First 101 update of the year

I can honestly say, in terms of my 101 goals, January 2012 has been my worst month by far.

I’ve achieved one new restaurant, a new sushi place that has just opened up locally. It can easily be described in three words. Yummy. Scrumptious. And de-lic-ious.

I’ve been keeping up with my dates with my husband. Yay.

And I’ve added a couple of new films to my belt:

  • The Hangover 2 (repetition of Hangover 1 – if you liked the first one that much then just go and watch it again)
  • The Debt (brilliant, of course, with the wonderful Helen Mirren)
  • Under the Tuscan Sun (OK chick flick)
  • Hanna (we keep watching odd films?!? This is definitely one of them, but it kept me)
  • Just Go with It (I went with it – I like Jennifer, I’m not normally too keen on Adam Sandler, but I liked this one, even though it’s totally predictable)

I had one big achievement (well, really the start of one) to tell you about.


Except this morning, despite her not feeling quite so well, I sent her to school. She’d had a couple of days off just two weeks ago, so I erred on the optimistic side, she can’t be ill again already.


I had to pick her up this morning after she vomited during maths.

As you may gather, I’m one of the more popular parents…

Despite my neglectfulness in terms of Lori’s health, I have managed to encourage her to value her (what I think is gifted) artwork and start a portfolio.

She asked me to post one of her latest pieces, for your opinions:

Lastly, one of our 101ers has set a competition to help him complete his challenges. Could you be the winner? Check it out!

November/December Update

My exceedingly long headache has been driving me mad, as you well know, after all, I have been banging on about it, for the best part of November and December. It’s led me to spending far too much time in doctor’s surgeries and far too little time doing housework and washing.

My children are now officially classed as neglected.

Neighbours walk along the river, through the forest, and bounce out-of-the-way of oncoming traffic as they hobble along the cycle path, before carrying their groceries/Christmas shopping/wailing children down the scary steps otherwise known as the back entrance to their homes.

All in an effort to avoid walking by our unpristine house.

I think I saw one brave soul (when I was net-twitching) attempting a quick sprint past. He’d cleverly protected himself with a gas mask…

But even that couldn’t shelter him from the spider web, dangling from the bathroom window. Glistening in the winter sun.

I suspect that is what pushed him over the edge. Into vomiting all over his own patch. I dread to think of the state of that gas mask…

Being a person who likes to be busy, I had to find something other than blogging and reading, listening to the Hoover and wobbling my head around wiping surfaces down, struggling through homework and taxiing around, to do.

I thought just a little bit. Too much thinking with a hurting head helps the head hurting to magnify.

My first thought, naturally, was to find a cure. So I drank water, slept, swallowed pills, and allowed people to stick needles into my head, and other parts of my anatomy.

But my head still hurt.

So then I thought, “A-ha, o-ho!” Distraction is the way to go.

Thus, I put on the telly, with the volume turned down really low. Luckily, I’m not due to have my ears syringed for a while.

And as I was watching, my mind wandered onto my film challenge…

Distraction has led me to working my way through 11 whole films.

  • King of Comedy (An old somewhat freaky film)
  • Salvation Boulevard (Light entertainment)
  • Everything Must Go (Hmmm…)
  • Bad Teacher (Brilliant)
  • ¡Three Amigos! (One from my hubby’s childhood, the five-year-old keeps asking to watch it again and again)
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 (Funny)
  • Our Idiot Brother (Funny)
  • Friends with Benefits (Obvious but funny)
  • Mr Popper’s Penguins (Did you know that Jim Carrey has ADHD?)
  • Into the Wild (Parents can really screw you up)
  • Rumour Has It (I liked it)


I also discovered my headache could be ‘chilled’ by the cold air outside.

So being a fan of the Italians, think Horace rather than  Berlusconi, I decided to take the opportunity. Carpe diem. Seize the day. And took the older girls off to a Medieval Christmas Market. My perseverance saw me rewarded with a chance to complete one of my 101 challenges.


And I found out  that I’m absolutely rubbish at it. My girls could have beaten me while standing on their heads with a blindfold on. I was soooo bad the archer actually looked pained with the need to stifle his own laughter.

I guess it was to be expected. I can’t chuck a javelin more than a meter from where I stand. No matter who shows me. No matter how many chances I’m given.

And that time I threw the ‘discus’ will go down in my school’s history, not only as the shortest distance thrown, but also as the only time the ‘discus’ actually hit the team members sitting behind the thrower.

Still, at least the teacher had thoughtfully exchanged the discus for a beanbag.

Spurred on though, by another challenge being struck off, I marched on with the dreaded task of creosoting the shed. OK, OK, it had to be done. The warped building would never have survived another winter.

So hubby, son and mother made a communal effort.

