Thursday, 31 January 2013

Come Tweet with me...?

I'm bored of being germy and unproductive so today I've:

• bought light bulbs for the awkward light in the lounge

• scoffed illicit McDonald's fries & milkshake & sworn "This Baby" to secrecy.

• bought a humidifier for the girl's to have in their bedrooms (currently alternate nights) in an effort to actively combat their nasty coughs.

• tidied the house up and got back to grips with the washing situation.


Perhaps most importantly......

I've finally sorted my Twitter account out, (long story) whoooooo yeah!

I'm Kate_pirouette

If I haven't managed to track you down yet to follow you, let me know so I can add you.


Loving: Poundland. I am probably the last one to the party I know, but whoah there EVERYTHING is a pound? One solitary British pound? I can barely tear myself away.....

Wishing: my dear old friend Joey the most marvellous memorable wedding day Saturday. I can't wait to see her and catch up.

Craving: firecracker lobster crisps. I can't get enough, if I could have a nosebag of them fitted I would seriously consider it. Wow crisp eating with no hands.....

Missing: small handbags. Illegal as a mother. Where would I keep the massive collection of emergency spare things that I am only going to need when I don't have them?

Worrying: about my girls they both have awful coughs, I can't bear hearing them. I am one of life's worriers.

Next week: Wondering, Loathing, Cooking, Reading, Listening.

Join in?


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Muppety things illness has made me do...

I am the worlds worst ill person. You may have noticed? Say; "nooooo, nooo, not at all, you've barely complained!" No?

I am like a mischievous child, in that, if I am seriously ill, I go quiet. Very, very, quiet. When I had a blood clot during my first pregnancy I was terrified into near silence. I coughed myself awake one night to find blood in my mouth, one of the "Get yourself to hospital NOW" warning signs. Mr Husband Sir was sleeping peacefully next to me. I woke him up with one word, said very gravely. He knew immediately there was something very wrong. It's when I'm not whingy that he worries.

Thankfully it was nothing. It transpired that my blood thinning medication had caused my gums to spontaneously bleed during the night. This happened to me a lot. Usually in front of strangers. I'd be buying loo roll and the till lady would point out that I was inadvertently mimicking Dracula with blood smeared chops.

If I am a little bit poorly, I have a tendency to feel sorry for myself. Pathetic I know, but unavoidable I'm afraid.

Yesterday I spent pretty much the whole day in bed, coughing, sneezing, nose-blowing, deliriously sleeping, sweating croaking and complaining. Thankfully my Mum took over looking after the children until Mr Husband came home. Mr Husband was then a love and let me sleep rather than do bed time duty. I watched Eastenders in bed and slept for ten hours solid.

Today I dragged myself out of bed (and I do mean DRAGGED), had a bath, snapped unnecessarily at my Mum and went to work. My plan was to sit at my desk, look pale and revolting and get sent home. Didn't happen. Quite rightly probably. After a couple of ibuprofen and a cuppa I managed to feel a little more human.

I ate some lunch in the form of a very dull M&S sandwich, the first thing I'd eaten for an age. After lunch I perked up a bit more so managed a whole day and left to go home at 6.30pm.

Since being home I've fallen over my slippers, put a scoop of baby formula into my tea by accident, burnt my hand on the cooker top and sent a text message to my best girl unwittingly suggesting that she might need carrots and FISTING rods. Thank god she knows me well enough to laugh. Suspect she thinks I was being accidentally smutty (I wasn't).

So, I'm giving up and going to bed. In a blaze of glory/snot.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Poorly, poorly, poor me

I have flu. It's not a cold it's definitely flu. The babies have have both been poorly and are thankfully on the mend, but my bid to be Florence Nightingale has meant I have contracted lurgy.

I am possibly the world's worst ill person. I have been known to cry at having a sore throat. Thankfully my dear mama has taken charge of the small people (That Baby's still off school) and has sent me off to bed. I can hear This Baby kicking off in the kitchen, she is small and cute, but she's got one helluva wah!

I ache, I cough, I'm pale and hot and cold and grumpy all at the same time. The radiator in our bedroom was fixed yesterday and we spent last night trying to sleep in a sauna which didn't help.

My friend Lucky popped some cake in this morning when she discovered I was not attending baby group. She's a good lass.

I can't face eating it yet. I really must be ill.

But, it did make me do a little half smile. Even when I'm sick and miserable I have the best friends. If she were here she'd tell me to man up and then feed me salacious gossip to make me smile. When it comes to cake & gossip, Lucky's the Queen.

This would help. This would help A LOT.

Liebster? Who, Miebster?

I am honoured and privileged to have been nominated for not one, but two Liebster Awards by the delightful Amy at Cocktails in Teacups and by lovely Rhiannon over at The Sparkly Panda.  I love these two blogs and the ladies behind them.  They are true to life, good honest folk and I feel very at home at round at their blogs. My little blog is still the new kid on the block, so it's extra special to me.  I'd like to thank my parents, my agent, ahem, no wait, forget that.....

