What Am I?

How did you get on with last week’s puzzle? Did you guess that it was a spyhole in a door? Emma did, and Feed Me Dearly agreed with her. Congratulations!

And so on to this week’s puzzle. I don’t normally set rules for this, but I am this week – to get a right answer, you need to be specific. What Am I?


Hair Covering for Spirituality

I wrote about my new found love of hair wrapping or hair covering, thanks to Rivka Malka and Andrea from Wrapunzel. As well as lapping up all their wisdom about tichels and how to tie them, I’ve also been reading their blog posts about spirituality.

For them, tichels and spirituality go hand in hand, because hair covering is an obligation of their faith. Now, I’m not Jewish, but this idea interested me and I wondered about hair covering in other faiths too.

Obviously, many Muslim women cover their hair, in a variety of ways. When we went on holiday to Northern Egypt, we were the only Western couple at the resort. I stood out like a sore thumb with my hair uncovered and I asked one of the women at our hotel to show me how to cover my hair. She showed me several different methods, but we agreed that what suited me best from them was having the scarf pulled back into a bun, away from my face.

head covering in Egypt

From my days as a religious studies teacher, I also knew that some Christian women cover their hair, though mainly from the smaller sects, rather than the mainstream churches. Sikh women cover their hair in the prayer hall of the Gurdwara and some Hindu women cover theirs. I was interested in finding out whether women from my own faith covered their hair for spiritual reasons. Apparently, some do.

What I found is that many of the Pagan women that I came across in my research, who cite spirituality as a reason for hair covering, were followers of Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. Hestia is sometimes depicted with her hair covered and all these women said that they felt called by Hestia to cover their hair as a sign of their loyalty to her.

I can’t help feeling that if Hestia were to call to me, she’d be asking me to be more on top of the housework before she worried about what was on top of my head. I guess she’s not calling to me ;-)

hair covering in Harrogate

I do feel called to cover my hair though, but I can’t begin to explain how or why. It just feels right to me. I don’t know if it is a spiritual calling, I can’t define the meaning for you. I can just tell you that it’s how I feel. And for now, that’s enough for me. 

If you’d like to read more about other Pagan women who cover their hair, and their reasons for doing so, this article is a great place to start.

Bean Reviews the Luck Uglies (and Giveaway)

Bean loves to read, and gets through a lot of books. He likes adventures, fantasy and sci-fi. He’s only eight, but he has a ready age of eleven or twelve, and so like many parents of children who really love to read, we have to be careful; he’ll happily read books written for children several years older than him, but we have to make sure the content is suitable for an eight year old. It can be a tricky balance at times!

Recently, Bean was given the opportunity to read and review a new book – The Luck Uglies – and he was really keen on the idea – he liked the sound of the book (and he was quite pleased he was going to get to put his thoughts on this blog!). 



The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham - For age 9 years plus

Luck Uglies was a name whispered around the docks and darkest taverns, places the law dare not tread…

 Rye has grown up hearing the legend of the Luck Uglies – notorious deadly outlaws who once stalked the streets. Now they have faded to ghosts and rumours and Rye isn’t sure they ever existed. Then on the night of the Black Moon, a mysterious stranger known only as Harmless, steps from the shadows to save Rye’s life and Rye learns that sometimes it takes a villain to save you from the monsters…

Enter a thrilling world of secrets and fantastical adventure from a phenomenal new writing talent.


So, what did Bean think of it?


The Luck Uglies was thrilling. You never know what  form Harmless is going to take.

I thought it was a really good adventure and I loved the bit where Shady runs out of the house – that’s a really, really terrifying bit, but exciting too.

There is a part that’s petrifying – I can’t tell you the plot for that bit, but I can say it was in the Black Moon, and it was pitch black. Black Moon means … well, you’ll find out!

Prepare yourself for excitement and sadness. I can’t wait to read the next book!

He really can’t wait – he’s already had me look up when the next book is out (March next year, I believe) and has requested that we get it as soon as its published!

Do you have someone who would love this book? Why not see if you can win them a copy? 

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This Parenting Lark

There are two years in between Plum and PK, and PK copies everything Plum does. He’s catching her up fast, including in mannerisms, speech and cheekiness.

We’ve been wondering this week if we’re getting to the point of starting toilet training with PK. He’s not two yet, but he doesn’t like wearing nappies and is forever taking them off. We used to solve that problem by making sure he had trousers on, but then he worked out how to take those off too!

So, if he’s going to take his nappy off, it might be as well to teach him to use a potty or the toilet. I thought it would be longer before we started this again. Maybe it will be – I’m not convinced he’s ready just yet. But since I’m already clearing up after him when he secretly takes off his nappy ….

Ahhh … the life of a parent. Add your parenting posts to the linky below – old or new, silly or serious. Please grab the code to add the badge to your post, comment on this post and visit one or more of the others linked up. Happy Parenting!


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The Girl in Black Pajamas Review and Giveaway


The Girl in Black Pajamas

Book 2 in the Murder Mystery Series by Chris Birdy

R&B Investigations is under attack. Their employee is shot in the back as he enters the building, and a hacker is trying to compromise their secure network. While the Boston police investigate the shooting, Bogie McGruder needs to find the culprit who is trying to put them out of business.

Bogie and his partner Rose Jones can’t disclose their internet problems to the cops since Bogie is a hacker himself.

Bogie McGruder returns to Boston with his four- year-old daughter Isabella. He joins up with Rose Jones’ uncle Walter who is fresh for Lompoc Prison. Bogie and Walter strengthen their firewalls while they try to determine who is behind the invasion. As the R&B team hones in on the culprit, they uncover several murders and discover a plot to wipe out the financial institutions in Boston.

