Our ‘Date Nights’

Over the past few years what I consider to be ‘date nights’ have been fairly few and far between. I understand that this is somewhat inevitable once you have kids but it does grate on me. Then the other week I realised that that wasn’t a fair outlook on the time Hubby and I spend together. We actually spend quite a lot of quality time together and although we may not get to go out for dinner once a month as we would like to that doesn’t mean we don’t have ‘date nights’. So since September is our special month I though it was a good time to reevaluate what I consider to be some of our dates both out of the house, having utilised a babysitting token with the ‘in laws’, and stay at home dates. Plus I’ve thrown in some ideas that we haven’t done yet but we have discussed in the past.

Baby-sitter dates:  

  • .Dinner at a restaurant with cocktails pre or post romantic meal. Candles are a bonus. I’m currently a huge fan of Japanese cuisine.
  • G.o karting. Not the most romantic of dates but loads of fun. Plus a bit of ‘healthy’ competition.
  • Pub quiz. I struggle with this as a date but I love a pub quiz and since kids we just don’t get to do them. We went to one a couple of weeks ago and it was really good fun.
  • A night in a hotel, maybe even a really swanky one! My fav! I love a good hotel, I’ve stayed in quite a few over the last few years so now I think I’m a connoisseur (I am not!)
  • A night time haunted tour. I like the idea of this but in reality I don’t think I would sleep for a week afterwards.
  • A museum or art gallery trip. I’m not sure Hubby would go for this one. Maybe the Imperial War Museum, or Churchills War Rooms could persuade him.
  • We’re going to the zoo zoo zoo. I fecking love the zoo!!!!
  • Boating on the river. Very wind in the willows. Probably not in reality.
  • Day at a Theme Park or one of their special fright nights over hallowe’en.
  • A picnic. Very romantic! Just beware when you set up the picnic blanket and don’t almost put it on top of the dog shit left by an irresponsible owner. I nearly did this the other week…. It would likely ruin the mood.
  • Visit a local farmers/craft market.
  • Spa day. Maybe even enjoy a couples massage in the interest of spending time together. I like this idea in theory but I’m 99% certain I’d be bored after an hour.
  • Cinema trip. The end of December through January is ‘Oscar Season’ which is when a vast majority of the best films are released in the cinema. This is an added bonus as I would rather be in a cinema in the winter months than the summer ones.

Staying-in Dates:

  • A takeaway with a bottle of nice wine. I’m a wine snob and not hugely proud of it…. So it has to be nice wine!
  • Turn the TV off and play a game. We enjoy scrabble or a few card games. Recently we’ve even managed to calm some of the competitiveness.
  • Light some candles, put some cushions on the floor and talk, maybe plan the next holiday. Again wine and a takeaway helps.
  • Make a home cooked meal together. Add dessert. Add wine. Again… Good wine only please. On these evenings I go out and buy an expensive cut of beef, Hubby cooks it whilst I sort the trimmings.
  • Movie night. We don’t get to go the cinema these days. Fortunately this isn’t really a problem anymore as most films get released fairly quickly from cinema. We have Apple TV so I use my iTunes to rent a movie at home. Plus a bag of microwave butterkist popcorn 😋😋😋😋😋.

I’m sure there are other ideas I have missed.

I’m open to further suggestions……?

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
This Mum's Life

Time to ‘Wife’ a bit more

This month Hubby and I will have been married for five years. It’s not that long in the general scheme of planning to be together for the rest of our lives, but I can’t believe it’s already been five years. This year our anniversary lands on a Saturday. Bonus! This of course means we are going out. Out out parent style! Dinner and cocktails before heading home to relieve the baby sitters (brother and sister in law) and collapsing in a tired, makeup smeared heap. I can not wait! I may even buy a new dress for the occasion.

As Hubby has written we have done a lot in five years, and two of those huge things take up so much of our time and mental capacity. I wouldn’t change Pinky and Perky for the world but I have decided that since September is our month, I am going to concentrate on husband and wife stuff. I parent daily but I’m not sure I can honestly say I ‘wife’ daily.

