Sunday, 25 December 2011

My Christmas in numbers

 1 is the day in December that I finished my Christmas shopping.

24 is the day in December when most of the Christmas shopping got wrapped. The rest will be wrapped tonight. Or in the morning.  

21 is the number of handmade Christmas cards The Whirlwind and I managed to create.

62 was the number of people on the Christmas card list. (Sorry about that, will try harder buy ones from Tescos next year).

7 is the times I have had to change my bank password when online Christmas shopping.

2 is the number of tins of chocolates I have bought for other people and then eaten myself.

5 is the number of drinks vouchers The Hubster’s company  give each attendee at the Christmas Works Night Out.

5 is the number of drinks too many I consumed at The Hubster’s company’s Christmas Works Night Out.  

8 is the number of times the sides of the wrapping paper didn’t meet in the middle.

4 is the number of recycling bins filled with cardboard on Christmas day.

97 minutes is the time spent undoing these buggers:

3 is the number of animals murdered to provide my delicious Christmas dinner. ( Can you tell I’m well over my vegetarian phase?)

27 is the number of times the children asked if it was time to open their presents yet.

365 is the number of days until it all starts again……..

Merry Christmas everybody!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Now I'm The Whirlwind

Now I am four, I am bigger. Obviously. Mummy has been slowly stocking up on 4-5 clothes being the super-organised Mummy that she is. Up until now they have been way too big. But guess what? I woke up on my fourth birthday and, hey presto! They fitted me:

Now I’m four, I tell brilliant jokes. Michael McIntyre: watch out! Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the gravy! Why did Rapunzel cross the road? To get her hair cut! Mummy and Daddy find these jokes of mine particularly funny. They don’t think I notice, but I see them exchange those sly, cheeky grins.

Now I’m four, I am braver. I used to cry over everything and anything, but now I'm really trying hard not to. Except for when my brother poos in the bath. Oh and pulls my hair.  And slaps me round the face and then laughs in it.

Now I’m four, my I doing really well at remembering to say ‘I’ and not ‘my’. Bit annoyed that now Mummy is going on about forgetting to say ‘I am’. Though, strangely, earlier when I proudly stated, ‘this is I’s toothbrush’, she told me to say ‘my toothbrush’. Sheesh, there’s no pleasing some people.

Now I am four, I am starting to get a little emotional over films. Yesterday Mummy and I were snuggling up on the sofa watching a Christmas film. The little boy in the story asked Santa whether he could spend Christmas Day with him, as his family didn’t really like Christmas. I thought this was soooooo sad. I really tried to be brave but I just couldn’t stop the tears. I looked over at Mummy and she was crying too! She said, ‘gosh, we’re a right pear aren’t we?!’ Not quite sure why she was going on about fruit. Grown ups do baffle me sometimes. Perhaps I’ll understand them a little more when I am five….

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Top 5 things that make Christmas Christmas

A week to go folks. Now The Whirlwind's birthday is out of the way has been celebrated, we are officially getting into the Christmas spirit. Kate's listography this week is, well, as the title says.

Here we go:

1. Bringing down the Christmas sacks full of Christmas books, DVDs and general Christmas paraphernalia the week before Christmas and sharing them with The Whirlwind and Giggle Monster. 
2. Spending a cosy night in wrapping presents with The Hubster, accompanied by mince pies, mulled wine and Christmas tunes.
3. Salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast served with a glass of bubbly on Christmas day. 
4. Getting in the Christmas spirit and shouting out 'Merry Christmas' to every stranger we come across on Christmas day.
5. Finally, but most importantly, spending quality time with my wonderful family.

Now I'm off to check out other people's lists at Kate Takes 5. See you there!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

You know you're a parent when.....

You have experienced an overwhelming urge to pick a nose that is not your own.  
You’ve been slapped in the face numerous times by someone sporting a manic grin.

You’ve had your teeth kissed.

You’ve had your toes nibbled.

You’ve had someone fart in your face. With their naked bottom. At close range.

You have found yourself jumping around the living room Hacker style, singing ‘who’s a cheeky boy?’ just because, apparently, it’s hilarious to do this.

All your jeans are worn at the knees.

You’ve had someone poke their finger in your belly button and push down really hard. This feels horrible, and so the inevitable reaction seems to make it even more appealing.

You've had someone dribble in your face. 

This is the most action your bed gets:

Any I’ve missed?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Dearest Ella Bella Bongo,

Today you turned four years old.

I can’t quite believe it. On one hand it feels like time has hurtled by at the speed of light, but then I can barely remember life without you now. My little sidekick, my number one girl.

We knew within weeks of your birth that you were strong willed. You know what you want and you know how you want things to be. Though at times this can be challenging, I love this quality in you. I know as you get older this will lead you to success and happiness.

You love the outdoors. Last week we went to Eaton Park and you had a great time on the climbing frame. You are so brave and determined. You had even more fun running to the top of the BMX hill and then pelting down so fast your legs were a blur. Then you and Giggle Monster decided to roll down the hill, giggling together with pure joy. By the end of it you had leaves in your hair and were covered in mud but you didn’t care.

You started a new preschool in September. The first day you kissed me goodbye and off you went. I am so proud at how independent and confident you have become. Within a week you had made your ‘best friend’ Ellie and you are still inseparable. You make friends very easily wherever you go. Today we were in a jewellery shop and you took it upon yourself to go and show the shopkeeper the jewellery you had made that morning. Unfortunately she didn't offer to sell your wares, but there's some definite potential entrepreneurial skills there!

You are lucky that you see JoJo, Gramps, Nanny Sue, Grandma and Grandad lots. You are so loving and affectionate towards them. You are a little ray of sunshine in their lives.

In the past year your brother has gone from being a fairly inactive baby to a very active toddler. He stumbles about, hitting you with wooden spoons, grabbing all your toys and demanding my attention. You are so wonderful with him. You have never hurt him and you look out for him. He adores his big sister.

