Monday, 29 May 2017

Nice day for a lolly.

Summer has landed! For one week only. Get yer lallies out and reach for the flip flops and the fake tan. I have not got me lallies out (my legs) but I have applied a coating of Dove (gone for dark this year) and the Haviana’s have been taken out of moth balls. Hot weather always worries me. I enjoy it if I’m on holiday and I can lie on a beach in a bikini and not worry about what I’m going to wear for my commute. I have done a quick pit stop to H&M to purchase yet another baggy t-shirt to cover up my Malbec gut and my bingo wings. I have had to cancel my gym membership as I’m just not getting the time to get in there and sweat my squidgey arse off. My husband actually said, “I told you so, “ last night but luckily for him he left the room before I could throw a saucepan at his head. However, I am committed to getting fit again so I am donning the lycra and jogging. Yes, jogging. It sounds so simple but…then you have to actually jog. I decided to walk to the park and start in the park under the cover of trees and deer. Unfortunately, I started a bit late so it was hot as hell. I thought I was going to die the first 2 minutes and then I re-routed and found a concrete path that went downhill. Result. I did ok. It was fine until I had to go across grass and I gave myself a target of 22 minutes. I tried to “sprint” (ie jog faster) to a log and then I stopped my stop watch and sat on the log and tried not to vomit. I have to say, I thought that I was fitter than that. 25 mins on treadmill two weeks ago was doable. My heavy breathing and laboured running style was a disappointment, I ain’t gonna lie.

 Hot weather with small children is also a worry, especially when your child is on the ginger spectrum and a pale Janet to boot. The first day of the heat wave I had a day off so we decided to get out of the flat and go for a walk to get Dishwasher tablets and ice lollies cos that’s how we roll. Off we went. I stupidly allowed the toy buggy to come with us. School girl error. You just know that as you set off that you will end up carrying it, plus child, plus other paraphernalia that comes with child. Also chuck in 25 degrees of heat and you have your workout right there. We went to our lovely local Supermarket and bought Dishwasher tablets (been meaning to get them for about a week and keep forgetting) and we also bought a four pack of lollies. Mission accomplished. We slowly made our way to the terraced gardens (get us) and sat down on a bench. Bliss.  

 Sun, my beautiful little girl and an ice lolly that contains a sprinkling of E numbers. There we sat looking at the view and spotting Jackdaws, Pigeons and Parakeets (she’s a budding young ornithologist). A mother and her daughter sat on the bench next to us. My daughter waved and I thought, “Well, we’ve got a pack of four. Let’s share our wares with our neighbours.” So, I offered a lolly to the little girl, via the Mum obvs. I was told, “No thankyou. I am trying to promote healthy eating in my daughter.” Well, that’s me told then. I was so proud of my little one. A little bit of sugar in the system and she was off: waving, talking at these lovely folk and showing them her lolly with pride, shouting out ,”Lolly” like only a person with a bloodstream filled with E numbers can. Go kid. I love you. You’re frickin awesome. You know where it’s at. Sometimes we have treats but most of the time you have fruit, veg and homemade goodness. But when it’s nearly 30 feckin degrees you can have a sodding lolly. The kid of this Mum looked seriously pissed off as she sat there watching my cool little dude cooling down with a lolly as she had to tackle her tangerine. So off we trotted home for a KFC mega bucket whilst I got shit faced on white lightning. (Only joking. Don’t you know I’m trying to instill healthy eating and a feeling of superiority into my daughter. Wink emoji)

 So, during this wonderful heat wave, I had a glorious day off organised. Small person was going to her brilliant childminder and I had planned a day of open air jogging, cleaning, cooking and sorting out kiddos clothes as we are running out of space. She has such a vast wardrobe we could totes go walk-in on it. Off we drove. I dropped off small one. No probs and then popped to the garage to fill up. With Diesel. Or that’s what I thought. I had to fill up from the wrong side which meant doing that embarrassing tug of the pump round to the other side of ones motoring car. About £4.75 had gone in when I suddenly looked at the colour of the pump. Green. Cocking green. Unleaded was flooding into my Hyundai Diesel. I shouted out a loud expletive beginning with ‘F’ and put my head in my hands saying, “shit it” on repeat. It was such a long, tedious morning after that, that I won’t bore you with the deets but it cost me over £200, three hours of my life and some pretty embarrassed looks as I hunkered on down at the petrol station in the heat and wait for the AA fuel technician to come and rescue me. So the moral of this tale is: Check before you pump. Just do it. Use me as an example of a Class A prat and think of me next time you go to the garage. You will never get that valuable time back and you won’t be able to spend that £200 on ASOS. True dat.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Daily Fish Finger.

