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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Missing

Yesterday morning I woke to find two up and about children, and my phone missing from the familiar spot on my bedside table.

Asking the children had them blaming each other and my phone was nowhere to be found.

I checked under the bedside table.

Things I found;

One nose spray
One dummy
One small novelty book
Two half eaten biscuits (thank you Midget Gem)
The arm from Daddytwo's glasses
A screw
A small plastic farmer
A toy car
A brio piece

Things I did not find;

My phone
Anything to explain why the bedside lamp will not work despite a new bulb.

I looked in the laundry basket.

Things I found;

A toy tractor
Two dummies
One nose spray
A wellie
Three small books about shapes

Things I did not find;

My phone
The missing stripy knee sock

I looked down the side of the bed, in that gap by the wall where things often appear.

Things I found;

Four dummies (I didn't even know we had that many)
A nose spray (What's with all the nose spray?!)
My purple ipad case
A photo in a frame I forgot we had
Four books
Six odd socks
Four toy cars
Half a packet of biscuits
A vague sense of disgust
Mild shame

Things I did not find;

My phone
The thing that stabbed my finger tip

I headed into the boys' bedroom.

Things I found;

Hubby's phone
My purse (why?)
Two dog bones (WHY?!)
Four empty drink bottles
A ball of wool
A gajillion duplo pieces that were all discovered with my feet
A stapler

Things I did not find;

My phone
The missing jigsaw piece

I headed to the playroom, and checked under the sofa.

Things I found;

A fiver (score!)
A jumper 
The missing jigsaw piece
Seventy thousand small toy cars
Enough duplo pieces to open a shop
The little bit of wood that broke off a piece of brio
Six brio trains
Three dummies
Three half eaten biscuits
A tiny mars bar
A crisp packet
A felt tip with no lid
A phone case with no phone in
Two small wooden trains
The wheels from small toy cars
Crumbs. Lots of crumbs
Something unidentifiable which smelt rank
A growing sense of self disgust and shame 

Things I did not find;

My phone
The remote that you can use to turn the volume down on the telly

I checked behind the telephone chair thingy that I'm meant to be selling but too in love with to make much effort.

Things I found;

Most of the brio train track pieces
Most of the brio trains
Seven books
A plastic dinosaur
Half eaten biscuits - too many to count (*shame*)
Three empty drink bottles
An empty mug
Two balls of wool
Three crochet hooks
Two magazines
A bone deep sense of revulsion at the way I live
MY PHONE!

Hurrah! 

Friday, 8 February 2013

The MAD awards

I'm kind of going against my own 'rules' here - even after a phone call with my lovely friend Monika aka +Monika Mumonthebrink in which I said this is something I would NEVER do - but it turns out that once you see your name on a list of people nominated for an award you really kind of do WANT it. 

I don't think I stand even a hint of a chance of winning - but I'm pleased to have been nominated for a couple of categories in The MAD Awards including blog of the year. 

So here I am, begging you, with real begging, to vote for me. Blog of the year would be nice. Perhaps something in the most entertaining area. I think I might quite like to see my name in the best writer category. 


And to show how much I'd like to be voted for, here is a begging kitten


And I did tweet to say you could see my tits...these aren't mine, that was kind of a fib...but they're a lovely pair!



(images https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRJ8cKHi8Qpjh1fhNcZqoE5ejyWJeMo3IIXlFbyVDJIapfJMghPBg 

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT-154zg1qch30d5BhOyAFJbBax8qF3LsI60JLAkqW9c3y1HV-GLQ)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The greatest pasta bake on earth


I love a good pasta bake, and this one was proper flipping scrummy as well as filling - perfect for wintery days. 

Here's what you need to make it:

>A packet of pasta (I got the smart price asda stuff, used a whole bag - it's cheap as cheap)
>Two onions - finely chopped
>Handful of spring onions - finely chopped (you can skip these, but I had some in the fridge)
>Sweetcorn - I used frozen, about two cups worth
>Chicken stock - I used 'proper' stock but you can use stock cubes, chicken is a good one but you could use veg
>Cooking bacon - I used half a packet, you could use more or less, or chorizo if you have it in, that would be nice too
>Mustard 
>Mustard seeds
>Chillies - I used three small fresh chillies - you can use more or less depending on your taste - the three I used made it warming but not spicy
>Milk - around two cups, depending on how much stock you use
>Cornflour - because I cannot be bothered to make a proper white sauce, who can?
>Cheese - I used cheddar, around half a big packet, finely grated

Here's what you do.

