Secret Santas/Easter Bunnies/Birthday Fairies.

In case you are unaware of these odd phenomenons that often happen on on-line groups (and occasionally in real life), they are where people sign up to send a gift to another member in secret. Then often have a low budget like under £10. You then have a separate group where people discuss what they like/don’t like/are allergic to/wants and needs.

Why do we do it too ourselves?

I have been involved in many SS/SEB/SBF over the years and they seem to be the most stressful things going.

The people who organise them must be mad unless you use a third party to make the pairings. They also then need to keep kicking people to make sure they have purchased and sent the gifts. They also need to make sure people post with things they like or dislike.

Once you have your partner the mega stress begins. If you have a close friends then you are quids in but when your partner is someone who you barely speak to it is a nightmare to choose a suitable gift.

People usually pick some boring chocolates, sweets, mug or socks. I feel if you are only going to buy this type of crap then don’t bother joining in. It just shows you have no imagination or thought into the person you are buying for.

I like to choose rude gifts if I can (speaks more to my personality that the giftee to be honest). Obviously if I get someone nun like then I won’t get that type of gift. I also try and get thoughtful gifts ( to go alongside the rude bits).

With one of my SS this year I got the perfect person. We have been friends for 9 year as her youngest and my eldest were both due in the same month. She has had a tough time recently so I knew exactly what to get her. Granted if she hadn’t have been my SS I would have bought her the gift anyway.

Once the gift has been wrapped and parcelled up then you have to get to the post office. I was so late posting my SS this year as the kids got sick and I couldn’t get out and couldn’t convince anyone to come over and care for them.

Once your gift is sent you are then waiting on tenter hooks for the person to comment that it has arrived and then you are constantly checking the post waiting for your gift.

Many people wait for their gift to arrive before sending their gift out. This defies the point of it. If everyone involved did that then no one would receive a gift. I get it is a pain when people take a gift but don’t send one but that it part of the ‘excitement’ of being part of it.

Once the time has come to open the gift you then need to make sure that you take photos of the gift and do a overly enthusiastic post thanking your SS/SEB/SBF. If these posts are not done then people get pissed off. It doesn’t take much to post a thank you. I think if you don’t do it then you shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the next one.

Oh well, by the time it comes back around I will have forgotten how stressful it was and be one of the first in the queue to sign up.


November Photo Challenge Fail

I started this challenge with such high hopes. I thought that as I created said challenge that I would be more motivated to complete it. As it turned out the opposite is true. As I had no other people participating I had no one reminding/prompting me to take and post my photos.

I also had much more going on this month than I thought I would. I have had a nephew’s birthday and my own birthday to celebrate (not that they came as a shock) but the planning was more detailed than I expected and then the PTA that I am on took up much more of my free time than I wanted it too.

The committee will have some very happy parents this month with the beautiful cards their children have created but the amount of work that went on behind the scenes to make them happen has been crazy. If I haven’t been actually working on them then I have been thinking about it and how to improve it for next year.

I have also been tasked with sorting the raffle for the Christmas fayre. This can be quite a stressful task, especially when all you are getting are no’s at every turn. I really thought that the fete wouldn’t have a raffle this year but as time has moved on and the fayre date has moved closer more prizes have started to come in and it is now shaping up to be an ok raffle that could be great if I spend more time on it.

The next photo challenge I do I will succeed at. I will make sure that I try it at a less stressful time, even though the run up to Christmas gives great themes to take. All the above might seem like excuses and that I could have done the challenge alongside the PTA stuff but something had to give.


November Photo Challenge #amsh2017 Day 3 – Close Up

Trying to find a decent close up picture was difficult.

I didn’t want this one to focus on my children as they are my main focus anyway.

I tried to find a beautiful flower but it’s November, not much is flowering currently.

I tried to get close to some ducks that were sitting on the side of the pond but a toddler came along and scared them all off before I could get the correct light and angle.

The photo I ended up taking has actually turned out to be one of my favourites that I took today. It took a few goes but I finally got one I was happy with.

My husband thinks it looks like a bullet hole in glass but I think the hole means a spider ate last night.


November Photo Challenge #amsh2017 Day 2 – Family

There are 5 people in my close family. I have a husband and 3 kids. All three kids are in my heart and mind but only two are in my arms.

I have no full family photos as my Milo died before my Lilith was born. I now struggle to take photos of just the 4 of us. I want them as I know the kids will want them as they get older but I just can’t 90% of the time.

I do have a bear that takes the place of my Milo but even then it still doesn’t feel right to take the image.

As I created this challenge I am not sure why I have added a topic that is family based when my family is so hard to photograph. I think having it in the challenge is a way of sorting out my head a bit.

