Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bucket List 2012

I prefer not to make new years resolutions as I tend not to keep them much beyond mid-January, pay day at best. I instead like to make plans or committments of things I would like to do or achieve in the coming year. A bucket list lends itself to things you would like to do before you kick the bucket, and although I'm not planning on doing that in 2012, I do plan to try to live each day as if it's my last so it fits well.

1. Make each day count.

2. Give up my addiction to diet coke, or at least swap it for something healthier, cheaper and/or more readily available. E.g. tea. Tea, will come to me via other people, coke I have to forage for myself - at work I have to tackle two flights of stairs to get to the vending machine to buy a can of diet coke whereas tea will be brought to my desk by caring work colleagues with little more effort than the utterance of 'please' and 'thank you'...

3. Eat healthy balanced meals everyday and keep treats for special occasions. Sundays are not special occasions. Nor are our favourite TV shows that feature late at night when I get the panger hungs for some munchies like home popped popcorn or nachos and dips. Low GL diets work for both me and Matt the Husband, we just need to stick to it.

4. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This years attempt has been paltry at best. I'm aiming for 10st 7lbs as that seems reasonable. I can worry about reaching my pre-marriage weight in 2013, ha ha!

5. Exercise five days a week. Whether that's being out with the dog, doing a spot of yoga, going for a swim or walking really fast and pretending I can jog. I'm going to do it. (This one worries me).

6. Read one book a month. I tried this one last year but post-natal depression took over this time last year and my reading pile is still on the bedside table.

7. Take Grace on her first overseas trip. This one's a cheat as I know this is going to happen, but I want to get a quick hit on the list to pep me up over the challenges in numbers 2, 4 and 5.

8. Go on family days out as often as we can. I could write a bucket list of things to do on this item alone.
Visit a Zoo. Probably Colchester or Banham Zoo near my folks place.
Visit the North Yorkshire coast. Whitby or Robin Hoods Bay tickle my fancy.
Visit The Deep aquariuam or something similar, maybe one in Scotland Sept 2012.
Visit Abraham Heights and enjoy lunch in Matlock in the Peak District.
Visit the Ingleton Falls Trail and hopefully get Grace to walk a fair portion of it.

9. Ditch texting family and pick up the phone instead. Our family has had it's fair share of highs and lows in 2011 and it's made me realise we don't talk often enough.

10. Let Matt the Husband have a say in the bucket list. Next Year. Maybe. :0)

So that's the plan. We'll see how it pans out. Me and Matt the Husband are watching a film this afternoon while Grace takes her last afternoon nap of 2011. We're having fish and chips for tea, with fruit crumble for pudding. Tonight once Grace has gone to bed, we're going to crack open the bottle or Glayva that Uncle Frank gifted us for Christmas, watch another film, and then see in the New Year with Jools Holland on the tele, with Daisy-woof in the middle on the sofa keeping us warm. Beautiful.

Happy New Year all!! x x x

p.s. last year I wanted to get to church more often. I still do. I'm aiming for once a month for 2012. The three of us as a family.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas is coming...

Fasten your seatbelts, Family L are ready for Christmas. Bedding in some new traditions, we've spent Christmas Eve dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Grace had us up early so we were out for sunrise at our favourite dog walking haunt at Newmillar Dam. Daisy ran her socks off in the forest while Grace slouched in the buggy digesting a breakfast fit for a princess. We popped into Ma Potter's on the way home to raid the fridge for all things yummy and foraged enough to see us through till tea time. Grace spent much of the visit practicing standing with both hands on her head to prove she can do it without the help of anyone, clever girl.

Back home to Faulty Towers, Grace caught up on some beauty sleep while Matt the Husband baked an arctic roll and some shortbread for Santa. That done, we're watching the obligatory Christmas movies on the box wondering how much longer G-bear will sleep for. We're not in a rush, but we do have some Christmas Eve traditions to lay down - baking the biscuits being one of them - DONE!

We are planning on helping Grace pen her letter to Santa this year, probably a crayon drawing of the big guy and his reindeer with her name written simply on the bottom so he knows who it's from. That's important, don't you think? After that Grace will take delivery from the Christmas Elf who has already popped by to drop off her pre-Christmas gift of new pyjamas and a book to read before bed for the last sleep before Santa pays a visit.

As usual, we're cooking up our Famous Festive Fajita Feast for supper, the full works with all the trimmings. It will be a first for Grace as she was still full on milk this time last year. How time has flown. From Milk to Mexican in 12 months, how blessed we have been.

