Friday, 18 July 2014

The One with The Outside and The Summer




It's bloomin' hot!

Me and hot weather don't get on. And before you all start I know I shouldn't complain because it's lovely to see the sun... blah..blah..blah.. and we don't get enough of it... etc... etc... and we need to make the most of it... but the truth is... I don't like it.

There I've said it. I feel cleansed.

I don't like the summer. It's my least favourite season.

I get uncomfortable when it's too hot. My ankles, feet and fingers swell, I get prickly heat, I get bitten to buggery by midges and gnats and god knows what else. Too much sun (and by too much I mean about ten minutes) gives me headaches and upset stomach. And that's in dear old blighty. You can imagine the state I'd be in if I went abroad and ate dodgy salad washed in local water after a day on the beach. There'd be nothing left of me.... actually that's not a bad weight loss idea... I might look into that.

And another thing I want to get off my ample but horribly sweaty chest is... 

I don't like eating outside. 

Everyone's so bloody fascinated with it. "Oh lets eat outside shall we? It's such a glorious day. It's a shame to waste it." 

No lets not. I don't want to wash outside, get dressed outside, watch TV outside, do all my other normal mundane things I do everyday outside, so why the hell would I want to suddenly eat outside? It makes me feel slightly sick to be honest, like dirt and germs and bugs are getting all over my food. It's like too much outside seems to get everywhere. I've never had a picnic on either park or beach where I haven't ended up with a mouthful of grass or sand. 

I'll cope with a BBQ as long as I can take the food indoors and eat it at a table, rather than try and stand up and make conversation, whilst ramming a burger in my mouth with one hand and balance a glass of wine with the other. 

Can you guess I'm not an 'outdoors' type of girl? Early on in our relationship hubby once asked if I'd like to go camping. I gave him a withering look of 'WTF' and we've never spoken of it again. 

So me and the height of summer don't get on.

Don't get me wrong I like to see the sun. It's cheerful and makes the sea sparkle and to quote Coldplay 'it's all yellow' and stuff (well they just said yellow but you get my meaning) but the heat quite frankly does me in.

Compounding all my other summer woes, I've got sodding hay-fever! I never get hay-fever. Lemon Cake Lady thinks it's because we've moved to the 'burbs' and now I'm not in the centre of town and am surrounded by grass and that (we're well technical us two - we should have a science show) I'm reacting to the pollen. I think she has a point. I've certainly been wandering in and out of the garden much more now I have patio doors. Whereas at the old place I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I ever went up to our garden because, as we lived in a row of terrace houses, it was just so exposed and not private at all.

Talking of exposed this brings me to summer clothes. They quite clearly don't fit do they. Especially not when your whole body swells up and down like someone pumping up the Michelin man of an evening. There's nowhere to hide in summer clothes. There's just not enough of them to cover all the bits I want to cover. There's so 'skimpy'. Me and skimpy are not natural bed fellows. To be honest I look a bastard in skimpy. But then so do a lot of people to be brutally honest. 

Who hasn't driven along in the summertime and spotted, from the open windows of their cars, some terrible sights in shorts and crop tops and worst of all boob tubes? Who hasn't eagerly taken the piss out of people on the beach who really, really shouldn't be wearing speedos or a bikini? And who hasn't, when spying these poor deluded people who really shouldn't be wearing what they are almost wearing, muttered under their breath "The sights you see when you haven't got your gun?'

If you haven't then you're a better person than I am because I've done all that and worse. 

Only now I've gone and joined them as, with some trepidation, I bought a pair of shorts. Well it was so hot and I could no longer stand wearing jeans or leggings. They have been hiding in my drawer for a while, as I was too nervous to wear them. But then the heat got too much for me this week and as I raced out of the door with the boy, on our way to a day over at Lemon Cake Lady's, I stuffed them in my bag.

I got changed when I was there and discarded my jeans in the safety of her house, to wear my new soft, jersey and oh so comfy shorts in the privacy of her back garden.

What a revelation! I felt more free, more able to deal with the weather and above all loads cooler.

This is obviously where I've been going wrong with summer. I should just join the masses of ill advised people who get it all out in the hot weather and don't give a monkeys bum what anyone thinks of them.

So that's what I've done. I wearing my shorts now while I'm typing this and I don't care! 

Of course I'm in my house with the windows open and the blinds shut so no one can see me but at least I'm making an effort. 



Friday, 11 July 2014

The One Up The Rec

On Wednesday me and the boy had a day at home together, which involved nothing more strenuous than a bit of light play-doh work, some CBeebies, making a picture for daddy with glitter glue and pom-poms and endless re-enactments of Thomas the Tank Engine stories.

