Mum in the Club

I’m a Mum in the club. It’s 1am, I am tired, my feet ache and I feel like an old granny. I look around me. I’m wondering how I got here. It seemed like a good idea an hour ago, but then it took 45mins for a taxi and I sobered up somewhat. The disagreement with the taxi driver of charging us over £6 to drop us round the corner also didn’t help. My friends are sipping cocktails and a few of them look worse for wear. One girl, a friend of a friend, is standing up yet slumped at the same time, her eyes are not focused and she keeps crying. I have flashbacks to student days and do a little shiver. 

I look down at my virgin mojito. There’s no way I could’ve had a proper cocktail, the thought of a hangover tomorrow is too much to handle. Yes, I’ve had a few gins, I’m feeling merry but I can’t drink any more. A random stranger elbows me as they try and squeeze past in the throng by the bar. So rude. Did no one teach them any manners? 

I start to realise my feet are stuck to the floor, as I shift my feet I realise we are all standing on broken glass. I try to scrape the glass from my new shoes but it’s like a stick of rock and seems to be glued on. I try and get the attention of the bar staff to sweep up the mess but I’m not getting anywhere. 

The music is loud and I can’t hear a thing anyone is saying. The thump-thump-thump is starting to do my head in. What is this music? I recognise a song but then I realise I’m listening to some hideous remix which makes me want to through my glass on the floor. Suddenly I understand the broken glass. 

I go to the loo to find a group of girls having an argument. I cautiously open every cubicle until I find a toilet that hasn’t got sick or some explosive diahorrea in it. I have to use loo roll from another cubicle and hover over the seat. As I perform this physical feat, I hear the girls take their argument outside. “You’re a slaaaaag!” One of them screeches as they slam the door shut. 

I get back to my friends. I can remember the music from our university days. I start to dance but I’m conscious my feet are killing me, I do a hobbly half hip swaying dance but soon give up. I’ve got to sit down. That reenactment of flash dance earlier has really played havoc with my knees. 

Just as I turn to find anywhere to sit down, bouncers come rushing in and they knock me out of the way. They swoop in on a man by the bar and drag him kicking and screaming from the venue. My heart is in my mouth. I am too old for this shit. 

Most of these people are probably 10 years younger than me. People are snogging each other, or dirty dancing, people who are very drunk stagger around me. I roll my eyes. Then I see an older man, alone, all sweat glistening from his bald head and his rolls of fat jiggling as he rolls his hips in front of me.  

I retreat to a chair, in front of a hen party who are at the “I love you so much and I never want to be without you you’re my best friend forever” phase of the evening. I take off my shoes and rest my feet on a chair. I can feel my hips seizing up. I look at the clock – 2am, it feels like this night has lasted forever. I sit there and think of my bed, of sleep, of the day I will get to lie in until 10am. My friend staggers towards me, and I decide it’s time to go. Someone needs a kebab, and it’s not me. 

I wedge my swollen feet into my shoes and hobble to a taxi. 

When I get home, I make a hot chocolate and eat some popcorn. My Mummy Pig pyjamas have never felt better. 

Learning Spanish with Three Mobile

I was offered the chance to learn Spanish with Three Mobile, and I had no hesitation in saying “Sí!”

I have always wanted to learn another language and learning spanish is on my bucket list.

I was given an iTunes voucher to download some language apps to start learning Spanish. This is because Three mobile have added Spain to the list of destinations you can travel to and use your phone at no extra cost – sounds like a fab idea!  See more details on the Feel at Home page.

I was sent a fab Spanish pack with my voucher, a Spanish flag and a rough guide to Spain to plan my next trip. I’ve only been to Spain once so there’s loads of places I’d love to visit. It’s a great idea to be able to use your phone at no extra cost, especially to somewhere like Spain. There are 18 destinations you can also use your Three mobile phone including New Zealand.

So, how am I getting on?

