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I'm mid thirties, two smallish children, one delightful husband, one car and one mortgage kinda lady. We left the big smoke some time ago and live in one of the most charming places in England.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The party...

is only 1 and half weeks away. This is eldest munckins and we are all involved in the all consuming party planning activity. Summed up by the words 'Stop what you are doing Mummy, we need to make a party list now'. That was yesterdays instruction and who am I to say no. She likes to tick lists at age 6...

So the big dilemma this year has been the theme of the party. Eldest wanted to invite girls and boys, unlike most of the other parties that seem very gender specific. I personally think this is a shame and so have encouraged mucnkin with the mixed invites. But theming has been a tricky subject; boys don't want a Hello Kitty party ( flavour of the month in Middle England) and girls don't want a Ben 10 party, so the answer should anyone ever be in this position is...Hawaiian party. Big bold flower prints, a nod to surfboard decorations and Bobs your Uncle, the perfect mixed gender 6 year old party theme, that is sure to please all.

Now the theme is established we have daily updates from eldest on food requirements for a Hawaiian party, give me a break, of course she will get the usual ham sandwiches, but in the interests of broadening the mind we are learning a lot about the likes and dislikes of the people of Hawaii. Is this some genius educational tool I've hit on...eldest now knows that Barak Obama, is the American President and he was born in Hawaii. All I need now is to encourage the school to do a genius test based on facts on Hawaii and we are laughing.

It does also mean we can incorporate the fab cartons from Rubicon - guava, mango, lychee as they qualify for tropical.  Added to that it has meant wasting more hard earned cash with partyrama.co.uk and their tablecloths, scene sets etc.

Another plus of this theme is the music, Magnum PI theme tune has been playing a lot, along with Hawaii Five-O. Perfect musical statues music.  Any other good Hawaiian tunes or good Hawaiian facts, let me know.
x

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spring has sprung...

Well I can't speak for everywhere but middle england is looking perfectly charming. Daffs are out, ice cream chimes can be heard, eldest munckin is wearing the summer dress everyday to school...surely summer is but a hop skip and jump away.

Maybe that's why I embarked on the spring clean this weekend. I did try and enrol helpers, but no surprise munckins were unimpressed. But what should I expect a 3 and 5 year old to do around the house? I have a very conscientious-Mum friend, who already has her 5 year old...BOY...chopping vegetables, loading the dishwasher, putting clothes in laundry baskets etc.

 I know I could introduce something and start the exceptionally dull star/sticker chart thing but I never have the patience for them. I usually forget by day four and then the munckins do, we then have to just stick a load of stars/stickers on in one go. Mainly to impress overworked husband about the munckins success, my good parenting and the value of the chart.

But you know spring cleaning is actually alright, almost satisfying as you get to achieve something almost instantly. With this thought in mind, mostly because I definitely have one follower, I wanted to start a rating for the top 5 most satisfying household chores, will we see geographic, economic or social differences? I don't know and really I don't care, I just want to know that I am not totally losing the plot. In reverse order;
5 - filling the dishwasher - as you get rid of dirty plates etc from a worksurface. So it's tidying and cleaning in one.
4 - polishing shoes ( not tech. spring clean but..) instant results.
3 - hob cleaning - gets rid of any annoyance you have toward anything
2 - dysoning ( is that a word?) - you know what I mean. Such a great bit of kit.
1 - all time favourite that can be done anytime of the year - defluffing the tumble dryer. Prior to the tumble dryer were my clothes thicker as they weren't defluffed in a tumble dryer? Who knows, but it is good. If you don't have a tumble dryer, I apologise as I will have lost you now, get one and then you'll see. To think I initially didn't want one, when overworked husband suggested it. The affection others show to dogs or cats I show to the tumble dryer.

So let me know, am I mad or is there something good about cleaning?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

It's a long drive from the Alps to Middle England...

The holiday is over for another year. More importantly the 12 hour drive is over for another year. The car was packed, we were ready and we were on the clock. Not only did we have a fixed Eurotunnel time slot 9 hours away but there is only one road out of the mountains. Therefore, changeover day in resort means, if in your own car, you either leave super early or super late, or you risk a monumental traffic jam on twisty turney roads to go 10 miles.

So we left early... or rather we would have done, had eldest munckin not had one of her retail moments. She loves shopping and declared she needed to go to a particular shop prior to leaving to spend her 5 Euros. Fine for most people, a maximum 3 minute experience. However, eldest munckin can spend days deciding what jam she's like for breakfast. So parting with her own 5 Euros gave us sufficient time to get a coffee and watch everyone else head off ahead of the queue.

But, faced with the prospect of 9 hours in car, whinging about not having gone to the shops, we were left with no choice but to indulge.

Most of us Middle England Mums and others, do the drive to some part of France with small children. Everyone has a tactic. Traditionally we have done overnight drives. Overworked husband hits the Red Bull and off we go. However returning home we travelled all day - 12 hours in total in the car. No videos, no sweets, endless eye-spy, arguments between munckins about music choices; eldest favouring ABBA and Hannah Montana, youngest going with The Killers or total silence. The latter option, after 2 hours of ABBA, I could see where she was coming from. So I have temporarily renamed munckins as 'pop' and 'rock' chick respectively.

