Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Apologies for the lack of blogging but between being sick, trying to finish hand-sewing Blondie Boy's costume and going down to Troon I just needed to take a wee break!

I *love* Halloween and as all of my Halloween costumes growing up were hand-made by my Dad it was really important to me to make Blondie Boy's costume myself. Anyone who knows me will know that I do not sew or craft or do anything artsy, so it took some effort but was well worth it!

He loved passing out candy to the few trick or treaters that we had and looking at the jack o' lanterns and decorations we had up. Hopefully next year he will get to go trick or treating for the first time and fingers crossed he'll get to do it in Cincinnati!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Going once, twice: NEW WINNER!

The original winner has not contacted me in over 72 hours, so in accordance with the rules we have a new winner!

Congratulations Paula Virgo! I'm sorry you don't get your own cute video :(
Please be in touch within 48 hours with your contact information or a third winner will be drawn. Congratulations and for those who didn't win the Step Start Walk 'N Ride is available online and at many fine retailers.

Keep your eyes open as I'm launching a fabulous giveaway from Soap & Glory later this week that is open to entrants worldwide!

Monday, 25 October 2010

...and the winner is

We had 63 valid entries for this giveaway and I'm really excited for our winner as the Walk 'N Ride is something Blondie Boy really loves! Blondie Boy lets you know who the winner is below!

Please be in touch within 48 hours with your contact information or another winner will be drawn. Congratulations and for those who didn't win the Step Start Walk 'N Ride is available online and at many fine retailers.

Keep your eyes open as I'm launching a fabulous giveaway from Soap & Glory later this week that is open to entrants worldwide!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

XFactor: Live Shows Week 3

Paije Richardson:

Who styles him? He's like the love child of Whitley and Dwanye Wayne from A Different World with his brightly coloured shoulder-padded blazer and faded hi-top haircut; I have no idea what's around his neck but he should return it to Flava Flav asap. I'm sure the judges are going to love this, but I'm b-o-r-e-d and I think it was self-indulgent. He's the first out and I think he's at risk at being in the bottom three.

John Adeleye:

Why does he have the hairstyle of an 8 year old girl playing double-dutch? Again, I'm hating the styling. I don't know this song and it's not keeping my attention and the two random dancers grinding and then pirouetting off to the side are just confusing me. It didn't sound bad, but another one I'm throwing into the bottom three pile.

Rebecca Ferguson:

Did they dye her hair the same colour as Cheryl's or is that just a new weave? I don't like the big ass bow making her look crazy-wide when you know she's teeny-tiny. Now in her VT she said she wanted to show how she's young and can have fun--I thought that meant she'd be doing something uptempo and contemporary. I do think this song suits her and she's singing beautifully, but I kinda want to see her bust out of this 30's jazzy vibe or at least sing something modern in a jazzy style. Regardless, she's safe.

Cher Lloyd:

OMG She's singing No Diggity?!?!? I can identify that song after two notes, it's true. Oh Noooo now a segway into Shout? I am *not* a fan of the medley and I was about to say as much as I hate her I freaking love that song, but when you add in Shout and that broke-ass rap, blergh. She looks like she has 5 pairs of false lashes on how she can see is beyond me and did Cheryl dye Cher's hair to match hers as well? How is Cher "being me" when she's copied Cheryl's hair? Shout, shout let it all out, Cher's breath smells like sauerkraut. She'll be safe, blah.

Matt Cardle:

It's Britney bitches. I know I complained about his one hat, but I think he needs to get that hat back because what's underneath isn't nice. Is an acoustic version of "...Baby One more Time" original? No, Travis did it in the late 90's. Will people love it? Yes. He's wicked safe.

One Direction:

Does anyone have 8-16 year old little girls? They freaking love One Direction, right? Which one do they fancy? I honestly don't think it matters what they sing, little girls will eat them up and probably Grannies too and aren't those two demographics XFactor's bread and butter? I think they've really gelled and sound good for a boy band. Despite that really, really bad last note by Zain, they're safe.

(The theme is guilty pleasures? I tooootally missed that and would have never known if I hadn't heard Cheryl say that. Whoops, sometimes I fast-forward through too much I guess!)

