This Blog Has Moved - You'll Be Redirected Shortly

>> Jun 21, 2010

I've moved Notes From Lapland to a shiny new home, please come and join me.  If you aren't redirected in 6 seconds please click this link to take you there.

See you on the other side.

Heather xx

Heather The Home Wrecker

>> Apr 19, 2010

That's me, that is.

In the none-sleeping-with-someone's-husband-kind-of-way.

It just came off in my hand, Your Honour, honest.


Seriously *shakes head* I don't know my own strength.

Are The Brits Up Themselves?

>> Apr 18, 2010

Sorting through the Secret Post Club information this morning, making sure that everything is in good order, I started to notice a pattern emerging.

With the exception of a couple of people, everybody that sent in their address from outside Britain had put their country in the address, like I asked.  At least 80% of those that live in Britain didn't, despite me asking.

What does that say about us Brits?

That we assume everybody in the world knows where Reading or Preston are*?

That we are so unworldly wise, despite out constant finger pointing at the Americans for being just that, that we don't realise others in the world neither know nor care where these places are.

That we assume it's only right that those wanting to post to us should be made to find out where we live**?  And then complain when our parcels never arrive or arrive late?

Is it true what they say about us?  Are we Brits rather up our own behinds?

None Brits, is this something you have noticed about us?

*Two places picked completely at random from my brain and no indication of who left their country off their address, ahem.

** Incidentally, I had a least 2 people contact me this month to say that UK was registering as the Ukraine in their postal systems and they wanted to check whether the recipient really lived in the Ukraine or not.

How To Fly With Children

>> Apr 17, 2010

In just over 3 weeks I shall be taking my two monsters darlings on, not one, not two, but three planes, in one day, alone.

The three of us, my daughter, my son and I are travelling to the UK to visit my family and I am bricking it.

How in the hell am I going to cope on a plane with two kids, a 21 month old and a 3.5 year old, that can't sit still for more than 5 minutes?

No really, how?  Please tell me.

Have you travelled with kids?

What did you do to cope, what toys did you take to keep them entertained?

And what in the hell do I do about juice and snacks?  Now that you're not allowed to take more than a teaspoon of fluid, and even then only as long as it is encased in a bombproof, concrete box, how can I keep them hydrated, calm and distracted?

Any and all tips much appreciated.

And The Winner Is...

>> Apr 16, 2010


A HUGE thank you to all those that submitted videos and voted for their favourites.

The poll is now closed, the results have been counted and we have A WINNER!

Will it be Pippa form Mothers Ramblings with her make us.... vlog?

Or Heather from Young and Younger showing us how to make Bath Fizzies?

Or maybe Victoria from It's A Small World After All with her Recipe For Disaster?

We had 50 votes, and a rather close race to the finish, but our April's Just Vlog It champion and winner of a £50 Pamper Hamper is...


This is Heather's 2nd win in a row ladies and gentleman, the woman to beat when it comes to vlogs!

CONGRATULATIONS Heather.  Well deserved!

Ladies, your badges are below.  Heather please step up and collect your winners badge, and Pippa and Victoria please take your runners up badges.  It really was a close vote, the leader changed several times and I think you all deserve a massive round of applause.



Thank you all for joining in.

And don't forget, you can find all entries to April's Just Vlog It over at Café Bébé on Monday!  Stay tuned to Café Bébé the same time next month for more Just Vlog It challenges and exciting prizes and the chance to knock Heather from Young and Younger off her champion perch, so to speak!

Thank you to this months sponsors:


You can choose from a range of styles of these yummy slipper boots to keep your tootsies warm whilst you curl up on the sofa to read a good book

Watch a vlog by Karin at Café Bébé about MUK LUKS to learn more about them

A Myroo Skincare Package courtesy of the lovely Rachael who also runs Milly and Flossy a lovely baby skincare range.  This skincare package from Myroo contains:


A relaxing floral bath fizz for long soaks in the bath, comes with a bamboo scoop for a spot of added luxury.

Geranium Hand treat, a luxurious intensive hand cream to sooth and nourish dry skin and some cotton gloves for using it as an over night rescue treatment. 

Plus nail files, orange sticks and a bamboo flannel.

And what pampering package would be complete without a good book to read as you soak in your floral bath fizz or curl up on the sofa in your MUK LUKS?


The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the perfect book for just that.  A story of a friendship over the years full of intimate letters between two friends through the good and the bad, each one accompanied by a recipe.  The book follows them as they grow up, grow apart and find each other again.

A damn good read that I have just finished myself and then convinced the lovely people at HarperCollins to send the winner a copy too.

What Is Heaven?

Cleaning up horse poo a couple of days ago, I was having one of those imagined conversations with my daughter, you know the sort you have in your head, we all do that, don't we?

She was asking about heaven.  What is heaven?

And I was stumped.

As an athiest I find so much about religion difficult to get my head around.  Heaven is a prime example

Assuming, for the sake of this conversation, that there is such a place as heaven and that all who are reading this are going there, what is it like? Is it the same for everyone or does everyone get their own special heaven?

