30 November 2016

Extended silence...

Massive apologies, blogging has been bumped so far down my ridiculous to-do list that I haven't even been able to think about it for the last 2 weeks other than to feel guilty and slack every so often.

We have the Christmas Fair at school looming, Christmas itself which we are hosting at our house coming fast, countless school-related things that need permission slips and bottle donations and funky jumpers, Husband working away for more hours than he's at home (always helpful when you have shit loads on!) and a new fireplace being fitted (my GOD that was a bigger job than I anticipated!) Not to mention buying those 8 annoying gifts you HAVE to get sorted in November in order to get them wrapped and posted in time because you won't see the recipients until February...

It's been kinda busy! I've missed you guys ;-)

So today here is a round up of photos from life lately in the shire. I'd write more but this morning I found out that Boy needs an innkeeper costume...for next Tuesday. Incredible!

Kisses for Mama

It was at THIS point in proceedings that I really regretted my decision...

...but then this happened so it was all OK again. Ready for the blue paint!

Heading out on the town with Yummy Mummy. Jumpsuit available here 

Regular Saturday morning, wake up, colour in a helmet... 

Pimp my ride!

God I wish it was still spa day!!

Life of Riley!!

Shower yoga

It's exhausting being 2!


Dancing like the chimney sweeps!

Forest walks with my 4 greatest loves.

AND...because life isn't busy enough...we're adding a new member.

Meet Boot (henceforth to be referred to as 'Puppy'!)

I must be clinically insane, but the boys are both smitten and Husband was the instigator so... he comes home next Sunday. Wish me luck...and send gin!!

Must dash to Asda on an emergency costume run. Swimming this morning might have to be bumped off the list, sorry Toddler :-(

So nice to be back, will try to drop in on Friday!! xx

16 November 2016

Need some Christmas baubles?

Am just gonna leave this right here...

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Why yes, they ARE baubles filled with GIN to hang on your Christmas tree. You are welcome. Thanks to Posh Mama for the heads up... follow this link and sign up to find out when the next batch are available to buy!! 

14 November 2016

Bloody buggery hell

So when we moved house we acquired a log burner in the snug. Husband nearly pee'd his pants with glee and we have used it multiple times in the last 18 months. The chimney breast it sits inside had been swept the winter before we moved in but we shamefully neglected to have it done last year. Cue me this autumn realising that, if you want a chimney sweep to come and sort out your fireplace in time for the cold weather, apparently you need to call them in May. FFS.

Anyway, many many phone calls later we found a guy who could fit us in. We still had to wait 4 weeks but since it was that or wait until February we booked him and sat back thinking, oh yay, soon we'll be able to use the fire again.

No. It's never that easy is it?

Last Tuesday, aforementioned chimney sweep arrived, set up, looked up the chimney and promptly announced that he couldn't actually do the job since the chimney isn't lined (which isn't a massive issue, but advised), that there's no proper hatch for cleaning away the mess and that there's a piece of plasterboard sitting inside the hearth that could, and I quote, 'burst into flames at any moment'. Fucking hell.

So, last Wednesday a stove installer arrived to assess the job, only to agree with everything the chimney sweep had said AND to add that the stove itself is pretty much next to useless. He can restore it for £100 (small glimmer of hope!) but considering it's a 7kw stove we really should have an air vent drilled through the wall which will add to the building costs so it may well be better to buy a whole new 5kw stove. I mean. I ask you. You can't make this shit up.

We have gone from knowing nothing about the damn thing to having to do a wealth of research, being totally overwhelmed and facing a bill of anything ranging from £1500-2500. In the month before Christmas. When we had budgeted £40 for a sweep. Balls!

All is not lost, however. Have embraced the situation as an opportunity to shop and decorate. Lo, here is the new paint colour for the chimney breast...

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And here is the new stove that is (God willing) being fitted in the next two weeks.

So yes, no Christmas gifts for Husband or I, but a new fire so we can at least sit in the warm and weep! Could be worse...

