Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Gallery - Friends

I often find myself amidst an argument over a toy with my children. We thought having them both close together would mean they would have a friend to play with, an accomplice to gang up on Mummy and Daddy and someone they could share their secrets with.

This was a bit like my Sister and I. We used to fight a lot when we were growing up...mainly me picking on her and bossing her about. I can hold my hands up to that now. However, she was also my accomplice to many of the mischievous things I got up too. My look-out and my cover up.

As we grew up we became better friends and now I can't imagine not having her in my life. We don't see each other very often but it is nice to know we are both there for each other. Whether it be for a chat or advice or to let off steam, my Sister is one of my closest confidants.

There are times when Wee Z and Miss C are the best of friends. They play well together or they snuggle up on the couch together. Wee Z is very considerate of his younger sister, checking she's OK and reassuring her when the "ghosties" are out. Miss C looks up to her brother with total admiration. She asks where he is when he's at nursery or karate. She goes hunting for him when she wakes in the morning.

I hope that as they grow up they will come to realise just how important they are to each other and be stronger friends for it. Just like me and my sister.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Friends.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Do Something Yummy...Share Cake

Those pesky ladies over at Love All Blogs...don't they know I'm off the cake?! Ah but this is for a very worthy cause, one that I have been joining in with when Nickie at Typecast started a blogging prompt to raise awareness for CLIC Sargent and their Yummy Mummy Week.

Scary to think that today around 10 children in the UK will have been told they have cancer. We won't be curing cancer by blogging these posts but we will be raising awareness...and drooling over cake. Love All Blogs have created a link up asking us to simply Share Cake.

I don't do well with sharing cake...nope not even with my kids. I work around it by making plenty of cake and then allowing them a small piece whilst I devour the rest.

A cake is a work of art. It's a science. It's delicious. I can't pick one...I'd feel like I was being unfaithful! Instead I share with you some of the cakes I have eaten in the last year.

*Wipes drool from face, keyboard...self*

My name is Laura and I am a cake-aholic.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Getting Back On The Healthy Wagon

Today is the day I decided that enough is enough and I'm going to cut out all the junk I eat from my diet...including cakes...gosh it hurts just to write it.

I tell a small lie, I'm not completely cutting them out of my diet, only on a Monday to Friday basis, birthdays excluded.

I used to be really quite good with what I ate. During the week I would eat really healthily, exercising regularly and then at the weekend I would allow myself treats such as crisps, chocolate, cake or sweets. Since having the kids though, I've been munching rubbish during the week too. Not so much crisps or chocolate or sweets...mainly cakes at soft play or toast and chocolate spread for supper. With Husband working backshift, he comes home with pizza or curry and it's really hard to resist temptation and not have a piece...usually I fail!

Before Christmas I'd been really good at avoiding junk during the week and then we had the Christmas holidays and we took a break from our healthy eating plan and replaced this with selection boxes and tins of sweets at regular intervals. I think I must have put on a good 3 or 4lbs over the festivities! I haven't been able to get back on the healthy eating wagon since.

I've continued exercising but I definitely need to watch what I'm eating more as I can feel the metabolism of the young 20 year old slowly morphing into the metabolism of an approaching late 20s coming in. It's not good. I know I'm not overweight and I definitely don't feel I need to lose a lot of weight; I just need to tone up a bit more.

Cutting out these snacks is going to be hard. As I write this I'm dreaming about chocolate spread on toast and thinking "well I did just sweat buckets for 40 minutes, maybe a little snack won't hurt!" but I have to be strong. Willpower...!

Wish me luck! Give me giving up the fags any day...!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What's For Dinner Today Mummy? #6

One of my favourite meals as a child was mince and potatoes or mince and tatties as we call them. My Gran used to make them all the time for us and it was a meal I always used to look forward to.

When Wee Z was weaning and got to the age of being able to chew more and take on more solid food, I made mince and tatties all the time for him as he loved it. Miss C would devour mince and tatties, sometimes with so much enthusiasm that it would end up all over her but her bowl was always empty.

