Bit Of Me Time

Searching for more time …

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It’s the summer party season

We have quite a few colleagues leaving or retiring this year and so there are loads of farewell parties.

This weekend we are going to the pub on Friday, and on we’re off to friends on Saturday,.  Two weeks after this we have a big party for three leavers and a hen night on the Saturday (yes, I’ll be going to both);  followed by a long Sunday lunch to say another fond farewell.  One week on again and it’s the end of term party, followed the next day by a HUGE “house cooling”.  Our children will be shipped off to Granny for the last weekend, and the previous “long” Sunday!  I then have a week to recover, before going on holiday with great friends, when I’m sure my poor old liver will be put to the test again…

summer party

Loving the social life – I’ve missed you!


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Farewell my old uncomfortable friend….

In rare moments of peace and quiet, I look around the house and hope for inspiration and enthusiasm for decorating.  We have the most uncomfortable sofa which is on it’s way out, so I have my chance to decorate (if I can make a decision!).  The sofa was my Dad’s before he got married in 1966, and although it has been re-covered, cushions have been re-stuffed etc, it is 47 years old and leaves my with a sore, stiff back most evenings!  It’s done well.  It has survived me and my brothers childhood, and more impressive than that, is that it hass survived Son and Daughters (and friends) bouncing, and playing on it.  Cushions have been stepping stones, it’s made a great den and has entertained them on wet days endlessly. It should be proud of it’s innings and it should be going to the scrapheap with it’s “head held high” (if it could).sofa

Without much of a second glance we’ve found replacements!  We will be getting two smaller sofas from friends who are moving overseas.  This gives us the great opportunity of thinking about plastering over the artex ceiling, cleaning the carpet (after a puppy and babies) and repainting.  The whole house is yellow, with door frames in a “mucky yellow”.  Four years on it’s time to make our mark and de-yellow the house.

My first task with me clearing out all the unused toys – don’t tell Daughter and Son, as these will suddenly become favourtes if they see them!  This will make space in the playroom for the sitting room furniture whilst we overhaul the room.  I love de-cluttering and always wonder why it takes me so long to get started. So now I’m off the dump…..

This is a late entry for The Monday Club



Inspired by “What would Nigella Do?”, I decided to try homemade pizza.  The children love pizza, but I do think that some of the supermarket ones taste more like cardboard, in my opinion.  So I rolled up my sleeves and had a go.  Unlike Sarah, I don’t have a Kitchenaid, so it was all done by hand.  I’ve never made bread or anything else along these lines, so it was a case of “have a go”.

The first one was made for a friend on his birthday, and I managed to split the mixture to feed the three of us the first night, and still leave enough for the children tonight.  I thought the first attempt was very “doughy tasting” and it seemed I’d done it right and used the right baking tin (not stoneware) so I suspected a little more cooking was in order.  However Husband and friend thought it was great, and we had some good toppings.

Tonight’s attempt, whilst was very bland in the toppings, cheese and tomato only, was I think cooked a little better and was almost there.  I do need to improve the art of “stretching” the pizza dough to the right size and shape for the tin and keeping it thin crust – but without the holes.  I think this will take a bit of practice.

Whilst I’d love to add a photo, there’s nothing left, which is a good sign and I’ll be making more in the future and hope to develop my technique and widen Daughter and Son’s tastes!   So thank you Sarah.

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It’s a Blog-iversary

Yay, I got this ready for the Monday Club.  Although it is in fact a little belated….Birthday

On 21st April 2012,  I began my blog.  I can hardly believe it has already been a year.  In my very first blog, I gave the reasons for starting to blog as having time to myself and my thoughts, and if nothing inspirational came along, then it would be a bit of diary on the events that go on around me.

I’ve re-read my blogs and there are days and events I’d forgotten, funny things that have happened, and I’m really glad I have a record of it.  So, as before, I’m not a writer, I’m a busy Mum who enjoys putting a few thoughts on paper.  Some blogs are reduced in size due to time, others flow freely.  Consistency may not be my thing, but I am hopeful that I’ll be celebrating my second anniversary.

This post is part of Sarah Miles’  The Monday Club.


It’s just a phase…

Ah, these few words “it’s just a phase” they sum up so much for me – children who need extra guidance (even if they don’t want it), a struggle, shouting and tears.  It almost always leaves me doubting in my parental abilities.  Although at the worst part of “a phase”, I do know from experience that we’re about to turn a corner.

