Monthly Archives

April 2012

Sister #BookReview

Posted on 29th April 2012 in #bookreview/ Sister


Sister by Rosamund Lupton.

I was bought this book for Christmas and have stoically put off reading it because it has been so acclaimed, that may sound odd but it makes sense to me! I like to read books and judge them for myself rather than having a preconceived expectation.

That said, this book IS worth all the hype. It is beautifully written. It does touch you. The prose throughout the whole book is just lovely and poignant, it is incredibly clever the way that sometimes you feel you are reading a story and then suddenly it hits you in the face that the book is talking to you, and makes you look at yourself in a new way.

That makes it sound preachy and predictable, it truly isn’t. An example of such a passage would be:

Before this, I’d confidently assumed myself to be a considerate, thoughtful person, vigilant about other people. I scrupulously remembered birthdays (my birthday book being annually transcribed onto the calendar); I sent thank you cards promptly (ready-bought and waiting in the bottom drawer of my desk). But with my numbers on your phone bill I saw that I wasn’t considerate at all. I was conscientious about the minutiae of life but in the important things I was selfishly cruel and neglectful. 

Out of context it probably doesn’t hit home as hard as it does when woven into the excellently written story. And it really is excellently written, it is a story based on one person’s desire to find the truth about the death of her sister, about her need to prove that she knew her sister and that their connection was real. It exposes a lot of emotions and touches on hidden family frailties while still being an engaging crime thriller. I don’t use the ‘a real page turner’ words lightly, but it was one. I loved it.

I don’t want to give away any of the story, as that would spoil it for you, but I do urge you to read it; even if you read it as I did – fully prepared to be scathing! I am quite confident that you will love it within the first few pages.

Men Who Lack Female Supervision…

Posted on 28th April 2012 in Funnies








Then there are guys who decide to find themselves a date… This singles ad is reported to have been listed in the Cornish Guardian:


SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I’m a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I’ll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me..Call 01272-6420 and ask for Annie, I’ll be waiting…..

Over 150 men found themselves talking to the TruroRSPCA :)


Unusual Cat Beds/Houses

Posted on 27th April 2012 in cat/ Funny Cat Beds

My cats, being conventional creatures, like to sleep on plastic bags, fresh washing and important post or inside boxes that are far smaller than them:

And it’s an arrangement that works well for us. However, some cat owners feel the need to express their love for their cat(s) by buying/making somewhat more unconventional beds for them….

This one combines my love of both macs and cats :)


Think the detailing may be a little wasted on the cat judging by his expression!


This kitty seems very at home in his luxury pad!

This is just too sweet!


I can’t believe someone has actually made this one! It even looks as though the cats are clinging on for dear life…


For the cat who likes to travel…


Not convinced these cats have got the right idea!


And finally, one for the boys, the AT-AT cat bed/house:

Obviously you want to see inside:

Pavement Art

Posted on 26th April 2012 in Pavement Art

Doing the rounds on the email at the moment: some examples of pavement art by the über talented Edgar Mueller. In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, he paints shockingly realistic 3D scenes onto completely normal, flat pavement. Quite astonishing.

Live Below The Line #CharityTuesday

Posted on 24th April 2012 in #charitytuesday/ poverty/ Unicef

For #CharityTuesday this week I’d really like you to think about your family budget. If it is anything like my own then it will involve regular swaps and adjustments with unexpected expenses being paid for by missing out on a trip to the cinema or a take-away. Hardly a hardship when you consider that the official global poverty line is classed as having to live on less than £1 a day! £1 a day – for everything – could you do it?


‘Live Below the Line’ Guest Blog

 Written by Erin Bishop

At UNICEF we work for the world’s children. Our mission? To build a world where the rights of every child are realised no matter where in the world they live. Every day  millions of children across the world are struggling to survive because they lack adequate food, shelter, basic medical care and often miss out on the chance to go to school. It shouldn’t be like this.

Here at UNICEF UK we organise loads of great fundraising events to raise money that will directly fund UNICEF’s work to help give these children a better start in life. From trekking up Kilimanjaro, biking through India and running across the country in events such as the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, anyone can take part or do their bit for UNICEF and raise much-needed funds to help save children’s lives.