Then, one day, Wee Z decided he didn't like mince and tatties anymore so I decided to stop making it. One night he asked "what are we having for dinner? Not mince and potatoes?!" I replied "No, Mummy isn't making mince and potatoes anymore!" He asked me why and I said "because you don't eat it anymore" and he replied "Ahhh thanks Mummy you finally listened to me!"

That was about a year and a half ago and I haven't made it since then. When I suggested lasagna for dinner tonight, Wee Z said "I don't like lasagna!" So I suggested mince and potatoes and he agreed.

Now, I'll never be able to cook mince and tatties like my Gran did but I did smile whilst wolfing down my dinner and the kids enjoyed it too.

I wonder how long lasagna will be off my menu for now!?

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekEight

Last Sunday started out really lovely, almost Spring-like you would say. It put me in a really good mood and we decided we'd go for a walk to the park after lunch. In the morning we had gone to the shops and had passed a well known car sales show room and thought we might go in and have a look. After lunch the skies turned grey so we went car shopping instead of visiting the park. We didn't see one car we liked and the prices of cars seem to have shot up from when we bought our car. By the time we came home, the clouds had opened and we were freezing! It was home, in our jammies, film on and cuddled up on the couch.

It seems that Sunday afternoon was the start of the bad weather for the week. On Monday we stayed in and spent the afternoon learning about space and planets. Wee Z gets a newsletter from nursery once a month that tells us what they will be learning about over the month and it also comes with "home links" which are things you should talk to your child about that relate to what they are learning. Wee Z has been learning all about space this week and he chose a book from the library about the planets. We read it together and I learnt lots with him which was fun!

On Tuesday, as more rain poured, we brought out the playdoh. Usually I hate playdoh as it sticks to everything however I decided to make an exception as I realised that playdoh would be an excellent fondant substitute for me to practise my cake decorating skills with. I practised my roses and Miss C asked me to make her a Peppa Pig. Sadly I only had blue playdoh! Wee Z made the planets and Miss C made...a mess.

More rain followed on Wednesday so I decided we'd have a clear-out. I went into the loft and sorted through all the baby things we no longer need. Whether we're having another baby is down to the fate of our lottery ticket every Saturday and we need the space for the ever-growing collection of toys, books and junk we seem to have. It's sad to see that chapter in my life close but needs must!

On was really windy and wet. It was also my day off work and I was hoping to go to the park with the kids but as our car was in having the dreaded MOT, I wasn't chancing the black rain clouds lingering over my house. Miss C and I played together in the morning and in the afternoon we did some colouring in. Miss C asked me to draw her a Peppa Pig cake for her birthday. I think it turned out OK...I hope her hopes aren't too high for her actual birthday cake though!

Friday brightened up a bit, although it was still very cold and windy. After lunch, Wee Z and I walked into town as I needed to address my eyebrows and Wee Z fancied a walk (which isn't like him at all!) I told him he could bring some pocket money from his bank to treat himself to a book or magazine so he excitedly fetched his bank and took £2 out. We went to the newsagents/bookshop and he chose a Tom and Jerry magazine which was £2.50. Whilst he was choosing I spotted the 2012 annuals down to £1.99 and there was a Ben 10 one. I explained to Wee Z that he didn't have enough money for the magazine but suggested he could get an annual. He took it to the till and it came up at 0.99p and then he got 20p off!! So he came home with £1.21 and a Ben 10 annual. Bargain!

On Saturday, after work, we drove to the city centre to go to a farewell party for some friends of ours. They are moving to Australia next week (lucky things!) so this was their opportunity to say bye to everyone before they leave. You could feel the emotion in the room! It's not like they are moving 5 minutes down the road, it's a continent move! It is scary, but exciting. I'm a bit envious as I'd love to move abroad...I need to work on convincing Husband a bit more.

Here's hoping Spring makes more of an appearance next week!

Silent Sunday

Friday, 24 February 2012

Funny Things My Child Says #4

Kids they do say the darnedest things, don't they? Ahhh their innocence will keep me young!

