Awards Season and Why You Should Blog For You

This is one of those posts which will either be taken in the way it is meant to, with tongue firmly in cheek and Mr Blue Sky on the stereo annoying the neighbours in a jolly fashion, or with hell and fury. Either or is cool.

Its just a little post to counteract all the “Eek! Who will nominate me? Am I good enough? ” in the “Awards Season Crazy Month” which has just all started once again. Its like a bad smell or the lead up to a smear test. Inevitable and unavoidable. 

When I think of awards (except those which are done for pure fun and don’t try to make out they actually mean anything other than a free ad for a company on your blog for a year), I always think of this song. However, I replace the lyrics with “Awards” rather than “War” (Sorry Mr Starr). 

The fact is, if you happen to have cultivated a little slice of the web, whether you are brilliant at HTML, stats, fancy pants bits and bobs, or not, then you deserve a massive pat on the back. Go on, do it now, say “yay me”. 

That you manage to keep up with writing whatever you like to write about, and still do the dishes, feed your kids and pick them up on time (with the help of Pippa on Twitter I have to admit on occasion), then well done you.

Whether you have one reader or a one hundred, then so what? The only, single and solitary question you, as a blogger, need to ask yourself or even care about is this: 

Do I like what I do? 

If it becomes a chore to open up your blog or your other social media platforms, then perhaps its time to take up knitting. Or jogging? Or baking? 

The very idea that there could be a blogger, just one, who is now sitting chewing their finger nails off, worrying that they wont be picked for a list, and considering giving it all up. That sucks.

I know from experience that the praise of your peers can be an enticing prospect, it can become something which makes you into a monster, only concerned with votes and numbers on a meaningless list. It does nothing but make you feel like you are not as good as Joe Bloggs at that other blog. It creates divisions and every year, without fail, (and trust me, I’ve been around since all this nonsense began) there is a massive falling out.

Over what? Nothing.

So, with that in mind, I want to share the “blogging love” my friends. If you have a blog, then you are a winner. You have a space which regardless of understanding Klout or WordPress themes has your thoughts, your writing on, then here, this is for you:

Go forth and spread the award amongst your blogging chums (no seriously, I’d have sent to every one of you but there are thousands and my Yahoo will explode). Don’t sweat the silly season. Go out and write, take bad ass photos, have a giggle and enjoy your little slice of artistic heaven. 

And forget the things that just don’t matter.


Diet Diary: This Week I am Mostly Craving Sweets!

Its that time of the week again where I give you the latest update on my quest to get to my ideal weight and size. Its going well, and I lost another 4lb this week. 

The snow has been a right pain int he bum as I am like Bambi on Ice and tend to hibernate the minute a fleck of snow hits the skyline. Not only that but jogging uphill on ice, when coupled with my dyspraxia are not a good mix. Its not stopped my indoor efforts though. 

I am really enjoying the calming effects of yoga- you can feel the relevant bits and bobs being pulled as they should, but I find it really simple now. From being completely useless at it 3 odd weeks back, I’m finding myself getting more supple by the day, and I can almost-almost- touch my toes when doing the Sun Salutation. I have got Mini interested too- she has been off with an appalling chest infection, but she has liked joining in with a couple of the simpler yoga moves. 

I am now rhythm boxing as well, for 15 minutes a day, which certainly helps my coordination as well as my arms and waist. Even though it was treacherous outside, I can set my wii fit to allow me to jog for 20 minutes, so all in all, not counting times when I run round the house cleaning and putting clothes away, I have been managing an hour at least of dedicated exercise.

I have started taking some vitamin tablets too, although I’ve not felt any benefits as such as yet. I have had some niggling strains to my upper leg muscles- but then I always think that that’s a sign that you have done some good as you must have worked them enough to feel it!

One great discovery was being able to put on, with ease, a pair of jeans which I love but hadn’t worn since last June. And even then I had to lie on my bed to get them on, and then put a safety pin on the zip to keep it closed! No such need for effort this time and the first real indication that, yes, this is working and worth it!

