Thursday, 7 June 2012

So far so good

Today the new Nanny started. We have changed our childcare arrangements a number of times and are still looking for the perfect balance - but today went well. 

The new Nanny took the boys out to meet some friends who are also Nanny's and who have children of their own. 

She said when they got home that she was amazed how polite and well mannered they are. This made me grow about four inches, swollen with pride. My boys ARE polite. At least to people who aren't me. They ARE well behaved, well mannered, nice boys. 

The boys seem to have had a great day too - Jellybean was telling me all about it. 

"We went to a big factory Mummy, and I played there. I did climbing and I did jumping but I didn't do sliding because there are no slides." 

He thinks "Whatshername" is very nice (she has babysat for us a number of times before, so they all knew each other before today, so he does know her name) and she is fun and made him a nice packed lunch.

Midget Gem was in a great mood when I got home and they both played brilliantly with me for a couple of hours before bed. Ace.

The lowlight of the day, however, came when Jellybean approached, hand outstretched, saying "Can you eat this Mummy, I am too full" - I thought it was going to be a bit of biscuit or something - but no. It was a bogey. 

Image source

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I am a rubbish girl

I really am a rubbish girl. 

I am useless at nail polish. I put it on and within seconds I smudge it, or chip it, or do that thing where I poke it to see if it's dry before it is and leave a fingerprint mooshed into the top. 

If I paint my nails it takes me FOREVER to clean the chipped polish off and I walk around looking like a grungy teenager (ok, with the nails of a grungy teenager, I'll never pass for an actual teenager again!) and it's manky. 

I am also rubbish at make up removal. I have about seventy facewash potions. They were all purchased in moments of Good Intention. I still go to bed with my make up on at least 4 days a week. 

Hair! I dye it, I brush it, I wash it - that's it. I never straighten it, I don't curl it, I don't often even wave a hairdryer at it - I get to a hairdresser about twice a year and you can tell! I bung it up in some kind of up do almost every day because it's easy!

Bras. Mine are functional and cheap. Not pretty. They never, ever match my knickers - which range from HUGE (as in could be tucked into my bra) to missing all elastic, through tiny and designed for VPL. 

Clothes. I love clothes. I love clothes shopping - and I created a hash tag on Twitter and Instagram to prove it (#whatyourocking if you're interested!) but there's a catch I haven't shared much - they are all CHEAP. All of them.

I do not understand expensive clothes shopping or designer labels. I just don't. I have a rule with clothes that no one item should cost more than £10. I stick to it almost religiously (apart from for REALLY special occasions when I absolutely max out at £30 and feel a little faint.) 

I have a £25 rule for shoes - they get more because my feet are important and I buy less shoes than clothes. 

My make up is also all cheap - this is probably obvious when you see my actual face. 

I am cheap, overall, actually. I begrudge spending lots of money on myself when I can think of better ways to splash the cash - like entertaining the family, or, you know, feeding them.

I am a rubbish girl.

Are you? What's your routine? What's your clothes budget? How much does your average outfit cost?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Nursery secrets

For the last few months the boys have been going to nursery near my office full time. It's worked well, because they LOVE it, but it's very expensive so we've been looking into an alternative option since we moved. 

The alternative option begins this week and we're going to have the boys in nursery two days a week and with a Nanny the other three - she is in a circle of nannies locally and they all meet up and do activities together so the boys are going to have a pretty packed diary from here on in.

It isn't really going to save a huge amount financially - a little, like a tank of petrol a month, but it will give them a mix of activities and experiences and will introduce them to some children closer to home (my office, and thus nursery, is an hour from home) and they will be the children they're likely to go to school with so it'll be nice for them. 

It will be nice for me too. When I collect them from nursery all I'm told, every single day, is "he was absolutely fine" in a sing song voice - the same sing song voice they say the same thing to every parent in. 

Midget Gem gets a 'diary' of his day - but to say it gives limited information about his day (about eight and a half hours of his day) is generous. Here's an example:

9.25 singing.
9.35 - nappy - wet.
9.45 drink and snack
10.30 play
11.00 craft
12.00 lunch - pasta
12.30 - nappy - wet
12.45 asleep to 2.30
3.00 snack and drink
3.30 - nappy - wet
4.30 tea (by which they mean dinner. Grr.)

