Thursday, 29 December 2016

The inbetween days..

The bit after boxing day but before new year when you forget which day it is and don't know what to do with your self. Those ones... Neither of us are working over xmas. Not back till the 3rd, 4th and 11th. We have said fare well to the relatives, watched Christmas movies, ventured out of the house for walks and such We had wanted to go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park today for tweeny girl but we all have head colds. Nothing major but we don't want to be outside in the cold and with a whingy toddler to boot. Maybe tomorrow or NYE.

We have made soup with leftovers, frozen chicken pieces from our roast beast and pretty much lived out of our freezer rather well. The kids did disgustingly well from xmas. I have a stash of presents that I can re gift too. I have stashed remnants that can be reused, and have begun to remove the decorations slowly and sneakily.

As soon as January hits we are on countdown to Biggles leaving so are all a bit depressed to be honest. He will be away on courses for at least two weeks in January. He will take off two weeks from work prior to leaving for the middle east in Feb.

Normally at this time of year we would plan trips away and visits and holidays. Look for bargains, consider camping etc (Last year we did this in Italy of course) I could still do this but its all a little harder being so far away from relatives and good friends. If I was in the North East I wouldn't mind so much but we are South West of London. Easier to get to the South Coast than the North. 6hrsm plus  of driving with a demanding toddler who doesn't travel well IE sleep in the car, fills me with dread.

I also have our hound to think of. I will need to walk her everyday and will do this with small boy in either a back pack or buggy. We may be better just staying put and doing local day trip things.

I shall ponder. I also have resolutions or rather tasks for 2017 to list.

Simple ones
Exercise more -  dvd or some thing may be more practical to be honest. No child care for gyms or classes on a regular basis
Take my supplements regularly especially the omega 3 fish oils.
Organise my photographs and get some printed out for keepsakes. I have a fear or losing everything digitally despite having back ups.
Begin my masters reading.

Its not too hard I suppose. I do exercise dog walking each day.

I shall continue sniffling hibernation till I hit 44. Yes NYE birthday.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Traditions

Quick post as it's 0039 Christmas day!

We have our own prefered routine at Christmas and traditions if you wish.

We do our own food. We eat chicken not Turkey. We don't like it and it's too big with too much waste for us.

Only I eat Christmas Cake and Mince pies and Pudding.  So I eat them as a treat as Costa with a coffee. :-) Instead I make super rich hazelnut choc brownies and Shortbread. I always bake these with the kids. We try not to buy in too much shop made stuff.  For pudding we have home made pavlova.

The kids have a final advent calendar  clue led hunt for the last chocolate.

We try to scavenge the materials for a Christmas wreath prior to Crimbo.

Hmmm We went to Mass this year. Normally before Italy we tried to take in a Christmas  service or carols.

I have always threatened to make the kids wait to open their wrapped presents till after dinner. This year due to the excessI've presents I am doing it. They have Santa presents then a large bag from relatives to open then presents under the tree from us. See pics.

If we lived by the coast a beach walk would be order of the day.

The dog will still require a quick trot out.

Next year we won't do cards and give to Charity instead.

The excess - not from us!
 Santa child 1
 Santa child 2
Pressies under the tree for us and the kids to be opened after dinner.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Xmas joy... or not

Yes we have relatives descending. Only two so that's only 4 adults and 1.5 kids and three dogs.

I used to get this album every year. Oh and Oor Wullie. 

The  MIL always brings her own food as she is fussy. She is bringing a beef joint to go with our large posh fed chicken.  She does eat chicken. Who knows? I just let her get on with it. As long as she is out of the way  when I am cooking its fine.

We have gone for the usual and kept an eye on all costs. The kids had enough presents from us and Santa we felt. We were only expecting one or two more from other people. Hmm well we have a bucket load from Grandma and Aunties.  Neither of us were particularly impressed with the addition of so many more presents. Does that sound ungrateful? Well our kids do OK. They have birthdays and holidays and trips and extra curricula activities. I don't think they need to be overindulged to the point of vulgarity at Christmas.

