Project 366 – Week 5

Sunday 31st January. We were lazy today. Super lazy. To avoid being super lazy two days in a row I insisted we went out for lunch so we headed to a local Farm Shop we hadn’t visited before (who also do PYO when the season is right). They had a cute, very quiet cafe anyway which served generous healthy plates of food.

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Monday 1st February. I love this Potato Chart photo I took at the Farm Shop, I’ve never known the correct ones to get!

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Tuesday 2nd February. We love our Toughees shoes H wears every day, but the velcro came away from the strap, so I had to get them repaired. Her regular trainers weren’t really going to be any good for school so we went to Clarks and bought these. Size 13.5 now… no longer able to wear shoes with sparkly things on the sole (which she has never had, so she got upset I said she had big feet. But it’s true!).

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Wednesday 3rd February. Too old now to “drive the bus” – I’m not sure what I think about this growing up thing.

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Thursday 4th February. My impatient face. Got H to take a photo of me in my new Sport Relief Orla Kiely apron, because I love it. In my head I look like a domestic goddess. In reality I just look like me in a nice pinny.

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Friday 5th February. Every morning I do Peak Brain Training. Language is my strongest thing, and the rest are catching up. I’ve been doing it since around November time, just the free app. There are some games I hate, and some I love. This stops me from reading books on the train, so I need to find a balance, but it takes most of my journey before I hit my daily target now they’re moving it higher…!

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Saturday 6th February. H was so happy as we got our preorder of the brand new Pamela Butchart Book ‘Attack of the Demon Dinner Ladies’ of which she is already on her second read.

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TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Back on Weight Watchers.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve officially come out again. I got too fat. I comfort ate through a lot of last year for various reasons. I reached 14 stone just after a large Pizza Hut pizza that I had scoffed in next to no time, thanks to being unhappy and hungry. I’d always said when I reached that weight that I’d go back on – so yes, I’m back doing Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers logo

This time I’ve paid for it myself, I’m not working with them, and I’m turning around my bad habits I’ve fallen back onto. You can’t beat a takeaway on a Friday or Saturday which we were doing – just the one, mind. But the weight crept back on. It got really bad around my birthday when we went for Afternoon Tea, followed by a further, posher one a few days later where I ate cakes, cakes and more cakes and oh boy it was GOOD.

Great Fosters Afternoon Tea

I know the score. Track your food and track your activity. Fortunately my phone has a step tracker in it, so that’s switched on and I’m hitting my targets a couple of times a week which is good – and the steps I’m achieving give me three or more points a day, which don’t end up being used.

So from weighing in at the start of the year at 14 stone, I’m already down to 13 stone 7.5 which I think is bloody good going. I didn’t even try very hard, just stopped helping myself to the biscuit tub at work – although yesterday found out one Oreo Cookie is 2 points – the same as a Weight Watchers Chocolate Bar. Heheh.

I’ve been stocking up in Poundland, whose selection isn’t as good as it was when I last did Weight Watchers – and getting additional bits in my weekly Ocado shop. With me making progress I am starting to feel better about myself, so that’s progress.

Weight Watchers has changed though since I did it. I can now track things easily on my phone (I couldn’t before), and when I can’t find it straight away, I can scan in the barcode which makes life much easier. I am rubbish at tracking every day, but know that, and also know I don’t go anywhere near my daily allowance. For example – here’s the food I’ve had today.

Breakfast

Apple and Pineapple (0 points)

Snack

Pack of Quavers (3 points)

Lunch

Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Egg and Cress Sandwich (7 points)

Evening Meal

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Parsnip soup (3 points – damn you parsnips) in the Soup Maker plus 1.3 Weight Watchers Naan Breads 4 points).  This is not the soup, it’s an old one but the picture will do.

bramleyappleandparsnipsoup

I have a daily allowance of 30 points, and that only uses 20 of them, leaving me 10.

I have walked 6050 steps today, which gives me an additional 7 points I can use, so 17 in total that could be used on treats if I fancied it. (I earned 12 yesterday doing pilates for an hour as well – but I was too tired when I got home and fell asleep from 9pm!)

So far, so good. Plus Weight Watchers are doing a deal at the moment, where if you lose 10lb in 8 weeks they’ll give you your money back – now if ever there was motivation to try, that’s it! Well I’m three and a half weeks in and I’ve lost seven. I reckon I can do it. You can still try too – you can register with that deal (and Quidco offer cashback too) until the end of February.

