That Big Conference Thingy in Chicago

Wow. I mean wow, OMG, WFT and all those other silly little three letter texty comments designed to replace the English language, there is on hell of a lot of complaining going on around the Blogosphere lately. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people do seem to have some genuinely nice things to say about BlogHer, generally about the people they met there but from what I can gather 1400 people attended this year but based on the number of them who left disappointed for some reason or another it'll be a much smaller gathering next year.

Wait, you're telling me I'm not correct in assuming that. You're telling me that by hook or by crook all of the people who attended this year will do their level best to attend next year again and not only that but just as many others will be clamouring for planes and tickets also.

Hmm, can't have been that bad then, can it?

Now I fully welcome the obvious criticism that I wasn't in fact there. I didn't see it. I didn't go. I didn't get to experience the full unrated version. Well no, I didn't because I live in Northern Ireland and chances are the next time I pack a bag and prepare to jump on an eight our flight to the States you can bet I'm on my way to Disney and you can bet I have my family right there with me.

The way I see it (and please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here) BlogHer is a conference. For women. But men go too. And it's about Blogging. Blogging. That huge great beast we're all trying to ride and tame. Trying to bend and mould it into something which suits each of us as individuals.

It's not a conference for writers, because that would be a writer's conference.

It's not a conference for mothers or fathers, because that would be a parenting conference.

It's not a conference about PR and marketing, because those would be PR and marketing conferences.

It's a conference about blogging which covers all of those things and much more besides, whether you like it or not.

But if you really can't stand it or think that none of the drivel discussed applies to you or that you are so far above and beyond all of this (with a nonchalant sweep of the arm for effect) then why did you bother going or why indeed have you already blocked off those dates in your calender for next year. It certainly can't be for the free stuff or the swag because you complained about that too.

It has all left me rather confused to be quite honest and one question keeps floating to the front of my mind;

When exactly did blogging become such a teeny little 'bloggy in my pocket' mini beast that you think there should only be room on the back for you and your kind of people?

Open your eyes, wake up and smell the coffee, ditch the blinkers or whatever. Blogging is huge and lots of people have their own individual reasons why they do it. Different reasons that motivate them. Different interests. Different styles.

I don't suppose there's any chance you could maybe be a little more accommodating and open minded next year and bear in mind that not everyone does this for the same reasons you do.

I guess you really can't please all of the people all of the time but certainly from what I can tell the organisers of BlogHer put a lot of time and effort into trying to ensure that a lot of the people are pleased at least some of the time. And honestly what more do you expect of them when we're talking about 1400 people? Did you really expect there to be 1400 guest speaker each at their own little table with a single solitary chair facing them just for you, ready, willing and waiting to answer all of your questions and have a little chat about whatever you like to talk about.

But then I guess that wouldn't have worked either considering so many attend for the community.

Hmm, I'll admit it I'm completely stumped. I certainly couldn't organise it, or make it better, or keep everyone happy all the time.

But by all means if you think that you could, please be my guest and we'll all wait here with bated breath, cash in hand ready to buy to tickets and book flights, dates blocked off in our calenders and next year blog posts will fill the blogosphere to its virtual rafters singing your praises and extolling the virtues of BlogForEveryone or BlogForMe or whatever you call it.

Well, maybe!


And we were really looking forward to the Creative Peninsula event in Conway Square tomorrow too.

Its absolutely glorious outside today, the sun is shining, the grass is drying out and the temperature is perfect. However, I've just checked the forecast for tomorrow and it's to rain. All. Day. Long.

Toots is going stir crazy at the minute being couped up around the house. Don't get me wrong, even if the weather's a bit miserable we still play in the garden or go for a walk reasonably close to home, because there's little more fun to be had than having to carry a drenched four year old more than a mile home in the pouring rain. I try to keep her as busy and occupied as I can while we're at home but the poor child just needs to stretch her legs, to get outside and run like the clappers.

I was kind of banking on tomorrow to pick her up a bit. Admittedly, it isn't going to be a hopping, skipping, jumping kind of day but she'll be able to take part in loads of arts and crafts like painting and pottery to name a couple of things. I'm not hugely concerned about rain to be honestly as I can always put her wellies and raincoat on and just bring an empty bag to lug around the wets while we're in the tents, but if the wind picks up then I'm worries they may have to cancel the event.

