Monday, 28 February 2011

Charity Shopping.

I just love it.

My most recent trip was really successful, thought I would share my finds.

I got a Usborne magnetic book about dressing up, practically new. I love Usborne books, beautiful pictures and they cover all subjects and ages. If you need a book to explain something i.e. the beach, Christmas, nature, Usborne has written a book on it. Edie is currently loving their book 'That's not my Mermaid'. Freya calls them mermalades, sometimes it's no fun correcting children, I prefer her word for them.

I also got an Early Learning Centre  'learn to knit' kit. It will be many years before the girls will get any use out of it but you have to buy these things when you see them. The kit includes needles, wool and a French knitting 'dolly'. I have really fond memories of French knitting when I was a kid. It's a shame that all you end up with is a knitted rope but it may buy me some quiet time for a cuppa in years to come. Craig and I talk about teaching the girls to amuse themselves being money in the bank for later.

I also picked up a ladies size 14 tutu for Freya's dressing up box. It needed a belt but she is made up with it, very Folies Bergere. She's loving dressing up at the moment. I will be keeping my eyes peeled, hoping for hats, kimonos and long gloves. She is currently clip-clopping around in plastic kitten heels.

My final purchase was this pair of Christmas dishes. I thought they were really cute and I also thought it was a real shame that these had been handmade and then given away. Well, I like them Jessica and Ellie.

I blame Kirstie Allsopp for my love of vintage, she hasn't got me 'skipping' yet, I'm not designed for it. Craig's friend John used to say that there are people genetically made for rooting around in skips, they are individuals gifted with short legs and long arms. Apparently, men rooting around in your skip was rife in Walton.

A good days thrifting though.

Friday, 18 February 2011

It's all in the name

I have decided to give my blog a fancy name. I have been blogging for nearly six months now and it appears not to be a passing whim, so I thought I would lose the arbitrary title of 'My Diary'. Also, I have developed blog envy for places like Curlew Country.

So... what to call it? The phrase 'herding cats' is mentioned in one of my early posts. It describes something that is difficult and frustrating, walking with a toddler captures the essence of the phrase. It is the way I feel about my life currently. I am of the opinion that if you forget about the destination and enjoy the meandering you get much more out of life. It has absolutely nothing to do with cats- I am actually more of a dog person.

This is Moomin bedding down with our old cat Phoebe. She was a lovely cat in many ways, very friendly and loving but she was also old and a bit cranky. Craig still shows people the scar on his arm from a particularly vicious swipe. She was euthanised a couple of months after this photo after developing a facial cancer. Now we are a dog family with all the unconditional love and slobbering that that entails.

Better go jump in the shower before nursery ring me up to come and pick up our snotball. Nice to do some blog 'housekeeping' though.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

By the Rivers of Babylon

Did I say Babylon? I meant snot. Both Edie and Freya are streaming with the stuff. Unfortunately, it is Thursday and Freya is too sick to go to nursery thus continuing the pattern of one week in one week out. Craig hit the nail on the head when he mused that it must be really disappointing for me on Thursday when I am prepared for a relatively easy day just looking after Edie and then 'Ker-blammo' I end up with a poorly, grouchy Freya to look after too. Yup.

It has been another hard day but we did get to eat PB, and J sandwiches outside. The previous sentence seems sarcastic but I swear, it is 'wearing' even though I love them dearly, small kids are just so egocentric. Plus, wiping two noses every five minutes for twelve hours, you do the math...


Here is our wonderful spring day picnic, bloody freezing but considering Freya's temperature was 38.8C at this point, it won't have done her any harm. Pan looks resplendent in the sun. She is beautiful and clean, take a good look, it will be two seconds before she has been covered in snot, jam, paint and compost. It is always a little traumatic giving her a 'bath'. Freya initially plays along and even puts her in the washing machine but twenty minutes into the hour long cycle and she starts melting down. I guess you wouldn't expect anything else from a toddler.

The roses on the table are from Becky to cheer me up after texting me at a low point this week. Thankyou big Sis. Its funny, the little things that can brighten your day. Rainbow coloured plastic 'flatware'. I bought a load from IKEA.

Craig and I have just had a discussion about this term. He feels that it should be crockery but I think this implies a ceramic/ porcelain product. He hates me using Americanisms, I can't for the life of me think of the one we always fall out over, it might be appendectomy.

Anyway, its quarter past eleven- kitchen cleaned, bottles made up and house in order ready for the rumpus to start again tomorrow.

