Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas! I hope you have/had a lovely day and remember, if something didnt get done, or got forgotten, will it matter this time next month? In 6 months time? This time next year? Probably not.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Well, you wanted photos, so here are a few to keep you happy (and if you’re the person who voted no, then I apologise for this photo heavy posting).

If you read lots of blogs then you’re probably fed up of people’s snow pictures, but if you’re not then here’s a few more. I took them about 3pm and you can see the sun is starting to set - we get some fantastic sunsets out at the front of our house here. I’ve even considered taking a photo of the sunset every day to post.

Chicken prints in the snow. The poor old girls are not impressed with all this cold and have been spending a lot of time in their house.

Hopefully this will be our indoor Christmas tree in a couple of years!

The chicken house and a glimpse of the view out to the back of the house. We only get to see it in the Winter when all the leaves and other greenery have gone.

Out to the side of the house. Notice our neighbours lovely pristine snow. How I would love to run around on it!

Taken at the front of the house.

Another one out to the front, the sun starting to set.

Top one taken out to the side of the house, the one below was taken between our house and next doors, towards the back.

The front of the house. The bit with the front door is a later addition to the original part of the house just behind it (originally built in 1802)

Another one of the front of the house

Up and down our lane. You can see how icy the road is.

Our dining room looks out to the front and sometimes I think about having it as our lounge instead to take advantage of the beautiful views but there isn’t a fireplace in here. Maybe we should have it as our summer lounge and move back to the other one for the Winter??

If you read my entry yesterday you may recall I said (again!) I’m fed up of sewing. What I am about to say next doesn’t change that, but I am very excited about this:

It was offered up on Freecycle today and I would have missed it had I not spotted the word “sewing” in the title of an email that Craig had just deleted. I made him open it to see what it said and there was this machine being offered. It has been given to someone months ago but they didn’t turn up to collect it so it was being re-offered. I have wanted an old treadle machine for years, mainly just for decorative purposes, I don’t know if I would ever use it. So, it’s now sitting in my dining room awaiting a spot somewhere safe.

I’ve done a bit of research on it and have pinned it down to being a Singer 66K, the serial number was allocated on September 27 1934 in the Kilbowie factory in Clydebank.

The top of it needs some restoration but the actual machine seems to be in perfect condition apart from needing a new belt as the one that came with it has snapped. It even had the manual which is in an envelope sent in 1973 - I’m wondering if the machine was sold or given to someone and they had to send the manual on later on. It’s soaked in machine oil so not easy to read but seems in pretty good condition otherwise. Better still, I have found a copy of the instructions on the Singer website for it so I can download them and not have to risk damaging the original.

There are a couple of the accessories missing such as the under-braider but the feet that are there are useful - a hemmer is very handy as I hate doing hems and to have something that does it for you is great!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

I couldn’t blog today without mentioning the snow could I? It took me over an hour to do the school run this morning (more like a crawl today!!!). It usually takes me 20 minutes. The snow was really thick and heavy and driving was not much fun.

Our lane was very slippery as I discovered when I tried to stop to let a car past a van that was parked by the side of the road. I had a moment of panic as the car didn’t stop and I just had to try and guide it through the gap between the van and the oncoming car without hitting either.

On the way home I nipped into the shop to buy a couple of bits and also a packet of cigarettes as part of my work Secret Santa present - I was most chuffed when I got asked for ID. The poor woman was really embarrassed when she discovered how old I am but I told her she had made my week.

Beth’s school closed early so we had to go and get her. Work had phoned to see if I could go in earlier than I was meant to so we decided we’d pick up Beth and then go on to Tesco. It took nearly an hour to get halfway to the school (it takes 10 minutes to get there normally) and the weather was getting worse so I rang and said I wouldn’t be in at all.

Craig dropped us off at home and went off to get the primary school children early as he didn’t want to have to go out later if it was really bad. Typically the snow had stopped by then and it seemed to be starting to thaw but it did snow again a bit later.

I did some sewing this afternoon - Millie has several “sheeties” that she has had since she was born. We got them from Baby Gap and they’re made from 2 pieces of gorgeously soft interlock with a binding edge and have various different designs on them. They have been snuggled so much over the last 9.5 years that they are starting to fall apart. The binding on the edge of Giraffe sheetie had come away and it all needed sewing back together. I think I did an ok job, at least it will last a while longer anyway.

I also cut off the waistband on my favourite Julius the Monkey Pjs and remade it, replacing the elastic so they will now fit me (lets just say they had no trouble fitting me when I was very pregnant but now I’m not pregnant and have lost 2 stone they just wouldn’t stay up).

Then there were three stockings to make - a lovely online friend of mine embroiders the latest addition to the family’s name on a stocking every time I have another baby and this year I got her to do one each for me and Craig. So they’re now all sewn up and ready to hang on Christmas eve.

It was all very simple stuff, no need to even really think about what I was doing yet I very quickly got a headache, sore shoulders and back from being so tense and was really stressed, snapping at anyone who came in the room. I definitely don’t enjoy sewing anymore. I’ll keep my machines as they’re handy in case of needing to mend things or make a costume for something, but I suspect 2010 will be the year I get rid of all most, if not all of my fabric and other stuff. We could really use the space it all takes up, and the money I will hopefully get for it.

Wednesday night was school play night. Sophie and Jack’s was good. Sophie was a teacher and was a bit too good at being bossy, lol Jack was a toy soldier and did really well. He was so cute, especially when he was signing the songs (all the songs were signed by the children). It wasn’t too long either so it didn’t matter too much that I didn’t have a clue what was happening.
Millie’s though was another matter. It was waaaaayyyyyyyyy too long, it didn’t make sense and was not a pleasant experience to sit through. It went on (and on!) for over 90 minutes and I have to admit I got to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to leave. It could have done with being a lot shorter and I wasn’t the only person who was willing it to end. A lot of the audience were fidgeting, chatting and looking at the clock.

I also had a slightly unpleasant experience when one of the people I, to put it bluntly, hate, decided to try and talk to me. She was telling the children how well they had done and I decided to ignore it and hope she went away but then she kept saying “Lucie, Lucie, Lucie” trying to talk to me. I gave her a look and ignored her and she did go away. But then at the end she came over again and started talking to me again. This time I told her not to speak to me or my children ever again and she walked off saying how sad it was. I wish I’d told her that it was her own fault for deciding she would rather be friends with that stuck up, fake, patronising bitch but I didn’t and I don’t suppose I will get the chance again. Ah well, at least she is aware that I do not wish to ever speak to her ever again. Ever. Or any of the rest of them. After what they did to me I have no interest in them. They showed just what they are like when they basically just dumped me and we don’t do the forgive and forget thing in this house - as Craig’s family will confirm over 16 years since they last saw or spoke to us.

Life is too short to spend with people who think so little of you that they upset you, betray you, piss you off, dump you or whatever, or to spend getting stressed and upset about whatever it is they’ve done. Don’t waste any more time on them. They’re the ones who suffer in the end. Don’t want to grow old having never seen your 8 grandchildren, or even knowing that they exist, what their names are etc etc? Be very careful how you treat your children and their spouse then.

Rant over, lol. I used to have another blog on our website (which we no longer have as we didn’t bother to renew the subscription for the name when it ran out last year and if the email address you have for me is linked to that website you may have discovered it no longer works for that very reason) that I used to vent my feelings on. Someone told me they had found it and they couldn’t believe how strong it was. I had to laugh as it was an incredibly toned down version of what I wanted to say. A good old rant is good for the soul sometimes isn’t it??

Anyway, hope everyone has a nice weekend planned (unless you are someone I don’t like in which case I hope you have a crap weekend) - I must sort out some homemade wine for one of my lovely real-life friends, get the new bedroom arrangements sorted out (the children are moving around) and make my final batch of mince pies. Might do a bit more sewing as well.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

We have had more steps forward this week. In fact things have suddenly progressed at a fast pace.

I had a call this afternoon from a family support worker who has been assigned to us. I know her from the children’s previous school and she is a really nice person. She’s going to send us a form to fill in and is going to do an assessment of us to see how she can help us and the school. An organisation called Autism Outreach have been called in as well as several other agencies plus the educational psychiatrist.

The FSW mentioned special schools as well - now, I have no problems with Millie going to a school that specialises in children like her, in fact I am thinking it might be a good idea. Funnily enough, just half an hour before the phone call (which I wasn’t expecting) we had been talking about considering taking her out of school and either home educating her or seeing if we could get her into a specialist school.

I think she might do better at home again, so am beginning to think about how we’ll do it if we do go down that route.

