Oh, how life has changed.

It’s been exactly one month since my life changed, and I’ve been trying to work out exactly what I was going to write to update you all.

My hubby was offered a full-time job to start on 10 July, and if we were both to be in work, there would be problems with childcare.  Yes, we had the option to put the kids in to a private nursery, but even with both of our wages, this would leave us out of pocket.  So there was a decision to be made, and quickly.

On 7 July, I worked my last day with the DWP.  I am now a “full-time, stay at home mummy”.  I am now one of the people who I either envied… Or slated.

I was envious because they got to stay at home with their children.  They got to watch their children take their first steps.  They got to hear their children say their first words.  As a full-time working mum, I missed those moments.  I would never have them again, and it ruined me.

I slated the other “full-time, SAHMs” because they had no interest in working.  Their kids were in full-time school, and all they did was sit on their arses all day, watching Jeremy Kyle, or spending their dole money on alcohol and tobacco.  I am positive that most of the mums that fell in to this category were “baby boomers” – only interested in popping out another sproglet because they got more money…

Yes, I am one of those people who turns my nose up at the “minions”.  Yes, I do think I am better than all of the SAHMs that fall in to the latter category.

So now I can hear the comments, “what gives her the right to say that?”

Well, allow me to explain.

Today marks one month since I last worked for anyone.

Since then, I had enrolled on to an online course, and completed a new qualification.  I received my PDF certificate just a couple of days ago, and I am waiting for the “hard copy” to come through.  The certificate confirms that I had passed the final assessment with a “Higher Distinction”.  I have purchased various equipment that I will need to take my qualification further, started a Facebook page with my new “job”, created a Twitter feed, and built a website from scratch.  I am now “up and ready to go”.  My new career will allow me to choose my own hours; and means that I can do something that I have always wanted to do.

Meanwhile, it’s the summer holidays; so Gning is off school for 6 weeks.  I’ve had my two boys with me 24/7 (almost) since I left the DWP – we have had days out, here, there and everywhere…

Gning has been off for 2 full weeks so far (we’re just in to week 3), and so far we have been to:

Acorn Venture Farm (Kirkby)

Gulliver’s World (Warrington)

Treetops (soft play centre in Golborne)

Heysham, Morecambe, Knotts End and Sunderland point (all one journey – Lancashire)

Martin Mere (Bursough)

Windmill Animal Farm (Burscough)

Speke Hall (Speke, Liverpool)

I don’t think the boys have done too badly so far, and there are still (almost) 4 weeks left!

I’ve started a scrapbook for them, so they can keep track of what they’ve been up to, in the summer of 2017.

So what else have I been doing?  I’ve kept on top of the front garden – mowing, raking and strimming.  The back garden is much to be desired, and I really need to get out there, but the weather has been so bad recently, it’d just be like walking in a swamp.  I’ve also scrubbed the kitchen; got on top of all the washing; cleaned the front room – several times; and kept on top of the bookings over at the village hall.

I’ve got lots of other plans, but I need a bit of a rest first of all.  These past 4 weeks that I’ve been off work have been a bit of a whirlwind…  The first 2 weeks, I practically did nothing.  My brain was set to “holiday” mode, lol.

Here’s me, Gning and Donut – I took the selfie yesterday…  I think being a full-time SAHM suits me…

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Quit clownin’ around

Over the past several years, I have noticed that there are a lot of – apparently, newsworthy articles about people dressing up as clowns, and deliberately frightening people.

From what I have read (unfortunately, I cannot find the post, as it was a couple of weeks ago), people randomly dressing as clowns, and just “appearing” to frighten people started back in the early 80’s, however, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when it started to become somewhat of a craze.

I remember seeing a few news articles, about a couple of “clowns” appearing throughout the UK.  These people weren’t doing anything – they just seemed to stand around, and wave at people.  I thought it a bit creepy, to be honest.

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

In August, this year, there were reports of “clowns” lurking in and around the woods in the town of Greenville, South Carolina.  A young boy told his mum that he saw a couple of people dressed in clown suits, acting suspicious, and making strange noises, so she called the police.

