Thursday, 28 January 2016

Getting to know you....

So as Mark and pretty much everybody else thought I got away in the Q&A vlog with Seren far too easy, he decided to come up with his own set of questions. However due to Seren telling me her school friends had watched the last Q&A (eeeeeek) he kept it clean...well clean ish!

Again we don't have a fancy camera or video camera, we just had the mobile and it was done in one take, it could look far more professional (and I'm sure I could as well)
Oh and the dog even makes an appearence in this vlog by headbutting the door to try and get in!

Here we are. This vlog was sadly not filmed drinking cocktails, that might be fun though right?

So here it is, I really didn't want to put it up as the sound of my voice makes me cringe, I could do a lot less umming and ahhing, watching myself at the end makes me want to throw up - total drama school kid moment! and I should have tided the bookcase behind me first, but as I've been full of fluey/cold/sinus goings on the past week blogging has taken a bit of a back seat so this vlog is a bit of a cheat.
Just click on the link below to watch

Rachel x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

What I wish for my daughter

Seren is already the kind of girl I wish I could have been when I was younger, she knows exactly who she is and always has done. 
She has never been your average little girl, I mean she's never liked playing with dolls, princesses or fairies, well not unless she was locking them in the dungeon of her Batman cave that is.

She has never shown any interest in the things that I loved when I was younger such as playing 'house', Sylvanian families or Barbie. I always imagined that if we had a little girl these would be things that we could enjoy together, we'd take shopping trips to Toys R Us where we could spend hours agonising over which doll (or in the case of Sylvanian families) which incredibly small and expensive house to buy. If we go to Toys R Us it will be the Lego or the Superhero aisle you'll find us in, although I do sometimes sneak away to take a trip down memory lane. 

I struggled with this at the beginning I'm not going to lie, I thought it might just be a phase and she'd grow to love all the things that I did, but she never has. She has never pretended to like something she doesn't just to fit in, even though sometimes it would probably make life easier for her. I admire this about her immensely because I would never have had the courage to be like that when I was younger.
My Mum worried about me a lot in the early years of Primary school. We lived in a very small village which had an equally small school and our house was quite literally across the road, in fact you could see the playground from the landing window. Mum said she would spend lunchtime's and playtime's looking out of that window and her heart would break, as she watched me sit alone or walk around the playground chatting to the dinner ladies. I was so desperate to fit in during those years that if you'd have asked me if I wanted to play Flower Fairies, well I'd of been the best damned Flower Fairy you ever did see! 

I did of course eventually make friends, and some lovely friends at that but socially I never felt like I truly 'fitted in'. It wasn't until a few years into High School where as incredibly corny as it sounds I came into my own. I found a hobby I loved and I was good at drama, and I made friends that have lasted a lifetime, who feel more like family. It truly is testament to their character not mine that we are still friends, I was a massive drama queen anyway but Rachel the drama queen studying drama? sheesh that's a lot of Rachel let me tell you.
Seren is a far stronger character than I ever was, but becoming every bit as much of a drama queen. If she ever joins a drama club Mark has resigned himself to the fact he will never know true peace again.

I have been doing a lot of decluttering these past few weeks and in doing so came across my shoe boxes of 'memories'. Everybody has these don't they it's not just me? Mine have everything in them from pictures, old cards, letters, school books, diaries etc and going through them has been quite an emotional journey. 

A lot of these memories include people who are no longer in my life, some not through my choice of course like my Darling Dad and my Grandparents. There is a letter in there from my Grandmother telling me how proud she is of me getting good marks in an exam at university and it made me cry. Cry with happiness, with guilt that I never finished my course, and also pride that I did well on that assignment, and pride that my little Sister is at University and doing so well. 
There are people who aren't in my life anymore due to break ups; nice break ups and not so nice break ups. It doesn't matter however you 'break up' and no matter how long or short, rough or smooth the relationship; you were still a part of each others lives, you made memories and shared experiences to look back upon. 
Friendships that have come to an end not in a bad way but maybe because time and well life have simply bought them to natural conclusion.
Looking over these set of pictures and postcards I asked myself what have I learnt from these experiences?
What would I do differently?With a daughter myself, what would I wish for her to help navigate her way through life?

There is of course the obvious things I want, for her to live a long and happy life, to never know pain, hardship or heartache. Trust me though as someone who was not allowed to chew gum until a teenager, it doesn't matter how much you wrap them in cotton wool, how much you love them and protect them. It's no good, you will experience all of these things, you've just got to make sure you've got the character to see you through, so here we go.

Never let anyone tell you you can't do something -yes you can, you might not be any good at it but you might just be amazing! Never let anyone stop you from giving it a go.

Smile lots - the more you put out a smile the more likely you are to have them returned.

Laugh lots! 

Always remember how much your family loves you and will always love you. 

Be true to yourself, don't ever pretend to be something you aren't just to fit in.

It is better in life to regret the things you did do than the things you didn't do - This is so true.
I regret telling a lie on my Drama school application saying I could sing to a professional standard and we all know I can't hum in tune. 

I regret standing on a stage in front of an audience and thinking If I just belted out a Grease number loud enough I'd be ok (It wasn't)
But you know what I won't do when I'm old and grey? Well more grey. I won't sit there wondering what could have been because I tried.

You don't always have to shout to be heard. 

Don't judge a book by it's cover -please don't do this. That person on the first day of say work/university/high school with an angry look on their face or a 'I'm too cool for you' look about them might just be the funniest, loveliest and most interesting person you've met.

Keep seeing things differently sometimes - Never lose that! I love the fact that if given a box with a marble in it and asked to take the marble out, you will find the most craziest, unique way of doing it.
Always be a good friend.

