28 April 2016

Pant free moments

Toddler was fully toilet trained before his second birthday and the entire thing was a breeze so I thought we were past the days of being 'pantless' around the house for quick and easy access to a potty. Apparently not. 
Earlier this evening he walked through to the snug where I was sitting on the floor, on hold to npower but with the phone plugged in so it didn't die (I'd been on hold for an hour!!), and was completely naked from the waist down. He said 'oh, hi Mama' and, obviously delighted at the novelty of finding me sat on the floor behind the sofa, decided to snuggle down and join me.

'Toddler', I asked, 'where are your pants and trousers?'

(And this is the bit that makes me laugh, he looked down at his legs and did a little jump, like he'd positively forgotten he was half naked?!)
'I d'no' he replied, and did a funny little shrug. 

Honestly, to be 2!

26 April 2016

A weekend round-up

What a week, and it's only Tuesday. I am shattered and Husband is away overnight (I think, am not entirely sure, I have asked repeatedly and only get half-answers so I've stopped asking...) I have a PLA meeting at 7.30pm though so Mother-in-law is coming to babysit. This is all fine, except  I have MIL angst so have raced around like an idiot tidying and cleaning (the boys' dinner bowls were in the dishwasher before they'd even finished chewing their final mouthful of spag bol!) and am now even more walloped than before!

(Baby turned 2, will henceforth be known as Toddler!)

Toddler's birthday celebrations at the weekend went well. In actual fact, considering all our friends parked their cars in the world's fullest car park, entered a heaving venue, politely stayed for 90mins even though every activity had a queue, were then told they couldn't actually have icecream as the queue was insane, had a cupcake and a party bag and drove 60mins home again, then I'd say it went off like a fucking miracle. I spent 50 minutes standing at the main entrance waiting for everyone to arrive, then 30 minutes walking round telling everyone about the change in icecream plans, then Husband and I had a blazing row (yay, parties!) before heading home again to spend the evening with Auntie who had invaded on a whim. Such is the life of a party planner!

The main thing is that Toddler (waahh!) had a great day out, everyone made it there and home again safely...and it's over for another year. I know for sure that the world's most popular outdoor venue won't be our venue of choice for any future celebrations, though. I knew it might/probably would be busy but frankly, when we turned up at 1pm the sight of the carpark made me want to vomit! I've never been so happy to see a glass of wine when I got in!

With that madness behind us, we enjoyed a quiet day at home on Sunday. Louise Powell came to photograph the boys which sounds quite stressful but was actually the most calm photo shoot I've ever attended. She arrived, the boys immediately relaxed and took to her and she simply took photos as we carried on our Sunday morning in the garden. It was wonderful. She sent me a sneaky peek...

I mean, how is possible to capture such a wonderful shot? Makes my dreadful iPhone photos look dire!! Can not WAIT to see the rest. If you're interested, her website is here  and she travels!!

After the photos were done, we snuck out for a cheeky dinner at Zizzi's, just us 4. The boys ate pizza and pasta and icecream, no-one screamed, no-one pee'd their pants, it was a lovely end to the weekend.

Monday came and I had a list of random jobs as long as my arm, stupid things such as pay cheques into the bank, buy stamps, make phonecalls, write notes for PLA meeting, complete Toddler's two year review questionnaire, get cash out...  you know the sort, all tiny but together they take up your whole day. So Toddler and I ran here, there and everywhere in the car before stopping off at BFF's house for a relaxing coffee...only to find she'd 'lost' a fish while cleaning the tank. Cue two grown women screaming over a tiny corpse we finally found underneath the double bed. Gah!

We also sold Boy's bike on eBay for an impressive £190. Man, those things hold their value! We bought it from the amazing Islabikes  2 years ago for £250 and can now go over at the weekend to buy the next size up. Hurrah.

(This is him posing with said bike for the final time, I had to get a picture from every angle!)

I was worried he would cry when the guy turned up and he had to hand it over but no, he wheeled it to the front door, had a chat about its new owner and took the cash. Husband, on the other hand, was standing in the kitchen having a massive grump about the fact I'd sold his first bike. Sigh!

And then we woke up and it was Tuesday. We spent the day in Stafford with Auntie Doodoo and her boy in the freezing cold sunshine. Costa called, we answered, and we managed a trawl around Tesco while Toddler napped before making it home in time for the school run. Toddler was most put out about having to put his shoes back on to go and collect his brother...

(Behold, new beloved Chase. Thank you, birthday fairy!)

So there you have it. It's been a whirlwind couple of days and I was looking forward to a quiet day in tomorrow but Leeds Dad has an extra day off with his Toddler so we're off out with them as a treat. I can sleep when I'm dead, yes?!