I am actually really enjoying learning Spanish and using the app. My favourite is an app called duolingo and it is a lot of fun! The app is free to download but to get further you have to buy further sections. I like the interactive way you can learn with an app. The sessions are 10 minutes, so a nice bite size chunk which is easy to fit in around everything else I have to do in the day!

You pick the right word to match to the picture, complete sentences and have to repeat back via the microphone Spanish phrases. It’s amazing how quickly you can pick up words. I am amazing my family with phrases such as “I have an Apple” which is surely going to come in useful!

Another app I have tried is Mind snacks Spanish. This app uses a matching style game to help you learn Spanish words. It’s a lot of fun and something children would also find fun to play too.

Babbel is also an app I have used, this is also a great app using word matching and speaking into the microphone. It keeps you interested and engaged in learning a new language. It’s so easy to find a few minutes each day to complete a new section of the course.

Just having some idea of the vocabulary and some stock phrases is so useful. I am still struggling a bit on the grammar side of things but generally the apps help to identify what to say to get your message across.

Having the ability to use your phone for calls, text and data at no extra cost would have been a godsend when I went to Spain last year. Having YouTube or iplayer to hand would have been so handy with Nancy to keep her occupied. Also being able to send pictures to friends and family and keep in touch via Skype or Facebook would also be lovely.

The lovely people at Three have also put together this infographic to help plan your Spanish trips and make the most of your photos (and all that data you can use to send your pictures to your friends!)

How to #holidayspam in Spain like a boss
Use your phone abroad at no extra cost with Feel At Home on Three

Overall, I am loving thinking about Spain, talking Spanish and just getting into the holiday mood. Where do you like to go to in Spain? Do you have any tips? Let me know! 

 

Normal by Graeme Cameron Book Review

I recieved a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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Here’s the Blurb:

He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden.

He shops at your local supermarket. He drives beside you, waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement under his garage.

The food he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will – one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.

But this time it’s different…

This is such a strange book. The first half of this book is chilling, you are reading a sort of fly on the wall. It is kind of voyeuristic, seeing what the life of this serial killer is. The pace is quick and at times I had to re-read pages as I couldn’t believe what I had read, or I had missed a vital word. Another weird thing – it is quite humourous, in a dark comedy kind of way. The narrator (we never find out his name or what he looks like) makes everything seem so….normal. You get to know and almost like this character, whilst there are flashes in between where you just feel pure horror and wonder at what he may do next.

Events twist and turn and we see this killer’s ‘normal’ start to spin out of control. He kidnaps a girl called Ericka, and what starts off as usual (for him) is anything but. The second half of the book he also starts to have a crisis of conscience, which also causes him many issues. It is hard to explain his book without giving away the whole plot, but the more you read, the less frightening this person becomes and the more intruiged you are. You are almost willing this guy to get away with murder.

You get some insight into his past, and this starts to paint a picture but you never find out enough to really answer many questions. I also felt very confused as to what exactly this guy did as a serial killer, his motive, his way of killing. He didn’t appear to be like the serial killers you read of in the news or in other papers. But hey, I’m no crimminologist! It was just what I thought as I read the book.

The characters in the book are all very strong. It is interesting that as a serial killer of women, there are four main female characters in the book and they are all very strong characters. In fact, he is surrounded by women. I liked the characters and their influence on the main character; Annie and Ericka in particular. I liked the way these characters develop, and are not quite what they seem, initially.

As I have said, the book twists and turns and the pace is quick, there is always something else happening and I felt like I had to keep up. It wasn’t a boring read, although I would say that it is one that I felt I had to put down at times, it really felt a bit warped and some descriptions made me feel a little queasy. However it is a really original read, a great twist on the serial killer genre, and very readable.

I give Normal by Graeme Cameron 4 out of 5 stars.

Normal by Graeme Cameron is published by Harlequin UK and is out to buy now.

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Washing Wishing and Clothes Rage

When did my washing basket get so full? 

