Thursday 30 June 2011

The Filming Pics

Most of you know that I did a spot of dancing on TV and Film, my pics are on facebook but as I am useless at facebooking, thought I'd put some on here, for prosperity and all that :)

Me and Keifer Chicago Joe and the Showgirl

Me and my friends CJATS

Michael Elphick (Boon) in Buddys Song

Paradise Club :)

This was my car at the time, you may spot a theme!

Dennis Quaid, Great Balls of Fire

Me and some friends at the Palais, GBOF!

Lesley Grantham, Paradise Club

Emily Lloyd CJATS

Martin Clunes, Paradise Club

Roger Daltrey Buddys Song, what a guy!

Roger on his birthday and Chesney Hawkes Buddys
Jasper with Danny Husbands from Dream Team

Polish Joe from Paradise Club!

Annie x

Coot Nest Building.....

Went to Verulum Park today with the kids and came across this Coot nest building around the chicks, only a short film but very cute :)

Annie x

Things you never knew you needed until you had children....

There are certain things you expect when you have children, but I was pondering over the other bits and pieces you find yourself buying, experiencing, losing!

1) Buying batteries in large quantities, for all the noisy toys which initially sound cute, but eventually you want to throw out of the window, also includes the toys your wiser friends with older children buy you in jest!
2) Cooking butternut Squash, this vegetable remains under the radar until you have a baby, which is when you decide to cut your fingers to ribbons peeling it, to mush and feed your little one!
3) Buying tupperware, in every size and shape possible, I have just been handed one by a client that holds 2 strawberries!
4) Lack of space, as the floor is taken over with sleepers, walkers, rockers, squeakers, fluffys and noisys!  It is also notable how at first donations from other parents are gratefully received, and not long afterwards you are looking for someone else to pass them on to!
5) Lack of time - what exactly did I do in that hour before leaving for work?
6) Novels to read at bedtime, my bedside table now holds huge pots of cream and a Rubiks Cube!
Am sure I'll add to that list as I ponder more, but right now have run out of time - funnily enough!
Annie x

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Update re McDonalds and the Recycling Issue

I recently blogged about the recycling bin I saw in McDonalds, and decided to email their CEO at their UK headquarters.

The original blog is here 

This is the reply I got, and I've been given permission to publish.  I will be forwarding all comments on to them, so would be interested in your opinions.

Dear Ms Robb

I am the Head of Environment, so Jill has asked me to look into this.

Thank you so much for contacting us – I was horrified to learn that this was the case, as this is absolutely not our intention.  I’m extremely grateful to you for bringing it to my attention.  We have got someone on site this morning investigating how this has happened, and he is also visiting all the other stores on this recycling trial to ensure that they are all handling plastics correctly.    We will get this rectified as soon as possible.  (Obviously there should be two separate bins inside so that one can capture bottles and the other, the remaining waste. I saw this in place at the start of the trial so we need to find out why this has changed.)

This particular trial is by coincidence due to come to an end in the next couple of weeks so we will be switching back the bins to ‘standard’ bins.  We are next going to trial separating out the food waste in the hope that the remaining materials can then be sorted at a ‘materials recycling facility’, which would increase the levels of materials recovered for recycling.  (Though you won’t see this in the Colney restaurant as we make sure we spread the trials out nationally.)

I do share your frustration regarding recycling.  It’s something I spend the majority of my time focusing on, and at the moment we find it quite challenging as the waste infrastructure varies so much from area to area, and also as so few waste contractors are able to handle ‘food contaminated’ waste like ours (hence our plan to trial separating out the food).  However, we have made some progress to date.  We recycle all of our used cooking oil  into biodiesel, which powers over half of our delivery fleet, and we also backhaul all of the cardboard outer boxes that go into our kitchens, for recycling.    We are also working with our European colleagues (who purchase packaging for the whole of Europe) on how we can make the rest of our packaging more recyclable.  At the same time we try to minimise the packaging we use, while complying with health and safety regulations.

Again, thank you so much for  bringing this to our attention and please rest assured that we will rectify this as soon as possible.  Do feel free to contact me should you have any more concerns or queries on this matter.

Best regards

Katie Saunders
Head of Environment

Monday 27 June 2011

Larks in the Parks

Yesterday (26th June 2011), we went to Larks in the Parks at a local park beside Marlborough Pavilion.  It is part of the St Albans festival which runs until early July!  It was a beautifully hot day and the kids had a ball!
The first thing Jasper headed for was the police car, and even I was excited to learn that you push the middle of the steering wheel to turn the siren on, which he duly did, the pure excitement on his face was a picture.

