The yin and yang of meal planning.

This morning I had the luxury of dropping Charlotte off at school and having a day free. This must be what those mums feel like!

Normally I run home, hop in the car and pelt it to work but I have another couple of days off so thought I would use them wisely by meal planning and doing a mindful big shop, rather than a ‘throw it all in, I probably, maybe need another pineapple for my compost heap anyway’ type way. 

Ok, so let’s get this straight, as I’ve said before I don’t start diets at New Years because life is too crazy for that, but, planning my meals may just make my life easier and anything that does that I need to give a go. So off I trotted, with my new ‘Lean in 15‘ cookbook I got for Christmas, a fresh shiny notebook and pen to…wait for it…McDonalds for a coffee and a cheeky breakfast whilst planning. 

My balanced breakfast.

Yes, I looked like the biggest hypocrite ever staring at Joe Wicks‘ beautiful, ripped body and all the lean meat and veg whilst scoffing a deep fried hash brown but I believe life is all about balance and this, was indeed the yin and yang of culinary goodness. 

And d’ya know what, I did it. I planned my main meals, bought most of the food from Aldi for a lot less that my usual food shop was and I even cooked my own healthy chicken tikka masala this evening. Made my own paste and everything and Charlotte bloody ate it! Yes, she picked out two bits of red onion that hadn’t been whizzed properly but my daughter ate a meal I cooked! Pigs are currently flying around my house! 

It didn’t come from the freezer, it had flavour and maybe even some vitamins and nutrients and the recipe was naturally gluten free so I didn’t have to work out what substitutes would work! That is a massive win in my book! 

If you haven’t seen the series of Lean in 15 books yet, I would thoroughly recommend them. Not only is Joe Wicks easy on the eye but the meals are delicious and usually take hardly any time to prep and cook. Perfect for busy parents and not as pretentious as Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. The portions are massive though which is ideal when cooking for one and a half like me. You can choose to ignore the exercise section at the back if you wish, but don’t tell him I told you that! 

Tomorrow night Smoky Joe burgers with sweet potato wedges…can’t go wrong there can I?!

What are your tried and tested recipes for getting good food in your children? Let me know in the comments! 

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10 reasons why having a messy car is a good thing.

A few weeks ago Charlotte and I went on a trip down to Devon to visit some friends. She said she had a tummy ache the night before but, unfortunately, because of her Coeliac Disease this can be a common occurrence so I have to say I kissed her goodnight and hoped it would go away by the morning.

 

It didn’t, she woke saying she was feeling sick, but, yet again I dismissed it especially as she ate a tub of yoghurt! So I gave her some calpol and packed her in the car along with our luggage.

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It started so well…

25 miles from home on a bypass with no lay-bys she began complaining of feeling sick again so I just said we’d stop for some food soon and she was probably hungry. Turns out she wasn’t hungry, she was actually sick and proceeded to vomit over herself and my car.

 

After driving another 4 miles before finding a lay-by, I pulled in and ran around to her side of the car. It was a massacre, she’d covered everything so I looked around for anything that could help me and, because I’m a lazy, messy mum and my car is an outpost of my kitchen, bathroom cabinet, wardrobe and toy cupboard combined I found everything I needed.

 

Multi suface cleaner wipes for the chair and car seat. Check.

 

Half a bottle of water for Charlotte to wash her mouth out with. Check.

 

Tesco carrier bag to put all contaminated items in. Check.

 

Change of clothes for her. Check.

 

Raincoat for me as it was also pissing it down. Check.

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My ingenious homemade sick bucket…craft bloggers will be quaking in their boots! 
This life event made me realise that actually a messy car isn’t so bad.  Yes, it can be embarrassing when you get tricked into having to give a non-parent a lift somewhere but I also came up with 10 reasons it’s actually essential that your car is messy.

 