My latest battleground seems to be trying to remove two traits in children I really don’t like – rudeness and being selfish/spoilt.  My children speak to me in a way I would never have dared to, to my parents.  When I say “come on let’s have breakfast” the reply is a grumpy “no” from them both as they walk off in the other direction.  If I pick up the laptop, then it’s “when can I have a go” being asked repeatedly (and I do mean repeatedly).  If I ask them to help by getting out bowls, plates etc then it’s “why do I always have to do it all?” (at least this one makes me laugh!!)  My daughter is of the opinion that I know nothing and has to double check that I’ve done what I should have done; not so bad in itself, however the tone she uses is very unhelpful.

Whilst trying to get them to walk the mile to school in the snow last week, the whole process  took two hours, with all the coercing needed just to get out of the door, walking and then once at school.  I have to say that they both did really well.  However, on arrival Daughter announced that her new shoes (the ones we’d bought the evening before and were classed as “great”) suddenly did not fit.  The staff were amazing, read my rather desperate expression, or maybe it was “I’m going to get really angry” look, and led her off in the other direction!

So, the time has come for the Star Charts to re-appear.  There will be no film night, no visits to the sweet shop, no computer time nor Wii time until their behaviour improves.  I’ve not made it easy either, the targets are higher and there is a chance that film night on Friday may be missed.  I foresee tears.  My only hope is that lessons are learned and this phase is over sooner rather than later!. star-chart

Wish me luck!

This blog is part of Sarah Miles’ The Monday Club


New direction

Help, I’m late, it’s Wednesday and I’m just joining The Monday Club with Sarah Miles


It must be something about New Year, or perhaps it’s a mid-life crisis (early of course!) but I have a definite feeling that I need a new direction.  Not my home life, I certainly would not be without Husband, Daughter, Son or Lovely Dog, but I am definitely feeling the need to fill my days with something new and exciting.

I was not a brilliant student as school, so left with a mere smattering of O Levels (as they were then), and went to do a secretarial course, which has done me proud – I’ve travelled the world and always been able to pay my way.  Unfortunately I’m a little indecisive, so when it comes to finding a new direction, I’m at a bit of a loss!  Then there’s the lifestyle to consider.  Currently I work in a school, alongside Husband, it’s a mile from home and, whilst I do go in during the holidays, I get more than the basic four weeks’ annual leave in a year.  It’s a huge amount to give up, and if I don’ really know what I want to do, maybe I’d better start counting blessings, instead of dreaming!which way

So now it is my mission to try to fathom which way to go, or really think about exactly how much I’d be giving up.


And we’re off ….

Today a new term is upon us and the joys of having relaxing family time are put on hold until the end of March.  It may be a shorter term, but more seems to be squashed into it.  Husband is busy on the very first Saturday afternoon, and has matches on every Wednesday and Saturday thereafter, and on other days too.  When planning Daughter’s 7th birthday party, the date was chosen taking into account when Husband’s fixtures are home or away!

So before the madness started, we headed out for a family day at Longleat.  In previous years, when the sun shone, we headed straight to the beach for a picnic, not bad for early January!  This time we went to Longleat to watch an outdoor performance of “The Snowman and the Dog”, which was a lovely back-drop to our lunch.  Then, much to Daughter and Son’s surprise, the Snowman appeared for hugs and a photo shoot in front of us.  After that we headed to the maze, which is not somewhere I am at all comfortable (there’s a reason I married a Geography teacher), but I’m very glad to report that we successfully found our way out again.  After a coffee for me and Husband, the playground for the children, we then thought we’d head home, but were distracted by visiting the owls, where we discovered that the last of the Owl displays was an hour later.  To fill the hour, we had a boat trip, went round the mirror maze and saw the Christmas Tree lights doing something really special.  A great day out.

Back at home and my decision to keep up with life a little better this year, has left me planning meals, setting a target of three thank you cards a night and anything else I can do to stay organised and ahead of the game – rather than a constant game of catch up.  Added to that the need to drop several of the extra pounds (weight not cash) that have crept up on me over the Christmas holidays.  So, it is with a deep breath that I find myself under “starters orders”.

This blog is part of The Monday Club.

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Our Christmas

As a child my Christmases were all about pulling out all the stops – best china, best crystal and the biggest turkey the oven could take, with all the trimings.  I then read Sarah Miles’ post “In Excess” about the excess of Christmas and my concern is that we have possibly swung the other way.

