Friday, 20 September 2013

Make a List

Since having kids I have noticed that I have to write everything down or risk forgetting.

I often walk in to a room and forget what I went in there for. I have even found myself in the loo and questioned why. Duh! If I go shopping for a specific item, unless its written down, there's not a chance it will be bought. I rely on the kids to remind me too. But that doesn't always work as they forget to remind me, unless I ask them what it was that I wanted them to remind me!

It got quite serious a few years back when I nearly forgot my child! I was at Od's school to collect her from an after school club and whilst I waited in the reception area, 9 year old Ed played in the grounds with a friend. Having to be somewhere else straight after, I rushed Od out of the school towards the car and started plugging in her seatbelt. I had completely forgotten that Ed was with me and if she hadn't seen me by the car and ran over I would probably have driven off none the wiser. Rubbish mother or what!!

This experience actually scared me a lot and made me realise that I needed to slow down and get myself better organised. So, I know it sounds really anal, I started writing lists. 

I love lists. I have a shopping list, a dinner list and a menu list! I have a Things To Do list. I have lists on my phone! I have lists on paper! The only thing missing is a List of Lists List.

Last weeks To Do list:
I do have a separate list for what food to buy and who needs birthday cards

Do lists help me? Yes, definitely. 

Have I ever forgotten my child since starting writing lists? No, not yet!!

If I didn't write a list my children would probably not eat and they would not have clean clothes or bedding. They would miss swimming lessons. We'd have fines from the library for late return books. Without lists the tax man would put The Husband in jail for missing paperwork and payments. Then we'd lose the house and I'd end up a bag lady and have to live in a shop doorway. I wouldn't need lists then!

As the years have gone by I have become more and more 'the one that wears the trousers' and therefore taken over more and more of the household duties.  Some say its because I'm a 'control freak'. My brain is always buzzing with something to remember. The Husband is much more laid back and his attitude is if a deadline is missed, its missed. If there's no food in for dinner, get a takeaway (maybe the takeaway issue is more about my poor cooking abilities).

I'm sure I'm not alone in this most annoying trait but what I would love to understand is if it is an age thing, a parent thing or just the busy lives we lead these days.

If you haven't got bored and have reached the end of this post, thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment. Even if you think I am completely anally retentive.

As always........Sent wiv Love.


P.S. I cannot believe I am sat here writing a blogpost about lists!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

He Moved Out

As an update to my post in July 2013 about teenagers Moving Out and starting their journey to independence, I am now writing about my encounters as Rambo goes it alone.

About a month after I wrote that post, Rambo (see Who's Who) came to me and said that some friends from work had a room in a house share available and he asked how I felt about him moving in with them. My first thought was how much I would miss him. My second thought was how I would no longer have to holler to get him up in the mornings. Hey this could work. 

After offering my advice (I couldn't believe he actually took it instead of the usual teenagers way of knowing better) we arranged for him to move in the following week for a months trial. After the month, if it suited him and the other housemates, Rambo would sign the contract.

During that month I have popped round with shopping and been to collect washing and popped back with ironing and not because he wanted me to but because I wanted to still look after him. (The Husband doesn't understand why!!)

At the end of the month, Rambo came on holiday with us to Spain. It was so nice to have our little family of five, (2 parents and 3 kids again) under one roof and I cannot believe how much he has grown up in just that month. He has always been a considerate and lovely son who has never been any trouble. Don't get me wrong, I had my moments of nagging and hollering at him to get out of bed or tidy his room.

But what I noticed the most was how caring he was. The Mother-in-Law had limited walking abilities and Rambo was always the one who stayed back to make sure she was ok and walked at her pace.  He was the one who said he would wait in the villa with her while we went shopping. He took The Mummy to the local Spanish shop when she wanted sweets (I did too but couldn't be bothered to go!) He played volleyball to entertain Od and Ed (he wouldn't tolerate his siblings in his pre-independence days). He stood back to let others get on the bus before him. 