Is everybody that ever died, ever, in the whole world, in heaven? (or the ones that were good at least)  Isn't it going to be quite busy?  It must be quite a big place to fit all those people in, do we get a map?

Are there lots of areas, each a different kind of heaven, something to suit everyone, or is it all sitting around on clouds playing harps?

What is there to do in heaven? Because to be honest I need things to do.  Whether it writing, walking, reading, whatever, I'm not very good at just doing nothing.  Do they have the internet?

Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick enitrely?  When we die and transcend to heaven do we change and become something different, some sort of etheral spriit that enjoys just sort of floating around all day?

Is it a bit like taking drugs?  Being so high that sitting around on a cloud for the rest of eternity seems like the best thing ever?

Are there animals in heaven?

Will we recognise each other?

What will we look like?

Are there animals in heaven?

Is it written anywhere, in any holy books, what to expect when we get there?  Are there any explanations for it?

I'm completely serious, what is heaven?

And what did you or do you plan to tell your children when they start asking questions?

April Just Vlog It - the vote

>> Apr 15, 2010

This months Just Vlog It challenge was Make Us Something. It could have been something crafty or foody, or it could have been make us laugh, cry or want to beat you about the head with the soggy end of your own severed arm. It was completely open to interpretation.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

All videos have been watched.

The deliberating and arguing by Karin from Café Bébé and myself over the top two is over.

We are finally ready to announce the top Just Vlog It entries for you to vote on.

Who will win our pamper hamper worth over £50?

That is for you to decide, my dear friends, in this public voting round of April's Just Vlog It

And so I give you, our top three.

Yes I said three.

Yes, I know it¨s supposed to be only two.

But despite all our battling and arguing, we just couldn't come to a decision. So three is what we have. In no particular order:
Please go and watch these three wonderful vlogs and then come back here and vote for the one you think deserves to win Aprils Just Vlog It challenge of, make us something.  Voting is open for 24 hours, and will close at 8am (GMT) tomorrow (Friday 16th April) and the winner announced later the same day.


All entries, and there were some fabulous ones this month, from making the perfect cup of tea to making us smile, will be linked to in the fabulous vlogging carnival held at Café Bébé on Monday.

Thank you very much to all those who entered.  We really appreciate you taking the time to make such great videos for us to watch, choosing the top vlogs was a really difficult decision this month.  If you didn't make it this month, don't forget, we will be hosting another Just Vlog It challenge next month, we are coming up with theme ideas and lining up sponsors as we speak, so do come back here and over to Café Bébé for plenty more vlogging inspiration.

A special thanks goes to our wonderful sponsors this month for their prizes:



You can choose from a range of styles of these yummy slipper boots to keep your tootsies warm whilst you curl up on the sofa to read a good book

Watch a vlog by Karin at Café Bébé about MUK LUKS to learn more about them

A Myroo Skincare Package courtesy of the lovely Rachael who also runs Milly and Flossy a lovely baby skincare range.  This skincare package from Myroo contains:


A relaxing floral bath fizz for long soaks in the bath, comes with a bamboo scoop for a spot of added luxury.

Geranium Hand treat, a luxurious intensive hand cream to sooth and nourish dry skin and some cotton gloves for using it as an over night rescue treatment. 

Plus nail files, orange sticks and a bamboo flannel.

And what pampering package would be complete without a good book to read as you soak in your floral bath fizz or curl up on the sofa in your MUK LUKS?


The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the perfect book for just that.  A story of a friendship over the years full of intimate letters between two friends through the good and the bad, each one accompanied by a recipe.  The book follows them as they grow up, grow apart and find each other again.

A damn good read that I have just finished myself and then convinced the lovely people at HarperCollins to send the winner a copy too.

Do you have a thing?

>> Apr 14, 2010

Somebody asked me recently, what mine and my hubby's thing is.  You know, that one thing you both share an enjoyment of, that you do together.

Other than sex I mean.

Some people like to go for walks together, or watch a movie.

Some like to sail, cycle, or run.

Other share a love of photography, dance or the arts.

Hubby and I, well, we both quite like sleep, and, erm...  Well, that's it really.  We don't read the same kind of books, like the same music, movies or sports.

We have nothing.

I have spent the best part of the morning trying to come up with something, anything, and am failing miserably.

What about you, do you and your other half have a thing?  Is it important to have a thing?

Should I be worried or does it not matter?

Are You A Bitch?

>> Apr 13, 2010

I am.

I try not to be, in public anyway, but secretly I am.

Nothing gets my goat more than those that bitch about everyone and everything.  Always moaning, nothing is ever good enough.  You know who I mean, everyone knows people like that.  And I tried so hard not to be that person, I try so hard to see the good in everyone, to be open minded and optimistic.

At least on the outside.

But sometimes...  Well sometimes that's just not possible.

Sometimes people piss you off so much you NEED to scream and shout and have a good old whinge that is more than just an internal monologue and the occasional uttering to oneself.