 I didn’t think I owned so many clothes. Well actually, I don’t. My partner has every item of clothing he has owned since he was 15, and Nancy has enough clothes to dress about 16 children a day for a year. Looking in my washing basket is like rummaging through a charity shop bin. 

I’d even forgotten that I owned some of the stuff in there.

The washing basket is full, yet I seem to do a wash every single day!

It is one of life conundrums. 

A bit like why you can never find a pair of socks and why the pair of tights you manage to find always has a massive hole in the crotch. 

And yes, I’ll wear them, holes and all.

 

One major issue is that we don’t have a tumble dryer, meaning that drying clothes in winter is at a premium. 

If and when the sun comes out, instead of rushing to get to the pub I am rushing down to the washing machine to wash some of the mountain of clothes.  

I’ve become obsessed, washing until every peg has been used. I even started to use other implements to peg the washing out, like like plastic grips you get from ikea to keep packets closed. 

Soon my garden was literally covered in washing. People told me to stop, but I just kept thinking of the sun, and it’s special clothes drying powers. 

Once it’s dry, it’s where the hell to put it, and then assessing exactly what I’ve got to wear, which isn’t much.

Worst thing of all, I hate everything I own. I don’t want to wear it. Yet I don’t have enough clothes not to wear these clothes.

I get clothes rage. I pick out a top, and decide I hate it with every fibre of my body, throw it back into the drawer and try and fit into something else that I hate a bit less.

And then I will do that until everything has been worn and I have to wear this top I hate, and I feel so miserable and grumpy for the whole day. 

I have started to throw some of these clothes away, or take them to the charity shop if they are good enough. 

I am slowly building up a supply of clothes I actually do like. I think it’s been so long since I cared about what I wear, that when I look at some of my old clothes it just reminds me of other times in my life, or perhaps why the hell did I ever buy some of this stuff. 

The last two years have been all so hectic, it’s strange to think it’s taken me two years to start thinking about how I look again. That may sound vain but I mean it in a “taking care of myself” way. I feel more myself now than I everywhere done, really. Time to update the wardrobe to match. 

Better leave it there for as the saying goes, when the sun shines, you’ve got to put another washing load on. 

Excuses for why it’s light at bedtime and why you need to go to sleep even when it’s not dark

  • It’s just the street lamps
  • Your room gets dark first 
  • What light? It’s dark! 
  • Oh look. The moonlight! 
  • Shut your eyes, and then it will be dark
  • It’s only morning when mummy says so
  • What do you mean there’s a black blanket on your window?
  • Your dolly says it’s bedtime
  • The sun forgot to go to bed! 
  • Father Christmas says you need to go to sleep
  • Wear these sunglasses 
  • Your night light is on, it must be bedtime! 
  • Cbeebies says you need to go to sleep, even though it’s light
  • Peppa has gone to sleep, even though it’s not dark, because she is good
  • If you go to sleep now, I will buy you a pony tomorrow 
  • This is special night time juice, if you drink it you need to go to sleep
  • That’s not the sunshine, that’s the headlights from a police car
  • This is what night time is like in Australia 

  

Peanut Hottie Recipe – Peanut Banana Oaty Muffins [low syn slimming world]

I was asked recently if I would like to try and do something creative in the kitchen with Peanut Hottie.

I have had a lot of fun trying Peanut Hottie and seeing what you can cook with it! I had never thought of cooking with it before.  It tastes lovely as a hot drink and a great alternative to a hot chocolate. At 83 calories per cup it is a great low fat treat. It is also suitable for vegetarians caffeine free (great for bedtime!) and no artificial additives or colours. Peanut Hottie have just released a new version, Chocolate Peanut Hottie, which is divine! I just had to see what I could do with it in a recipe, it’s a winning combo! 

So, Here is my recipe for Peanut Banana Oaty Muffins

 Ingredients: 

 30g Oats (I used a packet of Oat So Simple Multigrain)

2 x eggs, beaten

1 x mullerlight yoghurt, (I used vanilla with dark chocolate sprinkles) – you could use any low fat yogurt 

 2 x teaspoons Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hottie 

 Half a ripe banana, mashed 

 Method: 

 Add oats to a bowl. 