As kind as he was before there was also that selfish teenage streak which has completely gone. He often pops in or calls for a chat (in fact he phoned last night at the end of his work shift, 11.00pm, to see if I wanted him to pop in for a cuppa.........errrr no, sorry son), to make sure we're all ok.

His room, though, is another story. He phoned the other day asking me to pop over to show him how to make a lasagne for the other housemates. Me! Help cook! A miracle has happened.

Anyway, I  went over and gave my much loved, one dish wonder, lasagne instructions and then took a look at his room. All I can say is that this is one department that needs working on. Clothes taken out the washing machine and hung on the airer as they came out - in a screwed up mess. Towels, still damp on the floor - drying. Dirty socks and underwear on the floor - next to the laundry basket. Curtains still shut. Bedsheets half hanging off the mattress - no comment on the stench. (My next visit is definitely to take fresh bedding round!) There were playstation games strewn all around the floor and the TV playing a game of Fifa to itself!!

Even in all that mess he is thoroughly enjoying his journey into independence and living with his mates. (2 girls, 1 lad and himself). It is still early days and I'm sure we've got lots of highs and lows to come but so far so good.

I do worry about him though and my first thought every morning is a mental check as to where all my babies are. Thank God I still have Ed and Od at home. A mummy needs all her babies in the nest and I think as a parent you never stop worrying about them. 

Thank you for reading. I would love to hear what you think or any teenager experiences you may have.

As Always...........Sent wiv Love


Monday, 9 September 2013

Espagne, Here We Come...

We had a long night ahead. We had to leave home at 1.00am to get to the airport in time for parking the cars, checking in the baggage, security, passport control and........ breakfast. The flight wasn't until 6.45am and the airport was only 1 hour and 15 minutes away. But a girl doesn't like to rush her Full English.

There were 8 of us heading to a Villa in Spain for a week of sunshine and relaxation - Me, The Husband, Ed, Od, Rambo, The Mummy, The StepDad and The Mother-in-Law. We had all agreed to try and get a couple of hours sleep before we set off. Rambo, being a teenager, didn't start his day until teatime anyway so really didn't need a doze, I was too hyped up about making sure everything was packed and clean and tidy and the beauty regime completed, Od was sent to bed at 7.00pm but was still heard rummaging around at 10pm, so we eventually said she might as well come down and watch TV with The Husband, who said he couldn't sleep at this time of day (funny how he doesn't normally have a problem each and every evening)!! Ed stayed at The Mummys for the evening because she was the only one who would really try to doze off and The Mummys was the calmest place for sleep.

So at 1.00am off we set in convey. As we got nearer to the airport the heavens opened and the storm of all storms took place. There was no way I was getting out the car at the drop-off point and getting drenched to the point of looking like a drowned rat and dragging a suitcase across a slip road after glamming myself up for the flight. Well, as it happened, drop-off was undercover. So panic over.

After dumping the cases at check-in, we went in search of the eagerly awaited Full English. But all we found were baps with bacon or panini's. We all sat in a line in an airside eatery, stuffing our faces like we wouldn't eat again for a year. Rambo and The Husband then decided they fancied a beer. (At 3.30 in the morning, honestly!) Me and the girls went wandering in search of sweets for the flight. When we met up with Rambo and The Husband a short while later, they were sat in a bar watching the table next to them being served up a Full English. Gutted!! 

The flight was quite non-eventful except The Husband and Od arguing over who's turn it was to sit by the window. 

On landing we all tried to fit in with the local tongue and used a lot of "Olla" and "Grazias" (seems that was all the Spanish we knew between us).

As we walked from Spanish airside to landside I felt like a VIP as I saw a board with my name on it (I was group leader) being held by the Geordie taxi driver, who advised us that where we were staying was a place he would never live. Oh dear, not a good start. 

Well as we pulled up to the villa, its not a place I'd turn down living in!! It was stunning and even had a leather 3 piece suite and 47" TV on the patio.  How the other half live.

