31 October 2011

The joy of reading to children...

Whilst sat reading my son his current favourite book in bed last night, I remembered how much I loved my mum and dad reading to me and how I enjoy reading books to him.

In part I think it is due to the books themselves, we are currently reading Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. They are doing this for the Christmas play at nursery and so I felt we should buy it so we could read it lots.

It is a brilliant book, as are all the ones written by these two most talented children's writers and I thoroughly enjoy reading it.

Obviously the most well known is The Gruffalo but we also have A Squash and a Squeeze and it is really great to hear him reciting the words back.

The next on our list is  Room on a Broom, as with most books these days the others in the 'series' can be found at the back and so we have to go through the ritual of which books we have and which ones we will be getting next every night.

A few of our other favourites although not really readers but hilariously funny is anything by Nick Sharratt, we were bought Octopus Socktopus by a friend for our sons 1st Birthday and it still makes us laugh.

And finally, our other favourite books, the Mr Men series! My mum and dad have some videos (yes videos) and he watches them over and over again.

We love the books and even though they are a 'bit long' as my husband claims every time this is the choice of book to read, they always have a great meaning and I do enjoy reading them and doing the voices.

My favourites are Mr Messy and Mr Greedy, not just because we have two of them in our house but because the endings are great :)


29 October 2011

My love of music!

I love music,  I always have.

I have learnt to DJ and make music at a music school in my spare time, I used to love going clubbing and letting the music move my body.

I listen to music when I am cleaning and dance like nobody is watching, my children usually looking on bemused but excited by mummy twirling and wiggling.

For me music takes my mind away from it all, it brings back memories and for a moment I can be lost in the words or music of someone else's life.

I remember moments in life, for example As The Rush Comes by Motorcycle reminds me of Gatecrasher at the NEC and a friend who said 'I looked amazing' sadly he went on to take his own life and everytime I hear that song I think of him.

Romeo by Basement Jaxx was the song that was playing when I first told my husband I loved him.

My Friend by Groove Armada was the song played as we walked down the aisle after we got married.

For me music is like smells and conjures up memories, I have an album that I listened to every day when I was 15, I still play it and even now 13 years later it still brings back memories of my first boyfriend and leaving school.

When I hear songs they remind me of a moment, a person, a place or just that life is full of beautiful things.

So that is My Song Saturday or Soppy Saturday maybe, either way have great weekends. Tomorrow is Silent Sunday so i'll talk to you on Monday.

28 October 2011

Halloween fun!

So we have the pumpkins...

And thanks to Tesco and their half price sale on all Halloween costumes we have the outfits.

My son wanted to be a bat and this bat costume was a snip at £4 and the little witches outfit for my little girl (who hasn't really got a choice) was only £3.

We have a few bits from a party a few years ago and I think we will be making some spooky cakes on Saturday.

We haven't decided whether we are going to go trick or treating just to the neighbours we know or have a little party with the grandparents but hopefully my son will have fun.

I have found a simple, easy and hopefully less messy alternative to the toffee apples, chocolate dipped apples yummy. I think you can buy kits from the supermarket with Halloween sprinkles etc.

There are some fab ideas over on the New Mummy's Tips blog for Halloween drinks, decorations etc so pop on over and have a look if you need some inspiration.

27 October 2011

Pictures, pictures everywhere!

So my beloved iPhone decided today that it had run out of room, after some investigation it seemed that some of the 2500 pictures I have on there needed to be culled.

As they imported onto the computer I sat watching them, two years of pictures. From my son as a newly walking toddler to the pregnancy test when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and then the ever growing bump.

I am so appreciative of my phone and the ability it gives me to capture not always with the best pictures but some of the more important moments in mine and my children's lives.

Moments I don't always get to write down and note but that I can always capture, we back our photo's up onto a SD cards, a hardrive at home and in a secure location away from home to ensure they are (fingers crossed) never lost.

26 October 2011

Unwritten rules of marriage!

It was my in laws wedding anniversary yesterday, I forgot to take their cards when we went for tea on Sunday and I forgot Monday.

So instead I had to traipse into Nottingham yesterday with the children and drop the cards off.

