Instagram???

It seems that Instagram has taken over my online time investment! It would seem, at the expense of my diary writing!

But is Instagram a kind of visual diary?

Perhaps, but without dialogue, there is fundamentally a problem! No context I guess!

But then again, for those more popular than I, on Instagram, comments on pictures can create another sort of factor, a mini conversation!

I do love it when some of you lovely people comment on this, my blog! I thank you all for that!

And now a few recent Instagram pics, without context, just random images really!

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Well, being a man of relatively few words nowadays, I have chosen to highlight another ‘Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner’.

Mind you, we have dined out thrice in these last 2 weeks or so! Fine dining in the Egyptian inspired tent at the Vineyard near Newbury amongst other gastronomic destinations that are not too far away from us in ‘The Shires’.

Always a memory of the years we holidayed on the ‘Costa del Sol’. Spanish Tortilla and Frits.

Though on this occasion, some of Dadda’s Triple cooked Chips!

A family staple of Red Shrimp Bisque, fine beans and boiled potatoes.

A Beef and Mushroom pie is always a good idea! Hold the milk or beaten egg on the pie topping. For that extra special, slightly blistered effect, brush with double cream before baking!

Spaghetti and Dadda’s meatballs are always well appreciated!

As you know, we love green beans and this dish of Lebanese green beans were an amazing side dish to Dadda’s Moroccan lamb (not pictured).

How do you serve Trout? I prefer simply.

Lamb filet with Dauphinois potatoes is worth pushing the boat out for. Though I should have used that pun on the previous Trout entry! Elevated of course with Dadda’s home made mint jelly. A condiment of pure bliss.

That’s all for now! The children are all well and today we are enjoying the garden in sunshine. There is talk about bike riding in a bit! Did I mention that both Aaliyah and Thor have started bike riding without stabilisers! Well done both of them.

Wasp Stings

We had a great day yesterday in the woodland beside the children’s school. Today however, our trip into the woods beside our house ended up with a few wasp stings after the boys and I accidentally stumbled upon a wasp nest. Then came the inevitable stinging nettles on our way home! Thus proving that not all family excursions are harmonious ones!

These two photos are from our lovely day out yesterday.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Well, a big thank you to Ingrid from 

www.experimantsinfiction.com for putting me forward for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’. I love reading her posts. There is poetry, words of optimism and the most beautiful imagery!

The Rules Are:

1.Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.

2.Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3.Nominate 11 people and ask them new 11 questions.

4.Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their posts.

5.List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award in your post.

Ingrid’s questions were:

1.Who is your all-time favourite writer?

You know what! I’m gonna say it! Charles Dickens. I love ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ so much. But then again Oscar Wild’s ‘The Happy Prince’ melts my heart every time!

2.What is your all-time favourite poem?

My favourite poem has to be Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. It is such an epic story. And if truth be known I did live a few houses away from his blue plaque in London for many years! But can I add, my favourite quote from a poet is in fact Lord Byron ‘Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine’. Something we can all learn by…

3.What is your all-time favourite novel?

After some debate with John that non-fiction is not a novel, we googled and found out that it is! So my answer to this one is obvious. And that would be ‘Eighteen Moons’ my family story, quite unlike any other. Search Amazon for details. It really will fascinate you from cover to cover!

4.What is your favourite quote from a movie?

Well, another quote! My own personal favourite would be Ripley from the Aliens movie, ‘Get away from her you BITCH’! But John has just shared his and I smiled. So I am also including it in my answer! ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is the movie. And the scene at Katz restaurant on the lower east side. We dined there ourselves once and enjoyed the most amazing salt beef sandwich! In the movie, the character Sally emulates an orgasm whilst sat down to eat! The waiter stops at the table opposite and asks what the young lady would like. She replies ‘I’ll have what she’s having’! Lol

5.Can we save planet Earth from ourselves?

NO sadly.

6.Are you religious? If so, what religion do you follow? Tell me a bit about it, as I like to learn about different religions. 

No thankfully. But if truth be known, I’m a bit of a tree hugging pagan! Mother Nature is as high as it gets in the ‘Godly Realm’!

7.What languages do you speak?

I’m An Englishman! Guess?

8.What do you look for most in someone else’s blog?

Emotion. Pure and simple. And hopefully a smile! Refer back to lord Byron’s quote…

9.What is your main aim in writing your own blog?

To promote my book of course, that’s the reason why I started to blog almost 2 years ago! Yes, I’m in it for the long haul.

10.What is your favourite food?

Celeriac mousse!

Just kidding. It has to be ‘Shellfish’ for sure. Oh! And Chips… see below for tonight’s dinner! Crab cakes and Chips! Pure bliss.

11.Would you go to space if you had the chance?

I think so, who wouldn’t! Though I am sure my 10 year old self would have shown so much more enthusiasm about it!

Okay that’s it from me! Did I find my mojo again? Can I associate myself with words once more?

Okay! Now my questions to whom I am in turn nominating!

What brings you the most happiness in life?

If you could ‘do it all again’? How would you have done ‘it’?

