Sleepless in…. just about anywhere!

Sleep, the final frontier….

These are the voyages of a mother of two small people, a nearly seven year (ongoing) mission to explore a new world, to seek out a safe and happy life, to boldly go where almost every mother has been before but you just never would have believed them if they had told you; and even if you did your hormones would have made you do it anyway.

My sleep pattern pre kids was so good. I got tired, I lay down, I read a bit, I fell asleep, the alarm went off, I got up. 8+ hours every night happy as larry. During my first pregnancy that all changed. As a hugely preggers lady I could never get comfy, at 38 weeks through to 42 weeks (yes, two weeks late) my bladder had so little space I was up to pee every few hours. Then there were the seemingly endless nights of feeding, in fact, until my son (second baby) started sleeping through the night at about 2ish (it might have been later, it’s all a blur) I was up with one or other of them every night. By the time they were sleeping well my own pattern seemed set in, ruined, insomniac incorporated. It’s been nearly seven years and I can honestly say I might sleep through one night out of seven, maybe, if I’m lucky.

I’m in tune with them still, if they murmur in their sleep, I’m awake. If a door creaks – usually the cat, I’m awake. Smells drifting through the window will wake me. Mr. K.s alarm going off any time from 2.30am – 6am and never at a regular time doesn’t help in the slightest. I just wake. All the time.

And once I’m awake, I’m awake for two, sometimes three hours…

I have mentioned in the past my under active thyroid, when it plays up it scrambles what little brain I have left.  A few years ago I was pleading with my endocrinologist to help me gain back some cognitive thought and clear out the cotton wool that is my prime symptom (there are many others) and he said:

“The thing is Mrs K. I don’t think your thyroid is playing up at all, I think you are chronically sleep deprived.” And just like that, the building blocks of thought connected in my brain and I could see I have an issue. Chronic sleep deprivation… Try and find a way to sleep better he said. Easier said then done quite frankly.

Recently I had an email from a nice PR person saying Hi, did you sleep well last night? I said out loud “Sleep? Remind me what that is?” out loud. So, that means no… They asked me to fill out a questionnaire and perhaps try a sleep accessory, its seems the very lovely people at Silentnight Beds had a few ideas they’d like us lack-of-sleepers to try, I was all for it!

Dutifully, I filled out my questionnaire, explaining my sleep pattern or lack of it and my use of ear plugs now the children are old enough to fetch me if they need me and they sent me a gift to try, to see if sleep accessories can aid sleep.

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Nice huh? and it smells divine! All warm and comforting, just the sort of fragrance you can snuggle into.

So, I’ve been spraying it on my linen for a week and seeing how it goes, making sure I try and get to bed about the same time. I usually have a hot cup of tea as I find this soothes me too, then I will play mind numbing games on my ipad for 20 minutes and settle down to sleep.

As ever, getting to sleep the first time is not a huge issue, I drift off quite fast. But there has been two outcomes of note since I started using the spray. The first being that over a period of seven days, if I wake, I snuggle into the lovely smell and drift back off, even if I have to get out of bed to pee (which always meant in the past I was looking at a long waking period). The smell has become a mental signal for me that I still need to sleep. This is going to prove interesting when the school run commences next week!

I am sleeping longer, 3 nights I slept through to 6.30 without being disturbed at all!

I’m a little fuggy in the mornings; but then I’m NOT USED to sleeping!

Which brings me to the other outcome of note.  Which is a purely personal issue.  The spray doesn’t like me.   It seems I’m ‘intolerant’ of it; something in it’s ingredients has triggered the reaction in my muscles that I usually have for a gluten overload or food poisoning.  I’ve been through my food and drink intake carefully and I can’t lay it at any other door. This saddens me a bit as it does smell dreamy.

But! It has got me thinking… If I can train my mind to recognize another smell as meaning it’s time to sleep, something without the unreadable words in the list of ingredients and keep a spritz bottle beside the bed, perhaps I can achieve the same results?

Gotta be worth a try! Anyone know what I could use? (Mr. K is allergic to lavender btw)

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Something Old: The Dolls House.

Happy holidays folks!

Heavens to Betsy if it isn’t mid August already! This is usually where my mind runs over all the rambling stuff and spouts off about how I’ve not blogged in an age and all the stuff we’ve done and you all get bored and don’t bother reading the actual point about this post.

So I’m going to skip that bit…

Today, on the way home from a soft play morning (it’s raining and I needed a time out) we stopped at the local Dolls House shop. Actually we drove past like I normally have for the past 7 years and I suddenly though, hey! I want to go in!

