Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Great Ormond Street Hospital

On BBC2, at 21:00 hours tonight a programme will air following amazing, inspiring and often heartbreaking stories of child patients and their families at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Tonights episode will follow the epic journey of Francheska and her family.  I urge you to watch this.  Francheska goes to J1's school.  For a few years they were in the same class.  Francheska has fought against all the odds, defying negative predictions as will be seen on the programme tonight.  We are blessed and thrilled that her gorgeous and beautiful, happy, smiling face is at school, brightening everyones day.

Francheska's wonderful mum, Ceri, has seen the footage and warns us that tissues will be required.  I am one hundred percent certain that they will be in this house.  We appreciate that everyday with our special children, and their complex conditions is to be marvelled at.

I often have days where I of course I think that what has been bestowed on our children, by whatever means you believe in be it God or Fate, is tragic.  But I also have days - just as often - whereby I wonder if it wasn't for the path that has been laid for J1 and us as his family, if we would ever meet such amazing and awe inspiring people?

Every child is amazing.  Every child that battles against a difficulty is courageous.  Every family that lives life to the full with a special needs or disabled or unwell child is strong.

You will find none more courageous, or strong than that of Francheska and Ceri.

Great Ormond Street - BBC2 - 9pm (29 May 2012).

The Garden Project - How is it progressing? (P1)

With the blessing of this unseasonally warm weather, I thought that there was no better time to get cracking with some of the projects as outlined in 'The Garden Plan 2012'.

I have been thrilled with the amount that we have managed to get done.  J2 has been happy to play in the garden and 'help' with the projects (mostly involving filling and emptying the watering cans and sprayer over me, but hey, the drenchings have sometimes been appreciated...)


So without further a do this is a short summary of progress :

Tidying Up the Front of House

Work has started, but is to be completed on the small bedding area at the front of the house.  I have cleared it and dug out the root of the dead rose bush.  The Hubby has put some fresh top soil on it and I am giving it a good soak every evening for the next few days before I start planting it up with a bright and colourful bedding mix.

Back Garden

After my visit to the Chelsea Flower Show last week and picking up lots of literature, I am thrilled that my garden is full of amazing planting.  Some that were presumed to be weeds are certainly NOT.  This has drastically reduced the amount of work I thought it may require. 

There was also good progress made on finding all relevant garden play stuff for the children in the numerous boxes shoved in the garage (waiting to be 'sorted') since the move.

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse is one of those things that now makes me smile with pride.  The soil has been cleared, turned over and given a good soak for a few days.  I have made one side suitable for planting directly into the ground and so far have planted up carrots and (snigger's) 'Big Boy' (aka Beef) tomatoes. 

I have cucumbers (large and mini), purple sprouting Broccoli and a yellow tomato plant still to go in.  All fruit and vegetable plants have been purchased on special offers at various local Garden Centres.

The other side I have put some shelving units in for my seeds, my Fuchsia plugs (purchased from Chelsea) and any other newbies that come in. 

There is also a table to take the trugs of lettuce (baby mixed leaf), herbs and strawberries.  I have actually filled two trugs with strawberry plants and am experimenting with one outside and one in the greenhouse - we love strawberries so if they are successful I will do more next year.


Herbs : Chives; Basil; Thyme

Pots and Hanging Baskets

Again, I am insanely proud of the progress that has been accomplished with regard to pots and hanging baskets.  I have created two carefully planted hanging baskets for the front of the house.  I love trailing flowers in hanging baskets so put a selection of trailing Fucshias, Geraniums and Lobelia in both with a splash of colour in the form of Petunias in the middle.

I utilised several of the pots that were already in the garden, put fresh compost in and a selection of mixed bedding plants.  I also found this savvy lady and planted her with a Lobelia (white) and trailing Fushias. 

I purchased some larger 'Barrel' tubs whilst they were on special offer at the Garden Centre for prime placement on the front step to the entrance to the house.

Finally did two smaller pots for the back patio, with individual flowers that I love Allium (pink) and Dianthus (pink and white) and finished the look off with small grey pebbles.  These two pots took four small bags, which luckily were also on special offer at the Garden Centre.



