Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I don't suppose there is much that  I can say about this book that hasn't already been said before.  The main reason I actually read this book was my man who is into his films persuaded me to watch the film because it was in his words, "amazing," come half way I fell asleep and to be honest failed to see what the big deal with it was.  I had to admit I didn't honestly know what was going on with it.  That also triggered my curiosity further as there must be something that makes it special.

I purchased the book and I did struggle with it up to chapter 12.  I very nearly gave up on it and I very rarely do that.  I just couldn't connect with the characters, I failed to see the links and the story just didn't really seem to be going anywhere.  All of a sudden I turned the page and the whole magic came into play.  It was like entering another world and from that moment I was gripped. 

The characters really came into their own and their relationships moved up another level.  Lisbeth Salander is a remarkable creation and I have to say I love her.  She doesn't give a monkeys what anyone thinks of her and she takes no prisoners.  I'm intrigued to find out more about her.  I want to know more of her background and how she came to be the person she is today.  I'm fairly sure the subsequent books will reveal this and I can't wait.

I'm also looking forward to seeing how her relationship with Blomkvist develops.  There is obviously a lot of chemistry between them and she has managed to get under his skin.

All in all despite the tough start (which I now appreciate gives a fuller understanding of the upcoming story lines and is needed) I really loved this book and was well and truly hooked.  The twists and turns leave you breathless and desperate for more.  Yep, now I realise why this book is a international bestseller.  It's awesome.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Holiday Starts Now!

Yeah, I have 12 days off work.  12 days where I can have a little sleep in.  12 days that I don't need to set my alarm.  I can't wait to be able to wake up and have a little sit on the sofa while I have my morning coffees, instead of gulping them down on the go.  Better still I may even get to sit and have a sneaky little read of my book while I'm drinking said coffee.  Bliss.

I just need the weather to improve so that I can get the kids out and about.  My man is also on holiday next week so I'm really looking forward to doing loads of Easter activities and spending time with the family.  However, I think before I take Charlie anywhere I need to invest in some bubble wrap and cover him in head to toe.

He is currently sporting three lovely bruises in varying shades of black, purple and green in a line across his forehead.  Accident one, involved his sister, a plastic sword and pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow.  Yep, he got walloped.  Accident two, involved an indoor play area and a slide.  He slid down too fast rounded the bend and boom, bruise two.  Accident three occurred this evening.  I collected him after work, brought him home, let him out the car where he proceeded to race to the front door, tripped over his own feet and fell face first onto the path. 

I dread to think what people are thinking when they see him. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Something strange is going on!

Something strange is going on. I came home from work, collected the kids and arrived home at 4pm.  Expecting the normal re-enactment of World War Two to begin as soon as I put the key in the door I was pleasantly surprised to find that we managed to get in the door, remove coats and shoes all without needing to raise my voice.  Now that is a first. 

Better still, I proceeded to cook the tea and clear up the pots totally uninterrupted.  In fact, I had to keep popping my head round the door firstly to check that they were actually still there and secondly to check that they weren't up to no good. I can report I found nothing untoward.  They have both sat, together, playing nicely, all night

I'm under no illusion that it will last  It's simply to good to be true.  This is the pair that normally can't stand the sight of each and fight like cat and dog from waking up to going to bed.  How I wish it could be like this everyday.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Lazy Sunday

I could quite easily have stayed in bed all day today when I woke up and heard he wind whistling around.  It's another day for staying indoors, again, and keeping warm and cosy.  Despite the sun trying to make an appearance it's certainly not any warmer and my garden furniture is being blown to pieces.  I did have a very nice and rare sleep in this morning.  It felt so naughty to be only getting out of bed at 9.30am.  With no kids around there was nothing I needed to get up for so it was coffee in bed watching the rubbish Sunday morning TV.