It does seem that a fair few people on my list of nominees have already received a Liebster award, so apologies if that is the case.  I am slightly conscious that the Liebster Award could potentially be a kind of blog based equivalent of the Herman the German Friendship Cake, when these did the rounds in my village a short time ago people eventually started to run away in fear, but I believe that was more because you had to put up with a smelly cake taking up worktop space in your kitchen for days on end, than for any other reason.  As far as I know I do not have to post any of you a small piece of pulsating dough, unless you would particularly like one?  Anyway, my point is; feel free not to respond if you have already been nominated elsewhere, but I am chuffed to bits to have received TWO awards so I'm going to take great delight in playing along.

So!  For anyone still in the dark the rules are:
  • List 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions which are given to you by your nominator
  • Ask 11 new questions for all the bloggers that you nominate to win the award
  • Nominate 9 bloggers with less than 200 followers to win the award
  • Go to each of the blogger's pages to let them know about their nomination.
Basically it's a nice way to promote up and coming bloggers, increase visibilty and spread the love a little.

Cool huh?  So, let's go:

11 Random facts about lil ol' me:

1.  My firstborn was named after a footballer to punish her for crying so much as a newborn baby.  We don't talk about it.  Thankfully it's only her second middle name. What can I say, I was tired, emotional and easily led...

2.  I always wear both of my Grandmother's wedding rings.  I decided to forgo an engagement ring as I couldn't bear to be parted with them.  The two women never met, and I never even knew my Grandmother on my Mother's side, but strangely enough they both had pretty much identical simple gold bands.  Looking at them on my hand always makes me smile.

3.  I am a veritable fountain of Sherlock Holmes based knowledge.  That dude rocked.

4.  I hate musicals, for some reason people bursting into song embarrasses the bejesus out of me.  A fight or flight instinct comes over me and I will TAKE DOWN EVERY MOTHER-HUBBARD ONE OF YOU THAT TRIES TO STOP ME FROM LEAVING.  Ahem, sorry.

5.  I can walk on stilts.  Not a skill I use a great deal.  Maybe I should put it on my CV?

6.  I have a mortal fear of buffets.  If I'm the first one up, and the food has been freshly laid out and is untouched, then fine.  But as that never happens I generally steer clear.  Even when I'm starving, the thought makes me gag.

7.  I don't go anywhere without an umbrella and some antibacterial gel.  I hate getting wet and I hate getting germy.  The umbrella thing got worse after going to see Bill Bailey with Mr Husband Sir at Wembley in the rain and my cheap Primark shoes melted.  It transpired that they looked lovely, but where made of cardboard pulp.  I had to strap Sainsbury's bags to my feet and walk through London looking like a bag lady.  I don't even want to think about the germs that must have gotten onto my feet!

8.  I can't be in a car for more than 20 minutes without falling asleep.  Unless I am driving the car of course.  Then I'm safe for around two whole hours.  After that you might want to take over....

9.  Spiral staircases fill me with dread.  I just freeze.  I once held up a guided tour at Oxford Tower by having a complete blibble about going up or down the stairs.  Cue evil stares and tuts from grannies and several other tourists.  

10.  My dog ate my hamster when I was nine.  RIP Pickle.  I was devastated.  Everyone I told laughed.

11.  I have never seen, Grease, Dirty Dancing, Jaws or Star Wars all the way through.  I have film-based commitment issues.  And Grease is a musical, see number four.

Here are Amy's questions:

What new years resolutions did you make? (if any, if not, why?)
I try not to make any formal resolutions, because it makes me feel like I'm setting myself up to fail.  But I did make a mini resolution to speak to my little girl more lovingly.  I caught myself shouting at her to "GET YOUR SHOES ON!" before school and hated the way I sounded.  She's four, she doesn't need that.

If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you'd buy?
It sounds really boring, but I've been really hankering after a Sleepy Nico baby carrier for This Baby.  They're gorgeous, but at £69+ I just can't justify the expense at the moment.  

If someone asked for a book recommendation, what would you give them?  
I adore Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland.  It is the only book I've ever read more than three times.

What is the one place you really HAVE to visit before you die?
Clovelly in Devon.  I feel so at home there.  I swear Crazy Kate's cottage was my home in a former life.

If you had one piece of advice for your 16 year old self, what would it be?
There is NOTHING wrong with you.  You are as good as anyone else in the world, don't put yourself down.  Oh, and when you go to see Peaches at The Forum in London in around 2008, you're going to bump into Noel Fielding.  KISS HIM!

What TV show that no longer airs do you miss most? 
I LOVED The League of Gentlemen, it appealed to my (occasionally) dark sense of humour.

What one hobby do you wish you'd pursued?
I wanted to take up the cello at school, but for some reason I wasn't allowed.  I should have made more fuss.