I don’t think our marriage needs ‘spicing up’, we have a really good relationship, we really really work. We talk about everything, no subject is off limits. As cliché as it sounds we laugh daily. No one can make me laugh like Hubby. If one of us needs a quiet sulky evening we have it, if we need a cuddle the other simply knows. I want this to last. Forever.

Since becoming parents our stuff has taken a backseat. Of course it has, it has to. We don’t go out as often as we did because two more humans need feeding and clothing. Speaking of which our wardrobes could really do with updating. We had originally said that we would try and have a date night once a month after Pinky was born and I was comfortable leaving her for a couple of hours. This hasn’t happened, life got in the way. That’s not to say we don’t ever have date nights because we do. However, what has generally happened in the past is we don’t go out for a few months at a time, so when we do, we go out out. All out out. We organise a sleepover at the grandparents for the girls and we go up to London for the night. ‘The Big Smoke’ isn’t far on a train (just ridiculously expensive) but we don’t go up as often as we would like as we love the city. To make the most of it we will head up in the day and do a spot of retail therapy. Solely my therapy I suspect but bless Hubby he tags along with minimal complaint, mostly just unsubtly asking if there is anywhere to get a drink in the department store in which find ourselves. Then it’s dinner and a hotel stay before heading back home on the Sunday morning. This is expensive. I love this date and would do it more regularly if we could but until our lottery numbers come in it will have to be a very occasional treat. Having said that just because we are parents doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little luxury ourselves every now and again. Many people enjoy a little spa weekend and there are many good offers out there to take advantage of. I love a good back massage but to be honest a spa weekend really isn’t our style. We would be bored by lunch.

So this month I’m going to concentrate on marriage stuff. I am going to think about Date night ideas, ways of lowering my own expectations and accepting there are other ways of having a date that doesn’t necessarily involve leaving the house or needing to organise baby sitters. It doesn’t need to involve an over priced, white table cloth adorned restaurant that serves lobster (not actually something we have ever ordered but it’s nice to know we could). I want to concentrate on the smaller things and appreciate them.

I am also in the market for a suitable anniversary present, wood for the fifth year. All ideas on a postcard please.

This Mum's Life
Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany

This went quickly – Daddy

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We are approaching our 5th wedding anniversary. We have been busy since we said ‘I do’, houses, children, work… the list goes on. I was sat in my office last week and just happened to catch a glance of the picture of Special One on my desk. I smile, that smile that only she can bring to me. I’m guilty of not stopping and thinking as much as I should,  I started to reflect on some key moments in our life.

In 2008, I stood next to you whilst I dreamt about what might be… Your smile, your laugh, your company, what could I say or do for you to give me a chance to spend some time with you.

In 2009, I stood next to you as we walked into our first flat together.

In 2011, I stood next to you while I put a ring on your finger, and you put one on mine. Smiling in amazement, shaking in anticipation, heart pounding through my chest because I knew my dream had come true…

In 2013,  I stood next to you waiting to hold our first child. Nervous, inexperienced, I had no idea how to be a Daddy….

In 2015, I stood next to you waiting to hold our second child. Nervous, worried, I had made up being a Daddy and now to 2 of them…

In 2016, I stand next to you knowing the only reason I can stand next to you, is because you hold me up.

I watch in pride as you do your thing: wipe tears, settle sister arguments, smile when world war 3 is kicking off, feed us, care for us, look after us, cuddle us, pick us up when we are down, love us.

Happy Anniversary Special One, I love you!

 

Packing List

As mentioned in a previous post here is the personal packing list. This will be the third time we have been on holiday with children and the second time with two of them. The last time was to a resort but this time is self catering so I do plan to buy some nappies and swimming nappies out there, perhaps some wet wipes mostly as these take up so much space with the suitcases, especially two weeks worth.  We also have a washing machine in both the villas (first week is just us four and the second week Hubbys family are joining us and they have hired a large Villa for all of us) so I do plan on doing a little washing at some point. No I can’t really be bothered but I know it is the sensible thing to do. I am also very lucky with the girls as neither of them have sensitive skin so I am not worried about using new washing powder on their clothes. If this is a concern then do pack a few more outfits. To ensure I don’t forget anything I write an itemised list on my phone and I tick each item as I pack it, that way I know how much I still need to do, it also means I can add to the list if I forget something. I have put this list at the end of this post more as an insight into the crazy level of list making I go to.

