Friday, 30 March 2012

Friday Funnies…

April 1st in soon upon us…..beware and be prepared.
The day where pranksters are in their element and nobody is safe.
To help you be prepared I’ve done a little research into the scale that people are willing to go to, to make their pranks work in 2011. Hopefully they will make you chortle.

IKEA Australia today announced their latest product as the ‘IKEA Hundstol’, also known as a highchair for dogs.
News of the product hit IKEA Australia’s facebook page, complete with a link to a Youtube video where an IKEA designer discusses the safety features of the 'aesthetically pleasing' chair.

The Guardian today set up a 'Royal Wedding Live' blog in attempt to show 'full throated support' for the British Monarchy.
The tongue-in-cheek feature launched at 7:30 in the morning and vowed to give 'committed, unrivalled coverage' of the preparations for the years big Royal wedding. At 10:11AM news of the wedding cancellation hit the site.
At 11.38, however, the updates were apparently forced to stop after they received "a communication from Buckingham Palace suggesting that some of the contents of [the] blog could contravene the Treason Felony Act of 1848."

Google have found a way of combining your webcam and Gmail to dispense with outdated technology such as a keyboard and a mouse. By standing a safe distance from your computer, you will be able to issue commands by using different body shapes.
With a helpful motion guide, Google say that "movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels". Leaning to your left will go to your inbox, while bringing your right arm up to your head with a closed fist will reply to the email.
Unfortunately, if you click to try Gmail motion, you get the message, "Gmail Motion doesn't actually exist. At least not yet... "

In acknowledgement of the Royal wedding, BMW announced a special Royal Edition of the BMW M3 Coupe which apparently would be available at BMW dealerships throughout the country from today and for one month only.
The special edition motor was available in three colours - Regal Red, Bridal White and Imperial Blue. This clever little prank is quite easy to fall for after seeing some of the quirky Royal Wedding memorabilia which has surfaced in the run up to the April event.
As can be seen in the press release, the classic M3 logo has been turned upside-down to read "Will"
Anyone interested in the car was asked to contact BMW via email at

Taken from The Telegraph, April 1st 2011

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Switch off

Saturday 31st March, 8.30pm Marks Earth Hour

Hundreds of Millions of People, Businesses and Governments around the world unite each each year to support the largest environmental event in history. 

Earth Hour

More than 5200 countries in 135 countries will switch off their lights, sending a powerful message for action against climate change. Without a doubt it has proved that great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.
 Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet today. A warming planet alters weather patterns, water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and a sustainable way of life for us, and the world’s wildlife. Climate change has already started, but it’s not too late to take action. There’s still time for us all to be part of the solution.

What is Climate change? A continuous flow of energy from the sun heats the Earth. Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere, known as greenhouse gases, trap this heat like a blanket, keeping the Earth at an average of 15 degrees Celsius – warm enough to sustain life. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant of these gases. The amount of naturally produced CO2 is almost perfectly balanced by the amount naturally removed through photosynthesis and its dissolution in oceans. However, the overuse of fossil fuels is leading to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, trapping more and more heat and warming the Earth.
As a result, we’re seeing more dramatic weather patterns across the globe. 
The effects of Earth’s changing weather not only causes devastating natural disasters but shrinking of the world’s ice shelves and glaciers due to warming sea water. Because ice acts as a solar reflector, the less ice there is, the less heat the Earth reflects.  
From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Empire State Building in New York City, the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa to the Leaning Tower in Pisa in Italy – at 8:30PM on March 31, the most visually captivating icons will go dark for Earth Hour 2012.

We'll be switching off, will you?

All information for this blog has come from

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How to take better photos of your child - iPhone Apps

OK I can't really talk anymore about taking photos with your iPhone... we've covered everything about actually taking photos - so now let's talk a bit about editing them.

The iPhone world is full with useful little applications - everyone calls them Apps for short. Every iPhone user has they'e own personal favourite apps, I like free apps the best so most of the below will cost you nothing.

Taking Apps

Genius - If you suffer from bad camera shake then this is the app for you. I think it slows down the speed of the shutter action to much - I've usually lost my shot of my blonde blur by the time this app has taken the photo.

