Tuesday, 30 August 2011

This is the best age you know


I'm going to make a stark admission on the blog today.

It's very possible that I do not appreciate my children quite as much as I should.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's also very possible that I am not alone in this.

Let's face it, it's hard to appreciate them when they've done nothing but whinge all day, belted you in the face with a mini golf club, wiped their snot on your bottom and told you seventeen times that day that they don't like you and grandma is better.  It's no wonder that many days are spent counting the minutes down to bedtime and the glorious wine-o-clock, forgetting that in the meantime you've got to get through the "witching hour" - that awful hour before bedtime when children seem to be at their most mischievous.

I try not to, but both Mr M and I, are and have always been guilty of wishing their lives away to some extent. Things are always going to be easier when they get that bit older aren't they? Yes, they are. Don't tell me otherwise. We've lived the past few years moving from one milestone to another and each one throws up a new set of challenges, because that's life isn't it? We've recently come back from a holiday that should have been, and was in many ways, the stuff of dreams but the complaining that the children did sometimes make me wish I was there on my own. I needed to remind myself sometimes that they are only 5 and 4.

I spend way too long moaning at my children - be quiet, sit up straight, don't interrupt, don't play with your food, stop squealing, don't run, don't poke people in the eye... I'm starting to feel like I am sucking the fun out of life for them. Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than anything and they bring me immense joy on a daily basis but sometimes the daily grind wears you down and well, it can all become a bit too much.

Just the other day in the local shop the children were doing the worst. We were all a bit jet-lagged, my nerves were shot, I was more than likely on the edge of The Rage and my patience was at an all-time low. The children were happy. Happy means noisy. Noisy, playful, giggles, screeches, incessant talking at 50 miles per hour. At the wrong time this can be a "nails down a blackboard" scenario and it was. I was short with them, threats of punishments never to be carried out were made if they didn't calm down a bit and they were given The Look. This brought them in line enough for me to complete my shop for the essentials but the bobbing around and general giddiness, you know, normal child behaviour, recommenced at the till.  A middle-aged lady behind me looked at them smiling, leaned over to me and said "This is the best age you know".  I looked over at the two little faces poking up from behind the trolley and back to her "I miss my daughter being this age, she's in her thirties now, I'd love to have her like this again". 

In that instant I felt guilty. Terribly guilty. For not appreciating what I have now and the little people that they are. For wishing their lives away and planning their futures when I should be living in the moment not like spending time doing other things when I should have been snuggling down with them when they watched a film.

I've spent many a day on the phone to Mr M at work telling him that they are driving me crazy and I can't wait until they go to bed and how I just Need. A. Break.  Now they're both preparing to return to school, with the little guy starting full-time and do you know what? I'm going to miss their whinging, I'm going to miss getting Playmobil embedded in my foot a couple of times a week (don't worry, there's still weekends...), I'm going to miss not being able to open a packet of biscuits without being lynched and I'm going to miss all the incessant chatter and nonsense that they spout throughout the day. 

So from this point forward I am going to make a vow to appreciate my children more, stop moaning at them so much and remember that "this is the best age you know" - they won't be like this for very long.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 29 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday (29th August 2011)

Hello, hello, hello!

You may have noticed that I've been on my holidays and in my absence I had scheduled the meal planning posts. Thanks to all those who joined in - it's been a bit quiet recently and I'm hoping that now things are starting to settle down, children will be back to school and autumn is clearly on it's way (leaves off the trees and conkers? what's that about!) that we'll all be getting back into our meal planning.

The last month or so (when I wasn't out of the country) was a bit of a bust but I am back meal planning with a vengeance!  I've got a few nights off this week because it's my birthday and I've got some socialising planned, plus a weekend away.  I've been quite good with planning this weekend though rather than diving for takeaways and we've had chicken fajitas, sausage & olive casserole and today a huge roast dinner!  The rest of the week looks a little like this...

Week commencing 29th August 2011

Thai red beef curry with coconut rice
Chilli con carne (I'm eating out with a friend)
Spaghetti puttanesca
Macaroni cheese (I'm eating out with a friend, again!)
Chinese takeaway (as we'll be at a holiday flat!)

So even though I am eating out twice, I am still providing for Mr M *polishes halo*.  I'll be down on the South Coast so plan to eat at Fishy Fishy for the first time over the weekend too.

What are your meal plans for this week? I need some more inspiration now so will be checking them thoroughly!  Linky is below, join in and spread the word!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I need your superior opinions and advice!

As you might well know I am currently having my new laundry/utility room built and fitted out. Yes, it's taking ages, it's pretty epic.  Anyhow. I'm currently pondering over blinds. 