This year to add to the colourful mix of events is ‘Live Below the Line’, which is taking place from the 7th – 11th of May. This challenge really does what it says on the tin: participants live below the poverty line for a week, spending only £1 a day for 5 days on food and drink, to highlight the fact that 1 billion children across the globe are struggling without enough to eat and drink day in, day out. Could you live on £1 a day for a week? Anyone can sign up and take the challenge to help save and transform a child’s life.

The global poverty line is defined by the World Bank who classifies poverty as having to live on less than £1 a day. Hence why we are encouraging people to try to survive for 5 days on £5 alone.

For those taking on the ‘Live Below the Line Challenge’ getting by on £1 a day clearly isn’t easy – but it’ll definitely get you planning ahead, practising your best budgeting skills, and consulting a few trusty recipe books. Taking part in the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge is one way to understand some of the difficulties that children living in poverty have to face daily. It’s also a fantastic way of encouraging people to sponsor you in order to raise vital funds for UNICEF’s work with children.

Michael from the UNICEF UK Media team ‘Lived Below the Line’ for a week this February. He says it was tough, but it really opened his eyes to how much we take for granted in our day-to-day lives.

“I had approached the week not really having thought about the cost of food, or even the amount of food we consume on a daily basis… I even made an unconscious mistake early in the week when I put butter on my toast without accounting for the price,” he tells me, adding, “the idea that so many people, many of them children, live on LESS than £1 a day is unfathomable.”

Mickey’s shopping list for the week:

5 cans of soup          £1.55

1 loaf of bread            35p

4 packets of rice       £1.79

Peas                             36p

12 potatoes                 69p

Grand total:            £4.84

UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations and receives no funding from the UN budget for its lifesaving work.  This means that any money you raise will help to make a real difference to children’s lives.  Last year ‘Live Below the Line’ raised an impressive £180,000.  Help us beat it this year by taking part!

For more information about ‘Live Below the Line’ and to register to take part go to

For more information about UNICEF and for other ways to help raise money for UNICEF go to


Which Diet Plan And Why?

Posted on 23rd April 2012 in diets

Unlike most people, I am the opposite of a ‘comfort eater’.

If I am emotionally upset I find it impossible to eat. I literally can’t swallow the food.

However, when I am all happy and content I have no trouble…

Right now I need to go on a diet, let’s just say I am currently VERY happy if you see what I mean!

I don’t know which diet is best to try to follow though. I’ve successfully followed the Rosemary Conley diet before, I lost 3 stone on that a few years ago however a fair chunk of that seems to have crept its way back on.

Although there are set diet plans, I never stick to them as the Rosemary Conley diet has quite a simple concept, you basically eat a set number of calories each day based on your current weight, ie;


If you currently weigh:     20 stone

Then you eat:                      2000 calories a day


If you currently weigh:    17 stone

Then you eat:                      1700 calories a day


If you currently weigh:     14 stone

Then you eat:                      1400 calories a day


You get the idea! But you can’t eat anything which contains more that 5% fat per 100gm. This combination makes it quite easy for me to follow as either have enough calories left or you don’t and if something is over 5% fat you simply don’t eat it – simples! I think you are then allowed 100 calories a day with which you can eat anything you like no matter what the fat content, or you can use it for alcohol.

So at the moment my plan is to try to do this ‘easy’ version of the Rosemary plan without joining a club, I’ll just set myself a calorie limit and avoid things containing more than 5% fat. It should work.

However, I do get bored quite easily and I’m wondering if one of the other plans would be better.

I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has had great success on a diet. It would be good to know which plan it was, how it worked, what you liked best about it. How successful it was etc.

Doors Open by Ian Rankin #bookreview

Posted on 21st April 2012 in #bookreview/ Doors Open/ Ian Rankin


Doors Open by Ian Rankin

I’m a big fan of Ian Rankin and was intrigued to read a book that doesn’t feature his established characters.