Shaun said at the weekend “I don’t want to get diabetes” – something we’re both at risk of getting – and it gave me yet another kick up the backside. Although I do worry when I hear H on the Wii Fit saying “oh I just want to lose two calories doing this” – at least it means nothing to her right now….

Sim's Life

Introducing Three Pig Diaries by Emer Stamp

We’ve a new author and illustrator for us this week – and not one book but three – three Pig diaries by Emer Stamp, that is!

Emer Stamp is an author and illustrator, and has created the three diaries by Pig. We have been sent all three Pig books, as an introduction to Pig’s life, and indeed his diaries. The books are 2013’s The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig, 2014’s Pig – The Super Amazing Adventures of Me, Pig and finally the brand new book, The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary of Pig which is available from the 4th February 2016.

Pig Books Emer Stamp

So who is Pig? Pig is an ordinary pig on a farm. He lives with his best friend, Duck and in the first book, some Evil Chickens and he also keeps some diaries. Pig reckons he’s the farmer’s favourite as he gets fed all the best slops and received special back scratches that only a favourite would get. The Evil Chickens are making a special Tractor-Rocket in which to send Pig to Pluto, where there’s no food. Obviously Pig isn’t up for this. However, it then becomes apparent that the farmer is feeding Pig so well because he’s going to be eaten – after all, the farmer does call him Roast Pork… Duck tells him as much, so Pig realises that his only option is to take the Trocket and go to space… what will happen next?

Well, we know Pig has two more diaries so if we fast forward, Book two finds Pig at a Vegetarian Farm where he feels much safer! He has a new friend, Kitty who laughs at his jokes, so he loves her. Duck is still around too, and can see right through Kitty – a cunning, jealous, killing cat. Pig doesn’t believe Duck, and in fact only realises once he’s half way to the pie-making factory… will Pig make it back?

But of course he does – as Book three is almost set to be unleashed! Pig is now safely back on the farm, playing games with Duck and having plenty of fun. However, a game of hide and seek goes wrong, Pig tries to make it better and it gets even worse, as Cow gets kidnapped. Pig and Duck are the only ones who can save her! So that’s what they try to do.

The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary of PigI like these Pig diaries – and it marks a different style of writing to that which H is used to. Lots of “I is Pig” and “I is doing this” type of language. We’ve read some of the books together, and H has read them mainly in her head. We talked about the way it is written, and in doing this somehow I’m reading Pig out loud in a West Country accent (it does work too).

The Emer Stamp books are funny – I’ve heard H laugh out loud on more than one occasion too (this may be due to mentions of poo and farting which she tells me happen a lot – and I’ve yet to meet a six year old who doesn’t find either funny). I like that the language is written from Pig’s perspective – you get a feel for the character and the silliness too. The books are funny and lovingly illustrated as well – and I love that they’re in a diary format, as H writes her own private one, so I’m hoping it will inspire her even more!

The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary of Pig

H has asked Emer Stamp some questions, which should hopefully follow soon, she is getting into asking authors questions!

We were sent the three Emer Stamp Pig books for the purpose of review – all opinions are our own. You can buy all three books via Amazon, The Seriously Extraordinary Diary of Pig, The Super Amazing Adventures of Me, Pig and The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig (all affiliate links) – with the newest book out this week! We’re taking part in a blog tour, so check out the other bloggers who are involved below :

Emer Stamp Pig Blog Tour Banner

Thank you to Scholastic and Faye Rogers for organising this!

Project 366 – Week 4

Sunday 24th January. Oh we were lazy today. So very lazy. I was at the tail end of my cold which meant not much coughing through the day, but loads at night. Always the way. Then it miraculously just stopped mid-way through the week. So we had a pyjama day today. I took this photo of H and love it – still tinkering around with the posh camera, you see.

H January 2016

Monday 25th January. Mornings are getting lighter and that’s a good thing.

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Tuesday 26th January. The latest Parragon Book Buddies book to review. H and I spent time putting together the skeleton which came with it. She then spent ages being amazed her body was like that, and feeling certain areas so she knew she definitely did have bones there. She has called him Elvis the Pelvis.

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Wednesday 27th January. Swotting up on Pig here – our review is coming on Tuesday, and H has asked Emer Stamp some questions too – she’s getting into asking authors questions at the moment and finds it quite fun!

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Thursday 28th January. Shaun went off on an accounts jolly to some conference in Birmingham, while I looked after H. Given how tired I was after the cold, we did it, we survived. I could use a bit more sleep, mind. Anyway, she got straight into bed and settled reading another Pig book by Emer Stamp, so I think it’s fair to say she’s a fan!

