Helloooooo Early Starts

Anyone else out there STILL not getting enough sleep?

When the hell will I acclimatise to this s**t?! I mean, if I count the sleep deprivation that began in pregnancy its been going on 5 years, I am sure i read somewhere that to form a new habit you need to do something for 30 days SO COME ON BODY CLOCK get with the programme already.

Back to my point, it had been one of those days, you must know the ones I mean:


  • Circa 7am start

  • Feed the small people and various other dependants (fish, chickens, dog, husband…ok I turned on the coffee machine for the later, but still )
  • Unload the dishwasher / repair carnage from late night binge waffle and tea fest
  • Pick up phone to begin the host of important phone calls while the offspring aren’t trying to destroy each other…

And there in lies the problem, its 7.45am and no where is open to field those calls, why oh why! By the time 9am rolls round I will be onto caffeine related beverage no 4 at least, one sprog will be wailing that they want the specific toy the other one has and only that will do whilst the other is tearing around the house with a gleeful expression only borne by a child who knows their behaviour is causing their sibling utter heartbreak and you just know if you press that green dial button the screams will start the second the hold music stops.

And breathe…..

Someone purleease open phones lines early, just for us Mums.

Coffee and a Waffle

Guess who’s back….

“back again” a la Slim Shady 😉

It has been such a long time since I have been able to write, admittedly you may not have noticed my hiatus from the blogosphere (!) but I have missed being able to write.  Life just happens sometimes doesn’t it and there is no pause button!

I feel as though I need to explain the absence, it is not a thrilling story but none the less I hope it will do…working 4 evenings a week and 1 day a weekend gave me little precious family time, and that is it really!

My family is utmost to me so the decision to put my blogging on hold was a no brainer, that and the fact that I was falling asleep on the sofa most evenings I wasn’t working.

I just feel now is the time to get the juices flowing again, that and my handwriting is illegible and I need somewhere to store my recipes, on a serious note I have just no idea how some of my fave bloggers all manage family life and run amazing, inspiring blogs…Go Ladies. (that’s this chick, have you SEEN her in a bikini?!, the two blog Queen, all round lege’)

So lets just see how we go shall we?

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Happy Birthday to me!

So today I am 29, the last year of being in my twenties…I am actually looking forward to being thirty.  Just me?

Anyway, I thought I would post a few old pics of myself just for kicks…also how much does Bean look like me as a baba!!

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My hair was SO blonde. Humph

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Middle bro and me for what must have been my…24th Birthday

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25th Birthday
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VIP @ V festival on my 26th Birthday

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Love this coat and the fact that my fringe is the same as Beans

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Me and my middle bro…same age gap as Bean and Bites incidentally.

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POSER! I used to love this skirt from Tammy girl I think…phahaha

SAHM Wardrobe

Skinny jeans. Remember when you could by a pair and not worry about the fact that your arse might pop out the top when you bent over because well you didn’t really bend over to reach things that much? And you didn’t have to worry about the material getting permanent knee marks in and then going baggy at the knee and everywhere else?!

Jewellery. Dangley earings that didn’t put you at risk of looking like Mike Tyson was an acquaintance because no-one even attempted to tug them out of your lobe? necklaces could be worn without threat of strangulation?!

Image of Plum Daisy Tessellate Necklace

My children would literally have sensory overload at this

Tops cut anywhere near your cleavage line. Nope, no one (in their right mind) is going to grab that and pull it down to reveal my barely filled bra.

Mamas, you get what I’m saying right? I am just about surviving my first summer (fashion wise) not breastfeeding and not pregnant, I can lived in shorts and t-shirts and the odd maxi here and there. Autumn and winter are not going to be my friend! Firstly does ANYONE (seriously now) know of a pair of reasonably priced (being the key word here, we have two children and one income supporting us and quite enough debt to be getting on with already thank you kindly)skinny jeans that don’t sag after one wash / one play group / playdate?! I love skinny jeans, I however cannot get on with leggings the reason being is I am blessed which I mean sincerely a large arse, I like it leggings don’t. FACT. And yes, I know they should be a staple of my wardrobe with a long length t-shirt etc but as well as being large of arse I am tall which means something that is long line on you will be regular non arse and non camel toe covering to me, and for that reason me and leggings will never be fashion friends…I do not feel comfortable with it all out there. So I need jean finding help.

Bershka Belts, Chanel Bags, Palazzo Zara Pants, Topshop Cardigans | "ROME" by MadameDeRosa - Chictopia

Palazzo Pants – Will I ever have a reason to wear you?!

