Monthly Archives

November 2011

It’s hot and you KNOW you want it…

Posted on 11th November 2011 in breville

For lunch today I dragged the Breville sandwich maker out from the dark, dusty recesses of the cupboard. As you can see from the box, it’s been there a while…

After considering the range of ‘serving suggestions’ offered by Breville, I threw caution to the wind and opted for ham and cheese.

Sadly I forgot that when making a toasted sandwich you are meant to portion the fillings off into neat little triangles (they’ve demonstrated this on the box using cat sick for some reason), so I instead foolishly made a normal sandwich – with filling all over the bread.

In these days of diet this and low calorie that, I had forgotten how much I love the decadence of buttering BOTH sides of the bread! So, sandwich made I plonked it onto the pre-heated Breville and noted that yes the Breville has neat little square recipticles and yes my sandwich is large and rectangular.

After the non specified time, I opened the Breville to find that half my sandwich was stuck to the top and half to the bottom – but my memory of how to fix this came to my rescue and I successfully extracted the sandwich using a teaspoon.

Yes, when I cut it all the ham came out in one go.

Yes, when I bit it it burnt my mouth.

Yes, it’s somewhat passe.

BUT man it was lovely and you KNOW you want one!


Get Rid Of Nits – no wet combing, no chemicals!

Posted on 9th November 2011 in headlice

Image: @LoveHateNits

Just a quickie – lots of people tweeting about nits at the moment so I wanted to share with you a method I discovered when my children were plagued with the little blighters.

I’d tried all the conventional methods and, to be honest, it was only once the itchy little sods landed on my head that I discovered the solution.

Very slowly, very patiently and in tiny sections I GHD’d my hair. No sign of nits afterwards and no ‘hatching’ either as I guess the heat killed off the whole lot!

I then very carefully GHD’d my childrens’ hair and the nits were gone :)

It does work – but do be careful if your child is fidgety as GHDs get incredibly hot!

Blurt It Out #CharityTuesday

Posted on 8th November 2011 in #charitytuesday/ Blurt/ depression/ Digital Heroes/ mentoring

Today’s #CharityTuesday post comes with a deeply personal back story. I hope that this post reaches someone who needs it. Before I hand you over to Jayne from Blurt, I’d like to tell you that she’s been nominated for a ‘digital heroes’ award. Isn’t that wonderful? And if, like me, you think she deserves it, it would be really great if you could follow this link and vote for her. Now, over to Jayne….


Talking out about my depression was one of the scariest yet liberating things I ever did. I’d started a beauty blog because at my worst, I didn’t give two hoots about personal hygiene and I thought that if I wrote about beauty products, well I’d have to blimmin’ well use them. My blog kind of developed, I preferred writing more personal posts because they were therapeutic but also there always seemed to be someone who replied in the comments section, a virtual ‘knowing nod’.

I wrote about how the stigma of depression had affected me one day. The easiest blog post I’ve ever written but not the easiest one to publish. As I pressed the publish button, I was worried that I’d made the wrong decision. I needn’t have worried. Not only did the blog post attract lots of comments but I was also contacted by email and Twitter. It was clear people were happy to talk about their experiences of depression but it was also clear that women felt more comfortable doing so in an open forum (the emails and Twitter DM’s were predominantly from men). This triggered something in my brain, got me thinking. I believed there should be somewhere fresh and welcoming. Somewhere people could come to talk without fear of judgement. When I’d been ill, the doctor had suggested community groups but I was too scared to leave the house to see friends, let alone strangers. Online forums scared me, I didn’t want to talk to people who were as ill as me but I did want to feel understood.

I have suffered with depression for most of my adult life. I wasn’t sure what it was at first and found it incredibly difficult to explain to my friends and husband, then boyfriend, what was wrong with me as he knew very little about the illness. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that his opinions and thoughts on depression had been swayed by the stigma and he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just cheer up. Eventually through determination and buckets of patience, we began to work through the millions of thoughts milling around in my head. He used to say that he could almost hear my thoughts because I was so fidgety with them. They say ‘better out than in’ and I couldn’t agree more. Blurting out these irrational thoughts which made no sense helped. My husband would help me work through them until they did make sense.

Neither my Mum nor my husband knew a thing about depression before my Sister and I became ill and often they needed support but didn’t know where to turn which is why Blurt is aimed at all those affected by depression – those that live/love/like someone with the illness as well as those who are ill.

