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Guess Who’s Back…

Posted on 14th March 2015 in Blog/ cat

Happy Cat

As the title suggests, after a brief (2 year) hiatus, I feel like returning to blogging – so, for now at least, I’m back!

 

And it’s goodbye from me – a fond farewell?

Posted on 10th December 2012 in #SilentSunday/ #writingworkshop/ Blog

Goodbye1

As the title suggests, I have decided to hang up my blogging hat.

I don’t want to rattle off a whole plethora of negative reasons why, even though there are some, instead I’d like to thank each and every person who has ever clicked on my blog. I really appreciate the fact that you stopped by to read.

Some of the things I’ve loved about blogging have been Charity Tuesday, Silent Sunday and The Writing Workshop – three things that all made blogging a pleasure for me. The Writing Workshop in fact being the reason why I started in the first place.

In a lot of ways, although I never realised it at the time, my blog was all about one post which began life as a Writing Workshop prompt and ending up changing my life.

I also really enjoy the book reviews and will continue doing those over on ReadandRated.

I don’t know for sure that it’s forever, but it feels like it right now certainly for this blog. Maybe I’ll be back with a different one in the future, maybe not. When I started blogging it was a warm and welcome community and there was an overall feeling of inclusion and acceptance. Sometimes these days it feels more like shark infested waters 😉

I am very happy in life right now and don’t have as much time to devote to blogging and I’m not one to do half a job so I’d rather bow out than blog for the sake of it. Without wishing to jinx my life, I have a wonderful partner, a great job and two happy and healthy children – all of whom deserve more of my time.

Ironically, my blog has the most followers it’s ever had and is getting more hits via search engines than ever so it feels wrong in a way to stop now but it also feels right to stop while it’s doing well rather than let it run down.

Thank you all, for your support.

x

Liz Jones: From Burkas to Barking Mad

Posted on 11th November 2012 in Blog/ bullying

I’ve not encountered the column of Liz Jones before but after reading her post about ‘mummy bloggers’ I took a quick glance through the titles of some of her other posts and found myself reading the recent work of a woman who seems to have grown a career out of her feelings of jealousy, resentment and general inadequacy.

How sad.

Sad for her and for those who employ her and for those who take the time to read her work. Are they influenced by it? I hope not.

My overriding thought when I see stories attacking bloggers, is ‘what does it matter to you?’. As in why does it affect the writer so badly that they feel the need to hurl abuse.

Comparing the comments on this post to some of her others I can see the answer. Over 300 people have taken the time to comment, while this is the case then there is a point to her employment. While her articles produce such a tidal wave of response there is a justification for her writing them.

I personally quite liked her comment that the blogging world had become like an extension of the WI. I’m not sure she meant it to be taken as a good thing but what a lovely idea.

Cambridge Mummy has taken the time to respond and rightly so, especially as she’s been named as a SAHM who is supported by her husband and makes money selling advertising on her blog – none of which is actually true! Facts, it seems, aren’t as important as mudslinging.

I read Liz’s column without surprise, it’s been said before, all of it. The way she wrote it, however, just screamed of jealousy. There was one bit in particular, where she spoke of maternity leave as ‘a holiday’ which I think probably goes some way towards explaining her need to attack; she feels that she’s missed out, she feels cheated.

Clearly her directive from the Daily Fail is to be as controversial as possible, to stir up a storm in a tea-cup wherever she goes, to use her myopic view of the world to create discourse and, essentially, to go into the playground and start a fight.

I’m glad I didn’t know who she was before today and I’m glad that after today I am very unlikely to read anything of hers again.

Do You Reddit?

Posted on 2nd August 2012 in Blog/ Reddit

Following a twitter conversation with some lovely ladies last week, I’ve been dabbling with Reddit.

It seems to me to be a similar(ish) concept to Stumble Upon in that people can upload links to site that they enjoy, find interesting, shocking etc and other people can then quickly view them. On Reddit you can opt for a random selection (like on Stumble Upon) or you can view things via categories.

Now I have to confess to not being a user of Reddit in the sense that I don’t ever go on their to view things, but, it was being suggested that it could be a good place to re-air blog posts and reach a new audience. I’m all for that so I gave it a go.

