buzzoole code

Thank you to everyone who entered my competition to win a handmade copper bracelet. The winner is Katrina Day-Reilly. Katrina I will be emailing you shortly!

So, I know it seems ages ago now, but who can remember the weekend? Bit grotty on Saturday wasn’t it? Not helped by having a small person around that was feeling a bit grotty too. My parenting experience is limited to the last couple of years, but I’d say that as far as I can work out, people under the age of five catch a cold on the 1st September and it doesn’t go again until the 31st July the next year. I seem to be permanently wiping a small person’s nose at the moment which is one of the lesser commented on joys of parenting.

As luck would have it though, an escape route was available less than 5 minutes away from my home in the form of a new children’s bookshop, Jacqson Diego. Now, Westcliff is a funny old place. Some parts are listed as among the most deprived in the country, other parts have people with swimming pools in their garden. Its a weird mix but to be honest I quite like it for that.

And I know we should support local businesses, but I can’t say I always do it. As a ex-second hand book dealer I always buy books for me from Amazon. Always. And in fairness, I do think Amazon really supports second hand book sellers, it’s where I used to make the majority of my sales. I think children’s books are different though. If I’m buying a children’s book I want to have a look through it, how many words are there on a page? Does it have bits my son can touch? Will he like the pictures? Will I still like it when I have to read it for the 500th time? That last one’s a biggie, right?!  View Post

The name says it all really! More and more I keep seeing Christmas decorations and thinking ‘oh! That looks lovely!’ and more and more it’s because shops are trying to make things look handmade, because of course handmade is the ‘thing’ at the moment. And then I think, umm…. why pay lots of money for something made in a factory that’s designed to look handmade when I can just make it myself for a fraction of the cost?

I made these garlands last year, felt, ribbon and a bit of hand-stitching in front of the tv. A few buttons on the Christmas trees. Easy, quick, cheap and cute. And of course totally unique. Something you won’t find down the high street.  View Post

Bronco stew, you ask, what is that? Well, my husband’s named this bronco stew because it’s very loosely based on a Rick Stein recipe for Bullfighters Stew. The husband made it so he gets to name it, I think that’s fair enough.

By the time we get to the weekend I’m always more than ready to pop something into the slow cooker, my basic mantra being cook when you have the energy, eat when you’ve run out of energy. This recipe is also pretty typical for round here in that it includes large amounts of wine and tastes all the better if you drink some more when you eat it (yes, I do insist!). Its Sunday, lets all chill out a bit more. Cook this now, then put an old film on and put your feet up, and make sure you have a bottle of red in for later to eke the last bits of pleasure out of the weekend.  View Post

Dear Santa,

This will be the third year in a row I’ve asked you for something. I’ve not been greedy. I’ve not asked for anything expensive. In fact Santa, I’ve asked you for the same thing for each of these three years now. Sleep. Santa, where is my sleep?!

Because you know what Santa, I’m starting to think it can only be down to one of two things now, either one, you don’t exist (and I don’t like that option much) or two, you actually don’t care much for me. And I don’t like that option particularly either.

It’s not like I haven’t been well behaved either. I’ve been writing this blog since March now Santa and not once have I said a full swear word on here, yeah there’s been a few ‘bliddys’ maybe even an ‘ruddy’ but no full swear words. And Santa, you know how hard that’s been for me, because you know that outside of blogland I have an outstanding line in swearwords, dirty jokes and rude comments.  It’s been hard Santa, but I’m trying to be good, y’know.  View Post