Sunday, 1 December 2013

Asda Extra Special Viognier Review

As you probably already know, the lovely people at Asda have been kind enough to ask me to review some of their new range of Extra Special wines.  Having previously reviewed their Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha which is a delicious red wine, I decided to try one of the white wines in the range this time. So I chose the Extra Special Viognier.

Like the Garnacha, this is a wine I had never tried before. So I really didn't know what to expect at all. Let me tell you that I was blown away by this wine. It's beautifully delicate yet deliciously aromatic whilst still remaining refreshingly juicy with flavours of peach and apricot. There was a slight hint of woodiness in there too. I found it very easy to drink because it was so wonderfully light.

I would say the Viognier would make a an excellent alternative to Chardonnay. It has many of the same characteristics but may be just a touch more delicate for those looking for something that little bit different. This wine would definitely work well with a light chicken or fish dish, but again it's also delicate enough to be enjoyed without food. All in all this was a very well rounded dry white wine, perfect for sharing with family and friends.

If you want to try out this Extra Special wine it's currently on Rollback at just £5.
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Homemade Christmas Gifts Your Child Can Make

Christmas crafts make excellent gifts for your family that they can keep as souvenirs for years to come. Shop-bought gifts are increasingly expensive, less personal and less "last year"! However, Galt Toys have some exciting ideas that your child can make and do to give as gifts this year.

Photo Christmas Cards

Cheap and cheerful, these photo cards can be used as decorations for every year and make an excellent recurring gift.

You will need:

One 5”x7” glass-only photo frame
One 4”x6” photograph of your child or your family dressed in Christmas best
A pad of coloured paper
Coloured pens

Carefully place the glass from the photo frame and ask an adult to hold it in place while you draw around it onto your coloured paper. Red or green is best, but you can use any colour. Using your safety scissors (available from Galt Toys), cut out your rectangle. Take your chosen photograph and apply glue to the back before mounting it onto the rectangle of coloured paper. In the border around your photograph, pop a dab of glue in each corner and sprinkle glitter over it. Next, use your coloured pens or pencils to write a message in the border, such as Merry Christmas, Love From (your name).” Let the glue dry, then pop your creation into the frame. Now it is ready to be given as a gift.

Santa Christmas Hamper

You will need:

A pad of coloured craft paper
One shoebox
Cotton wool balls
Black paint and paintbrushes
A ruler

You will first need to wrap your shoebox in red paper. An adult can help you. This will give you a blank canvas to decorate!  Next, use black paint to paint a black belt around the middle of the bottom part of the shoebox (not the lid). Once dry, use your glue to create a buckle shape, and sprinkle glitter over. Leave to dry. Glue your cotton wool balls around the edge of the shoebox lid to create a fluffy trim. For the final touch, cut a 10cm by 10cm square of coloured paper (any colour you like) and an 8cm by 8cm square of white paper. Stick the white square in the middle of the coloured square, and glue both to the lid of your shoe box to make a message box. You can write the name of the person the gift is for, or just a little message.

Christmas Cookery

Hand decorated cookies or cupcakes make lovely gifts from little people! There are many recipes online that you can follow to make a delicious treat. Children can decorate these, wrap them in cellophane (not cling film, think rigid ‘gift-hamper’-type cellophane), and make their own gift tags using craft paper, pens and glitter if desired. Why not make miniature gingerbread houses for everyone?
No matter what the end result, with all craft gifts the importance is the love that went into making it, not about the gift being perfect. Perfection comes in many forms. Enjoy!

About the Author

This article was written on behalf of Galt Toys who have 175 years’ experience in toys and education. Galt know a thing or two about designing toys & craft activities to encourage children to learn through play...and also have fun!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Asda Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha - Review

Last Saturday, the lovely people at Asda were kind enough to send me a case of their new Extra Special wines for review.  When the case arrived I was pleased to see a good variety of wines and I was keen to get stuck right in and try one of the bottles with our evening meal that night. Our menu consisted of Fillet steak so I was sure it would be well complimented by the Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha.

My first impression on opening the bottle was the robust aroma. It was by no means overpowering, but pleasant and rich.  Once poured, this wine had a very deep colour, almost inky with a hue of purple against the light. I couldn't wait to have a taste and see what it had to offer.

There are an abundance of fruit flavours bustling through this wine. To my palate blackberry, cherry and even a hint of plum made this a much more full bodied wine than I was expecting. All in all I found this a very distinctive wine. It complemented our meal beautifully, lending itself well to the chargrilled and peppery flavours of our fillet steak. I would most definitely recommend this wine be served with food. A good piece of red meat or a hearty beef casserole would be an ideal companion for this gutsy red wine.

The Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha is currently on rollback at Asda, making it an absolute bargain at just £5 (usually £8.25).
Friday, 15 November 2013

Am I Less of a Parent?

