#fiveminutefriday Imagine

The premise is simple: We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is post on the Lisa Jo Barker’s site at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

This week: Imagine.


Imagine if I didn’t make weird noises when I sat down, or got up, or bent forward. Imagine what it would be like to turn over in bed and not have to do it in stages and occasionally bash my hip a bit to keep it going.

I’ll admit, I quite fancy a daily routine where I’m not thinking ‘f*** it, how much worse can I make my back anyway?’. But it’s that exact question that makes me who I am (for those out of the loop, that would be a bloody minded fool). Ok, so on occasions I rely on some nifty opiates to take a bit of a pain vacation, and other days I’m as right as rain. But life is for living. Just imagine what life would be like if we spent all our time trying to avoid pain – we’d do nothing! We’d try nothing! We’d take no risks. And taking a risk can often lead to longer term happiness. On the flip side, it can also lead to temporary pain. But a lack of action just makes us dull and depressed.

Will I try new things? Yes. Having broken bones, dislocated things that should definitely be located, and got through two ‘interesting’ births (another time), I know my pain threshold well. I can break stuff and deal with it, I do not cope well with having a baby’s head rammed into my pelvis repeatedly by ridiculous drugs (the kid wasn’t impressed either).

I’m not one for positive thinking. Imagine the worst, and hope for the best. That way you’re at least prepared when you fall on your arse and you’ll have the common sense to check each body part for damage and deal with whatever flies at you.


Meet the Fugglers

I want to introduce you to a truly worrying lady. I’ve watched her facebook page go from a few fans to several thousand and all because of an idea that arguably should’ve stayed in her head.

What started off as a weird listing of loose false teeth on eBay, became Mrs McGettrick’s Fuggler Emporium.

And this is a Fuggler.


How do I describe this? Er.. Is a cute hand stiched plushy… With err.. Human teeth. You can’t really get just how disturbing these things are until you see one up close. I have two. They scare me. Why? Because one of them is a replica of my husband.

This is the ‘dinky daddy’ Fuggler.


It’s scary. And keeps turning up under the bed.

These things are starting to pop up worldwide, and whilst they are totally not suitable for small kids (choking hazard on teeth etc), my 8 yr old is rather keen on getting a Fuggler bear for her teacher as a leaving gift this year. What could possibly say ‘I want you to remember me’ more than a bear with human teeth!

Now people of the Internet, visit Mrs McGettrick’s Fuggler Emporium and be as weirded out and amused as I was!

Chicken ring! (We liked it, so we made a ring out of it)

Ok, this is an adapted recipe, but it’s quite a novel way of getting veg in the kids… And the saving grace behind its weirdness is the ability to extend two chicken breasts to feed a family of 4 or 5. It is a case of less meat, more veg and some weird extras, but I’ll cost it out for you:

2 chicken breasts (about £4) – thigh fillets are cheaper
Half a head of broccoli (about 40p)
2 red peppers or 1 large one (about 80p)
A roll of puff pastry (about £1.50)
2 tablespoons of mayo (about 15p if you’re using helmanns)
A chunk of cheese (about 25p)

Total – £7.10

Factor in potatoes and the rest of the broccoli as veg and that’s £2 per head for a family of 4.

You’ll need to precook 2 chicken breasts for this and then stick them in the blender to chop them into breadcrumbs once they’re cold.

Next take a roll of puff pastry and cut it into triangles:


Now make them into a star shape on a flat baking tray:


After this, use the blender again to chop half a head of broccoli into bizarre green breadcrumbs. Put these into a bowl which is big enough to mix in with the chicken breadcrumbs. Trust me that this will taste good rather than like how it currently looks. Frankly, it gets worse before it gets better.


Then cut up the red pepper and stick this into the blender. This won’t make breadcrumbs but a frothy red mush. This is good (keep repeating this in your head) as it gives it moisture.


Mix those three together in the bowl to make a nasty looking mush. I can only apologise at this point.


Then add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and add a handful of grated cheese for flavour. Mix this in with the disgusting looking mush (continue to trust me).


Next, use the spoon to mould it onto the pastry into a sort of ring type shape. You could make it look nice with an ice cream scoop, but seriously who has time for that? Just make sure that it’s sort of even.


Once you have built a ring of mush, fold over the triangles into the middle of the ring one at a time and cut off ends as you go so you end up with gaps and some left over pastry.


Fill in the gaps with the offcuts then glaze with an egg (or not). The only reason to glaze here is for looks. Great for dinner parties, totally insignificant for feeding kids who couldn’t care less if the pastry has an egg glaze.


After 25-30 minutes in the oven at about 180 C, you’re good to go with a veg filled chicken ring.


By the way, if anyone can think of a name for this that doesn’t make LSH giggle I’d be grateful!

Coconut Oil Tropical Flapjacks

This is right up there on the noms list.

porridge oats 160g
Coconut oil 100g
Dried tropical fruit lots? (I’m using around 200g)
Golden syrup 3 big tbsp


Set the oven to heat at about 180 C.

