Wednesday 29 February 2012

My week off

I'm having a holiday from being a stay at home mum. I cannot wait and am so giddy with excitement. Apart for one night in the first week of her life where I ended up in hospital with high blood pressure, I've never spent a night away from my child. Sure there have been times when someone else has looked after her - notably when I had tonsillitis a few Xmas' ago and hubby had to look after her. But physically, I was there and she saw me every day. This will be the first real holiday I've had - I'm going home for 7 days alone without hubby or daughter.
I seriously need to recharge my batteries and to find some sense of self. I love being a mum but my god, sometimes it's the most boring job in the world. And the GUILT, no one ever tells you about the guilt that you feel when you are not feeding them right, dressing them right, taking them to the right clubs, getting them into the best school, being up on the latest parenting trends, spending every moment to play as you have to do some housework (or god forbid update your blog), letting down all woman kind cos you didn't stay in a career and chose the traditional role of stay at home parent. There are so many things you could feel about if you gave a toss. Most of the time I don't - I think we are good parents and get compliments for our little one's manners, her confidence and her intelligence.
However, after 4 years I need to step away for a bit. I need to have a conversation with an adult without being interrupted. I have to be able to go the cinema, out for dinner, A DRINK even or just catch up with old mates without thinking about getting back to pick up little one, cook dinner, do the laundry or think of a bunch of activities to fill the afternoon.  I need to be away so I can stop feeling sorry for myself and remind myself that I chose this job. I also need to think about ways that my hubby and I can reconnect as "consenting" adults rather than just parents.
I have to think of ways to supplement our income. We don't live off benefits*. We live off savings and the hubby's income. The savings are really dwindling. I know I can work but in this economy I have no sodding idea what I could do and how I could ensure it will fit around the hours that little one will be in school. Not an unique dilemma but for now, one I need to face.
I suspect I will spend a lot of time in arts/crafts shops stocking up on new activities when I am not in the yarn shop buying even more for my stash. Or in kids' shops buying new clothes, books, toys.
Most of all, I know I'm going to miss my little one and the other half as I've got the best f*****ing job in the world and work for and with two of the most remarkable human beings I know.

*I wish that I could have some of the benefits of the people on benefits without claiming the benefits. Like getting stamps cheaper at Christmas time. Or getting into see shows cheaper. Or whatever else people who live off the state get.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Geeks of Charlton Athletic

Did any of you catch the new Sky1 show Gadget geeks episode 6? It featured the announcer at Charlton Athletic!
If you are a sky customer you can watch the show here

The guy was choosing a tablet PC and went for the obvious (boring) iPad. I'm only jealous as I cannot afford one ;)

Green around the sills

I was a bit successful last year growing stuff. The supermarket basil grew huge on the window sill in my kitchen (shhh don't mention the other less successful herbs). Outdoors, giant sunflower grew taller than our fence, the curry plants went crazy and the tomato plant tot brought home from nursery sprouted some lovely red fruits. When we moved, I gave away the basil but we took the sunflower and toms. Sadly both of them died after being exposed to the cooler temperature and enough rain to float an Ark.
This year, I've got another supermarket basil but I'm also growing chili plants. Tot's strawberry pot has two very delicate sprouts which I'm afraid to go nearer and last week, she planted her tomato seeds. I cannot wait to gobble them up later this year.
And finally, our landlord left us a lovely bunch of flowers when we moved in. They have since died but I replaced them with a cheap but pretty bunch of spray carnations. Maybe hubby will get the hint that I like flowers and treat me to a bunch someday.

Redcoats in Almondell

We had one of those "so glad we moved out of London" moments today as we walked around Almondell and Calderwood country park. It's a very lovely place. Despite the cold rather grey day we came across a fair few other people walking around with families, or their dogs or just taking a stroll. Funnily, nearly every family we met had a child with a red coat on. Easy to find in the woods in case one of them wanders off I guess.

