15

Not Another Grocery Haul

Today we went shopping! Grocery shopping! The monthly (ish) dash around Aldi to be precise. I love reading grocery haul posts on blogs, seeing the amazing and often colourful array of produce, along with the fab recipe ideas and meal plans, I also love watching grand designs….. And, in the same way there is no chance I will ever build a house from scratch and have Kevin Mcleod ’round for a cuppa in my reclaimed wood kitchen…. I’ll never quite manage those beautifully crafted grocery posts I so love reading. Here instead, is my version

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Before I go
Meal plans? Noo! I barely have time to plan my outfit… My leggings are really annoying me today, all twisted and loose at the crotch…. So I kinda just, you know look in the cupboards briefly to see what we need. Which if it’s grocery day is prob everything because I’ve worn down the contents over the last week (concoctions of beans and pasta cos I’ve been putting off the shop for days). Getting everyone out the house is like an episode of the Animals of Farthing Wood (remember that). In general we don’t tell the children where we are going, we just aim to leave within the hour…. And run back once they’re strapped in the car for the bags…. That way they can’t escape when they see the ‘bags for life’. Sometimes we forget these altogether and end up having to buy more. oooo you should see the array we have stashed around the house… Now that’s colourful grocery shopping!

Why Aldi?
We live in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the Devon countryside, we visit Tesco in the local town for a jolly regularly (too regularly) to pick up the fresh veg. (I mention Tesco a lot in my posts). Aldi is our Mecca (that and Ikea), every six weeks we visit to stock up on meat and fillers… It’s cheap! It’s also great quality and, because there is a smaller selection we get in and out in under half an hour…. It’s like supermarket sweep. A trolley each and go go go. Except today we forgot our pound tokens (we remembered the bags though) and felt asking the manager to unlock one trolley was embarrassing enough, let alone two… So I pushed, Scott carried, the children kinda put up with it and we dashed about in haste stopping only to readjust these bloody leggings.

Once home
Now I know this is where I’m meant to lay out all the items beautifully on the kitchen sides and photograph them in pretty wooden crates but well, I didn’t! I stuck on CBeebies and hastily scraped old crumbs out the cupboards and threw in the haul…. I gingerly walked over the decking in our garden to the shed to throw the meat into the chest freezer and bring back the washing from the tumble in the bags for life!

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What to cook?
With two jobs, a blog and three children I dont have time to cook from scratch; I can you know! Make sauces out of cornflour, herbs, sweat and tears etc… But I’d rather write about how I don’t  do it and shove pre-diced meat into the slow cooker with a jar of curry mix…. Then ding some rice… Because it’s so much easier and Thats how I roll! So here it is… Our grocery haul…. 8 hours later, already in the cupboards and some half eaten, but done! Done for another six weeks and only £150!

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Oh, a crème egg, how did that get there?

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13

The Little Things

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day…… (Said In a Sing song voice not dissimilar to Janice in friends) I know it’s not cool to say you expect, want, demand… Cough. A Valentine’s Day treat from your other half…. I mean love is for every day of the year not just one right??? WRONG!! I pretty much don’t love my husband 365 days…. Well, I certainly don’t show it every day, who does? He’s lucky if he gets a kiss goodbye in the morning rush, and at times, when we finally get the kids to sleep it’s not all roses, I mean there’s the dishes to sort the laundry to tackle and very important episodes of Buffy to watch. It’s nice to have a commercial day one a year where I and he, can be pampered.  

I Know I’ve spoken before about waiting for the next special occasion and how droll that is, but when your husbands language of love only extends as far as ‘Darling, I remembered to pick up eggs for pancake day’…. Oh wait no he forgot…. Let’s try again…. ‘Darling I ironed my own work shirts coz I’m not a dick or a mysoginist and I’m not sure you even know where the iron is…’ having one day where he has an opportunity to say we love each other is important to us. 