This was only mildly overtaken by being able to throw a wet sponge at his father! Daddy getting it in the face : )

And my daughter had her first face painting, allowed by daddy cos I am normally a killjoy.

My mother took over as we went off to Farnborough to surprise @MatWhiteQPR for his 30th birthday!

Fab day which made me smile a lot :)
Annie x

Friday 24 June 2011

Beautylase, St Albans :) #blogginbeauties event

We were recently invited to Beautylase St Albans, to meet the staff and sample some of the treatments.  We were welcomed by Juliet and her staff, and offered champagne!  There were 9 of us mummy bloggers in total, and we'd mostly met at previous events, so it was lovely to be out with them again :)

I have to admit that I'd never been into Beautylase before, and I put this down to my misconception that it would be expensive.  However, I can happily confirm that the treatments I'm interested in are reasonable and good value for money.

Firstly, I had my eyebrows threaded, which was something I was looking forward to!   Whilst it wasn't completely pain free, the effect was wonderful.  It felt like when you first ever plucked your eyebrows, but after a bit it was fine.  Threading costs just £12.50.  I used to have mine waxed but it doesn't last very long, and threading lasts around 3 weeks!  I will be back!

I then had my make up done, and was thrilled.  I'd never had it done before, even did my own for both weddings, and again I loved it.  If I was going to a big event I would definitely have it done again, or even just to give me a lift.   Full make up costs £25, though you can pay just to have  your eyes done.

The other girls had similar treatments, nails painted and gels applied, and a couple had their hair done too!  We really should have got a group photo done, a wee bit remiss whoops, but suffice it to say it was a really lovely evening and am grateful to the generosity of Juliet and her staff.  Next time would like to talk about colours and products etc. that I could use, as my make-up bag really is circa 1983 but reflecting 1957 (ex rockabilly)!  For further information see the Beautylase website!

Thanks again to all the ladies, and look forward to visiting again soon!  Also keeping tabs on your facebook page :) 
Annie x

Changing the name of my blog :)

Hello, and look at me all new and sparkly.  I am still a childminding mummy, but felt that my blog did not match the title, as I wanted to write about a whole lot more.  So here I am now as JustAnnieQpr, I did want Just Annie, but it wasn't available, but AnnieQPR does sound familiar!

Thank you for following, my blogs will be less restricted, so be warned ;)  Oh and if you're not following, would appreciate it if you did - remunerations can be organised!

Annie x

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Reporting Violations on Twitter without RTing Account

Last night there was a hideous account, relating to child pornography, that came to light on twitter.  The reason we all knew about it was the normal route of highlighting these accounts, by RTing and asking people to "block and report spam".  I realise that this is a fast route to highlighting the issue through volume of reporting, however the danger here of course is that it gets extra exposure!  I hate to say that this site has since gained followers!!!!

I have now discovered that you can actually email twitter at - give details of the twitter page, and any tweets that caused you to have suspicion.  Thanks to @markshaw who I always go to for help with my twitter!  The following gives extra details about how to deal with twitter violations!

Lets not let these sickos ruin our social networking sites!
Annie x

Sunday 19 June 2011

Stadium Emirates - Arsenal Stadium Tour for Fathers Day :)

It's Fathers Day today (19th June) and I found myself being taken to The Emirates Stadium for an Arsenal tour.  As a QPR fan you may question why I'm blogging it, but as a football fan I figured it may reach people who won't have the opportunity to visit, just hope that doesn't come across as arrogant!  
I had been there several times before and it is a pretty impressive sight that awaits amongst the North London Streets, tho it was eerie to be so quiet as opposed to matchdays!  
In the foyer there is a bust of Wenger, whose resemblance is uncanny, and must say my Jasper got a little excited seeing it - I know I know!!!  From there went up in the lift to the Directors box, walked through their lovely bar area out onto overlooking the pitch, with their lovely padded seats.  The guide told us that tradition for the last 70+ years dictates that the areas is filled with flowers in the opposing teams colours!  Can't wait to hear about he QPR ones then!