But since when is this my responsibility? Is there some unwritten law or nuptial I missed that this becomes your responsibility when you get married or become a girlfriend?

Why on earth do I have to remember to buy the cards, sign and ensure they get to them?

I'm pretty sure it didn't matter if they got one before I came along in fact it was a family joke about my husband making a card once and he would never be expected to remember my parents anniversary let alone buy a card!

So does anyone know why all of a sudden you take on this responsibility and would I be frowned upon for not getting them the cards or would my husband get the blame?!?

One of marriages many mysteries eh, rant over and I bid you a good day ;)


25 October 2011

Spots Part 2!

There are many other things in life to worry about, I know that but in a world where we are supposed to be 'perfect' it is hard to wake up to a face covered in spots!

Mine in particular are a form of acne called cystic acne, they are huge and soooo painful! They stretch the skin to breaking point and cannot be squashed or touched as they can leave a scar deep under the skin that last for months and in the case of when I was 16 years.

I haven't really suffered the way I have this last month since I was 16, back then I had huge ones on my chin, hormonal spots that were so painful and I was so embarresed by. But when I went on the pill they did get better a little.

Now a certain aunt has returned after the birth of my daughter and my hormones have been woken up from a deep slumber and the cycstic acne has been reborn.

To cover them up is pretty impossible because it is not necessarily the colour you can actually see them under my skin poking out, my gorgeous daughter totally unaware and lashing out at me in her cute wave hits them and they get redder.

Anyway, moaning aside I wanted to share this amazing video I saw and I am hoping next time I go into town to get some of this amazing stuff to cover the few scars I do have.

Hope you'll agree this is pretty amazing and I love the song too, by a guy called Zoo Brazil who is my new favourite electro artist :)

24 October 2011

Autumn, apples and pumpkins too!

Summer was great but I do love autumn, me and my son have just been up the garden to pick these apples before they all fall off and rot.

I am hoping to make them into a crumble and maybe some chutney (if anyone has a good chutney recipe I would be most grateful).

And yesterday we popped into White Post Farm Shop to pick up these quite frankly gorgeous pumpkins!

The one at the front is a gorgeous bumpy thing that is too pretty to carve so we may leave this one, although I don't feel they are fulfilling their pumpkin destiny if they aren't hollowed out and made into  soup and a lantern ;)


22 October 2011

Body or Mind?

So I was driving to the shops yesterday and whilst driving around the back of the market I saw one of those machines outside a cafe, you know the ones you put 20p in and get a ball or some other 'tat' as my husband calls it.

Well I had one of those flash backs from childhood of once getting a little pot of squidgy putty stuff out of one, I loved it.

Anyway, that got me thinking about when you lose those memories? How long before I forget those things and no longer get that little bit of history replaying itself in my mind?

My husbands aunt died last year of Alzheimer's, she had been ill for years. When we saw her in that last year small memories would seep through, mainly the important ones about her daughters and when they were little, so sweet that the important ones stayed with her. But how awful to lose all the other memories and towards the end she didn't know who anyone was not even her husband.

Then there is my friend who talks about their 90 year old gran who still has the wit and brains she did when she was 20 but her frail body is failing her and she is trapped inside a body she can't even make do a button up!

I'm not usually this morbid honest but it made me think, should I write a more detailed diary for the children in case one day I can't remember these things? They do and say the best things and I would hate to forget the precious moments we share together.

Anyway, it is a lovely day and I am off to make the most of it.

Love and hugs x

21 October 2011

We have a tooth!

So on Wednesday we found a tooth, the weeks of dribbling, chewing and general grumpiness when wiping my daughters mouth have finally culminated in a shiny white tooth.

I am kinda looking forward to the cheeky toothy grin that will be there in a few weeks, there is nothing quite as cute as two little front teeth (except when biting mummy).

Poor little sausage has been pretty clingy the last week and not her normal self, especially at night so I am guessing this is the reason why.

Thank goodness for my Gumigem teething necklace, I bought it after reading some great reviews and it is getting a good chewing right now.

My Candy Cane Gumigem a definite great buy!

20 October 2011

National Baking Week...my favourite cake!

