An Interesting Mini Break

Last weekend Rob, Dylan and I went on our first mini break together as a threesome.

We stayed in a questionable hotel (more on that soon) for one night in Bournemouth, Dorset. It was my treat to Rob as a joint B.day and fathers day present, and my last big spending blow out before my maternity pay ends soon (whaaa!)*

I last visited the Bournemouth as a kid with my family around 25-30 years ago, and all I can remember about the town was that it had lots of trees and it was sunny!

To be fair, I do like trees. And lots of trees are more than enough reason for me to visit somewhere again!

We lucked out with the weather as it was just at the begining of this heatwave with pleasant, managable sunshine right before things became unbearable like they have done in the last few days with the melting tarmac and stupid 30+ temperatures. We enjoyed walking around the gardens and beachfront, dodging the drunk students (there were lots, Bournemouth is a bit of a party town) and sniggering at them constantly taking selfies,** beers on the pier, browsing round the shops, a Nandos meal (my first in over a year!), our first ever Five Guys (what can I say, I am a sucker for a hyped up chain resturant!) and we took Dylan for his first ever swim in the hotel pool.

A post shared by @helshelshels on

Dylan rubber necking in Nandos!

Ah yes, the hotel. Shall we talk about the hotel now?

Rob is not letting me live it down, but I managed to book us into one of the grottiest hotels in England!

I am kind of notorious for not doing my research properly and once again I came up trumps!*** I blame booking.com. Its a kind of twisted, evil Ebay type of site with too many hotels, and they keep telling you that so many people have booked rooms in the last 10 minutes, that there is only one room left and the prices keep going up and down etc. So you end up making a snap decicion based on price rather than the star rating of the hotel and its reviews! Or at least I do anyway.

I booked us a twin room in the cheapest hotel that I could find online. It had dated, broken 80’s furniture, a tatty grey bathroom suite with broken, cracked floor tiles, windows with broken handles, watermarks on the ceiling and bit of a funny smell. But the worst thing was that the wardrobe was really wonky. It was propped up by a piece of wood, it wobbled when you walked past and it looked like it was going to topple over at any given moment! In all seriousness though, I really don’t know how they can get away with furniture like that in this day and age with all the health and safety rules and the tragic lawsuits in America against Ikea.

At first we were being terribly British, unsure whether to complain and not wanting to make a fuss etc. But we had D to think about and even if the wardrobe was fine while we stayed there, what if something happened to the guests after us and we ignored it and said nothing?

So we reported it and got upgraded to a much larger family room (with three large beds! One each!) This room was slightly less grotty and had more sturdy furniture thank goodness! In the end the hotel redeemed itself to us, as all the staff were so friendly and helpful and we had fun using the pool (and there were only a few dead flies floating in it! Win!)

It could have been worse – I could have booked us into this hotel that I spotted and posted on Instagram!

Where shall we go for our next holiday then? Maybe one of these hotels??!! As I said, I am never going to live this down!

*Even though they do want me back again where I worked last year, I want to stay at home with Dylan for the time being. We will tighten our belts and manage just fine. Maybe I will return to work in 2018? But for now I will be a SAHM.

**I am showing my age here, but as someone who hates having their photo taken and who got their first camera phone in their late twenties (when my partying days were long over) it never fails to suprise and amuse me how often some peeps take selfies!

***It feels so wrong to use that expression now thanks to a certain person in America! I cant think of another, sorry!

 

More Baby Talk

Yep, its yet more baby talk! I bet you are thinking – “that Helen, she has turned into a right baby bore. All she talks about on her blog is baby stuff and her cats minge belly!”* And yes, you are right, those two topics have been my main subject matter of late.

So for a change, today I am going to blog about more baby stuff – my plant babies!

Yep, its thrilling content only on here!

For some reason, having completely neglected my plants, and forgetting to water them for, ooh shall we say 16 odd weeks, this seems to be working really well for them and two of them have sprouted babies!

One of my larger snake plants has a couple of what looks like flowers growing (I never knew that they flowered!) And a spider plant on top of the Ladderax unit has sprouted a long stem which grew a pretty little white flower (not pictured as it has since wilted!)

Just call me Helen Greenfingered (insert my surname here), eh! Now please excuse me while I go apply for Alan Tichmarsh’s job!