Wee Z - "When I'm older I'm going to take 4 girls on a diet!"
Me - "A diet? What's that then?"
Wee Z - "When you go out somewhere together!"
Me - "I think you mean a date."

Wee Z - "Uranus is sooo cute!"
Me - Falls off chair laughing

Husband - "Z can I borrow £1 from your bank please?"
Wee Z - "Yes!"
Husband - "Thank you, I'll pay you back £1 tomorrow."
Wee Z - "I'll give you my £1 for three."
Husband - "Three?!"
Wee Z - "NO, for FREE. My money costs you nothing."
Miss C - "Me want money too!"

Wee Z - "Mummy..."
Me - "Yes?"
Wee Z - "Do you know you don't need PPI on your credit card?"

I'm heading to the bank of Wee Z me thinks!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Gallery - Landscapes

This photo was taken in September last year when we went for a short weekend break to the Isle of Arran.

I'd never been to Arran but after seeing the sights of the ocean, the beach and the mountains, I can't wait to go back again. It was so peaceful, so green, so breath-taking.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Landscapes.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Peppa Pig And The Special Delivery

Miss C absolutely LOVES Peppa Pig. She has a Peppa Pig duvet set and fleecy blanket, Peppa Pig books, Peppa Pig toys, Peppa Pig pyjamas and Peppa Pig slippers from her God Mummy. She also told me recently that she wants a "Peppa Pig cake for mine birthday Mummy!"

A knock at the door announces the arrival of something special for Miss C. We opened the box and inside was a present from *Peppa Pig herself - a Peppa Pig My First Laptop. Miss C had been eating a chocolate biscuit at the time but that was quickly thrown to the side as she inspected her new toy.

You can buy the Peppa Pig My First Laptop from Amazon, Mothercare, John Lewis, The Entertainer and Morrisons at a RRP of £19.99.

The Peppa Pig My First Laptop can be taken anywhere as it has a carry handle and it's made really well; nice and robust! It does require batteries to work and thankfully they come with the laptop so we were able to play with it straightaway. There is also an off button - just in case!

The 2 levels of quiz mode means your child can progress from one quiz on to the next as they become more aware of their colours, numbers and letters. However, this laptop only teaches the basics of counting up to 3 and the letters ABC.

If you do have a Peppa Pig fan and you want a toy that will teach them their alphabet and phonics then you could look at buying Peppa Pig Fun Phonics 2 at a RRP of £19.99. It is available from Amazon, Smyths, ELC, Tesco, Boots, Sainsburys, Next and Morrisons.

You can watch a video of the Peppa Pig Laptop in action on my YouTube channel.

*Peppa Pig herself did not actually deliver or provide this toy for Miss C. We just told her that because it is fun to pretend!

We received the Peppa Pig My First Laptop for the purposes of a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Listography - Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy

Sometimes I wonder how anyone can be positive nowadays when everything in the world seems to be all doom and gloom. It can be hard not to get sucked into the vortex of unhappiness; as they say it's easier to be negative and say bad things that to be positive and think of all the good in your life.

I'd say that I am a fairly positive person though and try to look on the bright side of life. Kate has asked us to share our top 5 things that make us happy and this list is a sure fire way to keep me smiling, even when I don't feel like it:

  1. My family - It may be a cliché but they really do make me happy. Seeing my children first thing in the morning always makes me smile. I could have had the worst nights sleep ever but seeing their faces light up when they see me and their arms reach out to cuddle me makes that bad night melt away.
  2. My friends - I might not see them as often as I like but seeing my friends reminds me that I have a life outside of my children and my house. It makes me happy because I remember that I am me, not just Mummy.
  3. Days out in the sun - Good old vitamin D makes me very happy! If I could live anywhere in the world it would be somewhere where the sun shone all day. I love feeling the warmth on my skin, the smells of summer, the sights of summer (most of them anyways) and the sounds of summer. Everyone is happier in the summer!
  4. Exercise - I may be crazy but I do feel happy when I exercise...mostly so I can enjoy the next thing that makes me happy...
  5. Cake - I can't help but smile when I eat cake and feel the happiness spread through me. What's not to love about cake?? It looks good, it smells good and it tastes good. I am most happy when eating cake.
Tell me you're not smiling?!