If you could time travel to what age, what one would you go to and why?
The reign of Queen Victoria would be quite cool.  I very much fancy a bustle...

What is the thing you most find attractive about the opposite sex?  
Intelligence.  Mr Husband Sir is a smart cookie,  I could tell that from the off. 

Who/what is your blogger inspiration?
Three ladies, I can't narrow it down between them:  Fritha at Tigerlilly Quinn, I've followed her blog for a long time now, and I just love it.  And my Grandpa was called Wilf and every time she says it my heart sings.  Charlotte at I'm Only Saying What You're Thinking, because she is usually saying pretty much EXACTLY what I am thinking.... and Hattie at Free Our Kids, because what she's trying to do is really bloody inspiration, I admire her a great deal.  

And finally... coffee or tea? Does that mean I can't say vodka?  Coffee flavour vodka?  Ok, ok, coffee.

Rhiannon's questions are:
1. If you are stuck on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Insect repellent, an alarm clock & a first aid kit;)

2. Do you have a hidden talent?
Not sure that I do, it must be pretty well hidden!

3. Dress/Skirt or trousers to wear for the rest of your life?
Dresses ALL the way. If I never wear another pair of trousers that's fine by me.

4. What's your favourite flavour of cupcake?
Chocolate! Preferably made by my friend Lucky, she makes the best cakes.

5. What are your biggest blog inspirations?
I read blogs for a long time before I plucked up the courage to create my own.  If I could ever be half as entertaining as someone like Lakota at Faith, Hope & Charity Shopping, I'd be a happy girl indeed.

6. 10 years from now, where do you want to be?
Right where I am now, with my family by my side.

7. What is the one food you could live on forever?
Fishfingers! God I love 'em!

8. What is your favourite day of the year?
I have never thought about that before. Maybe Boxing Day, the pressures off, the telly's good and we're all together. Ooooh, and there are usually nibbly snacks around!

9. Morning or night person?
I used to be a night person, now I'm somewhere in between. I'm way better at managing mornings than I used to be. I have the Smalls to thank for that.

10. How do you spend your free time?
Being with my family, drinking coffee and yapping with my friends.

11. Why did you start blogging?
To capture my daily life somewhere, to record my children's lives, to have my say, to air my thoughts, to learn, to be inspired and to join in the fun!

I would like to nominate the following, deeply fabulous blogs, all of whom are well, well worth a visit:

1. Painted Style
2. A Rush of Love
3. Water Under It
4. My Little Acorns
5. Serendipity in Chaos
 6. I Write This Sitting in the Kitchen Sink
7. Puddle of Grace
8. Wallflower - Beauty & Babies
9. Mum in a Hurry

And these are my questions:

1. What was the first single or album you owned?
2. What do you have recurring dreams about?
3. What was your nickname at school, and why?
4. Have you ever had road rage?
5. What can't you leave the house without?
6. What song can you sing from start to finish without checking the words?
7. Ever chatted up a stranger? Dish!
8. What's your Wu Tang name?
9. Have you ever danced on the tables?
10. Where's your happy place?
11. Can you do the Macarena?

Go forth and create responses my pretties!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Man Logic...

Him:  I've saved  nearly £30 on Rocksmith!  I am so good at saving money.

Me:  Wow £30 eh?  That IS impressive! I wish I'd managed to save £30 on something.

Him:  Yep, check out my skills.

Me:  So, what is Rocksmith?

Him:  A Playstation game.  The one that teaches you to play guitar, you know!  The one I really wanted to get, the one I pretty much bought the Playstation for...

Me:  Oh yes, the Playstation that cost £180.  Isn't that also the reason that you had to buy a new guitar?

Him:  Erm, yes.

Me:  The new guitar that cost £50

Him:  Erm, yes

Me:  So in order to SAVE £30 on a game you had to SPEND £230?

Him:  Erm, yes.

Me:  Nice logic.  Real nice.  What do I get then?


The loft  - enter at your own risk....

I used to mock my Dad about his loft, saying it was Steptoe's Shop up there. It IS like Steptoe's shop up there to be fair. For those who aren't familiar Steptoe & Son was a British comedy broadcast in the 1960's and 70's about a pair of rag and bone men with a shop filled to the rafters with useless rubbish.

Our loft is totally squeezed full, every conceivable space is packed. What's up there you may well ask. The only answer to that would be EVERYTHING. You name it, there's one in the loft. It would probably be quicker to list what was not somewhere in Dad's loft. We're not just talking your bog standard Christmas tree, boxes of decorations, that sort of thing. I swear he could easily kit out an entire other house with all the clobber up there.

It particularly amuses me because outwardly my dear old Pa is an incredibly neat and organised man. The loft is his Achilles heel, the guilty secret that would badly let down his public image....and I know it's there MWAHAHAHA!

