Friday, December 28, 2007

Sale on

Ever since she opened her parcels La, my youngest belle, has been planning her shopping day. She likes 'flat' presents and was soon busy drawing up a list of things she planned to get. Every year I take the belles out one at a time to the sales, where they get one to one Mom time and they choose what they want to buy with their vouchers and money.
This year it was La's turn to go first. So at bang on nine this morning we were in the Bear Factory, followed by Disney store, Partners, Asda, Next, Pumpkin Patch, WH Smith, Waterstones and M&S. She's very happy and my hip is very achey. She bought a lovely fluffy Eyeore dressing gown, an e pet, more gel pens and Crayola colour explosion stuff, a pink velour tracksuit, two new books, bear outfits and a note pad plus her big sister's birthday present.
Now I need to rest up before the next one's turn to shop.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Well, Santa came, the turkey and pork was delicious, the crackers were pulled and everyone got what they wanted for Christmas. The Belles have been trying to guess for a week what their surprise present was from me and Mr Nell. They'd squeezed and rattled the package, played twenty questions and hazarded a million wild guesses. Happily they were thrilled to find Panto tickets to see John Barryman playing Aladdin. There's supposed to be a three d magical genie and a Dalek on stage too. We're going on Jan 2nd so it should be a good way to start the New Year.
Snata bought me Amazon gift vouchers, some gorgeous jewellery, socks (my faves) and money which will pay my RNA fees.
I also got a book I'd been dying to read, Clarissa Dickson-Wright's Spilling the Beans. This is a lady who has had a life with a capital L. She came to fame as one of the two fat ladies. I'd heard her talking about the book on the radio and it sounded fascinating.
What was your best pressie?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my blog visitors a Merry Christmas. May Santa bring you everything on your list, your dinner be delicious and your tree retain it's needles until the new year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Run, run, Rudolph

I just made another trip to the post office - not Christmas presents but contest prizes from the Moonlit Romance reader party the other night. I'll be drawing my subscriber newsletter prize winners on Christmas eve and making my next post office trip after Christmas. I just have two more cards to write and deliver but both of those are local. If you sent me a card - thank you. When my computer threw a wobbly earlier this year I lost several addresses from my files so if I've missed you out that may be why.
My best friend is coming today and I can't wait to see her to catch up on the gossip. Then Christmas eve will bring our traditional visit to the Christingle service at my mother's chapel. The belles look forward to this every year and Christmas wouldn't feel right without it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Fun 22

The Black Country is renowned for it's ales. The largest and most famous is Banks's Brewery but there are many small brewery's making beers. Another renowned one is Ma Pardoe's otherwise known as The Old Swan in Netherton.

Ma Pardoe was a former landlady and locals always refer to the pub by this name. They still brew beer on the pemises and it's worth visiting to see the vitrous enamalling on the ceiling - see photo. This was the traditional style of fitting a pub interior. They also have a very good reputation for food.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Yesterday was the last of the funerals. I'm so glad that's over now - it's been a very difficult time over the last few weeks. I got my X ray results on my hip and my leg is officially going to fall off - okay, not exactly but there is osteo arthritis in there as well as the bursitis. Now to await the consultant appointment.
I still have a load of cards and gifts to deliver and tomorrow one of my longest standing work colleagues is retiring and I want to go to her party.
Bridie - if you're reading this, we'll miss you so much.
Boo and la have gone off to school all dressed up in their party finery for their Christmas party - yesterday their school did a cinema trip to see Stardust. When I was at school all we had was a cine film of Laurel and Hardy classics in the dining room before making party hats and eating rubbery jelly. Shaggy took the first part of her french GCSE yesterday too - apparantly she's been told that she passed it but doesn't know her grade. This too is all new to me, taking exams in bits and pieces - I must be getting old, no wonder my legs dropping off.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas is getting closer

Yesterday was Mr Nell's birthday. His cards get to stay up on their own for one more day and then all the Christmas cards get put up too. I'm off to church again this morning for Boo and La's school carol service and then they are doing a violin concert back at school. I still have a million things to do around home and I want to finish c7 of Animal Instincts. C6 has joined the chapters with Jess. My Moonlit editor will also be sending the edits through anytime for Dangerous to know which is due for release next month.
Tomorrow it's an all day party over at the Moonlit reader group. Please join up and come and chat, there'll be loads of excerpts, and lots of prizes.
Join up here

