Camping with the ‘man’ box……..

So after the school run from hell I thought it time to sit down with a cup of coffee and write the next instalment…. who am I kidding?!?!? The twins are rampaging around the room, boy twin currently wafting a Harry Potter toy wand around and girl twin pulling to bits the duplo model the older two were playing with before the school run from hell….. that will teach them to leave their toys out!!

I promised a camping trip blog so here it goes……..

After the manic trip around the supermarket to get essentials then realising I had none of them, I had resort to roping in the Hubby who was swiftly dispatched with the children after the school pick up to fill in the huge gaps I had left.  As I scrambled around the house grabbing blankets and pillows, shoving every combination of clothing into the older twos Trunkies panic started to set in….. what if this was a bloody stupid idea?? Well, lets face it, it probably was a stupid idea but they are always the best ones – right?!?!?

We were pitching late so, whilst Hubby packed the car (because it apparently is a ‘Man’s’ job – we will come back to this) I stuffed a wholesome meal of frozen pizza into my older two and some Ella’s Kitchen pouches into the twins. Two cars loaded, because in the absence of a bus we need two cars for a trip like this, off we set. I was allocated the car with the kids so I got to listen to Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ on repeat whilst hubby got the ‘supplies’ car, so he got to listen to whatever the hell he wanted to in relative peace….who knows he might have even treated himself to the luxury that is silence!! Lucky sod!! Thankfully the trip was a short one….

We were camping at a place called Fairthorne Manor, it is a YMCA campsite and it is amazing. It is not like any ordinary campsite and features lots of fabulous onsite activities including kayaking, obstacles courses, abselling, aqua slide, bouncy pillow and aerial zip lines to name a few. We unloaded the car with the big two barely able to contain themselves and the twins bemused by the next adventure they had been dragged along to in their 9 months with us. Luckily we had bought two pretty slings to carry them in so whilst I tandem carried them to our pitch, Hubby used our big off road Mountain Buggy as a wheel barrow transporting all our equipment.

The car park was a short walk away from the field we were camping in so off we set as a family of six to find the perfect spot. Although the other campers didn’t resort to throwing themselves on the ground in the area immediately surrounding their own tent, you could sense that most were thinking please do not bring that gaggle of very small children near us! The nervous smiles gave them away so, in turn we decided upon  the middle of the whole campsite, just so fellow campers could be subjected to us in equal measure……

The staff at Fairthorne were amazing and no sooner had we laid the ground sheet out, they had swept our big two off with all the other children camping for a game of football and so we had the tent set up in record time. Before we left Hubby had packed the supplies, as I mentioned this is apparently a ‘man job’. He has lots of shelves in our garage full of really useful things….. there is a whole box full of electrical leads for appliances we no longer own and even if we did they’re are now so many we wouldn’t know what worked for what. There is another box full of light bulbs….if every light were to blow in the house similtaneous we are all over it! And, there are the carefully packed boxes of camping gear, of which he thought he had put the box of camping kitchen utensils in the car…

Several months ago Hubby bought a new knife block and decided he would clear out our cutlery draw at the same time. We had obviously accumulated lots of random knives which could now be discarded…. However, Hubby thought the best course of action was to put in on a man shelf in the garage, in a man box….. The knife man box was now in our tent!! Rather than a corkscrew (he is very lucky I bought a box of wine) I now had more knives than a magician would need for a knife throwing act. If we were having steak… we had a steak knife, filleting a fish…check, hacking a rack of rib….yep – got a cleaver. This is all so useful in a tent with 4 small people…

What saved his bacon was the fact that this camping weekend not only included all the activities but also included all our meals so kitchen utensils were not required. After the tent was made homely for the children with twinkle lights appropriately placed, including all over the twins buggy we headed off for tea. Well, to Hubby and I this has to be the highlight of the weekend. You see with 4 children aged 5 and under we survive on toast and wine. In very equal measure. I haven’t had breakfast in 5 years and nutrition comes in the form of a ‘Mugshot’ at some point in the day and our current favourite ‘Co-op’ Lasgane… ironic as all 4 kids get a home cooked meal every day (sometimes it is a frozen pizza and Ella’s Kitchen but I have still prepared it). Well, the tea was absolutely amazing – chicken, veg, potatoes, we were in heaven and ate like ravenous pigs. The vitamins and minerals must have hit very quickly as we both started talking in sentences quite quickly and the usual way of communicating in hand gestures and single words had been replaced by two almost human beings having a conversation. This wasn’t camping, this was a health spa!!

