A Day Out

Every so often my Uni chums and I meet up for a catch up.  It happens two to three times a year, and this year for the first time since my wedding three years ago, our fourth comrade was over from Australia where she’s been living for the past 6 years so it was a proper reunion!!

We met up at a country park north of Nottingham.  It was a bit of a drive for me from where we live, but it was a lovely place to meet.  We had a picnic whilst the kids played in a park, then strolled around to feed ducks, sat again whilst the kids rolled down hills before finishing the day off with a cream tea in a cafe!


Although not as sunny as where we set off from, sunglasses came in useful!!Image

I think I dropped my camera here, but this was during the picnic!!Image

Playing catch and running up and down…Image

And here we are having our tea and scones!  (I say scones like phones rather than ones!!)


It was a lovely day and I always enjoy catching up with my friends.  It’s hard to believe we all graduating University together in 2000 and here we are, 13 years later still good friends.

Steve came along because I thought all their husbands would be there too!  I’m not sure he’s forgiven me yet.  I won’t ask him next time!  Oops!!  He was useful though as he played with Joel so I could chat and relax a bit.  We’ll work extra hard on the house tomorrow and Monday to compensate for the day off!

May Day Bank Holiday

I was determined to have a nice day out, and make it something different to regular days of the week.  After all, a Bank Holiday is special and should be treated as such.  We don’t have a lot of money going spare at the moment due to house purchases going through, and potentially having two mortgages running alongside each other pending finding a renter.

So a free day out it would be, and what better than a picnic somewhere scenic?!  We settled on   a nice area in Cannock Chase called Seven Springs.  There is a pool and stream for splashing in, and a big open space by a little car park.  We set off at 11am having made sandwiches, (egg mayonnaise, tuna and pepper and jam and banana), added some sausage rolls, a bag of crisps, some apples and a bottle of squash.  We took our deckchairs, a picnic rug, our picnic was in a nice picnic bag which was a wedding present, and a ball for Joel to kick about.

We weren’t the only ones with the idea of a picnic there either.  The car park was heaving on our arrival.  We drove up seeing nothing but cars but lo an behold, there was one space at the top which had obviously not long been vacated so we took it!

Izzy was very excited and Joel was too, he kept saying ‘nic-nic’ and wondering what it all meant.


I love this photo above!

We found a nice space, laid out the blanket and chairs and let Izzy chase her tennis ball until she got tired out and Joel kicked his ball with us and ran about in the sunshine until we all got hungry.  Picnic time!  We sat in our chairs (Joel loves having his own deck chair)


There were a few other families sat around in their own spaces too.  Most people park there to then go for a big walk, or go cycling.  We just kicked a ball with Joel



Izzy loves being out of doors with us.  Here she is all content in the sunshine after running about all morning!


Joel and his egg.  He’s gone off egg sandwiches but likes a plain egg!  Although Jam sandwiches are ok:



We didn’t like paddling without shoes on, too brrrr Mummy, so we went back up to play ball some more:


Then it was getting very late for lunchtime naps, and there was no way it would happen in the outdoors!  We’d been out for over two hours, eaten and had fun, so we thought we’d head home again.  Joel went to bed for a sleep, Daddy stayed indoors watching tv shows on his laptop, and I got my sun lounger out of the shed, reclined with a big sunhat on and read some more of my current novel ‘The Sunne In Splendour’ by Sharon Penman, all about the Plantagenants and War of the Roses.  So interesting, I’ve nearly finished (it’s something of a tome) and I will need a new book to read one on our hols next week.

Once Little Dude was awake we played in the garden with his water table, learning to use his scooter, and eating ice-lollies.

Then my parents came over for dinner, and I’d put a leg of lamb in the oven earlier, (Steve got half a lamb to freeze a couple of months ago and we’re still working our way through it all!) added some new potatoes, asparagus, green beans and gravy, with a Christmas pudding for dessert!!  It was a lovely meal, topped off with the bottle of wine we were given at the hotel in Kent which we’d saved.

