30 March 2016

Idol worship

My youngest and BFF's eldest. 
One is smitten and the other in absolute awe. 
Be still, my heart!!

Life Lately...

Easter Holidays 2016. A retrospective...so far!

Boys have started wrestling. It's like they can't spend 3 minutes without one touching the other. Leeds Dad warned me this would happen. I ignored him. Now I'm wishing I'd signed Boy up for football camp for the entire holiday. WHY ALL THE CONSTANT TOUCHING???

Nephew has a party to attend and already owns the obligatory Shropshire young farmer checked shirt and navy chinos. Spent some time last night googling shoe options. Needless to say, I sent him these images and he won't have paid any attention at all...I can only try! 

Holidays mean it's time to get feet measured again. I used to love this game. Now it involves home shoes, school shoes and bastard playtime shoes and means I drop £100 in one foul swoop and I do not love it in the same way. Or at all, in fact! Yesterday, Boy's feet had grown and Baby needed casual play shoes. I decided school shoes and playtime shoes can wait until the day before school starts back!!

We head off to Center Parcs on Friday, and DAMN making a packing list is one of my favourite things to do!! Cute stationary, organising shit, doling out instructions to all and sundry?? I'm IN!

It is sunny but cold here in the shire today, but have thrown caution into the bitter wind and am wearing my new short-sleeved Hush tshirt. Not entirely sure how the girl on the website makes it look effortlessly cool and on me it looks like 'random grey tshirt'?? Could be the bootcut jeans and Ugg slippers, I suppose?? Ho hum...

Garage is coming to take away our battered car today. Hire car company is also meant to be dropping off a like-for-like vehicle to replace it...in an ideal world this would all happen at the same time. In my world, I bet feck all happens until 5.30pm after waiting in all day and then they bring me THIS as a replacement? The drive to Center Parcs will be fun then!!

And finally, our local country manor has opened its doors for the Easter holidays so we are off to tromp around the grounds in the (cold) sunshine. Hopefully, we're going to make it there today as soon as the car is sorted. If not, we're meeting Eco Mum there for lunch tomorrow. The adventure playground has apparently been updated over the winter so Boy is excited to see what's changed...more info as I have it!

And that's it. That's Life Lately over here in the shire. Must go and prise the boys apart AGAIN and then stare out of the window for a while... Hope you all have a great Wednesday, only 2 working days to go!!

29 March 2016


Never mind the boys, this is my current state of play after the Easter bunny came a-hoppin'...

I am craving carrots. Tomorrow it has to stop. 

*walks through kitchen, eats another smartie

27 March 2016

Bristol trippin'

Can't stop long, there are eggs to be eaten and wine to be drunk!! But just wanted to stop by and let you know that our trip to Bristol was awesome. Husband couldn't get away from the office on Thursday but caught the train down late that evening and surprised the boys the next morning. We spent 72 hours together in my beloved city, and it was FUN!

This budgie was innocently enjoying his day. Then Boy slipped off his chair and fell on top of the cage. Budgie is now missing a tail feather. Awkward...

Took the boys to Pizza Express for tea on Thursday night. How did this little Bear get to be 23 months old already??

Piggy-backs in Clifton Village with our much missed babysitter (she studies down there now) We love and miss you xxx

Admiring the fountains at The Mall (it was raining, I caved and took them to the soft play and bought them cake and Lego!!)

We were blessed with gorgeous sunshine on Good Friday. Spent our day pootling about on the waterfront in tshirts. Perfection!

Saturday took us to the zoo to meet Bristol Mama and her boys. Boy toured the entire venue at 90mph...

...and Baby wore his reins (because we had forgotten to take them with us on Friday and we don't make stupid mistakes twice!!)

Someone's heart was broken when he found out that the new baby gorilla wasn't on show (too young) but then later on he spotted her through a side window having some milk, Husband lifted him up onto a ledge so he could have a sneaky peek!!