Every day you bound down the stairs and burst through the door clutching Pink Teddy and Bunny and give me the biggest smile. It's the best way to start the day, don’t you ever stop that. 

I can’t believe I only have a few precious months left before you go off to school. I’m going to miss you so very much. But I know you will love it and you will have a whale of a time. We are going to make the most of these last special months.

Until next year my beautiful girl.

I love you millions and squillions.

Mummy xxx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Day in the Life of The Giggle Monster

Apparently people have become a little bored of Mummy writing all these boring lists and banging on about her Day Zero Project.  So, due to popular demand I’m back for the day. It’s not been a particularly eventful one, but sometimes it’s nice to get a little taste of how other peoples’ daily lives tick by.

Mummy's main activity this week has been lolling about on the sofa. Her voice is all croaky which is extremely annoying. Reading books is my favourite thing to do and frankly her skills just aren’t up to scratch this week. She gets halfway through, and starts sighing, and going, ‘ow, ow, poor me, my throat, cough cough cough’. Honestly. She’s such a drama queen. She should try having man flu, then she’d know what being poorly was all about. 

Anyway she’s mainly been throwing toys in our vague direction and shouting croaking instructions from the sofa, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates has been on repeat. After watching the Princess Pirate episode for the seventh time,  I decided it was time to find my own fun. The saying 'only boring people get bored' is so true. Fun people always have fun, that's what I say. (Did you see what I did there?)

I found The Whirlwind’s box thing with all the flaps? I just love flaps. Mummy and The Whirlwind were a bit annoyed that I pulled a couple of them off. But they were asking for it! Just flapping around like that, teasing me. 

I spent quite a bit of time tearing up a loo roll. I love doing this. I find it quite therapeutic. Talking about therapy, I reckon Mummy could do with some. She really overacted to seeing the whole roll in bits. Actually I think maybe it was the bits in her tea that she really objected to.

It had been quite a busy morning and I started to feel a bit peckish. It didn’t look like Mummy was going to be up to knocking up too many culinary treats today so I used my initiative and went on a hunt. I came across this blue box. I wasn’t quite sure what was inside, but mmmmm it smelt good. I ripped open the box and the foil said ‘Eat Me’. 

Well, if this wasn’t a sign………..But then Mummy snatched it off me! I was so cross, I threw myself to the floor and banged my head on it self-harmer stylee. That usually gets a reaction. She started singing ‘Zoom, zoom, zoom.’ I’m getting a bit wise to this. 'Distraction techniques' I believe they are called. Ha, I’m on to you Mummy. Oh, I do LOVE this one though. Oh and the excitement of the 5,4,3,2,1 bit!! And the finale when we get to jump up in the air and throw our hands up! Such fun! My Mummy’s great.

I think Mummy felt a bit bad about the whole lying on the sofa thing so decided to spice things up a bit and introduce me to paint. How fun is that stuff?! Of course, I am a baby, so I had to do the obligatory exploring of it using my senses. My hands went in it, I had a little taste, I looked at all the patterns it could make….when thrown on to the floor. Great times.

We were pretty messy after the session so Mummy dumped us straight in the bath. I love baths. They are so warm. Soooooo relaxing, ahhh. My sister soon put a stop to the tranquil atmosphere though when she started to shriek and jump up and down. ‘Mummy, mummy, heeeeeeelp!!! There’s a poo in the bath!!’ Oooops. That didn’t mean to happen. But, come on! Blimey. You can tell where she gets her tendency to overact from. Women!
At this point Mummy starts muttering things about ‘leaving a trail of destruction wherever you go’ and ‘can’t wait to get you into bed’. Charming, hey? Luckily I was feeling pretty tired so I didn’t mind, I’d had a busy day.  And I guess I need to work up some energy for tomorrow’s adventures.

Until next time folks!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Growing up and things I've learnt.....

When do you become a grown up? Is it when the clock strikes midnight on your eighteenth birthday? Or when you first move out of your parents’ house and have to run a home of your own? Or perhaps it’s marriage that signals the change, or children? Or is it when you find yourself doing something so sensible like making your bed every morning?

Sometimes I feel too grown up for my 31 years. Sometimes I feel I am still just ‘playing’ at being a grown up. 

For Christmas last year my Dad gave my brother and I some written guidelines, or 'top tips' for life. It was a very entertaining and insightful read. It inspired me to think about what advice I would give to my children about, well, being grown up and 'life' I guess. So kids, here’s the list:

1.  Find two or three things you are good at. Hone these skills and treasure your talents. They are part of what makes you special. 
2.  Smile.
3.  Be proactive about the things you can change, accept the things you can’t and move on.
4.   Make friends, lots of them.
5.  Be active, it’s the best medicine for your body and mind.
6.  Drink lots of water. Cheaper and more effective than any moisturizer and better than any diet.
7.  Buy and read a newspaper once a week.
8.  Three drinks in a night is plenty, four is pushing it. Any more and you will probably regret it.
9.  Don’t bother with dieting. Eat sensibly and treat yourself every now and then.
10.  Dance and sing even if you aren’t any good at it. It can increase your life expectancy you know!
11.  Don’t spend too much time worrying about what other people think. Chances are they are not thinking what you think they are.
12.  Only watch TV programmes you are interested in.
13.  Mistakes are part of being human. When you do make them, take what you have learnt and move forward. Don’t dwell.
14.  Never take risks when it comes to personal safety.
15.  Find a career that you love but that doesn’t consume your life.
16.  Focus your time and energies on the people who really matter and give you back the same. Be civil to the rest.
17.  Be calm.
18.  Take a minute every day to be grateful for all that you have.
19.  Learn, learn, learn and never stop.
20.  Try not to smoke. Cigarettes are addictive, expensive, make you smell and can kill you.
21.   Enjoy money, but always have a little set aside. You never know what’s around the corner and when you might need it.
22.  See the world. It’s amazing.
23.  Never go to sleep on an argument.
24.  Develop your own values and beliefs, but be open to new ways of seeing things. Be tolerant of others who think differently.
25.  Don’t fret about things you don’t like about your body. No-one else ever will.
26.  Working hard will mean you will enjoy partying hard all that more.
27.  Wear clothes and colours that suit you, rather than always following fashion.
28.  Take lots of photos and write about your experiences. Memories are so precious and don’t last forever.
29.  Have fun! And last but definitely not least…….
30.  Make your bed every day!

