girl feeding ducks

Dear Bess

This morning was a normal morning. I had to shout you to get up, persuade you to rise from your warm bed and stumble into the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face ignoring your protests that you needed just 5 more minutes snooze. The same routine we have carried out nearly every day for the 4139 days you have been here. I saw you though. A slightly tense expression and the nervous hair twiddling. Today was different for you.

4140 days ago the world was a little less bright and a lot less fun.

You more than anyone else have made me think about how I see life. About more than myself. How women and girls are treated in our society and whether I can adapt my behaviours and my thoughts to try to make life easier for you and girls like you.

To teach you to live freely holds the same importance to me as teaching you to read and write. I hope you can be a little selfish in your choices for your future. I know that you will find it tough to not put others before yourself always because you are just that sort of a person. A good person.

You should know that even at age 11 you are already one of the smartest people I know. I am pretty sure that you have barely been without a book since you were a toddler and your thirst for learning seems to be unquenchable. This, coupled with your kindness is my most favourite trait of yours.

You see, dear daughter, this week you have no need for nerves. I tell you the same thing which my Mum told me and her Father told her;

worry quote

Ok so it’s perhaps not worthy of inclusion in the top quotes of all time but that doesn’t make it any less true. I hope you remember these words.

The fact is that I know you will be amazing this week.

Not because of what you know but because of who you are. You are so strong, so able and so determined to succeed. I have seen how hard you push yourself and you deserve every single accolade. You have earned them.

I asked you this morning how you felt about this week. Your answer was perfect; “Mum, they’re just tests” you said with a shrug. “I’m just happy school are doing free breakfasts”. You went on to admit that though you had woken up a little bit anxious, you felt like you had listened in class so you were confident you would do Ok.

I know that you are in the best possible hands this week. The adults with whom you spend the bulk of your day will be there to remind you to keep smiling and that these tests do not define you. I am so grateful that your teachers and headmistress ensure that they help to empower you and your friends with a strong sense of self worth.  They tell you to:

Mission statement

 We all want you to do the best you can do but remember always that no matter what your scores in their tests are, you are enough. You are loved.

SAT’s cannot see how much you enjoy reading or writing stories.

Tests don’t catch how kind your heart is and you demonstrate that – often.

They don’t hear you question the fairness of the world around you and not just question it but actually talk about what can be done to change things for the better.

An SAT will recognise how well you do in Maths and English but it won’t know your ability to make music or be an amazing friend to those who need you.

You are growing into an able, beautiful young woman and no matter your SAT’s results I know that you make the world better just by continuing to be yourself. I hope you know that too.

Now go and smash it!

Love 

Mummy & Moose

x

 

 

 

The Day We Caught The Plane

Our first holiday as a family of five was to Tenerife when Moose was 13 months old and I have to admit, I thought we were just slightly insane for even thinking about doing it.

I was wrong. Really wrong!

As much as I love to travel our funds have thus far limited it to the occasional break away since having children. When MrG suggested that we book a holiday abroad, I was apprehensive about how well our youngest child, Moose, would cope with the upheaval (not to mention the heat). However, I knew we needed this time together.

I am not one to shy away from a bit of online searching to get a good deal and this was no exception. MrG and I agreed that the holiday needed to take place during the schools summer break (our eldest is about to sit his exams so really cannot afford to miss any school) and at the time of deciding that we needed to book it was really only a month away so I had to move quickly!

Breakfast at Gatwick airport

We took a vote and it was decided that we wanted to head toward the Canary Islands. We had visited Lanzarote and Tenerife as a couple some years previously (I am not telling you how many, it makes me feel old) but never with the children.

I found a great deal to the hotel Marylanza which looked like it would suit us perfectly. The only thing I was worrying about was the flight duration. 4 hours with a bored toddler is not my idea of fun and I had heard on the grapevine that the Dreamliner we were booked onto provided nada in terms of inflight entertainment. So, a special Moose bag was a must for the flight.

My top 5 items to include when flying with a toddler are;
  1. A sippy cup. This will help with take-off and landing which for us were the worst parts of the journey. You cannot explain to your toddler why their ears are hurting and that kind of sucks!
  2. A mini Aquadraw and a magnetic doodle toy (ideally one with the pen attached so it can’t be lost. Our son basically played with this for most of the flight.
  3. A favourite (preferably lightweight) blanket to increase the chances of them taking a nap. Moose did. He slept for over an hour and it. Was. Glorious!
  4. Spare clothes x2 and spare nappies and nappy bags. You do not want to be caught short mid-flight.
  5. Toddler friendly headphones. The grapevine was a big fat liar because once on board we soon realised that the in-flight entertainment was plentiful and once an adaptor had been purchased Moose loved having his own tv!

