Hairy Coconuts, Kings and Sea-shells

What did we get up to this weekend?

Well I had a minor meltdown around lunchtime on Saturday. The usual: tiredness, monotony, my house looking like a tip, etc. I've not had a happy week, and while I may enjoy moaning I have not enjoyed feeling down-right miserable. Action was needed, we needed to do something. Have fun!

We started with a haircut for The Boy. I used to cut his hair while he slept, but after the last time when I ran from the room crying after the first snip when I'd cut above his ear too short, I vowed never to do it again. We took him to the barber's that hubby uses and she did a reasonable job, plus she only took four minutes. We frog-marched The Boy in and  she asked what we wanted done. I looked at her slightly incredulously, highlights and some extensions I felt like saying. Clearly he is a baby, I just want a trim for his golden crown.

Um no, you can't use the clippers on my 20 month old son's hair; he has beautiful hair, if I wanted him to look like a flipping skin-head I'd shave it myself. Use the scissors, you know this snippy things? Marvellous invention! He sat ever so well on my lap while she snipped away for 10 minutes. Marvellous! Haircut done, I didn't need to stress.

Next?

So where do you go when it's 1°C but you want to go somewhere fun? I knew the answer to this and was desperately hoping that a new facility would pop up suddenly. Let's face it, it was never going to happen. We ended up where I didn't want to go, not because I don't like the place, but because we go there so frequently. There are four main soft-play centres; one smells of urine (the carpet was laid in 1873), the other has a fab ball-pit which stinks of wee (come on children, use your nappies!), the other has broken/missing toys and food all over the floor. This is why we always end up in the fourth place: Coconuts. Clearly everyone else had the same idea! There must have been about 100+ children there, including three birthday parties. I let hubby and The Boy race off while I cocooned myself with my 3G connection and twitter. I'm not being boring: I know every single section of the multi-level play area blindfolded, I know the areas that he needs a hand up, I know which bits my arse derriere won't fit through, I know how to fix the ball-suction-run thingy. Besides let them have a little boy time. They had fun, I got my Silent Sunday.

Then in the evening, hubby and I did something we haven't done in ages. Mind out of the gutter people! Hubby and I went out! By ourselves, without The Boy! Don't worry, he was tucked up in bed with Nana listening in to his every breath and mumble. We toddled off to view the wonders of regal history with Mr. Darcy and The Corpse Bride. She's quite good in it, he is magnificent. Colin Firth turns in an amazing performance and because of him, 'The King's Speech' is amazing; engaging, funny, endearing, heart-breaking and rousing. He is so deserving of an Oscar win for his performance as Bertie Windsor, and Geoffrey Rush (not that much of a fan) is over-whelmingly humble in it. You have to see it. We ate lots and lots of nachos with yummy, gloopy cheese sauce. Nutritional value = 567, calorific value = +4957. Not good, but oh so scrummy. Of course, I do find that Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia helps cool the mouth down after the spicy cheese sauce. Ahem! I'll go for a walk tomorrow or something.

Today we've been to the beach. Once the boys had returned from failing to get 60% of the items on my shopping list, we popped out to get some fresh air. I know, lets go and play 'plopping' with the pebbles down the beach. I forgot about the bloody tide! We found a few square cm to park him down in and he had great fun as the sun set on a beautiful weekend.

Only thing is, ever since The Boy's haircut, I've noticed how God-awful it looks. No feathering, no layering, she cut his fringe straight across so he looks like he has a bowl cut! His beautiful hair! I'm going to have to wait until it grows out for a few weeks and then put some shape into it.

Oh and he learnt a new word: FUN!

Music I want my Children to Listen to: The Manic Street Preachers

 GhostWriterMummy

I was in a conundrum this week. It happens often, but someone normally comes along to bounce my thoughts against. I couldn't decide who to choose for this week's post. Then I logged onto twitter and following a conversation with Alex from CBeebies (yes, you read that correctly!!) I decided upon the Manics. The 'Phonics can wait a few weeks!