What would be top of your list?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

50 things that make me happy

That's right, I'm banging on about my Day Zero Project again! Don't worry, only 987 days to go ;-)
Number 17 is to 'identify 50 things that make me happy.' I'm being a bit sneaky and linking this to the lovely Mummy From the Heart's blog hop Reasons to be Cheerful.

Things that make me happy:

1      Watching the children play together when they don’t know I’m looking
2      Wearing flip flops
3      Climbing into a freshly made bed
4      Snuggling up and sharing books with my babies
5      A glass of chilled white wine in the sun
6      A glass of red wine in front of an open fire
7      Airports
8      Surprise (sloppy) kisses from my children
9      Walking through snow and that lovely crunching sound
10  Warm sun on my skin
11  Coming home to a tidy house
12  Tummy chuckles from Giggle Monster
13  The smell of freshly cut grass
14  The Hubster telling me I am a wonderful mother and wife
15  Strumming my guitar
16  Listening to music
17  Writing
18  The Whirlwind saying ‘I love you Mummy’ for no particular reason
19  Being massaged
20  The sound of birds twittering
21  Waking up naturally
22  Fine dining
23  Having a good chin wag with my pals
24  Spending time with my parents
25  Krispy Kreme donuts
26  Getting comments on my blog
27  The Whirlwind getting verbal diarrhea because she is so excited about something
28  Spontaneous proclamations of love from The Hubster
29  Eating a meal without the kids and only having to concentrate on feeding myself!
30  Teaching The Whirlwind a new word and then hearing her use it in context
31  Seeing Giggle Monster embrace his teddies
32  Someone else doing the 7 o’clock tidy up
33  Receiving a card with a personal message in it
34  Giving presents I have carefully chosen for people
35  Having a shower/bath
36  Getting immersed in a good book
37  Autumn colours
38  Being in the great outdoors and not being able to see anyone else apart from who I’m with
39  Thrice cooked chips with mayonnaise
40  Shopping for clothes/shoes/handbags
41  Dipping my feet into the sea and discovering it’s actually not that cold (this hasn’t happened very often!)
42  Fizzy Percy Pig tails from M and S
43  Seeing the kids bringing enjoyment and pleasure to others
44  Planning holidays
45  Weddings
46  The sound of rain hammering at the window at night
47  Crossing things off my never ending to do lists
48  Hearing from a friend I don’t hear from that often
49  The smell and feel of a brand new book
50  Discovering new places

See what makes other people tick by looking at some other entries for Reasons to be Cheerful

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Sandwich Incident - 2002

Number 16 of my Day Zero Project is to 'Write about 5 experiences/incidents/events in my past.'

So without further delay, here is number 1:

There weren’t many perks that came with the summer job I had back in 2002. I was working for a reputable solicitors firm in the city centre. I feel it best to withhold the name of the said firm, just in case this information is leaked and they decide they would like to prosecute. The men were generally young and wore sharp, tailored suits with shiny Barker shoes, the women equally as glamorous with their manicured nails, freshly coiffed hair and God forbid if they were ever seen in the same outfit twice. I, however, clearly wasn’t a high-flying solicitor or even a high-flying solicitor’s second hand woman. I was the bottom of the pile – I was The Post Girl.

One of my many responsibilities within this role was to order and set up lunches for the many board meetings that took place. I had two other colleagues who worked with me in the post room whose names I shall also withhold just in case they get wind of this and decide to come and hunt me down. We were pretty different the three of us. I guess we wouldn’t have been friends outside work, but we did have a giggle together. Anyway, we used to love it when there was a board meeting as part of our job was to tidy up when the meetings where over. Our interpretation of ‘tidying up’ was eating up any leftovers. Well, it would have been completely against my environmental and sociological views not to!

There were two sandwich companies we used depending on the importance of the people attending the meetings. The more expensive company served up delights like roasted vegetable and cream cheese on a sun dried tomato focaccia, prawn and crayfish in a rich marie rose sauce with rocket on a poppy seed bap and so on. For a self-confessed sandwich lover, it put in me in a pretty good mood when I had to ‘tidy up’ these beauties. My post room colleagues and I would give each other a sneaky smirk when the more expensive company was requested.

On the day in question, I was in a bit of a hurry. One of the top solicitors had an errand for me to run so I was rushing about trying to get the board meeting set up. It was at the top of the building so I was running up and down the stairs like a crazy woman. It was coming up to lunchtime too and, as the people close to me reading this will know, this is not my best time. I get a bit wobbly and more scatty than usual. So, the table was set up, 10 minutes to go before everyone started to arrive for their lunch. I went into the dusty broom cupboard where the sandwiches were always kept as it was the coldest room in the building. I grabbed the platter of sandwiches and then…… tripped over a stupidly placed computer lead. I did the heroic thing. I did try and save those sandwiches. I put my knees out instead of letting go of the platter to brace my fall. But to no avail. The sandwiches flew across the room with immense speed and landed face up on the floor.

Of course the platter had cling film on. Had being the operative word here. Before I grabbed the platter off the shelf, I just thought I’d sample one little sandwich, just to make sure they were up to scratch you understand. This was a very important meeting. As I stood there with half a sandwich still in my mouth I looked around at the carnage. If only they had gone for the cheap ones, the ham ones, the chicken ones! But no, these were the posh ones, the sloppy ones.

I had two choices. Admit what had happened and be faced with a room full of hungry, angry, serious looking solicitors.  Or scrape the filling off the floor, pick off the visible grit and fluff, slap it back in the sandwiches quick smart and get the hell out of there.

