Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Stan

Mr C. took the reigns a bit this week.... bus rides, barbers, happy meals and Stan. Fantastic picture taken at the Manchester Museum.  


On a previous visit with Willow; he was most disappointed. I'd talked Stan the dinosaur up a bit.  He was only expecting an alive dinosaur, he goes "This dinosaur is dead", err well yeah... 


xx Emma-Lou 

Guest Post: On Nana's Watch, Roll up to Dunham by Daughter-Child

My trip to Dunham Massey

Guest writer: Lizzy C (Lizzy Lou look at you!)

Mum asked me to write a blog post about my trip out with Nana. Willow and I went out to to Dunham Massey, where they had a circus activity day going on, (Roll up to Dunham!). There were loads of things going on, trapeze, juggling, poster making, ukulele lessons, hobby horse making and lots more. On some activities there were people showing you what to do and on others there wasn’t. The first thing we did was make a hobby horse, this was supposed to be an activity for Willow to do but I ended up doing it for him. You had to decorate your horse head and then staple it, grab two sticks, tie them together in a cross and place your head onto the sticks. I also did trapeze, you had to hang upside down, lean backwards with one hand, and then dismount. Overall, it was a really fun day out and we had a really delicious lunch, and next time we are promised ice cream!

Neigh neigh


Lizzy xx

Info for Dunham Massey http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Beach Life.... Crosby

First trip out over the holidays...  Crosby. 

We'd been recently to stay in our mates caravan near Blackpool; and went to Lytham for the afternoon, it wasn't really beach weather.  There was a high wind, nothing worse than sand in your ice cream.  So I'd promised on the next sunny day we'd head to the nearest beach from ours.  I don't know if there's a closer beach to our house in Chorlton?  But Crosby seemed near enough. 

We loaded up the car with a picnic, bucket and spade, towels and all the gear.  To be honest I wasn't expecting much, perhaps a quick hour, eat our butties, collect a few shells, ice cream then home.  But we were there hours, it was lovely.  

Off they go, I squeezed in a little read in peace 

I was only a bit pleased with myself, in the past, I've tried and failed to fly many kites, I just couldn't do it, haven't got the knack.  But in the quest of giving the kids idyllic childhood memories (must get a Westie puppy...), I was determined to get one up. There's a cute little toy shop these days in Chorlton, Cat Fish, they have a range of cheap toys, old fashioned style, you're not going to find The Legend of Zelda, but you can pick up lovely looking board games and little toys for around a tenner. My kite from there is lovely, a real sturdy proper kite.  Anyhow I got only got the kite to fly, it was brill (especially as mizzo Mr. C said it'd never fly, in your face!), honestly the best £4.99 I've spent in a while.  This is mean, and I'm ashamed to say, I saw a dad trying desperately to get his little girls butterfly kite up, it wasn't for going up, the little girl looked a bit crestfallen, and the dad was excusing his rubbish kite prowess "Not enough wind today princess"... Pah my kite sailed high in the sky.... I was only a bit smug... 


Look at my kite go, the kids in the distance, they gave up asking for a go!



Another amazing feat, Willow who does not like sand or taking his socks off, had a good old paddle, both kids walked right out to sea, over rock pools, we saw fish and a mean looking jelly fish.  
Splish

Splash

Splosh 

In my quest for saving pennies on days out, this rolled in on budget, we only spent the cost of a couple of ice creams.  Everything else we took with us. 

I always pack a good picnic, mini wine and small beer for mum and dad 

Ashamedly, the weather was warm and bright, both kids factor 50'd up.  Me, not so much... sunburnt, a lovely red chest area, "But it didn't feel that warm".  

On the right day, Crosby beach is perfect. 

Could be the Maldives.... 
xx Emma-Lou 




Works out for Summer....


Hurray the summer holidays are here.  It's been a long school year.  Towards the end of term, I was finding the school run a real slog.  I do work part-time, but still work 30 hours over five days, so I'm only a little bit part-time.  I try not to moan as I do think I'm lucky that I get to work almost full time, and have the flexibility to do many of the drop off/pick ups. 

