Monday, 22 September 2014

Sunday, Monday Happy Days :)

Since our boy started at 'new nursey' l he has been very tired after school and at weekends. We try to do fun things to keep him busy as he is so full of energy, but until he gets used to the new routine of school we are keeping things quite local and short. So this weekend my sister sent us an invitation to a vintage inspired event not far from where we live. It was being hosted at a drive thru Krispy Kreme doughnut shop that I didn't even know existed ! They had a DJ playing fifties music and some dancing inside the store while a cavalcade of vintage cars were proudly displayed in the car park.

Our boy loves cars of any sort, but he especially loves minis so this was just the best thing he had ever seen. Every time we see a Mini on the road we all cheer and there is a local driving school that teaches learner drivers in minis - I suspect he will want to learn with them eventually. One day we will show him The Italian Job and I'll film his face as he sees all those cars - it's going to be magical !!

We also have a love of camper vans and Beetles in our family so we did have a great time inspecting these ones up close. As you can see Hubbie was having a good old nose inside this one while the boy wandered round checking out the gleaming paintwork. 

A visit to Krispy Kreme would not be complete without a special doughnut so the boys had one each (I had a cup of tea) and they even gave our boy a hat to wear. He loves it :)

We had such a fun time it was just like being in a real life 'Happy Days' - not that the boy has any idea what that is !

This post is shared with the #outdoorfun #CountryKids linky hosted by the lovely Fiona of Coombe Mill. 

 Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Friday night and I'm going out !!!!

When I was at Uni going out on a Friday was not a big thing, it was just what we all did. We had a standing agreement that we'd go to the Dog and Trumpet on a Friday night for music, dancing and drinking and we would start getting ready for it a few hours before. The girls I lived with had almost exactly the same items of clothing as me - fringed skirts, floaty 'gypsy' tops and black tights - we could only tell them apart by the size. Once we'd ensured we weren't going to clash or look like a gothic version of Bananarama we would get ourselves ready to go out. Hair, make-up, accessories and of course shoes we could dance in and walk home from the bus stop in as well.

Of course now I'm a parent going out is a military operation. To ensure I can get to the MADS awards tonight I've asked Hubbie be home in time to take care of the boy and a neighbour is watching the lad for the one hour gap between me leaving and Hubbie getting home. The boy loves Jill - he calls her his pretend Grandma - and her granddaughter Emily is going to be there too. The boy adores Emily and she is so good with him that he's actually quite pleased about this.

available for hand modelling :)

I had my nails done yesterday by my lovely friend Yasmin so they look far nicer than they usually do from daily swimming and boring chores. I've washed my hair, but I don't do much more than that - again swimming tends to wreck it so there's not much I can do with it really. I've got a bit of time to do make up, but I'll end up doing it on the train as I'm sure I will be rushing around to get the boy fed and ready to go next door.

Going for a proper night out is such a rare treat. One night where I don't have to say, "Put on your pyjamas !!" twenty times. Were I don't make ten trips upstairs to bring drinks, take him to the toilet or to put away the t-shirt he took out for tomorrow that is scaring him with its picture of the green monster on it (the Hulk). Where I don't go back up to check on him and find he's taken off his pyjamas and is lying naked under the duvet and has also undressed all the teddy bears. I take a zero tolerance approach to naturist sleepovers so he argues, but ultimately puts on his clothes and I have to try and work out which jumper was from which teddy bear. None of them fit.

A night where I can sit and eat a meal without having to get up to deal with the thundering footsteps coming from upstairs. How does a child that small make that much noise ? A meal that I can eat without having to get up so many times that it's cold when I do get to eat more than one mouthful of it in one sitting. To have a conversation with adults that isn't punctuated by a toddler demanding attention or "just one grape please Mummy." 

It's not an extravagant wish list is it ?

Pretty frocks 

So, I'm going out tonight, but I've been with the boy all day so I've had no time to fuss or primp and preen to get ready. I haven't even picked a dress to wear. In fact, why am I even writing this ? I should be getting ready.

Photos to follow... 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Neo the cat: a day in the life

I occupy the house with the cat more than with anyone else. Since he came to live with us we've spent the most time together. In the early days when he was being kept in I used to come home from work first so we would have some one to one time then I'd give him his dinner. When I was pregnant he used to sit on my tummy - until the baby started to kick him that is !

As time progressed he got used to the shift in power from him being the first to get fed to the small human being first and then him. He now knows that as soon as the boy has his dinner he will get his, so he sits at his bowl moaning about the starvation he's convinced he's suffering.

