jump to navigation

Fundraising update. September 6, 2015

Posted by phoenixaeon in The Principessa Files.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

SHE DID IT! Princi raised the £350 (and some) for the Little Princess Trust. Thank you to all who donated.


A charitable pixie in the making. June 26, 2015

Posted by phoenixaeon in The Principessa Files.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

I am a very proud Mum. I am very proud because Princi did something amazing this week.

Yesterday, before school, Princi looked like this:

Before the great shearing.

Before the great shearing.

and when she returned from her amazingly long day (she had had a taster day at our nearest secondary school, and had then completed an extra hour of tutoring at school) she looked like this:

After the great shearing.

After the great shearing.

The reason for this massive change was that she wanted to do something nice for another child – she wanted to donate her hair to help make a wig for a child who has lost their hair through cancer or another illness. We looked up the Little Princess Trust to find out how we could do this, and this afternoon after school she will be posting her hair to the charity. We also made a small monetary contribution (Princi even donated her pocket money for this week), and The Base Hair Company asked us to donate their fee and tip as well. But that wasn’t enough. She wanted to try to raise enough money to help produce a wig too. So we have set up a JustGiving page to try and raise the £350 needed to produce a wig. It would be, as Princi says, AWESOME if anyone reading this could spare a couple of quid for a good cause.

And that is (one of the reasons) why I am a proud Mum.

Learning to fly. November 17, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Crazy baby, Flying Principessa, MA, Neil Gaiman, The Principessa Files.
add a comment

Yep. It’s been a while since I last posted, but I have been sinking under theories hidden in the depths of the fairytale forest. That being said, I’m finding that some of these wolfish critics are maybe a little too attractive, turning me into Little Red and stripping my perceptions and inviting me into bed… Only for me to discover what big concepts they have as they devour my simplistic views on what I thought I knew. Ho hum!

Anyway, I’ve taken a step away from the books today to help Princi learn to fly. She asked me if I thought she could after watching the Neil Gaiman-penned short film that’s circulating around the nininet (thanks for that one, Sleepy Hollow!) at the moment. So we’ve been playing about with carefully timed jumps and clicks that give the impression that she is flying.IMG_4715

As you can see, the timing and framing of some of the shots




didn’t quite cut the mustard…

So we persevered. And then the magic started happening. I know the framing of the last one isn’t *quite* there, but it gives some sense of movement past the camera, as if she’s just zoomed into the room and past me. And it also allowed Princi, for a little moment, to find her invisible wings.




So now I have a happy, flying Principessa. All I need now is to have a happy, not-flapping-around-like-a-fish-in-a-chip-bag me when it comes to getting my head around all of these theories. As long as I have only a few botched frames before the magic clicks, I’ll be chuffed. I do hope it happens soon, as the first piece of written work is due in at the beginning of January. Yikes! *Fingers crossed* that I, like Princi, will fly.

Plodding on. March 31, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in E301, Give up but don't give up, Holy heck my head's exploding!, OU, The Principessa Files, TMA05.
add a comment

Urgh! TMA05 kicked my bum! That was one evil essay, being almost double the length and double-weighted in terms of how it affects the overall course result. I reckon I’ve botched it, but don’t I always? But this time, I truly believe it. Only time (and cliches) will tell…


So the last few months have been about sticking with things, for Princi and for me. Princi insisted that we give something up for Lent, so we agreed that crisps and fast food would be it. There were a few tantrums from Princi when she moaned about wanting to quit, but she stuck with it, making yesterday’s crisps and fast food day worth it for her – and Tazcat, who happily shared a packet of salt and vinegar crisps with her. For me, the whole experience was about breaking out of a habit. I was forever falling for the quick option and eating far too many crisps and the once a week fast food habit was doing me no good. My moment of yay-ness appeared on Tuesday night when I stood on the scales for the first time in six weeks and discovered I’d lost a stone. Woohoo! I’ve sworn off the crisps and fast food for good now that the habit is broken. Next habit to conquer – chocolate!


