Sunday, 30 June 2019

This Week - 30/06/2019

Who lives sees much, who travels sees more

This week feels like it's gone on forever! The main things at work were full council on Tuesday which ended up being a very long, drawn out meeting. With a request for another meeting right at the end of it. Thursday was visioning (i.e. forward planning) for Children and Young People committee. I still feel really nervous every time I chair it; I'm not sure why, really. Just my nervous disposition, I suppose.

Yesterday Marianna stayed the night at Anthony's mum and dad's, so I mostly just slept. There was a time when a free weekend meant sightseeing, or a night out, or whatever, but now it's just a chance to sleep as much as possible! I did get up eventually and finish off a post on the Broad Haven Triangle mystery I've been working at on and off since last October though.

We also watched that new Netflix film, Murder Mystery. The reviews haven't been great but I really enjoyed it. I mean, sure, it's not a cerebral masterpiece, but it's great as a piece of easy entertainment. I'm halfway through The Alienist - Daniel Brühl never ages, I swear - and Gentleman Jack too. It's so good, and Suranne Jones is awesome as usual.

The blog has been ticking over. For Miniature Monday I posted a guide to the Trailer Trash Dolls, and on Thursday I put together a list of 100 places offering free carpet samples delivered direct to your door.

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This Week - Weekly Overviews

Saturday, 29 June 2019

The Broad Haven Triangle

The Broad Haven Triangle

Over the years I have heard this story dozens of times, and that's a conservative estimate. Any time UFOs came up as a topic of conversation my mum would tell me about her own otherworldly sighting back in the 1970s. To tell the truth I was always kind of dismissive. Aliens? Yeah, right. And just how good would the memory of a kid on holiday be, anyway? It was far more likely to have been a nightmare that only became more vivid with the retelling.

Later, in my twenties, I first heard of the Broad Haven Mystery. The Dyfed Enigma. Welsh Triangle. Whatever you want to call it, the bare bones of the incident involved over twenty children and school staff witnessing a strange craft and being at Broad Haven Primary School in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Picked up by BBC Newsround, a news and current affairs programme aimed at children, the story quickly went international.

Throughout 1977 people in Broad Haven and the surrounding area were plagued with sightings of UFOs, strange lights, and weird looking men who inspired feelings of intense terror.

I knew my mum had been on a caravan holiday in the general area when she had her sighting, from memory I assumed somewhere in Haverfordwest, and started to wonder if it had been inspired by the media attention given to the activity in Broad Haven. I even mentioned it in passing when working on research for an April 2016 blog post - 10 Weird Welsh UFO Encounters - though most of our discussion then centred on the Berwyn Mountain Incident.

Anyway, always in need of stuff to blog about, and getting into the Halloween spirit by whiling away a few hours on the Fortean Times messageboards, I suggested back in October that I write up my mum's sighting in as much detail as she could remember. As soon as we sat down to talk about it I was surprised to hear her bring up Broad Haven straight off the bat, telling me that during the 40th Anniversary coverage in 2017 she had seen the children's original drawings of their sighting on the BBC and realised, in her own words, 'that's what I saw!'

Broad Haven Primary School UFO Sighting
Apparently the closest match is the picture second from left in the middle row.

Furthermore, the location of the caravan site they were staying at was much closer than I had assumed. In fact, as best as my mum's memory can tell, it was actually at Broad Haven Holiday Park. Less than a mile from the village primary school, the park is a popular static caravan site, today boasting around 175 caravans. Although not quite as neatly laid out back in the 1970s, the general look hasn't much changed, and aerial photographs on the park's website from the time suggest the number of caravans was roughly similar too.

It was in this unlikely setting that my mum had her very own close encounter of the third kind...

Friday, 28 June 2019

Friday Five: 1880s Film

Friday Five


Five films even older than me...

#5. Cockatoo - stop-motion photography by Eadweard Muybridge (1887)

#4. Pferd und Reiter Springen über ein Hindernis [Horse and Rider Jump Over a Barrier] - Ottomar Anschütz (1888)

#3. Hyde Park Corner - William Friese-Greene (1889)

#2. Monkey Shines No. 1 - William Heise and William K. L. Dickson (1889)

#1. Roundhay Garden Scene - Louis Le Prince (1888)

Le Prince shot the world's first known film, Man Walking Around a Corner, in 1887. Read more about the man, his inventions - and his mysterious disappearance! - in a post I prepared earlier.

Roundhay Garden Scene

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Friday Five

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Carpet Samples x 100

100 places to get free carpet samples

Read on for 100 places offering completely free carpet samples, delivered direct to your door!

