Just me 'blurbing' about life..past, present & future…family, ancestry, books, sport, crafts…whatever pops into my head!

The Gallery: Week 93 – Friends

…’oh goodie’ I thought when I saw this weeks prompt, I have great friends and lots of photos of them…some from my distant past, lots recently through having my children and many collected from each chapter of my life along the way.  As a hoader of most things, any things from my past…I also collect & hoard friends.

Here’s a few of them:

My best mate ‘Bird’…we became friends at University when we played Volleyball together, ultimately ending up travelling the world together, working together…still best mates nearly 20 years on, she’s awesome!

I met Lula at work…she tagged on to a holiday a few of us had booked to Bali, a random liquid lunch in Kuta and many Cuba Libre’s later and we became best her!

My wonderful big Sis, Hils…obviously known her a while and tho’ we fought as kids, she is my most precious friend in the world…so lucky to have her.

…and this is all of us together on my 40th at an outside ice rink…I love that I met each of them at different places & times but we all have worked and played together!

These are a mixture of some of my closest friends from university and a summer camp in the USA but all happily morphed into one common group of friends now…this was taken when we all met in Australia for one of my best friend’s (Dickie) wedding (me with the beer in hand!). We still all catch up, not all at the same time so much as spread in various countries and now all with children but it’s always like the good ole carefree days when we do meet up.

In the yester years of letter writing (can barely get a birthday card off on time these days) I took great care in choosing all my different coloured & patterned stationery from the shops and specific pens depending on my mood and I would write letters to everyone…and there was nothing like the thrill of receiving one back.  If only those days were still here and the post didn’t only consist of bills, flyers & other boring stuff.

However, I can’t complain about the ‘modern day letter writing’ as catching up with old friends on Facebook & emails from around the world is fab.  Sometimes I think I should trim down the number of friends I try and stay in touch with but each one holds memories of a certain time & place in my life and without them and the photos that go with them, I would forget bits of my life.  So I’ll hold on to them all (I still have most letters I’ve ever received too and address books dating back to school…yes, our loft is fairly full!) for now and continue to carry on making new ones…you never know when you may need one!

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Listography: Cook Books

When it comes down to it, I probably love the idea of cooking more than the ‘actual’ doing…I don’t think this was always the case as from attending Catering College at 16, I have never really been far away from the Food & Hospitality Industry. With stints in Formula 1 hospitality and now currently working for a top London caterer, I would consider myself a real ‘foodie’…but more the ‘eating’ side of things than the production.  Since being on maternity for the 3rd time, cooking seems to have become more of a chore than a pleasure, with having just cleared away from one meal catering for all age ranges from weaning baby to hungry husband, I’m already having to think of the next one…3 x’s a day, 7 days a week, it has kind of lost a bit of that magic due to time constraints.

So I’m really pleased that Kate Takes 5 has chosen fave Cook Books for her Listography topic this week as it has prompted me to fall in love with my recipes again…here’s my Top 5…

1. Tana Ramsay’s Family Kitchen


I turn to this book regularly and have some faves that I know the kids will eat and are very easy to do…still loads I haven’t tried but look delicious so will get round to it one day!

2. Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express


I like Nigella and I love her food…I always have the ingredients for her Rocky Road in my cupboard and often make it when I need a bit of a pick-me-up…my copy is still in storage since moving house but it’s all on the internet thankfully.

3. Bill Granger’s Simply Bill


I love his books and style of cooking…it really is so ‘laid back Aussie /outdoor lifestyle’, a real tonic to counteract our somewhat dreary winter weather.  I make his coconut bread regularly, served toasted with lime marmalade, it’s to die for (actual recipe in another of his books) and again, my copy still in storage 😦

4. Various!


Ok, so this one is a bit of a cheat but I am a sucker for those freebie recipe cards found in all the supermarkets and any similar free magazines…my husband despairs of me as they are in a big messy heap in the kitchen most of the time.  I have to confess to making about 5% of the ones I have but they are good for inspiration.

5. The Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days


I just bought this last week…it was such a pretty coloured cover and I love cake so it was a simple impulse buy…I have yet to bake anything from it…still too busy working my way through the freebie recipe cards!

I hope you like my selection and I look forward to looking at everyone else’s…between the Mugs & this weeks Listography, I feel like I have visited all your kitchens…wierd!!

PS…just in case you feel affronted that I have missed the deity that is Delia off my list…I haven’t…See No.4, I have her Waitrose recipe cards…!



The Gallery: Light…cont’d…

…got confused with another linky where you can only post one photo and after having a looksie at other peoples entries, realised I had loads more photos that I always remember for the ‘light’…so sorry, here’s a few belated ones…


This was taken by hubby on our honemoon to Morzine…such a great pic for the fact that I was looking like I could actually snowboard and not on my @$$ as was the case for most of the time, bar this split second!