I had a day like that this week.  I was talking to a friend on chat, and it all just came pouring out.  Once I started I couldn't stop.

-Oh and another thing.

-And do you know what else

-And did you hear what she said about...

More and more of it spewed forth until, all of a sudden, I realised that other person had stopped chatting back.

The little cursor was flashing at me as I stared at the screen, mocking me, laughing at me, chiding me.  My heart dropped.  Had I just made a colossal mistake?

Had I just outed myself as a bitch to a new friend.  To someone that I admire greatly and am building a fledgling, tentative friendship with.

Have I let myself go a little too much?

And then, gasp, another thought.  Had I said the wrong thing about the wrong person?

I did a quick check in my head, trying to remember how well they knew each other, whether this new friend might be, at that very moment, copying and pasting her chat window into an email to her friend.

My heart was hammering, my hands shaking a little now as I changed the subject, tried to get the conversation going again.

Still nothing.

Ack!

And then...finally.

-sorry about that, just nipped to the loo.  Are you still there? came her reply.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

So my dear new friend, if you are reading this, I'm sorry to say that you've saddled yourself with a bitch as a friend.  Can you live with that or would you like to rescind your friendship offer?

I do hope not, because having someone you know you can trust to bitch to sure makes life easier.

What about you, are you a bitch too?

Nature Photography Competition. Win 1000€

>> Apr 12, 2010

As some of you know, I have been busily working on a new website, a travel guide to Ruka and Kuusamo, my local area.

It is now up and running and as well as covering hotels, bars and restaurants in the area etc, I also talk about the things to do and see and write stories like

Taking my kids on The best Santa trip in Lapland.

How visiting the Nature Photography Center made me want to become a photographer.

Going to see the bears.  Yes we have bears in Lapland!  Yikes!

And today I have written about a very exciting nature photography competition that the city of Kuusamo is holding.  A competition that is open to everyone, worldwide, costs only €10 for 3 photos to enter, and whose grand prize is 1000€.

Come on over to Ruka & Kuusamo and have a look around.

Strange Things Emerging From The Ice

>> Apr 11, 2010

Spring, or melt, as I like to call it, isn't a clean time of the year.  As all the snow starts to melt down the remaining piles are covered in dirt and grime that has been hidden beneath the pristine whiteness for months.

The ground under the snow is little more that a bog as the water from the melted snow sits on it, the ground still to frozen to soak much of it away.



And things lost or hidden in the snow over the winter start to appear.  Hats and gloves, that welly, a million fag ends (grrrrr) and endless amounts of goat poo (our goat lives free on our farm).

And then this morning I noticed this, appearing out of the ice.  Something much treasured, whose loss caused tears and a sleepless night before it could be replaced.


My sons beloved 'tutti' or dummy, to the rest of us, frozen in the ice, just the rubber teat sticking out of the ice.

Are you Secretive About Your Blog Stats?

>> Apr 10, 2010

Last night, chatting with @ReadilyAParent @The_Moiderer @swhittle @eggscreamhoney and @BumblingTweets on twitter about pimping blog posts from Twitter, we shared our blog visit numbers for last month and the % that come from Twitter.

It was very interesting, some people getting 22% of their visitors from Twitter, and others like me, getting around 9%.

But the divulging of stats like that, in such an open arena, made me feel nervous.  So nervous that I quickly steered my end of the conversation to more base subjects like the amount of people that had come here from Google looking for sodomy vlogs or 'standing around naked parties'.

I felt like I had done something wrong.  As though I'd broken some cardinal rule of blogging.  Stats are such closely guarded secrets, maybe there is a reason for it I don't yet understand.  Maybe something terrible is going to happen to me and my blog now that I told Twitter (or the five people that were reading at the time) how many monthly visits I got in the last month.

Ummm.

Or maybe not.

I'm thinking probably not.

So why do we feel this way?  What is the reason behind keeping our blog stats a secret?  Why don't we want anyone to know how many visits we do or don't get?

Is it because we think people will judge us?  Will stop reading our blog?  And if they did would it be because we get more than they think?  Less than they think?

Do we believe that people will somehow be able to 'steal' our readers if they know how many we have?

Do we secretly want people to think there are thousands upon thousands of people flocking to our blogs each month?

Do we even understand half the numbers and whattsits that we guard so well?  I know I don't.  What the hell is a bounce rate, anyway?

So having decided that I don't care if you know how many visit I get or how many of them were wearing pink undies at the time (Google analytics can tell you an awful lot about about your visitors) I figured I'd share mine with you.

Just in case you were interested.

We can use it as an experiment.

Right now I have 330 feedburner subscribers and 206 google followers (gah, I hate that word).  We can see if this dips dramatically after revealing my stats.  Those numbers aren't a secret by any means.  If you scroll to the bottom of my blog you'll see the number of feedburner subscribers down there on a little widget and the google followers (there it is again - can we not come up with a better word Google?) is in my sidebar.

