The amazing crochet diet!

Sounds totally mental but bear with me, no eating of wool necessary!

I’ve always loved food way too much, the naughtier the better, if it is cream, butter, sugar or chocolate based, I want it. I eat to celebrate, a birthday; ooh cake! If I have had a rubbish day; to cheer me up, cake! If I’m tired; ok, you get the picture!

I was doing pretty well with exercise, I started running in January last year and managed to finish a half marathon in September, I’m not going to lie, I cried, then my legs gave way totally but it has now been a year ago but I’m still dining out on that victory far too often.

I have slightly lost my running mojo recently though, and am feeling pretty unhealthy, my main issue is snacking. I find myself constantly looking in the fridge and picking at bits all day. I have also started finishing my kid’s leftovers which I never used to do. Luckily they are not vegetarian so it’s only the odd veggie meal they have that I can polish off!

Also, my hubby has just taken a photo of me that is that photo, the one that makes you confront all the wobbly bits that you have been trying to block out, that makes you think, aha, that is the photo to go on the cupboard to make me think twice about raiding the biscuit tin. Or maybe in it, so no-one else sees it!!

I now need to loose some weight so that I can enjoy Christmas properly……by eating obviously!

So, something really has to change, and as it is rubbish weather, extra running is looking, if not impossible, a little unlikely, and a diet is no use because the minute I even type the word I want to eat everything in sight! *eats a biscuit*

I now have a whole new idea. Several years ago, I used knitting to give up smoking. The theory was that if I kept my hands busy and my mind occupied, I would be able to resist temptation, I also wouldn’t want my knitting smelling of smoke. Do you know what, it worked a treat, (a non sugary one obviously!). I got more addicted to completing another row, I stopped smoking, and I had a 10 foot long doctor who scarf to keep me warm….perfect for when I started again! (I know, not fail safe obviously, it would take me a few more attempts to give up for good, but it did last a good few months.)

I am now going to apply my theory to food. Evenings are my danger zone, the obligatory 9pm cuppa has been joined by ‘something sweet’, which varies from cake, chocolate or biscuits, depending on how long ago we’ve been to the supermarket. Having a shop two minutes walk which is open until 11pm has not helped either.

So I’m turning to crochet! It looks slightly quicker, (easier!!), and therefore more satisfying , then knitting. It should keep my mind busy and I will get to create some lovely things.

It really seems to be working so far. I’ve made some fabulous, (albeit a bit misshapen!) ,bits already and my snacking is down quite a bit.

My daughter has put in a request for a head to toe outfit for her doll so I do have a lot to keep me going and I have some luscious new wools that have been make being drool more than chocolate fudge cake!

I will keep you updated with how it is going and do please tell me your crafting stories, have you used a hobby to change something in your life? Did it work?

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My very first make. An incredibly dodgy pair of culotte 'leggings' for Mary, big girl's doll!!
My very first make. An incredibly dodgy pair of culotte ‘leggings’ for Mary, big girl’s doll!!
Next day's effort!
Next day’s effort!
My parents found me some gorgeous turmeric dyed natural wool on the market.
My parents found me some gorgeous turmeric dyed natural wool on the market.
My first attempt at a star didn't fare too well, looks like a monster with horns!!
My first attempt at a star didn’t fare too well, looks like a monster with horns!!
It’s official, I am in the grip of crochet fever, we went shopping today and this is the only thing I bought for myself!! Sooooo beautiful, can’t wait to start making bizarre misshapen items to delight my friends and family……!!

dragon

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My top tips for flying solo with children!

1. Don’t.😂

2. Visit the doctors in plenty of time to procure some Valium for your fear of flying, only a white lie, it is genuinely a fear, just a fear of flying with children.

3. Pack plentiful snacks. The boxes of raisins will be tipped between the seats upon opening and the one thing they have always liked will be deemed disgusting after two bites. If you are really unlucky, they will be completely unable to swallow the warm and super sticky contents of their mouths and you will not have any tissues.

4. Pack suitable entertainment. Surprisingly, the felt pens in the specific travel wallet were not suitable. We all wish you well in your new life as a high flyer pen lid. You were appropriately, (and dramatically!), mourned for an inappropriately long time.

