Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Yup, today's the last day of February, and I have managed to post a picture for each of the twenty eight days. *faints*  A couple were recycled photographs, but the majority were taken on the same day of posting*. I'm definitely not gifted with a camera, and as my only 'tool' was my mobile phone (which doesn't have the best camera on there anyway), none of the pictures will win any prizes, but it's definitely been a fun challenge to complete, even if the challenge was self-inflicted (so to speak).

I'm into the last hour of the last day of the month (leaving things almost until the last minute as usual), so my last photo was a 'grab something - ANYTHING!!!! - and take a piccy' kind of thing. *shifty* Tomorrow is St David's day (the patron saint of Wales), and I have pulled out my daughter's rugby shirt instead of her usual school uniform.  In her younger days, she would dutifully wear the traditional Welsh lady's costume, but she's now at that awkward age where the children's costumes are far too small, and the adult costumes are far too big. She's would prefer the traditional costume, of course (complete with hat and mop cap), but I kind of like the rugby shirt as the alternative option.

Happy St David's Day to my fellow Welshies!

 *One photo this month was taken by my husband, not me, but as he did it on my behalf when I couldn't leave the house, I figure it wasn't cheating. *winks*

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Pestering Plans Backfire

A couple of days ago I posted a note on my Facebook page alerting members of HPANA (the Harry Potter site that I moderate for) that I would be doing a mass delete of inactive story threads from the boards next week. The (somewhat sneaky) plan was to remind people that they have unfinished stories that need either completing, or saying good bye to. I was hoping that at least a few members would decide that completing a story was far better than having it deleted.

Anyway, a fair number of threads had people swiftly post a comment to them - making them technically 'active', thus ineligible for deletion - but most of these comments came from just a handful of readers who wanted to keep their favourite stories on the boards. Thankfully, there has also been a couple of authors posting too, with tentative plans to continue their stories.

So the plan worked in a way, though not as well as I would have liked. Unfortunately, it also backfired on me, and now the Guilty Star is hovering slightly too close for comfort. I had some friends post some pestering comments on three of my own threads. One of these threads contains short stories, and these types of threads are always safe as I believe they should always be available to read. However, I also have two longer length stories that I never got around to finishing, one of them substantially long. So I have spent the better part of today re-reading the last third of one of my own stories. It has been eighteen months since I last updated it (this is where that Guilty Star comes into play), and I seriously had no idea what was going on with it. I don't see me completing the two stories any time soon, but I owe it to myself to finish the story that I have, over the years, put a lot of work into. Not to mention that I also owe it to a bunch of readers who have stuck with me since 2005 -!- and have always returned to read whenever I posted one of my infrequent updates.

So the tale of Remus Lupin, boy-wolf, shy teen, and perhaps Best-Of-The-Marauders, shall soon be continued.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

An Experiment

One of the nicest things about having short hair (as well as the easy manageability factor) is that you get to show off some nice earrings. I had my ears pierced when I was seven, but eventually had to let them close because of an allergic reaction. Over the years I have attempted to wear earrings on special occasions, but usually I have given up because my earlobes decided to swell to about three times their normal size.

As I am going out for the evening, I have decided to give it another go. I grabbed a pair of my daughter's sterling silver earrings (I've only tried gold in the past), dipped them in boiling water, bathed my ears, and with surprising ease (considering my last attempt was for my wedding, six and a half years ago) pushed said earrings into my ears. They seem fine so far, but it's only been half an hour. I guess I'll find out by the end of the night whether my ears will still look normal, or whether they will look like they've been blown up like a balloon....

*crosses fingers*

Friday, 25 February 2011

Here's One I Made Earlier

Or rather, here's one I took earlier. A picture, that is. I completely forgot to take a picture today what with one thing and another, but I don't want to fail on my Post A Picture Every Day In February thingy, so I am recycling a photo I took last year. *nods*

I took this when me and the daughter were waiting for a bus one Sunday afternoon. I had been busy that day - I'd worked my 6-2 shift, gone home and cleaned the house, bathed the daughter and got us both ready for a trip to the local pub. It was karaoke, and we were meeting daddy. The daughter was bubbling because she couldn't wait to grab the mike and sing Taylor Swift and Keisha songs, and I was looking forward to my pint of Guinness after a hard day's slog.

One of the few pictures of myself that I like, but the memory is even better.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Last Minute Change Of Plan

There was a slight accident at work today. And when I mean slight, I actually mean quite major. And possibly fatal, but thank goodness nobody was around when it happened. One of the strip lights in the warehouse fell down, bringing large amounts of dust, metal from the shelving, and glass from the light itself down with it.

