Thursday, 31 March 2016

And then it was Easter

We were discussing Easter in the staff canteen.
"It's like Christmas but without all the pressure," said one colleague.
"I've upgraded it to my second favourite time of the year, Wimbledon being my first," said another colleague.
"To me it means, daffodils, mini eggs and four whole days off work, love it," said I.
"How was your Easter egg hunt?" another colleague asked me.
"Oh let me tell you all about it!"
So I did, and showed the following pictures from my iPhone.

This year, Good Friday was very good indeed. I invited family for afternoon tea and an Easter egg hunt, and the sun shined down kindly on us all.

Tommy was a very lucky boy. Family bought him chocolate fire engines, a bunny with his name on, and a noisy chic, to name just a special few.

We bought him a Peter Rabbit game because we knew he'd receive a tonne of chocolate!

Lucky me got this marvelous homemade card from Tommy and beautiful flowers from my father-in-law.

One of my afternoon tea tiers for the family.

Chocolate eggs hidden in our garden.

Tommy and Will searching for them.

I made chocolate nests, as you can see, Tommy enjoyed them.

Easter Sunday we were invited to my sister-in-laws for a roast dinner and egg and spoon races. Loved her table setting and Easter tree.

Table for two please.

I can confirm the chocolate cheese cake eggs were delicious.

Fireman Sam book from grandad was a big hit.

Easter was a very happy occasion. I'm still rationing Tommy's chocolate supply, but he keeps finding it!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Fishes and horses

I am very excited.
Why is this, you may well ask.
Well, allow me to cure your curiosity.
Something has happened to the weather. Minimal changes at first. Now definitely more noticeable.
Twice a year the seasons ignite my passion - the first signs of Spring and the Christmas countdown. Both have the ability to leave me grinning like a loony.
Dear readers, it is with enormous pleasure I have noticed Spring has finally arrived. My house is alive with yellow daffodils, my garden is sprinkled with lavender blooms. The clocks went back last night, and we've missed an hours sleep - for much happiness you have to make a little sacrifice.
But hey, I no longer lay in these days, so I'm typing away in bed whilst husband and son snore away. After this post I'll water my lavender blooms and I may even eat my cereal in the garden. Get me! Special K alfresco style! (Maybe with cardigan or demim jacket, let's not get too carried away, this is England after all.)
Before I fill this blog with colours and Easter, let's remember grayer and colder times. You served your purpose darker weather, now it is time to hold our heads higher and wear our clothes lighter.
So long winter, thanks for Christmas, your time is officially over, make way for Spring please.

Winter meant inside activities, such as Sea Life. Tommy loved the fishes.

A brisk walk along Southend beach. Before chips and hot chocolate.

We also wrapped up warm for father-in-law's birthday, at the races. Tommy loved watching the horses with his cousin.

The terrible twosome.

Lost in thought. Probably fie engines and chocolate.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Cressing Temple

One chilly, rain splattered afternoon, Tommy was napping, so I lost myself in Essex Life magazine, with a huge slab of fruit cake for company. It was the edition where they list events throughout the year, and whilst Tommy was snoring away, I merrily noted all dates of interest in diary.
Craft fairs, family fun days and Winter Wonderland, I was now a fountain of knowledge for such occasions. There would be no excuse for missing any of the action, as long as I remembered to keep checking my diary.
I'd planned the whole year for the family, not bad for an afternoon's work. When Tommy stirred from his slumber, I was debating whether to help myself to more cake, but then remembered I am supposed to be watching my waistline, again.
Instead I babbled away to Tommy, head full of Easter egg hunts and Christmas pantomimes, but all he was interested in was, "More milk please!" and "Fire engines!".
I didn't have to wait long for our first outing. It was The Food and Craft Fair at Cressing Temple. Grade 1 listed Barley and Wheat Barns, built in the 13th century, proudly standing in stunning grounds.
What more could a girl ask for? Family time, history, food, crafts, and prettiness. We also brought my mum and dad to our outing.
My mum said it made a lovely change from falling asleep in front of the telly, after reading the Sunday papers. Too right!

The buildings and grounds.

Can you see Tommy walking? He loved exploring.

The Old Forge.


Tommy loved looking at the bunnys.