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Land of the Dragon - July 9th

Land of the Dragon

If you're free on the evening of Tuesday July 9th (5:30 - 7pm), check out Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbran's Land of the Dragon show! It's a bilingual family show, arranged and promoted by Night Out Young Promoters group from years 5 and 6 with the help of Puppet Soup theatre company.

There will be magical creatures, mythical stories and spellbinding tales from Wales in this exciting new piece of puppet theatre inspired by folklore, legends and ancient stories from The Mabinogion.

Age 5+ Doors open at 5:30pm for 6pm start. Tickets are £4 for adults, £3 for children, or £12 for a family of four.

Tickets are  available on the door or by contacting the school on 01633 483383.

Marianna and I have been invited to go and I'm really excited for it! So far Marianna's only real exposure to Welsh has been basic counting at nursery, and kids shows on S4C and YouTube. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to seeing it 'in action'. :)

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Out and About in Torfaen

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Full Council - June 2019

Pontypool Civic Centre

It's been ages since I did a write up of full council, but I told myself I'd blog more about real life which encompasses work just as much as whatever shiny new topic is holding my interest that week!

This is my third year as chair - 'presiding member' - now so I've been given more responsibility for the meeting than I had in the beginning. Eg. When I started an officer wrote me an idiot proof script to read from, whereas now I write my own (less idiot proof) version. Democratic Services also [unwisely?] trust me to operate the webcast myself. So every time the agenda items don't match up with the timings, you know whose fault it is...

Today we had a short flag raising service lead by the Reverend Canon Harald Thomas to commemorate Armed Forces Day. Harald was my chaplain when I was Mayor, and was then asked by the council leader to continue saying prayers before meetings when we changed the constitution. I'm not religious but it is kind of nice to have someone wishing you well on the decisions you're making!

I'll add a link to the webcast once it's up, but you can read the agenda online HERE. (ETA - here's the webcast.) The meeting progressed like so:

Monday, 24 June 2019

Trailer Trash Dolls

Trailer Trash Dolls

Arsenic and Apple Pie unleashed their first three creations on the world in 1999. In 2004 the company attracted a lot of media attention for their upcoming release 'Trash Talkin' Turleen' which lead to the re-release of earlier doll Trailer Trash, and another talking addition in Jer Wayne Junior.

Here's the 'About' blurb from their website in 2005:

Arsenic & Apple Pie has enjoyed an established track-record of excellent support and service from our loyal customers and accounts since 1998. Our story begins in December 1996, doctored dolls made by a famous doll toy maker began to show up in the store windows of retailer Injeanious, based in San Francisco, California. It was here that the first Trailer Trash Doll was introduced and formulated. The dolls were an instant hit and in time the store offices were flooded by phone calls from all over the world. To make a long story short, a major toy maker caught wind of this due to media coverage on a national and local level and took legal action to stop the production of the dolls. 
In 1999 Arsenic & Apple Pie was formed and we began the process of designing our own dolls, having them manufactured for us to our specifications. The First Edition Trailer Trash Doll was introduced to rave reviews worldwide along with the ever popular blonde and red head Drag Queen Dolls. This was followed in August, 1999 with the development of our website and on-line catalogue, In May 2003, our Second Edition Trailer Trash Doll was introduced with a positive response. 
Fast forward to 2004 as Arsenic and Apple Pie rolls out our exciting new website and catalogue featuring new games, pictures, accessories, and T-shirts. In November 2004, our new talking, pregnant Trailer Trash Doll, Trash Talkin' Turleen finally arrived with an overwhelming response! Check her out now on the Doll pages and send a postcard to your friends! In 2005 we expect things to be as exciting as ever as we introduce new novelty items and new dolls!  This includes two new talking bottle openers featuring the voices of Turleen and her son Bubba Jr.  This summer we will welcome our long anticipated new talking, male, mullet Trailer Trash Doll Bubba Jr. in his first edition!  We welcome you back home to the place on the "web" for all that is "trashy" and fun!

Trailer Trash Blonde Drag QueenTrailer Trash Redhead Drag Queen Doll

★ Drag Queen (blonde) - box front / back.
★ Drag Queen (red) - box front / back. [Limited edition of 2500]
★ Trailer Trash - box front / back.

These three dolls were released in 1999 and originally retailed for $29.95 each, but by 2002 the website had dropped the price down to $19.95.

Trailer Trash First Edition Doll

Trailer Trash Second Edition Doll

★ Trailer Trash - box front / back.