Roll on school term is all I can say. At least then Toots will have something everyday to enjoy and she'll be back in the company of other kids on a daily basis which I know for a fact she has missed terribly since leaving daycare. I just hope the teachers can keep up with her.

In the meantime, I'll organise a bag tonight with a spare empty one tucked in and our raincoats and just hope for the best tomorrow because come hell or high water, I need to get this child away from the house for more than an hour.


I'm properly busy and therefore unable (too lazy) to properly write a proper post, I went ahead and mad men-ed myself.

And also because I wish I could be standing in a bar, cocktail in hand, chilling out.

Her bra and knickers even match and generally I'm much too busy (again, lazy) to bother with such unnecessary frivolities.

Sure a girl can wish!

Anyone have a spare eight hours lying around I can borrow?

Menu Plan

I'm actually not going to bother with a menu plan this week. The weather is a bit all over the place and last week's plan was bumped mostly for salads and nibbly food so I think I'll just do the same again this week.

There's plenty in there as I went on Wednesday and did a big grocery shop so we still have plenty of salad supplies and loads of fresh veggies in the fridge. Although, that's perhaps half of the problem. It easier to get by without a plan of any kind when there's a ton of food in the house.

I also have some minced steak in the fridge so I'll fit in pasta or something similar this week or burgers, as I say I haven't really decided yet.

Its been quite muggy here because of the rain but the temperature has climbed again the last couple of days so I may cook in the crockpot more often than not this week.

I'll hopefully feel more like planning proper meals again next week.

To make up for the lack of foody loveliness I'm having a giveaway over on See the Woods Designs. Feel free to pop over and throw your name into the hat.

Norn Ironisms

You might remember I did this while ago.

We were having a natter in one of the threads over on Folksy a while ago about the things we remember specific to the areas we live in and it reminded me of a few isms that those not from NI may never have heard (or may never have any use for).

But sure if only for the craic, here we go;

Yer whats itchy

Can you repeat that please, to be used when you've missed or misheard what the other person was saying.

He cudn't bate snow aff a rope

(He couldn't beat snow off a rope) Implying that he's weak or not much of a fighter.

Like two men and a wee lad

Actually I haven't a clue. I remember my grandad saying it, usually about anyone running i.e "there they go, like two men and a wee lad".

Aye, yer a big man in yer wee coat

Loudmouth, simple as.

He'd steal the eyes out of yer head and come back for yer eyebrows when his own didn't match

A chancer, we would also say he had a brass neck on him.

A face like a Lurgan spade

Used to refer to someone who looks sad. We might also say "her bake is tripping her".


As in He's mustard, meaning he's a bit of a tear away or a bit of a handful to manage.

And there's more, but I'm pretty sure that's enough for now!

When I really should have done nothing but eat brownies all day...

Toots and I spent three hours, three whole hours, cleaning and tidying the wreckage that was once our garden today.

We're a bit famous in the UK for talking a lot about the weather, but there's a very simple and logical reason for that.

It's because we get so much of the stuff.

There has been a lot of flooding in Northern Ireland the last couple of days, now not the Westlink (spectacular demonstration of DOE workmanship flooding), but flooding nonetheless.

I had to leg it out into ankle deep water in my little back garden yesterday morning to save the cat.

The poor cat who was more than a little confused by my attempts to grab her and get her into the house and out of the rapidly rising water. She scratched, spat and bit before finally scurrying past me and straight up to her armpits in the swimming pool that was now my patio.

And even though I'm convinced that by that point she must have realised that my trying to get hold of her were in her best interests in the first place, she still managed to give me a dirty look, like it was all my fault she now resembled a drowned rat.

We dried off and stood at the kitchen counter with hot coffee watching the torrent of water pour down the steps in my garden, resigned to the fact that there was absolutely nothing we could do but watch and wonder why we'd bothered paying a guy to install a second drain in the back garden (which clearly wasn't helping at all) when we first moved into the house and woke one morning to watch a full sized wheelie bin float past the kitchen window.