At the time it seemed like one of those weird-story-of-the-week things, however, that was just the catalyst for local news hysteria across the USA.  Since the initial clown incident, there has been a rash of clown sightings, almost certainly due to copycat pranksters who have a bad sense of humour and decided to start celebrating Halloween early.

Just a few examples: a man in Kentucky was arrested for dressing up as a clown, and hiding in the woods.  In Alabama, a woman called the police because she was terrified after seeing a man dressed like a clown in her local shopping centre car park.  A clown in New York chased a teen out of the subway…

There have been sightings throughout the USA, and the craze seems to be starting to rise up within the UK – and I suppose most of Europe, too.  Of course, each sighting brings more attention to the phenomenon.

It’s likely most people really did see a clown lurking in the woods. But we also know that people claim to see things all the time that they probably didn’t, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (although the latter still needs to be proven that he doesn’t exist to me).

Seeing a clown wielding a knife would scare anyone and as pranks go, this one isn’t funny.  I’ve heard lots of tales going on throughout the UK of clowns with hammers, cricket bats, knives, and even a shotgun at one point, but I don’t really know what to make of it all.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

What about being afraid of clowns?  Is that a real phobia?

It is a “real thing” in the sense that there is a word for “fear of clowns,” which is Coulrophobia. But just because there’s a word for it doesn’t mean that it’s legitimate.  The term was made up by adding “phobia” to the word “coulro” (which means “stilt-walking), but the term is not recognised within the mental health and counselling world.

It’s unclear whether being creeped out by Ronald McDonald deserves to be called a clinical “phobia.”  There are very few cases of people who are actually diagnosed with Coulrophobia and it’s unlikely that, except in the most extreme cases, anyone would need diagnosis and treatment.  This current panic notwithstanding, clowns aren’t that common, so you can just avoid them.

They're frightening children

They’re frightening children

I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of pages and groups popping up on the infamous “Facebook”, not only for the clown sightings, but also clown hunting pages too.

When it comes down to it, let’s say that some poor dude is on his way home from a fancy dress party (well, it’s got to be a pathetic one if he’s dressed like a clown, ha ha), and he bumps in to one of these groups of so-called ‘vigilantes’?  Knowing from what I’ve read on a few of these pages, that man who has had to spend the evening from hell, dressed as a clown, would hardly make it home alive.

It get’s closer to home though.  I also noticed on one of these pages, a photograph posted, entitled “on Bewley Drive, Kirkby”.  That’s about a 10 minute drive from me, and if I’m being honest with you, I think if I seen one of those clowns hanging around near my house, I’d freak out, lock the windows and doors, and not come out until morning.  Yeah – I suppose I have Coulrophobia.

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live...

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live…

I had to laugh, yesterday, when I read a meme…  “People have been too busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, that no-one ever saw the clown apocalypse coming…”

What worries me now is what these peoples’ intentions are.  Are they doing it just to get laughs by frightening people, or is there something much more sinister behind it?  I’d imagine there are plenty of messed up minds out there who are seeing this as an opportunity to cause more than just mischief.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you think this is a ‘thing’, or are people just clowning around?  Have there been any sightings near you?  Are you a fan of clowns?

 

 

What is it about Scousers..?

Residents of every city have their quirks – and Scousers are no exception. From our language oddities and humour to our love of proper food, our excellent music taste and our intolerance for badly cooked scouse, here are 28 things you should know before dating someone from Liverpool.

RINGO IS OUR LEAST FAVOURITE

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WE MIGHT CALL EVERYONE LOVE BUT DON’T CONFUSE IT WITH LOVE, ALRIGHT LOVE?

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YOU MUST LEARN TO MAKE SCOUSE

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AND CHOOSE BETWEEN BEETROOT OR CABBAGE. IT CAN’T BE BOTH.

