29 November 2015

Advent is coming!!

Are you ready??
Our calendars are bought (I may or may not have eaten an entire Dairy Milk one and had to replace it??)
Our activity calendar is complete and ready to print.
The majority of supplies we need to complete aforementioned activities have been purchased.
Our Christmas pjs are all wrapped up ready to open on Tuesday and wear for the next 30 days!!
Elf on the shelf is ready to go.
Behaviour chart (complete with elf stickers for success) is hung and ready for action - we're all over the positive reinforcement at the moment!!)
And just for fun, look what happened over at BFF's house last night...

That little blond blur at the front is Boy and the princess is red is Goddaughter. Their little faces when he walked through the door, priceless.
Come on Advent, we're ready for the festive countdown to begin!!

28 November 2015



This was me last night. FFS. The boys sharing a room is the cutest damn thing I have ever seen and it makes me heart melt every time they blow each other kisses at lights-out. That said, there are considerable downsides and last night was one of these.
Boy woke up crying at 10pm, sometimes he does this if he's in a deep sleep but needs a wee, it takes him a while to come round and realise why he's woken himself up. Anyway, the crying and confusion woke Baby who very sweetly sat up, looked all confused and snoozy then thought 'OK, if you guys need me awake THAT badly...' and promptly woke up 110%. What a trooper!
Cue Mama over here trying to convince him that it was, in fact, still nighttime...Boy bumbled across the landing, wee'd and was asleep again within 28 seconds. I was negotiating with Baby until 11.30pm. I finally got him back to sleep in his cot, stumbled back into bed all traumatised and bleary and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. For about an hour until he woke a second time, clearly still unsettled and upset. Fuck it!
In the end he wound up snoring between Husband and I (perfect excuse for Husband's weekend tradition of 'I just didn't sleep a wink last night...' urgh!) hence why I am blogging with a coffee at 7.45am. They are both sitting infront of Peter Pan with a banana, a hot chocolate and a brioche! Tough night = easy start! Husband thinks he got off easy, what he has forgotten is that we have a child's 5th birthday party at 2pm which I may or may not now be attending ;-) Insert evil laugh here!
Did your little ones sleep better?? Here's hoping...

27 November 2015

Want, need, play, read!

Readers from last year will know, this little rhyme is how we buy gifts for our boys. Minimalist and boring, some might say, but our children are very fortunate little boys all year round who are being raised to (hopefully) know the value of things. Not to mention the fact that they are spoiled rotten by friends and family so we see no need to add to the huge pile of lovely gifts they receive on the big day!!

Anyway, here's what they will be opening come December 25th...apologies for the photos being all over the shop, they won't line up either?!
Baby is getting a battery powered engine for the Brio set we already own and Boy has requested (odd, yes?!) a fleecy star wars blanket for when he was watching movies. TKMaxx, thanks very much!
Baby needs a fleecy onesie for Friday mornings when he gets out of the pool...possibly not this one as he'd look bit odd covered in snowmen come February??


This is a shared gift as it's rather large! On offer today at GLTC if anyone else is after a wooden garage?

Love the moral behind the story on the left, and Baby isn't in fact getting this book on the right...but I have searched online for the right image for almost 23minutes now and am losing the will to live. Needless to say, it's a generic Christmas book with a music CD!

So there you have it, easy as 1,2,3,4. No unexpected surprises when wrapping (and realising you've accidentally somehow bought 47 gifts for one child and 3 for the other!) and relatively budget-friendly in a sense?

What are you buying for your little treasures this year? Husband is still ranting about a balance bike for Baby but a) we've already filled each category! and b) we'll need an idea for his second birthday in a few months so am inclined to wait until then. Another trip to isla bikes coming up!!

26 November 2015

A public service announcement!!

Run now, Boden is 30% off with the code 3Y7L

Gap is 40% off with the code GAP40UK

You are all so very welcome!!

25 November 2015

What's Up Wednesday?!

Almost forgot!!
What's Up Wednesday?!

mince pies! Am so ashamed, normally I refuse to eat them until Dec 1st but this year I've caved. What can I say? It's cold, I needed comfort!

about last year's advent calendar. Have been busy putting the final touches to this year's calendar and am so excited to get started on Boy's activities this time round. Cards, gingerbread, hot chocolate, trips to the Big Man...what fun!

our open fire. It's lit every night, love it!

