Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Blogmas Days 16-20: Deck the Halls with S**t and Vomit Falalalala lala la laaaa!

Oh my word what a weekend myself and my little family unit have just managed to haul ourselves through! As I spoke about in Blogmas Day 15, BB came down with the dreaded norovirus - which lingered about for the best part of three days, also claiming PB and my pregnant self as victims too.

I swear, I must have tried everything I could to fight those effing germs off - to the point where I actually gave myself chemical burns on my hands from spray bleach and placed plastic toy bricks in the dishwasher. But, all to no avail as PB suffered from Friday night to Saturday night alongside the babe, and I then took over the suffering from Sunday morning to Monday night.

It's a horrible bug! And with the insurmountable to do list we all place upon ourselves this time of year and that funny need we all have to tie up loose ends just in case we all fall off of the earth come Dec 25th, it can be possibly the most inconvenient and pressurising time to fall poorly. Luckily norovirus is a relatively short lived affair. 

Although I must admit, even today I haven't felt quite right... a bit like a christmas turkey who's without its stuffing. Ha! My main concern was for baby bump but he's been happily kicking about ever since I became ill. More than likely enjoying the fact I have been immobilised for 48 hours and allowed him to flex his knees and elbows a bit more than usual! Plus we have been thoroughly enjoying watching back to back episodes of the Crown.... so much so I managed to devour the entire series of 10 episodes over the course of the weekend! Came in very handy when I was rocking a sick toddler to sleep and finding it hard to settle myself for fear of another vom wave hitting the peaceful slumber vibes in the house at 2am. The costumes and set design are amazing, and the cast portray their characters so convincingly, it's easy to think you are watching the real royals in action!

Anyway I am, thankfully, (almost) back fighting fit and shall be resuming the holiday spirit hence forth...

As long as I haven't scared the poor bugger off by spraying copious amounts of bleach and muttered obscenities about the place over the past weekend.

Falalalala lala la laaaaa!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Blogmas Day 15: Weekly Update #83

I hate germs. And bugs. And viruses. And basically anything that disrupts the running of our finely tuned and, in truth, already majorly overworked machine that is known as 'day to day life'.

It's winter, there are a multitude of illnesses flying about the place ranging from sniffles to full on flu and this week, today in fact, BB has been struck with his first ever dose of tummy flu. It began this morning with high pitched shrieks that then gave way to discombobulated wretches, culminating in PB plonking said retching infant onto me in bed where his reaches finally produced a load of bile.
I was perplexed for 3 reasons all at once but in differing quantities..

1) First and foremost in my mind and the most important of all emotions at that precise point was concern for my poor little boy, who looked pretty confused and distressed at what was happening to him...
2) Next came confusion and bemusement that PB had decided to bring him into the bedroom as opposed to the bathroom... I think the fact we had just woken up (kinda sorta... not really) paired with a lot of surprise at what was happening all had something to do with the lapse in judgement...
And 3) I was gutted because the bedding I was now looking at all covered in contagious slime was a brand new Christmas themed set that had only been on the bed for 48 hours. Typical mum luck really!ha!

And so began operation tend to sick toddler who's been struck by tummy bug and keep all chances of us catching said bug at bay by dousing every surface, handle, toy.... cat.... with spray bleach and ensure any fabric that comes into contact with contagious matter is whizzed into the washing machine faster than you can say Dioralyte!

Must take a moment to appreciate all washer/tumbler dryers. How the hell did people used to cope without them?!

Additional information and findings from this week:

- Am obsessed with the song 'Will You Take Me Home' by Jess Glynne. Every now and again you come across a song that really resonates with you and this one stopped me in my tracks with its lyrics and the relevance they hold to myself and PB. Maybe one day I will explain how and why I came to him with a broken faith and how he gave me more than a hand to hold. He will probably quip a joke about he regrets taking me home though!haha!
Dealing with puke is my very limit of grossness. I can deal with blood.... poop... mashed in food in various crevices and even puss should the unfortunate situation arise. But puke is just the one that makes me struggle my hardest! I find myself retching too... out of reflex but also out of empathy. And being pregnant, my sense of smell is heightened and... well... you can imagine. So sorry, will stop rambling about unpleasantness now!
- Our cats are still eating and getting fatter each week. Neighbours may be thinking we are fattening them up like turkeys for Christmas Day dinner but it is purely them being greedy. The cats I mean... not the neighbours.
- Christmas present wrapping commenced this week and it was a task to find a comfortable place to do it. I started on the floor and then realised that with a big baby bump that was quite a ridiculous idea so I then moved to the sofa. Upon losing the scissors/tape/ribbon and pen down the side of said sofa for the umpteenth time, I finally settled down to do it at the dinner table. Felt compelled to dress up as an Elf and take an 'elfie' with all the wrapping in the back ground. Lack of energy and Elf costume scuppered that idea though. Not to mention, the idea of a heavily pregnant Elf does seem somewhat ridiculous.
- Why does it always seem as thought you have a ridiculous amount of wrapping paper, ribbons, tags, etc.... but you run out after wrapping approx 3 gifts? I misjudge it. Every effing year. 

Blogmas Day 14: Unconventional Christmas Decorations

When it comes to decorating the Christmas tree, I am a complete control freak. I suffer from P.O.P.D - Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder to the highest degree.... and I come from a long line of sufferers. Even my Uncle was caught obsessively 'tweaking' his Christmas tree baubles the other day (clear your minds, I promise it was not as rude as it sounds!).