Neo came to live with us when he was about 6 and a half years old - Battersea weren't entirely sure - so he's pushing 13 years old now. He's settling into a comfy middle age that is belied by his scampering down the path when he spies me at the kitchen window. He insists on miaowing by the cat flap until someone opens the door - or my son holds the flap open for him. Not for nothing do we call him a primadonna.

He used to follow me around like a doting suitor and he'd miaow at me when he wanted food. Now he only talks to me when he wants to eat - he is basically a teenager. Now my boy is at school during the day so me and the cat have the house to ourselves during the day and a typical day goes something like this:

5.25: Hubbie wakes up to get ready for work - he feeds the cat. He comes up to lie on the bed with me (Neo, not Hubbie)
6am: as Hubbie pops in to say "bye" the boy wakes up and wanders in to join us.

9.30: I get home from the school run and a swim - Neo hasn't moved.

10.30: Neo helps me hang out the washing

Or he doesn't ...

1.30: Lunchtime. He gets up, stretches and goes to the kitchen to miaow for biscuits

2.00: While I listen to the Archers repeat Neo pops out to sunbathe

3.30: We get home from school and he is sitting there waiting to greet the boy

8pm: When we finally some time to ourselves he watches a bit of telly with me. You know, the usual, Bake Off, Come Dine - what can I tell you, he's a foodie.

Unless he can sneak into story-time that is. If he can crash a story at bedtime that's where you'll find him, pretending not to listen. All casual like.

So that's a day in the life of my cat. Not a bad life really is it ?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Siblings wanted - preferably twins (a wish from my son)

Will you be my brother ?
This afternoon my boy said he wanted another swing. He has one in the garden already that Grandma gave him when he was little. It's one of those that adjusts to suit a growing child and he loves it. He wasn't asking me to replace it, but to get an additional one, "for my sister or brother." I smiled and said we'd see. Later at bedtime I asked him about his request and he said he'd like a sister called Topsy - he is obsessed with twins and especially Topsy and Tim from Cbeebies. He also said we could get bunk beds like the ones we had on holiday at Coombe Mill in the summer. I gave him an extra big squeeze and said goodnight.

When I went downstairs I was not in a good way. I get clumsy when I'm upset or angry and I was dropping things and just a bit disoriented. You see he is not an only child out of choice. We would love to have more children. It is our sincerest wish for him to have a sibling if not more than one. We tried from when he was a few months old. I fell pregnant when he was two, but it was not to be. Then we decided to go ahead with our second attempt at adoption. As he is almost 4 he was also involved in this process and the social worker talked to him about his expectations. He became excited at all this talk of a brother or sister - not a baby, but another playmate and someone to even the odds in the house. If he had an ally he'd stand a better chance of outwitting his parents. The cat is a great pal, but he's no good in an argument.

Then it all went quiet. He hasn't seen the social worker for months and there has been no further news about a brother or sister. He's at a new nursery where his classmates have older siblings and baby siblings and he notices. His teacher has said - more than once - that his inability to share may be because he doesn't have anyone to share with at home. It's not exactly subtle. It's not his fault - he does try and he is lovely with younger children. When we went for a swimming lesson the other day one of the other children had their baby sibling there too. While he waited for all the other children to get dressed my boy stood at the side of the pram looking at the baby inside. He caught me watching him and I smiled at him, he didn't smile back.

It's ok little buddy, I'll be your brother
I feel sad for my boy because he would dearly love not to be an only child. He has no cousins and is always around adults - apart from at school of course. His speech is amazing, he is entertaining and amusing, but he really wants some company from his own peer group. I wish there was a simple way to make this all better. To say. "yes son, you will have a sister and she will be here soon." It may not happen, but I do hope it does.

My boy will be a great big brother. He's already told me he will share his toys, look after the new family member and show them how to take care of the cat. If these aren't great reason to join us, I can't think of any better ones.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The phantom flan flinger was nowhere to be seen...

After ten years together Hubbie has devised the perfect celeb couple name for us. You know the ones they use in magazines like Heat and on Popbitch to describe people who are dating, married or just hanging out together. There have been many variations: Brangelina (Brad and Angelina), K-Patz (Kristen thingy and Robert Patterson) and of course back in the day one of the first was Bennifer (Ben Affleck and J-Lo). Well, we were thinking, what would ours be and Hubbie nailed it with the eminently suitable: Tiswaz. It also has the additional benefit of encompassing the silliness that keeps us together. We don't actually throw gunge at each other, but we do have silly catchphrases and characters with daft voices.
How we are now

I was amazed this week when I posted this pic on Facebook of us having lunch and almost 50 people (some of whom I don't even know) liked it. We don't usually celebrate the anniversary of when we met, but Hubbie had a random day off this week and with the boy at school we decided to go for lunch. If you've been with me a while you will know that I will use any excuse to make an occasion out of something so I nominated it as an 'anniversary lunch.'