Treyc Cohen:

Um Zepplin isn't a guilty pleasure, I'm fairly sure they are a respectable band you don't have to like about liking. I think Treyc is a good singer, but she's not a rock chick and I'm not loving this or her feather shoulder pads. Can someone please explain the grinding people to me- how is that something you get into? Anyway I see she too has some Cheryl coloured extensions if Katie doesn't come out with red hair at this point I'll be surprised. I don't think the audience at home will pick up the phone for that so I'm throwing her in the bottom three pile.

Mary Byrne:

I'm not a fan of people re-singing songs from auditions; it reminds me of Tatiana from American Idol. I do really like this song and Mary excels at songs she can belt since she is from the school of "she who sings loudest is best." I'm not loving the dress, but I'm just glad she's not in flowy pants this week; maybe next week she can wear her hair down. I'd love to hear her sing something contemporary, but I don't see that happening. Tesco's darling is safe.

Aiden Grimshaw:

Oh Aiden has jumped the shark; I don't know if he's lost his confidence after last week but this is NOT good. He should give this song to Mary and that hair back to Vanilla Ice. I'd throw him in my bottom three pile too, but the judges loved him.

Belle Amie:

Girls Aloud is their guilty pleasure or The Pretenders? Either way this isn't going to go down well with Cheryl I suspect. Do they have belts or a bike chain or something weaved into their hair? I gotta say I think this performance is falling really flat, the singing isn't bad, but it's just not exciting. The redhead's shoes are cute and I like the blonde one's dress; yes I don't know their names and don't pretend like you do either. I'm throwing them into my bottom three pile and yes I know I have more than three in there, so sue me!


I'm speechless, I need a minute to collect my thoughts. Talk amongst yourselves; here's a topic: Grapenuts are neither grapes nor nuts, discuss. Spice Girls took my power of speech away and then a segway into La Vida Loca with carnival dancers simulating sex. and then flashing Wagner. I can't comment on the singing because, well umm he didn't sing. Louis has done lost his mind, but they hit guilty pleasures right on the head. I'd say bottom three, but there is obviously a vote for the worst campaign going on for Wagner.

Katie Waissel:

Well at least she didn't dye her hair Cheryl red, but can someone please touch her roots up for me? I'm sure the X-Factor budget has enough money for a little peroxide. Her VT said she's be dancing, but I think she's more prancing about and trying to look sexy, emphasis on trying. I get how Disney can be a guilty pleasure, but I didn't love it. I think Simon might break out his cruise ship metaphor in response to her performance. I agree with Louis she is like Gwen Stefani as I believe Gwen should never be allowed to perform live. I was wrong about Simon so I guess she's safe.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Stuff we love: Tommee Tippee

I'm lucky enough to get to review some amazing products, but I thought I'd let y'all know some stuff that we use everyday and love, too!
Tommee Tippee

We've used Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles, Sterilizer and Soft Soothers (we call them pipkas) since Blondie Boy came home from the hospital. We've never had any problems with colic nor any problems with wear and tear.

I really like the Soft Soothers because now that Blondie Boy is teething it means he can chew on his pipka and it won't hurt his gums or teeth.
Now that Blondie Boy is getting bigger we also use Tommee Tippee sippy cups, spoons and bowls, too. We have several different types, but I think my favorite is the Tip it Up Cup. It's really easy for Blondie Boy to hold and it doesn't drip a lot.
I'd never heard of Tommee Tippee before we had Blondie Boy since I grew up in the USA (although it's now available in the US!) but I can't imagine our day-to-day without it!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday

NotBlondeHusband, Blondie Boy, the Emma dog and I had a crisp, but lovely walk this afternoon at Drumpellier Country Park. Don't worry he was bundled up in his footmuff during the walk so hopefully the fresh air did him some good!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sick Boy

Blondie boy has had a runny nose and cough since this weekend and while he's not feeling great he is still full of smiles and mischief!

It's the first time he's been sick and it sucks so much to see him not feeling well. Hopefully he'll be better soon. Now I need to try and find my Social Distortion CDs because I have Sick Boy stuck in my head!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Win with Playskool!

