28 October 2016

First week of half term

7 days gone already and man, it's flown by. I don't want to start a war with other Mummy bloggers, but I really don't understand these people who dread school holidays and who are pulling their hair out by Tuesday afternoon. I adore the holidays. They are literally what get me through the school run every day! I appreciate this makes me a bit of an oddity, though, so it's best we keep that info just between us ;-)

Here's some quick pics of what we've been up to this week...

On Monday we whizzed down the M5 to meet some gorgeous friends at Cotswold Farm Park. I worked with Bristol Mama before Boy was born, and now between us we have three tearaway boys and one more on the way (she's due in Feb!) We only get to see each other twice a year, so make the most of it. I adore her and her husband, they are genuinely GOOD people who we are so honoured to call part of our crew. Her son is divine.

Our country boys showing the city boy a sheep!

Toddler was in his element.

  This is always a nerve-wracking experience. Please, sweet baby Jesus, don't let him kill that chick!

And that is a truly crap photo, but that was me at 6.24am on Tuesday morning. Toddler just popped in to say 'hi', disturbed Dog, who promptly climbed up my chest to let me know it was time for breakfast. Yawn!!

Wednesday brought haircuts... and afterwards we needed an afternoon at home to recover from the wailing (seriously, Boy's hair must have nerve endings or something, the noise is INSANE!) I was just beginning to lose the ringing in my ears when Toddler pootled into the den to announce 'here comes Rubble on the double...' holding all of his construction gear. Cute!!

Thursday was a stomp around Birches Valley with some NCT friends and today we're off to Trentham Gardens to meet Auntie, Niece and Nana. I'm really hoping my sister behaves herself as I have to drive my children home again so can't even drink my way through the visit. Groan!

And, surprise surprise!!, Boy spent his holiday pocket money on yet more Lego!

This weekend was SUPPOSED to be our dirty weekend away at Mal Maison in Birmingham that I planned months ago. The first weekend we've had away since Toddler was born, might I add. And it is now cancelled due to Husband being called away to Barcelona with 12 hours notice. He doesn't get back home until Monday. Can you bloody believe it? I had Nana babysitting, meals in the freezer, Halloween activities planned to keep them busy, a new outfit and heels ready to go...gutted.

Have cheered myself up with a huge G&T in the bath, a favourite dinner of mine that I never make because he won't eat it and an online shopping spree at John Lewis. I'll let you know what I bought next week ;-)

Have a lovely weekend, friends x

26 October 2016


OK, quick! It's Wednesday and it's our first 'free' day of the holidays so far, the troops are all under a blanket watching Bolt so I have 23 minutes before Toddler gets bored and comes looking for me...let's see if I can write an entire blog post before that happens!

4 days of holiday down and we have been on a bike ride, celebrated Toddler's 2.5yr birthday, visited Bristol friends at the excellent Cotswold Farm Park and been to yoga class (Boy came with me while Toddler was at nursery, he did surprisingly well!) Am enjoying myself so much. I hate it when they're off at school and nursery!

Today we only have haircuts at 2pm so we are BEING LAZY. For a family who is always up, fed and dressed before 8am, this is a total luxury. Mama keeps doing a tiny twitch but am trying to quash it ;-)

Shopping update from M&S:

Leather Lace Up Trainers

Long Sleeve Jersey Ruffle Top

I also ordered new black skinny jeans...but apparently chose the 'spray-on' style and can't bend over when they're done up. Error. So they've got to go back and be swopped...

Other news: 

Hush have got a mini-sale on RIGHT NOW! Check it out here (ends on Sunday)

Boden have got 25% off to celebrate their birthday, woo! Check it out here (discount is reduced on Thursday night)

No.7 Advent Calendar went on sale this week, bargain!! Grab one here

Have you guys checked out Sticky 9 yet? The cutest little fridge magnets, made from your Facebook or Instagram pics. There's always an offer code flying around, google it!

Right, am up to my limit, must finish this hot coffee and get back to my babies. Have an awesome Wednesday, the weekend is coming!!

25 October 2016

Half term silence

Apologies, I will try and carve out some time later...right now, Boy is at home for 2 whole weeks and I need to focus on sniffing his hair as he races by and forcing him to snuggle up and read books with me under a blanket at every available opportunity ;-)

Won't be long...

