Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Big Momma Challenge: week 4

Last week I was ill but still managed to lose over 3lbs. This week I was struck down again but this time with something much more deadly ~ complacency. Yes folks, it got me and I have suffered as a result of it.


Let's have a look at how I got on with last week's targets:

a further 3lbs weight loss; no loss this week because I managed to gain 1¼lbs, which reduces my total weight loss to 8¾lbs. *hangs head in shame* Why did I gain weight? Well let's look at the evidence:

to walk an average of 80 minutes a day; I actually did okay with the walking although I didn't increase the amount of walking time, instead I decided to increase the pace.  Instead of my usual 50 minute walk at a steady pace I started doing the same walk at a brisk pace and over the week managed to get the walk done in under 35 minutes most days with my best time being 32 minutes.  I pleased with that, although I need to get out more if weather permits.

to finally get on my bike; no, did I hell as like. The bike remains untouched by human hands.

to do at least one other form of exercise. No, and I can give you a very good reason why. I'm a lazy arse.
 
The biggest problem for me this week was my weakness for snacking. But I did gain some insight into one of my definite food triggers - alcohol.  I only have to have one glass of wine and I immediately start scoffing anything that isn't nailed down, usually crisps.  Obviously that's not my only trigger, because I haven't got this fat without just overeating generally but this was a useful lesson for me this week. Have you figured out what your food triggers are yet?
 
So, the complacency set in much earlier than I expected and I suffered as a result.  My own fault, I know, but I'm not going to let it deter me.  I have so much weight to lose I can't afford to do this again.  I'm going to give myself a kick up my own backside and get on with it.
 
Okay, I'm going to set targets for this week:
  • at least 3lbs loss;
  • to get that bloody bike out of the bike shed;
  • to do one of my unused exercise DVDs;
  • to get rid of any clothes that are now too big for me (there are a couple of things already!) or are unflattering (The Teenager is going to help with that).
If you'd like to join the other bloggers who are doing the Big Momma Challenge please feel free to jump in! Just add the logo to your weekly update and link in to this post during the week.  Good luck everyone!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Book Giveaway: Tessie picks the winner

Last week I had some lovely children's books to give away, and as they were books about rescue dogs I thought my very own rescue dog, Tessie,  should be involved. 

I set out the names of the people who had entered onto pieces of paper with a doggy treat on each one:



then I opened the door and let Tessie come in...

..and she chose the winner....


Well done Rosie! Please email me with your details and I'll send the books off to you.

And thanks to everyone else who entered the draw.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Dispatches from the chalkface: part 3

These were sent to me by a friend, they're all answers given by students on past exam papers.  Enjoy!










...and finally, my personal favourite...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Adrift


a rudderless boat being buffeted by the waves
this way and that
without direction

you can never truly be yourself
he said
until both your parents are gone

i remember those words
said long before the time
when they would mean anything

a broken family
five siblings without strong connections
and not enough to keep me here

nothing to anchor me 
other than work and school
and I feel the pull of the sea

a shoreline with breaking waves
a village with friendly faces
new beginnings

somewhere far enough away
 to start anew
wherever the current takes me



Image of Tahiti by my baby brother, a naval officer. Thanks T.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Big Momma Challenge: Week 3

It's that time of the week when I do an update.  I can't believe it's already week 3 of the challenge, and I hope everyone who is taking part has had a good week. 


Pamela has been looking for ways to avoid late night snacking (also my weakness) and has a great tip, plus she shared a list of Words to Avoid on a Menu, very handy for when you're eating out.

Pondering Plastic Surgery blogged about her obsession the bathroom scales, and coming to terms with her current size.  If it's any consolation PPS we are the same height  but I'm much heavier than you.

Very Bored in Catalunya realised she could go to a BBQ, have a couple of glasses of wine and still lose weight! I think it's all about finding a balance.