  • Hats x1 each no one really needs more than one hat, just chose wisely.
  • Swimming Costumes I could save some room here as realistically we all only need 1 each but we do take 2/3 each. My reason for this is because of how we spend our days on holiday. We spend the morning at the pool, then go get lunch and get Perky to nap in her pushchair (hopefully Pinky won’t need a nap as we aren’t taking the double stroller this time). Then we return to the pool. None of us like putting damp swim suits on so we have a spare.
  • Beach Towels Some resorts provide these but sadly self catering doesn’t! So one each of these. I’m hoping there are at least bathroom towels in the villas.
  • Buggy Sunshade There are various ones on the market so its easy to find one you like within your price range. Most come with a 95% UV block. We have one that changes depending on how you tie it to the buggy and as it is only attached near the hood it allows really good air flow around Perky whilst she is sat or sleeping in the buggy.
  • Outfits x5 each This should be plenty as I will do some washing, gives me four days before I have to think about it then do four days worth on the fifth ready to start again. Make sense? It does in my head but thats not saying much. We don’t like to walk around in beachwear when not actually near water and never go to a restaurant in a bikini even if they don’t object (each to their own but its not for me!) so we do tend to get dressed into shorts, tops or dresses to go and eat. And although self catering, I don’t plan on doing much cooking besides conjuring up a bowl of cereal or a ham sandwich so we will be going out. In a large resort I take 1 outfit per day for the girls if I don’t have any means to wash clothes. It may seem excessive but that is usually only to people who don’t have kids or people who have these freakishly tidy eating children you occasionally hear rumour about….. I take less outfits for myself and Hubby as logically we make less mess eating (this is not true 60% of the time, is it Hubby?)
  • Flipflops x1 pair each Before now I have always taken 3 or 4 pairs, outrageous I know! But all of us only ever wear 1 pair of shoes. Both Hubby and I will travel in our Toms or Trainers, the girls will have their Doodles. So really I only need to pack 1 pair of chosen summer shoes per person. Worst case if a pair of flip flops break I will go and buy some more super cheap ones I can throw away after the holiday.
  • Sun cream Ok I go a little crazy here. I know you can get it abroad but it’s one of those crazy irrational mummy brain things for me that I don’t trust anything that I haven’t bought in Boots or Sainsburys. So I pack s**t tonnes of the stuff for all of us. I do let the girls get a little dose of vitamin D but beyond that that stuff gets lathered on and on and on.
  • Nappies I will take about four days worth with us this time of both swimming and normal nappies and I will buy some more in Menorca. We ran out on holiday last year and paid extortionate amounts to get more within the resort. This time Spanish supermarkets are on hand.
  • Toiletries This is where most of our space gets used up. Hubby and I will share a shower gel so I chose a relatively non fragrant one. The girls need a moisturising bath cream, shampoo and conditioner (they have as much hair as I do, refer back to point 2!) plus moisturiser. To save overall space Oilatum do a large bottle that should last two weeks and is so good for both adults and children. Our GP recommends it as a first line defence against eczema and now we always have it in the house. I don’t really need my usual cream so sharing this with the girls is a great way to save space and weight in the luggage. Alternatively a large tub of E45 cream would work. I don’t use aftersun, it is just moisturiser with a higher price tag….
  • Comforters I don’t know anyone that would forget these. The vital object in a childs life that can help make every situation or injury seem a little less scary. Mr Rabbit and Muzzie come everywhere with us. Literally f****ng everywhere! There is only 1 Mr Rabbit for Pinky as no other identical toy will suffice and this causes many panicked moments where we think we may have lost him. As such when Perky started showing signs of attachment to the Muzzie (Muslin cloth with a dogs head on it) we bought numerous identical ones and give her a clean one at least once a week. So much so, that now, if her current one gets a little smelly she goes to her wardrobe where they are kept and she gets a clean one out. So for her one will be a carry on item and the others will be in the suitcase. Pinky will be allowed 1 other cuddly toy that will be packed.
  • Chargers No point in taking technology with you if you cant use it. This includes camera chargers, Kindle and phone if you need it. Which we do. We are a fairly tech heavy family but that is what happens when you both enjoy good new technologies. (I don’t include these in my itemised list as it is very much Hubbys remit).
  • Baby Monitor There is an argument that we could probably live without this for two weeks. We have a camera monitor that runs of its own signal so you don’t even need Wi-Fi. Since the girls don’t usually share a room I would like to be able to keep and eye on them and make sure they are behaving themselves.
  • Calpol This stuff is vital some days at home so I would be very nervous if we forgot this.