Second edition of Trailer Trash, 2004.

Trash Talkin Turleen Doll

★ Trash Talkin Turleen - original box front / back.

Turleen was released in October 2004. In 2006 the website announced that Turleen was now available in a 'patriotic' red, white and blue box (pictured above). When you pressed Turleen's tummy she said one of five phrases:

 - "Look out it's a twister!"
 - "Pour me a double, i'm drinkin' fer two!"
 - "If the trailer's a rockin', don't come a knockin'!"
 - "Bubba Junior, get off yer sister!"
 - Belch + Laugh.

Jer Wayne Junior Trailer Trash Doll

★ Jer Wayne Junior - box front / back.

Jer Wayne was the last Trailer Trash doll, released in September 2006 and retailing for $32.95. If you pressed Jer Wayne's stomach he said one of five phrases:

 - "Fifteen of them beers and yer still ugly!"
 - "Fer the last time we aint' havin' no yard sale!"
 - "I'm fixin' to yer double-wide daddy!"
 - "Taint' nohtin' sadder than a double-wide with no beer!"
 - "Honest, I'm not lyin' through my tooth!"

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Sunday, 23 June 2019

This Week - 23/06/2019

Sometimes you need to let go and see what happens

The weather has been mostly miserable this week - so miserable Marianna's sports day was cancelled on Wednesday. She was not happy! Hopefully they'll be able to have it some time soon. I had Maendy school governors on Tuesday. It was the AGM and I got elected Chair this time. I've been vice-chair for a couple of years now so it should be interesting. (There's always a need for new governors. If you're interested in becoming one, read more about it HERE.)

Work was fairly quiet this week - mostly Labour party stuff, and I had licensing panel on Thursday morning. I hadn't been on licensing committee for a few years now, so it felt a little strange doing a panel again.

On the blog I've written about Clueless dolls, FAD dolls, Apne Dolls, and Middle School Moguls. For my Friday Five I wrote about my Top 5 Scary Movies, and also posted a list of 100 places to get free artificial grass samples.

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This Week - Weekly Overviews

Saturday, 22 June 2019

FAD Dolls

Sababa Toys Fashion Attitude FAD Dolls

Sababa Toys, a subsidary of Grand Toys International, was a Manhattan-based merchandising company specialising in licensed products. They released a series of nine FAD - Fashion Attitude Dolls in 2001. The dolls stood nine inches tall and had oversized heads with molded plastic hair.

Their selling point was tie-ins with popular fashion brands (Dollhouse, Jordache, Nick & Nora) meaning the dolls and their owners could be wearing the same kind of looks. They came packaged with shoes and an extra outfit, and a branded shopping bag which doubled as a 1:1 scale keyring. A further two Claire's dolls were released later in the year.

Sababa also released at least some of the fashions in the set as separate packs to fit Barbie sized dolls.

The dolls came in a wide variety of hair / skin / eye types, and you can find examples of each for every release.

Dark skin + cropped black hair / bobbed black hair / long black hair.
Dark skin + cropped white hair.
Mid skin + cropped black hair / bobbed black hair / long black hair.
Mid skin + cropped brown hair / bobbed brown hair / long brown hair.
Light skin + cropped brown hair / bobbed brown hair / long brown hair.
Light skin + bobbed blonde hair / long blonde hair.

Claire's Fad DollClaire's Fad Doll Blonde


 ★ Black T-shirt - box front / back.
 ★ White T-shirt - box front / back.

FAD Dollhouse Dolls


★ Beige Top - box front / back.
★ Red Top - box front / back.
★ Long Sleeved - box front / back.
★ Fashion Pack Beige Top + Underwear - box front / back.
★ Fashion Pack Red Top + Underwear - box front / back.
★ Fashion Pack Long Sleeved - box front / back.

Jordache Fad Dolls 2001 Launch


★ Jacket + Hot Pants - box front / back.
★ Playsuit + Rollerskates - box front / back.
★ Vest Top + Jeans - box front / back.

Jordache Fad Dolls

Sababa Fad Dolls for Nick and Nora

Nick & Nora

★ Cloud Print Pyjamas - box front / back.
★ Leopard Print Pyjamas - box front / back.
★ Sheep Print Pyjamas - box front / back.

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Friday, 21 June 2019

Friday Five: Scariest Movies

Friday Five


#5. The Tommyknockers. It gave me lots of childhood nightmares.

#4. The Exorcist.

#3. Ring.

#2. The Ring. Yeah, it freaked me out so much both versions are on the list!