And I'm not sure I'll ever forget the sight of my husband wrapping a freshly laundered fluffy bath sheet around the cat, scratching her under the chin and asking if she was ok, while I stood there soaked to the bones, with actual leaves (I kid you not) stuck to my shins, dripping on to the door mat without so much as a thank you to be heard, wondering;
  1. Why I'd even bothered to put shoes on before running out the back door, and;

  2. Why, when there was a perfectly good pair of riggers lying beside said back door, I'd chosen my cute new pumps.
"Ah, sure don't mind me, it's more hygienic to drip dry anyhow, and your welcome BTW!"

So today we dealt with the aftermath.

We unblocked the drains, scooping out entire plants never mind just leaves, we shovelled large quantities of mud and gak off the stone path at the front of the house, we lifted entire land masses out of the gutters, poked holes in the lawn to allow the water to drain away and brushed in sand and finally swept up the debris lying all over the place.

Finally, Toots and I were finished. We got a shower, jumped into to some warm clothes and settled down on the sofa with a hot cup of tea just in time to watch the heaven's open!

Menu Plan 20/7 to 26/7

I haven't thought this through to be honest due to a busy weekend and an even busier Monday.

Still, I've had a quick rustle through the fridge and freezer and cobbled together a quick and easy plan which should see me through what looks to be a busy week.


We had the stew I made last night because the husband is on call, although for once he arrived home early and (touch wood) hasn't been called out yet.


Pizza, its easy to throw together in a couple of minutes, plus I'm not sure I'll have he energy for much more than that. I have the pizza bases in the freezer and all the other bits and bobs in the fridge.


Sandwiches. I'll see time wise but I'll either bake or buy some sub rolls, stick a chicken in the oven and then there'll be nice warm chicken and salad for fillings. There's also some baked ham in the fridge as well as good strong cheddar and I'm never without pickles in this house so everyone should go to bed stuffed.


Stirfry. My wee garden hasn't faired too well this year but we do have a small amount of fresh veggies to use. I'll slice those finely, add chicken, noodles, sauce and call it dinner.


Steamed fish, baby potatoes and corn on the cob. I can top the fish with red or green pesto to help it along a bit flavour wise and then just throw the heap into my steamer and walk away.


I haven't got the foggiest notion. Leftovers probably, failing that burgers from the freezer.


Baked pork chops, roast potatoes and veg and I'll probably just cook everything in the oven seeing as its on.


I have brownies which means that there is something for nibbling on and something to put in the husband's lunchbox. He's also been asking for custard tarts but I'm not entirely sure I'll get to those during the week although I may be able to manage it at the weekend.

I quite fancy some bakewell tarts myself, they're nice and light and there's a lot less work involved compared to the custards.

A Dying Art

Its seems lately that politeness, common decency and civility are now a thing of the past, a long forgotten memory of how things used to be.

Did people stop teaching these simple traits or do they just not have the time any more?

I seem to be a minority, a member of a dying race. A member of a once prolific and now dwindling group referred to as the eternally polite.

When did the niceties pass away. I don't really recall, although I'm sorry they did. And there I go again, apologising. Its just the way I was brought up I suppose.

I expect a please, a thank you, a simple excuse me and more often than not I'm disappointed when they aren't forthcoming.

Perhaps its as simple as reminding the masses. Perhaps we can once again repopulate the earth with the eternally polite.

After all, such a simple thing as a smile or a thank you is completely free. There really isn't any reason at all to begrudge someone the offer of a kind word when it costs you nothing more than the mere seconds it takes to say them.

I'm not necessarily saying that we should agree with everything for fear of upsetting someone, by all means voice your opinion, but bear in mind that when arguing a point the second you call into question the other person's beliefs or opinions, religious or political, their ability to or methods of raising their own children, the way they look, dress or speak you have lost the argument. To lower yourself to that level is to fail.

Would it really take a second of your time to acknowledge the fact that you had bumped or jostled someone in the street rather than glare at them as though it was their fault because you're perfectly entitled to be there with 17 shopping bags slung across one arm and a mobile phone grasped in the other.