In a huge great big pan fry your onions and spring onions in a bit of whatever oil you have. Once they're soft (which takes WAY longer than it should) add your bacon (all chopped up) and chillies. 

Once that's all cooking nicely and your bacon isn't burned but isn't raw anywhere chuck in your sweetcorn and cook until it's gone a bit sticky around the edges. 

Stick in two teaspoons of mustard and around three teaspoons of mustard seeds (again, more or less depending on your taste) I just used bog standard English mustard and added the seeds because I'd WANTED to use posh mustard but we'd run out. 

Add your pasta and pour in enough chicken stock to cover it and set it boiling whilst you do the next bit.


In a seperate pan heat your milk and about two thirds of your grated cheese, and chuck in some ground black pepper. You won't need to add salt if you used stock cubes but if you used fresh stock plonk some salt in too. 

Once the cheese is melted mix two teaspoons of cornflour in a little  cup with some water to make a paste and then add it to your hot cheesy milk and stir it until it's thick. 

Add this to your big ass pan full of pasta and stuff, and stir it all up. 

If you have a fancy pan like mine pop the lid on and bung it in the oven now at about 150c for an hour. If you don't transfer it into a dish you can put in the oven, pop the lid on and do that. 

Ten minutes before you're ready to eat it put the rest of your grated cheese on top and leave the lid off so it melts and goes all bubbly. 

Ta daa - the greatest pasta bake of all time. King of all comfort foods.

Cute animals and cute children


I am terrible at taking the boys out at the moment, aside from the pre-school run, and we're all likely to get cabin fever if I don't do better - so despite the cold, as long as it isn't pouring down, I'm really trying to go outside more. 

I have no money, though, so we're mostly walking in the countryside and going to the same playground a lot - and I was pleased that I had to go into Yeovil yesterday to run a few errands because it meant they got to do something different. 

Like chasing pigeons. Sorry pigeons! And passing strangers, who were subjected to lots of "RAAAAA I am SCARY!" from the boys! 



Then the boys attention was caught by a wee pet shop with a picture of a German Shepherd on the window - a grown up Duke dog! So we went inside to look, in the hope that they might have a hamster or some fish to look at. 

We were lucky - they had lots of animals! Midget Gem was particularly taken with the gerbils - Jellybean liked the snakes - and I am in love with the little bunny with the stripe!



Every time I go out I am reminded that I don't need to be spending money to enjoy our time out of the house - and with a little thought I can entertain and educate them with far more interesting trips than just going to the same playground! 

Now, can someone please buy me a bearded dragon? Only sixty pounds for the pair above! 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A family day out

A little over two and a half years ago, when we lived on Portland in Dorset, we got married. We had Jellybean, who was 14 months, and not quite nine months later we had Midget Gem. 

Our wedding ceremony was held at the register office in Weymouth, which has since been closed, and afterwards we went to Ferrybridge, the stretch of Chesil Beach between Weymouth/Wyke Regis and Portland, and had fish and chips, paddled, flew a kite and soaked up some sun and happiness with our friends and family. 

It was the most perfect day and on Saturday we went back to visit the beach and have a family day there. 

The children love the little beach at the end of the stretch where we partied, it's very safe and secluded and they can paddle, collect shells and pebbles and splash around. 

It was the first time we've taken Duke to the beach and he had a great time running in and out of the water, chasing things and meeting other dogs. 

It was a perfect day, and I'm glad we went. 

There were a lot of people with dogs, which was brilliant, and two families were mortified when their dogs stole some of our picnic and gobbled it up. We thought it was hilarious and just enjoyed chatting to other dog owners and swapping tips. 