It's Almost Pancake Day

Tomorrow is Pancake Day! Of course on the calendar it doesn't say "pancake day" it says Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Christians begin Lent. Lent is a time of abstinence so Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day allows them one last day to indulge in all the stuff that was forbidden during Lent: butter, eggs and fat.

Whilst I am Christian, I'm not a practising Christian but that doesn't mean I can't indulge in some pancakes and then maybe contemplate giving something up for Lent. I thought about giving up cakes but the idea is just too horrible. Maybe chocolate? I think I could give that up...possibly. The idea of giving something up for a period of time computes in my brain as being forbidden and forbidden to me is a naughty word. If someone tells me something is forbidden then I have to do it...

Anyway, whilst deciding if I was giving something up for Lent or not, I decided that we definitely needed a test run of pancakes on Saturday. Pancakes are not something I have very often but I do love making them and the kids love eating them.

Here's my recipe for pancakes:

100g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
150ml milk
1 medium egg

Sift your flour into your sugar and salt then add you egg and combine. Slowly whisk in your milk. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and runny.

Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and then ladle in some of the pancake mix. Cook until the middle starts to form small holes in it and then flip it. Cook for another 30 seconds and it's done! This is a lovely, fluffy pancake and the self raising flour makes it a bit thicker than if you were to use plain flour. You can cover it in whatever you fancy: chocolate, lemon, syrup, yogurt, fruit.

Wee Z and Miss C love chocolate spread and banana on their pancakes whilst I'm quite happy with some butter or margarine. You could go all out and do what Husband does with his pancake as it does make quite a tasty dessert:

Make your pancake as above and once on your plate add a small dollop of ice cream, some crushed biscuits and a dessert sauce. Fold the pancake over the ice cream so it resembles a calzone of sorts and drizzle on some more dessert sauce. The ice cream will start to melt and it is just delicious!

You can make the pancake batter up the night before and keep it in the fridge if you have to rush around in the morning but still want to enjoy freshly made pancakes. Just cover it up with some clingfilm.

Happy Pancake Day!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekSeven

I love waking up on a Sunday morning and seeing the sun shining brightly outside and my clock saying it's almost 11am. Those were the sights I was greeted with last Sunday! After peeling myself out of my bed, the kids and I went for a walk to the park. We explored the nature trails and found tiny acorns and the first signs of Spring coming. We were covered in mud which is always a sign of a fun day out.

On Monday we did the same thing again - headed to the park. This time we went with our next door neighbour and her kids. We knocked on the castle door to see if the ghosts were home and visited the goats, sheep, cows and rabbits in the animal area. We were so tired when we got home, and so cold too, we decided to have a yummy hot chocolate from the Tassimo machine! Yum!

Tuesday was Valentine's Day and love was flowing through our house. Wee Z and Miss C each got 2 cards, I got 2 cards and Husband got a whopping 5 cards...4 from the kids and 1 from me.

On Wednesday I had a big clear out in Wee Z's room by getting rid of some of his clothes that don't fit him anymore. I thought I was doing well I had managed to empty half his wardrobe and then I discovered 2 bags of brand new clothes waiting to be hung up! My purse was happy though as it now means I don't have to buy him any new clothes for a year or so!

On Thursday Wee Z had his friend from nursery over; Miss M who also has a little sister the same age as Miss C. They enjoyed lunch together and then went on a zombie finding spree before blasting off into space in the rocket tent. It's lovely to see Wee Z developing friendships with other children!

