Tuesday, 29 July 2008

"We love Daddy" cake

This afternoon the Podlings and I made a "We love Daddy" cake because, as Lily said, it would "make Daddy happy". We made a chocolate Victoria sponge, sandwiched it with chocolate spread, melted chocolate over the top and decorated it with chocolate chips. That's a cake to put a smile on anybody's face!

Aprons and smiles must be worn at all times whilst baking cakes.

It's important to make sure your son comes in and tips large amounts of flour and cocoa powder over himself and the floor!

She then walked off with the bowl, put it on her head and licked the bottom!

Since we were melting chocolate anyway, I made some chocolate covered bananas for our pudding. Mmmm!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Moor fun with the family

We got back very early this morning from a fun weekend in Devon with my family. On Saturday, Mark, the Podlings and I went to Torquay to meet up with some old work colleagues. We had glorious weather and enjoyed a barbecue together on the green before heading down to the beach. The Podlings and I made sandcastles, dug holes and collected pretty pebbles while Mark played boules with our old colleagues.

On Sunday, we packed up a picnic and went up to Dartmoor with my parents, my sister, her fiance Gareth and the three dogs. We used to spend a lot of time on Dartmoor growing up and it is one of my favourite places to be. This weekend we went to Cadover Bridge, which is somewhere we used to go to a lot as children, but we've not been back together as a whole family for years. It was so lovely to take my children somewhere that I know so well from my own childhood and they had a fabulous time splashing in the river and playing on the bank.

Lily trying on my sunglasses.

The weather was fantastic and it was so nice to spend time with family. Elaine and Gareth have only just moved back to Devon from Aberdeen, so we haven't seen much of them in the last few years. They are getting married next month, so we had a fun time trying on wedding clothes (I will be matron of honour, Lily will be a bridesmaid and Tom will be the ring bearer) and looking at all Elaine's wedding paraphernalia. My mum is a very talented dressmaker and has made Lily's dress and Tom's waistcoat. The clothes are amazing and the Podlings look so adorable in them. I am really looking forward to the wedding, which is only a fortnight away. It will be such a special event.
My sister Elaine, her fiance Gareth and their dogs Willow and Glynn

As ever with any weekend away, I now have lots of unpacking and laundry to do, on top of my usual Monday cleaning, so I'd better get back to it. It's easy to get on with things when you've had such a nice weekend to relax you. I just wish we didn't live so far from my family, I always miss them dreadfully when we leave them behind.
Kisses from mummy

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Fun on the farm

Yesterday morning the Podlings and I went to a nearby farm with a lovely lady we met at the toddler group we go to. She came out and picked us up and drove us to the farm, where we met up with her daughter-in-law and two of her grandchildren. We know little Jack from toddler group, but we were able to meet his older sister Georgia, who Tom took quite a shine to. They were often walking hand in hand as we wandered round looking at the animals.

There was a wonderful play area for the children, which they spent ages in. Lily, being the thrill seeker that she is, soon noticed the 8ft slide and was trotting up the ramp and shooting down it as if it were only 3 ft off the ground. Tom got to the top of the slide, thought better of it and walked back down the ramp again!

As we wandered around looking at the animals, I had the dubious pleasure of watching a calf being born. I didn't think the Podlings were old enough to watch such a thing, so I scooted them past and then watched from a distance when the children were distracted by the sheep. It was really fascinating (though a bit gory) to watch, but I don't know if the calf was born alive as it took two grown men to pull it out and they quickly hurried the calf off to a shed.

The children loved the animals and Lily particularly liked to touch them. She seemed to like the sheep best. "I luff him" she told me as she petted the one in the picture. Tom told me he liked the pig best, though he also said he liked the flies that were buzzing around a sleeping calf. Strange boy!
Enjoying some chocolate

We had a little picnic lunch on the grass, played some more and then Sue brought us home again. We're planning to do something together next week too, which I'm looking forward to. She is a really lovely person and the children seem very fond of her. I am so grateful that she has taken the trouble to spend some time with us. It has been hard to get to know people since we moved here last year and I have been a little lonely at times.

A blustery day at the beach

Last Sunday we decided to take the Podlings to the beach. It was quite cold and windy, but we're never ones to let a little inclement weather stop us from having fun. This is England after all, we'd never have any fun if we only went out in good weather!

We packed up a picnic and drove to Prestatyn in North Wales, about 90 minutes drive away. It was lovely and sunny when we pulled into the car park. It wasn't until we got out of the car and the wind hit us that we realised it was FREEZING! It was so windy, we abandoned our original idea of having our picnic on the beach and ate it in the car instead. The Podlings thought this was great, but it did mean we had to wash the car seats when we got home!

Once we'd eaten, we put coats on, grabbed buckets and spades and headed down to the beach. The second we stepped onto the sand, Lily started jumping up and down shouting, "Woo hoo, woo hoo!". I think she was excited! We all had a lovely time walking on the beach, building sand castles and collecting shells.

Here is picture of a very cold me, sporting my 'beach jumper'. I always take this jumper to the beach. I bought it in California when I was presenting at a conference in Long Beach a few years ago. It's made of a towelling material and has 'Long Beach, California' stitched across the front. The picture amused me because anything less like the sunny climes of Long Beach than our trip to North Wales would be hard to imagine. If you look closely, you can see goose bumps!