It’s easy to do – if you scroll to the bottom of this post, for example, you will see a selection of ‘sharing buttons’ one of which is Reddit. You simply hit the up arrow and it takes you to Reddit where you can log in if you have an account or register if you don’t. You then select a sub-reddit (category) and off it goes.

Simple huh.

I did this with an old post and it had 50 new hits within an hour. Not bad…

Another post, the following day, got zero hits. Hmm…

A third post, the day after, got over 200 hits!

So, all in all a bit hit’n’miss but well worth a try as it is very simple to set up and upload.

Well. It starts off being simple but you soon find that Reddit tells you ‘you’ve done that too often’ or ‘short links are smelly’ or ‘try again in 8 minutes’ – it is a little temperamental on when it will and won’t let you upload a post!

I thought I’d solved the problem but as you can see, I’m back to being told to wait 😉

It gives you it’s words of wisdom at the bottom…. I haven’t submitted any posts for 3 or 4 days so I’m not sure why I’m getting the ‘please try again in an hour’ message?! I’ll leave it for today and try again tomorrow!

Do you Reddit? If so, how do you get around its little temper tantrums? If not, why not click the little up arrow and see for yourself what it’s all about :)

A Blogging Dilemma. Integrity vs Morality.

Posted on 19th June 2012 in Blog/ review

I have a dilemma.

We went on holiday recently and prior to going I discussed with the owner that I would be reviewing it afterwards if she didn’t mind. I told her that I only ever do honest reviews.

In a nut shell, the holiday had 4 ‘features’ listed on the site we booked through. They were: an outdoor heated pool; free wi-fi; a launderette and a tennis court. My children had wanted to go on a centre parcs type holiday but we had to go to a particular part of the country as a friend was getting married there. So the compromise we made with the children was that we would make sure that wherever we booked had a pool…

However, although there was a pool it was empty! We queried this as soon as we arrived and were told it would be ready 2 days later. We were offered vouchers for a nearby pool in lieu. The vouchers never materialised. There was no sign of a launderette. 2 days later we asked again about the pool and got fobbed off again, this time with “it’s only a pool!” muttered in exasperated tones. We also asked about the wi-fi as with no pool the boys were wanting to access their online games – this resulted in the owner saying “you obviously aren’t happy, why don’t you just leave and I’ll give you a full refund”.

We were stunned, it had been an 8 hour drive down and we had a full week worth of shopping in the fridge. Going home 5 nights early had really not been on the agenda!

After discussing it for a few minutes with OH, the owner appeared again and said again that we obviously weren’t going to be happy during the holiday so if we  wanted to leave she would refund 4 nights of the holiday…. huh what happened to the full refund?

We decided at that point that there wasn’t much point in staying if the children couldn’t go swimming or access their games and we both agreed we would feel really quite unwelcome now that the owner had suggested we leave!

We asked her to put in writing that the pool was not finished and that she had offered to refund us, she seemed suddenly reluctant at this point and said she was too busy and would have to do it in the morning. She said she would issue the refund first thing and email us to confirm. We stood our ground and insisted upon a hand written note confirming what she’d said.

Then, we packed the car with two very unhappy boys and drove through the night arriving home at about 2am.

I have not heard a single thing from the owner since we left. Fortunately I booked the holiday through a holiday company so I was able to complain through them. They have written to me today and said that they cannot get any response from the owner and are therefore having to ‘take matters into their own hands’ and they have promised me a full refund within 14 days. They’ve also said that they will have to contact everyone else booked to go to this site and raise the possibility of the facilities not being available.

So, the dilemma. Do I still do the review when it will clearly be quite damaging to her business?

From an integrity point of view: I said I’d be doing an honest review and she knew that so I should go ahead and do it.

From a morality point of view: I think they had just opened too early. It was a new site with only about 10 cottages on it and I just don’t think they’d got it finished in time. Maybe money was an issue, maybe just timing I don’t know. The cottages were beautifully refurbished, the site just didn’t have the facilities that were listed on the holiday website. I don’t think I’m comfortable with making all this public if it could damage her business. I know that sounds bonkers considering how we were treated but I can’t help thinking that she must be having a pretty miserable time already.