20 October 2016

Sniff sniff

Apologies for the disjointed timetable of posts, lots has happened in one week here in the shire and my writing time has apparently vanished down a black hole.

Very quickly, before I drive up to Telford on a moment's notice because Husband (despite working in IT) has left his laptop on the sofa and can't really function without it, I thought I'd let you know about something yummy I picked up in Grand Central the other day.

Once every 6 months, a bestie from university has to travel to Birmingham for work so Nana comes and takes over childcare and I run screaming into the city for one blissful afternoon of shopping, cocktails and dinner that I haven't prepared myself! The first place I headed for when I jumped off the train this time was Jo Malone.

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I have been lusting over some Jo Malone fragrance for probably a few years, but never gone ahead and purchased any. If I'm honest, there were 3 things holding me back. 

1. I always wear Coco Mademoiselle and Husband buys a new bottle every year at Christmas (we're nothing if not predictable!) I didn't want to drop £43 on something that I might not wear that often...? 
2. I had the very real fear that I'd smell like a living room candle? 

and 3. Once I'm in the damn shop, I lose the ability to distinguish between any of the bottles. I just wind up sniffing a lot of samples, then going nose blind and leaving with nothing except a small headache.

Anyway, to hell with it. I took the plunge. Some days of freedom just call for an expensive tiny bottle of fragrance wrapped up in fancy ribbon!

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I went for Earl Grey and Cucumber. Do NOT comment on this post to tell me if this is a man's fragrance. I do not want to know! I just know I liked it, so I bought it.

You can grab some here...but don't blame me if anyone looks at you oddly and says you smell like their doctor's surgery ;-)

18 October 2016

Boys will be...

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On Thursday last week, I had a phonecall around 2pm from Headmaster. During lunchtime Boy had thrown a stone at someone on the playground and it had 'left a mark'. God, the shame. My first phonecall from the head about bad behaviour, I wanted to shrivel up and die.

After assuring me that the child in question was alright, Headmaster then let me know that he was confident that there had been no malicious intent. In his opinion, after speaking with witnesses and with Boy himself, it had been a boisterous game and in the moment it appeared he had forgotten all those things I'd told him about stones hurting people and friends losing their eyesight and ambulances being called etc etc... and simply picked up whatever was to hand and hurled it at his friend as part of the game.

Headmaster was great. Really calm and measured, very matter of fact; he didn't think Boy is destined to be a sociopathic killer (I must have sounded freaked!) but had felt the need to call me and discuss the matter so that we could decide on appropriate 'next steps' as a team. I appreciated his candour, his level-headedness and his reassurance that, whilst serious, this act did not mean I needed to book Boy into intensive therapy. Knowing our son and his love of outdoor freedom, he felt that a short chat over playtime the next day would be sufficient discipline and he reiterated that Boy himself had been fully aware of what he'd done wrong and had offered an apology (and a hug) straight away.

The whole incident reminded me of two things. Two things I firmly believe in when parenting:

1. When your child does something wrong, it is vital you face it head on.
2. 'Boys will be boys' is a dumb and stupid phrase that makes my blood boil!

Firstly, I had to call the other child's mother. In any situation like this, I guess it's natural to feel protective about your own child. Maybe he was provoked? Maybe he was overtired and frustrated? Maybe someone else has been throwing stones at school and therefore he genuinely thought it was acceptable behaviour?

Then, maybe you start getting cross at others. Why wasn't an adult there to break this up BEFORE my children got to the point where he needed to throw a stone? What on earth HAPPENS at lunchtime at our school? If they keep shouting at him in the lunch hall then NO WONDER he's feeling frustrated... And on and on...

Problem is, sometimes your kid has just done something wrong. No reason, no excuse, no get out of jail free card. Sometimes, your little angel has just been a little shit. And you either excuse it every which way you can or you have to hunker down and own it.

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The thing is, Boy himself had owned it. He had immediately apologised to his friend, agreed to see Headmaster, given hugs and promised to try hard never to make the same mistake again. If a 5 year old can be so adult about such things, surely as a mother the least you can do is follow their lead.

