Thursday, 31 January 2008

Scaredy Cat

The cat's so scared of the wind, she's taken to pooing right outside the kitchen window. Which I can see whilst washing up, nearly threw up this morning when saw it and realised there is only me about so should really clean it up. There were three different days' worth though, and was gagging so badly at thought of it all, could not do it in the end. Have left it for long suffering husband. Not sure what this means about having a dog, as would have to pick up warm dog poo with just carrier bag to protect self everyday. And what if dog got upset tummy? What would I do then, feel sick just thinking about it.
As well as shaming self with weak stomach re: animal droppings, have just embarrassed self at doctors. I'm convinced I'm now a size 18, as jeans are all a bit tight, so told doctor thought was putting on loads of weight. He cleverly looked back at the computer to when I joined the surgery a year ago, and they weighed me. Apparantly I was the same weight, give or take a couple of pounds for different shoes. GP then tried to kindly explain that women's clothes sizes vary according to shop (he must be married me thinks to know this). All very supportive but dreadfully Bridget Jones, starting and ending the year the same, whilst in my mid thirties.
However, am almost convinced new routine of planning healthy meals for the week, and putting the plan on the fridge will work and I will lose heaps of weight. Lovely Husband seriously spooked by how organised I am, and I think, suspecting am turning in to suburban housewife too quickly. I'm loving menu planner on fridge however, as am no longer boring self come tea time by making up delicious nutricious meals out of fish fingers and oven chips (add peas to make it balanced meal.)

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Footballer's Injuries not wife

Ow, ow, ow. Dodgy foot still really hurting, especially when I walk, which I quite frequently do. Sure if shouldn't hurt after two weeks, if just a sprain. Lovely Husband suggested might have broken my M-something, bone, just like real footballers. Apparantly David Beckham does it all the time, neither of us sure what treatment David gets though. Or really how to tell, maybe an X-ray? Although not much point if treatment is just to not play football in games, but can look good in magazines. Will look forward to looking good, and OK/Hello showing an interest.
Saying that, probably best I visit the doctor first and get a real diagnosis. Not quite as vague as last week, as an definitely blaming it on the trampolining. It also made K hurt her teeth, so quite risky really as form of excercise. Plus, am still stubbornly a size 16, so that one session definitely caused more harm than good.
Just got good trashy magazine through the door, via supermarket points subscription, so apart from doing the ironing, making dinner, looking after children, picking up son from nursery and feeding the cat, can have a nice read.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Smugglers aren't real

Went down to the Smugglers Adventure this afternoon, with three pre-schoolers, two mine, and K. Had to pretend that smugglers, pirates and ghosts aren't real, and that the guide, Hairy Jack died a long time ago, and was just trying to make us laugh by talking about ghosts. Goodness knows why ghosts would make us laugh, and not scared but that was the useful Mummy Knows All line I came up with.

Then on to the cafe on West Hill for a refreshing Ribena (trip to dentist pending no doubt with sugar overdose), and excitement of the afternoon was a little doggy for the children. Worryingly for me and K, worse for the lady it happened to, was an older lady got trapped in the toilet. K tried to free her with a knife, but had to ask the man who worked there to free her. On leaving the nice lady said she'd been really worried she might be stuck in there all night! Imagine that! All night in a freezing outdoors toilet, with your cute little doggy waiting patiently for you. Not sure she'd have lasted. Was impressed with K springing in to action, with cutlery though to save her.Inspired me to be more helpful with people in the future, and also to leave house keys with K in case lock self out again (three times so far this year, once saved by Sainsbury's drivers jumping over 6 foot fences, and twice by my own pre-schooler).

Monday, 28 January 2008

A tidy house is a tidy and imaginative mind

Must have been first scent of Spring in the air that sent me in to a tidying frenzy today. Have actually sorted nearly all the toys, and believe me there are many, in to groups. All a bit arbitrary, animal box still a strange collection of my old animal toys, some soft toys, and some scary Halloween things. Still sparks off my imagination to play lots of exciting animals rule the world, or goodie animals versus baddie animal games. Latter without fighting of course.

Also remembered one of my favourite games as a child, creating stone families. Daughter is quite keen on collecting unusual stones she finds, but prefers to colour them in ('fraid also my idea) than make families out of them. The weirdest thing about my stone families, looking back is that they weren't ordered by size, and it never occurred to me to decorate them. So to any onlookers it just looked like a very peculiar game whereby I just moved stones around, moving my mouth to make their voices. I loved it though, and used to spend many an hour playing stone families by by grandparents coal hole. Not sure why by the coal hole either, maybe I had some dirty families in the game?

