Friday, 31 December 2010

My blog of 2010 - Revisited

I've been having a good reminisce of some of my blog posts from the last year and I've decided to choose one from each month to share with you now.

  1. I wrote about my fantasy New Year wishes in Bring on 2010
  2. In February after watching a Channel 4 documentary about choosing your babies sex before conception I blogged about choosing your flavour.
  3. I wrote about returning to work after maternity leave something I'm sure a lot of us dread.
  4. In April I made my pre-election campaign in If I were running the country...
  5. I wrote a poem for Miss C when she turned 1.
  6. I was deciding whether to remove my L plates when I wrote Driving in the Mummy lane.
  7. In July I was thinking about having another baby.
  8. August saw Wee Z embarking on his first day at nursery.
  9. Did you suffer any of the pregnancy ailments I did?
  10. In October I had bit of an accident due to my living with a man.
  11. I love The Gallery and this was one of my favourite themes, Black and White.
  12. We made gorgeous chocolate fudge for the nursery staff as Christmas presents.
It's been lovely looking back on these posts, remembering what I've written and remembering why I enjoy blogging so much.


2010 - How was it for me?

This last year has had more ups than downs for us, thankfully. At the beginning of the year we were in a bad place in terms of work as Husband had been made redundant the week before Christmas 2009. Trying to find a job at the bleakest time of the year was going to be tough and Husband was prepared to do any job he could to ensure we could eat and pay our bills. After a month without working, he was lucky to be offered a job with a company in our town which made it much easier for us all.

I returned to work after my 10 months away and it was as if I’d never been away. I’m lucky that my employers have always made it very easy for me to come back and have been able to accommodate my shifts and hours. I enjoy having my work so I have a bit of “me” time and adult time away from home. Of course if my “me” time could be spent shopping or in a nice spa...

We celebrated Miss C’s first birthday in May. It was hard to believe that she was already turning one when it seemed like only a few weeks before that we had welcomed her into the world.

Wee Z turned 3 a few days after Miss C’s birthday and we had a joint party for them and had lots of fun with new and old friends and our families.

With Wee Z turning 3 he was offered his place at a fantastic nursery. He is really thriving at nursery and has had glowing reports from his key worker. He is making friends easily, which I guess is something every parent worries about. No one wants to see their child being left out and thankfully, Wee Z seems to be a very happy and very sociable young boy.

Around about September time my sister told me she was pregnant. I’m very excited for her and can’t wait to meet my niece when she is born in April. Part of me thought I should be feeling a bit jealous but I’m not. I’m delighted for her and glad that this is a baby that I can hand back after a nice cuddle!

Christmas time was really enjoyable this year. We didn’t have the stress of Husband trying to find a job so we could really relax and enjoy the festivities. I didn’t have to cook for everyone this year either which was a welcome change even though we did miss having Bella and Pops there on Christmas Day. Wee Z and Miss C had a great day too, enjoying their visitors and presents and being allowed to watch lots of Christmas TV.

All in all 2010 has been a pretty good year for us and I hope this will carry on in to 2011. Happy New Year everyone and all the best for 2011!


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Gallery - Love


I love this picture. It's of Wee Z and his Bella. Bella is short for Abuela which is Spanish for Gran. It was about the closest name to Gran my Mum could cope with, I think, when she found out I was pregnant. Bella means beautiful so I do think it's rather fitting.

I'm not a Gran but I do think the relationship between a grandchild and grandparent is different and very special to that of a parent and child. Sometimes I think it's because they can give them back or when your parents hear that your child is giving you grief then they think, aha payback! Maybe it's because you can get away with a lot more with a grandparent than you can with a parent. To quote Sam Levenson, "The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy."

The thing I love about this picture is I can see Wee Z in his Bella. They have the same cheeks and dimples when they smile. Wee Z tells me often that he loves his Bella and I tell him that she loves him too.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Love. Be sure to check out the other entries, it's the last one of 2010!


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Our First Nativity

On Wednesday we went to see Wee Z in his nursery Nativity play. He was dressed as a shepherd and the kids all looked smashing. Daddy, Miss C and I sat watching the children sing whilst one of their teachers narrated the story of the birth of Baby Jesus. It was really lovely.

Of course, the children are only 3 and 4 so you can imagine some of them were distracted by their parents watching them and some of them just sat staring into space whilst others, like Wee Z, sat and picked their nose. Thankfully there was no eating of the pickings!

Wee Z was in the nativity with his best friend Miss E and they sat close together. Miss E was dressed up as a star. When the Baby Jesus was born (thankfully that part wasn't recreated) they all took gifts to him. Wee Z later told me that his gift had been some toothbrushes. They all did a fantastic job and I'm really happy that they did the story of the birth of Baby Jesus instead of something else. Although we don't practise a religion in our house, I think it is important for them to know a story of Christmas other than Santa bringing presents down a chimney for all the good children.

When they finished they got a well deserved round of applause from all the proud parents and some sweets too. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the Nativity because we weren't supposed to be allowed to bring cameras. I think we were the only parents who stuck to that rule because everyone else had a camera or video camera with them. I'll know for next year!


Thursday, 16 December 2010

A lovely gift - Chocolate fudge

This is the first time I have ever had to think of something to get Wee Z's nursery teacher for Christmas. Of course, now it has started, it will carry on until it is officially "uncool" to buy your teacher a present. As my mother in law is a nursery teacher, I remember Christmas a few years ago, walking into her living room and the floor literally being covered in little gift bags. "Who are they from?" I asked, admiringly. "The children at school!" WHAT??? All of them??? I'm in the wrong profession!

I contemplated buying a small gift but with money being tight and there not being very much that I could choose to buy, I decided to make sweets. Well, after searching through my cook books, we decided to go with chocolate fudge. Easy to make and tasty.

If you want to try this at home, it really is a very easy recipe and doesn't take any time at all.


