21 May 2017

The Case of The Vanishing Mane

When I first met M all those years ago, he had a head full of thick hair that he preferred to wear long. Not quite the mullet, but an all-over long style. I prefer neatly trimmed short hair on a man, so duly gave him grief over it.

The Case of The Vanishing Mane

Things change, styles transform. And so it happened that by the time we got married, M was wearing his hair beautifully clipped. It was still quite thick, but neat and short. This new hair length had nothing to do with me, I hasten to add, for M is not one to give in easily to any amount of nagging. It was short of his own free will and perhaps a need to conform to the accepted norms at work.

As luck would have it, his hair started thinning quickly in the very first year of wedded bliss.

16 May 2017

Can Introverts Make Successful Bloggers?

When I started blogging, it was more as a creative outlet for my thoughts. Blogging gave me something to do to preserve my sanity and sense of self after I had made the decision to be a stay-at-home mother to my baby son.  

Can Introverts Make Successful Bloggers?

It was also something akin to the culmination of a life-long dream of becoming a writer. Writer, blogger, it was two threes and sixes as far as I was concerned.

I could not have been more mistaken. 

15 May 2017

Family-Friendly Things To Do in London

We love London! And not just because it inspired my award-winning blog-post, Summer Dreams.

London is one of the most popular destinations in the world with millions of families visiting each year. With a plethora of family friendly spots and attractions on offer to suit every age and every budget (check my post on visiting London on a budget), it is easy to see why. 

Family-Friendly Things To Do in London

With the summer holidays fast approaching and kids left without any lessons to attend for six weeks, it is the time of year when families plan days out and breaks. 

Here are some great reasons why London should feature in your holiday plans - a list of popular family friendly things to do in London.

13 May 2017

An End

This is it. My last plea for help. I can face it no longer. The demons in my head. The tears that stream down my face. Relentless, like the rain that thuds on the window panes.

An End - a short story inspired by the sea

I cannot go on like this for long, torn between a sense of duty and fear. An ache in my belly at the very thought of facing another day. A day that holds no promise and brings little solace.

10 May 2017

How to Relieve Stress the Natural Way

Feeling stressed out? Who isn’t! Stop before you wolf down a whole pizza or reach for that bottle of wine. Many healthier alternatives exist that may help you cope effectively with stress.

Keep in mind that everyone is different, but one of the best and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is by engaging one or more of your senses - sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. As every person is unique, you will need to find out what works for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

How to Relieve Stress the Natural Way

9 May 2017

Things You Will Need on a Family Ramble

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice at rambling or an expert, whether you are planning a short trek or a long walk, there are certain essentials that should always be a part of your rambling gear. This is especially important if you are rambling as a family with children, though the same rules apply to any walking expedition.

I talk from the experience of past mistakes. There were times when M and I strayed from the beaten path, without a compass or a map and lost our bearings. We wandered for hours, climbing up rocks and sliding down muddy banks, before finally finding our way back home. This was before the era of smart phones and advanced GPS technology (I know, we are ancient relics, almost).

Things You Will Need on a Family Ramble

We are older now, and dare I say, wiser. So here is a list of things that you will need on any family ramble. I recommend never leaving base without all of these.

2 May 2017

5 Family Walks in The Lake District

For parenting reasons that deny all logical explanation, both M and I led extremely sheltered lives as children. We were brought up in families where outdoor pursuits were actively discouraged in favour of academic excellence.

Unbeknown to us, both of us harboured a sense of adventure deep within our geeky bosoms. This innate, dormant personality trait manifested in the form of a love of rambling at the first available opportunity.
Thus began our love affair with The Lake District (Lakeland, The Lakes). Nestled in the north-west and often referred to as the most beautiful corner of England, The Lakes have served as a back-drop for many a memorable family ramble.

5 Family Walks in The Lake District

For despite our sometimes differing parenting styles, we concur on one important point.  As parents, we need to lead by example when it comes to leading a well-balanced life.

26 Apr 2017

What Do You Really Want?

I want to cry! I really do. I am forty odd years old and I have yet to find my calling in life. I don’t know what I want, what I need, where I have to go or what I wish to be.

What Do You Really Want?

There are days when I want to go back to being a scientist. Some days, I want to make it as an author or change tack and be a medical writer. Then there are days when I have visions of owning my own business. I am so inconsistent with my goals, my dreams, my passion, that I have no idea where to begin, what to do to, or where to go with any of this.