*On the subject of my cats minge belly – Our friends who have farmland in Cornwall have pet chickens and they have a broody hen. She has stopped laying and plucked all the feathers out on her belly. The plot thickens!

Lately #20

Hello my poor neglected blog. I haven’t forgotten you. I have just not had any time for you lately. I thought about ditching you, throwing in the towel, calling it quits. After all, maybe its best that we leave each other on a high. Its not you, its me, etc.

But then I realised that my last ever post on here would be about my cats minge belly (Yet another personal blogging high!) And before that, a rambly, self indulgent, (now thankfully re-edited) personal post all about me, and, erm, my blog!

Nah, I cannot leave that as my lasting legacy. Surely I have some more blogging left in me? Surely?

Lets gently dip my toes back into blogland (does anyone still call it blogland? I think that’s a bit 2010!) and talk about what I have been up to so far in 2017. Apologies in advance for talking far too much about the baby, but he has kind of taken over my life!

  • Tying to nail this mum shiz I am really enjoying being a mum and Dylan at this stage. Dylan is now nearly 16 weeks old and such a happy, smiley, giggly baby (I know that all parents say that about their own, but he is. Honest!). People have been asking Rob and I about how tired we are and I can honestly say that it is not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, its tiring, but to me its the same kind of tired that you get from working long hours with a long commute everyday. I did that for years and it was knackering, but you get used to it and just get on with it. Plus I used to go out on the piss most nights in my early twenties and I worked full time on an average of 4 hours sleep. I guess that I have just been tired for most of my adult life really! At least this is a good tired. (It also helps to look after babies without hanging like a bat in a cave. A little tip there for any would be parents there!)
  • Not cooking anything exciting There will be no “In Hel’s Kitchen” posts for a while! I froze around thirty meals before he was born, and we managed to eek them out until the end of February, with a few toasty type of meals, three takeaways (only three!), lots of pasta parcels, lots of frozen pizzas and microwave jacket potatoes thrown in between. I did bake some biscuits the other day (Lisa Faulkner’s Sunshine Shorties if you are interested) and have started making simple dinners again. I really want to cook some homemade pizzas, but I have not managed to get my act together to make the dough in advance!
  • Talking of feeding Dylan is now fully formula fed and thriving. I wasn’t going to put anything on here about it (because nobody cares and its no ones business!) but after reading The Magpie Girls BF experience I want to share mine, because I think this is a subject that we should talk about more (the shit side of BF and it not working out, that is). I threw in the towel at six/seven weeks because Dylan was gaining weight very slowly, and being a full term 5lb odd teeny baby to start with, this was quite concerning. Yet I was still getting pushed by the health professionals to BF/combine feed him, despite him being sent to hospital to be checked out for his slow weight gain. I was feeding him all the blooming time, stressed out and worried sick about his weight gain (although it turns out that this is a very common thing in babies). But I was still told to continue BFing! Eventually, I decided to stop. He prefers the formula. It is designed to bulk out babies, which is what he needs. He drinks a whooping 36 oz a day! Where as another baby that I know who was born on the same day as him only drinks 20 oz a day, but is heavier and fatter than him. Go figure? Babies are weird. And they are all different. You have to do what is best for yours.
  • I am all for equal opportunities It was not an easy decision to stop BFing him and I went through all the same kind of emotions that I went through when I had a miscarriage, like “what have I done wrong”, “why has my body let me down”, ” why cant I do something so simple and natural and something that other women seem to do so easily” etc, etc. But this time I did not have the added grief and despair. I just got over it, stopped caring about how I fed him and enjoyed my baby. There is a lot of stuff out there on the internet on the politics of how you feed your baby (most of it women judging other women, which really gets my goat) but one of the best things that I read is this article published on The Atlantic which I found via a comment left on A Cup of Jo post. “Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?” After all its only fair that Rob gets to share the burden of night feeds, eh! Have a read if you have the spare time. I never thought that how you feed your baby is a feminist issue before.
  • Doing lots of washing Dylan has reflux, bless him. You think that we had seen enough of vomit with my morning sickness when I was expecting him, but no, we now have a pukey baby! My record for one days wash was 12 bibs and 9 muzzys. Poor little fella. Luckily he is not bothered by it. He usually smiles when he voms, the daft sod!
  • Daydreaming about going camping We have been venturing further afield with Dylan, visiting the Isle of Wight and going on day trips to Weymouth, to visit friends and the Sealife centre, and to Exeter to do a bit of window shopping. But I am not sure that we are ready to camp with him yet. The main issue is how do we sterilise/make his bottles safely (damn it, camping would be a doddle if I was still BFing!) and where will he sleep? There is no room for his cot in the van and I am not confident enough to co-sleep with him at this age. I think that we will have to wait till next year really. And a festival is definitely off the agenda for the time being!
  • Turning into mush at tiny baby clothes Seriously, what have I become? There is so much cute stuff out there ATM! I want to buy it all! OMG I never thought that I would be like this, but there we go. I bought these cute retro-tastic animal baby grows from Next, pictured below, for him to grow into, which are my current favourites. Anything with a whale print on it is a winner in my book!
  • Feeling homesick and missing my family big time It is what it is. Sadface emoji.
  • Trying to not post photos of Dylan on social media and failing I am that annoying person who has gone back on their word. Its so hard not to, though! I deleted most of my photos of him on Instagram the other day which must be even more annoying for my (very few) followers. Sorry about that! Still undecided on the whole sharing thing and how to handle it.
  • And finally, the cat is still fine At first she was a bit jealous and put out by Dylan. She was very sulky and slept/hid in some funny places, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture and under tables. But now she is back to her old self and plonks herself on our laps every time we sit down and tries to sleep in his bed, rocker and bouncer chair etc! She is fine with Dylan. He now smiles at her when she walks past and melts my heart into a puddle of mush! Her belly still looks like a minge though BTW.

