23 June 2017

Life Lately

Am aware I've been off the grid for a while this time, and for that I apologise. It's been for a number of reasons, some still relevant and causing writer's block...but I started to miss my little blog last week and for the first time in a long time, wanted to sit down and write something. So, hello! Here's some random pics from the last 6 weeks to get you up to date with life in the shire...

Yup, this can only end badly...

Sweet, memory-making activity that left this Mama mainly concerned about mucky handprints on my walls...

Puppy had his very first sicky bug, gak! Continues to grow at rate of knots...

Beautiful Toddler Boy chilling out max and reading a book

Pulled Boy out of school for our annual skip-day and hit up Legoland. Top tip - go on a Thursday in term time, the place was empty!!

Lazy Sunday mornings are the best!!

Had a busy few days over half term finishing off the forest school ready for children. It looks AMAZING!

Check out my little athlete, airborne!!

Enjoying the heatwave...

...but sometimes it's a bit hot so we just lie around in our pants with the dog!

So yeah, that's life in the shire right now. Bet you didn't realise how much you missed those updates, did you?!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. We are off out for Nana's birthday icecream party (a month early, who knows why?!) and then it's our huge Cancer Research Luncheon for 180 people on Sunday. On Monday I'll be ready for a day-long nap. 

Enjoy the sun xx

21 June 2017

Husband Hatred

I recently read this:

If you have to argue, do it properly and constructively


and promptly bought this:


We're going through a rough patch. Is it obvious? But I don't really want to kill him (even though sometimes I think I do...) so I'm making an effort. Wish us luck!

19 June 2017


Yes, it's that time of year, the boys have started their ski lessons!

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Due to pregnancies and then babies and then toddlers AND babies and then, you know, not having 5k to put our hands on to TAKE said children anywhere with snow (have you looked at the cost of family ski trips? Holy hell!) Husband and I haven't been on skis in 7 years. SEVEN BLOODY YEARS.

They don't tell you these things when you decide to have kids. They allude to them vaguely, in a roundabout, covert way, but it's always said with a 'but of course it's totally worth it' smug vibe and you're left thinking it won't be that bad, how selfless of us, we'll be so happy with our lot, we're ready for life to change beyond measure, we're so excited to start this new adventure, I'll never want to use skis again once I have an angel in my arms blah blah blah... and they stare back at you with glassy eyes.

Of course, you plough on regardless, push some children out of your hoohar and then it hits you. You realise that all the miserable bastards who already had kids were desperate to grab you by the shoulders and scream in your face 'DON'T DO IT, YOU'LL NEVER SKI / HAVE A LIE IN / FINISH A WEE / CONDUCT AN ADULT CONVERSATION AGAIN' but were too ashamed to admit to feeling that way. So they outright fucking lied to your face. And these were your friends... Pfft. I trust no-one anymore.

Anyhoo, all that aside, I've decided that enough is enough, Husband will just have to man up and sell a kidney because this Mama needs some snow time. Boy is now on his third summer of lessons at the local indoor place (rather competent snow plough, just beginning turns) and Toddler has just begun (not naturally gifted, but then he is only three, I'll give him a few more hours' tuition before I write him off completely and make plans for him to stay with Nanny while we're away!)

Have done what I always do in these situations to get Husband on board, spent an inordinate amount of money on gear so that the final holiday-booking part of the plan looks less like an extravagance and more of a 'well jeez, we really ought to book that holiday now or look how money we'll have WASTED in vain on thermals...' So far, I've gotta be honest, it's not working out as well as I'd hoped (he's still resisting) but there's still time *logs onto Amazon prime, buys more ski socks.

Bought the boys these waterproof dungarees recently, more for forest school as not lined, but with some joggers (and thermals) underneath they are more than suitable for skiing:

children's waterproof overtrousers

And then Nana treated them both to a new ski jacket like this:

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These things have some kind of witchcraft sewing inside which means you can unpick the bright red seam inside the garment and the arms (and legs if trousers) lengthen by an entire size!! What a great idea!!

So yes, it may well be a heatwave in the shire (poor dogs are both panting in front of a fan!) but my two boys are putting on layers and enjoying the snow, go figure! You watch, I'll get pregnant now and the whole thing will go to shit, typical!

3 May 2017

April?? Has anyone seen April??