I did what I had to do. Five minutes later the sandwiches were in pride of place on the centre of the table. A whole roll of kitchen roll later and after a bit of rearranging of stuff in the cupboard, all evidence of the disaster was gone.

I went off on my errand. I came back bracing myself for someone to have somehow found out what had happened. But I made it up the 3 floors, exchanging numerous slightly manic smiles with the people I passed. I finally reached the safety of the post room.  As I sat down, about to retell my colleagues about the disaster, one of them chipped in first:  
“Cor Kelly you really missed out this afternoon. Those sarnies were a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!’


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Listography: Cartoon characters from your youth

Now I am officially back on the blog, I will be joining in on the lovely Kate's listography linky again. And what a cracker it is this week: Cartoon characters from your youth. Well actually I only just realised it was cartoon characters after I had thought of my top five cartoons but hey ho. I'm sure Kate will forgive me. She's nice like that.

1) Gummy Bears. Let me jog your memory a little, 'gummy bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere......' What was in that gummy bear juice that enabled them to jump so high? And more to the point, where can I get some from?

2) Bananaman.  At the grand old age of 31, I still eat bananas even though I don't actually like them. The subliminal message so worked on me.

3) California Raisins. These weren't just any old shrivelled up raisins. These were Californian raisins. They were cool, they played instruments and they rocked!

4) Captain Planet. The makers of this really were ahead of the times. Where's the programme like this now? 'Captain Planet, he's our hero, gonna take pollution down to zero......'

5) Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Who was your favourite? My brother liked Donatello the best because his favourite colour was purple at the time. My favourite was Michelangelo beacuse he loved pizza. You'll be pleased to know we now make judgements on people going on a little more than the colour of their headwear and their favourtite fast food type.

What have I missed?

Go over and check out some other classic cartoons at Kate Takes 5!

Reasons to Be Cheerful

So here's my second entry to Mummy from the Heart's linky Reasons To Be Cheerful. Just to remind you all, I'm joining in with this every week. Because every week there are reasons to be cheerful, even though some weeks you have to look that little bit harder to find them.

Here we go...

1) There has been a birth in the family this week. The Hubster and I went round to meet the little fella and have a squeeze on Thursday. He was simply perfect. I have to admit I went completely soppy over him. Holding him in my arms, I watched his long fingers curl up and unfurl and his tiny mouth make an 'o' shape. Magical. Unfortunately there has also been a death in the family this week. It is extremely sad and heart breaking. However, there is definitely some comfort in the reassurance that this is all part of life's cycle. Birth and death, sad endings and new beginnings. Let's celebrate them both.

2) Last night I went to see The Help at the cinema. It was the first book I read this year and nothing has come close to being as good. The film didn't disappoint. But, phew, was it emotional. I just about held back the tears, had I not been in a public place I would have been blubbing all over the place. It is shocking disgraceful dispicable horrifying to learn how black people were treated just 50 years ago. The actresses all played their roles so well. I wanted to punch those vile, ignorant women who treated their fellow females so badly. I wanted to shout with celebration with the characters who were brave enough to tell their stories and help to make a change. I wanted to shake those women who didn't bring up their children as they were too 'busy'. So. This week I am grateful. I am grateful I live in a place where this no longer happens and where we are equal, irrespective of our colour. I am grateful that I am the most important person in my children's lives. I am grateful to have friends who respect me, are kind to me, listen to my opinions and have their own. I am grateful to have a husband who would never lay a finger on me. 

3) The month of December is just round the corner. I'm not great with the cold, but I do love December. It's such a month for celebration. It's The Hubster's birthday next weekend and The Whirlwind's fourth birthday the weekend after. Then there's a few Xmas doos here and there leading up to the big C day. Again, I've never been the greatest fan of Christmas but having children brings a whole new meaning to it.

4) I have 7 things ticked off my Day Zero Project! I started on the 16th November so I'm really pleased with myself. I needed focus and motivation and it has certainly given me this. I'm still feeling as excited about it as when I started. Let's see how many I can tick off this week!

Thanks for reading. If you want to check out some more reasons to be cheerful, just pop along to Mummy From The Heart to see some other entries. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The One Where Giggle Monster Takes Over

Mummy and Daddy really are rather brilliant.  They want the best for me in life, so of course they take me to the best places.

Today they took me to DFS. It was the most fun I’ve had in ages.  I’m rather fond of climbing onto our sofa at home. I love slithering back down on my tummy, or sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and go down on my bottom. Anyway, imagine my delight when I enter the most enormous room I’ve ever seen, full of sofas!

Mummy and Daddy put me in my pushchair at first. Huh, that didn’t last long. Mummy tried to get me to sit on a sofa but to be honest I think actually sitting on sofas is overrated. So off I went. I ran about looking at the different colours and feeling the different fabrics. Mummy chased me and it was just, well, hilarious really. Mummy didn’t look like she was having quite as much fun, but hey ho each to their own and all that jazz. 

Next I discovered the coffee tables. They were so shiny! I peered into one of them and you’ll never guess what? There was another baby in there, staring right back it me! I know, it freaked me out a bit too at first, but then I saw he had a cheeky grin just like me and we laughed at each other, lots. I’m sure we could have had more fun, but Mummy called me away as this woman with a duster started making this weird clicky noise with her tongue? I don’t know what her problem was. I’d be well chuffed if I landed myself a job here. I then did this really big sneeze. I love sneezing. It really makes me laugh. The lady with the duster did not share my enthusiasm for sneezing.

Once Daddy had signed away his life to the man selling the sofas, we headed off. It really was a fun filled morning. I got to run around, it was really funny, and it was free! ( Mummy and Daddy are teaching me to be financially astute so I know this is a good thing).

So, next time Mummy and Daddy are toying with where to take you, DFS is the place! 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My birth story Part One

As part of my Day Zero Project I planned to write about the births of my children and my wedding day under Number 55: Write about the three most significant days of my life. So when I came across Mummy Actually's wonderful blog, I decided to join in with her birth story blog hop.

