Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Family Halloween Fun!

Over the weekend we celebrated Halloween a little early, due to Mia going to spend some time with her dad this week over the half-term.
As usual, we had our little family party on Saturday evening, we have a large fancy dress box which we add to now and again when I manage to find second-hand dressing up costumes in charity shops or at a very reduced price (50p in our local Tesco!!). These provide hours of entertainment, and Mia loves us to dress up and take photographs in the various costumes, wigs and masks! Saturday evening we had;

We put up a few decorations and had a party-tea consisting of “Dead Man’s Finger” hot-dogs and “Zombi flesh and minced-brain” (pepperoni and chilli minced beef) pizza.  The table decorations, plates, napkins & crackers were all bought at a very reduced price - 60p for the box of crackers after Halloween last year (Tesco), which i've worked out will last us for 2 more years to come! And the plates, cups & napkins were all sealed in their packets and in the local jumble sale at 10p a pack! (again, these will last us another few years yet!)

Washed down with a “blood” drink, (red food colouring added to lemonade). Mia LOVES this, and the husband makes the horrible drink every year – which usually ends up being left in the jug after only a few sips because the lemonade is tainted by the taste of the “beetroot” red food-colouring! Still, it’s all good fun, and despite this Mia always insists that he make it. 

We ate our gruesome tea whilst listening to a CD of horror music and by the light of a few lanterns. Baby Boy didn’t quite know what to make of it! He kept looking behind him at the huge spider!
Afterwards it was time to carve the pumpkins which the husband and Mia got stuck in to whilst I put Baby Boy to bed, and then it was time for Ghost Stories by the light of the pumpkins – which made for more fun than a DVD!
However it was perhaps not a good idea to have done this before bed, we’d hastily chosen a story from a book of ghost stories that I’d bought some time ago from a jumble sale and never read, so I’d asked the husband to choose a suitable one for Mia. Unfortunately as the story unfolded, it was becoming blatantly clear that it was not quite as suitable as he'd first thought - judging by Mia's wide-eyed look of horror as he began to describe the "mutilated  body of poor little Tommy Tucker"!  I quickly intervened, announced that I wanted to finish off the story, and pretended that it had all been a "joke" all along, and that Little Tommy Tucker was in fact alive and well, and had been hiding behind the door, as opposed to being killed by an unknown entity in the creepy cellar!  Mia seemed satisfied with this explanation and told me as I was kissing her good-night "i'm so glad that Tommy Tucker was OK!"  Hmm, mental note I think to put that book away for another few years, despite it stating "suitable for ages 8 years & up"!
I will leave you with a photo of Baby Boy's bat picture which our child-minder bravely made with him and her 18 month old daughter last week - apparently there was glitter everywhere!
Happy Halloween!
Marina x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Our Little Vampire

Just a quick post today, to share a photo of Baby Boy in his Vampire costume ready for his first Halloween party yesterday morning at baby group! 

This was my BARGAIN buy back in the TESCO sale in January  - they were selling lots of dressing up costumes for just 50p each so I stocked up! I refuse to buy new normally, but you can't go wrong when they're that cheap!  It's actually slighly too small now as he's big for his age and it doesn't do up around the tummy, but no one could tell!  He had a great time at the party crawling around like a mad thing with his cape flying out behind him.

This weekend we are having our little family Halloween party - every year we dress up, have lots of yummy food, decorate the dresser and take lots of photos..Mia is very excited, especially as on the way home from school today we are going to buy our pumpkins :)

Marina xx

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Favourite Book & Memories of A Gypsy Wagon..