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Friday 29th January. H had a playdate after school, and these days playdates mean they just stay upstairs while us parents get to sit downstairs and chat. So that was good – I needed to chat, it had felt like a long week. Her friend and H both painted their own nails – this was the first time she has ever done it – not too bad!

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Saturday 30th January. We went for a wander around Carshalton Village. I do like walking by the ponds, especially in this weather.

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TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Disney – The Zodiac Legacy Convergence by Stan Lee

We’re Parragon Book Buddies and receive a book to review every month. December’s book was The Zodiac Legacy Convergence by Stan Lee.

The Zodiac Legacy Convergence by Stan Lee

The Zodiac Legacy Convergence is the first illustrated novel in the Zodiac Legacy series, and is also Disney related thanks to it being written by Marvel Comics former Chairman and all-round comics genius Stan Lee (and that’s really underplaying who he is). The stories revolve around an African-American teenager, Steven. He has to master strange powers and unlock the mysterious powers of the zodiac.

Characters (and their Zodiac signs) he’ll meet along the way include Steven the Tiger, Jasmine the Dragon, Kim the Rabbit, Duane the Pig, Liam the Ram, Roxanne the Rooster, Carlos, Maxwell the Dragon, Josie the Horse, Malik the Ox, Nicky the Dog, Vincent the Monkey, Celine the Snake and Thiago the Rat.

In The Zodiac Legacy Convergence, Steven’s school trip to China doesn’t go quite as expected when he stumbles upon ancient pools of liquid filled with powers connected to the Chinese Zodiac.

After receiving the powers of the Tiger, complete with super strength and killer reflexes, Steven joins a ragtag group bent on stopping the Vanguard: a corrupt organisation that will stop at nothing to use the Zodiac powers to get anything – and everything – they want. Steven may be a quick-thinking fourteen year old who can punch through walls, but the might of the Vanguard is unlike anything the world has ever seen. Or so the Vanguard would like to think….

Stan Lee, the author helped create the Marvel Universe, which explains why this is a Disney book – as Disney now own Marvel (see Big Hero 6 as a prime example).

I feel that The Zodiac Legacy Convergence is possibly a little bit too old for H (but she’ll definitely be ready for it in a year or so) as it is targeted at 8-12 year olds. I love the illustrations that accompany the story too – they make the book have a comic-book feel without it actually being one.The Zodiac Legacy Convergence by Stan Lee

The Zodiac Legacy Convergence is available now in hardback, paperback and audio CD formats at Amazon. Stan Lee’s website is here and there is also a Disney Zodiac Legacy website where you can find out your sign (I’m a dog)!

We were sent The Zodiac Legacy – Convergence for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own. 

Project 366 – Week 3

Sunday 17th January. We had some wussy London snow, so Shaun and H made snowmen. Teeny tiny snowmen. Melted by the end of the day snowmen.

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Monday 18th January. Inspired by my old schoolfriend Nicky, I took a photograph of some of my football-related records. Yes, that is a Glenn and a Chris 7″ picture disc. Little did I know that a snippet of their marvellous song ‘Diamond Lights’ would appear on tv on Saturday night. Alas, Chris Waddle switched it off immediately.  It is a selection of glorious songs such as these that one day my daughter will inherit, to ensure her life is even more enriched.

some of my football records

Tuesday 19th January. H is properly engrossed in Harry Potter at the moment. My concern is she’s competitive about it, wanting to finish the books before her friends – I’m not having any of that nonsense. She can just enjoy the books and immerse herself in the world!!

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Wednesday 20th January. Went to see Les Mis in the West End, and loved being in Chinatown late at night, the smells and the colours and lights. Les Mis was good too – though I was disappointed Phil Daniels wasn’t acting that night as I’ve seen him on stage before, with the RSC and with Blur!

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Thursday 21st January. Someone got her Stage 3 swimming badge – she was super happy about that!

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Friday 22nd January. H finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve told her to hold off Book 4 for now, and to have a break, besides she needs to do some serious reading for books we have to review in the coming weeks!

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Saturday 23rd January. A lazy day – I was sick from work on Friday thanks to having an evil cold set off by many things, and I had hit the tired part of it, just wanting to lie down and nap all day. H had a party in the late afternoon (good timing!) and afterwards we got home and settled in our pyjamas to watch The Voice. With a lightsaber. As you do.

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TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

H Discovers Harry Potter

I’ve been looking forward to the day H would start to borrow my books, and while the majority of them won’t be borrowed for several years yet, my Harry Potter set has been sat waiting for the right opportunity to be read.