And Karamina blogged about wanting to set an example to her daughter, and getting away from the diet mentality.  For some reason though I can't seem to find the correct link to that post - Karamina can you help?


Caroline returned from holiday to begin the challenge, and spent much of the first week getting organised but still managed to lose a whopping 3.4lbs!

My targets for last week were:
• at least one bike ride; once again this didn't happen, although in my defence I wasn't well this week, read on...


• to increase my daily walking time with Tess;  my average daily walking time for the week is only 30 minutes, however there is a very good reason for this.

About 10 days ago I started having a very sharp pain in my ribs which got gradually worse over last weekend.  My GP diagnosed it as costochondritis which is an inflammation of the cartilage between each rib (and it even hurt when I was breathing normally, never mind coughing or sneezing!) and she prescribed a very strong painkiller as the ones I'd been taking were not effective. Unfortunately I had a very strong reaction to the painkillers which meant I was feeling pretty ill for the next couple of days, in fact I only started to feel back to normal yesterday. So the walking has suffered, and there were a couple of days when the girls had to take Tessie out because I wasn't well enough.  But I'm back on track now so hope to improve on my time for next week.


• to work out a plan of healthy meal options and stick to it. I haven't managed to do a full week's plan, but I've been planning 2 or 3 days ahead and that's been working fine.  It means I can have the right foods in and organise meals properly.
 
• a 3lb weight loss; despite the illness this week - or maybe because of it? - I've lost a further 3¾lbs, making a cumulative total of 10lbs.
 
My targets for this week are:
  • a further 3lbs weight loss;
  • to walk an average of 80 minutes a day;
  • to finally get on my bike!;
  • to do at least one other form of exercise.
This week something of a food revelation happened.  On Sunday I was really hungry.  I mean, really hungry, and I knew that an avocado salad - which was what I had planned - just wasn't going to touch the sides. So I made myself a bowl of pasta.  Yes - pasta with a plain  passata sauce, nice and simple, and I only made enough for one bowlful which in itself is something of a first.  I really enjoyed the pasta, the hunger went and I didn't feel the need to eat anything else that evening.  I think this is the first time I've ever really listened to my body and also haven't binged after 'lapsing', because previously pasta = naughty food. A valuable lesson about finding that balance between bingeing and making a healthy choice.


I also decided to make a list of reasons why I need to lose weight and get fit:
  1. Health reasons: to relieve the pressure on my creaky knees and aching back;
  2. to set a good example to my two daughters, I don't want them to go through those influential teenage years with an obese mum;
  3. So that I can stop being the funny fat girl at work;
  4. to look good for my age;
  5. so that I can have some photographs taken of the three of us without cringeing at the results;
  6. to avoid buying clothes that are too small for me so that I can "diet into them".  Never happens;
  7. to feel good about myself again;
  8. to increase my energy and fitness levels;
  9. to maybe find love again;
  10. to be able to shop for clothes anywhere, and not just in the big momma clothes shops!
Well done to everyone who has taken part this week, and please feel free to join us on the Big Momma Challenge - the more the merrier!  Please use the BMC badge on your blog posts and link back to here during the week.  Good luck!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Film recommendations for the weekend


Okay, so I admit to being slightly peeved that when Jonathon Ross left the BBC his vacated role of Film 2010 host wasn't offered to me.  Didn't even get a sniff at it. No screen test, nothing.  They gave it to that Claudia Winkelman person.  I mean really.

But, not to be deterred here are my very own recommendations if you fancy watching a film at home this weekend.

Up In The Air starring my future husband, George Clooney. It's about a businessman (Clooney) who never stops travelling and along the way meets a kindred spirit, Alex,  played by Vera Farmiga. He begins to realise that life isn't about the journey but about the connections you make along the way. This film is so clever, so beautifully acted, so thought-provoking that I'm not going to say anything other than this: please watch it.