We were then informed that directly above us is the Diamond level!  This level is restricted to 84 members, who pay £25,000 non-refundable down payment, followed by £25,000 for the next three years.  So for £100,000 you get 2 seats, with free programmes, food and booze and a locker for your bits.   Might get a bit more than that, but hey made me feel a bit better about QPR's ticket pricing ;) I particularly liked the flooring in the lift, feel free to admire the pedicured Birkenstock foot and white jeans (such a girl sorry), shame I didn't get the full Woolwich Arsenal bit in!  
At car park level we saw the time capsule, which was lowered by Henry and Vieirra under the watchful eye of Wenger.  They haven't decided when it would be pulled back up but has some fantastic things inside including a list of every player to play for the side, various players socks, Adams Captain's band, Vieirra's boots etc.  Personally I think they should have set a date but hey!  Loving the slogan about "the deeper the foundations the stronger the fortress"! 

Next we headed to the dressing room.  I spotted Seamans pic on the way and tweeted Splitter, as you probably know he was a Hooper before being a Gooner!!!!  I also took a sneaky pic of the treatment room which we spotted on the way to the dressing room!  Amongst the amazing equipment they have a spa pool which is maintained at a constant 40 degrees, this ensures that the players don't suffer from lactic acid problems and after the games they are already getting their bodies ready for the next game!
In the dressing room itself, they explained that the shirts were always laid out in order of defenders, midfielders, strikers, subs bench, with the Captain being firmly in the middle.  I also enjoyed that it was the Captain's decision whether they wore long or short sleeves.  Tony Adams ensured that every game was played in short sleeves, irrespective of the weather, can't see this suiting a certain Taarabt!
We were also told that there was no Clichy on the new Seasons shirt???  Shhhhhhhh
Next we went out through the tunnel onto the pitch, of course had to get Chris to do a run though :) Chris's tunnel moment!   And his preferred pose for the test of Wenger's seat :) 

We went on to see the press room and press's facilities.  I love that they have a free bar and restaurant before, during and after games, but still manage to slag the team off next day!
I haven't actually revealed everything we saw, in case you take the tour yourself, but at £15 per adult thought it very reasonable.  Jasper (7) was £6 and Scarlett (3) was free! Obviously afterwards went running back to West London, and booking a QPR tour as we speak, but I hope you enjoy and forgive me this blog!

Annie x

Thursday 16 June 2011

My Journey Out on a School Night :)

Well I was out on Wednesday night for a cheeky school night drink with the girlies.   For some reason I decided to film my journey, be warned this is serious abuse of an iphone!

Sorry for wasting those precious seconds of your life haha!
Annie x

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Pram Running St Albans Style

This morning @mediocre_mum and I were at a local park with our little ones when we spotted a (insert collective noun) of mummys running with their designer prams.  We howled with laughter and unfortunately I found myself videoing it! 

After that they started with elastic bands round trees and the bandstand!

Good on them really, just each to their own and all that :)
Annie x

Monday 13 June 2011

Paper Jamz Guitar : Never Stop Rocking :)

Well it appears I may have a little rock chick on my hands.  We were sent a Paper Jamz guitar to play with, and whilst it is recommended suitable from 8+ my 3 year old won't put it down.  I have no idea where she has learnt some of the moves from either?

They were actually launched last year and became one of the best-selling toys of 2010.  I myself am also enjoying playing with it, as a left hander I always dreamt of being taught guitar, but unfortunately Sir Paul McCartney was always rather busy.

Suffice to say we are using it as a sophisticated toy, including the minded children, though it does in fact come with guidance on how to play, and a lot more technical stuff that would lend itself to being nearer to a real guitar.  Oh and I did discover it has a built-in headphone jack which may prove invaluable in the future.

We've had it some weeks now, and it is still being brought out on a daily basis, so at RRP £24.99 I thinks it's worth it.

To see it properly in action, take a look here!

Annie x

Electronic Test Tube Aliens

We were given the opportunity to play with a test tube alien.  I'll admit to being somewhat bemused by their description, but should have known that WowWee understand what amuses my 7yo son better than I! (Ages: 6+).

The idea is that you hatch your alien, and then have to keep them alive to discover their evil plans, with online interaction to discover their secrets, to stop the invasion of earth.

The whole family were there at the hatching, and it was difficult to keep both children's noses out of the way, whilst we waited to discover which alien we had.  The starting of its heart beating left them open mouthed, and Jasper made sure it was fed enough sloog to keep it ticking ;)

There are six different aliens to collect, and at a RRP of £12.99 thought it was excellent value.  As you can see we had the attractive blue fellow Sorum, and without spoiling your fun will say that it kept the children amused for weeks.   Unfortunately our trip away led to its demise - I couldn't bring myself to ask the cat and chicken feeder to mind the alien too, but I am under strict orders to get another one!

