Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Grumpy Meme

Very Bored in Catalunya has tagged me in the grumpyness meme.

I'm not especially grumpy but these are the things that I don't like to spend time dwelling on:


1.Doves nesting in my satelite dish - cooing constantly, interfering in my picture and generally being flappy and annoying.

2. The hanging basket mystery - two identical baskets of winter bedding, one each side my front door, have been flowering nicely since last September until one randomly died last week. The other is still lovely, they both are watered/fed exactly the same so this has troubled me somewhat.

3. Annoying toddler quirks. This includes but is not limited to: walking really slowly downstairs when I am carrying something heavy behind her, shrieking for no apparent reason, refusal to wear pants without having a long discussion about that day's princess of choice and which colour trim, shouting when I am on the phone to anyone vaguely important and vomiting whenever we are on the M1.

4. Unfairness. This covers kids getting ill, friend's losing precious loved ones in hasty succession and bad things happening to good people.

5. Running out of rum and/or diet coke. I get emotional.

6. Moaners who need perspective. Get a grip.

7. Judgy people. Don't tar everyone with the same brush, some people that you might stereotype could rock your world if only you'd open your narrow little mind.

That's me done, happy days :)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Gallery - This is Lax Parenting

My entry for the Gallery Self Portrait. I do the same cheesy grin on every photo so my favourites are always the silly ones:



Monday, 17 May 2010

Review - Bomber's Moon at the Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham

Being Nottingham born and bred it's always lovely to see local references on screen and stage. Billy Ivory's latest play has these in abundance and bases this two man show in and around his Southwell birthplace.

Set design is strikingly simple, a room in a nursing home, a ceiling fan that becomes the propeller during WW2 flashbacks, a circular window in the door becomes the 'Bomber's Moon" and a walking stick in silhouette as the gun. During the raids the noise clattered throughout the tiny theatre and the lighting was superb.

The swearing is profuse and unabashed. Jimmy played by the talented Paul Greenwood is an ill old man, ex RAF gunner who takes out the frustrations of his old age and incapacity by being rude and difficult towards his carers. His new carer David acted marvellously by Tim Dantay is a nervous man, recently separated from his wife and eager to please. Jimmy's surliness and awkward questions expose David's many weaknesses that he is trying desperately hard to hide. His faux cheerfulness teamed with the occasional slip of temper and immediate guilt and remorse makes the paring fascinating to observe.

As the relationship between the men builds you witness some touching moments of tenderness, black humour, startling revelations from their pasts and a gritty viewpoint on life post war.

At two and a half hours long this is not for the fidgety of bottom but the dynamic between the two men and some stupendous acting make this a must see production.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Coming out of the closet

I'm going to embrace my inner freak and just come out and say it. I'm a sucker for a tidy cupboard. I enjoy re-organising and decluttering more than what is healthy. I even go back and keep peeking in them when I'm done as I love it so much.

I am aware that this makes me a social outcast. To be fair I'm lucky to still have friends since my passion extends to cleaning out friend's cutlery drawers.

My biggest bugbear is Isabella's toys/clothes. She has a lovely deep wardrobe with storage space for all her bits and pieces but manages to run out of space regularly as she grows out of clothes/toys and the old ones sit taking up room and getting dusty.

Yesterday she was feeling under the weather and spent most of the day napping in my bed watching cartoons. I took the opportunity to empty out her wardrobe, bag up all outgrown items, box up baby stage toys to give away/donate and dust/hoover all the shelves.

I was in her wardrobe for over three hours and felt a real sense of achievement when I'd finished.

She is still unwell today but has taken her dressing up box into my bed and is watching Sleeping Beauty dressed as a Vet, wearing a dozen bangles on each arm so I feel sure she is on the road to recovery. As for me I think the only cure is another baby so I have less time on my hands.






Monday, 26 April 2010

The Barkindo Interview

video

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Breaking news - we're still here!

After being due to fly home last Friday we are still here in sunny Tenerife. Although it's now raining.

Although unexpected and very frustrating we are trying to make the best of it and treat it as an extension to our holiday.

The atmosphere here has changed dramatically. A week ago we only knew the names of our neighbours (who own their apartment so are here part of the year) and another family whose daughter Isabella has befriended.

