Why did you call your blog that?

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I was having a tinker around with my blog this week and stumbled on a post I wrote back in 2011 entitled ‘why did you call your blog that?’
It detailed the names of some of the blogs I was reading at the time and the story behind why they were named.
BUT the main part of the post – the BEST part – had been deleted. When I moved this blog from Blogger over to WordPress, the commenting system Intense Debate ate a whole swathe of comments up.
And so I don’t know what the answer to my question was from all those people.
How bloody annoying.

So I pondered and thought about the HUGE amount of new bloggers there are out there now, four years down the line. And the fact that I feel rather out of touch with many of them because there are just too many to keep up with.

So I’m asking you now; Why did you call your blog that?

Mine is a bit of a boring story. It was a ‘popped into my head’ variety.
I was writing a parenting blog for the newspaper I worked on back in 2008 and hated the name they had given it so when I branched out on my own I knew I wanted something short and memorable.
And, well, me!

So tell all, why did you call your blog that?
And just so we can all find you, I’ve added a linky on to the bottom of this post so you can add your blog there too.

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Posted in Blogging | 45 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 215

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 215 of The Photo Gallery.

Who would have thought that last week’s theme Trees could have thrown up such beautiful stories. Sure you expect stunning photos, but when the words that go with them move you too, well, you know it was a winner.

This week I’ve been working on a post about how much we let our children play and how different it is from when I was a child and used to be out on my bike until it became dark or I became hungry – whichever one came first!
So this week I’m asking what do you do to ‘play’ in your house?
Board games, old fashioned games like skipping and hopscotch, meeting up with friends to play cards, football with jumpers for goalposts, tig, British Bulldog, Happy Families.

The theme for the next Photo Gallery is: Play.
As always, interpret the theme any way you like.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Leave a comment

The Photo Gallery 214: Trees

trees

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man ~Author unknown

When you walk down this path, the trees line up like soldiers to ensure safe passage.
Their trunks are tinged with green moss, their ancient roots poke out through the undergrowth like creeping fingers. They tower above you. They’ve seen it all. Over many many many years.

This is one of my most favourite places to walk with the family and the dog. We’ve been going here for so many years the whole place feels like an old friend. Like a comfortable blanket.
We know each canopy, the best off-piste routes to take, where the mud is deepest, where the fallen trees offer the best places to climb and explore.

I have a deep love of trees. And walking in these woods is the best medicine I know.

The dog is a big fan too!

vizsla in trees

This post is for week 214 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Trees.

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like.

Now share your photo. Write a blog post using your photo. You can write as many or as few words as you choose, but you should use your photo as the inspiration. You don’t even need to use a new photo; it can be something from your archives. Just a photo which you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Add a link to your post using the linky tool below. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have. It’s about going out and encouraging each other.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

If you’re using Twitter you can find us on the hashtag #TheGallery.

 The Photo Gallery is also on  Pinterest and Google +
Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox.

Visit this blog every Friday to see what the new photography theme is for the coming week.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
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The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

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Posted in The Gallery | Tagged | 18 Comments

Sideline Parent Selfie

sideline selfieWhen you spend as much time as I do on the sideline of a rugby pitch you learn how to keep warm.
You quiz people who look content and toasty about what type of gloves they’re wearing, where their boots are from, why they aren’t wincing in pain as the wind whips across the pitch and up the back of their coat.
Such is the life of a sideline parent whose child chose a winter sport.

You learn to not care a jot about how you look as long as your are able to concentrate on your young player’s moves rather than which toes you can no longer feel.
I can’t turn around to talk to another parent without moving my whole body, but that’s a lack of mobility I’m prepared to take.

Of course some parents have kids who opted for indoor sports and ones where you actually have to shed layers (ooooof at those parents of swimming kids as it gets SO hot in those pools!)
I do sometimes get very very jealous.

So here is my Sideline Parent Selfie. I am as warm as toast under there let me tell you. I’ve finally got it right.
Now I tag Sarah at Mum of Three World to show me hers as she probably spends just as much time on a sideline as me! Pass it on Sarah!

Posted in Me, Sport | 4 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 214

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 214 of The Photo Gallery.