Also at the bottom, for anyone that cares, is a sitemeter button.  Sitemeter is an open stats package which means that anyone can view it.  If you click that button you will get an up to the minute reading on how many people have been here today, where they came from, how long they stayed and what they had for breakfast.

Okay I might have made one of those up.

Anyhoo...

From the 10th March 2010 to 9th April 2010
Google Analytics.


Visits: 4,494
Absolute Unique Visitors: 1,730
Page Views: 10,336
Average Page Views: 2.3
Time On site: 2:32
Bounce Rate: 49.35%
New Visits: 29.06%


They came from 53 different countries: UK, USA, and Finland being the top three


I know that 30% came from feedburner, 10% came direct, 9% from Twitter, 5% from google search and 79 people came from my feedburner email feed.


The  majority of people coming from Google search come looking for Lapland porn in some form or another.

And now you know all that fairly useless info does it change your or my life at all?

*Waits for the apocolyptical meteor to hit her*

Whilst I'm sitting here waiting to be struck down by the blogging Gods, why not tell me what you think.  Why do we keep them a secret?  Does it matter if people know how many readers you have?

Feel free to share your own if you want to.

I Am A Stick

>> Apr 8, 2010

'Mummy, I am a stick.'

'Yes dear, of course you are.'

'No, mummy!  Mummy, I'm a stick!'

'Yes dear, that's nice.'  I mutter absent mindedly as I reach for another potato, washing it under the tap before starting to peel.

'Mummy, look mummy.'

'Ummm.'  I put the peeled potato down and pick up another.

'MUMMY!  I'm a stick mummy, look!'

'Umm.'

'Mummy!'

'Yes.'

'I'm a stick!'

'Yes dear, and a very nice stick you are too,' I say lifting my head in the direction of the noise, eyes still on the potato.

'Mummy!'

--

'Mummy!'

--

'Mummy!'

--

'MUMMY!'

-oh for Gods sake!

I grit my teeth and try to count to ten.  I get to three.

'MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY!'

'What!?'

'I'm a stick!'

I throw the potato and peeler in the sink and turn to face my daughter, the little vein in my forehead throbbing.  'Yes dear, you are a super stick, now leave mummy alone whilst she...oh.'

She wasn't a stick.

She was stuck.

She'd somehow managed to wedge herself between the arm and seat of her little arm chair and was stuck in a rather awkward and uncomfortable looking position.

I bit back the urge to laugh.

What? It was funny!

I started towards her and then faltered biting my lip as an evil thought came over me.  I glanced at the camera.  It was tempting.  She did look rather ridiculous.

'Mummy!'

'Yes dear, mummy's coming.'

I left the camera on the side and went to help.

Five minutes of twisting, squeezing, under the breath swearing and the liberal application of olive oil, and my eldest was no longer a stick.

Still wish I'd got a picture of it, mind.

Help Needed With Secret Post Club

>> Apr 7, 2010

I have, it seems, created a monster.

For the most part, a wonderful, joyful monster, full of kindness, generosity and excitement.  However, it's not without it's issues.  Hopefully they are just teething issues as I get my head around this post club thing and come up with a better way to run it.

That's is the bit I need help with.

I need some ideas.

**Before I go any further, I'm not having a go at anyone.  I totally understand why people have been getting in touch to find out the whereabouts of their parcels, both sent and not yet received.  It is normal to want to know, to worry that yours has gone missing and I encouraged people to get in touch because I hate the idea that someone is sitting around worrying or sulking about their parcel when I could fire off a quick email to find out.

So if you have gotten in touch to find out about your parcel, don't feel bad or guilty, it was, after all, what I  told you to do.  And don't feel pissed off with me either, please?  As I said, I'm not having a go I'm just asking for help in how to deal with it.**

However, it seems I didn't really think things through.  Nor did I anticipate just how many would go missing or turn up late. Seriously, I thought maybe a couple, 3 tops.  I mean the postal system, for all our moans and gripes, is pretty reliable.  I've never, in all my years of having things posted to and from far flung places, had a parcel go missing before, and then this last month, out of around 100 parcels, there must be around 15 that haven't yet arrived.

That is a huge percentage.

So big that it makes me worry that some people (no-one in particular, just 'people' in general) are taking advantage.  Saying they have posted when they haven't.  Which would be a mean, low down and pathetic thing to do.  Something so low that if I ever found out someone had done this I would out them immediately on my blog and then cease to have anything to do with them again.

Can you tell I'm wound up a bit tight about this?

Sigh.

I hate how suspicious all this is making me.

So, in short, the chasing up of missing or late parcels is becoming somewhat overwhelming and stressful and I need to find a new system, a better way of running the club so that I don't have to do this.

I have come up with a few ideas so far:

1.  Just pair people up instead of giving everyone a different person to send to, so that it becomes a gift swap rather than a 'secret Santa' type club.  For example instead of A getting B, B getting C, C getting D and D getting A.  A and B would be paired up and C and D would be paired up.

*Edited to say I did mean paired up with a different person each month*

2.  Keep it the way it is but post a list of who is posting to who, similar to the spreadsheet I put up this month but with both the sender and receiver on it.

