Kate at Kate Takes 5 has a fab new linky idea, Listography.  What.  a.  brilliant.  idea.  I love a good list.  I spend lots of time writing them so I can lose, abuse and ignore them.

This week the theme is top five good things about having children.  Now this is a list I sometimes lose sight of, so it is very good to come back to it:

1. Children live in the now.  After an early morning flight to Spain earlier this year we found ourselves surrounded by grumpy adults in a slow moving hire car queue. Our kids had everyone smiling again as they pushed each other round on their car seats.  Kids can create magic anywhere, whereas adults waste time waiting for it to start.

2. The joy of playing. I’ve blogged a bit about this in 2010. Kackel Dackel and Sindy houses. Need I say more?  I reckon you’ve had enough now of toilet humour.

3. Creativity. I love to paint, stick, glue and glitter alongside children. Children don’t give into their inner critic as easily as adults. As a result they are prolific artists who derive huge pleasure from creating.

4.  Let’s pretend.  I love children’s unihibited ability to play and pretend.  As a Drama teacher I was continually amazed by it.  It’s something actors spend ages trying to channel themselves back into.
5. Children’s stories. Whether in books, in your head, in their head, on stage, film or TV the magical world of storytelling is a fantastic place to visit.
Kate was right, lists do tell a lot about a person don’t they? As I do this the kids are half watching Shrek, there are umpteen million paintings drying in the kitchen.  One is playing mummies and daddies and the other is wielding an Aquadraw set.  It’s also been a day with its fair share of stresses, but this reminds me it’s so good to pull out the positives.
Looking forward to reading everyone else’s lists.


Kackel Dackel has arrived!

I blogged last month about Kackel Dackel, the game that involves the dog that poos.  It turns out my lovely brother bought it for Miss L for Christmas.   For some reason you can’t get it in the UK, so he had to order it from Dutch Amazon (maybe the Brits are too prudish?)

Basically you feed Kackel Dacekl a ball of playdough, take it in turns to roll the dice to see how many times to pump the lead, and if you are really lucky he poos and you collect it in your shovel.  The winner is the first to collect three poos on their shovel.

It had the whole family in stitches.  This is when we had calmed down a bit, but at least you get to hear the glorious sound effects.

Sorry to lower the tone.  It’s so wrong, but I can’t tell you how much I needed a laugh like this.

Boxing Day leftover pasties

I am no domestic goddess and earlier I tweeted my excitement at boxing day being all about the microwave. Then we found a leftovers pastie suggestion courtesy of able and cole organic delivery company.

We got the pastry recipe from Nigella then each of us made our own pastie out of the leftovers – nut roast, veggie sausages, chopped up roast veg and pots, gravy, peas, broccoli. Mr A snuck some meat in his. You can add cranberry sauce and stuffing too.

Anyway it was totally worth turning the oven on for half an hour for. The kids liked making them too. I am well and truly fit to burst now and might not move off the sofa for some time.

I love Boxing Day, no pressure, no expectation, a chance to actually watch some tv.

The truth behind those Christmas tweets.


My head is slightly frazzled but after a really challenging day some loose threads suddenly came together.  After reading an article in The Guardian by Oliver Burkeman I’ve been thinking a lot about the truth behind status updates.  We all know what we tweet and facebook can be a glossier version of reality.

Today I half wrote some tweets but the reality of the ‘situation’ here at Sickly, Snotty and Stir Crazy Towers was so dismal I couldn’t bring myself to tweet them.   I don’t want to come across as a whingebag, I’d rather wait until my positive outlook has been replenished. 

Oliver Burkeman’s article made me think we should be open about the ups and downs.  Especially at Christmas when we all know that beneath that shiny wrapping we all have some serious challenges to meet.  So this Christmas I thought a more honest blog might be appropriate.

Julie at The Sardine tin challenged me to bleat, for those that haven’t met this fab concept it is for those points that are too big to tweet and too small to blog.  I feel a bit like a pathetic sheep lost in a field of snow at the moment.  So in the spirit of being more honest here is my ‘interpretation’ of bleating, some tweets I did send this week, and some I didn’t,  followed by the real warts and all you can’t fit in 140 characters.

Just dusted of Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess to make Christmas Biscuits as a family.
The kitchen is covered in flour, we still have to ice the bloomin things, we’ve all eaten to many and are all on a sugar low.  I’ll end up eating most of them and feeling cross with myself.  Watching a festive DVD or making a snowman as a family would be less messy and fraught.  Why didn’t I smell a rat when Mr A started buying me cookbooks all those years back?  Where is Mr A?

I do love my mum friends but it does depress me when the conversation turns to washing powder.
I read Metropolitan Mum’s post this week, about how she didn’t recall ‘signing up’ for all those extra bits of housework when she became a mum.  Since then I’ve been on my feminist soapbox (what an unfortunate metaphor).  During our Christmas drinks my friends and I were also having a good old feminist rant, about how we ended up with the lion’s share of housework.  Then the conversation turned to washing powder brands, at which point I threatened to leave unless we changed tack.

Kids had huge simultaneous tantrums then fell asleep. Hope this marks the end of their viruses, often find a tantrum works wonders 😉
We all had a tantrum, G was lying on the kitchen floor, L was bawling in the Wendy house and I was sobbing into a pile of wet washing.  Sometimes age 2 and 4 is a magic combination, sometimes it takes every little bit of strength I have not to lose my rag,  today I had no strength.  If you can’t beat them join them.  Wishful thinking too, they woke up even grumpier and snottier. 

