Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Casa Costello has a new home

Hi there! Just to let you know Casa Costello has moved - I have merged my 2 blogs to make one Family and Cake blog over at

I would love it if you would follow me over there! Thanks so much for reading and all your lovely comments while I have been here.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Big One - Reasons to be Cheerful

This is the week I've been waiting for, the week when I am most cheerful of all - and it doesn't involve going on holiday for once!

Reason to be Cheerful 1: The Christening
Its our little one's big day - She is being baptised on Sunday at our church. The baptism is being held during 11am mass which is very important for us as she is being welcomed into a community that we have been part of for many years.
We are obviously looking forward to the party afterwards (mainly as I will be so relieved that the pressure is off - I had a mad moment a few weeks ago when I decided I would do the catering myself!)
This time we have decided against the posh 'do' instead favouring something relaxed and just enjoying the company of our friends (all 100 of them! Eek!)

Reason to be Cheerful 2: Wonderful Friends
Apart from being so pleased that we have so many lovely people willing to share Baby T's special day with us, I am very grateful for all the offers of help I have had with preparing the food for Sunday. We are expecting a bit of a houseful on Saturday and hope to make a bit of party of food preparation - chinese and wine may be consumed!

Reason to be Cheerful 3:Reading
Vi seems to be settling well into reading now - at first it wasn't something she was that keen on but all of a sudden she's really interested in what letters are in what words - we've got a long way to go but yay! Thank God for teachers - I don't know how home schooling parents have the patience to teach their kids to read!

Update on last week: My friend had a little baby girl, Ruby - at the time of writing I have not met her yet as I thought I'd give them a bit of a chance to settle into being a family of 4 but from the photos she looks like a little beauty.

Well, best get will be no surprise to learn I still haven't finished Baby T's christening cake! The picture is what I imagine our utility room to look like by Saturday night!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Chilling out - The Gallery

How ironic that this week's theme for Tara Cain's Gallery is chilling out. Ironic because I'm having one of the least chilled out weeks ever with Tara's christening preparations in full flow for Sunday. If I ever suggest doing a buffet for 100 people again along with the cake and a new baby, tell me I'm off my trolley!

I have chosen this particular picture of Violet as this is how she chills out best - Violet runs around everywhere at 100 miles per hour but when she chills, she really chills. I can guarantee this was lying in our bed on a Sunday morning watching Peppa Pig. Nobody can rush our V when she is not ready to get moving. As I'm sure most parents of a 4 year old can appreciate, getting ready for school is a NIGHTMARE!

Measles Outbreak - Safe to travel to France?

So there I was last week happily reading the school newsletter when suddenly I came across a warning of a measles outbreak in France. Over 3000 cases have been recorded so far this year in France and guess who has got a family holiday booked there this summer? The older children are fully immunised but Baby T will be less than 6 months old when we go so will not have had her MMR.

We did what most people would have done which is nothing for a couple of days then started panicking. We googled Measles situation in France and learnt that last year the recorded cases for France were 5000. So it is significantly up.

I then rang NHS Direct who knew nothing about an outbreak. Then I tried the Doctor who suggested trying the Nurse who said to try the Health Protection Agency - Who were fab!!

They rang me back within half an hour, asked whereabouts we were going and how long for. We then had quite a long conversation about surfing but thats a post for another time!

The results are. Safe to travel with a baby even though not fully immunised. The warnings going out to Doctors surgeries and schools are aimed at reminding parents who have not had their children immunised to do so as soon as poss. It is mostly groups of teenagers that are contracting measles. If we were travelling abroad for 2 months or more, we may be advised to bring forward Baby T's MMR but even then this is unlikely as she is so young and may still have some of my natural antibodies. (Aw!)

So there we are, still going to France and another trauma is over for another day!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Listography - Bad Combinations

Whoa Kate! You had me lulled into a false sense of security with the last few weeks Listographies. This week's theme is Bad Combinations - Things that just plain don't work together - supposedly like the rhyme 'Red & Green are seldom seen except upon a fool'? Apart from I quite like red & green together - well perhaps not as a clothes combination...but I digress.

I struggled at first but then thought, this blog is about me (well, mainly) so that's where my bad combinations start:

Me & Fishfingers
Don't know what it is, we just don't mix. Give me a 5 tier wedding cake and I'm yours - fishfingers and they are either burnt or soggy!