Princi has also had to deal with finishing a term of after-school gymnastics. She got to the point where she wanted to quit that too, but I’ve told her that once she makes a decision to do something, she must stick with it until it’s completed. It’s advice I’ve had to take, as I so have wanted to quit this damned OU course. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, but I’m struggling on with it as it’s my last course to complete the degree. I’m quite proud of my stubbornness not to quit, to tell the truth. And just to prove I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve started filling out the application for the children’s lit MA. I might as well take a running jump at it. *Fingers crossed* I will get onto the course and spend another three years panicking about essay results!


And that is that. I’m off to give the dog a cuddle before Princi gets back from her trip with Uncle Gaz. They’ve gone to the museum to see the animatronic dinosaurs and to have lunch at Yo! Sushi, as Princi has decided that avocado sushi is her new favourite food.



Building hats. March 20, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Creativity, Easter, Easter bonnet, The Principessa Files.

After the misery of constructing last year’s Easter bonnet, what with me being ill and only having two days to make it, I decided to get a head start on it this year.



Auntie K and I sat down and started brainstorming how we were going to sort out the first step. We had a long piece of cardboard that we were planning on making a top hat with. Guesstimating the size of Princi’s head, we drew around some plates to make the top hat brim, then used the rest when we had decided on how tall we wanted it to be. Then the wrestling match with the remnants of the box ensued as we fought to manipulate the cardboard into some semblance of a cylinder.

Eat your heart out, Mad Hatter!

Eat your heart out, Mad Hatter!

As you can see, it didn’t end up perfect. But hey ho! On we went, painting and a-sticking, and generally just hamming – or should that be chicking? – it up. Thankfully, Princi had made the chick a few weeks ago.

Hides some of the imperfections ;)

Hides some of the imperfections 😉

The evil chick-tator on high!

The evil chick-tator on high!

But we weren’t finished yet. Oh no! With Princi home from school, we set about sticking glittery rabbits all over the hat, making hanging Easter baskets with little boxes and pipe cleaners, and creating foam daffodils….

It’s a good job the bloody thing was correctly guesstimated and was a perfect fit for Princi’s head.

The completed top hat.

The completed top hat (Easter bonnet).

It’s World Book Day today, and oh! What a day! But the fights you will have about what to dress up as today… March 7, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Children's Literature, Costumes, Creativity, Parenting, Pirate Penguin, The Principessa Files, World Book Day.
add a comment

And so the Hell that is the World Book Day dressing up party rained down…

The letter came home on Monday.

Your child can come into school dressed up as their favourite character from a book.

I dread these words every year. What is she going to choose this year? Please make it simple. But no. Gone are the days where she wanted to dress up as Lola from Charlie and Lola. She flat out refused to go in as Solstice from The Raven Mysteries. “How about Edgar the Raven instead?” But she’d done that one already and lost the beak from last year’s costume. Matilda was mentioned, but quickly binned. No. There was only one clear winner. Only one character that would cut the mustard.

Pirate Penguin.

The search was initiated for Princi’s pirate costume. The hat was a no-go: wrong shape, wrong colour. The hook-hand was broken. The cutlass was lost. Fab. All we had was the jacket and pants. Yarg! Scurvy seadogs!

I tried again to convince her to go in as someone else. Maybe Stephanie from Skulduggery Pleasant? No, if anyone, Princi wanted to go in as Skulduggery. Therein lay a whole new set of problems – skull mask, suit, tie. But still, Pirate Penguin was who she wanted to be. *SOB*

Thankfully, my very arty cousin visited last night, so we spent a couple of hours working out how to transform a Princi into a Pirate Penguin.

It turns out that red card, copious post-it notes, glue, and selotape all safety-pinned onto a baseball cap makes a good pirate hat. Tin-foil, cardboard, yellow plastic wrapping, and white paint make a fabulous cutlass. Tin-foil, cardboard, selotape and elastic perform well as a hook hand. Cardboard, elastic, purple tissue paper and selotape transform into a fabulous eye-patch. And elastic, torn-up paper and orange tissue paper make a wonderful beak. We had done it! A makeshift costume for a makeshift day…

Princi Pirate Penguin!