My Dolls House, my favourite waste of money pre small people, is a 5 story, Georgian, elegant, thing of beauty (if you like that sort of thing!). Mr. K bought it for me in the days when we were endlessly trying to have a family. I’d always wanted one and this one called to me across the show room. I lavished hours on it.  It had pride of place in the front room and can be seen in some of the photo’s of me with our first precious new bundle nearly seven years ago.   It was much too big to remain in the lounge once we had baby stuff to deal with and it got relegated to the hall.  After a few years of getting a bit battered out there we moved it to the garage extension where it currently keeps a check on the ironing mountain (ie: Prevents it from getting any bigger due to it limiting the clutter surface available to me.)

I’m spending a bit more time in the garage extension these days as this is where my new Piggleys (The guinea pigs Dusty and Smudge) reside.  I think, perhaps, that this is why its been on my mind. And lets face it, with a nearly seven year old daughter, its a great time to get back into the hobby (on a much cheaper scale!) She claims to want her own for her birthday, she seems keen! I’m loving the idea of heading off with her to visit Dolls House shows and shops and displays *big cheesey mummy grin*. Last time I went to a Dolls House Show she was in a pushchair and an only child.

So we bought a set of bowls today and when we got home we got out all the pretty little things I put away in draws years ago and put the back in their places. To see where I am…

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The outside is the most battered, bless it. Three of the posts had been pulled off along with the right hand railing. The left hand basement is loose *big sad face* I might need a carpenter for that! (Smiles sweetly at Mr. K). The balcony is, I hope, in a draw somewhere and the roof never did get finished…

It’s no. 1970 (Ha! wonder why?) on it’s street, although I haven’t found a street plaque I like enough yet. The name of the house is The Rowans. The plaque at the top of the basement stairs says “Beware of the Dog”.

There is an side area to the basement which is perfect for a small gardening area.

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I made the roses myself.  The caldron sits outside the kitchen door, this needs some pebbles made to sit in it, just like the one i remember from my grandparents garden when I was small. The terracotta hanging baskets used to be stuck to the wall, as did the home made bird feeder just out of sight to the right of the table.

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My home made roses that need dusting (*cusses at the iphone’s inability to focus on the minature*)

The hall at the top of the stairs by the front door has a black metal spiral staircase which sadly got damaged during one of it’s moves. You can see the hole Mr.K made for it here, the plaque says “Duck or Grouse”

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The hall way lamp makes me smile because I know even I’d bang my head on that 😉

Oh… There are no dolls in my house, it’s my house, not some weirdo in ill fitting clothing made of wax. There are animals though.

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I have some terracotta tiles to lay in the kitchen, which is in the basement. I’m on the look out for an old farm kitchen style table and chairs to go in the gap. (Maybe, I’m not certain the kitchen units are right.) and of course it all needs a move about to fit when the staircase gets fixed *sigh* so much to do, so little time/money…

I love little food, cakes always look so scrummy!

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The blue and white bowls are todays purchase… Something New & Blue 😉

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and I love the mousetrap…

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The room next to the kitchen did get started, it’s going to be a wine cellar with a posh glass front. I may also make an alarm panel and a thermostat!

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The whole house is a project requiring love.

I have a few more pictures of the other floors I may blog sometime, if you are lucky!

The Tip of the Pink Iceberg

Dear Other Mothers of Daughters…

We all sit precariously on the tip of an iceberg, it’s dangerous up here but at least the view is pretty, unlike the minefield that I allocate to being a mother of boy’s, that’s a bit of a mud magnet; No, the view is pretty, so much more pink and sparkly from up here…

I’m just starting to feel the fear though… My daughter is 5, she has just started school and this term it is “Ohhhh Sooooo Booooring!” apparently this is the term where they get that it’s going to last forever and they have to do as they are told and it’s tough titty.

Then, this morning we had the jumper row. We have had a few tiffs over what clothes she wears, she needs guidance in the world of stripes and patterns and still has her fathers ability to pick the twp colours that clash the most whilst dressing; loud is good you know.  The school sweatshirt is a row that has been brewing for quite a while. Until today it has been cast aside every morning with protestation but today she’s sniffling a bit and complained of the cold so I told her she had to wear it.

“But it’s horrible!” The nose wrinkles and the curls shake.

“It’s not horrible, it’s just uniform, the other girls wear it. All the children wear it. You need it to keep you warm.” Mummy is using her reasonable voice, this should really act as a warning to any child, it never works though…

“S**** never wears her’s, nor does M****!!”

“That is up to their Mummies, I know for a fact the other girls do.”