Ingredients

250g of good dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more)
2 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of evaporated milk
450g of icing sugar

Break your chocolate up into a heat proof bowl and add in the butter and milk. Heat over a pan of boiling water until it has all melted together. Once melted, remove from the heat and gradually beat in your icing sugar. If the mix becomes to difficult to work, add a few drops of water or evaporated milk. Lightly grease a square tin, add the mix and level it out. Pop it in the fridge until chilled and then cut into squares. You'll get about 25 good sized pieces. For something a bit different, you could add in nuts and sultanas, about 50g of each. Keep it chilled until you need to eat it...not long, trust me!


I asked my Mum if she could find any cellophane gift bags. There is nowhere near me that would sell anything like this and my Mum came up trumps when she bought a sheet of gorgeous cellophane paper from Thorntons (of all places!) for 10p. I cut up my fudge and made 2 gift bags, one for Wee Z's teacher and one for the rest of the staff. For not being a crafty person, I think I did not too bad!




Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Gallery - Sparkle

Whilst my Mum was visiting last weekend, she had brought with her a stocking making kit. Wee Z was at a party on the Sunday morning so my Mum and her partner made the first stocking so they could show Wee Z what he was going to make with them. Wee Z had great fun gluing all the sparkly pom-poms and glittery snowflakes on.

Wee Z and Bella making their stocking

The finished stocking

I love the shiny stars and the sparkly pom-poms
This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Sparkle. Go check out the other entries too!


Monday, 13 December 2010

My Christmas Wish List

I think I've been good this year and I'm hoping Santa will bring me a few treats. These are a few of the things I'd like to find under my tree on December 25th: -

  1. Sabrina the Teenage Witch DVD
  2. Ugly Betty DVD
  3. A diary
  4. Sex and the City 2 DVD
  5. Katie Price's new book
Not too hard I hope Santa! Of course, if Santa could bring me ANYTHING, then my list would look more like this: -

  1. A lovely little sports car, 2 seats, no kids allowed
  2. A nice new house, newly decorated, plenty of space
  3. A walk-in wardrobe filled with gorgeous clothes, stylish shoes and fancy jewellery
  4. An iPad
  5. Hayden Christensen, wrapped up with a nice bow
A girl can dream, can't she?


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Gallery - White

Whilst every woman should have a little black dress, it's the gorgeous white dresses that make you feel like a princess.




Monday, 6 December 2010

Snow Surfing

As I was driving to work this morning, I saw the most beautiful rainbow in the sky. It was stunning. I wish I could have taken a photo of it but I don't take my phone to work so no camera and it wasn't safe to stop. I smiled thinking Wee Z would love this.

Fast forward an hour and I'm staring out the window at the heaviest snow fall we've had since the snow started. I thought we had missed the worst of it. Apparently not. It continued to fall thick and fast and I was dreading my drive home. I don't live far from work and I can drive 2 separate routes but both involve hills and one involves a dual carriageway. I was also rather worried about the fact I had 0 miles left in my tank!

I finished work at 1pm and stomped my way through the 2 or 3 inches of snow, with it still falling. I got to my car and wiped the snow off the windscreen, set my wipers to fast and carefully pulled out on to the road. I decided to take the dual carriageway, as I always do, figuring that it might be better than the town route. I drove at no more than 40mph on the carriageway, which was empty. I came to my exit, which is uphill and made sure I was slowing down (without braking - you do not brake in the snow I'm told!) so I could make a safe exit and get home.

I must have hit a bad patch in the road because my car swings to the left and I am travelling sideways up the slip road. "Steer into a skid, steer into a skid" I'm telling myself, but clearly I have not caught the skid in time. I'm thinking to myself, well not much really. I wasn't scared, I knew I wasn't going to hurt myself travelling at 15mph on an empty slip road but the lamppost on the embankment was staring to get a bit too close for comfort. I'm saying out loud, "please don't hit, Husband will have a fit!" Thankfully I stopped about a foot short as I'd managed to collect enough snow under my tyres to stop.

I popped my hazards on, thinking not much use seen as my car is now facing the wrong way, and got out the car. Thankfully I was only about a 5 minute walk from home but I was not in proper snow walking attire and I didn't want to leave the car there in case it caused an accident. I don't take my phone to work as we're not allowed to have them switched on so I started my walk home and at the same time waved to any passing cars. Four cars passed me before some kind man stopped. FOUR! Unbelievable! I asked the man, who I actually recognised from years ago, if I could use his phone. He very kindly let me and I phoned Husband to let him know I was OK and was walking home. I walked another few steps when a van passed me and a guy shouted "do you need some help with your car?" Thank you, thank you! So these 2 men in a van helped dig my car out and push it off the embankment and helped me reverse up a slip road. It just goes to show there are some very decent people out there willing to do someone a good turn.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Gallery - Celebration

I was racking my brains last night for something I could use for the theme this week at The Gallery. Then, into my mind popped chocolate. This isn't an unusual thing for me, infact it would be most peculiar if I didn't think of chocolate at some point during the day. Anyways, it got me to thinking that with every celebration throughout the year, chocolate is always necessary part of the celebration.

On Valentine's Day, your loved one will buy you flowers or chocolate.


On Easter Sunday, you take your chocolate eggs to a hill and roll them down.

On Halloween you go trick or treating and get chocolate.


At Christmas, you buy a chocolate advent calendar.

Back off people, this is just for me!

On your birthday you can have a chocolate cake.

Chocolate is so known for being around celebrations they even named chocolates after them!


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Happyland does Hollywood

I love Happyland toys and you need to check out my amusing findings on one particular Happyland toy if you haven't seen it already. It will make you smile.

Yesterday we were playing with the Happyland cottage and fire engine when Miss C decided she was going to re-create one of THE comedy films of last year. Can you guess which movie she was re-creating?



If you don't know then I'll give you a clue. You may suffer with one of these the morning after the night before and usually a nice fry up is the cure.




Thursday, 25 November 2010

An itch to scratch

I've never posted anything for the Writing Workshop hosted by Josie over at Sleep is for the Weak. I do love reading the posts that come from the word prompts Josie gives and when I noised over to the prompts this week, the first one that caught my eye was ITCH.