Hand Luggage:

  • Entertainment iPads are the greatest invention ever if only for flying with children. We download age appropriate games, some films or cartoons and a drawing app. We take two iPads so the girls can have one each so there are no arguments or tantrums over what to watch or play next. We will also take a small colouring book for each of them and a few crayons. I used pack all sorts of toys and books in the suitcase to make sure they stayed entertained at all times and they just don’t get played with.  The wonderful thing about holidays is that because you don’t have a household to run or a job to go to the fun never really stops, toys are no longer a requirement for a small window of time, and if for some reason there are a spare 10 minutes that the children need to be occupied the iPads can come back out. For us toys are a ‘Just in case’ item and therefore expendable.
  • Passports 
  • Foreign Currency 
  • E111 cards If you don’t have them then get them. You can fill out a form online and then you will be sent the cards as proof of your entitlement to medical treatment as an European Citizen. This does not replace Travel Insurance but it means you may not have to make an insurance claim. Each country calls back medical cost from each patients home country. By having the card it simply makes any possible doctors trip abroad slightly less stressful.
  • Credit Card We keep this and the cash separate due to my paranoia. That way if one is stolen we should still be able to eat with the other for a couple of days.
  • Empty beakers Obviously you can’t take them through security full.
  • Snacks We will buy these and drinks to fill up the beakers at the airport. I suspect the only way we will get Perky to sit still for the 2 hour flight is to feed her for most of it!

We have a ‘Travel Wallet’ that we put everything in. It is just a clear A5 sized plastic zip pocket available in any stationary shop.

Lastly a Buggy. This year will be the first time we take a single one and to be honest I think we are taking a risk. Our double was super cheap and you can tell. Its so difficult to push with both the girls in it and if Pinky falls asleep her feet usually drop to the floor and drag. So we have made the decision to take our single one. This year only we will be taking the buggy board with us also but mostly because if we don’t one of us will likely end up carrying one child most of the time, simple sods law really. Next year the board won’t be coming. I’m hoping to have saved so much space in the cases by not packing non essential items that it won’t matter.

Obviously some sort of toddler transport when they can barely walk goes without saying but I have put it on here because on our first family holiday I saw a woman try to take her beautiful Stokke travel system with her.  Now obviously what pushchair you take with you is absolutely your choice. Helpfully the airlines will take it off you as you board and take it down to the luggage hold. With a single buggy, or a double you fold it up and give it to the airport staff. If you get it back at the other end and it has a couple of bumps or scrapes on it you are unlikely to notice. This poor woman had to take apart the travel system and then wrap it all up in numerous luggage ties. She obviously loved this thing, it was so clean and pristine (mine are always covered in mud… we don’t even really live in the countryside). Then she had to hand it over to airport staff and trust they wouldn’t throw it about, not just here but at the destination airport also. I didn’t see it when we arrived but I hope for her sake it treated with respect. Just get a buggy, they are lighter, smaller and even if you don’t use it daily at home it will be invaluable.  My logic is if I wouldn’t want to have to replace something then I probably don’t want to put it in the hold of an aeroplane for two weeks abroad.

I love packing to go away. It’s one of the best bits. I just wish I could enjoy doing it to come home.