Be kind.

Travel lots - see as much of the world as you can. Even if I cry and threaten to come with you, and I will no doubt do that.
If the opportunity to see the world comes up - take it! After University. Oh and if I'm on the same plane it is total coincidence honest.....

Trust your instincts.

Love what you do, and do what you love - I hope you choose a career that you wake up excited about every single day.

Manners cost nothing they are free.

Don't let my anxieties hold you back - I know sometimes I flinch every time you get on a trampoline, every time you go off on your bike. Keep ignoring that (not the part about going too fast on your bike though obviously) but keep jumping high, keep riding your bike, keep climbing those trees I love that you are adventurous, and know I've always got you if you fall.

Love with all that you have - I never want you to have your heart broken but I have no doubt that at some point in this life it will be, and then Mummy will probably end up behind bars, don't worry I'm joking well kind of.
I want you to love, I want you to feel the butterflies and to let yourself be loved by someone. Don't let jealousy, insecurity or fear ever stop you. Always follow your heart in love even if it may not seem like the right choice to everyone else, trust yourself.

A broken heart won't destroy you - it may feel like it at the time and you'll cry so hard you think your heart might physically break, but it won't. You will learn from it, you will get through it and it will make you stronger.

Be accepting - my Mum is many many things, in fact there are a month's worth of blogs I could write just about my Mother! But one thing she has always taught us, from how she treats people herself is to accept people for who they are. 
 If a Man came to the door dressed as Superman and goes by the name of Sheila she would smile graciously and call him Sheila. Yes always accept people for who they are, unless they are a massive tosser in which case move on from them.

Always believe in yourself and stay true to who you are, you won't go far wrong.

Read often, there is no greater feeling in he world than discovering a new book. Continue to take joy from reading.

Don't trust too easy - we always laugh at me for being overly cautious and at Grandma for being too trusting so just try to meet in the middle somewhere.

Forgive - it is better for your soul, for your peace of mind to forgive those that have hurt you and move on from them.

Have the ability to laugh at yourself, there is not a worse personality trait in the world than someone who takes themselves too seriously.

If all else fails remember this: "Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe" - it's an old American proverb. 
I reckon you won't go far wrong if you live by it. 

Mum  x

Thursday, 21 January 2016

How Instagram and I became friends...

I used to hate going on Instagram in the same way I used to hate going on Pinterest, because afterwards I'd just feel a little bit crap about myself, like a drunken kiss in a bar with someone you really shouldn't of but did it anyway.
I would spend far too long on the boards of Pinterest looking at the pictures of delicate pastel coloured cupcakes, and vibrant homemade playdough a Mum had just whipped up for an after school treat. I'd take one look at my offerings and feel depressed, why couldn't I be like the perfect Pinterest Mum? I've only got one kid for gods sake it should be easy.
Can I just add here that Mr O is totally the Pinterest Dad, he makes stuff out of pallets and everything. When we got rid of our last washing machine I found him turning the drum into a fire pit, but then he'll do anything to avoid paying out for new garden furniture.
Actually it's the home decor boards on Pinterest in particular that made me want to burn our house to the ground, there are pictures of houses where bunting and strings of fairy lights adorn the bed, they have bedside tables sourced from drift wood and vases of fresh flowers in every room. Well if we were to have flowers in every room the cat would simply knock them over; because she steadfastly refuses to use a door always has. Instead she insists on entering and exiting a room via a window not upstairs I hasten to add, although she did try it once and my screams alerted the neighbours as I wrestled her back in with a dressing gown.
No, the cat has knocked over so many vases of flowers in the past 11 years that it is just not worth it. We have 1 jug of flowers on the kitchen table if I've bothered to pick them up in Aldi.  Mark has got me them, however bunting and lights across the headboard? Now this we've tried and it did look rather lovely. One night I managed to get my arm tangled up in them whilst trying to retrieve the TV remote from the back of the bed, and I got in such a temper they were swiftly and quietly removed never to be spoke of again.There was so much cursing and headboard banging during that incident I did wonder what the neighbours thought. Oh and driftwood sourced bedside tables?Nope just good old Ikea.

Instagram made me feel the same way at first, I remember first logging on and oh my eyes.
So many pretty pictures of so many exciting places! And selfies of people; peoples pouts, peoples boobs, peoples bums. Mum's with pretty babies all of whom are well dressed and have bows in their neat hair, all such stylish pictures that wouldn't look out of place in a magazine.
I think if I had ever attempted to take a picture of Seren for Instagram when she was little she'd of been chewing the bow not wearing it, and it was impossible to even to get her to sit still for a photograph, never mind get one of her sniffing a Buttercup whilst a butterfly rested on her eyebrow.
The food pictures in particular would make my mouth water, certainly no pictures of kids eating fish fingers, chips and beans on Instagram! Not unless they are organic cuts of fish dusted in homemade breadcrumbs of course, with a ramekin dish of ketchup alongside it and not a bottle of Aldis own.
I think It's fair to say that I was pretty awkward and niave in my early Instagram postings. As in hello here is a picture of my chips with too much salt on! Totally hilarious right! Right? Well I thought it was funny. I also didn't realise you are meant to hashtag your ass off. What I should have put with that picture of chips and salt is #salt #chips #toomuch #humpchipday or something along those lines (I'm still not entirely sure what a #humpday is or if I will use it in the right context so I've so far steadfastly avoided using it at all)
I honestly think when I first discovered them I would go on Instagram and Pinterest for a good dose of self loathing. A pity party for one as I scrolled past all those fabulous pictures muttering to myself and eating biscuits pot noodles. Now it's not to say my life isn't pretty great, it is for the most part. There are of course times where it's not and if you follow me on facebook you'll know I'm pretty honest about that. However Instagram (and when I say Instagram I mean its users obviously)  manage to take pictures of ordinary things and made them look utterly fabulous, that isn't just a picture of #ootd (thats outfit of the day by the way) it's a lifestyle, and it's a lifestyle that some people aspire to. Hell it was a lifestyle I wanted to aspire to. I want those bedside tables, that #ootd, those bloody delicate little cupcakes. I just don't think I 'got' Instagram or Pinterest to be honest or at least  I wasn't looking at it in the way I do now..