Whilst we continue to be lucky and have this amazing weather I shall carry on with the other garden projects and hopefully have a further update post next week.  Unpacking boxes and working on sorting the inside of the house can recommence when the (inevitable) rubbish weather returns and not until that day!

If you want more home inspiration head over to Making It As Mum's - 'Making it Home' feature.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Silent Sunday - My 'Chelsea Flower Show' Best Bits

Garden by RHS with Parish of St Helier, Jersey
Westland Magical Garden sits behind

My favourite Show Garden : Arthritis Research UK

My favourite flower : Purple Sensation Allium

The lovely Joe Swift in his Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden

I love the way they put these against the snow mountain backdrop.
Very effective

Topary at its best : F1 Williams in the Pavillion

Amazing use of Fruit & Veg in the Pavillion

Best of British

Shoe part of the Birmingham display

One of my favourite displays - A Very British High Tea

The Acer - A plant that's survival has always eluded my mum

Emily Brontes 'Actual' Bonnet and Glasses (Yorkshire Garden)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

What Has Made Me Cheerful This Week

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

There really isn't any need not to be cheerful this week is there?  There are an abundance of reasons for the sombre of Britain to come out of hiding and be happy!  Linking up with Mummy From The Heart for the weekly Reasons to be Cheerful meme - here are my happy thoughts.

Weather - I think number one on anyones list would be this amazing, wonderful and glorious weather that has finally blessed our shores.  Doesn't it feel it has been a long time coming?  I was actually wondering the other week if I was going to have to try and find more long sleeved trousers and t.shirts for J2.  I looked longingly at the lovely little summer wardrobe sat idling in the drawer waiting to come out and be counted.  But finally blue skies and sunshine graced the dawn and the shorts are out.  Along with the factor 50 sunscreen of course. 

The good weather has had several knock on effects :

Garden - Following on from my recent 'The Garden Plan' post I have been able to start actioning some of the projects on my list.  This required a lovely visit to our local garden centre with my mum.  After an early lunch of 'Cream Tea' (naughty but very nice) we spent a couple of sans J2 hours browsing, assessing and purchasing bits and pieces needed to action The Garden Plan.  Extremely enjoyable morning followed by an extremely enjoyable afternoon potting up.  I will post an update with photos in a future post.

Seaside Strolls - I appreciate where we live most of the year, but none more so than on the days of good weather, when we can really take advantage of the fact that we can leave our house and within 60 seconds be playing on the beach.

Chelsea Flower Show - A ticket to the CFS was my birthday present from my parents this year.  After waiting like an excited child all week, Friday finally arrived and with it perfect blue skies and sunshine heat.  It was an early start (coach pick up was 07:30) but we had a smooth, clear run into the City via the 'Tourist' route.  It was lovely to see London attractions all preparing themselves for the two big approaching events; The Jubilee and Olympics.  We arrived at the venue and was in by about 11:00, where we then had about six and a half hours of beautiful Chelsea viewing hours.

The Show Gardens were amazing as you would expect.  I was thrilled to be lucky enough to be at the Homebase Teenage Cancer Trust Garden when it's designer Joe Swift was there and then at the Brewin Dolphin Garden when Cleve West was 'in residence'.  We did eventually see Alan Titchmarsh and Carol Klein, but they were up on the 'recording' platform, but it was still a sighting!

The Pavilion was a huge, colourful and diverse marvel of skills, with very friendly and chatty stall holders.  I was very happy as I managed to find a stall selling Purple Sensation Allium Bulbs, my favourite!

Add in our rest in the shade with frozen yogurts and real lemonade, with live music from the bandstand and it was pretty much a perfect day.

Jubilee Plans - I had not realised how quickly the Diamond Jubilee was approaching.  With no plans in the pipeline we decided to get cracking with some and have invited some people round on BH Tuesday (how odd does that sound?) for either a BBQ or in the event of bad weather (this is the UK after all) a Royal High Tea.  Much bunting has been purchased.

