Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm a little early but I'm going wish you all a Happy New Year now as it is increasingly likely I won't make it past 9pm.  

You might have seen on Twitter that I have been poorly sick. What started as a cold about a week before Christmas has developed into sinusitis AND bronchitis complete with blocked ears and raging headaches. FUN!

So I'm not feeling entirely festive or completely with it, hence the blog has been a little abandoned over the past few weeks but as soon as I am feeling better I'll get back on it I promise. I have a couple of new recipes to blog, and of course there is the obligatory resolutions post where I'll look back and scoff at last years promises.

I'm also going to be changing a few things on the blog today including updating my blogroll so if you have a blog that I've perhaps not seen, leave me a comment, and don't forget to check out my new baby blog (not literally a blog about babies....) where I will be blogging small snippets about random things I love from time to time, Mrs M Hearts.

For now, I hope you had a great 2010, have a wonderful New Years Eve and I wish you all the best possible 2011!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

30 Days/30 Posts - Catch-up!

Argh! Where does the time go? I've fallen so badly behind.  There's been so much going on what with end of term last week and I've been wrapping gazillions of Christmas presents, cooking for Christmas, skidding everywhere in the snow and ice and now I have a cold. Boo.  So I'm going to do one big catch-up on this right now. I've done up to Day 3 so this post will incorporate Days 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10! There going to be done in the briefest way possible to save you falling asleep...

Day 4 is going to be immensely tricky as I can't remember what I ate yesterday let alone last Wednesday but today I have had two pieces of toast, one homemade sausage roll and I am currently working my way through a biscuit and raisin Yorkie.  Tonight I shall eat my own weight in cheese.

Day 5  asks me my definition of love. Easy. Letting someone warm their cold feet on you in bed.

Day 6 - My day in detail would be incredibly depressing. So far it's consisted of making breakfast for the kids, hoovering the house, doing three loads of washing, cleaning the log burner, scraping sticky labels of the toilet and sink, collecting up rubbishing, overseeing the destruction of the playroom rug with play-doh, counting Christmas presents, making kids lunch, writing 70 Christmas present labels and furnishing a Sylvanian Families house. It's not going to get much better I fear.

Day 7 - My best friends. People who I can turn to for a laugh, a cry or just a gossip.  I'm not always as good a friend as I should be but I hope that they know I still care about them even when time runs away from us and we don't get to see other as much as we'd hope.

Day 8 asks about hobbies and talents, of which I have none. In fact I believe I have covered this subject before.

Day 9 is about my beliefs. I believe I can fly. I believe the children are our future. I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows. I believe in a thing called love. Who really knows what they believe but Audrey Hepburn sums it up well for me.

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." 

Day 10 This is what I am wearing today....a coat, hat and gloves - in the office!  No heating in the office and then due to the use of fan heaters we melted the power supply! Yikes! I am of course wearing other clothes but really they are not important seeing as that all you can really see is boots, a thick parka and sparkly hat!

So I think I am up to date now. I'm sorry for the briefness and crapness of this post and I promise to try harder but there is a good chance I'll go AWOL in the next few days, what with the festive period being almost upon us!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Writing Workshop: Remembering

I decided to do another Writing Workshop post this week as I was reading the post on Josie's blog and this prompt struck a chord.

What gifts would you have liked to give your young self? Actual or metaphorical?

Now,  I could be really deep here but, well, I'm not going to be, so please switch off now if you don't want to read a shallow and self-absorbed woe-is-me post about how neglected I was as a child.

Okay, I wasn't really neglected but there was one thing I wanted so badly and never ever got. I still hassle my mother about it every year and if I could go back in time and give my younger self a gift this would be it.  Not the gift of patience, wisdom or honesty - the gift of an A La Cart Kitchen.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I wanted one of these and I still don't understand why my mother never bought me one (although have just discovered they retailed at £41.95 which was probably a fair whack in the 80's? Someone older than me please comment!). 

Boo to you mum.  This would have completed my life and I know I would have played with it for hours.  It was in fact what spurred me on to buy a toy kitchen for my own children - but all children have them these days don't they?

Do you remember this advert? You must do.

Is that not one of the greatest toys that was ever invented*?

love & kisses
Mrs M x
*probably not 

30 Days/30 Posts - Day 03 - My childhood dreams

There is one dream I remember from my childhood. 

I didn't have a lot of family growing up due to various reasons, one of them being my father was estranged from his family. This meant I only had one set of grandparents and only really one auntie that I ever saw.  I was always jealous of the fact that my friends had bigger, extended families and I had only a handful of relatives.

