A short rant about… parents’ evening

Tonight is parents’ evening.

Oh joy!

I really dislike going to parents’ evening, partly because it means I have to leave the house at a time when I should be settling down to eat my dinner and watch some Dinner Date, but mainly because it always feels like a complete waste of time. The way I see it, if there was an actual problem, someone would get in touch, they wouldn’t wait until the next parents’ evening to tell me about it, and if there isn’t a problem then, well, quite frankly, what’s the point?

parents' evening

This is going to be what happens: Read more

Dealing with blog envy

I had a bit of a moment this afternoon where I had to check myself. (Before I wrecked myself, in the classic words of Ice Cube.)

I was mooching about on the internet, looking at other blogs, and getting decidedly depressed. I imagine it’s a bit like if you have an ugly baby and then you go to a baby group and see all the beautiful babies with perfectly round heads, huge eyes and rosy red cheeks. Except that has never happened to me because I make beautiful babies.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

I’m not so sure I make beautiful blogs though. Sure, I can spell and everything, and I use capital letters properly, and sometimes I’m a bit funny, but I’ve never been stylish. It makes sense I guess, when I look at myself in jeans, a netball hoodie, frilly socks and old lady shoes from Clarks. It doesn’t make me feel good though looking at other, better dressed blogs, where the posts are ‘carefully curated thoughts and images of the simple things in life’.

(I made that up. Perhaps I should use it though?)

Theodore Roosevelt said ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and he hit the nail right on the head.

Comparison is the thief of joy Read more

An interview with Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke about the new SpongeBob Movie: A Sponge Out Of Water

Following on from my interview with Antonio Banderas and review of the new SpongeBob Movie today I have the second in my series of interviews from New York. This one is with Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke, the real, actual voices of SpongeBob SquarePants and his best friend, Patrick Star.

spongebob and patrick

Bill and Tom were both lovely and it was hard to get them to stop talking; I only had to ask a few questions and they were away, bouncing off each other. I could see the assistant in the corner of my eye, gesturing for me to wind things up, but it was hard to get a word in edgeways; Bill and Tom clearly have a fantastic relationship, both on and off screen.

I was a little disappointed that neither of them admitted to accidentally slipping into character in the bedroom, but they were fantas

I flew to New York with Paramount to see the new SpongeBob Movie and interview the cast.

Five ways to get married on a budget

Today I am very pleased to welcome my very funny friend Lucy, with some top tips for planning a wedding on a budget. Please leave a comment if you enjoy the post!

budget wedding

My two girls are getting quite excited by the prospect of my imminent wedding. Despite raising them to spurn all things pink, romantic and princessey in favour of equality and female empowerment, they have been leaving notes for my partner to ‘definitely marry mummy’ since he first stepped his nervous foot into my house.

“So…something old?” questions my 9 year old daughter, Josie.

“That’s me!” quips my (slightly older) fiancé.

“Something new?” asks Josie.

“That’s you his new wife!” says my eldest, sarcastically.

“Something borrowed?”

“That’s the money to pay for the wedding!” I snort.

How we laugh. I should say, however, that it’s not quite true: we have been saving for the last year. It’s not so bad saving for something exciting like a wedding; you don’t mind sacrificing those new winter boots when you are excitedly planning your brideszilla Jordan-stylee 40-layer tulle extravaganza.

And some people really do spend ridiculous sums on their wedding day: the average cost of a wedding is now a terrifying £22,000. But it doesn’t need to be a horror story: here are my tips for a financial fairy-tale ending that will ensure that the ‘something blue’ isn’t you: Read more

Louis Theroux: By Reason Of Insanity

Right then, hands up if you watched Louis Theroux last night.

*surveys sea of hands*

Pretty good wasn’t it?

I’m a big fan. He has a wonderful way about him where he manages to get people to say honest and shocking things at the same time as making them feel like he might be on their side. It’s brilliant journalism and I watch with a mix of fascination and a slight envy at his skill.

I read a review this morning on The Guardian website that described Louis as ‘not looking out of place in a psychiatric hospital’. The author talks about a scene by a vending machine in which Louis could, apparently, be mistaken for another patient. “Seemingly put-out by the caffeine ban,” the author writes, “he paces in an agitated way. “I guess I’ll get water for now, is that what you’re getting?” he goes on, as if looking for some kind of reassurance or approval.”

Louis Theroux by reason of insanity Read more

An interview with Antonio Banderas about the new SpongeBob movie: A Sponge Out Of Water

Yes, that’s right, Antonio Banderas. And me. Face to face. In New York City.

Boom.

I was in New York to talk to Antonio Banderas about his role as Burger-Beard the Pirate in The SpongeBob Movie: A Sponge Out Of Water and the location for my interview was The Ritz Carlton, overlooking Central Park. I’d dressed up nice and brushed my hair and had a notebook and pen. I’d put together my questions at breakfast that morning and was imagining myself as pretty cool.

Although I was feeling reasonably well prepared for this interview, having already interviewed the director and figured out how things worked,* I was completely thrown the minute Antonio Banderas opened his mouth as he IS Puss in Boots.