The weather has been pretty rubbish of late and the rain and general greyness means we haven’t been out and about as much as we’d have liked.
However I’m setting a theme this week to MAKE us go out and about. Also it’s a little bit of a self indulgence . . .

Because, the theme for the next Photo Gallery is: Trees.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know I have a real thing for trees. So this one is for me! It’s also for Libby who Tweeted me to say she’s got a tree picture that she’s desperate to use and would I come up with a theme which meant she could shoehorn it in. Well, no shoehorning necessary – I aim to please!

So interpret the theme any way you like.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Tagged | 2 Comments

Coconut and Pineapple Cupcake recipe. And the sorry story of Cake Club

coconut and pineapple cupcakes

Before Christmas the husband came home from work and announced he was a newly signed up member of the office Cake Club.
Cake Club. My husband. No no no, it really doesn’t scan.

Apparently he had wandered past a desk with lots of delicious treats tempting him and helped himself.
When asked if he’d like to join the Cake Club, for which the treats were there for, he nodded an emphatic yes while wolfing down said delicious treat.
It turns out Cake Club requires you to bake your own cakes when your turn comes around and take them into the office for all to partake in.

My husband does not bake. My husband barely cooks. He still has to ask me how to work the cooker and we’ve lived in this house for 13 years.
So as you have probably guessed, I am the silent member of Cake Club and will get to bake the entries but never every try them or try everyone else’s.
You see, THAT is how good a wife I am!

So here is what I made for husband’s first contribution to Cake Club.
Mum and I have just been taste testing them and BOY OH BOY, they are good.
I’d better get a text message soon to say they all loved them . . .

coconut and pineapple cupcake

Coconut and Pineapple Cupcake recipe

Ingredients
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
11/2 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
435g tin pineapple, chopped into bitesize pieces
desiccated coconut to decorate

Icing
250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter at room temperature
25ml coconut milk

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (gas 3). Add 12 paper cases to a 12-hole cupcake tray.

2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter into a large bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk on a slow speed until it has a sandy consistency and everything is combined (or mix in a freestanding electric mixer).

3. Mix the coconut milk and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl, then beat into the flour mix on a medium speed until combined.

4. Add the egg and beat well again, ensuring all the mixture is incorporated from the sides of the bowl.

5. Divide the pineapple between the paper cases and then spoon the mixture on top until two-thirds full. I didn’t actually use the whole tin as it just felt like there was too much fruit in the bottom of the cases, so just judge for yourself. I made sure each case had enough fruit to cover the bottom.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden in colour and the sponge bounces back when touches.
Leave them to cool in the tin slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the coconut icing
Beat the icing sugar and butter together on a medium to slow speed until all the ingredients are mixed together. Add the coconut milk and mix again.
Now turn the mixer speed up and beat until the icing turns white, light and fluffy (about 5 minutes – boring I know!)

When the cupcakes are totally cool, spoon the icing on top (add a large blob, smooth it out with a palette knife, then smooth all the way around with a flourish).
Finish off by sprinkling with the desiccated coconut.

coconut and pineapple cupcake recipe

Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. 

 

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Photo Gallery 213: Me

DCIM100GOPRO

Today I am a totally different mother.
Sure, I’m older and there are a few more lines and wearing pigtails probably isn’t entirely appropriate any more. But my attitude to parenting has changed. I’ve made it change.

Being the mother of older children is a whole different ball game. It’s way way cooler.
You get to hang out together, get excited about new movies together, go scuba diving for the first time together (that’s what we’re doing in this photo) and you get to be an important part of a life that’s evolving, changing, challenging, discovering. And that is such a priviledge.

If there is one thing I have learned it is this; your time has never been more more valuable. And by that I mean, the time you give to your children.
Gone are the days when you are in charge of everything. Now my kids are discovering their  independence and it’s time for me to take more of a back seat. To be a hidden force of good in the background, ready to bring discipline when it’s needed.
Like a ninja mum.

So now I have a little internal check list to myself to:

Listen a little longer (even when I have a million and one other things to do).
Offer to help with homework, study, researching something (even when I haven’t the foggiest idea about the subject matter).
Laugh at their anecdotes (which are long-winded and usually boring but mean a lot to them).
Connect with them every day (by sitting down to breakfast together, by walking to school together, by text, by Facebook DM, whatever it takes).
Pick my battles wisely. There will be much MUCH bigger ones to come. A messy room is annoying but it’s her room and she has to live in it. And if she can’t find her iPod, well, whose fault is that?
Sit with them at bedtime and ask how their day was. End the day showing that I’m interested and I care.

