Friday, 31 December 2010

A mixed bag

It is that time when everyone is summing up their year in preparation for the coming one.

To be honest 2010 has passed me by in much of a blur, often quite literally. Depression will do that.

But here are some of the things that I have done:

Bought Clementine and started Glampervan;
Started training to coach people in their personal and professional impact;
Made lots of skirts;
Started a wonderful new romance.

I suppose that makes the year worth living.

Isobel has continued to grow up so rapidly I'm scared I may miss it. She is chatty beyond belief and likes to spend her day singing. Although I am not convinced that her version of Frere Jaques this evening were really the last words I wanted to hear from her in 2010:

Frere Jaques
Dormez-vous
Poo poo head
Wee wee on his face
Glitter in his eyes.

Oh well, as much as I still fail to be firm enough to turn her into a good girl, I love her dearly, and, while I'll give the poo and wee a miss, she will always be glitter in my eye.


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So there it was a merry Christmas

And it was a very merry Christmas.

Well, if you discount the fact that each and every member of the family took it turns to head to the out of ours gp service at the hospital. I think they were under the illusion that you get loyalty points or something and that somehow the turkey may be cheaper next year, leaving more money for presents.

This certainly was the year for presents, well for me anyway. I mean I was given amazing gifts I didn't even know I wanted. I am in love with a kind,e I would have scoffed at the idea of a few days ago....

And you can see this is being typed on an iPad... Well I am supposed to share that with Isobel and actually as I am typing through a haze of finger prints I can honestly say I have shared. (the only reason I am allowed to type on it now is because she isn't here - suggestions for apps gratefully received)

There was a ring... No not that kind, don't get ahead of yourselves.

Bath stuff and champagne and chocs... I could go on but let's just say I was spoiled.

That was me, little girl?

She has a beautiful baby doll, a new pram, a garage and a fire engine. Well balanced in terms of gender related gifts I feel - oh and very like pink, hooray!

As any beautiful little girl (notice I didn't use the word good) would expect, she had boxfulls of presents.

Thank you to everyone who has made our Christmas so special, especially the hand bell ringers and yes that includes you bell no. 8.

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Spot the new decorations




Many of my decorations I have had for years but I feel there will be something new every year now.

Mummy Christmas Fail

It so nearly could have been a failure on a catastrophic level.

The magic of Christmas - 'poof' gone in a puff of pantomime smoke.

I say nearly.

There have been a few small fails, like the handmade stocking from last year being visible around the house all year until December when in vanished without a trace. Perhaps it was snaffled by an elf.









But the big one, the one that would have been an absolute disaster; the one that would have meant broken hearts and shattered dreams quicker than you could drop a bauble?

Well that starts with a post I didn't write.

Isobel watches a lot more telly than would probably be approved off, for me as she plays and sings and dances and is happy I really do not care. Another Mummy fail is that all her favourite programmes are on commercial channels sprinkled rather liberally with adverts; adverts Isobel also ways viewed as an annoying interruption to her schedule.

Until the end of November.

In November Isobel graduated to being impressionable and from somewhere she finally got the idea that all these things were available. Just in time for Christmas no less.

Ignoring this sudden exploration of ALL that is available, I blithly went ahead and bought little girl's Christmas presents.

Now, thanks to the wonders of Peppa Pig one of these I have got spot on.

The other, yes she has only asked for two things, is nothing like the gift I bought.

Isobel has not deviated from her desire. Santa popped into nursery yesterday, leaving his Reindeer on the roof of course, but he only gave Isobel a book.

Little girl return home excited by the visit, but along with Reindeer on the roof her top comment was the lack of the gift she really wanted.

A BIG MUMMY FAIL - my daughter's first proper gift request was not to be granted.

So, I did what all good mother's would. Went to the toy shop at 9am and using the very lasy of my pennies (really, i'm not joking here,) bought the appropriate gift (well my version of her choice - i.e. wooden not plastic).

and I bought a Santa sack for £1 in Poundland to replace the AWOL one.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mummy Christmas success

Hooray! At last a simple proof of my practical nature and a hint of good mumminess:










Yes I ordered a sledge before the snow arrived!

Much easier than a pushchair and a definite way to win friends!

