Archive for February, 2012

So here I am, on a Tuesday morning just waiting to leave to collect my jet setting daughter from Heathrow.  I learnt over night via Twitter that she was delivered to JFK in a stretch limo, as you do, and from Facebook that she has added some more electric ink to her small but perfectly formed body.  And what have I been doing?? Oh yes … I have just walked back in the house from my latest mission of trying to catch my chicken, Mrs Hen, who is showing signs of being poorly.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the baked beans she ate on Sunday, so I referred to my daily life curing manual and ultimate encyclopedia of life.. GOOGLE!  Loads of other chicken owners, many of them possibly fanatics/nutters from America, post on a chat allotment website and a smallholdings site “the essential tool for Smallholders“, and I think from what they are chatting about she may have ‘Sour Crop‘.  So to cut a long story short, after a mad chase around the paddock, I got her back into her nesting box, managed with the assistance of a willing helper (my husband, who is desperately trying to leave for work in his suit!).  After accidently shutting her foot in the door, I held her upside down by her feet hoping that some foul smelling fluid would slip out of her beak (that’s what the chat room said would happen!), but alas, my tactical chunder stunt wasn’t quite as effective as I had been led to believe.  Another site said put some Apple Cider Vinegar into her water, and give her live natural yoghurt and garlic .. shame for both of us that I hadn’t read this handy tip first!


Anyway, just checked the British Airways  website and the BA182 is due a little bit earlier than schedule, so poor Mrs Hen will have to wait for her next appointment with the in-house vet!!



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Time flies!

Another week has flown by in a flash.  We have gone from Arctic conditions the previous week to the mid 60’s by this weekend.. No wonder nature is confused .. my daffodils don’t know if they are coming or going, the chickens are in a kerfuffle and are having a second molt and I am now suffering withdrawal symptoms from having to move out of my thermal vest!

I have just been reminiscing looking at old photos of when all three of my girls fitted in the bath together happily.  It’s Sunday night and I am sadly watching Dancing on Ice whilst my eldest is jet setting in New York, number two is pre-lashing and clubbing in Oxford and my baby is evaluating the impact of wind farms versus global warming!  If I am wondering what is occurring in New York I can refer to Twitter for the latest updates from my daughter, Facebook provides me with instant banter and photos that tell me who and what is going down in Oxford.  And I have just received an email from my baby, with her completed Geography homework, to be printed out…. technology at its finest!  What has happened to the art of conversation?  My thumbs are the fittest now that they have ever been thanks to my Blackberry and BBM….  not the crumble variety!

Sitting on the sofa with a computer on my lap, feeling like Mission Control at my fingertips.  Fortunately my husband and I can still converse in real-time, face to face, seated in the same room, so before he watches Ben Fogul swimming with crocodiles in Australia I shall put in my order for a nice cuppa tea!

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Well I have just returned from a wonderful half term holiday break, that was incredible value for money.  I dispatched my husband to the Middle East on business for the week .. well someone has to!  I logged onto Amazon and purchased both Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker, the first two books in this gripping, intriguing trilogy and set out some ground rules for myself as follows:

  • Heating thermostat must be turned up at all times (no husband around to fiddle with the dial!)
  • Do not feel guilty sitting on the sofa with a roaring log fire reading (you are on holiday!)
  • Limit oneself to one fun size bag of Cadburys mini eggs per day (move on to Minstrels if will power fails!)
  • Dogs to be walked at least once a day to avoid a) a mess in the house and garden and b) to avoid deep vein thrombosis from all that sitting!
  • Flexible meal times for kids (small adults!) with a mantra of DIY if any complaints are registered!
  • A maximum of one load of washing to be done on alternate days.
  • White wine permissible as required!
  • Desperate Housewives, TOWIE, Eastenders, Celebrity Juice and Chick Flicks to be watched when not reading

I didn’t realise that holidaying in your own home could be so relaxing.  I ventured out to a shop once to buy a little romantic meal for two to eat on Valentines day with my youngest, and had a girlie dinner in one night with two of my girls, plus my oldest friend and my god daughter.  I rustled up a quick Nigella Curry in a Hurry and dipped some gorgeous strawberries in dark chocolate for dessert.  I was going to upload a video for this recipe for those Nigella fans but I couldn’t get it to work.  Incidentally my husband says I remind him of Nigella; not sure if it is because of her epic rack, or her passion for cooking!

