These are a few of my favourite things…..

The LGBT Families London Christmas Party was a huge success and a lot of this due to the very generous raffle prizes we were offered, here is a list of the amazing prizes we were offered……….and I genuinely wish I had won!

  1. A really rather beautiful Storksak Lucinda changing bag in Sunset Orange. How sexy is this?! You can buy this for £175, or you can win one with us! Thank you to our wonderful friends at Storksak for this wonderful donation.Storksak Lucinda Changing Bag
  2. 2. A very current and beautiful Cosatto Zoomi Cloud 9 car seat from our good friends at Cosatto. Such a current design – I LOVE this! If you weren’t lucky enough to win this one you can buy one here for £120.Cosatto Zoomi Cloud 9 cr seat

3. An 18 x 24″ David Bowie Print framed, from our good friends and supporters at www.thefloodgallery.com

Screenshot 2015-11-05 13.15.00

4.  An hours photoshoot in your home or an outdoor location of choice* and 1 x digital image, with our very good friend Sara-Jane of ShutterBaby.

(T&Cs: Please check website for areas covered, if your area is not covered, shoot will be in Sara-Jane’s home studio in SE24, voucher valid to 30th June 2016, weekday bookings only) This is a genuine picture of an LGBT Family baby, so you can see how talented Sara-Jane really is:

ShutterBaby

5. Two once-weekly fifty-minute counselling sessions. Sessions will be strictly confidential on a subject matter of your choice, see http://www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk/ for info.

(T&Cs: Option to end after the two sessions or to continue with the same or another practitioner with a charge, voucher valid from January 2016 – June 2016, can be held in person on SE6 or online. )

itsgoodtotalk

6. A Playmobil Summer Fun Camp site set. This retails from £49.99 from Playmobil and thanks to the generosity of Dubby’s 1/6 Custom Paint & Figure Collection this could be yours!

Playmobil Camp site set

7. A 30 minutes Dermalogica Facial at Tula Rose Beauty Salon from our friends at www.tularose.com in Camberwell.

(T&Cs: Voucher expires April 2016)

30 minute facial

8. Our friends at Moviemats have offered a raffle prize of a voucher for a set of 4 Moviemats (£48 worth!). They are coasters (that can also be displayed on a stand if preferred) that feature the original film poster and a strip of cells used at the time of the film’s release. They are a great way of owning a little piece of your favourite film! They have a list of over 500 films to choose from.

Moviemats

9. From the SUPER talented and lovely Hazel and her gorgeous Etsy shop, we the following gorgeous print:

Bones

10. From the SUPER talented and lovely Hazel and her gorgeous Etsy shop, we the following print in 30x40cm (worth £30):

print

11. From the SUPER talented and lovely Hazel and her gorgeous Etsy shop, we the following print in 50x40cm, worth £35:

Print

12.  From the SUPER talented and lovely Hazel and her gorgeous Etsy shop, we the following print in 30x40cm, worth £40:

Relax.... print.

13. From the SUPER talented and lovely Hazel and her gorgeous Etsy shop, we the following print in 40x50cm, worth £40:

What's inside.... print

14. A gorgeous Silicone teething necklace and three bangles from our beautiful friends at Lara and Ollie:

LaraOllie

15. 3 x bootcamp sessions with Shenda Falvey at her award winning Greenwich Pennisular bootcamp sessions. You can choose from 5 weekly bootcamps that take place at Central Park on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, between 9.30 – 10.30am and Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7.30 – 8.30pm.

Shenda - PT

16.  1 x Free Attendance Voucher for a day during February Half term (2016) at a Buzzers Academy day (09:30am to 4:30am), please see Buzzers Academies for information on their locations (worth £13):

Buzzers

17. Handmade “NOEL” Christmas bunting from the lovely Jacqui of  Annabells Applique, it’s approx. 1m long – and here is it in all its glory (worth £8):

bunting

18. The awesome folks of Muklet, have donated a “Grubby Knees” Tee (worth £14) in either available size 2-3, 4-5 or 6-7! They have also been good enough to set us up our very own discount code, to be used before the end of November, just enter “LGBTXMAS” for a 10% discount!

