Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Round Up

waiting for daddy - homemade meatball sub - new toy
comfort food - another new toy - stolen notebook
wilson helps with bricklaying - friday night done right - a little mummy partridge

I wasn't going to do a Friday Round Up today to be honest, because my week has been pretty run of the mill, but I just read this blog post by Becca and I thought 'what the hell?' I didn't start this blog because I thought I had a really interesting life to write about so why should being boring stop me now?

Sometimes it's hard to know what to write about, I often find myself wanting to blog but not knowing what to actually write, so I tend to wait until I have an actual subject to base a post on. But when I read other people's blogs, my favourite posts are the ones which give you a little peek into their day to day lives and how they live ... they don't have to portray a perfect life, let's face it, none of us have a perfect life. It's easy to fall in to the trap of trying to censor what you write to present a more 'perfect' or 'blogworthy' life and even easier to try to make each photo as appealing as possible, but that's not real. Life is not perfect. And people don't want to read about perfect anyway. Well I don't, I want to read about real

So here's a little post about what's being going down around here lately. Really.

I've been a little emotional

Since having Forrest, well since pregnancy, the flood of hormonal tearfulness has never really left me. I will cry at the most innocuous things. I've been taking evening primrose oil supplements to try to stem the tide somewhat but when I forget for a few days, as I have this week, the floodgates are opened. This week I have cried at

The swallows 
We have three swallow nests in the garage and the other night I stood outside watching about a dozen swallows swooping and diving around us in the garden. Did you know they fly to Africa every winter and return to the UK in the spring? That they return to the same nests, sometimes for years on end to lay their eggs and have their babies? Then they fly back to Africa for the winter.  The thought that the very swallows that were performing aerial ballet in the skies above our garden had been to Africa and back and chose our garage to be their baby-raising home for the next however many years seemed a real privilege. And this journey to and from Africa - it must be exhausting. Do they stop? Do they sleep? How long does it take them? And why were they swooping up so high and down so low at dusk? They seemed to be doing it just because they could, for the sheer joy of living and being and that ... that made me cry

A photograph of a baby breastfeeding
Just so sweet and natural, it reminded me of the quiet times spent bonding with Forrest in the early days. I've never really talked about it here but I breastfed Forrest for eight weeks as a newborn. It was difficult, frustrating and painful most of the time but on those occasions when it was going well it felt like the most wonderful, natural thing and gave me a real sense of my place in the world. I never did it in public or even in front of family - that's just not me. I know it's perfectly natural but then so is doing a poo and I wouldn't do that in front of my grandad or in the middle of the shopping centre either. I don't judge people who are happy to breastfeed in public (though I did before I became a mum!) but it's just not for me. Although I did once have to do it in the back of the car in a Domino's car park. It's a long story!

The Velveteen Rabbit
I ordered this book ages ago for Forrest because I loved it as a child, and it just arrived this week. I read it to him at bedtime and, like so many of the books I have chosen for him (Nancy Tilman books, anyone??) it made me shed a little silent tear because it is just so sweet. I hope he enjoys the story when he is old enough to understand it

The SMA Advert
A repeat offender. That last line 'take it from us, you're doing great' gets me Every. Bloody. Time.


What else has been keeping me busy this week? Ah, Forrest. Little Forrest is absolutely full of cold and bless him, he's having a terribly tough time. He's only just got rid of his last cold but, having started nursery last week, he has picked up a whole new load of germs so it was on the cards. He's been through five outfits today due to explosions of snot, poo, food and vomit. It's been a challenging day

And yes, I said nursery. Two afternoons per week, Forrest has decamped to the local nursery and spent the afternoon charming all the ladies there. Apparently he has been a little angel and has settled in really well. I'm pleased, it has been incredibly hard - he was originally booked in for three full days per week but it didn't take me long to suss out that I wasn't going to let that happen. So two afternoons it is, that's quite enough. Enough time to socialise with the other babies and learn to be away from his ever-present mummy. But not enough time for me to do much work. More on that to come ...