As you will come to notice I enjoy baking, I am by no means amazing but I do enjoy it and other than the cleaning find it a good way to relax.

In honour of national baking week I thought I would just share one of my all time, easy to make and blummin' tasty cakes from the fabulous Nigella Lawson, the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake.

This cake is pretty much a sling it all in the mixer and go cake and the icing is easy and to die for, I have never known this cake last longer than a day in our house with everyone that visits having a piece!

It is easy to ice and touch wood I have never had it go wrong, as long as you let the ingredients come to room temperature it is a sure fire winner.

Best of all you can decorate to make as pretty or as plain as you like, it is our 'easter cake'.

My Easter cake, complete with chicks!

But I have made for birthdays and when I feel the need for a yummy chocolate cake or to take to a party.

A simple but gorgeous Birthday cake!

Charity bags!

We must get at least two charity bags through the door every week, I give all my old clothes etc to charity but I take them to the local shops so I know exactly where they have gone.

There are two reasons for this, firstly I have seen vans pull up outside my neighbours and rifle through the bags before being caught by the real collectors, this is classed as stealing I think.

Secondly, have you ever read the small print on one of those bags? The one today says 'we donate a minimum of £2000 a month to xyz charity'.

I did a little checking on the website of the company who it was collecting on behalf of and their website states they do it this way because it is the only way they can get funds. But still if this collection company makes £10000 from the sale of the clothes they only get £2000, unbelievable.

Maybe I am just being ignorant? But I will continue to put these so called 'charity bags' to one side and instead carry on taking my clothing and other bits to the local charity shops to sell instead.

19 October 2011

Cleaning to soothe the soul!

So I wouldn't normally admit this in case my husband reads it, but last night whilst cleaning the kitchen I decided I actually like cleaning.

When I was 15 and had just finished my GCSEs I cleaned my mums kitchen from top to bottom. I mean inside the cupboards the doors everything, with it I felt a sort of peace.

Seeing the once dirty cupboards (sorry Mum) sparkle was satisfying and helped with the stress of waiting for my results.

I would clean half a door and see the difference I had made with my soap and water and get quite a sense of joy..

Ok so this sounds a bit strange but even now I feel a sense of calm and control over what I have done, lining up the kitchen paraphernalia on the worktop everything clean and ready for the next day.

I certainly feel there is some therapy in cleaning and anything that takes my mind off the troubles of the day is great.

Shame I suppose that in the morning a certain man in the house will put his buttery knife on my nice clean worktop....grrrrr!

Oh well c'est la vie!

18 October 2011

The saga of the fridge/freezer continues!

So in case you haven't seen the posts we had a fridge/freezer, it died after only four years.

We bought a new one and it turned up a a few weeks ago, when it arrived it was scratched so Curry's gave us some money back, yay you might think job done.

However on taking the plastic off the doors we noticed they were dented all around the top of the handles, like it had fallen over or something had fallen on to it. So we phoned Curry's back who put us through to LG.

They said we could either have some compensation or replacement doors, it is pretty bad so we decided to go with the new doors as we have to look at it every day.

That was on the 5th October, we still hadn't heard anything on Friday so my husband phoned them. Apparently some new doors have been despatched to us, two huge American style fridge and freezer doors are going to be delivered here and then and only then can we phone them back to arrange a engineer to come out and attach them!

What....where am I supposed to put two doors my husband exclaimed...their answer 'in the lounge'....erm we have two small children!

So we have to wait for the doors to arrive and then phone the 0844 number to arrange for them to come out and worst of all, had my husband not phoned them we would never have known what was happening and at some point I would have been caught unaware by a delivery of two huge flipping doors.

We are grateful that they are being replaced but why we have had to do all this chasing and phoning is beyond me, we were sent damaged goods how is that our fault!

Will let you know how it goes ;)

17 October 2011

I can sing a rainbow

Isn't mother nature wonderful, my son's new favourite song is I can sing a rainbow.

So how beautiful to open the curtains this morning to see this fabulous arc of colours stretching across the houses!

My mum texted me to say she was looking at one whilst putting her washing out and a friend on Facebook saw one too.

How something so simple can make people smile is wonderful and what a perfect and bright way to start the day.