Grubby Knees Tee

19.  A voucher for a place on an online Egyptology course with www.hieroeducation.co.uk. Next course starts Jan 2016 and dates will be released shortly.

20. From our friend Sherry Bevan, www.theconfidentmother.co.uk. The lucky winner will win a confident mother book with the complete library of 25+ unedited interview audio files plus the January 2015 conference workbook and action sheets (RRP £39.99)

The Confident Mother book

21. A selection of Barefoot Book products worth up to £50. This will include books, a yoga deck and a puppet from The Cardboard Castle

22. 1 x facial, hand, or foot reflexology session either from Li does Reflexology at their house anywhere within a 5 mile radius of SE12, or at Liezel’s house in SE12.

relexology

23. A voucher to spend up to £25 at the gorgeous http://loolaandgoo.co.uk/ check out their amazing accessories!

24.. An hours phone consultation (Worth £40) with Gentle Parent Consultant Kerry Cares Parenting:

 

25. Two Moms and a Menagerie Book

A fun and lively book with delightful illustrations that presents a same sex family in a positive way. A fantastic read for children from lgbt families and adopted children. This story complements other books that present families in a more traditional light. Two Mums and a Menagerie is a great resource for schools and educationalists who want to broaden perspectives on the different types of loving families that exist today. If you didn’t win one, you can buy it here:

Hats, hats, hats!

One of the things I particularly love about this time of year, is trying desperately to find all the hats, gloves and scarves I had stashed away in June.

Once I find them, I then go through them to make sure we have matching pairs of gloves and nobody has outgrown anything… and then promptly ignore everything we already have (and despite the fact each child has about 8 hats each), I then buy one more….

 

Cat Hat!

Cat Hat!

Whoops! I just couldn’t resist! Both kids got one, in the end – because they are just SO MUCH FUN!

More hats!

More hats!

They are from H&M, whose prices I just love for kids clothes, especially as quickly as my two seem to grow out of them. AND cat hat fits me too – so Bug may find Mummy has a little borrow every now and again!

Grab some while they still have some in stock, I think they’ll go very quickly.

LGBT Families Christmas event now sold out!

I am so excited!

The LGBT Families Christmas event that I set up and organised – has SOLD OUT! In OCTOBER!

I was really nervous about creating a dedicated event and paying for everything out of pocket in case nobody turned up…I am just so happy that we have so much support.

Knowing the tickets are sold now, means that I can fully concentrate on the rest of the arrangements, to make this the MOST amazing LGBT Families Christmas party in London this 2015.

I’m reaching out to sponsors for our raffle now – the money raised will help to provide more dedicated resources and events for LGBT families in 2016, and in an ideal world we can go for Charity status next year to allow us access to extra funding.

So, that’s kind of why its been a bit quiet around here recently. You can find me on instagram if you don’t find me here though for daily photos of my mad, mad life: https://instagram.com/addictedtobabystuff/

Here’s a list of the things we are planning to have at the party:

  • Balloons
  • Soft play and bouncy castle for under 5’s
  • DJ with music for the over 5s
  • Buffet and soft drinks
  • Facepainting (the lady who is coming, has a degree in fine art.. she really is INCREDIBLE!)
  • A visit from the big man himself, ho ho HO!
  • A raffle to raise funds for our special group

Things I am working on, as we speak – reaching out to sponsors for sponsorship/raffle prizes. Trying to find a photographer who wants to come and take some photos of the event (for free!), reaching out to press to see if they would be interesting in running an article on this to raise some publicity, games for the kids, finding a local pub for after (for down time!!).

I’m loving being busy. Between this party, my NCT halloween reunion at our house, Thanksgiving at our house, my Mums 60th birthday party and a baby shower at ours (all before mid December), I have my hands full!

It’s like a full time job in itself and I really really LOVE it. January is going to be SO boring!

