Mum, your roller skating is epic! Oh yes.

Saturday has officially become family day. We will no longer spend the day deciding what to do, ending up actually spending half the day slobbing out then spending a fortune on soft play because of our lack of inspiration. We will have a plan. We will spend rime together. We will have fun!

It turns out that now we’ve swapped our gym membership from the posh club to the local council run one (half the price, but way more child orientated), we not only have unlimited swimming and the kids swimming lessons included and entrance to the local soft play, we also have the weekly roller disco included!

Now, in September I was confined to several square feet having been stuck on crutches for months after dislocating my pelvis and knackering several discs in my lower back. This has meant a long slow recovery to being able to do anything that verges on exciting and we started off slowly in January with a weekly swim on Saturday mornings. While tiny pants had a swimming lesson and beanpole went playing on the diving boards with the long suffering husband, I’ve been able to devote my time to treading water watching them all and hiding in the steam room when, after lessons finish they bring out the giant inflatable for the pool. (Total kudos to the swimming pool though for knowing how to keep hundreds of kids supremely happy for several hours)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve stepped this up a notch by taking the kids to the roller disco, which considering my advice to avoid any kind of impact sport perhaps is a little foolhardy, but as long as I don’t fall over, I’m good. Actually, I’m more than good. I’m having a total ball. This has in a few short weeks taken me right back to going to the roller discos at our assembly hall as a teenager and racing around on skates trying to impress the boys. And to top it off I’m doing something that has totally impressed the kids – they never knew mummy was a skater (I’ve not mentioned that I learnt to skate fast because as a drunk teenager, you don’t care when you fall over after getting air over the speed bumps in the road….).

But this time, we have the added bonus of it returning my legs back to me from the wibbley mess that they have become. In the past year, the lack of movement combined with some serious comfort eating have not done me any good. The gym is not my friend – I dislike the walking balls of testosterone that gaze lovingly at themselves (and each other?!) as they lift heavy things and make faces, I equally dislike the twiglet women who spend hours on the stepper and clearly spent their school life playing netball or athletics.

To add to the excitement this week, I bought my first pair of roller skates since I was 14. Not the roller blades or quad skates that the kids now have with big plastic buckles and shell, but bright blue retro 80s skates. Comfy skates with laces. Skates with bright yellow wheels. Just looking at them makes me happy.

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English Friday Food = Battered

No, not beaten to within an inch of it’s life, and not always fish and chips, but some of my favorite comfort food has always had a generous helping of crispy coating, or for today’s toad in the hole, a cakey, crispy battery bed.

We’re not allowed to call it toad in the hole here, beanpole and tiny pants object to eating toads (fair play), so it has been christened ‘sausage cake’ and must be served with cauliflower cheese and green vegetables. They’ve been known to eat servings of this that adults would struggle with.

It’s just started snowing here and we all need warming up, so to hell with the calories, we’re having sausage cake for tea!

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With the batter made, the oven goes on at top everything on degrees and I am going traditional on this one and putting great hulks of beef dripping into a baking tin. Whilst the oven heats up, I put a whole cauliflower into water to boil (this way it doesn’t go watery). This was a trick that my mum taught me. You then put it in the bowl and use a fork to break it up – no more messing about fishing bits out of the saucepan.

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On the advice of generations before me, the most important thing about decent crispy batter is to get the tin and the oil (or fat) really flipping hot before you put in the sausages or mixture. So in the tin goes while the oven finishes heating to solar temperatures (about 230 C). Once it’s hot hot hot, take the tin out and pour in the batter (it should sizzle) then quickly stick the sausages on top and stick the whole lot back into the mega hit oven.

And about 30 minutes later, it’s ready to come out. I would have taken a photo of the finished thing, but they ate it before I got a chance!

