Friday, 28 October 2011

Do you like my shirt?

Do you like my shirt? £1 it cost me from a bargain bin at a vintage store... It was supposed to be a fiver but it'd got wet in the rain (bargain bin was outside!!) so the owner of the shop knocked it down to £1. I've always loved a bargain, combine that with a retro pattern and I'm sold.

I like to call this look the "Fleetwood Moran". Simple really... I look like Caitlin Moran mixed with Fleetwood Mac on the Rumours album cover... Well, that's my opinion anyway!!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Gloworm! Gnonny! Sea Lion! Glow Bear! Where are you?

For the majority of my little man's life I have commented on how unattached he is to his toys. I remember when I was pregnant being very excited about choosing what would be "my babies teddy". My husband and I still have our own teddies. Mine is Teddina and she hangs out in what is now "the rumpus room". Pete's is Hobbs and he chills in our bedroom...

I imagined our child would form a strong bond with his bear. He didn't. As soon as he discovered the ability to chuck things, every morning we would enter his bedroom to find his teddy turfed out of his cot onto the floor. If I attempted to put him back in screams of "no! no bear!" would ensue.

I gave up on the poor bear and he now sits high up on a shelf in Ethan's room that he never notices. Poor furry sod.

Fast forward to now. Ethan has a lot of other buddies in his cot.. and he has now become attached. To the extreme. First up we have Gloworm. I bought Gloworm because I was a child of the 80s. I never had one myself but I remember coveting them myself. I grabbed Ethan's on ebay for a bargain 99p. For a long time he was just a cot toy, but in the last year be has grown more and more important to Ethan. In the last 3-4 weeks that has escalated and Glowie often has to go everywhere with us. Which results in him getting very messy. We had a screaming episode last night because Gloworm "was tired and sad" (his batteries had run out). Ethan wouldn't sleep until we had sorted this out.

His attachment has spread though, and now we also have Sea Lion - a bath toy that squeaks. Could there be a more inappropriate toy for your cot at night? Something that when you inevitably lie on in your sleep squeaks at you?!

Then there's Gnonny - this little fellow

I point my Gnonny at you!

After him comes Glow Bear. A tiny plastic glow in the dark bear that I played with when I was about 4 I think.

All of these toys have to be within Ethan's reach at all times and if he can't find them in the night he screams and shouts until we stumble in there bleary eyed searching for them on the floor.

It he wants them so bloody much why chuck them out?

It's like a dummy situation. Ethan never took to a dummy so we never had that "oh shit, the dummy's fallen out of the cot, find it now for the love of GOD!" moment. But now, when Ethan is 2 years and 3 months we're in and out of his room crawling around on the floor.

Why? WHY?

Tell me this is a normal phase?

I never thought a child shouting out "sea lion" repeatedly would send shivers down my spine. Speak of the Devil.. Just got to pop (run) upstairs to locate Gloworm...

Monday, 24 October 2011

What's in that box?

My Mum kept everything from my childhood. She even kept all the terry nappies.. I never realised until I had Ethan how much she had kept. Thank God they have a large loft and garage to store things in. Ethan has often worn clothes that were mine, my brothers or even my cousins (who were born in 1972). I love the fact he gets to wear some original 70s and 80s garb!! However, all that is nothing compared to the BOXES AND BOXES OF TOYS!! It's like one day my parents just grabbed all of the toys from the toy cupboards in the playroom and dumped them in boxes and away they went until recently.

One of Ethan's favourite things (and mine... and my Mum's if I'm honest!) is picking a box at random and spending an afternoon exploring the contents. It's amazing how much stuff you've forgotten about until you pull it out of a box some 20 or more years later. All these memories come flooding back. Of course for Ethan it's just new exciting stuff.

We did this recently so I thought I'd share a few photos.

Look! Observe the box! Mmmm, no frills minced beef and onion pies - they sound good right?! A tasteful hat knitted by my Grandma has been found and put on. Ethan has also found a skipping rope.. I am somewhat concerned because the day before he attempted to eat a leather one leaving dark brown marks all over his face that DID NOT WANT TO GO!!

