Friday, 29 July 2011

"The Rage"

I have it.

Big style.

You know what I am talking about don't you ladies? The red swirling mist that descends once a month or so, turning you from a perfectly, sane, rational, (semi) intelligent woman to a screaming, wailing fishwife-come-banshee.  

Just the very sound of someone so much as breathing within a 25 metre radius of me is enough to set me off. Children screeching, dogs yapping, even people daring to make friendly conversation with me - they all get short shrift. 

Today I very nearly rabbit-punched a woman in front of me in the supermarket for taking too long to find her purse. I'm only half-joking.

Yes people. I have severe PMT. 

I know it affects most people at one time or another but once every few months it really affects me. Sure, I get slightly crabby most months - Mr M gives me the benefit of the doubt, takes everything I say with pinch of salt and knows that in a day or two things will improve but this is different. Way different. When this particular type of red mist descends the anger that I feel inside at the most minor of irritations is incredible, even by my standards. I turn into an uber-bitch. I'm fully aware of it, and so is Mr M who keeps a safe distance in case a knife should be thrown at his noggin or he gets a smack on the head from a heavy based wok, because I have admitted in the past that I have this irrational urge to lash out.

The poor children are obviously on the receiving end too, when even the silly behaviour that is customary in young children (and in any other circumstances, cute) can send me round the twist and I'm sure they wonder who put the spoonful of CRAZY into mummy's tea that morning, but on the whole they ride it out pretty well. Which is lucky really. I couldn't really cope with a mutiny on my hands today.

All joking aside, it's a horrible way to feel and I feel wretched that I have no control over these feelings and emotions that I inflict on my loved ones. Some days I feel a huge weight is crushing my chest and I suffer from irrational anxiety. You know, when you feel like you're doomed, or something terrible is going to happen.  On the upside, I know that in a week or so this will have passed - it's only temporary insanity but I do wish I didn't have to go through this every month or so.  It wasn't always this way, it's only after having my second child that I even started displaying symptoms of PMT but the thought of years and years of this ahead of me? That's pretty sad.

I know I am not alone in suffering from "The Rage" so big love to anyone else there who needs it, and know that you are also not alone in wanting to seriously maim your husband every now and again.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Do you remember Just Seventeen?

I've discovered my collection of magazines.  Come join me down on memory lane.

I don't know about you but in 1994 I lived for Wednesdays.  Every Wednesday, before I had arisen from my slumber my lovely dad would go to the paper shop before he went to work and buy me Just Seventeen, leaving it on the dining room table for me to find when I got up. Every Wednesday. Without fail. Thanks Daddy!

I guess perhaps this is where my love affair with magazines began, I still adore buying a new one (or five) and sitting down with a cuppa. For me, it's one of life's little pleasures. We try to ignore the amount I spend on them.  I used to have an eager flick through the magazine before school, obviously having a good look at any free gift first and then skipping to the problem pages and horoscopes. I'd then would come back later to read it all in greater detail and complete the quiz. Remember those? 

My parents never got around to the "birds and bees" chat (bit late now mum) and so I'm pretty sure aside from the playground, I learned everything I needed to know from these magazines. The problem pages were always filled with those burning questions that you really wanted to know the answer to but were either to scared to ask or afraid of being laughed at. My particular favourite was the "mythbusters" section.

We poured over the sex tips, even though we were far from needing them, and we used these magazines to try and understand those mystery creatures (boys) a little bit better. Right down to analysing the handwriting in their loves notes. Email, Facebook and texting really sucked the life out of that one, huh.

We enjoyed the fun articles, reading about what was hot and what was not (or in this case what was sizzling and what was fizzling) and taught ourselves hair and make-up tips whilst slobbering over pictures of the J17 male models like Malcolm.
I don't ever remember cooing over Prince William but clearly he was being labelled as hot totty back in 1995 at the tender age of 14. Wonder if Kate Middleton read J17.

