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Day 1 + 2 of 1,000 Day Fitness Streak challenge plus ZooPics

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spark Guy has started a 1000 day challenge to do at least ten fitness minutes each of those thousand days, starting on Saturday 16th April. Here's the link in case you missed it:


I am determined to do as many of those thousand days as possible, so:

Day 1 (16th April 2011)

I'll count the ten minutes I spent on Tigger bouncing along to three songs while lifting weights. :-)

Day 2 (17th April 2011)

Walking a Mile with Leslie Sansone. (realised I had yet to do this, so leapt off my chair and grabbed my trainers.) :-)

All done! *grin*

This could be just the incentive to get back to regular blogging too. I have just been so busy with family visits, and short work weeks this month, and the Costo isn't helping, because it's there on a low level most of the time now. But even so, I know I can do a decent amount of fitness minutes each day, whether it is walking Sophie, bouncing on Tigger, stepping on Roo, or walking with Leslie Sansone, I can do something that gets my heart rate up for at least ten minutes most days. :-)

Also, and you may well have spotted this already if you check my feed... We are getting a Wii in a couple of days! We are so excited!!! We already have a spare set of controllers courtesy of Adrian (birthday pressie), and 40 from Family members towards the cost. Plus I had saved up 60 of rewards and money off vouchers with my Littlewoods catalogue, so Tara chose Mariokart and a Harry Potter game, plus I ordered - gods help me - Zumba Fitness, complete with a special belt to hold the remote. LOLOL When we buy the secondhand console on Wednesday, we get a choice of a game to go with it out of four options, and we both went for Just Dance. So all those should keep us pretty busy for a while! *grin*

Later in the year I hope to add Wii Fit Plus and Guitar Hero to the collection of games, and has anyone seen that exercise bike game? Wow! Fancy that I do, not half! But at 150 quid, I don't think it will happen any time soon unless I see rave reviews about it! LOLOL

Does anyone reading this have the exercise bike for Wii who can let me know how good it is? She asks hopefully. :-)

So we are counting down to Wii-Day. :-)

Tara had a wonderful birthday weekend, she says, changing the subject. *grin* The zoo trip was great, and all us girls had a wonderful family Girls' Day Out - the 'Girls' consisted of Tara, Bryony, Debbie (Rob's Mum) and Yours Truly! :-) It was very warm and sunny out of the breeze, and we all got very slightly sunburnt, which is almost unheard of in April. *Makes mental note to replenish sunscreen*

Sadly we forgot to buy the Zoo Poo, but we realised that we can visit the shops at the Zoo without going into the zoo proper, so we can go back anytime and get some if we want it. :-)

We took loads of photos with our camera phones, but a lot were marred due to having to take them through plexiglass. Still, we have a decent assortment to play with even so.

Here are a few Zoo Photos for your enjoyment:

My own little Managerie:

One of the Babes with Mum:

My favourite of the Monkeys - basically because they are black and white, and I have a real thing for black and white animals and birds. Look at the length of that amazing white tail! Absolutely gorgeous:


Models and artwork are everywhere, like this one:

Pride Rock:

Oddly useful Lion:

A whole building was dedicated to Native American lore and history, and these are samples of the outside of the building:

The Petting Zoo area:

Tara has grown a bit since she sat on this giant tortoise statue:

Dad! Is that you?

And before I get accused of speaking ill of the dead, let me explain....

My Dad said that smoking was a filthy and disgusting habit, but he also firmly believed that in order to have an opinion about something, you had to experience it so that you had the experience to back up your convictions. To this end, every Christmas day, he would puff on one small cigar to reaffirm his belief. We always told him - in that loving way that families do - that he looked like a gorilla sucking on a piece of bamboo! LOL

Wanna see a Wallaby?