It's OK me and Instagram are cool now

I starting reading up about something in particular around October last year, I won't bore with what and why for now anyway, but in doing this I stumbled across blogs on this particular subject and they were a big help. Some were funny, some were informative and some were quite sad but they were a great source of information, comfort and advice. From there I started looking at other blogs, and vlogs and I became addicted. I mainly read Mum bloggers/vloggers and from all over the world. I loved them I was genuinely intrigued by what they were wearing, where they were going and what they ate, what funny thing their babies did, just general day to day stuff really..
Some of the blogs literally went like this:

This is what I'm wearing today: lists everything from socks to scarf.
Where we are going:
What we are eating.
Here is my shopping list
Here is what I bought (my particular favourite as I am so nosy)
It had me hooked. 

These people are making money, in some cases huge amounts of money from this and you know what? Good on them. I loved having a glimpse into their lives.
Then I started following these bloggers on Instagram and I realised what it was all about.You see actually I didn't want to see pictures of babies with cereal all over their clothes, picking their noses. No, I wanted to see the cute pictures especially if there is a Buttercup and butterfly in the mix.
I don't want to see sausage, mash and gravy on a plate I can see that at home. I want to see artfully crafted artisan bread and salads the colour of the rainbow. I want to look at the #ootd and lust after it because you know what? I have real life at home, I want escapism.
Once I started looking at it like this Instagram became a whole lot more fun, and now I love it! I love how people from all over the world can connect with each other instantly over one snapshot. Nowadays I hashtag, I put up the odd life affirming quote and I even filter! I am yet to #ootd because it's M&S,Primark or M&S,H&M- it wouldn't be very exciting and I have come to realise that actually no-one will want to see a picture of me cleaning the oven in Marks jumper and my Harry Potter P.J bottoms because, well lets face it no-one wants to see that.
Oh and Pintrest and I? Well our relationship is still ongoing, we have that uneasy alliance where we know what we need from each other. It's an un trusting one but we'll get there.

Shortly after I discovered the world of Mum bloggers I started thinking about starting my own. I did have a blog in 2010 'Mrs O' I am so original with my blog titles right? 
To be honest it was more like an online diary but it was fun to read over them and see what's changed. I still like wine, chocolate and reality TV so it turns out not much has changed.

The only thing that worried me about starting it was; has it all been said and done before? Another Mum who blogs it certainly isn't a new concept, there are literally millions of us out there and more popping up every day. However the simple fact is I needed something to focus on, something that made me feel excited about and could throw myself into everyday. I pressed publish and that was it.
I had no idea what to expect, what the response would be, and as someone who makes Monica from Friends looked chilled, I was worried. You are bound to get both ends of the spectrum when you put your life on the Internet.
My life is by no means as glamorous, interesting or well edited as some of the blogs out there, I have said it before and I'll say it again but it really isn't. I am mainly dressed in Primark not Joules, I don't have anything of any great intellectual importance to say really, it's definitely not a journey of self discovery. It is just my musings/mutterings/rants on life. I mean my next blog is about clicky hips - yes that's right clicky hips. Someone asked me about it and it will include many pictures of Seren as a baby, and who doesn't love a baby picture!But with my new friend Instagram blogging has given me a new hobby, a focus that I needed and well mainly the opportunity to talk a lot, as you all know I do love a natter.

After that who knows? Tomorrow I might decide to be a lion tamer, because you know, I like cats.

Rachel x

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The blog that's a vlog!

A friend of mine came up with a brilliant Q&A idea for my blog where Seren could ask me anything and I had to answer honestly! The only problem with that is that I could quite easily amend the answers if I wanted to, whereas a vlog would make sure I couldn't wriggle out of anything!The questions were a bit random and they were far tamer than I expected too I think I got off quite easily actually! Although my Mother isn't overly impressed with one of my answers and was still sulking about it this morning. However she has now decided she wants to do a no holds barred  Q&A vlog with me herself eeek I fear that may not end well! (She doesn't want me to actually film her though, she wants to be filmed from the back and can I wait until she had her hair done)
It isn't a perfect video by any means and things I have learnt from this first vlog is:

  1. Ensure the dog isn't in the kitchen when we film as I'm pretty sure you can hear him licking himself as I watched it back. Pretty gross, thanks dog.
  2. I have rather manly looking hands
  3. Get someone else to film it or find a better way to film it as its pretty shaky and my arm hurt! I also wasn't quite sure where to look 
  4. Better lighting - it's a bit dark
  5. I sound like a well spoken hamster - I hate the sound of my own voice! I was cringing watching it back
  6. Try and ensure I'm better groomed next time!
I have watched a lot of vlogs and mine is no where near as shiny, well groomed or glossy as them, it's really not - this stuffs hard! Oh well at least you know we're keeping it real.
It's just a bit of fun but I've enjoyed doing these blogs (and even this vlog) So thanks so much for all the nice messages I've received on here and my facebook page it means a lot.

The video can be watched here links to my facebook page. Don't forget to give it a like!

Rachel x

Friday, 15 January 2016

A few of my favourite things!

After writing about some of the disasters we've encountered on our holidays, and discussing all of those things that irritate me , I thought it might be a nice change to have a look at some of the little things that make me happy!