I guess I'm a bit out of the teenage-magazine-loop so I don't even know if something like this exists anymore? I'm guessing certainly not a weekly one. I think it's a shame but I guess time marches on and with the internet nobody needs to wait for news and gossip anymore, we have access to it 24/7. Got a problem? You don't need to write into an agony aunt, just Google it. Forums and message boards mean you can get instant advice to your most embarrassing problem anonymously at any time of the day. 

Did you read any magazines as a teenager? TV Hits, Smash Hits, Big, Mizz - they all made it into my hands at one point or another, especially if they had a good poster of Take That in them... (Clearly, being a hoarder I still have said Take That posters).

For the record, whilst I enjoyed the fashion tips in the magazine, I most certainly did not dress like this

Just so you know.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 25 July 2011

Meal Planning Monday (25th July 2011)

Hello from a sunny Monday morning in Mrs M's kitchen. I hope you've all had a good weekend? We hit the coast for a day of icecream and fish and chips, the weather was a bit dodgy but it was at least warm and the children loved playing in the sand.

It's the first proper day of school holidays today and I've woken in the worst mood possible. This doesn't bode well for the kids does it? Anyway, to combat my bad mood I shall be mainly comfort eating this week.

Week commencing 25th July 2011

Chilli & rice
Gratin of prawns
Chicken salad with citrus & chilli dressing
Spaghetti bolognese
Pizza of some variety

The  pizza night is mainly for Mr M as I am going to the cinema with a friend and we're going out for tea first (probably Nandos). Can't leave the poor man to fend for himself can we?  If we should have some random heatwave then I may ditch something in favour of a BBQ (we can live in hope can't we? I mean it is almost August).

What are you all eating this week? Join in with the Linky below and don't forget to check out all the other great entries for more meal planning inspiration.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Orchard Toys Lucky Ducky Review

We love the Orchard Toys games in our house so when we were offered the chance to review one of their products we couldn't pass it up!  It all started for us with the Shopping List game, probably the most loved game in our house, closely followed by Crazy Chefs!  

The bright and cheerful games from Orchard Toys clearly appeal to children and the relative simplicity of many of the games means that they are easy enough for young children to grasp the concept of.  The other big plus point for me is that I enjoy playing these games with my children. Lets be honest, sometimes it can be quite dull playing with young children (what? I'm being honest...!), however I really enjoy using these games as an opportunity to sit and give my children my full attention because I enjoy them too! So long as it doesn't get too competitive. Which it does. There are quite often tears and they're not always mine.

Lucky Ducky is a game aimed at children 4+ and is for 2-4 players. The game is designed to encourage colour and pattern matching, develop early addition and subtraction skills and develop speaking and listening skills. The idea behind Lucky Ducky is that you have to collect as many numbered ducks as you can by guessing whether the number on the duck that you turn over will be higher or lower than the number that has been pointed to on Mother Ducks spinner. You keep going until all the ducks have been taken and the winner is the person with the most ducks.

It's a simple concept that helps with maths and number skills and I have found it perfect for introducing the concept of "higher than" and "lower than" to my pre-school boy.  The number guide also helps him to remember the other of numbers.  One of the suggestions for another way to use this game is to use the cards to do simple sums and I think this is a fantastic idea and will certainly be trying that with my son.  The duck cards are also good for a quick game of snap too so it's a rather versatile product and would clearly be a great way of introducing numbers to even younger children.  My daughter also enjoys playing this game and after completing her first year in Reception she doesn't struggle understanding the rules of play at all, so its good that for older children there is a slightly different way of playing the game to keep her on her toes!  I like the fact that the game is educational but fun - the children really don't notice they are learning!

As with all of the Orchard Toys products we've bought in the past, the games are well made and durable (obviously very important!), Made in England on recycled board.  You can buy Lucky Ducky direct from the Orchard Toys website.

We give Lucky Ducky a big thumbs up!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The tracks of my (early) years, part II

Following on from the blog post I did last month about songs that reminded me of my early childhood, circa 1984 and therefore aged about 4/5 I've been listening to some music today and decided to share with you the next stage of my life - circa 1988, usually known to me as the SAW years. (C'mon. You don't need me to spell it out surely?).