We've been...
snuggling under blankets and watching faaaaar too many movies! Hey, they don't watch TV during the week normally (no bloody time!) and again, let me say, it's COLD!!

swimming tonight. Groan!

Working on...
our work/life balance in the household. Having a few issues with roles and responsibilities, more on that in another post later on, it just needs some joint renewed effort I think?

Excited about... 
school nativity on 8th Dec and school finishing for the holidays on 17th Dec, need my Boy at home where he belongs!!

India Knight's 'Don't you want me?' An old favourite, need her to write something new!!

Listening to...
Michael Buble's Christmas album but only when Husband is out of the house ;-)

layers. Brr!

Doing this weekend...
We have a birthday party, the first of 4 Santa parties (don't ask!) and the NCT Christmas party. We'll be all partied out by Sunday lunchtime!

Looking forward to next month...
my new cross-trainer arriving for the back conservatory which is currently being cleared to make space!!

Sorry it's short and sweet, looking forward to reading everyone else's posts!!

An update

Happy Wednesday, everyone. We have been to an NCT coffee morning at Dentist Mama's house then battled our way back home through the teeming rain. Just time for a quick blog post while Baby plays cars, then lunch and naptime.
( rainy day by Ferdi Doussier)  http://tiendacostarica.cr/camaras-digitales/:

This is the weather in the shire today. God, it was hard to leave the house this morning! I can almost (not quite, but almost) make my peace with rain but it's the cold I hate (disclaimer: ironically, we all love to ski, but I suppose that's because you have proper gear on when you're skiing; you EXPECT it to be baltic, have prepared accordingly and are therefore conversely quite snug?)
I really need to investigate these merino wool thermal underlayer things, am tired of being so damn cold and miserable. And it's not just outside we have to moan about. Have realised in the last 48hours that old houses are actually quite fridge-like in the winter aren't they? Unless our heating is on or the fire is roaring, this beautiful, picturesque little cottage doesn't hold any heat at all. Boo! Baby has been waking in the night with freezing little hands and toes so have just ordered fleecy pjs and fluffy socks to warm him up a bit too.
This afternoon is swimming. I think this is what is causing my underlying feeling of anxiety today? Last week we were made to leave the pool in disgrace and I woke up dreading today's lesson. Thing is, Boy is only 4. He's a summer baby and it's the long, dark Christmas term...by the time he's done a full day in school he is walloped and close to tears. I appreciate that he is sometimes stubborn and whiny...and I'm the biggest eye-roller when parents declare 'well, he's TIRED...' as an excuse for bad behaviour but sometimes, dare I say it, it's just true? So yes, here's hoping his teacher has a bit more compassion and Boy has a bit more energy today or I'll be drinking wine at 7.01pm. Again! After an afternoon spent in tears. Again!
Must remember to fill the car with diesel or we won't make it there and back. And must remember to decorate Boy's Christmas tree decoration for the competition at school tomorrow. Last minute? Me? Never!
Auntie and Niece came to visit yesterday and it was only 6/10 on the painful scale so that's progress. In a nutshell, my sister owes my mother a considerable amount of money and is refusing to pay it back under the banner of financial issues therefore my mother and my sister are not currently speaking. They both spent 4 months ranting at me about the other until eventually I shrieked 'I don't want to hear this anymore' and, to be fair, on the whole they have kept their ongoing feud between themselves since (in total it's been 6 months and counting now, the pair of them are idiots) Saying that, my sister waffling on all day yesterday about her endless home projects, decorating ideas and current building works was a bit much to swallow. She infuriates me! But, I didn't lose my patience and scream at anyone and she's gone home now so it's all good. Ticked that box for another fortnight.
Ooh must remember tomorrow is mufti day!! (Golly, tomorrow has far too many opportunities for failure for my liking?!) 
Need an evening on the sofa under a duvet (cold house!) with some wine I think. Here's hoping it's celebratory wine after an excellent swimming lesson and not more 'woe is me' wine.
Have a great Wednesday, it'll soon be bedtime!!

24 November 2015


This is officially my all-time favourite store, if only they sent me discount codes more regularly!!
Am lusting after this jumper...

And I own these harem pants. Thing is, in this photo she looks like someone totes casual who has just run out to Waitrose to pick up some essentials. If I went out dressed like this I'd look like a bag-lady who had got lost in her pjs...Go figure!

And after weeks of refusing to buy a new LBD for the Christmas party, I'm seriously considering buying myself this...am in love with the neckline at the back!!