E x

When is the right time to say goodbye to a family pet?

Maisy my eldest dog is 14 years old. She’s been ‘mine’, or rather – I’ve been hers, since I was 21 years old.

I left home and started working and 17 so considered myself fairly responsibly. I remember when I told my family that I was getting dog; they were completely and utterly against it. Didn’t think I was ready for the responsibility, didn’t think I was in the right flat and job to be able to care for a dog… did I listen? Did I heck! I put an ad in Loot (remember Loot?!) looking to re-home a medium sized dog and did anybody have one that I could meet/have?!

I had a million calls from people asking if I wanted to have or buy their Staffie! I knew then that I wanted a Lhasa Apso, having fallen in love with a friends after meeting it a few months before. I probably should have been more specific in the ad – so I put in another ad.

Eventually a family in Essex contacted me to say they needed to re-home their dog, who happened to be a Lhasa Apso. I took my best friend Stephen along with me to go check out this dog. I knew in my heart of hearts, there would be no way I would turn up, look at the dog and say no? Unless of course she bit me!

We pulled up outside their run looking house and my heart sank a bit. I was a bit nervous about knocking, but by this point didn’t want to go back empty handed.

We were ushered into a living room over flowing with dogs, and met with THE Lhasa Apso. They called her Mae, and told me that they had had her for a year. She was actually a Pedigree and had been a show dog over the first year – but that because of some un-noticeable fracture on her hip would not win any prizes… or something like that! I stopped listening then to be honest, I was already in love.

They had taken her in from the breeder (where apparently she spent most of her time in a cage, being groomer), but she didn’t get on with any of the other (million) dogs they had.

I handed over £300 and took her home. She rode on Stephen’s lap the entire way home and pee’d on my kitchen floor when we arrived home. I like to think she was giving the house her seal of approval! 😉

In 2003, I moved in with my friend (the one who had the Lhasa Apso, that I had originally fallen in love with), his name was Dougal. I naively thought he had been ‘done’. I was proven wrong later in 2003, when Maisy had 8 pups. I remember thinking at one point she looked a bit porky, so took her to the vet.

The vet had a feel about and much to my shock told me we were expecting 4 pups in about 2 weeks. 2 days later, out popped 8 during the Eastenders Omnibus. I was in the middle of cooking a Sunday roast for friends – who were on their way over and had to take a quick de-tour for me, to find a whelping box at B&Q!

I kept one of the gorgeous pups, and we named her Milly. She’s the complete opposite to her mother and equally as loved.

Maisy and Milly have travelled to France, lived in Barcelona and Italy with me, and been my constant companions through some very dark times in my life and equally the best times in my life.

My two children adore them . Toddler dresses them up and 8 year old is very very attached to them. I was so happy when children came into my life, as I had always hoped they would be around to welcome some children. My Nana Joan adored them both as does my Mum who has cared for them when we travelled.

But they are getting on. Maisy is 14, Milly is 12 now. Maisy has had a whole host of health issues; she has a tumour, cushings disease, is going blind, is now deaf, has a hernia, has a cyst on her eye and has arthritis and is losing the use of her back legs. Her medicine each month costs over £200! Money aside, it doesn’t matter – as long as she some quality of life that’s is the most important thing.

And she did up until recently, but recently she’s been struggling to get out of bed in the morning, struggling to eat, struggling in pain and I had to have a very difficult decision with our vet today, about the next stages.

There isn’t really anything else the vet can do and so the next stage really is to think about euthanasia. Having just watched my beloved Nana struggle only last month, and not being able to help her or take away her pain, I would like to that put me in a better frame of mind to deal with what may be upon me. But honestly, I don’t think it does. It’s a difficult and sad decision no matter what.

Maisy has had a difficult couple of days recently, but today has had a good day – and I told our vet, I don’t know what to do. I can’t bear to see her suffering, but the thought of killing her too quickly will haunt me forever. When is the right time?