I have waited for things to get to this stage for so long now, so why was I so upset afterwards??

Anyway, in other news, I’m finding the healthy eating is going well. It’s amazing how changing my way of thinking has made it so much easier. If I eat something cooked or just not something that I “should” I don’t think “oh, I’ve failed, I give up”, it’s fine, it’s no big deal. I’m finding that I really don’t want to eat cooked food or wheat etc as well. I had made the decision to eat our traditional Christmas foods on Christmas Day (croissants, turkey dinner, Christmas Pudding, mince pies, Christmas cake etc etc) but the closer it gets the less I want to. But, if I do I am not going to stress about it. It’s only one day.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

I can’t quite believe it’s only 12 days to go til Christmas! Both the trees are up and decorated - the one in the dining room was done first but it took several days to get round to decorating the tree in the lounge. That may have been a slight advantage as the children came home on Friday after school and their little faces were so sweet when they saw it had been done.

I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to decorating the trees but this year I let the children do the dining room one themselves - the whole lot apart from the lights. It looks lovely. I did the lounge one though and it’s colour co-ordinated with pink and purple decorations. I got the boys to put the chocolate decorations on it and amazingly they didn’t realise that they are edible - I wonder how long that will last???

I also have this lovely wreath made by a lovely friend of mine - isn’t it gorgeous??? I thought it was too nice to put on the front door where no one but us and the postman would see it so I put it up in the kitchen. Unfortunately it started to wilt a bit so it is now on the front door and it has perked up again.

My new diet is going well. I’m eating mainly raw food but I am having the odd bit of cooked - today for example we went into town for the Christmas market and the children wanted chips from the chip shop on the way back to the car. They smelled so gorgeous that I had to have a couple but they didn’t taste as good as they smelt so that was all I had (I have to say they are really nice chips, it’s one of the best shops in town, and normally I’d have had loads of them but I concentrated on the taste and whether or not I really wanted to eat them and the answer was no).

I’ve meant to take photos of the things I’ve been eating but have either forgotten or in the case of last nights dinner have eaten it before I could get the camera out. I do have this photo which doesn’t do the food justice but it’s avocado, broccoli and dulse in a hemp seed oil, lemon and chilli dressing. Really really nice. I’ve had it twice - the first time I was a bit uncertain if I liked it but then I craved it for a couple of days so had it again and loved it.

Last night I had nori rolls from Kate Magic Wood’s book Raw Magic. While I was making them I thought they were going to be horrible but they were sooo gorgeous I was really disappointed when I realised I’d eaten the whole lot. I’m having them for dinner again tonight.

I also received this in the post this week:

I ordered it from a US co-op months and months ago (May or June I think) and it finally arrived. I am really inspired to make a quilt with it for Alfie but I’m trying to work out where to use which fabric. I have a panel for the centre of it and only plan to do something very simple. I did think about making him a quilt cover and pillowcase set but I think a proper quilt might be nicer. It’s the first time I’ve felt really inspired so I hope it doesn’t wear off before I actually get round to it!!

Mind you, I have no excuse as my sewing desk is pretty much clear and the dining table is fairly clear as well. Hopefully I will find an afternoon very soon to sit down and sew. Or maybe I will start going to a local sewing group that has recently begun at the same place as I go to knitting group then I will have no excuse not to do some sewing!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Is that light at the end of the tunnel we see??

Craig was a little late getting the children to school this morning. The Head stopped him and told him she was trying to write a letter to us but didn't know how to word it. She's written it twice already but still wasn't sure what to say. Basically she wanted us to sign a referral form so Millie can be assessed by the ed psych. She had gone over the head of the person who refused to see Millie because she wasn't extreme enough and the more senior person has agreed she can be assessed. Yay!!

The Head was relieved that we're so supportive and that we're not the kind of parents who refuse to accept there is a problem with their child. We've made it very clear that we are fully aware of the problems and that we're desperate for her to be looked at.

I'm now thinking that she needs a brain scan - after we were told she would be severely brain damaged when she was ill after she was born I am convinced 100% that there is some damage there somewhere.

Fingers crossed we start getting somewhere now!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


We were really pleased when school wanted to refer Millie to the ed psyc to get her assessed and if necessary diagnosed. But, because she isn't violent or falling behind in her work they are refusing to even look at her.

She is disruptive. She has these stupid tantrums which must disturb the rest of the class. How can that not be enough of a concern to be looked at? When she is possibly causing the other children to have their education disrupted she is a problem. I know I wouldn't be happy if my child had a disruptive child in their class who was making such a noise.

I had to go in and get her tonight after school as she was refusing to come out. I found her in the corridor crying and screaming because she wasn't allowed to do the advent calendar (she'd already had her turn which is fair enough). She refused to come out with me, screaming even more when I walked to the door. But the baby was in the car on his own and I couldn't be so far away from the car for so long so I left her and went to check he was ok. I went back for her and she was being marched out by two of the staff, still screaming and crying.

I am convinced they were probably talking about me afterwards, how awful I am for shouting at her and for walking out and leaving her. Hey ho. Next time I will be lovely mummy to her and give her a big hug and see if that makes any difference.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

I’ve been slack again haven’t I???

I’ve had lots of ideas of things to write but haven’t been at a computer when I’ve thought of them. Anyway, here’s a quick summary of the past week or so.

I made the first batch of mince pies of the year at the beginning of the week. They went down so well that I have no photos to share with you.

I was going to post one of my lovely new polka dot cake tins. I love red and white polka dots, I’m thinking of transforming my kitchen into a polka dot fiesta, lol They’re not quite as lovely as they were when I bought them - Robbie dropped one on the floor and swore blind it wasn’t dented. No, it wasn’t dented, it was squashed into a very unround shape.

I took a tin full to my knitting group thinking that I’d bring most of the home again - they were so popular that I came home with about 4.

I absolutely love my homemade mince pies. The pastry is gorgeous and very short - I use Delia’s recipes for my Christmas baking. Unfortunately I can’t eat them anymore.

I hadn’t eaten wheat for about two weeks until I ate a couple after I’d baked them. I’ve always suspected I’m sensitive to wheat - I won’t claim to be allergic to it, but I do react after eating it - and the mince pies seemed to confirm it. I got the familiar itching in my throat, nose and ears I always get when I eat something with wheat in and had stomach cramps and I could feel the wind moving through my intestines. I went wheat free again for a few more days and then tried again - same symptoms. So I am finally going to do something about it. Ie cut out wheat from my diet.

It’s not going to be easy, but I am determined to stick to it. I’ve had an interest in raw food for many years now and have “gone raw” numerous times but it never lasts for more than a few days before I’m back on cooked food again. I think my mistake has been that I’m an all or nothing sort of girl and so always vow to be 100% raw, fail one day and then decide to forget it. So, I am going to go “high raw” this time. If I eat something cooked then that’s ok, but the majority of my diet is going to be raw, and I’m going to include lots of raw super foods such as maca, lucuma, purple corn extract etc etc.

I got all my raw books out last night to get some ideas and I managed to get quite a lot of the ingredients from the health food shop in town (considering how behind the rest of the country Lincolnshire seems to be this particular shop is amazing, and sells all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect them to have even heard of let along stock). I’m going to have to put an order in to one of my fave raw food sites Raw Living for some other bits and pieces and I suspect a bar or two of their amazing chocolate will find it’s way into my shopping basket!!! I just wish I lived near Brighton still so I could go and try one of their delicious sounding raw cakes.

Updated to add - I had some cheesecake yesterday and felt really ill before even finishing the slice. However, I had some chocolate tonight and didn’t react so I can still eat that - phew!!
A bit of big news here is that we’ve decided to try Alfie at playgroup again after Christmas. The last attempt was September last year and he hated it, but we feel he needs to get used to being away from us with other people before he starts school next year. He’ll be the fourth one of our children to go to this group so we know he’ll be well looked after. I took him for a look round yesterday and he seemed to like it - until the end when he wanted to take the picture he had been doing home with us, but the little girl who was helping him wanted to keep it as well…. There was a bit of a tug of war and tears (from Alfie) until one of the ladies managed to get the picture back for him.

Amos is now crawling quite well - I say crawling, it’s more of a dragging himself along but he can get himself to wherever he wants to be. Usually the plug sockets. It’s so cute!!

On Thursday I went to my knitting group - I didn’t bother with any make-up, didn’t do my hair, wore a scruffy cardigan and didn’t bother with my contact lenses. It’s only knitting group after all isn’t it?? Guess who was chosen to present a cheque to the lady from a local hospice?? They decided that they needed to dispel the myth that knitting groups are all old ladies and that the youngest person there should do the presentation and have their photo taken for the local paper. Grrrrr.

