Blowing away the holiday

As the saying goes, ‘The sea remembers what you forgot’. In this instance, we forgot to download the marine weather app to our mobile phone. We had planned a sea crossing to a popular island n England’s South-East coast, but on the day it was dead calm, we decided to anchor down at a beach for a while too long followed by supper at a marina for my Dad’s birthday. The plan was to make the crossing the following morning. We awoke in the morning o gale force winds and gusts, not all that confidence inspiring on a small boat with two kiddywinks in tow. So we decide to hedge our bets and head back to our mooring. 

On a good note we made it back to our mooring in record time with a few grins thanks to fill sails to go with it. Thankful for the shelter of the harbour, we assure ourselves that we made the right decision. Once home, we consult the weather app to find winds dont improve much, so the week we had earmarked for the boat has had to change (plus one night spent with two children on an 18 footer sent my husband calling ‘time out’ the following morning……he has been looking at bigger boats ever since.

So now tomorrow we have swapped the water for tarmac and are spending the rest  of the holiday on a motorhome. Don’t get us wrong, we would rather be at sea but the weather is not on our side.

Sometimes I feel like I am married to Mr Toad from Wind in the Willows. Next it will be the gypsy caravan, narrow boat or train…..or Easyjet.

This blog raises money for Unicef, so I will be putting a pound in the pot for every day of missed blogging.

Hope you are enjoying the summer and thanks for reading.

A Bed of grass

I was going to blog last night, but like some ‘vexed’ heroine from a Jane Austen novel I passed out way before my bedtime, but not on an antique chaise longue. I awoke at 1am still fully clothed and the curtains wide open letting the full moon-shine straight into the bedroom. Like a baby all put of routine, i got up, got changed managed to sleep for another hour or so and then by 3am i couldnt silence my churning thoughts any longer and retreated to a cup of tea and a good book.  I then returned to bed at 4am. As a result i feel jet-lagged, or slightly hungover but with the exotic holiday or the enjoyment of a drunken stupor, removed from the equation. I cant even turn to chocolate for a quick fix as I am on the ‘I quit sugar’ diet.

So there isnt much ‘in me’ to blog about today except my other ‘go to’ – horses.

Like many working Mums who are ‘horsey’, riding is a luxury, there is never enough time or the ‘right time’ to disappear on your own for a few hours to faff with a horse (because horses require a lot of faffing), a bit like motorbikes. So i just like to be around them (also a bit like motorbikes). I help to look after some horses near me in exchange for enjoying the odd ride. When i turned up today i notice one of the horses had a nasty case of sweet itch and a sore where his fly mask had been rubbing. So jumped at the chance to play horsey nurse (i am still about 8 really). So i get him in next to a haynet, rummage in the cupboard for lotions and potions, flick on the kettle for hot water and set to with his mane, pulling and trimming and fussing. He isnt too sure but lets me do it anyway with the odd irritated head flick every now and then, sometimes he turns his neck round me to have a cuddle. Thats what i love about horses, they all have their own unique personalities, like dogs. The key is to know how to treat them according to their sensitivities.

Like a horse i used to ride who could sense the vet had arrived even before he saw him. One time the vet turned up to give him an injection in his hock. I was in his stable and the horse was relaxed munching on hay. Then he heard a car arrive and the vet got out. The hay he was munching froze mid chomp and his ears stood up like they were on sentry duty. He was a big horse and the vet wasnt relishing the deed of inserting sedative into his neck but he managed it. As the horse got sleepy some of jis body weight started o rest on my arm but i couldnt move while the vet was injecting for fear of waking him up. There have been cases when vets have accidentally syringed themselves when a horse has moved and i didnt want that to happen.

Sadly the injection didnt work and the horse is enjoying retirement rather than motoring round the countryside, he is lucky he lives in a home where they are happy to see a horse enjoy just being a horse, hanging out in the field, without any purpose for humans accept to keep the grass down – which he does very well. I wish life was that simple – not seeking new grass, just keeping the existing grass in check.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Not such a clever box

The trade-off of enjoying an evening off child-free is that somehow they make you pay for it the following day. My husband and I went to bed in the small hours so we didn’t quite have enough energy for the day ahead, combine this with a baby boy who didn’t get a good night’s sleep and you get the picture.

