Saturday, 18 April 2015

Inspirational breeze

Yesterday whilst on an evening's walk, it had become very quiet, we were mostly on our own apart from the occasional fluorescent clad, clomp, crunch sound of a lone joggers feet hitting the gravel.

As the track wound down to the choppy reservoir , we found ourselves at the base of a presentation of tall, sky scraping trees. So tall it was like the very tips were painting the clouds in the sky with every sway. Their leaves began to roar as the wind increased in strength, louder and louder. The darkess at the foot sparkled in broken sunlight as the tops bent and relented. Like a drum roll from nature the crescendo peaked and the trees relaxed, I stood there and watched as the dance began again, the children were running a slalom between the narrow trunks, flashes of their bright coats weaving in between the thick shadows, the wind pushing them forward, their laughs carried with the whispers of the breeze.

I could have stood there for longer, just listening, just watching the pallet of the landscape change with the speed of the clouds moving across the sun. As I walked on, a blast of brightness would alight the deep blue water into glitter like shimmers, each choppy wave adorned with a frosted finish, bobbing birds navigated the agitated water like corks under a running tap. 

There's something wonderfully peaceful about nature, I often wonder if I am a secret hippy, I could quite happily retire to a remote part of a hill and set up a farm somewhere, waking up to the sun and the wind every morning. But for now I'll enjoy it through fleeting walks, hopefully passing the enjoyment onto my children. One day that roar of the wind will be mine, and the shimmer of the sun will be from my eyes.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Canvaspop giveaway

There's one thing that I've always wanted to do but haven't had time to get round to it and that was have a picture of my children printed onto canvas.

I'm so busy also that even though I have a digital camera I barely use it, unless I know we're going out somewhere beautiful that I want to grab some high quality images with. So I'm a smartphone camera user and I'm lucky because my Sony Experia has a great camera.

It has been a worry of mine to get a photo printed from a smart phone photo as the quality would not be as good but when Canvaspop offered to print a canvas for me, I chose my favourite photo of the children that I quickly snapped before going to a party.

As you can see, the quality of the image is great and I am very happy with the print, it was easy to submit the photo and I was emailed a proof of the canvas to check and confirm I was happy with the final print. Delivery was fast and my canvas was on my wall faster than I had thought!

Now here's the good stuff for you!!!!!

35% off your purchase from Canvaspop with this code AND1MOREMEANS35 that is valid until the 10th June in the UK, US and Canada


One lucky reader will win a Canvaspop 16" x 20" canvas with a 0.75" wrap with free shipping also valid for the UK, US and Canada.

Fill in the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway, ends 28th April good luck!

a Raffleciser giveaway

Friday, 10 April 2015

Large family days out

There's a few things that you become used to as a family of 7 when having days out. It's not always the most obvious things you'd think of either, so here are my top signs that you have a large family.

1) Being able to smile whilst paying for ice cream

A round of ice creams from whatever venue you have been to visit can cost from just under £10 to an eye wateringly expensive £17. I have mastered the smile and steady hand as I hand over a twenty pound note for frozen cow juice.

2) Taking your own drinks everywhere

Thirsty? No problem! The car is always stocked with my favourite cheap and handy child drink. The cup drink. They cost £1.20 for 12 and I buy Sainsburys own brand, which are (non artificialy) flavoured mineral water. They're totally retro and I buy two boxes so £2.40 for 24 drinks......better than £1.40 for one fiendishly futile froot shoot.

3)  Have better location tracking skills than "find my iPhone" 

I'm like a nuclear submarine's sonar system. When the children disperse to various locations I can find them very quickly, not always by sight, but I can hear them........boop.....boop.......boop........

4) The ability to find the most fun places without paying £100+ before you even stroke a goat

Zoos, sealife centres, aquariums are all super expensive on admission prices. You can be savvy and book online in advance, look for two4one vouchers and my top tip, visit the tourist board shops for discounts on tickets. Anyway look for farm shops with play areas, nature walks, national trust buildings, seasides and other not so obvious places to visit, they're always the most fun.