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Saturday, 18 December 2010

The only way to travel





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Friday, 17 December 2010

Hello my old friend

Dear Blog,

I feel I have been neglecting you of late, taking it for granted that you will always be there for me to return to should the mood strike.

Well, it does strike but somehow I don't get to you. For example there are many things I didn't tell you:

Like that when I sprained my ankle recently, Isobel had me getting down with the kids, it wasn't just hopping I had to do; according to Isobel is more a case of 'Hip-hop mummy, hip-hop' or 'come on mummy hip'. Probably for the only time in my life I was hip!

The there are the many ways Isobel will beckon me from her boudoir. One evening it escalated to Mummy, mummy, mummy ... to the tune of We will, we will rock you (I cannot write it without the we will, we will ...)

And then there is Isobel's first Christmas play but maybe I can build up to a whole post about that.

Here's to the festive season, to eating to much, drinking WAY too much and loving lots.

Lots of love,

as always

your absentee blogger

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Take on me, take me on

At four o'clock this morning I had a bit of an 'aha' moment.

Nope Morton Harket didn't appear at the foot of my bed, I always preferred Pal anyway...

It was simply this:

It's ok to be happy, it's very much allowed even for me.


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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

As snug as a....

Ladybird?






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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Princess and the Pea

Ok so Isobel isn’t a princess: ‘ I not a princess mummy, I Isobel F******’

And there isn’t a pea under mattress but I do seem to have been unable to tempt her away from her cot and into her ‘big girls bed’. Her ‘I not a baby mummy’ has been met with ‘so why do you sleep in a bay’s cot’ but this, it seems is just logic and we all know how easily dismissed logic can be.

I bought her a beautiful Iron day bed, picturing her lounging on it as she gets older.








I bought grobag bed linen so I could zip her in all cosy, hopefully replicating the snuggliness of her sleeping bags.

We have read stories on this bed every night since May; she has even volunteered to sleep in it, only to appear at the door five minutes later asking for her cot.

On the last visit to Grandma’s Isobel slept in a big girls bed; at Daddy’s he took down the travel cot and seemingly had no trouble tempting her into her bed.

Me, I thought I’d do that child centred laissez faire parenting thing of believing that maybe Isobel could choose for herself, when she was ready…

The cot came down yesterday evening.

Isobel was coaxed to sleep in her big girls bed by an attentive mummy answering all spurious requests that my ‘not a princess’ issued from upstairs…

The result?

Isobel slept in my bed with me.






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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Heartbroken

No, my new romance hasn't yet been short lived, but it seems to be the last straw for another relationship in my life.

PD and I may have broken up two years ago, but our lives have been very much entangled as we have supported each other emotionally and financially he has more than just contributed to his daughter, he has afforded me flexibility.

So maybe I shouldn't even have looked for another guy, maybe I should I have ensured I was fully independent first, but I just didn't think like that.

And now the timing of this breath of fresh air and hope and happiness in my life, seems to have overnight blown away any semblance of a friendship with PD.

And that makes me sad, very sad.

My timing couldn't have been worse, and I can't help feeling perhaps I should wait until both PD and I are in a better place.

And that too would make me sad, very sad.


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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Moving on?

As a single mum I think the most difficult thing I have had to do is dating.

I use 'have had to' very loosely because obviously I could quite simply stay single and fill my life with my daughter and girls nights out - actually that has served me pretty well.

Girlfriends urged me to sign up to Internet dating sites to meet men and probably most importantly get over PD.

Well Internet dating didn't really go to well, my heart wasn't in it and I never bothered to go on any dates - far too scary!

But as luck would have it, someone I already knew turned into a prospect, a surprising one, one I kind of fought because it seemed unlikely.

Now actually going on dates is relatively easy; PD has Isobel fairly regularly so great. Plenty of lead up, frock pondering and anticipation time.

But it's other things that are tricky.

When do you introduce new man to little girl, we are pretty much a package?

Overnight stays, I'm the kind of girl who runs out at 5am at the best of times, let alone when I have a daughter returning home at any minute.

When is it serious enough to tell PD; let's face it, it his little girl who will spending time with someone else.

How do I maintain the precious family dynamic that PD and I have battled to create?

When is the right time for that overnight stay to be allowed even though there is a possibility of three in a bed - not in a kinky way!

And most importantly, how do I not only prevent my heart from being broken but keep Isobel's intact too?