On Friday we went out for lunch to our favourite Italian restaurant. Husband and I usually go there for our anniversary but it is also a nice place to go for lunch. The food is always yummy and it isn't too expensive either. After lunch we collected Little J from next door to go swimming and met up with Mama N and Wee J. Husband did most of the swimming with the kids whilst Mama N and I chatted at the heated part of the pool. Miss C hasn't been swimming in awhile as she usually has ballet on a Friday however ballet was off for the half term break. Miss C is definitely a fish to water aa towards the end of the swim, she was swimming to me without her armbands on.

On Saturday Wee Z had karate and it was his first lesson wearing his karate suit. He was very excited to wear it and looked super cute in it! He also got his first tab on his belt because he is doing very well. He needs 2 more tabs on his white belt before he can move up to his yellow belt and he'll be there in no time if he carries on the way he is. Very proud Mummy and Daddy! After lunch we went to the library and then headed round to see Papa at his house before heading home to collapse on the couch!

What a busy week it was!

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Friendship #dosomethingyummy

When was the last time you got together with a group of friends?

Being parents to young children means we don't often get to go out on dates together, let alone with friends. If Husband or I go out with friends then it tends to be he goes out with his friends or I go out with mine.

The last time I went out with a my own group of friends was back in July for Mama N's hen night. I need to get out more!

Our most recent night out, however, was in January for Husband's birthday. My FIL was able to babysit for us which we always really appreciate it as he is the only babysitter we have. Having spent the last 35 years raising children, (his youngest has just turned 19) he is finally getting out and enjoying his own life so I don't like to take advantage of him!

We decided to go for dinner with our friends, Cupcake Neighbour and her other half and God Father and his other half. Because we all live on the same street we came up with the nickname "The Street Clan" and we've started to socialise a lot more over the last year after our Come Dine With Me nights.

We went to a new buffet style restaurant and enjoyed lots of chat and yummy food. There were jokes made about the toilets when the toilet I had used hadn't auto-flushed when it should have. Cupcake Neighbour then told me that the toilet I had been into had an out of order sign on the door and I was thankful it was just a pee I'd been for. 

There was a heated discussion about a piece of artwork on the wall in the restaurant that didn't seem to be appropriate for younger diners (it was a girl with her boobies out and legs open with roller skates on!) and whether there was actually a roller blind that came down during the day to hide it. Husband wanted to bring it home with him...the boys started planning how they would get it out the door without anyone noticing.

It was a fun night! Good food, good chat and good company!

They say friends are the family you choose for yourself and I couldn't agree more with that saying. My Step Dad also used to tell me that if you can count the number of friendships you have on one hand then you truly have been blessed with great friends.

I am blessed indeed!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Gallery - Embarrassing Outfits

To get an embarrassing outfit photo, I had to work my way through some of my old photo albums and find some of the monstrosities my parents used to dress me in/let me wear. I was hoping to find the photo to tell you the story of the time my Grandma (GG) bought myself, 2 sisters and 3 cousins the exact same swimming costume so she could easily spot us in the swimming pool...but I couldn't find it...thankfully.

One of the things I always swore I'd never do is dress my kids in the same outfit, unless they were twins...of the same sex. My Sister and I had the same flowery all one dress top/short suit that we were dressed in on a few occasions. Had we even looked alike then possibly this would have been OK, but we didn' least we weren't wearing matching shoes.

Flowers seemed to be a running theme for my wardrobe...

However this has to be the crème de la crème of embarrassing outfits. The one I wore when I was 10 years old. You think I'd have known better...

Trousers your nan would be proud to have as a couch cover and a multi-coloured knitted jumper finished off with some white sport socks. How cool was I?!

Now I just need to find my old leopard print leggings because apparently they are back in fashion!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Embarrassing Outfits.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Sunday, 12 February 2012

What's For Dinner Today Mummy? #5

We've kind of gotten stuck in a rut when it comes to making meals. Mainly our diets consist of pasta or sausages which does get a bit boring for me. I'm not a fussy food person and mostly I'll try anything once. Except things like mayonnaise, ketchup, brown sauce and pickled stuff.