After tea there was a giant campfire where campfire songs were being sung and marshmallows toasted. Of course our eldest daughter who thinks she is a bonafide pop star at 5 threw herself to the front row to gain maximum exposure. The twins still awake were lighting the way for some with the buggy adorned in multi coloured twinkle lights and Hubby and I were ready for wine! Eventually the kids gave in and collapsed in a heap into a pile  of duvets and fleece blankets. Hubby and I poured the wine and sat back quite smug….bloody easy this camping thing..

How wrong we were.. after a few glasses and then a few glasses more as Hubby uses the mantra ‘you don’t really ever get drunk on holiday’, he retired to one pod with the big ones and me to another with the twins. Everyone asleep as soon as the heads hit the pillow. All quiet and peaceful until the bad twin decided to unleash hell. Somewhere between twilight and dawn bad twin woke, decided he was hungry and despite his size started screaming in a high pitched wail that could be heard in Calais. In a panic we scrambled and somehow managed to put together a feed in almost record time and calm down the shrieking banshee that is our youngest son.

Next morning we headed for breakfast and making our way through the camp site it did feel like the walk of shame. Had I a pen and paper I would have made a sign to go over his side of the buggy ‘I apologise to those I woke last night, it is not big and it is not clever’. As it was I had to smile and offer apologies as we went. Everyone was of course lovely ‘we have been there love’, ‘it didn’t last long’, ‘just glad it wasn’t ours’… what they really thought is ‘thank you for keeping us awake, please make sure you remove the bad twin offender tonight and take him home’.

Breakfast was amazing, so we filled up and then headed off for a full day of activities. The kids flitted from one thing to the next and it was great. Daddy even got to try out the aqua slide and came away relatively unharmed. This despite the crowd of fellow Dads who had gathered to cheer him on in the way only fellow Dads can…

After Daddy and eldest Daughter had completed an aerial slide (where Daddy looked a tad apprehensive throwing himself off a platform several feet in the air but had to pretend it was a breeze as eldest Daughter did just throw herself off the platform without so much as a deep breath), we all completed the obstacle course, played several rounds of Ninja Squirrel and jumped the remaining energy out on the bouncy pillow. Then we all headed for another hot meal filled with goodness.

As bed time approached we were filled with a little trepidation, what if bad twin turned evil tonight? The decision was made to just drink wine to numb the impending night terror. BUT something happened on the second night….. bad twin turned good! He only went and slept through…..albeit in my arms so I woke in the morning to a dead arm but I had a contented baby! As we opened the tent door our fellow campers almost broke out into a round of applause but stopped just short instead offering us congratulations on the behaviour of all four of our children. We were back in the ‘in crowd’.

As it was our last day we had breakfast and then packed as much of our camp away before making the most of the last day. Again our Connecta baby carriers were invaluable and not only did the twins have a little nap in there but it gave me two free hands to drop some kit back to the car whilst Hubby dismantled the tent.

When we arrived home that afternoon the kids literally slumped on the sofa and barely spoke. It takes A LOT to wear my two oldest children out but the family camp at Fairthorne did just that and they spent the rest of the day in some delirious, mud crusted daze – just as you should when you have had such an amazing adventure at 5 & 3.

Our next adventure is a holiday involving a plane trip so I will no doubt have plenty to tell you about then.

In the meantime, the story of the knives continues, although we unpacked most of our kit back to the man shelves, Hubby decided the knives would remain in the boot of the car (for some reason only known to him……) I am sure he was intending to dispose of them but hasn’t yet worked out the safest way so…… a week later when he took my Daughter to a friend’s birthday party and the parents had forgotten a knife to cut the birthday cake, guess who piped up with ‘No problemo, I have a man box in the car full of knives…take your pick!’…..?

PS  I wore posh pants all weekend and so, the knicker revolution is still alive and kicking!

