School starts…

I have that dreaded Sunday evening feeling knowing that it’s school tomorrow – but this time it’s not because I have school (that is a good 15 years ago) but because my oldest son, William has his first day at school tomorrow.

You would not believe the planning and effort that has gone in to getting everything ready. Gone are the days of letting him throw on any old clothes (he loves a clashing combo of rhino print shorts with a fish print t-shirt) and now he is going to be fully ‘schooled-up’, there really is a a school logo on everything.

He’s going to the local state primary school, a lovely little school with two reception classes with approx 22 pupils in each. He has the standard sweatshirt with the school logo on, but the white polo shirts are also branded, as are the P.E. T-shirts, which have to be bought in their house colours and with the school logo, and even the book bags too! 

I’ve spent the weekend washing all his uniform – it is the cleanest it will ever be! Everything is labelled with his name as we were instructed by teachers to label anything that moves. I have even labeled all his socks, but refrained from labelling pants, I’m hoping he isn’t going to be taking those off, but never say never with my feral child!

We’ve been treading carefully when talking about school, ever since he told me a few weeks ago “I can’t go to school because I’m too shy and I don’t want everyone to look at me”. It melted my heart and isn’t an unusual thing for him to say as he often feels self-conscious in big groups of children, but at the same time it is in complete contrast to the other side of his personality where he will talk to anyone, chase after strangers roaring pretending to be a dinosaur, and make sure everyone knows that he has a little brother and there’s a baby in mummy’s tummy.

Tomorrow is a big day, I can’t pretend that it’s because I’m going to miss spending every day with him as I went back to work when he was 11 months old so we’re both used to not being together all the time, but it’s the end of an era. 

He’s no longer such a little boy and is going to start learning things, making his own friends (rather than being friends with the children of my own friends) and becoming a proper little person.

Who knows how the first school drop-off will go, not long to find out!

Night all!

What does it take to make us take action?

Today, I am feeling ashamed, helpless and spoilt!

We’ve had weeks, even months, of watching the refugee- yes I will be referring to them as refugees, those seeking refuge from war, persecution or natural disaster – crisis unfold in the media. These reports have been scaremongering, biased, insensitive and misinformed.

As we hear about boat loads of refugees who have been lost at sea having resorted to paying to be illegally smuggled over European borders it has been hard to comprehend just what this means and how we could possibly help.

However, this week, we have been confronted with the shocking images of the bodies of two little boys, washed ashore after they drowned during their dangerous crossing. Suddenly, as a parent, everything became relatable.

Those two little boys were similar ages to my two boys and I couldn’t help but compare them and how different their lives are, or were!

I suddenly felt compelled to take action and do what I can to help those seeking refuge and prevent families from taking these drastic steps, risking their lives and the lives of their children.

So what am I doing?

I’ve discovered Dawn O’Porter’s Calais and Greece wish list on Amazon, where you can donate items to those being held in these makeshift camps.

I’ve also found the Save the Children Child Refugee Crisis Appeal, where you can text ‘Donate’ to 70008 to donate £5 to this great cause.

What I’m still searching for is some information or ideas on how a solution can be found, who is going to take responsibility for finding safe homes for these families and combatting the problems that are driving them out of their homes in the first place.

Suggestions welcome!

Do houses have souls?

I have just rediscovered this blog written by my very talented mother – it’s a blog that makes me laugh and also cry a little at the wonderful memories

Do houses have souls?.

Mummy Bore

I start a new job mid-January and whilst I’m nervous and apprehensive about leaving my boys in nursery full-time, I can’t wait to get back to work and out of my mummy uniform.

What I should really be doing is creating a plan for what I want to achieve in the first two weeks of the new role. I have no idea what information will be handed over to me willingly, what information I will need to prize out of people, and what information I need that people may just not know.

I’m both excited and nervous but know I can do the job and ‘kick ass’ as by husband says.

What is a little troubling, and I blame this entirely on the mummy/girly side of me, is that my biggest worry is “what am I going to wear!?

I’m scouring the Christmas and New Year sales for clothing bargains. Whilst my husband assures me I have enough clothes, I disagree entirely. I just do not have a work wardrobe any more.

Since mid 2010, I have been either pregnant, on maternity leave, or working in the office just two days a week which meant I did not need a huge wardrobe. (I was working a 4 day week before having my second son but two of these days were home-based so I could get away with wearing my jeans and less formal clothing).

I’ve always dreamt of having what Gok Wan refers to as a ‘capsule wardrobe’. I even googled this (I google everything, if I don’t know it already, Google can tell me) and discovered this meant having approx. 2 pairs of trousers, 2 dresses, 2 skirts, a couple of blazers and cardigans and a few tops that could all be mixed and matched.

This sounded do-able and I have really attempted to try this, but looking back at online purchases made in the past 24 hours, I realise that my wardrobe may end up being more of a juggernaut than a capsule.

I currently have 5 dresses, 4 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of trousers and 3 tops winging their way to me and I am still browsing online.