The pictures above are from the past few weeks, I've been a bit slow on the Instagram front. Have I told you about my new notebook? The one I stole, aided and abetted by my miniature partner in crime? Let me set the scene ... I'm in TK Maxx buying baskets of various sizes for storing various things. I pick up two nice new notebooks and pop them into the basket under my pushchair. Get in the queue, get talking to a pregnant lady and her mum about my pushchair, they borrow it for a little push up and down the queue to test it out. Forrest looks a bit worried and starts calling 'mama?!' - everyone 'aaah!'s and laughs at how cute he is, the checkout lady starts asking me all about him ... before I know it I've paid for my baskets and I'm out of there still smiling at how funny it was. I'm back at the car before I realise I've stolen £10 of notebooks and by then, well, after manhandling four baskets the length of the shopping centre, I'm past caring. I'm an actual criminal

And finally, the little mummy partridge that Matt found by the front door. Bless her. Matt was about to start beautifying the front of the house by rebuilding the miniature walls to mount wrought iron railings into (we've kept the originals) when he noticed her, sitting on a little nest of eggs right by the front door. Now, had Matt and I been left to our own devices we reckon we could have saved her and her eggs. But someone gave her a fright, she took off and left her nest, with 14 tiny little eggs in it. Allowing ourselves to be convinced that she wouldn't dare return, we gave her eggs to Matt's dad to put under one of our hens. An hour later she was back, looking for her eggs. It was heartbreaking. I cried (surprise surprise) for that poor mummy partridge. We had to do something, she was sitting right on a patch that needed to be dug up. But I re-learned a valuable lesson that day - don't let a man convince you that he knows what's to do. In any circumstances. He doesn't

And on that wise note, have a great weekend!

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Lincolnshire Show*

I went to school in a rural area and our regular, annual school trip was to The Lincolnshire Show. I loved it, being a horse-mad kid I spent most of the day hanging around the horses (I once saw Michael Whittaker - my teen claim to fame) rather than doing any discernible 'work'. Since leaving school I haven't made it to the Show - the local gundog club used to try to get me involved when I sat on the committee but I was always too busy at work to take a day off

Now that I can be slightly more flexible with my time, I was delighted to be invited along this year and roped in Matt and Forrest to make it a real family day out

I am immensely proud of my home county, not just because it's such a stunningly beautiful place but because we have such a diverse range of talents here. As a predominantly agricultural county, we know our livestock and we certainly know our food! But as well as the livestock classes, the parade of hounds, the mounted games and the drool-inducing food court and demo kitchen, the Show also showcases many other attractions such as horticulture, fashion, chainsaw sculpture, even a motorbike display team. It even has the RAF Falcons freefallling 12,000 feet into the main arena!

We were up and on our way bright and early, with the car filled with baby gear, as seems now to be the way. We arrived and made our way to the food section, obviously

One of Matt's customers was there with the hog roast set up I have heard so much about (apparently we are having one in the garden for all the neighbours when the house is finished!) 

With a goodwill bun in our hands we settled down to appreciate the beauty of a good hog roast - steaming hot, melt in the mouth pork slathered in apple sauce and finished with stuffing

Forrest even tried a bit of pork and was soon shouting for more!

Suitably full, we continued on our merry way around the food stands, stopping to sample (and buy) some delicious cheeses from Lymn Bank Farm

Their 'Just Jane' mature cheddar is one of the best I've tasted (and I've tasted a few!) and is being sold to raise money to get Just Jane, a Lancaster Bomber, back into the skies of Lincolnshire. 

They also produce 'coal cheese' - a cheddar which includes charcoal, making it jet black. Not one you'd want to get stuck in your teeth!

In fact, we spent an indecent amount of time hanging around the cheeses and preserves

But it wasn't long before the lure of tea browsing became too much to bear

And I reintroduced Matt to the joys of iced coffee

We wandered on, taking in the atmosphere and stopping to look at whatever took our fancy. There was literally so much to see and do, and so many people to speak to - it seemed like everyone we knew was in attendance, including most of our neighbours! Forrest's little eyes were almost on stalks, I think it might be the most exciting thing he's ever done!

After admiring the birds of prey we stumbled across the Lincolnshire Beekeepers Association stand and I was fascinated by the dozens of uses for honey and beeswax

I got chatting to a lady beekeeper at the B Skincare stand who explained to me that, though the company is based in Cornwall, they only use Lincolnshire beeswax in all of their products because of it's excellent quality and beautiful pale colour. See? Even our bees are talented!

I had time to sample some honey lemonade (delicious) before realising that it was Forrest's lunchtime. We found a patch of grass to settle ourselves on, popped Forrest's bib on and he enjoyed a spot of lunch

After a bite to eat and a quick nappy change we were off again, this time in search of the animals

The British Charollais sheep were lovely and friendly and had beautiful thick coats

I loved watching the showing classes, it reminded me of my teenage years when I used to spend as many weekends as possible polishing my pony and parading around a local show ring! But there's something so special about the heavy horses, maybe because my mum loved them too. Look at the little woolly foal!