Photosynth - You want one of those 360 panoramic view pictures that you can zoom into, zoom around and see the whole picture? Then this app is the one for you! A lovely tap screen to take the shot and beautiful zoom features afterwards. It's my go to app for those shots of the u-ni-k gifts stall!

Editing Apps

Camera Flash - Probably the first app I downloaded and the one I don't use. I thought that since the iPhone didn't have one then artificially adding light to the photo would be useful. I was wrong, it adjusts the exposure only - you lose detail and the colour adjusts strangely.

Dash of Colour - Love this App! You know those clever shots where everything is black and white apart from little piece of colour? Well this app lets you do just that. It changes the whole photo black and white and using your finger allows you to 'colour back in' the colour of the photo! You can zoom in, to make your colouring in more accurate! If you make a mistake you can choose to re-gray over your mistake!

PS Express - This is a little mini photoshop! The app lets you make basic adjustments to the photo but all the really cool stuff is a purchase add on.

  Snapseed - OK not a free app unless you downloaded it in the 12 Days of Christmas iTunes store like I did. However this is worth the £2.99 or whatever. The best application I've found for adjusting photos, it's the first place I go to improve a photo that I love. In fact I love it so much I'm going to dedicate a whole blog post to Snapseed in the very near future.

Once you are happy with your photos then you have several ways of presenting them

Frame magic - This allows you to place two or more photos in frames. Again some of the more conservative frame types have to be purchased but you can edit the photos a little, crop and enhance etc. You can change the frame width and type... so if you have three pictures of your little one that you want to display together in a professional layout then this is your app!
Pic Collage - Do you love that pin board look? Then this lets you do just that. You can choose your board (background) and then tack your photos on to the board. You can make images bigger or smaller, rotate them, put boarders on or not. This app even lets you put on text - very cool! It's my new favourite toy.

Sharing Apps

 Instagram - This app edits as well as shares photos. If you love those vintage look photos then this is the app for you. You can choose from a number of presets which come with all the right tinges and boarders. You can then save these to your profile and you and your followers can like and comment on them. Instagram also posts to Twitter or Facebook with ease!

Facebook - A little more than a photo sharing application but for us first time parents the main reason for joining Facebook was the ease of sharing photos of our little ones with friends and family. Every Granny I know only uses Facebook for seeing photos of their grandchildren.

So there are my top photo apps on the iPhone. I don't have many and I've stumbled upon them over the past few years or so (I'm not a big apps downloader as I only bought an iPhone at the end of my pregnancy - it's amazing how much time I've not had to browse through apps!).

Please share your favourites with me just in case I've missed some fab ones!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


In the 1980’s television presenter, Angela Rippon, put pen to paper and wrote a series of children’s books about a fairy called Victoria Plum.
Victoria was a tree fairy from the Great Wood who lived amongst her fairy friends Marsha, Ben and Sugar Plum and her talking woodland creature friends.
The books were illustrated by artist Colin Petty and were published by Purnell and Sons.

We were lucky enough to persuade Colin that we would find happy homes for the  last original illustrations of Victoria that he had. His cartoons and illustrations are very special and would make any nursery a happy one with Victoria on the wall.

Colin Petty was born in Wanstead, East London. He studied graphic design at the South West Essex School of Art in Walthamstow, London
“When I graduated I found work in a cartoon studio in Wardour Street, mainly because many of my serious attempts at artwork still looked like cartoons. Since the late 70s I have worked for myself, initially on licensed character work. I have illustrated almost every cartoon created, from Disney, MGM, Loony Toons, Rupert the Bear and The Magic Roundabout etc. Most of this has been in the form of comics and children's books. I have worked for Disney in the past and have spent some days at their Paris studio learning all the finer details that Walt had to offer”
Victoria and her friends currently reside here.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Welcome to the World Joseph

Welcome to the world, my friend,

You’re in for quite a treat.