The Christmas present shopping is going well. I think there are only a few more bits to get. I have to admit that Craig has done most of it again. He’s so good at it. Once again I am in charge of the stockings. I’m also meant to be making a few bits for the children too. I really ought to get on with it!!!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

How could I forget???

Aside from meeting up with Liz and Alison, the highlight of my Harrogate trip was getting several compliments on the Amy Butler changing bag I made (I took it with me for all my shopping). Having strangers comment on it made me feel really proud.
Yesterday I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate. It’s the third or fourth time I’ve been and I usually meet up with friends from a group I’m on (we started off as sewing buddies years ago but most of us no longer have very much time for it, many of us now knit but we do have time to chat and chat. Even though I have only met most of the members once or twice, and some not at all yet, I think of them as being some of my best friends).

There were four halls of knitting, stitching and the usual unrelated stands that always seem to be at these events - fudge, miracle cleaning products, scarves etc etc. Heaven for a fan of anything to do with textile crafts. I did my usual walk round once to see what there is, decide what I want to go back for a proper look at and check out of prices. Then spent the rest of the day going back and forth from hall to hall and yes, I did spend some money.

It was lovely to meet up with my friends Liz and Alison as well - I haven’t actually met up with Alison before so it was nice to be able to put a face to the name now.

So, what did I buy???

I bought this doll kit and also another book to make some different dolls from AK Traditions They are gorgeous!! The book on the right comes from the kit - the box doesn’t really show you much.

This yarn and the shawl pin are to make a cardigan for me that appears in issue 5 of The Knitter magazine.

This pile of goodies from Oliver Twists. Now, I am ashamed to admit that I bought a bag of goodies from them a couple of years ago and I still haven’t used it….. But, I have lots of plans for this little lot (ask me this time next year how much of it I’ve used!!!!) There are silk tops, silk laps, experimental packs with all sorts of bits and pieces, felt, thread and a bag of mixed bits and pieces that I have had some ideas about dyeing. Unfortunately the colours in the photo aren't great and you can't see the real colours - the felt is different shades of pink for example, not the odd red orangey colour on the screen.

I also have to show you my charity shop bargain - I never have any luck getting bargains and am always really jealous to read about other people’s fantastic luck at finding things, so I was really chuffed to notice this in one of the charity shops in town as we happened to be passing. It’s brand new and was £30. I’ve wanted one for ages and ages but they always go for loads on eBay (if I never use it I can always sell it on there!!)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Just got back from Harrogate. Got loads to post about (and some photos) but am far too tired tonight. However, I will share that one of these days I am going to learn a certain lesson that I am being taught at the moment. Coffee. Glove compartment cup holder. Roundabout. I shall say no more......

Friday, 20 November 2009

What a week!! It took me until tonight to post the entry I started on Sunday (and didn’t quite finish but hey ho).

On Sunday night Alfie was sick several times. Then Sophie started. We thought it was just over excitement or too much party food but kept Sophie off school on Monday. Unfortunately, by Monday morning she wasn’t the only one not well so we had all but one of the children at home.

Sophie had a lovely birthday, she loved her presents especially her “in a line skates”. Normally the children open their presents when they get home from school if their birthday is a school day. The reason for this? Because we’re useless parents and usually only get round to wrapping their presents up just before we go to collect them from school. This has obviously not gone unnoticed by the children and several times through the morning Sophie asked if we had wrapped her presents yet….

Being even more useless parents we decided on an even easier option and wrapped them in play silks instead. She didn’t mind fortunately.

At school all the children (all 60-odd of them) are into either Match Attax football cards or Gogo crazy bones, umm, thingies. Sophie strangely likes the football cards and got this years folder and several packs of cards to go in it (after searching everywhere for them for days both Craig and I found them and bought her 10 packs only to discover that the other one had got some too…) We think it’s hilarious that she calls all the players by their first names - her favourite is Tim.

So, Tuesday I went into work and felt fine until after I got home when I started being sick too. I didn’t get much chance to rest as Craig had an op on Wednesday so I had to be up to take him there for 8 and then look after the children - all of them were at home ill (they had gone back to school on Tuesday).

Fortunately Craig recovered really quickly so I didn’t have to look after him too much. I’m not much of a nurse at the best of times, let alone when I’m ill.

I was meant to be going to a Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate today but have decided to go tomorrow. I’ve actually got a list of things to be looking out for this time - normally I go to these things without one and regret it, so I am prepared!!

Want a laugh? When I left work on Tuesday I got a drink to take home with me - a grande black coffee (Xmas blend - gorgeous, get it while you can!) - and sat it in the cup holder in my car. You open the glove compartment and the cup holder is in the flap. On the first roundabout I went round the bloody thing fell over and tipped into the glove compartment completely soaking everything in there (including all my important car documents) and now my car smells of coffee but not in a pleasant way. Argh!!

I’m sure more happened this week. I’m still feeling off my food which is no bad thing - I’ve lost about 6lbs as well which I am not going to complain about.

Posted 5 days late.....

When you have lots of children some things don’t get much of a reaction beyond “oh dear, chicken pox again, hey ho”, however some things are still exciting and new - Amos has finally worked out how to move forwards and I think he is just the cleverest baby on the planet (just as they all were when they finally worked out how to move). I hesitate to call it a crawl - he doesn’t get up onto his hands and knees yet, he only uses one leg and drags the other one behind him, almost as if he’s got a limp. Combined with rolling he can now get to wherever he wants to be (especially the plugs under the TV unit) It’s hilarious to watch, but don’t worry, I won’t inflict a video of him doing it on you, lol

Tomorrow we have another birthday, this time Sophie’s. We invited her friend from her old school to come over for the day and she had her birthday tea today. I got home from work just in time to see her blowing out the candles on her cake which I was glad about. I’m working again tomorrow so I won’t see much of her before she goes to bed.

I’m really enjoying the job. It’s nice to get out of the house and dare I admit that when I’m there I don’t think about the children (unless somebody asks me a question about them). It’s so nice not to be “muumuum” for a few hours and I think it probably doesn’t even occur to many of the customers that I have children (and certainly not 8 of them!!) I did get asked today if I have to do all the cleaning at home - here’s another terrible confession for you. I probably do more cleaning at work than I do at home.

Did I mention my electric blanket? If you haven’t got one then I highly recommend it. To get into a lovely (very) warm bed is just bliss. I can’t believe it’s taken us so long to get one. I think we’re going to have to get the children one each now.

Thank you to everyone for the comments on my last post and also for the ones on my post about depression. Unfortunately they disappeared when I changed the comments moderation settings but I did read them all. One thing I forgot to mention on that post was that when you have one of those bad days sometimes it can help to think “oh dear, I’m having a bad day today” rather than “oh no, my depression has come back, I’m so low, how long am I going to feel like this”? If you can accept that some days will be bad but not necessarily all of them sometimes it can help (I know sometimes even thinking positive doesn’t help, and sometimes you just cannot think positively at all no matter how hard you try). If you’ve been lucky enough not to have ever been depressed please believe me when I say it’s not as simple as “pulling yourself together”, if it was then there would be no need for psychiatrists and psychiatric units. The lowest depths of depression are not where we choose to be, honestly.

Changing the subject entirely, does anyone want some nappy patterns? I can’t remember exactly what I’ve got but there’s a Cuddlebuns, Poochies, Poopockets (2), Honeyboy home and some more that I have forgotten off the top of my head. £20 or reasonable offer for all of them. Email me if you’d like them.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Who are you?

I occasionally look at the live traffic feed for this blog to see who is visiting (and where from, and also where they've gone once they've visited) and there seems to be a lot of people from all over the place, so, who are you? :-) I would love it if you said "hello" and told me who you are, where you're from and if you have your own blog leave the address.

I was particularly interested to see a reader from Braintree in Essex had visited - we used to live there many years ago, it's where Craig is from and the two oldest children were born there, so please let me know who you are, I'd love to say hello and see if we know the same people etc.

It's lovely to think so many people read my witterings, lol

I'd also be interested to know if the traffic feed is actually accurate - one blog I go to has one and it says I'm from all sorts of different places around the country, but never actually where I am from. Very strange!

Anyway, come and share a virtual cup of coffee with me again soon.

Typical! I started blogging a bit more regularly and then had a problem with my laptop. I couldn’t use it for a couple of days and yesterday it had loads of virus checks etc done on it but now it seems to be working ok. One of the problems was the typing was really really slow. I’d type a sentence and half an hour later it was still slowly appearing on the screen. The slightly bizarre answer was to remove the battery. Might be a useful bit of info to squirrel away in your mind in case it happens to you!

