the week that was.

I know it’s not the end of the week yet, but you know what!? My Husband is home tomorrow…so for me, the weekend (and my holiday) starts here!

It’s been an interesting week, and it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye even though I had expected it to drag like the last few hours of school used to do on a Friday afternoon before something exciting was happening at the weekend.

Some days have great, and some have been tough – two small children to look after and a house to manage whilst at the same time getting everything washed, ironed and packed ready to go on holiday has been an interesting challenge. And for someone who prides themselves on being ever so tidy and always on top of things, it has been a bit of an eye opener.

By that I guess I mean that it doesn’t really matter if those dishes stay in the sink longer than they usually do. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a bath exactly at 6.30pm so that they can be in bed for 7pm. It doesn’t matter if the floor hasn’t been mopped (although it probably does now, as it hasn’t been done for over a week!) or the bathroom hasn’t been scrubbed. I can’t do everything. And that’s alright.

Ruby and I have fallen out a few times throughout the week. She’s four and thinks she’s forty, and she seems to enjoy winding me up (I know that she doesn’t…but it certainly feels like she does at times) and then watching me melt down. I know I should let it all wash over me, but when you’ve been ignored all day and you’ve said the same things countless times to no avail, and there’s no one there to back you up it’s very, very difficult. Each time I have shouted I have apologised and, luckily for me, she has accepted the apologies and carried on as if nothing happened. When do we stop being so forgiving as people? When do we start carrying grudges? Lessons to learn me thinks.

Despite everything, today has been just lovely. We woke up for the second time at a reasonable hour (the first being after a Ruby screaming session at 5.30am) and had snuggles and Hey Duggee! before porridge for breakfast. My amazing friend Lucy then looked after the children for a couple of hours whilst I went off for some retail therapy…although desperately trawling the shops for holiday outfits 2 days before you go on holiday isn’t exactly the most fun in the world! Still, it was time just for me…something that I really don’t ever have any more. I certainly haven’t been shopping on my own since before I was pregnant with Henry almost two years ago.

When we returned home there were flowers waiting on the doorstep. Flowers sent by my darling Husband who has been missing us, and whom I have missed every single day.

20160630_205154.jpg

Dinner was a disaster. No one liked the frittata that I made and something about the egg/cheese/courgette/leek combo has triggered my IBS so I have spent the night in a great deal of pain. Ah well.

Daddy is home tomorrow.

When I was tucking her in tonight Ruby said, “I am so excited to have Daddy home. I love him so much”.

Best. Words. Ever.

All in all, not a terrible week.

Speak soon x

lone(some) parenting.

Mr O has jetted off to Ohio today for work. For the whole week. So I am left all on my lonesome with the two little people.

I don’t do very well on my own.

For some reason, I used to think that I was happier being on my own but, since some fairly dark days (and nights!) at University when I would cry every day because I was so unhappy being “on my own”, I realise that I’m actually a people person…and even if we’re not talking, just being in the same room as someone else can really be just what I need.

I’ve done this whole lonesome thing before, many a time. Graeme has a job that involves travel. China (when Ruby was just 5 weeks old!), Japan, America, India…Desford! He isn’t away all the time, but when he is it’s for a week at a time or more and it’s difficult.

I was talking to one of my lovely mummy friends the other day, whose other half also travels, and we both agreed that it’s a lot harder now the littlest tiny people are older. When he went away and it was just me I found it strange, the bed was cold and empty and there was no one to talk to in the mornings which I really didn’t like. When he went away and it was just me and Ruby, it was tough as I literally had to do everything. And now it’s just me, Ruby AND Henry it’s even more difficult – especially since Henry does not play by the rules!

Tonight I made the mistake of carrying on with bath time as normal. Henry ended up with a bloody mouth because Ruby decided she would push him over just as I started running the water…tantrums and shouting ensued, all swiftly blown over when the bath drums came out.

Note to self: they are not dirty. Don’t do bath night again this week!

I know how lucky I am. I have a husband that loves us, that works so hard to provide for us. He isn’t a military man, so he’s not away for mammoth durations as a lot of husbands are.

This doesn’t make it easier when you’re going through it though, and trying to be everything for everyone just isn’t going to work. Some things are going to have to give I guess…which isn’t at all easy for me. Shopping is done, meals are planned for the week and the packing for the holiday that’s coming a week today has been started but everything else can wait.

Ruby said this evening that she would sleep with me, so I wouldn’t be lonesome. She said she would give me the extra kiss that Daddy usually gives me instead tonight, so I wouldn’t miss it. Then she said she would snore in the bed like Daddy does and I remembered how much I actually love having the bed all to myself!!

Fingers crossed for a brilliant week, with lots of laughter and very little stress.

And for now…he left beer in the fridge and the football is on, so someone has to drink it!

Speak soon x

just do colouring.

So, the big vote finally happened. And (so far) the world hasn’t imploded.