Have been worrying my own children lack imagination, as I did as a child, but think stone families proved I had a very vivid imagination. However there was the issue of school stories that still shames me to this day. In infant school the teacher had to take me and my parents aside, and try to explain that when she said write a story she did not mean repeat the same one week after week after week. I'd actually thought I'd cleverly found a fantastic story, that was so interesting it had to keep being written. Sadly, the teacher found it a little lacking in interest. It has also been written before, as Hansel and Gretel.

Dodgy Foot Strikes Again

Am going to pretend that the only reason I did not go rollerblading along the promenade yesterday was because my dodgy foot still feels weak and clicks. Nothing to do with the fact I remembered I am a size 16 35 year old, and may have looked slightly ridiculous. Probably even funnier than her off of the cleaning program doing ice dancing with a twenty year old. Seriously think trouble with ageing is you forget you're not young anymore and attempt inappropriate actives. At least can console self did not roller blade son to school, aka California, or even wear shorts/short skirts anymore.
Must remember age, and go and ring yoga teacher and tell her too weak for this week's bending activities.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Lovely Dog free weekend

Still pondering whether a dog would be a good thing. Was all prepared to go ahead and register with rescue centre today, then had moment of doubt about what we'd do if we decided to go away for the weekend. Think a little dog might be ok to visit most friends, but then had e-mail from some company advertising weekend breaks for Easter. Obviously want to go to centre parcs the most, but this does not really fit in to our budget, and might make a bank manager actually appear in a Bad Way.

Then saw advert for Butlins, really really fancy going. There's a hotel that looks lovely there, and to make my day, Same Difference from the X factor are playing. Lovely husband incredibly uninterested, especially in the entertainment bits, and says children far too young for the rides etc. Definitely disagree, but did notice if we went at Easter just to see Same Difference would be paying over hundred pounds extra to see Same Difference. Not sure if this is possible as it'd make us really sad fans of the X factor.

So the answer is don't think we'll go away, therefore could go and register for a dog, very excited but nervous 'cos I know how much work they can be...
Planning to go rollerblading on the sea front this afternoon, also very exciting but bit nervous as have not got rollerblades out for about five years...and am not very good at stopping. Still if I perfect it and get a little dog who can run alongside me, then I can appear in adverts for ladies freedom products.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Frugal Living update

Just realised have not updated blog on latest on frugal living experience. Well I am mostly planning meals now, in a quite simple way, just by thinking protein and vegetables, the carb bit usually looks after itself. We've had vegetable and noodle soup with omelette's tonight, which is very yummy, and also very healthy. Yesterday we ate three bean chilli, well two bean with some soya protein because the recipe called for some beans I did not have, we ate the chilli with jacket potatoes, and again, was very yummy, children even loved it. Day before was not quite so efficient, or cooking from scratch enough, as we had (bought) veggie sausages, pasta cooked in vegetable stock, and baked beans. Was really lovely though slightly strange supper, but had run out of fresh vegetables. Tomorrow think we will have chickpea and spinach curry, and I know my children are a bit unusual but they love this. I usually make it quite mild, but also have some natural yoghurt on the side for the little ones to mix in.

I've also stopped carrying money around, as definitely get tempted all the time to stop for coffee, buy magazines/chocolate etc, so helps me not to have cash. I don't go in to town very often either, as that also tempts me even if with cheap things...still gets pricey. Always try to make sure we eat before going out too, otherwise whole family gets very tempted with things like veggie sausage rolls, and pasties etc.

Do get very bored of saving money though, and have to have little splurges every now and again, on stationary, or books, or worst case scenario ikea. Pretty much always need things we splurge on though, so probably ok really.

Looking forward to cancelling Sky too, as we've nearly had it for a year. Had to get it in this house, as actually had no TV signal at all apart from Channel Five. Did wonder whether that meant we did not have to pay for TV license but sadly not the case. Also looking forward to lots of afternoons out at the beach, and country park, and lots of picnics when weather improves. It has been sort of drizzling or tipping down with rain nearly all winter, ruling out cosy walks on the beach. Also some massive winds, also ruling out cosy walks, as children get blown over.
Think that's about extent of frugal living, except do intend to learn how to use sewing machine and make basic clothes, like little dresses for daughter and maybe skirts for me...oh, and have been making our own cards, which I've really enjoyed. Some a bit strange, carpet Christmas trees anyone?, so hoping to improve craft skills over time.

Also tried to make own art for wall, this had been total failure so far, tried to copy Van Gogh's Starry Night, but make it more colourful. Trouble is have no perspective so picture is from many different angles, and not in a good way.

Am enjoying the challenge though, and very pleased to be out of London, and the fast pace of life.

Good children, naughty children, good children...

Checked in the living room earlier today as children had been very quiet whilst I was washing up, and believe me quiet spells BAD normally, 'specially as there was a heap of washing up that took ages. They'd got a blanket out, and were lying on the floor cuddling listening to Lullabies, that Ol had put on the CD player. So so lovely.