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DESPITE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD, LIVERPOOL IS ONE OF THE SAFEST CITIES AND WE’LL KEEP IT THAT WAY

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YOU MUST SUPPORT THE TEAM WE DO, OR AT LEAST PRETEND

eve

MEETING OUR MA IS A BIG THING

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AND MEETING OUR NAN IS EVEN BIGGER

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OUR ACCENT IS LIKELY TO CONFUSE YOU 

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SPEAKING OF WHICH, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T TRY DO THE ACCENT (OR ASK US TO SAY CHICKEN)

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WE’RE PRETTY CULTURED FOLK

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AND WE’LL HAVE YOU IN TEARS LAUGHING ALL NIGHT

klopp

WE LOVE A GOOD PARTY

sl

AND BUYING US A NABZYS AT THE END OF IT IS THE WAY TO OUR HEART

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WE CARE ABOUT OUR OWN

hug

IF WE TELL YOU WE’VE GOT A COB ON, IT’S NOTHING TO DO WITH CORN

cob

WE STAND UP FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN

lpool

AND WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP

never

WE CALL THIS A CHIP BARM

barm

NOT A MUFFIN, OR ROLL, A BARM!

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WE’VE GOT BOSS MUSIC TASTE AND LOVE A GOOD GIG

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AND WE’RE FASHIONABLE BUGGERS, TOO (SOMETIMES)

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MOST OF THE TIME WE’RE BEING SARCASTIC

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WE’LL SHARE THE BILL BUT NOT THE FOOD

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WE’RE PROUD OF OUR CITY

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BUT DON’T TAKE OURSELVES SERIOUSLY

scouz

YOU’LL ALWAYS BE SECOND TO OUR FIRST LOVE; LIVERPOOL

bev

ONCE YOU GO SCOUSE, YOU NEVER GO BACK

scousers

Pound Cafe – Huyton Village

It’s been a while since I posted here, so why not start again with a review?  🙂

The Pound Cafe in Huyton Village, Merseyside, is attached to the Pound Bakery.  As it says on the tin, everything is £1 (or under)!

Whilst walking through the village, my son and I were on our way back to the car when he said “I want dinner…”.  I was only going to nip in to the bakery, but I thought, ‘why not.  It’s the same price, and we get to have a little sit down too’.

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On entering the Pound Cafe, it was clean, bright, and there were plenty of seats, tables and booths available.  That’s not to say that the place was empty…  There were about 30 or so people in there, all with full cups and half empty plates in front of them.  They all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I approached an empty booth (in bright green!), and sat my 2 year old down with his new inflatable “Spongebob” toy.  I told him to stay there, to mind the table, and I would go and order for us.

I went to the fridge area first, and picked up a can of 7up.  It was warm.  I checked the other cans and bottles in the refrigeration unit, and they were all the same.  I dread to think what the sandwiches and cakes were like in there…  I let this go though, as temperatures outside were 26C.  Incredibly warm.

The lady behind the counter greeted me with a “what can I get you?”.  No smile, no eye contact, just a gruff voice.

I ordered a child’s sausage roll, chips and beans for William, and a jumbo sausage roll for myself.  I then paid the £2.80 for my order, and I was handed a number sign to place on the table, so the cafe assistant knew where to bring our food to.  The sign was bright orange, with a black laminated piece of paper attached, with a large ’27’ in white.  The sign stand was dirty and greasy.  It looked like they hadn’t bothered to give it a wipe in months.

Wanting to get back, I just grabbed the top of the sign, and returned to my waiting boy.

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20 minutes passed, and I actually asked William (out loud), “how long does it take to put a couple of sausage rolls on a plate?”

A further 10 minutes, and we finally had our plates put down in front of us.

My jumbo sausage roll was delicious.  The pastry was flaky, and the sausage meat was well cooked.  All together, I would certainly give it a 10 out of 10.

My sons, however, did not look as appetising.  He had a plate with a cut-off (not even half) a jumbo sausage roll (the menu stated it would be a full, ‘standard’ sausage roll), a big spoonful of baked beans (that looked like plastic), and the chips were anemic and hard.  That wasn’t the worst part, to be honest.  I wasn’t bothered about the chips, as William had said that he wanted the sausage roll and beans.  Now, if you were a server in a cafe / restaurant, would you serve a child’s meal on a hot plate?  No?  Neither would I.  These, however, did.  The plate was so hot that even I couldn’t touch it.

Back to the food…  William had one fork full of beans, and responded with “I don’t like them.  They’re cold.”  I tasted them, and I agreed.  He then had a bite of the sausage roll…  Soggy pastry, and cold meat.  Work that out.  Hot plate, cold food.