There are lots of people that love you here,

And there are more for you to meet!
It is a giant world out there,

But you will find your place,

And I hope that you will live your life,

With love and kindness and grace.
But all that is for another day,

So you just sleep all curled,

For now, just know that you are safe,

And welcome to the world.
by Andra Mccoy

For baby Joseph Stanley James Whitfield. Born 25th March 2012 at 7.10am, 8lb 15oz
You handsome little sausage...
We can't wait to meet you!
Well done  new Mummy and Daddy


Friday, 23 March 2012


It’s almost Easter so I’ve been thinking about making this Easter a special one for my two little ones by starting a new family tradition. An Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday is of course a must, but something new that our family does every year. Even when I’m old and grey.
I’ve bleated on about all the gifts we have on our website that are chocolate free and gorgeous as an alternative Easter gift. And if the naughties are lucky enough they may get something special from the Easter bunny from unik.  

But what I wanted to start tradition wise, being a paint it, glue it and generally encourage my children to get messy type of Mum, was something that we can make together.  Like decorating the tree at Christmas.
So inspired by something that I used to do with a very lovely best friend when I was 10 or so, and after stumbling across something similar in the book "Homemade" by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson, I have decided that we will be making an Easter tree with blown decorated eggs to make it pretty.

We can save the eggs each year by storing them in a egg box, and in years to come we may have something a little like this impress the neighbours!

So, You will need-
Darning Needle
Egg box
Lots of breath
Things to paint and decorate the eggs with.


     Place an egg in an egg box for support and carefully make a hole with the needle at the top of the egg. Carefully turn it over and make a slightly bigger hole. Wiggle the needle around inside the egg to pierce the yolk, then blow through the small hole (over a jug or bowl) to empty its contents.  Repeat till you have the desired amount of eggs.
-       Submerge the egg in warm water and vinegar to give it a little wash. Allow to dry.
-       Decorate the egg in any way you feel fit. Paint, paper, felt pens pastels, decoupage, cut out shapes… etc etc. Allow to dry
-       To attach to the tree, cut a length of ribbon and glue carefully around the egg lengthwise tying the free ends at the top and tying on the train.
-       Find a gorgeous blossoming tree from your garden and cut a few branches and place in a vase. Decorate with your eggs.
-       Make pancakes with the insides of the eggs as a treat for yourself and your little ones.

I’ll get the little ones gluing and painting and show you our treasure eggs next week.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Something sporty

This week the whole country is gearing up for the Sports Relief weekend, raising money by doing crazy energetic things. 
“Lets dance” contestants have  been gracing our TV’s on a Saturday evening, prancing and dancing about and celebrities have been setting themselves almost impossible tasks.
 But what is it really all about?

As one of the UK’s biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. All the money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives, both at home in the UK and across the world's poorest countries. Sport Relief was introduced as a second major Comic Relief initiative in 2002 – taking place on alternate years with Red Nose Day. It has grown fast, and in 2010 over £44 million was raised – breaking all records. In 2012 over one million people are expected to take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile as they raise cash to change lives at home and throughout the world’s poorest countries. And with a whole weekend of entertainment planned across the BBC, it’s all set to be huge. So be part of the action and go the extra mile for Sport Relief 2012.

In the past years, celebrities have done their bit by doing crazy things.
Helen Skelton, Blue Peter presenter since 2008, kayaked solo the 2,000 miles of the River Amazon in 2010 and this year she finished a 500mile trek to the South Pole on a bicycle.

This year David Wailliams donned a wetsuit again and swam the length of the Thames with the added difficulty of catching Thames tummy. 
Frank Skinner is walking on water for the length of an Olympic Pool and the One show is running the ultimate relay by asking its fans to run the 1000miles from the Isle of Mull to the Mall in London.

Everyone is dipping into their pockets and helping by raising money in some way. So what are you doing? 

If you are local, pop along to Godalming Charterhouse.

u-ni-k is doing its bit for the charity by participating in the Godalming mile sports relief village at Charterhouse. Not only does the occasion support Sports relief but it also encourages locals and visitors to stay local and visit small shops and businesses by showcasing a selection of them in the SR village. It is open between 10am and 3pm. Runners & Stallholders are asked to pay an entrance fee to help fund the set up and to add to the total raised for the 2012 Sports Relief. 
Come and say hello! And don’t worry, Sarah and I wont be kitted out in Lycra…so your eyes will be quite safe. We'll be happily stood at our stall waiting for passers by to come and say hello. If you can spot a Moose we'll even give you a chocolate egg!

