Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BOOK GIVEAWAY: To Bliss and Back


To Bliss and Back (Life Well Blogged) by Abbey Fatica and Monica Merrill-Mylet

What's it all about?

Now you may be a new blogger or you may be an old and jaded one. But whoever you are, fact is, you have to wade through a lot of crappy blogs to find some funny nuggets. So how great is it that these two editors Abbey and Monica have actually trawled the internet for hilarity and pulled together some of the most hilarious posts they’ve come across and compiled them into an anthology of sorts??  They have a multi-part series of eBooks that feature some of the top funny blogging women out there…..(including MOI)

To Bliss and Back is the 2nd book in their series.. the first book is No Laughing Allowed

And, their next book… will be Holly Daze: Underachiever Extraordinaire

But back to this book TO BLISS AND BACK

So....you know I'm in it.

So isn’t that reason enough to rush out and buy it?


What do you mean NO??
 Well, how about that fact that you're probably cranky as hell rushing around buying cheap crap for your kids and you want a laugh and you want to get the warts and all funny take on marriage? Laugh and cry at other tales of marital woe.

Here's the dirt:

To Bliss And Back explores the hilarity that we all experience when confronted with the ups and downs of relationships and marriage. Join the thousands of readers that enjoy these stories posted by the titans of the blogging industry on a daily basis. What could be better than a personal time-out to read and wrap yourself in laughter this season?

So buy one for anyone who wants a giggle about marriage. I mean, marriage, well, it's unnatural innit? Swans are some of the only animals that mate for life and they're cranky little sods aren't they?

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy and laugh yourself hoarse.These books sure don’t break the bank @ $2.99 and, these ladies are doing a few really nice things. Fifty % of the proceeds are being donated to Sandy Relief Efforts and they will also being giving away a Kindle Fire as soon as they hit 1000 downloads (this series has just launched this month!). You just have to sign up for their newsletter for updates on new eBooks in the series. Newsletter Sign Up can be found here

And if that's not enough. Do you want to win one?!! If so, read on.

GIVEAWAY – I’ll be giving away this Kindle ebook to FIVE lucky readers! All you have to do is leave a comment and you’ll be entered into a random drawing! The drawing will take place at the beginning of January, or whenever I get over my holiday hangover!

Seasons Greetings my lovelies.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Liebster Award

Thanks to Samantha Stroh Bailey, the divinely talented author of Finding Lucas, for nominating me for the Liebster award.

Nominees need to do the following:

When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)

One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.

One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!

One pastes the award picture into ones blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

Here are 11 Random Facts about Me!

1. I am obsessed with my guinea pigs and have made youtube videos of them (please don't judge me).

2. I wrote a Judy Blume type book when I was nine where all the words were American (even though I was living and am born in the UK) like diapers etc. It was about me being the head of a family of six kids. I actually only wrote the first chapter and sent it to Jackanory. They said they liked it but I needed to finish it. I will get round to it....

3. I once wrote to Jimmy Saville on Jim'll Fix It to get him to arrange for me to meet Abba. My wish never came true and I was gutted at the time but after all the allegations I'm now quite glad I never met Jimmy.

4. I once dyed my hair orange with Hydrogen Peroxide (it was the eighties).

5. I am an only child but had many imaginary friends.

6. My favorite kids' show was Roobarb and Custard.

7. I love pickled onion flavored Monster Munch even though it gives you stinky breath.

8. I had a massive crush on Rupert Everett as a young adolescent (don't think I had twigged he was gay at the time).

9. I am obsessed with crocheting animals and have a blog about my crafty side side here.

10. I am the only person in the USA who does not own an iPhone or even a Smartphone. I have a dumb phone.

11. I love having my nails done in different shades and patterns.

Here are the questions from the lovely Samantha Stroh Bailey:

1. What is the best costume you've ever worn?

I once went to a Halloween party as a kid as a box of cornflakes.

2. What's the best gift you've ever given?

The gift of life and I have the stretch marks to prove it!

3. If you could be invisible for a day, where would you go and what would you do?

I would love to be a fly on the wall at Will and Kate's place, if only to find out how the deflowering really happened - although I have my ideas

4. Who's your Hollywood crush?

Don't really have one except maybe Al Pacino in Sea of Love. Hawt.

5. What movie always makes you cry?


6. What book can you read again and again?

Only cookbooks really like Nigella Lawson's How To Eat.

