Monday, 22 October 2012

Mussel Man

The Husband never cooks. He isn't here that much as it is. It's down to me (poor kids). But the Husband had something to 'fess up to me last week.

He broke the news that when he got home from work late at night and the house was quiet, he had got rather engrossed in watching a programme and was now addicted to the point he felt he should own up and tell me.

I waited - no doubt he was going to admit to something very naughty that I wouldn't approve of.

But no!!! It turns out he was hooked, absolutely hooked, on the Great British Bake Off!!!!

And as a result, on his night off last Thursday, he cooked:

I am not a massive fan of mussels so the dear boy also cooked a chicken braised in cider and celery. Even cheese on toast now has to have spring onions added to it. He's got really obsessed! The kids loved it and ate the lot!

Despite living by the sea, he had to get mussels from Cornwall via our local fishmonger.

No mussels in our neck of the woods it would seem.

It's been a long fortnight since I last blogged. And so I am back. I am frantically bashing out the keys on my  laptop while listening to the dulcet tones of the Prince's snore, as he is conked out on the floor. Oh the can anyone so little and cute sound so reminiscent of an OAP?

Last week he had to sleep in with the Princess for three nights, while his bedroom was being decorated and fitted with a new carpet. The commotions were commendable. The Princess would keep getting up in the night and crying because his snoring was so loud. She tried ear plugs, but they were too massive for her delicate shell-like ears. She tried the four pillow method but moaned that she couldn't breathe.

It was a case of breathe and accept the rhinoceros who sleeps beside you. And breathe deeper and then try to sleep. At some point in the night please.

It wasn't the easiest of nights, especially as I work as a copywriter when they are "sleeping". I can't cope with distractions at that time of night, I go to bed too late already.

And then the Prince broke his bed on the third night. He was playing Trampolines before bedtime. But not for long. I have never seen him so shamed and red-faced when the bed broke with an almighty crunch (although the red face was probably due to the over zealous bouncing, to be fair).

So, a fortnight. It's been busy! Kids bouncing off beds, the Prince is constantly serenading me on the school run with his own rendition of "How to Save A Life" by The Fray, he has started a dance class where more often than not he is the only boy. Billy Elliot, if you will, surrounded by nine little girls aged between one and three. It's cute. He loves it. He's really taken to it so I sit there for 45 minutes in the church hall while he whirls and twirls round like Louie Spence on speed. I just have to work harder to stop him kissing and hugging all the girls. Talk about Georgie Porgie!

Then we come home and I have to play train crashes for up to an hour. It's little wonder I get anything done.

We've been in our house for a month now. I love it! It's not big, it's not small. It's just the right size for our little brood.

Cupboard love...

I've been asked by several people to put up photos of it. Our house is a work in progress and Cherry Menlove I ain't. So I've decided I don't want to showcase each room as it vaguely freaks me to think 130 people are looking at my kitchen and bathroom.

We have decorated our children's bedrooms now.  Both of their rooms were pretty awful when we first saw the house it has to be said! Now they are lovely and I want to concentrate on our room in the next few months. At the moment, it looks like someone has been to an All You Can Eat pea and carrot buffet and then chundered up the whole lot all over our room.

A few days ago, we received a lovely parcel from the Czech Republic. Lovely Tracy sent us this:

(I squealed with pleasure!)
 And what did we find?

"well, hellair!"

Rosebud reminds me of the comedian Miranda Hart!

Madame Fairy

 We were thrilled. Unfortunately the Prince thought everything was for him. Yep, ALL the dolls. He couldn't fathom why some bits might be for me and the Princess...there were a few battles and he thought he'd won.

But he hadn't.
"Nooooo they are both miiiiine"

A gorgeous jewellery roll (wrap?)

A lush bracelet which the Princess and I fight over. It's beautiful!

I love this masses. Thanks Tracy!

Still not letting anyone else have the dolls....
 There was something else in there for the Princess so we waited for her to come home from school.

SO excited!

Desperate to see what it could be....

It was Primrose!!!

Check out the slightly aggressive face of the boy, clutching
those dolls so tightly in case they were taken from him!

Primrose is very much loved already in our family


There she is, residing in the Princess's boudoir

Onto other things, I actually panicked this morning.

I walked past the Scope cherry tree shop half an hour before it was due to open and something caught my eye.

Can you guess?

Yes the glass cake stand
 Now, I collect cake stands and have done for several years, after I inherited a very old one that is about 100 years-old.

This glass one had literally been dumped this morning and you can't just pick it up and take it, as that would be stealing. You also can't guess the price, pop the coins through the door and take it. That's wrong too. It was a dilemma. A Gemma Dilemma, if you will.

So I phoned up Scope and begged the manager to save it for me once she'd arrived to open the shop. She said they would. I prayed no one would steal it in the meantime and dashed off to dance class with the Prince.

No one stole it! I returned to Scope and they let me have it for £1.50. I am so pleased. It has rather made itself at home already.