One thing I was going to blog about was my rekindled love of New Order. I really got into them way back in the 80s. No one else as school was into that kind of music (I was also a massive Pet Shop Boys fan and it was due to them that my life ended up going the way it has) the other girls were mainly into whichever boy-band was big at the time, Bros, New Kids on the Block, remember them? I hated boy bands although I did go in for the grolsch bottle tops on my shoes look.

I grew up in a smallish town just outside of Manchester so was there for the “Madchester” thing. I wasn’t really into all that kind of music though, I much preferred electronic dance music. I recall buying New Order 12” singles from the second hand record stall in Afflecks Palace. Of course I went to the Hacienda as well (all the while hoping to catch a glimpse of Barney and co but I never did). I’d listen to my New Order (and PSB) Cds on the bus to college as well as in my room all the time.

I’ve had a couple of the newer NO Cds in the car for a while now but hadn’t listened to the old ones for years, however I googled Bernard Sumner to see what he’s up to now and discovered loads of New Order videos on You Tube which made me get the old Cds out and listen to them again.

Bernard, by the way, is in a new band called Bad Lieutenant, and in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not a coincidence that one of my fave singers shares a name with my youngest babe.

I started writing this a few days ago, lost half of it (which I couldn’t be bothered to write again so you’ve got the short version) and then didn’t have time to finish it. Since then we’ve had to take the car in to the dealers to be fixed - exhaust and brakes - so we’ve only got one car at the moment (they didn’t have a courtesy car available, they never do when we need one!) Luckily the older three all get buses to and from school, but typically the one day that they really needed to be on the bus the blooming thing broke down and they needed picking up.

Today while I was at work I saw something so stupid I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing. Our store is in a Tesco and we’re next to the checkouts. At one of them was a man holding a little boy of about 2 years, and to entertain him (I’m assuming) he had put a carrier bag onto his (own) head, right over his face. What kind of idiot does something like that???? Does he not realise that children copy what they see??

No news otherwise. It’s Sophie’s birthday on Monday and I’m working. I just hope I don’t miss her blowing out her candles. I think we’ll let her open her presents before she goes to school so I don’t miss that.

That will do for now I think. Hope your week is going well and that you have a good weekend.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

I’ve suffered from depression for a looooong time. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started but I am sure I was a child, maybe even as young as 7 (or possibly even younger). Was it inherited? Or was it my childhood? Or a bit of both? I guess I will never know, but whatever it is that caused it it’s blighted my life since. Having babies hasn’t helped it and I have had PND to varying degrees after most of my children.

After Ellie I was in a real mess and was suicidal, then after losing a baby in 2003 I was severely depressed right through until the end of 2006. I will never forget kissing my 18 week old baby goodbye as I decided I was going to sit at the end of my road until a lorry came thundering past and I was going to pull out in front of it. Of course, I didn’t, I was stopped before I could but I really was going to do it.

Looking back I am obviously very glad I didn’t. I never want to get to that point again, and I hope I never will.

The point of this isn’t to depress you, it’s to give you hope if you’re suffering at the moment. I’m not going to say “I know how you feel”. I don’t. Just as no one else knows how I felt. I believe that everyone’s depression is different, no one else can know what it’s like for someone else, other than it’s hell. I know a lot of people are anti anti-depressants but you know, if they make you feel better and get you through the lowest times what’s the problem?

When the HV was here to do the children’s checks the other day she asked me to fill in one of those PND forms. She’s kept a close eye on me since she’s known me because of my depression and has been really supportive. She was amazed and really pleased that for the first time I got the lowest score possible (in the past I’ve had the highest score possible). Life is good at the moment. It’s not perfect. Far from it. There’s upheaval ahead but you know, things could be worse.

There is light at the end of that tunnel if you’re able to accept the help out there. Reach out and take it. If not for yourself, do it for your children.

A turning point for me was standing in the shower one day getting upset about a friend who almost died during a routine operation. I cried for her little girl who was almost left without her mummy. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks - that was exactly what I was planning to do to my own children. Wow, what a slap in the face that was!! I know that when you are at the lowest point you cannot see that anyone would b bothered if you died, but you would be very surprised just how many people would be upset outside your own family, and think what it would do to your children and other half (if you have them).
Do you ever get the need for an overhaul of life? An urge to get rid of all the clutter not only within the home but also in your life - the commitments you’ve made that actually you don’t want to be tied to anymore because your family is more important or because you’re not so interested anymore, the people in your life (or on your Facebook page, lol) that you don’t get so much pleasure out of being with, that you go away from meeting feeling negative, all that kind of stuff?

I’m having one of those phases at the moment. A couple of years ago I weeded out the people in my life that I don’t want to spend time with anymore. I only spend time with people I like, that leave me feeling positive, that I enjoy the company of. I have periodic culls of my Facebook friends list (could do with another one, there are still people on there that I have no idea where I know them from). I recently deleted a load of blogs from my feed list that I don’t want to read anymore (I’m sure I have been deleted from other people’s lists of feeds too, and you know, that’s fine. Seriously, life is too short to read a blog you’re no longer interested in).

I no longer take on commitments such as joining committees etc - I’ve done it too often in the past, and ended up with too much on my plate. I quite like not having to go to meetings anymore. I’m seriously hoping my children don’t announce to their teachers “my mum can sew” when it comes to school play costume making time in a few weeks……

I’m feeling the need for a big overhaul of my diet at the moment too. I know it’s not healthy at the moment. I’m doing Weightwatchers and I love the fact you can eat what you like. But, I am tending to eat really unhealthily. Some days I haven’t managed to have enough points so I end up having biscuits or cake or whatever to make it up. I keep a food diary and looking through it there is so little fruit and veg it’s awful (and embarrassing when my trainer at the gym looks at it!!) I also think wheat and sugar are causing me problems as my stomach just doesn’t seem to be shrinking and I can feel myself bloating when I eat them, but it’s hard to find other things to eat instead. I need to spend some time sitting down and making some meal plans or just coming up with some new ideas. Working in a coffee shop doesn’t help much though as it’s so easy to grab a muffin or a sandwich on my break (we do have things like houmous with veg sticks that I could have instead of course but cakes are so much nicer aren’t they???) And having access to as many toffee nut lattes as I can drink in 6 hours isn’t helping much at the moment either, lol (it’s not helping with my sleep either as I discovered last night when I was still awake at gone three am!!!)

I’ve been drawn to the raw food diet for years now - I give it a go for a few weeks then drift away from it for a few months before going back to it again. I’m finding myself wanting to go back there at the moment, or some sort of version of it anyway. I love juices as well, but not so much the hassle of cleaning the juicer afterwards (which admittedly isn’t that much hassle really). I think I’m going to give it another go soon, cut out the sugar etc (anyone know if maple syrup is ok to have instead?) Coffee is a hard one to cut out mind you. When we empty the drip machines at work (they’re emptied and fresh coffee is brewed every hour) I always grab a cup and “catch some of that instead of wasting it” and I get laughed at “oh, you and your coffee!!” How will I go without my coffee fix???

I really need to do something about my diet. I’ve lost almost a stone with WW (we went to Frankie and Benny’s today though so I’ve probably put some of that back on!!) and I’m going to the gym but I’m just not seeing the results I want as quickly as I want. I know it took me months to put the weight on so it’s going to take months to get rid of it and I know it’s not healthy to lose it all very quickly, so I’m not looking to drop the remaining weight overnight, but I want slightly faster results than I’m getting and I want to be doing it healthily and not topping myself up with cakes, biscuits and nachos.

I suspect if I could get the problem foods out of my diet my stomach would look less huge than it does, it’s just working out what they are and finding alternatives where necessary. One thing I did cut out of my diet a couple of months ago was Pepsi Max. We were drinking at least a 2 litre bottle a night between us and I haven’t missed it - Craig’s got a glass at the moment and I’ve had some of it and now have a weird burning sensation in my stomach. If it has no calories and no fat what the hell is in it???? (Rhetorical question by the way, I don’t need to know).

Ok, I’m rambling now. Any book recommendations, hints, tips etc for overhauling my diet and eating really well would be most appreciated. Thank you J

I want to have another big declutter and get rid of even more stuff. I’m sure I will do before Christmas.

