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Showing posts from 2011

F is for Fake Father Christmases in the A-Z of A Humdrum Christmas

What a pledge that was, posting a letter every day! F is for Fake Father Christmases. Elf has seen a couple this year, the first was at the school party. He said afterwards "He was fake, I could tell cos his beard was rubbish". The same day we saw the second, at a garden centre where you can have tea with Santa . The Big FC spends about 5 minutes with each child chatting about their year, and what they want for Christmas. He really is a good one.  Elf said afterwards "I could tell he was real as his beard was real. But the only reason he looked fake was his white gloves." I said  that he needed to keep his hands clean. He didn't focus on the fact that the school FC said he was off to New Zealand - how did he make such a quick trip? I think next year I'm going to have to explain that Santa needs helpers as he's too busy making toys and reading lists. How he's growing up. And that second beard wasn't real...

E is for Eavesdropping in the A-Z of a Humdrum Christmas

On Friday, I was at a spa day with my best friend and Mr Humdrum took Elf to the pub to meet up with the gang. We meet our old nursery group every Friday for Beer O'Clock.  I met them there, and found that the evening's activity was to write a letter to Santa. (They used to play outside but it is rather cold now so we take entertainment as they are too young for the pool table.) Elf's letter said: Meriy Chrismas HO HO HO  To Santer meriy Chrismas luf "Elf".  I woold lick wich docter thanck you from "Elf". Witch Doctor is from Lego Hero Factory - click here to see him.  Anyway I digress. E is for Eavesdropping . As Nana has already got Witch Doctor for him, and he's only put one toy on the list (so polite), how do we explain that Nana has it for him instead of Santa? If we let him think Santa has it, he will think Nana has nothing for him. I suggested in the kitchen this morning to Mr Humdrum that we say that Santa had already bought som

D is for Dancing in the A-Z of a Humdrum Christmas

Well I haven't been doing very well in my attempt to post in this A-Z every day! Oh well. D is for Dancing . Firstly we went to see Adam Ant last weekend, for the second time this year, and he was, again, amazing. After the gig, we went dancing in our local cool club  Scandals . What has this got to do with Christmas? Um not much. Which leads me to my second post on Dancing. Ballet dancing - The Nutcracker . What a magical Christmassy thing to do ... trip up to London by train, walking through Covent Garden at night, and the ballet at the Royal Opera House. We had an amazing time, thank you to my friend who got us the tickets (she used to work there in the marketing department). I can't wait to go again!

C is for Charity in the Humdrum A-Z of Christmas

Oops well I haven't kept my promise to blog every day!  C is for Charity . Charity begins at school for Elf, he had a visit from the Portsmouth Foodbank  at his Harvest assembly. This is an organisation providing three days' emergency food to local people in crisis. A member of their staff gave a talk to the whole school, and even now, Elf asks when are we going to give food to the bank again. I think we are doing Christmas presents for local children through them as well. They had a stand outside my local Waitrose yesterday and we were able to pick up a little shopping list to help with donating. I donated tinned potatoes, minced meat in gravy and fruit salad. They really are a worthwhile charity and when I told him how good his colleague's talk was at the school, he said he'd had another little boy from the school recognise him! This shows that the personal touch works to show charity in context in your community to youngsters. With all the consumerism (anoth

B is for Bad Mum in the Humdrum A-Z of Christmas

Bad Mum didn't get around to sorting out the advent calendar for Elf. Oops. I knew it was the 1st of December today, I just didn't get my act together! Elf woke up this morning and the first thing he said was "Can I open my calendar?" I thought as I hadn't mentioned it, he wouldn't remember.  However tonight I have sorted it out. Mr Humdrum got the two Christmas bits'n'pieces boxes out of the garage and I found the Christmas truck with little boxes in that is Elf's advent calendar.  Mr Humdrum had bought mini choc bars to put in, but they don't fit! Instead I filled them with the leftover eye chocolate from Hallowe'en, and added a little note in tomorrow's drawer. A sort of riddle: My first is in mum's name My second is in not right, but .... My third is in an orange coloured fruit My fourth is in something you eat to make you see in the dark My fifth is in something you fly high in the sky Of course, this riddle w

A in the Humdrum A-Z Christmas

I set myself a task this week of posting every day on my Humdrum A-Z of Christmas.  A is for " All set yet ?" Those three little words that you hear from the SECTS (Smug Early Christmas Tossers) in about October, followed by "I am". No, I am not All Set Yet . I have thought about who I'm buying presents for, taken off dead and divorced people from my Christmas card list, added new partners and short people, culled the friends I'm buying for, worked out who I can slash pounds off due to my smart-buying ... but have only actually bought about 5 presents. And I have just realised that I haven't even got Elf's advent calendar ready for tomorrow. This is from the person who changed her introduction of her dissertation the night before it was due in (in the days before personal computers, and after a whole year's work) ... I like to live life sort of near the edge . I don't want to be all organised by the time November arrives. I am not s

My A to Z of a Humdrum Christmas

Having not posted much recently, due to not having much to say (!), I propose to post daily during December my A to Z of a Humdrum Christmas. I'll start on 1 December OK?