So we had a wonderful bank holiday on a budget and it was a lovely day as well.

Sunny Saturday

How nice it is to see the sunshine for once!  It feels as though we’ve not seen it for months and months on end!

Joel woke up at 7am and Steve took him downstairs so I could lie in for another hour.  Of course, Steve only lies on the sofa and falls asleep which leaves Joel to fend for himself, but he’s very good at playing with his toys and Steve is technically there if he needs him.

This morning we all trundled over to the castle for a lovely walk.  We got Izzy to come with her ball launcher and all put our wellies on.  Joel loves going for walks at the moment, although it takes a lot of time to get him to toddle along.  He likes to stop and smell the roses (figuratively speaking) so it takes a lot of persuasion from us and occasional picking up to be a plane to get him to keep motivated and moving.

Anyway, it took well over an hour to walk the 20 minutes woodland path but Izzy didn’t mind as she had lots of ball throwing and was quite shattered by the end of it.  Joel even managed to stay awake in the car and have spaghetti and yoghurt for lunch before realising how tired he was and bursting into tears.  I made a delicious chilli con carne last night and we all had it for tea and there was one portion left which I wanted for lunch with sour cream and nachos.  It was just as tasty as I’d remembered too.  Joel kept helping himself to forkfuls from my plate alongside his spagetti.

He got bolognese sauce and yoghurt all over his face and as Steve had left me to sort lunch and was on his laptop in the lounge, I sent a very messy joel through to him and giggled to myself as I heard Steve saying ‘don’t touch, don’t touch!’ and having to clean him up!!  One way to get him to assist with these things I suppose.  He’d hate to get yoghurt on his laptop.

Joel is currently snoozing but we may go along to a softplay area this afternoon with him and have tea out.  Steve’s idea which is a nice one!   We’ve not had a date night for months so I think we’ll have to go out for dinner next month for our anniversary.  I’d love somewhere that did fine dining but Steve would grumble about prices and say he’d prefer a BigMac.  Maybe there’s somewhere in the middle which isn’t an Indian!!  (STeve will either go to MacDonalds, KFC or Indians.  He doesn’t do proper restuarants whereas I want tablecloths, candles and proper cutlery!)



I’ve not blogged for a wee while, mainly because last week Steve left the back door open, during the night some ne’er-do-well, came in and walked out again with my laptop and an old mobile phone.

It’s very freaky to think you’ve had an intruder.  Especially with us all asleep and none the wiser.

We were very lucky though, he/she only took my not very expensive laptop and most of my photos on it are backed up, and my old blackberry which was a bit battered.  It could have been a lot worse.

Friday night we had forensics around but they couldn’t find any prints, and two officers came around to take our statement.

We certainly have become rather complacent at home.  And Steve never locks the back door so he’s had a rude awakening as to what that can do.  And hopefully, he’s learnt his lesson.

Stressful Nightmare of an Afternoon

Today began with me feeling a bit itchy and tickly at the back of my throat.  My throat felt a bit sore and I just presumed it was hayfever, so took an anti-histimine (as I used to do regulalry before Joel) and thought nothing more of it.

Come midday, I was tired.  So tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I think I may have even dozed off at my desk, waking suddenly when my head fell down.

So, I used 1/2 a days precious annual leave (leaving me only one further 1/2 day) to go home and have a sleep as I wasn’t functioning normally at all!

I fell into a deep sleep, with a crazy dream where I was watching the olympic flame go by, but caught the eye of Lord Seb Coe (who looked like Hugh Jackman) and we had a passionate kiss that made the front pages of the tabloids the next day, wondering who the mystery woman snogging Lord Coe was!!  Most peculiar indeed.

Anyway, I was rudely awakened at 5pm by my alarm (thank goodness I had the presence of mind to set it) and I hurled myself out of the house and heard the door slam behind me, at which moment I realised I’d not picked up my keys.

I decided the first thing to do was collect Joel, as it was nearing the end of the nursery day and I didn’t want to be fined, nor leave Joel there till last!