So far, for all this angst it seems to be worth it. I'm definitely smiling.


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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

OMG

Actually the title of this post is somewhat understated, it should read:

OH MY F*ING GOD!

You remember the little chap in Aint Half Hot Mum who used to shake his head going 'Goodness Gracious Me' well to fully appreciate the enormity of what I am describing he would have shaken his head so much it would have fallen off.

Isobel has just had the biggest tantrum I have ever seen, there is no scale big enough to measure it on.

She has just screamed for about 20 minutes.

Yes I do know that that is not good for health. Don't you think I would have stopped her if I could, well short of giving in of course.

What was it over? She wanted to go to bed in my bed; not her cot, not her big-girls-bed (a whole other post) but my bed.

I did everything: I walked away, I reasoned with her (yes I know but you have to try), I held her, I gave her space...

When she was ready I cuddled her and while she sobbed I talked about Friday in the way she had to me earlier:

Friday, Isobel will go to nursery and have her cornflakes. She'll play with her friends and have lunch. But, she won't have a sleep at nursery; mummy will come and pick her up and drive her in the car. Isobel will sleep in the car. Then we will go on the ferryboat and do some colouring. Then we will drive some more to go to Grandma's house and Grandma will give us a cuddle. Grandpa will come home from work and Jack will be on his bed. We will give Hayley her birthday present....

' *sob* I will have a bath *sob* at Grandmas while mummy has a shower *sob*'

And so ended the biggest tantrum n the world. Now she is in her cot reading Charlie Cook to her dinosaur.

I, on the other hand, am drinking a very nice, single malt in a measure that is directly proportional the size of the tantrum.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The family that hops together stays together

In the last 24 hours my daughter has:

Made me 'hop like a bunny' on the Platform at Richmond station;

Smile cheesily in a cafe (maybe it wasn't just Isobel who made me smile there);

And lay in bed with me as we coughed in harmony.

Well actually it went like this:

Me: Oh dear you have caught my cough

Isobel: No, mummy. I have my cough, you have your cough.

Isobel: Isobel's cough is LIKE mummy's cough.

Is it any wonder I find my self often having to be the baby while Isobel plays mummy.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Pinch and a punch

It's the first of November, October is over already - just in case you hadn't noticed.

October was quite a good month for me; it was a month for reconnected with peeps, for getting back in the swing of the social thing.

I have seen friends I hadn't seen for over a year; friends who have even published a book I didn't even know about, and this is someone I count amongst my dearest! Peeps have got married, pregnant and I have just been out of the loop. Too busy being a fruit loop I guess.

I'd stopped hosting lunches, stopped answering my phone and have even got out of the habit of answering emails (which reminds me I must reply as soon as I post this).

This month I have definitely been socially active and believe me, once I get past the anxiety, it feels good.

Let's face it any month that starts with a girly child free outing with my bestest friend has to be good.

Especially when it even ends with a hot date...

Friday, 29 October 2010

Happy Halloween








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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Baba

'I not a baby mummy; I a big girl.'

Most of the time I do agree.








But, for just a few minutes after bathtime, she still is. Don't you agree?








(ok she will always be a baby to me)


Sorry

Sorry is a really small word and one that can be tossed around, often without thought, as a quick fix.

Recently, as I've mentioned before, Isobel has been a bit of a pickle and she has started apologising for her behaviour.

I often hear 'sorry mummy'.

Now, I know I should be pleased that she apologises and, that it is quite valid that I feel a little disappointed that it has been necessary (disappointed in both her and in me).


The thing is it actually gives me the fear. Maybe I feel like I am always apologising for being me; perhaps I remember that feeling if knowing that I have disappointed someone who I just want to love me; or maybe it's because I want Isobel to know my unconditional love.

Or maybe I do just want her to be good.






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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

My little ray of sunshine

This morning I was greeted by a grumpy little girl who could see no good in anything.

In fact I was even driven to ask 'what do you like today?'

The response to which was 'Daddy'.

So I pointed out the joyous news that she would see daddy this evening after nursery. But, even that wasn't quite good enough.

First it was 'Daddy come to our house, no go to daddy's house mummy please?'

When that was agreed, a new plan was contrived: 'we go cafe, westraunt, mummy daddy and mummy too. Please mummy. Okay. Okay mummy please?'

Now I didn't even know that she knew the word restaurant!