But, as I explained on Blogmas Day 1, this year has taught me to mellow a little and embrace the chaos. To not obsess over all the little details and to just enjoy the one big picture. And I'm so glad I have because this year's tree, in all of its multi coloured mismatched glory, has got to be my most favourite tree to date... merely for the fact that is makes me smile and sometimes even laugh my head of every single time I walk past it and discover something new.

The joy of having a toddler around a christmas tree, is simply the fact that you never know what will happen next! It is a bonus to come into the room and find the tree still standing at all really, luckily BB hasn't felt tempted to try and budge ours.... yet. But the baubles are regularly moved about. Sometimes even completely relocated to other places, as PB found out when he went to the fridge for some milk and came across a green, glittery bauble.

Certain modifications and additions make there way to the tree, as I found out when I discovered this teaspoon nestled in amongst the branches the other day.

So far we have also had a Twirlywoo figurine, a couple of foam bricks and two stacking cups. It's more fun than opening the advent calendar for me! If I glance at the tree and don't find any new additions I actually feel a small twinge of disappointment... complete turn around from the neat freak I was only last Christmas!

Roll on the day when I get to have homemade Christmas decorations made from dried pasta and popcorn on my tree. I'm looking forward to it with all my heart. Children truly do make Christmas.. it's like they are the very magic themselves.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Blogmas Day 13: Food Porn

When I was little, there was one magazine that just HAD to be bought at Christmas time! I remember trudging behind my mum in circles around WHSmiths and Woolworths whilst she kept muttering to herself things like 'How can they not have any left?! We are barely out of November?!' and 'You'd think they would have just one bloody copy left wouldn't you?'.

Eventually, we would locate a copy and she would pounce on it with added gusto, almost holding it aloft triumphantly... the Willy Wonka Ticket of the Magazine World.

I am of course referring to the yearly festive favourite that is known as the Radio Times.

I used to also carry this tradition for myself once I was an adult in a home of my own. Every year without fail myself and my Mum would both be on the look out for it and if my search was unlucky then I always had the comfort that I could have a browse through hers on a Sunday if needed.

Nowadays though, with the digital TV age where we have our entire telly viewing mapped out on the very screen it is being broadcast on, as well as every single channel having its own website that you can  speed through and browse any time, anywhere.... Well, the poor old Radio Times has just become a bit superfluous to me now.

So, a few years ago, I came across another magazine. A magazine so inspiring for the festive time of year, so full of tantalising treats and mouth watering ideas that I now browse all aisles of shops searching for it every December and as soon as I have it in my clutches, I too do the Willy Wonka Ticket pose!

"Hurrah!" I cry, "For I have found thee Good Food Magazine! With your amazing culinary tips and tricks, wizardry with food produce and high class photography that makes you want to leap into the page with a knife and fork. If only you were scratch and sniff!"

Ok, so I don't actually say this aloud in the shop I discover it in but it certainly gets played out in my mind as I scurry to the cashier to take official claim on it as my own. And the great thing about every issue is that I obviously can't make every single recipe it contains in one festive period so it just keeps on giving and giving every year. I have old favourites I wheel out and there is nothing more that I love to do than sit with my post it notes and mark the pages that have recipes on that I want to try.

Only this morning I brandished it at my sister when she popped over. She pawed at the pages happily, before looking up and saying 'This has to be absorbed... with a cuppa and some peace and quiet'.

And she is so right. Which is exactly why I am going to step away from the computer, pop the kettle on, and grab my post its!

Until tomorrow lovely peeps, toodle pip!

Blogmas Day 12: Baking Prep!

I've mentioned in posts before now that myself and my family are going to be having a baking day shortly before Christmas this year, a perfect way to spend time together that caters for keeping both kids and adults interested whilst getting the old festive cheer vibes up and running!

I'm really looking forward to it and to spending time all together, and hopefully we shall all feel triumphant in the yummy baked goods we make on the day. As a result of all the anticipation that is building before the day, I have been thinking of what I would like to make and squirrelling away a few baking bits in preparation.

I said the other day that Gingerbread Houses are off the menu this year. BUT! Gingerbread men I really enjoy making and they are always a huge favourite with kids too. From rolling the dough out, to cutting out the cute little shapes to then dressing them in their finery of little iced jackets, jelly tot buttons and candied faces. I also find the really therapeutic to bake as well, probably the repetition and creativity that acts as a distraction to all else that is going on.

Other ideas include making little Christmas Cupcakes and Shortbread Biscuits too. I came across these gorgeous little Cookie Cutters in Matalan when I found my Christmas Mugs the other day.

I love their shapes and design as well the fact that they have little handles to help equally little hands gain a good grip on them whilst cutting out their biscuits. Genius and really inexpensive. I also picked up some decorative edible cake decorations in Lidl a week ago, ranging from little penguins to presents with bows on. They will look very festive on top of cupcakes.

Less edible but still decorative are the little christmas themed cake topper flags in this cupcake baking set I bought in Matalan as well. The little cases have a really sweet design on them as well... I would link up to the site but unfortunately I don't think they are available online. Keep an eye out in Matalan if you're browsing any time before Christmas. It was so much fun picking these out!