21 Apr 2017

Are You an Irregularly Regular Blogger?

Apologies to those of you who expect me to write and wait in anticipation for my next post.

I haven’t been very regular with my blog. I could easily cite lack of time as a legitimate excuse. It would be a very good excuse, especially since I have taken up cycling as a serious pastime.

Are You an Irregularly Regular Blogger?

But there is more to it than that. 

17 Apr 2017

Brand New Kazoops Airs on CBeebies

My 6 year old and I watched the brand new episode of Kazoops together, and J very succinctly summed it up with, “Kazoops is fun to watch because it helps your imagination get bigger.”

14 Apr 2017

5 Golf Myths Busted!

Golf is not something I naturally think of when it comes to pursuing a sport. I succumb to the cliché that golf is but a hobby.

Online Golf is a website dedicated to all things golf. They have taken it upon themselves to introduce this often overlooked sport to youngsters.

Now the only golf I have ever played is crazy golf. But I am not averse to giving something new a try. With a bit of encouragement, neither is my son. He plays cricket and has tried hockey, so why not golf? We decided to support this venture and agreed to be part of an indoor golfing event. 

5 Golf Myths Busted!

The pros were on hand to help us as we made our way around the 6-hole indoor golf course and tried to harness our latent golfing talent. The aim was to introduce families to golf and basic golfing techniques, and bust some golf myths along the way.

11 Apr 2017

Six Things To Do in Tenerife When You Are Six

Tenerife has been on our list of places to visit ever since a friend went on holiday there a couple of years ago. Not content with taking her word for it, we have been doing our own research into why Tenerife is perfect for a family holiday. And what could be better than to base our expeditions out of a beautiful private villa in Tenerife.

Learning need never be boring. Family travel is a great opportunity to widen horizons and broaden understanding, age notwithstanding. So our top six things to do when you are six feature a mix of entertaining and educational attractions. A balance of natural wonders, architectural gems and fun days out that aim to capture the essence of Tenerife.

Six Things To Do in Tenerife When You Are Six

Here are our top six things to do in Tenerife when you are six.

3 Apr 2017

Lego Ninjago at Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester

Isn’t it amazing how clued up children are when it comes to contemporary play characters? I had no idea what Ninjago was, but my nearly 6 year old son had this twinkle in his eye at the mere mention of the possibility of a family day out involving Lego Ninjago. I have obviously underestimated the role of peers in my child’s quest for knowledge!

So it was that J gave us a discourse on all things Lego Ninjago as we headed to the Legoland Discovery Centre to be part of the launch of their new Lego Ninjago City Adventure play area.

Lego Ninjago at Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester

21 Mar 2017

Fun Science with Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill

My son, like most kids his age, adores bubbles. There is something entirely too fascinating about orbs of glistening liquid, shimmering with rainbow colours, floating up and away in the sky. Or popping as soon as they are formed.

J has spent many a day chasing bubbles in the garden. Or popping them at birthday parties. He has even recommended purchasing bubble makers as presents for his friends!

We had seen giant bubbles being made on our visit to The Science Museum in London, but had never quite managed to recreate them at home.

The promise of enormous bubbles got us incredibly excited when the Funrise Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill arrived home.

17 Mar 2017

In Pursuit Of Perfection

Like beauty, perfection lies in the eye of the beholder. Imperfections become irrelevant when you learn to look beyond them and fall in love with what you see.

In Pursuit Of Perfection
Not all experiments are perfect. The results can be intriguing, nevertheless.

This is an extremely difficult ask for a perfectionist to whom nothing ever seems perfect! When you are forever grappling with the mediocrity that surrounds you.

I am a perfectionist. One locked in a constant struggle to overcome the habit. For I see my pursuit of perfection as nothing short of a vice.

15 Mar 2017

The Snow Maiden at The Lowry

I have never been to the opera. The only time I listen to opera is on TV or on radio. And most of it seems to be in Italian.

So when the invitation came to visit The Lowry to watch a performance of The Snow Maiden, I was both intrigued and petrified in equal measures. Intrigue won and I am glad it did.

13 Mar 2017

Emergency Phone Card for Kids

I was very poorly a couple of weeks back. So unwell that I couldn't even sit up for more than 10 minutes at a time. A good friend of mine was helping with the school runs so I could stay indoors and keep warm. Is when I thought about doing the "emergency drill" with my five-year-old son.