At least I’ll look good on my first day, despite being a little unprepared.

An eventful Christmas

Upon purchasing our new house back in June, my husband and I volunteered to host Christmas this year for my in-laws, their 2 dogs, my sister-in-law, her husband, their son and their 1 dog.

(For those of you without the time to add that up, including my family, that’s 6 adults, 3 toddlers/babies and 4 dogs).

It was to be the first Christmas we had ever hosted and we have been in full planning mode since August.

We ordered our Christmas turkey back in October from the local farm shop (along with 40 pigs in blankets which , in hindsight, was a little excessive) and booked our Sainsbury’s online food shop delivery at the end of November.

We had a table plan, created quizzes for the evening entertainment and even moved my youngest son into the smaller bedroom so that our guests could enjoy a larger ‘guest room’. My husband even created a gant chart to plot the cooking times of the various elements of the Christmas dinner.

My sister-in-law had arranged for all the presents for her husband to be delivered straight to our house. This included a bike, a bike rack for the car, and bike seat for my nephew.

It was all going swimmingly on 23rd December; I had bedding lined up to be washed and dried and the house had been cleaned from top to bottom, but then the rain began and it was all downhill from there.

We put a few items up in the loft as part of the big tidy-up, but heard a dripping sound while we were up there. Turns out there is a hole in our roof which had been filled with a rag by the previous owners (a special thanks to them). We quickly placed a bucket underneath and vowed to sort it out in the morning.

We’d put the children to bed and were monitoring the weather situation which didn’t seem to be letting up. Our normally puddle-filled drive was fast becoming a lake and when we went to check the outbuilding/shed where some presents were stored, we were horrified to see that it had flooded. We had to quickly save the new bike that was still boxed, but as we did so the bottom of the sodden box fell out, as did the bike. It was a full-on rescue mission!

We thought we’d sorted it, only to realise that the drains were over-flowing and that our washing machine, which feeds directly into one of these drains, was therefore out of action. I was banned from using the machine that evening and as we watched the water level rising and creeping towards the house we took the decision to call out Dyno Rod.

This was an expensive decision! To be fair to Dyno Rod, they did ask us if we had soak-away drainage and that, if we did, the issue was probably that the ground was already saturated. For peace of mind we asked them to come round anyway, so they did, and after poking a stick down the drain, we we’re told that it was a soak-away and that would be £180 please.

I was thinking up all sorts of ways to be able to use the washing machine. Could I fit the hose to it and send the water somewhere else?

But we decided to leave it until the morning and see if things were better in daylight.

We went to bed and at 11pm the phone beeped. I instantly said “have we had a power cut” and then quickly realised it wasn’t the power coming back on, it was the power going off.

With the kids tucked up in bed we decided to just go to sleep, but then remembered the turkey in the fridge. I had a sleepless night dreaming of food poisoning and when daylight hit, was concerned that we still had no power.

The mobile networks seemed to be down too so I couldn’t contact any other members of my family that live nearby to check if their power was out too. So I jumped in our new ‘run-around’ (a whole other story there) and drove the short 2 minute drive to my Mother’s but there was no-one in. I drove to my sister’s, another 2 minutes away and she was without power too. My other sister lives just another minute away and I was relieved to find them with lights on and washing machine in full swing. They very kindly offered to turn on their old fridge which was in the garage and told us to bring our turkey and washing round.

As Christmas Eve continued, we were getting more concerned with the lack of power and it was time to think about a contingency plan. We bought plenty of candles and layered the boys up to make sure they were cosy enough at bedtime and agreed that if the power was not back on by 8.30pm on Christmas Eve, we would admit defeat and pack-up, ready to head to my in-laws on Christmas morning.

8.30pm came and went and I convinced my husband to give it another hour. But 9.30pm came along and still we were in darkness. We packed up the neat piles of presents for the boys as well as the gifts for the rest of the family, packed all the Christmas ‘cupboard food’, packed overnight bags for us all and even had a plan to pick up the turkey etc from my sisters at 7am on Christmas morning.

I was rather tired and emotional by this stage as I wanted Christmas in our new home to be perfect, but we went to bed shivering and feeling a bit down.

As we rested our heads we saw the light on the extension lead flash on, then the extractor fan in the bathroom started to whirr and the telephones started beeping.

We couldn’t believe our luck and I’m not ashamed to say that I did a little dance.

Phone calls were made to the in-laws and we were back in the game. Despite being exhausted, I dragged myself back out of bed and downstairs to unpack all the presents so that the boys could see them when they came downstairs in the morning.

I’m pleased to report that we had a fantastic Christmas with lots of love and laughter, but all that stress may have taken it’s toll.

I am now bed-ridden with suspected tonsillitis and our plans to head up North tomorrow morning for new Year are on hold so that I can go to the doctors.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, surely I can get back in the game once more?!?

N.B. A huge thanks goes to my eldest sister for rescuing our turkey and washing and drying all our bedding. We slept very well that night!