We did take a break from all this activity to nip up the Co-Op, where we cashed in a completed card of 'Goodness Gang and Friends' stickers and £2 of my hard earned cash in exchange for Felicity Fig - seen below in all her purple glory - yes I thought she was a red onion too but I have been told she's a fig. 


After the shop we went to the local park. Well it's more of a recreation ground really but it's got swings and slides, a goalpost, a basketball net and loads of green space to just run around on. It's really close to the new house too, which is a bonus. When we arrived at about quarter past four I was surprised to see we had the place to ourselves! 

The rec backs onto a golf course, separated by a large wire fence and trees. Where the rec and the golf course join the ground slopes away into quite a grassy dip. As I was soon to discover you can sit, or lay in that dip and not be seen from the main body of the rec because the dip obscures you, and you can't be seen from the golf course because the trees shield you.

It's a perfect place to hide!

The boy was running around with full abandon, Felicity Fig by his side, when he ran down to the end of the rec towards the aforementioned dip.

That's when I spotted them. They were probably 13 or 14 years old, 15 at a push. Both in the colours of the local secondary school uniform and both, shall we sat, slightly flushed in the face.

To use an old fashioned expression they were 'getting off' with each other. 

"What are they doing?" asked the boy innocently 

"Come over here darling" I said as I motioned for the boy to follow me back to the swings. 

The young lad looked up and made awkward eye contact with me but the young girl was in another world, laying on the grass, one arm above her head, in an almost 'Mills and Boon' pose, that look of utter delirious joy on her face at having experienced a damn good kiss. 

I must point out that no clothing had been removed, not even upstairs outsides; and from the small time I observed them they seemed to be just having a bloody good teenage snog. 

And why not hey?

I left them to it.

We didn't leave the rec straight away though. The boy had come to play so play we did. A safe and discreet distance away from their youthful fumbling of course and up where we could no longer see them. 

Every now and again the lads head would pop up (stop sniggering at the back please) and check if were still there but we stayed as long as we wanted to thank you very much. It is a public space after all. I was happy to leave them to it but I wasn't going to be intimidated into not letting my little boy play in, what is after all, a children's playground area. 

When we got home I thought about it a bit more and wondered if I'd done the right thing to leave them to it? Should I have given them a 'Oi what are you doing?' to make them scarper? Or was I right to mind my own business? After all you never know what you're going to get with youngsters nowadays do you? I doubt they would've just sloped off with their tail between their legs (stop making your own jokes up). I probably would've been told to f-off! 

So I want to know, what would you have done? 

Because my other frankly quite startling thought was, in 10 years time or so that could be my boy.....

I'm beginning to think I should've chucked a bucket of water over them.





Sunday, 29 June 2014

The One Where I've Been Away

It's been exactly 6 months since I last blogged.

Most remiss of me - I'm sorry. You probably all have forgotten who I am by now. 

In that time a lot has happened in the Randomhousehold. Some of it good, some not so great. All of it I will share with you in the fullness of time. 

So many times I've gone to write a blog and I just couldn't bear to talk about myself. My drafts folder is crammed with half started posts of various quality and subjects. None finished and many now I have no idea what they were going to be about in the first place. 

So in attempt to get my blogging mojo back I've given myself a new look and I'm having an official re-launch. 

That makes it sound very grand, like I'm having a big party in a fancy art gallery with celebrities or I'm smacking myself over the head with a bottle of champagne and shouting 
'I declare this blog well and truly open. God bless Random Woman and all who sail in her'.

But in truth I've just jigged about with the colours and fonts and added a privacy policy, which I am now required by law, or something scary like that, to do and held my glass of wine up to the screen and said 'Cheers all the best' to myself. 

So here's a quick appraisal of what has happened in the last 6 months.

1) We've moved house. It's loads bigger and has two loos and a drive and patio doors and everything I've ever wanted. Yes I'm that easily pleased. I have an office now too, which is covered in boxes, a rolled up futon where Oscar kips, a pile of stuff we keep meaning to put on Gumtree or E-bay and endless CD's and books. Still it's my office (holds onto that thought as she trips over yet another box)

2) We have 'acquired' another cat. 




Bob had been hanging around the old house since the end of last summer but she finally moved in, in November when the fireworks were going off and we just couldn't leave her outside. We tracked down her owner and spoke to them just before we moved in March and they hadn't seen her since November. As she would no longer come in their house since they got a puppy, they said we could keep her. Her real name is Fluffy (she is so not a Fluffy) but hubby called her Bob because her ears make her look like an American Bobcat. Once we found out she was a girl, we carried on calling her Bob because Bob, quite clearly, is short for Kate!