Just a little aside about words that Freya is struggling with. We are starting to get 'Biscuit' and 'Basket' from 'Bistick' and 'Bastick'. 'Hitomopamus' has occasionally been replaced by the correct word but 'Punge' is apparently a thing you wash with.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Vile Pigs

Just chilling out with a glass of cava listening to Elton John 'Rocket Man' after a really shitty day. Elton John was so good in his day but I struggle to think of him in the same way since he screamed "Vile Pigs" at either the paparazzi or some airport workers, can't remember. Saying that, I was in the garden screaming at Moomin this morning, not my finest hour. I must of looked like a fish wife.

I felt so down yesterday that I felt like going to bed just not to be awake anymore. I went to bed at quarter past seven without any tea. I knew that it would compound my situation as I needed to put washing on and do a Tesco order knowing that I had nothing for Freya to snack on the next day but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's probably the first year that I haven't made a bit of an effort for Valentines day, we don't really do cards but I usually try and make some fairy cakes or something. I guess it doesn't matter, Craig doesn't observe the day anyway- seems sad though.

I walked to the shops with the girls to try and improve my mood. It was on my mind to buy some cigarettes but I settled for some fresh spring flowers instead. I felt that the cigarettes would come in handy when I am admitted for in-patient psychiatric care, however, couldn't bring myself to smoke in front of Freya. I felt better by the time I had got up the road and was glad I had opted for flowers but then remebered that there was something about mixing daffodils with any other flower.

Good old Google. Apparently, daffodils secrete a gummy substance from their cut stems that blocks the phloem or xylem (it has been too long since I did biology) of the other flowers causing them to die prematurely. Solution: cut their stems and put them in water on their own for three hours before mixing them with your arrangement- job done.

I shall see if I can find something on Spotify to cheer me up- Bill Haley?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Weekend

Last weekend had felt like a bit of a non-event, we didn't seem to achieve much, neither of us got a lie-in, I didn't get child free time to do cleaning. All of which put me in a bit of a grump. What a difference a week makes.

Friday started off well with a 'weigh-in' that showed that I had lost a further two pounds despite not being a hundred percent commited to the diet this week. Craig also felt that his combat pants were looser so we decided to be a bit more relaxed about food and drink this weekend. With that in mind we had a lovely chinese and glass of wine in front of the telly to celebrate the start of the weekend.

Craig had said that he fancied going out for a family meal on Saturday, we considered the Trafford centre but I suggested that we go into Manchester and then we can take Freya on the train for the first time.

It turned out to be a really good plan. Freya was in awe at the train station and loved the experience of getting tickets from the conductor and going through the tunnels.

We saw a couple of policemen at Manchester Victoria. Freya and I had been reading 'Burglar Bill' recently and in the story Burglar Bill tells the baby to say "run for it" if he sees a policeman. I whispered "runfrit" to Freya and in response she shouts "runfrit" several times really loudly at the coppers, luckily they were amused.

We had a great three course meal in Pizza Express washed down with a Peroni and a glass of wine whilst Miles Davis played in the background. We were seated down by the door amoung all the other diners with kids. On the next table there were two little girls of a similar age to Edie and Freya which was nice. All of the kids at the restaurant were really well behaved including our two- thank God.

We laid the pushchair flat when we left the restaurant and trotted around the city centre to get the girls off to sleep. This pub sign along the way made me smile.

They were both asleep by the time we got to chinatown and Craig got to nip into the thai supermarket.

The sun was just going down as we got back to Darwen, we popped into the shop to pick up some milk before the trek up the hill. We felt the kind of tired that you feel when you have been at the seaside all day.

That evening, Craig got the chance to play on minecraft while I faddled around doing chores. One of the 'chores' was making up bubble solution. I thought that this would be an economical way of getting bubbles in the future. It turned out to be a lot of hassle. After two attempts, and a lot of good washing up liquid, the bubbles are crap. You live and learn.

The recipe I used was 3 parts water to 1 part detergent and 2 tablespoons of glycerine. I am going to have to use it up because I don't want to waste all that Morning Fresh. At least it looks pretty with one of my Ideal Home labels. I got the label making CD free with my Ideal Home magazine years ago and it is fabulous. Probably the best thing I have ever got 'buck-shee', as Nick would say.

Sunday started with a lovely lie-in for both of us courtesy of Edie feeding at six a.m. then going back to sleep for two hours. She is really snotty with a cold at the moment, we have even had to crack out the dreaded 'nasal aspirator'. When we finally got up Craig brought us tea and toast which we enjoyed in our big bed all together.

We dropped in on Nic, Nick and Elodie to catch up and share a coffee in front of their log burner. The girls got to play together, in toddler fashion. This meant that there was a bit of snatching, a bit of hitting, some kissing and a liberal amount of snot bubbles. We promised again that we would babysit for each other before we departed to let them get to a christening.