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‘Always wear clean knickers…’

I was going to wait until our camping trip to write my next post but the urge has taken over… I have just returned from the supermarket where I went to buy ‘essentials’ for our trip camping this weekend. We leave after tea tonight and will be putting our tent up at exactly 6pm when the use of expletives will be at the highest level for the year so far. It is currently freezing and pouring with rain but we are ploughing on with our plan to camp in a field with lots of other crazy families in an attempt to add to the kids memories of their childhood. It may be after this weekend they don’t look on us too fondly but we WILL have fun!!

So, after I struggled pushing the twins around the shop alongside a trolley I returned to the car and started loading the shopping. I was feeling quite smug, yeah that’s me wheeling the kids and trolley around the busy aisles slicker than Jenson Button on the streets of Monaco. Fellow shoppers stopped me to coo over my gorgeous porridge crusted twins who were thrown in their car seats as soon as they finished their last mouthful of breakfast as ‘Mammy had jobs to do’. I got the cool box hubby requested, new camping chairs for the big two and the requisite box of wine for me!! Sorted!! Twins in car, trolley returned off we set towards home to start our packing.

Half way home I got that feeling of panic you get when you know you have forgotten something. As I listened to some crappy 1974 Eurovision song on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show it hit me!! I got the wine, I got the pringles, I got the Ella’s Gardens, I even got the rice cakes – 6 bags… but I forgot the ice, the bin bags, the batteries in fact half of the bloody list. Well actually this is probably my downfall, there was no list, I had it in my head. So, I thought to myself… use your drive home wisely….start thinking of things to put on your list… and the first thing that came to mind was clean underwear???

I blame my Mother for this. Every day as a child she would say ‘make sure you have clean underwear on’, ‘why’ we would ask? She never mentioned anything about hygiene, oh no, it was ‘in case you get run over by a bus and have to go to hospital’!!! It is really no wonder I have turned out the way I have. Anyway it must have worked as I always remember to put clean underwear on. As a early 20 something living in Kent if I was going into London for a night out I would always put a clean pair in my handbag in case I stayed at a friends or didn’t come home. I never bothered with a can of deodrant, toothbrush or Pjs but I always had clean knickers (and 20 B & H). I am sure if I was run over by a bus the paramedics wouldn’t first check I had clean pants on and then exclaim ‘phew we can treat her, she has clean knickers on’ but thanks to my Mam I am prepared.

I am going to be breaking with tradition and packing my nice pants. I like most women (I think) have a draw full of knickers. Some come up to my armpits, some are like dental floss between my bum cheeks, some are an off-white colour from too many times in the wash – but they are too comfy to bin and some are designed to make me look two dress sizes smaller. Now an adventure like camping would ordinarily mean the comfy knickers but I am throwing caution to the wind and taking my best pants. The reason? Well ladies you will know the feeling well, the one you get when you put an actual matching underwear set on. Yep, a matching set… you feel a million dollars. It is a rare event in my life but I am taking my underwear draw by the handle and binning all but my best knickers. You know the ones, they are the ones when your husband catches sight of them asks ‘who are you meeting today then?’.

I am making a pledge with myself to only wear my best knickers from this day forward so that even though on the outside I may be covered in baby sick and poo underneath I am rocking sexy chick. I may greet the postman in my tracksuit bottoms and some sweat top with holes but underneath…oh yeah! Sexy babe… Not so slummy mummy now eh? It is my little gift to myself and I encourage all you fellow ladies to join my knicker revolution!

Now, apologies it is a short post today but have to dash, I have the big shop to do again, a knicker draw to sort and best have a look for where we put the tent.. Happy Bank Holiday weekend to you all x x

‘Get back on the horse’….. WHATEVER!!!