There was an almighty crash, but with my poor hearing I thought it was my colleague dropping a tray or something in the kitchen. *shifty* The warehouse floor was covered in debris and was in complete darkness. The lucky thing was that my colleague from the kitchen was about to walk through that exact area, so she had an extremely close call, and I myself had only been walking through the area minutes before that. *shudders*

Anyway, I meant to take a picture of the mess so that I could post it on here when I got home, but I forgot. *shifty once more* So here's a piccy of the ornament that used to sit on the computer desk in my living room, but since we now have the TV and computer linked, this little fella now lives on top of the hi-fi.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Just Ask! We're Here To Help!

So we got our new uniforms at work today, and they are a vast improvement on the sickly green coloured blouses and black waistcoats that we've had up until now. What's more, the people at the top have been quite generous this time around and issued everyone with one top per shift and a jacket too.

I now have three black polo shirts (much more comfortable and practical than those pesky blouses) and a black jacket. Black being my favourite colour to wear, this is a good thing. And I can live with the 'Spar, There For You' logo which is printed fairly discreetly on the front.

Not so keen on the logo emblazoned across the back in huge letters though...

I foresee a future of finger tapping on the shoulder.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Got Milk?

So Tuesday's the day that I do my weekly grocery shop, and this week was no different to any other. I mentally calculated the bill as I was going around the supermarket, I hunted for bargains, I tried to find something different for meals but ended up getting what I always get...

I hate it. Seriously, I loathe grocery shopping. I actually hate all shopping, but as I never have any money to spare, grocery shopping is about the only shopping that I do. I'm sure that if I had pounds to spare, I would enjoy it a lot more, but shopping on a strict budget is frustrating at the best of times, and downright stressful at the worst.

Today my fridge is full, but as we near the weekend it was slowly but surely become emptier, with less options for the daily main meal. One thing that I always have plenty of is milk. I get through four pints a day, and with the local supermarket having the bargain price of two four pinters for £1.60 (most other places charge the same price for one bottle), my fridge is overtaken by milk on my shopping day.

There, I'm sure you'll all sleep much better now that you know that. *snort*

Monday, 21 February 2011

Mugs Ahoy

I like mugs. Just to be clear, I mean the type you drink from, not people who are extremely gullible. Anyway, I DO like my mugs, and the bigger the better because I am a tea freak. I like the occasional cup of coffee, but tea is my preferred hot beverage.

Now, I have a perfectly good set of matching mugs draped over the branches of my mug tree, but I don't like to use them. I like my mismatched mugs, you see. The ones from the novelty Easter egg sets, the odd ones from the pound shops, the personalised ones, the one you accidentally let drop into your daughter's buggy when you were having a frothy coffee in Starbucks...


Anyway, mismatched mugs are my preferred container when I want a cuppa. Here's a small selection of my current batch:

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Avon Calling!!

I don't know about outside of the UK, but over here we have The Avon Lady. In years gone by she would be a middle-aged woman dressed impeccably in tweed, and she would call on you with a brochure to look through. The brochure would contain health and beauty products, and was strictly for women only.

Nowadays, the Avon Lady generally works from home and you only see her when she collects the brochures that she posted through your door several days previously. The products include the original cosmetics and body care stuff, but they now cater for men too. They also sell anything from handbags to lingerie.

The thing with Avon is that I never intend to buy anything, but I usually end up filling out an order form anyway. Mostly it is stuff I don't need, so why I order it I don't know. *is clueless*

This is the latest brochure that was given to me by my friend. I told myself I wouldn't even look at it, but, well, I of course ignored my own advice. Still, they did have a few bargains in there...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Tricky Time

Sometimes it's hard to believe that I am a mother of an almost fifteen year old and a nine year old. It seems like only a short while ago that I was fifteen myself, and I can remember some things from that age clearer than I can remember things that happened just a few short weeks ago. Whether that's because my teenage memories are mostly good, so I remember them fondly, or if it's because my brain is going a bit kooky now that I have a teenager of my own, is anyone's guess.

Anyway, this picture was taken when my son was six and my daughter a mere nine months. If I close my eyes, I can almost trick myself into thinking that was eight days rather than eight years ago, Time's a funny thing.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Slightly Imperfect

I got engaged on my nineteenth birthday, and now, almost sixteen years later, I still wear the same ring. One of the claws holding the stone in place is missing, so it is no longer perfect, but if I were offered a replacement I would refuse. We've been through a lot, my ring and I. As well as several thousand dips into soapy water, it has also survived many blips over the years where, like my relationship, it was on, off, then on again.

