did.

On 1 December I handed my notice in. My last day would be 31 December and Toots last day in daycare would be 23 December. To give you some idea had I let her continue in daycare until 31 December (bearing in mind that it would be closed most of the days between 23 Dec and 31 Dec for holidays) the fees for the month would have been £980.

Since then it feels like things have gone from bad to worse. I apologise if I come off as a gurn when so many people are in worse positions than I am.

Every day here has become a battle ground, even over the smallest things.

Toots has pretty much refused to eat every meal I've made since she came out of daycare. Most of the time I have to resort to some novelty, her current favorite is cutting her food up into cubes and then eating it with a cocktail stick and calling it a party.

She ignores me when I speak to her, making me call her name countless times before finally looking at me.

Getting dressed is a 45 minute fight. This morning once I'd finally managed to get some clothes on her, I went to quickly grab her coat and scarf. I came back to find a pile of clothes on the floor and no child to be found anywhere. Where was she hiding? Behind the curtain with her bare bum pressed up against the window for the entire school drop off outside to see.

She's lashed out at me a couple of times and defies me at every opportunity.

I'm worried in case she starts to develop problems once she starts school. She can't just say she doesn't want to in school and get away with it.

Truth be told I am letting her away with too much. Sometimes, I just get so tired its easier to let her play in the nip rather than making her keep her clothes on. Last week my record fail was letting her eat Pringles for breakfast one morning.

She tells me she loves me all the time, but I can't help but think that she's angry at me for taking her away from her friends and she's just acting out in the only way she knows how.

Sometimes I just wish I'd tried to find a couple of extra jobs and worked nights to earn the extra money and keep her in daycare.

I'd probably only see her for a grand total of 20 minutes a day, but something about the way she looks at me makes me think she'd be happier with that.

The Honeymoon - Part 4 - Lower Nile

Its quite difficult to write a post about Cairo, which is probably why it has taken me so long.

The problem is that for the most part cameras are off limits without a special permit or licence.

This is the part of Egypt where I would suggest you buy a stack of postcards. Not to send to anyone but to fill in the gaps in your photo album later.

I can only suggest you visit, Cairo, Giza and the rest of the Lower Nile are absolutely breathtaking.

One word of warning though. If you happen to be in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus or any of those places and are offered a "day trip" to Egypt, proceed with caution. There's nothing actually wrong with the trip, they are very well organised. But they are organised in such a way as to make you part with your cash as quickly as possible. You will be taken to Cairo Museum for about an hour.

It has been said that if you were allowed 1 minute to look at each artifact it would take over 9 months to see everything.

You'll then be ushered on to Auntie Betty's jewelery shop, Uncle Jim's papyrus shop and well you get the idea.

You'll see very little of Egypt on one of these tours and there is a lot to see...

We were there for one week and I would have been happier with a few months. This photo was taken from the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. While we were at the Mosque the Muezzin began calling and out of respect I didn't take any more than a few photographs facing away from the Mosque.

One thing I will say is that if you plan to visit any of the many mosques in Cairo, please cover up. It doesn't take a lot to show some respect and a pair of trousers and long sleeves aren't really going to do you any harm. One girl in our tour group was a bit put out by the fact that all the women entering the mosque were told that they would have to wear a heavy cloak except me. Bear in mind that this was the same girl who put her bloody shoes down on the ground beside the fountain so that she could get her camera ready. And the same girl who eventually had her camera confiscated because she couldn't switch off the flash. I swear there's always one.

Anyway, obviously the first thing you will want to see on arriving in Cairo are the pyramids.

Surprisingly enough you can't really see them from anywhere in Cairo. The city is so built up and more than a little polluted that you will have to get a bit closer to really appreciate them.

One other thing. People in general are a little jaded by the pyramids. You've seen them everywhere, TV, magazines, postcards and it does ruin it for you a little.

If you see them from a short distance, you get your typical holiday snap idea of what they look like.

Off in the desert, the middle of nowhere, these giants rise out of the sand.

Want to see them from the other side....