I sometimes lay in bed at night worrying that the weight of the lift contents will crumble the ceiling onto our sleeping bodies, and that we'll be found, weeks later in a catacomb like tomb made up of waste paper baskets, dog beds, train sets and old cheque book stubs. I used to complain like mad that he needed to get it sorted, well not any more!

Before Christmas (expensive wedding present) microwave inexplicable broke. It may have had something to do with me snapping off an important looking piece of plastic from the door with my dressing gown sleeve (it was EARLY) but I haven't confessed to that happening so it must have been Mr Husband Sir's fault. Ahem.

I recounted our tale of woe (well, part of it) to my Dad, who said nothing. Went up to the loft, and came down minutes later with a replacement microwave. What a star!

When the kettle gave up on life (limescale this time, not me) he produced from the loft a choice of not one, but two alternative kettles.

On Thursday our lounge lamp passed away. We changed bulbs, fuses and hours of surgery passed in vain. I girded myself for the thought that the corner of our sitting room would from now on be a dark and soulless place. My Pa, in respectful silence left me alone with my thoughts.

He returned, from the loft, with an identical lamp that I did not know existed, this is less weird than it sounds, he gave us the lamp originally, and used to have three the same, he hasn't been cloning our furniture for emergencies. Anyway he lit up the room once again, and quietly retreated to the East Wing (the extension).

It turns out my lovely Dad is not a secret hoarder, or a lunatic of any kind. The reality is that he is SO organised and SO prepared for any twists, turns and minor mishaps that may occur, he has a whole loft full of contingency plans so we don't have to suffer.

I love that man.  And I am never mocking his Steptoe loft again.

So which are you?  Hoarder or chucker?  Can you part with what someday might be just what you need?  Do you plan for what might happen, or go with whatever comes along?  Is there anyone else out there with a loft full of just-in-case?

Saturday, 26 January 2013


A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2013.

 4/52 With Mumma, in the snow.

"This Baby" LOVED the snow, I wasn't sure she'd pay much attention, but she was fascinated. Her chicken pox spots from last week have nearly all healed, but the final few are pretty much covered by her hat. Which is handy

4/52 Party dress

"That Baby" wearing her best party dress before going off to see her little friends. We have the rule that at a party she can eat whatever she wishes. I don't want to be the Mummy that spoils her fun insisting she can only have cherry tomatoes whilst she's surrounded by orange faced, Wotsit fuelled friends. She loves the idea of eating crisps 'til her heart's content nearly as much as she loves the actual party. We stuff her full of vegetables when she gets home, she doesn't mind by then, she's on a party high!

Friday, 25 January 2013

My First ever Graze box

I am not all that keen on spending a lot of money whilst I'm at work.  The temptation of being in a big town draws me to the shops and I end up buying things I don't need.  I try to restrict myself to the Charity Shops, the cake shop and the Curry stall, but unless there is something that we genuinely really need that's where I try to draw the line.  The only problem is that I'm a shameless glutton and I am terrible at making sandwiches!  I make them for That Baby to take for her packed lunch, but I just find them dull and unappetising.  I have to be clever if I'm going to avoid venturing out for lunch so I thought I'd try out something a bit healthy to go together with Cake Wednesday.  This week I took delivery of my first ever Graze Box.  Graze are a London-based company apparently started up by seven friends.  They deliver carefully chosen, healthy snacks in a neat little box through your letter box.  Their online site allows you to rate their snacks so your boxes are tailor made for you and only contain things that you'll enjoy nibbling.  Brilliant!  I love a friendly, personable company and they really are.  Quirky too.

I wanted to make sure I could take my box to work with me so I ordered it to arrive a day early.  I didn't want to have to wait for the postman, he's an unpredictable chap!  Rather handily everything is neatly packaged up in a very good looking cardboard box that is just the right size to fit through a letter box.   They're jolly clever really because they also ensure that nothing within the box needs to be refrigerated.  Sensible.  My first box was free, I'd been sent a voucher code by a friend.   You can cancel at any time so I thought I might as well give my freebie a go.  My box contained four plastic pots.  Inside were a honeycomb flapjack, black pepper pistachios, a selection of nibbly little breadsticks and a pot of dried fruit.  Now, I am not usually a big fan a dried fruit, but this was delicious!  Dried pineapple, so yummy, I'd no idea!  In fact it was all good.  My particular favourite from this box was the "British Barbecue" selection, with basil baguettes, rosemary crostini and smoked almonds and seeds, I hoovered them up!

It was so good in fact that I have decided to order more, and actually even pay for them!  If you're in the UK and would like to give a Graze box a go give me a shout and I'll give you a code for a free box :)

Over and out!


I've decided to join in with Currently hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT and ET . This appeals to me as it  inspires me to be a bit more thoughtful. So I'm currently....

Watching: The Borgias. The Sky has gone! Pennies are being saved. My Dad has leant us his DVD box set, and whilst its no Game of Thrones it is starting to get quite gripping. I never want to be garrotted.