Rather than stand there tapping you foot and tutting behind the elderly person ahead of you in the queue who may perhaps be having trouble gathering their purchases together and may for all you care be getting more flustered by the second because of the impatience of the incredibly busy and obviously very important person tapping away like old typewriter behind them, why not offer to help. Go on, give it a go. Trust me we're talking about a win win situation here.

And if, after reading this, you find that you still can't manage to take the time and squeak out that little, completely free, takes merely a second thank you, you could also refer to the Crash Training Course laid out below.


Assume that the barrista, that you've just snapped at to hurry up because you're running late as it is when you know fine rightly that you could have skipped the coffee altogether and went straight to your meeting without being late, will use the day old milk that's been left on the counter all night in your skinny latte.

Assume that the waitress, you've just balled out in the middle of the restaurant for putting onions in your salad even though you know fine rightly that the 6ft 2in chef that someone like you would cross the road to avoid on a dark night put them there, will dress your salad for you, if you get me.

report on how little Billy got on today in class due to the fact that budget cuts means they now have to wrangle 38 kids, none of which know how to use the bathroom or tie their own shoes unsupervised, might right your kid off, because if Billy wasn't asked to contribute to anything today then those full and Assume that the teacher that you've complained about six times this year alone to the principle because they can't spare 20 minutes at the end of every single day to give you a full and in depthin depth reports you crave daily become a much shorter message to pass on.

To sum up, being impolite, short with people and just generally ignorant will always backfire on you.

And if you still can't find it in your heart to be nice, even just to try and be nice then try this;


Wonderhubs, Woodturning and Witchy Wonderfuls

I mentioned earlier in the week that the husband had been out in the garage whittling away on something with the wood lathe.

I let Toots watch Harry Potter a couple of weeks ago when the weather was particularly nasty one days and she's been addicted ever since. Talking about it, trying to learn the spells, pretending she's a witch. She just loves it.

So anyway, this is what Wonderhubs was up to in the garage...

Yep, he made a wand of her very own.

It's not bad at all for a first attempt, obviously the wands in the movie are a fair bit more tapered than this one but he figured that a sharp, pointed stick in the hands of a four year old might end in tears.

He used some wood that he had handy in the garage, but plans to buy something specific for his next attempt at woodturning. The wood he used was as old as dirt to be honest and he knows himself that he should have used something much greener for his first few attempts but still it turned out to be good practice and now he understands the experts suggest using green wood as a beginner.

He's itching to have another go and Toots is very happy with her new magic wand.

Now will someone kindly explain to her that her that waving her wand and yelling hocus pocus does not guarantee that mummy will magically produce chocolate.

Random things come in threes too

The theme for this week's McLinky Blog Hop is Three things you didn't know about me. Now I've already done the "100 things about me" meme which means now I have to come up with three more.


Alrighty then, three it is;

  1. I hate other people's "stuff". I can happily deal with my own things lying around the house and in fact I barely even notice them, but OPS will drive me slowly to the nut house.

  2. However, I do suffer from OPT. I refer of course to Other People's Toast. It's physically impossible for me to see someone eating toast, or worse still cheese on toast, without immediately having to eat it on them. Now just so we're completely clear, going and making my own toast would not satisfy the craving, because something about the other person's toast makes it so much nicer than anything I could make myself.

  3. And because I can't actually remember every one of the 100 things I've already told you, I'm just going to go ahead and throw out another three off the top of my head. One of them is bound to be new, right?

    • I skipped the first month of fourth year in secondary school. I even got brave and went to the cafeteria on the school grounds once or twice for lunch.

    • Even though I bake as much of my own bread as possible I really, really love the plastic white shop bought bread. Especially when it is very soft and I use it to make jam sandwiches and it sticks to the roof of my mouth.

