I’m Moving – Come With Me

moving

Well since I started this blog just over three months ago it has been a whirlwind.

I have shared a lot of thoughts, some well written (I hope) some rubbish (I’m learning). I have had comments from lots of lovely people, learnt what people seem to enjoy reading and made lots of lovely new followers.

I also seem to have veered wildly off my original path of talking about parenting which is why I’m moving!

Don’t worry you’ll still see all our family frolics, our arts & crafts and baking successes and disasters as well as tips for the best days out or products to try. Hopefully though there’ll be a bit more adult content (no, not 50 shades type), my outlook on current affairs, and anything else that happens to pop into my mind.

I really hope you’ll join me and let me know what you want to read and thank you for following me so far.

My new site is My Life In Type

Facebook and twitter will remain the same as will my bloglovin account.

Oh and don’t worry, anyone who is waiting to hear who wins the macarons, the competition will continue to run on here and all entrants and comments have been counted and will remain valid, entry is also available on my new site and on here till the end date 15/05/2015.

Growing Up – The 5 Things I Miss Most Now My kids Are getting Older

Like every year when my kids birthdays roll around I find myself wallowing in nostalgia and asking myself, where has the time gone? As they turn 9 and 11 this week the scary reality is hitting, that although not quite teenagers they are definitely not my babies anymore.

While there are certain bits of their younger days I definitely don’t miss; changing nappies, sleepless nights, potty training and weaning for starters, here are the 5 things I miss the most.

1. Holding Hands – when the kids were toddlers I was usually fighting with them to get them to hold my hand, to protect from busy roads or getting lost in a crowd. Sometimes though they would willingly slip their hand into mine for the walk from nursery or round the park and we would swing our arms together. Just this week I was up the town with my son while my daughter was at choir practise and I suddenly felt the urge to take his hand, surprisingly he obliged (for a while).  It made me realise just how much I miss the feeling of that warm little hand in mine.

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2. Bathtime Fun  These days the door is firmly locked when my son and daughter are finally bullied into taking a shower and woe bedite anyone wanting in the bathroom. Long gone are the days of me sitting on the toilet while they shared a bath, sporting bubble bath beards and playing with rubber ducks. No more nursery rhymes about dogs/frogs or any other suitable bathtime creatures and certainly no scooping them up in hooded towels to rub them dry. Now the only thing I scoop up is the damp towels left abandoned on bedroom floors.

3. Bedtime Stories – Much as there was many a night when I thought I would be really happy if I never, ever had to read another Charlie and Lola story, or that I prayed for a short story to be picked so I could get downstairs to my telly and wine, now it’s gone I miss it the nightly ritual. Every evening we would cuddle up on one childs bed (alternating in the manner of all things fair) and read our one or two (depending on how long a day I’d had) stories. Funny voices were my speciality while the kids took turns in acting out the story, before being tucked in and kissed goodnight. As they learnt to read for themselves and moved on to Jacqueline Wilson and Derek landy instead of Shirley Hughes I have become redundant and merely receive a yelled “NIGHT” before lights are turned out. Still it’s not all bad at least I get peace to watch Masterchef.

4. Morning Cuddles – I have always liked my bed to myself and listen in horror to stories of people who choose to share their bed’s with the kids. I like my sleep and my space and apart from when the kids are sick or have bad dreams they tend not to disturb their sleeping mum, a little like people have learnt not to poke angry bears! But I do miss morning cuddles. Most mornings when they were younger the kids would rush through and jump into my bed for a cuddle and a tickle, there is nothing like cosy little pyjama clad children to provide a feel good cuddle. These occasions are now few and far between and tend to be limited to birthdays and Christmas when we gather to open presents in bed before a good old group hug.

5. Tooth Fairies and Easter Bunnies – Santa Claus is still hanging on by a thread in our house but sadly the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy have both had their day. I was devastated when I missed my daughter losing her first tooth because she was at her dad’s house but delighted to see her face the next time the tooth fairy visited leaving her £1 and a personalised note. Often my daughter would leave presents or notes for the tooth fairy who would duly respond to them. On one occasion when the tooth was dropped down the plug hole my daughter went to tooth-fairybed in tears. The tooth fairy still left a coin and a note explaining she had heard what happened and managed to don her scuba suit and retrieve the tooth from the waste pipe. Some people may argue that this is lying to your kids and of course it is, but when else can we believe in fairies and magic if not when we are children.