Whenever I see the word ITCH, I start feeling really itchy. It is strange how a word can trigger something. Like happy makes you smile and love makes you feel a bit tingly inside.

ITCH reminds me of when I was pregnant with Wee Z. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I broke out in this horrible rash. It was terrible. It was all over my belly, my legs and was starting to spread to my chest. I couldn't sleep at night so I would be really grumpy all day. There would be nights I would get out of bed, turn on the shower and stand there hoping the burning hot water would sedate my itch for awhile. When that didn't work, out came the exfoliating scrub and I would literally stand and scratch my skin until it was red raw and bleeding.

Some relief came when I was given some Pirotin by one of the Doctors at the hospital. They had asked me to come in to have tests to make sure I didn't have obstetric cholestatis, a serious liver condition. I was 39 weeks pregnant, the size of a small elephant and pretty peed off with the whole thing. I just wanted the baby out. The day I took my Pirotin and came home, I fell asleep on the couch for 3 hours. It was the best sleep I had had in about 4 weeks.

Luckily I did not have obstetric cholestatis however the Doctor made the decision to have me induced. I think this was incase it did develop and to relieve me from my suffering. It was so uncomfortable, I honestly wouldn't wish it upon anyone. I had to endure another 2 days of itching and then Wee Z arrived into the world. I had my baby boy. The itch had stopped.

This post is for the Writing Workshop with the theme of ITCH. Visit and read some other great posts at Sleep is for the Weak.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Gallery - Black and White


A wedding photo
  
A baby belly

Mummy and her new baby Wee Z


Baby feet on a baby bump

A sleepy new baby Miss C

I love black and white photos. They're really emotive, stripped of colour except for these two shades. Anything looks beautiful in black and white.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Black and White. Check out some of the other great entries.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A visit to Santa's Grotto

On Sunday we saw a poster for Santa's Grotto. We decided to go and check it out depending on how busy it was. I've never taken Wee Z or Miss C to a Grotto before because they were both too young, Miss C I feel is still too young, to actually understand who Santa was and enjoy their visit.

Wee Z has seen Santa before, when he visited the kids at our mother and toddler group. The first year he came, Wee Z was about 18 months so he was a bit unsure, and didn't really want to go and collect his toy let alone sit on his knee. Last year, he went straight up to him when his name was called, up on his knee and told Santa his list for Christmas.

When we got to the Grotto, it looked quiet although there was a small queue. We decided to stay and opted for the joint package which was a photo with Santa and 2 gifts to the tune of £9.00. It was about a 45 minute wait. I was in 2 minds whether to stay and we did stay in the end because I reasoned it was only going to get busier and we didn't really want to have to come to the shops again.

The set up was really lovely. Fairy lights hung from the walls and ceiling. There were trees covered in lights and fake snow covering the ground. There were little animals everywhere. Pretend ones of course! Miss C loved the Pingu (penguin) and chatted happily to it for ages. Wee Z was happy to run around with the other children who were all excited to see Santa. It seemed like the kids were getting a good 5 to 10 minutes with Santa which I thought was great but maybe a bit over the top when there were so many young children waiting to see him. Luckily my 2 were happy looking at the reindeer and penguins but it was warm inside and I could see some children were getting restless.

When we eventually got to the front of the queue, Wee Z chatted to one of the Elf girls telling her all about nursery and his friends. He seemed in really good spirits and excited to see Santa. We were called through by another Elf and into Santa's house we went. At this point, Wee Z started crying and Miss C, who was all smiles suddenly turned very shy. It must have been rather overwhelming to see this big man with a beard and a bright red suit but they were fantastic, really patient and talked to Wee Z to reassure him. When that didn't work, Santa magically produced some chocolate and all was fine. Zach chatted to Santa, telling him he wanted a Ben 10 scooted for Christmas and a blue bike too please. When he asked Miss C what she'd like for Christmas, we said a baby, but not a real one thank you Santa. We then had our picture taken with Santa and it turned out to be a lovely family photo which we will be able to hang up in the living room.

Santa gave the kids their presents, wished us a Merry Christmas (which set me in a very Christmassy mood) and off we went. It started off a bit shaky but the kids were happy and had had fun in the end.


Monday, 22 November 2010

Christmas Shopping...!

Yesterday we went to the shops to try and finish off our Christmas shopping. I've found it quite hard this year. Firstly, I have no idea what to get everyone. I'd love to be able to walk into a shop and see something and think, that would be perfect for so and so. Usually I end up asking everyone what they'd like and get it for them. Secondly, Wee Z is so much more aware of what is going on now that I can't just go into a shop, pile the trolley with toys and gifts with him sitting in the trolley playing with a receipt or my car keys. I thought about doing the shopping online but I like to see in person what I'm buying.

On Saturday, we managed to go to Toys R Us with Miss C whilst Wee Z stayed with his Papa. It was nice to have sometime alone with Miss C and we had great fun looking at all the toys. Usually we've been pretty disappointed when we've been to Toys R Us in the past, mainly because we found there weren't any good toys for Wee Z at the age of 1 or 2. This time we found plenty of things he would enjoy. It was a bit easier for Miss C as they have loads of dolls and prams which she can play with. We picked out a few things but it did feel like I was buying for the sake of buying. The kids have so many toys and half of them don't get played with. At the same time though, I want them to be excited on Christmas morning and I feel the only way we can do this is by having loads of presents to open. That's what I used to look forward to the most on Christmas morning.

So after a half successful shopping trip on Saturday, yesterday we went to the shops after lunch to pick up another few bits and bobs. We had both kids with us and Daddy kept them entertained whilst I ran around Early Learning Centre, again throwing things in the pram (no trolleys!) and paying as quickly as possible without Wee Z seeing. Miss C was playing with the dinosaurs and Wee Z was playing with the kitchen as usual. Daddy found a scooter for Wee Z, reduced, so we got that for him as his main present. He has been asking for a scooter for ages! At one point he wanted 10 scooters, one for everyday of the week and extra for the weekend so his friends could play too.