So we rung PD, who started his commute to the sound of his daughter requesting to dine out.

Luckily Isobel's idea of a restaurant is Pizza Express.










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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Mummy calling Starship Enterprise

Every mother has moments when she wishes the ground would swallow her or better still that Scotty would beam her child up.

Every mother of a two year old has these moments twice as often.

Today I hosted, what used to be a regular, lunch. We had big news to celebrate: an engagement, a marriage and a baby on the way and I only had two couples as guests.

It was an opportunity for catching up and also a perfect time for one of those proud mummy moments when other people meet your angel mini-me and congratulate you on being such a fab parent that you have created a perfectly lovely little girl.

Well that was the plan.

Isobel had other ideas. She had just come back from PDs and she had only had half-hour nap and I had woken her up and she's two, and......

I can make excuses but she smacked little Sam on the Trampoline; she threw a ball at him when he was taking a turn on her bike, smacked him for .... I can't remember, my mind has blanked it out.

In the end Isobel was very eager for Sam to go home and he was equally pleased to have her hand him his shoes and dummy and wave bye bye. Actually they were so pleased to say good bye they kissed.





Thursday, 21 October 2010

Our house

Has two floors: down-downstairs and up-downstairs.

And our garden has a big top:







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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mothers and daughters

Today is my Mummy's birthday. Isobel has been excited about Grandma's birthday, she has made a card and has so far resisted posting it as she wants to give it to her.

The relationship between a Mother and daughter has to be one of the most difficult in the world. I am incredibly close to my Mum but it's not always easy.

Maybe mothers and daughter's are too alike; they always know which buttons to press and often without meaning to can hurt the deepest.

I can talk to my Mummy about anything, I can run away home when life gets too much and I know she feels my hurt. I think we are even beginning to dress alike (she is copying me I hasten to add)

Happy Birthday Mummy, I love you...

But, I'm scared witless about having a daughter myself!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Out of the mouth of my babe

On Saturday my daughter called me a 'slag'.

Now I'm the first to admit that, in my past, I have had my slutty moments but I would never be described as a slag!

I (like to) think it was a slip of the tongue as PD was trying to teach her that term of affection he uses for me and his mum: old bag....

But I really can't fathom how she got to slag!


Oh, as I typed that I can: it's yet another one of PDs pet names for me.

(I promise he doesn't mean it, he is just misguided and sometimes it's wishful thinking in his part!)


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Monday, 11 October 2010

Birthday resolution

I believe birthday resolutions should always involve a positive action, not be something you will no longer do but something you will.

So, this year I resolve to believe a little more.

I will believe in myself, in love and in happy ever afters.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Birthday Boxing Day

Today is the day after my birthday and I should be up and at 'em, putting my best foot forward and brimming with positive resolutions for the next year.

But, my feet ache, my head is throbbing, my ears are ringing, my mouth feels like a badgers bottom (not that I have ever licked one -honest),and my diet red ambulance is in the fridge downstairs which is too far away.






Yes, I had a great night!

And I am giving thanks that I do not have a two year old bouncing on my head.

I'll make resolutions after my shower when my drinkers self loathing fades.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Things my daughter has said to me this week

Waking up time mummy. Stretch. Come on Mummy stretch.


Zabracadabra make mummy's hands dispear; zabra mummy's hands better again.
Zabrabcabra make Mummy's face dispear; ooh not like that mummy.
zabra mummy pretty again; Oh.


(me: have you played nicely today?) No, I fight Emily.


I don't like that dress mummy, nooo mummy. *points to dress I'M wearing*


So looking forward to her being a teenager - not


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The End

Yes, yes I know that sounds awfully dramatic, but I do like a bit of drama.

It's just that this last weekend has had me thinking a lot about ends while trying to focus on the continuings.

Sunday was the fifth anniversary of the loss of my beloved James, an end that could not be more definite, the curtain call from which there is no encore. A lesson that love cannot conquer cancer but that it can allow you to hold on to memories, sad and happy, memories that show you have lived.

I was home for the weekend to celebrate (in advance) my birthday and to ensure I had enough love to wrap myself in when the worst of the memories come flooding back. There is always a lot of love when surround by my family, long may that continue.