We did have a really late night last night and my man spoilt again.  It was Chiquitos' for tea and then onto the cinema.  We've been wanting to see the horror movie 'Mama' for a while and last nights showing didn't start until 9:50 meaning it was almost midnight before the left the cinema.  It was a brilliant film and I really enjoyed it.  You can't beat a good horror movie especially snuggled up on the back row in the comfy VIP seats and before any gets any ideas, no, there was no funny business. If anything, I almost nodded off a couple of times.  Haha. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Fed up of being Cold

This weather is starting to get to me now.  Once again I've woken up to yet another miserable, freezing cold, grey day.  On top of that we have strong winds blowing the rubbish out of my wheelie that I have had to spend 10 minutes chasing down the street gathering back up,  Grrr! Maybe I should be thankful we don't have any of the white stuff on the ground.  I'm not holding my breath on that one as there is a very real threat that we could get some of that as well,  I'm sure I had icicles hanging off the end of my nose when I completed the school run this morning.  Anyway I'm now sat at my desk defrosting with the heater on full blast, a nice cup of coffee and a lovely piece of chocolate brownie cheese cake.  Ohhh the calories, ohhh the naughtiness, ohhhh the pure joy!

The question is when is the weather going to improve?  I'm a fair weather person that needs regular sunshine and a little bit of warmth.  We've had our fair share of snow and cold.  I need to get back out in the garden and get the kids out and about on some family days out.

Speaking of which we did have a day out last Saturday to Flamingoland  It was a bit of a last minute decision but the chance of some half price tickets that don't come up very often was to good an apportunity to miss.  Picnic done, hats, scarfs and gloves at the ready the forecast was cold but bright and dry.  That would do me.  Just as we set off the rain started and continued to get heavier and heavier.  By the time we were almost there I was close to crying over how much of a disater the day would be and how miserable I would feel to have to be soaking wet all day.

Luckily enough, the gods were watching down and, as we pulled into the car park the rain stopped and the sun almost come out,  Result! Heading into the theme park the kids were almost bursting with excitement and their little faces just beamed all day as they went on ride after ride after ride.  Faye is such a little dare devil and not content with the little childrens rides anymore she wanted to go on the more extreme rides.  My man took her on the Pterodactyl ride that whoosed them 151 feet into the air and then spun them around and around before plummeting back down.  My man looked a little green after that one and then I was persudaed, (not to much I love them too,) to go on the Mumbo Jumbo with her which is reported to be the worlds steepest rollercoaster with a 112oc vertical drop and two loop the loops.

I'm not really a fan of the bumper cars but the rest of the family loved them and had numerous goes.

I think the most memorable part of the day had to be all the calamities that I endured.  Having only been there an hour I managed to slip and ended up with one leg of my jeans covered from knee to ankle in thick, brown, sticky, horrible mud.  It was disgusting.  Of course, I'd taken clean clothes for the kids but as per normal I forgetten about myself.  Then whilst having our picnic and  enjoying a little sit down I had just poured myself a much needed coffee when a cheese and onion pringle proceeded to fly off my plate and promply land in my coffee cup.  Yuck.  Not content with  that tomatoe pips squirted out of my sandwich when I took a bite and dripped dowm the front of my coat and then a cream bum was dropped on me by my man.  You can imagine the state I looked when I came home.  Oh yeah, almost forget, as I was closing my handbag the tab on the zip broke off in my hand which resulted in me hitting myself in the nose.  After all that I can only sum the day up as totally brilliant and full of laughs. Perfect!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Trip to the Docs!

It was a trip to doctors for us today.  Faye woke up, after sleeping all night I might add unlike Charlie who woke me up three times, with ear ache.  It was a day off school and she proceeded to jump into my bed and stay there watching TV like the queen until gone 10am.  I'm starting to get slightly concerned that at aged 7 she is already showing signs of the stroppy teenager she will no doubt become and I'm not looking forward to that all.  Not only is she staying in bed until all hours of the day we have the stamping, growling and slamming doors.  If she anything like me I'll be in for a very rocky ride.

Anyway the ear ache has been checked out by the doctor and thankfully it's not an ear infection so it shoud clear up fairly quickly.  By dinner time she was showing signs of feeling better despite her protestations of it feeling worse then ever I know the tell tale signs and it's looking like back to school tomorrow for the last day of the term before the Easter break.

