Thursday 31 March 2011

100 Books 2011 - Quarter 1 Update

Way back on the 30th December I signed to Book Chick City's 100 Books in 2011 Challenge. As we've just got to the end of the first three months of the year I thought it was time I took a look at how I'm getting on...

I have been using Good Reads to keep track of my books and its also a great place to share reviews or rate the books you have completed. If you go to my 100 Books Page you can see what I'm reading, what I have read and what I have waiting to read! This is what my current record looks like:

Becky's bookshelf: read

Under the Eagle
King's Wrath
When the Eagle Hunts
The Eagle and the Wolves
A Vein of Deceit
Unicorn Dreams
The Name of the Wind
Seahorse SOS
Chocolate Wishes
Whale Rescue
Running Wild
Hothouse Flower
The Postmistress
The Road to Rome
The American Heiress
The Winter Ghosts

Becky's favorite books »


As you can see I'm pretty much on target with 24 books on the Read shelf. just need to keep up the rate of reading to complete the challenge. I may need to branch out a bit as my shelf is heavily weighted towards historical fiction!

Wednesday 30 March 2011

#TheGallery: Hair

I guess Tara was hoping for all our embarrassing 1980s perms and other period hair disasters for this weeks theme. Unfortunately I haven't got any of those yet scanned in so you'll have to make do with a cute picture of my kids from 18 months ago. This shows the contrast between my daughter's brunette locks and son's blondness:

The next one shows my daughter with her half siblings and hopefully you can see that in order from left to right they are auburn, brunette, brunette and classic red head:

What a fab range of hair colours between the 5 of them! 

For more posts click on the logo...

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful VIII

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

I haven't had a chance to join in with Michelle's linky for a bit so thought I ought to have a go! So here's what's making me smile at the moment:

1) my prize holiday to Mallorca from Ready For Ten has all been confirmed and we are going to be staying in a very swanky hotel:

2) Spring has definitely arrived in Cumbria. We have daffodils and lambs by the 100s so that everywhere you go its just a celebration of new life. The blue skies and double digit temperatures have really helped too.

3) My son had his parent's evening today and I've been told how wonderful he is with his imagination, creativity and his numbers! Not bad at only 4.

4) My mission to sort out the house really got going this week (must be the Spring weather!). I have got a useable office space again, my bedroom is almost a haven, the landing is no longer a complete dumping ground and I have emptied out the TARDIS aka the understairs cupboard! In the process I have filled 4 bags of charity donations of clothes and books.

5) And last but not least my daughter has been given permission by the vicar to take part in a full immersion baptism this Mothering Sunday. I am so proud of her wanting to take this big step.

Monday 28 March 2011

British Summer Time: Time for a change?

OK hands up if you found it really tough getting 1) yourself 2) your children up and ready for school/work this morning? That loss of an hour on Saturday/Sunday night isn't really felt until Monday morning by the majority of us. Compounded by the fact that it is now light at younger children's normal bedtime making for a later than normal sleep.

In 1880 an Act of Parliament established Greenwich Mean Time as the legal time in England, Wales and Scotland. Until 1916 Ireland had Dublin Mean Time. This should have put an end to all confusions over times etc.... but in 1916 they created British Summer Time to assist the war effort. In World War 2 there was even some double BST for part of the summer.

For a few years from 1968-1972 there was an experiment with British Standard Time with the clocks staying 1 hour ahead for the whole year. Does anyone remember this as I'm too young? Is there an argument to re-instate this now? Do we really need to have the hassles of changing all the clocks and other devices around the home twice a year plus the upset is causes our lives?

Are there cogent reasons in the 21st century to have both GMT and BST? On Wikipedia there is a great explanation of Daylight Saving Time with a map showing which countries use it, have stopped using it or have never used it. 

What do you think are you in favour of changing the clocks or do you want to ditch the change?

Saturday 26 March 2011

BBC Local Radio

The BBC have got to save £400 million due to funding cuts and are apparently looking to take the axe to most of the local radio output and replace it with 5 Live coverage for the majority of the day. Apparently as only 7.4 million people listen to local radio its an easy thing to cut.

Now I have to admit to only being a recent convert to BBC local radio following my appearance on BBC Radio Cumbria. In my late 20s and early 30s my car and home radios were almost always tuned to 5 Live as I enjoyed the mix of news and sport. Then I wanted to have some music so combined Radio 2 and local commercial radio with BBC local radio when my car picked it up on long car journeys.

When I moved to Cumbria in August 2010 I found that Radio 2 doesn't have a very good signal so re-tuned the car to a local commercial station. My home DAB radios were still stuck on Radio 2. Then I was called by BBC Radio Cumbria and re-tuned both car and home radios to listen in.

