Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

a hIpPy haPpY nEw YeaR to EveRYoNE.

mAy 2011 be FiLLeD wiTh pEAce And hEALtH and muchest HAPPINESS.

See You In 2011, MagicBean x

Monday, 20 December 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

I think this is almost my favourite bit of Christmas. There is something so magical about having a tree in the house covered in twinkly lights (I'm not brave enough for candles) with treasure hanging from every little branch. All the memories. The magic. The smell. When I came downstairs this morning and walked into the sitting room I felt giddy with the smell and sight of The Tree. It's becoming a bit of a tradition in the Bean House to find a tree which is on a bit of a wonk. A straight tree just wouldn't be us.

This year I did a u-turn. I allowed the BeanSprouts to help me decorate it. Of course I didn't give them any of the precious glass baubles that were my grannies, or let them put on any of the more gaudy ones. Oh no. Just white and bright and silver and gold with the teensiest hint of red for me. The bottom twigs are rather well endowed but I haven't moved them- impressed eh? Before you think too harshly of me and stop reading because you think I am an utter control freak, we decorate other parts of the house and colour is allowed. In fact, the BeanSprouts have made a rather impressive string of beads which will hang in the hall with some more lights and the Christmas cards but they are not up yet.

I tried to take some close upish pictures of some of the decorations but with mixed results so apologies for some dodgy photos.

This serene angel has been gracing our trees for the last ten years or more. Wears it well, don't you think?

This is a wee holly fairy, bit tricky to see. He has a twin, the mistletoe fairy who is gazing out the window looking for love...
This angel belonged to my granny and I remember her sitting at the top of their silver tree each year. Every time I get her out she seems to be wearing a little less than the previous year. But she has to be part of our Christmas- the tree wouldn't be the same without her.

I tuck little white doves into lots of dark corners. I love them.

A string of big baubles hangs in the middle of the sitting room with more lights and a sparkling of stars.

And a bunch of this stuff just has to hang somewhere. SmallBean has learnt not to lurk underneath it...

Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and commented and become a bloggy-friend. I'm sorry I don't always reply to everyone individually, perhaps things will calm down a smidge in 2011. Not quite a blog birthday yet but it seems fitting to say these things at the end of the year. Have a fabby Christmas and an amazing New Year, lol MagicBean xxxx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Away in a manger

SmallerBean has been practising for her little pre-school 'concert'.

'Away in a manger
Ungrateful for a bed...'

She won't be told.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Splash of Colour- December

This splash of colour is not one I like. And neither does SmallerBean. The poor old girl has got chickenpox and although she's being really stoic about the whole thing, we didn't get much sleep last night. It's not much fun sharing a bed with a hot wriggly scratchy two year old. Of course she is now running around with Small having great games and laughing like a drain. I just want to drag myself back to bed and drink more tea.

The only positive thing is that it's not Christmas. And that Small has already had it.

On a more healthy note, here are some less angry splashes, the first before Smaller got the spots.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

PIF Part Two...

On this post I decided to do a PIF, a Pay It Forward. Now I don't know if I was being vague or a bit obtuse or just plain blonde but I only got a couple of people wanting to join in. And one of those didn't leave any kind of details...
So. The first TWO people to leave a comment will get a little Mulberry-Dog something delivered to their homes before Christmas. The only snag being that they then have to do a PIF of their own in the future.. Get it? I don't think I can be much simpler than that. (No comments from YOU, BigBean...)

It might be something like this

or this.

Please help me here. I want to draw a line under this and get the darned parcels off to their new homes asap so I can concentrate on the next lot of wrapping and sending.
Leave a comment and some way of contacting me and if Kim is reading this, get in touch and I'll pop something in the post for you too.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Nativity Story

What started as a three week foray back at the chalk face has ended up with me being there for a whole term. It's been uppy and downy, laugh or cry and sometimes just plain old 'I don't want to go to school today.' But there have been some really good times too. Like this week.

We read the children (remember they are three and four) The Christmas Story. Do you know this one? We have it at home and I was very pleased to see it in the classroom too. Then, one by one, the children were asked to retell it to us. And we scribed. We are in the process of getting the children to draw the Main Characters so we can print out their words and join everything together to make 32 fabulous books.

And I would very much like to share some of these wonderful stories with you...

Baby Jesus was in the barn and he was talking to the angels. They went into the barn. The knights on the camels went to see Baby Jesus and they brought him some presents, some things. The star told them and they talked to each other and they followed the star. The shepherds saw the barn and they talked to Baby Jesus.