Mia & I are currently reading “Danny the Champion of the World” by Roald Dahl.
I am really enjoying this book, having read it as a child and all but forgotten the story since, it has been wonderful to become familiar with the story once more and to share in Mia’s excitement as she looks forward to the next chapter. We read together every evening, usually a chapter at a time, and I like to introduce Mia to the classics that I enjoyed as a child by authors such as Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, the list goes on.
"Danny the Champion of the World" though, above all, has really captured Mia’s interest and imagination, she has begged every evening for more than the usual one chapter, and most nights we have ended up reading three at a time! Right from the start she was captivated by the thought of Danny and his father living in an old Gypsy caravan, just one little room, with bunk-beds and a little stove and oil lamp. She thinks that would be absolutely wonderful and has been day-dreaming as to what it might be like to sleep in one herself. 
This thought, has brought back a lovely memory for me, from when I was in my early teens. It was the summer of 1994, (eighteen years ago, goodness me!) and  sticks in my memory as I have always considered it as being the very best summer of my teenage years.
It was the year that I got back in touch with an old friend, Poppy, with whom I’d played with when I was very little, but she had gone to a different primary school from me, and we’d lost touch after the age of 5 or 6. Her family lived not too far away however, and I’d never forgotten her, so that summer I decided to write to her (no e-mail or text messages back then!) and see if she remembered me. I got a reply within a few days, and much to my excitement she had invited me to visit her that coming weekend. I remember I used to walk to go and see her, which used to take me about half an hour, mainly through fields and country lanes. 
The things which stick in my mind the most, and what really sum up Poppy and her family to me are; their huge, ramshackle old farmhouse, the renovation of which always “in progress” but never completed, piles upon piles of old books covered in thick layers of dust, faded black and white framed photographs of family members during the 20’s & 30’s (very glamorous!)  sat on the piano (again covered in dust!), wind-chimes tinkling in the early evening summer breeze, Poppy’s mother, an actress, very "bohemian", slightly well-known for a short time back in the 70’s for her role in a popular soap-opera, and Poppy's father; an author of some sorts, an old typewriter & mounds of manuscripts piled on his desk which buckled under the weight of them. “Friends from London” would arrive on a weekend, with whom they had parties lasting until the very early hours, and an “ancient” great-grandma, long white hair in a bun, lived in one part of the vast house, who always sat in her rocking chair, staring out over the meadow, lost in her own thoughts of the past. And absolutely BEST of all... the old Gyspy bow-top wagon in the meadow behind the house!
Just as Mia has been, with that in "Danny The Champion of the World", I was immediately taken with the beautiful wagon, and was jealous beyond words!