15 October 2011

My house is nearly a home!

So after nearly five years of living in our house we can nearly call it a home, last weekend I decorated my sons new bedroom.

He loves it, as do I. Me and my husband have finally claimed the lounge back instead of it being full of his toys.

Today I am hoping to sort out my daughters room, poor thing is nearly nine months and still doesn't have a bedroom. I remember having my sons nursery all set up and looking pretty before he was born, adjusting and readjusting everything until the day he arrived.

I have this gorgeous set I won from Peanut and Pip on Red Ted Art's blog months ago waiting to go up on the wall and am itching to put it in pride of place, it also means I can get on and order some fabric for her curtains with some extra to send to Knot Just Jigs to make into something scrummy.

My poor old neck is begging me not to paint but I am really eager to get it all sorted and finally have a homely home.

14 October 2011

Make every day count...

If you are on twitter you have probably seen the sad stories this week of two beautiful boys who have been cruely taken away from their families by cancer.

There probably aren't many people now days who haven't been touched by this dreaded disease, worse still lost someone to it!

Cancer knows no bounds, whether you are young or old, rich or poor it affects us all!

My great aunty nursed her husband at home until he died of stomach cancer, it was awful, they were best friends and to watch someone suffer like that was devastating. My dads best friend died a few years ago of lung cancer, he was very ill and became a shadow of his former self, he was so lovely and I still think about him lots.

But for the sad stories there are the glimmers of hope, one of my mum and dads friends of many years  has had stomach cancer, a brain tumour and oesophagus cancer and is still alive and as well as can be. My cousin has a rare stomach cancer and after treatment to remove it and with scans every six months hopefully he can live a long and happy life.

Finally a friends mum has just recently been given the all clear from ovarian cancer, so there is hope maybe not always but sometimes, just sometimes..

I didn't run the race for life this year but wish I had and feel guilty I didn't, however I did sponsor friends and will be doing it next year for sure.

I sobbed when I read these stories and selfishly hope i'll never have to go through what must be an unimaginable nightmare.

To the families of these brave little boys and anyone else out there who has lost or is battling this dreadful disease my heart goes out to you and for everyone lets keep supporting charities like cancer research, Macmillan nurses who's work is so important.

13 October 2011

Flipping spots!

One thing that has plagued me since being a teenager is spots, I despise the fact I am thirty next year and still suffer with them as bad as I did when I was thirteen.

I am pretty sure it is hormones, after all I had a baby 8 months ago and breastfeeding although great means my hormones are still not sure what's happening.

So if anyone can offer any advice on good spot creams/remedies they would be most welcome....maybe more chocolate and wine would help or just some sympathy would be nice ;)

12 October 2011

To pee or not to pee that is the question

We were in the library yesterday and annoyingly even though I'd asked my son before we left if he needed one he announces he needed a wee.

I asked the rather miserable assistant if there was a toilet, 'no sorry' was his rather blunt and unhelpful answer.

I didn't have 20p on me to use the public one so took him behind a van in the corner of the car park.

Twenty something years ago when I was a little girl my mum just hung me over a drain on the street but now I think you'd be done for littering or indecent exposure doing this.

Have you done this? Is it OK? Obviously if I am near the car I could carry a potty but what if I'm not? Some places get rather annoyed if you just go in to use the loo so what is a mum to do?

If I'd had 20p on me I would have used the public toilet and it wouldn't have been a problem and instead this would have been a post about the state of a public toilets ;-)

Rant over and goodnight x

11 October 2011

Eeek the dreaded childhood illness!

Yesterday I noticed a rash on my daughters bottom and thighs, we use reuseable nappies and I had just changed to ecover liquid instead of powder so thought it might be an allergic reaction.

I immediately stopped using them however, after they seemed a little better last night she has loads of spots this morning, only a few on her arms and legs with the majority on her bottom so I took her to the doctors.

Her verdict was chicken pox, I am not 100% convinced just yet but we'll see what the other spots elsewhere turn in to.

My three year old hasn't had them yet so either he has had them midly and will be ok or I can expect him to be covered in spots some time soon or in the near future.