The shepherd looked after the sheep. The angel crashed and fell over. Then she went to see Baby Jesus. Mary was there and Daddy. The kings walked to get the baby. They followed the star to the stable. The baby is called Freddie. He did sleeping.

Some shepherds were looking after their sheep so they don’t get lost. The tooth fairy comes and she says ‘A baby will come.’ The shepherds go with the sheep. They are going to go to the farm. The tooth fairy is at the farm. The star was in the sky. They found a baby. Baby Jesus! Three kings come. They bringed gold and treasure and stuff. They gave it to Baby Jesus.

The shepherds were looking after their sheep so they don’t get lost. An angel came. ‘Baby Jesus has been born.’ The shepherds wanted to see the baby. Three kings followed a star and gave him some presents because it was his birthday. I think he would like a spoon.

Jesus was sleeping in the bed in the house. The shepherds saw an angel who was singing. Three kings got on their cameras and rode to see the little baby. The shepherds looked after the sheep. Mary sat in the stable.

Baby Jesus did lots of sleeping. The majesties rided horses and the baddy came. The angel flew away. The baddy came and collected the witch. The baby died.

Well, whaddya think? Have I done a good job teaching these children? Would you be pleased to have me as your child's teacher??? I know for certain that one of these children has a newly diagnosed hearing problem but the rest? Vivid imaginations. And bad memories.

I think I will try this out on SmallerBean too. She is only just a smidge younger than a lot of these children and I think the story could be a goody. If it is, I'll let you know.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Yesterday I hopped onto the train at Cambridge station with four girlfriends and we gossiped our way down to London. I was on the very last (I think) bit of my birthday string-out.

After meeting up with another friend we did a teensy bit of retail here,
sorry I can't show you what I bought but it is a Christmas pressie for one of the girls. If you are ever in Regents Street, pop in to Anthropologie just for a peek. There is a wonderful smell in there from a vertical garden
which grows up over three floors just by the stairs. The clothes are to die for
but you have to be feeling Very Rich. I tried on an amazing cardi. But it was £168. £168??? Are they MAD??? Gorgeous, but you can't spend that much on knitwear unless you're called Kate. Go in and feel and smell and ogle- the whole shop is a hit for your senses.

We then ate the most scrumptious prawns, squid and seafood soup in a restaurant called Wrights, just off Regents Street somewhere. A glass of white and pud later, we toddled off to the Palace Theatre where we ordered interval cocktails and wine, found our seats and sat down to watch the best show you could imagine. Do you want to know what it was???


So so funny. So so colourful. And quite rude. Excellent songs and singing, fabulous stage use and the best costumes you could ever imagine. A lot of skin on show and dancing, dancing, dancing.

Just after we'd finished our half time drinks and sat down for Part Two, some of the chorus line trouped off the stage to scoop up a few willing members of the audience. As my friend Becky was sitting on the end of the row, she was hauled up onto the stage. To dance. With the cast of Priscilla. Ooh la la. Dancing on the stage of The Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I started taking pictures of her on my phone and then a man came along and Told Me Off. I had to stop snapping (but not before I'd got a couple of shots) and then my phone ran out of juice so no more pics could be taken.

After the fantastico show the fun did not stop. Oh no no no.

A little trip to The Primrose Bakery for a cake and cuppa

(I chose a tasty little carrot number) before we headed back to Kings Cross, a packed train and a very foggy bike ride over the river and home. Thank you so much K,B,L,E and H. What a treat.
Today it seems as if the whole day was a bit of a dream. But don't you find the best days often are?

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Quite a while ago I was the lucky recipient of a PIF. No, not this kind of PIF (was there anyone else out there who actually watched The High Life? Us Beans loved it...) but a Pay It Forward from Jenevieve.

In my haste to get this post out I forgot to turn the photo, sorry.

What a lucky wee girlie, eh? Thank you very much for my little stash of beads and bluey silvery treasures, Jen.

Anyway, now it is my turn to Pif Paf Poff.

The first three people to leave a comment will be sent a small but lovely surprise. Before Christmas. And then they have to Pif Paf Poff at some point. I think I have the rules right but please correct me if I am wrong. I often am, you know.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Over half term (boy it seems like an AGE ago) we stayed in a wee cottage on the side of a steep hill in the Borders of Scotland. It is beautiful and remote and very very muddy.