Now I am going to get back out in that beautiful sunshine, to get my hands dirty in the compost again.  For other bloggers inspirational posts visit Mummy From the Heart.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Beautiful Bluebell - Treasures in my Garden

I was lucky enough to be able to spend some lovely sunshine hours working in the garden yesterday.  I was trying to get to grips with what is growing and decided to take some photographs of the amazing colours.  Here is my favourite, a simple and classic bluebell :

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Britmums Live 2012 - Ultimate Meme

I am very happy that next month I will be attending my first ever 'Blogging Conference'.  This is the hotly anticipated 'Britmums Live 2012'.  For the first time since J2 was born I will be heading to London for two full days of pure and unadulterated 'Blog and Writing' talk.  Add to this a chance to actually meet some of the real life people behind some of my favourite blogs, and I am really rather counting down the days.

Whilst avidly reading a recent post by the fabulous Older Mum in a Muddle, I reached the end of it and found this statement :

'All the bloggers I know who are going to Brit Mums Live have already completed this meme apart from one, I think, so stand up and be counted Lynsey The Mother Duck. You're IT.'

So here I am.  Standing up to be counted on the Britmums Live 2012 Ultimate Meme...

The meme rules ask that you copy and paste the questions, answer them, then tag another two to four bloggers to do the same. Also don't forget to link your post back to A Boy With Aspergers linky.

Questions ...

Q: What’s your blog title/URL and how long have you been blogging?

My blog is called Lynsey The Mother Duck and can be found at www.lynseythemotherduck.blogspot.com.  I have been posting merrily away since August 2011, so not quite a whole year yet. 

Q: Will Brit Mums Live be your First blogging conference?

Yes, I am a total newbie.

Q: Did you bag yourself a sponsor?

No, just going as me.

Q: Are you attending both days?

I certainly am.  Travelling up early Friday.  Saturday night in the big City followed by day two and then home to the Hubby and Kiddies.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

The whole idea that the entire thing is dedicated talking, learning, discussing, eating, sleeping and breathing - writing and blogging.  I will soon be forming BA (Bloggers Anoynomous...)

Q: Are you wearing Branded Clothing ( you’re sponsors brand)?

No.  Am going to carefully plan the two day wardrobe and very much enjoy doing so.

Q: What is your planned style for this event?

Smart casual.  Skinny jeans, bold tops and fabulous shoes (with flats in the handbag).  I like to take the Boy Scout moto when it comes to footwear, be prepared!

Q: Are you hoping to be nominated for a BiB award?

No, not this year.  Was a bit out of the loop on it until quite late this year.  I know, I know was obviously living under a rock.

Q: If so what category?


Q: Will you be looking to network with Brands?

Er...no actually not in particular, but then I really have no idea what type of brands will be around, so it should all be an eye opener for me.

Q: What do you hope to walk away having gained from the conference?

Information, information, information.  I want to be like a sponge.  I have my dictaphone ready and waiting ... if we are allowed them (my name badge will also read 'Geek'...)

Q: Will you be dressing up in the toilets for the Friday night BiBs?

Am hoping that I should be smart enough, may take a change of accessories and handbag make up kit, to freshen up.

Q: Are you speaking at the conference and if so when, where and how do you feel about doing so?


Q: Will you be joining in the early morning bloggercise on the Saturday?

Would love to if I can get there in time.  The prospect of a solid, non broken, no 'child's foot in back' nights sleep is too exciting to contemplate!

Q: What speakers are you most looking forward to listening to?

I am looking forward to all speakers, seeing Susanna and Jennifer kick it all off with the welcome, then of course, the Legend that is Ruby Wax.  I would love to see Allison Pearson too, but am torn between workshops sessions for that section!  Am also very much looking forward to meeting and listening to Kate, from Kate on Thin Ice and think Sarah Brown will be very interesting.

Q: What workshops will you be attending on the Friday (Day 1)

As I mentioned, I have a dilemma over which session I would like to attend; Bloggers Studio - Getting published (this was the clincher for purchasing the ticket after all!) or Discussion Den - Can you really have it all (where AP will be speaking).

Q: What Workshops being held on the Saturday (Day 2) have grabbed your attention?

I am thinking that I might opt for the following sessions on Saturday :

Advanced Blogging - Photography
Discussion Den - Blogging for the Greater Good
Advanced Blogging - How to create an E-Book
Discussion Den - Sod The Stats!  Blog for Happiness
Writing About Your Life

Q: Are you booked into a hotel for the Friday night, if yes which one?