Of course your kid is not my kid and you will know what they need to comfort them or get them through dull situations but I found all of the above to be a godsend. The Dreamliner was actually pretty awesome. My 6ft2 tall, plane hating husband agreed. It was pretty roomy in economy and that is not something I have said before – besides, who doesn’t love purple mood lighting?

Waiting for take off

We arrived in Tenerife after a pretty easy flight (thanks in part to my mother in law living within spitting distance from Gatwick airport) and hopped aboard the coach transfer with me volunteering to take Moose while MrG sat with our 2 older children, Col & Bess.

It was around 5 minutes into our relaxing 30 minute transfer that Moose did what I can only describe as the loudest and smelliest poo he has ever EVER done.

People moved away.

Seriously.

There really was nowhere to change my poor (stinky) little man until we arrived at our hotel so as soon as we did I ducked into the baby change and did the necessary,leaving MrG to check us in.

Upon my return I was met with a complimentary cocktail (high five whosever idea that was) and beaming smiles which are not my families resting expressions. I was suspicious.

It became apparent that the reason for their happy demeanour was as it turned out down to a month long email conversation between myself and the hotel manager paying off. We had been given a free upgrade to the best room in the hotel.

The first thing Moose did upon entering our room at The Marylanza.

It was a 2 bedroom duplex overlooking the pool on one side and a golf course and mountains on the other. An excellent start to our holiday. I would highly recommend exchanging pleasantries with the hotel from the get go. It can’t do any harm and it might just improve your entire experience!

Our time in Tenerife passed far too quickly

Never happier than when he was in the water

It soon became apparent that heat did not bother Moose, who was a natural water baby. Of course he was always well shaded and sporting a layer or ten of suntan lotion. He spent his days splashing in the water and playing in the onsite play park with occasional trips to the kids club.

He was too young to be left there obviously but they were more than happy to allow us to come in together to use their facilities and Moose became something of a big deal with the staff!

Night time parking

Our evenings were mostly spent within the confines of the hotel grounds getting the most value out of the all-inclusive (hic)  but I did insist on going for walks too.

We also enjoyed playing at the park (and relaxing with a drink) late into the night with all of the other families – always remembering to have the pushchair to hand for when Moose decided enough was enough.

Getting our submarine game faces on

We took the children on a submarine ride on the third morning which was fabulous. All 3 of the children absolutely loved it. There was not a single complaint of boredom for the whole week. Any parent of a toddler, tween and teen will tell you that is no mean feat

Finding Nemo

On the last day MrG surprised the older 2 with tickets to a water park (which I hate) and I spent the morning with Moose in the pool before putting him down for his nap and packing our things.

Moose still mentions the holiday months later making reference to the pool and the beach. He loves looking at the photos and I do too. MrG and I have agreed that it was an amazing experience and we need to make it a regular one.

Next time the only reservations I will have will be the ones I make at whichever hotel we choose for our next adventure! What has been your favourite holiday?

Love

Mummy & Moose

holding handsRecently Moose and I took a trip into town.

Nothing was particularly needed but for a change of scenery and some fresh air. Somedays Moose is more than happy to play in the lounge and some days. Well. He isn’t.

He did well, we walked around the shopping centre for a while. Admired an art installation. Went for cake. Walked like pigeons… the usual. Then my little man started to walk a little more slowly, he had an occasional rub of the eyes, then a little yawn. It was time to head home. In fact that time had passed and I should have known better. I was well aware of the ticking time bomb I had on my hands and so back to the car we started.

We almost made it. As we came to around 5minutes from the safety of my car IT happened. Moose just stopped dead. I did what I could, I swear. I came down to his level, I sympathised that he must be tired but just a few more steps and he could relax. Not good enough. Not even close. He went for it.

Crying, shouting, thrashing. There was no way I could carry him, by then my hands were already full. I cursed myself for not bringing a backpack and then told Moose that as soon as he was ready we could get going. He kept thrashing. I was getting ‘the look’ from passers by. He kept thrashing. I attempted to keep my cool. I am not usually too bothered by this sort of thing and I wasn’t pressed for time so I stood and waited for him to finish.

Then the other IT happened. Someone got involved. A stranger. He was a broad, tall man in his older years with a shock of silvery hair and a beard to match. An imposing figure even to me and he came striding straight for us at speed before stopping abruptly as though he was about to walk over Moose. I had no idea what to say. He addressed me and said “hello, I hope this is ok” before crouching down to my 2 year old rageball and he said in a booming voice “Young man. I think we have had quite enough of this. Lets walk together with Mummy” and he took his hand. Moose looked at me. I looked at Moose. We were both caught completely off guard.

It was working so I went with it. I took Moose’s other hand and we walked. The man spoke with fondness about his own Grandchildren and made jokes with us before wishing us well and going on his way as quickly as he had arrived with a thank you from a now composed Mummy. The entire encounter lasted 5 minutes at most and I was left wondering what the correct response should have been. I have certainly never allowed a stranger to take my child’s hand before but there really was no time to think so I went with my instinct!