Have you checked out their new Christmas items yet? I am making a wish list for the January sale!

23 November 2015

Oh Monday, what fun!

It is bloody baltic out there, boys looked like tiny Inuit people when they rolled out of the front door towards the car, poor little bastards. It was all I could do not to ring school and invent a vomiting bug. Bloody weather. Bloody lack of ability to apparate. Bloody bloody bloody!!

Anyhoo, here's to Monday and the exciting concept of a brand spanky new to-do list. Gotta love it.

Here is this week's list:

Buy more food.

I don't know what this is all about but for some bloody reason my family eat all the food I go and buy. I literally can't keep up with the whole supply and demand issue. Husband keeps complaining about the grocery bills...but then keeps EATING EVERYTHING. Weekends are the worst. It is never-ending, the requests and the quantities of food they devour. I despair. So yeah, yet more food shopping for this Mama. Joys!

Auntie and Niece coming to visit.
Your face is good too ...not specifically what I was thinking about,but pretty close ;):
So really this job should say 'don't lose your shit and shriek at your sister...' I will try my damned hardest. I do miss her now she lives so far away...if only she wasn't so...anyhoo...

Decorate the school Christmas tree.

Once again, my disease of saying yes to everything takes over and lo, I am now decorating the school tree on Thursday with Baby in tow. What a hoot that'll be!

Finish Boy's advent calendar of activities and acts of kindness.

Which will look a bit like this. We've added some more grown-up jobs now that he's 4 and kept some old classics (such as picnic tea under the tree!) He loves it so much and I'm really excited about this year's, apart from day 18 which currently says 'decorate a gingerbread house with Mama', otherwise known as the world' most un-creative and control-freaky person. Poor sod, that'll be fun for him! Our new 'random act of kindness' is to put candy canes on all the cars in Waitrose carpark one evening after school so Goddaughter is coming with us and they have elf hats to wear whilst spreading the festive cheer. Weeeee, such fun!

Still have no ball gown for 5th December, really need to work on that.

Meeting Santa (for the first time)

As ever, we have somehow arranged 4 Santa visits. Here's hoping this isn't the year Boy gets wise and suddenly announces 'have you changed since we met THIS MORNING???' in a loud, accusatory voice!

Finish Christmas Shopping

Thanks to Amazon Prime and payday I have done quite an impressive amount already this weekend (ordered on Friday, in the office ready to wrap on Saturday afternoon, thanks very much!) but still have some bits and bobs to get hold of. Whilst I love queueing and shopping and physically holding my purchases in a smug, accomplished way, the thought of doing any of that stuff in the cold/wet/Telford town centre surrounded by chavs/with Baby in tow brings me out in a cold sweat so online is the way to go. Not quite so festive but needs must!

So, since I have so much to do I had really better get on with it. Will try and keep up with the posts this week, last week ran away with me and before I knew it 7 days had flown by without me noticing, dreadful I know!

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone. It'll soon be over ;-)

22 November 2015

Sundays are the best!!

Disney movie. 
Town park by 10am. 
Baltic conditions. 
Happy outdoor-loving boys. 
Harvester for lunch (slight low point there!)
Christmas shopping while Baby napped. 
TKMaxx for tat we didnt even know we needed!
Second Disney movie. 
Bike ride down the high street in the dark with Boy. 
Cheese and biscuits for supper. 
Boys to bed. 
Open fire.
Bring it, Monday. We're ready for you!!

13 November 2015

Fantastic Friday!!

Golly, this week has been emotional. I have been in tears more than I'd like to admit, for a variety of reasons, all equally ridiculous.
Monday was just, urgh, Monday, Boy back to school after a lovely weekend down south. We also got a phonecall to say that the two little friends we'd briefly seen on Friday had erupted with chicken pox on Saturday so am now watching Baby like a hawk. That'll be fun!
Tuesday was playdate tea with a little friend from school which was actually really lovely and went really well (read: noone cried and noone screamed about what was for tea!)
Wednesday morning is where it all started to go downhill. Despite every bone in my body shrieking 'no no no, it'll cause havoc with naptime' I had agreed to go for a loooong overdue coffee with the NCT girls straight after the school run and promptly spent the entire time there watching the clock and feeling a little sick. I really have to work on this control issue. Then when I got home I had an email about Boy's first class trip and promptly spiralled into a panic attack about coach crashes on the M6, paedophiles lurking in theatre bathrooms, children wandering off and getting lost for hours on end and being traumatised for life...it was emotionally exhausting. Needless to say, have taken decisive action immediately to put my mind at rest...I jest, have hidden the consent form and am refusing to think about it until the deadline for payment. Ostrich, head, sand, that's me!