The boys shared a bed for the weekend which they found so hilarious they couldn't cope. At 8.05pm on the first night I had to move Boy into the main bedroom in disgrace, Baby then promptly rolled out of bed 5 times. Durrh. In the end I had to wedge him with cushions and then eventually took Boy back in purely to create a barrier system!! (The second night didn't go much better!!)

We also squeezed in visits to the M Shed and @ Bristol but I didn't have any photos without the boys' faces, apologies. It was a great family weekend, full of giggles and dirty, ice cream-covered faces. 

We travelled home late last night and spent today doing a mammoth egg hunt with BFF and her family before driving to Nana's house for a roast dinner. Can't believe it's 6.15pm, it's so light!! The boys are all still outside playing in the garden, really must go and round them up and stick them in the shower. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday and have great plans for 'bonus day' tomorrow.

23 March 2016

Car trouble

So there I was, Monday morning, lots of girlfriends coming by throughout the day and me with a relatively small driveway. We live quite close to the High Street so there aren't many random places to park up on the street and they would all appreciate a place to park...I know, I thought, while it's quiet I'll move my car onto the road by the doctors so they can use my drive. I'm such a kind and considerate friend, look at me being all sweet and thoughtful, tra la la... So I moved it, got out, locked it up and skipped away.

Walked down to school to collect Boy at 3.30pm so didn't use aforementioned road-parked car, got in from school and thought 'golly, must remember to move my car back once the boys are asleep...' but didn't give it a second thought.

3 hours later and Husband walks in from work holding a scrap of paper and looking furious. Turns out I'd been hit by a passing van and the driver's side is damaged. Le sigh!

Now, the way Husband flapped his arms and shrieked, I genuinely thought I was going to run down the road and find half a car. Something like this...

In reality, it looks like this...

Can't lie, I was a bit disappointed!

Anyway, kind man (who clearly can't drive but never mind the details) had left me a very nice note on the windscreen so it's all being sorted out next week when we get home from Bristol. We get a courtesy car while ours is being fixed, which they will bring to the house, take mine away, return it when it's all shiny and new and take the courtesy car away again. Happy days.

Woe betide them if it interferes with Centre Parcs, though!!

In other news, Husband sent me a mysterious text this morning saying 'Need to renew my passport'. Despite 14 years of experience telling me different, I went into excitement overdrive. Oh My Actual God, I thought, while repacking the Bristol suitcase that Baby was emptying as fast as I could fill, he's actually gone and booked us a holiday abroad and it's going to be a wonderful surprise and maybe it's just for US and he's arranged for the boys to go to their Godmother's...On and on down this ridiculous rabbit hole I fell. I was just mentally lying on a beach with a cocktail when his next message arrived 'It's just for a work meeting'.

Fuck's sake. He can make his own dinner tonight!!

22 March 2016

Easter decorations

So, in our family Easter trees are definitely a 'thing'. I forget that some people don't put them up or don't even know what they are?! Strange creatures! We spent a lot of time on the continent growing up and in Austria especially these lovely little things pop up in all house windows, shop fronts, restaurant waiting areas...from the first day of Spring right the way through to Easter Sunday (and sometimes beyond!) I always loved them, they're such a beautiful celebration of Spring arriving.

Like everything, they vary in style and design and are open to your own interpretation. Some trees are homemade and some are shop bought. Some crazy people make their own egg decorations (draining away the liquid centre and painting them with vegetable inks tra la la) and others buy them in the shops the way God intended.

Here's a few examples...

(Cute little tree in a pot, would look great on the Easter Sunday dining table)

(Easiest way to make your own, grab some tall branches from the garden!)

(A shop bought tree, we do have one of these and for the life of me I can't remember where it came from?)

(And this one I love, it's more like a Christmas affair, tall and proud in the corner!)

Nana bought me my first set of decorative eggs when I was about 18 (the last one of which I just smashed putting up our tree this morning, sob) and I've added to the collection here and there over the years. Here's our current set-up...

(String of hanging birds, because, well why not?!)