My plans for today were blown apart.  I had arranged to meet up with a friend for a good old natter and get the weekly shop done and dusted leaving me free tonight to get cracking with some serious writing.  None of that happened.  My natter had to be postponed and my free night turned out to be a trip to the supermarket.  I finaly managed to sit down at 8pm and that's me shattered.

It's another night all my own.  My man is still away and probably right now getting a little bit drunk.  The only consellation is that at least I won't have to sleep next to him because he snores like a trooper when he's had a drink.  I will get comfy in the middle of my bed and read until my hearts content.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

All Alone!

After an another extremely busy day I tonight find myself sat all alone in blissful silence.  The kids are in bed.  My man is away for the night on a works thing leaving me sat here with a glass of wine, a box of chocolates and my latest copy of Writers Forum magazine that was delivered this morning.  What more can a girl ask for?

I've got my feet up and to be honest I'm bracing myself for what could be a very unsettled night.  My little girl came out of school tonight and upon seeing me her eyes just filled with tears.  I put my arms around her whereupon she buried her head and had a good old cry.  Turns out she has developed an ear ache at school this afternoon which has proceeded to get worse as the night has gone on.  She has my total sympathies.  I to have a tendency to suffer with ear ache and there is nothing worse.  She's currently tucked up in bed, having had a large dose of paracetamol and hopefully, fingers crossed, she'll have a good nights sleep and wake up feeling better in the morning.

All I need now is for Charlie to sleep through the night.  He goes through periods of waking up in the night, numerous times and for no particular reason.  He wanders through into my bedroom and wants to get in my bed.  You'd think he'd realise after 4 years that there is no way on this earth he is getting in my bed and he's promptly put back into his own bed.  Problem is, once he is awake, he proceeds to come through on average every twenty minutes.  It's so annoying.  Last night he managed to sleep all night so I pray tonight he does the same.

I have to admit it does feel a little strange being sat here alone on a Wednesday night.  Me and my man usually have a movie and take away night on a Wednesday and I have to confess that I'm actually missing having him around tonight. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

We Won. Twice!

It has been a crazy few days.  I have so much that I want to write about that I just don't know where to start.  I'm going to have to break it down or I'll bore you all night.  I'll start with the big news of today.  It was my princesses school Easter bonnet parade.  Last night saw me sat once again with the dreaded glue and glitter putting the finishing touches to our Easter bonnet and decorated egg entry  I hate arts and crafts and haven't enjoyed it one little bit but I have made the effort for my kids sake.   Let me tell you a little more about the decorated egg competition.

Not only does the school hold a competition for the best Easter bonnet there is also a further optional competition to enter a decorated egg.  My original idea was to make a lamb out of a polystyrene egg, using a bit of cotton wool, some cocktail sticks and pipe cleaners.  That would be it, job done.  It all started out well.  Then the idea started to escalate and before I knew where I was we were creating a farm complete with a farmhouse made out of tissue boxes and fences made out of lolly sticks.  I have to say that it's been a team effort and a lot of effort has been put onto it. 

This morning saw us gently trying to transport the creations to school.  Not an easy task when hundreds of little bits and pieces are glued into place.  One little knock or bang could have been fatal.

This afternoon I took my seat in the school hall and watched close to 200 kids parading up and down the stage showing off their creations.  Some of them were absolutely fantastic. The hall was filled with a cacophony of fluffy yellow chicks, white rabbits and multi-coloured eggs.  One hat in particular stood out from the crowd, a massive Noah's ark that barely stayed on the child's head, I do wonder how much input the child had with the creation.  It did look amazing but maybe a little bit to professional.

Each class had a first, second and third place winner and I was very proud to hear we had won third place.  As Faye climbed onto stage to accept her prize, a small Easter egg, she grinned from ear to ear.

Next up was the announcement of the decorated egg competition.  This time there was only first, second and third place prizes for the year group so the pressure was on.  I was gobsmacked to hear we had won first prize.  I was so proud when I saw her standing on the stage fit to burst.