Now we know everyone round the pool, their circumstances, family, occupations, medications. It's created a close community vibe with people offering us the use of their washing machines, lifts in their cars, use of their ovens and drinks on their patios. A few days ago when Isabella was ill a couple knocked on our door bearing calpol for her as they'd been told she was unwell and others offered to drive us to the airport pharmacy or doctors.

Monarch have been pretty appalling and we still haven't managed to contact them by phone. A lucky few people have now secured flights to spain via their airlines with a connecting coach transfer back to the UK. We're out here with my parents, brother and sister who are all being really positive about the delay but we're all just wanting to be home now.

It's my brother's 16th birthday today, we have no presents or cards for him so I'm off now to cadge a life to the supermarket to get him a cake and we're going for tapas tonight to celebrate.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Stranded

Well our lovely honeymoon has just been extended indefinitely.

We were due to fly home this evening but due to the current restrictions on UK airspace our flight has been cancelled.

Monarch advise on their website they won't rebook flights before Tuesday at the earliest - my poor brother is due to sit his GCSEs this Monday!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Hitched - Part Two

This is the bit where the drinking began and my memory gets a little hazy.



Back at the village hall the caterers served champagne and canapes to the family and friends who came to the ceremony. Not all of them mind since some buggered off back to the hotel to change into their evening attire and claimed to know nothing about it. Lucky for us they were losers and not missed at all.



Having set up the hall the night before with the help of assorted family/friends all that was left to do was light the candles and enjoy. What I didn't know was that the big glass fishbowl centerpiece on one of the tables filled with water and floating candles had proved too tempting to my older brother and he'd popped to the local aquatic shop and got a goldfish for it. I got a bit of a shock when I went to light the candles! Isabella christened him Goldie and he now lives in the fishbowl with Swampy. Swampy seems chuffed to have a mate and happy to be upgraded from his trifle bowl.



The band arrived and were ace, so good in fact that my friend's four year old wants to marry one of the singers as he is "very handsome man" I have a fabulous photo of me with them on a break when I was trying to be discrete arranging for OH to thank our Mums and dish out presents. My drunken whisperings look more suspiciously like I was licking out his ear. Hell, maybe I was...



The kids were very well behaved, distracted mostly by the sweetie table and a side room with various board games and colouring implements. The baby room proved a hit with various small people spending time there being fed/rocked/changed and gushed over.



Isabella was a total star dancing and having fun with her friends - she even gave an impromto speech which was well received. She eventually nodded off on my sister-in-laws knee and slept through until Gwanny took her home.



I had a 'thing' for people to put messages on, many people managed to remain civil, some were vaguely complimentary, others attempted humour. The card postbox was full to the brim, my favourite being a handmade number by an exceptionally talented three year old who has captured my likeness perfectly.



When the hall kicked us out we made a dignified exit to my neighbour's house where he served me and several of my freaky mates drinks until OH and I staggered out and my friends stayed boozing there until 3.30am, Poor man is in rehab now, he said they were feral creatures.



On arriving home OH and I were delighted to discover that my brothers had popped round while we were out. The carpets were covered in dried spaghetti (nice and crunchy underfoot), the bed full of couscous (at least it's low GI), the ensuite lights had been disconnected and the toilet clingfilmed (the shinyness makes it too obvious to work). They had hung all my undies in the bedroom window. put a cycle lock around the wardrobe doors and screwed my showerhead into a funny position. Charming creatures had then popped mustard into the kettle, substituted the sugar for salt, tipped ginger powder into the milk, filled all our wellies by the back door with water and our oven glove with horseradish.



Sadly many of their efforts were unappreciated by my mother-in-law who popped round the next morning while we were still sleeping off the night's excesses. She donned her rubber gloves and de-yukked the kettle, washed out the sugar pot and bought us a ton of presents.



All things considered it was the best day of my life excluding only the birth of my daughter and I loved every minute of it. Surrounded by all my family and freaky mates, I wish we could do it all again very soon!

HItched

Well the boy and I finally did it and tied the knot on Saturday.