(Husband grabbed these branches out of our brand new garden when we moved in on Easter weekend last year. They have sat in that vase for 12 months under the guise of being stylish, but really they're just naked twigs without their lovely egg decorations!)

(A new addition, because nothing celebrates the resurrection of Christ like paper egg lanterns!)

(Cute random basket from TKMaxx awaiting the haul of eggs)

(Our shop bought tree. Now I'm thinking about it I reckon this came from Habitat in Chester years ago...??)

(And another new purchase, think this one was from Magical Story at Heart of the Country. They do awesome seasonal decorations if you're ever near Lichfield!)

Easter decorations are an awesome gift for girlfriends at this time of year instead of yet another bloody chocolate egg (nothing against chocolate eggs, it just gets a bit ridiculous by the end!) I am a big fan of spreading the Spring time decorating cheer and have already gifted eggs to my sister and two girlfriends who had previously been blissfully unaware of the need to decorate a vase full of twigs in their lounge!

Also, if you wait until next week you will find stuff for a bargain. The beauty of buying items in every seasonal sale is that you throw them into the specific boxes just as you're clearing away and they're a lovely surprise a year later when you get the boxes back out again. At Halloween last year I found loads of stuff I'd bought in the sales and I had totally forgotten about the egg lanterns and the sign, they made me smile when I unpacked them today. Now we've moved into a slightly bigger place, I can see the need for some more little bits and pieces so will be doing the exact same thing next week and seeing what I can find on sale. I also think we have a space for some Easter themed books in the boys' room so will get on Amazon fast!

If you fancy branching out (see what I did there?) and grabbing some of your own, there's still time. Try your local TKMaxx, No. 45 in Newport, Shropshire has a lovely display in their front window, and Not On The High Street has a bunch of cute stuff I am physically having to restrain myself from ordering!!

 Easter Bunny Personalised Egg Decoration

(Who doesn't need a personalised bunny for their tree? I ask you!)

And now, since I'm all decorated and ready, I had better hop out and buy some damn chocolate eggs or there will be hell to play come Sunday!

Happy Easter!!

21 March 2016

Too busy to blog

Last week I woke up, checked my phone and immediately wanted to curl up and die. Twitter had sent me a message to let me know I had a new follower on my blog account. A follower that I know in real life. Leeds Dad had tracked me down on the world wide tinterweb and followed me on Twitter. Now, I don't think for one minute that it was intentional, I haven't mentioned my inane online ramblings to anyone so he'd have no reason to even LOOK for a blog associated with me. I suspect it was Twitter being helpful in one of those 'here are some people you might like to follow' bollocks moves and since he and I are already following each other on Twitter it decided to 'connect' him with my other account. Le sigh.

I just froze. The thought that he might actually click on the blog link, start to read it, realise it sounded familiar, recognise the back of one of my boys' heads... I wanted to log onto my computer and delete the blog, delete every word I've ever typed, just make the whole thing go away. I felt quite wibbly and did what any sane person would do, I blocked him on Twitter and hid my phone under my pillow. Problem. Solved!

Thing is, when you write something, anything online it's quite embarrassing to think someone in your own 'real' life would actually sit and read it one day. Naive, yes, since every blog post is quite obviously public property once I've pressed 'publish' but I was just enjoying the anonymity factor at this early stage. I don't publish photos of the boys' faces and I don't mention specific locations in too much detail... I like being able to rant about idiots at the school gates without being judged or critiqued... or at least not by people I know!! (God, imagine if a school parent found the blog and recognised me, I'm starting to worry now...) Ultimately, I also write about a range of stuff, some quite personal subjects and some quite pointless and daft. I don't particularly want my nearest and dearest asking me if I've started taking anti-depressants again OR noticing how many new items of clothing I've accrued this calendar month!

Anyway, being 'busted' really knocked my confidence. All of a sudden I was aware of my 'audience' and felt like I had to be 'on form', funnier, smarter, more interesting, more polite... So again I did what any sane person would do and I didn't write anything at all!! 