We took a walk up to another shop to try and find Miss C a Jessie and Bullseye toy from Toy Story 3 as she loves Wee Z's Woody doll and carries him everywhere so I thought it would nice (and to save the arguments too!) if she could have her own one to play with. They are sold out everywhere I've been too.

I've still got another few things to get for family and friends but Wee Z is pretty much done. I've a few more things to get Miss C as I'd like them to have the same number of presents to open. Then Husband can get them wrapped up and sent off to Santa. How much Christmas shopping has everyone else done? Do you start early or leave it until the last minute? Do you buy online or do you like going to the shops?


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Gallery - Before and After

Having only come into the "digital" era some 4 years ago, I thought I'd give the Gallery theme a miss this week. I don't have a scanner so I couldn't scan any of my old photos on to my PC and then add my new recreated version.

Inspiration then struck me when I was talking to my sister today. She is 18 weeks pregnant and just felt the baby move for the first time today. It's all very new and exciting for her as this is her first baby. I started to remember all the things from my pregnancy with Wee Z. The first kicks, the first somersaults, the first pictures. This is why I chose this photo...

Wee Z Before

Wee Z After
It's amazing how they can go from being that tiny little baby growing inside you to the little monster I know and love today. And yes, the theme was to recreate the picture but there was no way I was going to be able to recreate that!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Before and After.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Leaf Art

We had a lovely day in the park yesterday which I will write about in another post, however I thought I would share our lovely leaf art we did today. We collected some leaves during our walk and made some lovely art this afternoon whilst heating our hands up on hot cups of tea and eating chocolate biscuits. Who said cold days spent indoors could be boring?!



Thursday, 11 November 2010

Our favourite Pasta recipe

One of my favourite meals to cook is pasta. We love pasta in our house, so much so we have it at least twice a week. It's cheap, it's quick and it's simple. You really can't go wrong with a good bowl of pasta and garlic bread.

Our favourite pasta dish at the moment is Pasta in Cheese sauce with smoked sausage, chicken and sweetcorn. Wee Z is still going through his fussy stage and this is about one of the only meals he will finish. Miss C is a bit of a grubber and she will quite happily devour 2 bowls.

The other appealing thing about this dish is, it really is very easy and very quick to make. The hardest bit is making the cheese sauce, which is a doddle!


Here's the recipe if you want to try it out and please feel free to comment with some of your own delicious recipes. I'm always on the hunt for yummy dinners!

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts cooked how you like
1 smoked sausage (I buy Mattessons smoked sausage)
1 tin of sweetcorn
80g of pasta per person

For the cheese sauce

25g butter
1 level tablespoon of flour
300ml milk
60g cheese (I use a medium or mature cheddar)
Optional to add nutmeg or paprika

To make your cheese sauce, melt the butter on a low heat and then gradually add your flour whilst stirring. Try to not let it become clumpy as this will make your sauce lumpy. It should be a smooth mix that moves around the pan easily. Add the milk gradually, always stirring and the sauce will start to thicken. Once all the milk is added and the sauce has thickened up, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until it has melted fully. Cook your pasta as directed on the pack and cook your chicken. Once your chicken is cooked, slice it up and add into a bowl with sliced smoked sausage and your sweetcorn. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken mix and then pour your cheese sauce over. Mix it well and serve.

Now don't just take my word for it, these little faces will tell you how good this dinner is!





Tesco Real Food Cupcake competition

One of my favourite things to bake at the moment is cakes, in particular cupcakes. I guess it's because they are bigger than fairy cakes so there is more of them to eat!

Tesco Real Food are hosting a competition for 2 winners (and a plus one each) to enjoy an afternoon of baking with a top chef in London on Friday 10th December. Here's the fun bit for entering; you have to bake some cupcakes and upload a picture to their website by Monday 29th November and the 2 best looking entries will win this great prize. The competition is open NOW! Ten runners up will receive a cupcake kit from Tesco Real Food, which I have received from them and it includes the ingredients to make some lovely cakes as well as decorations, food colourings and an icing bag.

If you don't have a recipe for cupcakes this is the one I use and it always turns out gorgeous, fluffy, light cupcakes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

150g of unsalted butter
3 medium eggs
175g self raising flour
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. For a fan assisted oven, that's about 160°C. Put all your ingredients in to a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy. Use a tablespoon to spoon your mixture in to each case. I find a generous tablespoon per cake case is about right. Put them in the oven for 18-20 minutes when the cakes should be golden and the middle of the cake should spring back up if you lightly press it. Leave them to cool before icing.

Here are some pictures of cupcakes we've made before!





The Tesco Real Food website is packed with thousands of inspiring, delicious recipes to suit any occasion. Whether customers are looking for a quick mid-week meal for the family or something for a special event, users are sure to find exactly what they're looking for. In addition, a range of step-by-step cooking tips and videos to help improve kitchen skills can be found, as well as healthy eating and a cooking with kids sections. To make shopping even easier, every recipe has a ready-made shopping list that can be used to add all the ingredients to the shopping basket in just a few clicks.

Good luck if you enter!



Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Only one season for Me

My favourite season is summer. The downside of summer is hayfever but other than that, I love the sunshine, the fresh air and the heat. I love the sunny evenings where you can still enjoy sitting in the garden when it's 8pm and I love waking up to warm mornings and getting a washing on and hanging it out to dry.

I love the flowers and the green grass and the smells of Bar-B-Qs in the air.


I love playing outside with the children instead of being stuck indoors when it's raining or snowing!



It's a shame we don't get a great deal of good weather in the summer but when we do, we definitely make the most of it.




Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why is talking about miscarriage so taboo?

After hearing the news about Lily Allen losing her baby at 6 months into her pregnancy, I felt very sad for her. I hate hearing anything like this, especially when it involves babies. The press are still referring to her baby passing as a miscarriage but I don’t think this could be the right description for what she would have had to go through. At 6 months or 24+ weeks pregnant the baby, if born prematurely, would be classed as a viable baby and be able to survive outside the womb with special care. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be for any woman to be carrying a baby and be at the stage where the baby is moving and kicking and then to have to learn that your baby has passed away. It is just awful.

