Tuesday 30 November 2010

A drive through my Derbyshire family history

As I headed off on my weekend away on Friday I suddenly noticed that I was about to start driving through lots of places that feature on my family tree! It was as the traffic ground to a halt at the pinch point where the M57 is squeezed to the A57 at Mottram in Longdendale that this really clicked.

View Larger Map
This is where my 8x great grandparents John Bradley and Ann Hollingworth were born in the 1680s. I couldn't see the parish church of St Michael and All Angels in the dark but for about 100 years this was the place which witnessed the baptisms, marriages and burials of my Bradley, Hollingworth and Band ancestors:

© Copyright Stephen Burton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Co-operative Membership Fund

The Cooperative Membership Fund

The Co-operative Community Fund is looking for people to carry out positive work in the community.

The Co-operative Community Fund is a grant scheme, which helps local communities throughout the UK. Thousands of clubs, community groups and local charities have benefited. Please see accompanying videos, photos etc.
The scheme is funded by generous members of The Co-operative donating some of their share of profits, which is then given away in the form of small grants. This year The Co-operative Members have donated £1.2 million to local community groups across the country. To qualify for a grant projects must address a community issue, provide long term benefit to the community, support co-operative values and principles & be innovative
The Co-operative has real values and true commitments, not just empty corporate mission statements. When we claim something, it's true. When we commit to change, we make it happen.
There are some great stories happening in local communities and The Co-operative supports those stories and helps them to happen.
This campaign really demonstrates our core co-operative values of giving back to the communities that we serve.

Monday 29 November 2010

Single With Kids Xmas Party Weekend at Hargate Hall

First of all a big thank you to Chrissie at Single With Kids for inviting me along to this Christmas weekend with my children. I have been wanting to try out one their single parent holidays for a while now and this was too good an opportunity to miss!

The weekend guest list included about 35 children and their parents. The setting was Hargate Hall at Wormhill in Derbyshire which is a converted country house that is now holiday apartments with some communal areas. My children and I were very excited as we drove up a twisting country road in the dark and saw the lights of the house ahead. 

Thursday 25 November 2010

EDF EnergyTaskforce

EDF ENERGY and EDF launches "Energy TaskForce", a serious game for young engineers who are passionate about energy!

“Energy TaskForce” is a serious game that will be played out over a 3-week period this coming January. If you’re an engineer, a student or a young graduate, and you think you know the various disciplines in the energy sector, you can already register in teams of 4 at http://energytaskforce.edf.com and visit the game’s Facebook page: 

Wednesday 24 November 2010

The Gallery: Black and White

Lovely theme from Tara for this week's gallery a good excuse to play around with a favourite photo:

There maybe a 91 year age gap but they are very close together in love. 

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Treasure Chest

I was one of the lucky parents who helped walk my son's nursery class (27 children) to Kendal library today. We were accorded a police escort in the form of PC "Bill" who stopped the traffic on the two roads we had to cross. He must be one of the tallest constables around and towered over the children!

On arriving at the library the children made special crowns with glue and sticky tape which required quite a lot of adult intervention! After this strenuous activity they were fortified with water or milk and a choice of fruit (libraries weren't like that in my day!). They all then sat entranced as the librarians read them two stories with some audience participation.

They were rewarded for the patience with a quick action song session with them all having fun joining in. In fact it looked so much fun some adults with disabilities joined in after being surprised by the normally quiet library being such a hive of activity.

Monday 22 November 2010

Lucky Lady

I really can't believe what a lucky lady I am this week as I've won not one but two random draws on blogs! This follows on from a previous win at Beckicklesie.

Some of the blogs have fabulous prizes on offer at the minute often merely for following them and leaving a comment! It's certainly helped my Christmas budget and may even help out with birthday presents in 2011 too...

My first lucky draw was from the wonderful Tim at Bringing Up Charlie from whom I have won Fun and Games for the 21st Century Family:

Saturday 20 November 2010

Saturday Swap Shop

It's Saturday night I did have an idea for a blogpost but its too late to write it now so going for an easy option! I love Mummy's Little Monkey's Blow Your Own Bloghorn idea so I am going to add to that with a Saturday Swap Shop... 

Add your own blog to the Linky below and then pop over and visit other people's blogs as they appear on here. If this works then I may repeat again next weekend! Please also pop over to MLM and add to her list of lovely blogs.

If you want add a comment as to what your blog is about or which ones listed you've loved to visit.

