Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Krayzy Kids

If ever I needed reminding of Tommy's comical character, I was reminded at Krayzy Kids. Oh he is such good entertainment value.
It was Elsie's 2nd birthday celebration, invites were sent via WhatsApp. How modern.

This was the kid's dining table, the calm before the storm. Tommy stuffed way too much chocolate in his mouth and then ran around peering in everyone's bags.

When Tommy met Tommy. He did make everyone laugh, waving at himself in the mirror and then kissing his reflection.

He danced in the soft play area, even when there was no music, well he sort of bends his legs and wiggles.

And he loves bending down and looking through his legs and laughing. I was too slow for this snap, so you'll just have to imagine it.

Then he ran in the 2-8 year old play area and Mark and I had to run after him. Not that we minded, it was great fun in there!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Who killed Betty Braithwaite?

Currently, I am guzzling water with lemon each morning, digesting vitamin pills with my evening meal, keeping on top of the housework, and trying to exercise at least twice a week.
This will probably last until February. Only eleven more days to go!
Welcome to my January.
The month I decide I must stop being a lazy slob. Although in fairness, the slobby, lazy thing only seems to occur in December. Once I’ve finished all the Christmas shopping, December birthday shopping, important office duties, December birthday present exchanging, Christmas present exchanging, house decorating, and a million shopping trips to Sainsburys.
Yes, once December decides to stop being a busy bee, I like to watch telly and eat chocolate, both in vast quantities.
In my defence, I tried not to be too gluttonous last December. Because it’s not a great start to the year when my clothes feel ever so tight and the thought of one more Strawberry Cream is making me feel woozy.
However, health is important, right? Therefore I am making the effort. I am also trying to be a domestic goddess, in between writing my book.
Writing my book. There, I’ve said it out loud, to other people. Which means I have to do it now.
I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t want to say One Day any longer. I am being bold and doing it. And I quote, from something I read on Twitter – Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic.
Okay, I might be allowing myself to become slightly carried away with the boldness thing, but can you see my point?
I’ve had an idea rattling around in that brain of mine for a while now. Actually, I have other ideas keeping it company, but let’s concentrate on one idea at a time. For I am the master of day dreaming and what if’s and strange situations. I have always believed I am one of life’s observers and thinkers. The time has come to write a book about it!
So, my theme is based on a conversation where you should not judge a book by its cover, as things are not always as they seem. The reader is immediately transported back to the 1950’s, where there are flawed characters, secrets and lies. Throughout the book you will have clues and red herrings, and in the end all shall be revealed as to who killed Betty Braithwaite.
I have an agent in mind, a company who are keen to address new writers. However, I have been warned manuscripts may be rejected due to the simple fact of the agent's high work load.
I’m wondering how many budding want-to-be authors have decided enough is enough, in January they must write their best seller? Hopefully not too many!
Of course I am prepared for rejection. Then I shall improve and keep on trying, whilst remembering Stephen King and J K Rowling almost gave up before they became legends and millionaires.
Well that’s my goal for this year.
What’s yours?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Let it go (the cold never bothered me anyway)