To complete my day nicely I went on to  win a bottle of wine of the raffle.  Just what I needed after the stressful few glue filled weeks.

Charlie isn't having an Easter bonnet or a decorated egg competition but not one to be left out he has joined in with the arts and crafts shenanigans.  His lambs do look a little mutant like with their huge legs towering above his farmhouse.  Think there is a story there.  Attack of the killer spring lambs.  Hmmm... What do you think?

Friday, 15 March 2013

PJ's for School!!!

Yesterday was a good day.  To start with I hit the sales and managed to grab myself a fair few bargains which is always a good way to start the day.  I came home with bags full of clothes for the kids and there was a few cheeky items in there for myself, not that I need them I might add.  My wardrobe that was thinned out and sorted a mere few months ago is once again back to bursting.  What can I say? I just can't resist a bargain or two.

With it being red nose day today the kids brought a letter home from school to say it was non-uniform day and they could go to school wearing whatever they liked,  even pj's.  Lets just say it been a big decision this morning for Faye.  Should she go in one of the new outfits I bought her yesterday? Should she go in fancy dress? or should she go in PJ's? Eventually she opted for the PJ's and I know her reasoning behind this decision.  If she goes in PJ's she can take along a teddy to complete the look. So off she's gone wearing her PJ's with the biggest pink monkey she could find to complete the outfit.

Much to Charlie's disappointment his playgroup aren't doing any activities today for red nose day and therefore he has just had to go along as normal.  He has taken along his red nose however I'm not so sure that this is really a very good idea. He's had a bit of a cold and at the moment his nose if streaming with snot. So it's not really a good time to place things on his nose.  I'm thinking it's going to be used as a snot catcher more than anything which is not a pleasant though.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Review of Love in the afternoon and other delights by Penny Vincenzi

 This is another of my favourite authors and my bookcase groans with the weight of some of her previous heavyweight by totally fabulous novels. This book is a wonderfully refreshing collection of her short stories and an insight into the author via interviews and memoirs.  I was a bit anxious that maybe her short stories wouldn't live up to my expectations as she paints such brilliant characters in her novels but I was not disappointed.

With the theme of love tying all the stories together there's divorce, marriage, affairs and family love all covered in the ten short stories.  It's hard to say which story I enjoyed the most but I particulary enjoyed a story called 'The Glimpses'.  This is the story of James.  He's a married family man that works in insurance. He takes family holidays in the south of France, has a dull sex life and wears Marks and Sparks socks.  He feels he's missing out on life and wants more.  He takes to visiting art galleries, designer furniture and clothing shops and dreams of living the highlife.  He's invited to an art function and suddenly his credit card takes a hit buying a designer outfit which will enable him to blend in with the crowd.

It's there he meets Georgina.  Young, beautiful and very rich.  It's not long before they are both meeting up for illicit lunches and he's spending more and more time with her. His credit card takes hit after hit and before long it's maxed out. However, they both fall head over heels in love and suddenly he's living the dream of Champagne, parties and nights in her clutter free designer apartment.

 He eventually slips up and his wife finds out about the affair and they ineviatably split up.  Throwing him out he heads over to Georgina's feeling happier then he's felt for years.  This is short lived as a Georgina has a bomb shell of her own to throw at him.

I really enjoyed this book and whizzed through it in a matter of two days.  It was also nice to learn a little more about one of my favourite authors and get a taster of her new novel which I can't wait to read in full.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Review of Forgive Me by Lesley Pearse

All I can say is I'm glad I have finished this book because maybe now I can start living my life without constantly trying to sneak in a 5 minute read here, there and everywhere.  Predictably from the first page I have been unable to put this book down and it's definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time.

I'm a massive fan of Lesley Pearse and own all of her books and this one did not disappoint.  I would go so far as to say it's one of her best.