Recently, a child at school bit Goddaughter and the oddest thing about the entire situation was that her mother completely blanked BFF for weeks afterwards. No apology, no excuses, no hint of even acknowledging that this horrid thing had occurred. Some mornings she walked straight past us on the school run and didn't even make eye contact.

What kind of message is that sending to our children? If you fuck up, just refuse to say sorry and then ignore the problem until it goes away, basically.

So, feeling nervous, I rang the child's mother. I said how sorry I was, how Boy did know better but that he had clearly forgotten and I would chat to him after school that evening. I didn't offer any excuses or reasons for why my child had acted in such a crappy way. I just said sorry and that I hoped her poor child was not too worse for wear after the event.

And then the second thing happened. She was perfectly friendly and understanding, not phased at all and, to be honest, a lot more understanding that I would have been had someone wanged a stone at Boy's head! But then she uttered the dreaded words... 'boys will be boys'.

I am intrinsically opposed to this phrase. It sets my teeth on edge and I find it hard to explain why. 'Boys will be boys' just seems to mean that their actions are excused, justified, validated, don't really need punishing? Husband thinks I'm ridiculous and that, as a mama of boys, I should relish the phrase, enjoy its endless free pass, use it at every chance I get. But to me, it's just another way of teaching my children that should they fuck up, pfft it doesn't matter, you don't need to apologise, it will go away. And even worse, it is your ANATOMY that grants you this privilege. So it's wrong for TWO reasons!!

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As a Mama of Boys, I feel it is even more important that I do not let them hear this phrase, do not let them think this phrase is acceptable thinking. It is my duty to them and it is my duty to the girls that my tribe is raising. Because, not only will they wind up being the ones dealing with a peer group of boys who think their penis grants them carte blanche to behave however the hell they like, but what kind of impact will it have on their own self image? You, my delicate little flower, are held to higher standards because you are female. You, my precious little sunbeam, must conform and 'behave'. You, my sweet little cupcake, should forgive the creep who sexually assaulted you at university because, hey, he's a boy...it's not his fault.

No, no, no! It's a dangerous and stupid phrase.

I should have called her on it. But I was too relieved she wasn't mad at me or cross with Boy for hurting her child. I did make sure that Boy knew what he had done was dangerous, and that there would be consequences the next day when he returned to school. I held his hand, assured him that those consequences would be fair, promised to go in with him and encouraged him to find his friend first thing and double check that he was OK.

A much wiser phrase from his Godfather that I love is 'It doesn't matter what you did wrong, what matters is how you try to fix it'.

Isn't that a nicer phrase for all of our children to hear?

12 October 2016

Feeling honoured

So, I have some exciting news...I was asked to submit an 'All About Me' questionnaire for a new blog platform and Mama of Boys was officially featured this week!! Am in shock!!

Charlotte from Fox Socks has created a new blog called Blog Socks which features new, small, unknown blogs in an attempt to signpost people to their (potential) new favourite blog. She says it better than me...

"Blog Socks is a space for interviews with bloggers, to help you find your new favourite blog. Born from a frustration with never finding the smaller (and often brilliant) online spaces thanks, in part, to Bloglovin’s dismissal of its up and coming feature, Blog Socks will celebrate all sorts of online spaces, as recommended by you."

How selfless and encouraging is that? As soon as I read about it via Twitter I wanted to be involved but was reluctant... I still feel a bit shy and silly about my blog but Charlotte tweeted me and asked me to be involved, so I swallowed my nerves and bit the bullet. Am so pleased I did. I feel quite honoured to be included, and so proud to see my words featured on someone else's website. That's HUGE!! I keep clicking on the link and just gazing at the header with MY NAME on. Crazy times.

You can find my interview here but don't forget to check out all the other great blogs that Charlotte has linked to... I've already discovered two new blogs that I'm really enjoying. Maybe you will, too!

11 October 2016

A bad day

I miss you juicy everyday my brotha. Life's been real tough since you've left. See you soon:

I feel blue. I am tired after a really busy couple of days, Husband has been working late again and I am hormonal / emotional. Usually, I'd sink into a deep, hot bubble bath with a large G&T before heading to bed to wake up happier. But today, I can't shake the funk.