I also found a big stone with two love heart shapes in it, which was brilliant - it's like the beach remembered our wedding party and wanted to give us something special to keep forever! 

It was wonderful, after a long winter with lots of days indoors, to blow away the cobwebs, enjoy the improved weather and run around together. 

Good sleep was had by all that night!

A family game

We got a lot of new games for Christmas, and realised that the boys - particularly Jellybean - are getting big enough to play games properly now. I dug out some other games that we'd had in a cupboard since earlier birthdays and Christmases and we now tend to have a game every night as a family between bath time and beg time. 

It's a great part of our day because we all enjoy the chance to play together and relax, and I think playing games teaches the children some important lessons about sharing, winning and losing and playing fair. 

Taking turns, being happy for someone else if they win and following instructions are all also important parts of the fun. 

So far Midget Gem is a little young for many of the games, so we play as a three and he plays his own version alongside so he's involved but not struggling to keep up with what we're doing. 

Always keen to use any games as educational I'm a big fan of this game from Orchard Toys. Just to be clear, I haven't been asked to write a review of this game, and it was bought for Jellybean as a gift for his third birthday. I just wanted to post about it because it's one we play with most days and we love it. 
Shape snap is great for both children - Jellybean can play properly, and is learning to stop throwing a tantrum if someone else shouts 'SNAP' before he does, and to congratulate them. He's great at the shapes, knows the difference between a hexagon and a pentagon, explains them all to Midget Gem and loves the quick competition of the game. 

Midget Gem likes to match the cards and tell us what shape they are (though most are still 'square') and to talk about the insects and animals on each card, and the colours of the shapes. 




This game is just seven fifty from Orchard Toys and honestly worth every penny - the cards are sturdy, made from recycled materials, and the kids have yet to destroy any which is something of a miracle. 




This is Jellybean's 'Daddy said snap first' face - he is laughing, despite looking traumatised! 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A star for a star

This weekend the blogging and twitter world have been rocked by the news that one of our most loved members has suffered a devastating loss. 

Jennie, who blogs at Edspire.co.uk and tweets as Edspire, has very unexpectedly and suddenly lost her daughter, nine month old Matilda Mae.

Jennie and her family are wonderful, loving, kind people and their happiness shines from her blog posts. This loss is so sudden and so unexpected that it has affected everyone who has heard, and we all want to do something to help the family. 

The loss of a child is an unthinkable grief, one  which we all fear and which we all pray won't happen to us. Hearing that someone you care about has suffered this loss is truly heartbreaking, and we all feel a need to try, in some small way, to support the family. Nothing we do, nothing we say, can heal their pain, but we all want to show the family that we are thinking of them and offering our support. 

I began 'Pocket Money Changes' - the button you see to the right in the side bar - to collect money to help families in need. 

There is money in that account now that I would like to use to buy a star for the family, named after Matilda Mae, so that they know she is always shining over them from heaven.  

If you would like to donate to help with this please do, and we will buy the star for Jennie and her beautiful family. 

Thank you to The Boy and Me, and to @writingforfun for helping with this idea.

Naming a star costs from twenty pounds. Please help to  raise this money so that we can show our support for Jennie and our love for Matilda Mae. 

A true story

I had a huge response to my post last week about domestic abuse, and I've had a lot of messages from people thanking me for the post and sharing their story. 

One of those stories came via email from a Mum whose teenage daughter had fallen into a relationship that was changing her. 

With permission, and with names and some details removed to protect their identity, I'm sharing that email and story here. It's heartbreaking, but also so uplifting. Thank you for getting in touch, all of you, it means the world to me to know that what I wrote has helped someone. 

(https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRr-rjy1txbPjaJJNVoOCTZLJgiYOFuGtebUPqSyGPvavAk8t0mVw)


Eliza,

I honestly can't thank you enough for sharing your domestic abuse post, and want to tell you why.

My 14 year old daughter has been going out with a boy (a year older) for the past 7 months. I have been observing closely and thought it was rather more intense than I think it should be at their age.

Over the past seven months, I have watched as her friends have disappeared one by one, she spends less time with them because he wants to spend time with just her - so they don't bother with her any more because she doesn't have time for them. 

