Monday, 23 June 2014

#BritMumsLive, Two Ticks and a Wish

In my current school when marking the children's books we use two ticks and a wish type marking.  I'm not sure about this sometimes as it's like building someone up then pulling them back down again nevertheless I may end up using this methodology to talk about my first BritMums Live experience.

Women's voices and the media was one of the highlights.  The moment I loved most was when Helen Wills of Actually Mummy commented on the fact that she was still wearing her tiara and thought she might not be taken seriously because of it.  Perhaps it's the fact that I work with children or that I spend most of my time with a toddler who believes that swimsuits should be worn on all occasions but I didn't even notice that Helen was still wearing her tiara. What she had to say mattered, she could have been dressed in a monkey suit with a tutu on her head and I still would of taken her seriously because she had something of value to share with us and I think that's the point she was making, all of us have something of value to say and our voices matter.

I really enjoyed meeting with the representatives of the brands, for the most part they were friendly and had a lot of information and advice about what they do and how to work with them.  The also had great photo opportunities and competitions.

You obviously have cups of tea at your feet in the mountains :-)

I was a bit gutted that there were so many great sessions at the same time and I probably missed some of the ones I would have enjoyed the most.  Nigel camps session was fab, a real eye opener on making the most of your mobile phone but Emily Beecher's  story telling session was by far my favourite, she made it practical and brought out our creativity whilst still encouraging us to be honest and true to our own voices, not to mention her musical that I now have tickets for (excited grin.)  I had really wanted to hear Benjamin Brooks-Dutton speak but being that we had a late night Friday with a blogger pal (single super mummy) we met that day, I woke up late and missed it.

Thankfully I did get a chance to say hello when I purchased a copy of his book It's not raining daddy, it's happy.

Also the few bloggers that I met and interacted with were all lovely, I will have to push myself to talk to more next time, there were so many I wanted to meet but my anxiety at the thought of approaching new people held me back, I was very grateful my sister came along with me.  It might also have been nicer to have the name badges a little higher up so I didn't feel like a weirdo trying to read them :-)

My big sis and I rocking our Tiaras

Being in London a city that is famed as a multicultural melting pot there was very little representation from ethnic minorities, this is of course not the fault of the organisers but an observation all the same.

The key note speeches at the end had me go from a blubbering wreck (especially Sarah Pylas whose experiences of miscarriage I could really relate to) to a giggling nutter and were a great end to what turned out to be two lovely days.  Oh and of course there was the wine, lots and lots of wine!

Friday, 20 June 2014

MummaG's Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake

This cake was not perfect but then again neither am I.  It tastes nice and I had fun making it so thought I'd share the recipe with you.

You will need:
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
5 eggs
200g hazelnuts
150g plain chocolate
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder


1. Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and butter line a cake tin.
2. Start preparation for the cake by grinding the hazelnuts in a food processor (or you could save time by buying pre-ground nuts)
3. chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bain-marie, once melted set aside.
4. Using a whisk beat together the butter and sugar, gradually add the eggs and continue to beat.
5. Once the mixture is light and fluffy fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate.
6. Sift the flour and baking powder and add to the mixture.
7. Poor the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 45-55 minutes or until firm to the touch.
8.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the tin, cut and serve with ice-cream or cream (if desired).

This recipe was adapted from Good Food magazine January 2006

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Rules are Meant to be broken

Horror is not a genre of writing I usually consider and I don't even watch horror movies but when Dust and Love launched his competition I thought I would challenge myself and give it a try, so for this week I've written my prompt piece for Sara's linky as a horror story.

Here is my story...

The evening was still warm and the colours of summer rose to meet the sun in complete contrast to the dirt tagged walls of the alley that comforted me as I walked away.  I could still hear Mum shouting in the aggravating voice she always used to try to prove herself superior, to let me know that there was no way in hell that I could ever be right.  "The rules are there for a reason!"  I didn't care, since the sharp cold of winter I had awaited this day for the arrival of heat, the arrival of freedom and the arrival of The Bands.  The bands had come to our town every two years for as long as I can remember.  Mum had told me I wasn't allowed to see The Bands, that they were a monstrosity borne out of evil, but I was 18 now, nothing could stop me.  As I rounded the last corner of the alley my excitement rose to aerial heights, I could sense the presence of someone just beyond my gaze and knew it could only be one person.  I was right.  Kai ensnared me in his snake-like arms and held me for just a second longer than a friend would.  I lingered in that moment taking in his musky scent and allowing visceral feelings of lust to rise just below the surface of my skin forming goose bumps.