I won’t lie. I’m very disappointed with the result. Even now, two days on from the result, I really don’t understand how anyone could have voted to leave when all the stats and evidence we were presented with, from world leading economists no less, informed us of all the bad things that would happen.

When we were warned of fewer opportunities for the future, with borders closed and markets shrinking there will be fewer jobs available abroad for those who wish to travel and make a living elsewhere or even if they want to study abroad. After we were informed of all the grants and monetary support for the desperately needed regeneration of certain regions within our country – Cornwall for example was due to receive about €592 million between now and 2020, which is now under threat and could cause great damage to our economy. And when it is immensely clear that not one of the concerns people that voted leave are voicing will actually be addressed by leaving the EU – the “problem” with immigration will still remain, for example.

And now David Cameron has resigned, leaving the actual issue of pushing the button on Article 50 to someone else. So now we have to put up with the Tories postulating and arguing amongst themselves for 3 months whilst they decide on a new leader instead of concentrating on how to assist our increasingly withering economy like they should be doing. Do you want Boris Johnson as our next Prime Minister? I certainly don’t.

Amongst all this worry and mess that we seeminly cannot change (although the result of the referendum is just a guide, and who actually wants to be the Prime Minister that sets Article 50 into motion and potentially ruins our country, and their reputation, for good?!) I remembered the short walk to the polling station on Thursday evening once Mr O arrived home from work.

Ruby asked what we were going to do, and why we were bothering. So we tried to explain what voting is and why we do it…

She didn’t understand. She’s clever, but afterall she is just four.

So I tried to explain that it was just like us choosing what to do when we have a few options available to us. A vote for what you believe will be the best choice for everyone. When we have to decide between park or soft-play for example, when we need to decide what to do.

“Colouring then mummy,” she said. “They should just do colouring”.

If only it were that simple my love. If only it were that simple.

Still, democracy is a wonderful thing. Leave campaigners would be just as incensed as Remain campaigners are had the result swung the other way…and at least it has shown that people are passionate and democracy can exist.

All I hope now is that we haven’t damaged the future for our children. That, without important EU funding, our Universities will still be able to offer higher education to people of all backgrounds and not just to the elite. That there will be jobs available in whatever field they choose and that free travel throughout the world will still be possible, so that they can see everything I have and learn that there is so much more to this world than the shores of this once Great Britain.

Hold on tightly and fingers crossed!

What do you think of the result and how do you thunk it will affect future generations? How did you explain what’s been happening recently to your little people? Let me know in the comments below.

Speak soon x

 

four.

Our four year old is in bed after a thoroughly wonderful day.

How is it that we have a four year old? How is it that our baby is suddenly a little girl? How, when I can remember her birth like it was yesterday (all 32 hours of it), is she now a walking talking miniature version of the person she will eventually become?

Sure, I know how time works. I know that there have been 1,461 days since she bounded into the world all scrumpled and baggy-skinned, screaming and eyeing me up with her amazingly beautiful eyes that were so dark they looked purple. I know that there have been 3 other birthdays…one where she didn’t have a clue what was happening and hid under the table, another where she was happy to eat aaaaallll the cake and last year’s family, at home party, where she actually really would have liked a “proper party mummy”. All of them have been equally as baffling to me as this one and, sadly, I know that time will never, ever, stand still.

I often find myself wishing that it would though. Find myself wishing for a second that I could capture her and keep her just the way she is now for eternity. Or re-wind to soft, yummy baby snuggles, cheeky first words and big, beaming smiles from the side of her cot when I went into her room and scooped her up each morning. I wish. I wish. I wish.

We had a wonderful day today. The joy she radiated was infectious.

“I’m four now!” she beamed. So excited. So unaware of anything wrong with the world we live in. So completely thankful for every single present and every single card she received. Sharing her presents with her baby brother, and enjoying seeing him have fun with her balloons (until she wasn’t anymore, and then he got told off!).

A day full of smiles and laughter (and ice-cream) with a lovely little friend that I hope she’ll have for life.

Maybe I shouldn’t wish to keep her just as she is after all. For what would I miss out on if I did? All the joy inside her that is still to come. All the smiles, laughs and stories (oh the stories!). All the stresses, tears, tantrums.

No. Let me just enjoy every single second of it all and relish in the anticipation of what’s still to come. And try to remember this when the latter is more prevalent than the former!!

Four.

The start of brand new adventures.

What’s your next adventure going to look like? Let me know!

Speak soon x

 

#teachthemtoeatwell

I love food. There is no denying it. I love sweet stuff, savoury stuff, good stuff and definitely bad stuff (mmmmm, brie!).

Mr Oliphant and I “Star Chase”. That is to say, we have a list that features all the Michelin starred restaurants in the UK and we are trying to visit each and every one of them. The list is long. There are currently over 100. It’s never going to happen.

