Friday 1 June 2018

If we took a holiday...

Half term and I haven't half been driven round the bleedin' bend.

Everyone else seems to have jetted off and are sunning themselves in far flung distant lands. If you're stuck at home with three children at half term (with no husband or car because the pair have eloped to work admittedly but that's beside the point) then it's not a good time to be hitting the Facebook button.

Because everyone on Facebook (and Instagram for that matter) is having a maaaaaaarvellous time abroad, slurping cocktails in the blistering heat and reading a gazillion books because their children are in kids club. They're napping (the adults not the kids) because the peace and quiet makes them awfully tired and page turning the latest suspense novel is very hard work don't you know.

There's no holiday for us at all this year. There wasn't last year either. And it's making me grumpy. Meh. Now don't get me wrong, we live in a seaside town so when the weather is top notch, it's almost exactly like being on holiday. But it's been a funny old week weather wise, a bit grim and cold today and I haven't seen the sea. I need a daily dose of vitamin sea to stop me getting so crabby, pardon the pun.

The highlights of this week according to Facebook, involves my friends enjoying indulgent weekends in London and fine dining in Paris, staying in a villa on a Greek island with the sea literally lapping at your toes as you wake up and dining on fried fish which was caught about five minutes before. Being gently roused from slumbers in Italy to be offered fresh coffee, hitting the golden beaches in America and having surfing lessons and strolling round markets in Morocco before returning to the all-inclusive buffet (drinks are free too, just like George Michael and his 80s tresses promised). Oh bless those well-rested, de-stressed friends of mine. They better not moan about being tired or harassed by their children when they next see me.

Now I'm not being bitter or anything (ahem...) but here are the highlights of MY half term week:

1. My husband managed to leave me the car one day (this is rare, therefore I was rejoicing) so the kids and I enjoyed a full 50 minutes on our local beach before the mother of all thunderstorms charged in and wrecked havoc. If it hadn't taken me a full 4 hours to peel the kids away from the X Box, get them slathered in sun cream, pack the picnic (including at least one item everyone will eat), locate the bodyboards, dust off the wetsuits and find a place to park, we'd have had more sun time, but alas, we were sodden and cold and the picnic was damp. And then the youngest cut her chin on the rocks when she slipped on seaweed. Blood and sand is never a great combo, believe me.
This photo was taken yesterday, waiting for another storm to roll in.

2. I cleaned out the rabbit hutch.You know, for the rabbit the teenager has definitely lost interest in (and I quote...) "He is the rabbit of my dreams. Mum I'll do anything if you buy him for me. I'll feed him every day, groom him, love him and clean out his hutch twice a day if I need to."  Let's all be grateful that I love that bunny so much, he's become my fourth child. He's also the only one not to answer me back, which is nice.

3. I took the kids to the dentist. I know! Who needs island hopping when you can watch the dentist scrape tartar from the back of a child's tooth. And spend what seems like forever helping them to choose the sticker afterwards for being so brave. SOMEBODY couldn't decide between Frozen or Cinderella. There was a hell of a lot of deliberating. (The sticker fell off five minutes after applying, as standard).

4. I washed a kingsize duvet at the laundrette. I've never done this before. I felt very thick. I couldn't understand the instructions for operating the machine. It took three children to sort it out for me. Dot Cotton I ain't.

5. I watched Thelma and Louise with my eldest. This was after a day of fighting and bickering so I decided to pour a glass of wine and watch Brad Pitt when he was a young cowboy and y'know, just reminisce. My daughter loved the film, and wanted to discuss the ending in great depth. NO spoilers as there must be somebody out there who hasn't watched this film? I, for example haven't watched Top Gun (or Gremlins or Back to the Future). People often wonder where I was in the 80s. Then I heard the eldest daughter tell my husband what we'd watched. It went something like this: "Oh yeah Dad, Mum and I watched a cool programme last night about Thelma and What's Her Name." And then strolled off to claim the X Box for herself. My husband looked clueless. Teens eh?

6. I took the three kids into town. I spent most of the time looking for toilets for at least one of them each time. Then the youngest hid in H&M in among the clothes rails and sent my heart rate racing.

7. I've only been to charity shops to merely drop stuff off. No chance of mooching for very long as the younger two want every cuddly toy they see. There's also the danger they will see what I've been clearing from the house so I've had to be very cloak and dagger in Scope.

