Cooking

I love cooking. Which is odd because it’s a very domestic kind of thing to be doing and, despite having two children (I only didn’t say three because it’s “be nice to the other half week”), I am really not domesticated.

Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact it makes me feel grown up because I get to use sharp knives without adult supervision. Or more likely it’s because I’m making something that is technically just going to be destroyed.

Whatever the reason, tonight I decided to batch cook chilli and Bolognese sauce because I had (I thought) all the necessary ingredients and I had the free time (both the children were in bed and fast asleep so I thought I’d try doing something more productive than sitting on Facebook for the evening).Turns out that having three HUGE pans wasn’t enough and stuffing each pot full of onions etc. to bulk everything out would have been a better idea if I’d done it slowly so as to check a. how much room I had in the pots and b. that I had enough onions, chopped peppers, tomatoes and kidney beans.

I mean it all smells great anyway but it would appear I need to start being more organised. Especially as I don’t have enough freezer bags for everything I’ve made…

I’ll get things right one day.

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Decorating

I’m trying to decide what came over me when I thought it would be a good idea to redecorate the bedrooms… I can’t possibly have decided it was a good idea, or did I? When I first thought about it I thought it would take a day, maximum, to repaint both rooms. A week later and I’m still not finished.

The problems started when it came to buying paint. Everything else was fine. Paint pads, sugar soap etc. were all easy to pick. On the other hand, the paint was starting to become a serious issue. Despite forcing discussions with the other half as to what colour to do the children’s bedroom and our own bedroom, the best response I ever got was a shrug and a muttered “it’s up to you”. I suppose it was really, but I still found it annoying that he wouldn’t try to contribute at all. So in the end I thought I’ll go with white paint. For both rooms. Who cares if it marks easily I’m only planning on redecorating again once the children are old enough to choose what colour they want themselves (this decision was helped along by the fact that I wanted to use a pink satin everywhere paint, you know the kind that you can use in the bathroom and kitchen and works on metal and wood too, but couldn’t find it in a pink I liked on the website so thought I would have a shop around to find it). Bad idea. Really awful, because I was trying to do the decorating on a budget as well as working to limited colour choices and once I got to the DIY shop they didn’t even have the white satin everywhere paint that I wanted.

I suppose when that happened I should have just turned round and walked straight back out of the shop, gone home and ordered the paint that I wanted so that I could collect it in-store (the stupid thing is I had already checked this all out and new that the DIY shop in question didn’t do home delivery on the particular paint I was looking at). Instead of doing this – in hindsight – sensible thing, I decided to pick up the “next best thing”, which was the everywhere paint in white but matt instead of satin (I’ve used silk paint before and all I can say is never again!). And I bought two large tubs of the blooming stuff which should have been more than enough but wasn’t because despite doing multiple layers it still looks patchy and scruffy and very much horrible. So much so that (after abandoning my bedroom as a lost cause) I managed to kind of sort out the children’s bedroom by using what was left of the paint that we did the bathroom with.

It’s bright yellow, but at least the children’s bedroom doesn’t look scruffy anymore and it is nice and sunny looking.

And I’ve learnt my lesson. Next time, if I can’t get what I want, I’ll blooming well leave and come back when I can!

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Amazing

As a parent it’s amazing what I find… well… amazing! Dribble bibs that stopped my daughter looking like she’d poured a drink down her front, finding that lost dummy just before the meltdown happens, realising that the jiggle is still the best way to get our youngest to fall asleep, realising that I really do pull stupid faces at both my children when they are eating/being fed… I could go on but I’d bore myself before I finished the list and frankly the things that I find amazing will probably make other people think that I really truly have lost my marbles.

But today I really did think that discovering there was a growing range of car seats that were specifically designed to keep young babies/children rear facing for longer was an amazing thing. Why? Because when it comes to my children, their safety is the one thing that I can never undervalue, there is not one product that is too expensive if it means maybe, just maybe, I can spare them being hurt.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of parent that would wrap my children up in cotton wool and keep them away from anything fun just in case they broke a nail. I’m not that mum. I’m the kind of mum who kisses oopsies and ouchies better IF my children come to me for that kind of treatment but unless they want the attention I’ll let them pick themselves up after they’ve tripped over, watch them dust their hands off, and let them carry on like nothing happened. If my children are happy then I am happy, if they aren’t happy I’ll attempt to move heaven and earth (but only if reasonable) to make them happy again. But when it comes to car seats I am one of the fussiest people out there.

When it comes to a car seat I’m not overly fussed on price, I’ve seen cheap car seats that have been better than expensive ones and vice versa. I’m not fussed on make, I’m not going to buy it just because a celebrity has been seen with one. I will admit to having a thing for nice colours, but then I’ve got two girls and I can’t tell you how frustrating it can be having a black car seat with pink toys and pink blankets and STILL get asked whether you’ve got a little boy (pink covers don’t save you from being asked that much more often but it means the difference between shaking the questioner and being able to grin and bear it). And it is a bonus if you can recline the seat (if my eldest is upright for too long on a journey it makes her travel sick).

