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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19

‘Oh My Bags Are Packed

The big h! Not our daughter, she’s big girl h, let’s not get confused. I’m talking about holidays. If you’ve been with us from the start you’ll know we had a disastrous half term trip up north a few years ago, the trip itself, lovely, but the decision to take the scenic route home kinda ruined the experience, there’s children, car journeys and a story about poo, check it out if you have a chance and want a laugh,

My sister, who’s amazing and whose in no way slummy blog can be read here. Alerted me that Mark Warner were looking for their 2016 ambassadors . She encouraged me to apply and as part of that I’m required to blog about my ideal holiday. This is a big opportunity, the post I mean, I had planned to write a piece entitled, how not to blog about food, I even made a vegan chilli tonight and took some obligatory from above ingredients shots…. Now I don’t feel bad at all that I’m sat in bed with a child either side, a husband at the base snoring (it’s 8pm) and I’m eating a creme egg, washed down with a glass of coke….it’s a vegan creme egg…. It was laid by a vegan chicken, she had dreds, a henna tattoo and a nose ring!

Writing about my ideal holiday should be easy, Scott and I play this game every week when we mentally spend our lotto winnings before realising we haven’t won, have no chance of winning and screw up the ticket vowing never to play again. In my mind I’ve built a whole house, complete with pool and treehouse, playroom, library, games room and farmhouse style kitchen. I’ve even taken into account the plumbing system for the ensuites…. This has taken a considerable amount of time and brain power and it’s quite nice to progress beyond the house and imagine a Macdonald family holiday.

 

     As I’m a perfectionist, nothing will be spared in this imaginary foray, the journey itself will last about three hours, long enough for us to watch some inflight movies (a nice Disney) and for people to compliment us on our well behaved brood, smug smug! but not so long that we have to resort to I spy a cloud, the chair goes up the chair goes down and/or similar such desperate ‘please don’t let the children scream and get us chucked off the flight’ forms of self sacrificing entertainment. Maybe the airline will supply crayons? I remember colouring in pictures of Jimmy jet as a child and I think a similar character based book would help our lot also… Big girl h would go for pink and ask for glitter, Roo would stay in the lines merticuliously and Nergy noo would eat the crayons…. It would be like home from home, except in the sky… On a side note. The first time I went on a plane, I was four and, after colouring in Jimmy jet, I asked my mum where the dead bodies were…. Before you begin questioning hidden childhood issues, I’d like to point out that apparently I thought I was in heaven… Both sweet and creepy at the same time right? I wonder how the mini Macdonalds would react?

Bc (before children) we were champions of the city break…. A visit to Rome (obligatory when your husband is a lecturer in Classics) and Amsterdam (obligatory when you’re a new couple and trying to demonstrate that you’re a cool, aloof, adventurous and in no way threatened girlfriend). Because we are such a cool couple, we hired a camper for our honeymoon and toured the filming locations of poldark!! This is pre Aiden Turner Poldark…. Told you we were cool!!!! We kept all the national trust stumps and spent hours in empty campsite club houses perfecting our table tennis skills…. Rain and holidays are our aesthetic!SC (Since children), we have managed a break to see friends in the north, a failed trip to Scotland for Christmas where the, it’s so perfect it’s snowing, went too far and we had to cancel, lest we be trapped on the road with a Christmas tree, abnormally large Turkey and another five miles to reach the cottage we hired (it had a hot tub and everything) and more recently, a long weekend to Peppa Pig world, no hot tub, lots of rain and actually fun had by all.

  


Children are our main focus now, bet that’s a relief to hear….. We wouldn’t want childcare when away, mainly because that would also require a wet nurse for nergy noo but also because we quite like having them! So entertainment and exploration would be the core theme. Not ones to lazy about in the sun we quite fancy a giant tree house holiday with cycle paths, pottery and waterslides… A hot tub for the evening might help soothe some past hurts. Any holiday has to be combined with the teaching calendar so we haven’t actually been abroad since our hen and stag dos…. Woe be us. Lots of all inclusive food because holiday calories never count and because I’ve lost four stone this year and want to challenge myself to see how long it takes to put it all back on.