It’s been a few days since I last blogged….. that actually sounds like a confession?? Anyhow, I made a promise to myself when I started that I would only write when I had something to say and avoid sharing the mundane details of my life – who wants to hear about how many nappies I have changed this week or how much snot I have cleared up (although if you are interested in that kind of drivel it is lots!!)? And, under pressure from a few friends and family members I had a bit of writers block so I headed over to read some other blogs for inspiration and here is what I discovered… Firstly there are a lot of good bloggers out there, it made me review my past posts and analyse where I could improve on my style. However, and here I will probably upset a few and maybe even lose a few followers but tact has never been a strong point of mine…. where the hell do people get off offering parenting ‘advice’. There is a whole industry out there preying on the fears and insecurities of parents new and experienced promising to have your child sleeping through the night by 6 weeks, or playing Bach on the piano by 2 or potty trained in 24 hours -REALLY?!?!? Now I am a Mammy of 4 children and each one is completely different to the other. That is the beauty of human kind, we are all individuals so there will never be a one size fits all approach that is ever likely to work. What is wrong with using your instincts? Using your friends as a information source? It is the bloody arrogance of these people that gets right under my skin. Granted if I bought a microwave I would expect it to contain a manual that is specific to that model and make. Indeed all 2 million of the same product would have the same manual as they are exactly the same as each other, clones if you will. BUT us humans have a thing called DNA which means every single one of us is different to the next so how can one person tell another person on how to raise another person??? Books, blogs, websites…. it is never ending…… When I fell pregnant with my first daughter I was passed a pile of pregnancy and early days books. Not ever having had a baby before I studied the books religiously. I had in my head the parent I was going to be, I was going to breast feed exclusively so my baby didn’t get asthma, I was going to prohibit television so my baby was the most intelligent of her species, I was going to only feed her organic ethically sourced food that I prepared, cooked, puréed myself so that she didn’t develop any allergies, I was going to take her to a baby bilingual class so she was able to work in China if she wanted…. I mean what planet was I on?? The reality…… child 1 breastfed for about 4 weeks, when she wouldn’t latch I spent my days attached to a pump, I even recall expressing in the back of the car on the way to Toys r Us one day. I found the whole thing stressful and then convinced myself she would be better off with Myra Hindley as a mam instead of me a I pumped her full of poisonous formula… oh no wait… so she had a bottle – BIG DEAL. She has thrived in life and we all survived. Child 2 breast fed exclusively for 14 months. He was a stubborn devil who wouldn’t even take expressed milk from a spoon, as a result I didn’t sleep for 14 months, hubby couldn’t offer any help with night feeds and I wasted away. With my twins at 9 months they are combination fed and we are probably not far from hanging up the maternity bra. The point is not to start a breast/bottle debate. How you feed your child is your decision and you should not be bullied one way or the other, I did nothing different with any of my children and they have all fed differently – because they are individuals. I spent nights when my first was asleep surrounded by organic vegetables slicing, dicing, roasting, steaming, puréeing, sterilising feeling smug I hadn’t given her a jar… 5 years on the twins have Ella’s Garden as much as home cooked food. I monitored what went into my first with precision only introducing foods according to a strict timetable, the twins were thrown some peanut butter on toast this week so I could wrestle the older two into school & preschool uniforms. They didn’t have an allergic reaction the only thing that happened is a pack of wet wipes went into the clean up. I have just been to the bookshelf and found 6-7 books that I bought or was given. I actually have a feeding your baby book. Now, the first suggested recipe is banana purée… ‘Mash with a fork until smooth and feed to your baby’.. I paid £14.99 for this crap! I have various books on what to expect in the first year, I have scrolled to 9 months to see what should be happening with the twins. Apparently I should move all household chemicals and cleaning products out of reach of my child. Hmmmm gutted as I was going to let them use that in the baby chemistry class I have planned…. It advises that I keep knives and sharp instruments out of their reach, well that is going to really hinder the knife throwing act training I have lined up for the twins for when they are on Britain’s Got Talent in a few years! I have just checked where they should be developmentally and I think we may need to seek medical help as they should be both ‘cruising’ by now and only one is, maybe there is a problem? Or hold on, maybe she will get there when she is good and ready. When I was pregnant with the twins I was handed some twin specific books, one by a very famous parenting writer. In the book the foreword is done by a celebrity twin mum who explains how tough she found the early days. Bless her she had such a tough time, what with the maternity nurse she hired, followed by a night Nanny and it must have been a real financial burden so it was lucky several companies sent her various pieces of baby kit for free…. get a life you condescending woman. The book goes on to tell you the routine you should have your baby in at 6 weeks. Apparently twins should have fed at 6 very specific times of the day and nap at three very specific times of the day. Right, the reality of the situation is this…..my twins napped when they bloody felt like it never at the same time as that would be too easy, if I managed to brush my teeth by 3pm it was a miracle and I had a huge sense of achievement. They fed sometimes together, sometimes not, different amounts and lengths of time. I probably fed the same twins twice in the middle of the night as sleep deprivation kicked in and one baby merged into the next and here they are 9 months later shovelling a cucumber stick into their mouths and smearing a mushed up cheese sandwich into their hair. It is not all bad news as at 7.45am the schedule includes the direction that you must have cereal, toast and a drink, you are allocated 15 minutes for this. I don’t drink milk so that is the cereal out and there isn’t a plan B for what happens when your older two are demanding four different types of breakfast at the appointed 7.45am so I think if you miss your slot you just starve. I can confirm the reality is that with 4 kids 15 minutes to myself is a luxury I can only dream of. Today having a wee I was visited a total of 7 times by my eldest two ‘needing’ something immediately and a husband asking where the baby wipes had all gone – probably on the peanut butter clean up I would think! Another twin parenting book has a section about sex, resuming your sex life HA HA HA – really! The advice is to ‘get back on the saddle as soon as possible’. Apparently the poor husband will be feeling a little unloved so if you have had a traumatic birth throw in a blow job…. Now seriously f&^% off! I know I shouldn’t swear but after delivering one twin naturally and one by an emergency c-section my body was broken. I could hardly move for a good few weeks after losing a litre and half of blood too but I should of manned up and dropped to my knees to relieve my husband and show him how important he is to me…..get a grip! Even if you only have one child every parent (or the honest ones anyway) will tell you your sex life takes a while to come back but it will so don’t stress it. Christ you will become masters at the ‘quickie’!! I apologise this post is a bit of a rant but I needed to vent and now feel much better. To all the parents out there you are doing a fabulous job, stick the parenting books on the fire and carry on doing what you do. If you do choose to subscribe to a particular parenting style then be kind to your fellow humans and do not judge their approach. Just because someone does it different to you doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong, we are all different after all… Now off to get a glass of Prosecco as the neighbours are coming over for a BBQ, it will probably get messy so normal service will be resumed on my next blog. That is after a change my clothes as my eldest boy has just launched a bowl of Ella’s Garden up my back – I stayed committed though and finished the post x