We walked the mile long journey to the park in near silence.  It was the first time I had seen him since that awkward period two weeks ago when I had been afraid in the cinema and reached for his hand.  This was my chance to make things normal again but there was something different about him today, something I couldn't quite work out.  I decided that I would wait until we were in the crowds before talking to him, that way if he said the thing I didn't want him to say I could pretend that it was too loud and I couldn't hear him.  As we neared the entrance to the park the sound was almost too loud to bear, Kai stopped me and looked me right in the eyes.  I found it hard to look back at him but his gaze was strong, he wanted my attention and he was not going to stop staring until he got it.  After what seemed like an age I focused my gaze on his, I was mesmerized, the shark grey of his eyes seemed to have collected the sunlight and cause me to lose all but the sense of sight.  I took this time to study his face, the face that I had slowly fallen in love with.  His naturally tanned skin smoothly caramelled his strong bone structure and slightly crooked nose.  I had always wanted to study his face like this but had been too shy, now that he had forced me to look, I couldn't help but notice every element of him.  That was when I saw it, a small tattoo hiding just below the freckles of his cheek bones, a Salgon, one of the most beautiful tattoos I had ever seen.  I had read about the Salgon before, a mythical creature of great allure, her brindled skin known to cause humans to become enslaved. Kai spoke and my trance was broken.  The words that came out of his mouth were not the ones I expected, rather than declaring his love for me, "keep safe" was all he had to say.

The park was more forest like than I had remembered and the clearing where The Bands were playing was much smaller, hundreds of people squashed together moving to the beat in a tribal like dance.  The faces in the crowd were ghostly and a fear began to rise within me, why had Kai chosen the words "keep safe" why had my mother been so against me going, I pictured her face again and in that moment, rather than the controlling angered face I thought I had seen the face that now appeared in my mind was that of dread, she wasn't trying to control me at all, she was afraid that something bad was going to happen.

A sudden panic struck me and I looked around for Kai to comfort me, but he was gone.  I pushed through the crowd looking at face after face, I hardly realised that the tone of the music had changed, the base guitars of The Bands replaced by an eerie screeching of violins.  Suddenly deafening screams came from near the stage and the people were beginning to stumble.  I felt a cold liquid trickle down the back of my neck I reached to  wipe it, soon after I looked down at my hands, I was met by the sight of a thick blood-like substance staining my fingers.  Looking up and in the sky a new terror arose in me, it was a Salgon, she filled the sky encircled by bodies drenched in their own blood convulsing and slurring their words as though suffering from hypothermia .  I screamed and ran from the spot determined not to become one of the enslaved.  Before I knew it the summers sky had darkened and the colours of summer were replaced by war scene clouds. The clearing was a little way behind me and I was now surrounded by trees, there were no people, no sound, no movement, apart from me running, I ran and ran until I felt his presence once again, I didn't know what to do, should I run from him, after all he had that tattoo, the image of which I could not get out of my head, or should I turn and run to him, allowing his arms to snake around me once again and take me away from this misery.  Though everything inside me told me to run away I remembered his words, "Keep safe."  Kai was my safe place.  I closed my eyes ran toward him he held me close then took my face into his hands and kissed me, slowly, passionately as though I was all he had been waiting for.  I pulled away and searched his face, this time not wanting to take in every element but merely to search for her.  His freckles remained prominent but she had gone, I breathed a sigh of relief.  As I took that breath a feeling of suffocation came over me, I stumbled back, my foot hitting a rock and causing me to fall flat on my back and there above me in the darkened sky the Salgon with her beautiful brindled skin called me to her.

It was the following day when I awoke to the sound of birds outside my bedroom window, perhaps it had been a dream, perhaps I could change my mind about The Bands and follow mums rules.  I went downstairs mum was sat in her chair looking out the window, I knelt next to her chair trying to think of words I could say to tell her how much I appreciated her, hoping that she would be the first to speak.  Mum didn't say a word, I scooted my body around the chair to face her and as I looked up I couldn't stop the vomit rise from my stomach and land in a pool on the floor mum was dead, her blood stained face imprinted with scratch marks.  I looked down at my hands fearing the worst and there buried beneath my fingernails was skin, blood, hair.  I got up and ran to the bathroom reaching the sink just in time to vomit again, pulling my hair back from my face I looked in the mirror and there staring back at me was my tattooed face, stood behind me was Kai, I turned, our eyes met, he kissed me again.  I had broken every rule.  But then again rules are meant to be broken.


