Monday, 19 December 2011

Easy Christmas Dinner

OK so I am sort of of the Nigella school of thought on putting in minimal effort with cooking but I am also someone who would only serve up the best of grub to visitors or on special occasions. I have a multitude of cheats secrets that over the years I have come up with. Generally I came up with them as I like to be able to socialise at a special occasion and am someone who doesn't understand why anyone does the cooking and organising if its just going to end up with them exhausted and stressed to the hilt during and afterwards.

I went to catering college when I left school and my tutor there was very much an old fashioned cook as well as a good chef and gave me a lot of pointers on how to prepare and safely store foods in advance. One of these was turkeys and over the years I have adapted how I do Christmas dinner to suit myself and now I believe the way I do it is the only way to do it if you wish to sit and relax at all on Christmas Day. Otherwise you will spend all day peeling chopping and sweating and who really enjoys their dinner after all that effort??? I know I don't.

So here are my secrets for the easiest Christmas Dinner for the designated cook.

Firstly I always buy frozen turkeys with the giblets in. I usually do this at least 3 weeks in advance and defrost it as soon as I get home. Once defrosted properly (checking for ice crystals as we all do and removing the giblets) I smother it in butter then cover the breast meat totally in oak smoked dry cure streaky bacon, season and throw it in the oven for its designated time. When its done I check the legs and breast juices run clear and rest for over an hour in the foil. Remove the bacon and put to one side and carve your bird as you would for Christmas day. I always buy foil containers with lids and lay the turkey slices in there overlapping as much as you need to.

Next I cook my sausages in bacon and stuffing as per instructions ( I usually buy fresh pork sage and onion as I like it best) and together with the bacon from the turkey I put these in a foil container too. I then use packet turkey gravy which I make up and pour into each container covering the turkey and all the trimmings. Leave it all to cool totally then put the lids on and freeze. Job done.  Remove from the freezer before you go to bed on Christmas eve and by the morning it will have defrosted ready to go in the oven for Christmas lunch. You can throw it in in the containers. I usually remove the lids and cover with foil instead as the lids can go a bit soggy when defrosting.

If you leave it all to the last minute there's nothing to stop you cooking your bird on Christmas eve and putting the containers in the fridge overnight ready to put in the oven on Christmas Day.

TOP TIP : Remember to always use your foil shiniest side down towards the food as it reflects the heat and cooks things evenly.

I usually throw all the bones from the turkey in a large pan after I have carved and picked the carcass and boil them up with water, an onion (not peeled just cut in half) 2 celery sticks cut in half and 2 carrots and leave on a slow boil for 4-6 hours but now i would probably throw in the slow cooker on low for 24 hours. This makes a fantastic stock for a soup for your Christmas day starter or for any other time.

My roast potatoes I noticed other people doing this year too but this was a trick I was taught by my gran for great roast potatoes and easy to do. Par boil a pan of potatoes for 10-15 mins depending on the size of the chunks. I usually half mine so do 15mins. Drain and leave to cool for 5-10 mins with the lid on. Shake the pan slightly to fluff the edges add a few table spoons of plain flour to the pan, season with salt and pepper and shake it up again. then pour onto a baking tray covered in the oil of your choice. Pour more oil over until potatoes are covered and once completely cooled put into sealed freezer bags and lay in the freezer. One the day you can defrost and cook or cook from frozen whichever you prefer. I always add a tiny bit of extra oil to be sure before throwing in the oven for 30 mins.

TOP TIP: buy foil containers to cook everything in. Saves in washing up after dinner.

These are all real cheats ways of sprouts and all the trimmings.
I buy frozen sprouts as they are just as good, I boil for 2/3 of the allocated time and add a jar of ready prepped chestnuts for the last while. I usually do that in the morning then heat by toss in a pan with prefried streaky smoked bacon in before serving.
Cranberry sauce and bread sauce all are generally jars and packets and I buy my gravy in the tubs in the meat aisle for the table.

Bish Bash Bosh, Christmas dinner all ready to go. No dirty big roasting trays to wash up after either.

Images from google images.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Hey there everyone. Check out my guest post today over at the lovely Honest mummys blog.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I'm Back

I'm back, well, for today anyway. I've managed to persuaded myself to sit down and actually write something. It's getting the time to actually open a laptop these days here. Both kids are busy busy and its been a trail of birthdays after birthdays and a lot of goings on for me over the last few months. So, I felt the need to sit and get some things up to date here.

My big news which most of you know is I am pregnant with baby number 3. It's very very early days and although I'm putting it out there so early I haven't told many folk in real life. Our parents know and closest friends but I needed somewhere to vent my worries and general moans so chose to put it out on twitter this week when I turned 5 weeks and both sets of parents had been informed. It's been good to have some where to feel positive about it. Every one's been lovely and encouraging me to banish my worst fears until I need to. I had an early miscarriage at the end of September there and believe me there are plenty of worries for me. The lovely @the_moiderer has helped with a recording of fabulously positive thoughts for me and its working a treat. Thanks D. So I am 5 weeks and 1 day and counting. I should be 12 weeks around New Year so keep everything crossed for me til then please. Right now I will breathe a bit easier if I can make it past 6 weeks.