(that's Baby admiring the traditional nativity line-up at Wyevale on the way to our fraught coffee)

Thursday was Boy's first class assembly and while he was the image of cool and calm, when he finally stood up to say his line infront of the whole school I welled up so much I couldn't even SEE him clearly.
(Batman's mother is the one at the back crying)

It probably didn't help that I had had to leave Baby with Husband's mother for the morning so was a hot mess about that too. As it turned out he was absolutely fine, of course, and hadn't really noticed I had left when I returned 90 minutes later. Sigh!

And the other thing that I've cried about is that I have set my heart on these little beauties...
and of course, after weeks of dithering about them and finally making my mind up...they are now sold out in my size. Which only means I need and want them even more. Have convinced myself they will solve all my Christmas party outfit issues. They won't. When they finally arrive they will look ridiculous. But that didn't stop me crying over them like a crazy woman. Le sigh!

So yes, am verging on dehydrated and have the worst puffy eyes since I first watched Gladiator (don't ask, something about that film has me in hysterics every time, Husband has banned it in our house)

Here's hoping the weekend won't involve any tears. Spag bol is in the slow cooker, have a girls' day out with Posh Mama planned for tomorrow (Husband doesn't know yet, hmm, we'll see how that goes down?!) and then it's Goddaughter's 5th birthday celebrations at the local soft play. Sunday is a comfy cozy lazy day...can not wait!

Have you got nice plans? It's meant to rain the entire time so whatever they are, pack a brolly!

10 November 2015

October Round-up

As ever, the monthly round-up is late. Think this is the latest I've ever been, the month is a third gone already, damn it. Hey ho, these things must happen...

Let's see how I did with my October goals...

1. Embrace the slow cooker. I have used it once or twice, really need to 'up' my slow cooker game as it's so flaming easy come 5.30pm. Will copy and paste this one into November's list!

2. Complete a pilates 100 every night before bed. I managed 2 weeks. Which for me is quite incredible. Period week broke me - you ever tried doing 100 sit-ups with period cramps? Mew!

3. Get a start on the Christmas shopping. Errr...I have done the boys' xmas pjs and grabbed some cycling socks when I saw them in Aldi. Ooh, and I've got 1 of 6 Secret Santa gifts...so yeah, more effort needed on this one too.

4. Decorate the house for Autumn. Managed this one, gourds on display, wreath on door. Now just got to pack the whole damn lot away and unpack Christmas!!

5. Finalise plans for the school Christmas fair. I'm not sure why I wrote 'finalise' as it is very much a work in progress until the day before but yes, I'd say the main framework is nailed down and it's good to go. Yay me!

6. Invite one school friend round for tea on a Friday Never managed this...life just seems so bloody busy. I also scrapped the Friday plan - my original thinking was that on a Friday it didn't matter if it all went tits-up due to fatigue because they had the next day to recover. In actual fact, by Friday they are far too walloped to consider anything so... We do have someone coming round for tea tonight though, so I can finally tick this one off the list. Wish me luck that no-one cries!

So yeah, not a terribly productive month. What on earth was I doing?! Who knows...? Anyway, welcome November! We have high hopes for you!!

We've already celebrated Husband's big day in London and we have Goddaughter's 5th birthday celebrations this Thursday and her party on Saturday. I really need to spend this evening wrapping her gifts...
Boy has his very first school assembly on Thursday, must try hard not to cry.
We're having our very first Santa party at BFF's house on the last weekend of the month, boys have matching xmas tshirts, can't wait!
And it's the NCT xmas party this month too (December is literally impossible to find a date that all 7 families can attend so we have to have it a bit early!)

Other than that, it's actually quite quiet over here this month. Think we need to preserve some energy for the madness that is December!!

Granted, I'm 10 days in, but here are my goals for this month...

1. Use the bloody slow-cooker. I will. I swear. I will!

2. Create Boy's advent calendar activities for the month of December (something like this...)

3. Write out our Christmas shopping list for gifts and possibly get a start on the shopping (even if it's just online!)

And that's it. I'm only setting 3 since I failed so miserably at last month's endeavours. Maybe less pressure will aid my performance?!

Hope you're enjoying the month so far and have made a start on your festive prep??