Princi Pirate Penguin! Yarg, me hearties!

It’s been ages… February 20, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in E301, General rubbish, OU, reading, Reading with Principessa, The Principessa Files, TMA05.

Neglectful of the blog? Moi? Yes, I admit it. The evidence stands up for itself, really. But, you know. Life.

Traversing the wall.

Traversing the wall.

The last month has been doctor’s visits followed by hospital appointments, followed by unrelated hospital appointments and joining a gym, only for the gym to be neglected due to being knackered from all the hospital appointments. And then interwoven through this is the constant read/write routine for the OU studies, the read/write with Princi for her reading diary, and the read/write of permission slips for school clubs and activities. I’m kind of thankful that it’s half term right now, and thankful for Uncle Gaz and Grandand, as they have been taking Princi rock climbing and swimming (she had her first ever taste of swimming today).

Engrossed... Or maybe just sleeping.

Engrossed… Or maybe just sleeping.

The studying. Princi is doing fabulously. I finally made some snarky remark in Princi’s reading diary about the rubbish books that she was being forced to read, books that were at the level she was reading three years ago, and the teacher finally gave her a book that was more her level. It’s driving me up the wall, this school lark. Princi is so bored because they keep repeating the same things over and over – I mean, she’s still being sent home with maths homework that asks her to add and subtract in twos. When she gets given something new and challenging to do while in school she thrives, yet this seems to piddle off the teacher no end because she can’t keep up with Princi, as Princi forces the teacher to have to provide her with harder and harder questions because she rattles off the work so fast. Two years ago I wouldn’t have needed to complain, as the teacher she had then was so happy to have a kid who wanted to learn that she wanted to challenge her. The teacher that she has now doesn’t really want to be bothered. It really irks me something chronic. So during the half term Princi and I have been working on her comprehension and times tables. And just as an example, Princi started rattling off the twelve times table the other night out of nowhere, something I nor the school (who now only teach up to the ten times table) have not gone through with her, as she’s finally understood how to work the patterns. She really does make me proud every day!



As for me… Well. I think I may need some rubber wall paper soon. I am just not getting this course at all! Don’t get me wrong, my essay results have been good – not distinctly good, just good – but I don’t feel like I’m retaining or even understanding anything! Despite my fascination with words it seems that linguistics is not for me. I would definitely rather play with them than study them. Still. Only three more essays to write, at the grand total of 8,500 words, and my studying with the OU is complete. I can hardly believe that I’m almost done. I really am going to miss it. But as it is, I should be getting back to the reading for TMA05. I just have to choose an excerpt of narrative fiction now so that I can fully prepare for the essay. I’m currently deciding between an excerpt from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. If only I could find my copy of Spares by Michael Marshall Smith, I think my decision might have been made already!

Pheweee! November 6, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in Animals, Dogs, E301, Kaya, OU, Proud Mummy, The Principessa Files, TMA01.
add a comment

Yay! My result has been returned for the E301 essay I submitted the other week and I am pleased to say I am chuffed with it. I would have been chuffed with 40%, simply because I don’t think I understand the course yet, but I cashed in the bonus. I tumbled my way to 78%! Well happy with that! And even more happy that I have also been given some good feedback to bumble my way into the next essay. Yay! But one thing that pleases me more than that – I am so glad I have a tutor for E301 who doesn’t take two weeks to mark assignments. The last few courses have been horrible for extending the torture of self-doubt and the unknown. So I am doing a little dance for the one week turnaround for this essay.

And I am not the only one pleased with my achievements this week. Princi was awarded a merit ribbon and the coveted class silver cushion on Monday.

Merit Girl! She’s totally awesome!

She was awarded the merit ribbon for, in her words, ‘a fascinating explanation of hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt. And for using the word ballistic.’ I am a very, very proud Mummy this week.