Not a pretty sight….

So, this week my bestie came to stay. She text me the day before to ask whether we were staying in or heading out. Er…. heading out of course. The reply came about two second later ‘I won’t bother with PJs then’ this sums us up.

We have been friend for 17 years, we met at university when we were both studying law (Oh yes, I have a real grown up degree), although we were the least likely looking law students you have ever met. Outside the lecture theatre still drunk from the night before we would share a cup of coffee and a fag in the morning, too poor to afford one each. One term we actually agreed to alternate lectures and swap notes so we both didn’t have to attend all of them, (although I think I lost out as I am sure I got insurance law whilst she got the juicier criminal law) as if this was going to guarantee us 1st class honours…… We hit it off instantly and became close friends almost overnight.

So, this week saw her turn up on the doorstep with gifts for all the kids, including haribo which she doled out for their bed time treat and the catch up started – this will be remembered when I visit her and give her kids Red Bull instead of the usual bedtime drink! Our friendship is really tight, her home is mine and vice versa. My kids call her Aunty as in the absence of a sister she is the closest thing to it. The kids do have some amazing Aunts in the form of my sister-in-laws but you know what I mean. It was 6pm and the first large glasses of wine were poured…. it was decided to worry about dinner later…big mistake!

By the time hubby arrived home from appointments at 7pm we were on our second glass BUT the 4 kids were ready for bed so we were rocking. It was agreed we would get the kids to bed and head to the pub. So, once the stories were done and babies settled we slapped on some lippy and changed tops ready to go. We both chose the exact same top but in different colours, her a black number and mine in her words ‘slut red’ although I prefer strawberry and peach coloured. This would be a big deal to most, choosing the exact same top which she brought with her from Eastbourne some 2 hours away but honestly, it used to happen all the time. 8pm we headed out after a few more…..