Yes, that's the cott, surrounded by fresh air, trees and grass. Which turns into mud at the drop of a hat...

Our fortunes with the weather were mixed. Frosty days when we had to break the ice on the puddles as we walked and biked, gloomy days when we mooched in Kirkcudbright and then ate amazing ice cream here, which is Well Worth A Visit, stormy days when we did slightly worry that the gnarly old oaks behind the cott might just topple and some wet and rainy time that just made us (well, not Big, he went out on mad muddy biking adventures) stay in and hang out.

The BeanSprouts were happy making dens, reading, colouring and playing table football with a hedgehog. (No ball could be found and the nearest and best thing was a pompom hodgepig but Smaller didn't much like this turn of affairs. 'It's not kind to play football with a hedgehog,' she repeated ad nauseum.)

I spent much time making new sparkly goodness while looking out the window at this view. Pretty impressive , huh? I was so so pleased I took the MagicBean box with me on our little hol- it was very restful and stress-busting to use my hands and head to make some new things. After the last few weeks of frenzy and chaos that has been Bean Life I think it was theraputic and calming to Make Things. My stash was fairly low but I managed to get creative and build. Want to see?

A pearly linky necklace,

some wintry doves in the snow

and some icy pearls with aventurine, moonstone, amazonite and a teensy crystal.

I have popped them in my shop with a few other things I made. I hope that the necklace doesn't sell- not only do I love it but it really reminds me of a very happy week.

Some colour for Mrs Pebble

Mrs Pebble is doing a series of colourful posts and putting pictures on flikr to get her through the grey and dreary winter months. Personally, I love this time of year, and the rest of the autumn and winter. I love the changing seasons, the unexpected bright and sunny days, the wet and windy days when all you do is light the fire and eat toast and soup and the total unpredictability of it all.

Warm jumpers, boots, thick socks, hats and scarves are my most favourite clothes and it's a bit tricky and also quite hot wearing them in the summer.

Mmm. Good eyebrows...

Then of course there is the build up to (dare I say it?) Christmas. Twinkly lights, magical music, the anticipation of a visit, hiding, wrapping, placing under the tree, the SMELL of it all.

Then the serious business of January. New starts, fresh beginnings and a good old sort out.

And suddenly there are teeny tiny signs that spring is on its way.

So really and truly I do love this time of year.

Anyway. Looking out into the garden at breakfast a couple of days ago I noticed that the red leaves which have been plentiful and flamey were dropping like flies. So I popped out and gathered some for Smaller to take to Pre-School. Then I thought... better snap those for my blog so I can join in a bit of colour and make my friend up- the-road-and-over-the-fen feel a bit more cheery on this grey old day.

So Mrs. P. Hope these have brightened up your day a smidge.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


SmallBean loves history. Knights, Romans, vikings, ancient Greeks, celts and Robin Hood(?) all feature a lot in his imaginative play. He has many books which he reads and reads and reads, and his knowledge of certain historical periods outclasses mine hugely. (Well, let's face it, my history is zilch so even SmallerBean aged 2 1/2 probably knows more than me...)

One of his favourite authors is Marcia Williams. Have you heard of her? She rewrites history books in the form of comic strips with the most detailed pictures you can imagine. And she often includes little speech bubbles which are a bit rude. Which makes Small love them even more. Her books we have read include Robin Hood, The Iliad and the Odyssey, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Greek Myths and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. We will be dipping into Shakespeare, Dickens and Inventors at some point. If you have a child who is not too keen on history or reading, I cannot recommend enough for you to go and borrow one of Marcia's books from your library or buy one here or here. I have truly learnt lots from her. Maybe my historical understanding would have been better if I had listened harder to Mrs Anderson and Mrs Rhys when I was in 4UN but they really could have made Sutton Hoo and raising the Mary Rose heaps more interesting. I was asked to stop doing history at the first possible opportunity ie at the end of 4UN. Just think. If Marcia had taught me history I could have been an academic on TV, working with The Snows and making programmes about battles in fields in 1538. Or digging up the City of London with Baldrick, sorry, Tony Robinson and talking for twenty minutes about a chink of brown pottery. Mmmm. Worth thinking about isn't it?

I digress.

Look at the detail and humour in the pictures. Aren't they incredible?
The reason I am telling you all this is because the other day, SmallBean decided to write his own book. This is a BIG THING because although SmallBean loves to read and can do so very well, he is Not So Keen On Writing. Or drawing. So I had a huge smile on my face when he made his announcement. And he was most adamant that he would be illustrating and scribing in the style of Marcia Williams. He is writing Robin Hood and I thought you might like to have a peek at what he has done.