See them in all their glory here :)
Happy hatching :) 
Annie x

Friday 10 June 2011

McDonalds and Recycling who are they kidding?`

Yes my kids have McDonalds occasionally, so call me a bad mother.  What grates me though is the lack of recycling facilities there are in McDonalds, with a Happy Meal you have cardboard, paper, plastic etc., but for an organisation this large no recycling bins.   

Friends are often embarrassed that I refuse to tip all of this into their bins, and have been known to take the bits home and recycle myself!  Who am I kidding that I can made a difference versus the damage this company can possibly be doing!

Recently however I was delighted to see a recycling hope for the plastic bottles, next to the normal bin.  Hoorah I thought, until I opened it up to see that it went into exactly the same place as the rubbish!!!!!

I am hoping that maybe they sell their rubbish to a company to recycle for them, like I am lead to believe some airlines do?  Otherwise I feel completely let down.

I have heard the argument about the cardboard being too greasy to recycle by the way, but knowing the supplier of their cardboard I know this is not true!

Will leave that with you whilst I go fume a little more!
Thanks for listening!
Annie x

Monday 6 June 2011

Bonusprint Photobook for Fathers Day

I was recently offered the opportunity to review the Bonusprint Photobook  by @nickie72 - with Fathers Day around the corner I gratefully jumped at the chance.

I'm a bit nervous when it comes to uploading photos and designing etc. but am pleased to say that it was incredibly easy to follow and quick to upload the photos.  In fact the bit that took time was to find 24 pictures to put together from my various CD's, cameras, phones etc. (Not very organised)!  I chose to put a border around the pics, as the photobook is square, and there are other editing bits you could use, but for me this was all I wanted.

I can't vouch for how long delivery actually took as I went on holiday the next day, but I received tracking emails whilst I was away, and it was there when I returned home.

I was dead chuffed with the end result, as were the kids - just hoping they keep it quiet before Fathers Day itself!  I would also add that as they are fairly small in size, you can order them periodically but won't take up much space to store.

To sumarise I would say that it was incredibly easy to provide an incredibly thoughtful present.  At a starting price of just £12.99, affordable too.  Will definitely be using it again!  For more reviews you can visit Nicky's wonderful blog at

Thanks for reading!
Annie x

Sunday 5 June 2011

#mumsonthree event hosted by

I was chuffed to be invited to a Mums On Three event recently, hosted by  I had no idea what to expect so was glad to bump into some familiar faces, though unfortunately also spilt hot tea on some unfamilar ones oops!

Unfortunately some of us were unable to pick up Wi-Fi, so was kindly lent a mobile WiFi (Mi-Fi) unit, which I'd never heard of but blew me away.   This little gadget lets you connect up to five wi-fi enabled devises at the same time, and could well do away with my Wi-Fi unit at home.  No idea on costings as yet but will certainly be looking into!

We were then introduced to the panel of mums who were going to give us an informal chat about how smart phones have made them make better use of their time on the go.  Amongst them were the lovely Denise Van Outen and Lowri Turner.  Lowri gave a lady some useful advice about expressing milk, she advised that you note the time the milk is taken, as nighttime milk has special hormones in it to help the baby sleep!  I never knew that.

We then attended various informal seminars allowing us to discuss useful apps for mums on the go, and also shown the different smartphones available.  I am never far from my iphone but there were mums there who didn't have smart phones who found it useful.  They discussed the fact that a lot of mums don't get onto the computer until late at night, but with a smartphone they could be getting on with jobs during the day, from ordering the shopping, to checking activities for the kids to shopping for themselves even, things that aways take up time that they often don't have available!  The lady from Three who spoke to us had a beautiful dress on, and she told me she ordered it whilst sitting in the car on the school run :)

They have now got a handy facebook page with tips and competitions etc. which I will certainly be keeping in touch with.   Two apps I learnt about that are amazing are Jamies Recipes (free on iphone), which has a shopping list feature, and Ocado (also free) where you can take pictures of what you need to replace and they drop into your shopping basket!  Wow doesn't cover it.

I don't have enough apps on my phone to do the 32gb justice, so am off to have a play!

Thanks for reading.
Annie x