Monthly Archives

January 2012

A Box of Loveliness!

Posted on 18th January 2012 in @utterlyscrummy/ brownies

I’m so happy to have arrived home from work to find a white box on my door mat. Everyone likes getting parcels, right? But this one is especially exciting as it has this sticker on it:


So what’s inside?

The children danced around me with plates while I opened the box, ignoring all my cries that the box was clearly addressed to ME not them!


Gorgeously wrapped!


And gorgeous unwrapped!

The boys microwaved them and woofed down 1 each straight away.

I’ve put the rest of the box in the fridge for later. I’m thinking that, served warm with vanilla ice-cream, they might just be a little slice of heaven!

HUGE thanks to @utterlyscrummy for my lovely brownies. So kind of you and such a generous portion! I’ll definitely be ordering some to take into work when it’s my birthday next month.

If you’d like to order a little box of heaven for yourself, visit

Vanessa Riddle Appeal #CharityTuesday

Posted on 17th January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ stage 4 (high-risk) neuroblastoma/ Vanessa Riddle

My #CharityTuesday post today is an appeal from the parents of Vanessa Riddle. Young Vanessa needs an operation that is not available in the UK and which the NHS will not pay for. The treatment can  be done in the United States and her parents need to raise a staggering £500,000 in order to pay for it. So far they have nearly raised a whopping £100,000 but urgently need more donations to raise the remaining four fifths of the money. Here is their story:

“In Feb 2009 our then 8 year old daughter Vanessa, was diagnosed with Stage 4 (High-Risk) Neuroblastoma, a very rare, aggressive and difficult to treat form of childhood cancer. Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year, most of which are below the age of 5 and generally have a better prognosis as the older the child is the worse the prognosis is.

Since Feb 09, Vanessa has undergone many different treatments at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, these include; 12 rounds of High Dose Chemotherapy, two 7 hour surgical operations, the removal of one of her kidneys, a stem cell transplant, Radiotherapy, Retinoic Acid treatment and Immunotherapy treatment……all of which was agonising to watch as parents never mind to have to endure as a child!

Having undergone all this difficult and often very painful treatment the fact remained that due to a high relapse rate the long term prognosis for Vanessa’s survival remained very poor with less than a 40% survival rate. All the same, Vanessa finished her treatment at Yorkhill Hospital in Aug 2010 and was given the all clear.

In Dec 2011 after routine scans, Connie and I were given the devastating news that Vanessa had relapsed. She has many hotspots on the skull, neck, spine, leg & knees. The UK doctors have told us that this time round there is very little chance of survival; “much less than 10%” they said, as we do not have any relapse protocols in the UK. This is due to the Government not investing any money into relapse treatments for this disease. This is a very different story to the United States where there are many relapse protocols and taking her there will dramatically increase her chances of long term survival.

We now find ourselves in the position of urgently having to take Vanessa to the United States for relapse therapy treatment which the NHS will not fund. The treatment Vanessa requires is likely to involve Antibody Therapy and cost in excess of £500,000. Vanessa’s latest scan results will be used to determine which therapy is best and this is likely to happen at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Please help us to raise the funds in order to save Vanessa’s life.

You can donate by text message by texting VANY99 and your amount £1 –  £10 to 70070, or by visiting this page

Every single penny counts, no matter how little.

Thank you for reading and donating.”

Chris & Connie Riddle

What Is Your Funeral Song?

Posted on 16th January 2012 in funeral songs

This isn’t intended to be a sad or morbid post.

I have recently worked on some Orders of Service and have been struck by the wide range of music that is chosen for funerals.

Some go for gentle classical tracks, some for ballads, some for songs containing a person’s name like Clair de lune, Daniel, Mandy and Sweet Caroline.

Some, however, pick really unusual tracks like We’re Going To Barbados and Who Let The Dogs Out! Which made me wonder whether the person had left strict instructions for their funeral songs or whether it was family choice?!

Working on the service sheets for funerals has made me think how hard it must be to pick a song that reflects a person; putting all emotion to one side it would definitely be easier if the person had left you guideines for what they would prefer.

So, what would you want your funeral song to be, and why?

Phone Photo #TheGallery

Posted on 11th January 2012 in #thegallery/ Christmas 2012

Christmas night.

The presents are all opened – and mentally sorted into ‘keep’ and ‘return’.

The Christmas dinner is eaten and all the preparation and stress is forgotten until next year.

The family have gone home.

The dishwasher is on.

The children are warm, happy, loved and sound asleep.

Now it’s time for a snuggle on the sofa, a movie, Christmas chocs and large cool glass of wine.




What Makes A Good Franchise?

Posted on 11th January 2012 in franchise/ working from home

Having recently moved to a new County I found myself, after 7 years of stability, needing to find a new job.


I have to say I was incredibly lucky and found an equivallent job incredibly quickly. It’s been a bit of a culture shock being the ‘new girl’ but I’m getting the hang of it all now; even if I still can’t remember everyone’s name!

The only downside for me is the school holidays, the age old problem of the children getting a million days off each year while I only get 23!

In the brief period where I was looking for a job I contemplated working for myself and, among other things, I looked at several franchise sites. I found it hard to distinguish between what could be a good franchise and what could be simply pouring money down the drain.

Which brings me to be asking the question: What makes a good franchise?

I’d love to hear about your experiences of either looking for a franchise (what criteria did you use?), or if you’ve bought a franchise – how is it going?




Vote For Dean #CharityTuesday

Posted on 10th January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ Dean Symmons/ paralympics/ Stoke Mandeville/ torch bearers

Today my #CharityTuesday post is an appeal for votes not money. Please vote, it will only take a few seconds of your time.

Dean Symmons, who is paralysed from the waist down needs your vote so that he can carry the Paralympic torch to start the games this summer.

Dean, aged 16, was paralysed in a freak accident while playing softball at school in June 2010. As he swung to hit the ball he slipped a disc which then scraped his spinal cord causing a clot which prevented bloodflow to his legs. After 4 months in a rehabilitation ward at Stoke Mandeville and is now back at school, in St Neots, in a wheelchair.

To vote for Dean please visit the website and enter your nomination details.

For more information, and to find out about fundraising events to help buy Dean a lighter weight K4 wheelchair, please visit the site for the Dean Symmons Trust.

Back to top