Hope everyone is having a good week, not as busy as mine! Am off to wrestle these beauties into bed before Nannie arrives x

22 April 2016

24 hours to go...

...and my Baby will turn 2!

I mean, really? How ridiculous. I only just went into labour. He only just arrived (and gave us that week long scare in the SCBU, long story!) We only just brought him home and placed him in his moses basket. Sob sob sob!!

Am distracting myself with party planning. I'm mediocre at best at raising kids but party planning?? THAT'S my true God-given talent. I can plan the fuck out of a party!!

(I will excuse the missing apostrophe in this, because it is so true!)

It started back in January when I decided on a venue and therefore the theme. I quickly sent out save-the-date texts incase anyone forgot when my child had been born (you laugh, but it has happened and it was FAMILY members, grr!) 

Then came the personalised birthday t-shirt (this had to be ordered early because it came from USA, there's a gap in the market for anyone interested...!)

 and the designed invites...

(can you see the theme yet?!)

Then started the long, tedious job of finding party bag items that were a) themed and b) not tat. This is harder than you'd think. I almost hit a brick wall with icecream rubbers from Japan costing £3.50 each but then JOY found them on sale in a random store in Bristol a few weekends ago for 20p each. That was probably the oddest item I've ever bought as a 'souvenir' on a trip away, 34 tiny ice cream rubbers, thanks very much!

(Party bag asembly line, no comments necessary, that's my Husband's job and he's already excelled himself...!)

(Finished product for a 5 year old. Yes they're age appropriate and yes that is ice cream ribbon, what??)

Next we turn our attentions to the cake. As I've mentioned before, we chose our children's godparents very carefully, one of them is a master-baker!! I leave final decisions in her capable hands but sent her a lot of pictures and ideas, can't wait to see what's she come up with...

Balloons have been ordered from the party shop in town. Presents have been hastily ordered and just need wrapping this evening (the only issue with spending so much time and energy planning the party is that sometimes you forget to buy, you know, an actual gift, oops!)

I've just got to remember to take a photo of Baby on the moment he turns 2. Boy's birthday photos are always easy because they're in the middle of the night, all I have to do is set an alarm and get out of bed in order to snap the magical moment. Baby is a bit more tricky because he arrived at 5.15pm when all kinds of things are going on and it would be really easy to forget. Have set alarms on my phone, Husband's phone and Nana's phone. Please don't let me forget the one most important thing!!

So there you have it. How to plan a party in 5 easy steps. You'll need some serious pen and paper action going on for lists and a Husband who can be easily distracted from the credit card bill (I find taking your top off works...?)

It's all superfluous, of course, and totally excessive. I have no qualms in justifying why my children only get 4 presents at birthdays and Christmas but for some bizarre reason I just can't help myself when it comes to parties. I guess it's because I only get to throw 3 for each child (long story!) and I want them to be wonderful celebrations. I also love my friends and their children and want them to have an epic day out if they've kindly agreed to spend some of their precious family time at my child's birthday party (because, let's face it, birthday parties can be a bit wank!) 

I do sometimes wonder if it's because my Dad isn't here? Maybe it's my chance to over-compensate a bit, and family celebrations are always the times when I miss him most. He would have been the heart and soul of each birthday, spend all day carrying Baby around, chatting and playing with his friends...I can't bear to think about it because it breaks my heart. So maybe I distract myself and the children from that too? The unspoken absence. Who knows? Maybe I just like spending money on stuff...!!

Right, have to nip to Waitrose to buy Posh Mama some lunch and then spend some time finding a baby toy for a guest who IS coming after all but probably won't appreciate bubbles or pens. No pressure!!

Have a wonderful Friday, and I shall try and take some blog-appropriate photos of tomorrow. Here's to too much icecream and sicky kids!!

18 April 2016


The day started off with random items in the boot of my car:

Then Baby, Nana and I did a bit of this:

I decided the house was full of SHIT so we promptly found ourselves here:

Which made a bit of a mess. That's OK, I thought, I'll finish it off while Baby naps. Then our day went a bit like this:

Therefore there was a bit of this:

Then we went and picked up Boy from a long school day. So we had a bit of this:

Which called for a bit of this:

But luckily, after a busy day of no naps, it soon turned into this:

(seamless panda link!)

So yes, roll on Tuesday. Let's see if anyone's sleepy tomorrow. 
I know I will be!

15 April 2016

Five Friday Favourites

Hurrah, it's Friday and we've got great plans for the next 48 hours ahead of us. Here's five of my favourite things to kick off the weekend...

Husband and I are off to Goldstone Hall this Saturday night for BFF's husband's 40th birthday bash and it is going to be AWESOME, if only because Nana has agreed to stay over and have the boys on Sunday morning so we can have a lie-in!! Am very excited!!