I do love to try new recipes and I found one in an Annabel Karmel book we have that sounded like it would satisfy everyone in our house. I adapted it slightly to suit us though!

Sausage and Prawn Paella

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pepper, chopped
2 handfuls of frozen peas
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon tomato purée
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 pint chicken stock
1 smoked sausage, sliced
1 pack of cooked king prawns
200g long grain rice

Start by gently frying your onion in olive oil for 2 minutes and then add in your garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add in your paprika and pepper. Fry for about 2 minutes and then add in your rice which you fry for about 1 minute. Add in your chicken stock followed by your tomatoes and tomato purée. Bring to the boil and then simmer until your rice is cooked; about 20 minutes.

Once the rice is cooked, add in your peas, sausage and prawns and cook for about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and maybe some lemon juice.

Serve with some tortilla chips.

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekSix

The first Sunday in February saw us doing something that I never, ever do on a weekend...We went to soft play. Wee Z had been invited to a birthday party by one of the girls at nursery so I decided to take Miss C too as we don't often get to soft play nowadays with my working hours. Well, it was MANIC. I was in for 5 minutes and within that time I'd lost Wee Z somewhere in amongst the climbing area and the slides and Miss C decided to take up squat in the middle of the stairs up to the higher play area. The kids had a good time though and that's the main thing, even if I did need a lie down once we got home.

On Monday afternoon we decided to stay indoors and play. Mummy N sent Miss E down with some chocolate cake as I was feeling a bit down with general family/job worries. My friends know a nice piece of cake always makes me feel better. Miss C rather enjoyed hers too.

On Tuesday we took the bikes for a ride around the block. Wee Z is getting very fast on his bike but hasn't quite mastered up-hill cycling so Miss C and I had to get behind him with her trike and push him up the hill.

On Wednesday it was really chilly outside so we decided to stay in and keep warm under the covers. Roll on summer or at least spring for the better weather. At least it wasn't snowing though as I heard pretty much everywhere else was covered in the white stuff!

On Thursday my Grandma aka GG came to visit. GG stays up in Dundee and hops on the bus with her bus pass every few weeks to take us to lunch. Wee Z and Miss C love having GG to visit! We went for lunch to a small restaurant and then came back to our house to have a cup of tea and the chocolate buttons GG had brought for the kids. All too soon it was time for GG to go home but hopefully she'll be visiting us again before she jets off on holiday!

On Friday we made some Valentines Day cards before heading to ballet and swimming. Wee Z has really taken to swimming and Husband takes him and his friend from next door every Friday now. Miss C seems to be coming on at ballet as she comes home and shows us all her moves.

I was working on Saturday but when I got home we decided to bake some cupcakes. I was attempting a recipe I have for caramel buttercream but it didn't work as I'd hoped so we made vanilla buttercream instead and in keeping with our Valentines theme, decorated them with pink icing and red love hearts. There are only 2 left...!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Valentines Day Card Making

We spent the afternoon making some Valentine's Day cards.

Card-making is about one of the only crafts I can do and even then my cards are pretty questionable. My Mum loves making cards and has a real knack for choosing pretty, glittery things and gently placing them on the card whereas I cut bits out, use super-glue and make a real mess of things.

For today, I had 2 jobs: cutting-out and spelling assistance.

We used 2 A4 sized pieces of white card, some coloured tissue paper, coloured foam paper, coloured foil paper, glittery flowers and stickers. Pens, super-glue (as I'd ran out of normal glue) and scissors were also used.

Sparkly like!
After folding the card in half, Wee Z set about attacking it with stickers
A lovely foil heart (notice my lack of cutting skills)
Wee Z decided to use some silver foil paper to stick inside the card. That way when the person opens the card they will see themselves and know the card is for them. Ahhh clever and frugal, what a boy!

I cut out some tissue paper flowers...or stars?!
I wonder who this could be for?!

We can't tell you who the card is for though or that would ruin the surprise.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

My Family Unit #dosomethingyummy

What kind of family did I grow up in? Why is family important to me?