Mmm, nice wicker barbie furniture and a troll.. I had A LOT of trolls.

Probably the best thing we found. Ethan enjoyed making the leg walk all over the place. At least we didn't come across the barbie I'd "turned into" a man. I cut it's hair short and made it a willy and a pair of balls from loo paper and glue.

Perhaps some things are best left in the past?!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Something a little new. I'm going to post a "Sunday Snapshot" every week. It'll just be a short blog post with a photo that will hopefully make you chuckle.

I'd like to start with a photo that I like to call "Bad Elf" - chucked out of Santa's Workshop for bad behaviour.

It also looks like I'm examining Ethan's butt and saying "this can't be shite can it?!". Reality is Pete dared Ethan to dance in a puddle and this was the result. The fact he's playing with dog bowls outside a cafe is just a happy extra.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Autumn Activities

I love Autumn and I find it lends itself towards fun cheap activities to do with a toddler.

The one we love the most and one of the cheapest is a walk in the woods. Ethan loves foraging and collecting. Sticks become all sorts of things for him - broomsticks, aeroplanes, walking sticks etc.... his imagination is endless. There is so much to collect at this time of year. Ethan grabs his little bag and off we go! Acorns, conkers, pine cones and needles, leaves etc.. Our house is full of them!

Walking and collecting can use up a couple of hours easily and wear out your little one good and proper and when you get home and when you get home an easy activity is to make a collage with some of the items collected!! (Assuming they aren't crisp packets or worse... ick!). All you need is some card and the PVA.

I think I was more excited than Ethan when we did this recently but he did enjoy getting sticky with the glue! We ended up with a cute little "Autumn" collage which is now mounted with pride!!

I have another use in mind for all of the pine cones currently in residence around our house. At the moment they are "decorating" the bookshelf in the living room.. but in the run up to Christmas I'm going to spray paint them gold and silver (I won't be doing that bit with Ethan's help, he doesn't need the help of pain fumes to get hyper!). Once they are dry the next day he can help me stick ribbons onto them and there you have it - cheap yet cute tree decorations that have a story behind them. They won't be perfect, but I can bring them out and embarrass him with them every year.. rather like the Father Christmas I made from a loo roll when I was 3 that my mum still brings out..

Look! We even managed to accessorise!!

One thing to note when collecting things; children are all different, but Ethan loves collecting stones. I often find him grabbing handfuls of stones from peoples driveways. Trying to describe the rules of property and what constitutes stealing to a two year old is somewhat difficult... so you might need to closely monitor what they are collecting up!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How to loose your earring in the bog, get humped in the library and other frustrating things..

I'm tired... The whole "no nap" thing worked like a charm on the first try - no nap on Sunday and he didn't wake until 7:30am on Monday. So, no nap again on Monday and this morning? He wakes up sometime between 5-5:30am.. FFS. What's going on!? Why aren't children quantifiable... ugh. My next guess is teething.. beyond that I'm not sure. He's not too hot or cold. Goodness knows.

A few joyous gems from the last two days:

It's cold and windy so I say to Ethan "Why don't you wear your hat? It's cold and very windy!". "NO!" Shouts Ethan. "Why?" says I. He then proceeds to sing "I don't like it, I don't like it, don't like IT, don't like IT" etc. etc. to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle. At least he refuses in an interesting manner..

We went to story time at the library yesterday. We arrived late (as per). All the children were sitting on the floor quietly listening to the story. There was no noise and no moving around. Within two minutes of our arrival Ethan was climbing the book shelves and he had persuaded 4 children to join him. The librarians had lost control of their audience. Ethan then announced "Let's running in library!" I grab him.. Thankfully the next story being read is an Elmer book- he loves Elmer so that catches his attention for a bit. He loudly tells everyone that you must be gentle with Elephants and then comes up behind me and proceeds to hump my back in front of everyone. Ugh.