Oh and the biggie. The biggest thing of all; show them you love them. Even when they don’t want to hear it or they’re sulking or they make it very hard for you to throw your arms around them. Do it anyway.

Being a mum – bloody tough; hugely rewarding.

This post is for week 213 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Me.
Me me me me me me!

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up a Photo Gallery badge code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in. But a shout out in some form would be much appreciated.
You could also subscribe to Sticky Fingers to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.
Please don’t just link dump – this is not that kind of linky.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
It’s open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo. But please don’t abuse it.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



Posted in Me, The Gallery | 28 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 213

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 213 of The Photo Gallery. And welcome to 2015!

I stepped away from the computer over the Christmas break. I put down my phone, kicked back and enjoyed my family.
Because here’s the thing; you can’t really write about family life unless you actually live it.
Well I can’t. I need to devote some time to the people I love the most and I just can’t do that if I’m blogging or Instagraming or taking a million and one photos ‘for a blog post’.

But now we’re back into the daily swing of school and work, so the Gallery returns.
And I’ve got a corker for you.

The theme for the next Photo Gallery is: Me.

I recently read a post fellow blogger and photographer CosmicGirlie wrote on her Facebook page about growing older. And it was simple and beautiful.
“I could wish for so many things, physically. To be sexier, to be slimmer, to look less tired (though in all fairness, it IS 12:25am), to somehow look like my former self.
It wouldn’t do me any good, of course. We have to learn to grow, and adapt. We don’t always like it. Most of us have no choice.

I guess now, as the years go by, that my features tell some kind of story. I don’t watch the wrinkles appear, I don’t notice when they come. I have no grey hairs. But they will all come hard and fast, one day, and I hope I can tell a story with every feature. Until then, this will have to do. I will have to please myself, feel better about myself, know that in light of the tremendous story I’ve already lived so far, I think I’m doing ok”

So interpret the theme any way you like.
I think it’s good to start the new year being introspective about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a selfie if you don’t want it to be; just be creative :-)

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Leave a comment

5 things to do in south Florida with kids

florida palm trees

Earlier this year, this family’s wanderlust took us to the glorious sunshine state of Florida in the U S of A.
We’ve visited her many times before. We’ve revelled in the delights of Mickey’s kingdom in Orlando, we’ve discovered the magic of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, we’ve dipped our toes in one of the most glorious beaches on the west coast at Sarasota, we’ve chilled out in the southern tip at Key West and we’ve marvelled at the glory that is Miami and the east coast.

But this time we wanted to discover somewhere new so on a recommendation we headed for Naples in the south west corner of the state.
We stayed for a week in a rented villa and barely touched the sides of places to see and the things to do. It’s a fabulous place for families wanting to kick back and chill out.
We visited in early August with its cobalt blue skies and storms which light up the night then disappear as quickly as they arrived.
It was a real adventure.

So here are some of the favourite things we discovered to do while we were there, in no particular order:

5 things to do in south Florida with kids:

1. Airboat trip on the Everglades
Wild, beautiful, untouched and a chance to get up close and personal with nature.
The Everglades sit right on the southern tip of the west coast and are a subtropical wetland, home to crocodiles, alligators, birds and a host of threatened species.
An airboat tour is fun, educational and the best way to view the Glades as you skim over the surface of the vast expanse of water.

Airboat captains are very knowledgeable and passionate about the area they patrol. You won’t always see a croc, but your captain will make sure your trip is interesting and fun all the same.
Great fun; although the boats are very very noisy as they’re powered by a giant propeller on the back of the boat!

everglades air boat florida everglades airboats everglades trip florida everglades everglades crocodile

2. Barefoot Beach at dusk
We picnicked on this beach at dusk by happy accident but it remains one our happiest memories of the trip.
Barefoot Beach is in the wonderfully named area of Bonita Spring. It isn’t the greatest stretch of sand in the region but it won our hearts for two simple reasons: It’s relatively quiet (there were no facilities on the beach where we set up so you bring what you need) and it’s an undeveloped nature reserve – turtles hide under your car in the car park so you need to be careful when leaving!