The sun was shining and the beautician booked to do makeup and nails rang in sick. My best pal/hairdresser stepped up to the fore taking me on a dash round the local boots to get some heavy duty slap and taking over the eyelashglueingon for all the ladies.

A local salon managed to fit me in to get my nails done at two hours notice but sadly it was the time I was supposed to be having my hair done so my friend had about 20 minutes to pin my hair up further pressured by my anxious neighbour keep reminding her we were going to be late.

I did my makeup myself and didn't once get mistaken for a chap which I take as being a roaring success.

The wedding car (a 1925 Bullnose Morris) had a top speed of 35 mph and didn't like hills or first gear which made for a very entertaining and fun journey!

The ceremony is a bit of a blur now, I remember my boyfriend's pal getting quite choked up doing his reading which made me a bit teary then my friend got really emotional on hers and had me in floods of tears. I noticed a blob of mascara on my dress just as we were about to sign the register but then realised it was my contact lens! I very hastily poked it back in much to the registrar's concern.

Isabella had lost all interest in the ceremony and proceeded to pull her dress up and sit kissing her knees alternately. She was wholly engrossed in the knee kissing which was a nice distraction from the crying/loss of sight in one eye.

Afterwards we went outside to take a few photos by the lake and the photographer walked backwards into a huge pile of dog poo which had my OH giggling for the rest of the day. Most of the photos feature Isabella jumping into midair or clutching onto a bag of Quavers that the wedding coordinator gave her. It was a gorgeous crisp day with a gentle breeze that made all my hair fall out of the pins and slap me round the face repeatedly.

After the ceremony we headed back to our village hall for drinks and dancing.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Detoxing Dullness

I have now completed three days of the juice detox and it is so boring!

I don't have a physical hunger as the juices are really filling but omg I have food cravings. Beans on toast with brown sauce and grated cheese.... a cup of tea.... hummous, mixed beans and peppers on pitta bread... I can not stop thinking about food - it's only been three days!

Yesterday was really hard, I felt exhausted and had a pounding head. I ended up taking a nap with my little girl and sleeping 3pm-6.30pm! I was back in bed by 9pm and slept really deeply.

I cooked steak pie, root veg mash and greens for my boyfriend and daughter tonight for tea which I didn't fancy at all but I am dreaming of mashed sardines on warm pitta bread. Ahh well almost halfway there now...

Monday, 1 March 2010

It's D Day

Detox day :) Can't believe I'm saying this but I'm so happy to be detoxing.

We bought a juicer on a whim as I liked the idea of making fresh juices, stumbled upon a Jason Vale book about juicing and from today started his 7 day juice detox.

I have been feeling so sluggish and lethargic and I'm hoping this will give me a new lease of life!

Day one went ok, the juices were nice and I haven't felt hungry. Bring on the glowing skin and boundless energy!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

It's not a shape, it's big and brown but what is it?

A few weeks ago at a friend's Isabella picked up a tree trunk that was part of a fairy playset and announced "look it's a barkindo"

After grilling her thoroughly we had not a clue what she was on about (It's not a shape was her only explanation) and put it down to her lastest trick of making up silly words.

Tonight in the car she was rambling on (seems par for course with three year olds) and mentioned barkindos. The conversation went like this

Me: What's a barkindo
I: It's like a barkindo
Me: What does it look like
I: Big
Me: What colour
I: Brown
Me: What does it do?
I: It goes boom
Me: Where have you seen them?
I: Far away
Me: In the sky?
I: No silly, it's not a planet
Me: Who has one?
I: Jessimae but not Alfie, he hasn't got a barkindo
Me: Can you sit on it?
I: No there are no chairs or sofas on a barkindo, jack frost can get to the top
Me: What is on a barkindo then?
I: Just a big hole at the top
Me: So what does a barkindo do?
I: It just goes Boom! Mummy
Me: Do you mean a volcano?
I: Yes a barkindo, it goes Boom!

And that has been bugging me for weeks! So obvious once you get it!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The bra fitter with the wrestling moves

Less than eight weeks until the big day I left OH putting Isabella to bed and zipped up the motorway to our closest late night shopping centre.