A brief morning get together meant that the rest of the day was free. Craig pressure washed the garden. He was so cold and damp by the time he came in, he had to strip off in the kitchen, then jump in the tub. The flags took two hours but the garden looks great and will hopefully inspire us to organise the garden for summer.

Freya's late night wakings have led me to cut her afternoon sleep down to an hour and it pains me to wake her. This means that I get less time to myself and she is also very tired and crabby by the time six o clock rolls around- joy.

We left Craig soaking and went up to nannie's for a brew. Mum has had a stinking cold and has subsequently lost her voice but remains her usual cheery self. Although she didn't want to take her coat off, Freya has become a lot better at visiting Nanny and Grandad's. Since starting nursery and being ill she hasn't wanted to be away from home and would cry to go home as soon as we went out. That seems to have settled and I actually had to put her in 'time out' to get her to get dressed and leave tonight.

The weekend has been rounded off by pork chops and Top Gear. All in all, a vast improvement on last week.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Retail Therapy.

I have discovered yet another wonderful blog called 'Curlew Country'. The woman who writes there has a real thing for vintage; tablecloths, teacosies, children's ladybird books and crochet afghans. I fell in love with her stuff. This led me to buying some vintage gubbins of my own, despite needing to find the money for our planned holidays this year which include a short break to the lakes with Paul and Liz,  the usual family break in Carnforth and a trip to Normandy for Barry and Katie's seventieth. The good thing with vintage shopping is that it doesn't necessarily cost you a lot of money, the downside is that it is nearly always stuff  you can do without. Case in point, a job lot of vintage hankies that I am now the proud owner of.

They do look oh so pretty and seeing as I am going to spend the next couple of years wiping snot, I might as well do it in a bit of style but obviously not a necessity. Then I got to looking at retro books and toys. I have won an auction for some vintage picture blocks as they vividly remind me of my childhood.

The rabbit is a little 'Donnie Darko' but I love the retro look. I then had a quick browse through some vintage ladybird books and decided to get some for the girls, ones that I fondly remember. I picked five and got the Magic Porridge Pot to  represent Craig's childhood reading. My five books were The Old Woman and her Pig, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Princess and the Pea and Snow White and Rose Red.

The last book is something that will always remind me of my sister Becky. We used to say that we were like Snow White and Rose Red because we were different. Becky has beautiful thick dark hair compared to my fine, wavy light brown hair. Becky was more of a tomboy and into horses, where I was a girly girl and liked painting my nails. I have been looking for a copy of the book for years, for sentiments sake.

I am waiting for an embroidered tablecloth auction to finish and then I will call it a day, enough with the vintage. My next purchase was bang up to date and hopefully, totally worth every penny. A sleep trainer night light.

We don't know whether it is because she has been ill, because she has a new sibling or the stress of starting nursery but our perfect sleeper Freya has started waking up in the middle of the night crying. Last night she was crying at 02.30 because she couldn't find Pan, I went to her, gave her Pan and was just about to tell her to go to sleep when Freya said "Go to Sleep". So there is hope, she knows it's early and she understands what is expected of her. My action plan is to give her a night light, which surprisingly she has never needed but it will help her locate her rabbit companion. The clock that I am looking at has a clock face divided into two halves with a sheep sleeping in one half and awake in the other and the optional alarm is a rooster which according to the reviews kids find a hoot.

Damn you Paypal, you make it all too easy.

As I have written this post Craig continues to build his 'mine'. He is completely obsessed with the game 'Mine Craft' even going so far as to watch other peoples 'mine crafting' on YouTube.

It took me a while to get my head around the  Sinclair ZX Spectrum graphics but Craig assures me that it is a very complex game. I have just had a brief tour round the 'crop room' and been shown what can only be described as patio doors. I joked that it would be funny in summer when our real garden is bare but his mine has an abundant crop... it was a nervous laugh. 

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Freya's Second Birthday

A bit behind with the posts as usual. Freya actually turned two on 22nd of January. She was still quite poorly and I was knackered from looking after a poorly two year old, I actually said to Craig that I wished her birthday had been a week later.

We had decided not to do a big party or cheeky monkeys trip as she is still very young and wouldn't really get it. Nick and Nic were away, so no Elodie and it was a bit much to ask Becky and James to come for such a non-event. It ended up being a little family do with all the grandparents coming over. I am glad that there were no other kids there as asking a sick toddler to share anything would be a nightmare.

I still wanted to make a bit of a fuss over her. So a swift trip to Sainsburys after she had gone to bed, a bit of sticking and colouring et voila.