Instagramming: the snow. I'm a little fed up of snow now, well, icy slush. Either lets have lovely powdery perfect snow or nothing at all please.

Tasting: peanut brittle. I'm addicted. The salty, the sweet, the salty, the sweet. YUMMERS!

Listening: I love having my iPod on shuffle, that way I'm pleasantly surprised by what is chosen for me. This morning it was "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode. Dooo dooo doooo.....

Learning: my own job! After nearly eight months on Maternity Leave I'm trying to keep up with all the changes and I'm learning how to be Work Me again.

Next week: Loving, Wishing, Craving, Missing, Worrying.

Join in?


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Quick! Pretty New button!

Thanks to Fritha at Tigerlilly Quinn and her much appreciated design skills I have a fabulous, a beautiful new blog button.  Yay!

I love this picture, it was taking basking in the sunshine on our Honeymoon in Prague.  I had never imagined that it would be so warm and sunny there.  Looking at it brings back some very happy memories.

If you would like to grab one, please feel free! Take a little peak to the right and you should clap eyes on my pretty little beauty, together with her code :) In return if you have a button you think would make my little blog a little extra pretty please let me know.....

If you'd like to know how to create a blog button, the wonderful Tabetha at The Closet Intellectual has an excellent tutorial on creating one from scratch.


Cake Wednesday

Hello to you!

Yesterday I was at work so it must have been Cake Wednesday again - ta da da dah!  Sort of one of my favourite days of the week (because of the cake) and sort of less so (because I'm away from my kids).

Some days everything seems to go right for me in the morning, and some days it's a total disaster.  I swear I don't do anything differently on the good days, but everything just seems to run smoothly.  Yesterday was a smooth running day so I fed the small people, left them with my dear Mama who was on Baby-watch and headed off to work - early!  Unheard of for me! Mr Husband Sir even swept off the snow that had collected on my windscreen.  Happy day :)

As I wasn't rushing I managed to listen to my ipod on the walk into work.  I usually park a short distance away from my office to avoid parking charges and walk in.  I love listening to music whilst i walk. I love that bubble feeling, that you're only one that can hear what you hear.  I love the fresh air and the stroll wakes me up (a little).  The only downside is that I do have a tendency to start walking to the beat of whatever I'm listening to, so sometimes I probably look a little bonkers - but hey, what's new!

This morning I popped my musical friend on shuffle and was treated to the Pixies track "Where Is My Mind?" which I first heard during the final scene in Fight Club, you know the one, where Tyler and Marla are stood holding hands in a high up, glass fronted office building looking out over the city as all hell breaks loose.  It's a huge, dramatic tune and set me off walking at quite a pace.  Then it skipped to House of Love's Shine On, which I also love.  It's been buzzing around in my head all day.  That and Edelweiss for some reason!

Anyway!  I didn't photograph yesterday's cake, largely because it didn't hang around long enough!  But I went for a Mille-Feuille, again from Patisserie Valerie.  Their picture:

Dear lord it was like I had died and gone to a vanilla custard based heaven!  I managed to get crumbs of flaky pastry all over myself in my haste to eat it, but it was worth every scrap of washing powder!

So, what with cake and excellent musical accompaniment yesterday turned out well!  How were your days?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

One good deed means sneaking about in the dark.

In my little girl's class at school there's a Mummy who's been having a tough time lately. She's young, funny, full of life and constantly, almost worryingly, positive. But she's had knock after knock lately. As well as having a daughter the same age as That Baby, she also has the most beautiful smiling little boy who's just a toddler. Her Husband has left her and moved abroad. She manages not only to be unerringly supportive of her children, entirely on her own, she also single handedly cares for her elderly grandmother. She's an amazing lady, but if you told her that she wouldn't have any of it.

Tomorrow is her birthday, but she's celebrating without her children. Their everso thoughtful Daddy had taken them away on a family holiday that just so happens to clash with her one and only birthday. Coincidence? She says it is, I say "What a worm!"

So, I organised a little surprise birthday party for her at my house yesterday, only I didn't tell her, that would ruin the surprise a bit. Friends arrived, cakes were arranged on dainty little plates, teapots warmed etc. Then I had a message to say another friend had turned up and whisked her away to spend a lovely day elsewhere. Not knowing about our plans she had no choice but to cancel. It wasn't a problem, we ate cake in her honour and drank tea and chatted and had a lovely time.

This evening I put on my black coat, gloves, pulled up my hood and stealthily made my way to her door. I knocked and left her a parcel of cakes, a gift, card and a bottle of wine on her doorstep.

I didn't stay to talk to her, it was late (ish), well after 9 o'clock, and I worried that if she's anything like me she might be in her pyjamas! Besides, I thought the surprise of a stealth parcel would be nicer. Plus I somehow didn't want her to thank me. Does that sound strange? I just wanted her to know that I was thinking of her. So I stole away into the night. Pretty flippin fast considering the ice!