We stumbled on it on the way home from a day out and only had a couple of hours to go before the sun went down but we thought we’d explore it anyway.

road to barefoot beach

The road leading to Barefoot Beach is worth the journey alone; you drive through what feels like the poshest gated community of million dollar homes you’ve ever seen, as huge holiday palaces loom up through the palm trees and you wonder who on earth can afford them and where on earth the road will take you.
Well it takes you to a quiet and unspoilt beach where we watched the sun go down while the kids played in the sea. And it was all kinds of beautiful.
A public beach with a private beach feel. Just make sure you pack up and go before the bugs come out to play!

barefoot beach day

barefoot beach at dusk barefoot beach dusk

3. Dolphin spotting on a catamaran
What can be nicer than kicking back onboard a 53 foot catamaran, watching the world sail by and spotting dolphins frolicking in the sea as they chase after you?
Well not much let me tell you.
We boarded the Sweet Liberty at Naples City Dock, where you can buy freshly gutted fish and watch various vessels come and go. It’s not a hugely expensive outing (around $30 for an adult $15 for children under 12) and you are guaranteed dolphin sightings – or you can come back for free during the following month.

You cruise out past the beautiful homes of Port Royal (your captain will have a story or two about the no-expense spared nature of the homes!) and out into the Gulf of Mexico where the sails go up, the wind drives you and the only thing you’re expected to do is chill out. And keep an eye out for those dolphins.

A fabulous way to spend a couple of hours. We went at the start of August and pretty much had the boat to ourselves! It does get very very hot though so lots and lots of sun cream and drinking water needed.
Oh and we did see dolphins but I was so excited I took rubbish photos!

naples docks fish gutting on naples docksnaples city docknaples florida millionaires row naples florida dolphin watch trip

4. Dinner at Tommy Bahamas in Naples
Naples is renowned for its culture, it’s history, it’s boutique shopping and it’s sophisticated dining. It’s a great place to wander around and feels quite different from the other towns in the region.
Round off your day with dinner at Tommy’s – an atmospheric restaurant where you can eat indoors or out on the patio and do a spot of people watching. Lunch is great also, but dinner time it is all lit up and it feels really magical.

Try the Pulled Pork Quesadilla (with goats cheese, sweet soy glaze, mango salsa) and Fish & Chips with Asian slaw and jerk yucca fries. Finish off with a classic Mojito. You, not the kids ;-)

tommy bahamas

5. Jetski ride
For the wind in your hair, slightly scary, chance to scream at the top of your lungs exhilaration of it all. The kids adored it and it’s one of the highlights of our visit.
We took to the beach in Bonita Springs and opted for a half hour session which was easily enough time to explore the beach line, swap drivers over a couple of times and have a good giggle using the GoPro camera. You can see the very short results below! Also just listen to her on the video; HOW much of a back seat driver is Mia?!

DCIM100GOPRO

We really really do love Florida. It’s the perfect place for families and every time we’ve visited we discover something we love.
Now we just need to visit the north of the state and see what historic Panhandle has to offer families!
american flag

Posted in Family Holiday, Travel | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Merry Christmas to one and all

christmas in the woodsTo those who lurk, who visit regularly, who comment, who help, who handhold, who make this blog a place I love to hang out; I offer you all heartfelt best wishes and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there.

2014 has been a amazing year for Sticky Fingers. But despite all the good fortune, the offers, the whoops, the opportunities, the best thing of all has been you guys.
So I’d like to wish every reader, visitor, commenter, regular on this blog a very merry Christmas and a healthy, happy new year.

Now go enjoy your families, your friends. Get caught up in the festive spirit and if you do happen to find yourself out and about for a walk in the woods, think of me and maybe hug a tree or two in my honour!
For this is Christmas to us; being outdoors, together, coming home utterly exhausted and sinking into the sofa with a hot chocolate and a good movie!

So Merry Christmas from me, my kids Dan and Mia, my long suffering husband and Ronin the dog – woof, woof.
We are all being sent off to Egypt by First Choice to check out holidaying over the Christmas period, so annoying updates from me will be via Instagram and Twitter no doubt! So see you over there.

Posted in Christmas, Dog | 6 Comments