I'll bid you all Merry Christmas now as I imagine I'll have other things on my mind tomorrow - just Grace, me and Matt the Husband make three. From Boxing Day onwards the family frenzy kicks off, so tomorrow is just for us, and we're going to enjoy it. Ho Ho Ho!

Friday, 23 December 2011


Hands up, who let Grace gobble all the satsumas? Grace has just crapped in the bath while she was having her hair washed.

Getting into the festive spirit, Grace has released her own version of deck the bath with bowels so holy. Totally grossed out, I'm only marginally less peeved to see the dog has wet herself on the sofa. And she was doing so well (I think we were up to "my name is Daisy and I've had 28 dry nights...")

I'm quietly grateful that Grace has the trots now and not on Christmas Day when my Turkey cooking skills might have been called into question.

I've given up trying to get a urine sample from Grace - she's much happier, save the look on her face when she farted and followed through, and there is no longer the smell of ketones on her breath.

I must confess the title of this post is not home grown - I read a parenting blog by a mother called Megan in the USA, where she very comically recalls the time her toddler pooped in the swimming pool at an exclusive hotel. The joys of being a parent are endless it seems!

Anyway, drama over, I'm getting comfy on the dry side of the sofa, Grace is in bed sleeping with a rumble-tum gut, the Husband is in the bathroom cleaning out the aftermath, and soon I shall be sinking a bottle of beer to rekindle the Christmas cheer that flew out the window, albeit briefly, when Grace and Daisy-woof conspired to wreck the illusion of peace.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A wee problem

"You want me to go wee wee in a parachute? No chance"

and with that, she took Mr Rabbit and her cup of water up to bed.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Poorly Grace lately. No sooner has she recovered from her ear infection, teething and a snotty nose with strings to rival a large orhestra, Grace has developed something else.

Very smelly wee. Very - eugh!

Drinking lots and her breath smells of ketones - a sweet smell which can indicate abnormalities in her metabolism. Anyway, we've been given a plastic device from the Doctors that looks reminiscent of a Parachute to get a wee sample.

Fun tonight me thinks!

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Twelve Months of Toby

Dear Santa

Toby. Toby Louran we call him, our car, a Touran.

Terrible Toby Louran on bad days, and there have been plenty of those in 2011 as my 12 months of Toby demonstrate (sing with me if you will...)

On the first month this year, my car, it took from me some money for a broken heater.
On the second month this year, my car, it took from me some money for a major service and broken air conditioning.
On the third month this year, my car, to took from me some money for an MOT.
On the fourth month this year, my car it took from me some money for AA cover after six hours on the hardshoulder being stranded.
On the fifth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for not one but two new Turbos after the garage stuffed the fitting of the first one.
On the sixth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for a purple tax disc.
On the seventh month this year, my car it took from me, some money for a full set of new tyres to replace the baldies.
On the eigth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for a new windscreen, damn you flying stones!
On the ninth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for a new tyre after hitting the curb and blowing the blasted thing to smithereens.
On the tenth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for insurance.
On the eleventh month this year, my car it took from me, some money for a new alternator after breaking down again, thank you AA.
On the twelfth month this year, my car it took from me, some money for two passenger-side tyres after hitting the kerb having an argument with an arrogant twat of a bus driver over right of way, and another major service because I do so many miles.

So Santa for Christmas, please may I have (on behalf of Terrible Toby Louran), a newer fresher model bought from the lottery ticket I'm slipping under my pillow on Christmas Eve, and a recovery truck for 8am on Boxing Day to pick up Terrible T to take him to the scrap yard where long may he rest in peace the useless piece of VW junk. His cards are marked and I need him to be good, else it may be me blowing a gasket on the 13th month.

Yours gratefully,

Mrs L.

p.s. Santa, if the scrap yard is closed on Boxing Day, please tell the driver of the recovery truck I'm cool with him dumping the car on the roadside in that crappy estate with the big tower blocks with broken windows and grafitti in east Leeds. Thank you.

Grace and the amazing technicolour cardigan

As if answering my prayers, Grace has started walking. Trepidation stamped across her face she's tottering off at full pelt, with hands spread wide as if she's at the mixing deck. One note of caution. Said tottering is on the proviso she has her magical cardigan on so Mummy can hold the hood. Taking a leaf out of Josephs book, she has the ability to walk with the cardi on, take it off and she flops to the floor like a ragdoll. I'm not suggesting for one minute Joseph couldn't walk without his dreamcoat, but you get my gist?