#1. Threads. No contest.

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Friday Five

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Free Artificial Grass Samples x 100

100 Places To Get Free Artificial Grass Samples

Here are 100 places you can get free artificial grass samples in the UK. I've put the number of samples you can get from each supplier in brackets; '1+' means you get a pre-chosen pack of samples.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Apne Dolls

Apne Dolls

I just caught up with the June edition of Toy News and saw this ad for the 11" Bhabi-Ji Satty doll. Satty is joined at knee and elbow, has waist length rooted hair, and a traditional wedding outfit. For £27.99 you get the doll, the storybook, and free shipping within the UK.

Check it out at I like that you can also get add-ons through the website of sweets, balloons, gift wrapping, etc, so if you're buying as a gift everything can be done for you.

I always love seeing new dolls hitting the scene, especially from UK based companies. For updates follow them on InstagramPinterest, or Twitter. :)

Bhabi-Ji Satty Doll in Toy News

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Middle School Moguls

Middle School Moguls Cartoon

Beginning life in 2014 as 'iBesties', the Middle School Moguls brand was created by Gina and Jenae Heitkamp to help girls consider careers in business and leadership, particularly in the tech industries. A successful Kickstarter campaign resulted in a line of four 11 inch dolls launching in 2016. They have rooted hair and are jointed at elbow, knee and ankle - you can see a picture of a nude doll HERE.

Last year Nickelodeon commissioned a short animated series featuring the characters, so hopefully we'll be hearing more from the brand soon!

Middle School Moguls Dolls

Middle School Moguls IzzyMiddle School Moguls Jada

★ Izzy - box front / back.
★ Jada - box front / back.
★ McKinley - box front / back.
★ Sunny - box front / back.

You can check out in depth reviews of all four at the Monster Crafts blog.

Middle School Moguls McKinleyMiddle School Moguls Sunny

Middle School Moguls 2016 Dolls

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Monday, 17 June 2019

Clueless Dolls

Mattel Clueless Dolls 1996

I never knew these existed before today but, omg, back in 1996 Mattel released a tie-in line of Clueless fashion dolls. It had three dolls, four fashion packs, and even the iconic white jeep!

Mattel Clueless Dolls

★ Amber - box front / back.
★ Cher - box front / back.
★ Dionne - box front / back.
★ Jeep - box front / back.

(Greenlight did a 1/64 scale Clueless jeep too if you need a 'toy for a toy' version.)

Mattel Clueless Doll Fashion Packs

Fashion Packs:

★ Blue - box front / back.
★ Green - box front / back.
★ Pink - box front / back.
★ Purple - box front / back.

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Sunday, 16 June 2019

This Week - 16/06/2019

Happy Fathers Day!

It's Fathers' Day. :) Marianna's been swimming with Rhys and Hannah today, then we went to give my dad his present. Anthony had his early because we blogged about it for our Fathers Day Gift Guide - it would have been kind of difficult to keep it quiet after that!

This week has been mostly focused on work stuff. There was the LCF (local campaign forum) AGM on Monday, along with Labour group, and I had a licensing committee meeting Thursday and a scrutiny meeting of the Torfaen public service board on Wednesday. (The links go to the council webcasts.)

Marianna's been practising for her sports day all week, then they had a teacher training day on Friday so she has been demonstrating her running everywhere. So much so she now wants to be 'Flash Marianna'. Or, so she said on Tuesday, Darth Vader's girlfriend: the very originally titled 'Darth Girl'. I'm not quite sure what the obsession with Darth Vader says, but it's probably not the best sign...

On the blog this week I've written about Kuu Kuu Harajuku dolls, my Top Ten Obi-Wan Kenobi Memes, and created a masterlist for the 30 Day Blog Challenges I've completed. I also put together a mega list of 200 places you can get free fabric samples (inc. free delivery). They're great for helping with decorating decisions, but are also perfect for crafts, especially in miniature. I think I've picked up enough to upholster five doll houses now...

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This Week - Weekly Overviews

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Matchbox Real Model Collection

Matchbox Real Model Collection

1989 saw Matchbox launch their The Real Model Collection dolls. These were 11.5 inch fashion dolls in the likeness of three real life models: Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, and Cheryl Tiegs.

Matchbox Real Model Collection Christie Brinkley Doll

★ Christie Brinkley - box front / back.

Matchbox Real Model Collection Beverly Johnson Doll

 ★ Beverly Johnson - box front / back.

Matchbox Cheryl Tiegs Real Model Collection Doll

★ Cheryl Tiegs - box front / back.

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