What do you think?

 

New blog!

Posted on 17th June 2012 in Blog/ family

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear in the office at work is “so what’s for dinner tonight then?” and as I’m utterly obsessed with food (just ask my ever expanding arse!) I’m starting a new blog which will be daily dinner tweets!

You can find it here.

And follow it on twitter here.

I hope you like it :)

K is for… Knicker Club

Posted on 7th September 2010 in Blog/ chain letter/ gullible/ knickers/ panties/ pyramid/ thong/ tweet

Something that @MrsTeepot tweeted earlier today “Now drowning in thongs!” made an old memory jump into my mind.

A few years ago I was sent a letter inviting me to join a ‘knicker club’ it was one of those ghastly chain-letter-pyramid style thingies where you posted a pair of knickers to the person at the top of the list…. then removed their name and added your own along with details of what size/style you like. The result was meant to be that you would receive 35 pairs of knickers in the post. (I didn’t sound this bad at the time honestly.)

I’m guessing that everyone put ‘Size 8, thong’.

Being a gullible sort I did duly post of a pair of panties (size 8 thong funnily enough) but sadly/fortunately received none in return!

Unless the first rule of Knicker Club is that you can’t talk about Knicker Club, then I have a question for you:

Q. Were any of you ever as gullible or was it just me?!

M is for… My Mistress

Posted on 14th July 2010 in Blog/ friendship/ Twitter/ writing workshop

Writing Workshop Badge

3. Who’s your boss? Who (or what!) is in charge of you and your life?

This is EASY.

Much as I try and deny it, Twitter Is My Mistress. For example, today is my day off work. At work I spend the day in front of an iMac and I beaver away at my desk for hours on end. So, today – on my day off – I have mostly sat at home, in front of an iMac and buggered around on twitter for hours on end.

I did just break momentarily to do the washing up. That would be the washing up that I would have done last night, had I not been on twitter. I did have to go for a blood test this morning which took approximately 1.5hrs (30 mins to walk there, 30 mins to wait, 30 mins to walk back) I spent most of the 1.5hrs wishing I had a phone from which I could tweet….

I blame @MinaCab for this as twas she who introduced me to my mistress. She came to my house, plied me with cake, pulled many things (except the obvious) from her bra and then insisted that I join Twitter. Being a meek, subservient, do-as-I’m-told type of a girl I immediately signed up. And was immediately disappointed. “I don’t get it” I said. @MinaCab then explained the virtues of twitter to me and told me that she went to senior school with Andy Parsons (and did a reasonable Andy Parsons impression it has to be said) yet still the appeal of Twitter eluded me.

Yet it nagged at me. Why didn’t I ‘get it’ I am not especially unintelligent, if other people could ‘get it’ then why couldn’t I?

Every now and then I would throw a tweet into the void. Not a lot happened – to be fair I was only following @MinaCab @PlanetJedward and @StephenFry so it was fairly obvious that my banal tweets weren’t about to set the world on fire.

Then one day I did a #hashtagtweet and got a reply, from a real person, a stranger…. Ooooh this was intriguing. So I looked at the strangers ‘followers’ and added a few of them, and they followed me back. Suddenly my banal tweets started getting responses.

This then trigged a ‘ray of light’ a moment where the earth moved, the stars aligned and the heavens collided (never sure what with) – suddenly I GOT TWITTER. I got it, I understood it, I loved it.

I started following @richardm56 I’m not a daytime TV person so although I knew who he was, I wasn’t a stalker fan, but people said he was Mr Twitter, so I followed. He was funny. He made me laugh, I replied to a couple of his tweets – and he replied! I told him some mad tale about Binky (Richard’s late mail sherpa, long story) asking via the medium of Derek Acorah for him to follow me back – and he did! LOL. Twitter rocks!

I am now ‘friends’ with some amazing people on Twitter. My ‘real life’ friends ‘don’t get it’ and they pull that face at me if I mention it, so I don’t anymore. My husband, tolerant man though he is, is dubious of my twitter relationships.

