Sunday, 20 July 2014

My David: All Grown Up

Well, as you all know by now, we welcomed a new addition to our family on 9th July 2014. But this post is all about my oldest son starting his new chapter...

David is 11 years old, I've still thought of him as my "little" boy until recently. He started going to and coming home from school himself this year, even now he's done it loads, I'm still a worrier, and if you're a parent too, I'm sure you can sympathise. He suddenly looked a lot bigger when Marley was born though!

On 18th July 2014, David finished at primary school - I'm finding it hard to believe that my "little" boy is all grown up. It feels like time flies. It doesn't feel so long ago he was my first born new little baby, then before I knew it he was a toddler. When that chapter was over, he was starting nursery school, I remember how distraught he was on his first day of nursery - he didn't want to let go of me and it was really hard to walk away and leave him there. Then he left nursery school and started full-time school, primary school, yet another chapter of his life. Each year of primary school feels like it has come and gone so fast! And now he's off to senior school in September, starting yet another chapter of his life! I'm normally quite unemotional, but his leavers assembly almost brought a tear to my eye!

2006 Nursery at Windsor Street C.P. School 
2008 Reception at St. Silas C. of E. School

2009 Yr 1 at St. Silas C. of E. School

2010 Yr 2 at St. Silas C. of E. School
2014 - Playing "Teenage Kicks" on their ukeleles at the Yr 6 Leavers Assembly

Whist he doesn't show it, he must be on an emotional rollercoaster at the moment, leaving primary school, leaving most of his old friends behind and everything that has been so familiar to him combined with a new surprise baby brother in his life and going from being an only child for almost 12 years, to having to share his Mum and Dad with a new little baby that demands lots of care and attention.

He's been very mature with all the changes and I tell him, but I'm not sure he realises just how proud of him I am. He's a wonderful young man that would make any mother proud. He's intelligent, helpful, caring, loving, kind, considerate and a million other wonderful things all rolled into one.

I know he can do well at senior school and I look forward to seeing him mature into an adult, even if I do find it hard to see my "little" boy grow up. I've told him no matter how old he gets, he's never too old to be exempt from a hug!



At the moment, he says he wants to be an architect, so he's got a long road to go yet, even if to me it all feels like it flies by! He knows he has my support in anything and everything he does. So now just to watch him grow up even more...

Monday, 14 July 2014

A Surprise Delivery! Meet Marley Paul...

For those of you that don't already know, we had a rather surprise delivery "turn up" on 9th July...

Meet Marley Paul, born on 9th July 2014, weighing 7lbs 2oz...

I did not know I was even pregnant! I've felt really ill for quite a long time, but never put any of it down to the fact that I might be pregnant! I felt really ill overnight, lots of stomach pains and feeling ill, I was feeling so bad, I was getting ready to go to the walk-in centre when they opened at 7am, but it was only 3am at this point. By 4am, I'd got very bad and at around 5.30am, Paul called an ambulance as I was screaming out in agony. But about 5-10 mins after calling, I experienced the worst bit of pain and a rather strange sensation - I got Paul to look what had happened and I think his exact words were "Fuck! It's a baby!" - obviously not what we were expecting. Basically, I was really worried what was wrong with me and by that point, Paul was panicking too, but neither of us expected that! So we had an amazing shock as you can imagine! David was in his bedroom and he was really upset and worried about me too - imagine his surprise when Paul raced up to tell him not to worry and he had a new baby brother!!

Our little family of 3 turned into a family of 4 overnight! The ambulance crew were as shocked as we were when they arrived to find a baby! Paul had called my Mum to look after David when he'd called for an ambulance, so imagine her shock too when he rang back moments later to tell her it was actually a baby! Basically everyone, not least of all me and Paul were in total shock!

The following 24 hours were totally surreal. It was like being in some sort of dreamland. I went from worrying what was wrong with me and being in agony, to sitting in a hospital bed with a newborn baby that we didn't even know was coming. I could see him, hold him, feed him, but it didn't really feel real. It started to feel a little more real on Thursday and even more so by Friday. We brought him home from the hospital on Friday night night. It's nice to be back home now - I was so fed up being stuck in the hospital for 3 days!

I've read about stuff like this in magazines and always thought to myself, how could someone NOT know they were pregnant, but now I know exactly how it feels! So, you're wondering HOW could I not know? Let me explain...

Well, in general, I suffer from ill health, so feeling unwell wasn't unusual. Since our other son was born in 2002, I've had extremely irregular periods, so infrequent in fact, that 6-12 months in between getting one was not unheard of for me, so again, no alarm bells there. I didn't have a massive weight gain, and what weight I did gain, I put down to the fact that I was so ill and not able to get out and get regular exercise, so again, no real clues there. From the "symptoms" I was having, it could've been any number of things. I probably should have visited the doctor sooner, especially as I had felt worse recently, but like I said previously, I am ill quite often with various, so didn't think too much of it. The symptoms I felt may have related to some sort of bowel problem like IBS or IBD. Over the last week, I'd had some twinges in my stomach, but again, I'd put that down to some sort of stomach problem. I had severe back pain in the last week too, but again, I just put this down to some sort of stomach/bowel problem and was going to go to the doctors about it. Basically, there was nothing that made me think it could possibly be down to pregnancy! In fact, in light of the fact that my periods were so sporadic to the point of virtually non-existent, I doubted that it was even possible for my to get pregnant and as David is now 11 years old and my periods had been virtually non-existent since he was born, that just made me think it even more. So there you have it, how I didn't know I was pregnant!