Speaking of Nanas, my mother actually has this sign hanging in her spare room where the boys sleep. God bless Nanas everywhere, especially on Sunday mornings when you have a hangover!

Found these pointed flats on the Next website earlier this week. Am thinking they'd look awesome with some khaki chinos...will let you know!

Am aware this makes me terribly old and boring, but am loving No. 7 at the minute. Headed up to the big store on the retail park last week and stocked up on body scrub and moisturisers etc... as I am determined not to look like a snake shedding its skin come summer and today I nipped in to get some new lipstick (to match tomorrow night's dress, natch) and some pressed powder. It helps that the woman in there adores Baby so keeps him entertained for the precious seven minutes he'll last before demanding we leave. I savoured every one of those seven minutes, then panicked and grabbed one of everything and ran to the till before he started to protest. 

The new Archive by Alexa range launched at M&S this week and while it is, indeed, eclectic and stylish and funky and 'Alexa', it's not very 'me'. I do love this cable knit navy jumper though, and for £35 I may be convinced. Do they stock it in Telford or Shrewsbury, though? No, no they do not. Online shopping for the win, once again!

And that's it for this week. Boy has his first swimming lesson with school this morning so am watching the clock and trying to resist ringing up to see if they're back from the pool safely. Fun fact, his swimming jammers are longer than his school shorts, and he was asked to wear them in to school this morning as they head to the pool at 9am. That was a good look ;-)

Am off to see if I can get a last-minute hair appointment for tomorrow afternoon and grab some more co-codamol (have a headache that just won't quit, grr!) Have a great weekend!

14 April 2016

Back to school

And just like that, pfft, Easter is over.

Three incredible weeks of my Boy at home and this morning it was back to school. 

He is excited to be back, to meet his new teacher, to see his friends and to crack on with this crazy adventure we call life. This Mama, however, has made herself a calendar counting down to half term!!

13 April 2016

And back to happy...

Today has been lovely. It's only lunchtime, but so far everything has been lovely (apart from the random old man who gave us grief in Waitrose earlier but that's another story!)

I never think the anniversary of losing Dad is going to be a big deal. Every year I figure, it's pretty shit every day so why would one particular day be any harder than the rest? But then, February 14th rolls around (the day we had a terminal diagnosis) and instead of gazing on red roses and feeling all loved up and cozy I start descending into this weird little funk.

It starts slow. Little things annoy me. Insignificant things make me cry. Small things take up all the effort. And by the time April 12th comes around eight weeks later, I'm so tired of feeling sad that I don't actually want to go out and spend the day with our family (which is what we do each year) I'd really rather just hide under the duvet for 12 hours and be on my own. Which isn't an option and wouldn't be wise! #uglycryface

So yesterday, four years to the day, I managed to get up, get out, spend a day with everyone at Beeston Castle and just generally be 'distracted' from a crappy anniversary. It was fine, no tears, just family and a big hill to climb followed by a picnic and some hot drinks.

But today has been a lovely day. This morning, we finally laid the memorial stone for Dad at our church. No-one from our family attends there regularly, but when Husband and I were planning our wedding I took one look at the huge church in the centre of town and had a panic attack so we opted to tie the knot at the much smaller church on the outskirts. Therefore, it will forever more be known as 'our church'. It's the church I got married at on a sunny day in May eight years ago, it's the church my boys were christened at, the vicar is a great guy called Steve who is the most relaxed, approachable, kind person I've ever known... when we were deciding on a place for the stone to go, Chetwynd just made sense. (Nana could have decided for the stone to be placed at her own church in Lichfield but very kindly conceded that it be somewhere closer for the boys and Niece to visit as and when they wish)

(Memorial stone. It only took 4.5 months to get organised!!)

After we'd been to church, we nipped into Waitrose for some essentials (and got attitude from afore-mentioned old man, grr!) and then came home. The earlier fog has burned off and the garden is actually quite warm. Cue three cousins racing around like lunatics before lunch and Niece having to go home to Liverpool.

Tomorrow is back to school day. Need to iron some shirts, find some shorts, set the alarm clocks, fill the coffee machine...grab some Kleenex! Can't bear to think about it.

Am off to soak up the last few hours of Boy time before the world's longest term known to man (12.5 weeks!! We were spoiled by Easter coming so early!!) Happy Wednesday, everyone!

12 April 2016

Sad day today

Today has been four years since my Dad died. We lost my Dad. My Dad passed away. Four years and whichever way I say it it still sounds foreign and wrong. Four years and it still feels like being stabbed in the chest every time I remember. I just 'remember' less frequently as the months trickle by. I suppose that's what people mean when they say 'it gets easier'??

Waiving anonymity today. Here's my beloved father, George, with his newborn namesake, our Boy. For the 8 months they had together, I've genuinely never seen a grandfather love on their grandson so hard. Kills me every day that they were separated.

