Tag Archives: family

Sometimes, you can’t win!


Back into the new term with new shoes, summer dresses, white (how long for?) socks, no headlice (for how long?) and nothing in the bottom of the book bag.  The first week of term is always when the diary is quieter – clubs and activities haven’t started and no friends were coming over after school (I refuse to use the word playdate) so we caught up on admin and errands.

First appointment was the dentist.  I’m not fond of the dentist, well I am fond of the dentist himself but I am not fond of the actual visit because in my youth I had fillings every time I went, I once bit the drill (for ‘bit’ read ‘clamped’), I bit the dentist (voluntary perhaps), I had 5 fillings and 11 injections one day and the smell of the dentist turns my stomach.  It’s OK though because my girls know and they laugh about it.  They’re the ones who should be holding my hand and saying well done!  I popped to the dentist last term and said my tooth had cracked, so Dr D told me I was a very good girl, it would need a little filling and then it will all be good.  I was very brave and I got a sticker!

It’s a log standing joke that I won’t remember a dentist appointment so I get a text to remind and it’s in the diary (all very well until someone writes the time of the dentist in the wrong column and then I ring to cancel Big Welsh’s appointment.  I see the dentists sometimes on school run as their daughter is friends with Laree and you can guarantee that I won’t mention anything dentally!  Anyway, on Tuesday Laree had a dentist appointment and she said she would’t be speaking (yurrah) so when Dr D asked her how she was she just nodded and hummed positively.  She opened her mouth and he said in hushed dental speak lower left 5, lower left 96 missing, upper 74 cavity, upper 12, upper 37 wobbly, upper 41 wobbly, could you get some swishyblahblah for the wobbly lower 72, beautiful teeth, such beautiful teeth.  If anyone knows Dr D then you will all have been told you have beautiful teeth, even I have beautiful teeth!

So, Laree emerges from the dentist with a wobbly tooth filled a little bit and the suggestion that when her baby teeth have all fallen out she will need a brace.  I take that as a good visit, but no she was’t convinced.  She glared at me and said she wanted a brace.  As a child back in the day no-one wanted a brace.  You can’t win!

On Wednesday it was the Opticians.  We’ve been going to the same Opticians for years, so many years I can’t remember!  I’m short sighted and wear daily contact lenses and sometimes glasses, Big Welsh is long sighted and has weeklies (well I think they’re weeklies, if not then they’re monthlies <snort> and he’s also got glasses, Loops is long sighted and has glasses, Mook doesn’t and Laree is border line glasses.  So now you know that all sight options are covered in this house!

IMG_6092Laree sits in the chair and reads out letters, suggests brightest coloured circle, goes through the better with this lens or this lens scenario and is then told she doesn’t need glasses.  She glared at me and said she wanted glasses.  As a child back in the day no-one wanted glasses.  You can’t win!

And that’s the beauty of the dentist and optician, when they say something the children listen and don’t ask incessantly why can’t I have glasses or a brace?

As I said, some you win!


Simple pleasures – mud


Having a dog means getting out in all weathers and when it’s been raining heaps it means muddy walks.  Arthur doesn’t mind the puddles but I’m not that fond of tiptoeing through water that might go over the top my galoshes.
IMG_1833.JPGWhen it’s already muddy, soggy, cold and it rains the water has nowhere to go
IMG_1834.JPG Which is why I drag my heels and make gullies like I did as a child.  Then I stand and watch the water drain away.

Mud.  It’s a simple pleasure!

Starting the day


Woke up at 545am, looked at the clock and jumped straight out of bed, wandered downstairs, made a cup of coffee and opened the back door.

What’s so blogworthy about that?  Well nothing really, apart from the fact it’s the first day of the Easter holidays and by rights I shouldn’t be waking up before the ‘alarm clock that wasn’t even set because it’s the holidays’ but I did!

I’m what you might call a broken sleeper.  Waking up is not something I enjoy doing in the normal Monday to Friday run of the mill because I never tend to wake up before anyone else these days, no matter how hard I try.  Imagine – you’re fast asleep, cosy and dreaming when you are woken up by the door slamming against the cupboard as it has been pushed open with some vim & vigour and the first words you hear are what’s for breakfast – that.  That’s why I like to wake up before anyone else so I can get going in my own time!  Which is why this waking up AND getting up bright and chipper this morning has taken me by surprise.

But it’s a nice surprise because in the last hour or so I have emptied the dishwasher, put it on a cleaning wash (I know domesticated so early in the morning), the washing is on the line (not sure if it will try by elevenses but it’s on the line), had a good long critical look at the fridge contents and most of it is now in the bin or compost, written a shopping list, swept the kitchen floor and wiped the work surfaces down.  IN PEACE.  No radio, no music, no bickering, no barking, no noise, no nothing, nothing!