    • When I went to Makro at the weekend apart from the bits and pieces I already blogged about I also bought a 3kg sweet shop jar of toffee crumble. Its this weird looking combination of chocolate, caramel and biscuit all smooshed together into little nuggets. These three ingredients sound absolutely fine until you bear in mind that they're usually used in toffee crumble to recycle factory leftovers so the end product rarely tastes the same. For instance this time the little nuggets are speckled with a rainbow of colours meaning that they contain the crushed of remains of what I assume was either smarties or m&ms shells. The worst part about all of this is that everyone else in the house can't stand the stuff so I fully intend to eat the entire jar myself.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Menu Plan 13/7 to 19/7

We were hoping to sneak in a few more barbecues this week but judging by the weather this weekend and today it isn't looking very likely, which is a pity because the husband was enjoying cooking outside and we were finally teaching Toots the idea behind a barbecue. The first time we tried it she refused to eat until everything was cooked and on the plates which of course led to a slight protein overload. I think she's finally coming around to the idea of pacing herself.


Toots is at a party with my mum, so no doubt she'll stuff herself with party food. Its her second party this weekend but more of that tomorrow. I'm planning on making something simple for the husband and I, more than likely burgers or something along those lines.


It's the end of the husband's long weekend so I'll use some of his venison for him and Toots (she likes it rare) and I'll have chicken along with some steamed veg and Comber potatoes. I picked up a bag at the weekend and you can literally wipe the skin off with your bare hands. Absolutely beautiful things they are.


Baked whole trout with lemon and herbs and a salad. My brother has been fishing again and I now have eight whole trout which Toots helped my to gut and scale in the freezer. I insist on teaching her to prepare food.


Baked chicken with tomatoes and mozzarella. I'll either bake bread or make a bean or rice salad to go with.


Pizza with all the usual toppings and I've developed a bit of a passion for garlic bread made using one of my part baked pizza bases smothered in garlic butter and Parmesan.


Chicken fajitas. we haven't had these for a couple of weeks and it does Toots good to keep some spice in her diet.


Cumberland sausage casserole. I'm just using a Colman's sauce I'm afraid. I've tried making this before myself and it never turns out quite right. I'm perfectly happy to let Colmans do the hard work seeing as they do it so much better than I do.

I'll also make a pot of Irish stew today. The husband is on call on Monday which means that there will be something quick and good for him to eat as soon as he gets home and in case he gets called straight back out again (it happens), plus it saves me cooking on Monday.


I've already made a Victoria sandwich which may or may not last until tomorrow, probably not though there's very little left as it is.

I should also be able to make some raspberry and lemon oat bars and post the recipe tomorrow. The recipe is based on MTM's scotch squares, which are bloody good as they are. My weird husband would just rather have fruit than chocolate. Go figure!

And I may have to make some brownies. Somebody who shall remain nameless mentioned brownies today and I can't get off the thought of them.

Sunday Update

We had a really busy Saturday here, busier than usual but seeing as we have a nice long weekend and the husband will be able to relax on Monday and Tuesday I thought we might as well get all the madness out of the way on Saturday and leave the rest of the weekend free and clear. Toots spent the morning running around in her dad's new visor but he had to take it back to finally try out the new wood lathe. He's been out there in the garage this morning whittling away and I'll show you the fruits of his labour later in the week.

First thing Saturday morning we headed to Makro which is basically a huge wholesalers.
I may have went a it mad when I grabbed 5kg of chicken.

But considering the bag turned out to contain exactly 30 fillets (don't you love nice round numbers) and it cost less than £17.00 I was a happy bunny.
It looks a little less unwieldy once its all neatly bagged and sorted out for the chest freezer.

Oh, and I also picked up a bag of sugar or two along with a few kilos of stork. Well, 16kgs of sugar altogether but it was dirt cheap and well worth it.

But you know what that means don't you? Regularly scheduled cakey programming on Simply Food will resume in 3...2...1

Clumsy is what clumsy does

Do you have any idea what I'm risking just by being here.

I might delete my blog entirely by accident.

I might accidentally type the secret combination of words programmed at the very beginning of time as we know it designed to wipe the entire internet clean and start again. You know, in case it actually did end up filled with nothing but smut.

The world itself may come to an abrupt end.

Well ok perhaps not, but I have been incredibly clumsy this week.

So much so that I question whether or not its safe to leave the house.

So far, this week alone (my clumsiness extends as far back as I can remember) I have;

Cut myself 3 times making meals, one of those times was with a butter knife. I ask you!

Managed to sew my finger to fabric when I'd have been happy to just include the button with no added extras.

Fallen down my garden steps.