Aboriginal Art:

This is an open ant exhibit, which uses natural barriers of water to keep the leafcutter ants on the island in the middle instead of covering them in plexiglass. A few do reach the other side of the water using bits of leaf to float across, but that is as far as they can get apparently. It tells you not to lean on the edge, because the ants bite! Still, it didn't stop people from leaning on the edge. I have to wonder how many people end up with an ant to take home. LOL

One of the Tigers from the current breeding programme:


This area houses several different African animals. The Rhinos and Zebras share the space with Ostriches and Cranes and Giraffes:

And finally, my favourite experience of the day, and no, Debbie is none too keen on snakes, so we didn't go to their show. *so sad, awww* Well, I couldn't put her through it, poor love! :-) Instead we went to see the Raptor demonstration, which was all about British and European Raptors at the sitting we went to.

I had the joy of this beautiful Barn Owl flying right over my head:

And this one - the breeding pair were just awesome to see:

We also saw this kestrel:

And then this Buzzard:

And then the highlight of the show....

A European Eagle!!!

I had a close enough encounter with the Barn Owl, because I felt the wind in my hair as he swooped overhead, but the Eagle went one better. He hit me on the top of my head and hand with his wing as he swooped over us.

He flew from this perch...

....to this one:

And this is the photo I took literally a second before he hit me! LOL

Highlight of my day was chatting with the keeper after the show and checking I hadn't damaged his wing any! *grin* I doubt I will ever get any closer to an eagle than I did that day. :-)

Isn't he just magnificent?

So, that is about it for now. A lot to catch up on. :-)

I did get terribly behind with reading blogs and anything Sparky outside of logging in, spinning the wheel and filling in my nutrition data, but I am slowly catching back up, and if you are waiting for replies or anything, I hope to get to you very soon. :-) But don't be too surprised if I largely vanish again for a few days over Easter, because Bryony is visiting again, with Rob this time, and I suspect we will be quite busy again. :-) At least I finally get to see my Son-in-Law this year. LOL Haven't seen him since the wedding. Wonder if I'll get bear-hugged again LOL

Have a great rest of the weekend, and I hope the week ahead is good for everyone.
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/7/2011 6:04PM

    Makes me ready to go to a zoo!! I'm behind on reading blogs, too.

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TIGGERRD 4/25/2011 3:24PM

    Great decision to do 1000 days of fitness!

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SENATOR9 4/19/2011 9:32AM

    Alway fun at the zoo great pictures

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CARLA-216 4/18/2011 3:45PM

    Great photos from the zoo, Lex! I love raptors and would have enjoyed the show. We have a raptor center here in NC that rehabs injured raptors before returning them to their habitat. We visited there a year or so ago and I loved it.

So glad to hear Tara had a great birthday and that the Wii will be here in a couple of days! Yeah!


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BOVEY63 4/18/2011 12:38PM

    So happy that Tara had a great birthday weekend. The zoo looked like a lot of fun (thanks for leaving out any snake pics).

Have a wonderful week Lexie!

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ALIONHEART 4/18/2011 8:11AM

    Thanks for sharing, it looks like a fantastic day out. I love your introduction to Easter on your Sparkpage too. I feel the same way as you, when I look at all the new life and spring flowers xx. emoticon

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WANDAH3 4/18/2011 7:34AM

    Lexie... love your blog, the pictures are wonderful. I especially loved the "oddly useful lion" grin. It's so nice to see somewhere where there is no snow and people can actually be outdoors without being bundled up. We are supposed to experience a balmy plus 3 today! Woo Hoo. All this dump of snow that we just got, might actually melt.

Have an awesome day...thank you for always lifting my spirits.


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CHERIRIDDELL 4/18/2011 12:47AM

    As usual Lexie this was a brilliant blog that I enjoyed so much .I love the photos ! love and hugs,Cheri

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SCREWIE 4/17/2011 8:26PM

    Wow, great photos!

Enjoy the Wii when it arrives, and thanks for the 1000 Days' challenge link :)))

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CHEVY63 4/17/2011 3:32PM

    Wow- so much good stuff in one blog! I'm glad you're getting the Wii (I don't have one, so I can't make any recommendations).

Thanks for all the great pictures - looks like you had a very enjoyable outing.

