An alternative Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone, or Mothering Sunday if you’re the traditional type! I hope you’ve all managed to get a lie in (what that means with the clocks going forward I don’t actually know), some version of breakfast in bed and have been presented with multiple homemade cards and presents. 

This year I’m definitely getting a lie in as I don’t actually have Charlotte for most of the day. 

I heard the shocked gasps then but it’s ok, I  promise.

My ex and I have Charlotte alternate weekends (with me doing the bits in the middle too) and this year Mother’s Day fell on ‘his’ weekend.  I didn’t realise until quite late on in the proceedings and wondered if I should attempt to barter to keep her for myself or shorten his weekend with her so I could see her. But then I thought… 

What does Mother’s Day mean for me? 

…and thinking about it, for me as a mum it doesn’t mean very much right now.

The first Mother’s Day after I split with my ex I had three cards from friends and family and multiple presents and flowers. It was nice as I wasn’t expecting anything, especially as my ex and I were not in good terms, but the past two Mother’s Day’s have just been a bit, well, depressing. 

Mother’s Day isn’t just about Mother and Child bonding. It’s meant to be a full family experience and I remember it so fondly from when I was younger. The Father is meant to take the child(ren) out to carefully curate the best present/card combo. The breakfast is made with help from the Father so no fires ensue or coffee isn’t spilt down the stairs. The Sunday Lunch is a full family affair whether out or in but, for better or worse, that’s not how it works in our little family of two. 

Crazy curly haired lady!

But I realised that, where we are now, I don’t need presents or a soppy Hallmark cards from Charlotte. I definitely don’t want presents brought begrudgingly by my ex. It melts my heart when she brings me a drawing home from school with a lady with crazy hair in the middle surrounded by hearts and flowers and says ‘I made this for you mummy’, but I am lucky that they happen every week for me, not just on one day of the year. 

I don’t need a lie in because I generally get one every other weekend and, believe me, I usually make the most of it. I know I have got it good compared to a lot of mum’s in that respect so I take full advantage! 

Last years attempt at breakfast in bed – the wine wasnt part of it, promise!

I don’t need breakfast in bed. She’s five. That would be a disaster and I’d have to go downstairs to find out what the crash was and supervise at some point therefore defeating the point entirely.

Our day trip to London last summer
I do, however, need quality time with my daughter. Like playing a new card game with her that her grandma taught her, and listening to her cackle when she’s on a winning streak. Like having tickle fights on lazy Sunday mornings. Like going on road trips to see something a bit different or Film Night Fridays with pizza and a movie. Like cuddling up in bed every evening and reading books. Just the two of us. 

And I realised that I am ridiculously lucky that I get that most days of the year, not just the one. 

So Charlotte can have her Daddy weekend because she needs and wants quality time with him too, and we’ll just pick up where we left off when she gets back. 

NB: I also know I definitely have two homemade cards hiding in various conspicuous places, so all is not lost.

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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! 

To Elf or not to Elf, that is the question.

This time two years ago Amber the Elf started to visit us during advent and left little notes with little treats in the gorgeous advent bunting I had bought.  Nothing big. Just a little chocolate, a hair clip or something we could go and do that day. Coordinating that was bloody hard enough work!

Love having a fireplace I can hang these on.

This year, for some unknown reason…or the fact that I’m an overachiever who has a lot of time on her hands at the moment (still off work after surgery)…I was umming and ahhing about doing the full Elf on the Shelf experience.

I asked on forums, I asked on my Facebook page and after some mum’s admitting they got bored of it quite quickly and knowing that I can be quite a lazy mummy, especially at the end of the day (especially after a glass of wine), I asked myself why fix something that isn’t broken? 

During my internal debate and after approximately 1000 hours on Pinterest (ref. Time of work again) I did, however, find out about the Kindness Elves which is a cute, fluffy version of the slightly demonic looking, mischievious Elf on the Shelf but instead of being spied on to check whether the child is being good or bad, they spread kindness and suggest good deeds that help others which sits a lot better with me than the ethos of an elf spying on the child.

I have now amalgamated our original Amber the Elf with a splash of Kindness Elves and have found a concoction I’m happy with. So happy in fact that Amber has even written her first poem to say hello again. 

Amber the Elf’s first poem.

Let’s just hope I can keep this up for 24 days and Charlotte starts to sleep through the evening so I don’t have to hurriedly hide things that I have already set up at 10.30pm. 😬 

Happy December everyone! Would love to hear if you have your own traditions in the run up to Christmas.

I have a confession…

I have a confession and those of you who follow me on Instagram may have twigged by now…

Nope, I haven’t had a mental breakdown…well not quite anyway!

 

Nope, I’m not pregnant (thank goodness)

 

Nope, I’ve not killed someone at work and writing this from a prison cell (that’s probably the most likely of these three options)

 

But yep, this serial failed dater actually has a lovely, legitimate boyfriend. Sound the fanfair!!


My first sneaky photo of us.
My first sneaky photo of us.
To those of you who have never read my blog before this might not seem like a fanfair type event.  Everyone has relationships don’t they?  But after three long years of being single and dating a myriad of idiots, knobheads, commitment phobes and emotionally unavailable men I finally seem to have found a good one.  The coveted needle in the haystack.

 

It was a marvel that I ever met this guy in the first place though as I cancelled all my dating apps (yes, again) and declared that I would be single for a year without looking for ‘the one’ (yes, again) after I got screwed over by a deceivingly ‘nice’ guy (yes, again).

