26 Apr 2014

Sunday 27/04/2014


25 Apr 2014

Holidays Heal

In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!
- Mehmet Murat Ildan

This quote is the prompt I am writing to this week. But it doesn't end there. For then he goes on to say, "There is no vacation for a writer! Every moment of his life is work!"

This could not be more true. As I am finding out, much to my consternation. I may not be an established writer. Perhaps I could have a proper vacation if I was one. But I am just a fledgling blogger, still trying to find my niche, still trying to build my little blogging empire. 

So even when on holiday, when I should be relaxing and rejuvenating, I find myself blogging. Or tracking social media accounts in the hope of grabbing that next big thing. Of making my name in the blogosphere.

As I write this, I am coming to the realisation that the time has come to let go. Just a little bit. For if I don't have time with my family, I will not have anything to blog about. If I am not of sound mind and body, I will not have the impetus, the imagination to create ideas or to pen down my thoughts.

Life is short and time is fleeting. A moment spent staring at a screen is a moment spent away from my little boy. Maybe the time has come to remove my blogger/writer hat. At least when I am on holiday. And make the most of what a holiday truly has to offer.

A calm, soothing and a very relaxing environment, the perfect setting to let go of stresses, to let go of all the tensions that everyday life brings. To heal in mind and in body. So that I can face the literary world with a newfound sense of self.


24 Apr 2014

Ideal Home Show, Manchester 2014

The Ideal Home Show is coming to Manchester and you can win tickets to be there!

As somebody based in the North of England, I have always felt a little pang, a little twinge, a little miffed every time I read about some high profile event happening in London. So imagine my surprise and joy when I found out that for the first time in its 106 year history, the iconic Ideal Home Show will be heading north to EventCity in Manchester. I was even more pleased when I got the opportunity to showcase this magnificent event on my blog and offer my readers a chance to attend too.

Not just is The Ideal Home Show coming North, it is bringing along a fabulous celebrity line-up.

Gregg Wallace from MasterChef is representing the Food & Housewares section. Melinda Messenger will represent the ideal Woman section. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen will represent Interiors, while George Clarke represents Home Improvements. Diarmuid Gavin will be representing the ideal Gardens section. And Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis will be making a special appearance. 

The celebs will be on hand at different times throughout the 3-day event running from 6th to 8th June 2014. I cannot wait!

Whether you are looking for a complete home revamp or just some inspiration to add that extra something to your homes, the Ideal Home Show has something for everyone. With eight sections packed full of exhibitors, state-of-the-art products and expert advice, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here’s what you can expect:

Ideal Interiors
Within Ideal Interiors, you will find top brands and beautiful products to add those final details to your home. Whatever your taste, you will find plenty of choice for every area of your home, from clever storage, and impressive furniture to innovative design and decorating solutions.

Home Improvements
Whatever your project plans, discover the best way to tackle DIY dilemmas head on with the help of TV architect George Clarke, who’s heading the section. With top brands, expert advice and thousands of products and finishes to choose from, the Ideal Home Improvements section will provide you with everything you need for the job.

Ideal Gardens
The Ideal Gardens section is the perfect place to find everything you need to get your garden up to scratch. If you’re planning a new patio, looking for the perfect furniture set, or want to turn your garden into that extra outdoor room to relax in and enjoy, then you’ll find it here. Everyone from budding gardeners to seasoned pros will find plenty of ideas whatever the size of the garden, from window boxes to large open spaces. 

Ideal Technology 
Whether you are gadget savvy or just a beginner, there is something for everyone in Ideal Technology, from entertainment, gaming and household goods to energy-saving items that make your home eco-friendly.

Ideal Shopping
Inside Ideal Shopping, visitors can find a treasure trove of beautiful home accessories, stunning gifts, exciting toys and innovative new technology. Here you’ll find a dazzling array of must-have items, perfect for styling your home or as gifts for friends and family that you simply won’t find on the high street.

Ideal Food & Housewares sponsored by Regina
For the real foodies out there, Ideal Food & Housewares, sponsored by Regina, is the one-stop-shop for artisan produce, handy cooking gadgets and expert advice from top chefs. The hall will bring together a tempting array of delicious foods to try from all corners of the globe and the combined Food & Drink Theatre sponsored by Regina will provide top tips and delicious demos, where the chefs be cooking up dishes inspired by the Ideal Home Show Seasonal Cook Book.

Ideal Woman 
Ideal Woman, is the perfect place to take time out from a busy shopping schedule to be pampered. Relax and indulge in a glass of bubbly at the Champagne Bar, browse the latest products and pick up hints and tips on this seasons fashion trends.