In other news - hmm, well, not a lot to report. Sophie and Jack are going to be in their Christmas play. I have no idea what it is, but Sophie is a teacher and Jack is going to be a teddy bear (aww, so cute). Robbie and Ellie finally got their school bus passes and got the bus home for the first time last night. Theirs arrived at the stop at the same time as Bethany’s (they come from opposite directions) so they all walked home together. It’s going to make life a bit easier if we don’t have to pick them up as we have to sit and wait for 20 minutes for them. We’ll still drop them off as it’s on the way to the primary school.

Because we went to Spalding this afternoon we ended up getting to school really late for the pick up, and we were in my car so not enough room for everyone. Craig dropped me at the school and went home to swap cars while I walked with the children down to the shop for their Friday treat. It was so lovely being able to walk with them. Yes, it’s a blooming busy road but when there was a lull in the traffic you could hear the sheep baa-ing in one of the fields, and we got to stop and say hello to a mother horse and her foal that we drive past every day. I am now wishing we lived close enough to school to be able to walk every day.

Today was Takeover Day. Robbie applied to be a teacher at his school and for one day only he was an English teacher. He seemed to enjoy it, but found it a bit nerve-wracking. What a great opportunity for all the children who were able to take part all over the country.

May I have a small boast? Hey, its my blog I’ll boast if I want to, lol We got the termly reports from Robbie and Ellie’s school today - Ellie is way above where she should be in art - she’s meeting the targets of a year 9 pupil, not bad for her first term in year 7 (for those of us too old to understand all this year 9 nonsense, year 7 is what we know as first year, year 9 is third year). Robbie hasn’t inherited the IT skills gene mind you much to Craig’s shame, lol

Amos had his 8 month check on Wednesday - he’s 18lb now, still only on the 25th centile for weight, but above the 50th for length. Hopefully he’s going to be lucky and always be tall and skinny. Alfie, on the other hand is the opposite - on the 25th centile for height and up on the 91st for weight. Poor kid. He’s way ahead of where he should be developmentally - he can already write his name and “Jack” and “mum”, writes numbers, knows most letters, all the colours etc. The HV was very impressed with him. We don’t sit him down and teach him stuff, he’s done it all by himself, probably helped by watching the others writing and drawing. He does sometimes get the letters the wrong way round “Alife” instead of “Alfie” and I don’t know whether to correct him and risk putting him off if he’s enjoying doing it (which he obviously is if he’s choosing to write) or whether to leave it and let him correct himself when he’s a bit older.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment. Craft wise I’ve done nothing more than a few rows of my sock. I did buy a pot of embossing powder today after a child that I suspect may just be Alfie tipped 4 pots of it out on the dining room carpet the other night. I was not impressed! I also bought a pack of brads that I couldn’t resist. I did manage to resist buying the most gorgeous scrap booking papers and embellish on The Snowman theme (the Raymond Briggs Snowman). They are just so lovely and I soooo want them but I just don’t know when or if I would actually use them. I really want to do some scrap booking….. Maybe on Sunday when the dining room is tidy enough for me to get my bits out.

I really hope my crafting mojo is coming back!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I'm a rubbish mummy sometimes. Yesterday was Jack's 5th birthday (or if you asked him how old he was going to be "one hundred and zero") and I managed to not see him all day. I hadn't managed to get to sleep until the early hours so Craig got up with the children and took them to school leaving me to get a bit of sleep, then I went to work and was asked to stay later to help get all the Christmas stuff out and set up. I didn't realise how long it would take us so by the time I got home he was in bed.

I missed him opening his presents, his "party" (with as many children as I have you don't need to invite anyone else round, lol) and him blowing out his candles. Apparently he loved all his birthday presents and was delighted with everything.

I won't be making that mistake again.

Monday, 2 November 2009

November already??!!

Last week was half term. It flew by, not helped by me working on several days of it. We did virtually nothing. I had planned to make Christmas cards with the children but didn’t get round to it. Again. This is the third year I haven’t got round to it. Maybe we will one weekend.

My dad came to stay for a couple of days. It was hard work and to be honest I don’t want to say too much about it. The only word to describe it I think is: hmmmm.

Do you get the feeling I am not my usual self? I’m not. I’m not depressed, I’m just a bit blah about things. Had some bad news last week which I will share at some point soon, but not just yet.

I did carve the pumpkin for Halloween. Could he be any friendlier?
A wouldn’t go near him and kept telling me he was scary. I think he’s sweet and his candles have been lit every night since and will be until he starts to go a bit soft. I made soup from the insides - it was a bit (very!) bland so I added curry powder to it. J decided he wanted to plant the seeds so off he went with a bowlful of them - I wonder if any will actually grow?

I’ve been going to the gym lots - the weight is coming off slowly. Too slowly for my impatient self, but I keep reminding myself it didn’t go on overnight so it won’t come off overnight. I managed to fall over in the gym today - very embarrassing. There is a definite difference though - the belt on my jeans used to fasten on the second hole, now I can fasten it on the fifth (and without cutting off my air supply!)

Couldn't resist posting this photo of the baby taken by J.

I had some other stuff I wanted to write but of course I can’t remember it now.

Have you ever thought that you had things sorted out, that you were on your way to achieve a plan and then the rug gets pulled from under your feet and you have to rethink things? That’s where I am right now.

Tomorrow is J’s birthday - he is adamant he is going to be “a hundred and zero”. I had to write it on the calendar instead of “5”. I love his sense of humour. S is going to be 7 in two weeks. I’m not going to say the obvious about time. She is going to be a very happy little girl when she opens one of her presents although I’m not so sure we’ll be quite as pleased about it, lol

Anyway, I am going to take my miserable self off to bed and get some sleep. Hope you had a good weekend and have a good week or so until I write again.

Take care.

Monday, 19 October 2009

I had to share my Christmas cooking with you. The mincemeat is in jars, the puddings are steamed and stored away and the cake is currently cooling down. It smells gorgeous and I am regretting making a round cake - if it was a square one we could have cut off a bit to eat now and no one would ever know!!

Delia recommends feeding the cake weekly with brandy - I’m not sure I have enough left to do that and we’re not going to buy any more. Plus, I need to remember to keep a bit for setting fire to the pudding.

I feel really pleased with myself for getting it done this year. I can’t remember the last year that we did this, it was definitely before we moved here. I don’t remember doing it when we lived in Wiltshire, and it was possibly before we moved to Amsterdam in which case it would have been Christmas ‘96. So it was a tradition for 5 years and then for one reason or another it just didn’t happen (new babies, depression, whatever). I really want to get back into the tradition of making them from now on. I’ve enjoyed it, it wasn’t as much hassle as I recalled, and well, it makes me feel like a better housewife in a small way.

Mind you, I may not be saying that after the 10th batch of mince pies - I vaguely recall making about 144 mince pies last time. Not all eaten by me - they’re handy to take to friends houses when going round for coffee, Craig used to take them into work with him and there’s always something going on where they appreciate some home baked goodies. I just hope my friends like mince pies!!

Did I mention the Mermaid socks I’m making? The second one went slightly wrong, not sure what happened, but it got thrown into a corner in disgrace. I just couldn’t face picking it back up again and fixing it, but tonight I did. I’ve ended up undoing almost all of it - I decided it was easier to do that than get frustrated at trying to fix it. So, off I go with it again. It’s fairly quick to do so it won’t take too long to get back to where I was and then hopefully it will behave itself when I turn the heel.

I’ve got lots of knitting projects I want to get going with but I like to only have one WIP at a time. I’ve got two at the moment so really shouldn’t start anything else. But maybe just one more….

I’m hoping I’ve got my exercise mojo back. Last week I really could not be bothered and the diet went out of the window - it doesn’t help working with lots of gorgeous cakes and Panini’s either. But this week I’m back on track, totally motivated and while I probably will have the odd cake at work I will be figuring it into my daily allowance. I’ve upped my step target to 9,000 a day which does usually mean jogging on the spot through the nightly CSI advert breaks but it’s good for me. Isn’t it?

I think we may have the start of something going round the children at the moment. Poor Ellie has a high temp and Alfie seems to be developing one. Hopefully it will pass through quickly!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

We finally bought the ingredients for the Christmas baking yesterday. I’m hoping to get it started tonight - the fruit for the cake needs soaking overnight, the mix for the pudding needs to sit overnight and the mincemeat is best left to sit overnight too.

The wine is coming on ok. We strained it yesterday to get rid of the sediment and they smell lovely, although the apple and elderberry has a very slight vinegar smell so that may end up being given away as a nice gift of homemade vinegar, lol I have discovered that muslins are excellent for straining - at last, a use for them!!

Is anyone else finding it getting really cold? We had the heating on for an hour last night just to take the chill off. Brrrr! Actually, now I’ve written that I’m thinking of putting it on again just to warm me up slightly.