Saturday, December 15, 2007

X factor final

All I can say is that anyone who voted for Leon to win should go and buy his record because he's going to need all the help he can get. What a complete travesty. Same Difference were superb as usual and for overall talent they were streets ahead all the way through. Rhydian can sing light opera and his version of the song for the single was a million miles better than Leon's off key effort. Leon had extra vote time too - he sang first and the lines opened, then there was a break and the lines closed as soon as Rhydian had finished singing. They should have been frozen till both of them had sung to make it completely fair.
It was nice to see Kylie looking well and carrying some extra weight but she shouldn't have sung with Leon. It sent out a signal that he was the preferred candidate. Kathryn Jenkin's voice overpowered Rhydian which was a shame.
All in all I don't feel the voting reflected the talent which was disappointing. It'll be interesting to see if the single gets to number one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Fun 21

Another culinary delight of the Black Country is the chain of local sweet shops called Teddy Grays. Teddy Gray is famous for it's herbal tablets. These are sweets made to a secret recipe - rumoured to be known to only three living souls. Very popular they taste lovely and are thought to ward off coughs, colds and sore throats. They are also addictive lol.
I took some to a RNA conference a while back and I know a certain M&B editor who is very fond of these.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mystic pizza

My Christmas tree is not exactly designer. I think I may have mentioned before that it's covered in things we've collected and that the belles have made. I had a visitor yesterday who was fascinated by all the different things hanging on the branches. Hummel balls from Austria, Three Russian dolls from the Ukraine, Clay gingerbread men that weigh a ton and bow down the branches, an angel made from pipecleaners that we call Britney Spears (she has a bald patch)a set of Cinderella ornaments, knitted toys that the belles used to play with when they were tiny - made by their much loved great grandmother.
Then my visitor found a multi-coloured flat blob of an ornament.
'What's this one?'
I had to explain that when Boo was in preschool when they got out the saltdough for the children to make a decoration for the tree, while the others mades angels and baubles and candy canes, Boo made a pizza. So I have pizza on my Christmas tree - and very nice it looks too next to a snowman and a glass angel.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heads up

If you like M&B romances I was in Asda today and you can get three for £6.50. I think it's selected lines but what a bargain! Ideal for some pressies.
I'm feeling a bit blue today - not sure why - lots of things I suppose. The never ending wait to hear something on Charlie Darling - it's been 12 months now since they asked for the full ms and almost nine weeks since I was told it had been passed higher and the revisions had been accepted.
I've another funeral to go to next week for a much loved relative and still haven't heard when I'm to see the consultant or what the X rays showed.
On the bright side our two baby fish, Fishface and Babycakes, are doing well, they're almost half the size of the neon's now and we've spotted two more teeny babies in the tank. The two new ones are called Bart and Lisa.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh those golden slippers

Miss La has gone to school today in glittery gold shoes. It's complicated but basically her friend stayed over on Friday for a sleepover. Both Miss La and the friend have the same shoes, in the same size and both have foot problems that mean they have adaptions on their shoes.
Last night La couldn't find her school shoes but she found her friends shoes. So, she rang her friend who assumed she had gone home in the wrong shoes. Are you with me so far?
They decide to swap shoes at school, except La can't wear the friends shoes so she wears her party gold glitzy ones.
Cue a phone call from La at school this morning, 'Mom, she hasn't got my shoes.'
Now I have to go and search all over the house for where the missing shoes might possibly be, because it would be far to simple to have ut them where they are supposed to be kept, wouldn't it?
I guess it will make a change from 'the dog ate my homework' type of excuse - sigh

Sunday, December 09, 2007

X factor again!

Once again I think the right choice was made. To be honest either Leon or Niki could have gone. Neither of them were very good last night. Niki is no Whitney Houston, singing louder doesn't hide that she couldn't make a key change because her range is limited.
Leon was all over the shop, his second song was awful, maybe his leather trousers were distracting him. The boy can't dance and he especially can't dance and sing at the same time.
Rhydian was okay. Yes, he has a voice but the song choices were lazy and he moves around the stage like someone on castors. I've an office chair with more flexibility then him and the chair is broken.
Same Difference's second song was great, sung with real emotion and they do better when they are presented as an act that can do grown up stuff as well as appealing to a younger audience. I'm pleased they've made the final - they deserve it.
Can't wait to see next weeks final.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Suddenly looks a lot like Christmas

Well, it does at the Nell household. Tree is up and decorated, outside lights and signs are up. Six million singing and dancing animatronic pieces of Christmasobilila are arranged around the lounge ready to startle unwary guests into spilling their Port when they burst into life without warning.
The cards don't go up till after Mr Nell's birthday on the 16th, then the walls and doors will be smothered in cards.
The advents stables are out. The large one is in the hall awaiting the arrival of the Christ child on Christmas day.
The small one is on the hearth. This set is a tiny one we bought in Spain pre children. When the belles were small they loved to play with the figures. I have fond memories of my eldest belle hopping Jesus along the fireplace on his head saying 'Hide baby Jesus the snowman is coming to get you.' while the middle belle waggled a giant knitted toy behind the stable.
This afternoon is the Christmas fayre at the littler belles school. La has had a friend sleeping over so there has been an extra pair of hands to hang the baubles and eat the chocolate decorations.
To add to my joy I just had an email from one of my writer friends. Mary belongs to Wombourne writers and is incredibly talented - Loose ID have agreed and she's sold her first book!!!!!! Yay!!! I love sales stories don't you?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Fun 20