Without Twitter I would never have spoken to @jakubhlavacek a lovely (but rude) gay guy from the Czech republic. I would never have exchanged, time, cake and publishing with @thecakenest – I would never have started a blog if it were not for the likes of the lovely @porridgebrain @cosmicgirlie @JfB57 @Princess_L_88 @cafebebe @vegemitevix (and too many more to list, sorry). I would never have had extraordinarily bizarre conversations with @PowerFairy my life would not have been enhanced by knowing @DrewParky who to me is a little ray of sunshine. I wouldn’t have seen the smiley face of @Superrealpj I wouldn’t know that sock cats are awesome if it weren’t for @_pussygalore I wouldn’t have received lovely, supportive messages from @busyhobs or have ever known about the Tots100 or @The_MADs if it weren’t for @swhittle. Without twitter I wouldn’t have had a lovely chat with @MyDaddyCooks or have tasted his simnel cakes and brightened Archie’s day with Thomas goodies.

Without Twitter I would never have started coffeegate…

I have lovely conversations with lots of wonderful people, including: @LivingwithKids @kateab @PaulaMaher @MissMarch1130 @1chicmama @hooker1uk @Caroljs @MeTheManAndBaby @Jon_Stead @cassiemwilliams @becaboop @KayAndHerBoys @SheilaW10 @The_Moiderer @Nudieprincess @bumblingtweets @ocean_design @christinemosler @gillyjamjar @utterlyscrummy @lbyrne74 @himupnorth @Debbie_Ireland @Delakobic @PeterWanless @SingleMummyUK @mediocre_mum @thekidscoach @TheJellyMonster @peabee72 @Henrys_Mummy @Metajugglamum @realityrose @Barb1963 @teamvaughan @newdaynewlesson @salamicat @nicolalalalala @ShortyMcStompy @balloonbaboon @blottedcopybook @benspex @mummylimited @chrisandharvey @freyerj @justinheron @tradingnothing @Rosa_lingerie

I’ve dropped phones down toilets with @SweetPeaParties. I love the gentle humour of @PippaD and everytime I read her name the song by BabyD pops into my head! I respect @Andy_Golding, I experienced a military clean up from @RAFairman, laughed at the IT Crowd with @kookoocachu @daddacool and @tattooed_mummy. I’m grateful for techy advice from @spences10. I laugh every time I see the name @AhcomeonnowTed. Quite early on in my twitter life, I was inspired by @Angiebabes999. I got trust from @SingleDadsDiary I got to do a guest blog for @SmittnbyBritain and I read STOP ME by the brilliant @Bookwalter

I LOVE the secret postclub, thank you @notefromlapland

I enjoy the humour of @GPforhire and @5tevenw

I am quite honoured to get the occasional reply from the lovely, talented and fairly easy on the eye ;o) @DhruvBaker1

And although I expect none of you will have noticed, I am reasonably fond of a nice guy called Bob @OnlyDads

My thoughts have #hashtags in them, as do things I put in texts and on facebook.

If I haven’t named you, please please don’t be offended. I follow 693 people – and I follow you all for a reason – it just simply wasn’t possible to list all 693 of you here (I did try, but I am very lazy) so if I follow you, I twitter-love you ok? Actually – if I’ve inadvertently missed you off, tweet me and let me know and I will add you :o)

So in answer to prompt 3 of @porridgebrain’s writing workshop: 3. Who’s your boss? Who (or what!) is in charge of you and your life? My one and only answer is TWITTER!

Blog of Substance Award

Posted on 12th July 2010 in Blog/ meme/ Twitter

The lovely, kind and generous Garry @himupnorth has awarded me the Blog of Substance Award. Now he did create a new rugged, manly badge for the this meme however being as I am a girl, I am sticking with the girly one as above!

