Full of imagination

I think that sometimes is is hard for Mini growing up in Maxi's shadow.  People often revel in the fact that Maxi is super clever and leave Mini out of the equation.   The thing is both of the boys are bright, but Maxi's shows his intelligence everyday, whilst Mini well he is just Mini, unique and special.


However, this week Mini has excelled himself by being awarded the Headteachers award for creativity (something that Maxi has never had) and also a certificate from his teacher for independently writing a story about a superhero on the computer.

When I asked him who his favorite superhero was on Sunday he responded by saying his Daddy and Big Brother.  Oh my that boy can melt our hearts!

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Lets cut the mum-bashing

The news and Internet is filled with this is the best way to parent and this is the best way to be a mum and in my experience often it is other woman, other mothers who are hardest and most judgemental of all.

Why is this?  I have come to the conclusion (and I am not saying that it is right) is that they are feeling insecure themselves over their own decisions and feel the need to vindicate themselves often by judging other peoples decisions.

It needs to stop right here, right now.  We need to start supporting other woman, other mothers, we need to take time out to think about why they have made their decision and what are their motivations and stop imposing our thoughts and lifestyles on to other people.

So what if I decided to be a stay at home mum for the first 5 years of my boys life, that was my choice, my sacrifices that were made and ultimately my decision, I am not asking you to agree, but you don't have to judge me for it.

The same goes for working mums, we do what we do to keep ourselves and our families sane.  It might not be right for everyone, but I for one am glad that it isn't.  What would the world be like if we all did the same things for the same reasons.

Life is tough, it is hard and there are plenty of hurdles that we have to clear without adding to them with this I am better than you or you are not doing the best by your child by doing that.

So who is with me, lets start supporting other mothers, rather than being judgemental.

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Emotional Exhaustion

Sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew.  Sometimes, I have no option.  But I am laughing through my tears.

Today has been a challenge again.  A day spent with my sister in law working on clearing out the house again.  Mini's glasses to pick up for the opticians and then parents evenings to go to.  MadDad is sore and possibly overdoing this as his wound is weeping and I am tired to the core.

But then we hear a voice with a guitar and we both sit and listen.  Mini sings a song and I sit with tears in my eyes.  For his song is about his grandma who died on Christmas Eve, but would still love him and be proud of him for his good school report.

Children are the best medicine.

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No need for the Sunday papers

I hope that you have all had a great week, it has been busy in the mad house, but we are all making the most of having our time together and I am lucky to have such a great family to spend it with.  MadDad is going to be at home recovering for the next four weeks, although he is all ready stir crazy.  The task of clearing mums house is ongoing and I have to say a great big thankyou to my sister in law for being such a support during such an emotional and heart wrenching time.

I am proud to say that the Tots100 seems to have had a great launch week and keep your eyes peeled for some more great things going on with it.

Looking for inspiration for a shabby chic home, then why not follow Allabouttheboys new blog The White Approach where she is going to let us in on her secrets for living in a white, shabby chic home.


Domestic Godd-esque shows us how to make some of her divine love heart jammy dodgers, which are just delicious.  I know this as she sent me some in the post and some of her yummy lollies too.

Looking for a thought provoking read, then try this is a wonderful post by Janette who is a busy working mum of four with her fifth on the way.

Ever thought you wanted to write a cookery book?  Well the delightful Vanessa Kimbell stopped thinking and  tarted writing and whilst she was at it she decided to write about writing it!  Prepped is the book and this is the story.

What have you read this week that you have really enjoyed?



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Irrational Fears

I watch him as he sleeps,

The gentle rise and fall of his chest,

The familiar sound as he breaths,

The ever present warmth of his skin against mine.


I close my eyes and try hard to sleep,

Focus on the out breath,

Try to feel peace at my core,

But in its place only panic.


What if something goes wrong,

What will I do,

How will I cope,


I wrote this on Thursday morning at about 3,30 am, whilst these irrational fears ate me apart with worry as MadDad had a small operation yesterday.  Thankfully he is home and recovering, although the operation was twice as large as both we and the surgeon anticipated.  As he is a young and fit chap (according to the doctors) he was allowed home to recuperate, but he is in a lot of pain, in fact he feels pretty much as you do after a c section without  all the hormones and euphoria of a brand new baby!