Copyright Getty Images

I’ve just read “that” article in the Daily Mail, giving a darn good thrashing to those of us that expose our parenting and let people in to have a little glimpse at our lives. I don’t know what to say. I agree with one point: Yes, children are a gift but I am not seeing this supposed gin-soaked Hogarthian scene and I am pretty damn sure that the men and women sharing their lives and experiences aren’t currently sat in a piss soaked ally round the back of St.Paul’s effing and jeffing whilst their little ones are left to fend for themselves.
 So, why do we write these blogs? Why do we share our experiences predominantly in a comedic way? The short answer is why the hell not. But I think many of us decide to start writing for so many reasons. For example:
Parenting is tougher than you originally thought. You’re suffering from post natal depression or anxiety and writing and sharing is therapeutic and helpful. You started writing to get your brain going again. You wanted to share your experiences with others to see if there is anyone else out there who is going through the same thing.
There are so many reasons. We mostly do it to share, to say to others, “it’s ok”. Modern parenting is tough, especially if you throw work into the mix too. I had to go back to work when my daughter was 3 weeks old. It was only one job but it was still emotionally pretty tough and physically too. Having to express milk that early on was difficult enough as it hadn’t really “come in” yet. As the weeks followed I had to organise filing up the freezer full of plastic bags of booby juice. If one spilt or if one wasn’t used when I was working it was like a massive loss and a kick in the teeth. The work that had gone into that 50ml; wasted. Down the drain. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Going back to work was good for me. I’m very lucky that I am self-employed so could decide when I wanted to work. Well, as long as there was the work to go round. In my game it’s feast or famine.

 Anyway, I have been a bit slack on the old blog the last two weeks. I’ve been doing a lot more childcare and that means no time to write. When she naps that’s when the bomb site from lunch (and probably breakfast, oops) is cleared up. Then washing to put out/put in etc etc. You know, all the domestic bollocks that gets in the way of doing exciting things like writing my blog. And thank God for it. I am thoroughly enjoying writing it and I’ve had some jolly nice comments along the way. So ta muchly me bredrin. The past two weeks have been all about the garden office we’re having put in. We’ve had demolition, re-pointing, new fencing and foundations which means a lot of staying in and making tea and coffee in the Sainsbury’s mugs. (Just in case). The sorts of things that make you realise that you might have finally reached adulthood. We seem to have got through a lot of chocolate Hob Nobs as well. The actual building goes in next week and that’s half term so hubby is going to be doing the staying in for that. I’ve not gone to the gym in two weeks so just as the hot weather comes in, I am feeling like a Stilton that has been left out of the fridge too long and has started to slide off the cheese board. Even the vegan diet hasn’t helped me as I’ve been eating too much freakin pasta and not moving my “squidgy bottom” as my Mother in law so kindly called it the other week. The sleep thing is very up and down so I am just tired and a bit “arse in hand” as my Aunty Peggy would say. Small one has yet another cold and we had a Chicken Pox scare but it turned out to be a heat rash. Thank fark for that!