PND End the stigma

I found this badge, and site, through  A place of my own  and was touched by her frankness about "experiencing" Post Natal Depression rather than "suffering".  Five of my friends have experienced PND with their first children, at least one of them having been previously depressed. All of them have made good recoveries, three of them have gone on to have more children, the other two didn't but I don't think that PND was the reason in either case. I too support talking about PND, not as a fellow experiencee, but as a friend of those who have. 

Me in Lego

I caught Mr Humdrum and Elf laughing to themselves in an evil way the other day whilst playing Lego. (They were playing Lego not me.) Then they showed me this. It was me, apparently. Now Elf likes to throw this at me whilst doing an impression of me screeching because I don't like spiders. It's true, I don't like them. But I don't mind saying I quite like the outfit! Go girl!

Venn diagrams and apostrophes

I am a very happy mum. This week Elf (5) has been learning about Venn diagrams . I am obsessed with Venn diagrams, believing that everything in life can be expressed in terms of a Venn diagram. I even have a book of song title expressed in these simple closed curves drawn in a plane.  I am also in amazement still at my son's first visible use of an apostrophe. And it was correct! His dad at 40 still can't get the hang of them, so you can imagine how my heart burst with pride. Now I know you will fall into one of two camps. Camp 1 = I have no idea what a Venn diagram is and I don't understand or care about apostrophes. Camp 2 = so passé now, but I bought Eats, Shoots and Leaves, and gets annoyed at greengrocers' apostrophes (I even blogged one from Waitrose !). The picture above shows Elf writing Erin's house. It's not very clear, for which I apologise, but it is there. My heart swells.

New map reader

I can't read in the car because I get car sick. I can't read a map because... well I just can't. Therefore I am no good as a sat nav. Mr Humdrum relies on Google maps on his iPhone. Here he is teaching Elf to read a map, to replace his old mum! Go Elf! (By turning left and going straight ahead for 200 yards.)

Ben10 @ Book Week

It was Book Week the other week. And again, it was Come to School Dressed as a Book Character day. Last  year, he dressed as  Captain Flinn .  This year, Elf wanted to go dressed as Ben10. I was trying to get him to go as a classic  book character - like Dennis the Menace (or comic character!), not a character from a TV series that has made it into book format ... ... but as you can see, he won. And he did take a Ben10 book in. I suppose as long as they read, does it really matter what they read? Am I just a purist?

Are you on the flames today dear?

Since Elf went back to school this year, I've been asking him each day if he was on the flames. Your school probably does similar; Elf starts the day on the rocket, then can move up to the moon for possibly being the only one to tuck his chair in, then even further up to the star for good listening. He could however go down to the orange flames for not good listening, or even further down to the red flames for, as was the case in the first week, going onto Google on the lap tops, instead of Education City. (Mr Humdrum said Well at least he knows how to do it. Not the point.) So after a chat with the lovely Mr G, his teacher, I decided to use bribery. Elf could have his 50p school shop money on Friday provided he wasn't on the flames. A day on the star could result in £1 pocket money. A few weeks in now, and he's been OK so much so that last week when he was on the orange flames for squirting water from his water bottle, I wasn't really bothered.  Parents&

I'll be getting my oats soon

About this time of year, something you do or see indicates the turn of the season. For some people, it's the first time they have to jumper-up. For others, putting on the heating. I did smell a bonfire a couple of doors down the other day at 5:30pm; not great when your washing is still out. (Isn't the watershed 6pm?)  For me, the changing of the season is encapsulated in the moment when I fancy a bowl of steaming hot porridge for breakfast. Not Jamie Oliver's  pukkolla  that I've been eating for ages now - the definitive summer breakfast, an amazing alternative to my winter favourite. But hot, gooey, creamy, rough oaty porridge. Topped with honey as a treat, goji or blueberries and nuts. Yummy. You still go to work with the orange Ready Brek glow around you even when you nowadays buy Waitrose's Duchy organic oat and barley porridge , and you don't feel hungry til lunch time. (But don't even start me on Oatsosimple - no link there!) If only I could get

Foreign shrapnel

  Elf emptied out his silver Darth Vader money pot and with Mr Humdrum's help, separated local legal tender from foreign shrapnel. Mr Humdrum said "You can spend that pound coin in England." Pointing to the foreign coins, Elf said "Do I have to go somewhere else to spend this money then, like Nana and Grandad's?" They live in Cornwall.