So, yeah with assemblies, school trips, leaving gifts, parties, costumes, children who are forgetful with their gear, etc.  I'll stop there, my blood pressure is rising...  I was glad to finish. I'm lucky that we have grandparents that can step in, and Mr. C takes his share of covering holidays, but call me soppy, I want to spend some of my annual leave from work with my husband rather than separating our leave days to cover the kids. It's harder to find childcare for our Willow, bless he'd hate an all day sports club, he wouldn't cope.  I'm sure in years to come, he'll get to grips with holiday clubs, but for now, we have to keep him close. 

In May half-term, I had to work for the most part, and childcare was  nearly the killing of me.  I was stuck in traffic, between picking up children, son-child from Lymm, and daughter-child from Bramhall, then back home to Chorlton (45 mile round trip)... as my bottom ached from all the sitting, I shuddered thinking of summer holidays and decided there and then something had to give.  So, I applied for some unpaid leave, and it was granted, and happily I have the whole of August off with my darling children!  

I can't wait, it's going to be ace.  That said a lot of it is, unpaid, but hey ho, they say the best things in life are free.  Which is not true, as you have to pay for Malbec and bars of Whole Nut!  But, you can't put a price on mental health, and it's going to be a millions times better for my stress having that time away from work.   

I'm going to here blog a little diary of our little trips out, mostly so we can personally look back and think 'what an ace summer that was'.  

Plan is to try and do a lot of them on the cheap, let me know if you hear of anything exciting and free going on. 

Mostly I'll be restraining our Willow all Summer!

xx Emma-Lou 



Monday, 30 May 2016

Real Smart Place About Town, Neighbourhood


I was asked along to a brunch event a few weeks ago, in town (Manchester), to Neighbourhood, so along I went with my work pal. 
Bellini before noon? Why not! 


Now I've been to Neighbourhood before with my PA Network Group, for drinks and was impressed then how they dealt with such a large group of us.  The drinks then were served so nicely, with a real personable service.  I noted that I really liked the place and if I was that way about town would defo go in for drinks. 

I have to say, I'd never thought about Neighbourhood for food, which is funny as I know it's a restaurant.  I'm glad I had my eyes opened. 

So we arrived to a great big party it seemed, it was busy for a lunchtime do.  Bellini on arrival, "Yes please".   We went through from the bar to the seated restaurant, and the decor was a winner with me, done out so individually and bespoke.  I was so surprised when speaking to the manager later that they're to close for refurbishment, I hope they go forward in the same careful arty styling.  

We were served a few courses of gorgeous breakfast/lunch (or brunch if you like), including a favourite of mine, Eggs Benedict.   Now as you know I'm the worse food blogger, I eat my food as it arrives and think about photos later!  As it goes though my pal is less greedy than me and snapped away, hence we have food pics #Rejoice 

Now that's a poached egg! 


American Breakfast 
A chap, the manager came round and was such a love, not sure how this come up but it seems prior to his Neighbourhood career he was an ear doctor!    It's nice to chat to people who care about a. where they work and b. take a pride in making a good job of it.  Neighbourhood should be put up there as a top restaurant in town, it isn't a big chain, like Strada or such like.  It's a family run independent business.  It's slick, stylish and you're made to feel important by the staff and servers.  

For my birthday just passed, I had a good mind to go for my meal out, I put the hinters out to Mr. C, he tried to book but discovered it was closed for refurb.  I can't wait to head back to see how they've done the place out.  

xx Emma-Lou 

I don't do food photos, but can be counted on for a good teapot shot!  


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Breastfeeding - a funny story

I was lucky with both my babies, they breastfed with no real problems, THANK GOD for Lansinoh mind.  I did have one small dilemma early days.  