Poor Eva moves from tragedy to tragedy.  Her whole world is blown apart when her mother commits suicide and it's not long before Eva realises that her life as she knew it was all based on lies.  Just when things cannot get any worse and Eva sinks into depression your heart bleeds as you read on and her world blows up again throwing her yet more grief and heartbreak her way. I literally wanted to shout at the book to give the poor girl a break she doesn't deserve anymore.

I physically needed to read the book as quickly as I could to get to the ending that it so rightly deserved.  Amazing story!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Nurse Duties Today!

With two snotty children both complaining of sore throats and plagued with coughs and sneezes it's a day off work today to play nurse maid.  They are both feeling a little bit sorry for themselves and are currently sat together (for a change) watching a DVD.  This leaves me a few precious moments of sanity before I hear the word "Muuummmmm" again.  They have had me at their beck and call all day.

To makes matters worse my eyes feel like saucers due to Charlie waking up at 3am and from then until 5.30am he came through to the bedroom 7 times.  Arghhhh!  Come 5.30 I finally was allowed to drop back off to sleep before the alarm rudely went off at 6.30am. 

I have to say it was nice to be able to stay in bed a while, as my man got up and made me a coffee and once the decision had been made that the kids were really to ill to go to school there was nothing I needed to get up for so it was a sneaky half hour read in bed. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Review of Strong Women by Roberta Kray

This is the first book by Roberta Kray that I have read and I would like to read more of her work although I didn't find it as good as some of the authors I have read in this genre such as Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller.

The main charachter Jo Strong has had a rough few years and she is slowly starting to get on with her life again but she is shown as a weak and rather pathetic person in one breathe and then as quite hard and strong in another which I found to be a little cliche and confusing.  Despite this I liked this character and rooted for her throughout the book.

There were a lot of characters in this book that I felt didn't really have a role to play and the story would have flowed just as well without them.  In my opinion I would have like to have known a little more background or the other major charachters.  For instance. Gabe Miller, was he a crook or a good guy.  It's hinted that he was a crook but to what extent? None of his background is covered in the book and I would have like to have know more about him.  I needed to know what made him tick.

Then there was Marty Gull a guy with a very big grudge.  We are told a little about why he is so angry but not enough to fill in the gaps.  I wanted to know how he become involved in the gangland lifestyle.  What's his story? 

I did enjoy this book and I found it to be very easy reading if not a little unbelievable at times but will definatly look to read more from this author.

Food, Food and More Food!

I have to say I have been spoilt rotten again this weekend by both my man and my kids.  Unfortunately my kids didn't wake up with me this morning as they stayed over at their dads last night but I did get to pick them up at 9.30am and despite them both being a little under the weather and full of cold we have had a nice day together.

I got loads of lovely cards and presents from the kids including flowers and chocolates.  Faye bought me a special wine glass with special mum on it and Charlie got me a coffee mug with best mum on it.  They know me so well, bless em.  The best bits had to be the homemade cards that they made at school and playschool.  These are definitely new additions to my keepsake box.

Last night with no kids my fella had a nice night in planned and I was told that he was going to cook for me which I was really looking forward to.  Only upon my arrival he asked me if I was hungry and proceeded to call up the local Indian takeaway. What a cop out! He got an ear bashing for that I can tell you.  Although he did redeem himself by surprising me with the new Penny Vincenzi book I have been after and it was a really, really nice takeaway and he did get me a bottle of wine to go with it so I may let him off the hook later on. Although I didn't buy his grovelling explanation as to the reason why he didn't cook. 

After all the food I managed to consume I was fit to burst and I can recall saying that I wouldn't need to eat for three days. Yeah right. I managed to last until about 12 noon today. We had a table booked for dinner at a local pub and were soon tucking into Sunday Lunch. I managed to consume Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding finished off with Chocolate Fudge Cake and Ice Cream.  The best bit was my desert was free due to it being Mothers day but being the nice person I am I did share this with my kids and my fella so I wasn't all greedy.