11 November 2016

Happy Friday

Well...what a week. I have nothing to say that hasn't already been articulated all over your Twitter feed, so let's just hug those babies a little harder this weekend and stay strong in our resolve to raise them to be kind and gentle and fair and true. We can't control what happens outside but we CAN control what happens within our own four walls. I keep reminding myself of this when I get upset. And I'm not even American! Imagine...urgh!

On top of the presidential fuck-up, we've also received the news this week that our log fire is unsafe and needs replacing. Cue a huge bill we were not expecting. Eco Mama had to cancel our coffee date today when we really needed a catch-up and my John Lewis shopping evening with Nana was interrupted by yet another work emergency at Husband's office.

But...let us be positive. Friday has arrived and the long, sweet, well-needed weekend is stretched out infront of us. Yippee!! Husband is in Barcelona (again) but rubbly is cancelled so no freezing start to Sunday morning for this Mama (woo!) Kindy Teacher is coming over for coffee after school and I have chosen lovely new paint for the chimney breast in the snug.

We have Goddaughter's birthday celebrations tomorrow, followed by a bonfire party at Dentist Mama's house so I think Sunday will be the Remembrance service at church followed by Disney movies and hot chocolates under a blanket.

Enjoy the weekend, folks. Hand out kisses and smiles wherever you can, the world needs it!

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9 November 2016

An Update

So, after Monday's post I went back and read a few entries just to refresh my memory of what we were chatting about and what I'd promised to tell you about before I fell down the black hole that was half term...and I noticed that my previous post ended with 'back on Friday with some exciting news...' ...and I've got to be honest. I have no idea what I was referring to?? How random.

Possibly it was the Gin Tasting day I went on with the girls last Saturday? SOOOO much fun. Six different gins with six different tonics...and a lot of gin general knowledge which started off fascinating but wound up falling on deaf ears as the afternoon (and the gin consumption) wore on!

Held at the Loki Wine Bar in Birmingham, this little place is a total gem and the afternoon was wonderful. Definitely check it out if you fancy some top notch wine knowledge or some comedy gold gin tasting, they know their stuff. At £40 pp it isn't cheap but def worth it, we all had a great time. The next one is being held on 7th January and you can book tickets here.

Gin, all the gin!!

After we'd drunk all the gin we walked the short distance to The Botanist on Temple Street. I'd never been before but the food was uh-mazing (that's not just the gin talking!) and there was cocktails in watering cans AND live music...what else do you need in life? 

Because we are all hip and cool and were out on the town sans children we did what all hip and cool young things do...headed to John Lewis for a few hours nag-free browsing. Loved this Christmas matryoshka that had a teeny tiny Baby Jesus hiding in the centre!!

And, in non gin-related news, Boy has discovered Snap Chat this holiday. This was him showing Nana how it works!

And we fell in love with Quarry Park all over again last week after spending the day there with Posh Mama and her girl. Every time we visit Shrewsbury I come home and look for houses online! Such a great spot.

And, purely for viewer pleasure, here's Toddler getting ready for a trip to the farm shop. Such a cool dude!!

That's a bit of life lately here in the shire...this week has been a bit more mundane so far and a LOT colder, we've been forced to wear gloves and put the cosy toes back on the Bugaboo (how I wish I was 2 again and someone pushed me around all day!)

Am off to John Lewis tonight for a Christmas Shopping Event, am hoping to snag those Russian dolls for the boys as well as make a start on my present shopping. Wish me luck!

See you all on Friday xx

7 November 2016

Back to school (sad face emoticon)

Man, is there anything worse than having to set your alarm on a Sunday night after a blissful two weeks' holiday with your little ones? I was close to tears last night...then even more close to tears this morning when beeping started in my ears at 6.30am. It's not even the getting up WHEN IT'S STILL DARK that gets to me...it's dropping him off for yet another day without me. Urgh. School. Urgh!

Anyway, we've had a wonderful half term holiday and are (silently, so as not to put Boy off school for life, obvs) looking forward to Christmas. Only 29 more days of school to go!

November arrived while the boys were off, so I missed my usual monthly round up and plans for the coming weeks... October was pretty boring, to be honest, so here's a quick look at what we've got coming up between now and the end of the month!