Fabric Drawer Saves The Day (tales of going out on a school night)

It’s not often that I go out with the grown ups to an actual pub, but that is exactly what happened last night. It seemed to slip my mind that I would have charge of my two lovely midgets for the whole of today and the pink wine flowed along with the conversation. At some point my long suffering husband arrived to guide us giddy ladies home by which point I was fairy sure I’d overdone it a bit.

This was further confirmed by a restless night wondering why my bed was spinning around the room and my six year old stroking my cheek as I slumped back onto the sofa for the second time after running off to hurl in the bathroom.

For a while we were saved by Cartoon Network and the movie channel (Pirates in an Adventure With Scientists is spectacularly funny), but no parent can avoid the actual act of parenting for long and whilst tiny pants is happy sitting in her chair & blanket fort with a bag of pencils and a forest of paper, the beanpole needs some entertaining.

In an attempt to be productive, we dragged out the fabric drawer which is still stuffed with coloured fleece after my summer of imagination toy making and embarked on her trying for the crafting Brownie Badge.

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One of the parts of this is to make something using a specialist technique and as they have lost their Brown Owl toy, she’s on a mission to make a replacement using appliqué. (There will be a bit of parental assistance here, but I’m leaving her to do the majority)..

We started off by cutting out the basic pieces and placing them on each other to give us a guide.

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And so we had the makings of Brown Owl:

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It was now up to madam to use embroidery thread to stitch on the eyes using blanket stitch…

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It might be the effects of the mega hangover, but everyone seems really contented and quiet this afternoon, despite me being a rather ineffectual parent.

Updates to follow….

How do you take your tea madam? On my head please.

Day 11 of No Poo and after 4 days my head feels a bit itchy and could do with a wash. This is a distinct improvement, and after the success of the weekend egg on my head experiment, today, I’m trying out tea.

More specifically chamomile tea (technically this should be roobios tea as I’m an unnatural redhead) with a teaspoon of manuka honey and another of coconut oil mixed into a pudding basin of boiling water.

I used three tea bags, and have left the water to cool (I’m not about to pour boiling water on my head as mental as I may be). Tea is mildly acidic, as is honey which whilst cleaning off the excess oil, helps to close the hair follicles to give the shiny just stepped out of a waterfall look.

Why tea? Well, I’m totally determined to stick this out, but I had a conversation with my long suffering husband that went a bit like this:

H: you could just wash you know
Me: I AM washing, just not with shampoo
H: but you smell like a salad
Me: WHAT?!?
H: not much, just your scalp, but it smells weird
Me: weird how? *Sniffs hair in a panic…. Smells nothing*
Small child: *sniffs my head* “yep. It smells weird”
H: it just smells of nothing really… Just a bit weird… I used to like smelling your hair
Me: I’m not bloody washing it. I’m doing this…..
H: it’s FINE, I’m not asking you to. Just don’t stop shaving or anything like that…. *mutters under his breath* mental hippy

So in the interests of not smelling weird, I’ve just tipped several liters of herbal tea and honey on my head. I certainly don’t smell of vinegar, but I do smell quite strongly of health food shop. I don’t think that’s going to win me any anti-hippy points.

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Edit: tis the morning after having let my hair dry naturally all night. Hair does not like tea and I have returned to looking like an unwashed 80s rock icon. So an emergency egg in the shower this morning it is!

Child of a Hippy – upcycling for the kids

Another lovely half term day of being just us. This morning was spent cleaning (I know! Even I was a bit shocked) and setting up the Tesco app on everyone’s phones so we can create an online shopping order that each of the adults can build as we think of, or use up stuff.

Note: for those who don’t know, we live as an extended family with my parents, me, my husband and our two children. This is in it’s fourth year (two years since the major house extension was completed) and it’s been an experience which is gradually getting easier. This household shopping app should address one of the current niggles.

This afternoon, I met up with a friend from an online book club with her daughter (the Internet is indeed an awesome place) and whilst they were racing around the soft play we chatted about huge volumes of things, one being my eldest daughters current trouser predicament. She insists on growing despite being the tallest girl in her class and after this week, she is now down to two pairs of wearable trousers. Bugger. This predicament is made worse because despite loving vegetables and hours of racing around and sport daily, she has been blessed with hips and a bum. This doesn’t make for happy shopping trips and I refuse to let her get hang ups about her body just because the general populous under ten is skinny.