8. I've hung out and brought the same washing in three times in one day, thanks to our crazy weather. I've also had too much sun and then felt freezing cold all in the same day.

9. I've broken a new purse while hanging out at the beach arcade and having to constantly rummage for more coppers for the 2p slot machine,

10. I have lost pounds in money because entertaining three kids in rubbish weather is very costly, but elsewhere I've gained pounds. And not the monetary kind either.

I'm done in. I'm not rested, or de-stressed, but I haven't done a single school run and for me, that is a holiday in itself. I hate the school run. HATE IT. The mornings have been leisurely, but then no one is going to be when they should be,

And in the week before half term, I bought this dress from a charity shop for a fiver! Brand new and usually retailing at £40. It is so ruffly and fabulous!

I also bought this little wooden sailing boat, which is very cute and priced at just 50p.

New dress, new boat? Actually, that sounds like I'm totally living the high life, baby! I'm just too tired to actually try the dress on. I need to sleep all next week to recover from half term. However, it's just dawned on me that my youngest is also off  next week too as they have two weeks' holiday for half term...

Monday 19 March 2018

Spring, where for art thou?

So there's a pathetic amount of snow by the coast. And I'm feeling irked. I wanted proper snow days for the children - you know, that glorious sound of muffled silence when you wake up and just know that snow has fallen in gargantuan amounts. Deep, crunchy, powdery snow.

We would have fun snowball fighting sessions in the mornings, the rosy-cheeked children gazing at me with sheer happiness at school being cancelled, then we would be sledging down steep hills which glisten and sparkle in their snow-clad blankets. The afternoon would be spent indulgently thawing out by a roaring log fire while dozing and semi-watching a cosy old-fashioned film through one eye vaguely open, and a cashmere throw hugs us all. Fairy lights would twinkle and it would feel almost Christmassy.

That's obviously my fantasy world which flairs up from time to time.

The truth is this. We had a miniscule amount of snow. School carried on as normal. There was no muffled silence when I woke up, I just heard yelling children asking me where their uniform was and whether they could go and watch TV rather than clean their teeth.

There are no rosy cheeks. Everyone looks tired and pale (probably because everyone refuses to eat my meals. I don't always burn it. Sometimes there's success (like, you know, baked beans) but they still don't trust me.

Oh, and there's no roaring log fire either. There's a naff gas fire which we pretend is real but the rabbit has eaten most of the fake coal because he has a charcoal obsession. He's also eaten through the fairy lights cable so there's not much twinkling happening either (more of an "it's electrifying!" moment). And I can't afford cashmere. We huddle under a crochet blanket I made but the kids have pulled it apart (cos crochet isn't my forte) so there's a gaping hole in the centre. I can't often watch nice films as the kids want the TV for their X Box. This is why I fantasise.
Anyway, I want spring now. Proper spring.

Snow (even hopeless amounts) brings lethargy and hunger (or is it just me?). I just want to sleep and eat. A sort of hibernation if you will. Lots of hot buttered toast and mugs of steaming tea.
But in reality, spring should be here. We should be waking up and feeling alive. ALIVE! Where are the blue skies, and gentle frosts which melt under a warming sun. Where are the lambs? It's Easter in a couple of weeks and I for one am concerned.

I always go lambing at Easter and I haven't seen one woolly blighter. Go away now snow we don't require your services anymore. And I'm not just saying this because all my family in Somerset have a snow day today and are sledging and guzzling hot chocolate, honest.

Look at the feeble snow. Charity shops items here include my daughter's red hat, her coat and my skirt. The faux fur coat was donated to me by my mother in law.

Making the most of half a centimetre...

Here's Sweet Child on Saturday morning, as the snowflakes slowly swept their way over to us.

This was a week ago and it really did feel marvellous and warm. Come back please sunshine, you're missed.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

The old ones are the best.

Evening all. HOW cold is it tonight? Blimmin' arctic.

I've been a busy bee bumbling around the charity shops recently. I bought a pink coat originally from Boden for £4. It was one of those "I'm not sure" moments but I haven't worn anything else since and can't imagine life without it. I love charity shop purchases like that.

Only problem is that everything from the high street then seems so over priced when you are used to a bargain. I saw a dress today for £20 and I was like "Twenty quid? It's daylight robbery is that..." which of course it clearly isn't.

Here is my coat. Ooh, and the shoes are from the Scope charity shop, Bertie brogues, £5.