Actually I generally need some wardrobe staples advice, practical (yes yes I know that word lends vision of frumpy not fashion forward but I intend to be crawling, jumping, running, baking, cleaning and no doubt having food smushed into it as some point during each and every day) functional but fashionable, not pretty as that just ain’t me!

My shape, like all of us post baby has changed, and I am not referring to weight here but my body shape has actually changed, things I used to adore to wear just don’t look right anymore but unlike my pre child days I rarely have the time / chance to go clothes shopping and trying them on is just ridiculous, one change room, one mummy and one double pushchair is not a fun equation and it’s not that my kids are well behaved it’s the fact that unless there is a disable change room (few and far between round me, which is bad for me but worse for people with a disability, come on equality peeps get on it their need is slightly more imperative than mine) it basically means I block the aisle / hall with my pushchair nad then have to get down to my skivvies with the curtain either open or draped precariously round the pushchair which then obviously elicits the best game of peek a boo my children have ever had, cue raucous laughter and a lack of concentrating from me. Fun. So yeh, I could internet shop but then if it doesn’t fit I have to return it which means a trip to my local post office which is tiny, not pushchair friendly meaning I have to go in with a child in each hand / arm leaving my gob for the package I need to return…goodbye teeth.

Everyday Mum Wear

I guess this look is what I have in my head it’s having the time and money to shop for it.

Mummy readers and Tall chiccas if you are out there, help. Best skinny jeans and mummy wardrobe basics recommendations at the ready please…I neeeed to get my identity back now I am no longer preggers and no longer an office worker what’s your day-to-day element proof uniform?  It’s funny, before children I never put that much thought into my wardrobe or thought as my clothes as giving me and identity, since becoming a Mum it’s like I need something, just one thing that reminds me who I was before I became the nappy changing, puke cleaning, toy tidying play machine…and having my name!!!

“Parenting”

I had seen a lot of buzz recently about this book ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food‘ and thought I would give it a read.  Don’t get me wrong, my children aren’t angels to any degree but one thing I can always rely on is their appetite, Bean has loved food from her first taste of butternut puree and Bites although a little hesitant to start never fails to amaze me at what and how much she can put away bearing in mind she has NO teeth…9 months old and nada.

Friday 4

Anyway, I digress (as usual!) as I said Bean has always loved food and I can hands down say I have never cooked anything that she wouldn’t eat, the stronger the flavour the better in all honesty. Cue our family trip to South Africa earlier this you to introduce the girls to the rest of the family, and suddenly getting her to eat became a Task, rather than something that just happened naturally, and it was every meal, obviously we were worried she was ill to start with and also worried about her waking up or generally just starving but she maintained the eating little routine for the entire 3 weeks, bar a 3 helping round of Jamie Oliver’s pregnant Jools Pasta, a somewhat staple in this house that thankfully my FIL also loved to make. At first we tried to bribe and coerce her into eating but after 2 days I decide to let her run with it, going by the thinking that if and when she was hungry she will eat…which she did albeit it sporadically but also random non meals.

My husband was beside himself, I was trying not to let it bother me too much but it did you can’t help but worry at such a drastic change in your child’s behavour. I am still not 100% as to what bought it on, the heat, the constant stimulation (cousins running round and TV on 24/7) or perhaps it was just the only thing she could control when everything as she knew it had changed – she was sleeping in a room by herself that she had never seen before and in a double bed and she was as good as gold so for that we thanked our stars…I think sleeping randomly trumps eating randomly I could not have coped with anymore interrupted sleep at that point especially as her sister was still waking for a night feed or two.

However, upon returning home she was back to her old ways, thankfully. But more recently it has become a battle at meals times, how much of it is my own making I’m not sure – my girls go to bed earlyish Bites @ 6.05 and Bean after the night garden (which I record incase its a bad day and she goes to bed earlier @ 6.20) so my evening schedule is a bit rushed, Bites eats no later than 4.30 as a general rule but that is too early for Bean but most days she wants to eat then with her sister and I am not joking it is SUCH a process, we can easily spend an hour at the table as she chats and faffs her way thought the meal, asking me to feed her when she is more than capable or wanting to sit on my lap and I know the reason is because I am feeding her sister so obviously she is getting less attention from me, but I can’t wait to give Bean her dinner when her sister is in bed it’s just too late (they are early risers so late bedtime means she would still wake the same time and be grumpy all day, not my idea of fun) so in the end I have to cut her meal time short and get them in the bath…but I can’t help but worry that she is not eating enough. I have cut out her afternoon snacks to make sure she is hungry enough to eat in a more concentrated manner althewhile I have this niggly feeling that really she still needs her afternoon snack as toddlers calorific needs are so great and she is always busy busy busy.

