The Gallery – Animals

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve taken part in The Gallery.  Wednesday rolls around and I can’t help wondering what exactly I had been doing all weekend to not have organised myself…  So this week, I’m organised!  The theme is animals.  But it’s not as easy as it sounds… Here’s why (in Tara’s words).

I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of photos of pets, but try to branch out, be a bit different *kicks self for even thinking this phrase, let alone writing it* – think outside the box.
Test yourself. Go off in search of a cow or a ladybug or something a little more exotic.

Not too much opportunity for me to go off looking for cows or anything more exotic.  This is mainly because I’ve not left the house since Friday!

So… Here’s my animal picture!


Don’t all start shouting that it’s not a picture of animals!  We’re dressed up *as* animals 🙂

It was Literacy Week at school a couple of years ago.  And on the Friday, all the children got to dress up as a character from a book.  So, as a team, Key Stage 1 decided we’d dress up and surprise the children.  So our Key Stage leader is Cruella De Ville and the rest of us are dalmations.  We didn’t quite make it to 101 – but you get the point!

So there you have it…  Animals!

Go on over to Sticky Fingers and check out the rest of The Gallery entries.

My Top Five Gorgeous Men

Two nights ago we started watching a series called ‘White Collar’.  Anyone seen it?  It’s pretty good – bit of action, bit of comedy, very hot man in it…  Everything a girl could want.  

It started me thinking on other *actor-type* men I’d had a crush on and thought I’d share my Top Five!

5.  Matt Bomer.  He comes in at Number 5 only because he’s the latest crush!


Matt Bomer is in White Collar.  He is (in the show) smart and sexy as hell and has the most mesmerising eyes.


4. And at Number 4…  Wentworth Miller.


He was in Prison Break – remember?  I loved his tattoos – and the fact that he was not just a pretty face.  Apparently he’s become a bit tubby now (but that’s ok, because so have I).  And I think I heard somewhere that he’s gay…  But I’m not checking if it’s true or not.


3. Number 3 is… Rob Lowe.


I have had a huge crush on Rob Lowe ever since I watched ‘About Last Night’ many, *many* moons ago while at school.  He, thankfully, hasn’t lost his looks as he’s become older!


2. Jake Ryan (real name: Michael Schoeffling)


16 Candles.  If you haven’t seen it…  GET IT!  I have watched that movie a trillion times and still watch it!  I developed a crush on Jake Ryan from the first time I watched this movie.  He is just so gorgeous!  He is the man I’ve had a crush on the longest, but I didn’t put him in at Number 1 because I don’t know what he looks like *now*.  And to be honest, I’d like to keep it that way!


1.  And now… MY NUMBER 1 MAN…  George Clooney


I don’t think I need any words.  Sigh.

Your turn now!  Who is in your Top Five?

Eating Baby Food is Fattening. Who Knew?

When I decided to move to Lagos (in 2004), I knew that a big part of my decision rested on the fact that I could get a dog.  

I arrived in August and started searching high and low for the perfect puppy.  Towards the end of September, a friend told me that a litter of Lhasa Apsos had been born and was I interested in getting one…  Yes!  Yes!  I was interested!

He took me to go and see the puppies – they were only about a week old – and I chose the one I wanted.  A male one.  All 6 puppies had different coloured coats, and I wanted the one with the golden brown coat.  

I brought him home at the beginning of November and spent a lot of time thinking about what to name him.  I settled on Rolo.


This was the day I brought him home.


Getting comfortable in his new bed.


Waiting for me to get off the computer and play with him.

I had a dog before, when I was a child, but never really took care of him myself…  So I wasn’t sure about how to look after Rolo – as in, what to feed him, was he allowed into the garden before his shots, etc.

My vet advised me to feed him Cerelac three times a day (until he was ready for solids).  Cerelac is a brand of (baby) cereal made by Nestle.  You make it the same way you make creamy porridge.  With the powder and the water, etc.


Oh, how it brought back memories.  We used to eat Cerelac as babies.  And when my brother started eating it (I was about 7), I started eating it again.  It is delicious!  It is widely available – but I haven’t seen the ‘original’ one for a while.  I’m not sure why, but I always look for it!


Anyway – so back to the puppy… I used to wake up for school at 5.30.  But I started getting up at 5.15am, getting myself ready and then I would make Rolo’s breakfast before leaving at 6.20am.  I would come home, make him a bowl of Cerelac for his lunch and then give him one in the evenings.  He LOVED it.  He lapped it up!  But I noticed – he wouldn’t eat unless someone was with him.  Or around him.  And he’s still like that today *rolls eyes*.

So…  While waiting for him to eat, I would eat too.  It actually worked out very well.  I had Cerelac for breakfast with him before going to school.  I was always starving when I came home, so I’d have a bowl at lunchtime and then in the evenings…  Well, in the evenings I was just being greedy!

I really can’t describe how delicious it is…

Rolo had grown well and was very healthy by the time he was ready for ‘real’ food.


And me?  I had put on 6 kilos 😦

What Would You Have Done?

Earlier today I saw a tweet that said:

“Question for mothers – if a woman grabs your son’s arm to PUSH him out of the way of her photograph – is that acceptable?! I am upset!”

I immediately replied to say that was completely unacceptable.  And then I remembered something that happened yesterday…  It’s not really the same thing, but it just got me thinking…

Yesterday I took V to the playground.  It is actually a little coffee shop with outside seating and a very large garden.  In the garden there are a few swings, slides, a sandpit and an enclosed trampoline.  Most of it from Little Tikes.  

It was much busier than usual, for some reason.  There was a large group of men (about 12 of them) having some kind of meeting.  Why they sat outside, I don’t know.  But bloody hell, they were very very loud.  There were about two or three mums who I had never seen before.  They were chilling and having a chat (and watching their children play).  There was the usual group of Lebanese women that are there every day.  They sit, chat, smoke, have coffee and watch their children (and nannies).  There were a lot of older kids as well.  9 – 11 year olds – and there are never kids that age there.  They came with 3 nannies, some youngers and no parents.  And there was us.  Three of us, with our kids and the nannies.

I was sitting at a table, talking to the two friends I was with and watching V.  He was sitting in the grass, pulling out chunks of it, giving it to the nanny and laughing.  One of the men in the large group (sitting behind us) started talking very loudly.  I turned around to give them all a dirty look (I’m very good at those).  

When I turned back and looked for V, he was in the same place – and saw that the nanny had one arm around him and was holding her other arm out – trying to fend off a three year old that was trying to hit my son.  So instead of hitting Vinay, this child was hitting my nanny’s arm.  Was anyone with her (I think she was a girl)?  Yes.  Her nanny was with her.  Holding her other arm.  But not trying to stop her.

I ran over (yes, I ran!) and in a loud(ish) voice said, ‘What’s going on here?  Is there a problem?’ (I think it was the teacher in me).  My nanny explained.

The child’s nanny was on the phone.  I told her to get off the phone and look after her child.  She looked a bit surprised, but still didn’t hang up the phone.

As I said that, I remembered a post I read on Pants With Names and thought, ‘Uh-oh.  If this child’s parent is here, I might get into a whole lot of trouble.’

That child’s mum wasn’t there.  She proceeded to spend the next hour trying to hit other young children and the nanny did absolutely nothing to stop her.

I also saw the same 9-11 year old children (about 6 of them) on the trampoline, jumping up and down and eating ice cream at the same time.  The trampoline can’t take that many children.  They shouldn’t have been eating while jumping up and down.  The nannies bought them the ice creams, asked them to come out – but obviously, they didn’t.

Having spent many years teaching here, I’ve seen, unfortunately an extraordinary amount of children that treat their nannies like dirt.  And I don’t just mean one ethnic group or another – I mean children from *everywhere*.  They wouldn’t dream of talking to their teachers or parents in the same way that they speak to their nannies.  They throw their book-bags at them at the end of the school day, or have total tantrums when the nanny asks them to do something.

It took me a while to realise – but the children know.  They *know* that their nannies cannot discipline them.  That their parents have not given them the authority to do so.

And the nannies…?  They are scared that if they try to enforce any sort of rules, the children will complain to their parents and they’ll lose their jobs.

We’ve not had to use any sort of discipline as yet – but Vinay will definitely be showing his nanny some respect.  And she will have to be able to work alongside me and reinforce the morals and values I’m trying to instill in him and say ‘No’ and teach him the differences between right and wrong.

Surely children should have more respect for their elders?  No matter who they are or what they do?

Hurrah! The Freight Arrived!

In March this year Hub said he might need to freight some things over from the UK (for work), but he wasn’t sure yet.  I immediately went online to Amazon, Sainsbury’s and some other stores started putting things in my shopping basket.  

I was in Bombay at the time and he was in Lagos.  So every day I would email him a link to something we just had to have (for Vinay, of course).  And, suffice to say, he became very irritated with me asking *every* day if I could start ordering.  Eventually he got so fed-up he just said yes.

HURRAH! (My plan worked!)

I spent until June (ish) ordering stuff online and having it delivered directly to our freighters in the UK.  

My dad says I’m the only person he knows who can spend more money staying at home than going out!

I’ll show you what I ordered…

These are most of the boxes…


The rug and Kaloo chair.  Not the Piggy Bank.


There were more Pampers, but I’d put them away already


Breakfast cereals and snacks


*Adorable* drawers he just *had* to have


GreenBaby citronella mosquito patches


Nosy baby found lots of hand sanitiser


And lots of toys for V – Yes, I realise I won’t have to buy him a separate birthday gift!



And new glasses for our bar 🙂


There were also two pairs of Havaianas (for me) and wrapping paper (also for me).  Hurrah!  However, there were no work items for Hub!

Our Big Fat Indian Wedding

I had a terrible evening yesterday.  In the morning I decided I’d spend the day with Hub and V *properly* and not go online until the evening when V was asleep.  And I’d check-out all the Silent Sunday posts while Tron was on (since I had no interest in watching it).

And what happened?  Internet didn’t bloody work.  I’m using a pay-as-you-go dongle thingy – until the wireless is fixed (if ever).  Had to load the credit yesterday, which I did.  But it just wouldn’t work.  

Anyway, so I was trying every few minutes.  And in between trying, my screen-saver would come on.  And I spent those few minutes looking at photos.  Our wedding pictures (from 5 and a half years ago) kept coming up and they brought back such happy memories – so I thought I’d share some of them.

So, first of all – an Indian wedding usually lasts about three days.  Ours lasted five days (don’t ask).  I’ll just tell you that there was heavy drinking throughout.  It was the only way to make it through!

I won’t explain what’s happening or who everyone is, as it will just take too long!


So those were all the professional photos – below are my favourites (taken by various friends)





My Obsession with Children’s Books

I have always loved reading.  We used to have loads of books in the playroom when we were little.  I even started a library when I was 11!

While I was at (primary (or Elementary, since it was American)) school, the rest of the children would be outside playing ‘Four Square’, ‘Wall Ball’ or on the ‘Big Toy’ and I would be in the library.  Either reading or helping the librarian stack shelves.  I know – I shouldn’t even admit it *embarrassed*.  But it was too hot outside and I was much happier indoors with air conditioning.  Not to mention my immense dislike for actually moving and getting all sweaty!

At secondary school (boarding) I used to hide whatever I was reading under the desk and read during lesson time.  Mostly Sweet Valley High and then later Mills & Boon!

When I started my Teaching Studies degree, we had Children’s Literature modules.  And many other modules focused on children’s books (Mostly Key Stage 1, as it was my chosen age-range).  There were discussions about our favourite books when we were children, compare and contrast essays to write and character profiles to make.  

But something was wrong.

I did not know ANY of the books that they were talking about!  I had never heard of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, ‘Farmer Duck’ or ‘Hairy Maclary’.  All the books I knew were by American authors (and I can’t even remember any of them now.  Apart from The Berenstein Bears.)

And I couldn’t even check which books we had at home, because once we all went to the UK, my mum gave all the children’s books away.  The only ones I found were these:


That was when I decided that I would start building up my own collection of children’s books.  They would help me through university, my classroom years and I would keep them for my own children.

And so it started.  I would go to the local library every few weeks and buy their old books for 20p or 30p.  I spent hours and hours in Waterstones, Dillons, Borders and Foyles (oh, how I love Foyles).  There was also a shop in Covent Garden called The Banana Bookshop – I bought a Big Book of ‘Dogger’ by Shirley Hughes (and many others) there for £2.50.  And I continued doing this during the four years I taught in London.

I was at a small independent school near Regent’s Park and it wasn’t particularly well-resourced.  So when I needed a book for Literacy, or any other subject, I would go out and buy it.  And then keep it!  I did the same for all the books on the Year 2 Sats reading list.

Once I left London, it was getting a little more difficult to buy them.  Only because they were heavy to bring back to Lagos.  I am the queen of excess luggage, so a few books probably won’t have made a difference, actually…

Today, I went through all the books.  Jesus, there are a LOT of them!


Please ignore pink tiles on floor (don’t ask!).


There was still another shelf filled with books – but half-way through taking all these down I realised I’d have to put them all back!

I feel sad that I haven’t bought any books in a long time – apart from board books and those taggie things.  Maybe I should start ordering some more on Amazon…

I hope V develops a love for reading as I have.  And I can’t wait to share all these books with him!


The Things I Need From London

I’m so excited!  In two and a half weeks my sister is coming to Lagos for Vinay’s 1st birthday.  I am trying desperately to get the house painted and the guest room fixed-up before she comes!

She and my mum asked me to make a list of all the things we need so that they’re not running around at the last minute.

So here’s the list…

1. Ham (variety – Honey roast, Parma, salami, etc.)

2. Cheese (Edam, Parmesan, etc.)

3. Kellogs Crunchy Nut Clusters (large boxes) 

4. DSLR camera

5. Dog biscuits (variety)

6. KitKat

7. Bourbon biscuits

8. Chanel handbag (Classic.  Black.)

9. Breadsticks for Vinay and Hub

10. Cow and Gate Creamy Baby Porridge (He won’t eat anything else for breakfast!)

11. Cool shoes for Vinay (E.g. Puma, Converse, Adidas)

12. Bubble Gun (For Vinay, not Hub)

13. New sheets for guest room.

Kind of hoping they don’t ‘think twice’ about numbers 4 and 8!

Anything else I’ve forgotten?