Like many things, it's maybe a little bit flawed but, again, like many things, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Never Too Late

Over eleven years after the fact, and thanks to my parents, there's finally a memorial stone at my daughter's resting place. It's taken a long time to happen, but better late than never.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Night Night, Sleep Tight

When my daughter goes to bed, there is a little bit of a routine involved. Along with the usual tidy up, don nightie and brush teeth, there is also the preparing of the bed itself.

The pillows need to be plumped, the five scatter cushions placed just so at the bottom of the bed, the dressing gown laid over the cushions, the character sleeping bag spread over the duvet. And last, but not least, the arrangement of her sleeping companions. These can differ from week to week, but Ellie Belly is always in there somewhere. Ellie Belly is the white teddy bear in the middle, and her namesake (my daughter) never sleeps without her. She is dressed most days in her specially made clothes, and she needs her nightie to wear for bed just like my daughter. She is starting to wear a bit now, but although I'm sure Ellie will love getting a new friend from the Build-a-Bear workshop, Ellie Belly will always be the one who shares her pillow.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Double Dutch

Okay, so the language isn't Dutch, it's Welsh, but it might as well be Dutch to me as despite being Welsh myself, I don't speak the language. The 'double' refers to the fact that every sign in Wales has the words printed both in English and Welsh (if that wasn't clear, though it probably was).

The funny thing about the Welsh language is that it seems to take more words to say something than it does in English. To be fair, this might not be unique to Welsh, but as I don't really know any other languages (apart from a little French and Italian), I can't really prove this.

Thus this post doesn't really have a point, and might as well be Double Dutch, just like the sign is.

Here endeth the ramble. *nods*

Monday, 14 February 2011

Post and Run

Yup, it's a case of sending a picture message, opening my email, saving to desktop and uploading to Blogger. Absolutely no interesting photo opportunities today, so the picture that I took this morning for emergencies such as these is being used much sooner than I hoped. Ah well.


Wherever Big Puss goes, Little Puss follows. I guess the double temptation of heat from the radiator and heat from the sun-warmed windows was too much to resist.

And yup, they were fighting about two minutes after I took this.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Another Sunday, and another 6 till 2 shift at Spar. Aside from the general customer dealings and office work, my main responsibilities include the chilled and produce sections. Every shift that I work I usually check all of the 'use by' dates on the bread, the dairy, the chilled and the produce, then reduce accordingly and remove things that are out of date. These checks are done daily and most of the staff take their turn, but as I always work the early shift it is usually down to me on 'my' days.

Aside from these checks, we either have an order to make up or a delivery to put out for these sections six days out of seven. It's all hands on deck for the delivery, but the orders are done by the manager or supervisors only, so being a supervisor means that I'm in charge of ordering the correct amount of products for two of the three weekly orders.

Hence today's picture, for I always seem to have my head stuck in a fridge (er, not literally, but you know what I mean) whenever I am at work.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


I am having a lazy day today, which translates as staying in my jim-jams and not venturing outside. Therefore I am limited in my photo opportunities. I wandered through the house searching for something to capture on my camera, and while I lingered in my bedroom (taking a piccy of some books for Monday's post on BB&B), I spotted the framed picture that my daughter made several years ago.

Usually we are bombarded with all of the pictures and crafts that our kids make during school hours, but the local primary school decided a few years ago that if they framed a piece of artwork made by every child in the school, they could make some money (not that I am being cynical or anything). The area I live in is not known for being affluent - in fact the majority of families are on welfare - so it was quite stressful for those families who had several children in the school, for of course they could not buy one picture without buying the others. Luckily I only had two children in the school, and the hubby was working. Despite the somewhat mercenary tactics of the school, it was a nice idea to have a framed piece of artwork made by your own child. My son's was rather abstract (and I will no doubt share on another lazy day), but my daughter's efforts were definitely more girly, and definitely appropriate for a child of four.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Mixing The Old With The New

Cardiff, my home city, is getting more and more popular every year. We've become a tourist magnet in the last ten years, mostly because of our sporting amenities, and the recently upgraded shopping centres. It's safe to say that there has been a lot of improvements made to the structural look of the city in the last two decades, but dotted here and there amongst the more modern stuff, we still have some nice Victorian buildings gracing our streets.

One of the nicest is the library in Canton, which was erected and 'donated' to the people of Cardiff over a century ago in 1906. You would think that an old fashioned building like this one would look odd amongst all of the supermarkets, betting shops and estate agents that fill up the busy Cowbridge Road, but it doesn't. I think it fits in quite nicely.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mrs Boombastic

So I have some new neighbours (on both sides of my house, actually), and both are young mums who appear to like their music. A lot. Now, I've got nothing against playing music in the house - even loud music - I mean, I like to blast some tunes when the mood takes me too. I don't even mind the type of music as I generally like most things anyway.