THE RULES:

1) Give groveling gratitude filled thanks to the blogger who awarded you

2) Share your five word blogging philosophy

3) Nominate further bloggers of substance

Until this moment I hadn’t really considered that I had a ‘blogging philosophy’ however I shall now attempt to come up with one in just 5 words. This is difficult for me, I tend to prefer to use as many words as possible, but here goes:

WORDS   FELL   OUT   MY   HEAD

RANDOM   THINGS   THAT   I   THINK

HONESTY   AND   INTEGRITY   RULE   OK

TELL   IT   LIKE   IT   IS

You may have noticed that was just a smidge over 5 words…..but if I had to pick a lone 5, then I would pick the last 5 – TELL  IT  LIKE  IT  IS.  Although to be fair I think the top one is probably more accurate ;o)

Now I need to pass the award onto others. I personally think that everyone who takes the time to sit write a blog deserves a Blog of Substance award, as such if I have ever visited and commented upon your blog, it’s fairly safe to say I think yours is a blog of substance. However, in order to play the game,  some people for me to pass The Blog of Substance Award onto:

First and foremost was going to be @Metajugglamum but I see that Garry already tagged her (damn you Garry) so instead I move to:

@SingleMummyUK

@becaboop

@NudiePrincess

@TheJellyMonster

and
@elainescott77

Ladies, I pass the Blog of Substance award on to you, well deserved in every case.

The East of England

Posted on 17th June 2010 in Blog/ castle/ colchester/ east of england/ norwich/ roman/ smitten by britain/ visit colchester

Welcome one and all to the East of England – a guest blog for @smittnbybritain

The East of England is a beautiful and underrated part of the country. It isn’t especially well known and yet it contains both a wealth of beauty and a depth of history within its boundaries. If you ask someone from another country what comes to mind when they think of Britain, you often get the very stereotypical answer of ‘a london bank manager in a bowler hat’ or ‘a scotsman in a kilt’, I doubt anyone would ever say ‘an office worker from Peterborough’.

Yet Peterborough, Huntingdon, Ely, St Ives and Ramsey all have a lot to offer. As well as being close to Cambridge where you can immerse yourself in student life, shop till you drop or go punting along the river – these fenland towns offer a gloriously flat landscape, fabulous markets and an array of differing architectural styles.

Norfolk brings the beauty of the ‘The Broads’ a stunning network of canals where many a holiday maker can delight in being captain for the day (or week!) in a narrow boat – the fictional home of Swallows & Amazons that was so captivatingly brought to life by Arthur Ransome. Norwich is a busy, metropolitan town with everything you could need for a memorable city break – shops, shops and more shops plus exciting nightlife and all to the backdrop of an imposing Normal cathedral.

Although just over 100 miles apart, Great Yarmouth and Southend both offer an amazing family experience with exciting rides and attractions on the seafront and a multitude of reasonably priced B&Bs, caravan/camp sites and chalet parks to accommodate those wanting to stay for a few days.

Tiptree in Essex is a small town with several small holdings and a very special jam factory! Wilkin & Son make the most delicious jams and you can enjoy a visit to their museum, a tour of the factory and then of course it would be rude to leave with out a visit to the tea room! Just over 20 miles away, up the A12 you can find the Dedham Rose tearoom where they also serve Wilkin & Son jams with warm scones and clotted cream – a fantastic venue for a mother’s day treat! If the guilt of the scones gets to be too much you can take a stroll through Constable country – maybe you will even walk the same route that inspired John Constable in 1800?

Did you know that Colchester (Roman name Camulodunum) is Britains oldest recorded town? The earliest record of the town’s existence is a reference by the Roman writer, Pliny the Elder in AD77. When describing the location of the island of Anglesey, he wrote that ‘it is about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a town in Britain’. Colchester also boasts a stunning castle, in the beautifully kept (and aptly named), Castle Park where seasonal flowers seem to magically appear in breathtaking displays throughout the park.

Last, but by no means least, we come to ‘the Essex Sunshine Coast’. The East of England has an amazing shoreline, loved by families and responsible for many happy holiday memories. Clacton’s annual air show is an amazing event with exciting air displays that can be viewed from the comfort of a good old fashioned deck chair! Beach huts are synonymous with the great British summer and seaside resorts in the East are lined with rows of brightly painted, weathered and well loved ‘huts’ most of which have been in families for decades and are viewed of more as holidays homes than little wooden sheds.

If you haven’t been to the East of England before – it’s about time you did! The excellent road and rail links mean that once you’ve picked a town to use as a base, the rest of the towns and attractions are all within traveling distance. The only question is – where do you start?

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