5) Asking for a "Table for seven please........."  and getting no response *tumbleweed*

This is the case especially for small tea room style places that are attached to touristy hot spots, we get used to sitting on a table for 5 with extra chairs just to eat. Even at big restaurant chains if they're busy we've sat in a booth too small, it's an aquired skill but we manage, even if my elbow and left breast usually gets covered in sauce.

6) Eating only the leftovers.

You see it's all about the kids, so to cut back on cost and make sure we have more budget on the day out, hubs and I don't cater for ourselves. The children enjoy treats, ice creams, maybe a gift from the gift shop, or a snack for the way home. Hubs and I share a bottle of water and whatever's left from the kids lunch or picnic. Half chewed sausage roll anyone?

7) Mastering the "Who needs the toilet?" call

The golden question....literally...but when you have the call to go, you can't just go alone, a bit like the Borg (sorry I'm a Star Trek geek) you are a hive mind and the probability that one of the brood also needs to go is high. Ask everyone, every time....and don't forget to go yourself....before they open the cubicle door.

So there you go, a brief glimpse into the world of having more than the average number of children, it's great you know, and I wouldn't have it any different. There are ways and means to travelling and exploring different places as a large family, many people ask me how I manage? I say the same thing every time, it's all about a bit of forward thinking and planning, and it's always about the fun. 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter eggventure and jug relays

"The Easter bunny is real...right mummy......"

At this moment in time I wish he was real, my poor son has been struck down by a vomiting bug which started at midnight. Nothing gets you out of bed faster than the sound of a giant water balloon hitting the ground type noise followed by a wail.

Poor boy had covered himself and the bed, which commenced the two hourly relay, that consisted of me staggering around with one eye open hoping to catch exorcist style vom in the trusty green jug.

I don't know about your household but we have a designated sick implement. It's a large, plastic jug, probably best described as a picnic pitcher in a summery shade of green. It is the right depth to hold a good amount of vom but also easy to carry, easy to clean and it lives in the bathroom like a sentinel of sick, on guard for your nauseating needs.

When I was a child, my parents had the yellow bucket. I remember when I complained I was feeling sick, the yellow bucket was summoned from the garage. It had fluid measurements inside and I always wondered if I'd ever make it to half way....that never happened but the bucket also doubled up as the car washing bucket and sometimes if I was really lucky there was a spider in it.

I'm hoping this tummy bug will pass quickly and he will enjoy his breakfast at church tomorrow and of course all the chocolate eggs that are coming his way.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend, here are a few pictures of what we've been up to.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Large vehicle reversing


A dusty old drain sucking water tank on wheels was trying to reverse around the corner whilst humping over the pavement. I was thinking what use is that silly announcement that spews out of large trucks as they reverse, especially when they are already on the pavement, with some poor old deer hobbling quickly out of the way like an out of control Churchill nodding dog.

Some trucks have a white noise type of hiss to alert you to their manoeuvres, similar to the type of noise your old bedroom TV would make whilst attempting a furious ariel adjustment before Friends came on.

I stood there and wondered what it would be like if there was a regional alternative to the reversing announcements:

London circa 1940's
"I say old chap I am reversing here, could you be an awfully good sport and move out of the way"

"Aye up, I'm moving lorry over t'road, watch out now, be reet nasty if you got in't way"

"hiyogh, I'm movin this truck, innit"

"Watch out now, this vehicle is reversing, please wait, I won't be a moment, many thanks"

"calm down, calm down, it's only a lorry reversing, like"

By the time I'd finished doing all these impressions around my local sainsburys store, I believed I had found a way to make large vehicles more noticeable. Put the announcements in the different regions!!! Imagine, you're just about to cross the road in Liverpool and suddenly you hear a manc lad telling you he's moving a truck, you'd move it sharpish.

So the next time you hear that annoying announcement coming from the back of truck, have a think about what your part of the country, or world would say, and let me know below.