I know I am going to have some roman blinds like I do in the kitchen, which are Cath Kidston red polka dot fabric.


What I can't decide on is the fabric. Originally in the kitchen I wanted a floral but Mr M hates florals and so I settled for the polka dots. The laundry room is mine, all mine and he's said "do whatever" in there and is so far not helping me choose at all! These are the ones I have narrowed it down to.




Clearly, given the choice he'd opt for the stone polka dot and I am swaying that way myself BUT I keep having this nagging thought that this is my only chance to exploit my love of florals. 

If you were choosing would you go for the duck egg or the creamy/white background on the floral pattern? Or would you go for the polka dot? This is all academic because there's a good choice you'd opt for none of them but humour me, please.

I'm obviously over thinking this massively but blinds are cheap when you get them made to measure and I don't want to make any expensive mistakes.

Help!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sephora love and nail polish lust

I love Sephora. I miss having a branch in the UK so much so I always make sure I pay a visit whenever I am in a country that has one. 

On my recent trip to Florida I popped into Sephora in the Florida Mall and I had a mini-splurge. I could have bought a lot more but I was worried about how much shopping there was to bring back to England as we were already laden down with the entire Mickey Mouse Clubhouse collection of characters in stuffed toy form.

I bought many bits and pieces like nail polish corrector pens, pop up hair brushes, eyebrow scissors, mirror etc but my real interest was the Sephora by OPI nail polish collection. I could have seriously bought lots but restricted myself to just three bottles. Of course, I am kicking myself now and wishing I'd bought a few other colours - will just have to check out Ebay later!

The first one I chose was What's Your Poison which is part of the Garden of Good & Evil Collection and is described as an opaque cranberry red with chunky glitter.


I love this colour and you can see it in action on Manicure Mommas blog.

The next one I selected was Shiny Dancer. I originally thought this was blue but on closer inspection it's not, and the description is opaque slate with fine iridescent glitter.  


You can see it swatched here at Polish or Perish. It's got a really lovely shimmer and I think I'll get lots of use out of this.

Finally I bought I Don't Bite which is an opaque soft purple with fine holographic glitter. I have a soft spot for purple nail polish and this one literally (okay, not literally) jumped off the shelf at me.  It's part of the Safari Luxe collection.


Again, if you want to see it in action check out Bandie Cat's blog. The images for this product online look way more purple - you'd think it was a deep purple but in real life it's not like that at all.

It's fair to say that when it comes to nail polish I definitely sway towards the shiny, glittery ones. I never actually noticed that myself until now! There are a few more on my list that I'd really like to get like Designer Fig Leaf, Who Let the Dorks Out (part of the Glee collection), Caught With My Khaki's Down and Frankly I Don't Give a Damn and now I'll just have to suck it up and pay Ebay prices and postage making it double what I paid in the US due to the lack of Sephora here!

Come back Sephora, we miss you!

love and kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Guess who's back, back again...


Oh okay not very exciting but it's meeeee!

I'm back from my two week summer break to Florida and I've just about recovered from the jet lag and am currently working my way up to thinking about blogging again! When you've not done it for a few weeks it feels like such an effort, and then there is all the emails to sift through and Meal Planning Monday entries to look at. I'm SO looking forward to meal planning again.  Anyhow, there were obviously a few scheduled posts and tweets whilst I was away - I do hope they weren't too annoying, and if they were, well there won't be any more of those for a while!

I've still got lots of things to catch up on but I will be doing a full report of my trip (no snoring allowed) including the tale of my clash with the chairlift of DOOM and various other injuries. I may even share a bruise picture with you.  I've also got lots of other blog posts lined up to bore you with, I mean, keep you on the edge of your seat, so do check back.

In the meantime I am off to Bloglovin' to make a dent in the 1300 (no joke) blog posts I need to catch up on. I may be some time. If you don't see me by Saturday, send help. And vodka.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday (22nd August 2011)

It's getting tedious now isn't it? This no-meal-planning-from-Mrs-M malarky. Don't worry, normal service will resume next Monday and just think, I'll have three weeks worth of your ideas to steal for inspiration.

Hope you've been enjoying August. Scary to think that Autumn will soon be upon us but September still counts as Summer right? In my head anyway!

The Linky is below. Join in, spread the word, visit other peoples entries - you know the score!
love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Potato Bundles


I originally stumbled across these charming potato bundles on The Pioneer Woman a couple of years. I've since made them several times and they've become a bit of a regular at family BBQs.

They're incredibly simple to throw together, especially as there is no real recipe and although they take a fair bit of baking time seeing as you've just got to put them in the oven and leave them to their own devices, they're pretty low on effort!