Then on Monday I was literally stopped in my tracks by a sign that something else has come to an end. I drove down the lane to 5 High, my true north, to find the gates closed and padlocked. Indeed I didn't park in the yard as I always have. No-one lives there any more.

More memories: memories of the old wooden gates that were there when a studio formed a bridge over the top; the small yale locked door you unlocked to go in and open the big wooden gates; falling down the drain when standing behind someone unlocking the little door, my poetry book still tells the tale - I was clutching it at the time; catching the bumper of my Renault on the wooden gates as I reversed up the lane with Grandad yelling 'left-hand down' etc. - directions that never helped but served to fluster, he was a navigator and I can't tell left from right....

I guess the memories continue even when a part of a life ends.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Dear Darwin

What biological imperative does whinging and whining satisfy?

Because surely it must act contrary to a toddlers survival instinct.



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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Things we have learnt this summer

Isobel has learnt that chilli makes her 'tongue feel funny'

She learnt to catch at the begining of the summer and you have never seen anyone smile so wide.

Isobel has also discovered that 'RossandAmanda' is actually one person called Ross and another called Amanda, not two people both with the name 'RossandAmanda'.

She knows all the words to 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear' but we have also learnt that there are two different editions.

Little girl can pierce her own drink carton and open her own yoghurt.

She is an expert at balancing.

What have I learnt?

That my daughter will always amaze an delight me...

except with her learning of the phrase 'I don't like...'; a phrase I never knew could be repeated and applied so often in the space of ten minutes. Funnily enough she has yet to say 'I don't like chocolate'.



Tuesday, 21 September 2010

My true north

Some people think the magnetic north is located somewhere near the north pole; it's not true. Well, not for me anyway.

My true north lies at 5 High.

A month ago we scattered my Grandfather's ashes off the end of the pier, he took two sisters with him (in ash form obviously!), so he will not be short of 'head leaders'.

A few weeks ago my Aunt rang and asked if there was anything from the house I wanted as Grandma is not going to live there any more, so these are the things I would like:

I would like the outside shower full of sand after we have all come back from the beach;

the sound of feet swinging on the black box outside the loo while we all queue to spend a penny before going out;

telling stories of Maggie the witch who lives through the hatch in the loo;

Grandma and Grandad's bed scaled with the help of a chair as we all pile in;

the fairies that danced in the fire while we toasted crumpets;

the twin beds that Katy and I slept in - my blankets remaining beautifully tucked in after I slept like a 'princess' and watching Katy struggle to remake hers the next morning.

Wardrobes full of cousins as we play sardines at Christmas.

The poster grandma would put on my bedroom door at Christmas when I was little;

the claw foot bath ...

I could go on about the summers I worked with Grandparents; my Grandma meeting me off the bus for a weekend with them..

but actually as I have typed this I have realised that many of my 5 high memories are also memories of my cousins, and all the summers we spent together, and I guess we still all have each other and the Hut.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

It's time...

to hang up my flip flops; summer is over.

There is a slight chill in the air which means if I do not hurry there will be no time left to write down the posts that have been percolating in my head in the sunshine.

It's time to get back to two things I love but am out of the habit of: blogging and yoga!








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Sunday, 5 September 2010

Step away from the sewing machine

My mother has told me she is 'sick of seeing bloomin skirts' , she didn't say bloomin but I am being polite. She also mentioned that I may be addicted to sewing at the mo, if that is the case then Backstitch.co.uk should cut me off, wonderful 'dealer' that they are.

It was this book that suddenly started me off again, 'Lovely Things to Make For Girls of Slender Means' by Eithne Farry. I just saw it by the till at Foyles, it called to me and I bought it. In fact both my skirts were made from this book.

Lovely Things to Make for Girls of Slender Means

Then I found the Grosgrain Blog and her 'Frock by Friday' - hence the blue dress.

Sewing has given me far more satisfaction that I remembered. I like the feeling of having made something, and yes being complimented on it makes it more so. (Just as well no one looks too closely, I'm not a great and accurate seamstress.)

It's not just that, it is kind of meditative, it stops me ruminating, stress and generally being anxious.Let's face it, it has meant I done' have too much time to fret about PD being out of work; or how I will juggle being a mum with maintaining a job, retraining for a new career and if I will be able to afford to follow that career let alone manage to logistics of getting across London whilst doing nursery drop of and pick up, once I have trained; or how we scattered Grandad's ashes off the pier so he really is gone; should I get a boob job; whether or not Glampervan we will be the success we need it to be because we love Clementine so much; should I get a boob job; blah blah blah.....

