Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I've got one nerve left...

A friend recently said to me that she had never understood what people meant when they said that their nerves had gone...until her sons came into her life.

Our boys are very good boys and we couldn't be prouder but what is it about that hour before the school run? I'm hoping I am not the only parent experiencing this 'before the chaos of the school run chaos.'

The morning goes something like this.....

1. Insist (with some noise) that the boys get out of their beds. Why they take no encouragement with getting out of bed at stupidly early o'clock at the weekends is a matter greatly discussed between my husband and I.

2.Get breakfast. Fairly simple you would expect but not really. The boys like different things for their breakfasts and have at least three courses each so we find ourselves bowing and nodding "will that be all Sir? Would Sir care to know the flavours of Frubes left in the fridge before Sir makes his final decision?" More fool us, I hear you.

3. They sit, eat and argue over what to watch on tv.

4. Then comes the dreaded moment after Dad's gone to work thinking, "ahh what lovely calm children I have." They are bored of tv, they have filled their faces for half an hour there is only one thing left to do according to them....play.

5. Playing might sound fair enough, but it's not people, don't be fooled. I get all of their clothes set out ready, toothpaste on the toothbrushes etc. and all looks organised. I then explain that mummy needs to apply her face and do something with the hair which is still under the towel from the shower. "Yes mother dearest, that is super. We shall get ourselves dressed and then proceed to play a calm, educational game."  Well they don't talk like that but I am lured into a false sense of security anyway.

The next stage is never the same. Last week on one occasion I came downstairs to find Darth Vader and Spiderman having a lightsaber battle in a den they had made out of wet towels from the bathroom. On another occasion the entire Lego box had been emptied on the floor which then made it impossible to manoeuvre around and get them ready without the excruciating pain of stepping on a piece of lego with bare feet.

This morning I had enough and explained with some expression to the boys that it wasn't fair that Mummy felt like she had done a full shift by 9am. I gave the look of disappointment and proceeded to apply concealer under the eyes.

I then came down to this....

Oh O...mother guilt!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Don't sniff a christmas tree...

The Christmas decorations have gone up early in the Sawyer household this year. Partly due to there being no Center Parcs holiday this year to start the official time when we are allowed to start being all festive because of our recently overseas adventures. Also, because why not eh! Who doesn't love flashing fairy lights and a bit of tinsel?

This year we decided to buy a real Christmas tree which was very exciting. We considered going full National Lampoon and going for a trek in the forest to find the perfect tree, but alas, other than potentially chopping down a neighbours overgrown conifer this appeared to be an unlikely option.

You know that feeling when you take your car for its MOT and the mechanic says 'so where do you keep your wheel brace?' "Errrr yes of course that most useful of all the braces, let me just stand here looking like I know what you are talking about for a few minutes.....nope I got nothing."

It felt a little like that. We walked around for a while looking intelligently at all of the different types of Christmas tree (apparently there are more than one type) when a man who looked like he took the business of Christmas trees quite seriously approached. Panic set in, "for god sake family look like we know what we are doing." He took one look at us and asked if we wanted a "chunky or thin" tree. Foiled!

Here are a few of things I learned today:

1. When someone tells you the tree has a nice scent, it is OK to sniff it but do so with caution. Some pine needles are sharper than others.

2. Don't get over excited regarding size....remember you do not live at Downton Abbey

3. Nordmann is not a place in the Netherlands.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

How we 'did Florida'

The Package!

For many people travelling to Florida to visit the theme parks the decision of accommodation often comes down to choosing between staying in one of the Disney hotels or renting your own villa.
Gaining some expert advice at this point seemed to be what we needed so we went to see the lovely people at North America Travel. After discussing the options and potential prices with them we decided to go for having our own villa for our ten day trip. I think what swayed it for us was the freedom that having your own villa gives you, the fact that you get your own pool, the cost and that we had had good experiences of staying in villas in the same area in the past.

Car hire is quite pricey but a must if you are staying in private accommodation. If you are a car fan this is where you might have the chance to treat yourself. My mum and dad drove around in a bright red convertible mustang for the 10 days. It cost my dad $8 to half fill his car! No wonder most Americans seem to drive around in huge, gas guzzling vehicles. Not brilliant for the environment though.

It might sound a bit silly but for me part of the experience is driving down the streets and seeing the very stereotypically American mailboxes and because of the time of year we got to see people's Halloween decorations. Self-catering means going to the supermarket - I could have spent hours walking around Publix! Key lime pie...check, Budweiser...check, diet coke...check, pizza...check!

The villa was huge with a master bedroom with en-suite, toilet, two living room areas an open plan kitchen, laundry room and of course the swimming pool on the ground floor. Upstairs were three big bedrooms and another bathroom.

Yes that will do to wake up to every morning and come home to every day.