Hmm yummy :)

Well, why not ? I mean, I clearly remember the first time I saw Hubbie across the classroom of the evening class in journalism that we were both taking. He was hunched over his desk chewing a pencil and was wearing a suit - clearly straight from work. He looked ever so young - didn't we all - and was a bit of a know-it-all. I know, I know, I can talk.

We bonded during breaks talking about music - I was also learning to play guitar - and politics. I discovered we had a shared love of travel and had been to the same gigs - if not at the same time. Our shared competitive instinct meant we would go on to become pub quiz regulars. Family is important to both of us and ours live far enough away for us to miss them and near enough to get to if we want to see them.

The main thing we've learned in our ten years together is that we are always on the same side. While we may not always agree we are loyal and supportive to each other. Our boy is rapidly learning this ! I'm not sure that we have any special knowledge to impart in our new role as the newest celeb couple on the block, Tiswaz.

Other than make sure you laugh a lot. With each other, at each other, about each other.

Ask my boy and he'll tell you - we even laugh at him :)

The way we were then :) 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Iron woman

[Trigger warning: this post talks about domestic abuse - it is not graphic, but does refer to violence in relationships]

I have come to the conclusion that Helen in the Archers is the new Little Mo from Eastenders. I predict an 'I am woman hear me roar' storyline in the future where the scales finally fall from her eyes and she sees the cheating lying Rob Tichner for what he is and exacts a suitable revenge on him. In Little Mo's case she clouted Trevor round the head with an iron. I suspect with Helen it would either be a whole wheel of cheese if she was at work or one of her son Henry's stickle bricks in an awkward place if she was at home.

Woman in abusive relationships is an ongoing and much repeated storyline and I'm not entirely sure why it's so popular or common. It's not like a woman is going to hear it and suddenly think, "Oh ok, now I see. I have to leave my home with my children and go away from this place and be in the bosom of my loving soap opera family."

I have both witnessed and lived with bad relationships. I don't mean stealing your moisturiser bad. Or a refusing to call you back or turning up for a date about 3 hours late bad. I'm not even talking about the one where they deny you broke up with them so that their record of always being the one who dumps and not the one who is dumped remains intact. Yes, all of these have happened to me in real life. In fact most of them were the same person.

What I mean is actual physical and psychological harm. The first was revealed to me on arriving early to help set up a birthday party for the 6 year old child of a friend. They hadn't arrived yet and when they did I asked the birthday girl what had happened and she told me that Daddy had hit Mummy and made her bleed. I was horrified and she looked so sad. When her parents walked in all smiles she did the same and it wasn't mentioned again. To my shame I didn't ask them about it and years later when he had been in rehab and was sober he told me he used to hit his wife. I was so angry with him for it and with myself for not talking to her about it. For not asking if she was ok. I don't know if she'd have told me anything as I was an old school friend of her husband's. I still should have talked to her. At the very least been a friend to her. I should have because I had been in a bad marriage myself.

My Little Mo moment came when I went to pick up my things from the flat I had shared with my first husband and he was there trying to stop me. We argued over a dish drainer that had cost 50p from Woolworths - I left it behind - and other petty things. He threatened me and I looked at him, all 6 foot 4 of him and said, "if you're going to hit me, just do it." He went quiet and I packed the car and left. I call it my Little Mo moment - even thought it happened years before the storyline - because it also involved an iron (although not as violently). I don't iron, I just don't. However, I took the iron with me. Maybe out of spite or maybe because I had paid for it. I just don't know.

So, this came to mind when I was listening to the Archers last week. How standing up to a bully is terrifying and you don't want anyone to know how pathetic you've been to stay with him for so long. You know how at the end of programmes they now say, if you've been affected by any of the issues in this programme call this helpline ? They don't do that in the Archers and I really felt angry, bitter and upset. It was like a trigger that took me back to a place I had forgotten. A person I don't recognise any more.

It's only a soap, but it's not made up. Women stay in bad relationships - as do men - because they have no choice or because they are manipulated to stay. I did. I hope Helen realises soon that this is not a good relationship and that she and her son are better off without Rob.

I can lend her an iron if she needs it.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hey pop pickers !!

As it's the end of the first week (back) at school for a lot of us, I thought I'd share a little something to make you smile.

Recently I've been sharing silly images I've created depicting  song titles on Facebook under the title, "Guess the song."

Now it's your turn to wrack your brain to try and work out these little beauties.

Pop your answers in the comments below and if you get all five I'll think of a prize for you :)

Song 1
Song 2

Song 3

Song 4
Song 5