Friday, 19 April 2013

In the words of Bella Swan...

"Ugh, it's disgusting - I'm going out with an old, old, OLD man!"

Hahaha - husband has finally joined me on the wrong side of forty!
We were planning to book a room in a hotel or a pub for a birthday party - we were considering the different buffet menus and comparing prices - when husband caught sight of a new piece of computer gadgety that he absolutely had to have. It was so expensive it made my eyes bleed, but it was what he really wanted and he cancelled all the party plans without a qualm. After all who needs friends when there are new computery-things on the market? (Not men, that's for sure!)

So the giant party became a much smaller gathering at home for which self and six year old made a very sparkly 'forty' decoration that included forty-years-worth of photos.
I also spent the week spring-cleaning bits of my house that hadn't seen the business-end of a duster in years. I polished the front door knocker, letterbox and number...I planted little violas in tubs at each side of the door...I bought flowers and arranged them artistically throughout the this...

I also cunningly arranged bowls of pot-pourri scented with an oil called 'Fragrance of Fresh Flowers' so it wasn't immediately obvious that I'd bought bargain flowers with no smell!

Sometimes the preparations for a party are almost as much fun as the actual party.
There was cooking too...I made quiches, a strawberry meringue thing and a giant pink carrot cake...

It was lucky that I enjoyed the preparations, because in the event, no one could've cared less whether the house was clean and tidy - or there were individual vegetarian quiches. Beer and crisps would've been fine!
It was lovely to see everyone. Our guests included lots of middle-aged men who have known my husband since he used to make me mix-tapes of the Cure - and dress like this...

Eventually, they all got drunk enough to put the Cure on again...and my husband went into the kitchen and got all tearful. "Boys Don't Cry," I reminded him...but his answer was largely incoherent. I think he had a nice time.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Lovely covers...

On my last trip to Waterstones with the boys, I bought this book - Smith.

It's a childrens' book, but my boys didn't want it - they were only interested in buying more Beast Quest books (and now Sea Quest too...groan) I bought it simply because I liked the cover so much.
"Ah," said my husband, in the tone of someone who has just thought up a completely original piece of wisdom, "you should never judge a book by its cover."
But I did and he was wrong. Smith was well-written and quite good fun. So I may judge more books by their covers in future!

This is the cover of the new Neil Gaiman - which I love. And now I'm even more excited about reading it than I would've been otherwise. (Which was still extremely excited!)

In the past, I've bought copies of The Graveyard Book for two different friends - and although they were both adult friends, I went out of my way to buy the copies with children's covers because they're much better than the adult's versions. Chris Ridell's illustrations are so brilliant I'm going to have to include some more from inside...

(I think these show exactly how Silas, Liza and the Jacks looked!)

I also saw a picture of the cover for the new Donna Tartt book - and I was glad it was so stylish because one edition of The Secret History had the cheesiest cover ever - marvel at how tacky it looked...

When I was on holiday one year, I bought two books because they both had floaty, summery vintage dresses on the covers. One of them became much-loved and much-read. The other...meh-not-so-much...(I'd still happily take the cover on holiday, though.)

When I was younger, the brightest book on my shelf was Junk by Melvin Burgess - which I loved! And I've discovered that all the different editions have similarly cool covers...

So, what are my all-time favourite covers?
Well, I'm going for my all-time favourite author on this one...



Thursday, 4 April 2013

Easter fiendishness

Every year my husband says, "Try not to make the clues for the boys' Easter egg hunt too tricky, OK?" And I reply, "OK, I definitely won't do that."

Then I remember the lameness of the Easter clues my own mother used to come up with.
"If you want some choc-o-LAT...
   Go and look under the door-MAT"
(Urk - they were a mixture of Yoda-speak and Fezzik-from-Princess-Bride-type-rhymes.)

That's when something strange comes over's like a wave of fiendishness.
This Easter, I decided to do photo clues - but zoomed in close enough to make them tricky. I snapped lots of the boys' books and toys and familiar household objects from really close-up - bwahahaha!
Can you guess what any of these objects might be?



Anyway, the six-year-old was all over them! My fiendishness was not fiendish enough. He barely had to look at each picture before he was off and running for the next one - with his older brother and father shrugging their shoulders and trailing behind him. I've been worrying about six-year-old's reading level for the last few years (he can do it - but it's very hard work) which makes me wonder if he's taught himself to view the world in pictures and symbols rather than written labels or signs. Admittedly this is still a very half-baked kind of theory - but it was amazing to watch him go!
Here are some of the other things we've been up to during the Easter hols... 
OK, the beach at weston is officially the coldest place on earth, so I needed lots of layers and a hat with earflaps. But until I saw this photo, I had no idea I was walking around looking insane.

Six-year-old refuses to wear gloves - which meant that his golden horse-pole was too cold for him to actually hold on to. Which made this a pretty hair-raising ride for him!

Yep, that's right - no coats here! Because it was warmer in the frikkin ice-rink that it was outside!
Happy Easter!