So here we go......

I went to bed on the 10th December 2007 fully expecting the next day to be like the one I’d just had. A bit of nesting, a bit of card making, a bit of This Morning, a lot of putting my feet up.  I had one of those nights where you feel like you are just skimming along the boundary between sleep and wakefulness. I dipped in and out of what I thought were dreams, dreams of long dark tunnels and creatures foraging down them. No really. I’m not making this up.

I woke at around 4.30 am with what felt like a very mild period pain. 5 minutes later I had one again. I started to write them down. After an hour I got too fidgety in bed so I went downstairs and emptied the dishwasher, did a spot of dusting and tidying. As you do when you’ve got possibly the most physically challenging day of your life ahead of you.

At about 6 o’clock I went and told the yet-to-be Hubster the good news that he wouldn’t be going into work today. We sat around timing the contractions and as they became more painful, I did what most daughters do. I called my Mum. She arrived about 9 o’clock shortly followed by my Dad who turned up brandishing a paintbrush ready to help us out with some (very) last minute decorating.  It wasn’t planned that I’d spend my labour with my Mum and Dad, but I did and it was just perfect. We spent the morning drinking tea, our jovial conversations punctuated by regular abrupt stops, resumed a minute or two later. We watched the yet-to-be Hubster run around like a madman, frantically trying to transform our house from looking like it was in an episode of DIY Disasters to a fully functioning, babyproofed home. By 1 o’clock I felt ready to go to hospital.

By the time we got to there my contractions were becoming stronger and stronger and I began to panic. On the maternity ward they quickly ushered me into a delivery suite and a lovely but rather firm midwife came over and reminded me of that all important thing I was forgetting to do: breathe. Within minutes I was calm and in control again.

I bounced on the birthing ball and as before was distracted by lighthearted chit chat with my Mum and the yet-to-be Hubster between contractions. I was examined at around 3 o’clock and was found to be 5cm. Halfway there!

The rest of the birth is a bit of a blur. Over the next few hours, the pain got more intense. I was given gas and air which, once I’d got the hang of, really helped.  The yet-to-be Hubster had the obligatory puff when the midwives weren’t looking. I don’t think I heard anything from him for half an hour after.

At around 7 o’clock I felt the urge to push. I hadn’t been examined since I arrived but as things had progressed so well, the midwives were happy for me to go for it. Suddenly I became aware of a strange noise in the distance. The only thing I can compare it to is the mooing of a cow. Luckily, by the time I realised it was coming from me,  I was past the point of embarrassment and really gave it some welly.  Unfortunately it soon became apparent that in fact my body wasn’t quite ready, and I was pushing too early. The pushing sent the baby’s heart rate soaring and suddenly there were a lot more people in the room.

Very shortly after this I was given an episiotomy and my baby was delivered by ventouse.

The midwive held it up for me to see. ‘Ohhh, is it a girl?!’ I said. You’d have thought, given the state I was in, I would be able to identify the difference between a girl and a boy.

My Mum then passed the yet-to-be Hubster this prediction she had written weeks before:

She was right. At 19.50pm Ella Rose Simmonds screamed her way into the world weighing a very healthy 8lbs 8oz.

Throughout my pregnancy despite the scans, listening to the heartbeat, the unmistakable growing bump,  I still couldn’t quite believe that there was a baby in there. But suddenly it was real. Here she was.

Frustratingly, I was then taken off for surgery. Where I had an epidural.  Teeny bit annoying. But as I lay there with my legs strapped up around my ears, I had the biggest grin on my face. Proudly, I told the surgeons all about my little squealing, screwed up bundle of joy that would change our lives forever.

 Love you millions gorgeous girl.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Open a newspaper, turn on the TV, flick open your phone and more often than not you are met with a barrage of doom and gloom. Is it just our country or is it a worldwide thing? I’m not sure but I do know that it can be catching.

This is why I’ve decided to join Mummy From The Heart's meme Reasons To Be Cheerful. Every week she lists the things she is grateful for. This is such a simple yet marvellous idea. Gratitude is often cited by psychologists as the key to happiness. I’m a bit confused as to how to link up my post as someone else is hosting it this week, but hey ho.

So, this week my Reasons To Be Cheerful are:

1)     The weather. Hasn’t it been the most amazing couple for months?! I love the sun and I have absolutely been making the most of it. The kids and I have been out and about jumping and kicking around in the crunchy leaves warmed physically and mentally by that gorgeous Autumnal amber glow. Autumn is officially my new favourite season.

2)     Wonderful parents. On Thursday I had a super day out in London with my Mum while my Dad and Nanny Sue baked cakes, made friends with the local cows and built towers. Earlier in the week The Hubster’s Mum, Grandma, looked after the kids for a couple of hours while I went into the city and started my Christmas shopping.  A couple of weeks ago my Mum looked after the kids for an entire 3 days while The Hubster and I went off on a jolly to Amsterdam. I am so very lucky and so very grateful.

3)     Watching my children’s relationship grow. Obviously they have been communicating and interacting since day one, but it seems every day they are finding each other more and more interesting. They sing together, dance together and make each other laugh. I particularly love seeing this when they don’t know I’m watching.

What would be on your list?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Madmen, mango Bellinis and crazy shoes

For my birthday this year I asked my Mum to take me to London for the day. I wanted to shop, eat and see a show. But most of all, I wanted to spend the day with my Mum. Without anybody under 3 foot stealing our attention.

Pre-children my Mum and I had some adventures. In the space of 4 years we travelled the world (twice) and visited three European cities. We threw ourselves off cliffs strapped to strangers’ backs, white water rafted in countries that clearly hadn’t heard of Health and Safety and got into exclusive nightclubs by acting disgraced that we weren't on the guestlist. My Mum does have a habit of attracting fun, drama and trouble in equal measures wherever she goes. So I wondered what the day might have in store.