As I said, there's not strict recipe to follow so just wing it and feel free to add different ingredients - it's all down to taste. For instance, the original recipe doesn't include garlic but I am a bit of a garlic fanatic so couldn't resist adding some in. Leave it out if you like or try some different herbs and spices. I'm pretty sure anything would go.

I've used some rough measurements here as an indication of what I normally do, and I normally get 4-6 bundles out of this, depending on how piggy we are feeling.

Potato Bundles

Ingredients

400g white potatoes, diced
medium onion, diced
butter
300ml double cream
Maldon sea salt
smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Make a little mound of diced potatoes on a square of foil along with some of the onion. Add 2tbsp of butter and a good splash of the cream. Pop in a little bit of the minced garlic, a sprinkle of paprika and then a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Repeat until all the potatoes have been made into bundles.

Wrap the bundles in the foil tightly to form small parcels and bake in the oven for 45mins at around 180c (or until the potatoes are tender).

That's all there is to it. Instructions are a little vague I know, but you can't really go wrong!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 15 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday (15th August 2011)

Hope you're all still meal planning in my absence? 

I'm clearly still not meal planning but don't let that stop you getting on with yours! I'll be checking up on you very shortly....

As always, join in the Linky below - don't forget to check out the other entries and spread the word about Meal Planning Monday!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Mad about the girl!

I don't think it's any kind of secret that I am a fan of the royal family. I know it's not particularly fashionable but I don't care. I love them.  I've always been fascinated by the history and stories surrounding the royal families of England, and this is history in the making isn't it? The recent wedding of Prince William & Kate Middleton is an event that will go into the history books and I for one am captivated by their love story (generally the fact they weren't "introduced" and met at Uni like so many other couples do) and what happens in their future. I hope that it's a long and happy union, they certainly both look happy enough!

What has taken me by surprise is how everyone has become so Kate-obsessed, even myself! I suppose really it shouldn't be surprising given the Diana years and the fascination with her every move - poor Kate didn't stand a chance did she!


My love for Kate is bordering on a small obsession, so much so that I've managed to convince Mr M to come along to Buckingham Palace with me, on our wedding anniversary weekend away purely so I can see her wedding dress on display. I'm sure inwardly he despairs of me but he's pretty good at putting up with me and my crazy ideas (like when I suggested we go to London for the Royal Wedding...).


I can't help looking at pictures on the internet of what Kate is wearing on her official engagements. The recent tour of Canada was like dying and going to heaven. Day after day pictures in the press of Kate wearing yet another fabulous outfit.


I know it should concern me less, and I'm sure I've got way better things to do than stalk the Duchess of Cambridge on The Daily Mail website or make Pintrest boards about her but well, I just think she's pretty fabulous and I doubt anybody's interest in her is going to waiver quite yet!


I'm afraid you're just going to have to put up with me and my Royalist ways for a little longer and do expecting a gushing post when I return from Buck Pal in September!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 8 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday (8th August 2011)

Howdy.

The meal plan this week is...there is no meal plan! You know, due to school break, hollibobs and things like that!

That doesn't mean you get let off the hook though, oh no!

The Linky is below so do share you meal plans for this week and remember to check out the other entries for more inspiration!

I'll be back to check them all out very shortly, I'm seriously lacking in the inspiration department right now so need all the help I can get.

love & kisses 
Mrs M x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

What are you reading in August?

The answer to this question should probably be "exactly what I was reading in July", because I've achieved diddly squat in the last month.

I started Bossy Pants and I've packed Chelsea Handler's book into my flight bag but so far that's it. Even though I've had a big fat fail with regards to reading recently I am going to list a few more that are on my pile and that I'd like to get through very soon!





I'm probably being a bit ambitious as I doubt any of them are a particularly light read, but well, we'll see how I get on.

I normally link this post with the "What are you reading in..." on Curtains for the Window but I'm not sure she's done her post yet so I'll link to it later!

Do stop by and let me know what you're reading this month. I love hearing about books that I might not have noticed.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Friday, 5 August 2011

The thing about "niches"...


It's ironic I'm about to blog about blogging as really it's one of my pet peeves. In general I don't like to read about blogging on people's blogs but here I am, going to do it anyway. 

One of the biggest things to come out of Cybermummy '11 for me (other than my waistline due to the abundance of cupcakes!) was the message that bloggers need to find their niche.

This is pretty much bad news for me, as I don't have one and until Cybermummy it never really dawned on me to care. I don't class myself as a "mummy blogger" as I don't really blog about my children, so that's certainly not my niche and obviously I blog a fair amount about food and cooking but could hardly be labelled a foodie.  I enjoy reading books and doing the odd book review but that doesn't make this a book blog and then of course there are all the other subjects I enjoy blogging about - films, music, fashion and so on. It seems then that really I am a jack of all trades and a master of none!