But same time yesterday had left them in living room again whilst doing housework (bit of a housework theme emerging here) and they were quiet again, this time they had drawn all up our lovely white walls with biro. So not lovely, and Ol blamed it on his sister, only worked out his culpability after noticed the height of scribbles was only within his reach.

So my question is, should I give up housework all together and just spend time Sitting Down watching children? Or is that sheer laziness on my part??

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Flaw in the plan

Damn, just realised problem with being avon lady, its not that I am not glamorous enough, or that might not be good enough, its simply that I have no willpower. Therefore am bound to be tempted in by lots of products and spend more money than I earn, or perhaps that will be all I earn from. Already have a wish/want/probably need list of the following;

Face Masks
Hand cream
Face cream
New creamy canvas bag that looks like it could belong to 70's Sindy
Powder to foundation
Children's shampoo
Necklace - really lovely, with hand painted beads, looks crafted
Hair smoother, or de-frizzer or whatever its called
Hot oil or decent conditioner
Bracelet - v. lovely with lots of jangly bits on

I will resist. I will resist. Oh bollocks, resistance is futile.

Spider Disguises

Saw something in the damp patch by bay window yesterday, got bit worried was too short sighted to actually figure out what it was, and thought it might be some more alien ladybirds. Got lovely husband to check when he got home, and it turned out to be a spider pretending to be all squashed up and dead. Except it was really alive. Can't believe they have now learnt art of camouflage and will be sneaking up on me by pretending to be other things, like spots of damp, or alien creepies.

After the scary spider scenario went to new local yoga class, really liked it, but have to admit had no idea it was actually so hard, and that you needed to be strong. Embarrassingly was also the only total beginner in the class, so had to have more rests in between poses, and also spent most of class worrying about dodgy foot. My left foot, the dodgy one has been hurting for about a week, can't face seeing doctor about it as can't think of anything to actually say other than vaguely have dodgy foot. Have noted from past experiences with medical professionals that dodgy is not a preferred term and vagueness really annoys them. Therefore as am nearly always bit vague is usually better to wait for a definite illness before speaking to anyone.

In yoga, when you stand, up your foot becomes a sort of divine three point triangle, no doubt there is a proper term for it, but as usual am too vague to know. Could not make proper three point triangle with left foot, which was OK, but really did not need to announce to whole class that it was because I had a dodgy foot. Sure now they're wondering whether its false, or broken or deeply scarred, or something equally real. Well, perhaps not wondering today, as guess my foot is not most important thing they need to think about on a work afternoon. Still, apart from nearly falling asleep during relaxing bit, think one man did actually snooze a bit, so would not be on own, and really hurting self by having arms of a weakling, did enjoy it and will go again.

Other exciting news of the day, is that daughter and I delivered some avon brochures. Really could not decide what to wear, as ideally would like a little vanity case with samples, kitten heels and a little nipped in waist powder blue suit. In reality it is drizzling and cold, so am afraid to say was not as glamorous as should have been, and wore flowery pac a mac, and jeans. Should have worn Boden wellies to add the glamour factor, but forgot. Least I remembered daughters coat today. And hers is Matthew Williamson designed, so did have little glamour factor.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Ding Dong, Avon calling

How utterly exciting, I have been made an Avon lady, I've got brochures, order forms, and special instructions on how to order for customers. I'm so excited to be one, perhaps I can be like the lovely lady in Edward Scissorhands, who really helps the community! Yay! So don't think will have avon party at the moment, as don't have any stock, but will definitely be delivering brochures down our way. Also lovely Avon lady, Y who signed me up tells me I can also give out brochures to other friends locally, so if anyone wants one...give me a shout. Personally, I'm really fancying their version of Chanel noir nail varnish..

It's just all so exciting!

Top Hastings Bargain Tip

Mrs Rumble on Manor Road is closing down, and has an excellent sale on. No way of knowing how much things will cost as far as I can tell as they aren't priced, and she just says prices. Presumably knows all the prices in her head, and then cuts them to be cheaper in the sale. Very complicated system but definitely worth a look, as think she wants to get rid off all her stock, and thus is being very generous with price cuts.

Have to admit I find system bit intimidating, and shop because there is a big barking dog, and you're nearly always the only customer. Nothing I hate more than having lots of attention in a shop, and that's not because I intend on shop lifting, just that it sends me a bit crazy, and I want to be teenaged about it all.

Anyhoo, for those who aren't in the know, Mrs R's is a knitting shop, also has some ribbons, and buttons, p'raps its a haberdasher's without the material?, oh I don't know anyhow. And its in Hastings, so no use to anyone outside area, as absolutely doubt whether she has heard of internet, and positive cards aren't welcome. Lovely wool though!

End of Top Bargain Tip Alert for today.