Everyone in the house is exhausted with school, college and work.  Laree has returned from a residential trip with a very husky voice meaning she’s either been on the Capstan full strength or has been talking all night with her school friends plus her tooth fell out so she will be hugging her pillow a few hours more, Loops & Mook are teenager dirt bags and will appear bleary eyed with hair all over the place and Big Welsh although tired will probably bounce out of bed shortly to go for a lengthy cycle ride.  Which means the house will be quiet again.

Until everyone wakes up, throws open the bedroom door which will slam against the cupboard as it has been pushed open with some vim & vigour and the first words they mutter are what’s for breakfast – to an empty room!

And then the day will begin again!

Healthy eating – quick dip


There’s fruit and veg in abundance in our kitchen and whilst we do enjoy cakes and crisps I am more of a savoury person so regularly create dips to go with the vegetables. 

This recipe is for a very easy and simple to make dip using cottage cheese, spring onions, garlic and dried chilli flakes (optional)  Simply put it all the whizzer, give it a swiz until you get the consistency you require and then pop into a dish and serve with a pile of vegetables or bread sticks. 


Quick, easy, simple, healthy. 

 All gone!

Gifts for mother’s day (and my birthday)


My mother likes to remind me that I was born in the late afternoon on Mothering Sunday and chastises me still (at very nearly 46) for keeping her waiting.  All day!  Well back in the day there wasn’t much on the telly box and maybe I wanted to appear in time for a nice cup of the and a sandwich spread samwich!  So arrive I did and as well as having my official birthday I also feel that I own a little bit of Mothering Sunday as well!

The lovely children of the house have been asking me what I would like for my birthday and I have to admit I am a little bit stuck between deciding what I would quite like and what I really need.  So far I have come up with a watch and a docking station/charging/alarm clock combo but there are some things that I do like and I am sure that some of these ideas could be on any mother’s list.

I could really do with a new blender as mine is groaning under the weight of hearty soups I have recently been making, a whizzer or chopper would cut down on the time I chop but would involve more washing up and I would probably lose the whizzy bit so I will shelve those ideas for another time.  Besides Big Welsh has a birthday in a few months and maybe he would like them?  The wok I bought him for Christmas was a great success after all!

Mook asked whether I would like some flowers from Georgie, well yes of course!  Doesn’t everyone want flowers on their birthday?  I particularly like Georgie’s creations because she grows most of them herself, Common Farm Flowers is a small British business with a big heart and I do like to support my friends.


Having just spent the evening at Nirvana Spa with my stepsister as an early birthday treat I would thoroughly enjoy a day of pampering and relaxing, there are so many treatments to chose from and to be honest who wouldn’t want to float around all day in a nice big bath robe wondering which lounger to lie on!


I’m not really a bag person.  I’ve yet to find a bag that I will actually use and use and use but I am rather partial to the bags at Pioneros and Cloudberry who I found via Country Wives.  My Mulberry purse is now 15 years old and is looking tired so maybe a new purse?  But saying that I do have a lovely green Ted Baker one with bobbles somewhere and I can’t for the life of me remember where it is and it does contain my Cath Kidston family and friends discount card so I must make an effort to find it as I am rather partial to the bedding!

Notebooks are also another favourite of mine and my very clever crochet friend Prettybea has sent me some notebooks from Bread and Jam which I love, Katherina from Ella’s Kitchen Company gave me a notebook which I also love and I do enjoy perusing stationery companies.


Jewellery is always a nice gift, I particularly like Rococo in Wokingham and often nip in to see Juliette and ooh and aah over the displays.  Despite having my ears pierced years ago I don’t wear earrings much but I do like the simple ones from JojoJewellery.


Sending a food gift is always a winner!  I am more than partial to Gower Cottage Brownies, to be honest I don’t know anyone who isn’t – they’ve just not found them yet.  Kate is THE Brownie Queen.  Fact.  As it’s mother’s day the rule is that the mother should be treated to mugs of coffee at regular intervals to go with said brownies.


Then maybe a little glass of something with a fizz.  Last year Tiffinie came over for a fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity and HeadSmart and we sipped a dash of her Wiltshire Liqueur Blood Orange with Prosecco in the garden.


Or how about a fizzy red, yes you read it right fizzy red, I like the Vultu from Zotta Deli.


I’m very fond of the Gordon Castle Gin and Angus has suggested mixing it with Fever Tree tonic – what’s not to love?


I love giving books to people and equally love being given books.  As a supporter of small local independent book sellers I don’t mind being given a book token so I can go and choose a book myself.  I am not averse to vouchers as they are such a convenient gift to send and can bring hours of pleasure perusing and choosing what you would really like.

Books really are my thing and when I see a book I remember where I was when I was reading it.  Another way to hold memories is with a Treasure Pod from the amazing Jane Rafter.  I have one with a birth stones and charms.  What would you choose?


Smellies and candles are another firm favourite and the world is full of gorgeousness.  I love Jo Malone MBE’s new range Jo Loves and the fragrance discovery gift experience is an ideal gift, it is easily wrapped up and can be put in a pretty padded envelope from Hunter Gatherer.  I was fortunate to have facials over the years from Tracey Malone who started her own business called Lubatti which has the most glorious bath oils and skincare range.  Last year I found Noble Isle who have a delicious range of products that I am also fond of.