 Add yoghurt and stir together

Add 2 x teaspooons of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hottie. 

 Add the eggs and mix well until all combined. 

Add the banana and stir.

Seperate into 6 muffin tins, and cook in the oven 200 degrees until cooked (15-20 minutes). 

 Allow to cool, serve with fresh banana and perhaps some yoghurt or chocolate sauce. 

  

These are really nice, great for a quick brekkie or a snack. They are a little more squidgy than normal muffins just to warn you, but I found them pleasant enough to eat. I would maybe add more oats to give them a more flapjack feel in hindsight and something I will try soon! 

 Why not try….PANCAKES

You could also use this mixture to make some american style “magic” pancakes – watch this space as I will give this a go very soon and show you what they look like! 

Slimming World Notes:

On slimming world, at the time of publishing, the oats would be your HEB. Syn the cooked banana (2 syns) and the peanut hottie (10g = 2 syns) and you have 6 muffins for 4 syns (about 0.5 syns per muffin) (if not using HEB then add 6 syns =10 syns for 6 or 1.5 syns a muffin).

If making this, make sure you weigh and count everything and check your values in the book or online – as syns can change!   

Chocolate Peanut Hottie is £2.99 and available from Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose. 

For more recipe ideas with Peanut Hottie check out their Recipe Page. 

I’ve really enjoyed using Peanut Hottie so keep your eyes peeled for some more recipes soon! 

I was sent some Peanut Hottie in order to create a recipe. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Embracing the Mess

The other day, Nancy asked to go into the garden.

Ok, I said.  I was watching her like a hawk. Like one of the guards in a prison like Orange is the New Black. “Don’t touch this, don’t touch that!” “You’ll get MESSY!” I threatened, panicky and nervous that I would have to clean up, re-dress, re-change.

It’s the same when she gets her felt tips out, I feel my blood pressure rising.

“Put the caps on!” “Write on the paper!” “Argh you’ll do something in a minute to ruin my carpet!”

She got Play-doh for her birthday, which I hid.

She started to get funny about dirt, or food or pen on her hands, wanting to wash it off instantly.

Then it hit me: Where’s the fun in this? 

She needs to explore, and learn, and get messy.  She shouldn’t be afraid of getting messy, of having dirt on her hands. She should be playing in the mud, picking up worms, learning about the world around her. At nursery she is always rolling around in shaving foam and bits of pasta. Why can’t I do the same with her at home? What’s my problem?

Because it is my problem. I am stopping her doing things because I am worried I will have to clean up or sort out the mess. Granted, I don’t want her painting with Nutella all over my walls, and there has to be limits, but can’t I do some messy activities with her?

So, I embraced it. I set her free into the Garden, and I went with her. I took a big deep breath and I let her get muddy, and messy.

We planted seeds and dug up mud in the flower bed. We watered the garden. We spotted worms and watered the garden a bit more. She had a fantastic time. I had a good time. Yes, she got a bit muddy, yes our hands were filthy, but when we came in we stripped off and we washed our hands, and that was it, done. It felt good to have been out in the fresh air, to see her face as we explored the garden and when she found things such as the worm. Her face when she tried to weed my flowers and her delight at watering the garden.

Then another day, she found a big tub of crafty bits I’d bought ages ago, and asked if we could use them. I must admit my heart sank a little.

“Nnnnnno…” was on my lips, but then I stopped myself. I said “Yes” instead and we got out the crafts and we got out the glue and we got out the glitter and we made a little picture. And it was good, and fun. It was a bit messy, and things got everywhere, and at times I felt like saying “stop!” but she loved it. I loved it.