But, does that really matter?

I picked my blog name because it wasn't specific or niche. I have in the past had a food blog and a mummy blog but eventually I found them both incredibly limiting. I wanted to write about whatever I was thinking or feeling, or perhaps about something I had seen or read. That kind of content doesn't sit well on a food blog so back in 2009 I decided to ditch the food blog and start again.

I've now learned that not having a niche probably makes me a less attractive choice for brands and that if I'm wanting to make a commercial success of my blog, I really need to streamline and focus it on a particular area. I'm currently torn on this. On one hand, clearly it would be nice to earn some extra money from something I enjoy doing and that takes up a fair amount of my leisure time but on the other, I'd hate for my blogging to become a chore. Trying to conform to what is or is not acceptable or advisable, well, I think it would kind of suck the fun out of it. For me, anyway.

My blog is my personal space, to express myself in whatever way I choose. If people can't cope with my random offerings then they don't have to read them, but I will write them regardless. Deep down I feel that the perks of occasionally working with brands need to come second to pleasing myself or else what's the point of calling this MY blog.

Where do you stand on the niche issue? Do you have one? Do you believe it is important? or do you really not give a monkeys bottom?

I'm not sure I am ready to be pigeon-holed so for now I will remain the niche-less Mrs M!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

This post should come with an ITCH warning!


You know what I'm going to talk about don't you? Yep. Those little critters. Head lice. Grim aren't they? and still somewhat of a taboo I've found.

Nobody. Talks. About. Nits.

Instead, schools send home round-robin letters informing you that "there has been a case of head lice in your class, yet again". Everybody immediately starts discretely scratching and eying each other up suspiciously but nobody actually owns up to it being their child with the infestation.

Despite the fact that I check my children's hair regularly and have found no trace of the little blighters I still get knee-knockingly nervous when I go to the hairdressers, either for myself or with my children. I'm petrified that they'll be a little louse hiding in there and we'll be frog-marched out of the hairdressers, put in stocks in the village and pelted with rotten tomatoes. I'm taking my daughter to the hairdressers this week and The Fear has set in.

So far (touch-wood) we've remained unscathed from the recent visitors, however I'm sure our time will come as approximately one in 10 primary school children have head lice at any one time. We have experienced them before when my daughter was in nursery and it wasn't the most pleasant experience of my life, trying to get a two year old to sit still for constant wet-combing. In fact, I did what any self-respecting girl would do - I called my mother. Yes, mummy came rushing over to deal with it for me (she's one of those weird types that gets a strange sense of satisfaction from nit-picking, literally).

The biggest part of the battle you face with clearing yourself and your family of head lice is re-infestation. Sadly, I think there are many people out there who are just not well-informed and don't take the necessary steps needed. Families need to integrate checking for head lice into their personal hygiene routine, once a week is fine, but I'm afraid that many people just don't bother.

I've recently been sent some information by Hedrin, who have a range of head lice treatments - I can wholeheartedly recommend their products as I used their products when we had the lice (I'm SO scratching right now!) and I found them very successful. As such, I always have a bottle in the bathroom now for lice-emergencies! They're also shortly launching a new product called Treat & Go which is water-based, pesticide-free and most importantly, clinically proven. If you need refreshing on how to do battle with our little friends, here are some top tips...

Hope you find that info useful and that you're not all paranoid and excessively scratching your noggin right now. Unlike me. If you want any more information and further tips, you can check out http://www.onceaweektakeapeek.com and also download a parents guide. Alternatively, if you have a burning question about head lice, get in touch and I'll do my best to get the answer for you!

Thank to Hedrin for providing me with this information. This is not a sponsored post, it's purely for mine, and yours, erm pleasure!

Happy nit-picking, and do wish me luck for Fridays haircut...send me nit-fee vibes please!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Meal Planning Monday (1st August 2011)

Pinch, punch, first of the month.

Blimey, who can believe it's August already? The first week of the school holidays (whilst filled with rage) flew by. This week will go either two ways. Either it will drag on because I am going somewhere very exciting next week or fly past because I have so much to do. We'll see how that pans out.

In terms of meal planning, I feel it might be a bit haphazard this week and also I'm trying to have a healthy week preceding the two weeks of nutritional carnage that are about to follow.

I have no strict plan but it's going to include lots of variations on salad. Salad and chicken, salad and fish, salad and jacket potato, salad and salad...you get the picture.

Tell me, what are you eating this week? The Linky tool is down below so do join in!

love & kisses
Mrs M x