This afternoon, we hatched a plan. A friend with equally tall (but stick like) teenagers had given us a bag of clothes to put away for later. I love the cycle of clothing that goes around our friends, but with the inherited hips of her father, my eldest stood little chance of getting into these once her legs were of the required length. So, out come the sewing box….

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The first thing was to measure these teenage jeans against my beanstalk child. The fit around the hips was loose, but comfy (nothing a bit of elastic wouldn’t help).

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The next thing was to fold up the legs to a length more accurate for an eight year old giant child…

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Then, I cut the bottoms off, leaving 1 inch extra for hemming then because we were going to go for something a bit more forgiving than skinny jeans, I used scissors to cut the seam up the outside of each leg right up to the to of the thigh.

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The next step was to raid my fabric drawer for something funky to give these jeans some flare (pun intended!). The beanpole chose some lightweight faus fur in Dalmatian print that I’d set aside for making soft toys. This was measured against the split I had made in the trousers and two rectangles were cut.

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The final preparation was to cut the rectangles into triangle shapes to give the legs the flared shape.

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These triangles were then sewn into the legs starting at the bottom and using the seam allowance in the jeans from unpicking the hem to guide the lines. The seam allowance on the extra fabric was adjusted so that the seams met at the top.

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Finally, a hem was sewn using the inch of extra length left when cutting down the leg length. And it appears that madam rather likes them!

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All this without having to face the shops where the poor kid gets miserable because all the clothes her age are for skinny rakes like her sister and I resort to going to mega-expensive shops which cater for people who have a bit of a bum.

Sometimes as a parent you have to say WTH?!

I have to say, we are having a brilliant half term. The kids haven’t bankrupted me yet and we’ve finally spent some time outside (first time in months that it hasn’t been constant drizzle, rain or snow… Ok I enjoyed the snow).

So this morning, we took a picnic and went to the WWT for some duck time. This is a bit of a favorite during the holidays for us. We know our way around there like we know our own home since we got membership and can visit as often as we like. It’s a lovely place and we ate our lunch on a picnic bench listening to various quacks and pointing out the buzzards gliding over the hills. If it sounds idyllic, it’s because it was. I wasn’t mum trying to get them to do things or keep up an image, I was there with my kids, enjoying their company and the weird conversations. The only time the phone came out was to take a photo of us. This did all of us so much good – it is very rare that we can just ‘be’ and it reminded me how much I really miss them being at work during term time. (I must remind myself to win the lottery so we can pay off the house and I can homeschool)

Then we drove off to the beach to meet up with friends at the brilliant play park the council has built as part of the seafront (total kudos to them for providing such a nice space). We certainly weren’t alone with this idea – it was packed! The kids raced around like maniacs for a while then played various games until they needed some quiet time and my eldest decided to make sand castles. After having her castle kicked over for the third time, she got quite grumpy and started to make something else… A little more sinister….

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I love you darling daughter, but sometimes you really scare me.

Taking photos of my head

Seems a bit weird, but I’ve now started getting my long suffering husband to take photos of my hair (if nothing else but to prove that I don’t look like the child from The Ring or Gollum since I stopped using shampoo). Poo free transition seems to be on its way out, as the photos below are 48 hours post egg & ACV wash and showing no real signs of dirt or grease.

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My roots need some attention in terms of colour, but aside from that its not looking too bad (it’s gone very straight?!).

The only thing I will say is that I’m thinking of making a hair perfume from lavender or similar just to get the smell back. It smells of nothing in particular, but the plain hair smell is weirding my long suffering husband out. He keeps sniffing my scalp suspiciously and no spouse should do that. Not unless they’re pregnant, and he assures me he isn’t.