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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Wicked Read

I'll admit that, as much as I love Halloween, I am not a massive fan of horror films; I like some classics but usually anything that makes me jump I just can't watch. Instead, a spooky book is more my cup of tea! I love ghost stories, a horror that can give you goose bumps, a thriller that can make you look around the room just in case. There is also the advantage of being able to put the book down when you're just too scared. I've read some books that have truly frightened me, so much that I have stayed awake at night and they stay in my mind much longer than a horror film would. I've been having a think about some of my favourites and although they aren't all 'horror' stories they all make the hairs on my arms stand on end. When I think about them I can remember the scary bits and what spooked me about them; there won't be any spoilers but if you like a haunting book then give one of these a go.




1. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
This is a dark book; you get sucked into the world Ray Bradbury creates and it is one of the books that kept me awake at night. Carousels may never look the same again after reading this!
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
A classic horror that has been a favourite of mine since high school. The ideas in this story are still relevant today; it's a chilling read.
3. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
A collection of short stories; every one I read I thought 'that's my favourite.' He is such an amazing storyteller, any of his books are great but some of these stories are particularly spine-chilling! My favourites are Troll Bridge and The Price.
4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
This is the first book of a trilogy; a story about necromancy and magic. A fantasy book at heart but with a dark side and completely absorbing.
5. Chocky by John Wyndham
First of all ,I'll just say that all John Wyndham stories are frightening and brilliant. It's not my favourite of his books but it is the one that scared me most. A mysterious tale of a child and his 'imaginary' friend.
6. The Eyes Of The Dragon by Stephen King
My parents always had Stephen King books in the house and I think this is one of his lesser known, more fantasy than horror but with some really creepy characters, It's different from his usual tales but fascinating.


I would love to hear about any of your favourite wicked reads!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pumpkin Play

I have always loved Halloween and every year we get pumpkins to carve. With having Lucas taking more of an interest this year we also did some different things with the pumpkins; have a look over on Anna's great blog The Imagination Tree if you are looking for some inspiration! Lucas is only young so I did most of the decorating myself but he definitely likes the results.
Drip paint and glittery pumpkins
Pumpkin painted with blackboard paint and fun with chalk

Traditional carving

If in doubt, just play!


Monday, 29 October 2012

Our Week That Was #7

I haven't done a 'week that was' for a couple of weeks because I've been recovering from my surgery and we really haven't been doing anything too exciting. This week, we had Daddy at home and it has been super busy.

Monday we went to an adventure playground near Liverpool with Grandma, Grandad and Lucas' cousin. It is right near the River Mersey so we had a bracing walk alongside the river and tired the boys out. Lucas eagerly tries to chase after his older cousin but we still have a few falls and scrapes. Tuesday we visited some friends in Yorkshire, it was nice to catch up with them and Lucas was very well behaved all day. Wednesday was our 2nd year wedding anniversary; me and the husband went out for dinner and a movie which was a real treat. We love films and going the cinema but we very rarely go now, doesn't sound very romantic but for us it is a perfect night out.


We have had some nice, but chilly, weather this week so on Thursday we wrapped up and went out to feed the ducks while Daddy had nipped into work for the morning. Lucas got quite excited when all manner of birds swarmed around us, mostly pigeons and thankfully the geese and swans were safely on the other side on the fence! Friday we had asked to look after Lucas' cousin for the day so we went to soft play in the morning then out for lunch and another long walk in the afternoon. The boys are only six months apart but are very different characters so we had a lot of fun spending a day with the pair of them. On Saturday we went out for another walk and this time we played in the leaves, I can't believe how gorgeous the weather has been and with all the Autumnal leaves it is great to get outdoors. Sunday I had planned to stay in and relax but I realised we needed some more pumpkins for me to make pumpkin pie with so we headed out to our local farm shop. James is in charge of carving the pumpkins out and I'm in charge of baking something scrummy with the innards. That's all our adventures for this week, hope you have had a fun week!


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Because we had lots of fresh air I'm linking up to Coombe Mill Country Kids! The linky is one year old so get outdoors and join up too!







Happy Halloween


Over on Mummy Mishaps, Jenny set up a little linky for 'Halloween Me'. I had so much fun with this! Check out PicMonkey if you would like to do your own before Halloween is all over.

The Last Witch in Nantwich

Her eyes are black. She owns a broom.
I've seen her in a pointy hat.
I found a witch-knot in her room,
And sometimes, in the evening gloom,
When corners fade, and shadows bloom,
I've caught her talking to the cat.

My mum's a witch, I should have guessed
That morning, when I found the toad.
It looked a bit like Mr Best
Who used to live across the road.

The kids were all afraid of him,
But now, they say, he's gone for good,
He used to argue with my mum
He never really understood.