Isn't it funny when you are really not looking forward to something, and then it turns out to be quite fabulous.
I suppose if you're not armed with very high expectations, you are easily pleased.
Sometimes it's a simple matter of, it wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be!
This is what happened to me on the 31st December 2014.
It was new years eve. Hubby, myself, and Tommy, were invited to a friend's house.
I'll be honest with you, dear readers; I was thoroughly content to stay at home, in pyjamas, with hubby, child, and chocolate.
However, when one is invited out, and when one's husband is eager and willing to accept invite, it could be considered inappropriate to decline invite in favour of, sofa, Cadburys, comfy nightwear.
So we ventured out.
"Are you really sure you want to?" I kept whining, all day, to my hubby Mark.
He was sure he really wanted to.
"But what about Tommy?" I said on more than one occasion, and repeatedly questioned to myself.
"All the kids are going, it will be fine," was always Mark's reply.
Mark is an optimistic with regards to life, our son's sleeping habits, and his general care.
I am optimistic with many matters, alas I am also peppered with realism, especially with regards to our son's sleeping habits and general care.
On our way to friend's house we stopped off at my father-in-laws. Mark and I were offered wine and Ferrero Rochers, Tommy excitedly ran around the house, trying to touch and pull everything in sight. After five minutes I was exhausted.
"I'm so glad I'm not going out tonight," said my father-in-law, with a relaxed smile, in his comfy arm chair.
He wasn't helping matters.
"I would much rather stay at home too," I confessed, whilst ensuring Tommy did not fall into the fireplace, or cause considerable harm with all objects in father-in-law's house.
I sighed when I thought of our small, Tommy-friendly home. I sighed louder when I thought about our next destination; our friends's huge(albeit lovely) home, with potentially hazardous situations.
I practically shuddered when I imagined an over-tired Tommy and myself pacing their huge house, whilst trying to convince him that everything would be okay if he just relaxed and fell asleep!
We left my father-in-law's house shortly after Tommy nearly tumbled onto the glass polar bear. We then arrived at my brother and sister-in-laws house, on route to friend's house, where I was greeted with a glass of bubbly, and a very tired nephew.
"As soon as we arrive at Michelle and Steve's I'll put him to bed," said my happy sister-in-law. I tried not to be green with envy when I looked at my wide awake son, who was running around with a dinosaur in his hand.
We walked to Michelle and Steve's house, with children in prams. My nephew promptly fell asleep, never to be woken again All NIGHT. Tommy pointed at everything during the journey to friend's house, and growled. He keeps growling. Luckily, so far, everyone finds it amusing.
Okay, here's where the night took an unexpected turn. You could have literally slapped me round the face with a
wet hedgehog.
Tommy did not run around the house, nearly crashing into glass/sharp objects/anything that would have hurt him or made him cry. He did not cling to me in a terrified way, wailing at anyone who dared to look at him and try to make him laugh.
He did not spend the majority of the night sobbing, due to over-tiredness and sheer frustration.
I did not complain that my back was aching from carrying him/bending down to rescue him/running behind him in a concerned manner.
Tommy found the playroom and played merrily and quietly ALL NIGHT. He did not even notice when I prised myself off the bean bag and sneaked out for cheese. Of course I made sure another responsible adult was in the playroom to supervise.
Yes I probably spent most of the night in the playroom, but it was fine. If Tommy was happy, I was happy. It was actually quite relaxing sipping wine on a beanbag, watching his face concentrating on pretend and safe pots and pans in a pretend and safe kitchen. Other friend's popped in from time to time to chat to me, sometimes they even offered to sit with him and the older kids whilst I ate/danced/chatted to other guests in the kitchen.
Next, exhausted and content with all his playing, Tommy reached out to me and fell asleep. If only every night was this simple! I made him a little bed on the armchair in the open planned lounge and kitchen, so I could keep an eye on him. He was the last child to fall asleep, Freya, Ana and Georgia were sleeping soundly on the sofas and Ava and my nephew had slept the night away upstairs.
So I managed to indulge in some adult time too, satisfied in the knowledge that Tommy was sleeping soundly.
And he didn't even wake up when we all serenaded each other with the Disney classic, Let it Go. Or when we danced around the kitchen to Auld Lang Syne at midnight.
That, dear readers, is what you call a surprisingly successful, and quite fabulous, night.
Happy new year!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The zebra and the gingerbread man

It's been a very festive week, with a special guest appearance from a zebra and a gingerbread man.

On Christmas Eve I made the Christmas crackers, whilst sipping Chablis and listening to Christmas music.

I also made the place settings for Boxing Day.

Christmas morning. He's been!

The teddy in his pjs, from Tommy's stocking.

This one was as big as Tommy!

Who says frogs can't ride on buses?

Someone's been a very lucky boy.

Playing with daddy.

Pressies at nanny's house.

Tommy in a box.

I wonder what's in this bag?

The zebra ride on.

Tommy's first Christmas dinner. With paper hat.

Christmas pudding or mince pies?

Our table for Boxing Day.

The Christmas log.

The Christmas tree cheese cakes.

Chasing balloons in Mickey Mouse pjs, at my friend's birthday.

Me and my pals.

The coffee shop stop with friends. And the gingerbread man.

Monday, 22 December 2014

A new tradition - with football

We used to meet in my nan's lounge on Christmas Day. Over the years our family has grown. My cousins now have partners and their own families. Partner's families are now also included at Christmas. Gradually we all began to celebrate separately.
This year we decided to start a new tradition. We hired a room at a local pub, all chipped in for a buffet style meal, and all agreed to just buy presents, and bring presents, for the children.
I like this new tradition.

The Christmas tree.

The buffet.

My dad and Tommy.

Look who I found at the bar. Like father, like son!

There was also football. As a family we do like our football.

It was a lovely day, even though I lost my voice and had to whisper.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas past