We hardly ever get to catch up now we have families but there was a time that every weekend found us in some dodgy club at the end of a pier or in some backstreet town busting our moves to the latest R & B classics…R Kelly remix to ignition anyone???? The night would end with a stop at the kebab shop, a few grazed knees after falling out of a taxi, cup of tea & toast and then bed where we would fall asleep talking crap. So it was fantastic to be sitting in a grown up pub, drinking more wine, having some nachos (we decided this qualified as dinner) and getting a little reminder of who I am. You see when you get married and have a family it is easy to become someone else, the stepford wife, conformist, yummy mummy whatever the tag but the reality is I am none of these. Don’t get me wrong I think I am a bloody good Mammy and I hope my Husband would say I am a good wife but the reality is I like to have fun. I like to let my hair down, dance on the tables, have a few drinks, laugh lots and carry the party on until the early hours without someone wagging the fingers or tut tutting. I can do all of these things with my bestie and to be fair my Husband thank god.

I digress, so we had a few more drinks and at last orders headed home. Luckily by this point I was still semi sensible and decided that the short cut of through the woods we used to get to the pub quicker was not the best idea going home in the pitch dark. We stumbled home and by 11.30pm the key was in the door and we probably should have put the kettle on, had a cuppa and retired to bed but NO! My poor husband had said already he would cover the school run in the morning and take the twins for a couple of hours so I could recover the next morning, with this pass firmly in my mind we opened the fridge and reached for the wine! After a glass the best course of action we decided was to wake my husband from his sleep to join us for an 80’s music extravaganza…hmmmm…..

So at 12am myself and bestie were belting out classic 80’s tunes whilst barking demands at my husband who was obviously now the DJ. The wine was topped up, because obviously I hadn’t had enough and then the dancing started. It all goes a little fuzzy here but Hubby informs me that ‘remix to ignition’ made its debut in proceedings and that whilst demonstrating how fabulous I was at grinding R & B style I ended up more than once on my bum! At some point I passed out on the sofa and was duly covered with various ‘Frozen’ fleeces and pram blankets. This is not before I rang my own Mam at 12.30am as obviously she would want to say Hi?

The photo above isn’t of me but it may as well be, the next morning I spent cuddling my en suite toilet whilst my bestie probably still drunk zeebideed around the house. Eventually Hubby sent me back to bed, without a tut or moan and swept the twins off for a day with their Daddy. My bestie gave me a big kiss and off she went with a large bottle of water hoping her hangover would wait until she at least got home.

I think we would both like to think we are like Thelma and Louise but the reality is we are more Patsy & Edina from Ab Fab (although I gave up smoking 10 years ago and am no longer blonde). The thing is neither of us care, I really admire those Mums at the school gate who can pull off the perfectly put together composed thing but it just isn’t me and never will be. Every now and then I can feel myself starting to change, adapt or maybe even try to conform so thank god for these nights when I am reminded that it is OK to be a little wild….

Thanks go out to my amazing Husband for looking after me in the aftermath and for reminding me that it is ok to let your hair down, that this doesn’t make you a bad Mammy, in fact its a bloody good tonic. And thanks to my amazing bestie – don’t ever change x x x

‘You will never leave the house again….’

When I found out I was pregnant with the twins I found people desperate to give advice. Some was really welcomed, short cuts…. I like short cuts, anything to make my life easier I say but one piece of ‘advice’ really stuck with me… ‘You will never leave the house again….’. Hmmmmm really??? If it was as bad as they say this could really be a problem. We are an outdoors adventuring family equally as happy in a field with a tent as in as in a 5* All Inclusive resort based holiday. Wherever we venture it is all about experiences. Surely life doesn’t stop just because you have 4 children?

So, the twins have been here 8 months and shock horror we haven’t just managed to cross the threshold into the big wide world we have set out to grab life with a great big bear hug! This post isn’t about me saying ‘look at us, we are a superfamily’ far from it, the house is a tip, there is a list of jobs we should be doing at the weekends and our office needs fumigating. If a friend came for coffee he or she would have to dodge the obstacle course of dirty clothes, toys, high chairs and maybe the odd discarded rice cake or toast crust before they made it to our sofa. Then they are faced with finding a sliver of said sofa which isn’t going to leave them with sticky marks on their clothes which could be anything from baby sick right through to blue tac, needless to say not many friends come for coffee……..