Competitive tiredness

This is a get well soon card from one of Elf's cohorts. As you can see, there is a great big cross on his right ear, depicting the awful ear infection that Elf has suffered this past week. In fact he is still suffering. And so, dear reader, are we, his parents. From Competitive Tiredness. Well not that much actually, but it does remind me of all the times that we have. This week, I spent three nights with Elf sweating and screaming in my bed, while Mr Humdrum snored in the spare room. After all, he did have to go to work. The hourly (yes) screaming is obviously Elf's way of dealing with the hideous pain that is otis media, but after 45 minutes of howling, you either wish you had glue ear yourself, or you think the neighbours will report for you for child abuse. Not even a cuddle could help, it was that bad. Last night was my night off. Elf's superstrong antibiotics were taking effect halfway through the dose, at last. Elf has taken to calling them anti bionics, whi

New term, new shoes - for me I mean

The new school term looms, and we have yet to organise Elf's uniform. We had to order most of it, and so returned with empty shopping bags, except well, I thought it was time I had a new pair of shoes. I am looking for a smart-ish pair for work, which don't detract from

Je suis Madame Gazelle

Je suis Madame Gazelle! Or rather I was for 12 weeks at school. I'd been helping out Friday afternoons at school all year, during Passport Time, where they spend two weeks doing an activity, then move to the next activity (cooking, science, cheerleading, drawing, drama...). We'd covered French in this time, and I'd helped the Year 2 teacher to cover this - we introduced chocolat chaud , and croissants avec confiture , as well as learning colours, the French flag and general greetings.

Why can't I make flapjacks?

I'm not a bad cook. Admittedly I'm better at savoury courses than puddings. But I make nice buns, OK loaves, nice savoury  flapjacks, so why on earth do my sweet flapjacks always crumble? Why oh why? My cheese ones didn't crumble, they stayed together beautifully.  I followed a different recipe this time. The first one was a netmums one, this one from a book on children's lunchboxes.  Each time - failure. They taste nice, but they crumble.  Can anyone tell me where I'm going wrong? Your advice most certainly welcome. I am slightly embarrassed, as flapjacks are always in the "Cooking with children" sections! And it was the first thing I made in Home Economics at school aged 11, along with freshly squeezed orange juice! At least I will be able to team it with Greek yogurt for a nice breakfast this week eh?

A fishy day

My friend A, pictured  below, treated me for my birthday to a day at Champneys Town Spa for a fishy pedicure, and lunch at Cafe Rouge, followed by a spot of window shopping, or even shopping depending on how much wine we'd consumed. Here was our day... Started off with a late breakfast, after first class train travel Lovely fruity bread thing Two headless females brave the fishy pedicure Oh my god, it was the weirdest thing ever! A went first, as I was having my newly applied nail varnish removed. She seemed to be OK, just giggling a bit. We hadn't been drinking by this point, I should add! I dipped my feet in. I felt the little fishies swarm around my feet, in fact they favoured my left foot (I didn't think it wasn't a bad film either). I cried, not in a bad way, but just in a tickly way, I knew I couldn't take out my feet, but it was so hard to keep them in. I clutched A's hand the whole time, and squeezed her knee. Like the way that Elf squeezes m

Smug parent alert

No one likes a smug mum. Or a smug parent. I haven't been blogging regularly for a while, and I suppose I should conservatively blog to regain my loyal (if any?) followers!  But to hell with that. I'm going to be smug ok? Just for once. OK maybe twice.  Today we cycled to the local library to "find out about bears" for Elf's homework.  Using our own transport - tick Using local amenities - tick Not just googling "Where do bears come from?" - tick Looking in BOOKS - tick When we came home, we ate soup that ticks many boxes. home made - tick using home grown (or almost) ingredients - watercress from Mr M's garden, and potatoes harvested by Elf from last week's gardening club at school - tick I then made some buns as we had visitors and the leftovers were to be frozen for Elf's lunchbox. home made - tick controlled chocolate intake for lunch box - tick Then we read The Guardian. Tick?