In the story, Mike Mackenzie is a very wealthy and very bored self-made millionaire who is looking for something to excite his life and give him the buzz he used to get from business deals. He also has a love of art and he thinks that he has stumbled across the ‘perfect crime’ with two of his good friends when they devise a, seemingly effortless, way to steal from the National Gallery of Scotland.

Despite recently having his nose put out of joint by his superior officer, Ransome is a very likeable Inspector who stumbles across the Mike Mackenzie while he is on the trail of a known villain and he soon realises that there is more to the situation that meets the eye.

I found myself very quickly drawn into the lives of Mike and Inspector Ransome; Ian Rankin is exceptionally good at bringing people to life on the page.

The overall story line was good, the concept of the heist was pretty clever and the way the story turned out in the end worked well. A lot of books have very weak endings (which drives me mad) but I thought the ending of this one worked well.

Overall, a good book and I enjoyed it.

Routines Make Life Easier; Talk Your Child Through It – #GuestPost

Posted on 20th April 2012 in #guestpost/ parenting/ routines

I’m a firm believer that children need routines and boundaries to make them feel safe and protected. Here follows a #GuestPost from @TheRealSupermum explaining how you can bring routines into in your daily life and make life easier as a result!


Draw up your routine into a plan, an easy step by step guide of what is going to happen at what time each day, then attach your plan to your fridge so it is in clear view of all the family.

Sit your child down and talk them through it, explaining that the plan shows what is going to happen each day, if they are old enough they can follow the plan too, if they are too young then you will need to constantly give warning to what is coming next and refer back to the routine plan.

“Look the plan says we eat lunch at 1pm, we have 15 minutes until then, can you play nicely while mummy goes to make you lunch?”

You can use an alarm clock to time those 15 minutes, when the alarm rings – its time for lunch. You have prepared your child for what is going to happen next.

A routine will only work if you stick to it, be consistent and don’t start changing things, or you will leave your child confused. You may start resembling a parrot as you will need to keep repeating yourself over and over.

“It will be time for bed in 15 minutes”, set the alarm for 10 minutes time.

“It will be time for bed in 5 minutes, when the alarm rings next time we say goodnight” – you are preparing your child for bed, they know when the next alarm rings it is time for bed.

The alarm works a treat in my house, I am not just making them tidy their toys away and scooping them up and saying bedtime, I am allowing them to learn to accept that they have a certain amount of time left, before they are going to bed. They know when the next alarm rings its time to say goodnight, they are prepared for what is coming next and accept it much better.

Talk your child through the day with an excited tone, let’s make every task we do fun, even if it is boring, your child doesn’t think it is.

“If you put your shoes on we can go to the park” – Here you are giving your child the choice, it is not a choice, you are going to the park.

“Can you put your shoes on, so we can go to the park” – Here you are asking them can they do it? You know they can do it, but they may just want to be awkward today and decide not too.

Instead you say “ In 5 minutes time we are going to the park, let’s get your shoes”.

Don’t give a toddler too many choices as you are putting them in charge, don’t you know if it’s a snow boot or sandal day?

Stop bribing your child, if you do this we can go there. You are telling your child where you are going and that’s it, there is no reasoning, it’s on the routine plan, so you follow it.

Organising your day into a routine is a great way to relieve some of the daily stress and you will find your child reacts quicker and easier to tasks. Children know when mum is stressed and they play up even more, when mum is relaxed, calm and in control, the child responds and behaves much better.

Ellie’s Fund #CharityTuesday

Posted on 17th April 2012 in #charitytuesday/ cancer

My #CharityTuesday page is written today by Heather Othick who is going to introduce you to Ellie’s Fund. Please read, share the information and donate if you can. A great way to donate (without spending any additional money) would be to send them your empty babywipe packets! Sounds odd but it’s true, see below or visit the facebook page for more details.

For me this post highlights the sheer bravery of Ellie and family for choosing to fundraise to help others. I also found some of the facts quite hard-hitting; for instance, ‘Shockingly, 65% more women die from a brain tumour each year than from cervical cancer.’

I’ll now hand you over to Heather who can tell you about Ellie’s Fund in her own words. Thanks for reading and please comment to show your support. 

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust was set up after the death of 14 year old Ellie Othick-Bowmaker.