But bizarrely as soon as the children are in bed and you have a moment to sit down uninterrupted, energy levels are instantly restored, tempting us out of the decision to have an early night.

The reason for our reluctance to turn in is in the shape of a new smart TVand digi box.

My husband and I have never bought our own TV, we have managed to rely on parents’ hand-me-downs. So, when faced with which TV o get t was overwhelming. Three shops and 100 TVs later and we were making our first purchase. I was most excited about the prospect of recording programmes so was disappointed when we returned home to find the TV required another bit of tech available separately to make this happen. Surprise, surprise it was going cost another £150.

I was also excited about catching up on the isle of man tt race through the itv player on the TV. I scanned the entirety of the channel but could not find any footage of the race anywhere.

We then decided to  watch BBC iplayer instead and selected programme only  to have to wait 5 minutes in frequent pauses for buffering, because of our internet connection in the sticks.

This is why i dont get excited about technology, because it never seems to quite deliver.

So we went on a dog walk instead.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.


I enjoy blogging and believe it is an important part of my daily routine, but I can only find time to do it in the evening, sometimes late evening (as in the case of tonight) if I have been out (in tonight’s case – a rare time out with the girls). I have noticed very the past few weeks I have been more tired than normal and a bit more irritable than normal. This is partly due to waking up early to ensure baby boy is on the potty before he wakes up and partly because it takes me so long to wind down to sleep. Even if it is late, I still need to do my anti saddle-bags exercise and read a book. I am a terrible creature of habit.

In a news programme this morning, a psychologist said that people should not be looking at tablets, pcs, smartphones and other ‘blue light’ technology within an hour of going to bed as it is too stimulating for the brain and will lead to difficulty in sleeping and a restless sleep – well that’s my problem. I have so little sleep that I am starting to experience random behaviours (such as forgetfulness, erratic behaviour and bizarre behaviour….. singing ‘bananas in pyjamas’ at the top of my voice in my local shop as I was helping myself to a bunch….I did not realise how weird this was until the shopkeeper asked if I was ok.

So as it is late, I will end this blog with a rather nice rhubarb crumble recipe I tried out a couple of days ago and will endeavour to write hs blog long before bed-time before my family dis-own me for being a sleep deprived grumpy old witch.

Enjoy the  rhubarb crumble.

This blog is for UNICEF – support the campaign here.

Thanks for reading.


Teething problems

I am so tired. Baby boy is approaching his 1st birthday and his teeth are making one final push to produce a full set. This time its a molar and we are all experiencing the pain. Once again I am not sure how much sleep any of us got last night but pretty sure we didn’t get anywhere near REM.

We overslept (apart ffrom Hubby who is always up at stupid o clock). It was one of those moments when you wake up and are momentarily oblivious to how long you have slept, what time it is and where the hell you are in the routine of the week. One glance of the clock pushed the panic button “7.30!” So much to do in 30 minutes I didn’t know where to start. Amazingly we made it out of the door and daughter managed to make it on the bus. Then I was stuck in the traffic jam from hell with 3 factors all working against the flow of the traffic simultaneously: utility works, road closure because of a christmas market and a road closure because of an accident.

What I find surprising is the lengths people will go to in order to avoid a traffic jam. In the space of 2 minutes I saw 2 cars go the wrong way up a one way street to avoid traffic. One twat even attempted to go round a blind corner, flanked by walls either side the wrong way. He would have been welcomed by police the other end who were blocking the road – I bet they had a field day.

This set the one for the rest of the day – it never really got going. Things wre being added to my to do list faster than I could get things done. However I was happy to settle for the fact that, given my lack of sleep, I managed to get out of the door in the morning and hold normal conversations with adults witout cocking up. I will consider that my achievement for the day!

I hope all sleep deprived parents had a similarly successful day….

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign visit my Unicef fundraising site.

Thanks for reading.

I blame it on lack of sleep..

After ranting yesterday about my wallet going walkabout, what did I find this afternoon….Yes you guessed it. In a hoovering frenzy, I bent down to pick up my daughter’s PE kit and there it was sitting on top. What the fuck was it doing there?