What a difference a year makes…

It has been far too long since I added anything to my blog, over a year in fact. Having re-read that original post – I have realised just how much my life, and the rest of my families’ lives have changed.

I still have the husband travelling across the atlantic at regular intervals, the Bulldog who snores so loudly I am starting to think that putting her bed next to the television was not the greatest of ideas seeing as we now have to have the television very loud if we want to hear anything that is going on, and my 2 yr old son is now a 3 yr old son.

What has changed is that I also now have a 10 month old son who is into absolutely everything (this blog could be written about him, we put in an offer on a dilapidated house back in June, before we’d even decided that we wanted to move 70 miles further South, which was quickly accepted and then managed to sell our current house in just 48 hours. We then moved 10 weeks later…into my parents house for 6 weeks while the dilapidated house was turned into a habitable cosy home, and we officially moved in, in October.
Having moved 70 miles further South, I have also now been successful in getting a new job, which is both exciting and scary, especially as it is full-time, which means leaving both my boys in Nursery 5 days a week, and putting our Bulldog into Doggy Day Care.

We have gone from living in a town centre with a train line at the end of the garden and a main road at the front and all amenities within walking distance, to living in the country, where it has been necessary for us to buy a ride-on lawn mower – I say a necessity but the gizmos and gadgets this thing has attached to it have been selected by my husband who has used the lawn mower as a ‘pimp my ride’ project -, the road at the front of house is mainly home to tractors and horses and the village we now live in has no public house or shop, the bins are collected once every two weeks, and we get a Parish Magazine.

Village life comes fairly naturally to me. Having grown up just down the road, I am familiar with the strange local accents and customs, but my husband is just about coming to terms with the fact that he now lives in a quirky place where not much will ever make sense to him.

I am increasingly amused by my husband’s reactions to things that he deems very ‘local yocal’ and take great pleasure in trying to read his facial expressions when faced with one of these so-called ‘local yocals’.

I truly thought he was on the verge of a breakdown the first weekend we officially moved into our house and had to pop to a nearby village to go to the hardware shop to buy a mop and bucket. The £20 note he paid with was handled as if it were a denomination not often seen in these parts, held under an ultra-violet light to ensure it was authentic and even a magic pen used to check the note wasn’t ‘dodgy’. We are still not sure what the cashier was checking for, but she was extremely thorough, and after having being stood at the checkout for what felt like 10 mins, we were handed our change and sent on our way.
I could see my husband shaking his head as we left the store, only to pass an old gentleman sat on the bench outside who commented “I see you’re letting her do all the heavy lifting”.
Now, I heard this fairly clearly and smiled politely at the gentleman (he was jesting, as I was only carrying a mop and bucket which was fairly lightweight), but my husband could not make head nor tail of what the gentleman had said and was convinced that he was speaking gibberish so just ignored him.

The following day, my husband ventured to the nearest petrol station to fill up his jerry can with petrol for the lawn mower. At this particular petrol station, there is a pump attendant who will offer to fill your car for you, which I do admit is rather old fashioned but also rather lovely. However, on this occasion, the attendant came to inspect my husband’s jerry can and decided that it was not fit for purpose and he was sent on his way, with an empty jerry can.

The benefits of living in the country and closer to my family seem to be wearing him down, he loves nothing better than disappearing to a local pub on a Saturday or Sunday with my father, and having family around to watch the boys for an hour or so here and there has been handy too.

I must admit, i’m absolutely loving living here, and having my family around is fantastic. But I used to only have to worry about the window cleaner turning up when I was in the bath, but now my family can turn up at any time, unannounced and find me still in my PJs at midday.

Hello world!

Despite having opened this account over a year ago, I am yet to actually write anything so I think it’s about time I pull my finger out and get typing.

As you may guess from my username, my world largely revolves around my gorgeous 2 yr old son William, our 18 month old Bulldog Doris and my ever increasing bump which currently houses my second son due in February 2013. Whilst my life may not be full of razzle dazzle, it certainly has its drama and with a very large extended family, there is always something going on.

In the past three weeks my son and I have been struck down with the dreaded noro virus (winter vomiting bug) which resulted in me being taken to hopsital suffering from dehydration, Doris has been expelled from Doggy Day Care due to her pestering one of the older dogs, I have had to sack a cleaner who seemed to lack the ability to actually clean, and I am now frantically searching for those ideal christmas presents for an endless list of friends and family. All of this whilst my lovely husband, who is not a keen traveller, is away on business in New Delhi where a 3 lane motorway seems to accommodate 5 lanes of traffic and his taxi’s are scanned every morning for bombs.

Now I shouldn’t complain too much as up until very recently I was working a 4 day week but have just begun my maternity leave and with William still in childcare 3 days a week, I should be finding plenty of time to rest – but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Whether it’s trying to sort out the spare room ready for our new arrival to move into, getting through the mountains of washing that my boys seem to create, picking up toys, sewing and embriodering endless christmas stockings for friends and friends-of-friends or tidying the house, there doesn’t seem to be much time for relaxing.