Ah, and then the Playdoh. I relented and got out the playdoh. We got out some cookie cutters, a fork, anything to make some pretty prints and marks in the play doh. We made pretend food and we made wriggly worms to her delight. She ‘fed’ her toy baby playdoh pasta, which was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I tried not to think about the state of my floor or the inevitability that a minute speck of playdoh will soon reach my carpet and that’ll be it.

I am starting to say Yes, I am starting to embrace the mess, embrace the fun.  It means that we have spent quite a few hours now doing some lovely things together, with no TV, no ipad. It has been positive, and happy and I haven’t been moany old mum who’s scared of a pair of muddy jeans.

I clean up, happy that we have spent fun time together, that we have made (sometimes quite literally) some memories. Every mark on my carpet has a story to tell, every pen mark I wash from my hands remains there invisible, a mark of a time I spent playing with my girl. I quite enjoy it really. Apart from touching worms, coz that’s a bit icky.

Sick Leave Mummy Style

When I used to fall unwell, before baby, although I felt rotten there was some slight excitement about being able to lie on the sofa in a lempsip stupor, watching Homes Under the Hammer and This Morning.

Now, when I first feel the signs of a cold, I’m necking echinacea like no tomorrow and ramming oranges down my throat quicker than a martini.

You see, nowadays, I don’t want to be unwell. I dread being unwell. It’s probably the worst thing that could happen to me (yes I know when anyone is unwell it sucks, but still, I feel the dread).

You can’t call in sick to the Mummy job. Oh no. That is not part of the employment contract.

Whether you have been coughing your guts up all night doesn’t matter. You will be up at 6am making playdoh bananas and feeding the baby jelly like there was not a problem in the world.

Peppa Pig will be pounding into your head like a hammer, and your head will be so fuzzy you’ll wonder if you’re hallucinating when the twirlywoos come onto the TV.

The child may demand to Play shop, for you to make juice, (not orange juice, purple juice), to go on the potty, off the potty, dress up, dress off, reading hairy mclairy very loudly and demanding pasta and pesto for lunch and not eating it, all the while you’re breathing like Darth Vader and dragging one foot behind you.

Your only contact with the outside world, your phone, will be demanded to watch YouTube videos of adults opening glitter putty coloured eggs. There is no escape.

Child will want to sit on you, preferably your chest so that you actually can’t breathe much. Even better when they sing a song in your face.

You’ll consider going back to work. I did once, and was sent straight back. I cried all the way home.

Food wise, you manage to survive on dry cereal, hula hoops and squash, muller light yoghurts and quorn chicken nuggets. Time will tick by very very slowly.

Where is the other half to free you from this nightmare?

Then they come home, tell you they don’t feel well*, and go to bed.

You read bedtime stories to the child until your voice cracks and you can’t stop coughing. Then you manage to wheeze ‘twinkle twinkle’ and crawl out of the room with the last ounce of energy you have, to the safety of your bed. You may forget to brush your teeth and wear the same pyjamas that you’ve have been wearing for the last 48 hours.

And then if you’re lucky, you may sleep for a bit.

I’m all for a cure for the common cold, me. Anything to try and prevent another sick day.

*Is it me, or when you say you’re unwell, your partner will say they are unwell too? And they are always worse than you, aren’t they?

Diet Bore #6

So, this week at slimming world!  How did I do. 

This is week 3 at slimming world:

  

  

 Yes, I have lost another 1lb.

Yes, I am a little bit disappointed. But I am also a little bit happy, actually. I had a Mothers’ Day Afternoon Tea, chocolate, champagne and also some not so other good bits. I decided to reign it in from the Monday, and I have actually had a very good week. I cut down on my syns and I had a lb loss to show for this. 

 I have now 5.5lbs lost in 3 weeks. 1.5lbs next week, and I have my half a stone!

So I am really, really trying hard. I am eating free foods as much as I can, and trying to eat speed foods at every opportunity. However I have been unwell the last few days, still have stuck to free foods but perhaps not so much speed foods.   I also possibly over did it this evening on the syns front too – being ill sucks big time. I can barely remember what I’ve eaten today.