And our vet (who by the way is absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend enough) said, when she starts to have more bad days than good, that’s the right time. And so, no decision has been made yet, but I will be monitoring my beloved doggy over the next couple of weeks and jotting down things, to get a true picture of how difficult life is for her.

This peace of paper just makes me want to cry.

This peace of paper just makes me want to cry.

I think we will be having a sensitive conversation with our 8 year old too, because it is important he feels included and understands as much as he can of what is happening. I think 2.5 year old is a bit too young at this stage.

For now though, LOADS of cuddles and love for Maisy dog are definitely on the agenda.

 

The ever growing to-do list of a parent

Do you ever feel like your to-do list is growing out of control and you will never ever get on top of it?!

I feel like I may have a bit too much on! BUT, it’s actually how I enjoy running my life.

As an ex PA and Office Manager, I spent a lot of my time in several industries running around “fire fighting” and having to remember a million and one things. I loved it – and I’ve swapped the COO of a stockbroking firm, for two demanding children, a hard working wife and 2 old dogs. I’ll tell you whats easier too … 😉

I thought I would share my to-do list with you all. Right now it’s all on hold because Toddler has a cold and all plans are off for this week.

Is this a normal parent list? Or do I just reaaallllyyyy enjoy making lists?!

  1. Change GP’s (we only moved in February, it’s long over due)
  2. Sort out our will (toddler is 2.5 – we probably should sort this now!)
  3. Email lip tie doctor again (we think Toddler has a lip tie and so want to have it assessed), I’ve actually emailed him twice.
  4. Move 8 year old to a school to closer to new house – fill in the bloody paperwork!
  5. Find all docs I need for my court appearance in a couple of weeks (Ive been fighting a parking ticket since 2011!) This deserved a blog post on it’s own at some point…. but in a nutshell, I overstayed in a tesco carp
  6. Find a nursery for Toddler, for her free 15 hours a week, which starts in March. Saw one and hated it and have kind of put it off since. Should have actually done this when I was pregnant!
  7. Organise Mum’s 60th birthday party for November. Venue has been sourced, now need to send out invites, sort food, basically everything else.
  8. Post babyshower gift to friends whose babyshower had to miss when my Nana was dying in August.
  9. Wedding card and cash for wedding coming up this week! EEK!
  10. Sort out putting friends on car insurance for when they come to stay at ours!
  11. Vets to talk about dog – sadly she is very old and quite ill, so we may need to have an end of life discussion.
  12. Print out favourite recipes and put them in a file in kitchen
  13. Sort out mortgage
  14. Organise my social groups Christmas party – Sort Food / Decorations/ More raffle prizes / sell more tickets
  15. Find some discount vouchers of things to do while we are in Texas.
  16. Sort out Toddlers clothes, take our things that are too small.
  17. Go and help Mum de-weed grave of my great grandparents, so we can scatter my Nana’s ashes.
  18. Sort swimming lessons for kids – this has been on the list for about 2 months now.
  19. Cancel gym membership… clearly I am not going!
  20. Deal with the paperwork and ongoing stress if having TWO different people crash into me this year. Urgh!
  21. Start thinking about Christmas presents for everyone.
  22. Book a blood test.
  23. Get the nappy library I took over, up and running!
  24. Finally finish my Kon Marie book and sort out the house!

Now as a stay at home mum, I think people think I have time coming out of my you-know-what. But I honestly am struggling to find the time to fit everything in! Daily chores, organising two parties, my ever growing to-do list! I swear I had more time when I worked! At least then I was sitting behind a desk and could send out emails and order things/make telephone calls.

Now as a stay at home mum, I think people think I have time coming out of my you-know-what. But I honestly am struggling to find the time to fit everything in. Daily chores, organising two parties this year, my ever growing to-do list! I swear I had more time when I worked. At least then I was sitting behind a desk and could send out emails and order things/make telephone calls and make it look like I was actually working, ha!

Actually finding the time to sit down now and do these things is HARD! There is also washing to put on, a floor to be swept, a dog to feed, a bathroom to be cleaned, a toddler to entertain/tell off.