My large vehicle is about reverse into the sofa old chap, chin chin!!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Actual Red Nose Day and PG Tips Monkey

"mummy please don't turn up in your dressing gown.....or your slippers"

I've had the most horrendous lurgy, sent from satan himself, manifested in the 6ft heap of snotty tissues that surround wherever I've been collapsed at that moment of time. Before picking the children up from school solo, I'd joked with the children saying I'd be there but in my dressing gown.

Instead I was wearing my husband's duvet coat as I like to describe it, it goes down to my knees and is super thick, the hood is shaped like I should be on a fishing trawler, it's too big but it's warm and I can hide in it and there's plenty of pockets for tissues.

Talking about tissues, where does all the snot come from?? Only yesterday I had a tissue constantly inserted into my left nostril and was contemplating whether a dragons den style pitch for nose tampons would be a viable business model.

My nose is so red I don't even need a Red Nose for Red Nose Day!!! Tissues and tea have been my life source through the lurgy and PG Tips have come to my rescue and delivered a box of tea, a cute tea set and their cute loveable mascot Monkey. 

Monkey and I shared a tea party to cheer me up and he wanted to tell you that you can help raise money for Comic relief by buying their limited edition packs of PGTips on sale until the end of March.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Blowing champions!

*nothing moves* 
"basses up!!!!!!" 
*still no movement* 
"GET UP!!!!!"

They sprung up out of their seats, stuck out their chests and continued to stand as we all rose up in turn, like a badly choreographed cheerleading routine. We were a blaze of golden brass and buttons under the stage lights, eyes wider than a rabbit in headlights, heads whipping around to reassure each other that we'd done ourselves proud, a glance at the music that had dominated our lives for the past couple of months, the tempos, the melody, the chords that had become part of our very inner workings. Not only had we breathed together but sometimes all our hearts would miss the same beat together too.

That very moment was when we were announced as North West Area section 3 champions, it felt like slow motion as the echo of the microphone disappeared and was replaced by raptuous yells and cheering, but as I jumped up, arms raised in celebration I quickly remembered that I was absolutely desperately in need of the toilet. I mean the pint of cider before was probably a mistake, but it was nerves and well that's what we do, we perform then sit in the bar until the results, it's a great tradition.

After running up to the stage, raisng the silverware and walking back down, I remembered that I still desperately needed the the trophy went to the toilet with me. I was very proud walking in, nods from other players in different bands, silently congratulating me and then I walked into the cubical.....don't worry I washed my hands.

In September we go to compete in the National Finals and I promise I won't take the trophy to the toilet next time. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Tannoy sex and heels

"Ooooooaaaaaahhhh Jeff!" Is what I heard whilst walking around my local morisons this week. 

I'm not sure if the lady attached to this obviously breathless voice, had accidentally hit the tannoy button whist riding Jeff around the managerial office or he'd just put his enormous pay packet on the desk, either way, I nearly walked into the potatoes wondering if Jeff had remembered his erm...jacket.

I've unfortunately slipped into buying a bit of shopping everyday because I've forgotten to do the online shop, so at some point during the day I decide what is for dinner and I go out and get it, dull, dull, dull. 

On Tuesday night I didn't get home until 7:30pm after leaving the office at 5pm thanks to a barrage of city fans clogging up the tram going to watch them lose against Barcelona. In fact I'm happy they lost because not one of them let me get on the tram, they all raced forward and pushed passed all the regular commuters to go watch their precious game. Did I mentioned that they lost? HA!

Yesterday was another busy day leaving the house at 7am and not getting home until 10pm and I did all that in heels, which for me is a big deal. I mean I like heels and I enjoy wearing them but I'll always choose a comfy shoe over them. I tend to eye them up and think how lovely they look, then I imagine myself walking like a newborn deer after my toes have gone numb, but I thought to myself that I should glam up a bit for the office as I'm an adult, so I put my trusty pumps to one side and swapped them for heeled ankle boots.

I have to admit, I had more of a strut in my step and it was nice trotting around, coffee in hand, hair in the wind etc but by 8pm at band I really wanted to be in my pumps and comfy clothes, although I quite enjoyed blowing my instrument in heels, it's not as naughty as it sounds....honest.

Next week, I will do an online shop.....I wonder if Jeff managed to empty his basket......