Our first destination was Notting Hill. As we settled ourselves into our seats on the tube we soon realised we were sharing the carriage with a nutter. At first I could hear an aggressive exchange going on but then it became apparent that the guy in question was having the conversation with himself. I wasn’t sure whether this was better or worse. We both sat there imagining the worst and planning how we would protect ourselves and each other from this potential knife wielding maniac that he had morphed into in our minds.

I am happy to report that he got off at the next stop and we got through the day unscathed. We had a great time. We met my lovely brother for lunch. We laughed along to Legally Blonde. We had a mango Bellini in the Masala Zone in Covent Garden. 

(They're all the rage in India at the moment, didn’t you know?)

I had a very tasty Thali.  

And all in the name of my Day Zero Project (Number 59. Buy a pair of ridiculous, impractical shoes), I bought these beauties:

There was no diving off cliffs involved, but all in all a very successful trip!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Back on the blogwagon

Yes that's right folks: I am back.

I can almost hear the Mexican wave of whoops resounding around the blogosphere.

My over use of apparently the lowest form of wit has, I'm sure, been sorely missed. But sob no more!

I've rewritten this blog post 29 times now. I tried to explain why I gave it up and why I've come back. It was a bit boring so I've just written a short piece and spaced it out. Did I pull it off?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Do you know your cocks from your beavers?

Isn’t one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood teaching your offspring about the world? What plants need to grow, what causes a river to meander, the purpose of bees, how a car engine works…… Imparting knowledge to help them to make sense of this crazy world around them.

With this in mind, I was really looking forward to our trip to the zoo.

First up, we take a wander through the ‘wild’ area. This zoo is a little different from other zoos as a lot of the animals roam free. Just talking about the friendly ones of course. ‘What’s that Mummy?’ enquires The Whirlwind. I mentally flick through my inbuilt animal encyclopedia. Hmmm. I’m struggling to locate this one when The Hubster pipes up ‘It’s a guinea pig.’  Now I do know a bit about guinea pigs. I’m sure they are just balls of fluff with eyes and a nose hidden in there somewhere. Not, like, any neck or anything.  So I dismiss this idea. It then does this.

I’m pretty sure this animal is just doing a meercat impression, and is not actually a meercat. Aren’t meercats black and white? I’m sure I’ve seen them in those adverts. ‘I’ve got it, it’s a ferret!’ says The Hubster. I refer to my mental encyclopedia once again and decide that this can’t be a ferret on the grounds of it’s lack of an unusually long neck. Suddenly I’ve got it. ‘It’s a beaver!’ I shout excitedly. At this point it does this, so I’m feeling pretty confident I’ve got this one right. Phew.


We move on. ‘Oh, look she’s so pretty Mummy,’ The Whirlwind comments as a peacock displays its feathers. ‘Actually, a peacock is a male sweetheart, a ‘him’, not a ‘her’.' I look over to my husband in the hope of catching an impressed look at this little nugget of peacock trivia. It’s there! So when it’s mate comes along I continue ‘and you see this one, without the pretty feathers? This one is a girl peacock’, I announce proudly. ‘Er, that would be a peahen Kelly,’ says Smug Hubster.

However, the smugness is short-lived . As we approach this particular four legged mammal, The Hubster knowledgeably, states ‘And this, children, is a donkey.’


‘A donkey??!!’ I shriek. ‘How can you possibly think this is a donkey?! Look at it’s hair, it’s all shaggy. It’s clearly a sheep.’ Simultaneously we notice the sign that says Alpaca. I’m sure sheep and alpacas must be pals or something though as I’m sure this one was a sheep.

So lesson learned? Do your research before you set off to the zoo. You don’t want to cock it up.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Dear Pops,

Yes it’s just another man-made, money-making date to extract money from consumers, blah, blah, blah. But let’s strip it back: it’s a day to celebrate your Dad. How often these days to we get the opportunity to tell each other just how great they are? So Pops , you haven’t got a present this year (I know this won’t bother you in the slightest, one of the reasons why I love you) so here’s a little bit of writing instead.

On racking that dusty old brain I came up with a big list of great memories. Here’s just a small selection.

Teaching me how to ride my bike: This must be my earliest memory of you. I don’t remember all that much about living at Bulmushe Road in Reading, but I do remember this moment. The moment where you let go. You didn’t mention it until I said, ‘Daddy are you holding on still?’ ‘No, you’re are going all by yourself Kels!’, your voice cracking with pride. (I just made that last bit up, but I’m sure it must have been ;-))

Water fights: These occurred back in the days when we used to have proper, scorching hot, endless summers. These water fights involved super soakers, hoses and measuring jugs full of water. The jugs were poured from the upstairs window on to unsuspecting players down below. It was a sneaky move that got us over and over again. Can you remember the perpetrator?!

Hot dogs: Now you will have to correct me if my memory is failing me here, but as I remember it, when staying with you Dan and I were to expect one of two culinary delights: There were the frankfurters, served straight out of the tin with the obligatory tomato sauce to accompany them. The other was peanut butter on toast. You didn’t bother with plates, we just all ate from the communal tree shaped chopping board. These nutritional meals were always washed down with a healthy sized wedge of Artic Roll. I’m glad your skills in the kitchen have improved somewhat in the last few years.

Teaching me how to catch: ‘Now Kels, EYE ON THE BALL. Got it. Are you ready?’ God I can only appreciate how frustrating this must have been now I’m trying to teach The Whirlwind. She has unfortunately inherited my (lack of) ball skills.

Friday Night Discos at Wedgewood Court: There might only have been three guests attending this particular venue, but this was the place to be. We were introduced to all sorts of disco classics here, but for some reason it’s this one that sticks in my mind:

We have got the power
To build the highest tower
Standing with our feet on the ground
We’ve got what it takes
Together we can make it
Together we can blow the house down

Reading: You and me, aged 5,6,7, 8, 9….. on the sofa on the landing, reading. You and Mum instilled a love for reading and books which will always be a part of me.