Gran Torino As far as I'm concerned you can't go wrong with a film directed by (and starring) Clint Eastwood.  For me he has the magic touch, and some of the films he has directed are among my personal favourites - Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby to name but two. So when I hired this film I had high hopes, and my god, it lives up to that and more.

Eastwood plays a Korean War veteran who lives in an increasingly Asian neighbourhood.  He doesn't like  his family, he hates his new neighbours and the only thing that he loves is his classic Gran Torino car.  One day he is forced to defend his new neighbours against violent thugs, and his life changes. A beautiful, sad, heartbreaking film.  Brilliant, just brilliant.

Last Chance Harvey is a note perfect romantic comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. That might seem like an odd couple for a romcom, and indeed that's part of the appeal of this film.  Hoffman plays a New Yorker visiting London for his estranged daughter's wedding, and Thompson plays an airport market researcher who is everyone's friend but nobody's lover.  Tell me about it.  Anyway, it's a lovely film although it did actually make me cry at one point. A lot.

Emma Thompson, who can convey silent hurt perfectly, is great as the world-weary, emotionally tired Kate, and Hoffman is a pleasant surprise.  Highly recommended.

District 9 a sci-fi film - but don't let that put you off.  I reviewed it here.

And films to avoid?  Well, let's see. 

Have you heard about the Morgans? which I reviewed here. Shockingly bad.

It's Complicated which on paper sounds great.  It has Meryl Streep and the under-used Steve Martin in a romantic comedy so yes, it should work.  I wanted it to work. Only problem is it also has the man whose head is too big for his body, Alec Baldwin AND the film is way, way too long.  I almost lost the will to live two thirds of the way through. 

Edge of Darkness a thriller which hasn't fared well due to unfavourable comparisons to the fantastically successful TV series from the 1980s.  I hadn't actually seen the TV series so I thought I could watch it for its own worth, but I turned it off about a third of the way in.  I lost interest in the characters, the plot was clunky and I mean, does anyone actually take Mel Gibson seriously these days?

The Invention of Lying a Ricky Gervais comedy which is also his directorial debut. The premise is simple enough: what if nobody in the world told lies?  Then one day, Gervais' character realises that if he tells lies people believe him and it sets in motion a series of events which culminate in him being hailed as a prophet. The joke is great for about 20 minutes, especially some of the sight gags but unfortunately for us the film has another 80 minutes of lame material. A real shame.

Do you have any film recommendations or ones to avoid of your own?
Image for Last Chance Harvey from picasaweb.google.com

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Book giveaway: Bailey's Story - Celebrating 150 years of Battersea Dog's Home

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a dog lover. It's almost a year - 2nd August last year to be exact - since we adopted our beloved Tessie from a greyhound charity.  There are so many dogs looking for homes and there is a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that you have given a home to a dog from an animal shelter.  Probably the most famous of these is Battersea Dogs and Cats home, so I was pleased to be contacted by Random House recently about a new range of reading books for children.

In 2010, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Since 1860 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has cared for more than three million animals and every one of those animals has a story. Battersea Dogs Home tells the story of six of those animals: Chester, Rusty, Bailey, Max, Daisy and Misty. Each story is based on a real-life dog who turned up at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and will feature their photo and fact-file. You can read the first chapter of Bailey's Story here:



There is the story of Bailey, the shy but loving dalmation puppy, who is nervous of his new surroundings. Chester, the russet-brown lurcher who loves exploring his new home and making friends with the local dogs. Daisy, the cute border collie puppy adopted to keep elderly black labrador, Morris, company. Rusty, the terrier who loves jumping in the garden pond and even the bathtub. Max, the incredibly clumsy golden labrador retriever and Misty, the adorable beagle puppy.

All royalties are going to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home - so buying this book really will help real-life animals find homes. The books are £4.99 each and are published by Red Fox, and are aimed at the 5-7 age range.  The books are really charming, and even though Tall Daughter is 10 she still enjoyed reading them and she loved the feature at the back of each book on the real-life dog the story is based on.