Friday 19 November 2010

South Lakes Wildlife Park

Before I moved to Cumbria in the summer I'd never been to the South Lakes Wildlife Park at Dalton in Furness. We had our own little zoo at Drusillas to visit at home so why do that on holiday! Then once we moved I wanted to make sure that the children could do similar things as we'd done down south but on a much smaller budget. Even though the Park wasn't a huge cost it was well beyond my means so I shelved any visit until the traditional free period in the winter!

This winter the Park has made this even longer by starting in November and going on until mid February for adults and Easter for children! The owner knows that families are on tighter budgets this year and so is doing his little bit to help. Of course during the winter many of the animals are rather inactive and in their indoor accommodation but its still worth a visit. There is also lots of maintenance and building work going on. With no entrance price the Park welcomes donations to help their conservation work.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Christmas is coming?

My daughter was informed in a letter from Santa there are only 37 more sleeps until Christmas! Despite the fact that Christmas goods have been in the shops for months I've not really been switched on to Christmas until now as certain key factors are now coming into play.

Its not the fact that TV adverts have been in Christmas mode for sometime either and the catalogues are all plugging Christmas Specials. Maybe its the fact that Father Christmas is coming to turn our town lights on this weekend? He is going to be parading down from K Village with his reindeer to perform this act. The workmen were frantically trying to finish the wiring today! A great sign for me is that my Park Love2Shop vouchers were delivered this week so I can finally afford to go shopping after saving since last Christmas...

Wednesday 17 November 2010

TalkTalk: Possibly the worst customer service in the world

A few weeks ago I allowed myself to be seduced by a telephone salesman to sign up for cheaper phone and broadband with TalkTalk. This is despite the fact I'd said I'd never use them after their intransigence over my husband's old phone account with them (more of that here).

Almost as soon as I'd hung up and rushed out the door on the school run I was thinking have I done the right thing? I decided to mull over it and talked about it with my dad - after all you have the right to cancel after any bit of sales over the phone. The more I thought about it the more I decided against it.

Several years ago the incompetence of their technical support team had contributed to my dad being hospitalised. Basically they kept telling him something was wrong in the house when it turned on someone at their end hadn't plugged something in! This was the final straw for my dad's stress levels hence the hospitalisation.

My dad also pointed out that I would lose my BT Vision service by switching. Pausing and recording TV have become an essential for my busy family. This was confirmed by @BTCare on Twitter. The final nail in the coffin was the leaving letter from BT which reminded me that I was still in contract and therefore liable for a disconnection fee.

Tuesday 16 November 2010


I feel so lucky that I still have 2 of my grandmothers alive and kicking. So many of my friends have lost their parents and my children only have 1 generation above them on their dad's side. This makes for a skewed family but its fantastic for my children to know the older generation and interact with them. I only vaguely remember my last great granny who died when I was 5, as someone in a rather smelly old people's home!

My Kendal Granny is still active and living in her own home despite turning 98 yesterday. Yes she is a lot slower and maybe the little grey cells aren't as good as they were but she is still an important part of our lives:

Yesterday I posted a photograph of all four generations of ladies. Long may my Granny continue to brighten up our lives.

Monday 15 November 2010

The Gallery: Then and now

A good challenge from Tara for Week 35 of the Gallery we have to recreate a favourite photograph from the past and post both together! Luckily for me I had a chance to do this today...

Eight years ago today we began a major weekend of celebrations to combine my grandmother's 90th birthday and my wedding. My favourite photograph from that weekend is one that has appeared on here a few times but I love it so much:

Three generations of happy ladies - Granny, me and my mother.

Sunday 14 November 2010

My children can drive me nuts

I love my children dearly but sometimes they push over the boundaries and make me quite angry with them. Today they could have done with listening to the sermon in church as one of the verses was:

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Col. 3:20

This comes in the same chapter as the controversial Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. My friend and I did exchange funny looks at that bit and the minister was at great pains to water this one down. Basically the sermon summed up that if we are devoted to our spouse/children and show them love then they will wish to please us. 

My children decided to prove this one wrong this afternoon....

We went from church into the town centre to the good old cheap shoe shop Shoe Zone. On Saturday we had browsed in there as I desperately need a pair of boots and they are the only affordable shop on my budget. I rashly promised that when I came back today with more money that we could all try on some shoes/boots. My son and I were successful in finding pairs of inexpensive boots that fitted well. My daughter kept asking for new boots but as I'd let her spend all her birthday money on an expensive pair last month I refused. She then targeted the shiny party shoes, at £7.99-9.99 I was quite prepared to let her have a pair..... but as she is currently a 12.5 with skinny feet she couldn't get any of them to fit properly (no half sizes!). She desperately tried on every single pair but to no avail and I refused to buy them. So she sat down in the middle of the shop and had a screaming tantrum.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Single Parent Holidays

Before I got married and had children I used go on holiday with family or friends and never had a go on one of the single person specialist trips. I had considered it but was never brave enough!