3) The boy. Oh the boy.  Where do I start with the boy.......? We've had a lot of 'challenges', as Hippy Chick likes to call them, with the boy. He is as always wonderful, funny, full of mischief and imagination but since last October when I heard those fateful words from the SENCO at nursery "Can I have a word?" nothing's been quite the same. 

It's nothing massive. In fact we don't even know what it is. We have no answers yet. It's not physical. It's a learning thing. Or maybe a concentration thing. It could be a understanding thing. Or a communication thing. We've had his hearing tested and that's ok. He's 'baffled' (yes she used that word) the speech and language therapist. He's not great at forming relationships they say but he seems happy enough to me. He doesn't follow instructions and will only join in with group time or free flow play after a lot of encouragement. The thing is the games he devises for himself in his head are way more fun.  

The other theory is that the boy is just mucking about and doesn't like doing as he's told. 

He's a 4 year old boy, of course he likes mucking about and not doing as he's told!

He's not living in the real world they say. Well who they hell wants to live there if they can have any kind of choice about it?  

The trouble is the real world beckons. He starts primary school in September. 

He does need strong boundaries and structure, so maybe school will sort out the mucking about and not listening.

This coming week we have a primary school trial morning on Tuesday, a speech and language appointment on Wednesday and a transition meeting with the school, healthcare worker, SENCO and speech and language therapist on Friday.  

It's going to be a busy week.

So anyway that's us. I guess I just haven't felt like sharing all the boy stuff until now. It's nothing to be ashamed of and believe me I could never be ashamed of my boy it's just all so... surprising... I guess. To be told that your son isn't progressing as he should with his social and learning skills, well it was all a bit of a shock. 

He seems as bright as a button to us. Creative, a great sense of humour, a good musical ear, he loves books and rhyme and stories - but he learns by repetition so he soon knows them off by heart and doesn't actually need to read them to act the books out.

And if one more person says - "I wonder who he gets that from?" - like being able to act or to take after me is some kind of curse - I'll belt them one! 

So now I've finally shared it all and blogged again and I feel better for it. 

In my humble and biased Mummy opinion he's come on leaps and bounds in recent months. All children learn, develop and grow at different speeds and at different times, and every day he never fails to amaze me by creating incredible stories, or riffing lyrics while hubby plays guitar or making up hilarious, if not slightly surreal, jokes. 

So who knows he's probably a creative genus. A square peg the system wants to cram in a round hole.

But whatever it is... he's still my special, wonderful, amazing, funny boy and nothing anyone says can change that.








Sunday, 29 December 2013

The One With Bob Monkhouse

As many of you know I am a comedy nut. I have lived, breathed, written, performed, watched, listened to and studied comedy since I was a kid.

One of my earliest memories is of my Dad passing off two classic Morecambe and Wise gags off as his own; the paper bag trick and the almost compulsory urge to say "he won't sell much ice cream going at that speed" every time we heard a siren go past. 

Living, as we do, within earshot of the local hospital, I have said this to the boy ever since he was baby. This led to an awkward moment at nursery when, in the boys learning journal, they had written that when he picked up a toy ambulance he said it was an ice cream van. There was a note to discuss the difference with him. I told them not to worry as I knew why he'd done it.

I've literally never been so proud.

So this brings me to Uncle Bob. 




I loved Bob Monkhouse and his comedy. 10 years ago today he died from prostate cancer, so to commemorate this I have written an article for the British Comedy Guide all about the great man. 

It's been a great honour and privilege to do so and I hope you enjoy reading it.

British Comedy Guide - Bob Monkhouse Remembered 'Bob's Your Uncle'

"They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now."

We miss you Bob. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The One With Christmas in July

There's only 14 sleeps left and it'll all be over.

I'm talking about the big C word.

Yes Christmas! With a fortnight to go things are really hotting up in the run up to the big day. Yet how many times do you hear people say?

‘It'll soon all be over.’

Or,

‘Lets get Christmas out of the way first.’

Or something similar and frankly quite negative.

I on the other hand adore Christmas and never want it to be over. The lead up to it is particularly exciting and my favourite time of the year.

So starting my run up to Christmas in the summer, by being invited to the Tesco Christmas in July launch of their seasonal lines, was a special treat.

Off I went to fancy London to an even fancier 5 star hotel, The Westbury Hotel, which was a beautiful setting (and had Molton Brown hand wash in the loo's – always a sign of quality) to immerse myself in festive fun. The fact that it was 30 degrees in the shade and Andy Murray was in the semi finals at Wimbledon that day didn't deter me.