This was our hotel and yes that is a swimming pool and a golf course right at the foot of the Giza plateau. This view almost ruined it for me. I knew the hotel was close, but I never thought it was that close.

You will need to get right up close and personal to get a true idea of just how big these things really are.

Each stone was about five feet tall, although I think they are a bit smaller closer to the top.

There is a tour inside one of the pyramids, but as I've mentioned before we arrived in the middle of a heatwave and on this particular day the temperature reached 63C. The tour guides recommended to everyone that whilst the tour was still running nobody should take it. It is very cramped and claustrophobic inside the passageways and a few people had to be carried out while we were there.

Instead we headed over to see the Sphinx.

It was and probably still is undergoing a lot of restorative work.

Also on the Giza plateau is the Solar Boat Museum containing the oldest boat in history. The boat was used to transport Cheops body and then buried with him. Its in pretty good condition, don't you think?

We were also able to get to Memphis during our stay in Egypt. Memphis is now a city built over ruins. Of course, archaeologists would love nothing more than to flatten the city and start digging, but the people of Memphis are firmly standing their ground.

As it is today there are a few uncovered statues to be seen and a large alabaster sphinx.

There is also a Colossus of Ramses II in Memphis. It would stand over 14 meters high if it wasn't lying down, obviously.

Some of the other things we were able to visit, but unfortunately weren't able to or just wouldn't stop what we were doing to photograph...

The city of the dead is probably not what you imagine it to be. A huge graveyard now filled with life. In the 1960s due to a great housing shortage for lower income family and immigration from the country and outlying areas, the tombs and mausolea were transformed into homes. You'll see little children playing football and using headstones as goal posts. In fact many of the headstones have been used in the building process. Its a spectacular place to visit and spend some time and well worth the trip to Cairo on its own. Its a very strange experience to see so many living share space with the dead.

The Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar is an amazing place. Its actually a large group of separate bazaars which have grown and enveloped each other of the years. The poor husband couldn't get me to stand still love enough to take any photographs, but the colours and smells are breathtaking. Each bazaar sells vast quantities of a different item. Gold (sold by weight, silver and leather, carpets, copperware, spices, perfume, cloth and fabric, food, sheesha and street after street of belly dancers outfits. It can seem a little overwhelming and a bit scary when you first enter the bazaar. It covers a very large area and is extremely crowded in very cramped streets (no more than a few feet wide) but there is some method to the madness and its actually quite easy to find your way around once you've had a quick dash around the market. A word of warning, avoid the centre of the market, its the area where you will see a lot of tour buses parked and hawkers trying to sell "real essence of Chanel No:5" and some poor saps desperate to buy it. Also don't go into any shop with a hustler. They stand in the bazaar telling everyone they can get you local prices on everything. The store owners know them on sight and hike the prices to pay their compensation. Never pay more than a third of the first price you are given. Seriously, sellers actually look disappointed for a second if you don't haggle.

The Hanging Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary is the most beautiful in Egypt and well worth a visit. It is nicknamed the Hanging Church because it is built over the bastions of a roman gate. It is decorated inside with decorative cedar panels and a large marble pulpit supported by twelve columns. No matter what time of the day you visit the church is always filled with people but something about the place quietens the usual chatter and noise you will hear at other sights and you feel like you could very well be there alone.

I'm going to have to leave it at that because I'm very tempted to sell the car and book a couple of flights and that just wouldn't do at all.

Menu Plan Monday - 16/2 - 22/2

God this week has dragged in. I was starting to think I'd missed a Monday and just fed the family exactly the same thing two weeks running.

Turns out I didn't.

I actually have blisters where my thumbs meet my hands at the minute. I have worked like a dog in that garden today. On the up side everything is now ready for planting and I'll do that in drips and drabs with Toots next week. I can't wait to have a garden filled with fresh vegetables. Toots has been looking forward to the fresh peas as well. If she goes missing in the summer I can pretty much guarantee I'll find her hiding in amongst the peas, eating away quite happily.

We stuck to the plan as written last week and I'm hoping we can stay on track with this. It's definitely helping each day be a little more organised.