Anyway, I digress…

My love of food plays a big part in my life. Since I carried my massive wicker cooking basket into my first Food Technology class with Mrs Tipton back at St. Wilfrid’s in 1995 I have loved looking at recipes, working out how to cook/bake/make something and then going for it. And it seems that strange love for something I’m not massively good at has transferred to Rubes.

The first time I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up her answer was a “cooking person” (she has since changed her mind several times, but usually comes back to chef eventually!). I’m assured by the nursery nurses that it’s pretty normal, but she never stops talking about food…I think she’d eat all day if she could. But she eats good stuff. She likes (thank goodness!) good stuff, especially fruit and vegetables. And we talk all the time about health and nutrition.

Not in a boring, ram it down her throat, science lesson way…but in a fun, “name that vegetable” quiz show type of way. She knows pretty much every vegetable there is, and she can tell me why we should eat them and why, as she says, “sugar is a treat”.

We cook together. She loves nothing more than donning her apron and hat that my lovely friend Sarah bought her one birthday. We share food. We eat together as a family whenever possible…but the key thing!? We eat bad food too!! We eat it and we LOVE it. We enjoy it. We savour every bit of it. Fish & Chips, pizza, ice cream, chocolate. Yes please!

Everything in moderation. And everything explained in a way so that she understands what a healthy choice is, and when to stop gorging on the chocolate buttons…or the Walkers Sweet Chilli Sensations (which she often does!).

I cook A LOT of the wonderful Ella’s Kitchen recipes, but I also use the Family & Kids section of the BBC Good Food website and my usual recipe books come into play by substituting non child-friendly ingredients for ones which I know will still work well. Yes it takes time, but there are cheats (namely pre-sliced onions, mwahahahaha!) and the freezer becomes an amazing appliance once you have children! It’s not easy, especially with Henry systematically emptying my cupboards and going for every cheese grater/cocktail knife/glass item available whilst I cook, but I try my best.

With all of this in mind I’m starting #teachthemtoeatwell to try and spread the word. Home cooked is best. Processed food is great when you need it, but not all the time. Don’t focus on body image when talking about food to your children. Take time to explain stuff to them. Teach them now, and they’ll reap the benefits later in life.

But, most importantly…enjoy your food!

Join me! Use #teachthemtoeatright next time you cook, and let’s inspire each other to cook new and exciting things for our babes.

See you soon x

moonzie and the wedding.

Last weekend we trekked up to Scotland for the wedding of my brother-in-law. I say trekked, because that’s what it felt like.

It was a 3.30am get up, and we finally managed to bundle the babes into the car and set off at 4.10am. I know what the M6 is like, and I wanted to make sure we were past Lancaster before 7am…no chance then of hitting any stupid rush-hour traffic.

Ruby, like any almost 4 year old up at the crack of dawn and chucked into a car seat with her ‘jamas on, just wouldn’t go back to sleep and so the journey was full of questions about the morning, the wedding, the cows in the fields….and BBC Radio 2!! It was a long, long, morning.

I have to say, having been told that we weren’t staying with the rest of the family in the wedding venue, I was a bit miffed…I couldn’t imagine it being an easy weekend, and I didn’t want to have to trail the children here, there and everywhere after a 500mile journey had already worn them out enough. I was also worried about the place we were supposed to be staying, having booked it blind on TripAdviser.

I needn’t have been worried.

IMG_20160610_195918

Moonzie Eco Lodge. Home for the weekend.

Moonzie Eco Lodge was stunning. And Drew, the chap who had lovingly created this fantastic lodge in the Fife countryside was a real delight…especially since he was so, so good with Ruby and her grumpy/caged animal behaviour after a 6 hour car journey!

When you are greeted by views like the ones Moonzie has, and comfy IKEA rocking chairs that make you feel like you will recover from sitting in a BMW for most of the day after all, you can’t help but smile. Great size bedrooms, a perfect en-suite and a gigantic bath with the most amazing shower were all things that went down well with family Oliphant. The kitchen is well-stocked with everything you could possibly need and, did I mention the views!?

All the worries washed away.

IMG_20160610_200940

The view from the Moozie garden.

Our family greeted us at Dairsie Castle, the venue for the wedding, and the pace and feeling for the weekend was set. Casual, joyous. Oliphantum.

There were trials and tribulations along the way in the form of the little whirlwind that is Ruby, but something made it just that bit easier to deal with. Change of scene? Sunshine? Scottish air? Love in the air? Who knows! I don’t, but I don’t actually care.

Drew & Cathy made fantastic choices when it came to their beautiful DIY wedding. I was so proud of the beauty and elegance, grace and joy in which they conducted the whole day. Their love for each other shone through every single inch of the day, even down to the amazing BBQ they selected (supplied by the immense Beetroot & Chocolate) instead of a formal sit-down meal.

Loved. It. All.

IMG_20160606_201702

The new Mr & Mrs Oliphant.