3.  Wait until the month is out and then post a list of who posted to who, and people that didn't receive a parcel can then chase up the person that sent to them.

4.  Something I haven't thought of yet but you are going to tell me and make my day...*hopeful smile*

Oh and the secretary suggestion is a nice one, but until you are all paying me £10 a month to be members I can't really afford it.

Nor can I be bothered with the extra hassle of having a different member each month being responsible for chasing these things up.  I am sure it would bring more headaches than it would solve.

So, as this is your club as much as mine, how would you like it to be run?  Have any super ideas?  Thoughts? Anything?

I'm going to get myself a glass of wine and wait for your fabulous words of wisdom to pour in.

(For those that how no idea what any of this is about - The Secret Post Club is a bloggy gift swap that I arrange each month that currently has around 160 members.  At the beginning of the month each member gets emailed the details of another member and has to post the a gift as their gift, from someone unknown, gets posted to them.  For more information, simply click on the secret post club link in my menu bar).

How to Make A Snowball Lantern

In honour of this months Just Vlog It challenge, Make Us Something, in this video I am going to show you how to make a snowball lantern.

The prize this month ís a Pamper Hamper worth over £50.  There is more information about the wonderful prize and how to enter below the video.  This video is not an entry (Karin and I as organisers will not be entering) but just...well...just because really.  Enjoy.



Just vlog It is a monthly video blogging contest where you need to make a video on the months theme to win. This months theme is...

Make Us Something.

And that is as open to interpretation as you like.  It could be make us a meal, a birthday card, make us laugh, cry, mad. You can be as creative with the idea and with your making us something as you like.

And the prizes for this amazing pamper hamper?

You can choose from a range of styles of these yummy slipper boots to keep your tootsies warm whilst you curl up on the sofa to read a good book

A Myroo Skincare Package courtesy of the lovely Rachael who also runs Milly and Flossy a lovely baby skincare range.  This skincare package from Myroo contains:

A relaxing floral bath fizz for long soaks in the bath, comes with a bamboo scoop for a spot of added luxury.
Geranium Hand treat, a luxurious intensive hand cream to sooth and nourish dry skin and some cotton gloves for using it as an over night rescue treatment.

Plus nail files, orange sticks and a bamboo flannel.

And what pampering package would be complete without a good book to read as you soak in your floral bath fizz or curl up on the sofa in your MUK LUKS?

The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the perfect book for just that.  A story of a friendship over the years full of intimate letters between two friends through the good and the bad, each one accompanied by a recipe.  The book follows them as they grow up, grow apart and find each other again.

A damn good read that I have just finished myself and then convinced the lovely people at HarperCollins to send the winner a copy too.

So what have you got to do to win this lovely hamper worth over £50?


  1. Make a 'Make Us Something' video and post it on your blog.
  2. Email the the link of your blog post to justvlogit@hotmail.com before midnight on the 13th April (next Tuesday).
  3. On Wednesday 14th April, Karin from Café Bébé and I will pick the best two.
  4. On Thursday 15th April those two will be posted here and put to the public vote
  5. On Friday 16th April the winner will be announced.
  6. On Monday 19th April, a carnival of all entries will be posted at Café Bébé so you can watch them all.

Free Ads Humour

>> Apr 6, 2010

Read in the Finnish free ads paper.


Free to good home
3500 cubic metres snow
Hardly used, only shovelled once
Self collection. Bring own shovel

Any takers?

Win A Pamper Hamper worth Over £50 - Just Vlog It

>> Apr 5, 2010

It is that time of the month again.

The time I know you have all been waiting for with baited breath, barely able to contain your excitement.

That's right folks, it is time for Karin from Café Bébé and I to announce Aprils Just Vlog It challenge and prizes!

This months challenge for you to make a video about is....


Make Us Something

And that is as open to interpretation as you like.  It could be make us a meal, a birthday card, a beautiful creation from sticky back plastic and margarine tubs, make us laugh, cry, jealous, mad. You can be as creative with the theme and with your making us something as you like.

And the prizes for this amazing pamper hamper?

A pair of MUK LUKS
You can choose from a range of styles of these yummy slipper boots to keep your tootsies warm whilst you curl up on the sofa to read a good book

Watch a vlog by Karin at Café Bébé about MUK LUKS to learn more about them

A Myroo Skincare Package courtesy of the lovely Rachael who also runs Milly and Flossy a lovely baby skincare range.  This skincare package from Myroo contains:

A relaxing floral bath fizz for long soaks in the bath, comes with a bamboo scoop for a spot of added luxury.

Geranium Hand treat, a luxurious intensive hand cream to sooth and nourish dry skin and some cotton gloves for using it as an over night rescue treatment.

Plus nail files, orange sticks and a bamboo flannel.

And what pampering package would be complete without a good book to read as you soak in your floral bath fizz or curl up on the sofa in your MUK LUKS?