Since then I have come to really enjoy the mix of music, local news and everything else that comes with BBC Radio Cumbria. When I am home alone I have the kitchen radio on with the channel keeping me company. I don't want to listen to just talk, talk, talk like you get on 5 Live. The music and local information really keeps me listening. It is also the only place we get to hear about the local sports clubs such as Kendal Town FC.

If the BBC axe everything but breakfast and drive time shows produced locally with 5 Live coverage then they will be losing me as a regular listener. In counties like Cumbria we are so different from a lot of the country and we want to have shows that our about us and not London biased.

So vote with your radio dial and let the BBC know that local radio shouldn't be cut but is a vital service especially to areas far away from London!

Friday 25 March 2011

Flashback Friday: Military men

For Karin's Flashback Friday I am again delving into the family archives to look at some photographs of my family when they were serving their country.

Firstly my great grandfather Charles Band who served during the first World War. Here he is on his wedding day in 1915 proudly wearing his uniform:

I must try and find out more about his military service using His son my great uncle - also Charles Band - served in the Second World War:

He served in Burma but luckily wasn't captured by the Japanese. He was working with the ghurkas and had lots of tales to tell.

Most of us have had service men (and women) in our family with two World Wars. Do you have photographs of yours to share?

Thursday 24 March 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Movies

I have decided to try and increase the genealogical content of my blog by joining in with some of the blogging prompts from Genea-Bloggers. This week the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History prompt is asking us about our memories of movies. 

The first movie I can remember seeing was Star Wars IV: A New Hope when I was about 6 years old. This gave me my first "crush" on Harrison Ford as Han Solo! At home our TV was black and white so our cinema trips were a real treat. I can remember going to see Grease as well. No other movies really stick in mind from this part of my childhood.

When we moved to Beaconsfield in 1980 we had a cinema at the end of our street that was built in 1927. It was a very basic cinema with the ice creams being dispensed during the interval from trays at the front. One of the last films they showed was Clockwise in 1986 as it was superseded by one of the new style cinemas in the neighbouring town of High Wycombe. 

Wycombe 6 had six screens, lots of cinema food outlets including Ben and Jerry's and a neighbouring American themed restaurant next door. My girlfriends and I would regularly have a typical teenagers' night out with pizza and movie. 

We did occasionally visit the smaller 2 screen cinema at Gerrards Cross including a bunch if 17 year olds managing to get in to see Fatal Attraction which had an 18 certificate. This cinema had a hatch in the wall which opened before the film and in any intervals to serve ice creams etc.

I do miss the cosiness of the traditional cinema but have to admit the hi tech films do need to be shown in a modern cinema. As a student in Leeds my boyfriend and I enjoyed sitting in the top balcony of the local art deco cinema and throwing popcorn on people below! My kids only know the multiplex style cinema and it would be great to show them a "real" cinema one day. I have got them hooked on the original Star Wars trilogy though!

Wednesday 23 March 2011

#TheGallery: Education

Afraid I have disappoint Tara by not posting a photograph of myself in my school uniform as all those pictures are currently languishing in a box in my parent's garage! So instead I give you my daughter all ready for her first day at school:

How the last 2.5 years have flown by and I can't believe her baby brother will be starting school in September! By the way the fleece does still fit but she's changed schools so she had to have a new one this September...

I promise to dig out some of my old school photographs sometime... honest!

Click on the logo to find more entries for the Gallery

Tuesday 22 March 2011

The Co-operative in the community

In 1844 a group got together in Yorkshire and formed the Rochdale Pioneers and established the first successful co-operative. This movement has gone from strength to strength and in the 21st century now has 6 million members and a total of 5,000 outlets. These are no longer just for food retail but also financial services, pharmacies, funeral services and travel agents. 

The movement is so successful that every year The Co-operative supports thousands of initiatives across the United Kingdom and further afield. This has been hi-lighted by an advertising campaign this month emphasising both the long heritage and  the current impact the Co-operative is having on local revolutions. It is actually an advert that I can remember seeing myself in the last few days.

Are you aware of any projects near to you that have benefited from the revolution? Maybe your project could do with some help? Join the revolution.

In Cumbria one project that has benefited is the  UK’s first community owned wind farm, Baywind Energy Co-operative was established in 1996. The project has always favoured local investors, that way the economic benefits of the wind farm are kept within the community it serves.

In 1998 Baywind secured a loan from The Co-operative Bank to purchase two turbines for their Harlock Hill site. It has also received several grants from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to develop new, co-operatively owned wind farms across the UK.