My mum's a witch, a wicked witch,
I've seen her in that pointy hat.
On moonlit nights, she rides a broom,
She keeps a witch-knot in her room,
And last night, in the evening gloom,
When corners fade, and shadows bloom,
I caught her talking to the cat




Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Week Off?


Can’t you just tell it has been half term; my blog has been very quiet! Of course, Lucas isn't of school age but the husband is a teacher and I'm very lucky to get lots of time off with him when the school holidays come around. As it gets towards the end of term I start counting down the days and planning what we can do in the holidays. However, now I'm at home full time I feel a little bit like he is stepping into my domain; this ‘week off’ has been exhausting! Me and Luca have our own little routines in the week, we have our groups to go to, our own rituals; there is usually a lunch time, tea time (he likes to keep me guessing with nap time). I have got so used to doing my own thing in the day obviously centred around Lucas but still, I don’t have to make plans I can see how we feel and see where the day takes us. James had told me that he was going into work for a morning to catch up on some displays etc. and at the time I had been slightly miffed but while he was out we went for a lovely long walk, fed the ducks and had a very quiet and uneventful lunch.

It has been good to catch up with lots of friends and family and every day we have had someone to see. My list of house jobs for the week has been pushed to one side; we just haven’t had the time. When we have been home the husband has been busy with his homework and school books have taken over our dining table. I think that maybe I should have taken advantage of having him at home and had a bit of ‘me’ time. Selfish but every mummy likes some time to themselves. I managed a haircut and that was it; I'm going to start planning for the next holidays now!

It has been a lovely week and he has got to spend plenty of time with Lucas, which is what it is all about, but I must admit I am looking forward to getting back to normal next week when I pack the husband back off to school.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Two Years


Two years ago today was my wedding day. It was an incredibly special day and absolutely perfect for the two of us. I have so many wonderful memories of the day itself and the days leading up to it that even two years on I occasionally still bore people with it; so now it’s your turn! Don't worry, this won't be a blow-by-blow account but I will share some of my memories and favourite pictures from the day itself.

Firstly, we were blessed with the most amazing weather; a crisp, sunny Autumn day. I had to get up super early on the actual day for the hair and make up lady to make a start. I sat in the chair in my mums room and there was lots of hustle and bustle going on. I was waiting for the nerves to kick in but they stayed at bay. I remember looking in the mirror to the room behind me and seeing lovely family and friends, there to support me and feeling truly happy. My mum was in her element chatting to my friends and fussing over me, she had made a little photo board with pictures of me on which was giving everyone a good chuckle. My two best friends which I have know since I was four were putting on some tunes, taking some pictures and chattering away to me and everyone around them. My maid of honour was an amazing friend I met at university and she was mostly stressing that she couldn't get into her room yet; but I know her so well that it was making me laugh…it’s so typical of her to worry. My sister-in-law who was six months pregnant had treated herself to a bucks fizz and was the only one eating, she is so bubbly and was keeping everyone entertained. My brother was giving me away and he was bobbing in and out the room, checking everything was going to plan, checking on my husband and the guests and making me proud.


On my way out of the room and heading towards the ceremony I had my Mum, my brother and my bridesmaids with me and we stopped for some photo opportunities  I was still feeling good, not too jittery or emotional; until I looked at my best friend and saw her welling up. I had to tell her to stop otherwise we would both be off and I couldn't have a tear stained face before I walked down the aisle.


We lined up outside the room the bridesmaids were all ready up in front on me and they disappeared into the room to the sound the harp. I clung onto my brothers arm and we started to go in, as I entered the room I remember seeing the grins on some of my closest friends. I turned the corner to come down the aisle the nerves hit me and started to struggle to breath, my brother told me to calm down and I made it down the aisle to James and started to feel back to normal.


 During the ceremony me and James where both very nervous we stood so far apart and only held hands when the registrar said had pointed out that we could. We are a silly pair.

As we were coming out of the room our family and friends followed and looking back at the video I saw my brother holding hands with James mum and my mum holding hands with James dad, it never fails to make me smile.


We were able to have a moment to ourselves while we had our photos taken, a chance to say hello as husband and wife.


We spent so long outside having photographs taken, it was such a blur, seeing so many different faces and people coming and going. The lovely best man stayed close throughout and when I had been abandoned by my bridesmaids he helped me carry my dress.

After the meals me and James managed to escape back to our room for a very very limited amount of peace! This was lovely, sometimes you feel like you have hardly spoke to each other. I changed out of my heels and into my purple converse for the evening and we headed back out to dance the night away.

The evening was everything we had hoped for, everyone was relaxed, happy and there was lots of dancing, lots of laughing and a fair bit of drinking too. We made it through our first dance to Love You Till The End by The Pogues. I loved standing looking at the dance floor and seeing James with his friends screaming along to Mr Brightside. Me and the girls had a good dance to Proud Mary. Everyone joined in with an impromptu Irish jig to Streams of Whiskey.. Right at the end of the night I got some Take That which me and my sister-in-law immediately got up to dance and sing along to.