Remember Blondie Boy's Playskool Step Start Walk 'N Ride? The lovely people at Playskool were so pleased that Blondie Boy liked his that they are giving one away worth £24.99 to one of our readers!

To enter:

Comment who you'd give the Step Start Walk 'N Ride to play with and why you think they'd like it! You can check out our review here.

Extra Entries:

-Follow my Blog publicly and comment to let me know; there is a widget on the right sidebar (1 extra entry)

-Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway and comment to let me know (1 extra entry)

-Blog about the giveaway and comment to let me know (1 extra entry)

Make sure to leave each entry in a separate comment.

This giveaway is open to UK readers only.

A winner will be drawn at random on October 25th at 12:00 GMT. NOW CLOSED. Winners must contact me within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn. GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Healthy-ish Potato Soup

I love a warm, filling bowl of soup when it starts to get cold outside. Growing up in Cincinnati there was a restaurant called Funky's Cafe that was famous for it's potato soup. It was so famous that the local newspaper created a "healthy" version of it.

My sister tweeted about how she was making a bowl and I knew I had to make it! She kindly transcribed the recipe for me and I thought I'd share it with you. It is super easy and really filling. I forgot to take a picture but it basically looks like the picture above, but mine was slightly darker.

Potato Soup
· 1 tbl margarine (Iused light butter spread)
· 2 cups diced onion (I would reduce this amount next time)
· 1/4 cup flour
· 3 cups chicken broth
· 1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
· 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
· 1 1/4 cups milk (I used skimmed)
· 1/4 tsp salt
· 1/2 tsp basil · 1/2 cup cooked potatoes (just peel a baking potato ,cut it in fours, put in boiling water and cook until tender , poke potato with a fork when the fork goes in its done)
· bacon bits (I made my own by frying lardons in a pot until crispy)
· shredded cheese

In large saucepan over low heat melt margarine, saute onion stirring constantly until tender.
Add flour stirring well.
Gradually whisk in broth and soup, bring to a boil.
Add potato flakes, cook stirring 15-20 minutes.
Add milk and cook 10 min more DO NOT BOIL!
Add diced potatoes (cut those cooked chunks into little pieces)
Add salt and basil.
Sprinkle with bacon bits and cheese
Makes 6-8 servings.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

I Believe

I Believe:

.....toenails should always be painted

pedicure Pictures, Images and Photos

......flip-flops should be worn whenever humanly possible

winter flip-flops Pictures, Images and Photos

.....fresh highlights are sure fire cure for the blues chocolate tastes a thousand times better with whipped cream

.....Cincinnati has the best local food of any city

chili Pictures, Images and Photos

.....American tv is better than British tv

Glee Pictures, Images and Photos

......a lot of other things that I'll remember next week :)

Why not join in yourself?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Step by Step

Update!: Now you can enter to win won yourself! Click here.

Blondie Boy loves being mobile and holy crap can he get where he wants to go quick! He also loves to stand; any chance he gets he pulls up to stand. Since he loves to move and to stand I had a sneaking suspicion he'd love the Playskool Step Start Walk 'N Ride, a sturdy, stable walker that helps babies learn to stand and walk. It also converts to baby's first ride-on toy, with a locking mechanism only parents can activate and features hands-on activities in both modes.
He seriously loves this toy! He will sit and pull the lever, spin the wheels and open and close the trunk over and over. I like to hide little things in the trunk for him to find when he opens it up!

He isn't perfect at walking with it yet, but he will take a few steps and then drop to his knees to play with it some more. Everyday he is walking more and more with it, but he loves the rolling/spinning thing so much sometimes he leans forward to play with it and that thwarts his walking!

The Playskool Step Start Walk 'N Ride<> retails for £24.99, but Playskool is offering Transatlantic Blonde readers 50% cash back until October 21st! For terms and conditions and to download the appropriate forms please click through here! What will you get with your discount?

Transatlantic Blonde was provided this product for review.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Who needs Sleep?