I'm also delighted to have copies of Bailey's Story and Misty's Story to giveaway.  Please leave a comment if you would like to enter the draw for the books.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Big Momma Challenge: Week 2

First of all apologies for the late update, this should have been posted yesterday.

Since last week I've been trying to get a bit more organised by keeping a walking diary and planning meals ahead of time, although I still have a lot more work to do with that. These are the targets I set for myself last week:

at least one long bike ride : didn't manage to do this, not sure why.  It seems to take longer to organise a bike ride than a walk!

• I aim to take Tessie for 30 minute walks before breakfast instead of her usual 15 minutes. She gets a longer walk later in the day, but it'll mean getting up at 6am so must remember not to press the snooze button.

Erm...managed to do this only twice, the first time I got up at 6am and Tessie looked at me from her comfy bed with a look of disgust.  Did I mention that greyhounds are lazy?  Really, they're known as the 40 mph couch potatoes, and never has a truer word been spoken.  I managed to drag her out, but apart from another 6am start I only managed 20 minutes for the rest of the morning walks. 


I did start a walking diary though, keeping a log of the minutes I walked with Tessie each day.  Yesterday I totted it all up and found I had walked for an average of one hour per day.  Pretty good, but I'll try for a bit longer this week.

• to organise meal plans for the following week to help with food shopping: This still needs some work. By Thursday I'd run out of healthy options and ended up having a sausage butty.  Not ideal but it tasted great with brown sauce. Yum.

• a weight loss of 3lbs:  Despite the sausage butty indiscretion I still managed a pleasing loss of 3¼lbs.  That means my total weight loss so far is 6¼lbs. I'm chuffed with that.
 
I'm going to set new targets for this week:
  • a 3lb weight loss;
  • at least one bike ride;
  • to increase my daily walking time with Tess;
  • to work out a plan of healthy meal options and stick to it. 
This week I did something I'd be meaning to do for a while. I went through my wardrobe and took out all of the clothes that no longer fitted me because I'd put on so much weight.  This is my wardrobe before the sort out:

and this is it after I'd taken out all the clothes that were too small, which included a lot of brand new items with the labels still on:


Quite a difference I think you'll agree.  So I've reached a decision.  I'm not going to buy any more clothes until I've lost a significant amount of weight, and only then if it's essential.  I think I've got enough unworn items to keep me going in the meantime.

After last week's first post about the Big Momma Challenge I was really pleased by the reaction of other bloggers and tweeters.  I received loads of supportive comments, emails and tweets about it and it has really motivated me. Thank you all so much! Not only that but a few other bloggers pledged to join the Big Momma Challenge which has really made me more focused about it. I think it's easier to lose weight and keep fit if you do it as a group, and I'm hoping that we'll get more people joining us as we go along.  If you fancy joining us please download the BMC logo and add it to your blog post and link back to here.

Good luck everyone for this week, and don't worry if you got off to a bad start - it really does take a bit of organising and getting your head around it all. 

I can't wait to read everyone's updates.  Please add your link below during this week so we can see how you're all doing!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

My most brilliant and witty blog posts


Sometimes I write the most fantastic blog posts.  Really, they're bloody brilliant they are. They're witty and interesting, they're thought-provoking and relevant.  They're so good I really impress myself.  Unfortunately you can't read them because they're all in my head.

Y'see I write the best blog posts when I'm out walking my loyal hound Tessie.  As she gallops over the fields my mind drifts off to a subject I want to write about.  I can think of the opening line (always hard for me), I can easily imagine the best image to use and the title is just so obvious.

As we walk along and Tessie chases squirrels to her heart's content, I am quietly amazed by my writing skills.  I chuckle to myself at the little humorous touches I'll use, and nod sagely as the words come to me - it's all so easy.