My dad just reminded me Christmas is just one day. Much needed perspective 🙂
My dad called while my laptop was dying, the poorly 4yo was shouting for snacks and the poorly 2yo was wailing from his cot.  A much needed pre-Christmas counselling session in which the 4yo was pacified by yet more Cbeebies and I sat in the rocking chair with the 2yo nodding off.  I agreed with my Dad to put the OU assignment aside until after the big day.  The frustration of not getting any studying done because the kids were too ill to go to their morning at nursery is making me a very poor Florence Nightingale.   I twitch and itch when I hear a CBeebies theme tune.

Just handed my husband a Tommee Tippee full of milk and said in all seriousness ‘there you go’, fortunately didn’t give the 2yo my husband’s glass of wine.
I am officially losing it 😉  But we laughed, and then I had a much needed G and T or two. 
Happy Christmas, you have to love the silly season, warts and all. 
I would love to invite:

to have a bleat!

If anyone else needs a good pre Christmas bleat please go ahead and comment below (or leave me your link to your bleat)  I offer you a safe space to let the stress out before the big day:

 Allaboutus and such like’s fab bleats

The Gallery – Love

There is nothing more loved in this house than Spencer bear.  Once upon a time, as you can see above,  he was fluffy, his fur was yellow, his eyes sparkled and he had smart clothes.  Now, after two years of hanging with Mr G he is worn, faded, he’s lost a lot of weight, his eyes are glazed, quite frankly he is a shadow of his former self.

Here he is over the summer, on the right, drying after his weekly bath, next to emergency bear. 

Spot the difference?  Newly purchased, emergency bear had taken a spin in the washing machine with Spencer bear, in a vain attempt to make him a passable substitute in well, bear emergencies.  Silly idea, even after several washes, the evil infiltrator was detected and thrown out the cot in seconds.  No, to make a real bear takes something very different… love.

All you need is love and I reckon it’s going to be a love fest at The Gallery this week.

If I don’t see you again before the big day, HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

The one where I am a playwright

Severe writer’s block today, not on here.  No, it appears that today, when I am supposed to be doing “creative writing” I would much rather be blogging.  I am doing an OU Creative Writing course.  My task is to adapt the short story I wrote for my first assignment in to a film or a stage or radio play.  I should be able to do this, I studied Drama, I taught Drama and Film.  But taking plays or films apart, or teaching other people to do it, is proving to be a very different art to putting them together. 

The biggest problem is I have a ghost in my story.  I am scared stiff of putting her on stage as having a ghost on stage has so much potential for naffness.  I know it can be done, but it is a challenge.  I just keep getting haunted by awful visions like this:

I think it could be a good film, I am thinking of Sixth Sense.  It could also be a radio play, but I am only just admitting that my Radio One days are over and that Radio Four might be good listening (I know…I have been missing out), so I can’t say it’s a medium I know in the same depth.

At the moment I have so many different versions in my notebook it is beginning to look like a series of Friends.  I’ve also been reading Alan Ayckbourn’s Crafty Art of Playmaking.  It’s a very useful book but stylistically I am not a huge Ayckbourn fan and I fear his influence is rapidly turning my work into a farce.  Anyway, these are my favourites:

The one where the ghost haunts through the radio while her husband is on a first date and he smashes the radio.

The one where the ghost comes home to find her husband with a new girlfriend but they can’t see her

The one where the ghost comes home to find her husband with a new girlfriend and they can see her

The ins and outs of what ghosts can and can’t do is a minefield too.  Walk though doors? Be heard? Be seen? How do they travel? 

So anyway, help me out here, which title jumps out at you? 
Radio? Film? Stage?
Any good examples of ghosts in plays or films you can think of to inspire me?

This is part of the BMB Blog hop:

Dear Julia Donaldson, on rhyming for Northerners.

Dear Julia Donaldson

I think you are an amazing writer and poet.  However, I have a problem with some of your rhymes.  In Stick Man, you rhyme laugh and scarf.  And In Tyrannosaurus Drip, you rhyme can’t and plant.  Sorry Julia, but they don’t rhyme, not in the North of England.  Each time we get to these bits, and we get there a lot, because my kids love your books, the words stick in my throat.  And the time I had to read Stick Man in public, at playgroup, how humiliating.  Apart from that, we believe you are a complete genius.

Laugh rhymes with phaff, gaff, naff.
Scarf rhymes with barf, hearth,
Plant rhymes with pant,
Can’t rhymes with not a lot up North.

Best wishes

For more Dear So and So letters click the pic:

Dear So and So...
By the way, I’ve been shortlisted for the Brilliance in Blogging Award, if you’ve enjoyed reading this, would you take just one little minute to vote for me?  I’m in the first category – Fresh Voice of 2010.  Just click on the flag:
Thank you 🙂 x

Miffy giveaway result

The winner’s of the Miffy lunchboxes were lucky numbers 5 and 14 that’s @Katetakes5 and @wendy_mcd83.
Random numbers generated Dec 17 2010 at 14:0:3 by 

Congratulations, will tweet you to get your addresses.

Thanks for entering. 

If you are still Christmas shopping has a great selection of Miffy goods which would make great Christmas presents and stocking fillers.