Now I'm a single parent with 2 young children going on holiday throws in a whole new dimension. Most holiday packages are set-up for the "standard" family mum, dad and 2-3 children. The prices reflect this with rooms being based on cost of 2 adults and then children are "free". The other downside is that it always seems that everyone else are couples with kids and people ask where "daddy" (or mummy) is. Not a recipe for a relaxing time.

A few months ago I started tweeting with the lovely Chrissie from Single With Kids holidays. These are the "largest provider of single parent breaks in the UK" and organise a variety of weekends in the UK and trips abroad for single parents and their children. As they block book the holidays are cheaper than going solo and also you know that you will be with families in a similar situation to your own.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Armistice Day

I love the fact that there seems to be a resurgence of taking of part in the 2 minutes silence and remembrance services across the country. Both Twitter and Facebook were full of poppies and poems honouring the fallen. Maybe the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought home to people what sacrifices are brave armed forces are still making today.

BBC News Coverage

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Win £40,000 with PayPal

In case you have missed out on discovering the best competition on the Internet at the moment I want to tell you a bit more about PayPal's fantastic chance to win a year's salary (£40,000) just buy using their site to purchase goods on the Internet. I have already got a couple of entries this week and that was for very small purchases. As there is a draw EVERY week that's an awful lot of chances to win! So I've put on my thinking cap and have begun to imagine what I could do if I am the lucky winner....

Once my credit cards are all cleared off (too sensible to not do that first!) the first thing on my shopping list would be a new car to replace the 2001 registration Skoda that is increasingly in need of repairs. Then I would then be booking the children and myself onto a Caribbean cruise on one of those fantastic new liners. If there is anything left over then I would be having a wonderful time replacing my tired out wardrobe with something more up-to-date and trendy. And of course if I do any of this online I'll have even more chances of winning again!

Monday 8 November 2010

The Gallery: Autumn my favourite season

I just saw someone else's post of this week's Gallery and I felt I had to jump right in and join in! Being an October birthday girl I've always loved the Autumn and prefer it over all the other months. Here are some photographs of why its the best of the four seasons.

It's the colours:

Saturday 6 November 2010

Feeling sentimental

With one child's birthday last month and one tomorrow I was feeling a bit sentimental and went rummaging through the photographic archives to find the first day photos of them both:

My daughter 7 years ago
My son 4 years ago
My children today
Where did those years go?

Friday 5 November 2010

Children's Bedtime Lights

In our old house at bedtime the issue was having my youngest not being able to get to sleep without the bedside light on and the eldest not getting to sleep with it on. A staggered bedtime helped get around this but I would often discover that my son had turned the light back on in the middle of the night.

When we moved my mum suggested putting in a night light in the children's new bedroom to make for a softer light. I ended up having to put in one at each end of the room before he was satisfied that the room wasn't too dark. 

Then my daughter started refusing to go to sleep with the bedside light off saying she was too scared and got nightmares. If I turned it off she screamed and sobbed and just got out of bed to turn it on again. Of course this results in her staying awake for several hours after bedtime.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Rain rain go away

and come again another day! I know you don't move to the Lake District for 365 days of sunshine but I think the last few days of rain are even getting to the locals...

It just seems that the rain is never going to stop and the rivers are getting higher and the roads are flooding. My son thought it was great when mummy had bow waves coming off the car as I drove through some of them today - mummy wasn't quite so happy in my low slung Skoda! Lots of children are hoping that school will be off tomorrow if more rain comes down and the rivers burst their banks.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

The Gallery: Show me the funny

Going to try and do better at joining each week on Tara's challenge! This week she wants to have giggle over our photo.... hope this one does the trick:

This was my daughter, then aged 5, making sure that she got her share of the sprouts! I don't know many young children that even like sprouts let alone get this possessive about them... she isn't such a big fan now but we'll see what happens at Christmas.

Monday 1 November 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

Bath time tonight threw up some of those interesting questions and statements that can completely throw a parent completely.

Having girl and a boy they have obviously been aware for a while that their bodies are different from each other. My son from about aged 2 assumed that his sister had a "willy" too. I decided to tell both children that on a girl its a "clitoris". This caused them much amusement especially when my son solemnly informed granny what it was called.

The difference between the function of these parts seems to have passed them by until tonight. My son was still convinced that his sister could use hers to wee just like him. Tonight as he was using the loo he again expressed this conviction and I had to say no that girls wee from a hole further round. Then my daughter asked the killer question: