Friday, December 31, 2010

cats and dogs

our cat and dog bowls and mugs are back in stock. These were a surprise Christmas "hit" and we sold many as presents for much loved pets. The mugs were also bought as "going home" presents, filled with sweeties in a  cellophane bag tied with ribbons.

Our mutt and two pesky pussies have the bowls, although as our mutt is on the small side, the food is a bit lost inside. It's more Labrador size and I wish we had a smaller version. We may change and use it as a water bowl as this can never be too big!

"it's a wonderful life"

Friday, December 17, 2010

apres ski!

We've taken the girls skiing for the first time. With good advice we set off for Tignes, which is so high up, we were guaranteed good snow. (It was also so high up, I couldn't breathe for the first two days!). The girl were booked into ski school all day and as they were the only children there (their school breaks up very early), they had a wonderful instructor all for themselves. They were on the slopes for 6 hours a day and we couldn't persuade them to take an afternoon off. However, they fell asleep during supper most evenings!

All great until half way through the week, when I received a call at the hotel to say my husband was in the Medical Centre. He's badly torn two ligaments either side of his knee, which is not good! Getting home was tricky and now being at home the week before Xmas trickier still, as he can't walk or drive. Good friends have delivered us our tree and we're relying on Ocado to battle their way through the snow with our turkey. I'm trying to be "Florence McNightgown" but am turning into very stroppy wife as he tells anyone who will listen, of his dramatic mountain side rescue......again and again and again! Ho Ho HO!

"it's a wonderful life"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"there's no place like home"

It was "BOOK DAY"  at school a few weeks back and guess who my little home bird went as?

I am a real believer in reading a book before seeing the film/show etc. However, Wizard of Oz has been a firm favourite film for awhile. So, with trepidation, I started to read the book  to my 6 year old. She was entranced from page two and told her teacher "it's much better than the film, with more stories and people". She's right! There are so many more characters and the people from the four corners of Oz have distinct characteristics and home lands. The journey to see the Wonderful Wizard (are you singing?), is more about the personal journey of Dorothy and Co. than just "getting there". We were both sad as Dorothy finally finds her way back to Aunt Em and may read again soon.

The costume (complete with lovely "Miss Gracie" hair bows), may be adapted as "Alice" for next year and at a stretch "Matilda" at some point, so a good buy.

"it's a wonderful life" x

Sunday, November 21, 2010

an invitation to Hogwarts

We are huge Harry Potter fans in our family. The girls were thrilled and excited to be invited to a Hogwarts party. Wearing their school uniform and with a few added extra props, they flew off for wizardry fun and frolics.

We've had a strict rule, that they are not allowed to watch the films until they've read the books. My Number One, has read books 1 to 6 and we are going to read the last one together as soon as we finish "Little White Horse" . I'm reading the first instalment to Number Two, but she considers herself an expert already having been "tutored" by her sister.

They "play" HP all the time and sshhh..... wands and owls will be hidden in their stockings this Christmas. Secret Message Pens were given earlier....

"it's a wonderful wizardy life...."

Friday, October 29, 2010

making and baking

we have finally moved and have just about emptied, what seemed like a never ending pile of brown boxes! Meanwhile, we've ended the summer and welcomed autumn with a frenzy of home making and baking .
First off, was delicious morello cherry sauce, made with the cherries growing in a friend's courtyard garden.
This moved effortlessly into plum jam making (our plum tree literally collapsed with the weight of fruit, that grew "overnight" when we were on the Norfolk Broads!).
Plum jam needs scones to soak into, so out came the flour and ancient "Delia" recipe.
Our new house has two generous apple trees, so crumble became the pudding of the month, with plans for "apple schnapps cheesecake". However, apple schnapps on my husband's shopping list, came home as "peach schnapps" ( we are speaking again!), so we have quickly jumped back to summer and found some ripe peaches.......

it's a wonderful life!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

here comes summer.....

only a few more days left of school and I'm busy booking tennis and sailing courses to keep us busy.

We are away next week, sailing (floating?) through the Norfolk Broads. The girls have their "ship's logs" ready and (call me a pessimist),  I have hot water bottles a- ready! "Beloved" and in- laws are traveling up first, with trusty mutt at their side. The girls and I will follow straight after school finishes. We have a pristine copy of The Coot Club and plan to shame the "hullaballoos" in their fancy pants speed boats.

Watch this space for a full report from the Broads...

 "it's a wonderful life"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

tooth fairies

We have a cheeky tooth fairy, who leaves naughty messages encouraging the girls to wobble their teeth "even if their mummies tell them not to"! Our 7 year old is a bit behind her friends at school and has only lost two teeth so far. At 5 our youngest checks every day and insists that at least one is "mobile" (dentist speak).

The daisy and mouse fairy post office is proving to be very popular for tooth fairy letters. The tin itself, is so pretty with a posting slot and adorned with flowers. Inside there is everything a good fairyland post mistress would need, including paper clips shaped like toadstools and wands, notepads, envelopes and tiny pixie stamps. We're planning to use an empty tin for our new sweetie jar, although a ladybird house has also been suggested?

"it's a wonderful life...."

"it's a wonderful life...."

Monday, May 24, 2010

story rascals

In another life, I trained as a teacher of phonics. I feel passionately about teaching children to read the right way. So many "fantastic" early readers, surprise parents and teachers by experiencing difficulties from year three onwards. This shows not only in reading, but spelling and comprehension too. Up to the age of about 6 to 7, children have a "memory capacity" which helps them remember word structure. This "memory box" fills and then if the building blocks aren't in place, everything starts to crumble. I could (and probably will one day), write a book about this subject, so will spare you a lecture today!

However, I am jumping with joy about a new pre school class that has just started in Beaconsfield (with plans to expand I hope?).
It is called Story Rascals (great name) and is the brilliant idea of an intelligent, warm, qualified pre school teacher, living locally. The class, or should I say fun and games in a learning environment, encourages parents and nannies to engage with their children, whilst exploring stories and sounds in a creative and exciting way. The teacher varies the format weekly with stories, music, art, tactile play etc. The classes are small, I think about 10 max. and toddlers are allowed to "toddle" freely, although they usually end up where they should be because this is a teacher who knows her art!!!! The message of the group comes from the children; READ WITH ME. PLAY WITH ME. LEARN WITH ME.  Just go along and see for yourself, you won't be disappointed....... it's a wonderful life!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"mouse" in the sink

we took this photo of our "mousey" early one morning when we were all still a bit blurry! Girls couldn't work out how to clean their teeth and husband looked grumpier than usual. I just think for this fat cat , "it's a wonderful life" with daisy and mouse.... 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

I've just finished reading a wonderful book; "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand".  I am so in love with  MP, he has taken over from M. Paul, (my first literary heart throb). This witty, cleverly observant, little story reminds me of my love for the suburban countryside and the "Midsommer" villages that surround us here in the Chilterns.
I miss London and sometimes long to be back in the centre of it all, with the museums, galleries, theatres and bridges . I also miss my bohemian city friends, gathered from all four corners of the world. But, with daisy and mouse  and my little family in tow, right now, right here is perfect and as I walked the mutt "in and out the dusty bluebells", this morning, I knew we have "a wonderful life" 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"searching for dorothy"

Saturday nights for us, means chinese takeaway and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "search for dorothy"! The girls and I get nice and comfy, (not too early in case we're frightened by "dr who") and spend an hour or so, choosing our favourite girls, singing the songs and booing the judges. Every week I say "do you know the original slippers were silver" and the girls roll their eyes. Every week we giggle hysterically at the faces Lloyd Webber pulls, and every week my husband sighs deeply throughout the whole show trying to spoil our fun! (We're still cross with him for not letting our mutt audition for TOTO, she would have been SO GOOD!!!!!!). There's one girl, who is the spitting image of Judy Garland's daughter; Liza Minelli, (which nobody ever mentions?), but we think she's too tall. Anyway, for now, "we're off to see the wizard" .......

it's a wonderful life with daisy and mouse ......

Thursday, April 29, 2010

cheep cheep

"mummy, I'm vegetarian" was how I was greeted at the school gate today.
Apparently in science, the girls are "growing" chicks from eggs in an incubator. There was an unfortunate incident resulting in eggs being cracked and the contents were then duly examined. We are now officially vegetarian until the hatched chicks leave school!

So, we are now curled up on the sofa eating cheese bagels instead of the planned kedgeree, watching A Little Princess , which we wouldn't normally have time for on a school night..... "it's a wonderful life"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"raindrops keep falling on my head"

we're back from Devon where the weather was somewhat traditional for an English holiday! Easter weekend was a washout , but from then on was glorious and we had lots of time on the beach. As we clambered over rock pools, rode on a steam train and went seal spotting on a small boat, we realised that we do live our family vision for daisy and mouse. We ignored spoon fed tourist attractions and rowdy play grounds, choosing to explore secluded bays and "free" natural attractions. All we needed were wellies , buckets and spades our best friends and a dog !

Back home, we are planning lots of changes for the website, making it simpler to navigate and offering more creative ideas as well as products. We just need the girls back at school to start making it all happen, so watch this space.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"in your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it"

daisy and mouse (in Devon)

Friday, March 26, 2010

clocks "SPRING" forward

I always remember as a child, learning that clocks "spring" forward and "fall" (autumn), back. This weekend the clocks go forward and the daffodils are doing their best to match the time of year.

Yesterday, we pootled off to the park for a dog walk and I turned my back for one second and THIS happened! As you can see, no sign of Spring, just "mud glorious mud". Trying to get this revoltingly "squelchy" lot back to and inside the car was a challenge and I ended up covered too! Guess that's what Mummys are for?

"it's a wonderful life"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"our gang"

a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, with my favourite girls!

We now play that I'm "Florence Mc Nightgown"  whenever my two are sick!

(museum is re opening soon after a complete refurbishment programme)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


We're off to Devon for Easter this year and I'm busy getting holiday surprise boxes ready. So far, have "Frenchman's Creek" and "And Then There Were None, for myself and beloved. "Summer Holiday"
(dvd and cd) for girls and "Finn Family Mommintroll" for all of us. Buckets and Spades are ready from last year, so I now need to concentrate on Easter baskets. I'm hoping to find special bunny and chocolate treats at the MORE THAN A MAMMA spring sale.

Youngest sprog needs an Easter Bonnet by Thursday and I'm trying to resurrect last year's attempt to pass off as new. Our much loved Miss Gracie hairbows clip on easily and are covering a plain straw bonnet beautifully in a multitude of colour! Not as crafty as some of the other yummy mummies, but not bad for this crummy mummy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"thoroughly modern cath kidston"

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Cath Kidston last week. The wardrobe dilemma it gave me was nearly divorce material, and my  beloved shut himself away for a few hours, in despair! My "uniform" is a Cath Kidston dress and a brora cardigan , but I didn't want to seem too "keen". (I don't actually own much else). Anyway, settled for toast dress , brora cardi and a Cath ( I feel we are on first name basis now!!!) scarf. She was everything I wanted her to be (except floral); warm, giving, witty and extremely generous with both her time and advice. Plus, she noticed my scarf!

Feeling all fired up with plans for "daisy and mouse" and have found some fabulous new suppliers from Belgium and Germany and are ready to order new and favourite toys from existing ones. Orders are now streaming in after a post Christmas lull and we are secretly (?), looking for premises to open our first shop! 

"it's a wonderful life"

Monday, February 22, 2010

"in whom we trust"

Lucy is my god daughter. She is naturally beautiful (very "Kate Winslet"), kind, loving, funny clever and annoyingly practical. My daughters worship her, my husband leaves his "grumpy" face at work, when she is with us, the dog transfers loyalty as soon as she appears and I love her so much it hurts! At, very nearly, 17 years old we feel "privileged" that she seems to happily spend time with us, especially as she has such an active and interesting life ( SO jealous)!