After the birth of our girl, getting home we had the usual bombardment of visitors. One evening in the first week, after a day of visitors and health visitors and emergency trips to the chemist (for already mentioned miracle breast cream).  We'd settled for the evening, was just to give baby her last feed before attempting to put her down.  So, baby latched on, a relax from me, let down of the milk and a a little knock on the door.... 

Bloody hell who could that be, we peep out of the window and it's my lovely in-laws, the doting grand-parents.  Now as it goes when I got further into my breast feeding career I was less bothered about where I fed and who might be around.  But then I was nervous about it, and knew my FIL would be mostly horrified.  So, I grumbled to Mr. C to organise the hospitality and I headed to the bedroom to carry on feeding. Back then we lived in a flat, so from the bedroom, I could hear them moving round, we were to clink some fizzy wine and toast the new baby. 

So with baby fed and my boobies safely stowed away, I joined them to toast our lovely first born.  Glasses filled, clink-clink 'Congratulations, she's gorgeous', when suddenly shock horror, I glance at my FIL, he's only using one of my breast pads as a coaster!  

I wasn't expecting visitors, I'd just whipped them out on the coffee table.  I can still see in my mindseye, Bern (the FIL) having to hold down the soggy breastpad as it kept sticking to the bottom of his wine glass. 

As it goes, I had lots of breastpads over, reckon they just went into landfill, in today's sustainable conscious times perhaps I should have used them as disposable coasters? 

xx Emma-Lou 






Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Verdict... Guilty

The other day our Willow got a rash, it was an angry sort of rash, made worse by Willow itching himself raw.  Funny thing, Willow diagnosed himself with, 'itchma'. Anyhow it got worse throughout the evening, so I rang out of hours, they squeezed him into 'GoDoc' at the hospital.  To state here, the National Health Service in this country is fantastic, if you need medical advice/reassurance/treatment, how lucky we are that it's so FREELY available.  So it turns out, it's an eczema allergy type thing, caused by new jumpers, that #BadMa didn't wash before putting them on. 

#Obvs when the kids are poorly; it's all about me, I started to feel so guilty. It's ridiculous, but the more I mulled it over, the more guilt came over me.  It had to be my fault, Lizzy has never had eczema, why would she I breastfed her for miles longer than Willow.  With m'laddo I gave up the minute he turned 26 weeks (the bugger was a biter, and had top and bottom teeth).  Over the coming days, whenever I put the steroid cream on his little arms, I had a tear in my eye thinking 'This is my fault this is'.  It isn't really, eczema - it's just a childhood thing, but the pressure we mothers put on ourselves.  I don't remember feelings of such inappropriate guilt before the kids came along.  It's like when your newborn is put in your arms, you immediately start with the self inflicted guilt-trip! 

When I was on my first mat leave, I felt guilty because I had to go back to work, how could I leave my baby to fend for herself in a private nursery?  Five years later, second baby  I felt guilty because I was desperate to go back to work, I counted down the days for when I could abandon my child to paid childcare!   

     I feel guilty that my kids have happy meals 
     I feel guilty that some days I countdown the minutes till they're in bed
     I feel guilty that sometimes I'm not really listening to them
     I feel guilty that they still share a room
     I feel guilty that I don't push the veg more than I should
     I feel guilty at the sheer number of late tickets they get
     I feel guilty with my poor effort on dress up days 
     I feel guilty that I don't help out more at School 
     I feel guilty that I don't really want to help out at School 
     I feel guilty that I don't take them swimming enough 
     I feel guilty that I let them have chocolate brioche for breakfast on school days
     I feel guilty when I shout at them simply because I'm feeling a bit moody... 
           I really could go on...

The main charges against me - 

Biscuit giving, I distract Willow with biscuits, so I can faff round on FB without disturbance - GUILTY 

Abandonment - I only go to the gym/run/bootcamp to get away from my family - GUILTY 

Bribery - I drop Lizzy a bung if she sees to Willow in the morning (set him up on YouTube and give him a cereal bar) - GUILTY 

Perhaps I am guilty as charged..... send her down.... 

xx Emma-Lou