I printed out a card from ichild, this great website that I found which has loads of free resources. I coloured it in and sent it from Edie and Moomin.

The party hats were a bit plain so I zsushed them up with some sparkly star stickers that Justine had given us. I spent ages doing a special one for Freya with a glitter F on it and some ribbons coming out of the top, she chose to wear a plain green one instead, kids eh.

I was absolutely made up with the cake. I had considered attempting something myself. I loved the look of a Hungry Hippos cake that I saw on the internet but realistically, as I artistic as I like to consider myself, it would take a lot of practice and effort and frankly, I don't have the time right now.

One of the girls I went to school with did a cake decorating course at night school after the birth of her son and makes fabulous cakes. She has just got a job in Manchester decorating cakes in a shop there- that sounds better than me going back the NHS. I have put in my off duty requests for returning to work week commencing the 7th March- big sigh. Back to the cakes, I was considering messaging Jill to see if she takes commissions but time ran away with me as usual. This is one of her creations.

And this is what Sainsbury's had to offer... personalised with a bit of purple (Freya's favourite colour) glitter icing and Robert's your father's brother as they say. I was really pleased with it.

She got a really lovely haul of pressies, including an extra castle from Craig and I. We had a serious case of castle envy after Justine told us that the early learning centre castle we had bought second hand for Christmas used to be one of a set of two, goodies and baddies with a catapult and everything. So Craig managed to find a 'baddie' castle in the sale at Debenhams. We were fleetingly worried that she would go "schmah, another castle" but she seems to love it. Craig has given the little goblins names from Tolkien, I am not sure that I want Freya saying "Shagrat" at nursery but too late now.

Stephen and Sally got her a Happyland princess carriage and some birthday figures from the ELC. I just love that stuff. She got a couple of beautiful coats from Nanny and Becky. This is Becky's denim number with my all time favourite Pumpkin Patch scarf. We bought the scarf in Liverpool after taking the girls out with too little clothes on, it was freezing, nevermind Edie got a new hat, Freya got a new scarf and pair of gloves and I got a cheap jumper from New Look that doubled in size the first time we washed it!

She got glitter, glitter, glitter from Aunty Jussie and Lee, a 'Timmy' sheep from Glenn that makes a dreadful racket that we couldn't turn off so it was banished to the middle room. She also got a Charlie and Lola milk and biscuits set from Nanny and Grandad and some magnetic letters. Here she is enjoying a post party picnic, hot chocolate and cake on a rug in the front room. She loves our daily 'picnic' she doesn't realise it's just a way of me keeping the carpet clean.

From Nanny Pat and Grandad Ray she got a Waybaloo playmat which she isn't quite sure of yet. Cool stuff. I have bought a writing set but still haven't got round to doing Thankyou letters.

Freya managed to survive the day but just kept lying on the floor. Poor thing must have been glad when bedtime rolled round. The grown-ups popped a bottle of cava and enjoyed the evening with a Chinese- lush.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cup of Tea Rex?

Freya seems to have shaken off the misery and is back to her usual chatty self. She has a bit of a thing for T-rexes at the moment, prompted by mummy and daddy getting her a dinosaur birthday card, I presume. I was sat thinking the other day and in a vague manner said "Now what was I going to say..." she finished my sentence with "T-rex?", "Nope, that was definitely not what I was going to say, good guess though". Later that day I asked her if she wanted a cuppa to which she replied "Cup of T-rex?" "Nope, Twinings everyday tea, I think".

Today she found a pound in one of my many bags strewn about the house. She brought it to me and said hopefully "Peel it" I had to tell her that it wasn't chocolate money to which she replied "Freya's piggybank?"- she got the money of course because it's cute but not a habit I want to cultivate. Luckily, I don't have a lot of money lying around.

Along with feeling better, her screaming ab-dabs about Pan have calmed down, she is happy to see her when she goes to bed but doesn't want her all the time- Yeh.

Popped out for a quick shop to 'The Range' the other day. I went to get more plastic boxes to store the girls toys in. I am not sure if I am becoming more anally retentive as I get older, oh well at least the front room is tidy. Anyway, I ended up buying a few other bits for the house.

I have wanted an egg basket for ages. It was a toss up between ceramic or wire. The ceramic one was like the Boswell's in the eighties show 'Bread'. (We also had one at home when I was little.) I ended up settling for this metal one which I think looks nice and is more practical. The reproduction tin sign for the bathroom was a fraction of the price that you see on the internet for the real thing.  I will have to smile sweetly at Craig to put it up for me. I thought the birdcage could go with my thrifty sprayed bird on the mantelpiece - I would have liked a bigger one but this was cheap, cheap, cheap.