Baywind now typically generates around 10,000MWh of electricity each year – enough to power around 30,000 homes. And along with educational visits throughout the year, it funds environmental books for local schools. 


Through their Enterprise Hub, the Co-operative actively promotes the development of co-operative businesses around the globe. They invest £7 million a year in some of the world’s poorest countries to support initiatives that will benefit farmers, their families and the entire community.


In Kenya, for example, they have worked with The Co-operative College and The Co-operative Food, to help over 10,000 smallholder tea farmers to organise into co-operatives.


This has increased their negotiating power and provided access to markets previously closed to them. It has also helped them to achieve Fairtrade certification, so they can supply tea for our ‘99’ Fairtrade tea blend. All of which means they will now get a fair return for their crop.

the Co-op's Facebook page:

Get involved

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Saturday 19 March 2011

This is Me Meme

I was tagged in this meme by Nova (over at the fabulous Cherished by Me blog) and immediately my 7 year old daughter grabbed paper and pencils and set out to draw this "lovely" picture of me:
"Mummy by DD"
My 4 year old wants to do one too so this post has been updated...
Mummy with handbag (sorry its sideways!)
The Rules
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of you. It doesn’t matter how old they are…
  • Post the picture on your blog.
  • Call it the ‘This is Me Meme’.
  • Pop over to Tara’s post to add it to her linky too.
  • Then tag some others
So now its over to:

Surname Saturday: Brading

My great grandmother was Margaret Amy BRADING (1885-1975) and it is through her that I have my Isle of Wight connection traced back to far until the 1480s:

Surname Origins:

The surname most likely derives from the town of the same name on the Isle of Wight: Brading. The entry for this in the Oxford Names Companion states:

Brerdinges 683, Berardinz 1086 
"(settlement of) the dwellers on the hill-side"
Old English brerd + -ingas


Brayding - Bradinge - Braydinge

My Ancestors:

Friday 18 March 2011

Flashback Friday:Siblings

Not going so back up my family tree today as when searching for old photographs I came across this one and couldn't resist posting it instead:

This is my big girl cuddling her baby brother when he was 1 day old. The look on her face shows love and amazement - he doesn't look quite as impressed! This was taken almost 4.5 years ago and my son wouldn't fit on his big sister's knee any more. At the time he was a whopping 10 lb so doesn't look like a newborn baby but this was taken on the maternity ward at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and St Leonards. Both of them are so much bigger and growing up fast but I hope the love is still there.

Please click on the logo above to find some more lovely blogposts on Flashback Friday.

Fitness Friday: Week 12

I have no idea how I did this week as a poorly child kept me away from class. I really don't think I'd have been pleased with the result if I had gone! My 2.5 hour charity aerobathon on Sunday should have been good for weight loss but it 1) gave me a huge appetite and 2) made me too knackered to do anything else all week...

So I need to knuckle down and do well this week so I can have a positive result on the scales... Click on the logo to see how everyone else did...

Thursday 17 March 2011

Playhouse Disney: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie's Bow-Tique

Sponsored Post

I was sent an advance copy of this to review ahead of it's first broadcast on Playhouse Disney UK this Saturday (19th March) at 9 AM. I have to admit I can't remember when I last watched Playhouse Disney as we are currently running on only terrestrial channels so it was great to be able to what we have been missing.

The main characters took me back to my own childhood with Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy and company. The animation is obviously more hi tech but the voices and the characteristics haven't changed.

There is a lot of audience participation with the characters pausing to allow the children to supply the answers to simple questions relating to colours, counting and memory. The basic storyline encourages team work and problem solving. This makes for a very educational programme for younger children and one I don't mind my children watching or even object to having one when I am in the room!

If you want a sneak peak then check out the official trailer here on YouTube:

This is what my 7 year daughter thought:

It was funny. I liked the surprise special bows at the end. I would watch it again. 10/10 from me.

I certainly wouldn't mind having Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse: Minnie's Bow-Tique on in my house this Saturday morning. I would love to see what the rest of the series is like too as it's a real blast from my past to see Mickey Mouse and his friends on my television. I had better start saving up to upgrade my television subscription to include more children's channels...

If you are a fan of Playhouse Disney then check out their official pages:

Facebook page: 

We received some Disney goodies in return for writing this review.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

The Gallery: Old Oak Tree

A challenge from Tara that I love this week as trees are just so photogenic and I am often taking shots. For this one I have concentrated on the old Oak tree at the heart of my estate and here are some shots of it in various seasons:



Can't wait to see what the true Spring will bring!