It's my little man's 3rd birthday on Sunday coming and I've been wracking my brains what to do for it.

 We have a winter fair in the town on Sunday with Santa arriving by helicopter and the Christmas lights being switched on so I want to go to that and make the most of the celebrations there as he will love that but then with it being his birthday it is one of those busy busy days and with my energy levels as they are right now I am trying to work out what's best for it. I'm a little bit aghast that 3 years has passed so fast and cannot grasp that this time 3 years ago he was already overdue. He's such a fabulous little man and I adore him in every way. I can't wait for him to be a big brother because I know he will be amazing at it. Anyway, at least the cakes decided. Sophie picked a Winnie the pooh cake in Marks and Spencer's one day recently so I am going to collect it at the weekend. Little Caleb will love it and for the first year with both kids I haven't made cakes but I am enjoying the rest.

On another note altogether I have started my Christmas shopping and hoping to finish it in the next couple of weeks. I want to be organised because stupidly we have arranged to have our main room redecorated in December and that will cost us so I want the kids stuff sorted now. I also hate the rushing round on Christmas eve so I want to avoid that stress this year.

We're having a huge Christmas dinner at my mums this year with everyone there and we're all contributing to cooking and booze. We've each put £100 in the kitty and taking money out to buy our share of the meal and booze/decorations/entertainment. Mums using two huge tresssle tables and we're decorating it for everyone. There should be around 20 of us. I think it will be lovely and cuts out the worry of who to see for Christmas which means I'm actually looking forward to it this year. As long as the mother in law doesn't demand our company at her annual crap Ttesco buffet day on boxing day. I hate boxing day and we always have it at home to recover and have some us time. There's a fall out every year over it and last year she was told so fingers crossed she's got the message.

Anyway, its good to be back. I promise I will try to keep up with everyone else's blogs a bit better and can't wait to keep this updated with my most recent adventure.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A Month?

Its been a whole month since I blogged?? Blimey!

I've found with everything that's been going on here I haven't had that much to say or time to say anything really.

Quick summary of the month....

Ill health.
School holidays.
Mine and Sophies birthdays.
Hubby car hunting.
Lovely friend and her friend and child visiting.

Theres got to be a few posts in there but it's finding the time.

Anyway I will be back. Soon.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Utterly Scrummy and Beyond.

I've said it before that I haven't been feeling too great this last week and had been struggling a lot with some stuff I have going on. My energy levels are beyond gone and I've been pretty down. I had a lovely surprise from a good friend the other day as I said which helped lift my spirits and then when I was on twitter the other day I mentioned what had been going on and the lovely Michelle from Utterly Scrummy asked if she could send me some of her brownies to cheer me up. My reply......... OHHHHHH YESSSS PLEASE!!!! It was a lovely offer and very very kind of her.

Today they arrived and as I was having a lie in this morning, Hubby brought them up to me in bed followed in quick pursuit by Caleb. The fact the box had the name of its contents on it might have explained their enthusiasm.

They were packaged beautifully and so fresh. Each one came sealed for freshness and you could tell they were newly made. YUM YUM YUM.We had a lovely picnic in bed before I'd even woken up properly.

Now I say brownies. These are no ordinary brownies. These are Uber yummy brownies. Hubby doesn't normally like brownies and these have converted him.He agreed they are so amazing.  Caleb who is a cake connoisseur was in cake/chocolate heaven. The two of them sat waiting for me to open more. Little pests.

S'cuse me. More please!!! Also note hubby hovering in the background. 

 Anyway I managed to rescue 3 for my personal consumption when they're not around. These brownies very much require private mummy time to appreciate their gorgeousness.

 I can honestly say I've never tasted brownies like them. They are for sure 'Utterly Scrummy.  Thank you again Michelle. I will certainly be ordering more of these brownies for myself and also as gifts for others. I looked at the website today after receiving them and they are so reasonably priced it makes a great gift idea.

If you fancy having a look or ordering yourself some pop over to , and order yourself some. I promise you wont be disappointed. They are worth every penny.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Gene

What is it with men and clothes? Mine spends a fortune on them and then proceeds to take them off every opportunity he can ( and no, not how you think, just for lounging around). He comes in from work has a shower and puts on pjs. He's ruddy half naked at all times in the house. Sends me nuts. I can't send him to the shop or to take the bin out or anything...................................................hold on.............. is that the ploy????? *lightbulb moment*. Well, anyway, even if it is that his sons not much better. My gorgeous boy cannot keep his clothes on. As soon as we are in the house for the day he systematically undresses as the day goes on. Often seen streaking past a door in either a Rab.C.Nesbit ensemble or bottomless. If we ever have to dash out for some reason I have to start dressing him again. Drives me potty.

None of us like shoes. I hate wearing shoes and always have. I spend most of my summer totally barefoot indoors and out whenever I can. Saying that I own a lot of mad huge platformy heally shoes that are beyond gorgeous and make you want to lick them but day to day all I wear are either Uggs or flip flops. I've tried to diversify. I own countless amounts of boots and various colours of converse all stars which I am happy in with ripped jeans, a hoodie and beany hat on lazy days but after an hour or two I cant wait to release my piggies and run barefoot. Again, Caleb hates shoes. Before we even get in the door he demands 'shooz off'. I hate people in my house with shoes on so it suits me but he is very adamant he hates shoes. We tried every kind of fitted shoes from various kids stores and I'm sure it was what hindered his walking for months. We would take his shoes off indoors and he'd plod around happily. Stick him in fitted measured leather shoes and he would demand to be carried and not even attempt a step. As soon as I invested in Uggs for him and converse he was happy to walk but still demands them off before we even reach the doorway.