What this news has done is prompted a lot of women to talk about miscarriages or losing a baby which is still considered a taboo subject. I suffered a miscarriage at around 7 weeks pregnant whilst we were on honeymoon. I’ve talked about my miscarriage in a previous blog post but not to a great extent. In the spirit of awareness, sharing and for a bit of therapy, I thought I would write about it. You may find some of the things you read upsetting.

I expected it to be painful. I’ve seen people having miscarriages on TV drama shows and they are always doubled over in pain. It wasn’t physically painful but emotionally, it felt like a black cloud had descended upon me and I felt empty. The amount of blood I lost was distressing for both me and my Husband. Even the poor male nurse who was looking after me went a bit grey.

The most distressing part at time was that we were on honeymoon in Portugal. We had, hours before, just been told by my DR in the UK that I was pregnant. We were thrilled! What should have been a celebration of our marriage and our first holiday together was quickly turned into a nightmare. I remember being in the hotel room and saying over and over to myself “please don’t let this happen”. I kept thinking this is karma for all the stupid stuff I’ve done in my life coming back to hurt me.

The nearest hospital to our hotel was 65km away. We had to get a taxi as they refused to send an ambulance for me. Not that it would have made any difference. I didn’t have any sanitary towels with me but for some reason I had packed tampons so I used one of them and changed into black trousers. We travelled in silence and I remember looking out the window but not thinking of anything.

It was in the hospital reception that I felt something move inside me and then a gush. The male nurse rushed for a wheelchair and took me into a back room away from the waiting area. I don’t speak a lot of Portuguese and he clearly didn’t speak a lot of English but I think he worked out what was happening when he saw my trousers. They were soaked. I was taken to a room to have a scan so the DR could check what was happening. Thankfully the DR spoke English. At first I think he thought I was putting it on and I was just overreacting to a little bleed or that I had gotten my period, but when he performed my scan he could see that I was losing a pregnancy. I could see the screen and although it wasn’t very clear, I could see what looked like a sack and then a slight rip in it and then lots of little dark clots around it.

I was taken into a room with a bed and they started to prep me for going into surgery. I was in a shared room next to another woman and her husband who were also British. I kept listening to their conversation to try and distract myself from what was happening to me. My Husband wasn’t with me. He was trying to deal with the insurance and was having a terrible time. The hospital refused to do anything until he provided them with a credit card to pay for my surgery or until he got through to the insurance company. We don’t have credit cards so he had to worry about me whilst trying to contact the insurance company. At one point the hospital weren’t going to let him use their phone which was completely insensitive considering what was going on. Meanwhile I felt completely alone.

It seemed like hours had passed and then, finally, I was taken to surgery. My Husband still hadn’t been with me but the male nurse brought him to me just as they were wheeling me into the operating room. He had had to sign all the consent forms for my surgery and the anaesthetic before they could do anything. He told me after he was so worried that he was going to lose me.

I can remember being in theatre but not being aware of what was happening around me. The last thing I saw was the DR telling me to count down from 10. I think I got to 7 and then I remember nothing. When I woke up in my hospital room, it was dark. It must have been about 2 or 3 in the morning and I remember I was gasping for water. Then it all came back to me. Where I was and what had happened, it wasn’t a dream. It was real and I broke down.

Husband was allowed to stay in the hospital with me but I don’t think either of us got much sleep. When morning eventually came, I was desperate to get out the hospital. I was discharged about 11am and we drove back in the same taxi that had driven us the previous day. What I found really strange was, after having the operation I didn’t lose anymore blood. I remember going to the toilet for the first time and dreading it and yet there was nothing. Well, except this black dye which I had no idea what was from. I was scared. I’d just had an internal procedure to remove everything from the pregnancy in a hospital in a foreign country. What if they had done something to me? I mean, what if they had damaged something? Would I ever be able to have children? You hear about these horror stories of operations going wrong, could I have fallen victim to this?

When I miscarried, we were half way through our honeymoon. The next 3 days were spent mostly inside the hotel room because I wasn’t allowed to be in the sun for any length of time. I was scared to go swimming in case anything came out and I wasn’t in any mood to do anything. On the Friday before we were due to leave, I had to go back to the hospital to have a scan to make sure everything had been removed. I was seen by the same DR and he performed the scan which showed everything was clear. Everything was gone. He told us that sometimes these things happen and we were both still young and that there would be no reason why I couldn’t go on to have children in the future. I know he probably had to say these things because if they become emotional about these things they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs properly but I didn’t think there was any need for him to say the following “We’ve written a letter and documented everything for your DR so they don’t think you came to Portugal to have an abortion. We see this a lot with young women, because they think it’s cheaper to have it done outside the UK. This will show that you had a miscarriage.” And he handed me all my paperwork and off we went. I was dumbfounded. We were genuinely upset that we had miscarried and he thought we’d gotten a flight to come and have a cheap abortion. Although, it could explain why he was so off with us when we first arrived in the hospital.

We were glad to get home. The holiday had been a huge let down and it was nice to come home and get back to normal. The best way for us to deal with the miscarriage was to look at it as my body’s way of telling us that something wasn’t right with the pregnancy. It was as nature intended. It was how we coped. Nothing could have prepared me for the following month when I got my period though. It was heavy and full of clots. However it was a sign that perhaps I was fine inside. They hadn’t damaged me. When I came home I had to go to my DR to hand in my documents. At the appointment I was offered no leaflets, no place I could go to for support. I was simply told, again, that these things happen and we were young enough to try again in a few months.

I don’t think a lot about my miscarriage anymore. I feel it could be hard to talk to someone about it unless they had gone through it themselves. They could be scared they’d say the wrong thing. This is probably the first time I’ve told anyone everything that happened. I felt like no one would want to talk about something so sad. However, since becoming a mum, I have started talking to more and more women who come out and tell me they have also suffered miscarriages. One in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage and yet no one really wants to talk about it. I was glad to hear that I wasn’t alone. Maybe knowing that there are other people out there who have suffered a loss of a pregnancy will make us want to talk more. It has certainly helped me.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tummy Ache Board Game Review

I love board games however Wee Z isn't at an age where he could really understand games like Monopoly, Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit. This is why I love some of the games made by Orchard Toys. They are something a bit different, made especially for the younger children.