It goes without saying of course but my family and my friends make me incredibly happy Especially the little person that brings so much joy (and a lot of grey hairs) to Mr O and I, S. I don't think I ever believed before she came along how much love you can have for another human being, she is everything I wished I could of been when I was younger. 
She knows exactly who she is and always has done, she is true to herself and follows her own path. She is honest, proper laugh out loud funny and has true empathy for others. She is incredibly imaginative, always thinking outside the box and loves her family dearly. She is also sensitive and can struggle socially at times which is a constant source of angst for me, but she is strong and I'm so so proud of her. 
She does however have her mothers loud mouth and fiery temperament so it really is no wonder poor Mr O has no hair. So apart from the obvious what else makes me happy? Below are a few of my all time favourite things to do. What are yours?

1. Family movie night. We pick a random night of the week choose a film, have a table stacked full of snacks and Swill sometimes make us cinema tickets too, I love it. (Especially as you can pause and rewind should someone decide their snack of choice is of the noisy variety) Of course there are times where we can't decide on a film or the film is rubbish, and the dog will get in and eat the snacks so Swill scream at the dog and everything will descend into chaos, we aren't the The Walton's but I do love our family movie nights.

2  Books. One of my favourite things to do in the entire world once I've dropped S off at school is get the bus into town and go to W H Smiths. There I will spend an indulgent amount of time choosing a book and then sit in Costa and read it. I love the smell of a new book, I love the anticipation of reading it and if it's a particularly good book I won't go to bed until I've finished it, seriously. If I somehow can't get out then I love ordering books on Amazon and get really excited about getting them in the post.I do have a kindle which was meant to save on book space, the problem is that if it's a book I've really enjoyed than I physically need to own a copy! Seriously!
I also love going into second hand bookshops too there is something about the smell of them, whenever we go on a day out I have to go in every single one we come across.
(Random fact about me I was once tested and can apparently read 782 words per minute which is apparently 210% faster than the national average.And which is probably why I get through so many books)

3. Going to the cinema. There are certain films that just have to be seen on a big screen, I especially love the trailers and I am genuinely upset if we miss them! I am a massive geek with certain film franchises too and I have to go and see them as soon as they come out.

4. Funny cat videos. No really. I can waste far too much time watching cats jump out of boxes or climb curtains on YouTube, I honestly find them really funny.

5. Throwing a party. I LOVE to throw a party! Small party with friends, nibbles and  a lot of wine, or a big 40 plus kids party. I love a theme and spend too much time on Pinterest weeping at how inadequate I am and stealing ideas. I once stayed up until the early hours soaking 40 children's party invites in tea and burning the edges with a lighter to make them look like old maps.
One of my favourite times of year is Halloween/Bonfire night/Christmas Lots of good food, being wrapped up outside with the fire going and a great excuse to decorate the house and garden.

6. 6.05pm on a Monday night. Monday mornings in our house are dreaded, it's a really early start for everyone as I have to be in work super early. Most days S is an early riser, except Mondays of course when she wants to lie in. It's always a rush, it always ends in someone shouting and crying, usually me! And I feel like I've completed the Maze Runner before I even start work. But after a long day the smile on her face as I get the car after work at 6.05pm is priceless and I look forward to it all day.

7. YouTube parties for one. Sometimes when I'm in the house on my own I like to watch YouTube music videos in the kitchen and sing/dance along. I'll think I'm pretty awesome until I catch sight of myself in the fridge.

8. Getting into a freshly made bed with the smell of clean sheets,lovely stuff.

9. Going for walk especially when its fresh and crisp outside and taking in the amazing views where we live. If its a Sunday afternoon then a tipple in the pub on the way home finishes it off nicely.

10. Comedy. I love laughing, Although it's worth noting no that I hate my laugh! A) Because I really hate my teeth, like have a serious phobia over them which is why I pout so much in photos and B) because I apparently have a filthy laugh.
TV comedy especially such as The Inbetweener's, Bottom, Alan Pattridge, Phoenix Nights, The Office, Gavin and Stacey and Fawlty Towers they all make me proper laugh out loud laugh and I never get fed up of re-watching them.

11. Planes. I am terrified of flying and spend the entire flight just waiting for turbulence. I just hate it BUT I am oddly fascinated with planes and how they work. They fly quite low above our house especially at night and I like watching them and tracking them on flight tracker to see where they are going/where they have been. I'll also watch videos of them landing in storms, wind etc.
Don't worry I'm judging myself right now too.....

12. Reading the paper with a cup of coffee I know you can do it online but it just doesn't feel the same. The only time I do that is when it's a particularly funny/Daily mail sadface article and then I have to go on to read the comments.

13. Conspiracy theories I love a good conspiracy theory. Crazier the better!

14. Watching my favourite TV show with a glass of wine and crisps = happy place

15. Having a 'who'll blink first' competition with the cat.

16. Holidays. I love the feel of the warm air on my face as I step off the plane, waking up on the first day with the excitement of knowing you are on holiday. Swimming in the sea, walking along the beach and just being together.

17. Really hot bubble baths, with a glass on wine and watching crap TV on the tablet. If Mr O is reading this I don't mean the tablet that you always warn me not to take in the bath as it's an accident waiting to happen, I mean a book honestly....

18. Friday nights when it's our weekend off! And tonight is Friday night, and it's our weekend off! Whoo hoo!

Rachel x

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Holidays. Planes, trains and hurricanes.