The other thing is potty training…she got it so quickly and so well I was flabbergasted and then 10 days a go poo-gate began. No telling me she needed to go even if I asked her and then just doing it, in her knickers, on the floor…it is driving me crazy we even had a poo painted bed (it was nap time to be fair to her and it leaked out the top of the pull up so she was obviously intrigued and touched it) but I am at a loss for how to deal with it – the shouting hasn’t worked, neither has telling the poo off(!) and asking her all the time just gets her (understandably) irate.

So, I am giving this book a go to see if the French have insights to offer on the matter, it’s my first foray into parenting books / advice I’ve always trusted my gut and when really panicked looked to the best known parenting sites on the web – NM & MN and I think that was pretty much in the breastfeeding days anyway…

But, dear reader if you have any advice or amazing resource I should know about please please share..or just let me know I’m not alone. (or have you read the book – what did you think?)

Tasty Thursday : Curry from scratch

I love curries.  There I said it, it’s not a secret anymore.  If like me you have been watching the amazing Rick Steins “India” series on the beeb recently you may well have also been a little curry obsessed.  But, but I do have a dirty curry secret, I have never made one off the bat no recipe I was always too scared to just wing it.  My Dad makes amazing curries from scratch and in all my life I have never seen him use a recipe for a curry and my Father in Law is another amazing cook owing to a job that meant a lot of travel so hopefully they will be proud of me!

 

Anyway, a few words before I launch into the recipe; I always use chicken thighs if I am doing a chicken curry, they are sweeter, don’t dry out as much as breast and they are higher in protein so I can rest safe in the knowledge that it is extra good for my girls, who are both big curry fans.  I have put the Rick Stein book on my birthday wish list so lets hope it appears!

So here we go:

  • 4 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 Green pepper, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Small red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Good grating of ginger ( I tend to freeze mine on purchase and break off / grate what I need as I go…no need to peel then!)
  • Can chickpeas
  • Can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • Heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • Heaped teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat you oil (veg / sunflower not olive oil) in a big frying pan and brown your chicken (I tend to coat mine in a bit of flour first but feel free to leave this step out) remove and let it rest on a plate. Add your onions, ginger and garlic.  Keep it moving so not to burn and once it gets that smell that only onions frying have just before they get soft add in your spices (the seeds might POP), again keep it moving so not to burn anything and getting that horrid acrid smell.  When it does smell delicious and spicy add your chicken back in along with the potato, pepper and mushroom and give it a few minutes to colour up a bit before adding in your drained chickpeas and the tomatoes.  Let it simmer with the lid on for the first 15 minutes then turn up the heat with the lid off for the last 5 – 7 minutes to let it thicken up.

Curry

Tada…fancy plating ain’t my thing unfortunatley

 

Serve with rice, naan bread or rotis, lime pickle (why is this SO good?!) and chutney.  I was really pleased with this and as it makes such a big quantity hubby took it to work for lunch and received lots of looks and sniffs from two of his Indian colleagues, they were very impressed with my efforts – I was so chuffed you can’t believe!

Anyway the moral is, step away from the pastes and jars of sauce and give it a go I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  And thanks to Steph @ Imcountingufoz for the virtual kick up the arse I needed, there’s no going back now.

Going bare.

I have two lovely little girls.  I am and always have been a tomboy.  This was obviously always going to give me conflicting feelings.

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You know as a parent you want to be open so that you don’t project too much onto your children, you want as much as possible to provide a safe and secure environment to allow them to flourish.

PINK. PINK. PINK. No matter what I tell people (I flippin’ hate pink in case that wasn’t obvious) I still get bombarded with it, thankfully no one has bought one of them a tutu yet.  I know I shouldn’t be quite so ‘rahhhh’ about it, but its hard.  The media today aswell as the shops seem to force our girls to be grown up so much quicker…the make up, the clothes the ridiculous cartoons and stories where all the female protagonists are bloody fairies, movie stars and other useless or whimsical characters.

I am, for the first time in a very very long time going bare on my toe nails this summer because my little Bean is noticing and then copying everything I do, and I am not ready for her two year old toes to be varnished, Just no. I have to fight to get her into a dress, I did it once and she hated it so I won’t be doing it again…am I secretly pleased that she hates dresses and pink? Yes, no doubt about it, I love the fact that she loves to play in the mud, outside digging about to find Mummy worms.  And as for Bites, she’s still letting us know what she’s all about but I will say this – she is already pretty feisty!

