I am talking about the dead.  Where do they go?

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic.  I think Catholics do death well and it is always good to have the concept of an afterlife to fall back on.

Things get trickier when you start questioning it all in your teens and onwards.

My mum died in 2009 so the grief is much less raw these days.  Through Penny over at the Alexander Residence blog and her amazing Little Legacy blog hop, I have reflected on my relationship with my mum and the not always easy life she led.  I have more peace than I did.

Yesterday, I looked around to see if there were signs of Mum.  We went off to an Army Cadet open day.  Not my idea of a fun day apart from the fact I am a mum and knew my boys would love it, all three of them lol.

Mum would tell me that the spirit of a person lives on.  What does that mean?

Does it mean that whilst the boys went on a climbing wall, I focussed on the tombola and bric-a-brac stalls?  Very much my mother’s daughter both in buying yet more clutter and also in paying over the odds feeling sorry for the organisers that few people had turned up.

Does it mean that I was surprised on winning on the tombola that the prize was some Tweed?  You know, Tweed the perfume my Mum used to wear when I was little.  Or does it mean that when I have these moments where I feel mum is playing tricks on me, I remember that Peter Kay comedy sketch where he pokes fun at the bereaved.  “You see that packet of quavers, that’s him”.

Does it mean that as we went to a certain town to do some shopping, I remembered how Mum used to like the houses there.? Not palatial houses by any means but houses she could not realistically aspire to.

Is it when I hear myself saying things she would say and I swore I never would?

Dad and I had our usual fish and chip lunch date on Friday.  I was telling him that Mum gave up smoking one Mother’s Day.  I had bought her a plantpot and on a whim filled it with sweets.  She was ill in bed with flu or similar.  She went without a cigarette all day.  She told me that she had always said that if she gave up for one whole day, she would not smoke again.  Instead, she replaced cigarettes with humbugs.  We worked out this was probably exactly 30 years ago.

When I wrote my mother’s eulogy, the only bit my brother put in was that at the age of 38, Mum went on the Town Hall stage and sang some cheeky song all dressed up in a wild fashion.  Mum always said I was a slow starter but here I am at 43 trying to get a burlesque calendar off the ground.  Mum’s showtime routine was for charity and the calendar will be too.

Does that mean her spirit lives on?  I would like to think so.




Run Jump Scrap

It is high time I shared some of my bargain finds.

Here is a door stop found in the charity shop.  It cost £1.50

Continuing the animal theme, I bought this bell.  I always find my children are dispersed widely at dinner time so here is a bell to summon them to the table.

This one cost just £1

Him Indoors does buy me flowers despite not being the most romantic soul on the planet.  I never seem able to find a vase so I bought this one for £3.50 which I thought was a bit pricey but it does the job nicely and will encourage him to buy flowers more often.

Then there is my absolute bargain find which is this double bed acquired from the Netmums Nearly New Boards for just a tenner.

Yes, the bedspread also came via Netmums and was brand new.

I also picked up some Cosmopolitan brand bedding recently.  Sheets, duvet covers, valances and pillow cases all for £11 and brand new.  A lovely subtle print of purpley flowers on a cream background.  The photograph did not do it justice so I am not going to print it until I do a better job with the camera.

On my shopping list currently for bargains are …

Chests of Drawers

Computer Desk and Chair

Kitchen and Bathroom storage solutions – if anyone has any ideas on storage for these rooms, let me know.

I am making a commitment not to buy as many toys in charity shops as the children lose interest in them so quickly these days.  There will be a bigger focus on outdoor stuff now that the weather is better.

Linking up late but better late than never with the wonderful and inspirational Liz over on the Me and My Shadow blog.  Get over there and see some other lovely bargains of the beautiful, quirky and wonderful type.

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With the lure of electronic screens in all shapes and sizes tempting your children with interesting activities all day long, it may be difficult to convince them to go outside. You may also be reluctant to expose your child to the dirt, viruses, and dangers that lurk outside your home. Here are some reasons why you need to work harder to do just that.

Fresh air makes healthy kids

Even prisoners in incarceration are entitled to 60 minutes of fresh air each day. It’s important to schedule an hour of outdoor play for your child or to ensure that they are getting that fresh air time at school or daycare. Your child will get a healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sun, even on a slightly overcast day. This is a great mood lifter during the long months of winter when daylight hours are shorter. Dress your child for the local weather forecast and ship them outside. Being exposed to fresh air also helps to build a healthy immune system, so your child will be less susceptible to colds and other viruses.

Outdoor play fuels the imagination

The world is a big place. Encourage your child to get outside and discover it. “Free range kids” are given few items for play but rather they are challenged to make their own fun, simply by being outside. Remember the good old days when you were growing up?

Maybe you had a bicycle, a ball or a hockey stick but you probably didn’t need much else in order to keep yourself busy until the street lights came on and it was time to return home. Leaving a child to his or her own devices, with trees, parks and play structures within easy access, allows them the freedom to use and build their own imagination. They are learning the lifelong skills of self-reliance and independence.

Play builds character

All you need is one more kid to make a game. Organize a play date, or take your child to the park so that they can team up with a buddy for a game of catch, one-on-one or hide and seek. If you end up with a throng of children looking for entertainment, introduce them to one of the games you grew up with. You don’t need much in the way of equipment for Kick the Can.

