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Monday, 28 November 2011

On the Move part 1





Right,
well we are on the move right now, and by this time next week I will *hopefully* be lying in bed in our new house with the kids fast asleep! Hopefully..

We have had the er blessing of having moved house several time since having the kids and to be honest hadnt pictured moving again for several years, but circumstances must so the packing has begun!

Obviously we are already experiencing all those niggling annoyances that go with any more for anyone. However this time around with two tots in tow there has been a few additional challenges, and theres still a week to go.

Firstly there has been the confusion about what this all means - are the toys going, are they being given away, no just moved to the new house, 10 begrudging minutes later life is relatively calm again.
Then theres the eternal question - 'Will Santa find the new house?!?' now this ones important this year in a way it never has been before.
Alice has been reassured that as the new house has several large fireplaces all should be well on the Santa front, she seems sumwhat unconvinced still!
Iv also been informed (by Alice) that she will definitely be on Santas nice list this year, however Thomas still has some work to do as he's currently languishing down in the Naughty pile!!

So poor little Alice and Thomas have the prospect of what to them is a life altering change to deal with, and so far so bad really.
On the surface all is well but when you look underneath you can see the strange reversion to some extremely dare i say it 'baby' like behavior.
The smallest of reminders even, not tellings off will lead to floods of tears, public places cannot be left without a screaming toddler in tow while morning are back to being early mornings.

We're trying our best to make everything as stressfree as possible for them as much as us and if anyone else has suggestions then please share!

As they will have to share a room post move we have begrudgingly put them in together in the house for the last week, which is so far working out fairly well. (At least in so far as they have both ended up sleeping in the end!). Hopefully that can be one thing which stays constant post move that way.

Also I have good intentions (time permitting) to have the house already christmatised by the time the kids see it, hoping this will sweeten the deal.

Last but not least is the large bag of new (now I say new but these are actually just toys I was given by my lovely friend as her 2 had outgrown them!) toys never seen before by A&T incase some distraction tactics are needed!!

Right well iv only mentioned a tiny slice of our lives in a very rambling sense but it shall have to do for this evening as Im off to the last of nod any minute!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

About time too!

Well Im sorry to say that my poor blog has gone sadly negelected over the last several months!!
All I can say is that Im extremely sorry (although I think im probabaly only apologising to an audience of possibly 5 at best!!!) and that I will try my hardest to revive this will it still had life left in it.

A short summary of the events of the last two months could go along the lines of :
Ran a half marathon (extremely slowly!!)
Got married to my amazing husband
Started working full time at the pub
Began packing up all our things to move house
Trying to support my husband while he sets up a new business.

All of the above has kept me really just a little over busy, but still thats no excuse for neglect!

At the moment we're really feeling pretty spread thin as I am working 45 hour weeks at the Pub while my husband now does 1 or 2 of the killer early mornings over at the golf course every-week just to make the books balance. On top of that he is trying desperatly hard to set up his own business from home which is consuming every hour of his day, and several of mine that I hadnt known existed in years!
Now Im not the kind of person that likes to moan and winge but really this is the place for it theres any, so right now I shall just put my marter bid out there and remind everyone that that means Im basically working a full time week at the pub, but still being a full time mum to the kids all but the one day a week I have to do a day shift, while still providing my early morning husband taxi service!
Right rant over, apologies!!!!

I shall really try to get back on track with this though as Im finding more and more of those little moments in the day that used to be set aside for me have turned into parcel wrapping and fruitless attempts to understand html and the never ending nappy changes life just seems to be made of. Therefore Im making a stand, and if Im still not able to retain my privacy on the bog, I will at least attempt to retain my decency on the blog!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bliss

Well Yesterday Alice started back at nursery, where she will be going Monday to Friday and staying for lunch Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays.

Life has instantly returned to normal which following 7 weeks of chaos feels like utter bliss.

Yesterday I was able to take Thomas round Tescos and do an entire shop with him blissfully sleeping in the buggy and still have time for a play and a tidy up before collecting Alice.

Today started out a little more hectic and I thought my morning had be scuppered when I was putting Thomas's coat on already a couple of minutes late. I smelt a bad smell and thought it was his coat tried to look and found poop squashed ut the back of his trousers and consequently everywhere else me included.

Not letting this down hearten me I stepped him off showered him down while a very helpful Alice ran upstairs for his clean clothes.

5 Minute late to Preschool but no matter and then I whisked Thomas off to playgroup at our local community centre.
He had a ball and we still had time to come home, him to nap me to tidy and then walk down to pick Alice up. We even fed the ducks on the way home!

2 days in and the downstairs of my house would at least get a past on a hygiene inspection (I reckon anyway!).

I have not felt this relaxed in weeks, despite the fact Ive got work 2 nights in a row.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Mummys Boys



Today is Sunday, which in our house means its mummy's day for a lie in!
I always get up for the kids on a Saturday morning, then work a Saturday night so Sunday morning lie ins are great and I spend just about the whole week looking forward to the next one
I dont take it for granted that the other half is happy to get up for the kids, because the way we've chosen to do things, for the most part I have the kids, and he does the work. I would completely understand if he we're to want to stay in bed all weekend!

However that doesnt mean that at 6am on a Sunday when Thomas starts screaming and the other half is fast asleep I'm jumping out of bed to get him.
This morning I listened to the screaming for about 10 minutes (sorry neighbours) half hopeful the other half would wake up and half hopeful it might just stop.
Finally grabbed T and put him in bed with us, more crying screaming attempts to headbutt mummy attempts to poke me in the mouth/eye/nose because he's bored,

An hour of Cbeebies blaring and finally Alice is up to so the other half has no excuse and carts them off downstairs.

Fast asleep a few hours later and Im being kicked and poked again by two tiny tots, When asked where daddy is and why their back here I'm told Daddy have a poo poo. Now why is it when I use the toilet on a Saturday they dont both end up flocking in the bedroom hmm.

Finally Im up at 10 O'clock. Seconds later they've shot up the stairs and both demand that I carry them back down (they do both walk just fine!) This is fine lovely no problem they love me great.

In the kitchen trying to get to the bathroom just to have a quick wee! Im grabbed screamed at tugged ad more crying from Thomas all because I haven't picked him up and cuddled him to infinity and met his every need.

I love this boy, but if he wasn't my son Id've taken out a restraining order on him by now!
When he feels neglected (2 minutes without a kiss) I get physically abused! Headbutting kicking poking I seriously hope this isn't just his standard for relationships!

I love so much, but Alice';s clingy phase was well past by this point and I just dont know how to get passed it. He's happy to be with other people as long as he cant see me, and even wants to go to nursery (only 5 months till they'll take him!!) but whenever I'm around he has one thing on his mind. Mum!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

To Move or not to Move

Well, we have lived in Warwick for just over a year now, and I have to say that from my perspective I love being here.
I have the perfect combination of knowing the area well and still having family and friends here without having had to rely on them as I have easily made new friends since being back.

When we moved back I initially wanted to live in a quite specific area of Leamington (Bottom end of Whitnash) as it seemed perfectly distanced from both town/mum and dad/good school etc. I didnt find a house in our price bracket (renting) in the time we were looking and we fell in love with our house just inside Warwick

The house is lovely and really does suit us perfectly - equally sized bedrooms for the kids, decent shower, garage, dishwasher etc
However we hadnt realised that the new development behind us even really existed, and having not done my research that we fall into a school catchment Im not very comfortable with

I have now come across a house in the perfect location in Whitnash for a rate that matchs what we now pay. I really love the idea of being near to two extreemly good schools, living in a quieter more residential area and the parks/shops around there.
However while the house is a semi, so an upgrade on our mid-terrace it has 2 large doubles and one tiny box room (poor Thomas) and as it wont be our own no potential for extending. It seems to have a fairly rubbish shower, and I doubt space for a dishwasher!
There will also be all the cost of moving and the fact that we have finally ended our contract so can be flexible in our current house. We also have an extreemly helpful landlord.