“But it’s horrible!!!” Foot stomping ensues…

“You need to wear it all day otherwise you will get ill and not be able to go to school at all!” She seems to be calculating this… “You will have to stay in bed all day, no wii, no telly and I have jobs to do.” Dire threats indeed.

“I will take it off in school though.”

“If you keep it on all day I will find you some chocolate.”

“OoooooKaaaaaay.” Down turned mouth and grumbles but the jumper is on.

All the way to school I got, “I hate this jumper it’s horrible. I want a cardi like…” so and so…

When she got out the car and saw her little friends to show her Hello Kitty scarf, hat and gloves set off to she forgot all about the horrid jumper, we shall see if it stays on but I have come through my first clothing row relatively unscathed. I must remember to tell Grandma not to tell the story about turning her school waist band over 6 times to get a mini skirt in the ’60’s…

 

I was amazed the other week when she started using the shower on her own, I mean, I get to turn it on and put the mat down but she gets on with playing washing herself. I was happily putting the laundry away when I realised she had been in there 30 minutes.

“It’s time to get out!”

“One more minute!”

Ten minutes later…

“It’s time to get out!!!!”

“One more minute!!!”

Mummy turns the electric off, shower goes cold.

“Aw Mum!!”

I thought I has at least another 7 years before we got to bathroom hogging… not so. Then there is the flaming lip gloss make up muck and little pink sparkly make up sets… So far I have put my foot down firmly NO. but it’s only a matter of time, society seems to want my baby to grow up too fast so it can sell her products, well hear this society, this Mum is going to fight back a little! I realise it’s a fruitless endeavor and in the end she will do the things all girls do, that somewhere in the dim and distant past her mother did before her, it’s a delay tactic, I will let you know if it works…

So Dear other mothers of daughters… any advise from the tip of your own personal iceberg?

Got a cold bottom yet? 😉

 

 

 

 

Coffee by Numbers No More!!

Hello, Welcome. My name is Julie and I am a Coffee Addict.

There, I said it. It’s true. I have no idea how this addiction started but I have a feeling long shifts in hotels may have contributed a need, my OCD’s may have contributed to my obsession.

The coffee in my life filters through at certain levels, as a household we easily get through 200g/300g of instant coffee per month, it’s a quick fix for a Mum on the run and my husband takes a flask to work, this is the only coffee he drinks as when at home, he’s a tea man. When I’m out and have the chance to go to a coffee shop I have different favourites depending on the shop, in that green and white shop I have a Large Latte with an extra shot and ground nutmeg, in the red shop I usually stick to just a latte, I’ve always thought the red shop has better tasting coffee and they don’t provide nutmeg. Anywhere selling ground or filtered coffee I have it black (unless I’m very tired then milk is allowed but on no account insult me with your little tubs of UHT crap, I may choose to leave, go elsewhere and never return!)

At home, with the time to savour it or whilst writing I have a one cup cafetiere just for me (I have a 8 cup one too but cold coffee sucks!) I have rules on making it… The water in the kettle must be fresh, it gets left to cool for at least a minute before pouring it on the coffee, (burnt coffee beans suck too!) it then gets stirred and left to brew for a few minutes before I push the plunger down. Then I drink it black, no sugar, why ruin good coffee 😉

It sounds like a palava but it’s not, it’s worth it and as I learned to make coffee at a very very expensive hotel I’ve always considered this is the best way. I am a coffee addict and a self confessed coffee snob.

But then things get hazy, sadly I’ve always picked my coffee by numbers. It seems sad to confess this as I’d like to think I’m a bit more educated in my snobbery but I’m not, I can’t tell you where the coffee I like comes from or even how it tastes different to other regions, nope, it’s a 3 or above.

Recently the coffee company KOPI asked me to try their product and after the “Hell Yes!” *high fives the air, shirt over my head bum wriggle* I waited under the letterbox for 2 days until my parcel arrived. It woke me up as it hit me on the head, enough to put the kettle on.

The first thing that struck me as I opened the box was the size of the packet, 250g what lovely generous people they are.  The second was the amusing way the literature was written, are coffee drinkers a type? Are we all mildly sarcastic with witty undertones that can only be deciphered by like minded caffeine addicts? Whatever, this pleased me no end. The third thing was how fabulous the coffee was. It would have been the first I’m sure but you know, coffee takes time to make. The fourth thing was I now knew all about Guatamala Finca Santa Clara Genuine Antigua (which is a No. 3 btw) a classic day-long diva, because Kopi have educated me with their brilliant idea of sending you a different coffee per month with a leaflet which tells you how to make it and enjoy it and all about it! Bravo Kopi!

