Archive for June, 2008


100 Top Books of All Time

This is pinched from my friend Noah at The Life of a SAHM- I can never do the hyperlinky thing, sorry, but here you go!

This is the list of the (apparently) top 100 books of all time. You have to bold the ones you’ve read and highlight the ones you love! If you have a blog, do it too! 🙂

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8. 1984 – George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (isn’t this part of #33?)
37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52. Dune – Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal – Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession – AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94. Watership Down – Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


He slept through the night!!

OK, so for most of you with thirteen month old sons, this is not a big deal, but in our house, this is cause to open a bottle of champagne and do a happy dance around the living room!

I think I might have been going in to him too quickly in the night. I have been leaving it a minute or two and then going in. However, in desparation I have decided to not go in unless he’s really crying, not at the “letting out a few sqauks” stage. I don’t approve of crying it out, though I respect people who do it, just can’t do it myself. However, there comes a point when you have to say- ENOUGH!

I don’t think for one minute that my children’s sleep issues have been their faults. I am perfectly aware that we made huge, great big massive mistakes with Ricky- we let him have milk at night and that caused SO many problems. With Robbie, we’ve only let him have water at night for a long time now, but it didn’t make any difference.

SO- we’ll keep going with this approach for now and see if we have more success. I really dislike the sleepless nights. My kids are wonderful and I love them so much, but it is hard to keep your cool in the middle of the night and not take it personally. Sometimes I feel like saying “WHY won’t you let me sleep?!” which isn’t fair to him. This is definitely a situation which I have brought about myself. I just wish I knew what it was that I have been doing which has caused it!


I need to grow a set!!

I love ebay. I think I may have a growing addiction issue, actually. I buy and sell and it gives me a lot of pleasure, which is kind of pathetic!

While most of the time, I am really pleased with what I buy, I do find sometimes that I am really disappointed with my purchases.

A few weeks back, I bought a gorgeous Fenn Wright Manson dress which was listed as new. When it came, it was really lovely (though too big, so am going to have to sell it on) but showed signs of washing and was most definitely not new. I’d never have paid anything like as much for it if I’d known that.

Did I complain? No. And now I find myself fuming with my lack of assertiveness.

Yesterday, I received some boy’s clothes in the post. It was a bundle of three shirts and two t-shirts. The shirts are OK, but the t-shirts were absolutely filthy, they are now in the bin. I was disgusted!

Once again, though, I am finding it really hard to complain!! What is WRONG with me! Those of you who know me off net will tell you that I am a fairly assertive person and am not known for holding back when I have something to say, so why does that not seem to apply on ebay?

I wonder if I create a separate buying and selling account, if that would make me leave more honest feedback. I wonder if my subconscious reasoning is that I sell on that account too, so want all my feedback to look good. I know sellers can no longer leave negative feedback, but they can still leave a negative comment!

Why should it even matter??? I have issues, clearly!


Funny Conversation With My Three Year Old Son

Conversation on the way home tonight.

Ricky- Mummy, do you think I am cool?

Me- Yes pet, you’re VERY cool!

Ricky- Why??

Me- Because you’re funny, and handsome, and clever!

Ricky- Do you think Daddy is cool?

Me- Yes pet.

Ricky- Why??

Me- Because HE is funny, and handsome and clever!

Ricky- (after some reflection) Well, he’s funny and handsome, but he’s not clever.

Me- Why??

Ricky- He can’t do star jumps!



He’s distancing himself

Next Wednesday will be the day my kids leave our existing daycare provider. We’re then going on holiday for a few weeks before they start in the new place. The move is purely practical- we’re very happy with the existing provider, but they can’t pick up and drop off when Ricky starts nursery school in September.

We have an appointment for the kids to be shown around next Thursday, after which we’ll drive off on holiday. Ricky has been promised a rare and much longed for trip to McDonald’s as a treat after the meeting at the new place, and knows he’s going on holiday after that.

We’ve been preparing him for the move in daycare from as soon as we knew it was going to happen. We’ve concentrated on the positives, that it’s right beside his “big school” (nursery/primary school) and that a lot of the other kids who are going there will be going to the same big school. Also that he’s going to make lots of new friends. I’ve also been preparing him for the fact that he won’t see his old friends on a daily basis any more, but have tried to soften this by saying that he can always meet up with them outside school. I don’t know how likely that is to happen in reality, but I am hoping he’ll be having too much fun to notice. In the eventuality that he misses some of them too much, I will make an effort to contact their parents to arrange something.

I’ve noticed though that the past few days, he’s beginning to distance himself from the existing provider, and even from the kids in his peer group. He knows he’s only got a few days to go. He says things like “I am fed up with ***” and “is it my last day yet?”, and seems to be bickering with the other kids a bit too, which is really unusual. He has been saying that “his new friends will be really, really nice to him”!

I am very, painfully aware that he’s feeling tired and in need of a break at the moment. The last couple of times we’ve had leave from work, we’ve needed to do stuff around our new house in terms of decorating, and as a result the kids haven’t had as good a break from daycare as I would have liked. I feel very bad about this, and am glad they are getting a break imminently! I plan to spoil them rotten!!


I’m not sure if the new attitude is because he knows he’s leaving or simply because he’s sick of the sight of the place! Maybe a little of both. I ask him questions like “Are you still feeling OK about the move?” and asking him if he will be sad to leave, but he seems to be feeling fine about it.

Either way, it is impressive to me that even so young a child (he’s three) can implement such strong coping mechanisms for what must surely be a massive upheaval. I hope he’ll continue to take everything in his stride. Maybe I am the one who is feeling surprisingly un-okay about it all!


Fashion victim at three? Surely not!

My son Ricky is three, a stunningly beautiful, capricious child who, like most three year olds, likes to get his own way!

For as long as I can remember, he’s been pretty fussy about the clothes he wear and the shoes he likes. I remember one day when he was about 18 months old, wheeling him around Forestside Shopping Centre in Belfast. All the clothes in M&S, Next and Dunnes were rejected. Wheel him into Monsoon- we have lift off!

He likes to be involved in the buying of his clothes, and gets very excited about them. If he doesn’t like something, no matter how much I do, I know there isn’t any point in buying it, because he’s never going to change his mind! 😀

I actually don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. I like that he’s involved. However, recently, even if I’m looking on ebay, I find myself wondering how on earth it is that he can always pick out the most expensive things as being the ones he wants!

I can’t believe I already seem to have a fashion victim on my hands- especially as those of you who know us off the net will vouch, Ian and I are most DEFINITELY not…. 🙂


Local community festival

Our village, Ballygowan, had a community festival on Monday night. I think it’s a lovely idea, and was really looking forward to going with the kids and Ian. They had a little fairground set up, a tractor display, music, the usual stuff!

Unfortunately Robbie wasn’t very well, so I had to stay home with him, and Ian and Ricky went without me.

Now, to me, the rides they had in the little fairground area were shoddy in the extreme and every time I saw them, all I could think about was the pilot episode of Father Ted, where the fair comes to town. If you’ve never seen it- watch it, it is utterly hilarious! Apparently Ian heard several people asking each other if they had a Spider Baby… 😀

Ricky had SO much fun! He went on some of the rides (they weren’t up to much and therefore were fine for a three year old), jumped about on the bouncy castle for a while, played the “strongman bell” game, winning a massively irritating recorder which he is now insisting on playing in the house without cease, and ate his own body weight in chips and chicken nuggets!

I wish I could have gone with them. Next year, I will be sure to go!

EDITED TO ADD- if you aren’t familiar with Father Ted, and what I am talking about above, click on Phil’s link in his comment below to have a look! Thanks Phil!

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