Monday, 21 January 2008


Busy wondering whether Active Hastings, or the PCT have a sub plot of getting parents fit and active, or possibly just so exhausted they can't shop lift/take drugs/go out clubbing/undertake any other anti social behaviour which is popular in this town. Took the children to the gym today, children's gym, and had to do exercise for 30 minutes then sort of drag/carry them around a military style assault course.

And it cost me £4.80, and they got tired and moody. And to make matters worse, both children decided they have no idea about taking turns or sharing, so were most unpopular children there, thus making me most unpopular parent. Now we're all so tired out, all we can manage to do is watch totally dreadful Bratz baby's film on DVD. Worse, we're all actually getting interested in it, and the politics of the Mall.

Next Monday rather than have children experience things, might just go to the playground and lie on the slide for few hours. Best training there is for an ASBO, particularly if I go hell for leather and let them walk up the slide in their muddy shoes, and ruin everyone else's go.

Potty Training Failures

Still have not got daughter used to potty, and she's got her first day at nursery tomorrow. Am used to not being very efficient or in fact useful in front of educational experts, so will front it out.

Went to Brighton yesterday, and worse than not potty training forgot to change daughter's nappy, until about 3pm in Paperchase (which as you know is a favourite of mine, and could be browsed in for at least 40 minutes), she shouted that she'd had a poo. Took her over the road to Gap, and realised her trousers were soggy, and nappy had fallen down. Chose some new bottoms on the spot, then sent lovely husband off to pay whilst we hid behind clothes rail, trouble with Gap is staff are so efficient had to explain three times why we were hiding behind clothes rail and of our intentions. Too friendly really.

Then got home to lovely quiet Hastings, and a bit of a chilly house, and decided we'd really really like a dog. Has to be small and cute and good with children and cats, and should be from a resuce place really. Can't wait to go for walks everyday with dog, perhaps I'll lose so much weight I'll be a size ten, as in woman I saw in a magazine last week. Also dog would be lovely and warm, and could have nice lead, and bed. Also would eat all left overs.

Got very excited, so watch this space, had to ring C and S and tell them I'm blatantly copying them as they got a little spaniel last week, hope they're not too worried we are turning in to their Stalker Family. Also checked out how potty training dog went, S said once you have a child you can cope with anything. Yeay, so even I would be able to manage to scoop up warm poo, well I'm hoping I would.

Friday, 18 January 2008

It's the gloom and rain again

Looked out of the windows this morning, very rainy again today, also with kind of wind radio should warn us about. For some reason Radio Two, well our Terry Wogan in particular, although delightful in the morning, does not talk about extreme seaside weather. Everytime we do have extreme weather here there seems to be no warning, or in fact no mention of it at all. Leads me to suspect this sort of windy, blow over wheely bin and rainy weather is in fact normal for the South Coast.

Still have got busy day today, and we're getting lift with K, so no need to get soaked and blown over by crazy South Coast weather. K had a brainwave yesterday, of a great activity that will keep our lively little ones amused, and should be fun for us. We're all off trampolining. Apparantly its suitable for 0-5 year old and their parents, although am a little worried that any size trampoline suitable for 0-5's will have me bouncing my bottom in to the floor. Still worth a go, as anything better than another boring morning staying in with My friends Tigger and Pooh. Even Ol getting bored with it, as he's started substituting Poo for words in children's songs. I don't mind too much, but it did raise a few brows at the hippy dippy museum group yesterday. Still he made up for it by loudly singing wind the bobbin by properly, i.e. not substituting my daddy for the bobbin.

Right, in terms of lovely tatty house simply must do some vacuuming later, and have to work out how to make curtains for attic bedroom. Just not on to be thrity something and have bits of material nailed to the walls instead of curtain. Also not really on to not have work table in work room. Have decided to try and get one from the amazing Friday Ads today, they're like local e-bay but 'cos they're all Hastings based, everything is actually get-able, mostly in a car. Oh, and affordable because suspect lots of people who sell things either just want rid of them for the space, or sadly are actually addicted to cider, and just want some pennies to buy more.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Wrong Impressions

Just back from looking around son's likely first school and have already shamed self in number of ways. Firstly the head was amazingly well put together, thus making me look like a jumble sale reject. She also talked properly too.

Then daughter had face of scabs, also back of scabs, which she took every opportunity of showing off by lying on every table we came across on her tummy, and letting her jumper roll up, and her builders bottom show.

Then I forgot her age, agreed she was three when Head asked me, then rather than just Leave It. Embarrassed self by acknowledging that wasn't right, and putting self right.

And finally daughter played up, moaned, insisted on being carried all around, so much that Head began talking about parenting classes held at the school and how we all Need A Little Extra Help whilst smiling at me.

Least I did not tell her I was an atheist when she told us she was a Proper Christian. Could have said I am a Proper Charlie me...

