Rollercoaster Mum: January 2014

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding - a book review

This book club business is good. I have actually read a whole other grown up book and I wasn't even on holiday. The book club in question is the Britmums book club and the book this time was 'My Animals and Other Family' by Clare Balding.

Book review; My Family and Other Animals, Clare Balding
My well thumbed copy! 
Now I am not normally a biography kind of person, I've read the biggies like Nelson Mandela's and such but I don't tend to gravitate towards biographies. However I was drawn to Claire's firstly because of the title - I used to love Gerald Durrell's books when I was younger and his book 'My Family and Other Animals' is hilarious. Secondly Clare always comes across as a properly normal sort of person despite her slightly posh upbringing and celeb status.

As with most books these days it took me a while to read but this was no reflection on the writing. The book is written in a relaxed, humourous style and although the book is themed through her animals it is mostly about her rather eccentric family and Clare's life as she grew up. You get a great idea of what they were like, warts and all. From her father who undoubtedly shaped her as a person despite not really appreciating her, to her slightly scatty mother who once forgot to get her from boarding school and her quite frankly terrifying sounding Grandmother. Clare is sympathetic (and obviously still very fond of her family) despite being brutally honest about what they were like.

This is by no means a kiss and tell type biography (thank goodness - can't stand all that celebrity gossip nonsense), although I am sure people in the horse racing world would recognise a few people and she does mention the Queen occasionally (especially visiting them for breakfast) and how she managed to upset Princess Anne. It really is all about her growing up rather than her life since she went on telly fo which I am very glad. I am sure there may well be a sequel in there but not sure her honesty would go down as well with the sports stars that she must have met.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a fun,easy and entertaining read - good to pick up and put down again (always a plus when you have kids) but equally could be read in one go and blokes would probably enjoy it just as much as the girls

Disclosure: I was sent the book for free as a member of the Britmums Book Club but all view and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto

Flooded fields in the sunshine


OneDad3Girls


Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Year 2014 in photos - Week 4

Gaaah! Big fat fail on the catching up with life front (especially blogging) - again. Maybe next week....

In other news - we managed our second session of family time last Sunday - my choice this time as it was my birthday weekend. We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off from last week's disastrous Saturday and went off for a walk (dad and I ) and a bike ride (the girls) across the Ranges. The rest of the week was mainly routine - school, works, clubs, homework, although I did manage a cheeky meet up for lunch with one of my oldest and bestest friends. This was partly why I failed in catching up with life but as it was two years since the last time I can't really complain! Oh and the boiler was fixed - thank god.

Fleurie red wine - empty bottle
The empty bottle after last weeks 'orrible Saturday - and very nice it was too! 

winter tree reflections
The flooded ranges and blue sky made for some pretty pictures

family bike ride
The girls on their bikes - having a quick chat! The bike ride went remarkably well considering Little Miss hasn't been out much since she got her new bike before Christmas and she's still a bit wobbly sometimes! 

female mallard duck swimming
Practising with my new camera - the duck was a very long way away but I loved the blue water and the golden grasses.

sleeping peacefully
A rare picture of Bigger Miss peacefully asleep, surrounded by her beloved rabbits (maybe not so big after all!)

Emma Bridgewater birthday chicken mug
I didn't manage to get any pics of our lunch together but I enjoyed a steaming hot cup of coffee in my lovely new mug - a birthday pressie from my oldest best friend

Coal tit looking for food
And in further camera practice I give you a Coal Tit - loving the way the new camera can pick the birds up at a distance - they may be my new obsession! This one is aid of the RSPB's #BigGardenBirdwatch this weekend - just google it and spend an hour watching birds in your garden or park to help the birdies :)

For some more exciting adventures head on over to the Boy and Me:

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto

Feeding the birds - Blue Tit


OneDad3Girls


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Winnie the Pooh Day - January 18th

In celebration of the birth of A.A. Milne on 18th January 1882 , the creator of one our most loved bears - Winnie the Pooh - today is Winnie the Pooh Day! I have always loved Winnie the Pooh (the proper one - not the Disney one) and also the poems that A A Milne wrote for children. So here is one of Pooh's little ditties just to make you smile...

It's very, very funny, 
'Cos I know I had some honey;
'Cos it had a label on,
Saying HUNNY.

A goloptious full-up pot too,
And I don't know where it's got to,
No, I don't know where it's gone - 
Well, it's funny.


Winnie the Pooh and his Hunny


Friday, 17 January 2014

The Year 2014 in photos - Week 3

It's been an OK week I guess - until today - today was shit - but hey it'll get better. It already is - I have a glass of vino and the laptop and the boiler are working. There was some family time, a visit from the tooth fairy and even a birthday. So lets just get on with the photos:

Climbing in Alice Holt, Forestry Commission
Bigger Miss enjoying the first of our new weekly family time outings. This was her idea - to have a weekly family time so she got first choice. It doesn't have to be outings, could be playing games, lego, cooking - just time to spend as a family to make us all happier (it may take a few weeks!) Last week was a trip to Alice Holt Forest as it was a lovely day.