Lunch: Toasted English muffins with cheese and fresh fruit. I did really well with my market haunting this week so the house is crammed full of fresh fruit and winter vegetables. My dad brought the muffins home from the bakery, although I'd like to have a go at making these myself.
Dinner: Our winter salad. The hubs has been craving this for weeks. Its basically just steamed baby potatoes (quartered), green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, tuna/chicken/prawns and salad dressing of your choice. I like Caesar the hubs likes Paul Newman's two thousand island dressing with an extra hit of chili.

Lunch: Garlic mushroom on toast (bread dough in the fridge to bake tomorrow) with any leftover salad.
Dinner: Cauliflower soup with tarragon and good bread.

Lunch: Crusty bread pizzas.
Dinner: Spaghetti with chorizo (still from Christmas), peas and cheese sauce and garlic bread.

Lunch: Soup or sandwiches. We have to be somewhere today so it'll be something quick.
Dinner: Black eyed bean and vegetable burgers with chips(fries).

Lunch: Tomato and spring onion noodles.
Dinner: I mentioned in passing to the husband that Annie has a snack night once a week and he jumped at the idea. Still not entirely sure what to make though. I've a mini goat's cheese in the freezer I might bake that with some baby potatoes and chicken goujons for a fakey fondue, maybe some onion rings or mini pizzas. I haven't decided yet.

Lunch: Back to ballet today so we'll just clean out the fridge of any leftovers, add bread or make some sandwiches.
Dinner: Irish Stew.

Lunch: Roast chicken with steamed vegetables and potatoes.
Dinner: I still have a lot of trout in the freezer and my brother will be catching again soon so I'll use some to make fishcakes with sweet chili and salsa for dipping.

Head over to Organizing Junkie for more great Menu Plans and maybe some ideas and inspiration for next week.

I'm also having a giveaway at the moment. Its open to all until midnight on 28 February. Click here for details on how to enter.

Say what...?

I thought I'd clarify some common Irish/Ulsterish words and sayings, just for funsies.

Faffing - Used to describe time wasting, usually when the time waster is actually very busy doing something, but with no direct outcome or nothing to show for their work. Not to be confused with Dossing about.

Dosser, Dossing about - Sitting on you bum doing absolutely nothing except taking up valuable space and using up valuable oxygen.

Chuffed - Feeling happy or incredibly pleased with yourself.

Poke - An ice cream cone and Toots personal favourite treat.

Craic/Crack - Fun.

I tell a lie - used in conversation to to correct yourself when you realise you've remember something incorrectly. Usually preceded with "No, wait".

So it is - Can be used either on its own as in "Its cold out", "aye, so it is" or at the end of a sentence to help get the point across as in "Its cold out, so it is".

Is that you? Please don't try to be clever and answer "Nooo, its Madonna". The person wants to know if you're finished.

Yer Da - Your father.

Yer Ma - Your Mother.

Does my Da know yer Ma - Is my father "familiar" with your mother. An insult, use with extreme caution.

Eejit - Idiot.

Numpty - Idiot.

Bin lid - Idiot.

A drop of the black stuff - A pint of Guinness.

The Funny Fortnight - Northern Ireland's fifth season or the Marching Season (i.e. Spring, Summer, Marching, Autumn, Winter). Usually a time when trouble would break out, angry mobs, rioting that sort of thing, although I haven't seen much of it the last few years. Also a time of the year when, if you work in Belfast and your boss is very nice, he may allow you to go home early in case the roads were blocked by an overturned bus or more often than not a couple of tires, a sofa and a few teenage boys with bumfluff.

Bumfluff - Barely pubescent facial hair commonly seen on young teenage boys. Also known as "The Barcode Moustache".

Brickie - Bricklayer or builder.

Spark - Electrician.

Chippie - Carpenter, not to be confused with Chippy.

Chippy - Purveyor of deeply delicious fried food such as fish, chips (fries), pasties (past-ees), sausages and the ever present Ulster Fry.