The horror of the wrong buggy

I've finished today's nursery run, and was interested as usual in the outfits of my mummy colleagues, oh and the odd daddy one, but they're usually too scruffy to mention. But I am pondering whether we need to have the right buggy to fit in.

When I first had my son it was crucial to have the right buggy, and the right changing bag. Keep trying to think what would happen it your buggy wasn't right, I know my old friend M had a travel system which was far from right. She wasn't sentenced to coventry, but hmm, I think playground mummy mentality meant that not many people chatted randomly to her whist she had her buggy out. Lovely little M's mummy on the other hand got it absolutely spot on, with a Jane (four hundred quid ish's) buggy, and a sixty pound changing bag. Needless to say she had loads of mummy friends, course the fact she's also nice and fun is coincidental.

I had a mothercare brand buggy for three months, and had no friends at all in that time. I then switched to a Maclaren (about a hundred pounds then) buggy, and made lots of mummy mates. My friends from antenatal class even went as far as researching which buggy was most popular with artists and people who went to openings (again the Maclaren). Of course all this leads one to question are me and my friends only interested in the sort of shallow person who would judge you by your buggy? The answer to this is probably mostly yes, because you do want to have those little short hand conversations with people about clothes, and shoes, and bags, and buggies and have them get it. Obviously no one I know, or at least no one I like would judge a mummy by her buggy, but it helps.

Now the children are getting bit too big for their buggies, we're moving on the the next step, cars. In London most people I knew did not drive around on a weekday so we all had no idea what sort of car anyone but our neighbours and very close friends had. Thus for mummies, the idea of a car as a status symbol was defunct. Not so, perhaps for daddies and other men who seem to have ways of finding out one's brand of car.

However here where people drive cars are immensely important, and it can be a terrible mistake to get the car wrong. I've got a real vested interest here because I adore my car, especially when shiny and clean with its roof box on. In my head it then looks like Sindy's family car from the 1970's, just right for whizzing around town or popping through the country. However, it is quite cheap, and Japanese, so could be seen as being a little, well, cheap. And my friend G persists in calling it a Sirloin which always upsets me.

However I think the absolute worst car for a mummy lady type to have would be a Ford Ka. Just dreadful. Then probably a Nissan Micra (not teenagified), or another similar type. I also struggle with new Mini's and new Beetle's, they are cool, but I think only to us, thirtysomethings who would really rather an old one, but need something reliable. Thus, I think they probably are not cool at all, plus Jeremy Clarkson's wife drives one, and even if he's sort of old school cool these days, she's not at all (too much make up).

People carriers, just mean you've had too many children, and need to keep transporting them and their friends around. The worst thing that can happen in my view with people carriers is when a family gets a new one, and the mummy, 'cos its usually her, is really proud of 'her new car'. No. No, Don't stoop that low, you know if you chose your own new car, it'd be nippy, and ideally have only two doors and a sun roof, not seven and room for the dogs.

Old school is always cool, whether this is a tatty old van, Volvo, or even battered up car. Trouble is old school doesn't always work, or get you where you are going. Other hazard with vans are sitting backward. No-one likes to clear up sick.

In Hastings, the SUV rules as cool, preferably with some logs, or manly looking machinery in the back. It's a proper Ute, like they used to talk about on Neighbours but works, and, if this is important to you, has some power and can go quickly.n.b. personally I couldn't care less how fast a car goes, slower the better as I only like driving at maximum speed limit, and prefer if husband forced to do the same.

Love the idea of having SUV, for first time husband and I have agreed over choice of car. He can be manly and take it to the woods, and I can be girly and take it to the beach. And you never know we might even park in one someday.

So, buggies are important, as short hand for who you are, so are cars, but they're far more complicated, because for one thing, practicality comes in to the equation, and for another the whole family has to have a view. Pesky kids!

Monday, 14 January 2008

10 Top Rainy Day Activities to do with Toddlers for Bad ITV Mummies and Daddies

Right, have spent forever in the house now with sick children, or worse children who have illness' (chicken pox in our case) but are apparently still full of beans. There is only one way to survive this, have a selection of activities that will keep you, and them entertained, plus have a good Chardonnay on chill for seven o'clock, and a mobile full of funny texts to reply to...

Can't or won't share the chardonnay, and the mobile texts are probably only entertaining if you're here are my Top Ten Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers (or a 2 and 4 year old in our case...)

1. Craft comes in at number one. Favourite not too messy craft activity is collage. This has the fantastic bonus of enabling you all to flick through your favourite magazines and comics, then cut out the best pictures. For the littler ones, you'll need to speedily cut lots of nice pictures (of whatever they might like from fairies to tractors) for them to stick. The most effective places to stick the pictures have been on old Ikea stools, to make their own little places to sit/use as a side table, or making special treasure troves out of old shoe boxes. Just have a glue stick per person, do make something yourself unless you get caught up in celeb goss world as they and you will enjoy it. Once all the pictures are stuck down and dried (this may take a while if your children are specially keen on using glue), then cover with a piece of sticky back plastic. I newly love this stuff, you can buy a big roll of it from WHSmiths, or other stationers quite cheaply, and it gives a real 'professional' edge to the collage or decoupage work.