Predominantly, Blurt provides people with a mentoring scheme. The mentoring scheme is volunteer led and all our mentors have one thing in common – they have all been affected by depression in some way.

Since our launch in August, we have mentored and continue to do so, over 300 people. We aim to match mentees with mentors who share similar experiences. All mentees are CRB checked and monitored to make sure they do not give advice or counsel, they are simply a friend, someone for you to offload, someone who will understand. We want to be that point of call so that sufferers realise that there are people out there who can help and listen.

Depression doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. We mentor men and women in their 70’s as well as teenagers. Some have depression, some are worried about their loved ones and some just want to rant, get something off their chest.

People are also starting to send in their own stories for feature on the blog section of the Blurt website. This is incredible as it really shows the diversity of the people affected and also how depression affects people in different ways. Each story is honest but they all have a tinge of positivity. They person has fought depression and is currently winning.

We’re full of big ideas including an education programme to roll out to secondary schools and universities. We’d like to work to ensure the elderly have access to the internet and above all else, we’d like to try to kick the stigma to the curb for once and for all. Like any organisation there are start up costs and running costs. We’re talking advertising spots, business cards, flyers, courses, mentor resources etc. While there’s a lot of goodwill amongst the Blurt team and a lot of elbow grease and energy, there are no money trees. Above and beyond our own personal injection of funds any donations given are greatly appreciated. You may even fancy holding your very own Blurt Air&Share event – cake, coffee and chatting.

Being an illness so close to our hearts, the Blurt team is extremely passionate and driven. We’re determined to make a difference and we want to show that depression doesn’t have to stop you doing anything. Yes it makes it harder to achieve goals and often normal every day things, but with the right tools, you can have a life. You can live your dreams.




To apply to be a mentor or to request a mentor, please visit 

And don’t forget, you can vote for Jayne to be a digital hero – just follow this link and vote for her.




The School Appeal – aka catch 22

Posted on 7th November 2011 in appeal/ applying for a school place/ catch 22

So we now have a date for our school appeal, gulp.

This should in theory make me feel better but it doesn’t. It gives a single date in time where my childrens’ future is to be decided by strangers. It gives a date after which I have to abide by the decision of these strangers whether I agree with it or not.

If you’ve read The Great School Place Debacle then you’ll recall that my situation is a little complicated. However it turns out that there is absolutely no flexibility in the appeals procedure for our circumstances. You could almost believe that we were the first people ever to have done this – but of course we aren’t.

The school they have offered is just over 10 miles away from the house we are buying.

There is a school bus, but the nearest stop is 5 miles from the house we are buying.

The school we want is 0.4 of a mile away from the house.

In a nutshell:

– for the appeal, they will use maps showing that we live nearly 60 miles away (ie from my current address in another County) from both schools.

– in order for the address that we are moving to to be used in all their distance calcuations, we have to have exchanged contracts.

– we do not want to exchange contracts (and therefore be commited to buy) as if we lose the appeal then there is no point in us moving to that town.

That’s right – if we lose the appeal then we can’t even live in the TOWN that we want to live in because there are so few schools there. The only other school is just dragging itself out of special measures.

Important Discoveries

Posted on 4th November 2011 in Important Discoveries

Washing Up – no matter how long you leave it, it will not do itself

Bluebottles – never signify anything good

Cats – no matter how many beds, towels, designated throws you provide; they will only sleep on your clean laundry

Laundry – must be related to washing up as it will also not do itself

‘Nothing tastes as good as slim feels’ – is a lie

Cats – if you obstruct your clean laundry, they will sleep on your pillow

Coffee – real coffee that is, smells sooooo good

True Love – if you find it, hold on tight

Beetroot – is awesome

Sweetfire beetroot – could change your life

Kittens – are actually the cutest, most awwwww inspiring thing on god’s green earth

Wine – the sound of cold, dry, white wine being poured has to be one of the best sounds in the world

Unfiled post – multiplies (by 10 every 4 hours) when left unattended

Waiting in for a parcel – can slow time, physicists should look into this

Cats – are better than dogs *hides behind sofa from dog owners*

Handwritten letters – I miss them

Unexpected heartfelt #FFs – give you a warm fuzzy feeling

Trees – are bloody great, I love them

Wasps – are shite

House Hippos – I wish they were real

Cats – also like sleeping in really small boxes

A good book – can lift your soul

A bad book – is like a personal insult

Bees – need protecting, buy a bee box, buy some bee friendly flowers

Grey hairs – do not multiply if you pull them out

Grey hairs – do multiply as soon as you notice them, they just like attention

Full English Breakfast – if cooked right is one of the most satisfying things you can eat