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Tomorrow is Husband's big day and Saturday is Goddaughter's big day. Cue lots of wrapping of gifts and lots of cake celebrating two of my favourite people in the whole world, what a nice week!!

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Our next PLA fundraiser is a 'Race Night'...I have no clue how this works but for once I'm not on the sub-committee organising it. Am going along for a drink, what fun!

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Nana got tickets to the John Lewis Christmas Shopping Event (with free fizz!!) so am jetting off to enjoy that on Wednesday, very exciting.

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We've lived in our house for two winters now and apparently open fires need their chimneys swept every 12 months... I'm saying nothing, but this guy is rocking up tomorrow. Woe betide him if he a) makes a mess and b) doesn't look exactly like the photo above!

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That's me after yet another phone call to NPower...it's been 15 months and counting and they STILL haven't sorted out our gas supply billing issues. Tomorrow they're sending someone to LOOK at my meter. Excellent. I may hold them hostage until they, you know, DO something helpful??

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School trip next week. Give me strength! Am only going because the thought of the littlies on a bus for 45mins gives me a cold sweat.

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Am having Autumn nails done next week...bit late but the weather fooled me into thinking it was still 'late Summer'...now all of a sudden it's friggin' baltic and my naked nails are cold, ha ha!!

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We have a family dentist visit at the end of the month...but sadly it's on my spa day so Husband now has to take the boys and I'll reschedule. Mwah ha ha, evil laugh!

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Speaking of which...in TWELVE DAYS I'll be holed up here for ten blissful hours. May even leave my phone at home (I won't!) Can not WAIT!!

So yes, busy as usual but lots of fun mixed in with the mundane which makes it MUCH more palatable. 

Was round for coffee this morning and discovered that BFF has finished everything on her Christmas shopping list (apart from food) and it is all wrapped, in bags and labelled. I am not entirely sure what she is planning on doing between now and the big day but I'm a little jealous. I have done...precisely nothing. Husband's birthday is tomorrow and I've still not wrapped his gifts, let alone sorted out Christmas?!

I shall be back on Wednesday...with what I am not sure. I have lost all sense of rhythm so need to read through my last few posts and remind myself of what on earth we were chatting about before the holidays swooped in and stole me away. Apologies!

Hope you all enjoy your Monday, I'll be spending my evening finding my thermals for tomorrow, brr!!

2 November 2016

Wednesday morning

Morning, friends. How's your Wednesday going so far? We are on fire today...

It's been a few days coming but this morning the traditional holiday playroom cull has been completed. 3 bin liners of 'crap' is hiding in the utility room to be smuggled out of the house ASAP. I'm quite happy with the playroom on the whole...until it's the holidays and the boys insist on, you know, playing in there!! What kind of sadists are they?? I've halved our toy car box, rid the dressing up box of all tatty costumes with bits missing, flung plastic tat away with gay abandon...it feels quite nice!

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Have also emptied Husband's Barcelona suitcase as it had been sitting on the dressing room floor for almost 36 hours with dirty clothes festering inside...why are boys so grim? I suppose it's progress in a way, a few years ago he would have left it in the lounge for a week, so upstairs is a step in the right direction. Maybe in another 10 years I'll get him to empty it straight into the washing machine. I aim to get the empty suitcase put back in the wardrobe before he dies...I'll let you know how we get on!

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So yes, I've been rather productive this morning and it's only 10am. Washing machine is on a second wash, boys are happily playing in the slimmed down playroom (and oddly, have mentioned nothing of the cull, they haven't bloody noticed!), and we're all packed and ready to head out for a trip to the park with Posh Mama and her girl. One of the many great things about having two weeks' holiday when everyone else only has one is that the park will be deserted this week. See also, playbarns and swimming pool sessions. Which is great for this Mama because, well I don't much like other people or their kids. Hurrah!

I promised to let you know what I'd treated myself to when Husband buggered off to Barcelona, and lo, here it is.