Am I dreading the inevitable ‘Princess’ stage? Hell yes. Will I deny either of them a poxy princess dress if that is what they want and it puts a smile on their lovely faces? No. Of course not.  All we can do for our daughters is be strong female role models and make sure they know there is more to it all than being pretty.  Every night at bedtime I tell my babies that they are Funny, Clever, Beautiful and Special, I hope this sinks in and helps them remain confident in themselves as they get older.  Having these two young minds makes you suddenly much more aware of how you behave, I am starting to have a much healthier body image of myself because I don’t want them to grow up with body issues, I firmly believe that me being confident in myself will help them – I never once as a child remember my Mum ever moaning about her bum or worrying about chipping nail varnish or even putting make up on, she was ALWAYS jumping right in ready to have fun at a moments notice whether that was going on an epic bike ride or playing football and do you know what?  She is still running about like a loon now, my nephews actually said to her “Your not like our other nanny, she’s old. Your not, your fun”
And that is how I want my girls to see me, and behave.  They have the rest of their lives to worry about hair and make up and all that goes with it, please please just be girls for a little bit longer.

COWS

Bean, Jojo minutes old, My Mum, Nan and Bites, Bean and her friend, My Mum assisting in the delivery of JoJo (!) and Bean

Inspired by a post on Katy Hill’s new blog…and yes I was inspired by her fearless-ness in her Blue Peter days 🙂

 

Pregnancy…reality check

Yep, that’s right I need to write myself a slight reality check.

 

Hello belly button

 

I LOVED being pregnant, after the initial morning sickness / nausea’s feelings passed it was just the most amazing experience of my life.  Growing a person, 10 toes, 10 fingers…you know the drill but when you think, and I mean really think about it for 9 months out babies grew (like little parasites I was once heard to say) from cells to tiny beings, their hearts beating inside us.  Just amazing, and I don’t care how corny it sounds it truly is a miraculous and incredible experience.

However, to stop me getting broody (or just help to remove those rose-tinted glasses) and inspired by the wonderful Hannah @ make, Do and push! who wrote this wonderful post I am writing a list of things that did really annoy me about being knocked up!

  1. Booze. Or lack there of…in summer it means no large glass of chilled wine or no huge jug of pimms and a straw. Winter, no full and ripe red wines, mulled wine or copious amounts of bubbly come the festive season. Also means no beer (or five) with a curry or mexican.  Obviously you can partake in the odd glass, but me I wasn’t willing to risk it. Meaning after what feels like being pregnant forever means my hard earned drinking abilities are gone, and I’m left tipsy or with a headache after just half a beer or glass of wine. Gah.
  2. Designated driver. Yep, because of above. Thanks. Again.
  3. Cheese!! Amongst other things, yes pate and Rare steaks I’m talking about you. Never before have I craved pate or stinky moldy cheese so much.  Luckily I moaned so much about it when I was preggers I was lucky enough to receive copious amounts of both…yaye!
  4. Maintenance. Ok, not for the first few months but by the time 6/7 months comes around unless you have a well behaved (!) other half bye toenails see you when the baby is, hmmmm 1 year old and I have some time  to paint you.  And the lady garden…seriously neglected, again unless you TRUST your other half to behave it’s kind of a no go (self maintenance wise anyway) I did have an immac related disasster…but we won’t go there 😉
  5. Maternity Clothes. Er highstreet…sort it out. Please. I loved ASOS’s maternity range but found the highstreet sorely lacking and all that was there was majorly overpriced in my opinion.  That and the fact that I’m tall really made shopping fun.
  6. Sense of smell / taste. Mine went into overdrive, things that I normally loved made me have severe gag reflex and near vomiting experiences, for example; Rotisseri chickens in supermarkets, generally a good smell, first pregnancy I couldn’t go anywhere near the part of the shop with them in without dry heaving, no joke, my Mum found this hilarious when shopping with me. Second time round it was mushrooms. Yep, seriously just the though of them had me yacking, couldn’t go near them in the veg aisle, wouldn’t have them in the house and if my long suffering husband even suggested them for dinner I would heave in his face (involuntarily I might add!! Why? No idea and neither of them bother me now at all. (thankfully)
  7. Cuddles. Or lack there of, again this is a 3rd trimester thing but I was so all out front with both of mine that cuddles were a no go, even with Bean!!!
  8. Sleep. Pregnancy insomnia. CHECK. Leg cramps whilst sleeping. CHECK. Needing to pee 45 billion times a night. CHECK. Not being able to get comfy. CHECK. I love to lie on my tummy to sleep, obviously with one in the oven, that ain’t happening, so my nighttime fidgets got worse and worse. On several occasions I made my hubby sleep at the bottom of our bed instead of the top as I was adamant it was more comfortable. (like I said, long suffering!!)
  9. Chivalry. And no, I’m not talking about giving up seats, I mean the well meaning people who think pregnancy is some kind of illness leaving you incapable of many of life’s day to day going’s on.  I may sound a little rude, but as someone who is ridiculously independent this did not go down well with me. No pleasing some people.
  10. Baby Movements. WAIT, don’t shoot me yet. Yes, the majority of them I loved but the ones where it looked like my precious passenger was trying to escape via my belly button…not so much. Alien like to say the least.
  11. Hormones. Specifically making me cry.  Before I knew I was pregnant second time round I could not stop crying at the news Whitney Houston had passed away, don’t get me wrong she was a very talented lady but I never knew I liked her that much, I am serious when I say I could not stop crying it was awful…and then I found out I was pregnant, now I get it!
  12. And the brucey bonus…My belly button. I have an outy, so as you are no doubt aware pregnancy made it a literal button for the world to see, didn’t bother me in the least (amused me greatly if I am perfectly honest) but when people tried to push it!!! No no no no no. 10 times worse than random people touching your belly. ewww.