Stubbed my toe.

Fell out of bed. I may or may not have had a glass or two of wine.

Stabbed myself in the finger countless times making mini notebooks (those things are dangerous).

Tripped over my own feet.

And to top of my resoundingly pratastic week I tried to take Toots to buy her some sandals today and maybe some new clothes. The first shop we went to is quite expensive but they did have a fantastic sale on. Toots was playing with the foot measuring thingy while I looked at a few different pairs of shoes when all I heard in the crowded, but really rather quiet, shop was an almighty parp followed by Toots loudly and proudly exclaiming "I FARTED".

Needless to say we didn't get shoes.

Then onto the second shop I asked her nicely at the front door to behave for a few minutes and explained that I just wanted to pick her up a couple of skirts and then we could go for ice cream. We entered the shop and Toots immediately spied a pair of pink and purple and glittery (no less) sunglasses and while trying to pick them up to have a closer look she knocked over the single largest pile of swimming costumes I've ever seen on display.

Of course, I'm left scrabbling on the floor trying to gather them all up again, trying to lay them back on the shelf just as they were which turned out to be completely impossible because the women who work in the shop are geniuses and they have a knack of this kind of thing which clearly I do not and I kept getting the strappy bits tangled round my fingers and knocking even more of them to the ground again.

I finally managed to get them back on the shelf and not looking too badly either if I do say so myself when I stood up straight and whacked my forehead against another shelf which caused me to jump roughly 29 feet into the air because it frightened the life out of me and by that stage everyone in the shop had stopped what they were doing to watch the mad, dancing chimp playing with the swimming costumes.

Finally I thought "stuff it" this just wasn't going to be the day for shopping. I gave up and we settled ourselves on the grass in the square with a couple of blue slush puppies.

Hmmm lovely.

And I was just thinking that maybe the day wasn't that bad after all, when I chucked half of the bright toxic looking blue slush puppie down the front of myself.

The four year old was immaculate.

I think I may go hide under the covers.

My Favourite Photograph (of the mo)

I'm taking part in the McLinky Weekly Blog Hop for the first time this week. I've actually just finished a mammoth resorting of all my photographs and at the minute this one is my absolute favourite. I love that my daughter wasn't looking at the camera (my usual style of photography) and she just seems so calm and relaxed, although in reality she was running around like a girl possessed that day.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Menu Plan 6/7 to 12/7

We're leading up to yet another long weekend here. The husband will be off work on Monday and Tuesday of next week so we're looking forward to that.

Last week didn't go exactly to plan, a few things were shuffled and a few things were dumped altogether, but sure you get the odd week like that.


Pizza and garlic bread. I went a bit overboard making part baked pizza bases and now it looks like that's the only thing I have in my freezer:)


Soup. I'll throw all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it sit all day. I don't really have a name for it though, bits and bobs maybe. I have frozen white beans in the freezer along with cooked chicken, smoked lardons and chorizo. I'll sweat saute the lardons and chorizo along with some diced onion and garlic and then chuck the heap into the crockpot along with some chicken stock. I'll possibly add some fresh tomatoes and sliced yellow pepper about half way through the cooking time.


Fish and Chips. I haven't had fish and chips in ages, but I'll make it at home because I still have cod in the freezer. I can't batter the trout, I've tried before and its just not right.


Salad. I'll do my shopping on Wednesday afternoon and pick up some fresh fruit and veg so I don't really know what will end up in the salad until I've done the shopping.


Sandwiches. I'll use up any leftover soup as well and make up some sandwiches with crusty bread and whatever each person wants. I'm trying to give them a night of picking their own thing and this is an easy way to do it.


Snack night. I have to admit I haven't done this in a couple of weeks and I've missed it, kind of. Curling up in front of a movie with nibbly bits and pieces is nice. I'll make onion rings, chicken goujons, dips and throw in some wraps and philleous fogg crisps for the starvos.


The husband will get Venison along with the usual potatoes and a veg or two and I'll bake a pork fillet I have in the freezer for Toots and I and the husband can then have roast pork sandwiches for lunch with pickles and chutney and what not. I might stuff the pork fillet but I haven't decided yet.


