>Farewell to an era

>On Thursday afternoon I had hand surgery to remove two stones from my hand embedded there since a motorbike accident in Thailand eight years ago. Although I can now clap without fear of the stones jabbing into me I will miss my little quirk and way to entertain small children. It has made me realise how much of my life the stones have been present for and how I will miss them. So, my tribute to my stones and the memories we have shared:

  • Moving into my first flat with the Man after university, it was tiny but it was ours and celebrating it by breaking the bed.
  • Working in the City, so much fun in my early twenties, far too much wine and not enough sleep.
  • The Man proposing to me in Richmond Park and the only time in my life I have been speechless (I had to nod yes).
  • Our beautiful wedding in Cornwall where the sun shone down on us and we were surrounded by all of our family and friends and I was made to feel so special.
  • The positive pregnancy test at 11pm after three pints and the subsequent breakdown in a Tesco toilet.
  • The birth of the Boy and the agony I went through to get him out followed by pure amazement at what we had created.
  • So many Boy moments that have filled my heart with pride and happiness.
  • And a memorable last day together.

So goodbye dear friends, whilst you live on in a plastic pot I feel our relationship will not be the same again. I will miss you and think of you when I see my two scars.

>Silent Sunday – while Daddy played Golf


Silent Sunday

>5 things that make you feel GOOD

>I have been tagged by Super Amazing Mum in a blog chain which has originated from Scottish Mum called 5 things that make you feel good, Scottish Mum says:

“I have seen lots of posts about what we struggle with, or things that we like to do, and I’d like to find out a bit more information about all of you. This is my way of doing it. I am looking forward to visiting some of you on the blog hop.”

What you cannot choose.  The Rules are Simple

We all know that blogging/facebook/twitter is in our arena of what we like to do, so I am going to rule them out as one of the 5 that you can post about. They really are not very girly. Likewise, phones, computers, ipads are all out of the running. I am challenging myself to this, as I am really not a girly girly type of person, and I want to find that within myself. It’s not all about power suits, filofaxes, ipads and designer phones.

If you want to pass this along, pick bloggers that you want to find out more about, and challenge them to write up their 5 secret passions that make them feel good. The idea is to lift our spirits this week. The fact that there is a linky added, just makes it all the more worthwhile in doing.

So here are mine:

  1. My legs – I like my legs, they are long, brown and slim and look good in skirts and I have had lots of compliments on them.
  2. Baking – I love baking cakes, biscuits, muffins. I like cooking but there is something even more satisfying about making something a bit naughty that completely changes shape, texture and taste when you pop it in the oven. 
  3. Getting a massage – I have only had 4 or 5 in my life but I love them and wish I had more, I find it very very difficult to relax and fall asleep but I usually wake myself up with a loud snore when having a massage! Very classy.
  4. Sunbathing – I am a sun worshipper and there is nothing to compare to the feel of the sun penetrating your skin and bathing you in its warm glow. Lying on a beautiful beach alternating between swimming, reading and snoozing is my idea of relaxation heaven.
  5. Kissing – I love kissing and now I am lucky to have two gorgeous men to fuel my addiction (Man and Boy of course, I’m not a hussy!!)

I am tagging the following people in this: @tiddlyompompom @honestmummy @mrs_eddieizzard @northernmum1 @theboyandme

>Announcing Cybermummy Sponsor

>When I decided to go to Cybermummy I wanted to work with a brand whose product I believed in and could genuinely recommend and represent at Cybermummy. I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have found that in my sponsor, Baby Friendly Boltholes.

When the Boy was born we quickly realised that holidays would never be the same again (apart from the one where we left him with the grandparents!) and our needs were now very different and specific. Things like, pre-cooked meals, babysitters, soft play areas and providing all the baby essentials were all must haves on our holiday checklist. There are package holidays which are very well catered for family holidays but that has never been our thing. Thanks to my best friend, Google, I stumbled upon Baby Friendly Boltholes and was immediately impressed by the professional design and feel of the site (I must admit, I am a bit of an Internet snob and if a site doesn’t look neat or professional I won’t use it).

Baby Friendly Boltholes was set up by Sian Williams, a mum who worked in the luxury travel sector. As Sian says  “if you’re looking for somewhere that combines taste with toddlers and most importantly is run by the kind of people who know that it takes far more than a travel cot and a highchair to make a family-friendly  holiday, look no further!”

Since then we have booked two holidays through BFB and they have been fantastic. When the Boy was 9 months old we went to Le Manoir de Longeveau in France, a really lovely selection of apartments with great sports facilities (golf course, tennis, swimming) and a lovely man at the end of the road who would sell us fresh organic vegetables. When he was 20 months we went to Caserio del Mirador in Spain, again this was a wonderful holiday (for my full review of this you can look in the review section, second one down).