If you’re not sure what I mean, listen to this short clip before you listen to my interview. It’s rather disconcerting to feel like you are actually interviewing a cat. Read more

Win a family ticket to Wychwood Festival, worth up to £420

Do you remember my sister going to Wychwood Festival last year? I’ll forgive you if you don’t – I barely remember it myself and she’s my sister. Suffice to say that she did, and they had such a good time that they actually bought tickets there and then for this years’s festival.*

I’m very excited indeed then to be able to giveaway a family bundle of tickets, (2 adults and 2 children up to 15 years old, plus camping), worth up to £420! Not a bad prize is it?

Wychwood takes place at Cheltenham racecourse from 29-31st May and although much loved as a family festival, it’s certainly not the kind of family festival that only caters for kids. As well as the children’s literary festival and favourites like Dick and Dom there are some fantastic musicians lined up, including The Wonder Stuff, The Proclaimers and Ladysmith Black Mamboza. There’s comedy too, with the likes of Mitch Benn, and workshops in just about everything you could imagine, from ukulele practice to Indian fusion dance.

Ladysmith-Black-Mambazo

To win yourself tickets to Wychwood Festival, just do as many of the things as you can in the rafflecopter widget below – the more you complete, the more chance you have of winning.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*A true fact.

REVIEW: SpongeBob Movie: A Sponge Out of Water

At the end of January I took a trip. It was a very exciting trip, a trip in which I got to fly to New York, wander around Central Park in the snow, ride the wooden escalators in Macy’s and, (she mentions oh so casually), interview some of the cast of the new SpongeBob movie, including the one and only Antonio Banderas. It was a little Bridget Jones-esque, as I wasn’t totally prepared for what that would involve, but more on that when I publish my interviews over the coming week.

(Sign up to email updates using that little box on the right hand side if you don’t want to miss them!)

Part of the trip then, before I did my celeb interview bit, was getting to watch the film. Here I must take a minute and admit that despite being told, by grown-ups, that the first film was actually very funny, I hadn’t seen it. I downloaded it to watch on the plane on the way over, and said grown-ups were right, it did have a good splash of adult humour. One of my peeves as a parent is having to sit through kids’ films that are made purely for kids – who do these film producers think pays for the tickets after all?

So there I am, popcorn in hand, in a cinema in the middle of New York, feeling that heady mixture of excitement and jet lag, waiting for the film, (or perhaps I should say ‘movie’ as I am in the US?), to begin.

To get you in the mood, here’s the trailer: Read more

REVIEW: Stable Star

Today I have a guest post from Belle! I am basically training up my whole family so that I can retire. She has been playing a game called Star Stable. I thought she would like it as she is a big fan of any game where you have to choose outfits or design anything. Her favourite bit of playing the Wii is designing the faces on the little people…

Star stable

Recently I was asked if I wanted to do a review of a computer game. Obviously I said yes because who doesn’t like playing them?

Anyway, at first I was really exited because I searched it up and it looked AWESOME! It was surprisingly really quick to download and soon I was creating my character and choosing my dream horse.

Unfortunately, the game is live play (that means it takes up the whole screen) so I could not take any pictures of it. 

I must admit that I wasn’t a pro at the start but I soon got the hang of it! I really enjoyed learning new skills like galloping, jumping and caring for my horse but most of all I loved racing!

I wasn’t particularly good at it… I had drawn the short straw and had chosen the silliest horse of them all, leaving me to constantly scream at the screen shouting stuff like ‘NO DON’T GO INTO THAT FENCE!’ or ‘slow down you ARE GOING TO DIE!’ but then I realised that it was because of my horse being unhappy, (poor horse), so I had to go on a special quest to find objects like hay, hoof pick, water bucket, and so on. In no time my horse was performing really well!

What I most enjoyed about the game was all of the different outfits and gear you could buy for you and your horse. I loved designing outfits and purchasing rainbow saddles and stirrups.

I really need to say that if you do decide to get this game then have fun and when you feel stuck and lost, trust me, it gets better.

By Belle x

Belle was given a free account for the purposes of this review.

 

 

An exclusive peek at the new Tesco ‘Family Magic’ video

I am a very recent but very happy convert to online grocery shopping. I had always thought that I rather liked the idea of mooching around a supermarket, squeezing the fruit for myself and spotting the bargains, but it turns out that I really don’t. I don’t like it at all.

What I do like it strolling around a very small supermarket, picking up treats, with little or no regard for actual meals. That, unfortunately, is not shopping.

I’m so glad I gave online shopping a go – it is no exaggeration to say that it has totally revolutionised by shopping experience. I love that you can place an order and come back and add the things you forget, rather than getting home and smacking yourself in the face because you forgot milk – the one thing you actually went for in the first place. I like how you can easily compare products like cashew nuts, which inexplicably appear in about three different places in an actual supermarket, and you even get reminded to buy your regular purchases. You also don’t have to do the awful bit of putting everything into carrier bags and lugging it to and from the boot.

It’s awesome.

That’s why, as a proper online shopping fan, I was more than happy to say yes to giving you a sneak peek of Tesco’s new Family Magic video, extolling the virtue of online shopping for families of budding magicians. I really love the bloopers video too.

If you do decide to give it a go, do check out Tesco ‘favourites’ feature – if you pop in your Clubcard number when you first register for online shopping it will add your in store favourites too, so even if you’ve never shopped online before it will be super easy right from the off.

Enjoy!

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