So having taken Izzy with me for the walk, and come back with Joel, we went to try the back door.  Soemtimes we leave it unlocked, with a key in the lock but today it was properly locked with the key hanging out of sight.  I guess that was good if burgulars decided to come calling, but for me today it was the last straw.

Being locked out of your own home, with a baby is horribly stressful.

I decided to leave Izzy in the garden, and opened the shed for her, put a blanket down and hoped that she would be ok, not bark and annoy the neighbours, and not jump the fences to find us.

I took Joel in his pushchair and we went to Asda for supplies.  I got a small pack of nappies, a pack of wipes, some bananas, strawberries (he likes fruit in a morning), clean knickers for me, and some ready done milk bottles for Joel, and some straws for him to drink it with!  We then walked along to the Travel Lodge nearest us and I rang Mum and Dad to check that they’d not put a key safe in their garden (which was their plan as Dad kept locking himself out) but they hadn’t and Joel began to cry as he was hungry (again) and I was crying because I was stressed, and Mum was stressed in Wales and Dad kept asking whether I could find a small child to put through the open bathroom window who could find the keys!!!  I ended up snapping at Dad that I didn’t know any small children, and if I did I wouldn’t want to put them through a window, and saying I’d call them back once me and Joel were settled with food.

I was in a right state by this point, Joel was howling, and I kept popping strawberries in his mouth to keep him going, and we got to Pizza Hut and I must have looked such a mess, he was crying, I was crying, I’d got him out of the buggy and was struggling with nappies, baby and bags, and the staff were lovely.  They sat me down, got a high chair, brought Joel a bowl of spaghetti bolognese straight away, and a tap water in a cup with a lid and straw.  We shared a salad bowl so he had something to nibble as well, and we were able to sort ourselves out!!

We then had a call from Mum to say a couple from Church said we could go there to wait for Steve and they live just next to Pizza Hut, so that was good.  Steve’s friend Joe, went to check on Izzy and rang me to say she was find and seemed happy enough in the garden so that was a relief.

And once we were at the couple’s house, we had chocolate biscuits and cups of tea, watched a film and then Steve got back earlier for 11.15 which was good.

I’m going to get more spare keys cut.  This situation can never happen again!  It’s just too awful!!  🙂

Best Friends

You may know we have a collie cross puppy called Izzy.  I say puppy as a general term for adolescant dog (in doggy, not human years!!)  She’s about 18 months and very friendly and soft.

So far she’s ignored Joel as the usurper of her affections, and if I’m holding him, she’ll be on Steve’s knee, or vice versa.  However, I think she has got used to him being around.

Joel loves Izzy.  He loves watching her wander about, and he’s been smiling at her (which she just ignores) and earlier he was talking to her and again, she pretty much ignored him.

Sometimes though, she does relent and come to sniff him, lick his foot or try to rub noses.

Don’t worry, we’re not crazy dog kissers at all here and we don’t let her actually kiss or lick him.  She’s learning.  At least I hope she’s learning.  And the point of all this chatter is these pics below as he was looking cute in his Bumbo, and I got down on his level to chat and play and Izzy came to join in too!!

And we’d never leave them alone so don’t worry on that account.  Mind you, she is the friendliest dog you’d ever be pleased to meet, and she really doesn’t have a nasty bone in her body, but we know you can never be sure, and are always watchful, just in case.

But when Joel is a bit bigger, and able to throw a ball and kick a football, these two will be best friends for sure!


We headed down to Devon yesterday to visit Steve’s family here as his Granny is rather ill at the moment and wanted to meet her great grandson.  I was rather worried about the length of the journey (it takes about 4 hours) and the heat as it’s suddenly got toasty warm this month.

However, Joel rose to the challenge admirably and slept for the whole of the first leg, then we had a good stop where Izzy got to stretch her legs, Joel got to feed, have some kicking time, we got to eat an early lunch and Daddy got to sort a nappy!