5. When the trolley comes round, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the peace and order a hot drink. This will be the precise moment that pen lid-gate will occur. You will choke it down whilst attempting to hold your tray flat as small people batter it from underneath in their search for the tiny and round roll-y item.  There will be a lot of exaggerated crying and standing on each other, making it extra difficult to drink through the gritted teeth you now have.

6. Instead order two wines on the special offer, you can chug these straight from the bottle with no tray needed and minimal spillage risk. They will also help the Valium that you managed to wangle take maximum effect.

7. When booking seats, ‘accidently’ book the children into a row at the back of the plane and yourself at the front. These online booking systems are so complicated aren’t they?! Especially if you do it when testing out the Valium/wine combination at home, for research purposes of course. 😉

It was almost worth the extra grey hairs I now have to get these amazing in flight shots. Perfect for my instagram, where I post an awful lot more photos of my life, come and say hi!  😊

Thanks so much for reading! I’d absolutely love to know what you think and what your number one tips are for flying with children. Proper ones will be much appreciated as well, we have to go back still!!

dragon    

  

Why is it seen as so ok to be unkind to some mamas just because they are famous?

As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I try and be kind and nice and treat others as I would like to be treated, (see, all those hours in church as a youngster weren’t totally wasted Mum!), and there is something that I just can’t get my head around. Why is it seen to be acceptable to abuse celebrity mothers? I can’t think of anything worse then to go through the early days, months, years of motherhood under really intense scrutiny with people from all over the world commenting on your every choice and decision.

I think that the anonymity of the internet is a lot to blame. Would these people walk up to a new mum in the street and tell them that they look fat? Or if their friend manages to loose her baby belly quickly, would they tell her that they think she has an eating disorder?

It seems to be social norm to pass judgement on just about every little detail of a celebrity mama’s life and they should just be so thick skinned that any comment directed at them, no matter how hurtful, should just wash over them without leaving a trace. There are magazines devoted to catching them at their lowest and pointing out their flaws using giant red circles. Can you imagine the outrage if your neighbour snapped you stepping out of the house in your pajama bottoms with unwashed hair and made giant posters circling your flaws, putting them up on every lamppost on your street?

There is no such similar outrage if it happens to someone in the public eye, with some arguing that it is their own fault for putting themselves out there. I just don’t believe it is fair to suggest that because someone is famous they deserve to hear truly horrible things about them or even their children, really personal and unpleasant things that would drive most women, no matter how strong, to doubt themselves and to feel very hurt, especially if the looks of their beloved child are debated over.

If a mother is a model and works unbelievably hard to regain her figure after the birth of her child, forgoing all the cakes and comfort food that most of us indulge in to cope with the sleepless nights and spends long hours working out despite their exhaustion while the majority of new mums are watching hours of Philip and Holly debating the merits of spanx, lying on the sofa in their milk and drool covered dressing gowns, (yes this was me, both times!), surely she deserves respect. And our sympathy, because, cake!

There seems to be a suggestion that because someone is very wealthy, this will somehow make them immune to feelings. That they can pay for a therapist maybe? This seems a very strange attitude to me. It doesn’t matter how much you have, whether your riches are measured in money or material things, possessions or love, anyone can suffer after the birth of a baby, from self doubt, crisis of confidence, feelings of fear, post natal depression. I think there is a very good chance that reading page after page of negativity about yourself can drag the happiest person into a very dark place.

The other argument, they don’t have to read it. Well, for a start, it is pretty impossible nowadays, to avoid information. You go to buy milk and there is a headline of a magazine screaming about your 4 stone weight gain, you pick up your phone and there is a news title shouting about your husband’s alleged affair. Not to mention the hoards of people desperate to catch a snap of you at an unflattering angle every time you step out of the house.

It would also be so difficult not to read a thing about yourself because we all need appraisals in work, we like to know how we’re doing, to receive feedback. Why would that be any different for an actress or a singer. But imagine if your work appraisals were peppered with comments about your physical appearance, the choice you made for lunch, the day you lost your hairbrush and failed at a messy bun.