Maybe we have created a fussy lazy man monster, who will refuse to wear clothes or shoes and drive his future wife nuts. Erk!!! Its really in the Genes isn't it!!! The poor love doesn't stand a chance then.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

silent sunday

Silent Sunday

Sundays are Made for.....

What do we all think Sundays are made for? Family? Fun? Rest? Church? All of these are great and things I am all for if that's what you like to do on a Sunday. I like to visit my parents on Sundays sometimes. I like to go for nice days out with the kids and Hubby on his days off. I love lazing around as a family and doing not very much. I used to like going to church with my Mum now and again when Hubbys off to take the kids so we get peace and enjoy (but our minister left and its a bit dire at the moment) but today Caleb and I decided we have taken the meanings of Sunday to a whole new level.

This afternoon Sophie went off to visit her auntie and cousins with my Dad so Caleb and I decided some fresh air was in order. So we wrapped up like Scot of the Antarctic and filled his bag with treats and off we went the mile and a bit walk with the pram to the beach front and the fab park there. He was off like a whippet when he saw where we were going and his cute little face lit up. It was freezing and we were blown around like kites but it was great.  We watched the wind and kite surfers and the doggies swimming in the sea

He ran and climbed and swung for two whole hours. We had such fun I forgot to take any pictures. I only managed to drag him away with the lure of a finger of fudge and some apple juice. Luckily too as the minute we set foot inside the house the heavens opened. I got my washing in and the blustery weather had dried it well.

We are both now totally beyond tired and after this week the outing has taken me to a whole new level of exhausted but in a lovely content way. This little boys face is worth every second.

I may need another week to recover mind you that is after I attack the huge pile of ironing the windy day has granted me.

This is what Sundays are made for. (Minus the ironing of course)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Friendships that matter.

Yesterday someone did one of the nicest things and friends ever done. I received a wonderful gift in the post on a day I really needed it. An early birthday present from a wonderful lady. She's not only wonderful but deeply modest so I'm not saying who or what but basically she made me cry at what a truely lovely woman she is. (whether she would agree or not.)

I could write a post about all the wonderful things about her but she'd shrivel up at the thought so I wont do that to her.

I met her on twitter and developed a friendship with her I don't have with anyone else. For the first time ever I am completely open with someone. I tell her my inner most thoughts and she can pretty much pry anything out of me. She is a very intuative person and is currently learning how to use that to help others more and personally I can't think of anyone better suited to that exact career.

So you lady friend I just wanted to say Thank You again for the lovely gift and tell you I can't wait to see you soon hopefully and am thinking about you today especially.

Happy Haircut

When is it obvious your kids need a haircut you may ask yourself? Well the answer is..................................

When a boys big sister can do this to him and he looks VERY pretty indeed.

This ribbon came round a prezzie i received in the post and Sophie proceeded to do the little mans hair. He did love it however, Daddy not quite so enamoured when he insisted in keeping it in all night. Needless to say today he had a haircut by me.


It might not look short to you but for us this is short short short.

Bless him.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


I'm not one for telling all in a Blog. There's some things I like to keep private, ('Is there really?' you cry. Well, yes so neh) however, basically I've had some ups and downs the last two months personally that have left my body exhausted and struggling.

Yesterday I gave in and went to the doctors again to ask them to check my bloods etc to see how I can sort this constant feeling of total wipeout.

So I pull up outside the surgery, and because I'm a bit early I sat in the car waiting for a few minutes before going in. BIG MISTAKE!!! Firstly I caught sight of myself in daylight in the rear view mirror. At what point did I turn into the bride of Frankenstein???? I'm the palest woman alive with the darkest circles ever round my eyes and I look like I have a full fortnight in Spain's luggage under them. That was the point where I thought, Id much rather wait indoors at the surgery or I'd start poking at my face and go in looking worse.

So its into the surgery with me. I sit in the waiting room tweeting about the shock of the sight of myself and the next thing I get the terrible urge to lie down on the waiting room sofa and have a sleep. It was pulling me down saying 'sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep'. Considering there were around 15 others in the waiting room I decided to fight the urge and tweet on my phone instead.

Ten minutes later the doctor called me in and first thing she says is 'OH my goodness you look awful'. Good huh? If I was the kind of person who was obsessed with my looks or had issues with it I'd be running for the harbour right now and throwing myself off it. SAKE!!! So anyway, I was poked, prodded, de-bloodied (if its not a word I don't care! I like it), blood pressure done,urine tested, a  long chat about everything and 20 minutes later I emerged drained and feeling considerably worse and now waiting for a phone call today from a consultant.

Next I had to run Sophie's overnight bags to my mums as she was staying there to do a French essay with them last night. I walked in to my mum saying 'Oh dear pet you do look unwell. so pale' Self esteem level 0 now. She asked how doctor went and I told her then she proceeded to 'need' to offload some of her worries. Now, I am a listener. I love to sit and feel like just listening and having a chat is helping someone. Mum and I often sit and she tells me her worries and I'll sympathise over a cup of tea and a cuddle. Yesterday, I could feel the urge to keel over coming over me again. My Mum was talking and I felt like sliding off the sofa onto the floor and curling into a ball. I don't think I actually heard anything she said for an hour. I just nodded and made the right noises. I am a terrible daughter for that am I not! Eventually I made my excuses and left. Driving home I couldn't keep my eyes open. I was driving the long stretch along the beach and kept nodding off. I got home and came in, told hubby what the doctor had said and proceeded to nod off for 15 minutes.

I managed to drag my snoozy butt off the sofa long enough to make dinner then went straight to bed. How can one person be so tired? Not, yawning tired may I point out just drained beyond belief, and quite obviously it's noticeable since everyone is commenting on how 'awful' I look, less of a sleepy beauty and more of a tired, haggard, drained, old mess.

Today hubby has taken Caleb to the beach park and I am about to crash on the sofa with a cuppa and a dvd of 'blue juice'. I haven't seen this movie for about 10 years and it's one of my all time favourites. It'll make me melancholy for Newquay but I feel the need for some Sean Pertwee and surfing. YUM.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Any Chance of a Decent Sleep???

Never a truer word spoken.


I go to bed, earplugs at the ready at a decent time, read not watch TV and very often drift off fairly quickly. Falling asleep isn't my problem. Staying asleep is.

I'm exhausted. I generally wake every hour to half hour, dose for a while then fall asleep again for another hour or so. It's broken sleep where I am aware of every noise and light round about me. (In a house where daughter and husband refuse to switch the bathroom light off its a problem.) I'm constantly aware of the bathroom light being on. It floods the landing and therefore comes in the glass panel in our room. That's when the neighbours extractor fan isn't switching itself on and off right through the wall from my head all night resembling something sort of like Dr who's tardis taking off.

I'm exhausted. I'm fed up waking up to go and switch off a light or cover the sky box lights, or close a window, or go to the loo, or turn the heating down/up or find my inhaler/earplugs/antihistamines. SAKE!!!!!! How hard can it be to just sleep through the damn night woman?

Things I must invest in. Earplugs that don't fall out. Eye mask. New husband who switches lights off. Restraints to keep daughter in bed. A gun for the noisy neighbours. A gag for the noisy cat. Horse tranquilisers for myself. THEN, only then will I get a much needed nights sleep? Unfortunately a few of these solutions may land me in jail where I'm not sure a good nights sleep will be forthcoming either. I guess I'm just destined to be exhausted forever.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Lego Duplo Police Station

Product: Lego Duplo Police Station

Price: Retails at around £49.99

Available from: Most toy stockists.

Suitable From: it's aimed at pre-schoolers ages 2-5.

Score out of 5: 5

Initial Reaction: Wow the box picture looked so exciting. Lets get building.

Pros: Easy to build and lovely big pieces for little hands to manage. Picture instructions are so easy to follow. Once build it isn't too huge and can be left assembled without taking up too much room. Flashing siren for the car is fabulous and realistic. The figures and motor vehicles add an extra dimension. All the little interior touches to the office and jail are great and hold kiddies interest for ages.

Cons: Tried and tried but couldn't find any.

Value for Money: Excellent.

Overall reaction:  When this arrived, Caleb and I couldn't wait to get building. It took all of 15 mins to assemble and them Daddy, Caleb and I had literally hours of fun. The Squad Car and Helicopter were instant hits and the realistic touches to all the interiors are fabulous. Caleb has been playing with it for over a week now and makes a bee line for it first every day. The police set also has a Police Bike and Police truck which are sold seprately from the station so guess what our boy will be getting for his Birthday and Christmas this year?!

Mookie Scramble Bug

Product: Mookie Scramble Bug,  Foot to Floor Ride on.

Price: £39.99

Available From: Online toy stores and Mookie Stockists.

Suitable From: 1-3yrs.

Score out of 5:  5

Initial Reaction: Loved it as soon as we saw it. Caleb couldn't wait to get it out the box and get on it.

Pros: It folds down almost completely flat for storage and ease of carrying/travelling. Goes up and down in seconds. Easy to use. Great for indoors or outdoors. Wheels rotate 360 degrees for ease of movement. Easy to push and steer. Great pre-bike toy. Lovely colour ranges and cute design.

Cons: Seriously cannot find any.

Value for money: Great.

Overall reaction: We adore our scramble bug. It goes everywhere with us and all the kids who play here love it too. Its the firm favourite outdoor toy and so cute. I would recommend the scramble bug to anyone with toddlers and think the skills it helps them develop are great for future biking. Its so easy to fold up and down and slides easily in the boot for day trips and going to grannies house.
The colour range available is gorgeous and there's one for every taste.
I can't recommend the Mookie Scramble Bug enough. .

Liz Earle Mens Face Scrub, Cleanse and Polish

Product: Liz Earle Men's Face Scrub & Cleanse & Polish

Get great looking skin with the help of Liz Earle's facial collection designed especially for men. Kick start your daily routine with Men's Cleanse & Polish (100ml) which cleanses and gently exfoliates for smoother, clearer skin. You'll also receive Men's Face Scrub (75ml), Aftershave Moisturiser (15ml) and two muslin cloths. Suitable for all skin types.