  1. You will always have baby wipes somewhere in the car. This can clean sticky fingers, sticky faces, sticky dashboards, sticky steering wheels (hey, I’m not one to judge!)
  2. You can fashion a miniature sick bucket for a miniature human being because once bitten, twice shy.
  3. You will always have reading material. That time when you’re stuck on the M5, everyone’s turned their engines off and your phone battery dies. What’s better than Biff and Chips ‘Sit me up’ or an old cereal box that was an art project from nursery.
  4. You will also always have something to eat. Granted it may have been on the floor under the seat for an undetermined amount of time but, if it ever gets to the point where you’re contemplating a Bear Grylls type survival technique, fear not. That half pack of Wotsits will keep you alive for at least another half hour.
  5. You will always have a coat. It may not be for the right season or go with what you’re wearing but it’s another layer so stop whinging.
  6. Your child will also have a spare set of clothes should you need them. Maybe a ‘hold on, we’re just near the services’ accident, or a ‘just take a little sip and then put the lid back on’ accident…whichever you will definitely be able to change them. Ok, the tights might be a bit small but no one will know under the Tangled fancy dress outfit.
  7. And speaking of fancy dress outfits you will never be caught short at nursery’s Pirates and Princesses days that you heard nothing about until that morning. That blunt eyeliner rolling around your footwell is perfect to draw a couple of scars and an eyepatch! Voila!
  8. About to send your car for an MOT and realise you don’t have any windscreen wash? Rather than being charged £5 for them to fill it up for you so it passes just empty all the half drunk bottles of Evian into the water tank in the lay-by before you get to the garage (and then use a baby wipe to clean your hands).
  9. If you can’t stand to hear ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ one more time then have a feel down the side of your seat and you will definitely be able to find a CBeebies CD or a Greatest Hits of Bonnie Tyler CD there. Pick whichever will make your ears bleed least.
  10. Hair not quite sitting the way you want this morning? Dig down the back of the passenger seat and there will definitely be two Peppa Pig hair clips and, if you’re lucky, a headband with fluorescent pigtails protruding from the top. New look, sorted.

 

You’re welcome people!

Have I missed anything off? Let me know what you have found in your footwell recently in the comments below!

First days of school.


We’re three days in so I think I can officially say we’ve survived school so far!! (OK, so officially they’ve only been half days and I’ve been working from home but we’re both still alive so please indulge me!)

So far, to date, we have only had: 

3 tears – hers not mine. 
2 grazed knees 
1 grazed chin
1 hair clip lost 
3 tantrums over kinder eggs at the end of the day. 

All fairly standard yes?! 

The tears were, bizarrely, this morning as I started to walk away. I think this may be the slow realisation that she’s got another 14 years of this routine before she’s free! And now I’m crying because I’ve just realised that too! 

I’m a bit nervous about still working my 30 hour weeks now she’s at school but, thank goodness for flexible working, I’ll still be able to drop her off everyday and pick her up at school finishing time three days a week. The rest of the time will be in the hands of after school club.  

I’m also, selfishly, a bit nervous about whether I’ll make any friends at the school gates. I didn’t make it to the ‘new parents’ social over the summer and the next one is on a Tuesday at 8pm so think that’s unlikely too but hopefully I will spot a few friendly faces and get chatting to some other real life parents. No fake yummy mummies here please! 

So my baby, who turned 5 ten days ago is at school. 

Bloody hell. 

Proud mummy.

I hope she’s ready. I hope she’ll love it. I hope she makes life long friends or, at least primary school long friends. I hope she’ll be reading in the next few months which will blow my mind and I hope that her writing will develop even further than it has already. But most of all, I hope that she will grow and develop into an amazing, bright, well-rounded child who aspires for great things to happen. 

That might seem a bit too much but I know she’s got it in her. 

Maybe she’ll inspire her mum to do great things too. 

I’d love to know how everyone else’s first weeks have gone. Hope you’ve survived too! 

The cost of coeliac disease

There were lots of things I was completely ignorant to when it came to coeliac disease. My best friend has been diagnosed with it for about 10 years now but I still had no idea about the cross-contamination side of things until Charlotte was diagnosed.

Did you know that even a crumb of normal bread can actually harm someone with coeliac disease? This isn’t just an intolerance where you might get a bit bloated, gluten actually kills part of a sufferers intestines so that it can no longer absorb vital nutrients. 

Because of this it is suggested that you should change a number of things which you may never be able to say is completely gluten free. So the literal cost of coeliac disease for us so far is…

1 toaster £25

3 baking trays £7.50

3 chopping boards £5

2 non-stick frying pans £25

4 plastic spatulas £8

3 mixing bowls £14

Officially I shouldn’t use a dishwasher which has previously washed glutenend items but unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to a brand new dishwasher quite yet, although I am thinking its a very good excuse to bring my ‘new kitchen’ project forward a bit!

Carefully chosen gluten free picnic courteousy of M&S

This doesn’t even take into account the fact that gluten free products are SO much more expensive to buy that the gluten filled alternatives. Bread which tastes similar to normal bread can have a mark up of at least £2 more than your average white sliced loaf. 

Luckily, in most of the UK, diagnosed sufferers can get some items on prescription, however, this is a minefield and we’re currently trying out every option available to find out what is edible and what is definitely not! 

There is talk of the prescriptions being scrapped, especially adult ones and if they’re not scrapping them, they’re making the list of things you can have shorter by the day. Thankfully Warwickshire seems to be holding on to most items for now but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. 

Obviously the biggest cost is Charlotte’s health and this is the reason I am happy to pay for all these items…now just to work on friends, family, restaurants and schools to make sure they’re as precious about her health as I am. 

Healthy kid!

Living for the weekend – mum style.

This morning I have, so far, done two loads of washing and hung them out, cleaned my bathroom, unblocked a u-pipe (or whatever it’s called), been adorned with stickers, watched crap kids programmes and had the obligatory morning argument with Charlotte. 