On reflection I wish I had asked his name. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to thank him properly. I have had strangers get involved in tantrums before but never in a positive way. Plenty of tuts, or stern instruction to “sort my kid out”. Nobody helped though. It lasted 5 minutes and it was sort of nothing but I will think about that stranger for a long time I am sure. Having someone lend a hand just because he could in a world where we hear a lot in the media about why we should fear strangers, it was lovely. Thank you. Whoever you are.

Love

Mummy & Moose

 

 

This week I am taking part in #LittleLoves with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat, its a great series and I enjoy reading the other posts so thought I might get involved!

Read

Not a great start. Aside from Bess’ awesome report from her teacher on parents evening I haven’t managed to sit down and read anything… Oops!

Watched

LOGAN! In an actual cinema with my Husband and no kids. It is a very rare occurrence for us to go anywhere as a couple so this was kind of a big deal.

There has just been a major overhaul at our local cinema. Gone are the sticky floors and now we have leather electric recliners with cup holders.

Popcorn

The film was great (if not a little bit depressing to be honest), I had popcorn and a bucket of sprite and a good time was had by all – I only got marginally cross with the foot tapping packet rustler seated nearby.

Heard

I am a little bit obsessed with Screaming Females at the moment and this is my favourite.

Made

We made a planter! Admittedly as with most of our endeavours as Husband and Wife, I had the idea and MrG brought it to fruition but ideas are hard so I feel like really the workload was 70/30?

Plantet

The plan is to sort some of the garden out this year. Sadly I cannot see a holiday in our near future so we will have plenty of time to devote to the cause hopefully. Only trouble is that I am really, really bad at gardening. Really bad.

Wore

My Garbage tour t shirt from last year. I have loved them since I was a teenager (which actually wasn’t even that long ago so there!) and I am still head over heels for them. 2016 garbage tour t shirt

Garbage’s music was the first thing MrG and I bonded over so they might even be counted as being partially responsible for our marriage.

and lastly…

We have enjoyed some lovely sunny days and our last week with MrG before he starts his new job on Monday.

Bubbles

I will be kind of sad to not have him grumbling about the place all day but I am looking forward to having some kind of normality back!

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

lunch bag and boy
This week Moose Is Beginning A New Chapter

He has been attending 2 afternoon sessions at preschool for a while now but this week will see him attend for 2 full days!

We are both looking forward to this immensely, we took a trip to the shops over the weekend and Moose picked out a lunch bag because full days means that he will need to
have a packed lunch. Incidentally Breadmakers by Panasonic are now on my wish list – the reason will become apparent later. I am definitely going to get some use out of one!

Suddenly I am panicking about what I can include in his shiny new lunch bag. I know he will eat fruit so that’s going in. Not bananas though for obvious reasons. When I was a child a standard lunch was a sandwich, fruit, crisps and a chocolate biscuit. I have it on good authority that including crisps and a chocolate biscuit will anger the packed lunch gods so they are out. 

Problem is, Moose is not a sandwich eater. He likes bread. He likes filling. Assemble them into the form of a sandwich however and he is not a happy bunny. 

I need to think outside the box

Maybe he doesn’t need a sandwich? I could give him bread but make it a bit less sandwich-ish in a bid to dupe him into eating it, right? 

So here is the plan. A foolproof way of smuggling a main aspect of his lunch and getting past his sandwich radar. Drum roll if you please..

Pizza swirls 

Moose loves pizza! This cannot fail. Plus it has the added benefit of allowing me to sneak some five a day in the form of the pizza sauce. WIN! 

There are loads of recipes online for pizza dough. Here’s one from Honest & Truly If you have the Panasonic breadmaker (hint hint Mr G) then it’s even easier, pop your ingredients in and you are away. If not then you are going to be kneading.

Once the dough is formed. Roll your dough out, pop your sauce on the base and top with cheese (and whatever else your munchkin will eat. Here it’s ham and pineapple). I won’t patronise you with what constitutes a pizza. Surely everyone knows this information? Go here if you really need more guidance.

Resist the urge to cook the pizza as it is and instead roll it out to make a large pizza sausage. Yes, pizza sausage. Technical term for sure. Roll it nice and tightly or you will unravel and nobody wants that.

Now slice your sausage into 2″ thick rounds and lay those out on a greased baking tray. Don’t cook them yet. Let them sit in a warm room for about half an hour. This will give the dough time to prove and makes for a better dough. Now you can bake. 180 degrees for about 20 mins.

When they are cooled pop them in the fridge and eat cold in a packed lunch or warm them up for a delicious treat when your child is at preschool and you can enjoy peace and quiet! Oh how I will enjoy the peace and quiet..

Love

Mummy & Moose

Disclosure: This post includes sponsored content but all views and opinions are my own.