The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the perfect book for just that.  A story of a friendship over the years full of intimate letters between two friends through the good and the bad, each one accompanied by a recipe.  The book follows them as they grow up, grow apart and find each other again.

A damn good read that I have just finished myself and then convinced the lovely people at HarperCollins to send the winner a copy too.

So what have you got to do to win this lovely hamper worth over £50?


  1. Make a 'Make Us Something' video and post it on your blog.  Please keep the videos below 4 minutes.  A minute over we will let slide but anymore and we will have to pass.  Sorry.
  2. Email the the link of your blog post to justvlogit@hotmail.com before midnight on the 13th April (next Tuesday).
  3. On Wednesday 14th April, Karin from Café Bébé and I will pick the best two.
  4. On Thursday 15th April those two will be posted here and put to the public vote
  5. On Friday 16th April the winner will be announced.
  6. On Monday 19th April, a carnival of all entries will be posted at Café Bébé so you can watch them all.
So what are you waiting for? Get gone and make us a video.

If you are having any problems and would like help or advice on how to make the video or upload it, that kind of thing, just ask Karin at Café Bébé or myself and we will try to help where we can..

Easter Witches

>> Apr 4, 2010

Whilst you are painting hollowed out eggs and rolling them down hills, or hiding chocolate eggs and bunnies around your garden, out here in Finland we are gluing feathers and bits of crepe paper to twigs and hiding from handing out sweets and money to children dressed as witches, a la halloween.

Or rather the handing out money and sweets bit is like halloween but the dressing up like nothing I've seen before.  Instead of masks, false noses and capes, these witches are dressed in old, outsized clothes; dresses, shawls and headscarves, with painted on freckles and rosy cheeks and a clutch of feathered and crepe papered birch twigs in their hands.

Once in your house, they recite a spell whilst waving one of the twigs and then swap you the decorated twig for some sweets or money which they collect in a copper pot.  And then they leave, on to the next house whilst your young children rip the twig apart, shreading crepe paper and feathers around your living room and poking each othe rin the eye with the stick remains carefuly place your spell endowed twig in a vase to keep it safe.  This is all that was left of our stick by the time I manage to rescue it from my children to take its photo.

Not speaking brilliant Finnish I've never been sure what the spell entails but I am told that it is a good spell.  Just as well, or I'd want want my mini eggs back.

For a fairly religious country, one where, certainly up here in the north, many don't believe in contraception or premartial anything, having witches going door to door begging for treats at Easter seems pretty strange.  

It stems back to an old belief, we're talking back as far as the 1400's here, about witches going to dance with the devil on the Saturday before Easter, which is when the witches usually come to visit.  The giving of treats and subsequant spell recitation whilst waving a befeathered and crepe papered stick at you is to guarantee you are kept out of their evil plotting, apparently.

Another old tradition around these witches, one that isn't carried out so much anymore, is to light bonlight fires the eve of Easter Sunday and keep them burning through to the morning to ward off the witches evil as they fly back from their visit with the devil.  

It isn't clear whether the fires are made by those that didn't give sweets or money whilst the generous/corrupt rest safe in the knowledge that their gift/bribe will have left them unscathed, or whether it is done by all as an extra precaution because, lets face it, can you really trust a witch?

Now that I think about it, one of them did have an evil glint in her eye as she left.  And I'm pretty sure there was a bit of cackling going on...  

Where did I put those matches?

'Come on children, time to help mummy gather some fire wood.'

Easter here is so much more stressfull than a good old Easter egg rolling contest.


Witch photo courtesy of riptheskull

What Happens When the Snow Melts?

>> Apr 3, 2010

With over a meter of snow around our farm and a good 80cm on our rooves, what happens when it all starts to melt?

If you don't want to watch the video, there are some pictures below.


Hanging off the barn roof

Hanging off the roof above the front door


View from the front door


Snowed in?  Not for long.

The husband got an excuse to play with his tractor.  Like he needs an excuse.

Nearly there

View from the kitchen window.  

We can now get in and out of our house without the need of a helmet and climbing harness.  However, we still can't see out of our kitchen window.

Sigh.

It's going to be horrible when all this melts.

Hopefully it will happen in May when I am in the UK.

Snigger snigger.

****Exciting news. April's Just Vlog It theme and exciting prizes will be announced on Monday! Get your cameras ready!****

Secret Post Club - March

>> Mar 31, 2010

I am very excited to see what goodies you all got and sent for March's Secret Post Club.

If you have blogged about it, put the post url into the Mr Linky below so that we can all take a look.

Sadly mine hasn't yet arrived or I would have shown you all what it was.  Fingers crossed it arrives soon.

If your parcel hasn't come yet please let me know, either by email or comments, and I'll chase it up.  I know that some were posted quite late and others are coming from abroad which of course will take longer.

Add your link and lets see what everyone got.

When No-one Is Watching

>> Mar 30, 2010

1. Pick my nose - I know, I know...not nice.  but I do.

2. Drink another glass of wine or two.  After everyone has gone to bed I will have another one or two glasses just because I can and no-one is watching or judging.