I bought Jack and Alfie those fleecy suits you put on them over their Pjs. They love them and the other children have decided they want them too. I think I will do some stash busting and make them for them with the metres of fleece under the stairs. I might even make myself one too, lol Has anyone seen a pattern for them anywhere?

Talking of Alfie - I put in his school admission application in the other night. It seems way too early, he’s only 3 and not really ready yet. I know a year is a long time in the life of a child, so maybe by next year he will be more ready for it.

Robbie recently applied to become a teacher at his school’s “Take Over Day” where the pupils and staff swap places for the day. He got accepted and is going to be an English teacher which he is really looking forward to. I am really proud of him. He wrote the application himself and I was surprised at just how good it was (if I was recruiting staff and I got his letter then I would definitely give him an interview). I’m not just saying that because I’m his mum, I genuinely was impressed.

I started writing this about two hours ago, and it’s now half eight so I’m guessing the Christmas stuff will just have to wait until tomorrow because I’m about to eat my dinner.

Hope you have a good rest of the weekend whatever you’re doing, and if not, then {{{{hugs}}}} if you need them.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Is it just us or do other people try and keep their central heating off for as long as possible?? I have to admit that if Craig didn’t work from home I would probably switch it on much earlier than we end up doing. I think last year we were aiming for the 1st November but had turned it on by now. I can’t see us lasting another two weeks but we’ll see (mind you, I am sat here writing this in short sleeves so maybe we won’t give in).

Work is going well. I am now able to use the tills which is great as I now feel more useful. I’m really enjoying it and starting to get to know some of the regulars

Not a huge amount is happening at home beyond the usual. The baby is fairly mobile now, he can roll and turn himself round when he’s on his tummy. We have a multi plug thingy under the TV and I said the other day it will have to move as he’ll be straight in there when he can work out how to get there - today was the day. It’s surprising just what we have at his level that isn’t safe for him. None of the others were this mobile this early apart from the eldest so we didn’t really need to worry. Once they could get about they were old enough to know that the TV and DVD player were out of bounds.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who isn’t very good at getting the Christmas baking done early. Some years I’ve been so lax that it hasn’t been done at all. I made the shopping list for the mincemeat, cake and pudding about a month ago but we still haven’t got round to getting it. I have to admit I don’t even know where the list is now…

After talking about people from the past in my last post I found an old friend via her son on Facebook. I’m so pleased to be back in touch with her. It’s been about 12 years since I saw her and her son was only about 5 or 6 so I did wonder if she would remember me but she does and was really pleased to hear from me. I remember loads of people from our days in Braintree but think that most of them probably don’t remember me. Maybe I’m wrong.

Someone else from my past very kindly sent me a photo she took about 20 years ago. Now that was really embarrassing. I’m not sharing it here (it’s that bad, lol). How on earth could I walk around looking like that????? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have the benefit of hindsight when you get dressed in the morning?? To be able to flash-forward 20 years to the future to see if you think you look as good then as you think you do now if you see what I mean?

I think we’re going to get rid of the chickens. Not by way of cooking them, but maybe sell the chicken house and include the birds with it. I couldn’t eat them. Not because they are pets but just because having seen them wandering around the garden etc I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them. I know that the chicken you get from the supermarket is exactly the same thing but you can pretend it isn’t when it comes frozen in a bag can’t you? I really should be a vegetarian. When I actually think about what meat is I don’t want to eat it anymore but then I forget. I was vegetarian for a few years (I go through phases of it on and off) but then during one of my pregnancies I really wanted a steak sandwich….

I’ve almost finished Amos’s blanket. I decided to do some crochet round it - one row of treble crochet looked really nice but as I have so much wool left I thought I’d keep going but now it looks a bit frilly and girly (not helped by the amount of pink in it). I can’t decide whether to keep going or to pull it back to just one row of treble. If I do that what will I do with the leftover wool? There’s not enough to do anything with and I don’t like have odd balls in my stash.

We also had a result today - I made Jack a lovely jumper last year (I think the photos are here on the blog somewhere) but he refused to wear it. Alfie refused to wear it too. But today he did wear it - he loves stripes - and when I told him I had made it specially for him he said “oh, I do love you mummy”. How sweet!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope your week is good so far.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

I know I’ve been slack at keeping this up but things are just so busy right now. I’m still surprised by just how much working a few hours a week knocks the rest of the week out of kilter for me. Will it get better?

Despite being busy there isn’t a lot to report. Life is moving on at a fast pace, we’re already nearly at half term.

The internet is an amazing thing isn’t it? I’m part of several groups of women (that makes us all sound old, which I guess we are to our children but I bet we all still feel really young) who would never have known each other without the internet. Some of us have never met, and maybe never will, some of us have met only once or twice yet we call each other friends, we’re there to support each other, will do anything we can to help each other, feel each others pain and joy and share it with each other.

Sometimes I’m amazed at just what you can find out fairly quickly if you know where to look. Information about people from the past who you may never see again, old friends that you’ve moved away from. “I wonder what so and so is up to nowadays”. Where people live, how much they bought and sold their houses for, where they work, what looks like evidence they are involved in yet another con, what they look like now, what they’ve been doing. It’s all out there. Despite moving house at lot over the past 16 years and changing our names we’ve never made any effort to hide ourselves on the internet. Anyone from our past could very easily find out where we are now, who we are now, what we’re up to now. Who knows, they may even be reading this right now - why not leave a comment to say hello?? I don’t for a minute think that we’re immune from being searched for and having the details of our life pored over. If we wanted to disappear we could, if we could be bothered. I’m not stupid, seriously, I may not be a high flyer, I may not have a high powered job, I may have spent the last 16 and a bit years “just” being a wife and mother, but I’m not nearly as thick as some may believe me to be.

What am I getting at here? I don’t put anything on here that I don’t want everyone to know. Nothing you read is worthy of getting excited about discovering if you’re just looking for info on me and the family. But, y’know, if you have looked me up because you remember me, please do leave a comment with some way of contacting you as I’m always happy to hear from people I used to know. I've set comments to moderated status so if you want to leave your email address but don't want the world to be able to see it, don't worry, I won't publish it to the blog.

Ok, I’ve rambled enough. I sound like I’ve been drinking don’t I?? lol I havent. Sometimes if you just let your fingers do the talking you get some rubbish out of them. Normal service will resume very soon. I promise.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

I’ve now done three days at work. Today, instead of working through my training manual at work I got stuck in to doing practical stuff such as actually making drinks, clearing the tables etc and not waiting to be told what to do. Hopefully I did a good job. I really enjoyed myself, the six hours flew by and I feel like I learnt loads. Dare I say I think I have the knack of frothing the milk perfectly??

I’ve hardly been to the gym this week. I’ve been so tired and just not in the mood. I suspect the motivation may be waning slightly so I am going to be really strict with myself next week and make sure I go every day. I’ve got back into the bad habit of going to bed at midnight too so that needs to be addressed again.

I have nothing else to report really. Yesterday it was the harvest festival at school and they also did an auction of all the food donated. One of the local veg growers donated loads and loads of veggies and we bought a big bag of potatoes, a big pumpkin and a box of broccoli and caulis for about £10. Bargain!!

The wine is still bubbling away nicely. The pear and apple both need straining again to get rid of the sediment. The elderberry is coming close to being ready to bottle which is quite exciting.

Craft wise I have done almost nothing. I’m knitting a cot blanket for Amos from lovely soft merino yarn which is about half finished. Sadly there isn’t enough wool to make one big enough for my bed, lol My socks are hiding in the corner after I threw them in a temper when they went horribly wrong and I haven’t been able to fix them. More undoing is in order but I cannot face it at the moment.

I am loving Autumn at the moment too. The trees are changing colour now, the days are getting shorter and there is that lovely chill in the air. The Uggs are back in service (did I ever say how much I love my Ugg boots????) and I don’t feel so daft wearing my scarves now either. We have a large bag of conkers and pine cones waiting to be put into their baskets and played with for the next year until we can replace all the ones that will go missing or get squashed.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I started work yesterday. At the moment I’m training - there’s a lot to learn and it’s a bit scary. I’ve had two days there and still haven’t started learning about the main part of the job. But, I am enjoying it. The other staff are great, easy to chat to, friendly. I think I’m going to like it there.

I have 4 more training sessions over the next 10 days and after that I’m not sure.

Last night I couldn’t sleep with all the info going round in my head and a bit too much coffee(!!) I got 2 hours sleep down to that and being up and down to the boys most of the night (including making choc spread sandwiches at 3am).