The Husband assurred me that he was going to sort this out.  He hasn't yet.  This is a reminder that I need to start nagging.

Q: Will you be looking for after party drinks?

Depends how long the original party lasts - see answer to the early morning bloggercise! I do not do hangovers and lack of sleep well and really do not want to spoil day two. 

Q: Are you worried about not knowing anyone or being confident and socialising on the day?

I am a little apprehensive, but having read comments from most first time attendees, everyone is feeling the same and that is perfectly natural.  I am not nervous, more excited.  I am quite a chatty, smiley person and it seems that it is going to be a friendly event so think everyone will be fine.  I am super pleased to find out that some people that I have been following blogs of are attending (yes Older Mum in a Muddle, you!) and am hoping that friendships will be forged over the course of two days.  As always the thing that I get most nervous about is navigating my way the venue - I have ZERO sense of direction (and not a great deal of common sense when it comes to finding a route).

Q: What are you most likely to be found doing while attending Britmums Live?

Studiously taking notes through sessions and smiling and laughing (and sometimes being a bit loud) out of them.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

One Hundred Word Challenge : Spooky Ruby Part 4

This weeks One Hundred Word Challenge #43 from Julia's Place is to include the prompt :

...The flame flickered before...

Please read on for Spooky Ruby Part 4
For links to part one click here, two here and three here.


The flame flickered before her eyes on top of the coffin.

She focused on it, unblinking.  The only thing she could look at, as she held her swelling ball of grief within. 

She couldn’t look at his photo on the stand.  The flowers:  F.A.T.H.E.R.  H.U.S.B.A.N.D. 

She couldn’t look at his Mother on her right, or Ruby on her left. 

But she could feel their presence.  Sense their pain.

She drifted into a daze and was transported back to her bad dream of watching a flickering light.


Licking at the night sky.

The caravan spread around the ground, in a hundred, million pieces.


For other 100 Word Challenge entries go to :

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Garden Project - 2012

Once upon a time I used to grumble and moan when the 'Gardeners World' music came on the television set.  My parents used to tell me to go and find something else to do if I didn't like it (rightly so), but I wondered how anyone could find it interesting.  I mean it was about trees and plants - could it get anymore BORING?

Fast-forward 20 or so years.  With the wonder of Sky-Plus, I do not have to subject my children (or husband for that matter) to my  guilty pleasure of tv - ie - gardening; home restoration; or cookery programmes.  What happened to me?  Oh I know - I hit my 30's!
I was warned that this would happen.  I did not foresee it coming.  I thought I had avoided it in actual fact.  But since the birth of baby boy number 2, getting married and having that lust after and, for some people, elusive 'content' feeling in life - the desire to make our home beautiful and pretty caught up with me.

We have found an amazing home, with a lovely garden that requires a little work to bring it back to full beauty.  This is inspiring -it needs just the right amount of work that I think we will have the time to give it. 

I have also recently found an inspiring blog called 'Making It As Mum' who runs a 'Making it Home' feature.  This is a link up that asks all bloggers to link up posts outlining work they are doing to improve their home and gardens.  So I thought I would be able to join in with this and track my progress.

There are several 'mini-projects' within the overall Garden Plan.  These are :

1. Tidying up the front of house - we have a gravel front, so not too much work here : 

* The sides do have some overgrown weeds, which need some attention. 

* There is a brick built unit at the front of the drive, which is already full of wonderful roses and plants, again this just needs to be tidied up. 

* The third area is a small bedding area - right at the front of the house - which is completely overgrown.  I plan to clear this area and plant it up full of bright and beautiful summer bedding plants.

 (All reasonably priced bedding plants from The Range & Wilkinsons)

2. Back Garden - we have a good size, established back garden. 

It has obviously has had a lot of time and effort spent on it in the past.  It requires a few weekends work clearing the weeds from what should be there.  

The lawn is a useful rectangular shape and we have been able to fit the childrens trampolining and swing in with ease (phew). 