7. If you could live in the home of any television series, which would it be?

Ten and a Half Men but not now, when it has Charlie Sheen in it. Yeah I wanna be beachside in Malibu! (btw have you read how the 'boy' in it now thinks the show is filth)

8. What is something you have always wanted to try?

Being a workaholic.

9. What's your favorite food?

Chip butty.

10. What's your favorite song?

Win by David Bowie.

11. Describe yourself with one adjective.


Questions for my Nominees:

1. Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised at what you’ve found?

2. Who would play youin a movie of your life?

3. Have you ever been naked in public?

4. If you could travel in time...where in time would you go? Why?

5. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

7. What did you have for breakfast?

8. Who or what has made you believe in yourself as a writer?

9. What habit or habits do you need to stop?

10. Do you have tattoos? Is so what motifs are they?  

11. Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Here are my wonderful nominees: UK Desperate Housewife, Salem Patterson, Sibel Hodge, Expat Mum, Note From Lapland, Joanne Clancy, The American Resident, About Last Weekend, Honest Mum, Slummy Single Mummy and Mum in the South.

If I haven't added your name, it's because I know someone else nominated you first!

Who will be nominated next?

Friday, November 09, 2012

From Tantrums to Tiles - A Spiritual Journey

Excuse my absence but I have been busy modelling. Well remodelling really. One kitchen. One bathroom. One new deck. One complete nervous breakdown!

This has been a bit of a learning curve for me. Let's put it this way: I am not a morning person. Usually I need three cups of strong coffee to kick start the motor before even doing a Neantherthal grunt to the spousal unit. But, believe me, having a bunch of men in your house blasting Thin Lizzie in your earholes while bashing down walls with a sledgehammer at seven o'clock every morning will push you to the limit - and beyond.

I mean look, I simply don't get those shows like Hell's Kitchen where the chefs are asleep in a room (with six others) and som Kitchen Hitler comes in at three in the morning and bangs on a steel drum and toots on a trumpet and everyone has to get up immediately and skin a cow and make an entree out of its entrails. And the thing is, everyone seems to do it without going ballistic.

How? Will someone please explain?

Well, I have had the remodellers in for two months and yes it was a bit of a shock to the system. To be fair they are a nice bunch. But I don't find it easy to talk about the texture of wall tiles or the size of  lightbulbs at the crack of sparrows. But you know what, I have managed it. I have become a nicer person. I cannot bite the head off a contractor at seven in the morning or they might retaliate and sew a dead rat behind one of the walls...or something worse!

And what about the strain on one's marriage? Fifty thousand mind blowingly boring discussions about shades of paint have been conducted with Mr Mommy Has a Headache. "I want beige paint for the trim!" "Well I don't! I want oatmeal!"

"Okay, how to you feel about perlescent tiles?" "I don't give a fig for perlescent tiles."

It becomes a tug of war about every little decision. So in the end it's like SURRENDER. You choose the color of the deck and I'll choose the light fixtures. If you don't try and be mature about it you can see yourself ending up in a scene from War of the Roses.

I'm just pleased to say that we are now on the home stretch. For some, alas, things did not end so well. Including this note left by a husband at the close of a remodel project in the 70s was rediscovered recently behind some wainscoting [via Found mag]…

So tell me all about your remodelling experiences. I've heard of awful, drunken contractors who put up wonky walls. So do dish all...if you dare....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Wacky World of Hello Kitty

As a self confessed Hello Kitty freak and Halloween fanatic I decided to combine the two interests to make a Hello Kitty Witch this year! And if you feel like joining in then you can get the pattern here.

Hello Kitty makes me so mad. She's been going strong for 35 years and still has fur as dewy and unlined as a kitten. But as time has passed and her marketing people have found new ways to exploit her charms, things have inevitably gone, well, a little tasteless.

Let me know if any of these products tickle your fancy. Would you buy:

1. Hello Kitty Assault Rifle

2. Condoms

3. Condom Holders

Surely this is the ultimate turn-off? You might want to keep this handy by the bedside as the ultimate in birth control. The ick factor will make you not want to have sex full stop. Plus she's staring at you the whole time. Seriously freaky.

4. Tooth caps

I mean, come on, who wouldn't like to have Hello Kitty’s face implanted permanently in their mouth?