It leaves me wondering, is the idea that it somehow makes someone immune to hurt if the people the comments are aimed at is reading them in a Gucci dressing gown soaked in milk instead of a Tesco one?

I read an article in a magazine recently about how kindness is something they are bringing back, (shame it had to leave), featuring a lady who felt lost and alone after moving to New York, and so she started writing love letters to strangers and leaving them hidden around the city, from that her blog and website were born connecting people up to write to each other. What a simple and wonderful thing to do. Our words can be such powerful tools for good and unfortunately for spreading bitterness too. If every word that we put out there on the internet was recorded and presented to our children as a book on their eighteenth, surely that would make a lot of people think harder about what they write online.

If all these people hiding behind their keyboards, trying to chip away at others really stopped and considered the pain their words could cause someone, the tears that could create, maybe they would think of the old adage about not saying anything at all when you don’t have anything nice to say.

I’m going to try and be online kind. Who’s with me?!

(With all this nicety I’m going to need to up the running or something, everyone needs an outlet for their inner cow!! 😀 )

bestandworstlinky

babybrain

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. I hate you!!

Just a short one tonight to tell you that I have been traumatised by some lemon meringue cupcakes. It was a while ago now but I’m still not over it.

It was all going so well, I was following a recipe, (which is where it all went wrong I think!!), and I made the batter, hid little spoonfuls of lemon curd in the middle and put it in the oven and made the most perfect, beautiful meringue, my first ever attempt was wonderful.

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Baked the cupcakes for the requisite amount of time, then piped the meringue on, (that bit needs a lot of practise!), popped them back in and the meringue went a perfect light brown and the timer went off.

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They looked a little pale underneath but I thought that might be how they were supposed to be. Until we tested one. (The baker’s prerogative!) It was raw in the middle. Really sloppy raw! It was so gross! So they went back into the oven with tinfoil over to protect that perfect perfect meringue at a slightly higher temperature. To cut a long story short, I was up until midnight, they were overdone and I vowed never ever to follow a recipe so blindly again! I will be trying them again. Just doing it my way!!

I’d love any tips or fail safe recipes for these please. I will not be defeated by a cake!!! 😀

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(I made the photo before I cut it open. Grrrrr!)

I was baking for The Children’s Society’s Bake and Brew and didn’t feel I could charge for them so gave them away. If you feel sorry for me and would like to make me feel better, or you just want to donate to such a wonderful charity, I have a just giving page! It’s right here!!

I have also had some lovely people give me the money at the school gates etc and I’ll be adding that on soon too.

‘You can’t sit with us!’ (A post trying very hard not to compare 5 year olds to Regina George!)

So my little baby has now been in school for 4 weeks & she seems to be settling in fairly well, apart from some night wakings & subsequent appearings in our bed in the early hours. The thing that breaks my heart into itty bitty pieces is that she  has been saying that some girls in the playground have been telling her she can’t play with them. WAH!

The look on her face when she tells me is a mixture of confusion and sadness. I am under no illusions that she herself is a little angel all the time, and I know she can cause arguments with her friends sometimes as children all do, but the thought of her in the big playground being rejected makes me want to swoop down and rescue her. Not that I will because I realise it’s a part of growing up, but isn’t it just the worst part? I’m sure that that moment was just one in her day, maybe the friend changed her mind straight after and they went on to play nicely but it stuck with her enough for her to come home and seek reassurance from me.

I’m so scared for her as she grows up as I believe it is so tough to be a girl. Things seemed a lot more straightforward being a male teenager when I was younger, (from my limited point of view anyway). You have a problem with someone, you tell them, maybe you have a scuffle in the playground and then it’s over. It’s not like that with girls, well, not in my experience anyway. You could be best of friends one day, and then bam, seemingly out of nowhere it would be over and you could be persona non grata in your social circle.

Things can drag on for months, years even. There might be a gathering of ‘sides’ , it can be vicious, usually sly. Looks and smirks across the classroom. nudges, whispering behind hands, conversation that stops dead when you enter the room, hysterical laughter that is so obviously at your expense.

