Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Spooky 7th Birthday

We held B3's 7th Birthday party on the weekend, Halloween themed of course!

Fortunately I have alot of Halloween decorations that I have collected over the years so the surprise theme change wasn't a problem.

Spiders and spiderwebs

Sparkly witches and more spiders; so there was something sparkly after all. 

Does anyone remember The Trap Door from the 1980s? 

I based this little guy on Drutt as my kids love that show as much as I do.

Over the years I have reduced the amount of sweets I serve at children's parties. There were eight guests and all the sweets were eaten by the end of the two hours.

I am pleased to say that all the strawberries and half of the blueberries were also gone.

I will never understand why children like these precooked, cold sausages. B3 doesn't like them but B2 does so I weakened and bought some for the party.

Our suitably blood-thirsty tomato sauce dish, bbwwwwhahahaaha (insert evil laugh here).

We played Pin the Fangs on the Vampire, Pass the Parcel, Freeze, Sleeping Lions, Musical Bumps and Aerial Apple Bobbing. B3 had seen a picture of this in one of my children's party books and wanted to play it. I thought it would be less messy than traditional apple bobbing so gave it a go. We tied apples, by their stalks, to a clothes-horse and had all the players kneel next to an apple. The winner was the child who managed to eat the most apple in the time given. It was alot harder than it sounds :)

There were spooky prizes for the spooky games. 

A spooky 'Girlie Ghost' from the Women's Weekly Children's cake book was chosen by B3. She was supposed to have a smaller mouth and eyes but the fondant icing caught on the edge of the plate and stretched just as I was laying it over the cake. B3 didn't seem to mind.

Mr Bee said it made it all the more scary as it looked like Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'.

Hhmmmm, yes thankyou dear :)

Friday, February 24, 2012


I am so disappointed that we missed the 'White Gable' House open garden this year.

It is something we all enjoy doing together as a family (even B1).

We attended in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

We missed it last year and now we have missed it this year as well.

These photos are from our previous visits.

Snowdrops are such lovely flowers, they signify the coming of Spring.

Well, at least they do to me.

These sunny yellow crocus are a very cheery sight after the fairly colourless Winter.

It is amazing to think that when this field was planted out in the 1930s there were actually many, many more clumps of flowers than there are at present.

Daffodils are already popping their bright faces out of the hedgerows.

Soon the trees will be awash with lime green growth.

Guernsey had no snow this year, much to the Bumble B'eers disappointment.

The floral variety will have to suffice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The daffodils are available in the hedge vege stalls by the side of the road.

You can buy a lovely bunch of unopened buds for only 50p.

This bunch is £1.00 worth of daffodils.

They are in one of my Maling lustre vases.

It is so grey outside at the moment their bright yellow petals bring a little sunshine right into my kitchen :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

£3.50 can make for a lot of entertainment

I needed to get out of the house.

I needed some cheap entertainment.

The charity shops were calling.

One and a half hours later....

I was entertained, out of the house, in possession of fine accessories and a lovely vase; what more could you ask for £3.50?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jack-O-Lantern Invitations

I overheard B3 telling one of her friends that she was going to have a Princess Party for her seventh birthday.

I was so pleased to hear this as I have a huge amount of pink and purple sparkly party supplies I want to use up before my girls get to old to want a pink and purple sparkly party.

I was getting ready to make B3's invitations and I thought that I had better confirm the theme she would like, just one more time, just to be certain.

'Halloween, Mummy!' In those two words, gone are the dreams of my last 'little' girl party :(
I rummaged through my scrapbooking supplies and fortunately had some suitably pumpkiny orange card.

I wonder if my sister needs a huge number of  sparkly pink and purple butterflies and glitter?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

If you need a laugh :)

The lack of sunshine is getting to me. This made me laugh so hard I had tears; just what I needed.

Notes from Chris

Please enjoy :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Well done Australia

So much has been going on in Bumble Bee Cottage since before Christmas that I haven't been reading the Australian newspapers very regularly.

Look what happens when you don't keep up with the goings on; people power with united voices win the day.

Well done Australia (it is heartfelt, if a little late) xx

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Lucky Country No More :(

I also found this Youtube clip on The Greening of Gavin. It seems the more I look into this topic, food waste, the more shocking it is. The fridge policy in our house is that all the fruit in the chiller drawer in the fridge must be eaten before I purchase new supplies, no exceptions. I am no saint however, as I am guilty of purchasing food with every good intention of making  it into dinner, only to find that I didn't get around to it before it went off. Not really good enough is it?

I always knew, generally, that this 'type of thing' goes on but it was always 'somewhere else'. That is the key to shoving it all from your mind, isn't it; it is happening somewhere else. It was always NIMBY i.e. Not In My Back Yard. But it is, it happens in my own house; perhaps not to the extent discussed in this video but it does happen.

I have been reading in various blogs and newspapers about food shortages in many places across the globe. I watch UK television. It seems to constantly run advertisements about the thousands of children starving to death in Africa. Then I watched this clip - quite a contrast.