What are you doing this weekend? 
If you can't take part in any of the shenanigans then log on to the sports relief website to find out the other ways you can help. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Internet creatures - Do not feed the trolls

Treasure trolls from early 90s
Now I'm new to all this internet malarky and it was only 3 months ago that I asked someone what a 'troll' was. The ideas that these norse creatures were lurking in the internet amused me, probably because I have a giant book of Norse gods and legends upstairs and grew up with a Norweign troll awarded to my Father on our shrank just out of 'playing' reach. Of course 'Trolls' were a toy fad when I was growing up. Who could resist that bright neon hair?! Backcombed beyond all recognition and stuck on the end of a pencil. So I know what trolls are... what are they doing on the internet?

We all ready know about the internet gremlins, free stuff fairy and chain email witch...You do but perhaps you know about them in another name. I'll explain

Internet gremlins play with communication lines, often stealing your emails or breaking your email software so that your communications are messed up and looking un professional. Gremlins can spread to your PC and mess up all sorts of programmes that were working perfectly just moments before... and then they disappear in a flash for no reason!!

We've all had an email from the internet fairy, who hasn't won a Microsoft Lottery / Free Voucher / Gift card from a random email? The magic internet fairy gives out gifts freely, especially since you hadn't entered a competition to win a free iPad...

The internet fairy has an evil twin, the chain email witch. This witch watches all the email accounts in the world making sure her chain mail emails go round and round, stirring her cauldron of communication for her. She sometimes uses her sisters emails promising free gifts as the sweet temptation for forwarding her nasty chain mails.

Trolls are much worse than the gremlins and witch! They are the people that use the internet to extract an emotional response from other internet users. These trolls lurk in Twitter, on blogs, in forums, on Facebook – in fact anywhere they can leave their stinky comments. Trolls will start off with an inflammatory comment or two and then continue to 'troll' upsetting the kind person who is responding to their comments.

Trolls Beware
In the UK your comments on the Internet is governed by the 2003 Communications act and it is possible for you to become imprisoned for your words. A young man was tried and found guilty for trying to incite riots, he was put away for 4 years. Another young man was sentenced to 18months in jail because of his comments on a page of remembrance.

So good and kind Internet users, you now know all about trolls!

I hope this blog helps you spot trolls when you're out and about on the internet, so please remember if you don't respond to them then they have nothing to feed off. So write it on a post it note and stick it to your screen.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Vernal Equinox – my chance to go all Brian Cox on the blog?!

Prof Brian Cox
Now those of you who follow us on Twitter will know, I'm the scientist of the partnership (having gained a BSc Geology from the University of Leicester oh so many years ago) and since today is the vernal equinox (ver = spring equi = equal nox = night) I could take this chance to go all 'Brian Cox' on the blog. I did do astronomy (study of the solar system) as my minor subject in my first year and so it'd be easy for me to launch into a blog full of science speak and lovely diagrams.

No wait! Don't leave, I'll fight my inner urges to teach the world about science and I'll concentrate on the signs of Spring instead! As today we can officially mark this as the first day of Spring.

Spring is a wonderful time of year, in fact it's the time of year when my garden is at it's best. I have lots of woodland plants in my garden and Spring is the time that they bloom. All it takes is a few days of warming suns rays and some blue skies and my garden (excuse the pun it wasn't intended) 'springs' to life.

Crocus in my garden
Flowering now – Daffodils are scattered throughout all my beds, patchy in those places the squirrels have found them. With Daddy DayCare being Welsh, it's important to us to have lots of these bright yellow heads bobbing in the breeze. The big and small camellias are in flower, since Daddy DayCare can't always remember Camellia we call these large shrubs by traditional names – Steve the largest is particularly full of big red flowers at the moment.
Our hazel tree is also in full bloom, well heavy with dangling catkins which is about as much as it can do in the 'full bloom' stakes!