So these things are mostly gone, along with the nursery rhymes and annoying talking v-tech toys, but I think I’ve still got a few years of them being children left and I intend to enjoy it (and no more carrying extra vests and wet wipes so it’s not all bad).

What do you miss most about when your kids were younger? I’d love to hear your comments below.

I’m No Supermum – Whatever Facebook Says

Ok I have a confession to make… I will never make mum of the year. This will come to no shock to my close family and friends but it may be something of a surprise to my facebook friends and colleagues.

I have something of a reputation at work and through facebook of being “the arty one” or “the creative one” because of what I get up to with my kids. This reputation comes from the endless and no doubt irritating pictures I like to post. Pictures of costumes I just cobbled together with a pair of tights and a bit of sticky backed plastic  or the pancakes I just whipped up for breakfast.

Just yesterday at work my boss told me she had been discussing me helping out with a local charity and had told the charity organiser, “Heather will be great, she’s one of those mum’s who make other mums sick she does so much with the kids.” It was meant as a compliment, I think.

Ha, if only she knew. Yes I like to get stuck in about homework projects or arts and craft and baking when the mood takes me but I also spend far too much time with my head stuck in my computer while the kids are glued to their respective tablets or TV’s.

And when we do start these projects it is far from plain sailing. Mr B has a favourite saying, “with you Heather, it’s all about the journey.” What could he possibly mean? Could he mean the flour strewn kitchen, the regular smell of burnt food or my latest disaster the smashed casserole dish (full of lovingly made curry) . Could he mean my paint splattered hair, face and clothes when I take on a decorating project, or the cat paw prints left everywhere when I carelessly leave paint tins lying around? Or could it possibly be the arts and craft projects which look so easy on Youtube but result in, a sticky, paper and paint mess, a screaming mum and terrified children cowering in their rooms in reality?

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The answer? All of the above. Will you ever see this on Facebook or my blog? Probably not. You will not see the first batch of burnt to a crisp Aberdeen Butteries or the Banana loaf that wasn’t baked enough and remained half in and half out the tin on tipping out. You won’t see the three failed attempts at a Cinderella birthday cake, the paper mache balls that never set or the face paint attempt at a tiger which ended up looking like a badly bruised orange instead.

I will however show you our attempt at wicker work style Christmas decorations, this was one of those occasions that resulted in a fraught mother snapping at her children to just get out and wash their pva covered hands before I burst into frustrated tears.

Here’s what they should have looked like, and what they did look like.

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Last night I made homemade pizza, something I have been meaning to do for ages. I had seen friends do it, I had the dough recipe, easy peasy. Em no, the dough was fine, the first pizza went in the oven ok, and came out, and went in, and came out, it may have been crispy around the outside but it was raw in the middle despite following instructions to the letter.

The second pizza was rolled and loaded with topping… and stuck completely to the table. Instead of making it up on the pizza stone I did it directly on the table rendering it impossible to remove and ending up with a tomatoey, cheesy dough ball which was fit only for the bin. During this process children were banished in screaming banshee style from the kitchen, cheese, sauce and topping crashed to the floor as I threw the dough in disgust at the table and Mr B cowered in the living room, only piping up to timidly suggest he pour me a glass of wine.

The third and final attempt was ok, still a little crispy on the outside and soggy in the middle but edible, even if we had to resort to crisps afterwards to fill us up. Now I got a decent picture of pizza number 3 and it looks pretty tasty, I could have put it on here or on facebook and boasted about my prowess in the kitchen but I decided to come clean. But hey the picture looks good.

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So there it is, the truth is out there, the title of Mum of the Year is safe for another year. So when you see my next Facebook baking or creative success story, just remember the camera sometimes lies!

Binky Linky

Aberdeen Butteries – So Bad But So good

It must be a couple of years ago now that I attended a bread making course at the wonderful Lets Cook Scotland. On the day we made many breads including soda breads and foccacia, the host on the day also made some Aberdeen Butteries for us to take home.

For anyone who has not had an Aberdeen Buttery before I found this description which I think sums them up quite well, “The best way to describe their look and taste is a saltier, flatter and greasier Croissant.”