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_LINDA 4/17/2011 3:11PM

    AWESOME photos! So nice with just a camera phone! Amazed what those can do!
Fabulous fitness! Enjoy your Sunday!!
Linda xxx

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Not been around much this week

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Hi all,
Had a combo of very bad TOM, spring cleaning, lawn mowering and Costochondritis to deal with all at once this week. NOT fun and a classic example of my lousy timing! LOLOL! *shakes head*

Still, I'm coming out the other end of TOM and the Costo now, so we got a good cleaning day in today, thank goodness. The bathroom and kitchen are gleaming, and Tara has been wonderful at helping out. :-) Tomorrow I need to dust the sitting room and wash down some of the doors and window frames, but that should do it. Will take down the curtains when I am fully recovered. :-)

My older daughter - Bryony - is arriving tomorrow for a few days (YAY!), and it is Tara's 15th birthday on the 12th, so we have a busy time ahead, and I won't be around Spark very much until about the middle of next week.

Bryony's taking us to the zoo on Saturday,
Zoo on Saturday,
Zoo on Saturday,
Bryony's taking us to the zoo on Saturday,
We can see the Lirpa Loof! (kidding)
We can stay all day!

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo,
Wish you could come too, too, too
We'll buy some elephant poo, poo, poo
From the shop at the zoo, zoo, zoo
(Not kidding. They actually sell tins of elephant poo at Colchester Zoo for you to spread on your garden. LOL)

Freshly potted every day - a mix of Elephant and Rhino poo. You saw it here first folks! LOL More details here:


I hope to get loads and loads of photos of the Lirpa Loof and other assorted animals for possible future blogging. ;-) Rob's Mum is travelling over for the day especially, so we can have a proper Girls' Day Out. Debbie, Bryony, Tara and Me. Gonna be a good day. The weather forecast looks good too.

I'm just keeping everything crossed that my body behaves itself. It has run me ragged for most of the week. :-)

Catch you all again later.
Take care,
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELAOPET 4/13/2011 2:54PM

    You had me google Costochondritis LOL Chest pain? I may have that! LOOL This is my inner hypochondriac speeking! hehehe
I hope you had a great week and are having some better days, no bad Costochondritis (I copy/pasted this LOL) to bother you!
I'm having rather bad TOM as well with new boobs and all swelling and making me feel funny...Not to mention hungry! Oh-oh!
sigh...better days are comming, I'm sure! (I hope LOL)
The weather is niice (was too hot for me lately, now comfy, windy and drizzling rain, loving it! I need it now to be cool and fresh, so I hope it lasts a while.)
Hope Tara had a great b-day!!!!
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SILLYHP1953 4/10/2011 12:36PM

    Add another happy birthday wish for Tara! It sounds like a wonderful week...enjoy!

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BOVEY63 4/8/2011 1:13PM

    Glad you're feeling better and hope you have an wonderful time at the zoo - even with the snakes (yuck!!)
happy Birthday to Tara. My oldest son, Tyler, will turn 19 this Sunday and I will be 48 on the 16th - happy to be in Tara's company!

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ALIONHEART 4/8/2011 12:37PM

    Don't know how you managed to get the house gleaming, despite feeling yuk, you are a real trooper!!

Have a great time at the zoo, I look forward to seeing the pics in future blogs.


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CARLA-216 4/8/2011 11:51AM

    So glad to see you back, Lex, and that you're coming out the other end of TOM and Costo. Fingers crossed your body behaves for the zoo zoo zoo visit!

Hope you have a great visit with Bry (and Debbie, too), a grand time at the zoo zoo zoo, and I hope Tara has a great birthday, too too too!


Comment edited on: 4/8/2011 11:52:13 AM

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WANDAH3 4/8/2011 7:23AM

    Happy Birthday to Tara...hope her day is wonderful. Glad to hear that you are on the mend. Miss you when you aren't here.
Enjoy your time with the girls.

I love the "elephant poo", made me giggle as Shyra gave me a lovely little journal for Christmas that is made from "Panda Poo"....yep, I'm serious.

Have an awesome next few days,

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TRINA001 4/8/2011 7:14AM

    Hope Tara has a great birthday! emoticon
Hope the Costochondritis has completely gone asap, how dreadful!
Lol, the thought of the poo being freshly potted every day, Wondering if its purple lurpa poo?