 Something that has also cropped up since the second birthday came around is the need to be attached to Mummy like a Koala for most of the day. It can be cute, especially when she puts her arms round my neck and gives me a proper hug but it seems to happen all day. We went to her little friend’s birthday party at the weekend. She wouldn’t let go of Daddy when we first arrived and then when I rocked up after parking the car the koala made a b line for me and held on tight like a bicycle lock. Even when playing pass the parcel she wouldn’t leave my lap so I ended up playing on her behalf and little does she know, I’ve had that game sussed for years. You just have to keep a very sharp eye on the music player and whoever is operating it, listen and hang on to the parcel for a little longer than you should. It’s a bit of an art form as to how you linger but I’m going to pass these valuable skills on to my daughter. That and how to win a sack race: put your feet in the corners and run. And egg and spoon: chewing gum under it. My husband can focus on the numeracy and literacy. I shall focus on the life skills that will get you through. Mostly through a school sports day but nevertheless, indispensable skills. Anyway, having shared with you my most intimate secrets and pieces of advice to help you through life, I must go and soak myself and my child in gin and go and sell my wares on the street or, nay, down the alley. Now, let me have a rummage through the freezer and ‘ave a shufty at what’s for tea….A ha. Good ole C’ptain. Always there when you need him.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Never put a used nappy in a washing machine.

I’m back. Did you miss me? (Maybe don’t answer that). Last week was busy and I did a lot of commuting by car so had no writing time. How do people drive to work everyday? I don’t know how you do it. For most of last week I felt sedentary, frustrated at sitting still and going nowhere, and really pissed off that my satnav had taken me to places like Ruislip and South Oxhey. I never thought that I would venture to either place but I have now. Didn’t Gareth Malone do his first choir thing in South Oxhey? Anyway, I’ve been now so I don’t need to go back. So, apart from long journeys I’ve also been dealing with a two year old who has discovered tantrums, has a teething cold and has stopped sleeping again. Paw patrol is back on you muthas!

 Sweet mother of pearl. I feel like I’m just about getting through each day. We are having work done in our garden which requires some sort of brain power from me as I am having to project manage the thing. Today, I’ve got the small one. She is exhausted, pouring with snot and has a bumpy rash on her forehead so I shoved her in front of Frozen, this morning so I could get on with shit. After two strong coffees I achieved quite a lot. She is now asleep so I finally have some time to write. Today, we have our builder in who is doing a sterling job whilst I do a sterling job at being a crap parent. I over cooked her lunch but have managed to get a doctor’s appointment for the rash so that’s 5 mum points to me. Possibly lose 5 for the crap lunch. So, I’m back to zero. Bugger. I’m back into the brain fog again. We have been up three, four, five times a night with this cold/teeth/separation from Mummy shizzle. I have slept on the floor twice more since my last confession and my back is screwed. However, I have made myself go Vegan for 30 days so I’m very healthy on the inside, have glowing skin and can look a pig in the eye at Hobbledown Farm without feeling like a complete bastard. But no  amount of healthy living will reduce the size of the bags under my eyes. The coal scuttles are back.

 Ever since my daughter’s birthday, in fact the day after, the terrible twos began. Ye Gods, do we have a whole year of this? I’m going to end up in a padded cell. I mean she can really scream when she’s pissed off. If you get too close you will walk away with a perforated ear drum and a feeling of regret. There’s lots of throwing herself on the floor like she’s in a Greek tragedy and a lot of me carrying her across me as it’s the only way to get her out of public places quickly and also a good position for restraining a fighting, angry toddler. But all of this is going on with not a lot of sleep for everyone involved. I tried doing some mental arithmetic the other day and it took me two hours to work out the length of fencing we needed but only between the posts. I had to draw a diagram in the end. I also left the hob gas ring on and nearly burnt my sodding arm off, broke down crying in a medical role play as I got into it a bit too much and the epic fail of all epic fails was putting a used nappy in the washing machine. I mean, we have a lot of washing. We also have a lot of washing that needs to be washed but just stays in the dirty clothes basket. There’s stuff in the bottom that’s been there since we moved house last October. Anyhoo, I did my fourth load of the day, took it out and wondered why our laminate looked like a winter wonderland. I removed the washing piece by piece and everything was covered in a white dust and bits of white fluff. And then I found the offending article. A size 5, pull up nappy, used and entangled in some of my opaque tights. Great. Just great. Don’t do it. Ever. Even if you rinse it all again it will still be covered and when you go to hang it out it all falls to the floor. Thank god for me hand held, cordless mini vacuum. It’s paid for itself for getting me out of this latest cock up. As I type this, that sodding squirrel is looking at me. Goading me. He wants my tub of violas but he ain’t going to have them this time. I went out into the garden on Saturday morning to find flower heads all over our decking where the little shit had tucked in. Well, no more Mr. Squirrel. No more. I know where you live.