Valentine’s Day is like a free for all when you’re not actually soppy people…. I mean, if my other half turned around and said ‘I love you sugar plum’ on another day but Valentine’s, I would burst out laughing, look for the hidden camera and then raise my unplucked eyebrows so high they’d hit the pancake Remittance still on the ceiling, 

Our love is in the little things we do, it’s in the meals I manage to cook, the chocolate I pick up just for him and somehow manage to avoid eating myself… It’s in the inside jokes, the evening game of table tennis, the times I sacrifice Dr who on the sky plus so there’s room for his history documentaries. When I remember that he had an important observation at work at ask straight away how it went. It’s when I dish up the best roastie to his plate first (we use food to show love a lot) it’s when I dye my hair bright red because he said he thought it would look nice. It’s when I take the kids to tesco so he can sit in his pants watching football with a pot noodle (well I’ll do that some day). It’s when I send him stupid memes in the day and text him when he’s in the next room. When I allow him to leave the door open when he’s taking a crap or when I buy him a new toothbrush every year for Christmas. When I remember to pick up birthday cards for his family members and encourage the children to run to him when he gets home. When I make his lunch along with the children’s and put it in the fridge for the next day. When I scratch his back for hours and resist squeezing any spots. when I do Xmas, or Easter or birthdays so he can have a break when off work, when I check Twitter for positive work affirmations about him.

And for him?

He shows he loves me when he doesn’t ever ask what I’ve done all day, when he reloads the dishwasher after I’ve shoved everything in, when he washes my clothes first because he knows I’m in a cycle of about three good outfits (even though there’s drawers overflowing) it’s when he makes a parp sound when ever I bend over. Or if I’m ill and he brings me tea….. Or when I’m not ill and he brings me tea…. Or when it’s 7:30 and he’s got the children breakfast, made my coffee and shouted up for the fifth time that he’s got to get his train. It’s when he puts his car in my name or wears the hideous jumper I got him over the hideous one his mum got him. In fact it’s every time he’s put me first. From leaving the last bit of milk so I don’t have to go to the shop in the day to continually bigging up my achievements to those who say I’m not good enough. It’s his supporting of my breastfeeding in public by holding my breast pads and stop a stem of milk. Listing with me Harry Potter characters in the alphabet game while I’m in labour and holding up my dead weight leg when I’ve been pushing for 3 hours. It’s when he keeps track of my anti anxiety medication and picks up the prescription without me worrying I’m running low, or when he refills the car with fuel cos I worry about taking the children on the forecourt, 

As I stood in tesco earlier I looked for a card which said all of this, there were several other women in the same situation….. Why is it so hard to find the right one eh? I settled for this

  

With all the little things we don’t need Valentine’s Day, I mean he will never beat the treasure hunt proposal of 2010 and we normally play a game of who can buy the cheapist tackiest gift on the market… but the big things give you a chance to reflect on the day to day…. And if I get some flowers from my boo boo bear… Well that’s a bonus!! 

11

Making a Comeback

Turns out I’m not such a slummy mummy! I know! those of you who have seen me answer the door in just my pjs and odd socks with a baby slung on my hip may find it hard to believe, but, 9 months of maternity leave and a er…… Break from blogging opened my eyes a little.
Turns out I’m just a perfectionist who takes on too much. 

I’d have felt a fraud if I’d continued blogging in this time, great excuse right! But it’s true. Following nergs birth I actually turned into Martha fikkin stewart!!

Septembers a good time to be born… Oh I’m not talking about the academic school year, although, as a late August baby I know this will be advantageous to him, but actually, it means mummy is work free for the most important milestones…… I’m talking about Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Bonding time with baby is good too

I spent the first few months alternating between boobing baking, cleaning, and box sets. All those buffy and Dawsons creek episodes that had built up over the years, were now within my grasp, and, when more quiet time was needed, I would browse Pinterest for my next project, 

Now I’m back to work…. Or have been since August. I miss those moments. But surprisingly I wonder if I’m happier slummy?! I’m still trying to create the Pinterest image but I think my husband likes me more now. 