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A few years ago, I mithered and mithered for a Tassimo coffee machine. Husband finally relented, we bought one, I didn't like the coffee it made. I spent a fortune on all sorts of different pods to no avail. I tried multiple times to hide the damn thing in the cupboard but he kept smugly pointing it out. At one point, Boy used it daily for hot chocolates (#middleclasschildren) but it has finally been relegated to the car boot pile. And this little beauty has taken its place. It's a Krups Pixie (apparently) and I bought it because this time round I did my research and I knew I liked the coffee pods. It was NOT to do with any movie stars in adverts!! It's for sale here but for God's sake don't bloody buy it right now as last week it was half price and no doubt will be reduced again at some point before Christmas. 

In other news, we saw this in M&S yesterday...

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...but they didn't have it in Boy's size, so while we're in Shrewsbury later we're going to nip in and see if they've got one. If not, it'll be an online job. It's the softest fleece ever, looked so cosy, he immediately nuzzled his sweet little face into it (the M&S lady restocking the nearby shelves was eyeing him up incase he'd got a dirty mouth, for once he hadn't!)

What else has occurred? Nothing much! Have two very important birthdays next week so must hit up Not On The High Street ASAP. Oh, and I've booked a little family trip for next April which I'll share later...

Back Friday with exciting weekend news, see you then x

1 November 2016

Things that make me go RARRH!

The list of things that make me want to stab myself in the eye is long, random, detailed and ever-increasing...and I've worked hard on a pretty good system of ignoring/avoiding whatever it is that drives me crackers. When people glide gaily into my lane at a certain local 3-lane roundabout, I swear and wave angrily but then feel fine. When the advert about the discount meat place with the ridiculous catchy tune comes on, I slam my hand on the 'off' button so fast that the radio is looking a bit worse for wear...but the anger is quickly dispelled. When people don't use their manners, I have a whole arsenal of passive aggressive retorts that mean I can walk away feeling relatively calm.

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But sometimes I snap, the shit hits the fan and SOMETHING HAS GOT TO HAPPEN!

Last week, when Husband announced he had to go to Barcelona with 5 minutes notice and I had to cancel our long-planned and extremely long-overdue night away at Malmaison (bitter? moi?) I was gutted. I walked into the kitchen on Friday afternoon to prep dinner, needed some garlic and, bam, I pulled the pantry door off.

Granted, I was upset about our trip, but if I'm honest it wasn't totally unexpected. Man, I hated that pantry. When we moved in, Yummy Mummy unpacked our kitchen for us and as such, I didn't even know I had a rolling pantry for a few days! I was quite excited when I initially discovered it, but like most gadgets that lure you in, once the novelty wore off, it just drove me insane.

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It was one of these things, but with crappy metal baskets inside, and it didn't open quite that wide. What appeared to be an excellent use of space was actually ineffectual, badly designed and annoying. Oh, so, annoying. Also, it was right at the end of our u-shaped kitchen units as opposed to in the middle of a bank or up against a wall? It didn't work. It made me angry on a daily basis. The whole kitchen has that effect on me, as it happens, but that pantry was my evil nemesis.

So on a Malmaison-related whim, I emptied it, attacked it with a screwdriver and then attacked it with a hammer. Nana helped! The space now looks like this...

Granted, it looks like shit, and Husband is a bit pissed off but you would not believe the difference it has made to the space. The kitchen is quite small and, whilst I suspected that the pantry was causing half the problem, I had totally underestimated how much better the room would look when it was gone. As you can see, it stood right at the end of the units and completely blocked the line of sight into the utility room. Not to mention the fact that the bin always stuck out...middle class problems!

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the space. At the moment the bin has been promoted and is proudly standing in it's very own 'area', but since counter top has always been a massive issue I'm looking for a standard height freestanding unit that would serve to extend that worktop a bit, even if it's a temporary measure until the whole lot gets redone.

So yeah, Husband wasn't too impressed but I am a wise, wise woman and sent him a photo on the Saturday morning therefore ensuring he was over it by the time he flew back home. That's how you play the game after 14 years ;-)

Plus, he should be pleased I just pulled a cupboard down and didn't deliberately ram my car into the side of some moron who can't follow white lines clearly demarcating lanes on a busy roundabout!!