Oat flapjacks. They're handy for a quick breakfast or snack.

Banana muffins. I'll need to make them early in the week. I have no idea how I ended up with so many bananas in the house.

And although I'm not making Doughnuts this week, I received an email asking for the recipe so I've posted it here.

Wonderhubs Strikes Again

Would you ever take a look at the little cat house my fabulous husband just threw together using odds and sods he had lying around the garage.

I think you'll agree she looks very comfortable and happy in there.

And not to be satisfied with building just your average bog standard box, the husband had to go the full hog with this this. Can I just point out that this particular box features cavity walls, floor and roof and every square inch of cavity has been stuffed with polybead. Not to mention the yacht varnish, non-toxic sealant and tarred base and roof to keep the elements out. This thing has a higher R rating than my own house. Its an ark built for one, basically.

I think I may have lost my title as The Handy One around here.

Isn't he just wonderful.

Ta muchly hubs!

Tale of the Lost and Found Phone Photos

onto two I'm pleased with myself today, I managed to get a ton of photographs sorted out last night and filed properly. It'll hopefully make them much easier to find. I also copied a load as slide showscd's for my mum. She'll eventually ask me for prints of the ones she wants, it would be too much to print all of them (although she would if she could).

I completely forgot to take my camera to the park with us last week, but the husband managed to take a couple of photos on the Blackberry.

Her upper body strength is amazing, but I think all kids are like that aren't they. She swung like that for ages.

I'm surprised actually that they turned out as well as they did considering its supposed to be a phone, pleasantly surprised really its a lot handier to carry around than my huge camera. I really do need to see about getting myself something more compact. Any suggestions of a nice, compact and more importantly easy to use camera would be really appreciated.

I've been thinking ahead. Sometimes being organised can be a bit of a pain and yo may hate me for it, but I've been double checking my Christmas list and making sure that I've made a good start on everything I'm going to need.

Then while I was sorting out photographs I came across this one.

Its another shot snapped with a phone. We were at the Christmas Market in Belfast in December and Toots loved the merry-go-round and I mean loved it, I think this was her third or fourth go and clearly she's still enjoying herself, plus this one also shows why I'm so impressed with the blackberry photos.

And just because it made me laugh.

This was taken one morning when I was at work very early and the husband had the job of getting Toots ready for daycare. Notice the subtle use of three hair clips down the side of her head.

When I collected her from daycare that evening, the girls told me that they had to stop themselves laughing when he dropped her off, because those three visible hair clips were in fact three of twelve.

He managed to fit twelve hair clips on the head of a three year old.

Although he still maintains that he and Toots did it "for a laugh" backed up by the fact that he took a photograph. Hmmm, the jury's still out on that one.

So that's another box on the great never ending to do list checked.

Again though if any has any good suggestions for a camera I'd love to hear them. I do like my big old camera and its very good for taking photos, but there is a short delay between pressing the button and taking the shot which is fine for static things. Try getting a four year old to stand still long enough to take a photo though, I've missed more than enough photos of her already.

Its funny the things you just realise

My mum had Toots on Wednesday afternoon and when she dropped her back home again, Toots went straight upstairs for her bath and my mum and I sat chatting for a while as we often do.

Ten minutes later while desperately trying to catch my breath from laughing so hard I realised that most of my memories of my mum are like this.

She's one of those people. I think everybody knows at least one and the world would be a much more dismal, dreary place without them, but she is just one of those people that can have you in a complete wrinkle, creasing yourself laughing just by telling you about her trip to get a carton of milk.

My mum seriously missed her calling, she should have been a stand up comedienne. Nobody I know spins a yarn or tells a tale quite like my mum.

She's such a bright, cheerful woman and manages to inject humour into even the most humdrum days.

She's always full of life and laughter and I'm so grateful for that. I can't understand why I didn't really notice it before. I guess we just get used to the friends and family who surround us and sometimes take their best attributes and the finest elements of their personality for granted.

I've been crafting away tonight since she went home again, but I've been remembering some of the things she got up to when we were kids.

I remember her bobbing for apples and practically emptying the entire contents of the basin of water all over the kitchen floor, because dammit she was getting that apple if it was the last thing she did.

