‘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!!!