Of course they have seen the headrest TVs in other cars, but they know ours doesn't work like that. Now obviously I know they are attachable to any vehicle, but where will it end?... Sitting in a supermarket car park, 5 miles from your house,... waiting two hours for the end of the next Disney classic?

So we did it old school and we all survived.

Incidentally if anyone is heading to the Northern French Alps, particularly the Portes du Soleil region... ditch the skis, pack a sun hat and hiking boots instead.
x


Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Mother's Pride

Both my munckins (age 3 and 5yrs) spent the morning in ski school and both loved it. Obviously, it is only day one of a six day holiday, but I'm incredibly proud. Eldest munckin is on her third ski trip, (not realising how lucky she is) and got herself dressed this morning in full ski gear and was waiting, carrying her skis, to be taken to ski school. Youngest munckin, had her first experience of ski school and I was a little apprehensive. She is only 3 after all. I'm sounding a little Siberian Tiger Mum, I'm not really though, but skiing is different.

But we'd done the essential prep, showing her You Tube clips of 3 year olds skiing, so she knew what she was getting into. We did this, with similar success for eldest when she first started. I have wondered if I can teach my children anything else, with the use of You Tube. Maybe when I get some followers, where are you? we can debate this.

A few friends, have found it incomprehensible that we spend our entire annual holiday budget on one weeks skiing. But, it is part of a cunning plan. If our munckins are like us by their mid teens, going on holiday with Mum and Dad will be highly unappealing. However, if we can all ski and we are still paying for the family ski holiday, then I'd like to think they will be  enthusiastically doing all the packing for the family ski trip.

A quick mention to why this holiday is the best, a fantastic company called Ski Famille. If you love skiing but haven't been, as you have munckins, then they are the answer. I wish we had discovered them when the munckins were babies. I typically rebook within a week of being home.

It then does give us a year to save!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Packing

Second Blog, it is strangely addictive I must say.

I'm keen to know if anyone else suffers with packing inertia. In our house I'm the packing Nazi, for everyone for; day trips, weekends, holidays, even holidays where I don't go, but other members of the family do.
Usually I'm all over it. Writing lists, coordinating washing, decanting shampoo... but nothing and we have less than 24hours to go. Years ago 'The Angry Old Lady' (My Mother) came to stay for 3 days with a big suitcase and just a pair of pants and a nightie inside. I flipped, but now I take it back, packing is just another chore.

The munckins are trying to help, but who needs to fold knickers - they do. Into separate piles all over our bedroom floor. I think they are where I was, years ago. Capitalising on this, not wanting to waste the enthusiasm, I wrote each one a list and drew the appropriate clothes with a number next to them. I hoped that they would sort it all. However at 3yrs and 5yrs that was possibly a little ambitious.

Well I'd better just get over it, as we can't really just take knickers and nighties on a 7 day ski holiday. So once clothes are sorted I then need 1 x skis, 1 x snowboard, and multiple x all the accessories. I love my car, it even has a name within the family, but it won't stop me looking with longing and envy at the XC90 or Discovery 3 family. All that space, but then do you take more, just to fill the car up and then surely that is more packing? On that note maybe I'll look into a little BMW Mini as the next car and really cut down on future packing.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Welcome to Middle England

This is my first foray into Blogging and already I'm wondering what to write, as I think, I potentially have a lot of entertaining material. In no particular order:

 - the building project, that 4 days in, has already seen substantial new grey hair growth. The builder reckons 5 months, everyone else says 12, either way it could cost a lot in hair dye.
- the two munchkins and the desire of the eldest, nearly 6yrs, to have a credit card as a birthday present.
- the overworked husband, who hates his commute
- my attempts to learn golf, at the local golf ladies academy
- charming England where I live and all its eccentricities
- the proposed twelve hour car trip, to the Alps in less than 48 hours time, en famille (last year, we got stuck in traffic, it took 21hr and we nearly got divorced somewhere south of Dijon.)

The building project has the most immediate potential, as it is all consuming. Overworked husband, is the architect and not a man who considers compromise an option. So we tendered the project and most builders, hadn't heard of half the stuff that had been specified by overworked husband. He does big commercial stuff, so no real surprise. However, it soon became apparent that our budget and our eco aspirations were not compatible. So having compromised, overworked husband now refers to the building project, which will be the future family home for the next twenty years as, 'polishing a turd.' You see why I'm going to need a lot of hair dye!

That is why I need my golf classes, I'm not very good, but it is different and you have to love a game that talks about 'sandwedges' and 'greens'. No point moving to charming market town and not playing.

What do you talk about for 12 hours, in car, when most major topics in your life would not lead to a relaxed calm motoring experience;
-the golf chat is not going to help, as husband can't play- due to terrible commute,
- building project chat becomes too scary, as we are leaving for a week, the house in the hands of a builder, we don't really know..
- munckin assessments not allowed, as they are not always asleep when you think they are, and have a habit of repeating back to you, what was a private conversation,
- any observation on traffic or other travelling options, even explorers out - to close to commuting

I guess that leaves charming England - could be a long 12 hours. Any tips most welcome.