Anyway the kids will be opening their presents at two different times in the day. In the morning they get their Santa presents and can open the huge bags worth of stuff that Grandma et al have purchased. They can wait to open their presents from us and other folk until after they have eaten dinner in the evening. Grandma thinks this is weird. I said it makes the day longer for them and they take the time to savour and play with gifts and appreciate what they get. It worked with me as a kid. I also had to go to mass on Christmas day morning albeit later morning but none the less, it was something else to look forward to- post Santa stocking.
The tree is over the top. We know. We don't care. 

We have told Tweeny girl that this is a one off and that next year she wont receive as much. We said this is a special year as we have come back to the UK. We will have words next year. In laws are quite materialistic and they like things and shopping.

We are taking the kids to Children's Mass and Carols on Christmas Eve at 1830. 'Why you doing that then? - Because its Christmas and there is apparently a reason for the vulgar display of consumerism, materialism, greed and gluttony.  We are also lighting a menorah - a gift from a Jewish friend and are celebrating Yule with said Jewish friend too albeit Yule will be before they arrive.  Grandma may be very confused.  We will give thanks before we tuck into our dinner too.
Looks like a Yule fairy mouse to me -  by the Frouds of course. 

Other than that we are mostly organised. I just have some biscuits to make with Tweeny girl on the 23rd. Small boy made brownies today.  Presents wrapped and under the tree. Last shop to do on 23rd.  I will eat my cupboards till then.

Scavenged Wreath made with a cheap oasis and some hair pins we had hanging around. 

Toddler party for boy tomorrow. Girl has been a whirling dervish of events and performances.
We made our Christmas wreath from scavenged bits from the park and a cheap oasis thing for £3.
Buying local butchery and green grocery.
Have purchased second hand pressies and others in  sales etc for kids etc Have put away pressies for birthdays.
Off to do London lights and Winter Wonderland on Thursday. Meeting Biggles who is working in the smoke
Next year we have resolved not to do cards and will donate direct to charity instead. Still using last years cards as gift tags. Some might moan but it's cheap and less wasteful.

Did I mention Biggles is being sent away in Feb? Yeah he is for 6mths. Well it has been a few years and it was his turn. We will make do. I have coped on my own before and wont be responsible for earning the money to pay the bills as well as being mum.  Could be worse. At least its not a war zone.

Chat soon.


PS. Got onto course - can start Sept 17 part time for three years. Need to sort out funding next. Working one evening a week plus extra shifts as and when till Biggles go's over seas. Have  extra cash when I finally get paid. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Hanging in there

Just busy. Got some interviews for stuff coming up and am working part time. OH  has plans to go abroad - sorry out of area posting for 6mths to the middle east which is a pain. I need to find a regular sitter so that I dont give my evening job up. It is with reluctance that he goes but that military life.  I have in laws for xmas still.  I am shopping frugally.

Pah. and Pah.

life will get simpler soon.

I hope.... pah.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Where am I at?


I have plans A-D running re work and the future. They are in hand. I have applied to the CAB to do some voluntary work which will keep me active and occupied and I will be doing some paid yoof work. Badly paid sessional 3hrs a week yoof work but work nonetheless. For the future I feel a out of sync. More on that later.

Christmas is in hand. Purchased, sourced. We only have the grandparents for xmas. My cunning plan worked. I really didn't think two teenagers would be interested in leaving their friends for the silly season.  This means less food and less stuff to purchase.

I have a mixture of second hand and new stuff for the kids for xmas. All good. Once the presents are purchased this will leave me time to do the rest of the organising- food, adult presents. Yes this year we will have to buy presents, take Tweeny girl to buy her gifts. We are doing the pound shop and budgeting this year, cards, decorating yadda yadda and that cooking thing. All in hand!

Halloween is organised. We are away the week before so have made Tweeny girl her corpse bride outfit.