At the moment Holly is an only child. So most people I meet feel the immediate need to ask when she might expect a younger sibling.

I'm often met with a look of shock, surprise or even pity when I say we are happy as a family of three and that although it isn't a definitive no, I have no actual plans to have more children.

Before having Holly we had always said we would have two children. Yet when Holly came along she completed our family in a way I hadn't expected at all. Unfortunately not everyone understands this.

Apparently it isn't fair on Holly. She'll be lonely and unhappy.

I'm selfish as I could easily have another child and provide for them.

If  I concentrate all my energies on Holly, I might end up putting too much pressure on her as she grows older.

I'm obviously just not maternal at all, otherwise I'd never be able to JUST have one child.

I've got it easy. I have no idea what parenting is really like or how hard it is because I only have one child.

I've heard them all, and more.
I'm tired of justifying and defending my choice. More than that I'm upset that I'm judged as some second class parent because I don't have multiple children. I'm sure if  I had another child it would be wonderful, but I don't need to in order to feel complete. I already do.  Also, I'm in absolutely no doubt that having more children would be harder. I often wonder how people do it, and I'm genuinely in awe of people that do it every day. However, that doesn't give anyone the right to sneer at me for not doing it. To tell me I'm not maternal or I'm less of a parent, less of a mum. I live and breath my daughter. I would die for my child just as other parents would for theirs.  I get that some people simply can't understand this choice, but I don't get why it should be of any concern to anyone other than me. I have a happy family who I love with all my heart and soul, a family I would kill for, a family which to me is absolutely perfect, just as it is. I just wish people would stop insulting me because I don't fit their standards.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Review - Dreambaby Chelsea Swing Closed Safety Gate

It's safe to say that Holly is a very active toddler. Having taking her first steps at just 9 months to being a fully confident walker who would happily attempt walking upstairs at 10 months I am sure you can imagine that now she is 22 months she is into everything in the house. I literally cannot turn my back for a second!  She climbs anything and everything and has recently learned to jump from high objects too! It's definitely a scary time.

As you can imagine we have quite a lot of safety equipment in our house to keep Holly as safe as possibly. Up until now though we have only had one baby gate, which is fitted at the top of our stairs.   We never really needed a gate at the bottom of the stairs as we were simply able to keep the kitchen and lounge doors closed in order to keep Holly away from that area. However, due to a recent grotwth spurt Holly is now tall enough to finally reach the door handles (she has been trying to reach them for a long time) and can easily open all the doors now! So although Holly is easily able to use the stairs now I still don't feel it will be safe to let her near the stairs unattended! We really needed to find good gate for the bottom of the stairway as soon as possible.

I was therefore delighted when Tesco Compare home insurance offered me the opportunity to review a new baby gate!

The gate I received was the Dreambaby Chelsea Swing Closed Safety Gate.  I had already seen this product when browsing online for safety gates before and had really liked the features and design of this gate. Some of the features I liked best about the gate were:

  • Pressure mounted. This made it very easy to put up (& to take down when the time comes). Also no drilling into my walls or woodwork! So no mess!
  • 2 way opening and swing shut mechanism. This means you don't have to worry about forgetting to close the gate. It will close automatically once you have stepped through.
  • It has a double locking mechanism (at the top and bottom) so it is very secure!
  • Easy one handed opening for adults.

I will admit at first that I was unsure if a pressure fit gate would be sturdy enough. However I can say that once it was in place I can safely say it was extremely secure and just as secure as our other gate which is screw mounted to the walls. Also, fitting was extremely quick and the instructions were really easy to follow. My partner was the one who fitted the gate and he managed it in about 20 mins. He is not good with his hands at all, or good at following instructions either (I usually do ALL of our DIY). So I'd say the gate is pretty much foolproof!

Once the gate was in place we tried opening and closing the gate. I wanted to see how easy it was to open one handed. I have tried other gates that were impossible to open one handed so Again Imwas doubtful! I slid the button on top of the gate with my thumb, then lifted the gate slightly (the second locking mechanism) and pulled the gate towards me. It opened easily. It wasnt difficult at all. I tried opening it in the other direction too. It opened just as easily. In addition to this, the gate automatically closed behind me each time. I have to say, I was impressed.

I don't often gush about products but I would like to say this is a fantastic safety gate. It is easy and quick to fit (or remove). It's easy to open one handed for adults, but the double locking mechanism makes it extremely secure to keep exploring babies and toddlers out of harms way.

I would definitely recommend this gate to any parent.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Aldi Nappy and Baby Wipes Review

I've always been a huge fan of Aldi stores and Aldi's marvellous range of own brand products. I frequently shop in Aldi stores and feel that I always receive excellent value for money. So when I was approached to review some of their baby products I was more than happy!