We knew this holiday was all about relaxing and recharging our batteries after quite a busy year so far. 

We spent the majority of the time in the pool playing water volleyball
and other such games, lots of sunbathing and reading and just good old family time. As the beach was a 20 minute drive away we only ventured there once. This was the only day that the red flag was up advising that the sea was dangerous to swim in. Shopping it was, then!
Our week here was absolute heaven, lots of lazing around the pool, eating and drinking. There were very few shops and restaurants here but we did take a bus and taxi to busier areas. 

For the last few months we have been talking about the possibility of living abroad but in all honesty and as daft as it sounds, we all agreed that we would miss the British weather!!! Summer is a godsend but by the end of a decent few months of sun I have to admit I do look forward to cosy winter nights in front of the fire.

Thanks for reading.

As Always..........Sent wiv Love.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Summer Bucket List.........Grand Finale

Firstly, I'm hoping that no-one noticed that I have missed week seven and eight. Ashamed I am!

Although I didn't complete all the items on my Summer Bucket List, I am still fairly pleased that I headed in the right direction. But I think I am in definite need of a Winter Bucket List!

Bikini Body: Having looked at one photo from the Spain holiday of me in a bikini I have to admit that I've got a bit of work to do. But then again, are we ever happy with how our bodies look!  

This was home for the last week.

And this is the nearest this blog will ever get to a bikini shot!

Forest Garden: My challenge for the garden was completed but the front now needs concentrating on throughout the winter. Its a never ending job, it seems to me!

Painting: The bannisters were indeed glossed and look so much better. I had previously used an eggshell paint and within a couple of months, filthy hand prints were showing. That problem is totally solved by using gloss. Lesson learnt - never use eggshell where kids walk! (And by the way, I still have to gloss the skirting board)

Dishwasher OCD: This obsession is no where near as bad as it was, in fact I have just loaded it and put a couple of knives in the fork section! Go me.

Writing: Well I really think I need that pretty little cottage overlooking the sea that I mentioned in Week Six. I seem to struggle after chapter one. Maybe when the kids go back to school, I will be able to concentrate more. We'll see!

The #GetGoodSummer challenge definitely jivvied me along to get things done that I probably would have put off until the kids went back to school. It also helped me to keep up the blogposts. Without it I may not have blogged a single thing for the whole month.

All I can say is what a lovely summer and I am quite sad its over for another year.

As Always.........Sent wiv Love


Monday, 12 August 2013

Summer Bucket List.........Week Six

Week six and so far I have completed my garden goal, the dishwasher is an ongoing concern, the diet has a week and a half left until the body squeezes into the bikini, gulp, and the bannisters have been completely forgotten because book goal:

I am so pleased to say that I have started. This week my bff from down south received an email advertising an online Childrens Story Writing Course, with an amazing special offer. It felt meant to be.  For the last few months I have been researching lots of courses and had come to the conclusion that in September I would sign up for one but still wasn't sure which. They were all so expensive.

So on signing up for the course and beginning Module One I can now say that I have penned the planning stages including the pitch and synopsis and have started listing the draft chapter details. I have also decided to blog my progress so I am currently setting up another blog as well.

I am absolutely loving learning and in all honesty it has taken my mind (and the pressure) off my issue with having a bikini body! And I have come to realise that the only person with an issue with how much I weigh, is myself. Phew, every writer needs a biscuit during tea breaks!

#GetGoodSummer has really helped me and I would definitely recommend joining in next summer, all thanks to ClarinasContemplations, go take a look.  Thank you for following my progress and helping to keep me motivated. And please look out for my upcoming new blog which will follow my journey in to writing.

I really would love to hear from you so please leave me a note or two in the comments box or send me an email using the link above. I would also love you to subscribe above to my blog so that you may receive new posts by email.

As Always........Sent wiv Love


Monday, 5 August 2013

Summer Bucket List.......Week Five

There is only four weeks to go to complete my #GetGoodSummer Bucket List. One of those weeks we are away in Spain, that leaves only three weeks. In all honesty it is not looking good for me.