Me & Being Practical
If anything is ever going to get me swearing and crying its DIY, lifting, sorting, tidying - I am so meant to sit on my bum!

Me & Timekeeping
I try, really I do but I can never seem to be on time - Sadly, my husband has now developed this trait and my children look like they are going the same way.

Me & Diets/Exercise
We are not great friends - life is too short and they sell some ok size 16 clothes these days!

Me & Homework & the 8yo
Please tell me I'm not the only one with a short fuse when it comes to homework time?

I could go on, I have found so many things that I don't mix with I'm starting to worry about myself.
For more hilarious combinations, visit KateTakes5 - even better join in!

Mr Men - Google Front Page and a cake

I am loving today's Google front page! It is the 76th birthday of Roger Hargreaves, the mastermind behind the Mr Men and Little Miss books. The page keeps changing between the Mr Men & Little Miss characters - I'm spending so much time today flicking backwards and forwards to see which one it is on now!

I've always loved the characters (although sometimes I hard the books hard to read out loud to the children) so much so that I made a Mr Men & Little Miss cake for my eldest daughter's christening 8 years ago. How strange that my mind is thrown back to her christening cake this week when I am working on the cake for my 3rd daughter's christening - I seemed to take so long over cakes in those days - something tells me I won't have quite so much time this week!

Happy Birthday Roger - and thanks for a wonderful set of memories!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Tutorial - How to make an edible Gruffalo

Earlier this week I posted a picture of my Gruffalo Cake and the response was incredible. I had many a discussion on Twitter about people making cakes for their children's birthdays and decided to post some tutorials of popular ideas for children's cakes.

The first being a Creme Egg Gruffalo: My cake had to travel from St Helens to Leeds and I knew the Gruffalo was not going to be eaten so was safe to insert a cocktail stick to keep the head on - normally I would use a piece of pasta to stick the head onto or even just make it a few days in advance so the head will just stick. I used sugar glue to stick everything together - make your own or just use cooled boiled water.

I used Chocolate Flavoured Fondant Icing. Roll out a piece of fondant, paint the creme egg with sugar glue and cover with the fondant. Make the seam at the back and smooth down the joint with your finger. Mark the 'body' with either a veining tool or a knife. Attach a small ball of icing for the neck. At this point insert the cocktail stick/pasta if you are using one.

Next get a ball on fondant slightly smaller than the body and roll the ends until it is an oval shape. Cut a mouth and open it - the gruffulo has a BIG mouth! Make the same marks for fur as on the body and make 2 holes for eyes - I use the end of a small pointy rolling pin (if you haven't got one, you could use the end of a clean paintbrush)

Stick the head on top of the body. Get 2 small balls of orange fondant icing - make one end of each pointy and stick into the eye sockets. You shouldn't need glue for this but if you do only use a tiny bit. Add a tiny black dot of icing to each orange eye.
Make 2 small sausages of brown for ears and attach to each side of the head. Put a tiny bit of pink icing over the front of each ear. Roll little grey sausages for teeth and attach some to the top lip and some to the bottom lip. 2 slightly larger grey sausages, pointy at one end make the horns on top of the head. A thin sausage of brown icing makes the nose with a small pale pink ball. He also needs a teeny weeny ball of green on top of the pink ball for the wart on his nose. He also needs 2 VERY thin black sausages for his eyebrows.

Make his legs and feet all-in-one with a long sausage folded just past the middle for his foot. Flatten down the foot bit and try to make some more markings again for his fur on the legs. The legs and feet will help him keep upright. 2 more brown sausages for his arms - cut into fingers at the end and try to round off the edges (back of a knife will do this) and attach to the body.

Tiny grey sausages made really pointy at the ends are attached to his hands and feet for claws. Loads of spikes are then attached to his back (the ones in the book were brown so I did them brown but my 4yo is convinced they should be purple - its up to you!)

And he's done and so is my first tutorial. How was it? I think The Gruffalo is quite a hard cake topper to do so maybe next time I'll go for something a little easier - any requests?

Peppa Pig Cake - Finished it Friday

I am having the type of day today when it is hard to imagine completing any task - even getting a wash load in the machine seems impossible. No particular reason, just one of those days.

So it is nice to look back over the last week and think, 'yes, I have finished something'. The cake pictured is obviously a Peppa and George cake - a very popular choice for tiny humans under 6. The recipient was Hugo, the little one of Cara from Freckles Family who handily hosts Finished it Friday. This is where we can show and tell what we have finished in the last week - whether it be a book, a crafty project or even a favourite recipe.

