The anti-mum

There’s a new cool sister on the block and she’s called the ‘anti-mum’.

Have you noticed how many lists talk about the ten signs you’re a ‘rebel mum.’ Or talk about the things ‘real parents do when no one’s looking’. I’m not sure I buy it. Rebellion has always been cool, baby sick and anxiety – not so.

So, I guess I can see where it’s come from, an attempt to park the buggy, pick up a nonchulant air of ‘whatever’ but it’s the undercurrent, the unsaid which speaks volumes. The anti mum has a facade of apologetic’ ‘whoops, I’m a bad mummy’ while really , what it’s saying is: ” Look at me, look at the things I do and my children are still great. I have a cool life with little time for angst and baking. I’m too cool for school and you can join the gang if you like.’

Punctuated with collective titterings at their terribly slummy mummy ways.

If I shove a cheese sarnie and a chocolate biscuit into a packed lunch it’s because I’m so late I may as well stay at home – there’s nothing cool about it.
If I forget to brush Arthur’s teeth one night, I feel bad. There, I’ve said it, I feel bad and will do them extra well in the morning (which in turn will make me late and lead to the cheese and choc lunch – it’s a self-fulfilling prohecy).

The anti-mum wears it as a badge of honour. She’s so cool that undiluted orange juice doesn’t faze her. She laughs in the face of Bento boxes. Too much weak squash and I’m in a parental frenzy.

But does she really exist? I have a sneaking suspicion the anti-mum maybe a little urban myth. It’s like the times you visit for a play date and she says: ” God excuse the house, it’s such a mess.” A little injection of anti-mum. But both of you know she’s been running around like a mad woman shoving things in cupboards. The anti-mum spends a lot of time and energy desperately trying to be carefree -but I bet she’s still scouring Pinterest looking for ‘healthy flapjack’ recipes like the rest of us.

I suspect a little piece of us all are dying to be the anti-mum. To dish out Haribo with gay abandon (while remembering to apply fake tan). Whose children are still fantastic despite our slummy ways.
If my ways ever appear carefree – believe me they are not. If I ever appear slummy, it’s possibly true but not in a cool way – more of a ‘drowning not waving’ kinda way.

To bee or not to bee…

For the last few weeks I’ve been reviewing the deliciously named Bee Good honey and propolis 2-in1 cleanser. Bee Good is an independent British skin care company harnessing the centuries old healing properties of honey, together with beeswax and propolis.
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It’s not always easy to find something that combines effective cleansing, ethics and a little luxury, sometimes they can be a bit, well, worthy. I like to use something that feels like I’m doing my skin some good. This lovely little product did just that, it also comes with its own cleansing cloth too.
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It feels rich and nourishing and left my skin really soft. I love the smell too, it was a heady mix of honey and nature – I know that’s a strange description but it’s the only way I can explain it!

The tube is still going strong so I’d say for £11.50 it’s great value for money and I love the idea that it’s helping to support beekeeping in Britain – those little buzzy bees need all the help they can get.

All in all a great cleanser with a hint of luxury and a wonderful conservation message which I’m more the happy to support. Well done Bee Good.

Heavenly creations with Cake Angels

Today me and the boy have been baking up a frenzy- thanks to Angel Cakes.
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They sent us some lovely goodies to cook up a storm, including enough sprinkles to create our own sprinkle shop! We also had the ice cream kit which included cones, cake mix, icing and…yet more sprinkles.
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Arthur thought it was amazing that we were actually going to make cakes that looked like ice creams. It was so easy to use, literally tip the pre-prepared cake mixture into a bowl, add water and give a good mix.

Spoon into the ice cream cones and bake for about 20 minutes. Even though it was a pre mixed batter which I never use, I was impressed with the taste – very chocolatey indeed!
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Once cooled I mixed the icing sugar with 60g of butter and a splash of milk. All the instructions are on the back of the packets so it’s pretty idiot proof too.
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Then it was over to the boy to let loose with icing, sprinkles and other colourful decorations.

We had a blast and Arthur can’t wait to offer daddy an ‘ice cream’ -he finds the whole thing hilarious!

I met a friend today…

I met a friend today for coffee. An old friend. Someone who’s seen me through teenage angst and many evenings drowning our self doubt with cheap wine and cigarettes.

We share an intimate history carved through college, university and men. So why then today did it feel like coffee with a stranger.

Talk was small and bland and our easy silences now stood out like great fat full stops in our friendship. How strange that someone I thought I knew so well has become a stranger. We have different views, different values. We are so very different.

But it got me thinking that friendships are not always built on longevity and that’s ok. Some friends I have had since school and we’ll always have each other, some have come into my life in the last few years and will remain with me for years. Some are built on the foundations of attraction, they mirror our values, share our humour, deliver a reminder that we’re ok, good people. These will last.