Holiday journals: All the other kids were out playing. I was sitting at the table in tears being ‘forced’ to finish my journal entry for that day. Do I appreciate it all these years on and do I still have the said journals? Of course. Will I be making my kids do the same? Hell yeah.

These are just a few of my happy memories. Thank you Pops for these and all the other millions I haven’t written about.

Now as I said, no present I’m afraid. But hopefully you received my card. Rest assured I did read your blog on 'ten things not to put up with' and I steered clear of that particular celebratory card company with the orange logo and saved myself about 3 quid!

Loads of love,

Kels xxx

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Listography - Inventions

This week’s listography topic over at Kate Takes 5 is ‘inventions that would make my life easier’.

So, I present to you……

The body maintenance booth: Stagger in first thing bleary eyed and sporting the dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look and come out looking immaculate. This booth will wash/scrub/polish/moisturise/shave/trim/blowdry and style your hair with optional extras of a manicure and pedicure. The process would take between 1 and 5 minutes.
Zip off boobs: When going to have your baby you would be offered an optional procedure: A simple, painless operation which would allow your boobs to be zipped on and off. Your pair could then be attached to a contraption worn by your husband. Gosh I just had a last read through before publishing and almost forgot an important point- this would be to FEED YOUR BABY, not just for your husband’s enjoyment while you weren’t available. Heaven forbid!

Sleep button: Kid wakes up in the night? Just press the sleep button. Kid having a tantrum in the supermarket? Press the sleep button. Fancy a night out? You won’t even have to fork out to hire babysitters. Press the sleep button and just throw the kids in your handbag and off you trot. (Sorry Kate this is a bit of a rip off of yours, but it had to make the list!)

Automatic bottom wiper: For the children of course. I’m not that lazy. Or posh.

But all these would be redundant if I could invent a…..

Cloning machine: How many times have you wished you could be in two places in once?

I think about ten would suffice:there would be Kelly the Masterchef, Kelly the Stuff Shuffler, Kelly the Bottom and Snot Wiper, Kelly the All-Singing-All-Dancing-Entertainer, Kelly the Masseuse, Kelly the Social Butterfly, Kelly the Successful Career Woman, Kelly the Social Networker, Kelly the Time Manager and finally the one who sits on her butt co-ordinating all the clones (This would obviously be the real me).

So, what have I missed?

I’m going over to Kate's now to check out other peoples’ entries. Join me.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Top five places I'd like to visit

It's that time again, it's Kate's listography and this week she has chosen another passion of mine- travelling.

So in no particular order:

New Zealand. We (or should I say I?!) have already planned a trip to celebrate our 40ths in 2020. I do like to plan ahead. Just me, The Hubster, the two kiddiewinks, a campervan and The Great Outdoors. Can't wait. (Although I'm clearly going to have to, nine and a half years to be precise.)

 The Yasawa Islands, Fiji. I spent a week on the main island, Suva, in 2005. It was paradise but apparently these islands are even more idyllic.

Norway - I physically crave to travel. To me it's what life is about. I guess I see myself as reasonably 'well travelled'. When I met The Hubster travelling had not been such a big part of his life as it had mine. He told me he had visited Norway. Norway, I thought? Who goes to Norway? Then he showed me his pictures. Those fjords are a feast for the eyes.

The Maldives - I don't think this one needs any explanation does it? Does anyone not want to go here?

The Galapogas Islands – I remember seeing a nature programme on this amazing island as a child and I have dreamt of going ever since. It's a piece of history isn’t it? To walk in the steps of Charles Darwin. My absolute favourite animal of all time is the tortoise. They are so graceful and wise looking, I could sit and watch them all day.

So if you are reading travel agents, yes of course! I will be happy to write you a review of any of the above in exchange for an all expenses paid trip. Hell, go on then. I'm feeling generous. I'll do all five.

What would yours be? Come on, don't be shy! Make a comment and then go over to Kate Takes 5 and check out some other entries.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Big Move

‘Moving house’ always seems to crop up on those ‘Most stressful things in life’ lists. Now I really would like to be one of these carefree, skip-along-not-worrying-about-a-thing types. But unfortunately I’m not.  I could find one million and two things to stress about whilst lying on a beach somewhere exotic being fed grapes, fanned and having my feet massaged. That’s how much of a stress head I am.

So I was fully expecting the need for copious amounts of red wine and chocolate to see me through the week of The Big Move. And lots of deep breathing. All week people were asking me, ‘How’s the packing going? Are you feeling stressed?’, ‘ Are you coping? Can I help?’, ‘Oh it must be soooo hard, you must be soooo worried and stressed and on the edge!!' I’m telling you, I almost began to feel stressed and worried about not being stressed or worried.

So the day came and went. No extra grey hairs to report, in fact I kind of enjoyed it. I have to say we had a fabulous team of friends and family helping out and we could not have done it without every single one of them.

You know I love a list. So, here are Kelly’s Five Top Tips on Moving House:

1) Minimise. We made a decision at Christmas that we just had too much stuff. We have been thinning it out ever since. By the time of The Big Move, we had gone through every drawer/box/wardrobe in the house and chucked a lot of stuff away. This was undoubtedly the key to our successful move. We were pretty ruthless.  Armchair? Chuck it. Who needs more than two seats in their living room anyway? Twenty seven teaching files? Nope, I fancy a new career, chuck ‘em.

2) Pack off the children. I did try and pack some boxes before the penultimate day of The Big Move. I had limited success however, mainly due to The Giggle Monster's favourite game du jour, which involves reversing everything I do. It goes a little like this: I put toys in the toy box, he takes them out. I put the folded laundry in the basket, he takes it out. I pack a box……You get the picture. My Mum had the kiddiewinks for two whole days while we moved. Wowsers. I’m telling you,  the amount I got done not having to chase these two crazy kids around! I would be dangerous if I didn’t have children.

3) Go to the pub when you get completely fed up of waiting for The Call. As we sat there twiddling out thumbs, having packed up the house we joked about it. ‘Hey I know, why don’t we go to the pub and order some lunch, we’re bound to get the phone call then.’ Yep, you guessed it. It happened.

