Sunday, 29 December 2013

Do fish make good pets?

G
reat excitement in our household recently since we acquired some new pets – fish! The old man and I have been lusting after an aquarium for years.
We knew nothing about them, but then again we knew nothing about children until we had them and that hasn’t worked out so badly!

In fact, there are some similarities: they are expensive (well initially in the case of the fish while as we all know kids are an on-going financial, bottomless money pit), and you can’t help but look at them with love and admiration. And that, my friends, is where the likeness ends.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Barbara Daly - Flawless Primer - my new best friend!

M
r Observant was eating his tea while reading the latest copy of The Week as I pulled up a chair and sat down next to him whilst training my eyes on the side of his bearded face.

“What’s different?” I said and he turned, obligingly in my direction, a loaded fork hovering near his lips.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

How much time do you spend washing dishes?

I
 used to think I spent about 2 hours every day washing/drying dishes and putting them away. Not any more my friends.

I must be the only woman over 40 who has NEVER had a dishwasher... until now.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wedding presents... setting up home together


T
here’s going to be a wedding in the family – my beautiful, gorgeous niece who’s tripping down the aisle in October to marry her farmer.

At the tender age of 23, Miss Gorgeous will be embarking on married life in the first home of her own so, rarely these days, the wedding present list really IS going to help set this young couple up for married domestic life.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Running a costume-jewellery business – Paula’s gems of knowledge


W
e all like a little bit of bling to brighten up our outfits. But Paula Williams took it a stage further. She set up her own business selling costume jewellery and branched out into bags and scarves.

The mother of two discovered her new money-making outlet after her second child went to school and she found herself with time on her hands and the urge to start working.

Paula Williams with one of her scarves
She already had a long background working in the jewellery industry so it wasn’t such a giant leap into the great unknown for the 43-year-old from North Essex.

With her knowledge of the industry it wasn’t long before the Paula Bling costume jewellery business was born and it took off through her jewellery parties.

She has spent ten years selling costume jewellery to friends, family and the public and although she is now playing a bigger part in her husband Lee’s Hatton Garden jewellery business, she still does the parties from time to time.

She casts her mind back to the beginnings of Paula Bling and says she got the idea for jewellery parties as she found herself attending parties such as Pampered Chef. “It just grew from there.

Friday, 3 May 2013

How to help protect your child from sexual assault


One of our roles as parents is to make our children independent so they can cope with adult society and have productive, happy lives.

But part of that is navigating our way around some pretty awful subjects. In our house, Daddy Longlegs and I keep shaking our heads as all the old TV favourites have been falling off their perches because of some past shocking misdeeds. The latest to topple being Stuart Hall.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher – like her or loathe her?


I
’m breaking my own promise to myself here by writing this particular blog because I always thought I wouldn't get into the murky world of politics in Prestopeople. What do I know anyway.

However, Margaret Thatcher dying has been an exception. When I was first asked about my opinion about her departing this world I rashly said I hated her.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Pure filth - you'll love it - FAB Oven cleaner


I
’m not too proud of this but the picture below shows the state I allowed my oven to get into. Yes, I’m a slattern but I just couldn’t face all that elbow grease.


I had the same feeling in an office I once worked at every time someone sent me to the messy stationery cupboard to find something. “Don’t send me in there!” Then the begging started, “Can’t YOU do it for me, I’m not sure I’ll come out for days if I go in.”

Thursday, 7 March 2013

A family day out at the Tower of London


H
alf term seems a bit of a blur now but I just wanted to let you know what a great day out we had that week at the Tower of London and what a great family day it is for others, too.

We managed to pick the ONLY warm sunny day that week to go, which made a massive difference, and I would recommend you check the forecast before going because there’s a fair bit of walking around within the grounds to get from one section to the other.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cheap rail tickets they don't tell you about


W
e’ve just been on a fabulous day trip to London (next blog) but I wanted to let you know about a great train deal that is definitely NOT trumpeted by National Rail for families.

Did you know that you can get a Network Railcard entitling you, three other adults and four children up to a third off an off-peak ticket if you travel in London and the south east?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Geo-tagged photos - the dangers


D
o you take pictures of your children with your mobile phone and load them up onto your Facebook account or some other online account where everyone can see them?

You might like to think again about that until you’ve found out all about geo-tagging.
Ever heard of geo-tagging? 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Stan and Agnes - a sisterly business


T
wo enterprising sisters are making a significant financial contribution to the household finances as well as running the family home and being mum to two children, EACH.

The catalyst for Philippa Nee, 38, known to her friends as Pip, and her sister, Fiona King, 35, was a chilly winter’s day. What they didn’t know was that it would to lead to a business that has now been running for three years.

Sisters Fiona and Philippa at work in north Essex
Stan and Agnes is a cottage industry that sells hand-finished textiles and vintage wares that has gone from strength to strength. In fact, it’s now achieving national publicity.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Being mistaken for nanny when you are actually mummy...


U
ntil recently I didn’t know what was more embarrassing: asking a woman when her baby was due, only to find out she’d had it, or mistaking a mother for being the grandmother of a child?

I’d say the answer is probably the latter. If you are on the plump side you can at least console yourself that you can lose weight.

But being called “nanny” when you are actually “mummy”... in the words of one of Catherine Tate’s uptight male characters: “HOW VERY, VERY DARE YOU!”

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Your story could be worth cash


I
f you have an interesting story to tell did you know that you could earn some cash out of it?

OK, there IS a catch. You and your story would be in the national media but it’s something that a lot of people are actually interested in.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Banana chocolate muffin recipe


W
e did some baking the other day, me and the kids.  I had to steal myself for it on account of the chaos that I knew would ensue with two infant-school children wanting to ‘help’.

But it’s one of those things us mums do because we know they like it, don’t we. They were so keen to get their hands dirty they washed them first, if you know what I mean.

For some reason they lurve the Come Dine With Me TV programme, so cooking is current for them. So current they were willing to follow almost every instruction I gave them. Very unusual in our house!

They each got a stool to stand on so they could reach the worktops and meekly covered their school uniforms with an apron then looked expectantly at me for the next instruction.

They got a bit miffed when I said no to them measuring out the ingredients alone, but were happy enough to tell me when the needle on the scales reached the right numbers.

I’m not a good cake-making baker. My sponges usually come out like biscuits but I’ve made these banana-chocolate muffins twice now (once with the help of the little people) and each time I’ve impressed not only the family but myself, too. I can’t get enough of them.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Stupid names


I
 remember seeing the stories in the newspapers about the New Year’s Day babies and it got me thinking about the names people call their children.

Our names are so important to us and picking the right one for a child is a huge responsibility yet why do some parents get it so wrong.

A friend of a friend who worked in a maternity hospital almost threw up on the spot when she found out the name of a new baby. The little boy’s parents had called him Dwayne.

Well that’s not SO bad, is it? Not on its own, no. But if your last name is going to be ‘Pipe’ you look at it in a completely different way, don’t you.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Pantos – what makes a good one?


H
ere in the UK we have this great Christmas tradition of Pantomimes, thank goodness. It’s easily a decade since I last saw one but I put that right this week.

We booked a family ticket to see Dick Whittington at a city near to us and had a riot. I don’t know who enjoyed it most, the kids or us.

I thought my six-year-old was about to combust as she screamed over and over again to the pantomime dame on stage “BEHIIIIND YOU!”
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