Of course, I'm well aware that many cakes and biscuits will only last a small while before getting gobbled up by our brood. But it's nice to know that, even for that short while, they shall all be dressed to impress!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Blogmas Day 11: Teddy The Red Nosed Reindeer!

If you're following my Blogmas, you will know that only the other day I was musing about Dressing Up At Christmas and debating whether or not to dress up as something this year. Well, I am still on the fence about what to do for myself (a very short yet sturdy fence that is... safety first as a pregnant woman!) and the other day whilst I was out shopping, I found the cutest outfit for BB to wear which in turn distracted me from the stress of deciding for myself.

And today, a Sunday that involved staying home out of the cold and playing with toy trucks and building bricks, I decided to get said outfit unpackaged and popped an inquisitive toddler into it. I'm not sure he understood why I was oooh-ing and aaahhh-ing quite so much, but he still gave me a grin from beneath the antler adorned and red nosed hood that made my heart happy.

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The outfit itself is lovely and warm, with very soft fluffy fabric. All I will say is that the stitching is a bit dodgy... lots of loose threads that I had to trim and there was a slightly popped seam around the right sleeve cuff that I shall have to fix soon. I would take it back but my to do list is already quite long, plus it was the last one in his size at our local branch and I haven't time to wait for a replacement. Especially at Christmas!

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To be honest, I was just excited to see him all dressed up and a popped seam wasn't going to stand in my way! And I'm glad I didn't let it. It's not every day you get to play brick towers and digger trucks with Rudolph now, is it?

Blogmas Day 10: Choose Happy

We took a quick trip to John Lewis today, simply to have a browse at all the lovely things it has to offer and I also had a birthday voucher, left all the way since July, burning a hole in my pocket looking to be spent!

We parked up, myself and PB working in unison to unravel BB from his car seat and into his coat and pram, before taking the lift up to the front entrance and into the foyer of the store.
And there they were. Full on choir singing merry Christmas carols along with a fairly out of tune keyboard and mismatching Christmas jumpers on!

I don't know why, but I felt awkward! Kind of... shy and embarrassed almost. Completely ridiculous, anyone would think I was being asked to stand up there myself and sing 12 bars or whatever of a partridge in a Pear tree! My reaction truly shocked me... how could I possibly be embarrassed by a merry group of souls singing cheerful festive tunes?!

I don't know. I just was! I somehow broke out into this sporadic sort of goofy grin and didn't know where to put my face. It's quite something to have your face spontaneously break out into an emotion without your say so! I soon found myself forcing a look of concentration into its place and made my way over to a gift stand by way of distraction from the festivities.

Which upon reflection makes me rather cross at myself. Why didn't I just stand and enjoy the bloody performance? I daresay the cheery singers would have appreciated the attention! Why didn't I just leave my spontaneous smile where it fell? Why feel so scared to show a true emotion of happiness?

In truth, I think nowadays we are all quite scared of showing happy. Or even of being happy.. so scared we are that the bubble shall burst. We see happy as if it is a sign of weakness if we revel in it .. or even a sign of being smug. Which is a shame, because that isn't the case at all. Real happy is such a rare gem to find... especially in today's times. I wish I had held onto mine today and not reverted to what I thought was more acceptable and less controversial. Heaven knows it felt good to grin from ear to ear!

Subconsciously, that's probably why I used my voucher on this.... our brand new light for the living room bookshelf! To remind me to stop over thinking and simply 'Choose Happy'.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Blogmas Day 9: Christmas Mugs!!!

There are a few things, with regards to homeware, that truly bring me great joy in life. I have absolutely no idea why, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but these small things always grab my attention and I simply have no control over my urge to purchase more and more. I am of course talking about the following:

  • Cushions - so many designs and textures and colours. A room filled from wall to wall and almost up to the ceiling of cushions would be my happy place. Like a grown up girlie version of a ball pit.
  • Throws - to go with all the cushions and for all snuggle purposes. Especially essential on sick days/hungover days/times of the month and Christmas. 
  • Candles - Cosy ambient lighting, nuff said. Add a heady scent into one and I am yours forever. 
  • Stationary - I'm a blogger and obsessive list keeper. If I run out of stationary I actually hyperventilate and come out in hives*
  • Mugs and cups -  which is hilarious as I don't drink tea or coffee but I have an OH, friends and family that do so they are still very much needed, plus I am a huge fan of hot chocolate! After all, what else besides wine can one drink whilst amid copious amounts of cushions and throws?
So, I found myself purchasing these two beauties today! 

Yes, they are novelty. Yes, I will look daft if I go to serve someone tea in them when July comes round. Yes, I have many other mugs and cups already residing in my kitchen cupboards. 


It isn't everyday you get the chance to purchase a penguin or a snowman to drink your hot beverage out of is it? And hey, it's Christmas! 

*Hyperventilation and hives are pure guesses at what would happen if I ran out of stationary because, of course, I have never allowed myself to do so. And never shall! 

Disclaimer: Matalan Christmas Novelty Mugs £4 each in store only as unfortunately, I can't find them online! I was not sponsored to review these items. 

Me, Being Mummy: 27 Weeks Pregnant!

So... You'd think as this is my second time round I would be aware of the fact that the third trimester begins next week... which of course means I literally have one week left of the second trimester. Well, I didn't know that fact, or at least I forgot about it and, not gonna lie, the realisation has been a bit of a shock. Shocks are not needed right now. The less shock the better please universe!