Would you believe that I sat and worked on yesterday's blog post four times? This does not normally happen. Normally, I have a rough idea of what I want to write about, sit down, write it and hit 'publish' but man, yesterday was against me.

I originally started writing it on Sunday evening but then got cold feet so allowed myself to be sidetracked by laundry/snack pots/book bags/the usual evening-before-school rubbish. I told myself to save it as a draft and come back to it on Monday morning.

On Monday after the school run I thought 'ooh, I have an extra 30 minutes, I'll just finish that post now...' and bam, our friend who was coming for coffee arrived early. I exhaled and hit 'save'.

I tried again when she left. Our friend who was coming for lunch arrived early. I hit 'save'.

The friend who had come to paint our nails needed some serious TLC and a shoulder to cry on, therefore nails took an hour longer than planned and my other potential window of writing time went out the window.

After school was the first session of Easter Egg Bingo so we were home later than usual. There went the slot of writing time I sometimes squeeze in between bath and bed (otherwise known as the only time the boys are allowed to watch TV therefore certain to be comatose in the snug and not need me for 30mins!)

I just kept putting it off and putting it off. I just felt so self-conscious and silly... Which is how I find myself blogging on a Monday night at 10.30pm, sitting in the dark hoping it will afford me some secrecy. 

Apologies if my posts recently have sounded disjointed or awkward. I am trying to forget that people may read them. Please, if you are a real-life friend who has stumbled upon this tiny piece of blog world and are daft enough to stay and read its content...just don't tell me!!

Ahh Spring!

It's the usual Monday mish-mash of ramblings...hope you've all had a good weekend? 

Firstly, good news, Spring is finally here. It's been trying to peek through for the last ten days but today, presumably because it's official date-wise, it really feels like it has arrived. I was only saying to a friend on Thursday, this winter feels like the longest winter we've had in years. It has dragged on for AGES, bringing with it cough after cold after lurg after virus after cough...it has felt totally endless and bloody freezing to boot. The sunshine is very, very welcome!

We have celebrated the change in season by spending the majority of the weekend outside. Yesterday, Nana treated Baby to a new balance bike (an early birthday gift) so we were in the park by 10am for a test-drive. We weren't out for long though due to the extremely crap state the park was in. Not to sound too old or fussy but what the fuck goes on in childrens' play parks after hours? There was broken glass all over the cycle path and a huge pile of it in the middle of the adventure playground. I thought rampant dog mess was the worst we had to deal with, now it's smashed pint glasses for my children to stumble on top of. Makes me fume. Needless to say, excellent first go on balance bike aside, we didn't stay very long at all.

Boy and I headed out to deliver some party invites this afternoon and what should have been a quick 10 minute spin in the car turned into an hour long coffee at the first house while he terrorised their cat. As we left we saw another family we know so I pulled over to chat by the side of the road. As we were talking there was an almighty bang on the roof of my car and it turned out their eldest child had thrown a conker at us from where he playing back on the grass. Awkward situation, as I would have been mortified had Boy done something so disrespectful/dangerous/downright naughty and chastised him immediately whereas said friend just laughed, gave the car a cursory check for damage and carried on like nothing had happened. I was a bit...lost for words?! Anyway, there IS no damage to the car so it really doesn't matter but, huh, still odd. 

Roast dinners have come to a shuddering halt, I'm afraid to report. They just seem so boring when you have them every single Sunday without fail, and considering there's only 3 types of meat we're fond of the rotation is a bit frequent. Last weekend we had soup and crusty bread due to a party earlier on in the day and yesterday we had spaghetti bolognese. Possibly I'll aim for 2 roasts a month?! 