This is my offering for this week - I also completed the Gruffalo Cake which has had a fantastic reception.
Who knows what I will manage to get completed in the coming week!
Freckles Family

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful - Week 7

These weeks are flying by - I cannot believe that I have been posting my reasons to be cheerful for 7 weeks now. It really works - I am so chirpy.

To be fair, not much has changed since I last posted my reasons (it was only 4 days ago!) but never fear, I can still think of 3 reasons:

Reasons to be Cheerful 1: Babies
We are really lucky to have lots of friends who are expecting babies this year - Tara will certainly not go short of friends to play with. I am particularly excited about a friend who is due to deliver any day and beyond giddy to find out what flavour their new addition is.
Our own newest addition is now 10 weeks old and as fab as ever. She gives the most amazing smiles and cuddles and is STILL SLEEPING THROUGH! (sorry for shouting!)

Reason to be Cheerful 2: Books
Although, I do not get as much time as I would like to bury my head in a book, I love it when I can snatch the odd moment. I have about 3 books on the go at any one time and our trips to the van mean that slightly more reading gets done than usual.
I have just discovered a book that is taking me back to my youth - Sweet Valley Confidential. A real light read that re-visits the lives of the 'All American' twins, Elizabeth and Jessica. I used to love the Sweet Valley High books as a teen and love the idea of seeing what they are up to 10 years on. There are so many other books that I would love to revisit and see what the characters are up to. I will make sure to post a review when I'm done and will finally get another book to add to the 100 I'm to read before I'm 40.

Reason to be Cheerful 3: Finally getting sorted
Even though we are incredibly lucky to have had all these weekends away recently (Its Abersoch this weekend by the way!) there has been a slight downside, the house has been an absolute tip. I like to be quite organised and be on top of things which has been nearly impossible with all the comings and goings. We are finally able to tick a number of items off the to do lists and tackle Mount Washing and Ironing which have become so big they have a personality. Dull I know but I will feel better when they are done!

Big plans for the week ahead: Tara's Christening cake (you can't be the daughter of a cake designer and not have a wow cake!), hopefully I will be able to post my first 'how to make' tutorial, and a HUGE buffet to plan and prepare for.

Hope over to Michelle's place to see how the others are keeping cheerful this week.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

April at a glance - The Gallery

This weeks for Tara Cain's The Gallery, we were set the task of summing up the month of April in one photo. This April has been a funny old month this year... The children were off school for Spring Break for the first 2 weeks, then back to school for 3 days then off for Easter. Much to the horror of a lot of small business owners there was another bank holiday on Fri 29th April for The Royal Wedding which fitted in with Mayday bank holiday - My Mum has spent 37 years trying to convince me that the bank holiday at the start of May was in honour of her birthday on 1st May.

All these days off school and Bank Holidays (are they supposed to have capital letters?) meant that we were lucky enough to spend lots of time with family. My picture for the Gallery this week is a family photo that is a replica of one that was taken exactly the same time last year. This also coincided withe the first anniversary of our Dad passing away. We have already started a tradition of getting together at this time and this year's photo includes 2 new additions to the family, our nephew, Miles and our little one, Tara. The photo was taken in my sister's garden the day after Miles' Christening.

We have managed to spend time with both sides of the family this month. Last weekend, we met up with my husband's sister and her family in Windermere as we were staying nearby. We remembered to get a family shot to mark the occasion.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Listography - Simple Pleasures


I sometimes wonder if everyone else is the same as me. I still find it amazing how much I enjoy a simple life. I am definitely not a posh bird and am very easily pleased. This week's Listography from Kate Takes 5 asks us to sum up 5 simple things that we enjoy. To be honest, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5.

My perfect day would consist of:

A cup of coffee and a good book

Reading always seems to take a back seat and suffer when I am busy or stressed. There is nothing like the feeling of being stuck in a good book - that sense of desolation when you have finished it and are without a good read on the go is terrible! Add to this a few dunky biscuits and I'm anybody's.

My favourite programme

I get a lot of stick for being one of the only people left who avidly watch Casualty every week. I can guarantee that my husband will sit still for 50 minutes when it is on (we more often than not have to record it). We have watched it for years and know it is seriously uncool but we don't care!