Cake ... cake ... and more cake

My birthday cake (a day early) from The Tenth Hole Friday Breakfast Club Girls - Thanks x

Happy 40th to The Humdrums

Yep I celebrated my 40th last weekend. I'm not quite 40 yet, the big day is this Saturday. But Mr Humdrum is three weeks older than me, so we decided to celebrate together with a big house party. Now we used to hold parties every year for my birthday, but after Elf arrived, it just didn't seem to have the same appeal. We had 38 guests, groups of friends, school mums, NCT mums, uni friends, nursery parents, work friends ... Everyone there had a reason for being invited, whether it was for curing my headaches with their acupuncture, being the first mum in the playground to talk to me, or just ... well being a friend!  The debris of a party always amazes me, so I thought that instead of posting pictures of loads of drunken idiots dancing to I Eat Cannibal by Toto Coehlo, I'd post pictures of the day after.    Some notes on the party:- One person had a tactical barf in the alleyway (Mr Humdrum) One person barfed upstairs and passed out One husband disap

Dear Zoo revisited

A while ago I was either tidying up and chucking out, or getting ready to move, I can't remember and I had to make up my mind what to do with the toddler books. All the Thomas the Tank Engine ones, Dear Zoo, Hungry Caterpillar etc. Board books that survived the sucking and chewing, dearly beloved by Elf and his parents alike. Of course I wouldn't chuck it, I would store  it. But then something happened, oh yes life, and I didn't get around to the rest of my tidying.I had in my head that I would keep these books for Elf to read himself. And now he does read them. We take turns to read pages of his Thomas board books. It helps because he knows the stories, and the engines' names, but not well enough to cheat!  He read Dear Zoo all by himself the other day, we hadn't read it for absolutely ages. A bit of role reversal really, because I found myself doing the flaps! He was most pleased with himself too, giving his confidence a boost. I am glad I kept those books.

The original greengrocer's apostrophe

I’m glad it’s all over, as Captain Sensible once said

The last six months at work have been terrible, the darkest days of my career. Why? I don’t want to say I was bullied, but I was abused at work. An abuse of power. A colleague was promoted to be my manager, and that’s when the difficulties started. Cue months of anger, frustration, stress, headaches… I went to HR and got some good advice. I went to the doctor to put it on record. I got put on a plan, not quite a disciplinary but a coaching plan. Approaching 40 and being put on a coaching plan? I felt it was undeserved. But then so was the appraisal that, had it gone through, I would have been on a disciplinary! I’ve been doing this job for 11 years, so what’s changed? The management… My plan would last 60 days, with weekly meetings, and consisted of not embracing the company not communicating effectively (with no evidence provided at all) not finding quick positive solutions to problems This is what I was always told: Don’t stir things up, you don’t know what they will do They a

Why didn't I read the letter properly?

Dang and blast, as Boggit says. Or is it Bean? Elf starts talking about dressing up as a prince and wanting to make a crown. Then it dawns on me. I read the letter in the bookbag on the first day back about the Royal Wedding Menu (cheese or ham flatbread), but I didn't really read the rest of the letter. The first paragraph reads: Children are invited to dress up as a prince or princess to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Double dang and blast. Elf, Elf I love you, but we only have 14 hours to make a crown, I paraphrase from Queen's Flash Gordon. At least it involves no sewing. Thirty minutes later, having raided the two art'n'craft trays, this is my creation. And I'm quite proud of it. The gold and black material inside has in fact got skulls on it, but who will see that? He thinks it's cool anyway. I have got a picture of my Elf in a princess dress from last year. No I'm not THAT blogger from the US, and I'm not posting it here OK! Walking down the stair


For school holidays, I have an arrangement with Professor Mungleton, Elf's old nursery pal, as the parents all work.  Elf has been with Mungle's dad many times, and today was the first time that he'd come to us. Mr Humdrum stayed off today, I have that pleasure tomorrow. Mr H is then off the day after that too. Today, they made train tracks in the garden, developed a new addition to the luncheon repertoire, an Olive in Quaver which is an olive sandwiched between two Quavers. Obviously. Then they fed the ducks, played more cricket and made more train tracks. Tomorrow I'm taking them to the beach. Here they are playing music for the ducks and swans. You gotta love 'em.