H reading Harry Potter

Last year at school on World Book Day, all of H’s teachers dressed as different Harry Potter characters which was awesome – I was laughing out loud at them as they looked fantastic. We had started to read the first Harry Potter book, ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ together, but if I’m to be honest, I didn’t enjoy reading it out loud – I never have enjoyed reading out loud. We got some of the way in, then I decided it might be easier to watch the film. We did, and left it until we knew H would ask to read more.

Bearing in mind she’s almost six and a half, so still quite young, I’m having to remember what happens in which books, although she has seen parts of the films (there’s nothing quite like spoilering films for your young child so they know which characters make it to the end by catching bits on television!). At the moment I want to stop around Book 3 and see how she has managed with the Dementors, which I think is around the time things start to get quite dark. We’ll wait a  little bit for Book 4, I think.

A week or two ago she picked up Harry Potter again – and read The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in record time (and has since asked for a Nimbus 2000 broom, and some Hogwarts robes) and is now settling into The Prisoner of Azkaban.  We bought the Box Set (affiliate link) of all the films on DVD over Christmas too.

Harry Potter DVD collection

For the Harry Potter films the same rules apply as Star Wars – The Force Awakens – she can’t unsee something bad, and the Harry Potter films jump from being PG’s to a 12A from the Goblet of Fire film onwards, so it’s a tricky ground to walk on to make sure she sees the film if it’s appropriate, without scaring her!

It has been quite interesting too, as I felt like the very first Harry Potter movie was identical to how I imagined it reading the book, whereas she sees it differently. I pointed out to H there is no right or wrong way to imagine things, as everyone has their own unique vision of how it is. I love it’s getting her imagination going!

We’re planning on going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour on my birthday in April this year, so this was another reason to encourage H to read the books, mainly so she didn’t ask too many questions – and I’m already seeing she’s become a cross between Hermione and Karen from Outnumbered, so I suspect she’ll be telling me what things are.

I showed H the inside front of my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as Shaun bought it for me as a wedding present, and wrote in the front – she’s loving that I got a book as a present, and I’m loving that she’s get as much enjoyment from them as I have.

But yes, at this point in time, maybe until she’s seven, we’ll start the fourth book, but talk about it. It will be read in the daytime rather than last thing at night, and we’ll see how we go. From September H has to wear a tie to her Junior school, so I’ve ordered her a Gryffindor one – I’ve told her if she can manage to work out how to tie it, then I’ll order her those Hogwarts Robes – there’s nothing like a bit of bribery to get her working a bit harder!

Project 366 – Week 2

Sunday 10th January. There comes a time when you realise your daughter’s trousers are too small, as when she sits down you see a little bottom poking over the top. So we headed to Sutton to buy some new ones as well as school shirts for September when she starts Junior school. Sutton got stormy, and one set of Christmas lights were still working.

sutton

Monday 11th January. Back to normal weeks again, and I know – KNOW – I took a photo today but it isn’t on my phone. It was to show how dark it is in the mornings, which actually isn’t going to be the greatest content thanks to it being dark. So already I’m failing.

Tuesday 12th January.We have been watching The Amazing Race on Amazon which is great as there are several series we hadn’t seen (via lesser legal means, ahem). We’ve got one more episode of Season 20 to go, and this hasn’t stopped H from creating her own version of the game – the Amazing Exercise.

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Wednesday 13th January. H went Horse Riding at Deen City Farm and had a blast! She loved it – 30 minutes being walked around on a small horse (age 20) – and with a borrowed pair of boots and a hat. She loved it so much!

Horse Riding at Deen City Farm

Thursday 14th January. New books arrived. Hidden away already.

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Friday 15th January. What kind of a child doesn’t like Peanut Butter (well, apart from ones who are allergic to them, of course)? Mine. Not even Reese’s Peanut Butter cups could turn her. I’m going to get some Skippy stuff and see if that works…

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Saturday 16th January. H had a party and Shaun and I sorted out things to sell and get rid of, donate, or whatever. Which means all my photos today are of things I’m selling which seems a bit weird to put on here. What a rubbish Saturday photo!

for sale

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

FactFeed – The Ultimate Book of Randomly Awesome Trivia

‘Love fun facts? Then you’ll love this book!’ says FactFeed – The Ultimate Book of Randomly Awesome Trivia. So we delved inside – because there’s trivia and there’s randomly awesome trivia. Which was this book to be?

FactFeed - The Ultimate Book of Randomly Awesome Trivia

FactFeed – The Ultimate Book of Randomly Awesome Trivia is by Penelope Arlon, Tory Gordon-Harris and Karen Hood, and claims to be packed full of randomly awesome trivia.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned it yet, but it is also one of the books which has made it to the final of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2016 (the ‘Best book with facts’ category), which will be revealed this year. The BookTrust sent us a copy, and H has been poring over it ever since.