This is a post about how we view part of our job as parents, we believe we should cram their tiny brains with as many experiences and memories as we can! Those who know me will tell you that whilst I am more than likely to forget a birthday or anniversary, (my Husband has to remind me of my own wedding anniversary every year and even then I get the date wrong) I will have an entire year of activities planned out for us as a family to enjoy. This year features so far 2 camping trips, 2 festivals, 2 weeks away in Majorca and lots of odd activities for the children to enjoy. I even have the pantomime booked and Christmas dinner sorted!

We are not rich by any means. Rather than fancy cars, personalised number plates, the latest iphones and Apple technology we have old bangers for cars, battered android phones and I only recently relented and let my Husband get a flatscreen television after our old box television started to die. Even then I found a second hand one, most of our clothes are preloved or from the cheaper end of the high street and in my house if it ain’t broke it doesn’t need replacing let alone upgrading. So, all the cash I would have wasted on something like the latest hoover which purports to make my life sooo much easier goes on camping trips and festivals – plus I am saving the enviroment so there!!

I am sure we should be planning the kit we need for these trips with a more serious head but last night found my husband and I ordering a pull along wooden cart complete with canopy and cushions to transport the older two children around the festival sites at night and strings of solar powered fairy lights to decorate the cart. We had a long discussion about what colour the cart should be and opted for natural wood so we can customise it ourself. I will be ordering the flagpole for the back of the cart today and bunting for the tent next week. I am sure we will eventually talk about cool boxes, bedding and repair kits, we always do….usually about an hour before we leave…. Some would say we are irresponsible but really will the kids remember an amazing storage solution we sourced for our trips or the fact that Mammy had the tent decorated like a circus top???

We have a plaque counting down the days till we leave for Majorca in the kitchen and the big ones revel in changing the numbers. On holiday we will live in the pool or the park, each day probably similar to the last but we will all be together. We will have three meals a day together, I will catch a child jumping from the side of the pool around 1578 times a day, we will watch whatever tacky entertainment on offer and probably find ourselves doing the conga or time warping a few times and it will be bloody brilliant. Some have said we are mad flying with 4 small children to a foreign country… we can’t wait!

The memories won’t just be of the holiday sort, there will be the times when it is pouring with rain and rather than resort to an indoor activity, we throw the doors open and let our small brood dance in the garden. They will get soaked and cold but we will dash for the camera as before and click away whilst they make their ribs sore from giggling. Again some may say irresponsible but guess what? They have never got pneumonia or hypothermia yet!

I was watching Downton Abbey a few years ago when my eldest was a baby, in one scene the butler, Carson, said ‘The business of family is the making of memories’ I actually wrote it down and have it tucked away in a draw. It kind of sums up exactly the type of family I want to raise, the kind of Mam I want to be and has really stuck with me. We are having an extension built next year to accommodate our growing family and the plan is to have these word plastered across our living room wall.

Now must dash, we are off on a bear hunt en route to get some late lunch and Daddy is currently wet wiping our eldest son’s fleece top as apparently ‘it will do one more day’…… see anything but superfamily!!!

It’s under control………

So, after finding my inner mojo last week the twins have decided that now is the best time to start moving…..cue that mojo being tested!

I had completely forgotten, even though I was here only 2 years ago with my eldest son, just how taxing this can be. It has also coincided with one of the busiest weeks for my Husband so my wing man has been somewhat consumed with earning money to keep the brood in nappies & swimming lessons. This week has been mostly spent trying to keep my 8 month old twins out of A & E!!!!!