Happy Packing X

Packing List

Toiletries 

✅E45

✅Mummy Shampoo & Conditioner

✅Girls Shampoo & Conditioner

✅Shower Gel

✅Bath Cream

✅Bio Oil

✅Face wipes

✅Flannels

✅Frizz ease serum

✅Nappies x 12-16

✅Swim Nappies x 4

✅Wipes x 6

✅Muslins X 10

✅Deodorant

✅Toothbrushes

✅Toothpastes

✅Nail clippers

✅Nail file

✅Tweezers

✅Contact lenses

✅Contact lense solution

✅Glasses

✅Make up bag

✅Suncream

✅Hair dryer

✅Hair brushes

✅Comb

✅Hair bands

✅Hair clips

✅Nail polish

✅Polish remover

✅Cotton pads

✅Cotton buds

✅Razor

✅Razor blades

✅Calpol

✅Nurofen

✅Paracetamol

✅Ibuprofen

✅Antibiotics

✅Hay fever tablets

✅Fathers day present & Card

✅Carrier bag

✅Buggy sunshade

✅Hair wax

Pinky

✅Dresses x 6

✅Knickers x 12

✅Socks x

✅PJ’s x 6

✅Flip Flops

✅Jelly shoes

✅Hats x 1

Swimming bag

✅Swimming costume x 3

✅Beach towel

✅Floats

Perky

✅Dresses x 4

✅Tops x 3

✅Shorts x 3

✅Playsuit (blue with stars)

✅Hats x 1

✅PJ’s x 6

✅Muzzies

Swimming bag

✅Swimming costume x 2

✅Beach towel

✅Floats

Mummy

✅Shorts x 3

✅Dungarees x 1

✅T-Shirts x 2

✅Maxi dress x 1

✅ Jumpsuit X 1

✅Knickers x 10

✅Flip Flops

✅Sandels

✅Hat x 1

✅PJ’s

Swimming bag 

✅Bikini x 4

✅Beach coverup

Daddy

✅Tops x 6

✅Shorts x 2

✅Pants x 8

✅Flip Flops x 2

✅Black cap

Swimming bag

✅Swimming trunks

✅Swimming shorts x 2

Extras

✅Buggy Board & Seat

✅Buggy Hooks

✅Elephant Buggy Tidy

✅Chargers: iPhones, iPads, Kindle

✅Monitor Screen & Camera

Hand Luggage:

Mummy & Daddy

✅Travel Wallet

✅Changing Purse

✅Empty beakers

✅Snack Pot

✅iPad

✅Camera

Pinky’s Trunki

Mr Rabbit

✅Cuddly toys x 3

✅iPad

✅Books x 4

✅Colouring book

✅Pencil case

Travel Clothes

Pinky 

Dress

Cardigan

Socks

Doodles

Perky

Top

Leggings

Cardigan

Socks

Doodles

Mummy

Dungarees

Vest Top

Jumper

Toms

Daddy

Shorts

T-shirt

Trainers

Socks

Holiday Packing

Someone asked today for advise on holiday packing so I thought I would write some.  We are off to sunny Menorca soon so this also serves the purpose of making me feel like I should take my own advise and pack lighter! I am a chronic over packer.

Packing for little ones is much easier if you can organise yourself, however you do that best. I personally like lists. I have been known to make lists of things I need to make lists for….. I am that ridiculous. My holiday list will often be rewritten a few times as I narrow down what I actually need to take.