Good Company

I have always loved being part of a gang/team/family - needy moi?? A bloody good chat, get together and catch up is fab - when it is unexpected is even better.

The Five of Us

Bit of a contradiction here, having talked about my love of a large gathering but one of my favourite things EVER is us 5 being together. Having nowhere to go, no phones ringing and no-one to see means that we appreciate how lucky we are to be a close family. This is when the best stories are told and when you find out that the girls have met up at school. Millie quite often looks out for Violet without us telling her she must which makes it even more special - these moments only surface when you are least expecting them and you get the warm glow of Mumhood!


If anyone can bottle the feeling of kissing and smelling your newborn, you will make a fortune!

And that's my Listography Simple Pleasure for this week - visit the others here - If we had 6 simple pleasure to choose, I'm sure most of us would have said, Getting Comments as number 6!


Monday, 2 May 2011

What a lovely week - Reasons to be cheerful

Once again, I am terribly late with my Reasons to be cheerful post. I know I could miss but at the moment I am realising how lucky I am (I hope that doesn't sounds blase) and want to document this for those times where I may take it for granted.

Reason to be cheerful 1: The Royal Wedding

Even though this was 3 days ago, there still seems to be a feeling of happiness in the air. Even people who were cynical (my husband) at first are mostly happy for William and Kate. Children are enchanted by the real life love story of Prince Charming meeting and falling in love with his Princess. The children had a street party at school on Thursday and the playground definitely had a happy atmosphere at picking up time. The actual wedding was magical with some lovely moments - them holding hands under the bridge, the drive in the Aston Martin when it was just the two of them... I could go on.

Reason to be cheerful 2: Milo's Christening

We are just back from one of the most fabulous weekends in Leeds at our nephew, Milo's Christening. My husband was chosen to be his Godfather (I am his sister's Godmother). We stayed over in Leeds after the party and had another lovely day today just taking it easy, walking, eating, chatting, playing and drinking LOTS of tea. The kids had the best time - There is nothing like a fabulous weekend with a family celebration and we are doing it all again in 2 weeks!

Reason to be cheerful 3: Old Friends

If any of them are reading this, I DO NOT MEAN IN AGE!
We have taken our caravan down to Abersoch for the season which means we have met up with some friends we met last year. It is great to see the children meet up with their friends from last year - they have slotted into playing together so easily. It is why we got a van in the first place.
I am also sticking to my New Year's Resolution of spending more time with friends this year and am looking forward to a week of meet ups with various friends and their lovely children.
I am also enjoying my other life, my internet life at the moment and am coming across some lovely people. Don't tell my children but I am looking forward to meeting these on-line friends in real life too - Its exactly what you tell your kids not to do!

Reason to be Cheerful 4: Cakes

I posted last week about incorporating cakes into my personal blog and the reaction has been lovely. I agree that cakes make up part of the person I am but the reaction to my Gruffalo cake has really spurred me on. Its always a gamble taking a few months away from your business. I was worried that I would lose my skill but I have really enjoyed getting back into it.

Ok, that's all I have energy for - Its extremely tiring being this cheerful! Could I please ask you to pop over to Michelle's place at Mummy From The Heart and visit the other cheerful lovelies?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Gruffalo Cake

What a cake to start back with after a 3 month absence! This was the cake I made for my lovely nephew, Miles Patrick 'Milo''s Christening this weekend.

I have to admit The Gruffalo book isn't one of the favourites of my girls. We prefer Room on the Broom and Monkey Puzzle more. I even had to borrow the book to copy the characters. I made the Gruffalo out of a creme egg. I will do a tutorial here soon. On the morning of the christening, 10 minutes before we set out for the 50 ish mile journey to Leeds my 8 year old daughter decided to tell me that the cake would not be complete without a fox as this is a major character. So a fox's bum sticking out of the back it was! ( It was lovely to see my 3 year old niece choose the fox as the first thing to eat later that day)

The cake included a snake in a log pile, an owl (eyes peeing out of a black hole in a tree made of pillars) and of course the fox's bum!

The next 2 weeks will be spent making Baby T's christening cake - such pressure but a very worthwhile subject!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Book Review - The Slap - Finished It Friday

Book 1/100 - 100 books to read before I'm 40

`Once in a while a novel comes along that reminds me why I love to read: The Slap is such a book... Honestly, one of the three or four truly great novels of the new millennium.'
--John Boyne
Or maybe not! This book had all the plaudits possible - I should have known not to trust the hype.