It's not because I am scared of labour and being mummy all over again to a new little person. OK.. maybe it's a bit that if I'm totally honest. But mostly it's because of our history with when I had BB. He came prematurely at 35 weeks and was in neonatal for 8 days. At the time I went with the flow and handled things brilliantly but like all things traumatic, the aftershock has come along in waves ever since. Usually when I am reflecting back over our journey so far or when I see pictures of him in his first few days of life. I will have to write a post about it all soon, I have never really discussed how being Mummy to a premie feels and it is something I really should talk about.

Anyway; I explain it all a bit better in the Vlog, with a cameo appearance from my very healthy and very much larger than life  premie offspring who has been flitting between being full of beans today to then being full of drama and attitude. Never a dull moment in motherhood!

I hope you enjoy the video, please remember to give me a thumbs up and subscribe for more, it's always such a lovely feeling when a new viewer joins up to my corner of the Internet. Makes me feel like less of a fruitcake speaking to myself on a camera view finder and more like I am actually sharing with a person! See you all next week for another pregnancy update ramble! Xx

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Blogmas Day 8: Dressing Up At Christmas

I love fancy dress. I always find it so much fun! And Christmas is a time of year where dressing up can really come into its own, what with all the festive outfits you can choose from. Hell, even the Christmas Jumper is something to revel in rather than smirk at nowadays. And I'm all for it! So much of life is spent worrying about what other people think of us and we all feel we need to reach perfection at all times in order to be deemed as socially acceptable, so an opportunity to have some fun and not give a hoot is right up my street! And the fact I can feel like that on Christmas day is even better!

Right now, what with being 27 weeks pregnant, I'm a bit stuck as to what to get as a festive outfit. The only thing I could think of that was round was a christmas bauble and I'm not really feeling that idea... if anything, our toddler would continuously try to roll me across the floor like he does with all the other tree ornaments. Not ideal at all.

Then I thought of a Snowman but a lot of the outfits are onesies which instantly makes me feel claustrophobic and also begs the question of exactly how I would be able to pee without having to completely undress myself. This earns even more consideration as a problem because with a 2+ foetus bouncing around on your bladder, being able to go for a pee without needing to remove all of one's clothing is paramount of importance. 

A few years ago both myself and PB dressed up as Elves and it was surprisingly comfortable! Well, actually, it shouldn't be a surprise should it? They probably need to be comfortable whilst building umpteen billion toys to keep the big boss in red happy year after year... ahem. But I really enjoyed wearing the outfit that year, so much so I didn't bat an eye when I walked into a service station to pay for our tank of petrol... I worked my pointy hat and shoes with bells on, it was great!

And it comes with a tunic and tights which for a pregnant woman is always a winner.... an Elf with a baby bump though... can you imagine?!ha!

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Back when we dressed as Elves pre parenthood!

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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Blogmas Day 7: Weekly Update 82 - My Gentle, Loud and Chatty Giant.

Sometimes, you plod along as a parent and each day feels the same. Things become quite sedentary, non eventful. Development peaks and steadies and you become quite used to things. And then, literally over night, you notice big changes. I know that it is common to feel and think that your children develop so slowly and that things happen so gradually that you can't pin point exactly how and when a change occurred. I've even been known to exclaim it myself before many times, both in real life and on this little blog corner of the world.

Well, this week, myself and PB have both noticed big changes in our little bear. For one... he has grown again. At one point it felt like I was having to move him up a dress size every couple of weeks and he has been in size 6 nappies since well before his 1st birthday in May. But then things seemed to reach an even keel and we have been happily in the 12 - 18 months category with his clothes for the whole summer and autumn. Then, the other morning, as I tried to do up the poppers on his vest and the poor thing toddled off with what could have been a pretty nasty wedgie if it wasn't for the nappy being in the way, I realised that its time to look for some 18 - 24 months stuff now.

NOTE: I am dreading the day where I won't be able to put him in vests or sleepsuits at bedtime anymore. Yes he may be walking and talking (more on that in a sec) but at bedtime, as I dress him ready for bed and popper up his vest, I can still pretend to myself that he is my baby boy. Time seriously goes so fast... mother nature just tricks you into thinking its forever by depriving you of sleep as it happens. 

The more and more he grows, the more and more I see his personality forming. And what strikes me the most is just how gentle he is. I always thought he would live up to his Taurus star sign and be like a proverbial bull in a china shop. Of course, we still have his whole life ahead, but so far he has been nothing but gentle in his approach to things. Possibly not with the cats.... excitement overrides all his senses there! But there really has been so much gentleness shining through.

One example was at his play group today. There he was, running around the sports hall, attracted as usual to all the brightly coloured footballs that were being thrown/kicked/rolled about by the other boys and girls. BB spent his whole time running up to each child and eagerly awaited being passed the ball. Of course, that moment never came because toddlers are more territorial than cats when it comes to toys! I watched and waited, expecting him to do the whole 'snatch it away and run' move that most of them do when desperation hits, but it never came. He simply watched and waited himself, following their movements and becoming a sort of unofficial piggy in the middle. Of course over time I guided him away to a toy he could actually play with himself but I was struck by the patience and gentle nature that he had demonstrated. Hell, after minutes of watching him be piggy in the middle, even I wanted to snatch him a bloody ball and run off with it!