My chosen Manics' album is 'This is my Truth, Tell me Yours' (Alex's is 'Generation Terrorists'  by the way, I'm his new BFF don't you know 😉 )

It reminds me of the young me; the age that I still think I am.

'TIMT,TMY' was released in September 1998, when I'd just started University and discovered a new sense of freedom. Yes I was still living at home, out of financial choice, but I was enjoying Uni life while having a mother and father to still care for me (and pick up a very drunken me from Newport one night). That was the same academic year that The Stereophonics released 'Performance and Cocktails' following their amazing 'Word Gets Around'. Catatonia had recently released 'International Velvet'. And I was in a Welsh university surrounded by all this Cool Cymru music.

The album ranges massively in style, but in its entirety it reeks of the polished Welsh rock that was apparent at the time. The anthems have to be "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next", a real car-windows-down-sing-at-the-top-of-your-voice belter, and the fabulous "You Stole the Sun from My Heart". While the more slower-paced "The Everlasting", kicks the album off. Nicky Wire borrowed the title from a poem after spending some time trying to think of something similar to Blur's "The Universal" (another of my fave's). James Dean Bradfield's powerful and emotional voice is showcased brilliantly on track 8: "You're Tender and You're Tired".

I haven't listened to a huge amount of albums by The Manic Street Preachers, hardly any at all of late; I'm mellowing in my old age, the teenage angst never really came into fruition! But this remains my overall favourite CD by them.

Cymru am byth!

Swings, Cornflakes & Birthday Cakes

I'm trying to make more of a concerted effort to do things on the weekend. Yes it's a time for relaxation, but it's also such a precious time together as a family that I don't want to feel the weekend has passed and we haven't left the house or got any recollection of the time passed. It's tricky, especially as we take it in turns to have a lie-in on each morning; it means we only have the afternoon to do things in. However, I like a challenge!

Saturday:

Saturday saw us testing out the new Maclaren Techno XLR that they very kindly sent me to review (more on that later). We went to a local Country Park and Lakes which is stunning. I took my 365 photo, The Boy tried to chase the swans and ducks, and discovered the magic of splashing in puddles with his new wellies. He needs more practise though! There was loads of mud everywhere; my boots, hubby's boots, The Boy's boots, the wheels of the pushchair, the slide, the boot of the car, the upholstery! How much is a valet? Anyway he had fun, look at his little face:

Then we came home and made cornflake cakes. This was prompted by a twitter discussion between @Mammywoo, myself and a few others, who suggested using Mars bars in it. Yum is the result. Although are you supposed to mix something else into the melted chocolate aside from the cornflakes because they're really hard to eat! Golden syrup I think I missed out, suggestions please? The Boy did really well spooning out the cornflakes, although there were a few times that he only had one flake on the spoon by the time it got to the bowl, bless him. He loved spooning it into the cases, but he now thinks that the cases are called cakes. Don't ask, it's probably best not to!

Tricky work this cake-making business!

And yes, he does appear to be left-handed.

We then popped over to Ikea for tea. He sat beautifully and ate it all up, I was so proud of him. Then on his last mouthful of pear, it tickled his tonsils and he vomitted all over the table. Joy!

Sunday:

Party-time for The Boy's 5yr old girl cousin. My brother always does good parties, he's a chef and does enough 'proper' party food to feed the 5,000! Egg sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, scotch eggs (or party eggs as my brother-in-law calls them), crisps, chocolate fingers, tea-cakes, iced ring biscuits, cocktail sausages. Yum! My brother had hired an entertainer aswell; some of them can be way over the children's heads, but this one pitched at exactly the right level for 2-5yr olds; magic tricks, party games, balloon animals and circus tricks. Even The Boy managed to sit down for a few minutes and enjoy it.

But at the end of the day, nothing can distract from the pleasure of a Cadbury's Chocolate Finger!

Things I wish I could do

A though-provoking one from @katetakes5 this week, welcome back!