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Gosh. I sat down this morning to write my weekly to-do list and realised that April has been and gone. Whoosh. There it went. It's been ages since I've written anything for the blog, I thought, I'll just log on and play around and see if I can solve this writer's block, no pressure...and lo, nothing on here for the whole of April either.

That's quite scary really. I knew I felt busy and stressed and low and a bit restless... I didn't realise I had been feeling this way for a month. A whole month.

What happened in April? Let's see...

I turned 34. This is fine. This is not scary. 36 is my scary, grown up, got to have my shit together age. I have time. It's all good. Birthday dinner here was delish.

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Toddler turned 3. This has thrown me more than I thought. Bye bye, baby. When Boy turned three I had a baby in my arms. This time, no baby and no positive pregnancy tests, either. Huh.

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BFF and I finally met up for coffee after having what some might call a passionate disagreement. I call it a fucking car wreck. Of course, we were both apologetic and emotional and heartbroken and conciliatory...but I think we both know that our friendship has been altered irretrievably by outside forces and now we're in foreign waters, both still incredibly hurt yet too polite and tired to bring it up again. So we're currently navigating our way through...I wonder what it will look like in the end?

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Dear Friend in Crisis continues to flip flop from one heart-wrenching issue to the next, all the while desperately trying to cling onto some semblance of normality and unintentionally hurting those close to her along the way. This is no fun, either. Husband is getting frustrated. He says I am getting hurt and therefore should take a step back. How can you distance yourself from a loved one in pain through no fault of her own? Am damned if I know...

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I took the boys to Stoke to meet up with Nana, Auntie, Uncle and Niece on the anniversary of Dad's death. That was a pile of shit. Not Stoke, Stoke was surprisingly lovely (do visit here if you get chance, kids really enjoyed it) but the day itself.

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We visited Wrexham with Posh Mama and her daughter which was lots of fun. Go here if you need somewhere for crazy-ass kids to run wild where they're actually allowed to TOUCH things!

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We went to Centre Parcs for the week with Nana which was epic. Nothing else to say about that, other than I want to book to go back already!!

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So yeah, April has been and gone. So long, April!!

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Will make more of an effort in May. With everything. Have started jumping out of bed half an hour earlier in order to a) drink some coffee in quiet and b) put some makeup on before the school run. Have been out this morning and bought a juicer/blender thing and a new recipe book. Have convinced Husband to rip out yet more of the dysfunctional and annoying kitchen. I am taking back control.

Hope everyone is well and has lovely plans for this month?? If all goes well and we sell enough tickets by Friday, we'll be madly planning the school ball next week, eeshk!

See you all on Friday, friends. Enjoy the sunshine x

31 March 2017

Wonderful book for little ones

Am always on the look out for meaningful bedtime story books, nothing so heavy that they can't sleep, but just enough insight and thought to mean that they drift off to sleep thinking 'huh, I could do that / be that / change that...' You know, just little nuggets of positivity and kindness to seep into their brains while they doze ;-)

Always loved the book Wonder, alas it is too old for my boys who are only 5 and 2. BUT the genius people at Penguin Random House have created this version...

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, soon to be a major motion piction, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

...and it arrived yesterday! The pictures are just lovely, the story has been changed (obviously) into a much 'younger' and shorter version but the overarching message is the same and the main characters have the same names. Essentially, the message is that we are all different, but the same. It encourages young readers to change the way they see people. And I really like that, when they're older, my boys will now be able to read the original version of the book and recognise the characters...

Get your copy here or at a local book store near you, it's really a great read. Enjoy!

22 March 2017

Holy smokes

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It doesn't happen often, thank Christ, but every so often I have an afternoon that looks like pure chaos. Thought you'd enjoy a play by play account...

***Warning: if you don't have children yet and are thinking of adding them to your unit any time soon you may want to walk away immediately, we'll see you Friday instead!

4.15pm Walk through door from school run, everyone is happy and relaxed, the sun is shining, then out of nowhere Boy gives me a mouthful of cheek and attitude so this Mama immediately removes his screen privileges (and yes, as the words are leaving my mouth I'm already regretting them but once you've said it you have to commit...fuck!)

4.18pm Whilst Boy angrily flings his belongings into his cubby hole for tomorrow morning, lecturing me on the unfairness of my decision and my general failings as a parent, Toddler decides to practise his 'spinning' in the boot room, happily spins into a full water bowl and spills the entire contents onto the floor. Whereas normally he would apologise and grab a towel, he looks up and me, shrugs and walks out of the room. Shrieking follows (mine!)...and I have to use a bath towel to soak up the flood.