I kept an immaculate (and I mean immaculate) home, the children were fed home cooked concoctions and there was time for crafts without neglecting the clean up afterwards. But I was a bit like a broken record…. I’m not sure he could not have coped with anymore conversations on which colour scheme to do this or that occasion…. Also it all seems a bit shallow now, my days marked only by the next event coming up… I feel sure I was turning into my mother in law… Who writes ‘start packing’ on the calendar a week before going on holiday. Coupled with the fact that the spouse spent the first 6 months on the sofa bed while I co slept, demand fed and drank coffee in the king size, I began to see how couples grow apart. 

We hear all the time that you should have your own identity as a couple but being a homemaker turned me into a subservient little wife. I loved it in a way, being needed by my family, everything was done, clothes washed, beds made, toilets frikkin sparkling…. A clear surrounding does improve your mood. But then what? My whole existence and sense of pride, was based upon being needed and doing things for others… Omg!! I’m selfish if I’m saying that’s not enough right?

What about the kids? Surely it was better for them, me not rushing about grabbing a homework book with one hand and the laptop in the other? answering questions on phonics while writing about parenting that I’m not actually doing. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty certain I began living through them, in manner of scary stage parent. The homemade costumes, the non parenting with biscuits… They prob missed the iPad apps and dreaded the lets browse Tesco again for craft supplies… Lets bake another lasagne from scratch when what they really want is fish fingers. Less complicated meals without the expectation of gratitude at the bottom of the plate. My eldest certainly drew the line when I mentioned marching up to the school to retrieve the worn once PE kit…. Just to give me something to wash, no questions about what this is in her pocket….. She can collect as many stones as she likes now because I’ve not turfed out her Parker for at least three months.

What’s funny is no one was anymore grateful than they are now I’m back to my slummy ways. I feel crappy that I can’t do all I did then, but actually I think my other half will chose to tackle the laundry basket over listing to the drone of my voice as I describe in detail again, how I discovered an awesome new stain remover for real nappies. I think he’d rather wear odd socks than hear how I spent the last two days pairing up 3 years worth of uncoupled ones. 

Dont get me wrong, not all SAHM are like this at all!! But I’m obsessive, a perfectionist… Better I be a slightly grumpy one throwing my being into a million projects and incomplete tasks, than a neurotic one throwing herself  into two or three…. Im not sure, I’ll have to ask hubby which ‘me’ he prefers when he comes home… To our messy house, with a 17month old at the breast and no dinner ready… Hey, today I cleared my work email inbox and put the clean but un ironed washing on the stairs go me!!! 

Oh and I had no time to upload images this time so here’s a picture from peppa pig! We have reconnected with the show over the last four months, fab babysitter!!  
 

1

The Smug Beastfeeder

I hope this this post isn’t as controversial as you may think, I’m a proud breast feeder, I’m one of those annoying women who do like to slip it into conversation whenever I get a chance. Now not many bfeeding mums will admit this, but we are bloody chuffed with ourselves and, actually it gets on our goat when we feel we have to dumb this down for fear of offending our formula feeding friends. But do we judge you for your choices? This is a difficult one perhaps outlining the real reason I breastfeed will help you see there is no prejudice.

I’d love to say that I’m motivated purely by the health of my child, that I’m selfless, which in turn would mean I consider formula feeders to be selfish right? This simply isn’t true. We hear about the guilt women feel when they give baby a bottle, the pressure and expectations on mothers to breastfeed is very very real and this is a strong motivation for me. I’m a perfectionist, I worry a lot about the opinions of others and I couldn’t cope with that guilt even though I know it is ridiculous that any mother should feel this pressure. I’m motivated by fear of judgement…. Not the health needs of my baby

I’m a ‘slummy mummy’ we know this, That is to say I’m not a domestic goddess, I had much admiration for women who have to spend time cleaning, sterilising and making up bottles, I would never call formula feeding a lazy option. I couldn’t do it, bottles would build up and cause stress and anxiety, I know myself well enough to say that if I had to deal with this endless stream of washing I would struggle emotionally, I’m motivated by my own limitations….not the health needs of my baby