And after the honeymoon, (…literally) came out firstborn, light of our lives…


Camera Guy was very good at taking pics in those days as it was just the 3 of us, always stopping the car because it was ‘great light’…


Our ‘baby’ looking like an angel with his ‘halo of light’…we have tried to reinact this moment with our subsequent babies but none were quite as perfect as this one…


…and finally this one, always love a children & ice cream photo…


OK…and now I am going to turn the lights off…..and go to bed!

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The Gallery: Light

The Gallery: Light

…I love that these prompts make me slow up a bit and look at daily life through slightly different eyes…so here’s what I’ve come up with…


Always good to appreciate the end of a lovely day….minutes before the chaos of ‘bath, bashing & bed’ ensues! (what it was known as when we were kids…don’t call social services!!)

Pop over to Sticky Fingers to see what other lovely light inspired images are in The Gallery.

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Baking & Blogging

I’ve invited a friend around for a cuppa after the school run…why then does that strike the fear of God into me…errrr, must tidy/clean the house, ensure all dirty laundry actually IN the basket and not lurking at the top of the landing where sons’ flicked it off the end of their foot (nightly occurrence, they find it hilarious, me less so!) and most importantly, make sure there is something yummy in the larder to offer them.  Well the 1st 2 chores took me until now so I have only just put a cake in the oven…quite sensible at 11pm!

I love looking at other peoples blogs, especially the baking ones where it is all neatly laid out and followed step by photographic step , still looking tidy as if it were Saturday Kitchen…am I the only one who’s baking experiences could not be further from the truth?

Firstly, I never seem to have the correct sized tin, how can that be?  I have so flipping many of them, surely one must be a ‘usual’ size?

Secondly, my ‘baking’ cupboard apparently is full of stuff I never need in recipes so how did I come about buying it in the first place…(no, I don’t put calpol or marmite in my cakes!)  I have already disgarded about 20 simple recipes on account of missing joker ingredient like semolina, cornflower or Alchemilla Vulgaris!

The empty jar (bottom left) is not some vital ingredient as such but the biscuit jar and is always empty apart from on shopping days!

So anyway, after 20mins of blurbing on about my lack of baking finesse, the moment is finally here…

It’s a success…in as much as it came out of the tin in one piece and is very edible…will be even more so once the artistic lemon icing has been ‘piped’ (don’t have a piping bag so will go for the spoon drizzled effect, I am sure Tana won’t mind!) on.  I have to let it cool so will have to be a rush job tomorrow morning before school run…no pressure!

…now to dust off the posh guest mugs, they’re here somewhere…


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Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday mocha beanie mummy


Listography: Mugs

I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was very particular about which mug I used at what time of day and what type of drink…and so here’s the proof at Kate Takes 5

This is my ‘1st brew of the day’ mug…Mum bought it back from Devon years ago (20!) and it is just about the only mug I’ve owned that has lasted this long.  It’s always been my thing (issue!) about people calling me Caroline instead of Carolyn so this was Mum in support of the name she gave me!

Obviously never used as a drinking vessel due to the amount of crap in it, but I love it.  It’s my only one of this type although my Husband has loads…Best Dad, Best Dad in the World etc and not because he is and I’m not, but because I always buy them for him from the kids and he doesn’t…but that is another ‘issue’ of mine for another day!

This little beauty is a great reminder of the old Uni days spent in a wee village called Alsager.  Anybody who was suffering a hangover in the mornings (most of the campus after Wednesday BUSA night Disco) would descend on Barry’s Pantry (locally known by us as Barry’s Pants!) who sold only Staffordshire Oatcakes…never heard of them before moving to this village and have rarely seen them since but with melted cheese, sauteed mushrooms and crispy bacon, they were the best hangover cure in the world…so bottoms up to Barry..what a legend!

Now this one is not as it seems…I never drink coffee out of this, this is for my ‘rest of the day’ cuppas.  I never did take very kindly to instruction!

…and lastly, my coffee mug…taken just before the school run to stop me falling asleep at the wheel…

If I go to someone else’s place for coffee, I always have a good nose at their cup/mug selection and just pray that they select me one that I like…how fussy is that? If I don’t like the mug, I don’t enjoy the drink..wierdo!  But now I know I am but one of many cupaphobics so that’s OK then.

Take a look at the other ‘wierdos’!  Linking up to Kate’s Listography

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The Gallery: Embarrassing Outfits

Yikes, probably not the best way to start a blog, showing me in my least attractive moment but seeing as this is not an Internet Dating site and I am so new to blogging that I doubt anyone will be looking, it’s probably a good time to get it out of the way.