3.  Look through people's bathroom cabinets.  I don't know, I have no idea why, it's not like any of it is interesting, I just do.

4.  Look at porn on the internet.  We aren't talking daily here, I'm not a closet porn addict, maybe two or three times a year, but I have been known to spend time browsing the sites - mostly squinting and turning my head from side to side and muttering things like, 'oh that can't be right.' and 'how does she get her legs up there like that?'

5.  Dance.  I am not immune to a little dance around my kitchen, but only when no-one is watching because...well...let's just say that my dancing is so bad, I'd rather people caught me doing #4.

6.  Pose and make sexy faces in the mirror.  Admittedly this isn't something I have much time or patience for these days, but I can recall hours of my life spent posing and practising sultry looks in the mirror.  Usually whilst holding my hair up in a sexy chignon.

7.  Scratch my arse by sticking my hand down the back of my pants.

8.  Lick the mixing bowl (after baking, not just in general).  I don't mean by running a finger around it, I mean actually sticking my head in a giving the bowl a lick.

9.  Talk to myself.  Not just muttering under my breath but full blown conversations. I have been known to have arguments with myself as well.

10.  Nothing.  Hours and hours of nothing.  And then run around like a blue arsed fly in the last hour doing everything so it looks like I have been really busy.

What about you, what do you do when no-one is watching?

Other random questions:
Do you believe in ghosts?
Do you let your kids play out?
What is you best blog post?

Please Don't Nominate Me For A MADS Awards

>> Mar 29, 2010

The MADS, in case you haven't heard, is an new awards scheme for UK (living in or expatriated from) mum and dad blogs.

The idea being that blogs are nominated by readers for various categories and the winners get some goodies - they have some fab sponsors, go over and have a look.

I do think it's a good idea, a great way to give some recognition to some great blogs out there, many very deserving of an award or two, however I don't want you to nominate me or vote for me in anyway.

Why?

Because I would much rather you voted for these blogs instead, bloggers I think are much more deserving than I for these awards.

These are the blogs I will be nominating, if you were thinking of nominating me, please use that nomination towards these blogs instead.

Thank you.

Blogger Of The Year
Vegemitevix is a clear winner.

Her blog looks the business, her writting is engaging, funny, insightful and thought provoking.  She has never, to my knowledge, written a 'I don''t know what to write about today' or a 'sorry I haven't been blogging' post, instead her blog is full of interesting well written post after interesting well written post and she's a commenter too, she replies to comments you leave and she leaves them in abundance on other blogs.

But Vix goes way beyond what you read on her blog. She is friendly and chatty on Twitter, she is generous with her time and help.  A genuine, warm person who has helped so many people.  She wouldn't tell you herself but she has been giving me a lot of help and advice on my new website and has been setting up a new blog and sorting out code for another blogger from the kindness of her heart.

A true community blogger who deserves your vote.  If you vote for no-one else form my list, please vote for Vix.  

Best MAD Blog Writer
Steve from Bloggertropolis.  Steve isn't a dad blogger as such, he doesn't blog about his kids but sod all the rules and laws, he's a dad, he's a blogger and a he's bloody brilliant writer.  In my book he deserves to win this title.

I love this blog, if you don't read it you are missing out.  Well written and witty, Steve is another blogger that doesn't make excuses about his lack or blogging, or any of that nonsense, he simply writes excellent posts that have me giggling or pondering things.  Quite often both at the same time, which is no small feat.

Read him, subscribe to him and go and bloody nominate him.

Best MAD Blog Photography
Mrs W's Clinicaly Fed Up.  Amazing photography, witty writing, and one of those bloggers that you would just love to meet in real life and get pissed  while away an evening with chatting about nothing.

Mrs W is also another blogger very generous with her time and has been known to fix up other peoples photos for free, and is full of sage no nonsense advice in comments.

Go and visit her, add her to your reader and if you are nominating a best photography blog, make it this one.

Most Inspirational MAD Blog
Paula from Battling On inspires me in so many ways.  Her writing is excellent, well thought out, thought provoking and witty.  The topics of her posts often have me thinking for days.  She is chatty and engaging, another blogger you are likely to see in the comments sections of lots of blogs, she is generous with her blogging time and friendship.

When I first saw Paula's tweets on Twitter I assumed she must know the people she was talking with really well and felt like a bit of an outsider, but she isn't like that at all - or rather she is, but with everyone!  She will include you in the conversation, share jokes, stories and offer support.

If you don't read this blog, if you don't chat with her on Twitter, you really are missing out.  Go and nominate her, please?


Funniest MAD Blog
Gooner Jamie's blog The Life And Times Of A House Husband is possibly the funniest blog I read.  

He is a master of the clever turn of phrase and has a brilliant quick wit which has me chuckling all the way through his posts.  I defy you to read his posts and not want to take him out for a pint.  You just know that he would be a great drinking partner. 

Nominate him for Funniest MAD blog - he really does deserve it!

n.b having just gone back to MADs to nominate blogs, I realised there were even more categories.