4.26pm Make a post-school snack and dogs start play-fighting at my feet. This is loud but fine...until Dog turns around, snarls at Puppy and Puppy promptly pisses all over the floor! Excellent. Second bath towel gets grabbed for piss-gate.

4.35pm Both boys now colouring at table and angrily eating their snack. Dog has stolen my slipper so am (half) barefoot and getting cold feet. Starting to get a bit cross now!

4.40pm Walk into kitchen to make a coffee. Walk back and Toddler is drawing a circle on the wooden floor with an orange felt tipped pen???!!! Toddler is carried upstairs for time out. Floor is cleaned (thank you baby wipes)

5pm Decide that the ungrateful, messy little bastards can go straight in the bath and then throw their jammies on, meaning that they will be in bed ON TIME (the dream) Husband rings from London while they are in bath but I can't hear him so cut him off and also, I realise there are no more bath towels downstairs. They take full advantage of me racing upstairs to grab some and flood the fucking bathroom floor with a water fight. As I'm racing back DOWN the stairs to them, Toddler climbs out of the bath (why you so slow, Mama??), slips on the wet floor and bumps his head. So he's crying, I'm shrieking about the fact that now a SECOND room in our home is under an inch of water and Boy pipes up with 'excuse me, but I'm getting cold here...!' I make them mop up floor with kitchen roll. Their naked bums bobbing up and down during this household chore is literally the only highlight of my entire afternoon!

5.30pm Serve them both scrambled egg on toast (benefit of Husband being away, I don't have to cook a proper dinner!) Sit opposite them at kitchen table, glaring angrily. Boy glares back. Toddler happily oblivious and keeps blowing me kisses and asking what day it is (his latest favourite question)

5.55pm Make them clear their dinner plates and wipe down the table. Wipe table second time properly. Realise I have 50 mins to fill before bed without TV. Balls. This would be fine on a good day, but after the afternoon I've just had this makes me want to weep. Consider telling them that they did such a good job wiping down the table that they've earned their screen time back...but then remember that Toddler is a little terrorist and any sign of weakness will bite me in the ass for weeks so make them choose a pile of books and hunker down for the long haul. Parenting. It ain't for the weak!

6.30pm Husband Facetimes from London to proudly announce that he's a hero who has raided the Lego store (he's only been gone 48 hours and we're drowning in bloody Lego but yay). Boy delighted. Mama has to be the bitch who says 'well, actually Daddy...' and inform him of the many, many bad choices that have been made here today. Boy goes back to glaring at me. Excellent. I quickly redirect my anger at Husband for a) not being here and b) being such a tool. He gets cut off again!

6.45pm All head upstairs, brush teeth, visit the toilet, say our prayers, tuck them in and retreat. Action packed, emotionally taxing afternoon has exhausted them too, it would appear, and they are zonko within minutes.

7.15pm All is quiet on the western front. Take dogs outside for a wee. Pour myself a large vodka and tonic. Stand at the back door and wonder if a third child is really the way to go...

20 March 2017

Things I have learned...

...this month and felt I should pass on!

Have been looking high and low for a yoga retreat fairly nearby that doesn't cost the same as 10 days abroad and have stumbled across a place in Staffordshire that only costs £99 for the day (I say 'only', but most of the ones I've looked at have been 3 if not 4 times that...) 

Check out the website for 'Yoga with Claudia' here if you're in the market for a day of yoga and relaxation...but don't fill up her retreats before I've booked or I shall be annoyed!


The Boden sale went live yesterday and there's some good stuff in it. Have a quick look here... 
I used discount code J5Z6 for free delivery and ordered these jeans...

Available here for £54

Because I wanted these ones from MiH...

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...but couldn't justify £265! So we'll see how they look when they arrive.

The incredible Dukes have got a £30 voucher code on their women's boots...the relaxed Chelsea boots are to die for! 

Ruby handmade chelsea boot for women by Dukes

Get yours here and use the code MUMSTHEWORD (this is the colour I have and I LOVE THEM but possibly size up if you're between sizes?? Mine are snug)

I think that's it news wise... so here's some photos from this week. The fog is starting to lift on my funk and little chinks of sunshine are getting through. Which is just as well really as Husband has gone to London for 3 nights. It's the first time he's been away with work since Puppy came home...breakfast this morning was a bit of a juggling act!! 