The premise of the book is that at a family barbecue an unruly 4 year old is slapped by one of the guests. This action sets of series of events and supposedly tears a family apart.

The story started well enough - I was intrigued who it was that slapped the child. It wasn't who I thought it would be. I hadn't warmed to the initial character and thought if it was him, then I would have no sympathy with him. My problem was that I didn't like any of the characters and there were a lot of them. Even at the end of the book (which is lengthy at nearly 500 pages) there were still new characters being introduced - unnecessarily, I thought. They didn't add anything to the story but then again by about 3/4 of the way through there was no story.

I wasn't sure what the author was trying to do with this book - even the one character that you were made to believe was 'The Nice One' disappointed in the end.

I also struggled with the child - he was meant to be a young 4 year old. I have a 4 year old and even on her misbehaving days, she had outgrown the behaviour of this child by the time she was 18 months old.

I will not be rushing to read any more of Christos Tsiolkas' books - I give this 2 out of 5 stars at best.

This is my entry for this week's Finished Friday project hosted by Cara of Freckles Family. Each week we are encouraged to show and tell what we have completed during the week. I am hoping over the next few weeks to be able to submit more if my 9week old daughter allows!

I am also adding this to my task list of reading 100 books before I am 40 - This is number 1 on the list since I published my tasks - I've got a LOT of work to do!
Freckles Family

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Gallery - Green -Cake

As a rule I have shied away from talking about my cakes on this blog, preferring to keep cakes and family separate. My time on maternity leave though has made me realise how much I love what I do - I am now baking and cooking again and loving it and this week am attempting my first celebration cake for 4 months for my nephew's christening on Sunday.

I have been having a conversation with Kate and Jen on Twitter this morning and discussed bringing the cake to the Casa Costello blog. This doesn't mean that my girls are any less important to me but does feel that I am no longer leading a double life.

The cake pictured is one from a couple of years ago - I loved how the bride had chosen a different colour scheme from the norm and this cake, although simple, remains one of my favourites.

I have also included this picture as my entry for Tara Cain's Gallery this week - The theme is green in honour of the wonderful lush countryside that the UK has at the moment. Please visit the other entries, there are some crackers!

So that's the plan for the blog - more cake...its never a bad thing!

Tara Beatrice - The First 2 Months

How quickly the weeks have flown by - Our tiny girl is now not so tiny (but still very petite!). She is a lovely addition to our family and we are enjoying her so much.

Tara's arrival has had a huge effect on the blog - I want to be able to remember these early days and months with her - I always said I would make sure I enjoyed my time with her and this continues to be the case. I'm really enjoying posting much more frequently while I can and the contact I am having with other bloggers.

Tara must think we are on one constant holiday - so far we have been away in our caravan, which was a huge success and had a trip to Centre Parcs, which was great too. The weekend Tara turned 9 weeks saw us on our second caravan trip to The Lakes - another lovely weekend.

The weather seems to be consistent with my tradition of having a glorious summer when I have babies - April has been sunny and roasting - all good practice for when we go to France in the summer.

Last week saw the dreaded injections - as usual, Dermot came to hold Tara - even after 3 children I am still a wimp! We had the usual sore legs and a little bit grumpy that evening which resulted in Tara's first taste of Calpol - oh how quickly they get to like that taste!

Today is Tara's 6 week check (at 9 weeks and 3 days!) - Looking forward to seeing what she weighs - we have moved onto some 3-6 month clothes this weekend - Tara is long and skinny and I like her to have lots of room. We will NOT be needing to buy any 3-6 months clothes - we could open a shop with her sister's hand-me-downs.

The best bit of the past 2 months is seeing how Millie and Violet are with their new sister - Millie still cannot walk past her without kissing her or talking to her and Tara rewards them both by gurgling and smiling at them - she definitely knows them!

We are still giving Tara Colief drops in her bottles - she is so good that we started to think maybe she didn't need them anymore so reduced the drops - by the next day we realised she does still need them!

Shortly we are going to have to think about moving her out of her Moses basket - she has grown so much. She is no trouble at night though and has been sleeping through til 7am ish for about a week now - how lucky are we? I think we will try to get at least a couple more weeks out of the Moses basket - its lovely having her with us!