What I don't like is when the music starts pumping and is still going strong hours later. Hours and hours later. Weekends, yes, up until a certain time. And I understand that people have parties on Saturday nights. But I have to get up before the sun rises three days a week, and despite my poor hearing, I can hear the thump thump thump long into the wee hours of the morning. Not good.

Me being me,  I decided to make a point. It stands to reason that if you are up partying until three or four in the morning, you are going to want to stay asleep until at least eleven the following day. Now, I have children who are early risers, and generally the entire household is well awake by nine. I figure some nice loud music is a good way to start the day. *shifty* So my spiffy 3ft speakers are now perched on my brand new sideboards, and are thump thump thumping along quite nicely, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Fond of Found Favourites #2

Ack!! It's almost 6pm and I've been on the go all day!  Nothing's inspiring me in the house, and as I'm currently slouching around in my pyjamas, I don't think I'll be venturing outside this evening to take a picture. So it's going to have to be a 'Fond of Found Favourites #2' post today. *nods*

I have taken a picture - so it's still a fresh photo (sort of) *shifty* - of a photo that I found the other day of my previous puss. Dipsy (my son was one at the time of naming, and heavily into the Teletubbies *eyeroll*) was run over and killed by a speeding driver five years ago, and I still miss her. She was supposed to be the family pet, but as far as she was concerned she was MY cat - she was bad tempered with everyone except me, and I was the only person she allowed to hold her. She was soft and cuddly, and she used to love being cradled just like a human baby. Damn all speedy drivers who use small side streets to avoid speed bumps!!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ooh Er

It's cold, damp and foggy here in the Diff today, and I have about ten minutes before I have to leave for a work thingy, so this post is even shorter than ever, but a short post is better than no post, right? Don't want to miss a day seeing as I am doing quite well so far this month...

Anywho, on my walk to the Post Office this morning (during which visibility was very poor), I walked past several road signs. Now, me being me (someone who never fails to miss an innuendo opportunity), I couldn't resist taking a shot of one of these signs, particularly as I always have a Giggle Moment whenever I see them.


Monday, 7 February 2011

Fond of Found Favourites

If you've been reading in the last week, you'll know that I've been busy decorating, putting furniture together, and just generally sorting through years and years of accumulated paraphernalia (love that word!). In today's effort, me and the hubby went through a large chest in the living room in order to empty it and move one of the new (and recently put together) sideboards in its place. Amongst the things we found (including scart leads, cables, batteries, old newspapers and a whole load of this and that) were some photographs.

In this age of digital cameras, we don't actually have an awful lot of pictures taken the old fashioned way - most of them are now stored on the PC - and as the various computers in the house have only been around for a handful of years, we found some great prints of the kids. Plenty of shots of my boy's first couple of years (which I no doubt will be using for bribery purposes in the years to come), some nice pictures of my previous cat (now in Feline Heaven), and some photos from my wedding in 2006. This particular shot is a forgotten favourite of mine. I love it when we come across unexpected memories!

When my kids were still in the 'cute' stage...

*The quality isn't that great (nor has it been for any of my Phebruary Photos), but I only have a camera phone, and not a very good one at that. :(

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Working Weekend

It being a Sunday, and almost 3pm (as I start to type this), I am cream crackered (as the saying goes). I only work 16 hours a week, but half of those hours fall on a Sunday when I work the 6 -2 shift. There aren't any buses so early in the morning, so I have to leave the house by 5.20am at the latest if I am to get there in plenty of time before my shift starts. That means a 4.30am alarm call. *mutters darkly*

Now, I'm not a morning person at the best of times, and Sundays are traditionally the day where you are supposed to get a lie-in, so it's safe to say that I don't really like working a Sunday. The shift itself is fine; I have plenty to do without being rushed, so the time passes swiftly, plus I work with a great colleague who likes a giggle, and like me, will get everything done and not moan about it. Barring the odd problem here and there, the shift runs like clockwork every week. No, the shift isn't the problem. it's the day.

Sundays are manic at my house, even without spending half the day at work. There's the roast lunch to prepare and tidy up from (the hubby does the cooking now that I work, but the clearing up is down to me), the general pick-up-after-the-kids-and-cats that has to be done several times a day, the washing and ironing of school uniforms ready for the following day, kicking the teenager up the butt to get him to have a bath, the bathing of daughter followed by weekly nit inspection... the chores seem endless. By the time I get home I am so tired that the thought of having to get all of this done makes me groan.