There are two water streams, Murieston water and Linhouse water, that run through the park that join to form Calder water. We only walked around the northern part of the park but in that time enjoying the views of the viaduct, aquaduct and Naysmith bridge. We walked across the aquaduct below which had water running directly under the boards, as well as being suspended over the Calder. 


Strangely we didn't spot any squirrels but were happy to see some robins right on the path. And though we saw hundreds of snowdrops and the beginnings of daffodils, I cannot wait until spring when the trees that survived the recent storms' damage will be in bloom. I also kept getting the odd whiff of garlic so wonder if there is any wild garlic around...not that I'd know what it looks like even if it smacked me in the face. Finally,  early springlike treat was the view of yellow flowers near the car park entrance - does anyone know what they are?

Almond Valley

Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Millfield, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 7AR. Tel: 01506 414957

During half term I took the little one off to Heritage Centre at Almond Valley. It's part museum, part farm, and part children's playground. A perfect place for a 4 year old to run around - or so I thought. She was too cold and so spent ages inside the museum which shows a lot of the farming / mining history of the area. It was pretty cool seeing the large mill with it's grinding stone and waterwheel up close.

We walked around looking at animals and loved the tiny horses but were a bit phased by the chickens from the wartime garden. They are allowed to wander free but I think the little one would have preferred to have them locked up in cages. Some of the animals were not around as I think the farm moves them when the weather is too cold but it was fun trying to hunt them down.
Another part of the park had a shed with rabbits and other furry creatures. Those rabbits were HUGE  - some of them are for sale (hopefully as pets rather than food). Can you tell I'm not used to being around animals.
The centre also has the coolest trampolines laid into the ground. I wanted to have a go but as they were full of little kids, didn't think it would have been appropriate. There is also a giant bouncy mound for older children which again looks fun apart from the little tykes who were chucking sand in eachother's faces.
There are also mini tractors which are fabulous and luckily for me, hard to manoeuvre else she would have been off like a shot. And once again, older children are catered for too with a separate track and large wheeled toys for them to run around in.
On this visit we didn't visit the cafe but I am sure I will in future. I will also not use my sat nav to get there as on this visit, it kept trying to tell me to drive down a no-through road!
The cost was a little high at £5 for adults and £3 for children however, if I was going to go regularly, I'd get an annual membership.

Saturday 18 February 2012

It's a wild life

There are a lot of birds in this area probably because we live quite close to Almondell and Calderwood country park. So a few weeks ago, tot and I went off to the local chain DIY store and bought some cheap bird feeders. I decided to buy a pack of 3 feeders which came packed with peanuts, sunflower seeds and mixed seeds - I wasn't sure what the birds around here eat. Our neighbour gets regular visitors for the peanuts they put out. I put up the sunflower seed one to give a bit of variety. And for weeks we had NO visitors. The birds continued to go next door. Then all of sudden I noticed some sort of yellow breasted bird hopping about the feeder, making sure he was safe, then swiftly grabbing a seed to take to a nearby branch and munch. Wooohoooo success. Since then, we have put up an apple dotted with some seeds (rather than throw it out) which the birds are munching on too. A couple have also been sniffing around an old bird box attached to our shed. I was going to clean it out until I discovered that it's only legal to do so between August and January. I hope the couple will nest in it and I cross all my fingers there are no parasites to attack their little babies and that the mould inside the shed doesn't extend to this bird box.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Sun, sand and nature

What do you do on a beautifully sunny but freezing day in winter? Well we went down to Broughty Ferry just outside Dundee to visit Granny and then down to the river's edge to feed the swans. The birds are huge so the little one hid behind Granny - I wasn't that upfront with the giant birds either! Afterwards, we took a quick trip to the Castle Green playground which was desserted...the joy of a 4 year old who can go on any of the playthings knows no bounds and warms up even the most frozen Mother and Grandmother. Tomorrow, we will be putting up bird feeders in our garden just in case the winter turns nasty.