Monday, 20 January 2014

Compliments of the season..

The McBaby was on the receiving end of the strangest compliment I've ever heard: "He has a very symmetrical face".

Has your LO been complimented in unusual fashion?


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Getting crafty

One of my many, many New Year's resolutions, was that I wanted to be one of those wholesome mums who sits down with their children, a pile of twigs and some spray paint and makes a delightful ornament, that's tied with gingham ribbon and presented to a loved one who is thrilled and puts the objet d'art on the front door to welcome guests.

Because the McBaby and I just don't do craft, probably because although I think I'm a creative, I am terrible at art and just don't know where to start after purchasing crayons and colouring pencils. Many's the time, we've sat down with some pencils and paper only for the McBaby to make a game out of how far he can throw everything.

And even the McNephew is at it, proudly telling the ladies at his new school that his favourite present from Father Christmas was a pair of scissors (before finding that it was more than one day that was required of him. Oh, how many of us in our family have cried and protested 'but I went yesterday!' when being told we had to return to school for a second day).

So, this year, McBaby and I have painted the carpet red in an attempt with straws, brushes and scraps of sponge. This isn't too bad and was accidental. My mum still tells anyone who will listen that as a small child who watched one too many murder mysteries, I deliberately drew the outline of a body on my carpet in marker pen.

After painting the carpet, McBaby tried to drink the paint through the straw. However, we've found an outlet for our creativity with chalk that we've liberally blasted all over the back patio. And with all of this rain, it's literally self-cleaning.

Are there any other adults but me who don't know what crafts to produce? Any seriously simple craft projects are welcome!!

PS. While we had the paint out, we painted a card (because I forgot to post one in time) and I fear for the recipient that it looks like a ransom note.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The beach

Living in land-locked Berkshire, having grown up within sight of the sea on the south coast, one thing that's missing from the McBaby's life is the ability to stroll down to the beach and skim stones into the ocean.

Many's the time I've lamented to MrM (who also grew up near the sea, albeit on a completely different coastline) that there's nothing like a sea view, before going on to mentally construct a lifestyle that would permit such a move.

My sister is lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK and has literally thousands of beaches within driving distance, on which she can surf, build sandcastles or simply walk the dog.

So at the weekend, it was with some disbelief that I found myself leaving the beach 15 minutes after arriving, strapping a sodden and weeping McBaby into the car and shouting "never again!" as I emptied the water out of his boots.

MrM was out "thrashing" (that's 'beating' to most people), and the ladies plus the three boys had driven down to Watergate Bay, with at least one of us hoping for another glimpse of Seth Lakeman, as he'd been surfing there last time we visited.

Small McNephew slept through the visit while the bigger McNephew met two friends and the three of them dug holes in the beach, occasionally splattering us with cold, wet sand.

Meanwhile, the McBaby had his eye on the sea. Not a calm, blue sea, but huge, rolling waves and a tide that could, and did, knock you off your feet, even at ankle height.

So he ran towards it at full pelt. Repeatedly. Every time I thwarted his efforts, he'd scream and wriggle ferociously to get out of my grasp. I tried to hold his hand so he could wade in the sea, but his only desire was to let go of my hand and run into the sea.

We'd attracted a bit of a crowd by this time, so I took my now purple-faced and wet boy back to the car, with my mum trailing behind us, pretending we weren't together.

Living in Berkshire means more than an hour's driving to the sea. On reflection, that's probably the right distance.


In other news, in the time it took me to put a milk bottle in the recycling bin outside, the McBaby had climbed on the kitchen table and thrown six eggs onto the floor one by one. Now that's self-entertainment.

When I put him to bed, I tucked him in with his favourite teddy who received the same treatment as the eggs, only with a look of disdain on his face.


Friday, 3 January 2014

Cream and Sugar the Milkmaids; Snowfall and Snowballs

What a lovely surprise to get a comment from the lead character herself when we recently reviewed the lovely children’s book Lady Davina Dove in a series of 12 by Jani Tully Chaplin.

The McBaby and I loved this Christmassy tale about a manor house and enjoyed harking back to times past when the festive season was more about family and less about shopping. In the review, I said that the book was the probably the best of the 12, simply as we found it enchanting – it certainly wasn’t a comment on the quality of the other eleven.

As if to prove this, the publishers of the Manor House Stories kindly sent us another in the series; this time about Cream and Sugar, the milkmaids. We received it on Christmas Eve, so it could not have been better timed as I read it to the McBaby just before settling him for the night so that Father Christmas could visit.

Again, it’s beautifully illustrated with detailed pictures evoking snowy Christmases and characterful animals. This story is about the work that goes into preparing a meal for a foreign guest - a beautiful, mysterious visitor from Russia. There are snowball fights, sledge rides and magnificent ice sculptures, again with a delightful, nostalgic story complemented by gorgeous and detailed illustrations. Not only that, but it actually tells you how to make an ice bowl which we will definitely try when it gets colder!

Highly recommended! We can’t wait to read more!