I just want to protect her from all this. But I know that I can’t.

I can’t imagine it nowadays, when all of this can follow you home. When I was young, you could leave school and, if not forget about it all, at least have some time away from dealing with it. The idea that people can use the many many platforms of social media to torment you at all hours of the day and night makes me shudder. I know I sound dramatic, my little girl is only weeks into reception, and I know that the other little girls at school really aren’t unkind, all of them battling with huge emotions about missing their families and struggling with all the new rules, and I’m sure she has said things that have upset others in her time, but it makes me think about the future for her and it worries me because girls can be mean! Let’s face it, they made a whole film about it!

Which leads me neatly on to the t-shirt in the photo below. We saw it in a shop today and I probably would only have photographed it as it linked in so well with this post, but big girl spotted it and begged me to buy it. I explained why I wasn’t keen and read her the words on it and she said, ‘Oh it’s ok Mummy, they are talking to the witch, the witch wants to sit with them but because she isn’t kind they don’t want her to.’ I almost melted!! Oh, and of course I bought the t-shirt! (I’m pretty sure the fact that her main woman Aurora features on it meant that she would have pulled out all the strops 😉 to get it home! Unless she pulls out some serious puppy eyes, I’ll only be wearing it around the house though, as I really don’t like the sentiment.) IMG_3664 Reading back, it sounds like I had a terrible time as a teenager but actually, I had loads of wonderful girl friends and still do, I just found it a lot easier to understand boys and how they worked. I’m pretty sure there are people who remember me as a mean girl, (and I genuinely am sorry to anyone I upset in my maelstrom of hormones and emotion), because we all have times when we haven’t been as nice as we could have been, but hopefully now I’m making amends!

That is a lot of the reason why I blog. I think there can be an element of mean girl-ness, (new term alert!), that never leaves some women. The whole competitive motherhood thing for a start. As you get older, you realise that usually this sort of barbed comment is a front for insecurity of some sort, the whole ‘really, your child is not walking yet?’ thing, is actually a manifestation of something they feel worried about, but if you are not self confident and can’t see that objectively, that can really affect you.

I want to always try to be authentic. online and in real life, I don’t want to be fake and big myself and my children up to be amazing caricatures of brilliance, (although I will use filters in photos for evermore!!!), of course I want to celebrate their achievements and document the highs but I also include the low points, and of course the tantrums!

There are a few ways I try to be the antithesis to a mean girl, when we go out to playgroups or to school events, if I see someone looking hovering on the edges, looking unsure, I’ll approach them, a friendly face and a smile can make all the difference to your nerves in a new situation.  I try my hardest not to be unkind about other people. And I’ll always offer help to strangers if they look like they may need it.

Earlier I saw someone trying to get out of their car with crutches and asked if they needed help. Afterwards, big girl was asking me why I’d offered help and I tried to explain karma to her. I really do believe that you get back what you put out into the world. I try to do a random act of kindness wherever I can, and to do them when I’m with the children so they can learn by example.

So with regards to the school playground issues, I’ve just told her that if she is told that she can’t play with someone, and it makes her sad, to just say, ‘that’s a shame, I am a lot of fun to play with, maybe another time’, and then to go and look for someone on their own or looking a little unhappy and ask them to play.

I really hope that is the right advice to give her. I just don’t ever want her to doubt herself. She approaches groups of children everywhere we go to ask them if they would like to play with her, and I hope beyond anything that she doesn’t have that crushed out of her.

Anyone reading that has experienced this with their children, how did you tackle it? How do you teach your children to be strong and get through times when their confidence in themselves is shaken?

(I realise I’ve aimed this post more at girls as that is what I know, and what I’m dealing with at the moment but I am sure that boys can have similar issues so please don’t feel you can’t comment if you have experience and advice and you have a son, in fact, the more views across the spectrum the better please. 🙂 )

dragon

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Baking and Brewing Up for The Children’s Society

There is something very apt about sitting and typing this post in front of the Great British Bake Off!! Anyone else watch it? Made me blub! What a great final!!