Will be back soon with an advent calendar update, more bastard ball-gown shopping news, Christmas party outfit update and news on how our very first after-school playdate with tea worked out!!

9 November 2015

London Town

We are home after our epic trip down south. What fun. It's not until I'm actually there, in the city, that I realise how much I miss the hustle and bustle of city life. When I have to leave I get a physical pain in my chest. Don't get me wrong, life in the shire has its benefits and they are multiple, but when I'm on the tube or in a crowd, mooching round an amazing museum, admiring the lights on Regent Street or grabbing food from Camden Market that I realise, I was born to live in the city and my heart misses it. Badly!
Needless to say, I loved our 48 hours in London. 
Here are my little loves waiting for the train at Stafford station, our train was at 8.16am so we'd drunk hot chocolates and eaten brioche in the car!!

Saturday was spent at the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. We cancelled our plans to go to the Diana Memorial Playground as we'd done quite a lot of walking already and it was drizzling on and off... so we accepted our fate and headed to Hamleys instead! The boys were delighted, Husband cried!
We cheered him up by buying him the biggest slice of cake I've ever seen on Regent Street, Mama got to race into J Crew/Gap/Petit Bateau (all available online, bit of a London tradition to actually walk INTO a shop and bring things out IN BAGS!), Baby enjoyed having 'Dada' with us for the entire time...it was mental busy but lots of fun.
Our hotel was smack bang in Camden so we rocked up there at around 5pm, relaxed in the room for a while, explored the corridors and lifts (life with kids!) and then mooched around the block until we found somewhere fun and loud for dinner. Bit of a family rule, when we're away we don't eat places we could eat in at home (chains etc...) We had booked Spaghetti House (at Boy's request!) but in the end the timings didn't work so we chose somewhere else in Camden. Burgers, hot dogs, massive thick shakes? Winner!
Sunday was ZSL and we loved every minute of it. We left our bags at the hotel and walked down the canal before spending our entire day exploring. The rain held off (thank you, clouds!) and the boys were spellbound from the second we arrived...

Up close and personal!!
After the zoo, we collected our bags and headed back to Euston where the first class lounge came into its own (free snacks, power points to recharge Baby's iPad for vital episodes of Bing on way home, comfy seats for Mama, loads of toilets!) Train journey home was saga-free and bam, home by 6.30pm.
Like I say, mental busy but lots of fun.
Main thing we learned this trip? The tube is warm, we all know this, but when you're carrying a backpack, a Baby, a Maclaren pram, a bag of plastic tat from Hamleys and trying to hold onto a Boy...it is really fucking hot! Husband and I were melting every time we re-surfaced. Boys were, as ever, totes oblivious!
So yeah, a brilliant trip down south to celebrate Husband turning 36. Here's to next year!

6 November 2015


Did you read all those recent articles about how being 'busy' is bad for your health, seen as a squiff measure of success and is actually a sign of potentially being quite 'empty'?
My week has been mentalist busy!
Boy went back to school on Monday and my entire week has been tick-lists and errands and jobs and admin and phonecalls...
I have achieved quite a lot and up until Thursday lunchtime I was actually enjoying the buzz and the subsequent feeling of pride and efficiency. Then I spiralled into fatigue, emotional outbursts and melancholy. My tick-lists, although they are now considerably shorter, have shifted from being helpful tools to mean, cold-hearted nag-lists and all I want to do when I think of their contents is cry. 
Essentially I think I've been keeping so busy because my heart was missing Boy so much during the day. I bloody hate this school malarkey, I really do.
So yeah, you must excuse the radio silence but I was genuinely busy organising things for school, running a house, looking after 3 dogs (long story!), helping with Husband's admin, raising 2 small children and then I was genuinely busy wallowing!
Am still wallowing if I'm honest but need to organise everything for going away this weekend. Must garner some enthusiasm for London from somewhere...
I will be back on Monday with photos and tales from the big smoke. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Be careful with those sparklers!

1 November 2015

Silent Sunday

(I wish silent Sunday was actually a real life thing. No one allowed to speak all day. A snoozy day in bed with brunch and papers and serene children who just lay around reading all day and joyfully playing car garages without screaming for assistance every 36 seconds!!
Hey ho.)
Here are my boys last night, Baby's first proper Halloween...
They had a blast, our thanks to Posh Mama for hosting, your neighbours really got into the spirit of it all! Both boys were snoring by the time I turned their bedroom light out! Score ;-)