Following on to that. Who would you be now?

What makes you get up in the morning?

Do you like Dalmatians? And if so, why?

Apple’s IOS or Android? And why the preference?

What’s your ‘Porn name’? Add your first pet’s name to your mothers maiden name!

Do you ever give a political opinion on your blog? I choose not to. So, why do you (or not)?

I have a design degree but also did year 1 of a geology degree! What 2 opposites make you happy?

What started you blogging?

Now, we have all engaged with the image of the rainbow over the lockdown period! I want to see a real myriad of colour now, so my final question is ‘what is your favourite colour? (Hehe.)

Okay, my nominees are:

Greg Vessar

Macey Wilkie

Sandomina

John Malone

Trè

Kristie 

Ab 

The Tiny Potager

Blogs by J

Josef Havelka

Shaheen 

P.S. I remember that I blogged every single day through the months of lockdown in the UK! I think that now that lockdown has been eased here and after my quandary of several days of questioning my words! I would once again love to find them within my diary posts a few times a week at any rate! No pressure on the days, no absolute rules! A few times a week, a few days off here and there That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Updates on family life, here in ‘The Shires’ to follow

Weekly Update

It is true that I have been grappling to find words this last week. Sadly this is still the case! I did think that I would be re-engaged by this point, but sadly not.

I can only ask for you to bear with me.

The family are all happy with no major tantrums this week. And these final weeks of the little ones attending school comes to an end on Thursday as the summer holidays begin.

Homeschooling the girls feels so much less pressure now than it did mid lockdown.

Have to dash as Remus is making demands on me to go out for a run in the garden.

Everyone in the throws of getting ready for bed at the moment, though they will be coming back down for an hour of television in a short while.

Again, sorry for my absence of late! As ever, thank you for reading.

Last nights lamb curry saw the chance to use my new stainless steel ‘Thali’ plates from India! Though I did have the feeling of international flying before the meal was done!

I really must invest in the more traditional round tray with the individual bowls I think!

The Sun Has Got His Hat On (Finally)

I’m finding words quite difficult at the moment! So, to compensate for this, here are 2 minutes of our afternoon. I can’t quite put my finger on it! I’m sure this lull will end soon enough!

Well, there you go! I just managed a paragraph! Hopefully mojo fully restored tomorrow…

One Year Ago Today!

The biggest birthday cake I have ever made. Yes four layers opposed to my usual three. Home made chocolate ganache and not just home made black current jelly, but home grown, homemade black current jelly lavishly spread between each layer.

We had a great party in the garden and invited around 30 children and their parents. We even hired a children’s entertainer to occupy them for 2 of the 3 hours.

You might see in this next picture, how nicely piled and ordered the children’s gifts were.

But this next photo shows you what I awoke to. John had allowed them to play in the garden before I arose and this is what I came down to!

This was just the beginning. I managed to tidy up as the day progressed, again and again, in different areas, but it was like a landslide, completely fighting against the laws of nature and physics. Aaliyah had even ripped the head from her doll in the frenzy to release it from the packaging!

By 1pm I had had enough and escaped to the bedroom for an hours resbite. What I returned to was a house, completely trashed… whoever gave the sticky mosaic craft gift, well, I would like to know your name as I will gladly reciprocate in good time. The sticky mosaics are everywhere. I am reminded of the forensic tidy and clean up after the kinetic sand incident…

It’s now late and John has just managed to get them into their jimjams and up to bed. I have locked myself in our bedroom, refusing to see anyone or say goodnight to anyone at this point. I feel like a broken man. I do not want to venture back to the ground floor due to the amount of mess, destruction and pure, unadulterated chaos that still permeates there.

I completely give up and I prefer not to leave the relative sanctity of my bedroom. I am sure that I will update you as to the situation tomorrow and can only celebrate in the idea that this is the last birthday party in our immediate family for the next six months. Enough is enough, today I really draw the line.

Please remember that this post was one year ago today. Hahahahaha…

Some Birthday Clips of Yesterday

A few days quiet, just enjoying family life really. Children’s birthdays are always a bit ‘Crazy’. But if you plan well, you can make things easier on yourself. Mind you, I was quite busy and left the cake decorating to the last minute! It was quite an exhilarating 10 minutes, but post barbecue and the consumption of the sweets from the piñata, I thought a birthday isn’t a birthday without the cake! Deep breath, 18.39 it said on the microwave clock, camera, lights, action…

18.49 and one frosted strawberry and vanilla birthday cake was served up to not just Aaliyah and Caleb, but our neighbours daughter Peppy was included on the birthday wishes as she has just turned 4. So, in the end, happy birthday to all three of them.

Phew, what with 7 birthdays to consider in our house, I can now take a 6 month respite as our birthday season is the end of December – early July. Haha…

That was a frenzied 10 minutes

Don’t worry, no accidents occurred

I might reblog ‘The Aftermath’ later from this day a year ago! It was quite a different day altogether… as ever, thanks for reading.