And it doesn't leave my hands free to blog or to tweet.

The fact that it let's me have pretty and original outfits is a bonus too!

One last picture, I made this for Isobel who refused to have her picture taken but wore it for two days.








Normal service will now
resume. Well once I have made a couple more dresses for Isobel, fixed her curtains, a skirt and dress AND a top for me... guess the sewing machine won't be going away anytime soon.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I will stop sewing and start blogging soon






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Friday, 20 August 2010

I will be a good mum and start sewing for baba tomorrow promise

Today I made this from the free coffee date dress pattern on burdastyle.com. It need jigging, but I think it's ok:




(will look better with a bra!)

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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Suffering for my art!

That's a very grand title and probably not entirely true.

Actually my blog has been suffering for the sake of my sewing...

On Wednesday evening I made this butterfly dress with fabric from backstitch.co.uk and a pattern from burdastyle.com











On Thursday evening I made this












Then I went to the Isle of Wight...

Then yesterday evening I made this outfit










The skirt was an eBay dress and I ran the top up.

Tonight I have cut out the pieces for a dress, but it looks frightfully small!

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Monday, 16 August 2010

Hipstamatic - my weekend seventies stylie

Loving the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone!

And loving the seaside if course...
















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Saturday, 14 August 2010

How old am I?

I have just been to a school friend's party, in a sixth form haunt; I was driven there by step-father and picked up by mummy.

How old do you think I am?


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Friday, 13 August 2010

Always a day away

At 4:30 this morning I had definitive proof that my baba has a grasp of days and time.

She doesn't always remember the days of the week but recognises them as markers in space time continuum (no, Isobel doesn't use those exact words, that would be freaky!).

Yesterday we had much chat about how we were grandma's tomorrow, Isobel pointed out that that was after sleep, a good start of the recognition.

At 4:30 this morning little girl was standing up in her cot singing 'i go to grandma's today!'.

If my head hadn't been buried under my pillow I would have joined in.


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Thursday, 12 August 2010

What's wrong with this picture?







Yes, you guessed it - Isobel is wearing Crocs.

This is something I fought a long hard internal battle over.

The fact that Al Pacino wears them didn't stop me signing up to the 'when-I-see-Crocs-I-throw-up-a-little-in-my-mouth' club.

But, after going through a pair of expensive sandals in a day, I begun to see why they could be good for little ones who drag their feet while riding cars. My cousin Katy would have certainly stubbed her toe less if she'd had them growing up.

This little debate has gone on for more than a month; I discussed it with other Croc haters and we agreed we couldn't do it.

But, I was wavering.

Then when we went Camping and I saw Erica had given in and bought 'Vieve a pair, I knew it would all be ok.

I am still a gladihater though and will not be buying Crocs or Gladiators for myself. But I said that about fitflops...


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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Cooking the books

I am an accountant in denial; one who really hates numbers and spreadsheets.

My daughter loves playing with a calculator, although I am happy to say she uses it as a telephone.

But seriously, cooking the books?






Ps. I'd rather she was a pirate










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Friday, 6 August 2010

The one in which we attempt to be literary - well nearly

Hi my name is surprise mum and I am a book addict.

That actually wasn't a tough admission, it's try I am a voracious reader, I devour books and consume them like some people do chocolate. My favourite people tend to be the same.

As Isobel is definitely one of my favourite people and she is heading the same way, so we have been reading ALOT; and like all little bookworms we are big fans of the Gruffalo and all things Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler.

I suspect everyone has heard the theory that there are only actually seven stories, and everything is a variation upon a theme but I was very surprised to hear a Turkish fairy story where the Hodja (wise man) advises a man who feels his house is cramped to take in all his pets and then remove them in order to appreciate the space he has - Squash and a Squeeze anyone?

Then I was reading the new Scarlett Thomas book the other day (a great book, full of fascinating literariness, has inspired me to read Aristotle's Poetics next), and one of the characters recounts a chinese fairy tale about a tiger who captures a fox. the fox makes the tiger walk behind him to prove that actually the fox is the scariest animal - sounding familiar?