Bursting with buds – Damson, Lonicera, Apple trees, roses, azealias, tulips, wild primrose, Kojo no mai, and the evergreen shrub I planted and forgot the name of are all thick with full green buds just waiting to burst into flower.

Twitchy Tail!
We have a canal at the bottom of our garden and the ducks, moorhens and swans are starting to pair off. The squirrels are digging up the lawn in search for their buried treasures (grrrrr pesky twitchy tails) and the robins, song thrushes, black birds and tits are all starting to collect pieces of moss and twigs in their beaks. I can hear the nuthatches pecking away at someone's tree and have seen the green woodpecker and the greater spotted woodpecker dashing from tree to tree. This year we also have two field fares who have decided to stay with us instead of carrying themselves off to France as per usual. And they are more than welcome as well!

Of course with the warm weather and a mild winter we are also 'enjoying' the delights of mosquito bites (last week my neck was badly bitten and I looked like I had several chins instead of just the usual two!!), lots of small baby slugs that DangerBaby likes to pick up and squeeze, and snail trails leading to empty shells (thank you fieldfares and thrushes!!).

I've mulched the ground and now need to turn some of the compost heaps, there's a Cox's Pippin Orange apple tree that needs planting and a Jonagold apple tree that needs repotting. I have plans to introduce chickens this year and need to start on building a coup. DangerBaby has a lovely deluxe house that Daddy DayCare will lovingly build for her once Mummy decides where it can go...I promise it'll not become the chicken coup!!

As always I'll keep our Facebook page and this blog updated with all and any photos of our Spring time blooms!

Monday, 19 March 2012


Tomorrow marks the coming of a new season with the Spring Equinox. This means the sun shines directly at the equator and the length of the day and night is almost equal.

With the coming of the spring equinox and spring season many people celebrate new beginnings. Many cultures celebrate holidays and festivals, like Easter and Passover.

So with that in mind I celebrate with all things  fluffy, gambling, quacking, cheeping, growing and spring like!

Lets hope that Spring brings us glorious sunshine, gambling lambs and lots of happiness.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Celebrating Mums

Sunday is Mothers day.
So today I celebrate Mummies everywhere.
If you are a Mum, Mum to be or simply want to be a Mum.....join in.



A few Mummies I know that are fabulous Mums.
And three Mums to be that are going to be fabulous
And my Mum who is the best.

For any Mums I have forgotten, you are great too!

Thursday, 15 March 2012


For those of you who didn’t watch the One show last night or read Surrey Life a few weeks ago, beware you could be yarn bombed!

What is it?
Well put it simply- THIS

Tree in Od, Sweden

Farnham Maltings

Knit Knot tree by the Jafagirls

Surrey Life spotting

Decorating and bombarding local amenities with,….
well knitting. 
Lampposts, Street names, band stands and telephone boxes. You name it…nowhere is safe from this gorgeous infestation of knitting and purling.

Little did I know that it happens here, in Farnham, where I live!
After a trip to UNRAVEL last month, I was in awe of the gorgeous entrance to The Farnham Malting’s. The bridge was decorated with knitted Chinese Lanterns and lampposts were kept warm with little sleeves of knitted warmers. Gorgeous. I was in heaven.

As a non-knitter myself (Sarah is the knitter in this partnership) I am in awe of knitters and knitted products. Especially unexpected knitted things.

I am thrilled to learn that a literal neighbour of mine has started a gathering of knitters called Knitting Ne’er Do Wells in a gathering place right behind my house! And to promote the Farnham Maltings knitting show last month they were asked to decorate the town in an appropriate way….by knit bombing it!

As I tweeted last night to @SurreyLife  Matthew Williams, who seamed to be as excited as I was that the Farnham knitters were on tele…."I want to be  #yarnbombed!". I wondered if i would be safe in my bed at night, or if i should be worried that i may be knitted into my house tonight by those naughty knitters.

I may even try again and persist with my knitting antics so I can start yarnbombing too!

Matthew is asking anyone who has been yarn-bombed locally to add your images to the Surrey Life website. 

Farnham Maltings
Knitting Ne'er Do Wells