Monthly Archives: October 2013

Having a year ‘off’ work..

Sometimes my head feels like its going to explode with everything in it. I have lists running through my head all the time of things that need doing in order to keep things running – I just can’t keep up with everything and I feel stressed all of the time. Even when I have a break I’m just waiting to do the next job on my list. And it’s weird because the list never ever ends.

So much for full time mum-hood being easy then. I was stressed when I worked full time too, and under a lot of pressure (balancing a house, child, and full time job is chaos in case you’re wondering!) but I would say that this is equally stressful, and at times I feel like screaming that its so difficult, and I don’t know how people do it. Because my house is never how I want it, nothing ever gets fully done, and I never get to do all of the things I have in my head that a perfect mum does.

Yesterday I went for tea with some work colleagues. It was lovely, but something one of them said stuck out. I was talking to L about how she’s struggling at work due to the caseloads at the minute. T stepped in and said to L (direct quote) ‘well, you know what you need to do then. Get up the duff and have a year off.’ Now, I don’t particularly have a close relationship with this colleague, and I just laughed it off at the time. But it’s stuck in my head.

I wonder how many people think that I got pregnant just to have a year off work (i didn’t). I wonder how many of them realise that it’s so not a year off. It’s a year of lists, stress, never getting done, not having as much money, not having child free time (I’m still breastfeeding, so time away is limited to 3 hours max and is very rare anyway!) it’s hard, hard work mentally and emotionally. It’s rewarding – I’ve blogged before about how there are magical moments in each and every day – but it’s not just a ‘year off’ relaxing and going out and about either. I still have early mornings, long days and my time begins when my kids are in bed at 7-8 apart from the odd half hour. And even then I’m up at night 2-3 times, and ‘my time’ includes getting a shower! Being a full time mum is as much of a full time job as the job I’m on pause from.


Fake away – puff pastry pizza


I haven’t done a recipe post for a whole, so I wanted to blog about one of our favourites for our Friday not film night. On a Friday I do an easier tea – usually something like hot dogs or pizza. But. Hate buying the frozen pizzas as they’re so unhealthy, and so i make my own. It’s still not healthy (or anywhere near!) but it does have a load of veg hidden in the sauce and in the topping which balances it out a bit at least.

I buy a puff pastry block of pastry (they’re roughly £1.25 and can make two pizzas. Or if you’re really lazy the ready to roll puff pastry makes less, but is easy to just unroll on a baking tray and top. Puff pastry can also be frozen, so if you have too much just cut the block up and freeze the extra. I actually have some other recipe ideas that I want to try with puff pastry as its so versatile, which I will blog another time 🙂

Then. Make my sauce. For mine I chop up onions, mushrooms, peppers and corgette. Fry off all the veg, add passata and whatever you like to flavour it (I use tomato puree, garlic, basil, oregano, brown sauce, Worcester sauce, soy sauce, salt). Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool. When cool, blend up (I use a hand blender) and its ready. I make double, so It lasts a couple of weeks, and I freeze the other half.

Then the toppings. I usually use pepperoni but this isn’t necessary if trying to make it cheaper! And veggies – peppers, mushrooms, red onion, corgette. I chop a load and let my daughter decorate it all – she helps with it all, but likes this bit the best! Then add mozzerella to on top, either greater or just rip the balls up.

Pop it in the oven, leave it for 20 minutes and its done. It’s gorgeous – the puff pastry makes it really nice and textured on the base. It costs more than just buying a cheap frozen pizza, but its so much nicer, and slightly healthier!

Let me know if you try it:)


A monster ate my mum book review


The book

A monster ate my mum is a children’s book, written and self published by Jen Faulkner (which I personally am very impressed by!) It’s aim is to explain post natal depression (or depression) to children who may be wondering why their mum seems so sad…

I reviewed the e-book, and was really impressed by how easy it was to download. It took just seconds to open, and I opened it on my iPad both in PDF and in iBooks, both were really easy and quick to open, and has the beenfit of always having a book to hand when out and about 🙂

My impressions

I want to start by saying that my mum had depression when I was 11 after my little sister was born. There were a lot of reasons, but my mum really struggled to cope emotionally for a couple of years. I’ve never discussed that time with her properly, but I do remember a couple of things really strongly. I remember wanting to help and not knowing how. I remember thinking that if I could just do / say the right thing it would make my mum feel better. And I remember times when I wondered if she would ever feel better. As a grown up, I know that my mum did ‘find her smile’ again, and I think that those times had some really positive effects on me – it taught me empathy, and taught me how much courage it can sometimes take to get through a day.