Anyway, me & Paul are really happy, we had never discounted having other children, but we both doubted that it was possible. It would've been nice for him to have been planned in that at least that way we'd have been prepared in terms of having stuff for him! As it was, we didn't have a single baby thing at the ready! But he is a very welcome addition to the family and his big brother David (whilst still in shock, I think) is very happy with his new baby brother. It must have been even more difficult for him to take in than it was for us, but he's been very grown up about it all and he's taken an active interest in him and likes helping out - we've been making a big effort to get him involved too to make the transition easier for him. He's very helpful too and I'm very proud of how mature he has been but I can only imagine how daunting it is to him.

All the family have been fantastic. My Mum and the older of my 2 younger sisters, Yasmin were absolutely fantastic, dashing around and buying us loads of stuff and all the essentials we needed as we had quite literally nothing ready for a baby (unsurprisingly). My other little sister, Latisha is made up - she seems to like being an Aunty again - I'm sure it feels more like being an Aunty this time, because it's a bit strange how she is David's Aunty but is the same age!

Paul's parents live in Winchester, so they will be coming up to visit in the next month and meet their newest Grandson.

It's Monday now, we're all still getting used to being a family of four, it still doesn't feel quite real to be honest, a bit like I feel asleep Tuesday and I'm dreaming or woke up in a parallel universe! Enjoying every minute of being a new Mum again though and enjoying being back with David & Paul.

I'll leave you now with some pics of Marley Paul...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

World Cup 2014

Well, with the impending World Cup 2014 in Brazil this year, I just had to do a blog post about it. I'm a MASSIVE football fan and it'd be a sacrilege for me not to!

I'm a lifelong Liverpool FC fan, but in the World Cup, I am all in for Brazil - yes, I am from England, but let's face it, they're a pretty rubbish team and I much prefer the skill and flare of the Brazilian players, so made an informed decision that I wished to support Brazil.

It was my Uncle's fault I got into football. I grew up living with my Mum, my Uncle and my Grandma. My Mum and Grandma had no interest in football (though my Mum calls herself an Everton supporter - "BOOOOO"!), but David (my Uncle) is a big Liverpool FC fan too and always watched the matches on telly and I watched with him. I used to play football with him too, I really enjoyed the sport, I was a bit of a tomboy as a little girl. At about 11 years old, I outgrew my tomboy stage and became very feminine, but my love of football never went away. I still loved to watch football and play football, including playing for the girls team at school. It was something I was very enthusiastic about and still am.

My son, David, is also a Liverpool FC fan, but he supports England in the World Cup (well, someone has to, I suppose!). Hubby, Paul, isn't much of a footy fan (much to my dismay). Paul and David have been to a couple of Liverpool matches though, thanks to a lovely friend on Twitter giving me some tickets she won and on a separate occasion was thanks to my comping hobby and I won some tickets myself. Sadly, I've never been to a Liverpool match myself :( I know it's very unlikely I'll ever get to see a Brazil match either :( David might one day get to go to an England match though. He'd have loved to have been a mascot for Liverpool or England, but he's 11½ now and at the absolute maximum, the cut-off age for mascots seems to be 12 years old. I should have discovered competitions to be a mascot sooner than in the last year (I've only been comping for 3½ years overall though).

Anyway, I thought I'd compile my own World Cup 2014 dream team and share it with you:

And I also will be playing lots of fantasy World Cup football, so I'll post my league details here, and I hope to see some of you come and join me and see who wins :) I'm also going to post up some links to World Cup related competitions and other fun stuff too...

Win £300 Cash - Peachy's World Cup Predictor
Win £500 Cash - Totesport's World Cup Predictor
Win £10,000 Cash - Football Fanager Fantasy World Cup (join my league: FB Twitter MRB)
Win £1,000 Bet - Bet McLean  World Cup Predictor
Win £1,000 Bet - Betfred World Cup Predictor
Win Various Prizes - Bet Vernon
Win £100 Cash - Bets Of Mates
Win £40,000 Cash - Sun Brazil Dream Team (join my league: ID - 8204770 PASSWORD - Blurby)
Various Prizes - RedSpottedHanky (join my league: ID - FB, Twitter & MRB PASSWORD - Blurb2014)
Win 1/50 Speaker Pillows - The Bedding Company
Win Ice-World Watch - Ice-Watch

Collect your FIFA World Cup Brasil 2014 Stickers - Panini/FIFA (join my collector's team: ID - 333003 PASSWORD - AlienNation)

Who are you supporting in the World Cup and why do you support them? Would love to hear from other football fans, male and female :)

Friday, 23 May 2014

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Family Food Fun: Caribbean

Our family food this week comes as a taste of the Caribbean.

We decided to make a delicious brown chicken stew together, we all shared preparing and cooking duties.