Ethan fell asleep in his buggy this afternoon (let's see what that does to his early wake ups!) and when he woke he was beside himself. It took 45 minutes to calm him down. At one point he attacked me in some public loos.. he tore my earring off and it ENDED UP DOWN THE LOO!!! Fishing it out was soooo nice. Reminds me of the time I accidentally flushed my glasses down the loo..

I'd better go... I'm pretty sure it must be tea time because he's eating his toenails right now... the sound! *blugh*

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bye bye "Buggy Night Night"

Ethan is 2 years three months now (or 27 months for those of you who still count in months!!) and I think we are now at the end of a regular nap-time.

Mothering is so tricky. You think you've just got a handle on something and BANG, they change again! Ethan's naps have been so important to me. It's such an important break for both of us. He gets a rest, but I get time to be quiet, read a book.. just relax! He stopped napping in his cot at around 11 months old. He would just scream and scream if left in there. He's always napped well in his buggy, so I just stopped bothering with the cot and he would have "buggy night night" instead. It's always worked pretty well for us. It was fantastic for weight-loss, always having to walk him off to sleep. It would mean I would also be out of the house (whenever I brought him back in the buggy he'd wake up) so normally I'd go and sit in a park or go to a coffee shop, get a coffee and read. If I were at home I'd be cleaning or doing something else. It was a good forced break for me.

Recently though, Ethan's taken to waking up early in the morning. For a long time he's been a pretty good 7pm-7am sleeper, give or take illness, teething, growth spurts etc.. For the last couple of weeks, if he's napped in the day he'd be waking up any time from 5am the next day. I cannot start my day at 5am!!

Today, I'd had enough. It's Sunday today. And we were woken at 5am. Boo hoo hooooo. Today I vowed he would not nap. He hasn't. He's yawned a bit here and there but generally gone through the day in a good mood. He went to bed well, didn't stay awake chatting for ages. So far so good. I'll update tomorrow with his wake up time!!

Wish us luck!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Food ethics- great if you can afford them!

Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to keep within a budget when grocery shopping? I'm sure that not so long ago there was a real difference in prices between certain supermarkets. If I did a weekly shop at Lidl it was £10-£20 cheaper than Tesco...

Recently we've been spending more than we used to on groceries. This weekend just gone we did our weekly shop at Lidl. We didn't need to buy any fruit or veg, so it was all the other food/drinks (milk, bread, tinned foods etc). I couldn't get everything that was on our shopping list and it still came to £56. I had to go into Tesco today to get what I couldn't in Lidl and it came to another £20. Tonight, just out of interest I went to the Tesco website and put in everything I bought at Lidl to see what the price difference would be. Guess what? It came in at £56 and a few pence.. basically the exact same price as Lidl except that with the offers availible with Tesco I would have ended up with 500g more chicken and more of some other items as well. I was interested to see that some items were the exact same price and some even cheaper.

I'm sure Lidl used to be classed in the cheaper bracket of supermarkets.. perhaps not so any more! I think that their fruit and veg is a very good price, but that's probably about it.

How very annoying.

We have an Asda store opening sometime before Christmas.. perhaps that will save us some money. Otherwise I'm going to have to look for a job and I don't want to do that. Despite all the ups and downs, despite how bloody hard and tiring it is looking after Ethan all week, I do enjoy it. I don't want to entrust him to someone else.. childcare costs too much and at best we could probably only get grandparents to cover a days worth of care...

In the past I bought organic dairy products, local organic veg (though I'm more bothered about it being local than organic) and organic meat. I still want to be able to do this, but despite what Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall say, I no longer think I can afford to do so. It just costs too much. Food ethics are great, if you can afford them. All good for the DINKYs of this world, not so for the rest of us. It pains me, but I think it's going to have to be the cheap stuff from now one.

Who's for beans on toast?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

"Are you in the garden doing a poo?"

So, this morning, whilst doing the ironing I overheard a telephone conversation between Ethan and my parent's Dog, Alfie. An imaginary conversation of course, on Ethan's toy phone, but no doubt it was real enough for him. I'm going to transcribe it here because I nearly burnt a hole in Pete's shirt listening to it. Please note I have no record of Alfie's responses ;-D

"Hello Alfie!"