2. Sorting out things, I personally love this one, and so do the children. My favourite is going through their wardrobe's, getting them and their dollies and teddies to try on outfits and putting them in four piles; one to go back in the wardrobe, one for the charity shop, one to put aside for friends' children, and finally one for those lovely bits you want to keep forever. The sorting out can be moved to dollies clothes, or for my son, to sorting out Playstation games, this keeps him happy for ages even though he only has nine (bless). Part of the fun is putting them in categories, i.e. driving, Sonic games, snowboarding etc. Other times we've sorted the car box, the pens and pencils, and spent many a happy hour trying them all out, and sharpening them (I know we need to get out more! But this is for when you can't risk your germ laded family on the world, so relish in your inner order queen or king.

3. Cooking things, this really can entail cooking absolutely anything, from helping wash the vegetables for dinner in a large saucepan with a scrubbing brush to the usual fairy cakes and cheese straws. When I simply can't be bothered to cook anything, we decorate plain biscuits, just a bit of icing sugar and water, then use anything we can find to put on top, usually hundreds and thousands, chocolate vermicelli, and those cool silver balls that taste of nothing. The trick is to make sure the decorating goes on for a while, they, ok me too can get a bit keen sometimes and eat our way through a whole packet. This is not healthy, or good because then depending on e-numbers and whether I've included food colouring everyone can get a bit manic.

4. Colouring things, this is a lovely peaceful activity if you've a few decent colouring books hiding away, if not cbeebies website does some really cool, depending on your view of the characters colouring sheets you can download ad print straight out. If you're really crafty, and it looks alright, i.e. everyone has been banned for colouring in in black pen, then save these sheets to use as future wrapping paper.

5. Children's website's, if you haven't tried these you'll be amazed at how interesting they are, well sort of, but at least how much the children will enjoy singing along, playing games, doing some of the activities. The best is probably cbeebies with nickjnr coming a close second, and I'm afraid to admit disney being the current favourite in our house. In the disney playhouse pages you can make up your own swirly slide then watch the Mickey Mouse gang go down the slide you've designed. How cool is that? (Again, yes, god I do need to get out more, but honest its loads of fun).

6. Play board games, you knew this was coming didn't you? We've got a wide selection of games, and I have to say once the children get to an age when they can (almost) get the usually very simple rules they can provide minutes of fun. There's loads of new ones that we didn't have when we were little, but most of them will be familiar versions of Hungry Hippo and Operation, and even Junior Monopoly. Have to admit have not been playing educational games, like the shopping list one (don't even know what its called, bad ITV mummy me), and Scrabble, but obviously these should feature in your games collection if a proper one..

7. Play Hide and Seek, we have hours of entertainment with this, even though the children don't quite get the game (they tell me in advance where they are going to hide). Still if you're the one hiding you get to have a little lie down under the duvet whilst they hunt you. n.b. best not to 'hide' in the garden and have a sneaky fag, you're bound to get caught yellow fingered.

8. Children have fun bath, with bath crayons/bubble bath/random toys/teapot/whatever you can think of. Mummy then gets to have a nice quiet sit down in the bathroom with cup of tea and just murmurs encouraging laughter whenever requested to.

9. Play whatever they want to for a defined period of time, this can get weird but is brilliant for children's self confidence if they know they made up the game and their parent/sibling are joining in whole heartedly. Only thing I would say as a note of caution here is if feeling lazy and children request you find a bed for their babies do not do as I did and suggest they live in a darkened cupboard. Lovely little M still a bit freaked out by time I suggested this over 12 months ago.

10. The joy of telly, all parents in my view must have either a good stash of favourite DVD's, or cbeebies etc on tap. The only advice I can give is don't let TV hour go on over an hour or two 'cos then it sort of turns children bit feral, and its well worth having some favourite DVD's that you can bear to. These might be of the Shrek variety, or Mary Poppins, or even better for me, Wizard of Oz ilk. Make up a batch of popcorn and give in to the inevitable afternoon in front to the telly.

Writing Thank You letters, groan

I must have not grown up a bit, as even though need to write these from own children now, they still fill me with the same sense of dread as a ten year old! As far as I know the accepted format has not changed since the you remember? on floral or basildon bond paper too!

Our house
Late January

Dear Auntie Floral

Thank you very much for the lovely Christmas card and flowery writing set. As you can see I am busy writing to you on it now so it has been very handy.

I do hope this finds you and Uncle Lechy well, we are all well and Mummy says we will come and visit soon.