A real Brady bunch affair, where we say goodnight in singsong voices after hot chocolate and fun filled frolics of the day… Family picnics, running through the daisies…. Spilt drinks and cucumber sandwiches, you get the picture! It’s all about togetherness. 

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We are fairly quiet people, In fact when deciding on peppa pig world I had to remind my other half that a house in the countryside really wouldnt be a holiday as we currently live in a house, in the countryside. The rain of that long weekend meant there were no queues…and,as introverts we relished that there were not many people either, what a bonus!

 so, an ideal holiday for us has a shortish flight, crayons, a hot tub, lots of active and kid friendly activities, a hot tub, no other people, a hot tub, a tree house, lots of food, a hot tub, a wet nurse and possibly peppa pig (cos we know we can handle her! What do you think Mark Warner? Up to the Macdonald challenge?…..

Did I say I’d like a hot tub? Or course that is in the imaginary house that Emily build so Im quite happy to forgo that if youd like to supply a lotto ticket instead??? Now you did say you don’t need a replica of our dissertations for this blog post…. But just so you know, I got a first for my dissertation…… And my degree in fact….. Media and Creative Writing degree…… With a combined honours in ‘I’d be a wonderful holiday brand ambassador cos I’m funny and have a beautiful family’ if you’re not swayed…. Here an incentive…… It’s play money….but it’s bribed our way out the playroom and up to the dining table many times….. Only looking at it gives it away!!….. Oh I do have a SLR camera in the study charging…. Next to the passports

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

Return Of The Slummy Mummy

With mat leave nearly at an end (boo) I’ll be returning soon with updates from the past 8 months. Just why did I drop off of the face of the planet as D day approached? How have we coped as a family of 5? Birth stories and Birthday parties, new jobs, crazy cleaning sprees and plenty of school run mishaps to come:

For now I leave you with the lovelies…

BIg Girl H, Little Roo and our newest addition Nergy Noo
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Week 31: We’ve been invaded

So I’ve managed to waddle (yep I’m doing that now) up to my office this evening, ice pole in one hand and banister clutched in the other… heaving myself up the stairs like a poor lame hippo, I figured it’s about time I update my blog with the joys of pregnancy and family life. I’m trying to climb the two flights of stairs as little as possible at the moment, terrified ill trip. For most people it would make sense to limit such excursions by remembering to take up or bring down various things each time, but I’m so forgetful that I often reach the top floor in a state of hyperventilation only to find I forgot to bring up the washing/paperwork/nit-comb etc…….

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Yep some pesky head lice have found a way into our home repeatedly over the last few weeks, at least 3 times a week I’ve found myself on the top floor bathroom with H only to discover I left the comb in the living room…. I’m very tempted to buy three and keep one on each floor just in case. Horrid little things! Although, I actually find eradicating them somewhat therapeutic. There’s something really satisfying about combing through my girls hair and catching a big fat wiggler… or at least there was for the first two weeks… I just can’t understand why they’re coming back, they’re like Rasputin, you kill them off with some pretty hard-core Headrin warfare, trap and dispose of their offspring, wash all the bed sheets and repeat over their (googled) life cycle and yet they still won’t blommin DIE!

It does appear as though H is the only unlucky one but on the safe side its best to check the entire Macdonald clan to be sure. This means the whole family now start running away when they see me appear in the room in manner of crazy headlice serial killer woman, with facemask, gloves, conditioner and comb (depending on if I remembered to bring it to the correct floor). Today it’s so far so good, but I’m starting to run out of steam… literally, if I sit in that boiling hot bathroom for one more friggin evening I’m gonna scream. Luckily, my girly is taking it very patiently and is able to look on the bright side of things…. Good bye boring ponytail ‘mummy now sends me to school with plaits of steal and buns of iron’. Just you try it pests… I dare you!!