1) Play the piano

I'm not very good at music; I was kicked out of recorder club in primary school, and only managed to stay in guitar club because I knew the words. However, you've got to have innate talent to play those haven't you? Blow a woodwind instrument wrongly and it's shrill. Pluck/strum/whatever you do with a bow a stringed instrument the wrong way & it sounds like a cat being ravaged on a Saturday night. But a piano is different: as long as it's in tune, that's the note it makes, you can't hit the key in the wrong way! (This is what I am telling myself, do not argue with me) I've even got a piano! The infant school were getting rid of theirs  a few years ago so I bought it for £100. It's sat in my dining room for 6 years now, lovingly sanded back and re-oiled. The Boy will probably learn to play it before me!

2) Lose weight

I'm rubbish, I really am! I can do it, I just can't be arsed bothered. Well I have * stones to lose to be back to my wedding weight, and with our 10th wedding anniversary in November, I'd like to do it. Plus I want another child so need to be more fit; I'll be older, it will be harder.

3) Keep my temper

I'm a Leo (not whatever that stupid new zodiac says). "The Leo type is … ambitious, courageous, dominant, strong willed, positive, independent, self-confident there is no such a word as doubt in their vocabularies, and they are self-controlled (?)." Strong-willed? Really? No, I'd never have guessed! I am learning self-control and am better with age, and with being a mother, but it's still something I have to work on. Lots! It does go on to say "A Leonian can … display … excessive hastiness of temper." So that's alright then, I'm excused!

4) Keep my mouth shut

Sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself uttering a put-down or retorting to someone. It tends to be when there is a massive lack of manners being displayed by someone who really should know better. Things/people that wind me up (and I tend to find myself saying something):

  • people not holding the door open for someone. Likewise someone not saying 'thank you' when I've held the door open for them. Yes I am that person who says "Thank you so much, oh no not a problem at all you're welcome" very loudly so they can hear me!
  • teenagers playing football outside my house. I have marched out the house several times and had stand-up rows with them. One of these days there's going to be a news report of them having done me in!

5) Win the National Lottery

I'm not greedy, I don't want six numbers all to myself. I'd be happy to share it, or have five numbers and a bonus ball. £100,000 would change our lives. And yes, I am in it, otherwise I can't win it!

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Sleepless Nights & Pearly Whites

These poor little creatures who we have nurtured for 9 months, keeping them warm, safe, fed nutritiously (although not sure that can be said of mine, I ate & drank rubbish whilst pregnant, anything to combat the morning sickness!)and loved. They then have to go on the most arduous journey of their lives (forget the London Marathon), having their poor little bodies squeezed through a narrow passage. They've learnt to hold their heads up, to control their flailing arms, possibly even turn over, and then the next big thing arrives…

Teething.

There is no other way to describe it but cruel. It's cruel to the baby who is directly suffering the pain & anguish of these little lumps of calcium shredding through their gums, and it's cruel to the parents who are unable to help aside from administering medicine and cuddles. And yes there is the sleep issue, but it pails in comparison to the larger issue.

 

Baby teeth - courtesy of Babyworld.co.uk

 

Babyworld has an excellent explanation of the stages of teething, a fab little diagram which illustrates the order of appearance of the twenty teeth which will appear between four months and two years. Yes, I said twenty ! I know! I KNOW! I am wondering if The Boy really needs another eight or if he can just cope with the twelve he's got?

The Boy hasn't had a new tooth in about four months; according to their diagram I can see he's a little behind. We are currently awaiting the arrival of tooth number 13: an upper canine. I wouldn't be surprised is 14 decided to pop along at the same time, just to spite us!

I remember the excitement of the first tooth! One day back in January 2010, a tiny little line of white appeared in his lower gum. Hoorah, something to show for the month of crying & sleeplessness. Wait, not one, but two had appeared! We might get some sleep now! Nooo! It continued and he got the next one a fortnight later, and then three at the same time! Then we were all allowed sleep for a month or two until the molars started to make an appearance. By God, they're nasty!

Fast forward to today and we've had a fortnight of terrible nights where The Boy has ended up coming in with us for part of the night. He is sobbing and screaming in his sleep; I can't even begin to tell you how heart-breaking it is. And you can tell it's bad because he's not even calling us, he's just sobbing so whole-heartedly.