When you have a need for randomly awesome trivia, I would say this is the kind of book you need to go for. Well laid out pages with subjects grouped together – so for example, there are pages on extinction and several facts; from Extinct Animals and it’s ALL OUR FAULT, to Extinct Animals which made a BIG impression, to Amazing Animals on the brink of EXTINCTION (SAVE THEM!).

FactFeed is sorted into the categories of The Natural World, Science & Tech and Everyday life. Within everyday life you have topics like Superheroes, crisps, language, the human body, music, sports, states, movies.

I really like the Science & Tech numbers section – I’ve often had to try and go through the amount of zeroes for numbers (and truly, I did not know a centillion existed, nor that it was the biggest number which ends in -illion, so even I’m learning here).

See, there comes a point where your child starts to get a bit smarter than you – I don’t remember a lot of things I was taught at school, it was a long time ago. FactFeed is the kind of book where your child find even smarter facts, but you can have a sneaky read when they’ve gone to bed, so you don’t feel quite so daft.

You know in magazines where there’s always a section with random facts? Imagine that in a book – it’s really well laid out and while it isn’t the kind of book you’d sit and read like a story, it’s definitely one for trivia fans.

It’s perfect for a child of H’s age who is curious – and I’d highly recommend!

FactFeed – The Ultimate Book of Randomly Awesome Trivia is published by Scholastic and is available now. Watch Blue Peter on the 3rd March 2016 (World Book Day) to see if it wins!

Project 366 – Week 1

Friday 1st January. As has been tradition since I was pregnant, we headed to the sea for New Year’s Day. It was a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, and in fact I fell asleep until Shaun woke me up at five to midnight! We saw the New Year in and then I probably fell asleep again. We chose Brighton this year (we seem to alternate between Brighton, Bognor and Eastbourne, with occasional Portsmouth trips) and it was suitably freezing, there were big waves, and several shops open where I made the most of the sales. We stopped at Ed’s Diner where H was amazed there was a jukebox at our table and put loads of 20p’s in, to choose songs she liked!

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Saturday 2nd January. I bought myself Bridget Christie’s book, and have finally started reading it. (See, reviews and doing my own stuff took a back seat over Christmas and New Year, but I’m putting it right) Anyway, most of the first chapter is about farting. I went to get some sneaky chocolate so H wouldn’t notice and put my book down. Then it amused me I’m reading a book about farting and I placed it next to a whoopee cushion.

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Sunday 3rd January. We’re Amazon Prime members so I ordered the Harry Potter Box Set from their Prime Now service which generally gives you one hour delivery if you spend over £20 within London. So we watched the first two films with H, mainly to prepare her for my birthday trip to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour which I’m planning! Plus of course ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is released this year!

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Monday 4th January. Inse(c)t day. So we went to Chessington to meet with friends and to pick up our renewed Merlin Passes. H and her friend had fun and it was REALLY quiet as most other kids were back to school. The only ride open was the carousel which we had to ourselves for one go, it was that quiet!

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Tuesday 5th January. Back to school/work and so on. I was greeted by a pile of boxes on my desk which had all these goodies inside. It’s great getting deliveries at work, but not so great having to bring them all home on the train!

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Wednesday 6th January. Back to knitting – and back to tackling the Mollie Makes crochet daisy I managed to complete last time. It isn’t quite right this time, but I’m able to unpick and work things out which is progress. This is the start of it.

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Thursday 7th January. When we went to Brighton, I was a bit disappointed you can’t buy the individual Lego characters from The Force Awakens. We don’t need any new Lego kits right now, but H wanted a Rey. They directed me to Bricklink which is completely unofficial but meant I could buy a Rey for H. She arrived, anyway. She eventually made it to the Millenium Falcon and H spotted within an hour!

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Friday 8th January. I love that H’s school have some Shakespeare books for younger readers, and that she chose it of her own accord. I don’t love that H forgot to bring home a Free Reader sheet – she has to answer questions about the book once she has read it, but it’s all good in the end.

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Saturday 9th January. The laziest day of 2016 so far. H and I stayed in our pyjamas all day, the first week back was tiring, and her activites don’t even start until next week. So we were extremely lazy. H was happy The Voice has started again, was amazed that Boy George was that “Karma Chameleon singer from Absolute Eighties” and quite liked Paloma Faith.

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TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

not bad for everyday recording