So, I’m well and truly done with pregnancy, 9 weeks to go and counting. I’ve got my office fan up and running now which is helping at work but, with these eye issues and the heat I’m looking forward to going on leave in two weeks, not least because we have to move house again! Still, no better time to move and pack then when the nesting kicks in I guess, but I’m finding that even my x2 30 min daily naps are just not enough to stop me flagging by the evening.

And on cue, I just started yawning into my keyboard.

boyLittle man has self-weaned and hasn’t nursed for nearly a week now, I’m actually quite relieved as I don’t think either of us were enjoying it anymore, I’m preparing myself in case he wants to start again once ‘Macfly’ arrives but for the moment I’m loving that I can wear a decent bra for the first time in nearly two years… nursing get-up just isn’t attractive. A big plus (so far) to this pregnancy is that I don’t have any new stretch marks woo hoo, this may change over the next couple of months but for the moment it’s a relief to know my already tigger-like stomach hasn’t got any worse, they developed around the 25 weeks point in both my previous pregnancies so fingers crossed eh?

All recent blood tests were fine meaning no gestational diabetes, phew! or iron deficiency, this is a relief!

LUCOZADE_ORIGINALThe GDT wasn’t a fun experience; I had to have a blood test at the hospital confirming again why I don’t want to give birth anywhere but my own house… I then had to sit for two hours after drinking Lucozade… normally I would relish some time away from the kids and there was a TV in the day room, but had I been at home I could have watched a bit of Jeremy Kyle without feeling guilty/embarrassed/ashamed of myself, but I knew I couldn’t risk tuning in while the midwives floated about…. God forbid anyone discover my guilty pleasure… instead I hid a copy of closer magazine (I found it there) inside the guardian…. It was full of celebrities I’ve never heard of losing weight after pregnancy… way to go NHS!! Way to go!!

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It’s the final countdown

So I’ve hit the 27 week mark, hello third trimester! I’m sure my body knew instantly over night that the blooming stage of pregnancy was over. My eyes are worse than normal and once again im writing in ten min slots. I recently found out little one is lying transverse and boy do my hips hurt at the moment. I wouldn’t normally worry, it’s just that my first two nestled snugly into the head down position very early and didn’t turn again from this point onwards, but every pregnancy is different they say so fingers crossed eh?

With the final lap underway we headed to our local boot sale this weekend to pick up a few little bits for baby, We have become booty addicts of the past few months and I’m pretty sure we should start some sort of therapy before it gets out of hand. We have managed to get everything we will need for little one now and, at under £100 for the lot (bar the cot), its easy to see why we would spend our weekends walking past stalls of silk flowers and crystal hedgehogs in search of a bargain or two. We’ve even managed to get the two eldest summer outfits for less than the cost of fuel needed to get to the various venues, providing you can see past the mullets and tat it’s amazing what you can collect.

Feeling pretty darn pleased with ourselves this weekend after adding hats and scratch mits to our collection, we headed home to the sound of Phil Collins in the Cd player (not my choice but the CD got stuck weeks ago…. If I hear ‘against all odds’ one more frikkin time…..). On the way we spotted a sign for a local baby show and felt we could justify a quick look… plus I really needed to pee.

Unfortunately, given the lovely weather, the place was a bit quiet…. My husband also had to point out to the security guy on the door that I had indeed put sun screen on and that my face was red because I had acne…. Ever seen a 6ft 5 bald man in an orange vest cringe?? Think giant satsuma! Serves him right for telling me what I should and shouldn’t put on my face!

I did find a great product at the show though. Cherub Chews! I remember looking for something similar when Roo was a bit younger but talking myself of it because of the price but with products starting from just £6 I couldn’t resist this one.

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Remember when your little one was a newborn? They would nuzzle in for cuddles and nurse snug in your arms? Well fast-forward a few months and you have arms flailing, toes waggling and hair pulling…. In fact recently Roo has taken to poking a tiny mole I have on my shoulder during his limited nursing sessions…. Sometimes he would play with his feet, other times, if I was silly enough to wear earrings, he would play magpie and see how hard he could tug on them before I yelped in pain. Who hasn’t has to wrestle a tiny fist away from grandmas priceless silver necklace when she leans in for a cuddle and is shocked to find herself wondering if she will escape the house alive?