There will be the four of us, my parents and a great friend who is unable to be with her relatives.  Of the five adults, there are no “big eaters” and two children who are yet to appreciate the joy of roasts.  So it’s a turkey saddle and a small ham, with most of the trimmings for us.  We’re not ones for using up endless left-over turkey and so it suits us fine, but I do wonder whether I should be making more of an effort.  So, as of 8am this morning, when I suddenly realised that the good old kitchen table definitely needed a make-over. we put up more decorations and made a panic call to my Mum to see if she could pick up some table decorations I’d seen in a shop near her.

One thing I love about Christmas is the different way people do it.  As a child I don’t remember Christmas Eve as much more than wrapping presents, or helping around the house.  Our Christmas Day was Church at 10am, and I remember so well, desperately trying to get our parents to stop talking after the Service and come home to open presents.


Whereas we spend our Christmas Eve organising the last few bits, having a visit from one of the Godfathers for a quick present opening session, and then off to the Crib Service in the afternoon.  This will be followed by a special Christmas Film Night with “Arthur Christmas” and then prepare the fireplace for the special visitor this evening.

Tomorrow is then free to join friends for drinks in the morning and rush back to get the “quick cooking” Christmas lunch.  There is an element of cheating to be able to do all this.

I love Christmas and try to make it a special time, but I do feel that it’s about family and friends, and not a table groaning under the weight of too much food.  I agree with Sarah.


Happy Christmas to you all.


Twelve years on

Twelve years ago, I walked up the aisle and married the man of my dreams.  Since then much has happened, most notably two children and a dog.

It all began in Salcombe in August 1999 when I was invited to friends house and upon arrival was told that I was to be set up.  The week was spent with friends coming and going, and all seemed to be going well.  There were walks, shopping, pub visits, body surfing and squeezing into borrowed wetsuits.  The holiday ended with the two of us being packed off to the pub for some “gruesome twosome” time.  We had a lovely meal and chatted away very happily, however, when “now Husband” bumped into his best mate from Uni, who was only in the UK that night, we ended up joining 14 others round a table.  It was a great evening.  This holiday was followed by snowboarding and in May 2000 we got engaged and married on 16th December that year.

St Andrew's ChurchWe wanted to get married in a Church and our wedding was the traditional white wedding, with many friends and family in attendance.  The day whizzed by and the most nerve wracking part was saying the vows from memory and not repeating the vicar.    Our friend who was due to sing, was understudy for Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and he was needed on stage and our trumpet player has laryngitis.  So the day was not exactly how we planned, but we had the support of many friends and family.  One of the sisters who set us up initially, wrote a beautiful poem for our engagement present, and she allowed us to use in the service, although she refused to read it – so we asked her sister!

We honeymooned in Australia and had a wonderful time with friends and family, seeing the sights and relaxing on Fraser Island.  The fireworks in Sydney Harbour for New Year were something to be remembered.  Since then we have had many amazing holidays, pre-children, and some very fun ones since.  We have done our best to celebrate all 12 anniversaries and remember why we did it, and re-connect if we have drifted over the year.

So, to my wonderful Husband – thank you for the last 12 years – here’s to very many more xx

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Christmas Magic

It’s The Monday Club with Sarah Miles

Well, it’s arrived inside and outside of our house.  The Magic Of Christmas.  Lights, paperchains, tinsel, cards, glitter, sparkles and Christmas songs. I love it.  We have Advent Calendars, present lists, and Husband and I have secret hiding places to ensure surprises for Son and Daughter.

Christmas Tree

The day after the children broke up for the hols, they went on a Santa train as part of a birthday party. It was a carriage full of very excited 5 year olds, their siblings and parents and the noise level grew; particularly when Father Christmas walked down the train and handed out presents.

We also had a very exciting morning when the NSPCC letters from Santa arrived. The “big eyes” of both children when the letter mentioned their age, their best friends and where they live.  Both Son and Daughter were totally amazed and the belief in Santa was in abundance.

Over the next few days, the children will be going to Granny this weekend for sleepover, where they will visit Father Christmas, again.  Husband and I are off for some peace and quiet to celebrate 12 happy years.

nativityOn Christmas Eve we go to the Crib Service and focus on the real meaning of Christmas, followed by the preparations for the most exciting visitor of the year.

We love Christmas.