I have booked to look round it on Monday but need to be very careful. I am so exited about the area and the exterior look of the house that I need to remember to keep an unbiased eye while viewing it and be sure that it really is a house we could all live in happily as a family!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor






I have been out of the loop for some while now due to the mischief of a certain Tiger Rabbit.

He hasn't actually met with my pot but tonight I will be making the annoying for a Friday night trip to Coventry to  pick him up a long overdue rabbit run.

Several weeks ago now I found myself scaling the neighbors fence with only minutes to spare before having to rush the kids into the car and pick up the other half. This was not an early attempt at looting, but the result of our rabbit and the neighbours dogs joint efforts to meet their fate. Much scraping underneath fence behind the rose bushes meant the our bunny could now escape into our neighbours garden from our once enclosed adjoining garden.

They'd been trying this for some while and this was one trip over the fence too many seeing as they wernt in, and I felt like an actual intruder popping over there.
I resigned myself to buying a run, and let the rabbit have his free roam around the house instead.
He's always loved the house and even poops in a litter tray filled with hay by choice.

In some sort of protest to his indoor imprisonment in such glorious wether I was in return punished.

One morning while checking my much beloved twitter I started to feel warm. Thought little of this and carried on, next thing I knew I was being burnt and receiving a small electric shock. The light bugger had chewed right through the important half of the laptop cable. 10 minute of battery power remaining was just enough to log into ebay and pick the cheapest but fasted delivered replacement!

as so it has been told, the story of why poor little Tigie Rabbit must have a Rabbit Run.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Trouble with Thomas

For quite a while I have been dreading the holidays coming and having Alice at home again all the time, I was worried she would be bored and we would all suffer.

However in the week that she has had off from Play School, Alice has been a pleasure, sure she's had her moments what toddler doesn't, but on the whole she's been lovely, and its been great to have a bit of extra time with her before nursery kicks in and she's off every morning come September.

My troubles however have certainly not lessened, instead they have be the trouble with Thomas.

The angelic face may deceive you


Thomas is about 18 months old now (I think?!) and when its just the two of us he's pretty easy to handle, he naps, we play, he helps me clean etc nothing too wild. I take him to toddlers groups about once a week.

Since Alice has been off playschool Thomas is now officially a brat. He has become that child that everyone looks at in the park, I have become that mother that everyone starts at on the train. So whats so bad? He screams, he screams about small things, he screams about big things, he screams for the sake of it, and most of all he screams extremely loudly, in a way that only boys seem to be capable off.

I used to see other peoples kids screaming, and I would think, what have you done to them, why cant you take them away or at least why haven't you bought along something they like.

I have tried to take Thomas away from situations that cause the scream, for example our mundane trip to Asda and the fiasco that created. Since then Thomas has learned scream loud enough, leave faster. so thumbs down to that one

What have I done to him? This has now become more of a question of what would I like to do to him, or where would I like to hide. Nothing that I'm aware of?!

And I have taken him along a thousand different things, Iv tried toys, food, drinks, his beloved book.
Whatever we are doing it doesn't fit Thomas.

When we're in the car he wont sleep and screams instill he is knackered, thus when we get somewhere he is shattered from not having slept.
When he's in the buggy he wants to walk and when he's walking he wants to stop and stay in one place for an eternity.

I am at my wits end with the embarrassment of pushing a screaming buggy, or being hit by a tantruming toddler as I try to calm him.
We have had to leave the park earlier than intended because of his behaviour which just seems really unfair to poor Alice who has been no trouble.

I love my kids and already feel their growing up so fast I can barley keep up, but this week has definitely been a week for wishing away the 6 months till Play School will take him too :-(

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tech Kids?

On Thursday the other half had a job interview in London, and so we decided to go along too and make a day out of it as it happened to be the day Alice has no playschool.

On the way down there I popped the post code into my trusty Iphone for it to do its thing and direct us there, however in normal tech style it got us into central London and then the battery died! Leaving me to wing my way to Dulwich Village solo. I HATE driving round London, and the other half hates being expected to direct and so we ended up asking a few strangers (much to his manly disgust) and getting there with literally 1 minute to spare (having allowed 3 hours for a 2 hour journey anyway).

It was then really annoying that I had no battery left as we couldn't separate for the rest of the day for fear of being lost in London!

Interview over we decided to catch the train into the city to show the kids some sights. Alice was entertained by the journey for a few minutes but all Thomas wanted to do was jump out the buggy climb on seats and scream..every non-parents nightmare to sit by. This was obviously really annoying and stressful, and for us a lesson in not taking our two toddlers into central London any time soon.
But I couldn't help noticing several other parents toddlers around Alice's age (3ish) had very quite children sitting still in their buggies. On closer inspection these kids were playing with the apps on their parents phone's (or so I thought). I've let Alice do this in the car, or when we're waiting for food out etc and I don't see a problem with it at all, but I was pretty appealed when I saw the mother of one toddler get out her own identical (£400) phone and start texting and calling.
Several times her little girl looked up to her and said she was bored, to which she was told to practice her typing on Note, and listen to her songs.
The poor little girl although quite and still looked absolutely bored as hell, while her disinterested mother played with her own phone.

Looking round London in general there was definatly a running theme that it was okay for toddlers to have their own, sim card free smart phone purely to use as a toy. Im not entirely sure why but this just made me feel really sad. Don't get me wrong I know we live in a modern world and kids need to be getting to grips with technology younger and younger but this just seemed a step (or 2) too far to me.

Id rather take my screaming/bouncing/annoying kids any day over that. It seemed really sad that parents just expected children to be entertaining themselves presumably because they'd spent so much money on these phones. I dont know if this was a status thing or intended to provide genuine entertainment to a tot, Id love to hear other peoples thought.

Im not sure if Im just being a dinosaur, but id rather be penny thrift and living in smalltownsville with colouring books and crayons for my kids any day.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Rant

Well, yesterday when checking my Internet banking I noticed that my current account was showing up an available balance of zero despite not being over my overdraft limit.
I was a bit confused but thought that perhaps I had over spent a little at the weekend so quickly transferred across £60 to make sure I avoided bank charges.

£60 did not make a difference to the available balance and so I started to worry. I knew I couldn't have got any more carried away than this and as the transaction was not showing up on my statement yet had no way of knowing where it had gone too.

I phoned up Lloyd's to try and solve the mystery who were very helpful and I stopped my card and asked to change the pin number instantly worrying that perhaps my card had been cloned or something over the weekend..it was Brighton, I was drunk etc.

Once we'd got security out of the way they attempted to find out where the money was going for me. To my surprise it was a single payment of £505 but for some reason the fraud squad had not flagged this up as unusual so had allowed it to process.

I was very confused for a while as I really do find Lloyd's to be a great bank who have been extremely helpful since I started banking there 5 years ago.

I racked my brains until I finally stumbled upon the fact that i had renewed my car insurance with Asda on Wednesday instead of phoning the Co-Op to renew my current policy. The figures seemed to match up so I gave them a call.
Low and behold they quite happily stated that yes they had very kindly automatically renewed my car insurance for me. I reminded them that at the time that I changed cars in April I had very decisively opted out of automatic renewal and therefore would like my money back having already renewed with Asda.

My helpful advisor Ali informed me that what I needed to do was quite simply to return them the document that they have not yet actually sent to me, along with those that Asda will be sending and then once they have received them they will kindly cancel the policy.
I began to become frustrated at this point and couldn't help pointing out that not only would this take at least 10 days I also didn't wish to 'cancell' the policy as I had never taken it out, and certainly wouldn't be paying them their administration and cancellation fees.