Now everyone and every family is different with what they consider to be ‘must have’ items within their luggage so before I start my packing list here are some pointers to make your list individual:

  1. Consider where you are going and adapt your list accordingly
    What you take for an all inclusive holiday you may not need to take for a self catering.  Some resorts require a dress code in the evenings so you will need to pack extra clothes for yourselves and little ones. Also many resorts have well stocked shops for all the essentials but often at a vast cost. I prefer to bring as many nappies with me so I don’t have to buy them there.  However for a two week self catering holiday I am less fussed about the brand of nappy and am more than happy to buy some from a local supermarket as I run out.
  2. It is ok to have some ‘could not possibly live without, don’t even ask!’ items
    Mine is my shampoo and conditioner. My hair goes so dry in the sun and uncontrollably frizzy in the heat. There’s just so damn much of it. So on holiday I wash my hair more often than at home, I need my brand of product plus some anti-frizz heat protect serum. These come in relatively large bottles but I just won’t budge on this. Also I have contemplated not taking my hair straighteners on this next holiday but I seriously don’t know who I am kidding…. They will blatantly sneak their way into the suitcase.
  3. If you want to take something ‘Just in case’ you can be 99.9% sure you wont need it
    Trust me on this one. I do it every bloody holiday! ‘Oh, I’ll just take these shoes in case there might be occasion to wear them.’ ‘I’ll just pack these toys in case the girls get bored.’ Literally nothing I have packed on a ‘Just In Case’ basis have ever been used or worn.
  4. If you can do without it, then do without it
    I probably could live without my straighteners for 2 weeks. The girls can definitely do without their favourite cutlery.
  5. Even in hot countries it can get chilly
    If there is cold to be felt I will feel it. I am the last one to remove my sweatshirt and the first one to put the heating on. Of course I don’t usually anticipate my summer holiday getting too cold whether it is in the Mediterranean or Mexico but sometimes it does rain and sometimes the nights do get cold. I don’t actually pack for this eventuality I wear it travelling. I might look odd wearing my huge great but hoodie when we land in the sunny shores but I made sense back at Gatwick at 6am and I will more than likely look dressed for the weather when we return. This also means I haven’t lost space in the suitcase with the bulky clothing and footwear and it can all be removed when you get too hot.
  6. Utilise the hand luggage allowance
    If a passenger gets it, use it. You don’t have to fill the bags but it is useful to have the extra space (mostly for the jumpers we no longer need to be wearing).
  7. Get a Buggy
    Something cheap and cheerful is fine if it is only for the holiday and not planned for general use but a whole travel system is a large thing to take abroad and many buggies are suitable from birth. Although if you need to cater for a child under 6 months I would probably invest in a decent option as it is highly likely to be used at home more than you think it will.

Super major holiday hack…. You can preorder stuff from Boots online to pick up at the airport. This means instead of using up any luggage allowance on nappies, formula, baby food, toiletries…. anything really. You can pick them up from boots after you have been through check in and security and none of it counts against your personal allowance. You do of course have to carry it all but whilst traveling with little ones that require a pushchair of some description then that can carry it all…. most of the way anyway. This is also where making sure you have as much ‘hand luggage’ space as possible comes in handy…. some of it can go in there.

I will do a post soon with what is actually in our suitcases and hand luggage. Hopefully I don’t over pack for once.

Happy Holidays

 

We are starting a lifestyle change…

A couple of month ago once I had finished working and officially became a housewife/stay at home mum (I hate those labels but not really sure what I prefer) I decided the only way to remain sane over the next few years would be to embrace it as wholeheartedly as I could. Ok, so I’m still working on the ‘wholehearted’ part but baby steps.

The first thing I decided to do was to take over the cooking from Hubby. I hate cooking so I always left it him to decide what we had for dinner. I would help if I could but generally I wasn’t interested. I love baking, but cooking…. I can’t stand it. Go work that one out! Understandably as Hubby had been at work all day and often didn’t do the grocery shopping our diet was poor, repetitive and generally boring. This was made even more unacceptable as the girls have a much healthier balanced diet as I cooked for them! We don’t eat with the girls during the week as it isn’t fair to expect them to wait until 7pm for their dinner, the exception to this is a Sunday, we always try to eat together as family on a Sunday.

Now I have taken this one step further…. I must be mad….. Instead of being responsible for the dinners for all of us I have decided to also provide Hubby with breakfast, lunch and snacks to take to work with him. This means now I have to think of foods that are transportable, healthy and edible in advance for a whole week! I’m not sure I really thought this through and I am already getting cold feet over it all.  I haven’t done this to try and win a ‘wife of the year’ award, I just wanted to see if I could improve our diet and save us some money at the same time. If I don’t make lunch for Hubby then he goes and buys it. Lets be honest, every now and again an M&S sandwich isn’t going to do any harm, but food like that isn’t good everyday and it gets bloody expensive!