I knew somewhere out there I had more relatives, although my granddad on my paternal side had died when I was baby, but I knew my dads mother was out there somewhere as was his brother and sister.  I used to daydream that one day these people would turn up at our house and I'd finally get to meet these long-lost relatives. Of course, it never happened.  They never tried to find us and I never tried to find them, so I went through my childhood just dreaming of what they were like and what it would be like to meet them.

At the grand old age of 27 I finally did something about it.  All thanks to my interest in genealogy really, I tracked down my dads brother who was living locally and reunited him with my father. Even bigger than that, I made contact with my dads mother who hadn't seen me since I was 6 months old. We've never met as she lives a long way from here now but it was something at least and I'm glad that we've managed to get to know each other a little, even if it is only via email.  

I doubt they'll ever be the family and I had dreamed about as a child but in some way by knowing who they are and where they are, I've fulfilled a little childhood dream.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 13 December 2010

30 Days/30 Posts - Day 02 - My parents

Tricky one. Not a whole lot to say about the olds. 

Dad is English and mum is Irish, both born in the 1950s, met and married when they were teenagers and have been happily married for nearly 40 years.  Both came from similar backgrounds although my mum's family moved to England for work. 

Supportive of me in their own way, they're not very touchy-feely but always able to lend a hand when I need them.  I'm fortunate they live locally and are hands-on grandparents too (I never forget to appreciate how lucky I am to have both my own parents and my inlaws around to help me with my children when needed).

They have their faults, just as I do, but I love them just the same.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Eating my way through Christmas

It's true, I will be. Are you going to?

Last night I sat planning what I was going to make this Christmas. It's the time of year when I love cooking and like to plan meticulously what I am going to whip up.

Obviously there is the standard Christmas dinner and we never stray from it. I am under strict instructions from Mr M to "not mess with the turkey", meaning he likes it as it is - unstuffed, no flavouring, nothing. He nearly had a major freak out once when I bought one of those lemon and herb chickens from Sainsburys.  There are other standards too that never change - roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, peas, carrots, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon and yorkshire pudding.  The things I do get to "mess with" is the stuffing, the parsnips and the sprouts. (Mr M hates sprouts but there are ALWAYS sprouts).

I'm trying two different types of stuffing this year - a sausage and cranberry one and an apricot and chestnut one.  I have no idea how these will turn out but fancy trying something different and surely, at least one of them will be edible? Last year I made the chestnut and cranberry roll from BBC Good Food which whilst tasty didn't hold together to well (for me) and I was just a little underwhelmed by it for the effort and I also made Nigella's Gingerbread Stuffing which I thoroughly enjoyed as did Father-in-Law but I think we might have been on our own.  I'm hoping this years effort has a better result. 

I'm also going to stray from my usual creamed sprouts and make a sprout gratin. That sounds gross doesn't it? I hope this won't turn out to be a gooey green mess. I'll clearly be the only one eating it anyhow so it won't be too disastrous if it doesn't turn out well.

Other things I will be making over the festive period include Nigella's ham in cherry coke, little mince pie cakes, sausage rolls, cranberry & soy sausages, turkey and cranberry pies, Christmas morning muffins, a cheese and onion slice and we'll be having a cheese fondue night.  They'll also be a dessert which is undecided yet and some kind of stew/casserole on Christmas eve, normally served with dauphinoise potatoes.

Writing it down, it all looks a tad ambitious. What's the betting I do nothing but get a load of food from M&S and sit back with a large glass of something naughty.  So tell me, do you cook up a storm over Christmas, or will you take an easier (and lets face it, more sensible) route?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

30 Days/30 Posts - Day 01 - Introducing me

So, I didn't get to do my first post last night and neither was it the X-Factor final last night. I was hoodwinked and didn't realise that they'd stretch it out over two nights...Should have known better really.

The first post is all about introducing me. I'm not sure what there is to say - I think my About Me page covers it all.  

What my About Me page doesn't cover is my current obsession for buying dresses and my intense addiction to mince pies and anything coated in cinnamon.  You'll also not know that I was a teenage disco dancer, am now the wrong side of 30, have a strong aversion to coffee and have often aspired to be a writer.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Another 30 day challenge...

Following on from my previous "30 days" posts, I am going to steal the idea from another blogging friend who has started a new 30 posts, 30 day challenge. It will certainly help me keep my blog active as I've kind of lost my mojo a bit recently.  