And as I sneaked away I felt SO happy! A bigger and better high than any drug I'm sure.

I think it's so important to do little things to make people happy every now and then. And certainly worth it.

What can I do next I wonder.....

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Just lately we've:

• Finally had the snow the rest of the country had been enjoying. Not much, but enough to close the school and make happy children.

• Cancelled our subscription to Sky to save some pennies. A huge step for Mr Husband Sir who is pretty obsessed with football. He's doing well so far, listening to games on the radio. That Baby thinks its the strangest thing ever that the telly won't pause any more. I've already been told that it'll only last until the new series of Game of Thrones begins in April. He loves all that medieval bonking and beheading malarkey.

• Eaten, eaten, eaten! Cold weather makes me extra hungry. Tried not to stuff ourselves purely with unhealthy stuff, we put a whole butternut squash in the oven to roast the other day, then went out for a walk. The smell we came home to was incredible! We had sausages and butternut mash, made a nice change, plus enough left over for "This Baby's" lunch the next day, hurray!

• Panicking! We've had two scares with This Baby in the last few days. The first was when we were out in the snow, This Baby was wrapped up very warmly in her buggy and underneath her waterproof cover. Mr Husband, Sir had a fright because she was hardly moving. She's usually so wriggly, it's strange to see her so still. He started madly pulling off her blankets and covers to give her a shake. Thankfully she'd just been in a really deep sleep and woke up to smile and coo at the snow...

The second scare was today. She was on her tummy on the rug in the lounge, she loves to rub her little face in the fluff then lift it up and smile at us. Today she must have caught one of her chicken pox spots because when she lifted her face up she was COVERED in blood. I couldn't work out what had happened. I thought there must have been something sharp in the pile of the carpet, but thankfully no. Once I'd cleaned her up, and worked out the source I could see that it was nothing, but oh how my heart lurched!

• Sledging! I hadn't been on a sledge for years until today. So. Much. Fun. I wasn't sure how That Baby would fare, she's a sensitive soul usually and not the most adventurous, but she amazed me! She flew down the slopes on her sledge, on her back, tummy, even laid on her side! She loved every minute, so proud of her.

• Adding new words to our Family Dictionary.  Welcome; Smummy.  A combination of Smug and Mummy.  The Smummy.  Often heard saying things like "Well Tarquin has just received the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded to a child for his promotion of peace within the playground" Or worse still "Oh, Octavia ONLY wears Mini Boden, I couldn't bear to see her sporting George at Asda, my friends would die laughing"  Standing at the top of a hill whilst small children are sledging is probably not the most sensible place to say something like that, especially within my earshot.  You might come a cropper yourself soon if you don't zip it, lady!

• Enjoying Taggart and cocktails. When my darling boy and I first met we would drink cocktails and watch the detective series Taggart snuggled up together. I LOVE a detective series, I have so many favourties, but somehow we'd let this one slide.  The thoughtful little sweetheart decided we should revive the tradition and bought me this for Christmas:

What's been occurring your end? :

Monday, 21 January 2013

Trying to stay fashionable in the snow, aka dressing as a giantladypart....

I like to, at least try, to dress nicely whenever I can, this includes during snowy weather. Instead of being an excuse to shove on a wolf themed fleece (like some round these parts) I see it as an excuse to don my (always fake) fur coats a Cossack style hat and try my hardest to channel Elizabeth Taylor (ha!).

Last winter I blew my monthly clothing budget in one hit on what I thought was the most fabulously glamorous old Hollywood style fur collared coat. I swished into the office and was met with "oooooh's" from a couple of the more discerning ladies.

My old supervisor at the time was a distinguished gent. A nearly thirty year old, trapped within the body of, and complete with the mind of, a far older man. A very entertaining chap nonetheless. Almost too entertaining in truth, I barely got anything done. Anyway, he took one look at my fabulous new coat and declared that I look like a giant walking lady-part.

I haven't got a picture of me wearing it, so here's the promo shot. Your views please? Really? What's the first thing that springs to mind when you see it? It hadn't even occurred to me, but now it's all I see.
Image courtesy of Topshop

I must confess (and I'm not happy with myself about it) it HAS put me off wearing it a bit. Dressing like lady-bits isn't exactly the look I'm aiming for when I get dressed in the morning. I'd love to say sod it, stick it on and wear it out in the snow, but it's in the back of my mind that I might look a little, well obscene. Especially if anyone else clocks it and points it the similarity in the presence of small innocent children.

So....wear and to hell with it? Or save it for my next trip to London/Brighton/more open minded, less pervy, large town?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My ideas on how to have a fabulous wedding, without spending afortune...

Inspired by reading a post over at A Rush of Love in which Harriet talks about her wedding based anxiety, I started thinking about our little wedding. It was such a lovely day, I'd love to do it all again someday (to the same man, obviously). I thought I'd share it with you.