Having had a turbulent childhood I have struggled to form attachments in my life, I had never been in love until I met my husband and having children does full fill a need in me to connect with others. That is not to say that I’m unaware that my children need to form identities outside of their family unit or that they are merely extensions of myself, It’s very important that our children are encouraged to be their own person right? but, breastfeeding is vital for me personally as it enables me to form a bond with my child which I may struggle with ordinarily given my history. Childhood attachment is built by many different factors and formula feeding would not prevent a strong healthy attachment from forming, however, for a mother who struggles understanding even the basics of human attachment it provides a foundation to work from….. I’m motivated by my desire to connect….not the health needs of my baby

Having outlines these reasons I hope to show that it is these reasons which kept me going in those early hours of the morning, there seems to be a misconception that if you breastfeed you were lucky, In fact I often find myself saying that to people, well my children nursed well, I had a good supply, didn’t encounter difficulties etc. But it’s not true, I struggled through pain, thrush, lazy attachments, hours of nursing, tears and arguments with my partner, feelings of being touched out etc, Once I remember going for a drive and leaving my baby and husband at home for half an hour just because I could bare to draw my baby to my breast for the eighth time that morning, but it’s for the reasons above I pushed on through…

I’m not a saint, motivated my some earth mother like desire to selflessly provide for my offspring, I’m not judging you for doing what any sane person would do given the many difficulties faced by breastfeeding … but the health benefits which are so pushed at us as new mothers are merely a bonus to me. I breastfeed because it’s the best thing for me and my child and if you formula feed well, I can pretty much guarantee you do so because you know it’s the best thing for you and your child also.

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0

Things that annoy me when I’m pregnant

Ok so hormones go a little bit crazy during pregnancy, and most of this stuff is my responsibility, but that doesn’t stop me breathing fire once in a while.

1. When people do a pee in the toilet I just cleaned……

2. Cooking disasters

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3. When my cup of tea goes cold

4.When people put anything other than books on the book shelf

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5.When I get up for the 3rd time that night to pee

6.and the toilet roll hasn’t been replaced correctly

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7. Having to adjust the seat in the car

8. When things are left on the stairs

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9. Forgetting why I have walked into a room

10. When the stair rail is used instead of the coat hooks

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11. Finding myself sobbing during the opening sequence to Fireman Sam

12. Tea bags left on the side

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13. Toothpaste in the sink

14. When the table isn’t cleared from breakfast before creativities begin…. mmmm toast crumb cards

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15. When my husband has hic-ups…. or sneezes, or snores, or burps…. or breaths too heavily

16. The vacuum cleaner lead….. enough said!!

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17. Discovering there’s no milk….. after brewing my cupa

18. Forgetting to remove the veg crate before using the microwave and praying for thanks that the house didn’t go up in flames

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2

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

What are your plans for New Year? Are you hitting the town or, like me, are you curled up inside in the warm wondering when you last hit the dance floor? I think the last time I stepped into a club was quite possibly my hen party. I sobered up fairly quickly when the DJ was greeted to a huge cheer on asking ‘who here was born in the 90’s’! This was my cue to leave.

I’ve just got over Christmas, the last thing I want to do is go for a night on the tiles, instead, my husband is pouring over his Game of Thrones 4D puzzle at the dining room table (4th day in a row) and I find myself reliving my youth by watching Buffy re-runs: (incidentally it’s the episode where the adults of Sunnydale revert to their youth).

I’ll try and make it to midnight as this will be the time other half and I turn to each other, briefly mumble ‘Happy New Year Love’ then continue our separate thrilling pursuits. Who wants to be on the wrong side of 25 in a night club anyway?