5. Urinal targets

This one sends a bizarre message. I mean if you were a fan you wouldn't disrespect Miss Kitty by weeing on her now would you, although she is telling you to. Which could mess with young minds a tad.

6. On your Sausages

Makes me think of that Meatloaf song. "I will eat anything for love ...but I won't eat that."

7. Hello Kitty Airplane

Taiwanese Eva Air has a Hello Kitty airplane that flies between Taiwan and Japan.

8. Fake Nails

This Kitty's got claws ...miaow! I'm a self confessed fake nail fanatic but these are just plain wierd.

9. Becks Beer

Who is the target market for this?

10. Pizza

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little....

So what do you think? Have I converted you into a Hello Kitty maniac? What other products do you think would be perfect stamped with a Hello Kitty?


Friday, September 28, 2012

Raising Global Nomads

David and Victoria Beckham Underwear Ad

I was panting away on an exercise bike the other day reading an article in Glamour with Victoria Beckham . No, I don't mean Vicky was pedaling away beside me, she was actually in Glamour talking about her kids.

She was like "Me and Becks are so proud of being British but the kids are American. They're always telling us 'oh you're so British.'"

And my jaw literally hit the floor!

I mean God, yes, of course this resonated with me. Vicky and I are both global nomads, raising our children in foreign lands and doing our best not to culturally confuse them. But the difference is I don't think my kids feel American, so that's where me and Vicks differ.

Not a lot of people know this and I don't like to brag, but Vicky and I go waaay back and even went to tap dancing classes together* before she became famous, moved to LA and basically wouldn't return my calls.

It's a shame that we lost touch as the parallels in our lives are simply staggering:

Vicky creates clothes for her fashion line, while I create crocheted rabbits

Vicky is a size 0 and I was once a size 0 (okay I was nine years old at the time)

Vicky has a blog and I have a blog

Vicky is married to a man with a high pitched Minnie Mouse voice, and ....my husband once sucked on helium and did a funny voice.

Sorry. Where was I?

I was going to talk about whether I think my kids (born in USA) are hopelessly confused about their cultural identity or not.

Well unlike Vicky I actually have relatives - or rather my husband does - in the USA so we celebrate all the holidays just like Americans. So that's that cultural box ticked off. Vicky probably has to have her Thanksgiving catered and that's just not the same.

One other thing - my kids don't see themselves as British, American or Irish (husband is Irish) they just see themselves as a 'bit of everything.' Also they only have a slight American accent which is somewhat odd but there you are.

The other thing to note is - and here's a tip for Vicky - maybe you need to employ a cultural translator for the family as I had problems initially in getting my kids to understand what I was on about.

For example when I first told my daughter to 'put a sock in it' she got a sock and said, 'okay mum where do I put it?'

It was hard for the kids to understand that when I said, 'stop farting around' or 'stop pricking about' I wasn't really talking about farting or pricking.

But as I explained the intricacies of English slang to my progeny I found they ultimately embraced many of my phrases while acknowledging that stuff like 'now you're as clean as a whistle' didn't make any logical sense.

So, there you have it. I feel that Vicky and I have now branched off into difference directions: her kids are American while mine are hybrids, but I still respect her and would gladly model something off her clothing line on this blog as long as it had an elasticated waist.

But enough about Posh. What about you? If you are bringing up kids abroad do you think they are culturally confused or do you think it is broadening their horizons?

*This is a bald faced lie

Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com


Monday, September 24, 2012

My Best Book About Me

Damn those crafty Swedes! First they introduced us to the piquant pleasures of pickled herrings, then supergroup Abba made us pull on our flares and sing Fernando, and then budget furniture store IKEA got in on the action and soon a flat pack frenzy was spreading the globe. Now those fab Swedes have done it again with Swedish publishers Fill and Tell getting in on the action with a refreshingly modern take on the keepsake book of memories for your baby. This amazing book is filled with adorable illustrations that your child will love, and has plenty of pages for recording all those precious first memories.

Yes, My Best Book About Me is quite seriously the cutest baby book I have ever seen. The pages are thick and it has a lovely handcrafted feel about it. The book was originally written in Swedish but has now been translated into English. Hurrah! I'm sure if the rumours are true that Kate Middleton will already have snapped up one of these stylish books for her royal embryo.