We didn't have a massive wedding, we kept it low key and concentrated on the things that were most important to us. That Baby was already with us and, to us, it seemed poor taste to spend her university fund (ha!) on a single day of merriment.

So, we sat down and talked about our ideal day, decided which aspects were most important to us and which we didn't give two hoots about. Then we set about creating it together, as a family.

One of the first things that I thought about, like any girl, was my dress. From the moment my darling proposed (up a mountain, by a lake *sigh*) I knew that there was only one bridal gown in the world for me. My Mum and I ventured up to London, not to a swish bridal boutique as you might expect, no siree! We got the tube to Camden Town, North London and headed towards Kentish Town. Hidden away under the railway arches, we found a motorcycle repair shop. We warily poked our heads inside, before we'd uttered a word a helpful chap preempted our question with the instruction "Upstairs!" They must have been used to quizzical looking ladies showing up on their doorstep. We ascended a rickety staircase up to a room bursting at the seams with the most beautiful dresses. We had arrived at my favourite shop in the world; Vivien of Holloway. There they specialise in producing excellent vintage reproduction dresses, in every fabric you could possibly imagine. I knew exactly what I wanted and chose my ivory duchess satin dress and a pink fluffy petticoat. I also bought a bridesmaid dress for my best friend in the world, knowing that with dresses this fabulous she'd look stunning in it, and she did! Everything was folded carefully, popped into a leopard print carrier bag and off we went. And we'd spent under £200, now that can't be bad, and to this day I couldn't be happier with the choices I made.

My Dad and I walking to the church

 On our big day we kept it simple, we married in our little village, in our local church. We walked to the ceremony, no stretch limousines for us, ugh! One of my fondest memories is of my Dad and I walking down the High Street together, he had to sit down for a rest at the bus stop (bad back) and I had to make small talk with a bemused old dear out shopping.

Walking to the reception with our guests.

We walked from the ceremony to our reception venue together with our guests. We walked alongside the river and past the cricket hut as a lovely big group and chatted as the sun shone on us. We had our wedding breakfast in the local village hall. Instead of being bleak and tired as you'd imagine, we'd had a specialist company put a marquee up inside. From the outside it looked ordinary, but as soon as you stepped through the doors you were transported into a beautiful wedding bubble. The gasps from our guests when they went indoors made me so proud, they just weren't expecting it! I think the poor things were preparing themselves for Formica tabletops and utility china.

Our wedding reception, a cleverly disguised village hall...

We wanted to have plenty of flowers but to save some pennies we'd organised a crack team of specially briefed guests who, directly after the service, removed all the pink rose garlands from the end of the church pews and swiftly nipped to our venue with them, transforming them into the table centrepieces. Why pay twice? They were rewarded with a plentiful supply of Pimms.

Swiftly rehoused from the church pews - the table decorations!
As we both have a mortal fear of dancing we'd already decided that the focus of our celebrations would be on dining together and enjoying the company of our dearest friends and family, rather than a disco. We bucked the current trend of having a two layered reception, main and evening, and married at 4pm so it was too late in the day to do both. This also meant we swerved the thorny issue of risking insult by only inviting some guests to the evening segment and not the whole day. Our guest list was fixed, you were invited to all or nothing. We concentrated our catering budget on providing an exceptional meal for everyone, rather than one meal, and a later buffet that would be largely uneaten.

The wedding cake was pretty unimportant to us, but my Mum feels like it isn't a wedding without one. I couldn't bear the thought of spending £600 on a cake, so we bought three M&S white iced ones and shamelessly stole ideas from a wedding magazine. We ended up with the most amazing, and admittedly slightly bonkers dolly mixture cake, for a fraction of the price. I loved that cake a hundred times more than any expensive version, because there was no guilt attached to it and because my Mum and Created it ourselves.

Our fabulous dolly mixture cake
I firmly believe that you can have an amazing, memorable wedding day without spending an absolute bomb, if you're thoughtful and make wise decisions. Our choices, although not right for everyone, were just perfect for us.

So, tell me your wedding tales! What was important to you? Any tips for Harriet?

Saturday, 19 January 2013


A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2013.

3/52 Those Rotten Pox

3/52 My Morning Greeting


Friday, 18 January 2013

Hugger off!

I have a confession to make, it doesn't paint me in a good light. I'm not emotionally defective in any way, however:

I am not a hugger. I'm just not comfortable hugging. It's sad but it's true. Now I'm not talking about my husband or children here. I can hug them without issue, Mummy cuddles are officially the best! Although sometimes if Mr Husband Sir goes all soppy and wants an extended hug I do have a tendency to get a bit bored and start wanting to pick bits of overflow flapjack off the cooker top.