Doesn’t sound particularly appealing? Well they are, but they are also sooo bad for you, being as the name suggests full of butter and lard. However my daughter loved them and has been begging me to make them ever since so this weekend I gave in. Strangely she left me and my son to do the work and returned just in time to have one fresh out of the oven.

So if you’re not afraid of a carb and fat filled treat, here’s how it’s done.

Ingredients

450g strong bread flour

2 level tsps salt

175g of lard

175g of butter

10g of fast action yeast

285ml warm water

1 level tsp caster sugar

Your first step is sieving the flour and salt into a bowl.

Then with a knife mix the butter and lard together until softened.

Next add about a third of the butter/lard mixture to the flour and mix with your fingertips until it has a fine crumb like consistency.

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Once mixed add the fast action yeast. make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the warm water and mix to a rough dough.

Turn out onto an unfloured surface (yes unfloured it shouldn’t have to be floured if you keep the dough moving it won’t stick), and onto my favourite bit the kneading.

006Kneading takes a long time and you can use a mixer but I prefer to do it by hand, it’s very therapeutic (especially after a bad day at work). You know your doughs ready when it doesn’t tear on stretching and also if the dough springs back when you make a finger mark in it.

Next roll out the dough to form an oblong and mark it into thirds. On the middle and right thirds place dots of the butter/lard mixture then fold the left third (without the butter) over the middle and then the right third on top. Seal the edges by pressing the dough together and turn over on a baking tray then leave to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.

007009Remove from the fridge, roll out your dough into an oblong then repeat the process and chill the dough until you are ready to use it.

When ready roll though dough into an oblong about 1 cm thick and cut out into about 12 -16 squares depending how big you want your butteries. The dough then needs to be placed on a baking tray somewhere warm till it becomes puffy (I use my cupboard with the hot water tank). Then all thats left to do is pop them in the oven for about 12 minutes at 220 oc (200 for fan assisted), take them out, sprinkle with caster sugar and eat while warm (you don’t have to but I think they taste best that way.

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And if you don’t want to eat them all at once, you can freeze the cut squares and just take them out to defrost as and when you want to use them. now i’m off to run round the park and try and burn of all that fat!

A Marriage breakdown As Told By Facebook

One of my favourite pastimes is reading my facebook thread and making comments such as “who cares?” when someone posts another picture of their dinner or their kids winning a medal for writing/walking/singing (delete as necessary). Posts such as “so tired,” or “fed up” also drive me to shout stop moaning at my computer screen. Mr B gently reminds me that I don’t have to actually read these posts that annoy me. Does he not understand that I enjoy my daily facebook rant?

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That was until I started seeing the recent posts from the application “On This Day” similar to other applications like Timehop, On This Day  show’s you what you posted 1, 2 or even 5 years ago on that particular day, and boy did I post.

Over the last few days my posts from 5 years ago became distinctly different and frequent, see if you can spot what happened?

17/04/10 is really very, very angry to find out her son’s nursery play area has been vandalised AGAIN by some drunken idiots, will not tell you what my husband thinks should be done to them!

20/04/10 Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are easy to fix.

20/04/10 has just realised it’s when the chips are down you find out how many wonderful friends you have.

26/04/10 knows that in time this too shall pass.

27/04/10 would like this to stop, now please.

Yep on the 17th of April I was a happily (I thought) married woman with 2 children moaning about her son’s playground being wrecked by vandals.

On the 18th of April I discovered via facebook (ah yes that wonderful thing again) that my husband of 9 years had been having an affair and wanted to leave (he did, it’s all ok, that is not the point of the story).

The  last two posts above are exactly the kind that drive me crazy when I see them on facebook. Attention seeking, cryptic, begging for people to ask whats wrong? And they did, they replied, they sent private messages and texts, came round with chocolate and wine and travelled from the other side of the country to be with me. Those on the other side of the world couldn’t do that but checked in with me as often as possible and I needed it.

Maybe facebook isn’t the place to air such things and admittedly I’m sure there were some ill advised posts with language and recriminations which shouldn’t have been in the public eye and which were subsequently removed (mostly after threatening solicitors letters -scary!) But it was a support mechanism, it was reaching out to people whether they were close friends or vague acquaintances to be reassured someone cared. It was someone to interact with during those long hard days devoid from the one person I had come to rely ons support and company.