Lots of Love

Little Girl

That was the torture bit, the format, I think nowadays its acceptable to leave out the hope that the letter finds you well bit, well maybe not acceptable I'm just plain bored of it so don't intend to do it anymore. Also finding a positive to say about every present was sometimes a challenge. With my children there is also the challenge that I might have written down who gave us which present wrongly, oh horror.

Mind you I had a traditional thank you letter in above format from lovely little M, C and S's daughter and it was very nice except I did wonder if she really liked the thing, forgotten what is was now of course. This year we made lovely little M her own decoupage stool, which she loved, except for one bit. I'd stuck a picture of a little meanie from a fairy magazine on it, just really 'cos I liked the picture, and was getting bit sick of sickly sweet fairies. Lovely little M was very hurt, as my two did not have meanies on their decoupage stools, though they did have more scary baddies. Can't win with four year olds unless everything glittery and perfect with a happy mummy and daddy who don't get bored.

Right, must get on with letters, oh no let's make them little notes, it definitely makes me feel better. Just wish it was a bit later in day with sun over yard arm so could fortify self with some gin.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Singing is not the Cause

Have decided am really looking forward to another wonderful night of Singstar, Ol got PS2 for Christmas, and I got Singstar. First DVD was bit too modern for me, Pop hits in last couple of years, do like a bit of Shakira, and High School Musical but wasn't on the DVD sadly.

Then lovely M went out and bought Legends, it was brilliant! Papa Don't Preach, Sweet Home Alabama, Ring of Fire, Whitney and even more I can't remember. We played all New Years Eve (until we woke the children with loud laughing, can't have been the singing), all New Years Day, then had different friends over and played the whole of a Thursday night. Weirdly we all sort of started off a bit shy, but then loved it.

And then I got ill, really ill with my throat. Maybe Singstar made me sick! Maybe Singstar wore my vocal cords out, is that what happens to proper singers. Or maybe as everyone says, I just got sick (from car heaters) and I can play Singstar again! Yay! I may even have a glass of wine again, after all booze is always the cure, never the problem.

Course now daughter has chicken pox, so best we don't wake her up at night, but next weekend, here we come sweet home alabama. Any takers?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Wine with Meals

I'm better! Yay Yay Yay! Not 100% so do need to sit on the sofa wearing pyjamas for the day again. Have not got dressed for a whole week now, unless you count a few hours wearing of lounge wear rather than pyjamas. Quite keen on lounge wear generally, think it was an inspired invention, the almost pyjamas that you can answer the door in.

Friends have been brilliant with the children this week, and helping with childcare, really really pleased by how lovely its been to know kids are safe and happy playing with other people so I can sleep. Loving having local friends, and have not decided to worry about whether son will get in to our preferred school down the road. Just read the handbook for east sussex admissions and noticed that 59 people put preferred school down as their preferred one, and got in, which only leaves one spare place, and friend H's son got that when he moved here in July! Really tight, and bit worried we are a little high up the hill, school is at bottom.

Am aware worrying about school is one of those pointless exercises that I will engage in, but will not help anything, so need to worry about new thing.

This is wine, 'cos I've been so ill, can't even look at booze at the moment, but had very interesting discussion with L (him of the germ car). He knows someone who believes you shouldn't have wine with meals. Is this a true British thought? It sounds very peculiar, but sort of believable, maybe we used to have ale with meals in the olden days, or mead, which would be strange.

But no wine with meals, just as an evening drink? In terms of a lovely Chardonnay I'm with him, I think? But to never have wine with a meal, maybe just lager, I just don't know, it doesn't seem right. Also how would you ever teach children about wine, I grew up having a tiny tiny bit with meals with seemed right. Although did never understand spirits 'cos they weren't really drunk in our house, not quite sure how you explain them to children, perhaps that they're just for sad old soaks, thinking they are tres young with their vodka and orangina's, when really they should be sticking to grown up wine.

P'raps the answer is in alcopops, or maybe just horrid old mead and ale, least children would think alcohol always tastes wrong. Will I ever drink again?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Worst Illness ever ever

Oh My God! I can't believe how ill I've been with I guess a 'normal' illness this week. Was really ill through the night Sunday, got worse on Monday, and shocking on Tuesday and Wednesday, just able to talk again really last night. Doctor thought it was some type of throat infection, and the antibiotics have finally started to kick in, but jesus, was horrible. Couldn't eat at all all week, swallowing really really hurt, so much so I was avoiding it as far as possible. Couldn't even drink because swallowing hurt so much, then couldn't breathe properly through mouth because it hurt so much and could not breathe through nose as, hmm, not sure why but was too hard. Had to concentrate so hard on breathing through nose that had to stay awake and for some reason sweat loads (well, I suppose the fever).