The Tipton Slasher.
Born William Perry in 1819 - died 1881
The Tipton Slasher was a canal boatman who left the boats for a time to become the champion boxer of England. This was in the era of bare knuckle boxing and the Slasher earned his nickname from a brutal right hook. He held the championship for some time, finally being defeated by Tom Sayers in 1857. The Slasher then returned to his work on the barges.
He was so famous he lives on in poetry and song.
1 Bill Perry lived the life God gave,
He's gone to his long rest.
We'll write these words upon his grave
'He fought and beat the best.'

2 A King he was within the ring,
A songster in Spon Lane;
No more again we'll hear him sing
'My pretty, pretty Jane.'

3 Ben Caunde 'as gone (of doubtful worth)
And dodging Bendigo.
And Freeman Bold, of giant girth,
And fouling Paddock, too.

4 Tom Sayers, bravest of the brave,
Has long ago passed on;
Their bodies lie within the grave,
Their fighting souls box on.

5 That Death! Grim Victor of us all,
He found the Slasher tough!
For never did the Slasher call
' 'Old on, I've had enough.'

6 'Enough, enough!' he never cried,
But battled toe to toe.
Unflinchingly his fists he plied,
And countered blow with blow.

7 And, if you have a tear to shed,
Friend, let it be a splasher!
And let it fall for him now dead,
The gallant Tipton Slasher.
(Unknown author)

The Slasher is buried in St John's churchyard on Kates Hill, which is the church where I married Mr Nell and where Shaggy was christened. The church is in dire need of repair and there is an action group to save it.HERE

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting a life

I went out to supper last night with one of my former colleagues. A real grown up dinner in a restaurant. It was so nice to catch up on each others news and to talk about stuff. Grown up stuff like X factor - she's a big addict like me, books, current affairs, education, politics.
Tonight the middle and youngest belles are singing in the choir at church with the Salvation army band. It's a carol service so I'm really looking forward to it. The new songs are nice but I like the old ones because I know the words and can sing along.
Tomorrow Miss La has a friend coming for a sleepover and Saturday is the primary school Christmas fayre.
Still no news from M&B - eight weeks now since I last heard anything.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Medical matters

I went to see my GP again this morning. No news on the X rays but the physio report wasn't good. I'm signed off for another eight weeks while they all figure out how to fix me.
The good side to this is that I get Christmas off. Last time I had more than two days off at Christmas was when Boo was born. Considering I then had a tiny prem baby, had had her by caesarian and my blood count was eight, I don't remember a great deal about it.
The girls are so enjoying that I can be a Mom, even if I do hobble everywhere I go and have to keep sitting down.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dear Disney Channel

Enough with the repeats, oh, and while you're at it can you get some new script writers? It's lazy to keep using the same lines and jokes in every series.
The 'dirty ape' gag has been in Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zac and Cody, Lizzie McGuire and Thats so Raven.
I've seen these things so many times I could act a part in them, I know all the words. Oh, and Please, please, please stop with the product plugging or at least vary it a little. You have a huge backlist why not use it to shake up the programming. A Mickey cartoon or a bit of Donald Duck in between the staple stuff would go down a storm.
This Sundays Hannahthon hot on the heels of Hannahween is enough to drive me to Boomerang - (They have Scooby Doo)
Yours sincerely, Glazed, deafened and stressed Mom of three.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

X factor again

Hopeless went last night. Their second song was better than their first but they were the weakest act.
Leon has improved but they have to stop the boy from trying to dance. He looks like a cross between crazy legs crane and Max Wall. I don't understand a word he says either. I feel like I'm trapped in a Rab C Nesbitt episode when Dermott interviews him.
Niki reminds me of Jayne McDonald. I see a career on the cruise ships in her future. I think it might be me or my mother-in-law's TV but I could swear she's getting wider each week.
Same Difference were fab as usual. They sing well - the only people to actually be harmonising last night. They dance well and cope with the strange and wonderful sets Simon Cowell comes up with. Bring back cheese I say.
Rhydian was okay. He's no rock singer and I felt the Queen number was a bad choice. I would have loved him to have done a Tom Jones Number. He'd be great doing The Green Green Grass of home, don't you think?
Can't wait for next week.