The headings for bits to be filled in cracked me up too, such as “Mummy put on ___ pounds when expecting me and Daddy put on ___ pounds”, and “Music that made me dance…” as well as “When I reached the terrible twos we mostly argued about…”

Take it from me, this is a must have for all your pregnant friends. So pick up a copy today! And US customers can order the book from huset-shop.com too.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Spend a Night In With the Kids

It's a modern fact of life that working parents often find it hard to squish in quality time with their kids, even at weekends. For the kids themselves, the week is chock a block with classes, games and homework, while parents find themselves juggling long commutes and mundane tasks, both in and out of the office. Late evenings are the ideal time to catch up with our kids, by watching a fun movie together, playing a board game or even better, rustling up a yummy dinner together.

It's less hassle than you might think to invite your kids to help make a great evening meal by encouraging them to try their hand at a few essential but relatively harmless tasks. It may at first be quite tough to deal with their childish enthusiasm in trying to learn everything at once or their offers to help with the difficult tasks. If there are many kids in the family, then there could be real trouble on hand. Parents should work out an amicable schedule or delegate the tasks, so that each child gets to enjoy their time in the kitchen.

Encouraging children to help out with cooking and cleaning enables them to understand and appreciate the value and the goodness of homemade food, and to realise that home cooked food is as interesting and tasty as that from a restaurant. The experience also allows them to use kitchen tools safely and confidently, and learn how to prepare food for themselves and others.

Children can experiment with several simple recipes to cater to their tastes, while at the same time helping their parents to prepare a special dinner. Tempting meals usually contain a decent dose of butter and cream, making the meal really sumptuous. Dinners are no exception. Experimenting with a cheese and onion pie with a dash of Anchor butter, and Anchor dairy real cream or pepperoni pizza served with cream dips and a delicious dessert of Banana bread is a great way to spend an evening with the kids, getting them both to help prepare these recipes and relish them as well!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Right mommies, fancy a cuppa?

Time to bung that unending to-do list, diapers and crockery! Time for your exclusive day out! Let’s not get too chuffed to bits my love. We mommies can’t really have a wholesale day to ourselves now, can we? So let’s see how we can fit bits and bobs of your ‘me-time’ into our busy day without harbouring a slacker.

Cook up a storm with a power packed energizing brekkie which will keep you up and about geared for the day to come. A sprinkle of flaxseeds in your cereal blesses you with your share of essential Omega-3 acids. Wash out all negative thoughts and welcome everything that’s positive including words and thoughts! Banish words like stressful, knackered, and difficult from your personal dictionary. Make way for mentally stimulating time with the children by singing along with them, even if it’s just a ‘The grand old duke of York’ or ‘Peter Hammer,’ you’ll be surprised by how wonderful this experience can be. Stock the light flowery air conditioner to suit and relax you. Fragrance can refresh and relax you giving you that spa aromatherapy effect. Have a chin wag with a lady as you pick up the laundry. A little talk and bonding is extremely vital. Engage in a small mental escape with a little dreaming at midday. Make tea time an auspicious celebration. Out with your best Royal Doulton teapot with your double cream & jam scones with chocolate chip muffins on your flowery cake stand. A good old cuppa will relax you and help you rise high above the day. Get down and dirty playing and jumping like a kid with your kids in the garden. Do not leave any muscle uncorked.

And while the lovely day turns to dawn, have a butcher online at some fabulous Bingo games (Big Brother Bingo is a great place to start playing and getting free cash and gift certificates), for excitement, fun, friendship and strike gold with some big wins. It’s the Mutt’s Nuts I say!

So don’t wait for Christmas! Chivvy along and make hay while the sun still shines!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Publish Your Book via Kindle?

I have never really understood the attitude of unpublished authors who receive many rejections for their manuscripts and blame publishers for not wanting to take a risk by publishing their novel. I don't think publishers are evil, they simply have to put their money where their mouth is. If they publish your novel, they have to invest a certain amount to have it edited, produced, promoted and driven to various bookshops. That means they are very picky about what they publish, albeit not in a way that makes sense to the lay person. Sometimes their most hyped up book might sink, and sometimes it might swim, and sometimes it all goes pearshaped and the publisher goes bankrupt.

But don't blame the publisher for not wanting to take a risk on you. Get out there and do it yourself! Is there any more wonderful invention than the Kindle for the adventurous author who wants to get her book out there? Publish your book as a Kindle and it costs practically nothing, so you're not exactly plundering your retirement fund to get it into print.