My head stopped aching in the crisp cold air. The pain moved to my arm instead. Variety is the spice of life, you know.

Being in the mood now, for ticking things off, I went online and purchased two Christmas cookbooks. I’ve called one Delia and the other Gordon. Yes, we’re on first name terms now. In fact, I’ve spent the whole of Christmas flapping around the kitchen calling out shrieking, “Where’s Delia?” Or, wailing “Where’s Gordon?”

Christmas has been low-level in the headache stakes and high level in recipe attempts: a very tomatoey Tomatoe Tart, delicious Home-made Truffles, Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Syrup (so good, I’ve already prepared them twice), the divine Scallops with  a Caper, Raisin and Olive Vinaigrette, a crappy Watercress Puree, a fantastic Truffle Mash, and Lasagna al forno the penultimate because it took me six whole hours to cook it. Of course, as soon as they’d stuffed themselves, the children asked, “Could you make that again, Mum?” 😮

My conscience is getting the better of me at the moment. I feel I have to say I may have exaggerated slightly, at the start of this post. I have still been taxiing around. I’ve enrolled Akasha in a ballet class.

But it’s all in a good cause. Another challenge achieved.

It has been two months since my last official update, so to the above I can also add: two new restaurants have been conquered visited (one during a birthday party and one on holiday – both before the headache marathon).

I’ve also stuck to my one date a month promise with my husband.

And I’ve remembered that I forgot to tell you, away back in October, that we nailed the Bronze Age Museum.

Plus, my husband stepped in with the fitness challenge – he purchased me (oh, he’s an adorable man) a cross trainer. It means that I can train as much as I like, whenever I like and I’ve decided to set my challenge as 1001km. As I’m around a third way through my 1001 days it means a little more than 1km per day. I wanted to put in what seems to me like quite a high number of kilometres. However, if I’m doing really well with the challenge, I may increase the total later on.

I’ve also agreed to take on the task of helping out at a local music festival next summer.

Finally, we have even more new challengers!!

Please welcome:

Piglet in Portugal


seashell by the seashore

Things ‘n’ Stuff

Adventures in Mediocrity

Shell Louise

the Thought Palette

Fi’s Mutterings and Mumblings

Squeezing it all in

“Mama, guess what I’m thinking, it starts with pffff… pffff… pffff…!”

Is how my week began.

“Fish? Flipper? Fin? Frog?”

Sat on the loo, surrounded by water, I took some inspiration.

Solemn head shakes proved my inabilities as a mind reader.

I thought further afield.

“Fun? Fire? Feather? Film?”

To more shakes.

After a few more desperate attempts including, “Feet?” and “Fly?” I gave up.


It really set the pointer for the week. Indeed, it describes my life. I live in a state of constant confusion.

In my disorganised over-stretched totally bloody knackered flustered condition, I have failed miserably and am therefore bringing you my 101 challenges update two whole weeks late.

I’m sure you’ll forgive me when you learn I have actually achieved quite a lot. Especially considering my current somewhat overwrought status. (But then again I have used up four full weeks instead of two?!?)

I’ve been marching on with the film challenge. I’ve watched True Grit (a thumbs up for that one), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (who can’t resist a bit of Johnny Depp?), Igor (fortunately, I slept through the middle bit, but I’m still counting it, after putting up with the torment, yes, it’s that bad), Treasure of Silver Lake (1962) and Winnetou 1. You’re probably thinking what? with the last two. They’re old German westerns and inspired by the fact that we took the kids to a live wild west show (that and my husband sees this challenge as a way to relive his childhood).

I’ve also been to three new restaurants, one as a date-night with a friend and the other two as stop offs to just-eat-something, while running backwards on this old merry-go-round I call life.

I’ve fitted in guinea-pigging my family with four fatifying new recipes including: banana muffins and cheats raspberry ice cream (from my new ‘Give yourself a heart attack’ recipe book).

And talking of food, I’ve landed myself another new challenge. Preparing a healthy playtime snack one Friday at Aden’s school. When asked yesterday at the parents meeting, I put my hand up, offering my help. “I could knock up a few simple muesli bars…” I looked around at all the other heads-and-hands-pointing-firmly-downwards parents, a little taken aback at their unwillingness to assist. All became clear when the teacher enthusiastically oohed and aahed and signed me up with my own blood to provide a healthy snack on my own for, oh, about 100 people. Gulp.

(None of those other mothers showed me the slightest bit of sympathy. They more looked at me with that death-stare expression: ‘you baked your own bed’…)

Excitingly, I also found someone I have not yet eaten sushi with. So ecstatic was I, I dragged the poor woman out of her house that very evening (no chance to back out on me ;-)). We had a delightful time and I think she’s now a convert.

