Saturday, 27 February 2010

Book Club - My Review of Lorna Doone

Phew boy do I wish I'd selected an easier book to kick off the book club! I really couldn't get into it at first as the archaic language and the use of Dorset/Somerset dialect didn't make it the best book for a tired brain...

But I finally finished it yesterday and it was worth the effort.

I have to say that I'm glad that I was born in the 20th and not the 17th century as the women in the book do seem to have raw deal in the story. The main character John Ridd seems quite a misogynist but then that was presumably the norm at the time. This did make the book off putting as it goes against all my modern feminist views.

It does paint a fascinating picture of life as a yeoman farmer in the 1600s at a time of turmoil and social upheaval. I had heard about some of the real life characters from my history lessons but the author brings some colour to them by showing them from a "normal" person's perspective.

I guess the character closest to the way I see myself is Lizzie even though her big brother puts her down all the time. She is a bookworm who knows a lot about history but hasn't got the housewifely skills that were expected of her at the time. She definitely doesn't get good press from J. R. but that doesn't mean she was a bad girl at all.

Once I got used to it the fact that the dialogue was written in the local dialect added to the book as you could really imagine the characters saying it.

A good book but one for when you are in the right place for a serious read and not for a general relax..

Operation Downsize

As I know that at some point this year the kids and I will have to relocate from a 6 to a 2 bedroom home I have been desperately trying to downsize our belongings in preparation for the move. The estate agent that came and valued the property said there was too much stuff in it to get a sale!

There are many times when I think it's a mission impossible as our family of 7 have all got property in various rooms. Unless I have an other adult around or the children are out of the way its not even worth trying to sort stuff out! 

Once I can actually get cracking, then I have to decide what stuff to keep and what to dispose of. Some things are highly sentimental and are therefore priority to keep. Other items I know there won't be space for in our new home and I have to let them go. I have persuaded the kids that if I sell on some of their old toys then the money will be used for them to pay for treats. But as soon as I round up an item with its parts they start to play with it.... must get some of it on eBay quick...

Some items we have had plenty of use out of and aren't worth the effort of selling. I have been Freecycling things out as fast as I can. I hope not to have to throw too much stuff but can't do a car boot or garage sale without adult help.

Other things are too big for a smaller place and will need to be replaced using the proceeds from selling the old originals. Also the costs of getting rid of current property and moving to new one have to be funded from somewhere. In fact I won't know how much space I will have until I can find a new home and so will have to wait to see how much I can take. This is especially true of of outdoor stuff as I may or may not get somewhere with a garden.

Oh well it will all come out in the end and I just hope that I don't get rid of something that I later regret...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Mummy I just..

Mummy I just...

those 3 words are the ones I dread to hear from either of my children. From my big girl it means she is doing anything but what you have asked her to do. From my little boy it means he has done something which is going to take a lot of clearing up to do...

My daughter's favourite time to use this phrase is just before we leave for school in the morning. I have got everyone dressed and breakfasted. All that remains is to put on shoes & coats. With 10 minutes to go I say:

Get your shoes on E...

Mummy I just need to ...

With 5 minutes to go I say:

Get your shoes on E...

Mummy I just need to ...

It's time to go I say:

Get your shoes on E...

Mummy I just need to ...

As for my 3 year old..

I am sure one day I won't seem to spend half my day cleaning up stray pee & poo ... though in fact today he was perfect until got off the loo too soon with predictable consequences for his clothes and the floor...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Together we are stronger

The last 48 hours have shown me the strength of love & support I have from my friends and family. Other people that have been through similar situations have told me that this is the worst stage of a divorce when you are in a limbo between being married and being able to start again.

The support I am getting both off & online is helping me through the transition. Phone calls, e-mails, messages on FB & Twitter and real life hugs are all a great help. My kids give me so much love and tell me things such as:

you are the best mummy ever

they love snuggling up to me in bed or on the sofa and E is doing her best to help me as much as a 6 year old can. 

I do still have my concerns about them, E couldn't make her mind up whether she wanted to speak to her daddy on Sunday and chose eating tea over getting home in time. Then when I tried to set-up the Skype call she said rude things about her dad but was upset when she couldn't talk to him. The fact that the only way she has of direct contact with him is through Skype is very frustrating to a young child.

O has an interesting twist to much of his role play which maybe his way of dealing things. He was playing with ducks in the bath and told granny that the ducks were mummy, brother & sister. When asked were daddy duck was he said that the daddy had drowned. When he plays with his sister's dolls he insists that he is their mummy and not their daddy. At playgroup today he was creating family groups of animals - none of them had a daddy in. Even the farmer was the brother of the little boy figure and not the father.