Husband's dad offered to drive him to a work social last night and at 6.30 he pulled up outside our house. He sat in the car outside, waiting for Husband to go out and jump in his car. He didn't park up, knock the door, scoop up his grandsons, offer to read them a story even though it might mean Husband would be late for his clients. He didn't tuck them in, kiss their foreheads or share their bedtime prayers. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure Husband's dad knows what my sons' bedroom looks like.

I feel cheated without my Dad. I feel it every day, when I need to ask his advice, witness something hilarious I know he would have enjoyed or even when I see someone wearing a hat like he used to. But it's a whole new level of cruelty, seeing your children cheated out of something so precious. 

I get so incredibly angry at the slack attitude of Husband's father. WHY doesn't he care more? WHY doesn't he love them enough? He should be DESPERATE to spend time with my children... Every little thing he does (or doesn't bloody do) is scrutinised and held up to the unobtainable standards of a man no longer with us. The guy can't win. And maybe it's better that he's so detached and so uncaring. Maybe a grandfather that doted on them the way mine would have would be just to cruel to watch?

The boys are lucky. They are surrounded by people who love them; Husband and I have worked hard to ensure that our 'family' is large and loyal. I guess sometimes, it's just pretty noticeable that a key player is missing.

10 October 2016

A new discovery

On Friday, Toddler and I nipped up to the local retail park to choose a birthday gift and visit Pets at Home (their animals are like a free trip to the petting zoo!) Whilst there, we ran into Matalan and lo, they had started unpacking Christmas just that morning. I have made no secret of how awesome I think Matalan's Christmas range is, I could spend a small fortune in there each and every year...

Kids Christmas Dinner Plate (24cm)

I mean, how stinking cute is this?? Only £2. I picked it up and then swapped it for some melamine ones, may have to return...

Guard Christmas Nutcracker (62cm x 11cm x 61cm)

And check out this guy, I want him on my mantelpiece!

Round Ceramic Christmas Hanging Sign (20cm x 20cm)

Classic design, so beautiful.

You can find it all online here, but I strongly recommend going in to store and having a look, and try to catch them when they go into the sales...well worth a last minute shop to open next December ;-)

BUT I wasn't on a Christmas shopping mission. I wasn't actually on any kind of mission other than wasting 10 mins of time before lunch...but I stumbled upon Matalan's active wear. And it's really rather nice.

A couple of years ago I went through a wardrobe clearing out phase where I was convinced hoodies were 'holding me back', something I wore at university and therefore did no longer belong in my closet. I know, I know, I am reminded of it every time I shiver! But on a day to day basis, this decision worked out fine. I have plenty of thin jumpers that I wear instead and on the whole I don't miss my hoodies one jot. 

But all of a sudden, the weather has changed and I was getting a bit tired of walking down the high street to yoga class and being cold. I was looking for one of those zip-up hoodies that are oddly fleecy inside and almost soft-shell material on the outside?? I don't know what they're called but I had seen one in TKMaxx a few weeks ago for £25...

Anyway, Matalan have loads. And they're all cheaper!

Typically, I can't find mine online but it's very similar to this...

Souluxe Zip Through Hoodie

...except mine goes over my head. Only £18? Bargain!

They've also got awesome leggings...

Souluxe Full Length Leggings

only £14

Souluxe long sleeve Top
 for £10!

I know where I'll be headed next time I want some active wear!!

So yes, we did come home with a new 'smart' hoodie and we may also have picked up some new plastic Christmas plates and bowls...WHAT? They'd be sold out if I left it ;-)

7 October 2016


Woo, the weekend is coming. Happy Friday, everyone. This week has been relatively quiet and mundane which is a novelty. Boy has only grumbled about life in Year 1 once and Toddler, whilst acquiring the delightful new skill of screaming when things don't go his way, seems quite happy with his lot in life. Dog has resumed the endless scratching in the middle of the night (yawn!) and Husband is working until 10pm most nights but hey, can't have everyone happy, right?!

Here's two pretty things to lust over this weekend...

Camera bag (£19) from Accessorize. Why, yes, it IS remarkably similar to the JCrew one I've been eyeing up for weeks for a fraction of the cost, thank you for validating that purchase!