The products I received for review were Aldi's own brand Mamia Ultra Dry Nappies and Mamia Baby Wipes.

Mamia Ultra Dry Nappies

When I opened the Mamia Ultra Dry Nappies the first thing I noticed was the design. The nappies are covered in cute little animals! It's such a lovely detail. Even Holly enjoyed looking at all the animals and trying to name them.

 I then tried the nappies on my daughter. At 21 months she has just started wearing a size 5 nappy. Despite Holly being on the small side there were no gaps around her legs but for a long time to come. I was very impressed by the fit and Holly certainly seemed comfortable in the Mamia nappy, and was happily running and climbing around as she usually does. So I'd say she would definitely give them a big thumbs up.

In terms of absorbency, the packing states that the nappies offer up to 12 hour leak protection. We decided to test that out by using the nappies overnight. I'm pleased to say that despite Holly being a heavy wetter, the nappy survived the night completely leak free. The nappies so far have contained everything, even some teething poo which is usually fairly explosive!

I really struggled to find something to criticise about these nappies at all. They are well designed, well fitting and highly absorbent. With packs of 40 nappies retailing at £4.49, that works out at only 11.2p per nappy. In terms of value for money, I genuinely think it would be impossible to find a better nappy.

                                                              Mamia Baby Wipes


I have to say, given the price of this product I was sceptical about the quality. I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised though. The packaging of these wipes looks very good quality. The wipe packet comes with a sealable plastic lid, which ensures the product will stay moist. When I opened the packet, the wipes were fantastically thick, durable, moist and beautifully soft. 

I find it amazing that such good quality wipes can be available for 79p per pack. That works out at 1p per wipe for a pack of 80. I can definitely see why these wipes have won a Mother & Baby Gold Award this year. 

I would definitely recommend these Aldi baby products to any parent, they are good quality and excellent value for money. But don't take my word for it, why not pop in to your nearest Aldi on Thursday 19th of September for their fantastic Baby and Toddler Special Buys? Aldi have many more amazing baby and toddler products you could discover and the prices are great too!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Twitter - debate, opinion, argument?

 If you are a member of a particular community on Twitter, you may have noticed lately that things have gotten a bit heated. Maybe the people involved* would deny that. Labelling it "healthy debate". In my opinion it isn't, and if that is a viewpoint you disagree with, I'm happy to hear you out. Then of course I will thank you for your opinion and insight and agree to disagree on this particular point.  Done.

You see to my mind, debate isn't about resolution.  It's about expressing your viewpoint in a clear, concise and intelligent way. If you are debating something it wouldn't be much of a debate if the other person had to listen to you shouting them down repeatedly in a sustained manner. Rehashing the same point over and over.  If someone stands up for what they believe in, nothing you say will change their mind. To continue bringing up the same points, over and over is counter productive. You are no more likely to change your opponents mind than the first time you made the same point. Do you honestly think that bombarding someone with your opinion will make them change their mind, admit they are in the wrong, or apologise?  Would you, if the shoe were on the other foot and it was something you really believed in? Of course you wouldn't! So why would someone else? Hearing each other out and agreeing to disagree is probably the best you could hope for, so why is that such a hard concept to grasp? Making your point then walking away is fine. Respect the fact that someone is strong enough to stand by what they truly believe in, just as you are.

Why must such things be dragged out? It solves NOTHING. All I see are the same points recycled and reworded again and again while these "debates" rumble on for days, weeks, months.  They shouldn't get personal. I don't just mean personal attacks like name calling and badmouthing. I mean that after many of these incidents on Twitter those involved end up viciously opposed to each other. Why? You disagree on one thing, get over it! There are plenty of people I disagree with on Twitter and in real life but I don't react in such a dramatic fashion. Of course I don't mean life or death issues (and to me most of these debates aren't).  I've yet to meet a single person I agree with wholeheartedly on everything. God, if everyone took an "Us VS Them" attitude over everything the world would be a bitter, harsh and lonely place.  Is it really so difficult to make your point and move on?

So there you have it. I've made my point and I am moving on. If you disagree, great! That's your right  to do so. It doesn't mean I have to agree. Now off you pop, and thank you for your time!

*I'm not going to get into specifics here.  Nor will I do the  "she said"/"he said" thing. That would serve no purpose. I'm not about to stir the pot.
Tuesday, 30 July 2013


A recent conversation with OH has gotten me to thinking about something. We have noticed lately that Holly is becoming somewhat of a daydreamer. Although she is constantly running, jumping, shouting, rolling and diving off of high things with the enthusiasm of a base jumper she has started to spend a lot of time just daydreaming. Sitting in her swing in the garden, or in the rare moments when she will actually sit on your lap for more than 5 secs. Holly will be somewhere else, miles aways, who knows what she is dreaming up in that toddler brain of hers. She looks serene and calm, which is such a rare thing to behold in my boisterous little beauty. David and I sat watching Holly as she daydreamed one day and he turned to me and said,

"She's going to be a daydreamer just like me when I was little."