I haven’t been to the gym for two days and I am missing it. I will definitely be back in tomorrow morning!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Not a lot to report at the moment. I wish I had the sort of life that gave me things to write more often but I don’t. I’m still going to the gym lots. I signed up for something called “Bodyfirst” where you get three sessions with a personal trainer for £35 along with three books to help you get in shape and fit. If you attend your three sessions and go to the gym a further 8 times within a month of registering for it you get your money back. I had my last PT session yesterday and really enjoyed it so I’ve decided to sign up for a block booking of 10 sessions with him. I’m determined I’m going to reach my first target!! At the moment I’m really motivated but I know there will be days when I can’t be bothered and this will keep me going. Yesterday I was so tired that I ended up going to bed for a sleep for an hour before I went to the gym. If I hadn’t had that appointment I wouldn’t have gone. He pushes me further than I would push myself which I hate at the time but afterwards I am glad about it.

The two youngest boys both have coughs and colds at the moment. The rest of the children are all well though. They all seem to have settled back into school really well although Jack is scared of the toilets for some reason and won’t use them, choosing to wet himself instead. We’re not sure what it is about them, he says he doesn’t like the noise because it hurts his ears. I’m wondering if they have an automatic flush in the boys toilets and it’s scared him. I’ll have to ask on Monday and if it is see if he could use the girls instead.

We now have pear wine on the go along with the elderberry (did I already say that?). It smells very strong already. I had a taste of it the other day when we siphoned it into a new demijohn to get rid of some of the sediment at the bottom and it tastes pretty strong as well. We have a box of apples soaking in sugar and water at the moment too. I think we’ll be putting that into a demijohn tomorrow.

Hope you’re having a good weekend, whatever you’re up to.

Ps. I've decided to give up on trying to think up titles to my posts.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

For a long time I have wanted to get myself back into shape and fit again. About 8 years ago I joined a gym back in Trowbridge and really got into it. By the time I stopped going (when I was pregnant with Sophie) I was in there 4 or 5 days a week and doing a class or two and then a session in the gym each time. I loved it. I loved being slim and fit and I enjoyed the social aspect of it as I made several friends there - often after we’d finished at the gym we’d go downstairs to the Wetherspoon’s for a coffee or two.

I’ve always wanted to get back into going to a gym again and desperately want to get rid of the weight I put on while pregnant with Amos (and if I’m honest, since then too). Two years ago I was in size 8 jeans, now, well, let’s just say, they’re rather larger.

So, I’ve joined the gym. I joined a few years ago but was very depressed at the time and only went for about 3 weeks which turned out to be a very expensive 3 weeks as I had signed up for a 12 month contract. I’ve been a bit wary about it since just in case I did the same thing but I have bitten the bullet and signed up yesterday. I’m so determined I am going to stick with it this time that I had my first session last night with a personal trainer and am seeing him again tomorrow for session two and he’ll give me my programme.

My initial goal is to lose 2 stone by Christmas which is do-able as it’s 14 weeks away. Long term is to lose however much weight I need to to get back into those size 8’s. And, I have committed myself to another longer term goal - to enter race for life next year, not to walk it, but to run it. All the way. This is a big one for me, I have no stamina, even at my fittest 8 years ago I couldn’t have run 5k (I think it’s 5k anyway), so from January I will be working on that one. I don’t know when the Race for Life is on here next year, they haven’t put next year on the website yet (or not that I could see anyway) so I don’t know how long I will have to get ready for it.

To lose weight successfully I think you need that switch in your head to go on otherwise the motivation only lasts a short while and you get fed up with it. I am certain that it’s switched on for me now, I hate the way I look, I looked awful last night in my gym gear, and was quite embarrassed about it, but it’s motivation for me now rather than making me want to hide away. I am soooo determined to do it. Sooo determined to get back into that frame of mind where I loved being at the gym beyond this initial novelty of it.

I did take a photo last night of myself which I am not going to share with you right now. I’m going to take a photo every month between now and those size 8 jeans and when I reach my target I’ll put them on here.

A bit motivator for me is an online friend, Hannah. She has lost an amazing 7 stone since January and has got the gym buzz going on. She looks absolutely fantastic and is a real inspiration for me. I want some of what she has but it’s not going to turn up on my doorstep. I’ve got to get out there and work for it. So, off I go. I can’t wait!!!

Today is my birthday. I’m 36. 36!!! I don’t feel that old, I still feel like I’m in my early 20s. I’m always being told that I look a lot younger than I am, and too young to have 8 children which is lovely.

I think that’s about all that’s happening here. Life has gone back to the usual term time routine which is nice. I’ve finally been catching up with friends that I didn’t see over the summer which is also nice. While I love being at home with the children I do like the weekly routine we have as well. Toddler groups etc.

Since the children have been back at school I’ve got myself into the habit of going to bed earlier (most nights I manage to get to bed early - I was going to bed anytime after midnight so anything before 11 is early but my goal is 10pm. I try and go to bed for 9.30 and read for half an hour then sleep. I’ve managed to be up at 7.30am by doing this. Now, you’re probably reading this thinking “well, I get up earlier than that, what’s the big deal??” but I have always had a problem getting up in the mornings, and never manage to be up in time to actually be ready to go out on the school run. If I got up then it would be in time to do the girls hair before they went out.

I had been soo tired for a long time, and had no energy to do anything, often needing to go to bed in the afternoon which was worrying me especially as it turned out there was nothing wrong with my thyroid. However, this change in bedtimes and getting up and out early has made a massive difference. I’ve got my energy back and I feel so much better. I think the less you do and sometimes the more sleep you get the more lethargic you feel. I slept in one day at the weekend and was so tired for the rest of the day that I didn’t have enough energy to do anything. You can get too much sleep!!

So, it’s been another change for me and one I like. Hopefully I can keep it up. Sometimes it’s hard to get to bed on time, but I have to be strict with myself and remind myself of the benefits.

Right, I’ve waffled on enough for now. Hope you’re having a good week and aren’t too cold (I was very tempted to put the heating on tonight but we’re going to try and hold off until next month).

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Arrggghhhh!!!!! Everytime I add photos I either end up with the text down the side of the photo or else massive gaps between the two. Does anyone have any tips for getting the photos in the text with nice spaces between????
Every year we say we’re going to grow veg and every year we just don’t get round to it. This is partly because we’re too lazy to do the work and partly because this is what will happen….

Sadly, the culprit had run off before I could get a photo of her in the pot digging through it but here is one of the destructive foursome…..

They refuse to stay in their pen, they just fly over the fence and wander round the garden so they would just decimate a veg patch. Maybe when they’ve gone off to the big hen house in the sky we’ll do the veg patch thing.

One thing we have been doing this week is this:

Elderberry wine. Most of the berries were collected from the local country park but we didn’t have quite enough so the rest came from our own tree. It’s our first attempt at wine so we have no idea how it will turn out.

We’re hoping to bring in some of the pears this week, they seem to be virtually ready now. There’s still a lot of apples on the tree but all too high to reach. I think we’re going to have to get a ladder for them. The plums are pretty much finished now.

It’s been lovely getting our own fruit in. It’s the first year we have but won’t be the last. Sadly the cooking apples at the front of the house are a bit horrible looking, they seem to have been pecked by the birds and are full of holes and just generally dodgy looking so we won’t be picking those.

We’re thinking of getting some blackberry brambles to create a hedge at the back of the garden but are wondering if it’s such a good idea - would they grow too rapidly? Can you even buy them??

The children have now been back at school for over a week. In some ways it’s nice to be back into toddler groups etc and seeing friends again, but I was a bit sad that the holidays are over.

I’m pretty sure I said the same thing last year but I love September. Not just for the obvious reason (my birthday) but also because the days are becoming autumnal. I have noticed this year that the September smell hasn’t started yet - am I the only person who has noticed that smell in the air in September?? I can’t describe it, but I always notice it (and no, it’s not a man-made thing, it’s a natural aroma!!) a bit like that smell you get after it’s rained.

I love those slightly chilly mornings, that crispness, the leaves starting to turn, and the promise of days cold enough to light the fire (mind you, we’ve had a few of those over the summer). Autumn is definitely my favourite month of the year.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

For the past 6 or so years I have subscribed to an amazing magazine called The Mother They really need new subscribers in order to keep on publishing, please consider it.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Yesterday I had another induction day at the college. We met out tutor (the really lovely lady I met when I went in last week for the open day), met the other students in our tutor groups, had a tour, got lots more info and got our timetables.