I’ll always remember the Christmas that I received an elephant.
A pink one.
Of course it wasn’t a real elephant, they are not pink in colour. And a real elephant would have been high maintenance to say the least. Where would I have kept him? He would have been too big for the lounge. I wouldn’t recommend the garden either; he would have eaten all my dad’s plants and probably charged his way through the garden fence, into the neighbour’s vegetable patch. Not ideal.
No, a real elephant would not have been appropriate.
My elephant was pink and furry. He was not nearly as big as a real elephant, but to my five year old self, he was pretty large.
And the funny thing was, I imagined him before I even knew he existed. Because my mother asked me what I would like from Father Christmas and I remember thinking about it, imagining a pink elephant, therefore replying, “A pink elephant.”
Apparently my mother was aghast. She’d already bought me one, hidden it in the loft, and knew there was no way I could have spotted it. Also, it was not as if pink elephants were the latest craze or I’d seen one in a toy shop window and exclaimed how much I wanted him.
Weird hey.
Anyhow, I remember that Christmas clearly and fondly. I remember waking up extremely early, peering at the end of my bed, and the excitement I felt when I saw the stripy pillowcases, with presents poking out.
And a pink, furry, elephant.
I practically ran to my brother’s bedroom screaming, “He’s been!” Next I jumped up and down on my parent’s bed, still screaming, “He’s been!”
My parents managed to calm me down, then my brother and I took it in turns to open our presents, perched on my parent’s bed.
As was the tradition in those days, we went to a neighbour’s house for drinks and nibbles, after present opening and before the Christmas dinner. That year I proudly brought my pink elephant.
Everyone commented on my furry friend, and I spent most of the time sitting on him or pretending to feed him a mince pie.
“What’s his name?” one neighbour enquired.
“Elephant.” I replied.
I insisted Elephant sat next to me during our Christmas dinner. We pulled crackers and told bad jokes, and my brother and I ate so much Christmas pudding that we both said we felt sick. In a nice way. In a happy, content, I love Christmas kind of way. To be honest I probably didn’t even feel sick. Whatever my brother said I tended to agree with. He was my big brother and I looked up to him.
We always used to watch the Queens speech in the lounge. I would pretend to be more interested in it than I really was, all those new toys were just so distracting.
Then we would all pile in the car with the presents for my nan, grandad, aunts, uncles and cousins. Elephant had to come with us that year, it was rather a tight squeeze.
At my nan and grandad's house we would be greeted at the front door by my nan, still wearing her paper hat from her Christmas cracker. Grandad would be sitting on the brown sofa and all my other relations would be in the lounge, eagerly awaiting the grand present opening.
Underneath the glistening Christmas tree there would be mounds of brightly wrapped presents. My mother always commented on how lucky we were, and we should remember people who weren’t as fortunate as us.
Then we would take it in turns to open our presents. I would sit next to my cousin Sarah, and as near the tree as we possibly could. Elephant also sat next to me that year, so he could share my toys. We were becoming firm friends, you don’t share your toys with just anyone.
It would literally take us hours to open our presents. We would. “Ooh,” and “Arr,” and “Thank you!” our way through until tea time.
Despite a huge Christmas dinner, with lashings of pudding, I would be hungry again for cold meats, sausage rolls, my auntie Helen’s chocolate cake and my nan’s trifle.
Then we’d play charades until I could barely keep my eyes open and I had to go home to bed.
I loved my childhood Christmas’s.
I still love Christmas.
I cherish the special memories dedicated to my dear brother - who made sure I still believed in Father Christmas even when he knew the truth - my little nan, and my granddad.
And not forgetting Elephant.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A first class ticket to planet Jupiter

I was nearly too busy to read the article about being too busy.
Then I thought, how ironic.
So I decided to stop being so busy, take a five minute break, and read and learn.
Because we all do it, don’t we, we all complain at some point that we have too much going on in our lives.
And yet, most of the time, if we stopped and thought about it, the reason we have a ‘to do’ list as long as our longest ruler, is all down to us. And the impossible tasks we set ourselves. And life in 2014 being so, well, involved.
We now have email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsupp, Blogs and goodness knows what else. It could take us all day just catching up with all these apps and social media sites.
Plus the need to be living this fulfilling and quite frankly, quite often, too busy, life.
The other day a friend texted me to see how I was and I replied: V busy.
And according to this mentioned article, this is a common mistake. Why don’t we all enquire or remark on our feelings, or mood, rather than our ever growing criteria for the day?
It’s not healthy either, to expect too much out of our day, to be stressing and running about, and telling everyone how busy we are.
Take a step back people, and enjoy the ride.
Take a moment to breathe, be kind to ourselves, sit down and relax. I know sometimes this seems as likely as a first class ticket to planet Jupiter. But go on, I dare you to try it.
Hark at me, spreading my worldly advice. Let me explain that it's been a while since something I read has had such a large impact on me.
I can be my own worst enemy, fretting if the house is not nearly immaculate, stewing over deadlines in the office, trying to constantly keep in touch with friends, and now entertain and cater for Tommy.
However, I’m going to try very hard from now on to not be too busy. So what if there are Christmas presents on the kitchen table to wrap. They are not offending anyone, are they? I’ll wrap them in my own time.
It’s far more important that I spend some quality time with my family, that we chat and laugh and take some time out to just be.
I’m rather looking forward to this more relaxed approach to life.
And I’m glad that I decided after all, that I wasn’t too busy to read about being too busy.
I hope planet Jupiter is nice this time of the year.