My Mum recently bought Wee Z a game called Tummy Ache. This is a fun filled food game where you have to be the first to complete your place setting for dinner. You can choose a drink, some vegetables, a carbohydrate, a protein and a delicious dessert to make up a lovely, healthy meal. Whilst doing this, you need to avoid the Tummy Ache cards which are bits of unhealthy food covered in yucky bugs!

This is a great game that we have all enjoyed playing together. There is a real excitement about who is going to finish their board first and a group moan when someone has to shout out "Tummy Ache!" That's what I love about board games; we can all join in and play together. And the fact that there are games out there suitable for Wee Z's age group is fantastic.

Tummy Ache is also a good learning game as it is helping Wee Z learn about the different food groups and what healthy food is whilst still having fun. The game is suitable from ages 3+ and for 2-4 players. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.

This review is purely of our own. We haven't received anything for writing this post.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

With my extra hour we...

...made some yummy cupcakes.

I love baking, especially when the mornings are cold and wet and you are stuck inside. As the clocks went back today and there wasn't much chance of us getting an extra hour in bed with Miss C and Wee Z, we decided to make some cupcakes.

I wanted to try making some lovely spider web cakes, so whilst I had a bit of a lie in (well one of us was using that extra hour for some sleep!) Husband took Miss C and Wee Z off to Asda to pick up some ingredients. Actually, my baking supplies are pretty well kept but I needed some black food colouring or writing icing to make the spider webs with. As always, bad planning on my part, there was neither left in the shops. So I had to improvise and use the rest of my dark chocolate from when we had made chocolate brownies.

This is the recipe I use and it makes 12 nice sized cakes. Bare in mind this is for cupcakes as opposed to fairy cakes. You could probably get about 24 fairy cakes with this recipe.

150g of unsalted butter
3 medium eggs
175g self raising flour
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. For a fan assisted oven, that's about 160°C. Put all your ingredients in to a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy. Use a tablespoon to spoon your mixture in to each case. I find a generous tablespoon per cake case is about right. Put them in the oven for 18-20 minutes when the cakes should be golden and the middle of the cake should spring back up if you lightly press it. Leave them to cool before icing.



This is the recipe for the icing:

300g of icing sugar
2 tablespoons of cold water
Black food colouring

Make up your icing by adding the water to the icing and beating until smooth. Add a little extra water if it is needed. Remove half the icing in to another bowl and add a few drops of the food colouring. Mix it well. Ice each cake at a time so you can work the icing in to a spider web. Put a teaspoon of white icing on the cake and spread it on. Using a piping bag with a writing nozzle, draw a spiral of black icing on the top. Then using a knife or cocktail stick draw lines through the icing starting from the middle.

You could finish them with bug sweeties, spiders or Smarties and Jelly Tots like we did.

I had to use my chocolate to make the spider webs and it was a bit too runny to put in a piping bag. I think they turned out fine though and taste delicious.



Saturday, 30 October 2010

It's a bit of a joke

Wee Z is becoming more and more expressive and he really does make me laugh with some of the things he says and does. He's constantly whizzing around the house pretending to be a superhero who catches "baddies!" He can be quite boisterous and I feel like I'm always asking him to calm down or "chillax!"

He really does love making us laugh and loves to tell jokes. These are some of his favourites at the moment. All clean of course!

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Doctor
Doctor Who?
Ahhh Mummy, you just said it!

What's orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot!

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a rhino? Elephino!

Why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella? For drizzle!

I think I may have a comedian in the making. Move over Michael McIntyre, here comes Wee Z.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Win a Luxury Christmas Wine Hamper

Competition is now closed

Christmas is fast approaching and with only 8 weeks to go and not much shopping done, I’m starting to panic a bit. The kids are fine to buy for. It’s the adults I’m struggling with. I don’t like buying vouchers or socks and pants or PJs but I can never find anything really amazing and different. Something special that they can enjoy!
Well, that was until I was contacted about HamperGifts. I’ve never thought about buying anyone a Christmas hamper as a gift. Having a look at their website though, they have some great ideas and not just for Christmas. Wine hampers, cheese hampers, whiskey hampers. They even make a new baby hamper. So when they offered me the chance to give one of their gorgeous hampers away, I couldn’t say no.
If you’d like to win a Luxury Christmas Wine Hamper courtesy of HamperGifts* all you have to do is visit their website and tell me which hamper you’d buy as a gift and who you’d give it to. Simply leave me a comment and you’ll be entered into a draw to win this beautiful hamper. It’s a real treat for you or as a gift for someone else.

For some extra entries you can do one, two or all of the following:
  • Become a follower or if you already follow let me know by leaving a comment
  • Follow my personal blog by clicking here and let me know by leaving a comment
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet the following "RT @lauracymft Win a Luxury Xmas #Hamper by entering here http://bit.ly/9ohvnL " 
The competition is open to UK residents only as HamperGifts can only deliver within the UK. You can have the prize delivered straight away, at a later date or sent to someone directly as a gift. Maximum of 4 entries and if you haven't told me you've chosen any extra entry options then sorry, I can't count them. The competition will close at 11.59pm on Friday 12th November. The winner will be drawn at random using random.org and will be contacted by email or twitter. Please ensure you leave me some way of contacting you. By entering you agree to have your details (or someone else's if you choose to have this as a gift) passed to the company for them to send you your prize. No cash alternative. No other choice of prize.
*This hamper has been supplied courtesy of HamperGifts, who provide a wide range of Christmas hampers, chocolate gifts, and champagne gifts

Monday, 25 October 2010

When nose picking get serious

Last night I was woken by the sound of Wee Z crying in his bed. I am not a good night person. I hate having my sleep disturbed.