Or smiling unashamedly to anyone she met for he full week it took to get a dentist appointment after she broke one of her front teeth eating a candy bracelet. She didn't care that she looked like something out of Dumb and Dumber.

I remember a guy calling door to door selling indoor fireworks before Halloween. Maybe these were only a UK thing but if you remember them let me know. Anyway, she lit one of them on the drop down oven door and then proceeded to beat the dung out of the thing with a wet dishcloth because the smoke alarm was going off and she thought the house was going to burn down. Just the thought of her screaming at that firework to "go out, why won't you go out" as though it might reply "oh alright then" has me in stitches.

She could be very creative with the punishments too. I remember the first time I ever had a drink. Not the worst thing I ever did, but it was bad enough (it gets worse, wait for it). I was 14 at the time and went a tad overboard shall we say. I was convinced I'd made it. I managed to let myself into the house and into the downstairs loo to freshen up. I called goodnight to her and thought I was free and clear as she called goodnight back and I headed up the stairs.

I was almost there too when I tripped and fell over a pair of my dumb ass brother's trainers that were lying on the second to last stair. I tried to keep as quiet as possible and shrug it off and as I was picking myself back up again I heard this snort from behind. I turned around and there was my mum standing at the bottom of the stairs trying to look angry and trying to stop from killing herself laughing at the same time.

Well apparently I was thoroughly smished because I immediately burst into tears, told her I was drunk and tried my best to apologise.

She bundled me off to bed, telling me I was in for it in the morning. I woke the next morning, feeling like someone had stolen my head and left a bag of hammers in its place and I could hear my mum on the phone downstairs telling the school secretary that I wouldn't be in that day (told you) because I had a bug.

Well, I lay in bed like Little Miss Smuggy McSmuggerson thinking my mum was the coolest mum in the whole wide world and I drifted back off to sleep....

Until a soaking wet, freezing cold wash cloth landed squarely on my face and I scrambled out of bed to face the sight of a bucket of cleaning supplies and a smiling face and pointing finger aimed directly at the bathroom.

Ever scrubbed a bathroom at 8am after a night on the sauce? No, well I don't recommend it and let me tell you it was a very very long time before I dared touch another drop of drink.

Honestly, every beer smelt just like bleach and that awful floral disinfectant until I was in my early 20s. She never used that disinfectant before and she's never used it since. I think she may have went out at the scrake of dawn to get a bottle on purpose.

So thank you mum, for always smiling and giving everyone around you no other option but to do likewise.

My little flower is wilting

And we were doing so well too.

Toots is completely off her food and the naps that were a thing of the past are back again. In fact she slept this afternoon for two whole hours and probably would have slept longer only I woke her up, which of course led to a very grumpy four year old.

I can't blame her though, I have to admit the last few days all I've wanted to do is curl up in a ball and have a nap myself.

Toots has never really known heat like this. Summer last year and even the year before was relatively cool and before that she was only an ickle baby so those years don't really count.

I need to get my hands on a better sun screen too. On Tuesday when we went to Stormont Park I absolutely plastered the poor child in factor 50 every time I could get my hands on her and pin her to the grass for a few minutes. Seriously, the child was a funny shade of blue (cause the blue tinge doesn't magically disappear) and she was fuming because her hair kept sticking to face and even with all that she still managed to come home with a tan. A ha-uge no-no in my book for a four year old.

Any recommendations on a decent sun screen that doesn't turn my kid all the colours of the rainbow, actually works at, you know, screening the sun and if it comes in a spray bottle, properly works and comes out in a mist rather than just spitting and dribbling out globs of blue cream would be greatly appreciated.

And then after my little menu plan yesterday, the poor husband ended up having to work late and I couldn't face the thought of cooking anything so Toots and I had a bowl of weetabix for dinner. Her suggestion, not mine.

I think perhaps I need to treat Toots and I to some nice Summer clothes, something very light and floaty. Maybe that will perk us up.

Still there is a silver lining to all this sunshine. I get to tell everyone that I haven't bothered to clean the outside of my windows because they'll only go streaky in the sun.

Not sure how long that excuse will hold up, but I'll push it as far as it goes.