I have no doubt that many western countries are the same but it still makes me very sad and very angry that this is happening in my home country. It is hard to contemplate over half the mango crop being thrown away. Supermarkets have trained consumers to expect blemish free fruit so now they do.Surely those 'damaged' crops could be sold at farmer's markets?

The Lucky Country hey; well not for too much longer if Aussies don't start to change their ways - me included.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Poisonous Milk

B1 had a total melt down the other morning as the only milk we had for breakfast had a used by date of the previous day. Mr Bee and I had used this milk in our morning coffee, B2 and B3 had been served this milk on their breakfast and clearly we were all still alive. When this was pointed out to B1 it had no effect at all. He was probably waiting for us all to drop at any moment.

I tried to reason with B1 but there was nothing that could be said that would change his mind and this reasonably small issue was turning into World War III when it shouldn't. So Mr Bee went to the shop and bought some 'fresh' milk for B1 so he would not be poisoned during breakfast.

Now more than a week later I have come across this Vimeo post by Daniel Klein, The Perennial Plate Episode 84: Dumpster Diver. I found it on the blog 'The Greening of Gavin' (there is a link on my side bar).

I asked B1 to sit down and watch this with me. I explained about used by dates and how supermarkets use them for two reasons 1. so they are not sued for selling 'off' food that may make someone ill and 2. the modern consumer is pre-programmed to throw food away when it is past the 'used by date' and then be forced to purchase a replacement.. The majority would not even bother to check to see if the food is still OK. I am a clean freak when it comes to cooking areas but when it comes to used by dates I have always used my own judgement; can dried pasta really go off?

This movie raises some interesting questions about the culture of the supermarket; that it is better to throw things away than have a table by the back door where hungry people could help themselves. I am positive there are a string of reasons why they are unable to do this and common sense is not among them.

While we were watching it B1 asked me if what they were doing was illegal i.e. the dumpster diving. Now I am sure the law differs from state to state in America but I seem to remember seeing a documentary, some time ago, in Australia where people were doing something very similar. I know at the time they made that documentary, it was illegal, in Australia.

To take the point a step further I talked about my Nan and my Mum and that the milk they would have drunk when they were his age did not have a used by date, in fact it was delivered in glass bottles that, when empty, were collected by the milkman, taken back to the dairy and washed ready for the next day's milk.

By the end of viewing this and discussing it when I asked B1 if he would now drink out of date milk after he had used his sense of smell and sight to decide whether it was safe to drink he said 'Yeah.......probably.' Ah, such is the power of the pre-teen.

He then asked, in a more concerned voice, 'We aren't going to do that are we Mum.' I told him no and this is the truth as we are fortunate enough not to have to but in today's uncertain future who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book - Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

This book buying is becoming an addiction. This book is a wonderfully entertaining read. Michael Pollan's book 'Food Rules: An Eater's Manuel espouses 64 food rules based around his basic principle of 'Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.' (photographed here amongst my Sylvac collection)

He has divided the rules into three sections; What should I eat?, What kind of food should I eat?, How should I eat?. Under most of the rules is a paragraph or two expanding the rule's basic concept. Many of the rules are common sense and obvious (once you have read them that is) but sometimes having the obvious written down for you makes it more real and noteworthy.

Some of my personal favourites are:

* Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does.
* The whiter the bread the sooner you'll be dead.
* If it came from a plant eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.

One rule we are going to adopt immediately is to 'treat meat as a flavouring or a special occasion food.' We usually eat two vegetarian meals per week and five meat meals. I am going to swap this around and aim for five vegetarian meals and two meat meals.

Much of the information I have been reading on the Internet about simple ways to help the planet (and in doing so, yourselves) list cutting down on the amount of meat you consume high up on their 'to do' list.

I had better get the cook books out and see what I can come up with :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Talk and No Action

I know all I seem to be doing is alot of reading and not alot of action in respect to my lifestyle change but I have decided to take this slowly. I want to consider what I am doing and why I am doing it. I want to be able to explain why we are making certain changes to the Bumble Bee'rs as I won't be able to make the changes permanent without both their and Mr Bee's support.

I want our family to live in a way which lessens the pressure on global resources and makes us happier, healthier and less stressed (in my case) in the process.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Subversive Plot

I have been thinking alot about my life and the lives of my family lately. How Mr Bee and I choose to live our lives will directly impact the type of life my children (and possible future grandchildren) will be able to lead. The type of lifestyle they will lead will not be of their own creation but of the making of this generation of adults as a result of the type of world they leave behind.

I saw this YouTube clip of a presentation by Roger Doiron on the blog Hazel Dean. I found it very informative and just wanted to share this powerful message.

I do not believe in New Year Resolutions as they never tend to last past the end of January, at least in my case. That old saying 'There is no time like the present' tends to have a more resounding ring to it, to my mind.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away I used to bother to educate myself about 'greener' lifestyle choices and I actually used to try to live a 'greener' life. I need to find my way back there.

I have started this by re-educating myself and I will see where it takes me....want to come :)