The photo I choose to share is one including my Milo but it is a composite of many different photos. It has and always will have my Milo at the centre. We may not be able to see him any more but he is always in our hearts.

the houghton

November Photo Challenge #amsh2017 Day 1 – Toy


This photo is of all my family’s favourite toys.

These are all very special and if any of them got lost there would be trouble.

The black bear at the back is mine. He is called Blackie. I was given him for my first Christmas by my big brother. He went everywhere with me. He even got lost one day while out shopping but luckily he was found very quickly due to the help of a passer by.

The dodgy looking pink but is actually brown bunny is my husbands, creatively named Brown Bunny. He slept holding his ears every night. He hated it when it was time for the bunny to go in the wash so DH’s mum went out and bought yellow bunny as a substitute. Yellow bunny was never as popular but was ok for wash days.

The white bellied bunny (or kangaroo, we have never been sure) is my eldest son’s bedtime companion. Her name is Raa raa. Initially she was Raberoo but A shortened it.  She was given to him as a present when he was born by my work colleague. We weren’t sure that he would be the favourite initially as A favoured an elephant as he liked to chew the trunk but Raa Raa won out. There are multiple Raa Raa’s floating about. We have one that is kept downstairs and both grandparents have one that is kept at their house.

The pink bunny is my daughters. As is a trend in this family she is called Pink Bunny. I bought her this on a whim. I love the make and thought it was cute. She has been a firm favourite ever since. We have purchased a spare too as PB got left at my parents after a visit and we ended up having to meet my dad half way back as L just wouldn’t settle without the damn bunny.

The final teddy is my Milo’s. He is called Dexter the donkey and he was by his side from when Milo was 10 days old until his death. He was a good teddy for him to have as Dexter is machine washable so if he got dropped out of the incubator then he could be cleaned properly and reduced the risk of infection. We decided that we wanted to keep Dexter instead of putting him in the coffin with my Milo. I needed the donkey to be close to me. He initially smelled just like my son. I cradled him just like my son in the early days and still do when I have a bad day. Milo wasn’t left alone though as he had his other donkey and a bear that was his brothers.



November Photo Challenge.

I have seen many of these photo challenges around the net. I often find that I struggle to find a subject on many of the days, or the things I can come up with are really not creative or have been done many times.

I decided that I would create a challenge of my own. It has taken me a while (as you can probably tell) and trying to get the image and wording correct has been a giant pain in my back side.

This is what I will be doing for the next 30 days. I plan on sharing both a photo and a small piece about the photo.



Half Term

Cannot believe how quickly this half term in school has gone. My eldest son started a new school in September and it feels like he has only just started but it has been 7 weeks. He finally settled into the routine and then the half term holiday started.

Husband is on annual leave this week which will make my life 100 times easier. It is a nightmare trying to do anything with both kids when you don’t drive.

The first weekend we dedicated it to homework, sleeping and clearing the living room.

Today we have taken a car full of unwanted book, home ware and toys to the local charity shops. Luckily we have quite a few in our area so we were able to help quite a few different charities. The kids weren’t overly happy in getting rid of their toys but the thought of new ones in a few months pacified them slightly and taking them for a hot chocolate and cake in the bakery helped too.

Tomorrow Aiden is going to be visiting Cadbury World for the first time. Unfortunately I won’t be there to witness the wonder on his face as he is going with his cousin and grandparents. He has an uncomfortable early start but hopefully he will nap on the way there (who am I kidding?) While he is there his little sister will be visiting the local trampoline park for a tots session and then getting a new haircut. I want to jump myself but I don’t think they allow adults too. Shame as could do with the workout.

Wednesday while her biggest brother is chilling playing Minecraft Lilith will be watching her first ever film at the cinema. We are going to watch the My Little Pony movie. The original is the first ever film I saw and so history is repeating itself. She chose which seats we are going to be sitting in. I just hope she will stay sitting for the whole film. I’m planning on purchasing her body weight in popcorn to help in that endeavour.

I hope to do some rock painting and hiding in the latter part of the week. It seems that the kids have been caught up in the craze since Lilith found her first rock a few weeks back. I must remember to leave clue on the social media group, though not sure if that is cheating a little.

I will get the kids to design and paint a rock for their missing brother and rather than hiding it we will take it to his grave for him. I also plan on doing some rocks that will be angel related but they will be hidden in the local area.

On Friday the kids will be going to a local charity Halloween party. I booked the tickets ages ago and wasn’t planning on telling the kids but an email notification came up on the tablet while A was using it and the surprise was scuppered. Mum fail or what? We are going with the cousins to the party so hopefully it will be a great afternoon all round.

The weekend will probably be much like the first, making sure homework is completed, reading record is filled in and uniform is ready.

This is the busiest half term we have had for a long time. We normally just watch a lot of TV, play on the computer/tablets and visit the local parks. Having a daddy home really helps.