Remember the dark days of self publishing, when you had to order several thousand copies of your book, which went moldy in your garage and no one bought off you, not even your gran? And if you ever saw them in a public place it was in the local dog pound lining the kennels? The other problem, apart from wasting your money, was you never got back any feedback on your book.

But now if you Kindle your book, you get readers without even really trying. Additionally, on the days you give it away free you will have about 10,000 people reading it. The down- or upside to all this is you will get a lot of feedback on your book because many people are reading it. For a fully paid up narcissist like myself, this kind of feedback is like manna from heaven.

When I published my novel Confessions of a Cake Addict as a Kindle, I was soon inundated with people telling me what they thought of it.

Some of it good like this:

"The title of Confessions of a Cake Addict was the first thing that struck me about the book. It instantly made me smile as I completely empathised with Kate, the protagonist, as I am a self-confessed chocaholic. Kate is the quintessential geeky girl with a great big heart. There were so many times during the book that I just wanted to hug her. We've all been where Kate finds herself in life; single, chubby and just a little bit lonely."

or this:

"This such a riot of a read! Grab this book and cozy up on the couch in the sunroom and just read! I found myself just laughing like silly. It's funny, improbable, but it's not exactly the fluff I was expecting. There is something very smartalecky about this that I really enjoyed."

While others said the book was fluff, but not in a good way, like Laila454:

"This was just total fluff. I expected more from but all I got was a quick beach read."

Well, I'm sorry Laila454 if you thought a book with a pink cover and a cake on it was going to be an indepth exploration of alienation and loss, possibly told from the point of view of a Husky dog Tinker who climbed up Mount Everest with his trusty owner, octogenarian, Mable Smithers. In the course of which, Mable loses her toes to frostbite, Tinker loses his tail to a rabid wolf and they hobble to the bottom of the Mount only to be gunned down by an assasin with cataracts.

No seriously, Laila454, I don't mind what you think as long as you're saying it!

So, if you're thinking of Kindling your book, just go for it!! Fifty Shades of Grey may well owe part of its success to it being available via Kindle so that horny mums can read it on the sidelines of their daughter's soccer games without anyone being the wiser.

Also another book that's selling well in Kindle and paperback is The Life and Death of an Unknown Celebrity by Darren Cockle. It's a tale of how Darren coped with life after his wife died of breast cancer and it's raw, moving, honest, funny and uplifting. 

So if you're feeling brave, I urge you to put your book out on the Kindle. I guarantee you won't regret it!!


Friday, July 20, 2012

One Drop Uses Poker to Improve Lives

Poker on TV is a fad that I have never really gotten into to. I've tried to watch the programs on TV, but it is hard to relate to those who regularly put up $10,000 at a time in the hopes for winning big money. However, there is an event that will be coming up that I may take the time to watch called The Big One for One Drop.

The Big One for One Drop is a charity poker event that was held earlier this month at the World Series of Poker. It was the first event ever to cost players $1 Million to event. I know, some of you wonder why I would watch this after talking about live and online casino players putting up just $10,000 in an event, but this event was a bit different because it largely supported an important charity.

The Big One Drop is tournament that was the brainchild of Cirque De Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and the event supports One Drop, an organization that helps to provide clean water to developing nations. Water is our lifeblood and having clean water is key for proper growth and development.

The $1 Million tournament I mentioned was important in that out of every $1 Million, 11.11 percent was taken out for One Drop. A total of 48 players entered the event which meant that over $5.3 Million was raised for this wonderful organization. Several players also pledged a portion of their winnings to One Drop.

In addition, the company spent a lot of time and effort in educating players not just in the event but also at the WSOP about their cause. From what little research I have done since hearing about this event, I have discovered just how generous that poker players are and have learned that they are not as ego-driven and money-obsessed as I once thought.

When ESPN plays the final table for this event, I will be among those watching. It will not be to pick up any casino strategy or to obsess over the money being thrown around, but rather I will be watching to support a event that will ultimate impact countless lives.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Pig Tales - The Adventures of Two Talking Guinea Pigs

Part 1 - Adventures in Real Estate....in which darstardly guinea pigs Peanut and Marshmallow have a ding dong about which house they want to get their mitts on

They were rather less chuffed with the garden:

This post is part of the Digital Parents Blog Carnival:

Digital Parents Blog Carnival