Now, back to the book. Because of my experiences I was really keen to review this book. I have to say that this book was brilliant from my perspective. It looks fantastic – the illustrations really stand out, and the cover really draws attention to the book. I love the watercolour effect, and the colours used.I like the simplicity of the illustrations, allowing the words to take centre stage.

I feel that this book makes a lot of sense, and can explain a lot of complex issues in a simple way, but is also positive in that it explains that the sadness won’t last forever. I think that it is a great starting point to an open conversation between a mum and child who are in this situation, and where the mum is struggling to explain her feelings.

I love the rhyming – it deals with some quite serious themes, and I felt that the rhyming just made it more gentle. I think that it could help children to come to talk about some of the topics in a gradual, gentle way. And it could allow a mum to explain some of what she is feeling to her children f she can’t find the words.

It reads really well out loud when read to a child. And Amelia was able to repeat some of the sections – after just one reading I would start it then pause, and Amelia could fill the gap quickly.) to me, that’s always a sign that she’s really listening, and that the words make sense to her because she remembers them.

Amelia’s thoughts

– Amelia said that she likes this book, but doesn’t like the monsters because they ate the mum.
– Amelia asked why the monsters ate the mums smile.
– Amelia asked at the end if that means the mum is happy again now.
– Amelia took the book very literally (but then, she is only nearly 4).
– I was asked at the end of the book if I could read it again, straight afterwards. This hasn’t happened with any other book. I think maybe its so that she could process some of the ideas in the book. I asked Amelia after that if she would like to read it again another day and she said she would.
– Amelia noticed that on one illustration there is a green monster that is nowhere else in the book.

I wold highly recommend this book, either the e-book or paper version. If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here: a monster ate my mum. The e-book is only 99p and the paper version is £5.99 – both bargains for what is such a lovely book.


Meal planning Monday

Well, yesterday the clutch broke in the car. It’s in the garage, but that means no car. I usually shop on a Sunday but didn’t yesterday, so it’s all about planning with what we’ve got. We have enough in freezer but nothing in fridge apart from carrot a bit of milk and butter. Oh well 🙂 add to that that my pay halved today as maternity pay goes down, and I have gone from wanting to budget to needing to if I want to buy Xmas presents for people!

Meals for the week:

Today- spaghetti and meatballs. I already have meatballs out,n sauce ready in freezer and spaghetti. Pretty cheap, easy and have everything. 🙂 and its my boyfriends favourite too lol.

Tuesday – pork chops, mash and frozen veg. Again got evening -got loads of potatoes left, pork in freezer and one carrot and plenty of frozen veg.

Wednesday – home made fish fingers, beans and wedges.

Thursday – halloween tea here. In laws are bringing pumpkin soup, I’m going to make hot dogs, green jelly with jelly bugs in, maybe home made pizza, and some kind of cake 🙂 my sister is bringing a chilli. Think, so will have plenty. Got to make some pictures later too, ready to stick up 🙂

Friday is family film night – my girl loves this. I reckon. Might do bacon sandwiches and microwave popcorn this week.

Saturday – not sure yet. Either jacket potatoes or tuna pasta I think.

Sunday – I’d like to make a roast chicken Sunday dinner, just got to buy a chicken 🙂

That’s it for this week, mostly using what I already have, other than a few bits.


Meal Planning Monday

Where I live


I live in a town called grimsby? Have you heard of it? If you have, is it because its a/ a fishing town or b/ because its not very nice? You’d be right – it’s famous for being an old fishing town, and I have uncles who were fishermen. When the trade collapsed they ended up only with long term alcohol problems.

My parents were born in grimsby. Me and my sisters were born here. My girls were born here. I’ve lived here all my life, except for three years in Sheffield for uni, and 2 years in Preston. Both were okay, and we seriously considered moving to Lancashire as its beautiful, but in the end I found out I was pregnant, and that meant I wanted to come home, where my family are.

I like grimsby. As a place it’s okay – there are woods, fields, the sea is close by, parks, ponds and streams. There is green space. The houses are more affordable than some places, I have a job, and I have people who love us here.