So I'm going to let y'all in on a not so big secret, I can't sleep. If you follow me on Twitter, instant message me from the USA or just know me this should come as no surprise. It's like I'm stuck in some time zone in the middle of the Atlantic ocean half way between the US and Scotland.

To be totally honest it's no that I can't sleep, but more specifically that I can not fall asleep. Once I am actually asleep I am fairly good at staying asleep. I've tried many things in the past from listening to specifically designed sleep playlists through a pillow speaker to prescription medicines.

For the past few years I have been watching DVDs to fall asleep. We have our DVD player set up so I can set a sleep timer and after a certain amount of time the TV turns off, but I can still hear the sound of the movie which will shut off thanks to a second sleep timer. This has been my go to sleep setup for years, but it's just not cutting it anymore.

I often am still asleep when the DVD turns off which then leads me to panic, turn back on the DVD and start all over again. Right now I'm downstairs while Blondie Boy and NotBlondeHusband are asleep and trying to get sufficiently sleepy before slipping into bed.

Does anyone else have this problem? I should add it doesn't matter what time I go to bed or what time I wake up (so don't tell me to get up early Mom) falling asleep is always difficult.

For getting through an entire post with no pictures I leave you with the Barenaked Ladies; I always think of this song when talking about not sleeping....

Saturday, 9 October 2010

X Factor: First Live Show Recap

So I used to live tweet the X-Factor and have blogged about it before, but I pretty much Sky+ every show these days so here is my recap of the X-Factor, but in a live blog style!

GAMU WAS ROBBED!!!! I could care less about the other wildcards to be honest! I have 1 degree of separation from Gamu, so maybe I’m a bit more pissed off if there was zero connection, but umm I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

Is the girl in the Yeo Valley rap Alex from Britain’s Next Top model who won a few years ago? How much does a commercial that long on the first X Factor live show cost do you think? Okay time to fast-forward!

Does that guy need those glasses or is it just a really bad fashion choice? A bow-tie necklace? A sleeveless hoodie? Really? Can you tell I’m not digging their fashion choices? I think what that says more so is that I’m not impressed with the vocals since I’m looking at what they are wearing so much! I’m not a huge fan of this song to begin with and I’m not loving their version or performance, it’s just well boring. I agree with Danni they were moving around too much, it was like high school musical or something.

VERDICT: They don’t get my vote, but I don’t begrudge Simon for putting them through. They went first so always possible they will end up in the bottom.

Matt Cardle:
Does Matt only own one hat? I think I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have it on tonight on stage. I like him, but jeez buy a new hat. There it is! I knew the hat would be there. I really like him, but umm this is not starting out good at all. I’m really not enjoying this and are his pants too long in the crotch? Okay his falsetto is good, but I don’t know something just doesn’t feel right and certainly doesn’t sound right. Ugh he just dropped down in my esteem doing those “praying hand thank you” gestures; I find it sooo annoying when people do that! It always seems fake and wankerish to me. Apparently everyone loved that except for me, oh well!

VERDICT: I do still like him, despite his unfortunate gesturing and lack of hat diversity and I hope he makes it through to next week to redeem himself.

John Adeleye:
I didn’t think he was good enough to go through to be honest and just went through because he was one of the least delusional over 28’s. Ugh, no stage presence and no power behind his voice. I want to fast-forward through the rest of his song because I just don’t care. Okay I did just fast-forward, he wasn’t worth my time, sorry! The theme is number ones tonight? The fact that it is New Zealand’s number one makes me chuckle because it make me think of the Conchords.

VERDICT: Won’t vote for him and I would have preferred someone more talented or a bit crazy, but not the elf guy he scared me!

Rebecca Ferguson:

I hope they threw her ponytail weave and false lashes in the trash; ponytail clip on hair is the worst! Oh wow she is super nervous isn’t she? Okay so they just upgraded her to a nicer quality ponytail weave—it looks better, but umm come on it’s still clip on hair! Her eyelashes are much better though. She doesn’t seem very comfortable up there and it’s not bad, but it’s not exciting. I think a lot of this has to do with song choice, it just seems not very “now.” I agree with Simon, she needs to be younger and more fun.

VERDICT: I want to see her having fun and singing something funkier and younger.