Not that his gentle nature doesn't give way to temper from now and again. This kid is stubborn and head strong (again, holding my hands up to this!) and if you attempt to tell or show him what to do too much, he gets cross with you. This is never more apparent than at meal times. He is adamant that he can feed himself now, which he can to a point but put it this way, if we left him to substantially feed himself, then Breakfast would last all through lunch and then right on into dinner time. So, I have to say the phrase 'Mummy help' as a warning that I shall be stepping in with the odd mouthful every now and again, just as a heads up because if I was so bold as to just grab the spoon, then he would flatly refuse to open his mouth.

And, along with this emergence of a gentle, patient yet headstrong nature, comes a massive capacity for shouting, shrieking and mimicking words. I like to chat but PB is definitely the genetic factor here because this kid is not shy about being loud! We went for breakfast as a family the other morning and he launched into a 5 minute stint of just raising his voice and yelling sounds as loud as he could. He currently loves to say 'bub bye' at any relevant opportunity, but literally within the last two days he has started to mimic us as we say things. He loves to close a door to you whilst saying 'bub bye', then if you knock and say 'hello' he says 'Whossat?' before opening the door and pealing into laughter. I never knew what simple joys life could bring until now... the other night he held my Mum hostage in her bathroom with this game but even after the 10th time it hadn't got old!

Other little things are manifesting... Soft play bricks are being scaled with curiosity whereas a week or two ago he wouldn't have looked twice at them. Even the sofa is gradually becoming a climbing frame as confidence builds. He actually sits on the sofa and watches telly like a proper little boy, rather than at awkward angles or horizontally like he's done up until now.

That is why I am so pleased to have this blog. Pictures are important and videos are amazing documentation. But, writing these little weekly updates will really keep a record of all these little aspects that make up this big part of my life. The biggest part of my life really.

Additional information and findings from this week:

- My cats are always hungry. Always. If we fed them on demand they would rival Santa after gorging himself through Christmas night on a gazillion mince pies. They don;t have worms, they don't have high metabolisms, they are plain greedy and fat. Perhaps they're sympathising with my pregnancy?  
- I am proud that I have stuck to my Blogmas and uploaded the right quota of blog posts this week! It is actually rather difficult finding new material to post every day, especially if you try to piece it around a very full life! But I am really enjoying it, and I hope you are too! 
- New shoes shall be being purchased for BB this week! Along with vests and tops and trousers... pretty much everything. 
- Trying to acquire vests for a toddler aged 18 - 24 months is nigh on impossible! 
- I have consumed waaaay too many satsumas this week. I had the exact same craving when I was pregnant with BB as well. It could be worse... luckily I haven;t had any urges to chew on dish sponges like I did back then. Give it time though, give it time! 

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Blogmas Day 6: Why I'm Giving Up On Gingerbread Houses.... This Year

OK, so I might be going off on a bit of a tangent here but this is actually a big deal for me.... or at least the pregnant, irrational, hormonal me that I am residing with in my body this Christmas. I have always... ALWAYS... loved the idea of sitting on a cosy afternoon in December, Christmas movie or songs playing in the back ground, twinkle lights and festive decorations festooned all around whilst I construct a super amazing Gingerbread House that surpasses even the Witch in Hansel and Gretel's lofty expectations!

Gingerbread House Expectations...

Yet, for at least the past 5 years, every single attempt I have made to master this culinary architecture has resulted in disaster. Maybe it's because I'm a tad heavy handed? Maybe it's the impatient tendency I have to rush the structural engineering phase in order to get to the fun aesthetics part where I decide which jelly tot should go where? It might even be because I have only ever used gingerbread house making kits with their shoddy white icing cement instead of designing one myself using lots of complicated measurements before fusing it all together using skin scalding caramel? 

Gingerbread House Reality... 

Note: Above picture is from last Christmas's Instagram and accompanies the following quote:

"Had romantical notion of building Baby Bear his first ever gingerbread house.... yeah.... would have had better luck building an actual effing house. Stoopid icing."


Whatever the reasons, whatever the logic... I am officially giving up... this year. I never say never and would hate to say this bemusement I have adopted towards this particular festivity is enough to warrant forever, but I feel that myself and this sweet treat dwelling need a break from one another. For the sake of my already waning sanity, I need a step back from the disappointment and stress that comes with trying to affix a flimsy biscuit roof to an equally flimsy biscuit wall using nothing but royal icing that seems to liquify instead of harden as time goes on. 

The only thing that is a shame about my decision this year, is that I won't be able to stand in the kitchen scoffing gingerbread biscuit and jelly tots to assuage the disappointment felt from failing to assemble the bloody thing. Oh well... all the more reason to buy that Biscuit Assortment Tin I was eyeing up in Aldi the other day!

Every cloud and all that! 
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Monday, 5 December 2016

Me, Being Mummy Blogmas Day 4: Going Out Out... With A Bump

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During my first pregnancy, I was 16 weeks pregnant at Christmas time. I had a teeny bump at that point, more of a thickening really. I was scared to even sneeze in case I hurt the baby and was catching 10+ hours of glorious sleep a night, whimsically unaware of what was to come, delighted in the fact that our planned venture into parenthood was happening the following spring.