Cherub Chews have been inspired by Mums for Mums & are designed to attract babies attention while nursing & Babywearing.

Cherub Chews was created out of a need for a distraction for an inquisitive little one whilst feeding and babywearing. Necklaces have been tried and tested by ‘Head of quality control’- Oaks, Cherub Chews Owners Son. He gives them a toothy grin and thumbs up!

Each necklace is handmade in Exeter, Devon, with materials sourced as locally as possible. As a small family run business we try to source everything from small business’ and as we continue to grow quality and craftsmanship is always at the forefront of our products.

photo 3I must admit I was quite seduced by some of the brighter products but in the end I settled for The Coconut Button Necklace only because I have trouble co-coordinating my socks in the morning let alone putting together a stylish outfit with matching accessories, I figured this one would go with most of my clothes and also be quite subtle.

Little man loved it and actually sat happily playing and chewing on it for a good half an hour that evening, leaving me to watch nearly a whole episode of ‘Buffy’ while hubby cooked tea. That’s got to make it a winner right? I wonder how the littlest will get along with it? Three months to go…. And yes, I’m counting!!

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0

Week 25, Birth Plans and Football Fans

gif001-bWhere is the time going? I saw my midwife this week and couldn’t help but rave about how well this pregnancy is going. I mean sure there’s this weird eye acne thing and a bit of heartburn, but it does seem to be drifting along quite nicely. Of course there had to be a little bump in the road though didn’t there, I wouldn’t be writing this sort of blog if my life contained no quirks, dramas or random hic-ups…. I’d instead be writing a vintage themed, rose tinted, cupcake staked, pile of floral goodness for you all, you know the sort? Where the blogger takes a beautiful image of their child in a pretty bow sat on an immaculate sofa, the toys stacked neatly in matching canvas containers nearby (and the dirty dishes hidden the cleaning cupboard)…. I digressed sorry

Nope, as that is not my blog (or my life) I have to tell you that I found out some rubbish news this week, I first heard it on the school run, as we all know the playground is the ideal hub for gossip when you fall asleep early each evening a miss the local news… It turns out that, due to staff sicknesses in our area, all homebirths and midwife led unit deliveries are suspended for the next three months!!!!! Oh no!!! I can’t bear the thought of labouring on a packed maternity unit or having to kneel on cold hospital floors surrounded by bleeping machines, hand sanitizers and ghastly crape paper like curtains. I just know the very sight of a faded cartoon sticker on a magnolia wall will undoubtedly send me screaming for an epidural as soon as you can say ‘intervention for shrieking banshee in room 12’. Now I know that nature has its own tune and I can’t guarantee my birth of choice, but it seems so unfair that I may have this decision taken away from me. On the plus my midwife this week did say they will be reviewing the situation at the end of august and it could all be ok for my September due date…. Not that Im panicking or worrying or anything, Im perfectly Zen about the situation… hey maybe I’ll go and give birth in a wood and be at one with nature surrounded by animals and shit.. with a film crew looking on…. You’ve read that article haven’t you?

Roo is down to two feeds a day lastly approximately 5 mins each so I don’t think our nursing relationship will continue much longer, he is having the odd cup of cow’s milk in the day now too and seems happy enough. I even managed to leave my husband to the bedtime routine last week while I attended The Southwest Blog Event. In true ‘Slummy Mummy’ style I left my scarf behind meaning I earned a little mention (anonymously) in the follow up email FAIL.

Football fever has struck the Macdonald household so hopefully I will have a little more time for blogging while Scotty insists on watching every single game. I was taking a little nap a few days ago, only to be awaked my some furious tapping from the corner of the room where he was desperately trying to fit an aerial onto the bedroom TV so he could escape over the next couple of weeks. No luck and we’re stuck with non-stop matches on the family television all evening. Still ‘one born’ is on series link so hopefully all is not lost.