The photographs above were taken this weekend (Easter weekend) at Holgates caravan park.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Listography - My Wedding

There's a wedding going on this week, you know? You might have heard a slight rumour - some people called William and Kate. In years to come we will all look back on our blogs and know exactly what we were doing the week of the royal wedding. I have to admit I am looking forward to watching some of it - I doubt I will get to see what the wedding cake is like (even the rumoured McVities wedding cake) but we will see her dress over and over again.

To keep the wedding theme going, Kate from KateTakes5 has dedicated this week's Listography to 5 things I would change about my wedding.

I thought this was going to be an impossible one for me as I have always spluttered about how I wouldn't change a thing about my (our) wedding but when I dug deep I have found some. So here goes...

1. I would make my own wedding cake - you saw that coming didn't you? Our wedding cake was made by my Auntie and was fab. I didn't start making celebration cakes until we had been married for 6 months. I understand now though how disappointed she was that we didn't choose something wacky while we had the chance.

2. I wouldn't dye my hair the week before - This was not the best time to discover I am seriously allergic to hair dye - Picture the scene...swollen head, face and neck, lots of antibiotics and the threat of steroids that would make me put on weight when I had dieted for a year to fit in my wedding dress. Not to be recommended!

3. I would make sure I ate some of the evening buffet! I am still thinking about that nearly 11 years on.

4. I would get married sooner - Aw! Having said that, my husband was only 22 when we got married - any earlier and he would have been wearing his school uniform!

5. We wouldn't have gone to Acapulco for our honeymoon - we didn't have the most successful honeymoon. I was jet-lagged for the first week and Derm got food poisoning for the entire second week. Therefore the reason that we go no further than France on our holidays now.

There are things that we did though that I would definitely recommend. So here is a list of 5 things to make sure you do at your wedding...

1. When people talk about their weddings, they always say how fast it went and that there was loads of things they don't remember - I have one friend who has no recollection of her entire evening do! I made sure from the start of the day that I took in every tiny detail and it worked, I remember it all - I was knackered by the end of the day but it was fab!

2. I really appreciated the time spent alone with my Dad just before we left for church - we chatted and were very relaxed. The car journey was lovely too. We lost Dad 2 years ago this week and those memories are so special.

3. We got married at 12pm - We wanted to fill the day as much as poss and we did! I didn't want to 'waste' most of the day getting ready - I wanted to be married for most of it!

4. We got married on a Friday - it saves a blinkin fortune!

5. We did loads of crafty bits ourselves - it took ages but we planned well in advance and we had loads of quirky personal elements at our wedding.

What would you recommend for the ideal wedding? What would you change about yours - hopefully not your choice of husband! Join in by visiting Kate's blog

Thursday, 21 April 2011

When your ears bleed - Reasons to be cheerful

HI Everyone,

How these weeks are flying by - I so look forward to Reasons to be cheerful day. What a chance to look back at the past 7 days and think how lucky I am.

Reason to be Cheerful 1: Yet another trip
By the time this is posted I will be away yet again in our van - we had this trip booked before Tara was born so we are only an hour away (burglars don't even bother -the house has got cover!) We have been to this site many times before so are expecting a thoroughly relaxing weekend.

Reason to be Cheerful 2: Sleep
I don't want to speak too soon but Baby T has slept through the night for the past 3 nights!!! (that deserves 3 exclamation marks, right?) She had her injections on Monday, which wasn't too nice and could be the reason for the sleep but I'm not complaining.

Reason to be Cheerful 3: The Violin
My eldest daughter is lucky enough to get free violin lesson in year 4 & 5 funded through the Schools Music Service. She already plays the flute so we haven't really given her much attention for the violin, knowing the service could be withdrawn at any time. In fact, I have been known to ask her not to practice the violin saying it makes your ears bleed (Ok, I know I'll never win Mother of the Year!). It seems thought that she has been doing rather well, quietly (can you be quiet with a violin?) - She is 1 of 2 in her class to be chosen to join a string group organised by the council and it absolutely delighted. I suppose I'd better let her practice now!

That's it for now - I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend and look forward to reading everyone's Reasons to be Cheerful when I return (I managed to comment on everyone's last week which was an absolute pleasure as there are some lovely cheerful people out there!)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Gallery - All 3!

Here's how it goes...
You want to record your comings & goings.
You start a blog.
You take more pictures.
You buy a posh camera.
Your husband starts taking pictures of fruit.