When we get home I immediately make a cup of tea and settle down in front of the pc to amaze you all with my erudition.  My hands are poised over the keys to capture all the amazing lines I'd thought of, and...... nothing.  Not a single word of that brilliant, brilliant post remains.  Where'd it go?

I look at Tessie for some inspiration, but she looks at me with  a look of....what is it? Yeah...almost pity.  She's a wise one that dog.


Image from Geek and Poke via Flickr

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The times, they are a changin'


The Teenager came from school the other day and as usual I asked about her day. 

"Mum, you know my friend Lois?"
"yes"
"Well, she's got a girlfriend.  She's gay."

There was no scandalous undertone to her voice, she was just passing on some new information in a very matter of fact way, just the same way she might tell me that her friend had a new hairstyle. 

I was so impressed that her friend had been confident enough to talk to her friends about her sexuality. When I think back to when I was a teenager I didn't know anyone who was gay. Well, that's not true of course - I did know people who were gay, I just didn't know they were. In those days there would be a huge amount of shame and guilt placed upon young people if they felt their sexual preferences were not 'the norm'. I'm sure that some of that shame and guilt is still around today, but it must have been so much more difficult  to 'come out' over 30 years ago compared to now.

When I was the Teenager's age there was a boy at our school who everyone thought might be gay.  Nobody had any proof, and he certainly never said he was, but just the suspicion was enough to ensure he was taunted mercilessly by others.  I remember he only had female friends because the boys wouldn't hang around with him in case they caught it.

Compare this to the two slightly older  boys in The Teenager's dance class who are also openly gay, and another boy who recently discussed with his friends his wish to have a sex-change when he's older.  These boys are popular at school and socialise with a group of (straight) boys and girls. How amazing that these young people are so open, and how fantastic that they have such accepting, non-judgemental friends. 

My daughter's relaxed attitude to her friend's sexuality wasn't a surprise. We have some very close gay friends and as a result my girls have always known that men can have relationships with men, and women with woman. Not because I have been lecturing them about it in a very right-on, pc-way, but because that's what they've seen in their everyday lives.

A couple of years ago they were flower girls at a friend's civil partnership ceremony and Tall Daughter took this news into school to share during 'show and tell'. She came home and said that she'd had to explain to some children, who didn't know what it meant, how the law had changed and what a civil partnership ceremony was about. The idea of a child explaining this to another child in a non-judgemental way was the perfect way to learn about it, I thought.

But maybe I'm living in a little bubble here. Am I alone in thinking that younger people are finding it easier to be open about their sexuality?  Or are the majority still being persecuted because of it?  I don't think that's the case anymore, but maybe you know differently.  Over to you.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Giveaway: tickets for the GO!GO!GO! Show

The school holidays are upon us and our little monsters darlings will be looking forward to all sorts of fun things to do during the summer break.  That's 6 or 7 weeks of keeping the little sweeties entertained. 

I may be able to help.

The GO!GO!GO! Show is playing at London's West End from the 20th to the 31st of July. Tickets don't actually go on sale until 15th July but I have been offered a family ticket to giveaway to one of my lovely readers! 

The box office have kindly offered to accommodate either 2 parents and 2 children, or one parent and 3 children. Show Times are Tuesday - Friday 2.30pm and Saturday & Sunday: 11am & 2.30pm.

This is some of the information I've been sent:

"The team behind the project has an undisputed track record of success. Music is by Mike Stock & Steve Crosby (Stock/Aitken/Waterman, Steps, Kylie, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley, Bananarama). The story is by Dean Wilkinson (Ant & Dec, SM:TV, CBBC, Disney). Choreography is by Paul Domaine (BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance, Royal Variety, Eurovision; Steps, Dannii Minogue, Sugababes). And the director is Carole Todd (Dreamboats & Petticoats, Elvis The Musical, Buddy, Dancing In The Streets).