I love you, Dad. Miss you xx

7 April 2016

Oh. My. God.

I can hardly bring myself to type this post. It's too mind-numbingly boring and frustrating. Instead I shall post 3 little images and let you piece together the story behind them...

And with that, I'm off to bed. FFS!

6 April 2016

Wassup Wednesday!

Lovely day here in the shire. This Mama needed to nip into school to discuss the upcoming ball so the boys went to play at BFFs for a few hours this morning. Apparently they were all angelic until my return, when they promptly both started whinging and falling out, typical! Then this afternoon we have watched Peter Pan and walked down the High Street to sort out Boys school shoes. Again. Goodbye £70!

A nice, relaxed day was exactly what we needed. Keeping busy is good, and God knows we miss our friends now the big kids are in school, but when tempers start to fray at the smallest things it really is time for a day making Lego models and watching Disney films under a duvet. I find that children thrive in a routine, but actually sometimes it does them good to bend the rules a little and breathe.

We spent our weekend at Center Parcs doing exactly that. Within reason, I let go. They rode their bikes and played outside with little supervision. They stayed up until late. They ate chocolate pancakes for lunch. Husband didn't take a single work-related phone call either and he was so relaxed and calm with the boys the whole time we were away. It was just what we needed. Here are some snaps...

Holidaying in the UK comes with one downside...

LOVE Center Parcs, we hadn't been in three summers (since Boy was 18months old) and had forgotten how great it is. We arrived before BFF and her family, here's the boys exploring our cabin.

Our besties arrived!!

We had one morning of drizzle, so figured we may as well go boating since we were already getting wet. Mama took this photo from the top of the lake (Baby needed an early nap after being up until 8.30pm the night before and I hate being on the water so volunteered to cycle him round in a trailer until he dropped off, my thighs did not thank me!)

These two besties were so excited to share a room. No sleep was had before 9.30pm every night we were away. They were, shall we say, a little cranky in the daytime!

Swimming. Lots of fun!

Painting pottery on Sunday morning. Love my Goddaughter. She is wild and assertive and dramatic and wonderful. She has moxie!

Loving on BFFs husband at Sunday brunch. He was so relaxed and happy all weekend, it was lovely to see.

Apologies for the crap pictures!!

And then yesterday I turned 33 so Nana and Auntie took me out for lunch. We headed over to Shrewsbury because they've recently revamped the big playpark in the quarry. Problem was, everyone in Shropshire evidently had the same plan. There was a queue to climb up the steps for the slide, a queue for the roundabout, a queue for the rope bridge...we let Boy have 15 minutes, bribed Baby and Niece with ice creams and then ran away fast. We'll try it again another day when it's not so manic.

This photo genuinely does not portray how busy it was in Quarry Park yesterday. Also, minutes after I took this, I bent down to wipe Baby's face, stood up and...Boy was gone. Vanished. Auntie started to scream, Nana started to cry...he had finished his ice cream, run back behind the camera to the mentally busy playpark and was happily standing in line for a go on the swings. I held it together but was 'this' close to panicking just before I spotted him. Blimey, 33 may be the year I go grey!

And then this was my birthday dinner. We organised a last-minute dinner with Yummy Mummy and her husband and their daughter babysat free of charge as a birthday gift. Excellent fun!!

So that's been our week so far. Tomorrow we are seeing our hairdresser and her children in the morning followed by an NCT friend and her boys in the afternoon. Friday is swimming lessons and supposedly the day we get our car back from the garage (I like the hire car they've sent us but I want my own wheels back now, thanks very much!) Saturday is an NCT playdate here and an animal birthday party and Sunday is a day trip out to Knowsley Safari Park for Auntie's 30th (don't ask!) 

Looking at that list makes me even happier we took today to chill!!

Boy isn't back at school until Thursday next week so am saving those three precious days next week for just us. We may hit up a playbarn (because other schools go back Monday/Tuesday so it should be nice and quiet?) and we will spend Tuesday together as a family because it's the anniversary of losing my Dad. Am hoping the memorial stone will be ready to lay on Wednesday, keep fingers crossed!

And then before we know it we'll be back on the school conveyor belt. Give me strength!

Hope everyone has had a great Wednesday, it'll soon be the weekend, yay!! Am off to change into my PJs since Baby just piddled on my jeans (apparently he couldn't hold it until he was ON the loo...sigh!) xx

5 April 2016


It's my birthday today. I am now 33 years old. I have a new shiny bracelet and an apron (for when we bake cakes, so Boy tells me!)

Am spending the day with my two gorgeous boys in Quarry Park and meeting Nana and Auntie for lunch. There had better be wine!!

Normal service will resume tomorrow...!