I know it's good for them to have this now but I wasn't expecting it and my poor little baby girl is teething too so is not in the best of moods at the moment, although I am sure better than my son will be and miles better than I would cope ;)

Any tips on what to use or how to cope would be gratefully received, I have calamine lotion and calpol from the doctor but other than that I am completely clueless!


10 October 2011

There is always hope...

I wasn't really sure what to write about today as I spent the whole weekend decorating and sorting out my sons bedroom.

I saw an article this morning about miscarriages and stillbirths in the UK and how some ladies are made to stay on a ward with other pregnant women or even new mums.

Firstly I am completely aware of the fact that we at least have hospitals and doctors to look after them and that some women have very little or nothing in this world.

After suffering a miscarriage in 2009 I am all to aware of the situation and how very cruel the 'system' can be in these circumstances!

In June 2009 we very unexpectedly found out we were pregnant, I was still on antidepressants for my PND and was setting up a business so it was the last thing I wanted.

But after a few months of feeling horrendously sick we became used to the idea.

On the morning of our 12 week scan something didn't feel right, I said to my husband something feels wrong and after an hours wait we went into the scan room.

The lady who was newly qualified asked how long gone I thought I was and went to find someone else, I looked at hubby and I think we both kind of new.

She bought someone else in who couldn't find anything and proceeded to tell me there was an empty sac and I'd lost the baby several weeks ago.

I was so numb, we had just come to terms with the idea and now it was taken away from us.

I was told someone would contact me the next day to arrange everything but they didn't. I had to contact the EPAU myself, explain who I was and what had happened, this was extremely hard but thankfully the lady on the other end was very kind.

Three days later I went into the hospital to arrange everything, sat with other women who all came, had a scan, saw their baby and left smiling at their scan pictures.

On the Saturday we packed our son off with his Nana and spent 8 hours on a ward waiting for the procedure, eventually I went down and it was over. It meant I could grieve, although to be honest I had already cried so many tears I had none left.

I had to be strong and thankful for my son and looked at him as the miracle he was (as an endometriosis sufferer he was just that).

Several painful months of not falling pregnant ensued but finally after nine months I found out I was pregnant with my daughter.

The long awaited words!
I had been having some pains on one side and was sent to the EPAU. My husband was away so I sat on my own waiting to go in, so many sad memories in that waiting room.

I finally got in for a scan and after seeing the tiniest of heartbeats I knew there was hope.

I carefully placed my pictures in my bag and left as quietly as I could as I didn't want to upset anyone in the waiting room going through what I had the year before.

I then gave birth to our daughter, the amazing expereience and two amazing midwives helped to close some very deep wounds left by my sons birth and the miscarriage and I don't think I have stopped smiling since the day she was born.

Thank you if you got this far I hadnt anticipated all these words to flow, here is to my lost baby and all the others who didn't make it. I do sometimes stop and think about what could have been but then I think about what I have and instead believe everything happens for a reason.

Someone once told me before I had my son and was worried about not being able to have children that 'there is always hope', those words have stayed with me ever since and I now have a complete family.

8 October 2011

Sad trip down memory lane, support your local shops.

I was doing my usual charity shop visiting in the town where I grew up and decided to look around the market, a once thriving market place that I remember visiting with my mum.

But now it is only a third of the size it used to be and this makes me so sad, I remember exactly what used to be there and where it was, there was the 'shoe man' and the 'egg lady'.

It pains me that my children will never get the sense of excitement I did from this and makes me more determined than ever to continue supporting local businesses.

This Christmas I am going to try and buy items from local and smaller businesses either via shops on the high street or on-line shopping.

So many people have lost their livelihoods in the recession and due to the building of large and 'cheaper' supermarkets who although bring jobs just don't offer the same personal service and experience I remember enjoying as a child.

I know it is probably too late now but maybe not, so next time your stuck for something to do on a Saturday morning why not take a trip to your local town and support the local businesses.

7 October 2011

Signs...actual ones not ones from the other side!

So today when I was out for lunch with my grandparents I noticed a sign in the loo that says please don't put baby wipes, nappies etc down the toilet.