I needed some new makeup so had the notion I could wander childless around the counters and try lots of products before purchasing something that would transform me into a ethereal vision of bridal loveliness.

First off I hit the MAC counter where the lady told me that they don't do their makeup trials after 7pm despite them having two staff and only me browsing. Asking about blushers was enlightening as the assistant proceeded to tell me the names of different shades and rub them onto my hand.

I decided Clarins might be more helpful and a friendly orange assistant duly sat me down and tried various shades of foundation on me as I couldn't remember my usual colour She complimented me on my beautiful skin then proceeded to conceal all evidence of this under an inch of rust coloured mousse. Startled to see I had sprouted a ginger lady 'tache I thanked her profusely and moved swiftly on.

Still not defeated despite looking like the love child of Chris Evans and Donatella Versace I decided third time lucky and slunk off to Bare Minerals. The super friendly assistant took pity on my tangerine hue, tissued off the worst streaks and sold me a lovely blusher.

Feeling particularly sadistic I headed off to lingerie to get my wedding undies. Explaining to the assistant my needs (smooth lines under dress, balconette or plunge style, nude coloured) she proceeded to hoist me into several bras. Yes gone are the days of the assistant slipping discreetly out of the changing room while you try the bra on then coming in to check, this dedicated assistant advised me to lean forwards, drop my boobs into the bra and she fastened the back up. To the casual observer this tiny framed woman could have been mistaken for giving me the Heimlich manoeuvre but to her credit she was very, very good at her job and found me a miraculous bra that was strapless yet uplifting with the added bonus of being seam free.

If any larger busted ladies are in the market for a strapless bra I would wholeheartedly recommend the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless (A-F cup) as being a cleavage enhancing thing of beauty but whatever you do steer clear of the orange Clarins lady...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Monday, 25 January 2010

A Lax Wedding

After an eight year courtship the Boy and I have finally decided to get hitched. No romantic proposals, just him realising that he is the luckiest man on earth to have me and asking me to 'sort it all out, youth'

In true lax style I phoned and booked the service and reception the following day for nine weeks time, popped to the shops and bought a dress off the peg and broke the news to our surprised families.

While delighted they were all a tad shocked mostly because we never bothered to get engaged. I'm now fielding phonecalls from various family members who are convinced I'm pregnant again. I'm not and if I were I wouldn't be tying the knot as it would mean forfeiting my beloved Havana Club Anejo Especial at the reception.

Isabella is insistant she is wearing her Disney princess dress as flowergirl so I may have to hide/burn that in advance.

Did anyone else have a short engagement? I'm so laidback I haven't chosen my ring yet, but have sorted the important details like the hen night! Would love to see some photos of people's weddings especially bouquets as I haven't a clue what I want.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Cute Factor - Favourite Photo Meme

I have been tagged by Imsomniac Mummy to post my favourite photo.


Mummyhood does bring a lot of cute contenders but this one is over three years old now and still turns me to mush.


So without further ado:




The expression on her face gets me every time.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Out of the mouths of babes


My favourite and most unexpected part of parenting is how funny kids are. Isabella makes me laugh, she's honest and doesn't sugar the pill. Here's some of her latest observations:

That lady has got big teeth (at bus stop)
That Mister looks like Mr Potato Head (he did)
My little legs are tired, I need a Fruitella to give me energy (walking in fields very reluctantly)
I've run out, maybe you should get me a little drink while I look for some (refusing Daddy kisses)
Hello Fwends, I'm here (her standard greeting at nursery)
Don't forget your seatbelt Mummy or you'll fall out the car (possible slur on my driving skills)
I've made a little mess but don't worry you can clean it up (jigsaw factory explosion in her bedroom)
Thank you for having me (everywhere we go, makes librarian chuckle)
I can't weewee in there, it's all blue, I only like pink (objecting at my Gran's loo-bloo)

And my all time favourite

Mummy that little boy has just come in his pants (commenting on Mowgli's lack of trousers in Jungle Book)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Child safety equipment puts kids at risk

As new parents we've done the usual childproofing. For us this involved stairgates, socket covers and unplugging the electric fire at the mains.

Today at work I received an email from one of our partner agencies giving the link to this website which states that the socket covers are not only unnecessary but also potentially a safety hazard.