Last week, I didn't hold out much hope but as the week went on I became more encouraged. Heres what happened:

The bikini body had reached its goal. Not the goal I had set my heart on, but the goal that my mind keeps telling me! The temptation of biscuits got too much and I indulged. And then I indulged some more. Nevertheless, I stood on the scales at the end of the week in trepidation, and amazingly, I had lost another 1lb. This gave me the massive boost needed to finish the week without biscuits. I couldn't resist the pull of a fully loaded chicken kebab on Saturday night though.

My excuse for the garden looking an absolute state is the weather. Its been either too hot or raining. But on Sunday morning, after looking at it in total shame for the last few weeks, we got up and decided to get it knocked off the bucket list (to be honest I was dreading writing my blog on monday morning and having to say that I had failed this week - so the #GetGoodSummer does work)

At last and surprisingly, I can cross off the Garden Resembling a Forest from my summer bucket list.

My excuse reason for the hallway not been fully glossed is due to the fact that we acquired two new cats the previous week. Painting with kids, cats and dogs is just a disaster waiting to happen!

I am trying so hard with the dishwasher OCD. I think the only way forward is to leave any loading or unloading to the kids. That way I do not have to see any plate mis-arrangement or cutlery in the wrong section! (Suits me just fine)

Writing my book is slowly moving forward. I just never seem to have time to sit down and concentrate. I'm hoping when I do get the time the words will just fly on to the page  and that writers block doesn't set in after the first chapter! If that happens a pretty cottage overlooking the sea with no neighbours and no interruptions will have to be looked in to (a definite pause for thought - hee hee)

As always...........Sent wiv Love


Saturday, 3 August 2013

A Life On The Open Road

Last week we booked our next caravan holiday for the October half term. Me, The Mummy, Ed and Od book a break each year. Its a lovely 'no frills' time that Ed and Od absolutely love and that we have been doing for the last 6 years. Its our 'girls' holiday. Rambo and The Niece came with us the first couple of years but with them both being 18 now it is so uncool to be seen with family, let alone to be seen with family in a caravan! The Husband and the Stepdad have been a couple of times but soon realised they could have their own 'boys' time by staying at home.

When booking we generally upgrade to 'luxury plus' to ensure a better standard of caravan. Some of them can be a little grotty. But so far we have been lucky and had fairly decent ones. One year there was a mix up with our booking and we ended up on the site car park for a week. Needless to say, we were not happy and complained which resulted in a free holiday the next year.

The girls love these girlie breaks. Its 'us' time which we don't get a lot of at home and I love having the week living with The Mummy looking after us. I cannot help going in to child mode. We go swimming, play at the park, get mucky and eat every meal together. And not a man in sight to scupper the plans!

We go to the clubhouse each evening and watch the entertainment. Ed and Od meet up with their newly made friends and dance and wander around the two penny machines whilst The Mummy and me keep our eyes peeled and people watch. We have late nights drinking hot chocolate and reading our books and chatting into the early hours. 

Its lovely that the girls get to see a little bit of the English seaside at the places we stay. As we live 2 hours away from the nearest beach, I love that these breaks give them time by the sea to do crab hunting, building sandcastles and burying each other!! The best beaches we have found are definitely Devon, Lincolnshire and Wales. 

There is something about living in a caravan. Whether its the compact living which means less cleaning and more time for fun or whether its the freedom of the road, knowing you can take off to wherever your fancy takes you. Could I live this way long term. Personally, I couldn't but the time we do spend living this way is a small piece of heaven away from the stresses of everyday life.

I have to say, I do feel a little guilty that The Husband has to stay home and earn the pennies and misses out on these girlie jaunts. But a little birdie tells me he quite enjoys his time home alone where he can please himself, eat what he wants (that is a blessing in itself for him after living with my cooking for 13 years) and he 'pops' to the pub as often as he can! So all in all, everyones a winner.

As always.........Sent wiv Love