Monday, 9 November 2015

How we 'did Florida'...

Our family  has recently returned from our biggest holiday to date...that's right, we've been to Disney!

Having such wonderful memories myself of childhood holidays to Florida with my family, taking our boys there once they reached what we felt was the appropriate age has always been a goal of mine.

There are things we had to consider before booking this holiday of a lifetime. The main consideration (of any holiday but especially one that is renowned for being very pricey) is one that winning the lottery could nicely eliminate. As the boys reminded us frequently with their x-factor worthy versions of Aloe Blacc's tune as we cruised along the interstate "I need a dollar dollar, dollar is what I need." A dollar won't get you very far. I saw someone spending $260 on wands from Olivanders in Hogsmead at Universal Studios. That's excessive but you get the picture. Its easily spent.

Once the money consideration had been deliberated over again and again and we decided that it could be done (sensibly) then the other main consideration for us was age; I don't mean us oldies, although I definitely don't have the energy I did when I visited the states at the age of 12. Other then my Dad who couldn't resist the variety of classic films on offer on any of the thousands of channels we had on our television (whilst we were there it was the same date that Marty McFly travelled forward in time too in Back to the Future which made the choice of films even better as you can imagine) we were in bed by 10pm most nights (rock and roll I know).
The best age to take the boys at was something we had to discuss. I wanted to go before our oldest was passed that fabulously innocent stage of believing everything is real. Yes some things were pricey but that look on my boys face when it appeared like he was actually doing magic with his Harry Potter wand was priceless and I'll never forget it. Worth every penny and then some.
There is a gap of three years and two months between our boys so we wanted to go when the magic was there for both of them but when the youngest would be big enough to enjoy plenty of rides and understand what was happening. I think we waited until the right time.

I want to share our experience and hopefully try and help convince anyone thinking about 'doing Florida' with the kids to go for it.

More to come

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Slimming efforts!

Since I last wrote about the diet attempts it has been a bit of a mixed bag of results. I lost a couple of pounds the first week then either maintained or lost a little in the few weeks after that. This week however, after a rather indulgent weekend I put on one and a half pounds. Boo.
We did however have a lovely weekend so it was worth the extra weight!
One of my favourites at the moment is making the slimming world crustless quiche. It's really simple to make, is filling and lasts a couple of days in the fridge. To make the quiche I usually fry a few rashers of chopped up bacon, add this to 5 eggs, around 200ml of milk and a sprinkling of cheese that have been whisked together. Season well, pour into a pie dish and bake for around 20 minutes. Yum.
This is another favourite of ours for dinner time...pizza topped chicken. http://www.slimmingworld.com/recipes/pizza-topped-chicken.aspx
Definitely worth a try.

Save money for your little ones with KidStart

Being able to shop online is a blessing for many of us. Busy lives, demanding little ones or simply not being that fussed about browsing the shops, whatever the reason lots of us are now choosing to buy things online
 It's not easy to put money aside for children's savings with the current high cost of living so every little helps. KidStart is a completely free shopping club which allows people to save money for their children when making purchases online.
It's really easy to get set up and many online retailers have signed up to the scheme. Every time you buy something a percentage of what you spend gets put in your child's savings pot.
I thought it sounded to good to be true but its quite simple. KidStart get paid by online retailers for promoting offers and advertising and the money made from this is used to run the scheme and pay the money collected by members.
Take a look at the following link and get signed up..

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Fat Club

I have been going to Slimming World for the past eight months and have lost a stone in total in that time. Although I'm happy that I have hovered around that stone loss for a while I have had a serious lack of motivation lately to lose anymore.

Today I have been to weigh-in and I have put 1 1/2 pounds on this past week. This does not come as a big surprise given the nachos, the chocolate, the wine etc etc.

I am however looking for a bit of a boost to get the weight loss going again so have decided to look for this in one of my favourite past times...blogging!
 I got my hands on the latest copy of the Slimming World magazine today and that always helps when feeling a bit lacking in inspiration. It looks like the summer issue is packed full of recipes so I'm going to try and have a go at cooking lots of those.

The relationship that us women have with our bodies is a turbulent one to say the least. I am having a fat week this week. Not helped by PMT I feel irritable, bloated and generally a bit of a chubster. This is where the control factor comes into play for me. Because I have fallen off the SW plan bandwagon recently I feel like I have lost control over my diet and I don't like this feeling. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself but I'm terrible for thinking "well I'm having a bad day on the diet anyway so I might as well carry on pigging out!" There is no way I'm going to deny myself a couple of glasses of vino on a Saturday night or a nice meal out every now and again but I'm going to try and change my attitude and get back onto plan quicker after the treat!

Right I'm off to get some chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow's dinner.

I do love a bit of organisation!

Watch this space