Birthday Cake

What with 5 children, though 2 sets of twins and Daddy and Dadda’s Birthdays, I do find myself baking birthday cakes quite a lot over the year. I have been known to bake twice on Amritsar and Tara’s birthdays, as they generally have an official birthday on the actual day and then another for the day of their party.

Of course, this year the girls just had their birthday with the family on the day itself, due to lockdown. And the same will be so of Aaliyah and Caleb’s special day, this year falling on Sunday.

So just the one cake to bake today. All a bit last minute as I usually bake a week or so before and freeze the sponges x 3. This cake however will be just the 2 layers as I only had 6 eggs and there’s clearly less people involved, just a neighbouring family.

The second sponge is almost done. I’m just waiting on Alexa to ping the 22 minute alarm. The ‘All angels’ are singing through Alexa, something or other from the musical ‘South Pacific’.

I am now remembering our Lū’au earlier in the spring when we had such magnificent weather. I did homemade Hawaiian Pizza on that day. A barbecue for us however on Sunday! I think more grey weather is forecast sadly, so cooking it all on the Aga inside might just be more appropriate.

Okay Alexa is telling me the cake is now done, so I had better wrestle it from the oven!

The children are presently in the park beside their school with Sindy and 5 x packed dinners, celebrating a friend Nancy’s birthday. Possibly appropriate given my afternoon bake. I should really thank Nancy’s mum for buying Eighteen Moons and Thirteen Moons More a few weeks ago. I believe she loved both books so I’m hoping for a review perhaps on Amazon.

Did I say that the audiobook is now live? So, for those of you who don’t really read books or novels, it’s the perfect escape with nothing to do, just close your eyes and join me on my journey of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B08B73G6L3/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Back to birthday cakes! The request this year was Strawberry and Vanilla opposed to the usual chocolate ganache. And that’s what they’re getting. Though I can almost hear Caleb’s bleats of ‘But I want chocolate Dadda, I want chocolate’, just before he throws a tantrum…

No doubt more on the Birthday celebrations on Sunday. As ever, thanks for reading.

Three Obscure Memories, Memory 3. Nepal.

I had almost forgotten the third piece of music that I found on my iPhone a few days ago. So today we ultimately come to my third melodic, early family memory! A memory of Nepal, a place where I found things extremely difficult to be honest, but it was a place that was pivotal to our becoming a family. In my book, Eighteen Moons, I only devoted one chapter to the five months spent there! As a matter of fact, I could have written an entire memoir just on that span of time spent in Kathmandu. So here is that piece of music accompanied by some images of my time, post earthquake, in 2015.

A Trip to the Opticians

Guess who had a trip into one of the local towns for an eye test today? As you can see, Tara is now the proud owner of a pair of glasses! Seemingly she has a slight problem with her left eye!

Post dinnertime now for the not so famous five and things are slowing down. Aaliyah and Caleb have headed upstairs with Amritsar to tidy their room! My, wonders never cease and Tara and Thor are playing ‘Crossy Road’ very loudly beside me. Now they are arguing… oh dear! Now Thor has stormed out and wants to do ‘drawing’! Time to join he others upstairs I think!

Nite nite all.

Guest Post from Single Dad to 2 young Children ‘Daniel Sherwin’

Image courtesy of rawpixel

Affordable Tech Tools to Help Your Kids Prepare for School Reopenings

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into children’s education, disrupting the lives of students and parents across the country. As a result, back-to-school prep may look a little different this year. Your kids may be returning to school virtually, so make sure they’re prepared with the tools they need to succeed! And if the lockdown has kept your kids home from school for a while already, they may need some help getting back in gear. Here are some budget-friendly tech tools that can give your kids a head start as schools reopen!

Online Resources for At-Home Education

Encourage your kids to keep learning over the summer break by setting them up with some online educational resources.

 You can find free educational resources online for kids of all ages.
 Parents can make math interesting with hands-on learning and real-world applications.
 Take your kids on virtual field trips from the comfort of your couch.
 You can also find fun ideas for DIY home STEM activitiesand lab experiments online.

Educational Tech Gadgets

Tech gadgets can help make learning fun for your kids, whether in the classroom or at home!

 Get your kids a tablet with screen time limits and parental controls.
 Make sure your kids are equipped with a good laptop for researching class topics and completing homeworkefficiently.
 Smart notebooks are great for taking hand-written notesand then saving them digitally. 
 Help your kids concentrate on their studies with noise-canceling headphones.

Connecting with Your Kids’ Classroom

Tech tools make it easy for parents to stay connected to classroom life.

 Monitor the school website so you can stay up on the latest news and information.
 Take advantage of free apps designed to connect teachers and parents. 
 Google Classroom allows teachers to assign work and keep parents in the loop.

As many businesses start to open up again, schools are slowly following suit. Some states are reopening schools for summer programs while others are planning on cutting summer vacation short to make up for any missed class time during the lockdown. Regardless of when your kids return to school, you can help them adjust back to school life with the right supplies!

You can connect with Daniel directly through his website http://dadsolo.com/

(A great post Daniel, thank you so much for delivering such an interesting and informative read for us all today. You have my full respect!)