I looked at him in surprise.

"Me too, when I was at Primary School it was written in all my school reports!" I said.

It had never occurred to me that we had both been daydreamers as children.   I had always heard about the sporty, smiley, helpful and kind child that David was. Then he said something else.

"I used to get into trouble for being such a daydreamer, especially at school. I was always told off for daydreaming at school especially."

I  suddenly realised that it had been the same for me too, and when I thought about that, it made me sad beyond words.

Is it really a bad thing to be a daydreamer? Should it be written in a report card as a negative attribute?  In a child? A child of 5, or 6 or 7? Or any child of Primary School age? Surely there are far worse qualities to posses than having an imagination? A world inside your head, all your own, secret and special. Deep and wonderous and full of fun and magic? Would any adult really begrudge a child that? It seems to me to do so would be cruel in the extreme. Don't we all worry that children grow up too fast?  Wouldn't it be nicer to let them have their dreams before the harsh realities of life are made clear to them? 

Would it bother you to see those words on your child's school report in such a negative light? Would you agree and wish away their childish ways too? I for one would not. I will never be sad to hear that I have a daydreaming daughter. I will never look on her dreams as fanciful or childish, because that is what she is. A child. A world of wonder and possibility.  There is time enough for reality, and she has time enough to learn it. So while she can dream, she should. Enjoy every magical moment my darling daughter. Dream big...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Review: Sleep Mist

I love to sleep. I really do. There is nothing better than being able to drift off peacefully into a deep sleep and wake up refreshed the next day. It's just one of life's simple pleasures. However, drifting off easily isn't something I'm always able to do. Often it takes me a long time to fall asleep. Despite being tired at bedtime I often don't feel relaxed and ready to sleep and spend a lot of time tossing and turning in bed before sleep. So when I was approached with opportunity to try a product to help me sleep, I was very happy indeed!

Firstly, in order to ensure I received the most suitable sleep product for my needs I completed a short survey detailing my sleeping patterns and habits.

The product I received was Amelie et Melanie White Linen Pillow Mist.  Now I'll be honest, when I received the product I wasn't hugely optimistic that using something as simple as a pillow mist would actually help me sleep. When I first received it, I decided to spray a tiny amount of the product just to see if I liked the fragrance.  It was lovely. It had hints of jasmine, rose and lily of the valley and reminded me of the smell of freshly washed linen.  It's a very light and fresh fragrance and  although the scent lasts well, it isn't overpowering. It's exactly the type of scent I use around my home already which made me very happy! So despite my initial doubts, the wonderful scent had me looking forward to trying it out properly at bed time!

Bedtime arrived and I went through my usual routine as normal. I washed and changed, then sprayed the sleep mist onto my pillows before I climbed into bed.  I sat and read for a little while before lying down to sleep, but even before lying down I could smell the delightful scent of the pillow mist and definitely felt relaxed by it. That night I fell asleep very quickly, taking no more than 15 mins to drop off to sleep, when usually it might take me an hour or more.  The rest of the week was the same. I fell asleep much more quickly than normal, and even when I was lying in bed awake I felt more relaxed by the scent of the pillow mist. It was such a lovely product to use and also made me feel like I was jumping into freshly cleaned sheets every evening which was another bonus.

Since using the pillow mist I have been looking forward to bedtime so much more and have been looking for other ways to help improve my bedtime routine. If using something as simple as a pillow mist can improve my sleep so much then, making other, bigger changes should help too. I have now stopped watching television in bed (as I used to occasionally if I didn't have a good book to read) and this has made my bedtime much more relaxing already. I am also considering changing to all natural bedding and bed linen and investing in a more supportive mattress.

In conclusion, I would say the pillow mist had an extremely positive effect on my sleep. I felt well rested and happy as a result, and the whole experience has made me much more aware of how a relaxing environment can improve sleep. So I would definitely recommend this product as a sleep or relaxation aid.  

Thursday, 20 June 2013

What's Better Than Britmums?

Even though it was my choice not to attend Britmums Live, in the run up to the event I still couldn't help but feel a teeny tiny bit jealous of those attending. Meeting up with other bloggers I'd love to meet in person. The wonderful buzz of excitement of the attendees on Twitter over the last few months leading up to the event. Then I heard about the wonderful selection of Keynote speakers I was going to miss out on too. I was really starting to wish I had decided to go after all. I was actually pondering the possibility of devising a last minute plan to go.