"Are you playing with a ball? Have you had water from your bowl?"

"Splash splash SPLASH!"

"Are you in the garden? Yes? Yes! Are you in the garden doing a poo?"

"Pooo! Manky!"

"Have you done a wee wee?"

"OK. Yes. Playing with doll house now. Bye bye Alfie!"

Now.. do I need to be concerned about my child's obsession with a dogs bowel movements?!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Seasons change so change your clothes..

Thanks to Lise's suggestion I'm here to chat about clothes!

Ethan is 2 and 3 months now and perhaps a little on the short side for his age group. As a result I've only recently gone through his wardrobe and draws to sort out his clothes. Bag up the ones that are too small and move in the age 2-3 clothes. It's always bitter sweet this task. Of course, now he's older it happens less often, when you have a baby they're always growing out of their clothes! It's sad to say goodbye to them but it's always exciting to have new ones for him to wear.

When I got pregnant I knew I would find buying clothes for my growing bump very exciting. At first I was very restrained. I didn't buy anything until I was way beyond the 20 week stage. Once it started though, it spiralled. I shop on eBay a lot and as I discovered it's a fantastic place for picking up some more unusual baby clothes. By the time of my due date I had bought clothes to take my child (I didn't know the sex) up to age 1 give or take a few items. Luckily the style of clothing I like could suit a boy or girl. I don't mean to offend anyone out there but I'm not a baby pink/Disney kinda girl so I didn't purchase anything like that. I like bright bold prints and colours and it'd the the same for a boy or a girl (although if I did have a girl I would buy some gorgeous Boden or Next dresses!!). Anyhoo... the whole buying ahead of time thing started then and has continued since. I currently have age 2-3 cloths hanging in Ethan's wardrobe and in his draw. I then have age 3-4 and 5-6 clothes stored at the top of his wardrobe. Hopefully all I will have to buy are shoes/school uniform (when the time is right!). I have gone as far as to have bought coats, socks, PJs, wellies, swimming trunks and waterproof trousers. I'm addicted to shopping, what can I say!? I don't buy a winter/summer wardrobe. I dress Ethan like I dress myself, mixing and matching things throughout the year (t-shirts over long sleeves etc.) I find it's easier that way. Of course, I do have to buy Ethan shorts and skirts/shorts for myself etc. but you get the idea!

I spent a little time in Ethan's room tonight taking a few photos of my favourite things in his current wardrobe. I'll go through them one buy one..

I love Fairisle and wintery knits - these two are a great example. A very snug hooded top from TKMaxx and a cute Monsoon number which I got on ebay for a few quid.

Next up, I always think it's nice to have a couple of smart-ish things for your tyke to trash..sorry, wear! These have come in handy for weddings and parties but sometimes I put Ethan in them anyway, because they're only clothes aren't they!! I spent £16 on the London themed shirt at Monsoon, but only because my Mum gave me the dosh and Ethan needed a shirt for a wedding and I don't do plain and boring. The waistcoat was an ebay special for £3. The robot shirt is by In Their Nibbs who's prints I love (they do gorgeous Gruffalo print PJs and vests which they don't seem to stock anymore but they do pop up on ebay at times. Anyway, their stuff is cute
Look how cute the London print is!

If I can, I like to dress Ethan in some vintage/retro items. I'm lucky. My Mum saved almost everything from my childhood including many of mine and my brothers clothes. This jumper was mine circa 1984. These slightly flared dungarees I picked up from ebay. They were bought in Boots originally and are from the late 70s. Too cute!
Anyone who knows my taste in childrens clothes will already know I love the Skandinavian/Nordic designers. Here we have two of my favorites, a pink Katvig bird print top (ebay) and a Smafolk car print top (free from Bebaboo - one of the sites I love to shop on when I'm a bit more flush
Two more tops I love, a Polarn.O.Pyret number which always looks very sleek - I know that's an odd way to describe a top on a child, but it does look like that! The second one is Plastisock and is very psycodelc. I'm always reminded of that bit in Sesame Street with the pinball machine animation, you know "one two three four five, six seven eight nine ten, eleven tweeeeeeeeeeeelveeeeeee"
Here, lets jog your memory in case you're not sure!
Just a few overall shots of Ethan's clothes now - tops, dungarees, coats and grobags hanging up, top shelf is the age 4-6 stuff and then his draw. He's a lucky boy... he has loads!