I am hoping that the lady from the advice group can offer me constructive advice on how to get the kids through this. But until then I am going to adopt a new motto for the kids and I:

Together we are stronger

thanks to Josie at Sleep is for the Weak for this week's Writing Workshop prompt!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Is it is safe to come back on my blog yet?

All this flaming has made this an interesting if vitriolic blog! Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon if people take heed of what I put:

If people don't like my blog stay off it 

I will stick to posting banal comments about pee, poo & the joys of single motherhood and hope I can make some of you smile....

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Career decision making aged 6..

my daughter and I had one of those slightly bizarre conversations you can have with a young child today. She had been talking about 1666 and saying that 1566 & 1466 were also bad years..

Me: What will it be like in 2066? How old will you be? take 56 and add 6
E: 56.... no 62. Will I be a granny?
Me: You could be depends on when you have children
E: 30 seems a popular age to be a mummy, I don't want to work just be a mummy so I might be younger
Me: well you can have a job whilst waiting to be a mummy
E: what jobs would be good to do whilst pregnant?:

  • artist - good as you can sit around all day
  • policeman - no good as you have work night's
  • midwife - bit scary helping other people have babies when you are pregnant
  • chemist - good as you just have to give out medicines all day
  • teacher - you can sit down all lot and just give out number work
think she seemed to believe artist would be the best option!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

One of those days - again?

Josie at Sleep is for the Weak how did you know I needed to write one of these kind of blog posts when looking at this week's workshop....

Judging by the number of times I've started a tweet with aargh today it has definitely been one of those days...

We are all still in post holiday meltdown mode as we are all missing parents/grandparents and all the other family we enjoyed having with us and sharing the load over the long weekend. My kids are more whingey, whiny, argumentative and pains in the bum than normal and today I'm tearing my hair out...

It all started well with kisses & cuddles in bed and a lazy late get up. Then E starts to be picked on by O who has a nasty tendency to pull his big sister's hair out. Separation leaving her in bed watching TV and me plus small downstairs for breakfast. He then finds a leftover chocolate cookie and spreads crumbs all over the place, even with the supplied plate as he shakes crumbs off onto the floor...

At some point he does his first wee accident and gets clean pants on. Then I have finally persuaded E to help change her bed so leave him playing downstairs... I come down after 10 mins to nasty whiff and him pantless and looking guilty. He has wet his pants and taken them off and then pooped on the carpet and rubbed it in with the shoe box we were using to store Playmobil... Upstairs to clean him up and then downstairs to clean carpet.

This when I get some much needed me time on laptop with a coffee whilst it sounds all peaceful upstairs. The kids come down with O in big sister's Sleeping Beauty dress and make-up... Things could be looking up .... until they go back upstairs.... Sounds of big sis washing little brother's hair so it can have spikes in it.... He appears downstairs with nothing on but some black makeup on his face (& buttocks) and spiky hair. Upstairs I go to get him dressed and discover MY makeup box on their bedroom floor...

Right I think lets feed them that should be relaxing. All starts well until O upends his water on sister's plate and other things. Naughty step treatment fails miserably as he keeps giggling and returning... Finally finish lunch and contemplate lovely latte from Tassimo machine - BUT - it says it needs descaling - BUT - it won't operate descaling cycle - 20 minutes later I get a coffee...

Out in hall with E when a trickle comes down the gap of the stairs as O pees on landing through gap...

AARGH can I have a better day tomorrow - please??

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Taking the Spark People Pledge

OK so I've done the extreme dieting thing LighterLife lost 5.5 stone but failed to keep it all off as fell back in old habits. Done the sensible ones like Weight Watchers a couple of times some very successful but put off by the reaction you get when you don't lose weight. Using Slim Fast just leaves me hungry and can't go for long enough to lose more than 7 lbs.

So now I'm going to try and make slow & steady lifestyle changes using the Spark People's 28 day programme. Basic premiss is that you start by making 3 small Fast Break goals (1 nutritional, 1 fitness & 1 motivational) for the first 2 weeks. These will be the building blocks for bigger changes later! I bought the book off Amazon that accompanies the programme to make it easier to follow.

So here are my pledges for week 1 for at least 5 days out of 7:

  1. to eat 5 fruit / veggies a day as I haven't been good at this!
  2. to fit in 10 mins of cardio exercise a day
  3. to keep a journal of how it's going!
I've set a short term goal of losing the muffin top, medium term to fit all my size 14 clothes properly and long term to keep it that way! Let's see how it goes....

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Recipe for a great long weekend away...

Start with both my kids packing their own bags the night before (even if it turns out E hasn't packed enough underwear!). Then they are both up without fuss at 6 AM and all in the car ready to go by 7...

A stress free drive aided by: good weather, in car DVD for kids, no traffic, plenty of snacks, a gorgeous step daughter keeping the peace from 1/3 way there, only 2 service station stops and only 6.5 hours driving time....