A post shared by @helshelshels on

Five Years Of Blogging!

Back in 2012, I decided to start a blog for something to do while I was briefly unemployed.

I never guessed that I would stick at it for this long!

As a fan of blogs, I wanted to have a go myself, writing about baking, music, vintage and decorating our house. I also wanted to improve my IT skills.

Fast forward to half a decade later and my improved IT skills are minimal!

Most of those subjects have fallen by the way side now, and my blog has evolved into a personal online diary of sorts. But its been nice to record my memories.

And five years on, once again, I am currently unemployed! Oops!…..Although I am calling this period of being out of work my “extended maternity leave”!

Thanks to everyone who has read my crappy lil’ blog and commented on here. I never set out to gain readers or any financial gains etc (although some extra £££’s would be nice!!!), but it has been a lovely, positive perk. If I could, I would buy you all a drink, but instead I will rise my tepid mug of tea to you all and say clink-clink, cheers me dears!!!

The Understatement Of The Year

Babies are so bad for the environment and that’s my understatement of the year!

Sod using public transport, not owning a car, recycling, buying secondhand, growing your own, eating less meat, being vegetarian/vegan or cleaning your house without chemicals. The best way to cut down your carbon foot print is not to breed!

I was fully aware of this already, and the environmental impact and the amount of waste that I would be sending to landfill was one of the many reasons that it took me so long to come around to the idea of having a kid. (BTW despite me sounding like a chav when I talk, I can totally be a bit of a middle class a-hole at times with my environmental concerns and issues!)

Even though I have tried to make my peace with the wastefulness of having a baby (i.e told myself to just bury my head in the sand, to try and ignore it and to focus on the good stuff) it still shocks me how quickly our wheelie bin is filling up and how much waste there is!

So to make myself feel slightly better I am using my blog as a therapy session (once again!) to get some of the guilt off my chest and to thought dump all of my feels on here!!!