It's nice to see every nappy change (sigh) but I want to know what they DO. It says craft - what craft? They haven't shown me any craft? Do they make things? Draw? Stick? What do they do? 

With Jellybean it's even worse. They sometimes tell me if he ate his lunch - that's it. Once they sent home a shaker he'd made but that's all the evidence I've seen of any activities, they don't tell me about his day. 

I ask them - and get told he was good, and fine, and ok and happy. One sometimes tells me he's cheeky, and she's commented a few times that he's very clever and quicker than the others with his numbers and letters (this makes me PROUD but I want to know what they do that she sees it? What activity does this come up in?) 

I feel like I'm missing SO much of their lives - it's hard going to work, all working Mums know that and it's made harder by just having no clue what they do in that huge expanse of time that we aren't together.

I'm looking forward to getting home and having a chat with the new Nanny - who can talk even more than me (I know my Dad will find that hard to believe, since NOBODY can talk more than me, but it's true, I swear!) and she'll tell me everything they did, said, thought, saw, experienced - and I can't wait - I can't wait to feel more involved in their day again, I can't wait to know more about them and what they're doing and enjoying. 

Also, I can't wait to have childcare bills that come in less than £1,300 a month, which was our last invoice. *Vomits £20 notes* 

Image sources

Magpie Monday

Every week, for months and months and months, I have seen the Magpie Monday linky on Me and my shadow's blog and, being a little obsessed with bargains, charity shops and auctions myself, I always intend to join in - but always fail to post up a blog in time! This week I have done better - and here is the story of our family day out at the poultry auction and the bargains we found there! 

First up - I love wicker laundry baskets - love. So when I spotted this one in amongst the deadstock (not dead things - just as opposed to 'livestock'!) I knew I was going to be waving my little number card around, trying to play it cool but actually a little hyper!) and I was thrilled because I won the bidding - and for a mere £4! 
As if that isn't exciting enough - which it really is - it was a job lot and for that bargain price I am also the proud owner of this wonderful - just wonderful - bread bin. I do love me some chunky retro kitchen bumph! Being the weather it is our bread, so far just sitting on the surface in a bag, has been going mouldy and getting dropped on the compost with horrible regularity - so I hope this will prevent that! 
The lot also came with three nesting boxes - oddly - it's a bit late in the year for birds to use them now but I'll set them up on the fence ready for the spring and hopefully we'll get some little visitors - this year we have about seven swallow nests in the eaves of the house so it'll be nice to give them somewhere that isn't immediately above the bedroom window! 

As it was a poultry auction we couldn't come away without some poultry - and we were on the look out for some new chickens to add to the three we already had. For a mere £16 we came away with three of these beautiful hens. White leghorns (yep, as in Foghorn leghorn!) which are already laying beautiful white eggs that would do Delia proud! 
We also got the fencing you see in that picture - it's electric fencing but we won't electrify it, as Midget Gem will almost certainly be chewing it at some point - there's nothing that child won't chew! The fencing - a huge, huge length of it - was around £10 (hubby bid on that whilst I was entertaining the children at the bottom of the field!) which is a real bargain! 

Wandering through the livestock lots I did some falling in love and am now pestering Hubby to let me have a goose (for the incredible eggs!) or dig a little pond out and let me have some ducks! 

Midget Gem loved wandering around in his wellies looking at all the birds - and can now very clearly say 'Bird' and 'duck' which makes him feel ever so proud of himself. 

The hens are only in cages like this for an hour or so once they arrive - but seeing them like that makes me want to rescue them ALL so I forsee a lot of chickens coming to live with us the more auctions we go to - I got chatting to a lady there who went home with 22 last month! She must have a very big garden! 

As you can see in the pic above Jellybean LOVES poultry auction days out - Midget Gem did too, but he got very tired from all that walking and bidding and pointing at birds! 

Not shown in pics here are the other two bargains we came home with - a rabbit hutch that hubby managed to get for a pound (A POUND! It's seen better days, but A POUND!) and a flipping BRILLIANT ride on pedal tractor with a trailer and digger bucket on the front that I paid just £7 for - bargain! I tried to get a picture but it was terribly blurry because Jellybean was riding it so fast around the garden being a big important farmer! 

So there you go - that's our weekend of bargains, and now you should pop along to the Magpie Monday linky and join in too! Or just read other posts and get envy ;-) 

Me and My Shadow