Here are some more;

28/04/2010 has lost a stone, knew there had to be a silver lining 

03/05/2010 what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and I have no intention of lying down and playing dead

03/05/2010 what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and I have no intention of lying down and playing dead

25/05/2010 is tired and sore and down in the dumps, boo hoo

25/05/2010 know’s it’s only Tuesday but really needs a large glass of wine, soon

30/05/2010 needs a big night out this Saturday, who’s with me?

30/05/10 I am woman, hear me roar!

17/06/10 is not sure a free bar on a school night was a good idea!

20/06/10 had a lovely evening with lovely people but is really getting too old to roll in at 4am, bang go any plans for today.

30/06/10 is starting to stress about childcare during the hols, not quite sure how all those working mum’s manage!

12/07/10 Illegitimi non carborundum

16/07/10 is feeling very wobbly about spending 4 days without her babies.

19/07/10 is loving being back at work but not loving the endless forms and telephone calls to arrange tax credits, childcare, council tax etc, aaaaaaaaagh my brain is melting.

25/07/10 sometimes wonders if she really is strong enough.

26/07/10 is truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends to lift me up when I am down.

The posts actually make me laugh now, they verge between fed up, tired, sad and there is also an awful lot of talk around partying and alcohol (see above) , before you judge I wasn’t celebrating the end of a marriage I was desperate for distraction. I had never been apart from my kids before and now found myself suddenly spending 48 hours a fortnight childless, and without another adult in the house and without those friends who dragged me out on the town I can honestly say I may not have made it through, so thank you.

facebook-oversharers

There was a ridiculous amount of posts for such a small time scale and I’m sure I must have annoyed many facebook users with my incessant moaning but they were all kind enough not to say anything or unfriend me. In some ways I am glad to have them as reminder of what I went through and how I came out the other side. They are a permanent record of my journey from stay at home mum to single, working mum and all that, that entails (not least childcare issues and the maze that is tax credit applications).  There was also an awful lot of terrible cliched phrases and a couple of Kelly Clarkson lyrics, for those I apologise profusely.

So my vow to myself is, for all those people who are sad, lonely or upset and post something on facebook I will try not to be so quick to dismiss them, I will try and reach out and see if I can help someone the way others helped me.

Oh and I will also continue to post pictures of my kids winning things because they are the best 🙂

My favourite post though was this one, I’ll leave you to google it.

12/07/10 Illegitimi non carborundum

The Time Capsule – Time For A Spruce Up?

Yesterday my daughter asked if we could go swimming today. Feeling revived from my lovely reflexology session earlier in the day I agreed.

We have a swimming pool in our home town, unfortunately as it does not contain; flumes, wave pools or rapid rivers the kids do not class this as a proper outing to the swimming so we have to travel further afield.

For a long time we went to and loved (and still do) Perth Leisure Pool, with an outdoor pool, 2 flumes, a toddler area and rapids it’s great fun. Recently we tried the Olympia Pool in Dundee which the kids loved for it’s wave machine and strobe lit flume. I felt it was a little smaller than Perth and had less room for actual swimming but the kids gave it a huge thumbs up.

So where to this time? For a while I have thought about a visit to The Time Capsule in Coatbridge. Mr B had put me off by saying it was too far away but after a quick google map check I discovered it was no further than Dundee so off we headed.

We arrived just before opening at 10am where a large queue was already forming. The Time Capsule has an ice rink as well as swimming, but the swimming was definitely the more popular queue. It moved fast though and I had soon paid my £17.90 for 2 kids and 1 adult (ouch) and we were off.

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                                   The reality was not as good.

Lockers are operated by funky electronic plastic bracelets which you hire for £1 each and stops fiddling about with £1 coins or pin on keys. Changed and ready to go we headed to the showers, aaah they were almost scalding (I kid you not we could hardly stand under them). Then out to the actual pool.

The water park at Time Capsule certainly looks impressive on first view. There are 2 large flumes which go outside the building, a wave machine, a rapid river, a large play area with water jets, 2 slides and a wide flume which you ride down on a ring for 2 or 4 people, impressive?

Well yes the amount of things was impressive but somehow it just failed to impress me overall. The tsunami wave pool was less a tsunami and more a gentle lapping against the shore. Riptide River had some nice slides but promised rapid finale was a little lack lustre.