So, there you have it! Ethan's clothes for the next year or so... Now, onto me!! After the lovely if freakish heatwave last week, we now appear to be firmly settling into Autumn. The temperature has definitely dropped and I have dug out the tights and warmer clothes. I love tights. I'm not joking. I can't even be bothered to count how many pairs I have. To give you an example, here's my tights draw. Yup. A whole draw full of the things!
I think the reason I love the tights is because you can use them to change an outfit really quickly and you can make a dress/skirt usable in winter as well as summer. They are a great way to add colour as well without having to be too over the top or if you're not too confident with colour (not everyone wants purple and blue hair like me!).

I love winter clothes so I always get quite excited at this time of year... I love fairisle and knits (just like on Ethan!). Luckily they've been in fashion for the last couple of years so this has been perfect for me. I bought this little number in Primark recently.

Next up let me introduce you to my £5 dress selection. All of these cost me £5 (each..on different occasions and from different shops). I love them all, mostly because they were bargainous!

Mini skirts. I love them! I'm short, so this length of skirt is the best on me. I'm pushing 30 but I'm hoping I'll be able to get away with mini skirts for a long while yet because other lengths swamp me. Thank heavens for tights! They do hide a multitude of saggy sins. These three are bargains - stripes are in again this season as are knits so these three should do me well. The stripy one is from the H&M basics range and the other two are Primarni.

Ladies, lumberjack style shirts are also in this season. This one is H&M and personally I think it looks fab with skinny cords.

Lastly, to finish off my outfits I love jewllery. I'm known among friends for always having big bright and wacky earrings but I do like more understated (but still original) bracelets. This one was handmade by this lovely lady . I had it inscribed with words from Desiderata.

My other love is my charm bracelet - I've got a troll bead chain and lock and beads from various places. I love it because it holds such meaning for me.

So, there we go! A long post.. sorry about that! But hopefully it gives you an idea of what we'll be strolling around in this Autumn/Winter!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Get involved!

What a world this is.. Hubby and I are currently cuddled up in bed. We're on holiday at Centre Parcs, Longleat, but more of that another day... Anyway, here I am blogging on the iPad and he's next to me watching videos about minecraft on his phone.. Honestly!

The reason for this quick post tonight is really to ask a favour of you, my lovely readers (commence butt sucking). I have a favour to ask. I've got a few ideas about blog posts that I want to write, but I've been wondering if there is anything the people reading would like me to blog about. So basically, I'm after your requests! Is there something you'd like me to write about? More housework tips and shortcuts? Something on how to get hold of funky but cheap kids clothes? eBay advice? Or even, if there are enough requests for it, tales of my most embarrassing drunken escapades. Or just generally embarrassing things that have happened to me. I collect embarrassing moments. I managed to flash a man and his toddler this morning only to bump into them both again later in the day so it shouldn't be hard for me come up with some embarrassing stories for you. It's hard to look someone in the eye when passing them on a footpath when you're pretty sure they've had to fend of questions from their child that morning along the lines of "why is that lady in that window naked daddy? Why is she trying to hide behind a curtain?". Oh, and I through a paddy that Ethan would be proud of this morning in a bowling ally.. SAD woman.

So.. Yep. Your suggestions if you please! Just comment below with what you'd like me to write about and I shall oblige! And may I take his moment to say how much I appreciate it when I get a comment, I know people read and that is already fantastic but its an extra boost when I get a comment! I also know however that many of my readers are very busy parents with little time to comment. So I know why I don't get loads! I love the fact people are reading though!

Right then.. Time for me to get some rest.. Just got to make sure I lie in a certain position in the bed due to my bruised and scratched coccyics. Well, if I must ride the rapids with my eyes closed..

Night all!