Plus I could do with a laugh right now…this cold weather is killing me as is the combination of no sleep, 3 children under 6 and our ‘middle’ one grabbing the terrible 2’s by the horns and really ripping them to shreds………so…….which embarrassing outfit to select, there were/are so many!

It probably should come from my college days back in the early 80’s as Chelsea Girl in Margate was responsible for most of them but this is a new PC and I don’t think the photo memory bank goes back that far (phew!)…so I’ll just have a quick browse, see what shows itself…

Of course we thought we looked cool...on a ferry en route to France, goodness only knows what the chic French thought of us!

How kind, Facebook provided this relic…seriously, stripes were so ‘in’…they must’ve been, all of us were wearing them!

Unfortunately I am the one wearing the orange stripy leggings and I’ve no idea what the oversized magenta sunnies were all about. The white headband was a poor attempt at trying to calm my wild hair…now if straighteners had been around in the early 80’s…!

Now go to to see the other entries and maybe join in …if you’re brave enough!

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Hello Blogworld!

Sunday, 12 February 2012…The Sunday papers!
In the long forgotten days of yesteryear, pre-children, those golden days when you could laze around on a Sunday morning drinking tea, eating bacon butties and spreading the Sunday Times out all over the bed/ settee/living room floor are sooooooo long gone!
I still buy them occasionally to remind me of what our life used to be like and in the vague hope that those type of lazy mornings will one day revisit our home. The reality is they are now just spread over the kitchen floor to soak up the snow/rain/mud when the kids charge back in from the garden or on the dining room table to catch the glue/paint spillages when the Mister Maker box of delights comes out!
I sometimes happen to glance down and a headline grabs my attention so I just bend down and read it there, on the floor, amongst the wellies or shift a child and their work of art over a bit so I can catch the sports results.
So I guess our life hasn’t really changed that much since having 3 children in the last 6 years after all…just a few more bacon butties to be made!
Phew, what a relief!!
…Silent Sunday
Thursday, 9 February 2012…The Gallery: A Family Story

Ok, seeing as I am feeling a bit fluey with no inspiration for something to blog about today, now would seem a good time to join in The Gallery…best idea I have seen so far of getting people to join in..see Tara Cain’s The Photo Gallery
This week is ‘A Family Story’ so here is my photo…

…an easy one to choose.  My parents celebrate 50 years of marriage this coming September and are still in love after all these years.  My Dad turned 80 last August and when we asked what he fancied doing for such a momentous birthday, a nice restaurant or a trip to the Opera or Theatre…he said he just wanted to go where our children like to go so he could sit and watch them play and have fun…we all spent the day at Bushy Park and he did just that!

They have been the most incredible loving parents to my sister and I and just inspire me on a regular basis.  Along with fostering many children for as many years as I can remember, they also adopted my sister and I as babies which, in our eyes, makes them even more special.

I can’t wait to celebrate their special anniversary with them later this year.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012…Whinge on Wednesdays!

I find everybody always likes to moan on Mondays and about Mondays…understandably as they’ve usually enjoyed a fun or relaxing weekend with family or friends and now it’s all systems go, back to the grind stone etc.  In our household, it’s generally just another day with the school run thrown in just to spice it up a bit.

Being a sports photographer, CameraGuy works 99% of weekends so it’s just me and the 3 children on a Saturday & Sunday, going it alone, trying to do what the majority of families do…sports clubs/matches, day trips out, endless birthday parties and the like…but with just one pair of parenting hands.  It’s fine (knackering, sometimes relentless!) but makes Mondays less of a miserable day.

…so I thought I would try to not moan on or about Mondays…I’m going to wait for Wednesdays!  I figure my moans would just be lost amongst everyone else’s if I joined in at the start of the week.  Then I’d count to 10 or hold my tongue on Tuesdays, but on Wednesday…that’s when I am going to whinge.  If it’s still bothering me by Wednesday then I figure I have earnt the right to get it out and have a little (or a large) rant.

…so Welcome to the 1st of my ‘Whinge on Wednesdays’…the only trouble is I can’t remember what I wanted to whinge about…point to self for next week…write it down!



Tuesday, 7 February 2012…What the ‘Dickens’?

Happy Birthday to Charles Dickens then!  I’m sure he’d be delighted that Prince Charles & Camilla were sharing a cup of Rosie Lee to celebrate him being so old.

I feel like I have a small affinity with Charles (…Dickens, not the Royal one!) as my Dad has the full collection of his books and I grew up looking at the beautiful old tomes all covered in dust…it didn’t occur to me that I might actually pluck one of the shelf and read one. They didn’t sound as exciting as my Nancy Drew adventures or latest copy of Blue Jeans. I don’t recall covering his stories in English at school either although I was in more productions of A Christmas Carol than I care to remember (never a decent part..bah humbug!)  I always thought I should read them as it would’ve been a few extra points at pub quizzes if I knew who Mrs Havisham or Peggotty were.