The weeks tick by to their own rhythm. Toddler group, rhyme time, guitar lessons, dance lessons, choir practice. I dog walk and get the shopping done and stick to our food budget. The house is lived in but clean.

Still plotting, still planning. Still uncertain.

I really need to find time to write more. Its cathartic.  I have been reminiscing quite a bit. Hence The Pixies.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Muchness going on.

Am still applying for stuff. UCAS is a drag but necessary. Kinda scary but I will either get in or not. Either way its good to know and then you can move on. Wondering is a pain.

I know I want to complete a masters if the Social work thing doesn't work out. Am thinking Community development. I would also love go dog groom but that costs as much as a masters degree lol. Always time later for that.

Enjoying the time at home at the moment. Well I am generally. At times I feel a little out of the real world and feel a bit pointless but I snap out of it. I will hopefully start work again soon, once I get the Italian police check sorted.  I much prefer housewifery and SAHM when I haven't got 8hrs to fill. Small boy helps too as does the hound. They have needs. I have purpose. 8 hrs is just way too long. 0815 to 1630 is ridiculous. How long does it take to clean and cook a few things? ( That was Italy and the duff school for you).

Anyway still trying to be frugal. I can see issues with the fridge and washing machine and hoover on the horizon. I will search  out good offers.

Started on xmas stocking fillers. We will not be silly this year. I have a list and a limit for daft presents.

Loving Aldi. We spend £70 a week and that includes beer and nappies, milk for the boy, and lunches  for the girl as well as nice evening meals. We are not bootstrap cooking but not being extravagant.  Lots of fresh fruit and perishables that are all used. Ok some times I have remnants of an iceberg lettuce.

Bought a nice canvas landscape or rather coastal scape for all of £1 from a charity shop. reminds me of Sugar Sands in Longhoughton, Northumberland. That and the cracking price I snaffled it straight up.

Boy now at toddler group and Rhyme time. This is only twice a week. I need something on a Wednesday I think. Day on, day off. Girl back as dance and drama and guitaring. Not sure if we should or can fit in swimming. We will have to see. It's not cheap either. 15 per 30 mins guitar and £145 per term for dance ( 1.5 hrs session though).

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Boots n brambles

Brand new Joules wellies for the tweeny girl. Free cycle of course and enough brambles scavenged to add to five pies if not more. Good day. Loads of brambles in this part of Surrey. I am late in scavenging. This was my first opportunity without children. Super dawg and I popped out and I improvised with a doggy doo bag. No doo and unused of course. It's not really very rural around here. Well not if you think in terms of North Northumberland rural but lots of green spaces.

Friday, 2 September 2016


Offered and collected bedside tables, single futon and a shelving unit.

Had to collect this evening so no weekly shop. Means I have to brave it tomorrow. Ewwww. But such is life.
We have enough food to last.

Edt to include Chairs! x 4 wooden. The require some TLC. They are perfect. Wooden and will replace two of the wooden ones that are looking a bit suspect and missing screws and joints are becomming loose. Just require a coat of varnish.

Oh I like this Freecycle in Surrey! The futon is ae and comes with a nice blue home made cover. Perfect for guests and will live in the boys room I think. Nice to sit on for stories. Tweeny girl can have it in her room when friends stay. She would like a bean bag for xmas.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Tweenage tantrums.

Brattiness or is it brattyness. I think the former. Anyway Tweeny girl is finidng it difficult to take responsibility when she is caught doing something wrong.  Oh we have strops and tantrums like a baby. She is 8. Today it was my make up. I caught her using my concealer for the second time. It is trashed. She has her own stuff to play with. She doesnt get to wear it outside of the house. I dont mind her messing about with it. She was told off and caught red handed. I shouted at her as I was furious at the waste and the fact it was the second time she has been caught. She shouted  out rude things and was rude and horrid. I had raised my voice but not in a screamy way. She then put her fingers in her ears and refused to listen to any talking to.

Over summer she was banned from the local sports centre play scheme for similar behaviour. She was told off and ran away out of the centre and went along the road. They dont have time for 1 2 1 so was out on her ear. 