Emergency Phone Card for Kids

I asked J, "Do you remember what to do in case Aai becomes very, very poorly?" I asked if he remembered because we had been over this when my son was three years old. They had practised at his nursery school as well, where they had sessions practising emergency situations and the number to call. But like I said, this was two years ago.

J comes up with, "I need to call an ambulance." Excellent response from my little one.
"And how will you do that, hun?" 
"I need to call 9......"

9 Mar 2017

The Secret Mother

The Secret Mother by Victoria Delderfield is the survival story of a young Chinese girl and her struggles as a mother of twin daughters.

28 Feb 2017

What is In Our Holiday Bag?

This is my entry to become a #MarkWarnerMum. If selected, I will get to collaborate with Mark Warner Holidays as part of their Family Ambassador Programme. Exciting stuff!

I have penned down these verses to illustrate our top ten travel must-haves. Hope it gets you in the mood to creating your own holiday. 

What is In Our Holiday Bag? Our holiday essentials in verse

Here are all the travel essentials that M, five year old J, and I just cannot do without on a family holiday.

26 Feb 2017

Rhino 800ml 'Camouflask' Vacuum Flask Review

I have always wanted a nice vacuum flask to carry on our rambles. That’s right. We love to go rambling as a family. Our favourite destination is The Lake District, where we have spent many holidays making wonderful memories.

Although most of our rambles happen in the summer, we do occasionally wander out in the winter sun. So ideally, I would love a flask that holds both hot and cold drinks, depending on what I fancy on a given day.

Rhino 800ml 'Camouflask' Vacuum Flask Review

Audacious Rhino is the new kid on the block when it comes to vacuum flasks. We were offered and agreed to put the 800ml Rhino Camouflask through its paces. Here’s what I think of it.

23 Feb 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at The Lowry

It is not often that you get to see a favourite book brought to life on stage.

J and I were both delighted to visit The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at The Lowry

20 Feb 2017

Schleich Wildlife Starter Set Review

J has been learning all about animals at school this last term. When Schleich got in touch about their new Wildlife Starter Set that includes a zebra, elephant, monkey and lion, it was the perfect opportunity to extend his play-based learning.

Schleich Wildlife Starter Set Review

2 Feb 2017

The Australian Open Men's Singles Final 2017 (a review in verse)

"Tennis is a tough sport and we don't have draws but if I could have shared it today with Rafa I would have taken a draw."
– Roger Federer, Australian Open Men’s Singles Champion 2017

The Australian Open Men's Singles Final 2017 (a review in verse)

A clash of the titans
History will be re-written
Perhaps past their prime?
The pundits dare question.

31 Jan 2017

How to Keep Your Heating Costs under Control

Hands up if you like your home nice and toasty through the cold of winter.

I, like many of you, can’t bear to be cold in my own home. 

But I'd rather not waste my hard earned cash on paying  high heating bills. I keep on harping about it, but really, it is not that difficult to save money on your energy bills.
There are a few simple things you could do around your home that can help. 

Here's how you can keep your heating costs under control through the cold season:

How to Keep Your Heating Costs under Control

29 Jan 2017

I've found a New Love

You wait for something to happen all your life and all it takes is one drunken night of bravado to change everything.

I have found a New Love

And so it was with me. I was at a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s place. The kids were all merry, the grown-ups relaxing over a couple of glasses of this and that. I got chatting to a friend over a glass of G&T (which, btw, was the best ever). The conversation went something like this:

27 Jan 2017

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I was back at The Lowry last night, this time to watch The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The guidance for this show is 11+, so J did not accompany me. Neither did M. I went with a lovely friend instead. It was her first outing to the theatre, so the pressure was on!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at The Lowry

24 Jan 2017

Crochet Hat for Beginners (with free pattern)

When you have an unusually large head circumference like I do, it becomes incredibly difficult to find a nice hat that actually fits. I also like my hat to come down and cover my ears. There is nothing worse than cold ears to give you a runny nose in my experience!

Crochet Hat for Beginners (with free pattern)

So what do you do when you can never find a nice warm hat to fit your specifications? You pull out your crochet needle and make your own beanie hat.