Games that encourage running, climbing and jumping are great exercise. And even if it isn’t time for a team practice, you can organize a quick game of ball hockey, basketball or Frisbee. Participating in team sports helps your child to learn about leadership and collaboration.

Every time you encourage your child to take an hour outside, you are helping them to develop a love for a healthy, active lifestyle. They might even discover a future career during their outdoor adventures, as a conservation officer, park ranger, biologist or naturalist. An hour of outside play a day is just what the doctor ordered.

What are the benefits of a handmade mattress?

Today, more than ever before, we live in an age of consumerism, where the items that we own often form part of our identity. While mass-produced items often make up a significant part of our home furnishings, partly thanks to being affordable, generally robust and convenient, there are some areas where splashing out on handmade furniture can make a huge difference.

Benefits Of A Handmade Mattress

One of these areas is a mattress. Over the course of an average life (around 75 years), we spend over a third of that time asleep, so doesn’t it make sense to invest in a quality mattress, with a few extra features that help to create the perfect night’s sleep?

What are the benefits of a handmade mattress?

First and foremost, as a retailer, taking the decision to sell a handmade mattress can offer consumers a sense of luxury which mass produced just can’t compete with. From hand side-stitching to hand-tufting, each of these features adds to the overall comfort to help provide a great night’s sleep. Consumers also feel like they are purchasing a product of the highest quality – which they are – but don’t have to break the bank to do so.

Buy British

All mattresses sold in the UK have to follow strict rules and regulations, whether they are made here or aboard. However, choosing to go with a UK company often means that materials are sourced locally. Duvalay sources a vast majority of its products from in or around Yorkshire, which allows us to keep a better eye on quality as well as keeping our carbon footprint down.

Hand-side stitching

Hand-side stitching is an incredibly labour intensive technique but can make a huge difference to the finished product. Hand-side stitching is where the border of the mattress is stitched to the spring set. This keeps the mattress from collapsing when someone sits on lays on it to sleep and will stop them from feeling like they are rolling out of bed. You’ll tend to only find this on premium mattresses as it is so time consuming but can make a real difference.

Hand tufting

With mattresses that use a range of luxurious materials, including silk, cashmere and wool, it tends to lead to them settling over time and flattening out slightly, losing some of the ‘bounce’ along the way. This is completely normal and part of the bedding in process all mattresses go through. However, we use technique that can only be done by hand called hand tufting, which helps to keep the filling under a certain amount of compression to hold it correctly in place for extra longevity. You’ll be able to tell if a mattress has them by the little buttons on top of the mattress. These are part of the hand tufting process and run the whole way through the mattress.

Future generations

Artisan bed making skills take years to learn, and is a skill that we’re committed to passing down to future generations. By employing highly skilled individuals, we are able to have an in-house apprenticeship scheme, employing a younger, local workforce.

Mass produced mattresses certainly have their benefits, but from a quality, ethical and environmental point of view, not forgetting a luxurious night’s sleep, you cannot beat investing in a handmade mattress.

So have I convinced you of the benefits of a handmade mattress?

Dear Kate On Thin Ice

I am emailing you to tell you why you should not get a single nomination for a Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2012.


Firstly, the name of your blog is annoying.  A silly play on words which you admit was inspired by reality television.  If you must blog, your mind should be in higher places that the latest Sunday night ITV hit.  Bloggers should be intellectual types or not bother.

Secondly, you host that Groovy Mums blog hop thing.  I hate the word “groovy” which reminds me of the ghastly decade of the Seventies.  My dear, we have moved on from those days.  Having said that, to encourage mums to devise a life of their own when they have young children to care for is scandalous.  Mums should give up their interests when they have children.  If you couldn’t do that, you should not have become a mother in the first place.

Perhaps the main thing that irritates me about your blog is what you call openess and I call over-sharing.  What makes you think we want to know about your thoughts and feelings?  How very arrogant of you.  We really don’t care.  Please keep your emotional struggles and dark days to yourself.  We don’t want to hear about them.  How many times must we hear that your blog was the idea of your late mother?  That woman has a lot to answer for.

You are also supposed to develop a niche if you want blogging success and yet you have a confusing content ranging from charity shop finds to recipes.  We never know whether you will be posting pictures of your children or ranting about the role of women in society.  The constant banging on about charities gets a little wearing too.

The sheer audacity that led to you taking off your clothes on your “Who is Kate and Why Is She On Thin Ice?” page leads me to believe you must be the weirdest of exhibitionists and this from a woman purports to lack self-confidence.

Reeling from a naked picture of you that I really didn’t need or want to see, I was bombarded with your “What Are My Skills and Experiences?” post.  Why would we be interested in those?  We all have them you know.  You are not all that.

I pity those good bloggers whose blog hops you join in with regularly.  I imagine they hate seeing that stupid blog name pop up on their linkies and if they look at your posts at all, read with their hands over their eyes as to what nonsense you will be coming out with this time.  The same thing will apply to those poor souls whose blogs you read and comment on.

Might I suggest that instead of putting the pink  badge on your blog sidebar in the vain hope that someone will nominate you for a Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Award, you close the blog down altogether and go and make Victoria Sandwich for those poor children of yours.

Best Regards

A Blogger With Boundaries and Brainpower.




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