After school pick-up I feel I need a pack horse to transport the amount of luggage I accumlate from the car to the house. Friday was particularly bad because it was half-term (hence the PE bag) plus I had the usual baby bag and a load of shopping. I just didn’t have enough hands. So, I decided in my wisdom to consolidate everything – hence my wallet ending up in the PE kit. As I was doing this I was thinking at the time “I must remember that I have put this stuff in the PE bag”.

A night of next to no sleep put paid to any hope of remembering anything apart from my name on Saturday. I must have walked past her bright pink PE bag a dozen times while I frantically searched everywhere for the wallet and then got busy cancelling a card that was sat in my corridor inches away. GRRRR how frustrating. Its gonna take 5 – 7 days for my replacement card to come through at a time when I really need it for half term. At least days out will be restricted to a budget as I will have no other means of payment except cash.

I also wasted at least 10 minutes of my life getting a librarian to issue new cards – double GRRRRR. Is it possible to get alzheimers in your thirties. If not maybe I will be the youngest sufferer ever.

It really is worrying how lack of sleep can affect your brain’s ability to process simple tasks. Not long after I had my first child, I was sat in my car at a roundabout for what seemed like half an hour trying to recollect the rules on who gives way to who. I could actually feel my brain trying to find the right card in the neurological equivalent of a rolodex. It was having trouble locating the card marked ‘passed driving test 1997’ – it felt like hold music should be playing – either that or the engaged tone. All of this delayed thinking was interrupted by a car horn behind me. To which I flicked the international sign for go fuck yourself and decided to wait even longer just to piss him off. Its not the ‘baby on board’ sign that should be put on display in a car, it should be ‘Caution: sleep deprived mum behind the wheel, back the fuck off’.

Anyway I am delighted to be reunited with the my wallet even though it hadn’t travelled far. It felt like I had lost a limb, I felt temporarily disorientated when I couldnt find it. We all do the ‘keys, wallet, phone’ check when we leave the house and it is very difficult to leave the house minus one of these items (particularly your keys…duh). It knocked me out of kilter for the rest of the day ( particularly as I had lost my brain too).

I am looking forward to a time when your phone, keys and wallet will be replaced by, say, one of your fingers and that all you will need to pay for an item/ unlock a car/ call someone is your fingerprint. I think that was in a film – although I can’t remember which one? (surprise, surprise).

I am blogging every day for Unicef in the vain hope that someone will read my blog and be inspired to donate a £1 to help Unicef’s good work around the world. Visit my fundraising site for more details.

Thanks for reading.



Trick after oodles of treats

So today I shouldn’t have got out of bed. After crawling into bed at 1am after my son’s all-night party (not bad for 10 months) I decided to adopt the ‘controlled crying’ method and leave it for 15 minutes for going in to settle him. I looked at the clock and planned to go in once the 15 mins had passed – I never got to that stage. Either it worked and he settled himself or my body just passed out. Not for long though because it was party time again between 4 and 6am. The reason? Another cold and lots of coughing poor chap.

So I got up after feeling I had never really been asleep and embarked on the Saturday morning routine of preparing for my daughter’s trip to Saturday Theatre school. I pack the change bag for my baby boy, check I have enough money for the car parking and….wait…where’s my wallet? Once you have checked all the usual areas panic starts to set in. Time was running out and I still couldn’t find my wallet. Like most women (I believe) I keep lots in my wallet so its a right pain in the arse if it gets lost or stolen.

After dropping my daughter off I realise that I have indeed lost it – great this is my Halloween ‘trick’. The only place I could think of where it may have gone astray was a playzone about 40 mins drive. I called it and they checked for me to no avail. So either someone found it and scarpered with all my loose change or it is still lying undiscovered somewhere. It’s my fault. So determined am I to cram everything I need into one bulging change bag that some things end up balancing precariously on top of the bag.