And some, like this one are transient, wonderful and meaningful but not to last. As I walked back to the office I think I knew we wouldn’t have coffee again. It’s heart- breakingly sad and I guess I’ll grieve a little for the memories, the intense sense of belonging she gave me, and for me, the girl I was and all that means.

It could limp on, a strained coffee every few months, a Facebook message filled with good intentions. But, if I know her at all, she’ll, be thinking the same, so my one last act of friendship is to say goodbye.

Thanks for being you. You rock crazy pink label girl. X

Lollibop fun – the list is endless!

Lollibop 2014 it set to be the best ever!

Renown for bringing some of the best children’s characters to the stage – this year they’ve really pushed the boat out.

If your little muggles fancy learning some spells they can head off the Harry Potter’s Wizard School.
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Or perhaps you’ve got a seafaring pirate in the making – no problem, the Swashbuckle crew will also be there.
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I have my own mini adventurers who I know is going to love, love love the Bear Grylls experience.
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This year Lollibop is being held in the beautiful grounds of Hatfield House on August 15th, 16th and 17th and it’s a fantastic backdrops for exploring, adventures and magical moments. As well as all the new stuff there will be My Tumble, Mr Maker and loads if the CBEEBIES crew. The Lollibop team has also been working hard on changes such as tiered seating so even the smallest of small people will be able to view the stages.
It’s set to be a fantastic festival and I can’t wait to take Arthur and his buddies.

Keep up to date with all the news on the Lollibop Facebook page

BelVita Breakfast biscuits – all taste no guilt!

We love a biscuit in this house so when we were asked to try out the BelVita Breakfast range of biscuits it seemed like the perfect excuse.

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We had the fruit and fibre, chocolate with creamy yogurt centre and cereal and milk flavours. They all come in little packets so you can simply bung them in your bag if you’re in a rush and breakfast is sorted. Breakfast is always a bit of a muddled affair in house – big man rarely eats it, little boy changes like the wind and can the throw the mother of all tantrums if you give him toast when he wanted shreddies! I love breakfast – when I get the chance but Monday to Friday is usually a coffee and maybe a slice of toast if I’m lucky.

But these biscuits were great for us: They worked for him indoors because he didn’t have to think about them, could take them with him and they tasted great. Arthur just loved them – purely for the fact they were called biscuits. I loved them because they tasted great – had lots of good stuff in and, because they are individually packaged you don’t find yourself going back for another one – well not very often.
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Arthur loved the chocolate with yoghurt filling. They were lovely and the yoghurt gave the biscuit a lovely zing when you ate it. But my favourite was by far the fruit and fibre. Delicious, sweet and fruity with substance as well. They had echoes of fig rolls – only with added lovely stuff. They all contain at least five wholegrains, are rich in cereals, are a source of fibre and contain a selection of vitamins as well.

Oh and my new BeVita inspired favourite line: ” If you are a good boy and get dressed you can have biscuits for breakfast.” Works a treat!

I also found I enjoyed them in the afternoon to ward off the 3pm slump with a cup of coffee.
These are a great staple to keep in the cupboard for busy mornings and those times you just want to grab and run. Or, like me, if you want to enjoy a moment in the afternoon with a biscuit that doesn’t make you feel too guilty!

This post is an entry for #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/BelvitaUK

Bank holiday bonanza – our Morrisonsmum challenge

MORR-320-Week14_heroI was thrilled to be picked to be a #Morrisonsmum mainly because I’ve never really shopped in Morrisons so it was a great opportunity for me to try something and somewhere new.

So off we trundled with our vouchers to begin our Morrisons adventure…

It’s the start of their ‘I’m cheaper’ campaign where they’ve reduced the price on over a thousand products – all identifiable with the yellow stickers. According to them it’s cost-cuttng without compromising on quality – so I was interested to see if this was the case.

First up what really impressed me when I walked in was the fantstic displays of fruit and veg – they looked so good. I loved the fact they had gentle sprays of water wafting over the mounds of herbs and veg to keep it fresh and cool – perfect.

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I was also impressed to see a range I haven’t seen in most other places – samphire, they actually had samphire! A great addition to a supermarket which caters for a population not far from the sea. I bought giant leeks and a large head of broccoli – which came in at just 49p. I bought a huge bunch of kurly kale which seemed so much fresher and appealing than the big bags of chopped stuff I’ve bought in other supermarkets.

There were loads of things that impressed me – the fact you could get reduced salt and sugar baked beans from their own range at just 32p – much less thean I normally pay. I picked up a delicious sour dough bloomer for a pound and their own brand unsalted butter was also just £1 – the cheapest I’ve seen for a while.

On the meat counter I got two lovely chunky pork chops for just £3.08 and some diced lamb for £2.86 – that’s ear-marked for a curry.