They point out that UK plug sockets have safety shutters built in so children can't poke their fingers in but use of the socket covers opens this safety mechanism potentially creating more danger. They are campaigning to raise awareness of this. This UK Government website (scroll down page) also states that socket covers aren't regulated for safety.

This is the first I've ever heard of these being dodgy! Having done some reading I feel happy that we can stop using ours but is this news to you and will you be binning yours?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

The best Porridge Biscuits - Easy peasy recipe


My favourite biscuits ever, recipe credits must go to my lovely Gran.


8oz Marg (I use Stork)
8oz Caster sugar
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
2 Level teaspoons hot water
2 Level teaspoons bicarb of soda
8oz Self raising flour
8oz Porridge oats

Method:
Melt marg, sugar and syrup in a pan over a low heat.

Mix hot water and bicarb in a cup, add to pan and it should go all frothy. Take off heat, add oats and flour and mix well.

Roll mixture into little balls, pop onto a baking sheet or stone, flatten slightly and bake for approx 10 mins at 180 until golden brown. Cool on a rack, coat in melted chocolate if you wish and eat.

Makes about 16.

Friday, 8 January 2010

A Meme for Me


My number one tour guide/cook/chauffeur/drinking partner Very Bored Housewife has tagged me in my very first meme. Homework already!

2009 was a fantastic year for us, we spent loads of time with friends and family having good old fashioned fun. Isabella had a year of milestones by shunning nappies, dummies, highchair, cot and pushchair and I've really enjoyed seeing her personality develop as she becomes a little girl. OH worked an obscene amount of hours as ever but we still had lots of good times.

Quite frankly my friends and family are ace and here's hoping 2010 is even better.

So my Highlights of 2009:


1. Returning to work: After stretching Maternity leave out for over two and a half years I was ready to return to a desk. Any desk would have done and Isabella was desparate to go to nursery in a "pleasemummyIweallywanttoplaywiththeotherboysandgirls" way. Seeing her develop friendships independantly of me has been a real eye opener, she has a 'best fwend' and they shreik with delight when they spot each other at school. Part-time working is much easier than I'd imagined and our work/nursery/grandparents routine is a winner with all involved parties.

2. Becoming an Auntie twice. Sort of. SIL had her first baby, making me an official Auntie and my bestest pal also had her first sproglet sending the cuteness fator off the radar!

3. A summer of holidaying with friends and their collective offspring. We invaded Sherwood Forest Center Parcs in May (4 mummies, 5 kids and a fair few chicken pox), made Very Bored Housewife's apartment look like it had been ramraided in July (4 toddlers in one bedroom is sadistic) and hit Brighton in August with a gorgeous friend, her newborn and toddler and made a fair few trips visiting friends dotted around England for fun and frolics.

4. Isabella's 3rd Birthday party: We decked out the village hall in streamers, bought lots of balloons, baked a cake and invited all her 'fwends'. The children were suspiciously well behaved (I am still reeling from the shock) many cakes were munched, carrot sticks avoided and I was incredibly touched that out of 24 children invited (some scattered across the country, living a good few hours away) only one didn't make it due to a prearranged date with Peppa Pig Live.


5. Getting some grass. Really. After 3.5 years of having a muddy field out back OH finally finished the middle bit of our garden and laid some turf. Result. Blessed with a long, hot summer Isabella spent many happy days splashing about in water and digging up my plants. Evenings were ace, we would sit boozing on the decking once the little one was asleep and our neighbour would walk across and wobble home.


So that's me done, hope VBH gives me top marks.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Long walks for little legs




I'm so proud of my girl today. With nursery and my work closed, we went for a walk around the village in the thick snow with our neighbour and the dog. Isabella walked all the way! 2.1 miles all through snowy fields and paths which is a long way for little legs, usually Daddy has to carry her a fair part of the journey. She was heavily bribed with fruitellas at the end mind.

It started snowing again while we were out, as soon as OH gets home from work I am escaping back into it with the mutt. At night the fields are magical, last night it was beyond pretty with all the hedges and trees covered in snow and fluffy white fields, I need to make the most of it before it turns to wet slush!