Ali at this point floundered so I requested to speak to a manager. I was put on hold for 15 minutes and finally when Ali returned to the phone it was to suggest that I called Lloyd's back to ask them to stop the payment.
I was suspicious but appreciated they might know something I didn't. I Asked for Ali's full name and was told this was not company policy, I then asked for Ali's direct number and was told he didn't have one, I asked for a reference number as proof of our conversation and was told that no such number existed. Infuriated by this 'customer service' I hung up and spoke to Lloyd's again.

Unsurprisingly no stop could be made on the payment as it had been taken via my debit card, which is guaranteed by visa, not via a direct debit. Something I was advised Ali would have been aware of. So another expensive pointless phone call. Lloyd's did however provide me with a reference number and promise that I would not receive bank chargers as long as the issue was resolved.

Back on the phone through the entire system to the Co-Op this time to speak to the at least more helpful Riff.
I immediately asked to speak to a manager and was told that their policy was for a manager to return your call within 24 hours (What!!?) I am still waiting. Riff asked if she could help so I once again explained the situation, apologised for being angry and said that I found it all highly unacceptable that they had effectively stolen £500 from me leaving us in an extremely awkward position, potentially costing me bank chargers and defiantly costing me expensive phone calls. Not to mention the inconvenience of having already stopped my card on suspicion of fraud.

The outcome, an email to confirm that I wanted to cancel the policy and stating I didn't have the documents to return. I did return this email along with a lengthy comment re-iterating my situation and requesting a confirmation of its receipt.

I have received no phone call, no confirmation of my email and certainly no return of my £505. I am now left extremely tight for money (who wouldn't be its £500!) and entirely unsure when/if I can expect to have the full amount returned to me.

I am also furious that this will now be costing me further frustrating phone calls this afternoon when I would rather be playing with my children.

I'm genuinely annoyed with the Co-Op and their customer service and had expected much better. I will certainly never be using any of their insurance services again.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Fun at Home

Well I got back from Brighton at about 7.30 last night which meant the kids had already gone up to bed.
When we were finishing lunch at about 3 and I realised I wouldn't catch them before bed time I got a bit upset as I really was missing everybody by then, but I had such a lovely weekend it seemed a shame to try and rush everyone!

When I got home, the other half told me that Alice was in our bed that night as when she had been going to sleep she wouldn't settled and had said 'I miss mummy'(how cute, this was lovely to hear), so the other half had let her tuck into our bed and promised her shed get cuddles when I was back.

It was absolutely lovely to tuck up in bed with them both and have a big cuddle last night and just a shame Thomas was in his own room (but delightful that he was sound asleep!)

The other half had work and Alice had playschool this morning so it was just me and T but we had a great morning, and I made him up some rainbow spaghetti to play with!

I got this off a twitter post and thought I had to try.

All I did was to cook a packet of value spaghetti, pop a little bit of oil in it, and then ran it all under the cold tap for a minute to cool it off.
Then I separated it into a few old margarine tubs so I could colour it different colours. I had red, green and yellow food colouring, and so made red,green,yellow, orange (by mixing red and yellow) and pink (by only using a drop of red).



I bought the coffee table into the kitchen and popped the platicated table cloth over then got a big plastic bowl, some picnic bowls and Thomas so we could get stuck in.

I popped him in an old ikea bib as an apron and he had a great time mixing up the different colours, spooning it into the bowl, feeling the texture and yes eating a bit.
It doesn't matter if your kids do eat this because it really is just spaghetti and food colouring!



When Alice got home from playschool she had a ball playing with the spaghetti too and I defiantly think that was 40p well spend on a pack of Value Spaghetti. Really did provide hours of fun.



To add to the experience you could add food essences/flavourings or try putting some glitter in with it. (don't then let kids eat it).
If it had been a nicer day I would have let them take this outside to play with on the grass too!

All in all a lovely fun day back at home with my babies :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

On my own

Wow I am on my own in Brighton Marina.
I have lain in till half 7 and eaten breakfast in peace.
I miss my babies!
Now to have a shower in peace and get dressed prepared to be rained on all day! Just watching the forecast don't think it could be worse.
The girls ate arriving at midday so wish me luck lol.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

10 top tips for....Cooking with Toddlers




When it comes to cooking with your toddler (or two) the prospect can be daunting.
You know theres going to be alot of mess over the floor, the kitchen, the toddler and yourself, its probably going to take a long time, they will eat raw cake mix and it will taste a bit funny.
But its so much fun that it really is all worth it, and here's my top tips for maximizing fun and minimizing the mess!

1) Pick a simple recipe with only a few ingredient and if you've got particularly young children try to find one with a small cooking time.

2) If possible bring a low table (I always use my coffee table from the lounge) into the kitchen so that the kids    can work at their height. This is safer as it saves wobbling off stools near counter tops and keeps little fingers away from, hob rings etc.

3) Invest a few pounds in a plastic table cloth, or buy some plasticated cloth from a fabric shop, we got ours (although it looks like I didnt bother with it for the picture, oops!) from the sale section of CH Fabrics for £5) this will protect your table and surrounding area from mess as it'll only take a wipe to get it all clean at the end, and also lets the kids know that this is a time its okay to get messy.

4) Let kids help to measure out ingredients. A toddler will be fascinated by your weighing scales, jugs spoons etc and you can talk about numbers, quantities etc in a way that's relevant to them, eg. How many eggs do we need? 'one, two'

5) Get stuck in, let them stir, rub, and mash things together, dont worry about a bit of mess on your tots it will all come off with a lick or a bath!

6) Join in! If your kids see you having fun and enjoying cooking they will too

7) When choosing what to cook decide whether it will be healthy, or a treat and then talk about this when your cooking. E.g. 'isnt this cake mix yummy, so sweet this will make a nice treat for pudding'

8) Let children cut ingredients up with plastic scissors. So many recipes need things cutting up but if your clever and pick the right recipes then most cutting can be limited to soft items suitable for the scissors! good example of food to cut with scissors are, ham, cheese slices, cooked spaghetti, bananas, bread etc. Try to avoid letting children handle raw meat/fish

9) Look at the food before it is cooked and talk about how it looks, ask what they think it might turn out light after cooking. Look again when the food is cooked, were you right? Will it stay that way when it is cool.

10) Eat and enjoy, kids love sharing what they've made and receiving praise for it. They are also much more willing to try new things if they've had a hand in making them.

Here come the hens




Well this weekend Im heading down to Brighton for my Hen Do.
Its crazily early as we're not getting married until October but was the only time that me and my two bridesmaid could do all at once (we're defiantly growing up if theres only 1 Saturday we're all free in 3 months!).

At the moment Im really not sure if Im exited at the prospect of a night out on the piss with 6 girls or slightly terrified! It has been 3 and a half long years since I had anything like a drinking session so Im pretty sure im going to be horribly out of practice in comparison to my footloose and fancy free companions (except my Sister in Law to be who will hopefully be there to rescue me if I get too horribly drunk!).

Im heading down on the Friday night to see my brother who still lives in Brighton, and then Saturday night with the girls so I will actually be away for 2 nights. I was chatting to the other half about this and realised I actually haven't spend a night away from Thomas ever, and it must be well over 4 years since I spend a night actually on my own. (if you count small babies as company!) so its definatly going to be strange and Im completely undecided whether I feel liberated at the prospect of two whole days dribble, dirty nappy, trouser grabbing free time or if Im just going to horribly miss my babies!

We're also skint so we're all going to try to squish into a 1 bed flat with a sofa bed (interesting for 6) so I'll have to make sure to pack a few extra home comforts...although I do feel its my right as bride to be to bags half the double bed!
Drinks will have to be on err..everyone else :o) *hopefully eyes*

Also no plan has been formed just meet around midday, eat and drink and hope the weathers nice enough to sit on Brighton's STONY beach. (just checked the beeb not loving the 'light rain' predicted for Saturday and neither is my hair)


I do at least hope that means I'll be avoiding strippers and giggling bits though!