It was a really positive experience and we even had a lovely chat with the cashier who told us her husband worked at a rival supermarket and how they had their own in-house price war at home!

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Once home with a huge amount for our money I decided on two definites I’d make over the weekend to test out Morrison’s goodies. Fish pie is a family favourite and a classic. I used the reduced price salmon I bought, along with two fillets from a bag of four frozen cod fillets. These were one of the best buys – £3 for four large cod fillets, just can’t argue with that.

We had a fab Bank Holiday walk by the river with a bit of pond dipping along the way and worked up a good appetite and I have to say it was delicious! Everyone agreed the cod in particular was succulent and tasted great.  Ribbet collagemorrisons

I used Morrisons’:
Albert Bartlett potatoes – £2.29 (used about half a bag)
Cod fillets – £3 (used half a bag)
Salmon (£2.69)
Milk (89p)
Cheese – already had some
Butter (£1 about quarter of a pack)
Frozen peas ( £1.79 a good handful)
With a few of my own store cupbaord essentials thrown in. Approx £1.25 per portion – made five good portions

 

Next up were Bank Holiday lemon biscuits made by Arthur and I.

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Morrison’s supersaver flour comes in at just 45p, so along with £1 for six free range eggs and my bargain butter they were a cheap and cheerful way of baking with my boy. Oh and I used one of the lemons from a four pack of lemons and limes at just 99p. These came it at around 7p ber biscuit – I made 12.

 

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I’ve been really impressed and will definitely be going back again. The fresh veg and fruit have proved to be fantastic quality and a great price and the meat and fish have been lovely so far. Well done Morrisons – I think you’ve bagged yourself a new customer!

Makeup bags – what they really say about us.

Last week a PR sent me some light-hearted stats about women and make up. Apparently 30% of women have make up at least ten years old.

Eugh, yuck that’s vile I thought…until a little voice in my head suggested I might want to go and check. I did and Well, it might not be ten years but some of it possibly wouldn’t pass a lax health and safety check.
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There were some sticks of unidentified stuff that I can honestly say I’m not sure if they were for lips, eyes or just a random crayon that got caught up in the whole psychological mess.

Got me thinking about how our make up bags are often our comfort blankets. Not just the mask we apply but more than that. It’s a bit of a journey through my life, the ups and downs reflected in bronzes that hold memories of care-free summers. Near empty pots of sparkly stuff that remind me of dancing and vodka and tequila.

I don’t want to throw them out because actually, they remind of all the different people I’ve been. The moments that make memories all safe and sound in a slightly grubby looking Chanel bag.

I even found a lip pencil I would never wear again but I didn’t throw it because it reminds me of meeting Jonathan. Things like foundation and mascara I will always throw because they are just the canvas. It’s the colour I decided to add, the bright red lipstick I slicked on at the age of 20-something because it made me feel so much more confident than I was.

My makeup was more sparkly, daring and exuberant when I was single and perhaps a little of me would like to go back, just for a day and be that girl again.

I can remember so clearly, being in a club utterly in love with a man who would break my heart. I remember going backwards and forwards to the loos with my best mate, over and over again to reapply highlighter and lip gloss. Like I was going into battle- turns out I was.

Truth is, my makeup bag is the person I am, was and maybe would like to be again. It’s full of crap and broken bits of something but I know in my heart of hearts it will stay that way – unless the health inspector gets me first.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

What love means to me

I while ago I was asked to write a guest post about love. I kept meaning to share it on my blog too – so finally here it is!

Love is more than words.

When I was a child my dad never said: ‘ I love you’ – something we’re told we should be doing all the time but because of him I know love isn’t about those three words. I never doubted he loved me more than anything and I never felt anything other than love from him and here’s why:

When I was a little girl he patiently taught me to ride a bike. As a teenager he took me on my first driving lessons. He built us a treehouse and a swing and completely rebuilt our little bungalow until we lived in the best place he could make.

He did this because he loved us and no one in our home ever doubted it for a second – despite never saying it.

When I left for University and he dropped me off in the roughest part of Nottingham. He turned the car round and came to stay with me until my housemates turned up a couple of days later. He cooked me eggs and bacon and loved me. When I made a silly mistake at 21 he just cuddled me and stood by me.

When he’s with Arthur I see him ploughing the same values, the same rules and the same sense of patience and love into it all. Hammering a piece of wood on Papap’s workbench is about love – more so than vacant ‘I love yous’.

Still to this day he’s the person I call when something needs ‘doing’. Because doing is what he does; without question and without a second thought.

It’s absolutely textbook but absolutely true. My dad is the first man who made me feel safe and loved without a single word. The first man who showed me how women should be treated.
The first man to whom all others need to measure.

So breaking with tradition – I love you dad, but just so you know, you never have to tell me. I already know. x