4) Have at least 17 spare boxes for the stuff under the sofa /beds. I’m not kidding, it’s amazing what we found. It just kept coming. Have you ever wondered just where the partners to all those odd socks are? I have your answer, they are having a little private party all of their own under your bed. One of the bags will be filled with coins which should just about cover the solicitors fees.

5) Keep possible clashes in personality at opposite ends of the house. In our case, The Hubster stuck with the garage and I concentrated on the third floor. This worked well. Perhaps we should consider making it more of a permanent arrangement? Worth considering, on asking him what he loved best about our new gorgeous, family forever home, he replied ‘the garage. *Rolls eyes to the sky and tuts*

So the The Big Move turned out to be not that big at all.  Saying that I’ll be happy not to have to do it again for a while……..

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Top Five Albums by a Band

So, 6 days until we move house. The Hubster is conveniently away from home and unable to return until the day before The Big Move. And I have yet to pack a box. Hmmm, blogging probably shouldn't be my priority this week, but when I saw Kate's listography theme this week, I had to join in.

Sorry these are brief and no pics of album covers, but in no particular order:

The Beatles - With The Beatles

I know, I know. Everyone says Revolver is the best. But out of the 12 tapes in my Beatles collection I was given by my Dad for my 18th birthday, it was this one that died first. This must be a sign?

The Kinks - You Really Got me - Best of

I was actually born in the wrong decade. Cheating a bit with a best of, but I challenge you to name me a song you don't love.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Legend 

I love reggae and Bob is the King. Just hearing it makes me think of dancing barefoot on a Caribbean beach. Not that I've done this, but I'm sure it would live up to my expectations.

Oasis - Definitely Maybe

Definitely maybe this one, or What's the Story. Or Be Here Now. Not the others though. Sooo boringly predictable, but these guys provided the soundtrack to my teenage years and hearing Liam's voice just transports me straight back there.

Ash - 1977

Again hearing this brings back some great memories of summers spent at festivals, beer and moshing. Fantastic stuff.

Longpigs - The Sun is Often Out

If I had to choose number one, this might be it. Controversial, I know. This album is beautiful, passionate, sexy, dark, uplifting and powerful. Try it!

Check out other people's favourites at Kate Takes 5

Right, best start that packing.......

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Cockerels and careers

5am and the cockerel is rousing. No, we haven’t moved to some rural retreat, we just have a 10 month old who for the last three months has considered 5am a perfectly reasonable wake up time.

I stumble through to my screaming son who promptly stops wailing. He gives me the biggest grin and thumps his legs up and down repeatedly. *Sigh*, just like his Daddy. (That’s the cheeky, heart-breaking grin, not the thumping his legs up and down part. That wouldn’t be quite so endearing in a fully grown man.)

So the next half an hr is spent sleepily feeding him in bed praying he might just doze back off.  Today it wasn’t going to be. The leg thumping started back up and he decided the first thing on his to do list today would be a spot of nostril exploration. My nostrils.  At this point in proceedings I sit him up and throw whatever happens to be on my bedside table in his direction in an attempt to entertain him while I continue to try and doze. Today it’s a tube of toothpaste, an empty box and a trashy chick lit novel. He seems particularly taken with the book, but it doesn’t take too long before he’s exhausted all possibilities of what you can 'do' with these items.

I reach out and blindly feel about down the side of the bed and find The Whirlwind’s doctors set. First I have the thermometer poked in my ear. A little uncomfortable, but hey, he put it in my ear! I’m impressed!  Dr Simmonds. Yes, it definitely has a ring to it.  Next he tests my reflexes by bashing me on the bonce with the reflex hammer. Not quite sure what reflex he was testing, but he certainly got a reaction, ouch! As some other piece of brightly coloured plastic is shoved down my throat I look over at The Hubster through the chaos of instruments who is enduring similar abuse. We smile. A ‘How-did-we-get-to-this-point-in-our-lives?’ type smile. Giggle Monster starts to moan so I pass him the mouth mirror. Now my Dad (who can be found at Apache Territory) has grand plans for his grandson. Pops, good news - he put it in his mouth. We could have something to work with here. ;-)

He swiftly moves on to another favourite activity – hair pulling. Or perhaps he’s trying to comb it? Would I be happy if my son turned out to be a hairdresser? Hell yeah, given the amount my hairdresser charges. He’s finding this activity particularly fun, however I’m not sharing the pleasure so I look at my watch. 6am. Dragging myself out of bed I make the same promise I do every day- I’ll have an early one tonight.

Cockerel anyone?! He could have a promising career ahead…….

Monday, 9 May 2011

Bad combinations

As part of this blogging business I have been reading around and getting inspiration and ideas from fellow bloggers. Kate at is my type of person - she just loves the humble List. So much so every week she thinks of a new list 'theme', writes her list and then fellow bloggers can write their own version. 

This week the theme is 'bad combinations'.


1) Frothy headed beer/ moustauches

Not good look. Always a bit awkward for the drinking companion too - do you mention it or not?

2) Children/ wind

In my first year of teaching a colleague said, "Oh the wind's up today, the kids will be climbing the walls'. 'What is this crazy fool on about!?',  I thought. But six years of teaching later, I can vouch for this - it's true. Wind makes children go completely dolally. No idea why, just another one of life's little mysteries. 

3) Short tops/ leggings.

Just no.

4) Small objects/ nostrils

There was once a raisin related incident. It was resolved with a between the knees head lock and a pair of tweezers. A hairy moment. PLEASE NOTE: Do not try this at home, this is not the recommended procedure for such situations.

5) Sand/suncream

Inevitable combination, but bad none-the-less. Or sand/sandwiches, sand/knickers, sand/flip-flops- take your pick. Hell, anything combined with sand is bad. I don't like sand much.

Any to add followers?

Thanks for the inspiration Kate, I'm so new to this I can't work out how to comment on your blog, but I LOVE your work.