Hubby and I are not fans of the word diet. We both dieted last year to get ‘beach ready’ for a holiday. I had some baby weight I wanted gone and he had some excess to loose. We both hit our target and somehow I have remained the same weight ever since. Hubby hasn’t however and I’m sure it is because we had to cut too many fun foods out.  This time we aren’t calling this a diet but a lifestyle change, mostly because it isn’t something to get us to a holiday but because I want it to stick. I have spent too long nursing stroke patients preaching about lifestyle choices, I think its time to put my own advice to the test!

So my plan to make this stick…

  1. Menu plan
    I will try to do this in advance where I can and hopefully I will be able to be flexible during the week as plans inevitable change.
  2. Try new things
    I notoriously dislike chicken (no really, I do) and Hubby doesn’t like broccoli. However over the last few weeks we have both eaten things we never used to like and so far have actually enjoyed it all.
  3. If it doesn’t work move on
    I tend to get a little disheartened when things don’t go as planned. If something doesn’t taste as good as I expected I can find it hard to motivate myself to try again. It is simply really, if it doesn’t work adapt the meal or just don’t make it again.
  4. Prepare
    Instead of spending every day ‘slaving over a stove’ as it were, I will make as much as I can at the weekend. This weekend I spend only a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing salads, breakfast bars and snacks. These will last all week in the fridge as long as the salads aren’t dressed so now all I have to do is cook dinner every day. I actually thought this part of the plan would take up more time but maybe I just got lucky with what I made this week. This also gives me a chance to either get a little child free time or to spend time teaching Pinky how to cook.
  5. Stock up
    This is something I already do for my baking. I ALWAYS have the basic ingredients in the house to make a cake or a brownie. This Philosophy hasn’t previously applied to basic larder ingredients but now it will. I’m hoping by keeping basic supplies up if a particular meal does fail then I can actually quickly change it.
  6. Everything in moderation
    If we need a glass of wine or a G&T then thats ok. I will still bake as much as I already do, I just might give my in-laws a few more portions than I already do. If I remove everything we enjoy then we will fall back into old habits really quickly.

The long term plan is to get the girls eating the same food as us so I can reduce what I have to cook further. Sadly Pinky has reached the age where there isn’t much she will eat. Perky still eats everything. I have tried various techniques to get Pinky eating more variety again, but nothing works. She will eat everything on offer at nursery though so I’m not worried. Once both the girls have been through this stage and come out the other side I will encourage them to help me with the cooking (sneaky teaching/learning right there) and they can eat what we eat when we eat it. No arguments no exceptions. My mother spent her whole time cooking different things for all my brothers to accommodate what they did and didn’t like until they left home in their 20’s! I’m not doing that.

So after 6 weeks of healthy dinners, this is week 1 of healthy days! The breakfast bar this morning wasn’t as great as I had hoped so already feeling disheartened. Must refer back to point No.3 and move on…. Plus there is a full laundry basket to distract me.  It’s all rock and roll here!

A Break Away

After a few weeks of general nervous and fractious energy caused by both Hubby and myself (bloody work related as normal) a last minute decision to have a few days away just the four of us turned out to be more vital than I thought.  The holiday doesn’t seem like much on paper. It was only a Centre Parcs, not too long of a journey from home. At first I really couldn’t be bothered with the hassle for four days away but I knew it was important to Hubby so I went with it. And I am so glad I did. We hired a couple of bikes and Hubby pulled the girls along in a trailer, which they both loved. So did we! We completely fell in love with cycling again, something I haven’t done for approximately 12 years. Although after 4 days of hills and miles after miles of cycling both our legs and bums are now glad the holiday is finished!

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We went swimming every morning, by the third day Pinky even plucked up the courage to go down the flumes on our laps. She loved it so much that was all she wanted to do after that.

“Again. Again.”