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A Dusty Bin Money Box

Home, the house I grew up in.  The house that belonged to my paternal grandparents before it was my mum and dads.  Home, still today it is home and it will long be in the future.  No longer my home, but my brothers families home.  There is something very comforting in knowing that our family will remain in the house that has brought us so much joy, but also so many tears these last months.

Today I walked back in to our home, left as it was in January, when my sister in law and I took down the Christmas decorations.  I walked past mums coat in the lobby and her snow boots by the door and for the last time walked in to the sitting room as it would be forever engraved in to my heart and mind.

Together we starting the hard task of removing the minutiae of everyday life.  The calender that will forever be on December, the bus pass and the small notes in my mothers hand writing.

We laughed and cried was we sorted, filed, re homed and discarded all that grounded me.  I learned how to operate mums answer machine to remove all the old messages and my heart dropped as I heard my boys wishing Grandma a Happy Christmas.

There were things that I didn't dear hold on to for fear of never being able to let go of them and things that seemed so out of place without mum there.

Each item made me want to cry out, to turn back time and to be able to squeeze mum a little tighter, to feel her breath on my cheek, to hear her tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me one last time. I ache with a longing that is as much physical as it is mental.

Nothing prepares you for the loss of your only parent, no one tells you just how unsettling it is not to have the people who you have relied on throughout your life.  I am all at sea.

Later this evening, MadDad and my father in law brought a small part of my mum in to our home.  We have her sideboard and display cabinet in our dinning room.   Over the coming weeks, I am going to fill the cabinet with small memento of my mum and my childhood and I have placed my first one in all on its own.  A dusty bin money box.


Tonight as I go to bed I am going to hold on tight to my man and be thankful for the family I have left and try to find an anchor and to learn to be the matriarch of the family. No longer a daughter.

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No need for the Sunday Papers

Grab a coffee or tea and sit down for ten minutes and take a look at what I have to offer this Sunday.  If you are looking for some inspiration reads, look no further.  I am going to endeavor to give you some lazy Sunday reading from some great blogs, so there is no need for the Sunday papers.

With valentines day fast approaching, why not have a go at making paper roses with your children.

Did you realise that it is National Story Telling Week?  No, don't worry I didn't either, but the fantastic Chris at Thinly Spread did and she has some great ideas on how to make stories and words exciting for your children this week.

Short of time, but want to spend some quality time with your children, why not take a leaf about of Mummy's little monkeys book.  If you are time short, then why not let your child take the lead in play.  Time short, aren't we all, so short cuts are fine and make for a super fun time.

Are you worried about being stuck in a rut over breakfast?  Lindy considers the information about so many children not eating breakfast.

The year of the Rabbit begins on the 3 February, so why not make some lanterns with your children to celebrate, Nurturestore has a great tutorial from last year.

For some serious reading, why not pop along to Note from Lapland, who has been following the amazing events in Egypt.

Finally, did you realise that the brand new site for the Tots100 is up and running this week.

If you have seen any great inspirational posts this week, then leave the link for them in the comments section.   If you visit any of the blog I list then please let them know by leaving a comment and informing them you came via me.  I will be back next Sunday with another list, so there is no need for the Sunday Papers.

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I am lonely

I miss my mum.  The thing is over the last four years she has slowly become more than just my mother, she had become my friend and we spent a lot of our time together.

One of the reasons we returned back to our native North East of England when I was pregnant with Mini was to be able to spend time with our families.  When we lived in Berkshire my mum would visit for weeks on end and we really got on each others nerves.  We were not supposed to live in each others pockets.

So we reasoned that being closer would mean days out or afternoons shopping and we would all be able to get on better and you know what it was good.  Not always great, but it worked for us.

As the years went by we developed our own routine.  Every Monday I went round and helped clean up, Thursday meant shopping and coffees in town and I often spent Saturday with Mum and the boys spent Saturday evenings with her.  In between I ferried her to the hospital, GP's and anywhere else she wanted to be.  We both grew in to the mother and daughter role.