Thunder and Lightning are the impressive sounding flumes, em but they’re not. I am a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to flumes but the kids managed to persuade me onto Thunder eventually which turned out to be right up my street. More like a toddler chute in pace, Thunder was more of a slight drizzle in my book. I never went on Lightning but the kids assured me it was equally slow and lacking the thrill of other flumes they have been on.

Tornado Tantrum however was great fun, a ring ride for up to 4 people it has a heart stopping drop and nice lighting and pace, much more fun. Don’t however be deceived by the pile of rings pictured on the Time capsule website, only 3 rings were in use, and only 1 which fitted four people which meant a long wait between turns.

I hate to be so negative but the whole thing was a little underwhelming and more than that it seemed, grotty! I’m not quite sure how long The Time Capsule has been about but I do know Perth Leisure Pool has been open since 1988 and looks a whole lot newer. Rusty pipes, yellow stained and cracked tiles and a general feeling of neglect were my overwhelming impression of the Time Capsule. Added to this my sightings of a plaster, a wet wipe and even a bit poo floating in the water left me with a very bad taste in my mouth (literally).

Staff were plentiful but I never saw any of them show the care I have seen other pool attendants give to things such as making sure kids don’t have goggles on in the flumes or abide rules for 1 person at a time on chutes.

All in all not my best experience and I certainly won’t be hurrying back, though I have to say the kids enjoyed it but not as much as other pools. I would far rather pay £11.80 at Perth or £12.70 at Dundee for a much more pleasant and cleaner experience. Oh and another thing don’t waste your 20p on the hairdryers, getting an asthmatic hamster to blow on your hair would be more effective – rant over!

They Call It Puppy Love

Just last week my lovely sister took her niece and nephew (aka my kids) out to lunch at a local garden centre. As kids do they managed to get her to agree to buying them something. The interesting thing was that neither picked something for themselves. My daughter picked a cupcake shaped bath bomb as a gift for her best friend.

And James? The store stocks all sorts of boys toys from footballs to water pistols, so what did he pick? I’ll show you.

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Ah how sweet I hear you say (well I don’t really but I’m imagining you are). A gift for his wonderful mum perhaps? Or a thank you to his Aunty?

No this was what my 8 year old chose for his current girlfriend! He wrote a message on the back of the box and headed off with it safely tucked away in his school bag to be delivered to the girl in question the next day.

It made me laugh at first but then I wondered, if as adults we should be encouraging children to act out relationships at such a young age?

When he came home on Valentines day with his card from the girl in question, should I have advised him that there was plenty time for girls and to concentrate instead on school or at least football?

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I strongly believe that children should not be made to grow up too soon. My daughter won’t wear a bikini or crop top till she is much older and neither child will have facebook or other social media accounts until they are both of legal age and more importantly when I think they are ready, so what about this?

Well to be honest I’m not too worried, this is James’s third “girlfriend” in 4 years (I know quite the ladies man) and I am not sure he has ever said much more to any of them face to face other than  “can you pass the pritt-stick.”

It does however encourage discussion at homes around relationships. Not long ago he asked me if it was right that men should always do what women tell them. I bit back my gut response of “yes, of course” to explain that no a relationship is all about give and take and helping each other out (oh such wisdom, it’s taken 37 years to learn that one).

It may be just a bit of fun but hopefully he is also learning. Girlfriend number one didn’t last long after she started demanding he transport her everywhere by piggy back, he may need that lesson in later life when it’s a Porsche they’re after!

With girlfriend number two he learnt a lesson in being left for a more sporty boy in the class. He shrugged it off and went back to playing football with the new boy in her life, because as he said friends are more important than girls. Unfortunately I fear it will not always be that simple.

And with girlfriend number 3? Well she meets his (and my) approval because she is interested in space and the universe (better than shoes and handbags). I think they may have a way to go before I have to worry about it getting serious though. At a recent out of school activity when I mentioned in front of his friends that said lady was in the building his embarrassed response was, “tell her I’m sick and I’m not here”, well that’s men for you!

So as long as these things are taken light heartedly I think it’s fine. I still think kids should be kids but then hasn’t being a kid always meant playing house or pretend weddings etc. Of course I wont be saying that should any boy ever go near my nearly 11 year old daughter 😀

Binky Linky