Then fate intervened. Fate dropped in my lap something far more exciting and precious. A special visit. A reunion. A much anticipated return. The Australian relatives were coming over! To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. Now to be clear, they aren't actually MY relatives. They are David's. Well one of them is. David's cousin and his wonderful girlfriend will be here on Saturday!! Some people ask why we are so excited as "it's only his cousin".  Well really David and Pete  are more like brothers than cousins. They were born 6 weeks apart and spent most of their childhoods together. Playing, fighting, but most of all laughing. They have a truly special bond. David and Pete are so very alike in lots of ways I can't even begin to explain, you really have to see them together to understand the magical bond they have. Seeing them together is a real joy to behold. It's not just Pete though. There's also the wonderful Sarah, Pete's amazing other half. Laid back, witty and fun. The pair of them are like a force of nature. It's like getting an injection of sunshine when they come to visit. Pete moved to Australia roughly 9 years ago after finishing uni and comes back to see family roughly every 2 years so time with them is precious. The last time we saw them I was 20 weeks pregnant with Holly, and now she is 18 months old! I am so looking forward to introducing them to our little toddler. I hope she likes them (she can be funny with strangers)! I'm hoping though that she senses somehow that they are family and grows to love them as much as we do. 

Fun Times!

 We have so much planned for while they are here, and so little time. I just know it is going to wonderful. So sorry Britmums. I know you are amazing, I know you are wonderful, but this year I have something better.
Friday, 7 June 2013

Bring Me Back To Life...

I won't lie, having Holly was the proudest moment of my life. The most amazing moment of my life. There are other achievements in my life I'm proud of like gaining a degree, but bringing another human into the world is by far the most special. Yet as I am being honest I have to also say that afterwards I was a mess. A whirling tornado of hormones, I didn't know what I was doing or who I was anymore. I expected having a baby to be hard, and I was happy to cope with the sleepless nights and exhaustion. What I wasn't prepared for was the emotional & psychological effect. The worry. The guilt. The fear. The pain. I was consumed. Overwhelmed. I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in not a sea, but a thick, dense fog. Everything was cloudy. Everything in my life was dull, in shades of grey. I would smile, but it would be a neutral smile, with undertones of grey. If I am totally honest, maybe the blue had gone from my eyes, leaving only the cold, hard slate grey in it's place.  I loved my child, I could not have loved her more fiercely, but life beyond her paled by comparison. In the cold days of winter all I wanted to do was hide away. Take my precious family and hibernate. I wasn't ready for the world. I felt exposed, inadequate and scared.

Time passed and things grew easier. Warmer weather came to stay. I was more laid back. The fog had lessened. There were still times when it seeped back, as thick and debilitating as before, but those times grew less frequent.  Still though, I didn't feel myself. I felt empty of me. I was full of love for my baby, my partner, but not for myself. I was nothing without the baby. A non entity. I loved and laughed with my family around me, but without them I couldn't remember how to be. I didn't know who to be. Who was I, without my family?

All too soon, winter returned and while I had moved on and relaxed, the same feelings reared their heads. Hard wired into me psyche. I felt the fog come over me. This time though, I had the strength to fight. Things weren't the same. I knew I had to stand firm. It wasn't easy,  but I got through and found joy that I didn't know I had. I found strength. This time, despite the fog, I was able to breathe.

So what about now? The fog has come and gone. In this, the 2nd summer of motherhood. I feel like it has finally lifted. I almost feel like me. The me I was before. Yet not less than before. Even more. Stronger, and fiercer for all the demons I faced.  Having a baby changed my life, and it would be entirely foolish to tell anyone that it doesn't.  Having a child changes you forever, you shouldn't expect to adjust to it quickly. A child is a living, growing thing, they change as often as the tides of the sea.

This summer is a revelation to me.  I am starting to see the true shape of the wonderful family we are.   I don't know what it was that finally tipped the balance. That let me breathe again. I owe a lot to friends.  Who were gentle with me. Not expecting too much, and having the sense to hold back when I needed it and hold out a hand when I was ready.  New friends showed me that I wasn't alone. That I had more to look forward to than I ever dreamed possible.

Dear friends, thank you for helping me. For helping me to be me. For showing me that while being a mummy requires sacrifice, I can still be me.  Thank you for bringing me back to life.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow...with Miracle-Gro Flower Magic!

I love my garden, I was extremely lucky to buy a house with an already established and beautifully maintained garden. I love to look at it, I love to sit in it (weather permitting) & it just makes me smile.  I'm really not the worlds best gardener, but I'm learning.

In the meantime though, if like me your green fingers are still growing and you need a little helping hand to get a blooming lovely garden then I might just have found something you'll like!

It's the time of year that I am usually thinking about putting summer bedding plants into my garden, so this usually involves a trip to the nearest garden centre to buy some already established plants. I've always been apprehensive about trying to grow anything from seed. I always imagined doing so would be difficult, and would need a lot of care and maintenance. So imagine my joy when I was given the opportunity to review Miracle-Gro Flower Magic!