Nonplussed and sure the bolognese stains down the front were yearning for a spin in the washer, I tried another hooded top. Not a sausage of a footstep. So it's back on today, signs of yesterdays dinner and all. And it will stay on until Grace feels she can venture on her own without the guidance of a jumper made from ball ends. Happy days!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Beatbox Nativity!

Click on the header to be super-speedy linked to what must simply be the coolest vicar in the country. Genius, love it! What a super way to engage the younger generation in the church. Please share!

In the Dog House

Grace by Little Bambini
Grace, a photo by Little Bambini on Flickr.

Hanging out with her 4 legged friend Gus... very comfy digs.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Sweet 16

Sailing past the 16 month old marker, Grace has taken to nodding like the dog in the Churchill ads. A very deliberate and controlled nod, she now gestures quite adamantly both yes and no. No I don't want to come out of the bath. No I dont want to go to bed. No I dont want to go in the car seat again. Yes I do want more food. Nodding nailed, I wonder when will she find her feet?

My back is still killing, and 3 months ago when Grace started wanting to walk with her hands held, someone told me it'd only be a matter of weeks before she set off on her own. No such luck. I'm not inpatient per se. I'll just be a wee bit peeved if I have to re-direct the wooden trike and trailer again. Bought originally for her first birthday, it's sat in the loft forlornly wondering why all the other presents got dished out back in August. Let's hope it gets a December 25th airing, otherwise me and the big guy upstairs are going to have to have words. WALK GRACIE, WALK!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Fat Controller

No you cheeky so and so's, it's not me - the diet is going ok as it happens, thank you for asking. It's THE Fat Controller. Yessirreee. Of we trotted for a family day out to see the man himself AND Thomas the Tank Engine and Co.

Here he is opening the event at Kirklees Light Railway

Coming out of the engine shed

Thomas, yay!!

Having a nibble in the carriage on the way back to base

Talking to Dillon the Donkey

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Grandpa Mothballs

Hold your noses people, for the waft of mothballs is in the air. My aged Father is the modern day equivalent of the embalming process used by the ancient Egyptians. He lives and breathes mothballs, and no doubt when he kicks the bucket aged 100+, we'll be popping them in the casket to preserve him.

We all suffer as a result. A bit like life before the smoking ban in pubs when you came home from a night out stinking to high heaven of stale fags. We come home to Yorkshire with a distinct reminder of being with Grandpa Mothballs. It's like bringing a little bit of him away with us, God love him.

We had a lovely week in Norfolk (my back injury pushed to one side). Grace got to spend time with her Grandpa, reading, playing and drawing pictures of Minnie Mouse. Practicing walking round the street was also much enjoyed, and Dad's back was ok seeing as he has old man stoop anyway!

Talking of Minnie Mouse. It's a long standing nickname that my Mother suffers from her other half, Grandpa Mothballs himself. We visited my Mum, Grace's Nanny in Hospital where she's being treated for various ailments. So Mum, this one's for you. Stop calling that Husband of yours Squirrel - I firmly believe Mothballs is much more fitting. FACT!

Love to you both, from Grace, me and Matt the Husband x x x

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ups and Downs

Suffice to say it's been a hectic week so I'm sorry not to have managed to park my bottom on the sofa for long enough to get this written. Matt the Husband has spent a day in the ENT clinic at Hospital with suspected tonsilitis (it's not, he's a wimp). The dog has been poorly, as has Grace. I'm wondering when it's my turn?

Guessing Daisy-woof was likely to have developed a urinary incontinence issue having wet the bed a few times, I took her off to the vets for a work up just to dot the I's and cross the T's instead of just asking for some meds. £1086 smackers and a full days stay later, they give me the thumbs up for being right. I almost thought the receptionist was going to say 'pick your jaw up darling' as my bottom lip hit the dust on the floor. Thank you Pet Insurance, that's all I can say. Honestly, it makes me grateful for the NHS and free healthcare. I mustn't grumble as I used to work as a Vet Nurse in practice for about 10 years, so I understand the costings behind the bills and wot not. But still - F*** me!
So a week into the tablets, Daisy has only wet the bed once, which is great. On the flip side, we're missing sleeping straight through the night, as she's taken to nudging Matt the Husband around 2am to go outside for a tinkle. You win some, you lose some I guess.