Normally the new year is when I make a Bridget Jones style list of everything I intend to achieve….. It should look like the following although of course, It looked very similar last year

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• Lose weight
• Always hang the washing out as soon as the cycle has finished and not just refresh the machine every 5 hours
• Sort through all the cupboards which have been filled over Christmas in order to fool guests that I do truly live a neat, minimalist lifestyle
• Donate the Xmas chocolates
• Donate all the skinny clothes in my wardrobe because I’ll never fit into them
• Deal with the charity/boot sale boxes from last year’s (half) sort out, which accompanied us on our move and are now piled high in the bedroom
• Accept I’ll never look at old xmas/birthday/wedding/new baby cards again, bin them, thus freeing up space in 99% of all household drawers
• Make a start on clearing my student debt (boo)
• Decorate my office (cute Cath Kidson style florals)
• Stop using my husband’s office as a laundry room
• Remember to take up any items on the stairs when passing them
• Take painkillers the moment I sense a headache rather than moaning to my husband for 3 hours
• Remember to take the pushchair out of the car the night before if walking to school the next day, thus avoiding the rushed ninja routine with baby on hip at 8:30am
• Take all meat out of the freezer the night before rather than worry all day that it will not defrost in time for dinner
• Spend some time actually improving the house rather than googling design inspirations
• Be assertive with our half job cleaner rather than tipping her an extra pound every week
• Partake in spontaneous creative activities with the children rather than having to mentally prepare myself for the mess a week beforehand
• Take up running
• Update ipod for said running trips
• Buy running shoes
• Decide against running due to initial start-up costs
• Update this blog more….. maybe when I feel guilty about not running

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Maybe I’ll update you on the progress of this next year…….. I’m off to set the Big Ben countdown to record now in case I should fall asleep before midnight……. Might go an open some of those yummy Xmas chocolates also…..

1

The Shame of a Messy Car

Today, as I procrastinate on the web I find myself thinking of those little jobs that never get done. Sure, I could be working my way through them now, but cleaning the car out won’t enhance my career as a writer will it?

Of course I could do what I’m sure sensible people do and bring the rubbish in after each trip rather than letting the footwell’s fill up with wrappers, books, children’s clothing and various debris: That would be far too simple wouldn’t it? I have instead, a boot full of plastic bags, each one signifies my intention to tidy….. Before I set off on various exciting expeditions to the supermarket or the thrill of the school run, I load up the children into their car seats and add a carrier to the boot: for when I return home I shall bring in the wildlife!! On the very few occasions I have managed to achieve this, the plastic bags sit on the stairs for at least a week before my long suffering husband decides he has had enough of me walking past them and sorts them out himself….. Many a suitable child’s jumper has be worn and discarded in that car, only to be retrieved with such a lapse in time that it nolonger reaches the wrist.

But who cares right? I don’t often have car visitors. The other half has a quick jog round if the in-laws are coming for fear they will see it as another reason why I’ll never be good enough for their son….. If the MIL starts clearing it out then I know I’ve gone too far. Shame on me for allowing life to get in the way of a spotless car eh?. She does have a small point though, if passive aggressively made: It is fairly shameful isn’t it? I mean, I hate that moment just before I step out the car door, where I pray that a red bull can will not clatter out after me or heaven forbid, someone finds out we had drive-through Macdonalds a week ago… oh the shame!

Not too long ago the eldest opened her door, only for a sudden gust of wind to blow 10 sandwich bags across the playground (leftover from our half term trip, should H get travel sickness). Of course I then had a choice, do I run after them thus alerting even more people to the fact that I’m a complete Slummy Mummy, or do I leave them and risk the raised eyebrows of the few Chelsea tractor driving yummies who did see….. I opted for a third option, yes, I made it into a game…. Quick H, chase the bags, catch the bags, oh isn’t this fun….. Since that day the eldest has continued to ask me ‘when can we play the bag catch game again mummy?’….

The upside to all this however, is that as the car gets messier and messier I HAVE to get more organised in the mornings (?). I can now be found leaving the house at a reasonable time in order to avoid having to park at the school: I’m officially a walker now. The shame of being the parent who gets in THAT car is all consuming. I’ve seen more than the odd glance at the dashboard by families walking past, ‘wow mummy look at that’ the children point at the lose change, pair of sunglasses (yes, in the middle of winter) pieces of lego and wetwipes which festoon the ledge….. I can only hope that such families passing have the same walk/drive debate and can empathise…. If not, well…. Maybe they are cleaning out their cars rather than writing about not doing it..….
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