We set off again and Joel slept for the second leg as well!  He was so zonked I was able to file his nails down on two hands and one foot (one foot to go!).  We met up with Wendy and Paul who were taking Izzy for the afternoon and we had another rest and feed in the shade of a tree which was nice.

Then the last bit of the journey took us to deepest Barnstaple, no mobile signal anywhere and high hedges and winding lanes!  We got to the cottage and Steve’s Dad was there for the weekend to help look after Gt Granny and in we went.

Gt Granny was very pleased with Joel and announced that he was ‘perfect’ but ‘very heavy!’  She held him for a long while and he was so well behaved.

We stayed there for three hours and he slept a bit more in Great Granny’s arms, cried a bit for Aunty Margaret, smiled for his Grandpa and then we were back over to Exeter.

It was far too long a journey for him really but with circumstanaces being what they are, we don’t know whether he’ll meet Great Granny again.  We are going to Cornwall for a holiday next month and all being well will call in again on our way there and way back.

The heat has been a worry these past couple of days.  I ring my mum each morning and ask what he should wear and last night our room was 28oc so we had windows open and he slept in just a vest and amazingly he did his 9,12 and 3 routine but we have been up since 5 now!!  He’s dozed off again on my shoulder and wouldn’t settle in his basket again.  I think he knows he’s somewhere new and just wants a bt of reassurance!

His Granny has loved having him here though, and bathed him last night and has been rewarded with lots of smiles!!  He really does seem so content!  His hour or so of first awake time is wonderful at 7 with smiles, kicking legs and chuckles and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!  He seems very adaptable which is good as we like going away and if he is happy anywhere we are, all the better!

Fun In The Sun

Today has been yet another beautiful day!  I feel so fortunate to be able to sit out in my garden, knowing I’m being paid annual leave for a third week to just relax and do nothing!

This morning I was up early, due to aches in my hips and pelvis and I find moving about helps, so I dozed on the sofa for a couple more hours.  Not that Steve missed me, he just got up at 9.30 and assumed I’d been pottering around for a while!  Izzy appreciated my company though and curled up in the crook of my knees which was cosy.

I sorted through the clothes given by Sarah yesterday and put them into piles of sizes.  The 3-6 months are now stowed in my 3-6 month box, and the 6-9 and 9-12 months are also stowed.  The 12+ will be going back to Mum’s in the meantime as I just don’t have enough room for everything!!  I then sorted some more loads of washing out and got it dry in the sunshine, and Steve and I sat in the garden to eat lunch together which was a nice change!  Izzy is thriving on having us both at home, especially in the garden.  She is so much calmer and lay basking on the lawn whilst the piggies munched the grass in their run.

After lunch I met up with my friend Carly and her baby boy Reuben and we went to the Town Park and ate ice creams, chatted and then fed the ducks.  Pretty soon it was 4.00pm and I was a little weary so we headed home where I sat and folded vest after vest after babygro and made the wardrobe a little tidier.  I think I need a few baskets so I can separate vests (no legs) from babygros (legs) and can trust that Steve will be able to find things if needed – (he’s one of the ‘it’s not waving at me so it’s not there’ sort of guys).  I also need some hangers to put outfits together and hang up.  I just went through and tidied the newborn stuff, and have the 0-3 shelf to tidy tomorrow.  I never thought I’d find folding such a cute exercise!!

Then, this evening, Steve surprised me by asking if he could take me out for dinner!  So we went to try a Harvester restaurant which was full and we’d have had to wait ages for, (don’t tell a very pregnant woman she has to wait nearly an hour, just for a table when she’s hungry) so off to Frankie and Bennies we went, where I scoffed bread and olives before tackling a whole rack of ribs.  I should have won a prize for that I think.  Also, I think I grossed the waiter out (he assumed the ribs were for Steve!) and he brought a wodge of napkins over for me as I guess I was making a mess?!  Hmm.

Anyway, another rather lovely and fabulous day!  Tomorrow is all free, and other than folding 0-3 month clothes I’m considering a swim depending on my weary levels (else I’ll not have been this week at all) and online window shopping.  My new wish list for after payday next Wednesday!!