I haven't the time (really must be getting on now) to write a full blurb and picture for each blog but the ones I am nomiating are:

Most innovative - All that comes with it for his wonderful podcasts and videos.
Best for Family fun - A mother's Ramblings - good, clean family fun.
Best Looking - A place of my own - I love this clean and simple design.
Best Baby Blogger - Muddling along mummy - another excellent blog.
Best New Blog - Eggs, cream and honey - well written and funny with gorgeous recipes.

Please consider all these blogs when making your own nominations - they are definitely worth it.

Some more Great Blogs You Should Be Reading:


Rejection

>> Mar 27, 2010

My eyes widen as I read the words on my computer screen, chest expanding with red hot air that pushes against the insides, filling me.

I can't get any air in or out.

I can't breath.

The words run in front of my eyes again, over and over.

Rejection.

Rejection.

My ears roar as my eyes take them in again and again, searching for hidden meaning, for the acceptance, trying to change them.

They don't want me.

The hot air in my chest begins to condense.  Begins to turn into lead and drip slowly into the base of my stomach.

Drip.

Drip.

I feel sick.

This can't be right, this isn't right.  I have to do something, change it, it isn't fair.

My peripheral vision begins to blur as the screen becomes sharper, clearer, too sharp, the roaring getting louder.

Another uneven breath, ragged, catching.

I fight back the vomit and rest my trembling fingers on the keys, waiting for the rush of blood to pass, trying to think.

I need to write something, argue my case, make the bad news go away.

Change it.

Change it.

My fingers tap out a few words.  Delete them.  Tap again.  Delete.

They don't want me.

The lead in my stomach starts to bubble.

Fucking idiots.

Pressure fills my head like someone has an air hose going straight through my forehead.  I can't think.  My brain is being squeezed smaller and smaller as more and more air is forced inside my skull.

They don't want me.

They don't like what I've done.

I'm useless.

My face begins to fill with water, I can feel it beneath the eyes, pooling, swelling.

The boiling lead and the pooling water fight for a moment, anger and self pity going head to head.

What the fuck is wrong with them?

What is wrong with me?

With a force that has me drawing in a sudden breath, the water gushes over, winning, drowning the boiling lead in a fizz of anguished steam in the pit of my stomach.

The vomit and the tears rise together.

They don't want me.

Rejection.

Rejection.

Rejection.
________________

It's the next day now and I'm fine, c'est la vie, and all that.  Well mostly.  It still hurts but in a much smaller and easier to ignore way.

No matter how much I prepare myself for rejection, no matter how many times I experience it, it always hits me like this and always just as hard as if it were the first time.

Even when I know it's coming I never seem to be able to prepare myself for it or get used to it.

How do you deal rejection?

How do you build your self confidence back up again afterwards?

How do you change it all into a positive?

Real Identity

>> Mar 25, 2010

My name is not really Heather and I don't really live in Lapland.

I can't tell you how good it feels to have got that out.

My name is Sarah, I am a 52 year old recluse living in Milton Keynes.

I haven't left my house in 3 years.

I sit each day, dressed in these same grey baggy leggings and this blue t-shirt in front of my computer, the sunlight trying to poke through the gap in the middle of my curtains making the dust sparkle in that thin shaft of light.  Much like the snow that 'Heather' has in her garden.

But that's not something I will ever see.

I will only ever get to see the inside of these four walls, to sit here biting my nails until they bleed each day.

The delivery man from Tesco's is due soon.  He comes once a week.  Only he doesn't, it's not always the same man, I rarely see the same one twice and I don't like things like that, it sets my nerves on edge.  I like things the same, that's why I don't go out.  That's why already, half way down this post, I am shaking with fear of the unknown. With fear of what you will all say.

My finger nails are bleeding so badly I have blood all over my keyboard.

Why am I outing myself to you now?

I feel guilty, having arranged a meet up that I can never go to, can not attend because

a. I am not 'Heather.  You would guess it straight away, I could never be as confident as she is.

b. I can't leave my house.  I can't leave it because the outside world is filled with things and people I can not control, things that make my breath catch and my hands tremble just getting close to the front door.

This life on the computer, this life as Heather is the only one I can live.

Which of course is complete and utter bollocks, I am really Heather, honest.  But it could be true, couldn't it?  I could easily be anyone but Heather.  Sat protected and hidden behind our computer screens we could be anyone we wanted, live any life, have any personality or history we choose.

I could be Kevin, a sexually repressed, middle aged man still living with his dominating mother, who likes to strangle kittens in his spare time.

Or Olga, a retired trapeze artist and prostitute who sits hunched over her computer, working her way through 60 cigarettes a day, hacking and choking, resting the cigarette on the keyboard as she types on increasingly chared and melted keys.

Or I could really be Heather, a mother of two from Rochdale now living in Lapland with an overactive imagination and too much time on her hands.

Makes you wonder, huh?

Are all these bloggers really who they say they are?

Do they really live the lives they write about?

Scary stuff.

Anybody want to take back their acceptance to the May meet up?

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