Work should be banned on Sundays, I reckon.*nods*

I works in the Spar, like, innit.

Afterthought: Come to think of it, ironing should be banned too. Wrinkles should permanently be in fashion. *nods again*

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Screw This!

In keeping with what appears to be the month of sprucing up the house, today we put together a swanky new solid pine sideboard for the living room. Flat-packed furniture should come with a health warning, because aside from the threat of hammering your fingers by mistake, there is also the very real danger of baldness due to the copious amount of hair-pulling that inevitably occurs.

It took me and the hubby the better part of four hours to put together this thing. Okay, the hubby did most of the work while I simply held things in place and passed screws and whatnot. The instructions were spread over eleven -!- pages, with 84 wooden dowel pegs (that had to be glued), around fifty screws, and fifty-something nails. And here I was looking forward to a stress-free day!

And the best thing yet? We have another one to put together tomorrow. *dies* It's all fun.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Groovy Bedroom

The kids' bedrooms are finally finished! Yay! I still have to buy them new carpets, but the budget just didn't stretch this month by the time I'd bought the paint, curtains, new bedding and whatnot, but the worst of the work is done. Hubby appears to have the decorating bug and it looks like we'll be attempting the hall, stairs and landing next week *cringes*, but for the next two days I am blissfully free from being covered in emulsion (and there was much rejoicing).

The light wasn't very good to take a decent picture, but I snapped a shot of the clock now adorning Ellie's newly painted lilac walls, and as the clock says, it is indeed a 'groovy bedroom'. At least, Ellie thinks so anyway, and that's the most important thing, right?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Temporary Measures

Around the beginning of December last year we had the first of several heavy snowfalls. My daughter's school was closed for a couple of days, but when the weather cleared up and school should have re-opened, the kids still couldn't return. The extreme cold had caused the pipes in the school's roof to burst, and the entire junior block was completely flooded. Every single classroom - on both floors - was a couple of feet deep in water, and everything - and I do mean everything - was ruined. Computers, furniture, all of the children's artwork, even the Christmas gifts that the children had begun to take in for their teachers.Some of the teachers were in tears at the huge loss. We were all just thankful that the pipes had burst over a weekend rather than during school hours.

Needless to say, the building is now undergoing serious work in order for it to be fit for use again. In the meantime, the school has rented half a dozen portacabins so that the children can still attend school without having to be shipped out to other locations. The building itself is unlikely to be re-opened until mid-to-late March, and so my daughter now has her lessons in these funny-looking temporary classrooms.

And that is the 'story' behind today's picture.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Posing Pussycats

Yup, anyone who knows me at all, knows how much I love my pussycats. *nods* I'm very maternal in nature, and as I'm unlikely to have any more children (the two that I have already are more than enough), my cats are my babies. I've usually only ever had one at a time (hubby is not so much of a fan), but last year, my hubby floored me by getting me a kitty for my birthday.

The tabby is the elder puss - Belle - and my daughter rather unfortunately named the tortie Angel, which, considering what a little minx she is, is not at all apt. They cost me a fortune to feed, drive me insane with their almost constant fighting, and always seem to be getting under my feet, but I love them to bits. And every now and again, they pause in their scrapping and actually get along rather well, going so far as to groom each other between boxing bouts. Ah bless.

We is pawsing in our fighting...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Black Hole

Eurgh, January's blog count was an abysmal four. Four! Shameful! *glares at self* So, in order to not make February as disgraceful as January, I am creating a new label - Phebruary Photos (I was going to have February Fotos, but both have spelling errors and I preferred PH to F) - and promising to post every day of this month (erk). It's the shortest month of the year, so already I am ahead (sort of), and as I am planning only short blogs consisting of a daily photo (taken by moi, so don't expect visual greatness) and a short, rambling explanation (of course), then hopefully I will succeed. *nods*

So, as I am currently in the process of decorating both my kids' bedrooms, I figured a snap of my boy's room (presently at that half between stage) would be appropriate. He is having virtually everything painted black, with just odd bits glossed in white. I think, with the silver accessories, it will look phab (*shifty*) when it's done, even if I say so myself. *nods*

The Black Hole of the title references the cupboard above, which used to contain board games and what not, but is now home to around 100 original videos and about 200 video tapes (each with three or four movies recorded from the TV). This collection has been building up since my boy was about six, and along with the 200+  DVDs that he also has, makes space a limited option in his tiny attic bedroom. So it was goodbye to the board games and last remaining toys, I'm afraid. Ah well, they were just gathering dust anyway...