Storm Lee:

Playing up the Scottishness in hopes of regional votes already huh Louis? Why oh why did he dye his head neon red? Who said that looks good (if anyone mentions I dated someone with that color hair I will plead misguided youth)? Umm does he have a multi-coloured glitter eyeband painted on his face? I do think he is a really good singer but it’s all such an act with the glitter and red hair and umm GIMP DANCERS?!?!?! What the F is up with the dancers? I’m also not sure why you’d sing a Starship song, it makes it all a little bit like an 80’s tribute act. I totally agree with Cheryl the image is way too much. VERDICT: I always support Scotland, especially when they are talented. I hope he tones it down a bit next week or at least doesn’t go so 80’s.

Belle Amie:

Girl bands notoriously do poorly so I think “Airplanes” is a good choice because people might vote because they like the song. Is it me or does it seem like their mics aren’t turned up very loud? I feel like their vocals are coming across really quietly, but I don’t think they are soft singers if that makes sense. I just noticed there are two jumpsuits in the band and I am NOT a fan of jumpsuits.

VERDICT: I don’t think they were horrible, but girl bands don’t normally get votes easily so I wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up in the bottom for that reason. Hopefully since their song choice is a current hit they’ll be okay.

Cher Lloyd:

Oh she’s in my bad books for stealing a place from Gamu when she had such a crap performance at judges’ houses and for saying she made up a rap that she didn’t. Ew harem pants weren’t cool when MC Hammer wore them and they are not cool now. Is it me or is her rapping just sorta slighty shouty talking? The whole thing is just awful and I’d fast forward but I want to see if it gets worse. I honestly don’t really know the song and maybe that is part of it but I don’t like it.

VERDICT: The judges all loved it, I hated it, so who knows what the public will think. She’ll need to pull it out next week to win me over.

Diva Fever:
I think these two are super likeable and fun, but they haven’t been more other than camp karaoke up until now. Okay if you are going to wear a sequin suit it should be tailored to fit you properly. Maybe I’m mistaken but I’m pretty sure there isn’t a sequin suit shop where you can pick one up; I think if one wants a sequin suit it must be bespoke. Why the outfit change to biker shorts? Do you think Simon is trying to make us think of “Pineapple Dance Studios?” The one wee guy sang okay, but the other guy didn’t really sing at all and when he did it wasn’t nice.

VERDICT: I think some people might vote for them because camp things are trendy right now, but they are not the best singers and I think they know that.

Paije Richardson:

That jacket is horrendous. Who is the stylist on this show? 90% of the acts have looked awful tonight! I don’t know if the background music is too loud or the change of pronouns is putting me off, but I’m not enjoying it. Also he should not attempt to dance or walk because he is out of breath and out of time after only 20 seconds of moving around.

VERDICT: I don’t think he is bad, but I think he thinks he is a lot better than he is. I don’t know who’s vote he’d really get so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the bottom.

Katie Waissel:

Ugh she really annoys me and has from the beginning. She’s also in the bad books for stealing a place from Gamu after she couldn’t even sing a whole song and SHE ALREADY HAS A RECORD DEAL AND HAD A REALITY TV SHOW! Can you tell I can’t stand her? What the F is she wearing and why is she singing a song that she tried to sing at auditions? Is she really playing the piano or just pretending? I’m leaning towards just pretending since her hands have barely moved. I really don’t like her voice and can barely hear it over the music at a lot of points. I so agree with Louis: more style or substance and I will add on and say that that style makes no sense. Ooh Danni agrees with me!

VERDICT: I think people will either love or hate her and I hope more hate her and she goes home. Yea I’m not budging on this one.

Mary Byrne:

She seems really at home on the stage even if her facial expressions and gestures are a bit over the top. I think she is one of those singers who thinks singing louder means they are singing better, but I think it works for her on this song choice. I think her makeover, which is really just makeup and a good haircut is really good and even though she’s in some sort of pant-suit thingy, I kinda like it.

VERDICT: She will so be here next week, no question and I don’t think she’ll ever have to work at Tesco again.