And the chickens.

I loved rambling around inside this building at the many books. I treated Tommy to Goldilocks and The Three Bears and a book about fire engines.

One of the many food stalls.

Homemade fudge.

Choosing chutney.

One of the many home stalls.

Vintage tearoom. My battery died on my mobile, so you'll just have to imagine the delicious chocolate cake and strawberry milkshake.

Until the next one!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Giant roast puddings

I got a sore throat for Mother's Day. And a cough. And a headache. And a cold.
I went to bed the night before in reasonably good health.! I woke up feeling poorly.
Don't you hate it when that happens?
Children, especially two year olds, do not understand ill mothers. So I soldered on. What a trooper I am. I even made scrambled eggs for breakfast and played fire engines with my two year old.
Opening his two cards softened the blow and put a smile back on my face. One was homemade from nursery, my first homemade card, an imprint of his hand, guaranteed to be cherished forever. The second was covered with photographs of the two of us, courtesy of daddy, again, to be forever cherished.
After breakfast and playtime, I tried to coax my son into the bath for about an hour. Then tried to get him to stay in bath long enough for a hair wash and bits wash, so we could get ready for our day. Before knocking back a Lemsip and half a packet of throat sweets (me, not Tommy, he had milk and grapes).
Have I not mentioned Tommy now has fan phobia? This is a bit tricky as we have a fan over the bath, which makes a noise when the light is turned on. We have no window in the bathroom, so even during the day this fan and noise is essential, if you don't wish to bump into things and wash in darkness. After two years of loving the bath, he was playing with the bubbles one day, then looked up and decided he was scared of the round thing on the ceiling which was making a funny noise.
We've tried explaining it doesn't do anything, we've tried telling him it's nothing to be scared of, we've tried everything. We've even tried bathing in the dark, well we have the door open with a lamp by the door, it's kind of dark. Mother's Day was actually a success, he managed to stay in the bath for about two minutes before becoming hysterical. There's always something, isn't there?
First it was a shoe phobia, next it was the hoover, now it's the fan above the bath.
Anyway, fed, washed (enough) and dressed, we drove to Mark's mum's memorial garden with pink plant. Tommy saw a stone book and tried to pick it up to read, then he pointed at a gnome ornament and shouted, "Noddy!" He doesn't really understand memorial gardens, which is just as well really.
After paying our respects, we drove to my parents, with presents and cards for my mum, then to a village pub for a Sunday roast.
The pub was set in a pretty village that Mark and I often drive through and admire. Well, we decided to stop admiring and start visiting. So Mother's Day was hopefully our first of many lunches in this delightful place.
If only Tommy had sat in his high chair, as per all previous lunches. I guess we've had a lucky run up until now. He categorically would not sit in high chair and play with his cars and sticker book. He was having none of it and I was too below par to argue.
Therefore, Mark and I took it in turns to eat and walk him round the pub. Not ideal I know. My germ filled body couldn't face a fight or tantrum. I figured, so what if today we let him sit on our laps and explore the pub? He's usually very well behaved in public and at home, and I didn't want to spoil the day by stressing about it or causing a scene.
Okay, I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope other mums were too busy with their lunch to look at me and judge. To some people it may have looked like I was letting him get his own way and not setting boundaries. I was ready for confrontation should anyone dare say anything to me!
They didn't. Probably too preoccupied with their food or smug in the fact their kids had impeccable table etiquette.
Luckily, the little lamb kebabs, roast beef with giant roast pudding, and chocolate brownie and ice-cream were delicious. I even forgot how lousy I felt, whilst devouring lunch, whilst Mark was walking around the pub with Tommy.
Happy Mother's Day to me! And to you mums, and for your mums, and remembering mums who sadly are no longer with us.

The hand print card, proudly displayed.

My card, featuring the two of us.

Wrapping my mum's present. I love it when my wrapping paper, coat hangers and toiletry bag match, don't you?

Love these material photo albums, purchased online for my mum.

Every year my mum digs out all the Mother's Day cards I've made her. Yes it looks like she has loads of kids.

Country garden flowers from local shop, for my mum.

The pub in the charming village.

The giant roast pudding.


Tommy looking at the ducks.