Grace has been poorly last week, found herself back on form again and now today she's thrown a sicky and is feverish and dull again. There seems to be a lot of it going round nursery and playgroups at the moment, this nasty winter virus, so we're treating her symptomatically with calpol and cuddles and wait for a clean bill of health again. She's having an ok day today, wanting to be read to and playing some games on her own which is a good sign we're on the mend.

So yes, busy times at home. Before Grace fell sick, we've been out and about visiting friends and family all over the place, but I'll need to snatch time to post about that later.

Hope everyone else is keeping well!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Going for Gold!

Under the cover of darkness, saucepans in hand, we take to the pitch. On the blue team, Matt the Husband, dressed in undersized pyjamas that show off his bottom when he ties his laces. On the pink team, Mummy featuring a woolly hat and nightie from Primarni.

The away side, Daisy-woof, dressed in her own digs, warms up on the turf, scratching up the grass and snorting cold air through her nose. Refusing to wee on lead, the whistle goes and WE'RE OFF! Ducking and diving, twisting and turning, hurdling over steaming piles of poop and skidding on the dewy grass, Daisy-woof thinks its the best game she's played, EVER.

In the stands, fans for the home team, neighbours Neil and Lesley to the left, Karen and Alan on the right, Gracie at the frenchdoors, all cheering us on.

The blue team scores in the eigth minute with a dive across the touchline to rival anyone in the Rugby World Cup Final.

Everyone's happy. I've had some exercise, Matt the Husband has caught his first urine sample, Grace has been entertained, and the neighbours can go back to watching the soaps without the interruption of shrieks and whoops from the garden.

Job Done.

As for D-W, keep your fingers crossed she can keep her legs crossed. She keep wetting the bed so we're having the Vets do a work up.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I'm guna wash that man right out of my hair

Remember the song from South Pacific? I'm singing my little heart out today. It's not a sign that I've filed for divorce after last weeks fiasco as Matt the Husband has been forgiven. Our little G-bear is washing her own hair!

Sat in the bath last night talking to Mr Penguin, the shampoo hit her crown and immediately both hands went up and started rubbing. TOO CUTE!! Co sute in fact, I had to share.

Ciao for now x

Sunday, 20 November 2011

RUBBISH. In capitals!

A week off work together as a family. Brilliant autumn sunshine, crisp mornings and claret coloured sunsets set amidst Thetford forest. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

My back went on Sunday morning, before we even left home. I was carrying Grace on my hip doing jobs in the kitchen, as you do and I could feel my lower back start to give way. Calling Matt the Husband to take Grace from me, he carried on what he was doing, reminding me that one time I carried her 'all the way round the garden centre without any trouble'.

Never mind that was four months ago when Grace the sack of potatoes was many pounds lighter.

A comedy scene, my back gave way almost on cue, I'm on my hands and knees in the kitchen, searing pain. And Grace still clinging to my hip while Matt the Husband retracts his neck and asks what he can do to help.

Fast forward till teatime, we're done in A&E. I'm doped up on Valium to relax the muscle spasm, a handful of painkillers with the promise that the old ruptured ligament injury from 16 years ago when I was but a youthful teen has popped again and I'm in for a rough ride. Joy.

I hobbled to bed that night, bent in half like an old man, unable to stand up straight, and slept like a log. Valium is my new best friend. Monday morning and a four hour car ride to Norfolk and I'm more crooked by the time I get there than Salman Butt the Pakistani cricketer. The rest of the week is much the same, the only difference being I ran out of valium and my sleep is more sporadic. Matt the Husband says he knows 'something' that will help me sleep with a wink and a twinkle in his eye. I tell him shagging Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies would be more appealing. You get the gist of our week.

Grace is a sweetheart, walking with one hand for support now and surfing the furniture like a pro. This is easy at my parents pad - they have enough chairs in the sitting room to rival an inner city doctors waiting room.

I'm all out of words for now. I've been sat for too long and I need to stand up and stretch out. I'm walking upright again and it's feeling more comfortable. It's a ligament that connects pelvis to spine that's ropey. Lucky me :0)

As for Matt the Husband, he's been kissing arse all week. He's just told me loves me, handed me a bag of Haribos and a can of pop. He knows the way to a womans heart.

"You're a good Husband", I tell him.

"Thank you", he replies. He's relieved to have been forgiven for his part in this injury that stuffed up our week off.

"You haven't seen this blog I'm writing yet". I tell him.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Mummy's little bookworm...