Anyway, I am now totally hooked in the Fifty Shades Trilogy .. not quite the literature I am used to reading; not because of its lack of  intellectual stimulation, but its core theme of sadomasochism which was not a topic talked about in the convent I was educated in!    Definitely not a suitable recommend for the village book club, however, it’s the psychological level that is the most entrancing making the third in the trilogy a must!  Found this picture and it sums up in a few words what I mean:

And then my holiday came to an abrupt end on Friday!  Husband returned from Dubai, daughter and boyfriend returned from Oxford, and the washing machine hasn’t stopped whirring since.  Made a special birthday dinner for my future son-in-law, who has this nasty habit of giving my husband “quirky” gifts  .. this time a poster of the Periodic Table of Sex … thanks Rob (not!!)  And I had even made him some special birthday cupcakes AND a Banoffee Pie!

It’s now Monday, my  holiday is over and it’s back to the real world now!

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Can’t believe it’s Friday already!  I know they say that as you get older, time passes even faster so on that basis I must be totally ancient!  At the beginning of the week I despatched my youngest daughter (15) from her comfort zone in Surrey up to the the big wide world of London.  Initially she was understandably apprehensive, especially because she has been living up there for the week, however judging by what she was tweeting last night, I am considering puttting her room up for rent:


“Coming back to Surrey tomorrow! #boring

“Still going as a business woman!! Just had corporate drinks#poshlyhammered

“Found lots of perfect husband material up in the banking district!”

“Can’t help but think my Dorking life is so dull compared to this”

“I think I underestimated London”


I am looking forward to her supporting me in my care home in the future, when her career as a city Lawyer has taken off!  I am thinking payback time!  On the subject of dementia, I don’t appear to be the only one in the family showing early signs.  During this week my middle daughter has lost, replaced and then found her student ID, lost, paid for a ticket and then found her free bus pass and then there is this all time classic sign of madness.  After cooking a non-student budget, designer lunch of freshly grilled tuna with rice, she sits down to tuck in, when the Uni fire alarm goes off.  Most people who are sane and value their lives, leave what they are doing immediately and evacuate, but oh no!  Mad people scurry to their bedroom with their plate full of food and hide away and keep tucking in!  Maybe a twin room in Sunrise is an option .. come to think of it, I have a husband who thinks he is a dog, and comments as if he is our dog, Wilfred, on Facebook.  Maybe we need a family suite, and with a Lawyers salary that will be possible!


On the subject of madness, I took my mum to the Opticians yesterday, which was an epic mission in itself.  I managed to park on the only patch of ice in the car park, and as she placed her walking stick down as she vacated the car, nearly re-broke her hip.  Then she convinced herself she had never been to this Optician before, and that it had changed locations, and whilst taking her back to the car she had a panic attack, refused to move, and accused me of navigating her to the wrong car park!  On the positive side, and there is always one in my experience from my half full perspective, her eyesight has improved over 12 months.  She had been diagnosed previously with Macular Degeneration; she had been recommended to take Lutein,an important natural antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy.  It seems to have worked!

Lutein in a strong dose for M.D.


And then there was the return of the snow, and we are back into the artic conditions that arrived 7 days ago …



I am now looking forward to the arrival of my personal copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, which I shall be devouring over half term!




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It takes a lot for me to leave the Surrey Hills these days!  Most commonly, it is for a flight to somewhere exotic, but today I left the comfort of my own home for another reason.   As George Meredith, famous novelist and poet, quoted at the turn of the 20th Century “Nowhere in England is richer foliage or wilder downs and fresher woodlands“.  I exchanged the ‘snowy’ woodlands for London, as today was a big day for my youngest daughter.  She has work experience this week prior to completing her GCSE’s in the Summer, and she is extremely fortunate to be spending the week in London, based in Inner Temple with my oldest school friend who is a Planning and Environmental Barrister.  What a beautiful place to work from, steeped in history, and set in a stunning location, with unrivaled views of London.