I’ve also squeezed in going to the pool once and the gym twice. I am officially a gym failure. I suspect Michael, the gym master, hates me now.

Fantastically, we have a few new 101ers. Some are typing up their lists as you read this. Others are still to be *officially* added (by me anyway).

But please give a warm welcome to these two newcomers:


One of my challenges is to achieve 50,000 hits on my blog. Now it’s a ridiculous pipedream very tall order but this week the figure loomed rather nearer. I still can’t believe it but this post received a whopping 566 hits. I have had face ache all week, I can tell you.

Thank you!!

Looking forward

Now, I could try to bluff my way through and tell you that I’ve been actively crossing off challenges this week. But that would be a lie. And I really am the worst liar in the world. My face always gives me away. OK, you can’t see my face. But it doesn’t matter. I’m sure you’d just know

I did watch a Denzel Washington film (I always feel like I should say ‘movie’ if I talk about an American actor) called Unstoppable. It’s based on a train that is speeding along unmanned. The worst part is that it’s based on a true story, which made me feel slightly concerned about train travel. But I’ve got time to get over it as I won’t be travelling by train until er… Sunday, when I head off with Lori to the wellness resort.

*Momentary pause while writer whoops and runs around the room.*

I’ve also been to the gym, tried a new recipe,  er… Blogged and er… Got a new country on my flag counter (taking me up to 52!!)

I’m not worried. Really. I’m not worried at all. I mean, last week, I did really well and next week should go well too. OK. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll rephrase that: I hope the challenges will go well next week.

This week has been a success for other reasons though. My son celebrated his 11th birthday and on the same day went to the hospital to start his diagnosis. I can delightedly tell you he’s booked in for a thorough round of tests and not only that, they want him to attend a two-week day clinic. There he would be observed in various environments and also potentially taught how to deal with some of his own issues. After all of that we will be given a diagnosis.

I feel like I’ve been to the Olympics and won the gold.

I have informed my son this is the best possible birthday present he could be given, but he looked at me like he thought I might be a touch disturbed or something!

Today we’re going bowling, not on my list, but on my sons wish list for his birthday. And he has three whole friends who have promised to attend. This is a little miracle in itself, as friends and Aden don’t necessarily fit together.

Wish me luck then. This evening I’ll be supervising seven kids throwing balls around, two with ADHD (and by that time their Ritalin will have run out). 😕

I hope the other 101ers are all doing well this week!

A quick post

Late. I’m late! For a very important update!!

Truly, I’m sorry, that’s two weeks in a row now. I could attempt a promise at being on time next week, but considering that one week today I’m hosting a sixteenth birthday party, which will only be rivalled by the royal wedding in terms of ‘parties of the year’, I’m not promising anything.

OK, OK. It’s a barbecue and some cake. And maybe a little karaoke. But my eldest is turning sixteen!

I am trying to convince myself, when I do catch a glance in the mirror, that I don’t actually look old enough to have mothered a child sixteen years ago.

Luckily for me, I often forget to look in the mirror. I know that because I’ve managed to leave the house with such things as coal on my face, chocolate in my hair and toothpaste on my top.

You’ve forgiven me for being late now, haven’t you?


This week I’ve been to the gym once and swimming twice. I think that technically means I’ve had a sporty week!

Also, I watched the film Penelope. An odd fantasy/romance. Definitely watchable. I couldn’t quite figure out where it was supposed to be set. At first, I suspected England then I felt confused when Penelope hit the town, as it all looked rather American. The cast also confused me, being from both sides of the water. Though as I said, it’s a fantasy, so I suppose that means anything goes. I guess my teenage girls would enjoy this one.

I have spent a lot of time this week finding the perfect bonding trip for my daughter Lori and I. After much discussion we decided to go a spa. It’s booked and we head off on her birthday on the 12th of June, so two weeks tomorrow!!

And before you start to feel light-headed and confused, she’s not celebrating her sweet sixteenth. She’ll be thirteen. But you would be wrong to assume that in the next two weeks two of my children will celebrate their birthdays. Because actually, three will. In between the birthdays of his two sisters, my son Aden will turn eleven. It’s like Christmas fervour hits us twice a year. Except now we have a four-year-old, who will not be five until November. Them’s the breaks kid. Sorry, I did contemplate her having two birthdays a year, like the queen. But four kids are expensive enough.

Although it doesn’t feel like I’ve actually posted 5 articles this week. Well, six if I include this one. (And I have several others partially written and swimming around in my head).

My flag counter now informs me that 98 flags have visited my site, so I’m now only three away from my target.

Saving the best ’til last: allow me to introduce a new fellow challenger


Yes, we are becoming a cult 😉

And here are our other members:

The Laughing Housewife
Perfecting Motherhood
A matter of choice