(This isn't the actual wagon belonging to Poppy & her family, but a photograph I took of one extremely similar!)
One week during that Summer, it would have been in the August because I distinctly remember that Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” had been released a few weeks earlier, and Poppy loved it! She played it all the time, and whenever I hear that song, it too, brings back these lovely memories.
One weekend Poppy’s parents went away, I forget where, but Poppy was left behind to “keep an eye on Grandma”, and to feed the dogs. I was permitted to stay and keep her company - and the best part - we were to camp out in the Gypsy wagon!! I remember being so, so excited! It was one of those summer evenings which we just don’t seem to have these days, dry, hot and muggy, when it stays light until gone 10pm. We took Poppy’s two dogs (for company) who slept on the floor of the caravan, and Poppy & I slept in the bunks – I was on the top. The interior of the wagon was much as it had originally been, and I remember the little tassels on the curtains around the bunk. We lit candle lamps and had a camp fire in the field where we tried to cook our dinner, although I do recall that it didn’t quite turn out as planned and Poppy had had to go back to the house to finish it off in the oven! We were joined by a little girl called Jenny. She would only have been around 8 or 9 at that time, had the most beautiful blue eyes and long, dark curly hair, and lived in a caravan a few fields away. I don’t remember much about Jenny, though I do recall that she followed Poppy everywhere, never said much, but loved the dogs. She was from a travelling family I think, and her parents never seemed to mind where she went, I remember we were a little annoyed at the time that she had invited herself along, probably because she was so much younger than us, but she was never any trouble. I remember she slept on the floor with the two dogs and became very frightened when we began telling ghost stories during the early hours of the morning – looking back I think we were being a bit cruel to be doing so! I’d brought with me a book of supposedly true ghost stories that I’d recently bought at a bootsale, (I still have it now!), and at the time it was the most scariest thing I’d ever read – I remember little Jenny’s face going pale with fright at the mention of the “Black Hell-Dog Shuck” roaming the countryside looking for it’s next victim! Though even Poppy and I scared ourselves silly after reading that – we screamed and hid under the covers at every rustle in the hedge! 
(image from Google)
I don’t remember much about "keeping an eye" on Grandma, though we did go to check up on her one morning – she was in her rocking chair as usual, and little Jenny hid behind it so she could hear, but not see her. Old Grandma went mad and I remember her saying in a very posh voice, “who are you!? Come out! Who’s that behind there?! Elizabeth is that you??!!” I never asked who “Elizabeth” was, perhaps Poppy’s grandma, (who would have been her daughter), she was very confused by then, and well in to her 90’s. Jenny thought it was hilarious and ran off home then across the fields, to return later that evening for a second night in the wagon – obviously not perturbed too much by the thought of the Black Shuck!
Reading that back now it really does sound like something from a novel! My only regret is that I didn’t take any photographs, of course we didn’t have digital cameras or mobile phones, but I always usually had a camera with me – unfortunately though just not at that time, which is such a shame now. 
I don’t remember seeing Jenny again after that Summer, and as we grew older Poppy and I lost touch once more. Her family emigrated in the end, and goodness knows what ever happened to the Gypsy wagon. The farmhouse has now been modernised, and the meadow where the wagon once stood has been built upon. I will never forget those lovely surreal few nights we spent in it though – it really was one of the best summers of my childhood – memories which were brought back recently after reading the book with Mia.  She has LOVED hearing about them, and I hope you have enjoyed me sharing them too,
Marina x 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Some Good News

Hello all, and thank you for the lovely comments as usual on my last post  - Mia was thrilled to read how so many of you mentioned her beloved "Alf" be it bad or good! She was especially pleased to note Vintage Coconut's comment in that we were right, he was a 70's/80/s cartoon character, and she told us to check out You Tube where some old episodes can be found - Mia loves Alf all the more now..oh dear!
Well we finally had an answer on the house and our offer has been accepted!! We have therefore agreed to the offer on ours, and things are moving along smoothly so far...fingers well & truly crossed!!  Whilst trying not to get too excited at this early stage, we are relieved to finally have an answer and all being well, we should move at the end of November/early December - in time for Christmas! Ohhh trying not to think yet at how wonderful the new house will be to decorate for the festive season!!
And now that I mention Christmas, I know i'm not the only one of us who has been busy planning and perhaps buying a few little gifts already.  I found these most gorgeous Scandinavian girl & boy decorations yesterday in Hobbycraft at just £1.29 each;

It was actually my first EVER trip to Hobbycraft!! I've always wanted to go, but living in remote Mid-Wales i've never had the opportunity, so I was so pleased to find that when we went to Hereford on Saturday to buy Baby Boy a new car seat (he's already grown out of his first one, where has the time gone!?) a new Hobbycraft store has opened right next door to Halfords where we were going to buy the seat! I'd just spent hours in the town waiting with Baby Boy whilst the husband chose some new work shirts and trousers  - I did not expect it to take as long as it did, and certainly wasn't aware at how many different sizes men's shirts come in, e.g. neck size, width, etc, not just plain old small, medium or large then!!  Hmmm not much time to browse the charity shops afterwards, so I wasn't in the best of moods when we went out of town to Halfords..that is, until I spied Hobbycraft! The husband had no choice but wait why I had a browse!
I also came away with some lanterns for Halloween, we always decorate the dresser and have a little family party with lots of scary costumes and party food, so these will be great;
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, the weather is certainly getting nippy now, definitely time for a cup of tea and perhaps a sneaky bun whilst browsing the new Prima Christmas Makes 2012 magazine!

 (image google)

Marina xx