The diet definitely starts tomorrow after all the calories I have consumed these last few weeks it needs to stop before I start looking like the back end of a bus.  Best get these chocolates eaten tonight. It would be rude not to.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Easter Bonnet making

With Easter fastly approaching I received the dreaded school letter for the annual Easter bonnet parade.  Dragging out previous years attempts my suggestion of just tidying up an old hat and adding a few more chickens and eggs was met that a look of pure disgust. "You can't do that mummy," I was told in no uncertain terms that we were making a brand new hat.  Oh great, was my thoughts.

To make matters worse I was thrilled when I was informed that Charlie's playgroup were this year opting not to do the Easter parade and were doing an egg hunt instead.  Perfect.  One less hat to make.  Not quite.  Charlie decided that even though he didn't need one if Faye was making a hat then so was he.

I'm not an arts and craft person. I hate glue and glitter and would quite happily pay someone to take over the challenge on my behalf but with no offers in sight it was a trip to the local pound shop where I returned with bags of coloured paper, bunnies, chicks, eggs and general bits of tat.

The kids had a great time.  We all sat at the table and with glue sticks and paper galore it wasn't long before we had two hats finished and even if I do say so myself we've made a good job of it.

We now only have the decorated egg contest to undertake.  I think we'll save that for another day as I firstly need to come up with an idea as once again my suggestion of simply using using last years egg with a few minor tweaks was once again viewed with horror. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Feeling sorry for myself

I've not written a post for a couple of days.  I've been feeling a little under the weather with a sore throat, ear ache and just generally feeling rubbish, fed up and a little bit sorry for myself. 

It was another really busy weekend last weekend taking the kids to the beach, swimming and then for a day out to York to visit the castle museum it was fairly hectic and non-stop.  Come Sunday night I was fit to drop.

The highlight for me was definitely the castle museum.  I am a bit of a history geek and I confess I just love anything like that.  The museum has a Victorian Street with all the sound effects and old shops which I just found it fascinating.  Charlie was not so keen.  He said it was scary and he couldn't wait to get away from the street.  You can imagine his reaction when we took him down to the castle prison.  I think we managed to get through that part in all of about 5 minutes.  "It's scary.  I wanna go home" were his only words.  Faye loved it and I can see her turning into a history geek just like her mum.  She has plenty to regale her teachers with on Monday morning. 

One exhibition was old toys and there was the predicted old bikes, teddies and dolls etc.  The scary thing was there was also toys I played with as a kid.  The old spectrum 64 computer with the huge joystick, oh my god how things have changed.  I remember the screeching, wailing sounds as the game tried to load and watching the multitude of flickering lines on the TV screen as we waited with baited breath for the game to come on the screen. 9 times out of 10, it failed and we were only provided with an lovely error message.  Once the game did load, Bomber Jack or Daley Thompson's Olympics being my favourite games it wasn't long before you almost crying in pain as the frantic shaking of the joystick made your arm ache to the extreme.  I remember constantly trying to change arms so I could play a bit longer.  It's a far cry from the small controllers nowadays.

That's enough for today for now I'm going back to my book with my feet up for a couple of hours before the kids get home from school and all hell break loose again!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Mexican Tonight

In an attempt to get the kids to try new foods I came up with the idea of having little theme nights.  In so much as I create a number of small taster dishes for them to try.  We've had Indian where I did a mild curry and accompanied with naan breads, various dips, samosas, onion bhaji and poppadoms and Charlie was really impressed.  Faye not so much.  Tonight it's Mexican.  And just thinking about it is making me hungry already.  My man has even arranged to leave work early to be home in time.  I personally think it's to ensure that me and the kids save him some and don't polish off the lot.

The menu for tonight is small portions of enchiladas, fajitas and nachos all smothered in sour cream, salsa and guacamole and finished with a generous helping of grated cheese. hmmmm. We have had Fajitas before and Faye loved them so I'm just progressing from them and adding a few extra bits.

After tea when no doubt we will be all fit to burst we will progress to the sofa, glass of wine in hand or maybe a pear cider I haven't decided yet, and all snuggle up together for our family DVD night.  Tonight's movie is Pirates of the Caribbean.