I’ve also started to notice that my face is slimming off a bit, my chin is definitely less rounded now. Elder noticed first and was very pleased to tell me about my wobbly chin having wobbled off! I’m not so keen on the fact that the 7lbs I’ve currently lost seems to have been lost from my bra size. My tops are a lot baggier in that area as are my bras, which is inevitable but I really will miss them!

Elder has decided to join in too, not with exercise but with giving up smoking. I never, ever, thought he would do it, despite me driving him insane about it for years. However last weekend, I got up to find his cigarettes and lighter in the bin. No moaning at him, he just decided to have a good attempt. He usually smokes about 20 to 30 a day, but, since last weekend, he’s had about 2 maximum per day. He’s been smoking since his teens so that is an amazing effort and I know that he can do it. I’m so proud of him!

So, the struggling bits.


I really miss my favourite evening coffee and biscuits, but I am not at the stage where I can honestly think I could have one biscuit with a cuppa. More likely I’d demolish the lot. I have alternatives but they do get boring after a while. Any time I have a wobble, I do think about why I am doing this.

I do like that, due to My Fitness Pal, I can still have the odd treat day. It tells me off if I don’t have enough of a certain food group or calories. So, when after a particularly busy day Elder brought home a take away fish and chips, I thought, “opps”. But actually, as I’d not had lunch and only had a small bowl of Special K (not because I was being silly and starving myself but because I’m in the middle of operation January clear out!) it was fine. I did do a whole hour and a half of exercise to make up for it the next day too!

Thew thing is, I am human, and like anyone else, changing my whole diet and lifestyle is never going to be like on a soap opera or how some adverts would have you believe. I have always been partial to traditional English grub. like stews and casseroles. Its not so much what you eat but how much and how often you eat it. I think that’s a much more sensible attitude to have about it.

So, how are you doing? Have you lost any pounds? Feel free to comment.

To read my Diet Diary at, follow the Link

*WORLD BOOK DAY: A Chance to Make Characters Come Alive!

I am a self confessed book worm, and have been since I was around Mini’s age. I do feel that’s down to my generation not being sidetracked by gadgets galore. If we wanted to imagine a world we didn’t inhabit, we had to pick up a book and not a games console or PC.

I find now that, Mini has a great imagination, and I am currently doing all I can to help her keep hold of that for as long as possible. She loves to use her kid friendly tablet but is happiest when making up stories starring Tinkerbell and princess characters.

Something we both look forward to- and which Littlest will be able to join in with now he’s at school, is World Book Day. Like most schools, the Brats will be dressing up as their favourite character from fiction, which can be from a fairy tale, poem or nursery rhyme, and taking part in storytelling and games based around the wide variety of tales available for children. This year’s World Book Day takes place on the 7th March.

Last year, we were given roughly two days’ notice over the weekend that we needed a costume for the event. At the time, Mini was new to school and its ability to expect a detailed costume in ten seconds flat. She went as Little Miss Muffet but we had to improvise.

This year, I am prepared!

The thing is, I like the idea of making costumes from scratch, really, I do. But my ideas do not go well with my ability with a needle and thread (and anyone who remembers my Jubilee costumes last year will attest to my lack of ability). Making two costumes is just a no no!

I have been having a look at online costume retailer “Fancy Dress Ball”. 

Fancy Dress Ball has a massive range of styles, sizes and accessories to please even the fussiest to please child (or adult if you are joining in yourself). 

From pirates to princesses, fairies to funny costumes, the range is pretty impressive and the costumes are reasonably priced at between £12 for a basic costume to £25 for a more detailed costume including the accessories and wigs/hats. 

Its also a lot easier to point and click on a screen while your child points out their costume choice than pointing and pinning material which will inevitably not be to the child’s taste and fall apart (or is that just my costumes?).