I didn’t bother saying anything.  Even if I did try to speak up, the staff seemed as if they weren’t bothered.  One particular woman who worked there, was busy standing outside (near enough in the doorway!!), smoking a cigarette, and talking to a customer.  She shouted back in to the shop, to a customer, “be with you in a minute, love”.

Overall results:

Jumbo sausage roll – 10/10

Childs’ sausage roll dinner – 0/10

Can of 7up – 9/10 (not the cans’ fault that the fridge didn’t work, although still lost a point for being warm)

I think that I will be sticking to the bakery in the future.

Croxteth Hall and Country Park – Liverpool

A beautiful park in the middle of a busy city isn’t very rare now-a-days.  In fact, it’s quite common place.  Take Central Park, for example.  In the middle of one of the worlds’ most busiest cities, lies 842 acres (1.32 miles²3.41 km²) of stunning greenland and waterways.  I’m talking about New York, of course.  

Now, if I was to say to you, that just on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre, there is 500 acres of greenery, with an historic hall dated around 1575 AD, a well-kept walled garden (bursting with rare roses and other flowers), and a home farm (full of rare breeds of horses, ponies, cows, pigs, sheep and goats (and more)), I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t really stare at me in amazement.  However, to see the beauty of this area is literally breath-taking.  Especially, as aforesaid, knowing that Liverpool city centre is a mere 5 miles away.

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This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ‘main entrance’ to Croxteth Hall.  To tour the house, you must enter through the shop, which is actually part of the servants quarters, around the left hand side of the house.

The Hall was owned, and lived in, by the Molyneux family from the 16th century until 1972, when the last Earl passed away.  His widow, Josephine – Countess of Sefton (1903-1980) continued to reside in the property until she died.  She was the last member of the Molyneux family to live in the hall.

When the last Earl died in 1972, a worldwide search was made for a legal heir to the title without success.  The property and estate is now owned and managed by Liverpool City Council.

You can learn more about the Earls of Sefton by visiting this Wiki page.

The farmstead shows you how a Victorian animal farm was run, and hosts so many animals, many of which are rare breeds.

My little man walked through a picket gate, and he got such a fright when the giant mother sow snorted right behind him…  We counted 8 piglets with this particular mother pig, and there was a big sign showing that throughout February and March, there were 34 piglets born!  We saw a lot of them, from little tiny pinky babies to quite large ‘Irn Bru’ (burnt orange) coloured piglets 🙂

Sheep and lambs, goats and kids…  Two beautiful shire horses (Clydesdale)…  Even an aviary full of cockerels, hens, peacocks, zebra finches (obviously, I was thrilled to see them), budgies, parrots…  It was such fun to see Gning run around looking at all of the animals.  Definitely a place for children 🙂

The country park hosts fields that seem to lead to the clouds, flowers of all different colours (from vibrant reds to subtle blues), trees of all different shapes and sizes (some good enough to climb), and ponds full of various waterfowl.  There is certainly so much more to do than to visit one of the main ‘attractions’ in the estate (the hall, farm or walled garden).  You could take a picnic blanket and a few outdoor games, and you’d be occupied all day.  Go for a walk in one of the surrounding woodlands…

You’d certainly not think that you were only a stones-throw away from the East Lancs Roas, and a bustling city.

The whole estate is actually free to visit, and parking is free too.  However, to actually go inside the hall, walled garden and farm, there are admission fees.

Hall:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Walled garden:

Adults £2.50; children and OAP’s £1.90

Farm:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Combined ticket for all three of the above:

Adult £7.00; children and OAP’s £5.40

For further info about the hall, click here to visit the official website.

To give you a basic run down, I would say that this is a family day out for all ages.  There’s plenty to see and do for the very young, to the older in life.  If you pay a visit to the hall for instance, and you are pushing a pram or a wheelchair, everywhere inside of the hall is accessible, as there are lifts and ramps 🙂  The farm, although cobbled, is also easy accessible…  And the majority of the pathways around the estate are suitable for all walks of life.

My final scoring for the whole of the property would be 9/10.  I’m sorry to say that they lost a point in all due to no fault of their own, but the smell of stagnant water is empowering, and the farm didn’t seem to help either 😉  Ha ha.