Comment edited on: 4/8/2011 3:04:57 PM

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CHERIRIDDELL 4/8/2011 1:36AM

    Oh Lovely I love the zoo we have an elephant here too but she is elderly and infirm and everyone fights over her and says she should be sent to a retirement home for zoo and circus animals in California !

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SCREWIE 4/7/2011 7:21PM

    Have a lovely time at the zoo zoo zoo
Don't buy too much poo poo poo
Or you will be stinking too too too!

Love the good inteshuns picture emoticon

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DARACOX 4/7/2011 6:55PM

    Glad you are back! Have fun at the zoo! I LOVE zoos!

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The Lirpa Loof - a truly Amazing Animal!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

One of my all-time favourite That's Life documentaries! A creature from the Himalayas with the most astonishing ability to mimic anything it sees you doing.

Here's the Lirpa Loof in all his amazing glory:


Boy, this takes me back!!! LOL

I hope the link works for everyone. :-)
Lex xxx

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCREWIE 4/7/2011 9:17AM

    The interesting thing about Lirpa Loof is that it comes out only once a year. It spends the other 364 days hiding from view.

It's a shame, really!

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ELAOPET 4/7/2011 7:56AM

    Funny that! emoticon
Have a great thursday and then off to a great start for the weekend tomorrow!

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WANDAH3 4/5/2011 7:33AM

    That is the funniest thing I have seen. Thanks for sharing....hope you are having a great day,

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SILLYHP1953 4/3/2011 8:59PM

    They may have been the last people to ever see one...cause I never have!

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    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!! Good one !

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BOE4LIFE 4/2/2011 5:15PM

    ty I needed a laugh

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CARLA-216 4/2/2011 4:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TWOTIMESS 4/2/2011 12:41PM

    I just love the colour of his droppings! A fine specimen of Lirpa Loof!

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DARACOX 4/2/2011 11:42AM

    I'd never heard of this before.....you had me for a second there!

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TRINA001 4/2/2011 11:21AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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What Spring Looks Like in my Small Corner of the World

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wanda set us a challenge in Positive Bloggers this week to blog about spring in our part of the world, so here is mine, just in before the bell. :-) Suddenly having to handle 5000 emails cos of your webmail provider messing things up royally'll set you behind for the week! LOL

A couple of these you may have already seen, but here is a selection of photos of Highwoods, our street, and Castle Park since the Spring Equinox:

Our Road:

As you can see, a lot of trees are still largely bare at this point:

In Castle Park, my three favourite Willows are gradually getting their new coat on:

And things are happening at the river there too:

And the trees across the park are in various stages of bare, budding and full of blossom:

See that Willow in the middle, looking all spring yellow/green with its new foliage? See that teeny weeny pink dot right below it? That is Tara following a different path through the park. LOL Next step in independence. *grin*

The grass is looking lush and this is one of my favourite views across the Upper Park. The wall on the right has bits of the original Roman wall in it at intervals:

This Duck was foraging in the flower beds! See her muddy beak? *grin*

The plastic fencing is also new spring growth... Placed there to stop us from treading where they have reseeded the lawns. See Tara striding along again? She walks fast! LOL :-)

At Highwoods, Sophie and I braved the path over the marsh yesterday, though we didn't go far beyond as there are still very muddy areas and I didn't have the right footwear on.

The water level has dropped along the footpath:

There is lichen on some of the trees and bushes showing what a wet time we have had over the winter:

But the bushes and trees seem to be handling it and are bursting into bud:

And we have fresh new nettles. Time for gloves, a bag, and a recipe for nettle soup, methinks:

And, almost finally, a couple of those May blossom pics:

I am finishing with photos of two of my favourite trees that we see on the straight walk into town via the roads.

The first is a Hawthorn that sits beside a busy roundabout and wows me with its beauty every year:

Then further into town we pass a little park area by the river, and see this Willow:

So, there you go... Nature springing in Colchester. :-)
Have a lovely weekend.
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 4/4/2011 11:29PM

    I can't wait for everything to start blooming here, but we're still getting snow.

I love willow trees and enjoyed seeing your pictures. Hoping to plant one or two in my yard this year.