This got me thinking, has someone actually done this in order for a sign being needed asking not to do it?!? Thinking about it someone must have done virtually everything stupid you are warned not to do, you know like burning your mouth on a 'hot cup of coffee' because the contents might be hot, well duh!

I remembered a picture in a loo in Manchester which I had to go back and take a picture of...

I know why this might happen but still it's pretty funny!

What is the best sign you have ever seen, I'm pretty sure there is a website or two dedicated to them so might google next time I'm bored.

6 October 2011

Damned mirrors!

So whilst we were away and I was sat on the beach looking round at all of the gorgeous french women I noticed I felt so concious of my body.

Now if I moan and say I need to lose a few pounds anyone who knows me and cares to read this blog will tell me I don't, but honestly I am the heaviest I have ever been.

Worst of all I am so unfit and untoned it's silly, I felt like a frumpy fatso sat on that beach and to make matters worse the bloody mirrors in the hotel room were slightly magnifying so I looked huge.

I have always felt confident about my body but after my daughter my boobaloobs are huge and I just don't feel connected to my body in the same way.

Everything has a slight jiggle and I just want to go the gym, why do all the good ones cost so bloody much?!?  I would love to start swimming again but my poor neck would suffer and we really don't have room for running machine in the house ;)

So if anyone has any tips on cheap and easy ways to tone up or know of any offers on at mum friendly gym's in Nottingham I would be most grateful.

PS I really hate running, especially in public!

5 October 2011

Eyes in the back of your head!

We had intended to go back to France to do some cheese and booze shopping as we couldn't fit much in the car on the way back from holiday in June. So with the weather being gorgeous we dropped everything and went down on Saturday.

It was gorgeous but my story is one that has probably happened either at the shops or park to all parents, even if only for a few seconds.

One minute we are on the beach, hubby is in the sea and I am reading a book, my son is in front of me digging in the sand, next I look up and he is gone! I immediately stand up and start shouting his name, all dignity gone and I look mental.

I scan up and down the beach and after what seems like hours but is just a few seconds my eyes hone in on his little sun suit at the waters edge. I look at my daughter and all of our belongings and grab her and run to him! My heart is literally in my mouth and racing, he was no further away from me than when he is up the garden but all that goes round in your head is what if I never see him again...what if someone has taken him?!?

There is no one to blame but me and I feel sick as I write this, trying to explain to a 3 year old that it is not OK to just go and 'put your sand in the water' is next to impossible.

Whoever said when you have children you need eyes in the back of your head wasn't wrong.

Thankfully he is fine and completely unaware of my almost nervous breakdown and was back to causing havoc promptly afterwards.

Next time and thankfully there is a next time I will be putting my book down, it's weird as so many of the other French parents just let their children wander off on their own without battering an eye lid. Has the media really made us so paranoid that there is someone hanging around every corner waiting to steal our children?

Who knows but I for one cannot bear the thought of that feeling again so won't be risking it, maybe when he is 18 he can go out on his own.

4 October 2011

It's here!

I had many thoughts I wanted to post today but after a busy weekend I haven't got the time right now.

Instead I thought I would announce the news I'm sure the world has been waiting for....my new fridge/freezer is here!

So exciting, I have to wait six hours before turning it on....but it'll be worth it ;)

No more worlds largest water dispenser for us!


1 October 2011

I love to bake!

I love to bake, I am by no means a pro I just enjoy making cakes and usually eating them.

My latest successes have been cake pops and learning to ice a cupcake after attending a demo by the lovely Liana at Star Bakery.


This blog was originally going to be named cupcakes and hot chocolate as there is nothing more than I love on a hot, cold or for that matter any day than a mug of hot chocolate and a piece of cake.

In fact I might add a page at the top of my baking triumphs and maybe if I am not feeling totally deflated some of the not so successful attempts, I once made a lemon drizzle cake that fell in and a coffee cake that resembled two sheets of card as they didn't rise.

On of the more successful cakes

But I don't let it put me off and usually figure out what I did wrong and can correct next time, fortunately my family will eat it no matter how it looks and I now know that if my cake doesn't rise I can turn it into cake pops instead....win-win really ;)

My first ever attempt at a cake pop