As I make my way through the darkness, I'm praying Miss C doesn't wake up with all the noise. I open Wee Z's door and he sitting up in his bed, rubbing his nose. I know what this means. I look on his mattress where his head should be and there is a pool of bright red blood. I switch on his lamp and his face looks like he has been painting with red paint. His hands are covered and his pyjamas are smeared.

Wee Z started having nose bleeds just before he turned 2. This was probably about the same time he discovered he could actually hunt for treasure in his nose. Apart from the inconvenience of having to change his bed sheets during the night, cleaning him up and telling him not to pick his nose, I hadn't really thought any more of it. However the nose bleeds seem to be happening at least once a month. Sometimes he can go a few weeks with none and then he will have a small bleed 2 or 3 nights in a row. There will be nights like last night where he is literally covered in blood. He never complains about having a sore head or feeling dizzy or unwell when he has them so could I just be getting myself worried for nothing? Is it simply because he's a nose picker and is just getting a bit vigorous? Short of tying his hands behind his back I don't know what else I can do. Have you got a nose picker/nose bleeder and how do you deal with this?


Friday, 22 October 2010

Up or Down?

I'm barely awake as I stumble in the darkness, my hands out in front of me to protect myself from any wall beatings. I make a left into the hall, ten or so steps and I reach my destination. I turn, ready to sit and...whooosh...I fall into the hole.

Luckily for me, the hole I have fallen into is the toilet. I say lucky because, in my too far from remotely conscious state, I almost crap myself.

Now, unless I have lost a considerable amount of inches off my backside in my sleep, Husband has left the toilet seat up.

Amongst the other unpleasant things I have observed from living with a man, toilet seats are a puzzling one for me. I can not grasp why it is that they have to have the toilet seat up to pee. I mean, they can aim it so why they have to make the entry any bigger is beyond me. Some say it is to avoid the pee splash going on to the seat. I'd think having the seat down would act as a protector against pee splash on the walls and the floor. It would certainly make for an easier cleaning job!

However I am a realist and know that Husband would never make a fuss of me leaving the toilet seat down. He'd simply raise the seat and go about his business, preventing the pee splash from going on the seat. I guess I'll just have to remember to check my positioning before depositing.

Growing up in a home where the women out-numbered the man, I was used to having the seat down at all times. Now, in a home where we are equally numbered, what will the seat rules be? Will it be a leave it up when you're finished or put it back and make sure you clean the splash when you're done? Would it be simpler to have a boy's bathroom and a girl's bathroom?

I can handle a bit of pee splash I suppose. All I ask is not to fall in the toilet when I'm sleep-peeing, thanks!


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Gallery - Red

Wee Z went to not 1 Halloween party, not 2 but 3 Halloween parties last year. Three! He has a better social life than me and sometimes it's a lot more fun. I have zero imagination when it comes to fancy dress costumes so Wee Z's was shop bought. We dressed him up as Dracula with a black trouser suit and red waistcoat.


The Bob the Builder hat was his own addition. I think it really set the outfit off.




Sunday, 17 October 2010

Chestnut hunting

Autumn is certainly upon us. I first realised Autumn was here when I finished work at 7pm one evening and walked outside to darkness. Only 2 weeks before had I finished that very same shift and walked out in to a baking hot evening.

I love the Autumn colours, the sounds of leaves crunching below your feet and the fresh smells in the air. I love watching the squirrels burrowing for acorns and supplies for the winter. I'm not so keen on getting attacked by conkers dropping out of the trees but I suppose it's better than running half a mile from a determined wasp.

Last weekend we decided to take a walk around the park near our house. We met up with Mummy N, Miss E and Wee L and along with Daddy and a huge stick, we went chestnut hunting. Whilst we were visiting Bella and Pops, we found a few chestnuts and Wee Z thought they were great. He'd been itching to go looking for some ever since we'd come home.

Wee Z had his Bob the Builder bag and Miss E had a pretty girly bag and off they went in search of treasure. Daddy brought his stick so he could climb up a huge tree and batter the conkers down for the kids to catch. Mummy N had her mobile phone on stand-by incase he fell out of the tree. What felt like 20 minutes was actually an hour and a half of chestnut collecting.

I quite like picking the chestnuts out of their shells instead of picking them off the ground, so I got very excited whenever I found a full chestnut. Some of the shells had 2 or 3 chestnuts inside them however my personal best was a foursome. The kids had a great time and didn't complain about the cold or the walk once.

Once they had filled their bags, we came home and popped the chestnuts in a shoe box so we can keep them for Christmas. I don't think we can cook them because I think they may be horse chestnuts so instead we'll keep them for conkers. What a fun afternoon we had!




Saturday, 16 October 2010

The one where Mummy finds an inappropriate toy

For anyone who knows me, they will tell you that sometimes I have a one tracked mind. I think I take this from my Mum who finds anything a bit naughty rather funny. Once I found a peach that looked like it had a bum and this caused much hilarity in our household.

Yesterday morning, Miss C decided she was bringing a small dog from a Happyland play set for a weetabix breakfast. Quite literally, he was dipped in her mushy meal and knowing what a nightmare weetabix is to clean off anything, I rescued him before he became forever caked in fibre. You can imagine having just shared with you what I have, how much I laughed when I was wiping him down.





I wonder if this was intentional and the people behind Happyland had a right laugh when making this or if it just happened.

If you haven't worked it out yet, the clue is in the tail.



Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My Favourite Picture - The Gallery

Wee Z about 10 minutes old with Daddy
The theme over at The Gallery this week was a really tricky one. I haven't got just one favourite photo. I have over 1000 photos for this year alone!

The reason I chose the photo I did is because it was the first picture I took of Daddy and Wee Z. Thank goodness for anti-shake on the camera because I was still quite drugged up from my gas and air and epidural that it would have been a blurry mess otherwise. What I really love about this photo is the genuine smile and tenderness in Husband's eyes as he looks at our newborn son. We were terrified of becoming parents. Sometimes we are still terrified but you don't see this in this photo. All I see is love. Love that we created and love that we shared that brought us our little boy.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Dear Hunky Celebs

Did you see or hear the news about the little girl who wrote to Captain Jack Sparrow (aka Mr Johnny Depp!) asking him to come along and help her and her school friends become pirates? This story has just endeared me to Johnny Depp even more. It's also prompted me to write some letters to my favourite male celebs in a hope that they will read them (unlikely) and fulfill my dreams too (even more unlikely!).