23 Jan 2017

How to Crochet a Ruffle Flower in Minutes

The big Sky Blanket crochet project is done, and I am in no mood to snuff out my re-kindled passion for the craft. I don’t want to take on another marathon project this year. What I intend to do is crochet a wide range of crochet clothes and accessories instead.

Starting with this beautiful uneven ruffle flower. It is super easy to make, but can add that extra dimension to most anything.

How to Crochet a Ruffle Flower in minutes

19 Jan 2017

I Am Her

It was a struggle for me to write this piece. Not because it brings to mind the injustice that has been meted out to women through the ages. But because nothing much seems to have changed despite years of apparent progress.

I may not be physically able to participate in the Women’s March happening across the world on 21 January, but I stand in solidarity with the principles behind it.

I Am Her

16 Jan 2017

Online Money Collections made Easy with Leetchi

Have you ever been that person who is always in charge of collections? Whether in the workplace or at home, are you always the one looking after that money envelope? And the list of who has given what and how much?

Perhaps it is time to move on from the hassle of it all with Leetchi.

I have gone all tech-savvy and been crowdfunding for an upcoming birthday. Here is how I got on.

15 Jan 2017

13 Jan 2017

Make That Start!

The story goes something like this
Of a person that I knew
Who sat on the sofa every day
Wondering what to do...

Make that Start!

9 Jan 2017

An Afternoon Walk along the Bridgewater Canal

Along the Bridgewater Canal we go
On a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll
Ducks, swans and cackling geese
Moorings and barges keep company.

Walking from Manchester
All the way into Cheshire 
Aching legs refuse 
To carry us any further.

39 miles from Runcorn to Leigh 
In one go, we aspire, we strive
Perhaps not rambling on our feet
But on our bikes we will arrive. 

An Afternoon Walk along the Bridgewater Canal

It was the New Year and the winter sun was shining bright. We set off on an aimless ramble, more to shake of the excesses of Christmas than to be somewhere or do something.

8 Jan 2017

Reach Your Goals with 10 Minutes A Day

I started this New Year as I meant to continue. With no resolutions, but with a simple mantra to ‘De-clutter’. To de-clutter my living and working environment.  To de-clutter the physical, mental, emotional baggage that I have been carting along for far too long. To clear up space that will improve productivity and help me reach my goals.

Reach Your Goals with 10 Minutes A Day

One week in, and I am pleased with the progress I have been making. It has not been easy and not without set-backs. The key to long-term success, I have come to realise, is not to be upset by failures but to take them in your stride and move on.

Easier said than done! After years of trying every possible method to turn my life around, I was on the hunt for a tool that will help me achieve my targets. Something to keep on track as I work towards my goals.

I may have found just the thing. And I am going to share it with you so that you can achieve your goals too. All I need is a commitment that you will spend 10 minutes on yourself every day.

3 Jan 2017

Reading Challenge 2017

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  - Stephen King.

I was never a voracious reader. That distinction belongs to my sibling, who has now authored his own science-fiction book. (You can buy it through the picture link below) 

But I was an avid enough reader who enjoyed regular reading and creative writing.

The Universe has a strange way of upsetting the balance of Life. Medical school happened and all reading and writing soon became very medicine-centric.

Life also has an uncanny way of coming full circle. My medical career is a thing of the past. Motherhood and writing is my present.

2 Jan 2017

Sky Blanket 2016: The Finale

It was exactly a year ago today that I crocheted the first row of my Sky Blanket 2016. It was a mammoth undertaking and needed real commitment. 12 months, 366 days later, I have finished what I set out to do all those days ago.

It has not been an easy task and not something I will embark on in the foreseeable future. What was meant to be a 12-month long project ended up being a 9-month gestation with plenty of ups and downs.

I blogged about my trials and tribulations a couple of months back. It was then that I promised to come back with a final update on how I did the edging of the blanket. So here it is. 

1 Jan 2017

Tired of Failed Resolutions? Try this New Year Mantra instead

That’s it. I have had enough of making New Year resolutions. I have made them year after year, and they have never lasted beyond the first week in January. I even tried calling them different things like ‘a lifestyle change’ in the hope that they stick. Trouble is, anything that you resolve to do after a night of merry-making, when you are slightly hung-over and wishing you were back in bed, is not really going to stick, is it!

So a slight change of tack this year. I am going for a New Year Mantra instead of making a bunch of non-stick resolutions. A single word to sum up my hopes and dreams for 2017. A word with the promise of increased productivity.

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