There won’t be a corresponding things I loved post because there were hundreds of them and I would be pregnant again in no time.

Loving Them

Them. My two gorgeous girls, gorgeous inside and out.

My two tiny miracles, not medically (unless you count being on the pill both times and under investigation for PCOS first time) but because i never knew i wanted them, never knew I would need them, I would NEVER have been ready to try for a family.
So Bean my happy accident and Bites who we would have tried for October ish instead if having her in October.

I have never questioned my love for, Bean it came hard and fast although not immediately. Not when I saw her lifted from me, not when she was placed onto my chest and certainly not while I was being manhandled during the first breast feeds. That first helpless night, legs still not working (thanks spinal block and catheter) and on an over stuffed under staffed ward I spent the night just me and her, her all tiny and permanently famished tucked inside my hospital issue gown me bewildered and beguiled by this tiny creature. By morning light I knew I would and could do anything for her. I called her my crack baby because I could not get enough of her, charming right?

I thought it would come easier second time round, and I have been beating myself up ever since because it has taken longer for it to come, or has taken me longer to notice it? I don’t know which all I know is that up until this week I have been beating myself up about it.  Feeling like she deserves better than me and that I wasn’t a good enough Mum for her, that I don’t know her well enough and I should nearly 5 months in I should know her, she’s my baby after all.

And then it hit me.  I do love her, I adore her with all of my being.  I do know what she wants and needs, and I have known it all along it’s just I have been putting other things ahead of it and then getting frustrated when she ‘moans’.  My priorities were all over the place and I was forgetting to enjoy her and this week I have enjoyed her for the amazing, individual sweet little thing she is.  And my love for her cannon balled me and i can’t believe she is five whole months old tomorrow, craziness.

I feel like a weight has been lifted even though I know it’s perfectly normal for the love to take a while, not everyone gets that rush the second they leave your uterus and are placed screaming, angry, bloody, cold and sacred in your arms and that’s ok, really it is.  It does not make you a bad Mum it makes your normal, despite the press.

 

Things I NEVER seem to get round to doing.

Sigh.

Its not just me is it?  I have a stack of books gathering dust beside my bed, countless recipes slowly but surely passing through the holes in my brain like flour through a sieve to only be remembered via instagram, forms becoming more crumpled and dog eared and lets face it toddler fodder before I actually get round to filing them away or taking them to their destinations, photos printed but never hung and blog posts that never leave my internal notepad.

Why?

I’m tired.  Lazy and decidedly unmotivated once my youngest is asleep I just want to vegetate on the sofa but by the time I’ve made, eaten and cleaned up dinner, sorted washing (blergh) tidied toddler mayhem and attempted some quality time with the husband its into bed I collapse exhausted and a stretch to have a made 10pm, I know rock and roll!

How do I find that elusive balance so I can get some me time? I always start with such grand plans but every eventuality ends up with me lying in bed frustrated because I’ve

failed

again.  Or as seems to be the case more and more over the last fortnight feeling like a terrible mother.  I find myself being short and angry, which obviously doesn’t help when dealing with little people, I’d go so far as to say it actually makes the situation worse…big time.  And yet I struggle to stop myself and at the end of the day berrate myself to the point of loathing.

I can’t stand to feel like this anymore my children deserve better and think I do to.  I am going to try my utmost to get that balance, I need it and ultimately my family need me to find it to so I can get back to being a good Mum.

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Look at them? They deserve a good Mummy.

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And these recipes need writing!!