...and now I'm taking pictures of people taking pictures of fruit!

I have 2 more blogs... My cakey/foodie blog aims to tell the story behind my cake orders. They are not always my best cakes or best photos but have the best stories - This was for a couple ruled by their 4 dogs. They are both gaming mad (the groom is holding an x-box controller) and play poker every week.

Aardvark Cakes

This is my newest blog but still very special as I tracking our progress as we turn from a family of 4 into a party of 5 on our caravan travels - We are having great fun so far. This is what we look like when we are set up!

Five Go Caravanning

This is a post for this week's Gallery - visit the other posts to see what other people's blogs mean to them

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Q & A

I have been tagged by Penny from AResidence in answering the following questions. I believe the original MeMe was started by Kerry Jean Lister and has got thousands (well, maybe I exaggerate slightly) of bloggers involved.

According to the Guardian (which is where the original interviews that this meme is based on come from) the results put you into 1 of 3 categories - just a note! I pay my way at the bar!!

a. ‘KNOB’ b. ‘nice person’ c. ‘I’d go for a pint with youers’ (yours?)

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Anyone that can get rid of creepy crawlies.

When were you happiest?
Can't choose just once - Wedding Day, Birth of my 3 children and the day my Dad got his MBE.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I told the milkman, my Mum wasn't in and she was stood behind me - I was 23 at the time.

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
That 23 foot white tin box that sits on my drive that we tow behind the car and sleep in when we've got a perfectly good 5 bedroom house! But I love it!

What is your most treasured possession?
Wedding ring and my Dad's wedding ring - I love wedding rings!

Where would you like to live?
Galway, West Coast of Ireland.

What’s your favourite smell?
Burning Wood. And Jo Malone, Orange Blossom.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Julia Roberts - I'm sure she'll be ringing me later to arrange.

What is your favourite book?
Anne of Green Gables or Erich Segal, Doctors (no-one has ever heard of it!)

What is your most unappealing habit?
Picking my baby's nose - we all do it right?

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
It used to be Wonder Woman but now I'm really not sure (Jane, you have put me off!) - Perhaps a Rubiks Cube - I like to stand out.

What is your earliest memory?
Moving house, going calling on a neighbour's house asking to play out with her son. Turned out the son was actually a labrador - he was never that good at playing off ground tick!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Doing nothing - I don't get to do it enough.

What do you owe your parents?
Probably a whole lot of apologies for those teenage years.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Again, probably my parents for those teenage years and my children for not playing with them often enough.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband - Aw!

What does love feel like?
A really cozy blanket that you want everyone to experience.

What was the best kiss of your life?
The one at the altar as we proclaimed married and the one I gave each of my 3 girls as they were born.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Oh my god and Bloody Hell. You know when your daughters say it that its your fault!

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Assistant Manager at McDonalds - be nice to those people, they've probably got really sore legs, been working all hours and have had some chav giving them lip about waiting more than 30 seconds for a burger "with none of that shit on".

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I probably would have started blogging earlier.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
The day at the end of term when the school reports were handed out. Still feel terror in my belly!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My business, Aardvark Cakes - I still can't believe I do that for a living.

When did you last cry, and why?
I cry all the time - any TV programme - I know I was watching DIY SOS last night so I can pretty much guarantee it was then.

How do you relax?
Caravanning, having a brew and a read with a cake - I'm easily pleased.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
More time with my husband and more parties!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don't be grumpy and fill every day as much as I can - and I do. And take more photos - I know I've used this one before.

I am tagging Cara at FrecklesFamily, Marion at ToddlerinTow, Beth at PlasticRosaries, Stella at MsMac - Please join in if you like.

Tracks of my years - Billy Joel - Piano Man

I've been wanting to include music on my blog for a long time as music is a massive part of my life - both listening and playing the flute and piano. When I saw Jen's blog hop from Mum in the Madhouse, I knew I wanted to join in. I've got tons of songs that mean something to me but this is one that keeps popping up throughout the years.

I first started being a Billy Joel fan in my early teens but was very conscious that it wasn't that trendy to be a Billy fan so kept it hidden under my obsession for the Goss brothers (to be fair Matt & Luke looked a lot better on my bedroom wall!)

I have played the piano since I was seven and wanted to play like Billy (a bit more practice would have probably helped!) - In my mid teens I went to see my first concert with friends and it was Billy. It was a fabulous weekend and the highlight was him singing Piano Man. Sadly, one of my best friends who was with us on the trip passed away last year so this song reminds me of him too.