Was concentrating so hard on swallowing and breathing that could not really think or talk, hence have had whole week of pretty much no communication or thought. Could not even concentrate on telly or celeb story magazines. Think M was also very worried about me, was concentrating so hard because did not want to end up in hospital on drip (either antibiotics or fluids as was def dehydrated) or with some breathing thing, not sure what the latter would be, but don't like the look of those Holby City mask things, where people can't talk without getting told off by Chrissie for removing their mask. Anyway serious concentration, and lots of antibiotics and nurofen have almost done the trick. Three cheers for conventional medicine from me today.

Being ill is absolutely no fun at all when that scary/serious so have tried to pin point how I managed to get the illest I've ever been (apart from after C-section infection but that's another horrid story). At first I thought it was because I went in my friend L's car at the weekend, which he likes to be warm so puts heating on. I have terrible hatred of car heating, just the feel and smell of it always make me feel ill, and sometimes I am sick just because its so horrid. I think car heating is so hideous because it recycles old dirty air around a dirty engine to warm it up, then never gets rid of it. So you're effectively breathing in air as old as your car, that is, unless you clean it, which I've never known anyone to do. Also L used to get tonsilitus a lot, so maybe his old germs were still in his car. Possibly I over stepped limits of things that is ok to say to old friends by texting him to tell him his car was germfull and had made me the most ill I've ever been, almost. He reminded me he had changed cars since he even had his tonsils out and that was over ten years ago, oops.

Then I discovered a new culprit, singstar on the playstation. Have been loving this but must be the cause, sitting around with mouth open letting germs in, and all in a small overheated living room. So no more singstar for me, and no more ever sneaky evening cigarettes. Sad about them both, but never ever ever want to have to concentrate on breathing again.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


Just back from doing weekly shop, and on the way home encountered a very normal gender difference between me, my husband and my 4 year old son

I decided I simply must, that minute go in to WH Smiths, (remember no Paperchase in this part of the country!) and buy some stationary, some nice coloured box files, and some magazine files. These will, at least in my head look wonderful on our new shelves (made out of twice recycled floorboards) in our lovely new study/work room. So rather than take whole family to shop with me, as then would probably have to have discussion on best ones, and then heated discussion why we should not have floral or pastel ones. All the time daughter would be trying out all pens she could find, and eating the rubbers.

So, anyway, I say I'll be no more than ten minutes and leave them and the car on a double yellow line around the back of the shopping centre. Once I get in to the shop I became slightly dazed by the choices, there were loads, although hardly any ones I wanted, too yellow, too purple, too black, too silver. Then I bumped in to a friend, and had a little chat about the best type, then purchased my favourites.

When I got back to the car it was gone, so I walked for five minutes down the back street wondering if they'd just moved. Then I looked back and saw the car going back to the original parking place, so had to walk all the way back to the car again.

When I got there, both son and husband said I'd been gone for hours, so long that they'd gone to look for me, and then had to drive around a long block, then forgot to see if I'd had to try and find the car somewhere else.

I was only ten minutes, and in my head, absolutely right, in theirs I was twenty five, and absolutely so slow, how apparantly can it take anyone twenty five minutes to buy a folder!

Gender differences! What's the matter with taking time to choose things? Friend C managed to spend 4 hours in Sainsbury's the other day choosing things, so she wins longest lady shop award.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Absolutely too old for drinking

Had lovely New Year, did lots of singing, and was only slightly marred by all children in the house crying to not go back to sleep at half twelve. Was sort of a ringing in the new year by three small tantrums. Very jolly. Still it meant we all had an early night and felt full of the joys of spring the next day, well for a bit until we saw the rain, and spied the amount of spots on Ol. Which meant he has chicken pox, and hence we have to stay in the house, well almost for at least five days!

Will definitely need new to do list for these next days so here goes:

1. Dye hair, am starting to look a bit wayward.

2.File all the bits of paper in various locations in the kitchen, drawer, stuffed by microwave and stuffed on noticeboard. Then never leave paper lurking about again.

3. Make lovely workspace/office complete by putting things on shelves, asking M to make big double shelves for alcoves for all things we have uselessly kept, like my old scrapbook from when I was five.

4. Vacuum horrid purple rug in living room, and put Somewhere Else until Moths get it and can warrant throwing it away.

5. Advertise things we no longer need on e-bay, shoes, air bed, poker set thingy, umm anything else I remember.

6. Oh, before 5, learn how use at least one of our millions of digital cameras and how to put things on the computer.

7. Take down Christmas decorations, shame!

8. Potty train J in the next week before she starts nursery, is this realistic I wonder???

9. Write thank you notes.

10. Make some proper healthy meals, avoid freezer food and cheese like plague as have put on at least a stone over Christmas.

11. Do some exercise, go for walks, when it stops raining, and do some pilates, all failing, make sure run up and down the stairs numerous times a day.

12. Be nice to sick children, and don't get too cross with them for moaning, well at least bribe them not to moan too often.