This product is an all in one flower mix, designed to be an extremely easy way to grow beautiful flowers from seed. I received the pink and white mix but there is also a multi-colour mix and a blue and white mix. The pink and white mix has a whopping 16 flower seed varieties which are a mixture of late and early flowering plants ensuring that your garden will have colour from June until as late as October!

When a few rare days of good weather finally arrived, I set about using the product for the 1st time. I was initially apprehensive as I didn't believe that the application wouldn't be as easy as the instructions suggested. I was totally wrong! The flower mix pours from the container spout very evenly ensuring a good ground coverage.

However, the thing I like the most about the product is that the flower magic changes colour to let you know when it needs to be watered! For someone with a history of over and under watering plants I find this extremely helpful! 

The first shoots of green have already started appearing, and I can't wait to see the flowers start to blossom over the next few weeks. I will definitely come back and update this post with pictures as soon as I can!

Over all I'd say this is a great product. Such a simple way to get some beautiful plants to grow in your's almost like magic! 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Lunch is a Battlefield...

Remember the old classic, Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar? Quite aptly it came on the radio the other day just as Holly and I were having a battle involving the throwing of sandwiches and a general refusal to eat anything other than raisins. So in my muddled brain, I am almost sure the lyrics had become "Lunch is a Battlefield".  With that in mind, I have dreamed up my version of the song for your amusement. If you too have an unruly, non eating, high chair jumping out of, flood throwing mini monster in your house, feel free to embrace it as your war cry or battle anthem or perhaps to gain a steady rhythm when your toddler has finally broken your will and you are rocking back and forth in a corner...

You are young, breadstick to breadstick we stand
My promises, your raisin demands
Lunch is a battlefield are strong. I hope this phase doesn't last long
Searching the food cupboards for so long, both of us knowing,
Lunch is a battlefield...

Your throwing your lunch, you're only wanting to play
Why do you drive mummy mad?
It would help me to know
Is my cooking at fault or the best lunch you've had?
Believe me , believe me I can't tell you why
But I hate that you're fussy, and have no appetite.

You are young, breadstick to breadstick we stand
My promises, your raisin demands
Lunch is a battlefield... are strong. I hope this phase doesn't last long
Searching the food cupboards for so long, both of us knowing,
Lunch is a battlefield...

I'm losing control
Will you turn lunch away only you can decide
And before this gets old, will it be still be the same
There's no way this will die
But if it goes longer, I could lose control
When your will surrenders, lunch will be cold

You are young, breadstick to breadstick we stand
My promises, your raisin demands
Lunch is a battlefield... are strong. I hope this phase doesn't last long
Searching the food cupboards for so long, both of us knowing,
Lunch is a battlefield... 

For anyone looking for the original song, here you go! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Tall and dark. Quite literally larger than life. In so many ways.
Deep, throaty, booming laugh. Delightfully and unmistakably you.

Quick of wit, and sharp as a tack.
The king of jokes, the maker of smiles at the drop of a hat.

The broadest of shoulders, yet the most delicate of hands.
Fingers long, almost elegant.
The keeper of  hidden talents.

The organ player who never blew his own trumpet.
The model maker who quietly honed his craft.
Though loud as a fog horn, never arrogant or brash.

A childhood peppered with memories of you, though visits were few and far between.
Sun dappled, full of toys and wonder. Days out never to be forgotten.

A big man, who made a big impression.

I'd give anything to hear your laugh again.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Confession Time....

I have a deep, dark secret. It's a secret I have been harbouring for some time now.

I fear that in revealing this secret, I maybe come an outcast. Shunned. Ridiculed and thrown to the lions.

You see I'm different. There is one aspect of motherhood which just doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. That I have no interest in whatsoever.

Prams. Buggies. Strollers.

Yup. I have said it. I am a mum, and I am most certainly NOT a pram-o-holic.

I do not lust after a Phil & Ted what-ever-you-call-it or the latest Bugaboo thingummy-bob. In fact in a quiz of pram brands I'd come bottom of the class.

I just don't get it. A pram to me is a piece of equipment. My interest in it goes as far as this -can it transport a small person from A to B in relative comfort, dryness and without freezing to death. I care not for innovative design. I don't really care if it's multi directional, 360 degree swivel seating. I don't really mind if it is in this seasons most fashionable colours. I don't care if it has shiny wheels, a pedometer and a cup holder for my latte (or frappe).

The fact that I feel this way gets to me. What's wrong with me. Shouldn't I be lusting after the latest perambulatory device like everyone else? Cooing over pram press releases on twitter?