Not knowing how to make it, we followed a recipe from the UKTV website.

We had to coat chicken fillets (or in Paul's case chicken-style pieces) in a mix of lemon juice, salt, black pepper, all-purpose seasoning and chicken seasoning, rub it in and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. Nice and easy really, David did that bit all by himself.

Marinated chicken fillets

Marinated chicken-style pieces

After that, we had to heat half pans of oil until they were really hot and deep fry the chicken fillets (and the chicken-style pieces separately) until browned. That bit was something David couldn't participate in and something I let Paul do as I always seem to manage to get burnt by hot oil, not least of all from spits of oil getting in my eye - ouch!

Then we had to remove them from the pan and tip away all but about 2 tablespoons of oil.

We had to chop spring onions, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, red peppers, green peppers and garlic - David and Paul did the chopping - Paul chopped ours and David chopped Paul's, just to be confusing ;)

Then we had to gently fry all of those in the remaining oil for a few seconds. Then we returned the chicken to the pan along with the remaining marinade from earlier (that which wasn't stuck on as coating to the chicken). We added water and butter then brought it to the boil, then lowered it to simmer and covered it to allow it to thicken into a more gravy like substance. We cooked some basmati rice to serve it with. It was very, very, very nice, we all enjoyed it and will definitely be making it again in the future.

Our finished brown chicken stew

Paul's finished vegetarian brown chicken-style stew

Monday, 5 May 2014

Family Food Fun: Mexican (Cinco De Mayo)

Well, in the spirit of our newly found family food fun days, how could we not get involved in Cinco De Mayo with our very own Mexican feast!

We didn't go for anything too extravagant though, but we wanted some family food fun, so first of all we made fajitas.

I had a delicious fresh chicken breast fajita with red peppers and onion cooked in smokey bbq fajita seasoning (this time I used Old El Paso), then added crispy, fresh cos lettuce and jalapenos, a stack of hot salsa and a few splodges of soured cream.

Similarly to me, David had fresh chicken breast, red peppers and onions sizzled in smokey bbq fajita seasoning, with fresh lettuce, jalapenos, hot salsa and a smiley face of soured cream added!

Paul tried out Tesco's new vegetarian fajita mix (which he recommends by the way), with added fresh lettuce, jalapenos, hot salsa and plenty of soured cream.

We decided to churros a go for dessert, we were badly planned though as we didn't have a piping bag and they came out looking a little more like something you'd find in the toilet rather than on a plate!! They were tastier than they looked though, even when we dipped them into our homemade chocolate dip and they looked even more like they were straight out of the toilet!

We had fun as usual though and we are enjoying experimenting with our world foods, wonder what cuisine we'll take on next?!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Family Food Fun: Italy

Inspired by our Japanese sushi making fun last weekend, we decided to have a fun foodie weekend every week, based on a different cuisine of the world. But something we could all make together, as a family.

This weekend, we decided to go for Italian. I'm not a big fan of pizza myself, but Paul and David love pizza, so we decided to go for that.

We cheated a little bit and bought ready made Napolina mini pizza bases, but we decided we might try again in the future from fresh dough.

For our Saturday dinner and Sunday dinner, we had pizza both times, this is what we made and what it looked like.

Well, yesterday (Saturday), I had tomato & basil sauce base, topped with sliced mozzarella. For my toppings, I chose smoked sausage, turkey ham, mushrooms, red peppers, jalapenos and red onion.

Ready to go in the oven

Cooked & ready to eat

David also had tomato & basil sauce base, topped with mozzarella. For his toppings, he chose red onion, turkey ham, pepperami, red pepper, jalapeno and olives.

Ready to go in the oven.

Fresh from the oven and ready to eat!

Paul also had tomato & basil sauce base, topped with mozzarella. For his toppings, he chose meat free balls, red onion, jalapenos, mushrooms, red onions, olives, red pepper and extra mozzarella. As you can see, he really overdid it with the toppings (oink!) and it ended up looking more like a triple burger than a pizza! Paul's pizza is vegetarian as he is a vegetarian.

Before cooking

After cooking

Today, I had reggae reggae jerk sauce base, topped with sliced mozzarella. For my toppings, I chose smoked sausage, turkey ham, mushrooms, jalapenos and red onion. The jerk sauce didn't work well as a base as it resulted in all the toppings sliding as it cooked :(

Before going in the oven

Jerk sauce was too runny and toppings slipped during cooking :(

David also had reggae reggae jerk sauce base, topped with sliced mozzarella. For his toppings, he chose yellow pepper, smoked sausage, pepperami, turkey hame, olives and jalapeno.

Prepared for cooking...

Ready to eat, but the toppings slipped :(

Paul also had a half reggae reggae jerk sauce base and a half tomato & basil sauce base, topped with sliced mozzarella. For his toppings, he chose meat free balls, red onions, jalapenos, yellow peppers, olives, mushrooms and extra mozzarella. Again, he went crazy with the toppings (oink! oink!) and it ended up looking like a giant burger!

Before cooking

Straight out of the oven

We had fun making our pizzas. And there's no better way of making sure you get the toppings you like best in the right amounts!