Walking into the room I entered a winter wonderland. Now I love Christmas but even I had to take a sharp intake of breath at the sight that greeted me. 



These are actually made of meringue 


There was everything you could ever wish for,  decorations, toys, gifts, beauty even Christmas touches for the garden and of course food! Lots and lots of food, which is where I gravitated and pretty much stayed for the whole morning.














Gifts in food are big this Christmas, as well as food where a lot of the hard work has been done for you and you just need to add the final touches at home. This ham with oranges, which serves 20 and you cook in a bag then add the fruit, fills the kitchen with gorgeous festive smells. It tasted yummy too. Oh yes there were samples on offer. 




Or this baking brie where you add the fruit topping.



All the buyers were very knowledgable about their area of food expertise and as you can imagine I was very keen to stand and chat to them for as long as possible, especially when they had samples to taste. Or get all over you. I'd only been there half and hour and somehow I managed to tread on some pate. It's a skill being as messy as I am.

I have to say all the food looked amazing and in the next two weeks it's the busiest time for stocking up the larder, the fridge and freezer for all the roasting and feasting that lies ahead. 

Hoping hubby isn't reading this I fully intend to get him this continental meat platter, which comes with the wooden board, as a stocking filler but what I really wanted to get him was 
the Italian prosciutto 10 months matured ham, which not only comes with it's own stand but it's own carving knife and an instruction DVD! Seriously! 


Unfortunately it was out of my price range at £75 and I'm probably too late to order it in now anyway. However every year hubby and I promise ourselves we're going to buy a 'comedy ham' for Christmas - you know the kind of thing - the sort that looks like Tom is going to chase Jerry with it - with a leg end to hold and a massive white circle of bone running through it. 

This beauty may well be on our Christmas list next year!





Desserts are big this Christmas too, which is a bonus for me. I can just about knock up a trifle but, although I pride myself on being a reasonable cook, if it doesn't start with an onion I'm lost, so I often buy in a dessert.

These boozy jellies flavoured with Bucks Fizz, White Russian and Strawberries and Champagne are perfect for a dinner party with the adults on Christmas Eve after the children have, eventually, gone to bed.



For Christmas day itself this Morello cherry and dark chocolate parcel would be a stunning alternative to a Christmas pud. 



I pretty much concentrated on the food area but in the other areas of the event the styling was wonderful, either pure white winter wonderland or the red and white of Scandi Style, which I have to say is my favourite.






The feel was very traditional with a twist, the twist being that the stylists take on gingerbread houses was to construct them from old fashioned biscuits. The kind that I remember from the 'Family Circle' tin at Christmas. So we had custard creams, nice and jammy dodgers made into elaborate fairytale houses bedecked with red and white striped candy cane roofs. 








I would love to try and replicate this look at home, but I fear my 'styling' skills are more of a case of hope over any actual skill. If I did manage to get my house looking 'on trend' what the boy didn't destroy, the cat would wee over, so I'll be leaving the biscuit houses to the professionals but I have gone all red and white Scandi this year which is so effective but simple to do. 




Some bloggers had brought their children with them to the event, which was lovely to see but extremely brave. My boy would've have trashed the place in 30 seconds flat, and it was a big room!

All in all I had an amazing day out thanks to Tesco. Re-visiting all my notes and pictures this week has certainly got me in the mood for my Christmas food shopping.

If you want more inspiration for Christmas ideas then visit  http://www.tesco.com/christmas and have a very Merry Christmas. 








Monday, 4 November 2013

The One Where It All Comes Out

The boy has been constipated.

There's no way to dress it up, the poor little fella has been bunged up.  

The situation got so bad that, the other Saturday, he got worse and worse until about 5 o'clock he refused all food and was doubled up in pain.

One of his library books is a Hairy Maclary story which has a character in it called Bottomley Potts.

"Mummy my Bottomley Potts is hurting" exclaimed the boy and my heart melted at his pain and his sense of humour through it.

He hadn't had a poo since Wednesday afternoon so I had a fair idea he was constipated but I called NHS 111 anyway and actually had a good experience, (not something many Mums shared when I posted on Facebook). They noted down all the symptoms and said someone local would call in the next 2 hours. 

In fact the local hospital called back straight away and asked us to come down to the Out of Hours surgery as soon as we could. So we bundled the boy in the car and anxiously sped off.

The hospital is only a 3 or maybe a 4 minute drive away. It's no time at all, especially when there's no traffic about, as there wasn't on a Saturday teatime, so in what seemed like an instant we were there and checked in for what could be a long wait.