Kaya is also going to school – she started puppy training two weeks ago. However, while she is doing well there, she isn’t here. She still won’t do her business outside and she has a horrible habit of jumping and nipping at Princi. I am hoping we can work that behaviour out of her soon, as she is getting very big now. She no longer looks like a puppy, she’s all legs, nose and ears. And teeth and claws. And destructo-monster-dog! I am hoping the giant ham-bone she has been given will keep her from destroying plates, toilet rolls, pillows and whatever else she can get her teeth into for at least three days. Fingers crossed!

How she’s changed: Kaya from the first week she was here to now. She is twice as big as she was when she first arrived.

And with that picture, it’s time for me to toddle off and get back to reading and studying. Oh, the joy!

A shot rang out. September 23, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in Birthdays, E301, Kaya, OU, Poetry, The Principessa Files, Titian poem.
Tags: ,

Not really. Although it’s almost like a shot, as I’ve not posted in ages. I suppose I should try to post more often, but that ‘what should I post?’ demon has appeared again. Sigh.

Well, nowt much has been going on since my ‘distinction, yay!’ post. And oh. My. God. How crap is this entry reading so far? I might as well do a shopping list of what’s happened…

  • Writing. Not really done much, despite the fire being stoked after reading Dadwhowrites‘ novel (which I loved and I can’t wait to read the sequel[s?]). But here are the two Twitter poems I tapped out for the National Gallery‘s #titianpoem competition.

Poem based on the Diana and Actaeon painting. Retracted due to using ‘bollocks’!

Second poem based on the Diana and Callisto painting. Heavy on alliteration and (at the time) unintended end rhymes. Submitted as competition entry.

  • Beginning of E301. Yep, my final Open Uni course is on the go. I am petrified! It’s a level 3 English language course – and me being me didn’t do the level 2, so there is a ton of new terminology, and a smattering of stuff I stumbled across whilst doing the literature and mythology courses. Fingers crossed I don’t hurt my noggin too much, as I can see a crash course in sociolinguistics upsiding me across the back of the head!

The next nine months of my life… Apt, considering writing these essays is almost as painful as giving birth!

  • My little Munchkin turned 8!

Blowing out the candles (and making the modern art version of a Storm Trooper helmet with sausages and napkins).

  • Kaya. We added a new member to the family. She would be the bitey, snappy, poop machine member! But, when she is good she is very, very good, and also so very cute that she might be evil!

The woofer.

And that’s that, my boring update post. I shall now go and bury my head in the granular multiverse of sand and the whispering silence of lost lexicology.

Lurgified! March 28, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in A330, Art, OU, Sick again, The Principessa Files, TMA04, TMA05.
add a comment

Ugh. Struck down by illness again. I hate being sick.

Over the last week I’ve been feeling so eugh. Sore throat, stuffed up nose, hackity-mcyackity cough, and just generally washed out. Which means I haven’t been able to properly celebrate another fab result for the mythology course or get down to writing the next essay. OK, the next essay – “Does classical mythology reflect a disposition to explore the realities of the world or a desire to escape from them?” –  isn’t due in until April 20-something or other, but I wanted it done by Friday as that is when Princi breaks for Easter. I have got to hope I can tease 1,600 words into a stylish ‘do in two days whilst my sinuses feel like a full nappy! *Sob* But try I will.

Talking of Easter, today was Princi’s Easter Bonnet parade, so we have spent the last two afternoons constructing a monster bonnet:


The crazy, monster Easter bonnet.

Princi did a lot of the work on this herself – all I really did was build the skullcap base (made from half an old football and a piece of card) and attach the basket. Princi made the flowers, sewed the bunny, spelled out and threaded the ‘Happy Easter’ bead banners, and stuck the eggs and chicks on. Nanny kindly made the pompom chick for her. And to top it all off, she won ‘Best Bonnet’ in her class too! Rock on, Principessa!

Anyway, I poured my creative brain into helping Princi with her bonnet, so I apologise for the rather dull post. Hopefully, next time I’m here, it’ll be a bit more exciting.