Bike Sunday

I haven't blogged since the end of March and even then not regularly for a while. I have had a few things going on in my echoey head, and some good advice of "having a blogoliday" seemed to fit. I'm feeling more up to it now, so we'll see how this goes! Today we went for a family bike ride. Elf has ridden without stabilisers for coming up to a year soon, but he's still not got a road licence! He can now just about start properly by himself, and likes to go scrambling over the road with Mr Humdrum.  One of the reasons we moved to our current house at the end of September last year was to enjoy the huge piece of land opposite our house we call the common. OK so it's built on post-war landfill, but it's got three lakes, is next to the harbour and a small stony shore, and has a great area for scrambling. I envisaged family bike rides up to the pub at the top of the common. So today we did this for the first time! It was great to see the results of his w

3 reasons why I've lost the plot

I have seriously lost the plot. Here are three things that have happened in the last two days to explain why: Yesterday at work, some marketing literature wasn't ordered. I was sure that I'd done something wrong and got into a right panic. Colleagues were telling me I hadn't done anything wrong but I was sure I had. I hadn't. (But then I did. Someone asked me how many brochures to print - and I replied during a training session. Wrongly. I told them to print 6000 brochures when really we needed 2700! Thankfully that person hadn't read my email properly and so hadn't ordered 6000. Phew.) Yesterday again, I forgot to book Elf into the afterschool club! I have been doing odd training days and have had to shift my hours and days round all over the place (costing  me an extra £50 you know!). How I managed to miss yesterday I do not know. Thankfully the school are fab and took him last minute. Today, now this is the weirdest thing. I had a day off and after lunch,

Thought for my day

I'm not snobby about where I take my inspiration. Could be an ancient philosopher, or a line from an early 80s electro song. "But if you can't stand the test, you know your worst is better than their best." -- Phil Oakey, Human League That's how I'm going to view my day today!

Will I find the Middle Way?

I've always been an all or nothing girl. A whole packet of biscuits, or none at all. Diet coke all night or getting wrecked. I can't do anything by half measures. Much to my chagrin. And this is the problem with me, I think. (Well I have a lot of problems, but here is not the place to discuss all  of them, not the squeaky fingers against the duvet in bed problem, nor the button phobia which I share randomly with two other members of a small nursery-friends group!)

My son's scrummy Valentine card for me

The advantage of being mum to a little boy is that you get a scrummy Valentine card each year from him!  I got a lovely card from Mr Humdrum and a fab pair of silver heart earrings (to match my charm bracelet  and necklace  that I've been treated to over the past year or so). Thank you Mr H. (I got him some pants!) But they didn't come close (sorry Mr H) to Elf's Valentine card he made me at school last week, and came home today in his book bag.  The translation: To Mum Happy Valentine's Day I love my Mace Windu lightsaber and I love my mum's clothes. Love from Elf

My lost mojo wordle!

I hopped over to  barenakedmummy  and found the Wordle. Wow! I'd seen them but not realised how easy they are to create. So I put my last post  I've lost my mojo  in and here's the result.  What I am shocked about is how big the word WORK is. It's telling me something... Thanks BNM, it's a revelation in more ways than you can imagine!

I've lost my mojo...and it's my first year blogaversary

I've lost my blogging mojo. This week is my first blogaversary, and I feel I should do something to celebrate. But I've been going through a rather weird time the last few weeks, entirely due to work but unfortunately something that I can't blog about until later this year when "things change"... I've explored the reasons why I am still at work (benefits, money allowing me to have the freedom I enjoy outside of work, I enjoy what I do) and what would happen if I left (free to pursue what makes my heart sing, but doesn't make my money box jangle) and where do I see myself in five years time. All of these things are difficult to write about but they have completely stunted my ability to write anything! I have just about kept up my other personal family blog because that's mainly photos about things Elf is up to, and I've had a deadline in the Chichester Family Grapevine (see side of blog as my iPad won't do links) which made me actually write s

A day for me, me, me

Two friends have recently returned from spa breaks. I am jealous. I couldn’t justify spending money which should go instead on furnishing our new home, but I am tired, grouchy and could really do with a spa break. But if I really thought about it, what I actually need now is a whole lot simpler than that. And cheaper.  Here are my guidelines for an ideal mini-break.

The dreaded school run

Before Elf started school, I wanted to be a playground Yummy Mummy. I’d have lost that stone or three by then, so I’d be in my Yummy Mummy uniform of cool jeans, heels, “natural” makeup and immaculate hair. I was not going to be a Jeans’n’Fleece mum. Jeans’n’fleeces have their place, just not teemed with bedhead, no makeup, porridge on your chin and your other half’s coat slung over the top.  Jeans’n’Fleece mums are not Yummy Mummies.

Shhh don't tell anyone...I had time off

Nails done in a salon Nails done by a 4 year old, or have I got them the wrong way round?