I also spotted this cute cavalier puppy having a lovely day out

After all the horses it was only fair to do some more manly stuff for the boys, so we headed off to the main ring to watch the farm machinery display

All in all we had a fantastic day and I'd highly recommend The Lincolnshire Show as a family day out. I was a bit worried about how we'd get on with a baby but babies and children were really well catered for and the ground was super easy to navigate with the pushchair. I'd like to thank the organisers for their kind invitation and for a wonderful day out

Have you been to any county shows this year? What's your favourite part? It's all about the food and animals for me, as you can see!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

First Father's Day!

It's been an exciting day around these parts, it being Matt's first Father's Day as a Daddy!

He took the day off from building work and planned a packed itinerary for us all, including visiting his dad, walking the dogs, visiting a local farm for a chat with the animals and a yummy lunch, a visit to a local antiques centre and Forrest's first swim. And believe it or not (I am frankly amazed, myself) we did indeed pack all of this in to today!

Lindt kindly sent a heap of chocolate to help him celebrate his first Father's Day and I got him a personalised card from Rosie Robins at Not On The High Street - I love it and think it will make a lovely keepsake

I was a bit fraught leading up to today - trying to pack so much into a day is something I would NEVER do out of choice but I wanted Matt to get as much as possible out of his day with Forrest. And it was fine. I really ought to relinquish control more often!

My own dad was playing golf all day, as he did last year! But I hope you all enjoyed spoiling the Dads in your life today

Thursday, 12 June 2014

A confession

I stalk cats

That's it. I would love a cat but it's not exactly practical right now, so I stalk other people's instead

I don't know exactly who owns this beauty but we see him now and then, making his way up and down the lane, in and out of the gardens, up and down people's drives. Usually Matt will knock on the window and say 'Tiger Cat is on the drive!' and I'll go running out with my camera or a tin of tuna to try and ingratiate myself with him. But in true feline style, he senses my keenness and rarely stops to chat. Perhaps I'm just too needy. Perhaps I need to play harder to get

Perhaps I need to stop wasting good tuna on this ungrateful beast.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Little Catch Up

 Port Erin - Isle of Man

Hi there. It's been a while since I blogged. This month has just flown by in a blur. Being on maternity leave is so strange - my weeks don't have any structure and I regularly forget what day it is because I don't have any set plans on set days, more a sort of loose outline for my days, such as ...

'oh tomorrow I need to drive into town for a few bits of shopping, maybe I'll pop and see my step mum if she's in, maybe we'll go and feed the ducks if there's time'


'well tomorrow I need to stay in and wait for a delivery so maybe I'll catch up with the washing and do some batch cooking for Forrest, then we'll walk the dogs in the afternoon if it's nice'

... that kind of thing. My pace of life has changed completely and yet I feel busier than I've ever been because looking after Forrest, the house and Matt keeps me constantly on the go and I often don't get a minute to myself until about 9pm when all my little daily jobs are done. By that time I have a list of things I want to do, things for myself, but I'm usually worn out and have to psyche myself up to get off the sofa to shower and go to bed

Matt went over to the Isle of Man for the TT races last week, from Thursday night to Monday night. I was obviously really disappointed not to be going myself, we missed last year because we were so busy trying to get the house ready to move into because Forrest was on the way. I'd intended to leave Forrest with my parents this year so we could both go but when it came around I just didn't want to leave him, so Matt went alone. I didn't really mind, he deserved a break but I'd love to have gone. I love the atmosphere at the TT and the island is just so beautiful

Matt has some friends who ride there so he gets far more involved than I do, I just like to find a good sunny spot and watch quietly with my little radio and iPhone tuned to the race website to keep track of the results

There's really nothing else like the TT and I'm determined to go next year. Matt's friend Gary won a race on Monday but came off yesterday and broke his collarbone and sadly, a boy that they used to know from their moto x days was killed in an accident. It's a terribly dangerous sport but I can see why they do it, the adrenaline rush from just watching is incredible, doing it yourself must be addictive. The riders have such respect for the TT course, it's completely unique. If you haven't seen the film 'TT - Closer To The Edge' then I highly recommend it - you don't need to give a fig about motorbikes, it's a brilliant film anyway. And if you like hairy Lincolnshire boys then all the better! Matt was with his friend Guy Martin and his team the year that it was filmed but despite repeated watchings I haven't seen his mug in the film, disappointingly!

We'll be spending the rest of the week watching the TT coverage every night on ITV4 and wishing we were there, much like last year really

In other news, I've managed to lose a bit of weight despite giving up on my recent plans to diet (I just don't have the willpower) and am now only 6lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight! I think it has just taken a while to shift because it went on so slowly. I still feel huge so hopefully it will continue to gradually drop off and I'll be back to my old self soon

All photos in this post were taken by Matt ... and they're pretty good, aren't they??

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