 Right. I’m back. Squirrel was sent packing. Not on my watch ya little git. It’s been very difficult to get motivated to do anything the past week.  I have managed to put all of the birthday presents away and I’ve ordered nice thankyou cards with a pic of the nipper on the front and written two thirds of them. I have also found a ballet class for her to go to and made a vegan cheesecake. I did one from the Deliciously Ella book. Now that lass uses a lot of ingredients in her recipes. I mean, loads of nuts. She must have a massive food processor. I very nearly knackered the motor of my Mouilnex, just trying to get through the ton of dates she suggested. Also, I hadn’t read the bits where I was supposed to soak said nuts for 3-4 hours before cooking and freeze my bananas. Who has time to soak nuts FFS. I busked it and it looked pretty cool in the end. Our lovely friends ate it without gagging so it can’t have been that bad. So, that’s been me my little friends. Hopefully will have more opportunity to write this week. Got some commutes so I shall type to my heart’s content and drink coffee made by someone else. Now that bastard squirrel is back. Please excuse me.

Monday, 8 May 2017

We didn't have that in my day.

Birthdays. They are now a multi-million pound industry and the peeps at the top have really tapped into the children’s market. Every shop and supermarket has something that could be a party thang and there are companies that produce every kind of tat to do a “theme”. I always remember when I was getting married, people kept asking me what my theme was. The theme is Wedding FFS. What theme could I possibly want? Star Wars, Thomas the tank engine, Knightrider, ruddy Frozen? No, it’s a wedding. The theme is wedding. I was also badgered about a colour scheme. No- I don’t have a colour scheme. One was inflicted upon me but by that point I didn’t give a shit and just wanted to focus on the important bit: getting married. Very similar to a children’s party: it’s a birthday. When I was a nipper my Mum hired the church hall, we had Mr.Rainbow who did a Punch and Judy show that condoned domestic violence, he fashioned a balloon into a phallic looking dog and then a Super Ted cake came out. Party bags were distributed filled with toxic shizzle from China and some furry stickers and at least one child had to be picked up early because they’d chundered in the salmon pink toilets that were colder than the arctic and smelt of Jeys fluid. Job done. That’s what I call a party.

 When we started out on the parenting journey we had agreed not to go mental on the party front. Now, I don’t mean the two of us going out until dawn and crashing through the door, throwing our clothes in the hallway having been dropped off in an Uber. I mean children’s birthday parties. The thing is, as my sister once said, “When they’re really little, they won’t remember it anyway.” Exactly. Of course they won’t. However, when our small one turned one we ended up having the whole family over but we had to decamp to a local tearoom as our flat was too small and it ended up being a very formal high tea. She was one. This year was no different. All the grandparents wanted to be involved so I decided to have them to ours. We have a garden now and the temperature was above 16 degrees so we shoved everyone out in the garden. However, I also decided to do a party for her little friends from childcare two days before. I finished work early the day before so embarked on the party shop. I decided to go to Tiger. I started out sorting out gifts for the party bags. Only five of them. Just five I thought. The problem with Tiger is you see that it’s a pound and you grab 5 of them and so it goes on... Oh, there are some cool string lights, they’re only a fiver. Look, ladybird bunting. Great, she loves a ladybird. Ah, ladybird cups. Cute. Behold, ladybird plates. Hold the phone, there’s a packet of puffy sparkly stickers? Shove ‘em in the basket. I get to the till. There’s other shit in there that I can’t even remember picking up as I had been swept along on the Tiger tidal wave. How much…..? 40 cocking quid!!!??? I need a sit down and a flat white forthwith. No time though as I have to do pick up of said nipper. Nipped in to H&M to buy cute sparkly hair clips and a sparkly cardigan. Then hot foot it to the balloon shop for a giant number 2 helium balloon. £10 plus another 2 for the weight. I still had the food shop to do the following morning. Another £30 went piff, poff, poof into the air. That’s it, we can’t eat for the rest of the month. We also bought a cake. It was a bumble bee. The good people of Waitrose had done a mighty fine job on it. I feel no guilt. If I had made it, there would have been crumbs, frosting, burns, blood and tears, Oh, and a bin. Mostly a bin.