I cannot recommend BFB highly enough which is why I feel very happy to be representing Sian and her company at Cybermummy 2011.

>Why Mummy?

>The Boy: my pride and joy, my angel, the one who can only do wrong until he flashes me a smile, has discovered a new word. “Why” has suddenly entered his vocabulary and I am absolutely loving this, I was actually waiting for my opportunity to have a real conversation with him and to impart upon him all of my worldly knowledge. Unfortunately my knowledge is not quite as far reaching as I had hoped and, as I don’t own an internet phone, Wikipedia is not on hand 24/7 and he will not wait for “Mummy needs to Google that”. 

I feel like such a failure when I don’t know the answer, is it just me? I never really cared before if I didn’t know something as I could always look it up and learn but when my Boy asks me something I feel like I must know the answer or I’m failing him. I want him to know all the things I don’t, I guess that’s just another way we live vicariously through our children!

So far, I answer all his questions truthfully and to the extent my knowledge stretches that far but because his persistence far outweighs mine, the conversations inevitably end in “because”. I am off to buy a complete encyclopaedia now! 

>Save the world but not your marriage

>Ingredients: Husband, Child, Reusable Nappies

When I was pregnant with the Boy, one thing was clear to me, that I didn’t want to use disposable nappies as I couldn’t believe the statistic that the first ever disposal nappy still hasn’t degraded, and won’t do until it is 200 years old!! Multiply that by the amount of babies in the UK and the amount of nappies they use and that is a shit lot of nappies (I don’t usually swear but it just seemed appropriate here).

From a young age I remember my mum taking me to the recycling bank and exchanging a big bag of tin cans for some coppers and whilst at the time I found it tiresome and embarrassing she must have gotten to me. These days, not only do I use reusable nappies and recycle where I can (although that is much more commonplace these days), in my job I work solely with renewable energy projects.

Having said that, my desire to us reuseable nappies has taken its toll on my marriage as the Man hates the nappies with a passion – to be fair they stink and are often covered in faeces – and glares at me while he has to scrape the poo into the toilet bowl. We have other recycling related relationship issues as I love to collect the cans and bottles but make him take them to the tip, but I don’t want to go to the tip… stamps feet. We have reached a compromise which pains me, at night we use *gasp* disposables, although they are Nature Babycare which are biodegradable.

When Fill Your Pants offered me a chance to test the Smartipants one size nappy I jumped at the chance to add to my ever increasing collection because I am slightly obsessed with finding the prettiest, slimmest fitting, most absorbent and longest lasting nappy.

The Smartipants is a one sized nappy which means you can use it from birth to potty training (I believe the experts call this a BTP nappy) this is great if you are looking for the most cost efficient way of using reusables as you only make one investment to last throughout the nappy years. My chief tester, the Boy, is 27 months and it fitted him quite well but I think it would easily last until he is 3. The poppers are easy to use and make the nappy quite slim fitting. I was very surprised when I received it to find there was only one, very slim insert (the absorbent bit that goes in the middle) as it didn’t look like the nappy would last very long but I was wrong, it actually lasted as well as some others which have very bulky inserts. A real positive is that the drying time is quick compared to a lot of other nappies. The colours are nice but a bit plain for my liking – I prefer bright colours or patterns but only let that worry you if you are a poser like me!

But I must thank my beautiful Man who, despite all his protestations, does go to the tip for me and begrudgingly supports my nappy addiction. I am in no doubt that it is thanks to him the marriage is still alive and well.

>Sleep is overrated but I’ll tell you what’s not…

>There is one topic which unites parents all over the world and divides them from their non-parent counterparts, who cannot fathom the obsession they have with the topic – sleep or lack thereof. After nine months of pregnancy and the perfect picture you paint in your head about life with a baby, it comes as a shock when your beautiful bundle of joy decides to sleep all day and keep you awake all night. Mix that with the hormones raging through your body and its a good job Mother Nature made our memories so bad thus prolonging the existence of human kind.

As any self surviving creature of this world I have learnt to adapt to my new Boy centered environment. Pre-Boy if we had a late night or slept badly on a school night, a luxurious long lie in until 12pm was a norm but now a luxurious long lie in is defined as post-7am. Occasionally a bad night might warrant a tag team nap but it has to be really bad now I am back at work as we like to maximise family time at the weekend.

The world is quite a backwards place really, enabling us to maximise sleep when all we have to take care of is ourselves and yet when little darlings come into our lives, not only is our time forever occupied, but sleep is a precious commodity that rises in elusiveness at the same rate as the price of oil. Why is life thrown into chaos, needing to make and feed three messy meals a day (when honestly, I can survive on one meal and a packet of biscuits), and running around the house protecting all your worldly assets from grubby mitts and dangers at every turn, whilst at the same time we have even less time to recuperate.