I know that is incredibly sad. I know that the music is a little bit cringeworthy but the fact is I was about 8/9 years old so it was perfect for me, and do you know what? I still enjoy bopping around to some tracks from The Hit Factory. And yes, a couple of years ago I did in fact purchase a "Greatest Hits of SAW" album.

So scoff if you like, but here I share with you a couple of tracks that remind me of the carefree days of being a youngster and staring up at my Brother Beyond posters.

Hazell Dean - Who's Leaving Who  Classic SAW. I wonder whatever happened to Hazell Dean?

Sinitta - Toyboy Shamefully still a song and video I love. Honestly. I planned to rock this outfit for an 80's party a few years ago but chose to go Fame-style instead (and still rocked it...). Check out Simon Cowell in the video.

Swing Out Sister - Breakout This is such a classic 80's video and reminds me so much of being a child. I think it in fact reminds me of my sister and it was probably the soundtrack to much hair pulling and biting.

Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere I absolutely loved this song as a little girl, and I still do. Can't believe it's as old as it is!

The Beach Boys - Kokomo Ahh just hearing the start of this song transports me back to a time where I watched Cocktail over and over and over again. Probably not an entirely child appropriate film, huh.

Of course, the other loves of my life were the usual suspects - Kylie, Jason, Big Fun, Tiffany, Kim Wilde and of course The London Boys. I was very sad to hear that they'd both died in the 90's. Oh and Debbie Gibson. Loved, loved, loved Debbie Gibson. I wanted to BE Debbie Gibson. Hell, perhaps I still do.

Oh, let me leave you with one more song. I swear I just listened to this song for the first time in about 15 years and it brought an actual tear to my eye. I'm not sure there is another song that quite reminds me of my childhood as much as this.

Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram - Somewhere Out There

Right, I'm off to search out a DVD copy of An American Tale and weep over the fact that these songs are like 25 years old.

So tell me, what songs remind you of this period, late to mid 80's and what were you doing at the time? Were you an 8 year old like me? Do you even remember know songs? (Mr M doesn't even remember who Debbie Gibson is...)

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Meal Planning Monday (18th July 2011)

Happy Monday everyone and it's the last week of school. I'm still currently deciding if this is a good or bad thing...only time will tell!

Thanks to everyone who joined in with meal planning last week, I'm really enjoying reading what you are all eating each week.

This week I've decided to have a bit of a cupboard amnesty, using up bottles of sauces, marinades and stir-frys that I've got lying around. Some of these are part of my World Foods challenge, a couple are others I have been sent to review and a few others are just random ones I've picked up.

It does mean I am going to wing it a bit but I do have a kinda plan, so here it is.

Week commencing 18th July 2011

Kashmiri chicken
Buffalo chicken nachos
Thai beef red curry
Sweet chilli prawns & noodles
Something with a turmeric & lemon grass marinade!

I've planned those nachos over and over again and they've always dropped off the list but this week they will happen!

The Linky is below if you'd like to add your meal plan to the list, and don't forget to spread the word!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Win a Babylicious or Kiddylicious Hampers!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday, and hope it's sunny wherever you are. After a rainy start this morning the weather has perked up a little - lets hope it stays this way!

Today I am bringing you the chance to win a hamper of Babylicious or Kiddylicious goodies.

The company was started by Sally Preston, a mother of two who also happens to be a food scientist and qualified nutritionist.  It can be hard work batch cooking and pureeing meals, a lot of mums work and don't always have the time or energy, and the idea behind Babylicious and Kiddylicious meals are that they a good way of providing your child with food that is natural, with no additives and packed full of fresh vegetables without you having to do all the hard work!

The meals are prepared in exactly the same way you would at home with the Babylicious dishes being pureed to two different consistencies, Stage 1 for weaning and Stage 2 for when your baby is ready to move onto lumpier delights!  

The Babylicious products can be found in supermarkets all over the country however at present Asda are running a trial where they have introduced special baby food freezers into 41 of their stores.  You can check out this link to the Babylicious website to see if a store like near you has installed one of these special freezers.