 (The boys toys)

I would like to add a small slide to the childrens area, as this is J2's favourite piece of apparatus at the park.  I also just recently saw a fantastic childrens matching patio set (table and two chairs with Parasol) and covered swing seat (in Monkey theme) at The Range which would be a very cool addition, but it is only on the 'wish list' for now.

3. The Greenhouse - Yes, at last I have inherited a Greenhouse within our rental - much happiness has been created for my mum and I with this addition.  At the moment it is in a bit of a sorry state - however - a good days work and I think it can be brought back to glory.  A good clean, soil replenish and a work bench or two and it will be a gardeners' delight once again.

4. Pots and Hanging Baskets - I love to see a house with lots of colourful and happy pots and hanging baskets adorning it.  At the moment mine looks like this :

Enough said.  I will be planting up several pots and hanging baskets over the next few weeks to pretty up the patio area (front and back).  I love that you can get a rotation system going with pots, so that when the current ones have lived their life, they can be whipped away and replenished with healthy ones.

I am also going to change this :

...into a fresh Herb trough.

5. Furniture - This house came with several wooden benches, tables and a small (J2) size chair.  They need a good rub down and paint treatment, but I think they are certainly worth saving (and will hopefully save us money too).  These are how they are at the moment :

So herein lies our Summer Challenge.  Lets hope we are soon to get a run of fine weather so that we can put the hours into it.  Garden work is always good for the children too. They are much happier to play in the garden if you are out pottering too and a good dose of sea air always helps everyone sleep better at night!
I am going to The Chelsea Flower Show on Friday so will be looking to be inspired by all the wonderful work on display.  We are also lucky enough to live close by to Beth Chatto Gardens, also a fantastic day out (sans children).
May the (Ground) Force be with us!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

One Hundred Word Challenge : Spooky Ruby Part 3

I am once again linking up with Julia's Place for the
100 Word Challenge Week #42

Our prompt for this week was the following :
You are to write a piece with these words in it:



Spooky Ruby Part 3
(if you need this to make more sense you could read part 1 (here) and 2 (here)

She was toying with a yellow apple at the kitchen table when heard Ruby’s Grandmother let herself in.  She thought it was a liberty, that she came and went as she pleased.  But it was his Mother.
‘Matriarch of the Henshaw Family Empire’ she thought bitterly. 

She wasn’t sure when she had become such an enormous annoyance.  After all, Ruby was so very attached to her.
It didn’t help, that although spending so much time at the house with Ruby, she didn’t speak to her. Hadn’t done so since the accident.  She’d tried, but was always met with silence. 
She shifted angrily.  Met with blame...

To read other fantastic entries please click on the links above.

Friday, 11 May 2012

What Has Made Me Cheerful This Week?

Having struggled a little this week with motivation, I am pleased that I indulge in this link up.  I like to bullet point anything and everything that could possibly make it on to the final list of What Has Made Me Cheerful this week - that in itself cheers me up - before composing my post.

So here are my top choices for this weeks Reasons to be Cheerful :

* Settling into the new home.  We truly love this house and it feels like home already.  Of course it helps that boxes are slowly disappearing from sight, although the task of sorting the over stuffed garage is a little daunting...

* This weekend we are having a big family gathering for my parents Ruby Wedding Anniversary.  Final preparations are gathering speed now (I do love organising a 'do').  My outfit has arrived (the theme is that all guests must be wearing at least one red item - otherwise I have suitable forfeit items...) and we will get to see some family members that I haven't seen for, I would say 15 years! 

* Although things are still busy at the house, now we are in I have had a few minutes to really appreciate the lovely birthday gifts I received.  One of which was a Kindle Touch.  I admit, I was not keen on the idea when Hubby first presented it (old fashioned book lover here - I love the smell of a new book) but now it is up and running I am loving the ease of it.  This also coincides with another reason to be cheerful and that is the discovery of some great new authors (via other blog recommendations) of which their books now sit downloaded on, said Kindle.

* This week has graced us with a few hours of blue sky and sunshine.  A welcome break from the grey gloom and drizzle we have been suffering for the last couple of weeks.  Always a good mood 'pick me up'.

* Joining in Julia's Place 100 Word Challenge has really got the creative mind racing this week - I encourage everyone to check it out and give it a go.