Trust is a funny old thing. You can't buy it and you can't force it. I trust Lucy with my children. From teaching them to cross rivers to guiding them through their "tricky" little problems, I trust her. She was the first person we told when we found out I was pregnant and she is the first person I turn to, when I need to thrash out new ideas.  I believe she trusts me too and ..... "it's a wonderful life"

PS I'm just out of shot in this photograph, wearing a fleece, hat, scarf and gloves. What is it about teenagers that apparently keeps them warmer than the rest of us?????

Thursday, February 4, 2010

off piste

The girls had their first ski lesson last weekend and LOVED it. Sadly, we aren't flying off at half term or even Easter, but many friends are and school is holding a second hand ski wear sale, so we are in the mood! I thought I'd had enough of snow and set off in a bit of a grump (Sunday mornings should be about lie ins!), however, it was amazing seeing them so excited as they put on skis for the first time and toodled off happily with their little groups. The funniest sight was when a very new "grown up" went "off piste" and ploughed into the five year olds, knocking them over one by one like dominoes. No one was hurt and everybody was laughing and my littlest champion learned, there and then to put a lost ski back on! The next lesson is booked for the end of the month and I'm busy trawling through my Esprit brochures, hoping for a last minute miracle deal.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

castles and dragons

I've recently bought some new bed linen for the girls and saw The White Company's "knights and dragons" range for boys. We are SO all the rage, with our locking castle money box, stretchy dragons, knights in a tube etc. Are we becoming trend leaders ?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the alchamist

Having just settled myself down with my afternoon tea and biscuit, the doorbell rang. Standing in front of me was 'my oh so gorgeous' god son, popping in to see me before heading off for his gap year trip to South America. Like some old granny grateful for attention, my whole spirit lifted, as he talked about old times and adventures  awaiting. I found myself staring at him as he urged me to read "The Alchamist" and to not be afraid of change and "taking a risk". We drank coffee (seemed more "cool" than offering tea) and just caught up. I know I've said it before, IS a wonderful life!

Monday, January 18, 2010


We take such care  packing and posting out our orders and  hope, that the lucky recipients are thrilled with their new toys. So, a big thank you for this photograph of a bold chivalrous knight and his faithful....pumpkin?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"just one more chapter"

We have been reading Pippi Longstocking and the girls just giggle constantly, begging for "just one more chapter". I am ridiculously overwhelmed with angst for this poor strange little girl living all alone, but my offspring delight in the pleasures of living a life without grown up rules. The sheer anarchy of eating whatever you want, going to bed whenever you like and sharing a house with a monkey and a horse, just sends shivers of excitement down their spines! Twice I have found them trying to sleep the wrong way round in bed and the pleas for more pets to add to our menagerie have driven me potty.....BUT, the sequel has been ordered and I can barely wait for it to arrive, as I know these special times of sharing a story will, one day disappear. Until then.... "it's a wonderful life"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"snow crocodiles"

Happy New Snowy Year.

We're feeling strangely guilty, as we sent our Christmas cards out this year with the seasonal message "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".

Actually, it is beautiful here in Chesham Bois. The woods around us are positively Narnian and the fields are full of children tobogganing and building snowmen. Our local Thai restaurant managed to build a snow crocodile outside their store, which raised many a wintery smile from locals, dragging sledges to fill with supplies from "Marks Expensives".

I am supposed to be planning for all the trade toy shows starting next week, but find snow falling mildly distracting, not to mention husband (who I love and adore) and the children, who have been forced to stay at home by this unusual weather.....

"city girl in suburbia"

Life has a funny way of surprising you. A city girl like me never dreamed I'd end up living in suburbia with a Chinese husband, two little girls and running a business around school schedules. But, here we are, straight out of a "Peter and Jane" book! With a house full of pets, daddy driving into town to work, mummy working at the kitchen table and the children at Enid Blyton's school.

Moving to the suburbs (so "Mrs Miniver "), reminds me of how children used to play. Inside and out, with local friends and make believe games. Imaginary worlds that flourish for the whole summer holidays. Learning to ride scooters and bicycles on the pavements and skipping games in the park. Brownies and Cubs on Friday nights, (with a special fish finger supper) and "nature clubs" for investigating and exploring the countryside.

Anyway, here we are; "daisy and mouse"

"it's a wonderful life"!