Recently, in-between work, birthdays and everything else we've been trying to organise this years family holiday.
It's generally pretty simple nowadays; we rent a villa in the same part of Spain we've been visiting since Seren was very little. My Mum and Brother tend to join us and it's become a real home from home. With Mark in particular working very hard, and us both working every other weekend it's nice to just relax, swim, eat, drink a lot of wine and generally spend some much needed time together. We like the familiarity of it all, and it's a pretty easy kind of holiday, well as easy as holidaying with extended family and kids can get! It is pretty much exactly the kind of holiday we vowed we'd never have pre-kids. But then we also said we'd never let our baby have a dummy, or watch TV. God we were a pair of smug arses.

We always said that if we had children we were still going to be able to jet off on last minute city breaks, or exotic far flung locations. We'd stay in boutique hotels, and eat in fabulous restaurants (with our infant sleeping peacefully throughout the entire meal of course) We would take our baby around art galleries and museums immersing them in culture but most importantly our baby would never ever cry during take off or landing. It would never kick the back of someone else's seat, throw up on a fellow passenger or have a mid air poo explosion, Never.
Obviously you can still do exotic trips and city breaks with a baby, I'm not for one second suggesting you can't and indeed we have. We've been on city breaks; we've 'flung' as far as Southern Spain, and done 'exotic' if you count the Blue Lagoon restaurant in Disneyland Paris. What we should have done though is lowered our expectations slightly, OK  massively because anyone who has holidayed with a baby, especially a very young baby will know it’s pretty much the same shit, different location. Babies are beautiful, they smell amazing and I could stare at them for hours but in general? Let's be honest, they are pretty boring they sleep, eat, poo and repeat.

We went to London when Seren was just three months old and I had it all planned perfectly, 
I'd booked tickets on the London Eye and Madame Tussuad's. I made sure the hotel had a travel cot and bottle warmer, and I packed enough clothes, bottles and dummies to last us several weeks never mind 2 nights. I thought we had this travelling with a baby lark down, bring it on! 
However, the minute we stepped onto the train with our massive suitcase; and tried to shoehorn the 2 parts of the stupid Bugaboo (which is a pain in arse to breakdown anyway) into the crammed luggage area we knew that maybe, just maybe we had set our expectations too high.
Poor Seren just screamed during the journey, she had a mid air poo explosion on the London Eye (I'm pretty sure at least three fellow passengers considered breaking the glass and making a break for freedom, I know I did.) She did not give a shit with regards to being immersed in culture, and what actually happens when you go to eat in a nice restaurant with a baby is that they will cry. You will take it turns to hold the baby whilst the other eats their food so quickly they'll get indigestion, fellow diners will not gaze adoringly at your baby they will simply tut loudly and make you feel uncomfortable.
Oh and a baby isn't interested in wax dummies of Beyonce or Brad Pitt. Shocker. Besides I spent the entire tour of Madame Tussuad's panicking as it was so busy in case someone got too close to the baby Bjorn and squashed her.
Literally, that one short trip dispelled all those well thought out myths.

We're heeeeeerrreeee! If you see us board your train, plane or boat then run, run and hide!

I had so wanted to be the Mum who breezed along to catch a flight or a train. looking like a celebrity from the pages of Heat magazine, holding a baby in her arms and a small clutch across her shoulder (which somehow contains a nappy, mini sized pack of wipes, lip gloss and organic snack of some sort) and these woman do exist! I witnessed this with my own eyes on our flight back from Alicante last year, I watched her board the flight exactly like that, and her baby was so good, and she stayed so clean! I went to the toilet so many times to look at her to check she must have thought I had a UTI
Nope instead I was the Mum who always had the mahoosive baby bag, with about three changes of clothes, spare bottles, organic snacks quavers who usually got something spilt on her. I want to find my 20 year old self and slap her, she always was a smug cow.

See look how together we had it! Thank to Mr O for taking this pic as I was pleading him not to, in my head I was the 'together glam Mum from Heat magazine' not flustered, stressy, Ribena stain on my jeans Mum*

Well they say karma's a bitch don't they? It's not as if we haven't had our share of payback since.
Literally if something is going to go wrong, it'll probably happen to us! Take Seren's first flight for instance, we'd just been to Disneyland Paris she was also 17 months old, it was a great trip and she was a dream on the flight going there. Flight back was a whole different story. As we boarded she was tired and a bit cranky, we were sat behind a teenage girl and her Mum and as I caught their eye when we sat down the Mum gave me a sympathetic smile, that's Mum code we have a connection now. Not long after take off Seren put her hand through the seats and grabs the girls hair, I apologised quickly, few laughs and all was ok. Phew.
That is until my Mum joked "I think she likes the look of your daughters lovely curls" Turns out  She is isn't a she but a he and he's not happy, he's pretty cross actually and now he wants to move seats, and the Mum does not respond to the Mum code smile at all. I literally wanted the ground to pen up and swallow me, if we weren't 17,000ft in the air.
My Mum got all defensive because obviously it's not her fault, oh no it's mine for taking the window seat! Mark looks like he wants to throw himself out of the emergency exit, it was an awkward 40 minutes to say the least. I felt awful....he did have lovely curls though. The Mum even at baggage collection refused to meet my eye, I tried to catch it several times to apologise, I felt shit.

