Listography 2012: Top 5 Photos from 2011

The Album Cover!

This week Kate has challenged us to share our Top 5 Photos of 2011. Not an easy task when you take hundreds of shots a day but here are five of mine, five precious moments from the year just gone. … Continue reading 

Listography: Sing a Long a Christmas


I have not joined in Listography for a while, life just always seems to get in the way but this week I just could not resist. How cn anyone resist sharing their best Christmas tunes, the festive favourites that really get you in the mood for Yuletide! How can anyone just choose five?

Here I am giving it a go though. My Top 5 Christmas Songs, in no particular order. Enjoy!

Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney
This is a fun festive favourite by Ella Fitzgerald that I only discovered about 10 years ago on a free Christmas CD. I love this to sing a long to and it really gets me in a Christmassy mood. Turn up the volume and dance around your living room. It’s Christmas!!!

Stop The Cavalry
I love this classic Christmas song by Jona Lewie. It has such a great feel and tells a story of Christmas past. It is an emotional song for a girl from a military family. It reminds me of driving home from Germany to Kent to spend Christmas with my Nan and Grandad. A classic that I hope my children will love as much as I do.

O Holy Night
I love this song so much. It makes my hair bristle and my heart sing. It never fails to make me emotional and bring tears to my eyes. It is such a powerful and moving Christmas song. I have not put a link here as the version that means the most to me is not available it is from an episode of The West Wing. Please do Google this song or pick a version to listen to on You Tube. I guarantee that if you love Christmas and get emotional at festive melodies then this is a song that will move you.

Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth
Bing Crosby and David Bowie melt my heart in this video. It is a heartwarming video that is full of the magic of Christmas, and beautiful music.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
This is always the first song I listen to every year, as soon as I start to get the little flutters that I know is the Christmas magic beginning. This is such a wonderful song for lifting spirits and sprinkling a little Yuletide magic. It has lovely lyrics and makes my heart soar. I love Christmas and this song for me tells me that it is beginning. Santa is on his way!!!

So there we have it, my Top 5 tunes for this time of year. Why don’t you help to spread the Christmas cheer and share your favourites too? This week’s Listography is hosted by These Precious Things so do pop over and join in with all the festivities.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

When I Grow Up

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother,
What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
Here’s what she said to me …

From an early age I dreamed of being; never being any one set thing but each thing related to words. And now when I think about those childhood ambitions many of them remain the same to this day. I would still like to be an actress, a journalist, an English and Drama teacher. Added now to my list are the White House Press Secretary and my one childhood pipe dream, a professional ice skater, like my childhood heroine Katarina Witt.

So here in more detail are the things I would most like to be when I grow up.

Ice Skater
When I was younger I lived in Germany and I used to love watching ice skating on television. My favourite skater was Katarina Witt. She was a hugely successful skater and was jut gorgeous to watch. I loved her grace, her elegance, her costumes!! I loved watching her colour and creativity and sparkle on the screen. I used to dream of being just like her. In reality when I went ice skating as a child I had to hang on to the sides of the rink so as not to fall over. An ice dancer I was never going to be!

I tried so hard to make this dream come true. I was in every possible school production, I studied GCSE Drama and A Level Theatre Studies, I joined local drama groups and when we moved to areas that did not have a drama group then from as young as 9 I woud start one. Drama was and is my thing! I would have given anything to be a professional actress. When I was a child I was desperate to join Anna Scher Theatre School. I worshipped her and wrote her letters. I am fairly sure that she replied too. I also went through a phase of wanting to go to The Italia Conti Academy, none of this was possible as by this time we were living in Germany. I wrote to the BBC too and asked if I could be an extra. I also told the BBC about a book I liked that should be made into a TV series and I even offered to play the leading role myself. I was desperate! As I got older I realised that I needed to make the best of my amateur experiences as a professional role was probably not ever going to be mine.