She has a unique agenda for a 15 year old budding Lawyer .. a day at the House of Commons, a day with a Criminal Law Firm, and a day with a City firm of Solicitors, not to mention spending time in Chambers with some Junior Barristers.  I managed to convince her that thigh high stretchy lycra skirts were possibly not quite appropriate this week.  I was so proud of her this morning, dressed in a tailored black suit, with knee length skirt and hair pulled into a bun.  She needed to show her passport to the man at the station, to convince him she was entitled to a child’s ticket!

So that’s my number three on the path of a career (hopefully), and I wonder if it was a coincidence that last night I dreamt that I wanted another baby (which incidentally I really don’t!).

Before I headed back to the Surrey Hills, I darted into W H Smiths at the station to find a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, and sadly they don’t stock it either!  Am now contemplating buying a Kindle so I can download the Trilogy.

And now I am back home, away from the buzz of London, back with my snow bound chickens, and dogs wondering what to rustle up for dinner …  found an interesting packet of Sainsbury’s Porcini Mushroom Risotto Kit that I think I will do something with.. probably without the chickens though!



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So this started off as a simple question posted on Facebook by a friend who has relocated to New York, and has possibly joined a book club there?  “Has anyone read Fifty Shades of Grey?”  Well I hadn’t even heard of this book until about 24 hours ago, and the only book with a hue in the title that I have ever read is The Colour Purple.  Because this particular friend is a great girlie (formally Brown Owl in the Village before she left for the Big Apple!) and has a wicked sense of humor, and is someone who is similar to me, I quickly Googled the book in question and now I find myself curiously intrigued, and on the brink of parting with £18.31 for this paperback.  May I suggest that you start with the Amazon reviews especially the first one from Claires Book Corner!  She talks very openly and intimately and seems to have an instant obsession for the main character, Mr Christian Grey, and she seems quite happy to express her feelings in public!  Then there is a review from another lady which you can read here : Read:React:Review  this is her opening paragraph: “Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel self-published by first-time British author E.L. James in 2011 which has already spawned two sequels and, maybe, a movie deal. I just read it and have, naturally, fifty things to say. Adults, read on:”

Hot off the press from New York via Facebook of course, I have just received a first hand review from my friend in question … “Definitely porn , to be honest I’ve never really read this sort of stuff before but everyone is going mad for it here , sold out everywhere , ladies giggling in book shops , and apparently increasing night time Activity ! The book ends with you having to get the next one to find out If???”  

 I would be interested to know if anyone has already read this book, or even the sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.







The only time I read actual books these days is on holiday, so if I get some positive feedback, I may have to log into BA.com and really get booking!

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Not sure if it is only our crazy family that says “White Rabbits” on the first day of each month, based on our close affiliation with bunnies, or if there are other people around the country that utter the same greeting to see in the new month??  I must have inbuilt this superstition into my kids, as my Blackberry buzzed at around 4.23 this morning when my insomniac daughter sent me her monthly ‘White Rabbits’ greeting from Uni in Oxford!  I am beginning to question if going to University these days represents value for money in the first year?  In her second semester she only has two hours of lectures on a Monday, and a full day on a Thursday, leaving five out of seven days free, for a post night out clubbing lay in!  Since 16th December when she completed her first batch of exams, she has had the sum total of 47 minutes of lectures and it is now 1st February!  At precisely 00.17 this morning I got my monthly e-mail from the uni accommodation office saying that they have successfully debited £681 from my credit card to finance her very small bedroom …  thank you for pointing out that it is me that is funding this student lifestyle each month!

I want to share with you my top purchase this season, which on this very freezing morning has come into its own!  Its a Marks and Spencers thermal vest!  I bought it originally to take on our ski trip, however, it is so warm, soft and snugly, that I find myself slipping it on most days now!  Is it possible to become so attached to a vest I wonder? I used to think thermals were for old people in danger of catching a chill, but I have to confess I am now an addict!  And at £12 each I reckon that is quite a harmless addiction, and am tempted to go online and order some more.

And one other tip as an alternative winter warmer … I just quickly rustled up some Carrot and Parsnip Soup for lunch, which has provided me with an instant warm hug in a mug!  I didn’t follow a particular recipe, but have just googled one in case anyone is in need of inspiration:  Creamy Carrot and Parsnip Soup  It is so yummy, wholesome and healthy and took about 30 minutes to make!  What with a vest, hot soup and my age, this could end up being a recipe for a hot flush!!

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