She told me I was the best mother she had ever seen and that she knew how much I lived for my boys and I had learned to let her take out the boys picture and show the ladies on the tills her grandchildren without always wanted the ground to swallow me up.

We became firm friends.  She was a huge part of my life and now she is gone.  She filled my days when I wasn't busy working from home.  She collected the boys from school when I needed an extra hour somewhere.  She was more than a mother to me.

Now I am alone.  I am lonely.  My friend I made back home has gone to work full time and I am struggling to fill the hours between dropping the boys off at school and collecting them.  I think my sister in law can see this, she popped round with flowers for me.

I find it hard to make friends and when we returned it was to a village and it seems that everyone here went to school with each other  and already had their own cliques and groups and I haven't managed to fit in to any of them.  I come across as standoffish, but the fact is I am shy.  I wonder what people think of the way I look.  I don't want people taking about my health behind my back, so I don't talk about my issues in real life.

I did make a close friend when I fist came back, I was honest with her about how ill I was, but it turned out she just wanted things, she wanted the use of my buggy and the material things and when I got ill she didn't visit or send a card and I couldn't bear to stay friends with someone like that.  It affected me, it made me question my judgement.  I didn't think she was that person.  I was wrong and I guess that it has made me much more wary of opening up to anyone in real life.

So as hard as it is to admit, I don't have any real female friends here.  MadDad is my best friend and I suppose a lot of the time we are pretty wrapped up in each other, making sure our marriage works and that we have fun as a family, that we forget that having other friends is important.

I think I have fogotten how to make friends.

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Prepped – The rice pudding test

As you know I love food, but I especially love home cooked food and when the gorgeous and extremely talented Vanessa Kimbell put a shout out on twitter for recipe testers for her new, exciting and innovative cook book Prepped, so I put up my hand like I did back when I was in school and opted for the rice pudding.


  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 50g Vanilla Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g butter
  • 150g Arborio rice
1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. 2 Put all the above ingredients into an ovenproof casserole dish, stir well and pop it into the oven for 2 hours in total. After 30 minutes, open the oven door and stir it all again. 3 When it’s time for the pudding to come out, it’s not always set as firmly as you would like, so you must leave it for a good hour. It will carry on absorbing the liquid and thicken up more.


Just look at it, it was divine.  Now you may now know this, but MadDad is a rice pudding expert having grown up on a dairy farm and he gave this a real thumbs up.

A real comfort food and I we loved it.  I can not wait until the book is out to try out more of Vanessa's recipes.


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1.7 million children under six do not eat breakfast

Yes, you read the title right, that is 1.7 million children under six who start the day with no food.  Shocking isn't it?


1.4 million 6 to ten year old children don't eat breakfast and 2.3 million 11 to 16 year old children also skip breakfast.

So in total 5.4 million children in the UK do not eat breakfast. Couple that with the fact that £646m is spend by children on the way to school on snacks and fizzy drinks nad I think you get some idea of just how socked I was on Friday when I heard about these figures from Sara the dietitian at Kellogg's

Me listening intently to Sara the Dietitian

I have mention before that when it comes to breakfast my children are chalk and cheese.  Maxi is a porridge everyday without fail kind of chap, where as Mini would rather not eat anything at all.  I am also one of those mums that cooks her children's food from scratch, worries about added salt and sugar and also is concerned about giving her children a sweet tooth.  But one of the main things I walked away from Kellogg's thinking was that some breakfast is better than no breakfast.

I am not going to advocate any particular type of style of cereal, that is down to you, but I have made the decision that I am no longer going to stress about the type of cereal Mini consumes, I am going to just focus on the fact that he does have breakfast unlike a lot of school children.

If I put the statistics in to perspective for Mini's class at school it would mean that 5 of the children will not have anything to eat until lunch time.  I find that a terrible and very sad statistic.


I could talk to you about the development of Kellogg's products or the fact that they train Americans to have European tastes or about shape management or even about making my own cereal and designing the box, but I will leave that to others, who no doubt will do that better than me and I will leave you with the thought that

1 in 6 children in the UK do not eat breakfast.

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