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Bonkers about Conkers

September 26, 2013


There is nothing like it – conker collecting. Weighing down their school bags, Big and Little Sis gathered scores of the shiny, woody gems. Hauling them indoors, they washed them and patted them dry and both put them to bed in various plastic boxes, or Chinese takeaway foil tins, or yoghurt pots (all clean!) from the recycling stash. Like little well-cared for babies, they lie content, peaceful and quiet.

Until (luckily, unlike real babies) they begin to shrink, wilt, shrivel and twist into the sallow, matt, thick-skinned monsters, and simultaneously I have to brave the awkward conversation about THROWING THEM OUT! Yuk, every year I hate that part of conker proceedings!

Ahh, Autumn. ….


The Bottle-Green Web of Autumn

September 24, 2013

Wow, the spiders were busy overnight because this misty morning, on the walk to school, Big Sis, Little Sis and I must have counted over a gazillion (technical spidery term) dewy webs. Stuck on hedges. Looped between railings. Squeezed into gaps in the brickwork. Precariously nestled round the street sign. And, most cheekily of all: zip-wired above OUR wildflowers at the bases of the trees on our road.


How come the spiders have so much gusto all of a sudden? Are they inspired by Autumn colours just like me? The natural colours turning, yes. But also the new hues everywhere in the retail world; bottle green, plum and chocolate brown? These are the colours of my sixth form wardrobe. Even the DMs are back in vogue. I digress.

It’s about homemaking I suppose. Time to spin a mega web, or time to declutter your house, and buy new cushion covers… It’s a natural prelude to winter. Perhaps we have more in common with spiders than I thought!

Or maybe not. But I could certainly use a few extra pairs of limbs!

Empty Nest (sort of)

September 23, 2013

Well that’s that then.

Little Sis has started school, and as of today is doing full days. That’s over six hours she is locked in the school buildings. That’s a lot of time without me. Or me, without her.

I am now what some may call a “SAHMWNK”. Others may not choose to call it that, it being quite a mouthful. And almost so rude sounding. Stay At Home Mum With No Kids. That’s what I now am.

People of another generation had a much cleaner name for it.



So what is a SAHMWNK to do with her time. Let’s look past a rather obvious suggestion that would be to GAJ (Get A Job), and let’s focus on time-filling occupations which don’t involve actually having to re-write your CV.

Like de-cluttering the house.

So today was a day to start to tackle the piles that I like to think I will one day sell on eBay. Quite horrifying to be honest. What I have indeed done, is REARRANGE the piles so they appear smaller. It’s a skill. Maybe a skill to remember for my CV when I get round to it. Hence, I feel quite cocky now, because it’s about the first job I’ve managed to undertake and complete since the school term has begun. I earned a cup of tea.

You see this transition of youngest child into full time schooling hasn’t half been weird. Weird, because of the effect it’s had on me. Little Sis herself seems to be swimming along quite nicely. On the other hand I am left treading water. Bobbing around in the sea of housewifedom, not really going anywhere in particular. Who am I now? What is it I’m contributing to our family now? What does a woman do during the daylight hours when she has no pre-schoolers in tow? Is it still acceptable to hangout at the playpark all afternoon? Is the library somewhere for adults too, and do you have to sit somewhere with tables and full-height chairs rather than the colourful rug with Winnie The Pooh? How many attainments are acceptable in one daily schedule? Indeed, I have a To Do List, but how many bullet points should be struck through by 3:15?

And so here I am. Sitting in a nest which is empty for a chunk of each day. I’m wondering how to re-fill the emptiness (and considering a therapeutic trip to IKEA for necessary drinking straws and napkins).

And almost as soon as I get round to trying to answer that question, it’s that time again. Time to go and pick up the girls. School bells are ringing in my ears and in my heart. So I’ll save the Big Questions for another time. Now, it’s time to be a MWKAS (mum with kids after school) – and I know how to do that!

The (Carrot) Beauty Within

July 27, 2013


Say hello to the beasts. Warped and wonky. Knobbly and gnarly. Stunted and stumpy.

Now say hello-euuuuu to little miss luscious!


Who says a few minutes under the knife doesn’t improve your beauty?

So yes, Big and Little Sis yanked up our carrot crop today, snipped their hairy foliage and scrubbed them clean. Actually, they got bored of the scrubbing after the first two veg, but hey, Daddy Tea took over that bit. He also got to do the peeling (which is no mean feat when the victims are THAT shape-challenged). Me? Well I got to chop them into nice chunky batons (in what I would term “chip-shop style”) which I found very satisfying. Away with the beasts and in with the beauties.


After blanching and chilling in ice-water, these carrots are now in the deep freeze, in four neat little portioned out bags. Look at us living the good life.


Ps: don’t think we will do carrots again next year. What a faff!!!

Thames Barrier Park-Lark

July 26, 2013


Day out with friends.
Ice-lolly licking.
Pine-cone finding.


Sew Smooth

July 25, 2013

Day one of the school holidays.

I’m shattered. We did sooo much. And I’m chuffed. I made a pact with myself where I would only be allowed to get angry twice during the whole day. So I didn’t sweat the small stuff, and I was nearly a supermum. Nearly. Sort of.

Anyway, so I’d also made a pact to get Big and Little Sis sewing this holiday. Ple-eeeeee-ase can we find an activity that captures their imagination, and encourages commitment of 10 minutes or over?

So we started small. Using the pre-punched cross stitch fabric (we bought in John Lewis some time ago, which clearly has a posh technical name, which is beyond me), I gave the girls blunt tapestry needles threaded with colourful embroidery thread.

I had to convince and re-convince Big Sis that she had free reign. No rules, no plans, no structure. Just sew.

So, sew we did.


And Little Sis too:


But we were hot, and thirsty (and I had re-thread too many needles!). So after whizzing up some smoothies (banana, raspberry, yoghurt and juice), we made use of my snazzy silicone ice pop moulds to make (ta-da) frozen smoothie pops!:


Job well done. So surely now, on day two tomorrow, we are allowed to sleep in, watch daytime TV and generally mong out? Hmm. I’d better whip up some more ice pops right now, just in case…


Cupcakes (no baking – or eating!) required

July 22, 2013

Oh how to fill the hours after school, when this weather is sooooooo hot. It’s all too tempting to stay inside, relaxing quietly on the sofas in the cool electric breeze of the fans (that should read: watch TV!).

Well yes, we did do some of that, and the house is immensely cool after a whole day of blinds and curtains closed, and all windows tightly shut – its lovely indoors.

But enough is enough. And so, to the garden.

Time for some cupcake baking (of the no-heat kind). So I supplied Big Sis with various ingredients: pouring salt, sugar, water, bicarbonate of soda (not too much, don’t want an explosion), more salt, and very importantly, cocoa powder (after all these were chocolate fairy cakes!). These delicious items were carefully mixed and poured into several mini cupcake cases.

Big Sis then decided they would easily bake in the heat of the sun, and so we left them outdoors for a bit. Were they going to attract vermin, I feared? Anyway, so quite clearly they have not set, but apparently Big Sis knew they wouldn’t actually work. I love that. I mean, I love that she will quite happily embark on a task where she knows the outcome will be failure, just for the fun of it.


But I do now quite fancy a slice of cake, and there’s no way I’m turning on the oven in this heat! Case of salty cocoa splodge anyone?