Looking back to my pre-Boy life, I should apologise to my mind and to my bed, both of whom would face my wrath if they didn’t switch off or be comfortable enough for me to sleep. Boy was I being greedy, I realise now that sleep actually is over-rated  and the most heavenly thing is just being able to lie down, listen to the sound of nothing and relax in my glorious bed, sleep is only a bonus.

>And the winner is…


Thank you so much to everyone who entered my competition and especially for the lovely messages about the necklace. I appreciate them all and you have made me feel a bit more confident about trying to sell them!

And the winner is…..Laura @lauracymft
Congratulations Laura, please DM me your e-mail on twitter.

>The Power of Love, through scent

>Today the Man and I took a day off work, sent the Boy off to his childminders and had a day of fun – tennis, massage, swim, sauna and afternoon tea, you get the idea. It was lovely, and now we are just waiting for the babysitter before we head off to the cinema.

This morning, I got ready as usual to go out but instead of using one of my everyday perfumes, I sprayed on my wedding perfume and closed my eyes while the memories flooded back. The apartment where I got ready before the wedding with my best friend pulling the corset, waiting outside the ceremony room for my dad to bring me my bouquet (which I forgot). Then my darling husband came downstairs wearing his scent, put them together and they are the smell of my happiness (alongside the smell of the top of the Boys head). Our amazing and beautiful wedding and stunning honeymoon in Hawaii. 
The point of this post is not to show off about my wonderful day or special wedding and honeymoon, although so far it may appear that way, but to highlight the power of smell and how it can evoke memories and feelings as though you were back when they happened. I am so grateful that someone (can’t remember who) recommended this to me and that during our wedding day and honeymoon we only wore these perfumes to cement the memories. Now we only wear them for special dates where it is just the two of us.
As if we were a fashion magazine:
She wore: Body Shop, Vanilla
He wore: Mont Blanc, Starwalker

>Sharing an obsession

>My name is ChocOrangeCityMum and I am a bookaholic.

I love reading and I want the Boy to love reading which is why, at the tender age of 2, he has about 100 books in his room. I can’t help myself: I see, I want, I buy. We do not discriminate against purchasing location so we buy them from Waterstones, Smiths, Independent Bookshops, Library sales, eBay, Amazon, charity shops but we only accept good copies. I’m not entirely sure why as they often end up with raisins stuck between the pages or over-zealous tears in the middle but I have book standards.

I prefer to buy books on recommendations so I thought I would list of our favourite books to read:

The Gruffalo

I love all of Julia Donaldson books but this is the Boys absolute favourite book and we have a lovely video of him reading the whole book (with a few prompts). The story is a brains over brawn tale about a clever little mouse who outwits a fox, an owl, a snake and a scary-big but somewhat dim Gruffalo. Personally I like rhyming books best as they flow off the tongue so easily. The Boys second birthday party was a Gruffalo theme and I was rather proud of this cake I made.

Little Beauty
This story is a lovely story about friendship, the Boy loves the beautiful pictures where the gorilla and the cat do everything together. It highlights the differences in the two animals but brings them together as they are united in their friendship. I love the way the pictures relay the feelings of the animals so clearly.

Don’t Let Go
I love this book, the Boy really enjoyed it too but this was one of my bedtime choices again and again. The story is about a girl learning to ride a bike and her dad teaching her, but when she learns to let go and ride on her own, her dad realises that he was also scared to let her go. It is such a clever book about the relationship between parents and children and the very real fear that I feel that the Boy will one day not need me. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be one of those overprotective, you can’t leave me type of mothers but I’m still not looking forward to the day where I am not his number one person!

If anyone had told me that I would enjoy reading a book with only one word in it (almost) I would question their judgement so I probably wouldn’t have bought this book, but we got it as a Christmas present and it is fantastic. It is a beautifully told story about a monkey who wants a hug, he sees other animals in the jungle cuddling and he just wants one. This is a lovely book to read with the Boy and he really understands the storyline and simple joy of the monkey when he finally finds his mum and gets a hug. This is a book he often chooses to read on his own, and he can read it all by himself!

The Ravenous Beast
This is a story about a very hungry hungry hungry set of animals who each explain why they are the hungriest animal of all by eating all sorts of non-edible items such as circus tents, ringing bells and buckets and spades but are all beaten by the Ravenous Beast who gobbles them all up. The repetition of the theme throughout is good for small children to keep them hooked and uses a lovely variety of animals (a mouse, elephant, crocodile, cat). The ending is simple but effective with big words splashed across the page for impact and a very full and contented beast. A very satisfying story.

So, if you love reading or would love to read more, I hope this list helps in some way.