Nicolo Festa:
Does he have a cold sore in his VT? Ew!!! I think he’s like an Italian, singing Chuck Bass if that makes any sense. He is a little shit who think’s he’s the shit and somehow that kinda works for him. I don’t think the singing is bad, but it’s also not exciting or impressing me. I don’t really have anything else to say.

VERDICT: I think he might be in the bottom, but maybe not since he sang Lady Gaga.

One Direction:
I think little girls will LOVE these boys. When i was a little girl I remember calculating how much older celebrities I crushed on were than I was and thinking “Oh Mark Paul Gosselaar is only 6 years older than me, so that’s totally possible.” Since they are all under 18 I think little girls will love them and even as an adult I can say at least 2 of them are pretty cute (don’t call me a cougar). First off I’m not a huge Coldplay fan, so I’m not loving the song choice. I think they are actually singing together quite well, but their movements/gestures are a bit too heavy handed and forced.

VERDICT: They will be here next week no question. Little girls and old ladies are who vote for the X-Factor.

First I’m so glad it looks like they gave him a deep conditioning treatment; his frizzy hair grossed me out. She Bangs segwaying into Love Shack after a bongo solo? I don’t know if it is his accent, but I just can’t even slightly take this guy seriously and throw in that bizarre medley and not a chance.

VERDICT: Bottom three.

Aiden Grimshaw:
He looks like he is about to kill someone! His facial expressions and his grip on the mic are way too intense for my liking. I know Mad World is a dark, intense song but this is waaay over the top. Also come on no one, NO ONE, can top Adam Lambert’s version of Mad World from American Idol Season 9; it can not be done.

VERDICT: He sang it well, but he creeped me out and he’s no Glambert.

Treyc Cohen:
I won’t be mad her that she’s the wildcard and Gamu isn’t, I will keep my bitterness for Katie and Cher. I’m not loving the messy hair, greased up legs or the styling in general, but HELLO baby’s got back. She can definitely sing, but honestly I don’t know if that’s good enough on these shows. It was good song choice for her vocal range, but I don’t know if it will make people vote.

VERDICT: She does deserve to be there, but I wouldn’t be shocked if she was in the bottom three.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Scouting for Scout

I knew about Leapfrog Toys as the Entertainment Center that was loaned to Blondie Boy in Cincinnati was Leapfrog and he absolutely adored it. It was really well made and clever, so I was excited to try out more Leapfrog products.

Blondie Boy loves to read. He loves it when he is read to as well, but he loves to read himself and will sit happily with a book for minutes at a time. "Goodnight Scout" is recommended for ages 6 months-36 months. Children can flip the pages back and forth to progress the story, and learn about book basics and bedtime routines as they listen and "read." The book can even play lullabies and be used as a night-light.

Blondie Boy, as you can see, often reads upside down, but he loves flipping through the pages and pushing the button at the top to change the story or activate the songs. The tabs on the side mean it is easy for children to turn the pages and can play and read independently.

We also were sent Twinkle Twinkle Little Scout, which is ridiculously adorable. The wee puppy sighs a sleepy sigh when you turn him on that is the cutest thing ever. Depending on which buttons your press Scout sings songs, counts sheep/stars, plays lullabies or plays nature sounds. The moon also glows to provide a soothing nightlight.

Blondie Boy liked Scout and pet him and his blanket, but he was not all about chilling with Scout and falling asleep. I tried introducing Twinkle Twinkle Scout when I knew he was sleepy, but not asleep and he just wasn't feeling it. That being said, Blondie Boy doesn't sleep with any toys when he naps or at night, nor does he ever go to his bed still awake, so that could play a part, too.

My friend Kami's little boy Lincoln has Twinkle Twinkle Scout and loves him and can push all the different buttons by himself. Lincoln is a few months older than Blondie Boy so maybe Blondie Boy will learn to love Scout in time, too.

My only gripe is that both the book and Scout have English accents. Blondie Boy only ever hears American or Scottish accents, so the English accent might have confused him, too. It would be nice if toys with Scottish accents existed in the UK (I know I can get American accents in the USA), so far I have no come across any.

Leapfrog Toys are available at many retailers and online.

Transatlantic Blonde was provided these products for review.