This one has different topics to last time, so lets see how we get on.
Day 01 - Introducing me!
Day 02 - My parents
Day 03 - My childhood dreams
Day 04 - This is what I ate today
Day 05 - My definition of love
Day 06 - My day in detail
Day 07 - My best friends
Day 08 - Hobbies and talents
Day 09 - My beliefs
Day 10 - This is what I was wearing today
Day 11 - My siblings
Day 12 - Favourite wardrobe items
Day 13 - Photo from my childhood
Day 14 - In my handbag
Day 15 - A favourite memory
Day 16 - Friends from the past
Day 17 - My dreams
Day 18 - Memories of a birthday
Day 19 - My regrets
Day 20 - Confessions of a shopaholic
Day 21 - A photo of me taken more than 10 years ago
Day 22 - This upsets me
Day 23 - This makes me feel good
Day 24 - This makes me cry
Day 25 - My fears
Day 26 - I swear! It's a true story!
Day 27 - My favourite place
Day 28 - This is what I miss
Day 29 - My dreams and ambitions
Day 30 - My love

First post is coming up later today if time and the X-Factor final allows. Please do read and leave comments for me or join in this challenge on your own blog!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 6 December 2010

I hate Tesco

If you don't want to read a blog post laden with expletives then you may want to switch off now.  There are no pictures on this post because the words speak for themselves (and I'm a little distracted by the Corrie tram crash right now).

I hate Tesco. 


I mean it too. What a complete shower of shite. Yes, yet again they have let me down and yet again they have LIED to me. I'm not sure if it's just the Coventry Tesco Extra at the Ricoh Arena that are pathological bullshitters or if it's all Tesco stores but if lying were an Olympic sport, they'd be right up there getting their gold medal.

It's too boring to go into the whole story but the long and short of it is they let me down tonight and didn't deliver. Oh, sorry, they did try to deliver but apparently I wasn't in. I'm not entirely sure where I was as I am pretty sure that I was at home during by 6pm-8pm delivery slot, in fact I know I was.  And quite how the delivery driver managed to try to deliver to me between 6pm and 8pm and get back to the Coventry store before 7pm in the heavy traffic and fog tonight is beyond me. Perhaps Lewis Hamilton was delivering for Tesco tonight?  Who knows.  All I know is I am sitting here starving because Tesco are a bunch of incompetent idiots.  

It's not the first time they've spun a yarn to me either. Oh no. Last year when they were late it was firstly because the store had a power failure, and secondly because the van broke down. But it didn't. The delivery driver told me it was all poppycock and in fact the manager in store had ballsed up and switched all their rotas around.

This is just the last in a long line of failures by Tesco.  Numerous late deliveries (or they've delivered too early), deliveries that have never arrived, broken refrigerators on the van meaning they wouldn't hand over my chilled goods, some really weird substitutes which make you wonder just how stupid the person packing your bag is and items that are going out of date that day. I've even been delivered mouldy food, not to mention them packing singular items into carrier bags which is crazy.

Against my better judgement, I've agreed to let them redeliver my shopping tomorrow, mainly because I haven't got time to go out to the supermarket tomorrow but I swear if they are one minute late tomorrow I will not be able to contain my rage.

So let it be put in writing. From this point forward I will never use Tesco again. 

Never ever.  I shall be utilising the services of another supermarket for my next grocery shop so please leave me comments on who is better - Waitrose, Asda or Sainsburys? I suspect Waitrose will be the out and out winner.

The worst thing? It means my Glee Christmas CD never arrived.

Tesco. You and me are over. O-V-E-R.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Review: CBeebies Song Time Album

I was recently sent a copy of the new CBeebies Song Time Album to review.  Yes, I realise that I spend these tunes are already permanently engraved in my head for all of eternity but I how could I refuse when my 4 year olds favourite possession at the moment is her very cheap and very cheerful CD player from Argos, that good old St Nick brought her last year.  Seriously, this thing goes with her everywhere at home and I'm just glad to be having a change from the Zingzilla's album or the 20 favourite nursery rhymes CD which has been on a bit of a loop since 2006.

I'm sure every parent knows CBeebies well.  Even if you're not keen on TV watching for your children, you have to admit that the relative peace and quiet it can give you whilst you try and cook the dinner or put washing away can be a gift sent from up above.  I'm not anti-TV for my children at all. I think they can learn a lot from it and the majority of the programmes on CBeebies have an educational element as well as being entertaining.  Therefore, we know the shows and the accompanying music very well.

I knew that girly would enjoy the CD as she's a been a big CBeebies fan for a few years now. What I didn't know however was that there would be so many tracks on this album - 50 in total. All of your (*cough* clearly, I mean their) favorite programmes are included on the CD and so far it has provided hours of entertainment.  The amount of music on the album makes it very good value for money.

As predicted the album has been a big hit in the M household however we all have our favourite tracks and in the interests of sharing, I have quizzed the family.

Girly M:  Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto!, Gigglebiz, 64 Zoo Lane
Boy M:   Show Me Show Me, Bob the Builder
Mrs M:   Me Too! (On Bobby's Buses), Big Barn Farm
Mr M:     Space Pirates

I wonder what our choice of CBeebies theme tune reveals about us?