With brand new pop songs, five young performers and a sock-stealing Fluffalope, the show is packed full of music, dancing, jokes, magic and a story that all the family can enjoy this summer. The adventure is an energetic song and dance fuelled extravaganza with stacks of laughs and audience interaction… It is suitable for kids of all ages."

Even though the marketing says this is aimed at children of all ages I thought it would appeal more to smaller children, but after looking at the website with my two girls The Teenager started begging me to take her to see it!  You can find out more about the show by taking a look at the very colourful Go!Go!Go! website which has songs, games and some fun ideas.  But be warned: the songs are so catchy you will be singing them for hours.  I know, because it happened to me.
If you'd like the family ticket for the show, please leave a comment below and I'll draw a name out of the hat on Friday 16th. Good luck!

Image supplied.  Tickets kindly donated by Mummymarketing. 

Who would you put on the naughty step?

I've been tagged by Liz from Living with Kids with a fun meme about who you would choose to put on the naughty step.  Y'know, someone who needs a bit of time out to think about their behaviour.

I had a good think about this, and although several names popped into my head the one that kept coming back to me was the England Football team.  And that includes the £5m a year coach.  By the way, I bet you've never seen Postman Pat and Signore Capelli in the same room have you? 


On the day of the World Cup final it seems fitting to tell this bunch of big girls' blouses that they're paid obscene amounts of money to kick a ball around a field - and they're rubbish at it! I'm bored of their petulant behaviour, and hearing about their WAGs, their exotic holidays and their flashy lifestyles.  Because when it comes down to it they just don't deserve the money or the adulation. I think they need a major pay cut - (performance related pay similar to a factory worker seems like a good idea to me) a kick up the backside and some time on the naughty step to reflect on how they've let this country down. 

Phew. That feels better.  And I'm not even a football fan.

I'm passing this on to the following bloggers/tweeters: Very Bored in Catalunya; Forty Not Out; Chez Aspie; @StellaF; @carolinemathews Have fun!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Big Momma Challenge: Week 1


So, here we are.  It's week one of the Big Momma Challenge, so called because The Teenager recently referred to my clothes as Big Momma clothes.  It's ok, she's been grounded for life although in an attempt to try and grovel she designed the badge for my challenge - I think she did a great job, but she's still grounded.  Hehe.

Anyway, let's talk numbers: I weighed myself last week and again this morning and I've lost 3lbs.  Not bad for the first week but I have so much to lose, 70lbs in total if I want to get down to a reasonable and healthy weight for my height.  Yes, you read that correctly. When I calculated how much weight I wanted to lose I was shocked - in fact I checked it twice to make sure I hadn't hit the wrong button on the calcultor, but no - 5 stone equals 70lbs. Crikey.

This week I've upped the amount of time I spend walking Tessie, and also increased the speed at which I walk. And of course I've eaten a more healthy diet, and when I say diet I mean just healthier choices instead of the snack-and-run approach I usually take.  I know I won't stick to a crash diet or go to a diet club (tried it once and couldn't bear the ritual humiliation) so I'm trying to make a lifestyle change instead by choosing smaller portions, healthier foods and trying to get my five-a-day fruit and veggies into my daily routine.

This week I'm setting myself these targets:
  • at least one long bike ride
  • I aim to take Tessie for 30 minute walks before breakfast instead of her usual 15 minutes. She gets a longer walk later in the day, but it'll mean getting up at 6am so must remember not to press the snooze button...
  • to organise meal plans for the following week to help with food shopping.
  • a weight loss of 3lbs.
If you fancy joining me on the challenge, please feel free to use the Big Momma blog badge and let me know how you are getting on each week. 

And I'd love your support with this - I need to do this primarily for health reasons, so if you feel inclined to whoop from the sidelines please do!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

My Life as an eejit*

You may have noticed my shiny new blog template.  What do you think?  I like it because it looks clean and clutter-free, unlike my house.  It's one of those fancy new design templates that Blogger has started doing.

Small problem.