I’ll leave the post with a few photo’s of our little trip 🙂

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Here’s my little man taking a ride on ‘Toby’ the donkey 😀

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Inside the wine cellar

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This actually is a door from the original building, dated from 1575!!

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I would LOVE a kitchen this size!  Although, I don’t envy having to clean it…

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This was the Countess’ dressing room

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The stunning interior of the stairwell

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The Titanic stairwell was actually modeled from this stairwell in Croxteth hall

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My little man looking at a Shetland pony, and a rare shot of my arm!

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Mmmm…  Bacon…  Oops!  I mean, awww…  Look at the baby piggies ❤

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And finally, a beautiful shire horse

Day 22 & 23 – Ohh…

Hello world!

I needed yesterday to recover from the shame of the 16 second video of myself that I posted.  In my honest opinion, it was 16 seconds too long, but at least you got to see / hear me, and now you know that I am real!

I’m currently in the process of trying to work out how to take a ‘legal’ video whilst driving.

I have a phone holder, that attaches to my windscreen via a suction cup.  It’s very strong, and manoeuverable, and I was able to set my smartphone up so the camera was pointing out of the window…  I stumbled on two problems.  The first was that it shook because of the vibrations of the car.  Hmmm…  It just didn’t like it when I put my foot down…  The second problem was that the camera was too much of a distraction, therefore if the police would see me do that, I’d surely be pulled over.

The only other thing that I can think of, would be to get my DSLR, and to ‘wedge’ it in one of the corners on my dash, pointing out the window.  That would be a good idea, although I would have to do a lot of editing when I get home.  Afterall, I have to think of my own privacy, and I need to hide the directions to/from my house from any ‘landmarks’ around this area, ha ha 🙂

I don’t know why I want to do it.

It was actually suggested to me as a possible thing I could vlog about (sort of).  To make a short video on (driving on) the roads in my area, and to show some people what is the wrong side of the road to them (but it’s the CORRECT side of the road…  Everyone else drives on the wrong side, ha ha).  I laughed it off at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a good idea.  I would have to think about where I would drive…  Should I show off the immediate local area, or should I go somewhere else..?

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Yes.  That is my local ‘village’.  Quite nasty really…  Ha ha.

That’s giving me another idea actually.  How would a compilation of photographs (that I take) of my local area / the city in which I live, edited together in to a video work?  I think that’s another possibility.

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And this is the beautiful city that I live in.  Or a small part of it anyway…

Hmmm…  Choices, choices…  Let’s see what the weekend brings.

Day 11 & 12 – She sells sea shells on the sea shore

I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to say, “you said that you would make one post, every day, for 40 days, so why is this a joint post?”  There’s a simple answer.  This weekend, I have had my little man to myself…  I haven’t had to share him with anyone, not even his daddy, so that’s why I didn’t post yesterday.  Because I was having one of the the busiest, yet best weekends of my life.

Yesterday was my father-in-laws birthday.  Hubby had planned to go around for a few drinks, so Mr. Gning and I had an adventure.  After wishing the birthday boy best wishes, we quickly swung by my parents to say hello…  Then it was home, via McDonalds.

We spent the night dancing, singing, cuddling, and watching ‘Numtums’ on youtube.

Hubby came home, a little after midnight, to the little man flat out beside me in bed, and me playing games on my tab.

Today, I was unsure on where to take my little man, but I slipped up and casually said that I wished it was nice weather, because we’d go the beach.  That was it.  He was then repeating, “beach, beach, I want to go to the beach”.  So that’s where we went.

I decided to visit Crosby beach, which is otherwise known as Antony Gormley’s Another Place.  There are bronze (?) statues of men, scattered along the beach, staring blankly out to sea…  It really is a eerie place.

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Just to make it perfectly clear, this is not my picture.  This picture has been taken directly from Antony Gormley’s website.

It was really cold…  Very windy, grey skies…  Threatening to throw it down any moment…  But that didn’t stop us from our mini adventure in collecting seashells on the beach.

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And here he is with his collection…

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So…  As you can see by the smile on this little mans’ face, this is the reason why I didn’t post yesterday.  I am sure you’ll forgive me for that.