This time around though, I am going to be just over 29 weeks pregnant. I feel like I look like a bloated sea lion.... possibly at some angles even like Ursula the sea witch. Plus, this time was completely unplanned so I have not mentally made the choice to give up the usual things you sacrifice during incubating an infant. Things like, oh I dunno... your body, sleep (albeit that's been long gone for 18+ months by now), alcohol... brie.

Christmas parades in front of us pregnant women as a form of mocking torture. I seem to be surrounded by endless occasions and parties where everyone gets dressed up and indulges in drink after marvellous drink, drink I am badly in need of ... because this time around I know exactly what I am letting myself in for and, as much as I am looking forward to meeting our second born, I am also petrified and very much in need of some dutch courage. Irony at its best!

The other evening, I went out for dinner with some old work friends. They had lovingly altered their plans from being just a cocktail evening to incorporating some form of dinner so that myself + bump could come along and join in before they ran off to their booked booth at a swanky cocktail bar... literally, they RAN... the side effect of motherhood is that when you get to go out out, you run to the bar... no messing!

I felt so jealous. I love these girls, they are gorgeous inside and out. But I was so green with envy of them as I watched them teeter off down the road in high heels. For one, they wore high heels! And glamorous outfits full of sparkle for Christmas time and had lovely slim figures that filled them to top all else off.  Ursula here was wearing her one trusty wrap around dress that she discovered in a charity shop two months ago*, complete with thick woolly tights and sensible brown flat boots. I felt frumpy and ridiculous yet thankful I hadn't worn sparkle to continue the theme for the night as I would most definitely have resembled a christmas bauble!

They ordered drinks. Massive jugs of cocktails, one of them filled with my all time favourite of Long Island Iced Tea (SOB!) whilst I tried to show enthusiasm as I slugged down my pink strawberry daiquiri mocktail.

NOTE: All mocktails taste of fruit juice. They are coloured to look like cocktails but essentially, they all taste of a fruit juice mixed with lemonade. It's like trying to eat a piece of fruit instead of chocolate for dessert... better than nothing yet still completely depressing and unsatisfying. Even the word Mocktail is being highlighted whilst I type this as being questionable for spell check... its not even a word nor possibly even a concept that is acknowledged in the world of vocabulary!

So, I dealt with my feelings by doing the only logical thing a pregnant woman can do. I ordered a burrito. It made sense to take solace in the fact that hey, I may not be able to drink delicious concoctions of tingle inducing alcohol, but I can indulge in some carb laden dish with melted cheese and pulled beef without any guilt or regret. Except, I did feel the latter as soon as I had finished because it became wedged somewhere around the baby and I became aware that the nearest I was going to get to a tingle for the evening was that of acute heart burn. Which I did... somewhere around 1am.

Walking around in town on a Saturday night after 8pm with a blossoming baby bump is an amusing experience as well. People part the ways for you... some in a very exaggerated fashion that leaves you wondering if you have farted and not known about it (very possible... subconscious flatulence is a common pregnancy side effect... I swear). At first I thought I was being paranoid but when a group of ladies chose to walk along the curb and risk oncoming traffic so that I could have the pavement to myself, I began to realise a recurring theme. Another small gathering who were smoking outside another bar briefly locked eye contact with me as I passed, which then quickly faltered onto my baby bump. Cue lots of flapping to get the smoke away from me and more dodging out of the way. All rather considerate really, but it just added to my feeling out of place on the night life scene. I felt like I should have been clanging a bell and yelling 'Unclean!' at one point. It was a relief to get to my friends and not be alone.

I was home by 10.30pm, paid my friend for babysitting and sat down on the sofa with a hot chocolate, a little more bloated and a little more sad than I was before I had left for the evening. To add insult to injury, my dear PB was out on a swanky work do where he and his co workers were also dressed up to the nines and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. And heaven knows they all deserve their time out, they all work hard and deserve to let their hair down more than anyone I know. But it just felt that little bit more like I was on my own, feeling frumpy and sad and as if I was missing out.

I know there will be a time where I can fit into a dress and feel confident again... it's just the idea of all the hard work that lies before me to get there that is daunting (that includes pushing a baby out, recovering and then skipping burritos for the foreseeable future). I know there will be a time where I will be able to drink my own weight in cocktails if I want to... the irony is I won't because the idea of coping as a mum with an enlarged liver and a dehydrated brain makes me recoil in horror and want to drink mineral water for the next 20 years. And I know that the majority of all of these thoughts and feelings are singular to myself and myself only, no doubt exacerbated by a hormonal surge brought on by the growth of the tiny little person who is happily residing in my tummy.

But, for now, I am grieving the times I used to be the pretty girl in the sparkly dress. I am missing my long island iced tea and the funny and tipsy chats I used to have from the inside of a group of girls as we teetered down the street in high heels. I could feel guilty for feeling this way, some would even think me ungrateful and irrational. But, I see it as being human. By no means am I saying that I don't want to be pregnant or have this baby, I am merely acknowledging that the sacrifices we make to bear them can hit us smack in the face sometimes.

And this time, I felt it. Right between the eyes.

*I have nothing against said wrap dress being from a charity shop. Nor really even anything against said wrap dress as it is nice and comfy and relatively flattering to wear... for a sea lion of course. 