Here is my list of shame –

  • It shocks me how many cotton wool balls we have got through. Two weeks in and we are on our third bumper sized bag already!
  • The boiling the kettle constantly to pour water out to cool for top and tailing. Then forgetting about said bowl of water on the side and having to do it all over again!
  • The nappies! Ten or fifteen years ago I was very much a ranty, soapbox, eco warrior type and I would have used reusable washable nappies if I had a kid when I was younger. These days I have chilled out a bit and I will do anything for an easier life – so we are using disposables! Please feel free to judge, but I know that the amount of constant washing would drive me crazy and reduce me to tears on a daily basis. So Pampers/cheaper supermarket own brand are the way forward for now.
  • The amount of nappy bags that I am using to wrap said disposable nappies in, before plonking them in the wheelie bin, before they end up in landfill and take 20+years to break down all the while leaking chemicals into the soil. All that we can do ATM to save waste is to put two pissy nappies in the same bag. Lame.
  • The amount of washing. The pile of pissy wet babygrows never goes down!
  • The constant washing of hands. More water usage.
  • The water used for sterilising.
  • The amount of packaging for his milk. I am currently breastfeeding Dylan, but because of his low birth weight and current slow weight gain we have been advised to top him up with formula. So we are currently using the ready made Cow and Gate mini throw away bottles to save time with heating powdered milk and sterilising bottles etc. Again, anything for an easier life.
  • I am also this close to saying f**k it with the breast feeding and sticking him on the formula full time to get him gaining weight and to make life slightly easier (which also as an extra bonus doing this will piss off my slightly-mental-pro-breast-feeding health visitor who I cannot stand and who suggested that I buy one of these to give him his formula in. Can you imagine Rob wearing it! – Actually, please don’t! That’s a really disturbing image!)
  • The amount of stuff that you need to buy that only gets used for 4-6 months.
  • The fact that most of it will be chucked, as nobody really buys second had baby stuff like cribs etc.
  • TMI alert – The amount of maternity pads that you get through before, during and after. All going to landfill.
  • The fact that I have been this close to ordering a tumble dryer.
  • And despite a long history of setting fire to them and breaking them, I have purchased a new microwave to sterilise bottles in. Unfortunately the microwave steriliser that I also ordered was too big to fit inside my new microwave. Oops! Never mind at least we can have jacket potatoes for tea again and reheat our cold cups of tea!
  • The fact that I wanted to only use organic, eco friendly baby bath products etc but I have been gifted a shedload of J&J baby smellies, Vaseline and Sudocream etc. I will just have to suck it up and use these paraben and petroleum containing products. And be grateful for them. Which I am – honest!
  • The amount of baby wipes that I will use.
  • But despite my guilt at increasing the hole in the ozone etc, despite the lack of sleep, despite the fact that I am a emotional teary wreak most of the time, my love for this babe is growing daily. Now please excuse me while I put another load of washing on and put the heating on full wack to dry it! #explainingnotcomplaining

And Then There Were Three….

…..Or four of us in the household now, if you include the cat, which I 100% do BTW!

Please allow me to introduce Dylan Milo. He was born on Saturday 24/12/16 weighing 5lb 15oz at 3.08am.

We are totally smitten with the little fellow and we are on a sleep deprived cloud nine high ATM!

Of course it would not be a typical Helen and Rob type of story with out some kind of hiccup involved around the time of his birth. And sure enough, before he was born, the van broke down on Saturday the 17th Dec, four days before my due date on Wednesday the 21st Dec!

We hastily organised a list of local cab firm numbers to keep to hand, sorted some cash out ready to pay for midnight taxis, and hoped, that while I did not want his birthday to be too close to Xmas day, that in a way it might be better if I kept my legs crossed for a little bit longer while the van was being fixed at the garage!

On my D-Date Weds 21/12/16 we were loaned a courtesy car by the garage. Then on Fri 23/12/16 we got the van back at around 3pm just in time for our 6pm drive to our local hospital, as by then I was in labour!

Just in the nick of time, eh!

Thankfully, it all worked out perfectly, as Rob was really looking forward to bringing him home in the van rather than the damp, smelly, ancient, ex learner vehicle, crappy Vauxhall Corsa that the garage gave us as a courtesy car!

There will be no birth story on here. Although for some reason I really want to share it (it must be the hormone high!) But when I see birth stories on other peeps blogs, I find them dull and long, and they all seem to be either on the hardcore, grisly, birth olympics type of survivor story end of the spectrum or the smug, showy, “I just breathed my baby out”, hypnobirth type of tale! Dylan’s birth was fine BTW. It was fairly quick and not as painful as I was expecting, and was kind of a mixture of the two! But I don’t care about any of all that, I am just grateful that he is here!

I had to stay in hospital overnight, and Rob and I spent most of Xmas day on the ward. I cannot praise the all NHS staff enough, they were amazing, and fed Rob and I a Xmas dinner and the midwifes even gave Dylan a  Xmas present – the little bear rattle thing pictured below! We got home at about 6.30 pm on Xmas day and enjoyed the rest of the day as a family of 3 (although I missed the GBBO Xmas special! Boo!)