I've tried to prevent it by getting her to invite friends round, giving her money so she can go on shopping trips with them, telling her she can't go to his house because she has homework/chores/I need her to help me with something, so it's *my* fault she doesn't see him.

He has suggested he doesn't like her being friends with this person, or that boy, after all why is she friends with that boy? Something must be going on, which it of course isn't, but she ends up crying and apologises for upsetting him. 

She invites him round to our house for dinner or just to hang out, but he only wants her to visit at his house. I insisted that the only times she visited were when his mother was at home with them (and I checked).

She told him she is starting guitar lessons at school, but told her she wouldn't be able to do it because it's far too difficult. He told her he didn't like her going to youth club during the week because he couldn't be there with her and didn't know why she wanted to go anyway. 

He calls & texts her constantly, to the point where I told him to stop calling after 9pm, and he was interrupting her homework, as she's in year 10 it was starting to interfere with her education and distract her.

Yesterday she came home from school and went straight to bed. Her brother woke her up at dinnertime, and she sat and looked exhausted and sad. After dinner I asked her to come and help me fold laundry on the landing, and I sat with her and we talked about school and her friends and for the recent gossip.

Her phone rang while we were there and she ignored the call, I asked who it was and she sighed and said it was him. I asked why she didn't answer it, and she looked 'guilty' and said she didn't want to speak to him. 

Rather than launch into the 'I don't want you going out with that boy' (because that doesn't work and would probably have the opposite effect) I simply said "If you don't want to go out with him any more, you don't have to". At which point she burst into tears and said that she didn't want to upset him and that she didn't know how to do it, and that she just feels sad all the time. I honestly thought my heart was going to break in two.

I have known all along that he was like that, from the first time she said that he had got upset over her being friends with this person or that, and every time I have told her 'That's not okay' and she makes an excuse. 

I knew there was no point banning her from seeing him because he used to meet her off the bus at school every day and there was nothing I could do about it and I didn't want to push her towards him by my not liking him. So I have watched and waited for her to start seeing it for herself.

As it happened, I had seen and retweeted your post earlier yesterday, and when we had this conversation I gave her my phone and told her to click your link and to read it. She got to the end and started sobbing uncontrollably and told me that she knew she was feeling sad but she didn't realise it was because of him and that he does a lot of the things you talked about. 

She insists he has never hit her and I do believe her, I think that's the saving grace because her Dad would probably end up in jail.

I told her that anyone who makes her feel like anything she says, feels, likes, loves, enjoys, wants isn't important, is not somebody who loves her in the right way and that all of those things are important if they're important to her.

So last night I sat with her and told her that I knew what I thought was for the best, but I couldn't make that decision for her. She said she wants to break up with him. 

She composed a very long but very nice message and sent it to him. Cue the next few hours being bombarded with messages and calls from him and his friends (who asked why she had finished with him without giving him a reason, when I read for myself the reason she gave him, and obviously he has omitted that information). 

I told her to turn her phone off, that she has done what she thinks is best and to leave him to it. Her Dad and I put the younger three to bed and then watched a movie all snuggled together.

Today she has woken up in a bright mood, got dressed and caught the train to see her cousin whose birthday is today (and who fortunately lives a good 40 minutes away) and they are going shopping and having a sleepover. 

I hope that she stands her ground and doesn't agree to get back together with him because she feels guilty or he begs her, I hope that being with a friend will give her courage to know that she has made the right decision.

Thank you for helping her to see. I couldn't do it by myself.

(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSo5RVJ30FxZZAeVv8aCdjLAz8UAVeigXErKIgYgupkZHSvrPqE2w)

Thank you for emailing, and thank you for showing your daughter my post - knowing that it helped her to understand that what was happening was wrong. 

I hope that the experience gives her a strength inside to avoid ever falling into a similar relationship, and that it helps him to learn what is and isn't healthy in a relationship. I hope they both find happier relationships elsewhere.

Most of all I'm glad that she has a Mum who understands, is careful and loving and gentle with her feelings, and who helped her to see for herself what was happening.

Thank you so much for contacting me.