Ulster Fry - Soda bread, potato bread, pancake, white bread, sausage, bacon, egg and mushrooms all fried and served with baked beans (Heinz) and generous amounts of red or Brown Sauce.

Red sauce - Ketchup.

Brown sauce - always HP its made with vinegar, fruits and spices. Think chutney only completely smooth and very lovely.

Bap - a small bread roll.

Belfast Bap - a large bread roll, more of an entire loaf to be honest but usually consumed by a single person in one sitting, sometimes filled with cheese and onion crisps (Tayto).

Butty - Sandwich.

Ok, so that'll do for the minute. If anyone finds this to be a useful reference, let me know I'll do more.

There are thousands of these, so there are.

I'm in a giving mood - Designer Bag Giveaway

Giveaway open to all, regardless of location, read on to find out how to enter...

So maybe its all the love in the air or the fact that I had bacon for breakfast.

It could be that I have a gas leak and haven't noticed yet.

Whatever the reason, I'm feeling generous and one of you lovely people will benefit from that generosity.

I'm having a bit of a clear out and tidy up and I came across this bag. Brand spanking new, it was bought to go with a outfit to wear to a wedding, the outfit got returned at the last minute because I'd changed my mind. The bag did not.

Because who in their right mind would return this.

The bag is by Charlotte Reid London and is no longer available. You'll have a very hard time finding this particular bag anywhere.

Anyway, its never seen the light of day which is a bit of sin because its absolutely gorgeous.

Lovely person that I am, I'm going to give this bag away.

And you, dear friends have three chances to win this lovely bag.

All you have to do is any or all of the following (you get one entry per)

1 Leave me a comment.

2 Subscribe to SeetheWoodsandthetrees and then leave another separate comment (if you are already subscribed leave a comment letting me know, it'll count).

3 Write a short post about this giveaway on your site and link back here, come back and leave another separate comment.

Simple as. Three chances to win this lovely bag.

The giveaway will run until midnight on 28 February 2009 and on Sunday I'll select a winner using random number generator.

And the giveaway is open to one and all, completely regardless of where you live, I'll send it anywhere.

And if this is your first time here or you've been before but simply haven't commented (we're all busy after all), don't be afraid to jump right in. If you have any questions about the giveaway or the bag itself, please email me. It makes the draw a little less fiddly. Thanks

Remember, if you're not in you can't win.

Good Luck.

Freebies work for me. For more WFMW tips, recipes and ideas head over to visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer and thank her for all her hard work, effort and time she dedicated to Works for me Wednesday before the torch passes to Kristen at We are THAT family.

Three's the charm

So I'm going to be a millionaire. No really, I am.

You, with the skeptical look on your face, yes you. Stop being so pessimistic. You must be an absolute joy to have around.

Anyway, let me explain my thinking.

I never win anything.

Nothing at all. Except once I won £7 on a scratch card. Say it with me friends "Wooooohooooo".

But this week has been a little different.

For a start I won this week's challenge in the Friendly Project 365 Challenge with this shot

So I was chuffed to bits.

Then I won a Superwhy DVD for Toots (not me, obviously) over at the Supersisters Blog at PBS Parents.

So now I'm well and truly chuffed.

I figure if luck does come in threes, then I must be due a lottery win.

Don't worry though, I won't let all that money go to my head.

I'll still live in Ireland, although maybe I'll buy something a little bigger.

Do you think this place is for sale?

And of course I'll still write (do I write?) here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a HOT date with a lottery terminal. I think I might get lucky.

Knowing my luck I'll find a pound coin on the ground on the way there......

My Man

Sometimes it seems you were born by design, for you are everything I could hope for in a friend. My friend, my best friend for over 12 years now, my husband for the better part of 7.

Sometimes I feel I've know you all my life, the years before are little more than a blur.

I love everything about you.

I love that you love me.

I love that you gave me my daughter, a child more precious and beautiful than we could ever have imagined.

I love that together we laugh at the world, regardless of what it has thrown at us over the years and the world has thrown a lot.

I love that you can deal with my head and some of the very dark thoughts in there.