This was pictured on the yoga retreat booking form this morning. Sent it to Good Friend in Chaos. It is so true!

It cheered her up so much she did some bird-watching!! (This was after a much-needed coffee and giggle after the school run today)

Puppy likes to sleep upside down...

...and he's also started teething. Boys are both fascinated. I am just wailing at how fast he is growing up. Boo!

Toddler had a party on Saturday and was gifted this mask and cloak as a party favour. He wore it all afternoon and most of Sunday. So cute!

Boy was invited along too as company for the child's older brother. Here are my darlings enjoying the world's slowest donkey ride EVER!!

And here's my latest aim. I might not be truly at peace OR in touch with myself just yet, but I really want to be unfuckwithable when it comes to drama!! I'd print it out and post it on the fridge but I'm worried Boy will sound it out and repeat it at school!

Hope you've all had a good Monday, friends. Think of me tomorrow morning, basically as long as noone pees on the kitchen floor while I'm making porridge I'll be winning at life ;-)

15 March 2017

Middle aged women acting like teenage girls...

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AAAARRGGHHHHH I've said it before and I'll no doubt have to say it again before I die, social media is such an incredible platform for women building each other up in innumerable ways BUT unfortunately it is also the cause of such ridiculous aggro that a grown woman will stop you on the school run to ask why you no longer 'like' her posts in a tone of voice that implies you've casually suggested sacrificing her hellish spawn to Satan. 

This is life in the shire, kids. Get out while you still can!

* Disclaimer: I actually think the mums at our school could learn a lot from teenage girls. Maybe we should stage an intervention...??

14 March 2017

Eeyore Days

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That's me, I am essentially a fat, grey donkey under a rain cloud. It arrived about three weeks ago and just won't shift. Getting dressed and out of the house is a struggle at the moment, not to mention the aches and pains I'm suffering from. This funk is physically painful. We've been late to school, watched more Disney films that I care to admit to and are surviving on scrambled egg on toast (poor children). I can not be bothered to wash my hair or wear makeup and sometimes can't even muster up the energy to answer Husband when he attempts conversation with my miserable self. I have been dragging myself to swimming for Toddler, and yoga classes twice a week for an hour's peace and clarity, but other than that it's been a lot of lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. One day last week I took the boys to school and went back to bed until 12.30pm. I think I did that, ooh, maybe twice when Boy was a newborn. It's THAT bad.

I know exactly what brought it on. I am now on month 7 of 'not preventing a pregnancy' and got my period again. Boy's teacher has been off sick for 5 months and the disruption to his education and state of mind has been extremely stressful and unsettling. Dear Friend in Crisis is no closer to making a decision about her quandary which I have been counselling her through and I'm not entirely convinced she ever will. And the Moron Parents at school are up in arms about their latest complaint...noone is entirely sure what their problem is but we think she might be suffering from some kind of psychosis? Unfortunately, it would seem that ignoring them and hoping they go away makes them complain more loudly and more angrily. They're like Rumpel-fucking-stiltskin.

So yeah, it's all got a bit too much for this Mama and I've shut down. As soon as I'm able, I'll get back to posting more regularly. In the meantime, here's the latest offering of pics for Life in the Shire...

Forest school playgroup

Team M&M enjoying some serious mud action

Toddler needed new shoes, hence a trip to Shoe be do in Shrewsbury

Mama feeling blue so Toddler spent all afternoon in his pants making a tail with a dog toy. 

And I want one of these for Mothers' Day!!

Hope you're all keeping better than I!! Much love xx

22 February 2017

Half term joy!!

Oh, my heart. How I LOVE, ADORE AND WORSHIP the half term holidays. Boy finished on Friday at 3.40pm and by 4pm we were home, in our comfies, on the sofa with hot chocolates watching Big Hero 6. Screw you, screen time limits, we're on HOLIDAY!!

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Cheesy but true!

Saturday was a massive family romp around the woods and Puppy went off his lead for the first time. Such a fun family time together.

Sunday was the obligatory Ikea trip (Boy will do anything for a trip to that place, this time I got wise and left Toddler at home with Husband!) and whilst it was busy, he was an absolute delight and I really enjoyed watching him make grown-up storage decisions for his Lego collection (he went classic Trofast!)