Would I have it any other way? HELL NO. I genuinely love my life. I feel so grateful that I have the opportunity to be at home with the kids and be able to dedicate my time to the community groups I run. I just need to be able to prioritise things a bit more – so this is why my blog has taken a bit of a back seat recently! I intend to more than make up for it though!

The problem with the dummy fairy

I think I royally buggered up….

Mentioned the dummy fairy (known in our house as the “Mimi fairy”) to my 2.5 year old today, in an airy fairy noncommittal sort of way …’Oh there’s a lovely dummy fairy who comes and takes your dummies when you are ready and gives you a present’ and ‘wouldn’t it be nice, we could go to build a bear and choose a toy or something’… yeah I hadn’t completely thought it all through when it came out of my mouth, to be honest. First mistake.

Come bedtime, she holds the dummies up for me, and says “here go – Mimi Fairy”.

What, like… RIGHT NOW TONIGHT after one teeny tiny mention, you’re ready to just give them up? (who has issues here?!)

“Yep, Mummy”

Do I have a bloody present? NO! Not one thing I can give to her. Not even anything stashed in a cupboard anywhere. I can’t even upcycle a headless barbie doll.

I had to give the bloody dummies back to her and tell her we’ll do it tomorrow. And now she just keeps repeating over and over “mimi fairy, mimi fairy” in her bed and I’m convinced she thinks the Fairy is going to come and snatch them while she sleeps.

Do you think she’ll do it tomorrow? Yeah – I highly doubt it too.

Countryside fun with the kids

My dad and Step-Mum live out in the country. It takes about an hour to get there from our house, and the kids just LOVE spending time with them.

We all do – my wife looks visibly relaxed when we get into the country (I always mention a move when we get about 30 mins out!), and the kids just adore being outside in their amazing garden, going for walks with their greyhound and picking blackberries.

We actually spent the day at Legoland on Saturday with some free tickets I had managed to get. It was equal parts wonderful and frustrating (1.5 hours to get out of the car park in the evening and 40 minute queues for every ride – the wife and I have discovered we are not queuers!) and so we were pretty exhausted when we arrived back home at about 9:30 Saturday evening and had to pop the kids into bed straight away!

So we were looking for something relaxing and quiet to do on Sunday and the kids desperately wanted to go and pick Blackberries with Nanny “Deddie” and Grandad.

Luckily they were available and happy to have us over, so we went down for lunch and we went out locally by heir house and picked some gorgeous juicy blackberries that Nanny Deddie had go stake out the day before! We took them home and made an apple and blackberry crumble! And when I say we – I mean the kids and Nanny Deddie did, while we (the wife and I), laid down and waited 😀

Blackberry

Out for a walk with Nanny Deddie

 

 

blackberry3

Crumble!

 

If you would like to make Nanny Deddie’s delicious and super easy crumble, the recipe is as follows:

 

8oz flour
6oz sugar
4 oz butter

Mix together until looks like very fine breadcrumbs. Put fruit in dish, add a little water if hard fruit I.e. Apples add sugar if fruit not sweet enough. Put crumble mix on top and firm down. Bale 40 to 60 mins at 170 celcius.

What are your kids favourite things to do with their grandparents?

x

 

Flying with Toddlers

YAY! We’ve finally booked to go visit the US family at Christmas.

It has been over 2 years until we were last there and to say I am excited is an understatement. We are long overdue a catch up with our American friends and family, we were last there when Bug was 6 months so they dont really have any idea of the whirlwind that is our Toddler right now!  I am also dying for some Mexican food – never in my life thought I would say that sentence. When I met my wife, I wasn’t fussed on Mexican food – now I crave it and even tried making home made Tortillas!

To say I am terrified of the 10 hour flight with THE toddler, is also an understatement! The now 8 year old is easy – we plug him into whatever is on TV and let him decide what to do.

I’m terrified of flying anyway, let alone trying to entertain a lively 2.5 year old!