For me, my family makes here home. My parents, nana, in laws, sisters etc. I have lots of support daily, and without this support I wouldn’t be fulfilled or happy. I wouldn’t really be me. My memories are here too. I have great memories of den making in the local woods, of playing in the streets, of riding my bike. When I lived away i didn’t have the same connections to the place I was. Here, I just know it and because I know it I feel comfortable.

My girls are growing up with brilliant family relationships. I had that, and I’m so glad that they will have that. They will understand like I do that family is always there, they love you unconditionally. There are nicer areas to live, but the area can’t give you hugs, can’t offer to babysit. I live next door but one to my parents, who live in the house I lived in from being about 8. I remember the lady who lived where I live now. I used to wave to her and see her in the garden a lot. Because I knew her, I feel that I know the history of our house, and feel a connection to the house.

So, even if grimsby is not that nice, if I could choose to live anywhere I’d still choose here.

I saw a blog post by hurrah for gin on where you live, originally posted by not supermum who wanted to find out what people thought of where they lived.


Silent Sunday


Messy play


It’s an awful rainy day today so I decided its a perfect day to get the cornflour goo out for a bit of messy play, and a discussion about liquids / solids etc while we’re at it 🙂

I used to do this a lot when Amelia was youg, haven’t done it for months though. She loves it – I basically just let her do what she wants – she made spaghetti cakes, pasta in ice cubes ‘for baby food’ a witches potion, all sorts. We talked about textures – squid grey, soft, hard, gooey etc.

We have basically had loads of fun with stuff we already had in the house 🙂

If you want to do this too, buy some cornflour, just add with water – we put food colouring in too, and just mix until its the right texture – hard, but goes soft when stirred / touched.
Then just get out whatever else you have to play with – pots, pans, spoons, whatever.
I like to add uncooked pasta and half cooked cold spaghetti too just to add to the textures etc. but it’s basically up to you, go with what your child likes.


Another ice activity..


This week, as another activity, we used ice again as Amelia enjoyed melting ice cubes so much last week. This week, as a re-enforcement of last time, I decided to freeze some of her toys into a big container, and then to see if we could ‘rescue’ them from the ice.

This went really well. At first, Amelia didn’t think of melting the ice, and so we tried to stab it with different things. Then I suggested that we needed to melt it, and Amelia remembered that we need warm water. So I filled a bigger bowl with warm water (this was fine, but took replacing a few times) and in the end. Let Amelia pour the warm water in herself.

This was a really good activity to do with Amelia – it took about 20 minutes, then water play afterwards. Amelia wanted to do it again straight afterwards, always a food sign! I have promised her that we will do different coloured ice cubes another day 🙂 I’m wondering if I can do a ‘mixing the colours to make different colours’ as part of the same activity.

Meanwhile, we have cornflour goo to make, coloured rice to play with and do some craft with, some handprint art t make and a volcano 🙂 loads planned for half term week! I would love to home school her next year, but just can’t afford to not go back to work, and I’d be worried that shed be bored without having school friends. However, I love doing different activities with her and we both have a lot of fun 🙂


I don’t remember…


I want to capture every second of every day that I spend with my girls. They are the magic ingredient that makes my life what it is – I am woken up early in the morning, and I want to be grumpy, but something that Amelia says makes me smile despite myself, and makes my world brighter just by being there. I love the morning snuggles, getting a smile or laugh from baby Rosie, silliness. I know it is the same for almost any parent and its nothing new, but my children absolutely capture my heart.

And it terrifies me that I forget. Amelia is almost 4 now, and I just can’t remember her as a baby. I can’t associate the Amelia of now with the Amelia as a newborn, a toddler. I remember magical moments – usually they come to me as a completely random memory, but I can’t remember the absolute joy that I felt when she smiled as a baby. Some things I’ve just forgotten, and some things I remember, but in black and white instead of in colour. I look at photographs of Amelia, and I can’t remember a time when she looked like that, was like that, except for snatches of memories, glimmers of a time passed.

It’s still magic, and they still captivate me every day. But I’m scared, because as they grow up I know I can’t stop myself forgetting. Can’t stop time, and cant stop the colour leaking out of my memories. I don’t want to forget and I don’t want to lose them as they grow up.

I love my girls, and every little thing I forget feels like just a betrayal to them, because I’ve forgotten things I should never forget.

Is this just me? It’s something I’ve never asked before, and its something I struggle to put into words. But before I know it they will be grown, and there will be a million days that have got lost in time, and will never be remembered again. This really really scares me.

Silent Sunday