Monday, 9 June 2014

I'm going to BritMums Live 2014

I purchased an early bird ticket some time last year and pursuaded my sister to come too, so for the first time ever I'm going to BritMums Live.  Hopefully the first of many!

Name: Gailann – (Gail for short) 
Twitter ID@fudgyann
Height: 5ft 2ish
Hair: Short afro, has a mind of it's own so who knows what it will be doing!
Eyes: Dark brown.
Is this your first blogging conference?
Yes, and I'm both nervous and excited.
Are you attending both days?
Yes and can't wait.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?
I'm looking forward to meeting other bloggers that I've not met in real life but have formed online friendships with.  I am also looking forward to meeting the brands and hearing the talks, really I can't pick one thing because I'm excited about it all.

What are you wearing?
I will probably be wearing Jeans (I'm nearly always wearing jeans) and a nice top, if the weather is good you might catch me in a dress.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014?
I am looking out to improve my blogging skills and hopefully get some great tips on taking my blog further.  I'm hoping to meet great brands and bloggers and enjoy the company of creative people.
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before?
As I'm a first timer I would love to have tips from those who have been before, and I look forward to meeting you all! :-)


To Reanne

Do our spirits age in heaven or are we ageless entities? Will you be the girl I remember or the one I wished you'd grown to be?
Are there windows up in heaven, do you watch us as we live?  Have you been the voice that warns me when I have little left to give?  Will I see your face and hold you, will you remember me?  Is the bond we shared unbreakable or is that fantasy?

I can hardly face the thought of all the things that you have missed.  I hope sixteen years in paradise has been total bliss.

It's hard for my to say this, even after all these years, happy birthday angel baby, receive this message through my tears. x

Friday, 6 June 2014

My Favourite Smell

I should have been a fairy, or perhaps I was before,
echoes of my past life leaving footprints by the shore.

I would hear the call of seagulls taking secrets out to sea
As they watch couples share a first kiss, children playing happily.

I would gaze at the clouds tell a story of those we've loved and lost, would feel teardrops fall from heaven and the early morning frost.

I would taste the air so gently as it passes over me but oh my favourite moment, I would smell the boundless sea.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

MummaG's Fish Curry

A little while ago I really fancied a curry and rather than just a vegetable curry, as I fancied something meaty and I've stopped eating meat except fish, I thought I'd try to make a fish curry.  It was really simple to make and as fish cooks quicker than other meats it was quick to prepare.

approximately 500g Haddock (or fish of your choice)
1 sweet pepper
1 chili pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
2 potatoes (can add more) 
1 tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp of curry powder
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed herbs
200ml of vegetable stock or water
oil to cook


1. Peel and chop raw ingredients including the fish.
2. Coat fish in herbs, black pepper and salt.

3. Heat oil in the pan on medium heat then add the peppers, onion and garlic until mildly brown.
4. Add the fish and cook through this should take about 5/6 minutes depending on heat.
5. Add the tomatoes water potatoes and curry powder.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. (or until potatoes are cooked)

And there you have it, serve with rice or pitta.

I served with pitta and decorated with red pepper

Remember to adjust the ingredients depending on your taste, you could even add coconut milk for a more creamy curry.  Will serve 2-4 people.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Seaside Fun - Country Kids

Before little man came along the princess and I were used to going on mini adventures, jumping in the car and ending up wherever the road lead us.  We were worried that with little man's car sickness we would never again get much further than a hours drive away from home.  Thankfully he now seems a lot less anxious when we travel by car and has stopped handing us the contents of his stomach in plastic bags.

Little man has been consistently asking me to go on holiday (I blame Peppa Pig for that) and as much as I'd like to take them away raising two children on a part time salary is challenging enough without adding luxuries like holidays to the mix.  As a compromise I told him we could go on a one day holiday by car.

We jumped in the car, planning to go to Southend but with no SatNav and a willingness to end up anywhere, our journey ended in Eastbourne.

The weather was fantastic and there wasn't a crowd of people fighting for space.  We had a great time collecting rocks, playing by the waters edge, enjoying the sea breeze, playing in the arcade and generally being silly.  This was one of those days that you make a special file for  in your memory bank and never let it go.

Mum and The Princess

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday