Thursday, 31 December 2009

The end of the decade appraches.

A lot has happened in the last 10 years.

In 1999 I graduated with a 2:2 in Theatre Studies & Music Technology. I split up and got back together with my then boyfriend. We also moved in together for the first time in Leeds in a teeny 2 bed flat with a very dodgy bathroom. I got engaged for the first time.

In 2000 I moved house twice, once in with a friend then back into a flat with just the fiance. Less said the better on that really. I got my psycho cat Kit on the first house move.

In 2001 I moved out and broke up with my fiance and came home to Gloucestershire. I got a job working for an electricity company and met a friend. I watched the twin towers fall with horror on my face. I went on a fantastic holiday to Cyprus and had a blast. I lost my job. I had lots of fun with a few boys in my single state, none of which I regret.

In 2002 I got a job working for a large Lubricants company (by which I mean oil not anything norty!) and I met Paul in a nightclub just after his birthday. I moved out of my parents house and into my first owned flat.

In 2003 Paul moved in with me and on the summer solstice we got engaged standing on Cissbury Hill watching the sun go down. Paul went skiing for the first time and got a new job whilst we were out there.

In 2004 he got ANOTHER new job (just after the first one, which turned out to be a lemon and he never actually worked for them) and moved to London and lived with my parents. We started planning our wedding. I resigned from my job and joined him in London. We sold our flat and bought our house. My Grandfather suffered a major heart attack whilst in the theatre, underwent a massive bypass, survived and recuperated. We got married in September (twice!) and went on an amazing honeymoon in Egypt. I was told I would never have children naturally in November. I got pregnant in December! I briefly got a job in the city but left because I hated it.

In 2005 I got another job that I really enjoyed. I lost my first baby in a missed miscarriage at 10 weeks. 30 days after the ERPC I got pregnant again! In December my first daughter Phoebe arrived 8 hours before her due date. My father emigrated.

In 2006 we went to visit my Dad's new house. Paul left one job and got another and then went back to the original job! I got pregnant again (so much for no babies naturally)!

In 2007 Clara was born and our family became 4.

In 2008 I took up a photo a day project and did 366 photos this year.

In 2009. I bought a sewing machine and started learning to sew, hit an all time low in the depression stakes.

2010... watch this space! What do I have planned?

I want to lose some more weight.
I want to learn patchwork and quilting.
I want to make more children's clothes.
I want to get on top of this depression and not have to suffer panic attacks when I go out.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Holy Son of a Motherless Goat, it's a beast!

My neighbour just dropped round the new sewing machine and it is a BEAST of a machine! Unfortunately it is too late to start making. Well it isn't really but Eleventh Hour is on and the Christmas Tree is sat on top of my the girls little table which I use for making in the living room. Well that and I have yet to figure out how to thread it etc. I am starting to feel more than a little nervous that I have bitten off way more than I can chew here! I am sure I will figure it out in the morning without a post travelling fuzzy head.

So, watch this space for a little Janome 4618 action!

Ahh back in Blighty!

We got back home at lunch time today. I had a fab week away with Mum, Rob et al but oh my I am glad to be home! I am currently curled up under my lovely new Slanket and I came home to a Lakeland Delivery... does it get better? Well yes I also know there is a John Lewis package next door that contains my new sewing machine with [gasp of delight] an automatic buttonholer! Sadly my neighbour has gone out so I have to wait [wail].

You will be pleased to know that the trip home wasn't nearly as traumatic as the trip here. We were only delayed for 40 minutes and none of that was trapped in the plane. The girls behaved impeccably on the flight and were lovely. And I feel I topped up my karma by helping out a young women with a broken wrist when she was having problems getting on the flight (they weren't going to let her fly and she was pretty upset as she just wanted to go home) and Paul gave up his seat on the shuttle bus to an elderly couple too.

Anyway, onto the important stuff. I bought magnetic measuring spoons (big and small) 2 loaf tins and a poncy cheese grater from Lakeland for a pretty barginatious price too, I could have spent SOOOO much more as always! My new sewing machine is a Janome 4618 and I bought it with my John Lewis Vouchers that I got from Mum, I still have lots of spendy paper to use in their haberdasher dept and I think I will drag Annabel along for some sewing porn fun! I am tempted by a walking foot and maybe also a roller foot, I have no real clue what these are but someone on The Sewing Forum recommended them and they sound good. I will research more before purchase of course. I also have 2 lovely new patchwork books and tomorrow I am hopeful that we will pop into town (well we have to buy nice food for our traditional new years eve carpet picnic) and I can swap my Cath Kidson "Make" for "Sew". We are also going to buy "Just Dance" for the Wii with our WHsmith voucher (I really hope it is in stock!).

We also got the vouchers Dad sent the girls for Christmas in the stack of post today (I gave my postie carte blanche to sign for things and put them through the door so I didn't have to worry about stuff like that when I was away). So we popped out to ELC today to see what we could find. The Kitchen we want to buy them wasn't back in stock after the Christmas Hoards but we did get a cool wooden bread bin, a dairy set and pretend M&S tins in advance of the kitchen. We also got them a new pram as their first birthday prams are too small for them now (and don't fold away) so the small ones will go in the loft when we put the decs away and the new one will stay out (or live under the stairs, as we got one that folds flat!). Clara has put 2 of her (many) babies to bed in it already. I think I will make some nice bedding for it to make it cosier and maybe some little toys too!

I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed tonight without fear of either having to move a child or, worse, wake one! That and a lovely neck friendly pillow to rest my little head on. Oooh and a cheeky movie (whilst I save up for my Sound Asleep Pillow and convince Paul he NEEDS to get me and iphone!) whilst I drop off to sleep.

Anyway, I am off to go and put the 'finks to bed so that I can resume the position under my lovely warm cuddly slanket for the evening. And maybe enjoy a spot of Night at the Museum 2 aswell!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Rabble....

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Every creature was stirring, including the mouse!
The children who should be nestled up tight in their beds
Instead were making the grown ups hold onto their heads!

Pah, I fib... we had a lot of fun at this festive time! We made mince pies with the girls, and they put their initials on so that Father Christmas knew who made which one. Then they trotted off for a bath, when they came out we realised that I had forgotten the pyjama's I had lovingly made for them. Thankfully Father Christmas was very clever and had picked them up, wrapped them and dropped them off under the Christmas Tree when no one was looking!


They then insisted on getting into their Christmas Sacks before we laid them out with the Santa Trap (a string of bells that will jingle when he moves them!) on top of them!


As you can tell by the movement they were a little excited! Thankfully Grande reading (the real) Night Before Christmas poem settled them down nicely and they were ready for bed. They eventually went to sleep at around 8.30 pm but hey, it's Christmas Eve!

The adults then sat down to a Seafood Feast:


Between 5 of us this was all that was left!


We is bloaters but it was gooooooooooood! I was most proud of myself for cooking the Lobsters, they were very very fresh too! There was a wuss moment when the bag moved rather too much for us all to cope but once Mum was hidden (she isn't a wuss except when it comes to this sort of thing!) they were despatched pretty easily. Paul shucked Oysters for the first time and I tried one for the first time since I was a student and my then boyfriend and I dared each other to eat one, and they were actually very nice, so I had another! All in all we ate the very best part of 3 lobsters, 12 oysters, 1 huge platter of prawns, 1 huge bowl of mussels and a platter of langoustine, 1 bowl of salt crusted potatoes and a large variety of dips. Nom!

Father Christmas arrived in a whirl of green and red tissue paper, he got a little drunkled on the scotch we had left him. Possibly caused by his elf encouraging him to neck it but hey! The reindeer enjoyed their carrots and Father Christmas very much enjoyed the homemade mince pies. He even left the girls a little present on their plate as a thank you for his snacks.

The next morning Phoebe was beyond excited and was desperate to come downstairs to see if he had been! I managed to get down slightly before her and captured this:



She was so pleased he had been and it was just magical to see! Clara was slightly less excited but never the less delighted when she spotted the presents!


Phoebe was absolutely delighted that Father Christmas had managed to get her much requested (from the 21st onwards...) Slinky Dog! The other hit pressies were Pop Up Pirate and a fishing game. They also got travel aqua draw mats, toy animals, fizzy bath bombs with mermaids in them and a variety of other goodies that will keep them occupied for a while to go!

It was then I realised my camera was running low on battery and I hadn't packed the charger...Doh!

Once we had breakfasted on scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and croissants we started on the tree presents. I was a very lucky girls too and got a lovely chocolate brown Slanket... mmmmm snuggly! I also got 2 sewing books from the girls. My stocking had more sewing books and a stack load of Cath Kidson sewing bits, a gorgeous bling top, a yoga Wii game, new pjs and a couple of gorgeous Esprit tops too. I was also a very lucky girl and got enough John Lewis Vouchers to cover a sewing machine upgrade, so I am happily looking at the sewing machine porn available on their website! Paul got a ski boots (and was permitted to use them from our arrival as I am a kind and generous soul) and a load of goodies too. He was also a lucky boy!

Then we headed up the mountain for Phoebe's second skiing lesson. This didn't go very well and she bailed about 20 minutes in after falling over and allegedly hurting her leg. Anyway we then sent Paul off for his first solo ski and headed off to the restaurant where we were meeting our family friends the McCarthys for Christmas Lunch. I had something with Reblochon (a local soft brie like cheese.... yum!) and I think balsamic vinegar, we couldn't identify the other ingredients but it tasted delicious! Followed by roast pork (no crackling) and chips, very nice but not enough sauce IMO!

When we got home from skiing we had some time playing with the toys. Once the girls were (eventually) in bed Mum provided a divine meal of Roast Beef, Roast veg, Sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts followed by Semifreddo with Nougat with a homegrown, homemade raspberry couli. And Lo, it was gooooooood!

I hope your Christmas celebrations were as joyous and as fine as ours!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Look Who's Skiing!

Phoebe had a tiny go on skis at Easter this year. Seriously about 30 minutes so today's 1 hr 1:1 ski lesson with Fabienne was cause for a little worry from me. I didn't know how she would react at all. We had a hell of a journey yesterday, they were late to bed and early awakening so she was a bit on the tired side but was keen to go!

We drove up the mountain and then walked up to the place we were using as basecamp. Paul, Mum and Liz had caught the button lift and gone to get their lift passes and then skied over to join us. Phoebe had a swift waffle before her lesson. Then we made a little mistake, well a couple. Firstly Paul, Mum and Liz skied off, Phoebe was dreadfully upset and wanted Daddy there at the drop off for school. Still lesson learned. Secondly we put Phoebe's boots on too early resulting in the most spectacular tantrum in the restaurant (heads were turned!). She was fine, I had made a silly mistake of putting tights and socks on her and they were just a little bit too tight, again lesson learned!

We finally made it over to the dop off point and Phoebe and I found her teacher whilst Grande (and Liz) and Clara sat nearby. They eventually headed off to the restaurant and I went with Phoebe to just be there quietly in the corner so she didn't feel abandoned. She did brilliantly! She was skiing without holding hands in about 10 minutes and can now snowplow to slow down and (sometimes) stop. Aiming is something that needs tackling but hey we have time!

Here is a little Video of her skiing



My clever girly! She only lasted 45 minutes today, but she is keen to go back tomorrow so I am counting it as a success!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Why are our trips never straight forward!

After the stress of the last few trips as a family See Here you would have thought we were owed at least one easy trip, surely!

Oh how wrong!

This is how it should have gone:

Get up 5am, taxi at 5.30am, train at 5.52am, checkin at 6.10am, board at 7.35am, take off at 8.05am, land at 10.40am (swiss time) and home at Mum's house for lunch.... ack well the best laid plan of mice and men and all that!

What really happened was this:

We got up at 5am as planned, the taxi arrived on time but it took us a bit longer to get out of the house. Still we were on the road in plenty of time. Until we got to the train station and both our cards were refused by the ticket machine. They were broken and no one had bothered to put a notice up so I then had to queue for tickets meaning we missed our train, that was on time (for once...). The next train was due at 6.04, we were still waiting at 6.10 and then it finally pulled in. Mad scramble onto the train and then an easy trip to Gatwick. Once at Gatwick we located the checkin desk only to be stalled by a Clara Special attack of The Rage ending in a no bones tantrum that echoed (rather impressively) around the departures hall. We wrestled her into a sling eventually and she shut up (hurrah, the number of faces that screamed "please don't let THAT child be on MY flight" was really impressive). Once we checked in we headed through security where I got a random search. When we went to check the status of the flight it read thus:

Flight No XXX due 8.05 blah blah blah Gate due at 8.50

Erm.... typo?! no?! Oh please a typo.

It wasn't.

Our gate was finally called at 9.25am. We heltered skeltered it to the gate number to get to the front of the queue so we didn't have to get through a wall of people when the kids boarding was called. We boarded a few minutes later to settle into the flight.... pilot over the tanoy told us we would be leaving in 10 minutes, ahhh peace.

HA!

Once we were all on board and buckled in the pilot came over the tanoy saying that now the runway was closed for de-icing and the next slot was at 11am. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! So we all unbuckled and the sound of mobile phones being turned back on filled the cabin! 30 ish minutes later we were told that the runway was open again and we didn't need to de-ice the wings because they had hot fuel or something. So we got into the queue to take off and finally, FINALLY we took off at some time around 11am (I don't wear a watch so I can't be sure).

When we got to landing we were on our descent when suddenly we took to the skies again and once again the pilot came over the tanoy. This time he informed us there had been an "incident" on Geneva runway and we couldn't land. The plan was that we would circle until we had 30 mins of fuel left and if we couldn't land by then we would go to Leon or Grenoble to refuel and then come back to Geneva. Thankfully in the nick of time Geneva cleared the runway from what ever happened and we were finally able to land almost and hour late.

Thank heavens that Mum, Rob and Lizzie were waiting for us and as soon as we were through the luggage hall they spirited us into a cafe for a posh burger lunch... The rest was easy and we made our way up the mountain in convoy and are now happily ensconced at Grannie and Grande's house.

Hurrah!

Can I please book a nice uneventful trip home now though please?!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Yule Mark 2!

Wooo, Paul finally returned home from work at 15.30, about 15 mins after Clara passed out on my lap lol! I took the opportunity to go and buy a pair of shoes and a top to match my new skirt that I made from a pattern in Sew Hip! magazine (pics to follow!). When I got back we got our borrowed bogus tree out from under the stairs and set to lighting it. Phoebe LOVED it and was being exceedingly bossy about where everything should go, as well as confirming my shoes were a, comfortable and b, a suitable fit for me (She tried them on, then put them on me and commanded I walked around a bit in them "ok Mummy, go for a little walk now... yes I think they are very nice"). Then we woke Clara up so she could help put the "bubbles" on the tree, we now have a very bottom heavy tree but the girls did it and had a ball doing so.

Then we set to the presents we had here, we can't take them with us really so it seemed logical to open them at Yule. Last Christmas both girls were a bit over whelmed by Christmas and the sheer amount of presents. I really don't think this is going to be the case this year, not if Clara's shouts of "MORE MORE!" are anything to go by at any rate! They loved all their gifts and had lots of fun helping Paul and I open ours too. We loved all our gifts :D.

Now the girls are in bed we have all the packing to do, the taxi arrives at 5.30 and the living room is filled with suitcases! Eeeek! It will all be fine [thinks soothing thoughts]. I haven't even got to the what ifs about the weather or the status of the airport, denial is a happy little place!

Hurrah hurrah... I fiiiiinished!

Whoop! Only 15 hrs 51 minutes until we leave and I have finally finished! I made an executive decision that Phoebe wasn't going to get a Doll changing bag. She has asked for a Slinky Dog from Father Christmas so Clara can have the change bag from him. Besides Clara is the dolly fanatic most of the time so she will get more out of it than Phoebe would.

Now I just have to pack everything ready for departure....erk! We are doing Yule attempt 2 this afternoon so packing will be this evening I think. Not least because it will be easier to do without the children.

Another Yule Washout... sob sob sob.

Last year I gave up my Yule family celebrations for a friend so although it was fun it wasn't the family orientated celebration of the return of the light it should have been. Ah well, this year was going to be fantastic. I really should learn not to expect to much really...

Paul had to drop off a laptop on the way home so was able to leave early meaning we would have a bit longer to celebrate. The girls and I went to RHS Wisley with a load of friends for lunch and a run around, it rained all the time we were there so whilst it was fun it was a bit too soggy. Although we did have fun doing experiments with Ice and trying to throw various things into the water and then seeing them skid around the surface and watch the ducks all walking around on the ponds looking a bit bemused! When we got home the girls and I decided to have an early bath at 2pm ish so we could extend our Yule Celebrations a bit later into the evening.

Then we waited... and waited... and waited... and waited. Paul was due to leave work at 3.30pm, that came and went so we waited a bit more. I finally called him at 4.30pm and he was just leaving due to upstair's server going kablooie that morning. I asked that he get some painkillers as I had a headache that was leaning towards Migraine City. So 5.30 came, I had intended to do a family evening meal at this time but Paul was now stuck just outside London Bridge rail station due to signal problems. So I shoved in some chicken nuggets and chips. By the time it was cooked 20 minutes later I had a full migraine and could barely move of the sofa. I had strained my neck a few days before so I think the pain from that had caused the migraine. Paul finally got in at about 6.50pm, fed me 2 neurofen and sent me to bed where I slept for 2 hours whilst he put the girls to bed. I resurfaced later on and we painted the salt dough decorations I had made a few weeks ago. That was the only vaguely festive thing we did. No tree was put up, no celebrating the returning of light and no gifts opened.

Thankfully he has negotiated a half day today so we are going for Yule Mark 2 when he gets home.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Today's labours

Blimey! I have been busy today. Clara decided to get up at 6 am and came into bed with me, she bounced on my head for a bit and then declared "Clara poo!" so we went downstairs only to discover it was a clever ruse to get up early. It was quite nice just having some me and Clara time. Phoebe joined us at 7.30 and at 8am we went upstairs to wake Daddy up. I went back to bed for a couple of hours (with only one interruption by Clara who came to try and feed me her "pops" as breakfast... urgh!). When I got up we cleared out the understairs cupboard (I swear the stuff in there breeds!) then we decided we would take the girls to ELC so they could pick a gift for each other. We spent about 20 minutes taking one child each before we decided that letting a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old choose was a bad idea. So we chose something and bought 2 of them! Then we started the great needle hunt as I had only one needle left for the machine and I had an evening of sewing that needed doing. We popped into Sainsburys, nothing and all the haberdashers were closed. Thankfully the girls fell asleep so Paul went and parked up in the local shopping centre carpark whilst I raced through said shopping centre and went to the haberdasher in there.

When we got home I set about making the Pyjamas for the girls. Now seeing that I have only had my machine for 4 or 5 months I am pretty impressed that I am able to make them! It has taken me 5 hours roughtly and a lot of help from Paul but I have them 99% done. I only have to do the elastic and hem the sleeves and trousers to the girl's specifics.



I have also never done Bias Binding before... I love the finish!

I also finished off Humpy Dumpty that now needs wrapping and popping in a parcel to go to his new home. I got the pattern from LiEr at Ikat Bag only I did the face slightly differently. I had planned to applique felt on but we couldn't find the right colours so instead I embroidered. I have never done that before either but I don't think I did too bad a job!


 
 
Right I am off to wrap Humpty and several other things so that they can be posted tomorrow and hopefully the recipients will receive them before Christmas!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

What a fab fab fab day!

A definite good day. I had a lie in until 9.30am ish when I had a surprise wake up from a Miss Clara presenting me with a picture her Daddy had drawn of a birthday cake and instructing me to be careful of the candles because they were hot, and then one to blow them out. Once I had done this she told me well done and went on her merry way. The mind boggles.

Anyway, we all got up and went out to grab a few last minute bits that we needed. I had to get my eyebrows and lips waxed as it looked like caterpillars were starting an invasion on my face, I needed to swap a book, Paul had some boots to take back for me (he had paid for them on his card so he had to do it) and I needed a few bits from the haberdasher.

When we got home I started to make the girl's capes, I would have done them in advance but I was waiting for fabric that didn't arrive. Thankfully I had some left over purple lining material so I was able to use that. I made them fairly easily and quickly and then I appliquéd a P and a C on the back of them! Phoebe loved hers, the original plan was for the girls to wear them with their party dresses but I suggested to Phoebe she might like to wear her swimsuit over tights and a long sleeved tee shirt and she looked ace!



Clara, however, said she didn't want the cape, she wanted to be a pink princess and she was not to be trifled with so we went with what she wanted.



Just be fore we left the house Paul said how fab it would be if Moose had a cape so it could be SuperPhoebe with her side kick WonderMoose, guess which muggins couldn't not face that challenge!

We got in the car and headed down to the party. Jane, as ever, had done herself proud with a party spread that was rather fantastic. I had made a marshmallow mountain for her and was delighted when grown ups spotted it and commented that they were glad to see it as they remembered last years! This year I had decent glitter though lol! Anyway she had also organised 2 tables, one full of pencils and things to colour in and the other table had hydrophobic sand, science putty and some sort of magic snow stuff. Fabulous entertainment for all, especially with Jane dressed as Nina from Nina and the Neurons! Once everything was in full swing the magician did a show for 45 minutes, they were enthralled!



His final trick was producing a bunny from a magic house, all of the children were in love with the most gorgeous white bunny. Phoebe would have happily stroked it all afternoon I think and even Clara got over her fear of men in funny clothes and went for a little stroke.

Speaking of costumes there were some fabulous ones amongst the adults. Jane as Nina, her mother was the Christmas Fairy, her Dad came as Mr Incredible, Tracey was Tinkerbell and there was a Witch and Cruella Deville too. Paul put on a name tag with "God", he is the king of the understated costume (last year he wrote Tom on his thumb!). I attempted to go as Bellatrix Lestrange but I forgot my make up bag in the dash to get out of the house so I just looked pretty I think. With the kids we had solders, princesses, one of the 3 kings, darth vader, super Phoebe, an angel, a cat and, possibly my favourite, Lexi dressed as Chernabog (the big devil thing at the end of Fantastia, it was his choice!).

After the magic show they all had tea and then Father Christmas came for a little visit and handed out some gifts to all the kids. Again even Phoebe and Clara went up without tears (at their Christmas Concert Clara Bawled when she saw Father Christmas and declared him too scary!).




Once all the other children had gone we hung back to help clear up and borrow Jane's fake tree (no point buying a real one for us this year). I asked Rowan and Lexi if they wanted to try on the costumes I had made for them (they opened them earlier in the day) and they did. It has absolutely made my day / year / Christmas that they loved them! Rowan skipped around as a mermaid being Ariel and Lexi was happily stomping around being a Lexi-sorus! Both outfits fitted them beautifully and it was so nice seeing something that I had made and, well, invented making two such lovely children happy!



 


A very happy day that we have just wrapped up with a delicious Chinese take away! Nom Nom Nom!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Out of the mouth's of babes....

Me: Phoebe could you go into the living room please, I am trying to clean the kitchen.

Phoebe: Why, who is coming to visit us?!

Oh. The. Shame. I am not THAT much of a sloven for heaven's sake!

Mermaid hell....

Well I can breathe a sigh of relief because the fabric to make Rowan's mermaid outfit showed up today.

Actually whilst I am here can I just name and praise the two posties I have. I live next door to the grey storage locker they have so the first postie comes in the van and brings any parcels, if they are oversized then he pops it into me. The second postie is our regular one and knows that we do the school run at 12.30 so either drops in parcels and letters before then or will pop back after he has done his round to drop a parcel in for us. They always say hello to the girls and any letters that hit our doormat are always welcomed by a shout of thank you by the girls. They also worked through the strikes so yay for them! I will most certainly be leaving a Christmas Tip for them (probably in the shape of biscuits or something similar). I know I am lucky to have such lovely posties and I really do value them, especially as going to the sorting office isn't particularly easy for me right now.

Anyway, back to the mermaid hell. The fabric showed up and I had my plan. I was going to do the pinafore dress but with an organza back and tail. I didn't factor into this that the blue sparkly dress material was see through until I was half way through making it.... gah! So I had to make a lining for it thankfully the silver material I ordered to make my skirt turned up today aswell and I had extra. I kinda lost my mojo today too and I couldn't make sense of what I was doing. Paul helped this evening and we finally got it done. Not quite how I planned it but I quite like it. I hope Rowan will too!


Back



Front

I might trim the tail organza back a bit more... it is a bit too froo froo.

After all that trouble I had to do something I know I couldn't muck up so I started on my bustle skirt (pattern in Sew Hip! October issue) that I am planning on wearing on Christmas Day. I have my eye on a pair of patent grey mary janes that would compliment it nicely, a new grey top would go well too!

Only 5.25 more makes to do and 5 days to do it in... Hopefully the zip for the skirt will arrive tomorrow so I can finish that. I am also hopeful that the red material for the superhero capes turns up so I can make those too (the girls want to wear them on Saturday so they can be Super-Phoebe and Super-Clara). Then I just have the PJs and the nappy change bag to do. Our new plan is to cut all the patterns tomorrow and Saturday and then Paul will get the girls to help him do some cleaning / throwing out on Sunday whilst I sit in the dining room and sew until it is all done! I really want it all done by Monday as I don't want to spend the night of Yule sewing, I want to feast and celebrate the returning light.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

YEEEE HA! I have finished the Tutus....

Tulle is evil and must be stopped. Glittery Tulle is Evil+1... the mess of my floor now. Oh the parents of the recipients are going to love me. I apologise in advance and feel free to curse my name as you find glitter EVERYWHERE!

Ok new plan for tonight.

Seeing as I didn't do the tutus last night in favour of the pinafores and the fabric for the mermaid still hasn't turned up [sob]. Tonight I will be doing Tutus whilst Paul cuts the 2-3 pattern for the pjs and then I will do the Changing bag  and other stuff whilst he is cutting the fabric for the PJs.

I am getting mildly (ha!) stressed by the lack of fabric hitting my front door mat, I really hope it comes tomorrow or I am going to be out of my mind with worry. I really want to get the Mermaid done now, especially as Rowan may well decide to dress up as one at Saturday's party.

Clara is home from school tomorrow so I won't get anything done as her bum is permanently welded to my lap and if I stand up then she is welded to my leg instead with the constant high pitched shriek of "UPPP". Very very very very very irritating and frustrating as I do actually want to get on with stuff and not be her own personal armchair / sedan chair.

Erm, so those tutus I was meant to make / finish....

I became overcome with the urge to send my two girls to their preschool concert in matching home made dresses.... still they look cute I think!




best crack on with the tutus now I suppose!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Do hiccups give anyone else The Rage?

Or is it just me who is totally and utterly irrationally irritated by them. Clara is sat on my lap hiccuping and it is all I can do not to throttle her to get them to stop. I loved them when the girls hiccuped in utero but outside of that if anyone has them I get a distinct urge to do some serious harm. Worse yet when an adult has them and refuses to try cures, then the red mist descends but because I am aware it is totally irrational I can't act on it.

AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGH!

[and breathe]

Waaaaaah.... why can't I just stick to my list?!

I still have 2 tutus, 1 mermaid costume and a doll changing bag and stuff to make so why, WHY have I just cut the pattern and outer material for 2 pinafore dresses?! And WHY have I cut the pattern for a pair of 4-5 pyjamas with the plan of cutting the pattern for the 2-3s tomorrow and finding the fabric tomorrow too. Not to mention the material for the bustle skirt that is sat in my dining room awaiting the arrival of the zipper and the lining material. Also 2 metres of lovely red draping material may have accidentally been purchased with the plan of making 2 superhero capes for the girls.

We have 7 days before we got to France, all of these projects need to be done by then (actually the mermaid needs to be done for Saturday and at least one tutu for Monday). I don't even have 2 full mornings off this week as it is the Preschool Concert on Wednesday so I will be back at school about an hour after drop off! And I still have to pack, for 4 of us, including all Christmas stuff whilst the girls are on holiday and they will be bored. At least Paul is a happy boy right now as I bought him Ski Boots on Saturday, he is now banned from telling me his feet hurt when he comes home after skiing.

Right so the plan of action is:

Tuesday: Nip to Haberdasher before swimming to find purple lining fabric for the pinafores and ribbon for the tutus and possibly some brushed cotton for the PJs. Evening sewing will be the tutus.


Wednesday: Daytime sewing will be the 2 pinafores before the concert. Evening sewing will be the mermaid outfit (providing the material arrives, if not the changing bags).


Thursday: Go to other Haberdasher if necessary to get material if I couldn't find it on Tues (with Clara in tow [hyperventilates]) Evening sewing, what ever I didn't do the previous night (if the material arrives again).

Friday: Daytime sewing: Bustle Skirt if the material has arrived. Make a start on the Pyjamas. Evening Sewing: Superhero Capes


Saturday: Make Marshallow Mountain in the am for Partay in the evening... I am going as Bellatrix Lestrange to Jane's Christmas Party... I hope I don't terrify any of the kids!

Sunday: Keel over!

Of course this is all dependant on the material I ordered from Ebay arriving in a timely manner!

Hmmm!

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Lexi-sorus.

So ages ago I had an idea for a dinosaur costume but I had no idea how to go about it. It took me such a long time to find a pattern I could modify to suit it but I did eventually (Burda Cape 9674). Then I procrastinated a bit, and a bit more, then I ordered fabric and procastinated a bit more just for good measure. However last night I took the bull by the horns and cracked on with it... mostly as we are seeing the recipient and name sake Lexi on Saturday at their annual Christmas Party (I also have a mermaid outfit to do for his sister but that shouldn't be as tricksy). Paul helped with pattern and fabric cutting which sped up the process. I am pretty pleased with the result, what do you think?

Front:




Back:








It is huge on Phoebe as it is sized for 7 yr olds and she is 4 but you get the gist :D

Friday, 11 December 2009

Hello... helloo... is anybody there?!

Knock once for yes and twice for no... or am I talking to myself?

I know there was a comment issue but I think I have sorted it.

Lonely of London AKA Needy Caaaaaah
x

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Woooo Hoooooo! I have finished the adult pressies :D

I have just finished my last two evening bags... that completes the adult presents for Christmas 2009. Well the sewing bits anyway, I have been playing with Salt Dough (I am blaming Kirsty Allinson squarely for this) and I have some ornaments to be decorated that I am sending with the presents but I should get that done whilst the children are at school tomorrow providing I get to the art shop nice and early.

I just have the kids stuff to do, I finally figured out button holes so Humpty Dumpty needs finishing off with 6 of them and the 6 buttons sewing on. I have 1 more tutu to make and Clara's changing bag for her Baby Big Bum. I also have to make a Dinosaur and a Mermaid costume but they should be fairly straight forward and I just need the material to get here.

I have also decided to attempt to make the girl's Christmas PJs this year after getting this book early from my darling beloved. It has the cutest pattern for PJs so I am going to try and source the material and make the girls jamas. I think I might be a bit mad [high pitched laugh].

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Clara writing


Clara writing
Originally uploaded by *Puss*
She is 2 yrs 3 months! Phoebe was nearly 4 before she wrote her name! Mybecky helped with the r but the rest is all her own work. Poor Phoebe is going to be driven mad by catch up Clara!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Phoebe!

My big girl turned 4 yesterday! She had the most amazing weekend to celebrate too.

On Saturday we got up as normal only we didn't get dressed until Grannie called to say she was leaving her house. Then we all go dressed in normal togs, except Phoebe who donned her pretty party outfit. We took her up to the train station to meet Grannie as she was off on a day out with Grannie and Grande. She got thoroughly spoiled! They took her out for a Pizza-rific lunch and ice cream and then they headed into Covent Garden and took her to see The Lion King. According to Mum she was agog in the first half and totally enraptured with it all, she wasn't quite so keen on the Hyenas in the second half. Apparently they were a bit too loud and boring but once they went away she was again enraptured. She even got to meet Scar as the cast did a charity collection. Now, because Phoebe left Moose (her best friend) in the car with us Mum let her take one of her friends Leo the Lion. Leo went all over London, including meeting Scar where I am reliably informed he roared at him! Go Phoebe and Leo! We got home one very very happy and very very tired Phoebe just before bedtime. Mum tells me she was a total angel all day and there wasn't a moan or a whinge to be had from her (!) and that she was funny and sociable all day. I am so proud of her.

On Sunday we got up at the normal time and Phoebe pranced into our room as she normally does having forgotten the specialness of the day. She checked the weather and then suddenly turned to us as we asked what day it was with a shock face and a "It's my BIRTHDAY!". We suggested she might like to look in the bag at the bottom of the bed and she went present mad. She got a Waybuloo Yojojo playset, the Peppa Pig Wii game, a pink toy laptop, a hot pink princess dress, a kid tough camera, a load of bike goodies and a pink hi-vis vest. She opened all her cards and looked replete (if a little confused about the hi-vis vest...). I then made an excuse to come downstairs a little before them so I could set up to take this picture:





Do you think she liked her main gift? She did know she was getting it as we picked it out ages ago but I think she had forgotten in all the present palooza upstairs! Shortly after that she donned princess dress and helmet and went outside:



She was one happy child.

We had a party that afternoon where she was spoiled by yet more lovely gifts and had a wonderful time playing with her fabulous friends. It was lovely, there was no arguing or fighting and our house was filled with the sounds of kids laughing and playing and adults chatting. Marvellous.

I can't believe Phoebe is 4 though, it doesn't seem 30 seconds ago when I was in hospital having my waters broken and told it could be some time. Mum calling Paul telling him what the deal was, and then an hour later sending "Get here, NOW!" and Paul making the mad dash across London to get to us (we sent him to work after having being told it could be some time and we didn't want to waste his paternity leave!). My telling the anaesthetist to not go far in a snarl as I declared I needed to push right as he took the bloods to check I could have an epidural. And then suddenly this screaming little dark haired bundle who took one look and me and pooed. Then, of course, the immortal line I uttered as the midwife was doing the stitches and caught a not-numb-bit  "If I had wanted piercing I would have gone to Brighton!"... oh you have to love gas and air (no really you do... marvellous stuff!).




Phoebe has come so very far from that teeny 7lb 5oz bundle to this stonking great 4 year old with a cracking sense of humour, a fast eye and wit. She can push every button I have in about 30 seconds but I wouldn't change a thing about her and I adore every atom of her. Love you baby!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I had the most lovely compliment today.

Yesterday when I picked Phoebe up I was told she had been bitten by another child. It was a one off occurrence and the child has never bitten anyone before so I calmly talked to Phoebe about what happened and she admitted she had taken his Thomas the Tank Engine off him. The little boy in question has very little english so probably just got frustrated and lashed out, which is very understandable. I reassured preschool I wasn't worried about the bite and to tell the other mother (who was mortified) not to worry, these things happen and Phoebe had antagonised the little boy.

Anyway I got into school this morning and one of the managers checked how the bite was (fine, nothing more than a mouth shaped bruise really) and said she was so impressed with Phoebe for owning up to taking the Thomas and that is was very unusual behaviour for a 4 yr old and that I had obviously done a wonderful job with her [blush]. I am chuffed to bits, no idea what I have done to create such an honest child (except maybe that punishment is less severe if they own up to something, not that punishment has ever gone beyond sitting on The Step). I am very proud of her for understanding that she has to tell the truth about things, even when she thinks she will get into trouble for it. This morning she went into school with instructions to say sorry to the little boy for taking his Thomas and to give him a hug and make him a friend and to help him with his words. No idea if she did or not but I hope so, I know she understands the lack of speech frustration.

The Tutu in action.

I didn't make this one but Annabel did from my pattern and it is the first picture I have of another child wearing one. Doesn't she look gorgeous!

http://survivingyourchildrenschildhood.blogspot.com/2009/09/tutu.html

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Whoopsie! I am a bad Mummy.

We forgot to get the girl's advent calendars down from the loft this weekend (well it was rather busy). And I don't think we are going to, both girls are going through a destructo curious phase and I don't fancy losing bits left right and centre. Plus we have Phoebe's birthday on Sunday and I don't like starting anything Christmasy until after that, seems unfair to me somehow. AND we are going away (note to theiving robdogs: The house will be watched, mitts off!) so there is little point going all out on the decorations is there. As penance I read one of the Father Christmas books at bedtime last night, twice.

We will do something special for Yule on the 21st, I am not sure what yet though. Maybe take the girls skating or something along those lines. Or at the very least to see Father Christmas.

I am looking forward to Christmas Eve this year though, it will be the first time we do a set up with Mum and it will be cool!

Monday, 30 November 2009

The deed is done...

I have applied for Phoebe's primary school place for Sept 2010. Now we have to wait until midday on the 25th March 2010 until we find out where she will be attending.

We went for the headteacher with the bright pink tights. We got the best feeling from that school and it seemed to match our parenting preferences, respect our faith and generally suit Phoebe's personality best. The only con we could come up with was that I would have to drive Phoebe to school as although it is close it is all uphill and not doable with both children especially as I would have to get Clara to preschool pretty fast after dropping Phoebe off. Second on our list was closer but it only takes one intake per year (so if you get stuck with a bully you really are stuck) and we didn't get the same feeling as we did from the first one. 3rd school was the only other non denominational school close to us and we didn't get a great feeling at all. For a start we don't know if we met the head or not, I suspect not as the woman who showed us around (and I use the term loosely) didn't seem to know a huge amount. Not a great impression at all really!

I just have to hope we get in to one of the first two so we don't have to go down the appeal route. Or worse yet get into a school that we haven't put as a preference. I have no problem with a Christian school (well, I do but only because I think religion and education should be kept separate, it doesn't seem fair that some children get more advantages because their school receives funds from a church) but I don't think it is appropriate for the girls to attend one given our faith. Choosing schools is such a minefield!

So far today Clara has:

Spread my nice moisturiser all over the upstairs hallway and on my, nice clean, carpets.

Spread Butter (again?! I swear it was out of reach... she must have go-go-gadget arms!) all over the kitchen counter and herself.

Stripped herself off completely and screamed when I deigned to put a new nappy on (wee + clean carpets = not good). Gone upstairs and found a whole new outfit then screamed the house down as I suggested she might get a little more wear out of the discarded  outfit and proceeded to attempt to dress herself (none to shabbily either).

Pulled her hair out upteen times and had a tantrum each time that she did it.

Demanded to have a jumper put on and then screamed blue murder when it was.

Oh it has been a long day and I have only had them since 12.30 too. Sob. I wish I could have a drink.

Wooo... productivity rocks!

7 Morsbags - Done
2 Well Woman Packs - Done
5 evening bags - One left to make!
1 shopping tote - Done!
2 Humpy Dumpties - Again, I'll get back to you!
4 Children's hooded scarves - Done!
7 adult scarves - Done
2 Dolly Changing bags (with stuff in) - 1 down, 1 to go.
5 tutus - 2 down 3 to go.

Not bad.... not bad at all!

The evening bags were a cinch, I was saved from KatyBag Hell (sorry LiEr, they are beautiful but I have a very little brain and got so confused, that and I forgot to borrow a zipper foot and Father Christmas isn't delivering mine until the usual date!) and Annabel gave me a pattern for a Tokoyo Tie Bag she had in her S.E.W. book... by the time I got to the end of my fabric I could whip one up in 20 mins inc pattern cutting.

I also did a late night dash last night to ikea for the last lot of Morsbag Fabric and a navy blue fleece to finish my pile of neckwarmers that I have just completed (well I would finish completely if I could find the pile of red ones but they appear to be AWOL so I can't stitch the turn hole closed). And I made the last Morsbag last night so that is done. I just need to find a fabulous biscuit recipe to make up so Phoebe, Clara and I can make Christmas Biscuits for her Preschool teachers but we will do that nearer the end of term. I had a fabulous one but I can't find the recipe book and I have The Fear that it has accidentally gone to the charity shop....bah! Anyone got any fab recipes for cutter biscuits, dough must be able to stand up to toddler bashing?!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

What a weekend!

But a good one!

On Saturday it was my lovely Mummy's [cough] birthday so we all went up to their house for a family lunch. Of course it was a lunch that my sister and I volunteered to cook, and as Liz works (well for someone other than a small child) fulltime I volunteered to do the lions share. This involved making a thai meal and baking a fabulous birthday cake. The menu was this:

Starters were sorted by Liz.

Thai Green Curry
Pad Thai Noodles
and
Totally Thai Pork Tenderloin

Pudding:

Birthday Cake!

I had most things sorted by Friday night so I only had to make the noodles and salad for the pork on the Saturday. Easy Peasy. The cake Phoebe and I made together and she insisted on a large amount of pink food colouring abuse so consequently we had pink sponge, pink butter icing and pink smarties on the tablecloth and she decorated the cupcakes on top pink with pink accessories. Mum is another pink aficionado so she was thrilled with it. I did however make enough to feed people twice over so I suspect Mum and Rob will be eating Thai for the next week and a half I should think!

Mum was thrilled with her gifts. I made her a Margaret bag:



You have to picture it with a great big pink button on it too, inside it was a framed picture of the girls:


 
 
I want to go and get this picture done up as a pencil sketch for my upstairs hallway (there are already a couple of pencil sketches up there that Mum bought for the girls so I thought this would compliment it nicely) but I don't have the funds just now. I will be saving up though!

Today we went out to see our friends Mahri-Claire and Greg with their two fab boys Elijah and Sebastian. We went to the Hungry Horse for lunch and indulged in some rather fine porn food and then we went back to their house for some playtime. We were going to go to the park but as the sea was trying to reclaim the land by air drop we decided against it! Ice cream and baked goods were on order for the rest of the afternoon and the children all wore themselves (and us!) out with rough and tumble. I love how you can always tell when these 4 are having fun as layers get shed the more they get into play. We ended up with two preschoolers in vest and pants and a large toddler in a vest, top and nappy and the baby toddler in just a nappy (and one sock...). Clothes are so over rated for these kids and it is great they feel so at ease with each other and in their own bodies. 
It was great to spend time with other "benign neglect" parents, so relaxed and so much fun and the children always play so wonderfully. Prizes have to go to the Daddies who joined in all the rough and tumble resulting in a pile of tired and giggly children at the end of the day!

On to the rest of the week and we have schools 2 and 3 to view tomorrow... gulp. I am hoping the strip lighting in them doesn't give me a migraine this time!

Friday, 27 November 2009

No... not good!

Argh, I finally get the small child asleep after trying since our return from the school run at 12.30. Tell Phoebe we will get baking the cupcakes to go on Grannie's cake. Get out the flour (mutter something about husband replenishing flour stocks after making pancakes) and weigh out 50g then I move onto the sugar and it happens. The scale flashes the two words you don't want to ever read when you start to bake with a nearly 4 year old:

REPLACE BATTERY

and I have no spare ones in the house, Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

This is a DISASTER. Phoebe cracks out the wobbly bottom lip and is threatening to yell loud enough to wake up children on another continent never mind the sleeping poorly person upstairs. So I had to do it, I had to crack out The Big Guns. She is now watching Merry Madagascar and it is only November... ah well it is only 4 days until December isn't it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So far Not Good. It's one of THOSE days.

Small child has cough and was up half the night moaning sporadically. I didn't sleep until 1am but wasn't productive at the same time (unless you count playing bejewelled blitz on Facebook... so, erm, no!). This morning we were late to preschool. The only successful mission was the one to Sainsburys to get the Flaxseed so I could finish part of a gift. Got home and lost all sewing mojo and now the last sewing machine needle I can find has broken whilst I was trying to fix my ironing board cover. Half a bag done so I suppose that is a minor achievement. I was late getting the girls, Clara fell asleep before we got home (it is literally round the corner!) but woke up as soon as we got in so it took some serious cuddling to get her to go back to sleep, intersperced with her whimpering "no sleep, want to play" and Phoebe's very loud "Mummy, can I have popcorn? Mummy can I have a sammidge? Mummy Whatchoo doing wiv Clara?" etc etc etc. Clara is finally asleep in bed and I hope she wakes up in a better mood, Phoebe has been sated with microwave popcorn (hey, it fell into the basket in Sainsburys).

I have to get Mum's birthday lunch sorted in the next two days and make her birthday cake. Neither of which I mind doing and am quite looking forward to it is just finding the time and energy to actually DO it. At least her birthday gift is now totally sorted and just needs wrapping so that is one less thing isn't it!

I also have to sort out Phoebe's 4th birthday invitations for next Sunday, I did have them done last night but then a small child found a biro and well, it would be quiet charming if you could read beyond the scribbles. Next week is going to be filled with doing as well, birthday cakes (currently she is wants a spiderman cake.... all that blue icing [sob]) party food and decorations. As well as looking at the other two potential schools for her on Monday (hurrah for extra day at preschool for Clara).

I also have my emergency appt with the CPN (community psych nurse) tomorrow so I am terrified about that too. My friend Jane made an observation on Monday that it is no wonder mothers take longer to recover from depression as just stopping is very rarely doable. Man, what I wouldn't give to just stop for a bit.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

To Do List Update:

7 Morsbags - 6 down 1 to go... need more fabric (again!)
2 Well Woman Packs - Erm... I'll get back to you!
5 evening bags - See above
1 shopping tote - Done!
2 Humpy Dumpties - Again, I'll get back to you!
4 Children's hooded scarves - Done!
7 adult scarves - Changed my mind and am making neckwarmers of which I have made 4 (I think... need another fleece. I think I will get a dark blue one this time for a bit of variation).
2 Dolly Changing bags (with stuff in) - 1 down, 1 to go.
5 tutus - 2 down 3 to go.

Not doing too badly, especially as amongst this I have managed to make 2 neck warmers for the girls and Mum's birthday pressie.

I had a small glitch last night when I was making the tote, my thread kept breaking after I changed a needle. It took me almost an hour to work out I had put the needle in backwards... what a dimwit! I am also having a small stress about the Katybags (evening bags) I need to make as I am not sure my needle position is variable on my Janome 2050. I am sure I will work around it but it is worrying me a touch. I really don't have time (or the energy) to do another pattern especially as I have just spent a fair whack on interfacing not to mention I have my heart set on making Katybags.

I have to also add on a dinosaur costume for my friend's son Lexi, it was meant to be on the original list but I didn't add it as I couldn't find a pattern I could adapt. I have now found one and will hopefully be making it very soon. I just need to buy the materials which means waiting for a photobox payment into Paypal but at least I will have a chance to figure out how much fabric I need before ordering. I think I will get started on the spines for down his back though. I think I am also doing a mermaid dress for his sister but I know how I am going to do that.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Wowzers! my carpets are cream afterall!

My very lovely Daddy and StepMum have paid for my carpets to be cleaned to try and help me feel a bit better and take the pressure off a little. Initially they offered a cleaner but we cope with keeping on top of the house work however the big jobs are the ones I struggle with and end up not getting done. The carpets haven't been cleaned in the 5 years we have been living here and were, well, vile! This is after 2 babies (one of whom had spectacular projectile reflux!), 1 cat and 2 goes of post baby hairloss (I have waist length hair...). Anyway the blokey came today and voila... cream carpets again! I am waiting for them to dry and then I will be going around with the can (or 6) of scotchguard to try and keep them in better shape!

Mummy gave me her floor steam cleaner (Dolores her cleaner eyes it with a large dose of suspicion so it hasn't been used chez Mummy) and it has made my downstairs floors properly clean. I have floorboards and tiles downstairs so keeping on top of mopping is a royal PITA. Steam cleaner is like whipping a hoover round, takes 5 mins and I have clean floors :D.

Having a cleaner house certainly lifts the weight a bit. I don't feel like such a disgraceful sloven so much when the house is clean and my surroundings are tidy. Well as tidy as you can get with two whirling dervish children in residence.

I have the oven cleaning to sort out after Christmas and then hopefully things will be much nicer around here. Of course my living room is a pit and a half because I have been sewing this morning (well the carpet cleaner made a hell of a racket so any telly watching was out of the question). I have now made 4 hooded scarves in a fabulous cow print fleece. I am contemplating making horns and ears to go on them to jazz them up a bit but I can't figure out how I will attach them so they look gorgeous. I also bought the rest of the stuff to make my Katybags as soon as I have fluttered my eyelashes at Annabel and borrowed her zipper foot. I have decide upon Gators (neck warmers) for most of the men in my life so now I just have to chose the fleece. They didn't have any manly fleece in the haberdashers unfortunately so I will be shopping online for that. Do you think Snowflakes make a manly pattern?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

THEEEERRRRRRRWHHHHHHHHHACK!

Did you hear that? That is the sound of reality hitting me. My baby is going to big school in a year, how?!

Phoebe is 4 on December 6th. Her Primary School application has to be by the 4th December and today we saw the first of 3 potential schools for her. I loved it, it was bright and fun and colourful, the head teacher had a fabulous voice, big hair and wore bright pink tights and came across as a lovely warm woman. However as her talk about the school went on I realised by little baby was going to be going to big school and that it is going to be a whole new episode in her life that was going to start! And we are responsible for the choice of school (well, ish).

Phoebe is so little, so funny and has such a HUGE personality (no, really she does!). She learns in a funny way and is very on the button with most things. She has a cracking sense of humour and a very good grasp of sarcasm and is certainly not afraid to make her opinion known to all and sundry. How is this little unique person going to fit in with 30 other children in her class. How are all her needs going to be met in the scrum. I don't doubt that they will but right now the logistics fail me.

We have two more schools to see, which we are doing on the 30th November and then we have to put them in order of which one we want before sending the application. How do I choose? I loved the one today but I haven't seen the others, what if I hate them or, worse I think, what if I love them all and Phoebe hates it when she starts.

I have brain ache from thinking about it all!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Baby Big Bum is no longer Nappyless!

After a trip out to town on Saturday I managed to replace my AWOL tape measure and so I decided to get cracking with finishing off Phoebe's nappy bag, change mat and doll nappies:



Close up of the nappies:



And the bag:



I am rather pleased with myself, in total it cost £5 for all of it. I had an old dirty bag that I used when the girls were in cloth nappies. I split that in two and used it to line the changing mat. The towel was a £1 bargain from Tesco when I was planning Phoebe's birth and the material I bought for £3.99 for 3 metres in Ikea and I still have LOADS of material left so I might even brave a little dress for Baby Big Bum. I may also zip up some little cloth wipes too.

I still have Clara's set to do but I have another towel and a different material for her. Now I just have to find the time to do it in! I really hope they enjoy these sets, they both have a fascination with nappies and their contents at the moment.

Days Out Thumbs Up: The Snozone Milton Keynes.

Today we did a trip around the M25 to meet up with Grannie, Grande and Aunty Lizzie to play in the snow in Milton Keynes' Snozone. All the adults were feeling a touch jaded after late nights and too much booze from the Gs and Aunty Lizzie. I had a migraine last night so I was feeling a bit rough too and Paul joined in for the hell of it (I am sure he will inform me of his reason as soon as he reads this). We met up after a very uneventful trip at midday in the Costa Coffee for hot chocolate and croissants. When we had finished there we filed into in the Snow area and we booked in. Grannie, Grande and Paul signed up for an hour skiing, the girls and I for tobogganing and Auntie Liz for being Bag handler. Mum et al trotted off to rent salopettes and ski jackets (given that all our kit resides in France) for a very reasonable fee whilst the girls and I went to find helmets for the girls (mandatory wear for under 16s, loads of them out on the side with plenty of choice in sizes).

We got taken out for our tobogganing session, shown the toboggans and then we started the large climb up the slope. Not easy for me holding 3 toboggans (glorified trays), carrying a small whinging child and trying to herd a larger child up the hill with no free hands, in hindsight take Auntie Lizzie in with me to help! Once we were all at the top (someone pinched my toboggan whilst I was on rescue mission to get Phoebe) Clara rode on my lap and Phoebe sort of managed a run on her own (there was a slight blip where she crashed into the barrier but in true Richardson style she got up and got back on again.... woo that girl!). Clara was cold by this point (she doesn't "do" cold...) so I took her back to Auntie Lizzie to get warm and dry. I came back to Phoebe who had made a friend of one of the staff and had her taking up her hill (result for me!) and then she shot down like a bomb! Much giggling and desperation for a 3rd go so up we went. This one was less successful as she had a wet and slippy backside by this point so couldn't stay on the toboggan, therefore about half way down and 3 wipe outs later she decided to attempt going down on her bottom, mostly she got wet and cold from this point on funnily enough so we decided to go back in and watch everyone skiing. Very glad I took spare clothes for both of them, I could have done with some for me too but hey ho!

We watched Grannie, Grande and Paul doing some runs on the ski slope, they assure me it was good skiing (I don't ski so even if I had tried I couldn't have told you what it was like!) and they all had fun. It won't be long before Phoebe and Clara are bombing down whooping with delight.  When they were done (we had to have a stern word with Paul and get The Pointy Finger out to say no more because he wouldn't come in!) we went off to have a lovely lunch at Ask. Then Grannie and I popped into the shops to look at ski gear, I am a very lucky girl and Father Christmas said I could have a pressie early and I got a ski jacket (I have a pull over one currently which is a royal PITA with a sling and we are going to attempt des vacation sans pushchair...gulp). Grannie may have also bribed her Father Christmas into her pressie earlier too but I shall say no more until I have pictorial evidence of her Thing of Beauty! Ebay has provided both of us with bargainatious complimentary salopettes so now everyone is hot to trot for Christmas!

Getting home was a bit trickier and took 3 hours for us but then it was Sunday night, there were roadworks on the M1 and we were headed, along with everyone else, back into London. Still the girls slept for most of it and the rest of the time they talked endlessly about sausages until we found some services and shoved a small pot of cocktail sausages in the back with them... bad parents, bad, bad parents!

Still lovely lovely day, Doctor Who and new Top Gear on telly when we got back. Perfick!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Phoebeism Du jour.

"When I go to the loo, wee wee comes out. And milk. When I am a cow. Not any other time though, that would be silly"

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

5 down 2 to go....

I have spent tonight making the 3 Morsbags I was meant to make last night but I got a bit too involved in The Sims3 (how long does it take an elder to snuff it now?! She is 114 days and counting... poor Mr Sim has his MIL hanging about like mouldy laundry!). I even did a little gusset thing to them (I hate that word) so they could be stood up a bit or fit more in side by side. They look pretty cool! I hope the teachers at the girls' preschool like them! I just have to find some tasty treats for us to make to put in them, no chocolate or nuts. I am seeing snowflake marshmallows and maybe some cinder toffee.

Alas there are 7 teachers at preschool and not 5 and I am out of fabric. This means braving Ikea again, urgh. Maybe I can buy a new tape measure so I can finally measure up for Baby Big Bum's nappies.

Hopefully I will sleep tonight, I didn't last night until 5am. I am shattered but as soon as my head touches the pillow my mind starts racing. I could take a diazepam but I don't want to unless I really have to, I feel like I am doing better at the moment and my slightly screwy brain tells me that if I take one I am failing myself. I know I am warped. I promise if I see 2 am and I still haven't slept I will take one. Time to go and pack away my sewing machine for another evening I think... I have already lost two bobbins to the beasties in the morning rampage [grumble].

Good Days and Bad Days.

Today has been (on my scale) a good day. The girls swam well today and we decided that as soon as there is a space Phoebe will move up a class as she is over confident (read: Bored so messes around) in this class and hopefully the next class will push her that little bit further. Other upside is that her usual teacher was away today and her Mum took the class instead (she is also a swim teacher) and was able to witness the Phoebe and Clara Swimming Show so is going to instruct normal teacher to push them both that little bit harder as they both need it. I baked bread, I didn't sew and I didn't lock myself in my bedroom and hide under the duvet. I haven't needed a diazepam in 4 days now I think which is a good thing, it means the AD medication is starting to work I hope. I am seeing the doc again on Friday, Mum is coming with me so hopefully we will find out how long the psych referral will take to come through (and if they accept me, I really hope so) and what will happen then. I still don't enjoy being out and about by any stretch and I suspect that the trip into Matalan was a bad idea and I ended up with a child under each arm and a frog march back to the car. We only went in for pants and vests for Phoebe!

On bad days, well it is a disaster zone, I can't do anything. I pride myself on my cooking and right now I can't do that very well (I have burnt more food in the last month than I have in my life I think!). I forget everything (eating, showering etc), I can't finish sentences, I jabber, I have no patience with the children or Paul, I panic about stupid things (under siege by the window cleaner?!) and I shake all the time. I generally don't do much on bad days but sit on the sofa under my blanket (where I am right now) and play Sims3. I know it sounds barmy but it gives me a small sense of control, something I don't feel I have in the outside world. I have lost so so much because of this awful illness (and it is just that, an illness), some things I hope I will one day be able to repair and others I have to let go of no matter how much that hurts.

At the moment I would really like to be able to sleep, I would sleep all the time if I could. Bed is such a comforting place... safe and warm. But I have to get up, I have to get children to and from school, I have to feed them lunch, change nappies, ensure bottoms are adequately wiped, referee arguments, field endless questions (from both of them), ensure toys are shared nicely, watch endless amounts of Cbeebies or Disney/Pixar movies. I am about to go up and watch episodes of Buffy until I pass out (why can't they put a "watch all" bit on the DVD the theme tune always wakes me just as I am dropping off!).

My friends and family are being truly amazing. I feel no pressure to be better for anyone other than myself. I know they love me warts and all and given what a royal pain in the arse I must be some times that is saying a lot! The support and understanding they have shown me is second to none. One day I will be better and I will be back in control of myself and then I will be able to thank them properly. I am doing my best to get through the days right now, slowly slowly I can see the light blinking at the end of the tunnel. One day I will reach it.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Woo, I have finally started.

I am now one dolly change bag & mat down. Small glitch with the nappies, it would appear the girls' dollies have larger backsides than the pattern I have allows for. That and my measuring tape appears to have been absconded somewhere so I can't measure up right now. Mucho frustrating.

Last night I made 2 morsbags, tonight I will aim to make 3. I am hoping that the Beloved will remember to help me tonight so it should speed things up. Then I will have to face Ikea again for more fabric for the other 2 (and maybe another couple of fleece blankets...).

Tomorrow night I plan on making the other nappy bag and change mat. And, if of course my measuring tape resurfaces, 4 nappies for the dolls. Then I just have to think about making some kind of clothing, I may cheat here and head to the local Mothercare / Next with the doll and buy a couple of new babygrows they can wear.

On Friday my plan is to start on the Well Woman Packs.

Saturday will be the Humpty Dumptys.

Sunday will be the scarves (assuming I can get to the haberdasher for the fleece)

Monday I am going to attempt to finish off the tutus.

Then on Tuesday I am going to my friend Annabel's and we are going to eat Thai Green Curry and make a good stab at a KatyBag by the lovely LiEr on Ikat Bag. This involves Piping and is kind of reliant on if Annabel has a zipper foot or not lol! If it proves too tricky for us poor novices then we might have a go at the gorgeous Bustle Skirt in last months Sew Hip! magazine, which reminds me I really should scan that in for Annabel!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Rememberance Sunday, the words ring in my ears.






When I was in 6th Form at Cheltenham College we used to have Sunday practice for Chapel on Fridays. The Friday before that remeberance Sunday we rehearsed the usual hymns and whatnot. Then the Rev rehearsed the words with us. I remember the school muttered "we will remember them" and the Rev got so cross with us and told us that we weren't remembering what we had for lunch, or if it was a birthday we were remembering those brave people who lost their lives to ensure our peace. That the words "we will remember them" should be filled with love, respect and total gratitude to them.

To this day I cannot speak, nor hear those words without remembering the utter conviction that the Rev put behind them and that conviction took it's place in my heart and I thank him for that.

Therefore I stand and declare:

I will remember them.



(Photography by Andrew Daly, isn't it stunning!)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

My Christmas To Do List...

In a bid to fight off the procrastination... I have the following to complete before Christmas:

7 Morsbags
2 Well Woman Packs
5 evening bags
1 shopping tote
2 Humpy Dumpties
4 Children's hooded scarves
7 adult scarves
2 Dolly Changing bags (with stuff in)
5 tutus

And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*

Rearrange these words into an apt sentance

off I chew than bitten more can

[gulp]

*well not really but you get the drift!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Urgh.

Children vile. Feeling flat. Still feeling hurt despite having "closure" today. And I welcome any ideas to keep the 2 yrd old Clara-Bear in bed all night that don't involve strapping small child to bed with industrial strength gaffa tape welcome.

I. Am. Fed. Up.

Nuff said really.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Blessed Samhain to All!

We had a lovely one. We weren't home so no extra place setting this year although I don't think The Beloved Departed would have objected too much. Instead we went to our friends Jane and Mike's house for a Halloween Party, mostly for the children but I think the adults had fun too... particularly Capt Pyro (aka Paul) who was put in charge of fireworks once it was nice and dark.

We had a good range of costumes:

2 witches
1 vampire
3 skeletons
1 cat
1 mouse



All the children played beautifully together which was lovely. The Pumpkin Pinata we had been working on for the last 2 weeks went down a storm and the children all enjoyed beating the smeg out of it until it (eventually... must let it dry better next time) it fell to bits and revealed it sweetie innards and a scramble ensued.


Thwacking the Pinata

 
 Sweetie Scramble!


Clara Triumphant!

Jane has surpassed herself on the nosh, we had all sorts of gruesome goodies, shortbread fingers with red nails (almonds), red jelly with eyeballs (lychees & grapes), stacks of her signature brownies, sausages, hedgehog bread rolls, stink cheese, walnut bread, guacamole, a fantastic homegrown pumpkin.... I could go on. She does, for now, get the Barbie Baking Sheet award for services to parties! Phoebe's party is coming up soon I intend to attempt retrieving it briefly!



Post noshing Paul had a whale of a time setting off fireworks at the bottom of the garden and we all survived unscathed and so did most of the foliage!



We got back very late but feeling very happy and relaxed. It is the first time I have felt chilled outside of my own 4 walls in a fair while. Mind you I have known Jane and Mike for just over 4 years now (I was pregnant with Phoebe when I first met Jane... that is the only reason I can date it lol!) and feel very at home with them, well I would have to be as Jane was there at Clara's birth and that isn't something you share with any old person really is it?!


Mummy-needs-to-survive-halfterm party!

Sorry I haven't been around for a bit, has been a busy few days but, for the most part, wholey enjoyable! I have also had a horrid time with anxiety and lost my photo and writing mojo so haven't had the brain space to come and write my witterings or take any lovely pictures (chronic shaking doesn't help on the latter though to be fair!).

On Thursday my friends Mahri-Claire and her lovely husband Greg came with their boys Elijah & Sebastian, Annabel bought Eliza and Hugo and Rachel came with Laura. It was so mild that for most of the day they all ran around the garden, played in the sandpit and generally had a fab time (as judged by minimal tears and maximum tiredness). it was a bit of a risk getting Clara, Sebastian and Hugo in the same place as they are all Kamikaze Kids, however we got through the day without any major incidents from them! Phoebe Eliza and Clara did the first layer of orange paint on the Piñata and had loads of fun doing that. Elijah, Sebastian & Hugo played in the garden with Greg and had fab fun too. I roasted a chicken for lunch and we all had chicken sandwiches (there is no bad with Roast Chicken... yuuum!). In the afternoon Phoebe stripped off completely and played in the sandpit, Elijah freed himself of his trousers, socks and shoes in solidarity and whilst Greg entertained all the children outside (!) the Mummies got to hang out in the kitchen and natter whilst drinking "sweet nectar of life" (AKA Diet Coke). Mahri-Claire and Greg stayed for tea too which was lovely and Phoebe and Elijah really put loads of effort into their eating competition and both totally cleared their plates! Clara and Sebastian did their best too but being smaller are much more distractable. It was a truly wonderful day and as damn near perfect as I can imagine!

Here is a pic to entertain you that totally sums up the day:


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Small child + Stickers...






Well rather on her than on me as she decided to do yesterday whilst Phoebe was having her swimming lesson. She decided I needed a Waybuloo inspired make over, as did the glass display cabinet and the swimming pool (a hydrotherapy type one, not sunk into the floor). What inspires small children to stick stickers, well everywhere?

We are not dissing the wonder of stickers in our house though. 2 reward charts have proved very useful in this house. They only have 4 things they have to complete daily to get a gingerbread man before bed, they are to eat their breakfast nicely, eat their lunch nicely, eat their dinner nicely and then to help tidy up. Phoebe is a faddy eater, and on occasion a non eater. However blow me down with a feather but the threat of not getting a sticker has inspired her to eat 3 meals a day for the last week and a half and they positively LOVE helping to tidy up now! Now when I say "meals" what I actually mean is a very small limited variety of food. Dippy eggs, sausages, marmite sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, cheese on toast (only when microwaved as "it not right" if I do it in the grill), pizza, chicken nuggets, baked beans, toast, apples oh and of course any variety of pudding or sweet thing. The plan is once I have her eating meals then the sticker reward will graduate onto trying new foods, first off for "kissing" the food and then for eating it. Hopefully the slowly slowly routine will encourage her to widen her pallet without a full on battle of wills over food. Well that is the theory anyway!

Hopefully it will have the bonus side effect of getting Clara to eat nicely too, she has a wider pallet than her sister but she is a pest for food dodging (she tries to feed it to others instead with a very firm "EAT IT!"). She has been pretty well inspired by the sticker chart too, today she didn't eat her tea so Paul ended up being chased through the house with shrieks of "maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan", she was hideously over tired mind so we whipped her into bed as fast as we could. Poor love was excited after their bestest buds Rowan and Lexi came to play. Still they all had fun and it was fab to catch up with my friend too!