Not sure quite where Im going with this, just aargh Im going to miss my babies, and Iv aged so horribly that what Im most looking forward to is a nice long lie in on Saturday morning and the chance to have an uninterrupted shower!

Im sure you'll all see my drunken tweets over the weekend! and hopefully I'll still be alive to write a post about it next week!

Friday, 8 July 2011

To Treat or Not To Treat



While I was nipping round my local Tesco this morning I bumped into a lady who's son also goes to Alice's preschool.
His birthday is today (he's 4 so in the Butterflies group not Alice's caterpillars) and she was telling me how having dropped him off this morning she was asked where the sweets were to give to the other children.
Consequently she was rushing round Tesco's stocking up on suitable junk for his party and for preschool.

I couldn't help but comment that i was shocked to hear that the preschool had actually requested that she bring in sweets to dish out.
When it was Alice's birthday on a playgroup day last summer I cautiously bought in a cake unsure whether this might annoying other mothers that I was promoting junk to their kids!

I'm now left pondering exactly which line of thought is the best!


Should we be discouraging our kids from eating sugary junk or is it actually the opposite that these treats are in fact designed for kids for a very good reason!

And also as much as I really do love Alice's preschool is it really right that for every child's birthday the kids are dished out packs of parent provided sweets that they are left eagerly clutching at collecting time. Presumably this is incase you didn't want your kid to eat them, but surely they must know the very fact their frantically clutching the packet is allowing it in the first place. I'm yet to see a single parent not just open it to ensure a peaceful walk home!

With Alice's 3rd birthday fast approaching and it falling on her one preschool day (at her other preschool) for the holidays I'm left very confused about what approach to take...without even mentioning the whole party issue!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The kindness of children





This is just a short post because I'v been very distracted over the last few days and struggled to finish my thoughts into anything I'v thought fit to inflict on the world!

I went into the doctors for what I thought was a routine question and having been referred to a different doctor for tests am now left feeling a bit anxious and worried and also having told my close family like maybe Im worrying them for nothing.
While Im sure this is the case, I still seem to be unmanageably stressed out by this!

I have both the kids at home all day on a thursday and had been dreading it a little to be honest, but actually this morning we all cuddled up o the sofa to watch disney films for hours and the children behaved themselves brilliantly all day, either playing nicely together (miracle!) or giving out nice hugs.
When Alice saw me looking sad and stressed this morning she instantly came over asked 'are you alriiiiight mummieeee' and then despite my reassurances that I really was fine and just being silly I was given a massive cuddle and 'its okay'.
From this point onwards I was much more upbeat and cheerful, partially because it genuinely did cheer me up, and partially because It made me think just how sensitive and connected children (even 2 year olds!) really are, and was amazed at how genuine her concern really was.

Just a tiny reminded that those babies we made, however troublesome and loud really can be mini miracles.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Comforters

My children have always been so different, that its impossible not to compare, because next to nothing they do is they same.

While Alice was walking at 1, Thomas was talking and while Alice is a thrill seeking explorer Thomas seems to have more of a practical problem solving sort of nature.

I was one of those non-mums who would loudly declare in my pre-baby days that my children where not going to have dummies, wouldnt be eating in macdonalds and wouldn't be shouted at in the street. I have so far broken all three of these 'rule'
However I feel in no was ashamed of that, because once you have kids, you realize what a stuck up idiot you actually were before!

I gave Alice a dummy in desperation when she was 3 weeks old, as I couldn't bare the crying (from either of us!) any more. In my moment of weakness I grabbed for the pack someone had sent us in a gift parcel and let Alice enjoy the sweet relief this seemed to provide us all to her hearts content.
I didn't even stop to notice that this was a pack of old fashioned cherry teat dummies, and in my opinion as with everything that wasn't designed in the last 5 years, this actually did the job, Alice fell in love with it, and became a grade A dummy addict within a matter of days!

Eventually the dummy had its problems though, like being thrown out of into the road for me to retrieve and err 'clean' and I was worried that Alice's speech may even have been slowed a little (possibly just a buggys pushy health visitor though!) and by the time Thomas was born she was allowed night time dummies only.
She is not quite three and this is still important for her, we have begun talk of the magical dummy fairies coming when she is 3 and im sure they'll be more on this to follow.

Back to the point though, consequently this was her most important 'comforter' and a string of toys have been givern pride of place with her finallly settling on a Jingling pink rabbit called 'Jelly' that she was given as a gift (therefore I now cant find more) and cant wash because of its bell! but she has never really struggled to settle down as long as the dummy has been there.

With Thomas I made sure he got the 'right' dummies from the start, and he reluctantly accepted that they may just be better than nothing and they did help him to settle as a small baby.
When we moved house (and kicked him out our room) last summer I decided that 6 months was a good time to take the dummy away full stop (most unfair as Alice was still parading hers around at bedtime) and Thomas has had to find alternative ways of comforting himself.

A few months ago I realized he was able to turn on his Rainforest PeekaBoo mobile himself, and we had a week of sleepless night when the batteries ran out, as this is clearly important to him. I have ignored the 'remove after 6 months' guidelines for the sake of everybody's sanity (and it cost far too much for 6 months use!!).
His other 'comfort' object strangely enough seems to be books. He will not settle for either bedtime or naps unless he is given at least one and preferably two interesting books.
I'll them hear him giggling and cooing away for about 20 minutes before he actually falls asleep.
I havent encouraged this on him, but do find it unbelievably cute!

My top bedtime book suggestions are:


Friday, 1 July 2011

Thomas Meltdown

Argh,
I just had the biggest toddler tantrum meltdown in the world.

Dropped Alice off to playgroup, wizzed round to Asda to grab some bits and pieces for the weekend (hopefully of a barbaque tomorrow) and saw Thomas had just dozzed off in the car.
Normally to wake him up is no problem and he is his usual merry self once he's in the trolly, but not today!

He screamed when I put him in, and was grumbling while we went into the shop, bumped into a friend and spent 2 minutes chatting, this was two minutes too long for Thomas though who deceided to start shrieking (that high pitched cry that sounds more like its indedned to attrackt wild dogs!) so I made my excuses and off up the aisles we went.
The noises didnt stop, I tried caliming him down, only to get slapping added to the problems, I tried telling him off, which increased the volume, I tried ignoring him for 10 minutes and then I tried feeding him the things I hadnt paid for yet!

None of the above seemed to work, and if anyone has any better ideas PLEASE tell me them!

We had only been 20 minutes when I deceided to give up, having a trolly full of purely junk we basically dont need from the attempts to grab things.
It got no better at the check out where taking him out the trolly for a cuddle only seemed to incite more slapping of mummy.
I was feeling like the lowest, scummiest mummy possible while the ladie infront of me deiced to chat to the checkout assistant for at least 2 minutes instead of paying, and I was about ready to burst into tears by the time my shopping was being scanned through.
I thought my order was surely over but no, the old lady returned and in her attempt to 'help' kept taking the shopping I had packed out of bags in my trolley and trying to pass them to Thomas, all this led to was double packing and double screaming, I sunk to new lows though by actually telling her she wasn't helping.

I now feel like the world worst mum, and am dreading the prospect of waking Thomas up in 10 minutes so we can pick Alice up.

2 coffees and a *aherm* packet of sweets later I am at least feeling calm(ish) again.

Lesson learnt, men hate shopping, avoid taking any age of male human shopping at all costs!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Washing woe

Well today I have put about 5 loads through my washing machine as it was bright sunshine this morning and my Iphone weather forecast confidently told me it wont rain here for the next 5 days.
I have managed to get the first two loads dry but was forced to dash out and rescue my smalls a few minutes ago due to some most unwelcome rain!