Here are some more piccies of him. He is so tiny! I thought that because I was overdue and we have a history of bigger babies in the family that he would be a 10lb-er chunk! Nope, he is so dinky! Even tiny baby sized clothes seem so large on him!

Oh well, that’s enough of my baby waffle! I have a couple of badly written, unedited (like my last 15 Years post) scheduled ready to go live and I hope that I will be back blogging again in a month or two. See you all soon!

Wish me luck with the sleepless nights!

15 Years!

Today marks 15 years of togetherness with Rob.

We met towards the end of 2001 in our local indie dive bar and sort of knew each other through our friends (his best mate used to go out with my BFF at the time’s cousin). I had heard of this mate who drove a VW Beetle, and I used to walk past his flat and old VW Bug on my way home from college, but somehow we had never crossed before until then.

After another drunken night drinking cans of Red Stripe, smoking too many cigarettes and dancing to Britpop, when we finally met I must have made some kind of impression, as Rob asked one of my friends for my mobile phone number. How retro!

He texted me, and I accidentally deleted it, so I could not text him back. I bumped into two of his friends in town a few days later and explained the situation and they gave me his home number (again, how retro!) to call him back.

At the time, the last thing that I wanted was a boyfriend, as I was having far too much fun partying with my mates! But I felt a bit rude for not replying, so I called him up and the rest is history.

Rob, to me, was kind of a “what the heck, I have nothing to lose” situation and at the beginning he was way more into me than I was into him! But he grew on me like some kind of infectious, irritating rash! And four houses, four cars, three pets, 15 years later (minus a 3 month break up), and finally, with a kid on the way together (it took me a lo-ooong time to come round to the idea!) we are still together!

I cannot remember exactly how we got together and where and when our first dates were (as I said, I was drinking and partying a lot back in those days!) but we shared our first snog on Xmas eve 2001. So this is our anniversary.

We’ve had our ups and downs and weathered many a storm together. We are not the perfect couple, far from it. But we share a similar sense of humour, a similar taste in music (that’s v.important BTW!) and the same work ethic, outlook on money and set of morals. I think that’s what made our relationship work, really.

Yes, he does irritate the f**k out of me and I drive him up the wall. And we always bicker. But here is to more years ahead with my very own special irritating rash man! I guess I will keep him a bit longer!

Some Things That (I Hope) I Will And Will Not Do

So I said in one of my recent posts that I am not planning on becoming a Mummy blogger anytime soon.

And while out there in the blogosphere there are some really great family/parenting/lifestyle type blogs, there are a few (in particular a couple of the bigger American family blogs that spring to my mind) that slightly concern me about how the parents of the, admittedly very cute hipster kids, pimp out their offspring to advertise products and earn a living. Sometimes I just want to scream at them “DID NOBODY LEARN ANYTHING FROM MACAULAY CULKIN???!!!???!!” And then sometimes I find myself clicking on the links within the blog post! Hey, I am not immune to a good bit marketing, Im only human!!!

Anyhoo, in honour of one of my favourite family/parenting/lifestyle blogs Mother of All Lists (please click on the link and have a gander, its a great blog that has something for everyone, kids in your life or not!) I thought that I would write a (over opinionated and rather ranty!) post about what I hope that I will and will not do when I become a parent, both online and in everyday life.

….And so that you can all laugh at my naivety and remind me how I am a hypocrite and have completely contradicted myself in a few months time!!!!