So, in a nutshell - we loved the CD and I'm sure it will be played again and again (and no doubt, again).  It'd would be a great stocking filler for the littlies in your life and is available from Amazon (and all other good retailers).

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Writing Workshop : Let's Get Lyrical

I haven't participated in the Writing Workshops over at Sleep is for the Weak for a very long time but I thought I'd give it a go this week.  If you're not familiar with the format, go check it out.

This week has a theme rather than a prompt - inspired by songs and Josie has asked us to base our writing on either the title or lyrics from the song.

I find this one a bit tricky as I love music, as you know so it's hard to pick out just one song. So I am going to pick two.  They're probably both a bit cheesy but I don't care.

Circle of Life - The Lion King
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to be seen that can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
Slipping Through My Fingers - Abba
Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table 
Barely awake, I let precious time go by 
Then when she's gone there's that odd melancholy feeling 
And a sense of guilt I can't deny 
What happened to the wonderful adventures 
The places I had planned for us to go 
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't 
And why I just don't know 

Both of these songs and their lyrics remind me that life really is short and the clock is ticking all the time.  It's something I think about a lot.  There is so much I want to see and do in this world and I'm afraid I won't ever get around to doing it.  Afraid that one day I'll look back and regret not doing all the things I'd hoped to with the children.  

Fortunately Mr M shares this view with me and we've had an awakening this year.  We're actively setting out to do more with our lives, go see things and try out new experiences. Okay, so we're not making a huge impact or doing anything life-changing but we getting off out bums and making an effort to do more.  We even made lists, and we've made plans. I know that old saying "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" but that's not true for me. I find if I don't plan it, it doesn't happen - it's very easy to meander your way through life.  It's like in the film "Up" where Carl and Ellie have their savings jar for Paradise Falls and they never quite make it because other things get in the way and take precedent all the time. I've made a decision to not let that happen to us.

First thing we decided to do was stop procrastinating and worrying about cost and take the children to Florida to Disneyworld.  It's something that I wanted to do with the children whilst they were still young enough to find it magical so I am glad I took the plunge and booked it up. But it's not all big stuff - some of the items on the list are small like visit the Tower of London (done), go to see a ballet performance (done), see several different West End shows (doing). It's not all big, expensive trips and events - some of it are just places we've talked about visiting like Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey, beautiful beaches, museums and restaurants.  There are of course big holidays we want to do - take the children on a road trip of the US West Coast and then on a trip to New York, Boston, Niagara Falls etc, Mr M and I want to go to Thailand, tour around Italy, go island hopping in they need to be planned for, and then there are things like buying a VW camper, restoring an old Fiat 500, planting an orchard, building a treehouse... 

None of these things are pie in the sky, they're all realistic and achievable ambitions so there should be nothing standing in my way and these song lyrics serve as a reminder to me that the only thing stopping me is me.

I don't want to look back on my the kids childhoods in twenty years and think why didn't we do more?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Children & phobias

I have a parenting conundrum and I would welcome some input on this. 

My 3 year old boy appears to have developed a fear or phobia of putting clothes over his head because "it's dark".  This is a recent development and it comes and goes but at the moment it's pretty intense and trying to get his pyjama top on last night was a challenge to say the least with him running away, clinging to daddy, hiding behind doors.  It's not a tantrum - he is completely petrified with tears streaming down his face.  He's a strong, confident boy in many ways but he panics as soon as you go to put a t-shirt over his head and it turns into more of an ordeal because he's pushing it off at the same time.  Generally I win the battle because well, we have to leave the house and go to school in the morning but I am conscious that I might be making things worse.

Now he's not scared of the dark. He goes to bed in the dark and has done since birth although recently he has asked for his door to be open a bit and is a little hesitant when going into a dark room but it's mainly clothes over the head that is the issue here. I suppose I could side-step the issue and buy clothes that get buttoned up but I feel that could also make things worse for him as he'll never get used to it. 

I've tried to think if something has happened to him to make him react like this but I can't. I wondered if something had happened at school to make him afraid and whether I should approach it with them to see what he's like when getting changed for swimming or PE. At least that might tell me if it's a real fear or something to do with being at home.

I know that many children around this age develop fears and many of them are irrational but how do you deal with these? What is the less damaging approach? Attack it straight on or side step the issue?  From reading up on it both approaches can have repercussions so I don't know what to do for the best. I'm sure he will outgrow this but in the meantime we still need to get dressed!  

So I guess what I am asking today is what would you do if your child had a fear or phobia, irrational or otherwise? How would you handle it? 

love & kisses
Mrs M x