These items are our best friends at the moment. Nooo! We don't use them all together, well not all of them anyway. I think that I've found out that an ibuprofen painkiller and Calgel is most effective for The Boy, but nothing works completely.

And don't forget mums & dads; guidelines recommend brushing baby's teeth as soon as they start to appear (I liked these), especially after the night-time feed. As Jenny points out over on Mummy Mishaps, 40% of children start school with tooth-decay! Get them brushing as soon as they can too, don't let them see it as a chore. My mum bought this for The Boy, it was excellent!

Top 5 Celebrities You’d Love to Punch

As explained on Hannah's blog, @katetakes5 is, well, taking five from her blog. So Hannah is hosting the Listography in the meantime.

The theme this week is one that I am going to have difficulty with. Not because I am a passive, peaceful, earth mother who never gets wound up. Good lord no! I'm going to have difficulty because there are way too many celebrities who irritate the hell out of me, and I'm sorry but the vast majority of them are the little woman type. You know the ones: they simper up to men, they flick their hair, they are incapable of being a strong independent woman, they have to have a man to look after them! I was brought up to be self-reliant and so they irritate me.

1) Scarlett Johansson.

I absolutely hate and detest her. I cannot even begin to tell you how much she winds me up beyond all comparison to any other person in the world. Especially when I had to endure her in 'He's just not that into you'. Even allowing her name to grace the pages of my blog irritates me. So there is no way that I am putting a picture of her on here, I'd probably break the screen in order to escape her. And no, before you ask, it's not jealousy. Never.

2) Simon Amstell

Snivelling little twerp. He ruined 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', is rude and pathetic. Go away you little man and never grace my t.v. screen again!

3) Angelina Jolie

I may be slightly jealous of this individual, but my true reason lies in that I loved Brad and Jen, and she ruined it.

4) Katie Price

What is the point of her? I mean seriously?! She's ridiculous. No need to say any more.

5) Kelly Holmes!

Argh! I am sorry I know she won like two gold medals and therefore is a national treasure but no! There are better athletes out there, able-bodied or disabled. Now Tanni-Grey Thompson is a national treasure! But not Dame Holmes! Pah!

See you can tell I was annoyed with the last one, count the exclamation marks.

 

 

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Music I want my Children to Listen to: The Divine Comedy

So the lovely @SusuRem over at GhostWriterMummy has issued us with a challenge to identify the music that our children simply must be subjected to/enjoy as part of their musical education. Ok, so I bullied her mercilessly about putting up a linky which she did over 12 hours ago now, and I'm only just doing my post now! I've spent the vast majority of the day desperately trying to come up with a band only to have my brain flooded at the last minute with infinite possibilities. Well, ok about seven, but you get the picture.

 

As my first selection, I choose the dulcet tones and comedic lyrics of one Mr. Neil Hannon, aka The Divine Comedy.

I have decided that The Boy must listen to him for various reasons: he's funny (National Express); he's romantic (Songs of Love); his lyrics can be downright cryptic (Gin-Soaked Boy); but also because the songs (especially Everybody Knows) were used as part of his father's courtship of me 11 years ago.

The album 'A Secret History' was the CD of choice in hubby's car for approximately the first six months of our relationship, and you could hear us belting out lyrics concerning the size of a hostess' derriere resembling a small country, or what exactly was in the woodshed, in various parts of the United Kingdom (ours was a long-distance relationship for a year and half).

Then, here's the romantic bit, hubby would sing 'Everybody Knows' to me in his best dodgy operatic singing voice;

"I told the stars above
About the one I love
I told the morning sun
Yeah I'm telling everyone
I told my mum and dad
They seemed to understand
And I'll get through to you
If it's the last thing that I do"

So you see, there's history in that album. Maybe not so much of 'A Secret History', but it's our history, and now it's part of The Boy's.