At first I admit to being miffed that they weren't original stories, but now I think good on them for invigorating the originals, if they carry on like this we have many more to look forward to but I'd love to know which one inspired The Snail and the Whale.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mummy fail - yet again

I really didn't think being a mum would be easy.

I never wanted to have a perfect angel child, because somehow children that are too good give me the creeps.

I always wanted a child with something about her, a bit of a spark, an adorable cheekiness.

I certainly never intended to spoil my child.

But most of all, I thought I would be FAR FAR better at discipline than I am.

I'm as firm as my thighs (clue: I haven't done yoga for months!, my voice becomes so high pitched I can join in with the twilight barking and I have no idea why evolution gave us whining.

I think I will just go sit on the naughty step a while.*


*I tried the naughty step on Isobel and she thought it was funny, so funny she would come back in smack PD again and say 'I go sit on step', she would sit on the step and repeat the whole exercise.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Gallery Play

Sticky Fingers: The Gallery: Week 22


I love this camping picture.  It was the evening, and Isobel was running towards me, still playing as the sun sets.

Yes, at last I have managed to take part in The Gallery!  (Even if I did use this as an excuse to repost a picture from Monday)

Monday, 2 August 2010

We went glamping in a Glampervan

I've never really been camping before, well not in this country but on the basis of a romantic notion I went ahead and bought a campervan.


Yes I set up Glampervan to help me pay for it, but the main purpose was to literally provide a vehicle for entertainment and travel for me and my little girl.

It would be dreadful if we hated it. We didn't even hire one first.

Luckily we loved it. We took more seasoned campers with us on our first trip, Erica-May and Genevieve were our guides and although we heard more 'mine!'s from the two girls than we did bird song from the trees, we couldn't have asked for better company.

This may have been my first trip but I already feel qualified to offer words of wisdom (yes, I'll show you pictures in a minute but 'stuff' first:

Baking scones before you go means instant cream tea and happy campers!

Take pre-cooked chicken and sausages so that on your first evening and morning you can throw these on on the barbie and dinner will be ready in a time frame suited to two year olds.

Garlic bread and corn-on-the-cob cook well just wrapped in the fire and placed in the coals.

If the log man comes late on day one buy two bags so you can light the fire for supper before little girls want to go to bed - genius Erica, pure genius.

Make wishes on sugar sprites in the fire - sprinkle sugar and see the sprites.

Make sure your daughter wakes up peacefully and slowly on her last morning or she will be grumpy and cry for the television and her cot the whole time you pack up - this will not make that chore any easier.

Hand written signs on the side of the road are worth following for a little fair magic.

Oh, and it may take three attempts for a much asked for pony ride to be successful.

The camper may also provide hours of fun.





Tuesday, 27 July 2010

It's worth every penny

I experienced a moment of complete and utter joy today.

A moment I would pay any money for, yet a moment we will repeat many times over the coming years.

Where was I when I had this moment? I was on the M25.

We were in Clementine, sitting side by side in the front of our camper (the joy of no airbag), we were wearing our sunnies and singing baa baa black sheep at the top of our voices!

Who knew heaven was the M25.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 26 July 2010

Living the dream

Let's face it there is always something about the lives of the rich and famous that we covet.

Isobel and I really are living the dream; we have a life you only see on telly.

If I was to tell you that Grandpa has a boat












And that 'we're going on holiday in a campervan,'










would you know who's life it is we lead?


Yes, we are living the Peppa pig dream!

















Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Left-hand drive is child's play




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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Nobody told me but I'm telling you...

Nobody told me that being a mum would give me calluses on the TOPS of my feet and on my knees.

Nobody told me that floor boards leave an imprint on your cheek if you fish under the settee for long enough.

Nobody told me that my voice would go up enough octaves to be heard by dogs.

Nobody told me that I would suddenly find camping cool

or that I would contemplate wearing shorts.

And most certainly no one told me that I would do this on my own.

(Nor that sometimes I would incredibly grateful that I am a single mum)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Hello, I'm back

I have been neglecting my blog; I've been writing posts in my head but never committing them.

So what have I been doing with my time? Well, the crochet induced RSI is a clue, the Glampervan on the side bar of the blog is another. In fact they are both connected. Yes, I have been crocheting a seventies style Afghan for Clementine the campervan.

