Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I Am Exactly The Opposite Of The Person I Thought I'd Be

Whilst watching a programme this evening on the history of caravanning (never let it be said that I'm not 100% rock and roll), I suddenly realised that I have become exactly the opposite of the person I thought I'd be. And you know what? I bloody love it!

If you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd find myself an impoverished single mum, running a business from home and holding up traffic all over the country as I drive around trailing my £400 folding camper behind me, I'd have laughed at you. I'd have probably called the men in white coats out to cart you off if you'd told me that I'd make my own bread and butter too. I even made orange squash the other day (it was disgusting). But here I am. Just one goat short of living the Good Life, baybee! Tom and Barbara Good have nothing on me.

Life hasn't turned out to be quite the fairytale I was sold as a child. There is no handsome prince or knight in shining armour. But that's OK. Life's pretty good and Thomas and I have a great time. I'm determined to support my son and myself and I'm going to make sure that Thomas has a fun-filled, adventure-packed, loving childhood. I work all hours, so work doesn't encroach too much on my Thomas-time, and I put a lot into searching out things to do and see. Lack of money never holds me back. I can always find a way to achieve things on a shoestring.

Starting this blog has already been fab. I'm amazed to see so many people reading it and I very much look forward to taking you all along on the crazy ride that is my world. Marvel as I juggle educating my son and running a business, and I might even let you into some of my little secrets for living the high life for next-to-nothing ;)

What's that you say? Shut up talking because all you really want to know is how to make butter? Well OK, then - it's very easy. Get some double cream, a pinch of salt and a bowl of cold water. Whisk up the cream and bung in the salt. Keep going... the cream will suddenly separate out into butter milk and butter. You'll know when it's done because it goes from being white to being solid and yellow (looking exactly like... butter) with white liquid. Scoop it out and pop it into the cold water. Give it a squeeze to get out any remaining butter milk and bish bosh - home made butter. Simples.

Jane x

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

So Near and Yet...

Not a bad effort in the quest to walk 10,000 steps today. I worked until really late last night - well, early this morning really - to get my quiz out and to finish off some work verifying questions for a TV show's new app. I wanted all those things off my desk so I would have nothing distracting me from the walk.

Thomas was really excited and proudly boasted that he could easily beat me to 10,000 steps. Let's face it, my 90-year-old neighbour could thrash me at this game. Are all children this competitive?!? He leapt out of the car as soon as we parked up at Esher Common and immediately started looking at the different shapes of the leaves on the trees and plants. We knew many of them, but certainly not all of them, so we have looked some up this afternoon in a lovely book we have at home. (Note to self: take nature book out with us tomorrow.) We also spotted a wren and made a camp. I really do love this home educating thing, you know. Outdoors... fresh air... exploring nature... holding hands... learning together. Wonderful!

Flushed with success, we even popped over to the allotment this evening for a couple of hours to check on all the things we planted last week and to do a bit more digging and strimming. It almost looks like we know what we're doing ;)

So, how many steps have I done today?


Not quite hit the 10,000, but not too bad for a first effort.

Tomorrow, we will walk for longer. And we WILL get to the 10,000. And we'll take a nature book with us!

I'm off now to catch the rabbits before Mr Fox does.

Jane x

Quiz Corner
The answers to the questions from yesterday are IRON and SEVEN

Today's two to tackle...
1. Best known for his children's books, writer Theodore Geisel is better remembered by which pen name?
2. Which website uses the tagline, ‘We Open Governments’?

Answers tomorrow :D

Livid Thought Of The Day
Why does cling film weld itself to anything but the bit of cling film you want it to stick to? Livid!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Already Managed To Knacker My Pedometer

We've been to Bushy Park today and met up with some other home ed children. Thomas loved it. There are about 2,000 children being home educated in Surrey at the moment according to the Elective Home Ed team (currently one woman) at the county council. So, there's never a shortage of things to do and people to see.

I've had to dump my pedometer. Every time I check, it tells me I've done zero steps. So, either I've actually turned to stone and haven't moved a single muscle, or the pedometer isn't working. As I can wiggle my fingers enough to type, I'll assume I haven't completely seized up. Instead, I have downloaded an app called 'Moves'. It's the one that Facebook has just bought, so it must be good... ;)

Anyway, it's doing a better job of measuring how sloth-like I am. So far, I have done 2,846 steps. Not great. Although, in my defence, I have no idea how many steps I'd done before I downloaded this app. I will need to do some allotmenting (yes, I have just used that as a verb and I don't care <g>!) and perhaps a bit of a stroll this evening. But firstly, I really must finish writing the Hot 100 as it needs to go out tonight.

Ooh! 'Ejector Seat' is on ITV. We did lots and lots of verifying for this one. In fact, we verified over 2,800 questions for it - about the same number of questions as steps I've taken today :D

What's that you say? You'd like to see some of the questions from the Hot 100? Well, OK then. I can't let you see this month's questions, but here are a couple from a previous set.


1.  Built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, the Atomium in Brussels forms the shape of a crystal of which element?
2. The UAE is a federation comprising how many emirates?

Answers tomorrow :P

Sunday, 27 April 2014

10,000 Steps

According to the NHS website, the average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day, and 1,000 steps is the equivalent of around 10 minutes of brisk walking. They suggest walking 10,000 steps in a day to improve fitness, health and for some weight loss.

So that's what I'm going to do. Every day, I will aim to walk 10,000 steps to see where it takes me.

My life is pretty sedentary. I write and verify quiz questions for a living, so I spend much of my day hunched over a computer screen. Not good. However, I have recently removed my son from school and he is being home educated, so it seems like a really good time to get out and about more. It'll be great for our health and we can go and visit lots of places, which will be good for his learning and it might even inspire a quiz question or two along the way.

Sunday is the day of rest. Apparently.

I have lots of work to do though. I'm verifying questions for a TV show quiz app, writing a World Cup quiz for the Bobby Moore Fund and setting for the Hot 100, which is a quiz for competitive quizzers around the world. Writing questions is much more time-consuming than you might think.

I also have to do our accounts. I'm rubbish at this sort of thing.

Anyway, I have spent the first couple of hundred steps today just trying to find the pedometer I have bought. It was on the table, but I tidied up. Fatal. I can never find things when I've tidied!

But there we go. My pedometer is now in my pocket.

I wonder how many steps I do in an average day. I think I might look into this today as it doesn't look like I will be going outside before I complete all this work. Gah!

Let The Adventure Begin!

My life's always been a bit bonkers, but it changed direction again a few months ago. This is my story.

After agonising about how to deal with the fallout from my son being bullied at school, I discovered that he doesn't have to be at school at all. It's perfectly legal to home educate in England. So, I removed him from school. It was a bit of a leap of faith and involved a lot of research and panicking on my part. But here we are. He's been out of school for seven months and it's been fantastic!

We've got an allotment, we do lots of cookery and craft and we get about a bit too. All great for learning and for fun. Just one goat short of living the Good Life ;)

It's not perfect, but what is? It's a lot better than it was for us. My son is much calmer and happier. He's learning more too and his social life is far better now than it ever was at school. Don't worry though, this isn't going to be a preachy blog. I fully appreciate that not everyone can do (or would want to do) what I've done - I'm very lucky and I work from home, so I can be pretty flexible.

What I do hope though is that something in here will inspire you.

My life isn't just about home educating. I also run a company that holds quiz events all over the world and I set and verify questions for TV quiz and game shows.

I hope you can join us on our journey!