My lovely welcoming parents who my kids adore and who spoil all of us. Drinks with my favourite aunt & uncle. Coffee with my 97 year old granny. Lots of time with my brother, sister-in-law & nephew. Watching the cousins getting to know each other and play together. Seeing the light in my bed ridden grandad's face when his great grandchildren ran in the room. My granny's enjoyment of my brother playing with his son & my daughter with accompanying giggles. Catching up with an old school friend on way home...

When can I do it again? Once I've recovered from all the driving of course!!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Sunshine on a Snowy Day

Wow my first blog award thanks to It's A Mummy's Life! First of all thank you very much and I will wear the badge with pride :-) I am really enjoying this blogging lark and just glad other people seem to be enjoying my mix of angst and comedy!

Now I just have to follow the rules and nominate 12 people to get the award back... hmm a tough one as lot's of fab blogs out there...

So here we go:

PS:  here are the rules for accepting this award.

•Put the Logo on your sidebar, or within a post. (or both like me!)
•Pass the award onto 12 Bloggers. (yes really 12)
•Link the nominees within your post.
•Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
•Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Should I stay or should I go now?

Well I know that I have to leave my home of the last 7 years but the question is to where?

I have 2 options 1) stay in Hastings area or 2) move up to nearer my parents in Cumbria with either option I have to find a suitable rental property that doesn't have the horrible phrase regrettably no DSS or even I have seen no children.

Since my mum seriously raised the second option on Friday I have been weighing up the pros and cons of moving my family 400 miles away...


  1. I will be close to my parents, grandparents, and an aunt & uncle
  2. My kids will grow up in a less deprived area of the country
  3. I will be able to make use of free babysitting due to 1.
  4. My kids will have regular, easy contact with close male relatives
  5. If I want to retrain as a teacher there will be more support
  6. It will be a fresh start for us all
  7. I can take my Usborne business anywhere
  1. My kids were born in Hastings and have never lived anywhere else
  2. My daughter is at a fantastic school of only 70 kids and has lots of friends there
  3. My son has some strong friendships at his nursery which he has been at for 3 years
  4. We have a fabulous church that has been a real rock in the current troubles
  5. I have some lovely friends that I have made at work & through my kids and the church
  6. I have school contacts for helping me get a GTP or school experience
  7. For my Usborne books I have the base for really getting it going now I have the time

At the moment I am definitely swinging towards the moving to Cumbria. Gently building up to possible move with my daughter as I think my son will be happy as long as he is with mummy and can see his favourite man Gramps

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The light at the end of the tunnel..

.. is sometimes getting nearer and sometimes getting further away..

This end of marriage business is a major roller coaster. You get highs when you get lots of love & support from family & friends especially the "love you's" from my kids.

Then you get the downs:

  • wondering where the kids and I will be living by the end of the year
  • how I can be mum & dad to my kids as they struggle through it all
  • will my kids get used to having to share 1 parent  between them
  • I miss having a manly hug
  • I would love to occasionally have a chance to get out without arranging a babysitter!
OK enough of the whinge and I'm sure it will get better but sometimes I need to vent!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Signed on...

Well having given up my job as of Friday I had an appointment to "sign on" today. Needed to make sure I got all the benefits I was entitled to as quickly as possible. It took me ages to fill out the forms last week (do they deliberately make them hard?) and I went along the good old Job Centre at Heron House in Hastings today...

All the tales about it being nicknamed Heroin House made me glad I was not with my kids. Though one inside it wasn't quite as scary with computer job search booths and lots of open plan desks. Last time I went near a Job Centre (15 years ago) the staff were all behind glass screens! I did have to wait to be escorted to the correct area and the loo needed a card swipe from the Customer Services Assistant...

After a short wait on a comfy sofa I got taken for my interview which was basically a review of the form I'd filled out. Turns out that the guy on the phone should have told me to apply for Income Support not Job Seekers as my kids are both under 7... Aargh that was an evening wasted.. Any way the nice lady gets the right form and even she struggled to help me fill it out!! 

Luckily someone from Lone Parent Support was available so I then got sent upstairs. Thank goodness for taking a big book to read as I had to wait about 20 minutes on the next comfy sofa... interestingly I was reading the advisors favourite book of all time (Ken Follett - Pillars of Time)...

She was a lovely understanding lady and made me feel like I was doing the right thing and offered advice on housing benefit etc. A quick call to the Tax Credits people got those adjusted so I now know what my budget will have to be based on. I shouldn't have to go back for 6 months and just need to inform them if I earn any money. Apparently best to earn just under threshold to keep claim open. And I don't have to actively seek work until O is 7 (more than 3.5 years!) - sure I will want to do something before then!!

Let's hope it all goes smoothly and I get the accounts sorted for council tax benefit too!