Being a spring baby I obviously feel the need for people to wrap up so have given a number of friends bobble hats from Forage Somerset as well as Powder gloves available from Ty Cariad in Brecon.

Of course keeping hands warm also looks after hands so I use Niki’s Warming Balm which is quite frankly gorgeous smelling and warming.

But what I love most about Mother’s Day and my birthday is that I get to spend it with the most precious people in my life


and I know that come what may I will always be there for them, laughing with them


and even though I might embarrass them


I will always love them and I will always be their Mummy.

Early birthday treat


IMG_4837This year for the first time in the 25 years since I have known the girl who was to become my step sister we have both been in the same place relatively near our birthdays.  I would like to point out that she is 6 days older than me and so for 6 days she is a year than me!  I of course don’t let her forget this and I can’t stop myself from telling her she is much older than me, when it’s my birthday she reminds me that we are now both the same age!

Luckily for us she was over from Australia on a flying visit to see her mum and brother in Pembroke (which she will insist on calling Pem broke) and as we are conveniently close to Heathrow she stayed with us when she arrived from Oz and on the way home.  Life in our house can be rather boisterous (rather?) and we wanted a chance to have a long natter so I said I would treat her to an evening at Nirvana Spa where I have been a member for years.  She of course looked it up and said ooh that’s very nice.  I then decided that what she really needed was a floatation and duly booked her said treat.

After making sure that everyone was back from school, college, sent off to football training, there was food in the house and we had a pound for the locker we headed off for an evening of relaxation and chatter.  She was all dressed up for winter and I was still rebelling and wasn’t wearing socks.

Incase you’ve never been to Nirvana Spa then here’s how Tars’ first visit went (I say first visit as she is intending to come back to the UK next year and she has already said she wants to go back to Nirvana!).

On arrival the receptionist handed Tars the questionnaire form and handed over a robe & towel and a card to charge things to before we headed off to the changing rooms.  I then showed Tars around and she oohed and ahhed appropriately!  I have floated heaps of times before and I fancied a massage instead so as the time for her float approached she headed off to float into a relaxed state of mind whilst I made my way to the Crystal Treatment Room for my Swedish back massage.  Delighted to report I didn’t snore or overshare!  My massage was lovely and I was very relaxed.  Afterwards I sipped a glass of water watching the crystal change colour whilst I read some of my latest review copy of Patrick Gale’s A Place called Winter.


After twenty minutes or so I wandered slowly back to meet Tars who was totally spaced out and relaxed!  She said that she had never experienced anything quite like the float and was very glad she had taken my advice when I suggested she shouldn’t shave for 24 hours before.  She admitted it was very strange getting into the pool and bobbing up, but she soon found herself comfortable and relaxed.  She was concerned about falling asleep and not being able to wake up but was surprised that she woke up gently when the lights came on and she didn’t feel rushed.  Apparently the water is soft here compared to Australia so she took for ever to rinse the conditioner out of her hair.

She was keen to relax on the ceramic loungers so off we trotted (well I say trotted off but it was more of a sleepy saunter!).  It was so quiet and warm and relaxing and you couldn’t hear a pin drop, but I could feel the pager for our table so we headed off to study the menu and admire the salad bar! Admire it we did!  There is such a fantastic array of colours, smells and flavours that we were undecided what to have first so instead of piling the plate high (like you do at a salad bar, or is that just me?) we took our time and had salad first and then the hot dish which was a very tasty cod risotto.


After that it was time to relax a little bit more and so we dragged our relaxed bodies with full tummies and very slow brains off to the pool where we might have found space for a hot chocolate and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.


We were so close to the water’s edge but didn’t manage to get in, well we would have sunk and that would have ruined the evening somewhat!


All too soon it was time to get back into our clothes and head home, not before admiring the murals on the walls.


So that was that!  A relaxing evening with my step sister celebrating our birthdays.

Christmas traditions – leftovers lunch


As the years have gone on and our family has grown larger so has the amount of food we have in the house during the Christmas period.  I’m sure you’ll appreciate how boring it is to open the fridge and look at the same food that you have been eating for days staring back at you.  If food could talk it would probably say “not you again”!  It all became so boring that for many years we have been having what we lovingly refer to as leftovers lunch 3 or 4 days after the main meal.

Easy and very simple!

Friends come round ladened with plates and bowls of their leftovers which are either put onto the dining room table for everyone to dig into or they’re thrown into the kitchen and transformed into something else before returning to the table as a rehashed surprise!  Somehow it all goes and our guests get to take their empty dishes home, sometimes though they forget and when they see them again they’ve either forgotten or they’re happily reunited!

It’s nothing very special as traditions go but it certainly removes the mundane from finding something different to eat, we get to spend time with our friends and if we’re lucky we end up with new dishes!  Win win!