Fore on the Pirate Ship, Alice Holt Forest, Forestry Commission
Bigger Miss at the Fore on the Pirate Ship, Alice Holt Forest

Pirate Ship silouhette,, Alice Holt Forest

the big swing, Alice Holt Forest
Fun on the big swing at Alice Holt Forest

The church and the flock on a frosty morning
It was a frosty Sunday morning and I took this after I took Bigger Miss to Sunday School - I rather liked all the sheep in front of the church.

expecting a visit from the tooth fairy
Little Miss lost her first tooth on Monday - she was VERY excited, quite possibly the best thing ever apart from Christmas and Birthdays! 

frost patterns
Bit of an odd one but I was taken by the frost patterns on the car! 
As usual please do hop over to the Boy and Me to see how all the other lovely people are doing on this photo project....

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto

moon craters


OneDad3Girls

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Year 2014 in photos - Week 2

Back to reality with a bump this week - I hate the end of the Christmas holidays. Although we did get an inset day on Monday so it's really only been four days but boy, have they seemed long. The girls and I took a rare trip to the cinema on Monday to see 'Frozen' which I enjoyed far more than I thought I would and Little Miss adored, alternately squealing with giggles and hiding under my arm.

Photo-wise the good thing has been a few glimpses of that big shiny thing in the sky. I have been experimenting a bit again with what my camera can do zoom wise and taking photos into the light. The kids haven't featured much as they haven't done a lot. The only news on that front is a very loose tooth in Little Miss's mouth (first discovered, with much delight, on Boxing Day) which I have captured on film for prosperity.

sunshine through the trees in winter
A wintry, sunny afternoon shot.

Whale shaped cloud in wintry afternoon sunshine
Can you see a whale anywhere?

frosty winter sunshine
Frosty winter sunshine on the fields.

The horse's breath.

frosty green moss
frosty, green moss on the garden wall. 

wintry moss
more wintry moss! 

Winter spider's web.

the famous wobbly tooth
Little Miss showing off her wobbly tooth. 
For some more inspiration head on over to the Boy and Me:

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Also joining up with Mammasaurus's 'Better Photo Project' as I use picmonkey a lot and I have been trying to take better photos: 

Love All Blogs Better Photos Project

Friday, 10 January 2014

How Does My Garden Grow? RHS Wisley in the Winter

I have so many photos of gardens and days out that never get posted (no time grrrr) so I am going to try and start as I mean to go on in 2014. Kicking off with a post for 'How does my garden grow' over at Mammasaurus.

On a rare clear sunny day in the Christmas holidays we set off for RHS Wisley gardens to follow the enchanted story trail for the kids and for me to have a play with my new camera - so apologies for a slightly excessive number of pics. It looks like it may be nice again this weekend if you fancy a trip to Wisley (although the story trail has now gone), or you could go next week and they will have the butterflies in the glasshouse again (they are there until the beginning of March.) The girls enjoyed the story trail and running around the gardens but I was mainly taking pictures and experimenting with my new camera!

house and canal at RHS Wisley
The house and canal with the fountain - taken while the girls were being entertained with stories of pirates and avocados in the Loggia! 
RHS weathervane on the Loggia, RHS Wisley
The weathervane on the Loggia - experimenting with my new big zoom and different lights.

RHS Wisley in winter - the walled garden
Reflections in the Walled Garden



winter fountain in the Country Garden, RHS Wisley
Fountain in the Country Garden

RHS Wisley plants
Not sure what this is but was experimenting with closer shots with new camera and I liked the shape and colour.

greenhouse Fruit Demo Garden RHS Wisley - drying chillies
Fabulous colour of  some chillies drying in a greenhouse

Fruit demo garden RHS Wisley - fruit arches
Loved the shape of these fruit arches in the fruit demonstration garden.

green winter lettuce RHS Wisley
Pretty sure this one's a lettuce - looks good anyway! 

Winter veg RHS Wisley, leeks
The leaves from a leek in the winter veg garden  make a great pattern

pumpkin and gourd decorations RHS Wisley
The greenhouse in the veg garden still looked great with the autumn pumpkin and gourd decorations.

watching the ducks in the Rock Garden RHS Wisley
Little Miss watching the ducks on one of the ponds in the Rock Garden - one of them was whizzing around in and out of the water and being very funny.

winter bobble hat
Bigger Miss in quiet contemplation

view of the Glasshouse in winter, RHS Wisley
The Glasshouse looking rather lovely in the winter sunshine.
winter sunshine, The Glasshouse RHS Wisley
Experimenting with taking pictures into the sun at the Glasshouse lake.



bug sculpture Clore Learning Garden RHS Wisley
Though this fly/ant sculpture was rather cute! 

RHS Wisley Enchanted Story Trail
Listening to one of the story-tellers on the Enchanted Story Trail

sunlight through giant fan palm, Glasshouse, RHS Wisley
Late afternoon sunlight through a giant fan palm in the Glasshouse

giant parsnip, the Glasshouse RHS Wisley
The girls learning about the life of plants underground in the 'cave' in the Glasshouse

Beautiful natural Christmas decorations in the Glasshouse, RHS Wisley
And finally some of the beautiful, natural Christmas decorations in the Glasshouse
So if it's nice this weekend go off and explore a garden - even if your own is looking worse than awful (like mine!) For lots more garden porn head on over to Mammasaurus:

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?
Also linking with the lovely Coombe Mill for Country Kids (although there's not much about the kids they were there and they did enjoy it!)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 
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