The sea is my happy place as you can clearly see above. Thank the good lord you can't also hear me shrieking! The waves do that to me.

I shrieked on Saturday when I stupidly turned my back on the ocean for a brief moment and got two brogues full of icy salty sea water.

I can't stop wearing my new (old) coat...

In other utterly boring news, I feel so tired at the moment, I am seriously considering hibernation until late spring for future years. I don't do this weather, it makes me weary and grumpy. Meh. I haven't been running for over a week, I just can't muster the energy. I need to give myself a sharp talking to (alone, or otherwise I'll look like a right weirdo.)

I also think I'm having a midlife crisis. I've started watched The Inbetweeners and finding it far more hilarious than I should. I keep tittering and I think the Husband is finding it slightly irritating. He wants Question Time. I want to know when Will will finally get to bed a woman.

But on the flip side, I'm also maturing because on a Monday I hang out with a lovely group of people. The average age is 85. We have such a laugh but it's so refreshing that none of it is the smutty humour I get with some of the mums on the school run.

A few things I've learnt from my older friends, is that none of them are scared of death, they all drink very anaemic tea, they all believe in God, they are all exceptionally bright, they all feel 35 mentally and none of them drink alcohol. The downside of these firm friendships with a large age gap is that I am scared about them dying as I can't imagine my Mondays without them, and I can't discuss the merits of Bon Jovi or gin cocktails. But you know what? I'm happy with that. These men and women are a breath of fresh air!

Right, I am so tired I'm going to sign off now and go to bed but I'll be back soon.

In the meantime, support the circular economy, keep things out of landfill and buy more items from charity shops. I'd love to hear about your fab purchases.

Sunday 18 February 2018

I got busy, innit

Honestly, I had the best intentions to get my blog alive and breathing with regular updates, but then I discovered Instagram. And First Dates. And the charity shops have kept me pretty busy if I'm honest.

But now I've discovered two lovely readers have recently left me comments, asking where I am. How nice is that?

So I'm back! Cooeeeeee! This will have to be brief as I'm tired from a hectic but wonderful weekend with my sister, who came to stay. Both of us woke up from a late night out feeling rather fragile but good fun!

Right what's been occurring since my last blog post....well, I'm older, not wiser, more haggard, more tired, trying to get fitter (midlife crisis = attempting to run...badly...think Phoebe in Friends), I'm obsessed with blueberry muffin flavoured Naked bars, I gave up refined sugar in June last year (but have lost ZERO weight, prob due to the Naked bars), and we have our first family pet. A semi-house rabbit. Who fancies me. Big time.

I think the pom pom on my slippers gave it the wrong impression as he now thinks I am his mate for life and that I have a fluffy rabbit tail.

First the butterfly, Paul, and now another creature has charmed his way into my life. I never thought I was a rabbit lover. Sure, Thumper was cute, but Milo is more puppy than bunny. Come on, look at him. Feast your eyes! He is just recovering from being castrated which I hope will calm his hormones down. He was way too horny and I love him, just not in that way, y'know. Those Freddie Mercury teeth just don't appeal.

So it's like having a fourth child in the house (and I have a teenager and a tot, and an eight-year-old boy in the middle) so its all rather hectic.

But I will get back into blogging, it was so nice to be missed.

I'll be back again soon with charity shop purchases, woeful tales of naughty children, oooh and I'll tell you about my new bunch of friends...half are in their mid 80's and we have a bit of banter every Monday!

Right, I'd better stop rabbiting on...

Friday 9 September 2016

I believed he could fly....

So, the Butterfly Affair. Or what my kids refer to as Mum's Weird Moment.

We got one of those Butterfly Garden sets where you buy a butterfly netted enclosure, send the included voucher off to the company and within days you receive a pot of five tiny caterpillars. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. We've done the butterfly project before, it's sweet, but it's not life affirming.

This time we watched those teeny creepy crawlies transform into ....well, hairy beasts really. They got huge. After a good few days they turn into chrysalides and then it got boring for a few days.

But then, the magic happened and a new relationship formed between me and one of the butterflies. This was my Weird Moment. Gradually each one shed its skin and transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

All were perfect except Paul. Paul had a damaged wing. I called him Paul after Paul McCartney, who was in Wings. (Naff aren't I?!)

Now this disabled butterfly and his Painted Lady siblings were soon freed into our warm sunny garden. 

Four of them took off happily, after fluttering around my children and gently landing on their faces. All except Paul.