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Me Being Mummy Blogmas Day 5 This Year's Special Decoration

I am a HUGE sentimentalist. I once read about this lovely tradition regarding Christmas Tree Decorations. You buy one decoration for your child each year, then on the Christmas that they move out and are in their own home with their own Christmas Tree, you then make them a gift of all the decorations you have accumulated for them over the years and they shall have a wonderful start to their very own tree ornament collection. One that is full of symbolism and magic from memorable Christmases as a family and a building block for them to then add on their own offsprings ornaments, should the idea take their fancy.

Therefore, each year, a new decoration is accumulated. My Mum actually likes to be involved and this year we were out shopping and she came across this cute little guy in Asda:

Not only is he sparkly and wearing a Santa's outfit, but this teddy is symbolic to our son because, of course, BB's name is in actual fact: Teddy. Plus, my mum being the one buying it for him means the sentimental aspect is two fold across two generations. There may well be a day in the very distant future, when I am a guest at my son's home, marvelling at his Christmas tree, and I will come across this reminder of how myself and my Mum chose him this ornament whilst he was a toddler, wedged in the seat of a trolley at a busy supermarket, looking bemused and eating a wotsit. 

See... sentimental, through and through. 

Christmas Window Shopping Wish List For Her 2016

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This is basically a shameless post listing all the things on my own theoretical Christmas Wishlist this year. Not because I am greedy, grabby or conceited, but simply because this post is entitled 'For Her' and ... well, I am a Her. Of course I am going to choose things that I would be happy to find under the tree or in my stocking.... it'd be bloody ridiculous for me to list things I wouldn't be fussed about receiving myself wouldn't it? Ha! 

I may have gone a little bit wild on the choosing side so rather than write up each thing and still be sat here next Christmas, I have simply listed and linked to all of the relevant items. There's a huge array of beautiful treasures, ranging from beauty to comfort to stationary to glitz and glam, with a little bit of baking thrown in for good measure at the end! Feast your eyes and be inspired! 

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Did you enjoy this post? Check out last week's Christmas Shopping Wish List for Toddlers 2016 for even more festive inspiration! 

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Me, Being Mummy Blogmas Day 3: Advent Calendar Tradition

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have had an adventure calendar in the run up to Christmas. Picture one's at first, followed by chocolate one's as I became older and for a brief stint before motherhood (when I actually had a little bit of spare cash and no guilt about treating myself to things I wanted rather than needed!) I even bought myself a Beauty Advent Calendar that bestowed skincare and makeup goodies to me all through the festive period... it was glorious!

Nowadays, pennies are pinched but up until a couple of weeks ago I still had even higher expectations from the whole advent calendar situation, only this time it wasn't for me.. it was for BB. But, like I say, lack of funds and most importantly time and energy, have meant that despite having grandiose ideas of making him an advent calendar out of felt and embroidery, or a bespoke hand carved wooden one with drawers hiding an intricate array of treasures lovingly handpicked by yours truly.... I have in fact found myself reverting to type and panic buying a dairy milk chocolate one in Asda that is so flimsy, each morning as I open a door, I rip half the entire bloody cardboard off with it as well.

But, to BB, it is still a magical thing. Well, that is what I am saying it is. I think it's highly likely that instead of seeing and experiencing the wonder of Christmas each morning, he in fact just sees the chocolate and all other significance is wasted. As I am trying to piece the cheap, ripped cardboard back together and making whimsical gestures to how lovely and colourful the festive illustration of the day is in the little window... BB is usually already across the room nibbling on his morsel of chocolate and onto his next object of interest. Usually the telly or his yellow toy truck.

And is it any wonder? I have to keep reminding myself that he is a little being aged the grand total of 18 months and that expecting him to grasp the notion of Christmas at such a little age is completely ridiculous. Baby steps are taken... literally. For example, he loves the coloured ornaments and the lights on our tree... so much he tried to eat them, but he doesn't yet know why we have a tree. To be honest. Neither do I... why DO we have trees?? I digress! The point is he has made that progress since last year, when he was 6.5 months and didn't even acknowledge said Tree.

I have come to realise that, through having all these high expectations such as the ones I list above in relation to advent calendars, I have in fact almost missed out on embracing the beautiful reality. It doesn't matter what type of advent calendar I give BB, it is the act of taking part in the tradition that counts. The fact it is something that I have always taken part in at christmas and am now helping him take part it. A passing on of traditions. Seeing his face light up every morning when I reach to get his calendar off of the book case is so sweet and really makes my enjoyment of the whole thing even more special than ever.

Now... The only flaw is trying to explain that all 24 chocolates can't be consumed at once... I have to admit, that part of the experience has been far from magical! Give it time though, he will learn. That's what traditions are all about!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Me, Being Mummy: 26 Weeks Pregnant!

I have seen so many pregnancy update videos where the mums who are giving their updates look so well put together... hair and makeup immaculate, real clothes on instead of comfy loungewear with lovely back drops on that make you both want to listen about their pregnancy and then ask for tips on interiors!

I, am most definitely not so refined. If I tried to be so well poised and put together, I don't think these updates would even be happening and I would rather upload something than nothing because in reality, I am memory making for the time in my life when pregnancy is no longer on my life's horizon and snippets like these will bring it all back to me.