So debit card cancelled, no means of topping up my mobile so cant make calls (even though I topped up a few days ago but a few calls to 118 118 drained me.) The only other thing I considered important was my library cards so have ordered replacements. I have learnt the hard way over the decades not to put anything valuable in your wallet (or anything that is a pain in the arse to replace). I have lost count of how many wallets I have lost in various different scenarios:
– putting my wallet on a burger king tray and then tipping the entire contents of the tray in the bin
– paying for a wurlitzer ride while the gypo spins me and my friends around (clever tactic as my wallet flies out of my hand… doubt into the hands of another gypo).
– stolen at least twice

The day finished with a Halloween party in my village for the kids which turned out to be a great (but cold evening). Best competition had to be challenging the kids to eat doughnuts without licking their lips. I didnt win the pumpkin carving competition though – despite drawing the crowds of kids with a row of Cadburys Screme eggs jammed in its mouth.

Trick or treat I love Halloween.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you can spare a pound that would be great – visit my site to donate.

Tiredness can kill

I would like to be able to tell you how much sleep I got last night but it is difficult to quantify. Thirty seconds here, 5 minutes there. If I was lucky I may have got a 30 minute stretch but its all just a blur. In-between my attempts to sleep were the interludes of a screaming snotty, teethy, coughy baby. I tried everything known to desperate sleep deprived mums around the world…short of chucking him out of the window (I did very briefly consider it). As the night wore on I was like a Zombie trying to measure out 5  mil spoonfuls of Calpol in half light and spilling the contents of teetha sachets everywhere (It looks remarkably like cocaine but judging by my baby’s reaction, doesn’t have the same effect).

“For the love of God” I cried to no-one in particular APART FROM MY HUSBAND SLEEPING BLISSFULLY NEXT TO ME. It doesn’t help to wake him up though. Unless you want to repeat everything you have just tried but with a critique of how you performed it  (grrrr). “Just leave him” says my  husband and rolls over again. My husband has very bad hearing, he has had it since a child. He wears a hearing aid during the day and then when he needs to shut out the world he just takes it out – simples. I have slightly wonky hearing too, but not as bad. My right ear can only hear loud bangs and explosions. So If I lie on my left side I can muffle my left ear, which is almost as good as putting ear plugs in. When the ENT specialist talked about my right ear’s capabilities, he didn’t say that it would still be possible to hear a crying baby when I cover my left ear. For the first time ever I envied my husband’s hearing loss.

You can’t just leave him to cry. The rule is leave a crying baby for no more than 15 minutes and if the crying persists then go in and check. Well my son was just warming up in those 15 minutes. So I take him out of the cot convinced he is dying of something excruciatingly painful given the noise he is making. Once in my arms he instantly stops, makes a few big heavy sighs and hiccups and then gives me the biggest gappy toothy grin, aka Elton John. Almost all is forgiven. I rock him in the chair a while and then he finally waves the white flag. I glance at the clock – 3am.

Then I hear another noise, little voices whispering. Lack of sleep can do funny things to you. However it turned out to be my daughter and her sleepover buddy. “Girls be quiet” I hiss. They quite wisely obey. I then go back to bed fall to sleep immediately and then awake again to my baby boy’s cries – its still dark, still night and as I glance at the clock I realise its only 3:05. Then it all started again. When morning came I was like a vampire shying away from the light. Hubby was up feeding the little monster and fending off cries of “We’re hungry” from my daughter and her friend. I just about managed to get myself upright out of bed but then I was out of sorts the whole day. At breakfast I dropped my spoon and then hit my head on the table as I stooped to pick it up. At the toddler group I was in a corner being as anti-social as a hermit necking back espressos. I managed to grab an hour and a half’s nap in the afternoon while my daughter played and trashed the place and my baby boy FINALLY slept.

I am glad I have written this because I can read it if I ever get broody again. I would kill to have a good night’s sleep – so it’s right to say tiredness can kill!!!    The best night’s sleep I had was last weekend when I slept on the sofa after a couple of glasses of wine. Maybe I will try that again………

I am blogging every day for Unicef – please visit my fundraising page if you are able to support me. I am aiming for £1 a day.


Sleep deprived by baby? Jump on a motorbike

Yes I haven’t slept for 2 nights courtesy of my cold filled bambino boy. Karvol, Calpol and lots of steam filled bathrooms trips are only a temporary fix for a bad case of man flue and teething. Recognising the lack of sleep I am getting, my husband suggests it might be an idea to go out on my motorbike to ‘let my hair down’.