There. Isn't that marvellous? Can you tell which one is Robin? Pick out that dastardly Sheriff?
Don't you love the way a volleyball game suddenly starts?

There are Other Books on the last page

and a bar code on the back cover.

Now those of you with girls will be thinking 'Well, Florence/Maud/Donatella (delete as necessary) has been doing that sort of thing since she was three. Just what is the big deal?' Those of you with boys may be sharing in my incredulity and glee. You will possibly understand where this big smile has come from. Pencil choosing is a rare occurrence in this house and when it happens I like it. Especially when something so fab has been achieved. When the rest of Rodin (sic) Hood has been written and illustrated, I am going to scan it and send it to Marcia (you see how I am on first name terms with her??) just to show her how she influences Young People (or Young Person) in such a good way. I hope she likes SmallBeans book as much as we like hers.

Thanks Marcia.

(I emailed Marcia Williams and she gave me permission to use photos for this post. Thanks You.)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Watch out for the witches tonight...

Hellooo there. It seems like a long time since I've posted a proper good(?) read, thanks for sticking with me and hanging by. Work, building and a lovely week up in the Scottish Borders have seriously eaten into my posting time. Don't worry. I'm not going to grumble and grouse as I have been over the last few weeks to poor old BigBean and my two loverlee neighbours, about work, dust and No Time. Instead, I am going to be jolly and smiley.

First, I need to thank two bloggy readers, driftwood and Jenevieve. They both gave me a blog award. I was totally speechless and really truly touched. I ramble on and show you a glimpse of my home life and some of you actually like it. Two of you like it enough to give me a little trophy and I thank them both enormously. However, I am not a good enough blogger to get the award pictures up on the side so feel free to unaward me...
And let me know how to get the thingies up on the side. It's truly baffling me but I am blonde(ish).

I think that I now need to post seven things about myself that you don't already know.

1. I love the smell of washing just off the line.

2. I love these books and the fourth one, Heartstone, is in the post to me as I type. When it arrives I will be the most anti-social person in town. Mr Sansom transports you back in time and Tudor London is so real you can almost smell it. Gripping, exciting and unexpected. Please read the first one and you'll see what I mean.
3. If money was no object, I would dress head-to-toe in these clothes. Just look at the bonkersness of some of these things. So so comfortable. So unusual and so luxurious too. I can only buy them on ebay and even then I have to be feeling quite rich. Actually, I think head-to-toe might be a teensy bit too much.

4. I get very excited when I see hares out in the fields. I think they are wonderful. Earlier this year I counted nineteen (19) in a field in Suffolk, quite near a regular haunt of the Beans, The Leaping Hare.

5. Marmite? Love it.

6. Capers? Gross.

7. My guilty little TV secret is .... X-Factor. Yes. It's true. I love it. Bad bad bad but I just can't help myself.
Now I need to pass the Versatile Blog Award on to five fellow bloggies. Sue over at The Quince Tree never fails to make me smile, Kirstie for her unfailing calming influence on me, Julia, for her honesty and reality, Ali for the simplicity of her posts and lastly, I really want to give it back to driftwood for her humour and on-my-wavelengthness. Is that allowed? Please let me. I really want to.

Another smiley thing is that my Halloween swapsie with Jille arrived last week looking like this...

It couldn't have arrived at a better time. I had had a truly pooey day and this parcel made me feel much better when I opened it. Inside were some lovely things.

A gorgeous felty tweedy autumny flower brooch which is now on my jacket
some fabby ghoulish bunting
a screme egg which I munched as I opened the other packets

a card with a ghostly message inside

an excellent and most subtle pair of skeleton socks

and a pair of wonderful trick-or-treat bags for the SmallBeans, filled with creepy crawlies. This last parcel almost reduced me to tears such was my emotional unbalance that evening. There were a couple of other things in this most generous of swaps but uploading is not playing nicely with me and I can't face the uncertainty of losing it all. I am also sorry that the photos look rather garish and bright but I suppose I can get away with it for this once because of the subject... For a better look at the stash pop over to her blog. Thank you so so much Jille, you really made a huge effort and put a lot of work in and The Beans love them all.
Hope you stayed the course. There is so much more I need to post about but you'll have to wait.

Have a totally creepy and scary Halloween. Hope the goblins don't get you.