She refuses to discuss it and explodes if we push it. I really dont like her behaviour very much at the moment. 

Anyway after a fashion and a time left alone we were able to talk to her.  There are most definitely issues afoot I feel.  These outbursts need to stop and I dont know how to stop them. 

Freecycle haul: Missed out on the bedside cabinets. Boo. But collected a rug - runner style and have a three shelf unit to collect tomorrow or saturday. I have further requests in for a single futon. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Furniture, freecycle - feast or famine...

So far I have acquired four chairs which we are actually using in the kitchen as the y fit under the table very well. I have a hall runner to collect and am second for some bedside units. I have also hedged my bets and requested another set from a different site. We have use for them all.

I am either very lucky or not at all with freecycle.

I am trying to reduce, reuse etc and spend no money on furniture. I will only be buying second hand or acquiring from freecycle or skips!

I don't get the need for new stuff. I have no desire for it. I doubt I will ever own a new sofa. I don't really care. I am missing that gene for chasing the ever evolving interior trends.

Our magnolia home - military issue standard mag, is just fine. If I owned a house it would also be mag, or white.  Cheap and cheerful and easy to spruce up.

I need some rugs however as the military issue carpets will need to go back to the military the way we found them. We have large rugs at front and back doors for dog cleaning nad buggy parking. We have rugs in each room covering the path most likely.

If passing an IKEA we may indulge in the large cheap rugs on offer and break the second hand or free find rule!

Other than that we need another two or three lamps and the bedside tables of course.

Jacob will need a wardrobe or chest of drawers at some point. The cupboard that houses his kit was an old office cupboard from my pre redundancy days circa 2010. Tweeny girl used it, it was shipped to Italy and back again and is now getting a little wobbly. Well used though.

Two IKEA Malm Bedside tables (Oak veneer) 
Both bedside tables are like this. For free its fine. I wouldnt pay for them new tbh. Inoffensive, bland. Wonder if they will paint?

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

So I invited the family for christmas...

Yep that would mean  an additional 7 people plus us (3.5) so 10 and a half people plus three dogs.
We have provisional 'yes's from 4/5 people. The age range is 15 to 70 so all adult sized portions of food and bed space required.

We are in a four bed plus dining room and downstairs toilet so it is do able. I can rustle up two spare double beds upstairs put another two down stairs and make a teenager sleep in Weeny girls room. The boy can have his cot dragged in with us, his room then providing one of the double bedrooms.

We have a large dining room table that fits 6 comfortably but if you extend it can fit up to 12. We can do this.

I will need more cutlery and plates etc. I care not for matching yadda yadda so second hand will do. I have freecycle acquired some spare chairs. We only have 6 functional chairs so the extra four stackable ones will do. Blue plastic with little round cushions were a bargain for only local petrol money.
I will need glasses as well. All these are acquirable for cheap or nothing.

I  wont deviate from what we normally have - pea soup, chicken - but will do turkey, and pavlova, Anything else the guests can bring. If they want prawn cocktail  they can bring their own lol.

I will do bacon butties in the morning and have nibbles for the evening, curry and chicken stews and bolognese are easy to do. ANd easy to stretch out with grated carrot and veg.

First time and last time. It's all Biggles family. His mother was hinting about us coming up for xmas but I said no as I would have to cart up a load of  pressies for the kids plus our clothes etc  Its just not practical to do that and I think kids when small are better in their own house on xmas day and xmas eve.  We would also have to find somewhere to stay as we would have that much stuff. It really is not practical so they can come to us.

When the kids are older and less inclined towards the big jolly man in the red suit then maybe but for now not a cat in hells chance.

Biggles is unimpressed. He likes quiet Christmases but the kids need to see their grandparents too and nothing wrong with xmas.  Personally if I had no kids I would be on the equator somewhere sweating, a million miles from tinsel and crackers.

Yes I know I am early but it is nearly the 'bers' and I have bought two sorry three xmas pressies already. ( both from second hand shops of course).