The good news is that I have a LOT of time to prepare, so will be doing lots of research on the best ways to survive a flight with a Toddler, but if you have any hints or tips, please DO feel free to share them here. Pinterest here I come!

Things I am planning on doing, so far

1. Taking my (spare) car seat, the Britax Eclipse. This is one we bought last minute for Nana’s car. As most of the reader’s know, I am a very keen and vocal rear facer, but sadly- lack of funds for a spare meant that we had to purchase this seat. I’m not knocking it, as it’s a lovely seat and I’m a bit fan of the Britax brand in general – and ACTUALLY, it’s worked out really well in that it is one of a few seats that fit

2. Hitting up the pound shop for a selection of new toys to keep her a bit interested for a while.

3. I have an app on my ipad that lets you download youtube videos to your ipad and watch them without an internet connection. It’s honestly amazing – one of my favourite apps ever. I’ll be updating the shows on there as Bug is now more of a fun of Doc McStufin, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sherrif Callie and other Disney Junior shows.. more than Peppa now!

4. Check this out! SO, in order to get the car seat through the airport other than carrying and swearing lots – you can buy a collapsable crate, like this!:

Babyz

This is it!: http://www.amazon.com/Go-Go-Babyz-QRKIDZ-Travelmate-Black/dp/B000JJK9EY/ref=sr_1_1?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1442348589&sr=8-1&keywords=go+go+babyz

How awesome is this – and why is it only available in the US?!

I’ve had a mixed reaction to the idea of taking a car seat on a plane, many saying they tried and it was a nightmare (eek!) – and some saying why bother, just strap them in? (eek! again!).

A few (OK one person!!) said it was the best thing they have ever done. I am HOPING that Bug, who tends to do OK in her seat, will just enjoy the new experience of being on an aeroplane and will find it comfier, so easier to sleep.

Let’s hope I’m not wrong!

The rollercoaster of grief

In the last few days since Nana has died – I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions.

At first I was shocked, despite expecting it – I think nothing ever prepares you. Then of course I was sad. Later was just utter heartbreak when it finally sunk in more, followed by anger at the world and people around me (that was last night, when I realised the world wasn’t going to stop spinning because I am heartbroken) and now I’m just really pathetically unbelievably sad again.  I’m sure there are other emotions to follow.

I also wonder if there will ever come a time, when I look at her picture and don’t just burst into tears.

And I feel cheated! BUT, I feel stupid for feeling cheated, because let’s face it  – she was 92! But I feel cheated on behalf of the kids mainly – well and myself.

I want to go back in time and drink up all the past times with her. When we sat at the Toby Carvery together as a family, or went for a drive, or just hung out at her or my house with the kids.

I am angry with my memory for not being sharp and not retaining every single piece of memory about her.

I am cross that I don’t have saved voicemails from her, because I am frightened that I won’t remember her voice.

My Mum and Aunt have started the arduous task of sorting through her things, and as I am close to her house – I suspect I have been benefitting from receiving items. Yesterday was a whole bunch of store cupboard ingredients – gravies, and jelly etc. Most of which I will use. But then there was also a brown paper bag of sweets, containing a couple of packets of sweets from M&S  – Mushroom coconut things, and some sour candies.

My last memory of being with her was eating these sweets in the nursing home, with her.  Not knowing they were sour she opted for one and spent the whole time pulling faces and saying ‘Ohhh!’ – she wasn’t a fan of it! I made it right with a coconut ‘shroom after BUT, I had to throw the sweets away today. Just looking at them made me so sad, it reminded me of her being ill and in the nursing home – and I can’t bear to look at them. I don’t want to remember her that way, I want to remember the good times.

Today, I got a box of Nana’s recipes. She went to a cooking school at some point (I don’t think I knew this) and these are all her typed our recipes from there. I didn’t see any of HER recipes, her famous Nana’s Stew (beef), or her famous fruit cake – I expect she memorised those.

I never went through that box with her and asked if she had tried any. And now I can’t.

The things you think about and regret after :-(