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SILLYHP1953 4/3/2011 8:42PM

    Your spring is lovely! And where in the world do you come up with those animals pictures? Too much.

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KELLEEH 4/3/2011 11:45AM

    Beautiful pics! So glad Spring is here!

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ZURDTA- 4/3/2011 8:16AM

    England is truly and green and pleasant land - beautiful. And a similar story up here in the Midlands... aren't we lucky?

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IMREITE 4/3/2011 1:37AM

    i can't wait till our snow goes away and stays that way. i love spring.

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SCREWIE 4/2/2011 7:47PM

    Lovely pictures, as always :)

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CHEVY63 4/2/2011 6:48PM

    So neat to see you're world! You ar farther ahead in spring than us- but my daffodils ar blooming.

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TWOTIMESS 4/2/2011 1:02PM

Those trees are beautiful! I could spend days on end just looking at them come into leaf again. Thanks Lex!

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NJMATTICE 4/2/2011 11:22AM

    Lots of blooming and green. Lovely. Thanks for the photo journal!

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JHADZHIA 4/2/2011 11:19AM

    Very beautiful there! I especially love those willows, so very pretty. Our city used to be covered with them, but unfortunately, a disease has wiped most of them out :((
Not much spring here yet, still waiting for the snow and ice to melt.
Have a Super Saturday!
Linda xxx

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CHERIRIDDELL 4/2/2011 10:52AM

    Lovely Lexie,I could happily stroll there today! I am knackered trying to get everything ready for Al's return.If he doesn't appreciate all the work I have done he might be safer over there LOL! hugs,Cheri

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DARACOX 4/2/2011 10:44AM

    Just beautiful! I gotta say, Spring is not nearly so pretty in the city. But we are getting lots of sunshine which is great!

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CARLA-216 4/2/2011 10:35AM

    So very beautiful where you live!


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Visions of the Hundred Acre Wood Dancing Through my Head

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hey everyone,

I've been a little excited lately, because of working to revamp one of my favourite Sparkteams - Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger - and this is a shameless plug for the team to try and encourage some of you to join us. :-)

I became co-leader of the team a few weeks ago, and it is the first time I have had the privilege of helping run a spark team. To start with I was uncomfortable about starting challenges and such because I was wary about treading on toes, but Chris, one of my Co-Leaders, has been so supportive and welcoming, that I started making a few tentative suggestions.

Unfortunately, as happens with teams sometimes, things were pretty slow, and Chris and I knew we needed to shake things up to get the team back on track. A few nights ago, my muse struck out of the blue. Here was a team centred around Tigger, with a passing reference to Eeyore, but what about the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang?

We all love the Stories of Winnie-ther-Pooh. We have loved them since When We Were Very Young, and we continued to to love them Now We Are Six. (Yes I am shamelessly punning, LOL) We had clothes with the characters on, and all the books, and even as adults, a big badge with Tigger's smiling face was enough to make us smile too, so we had to have one!

I still have mine, as you know! :-)

This was my experience and I suspect you all had a similar one. My children arrived, and they were barely focusing before I was introducing them to the Hundred Acre Wood experience. First Bryony was treated to the books, Mum reading the stories to her, and then the films that appeared courtesy of Disney, closely followed by the Winnie-the-Pooh comics. The comics were where I got the pictures to trace and enlarge, which was how I ended up drawing the Disney version of every main character two feet high and plastering them all over her bedroom walls. :-)

When Tara came along, the plushy Winnie-the-Pooh was one of her first toys. And what delighted little Miss Tara more than anything? Holding Winnie aloft, shouting his name, and on the word 'Pooh', launching him skywards accompanied by blowing a raspberry. The sound of Tara's laughter is something I can still hear every time I think of it. *grin*

Tara's Pooh toy was joined a while later by a Tigger pyjama case. That got launched skywards regularly too, cos he bounces, so that was two of them flying around her bedroom! LOL

Finally she was given an itty bitty Piglet, and yes, he flew around her bedroom too, attached to a piece of wool, because, as she pointed out, he flew during Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day! :-)