Weekend Activity

We've had fun this weekend. Well I have anyway. The Boy has just gone with it. Hubby has glared at me before cleaning up the mess (he's good at this). But generally it's been fun.

This weekend in my attempt to tidy up the house, I decided to do the plaster-casts of The Boy's hands and feet. We've had these kits lying around the house since he was born. Bought the first one, read the instructions, misunderstood the instructions in my post-partum befuzzlement and thought it involved making a plaster of Paris mould of his feet before casting it with the same stuff. I stood there wondering how the hell we'd get his feet out, all I could picture was his tiny squidgy toes stuck in a block of plaster. With the Health & Safety instructions from work about plaster of Paris and using it with children running through my head, I backed away from it pretty damn sharpish.

Then I bought another kit at Christmas time which seemed great and easy to do and this is the one that I decided to do yesterday. For a start it involved making a rubber mould. Hoorah, he will not lose his feet in a devastatingly awful accident with an over-zealous mother! I read the instructions carefully, really carefully. I made the mixture up and left it for a minute as per the instructions 'the mass will be ready in a minute'. I rushed it through to The Boy who was dutifully transfixed watching Justin and Mr. Tumble. I pressed his foot down and… it bounced off. It was ready in a minute, it set in a minute. Cue the tantrum from me as I'd screwed up the first batch of mixture and this was the last lot.

So I dug out the other kit and made that one up instead, because I had clearly realised I was not going to be providing my child with concrete shoes. The moulding kit powder reminded me of being sick as a child as it smelt of Kaolin and Morphine. Remember that? Tasted grim but worked a treat. Anyway, I digress (me? really? never!). I used the electric food whisk, poured it into the bowl and raced through to The Boy and hubby, who by now were on their second episode of 'Something Special'. Bless his little heart, he glanced down as mummy shoved his foot into the goo, wriggled his toes a little but held still for a few minutes until the mixture set. It only took three minutes to set, and I tentatively peeled it back from the edge of his foot and he slipped it out. Mix up the plaster of Paris, pour it in and wait for it to set.

This is the bit that I'm bad at. I can't wait for anything.

Tick follows tock follows tick follows tock…

While I was waiting, and it was clearly working as I thought it would, I did the other foot. Poor child, three episodes of the antics of a man wearing yellow trousers and a blue waistcoat and he was ready for bed. I cared not, I was in a creative mood.

This is the end result of the feet moulds:

The detail is absolutely amazing; I will admit to having a little lump in my throat when I saw his tiny weenie toes.

Today saw me doing his hands which are a tad more tricky. You have to pour the mix into a bag and then plunge their hands in. This I did and held his arm in the bag. He wiggled his fingers and I tried to stop him. This is harder than it sounds when his hand is incased in bag of purple gloop. Anyway, the little poppet kept still and we managed to get a mould of both hands.

As you can see they are incredibly detailed, but the left hand didn't work that well as there is an air bubble on one of the fingers, and because he wiggled his fingers too much they have ended up a little thinner than they actually are. I love them but they're also a little macabre aren't they? What the hell am I going to do with them? The feet are going to be painted silver and mounted in a box picture frame, but I am at a loss of what to do with the hands. Wrap them up and put them in his keep-sake box possibly. That'll traumatise the child in the future when he unwraps them!

Anyway, if you haven't done a cast yet, you have to do one! I wish I'd done it when he was younger. Now onto 3d sculpting next weekend!

Since posting this: several people have asked me where I bought my kit from. I bought it through e-bay using the seller ‘Borrowed Moments’. They also have a website here.

Versatile Blogger

I have been tagged by the Jenny over at Mummy Mishaps for being a:

Right so this is the second time that I've been passed this and I ignored the first one from @TheMummyLife (sorry Laura) but was in the mood to act on this one from Jenny.

So the rules are that you need to :
– thank the person who tagged you – so thanks Jenny for my award
– list 7 things about yourself
– pass the award onto 3 other fellow lovely people and explain the rules
– Pass on the 10 questions that I have to answer at the end of this

Ok? Ok! So here goes.