I love that I no longer have a "backup plan". You always knew about this and you helped me see that not all men are alike. You helped me to trust and rely on someone other than myself.

I love that you let me be weak ... and tell nobody of this.

I love your eyes, as dark as night, and that you gave them to our daughter, except for their heart. The heart is mine and the brightest blue.

I love that when you concentrate on something you stick your tongue out of the corner of your mouth and bite it. Toots does the same.

I love that even when I'm completely skanked out you still tell me I'm beautiful.

I love that you never automatically take my side in an argument just because I'm your wife. If I want to pick a fight I should be able to hold my own.

I love that you still roll over in the morning and say "Morning Wife", like its all still new.

I love your arms, for obvious reasons.

I love that you say you look like a hippy if your hair is more than an inch long and that you weren't vain enough to run for the Grecian when the ratio finally shifted to more salt than pepper.

I love that when I'm getting ready for bed at night you still say "ooh boobs" like a schoolboy.

You're by no means perfect, but I love that too. I can't stand perfection and you know this. You know about the secret pleasure I get from breaking the spine on a new book.

I love that we can laugh at each other's mistakes and not take it personally, its just a bit of fun and that's how we are.

I love that you still don't know how to work the media player and I do because you couldn't take it to the bathroom with you.

I love that even in spite of this you still refuse to read the instruction manual.

You make me laugh every single day.

You are very, very important to me.

People say you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. They are wrong. I chose both.

I love that you love me...

My husband, my love, my strength, my backbone and my friend. I will love you always.

In honour of all the husbands who stand by us and put up with us Kristen of We are that Family is hosting a little get together. If you'd like to take part or just fancy reading more like this, head over to Kristen's S.W.A.K Valentine Carnival

Freecycleables - Valentine Hearts Tutorial - WFMW

We spent today making some very simple gifts for Valentine's Day. The gift pictured above is a paper mache heart for my mum. It will be a present from Toots.

This actually turned out to be pretty quick to finish, aside from the drying time it only took around 30 minutes, which is a pity because I'd planned on keeping a slightly bored preschooler occupied with this for most of the afternoon. Ah well, c'est la vie. It just goes to show, when kids are involved, plan, plan and plan some more.

Bear in mind that it is messy so its best to throw down an old tablecloth or sheet to catch any drips.

You'll need to start off with some old newspapers, magazines, catalogues, just whatever you happen to have handy.

The newspapers I used were copies of the local paper, so about the size of an average magazine. Take two sheets of paper and roll up into a ball then cover with tape. I used decorators tape because I had quite a lot handy but any tape could be used. Repeat this process so that you have two balls.

Take one sheet of newspaper and fold in half lengthwise. Place one ball of paper close to the side of the length of paper and roll up so that you have a tube of paper with the ball close to one end.

Fold the ends of paper in and tape to the ball, cover the rounded end of the tube with tape to give it a slightly smoother appearance and make sure its well secured.

You'll end up with a basic torpedo shape like the one above.

Flatten the empty end of the tube and fold each side of the paper in towards the middle to make a point and completely cover with tape.

Make another teardrop shape the same as the first and one smaller one, beginning with half a sheet of newspaper for the ball. This should help give the right size for the small piece.

Tape all three pieces together with the smaller piece in the middle and again completely cover with tape, add some scrunched up strips of paper if you think there are any obviously "holes" in the heart shape or any sunken sections which will be difficult to fill out later.

Next comes the messy bit. You'll need to shred some newspaper and get some glue. I used 2 parts PVA and 1 part water. You can also make a very good paste using 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Start to completely cover the heart shape with strips of newspaper dipped in the paste. You'll need to build up about 4 or 5 layers.

I then added a final layer of pink tissue paper. This is necessary I just had it in the craft box and didn't realise until the last minute that I didn't have any pink paint left or even any red paint so I couldn't make pink.

You'll notice from the first photo that i changed my mind again and recovered the heart in a darker shade of pink tissue paper.

And then of course once the kids are in bed you can some fun all by yourself and go slightly nuts with the embellishments.