I now have a full of soggy socks and havn't been able to spend valuable baby napping time doing more important things like tidying, hoovering or posting a longer blog!!

On a brighter note though do remember to hang your washing outside whenever possible, it doesnt even need to be particularly warm or sunny (just not raining!!) as a good breeze will do wonders for your washing. It really will save you a fortune on tumble drying and save your house from unnecessary dampness from trying to dry everything inside.

If you dont have an outdoor washing line why not take your clothes airer outside?
You could also make one of these


with just some string a clothes hanger and some old pegs, or you can pick one up from most £1 shops/eBay etc for just a few pound.

This can hang outside from your line (to make extra space) from a tree or a beam and quickly bought in and hung inside (I hang mine of the shower rail).

Large items like sheets can even just be spread between the garden furniture to dry.

Line drying not only saves a fortune but also leaves your clothes smelling truly fresh in a way no powder or softener has equaled yet!!

Believe it or not I am about to add a cautionary note to line drying!!(I know) If you or your child has acute eczema or hay fever then their clothes should be washed only with a non-bio and no softener. They should also be dried Indoors as pollen from outside could be an irritant.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Short Dresses and Sunscreen

Phew well its finally raining after a literary boiling day of about 32 degrees here in Warwick!
This morning in my British suncrazed state I decided to wear a dress more suitable for a beach in Majorca than my morning walk to playschool! This, along with the 5 year old tanning base layer found in the cupboard and a tonne of eye make up inspired by the hot weather probably made for one of the most terrifying sights the preschoolers had seen since last halloween! And the much windier walk home resulted in several Marilyn, without the glamour moments attempting to keep my dress well and truely below my knickers despite the breezes best attempts on my way home!

On a more practical note, I only remembered the kids sunscreen 5 minute before leaving the house, so try to remember it as its so so important when their little, use at least factor 25 or higher! (I always use 40 on the kids) and pop a hat on their (if they'll let you) and even though its hot, nice long sleeved light cotton on babies will keep them sun safe too!
You don't need to spend loads of money on expensive brands of sunscreen as they must all adhere to regulations so the supermarkets own really is as good, (if you have time read the Mails's article on Asdas excellent sunscreen). Also many children's centers also sell sunscreen at nearer to a cost price in the summer, especially if you live in the South.

Hope everyone has a great time in the hot weather and remembers to stay sun safe!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

5 a day



know I know it's very Marg Simpson smiley face breakfast but I was bored!!

This couldn't have been easier and went down a storm!

Turkey dinosaurs are £1 for 6 in Tesco right now so u used 33p of dinosaur for the kids to tonight!

The trees are made of some left over rice and broccoli for the leaves and the grass is peas with a blob of ketchup (reduced salt and sugar) sun

Total cost around 50p a dinner.

This is a great way of sneaking your 5 a day my kids like veg anyway but fun meals like this can be a way to introduce new things!
Get creative how about carrot stick tree trunks or sweet corn flowers, cress as grass or sweet potato boulders? The options are endless so get creative and if your little ones are old enough why not let them choose art and dinner! How sophisticated!!

Please share any of your dinner pic tips too!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ikea Meatballs!




Well yesterday my cupboards were bare and I was stumped as to what to make for dinner that all four of us would eat.
I rumaged through my freezer and found a big pack of meatballs, stared at it for a while and though oh god is this it, not pasta again! ut then I got to thinking and remembered that meatballs can..belive it or not be eaten without pasta! I was trying to think of a good recepie for some sort of stew then had a brainwave to try and re-create Ikea style meatballs!

I love the Ikea meatball meal, as an Ikea family member they are frequently on offer for just 99p for the 9 meatball meal, this to me is a no brainer. If I ever have to go to Coventry (I know, I know) then I always park at Ikea. The parking is free as long as you buy something while you there, and this can be anything however small, so that always saves a few quid. But also their so child friendly its actually unbelievable and with such great value food its unbeatable. But I digress, back to my meatball dinner.

Like I said, I had a packet of prebought meatballs already, however the official Ikea recipe can be found here. It looks dead simple and I'm defiantly going to give this as go soon.
It was however the Gravy/Sauce recipe I was interested in. Now I can believe how simple it was to make, I read the recipe and was highly doubtful this was going to turn out right! (especially as I substituted cream for full fat milk, which we always have in the house anyway) However it all tasted lovely, it was a little thin but I used 1 tablespoon of Cornflour to 2 Tablespoons of sauce mixed together then poured in to thicken it (it says to use white flour, so maybe they do mean cornflour). It tasted delicious.

To be super healthy I served this up with lots of steamed potatoes (although it would be great with mash or chips as well!) and a blog of cranberry sauce.

I was really delighted as the other half ate all of his and even tried to steal of the kids and said this recipe was a definite keeper! Both children loved it, and despite its lack of veg content (I couldve added peas!) I gave them some grapes and banana for pud so everybody finished dinner feeling great.

Just a shame I still seem to be stuck with the pans to wash up today!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

School Report!



Okay so its not strictly speaking her first school report, just her 3 month review for PlaySchool (Childrens Centre group but still she couldn't have made me more proud! Im now genuinely exited to go to her review for the PlaySchool she attends at Coten End where she spend 3 mornings a week later this month.

Her Key worker Nic is great and I cant thank her enough. All she has is praise for Alice and seemed to genuinely share my excitement at the prospect of dumping Thomas on their hands too in 6 months!!

From chatting with Nic, reading her record book and seeing her progress with respect the the Early Years Foundation Stage I'm really thrilled. Its clear that her strongest point is her consideration for others which I had an incling of because of how nicely she treats Thomas at home everyday (she even shares biscuits with him!!) they were particularly keen to tell me that a new girl started a few weeks ago and Alice made her feel extremely welcome by sharing and taking her under her wing.
Second on the list was her physical ability's which actually exceed what is expected of her age and on the EYFS are more in line with a full time nursery school child's (which is great as Alice isn't even 3 yet!) there are several cute pictures of her showing off at the top of the slide!

Her only weak point is problem solving which I find funny as you can ask anyone we know and they will tell you I have marked Thomas as problem solver since day one as one of the biggest differences between my children, but they did add only seeing her once a week it could be better than it seems (will definitely bring this up at Coten End.

I'm so thrilled to see picture of her jumping and captions to say she counted to 12, a claim I have made for some time but doubt been believed! Also that cheeky little miss is quite capable of taking herself to the toilet, wiping, flushing and washing her hands which is more than can be said for when she is at home!
Im really looking forward to showing the other half her record book as he doesn't often get a chance to see her around other kids her age.

Right proud mummy moment done, reality check, time to wipe the baked bean and banana mixture from the table and tidy up a thousand crayons, again!

Where did cbeebies go mummy?

Well today Alice attends a 2 hour playgroup without me at our local Childrens Center. I have to drive most of the way as and it is about a 40 minute walk so if I were to walk back with Thomas it would be time to walk there again by the time we were home! As I do have to drive though I dont park directly opposite the childrens center, I try to find a space a few roads away so that Alice is able to walk in, as I'm a firm believer in walking being great exercise and that this will set a good example to her for the future (also means she's that bit more likely to want a nap this afternoon, great).

For this 5 minute walk however I have gotten tired of carry a now fairly heavy and extremely wriggly Thomas! So today I popped Alice's old trike in the back of the car, Its not one of those fancy smart trikes, but it does have a parent handle on it and a strap around the waist. To make it more suitable for a rather unstable Thomas I used a length of strong strap/ribbon off a posh shopping bag. I hemmed the end of it and cut a small hole, unscrewed the trikes seat and popped this underneath.
I had also made a loop so that the original tummy strap was able to fit through this, so that now Thomas trike has a more supportive harness.