So here is this week's update, complete with fit inducing christmas tree lights, not a scrap of makeup and last year's penguin themed pyjamas! It's been a week of pain! I have a problem with my pelvis and the ligaments holding it together so shall be seeking advice about that over the coming weeks and in the mean time trying to embrace the fact that I walk like Jemima Puddleduck would with constipation. My tummy feels stretched to the max already and I have had to sit down several times this week over a panicky feeling that my bump could literally split in half! Completely irrational thinking but, hey, that is my constant state of thinking these days! Lots of other snippets to enjoy so I won't prattle on and ruin the update, grab a cuppa, potentially prepare yourself for a giggle and watch the update below...

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Me, Being Mummy Blogmas Day 2: Baking Cookies!

I love baking. Ever since I was little in my Nan's kitchen, wearing a pinny and feeling really important because I was in charge of stirring... it has just been a happy pass time for me. And it has even more happiness involved with it now because I get to do it with my own little helper.

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Chocolate chip fiend!

Although I must admit, the majority of the time my little helper's idea of help simply meant reaching into the mixing bowl to eat the chocolate chips. Ha!

We have a proper Christmas baking day planned nearer Christmas Day, and are still in the process of planning exactly what to make... but this afternoon after a particularly sleepy day heralded by the dreaded enamel war that is teething, it seemed to make sense to do a relaxing and non strenuous activity so I googled chocolate chip cookie recipes and hey presto! We were off. 

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No better sight than cookies about to enter the oven is there? 

I'll link the recipe we used here in case you'd like to attempt it yourself, they turned out a little bit cake like but they were still delicious! Now all I have to do is find the will power not to munch the whole lot down in front of the telly this evening...

Oh sod it, it's Christmas!

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Little round offerings of yum!

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Me, Being Mummy Blogmas Day 1: Christmas Tree!

Now, I'm not making any promises and must forewarn that I am the type of person who carries all the best intentions in sticking with commitments and then usually burns out from all the stress and impractical expectations. But... for the sake of hope and optimism... I am happy to announce that I shall be partaking in Blogmas this year!
Completely sporadic decision, probably completely unattainable too (note: I am literally writing this down to the wire of 10.30pm due to a busy day being a working mum!), but I would really like to try and get a post out every day. Partly to grab a sense of achievement for doing it, partly to see if I can do it and mostly because I think it would help in getting the festive juices going! I'm really looking forward to it!

Today's post is all about our Christmas tree! Every year I have this lovely vision about how things are going to go when putting up the tree (in fact I even wrote a post about it here this time last year) and yet again, my idyllic musings never came to pass.

PB hurriedly hauled the slightly damp and cobweb encrusted boxes and bags of Christmas decorations in from our outside storage before dashing out to the door to do a food shop with BB in tow,  and I sifted through them briefly enough to notice that our lights had gone missing,  before typing a hurried reminder to PB to pick up 100+ plain white twinkle lights and legging it out of the door to work.

That was two days ago.

So, today, I made the decision to tackle the whole tree decorating task by myself whilst PB was on a day shift... complete with a bump, 18 month old toddler and 2 cats as company. My first discovery was that PB had brought back one pack of 100 pure white lights and one pack of 100 multicoloured lights from the supermarket. Which I wholeheartedly embrace because, hey, they're just lights right? Pregnancy hormones (and a slight tendency towards perfectionism!)  may have made me start to panic a little bit about not having matching lights, but when I discovered the toddler trying to eat them whilst rolling a handful of baubles across the room, I suddenly realised it was the least of my worries. And, ultimately, I have a home, a family and the means to have a lovely Christmas complete with tree. Who cares about lights that don't match?!

My background soundtrack whilst I tried to whimsically hang each beloved ornament was the reel of programmes on the Cbeebies channel, mostly because I was trying to distract the toddler from eating the tree and it's ornaments as much as possible. Bing Crosby eat ya heart out!
Half of our decorations are actually missing... consequences of moving house back in February. I'm sure they're somewhere... more than likely hiding in the same place that the lights can be found in. Again, this is probably a blessing in disguise as it minimises the amount of fodder that can be consumed by BB.

I also bought some stickers this year, consisting of a lovely collection of snowflakes and gold stars that can be stuck to windows or walls to add that special festive quality to a room. All was going well, and I was happily sticking my snowflakes and stars onto our ground floor living room window... before suddenly realising that 1) I was still in my tatty pyjamas because my nice ones were in the tumble dryer..  and I wasn't wearing a bra! 2) I had peacock hair and the remnants of the day before's eye make up smeared across my face and 3) my bump is now too big for aforementioned pyjamas and therefore was naked, exposed and pressing up against the cold glass window pane! I hurriedly stuck the last stickers in place before quickly withdrawing back into the room and drawing the curtains so forcefully that I almost pulled them down. Please God/Santa/Christmas Elf/whoever is in charge of fate in December... please don't let any of the neighbours have seen me!

But, despite not being the most predictable of mornings with perhaps the odd questionable bit here and there... I am actually proud of my efforts and pleased that I managed to get things finished. Seeing BB's eyes light up at the sight of all the colours, twinkles and baubles (insert the word obsessed here!) was more magical than any ideal scenario that I could have imagined. I learnt that I usually put so much pressure on reaching perfection in situations like this, that it actually results in the opposite type of experience. Today, I embraced odd lights, a toddler taking off tree ornaments as quickly as I could hang them and at one point even the cats got involved and knocked down an entire box of tinsel. It was fun, and I am in love with our tree... in all its odd and colourful glory!

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