While Bogie is in Boston, his extended family in Palm Beach becomes enmeshed in a sex scandal that threatens to ruin lives and careers in the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

Feeling like a wishbone about to snap, Bogie tries to handle problems in both cities while Isabella continues her quest for someone to teach her the Five-Point-Palm-Exploding-Heart technique as seen in Kill Bill Volume 2.

This tale of murder, revenge and greed takes the reader on a whirlwind trip from Boston to Palm Beach and back. Buckle your seatbelt!


My Review

After reading book one, The Girl in White Pajamas, I couldn’t wait to start on book two and started reading it the day after I finished book one! I wasn’t disappointed. This story follows the same main characters, as we see how their lives are developing from book one. The McGruder family seem to be back on a more even keel than when we met them last time, and their lives seem much happier overall than when we previously met them. There are several other families vying for the Most Dysfunctional Family trophy though!

Although there are murders in this book, the focus is more on who is trying to bring down R&B Investigations. There are plenty of twists to follow and Isabella, Bogie’s young daughter, takes on a starring role in everyone’s lives. She reminds me a lot of my own daughter (though my daughter has never stabbed someone with a Bokken sword and doesn’t have an IQ of over 200, but there are many other similarities!). There’s also a large focus on the family life of the extended McGruder family, and there’s plenty to investigate there too.

I enjoyed book one, but I enjoyed book two more. I was already familiar with many of the characters, which made the story easier to follow. Pop, who featured in the first book, plays a much bigger role this time, and he is a lovely, cuddly character with a wise head on his shoulders. It’s easy to see how he’s managed to hold Bogie together and guide him throughout the years.

I look forward to finding out what the future holds for the extended McGruder family and R&B Investigations.


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The Girl in White Pajamas

When Officer Bud the PR face of the Boston Police Department is gunned down, his brother, Bogie McGruder, returns from Palm Beach for the funeral. Since the BPD is investigating the death of one of their own, Bogie believes his trip to Boston will be a short condolence visit and a chance to meet his secret love child.

But interacting with a family fueled by alcohol and mired in scandals, Bogie is reminded why he does investigations for his Boston based company from a computer in Florida. Although Bogie wants to contact his ex-lover, Bailey Hampfield, he’s reluctant to do so since Bailey dumped him four years earlier. Knowing that Bailey had his child after she cut him loose, Bogie ponders how he can establish a relationship with the three year old daughter he’s never met. While he thinks about it, Bailey gets in touch with him and asks for protection. Someone is trying to kill her.

By the time Bogie meets Isabella, it’s apparent that he still loves the mother and adores the child. Bogie tells himself that he’s not interested in the BPD investigation into Bud’s death, but he continues to be drawn into it while trying to discover who is attempting to kill Bailey. The investigations seem to parallel each other, then intersect and become intertwined. As the story develops, Isabella, a precocious child obsessed with martial arts, slowly becomes the focus.

The underlying theme of this mystery is lies. Everyone seems to be running on lies and half truths. The only pure and true character is The Girl in White Pajamas.

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About the Author

Chris Birdy was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, she did a four year stint in the Middle East. When she returned to the States, Chris settled down in the Boston area and became a true Bostonian by collecting college degrees while raising a family.

For more than twenty years, Chris has been a member of the legal community performing investigative work for Boston law firms conducting business in rough housing projects and crack house neighborhoods.  Several years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, Chris watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney. The attorney was defending a young woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk behind the wheel. The occupants of the other cars were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop’s every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept.
Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, “Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie..”  Chris wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he’d be just as good a liar as they were.
The seeds for The Girl in White Pajamas were planted in that courtroom.

Chris lives outside of Boston and in Palm Beach, Florida with her husband.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.      










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Our Home Ed Week

We seem to be properly back in the swing of things now and have been cracking on with lots of learning this week.

Bean has got back into his maths and is reading as much as he always does. He picked his new research topic last week, and decided that he wanted to learn about Leonardo da Vinci. I’m really pleased with this choice – there’s so much to explore. He’s decided to concentrate on his inventions first, and we’ve started with the Aerial Screw. We’ve also dabbled in code writing and Bean is creating a scrapbook of his research.


This week we also signed him up for two online courses offered by universities (but aimed at learners of all ages). One will see us carrying out science experiments together and the other is all about football, although that one doesn’t start til next month, when the Science course has finished. They seem perfect for home ed!

Our local meetups with other home ed families have started again too, and he spent a couple of hours larking around in a local swimming pool with some new friends at the end of last week, as well as returning to Cubs and joining a football club. 

Not to be outdone by her big brother, Plum has been working on her reading. She’s really got back into Reading Eggs and in the last week has gone from knowing a few sight words, to reading a sentence all on her own to reading a short book! She is very excited by this turn of events, and so are we.

Plum only ever “works” when she asks to – she’s not four yet and so I don’t feel any pressure to have her reading, writing, counting or anything else. But she loves to learn, so she’s also been doing some independent learning – counting and adding with worksheets, and discovering that she can write the digits from 0-9. More celebrations all round!

2014-09-24 13.32.10

PK has begun coming to sit with us when Plum plays on Reading Eggs – he likes to watch the animations and is able to recognise one or two letters. Mostly he just laughs at the antics of the characters.

It’s a welcome return to some order – we’re not at all structured, but it’s nice to have the children making the decision to keep the TV switched off and learn together instead.