Writer / Journalist
I tried hard to achieve this goal too. I was editor of our class magazine at school as a pupil and also ran the school newspaper as a teacher. At university I wrote short pieces for the TES and had an interview for ATL. In my late teens I had an interview for a job as a local news reader on BFBS Radio in Germany. They were very impressed with me at the interview but I was too young for the role. I loved the interview though, choosing what news needed to be given the highest priority and makng headlones and reading them out over the air. Such a great experience, I would have loved that job! Now as a blogger I am developing my writing skills and I also write articles about Zu3D for my fiance. I would like to write a book one day. I have been writing stories and poems for as long as I can remember. It is something that I find very easy, something that I love to do. Perhaps an educational children’s book will be in the offing one day.

English and Drama Teacher
I am half way to this one already as a primary teacher and literacy subject leader but when my own children go to school I would like to work as a secondary school English teacher. I want to be like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. That is my dream job. That is the dream I am going to strive to achieve next and I cannot wait!!

White House Press Secretary
This is my fantasy dream job after becoming a little obsessed with The West Wing. I think I could be a good Press Secretary, I would love to give it a try!! I love the patriotism and passion in The West Wing. I am not American but The West Wing makes me want to serve at the pleasure of the President. Of President Bartlett anyway!

So there you have it, what I would be, if I could be, should I ever ever grow up.

Please hop on over to Manana Mama who is hosting this week’s listography to explore other people’s hopes, dreams and fantasies.

Sweets for my Sweet


For this week’s Listography we are creating a selection box of treats. We have been asked to pick and mix and share our favourite retro sweets.

Sweets make me think of England. As a young child I lived with my parents in Cyprus and as an older child in Germany. In these countries sweets were just not the same!! Every time my Grandparents visited us in our homes abroad they would come laden with penny sweets. They did not want us to be deprived of such wonders as flying saucers, sherbert dips, fruit salads and black jacks. I loved it when they came to stay bringing their multi coloured, sugar coated booty with them.

What I looked forward to even more than that though was returning home to England and visiting the corner shop where I could select certain treasures by myself. How wonderful it felt to walk to the shop, gipping my pennies to exhange for such wonders as gobstoppers and bons bons, toffees and chocs. I loved taking the small white paper bag and filling it to bursting with sticky, sugary delights. And such marvellous things sweets were, you could almost make a whole meal from shrimps and mushrooms and eggs. You could even buy sugary false teeth to eat them with, and a sherbert drink to be sipped through a liquorice straw. Pure heaven!

How I have so few fillings I will never know! As a child of the 70s and 80s the penny sweets were a highlight of my younger, so much more innocent days.

Here are my top 5 childhood sugar fixes:

Fizzy cola bottles and Kola Kubes
These would always be my first choice. I loved to suck all the sugar and fizz from them before beginning to chew.

Milk bottles
These I loved! Chewy milky treats!

White chocolate mice
How I used to love these. Little white chocolate rodents. Yum yum!

Liquorice wheels
I used to unravel these before sucking them up like spaghetti.

Candy peanuts and peanut brittle
More of my favourite naughty treats. So full of sugar, so bad bad bad for your teeth but good good good for your soul!

What a wonderful listography this is! I can actually taste each sweet as I write about them. My mouth is watering and I want to be 7 years old again, when making decisions and choices meant what sweet to eat and nothing more sinister or serious than that. Not a care in the world except perhaps tooth decay! Wonderful memories, the sweetest of reminisces!

Very recently when I think of sweets they immediately make me think of Stephen Fry. I have been listening to his autobiography on CD in the car and his voice is such a delight to listen to. He has such a wonderful way with words and a voice I could listen to forever, soothing and just a little naughty, or perhaps that’s just me!

If you have not yet read Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles I can really recommend it as a great read. Perhaps you could grab a bag of your favourite sweets to suck and chew whilst you peruse the pages. If you need inspiration for which sweet treats to choose then hop on over to Kate Takes 5 and feast your eyes on the lists to be found there.

Books and Babies

This is a fabulous listography from Kate Takes 5 this week, an opportunity to share books for babies. One of my favourite topics! As a mother and a teacher books are one of my best loves and I have been reading to Esther and William since before they were born. I read to them in the womb, beside their incubators and their cots, I read to them now on my knee and they have started to turn the pages themselves. They love to look at pictures and they enjoy watching my face as I read. I am certain that they recognise the pattern and intonation when I read certain books. Their favourites. Our favourites.