How to enter....

If you'd like to win a hamper, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me which hamper you would prefer if you should win - Babylicious or Kiddylicious.

I'll give you an extra entry if you head over and like the Babylicious & Kiddylicious Facebook page, telling them that "At Home With Mrs M" sent you. Don't forget to come back here and let me know if you do!

Please can you also send a quick email to me at so that I am able to contact the winner.  After the giveaway has ended, your email address will be deleted and will not be used for any other purpose.  The giveaway is one entry per person and is open to UK residents only, sorry!

The giveaway will close on Sunday 24th July 2011 at 5.00pm and the winner will be chose at random (using the Random Number Generator).

Good luck!

love and kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Ginger Chilli Garlic Prawns (Fusion Taste Team: Challenge 6)

Yes, yes, yes. I'm fully aware I've skipped from Challenge 4 to Challenge 6 but number 5 will show up here shortly. I've just done things slightly out of order that's all.

I've loved Challenge 6, mainly because it required me to do nothing more than throw some prawns in with the sauce. This was perfect for an evening when I didn't have much energy or enthusiasm to do anything else!
The suggestions give by World Foods included making a prawn, ginger & chilli stirfry or fried clams with ginger, garlic & chilli sauce. Both sounded delicious but I thought the sauce sounded like it would just as well on its own so this is what I did. I basically heated the sauce up and then added in some cooked & peeled king prawns.

I served the prawns with some stirfried noodles & beansprouts and some egg fried rice and it was lovely.  The sauce was great - flavoursome and hot and spicy.  I doubt my children would have liked it, but for me and Mr M it was fine, especially alongside the rice and noodles.

If you've got a spare minute why not check out the World Foods Fusion of Flavours Facebook page and see what the rest of the team did with their sauce!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What's in a name?

You can't have missed all the chatter yesterday over the latest Beckham baby's name - Harper Seven.  Lots of mixed views on whether it's a good or bad name and from what I've seen, opinions are very divided.  Apparently the Beckham boys picked the name Harper after one of the girls from the Wizards of Waverley Place and Seven is David Beckham's favourite number. I may not like the name, but it's not my baby, it's theirs.

I spent my entire first pregnancy with my nose stuck in a book of baby names looking for something that jumped out at me, however in the end my own children have been given extremely traditional names. It was kind of important to me that they had names that wouldn't cause them any bother throughout their life and I'm confident that the monikers I have given them will stand them in good stead. There was no rhyme or reason to how we picked our children's names. My daughter has simply been given two names that we liked when I first found out I was in the pudding club. My son? We thought he was going to be a girl and therefore the only name we had prepared was Alice so when he arrived we didn't have a name for him and honestly, the labour was so hard-going that I couldn't have cared what we called him, so my husband decided there and then. 

Whilst I truly believe what people name their children is their business, I'm not really going to judge anyone, celebrity or otherwise.  Oh okay I am. I was rather pleased to read today that some countries do overrule people who want to lumber their children with ridiculous names that are practically verging on cruel. Names that have been vetoed include "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii", "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116", "Fish and Chips" (for twins.." and "Sex Fruit".  On the other hand a look at some of the more unusual names in Scotland last year included "Twinkle", "Starlet", a boy called "Heaven", "Goodluck" and one girl simply named "Baby".  Still they're not quite as bad as "Moxie Crimefighter", daughter of comedian Penn Jillette.

A quick look at the top baby names of 2010 reassures me that most of the public at large tend to opt for the more traditional names like Jack, Oliver, Emily and Chloe which have been hanging around for a good few years now.  I wonder what names will be popular in 10 years time?

Was it important for you to give your baby a name that helped them blend in or made them stand out? I'd love to hear about how you chose the name of your children!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Post in association with Bounty

Monday, 11 July 2011

Meal Planning Monday (11th July 2011)

Why hello, hello, hello. It's Monday again which means it's time for Meal Planning Monday.