It's friend hugging or colleague hugging that I have the problem with...the very words "Come here you" fill me with adject horror. Nooooooo! It's just awkward and unpleasant, I go all "rabbit in the headlights" and start looking for escape routes. I'm pretty much the same with tickling, I've said it many times and I'm not joking, if you tickle me something primal takes over and I will fight you to make you stop.  To the death if necessary.

Perversely kissing doesn't phase me at all, I can mwah, mwah along with the best of them, but if someone from the wrong category starts crying and looks like they need a hug, I have to go and find a grown up, otherwise it just results in me providing one of those horribly stilted half tap, half pat on the back things that's no comfort whatsoever.

A friend of a friend used to LOVE to hug.  I could never be good chums with him on this basis, he used to attach himself to people for an inordinate amount of time whilst I stood by trying to find something that would make me so busy I was excused.  It happened a lot, one day during a particularly extended episode something snapped within me, I forced the uncomfortable pair apart (in my head I was saving them, and me) and I yelled "Put her down limpet boy or I'll break your face"  Not the most eloquent admittedly, but it certainly worked.

Thankfully I'm now branded as someone who's not a hugger so I can escape the situation should it arise, heaven forbid I meet someone who doesn't know that though.  Maybe I should get a badge made......?

So.....are you in Camp Hug or are you with me in Camp Run, Run for the Hills?

My big girl (when she was small) I'd hug her anytime!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Cake Wednesday

Is everyone on a diet? It's this time of year when everyone is fresh faced, resolute and determined to be healthy and create an army of "new me's". Well good on you! But its not for me. I never start a diet in a Monday and certainly never at the beginning of the year. Too much pressure, the risk of failure is both high and public.

And I REALLY love my food. I work two days a week. To make those days a little more bearable they have been transformed and rechristened: Cake Wednesday and Curry Friday.

Yesterday was Cake Wednesday and as it was my first day back I was very sweetly treated to a delicious cake from a shop I'd never been to before; Patisserie Valerie. A much needed cross between beautiful French patisserie, coffee shop, and high street take away (or indeed cake away). A chain apparently, cropping up in many towns around the UK, I may well be the last one to this particular party, but oh my word it was delicious!

Individually each cake would have cost £3+ but they were offering two for £5 or four for £10 so it seemed silly not to use the excuse to go nuts and drive the cost down.

I went for the "Double Choc" which was described as dark chocolate sponge layers with dark belgian chocolate cream layers, finished with a chocolate profiterole.

The Before shot...
It was, to coin a phrase, AMAZEBALLS!

Packaged up in a beautiful cardboard box complete with ribbons and stickers, then popped into a very pretty paper bag. Am I the only carrier bag snob out there? I'll be reusing that baby!

My cake was rich and gooey and I needed a cuppa to wash it down, but my word it was nice.

I brought home their tiramisu for Mr Husband Sir to eat on his return from the football. It was all I could do not to scoff that bad boy before he came back. Clearly those boxes and stickers have a dual purpose!

I was in bed when he ate his, but it also received rave reviews, and he'd pretty much licked the plate clean which is always a good sign, no?

Worth a visit of there's a branch near you :)

The During shot.  There is no after shot.  Nobody needs to see that.

Curry Friday!

When I was a young 'un street food pretty much meant that the manky burger van with the dubious meat products had parked itself up in a layby and was offering unremarkable fodder to undiscerning drunkards with the munchies following a night out.

Not any more! I'm so pleased with the way the way the UK seems to be taking the idea of street food under its wing. Now it's about offering a variety of freshly cooked, unusual foods that we just can't walk past without sampling. When I'm outdoors in the cold there's something about the whiff of something yummy cooking floating across the chill that gives me that extra little nudge towards trying something new.

I'm so lucky that the town I work in has welcomed this phenomenon with open arms. The once drab little once weekly market now offers (amongst other things) paella, bean chilli, salt beef and a fabulous Dutch pea soup called Snert. I love saying that; Snert, Snert, Snert!

My favourite of all the street food though comes from the curry stall. Offering a massive variety of freshly cooked curries prepared on site, they add excitement to my Fridays. Each week there's a different spicy offering, meat option, veggie option, rice and a side dish. From chatting to the stallholder (Ken the Curry) I've learnt a lot. This chap really knows his stuff, he lived in Deli as a teenager and picked up a genuine love of the cuisine as well as considerable knowledge. He's told me things about basmati that I'd never imagined. You can't just buy it from the supermarket you know, it has to be aged! I still buy mine from the supermarket, but I'm slightly ashamed to admit that now. This lovely gent takes trips all over the world to buy spices, learn authentic culinary techniques, then he comes back and shares them with us. He's thoughtful too, he says things like I thought it was too chilly for Thai, so I've gone for a nice warming beef curry today" ahhhhh, bless him.

So, thank you Ken the Curry, for this week's Curry Friday. A first for me today, I plumped for a fish curry, plus a bit of everything else. And It was really bloomin' good!