Another easy way to do this if you also have a trike with no harness is to buy a set of toddler reigns but instead use them to attach to the trike.

Thomas thought this short journey outside the house on trike was amazing and it was also fun to use its basket at the back to grab some milk and bread at the shop. Using the trike was also handy as Thomas now gets very upset that he doesn't get to stay too when Alice is at playschool so at least there was the promise of a fun journey home!

Alas two hours have flown by and it is now almost time to do it all again, and all ive achieved is a luke warm cup of tea and a load through the dishwasher, I have also been wondering why Thomas was so ratty for the 10 minutes its taken me to drink said tea and write this, only to notice his beloved cbeebies has turned into Wimbledon! Thomas clearly doesnt think sports coverage is the best use of our license fee!

I often pop the tele on to BBC2 for the kids TV as I find it a reassuring link back to my own childhood when kids TV used to run out. Despite my best efforts CBeebies and Disney seem to be near permanent fixtures of our home! Not sure how I feel about that, certainly didn't do me and harm to have to watch antiques roadshow on a Sunday or Wimbledon in the summer or haven forbid turn it off because the world was actually more interesting than the Tele!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

lunch

What a great lunch.

I popped to Sainsburys not Tesco at the weekend as I was round that part of Leamington anyway and remembered to stock up on tonnes of their value part bake baguettes while I was there. They selll packs of 2 for 39p, unbelivable! This is by far cheaper than Tesco's or Asda sell the same thing for so I must've bought about 8 packs as they last for a few months in the cupboard and endlessly in the freezer. I love having them in as if you get caught short for bread you can these ready in 10 minutes even from frozen.

The kids have shared one with lots of salad bits and im indulging in a little too much not quite butter spread and a sliver of Ardness Pate (on offer in Sainsburys for £1 a pack) this is a super tasty treat of a lunch and I must've just fed all three of us for under £1! Just had to share that really!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

eBay Selling

Well I have just sold a handful of Alice's old clothes on my eBay for a tidy sum of £25. Considering that most of these were either hand-me-downs or second hand we certainly haven't lost out by her getting lots of good wear out of them.
Its not quite as easy as that though when you first get into selling on eBay, you have to remember that everyone selling wants to make good money, while everyone buying wants to find a bargain. Also you have to bear in mind that both eBay and Pay Pal (the most common form or payment method) charge relatively high fee's.

When it comes to selling you little ones old things try to bear in mind what you would look for yourself at all time. My biggest point would be do not list things at 7.45am just because this is when you have 5 minutes spare over breakfast! Other people just wont be looking at the items ending then. The best time I have found to hook-in mummy buyers are Friday evening between 8-10pm and weekend afternoon - evening. This seems to be when we not only have shopping on the mind but a free 20 minutes too!
This is also great because if you sell things on Friday and Saturday you have a chance to get them packaged and sent on Monday and your feedback will be great if the postage is quick!


Second point is that when listing your item really do make sure its in the right category and that you have put the most looked for words to describe it in the title. For example a girls dress could be described as 'cute dress 3 - 6months nearly new' or as 'Next Girls Pink Dress age 3-6months Flower Pattern' the second description will be returned on alot more searches because of the words it includes, where ever possible include the items brand (although only if it is a good one) colour and size and any significant details. Its not often people actually search for phrases like 'great condion' or 'cute' so try to use your word allowance better.

This leads us on naturally to the third point, take a Nice picture.It only needs to be one as this way you can add the photo free to your listing but try to take it against a plain background (I use either out double bed or my coffee table) and try to capture the whole item if you are only putting one picture. A good quality photo massively increases your chances of a sale. Also don't forget while you can list it for free with just 1 picture, why not add a line like 'For more photo's or questions please do not hesitate to message me and I Will email them to you'. Even f no one does ask this reassures people you are not hiding a giant hole in the back etc.

Remind people if you are selling more than one item with a line such as 'please check out my other items' and consider offering a postage discount. I will regularly 'bulk' buy off one seller and pay more for items by them to get several things at once.

Offer 'Collect in Person' as one of your postage options and remind people of this in your listing, lots of people are happy to pay 99p for a Teeshirt but not the money needed to cover its postage. This gives them a better option if they live nearby!

When choosing your postal service try to make a good calculation of your costs. It is defiantly best to stay cheap, but not to end up making a loss, please remember eBay Will take a final value fee and Pay Pal Will also take a % of your money so try to consider 3 things, fee's, cost of packaging and postal charge. I try to keep my postage to under £2 (usually around £1.39 for a teeshrt) but select the opton of 'other 48hr courier' Please tend to prefer to wait a few days and pay less for items like childrens clothes/toys but for items that could be gifts or celebration related try to offer a choice including a First Class or Signed for option.

Carefully consider what packaging to choose. I have come to the conclusion the wrapping almost all items in brown paper (bought in rolls from Rymans etc) with some parcel tape and handwriting the address's with a marker is the cheapest. If the item is delicate I will pack it out with either old scrunched up newspapers or else lots and lots of carrier bags (this works really well). If i do need to use Jiffy Bags I use recycled ones either of my own or from generous freagle users!


Final point when describing your item remember to include if you live in a pet and smoke free home as most people seem to find this reassuring!

Also dont forget that you can now use eBays mobile app to sell and re-list your items from. This couldnt be easier as you can add the pictures straight off your phone!

Good luck and happy eBaying!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Groupon

Tonight I will be off to get my haircut, washed and styled for the bargain price of £15.
This is all curtsey of the website Groupon.
When this site was first recommended to me I was very skeptical as we've all fallen foul of sites that promise the world and end up producing nothing but pop ups and unwanted subscriptions. However people kept mentioning it so in the end  thought Id at least log on and take a look.
It is broken down into cities with one within easy reach of most areas (mine is Coventry and Warwickshire). There is a new deal each day along with a national deal, and its also fine to buy deals from other cities.
It varies from haircuts and fish pedicures to falconry and garden furniture

Having needed a good trim for a (very) long time when I saw a hair appointment come up in Leamington I thought what the hey I'll try it. So far I have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it has all been. Emtered my card details and Groupon take the money direct, then I called the salon once my 'Groupon' had been emailed to me.  had to quote a couple of numbers up on the screen but they were extreemly happy to take my booking and let me chose a time to suit me instead of them.

So now all I need to do is head along to my appointment this evening and hope the same high standard remains! I will keep you posted with a comment tomorrow.

P.S. there is also a great Groupon app which actually makes it much easier and quicker to check what todays deal is, especially if you like to check several cities.


For those of you loving this to want more KGB Deals and Living Social also have great sites and apps however they still only have the major cities while Groupon seems to have just about everywhere (almost) covered.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Free Magazines, to pay or not to pay?

I took Alice along to the shop with me to buy a few groceries the other day and while we were in there she couldn't take her eyes of 'Girl Talk' magazine with its pinkness and freebies. I thought of all the things she could've fancied (sweets, biscuits etc) a mag really wasn't so bad and steered her in the direction of BBC's ToyBox. I chose this as I have an unshakable love for the beeb and it seemed to have the most freebies.


The sticker box was a little disappointing as it had one small strip in a giant box, but the hook a duck games is great as are the many colourful insects and net to catch them in.

I dont usually even bother to look at the mags section when I do make it to the supermarket as as much as I love a good magazine, having a good browse of all kinds of different things, recepies (esepcially the ones that look yummy and chances are I'll never buy all the ingredients to cook!), health an beauty and general mummying advice etc. I just cant ever seem to justify handing over my hard earned money on something I know will litter up my bathroom floor and be in the recycling a few weeks later!

For the last few years I have ditched the pricey Cosmo subscriptions and swapped them for a bargain busting selection of free mags instead!

My favorite free mag has to be Asda Magazine it comes out monthly and can be found at the end of the tills or around the exits of all Asda's.  