To be fair, our girl twin, the youngest by almost an hour and the one we affectionately call buddha due to the fabulous rolls of fat that adorn her body, is quite content to drag herself around the room throwing in the odd roll so speed is not high on her agenda making her easy to man mark. If it were just her I would be throwing myself a big high-five…. I would have it nailed and whilst I sat cooing at her efforts I could be sipping a cold glass of Sauvignon blanc and watching Loose Women, however…… this is not my life now or probably EVER………

I also have the speed twin, not content with crawling he has decided it is also time to pull his tiny twin frame up any piece of furniture, staircase, person (whether that is a sibling or not) in his attempt to get higher, further, faster, quicker, higher, further, faster….you get the picture. ‘Cute’ you say…. ‘NO’ I shout back. This ball of blond hair and big blue eyes is like a tsunami in our house and the 5 other humans and 3 cats who share his space are exhausted. The cats screech in terror as he goes for a tail, ear or more often than not the cat food – it has nutrients right??? It can’t be that damaging plus he is weaning so it isn’t like it’s a first taste or anything. The older siblings are stashing toys and snacks in places I never knew about in the house and I have lived here for 10 years. I hear cries of ‘Mam he is doing it again, get it off him, he has ripped my picture, stolen my breakfast’, you get the picture….

His poor twin, the one he spent 8 and a bit months sharing a womb with has had approximately 317 rice cakes stolen from her this week, her favourite shaker wrenched from her chubby hand about 762 time and quite frankly looks at him like he is the devil incarnate.

Hubby and I have discussed getting him a crash helmet for everyday use, to save on any lasting damage he is causing himself. Although I will give him this, like the Chumbawumba song, he gets down, he gets up again, and again and again and again. He is perpetual motion. It has taken me on average 2 hours and 37 minutes to unpack two shopping bags of groceries three times this week (after trips to stock up on rice cakes) as I retrieve him from whatever predicament he has gotten himself into around 714 times an hour. I have ‘restrained’ him in his learn ‘n’ groove for brief moments however this also comes with risks as he is learning if he gets enough momentum going he can almost launch himself head first over the top and makes it known to the whole of the estate he is not happy to be in the expensive ‘multi sensory’ toy we have purchased for him.

I have 4 young children and have run toddler activity groups for years and NEVER have I experienced such a menace!! There is hope……his determination and athletic prowess might stand him in good stead over the years???? As I write he is lying next to me, after the fourth time of climbing the stairs to resettle him I gave in….. his will power is greater than mine… but I look at him with a heart bursting full of love for him and the other 3 amazing children we have been blessed with and think I may be slightly fraught this week but my god it is soooo worth it! Now pass the wine…………

Hello world!

So, this week found me lying naked in a field of bluebells……. yep, you read it right. After 4 kids including a set of twins I tucked my ‘mum tum’ into a pair of Marks & Spencer’s finest control pants and off I set to a secret destination only revealed the night before with 7 other women. Too nervous to eat breakfast the first calories of the day came in the form of Prosecco, after the first glass took hold I reached for the bottle and topped up the glass, dutch courage you understand??

The boudoir shoot was a gift from my Husband at Christmas. Whilst I hope the pictures will be a great gift back, who doesn’t want their Husband to find them drop dead gorgeous after nearly 10 years of marriage? I hope they will also be a confidence boost for me. Surely I can still rock sexy after 3 pregnancies and a few war wounds?

I had never met the other girls before yet on the day it was a strangely bonding experience. Some were there as a surprise gift to a partner, some wanting to celebrate mass weight loss and some like me spurred on by a Husband who no matter how much I moan and groan about all my lumps and bumps (and I moan about them a lot), still tells me how gorgeous he finds me every day and is trying to show me what he sees.

Despite the nervous tension, each woman in turn tip toed down the path to the area the pictures were taken like a frightened fragile bird then 30 minutes later returned strutting her stuff, swishing her hair and with a new-found glow in her cheeks. Last to go (on purpose) I grabbed the suggested tasteful costume changes and headed on down the path. Stripped down to underwear and lying in the bluebells the sun was like a spotlight on me, the photographer was amazing with her direction and after only a few seconds I was holding the poses like a pro! It was liberating, empowering and I felt bloody amazing!!

Okay I might have only had the twins 8 months ago and my tummy may still look like a saggy old empty carrier bag but hell sexy is more than a size 0 stick figure with no curves. This week, thanks to my Husband, I got my mojo back and it feels fantastic.

Sexy isn’t what you see on the outside it is the confident strut of the woman working it, so if you need a boost just get naked in a bluebell field!

Thanks to Dimples and Daisies Photography x