I have an absolute ton of buttons so I super glued a few on there, as you can see and then I cut some hearts and circles from some offcuts of craft paper I had in the box, placed them together, added yet another button and sewed them together with embroidery thread before gluing them on in the same way.

And all the craft supplies have been gathered over the years from my local £ shop (dollar store equivalent) and stockpiled.

For more great tips, crafts, recipes and loads more head on over to Rocks in my Dryer. And if you're interested I also have a great bread recipe posted today. Its also linked over at Rocks in my Dryer and I've listed some delicious additions to the main recipe.

Basic Bread Dough Recipe - WFMW

As promised my basic bread dough recipe. I've been fiddling with this for a while and I'm pretty sure its as good as it going to get.

I use this dough for a lot of things, not just plain white bread, but we'll get to that.

About lb plain white flour
About 300ml luke warm water
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
2 tsp dried yeast

Put flour, oil and salt in a large bowl

Add yeast and honey to lukewarm water to reactivate and make a cup of coffee while you wait 10 minutes.

Tip water mixture into flour and combine with your hands. You may think at first that there is too much water but just keep mixing and squeezing together it will be a soft dough. The idea behind good bread is to get as much liquid in there as possible and still be able to handle the dough, even if you can just barely handle it.

Flour your counter top and tip the dough out. Knead the dough for as long as you can manage, you'll start to feel a difference with this dough very quickly after a couple of minutes and because it is a soft dough with plenty of liquid it is very easy to knead*. If need be take a break for a couple of minutes, nobody ever said you had to knead the dough for a solid 20 minutes.

Once you're happy that the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, add a little bit of oil to the original bowl (it will be relatively clean), cover with cling film and leave to prove**

Once proved, knock back slightly, shape, preheat oven and bake.

* I think the easiest way to knead dough is to hold onto the piece of dough closest to you and stretch the rest of the dough away from you, then roll the dough back on itself, turn and repeat. The first few stretches the dough will break, then it stretches more and more easily. This way seems to me to be much easier on the arms, much quicker and theres something very rhythmic and relaxing about it.
** In my house there are three ways to prove bread. Sometimes I'll make a double batch of dough and prove half of it in the fridge for 24 hours or so, that way I only have to make dough once. It can be proved at room temperature for about two hours, you can easily make a batch after lunch and have fresh baked bread with dinner. 3.00pm and not a crumb in the house, stick some washing in the dryer while you make the dough, put it in the bowl, switch off the dryer, flatten the clothes slightly, set the bowl on top and close the door while you preheat the oven, 20 minutes later, perfectly risen dough.

I always bake bread at 180C (350F) in a fan assisted oven.

Sandwich Rolls divide dough into eight pieces, shape into rolls, scrunching and twisting the ends of the dough into the base of the roll, brush with milk - bake for 15 minutes. Or make about 20 smaller rolls, flattening the dough into a disk before wrapping around a knob of frozen garlic butter or mozzarella before baking. Make a dozen medium rolls stuffed with chicken breast, marinated and cooked in soy, garlic, ginger and spring onion, wrap the dough around, brush with salted milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top for Chinese style chicken buns.

Plait divide the dough into four pieces then each piece into three, roll into a long strip and plait starting in the middle and working out to each end, turn the ends under, brush with milk and bake for 15 minutes.

Tin Loaf - Tip entire batch of dough out onto a flour surface, flatten slightly, roll the dough into a short fat sausage shape drop into a 2lb loaf tin and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. You'll have to give the loaf a second prove for about 40 minutes with this option. Don't be afraid to add flavours here, when the dough it flattened, before rolling up, spread with basil or tomato pesto, Dijon or wholegrain mustard, cover with chopped steamed spinach, tomato or onion relish, all very good additions.

Bloomer - Again use the whole batch of bread and prepare as for tin loaf, except prove the bread on a greased baking sheet. You can knead in other flavours here and give the loaf a longer second prove, chopped sunblush tomatoes, fresh green grapes and brie, Parmesan and chopped spinach, grated raw beetroot (wear gloves) bake for 30-35 minutes.