I know quite a few mummies who have gone through at least 2-3 prams/buggies for ONE child. I've asked if it was because the previous pram wasn't suitable or practical enough. Most of the time the answer is no. They were merely seduced by the enigmatic curves and devilishly decadent design of the latest model on the market.  Maybe I'm more head than heart about it though. Maybe that is my problem. If I even toy with the idea of a new pram, all I can think of is that I'd have to learn how to work the damn thing! Learn how it folds, learn how to recline the seat, how to put on the rain cover. All those horribly mundane and eye wateringly annoying aspects of new pram ownership.

I wish someone could explain to me, the joy of prams. I really do. I don't want anyone to think I am having a pop at all the pram junkies out there. I just don't understand.  This is the first time I have admitted it though. When other pram savvy parents tell me all about their new kit I nod along enthusiastically trying to understand their immense joy. I fake it. I just don't have the heart to be a killjoy and say what I'm really thinking. Which is this...


Am I the only one who feels this way? I don't think I have ever met another mum who will admit to it. Are you out there? Someone? Anyone?

That's my dirty little secret.  So where does that leave me? I feel like I'm standing awkwardly, alone in the corner of the playground. The weird one who doesn't like prams. I really hope this isn't like primary school, were I was shunned for not liking New Kids On The Block....

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Attack of the smug married couples...

For the record, I have nothing against marriage. I'd like for David and I to get married at some point. Preferably when it won't cause family arguments, unnecessary stress and cost a bajillion £'s.  Ok, I know it doesn't have to cost a lot of money really, but whatever money it does cost us, I can't help but think of better ways to spend that money. I have nothing against married couples in general either. There are however a certain type of married couple I do take issue with. I like to call them the "SMUG marrieds".

This particular breed really make me all kinds of batshit mental. I know this is a bit of a generalisation, but newly married couples are usually the worst. For some inexplicable reason they think that being married for 6 months or even a year or two suddenly makes them fucking relationship experts. As if their relationship is more secure, more loving and just a million miles better than any of those poor unfortunate unwed people like myself & my partner.

I cannot begin to explain my blood vessel busting fury when a "smug married" attempts to give me a relationship pep talk. I have been with my partner for 11 years. Most of these smug marrieds TOTAL relationship time is generally less than 5 years - including their marriage.

I think in order to illustrate fully the extent of this eye ball poppingly irritating smugness I'll have to give you some examples.

Being introduced to a couple of smug marrieds for the first time

"Hi, I'm Bob. This is my wife Linda."

Then Linda says (grinning uncontrollably and simultaneously waving her ring finger at me as if I asked to see it - I DIDN'T),

"We just got married in July. I can't believe we've been married 6 MONTHS* already!!!"

*The capitals here indicate where Linda raised her voice to about 10 million decibels, just to make sure me and everyone else in the entire universe heard her.

After giving us a minute to offer our enthusiastic congratulations while they bask in their smugness & grin inanely, she then asks,

"So how long have you two been together?"

I tell her 11 years.

"Oh my goodness! That is AMAZING! Did you do something fabulous on your wedding anniversary."

I then explain that we are not in fact married. A looong moment of silence. Linda and Bob cast each other a knowing, pitying look. Turning back towards us with saddened expressions and a concerned tilt of the head Linda says,

"Ohhhh...well...Not that you NEED to be married these days of course. I mean, don't you want to get married though? I just feel it has taken our relationship to a whole new level. It has REALLY changed our relationship in so may ways."

Bob watches on, nodding diplomatically along with his wife's helpful little pep talk. As is my way, I smile politely as I manoeuvre myself and David away from these wretched idiots. As we walk away I see them watching us with that pitying yet smug half smile, then turn to each other once more with that knowing look. I'm fairly certain the palms of my hands are bleeding from all the fist clenching I was doing during that conversation.

So there you have it, it nearly always runs along similar lines. Some are more smug, more pitying, or maybe just bemused by us. God forbid you get stuck with a group of smug marrieds. Then you are really in for a treat. They pick at you like vultures picking at an animal carcass. Then you have the joy of not only listening to multiple pep talks, and the questions about why you aren't married. You get the little digs, the pokes. That hit you squarely between the ribs.

"Ohhh you'll KNOW all about it when you're married..."

We get this one A LOT! Know what exactly? Is it some kind of exclusive club? Is there a secret handshake? A loyalty card? An executive lounge? Do we get a free unicorn? What exactly will I know about my OH or relationships after marriage that I didn't find out by being in a committed relationship for 11 years? Is it some kind of fast track pass like at theme parks? Does it automatically make a shorter relationship more valid or real than a longer one? Simply by the exchanging of rings? What is this, a fucking fairy story?

"Now we are married Bob helps with all the housework!" *proudface*

What? Are you serious? You had to put a ring on his finger to make your partner pull his weight? I'm sorry, we've always had a relationship of equals without the aid of a piece of paper and a slap up meal for 500 after the fact.