 

There was, luckily, one guy who slipped through the net though and despite all my new promises to myself we kept chatting and eventually managed to meet up and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Now we have been dating for three whole months and I think I’m getting the hang of how to have a boyfriend at 32 and when there’s children involved. Yet another learning curve to make my way up but I’m enjoying it so far.

 

I was even brave enough to ask for our first 'couple' selfie.
I was even brave enough to ask for our first ‘couple’ selfie.

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!

The Vitamin D boost. 

This week I snuck off to Portugal for a childfree break. I didn’t think it would be able to happen as I didn’t think I’d be able to get the time off work or that my ex would have had Charlotte as, before I ripped him a new one over Christmas when he thought having her for one day over the Christmas break was good enough, he wouldn’t have had her for longer than a couple of days. But, surprisingly, when I asked him only because ‘what did I have to lose’, he said yes. 
So I had a cheap, week long break with friends in Portugal booked. I had no time to think about it as work was taking up 100% of my energy so the night before I packed my bags in a very random fashion, ransacked the house for my passport and drove down to Bristol to get on an aeroplane. 
And it’s been a well needed rest. 

 

One of the many beautiful beaches I sat on this week.
 
I’ve said no to the crazy watersports my friends were excited about, I’ve eaten lots of delicious Portuguese food, drunk quite a lot of Portuguese wine and I have sat on various beaches and read my book and thought about life, the universe and everything. I’m not sure I came to any epiphanies or great conclusions but I have definitely decided that my life cannot carry on on the way it is at the moment. I need to off load some stress, I need to enjoy my daughter and the time I have alone. I am currently doing the exact opposite of this. 

 

Feeling a little bit anti-social whilst watching my friends go paddle boarding…not so much when they came back 3 hours later knackered and aching.
 
My travel companions have highlighted this even more as they are all so different to me. Not in a bad way, I’ve had an amazing time and we all get on amazingly well, but they are all living lives and having experiences that I just haven’t even grazed the surface of. They’ve travelled, they’ve been impulsive, they’ve taken risks, they’re all comfortable in the decisions they’ve made and I’ve done none of these things. 
This is not to say that I want to pack up and run off somewhere (although that does sound tempting) but I need to make some drastic changes with both mine and Charlotte’s lives so I do not get to the end of this life and think…well I could have done so much more. 
I’m a homebody, but that doesn’t mean I have to be boring and I’m fed up of feeling like I’m not in control of my life. I want to be dependable for Charlotte but other parents manage to have adventures at the same time so why am I not doing this. 
So I’ve arrived back to cold, grey England and starting to take some steps to put this change into action. I’m not sure quite where they’ll lead to but hopefully it can only be to a good, new place in our life. 

20 ways in which you’ve wronged your 4 year old

My daughter has a ‘butter won’t melt look’ about her most of the time and, I’ll give her her dues, she is a damn good negotiator when it comes to trying to get her way.  But sometimes things don’t quite work out as she planned and when this happens you can be guaranteed that you will get the disappointed look below and the there will be a ‘The world has ended’ style tantrum. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we’re with, the tantrum will happen over the tiniest thing.  

Asked for cheese, got ham.
 Just to keep myself slightly sane through these moments I decided to record the reasons the shit hit the fan in my daughters world.  Of course, they are all entirely legitimate and worth the energy usage for all involved. 

Below are some of the reasons:

  1. There wasn’t enough milk with her Cheerios 
  2. *tops up milk and finishes cheerios* There was too much milk with the Cheerios.
  3. Her dress was long sleeved.
  4. Her pink tights weren’t washed.
  5. She’s tired. (Because she woke up at 6am)
  6. There was a stone in her shoe (there wasn’t).
  7. I gave her 2 biscuits, not 3.
  8. I gave her 8 raspberries, not 6.
  9. Her cucumber was cut in slices, not sticks.
  10. Her lemonade was too lemony (damn you San Pellegrino)
  11. I wouldn’t let her use the drill by herself.
  12. I couldn’t rewind Miffy because we’d only just turned the tv on.
  13. I wouldn’t play the most boring board game ever with her for the 300th time that day.
  14. I couldn’t carry her because I had a dog attached to a lead in one hand and shopping in the other.
  15. It started to rain (obviously my fault).
  16. I didn’t participate in the race down the path (because I hadn’t been told it was happening).
  17. I wouldn’t let her walk into the road by herself.
  18. She dropped her teddy and it got muddy.
  19. I wouldn’t buy her the kinder surprise egg AND the Frozen surprise egg. 
  20. I wouldn’t let her watch Family Guy when she woke up and came downstairs. 

As you can see, I am obviously a complete bitch of a parent.

I could go on but I’m exhausted just writing about them! These were also mostly from a 48 hour period! Please let me know your child’s (entirely legit) reasons for the world ending in your house in the comments below! 

We’re in…finally!!

IMG_4180.JPGI’m finally in my house. There has been blood, sweat and tears (literally) to get it to a live-able and sleep-able state but with help from som wonderful friends and mainly my parents I’m sitting in the living room, watching tv in my pjs whilst the dog sleeps next to me and Charlotte sleeps in her bright pink room upstairs.

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There’s still lots to be done and lots of boxes to unpack and things to find places for but, for now, I’m just going to focus on the fact that we’re actually in and it definitely feels like our home.

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More pics to come as the project develops.