We all had a wonderful time at the beach, despite the cold and wind. We will be having a reunion with some old work colleagues this Saturday which will also be on a beach. However, this meeting will take place in Devon, so, barring torrential downpours, it ought to be warmer (you've got to love that Gulf Stream!). I know the Podlings will enjoy it, whatever the weather!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Family fun

Last Saturday we went to the summer party held by the company Mark works for. They had really tried to make it a fun day out for families by putting on a bouncy castle and arranging for the nearby military base to bring a helicopter over for the children to explore.

Lily was a bit freaked out by the giant clown on top of the bouncy castle and immediately wanted to go back to the car. I therefore spent the first 15 minutes after we arrived in the car trying to persuade her to go and have some fun. We eventually coaxed her out with the promise of a look inside the helicopter. Tom and Lily were both thrilled to be able to sit in the pilot's seat and push a few buttons. Lily was quite annoyed that we wouldn't fly the helicopter for her and was quite put out that when the helicopter did take off, it didn't take her with it! Tom loved watching the helicopter fly away and later told me it was his favourite part of the afternoon.

"So tell me again why I can't fly this thing!"

Tom loved all the letters and numbers on the helicopter

After the helicopter left, Tom went straight on the bouncy castle. After some gentle coaxing and reassurance that the giant clown wasn't going to hurt her, Lily also ventured on. Once she was on, I didn't think we'd ever get her off again! Both of them had a great time and both managed to escape without anyone jumping on them, despite a very large age range of children using the castle.

With the addition of a large slice of chocolate cake to finish the afternoon, Tom was convinced he had been to a birthday party. He knew we were at 'Daddy's office', so I think he thought it was Daddy's birthday party. I dread to think what he'll expect at his party when he turns four in October!
Lily taking a breather on the bouncy castle

Friday, 18 July 2008


It would probably give you some clue as to the week I've been having if I told you that as I sat down to type this post I spilt my cup of tea over my keyboard! It's been a long week and I'm tired and ready for the weekend!

The children have both been ill this week, one after the other. As Lily's temperature started to go down and she stopped being sick, I could feel Tom's forehead getting hot, hot, hot! Sure enough, within a few hours he was one poorly boy. Mark, of course, was in various locations around Europe all week and I've hardly seen him. I don't know why it always happens that the children are only ill when he is away from home, but it does. So, on top of all this, we had plumbers coming round this morning to do some work on the house. Amongst other jobs, they were fitting a heated towel rail in our en suite bathroom, which meant I had to paint the room before they arrived. So, with two sick children, an absent husband, mountains of laundry and very little sleep, I also had to fill in cracks, sand walls and paint a room before this morning. Frazzled does not begin to cover it!

I must have been coping well though, because this morning when Tom decided to be sick all over the dining room when the plumbers were here and the water was turned off so I couldn't clean it up, I actually smiled with the humour of the situation rather than getting stressed. I must be getting good at this multi-tasking mummy lark!

Both the children were much better this evening and Mark will be home around midnight. The Podlings are now sleeping, so I plan to do a little baking, play a little piano, read a little Dickens and drink a lot of tea. In short, I'm taking the night off!

Sunday, 13 July 2008


The girl terrifies me...she has no fear!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


The Podlings really love ice lollies at the moment, so I will often give them one after their lunch. When they have a lolly for their pudding, I will usually give them some sugar sprinkles in a paper bun or muffin case to dip the lollies in. In a moment of high spirits at lunchtime (trying to get a laugh out of Lily, no doubt!), Tom tipped his sprinkles all over the table. I proceeded to tell him off and told him that it wasn't funny. "Well, it is a bit funny", was his cheeky answer (I was very good and didn't even smile!). "No, Tom, it isn't funny to make a mess for Mummy" was my controlled reply. Clearly figuring that arguing his case wasn't going to work, Tom tried the distraction technique. He put his paper case on his head, looked straight at me with a smile and said "Am I the muffin man?".

He won. I laughed!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Daddy time

As soon as Mark comes home from work, Lily drags him over to the laptop to watch cartoons. She normally gets quite possessive over him at this point, as she considers this to be her 'Daddy time'. This evening, she condescended to allow Tom to sit on Mark's other knee while they enjoyed their supper and a snack. I thought they looked adorable all cuddled up together like this. I love my family!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

My darling boy

I love this picture I managed to take of Tom this morning. I'm going to have to print it and put it in a frame. He's getting so grown up!

Having a ball

Tom tries to inflate the pool without the pump

The weather is absolutely beautiful today. It is gloriously sunny with just enough breeze to stop it from being too hot. With British summertime being what it is, I thought we'd better take advantage of the lovely weather before the rains return! I hunted out the Podlings' paddling pool and inflated it in a shady part of the garden. I then filled it with the hundreds of little plastic balls my parents gave the Podlings a while ago and created our very own little ball pool. We had a lovely morning playing in the garden and finished up the fun by having our lunch outside.

If the wind doesn't pick up any more I was thinking that I might put their swimming costumes on this afternoon and put some water in the pool. Unfortunately, it's getting pretty windy out there, so we might just have to stick with the balls today. Water or not, the children will have a fantastic time and, therefore, so will I!

" This is how you do it Tom!"
One happy little boy

Lily enjoying her lunch al fresco. I adore that hat!