Tag Archives: the gingerbread zone

Gingerbread Dalek Season

Gingerbread daleks are not just biscuits (or cookies if you are American). “Gingerbread daleks” has become a shorthand for me that conveys a) how ridiculously domestic I get in December, with the crafting and the cookie baking and the menu planning and the (gasp) cleaning; and b) the way that Doctor Who and Christmas have become interwoven over the last few years – in our house in particular.

If Daleks exterminate a forest of Christmas trees, does anyone hear them?

If Daleks exterminate a forest of Christmas trees, does anyone hear them?

It all started with a cookie cutter that my honey made for me by bending a teddy bear out of shape until it resembled a dalek. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! I can of course make dalek cookies at any time of year, but once you get a chance to make gingerbread daleks at Christmas, believe me, you never go back.

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Never Mind Domestic Science… my Parenthood is all about Domestic Art

As a parent, you get called on at times in your life to be creative and artistic in a domestic setting. There’s no actual obligation, but we’ve all had those notices about bringing cakes to the school (or as my friend received this Christmas, a summons to provide a plate of “something healthy” arranged in a suitably festive shape, such as a Christmas tree or snowman). There are school plays, fancy dress parties, never mind basic arts and crafts activities.

I’m a sucker for domestic art. I don’t do it very often – and I am entirely comfortable with time saving alternatives – but I love an opportunity to do something creative for my kids, given a comfortable timeframe, a practical plan, and a little breathing space.

The most common demonstrations of my domestic art skills in this house are costuming, and the provision of birthday cakes. Nothing fancy – sure, I once produced a hand-sewn Cleopatra costume for an Asterix party which was worn for all of 3 minutes, but I’m just as likely to run out to the shop to find a lion mask at a moment’s notice (give me a month and ebay, and I can dress you as ANYTHING, my darling, but a week’s notice? Aargh!). I’ve even been known to dress my kids up for occasions other than costume parties – like, for instance, my book launches.

This year, we knew with at least six months notice that Raeli wanted a Doctor Who party, and that she wanted to go as a lady Silurian, and my Mum was totally okay with making that costume, as long as it was confirmed as wanted 2 months before the party. 2 months before the party, Raeli changed her mind, and wanted to be River Song instead. We called the party ‘aliens and earthlings’ so as not to alienate the non Doctor Who watchers who were invited, and sort of forgot about the costume.

Meanwhile, I had a plan for Jem’s costume for the same party, which would be a TARDIS dress. Having seen all the gorgeous ones out there, I plotted to remix a plain denim dress, got the makings, and got very excited when I learned about the advances that have been made in T-Shirt Transfer technology.

Somehow, with less than a fortnight to go, we had not organised Raeli’s costume. Her more recent plans to be young Melody Pond ran aground when we checked that episode, and the kid was basically wearing a dress and a cardigan, which can not be made to look like a proper costume. Alarm bells rang. She was sent off with a stack of Doctor Who magazines to figure out what she wanted to look like.

She came back with bright, starry eyes, and the request for an astronaut costume.

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Friday Links removed a Womble’s Head

OK this is my favourite news article of the week – a Womble performer traumatised a nation (well, the six year old portion of the nation) when he accidentally removed his head during a live webfeed. Now, my first reaction was basically that it’s awesome that the Wombles are a THING again for today’s kiddies. As a mother of a six year old myself (who broke my heart with her reaction to finding out about the Santa thing last year)… seriously?

Parents from around the UK said the ‘damage had already been done’ and that they had been forced to come up with ‘all kinds of explanations’ about why there was a human inside a Womble.


Elsewhere in the world, Aqueduct Press continue their marvellous blog series of posts about the Best Reading, Listening, Viewing, etc. in 2011. I like especially that the contributors are asked to talk about what they enjoyed, but not limit themselves to work published this calendar year. And I was honoured to be asked to talk about my own favourite things of 2011. I forgot lots of things, of course, but that’s what my own blog is for!

Also, Brit Mandelo of Tor.com blogs about her new reprint anthology, Beyond Binary, which includes a story by MEEEEE as well as a whole bunch of more famous and wonderful writers. Hooray for genderqueer SF being talked about!

Nnedi Okorafor blogs powerfully about her discomfort in discovering, in the wake of her marvellous World Fantasy win for Best Novel, that the trophy depicts the head of a very racist, unpleasant person. Ie. H.P. Lovecraft. Which has led to all kinds of conversations across Twitter and other forums about, you know, what kind of alternative trophy could better represent excellence in fantasy fiction, or the history of fantasy literature. I suspect TRADITION is going to win out on this one, or at least a combination of tradition and resistance to change, which are not entirely the same things, but personally I can think of a whole bunch of other unpleasant heads which could take his place. Like Medusa!

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Winning at November

So I finished Nanowrimo and ‘won’ in that I completed 50,000 words of novel this month (though I think it doesn’t technically count as a win because I wrote them on two different novels, too bad, I’m counting it). I didn’t do much ELSE this month, of course, but I also was glad to feel that I didn’t completely neglect my house, children, reading obligations, etc. It’s almost like I’m getting the hang of this novel thing. Only the first week was teeth-grindingly hard.

Which of course has made me raise the bar of expectations as to how many words I can put on the plate when I am officially writing a novel – the old 1000 words 5 times a week is starting to look somewhat shabby. Still… no use thinking about that now, I have months and months before I can be actively writing new words every day again. Though the collaborative novel I am writing with the magnificent Kate will continue on and off over the next month or two I guess… at least I get whole days when I am not actively supposed to be working on it!

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