No sooner had we arrived though, coats off and a corner of the waiting room found to make camp, than the boy crouched down in a familiar position.

"What are you doing darling?' I asked, knowing full well what he was doing. 

"Nothing" came the urgent, red faced and strained reply. "Go away Mummy. Look over there" 

Toilet training is still an on going process and although the boy will wee for England on the potty he won't poo, so thank the lord I'd not gone al fresco with the pants up to the hospital, and had the foresight to put a pull up on him just in case. 

"Are you doing a poo poo honey?"

"No!" 

From the smell he quite clearly was. 

He then stood up, happy he'd finished his task, trumped loudly and exclaimed,

"Ah that's better!"

You couldn't make it up could you! 



Friday, 25 October 2013

The One With My Gums and a Posh New Toothbrush


Sponsored Post 

This post is an entry for Mumsnet Blogger Network Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com


There's lots of health and well being issues they don't tell you about when you become pregnant. Mostly embarrassing things about going to the loo, or not being able to go to the loo, or not being able to reach when you've been to loo.

Stuff you, unfortunately, have to find out for yourself .

One of the things that never seems to get mentioned is that, during pregnancy, you can develop gum disease. In fact between 50% and 70% of Mums-To-Be experience what the NHS call

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, which, can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding.


Basically gum disease.

And even after pregnancy 1 in 2 of all adults suffer from gum problems, which is the major cause of tooth loss. A frightening thought. As I get older I can get on board with dying my hair to cover the grey, using face cream for my wrinkles and taking cod liver oil for my aching joints but I draw the line at false teeth!

I only found out I had gum disease when I was carrying the boy because I was recommended by my dentist to go and see a hygienist. In my naïvety I wondered why ladies get free dental care when they are expecting.

I was soon to find out why!

Given the state of my gums, which bled when I brushed and were starting to recede in places, the hygienist and dentist were very strict with me about my dental routine in the future. Not just flossing but proper Interdental brushes to get between the teeth, alcohol free mouthwash morning and night and brushing for two minutes with an electric toothbrush.

I have been a good girl since then and kept up the routine but it's easy to let it slip now and again. I know that my 2 minutes was sliding back to more like the average of 42 seconds that adults in the UK spend cleaning their teeth instead.

So when the chance came along to try out the Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide I wanted to give it a go. 




The reason being it times your full 2 minutes brushing for you with a whizzy Smart Guide gadget that shows you how long to brush each quarter of your mouth for. 





It also tells you if you are pressing too hard on your teeth and gums and adjusts the speed and pressure accordingly by using the Triple Action Pressure Control System.

It's the gaps between my teeth that capture food particles and cause plaque but this brush gives a really deep clean and gets in all those hard to reach places.

Over the last two weeks I've been using the Oral-B FlossAction brush head, one of the three brush heads the toothbrush comes with, along with Oral B Pro Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste, and I've been noticing a much deeper clean on my teeth and fresher feeling in my mouth, especially in the mornings. Always good when you've been up all night with grumpy 3 year old who's full of cold.




Although my boy is too young to use this brush at the moment he loves the smiley face on the Smart Guide and older children are going to be encouraged to brush for longer because of it too.

There's 5 brushing modes so you can choose what you need, when you need it. After all your teeth don't feel the same everyday, it depends on what you've been doing, eating or drinking. I've been using the daily clean mode mostly but there's a deep clean which gives you a 3 minute brushing time, which is good for a weekly cleanse. Then there's a sensitive setting for when it's been one of those days and your mouth feels like it's done ten rounds with Amir Khan. There's a massage mode for the gum equivalent of a back rub with some soft lights and sweet music and finally a whitening setting for those nights when you've
been on red wine with dinner followed by a coffee, gone to the bathroom looked in the mirror and frightened yourself because your teeth were grey?

All in all this is an amazing piece of kit. It's a pretty hefty investment to buy it in the first place but the whole family can have their own brush head, with you all using the one main base unit, so you only need to buy this and not a separate electric toothbrush each.

The brushes last 3 months so a pack of 4 for £17 will last you the year and makes each one £4.25, which is more than I'd pay for a toothbrush but then you are getting a much better clean than a manual brush. It feels like it does when my hygienist has done my clean and polish and given me a pat on the back for keeping up my regime.

When I saw her in September she told me I no longer showed signs of gum disease. My persistence had worked and I had stopped my gums receding. I was delighted but it had taken nearly 4 years of hard work to stop the rot, as it were, and put a smile on my and her face.

Now I've got my Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide smiling at me every morning and evening my hygienist will be smiling even more the next time I see her.