I am quite a lot excited about being involved in this cause, I am raising money for The Children’s Society by doing something I LOVE, (baking cakes), with the ultimate pay off that I feel obliged to sell them, (apart, of course, from the quality control tester, test two, ok fine, test batch! 😉 ), to raise money for a brilliant cause.

I mean, I do moan about my children occasionally, ok frequently, fine, most days ok!!!! But I do love them to bits, and I genuinely believe that all children deserve to be safe, and warm, fed and loved, and if I can do a teeny weeny bit to help, that makes me happy.

The very name of this campaign is great isn’t it, the Bake and Brew. Basically, for 5 years, since I had my daughter, well, before I had my daughter really, I was a ‘I have a big mummy tummy, let’s eat all things yummy’ sort of pregnant lady, I really did feel I had a license to inhale cake, and then when she actually arrived, well, it was very hard to leave the sofa for quite a while with the whole ‘boobs out for months’ thing and pringles and cake were so handy, especially as my lovely friends kept bringing it to my side!

Then there were ‘The small baby years’ when it was pretty easy to go to a cafe and actually finish a drink, more boobs out, more cake in as you need to keep adequately fueled, and fast forward five years, now with two lovely children, it is more of a survival method and means of staying awake past 4pm! The boobs are finally away though! 😉

I also mainline tea from the moment I stumble into the kettle in the morning and so this challenge seemed made for me!!

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I completed my first bake last night, and my lovely friend who runs the wonderful Miniature Music, a music group for toddlers that we attend every week, is always one for supporting good causes and let me offer the cakes there!

I’m also thinking of tempting my school run mum friends somehow and taking orders. I also sold my children the cakes for their pudding tonight. They were more then happy to dip into their piggy banks for a good cause. And a vanilla and chocolate chip cupcake with nutella and chocolate chip icing of course!

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I am going to share my recipes with you as I go, but I need to make you aware that I am not brilliant at measuring and so I will liberally use terms such as ‘splash, few, glug’ and so if you are a someone who needs very precise directions, I may make you shudder! It has always mystified my lovely mum that she follows directions with cooking and planting seeds and I have always been more of a type to throw handfuls of seeds down at the wrong time of year or lob in a few extra ingredients when baking and they always seem to turn out ok!

The cakes

I used my fail safe 4,4,4,2 recipe which makes 12 fairy cakes, but as I wanted a little extra, so I did 6oz butter and 6 oz caster sugar creamed, add in 6oz of self raising flour and 3 eggs. I then added a ‘large splash of vanilla essence’ if pushed I’d guess a 2 teaspoons! Mix until pale & fluffy & then fold in about 3/4s of a bag of chocolate chips.

Put equal amounts in paper cases in a muffin tray & bake in a preheated oven. I do 170 degrees, (fan), for 15 minutes.

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Once cooled, put spoonfuls of Nutella on as icing and sprinkles of chocolate chips on.

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Done! Now consume!! With

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So far, that is all I’m coming up with so I would really love to hear your suggestions.

You can tweet me @pinkpearbear, find me on facebook, or comment on here!

I’d also be very grateful if you would tell your friends, more heads make great ideas….or something like that!

Dear neighbours.

Dear neighbour,

You’re new and we don’t know you all that well so I couldn’t pop round and explain but I really really want to reassure you that Friday evening truly isn’t our weekly ‘torture the daughter’ event. All the screaming, wailing, begging, splashing and thrashing around, it genuinely wasn’t me trying to drown her.

Truth be told, I am awful, and mean, and so so unfair. I’m ashamed to tell you, this is very difficult to say, I feel like a monster but here goes……I washed her hair. Oh, and conditioned it too.

There you have it, I understand that you might feel you need to look the other way when we pass in the street, maybe we won’t get an invite back for coffee, but please just know that I’m not a a bad person, just a little clumsy, see the main cause of the particularly traumatic noise making was *takes a deep breath* some water went near her ear. It was emotional!!

Not to worry though, I am doing my penance and taking my crime very seriously indeed.

I am writing this from the naughty step.

Yours sincerely,

The Shouty One from next door.

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