Pizza - Yes it makes great pizza, tip dough onto a pizza sheet or just a regular baking sheet (pizza doesn't have to be round), push out to the edges of the pan with your hands, add toppings and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or part bake dough on as it is for 10 minutes, cool and freeze for later use. This recipe will make two 12inch deep dish pizza bases or four thin and crispy (although you're going to have to bake it on a pizza stone or a large untreated terracotta tile placed in the oven works just as well for a fraction of the cash).

Focaccia - The recipe makes two, drop half the dough into the base of a cake tin (about 10 - 12 inch) and push out to the edges of the tin, leave to prove while oven is heating. Before baking make indentations all over the top of the dough with your fingers, drizzle with olive oil, add sea salt, finely sliced red onion and fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme or sage, bake for 20-25 minutes. The bread should be a lovely dark golden brown on top with a lovely crisp crust, serve warm (can be reheated wrapped in foil in the oven for 10 minutes or so).

That isn't even the half of it, you can use this bread recipe for dozens of other options, no more having to remember which recipe you use for rolls, or sandwiches, or pizza, all the one, it all works.

And please let me know if you try any other flavours with this recipe. I'd love to see what else everyone comes up with for this bread.

For more tips, crafts and recipes than you can shake a stick at, head on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

I also have another post up today if you need a relatively quick, very cheap gift idea for Valentine's Day.

Menu Plan Monday - 9 Feb to 15 Feb

Monday again. This is great, not only is this helping me to remember what to cook, its helping me remember what day it is.

January was not a good month for remembering what day it was, seriously don't ask me what January was all about.

Anyway, food.

Last week we stuck to the plan completely. Nothing weird cropped up and I had a lovely relaxing time and even managed to get some completely non-essential baking done (btw non-essential baking is pronounced chok-o-lat cake in my neck of the woods).

Lunch: We'll be at mum's and dad will cook, so probably something "mad man with a spatula esque" cornbeef toasties for all I know*.
Dinner: Ham and Pea Risotto with crusty bread.

Lunch: Toasted hotcross buns, fruit and yogurt.
Dinner: MTM's glazed pork chops with roasted root veg

Lunch: Potato, spinach and cheese melt. I've spinach in the freezer and baby potatoes which need to be used.
Dinner: Fish pie. Basically just fish poached in milk, use the milk to make the parsley sauce, add flaked fish and peas, plonk in an ovenproof dish, top with potatoes and bake.

Lunch: Lentil soup and bread rolls.
Dinner: Crockpot pulled pork with noodles and shredded vegetable stirfry.

Lunch: Pulled pork sandwiches using some homemade soft bread rolls.
Dinner: Homemade pizza using the salami I still have from Christmas.

Lunch: No ballet today (its half term), I have sandwich steak in the freezer, so I'll cook that with some soy, ginger, garlic and spring onions and have it (again) with good bread or with rice or noodles. If the weather is at least dry I may chuck the gas cooker and a pan in the back of the car and head to the forest to get Toots out of the house, I'll cook lunch while we're there.
Dinner: Toots will be at Nana's and what with it being valentine's day I'll treat the husband to one of his venison steaks**. I'll coat it in crushed peppercorns, sear it quickly in the pan and then finish it off in the oven. I'll serve it with tobacco onions, roasted sweet potato and baked mushrooms.

This Sunday will be a bit different, mum does a light lunch and big meal later on, so toots will only have had a light meal when she arrives home and I'd like her to have something substantial in the evening.
Lunch: Nice lazy lunch, something bready,, maybe french toast with bacon and eggs.
Dinner: Baked whole trout (I still have loads in the freezer my brother caught last year. He fishes but hates fish, go figure) with lightly spiced crushed borlotti beans and spinach.

* He's actually a pretty good cook most of the time and he knows I'm joking when I make fun, but he sometimes has a bad habit of putting together ingredients that have no business even nodding at each other in passing let alone sharing plate space.
** I bought the venison steaks for the husband as a Christmas present and seriously those things have paid for themselves three times over. Ladies consider buying your husbands meat for all present affiliated holidays. Meat and beer!