Monday was haircuts and cinema with BFF and her babies. That screaming you heard all over Shropshire at 12pm...? That was Boy getting his fringe trimmed. Give me gin!

Yesterday was a lovely relaxed afternoon at home with Posh Mama and her girl. This was after Boy and I took the dogs for a walk and forgot our house keys so had to walk another mile to collect the spare from BFF!

I have learned the hard way that having plans each and every day of the holidays is a recipe for absolute disaster so today is totally plan-free. We are going to chill at home all morning, scoot down to school to see the forest school men on site and see how the new shelter/outdoor classroom is coming along and then head home for meatballs for tea (Toddler's request!)

On Thursday we are seeing Auntie and Niece (is there any of that gin left?!)

Friday we are...plan-free again. Woo!

Here's some snaps off my phone (did I tell you that I smashed yet another phone?! Groan!) Apologies if you've seen some of these before, I can't remember where I was up to before I fell silent once again??

Forest school planning...will we have ANY dry days this week? So much to do!

The benefits of locking yourself out of the house...!

New orchid (Ikea purchase, thanks v much!) and Husband's new rather expensive lamp.

Someone has had their bedguard removed. Someone now spends the majority of the night on the floor. I give in!

He really loves being able to hold the lead. Dog is too big and strong. Long may Puppy keep up this calm walking-to-heel!

Toddler and this blessed Mama

Half Term is HERE and we have nowhere else to be, taking our time in Chetwynd Firs.

So restrained!!

Happy Dog!

This was on the last Thursday of half term and he was positively limping towards the holidays... at this point he had been up there 22mins and was close to making us late. I had to laugh. It was either that or nail some gin at 7.45am!!

Besties (excuse the festive pjs, after this photo was taken I realised he was still wearing them and swapped them out for regular tartan trousers, honestly!)

Small treats to make this Mama smile.

My latest project. Am feeling the pressure.

Life with Boys, part 1 of 598.

Life with Boys, part 2!!

The Gina Ford dream-wee at 11pm!

What else is new? Let's see...

Forest school is coming along nicely and today there's been a huge delivery of equipment and 'furniture' which I need to unpack and assemble. Am aiming to have an unofficial opening on March 11th, keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Excited to unpack this!

Nana has now moved and is all settled in to her new pad. Boys have had their first sleepover which went well apart from Toddler vomiting in his bed at 11.30pm and Boy waking the household up at 5.45am to make pancakes...!!

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Puppy has decided that, no matter what I do, breakfast time is 6am. This is exhausting and frustrating as, after years of training and following the rules, Dog, Boy and Toddler are now following his lead and figuring, well hey, if she's up already we may as well all troop downstairs after her and demand breakfast too. Puppy has effectively shat all over 5.5yrs of Gina Ford intensive training, at least he sleeps through the night and doesn't poop on my floor. Can't have everything, I guess. And it's taken him 10 weeks, but he has finally figured out how to walk up the stairs, which is just as well really as I'm not sure I could have carried him up to bed for much longer, he weighs a tonne!

We've decided on Little Greene's Dock Blue for the snug chimney breast and I'm off to buy the paint today!

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Dog has his first hydrotherapy session in Lichfield last week and, once we'd persuaded him to get in, had a whale of a time. Soooo cute! (disclaimer: there's nothing wrong with him, it's just for fun)

Toddler dropped the small iPad, Husband hit the roof, I said I'd get it sorted then realised that I had never got round to listing it on our gadget insurance. Feck. So we're currently using a small iPad that's held together with electrical tape. It's a good look!

And I think that's it! We have finally taken the plunge and booked tickets for Legoland in May (secret from the boys) which is exciting. There will be no aeroplanes this year, too many exciting projects to start at the house, but we now have 3 trips in this country planned which is more than enough to keep anyone happy.

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Oh, I know, check out what I managed to nab in the Hush sale...

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Have been lusting after it for 2/3 bloody seasons and when I spotted one left in my size I jumped. Am still waiting for it to get here, so keep fingers crossed it fits me. I am going to wear it exactly as modelled above!

Right, am off to build some Lego models with my small loves before reluctantly getting them dressed and heading out for some fresh air. Have an awesome Wednesday, friends, might see you before the weekend ;-)