Melt the oil and syrup together in a pan on a low heat (coconut oil doesn’t need much heating).
This smells amazing. You’ll need to stir this gently to mix it.


It’s also recommended to actually brush your hair during the holidays, but just try telling that to beanpole!

Once it’s all melty…


Let the last few lumps go, then mix in the oats. This should give you a lumpy oaty mixture (if it’s gooey, you need more oats. Finally, add in your dried fruit – this packet had massive lumps of dried tropical fruit and I had to negotiate with the kids to get them in the mixture rather than noshing them straight from the packet!


Once it’s in the pan, just shove it in the oven for 20 minutes where it will go a pale brown (not as golden as the butter ones as the coconut oil is clear, not yellow).


It will still be gooey when it comes out and will harden when it’s cooled, so after about 5 minutes create some ‘score’ lines in the flapjack so it can be broken into individual pieces.

It doesn’t have that creamy taste that butter flapjacks have, but what it lacks in butter, it makes up for with taste and lower cholesterol.

Getting it out in public

Made you look!

Nothing beats the look a teenager gives you when she encounters her mum’s friend sitting in the park in full view of actual people with her crochet out. This is worsened when said friend (me), acknowledges her existence and creates a universal link between the teenager and the act of crocheting. Nothing says middle aged and middle class like a bit of crochet in the park.

But crochet I did, because blanket project #2 is underway and it’s a colourful one too. This is a pram blanket and as such is using all the bright colours needed for the baby to gaze at in their newborn fuzzy eyed way.


Interestingly, the blocks of colour aren’t as fiddly as the thisisnevergonnaend blanket with its change of colour for every round and I’m planning on a 6×7 block with edging so it’s not as big either. I have decided though that I need to do something other than granny squares for the next project as I’m becoming slightly unhinged when two similar colours are joined too closely….

What said teenager probably doesn’t know yet is that eventually, when she becomes old and decrepit and nearly dead like us ancient people in their 30s, she’s going to need an outlet for her stress. Something monotonous but creative which makes everything else go away for a few hours. I knit or crochet, her mum runs, LSH rides his bike over muddy hills. It’s what stops us from listing you kids on eBay, or crying in public places, or allowing the inner monologues to become very offensive outer monologues. It’s our ‘thing’. And I’m not ashamed to get it out in public.

Crochet related injuries

Whilst the kids were playing happily in the sun yesterday, I made it my mission to finish off the thisisnevergonnaend blanket. If I’m honest, this is the first proper crochet blanket I’ve finished – not too bad having learnt to crochet from YouTube last summer.

It turns out that the final 6 squares plus edging took most of the day and evening and I went to bed rather crispy (at least I’m obsessive about the kids wearing sunscreen). And some up with having pulled the muscles in my right arm!

So, last night out came the coconut oil and I slathered myself in it. Total cure for sunburn – this morning I’m still a bit pink, but another day of coconut oil and I’ll be less cooked. (It’s brilliant stuff and works on kitchen burns too for those less adapt to being a home buddy).

So, that combined with some ibuprofen for the arm this morning and I’m pulled together enough to say awww she likes it!


Child: a noise with dirt on it

As we get stuck into the half term holiday with a vengeance, I have noticed two things:

1. Stroppy emails from work can wait. People will shortly be getting the sharp end of my tongue.

2. My children create concentric circles of mess. EVERYWHERE THEY GO.

It’s not even 9.30am. We were woken up to the dilcid tones of TinyPants asking if we were awake yet as she hasn’t got the squash out but is dying of thirst. Then comes BeanPole, who for the test of this post will be referred to as StroppyKnickers for she has adopted the general mood level of the average teenager. It is due to this ungrateful brattish behaviour that we have pulled the plug on the medieval day today, for I am not get feeding the ‘I want’ attitude. (She and I may well fall out this week)

So today, they can go to the tennis courts and wear themselves out. And this week I’m going to find them something to do that reminds them that they really should be grateful for the lifestyle we have. They may be only 7 & 8, but better to realise it early than become horrible teenagers.

Wish me luck!

(And any suggestions on activities are welcome!)

Welcome to Munchkinland. We represent the Computer Science Guild!

Oh bloody hell, what have I unleashed?

So yesterday, to give the kids a bit of a break as the exams are in full swing, our after school club became game central. Mainly because they needed some downtime and I’m fed up with them getting teary from overtiredness (expected this time of year, but they don’t need me barking extra orders at them). One young man rocked up with three volumes of D&D player guides and dice while I arrived with a set of Munchkin cards that I’d payed stupid amounts to get delivered in time for yesterday’s geek-fest.

So, Munckin grabs their attention as a quick play option and off we go…. Except they’ve sent me the French version! WTH?!


But we are resilient geeks, and not only do we have Google translate, but we also have a languages scholar and Mrs B with her GCSE in French from 17 years ago (le sange a dans le table – I remembered more than I realised!). And we made it work. And oh my, it was funny. If you ever want to see people who will do essentially anything to sabotage their best friend’s chances of survival, give a bunch of 13 & 14 year olds Munchkin.