Boy only has 3 days of school left before 3 whole blissful weeks at home with his Mama where he belongs. Can hardly wait. Am working on our holiday diary tonight, trying to get a good balance of trips, meeting up with friends and down time to relax and recoup. Shall let you know what I come up with...so far we have pencilled in a few days in Bristol, a trip to Centre Parcs, a long overdue catch up with Eco Mama and her floppy haired boy and a trip into Birmingham to celebrate me turning 33 (sob!) Am so excited about soaking up every second I can with my little 4.5yr old, even the shitty bits where he misbehaves!! He has a new teacher when he goes back in April and I want this transition to be as calm and as easy as possible, hopefully a relaxed Easter break will help??

Saying that, it sounds like a delightful plan but we have a manic 3 days to battle through before the relaxation can begin. Tonight is the first of two sessions of Easter Egg Bingo at school, then there's a duck race to take part in, haircuts to bribe the boys through, a swimming lesson, a mammoth packing session before we set off to Bristol for 3 days with Husband... never mind Boy, I'll need some R&R by the time we get there!!

Hope everyone has had a productive Monday!

15 March 2016

Send wine...

Am on phone with mortgage company. Am repeating all the details I told them in January. Have now been on hold for 18 minutes while she's popped off to check something that was triple-checked BACK IN JANUARY.

Wardrobe update and Life Lately

Nipped to Telford yesterday with BFF to collect the myriad of parcels waiting for me. The (naive, daft, ridiculous??) plan was to collect each parcel, try on the contents for her feedback and then return offending items in one foul swoop thus negating need for a return trip. Baby did not like this plan. Baby thought it a stupid plan! Baby protested loudly in the first store.

(Disclaimer: not my kid, sentiments similar!)

Needless to say, I wound up bringing everything home and trying it on once the boys were in bed. As normal!

If you remember, I had ordered two pairs of jeans, a scarf and a necklace (which was not needed but was added to the online shopping basket to facilitate free P&P and a discount code, don't ask!)

First up was the Amelie Superskinny Biker jeans in Khaki. I guess I missed the term 'superskinny' when I ordered my usual 14.

It went a bit like this...

Will probably send those back!

Next up was some high turn-ups from Zara...


which I LOVE but will prob need a 16 if I want them baggy enough after I've bastardised them in the dryer?? So they're going back too. Sigh. Haven't decided if I can be bothered to re-order in another size. It all feels like such hard work...

Yellow scarf is great. Not too Tweety Pie, just a nice flash of sunshine colour and makes me feel extremely summery so that can stay. And ironicially, the necklace that I threw in the bag to get free P&P is really lovely too. I will try and get a photo of them both later on.

In other news, Baby has come out the other side of a developmental leap and is stringing words into small sentences (albeit only discernible to his Mama!) and is addicted to dressing up. Yesterday he spent a happy hour in some butterfly wings and this morning he ate his coco pops wearing a red fireman's helmet. Love. Him!!

When we moved house we never hooked up the TV in the main bedroom. We didn't have the right piece of furniture to put it on, didn't miss it, had a 1 yr old who might have been disturbed by the noise...we just didn't bother. Last weekend we finally bought a tall unit for the corner of our room that has looked 'vacant' for a year and bam, had plonked a TV on top of it within the hour. The shame! As you know, we are pretty strict with screen time and it works for us, but the lure of Sunday morning Disney films in bed has become too tempting to resist! We christened it with some Curious George while Husband watched the football downstairs...

(Will attempt to get a better photo of that unit since it is pretty nice!)

And this was 9.30pm last night. From what little I could decipher, he was woken with cramp in his left foot, shrieked and sobbed for ages and then passed out in our bed. Husband had to transfer him across at midnight when he came up and found us snuggled together!!

(Another crap photo, I blame my phone?!)

This morning finds us with two snotty boys, one stressed out Husband headed to a big meeting at work, a tired Mama (almost 12,000 steps done yesterday, I had twitchy legs when I finally went to bed!) and lots to do.

Am off to make some posters for the PLA board at school, make some calls about the summer ball, ring the mortgage company, chase the stonemason...the list goes on and on. Auntie has already been on the phone asking the size of our slow cooker and it's not yet 10am! Am going to make another coffee and crack on. Enjoy your Tuesday, everyone, only 5 days until Spring!