So, I start to decorate the table and put everything out. Ladybird bunting- check. Ladybird cups- check. Ladybird plates- check. Red table cloth- check. Red knapkins- check…….SAY WHAT!? I’ve got a sodding theme. And as if by magic, I fell into the party theme sink hole. I had also put everything symmetrically out on the table in a very OCD kinda way. Like 3 under 2 year olds are going to give a shit about a bowl in a fan formation and four balloons balanced “just so”, two either side. I’m going to blame this flaw in my ability for rational thought on the recent bout of sleep deprivation. You could also argue that I am totally under my daughter’s spell and would pretty much do anything for her. I need to go and get a sodding grip. When she’s three, I am going to book a table at a Harvester and she can bring one friend. I am going to insist on John Lewis vouchers and she can watch an episode of Peppa Pig as a treat. Yeah, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Who am I trying to kid.

 The thing is, she was so excited about her little mates coming round that I thought she would burst. They had an amazing time running around the flat and eating cake and trying to throw themselves off the sofa. Both of her amazing childminders were there and then she was surrounded by all of her family two days later. That morning, she brought her party dress into our bedroom and demanded to wear it with her sparkly tights. My husband had also bought her the most beautiful pair of navy party shoes. She loves them. She was running around looking like something out of an Edwardian novel. What can I say, I got myself a party gal. She can already do “Cheers” and say “Pub” so my work here is pretty much done. So, I am going to start saving for birthdays to come. I just have a feeling we’re going to be seriously out of pocket. And she’s getting into Frozen. Heeeeellllpppppp!!!!!!!!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Birthday girl.

Tomorrow, my little girl turns two. I wrote the following for her christening but I wanted to share it with you. It felt appropriate as this small person, with sapphire blue eyes and really cool hair turns two. Where has the time gone?

To my daughter

This is your Mummy. Yes, the one with the wild ,curly hair and red
Lippy that likes to sing A Windmill in old Amsterdam, that insists on three naps a day and who constantly administers gels and creams to various parts of your anatomy. Yes-The very same.
Now listen carefully little one. The moment I found out you were coming along I loved you. You will never know how much I love you; it's a love that makes my heart ache when you're not with me.
If I have any advice of how to get on in this big, wide world it would be this:
love others and love yourself.
Cherish your family.
Value all of the friends you make along the way. You won't take all
Of them with you but the good ones stand fast.
Take an interest in people whom you meet. You never know what you might learn and the friendships you might gain along the way.
Roll down hills
Enjoy silence.
Breath. Stand on a hill looking out to sea and just breath.
Love all creatures whether great or small.
Don't worry too much about what people think of you. Enjoy being who you are. As you get to know yourself along the way, enjoy it even more.
Hug. A lot.
Always say please and Thankyou.
Listen to things around you. Listen to people. Listen to all kinds of music. Listen to all the different voices in the world.
Look up. We spend so long looking ahead or on the ground or at our phones that we can miss the beauty above us.
Embrace learning whilst your young. Soak the information up like a sponge.
But most of all, be happy.
Never be afraid little one. Mummy & Daddy are here. Always here. The path you choose to take may not always be easy or straight forward but feel safe in the knowledge that you are loved. Very much loved.
Have a happy day little one.

I love you ,
Mummy xx

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The number 2.