When, we had our first daughter we had the mad notion when she was 7 weeks to take a trip to Galway, Ireland. We stayed in the fabulous Radisson where they had a piano man twice a week (you can see where this is going?) We have been several times since and every time his finale is Billy's Piano Man with everyone joining in - normally after quite a few drinkies!

When we had daughter number 2, our first trip out alone as a couple again was to see Billy in Manchester - it was a really romantic night out and is said to be possibly Billy's last concert in the UK.

I'm sure this song will crop up time & time again throughout my life - daughter number 3 has happily listened along to it today and I for one will never look at my watch at 9 o'clock on a Saturday without thinking of this tune!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Listography - 5 things people will say about me at my funeral


Week 2 of Listography for me and one that is slightly harder than last week - 5 things that I would like people to say about me at my funeral. I cannot decide whether these are serious or not but these are the first things that sprung to mind...

1. 'I told you she was ill'

2. 'I've never seen so many people at a funeral, she must have been a celeb.'

3. 'What a slim coffin' ... a person can always dream!

4. 'She was the best cake maker ever'

5. 'She organised the world's best wake before she went'

God knows where Kate gets her ideas from for these Lists but they are great fun - why not join in?

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Reasons to be Cheerful

A bit late with this post for this week but no less cheerful. I will be making a special effort to get round the other Reasons to be Cheerful posts as the lovely Mich from Mummy From The Heart is on a well deserved break.

Reason To Be Cheerful 1: The return from holiday

We have just arrived back from yet another break away, this time to Center Parcs in the Lake District. Yes, I know I'm like the Judith Chalmers of the blogging world! We had a really fabulous week, one of the best visits we have ever had to CP ... and we've been lots! The week went very quickly and the kids were a treat. Baby T slept so well and even had a dip in the pool (this was really to keep her sisters happy). Having said all this though, there is nothing like the feeling of getting home to your own house (which is normally tidy when we go away - tidying up for the burglars?) I love my home and am very lucky to live where I do. When you first arrive home you don't tend to see all the messy bits or bits that bug you before you went...and before you unpack the suitcases!

Reason To Be Cheerful 2: Friends

We were very pleased to be joined on this trip away by the lovely Cara from Freckles Family - our children are like brothers and sisters (well, maybe they don't argue quite as much but you get what I mean). It is a really easy relationship and Cara and I have been friends for 20 years this year - amazingly, this is the first time in that time we have been away together - all good practice for Cybermummy! The photo above is of my 2 eldest children (the 2 on the outside) and Cara's youngest 2 - I love how smiley they are.

Reason To Be Cheerful 3: I'm an Iron Maiden

I was delighted to receive a message from Mich this week informing me that I have won an iron in her recent blog competition - I know everyone always says it but I really never win anything - It is even more welcome as my iron is on the blink and there is LOTS of holiday ironing to be completed. People who know me well know I love a good iron and iron EVERYTHING - yes, even pyjamas, baby vests and bedding - don't shout at me!

Bit of a recap from last week: We went to see The Wizard of Oz in Liverpool - I'm still trying to make my mind up about it really. There were some bits that were really good like the singing and dance sketches. I did struggle to make out the words in the first half though as the sound quality was poor so this spoiled it a bit. Sarah-Jane Honeywell was good as was Bobby Davro but his jokes and impressions were a little dated - I will take a little more time to make my mind up on this one. Its coming on tour soon though so you could make your own mind up.

Thats it for this week - looking forward to catching up with the rest of the Reasons to be cheerful gang tomorrow.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

I am also joining in this week with Maxabella Loves's Blog Hop - Grateful For - looking forward to joining up with some Australian bloggers to see what is making their week that little bit more chirpy.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Gallery - Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Baby T will be having her first swim!

Post Edit: Since I first posted this (but couldn't publish it because I was in the deep dark depths of the Lake District) Baby T has had her first swim. She absolutely loved it - I wouldn't say she's ready for her 100m badge yet but she definitely seems as comfortable in the water as her sisters.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Listography - Laminated List


I cannot bring myself to use words for most of these as I am 37 and surely should be past this list by now! Needless to say some of these would seriously not have to speak!

For the reason for this post read here - Her laminated list is sooo much cooler than mine!