Everyone talks about having that 2.4 family but the reality is, sadly, it isn't always the case. My Mum and Dad divorced when my Sister and I were quite young and for the most I don't remember much about their relationship. My sister must not remember anything as she was just a baby. We lived in Spain for a few years until, one day, my Mum packed up our things and we came back to Scotland without my Dad.

From then we stayed with my Gran, my Mum's Mum. I adored my Gran. She was the rock in our little family unit, helping my Mum in every way she possibly could. When my Mum met the man who would become our Step Dad, we moved to Mexico.

I missed my Gran and my Dad and the rest of my family but we thrived living in Mexico. I made friends easily and we enjoyed weekends swimming and playing tennis. We'd go to the funfair often and had plenty of holidays to Acapulco, Cuernavaca and Cancun as well as weekend trips to America. We lived a really comfortable life; we were really lucky.

After 4 years in Mexico, we moved back to Scotland and stayed with my Gran until my Mum and Step Dad got a small flat just up the road from my Gran's house. I loved being back with my Gran again and being able to see the rest of my family again was great.

My cousins, sister and I used to have so much fun together. We'd make up dance routines, songs and put on shows for my paternal Grandparents. We'd go horse riding, ice skating and swimming. We were inseparable whenever we were together. It was as if we'd never been away from them.

In 1996 my Dad remarried and my youngest sister was born the week before Christmas. I was happy to be there to meet her and loved being involved in looking after her.

We moved to Manchester in 1999. It was hard saying goodbye to my Gran again. At the time I didn't realise it but looking back, she'd seemed more frail. Part of me wishes I'd stayed with her to look after her. She didn't have anyone else there and although only 4 hours away, it wasn't the same as being "just around the corner".

When my Mum came to my school to tell me that my Gran was in hospital and was going to pass away, I didn't want to believe her. My Step Dad was away on business so there was just my sister and I to support my Mum, as she is an only child. Our little family of 3 had to pull together and be strong for my Gran.

Fast forward to now and things are a lot different in my family unit. My Mum and Step Dad divorced a few years ago. Hearing that they were separating was strange. Although my Step Dad will never replace my Dad, I'd always had him in my memories of my childhood as a father figure. He had made my Mum happy again and had been there for her through an incredibly difficult time when she lost her Mum.

My Mum and Sister still live in Manchester and it does get to me sometimes that they have each other down there whilst up here I don't have anyone, except of course, my own little family. I know that, no matter where we are in the world, the 3 of us are still our little family unit we always were and always will be.

My Mum, my Sister and Me.

And my Gran, who I'm sure lives on in spirit, watching over us all and is hopefully smiling.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Gallery - A Family Story

Tara said "I think the hardest part here is going to be how to narrow it down to just one photo!" Well you weren't wrong there Tara! How can you choose just one photo to tell A Family Story...?

I didn't.

Well technically I DID.

A collage counts as one photo right?!

Our family story: from being just 2 people who met, fell in love, got married and had some babies. Lovely!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is A Family Story.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Valentines Day is on it's Way

It's almost that time of year again when we declare our love for our other half and shower them with kisses, cuddles and Valentines Gifts.

I'm quite happy with a card and maybe a bunch of flowers, like these ones I received from Interflora. These gorgeous Valentines Day Flowers are just one bunch of a huge selection to choose from and you can order them online and have them delivered wherever you like. I remember one year Husband surprised me by sending me a huge bouquet of orchids, my favourites, to my work. I was mortified but in a good way!

Interflora also offer lots of gifts for her and for him so you can choose something a bit different like hamper gifts filled with delicious goodies or personalised balloons for those hayfever sufferers!!

Our Valentines Day will be spent quietly but in a few weeks we might get a babysitter and go to the cinema or go out for something to eat. The kids usually send cards to their friends and I'll also be giving them the giant love heart lollipops that came with my bouquet to give to their friends...if Miss C doesn't eat them all first!

Happy Valentines Day!

I received a bouquet from Interflora for the purposes of this post. The opinions expressed are my own.

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