I don't know about anyone else but life is so hectic right now and food is coming a poor second to other things at the moment. That's not right is it?

Anyhow I have a plan of sorts this week although it may all go out of the window due to at least two hectic evenings this week with school meetings and discos...

Week commencing 11th July 2011

BBQ (lamb kebabs, burgers etc) and salad
Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola 
Broccoli and beef stirfry
Chippy tea

Not very inspiring I know but hopefully some of the other lovely bloggers who join in will have more inspiration for you.

Join in with the Linky below!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 9 July 2011

When bad things happen to good cars

Some days I can get to bed time and feel I've not achieved a single thing.

Other days I can achieve a hell of a lot, even before breakfast.

Today was one of the latter days.

Today I achieved destroying two cars all before 9am.


Whoops was about all I could muster up at the time.

This is what happens when you are rushing around and your head is moving on to the next task. This is what happens when you're clearly not paying attention because you are telling yours kids not to mess about. This is what happens when you're a flippin' idiot!

The bottom two pictures are of my car, I am somewhat fortunate (?!) that the top picture is my husbands car. Yes, you heard that right. I reversed straight into Mr M's car. It wasn't my finest moment and not one I hope will ever come up should I ever appear on Piers Morgans Life Stories but at least it was his car and not some random angry irate stranger.

I am feeling suitably ashamed of myself and paying my penance to my husband today by being a perfect housewife, supplying him with huge amounts of dauphinoise potatoes for dinner and lets face it, probably some sexual favours thrown in for good measure.


love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

What are you reading in July?

It's that time again, where we share what we are reading this month in line with Curtains for the Window's regular blog post.

In truth, what I am reading is probably the same as last month because I've not managed a lot of reading in the past month - where on earth did June go? 

Anyhow in the interests of keeping it fresh, I'll list a few more books off my reading pile that I am hoping to get through very soon!

As always, a rather erm eclectic taste in reading shall we say?

What are you reading in July? Let me know and if you want to, why not link up to the blogpost over at Curtains for the Window.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A tale of WAHM woes

This weekend I came to the monumental decision that I wanted to work from home. Well actually, I didn't really decide that. What I decided was that I wanted to earn more money and that doing some work from home might be the way forward. I guess I'm not the first person to have that radical thought.

I don't want to give up my day job. That's not entirely true actually, but it pays too well and the perks are rather great, so what I'd like to do is dabble in something to detract from how dull my day job can actually be, giving myself a bit of self-worth and hopefully some pocket money to boot.

So what I am looking for is a kind of hobby/business I guess, but something that I could earn a  from too. Mr M and I have many goals and aspirations in life and it's started to weigh on my mind that if we're ever going to realise some of these dreams, even 1% of them, we're going to need a few more dubloons.

Going to back to work full-time is not an option as I wouldn't earn any more than I do now (for reasons far too long, boring and contentious to go into here) so it has to be a bit on the side. I need a way of using my brainpower and increasing my earning ability hopefully doing something I enjoy.  Oh if only it were that easy I can hear you all saying!

The question I struggle with is WHAT?! I've always wanted to be a writer but I don't really have the talent or indeed the motivation to get on with it. Also I am very aware that I would more than likely slog my guts out for months and months without getting anywhere at the end of it.  Sure, I might enjoy the process and I'll probably still explore it but from a financial aspect, unless I turn into the next JK Rowling overnight, it's not going to cut the mustard.

The biggest stumbling block I find myself trying to manoeuvre my way over is the fact that I can't actually do anything. Sssh, don't let everyone know that I am a complete incompetent. I'm not a jack of all trades, I am most definitely a master of none. My lack of skill and talent means I will never be able to make anything to sell and I have no real services to offer to people.  Although saying that, I'm not looking to get rich quick (though, it would be nice), so perhaps it's a case of needing to go learn to do something.  

This new plan is not going to go well is it?

I need inspiration and this is where you guys come in. Do you work from home? What do you do? How did you get started and more importantly what do you do when you're a talentless oaf like me?

love & kisses
Mrs M x