And having said all that, I finally come to the point that I feel strongest about. Rear facing car seats. When I had my eldest child rear facing car seats seemed to be limited to the group 0+ and group 1 seats, but they all went up to the same weight and so approximately the same age as to when your child then became forward facing. It always surprised me that rear facing car seats didn’t last for longer, go up to heavier weights, especially in light of the videos that demonstrated what could happen to your child’s neck in an accident if they were in a forward facing car seat. And now, with my second child at four and a half months old, I’m finding that rear facing car seats have improved. There’s more choice, they last longer, you can fit them into your car in various different ways, and the vast majority of them are affordable even if you are on a budget (I know there are some people out there who might think that £130ish isn’t really affordable but when you look at how long these car seats last and average the cost they really are bargains).

And, to me, the best quality of these car seats is the fact that, worst case scenario and you did get into an accident, having your child in one of these car seats means that they are pretty much as safe as they are ever going to be in an accident.

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The Croods, Fantastic Mr Fox, Bolt, Monsters University, Wall-e

I love films almost as much as I love books (and I definitely always prefer the book over the film) but lately I’ve been getting this strong urge to… destroy certain films.

The above named are just a few of them, and the problem isn’t that I don’t like the films – without exception I have liked each and every one of them, for different reasons I will admit, but they are good films. The problem is my eldest daughter. She likes them. Although like is an understatement. To clarify, she isn’t allowed to watch cartoons or anything like that during the day, so in the evening, as a treat, I allow her to choose a film and we watch it together before we start the bedtime routine. And this is where the problem comes in. Once she’s watched a film once that’s the same film she will pick every night without fail until I become so bored of watching said film I hide it and tell her the film had to go away for a while. I mean, honestly, there are only so many times that you can watch Wall-e go on his journey, get crushed and then rebuilt. Or watch Bolt realise over and over that he isn’t actually a super dog. And don’t get me started on that annoying rhyme in Fantastic Mr Fox (it was fine when I read the book because I’m not particularly musical so I just read it flat rather than putting it to music).

The sad thing is, this is once a night – unless she’s ill and then she’s allowed a film during the day. Once a night and these films, which I did enjoy when I first watched them, have become insidious torture devices that make hands tremble with a desire to snap the discs in half, scratch the backs, or even just throw them out…

But I wont. I’m not a mean mummy. They just tend to go “away” until I think I might just be able to watch them again without screaming.

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Quiet

Sometimes the thing I miss the most is just having some quiet time to myself. But, with two children under three and an other half who is essentially just one big child, quiet is normally the last thing I get. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children dearly and only want to kill the other half irregularly, but I miss being able to do simple things in peace. Things like going to the toilet without company, getting a drink and being able to enjoy it while it’s still hot/cold rather than room temperature, having a bath where I don’t end up with plastic bath toys being thrown at me. Even just eating a yogurt without the eldest trying to stick her fingers in the pot (I’m happy to share but once that’s happened the yogurt is all hers).

Even typing this I am sat supervising my youngest who despite being tired is refusing to sleep because it’s far more fun to make mummy play hunt the dummy (she’s an absolute pro – you can check everywhere dozens of time and not find the damn thing, but when you finally give up and pick her up because you reason it’s the only way you’ll find it, you find it in the first blooming place you checked…). And I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book that wasn’t full of pictures and rhyming couplets.

But it’s worth it (honest) just for the hugs, the time spent together and the  “love you mummy” at bedtime when I kiss my eldest goodnight. I’d give up quiet forever for that.

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Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 vs Mass Effect 3

For our first Christmas together I made the mistake of buying my other half a PS3 – I’m not entirely sure what possessed me at the time seeing as he had a fully functioning Xbox 360 (it was later struck down by the red ring of death but that wasn’t for ages and not until his brother had it). The only thing I can think is that at the time I must have been stark raving mad and didn’t come to my senses until it was far too late.
Funnily enough after years of persuasion I gave the damn thing a go and now, unfortunately, I’m as hooked as he is. It started with Fallout New Vegas where I found that I was a pretty good shot with a sniper rifle, and progressed to Borderlands 2 where I became obsessed with finding the very best weapons that I could (and stealing the other half’s kills playing two player 😉 ). Then came Mass Effect 2 which had me hooked immediately, followed by Mass Effect 3 where I learnt the joys of online gaming. Finally, he persuaded me to try Call Of Duty, a game which I had always denied liking until he pointed out that you could play it online too. And that was it. Other than the downside of the players who use headsets (listening to Katie Perry’s Roar because I didn’t mute all the headsets in time was slightly annoying but not the worst thing I could have ended up hearing I suppose).
Well not completely it… I’ve now ended up purchasing a SNES, the original Xbox, and an Xbox 360… Although in my defence you can’t play Fable or Gears of War or Halo on the PS3, so really it was money well spent.
I have no defence for the SNES.

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Bed Time

I’ve always loved a good book – and a rubbish book if I’m completely honest with myself. There’s just something about settling yourself in a comfy chair, picking up a book (whether tried and tested or old and rubbish or new and a complete mystery) and knowing that soon you’ll be in a whole new world. And now I get to share that love with my children who, hopefully, will inherit my love of reading.

The best thing about bed time has to be the bed time story and picking a book from the jam-packed bookcase in the children’s bedroom (there are three more bookcases in the living room for my books, all of them twice the size of the children’s one). Every evening I read two stories. The first story is always my choice and I never choose the same one two nights in a row. The second story, however, is chosen by my eldest daughter who always chooses the same book. Elmer’s Weather. I can now recite the whole of this book from beginning to end without once looking at the pages. But it’s worth it, it really is, knowing how much she enjoys the book and hoping that by doing this simple thing each and every night then maybe, just maybe, she’ll end up loving reading just as much as I do.

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