Then there was the year Seren broke her leg, the poor thing had to have her 5th birthday party cancelled, (as it's not a good idea to have a go carting party in a cast although she wanted to have a go) She was so disappointed and it was altogether a really crappy few weeks to be honest. She'd been so brave and my Mum decided to book us all a trip to the villa in Spain after her cast was due to come off,. We all needed the break and we were really looking forward to it.Two weeks before we are due to fly and Seren caught chicken pox, obviously.
After almost two weeks of debating and stress as to if we could even go, we decided to take her to a doctor to see if she's fit to fly and thankfully? He gave us the all clear and a letter. However, it is apparently at the discretion of the airline to decide if they will allow us to board, so we would have to turn up on the day and see what they said.
Disclaimer **I am really fussy about bugs and incubation periods etc so believe me I would never have flown if I didn't think she was 100 per cent OK to fly **

Now, Seren was quite shy around new people back then and normally when we are at the airport so early she's pretty tired and cranky, but this time? Oh wasn't she little Miss Sunshine! Hi everyone, lets just stand as close to the nice check in lady as we possibly can. Want to see my tummy here it is "I'VE HAD CHICKEN POX" I want to chat to the already nervous couple behind us and discuss my spots! "LOOK AT MY SCABBY SPOTS" I swear I must have looked like I was smuggling cocaine in my rectum the amount of sweating and nervous twitching I did. 
Anyway we boarded the plane and My Mum. Brother, Seren. Mark and I physically breathed a sigh of relief. We should have waited a bit longer.
Not long after Mark had ordered a cup of tea Seren got a serious case of ants in her pants, can I move seats, can I have my bag, can I go to see Grandma and this resulted in the cup of tea getting spilled, all over Seren and Mark. Seren screamed loudly, I screamed louder and I'm not sure what happened next as we were surrounded by the flight attendants who quickly plucked Seren from her seat and rushed her to the back of the plane.
It seemed like hours but it probably wasn't, all I can say with certainty is that the Easyjet crew were quite simply amazing. And I did tell them that, in the several grovelling letters and emails we sent afterwards.

They stripped her leggings off and applied a soothing gel to her leg, it seemed to ease it for her instantly and I calmly hysterically asked that they continue this, Seren had already calmed down and despite the discovery of the chicken pox scabs (which they didn't bat an eyelid at) all was going well. After returning to our seats with lots of sympathetic smiles and nods from people, we all settled down to enjoy the rest of the flight. Then, sooner than we expected it felt as if we were descending, Turns out we were.
The flight attendant tells us with a smile and a gentle whisper they'd used all the gel on Seren's leg and they couldn't restock at Alicante, so they needed to land in Madrid. It was a health and safety issue it needed to be done.
I swear to god I understand what the phrase "wanting the to ground to open up and swallow me" REALLY feels like as they announced it to the rest of the flight, I felt awful. The sympathetic nods and smiles soon turned to dark mutterings, and most of those dark mutterings came from my Mum and Brother to be honest. I asked Mark to buy everyone a drink but he baulked and instead we tried to keep a low profile.
(Until Seren needed a wee and literally skipped down the aisle, I asked her if she could at least do it with a limp ffs)

So there we were sat on the runway of Madrid, with an entire emergency crew entering the plane to check on the patient, who apart from a few chicken pox scabs was now absolutely fine. Luckily everyone from the Captain to the rest the crew were lovely. My Mum eventually admitted to knowing us again and discussed with the lady behind her that it was all a ruse "as the plane didn't have enough petrol perhaps " I calmly suggested this couldn't possibly be the case but was met with a steely glare, I decided it wasn't really the time to argue with them, you know with grounding an entire plane of holidymakers.

I'd say 90% of the passengers were great. The Captain and crew were super lovely, explaining how many times they need to do this, mainly for drunks more than hot tea spillers! However, the professionalism, kindness, patience and care they they gav us is well worth recognition.
We apolgised to as many passengers as we could, and Seren even got a collection of euros from the stag do behind us for being brave !And she was brave bless her; broken leg, chicken pox and then getting a hot cup of tea spilt on you? What a few weeks.

So I say in all honestly if you ever board an Easyjet flight and we are on it? Buddy turn around and run. Every time we book with Easyjet we expect to find out we're on the no fly list,

But thanks Easyjet, you get a hard time of it in the press some time but we think you are marvelous! Super efficent, kind and handled our situation very well.  So please let us fly with you again!

Rachel x

Friday, 8 January 2016

15 things that are guaranteed to piss me off.

I tried to come up with a wittier, slightly more sophisticated title but lets be honest 'Things that are guaranteed to piss me off'" sums it up pretty well.

1. Basic manners: A teacher once said to me that manners cost nothing, they are free. It's true, nothing pisses me off more than a lack of basic manners. I always say please and I always say thankyou, if you ever see me lacking in doing so then feel free to deliver a small sharp kick to the shin. I am the first to call little Miss O on it if she forgets too - not with a small sharp kick to the shin though obviously. It's not just a please and a thankyou either, it's acknowledging someone as well. I try to always say hi and smile and it genuinely irritates me when someone doesn't reciprocate at all. It takes nothing to be kind, and means everything.

If you ever want to witness a lack of basic human manners then do call into any major high street retailer on a Saturday afternoon.

2. Women who have bells on their purses. If I'm standing in the local shop and I hear them I fall into a blind panic because I think the cat has followed me up there. I know it's meant as a safety measure and alert them to thieves, but honestly? half the women I've ever come across that have them can never find the bloody purse in their handbag anyway, bells or no bells. So the purse snatcher would have no chance!

3.People who don't pick up their dog poo. It's simply disgusting, It isn't anybody else's responsibility to do and it really only takes 2 seconds of your time.
Nobody wants what has fallen out of your dogs arse on their shoes. If you do this? Then you are a twat. I feel I have to walk around brandishing my own dogs poo in a bag as some sort of trophy!

4. People who automatically assume that if you have a dog, you don't pick up dog poo because some selfish dog owners do not. You also irritate me, lots!

5. Olives. I hate them. They are the most pointless, disgusting things. They do not look sophisticated in a martini either you just look like a toddler has walked past and dropped a grape in it.