Image 3 of FLAT STRAPPY SHOES from Zara

Pretty pretty ballet pumps from Zara (£40). Would they just be a faff doing up, though??

Two photos from the shire this week...

Perfect autumn day, cold and sunny on the school run.

Cheese and wine tasting night at school, I may have been sitting on the same table as the headteacher and I may have slurred my words towards the end of the evening. The shame!

Two things to book into your calendar...

Best pumpkin day around. Check out the details here.

Reindeer Lodge Santa's Grotto, Cheshire Oaks, Chester.

And you can't deny it, it's coming, you may as well embrace it and book a slot to meet and greet the big guy ;-)

Two things to throw in the oven this weekend...

Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

Chorizo and chick pea stew. Nom nom nom.

And selfishly, two things I'm really looking forward to...

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Riding our bikes here on Saturday

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Grabbing a drink or two in this beautiful bar this month!!

Am off to soft play with Toddler, then we have 158 household jobs to do, phonecalls to make, dinner to prep and the WEEKEND to welcome. Arrive derci x

5 October 2016

Netflix and chill

Apologies, today's post is late, late, late...Wednesdays are always mental (two lots of swimming lessons on top of everything else) so I normally write my post on a Tuesday night. Last night, however, Husband was working late so I took full advantage of an empty house, made a nest on the sofa and watched 3 episodes of The Good Wife on Netflix!!

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A few months ago, I wrote about the fact that I don't seem to have any spare mental energy left at the end of each day to tackle any new TV shows or novels. I desperately wanted to 'get my teeth into' something new that would last me a few hours, days, weeks...but couldn't bring myself to choose anything. Instead I'd just sit around night after night grumping about the fact that I had nothing to watch and feeling completely uninspired.

It was a funk and I'm glad to say I am out the other side. I eventually chose The Good Wife after seeing many positive reviews and I LOVE IT! Each episode has an individual law case but the main characters are developing nicely across the season. I don't much care for the husband (a state attorney who got 'set-up' by his rivals and is now in prison) and I sometimes wonder how Alicia gets anything done at home if she's working 6am-11pm but I guess that's the joy of a) being rich b) having teenage children and c) being fictional! God, I'd love to be fictional. I'd get so much done!!

In other news, have ordered these for Goddaughter's 6th birthday (coming up fast)...

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Really fun general knowledge, literacy and numeracy quiz cards. Boys had the 3-4 and 4-5 set and loved them. Great for car journeys or games over the breakfast table, available here
(The age 7-8 one has some US specific questions!)

And ordered this because, frankly, every little girl (and boy!) should have a copy. Available on amazon but it says there's a delay in delivery...?

Must dash, have 101 things to do before the school run and the next swimming session. Roll on 7.15pm and a large glass of gin and tonic!!

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Back Friday xx

3 October 2016

The weekend

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Ahh, the weekend. Such a special time, sometimes marred by frayed tempers and grumpy Husbands but always, always precious and valued. 

Saturday was rainy so we ventured to B&Q and solved the age old problem called 'why have we lived in this house for 18 months and never made an extra shelf for the wardrobe in the boys' room that causes me such aggro every time I open the wretched doors...?' before watching two (TWO!) Disney movies on the sofa. 

We also removed the stair gate on the boys' bedroom door. The stair gate that we used for, ooh, possibly 3 nights when Toddler moved into a big boy bed in July and have never used since. It has simply hung there, an ugly addition that bangs and clanks against the wooden door whenever Boy gets up for a wee in the night. Be gone, horrid stair gate! 

Sunday was GLORIOUS so we all headed to rubbly (I am a fairweather rugby mother, don't judge!) and then made plans to bike ride / dog walk / eat a huge roast dinner with Leeds Dad and family which was just perfect. A really enjoyable Sunday. Am sad it is over.

The week ahead looks relatively quiet. This Mama has a few phone calls to make, an Aldi shop to complete (the checkout is like my own personal Olympic challenge, grr!), swimming lessons to get through and a Cheese and Wine night at school to enjoy. May even sneak in a little trip to Ikea with Posh Mama who finally has a beautiful barn to fill...

Have a great Monday, everyone. I am determined to stick with the positive approach that I mentioned last week...wish me luck!

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