I have already blogged about some of these books and will link to them rather than write about the same books again.

The first books that we bought Esther and William are written by Oliver Jeffers and you can read about them here.

Our most read book, by far, is Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? which you can read about here. This one has an audio link too!

Our best bedtime book is I Love You, Sleepyhead and that can be read about here.

We also love Hairy Maclary and share our thoughts about these fab books here.

And here are 5 other books for babies, books I have already chosen as perfect for babies of my own.

The Gruffalo
This is a magical story that rhymes and encourages children to really use their imaginations as they try to picture in their minds the monstrous Gruffalo. It lends itself to being read aloud or acted out with a range of voices. It is a great story to animate too. I love this book and so do Esther and William. We read this a lot and sometimes watch the animated version on You Tube whilst waiting for our tea.

The Rainbow Fish This is a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. It tells a story with an important message about friendship and sharing. Again it lends itself to being read aloud and provides real inspiration for arts and crafts activities. (Always the teacher!)

Click Clack Moo Cows That Type
Children’s books have to be enjoyed by the adults that read them too and I find this book hilarious. It is a comedy sketch, well written and simply illustrated. Though Esther and William are still too young to understand the humour of the book they love the differnet voices and sound effects of literate cows and ducks taking over a farm. A great, fun read.

A Cultivated Wolf
A book about the importance of books and reading. A story of friendship that appeals to all the family. Great moral too, that anyone can change their ways if they want to.

Tanka Tanka Skunk
Two animals who together sound like drums! This book is great fun to read and shout out loud over and over again. I do it with increasing vloume and speed til me and the babies collapse in fits of giggles. It is great fun! Great in the classroom for teaching about rhythm and breaking words up into syllables. A book that encourages you to really play with words and have fun.

And books for another time … The Silver Sword, I Am David, The Machine Gunners, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Children on the Oregon Trail, The Secret Garden, Private Peaceful … I could go on and on.

I hope that we have another book listography soon, in the meantime, come and join in this one. I have read everyone’s posts with my Amazon account open and we will have a lovely large box of books on the way come Friday. Thank you everyone!

Listography – My Perfect Day

I am so thankful to have this to do today as I am having the worst few days ever with Esther and William, well William really.  He is teething with a temperature and refusing to eat or sleep.  I love him with  all my heart but he is exhausting at the moment as he is often inconsolable.  David works from home and is getting increasingly stressed that he is needed to help with the babies rather than focus all his attentions on his work.  I think we are both nearing breaking point, so taking 5 minutes (albeit with William in my arms!) to ponder on what would be a perfect day for me right now is a really rather nice thing to do.

What would make my perfect day right now?

1 – I would wake up to a warm, sunny morning.  The babies would wake smiling in their cot and we would go downstairs where I would put them down to play on the lawn whilst I got a breakfast of coffee, orange juice, fruit and croissants.  I would sit in the warmth of the sun and watch my children playing happily together.  It would be quiet apart from their beautiful coos and babbles.  There would be periods of warm hazy silence.

2 – The postman would deliver a letter from my sister telling me that she is pregnant and that she is moving home from Australia not just to the UK but to Kent where we will be sisters, friends and neighbours and our children will grow up knowing each other like cousins should.

3 – I would have lunch in a cafe courtyard in the sun and enjoy drinking wine and eating finger foods with good adult conversation with a group of friends.  We would laugh and joke and be playful.  We would discuss and debate.  We would not notice the sun beginning to set and day turning to night.  It would be wonderful.

4 – I would go to a salon and have a relaxing back massage, facial with Indian head massage and have my hair cut and styled.  I would take a lovely outfit with me to the salon and would dress there ready for an evening out.

5 – The evening would be with all my family and friends together at a function rather like a wedding reception with good music and good food.  There would be dancing to cheesy music.  There would be fun and frolicks and laughter. Lots of laughter.  Everyone would be loving the company of everyone else.  It would be riotous and yet so peaceful. Like being home!

And if there were just one impossible thing that I could make happen right now, I would like to go to 167 Grange Road for a cup of tea, a game of scrabble and a cuddle with my Nan.  Because I miss her so much even now, everyday.  That would be a perfect day.