Fruit – meh

Finally a quote, I don’t know who it is by but I think it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever read:

Love isn’t the person you can see yourself with, it’s the one person you can’t see yourself without

Dear So and So… the school trip edition

Posted on 2nd November 2011 in Dear So and So.../ school trip

Dear Head Teacher,

When my son is entrusted to your care on a week away, what I don’t want, what I really DON’T want is ‘school calling’ to appear on my mobile…

I also don’t want is to be told that he is being taken to the doctors at 12noon and you’ll ring you me again straight after.

What I additionally don’t want is for it to now be 1pm and you’ve not rung back!

Yours sincerely,




T is for… Tossing A Coin #TheGallery

Posted on 2nd November 2011 in #thegallery/ appeal/ applying for a school place/ coin toss/ decisions/ relocation

This week, more than any other in my life, I have heard the expressions “well at least you are trying”, “can’t say you didn’t try” and “you know you tried” and then being looked at with a somewhat flummoxed expression when I say that sometimes just trying isn’t enough.

It has literally got to the point where the decisions are so big that in order to bring them down to size I am actually tempted to toss a coin.

Trouble is…both the coins above mean something to me – so how can I chose which one to toss?

Dixon Hall #CharityTuesday

Posted on 1st November 2011 in #charitytuesday/ Dixon Hall/ Toronto

I couldn’t help reading this and thinking that every town would benefit from a Dixon Hall! For #CharityTuesday today, let me hand you over to an amazing service which runs in Toronto:

Dixon Hall is a multi-service agency located in the heart of East Downtown Toronto.  Since 1929, Dixon Hall has addressed the needs of the community by offering a wide range of supportive programs and services to its diverse community members – primarily residents of Regent Park, Moss Park, West Donlands, East Bayfront and surrounding neighbourhoods – as well as homeless men and women from across the city. We are community partners in creating opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and incomes, to dream, to achieve and to live full and rewarding lives.

Many of the clients we serve come from communities whose needs are often overlooked in Toronto.

Stressing a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ approach, Dixon Hall offers programs and services to:

Children from low-income families

At-risk youth

Isolated seniors

Homeless men and women


Newcomers and immigrants

Programs include:

Neighbourhood Programs:

-Dixon Hall Music School where children from low-income families receive music lessons at a subsidized price starting at only $3 per lesson.

-Summer Camps provide kids with an opportunity to develop positive social skills, new experiences and good memories. There is daily programming for children ages 3-12, as well as for older youth ages 13-17 called Summer Slam.

-Tax Clinic, Legal Clinic

-Youth Drop In, After-school program

-Health & Wellness program includes the Good Food Box that provides locally grown fruits and veggies at a subsidized cost

-WIN-RP provides settlement services for newcomer women in Regent Park and includes English conversation circles and childcare

Housing & Homelessness Services:

-Two shelters are available in downtown Toronto

-Independent living housing available

Senior Programs

-Programs allowing seniors to live in their own homes with 24/7 assistance available rather than having to live in a senior’s residence

-Grocery programs where seniors can either be picked up, dropped off and assisted with grocery shopping for $5 round-trip or list-shopping where staff buys from their list on their behalf for $6

-Cooking, singing, knitting, games, are all available for seniors who want to get involved with others

Employment Services:

-Dixon Hall Employment Services Centre is a full and free employment assistance facility designed for all community members. Access to job search assistance, interview practice, workshops and more.

-The Mill Centre provides carpentry and home renovation training to a diverse group of participants. Through innovative partnerships, the Mill Centre ensures participants receive the necessary academic upgrading, carpentry training and employability and life skills enhancement to rebuild their lives and successfully enter the labour market. The Mill Centre is self-sustaining.

The Regent Park community has undergone many changes and continues to do so. Dixon Hall recognizes the changes in the community and the subsequent changes in needs and adapts to continue to provide the community with services and programs that it can rely on.

Dixon Hall relies on funding and donations to be able to continue to provide these services to the community.

More information is available on our website at

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