I then spent a couple of years at college in Broadstairs and everywhere you looked were Dickens related places…mainly the pubs where I spent most of my time, The Charles Dickens & Fagins to name a few.  There was a Museum there too along with Bleak House but they weren’t really on the schedule in those carefree days.  So we were both predominantly from Kent…always a soft spot for people from the same county as me!

And now, nearly a grown up, I am finally reading my first Dickens novel, David Copperfield…inspired by the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations, which I loved, I suggested it to the Book Club girlies and they went along with it. I can’t deny there were a few groans when everyone’s Amazon deliveries arrived to find that it was 700+ pages of the smallest print!  I was going to borrow Dad’s dusty old copy but was snowed off at the weekend so downloaded it for free on iBooks and have got stuck in.  What a surprise to find out that it is really fun to read, not hard going at all…a bit disconcerting reading it on my iPod as only on p261 of 3893 mind!  I have also learnt what a ‘caul’ is (“I was born with a caul, which was advertised for sale, in the newspapers, at the low price of fifteen guineas“) so I reckon that could be a help in a Pub Quiz too (I don’t actually do Pub Quizzes but if I did…!). Tip…if you google what a ‘caul’ is, don’t do google images…yikes!
Having watched Sue Perkins ‘Mrs Dickens’ at Christmas, it transpires that he was actually a bit of a rogue and pretty awful to his wife (understatement) but I can’t deny, he wrote some fab stories and I will definitely dust off a few more of my Dad’s collection in the future.



Monday, 6 February 2012…Sunny & relatively snow-free in Suburbia!

I love a Monday morning, me…I am joking of course!

My husband left for Russia for the week (Sports Photographer, to be referred to as ‘Camera Guy’) so having to wake up (did I ever get to sleep?) earlier than usual in order to get 3 children changed, dressed, fed and out the door in all the attire winter requires is no mean feat…oh, and on time occasionally, not really my idea of fun.

I used to struggle being on time when it was just me…I was the eternal optimist where time was concerned believing I could cross from one side of London to the other in approx 10mins but never quite succeeding. I have slowly realised (it took the 3rd baby to arrive) that you need to allow a minimum of hour an hour to actually make it out the door with everyone and everything. Sometimes I fall back into that unrealistic optimist mode and have the embarrassment of traipsing via the school office en mass, double buggy, school bag, water bottle etc to fill out the ‘late arrival’ book…love the section where you have to put the reason for your child’s lateness, it’s a smaller box than where you fill in your child’s name…unrealistic really given that I could fill a couple of pages on the reasons why…!

However this morning, 6yr old son managed to squeeze through the gap as the school gate was closing saving me the hassle of writing in the ‘book of shame’! To celebrate our achievement we went into town and slumped in Nero’s for coffee & croissants.

Now why can’t all Monday mornings be like this?




Sunday, 5 February 2012…In the beginning…!

…so I guess there is no time like the present, even though ‘that’ time is nearly 11pm on a frozen Sunday evening following 2 sleepless nights. My vision is blurred and my head slightly fuzzy and it’s nothing to do with the empty glass of red sat by my side…honest!

Just in case I wasn’t ‘quite’ busy enough, I have taken the jump after vague mumblings on other social network sites, namely FB & Twitter, of starting to blog…I don’t know why because I really don’t have the time but I am in real need of trying something new.  Having been on maternity for what feels like the last 6 years with a short hop back to work in between the 3 children, I am in grave danger of succumbing to nappy brain and I am fighting back!

I generally have a lot to say on all manner of topics & interests but most of the words that currently come out of my mouth consist of ‘hurry up’, ‘eat up’, ‘tidy up’ and ‘CAREFUL!!’…the last one usually yelled after the event..pointless!  I figure no one listens to me at home so why not blog a bit to no one in particular and if anyone actually decides to listen..well that will be a nice surprise.  I’m also a good listener so I am looking forward to reading lots of other peoples blogs.

This feels like a big step into the unknown and I am preparing for the stumbles, falls and full-on face plants that will definitely happen while I find my footing.  I would appreciate any comments & advice from all you experienced bloggers as well as newcomers like myself.  I hope as it goes along, I will find some semblance of order/organisation in my blurb…oh actually, strike that, it’s highly unlikely..order & organisation is a distant memory from my work life, I much prefer chaos & disorder, so will continue in that vein.

So that’s it folks (how many people have signed off with that old Warner Bros line?) humble beginnings as a ‘blogster’..improvements & updates soon.