  • I am not going to put any photos of the kid on my blog. Sorry about that. I will probably put one or two up when he is born to announce it, but that will be it. This is my personal blog about my life in general and thoughts and feelings etc. So I will stick to writing about the usual mundane stuff like decorating the house, days out and camping trips (if we manage to have any that is!) etc, rather than mundane baby stuff like sleepless nights, weaning and potty training etc. If I find the time to keep blogging of course.
  • The same goes for social media. Rob and I have agreed that we want to respect the kids privacy and we will only share his photos online with our family directly through Whatsapp, a private shared iPhoto album and personal emails. Plus I really hope that I do not post statuses moaning about sleepless nights and all the rest on Facebook! But who knows what my hormones and extreme tiredness will drive me to?!!!
  • I hope that I do not become a baby bore who talks about nothing but their kid. We all know that person. Even after politely listening to the latest news about the sprog, when you try to change the subject and get them to talk about themselves, they somehow always turn the conversation back to junior, bless ’em! BTW I totally did this when we first got the cat. I didn’t realise that I was boring people going on about her all the time!
  • I am not going to neglect my cat. She is still my little baby. Be it a 10 year old black and white, slightly chubby, totally spoilt, furry one who poops herself occasionally, pukes on the floor, has fishy breath, whinges a lot, cries to be fed on demand and needs to be cuddled to sleep all the time!
  • I am not going to call myself mamabear, wear a mother of dragons t-shirt or change my Instagram profile name to “*****’smummy” (whatever we decide to call him, still not made up our minds yet!)
  • I am not going to allow my house to be taken over by toys and kid clutter. Please do feel free to laugh at my naivety here!!! I just really hope that our lounge does not turn into something looking like a soft play area. I have loads of empty storage space in the lounge Ladderax unit for any future Lego, games and craft supplies etc. But who knows who will win the battle against the influx of plastic crap entering the house!
  • I hope that I will not become one of these “holier than thou” types who thinks that they are a more compassionate, understanding person just because they are a parent. True story – one time Rob and I were sitting in the pub next to a friend of a friend of a friend, who asked if we had any kids, then started going on about how wonderful parenthood is and how much having kids makes you a better person. I had to bite my tongue and hold back while he waffled on and on about how selfless and wonderful he was. What a dick!!! In fact, at one point I did actually say to him “so you are telling me that I am selfish because I don’t have kids” but it seemed to go over his head. Surely common sense tells you that not everybody has a choice in these matters and there are plenty of terrible, evil people out there who also happen to be parents? Grrrrrr, what a dick!!!!!!!!!
  • I hope that I do not say to other first time expectant mums or couples, the one cliche that everyone has told us that “our lives are going to completely change”! For some reason this perfectly innocent, meant well statement has grated me a bit during my pregnancy. I think its because its so obvious. And your lives also change with other major life events – like when you break up with someone, lose a loved one, get made redundant or change your job and move house etc, but no one seems to say it to you then. On a personal level, I have sometimes wanted to tell people “yeah, well so does having a miscarriage (*change your life that is*). It makes you appreciate that you cannot predict anything in life, that life is short and you need to be thankful for what you have”. But I am too polite to say so and I do not want to make people feel uncomfortable!
  • I also hope that I will not tell child free couples when they see my future babe that they “will be next”! As if just by looking at my child it will magically cure their infertility or make them change their minds about their personal choices in life!!!
  • I hope that I can bring my boy up to be a feminist.
  • I hope that if he does like Disney’s Frozen that I can support his interest and will not have a near nervous breakdown after hearing Let it Go for the millionth time! Gah, I hate that effing song so much!!!
  • I will not be a miserable cow about Xmas anymore and will try to make their childhood memories of the festive period good ones! Bring on the Elf on a shelf, tinsel and turkey!!!
  • And I hope that this will be my last personal/thought dump type of post on here about the kid. But who knows?!!!

In Hels Kitchen #4

Blimey, it has been over a year since I last published a “In Hels Kitchen” post! The main reason for this, is not that I lost my cooking mojo, its more that I have not really had the time to cook stuff properly over the last year or so. Back in Kent, I was working full time hours over odd shift patterns. I mainly worked afternoons, evenings and weekends (i.e the shifts that no one else wants!) As I did not get home until gone 8pm or 9pm, I batch cooked meals and used my slow cooker a hell of a lot. Then just before we moved when I was running the cupboards and freezer down, we ate a lot of ready made pizzas, pre-made sandwiches and pasta parcels!

When we moved here and during the early days of my pregnancy, I was really sick and I could hardly stomach any food. I could only manage to force down ice lollies, toast and mashed potatoes! I felt too rough to cook anything and the kitchen made me heave (it had a funny chemical smell!) Plus the cats litter tray was in there which also made me ill, so Rob was a good boy and stepped up taking over the cooking and made me lots of scrambled egg on toast!

Now that I am feeling much better (although I have been sick twice since I said on here that I am better! Typical!) and currently on the worlds longest maternity leave ever™ I am starting to enjoy cooking once again. I am loving being in my new kitchen and its something to fill my time with during the day.