They offer a very impressive next day delivery in the UK- something which is a godsend when schools seem to pounce with notices about the need for costumes with 48 hours notice.

Fancy Dress Ball has a lot of World Book Day costumes with just the inspiration you need in its very own section- they really have thought of it all! From modern classics like Harry Potter and his chums, to old favourites like Goldilocks and Robin Hood, prices start at a reasonable £9.99, and, of course, they can be reused in the dressing up box for lots more dressing up, imagination fuelled fun.

So, don’t slog over a sewing machine, go to Fancy Dress Ball and find just the inspiration you were looking for before the big day!

*Looking Forward to Spring? Plan In Advance for Garden Based Fun!

Yes, I know, its blooming freezing out and the last thing we all fancy doing is being in the garden. However, it may not feel like it now but spring will be here soon enough and it’ll be time to get out in the garden and let the kids run around to their hearts content!

Us Brits love our gardens, and why not? You can use them to have a barbecue, you can have a fun set of swings, or you can build some great types of toys with the kids to have a fun family project. We have had parties in ours, and last year, Mini had her first birthday party outdoors, including a bouncy castle and disco tent!

My family love a good garden- it was one of the reasons we moved from our tiny lump of concrete disaster to the house we are in now with its lush green lawn. Over at Lazy Girl Cooks, I love to give recipes which can be munched inbetween water fights in the garden, such as my Fuss Free Sausage Rolls which are great for everyone to nibble on.

But, once the Brats have finally worn out all that energy, and the sun becomes too much, you start to wonder whether you should perhaps install some patio awnings, like these ones from
The great thing about an awning is they are fuss free. If you’ve ever had to, erm, rescue a garden gazebo from your next door’s roof (yep, we have. In a storm. It wasn’t fun), you can attest to how time consuming the upkeep of removable tent gazebos are. With a patio awning over your decking, you have an instant shade which looks after itself and is safe and simple to use ( and doesn’t mean you have to climb over your neighbours fence).

Nationwide Ltd has a range of motorised awnings to suit all needs, and are made to fit- so there is no guess work to getting the right size. They offer UV shade protection, are light shower proof for those summer rain showers which disappear as quickly as they arrive, and are available in a variety of colours too. They also offer a great free design service too to make sure you get exactly the type of shade you want, using quality materials.
So, stay safe in the sun once it arrives and make sure you enjoy your little bit of England’s green and pleasant land!

*On a Budget? Buy It Now to Save On Kids Clothing!

Is it just me, or do children take a far more active interest in their clothing choices from a younger age these days?

Anyone who has read my blog regularly will know how fashion focused Mini is and what age she started at. So much so that one regular reader coined the Nickname  “Mini Moss of Maidenhead” for her.

Of course, its nice for children to take an active interest in their style. But it could weigh heavy on your wallet.

My tip?

The good old January sales.

There are bargains galore to be had on the High Street as well as online, and these days the amount of styles, colours and brands out there is impressive. 

One such brand is Polarn O Pyret.

You can currently find some excellent sale bargains on children’s clothes from Polarn O Pyret, in sizes Newborn to 12. There is something to tempt everyone from gorgeous pink winter coats which are a must in the current appalling weather (reduced from £65 to £39) to Mini’s personal favourite of Pink trousers (everything must be pink!) reduced from £30 to £10.

It’s incredibly easy to shop the sale online too- no tantrums, no requests for sweets or cries of “I’m bored”, just pour yourself a cuppa, plonk the child on your lap, and its a case of point and click to fill your basket. 
Each section can be browsed by age group, or narrowed down further to price bracket and gender too. The quality of the items is second to none and child friendly, with pretty patterned tops for girls and smiley faced creatures for the boys. The colours are vibrant enough to please lover of colour Mini too.
You can pay now or set up an account (subject to status) and delivery is by trackable courier and costs a reasonable £3.95.

Its also simple to search and find your nearest store if you prefer to try before you buy. Who knows what you’ll find