Grace is turning into such a little bookworm. Probably one of her favourite activities, she's forever pulling books from the shelf and bringing them over for story time. By far, she has a distinct preference for the Usborne series of That's not my.... Puppy, Dolly, Rabbit, etc. She adores them, and quite often gets frustrated if I'm not free to sit down to read them with her (she had a quivering bottom-lip moment with me in the kitchen last week while I was cooking supper). That said, she's quite happy going through them on her own, looking out for the mouse...

Grace sniffing out her favourite book

Found it!

There's mouse!

There's mouse!

And that's my dolly!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A right Royal visit

At the weekend we were descended upon by family King. This clashed with major teething from Grace and Dimitris (both now heading for 15 months, calpol spoons in tow), a new trend of skipping day time naps from Grace (and me, regrettably), and Matt the Husbands desire to spend the weekend in the kitchen pandering to his sweet tooth.

The result? A great day catching up with family, enjoying the kids playing and entertaining, stuffing jam tarts (courtesy of Evangelia, aged 4) and banoffee pie (by Matt the Husband, aged too old to be getting giddy over puddings on a Sunday)(in my opinion).

Grace understandably spent the whole day wired since she skipped her nap on Friday and Saturday too, but apart from turning her nose up at my Pork and Chorizo stew, she muddled through the day in her own little way and we didn't see a single tear until bathtime when we had to use bribery to extract her from the water.

She's so, so desperate to be up and walking. She's surfing the furniture now, and sometimes she forgets she can't walk - setting off and falling down when she realises there's nobody holding her hands. Bump!

We were quite impressed with her attention span development too this week when she spent a good half hour drawing and colouring in with Andy - something that in the past she's managed maybe five or ten minutes.
I've also been spending a bit of time on the flash cards with her, and she can now pick out the dog, horse, duck and cat. So proud!!

Our little G-bear is growing up, such a magical journey.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Playground pursuits

Rocking Grace!

Another Monday meet up with the Village Women today, and we headed over to Roundhay Park. Defintately feeling the nip of winter, we wrapped up warm and walking briskly... brrr!!

So pleased to be doing it herself


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November nibbles

Not strictly November as these are Halloween Pumpkin Scones, but I'm a working Mum so inevitably running a little late!

Boil 200g pumpkin flesh until soft, then mash and allow to cool.
Mix 225g self-raising flour and 40g butter together by hand.
Add 1tsp baking powder, a hnadful of mature grated cheddar and some chopped corriander. Mix well by hand.
When cold, mix the mashed pumpkin into the mix, folding in with a knife. The pumpkin is quite moist so you probably wont need any milk to add, although if you want, add some to allow the dough to become quite gloopy. Kneed well.

Flour the worksurface and flatten the dough until about 3cm thick, then cut out and place on a greased baking tray. Brush with milk.

Cook at 200c until they look golden, risen and done.

Gobble gobble gobble. Oh rats - the Christmas turkey is coming....

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Happenings

Gripping on for dear life, Grace has taken to her feet and wants to walk, a lot. Crooked backs and lumbar pain has become par for the course as has a gaping cleavage if one dares to stoop with a flimsy T on. At the same time as Grace is advancing, Matt the Husband has gone through regression and is merrily reliving his childhood. Carving pumpkins, getting giddy over crispy autumn leaves and tugging at my apron strings asking if the pumpkin scones are ready to eat. Much to my amusement, he's discovered pumpkins are hollow and filled with seeds. Cue more amusement at the image of him bending half of his Mothers steriling silver spoons trying to hollow out a Turnip some 25 years ago. Turnip lantern. Has a ring to it, doesn't it?

Sticking with the americanisms of pumpkins for Halloween, we chowed down on pumpkin soup tonight under lantern light as Daisy-woof fended off a steady stream of trick or treaters.

Here are some of my favourite pics from the last few days...


Gracie-pumpkin by Little Bambini
Gracie-pumpkin, a photo by Little Bambini on Flickr.

Hanging out for Halloween with her buddies Scarlett and Berry (both little witches today!)

Friday, 28 October 2011

Freedom Friday 28/10/2011

A spot of dog walking in the morning sunshine. A spot of lunch with the ladies. And a play date with a hottie three months Grace's junior. What more could a Mummy want for a Friday?

Grace with Sheli and Ethan-the-hottie

Looking very country mid-west sporting a napkin bib

Grace 14.5 months old