Why not? I say to myself but am stroppy when I put my biking stuff on as it takes so long to get ready just to whizz round the block (about a 6 mile round trip) which includes a fabulous straight road that I think has been there since Roman times (I wonder if the Romans were thinking about us bikers when they built them all those centuries ago). The wind was buffeting my helmet rather than blowing through my hair but it felt good and was convinced I was breaking the land speed record but when I glanced down at the speedometer it only said 80! I was insulted!

As I approached the last 2 miles tiredness hit me like a train and I knew I had to turn back from home. My body was willing but my tired brain waved the white flag. My trainer once told me how he nearly feel asleep on the bike once on his way home. He only woke up when his left hand slipped off the handlebar. I don’t know how that is possible. I don’t think I could ever be that relaxed on a bike. At every corner you have to think about the right line to take, while minding out for kamikaze drivers T-boning you and 6 foot deep pot-holes.

But boy did it feel good and strangely made me approach my 3rd night of no sleep with a little bit more zest. I thoroughly recommend it.

My husband is now talking about chopping my bike in and upgrading it to something with a little bit more ‘poke’ for him. But a) While my moments on a bike are rare, they are very very important to me when I do snatch a few moments away from work, home and family ….and b) Once you know how to ride a bike you don’t ever want to ride pillion again. I remember when I was struggling to manoeuvre the bike for the Mod 1 test when you have to push it from one coned off area to another. One of my instructors could see I was struggling so he said ‘give up and ride pillion’ and I told him to fuck off – he smiled and that’s what made me pass.

A bit of a short one today and I missed yesterday because I rode on my bike instead of blogging so another pound in the pot for Unicef. If you enjoyed reading this short but (I hope) sweet post please could drop £1 to Unicef.


How long can you go without sleep?

Well, I’m knackered – first post since weekend of ‘Tree Festing’ and have a tiredness that won’t go away – feels like a cloud hovering over my head. No matter how hard I try to encourage the cloud away – positive energising thoughts, exercise, caffeine, more caffeine…. – it just won’t go away. A bit like the clouds we have experienced in the UK this ‘Summer’.

This tiredness can best be described as a fog of sleep deprivation accumulated through the months and years of being a parent. If I had known that 8am would be a luxury lie-in, then I would have relished the 12 noon wake-ups when I was a student a whole lot more. Back then my boyfriend and I knew we were being self-indulgent (stir at 12, watch a bit of TV in bed, maybe a bit of sex, followed by an all-day breakfast at Goodbodys in Plymouth)

But of course we didn’t have a clue that we would experience the complete opposite in our 30’s ( woken up at 5am by baby, settle baby, up again at 6am, settle baby, up again at 7am, feed baby milk, fix breakfast for 6 year old, put washing on, feed dogs, do dishes, prepare baby’s porridge, glance at clock…8am time for coffee to keep going for at least next 2 hours) …….Apparently the caffeine kick only lasts 20 minutes.

I just don’t look at the back of my eyelids enough any more so guess my over indulgent days as a student were simply preparation for sleep deprivation in later life.

It is sod’s law that once you finally get into a situation where you could potentially have a good sleep it just don’t happen. Like this weekend in a gorgeous hotel room – both children fast asleep – some blokes across the street have an all-night conversation at the top of their voices and the hotel bed, while fabulous to look at, is one up from sleeping on a bed of nails. Either that or my princess tendencies detected several pea like lumps under the mattress.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of our stay in Gloucestershire, but I could have done with a bit more energy before embarking on the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum trails and the Tree Fest – highlights were the Bateleurs performing in the Big Top and the chainsaw carving. Best of all was standing under the mighty and majestic trees in the arboretum. Some huuuuoooge Douglas Firs – their presence in the UK made all the more amazing an admirable because of the fate of the man who introduced them, David Douglas, who came a cropper when looking for rare tree samples in Hawaii at the tender age of 35 and was trampled to death when a wild bull landed on top of him after falling into a cattle pit. I will never look at a Douglas Fir in the same way again……..or cattle pits….if I ever come across one….which I hope I don’t.

A few more quid donated to Unicef during my downtime over the weekend. Back to you now – if you like reading this post please donate £1 to Unicef – see my fundraising page.

Thanks for reading.