Stuck in a rut? Need menu ideas? Head over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

And if you come back here tomorrow I'll be posting my basic bread dough recipe, with some ideas on how to use it and also some yummy variations.

Creative Birthday

I know, we're sorting out birthday presents for Toots a bit early but you have to be on top of these things.

The husband was away on business a few weeks ago and while he was in the airport he spotted the new 40Gb Creative Mosaic for a meagre £40 and thought it would make a perfect present for Toots. Seriously who's going to turn down an offer like that.

We're a hardened Creative family in this house, you can keep your naff (designed for 12 yr olds) Ipods. And don't even try to talk me round, others have tried and failed miserably.

I know its only her fourth birthday and an MP3 player seems a bit over the top, but she's really become a music lover in the last year and .... trust me if you knew her you'd agree, music is definitely the way to go.

The thing I love most about this player is the built in speaker. She doesn't have to sit blocking out everything else with a pair of headphones or earbuds. She'll be able to bop around to her hearts content and I'll not have to worry that she's accidentally turned the volume up a it too load for her wee ears.

Ok so present sorted then. Well not quite. We've spent the last week vetoing each others music choices.

Toots likes rock, she's a bit of a wee rock chick, which could be something to do with the fact that she spends her time with a woman who listens almost exclusively to rock but we'll just gloss over that for a minute. Nursery rhymes are the sole domain of the bedroom, a baa baa black sheep and a hickory dickory dock and she's fast asleep. Pop doesn't hold her attention for more than a few seconds, but in all fairness to the child pop isn't exactly designed to hold attention is it? It tends to be innocuous drivel, purpose built to be as inoffensive as possible. That would be why its popular.

One exception to the rule is Footloose, she loves it and so do I. And I'm not apologising for it. We even have matching legwarmers*.

I actually listen to lyrics so I can be pretty confident about which tracks are appropriate and which aren't. Its become very apparent that the hubs doesn't listen to lyrics. At least not carefully.

Exhibit A: He couldn't understand why I told him to take Alice Cooper's Poison off the player.

I can just see me standing in the queue in the corner shop, jug of milk in one hand, preschooler signing about black lace on sweat in the other. Um no thanks.

Exhibit B: He couldn't see a problem with My Sharona either.

Listen harder husband, the reason's in there.

And its went on like this for the last week or so. He'll ask first, or just go ahead and add it to the list and I'll whip it straight back off again.

Actually so far, I've been pretty lenient.

Queen, obviously. I was brought up on Queen and I turned out alright.
Status Quo, because every child should be drip fed pure Quo since birth.
The Who
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Old U2
Twisted Sister. She will learn the lyrics are "I Wanna Rock" not "I'm a goofy goober" if it kills me (Thanks Spongebob)

Stepping waaaay out on a limb here, Gary Glitter.
She's heard some Soundgarden (when I had music on but wasn't really listening). She liked it, but I'm still not sure.
Certain Aerosmith tracks

She already likes the obviously one, Dude looks like a lady (thank you Robin Williams) so I'll just add a few more mild ones.

The husband tried to veto that one because he thinks we'll have to deal with the whole question of cross dressing too early. I honestly can't see it being a problem and its a bit of a non-issue with a daughter. A girl can wear whatever she likes. There's no such thing as a female transvestite. So suppose if I'm trying to make sure she doesn't have any double standards I'll tell her there's no such thing as a male transvestite either. Just a bloke wearing whatever he wants.

Actually, I'll show her this guy.

Eddie Izzard. In my most humble opinion one of the most beautiful men ever, regardless of what he puts on in the morning.

Everyone knows he does a bit of acting these days, but if you've never seen his stand up you should seriously consider having a look. Some of his bits are The Death Star Canteen, Being Bilingual, Exploding Breasts, and Stonehenge. Seriously, look and wet yourself laughing.

Right so anyway, music! What do you think of the selection so far? Have I missed anything that should be included and isn't?