Dearest Wentworth Miller,

People of the world will probably best know you from Prison Break however my encounter of you goes back to the Mariah Carey video you appeared in. I'm glad I kept that song on because seeing your face made the pain of those 2 minutes all worth while.

I know you will be mega busy planning some escapes and staring in the new Resident Evil film but if you could spare 5 minutes to pop in and see me it would be much appreciated. Oh and if you could bring along Dominic Purcell that would be fab too.

Yours wantingly,

Laura

Dearest Hayden Christensen,

I was really wondering why I was watching Star Wars Episode 2 Clone Wars when there you appeared as Anakin Skywalker. My heart skipped a beat and instantly I enjoyed the film. You were even more gorgeous in Star Wars Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith with your fiery temper and dark eyes. I nearly fell out my seat when you had your top off. Some people said your performance in Star Wars was rather stiff...I don't see this as a bad thing.

You'd make me a very happy woman if you could come and help me pick out some Star Wars toys for Wee Z's Christmas. Feel free to bring your Lightsaber.

Yours forcefully,

Laura

Dearest Adam Garcia,

When I watched you in Coyote Ugly I was enchanted by you. You are simply gorgeous and you can dance. And you have a lovely accent.

I know you'll be very busy with Got To Dance starting soon but if you fancy a quick tango with me then please feel free to pop over. Oh and bring Ashley Banjo with you too.

You also better bring Kimberley Wyatt with you, Husband is not best impressed with all this totty I'm inviting over.

Yours hopefully,

Laura

Dear Brad Pitt,

If Angelina isn't too busy would you ask her if she'd like to come over for a cup of tea?

Thank you,

Laura


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Fairy Tale Dream

Once there was a little boy
With curly golden hair
His eyes were the deepest blue
And his skin was milky fair

Once on an early morning
On a beautiful summers day
The golden haired little boy
Went outside to play

He came across a new sight
He'd never seen before
It stood inside an oak tree
An amazing magic door

He walked up to the handle
And the door it opened wide
A bright light shone from within
Inviting him inside

He walked into a land
Full of make believe
What magical wonders
Where waiting inside this tree?

A fairy girl greeted him
And took him by the hand
Come with me she said
And I'll show you our magical land

Rivers were streams of chocolate
And trees were laden with sweets
The little boy was amazed
At all the wonderful treats

Pirates sailed in their ships
A Mermaid lay on a rock
A Prince rode upon a horse
His Princess in a beautiful frock

The Fairy tales heard in books
Had all come to life
This land was full of happiness
No troubles and no strife

Suddenly the little boy woke up
It had all been a dream
His Mummy listened and smiled
As he told of things he'd seen

Written by me. This content is protected by Copyright.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're back home now. The kids missed their toys and beds terribly as evident by Wee Z literally running from the car to the house to his bedroom and ensuring chaos decended upon his toys by emptying them all over his bedroom floor. Miss C was up the stairs like a shot after him and wasn't shy about getting a hold of the trucks and cars and throwing them about.

We don't get to visit my family very often because it is a long drive and very tiring. Our boot was beyond bursting with all the stuff we needed to take with us, my poor Mum and her partner thought we were moving in not staying for a couple of nights. On the morning we were leaving, Wee Z was up at 6am shouting "let's go to Bella and Pops!" and he was very excited to see them. Miss C was indifferent. 

The drive down was fine with Wee Z attached to his DVD player and Miss C falling asleep almost straight away. We stopped at a service station half way down to get a cup of tea and some toast and ran in to some of our friends. They were travelling down to Alton Towers on the same day. It really is a small world. The service station was really lovely and peaceful and it was nice to stretch our legs for a little while. There were ducks everywhere. Miss C was delighted and was shouting at them and pointing to them and clapping when they were jumping in to the pond. 


We arrived just after 1pm and we had lunch before taking the dog, Cooper, for a walk. Cooper is a gorgeous dog, he's Belgian Malinois. Basically the Belgian version of a German Shephard. Miss C was in love with him. He stays in a crate in Bella and Pops' kitchen because he's still a puppy and gets a bit excitable. Miss C was up at his crate giving him his dog treats and saying "Doggie" a lot. Whenever he barked or whimpered she was shouting "Doggie, doggie!" She would blow him a kiss before bed and wave to him. I was a bit nervous around him, I generally don't do well round bigger dogs. I don't know why as I've never been bitten by one. On Friday night, my Mum let him out of his crate when the kids were in bed. Husband and I were sitting in the living room and just as my Mum is yelling "I'm letting Cooper out" in bombards a huge, excited Cooper. I literally almost shit myself. My Mum is chasing after him, wine still in hand trying to grab his collar to pull him down. I took the wine off her and she managed to get him to settle for a minute. I went through to the kitchen and next thing I hear is Cooper running up the stairs and Husband and Mum running up after him shouting "Get him down, he'll wake the kids!" They caught him and brought him down to the living room and we all sat down to watch the rest of 'Come Dine With Me'. Then Cooper decided he was going to come and sit on top of me. "Please put him back in his cage!" 


I had a lovely birthday spending time with my family, including my sister and step dad. I wish we all lived closer so we could see each other more often. I'm glad to be home now though. I missed my bed and my tea bags and my computer. My home comforts. There's no place like home!



Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Food - The Gallery

I love food. Fact. My favourite food of all is pasta. I also love to bake. Wee Z has started to really enjoy helping me to bake too and then enjoy the end result. Cake!

Little marshmallow cakes Top Hats

Shortbread shapes
Fairy cakes with buttercream icing and sprinkles
With cash being tight at the beginning of this year, we decided to make Daddy a birthday cake. It was a lovely sponge cake with a buttercream and raspberry jam filling and a buttercream topping with chocolate buttons to finish it off.


Baked the cake just about to put it together

Daddy's birthday cake




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