It’s one of THOSE mornings. I was up a lot during the night. We are teething again. The last two. The final frontier. The last hurrah. But because I have been used to sleep for the past month this latest bout of sleep deprivation is hitting me hard. The last week has been rough. I feel like a complete failure as I’ve been on paw patrol. I’ve slept one full night on the floor: right hand in cot, 6th bar. We’ve got through 2 packets of Nielsens granules, a whole bottle of Calpol and half a bottle of Nurofen. My back is knackered from lying on half a play mat and lifting a 2 stone child out of a cot with sides that don’t go down. I’m ratty, I’m not thinking straight and I have to organise two birthday parties this week. Tomorrow, 3 under 2’s are coming to our house for my daughter’s second birthday. The outbuilding in the garden has been demolished but needless to say, they haven’t finished. “Oh yeah, love. We’ll be done in a day.” No you won’t. Your van is full from the job you tried to fit in before coming to our house and I’ve just heard you on the phone saying to someone, “see you in an hour”. So, don’t bullshit me squire. You have spread yourself thin and taken on too many sodding jobs. Our garden looks like a scene from The Blitz. Bricks piled up, electric wires sticking up from the rubble and tools littered around the garden that an inquisitive soon to be two year old would love to have a crack at. Toddlers love a lump hammer and a saw. I just don’t need this shit this week. On Sunday, we’ve got the whole family coming round but I’m seriously planning plan B which is to decamp to the park. I’ve got to make a cake, wrap a bike, sort out party bags, clean the flat and paint my nails. I mean there’s a lot to do.

 And then there’s the teeth. Oh, we’ve had fun this week. Tears, dribbling, refusal to eat anything but an Organix corn snack and some really shit nights and some truly shitty nappies. She’s been taking ages to go to sleep unless Mummy’s hand is in the cot. We’ve also had a good old wee on the carpet and a major incident in a sofa shop. So, the sofa bad search is still going on. We had found one and then ‘im in doors changed his mind. Don’t ask. I’m so over it. Imagine the scene: hubster was trying out several sofa beds, and so was small one. She was hopping on and off cream sofas, white sofas and oatmeal looking things with a fleck. I just happened to a check in the pant department (her not me) and there was nappy full of the squits. This was the kind of nappy that was going to breach. I tried to subtly suggest that we needed to head off asap as there was an unexpected item in the bagging area. Mr Man kept on looking at sofas doing that really irritating thing, “Yep, coming. Just one sec. “ Aargh! Finally he cottoned on that this was a leaker and we had to go and get her off the light coloured upholstery. We walked with purpose to Superdrug as this was the one trip that I hadn’t bought the changing pod. Yes, we have a pod. Deal with it. I’m so frickin “Surrey” yo. I had to buy an entire packet of nappies, wipes and water as husband had realised that he had leaky shit on his hoody as he’d been carrying the small one in an awkward way. They really need to sell an emergency pack for incompetent mothers like me who don’t come prepared. We ran into the big M&S Home and I panic bought a 5 pack of trousers and we did the clean up. Feckin teeth. They cause untold misery.

 But, the pot of gold at the end of this murky rainbow is that we are at the final furlong. The last two sodding teeth. When they are through and I can go back to peaceful slumber (haha) I am going take myself off to a ruddy spa. I want to walk around in a dressing gown where everything smells of Clarins and people are drinking prosecco. I want to find a cubby hole and read a book, actually read a book and take it in and reflect on every single tooth that we have grown and welcomed through those gums. Every single fecking one! And I will go to this spa on my own. Sadly, I can only dream. Money is tight as a duck’s nether regions so I might just go to my Mum’s for a couple of days. Until then, I have to work out how to make a number 2 cake (an actual number 2, not a “number 2” nappy style!) without it looking completely gash and entertain little ones with no sleep. Hopefully, after the stress of this week and lots of caffeine I’ll be completely hysterical and be able to do several rounds of Musical statues and Hop little bunnies. There will be no prosecco on Friday afternoon but there certainly will on Sunday. Anyway, I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that my little girl is turning two. She is no longer a baby. She can walk, talk, feed herself and demand that I make the clothes horse into a shop. I’m struggling a bit with the whole 2 thang. I could only bring myself to buy her birthday card a couple of days ago and I got totes emosh when we built her balance bike. I’m going to be an emotional wreck on her actual birthday. Pass the prosecco for gawd’s sake!

In training.

Sorry I’ve been quiet of late. I am, very unusually off sick today. I have no voice. Well, some but in the same register as Barry & Wi...