Despite all this I really do live for my weekends at the moment and this one is no different. 

I’ve had a pretty rubbish week. A scan which showed I have gallstones (even though that wasn’t actually what they were looking for), a hot and sweaty trip down to London, a horrendous pain in my abdomen that has lasted three days and counting, which apparently has something to do with the aforementioned gallstones. Work is just awful at the moment. We’ve had tantrums every evening either due to over tiredness or the heat and I’ve also been messed around by yet another sociopath. So yeah, it’s been emotional. 

So I’m hoping this weekend is better. 

Whether I have Charlotte or whether it’s one of my child free weekends I’m determined to make the most of them so after a bit more tidying up we’re off out to find a gluten free and now low fat/no fat lunch and then heading to a street party in the heart of Warwick. Then dinner with a friend. 

I will not let one shit week crush me but if next week could be better, that’d be great! 

Also I’m starting Blurt Foundation’s #365daysofselfcare challenge as I know I’m rubbish at looking after myself and it’s becoming apparent I need to for my health and sanity! Come and join in with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The green fingered gene.

I’m starting to wonder whether there is a gardening gene that didn’t get passed on to me?? 

My parents definitely have it. Dad more so that mum, but I think it may have been a recessive gene. Fought off by the ‘love of magazines’ gene or the ‘gift wrapping’ gene. 

This is the first spring I’ve had a garden and at first glance I love it! I’m currently sitting on the patio drinking my morning coffee (Hope the neighbours don’t mind seeing me in my dressing gown!). But did you know that gardens need work doing to them? 

What i thought having a garden was like.

The grass needs to be mowed on a bi-daily basis from what I can gather, if you don’t want it to suddenly look like a scene from the Jungle Book. 

Things need taking up at specific times or putting in at specific times. 
Bushes need pruning (I giggled to myself then 😂).
Climbers need tying back 

and to top it off I have to go on pooh patrol before venturing out as Sophie has not found a specific ‘spot’ yet for number 2’s and is obviously testing out every square foot of ground to see what feels best! 

I have bought or been given all the tools for this ‘hobby’ (read full time job) and hoped I would turn into some green fingered, nature loving, ‘The Good Life’ type of woman but it has not yet happened. Is this one of those practice makes perfect type things? Because frankly, I haven’t got the time! 

Yep, i have a book about shrubs.

I AM debating painting my shed pink but I’m not quite sure that’s my top priority! 

Well, I better get on with it, I stupidly organised a birthday BBQ for me next weekend and so far have no BBQ, no outside table to put the food on and no food to put on the hypothetical BBQ! Who says I take on too much!?!

Back to basics for us.

Another long hiatus from me I’m afraid. I don’t know how other bloggers do daily posts…weekly seems difficult enough for me! But then maybe their not juggling all the other things too. Work is full on, home is full on and I’m now taking on the challenge of being a completely gluten free household too as, after the biopsy, we had confirmation that Charlotte does indeed have Coeliac Disease. Just what we needed!   

  
So I’m now trying to work out what this means and how it will affect our lives…so far I’ve come to the conclusion that it will affect it a lot! 
I have to admit I have become a lazy cook. We go out for food quite often and we eat ‘easy’ foods. I’m not happy with this scenario as I used to love cooking and trying new things but time has not been on our side and I’ve recently been picking the easiest options. After a trip to Bill’s Restaurant and Starbucks I’ve realised this can not be the way forward. The options available for a four year old Coelic are non existent and this in turn means a hungry child and a stressed out mum! So I’m going to have to go back to basics, meal planning and cooking from scratch. Great! When the hell in going to fit all this in I’m not sure yet! 

  
My high pressure project had a very brief quiet moment last week and I had time to take stock and realise that Charlotte has actually been quite poorly and getting worse over the past few months. Cue ‘worst mum in the world feeling’. She’s tired all the time, she’s waking during the night again, she’s grumpy and so am I and she is catching every bug going. I have also slowly been gaining more and more weight because of this unhealthy lifestyle we’ve slipped into so we need the change but I’m petrified. There’s so much to take in and implement and it seems so overwhelming. So rather that deal with it right now we’re running away on holiday in the hope we’ll both be rejuvenated enough so get cracking on the change when we get back. 

  
So now I have to focus on washing and ironing in order to pack and work out what the hell i’m going to wear by a swimming pool so I don’t look and feel like a beached whale. 
Anyone got a tarpaulin I could borrow?? 

I am not Superwoman

Well, its official, my mind is a mess, my body is a mess, my house is a mess and my parenting style is a mess.  I have been working long hours for a hellish project and it has taken its toll on every part of me. This week I’ve cried in the office over a very small thing, I’ve cried at home over big and small things. I’ve had a very poorly tummy (I will say no more on that right now), I’ve stared at my massive washing up pile every evening for the past four days but have not yet washed it up and I’m being a shit mum as all I want to do is come home and veg on the sofa when Charlotte wants me to play and we have eaten crap way too often recently (thank goodness nursery gives her real food).  