6. Loud parenting. When you're in Sainsburys or Aldi, and there is sometimes a Mum, or Dad and they have little Timmy and George with them doing the weekly shopping (Yes I did just steal the names from the Famous Five) and that's lovely, then you hear this:

"No darling you can't have that it has far too much sugar and we don't have sugar in our house do we! Wouldn't you prefer the QUINOA, Can you spell QUINOA George?" before poor George has chance to answer the conversation continues
 "Of course you can! Because you are already reading aren't you darling yes READING clever boy" George is aged 2 by the way, at the most. He is also desperately trying to rip open the packet of snickers he's smuggled into the trolley with his teeth....

7. People who moan about the Government, about the state of the country but don't vote. Yes Mother I'm looking at you.

8. When you are standing in the co-operative buying something wine and there is one person in front of you and you think YES I can get in and out quick, and then? Then they bring out a wad of lottery tickets to check. Why?Why!

9. People who eat crisps or 'loud food' in the cinema! I will actively seek you out and...well tut very loudly because I also hate people talking in the cinema even during the trailers because I LOVE going and enjoy every part of it Things that are guaranteed to drive me insane during a film are:

Eating nachos. Too noisy if you insist on eating crisps pick skips!
Slurping your drink.
Whispering loudly
Rummaging in your popcorn.
Texting - I can see the light you know it's distracting.
Loud kissing. What's the point wasting money to watch the film? Stay in the car!
Bringing a carrier bag in. Why? What could possibly be the need? At least hide your quiet  stash of food in a rucksack or handbag.
People who walk past you to go to the loo loudly exclaiming "sorry" "won't be a tic" I know your being polite but SHUT UP! 

Actually I am know to be a bit prissy during a film, During Twilight New Moon I had to tell off the girls in front for screaming every time Jacob or Edward came on screen. They giggled and carried on doing it so I told a member of staff and they spent the rest of film, glaring back at me and flicking their hair. Mr O spent it muttering about never going with me again, but that may just have been about the Twilight franchise to be honest.

10. People who don't like animals or have no empathy for animals. I feel I cannot trust you I'm sorry.

11. People who claim they don't have time for television. Bollocks.

12. Horrid Henry's parents. They clearly favour Peter it really is no wonder he acts out! Neglectful twats.

13. People who stand too close to you in the Queue. If I can feel your breath on my neck you are too close.I now make a point of moving my large bag around and knock into them with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes you just have to accept the fact their breath will be on your neck until you hit the checkout.

14. Goats cheese.

15. People who 'tut' automatically if you walk into a restaurant with kids! It's as if they assume they are about to start screaming under the table and peeing in their soup. If you are in an adults only kind of place then fine, but if  you do this and it's pizza Express you need to chill out.

I could probably go on but feel it's best to leave it there.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel x

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Nobody puts Baby in the corner

These are some of my favourite baby things of Serens! Hand knitted booties, beautiful soft sleepsuit and the best quote I've seen on a babygrow #NobodyPutsBabyInTheCorner.

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have a serious problem when it comes to getting rid of books, particularly my own (Although if I never see another Horrid Henry joke book again then I'll be OK with that)
My books really do feel like old friends, and this is possibly because during my early childhood I didn't actually have many real life friends,
I did once have an imaginary mouse named Marcus but that is a whole other blog! Books were and still are a huge source of comfort to me. If I pick up a certain book it instantly transports me back to a certain time and place.

Take any of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books for instance, they immediately take me back to being Seren's age at my Nains house, where my brother and I would play with our cousins.I'd insist that we act out whichever of the books I was reading at the time, and my Dad would play the villain (which he'd take great delight in doing making us all squeal) I always wanted to be the tomboy George and my poor brother was forced to play Timmy the dog more times than was probably fair on him.

The Diary of Anne Frank reminds me of sitting underneath the tree in the garden of our childhood home, I can literally close my eyes and remember every detail of that afternoon. My Mum would bring me out cups of tea and I'd refuse to move even when it got dusk,because I didn't want to put the book down. I think it was one of the first books I'd ever read where it didn't have the happy ending I had always been used to.
I was a sensitive child anyway but my Mum had to hide that book away so I couldn't see it, as every time I saw Anne Franks face on the front cover it would make me cry.

Adrian Mole reminds me of laughing so hard that my sides hurt, and again was one of the first books I'd read where the family wasn't quite 'perfect' like the families portrayed in so many of my childhood stories. Although the family in the 'Famous Five' does make me raise my judgey pants a little. Packing young children off to an abandoned island with nothing more than lemonade,corned beef sandwiches and a shaggy dog? Asking for trouble if you ask me.

Wuthering Heights reminds me of falling in love for the first time, Bridget Jones Diary reminds me of starting University, and the Yummy Mummy guidebook reminds me of when Mark and I first decided we were going to try for a baby. Then we had a baby. And I launched Liz Fraser's book down the stairs.
Turns out after being up all night with a colicky baby, getting up the next day to throw on some Clarins beauty flash balm and pop to Starbucks and then out for lunch isn't that easy after all. (I still have the book though obviously)

But my difficulty parting with books is nothing compared to how hard I find it to be parted from my daughter's baby things. It is quite frankly obscene the amount of things I have kept,
Things came to a head before Christmas when Mark had to empty the back of the loft. He bought down box after box of baby things, boxes I didn't even remember we'd had.
One entire box was for shoes, yes baby shoes (and it wasn't a small box either) Baby wellington boots for instance. Did I think I was taking my baby splashing through puddles at 3-6 months? Baby trainers, baby peep toe sandals, and even baby clogs. There were some lovely hand knitted baby booties too the only thing on her feet she did actually get the use of.