When I changed the template, my comments disappeared AGAIN.  So, undeterred I went back to the Disqus site and reinstalled the comment system. Easy eh?

It didn't work.

I've tried to remedy it but to be frank I don't really know what I'm doing.  Back in May when I bought my domain name the comments disappeared, but this time not only have the comments gone but the comment system has gone too.  Have a look at the bottom of this post - there's nowhere to leave a comment is there? I've emailed Disqus Help but they can take a few days to get back.

If any of you lovely people have any advice or suggestions on how to restore my Disqus comments system, please email me at Notsupermum [at] hotmail [dot] com.   Thanks.

Note to self:  do not meddle with blog again.

*Eejit: Irish/Scottish slang for idiot.  One of my favourite words to use when driving.

UPDATE:  I decided to take my life in my own hands and try and restore my old template using the back-up.  It worked!!  I won't be trying any new fangled improvements without the advice of someone who knows what they're doing.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Ten Things About Me? How about six?

Kayleigh from Fashionably Later tagged me with a great meme back in May, but it has been on the back burner while I tried to think of ten things that wouldn't make you lapse into a coma from boredom.  Okay then, here goes.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

1. I don't have pieced ears and never will have. Nope. Not me. Why? Because I have an ear phobia.  I can't bear it if people put earrings in when I'm around, it actually makes me feel queasy.  I would prefer it if my girls never got their ears pierced but The Teenager had hers pierced recently (her Dad took her) and I have to remind her not to leave her earrings lying around in the bathroom.   Urghh. Even the children at school know better than to ask me to help them with earrings, I heard a girl say recently say "don't ask Miss, she doesn't do ears."

2. I like hairy men, as in body hair - chest, back, etc. Sorry if that's TMI! I also quite like bald men.  So if you're a tall, bald yet hairy single man, get in touch. OMG, I can't believe I'm telling the blogosphere my penchant for hairy men....

3. Since I was a small girl I have loved watching film musicals.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; the Sound of Music; West Side Story; On The Town; White Christmas and so on.  But my favourite film star and song and dance man has always been Gene Kelly.  So any film with him in it is a winner in my books.  My earliest memory of Gene Kelly is in a film called The Pirate, which I recently managed to find on DVD.  Bliss.

4. My favourite tipple is either white wine or a good quality cider.  In fact, I think I'm beginning to prefer cider more these days but when I say a good quality cider I want it to taste like actual cider and not just be strong enough to take the roof of my mouth off.  P.s. During the course of researching this bit, I accidentally bought a case of cider from Westons. Oops.

5. I hate McDonalds. Hate, hate, hate. It would take me too long to go into detail about why, but I dislike their attempt at world domination; the insidious advertising to small children (nursery visits from Ronald McDonald anyone?) the plastic tasting food; and the whole ethos of churning out junk food to the masses. When the Teenager was a toddler I didn't want to take her to get a Silly Meal so I told her that Ronald McDonald ate children. Did I mention how evil I am? It worked for a while until she got wise to it. Drat that clever girl. However, I've still managed to avoid taking the girls there and have compromised by getting a meal thrown out of the window (as they liked to call the Drive Thru when they were little.)

Wow....so far that's only five things, and I'm struggling....erm...

One of my favourite types of music to listen to is by the artist musician and composer Mícheal ó Súilleabháin.  I'm not completely sure how to describe it but I'd say it's a traditional Irish classical sound.  I first heard his music on TV many years ago and as a fan of all things Irish I was immediately struck by the romance and emotion in his music.  I have a collection of CDs by ó Súilleabháin which I like to listen to when I'm alone and relaxing and feeling nostalgic for Ireland.  I struggled to find any pieces by him to share, but this is a particularly beautiful piece:



I tried to get to ten, honestly I did, but after struggling to get to six I thought that was punishment enough for all of us.

If you fancy having a go yourself - and believe me it's harder than it looks, just link back to here so I can read your list.  Thanks!