Generally, I am finding the slimming world plan easy to follow. I thought I would struggle with the healthy extra B, but I find having 2x Alpen Light Bars really helps me. I always have found breakfast a difficult meal, I am tending to have fruit and yoghurt, with an Alpen bar. Lunches are usually easier as it’s leftovers from the night before, or I will grab a jacket potato. Syns I haven’t found too tricky and I usually have eat least 5 – I don’t tend to have syns during the day and have them as treats in the evening. I have probably 15 a day at the weekend for extra treats and I aim for 10 during the week. 

Food has been good, we made a really nice red Thai curry this weekend with some quorn in it, was delicious! I have also made curly kale crisps which were delicious, you’d never think they were totally syn free!  Again totally loving the greens this week. I am trying new foods I’d never dream of trying in the past, and the way to really keep motivated is to make new and interesting meals throughout the week. I am looking through recipe books and thinking of ideas for things to make, it makes mealtimes a bit more exciting and I am really enjoying cooking again.

  

This week we are hoping to have:

  • Spinach and cheese Canelloni 
  • Mushy pea curry
  • Lentil and red pepper chilli
  • Courgetti quorn bolognese 
  • Veggie fajitas 

So let’s see how I get on. I am really hoping I can lose 1.5lbs so I can get my half stone. Just need to get better and get eating! 

Dinner Time Showdown

When I get home from work, I always have that dreaded question in my head, and like clockwork, the question will be asked. It’s one of life’s mysteries, and one we all ponder on a daily basis.

Question: What’s for dinner? 

Answer: I don’t know what’s for dinner. 

Why am I the gatekeeper of the fridge? The only one who can dictate what we are having for dinner tonight?

Why is it my job?

Meal planning is a great idea. In principle. However, I can’t help but feel a contestant on masterchef being given a box of mystery ingredients to cook with (such as pasta, tinned peaches, chopped tomatoes, half a knobbly courgette, 5 day old hummous and a slightly soft onion) most nights.

Or, I plan meals and then find out someone else has eaten one of the essential ingredients.

OR, I spend hours cooking something amazing  and exciting and then NOBODY LIKES IT apart from me.

OR, I run out of all energy and end up chewing on a piece of celery* all evening.

The rage boils up inside and I feel like throwing the lot on the floor snd screaming ‘Well YOU make something then!’

The worst comments for others to make at dinner time, and cause possible rage are:

“I don’t like this”

“I wanted chilli not curry!” (or whatever it is, when you didn’t say that) 

“My mum made this much nicer”

“It’s a bit well done”

“I’m a bit fed up of broccoli”

“It’s too watery”

“What is this?”

“I was going to eat it but I’ve just ordered a Dominos”

or, my favourite: “It’s alright”

(what, pray tell, does “alright” mean? is it good or bad? is it mediocre? is it just something you say when your manic over heated partner has thrown a plate of food at you?!)

Well, I’ve started to fight back. I tell people it’s their turn to cook. I decided it’s time they have to think, use their brain, and chop vegetables (apart from my partner who tells me he can’t chop vegetables?!) and devise a meal suitable for everyone as soon as they walk through the door.

This experiment has resulted in:

takeaways 

- nothing being cooked 

- pasta, pasta, pasta

-some nice meals cooked by my sister 

- every implement, pot and crockery being used and the kitchen looking like it’s been through the apocalypse 

So to try and prevent scurvy from being reintroduced into my family, I have had to admit defeat, and start actually cooking again. I really want to eat more than pasta. Starting Slimming world has helped my momentum, as now I really do need to cook properly in order to lose weight.

I do have a vague meal plan in my head, and I have plenty of ingredients so that I can hopefully make something quick and easy. I dusted off my clow cooker (again, I am the only one that uses it!) and have made some very nice things in it too, with minimal effort.

So basically, if they don’t like healthy low fat meals, they know what they can do*.

*order a takeaway, ahem.