Its a shame that in a month or so I will no longer have the time or energy to cook again, but at least I have had plenty of practice using my slow cooker and making quick, healthy(ish) meals etc all thanks to working odd hours over the last year or two.*

I am also trying to batch cook and freeze lots of meals in preparation for the kid. So far I have 12 meals stashed away in the freezer. I did a freezer stock take the other day and am now slightly panicking that I have less than two weeks worth of meals! Eek, I had better get my finger out and make some more!

So what have I been cooking lately then?

This vegetable crumble from the Good Food website. It was tasty and something a little bit different. I froze one for later.

Lots of Sunday roasts, while I can of course! This recipe here makes enormous yorkies BTW.

A photo posted by Rob Staerck (@robsbugged) on


Lots of big batch spag bols, curries, chillis and stews etc to freeze. Its a shame that your typical freezer friendly meals are mostly meat based. Does anyone know any good, filling veggie meals that I can stock up my freezer up with? Although I guess that we will be glad of the extra protein when the time comes! Its also a good job that the babe is going to be a winter babe, as who fancies stew or curry on a scorching hot summers day?

I am also gobbling down a bunch of grapes almost daily. I just cannot get enough of them. So sweet and juicy! Nom nom!

*You know that we will end up eating lots of ready made pizzas, fish finger sandwiches, take aways and pasta parcels! All the good stuff!

Christmas 2016

I know, I know – its more than a tad too early to mention the big C word (IMO there should be only 12 days of it, no scrap that, just 1 day of it, and it doesn’t start in August!) But don’t worry, this is not going to be one of my yearly traditional posts ranting about the music and the overblown commercialism etc. Because for once I am not working in a hellhole busy retail environment and this Xmas is going to be a very different one, as no big deal, but we are only blooming having a baby around that time!

I am officially due on 21/12/16, but we all know that no one ever arrives on their due date! I am really hoping that the kid is not born on Xmas day (or Xmas eve or Boxing day or New years day if I go overdue!) As that is such a rubbish birthday to have. So I am kind of hoping that I will be a week or two early so the poor little buggers B.day is not too close to Xmas and gets overlooked!

I used to work with a lovely lady who was born on Xmas day. She hated it as she never really got to celebrate her birthday. She would wake up in the morning and her kids would wish her happy birthday, then she would have to work all day long cooking the whole family a huge Xmas dinner. Plus she always had her mother-in-law staying round. So it wasn’t much fun for her. (That’s how she told me, anyway. Bless her!)

One of Rob’s friends used to go out with a girl who was also born on Xmas day. She would always celebrate her half birthday in June, as her B.day kind of slipped by because of all the other celebrations going on.

I saw this feature on Apartment Therapy the other day, its a interesting study on the frequency of birthdays and how common your birthday is. Plus I am bored stupid on the worlds longest ever maternity leave and I have too much time on my hands to over think these things!

I have tried not to get too excited and make loads of plans for the future. Because in the past I have learnt that its best not to think too far ahead and that the best laid plans never work out. I prefer to go with the flow and I have a wing it approach to life in general.

The only one thing that I have daydreamed about with the kid is making future birthday cakes for them (that and future family camping trips together in the van!) I am looking forward to the challenge of creating their special requests in the form of cake! But how will we manage to eat two blooming cakes at Xmas time? (Rob said that this will be no problem for him BTW!) And how will I manage to accommodate, please and entertain doting grandparents for joint B.days and Xmas so no one has their nose put out? We all know that I hate being the hostess with the mostess!!!

This will also be the first Xmas that we will not see our families. We have had Xmases on our own before, but we always visited the family before or after the main event. This year we will not be able to travel to the Isle of Wight or Kent. The funny thing is that everyone seems to be concerned about how we are going to be celebrating Xmas this year! My Mum is worried that we will not be able to have a Xmas meal (where as Rob is just pleased to be missing out on the dry turkey!) But as I said to everyone – celebrating Xmas is the last thing that we are worried about this year as we have other more important stuff to think of!

Plus it gives me the perfect excuse not to bother putting the decorations up this year! Although even Rob told me not to be such a Grinch on that one! But to me its another hassle that I could do with out with a new born in the house!