 I am apparently part time and have the salary that goes with it, yet I have also worked more than full time hours over the past few weeks and have been logging on at home in the evenings just to get stuff done.  This is not a recipe for a happy, well-balanced life is it?

 So I’m thinking about going to the doctors to be signed off for a bit after long and teary discussions with lots of my friends because I’m not sure I can do it anymore. But something is stopping me and I can’t quite figure out what.  Pride, maybe. Stubbornness, maybe.  Conscientiousness, maybe. Worried about the stigma, maybe.  But I think it’s mainly down to the fact that, even though I know it’s utter bullshit, somewhere inside of me still seems to think I should be fucking Superwoman!!  This fictional character who is able to deal with all areas of life effectively, all the time.  Whose house is spotless. Whose children don’t have tantrums and do eat broccoli. Whose nails are perfectly manicured at all times and who can still hold down a full time job and keep up with the high stresses in her job.  Single mum or not Superwoman has her shit together

superwoman Well being Superwoman and ‘having it all’ seems like a quick way into an early grave, so, as one of my friends said, I need to choose my priorities.  Surprisingly work comes nowhere near the top of this list so I need to make sure it’s not at the top of my stress list either. 

 I feel a revelation coming on. #iamnotsuperwoman

 

 

Morning mopey thoughts.

I woke up today feeling a little bit sorry for myself. I had some quiet time to think whilst Charlotte slept in after a late night last night. This feeling could be because of many things I’m sure as its been a pretty crappy week, including slipping deadlines, fucking Valentine’s Day around the corner, a car parking ticket and worst of all loosing my make up bag last night which I’m utterly devastated by, but I also vocalised something a few days ago that is the crux of most of it…I have no one to talk to. 

Now, that’s not technically true I know, so I’m already making it sound worse than it is. But if you read my blog you know I’m not generally a pessimist. I have lots of friends I talk to and I am very very grateful for that. What I actually mean, however, is I have no one to rant about how crap my day was whilst I take off my coat and they hand me a glass of wine and just listen. I know, I know, this wouldn’t strictly happen either because I have a four year old who starts screaming for ‘Paw Patrol’ as soon as we get in the house but most people do have someone to come home to. Whether it be a flat mate, parents or a partner, they can still play that vital role in your life. It’s usually a two way thing but it just lightens the load of a heavy day and I’ve come to realise that I’m really missing that.

I have a dog to come home to, who has inevitably vomited in the house somewhere whilst I’ve been out or chewed one of charlottes toys so it is no longer usable. That’s not a particularly calming way to start an evening.

I guess I just want someone around to give me a hug and tell me it will all be alright because sometimes that’s all you need.

For now this will have to do.

Goodbye 2015

As is a custom on this day each year I wish you all a happy new year and wonder where the bloody hell 2015 went??  I am also picking up my keyboard, blowing the dust off and posting something on my blog, which hasn’t happened for some time!  I guess I just got fed up of always posting depressing reads and longed for the day I could post something positive that I wouldn’t have to take back a week later because my judgement of a situation maybe wasn’t quite the real deal.

But after an exhausting few months at work, various health scares and hospital visits for both myself and my friends and family I just didn’t feel like picking up the pen to fill you lovely people on yet another crappy moment of my life so I went quiet. But I did miss posting…and reading comments from my lovely readers lots.

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Just a little round up of the festive season. 

 

Taking a glance back to my last New Years post, I actually have done lots of the things I said I would for which I’m very proud!  I have got a new job and even a promotion at that!  I finally moved house and, I (with help from my miracle worker/sleep consultant) even sorted out Charlottes sleep, meaning I had more me time and a happier daughter too!  I’m not sure I’ve yet learned what I should do with that time but that’s part of my goal for this year.

So on to 2016 and this time around my main goal is to say “no” more. 

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My new mantra…

I am a people pleaser.  I am well aware of it and it’s a family trait. I like making other people happy, I like volunteering for things, and I like to keep busy.  I get a warm and schmushy feeling when I help out but I have begun to find that being this person all the time is actually detrimental to my health and wellbeing.  I book myself up to keep busy and help others and then moan because I don’t have enough time to keep on top of the day to day things that would help me live a calmer life. So, for once, I’m going to be selfish. Not in a’selfish bitch’ way but I’m going to come first for a while and look after me. (OK, let’s be honest, I’m always going to be second to Charlotte but that would be a major improvement!)

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing my blog and I’m hoping that I haven’t lost all my readers and I can pick up the pen and keep you posted.

Please let me know what your goals are for the year in the comments below and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.