I could go on, but I am sure by now you get the picture. Please don't get me wrong. I do not begrudge these people their happiness, or their pride. Being a newlywed is most likey a very exciting thing, to be enjoyed and savoured. If they are happy, then I am happy for them. There is absolutely nothing wrong in declaring your love for another human being. It is a wonderful idea. That said however, just because a couple have not done the same, it does not make their relationship any less secure, special or valid than anyone else's. Neither does having a longer relationship than someone else. I may have mentioned my 11 year relationship here, but I certainly wouldn't use my relationship status to belittle other couples who hadn't been together for as long.

So if you are married, I wish you a long, happy and healthy relationship. And if you are not married, I wish you a long, happy and healthy relationship! Just keep your bloody smug comments to yourself! OKAY?!?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Making a boob of it!

I have boobs. I have very large boobs. I am not going to lie, in my youth I might have used those boobs to my advantage. They always came in handy when it came to getting served more quickly in a busy bar. Terrible, I know.  They are however, my boobs. To use as I wish.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no supporter of page 3. I'd happily see that scrapped, but that isn't what I want to talk about right now.

I have an issue though. Not with my boobs, just other people's attitude towards them. I'm not even talking about men.  Of course me and my friends and family do occassionally joke happily about my humongous chest. That doesn't bother me.  These people know me, we have a history. They know what my boundaries are.

My issue is with people I don't really know, feeling that it is acceptable to make comments about the size of my breasts. It isn't as if I walk about with them hanging out and even if I did, that is my choice.  I've had people I barely know, I've just been introduced to trying to start up a conversation with me by mentioning my breasts!

"Wow, would you look at the size of your boobs. God, they are so big!"

"God, would you look at the size of those!"

"You have massive boobs!"

It is always something along those lines and usually accompanied by a grin or a snigger. I hate it. Now if I had a really large head, or was hugely obese, I am betting that no one would think it was so acceptable to say that directly to me?  So what makes my breasts an acceptable target for comment? God forbid I was to meet another woman with small breasts and comment on the size of her bust. Could you imagine it?

"God, you have the smallest breasts I've ever seen, wow!" 

What a rotten thing to say, and clearly unacceptable. So what makes it ok for people to comment on big boobs but not small ones? 

Now I'm pretty laid back about the attention I get for having big boobs. I've never known anything different. I wouldn't mind if people had a genuine question about my boobs either, like where I buy bras, or do they cause me back pain etc. I just think commenting on their size just for the sake of it is insulting and unnecessary. Like somehow I have gone my whole life not noticing how big they are!

So strangers, take heed. Just because my boobs are very visible doesn't make them fair game. So think before you speak, don't make a boob of yourself  by commenting. Or I might just have to smother you to death in my more than ample boobage...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Honesty...Should I stay or should I go now?

So I've spent this last month debating continuing my blog or not.  I had decided to have a break from blogging in January anyway, but when I stopped blogging it set me to thinking about whether it was really worth carrying it on.

As it happens, I'm still undecided.  I think for now I'll keep the blog running but only until I make a definite decision. I think I need to reassess my reasons for blogging.

I have been feeling generally disheartened by my continually plummeting Tots100 score despite the fact that my stats are improving so much.  I know that the Tots rankings aren't based on that, but I feel as if all my work on the blog isn't worth it.  I'm all for promoting my blog, and I do so on Twitter but it seems that every week there is some other new thing I need to be doing to promote my blog.  I honestly feel that it takes away from the time it takes to write content.  I know many people manage it all effortlessly but I feel like Twitter is enough for me. Twitter is such a wide audience and with RT's and FF's you can end up with a huge audience.  I simply don't have time for Technorati, Klout and G+!

Being honest, besides that, I was feeling a little left out too.  Everyone is so excited to go to Britmums and I know I won't be going.  Twitter is full of the excited chatter of who was going to meet up, share rooms etc.  I felt like I was the kid at school who never got to go on the school trip.  Other bloggers would be meeting and forming bonds and I would be missing out.

I shouldn't complain. I know that.  It isn't that I can't afford to go, I just took the decision not to. The cost of return travel from Scotland, accommodation, the ticket and any other expenses by the time I got home would probably exceed £250 (that is a conservative estimate). I am certain I would have had a great time if I decided to go, but I can think of so many other things I could spend that money on.  For my daughter, for me, for our family. I would honestly feel very selfish and guilty spending that money on myself.  That's just me I suppose. 

For now though, I need to give myself a good talking to. Try and get out of this blogging funk I'm in. I've made my decision and I'm sticking to it. I'm sure everyone going to Britmums will have a fab time, and will have a great experience with so much to blog about. I look forward to reading all about it!

P.S -

Sorry about the self pitying drivel. I just needed to get it off my chest. Clearly I am an ass-basket of epic proportions.

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