Asda's magazine is great because it covers so many different topics each issue has great family recipes an some goo grown up ones too! Parenting advice sections, Fashion, Healthy living etc. Its presentation is great an it is always packed full of great money saving tips, serving prices food its recipes and best off loads of great asda coupons and competitions for really great prizes. I dont shop in Asda too often but whenever I do I always make sure to pick this one up as the recipes really are great., many of them cut out and stashed in my family faves folder. Incase you dont have a chance to get into Asda yourself they also publish it online for you at www.asdamagazine.com/ 

Next on this list is Boots Health and Beauty magazine. This is technically only free to Advantage Card holders, but I can soundly say I have never been asked to produce one when picking this up, and it is a free to join loyalty card anyway.



This magazine is a great girlie read with loads of brilliant make up tips keeping you right up to date with current trends. Its celeb interviews are great and for a store magazine it isnt too cluttered with annoying ads.I love to pop this one in the change bag for train journeys etc when you just want to flick through something attractive and glossy. I do however have to admit that Health and Beauty magazine is currently badly let down by their website which is nowhere near the standard of the mag.

 I also love Tesco Magazine and their additional RealFood mag. both come out bi-monthly, but hey their is two separate ones!


I find Tesco Magazine is consistently the best of these healthy living articles and they really seem to've picked mums as their target audience as the magazine is always topical for school holidays, Christmas etc with some brilliant little money saving suggestions and home make ideas etc. The website is also good, and easy to navigate.


Finally as a Sky subscriber I qualify for their free magazines, which really is a bumper pack of not only Sky magazine but also Sky Movies Magasine and the best of them all Sky Sports Magasine (this one is best as it will keep the otherhalf occupied for half an hour!)


Between the 3 of them we constantly have a whole shelf of our magazine rack full and whats perfect about these is that they appeal to both men and women, with sky magazine focusing more on women issues and sky sports being more styled on a mens magazine while the moves one tends to be passed between us. 
As you would expect Sky Magazines greatest asset is its wealth of Celeb interviews and insider info, they're always about 5steps ahead of the gossip. 
When quizzing the otherhalf over what he assures me is a genuine love of Sky Sports magazine he initially struggled to provide a better review than 'liking the interviews' leading me to conclude it must be a wealth of glossy pictures, however as I began typing he started to add a stream of other positives (typical man!) and concluded that it makes for 'top toilet reading' and its best feature is keeping him upto date with current sporting events (so that he knows which nights to make sure Im working so his football is uninterrupted!).


These are my top 3 freebies but do remember that most supermarkets/major stores have a free mag, and I mean its free so why not pick it up, even if it does just end up as bunny bedding the next week. Other favourite choices of mine are the Metro (found free on most public transport if you're quick enough) spending hours browsing my Avon catalouge and my digital subscription to Class magazine are my personal faves.

So many companies offer either a free mag instore or free digital subscription their just really is no need to actually hand over the money these days. I get my daily fill of gossip, reviews and real life stories from my Blogs Im following page of my Blogger dashboard, perfect for whiling away 5 mins not cleaning something or someone!!

Does anyone else have any favorites either free or paid for, and what are their best bits?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Oatilicious Face Scrub

Well today the other half has been at home n a shivering wreck that I intially thought may have been the comon or garden football manager syndrome but as the day has progressed Im now forced to accept he is actually ill, and am now back tracking on this mornings lack of sympathy wth a thousand offers of tea and trips to the shop for lucozade.

I went for a really good run today while everyone else was napping!pha but afterwards feeling ultimately grubby  enjoyed a really nice hot shower.


I made up a face scrub Id seen a recipe for last week and was really pleased with it its a really moisturizing and great even for super sensitive skin.
2 Tablespoons of natural yoghurt
1 Heaped teaspoon of Oatbran
Splash of lemon juice.

the oats make this great for moisturizing and leave your skin feeling really soft and smooth while the lemon juice has great cleansing powers!

now to wake up the kids n the hope of getting them back asleep again before work at 7, does it sometimes feel like life doesnt always make sense, or maybe Im just having one of those days!!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Soggy Sunday

Well today has been grey and raining and generally miserable and the other half doesn't feel well so weekend childcare has fallen squarely on my doorstep!

The only highlight in our just as grey as the sky day was my 5pm resolve to get the kids in their waterproofs don my outrageously bright orange kag in a bag and kick a ball round the garden for 20 minutes so that i can convince myself that they will be suitably tired for bedtime!

I usually try to make a roast for Sundays but what with the other half feeling pants I went for a nice quickfix sausage and mash.

I cooked one packet of £12 classic pork sausages on offer from Tescos for £2
Mashed 5 medium sized potatoes out of my Rooster potatoes (only picked because they were £1 a bag)
added a splash of milk a knob of marg and a sprinkle of salt when they were nice and soft and drained and then gave it alll a good mash (this is a great thing to let slightly older children help out with as mashing is great fun, just be careful though if the pan is still hot!).
Pop a big handful of frozen peas and soya beans in a mug with some water in the microwave for a minute or 2, made up half a pint of instant gravy and there we go nice easy warming dinner.
I think this must've cost less than £3 again and has absolutely stuffed me and two toddlers left a whole portion for the other half's lunch tomorrow and 3 sausages now in the fridge for putting in pasta/sandwiches this week great stuff!

Must dash today though as Im now left with my childrens covered in a mixture of mud/mash and on Thomas what I can only hope it gravy and 45minutes to get the bathed to bed and me off to work.....I cant believe Im about to say this, but roll on Monday!!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Crazy Coupon Lady

While trying to get things organised today I remember that I had never updated the address my clubcard was registered too since moving house as when I first went to do this the site had been down and it had ended up in the forgotten half of the to do list after that.

When I logged on I was delighted to see that I had £46 worth of vouchers that had been sent to my preious address unspent. I was expecting a long winded calll to customer services to resolve the unspent voucher issue but was really pleased to see that they tell you the vouchers online codes for you to spend at Tesco.com

I know that the best way to spend your clubcard vouchers is to use the 'Rewards' section as you can get 3 times their value in this section by choosing days out, resaurant tokens (as in my post Half Term Girls Day) air miles and many many other choices. However for some reason I was overpowered by the entirely irrational feeling that maybe the new people living at my old address would start opening my post (after not having done so in nearly a year!) and discover my unsused stash of vouchers. I also remember that as its been a while since I shoped at Tesco direct they had sent me a £7.50 ecoupon to use when I spent £75.00 or more.

This inspired me to revisit my tesco account to do the weekend shop, in total this should've cost me £96.79 however with my multi-buys, eCoupon and £46 of clubcard vouchers all taken off it came to a much more pleased £28.90 including delivery. Brilliant! and Im now saved the torment of the friday night/weekend Tesco run.


I started shopping with Tesco.com extreemly reluctantly at first convinced that it would take me hours to click on every single item I wanted to buy and annoyed at the idea of missing out on my bargains.
However a weekend spent complaing again to the other half about attempts to do the Tesco run with two tantruming toddlers eventually led to a cave in and me agreeing to give it a go.
Since then I have certainly not regretted it. Im lucky enough to have an Iphone so I usually use the Tesco Groceries app to do my shopping and despite having to pay the delivery charge (aywhere between £3.50 and £6 dependant on times) I deffinatly save money over entering the shop!
Not only does it already just know your favourites so all you have to do it tick the box if you want them that week, it also reminds you if you've missed and offer and lets you view all specials in each sections.
I used to spend round £75 a week and return home with lots of additional junk added to please the little ones or my rumbeling tummy. Now I think Im down to about £55 a week and Im saved the nightmare of shopping with the children or having to wrench myself away from eastenders to do it in peace!