Me and James had to fight to stay together during the day because everyone was coming up and talking to us but this is one of my favourite pictures, taken by a friend. This was just after the ceremony and we managed to stay close to each other and take in the scene. I was overwhelmingly happy. 



In the last two years we have had a baby, changed jobs and moved house. It hasn't always been easy and there have been tears but we have grown up together, he is my best friend and we never fail to make each other laugh. 

Happy Anniversary James.



Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jumping in Puddles

One of my favourite things to do with Lucas, if we are up and ready early enough, is to go to the playground before anyone else gets there and we have the whole place to ourselves. He is still quite little but loves to wander around so when it is just us I can let him have a free reign without the worry he will get knocked down by older children or that he will stand in the way of the slides and swings. Last week it had been raining but cleared up and we were ready to go the park. I got him dressed in his puddle-jumper suit and wellington boots; we set off and luckily found the playground deserted. 


It was such a perfect morning and I spent most of the time grinning like a Cheshire Cat as my lovely little boy toddled round. It was such a joy to watch him discovering the water and splashing in the puddles; he chuckled away when Mummy joined in with the splashes. We spent ages there and as I walked home I thought how much fun we had doing something so simple. I felt so happy for the rest of the day and I'm so lucky that I get to spend quality time with him, seeing him develop and learn new things. It was such a proud Mummy moment that I had to share our little adventure; these are moments that I will never forget.





For the outdoor fun.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 19 October 2012

Just Like Mummy {Flashback Friday}

As Lucas gets older I am starting to see more of his Dad in him but he definitely bears more of a resemblance to me. My Auntie sent me a photo of him enjoying some birthday cake and as soon as I saw it I knew which baby photo of mine I wanted to dig out. I was probably younger than Luca in this picture, I'm a fair but chubbier (some things never change!) and lucky for him he has my sticky out ears. At least he loves his cake, just like Mummy!





I'm linking this to Mummy Mishaps and Real Housewife of Suffolk County.



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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Posting Letters

Postman Pat is becoming a favourite in our household and why not? Lucas has taken to meandering round the house with the post so I thought I would attempt to make a postbox. We had a cardboard box that I taped up and cut a slot in the front for the post. The box already had a flap in the side so I kept this open and widened the inside of the box to make it easier for Lucas to get the letters out. I painted the whole thing red and added some details after saving a picture of a postbox on my phone! I had saved some envelopes from a recent birthday and I put some card inside to make them sturdy enough for Lucas to handle. I popped these on top of the postbox to see if he would spot them. At first I was most disappointed when Lucas didn't show much interest but one he realised he could put the letters (and other items) in and out he played quite happily. Once he had posted all the letters he peered hopefully into the box and was thrilled when I opened the side up and he could get them out. At one point he all but climbed in the postbox to retrieve the letters! I'm hoping to make some parcels with brown parcel paper and string to add to the collection of letters. We will be on the lookout for The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg; I remember this from when I was at school and the book has little envelopes and letters in it, it is lovely.






Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Pumpkin Prints

It isn't long till Halloween and to celebrate we've been doing some pumpkin art! I bought some pumpkins we'll be experimenting with later this week but we had a go at some printing today to decorate the house. I cut a small apple in half; to make it easier for little fingers to grip I had some plastic children knives that I stuck in the apples to use as a handle. We mixed some paint together in a tray (Lucas enjoyed the mixing) then pressed the apples in the paint and printed the apple onto some black paper. I cut a face design on the bottom of one of the apples so the prints showed a spooky face. We tried printing on some different coloured paper but the black was definitely the most effective. Once the paintings had dried I chalked some menacing faces on them. It didn't take long to set up and Lucas enjoyed the printing although he was tempted to run off with the painted apple! 


We had plenty of orange paint left over so we also painted a few paper plates to make into pumpkins. All the painting had tired Lucas out so while he had a nap I stuck some googly eyes on the painted plates, cut out a mouth and stuck some coloured paper behind. Then I added some green stalks and stuck the pumpkin plates up on the window. When he woke up he made a beeline straight for them and he now enjoys taking them down and sticking them back on the windows.

Our house is now a Pumpkin Paradise!





Do you have any other good ideas for Halloween activities? 
I'd love to hear about them and give them a go!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bedtime Stories

One of my fondest memories from when I was little is being read to before I went to sleep. My mum has told me that she used to try and skip through some pages on nights when she was tired and although I couldn't read, I’d memorised the words to my favourite books so I knew when she’d skipped a page. I hope Lucas doesn't pick up that particular skill! She used to read all kinds of books to me but I think more importantly that time she spent with me before I went to sleep was when I used to confide in her. I’d usually tell her if anything was bothering me or if I was anxious about anything in school or with my friends. Even up to my teenage years, long past bedtime stories I used to talk to her the most just before I went to bed. It’s the same now; if something is on my mind I’ll chat to my husband about it at bedtime. Talking a problem through usually helps put my mind at ease and helps me get to sleep.