In the afternoons we would go for a cycle whilst the girls napped in the trailer, then to the outdoor play area, find some ice cream….. the weather was amazing for the first time this year. Two of the afternoons the girls went to the kids club so Hubby and I could have some child free time.  We had grand plans of going to the spa, however on reflection we cancelled our appointments and decided instead to go a prat around in the swimming pool.  We haven’t fooled around like that together since I fell pregnant with Pinky.  We went round the water rapids again and again like we were in our teens! Plus the slides. I laughed so much I’m sure I pulled a stomach muscle.

Throughout our break away we all relaxed. It made me realise how important it is to remember to take time out every now and again.

Pinky started to come out of her shell and grow in confidence.  I have often worried at how timid she can be and in need of extra reassurance compared with her peers of the same age (thus breaking my own number one rule to never compare her against anyone else). But by the time we came home she was as outgoing and playful as most other three year olds. Not once did I hear her say ‘I can’t do that.’ Instead she would respond ‘Ok! That’s a good idea.’ if we suggested an activity.

Perky got more and more exhausted attempting (and failing) to keep up with her older sister. The plus side to that is the extra cuddles we both got.

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The weekend has also been really warm and sunny so we all helped sort out the garden ready for the summer.  Planting the pots, mowing the lawn, getting the garden toys out and the obligatory first BBQ of the year.

This week of sunshine and family has regenerated us all. We all seem to have more energy, we have been sleeping better, despite the heat and we are all having fun. I get a small amount of respite as the girls don’t necessarily come to me immediately to have their needs met. They now appreciate that actually Daddy is able to strap them into the car, get them a drink reach, the toy that just rolled under the sofa.

Of course the working week has started again and by Friday Daddy’s capabilities will be long forgotten and I will again be expected to be there for every little whim. I love how much they need me, and I don’t doubt that I will miss these days when they are grown and fled the nest, but every now and again it is refreshing to not be needed. At least not all day.

 

It’s one of those days..

It’s just one of those days. One of those ‘pull your hair out’ kinda days. Nothing really extreme is happening, no major unexpected tantrums (just the usual), I have a slight headache but its easing, Perky has a cold, lots of snot but I think we’re coming to the end of it. But I just can’t get into a rhythm. Things are frustrating me for no reason. It’s just one of those days.

I find these days the hardest. The sun is shining but it just doesn’t help. I have no real reason for being irritable so my mum guilt goes into overdrive (that helps no end). Don’t get me wrong I am truly thankful for everything I have, a supportive husband, too beautiful daughters who are growing into a pair of lovely little ladies. But if I have to listen to Pinky shout ‘Mummy’ in her whining tone one more time I think I will lock myself in a cupboard somewhere. Just speak to me nicely!

Hubby pointed out to me the other day that she was brilliant with him until I walked into the room. It was a brave comment on his part that was not met kindly by me! I am well aware that children play up for their mothers, or main care giver. Mine are no different. However I think Hubby sometimes thinks that Pinky exacerbates it because he is providing her with an audience.

Nope.

She is just that shitty with me normally.

Sometimes it doesn’t bother me. Pinky is simply a mini me. We are so alike. Its like a daily dose of self reflection that I didn’t ask for. Sometimes I can use this alikeness to my advantage and other times we just clash. Badly! I picked her up from preschool the other day and her key worker was amazed at how well she could draw people for her age. I looked shocked and said I didn’t think she could draw anything other than squiggles. But sure enough she made some very distinctive stickmen. I felt really guilty that this ability had gone totally unnoticed by me, her mother! We just cant draw together, to date it has always ended in tears…. usually mine. I guess it all swings and roundabouts because we can do puzzles together all day long without it resulting in us getting frustrated with each other. I may be so bored I could pull my own eyes out but there isn’t a tantrum or tear in sight.

I do hope that Perky is a little different, if there are three women in this household with personalities that are too similar its going to be a long few years ahead.

Fortunately this evening I have a ‘mummy date’ meeting a friend for a child free catch up, so I can go out and refresh before starting all over again tomorrow morning.