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I am an unashamed Winnie the Pooh fan. I guess, strictly speaking, I am a A A Milne fan rather than just a Winnie the Pooh fan as I love the poems as much as the stories. I think it must be genetic as my mother also loved them.  So much so, that at her funeral my sister read an AA Milne poem – Wherever I am there’s always Pooh, there’s always Pooh and me . . .Nic & John in Winnie the Pooh

I remember learning Forgiven to earn my entertainers badge when I was a Brownie. I still know most of it – along with King John’s Christmas, The King’s Breakfast, Rice Pudding, Sneezles, Vespers and Disobedience. David shares my delight in all things Milne and 15 years ago directed  a production of Winnie the Pooh for our local theatre. Our second son (who was 6) played the ‘real’ Christopher Robin while we had an older boy play Christopher Robin in the stories. I played Kanga.

bookImagine my delight when I saw Return to the Hundred Acre Wood in a book shop. It looked like the real thing, was ‘an authorised sequel’ and had illustrations that looked like the original E H Shepard ones. I sampled a few pages and was convinced enough to request it for my birthday.  So, on Sunday, I duly settled down in a sunny spot for a couple of hours escape. I enjoyed it tremendously but found it, on the whole, a little unsatisfying. The illustrations were spot-on, the characters were the same as the ones I had come to know and love (with one addition) but the stories lacked something. I have been mulling it over for several days now trying to work it out and I still haven’t entirely got the answer but it seems to me that the stories in this new book stop rather than ending. They are also quite unmemorable whereas who could forget Eeyore’s Birthday or the Heffalump or Pooh’s quest to get honey? It might be because I have read them so many times that the original stories are so clear in my mind, but I don’t think so. This book will takes its place in my bookcase alongside the 4 original Milne’s but I suspect it won’t be taken down nearly so often.

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vanillaI used to think I didn’t like vanilla, but then I discovered vanilla pods. They smell divine and taste so much better than vanilla essence. But they are quite expensive. I would buy them one at a time and put them in a sugar container to make vanilla sugar. If I came across a recipe that involved simmering a pod in liquid I would pull the pod out of the sugar and use it, then dry it and return it to the tin. Not any more! Thanks to my Foodlover friends I have discovered a source of delicious plump vanilla pods at a much more reasonable price. And they are organic – an added bonus. I ordered some ‘seconds’ and was delighted with what arrived. Despite being in a sealed plastic bag I could smell them as soon as I opened the parcel. I added one to my container of vanilla sugar and put another 2 into a small bottle with some vodka to make some essence. The rest are waiting in the pantry for the right recipe to pop up and whenever I open the pantry door I can smell them.

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The theme for my 10 yr-old’s party was science. I got white shirts from second hand shops to wear as lab coats and we did lots of science experiments. Most of them were from the Funology website. To eat we had:

Test tubes – frankfurters cut in half

test-tubes

Cells – individual pizzas made from muffins with slices of salami for the nucleus and slices of bierstick for the mitochondria and ribosomes

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Beakers and stirring rods – mini quiches with straight pretzels

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Atoms and Molecules Fruit Salad – grapes, cherries, watermelon balls, rockmelon balls

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Then we made some Ziplock bag Ice cream. Instead of 1/2 cup milk we used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup cream. We put the mixture in a sandwich-sized ziploc and then put it in an A4-sized ziplock with the salt and ice. Lastly we had a treasure hunt. With each clue they also found an item for cake decorating – icing, sprinkles, chocolate hail, white chocolate raisins, chachous. At the final station they found some cupcakes and their challenge was to use the things they had found to construct a 2D model of the solar system.

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Finally we had a Neon Atom cake with candles that refused to stay out .

I read blogs, but do I want to write one? I guess time will tell. The main dilemma is what to blog about. I work part-time as a librarian and when I’m not working I enjoy cooking, gardening and acting (and reading of course!). I think my blog will probably be a mixture of these things.

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