7 THINGS ABOUT ME

1) I'm scared of the colour orange.
2) I hate New York.
3) I play the National Lottery every draw (in the hope of affording said holiday homes) and one of the lines of numbers I play are the 'Lost' numbers, from which I've won £10 from those six numbers 5 times.
4) I have traced my family tree back to the beginning of the 19th century and have over 300 members in it.
5) I teach in the primary school that I went to as a child.
6) I miss eating tuna, steak and Christmas day turkey sandwiches.
7) I'm really chuffed that hubby persuaded me to go onto twitter.

I am going to pass this award and meme onto:
@AlliMarshall
@MumonaMission
@Mammywoo

They are lovely twitter people who are always their with a supportive word and a good laugh. I also bet they won't do this!

Finally…… 10 Questions

1. Why did you create this blog?
To share my experiences of being a mother and the adventures that we get up to with The Boy. Also to document my feelings about certain situations.

2. What kind of blog do you follow?
Blogs by other mums mainly and ones I chat to lots on twitter aswell (same answer as Jenny).

3. Favorite Makeup Brand
Foundation – Collection 2000, mascara – No.7 sensitive, lipstick – L'Oreal, bronzer – 17, eyeshadow – Chanel (random I know)

4. Favorite Clothing Brand
Any that I can get to fit being 5'10" and a big bird! I do tend to like M&S and Next though.

5. Your Indispensable Makeup Product
Foundation

6. Your Favourite Colour
Blue

7. Your Favourite Perfume
CKOne

8. Your Favourite Film
I can't decide between Fifth Element or Demolition Man

9. What country would you like to visit and why?
I want to go to the Galapagos Islands to see the turtles (a text I did with Year Five a few years ago focused on them and I found it fascinating).

10. Are you a Cat or Dog person?
Dog definitiely. Cats are evil and defecate in my back garden.

Top 5 Places You've Visited

Oh I really like this one, good choice @katetakes5

It's a bit tricky to say which is my favourite so they all have equal weighting. I'm also going to admit to being a bit of a tourist and I don't care. I do the touristy things, yes. If I'm there for 4 days (I can't stand long holidays, I get fearful incase I don't like the place, in which case I'd have to come home straightaway), I like to get quick snapshots of the place. Yes of course I go off the beaten track a bit, but not too far because I'm frightened of getting stolen and sold for spare parts.

1) Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge

We've been here three times and I adore it. The cobbled streets, the gothic architecture, the twee gift shops, the cheap beer and pizzas. Wandering across Charles Bridge and browsing the street-sellers. I completely immerse myself in Prague and love to wander off into the side-streets and the parks. Absolutely stunning. Even the tube stations are beautiful. You think Paris is beautiful? It is Prague's ugly step-sister in comparison!

Gaudi mosaic in Parc Guell

2) Barcelona, Spain

The other stunning super-model sister to Prague. But hotter. We adore Barcelona and again have been here three times. I love Gaudi's work everywhere, from the streetlights shining down on the pavements to the La Sagrada Familia towering overhead. More gawdy than Gaudi, but impressive nonetheless.


3) Las Vegas, United States of America

I know you're groaning, I know you are, but do not knock it until you have tried it! It is absolutely overwhelmingly beautiful in a completely manufactured way. From the top of the half-size Eiffel Tower, you can see the entirety of Vegas. And then you look up a little further and realise that beyond the streetlights, ridiculous helicopter rides along the Strip and rollercoaster rides around hotels is another world. Vegas is in a bowl in the desert surrounded by rugged mountains. Beyond that is the Grand Canyon where we had a champagne picnic 4000ft below the rim. No pictures for this one because it wouldn't do it justice.

Golden Cap

4) Lyme Bay, Dorset, United Kingdom

When my great-aunt was alive (her funeral was 3hrs after The Boy was born) we would go down several times a year and see the rugged coastline in all it's glory, especially in the Winter months. We still go down there every year and stay in self-catering for a week. The Boy loves it, as do we. 

 

5) My home-town, south Wales.

Well why else do I live here?
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