Price: £23.20

Available From:

Suitable for: Men/ All skin types

Score out of 5: 4

Initial Reaction: Lovely packaging, nice amounts of each product and smelt lovely. My husband was slightly unsure of a skincare routine as he is usually a soap and water only type but the packaging made the use of these products very simple. 

Pros: Smells nice. Easy to use. Left skin feeling fresh and very cleansed. Just the right size of packaging to take into the shower and for in a toilet bag for easy transporting to and from work. The moisturiser is lovely after shaving. Scrub is great for dry skin. 

Cons: Hot cloth polish was a bit of an effort and didn't see much of a result. 

Value for Money: Reasonable value for money.

Overall Reaction:  My husband was fairly impressed with these products and really did see a marked difference in his skin as he has very sensitive skin especially after shaving. The moisturiser was really beneficial as he is cycling a lot recently to and from work which can leave his skin dry and weather beaten. The face polish he just viewed as a bit of unnecessary pampering although he said if he had more time to spend he would maybe use it once a week. He viewed it as a lovely pack of products for a gift and said he would be very pleased indeed to receive them as a gift himself. 

Radox for Men Shower Gels/ Scrubs

Product: Radox for Men Invigorating Shower Gels and Deep Clean Shower Scrub

Price: Around £2.65

Available from: Supermarkets and chemists

Suitable from: Adults only

Score out of 5: 3

Initital Reaction: The packaging is bright and loved the scent mixtures

Pros: Most of the range smell lovely and fresh. Scrubbing particles in the scrubs remove dead skin and wake you up.

Cons: The lemon one smells a bit like bathroom cleaner so wasn't a favourite here. Slightly more expensive.

Value for money: I think they are not bad value for money but do think there are cheaper men's shower gels out there just as nice.

Overall reaction: When asked to test the new range of Radox for men Shower Gels I was pleased as my Husband and Dad both love smellies for men and I thought they would love this test. My Dad tried the Water mint and Sea Mineral Shower scrub and my Husband tested the Mint and tea tree Invigorating Gel, the Lemon and Tea Tree Gel and the Lime and Ginger Scrub.  Three out of the four of these shower gels/scrubs smelled lovely however the lemon one is a bit like bathroom cleaner. My husband was more than happy with the other two however,  and said that they really make your skin tingle and the scents were extremely pleasant to wake up to. My dad didn't like the scrub at all. He has sensitive skin and found the scrubbing uncomfortable he did however like the smell. I think its mostly personal preference on these gels/scrubs and I would recommend them. I like the way my husband smelled after using them and he liked the scrubs.

Tinc Stationary

Product: Tinc Black Stationary.

Price: I was sent the pencil case £8.50, ipod splitter/stand £9.50 , and touchy feely paperclip holder £5.00.

Available from:

Suitable from: School age

Score out of 5: 4

Initial reaction: Not sure what to make of this stationary

Pros: Really modern and funky looking. Easy to handle. Looks good on desk or at school. Reasonably priced.

Cons: Bit more appealing for older kids/ adults.

Value for money: reasonable

Overall reaction: Initially I was a bit baffled by the appeal of this stationary but after a good look at the website and playing around with it we love it. The splitter for the ipod is really fun and means that both kids can listen in the car to one ipod or the dvd players. The stand is fun and my teenager loved it. The pencil case and paperclip holder look really chunky and funky. My Dad has the paperclip holder on his work desk and loves the magnetic outside and finds it cute to use. My daughter likes the pencil case especially as she can put her pens for school in and it also fits all her lunch money AND the hard outer case means she can put her phone in to keep it safe too and stops it getting lost in her school bag. All in all I'm super impressed with the Tinc stationary and will be looking on the website for more come back to school after summer.

PND and Me.

All I can do is tell you my story. It's my experience of the hell that is Post Natal Depression. It doesn't mean my symptoms are anything like yours or anyone else's for that matter. They were my experiences and mine alone.

I carried them alone for four and a half years before I begged someone for help.

 Four and a half years of not loving a child enough, not wanting to cuddle that child enough, not wanting to get out of bed enough to be a parent and not wanting to function enough.

Four and a half years of  ground hog day, of a dark cloud of disappointment of motherhood and all I'd expected.

Four and a half years of hatred of my child's father for leaving me alone to deal with this on my own, inadequate and scared. In fact scared isn't the appropriate word, terrified is more like it. Terrified this child would go through life unloved and resented. Passed back and forth between a mother who was useless and concerned grandparents.

For Four and a half years I got up at 8am, fed a child, dressed a child, played with a child, took that child to nursery, worked to earn money to feed and clothe that child and pay for someone else to look after it, cooked for that child, read to that child and put that child to bed with no emotion other than sadness and grief.

For four and half years I went though every daily motion required of me unmoved by my new role other than to feel sad.

For four and a half years I partied hard when I could and escaped my jail whenever I humanely could.

Then one day I woke up and thought this wasn't me. I was a loved child, there was no need for me to not be a loving mother. I was spoiled with every emotion a child has a right to and was happy. When I was pregnant I was happy, I knew I was doing it alone then so there was no excuse. The day I gave birth I was happy and when I held her I was happy, when had it changed? The week I spent in hospital after a traumatic few hours after birth I'd felt happy, elated. Almost too elated! Then the day I got out of hospital and went to stay with my parents for a few weeks the visitors poured in, no one thought to let me get used to this alone for even one day. I was 21, scared but on a high and struggling to even change a nappy alone in my parents home, not my home. Not my home with my baby girl. I slunk off to the bathroom and sobbed, but that wasn't when it changed.

Then people started wanting time with my baby girl alone, they wanted to take her walks and take her away from me. The battle with her father was hotting up and every time they took her from me in the blink of an eye I thought how easily he could take her from me for good.  People wanted to feed her,bath her, changed her, wind her, friends of my parents and family rallied to help the poor helpless single mother caught in an unpleasant battle with someone she'd trusted and took pity. All I wanted was to be left to look after my baby girl my lovely little baby girl I'd waited so long for and fought to keep regardless of the threat I'd had of medical complications and peoples judgements of a girl on her own having a child that she 'shouldn't, but still that wasn't when it changed.

By the time my little one was two weeks old I would sit and sob uncontrollably. Her father hadn't been to see her. None of his family would answer my calls. I still hadn't made it out alone with her as I never had alone time with her full stop. My own friends didn't have time for me as they were all 21 and having a good time and my life had been in London and my friends at home and I had drifted apart while I was there before baby. Other people had been out walking with MY new pram the one I paid for alone, they had fed my baby the one I fought to keep alone. That was how I felt then. That was when things changed.

I started to look on myself as a depressed childminder. Everyone else was so chuffed with this child and everything I had supplied and cared for her with. No one once asked how I was feeling. No one once thought how the situation may be affecting me. No doctors or health visitors or midwifes asked how I felt. Everyone talked about this child and how the situation I'd created would affect her as she grew and how I hadn't done the right thing by her and I could feel myself slipping into a darkness. I tried to ignore it and thought at the time I needed to move back to my own place and get us into a routine just us and after 3 weeks I did. In hindsight if I'd stayed longer with my parents they may have picked up on what was wrong with me sooner and I may have had help but in my haze I saw everyone as the enemy.

So I moved home and carried on my routine as the person in charge of a small child. I did everything required of an adequate carer. Everything except feel love. That had gone and at the time I was too sad to know why but just assumed it would grow with time. It didn't.

The longer I left it the further it felt from me until I was numb and unfeeling. I hated myself every day and punished myself every way I could. All the people who had helped so tirelessly when she was born were pushed as far away as I could get them and I went through every motion necessary to do my 'job' as carer.

Then one morning four and a half years later I woke up in a blind panic. It was tell someone or end it all for myself. I knew my child would be taken care of. Her grandparents were amazing and wonderful with her and she adored them. They were everything I was incapable of being. I sat in bed sobbing and wondering how I would end my life and when. Then, in came a little girl. A beautiful little girl with lovely brown curls and a sleepy look on her face. Something made me realise that little girl didn't deserve the legacy of her mothers death hanging over her as well as the lack of a wasteful father who as yet hadn't seen her, paid for her or even contacted her. I phoned my Dad and sobbed uncontrollably down the phone in inaudible hysteria and he 'got it'. My Dad and I have always been close but he knew. He hadn't known it was PND but thought I was just about coping with depression and thought all would be ok. Little did he know how close it had come to not being ok. He phoned his GP and explained what I had said and they both rushed round to me. My Dad took my little girl away and the doctor stayed with me and calmed me until he could make sense of what I was saying.  He pretty much knew what was going on for himself but wanted to get me more help.

He gave me a few tranquilisers, just enough to see me through two days and to get some much needed sleep and referred me privately at my Dads request to a clinic for phsycological assessment. I only had to wait a week and my Dad ran me there for every appointment and sat through everything with me while my mum raised my child . Unwavering support the unconditional love of my parents. It was diagnosed on my first appointment and I was referred from there to see a phsycologist where I had counselling and behavioural therapy's.

I had a short period of time on medication which helped but made me very spaced out. The counselling helped the most. It didn't happen overnight but I found every day easier with my lovely little girl. I got to know her again and grew to love her again. It was amazing it almost came naturally. We cuddled and spent endless times playing together. I was signed off work for 6 months and in that time got to spend a lot of time with her and also a lot of time and space alone to get to know who I was again and to discover fun. Not silly partying fun, proper fun. A simple walk on the beach alone on a winters day could make me feel human again.

By the time my girlie was 6 I remember sitting sobbing my heart out again, but not this time because of the failures I felt but because I was a Mum. The kind of Mum who loved, nurtured and cherished a beautiful little girl that I was so lucky to have.It had been there all along. The PND had just clouded it.  Around that time I was diagnosed with type 2 bi polar which made me have my own ups and downs but through it all I was a mum and I never let the demons return with my precious child and I.

Having my next child 11 years after the first was a tense time for my husband and I as I had a fear of it happening again. I spent months shaking and stressed about it happening and not loving this next baby. Sure enough PND reared its ugly head again the day after my little boy was born but it took another form completely. It was a fear of leaving him, it was a fear of being without him 24 hours a day. I pushed everyone else away and had to keep my children especially the baby right with me excluding all others. I feared him sleeping alone and couldn't manage a single second without him. I feared him getting sick or worse and smothered my family to breaking point. Luckily for me this time round the professionals were on the lookout and I was seen within 6 months by councillors. I am still a work in progress with my bi polar but I well and truly kicked PNDs butt second time round.

I think myself lucky every day now to have had all the help and support I've had from all my family and friends who've been there throughout and to have 2 such amazing children whom I love and would lay down my life for. That's being a mother. I am a mother and a survivor of the demon that is Post Natal Depression.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Hurricane's a'comin!

So, obviously someone forgot to listen to my last post and pass on my message huh???  NO MORE GALES I SAID!!!! No???? Super thanks.

We are expecting the tail end of Hurricane Katia on Monday. Worst Places to be affected West Coast of Scotland (shocked face NOT) and Northern Scotland with gusts of up to 80mph. Oh super duper!!!! (sarcastic face is on right now.)

View from space of Hurricane Katia. 

Well this sucks ass a big bit can I just say. I just fixed the fence by myself yesterday and now I can probably kiss goodbye to that bad boy eh?

Moving across the Atlantic a day ago. 

Tonight I got proactive and put away our garden furniture and weighed the trampoline down. Wheelie bins were dragged round and are now adding extra support to the fence and anything I could weigh down is. We live with our back garden 500 yards in line with the West coast and and the full force of anything that comes our way from it so I am mostly praying.

The last time we had a hideous storm, January 2008 some of the houses nearby had windows blown out and we lost a substantial part of our roof and our garden gate. Hubby and I were lying in bed asleep and at 4am our loft hatch just lifted right off and came back down with an almighty bang. We looked at each other and shrugged. What could we do? Nothing is the short answer. At 5.30am it happened again followed by a massive bang from the roof and a lot of rumbling. Again we looked at each other with pitying looks and went back to sleep. When we woke at 8am it was destruction. Trampolines in the street. Bits of peoples roofs everywhere and most fences not looking too good. A large part of our roof lay on the back grass and our fence somewhere around 50 yards into the back field. Since then when we have a weather warning we semi batten down the hatches. I have been known to be out in the 70mph winds taking out the whirlie and putting away and generally propping up anything I can.

Tomorrow, all being well and if tonight's prelude of gusts dies a little I will attempt to go out and remove the trampolines matting from the springs (to let the wind blow through it instead of picking it up) and the netting which I asked Hubby to but he fell asleep.  Then I will have done everything I can do.

 The local windsurfers will of course be rubbing their hands together as I type this. It's a mad rush for the beach in that kind of weather. I may have to pop down for a look see myself.*cough*

The only people who really appreciate this weather. 

For the meantime now it's up to Katia. Lets hope she gets a little bored of the horrid cold  Atlantic seas before she gets here and blows herself the hell outta here!!!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Winter has arrived??

What the hell???? Did winter arrive while I slept last night and no one bothered to tell me???

I woke up today to destruction in my garden with gale forced winds off the sea and rain...... lots of rain. We took cover inside all day even though I probably could've taken Caleb swimming or something instead but it was just too nasty out.

Its September you know. Only just the startish of September!!! My Sophie was born at the end of September nearly 14 years ago and it was the hottest week of the year. Did no one bring this to the attention of the weather men???

I hate the fading tan and the central heating bills at this time of year. My hair hates the damp windy days too. Always lank and not pleasant in winters.

I'm trying to think of the plus side of winter to cheer myself up.

Here's all I can come up with:

1. Jumpers. I love jumpers. Big snuggly baggy knee length knits to hide the bumps and snuggle up in.

2. Snuggly nights in with wine, candles, a hot man (hottish) and a good movie.

3. Playing in puddles (reminds me must buy Mr C some wellies).

4. My birthday (is getting older a plus? hmmmmm prezzies are though).

5. Christmas. I'm not the worlds biggest fan of Christmas but I DO love buying for the kids and seeing their faces on Christmas morning (will so miss Misti though. It was her favourite day, playing in all the paper and all the excitement around her).

6. Mulled wine. (say no more)

7. Long walks on the beach prom with waves over your head in storms. Oh yes, I love the stormy sea.

8. Autumn. I love the colours of the leaves and the lovely Autumnal days for long walks.

9. Girls nights in with friends over dinner.

Oh, OK winters not so bad after all but please less gales this year for us??? I'm sure my fence wont stand much more.

What do you look forward to about winter?

Pictures from google images

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

An old post

I wrote this in Febuary about my Misti.

I often blogged about her and she was often my wordless wednesday or silent sunday picture.

RIP mummys girl. xxx

My Loss

Yesterday I had to make the hardest decision of my life so far. I had to put my old Cat Misti to sleep.

She had been losing weight for the last month or so, so rapidly I was terrified and she had also been acting slightly strangely for a while. I had put a lot of it down to old age for a long time. She was 18 years old and didn't seem to hear me very well or function greatly. She hadn't seemed unhappy or in any pain and as she often had seemed to fade a little over the last few years then come back fighting and healthy I tended to just leave her be. She was a wild cat and hated any interference out with her and my little circle.
Taken 2 weeks ago and she looked old and unsteady then. 

Yesterday morning she seemed slightly unsteady and my mothering instincts told me she wasn't right. When my husband woke and then told me she had soiled the carpet the night before I knew something really wasn't right. Misti has never ever had an accident in her 18 years and he said she had obviously not known she even needed the toilet as she hadn't even squatted. Again though you hope it is just old age and incontinence but I just had a gut feeling something wasn't right.

Caleb and she had become very close this summer. 

When I looked at her little face she looked pleading with me and I couldn't bear it. I put some tuna down for her as she hadn't eaten more than a bite for a few days but was uncontrollably thirsty,( We assumed maybe diabetes or hypothyroidism.) but when she came over to eat it her back legs fell away. I immediately phoned the vet and even though the surgery was closing early the vet said to bring her immediately. I piled her in the cat box (with no fight and this is one feisty girl normally) and headed the 2 minute drive. When I got there they weighed her and she had lost 2kg in 3 weeks. The vet was immediately concerned and asked permission to do a blood test. I gave it and waited for the results on their machine. 15 minutes later out the vet came and I knew by her face as she walked out. I just said 'Its cancer isn't it?' and she nodded. She brought out the results and all the time I'm thinking, 'its ok we can deal with this. She's insured and whatever it takes to get her well I'll do'. The majority of her results were normal all amazingly so apparently for her age. Her liver function was that of a young cat as were all her organ functions other than her kidneys which were creeping up slowly they said but not so much as she would be having a major problem immediately, but her blood levels of red blood cells were off the chart non existent. She then told me they had struggled to even find a functioning vein to take the blood and the colour of it had been unrecognisable for them. After than I went blank. I just said 'theres no options is there?' and the young vet shook her head and put her arm round me. She told me if I was lucky she would only have hours and although she was a real fighter and obviously not suffering greatly if I left her she would. She said it was fairly obviously end stage blood cancer and she must've had a massive bleed internally in the last few hours and I should let them take her now. I felt blind panic. Couldn't I even take her home for a cuddle and bring her in later??? She said not if I truly loved her and I should let them sedate her now then take her through. She said if I wanted to call someone to be with me then I should do it now. I called my Dad. He adored her and I knew he would want to see her too. He arrived minutes later and sat with us while she fell asleep in her box then the vet took her out and let me kiss her and took her away. I stopped her for a second and kissed her little foot like I always did but I forgot to ask to hold her and cuddle her. She was gone. They asked if I wanted her ashes returned to me but I just wanted out of there. I paid and left with my Dad. The whole day was a blur. We went to my parents and had a bloody good cry with them and came home to a home missing my girl and it feels so wrong.

Her favourite pastime. 

What people don't understand other than my parents who went through her life with me is that she wasn't just a cat or my pet she was my baby. I got her at days old when her mum was killed in a car accident and the kittens needed a home. She was the runt and no one would take her so I did and I ate ,slept and lived that kitten until she was old enough to stop worrying about her. I wrapped her in blankets on my pillow at night to keep her warm and loved. I developed asthma and was bed ridden with lung problems for 4 months because of an allergy to her but I fought it and was determined we would manage. We did and we were connected ever since. She would sit waiting every day at the door for me to get home from work. She moved with me everywhere I went and lay with me every night. When I had my daughter and we had to live at my parents for a few months she quickly reeled them into her crazy humanness ways and turned them as non cat people into balls of mushy grandparents. My Mum would talk to her all day long and always bought her the best cold meats to give her 'grannies little treats' when she got in every day. My Dad and I used to laugh at her a lot in the kitchen chatting to Misti sitting listening with that little face so expressive as if she understood. She would ask them every night at the same time to let her out and she would walk down their road to the train station and wait for me to get off the train from work. I'd see her eyes shining in the street light and we'd walk home together. She really didn't know she was a cat. It became a standing joke with all my parents neighbours. The cat who thought she was a human.

Me age 22 and Sophie age 9months. That was my little family back then. 

When I went into hospital to have Sophie my parents grew very concerned. She lay on a jumper of mine curled up and didn't move for 5 days. Not to eat or go to the toilet. If anyone tried to touch her she would hiss and growl at them. The minute I arrived back in my sisters car with baby my mum opened the door and she shot out and all was well in her world instantly.

Last winter. Thats my girl. 

When S died she sat with me for 3 days while I cried and never ate or moved for herself just snuggled with me and understood. She has never left my side. The longest I've left her was out holiday to Newquay this year. 9 days and I couldn't wait to get home to her. It was the first thing I would do when I ever got home from a few days away. I couldn't wait to see Misti.  It's a standing joke amongst all my family and close friends who knew her and I as a pair that I loved her more than anyone else. Sophie used to say ' she loves Misti more than me even' (which wasn't true of course but I could equate it to as much as). I couldn't have loved her more if she was my child, if she had been human. I always said she was the baby I had who would never grow up. She stayed small enough to cradle forever and dependant on her Mum forever.

The kids are devestated. Especially Sophie who grew up with her and Caleb goes around shouting for her then saying 'uh-oh Misti's gone away'.

One of the last photos I took before she had started fading away. 
Yesterday I lost my other half. My soul mate and right now I don't know how to cope with it. I hope I learn soon.