Unfortunately setting up Glampervan has involved slightly more than simply getting out my crochet hook, internet shopping for plates and tents, and making cushions. There's the website, the insurance, the drooling over camping books such as The Camper Van Cookbook and Cool Camping Kids book. Oh and there are merchant accounts, blah blah blah.

And now the bank has messed up my money transfer so I still haven't collected Clementine.

But I have run out of wool so here I am saying hello!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

He's older but no wiser

Happy birthday PD




Amazing though it may seem, we don't look at other Daddies and wish we had them instead of you. Xx

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Story Time

Sunday evening, following her bath Isobel had PD and I lie down on my bed.  At first she lay in the middle and then she moved to other end.

'All tobeber close eyes'

Which we did.

And the she proceeded to tell us a story:

'Once buponatime...'

it was a short story, because then it was:

'Wakey, Wakey!'

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A sign of beauty

Isobel has her first freckle.

My Great Auntie Rita always used to tell me freckles were a sign of beauty and it must be true because I'm covered in them!

(Mind you her father has plenty too)

I was quite excited to spot it, but not in the dying-woman-on-Beaches-who-names-each-of-her-daughters-freckles kind of a way.

But is this a sign that I haven't put enough suncream on her?

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Baring all

No this isn't me baring my soul; it isn't an 'oh I'm depressed, anxious and unloved'; I don't have the back of my hand pressed to my forehead in a dramatic 'woe is me' kind of a way.

Nope, this about taking off all ones clothes and running around naked! Bare bummed, in the nod, whatever you choose to call it. But, I promise that my getting naked in public is so last year, literally last year.

Isobel has taken to running around sans clothes. Yesterday, she spent much of the day running in and out of the garden; jumping on the trampoline and generally being bare bummed.

And I must say, I really don't have an issue with this. Don't all children do it? Isn't it natural for a child to run round unfettered in this way?

PD does seem to have an issue, even down to questioning that a perve maybe standing staring in the front window of our quiet residential street. (I have new frosting on there now, so this can't be the issue now.)

Other parents seem to have an issue as they struggle at a BBQ in my back garden to stop their children doing the same.

Isobel wore a bikini to a recent BBQ where I knew there was going to be a paddling pool. This wasn't out of any prudishness on my part but was simply her choice of outfit. I'm now glad she did because it means I can post the video of the fun she had without fear of miss use.

But, again isn't it sad that I even have to think that way?

I'm sure I ran around naked at the age of two? What's wrong with it?





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Adjectives and other words

No Isobel does not know her nouns from her pro-nouns yet, It's just that I have been amazed at hr a child's language develops.

First it was little girl's correct use of 'too' that surprised me; 'mummy too' when going to the park with daddy etc

But recently things have become 'really stuck' or Isobel is suddenly 'really busy mummy' just when it is bathtime.

Isobel and Elif were having a long conversation about buses the other morning:

I: 'Bus!'
E: 'Bus!'
I: 'Big bus'
E: 'Red bus'
I: 'Bus really heavy'

You can't argue with that, can you.

Cyber stuff

Well if starting a new business hadn't already distracted me from the path of righteousness that is (mummy) blogging, missing Cyber Mummy may well and truly put me on th back foot.

The mummyrati will be there and I won't. I won't be there for many reasons such as no childcare; but I will be more than compensated than the arrival of my bestest friend Miss B.

I'll be compensated but will my blog?! I guess I best pay it some attention over the coming weeks

PS. If anyone would like my cyber mummy ticket please let me know - all reasonable offers

You can always tweet me @surprisedzoe

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Busy Bee

No prizes for guessing that that is a VW camper in the previous post.

But, Clementine (yes we have named her, well by we I mean me!) is very nearly ours. Anyone who has ever read any of my posts will know I am the sort of girl who has MANY romantic notions and even more aspirations; Clementine is actually a combination of the two.

I have images of my little girl and I touring France in our camper, it's taken me a while to get to grips with what I'll do in the evenings once she is bed, but I've sussed it - I just need an epic novel to read by my campfire. As a practice run, I've booked us into Britchcombe Farm.

But I am not a born hippy, I do not intend to spend our lives living in the back of the camper. No, and neither have a won the lottery, so I've turned this romantic notion into a business: Glampervan!

Wish us luck: I'm not sure which we need more for the business or the camping.

(More changes are afoot, I'll tell you more when I can breathe)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010