At just 11 years old Ellie was diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour, and expected to live no more than 6 months. Ellie fought for 3 years, and during that time helped to raise over £25,000, which she donated to charities close to her heart. She inspired many people to join in. Sadly, Ellie’s battle ended in February 2010.

I always knew that the fundraising would continue. It did almost straightaway, and a few months later I was approached by Shaun Tymon and Tina Boden who now work alongside me and my husband, Jason, as Trustees.

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust recognises that life is turned completely upside down when you or a family member is diagnosed with a brain tumour, and whilst we would like to offer a complete support package, we are only a small charity. We decided that our efforts would be best put to supporting the brain tumour research laboratory in Leeds; the Leeds Institute for Molecular Medicine, which was opened in February 2011, and to supporting children in Yorkshire and Humberside who are going through treatment for a brain tumour, as well as working to increase brain tumour awareness. If you would like to know more about what we do our website address is

Since 2010 Ellie’s Fund has raised over £60 000, supported 19 children and sent £16,500 to the research lab and £1,900 towards the cost of refurbishing the children’s neurosurgical ward at Leeds General Infirmary.

Did you know that:

  • Brain tumours are the most common solid tumour found in children and they have overtaken leukaemia as the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK
  • There are 16 000 new cases diagnosed every year. Of these, 85% will succumb within 5 years of diagnosis
  • Shockingly, 65% more women die from a brain tumour each year than from cervical cancer.
  • 20% of all cancers now spread to the brain
  • More men under the age of 45 and women under the age of 35 die from a brain tumour than any other cancer
  • While the five-year survival rate for many cancers is over 50% and rising to over 90% for some cancers, for brain tumours, the five year survival rate for men is 14.1% and women is now 13.8%
  • Brain tumour research receives less than 1% (0.7%) of cancer research spending in the UK
  • Adults and children who do survive are left with side effects that affect them for the rest of their lives.
  • ‘We’, the brain tumour community, are asking MPs to discuss brain tumour funding in the House of Commons.
  • We have until June to collect 100 000 signatures, and we might stand a chance of making a start to changing these statistics. So please do sign the petition and ask all your family and friends to as well. Thank you. Here’s the link:

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust baby wipe packet collection.
When I found this recycling initiative that involves parents, and raises money, as well as helping the environment, it made me think that this could be a way of raising a lot of awareness about this deadly disease to the people who need to be most aware – parents.

Here’s how it works:

1) Collect your empty baby wipe packets (any brand, but just baby wipe packets) and wrap them in a thick plastic bag or box. Fewer, bigger parcels are better; so if you and your friends/nursery are collecting, please think about sending one parcel between you. This is an ongoing fundraiser, there is no end date.

2) When you have a parcel ready (suggested minimum 25 packets, no maximum) e-mail and we will email you a freepost postage label. (Ellie’s Fund is a small charity, this will save us postage costs.) Drop the parcel at your local post office as soon as possible.

3) Each postage label can only be used once so if you need more just e-mail again!

The packets go directly to a recycling centre who credit Ellie’s Fund Brain Tumour Trust with 2 pence for each packet received. The baby wipe packets are made into other items such as plastic bibs, dustbins and watering cans.
If you would like to send your packets to us we will gladly deal with them for you, please send them to Ellie’s Fund BTT, PO Box 473, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 9DQ.

Further details and downloadable posters can be found at 

Heather Othick
Ellie’s Mum, founder & Chair of the Trustees
Facebook group: Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust
Twitter: @elliesfundinfo

Registered charity number 1138359

Currently of every £100 raised for research into cancer, brain tumour research receives just 70 pence. We’re asking MPs to discuss brain tumour funding in the House of Commons. Would you sign the petition to support this please? We have until June to collect 100 000 signatures

PO Box 473
North Yorkshire
YO11 9DQ

Donate to Ellie’s Fund via JustTextGiving: text ELFU01 £2/£5/£10 to 70070.
Texts are charged at your normal rate.

Proud member of Brain Tumour Research
Registered charity number 1093411
Funding the fight.

Thanks for reading – please comment to show your support. 

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