If you would like more inspiration head over to Mummy from The Heart for more cheery posts.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Once Upon A Time (link up with Older Mum in a Muddle)

One of my favourite bloggers, Older Mum in a Muddle has started a fabulous link up, called 'Once Upon A Time' encouraging everyone to write a post about something they used to do, have or similar.  Older Mum in a Muddle used to be a DJ, a very cool one at that and I was fascinated to learn that little something different about another fellow SAHM.

So I have been inspired to think about me : Once Upon A Time...

Once Upon A Time 

Once Upon a Time, I used to have the most fabulous selection of shoes and bags.  If I had a pair of shoes (heels, of course) you could guarantee that I would have a matching bag in colour or fabric or most likely, both.  All were carefully and painstakingly chosen and purchased with an outfit in mind, but more than that; a statement of intent.

My shoes and bags would be my tool in visualising how I felt or wanted to feel on any one day, hence the need for such a variety in style and colour.  From when I was young and sneakily used to watch Working Girl, I wanted to be that stylish, strong, bold, empowered 'Career Girl'.  I wanted a job where I could wear sharp suits (sans shoulder pads...), pencil skirts and shirts with a nipped in belted waist and killers heels.

When I started working in 'The City' it was a pre-requisite in my job that I had to be well groomed and turned out.  This was great on days I felt like it and had the energy to make all of that effort.  However, on days I did not feel like getting up at 5.30am to spend an hour and half making myself up (usually coinciding with a hangover) the novelty wore off.

However, once the outfit was chosen it was always the shoes and bag that would make me feel better.  They could completely dress something up or down, depending on my mood and what I wanted to 'say' for the day.  

Since children came along, the time to care about this has since become a distant memory.  The only thing that matters now is that I have 'a' pair of shoes on my feet when I leave the house.  Although I do not crave to spend 8 hours in heels anymore, I do miss that attention to detail of such things that used to help me identify myself for the day.  I fear I have now become the stereo-typical wife and mother.  I fear my clothes now say 'J1 / J2 had this for breakfast / lunch / snack' today rather than being an extended statement of me.

I am all for comfort and suitability to my job (i.e. slave to a toddler and school run mum) but I wonder if I have become complacent to my own needs a little too much.  I have always taken pride in my appearance and would like to do so again.  So although I won't be needing my suits and shirts for my day time routine any time soon, I will be adjusting ones wardrobe to smart-casual instead of just casual. Every now and then, on a child-free 'special' day out, those fabulous shoes and bags may just make a long awaited appearance once again.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

One Hundred Word Challenge : Spooky Ruby Part 2

100 Word Challenge - Week 41
Prompt : Picture of old bones. It’s an exhibit in the National Museum of Scotland in their ‘prehistoric’ section.
 copyright : JFB57

The dream was always the same.

She was standing by a pile of old bones.

Ruby’s bones.

Sweating, she awoke.  The same dream, night after night plagued her since Ruby scared her to death with her ‘I died in a fire once’ statement.

Fetching a glass of water from the kitchen his voice broke through the quiet night ‘Bones dream again?’

‘Yep’ was all she replied before banging down the glass and walking back to bed.

Why had he come back?  He couldn’t help her.  He was dead.

Resigned to her anger, she laid back down to try and sleep.

Linking up with Julia's Place and the 100 word challenge - check out other fantastic entries here

Saturday, 5 May 2012

One Hundred Word Challenge - Ruby

“Ruby!” her mother called excitedly.

A sandy hair girl skipped into the room and sat on her Mothers’ lap.

“I’ve booked us a caravan - for a little holiday.”

“Cool.” Ruby replied “I died in fire in a caravan once.  It was called Vixen.”

“What?” her Mothers response was slow.  Ruby, seeing her Mothers worried expression touched her cheek.

“It’s o.k.  It didn’t hurt, I was asleep.” Ruby went to play as an email notification sounded on her Mothers phone.

“Booking Confirmation.”  It read “We are pleased to confirm your recent booking of our two berth, gold standard caravan – The Vixen.”

Linking up with JB47 One Hundred Word Challenge - The prompt - 'Ruby'