Then there are the clothes, so many clothes! Beautiful baby grows and cardigans, and some quite frankly ridiculous outfits that I only have myself to blame for. There is a lace and denim outfit that must have been purchased when I was seriously sleep deprived, or I was planning on entering her into a baby Dolly Parton lookalike contest.
There are all her cards from when we were expecting, cards from when Seren was born. newspapers from the day she was born, and yes even the cast that she wore after she had her hip operation.It was gross then, it's still pretty gross now.

As we looked at everything Mark asked me did we need to keep it all. And it made me wonder why I insisted on keeping literally everything up until now.
Originally I kept everything because we thought like many might do, that we'd have another baby straight away. But then Seren needed an operation on her hip at six months old, and caring for her for the following six months literally took up 24 hours a day. There are a handful of people who know how difficult those months were, but suffice to say there was no time to even think about trying for a baby never mind actually having one.
Then, well things didn't go quite the way we'd planned but again, that's a whole other blog for a whole other time.

As Seren got older these keepsakes became less about having another baby,and more about keeping the baby we had if that makes sense. If Seren is to be our only child how could I bear to be parted with any of her special things? But there is special and plain odd and lets face it the smelly plaster cast is odd.
Now Seren is growing up becoming so independent whether my nerves like it or not, she isn't a baby she is growing into an utterly and wonderfully unique young lady, As someone far wiser than me told me you can't keep holding onto the past, but embrace the future. So that's what I'm doing.

Now my Mother, who has threatened to never speak to me again if she appears in any of these blogs (but she doesn't do 'the internet' so how she'll ever find out I'm not sure) is good at many things and one of them is decluttering so she has come down to help me sort out all of Serens baby things.
Mark and I picked the clothes that were extra special to us and will be looking at turning them into a keepsake cushion (or cushions there were a lot of 'extra' special ones ahem)
If anyone has any good links to places that could do this I would be grateful!And anything we could give away to a good cause we have done.

The cards well I couldn't be parted with some of them. Seren was born after such a sad and difficult time for our family, that she bought us all a little bit of sunshine and the cards we received during this time were truly touching so I couldn't let them go, instead I've purchased a huge art file to store them all in which will hopefully stop them from getting as damp and musty too. I'm also going to do this to store all the many paintings and drawings she has done over the years.

The cast has gone! And so have the shoes - if I can give any new Mother out there any advice from me it's don't buy baby wellington boots or peep toe sandals, it may shock you but they won't wear them. I'm mostly annoyed that my Mother was here to witness the shoe collection gathering dust "I told you she'd never wear them" she said and she did. Damn it I hate it when she's right.

The problem is although this decluttering has left me feeling some sense of accomplishment now I've got to start on  everything else and you wouldn't believe the amount of cuddly toys up in that loft..


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Mum who blogs? So that's new!

Mr O has been making some pretty loud noises recently about what my plans for the future might be workwise. Do you remember that bestseller I was going to write whilst I was on maternity leave? Well it hasn't actually been written yet and S is now 8 years old. Actually I tell a lie, because I have started many, many books. In fact the house is littered with hundreds of unfinished manuscripts. They are on the laptop, on the pc, scribbled in notebooks and the back of envelopes, my problem is I simply haven't finished any of them. I keep telling myself that at least one of them has the potential to be a bestseller right? 

Well until I find that bestseller and finish the damn thing I'm going to blog.

Unless there are any publishers reading this who want to skip straight to it and offer me a book deal? Only joking. Well kind of.

I know that there are already a lot of these 'Mum's who blog' out there. I have read many of them and watched a lot of vlogs, I love them. I am genuinely intrigued about what other people do every day, what they cook, what they are buying, what they are wearing and yes even what the inside of their fridge looks like. Oh who am I kidding? Especially what the inside of their fridge looks like. The majority of them are most certainly more witty, glamorous and fun than my day to day life. 

No they really are I'm not just saying that.

More than one of these blogs have made me want to burn all of my clothes and run straight into the brightly coloured comfort of Joules, some even made me rearrange my fridge, but ultimately each of them made me realise that we're all doing the best we can in this mad crazy journey of life, love and motherhood.

Mr O and little Miss O

Yes we really are this cool in real life....

So if you haven't been directed here by my Facebook page in some kind of disgruntled loyalty then here is a little bit about me.

I'm Rachel, I'm 30 (ish) years old and I have been married for the past 10 years to the very calm, patient and understanding Mr O. We have our beautiful daughter who is 9, a grumpy old cat, an atopic dog and we live in the Cheshire countryside. Between us we have a big family and our small house is always busy. I love any excuse to throw a party and I do like a theme! I'm at my happiest when the house is full with people, food, laughter and wine. Obviously.. I work part time for a major high street retailer this one and have done for the past 19 years. As you have probably gathered by now I am a frustrated writer at heart, I studied English literature at university but sadly never finished my degree. It is one of my biggest regrets in life.
I love to read and have an obsession with books, I refuse to either throw them out or give them away, which I know is crazy! I just find it hard to be parted from them, I just can't do it, they feel like old friends.

I love nothing more than spending time with my family and my friends and in no particular order..... 

Adventures, films, holidays, fun, fresh air, literature and coffee. Cooking, eating out, eating in and just food in general. Discovering new places and re discovering old places, wine, movies, a good debate and anything sci fi and zombie related. 
I'm not scared of creepy crawlies, nope none. I have a tendency to put my foot in my mouth and I always have a smile on my face.
Just don't ask me to read Goodbye Mog, ride a bicycle or draw a straight line as I physically cannot do any of those things.

So that's me, and a little taste of what these blogs will be about. If you have anything you'd like to me to blog about in particular or any questions then feel free to leave a comment on here, I love a natter! And don't forget to follow me on Facebook Instagram or Twitter.