I wont lie I can still regualarly be caught on a Sunday afternoon in my local Tescos bargain spotting in the reduced section but I really dont have to 'pop' into the supermaret or the local shops much at all these days as its just so much easier to remember what you want when you've got the cupboard right infront of you, not a 2 year old grabbing at only the things that seem to be breakable.
Our shoppping now also arrives sans carrier bags which I highly approve of as they're not squashed into a never ending pile under my sink now and I have to say Tescos do a much better job and not bruising and breaking my food than I have the patience for after 2 hours of trolly steering!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Argh Giant Spider!

There is a giant spider in my bathtub, simple as that!

While alice was using the toilet this morning I couldn't help it, Iv tried to hard but out came the scream when I saw 8 hairy legs appear from under our bath time penguin in the bath.
Alice was most concerned ad asked what was wrong, while I reassured her nothing was the matter and mummy was playing a game while frantically hunting for some sort of see through tub. (note the tub must be see through to make constant checks on the spider untill such time as it can be removed).
Cue Alice seeing the immense spider 'Oh a love-E spider mumma, he's funny' and being most upset that he was now trapped under the tup and didnt want to play 'tickles'!? (where does she think up these lovely games?!)
I have tried very hard to control my spider reaction over the years since having the kids as I do know that its unreasonable and it wont kill me, sting me, bite me or even scratch (less can be said for the Rabbit) but wanting to pet it really is a step to far!

Now I am left with a giant spider still in my bathtub and curious toddler and me wondering if its okay to ask the dishwasher repair man to remove it!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Mouse took a stroll through a Deep Dark Wood....





Im really thrilled to've just read that Julia Donaldson is the new Children's Laureate
Her books are trualy iconic and will be remembered as bedtime favorites by generations of children, and included classics such as 'The Gruffalo' and 'Room on the Broom'.
Her stories are always vibrant and imaginative and most importantly universally loved by children. It is hard to think of a more deserving winner.

Im also really thrilled to see that she will be continuing to promote childrens learning through the medium of drama/stage and more particularly the use of signing and song for hard of hearing children.

For anyone trying to get their little ones loving poetry try her book 'Crazy Mayonainaisy Mummy' the title alone will give them a giggle and the great poems inside are sure to capture both their attention and imagination.

It is a depressing fact that 52% of parents do not read their childrens bedtime stories, with a massive 47% claiming they didnt have time. I know how nice it is to get the kids to bed at the end of the day and how much your dying for that hour or two alone to regroup but please please please take the time to even read them just one page of a book if thats all you have time for as the benefit they will get from it cannot be measured and with books as good as Julia Donaldsons its impossible not to enjoy their magic yourself.

If you struggle to afford new books then dont forgot your local library is free to join and will have a huge range of attractive children's books, audio books and dvds available to borrow, including children's favorites like The Gruffalo

Energy Price Hikes

Well I heard on the news this morning that energy provider Scottish Power will be raising its prices by 19% and can only assume that the other major energy suppliers will be following suit soon.
I knew prices would go up, but Im genuinely shocked that it will be by this much considering the amount energy prices have risen in the past few years already!
I also find it annoying that they have timed this for the summer when our minds are focused on wishing for the sunshine and hot weather and not concentrating on our huge winter fuel bills.
Despite my best attempts to save on energy last winter we were still left with massive bills that were difficult to pay, and as the other half will confirm Im pretty tight when it comes to the heating at the best of times!

Lucky for us our children will be toddlers not babies next winter so I feel slightly less worried about keeping the house a few degrees cooler and wrapping them up in some big jumpers, but I know that not everyone is so lucky.

My reason for posting though is to remind everyone to be like Scottish Power and catch people off guard with the summer time. Now is the best time to buy insulating ad heating items for your home. Alot of the major retailers will still have these thing on sale making room for more appropriate summer stock, and your local paper/ebay or gumtree are great sources too as people are included to sell these things to make space in the summer, but there are much less people buying so if you are in a position to consider savings for the winter now is the time to act!

After moving into this house last summer we wanted to experience a winter in it to see where the problems lie.
The major things I will be fixing prewinter are making sure the heating is set on a timer only and not 'sneaked on' during the day! and investing in a freestanding electric fire for the lounge. We wasted alot of money last year by heating the whole house when we were only in one room, so this year Im going to put a fire (and fireguard!!) in the lounge to reduce this problem. Also we have very draughty flooring in our lounge so a tick rug along the edge where the gap is should help too.
(dont forget when looking for rugs/carpets to consider posting a message on your local freegal as people are often changing their colour schemes and happy to give away their old rug/carpets).

Also if you have draughty windows that you cant change (as we did in our old house) then hanging thick lined curtains will at least help to retain the heat!

If anyone else has some great tips to share then please leave a comment!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Run to the Beat

Well today I have eaten early with the kids because I am going jogging this evening.
I am running the Run to the Beat half marathon at the end of September, and while I have been for a few runs I haven't really got quite as into it as Id hoped and had started making excuses..the usual work, the kids, too tired, Eastenders is on!
But I had a letter from Scope (who Im running for) reminded me of all their good work and with some tips for my fundraising and running. This reminded me of all the reasons I decided to do this run in the first place (Raising money for an amazing charity, Trying to finally lose some mummy blubba and being a step closer to ticking the full marathon of the bucket list!) and I felt really guilty for the lack of commitment to my training.
I found a link to Runners World Smart Coach which scope had sent me and checked out my training program. Now I cant say I understand everything thats on their (2mi@19:08 ?! can anyone help me?!) but Im going to go for a 2 mile run for sure and try and work out what the rest means to stay on track. I like how the training program looks though as it really does seem to build you up to the longer distance in stages, so fingers crossed I can stick to it and be ready for the big day.

Now just to pick some good running tracks to pop on the Iphone and find something suitably decent to go for my run in, hopefully I will still be here to do more blogging tomorrow and not collapsed in a ditch between here and Kenilworth!!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Biscuit Baking




Well today me and Alice have been baking biscuits and to find a recipe I dug out an old favorite, Bridget Jones - Kids Cookbook. I was given this as a child and loved it so much I still have it today!
Its a great book because the recipes rang from making a sandwich to proper dinners and really are all child friendly.
We were making 'Basic Busicuits' today and these are great because they really do only take about 15 minutes to make (yep eve with a toddler doing most of the 'making') and about 15 minutes in the oven so even the most impatient of toddlers wont have too long to devour their handiwork!
The recipe's really simply too :o)

Ingredients:
225g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
100g Butter or Margarine (i even substitute this for the special 'baking spreads' the supermarkets make)
40g Icing sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence.

Preheat oven to Gas 4 and grease your baking trays,
Put flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir.
Cut the butter up into small pieces (I let Alice do this herself with a pair of plastic dough scissors)
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs (Alice loves getting her hands messy and rubbing it all in too here)
Stir in the icing sugar
Make a well (although this never happens in ours!) and add the vanilla essence and the egg yolks.
Stir this in until the mixtures turns into clumps (Alice finds this part a little trickier but enjoys us each taking turns to try)
Mold it together into a ball with your hands
Flour a surface and roll out  the dough (together!!)  until it is about 5mm thick.
Then cut the dough into any shapes you like, if you dont have cutters then you could use a blunt knife to make letters/shapes or a plastic cup to make circles.
Re-roll the dough until its all been cut and used then pop your biscuits on the baking trays.
Place near the top of the oven for 15 minutes or until browned.

We then took them out to cool and decided what topping to have, we made a simple icing out of icing sugar and water and then I let Alice choose the colour and flavor, todays creations were yummy green straberry flavor  (we only did half the batch with icing though just to still feel healthy as its fun to add the topping but the kids love them either way!)
Other good ideas are to pop some choc chips in the dough, plain white icing with any type of sprinkles, glace cherries cut up etc endless possibility's.

These made for a really fun and yummy treat and the plain ones can stay in the tin for some midweek nibbling!
Yummy!