Why Munchkin? For me, it’s the obscure geeky references and it’s a gateway to slightly more in depth games. Because its silly, anyone can play. And if you needed more persuasion, check out these as cards with their occasional reference to Pratchett:





Now all I need to do is convince LSH to play with it with me over half term! (Not much hope there)

Questions to be answered.

The brilliantly funny April’s A-Z has nominated me back for the Leibster, and seeing as I’ve already bored you enough with facts about me, I’m just going to answer the questions!

1. What are your thoughts on decaffeinated coffee?
It’s evil. Fact. Who in their right mind would drink a something designed to perk you up without the perky bit?! I did find out this week that if you drink coffee before a nap, it makes the nap even more effective!
2. What shape or character would your 7th birthday piñata be?
A replica of the current UK Education Minister, Mr Gove. That way the kids could bash him with a big stick, much like he’s doing to their schools!
3. Pigtails on adult women: yay or nay?
No. Not unless she’s in cosplay. At which point it is totally acceptable, and at times required.
4. What time do you usually wake, alarm or not?
Too bloody early! During term time, it’s 5.50am, although it takes a little while to drag my carcass out of my pit.
5. Given the opportunity, would you use a slip ‘n slide?
A what? (Hold up, I’m going to need to Google that)…… Ooh! One of them! Hell yes! Actually, we have one in the shed – I just need it to be warm enough to throw me and the family down it!
6. What was the last thing you ate?
Meatballs and pasta made by my lovely husband.
7. Have you ever weighed yourself before and after a bowel movement?
Who hasn’t? I never understood why it didn’t make a jot of difference.
8. Do you play an instrument?
Indeed I do. I play guitar (classical & steel string) and piano.
9. What’s the top item on your bucket list?
Try out for roller derby. It’s just mental enough to grab my interest.
10. Do you have pets? If so, what type and what are their names?
Yep. You want the whole list?
Cat – moggy – Tom
Cat – moggy -Yzma
Cat – Turkish Angora – Greebo
Fire Eel – bollocking enourmous (currently just under a foot long) – Charles
4 Clown Loaches – approaching equally enormous
Angel fish – pure evil, jet black
Catfish – William
Various guppies
Two children
One husband

11. Do you like your name, or have you ever thought of changing it?
It’s not a grown up name. I’ve actually had people say to me when I’ve turned up for official appointments “oh, I was expecting a little girl”. Well, people, little girls grow up.

The Leibster Award. I have it.


Liebster (requirements consist of naming your nominator and providing a link to that person’s blog, posting 11 facts about yourself, answering your nominator’s 11 questions, nominating 11 more bloggers, and creating 11 questions for those bloggers to answer) :

11 facts about myself:

1. I’m having more fun than the kids painting the Warhammer figures.

2. I am rubbish at being overtired.

3. I wish I had more time to play games.

4. I’m a slow reader. But I get totally lost in stories.

5. My faith is rather dented and I’m leaning towards agnostic.

6. I’m determined to learn to speak Spanish, even though I’m finding it really hard.

7. Just occasionally, I wonder what would have been if we’d had another child.

8. I’m having great difficulty in thinking of eleven things about me!

9. I have several friends that I’ve never met, but I consider proper friends.

10. I want to travel more. The idea of warmer climates appeals.

11. I’m not very good at being girly.

Answers to DepressionBlogger’s questions:

1. Who is your favorite author? Terry Pratchett, without a doubt.

2. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? Southern Spain. Andalusia.

3. What kind(s) of music do you like to listen to? Ska, rock, occasionally thrash. And then baroque just to throw you all off

4. Name something you would love to be able to do that you haven’t done yet. Retire!

5. What is your proudest accomplishment? probably when my book was published last year. That was pretty cool.

6. What is your name? whatshername, or more often than not Spanners

7. What is your quest? Mostly anything the dude with the exclamation mark asks me to do.

8. What is your favorite color? green. Was purple.

9. What is the capital of Assyria? there were 4, which one do you want?

10. What’s your favorite comfort food? carbs carbs and more carbs.

11. What’s your favorite activity for a rainy day? ahem. Actually, no. It’s roller discos or crocheting (how sad is that!?)

Ask your nominees 11 questions for them to answer:

1. Who was your childhood hero?
2. Who would win in a fight: Cthulhu or the behemoth?
3. Tell me about your most memorable teacher.
4. What was your favourite age?
5. What happened on your 10th birthday?
6. What does your sock drawer say about you as a person?
7. Paper books or ebooks? Why?
8. If you could be a book character, who would it be?
9. Describe yourself in five words or less.
10. How do you take your tea?
11. What classic novel do you wish you’d actually read as a child?

Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

1. Smile me Happy
2. Daniel Is Funny
3. Goodnight Mush
4. April’s A-Z
5. Derby+Diapers+Daily
6. It’s Been a Slice!
7. Fully Myelinated
8. The Gypsy Tree Newborn Photographer
9. Objectpermenanceblog
10. Map Without Borders
11. Burned Out Parent