Today we all had to go in for a maths and English test to see if we need any help with either. Except I went to see the course co-ordinator instead and told her I’m pulling out (surprise surprise!!!) Since Friday I have been constantly thinking about the course and whether I should do it or not. When I was there yesterday that voice in my head was going “I don’t want to be here”. So, I’m not going this year.

Alfie starts school next year so this is the last year I will have with him at home, and I feel so bad that we’re going to miss out on that. He’s such a lovely little boy to be with and I enjoy taking him out to places. Amos is still only 7 months and at a really lovely stage, rolling, getting his first teeth (two days ago!!!), just being lovely.

I will never ever get this time with my babies back, I can go to college any time I like in the future. So, I’m going to do the course when Amos starts school. Yes, it’s 4 years away but it’s only a short time in the grand scheme of things. I would rather regret not doing the course than regret missing these next few years.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

On Friday I had my enrollment day at college. I was really nervous about going, but reminded myself that everyone else there would be feeling exactly the same. The morning was spent listening to different people talking about their roles in the college and how they could help us if we needed it, then we filled in the enrollments forms.

Before lunch we had to choose two taster sessions of lessons we might want to choose - I went to Sociology and English Lit, both options I’m going for as well as History. Because I have grades C and above in Maths and English I don’t have to do those modules as part of the Access course.

I’m one of very few of the 200 or so people who were there who has to pay for the course because I did a BTEC First Diploma nearly 20 years ago. If I hadn’t declared it and kept quiet about it I’d have got the course free, sometimes honesty doesn’t pay (unfortunately I’m one of those people who is too honest and can’t lie about anything). They did tell me I could pay in instalments which was fine, until they said that the first instalment is due next week and the second one on the 2nd October. Eeek! I thought they meant instalments over the course of the next 10 months.

The afternoon was spent queuing up to enrol. A voice in my head kept telling me it wasn’t too late, I could turn round and walk out but I did sign up and I’m now officially a student.

Do you get the feeling I’m not quite as excited by it as I should be?? Part of me is saying don’t do it this year, wait until Alfie is at school and Amos is that little bit older. Alfie starts next September. This new school year is the last one I will have with him at home. By next year Amos will be 18 months old.

But, it’s only 15 hours a week for the next 9 months. It’s not huge amount of time. I don’t get the timetable until tomorrow so I don’t know what days and times I will be expected to be in. And I’ll be doing the homework after they’ve gone to bed at night. Oh hell, what do I do??

I’ve always been at home for my other children, I’ve always thought it’s important, so I feel guilty that I won’t be there for the youngest two.

I suspect you’ll be reading a post from me in a few days saying that I pulled out of the course and I’ll be doing it next September instead. Or maybe never. If I do carry on this year I won’t be starting my degree next year, I’m going to defer that for a year or two.

No other news really. We (ok, Craig and Robbie) picked loads of the apples and plums yesterday. The pears still aren’t quite ready but I think they will be in a week or so. Hopefully we’ll get out to go blackberry picking today - if there’ any left, we’ve left it a bit late this year. We need to pick some of the bramleys at the front as well.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

After a couple of days frantically doing those last minute end of holiday jobs the children are back at school. We got shoes in three stages - B and R got theirs from the Next Catalogue which was nice and easy, M, S and E got theirs from one trip to town and J and A got theirs sorted on another trip - J didn’t need new shoes, the ones he got at Easter are still fine so that was good.

E and R went back yesterday much to their disgust (I think I have managed to convince them that they will get another day off later in the year when the rest of their siblings will be at school). E seemed to enjoy it, she came out smiling anyway and couldn’t wait to tell us all about it. As a treat we gave her money to buy her lunch from the canteen - she’d been desperate to do this and we thought it would take her mind off any worries she had. What lovely healthy lunch did she buy?? Two cakes, garlic bread and a drink. Ah well, it’s a one off.

The rest went back today but we had such a busy day that we didn’t really notice the peace and quiet. After I dropped them off I went on to the Drs to get my blood test results. My thyroid is absolutely fine and I’m not anaemic. In fact I’m the opposite, I have too much blood, too much iron and too many red blood cells or something along those lines. I have to go back in a month or so to get it rechecked to make sure the levels aren’t rising as that could indicate a problem. I wasn’t too worried as the Dr didn’t seem bothered. Until I googled it. It could be a sign of congenital heart disease (I’m quite sure it’s not) or it could simply be that I make too much blood and iron and I will need to have blood taken regularly to counter it (I think I’ll just put up with it). I have stopped taking the kelp and iron supplements I started after I had the blood test done in case it’s making things worse.

C went to the hospital about his back and to cut a long story short he’s got to go in for an op to have the cyst removed, probably in a couple of months time.

After all that I then went to the open day at the local college to see if they had any places left on the access to higher education course - I went in a few weeks ago and they thought it might be full but advised me to go today to find out. Well, to cut another story short, they do have places and I start the three day induction tomorrow!!!

I am really excited but scared at the same time. Is it too soon after having Amos? It’s only 15 hours a week so I wont be away too long and it will be good for me to finally do something else. Having a third child start secondary education makes me realise how old I am getting (mind you, I was asked a couple of times if I was over 25 today and they expressed surprise when I said yes so that was nice).

I’ve always told the children that they can go out and be whatever they want to, there is nothing stopping them from achieving their ambitions, yet I’ve always told myself that I couldn’t possibly do the things I’ve thought “I’d love to do that”. I finally stopped and asked myself why. Why can’t I do whatever it is I want to do? What is stopping me from going to university? Surely all I need to do is what I tell the children - find out what subjects I need, go for it and work hard. So that is what I’m doing.

Teresa - if you’re reading this, please can you email me about the stocking. I have tried emailing you but I don’t know if I still have the right email address for you.

Cybele - yes please to the pear recipe. It sounds gorgeous and our pears are rock hard and not ripening.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Yesterday we went to visit Craig’s brother and his wife down in Norfolk. Now, if you know me fairly well then you’ll probably know that G and S are the only members of Craig’s immediate family that we speak to. We haven’t had any contact with the rest of them for about 15 years and they haven’t seen 7 of the children (I don’t know if they even know we have had another seven since we had Beth), I don’t know if they are aware we changed our name several years ago or where we are living. It’s a long story which I won’t bore you with and the situation isn’t likely to change as Craig is only interested in speaking to them if they pay him back the £50,000 they owe him.

Anyway, we have stayed in touch with G and S and see them on a fairly irregular basis but we email as well. They moved house a couple of years ago so off we went to see it (and them of course). The children had a great time running round their garden but it’s a very small house so it did get a bit claustrophobic when it was raining.

S has been making wine which we had a small taste of and inspired us to give it a go ourselves. Craig has gone off to find the equipment we’ll need. It also inspired me to give jam and chutney making a go as well which I’ve never tried before but it will be good use of the fruit in our garden.

We’ve got apple, pear and plum trees out there but this is the first year that we’ve actually picked any of it. Usually it all falls and gets left to rot because we’re never sure when it’s ready. We’ve got through loads and loads of the plums though, they’re gorgeous. The children aren’t too keen on the apples, simply because they don’t look as perfect as they do in the shops. There’s nothing wrong with them, the skin is just a bit blemished. The pears are rock hard though so we’re not entirely sure whether to pick them to ripen indoors or just leave them on the tree until they soften up.

We’re going to pick the elderberries as well and use them for wine. I nearly picked the blossom for cordial but didn’t so I would like to use them for something. And there’s a fantastic place for blackberries nearby so we’ll go there and pick some of those too - although we never seem to make it home with enough to do much with as the children usually scoff them all on the way back.

Next year we are definitely going to get the veg patch going. I think we’re going to dig up the grass at the back of the house for it as long as we can find a way to keep the chickens off it. You watch, we’ll dig it, get it planted up and then decide to move house, lol

Also this week, Jack had his first ever ride on a train. He was so excited about it and we got some lovely photos that I will have to get off Craig’s laptop to post here. They went from Boston to Skegness, walked down to the seafront for an ice-cream and a paddle at Fairy Dell then got the train back. He’s already asked if he can do it again one day. He is obsessed with level crossings and was very excited going over all the ones on the journey.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Two posts in one day - what a treat, lol

Today we joined many families around the country in the trip to collect GCSE results. I'm very pleased to say Beth did really really well. I am so proud of her. She's very relieved as she thought she'd failed them.

So it's off to start her A levels next week.

I have to admit to feeling a bit tearful as I sat in the car waiting for her to come out - it doesnt seem like 16 years ago that she was a teeny tiny baby, and now I look at her and just feel proud. I was 19 when I had her and it's funny to see her with her baby brother, she's like a second mother to him.