Anyway, this reminiscing waffle is all because over the last few days I have been reading the books again, remembering all the fun again, finding my missing badge again, and ultimately completely revamping the Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger Team Page. :-)

So, the result of all this musing is that we are attempting to offer the complete Hundred Acre Wood experience to all our team members on Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger. The forums are renamed to reflect Pooh, Owl and Rabbit's houses respectively, and we are including as many of the characters and places from the books as we can in our topics, to try and recapture some of that childlike fun we used to have with them. We can get to know all our favourite characters in a whole new way by combining them with sparkteam challenges. :-)

So, if this sounds like something you might enjoy, why not pop by and check us out? If you like what you see, we would love to have you join us. :-)

Here's the link:


I hope you feel like joining us. It will be Tiggerlicious to have you pop by for a visit and then stay! :-)
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 3/31/2011 2:13PM

    Love your enthusiasm and also love Winnie the Pooh. Busy day today but will try and check out the team tonight ot tomorrow.

Have a Tiggerific day!

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ELAOPET 3/31/2011 7:10AM

    Oh, to be young at heart! I love your spark, heaven knows I need one, so off I go to see if I can get happy with the gang :)
Sigh...a little bit of honey sure sounds good when you're feeling a bit down ...

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SCREWIE 3/29/2011 5:34PM

    I must confess, I don't know Winnie the Pooh much - it wasn't around where I grew up!

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TWOTIMESS 3/29/2011 4:44PM

    Looks like Tigger's getting a lot of new friends, Lex! Shameless plugging gets you new members every time! (You do remember they're on d-r-u-g-s, don't you?)

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CARLA-216 3/29/2011 3:03PM

    I've poked around the team and I believe I will join. It looks like an active and fun team. Yay!

You've got me wanting to read/reread the Christopher Robin and Pooh books that my husband bought some years ago. I'll just add them into the queue!


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BOE4LIFE 3/29/2011 12:48PM

    Can't wait!

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SILLYHP1953 3/29/2011 10:25AM

    I've belonged to this team for a while, but have not been very active....after all this revamping I'll be checking out the Hundred Acre Wood again!

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CHERIRIDDELL 3/29/2011 4:33AM

    A Tigger's a wonderful thing .For years Kayleigh was rumbly in her tumbly when she wanted something to eat! LOL! I think I must join your team ! love and hugs,Cheri

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RAINBOWCHOC 3/29/2011 4:24AM

    Tigger's don't like thistles is one of our families favourite quotes, I'll be along to join the team shortly emoticon

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SPARKINGINMASS 3/28/2011 11:30PM

    What a great idea! I checked it out and I think its cool. Good job!!! emoticon

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CHEVY63 3/28/2011 10:00PM

    So cool! I love winnie the pooh, so I'll check it out!

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JHADZHIA 3/28/2011 9:43PM

    When I first read the title of your blog, I thought you had found a cool new place to walk in LOL. Even though I know the story of the Canadian soldier naming a bear Winnie because he was from Winnipeg and that the cartoon was inspired by this, I am afraid I didn't see much of this growing up and am not that familiar with it.. I guess its what ever our local telly and newspapers chose to show.. For me it was the Peanuts and Bugs Bunny all the way.. I think your idea of naming the forums after the characters is fabulous and fun! That team is lucky to have you!
Linda xxx

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    I went to Sussex to Pooh forest in 2009 and Kevin and I played Poohsticks while there. The rotter he beat me !!! emoticon

I love all of them, but i suppose the most with Piglet, being 5 foot 1 myself and most of the world towers over me, including Kevin at 5 foot 11.

Lovely blog.

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UKPOOHBEAR 3/28/2011 6:16PM

    hey with my name you can count me in :)

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CHRISTURTLE 3/28/2011 5:50PM

    Love this blog, Love, love, love it! You did such a wonderful job Lex, and should feel so very proud of what you thought of, how you researched the possibilities ( its sooo hard to read Hundred Acre Wood based books, lol), and all the threads you came up with.

Lexie, you are positively brilliant, and I know the current team members will be as excited about the changes you've made as I am, and hopefully lots of new members will also find a place of fun, togetherness, adventure, and challenges within the team.

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