The one on the left is also from Scope.
The bonbon dish in the middle is from Cuckoo

The HOME blocks were a gift from Annaboo Sarah
 I was on my own again with the kids this weekend as the Husband was working. He works every other weekend and it plays havoc with our social life (because he works every evening too). So I am pretty tired today and looking forward to a more restful break next weekend.

We went to the beach just for a change (ha!)

Pirate face from the Prince there...

Role reversal

NEVER too cold for an ice cream, I am told
 That's me all done. The Prince has woken and is screeching for food (the gannet) so I shall leave it here!

Friday, 5 October 2012

41 Shades of Gutted

This afternoon after school, I took the Princess for tea at her new friend's house. He is a boy (obvs, that's why I just referred to him as a "he") and there was another little girl, age 7, who had been invited there too because her mother was working late. All was going swimmingly, and the boy's mum and I were having a lovely chat in her amazing kitchen.
But then the seven-year-old suddenly asked me how old I am. I asked her to guess. And grinned, waiting for the flattering response that kids normally give.
ERROR. Massive mistake.
"Hmmmmm..." she studied me, pondering with a wistful gaze, before saying:
"Well, my mum is 40 and you look a lot older than her. I think you are at least 41. Yes, at LEAST."
By this point I (yes, all 37 years of me) was naval-gazing and pointing my toes into the wooden flooring, pretending I wasn't bothered. After all, she is seven. What does she know?!
"What makes you think I am 'at least' 41?", I asked casually.
ERROR. Massive mistake.
"Well, my mum looks so good for her age so I think you are much older than her, probably because of your clothes. Definitely."
By this point, the boy's mum (who was looking after the little girl) and I exchanged mortifying glances of embarassment and I make a mental note not to wear jeans for a while.
Then the girl said (possibly realising that my reaction wasn't exactly filled with elation): "Oh, but your hair is ok," before running off to play Moshi Monsters with the others.
Charming. Midlife crisis, here I come!
Anyway, what's news......oooh had a wonderful morning with Sarah of Annaboo's House fame earlier this week. We met in a coffee shop where she gave me some lush belated birthday presents and then we spent two glorious hours in every cherry tree shop we could possibly spend time in. We found bargains galore.

Would be rude not to!

We get on well, we never stop talking, never have enough time to do all that we want to do and I feel very blessed to have found her.  She's a peach. She's Annaboo. And this is what I found!

Quite literally, a cherry tree treasure! Didn't buy it though.

These are normally £1!

80p for Sindy. I didn't buy her.

I am seriously regretting not bringing her home:-(

My mum has this and I remember her cooking from it all the time
when we were kids

£1.40 for this quirky cake stand. Cute!

£7 (a bit steep) from H&M originally.
What a terracotta scene (now can you see why I am going to be so busy decorating?!!)

50 shades of rust!

£4, originally Cinnabar

Still boxes galore... gah!

Uttam London (one of my fave labels) £3.50

Asda be cheap at £3!

I like the flouncy sleeves!

Monsoon £3 - the Princess loves it!

As pretty as a picture. LOVE girls' clothes in Monsoon!
Onto other things, did many of you watch the Ryder Cup? My brother Rob lives in Chicago and my dad flew over so they could both take part in all the golf shenanigans. They absolutely LOVED it.

It was particularly poignant for my dad, because his late father was the press officer for the Ryder Cup, something I am very proud of,  and when I was born, my grandfather was over in the States for the Ryder Cup and so wasn't there when I arrived. So pleased Rob and Dad had such a nice time together. I really miss my brother and can't wait to see him when he comes home for Christmas.

Also I have taken the Princess to the cinema this week to watch Brave. It was so good. We ate our own body weight in Haribo Fangtastics and popcorn.

Such a drama queen!

We went to an End of Summer festival which was wonderful. There is nothing nicer than drinking gin and eating hotdogs while basking in the sun on deckchairs.

Scoffing a hot dog! Ha!

Drinking a "glass of Nem-Nade"

There's a little bit of heaven somewhere out there...
 And I spied the wonderful actress Liz Smith (AKA Nana Royle from The Royle Family) and one of the bedridden grandmas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp one) last weekend.

She was enjoying coffee at the cafe on the beach and you have to take my word for it, but that is her in the wheelchair.

"Michael Crawford!"

Half an hour later, she turned up at the End of Summer festival and I decided to pop over and say hi and ask whether she crocheted her lush hat. Turns out she did! She told me that she also made the one she wore in the Johnny Depp film and that she has been crocheting since she was a little girl.

I chatted with her for a bit and then left her to it. Wish I'd taken the plunge to get a pic of us together but I only had my crappy old mobile on me and as she is a regular feature in these parts, I hope I might see her again.

Oooh the weather is so grim. I shall batten down the hatches this weekend and do very little I think. I've been working in the evenings all week and am really tired now. It's time to take a breather!