The Super Theatre
The Ideal Super Theatre will be the centrepiece of the 2014 Ideal Home Show. Representing each section of the show, the theatre will host talks and demonstrations from the nation's most loved home experts. The 2014 Ideal Super Theatre will have everything you need for the ultimate inspiration to create your own Ideal Home.

I plan to be there with a friend and our little ones in tow. You have a chance to be there too. Just enter the competition below, and you could win a pair of tickets to the Ideal Home Show in Manchester for 6th June 2014. I have 2 pairs waiting to be won. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have been given 2 passes to attend Opening Day on 6th June 2014 of the Ideal Home Show at EventCity in Manchester in exchange for running this competition and posting this listing and one other review. I have not received any other compensation in cash or kind.

17 Apr 2014


Aai and Baba and J make three
And then there is all the family

Nana and Grandma, Great-Uncles galore
Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and some more

Immediate, extended, all in a tree
Together, we make our family

Holidays are great to meet everyone
Catch all the gossip, some fun in the sun

Food and presents always abound
When to meet family we pop around

Arguments and squabbles never far behind
When the family are together, all in a bind

Love and affection still rule the roost
The family mostly is a good morale boost

Meeting everyone after a very long time
Pampering us silly, this family of mine.

mumturnedmomThe Reading ResidenceProse for Thought

16 Apr 2014

Creating at Pre-school

Anybody who has been following my ramblings through parenthood will be aware of a major milestone we reached in 2014. J started at pre-school. And after a few tears (his and mine), we have now settled down nicely in this new important chapter of our lives.

Pre-school brings with it the usual rounds of bugs, birthdays and boisterous behaviour. It also brings a whole new world of independence, exploration and creativity. As I have been discovering these last few weeks.

They planted cress seeds in used-up pudding pots. J brought his experiment home one day and we left it on our kitchen window. It has now sprouted lovely green shoots, ready to be eaten in an egg sandwich.

Cress seeds in a Pudding Pot

Cress on a Windowsill

They tried their hands at still-life painting. J's very artistic take on a vase of daffodils now occupies pride of place in the C-home.

A Modernist's view of a Vase of Daffodils

Not forgetting his first ever work of art that found its way home from pre-school. A very inspiring geometric design incorporating the one thing J knows and loves. And can draw with his crayons. Big fat Os.

First Work of Art

Last, but by no means the least, is another proud possession. J's first craft creation from pre-school. 

First Craft Work

I am one very proud Mother.

Mini Creations

15 Apr 2014

J Speaks Dinosaurs

All About Dinosaurs: 

There comes a time in every parent's life when the world starts revolving around dinosaurs. My time has come, my time is now.

For J now believes that dinosaurs are omnipresent and are responsible for every audible, visible and imaginary phenomenon under the sun. 

He no longer roars like a lion; he roars like a dinosaur. We don't have monsters under our bed. We have, that's right, dinosaurs. There are dinosaurs in our garden, in our shed, in our street. They have taken over our home and our lives. 

Unsurprisingly enough, dinosaurs feature heavily in our conversations too. A snippet of what has recently passed:

"There is a dinosaur outside the window, Aai!"

J: Dinosaur eat J.
Me: No, J. It will not eat you.
J: Dinosaur eat Aai?
Me: No, I don't think it will eat me.
J: Dinosaur eat Baba?
Me: No, J. I don't think it will eat Baba either. 
A look of utter disappointment on J's face.

"Aai, put your legs up! Up! Dinosaur coming!" J telling me to lift my feet off the floor and prop them on the edge of the bed like he has done. Because, "Dinosaur coming! Dinosaur coming outside!"

"J go see dinosaur. In summer?" Maybe, if we can invent a time-machine in the next couple of months and travel back in time a few million years. Or at least get on the train to go see dino skeletons at the Natural History Museum.

3 Apr 2014


32 permanent teeth of mine
Chew, bite, eat and dine
Been around a good few years
Abused by sugar, tea and beers
My full set of two and thirty
All caried and decayed, rotten and dirty
Niggling pains, nagging aches
Malaligned and a few breaks.

Penwizard Personalised Story Book Review

What is the best thing you can give a little boy who loves books, loves to read and being read to, and thinks that the local library is a great holiday destination? A good book, of course. Even better, a personalised story book where the said little boy is an integral part of the story-line.

When the nice people at Penwizard offered me the opportunity to review a personalised story book, I jumped at it. Given J's love of the printed word, particularly when printed along with bright and colourful graphics, this was a chance not to be missed.

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