Although I read Lucas a bedtime story for the obvious educational benefits I also believe that having that quiet time together will help in the future when he might want to have a chat but hadn't been able to find the time during the day. We started reading to him when he was very young as part of his bedtime routine and it has paid off now as he sits quietly through his story before bedtime and helps to turn the pages. As he gets older I'm hoping he will start to pick out his favourite books to read. Some of his preferred reads at the moment include Where’s Spot, Mog and Me, Dear Zoo and Peepo. I love that spell before bedtime when he is all clean and snuggly from his bath and he is happy to sit still and be cuddled; this is a rarity throughout the day. I hope that this time will be just as important to him as he grows up and he always feels like he can open up to me or his Dad and we’ll help and reassure him as best we can. 

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Is a story part of your bedtime routine and which books are favourites in your house?


Friday, 12 October 2012

Last Year {Flashback Friday}

This blog is a fairly new venture for me considering I have been a Mummy for over thirteen months now. Although you will have seen loads of photos of my little boy now, you won't have seen too many of him as a newborn. I wanted to share a photo of Lucas from this time last year. He would have been around 8 weeks old here and I remember it being one of the first photos I got of him looking like he was smiling. I just love this photo, he has got such a cheeky expression; he still has that look now, usually when he is running away with something he shouldn't have!

I look at this mischievous little face now and I can't believe where the time has gone! It hard to see this tiny baby as the same toddler that is currently tearing round my house. I know when this photo was taken I was finding things tough, he wasn't a good sleeper early on and the tiredness was really taking its toll on my sanity! However, when I look back at it now all I remember is how proud I was of my beautiful boy and that I'd do it all over again for the moments like this.




I'm linking this to Mummy Mishaps and Real Housewife of Suffolk County.


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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Our Week That Was #6

I'm a little bit late with this week as I had a little operation on Saturday so this will be a short and sweet 'Week that Was'

Monday and Tuesday were quiet days, we went to our usual Tots and Tinies group on Tuesday which Lucas is settling into and I'm enjoying getting to know some other parents there. On Wednesday my Nana came to visit us so we had a nice lunch with her and a good catch up. On Thursday I was on a mission to get birthday presents, there seems to be a whole load this month and I knew I had to get them sorted before I went into hospital. The shops are starting to get a festive feel now, reminding me that it isn't too long until I need to start shopping for another big event in December (I won't mention it yet!) On Friday morning I finally got my library card so I picked up some books for Lucas and I'm looking forward to more visits to the library. Friday evening, my mother in law had invited me to a fundraiser for our local breast cancer unit. It was a 'Strictly' themed night and I had a great time, it's very inspiring to be around so many positive people. My mother in law was diagnosed last year, is in the last stages of treatment now and is doing really well, she also looks fabulous with or without her wig!

Saturday was the day I'd been dreading; I was having my gall bladder removed. I discovered I had gallstones after having Lucas and the operation has been in the pipeline for a while. You'll be pleased to hear that everything went fine and I was really well looked after by all nurses. It was keyhole surgery so I was able to come home the same day. Lucas has been shipped off to both sets of Grandparents while I recover and I am finding it so difficult being in the house without him. We are so lucky to have family close to help but I feel like a part of me is missing and I can't even explain to him why I can't pick him up and give him a big cuddle. On Sunday I was good and had a rest while Lucas went to my Nana's 75th birthday party. I'm trying to rest up as much as I can in the hopes I can look after Lucas again sooner rather than later. I'm feeling so much better each day and hopefully we'll be back to our normal adventures next week. 

My Mother in Law with her friend, homemade sausage rolls, my lazy cat enjoying me sitting still.
I'm linking this to MummyDaddyMe

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Friday, 5 October 2012

A Boy and a Girl {Flashback Friday}

This is my first Flashback Friday and this week's theme is first meetings so I thought I'd share a photo from when I was a teenager. This bedraggled glamorous couple you see before you is me and my husband.


This photo wasn't exactly the first meeting as I knew him from our Sixth Form college but this is the first time we went out together and had our first kiss so I think it counts! He invited me and my friends out the celebrate his 18th birthday in a rock club in Liverpool; I remember being so excited and equally nervous because I really fancied him. I went out and bought him a birthday card with a ladybird on it which I signed 'luv Hayley' because I was cool (he still has the card.) It took a few of our friends going back and forth before I realised he liked me too. I can't quite believe I used to go out looking like that but in my defence this was pre-ghd. After that night it took him nearly a week to ask for my phone number and arrange another date even though we sat together in college every day.

We have been together 12 years but I will never forget that first night.





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