His disability meant he couldn't fly far. 

He stayed put on my hydrangea for a full hour. I helped him on his way again but he didn't get far. Eventually I realised he wasn't going to survive for long in our garden, so I decided to bring him into our home and he became a house butterfly. He joined in with most things:

I became rather attached to him. 

But I think I realised I was slightly losing the plot when Paul joined me and my friends for lunch one day and then sat on my finger and watched old Ab Fab re-runs one Friday night. 

There I was, glass of wine in one hand, Paul on the other. He was my actual pet. One that didn't have fur to trigger my asthma. Didn't make a mess, noise or bite. I didn't even see him poo. He was beautiful, I saved his life, we had a blast. 

Here we are ACTUALLY watching Ab Fab...

The husband thought I was a loony. But to be fair, Paul was probably just making him jealous. 


Sadly Paul died a week later. Ants got to him after I tucked him up in bed in his netted enclosure and put him under shelter in the garden one balmy night.

I raced down the next morning (like the boy in The Snowman when he discovered his icy friend has melted) to feed Paul his daily nectar, and............

It wasn't so much Walking in the Air. Poor thing wasn't even Flying in the Air. I now hate ants. HATE them, I tell thee.

But Paul, if you are reading this, you were loved. Even if the conversation wasn't all that great. I guess sometimes looks ARE everything.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Life is like a butterfly

I am back on the blog baby! Too much time has passed, nine months, really? REALLY?

I'll be back wittering on about charity shop bargains, my love of the sea, the daily craziness of life (my brief love affair with a butterfly that had a damaged wing being one ) and how my tiny baby Sweet Child O'Mine will be three at Christmas.

How? Just how?

Laters (school holidays mean I'm not allowed to do anything for me for more than two minutes, which means time is up then...)

Psst, this is not the butterfly with the damaged wing. Oh no. This is my Italian holiday romance butterfly Paolo...and he was equally lush.

I'll tell you all about it in my next blog...bear with me, it will tug at your heart strings 😂

Saturday 28 November 2015

Charity, birthdays and a performance

See this heavenly festive jug?

This splendid Father Christmas is a 1950's vintage Bird's Eye custard jug. My parents have an identical one passed down from my sadly departed grandparents, which ONLY comes out at Christmas.
And guess what?! I have picked up an identical one from the Scope charity shop for £1.50. I can't tell you how excited I was when I unearthed it. I have always loved this little Toby jug since I was a young child.

He was, I believe, a limited edition Toby jug and my father can remember going shopping with his mother and buying the jug in Woolworths at a very young age. I have seen copious amounts of custard poured from the top of his jolly head. Cream for our mince pies and Christmas pudding. Possibly a cheeky beer once as a teenager, which was guzzled straight from Santa's bonce, but I won't linger on that in case my parents read this. It is a treasured jug.

You can keep your Black Friday shenanigans, spending very little but giving something back at the same time is where I am still at. Keeping things out of landfill, being grateful for small things, re-loving items that others no longer like. It makes me happy.

This is something else that keeps me happy; reading Christmassy books to the biggest bookworm I know. She will be two in three weeks time, I can't quite believe it.

It wasn't so long ago that she looked like this:

She has been the most precious, unexpected gift to us and brings us masses of joy daily. She slots in well and the other two love her to bits. It's kind of hard not to.

In other news, the Princess has turned 12. How?!

She was also a very beautiful baby;

Her birth was hideous and traumatic and we still count our lucky stars that she is with us. 

Christmas is rushing closer and I am feeling a little stressed. Nowhere NEAR completing my Christmas shopping, I have written many Christmas cards but not addressed them. Not planned much at all. It isn't helped by Sweet Child turning two on December 23. Eek.

And on a final note, the Prince came rushing out of school the other day and proudly announced he is a leopard in the school nativity play. A leopard, I thought to myself. Why do schools have to make it so complicated for parents? Why an exotic animal? Hardly festive is it? How on earth would I source a costume? I can't sew. I lack imagination when put under pressure. I can't exactly Bet Lynch him up in a leopardprint catsuit, although it would have made a great laugh on his 18th birthday in terms of photos.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "Are you definitely going to be a leopard?"

He nodded vigorously.

"Definitely a leopard."

So I stressed silently within and unpacked his school bag once we got home.

I found the letter containing details about the nativity play.

And of course, he is going to be.....a shepherd.


(I got this book from a charity shop recently too!)