*Puts kettle on again*

In this day and age of trying to make sure the small people know that carrots don’t manifest themselves onto the supermarket shelf, it’s good for me to have a equal interest in where my preferred products come from, and this richly refreshing coffee is really very easy to drink and greatly preferable to the instant rubbish I normally resort to in times of rush rush, I have in the four days since I’ve been sampling it, found myself returning to the fridge to get ‘the real thing’ rather than the cupboard for the chemical muck.

As I browsed the Kopi website I wondered, as the only real coffee drinker in the house, if I could actually get through a whole 250g in a month, as my inclination now is to reach for the cafetiere in the morning that seems no longer to be an issue. The only real question I am left with is can I genuinely justify spending this money on something for me? Times are hard and I’m the one who cuts back first. Unusually, I find myself wavering… We mothers so rarely put own own enjoyment of products first, that I think, perhaps I might give Kopi a bash and see how I go, after all, I love coffee and I am being educated, can’t be bad eh!

Children Are Made Readers…

One of my most enduring memories of my childhood must be the image of my Mum sat on the sofa with a book. She is still, as she has always been, a huge reader. I’m not sure she is ever without a book she’s reading, except perhaps in that little lull you get when finishing a great story where your mind just wants to absorb what you have read and relive parts before moving on to the next.

As children we always had books. I have some of my favourites still, my Dad used to be able to read ‘The Trouble with Timothy’ without looking at the words and Mum and I are still searching for a penguin classic copy of “Ned the Lonely Donkey” & “The Discontented Pony.”

We have books as a family which I feel is like passing on an inheritance to my children, one of these being “Snow”

My step sister was given this book, pre becoming my step sister but we all grew up with it and I loved it, so much so I’ve purchased a copy for each of our families, my daughter has a copy which sits next to my new favourite “Tiddler” by Julia Donaldson, along with several of her others, Julia’s books are always a pleasure to read.

This week we started a new journey as a family, the journey into learning to read. I’ve had some mixed thoughts over the last term concerning this new adventure, perhaps they are the same as every other Mothers, perhaps not… I will share them with you and you can tell me.

I don’t often sit with a book, in the corner of the sofa like my Mother does. I’m there with my laptop of course, bashing away at the keys or, yes, reading something on it,  but it’s not a physical book.  We also have an Ipad and due to the way the world is, I have started reading the odd ‘book’ on that. That is all very well but it isn’t going to encourage my children to pick up one of their books… no, it’s all Angry Birds. We do have several educational games on the Ipad and she loves those too but it’s just not the same as wallowing in a bed covered in books. Perhaps I need to alter my behaviour…

As I grew I developed a love of books, I love the weight in my hands, the smell of the paper. Libraries and book shops are a treasure trove of wonder for me, I need to think of how I pass this love on to my children. It’s important to me.

School have been busy with the phonics, they seem to be taking a really sensible approach to it to be honest, they are doing a letter a week and really getting involved with it. It seems a more  thorough approach then some of the schools I’ve been hearing about, throwing 2 ‘sounds’ a week at R2 children, (but y’know I’m no teacher) apart from being rather over awed by all the motions and sounds (yes, me. She seems to take it in her stride 😉 ) I’m liking what I’m seeing. This is of course alongside numeracy, topics, pe, cooking and so much else my mind spins!

I was very concerned that she would have to coast wait while some of the others catch with her, she is the oldest in her class and a bright button.  Her nursery started sending her home with books over a year ago, she has already done the level of book that school is now supplying her with. This week she came home with one she has read before; but as she herself explained to me after just 2 weeks at school “Mummy, we know I can do this don’t we but Mrs ——- says I need to prove to her I can!” Which I guess is fair enough, it makes me think ‘Where’s the fire.’ as long as she is not bored and feels she is learning something and is happy at school she can learn at their pace. I can happily say this because I know that I personally will not be stopping reading our books at home together and encouraging her to try… Because I want to make sure they can’t just read; but do it well and become ‘readers’ and that is my task, isn’t it.

So here we enter the world of Biff, Chip and Kipper… I’m wondering if choosing pretty names for my children was an error 😉

And I’d hate to be a pushy Mother. Surely this way, with the slow and steady approach, there is no way we might miss something along the way. Is it not better to be  thorough?  To ensure she covers everything and totally understands each stage, rather then racing ahead just because we can?

I’m hoping that I’m the type of parent that whilst I’m not too pushy, encourages positively.  Because while I appreciate that childhood is a critical time for learning lessons which will set them up for their whole lives, it’s also the most magical and awe inspiring time of there lives too, this wonderful time of being loved and cared for, for playing and discovering, before all the pressure starts with exams, jobs, mortgages, life goals and all the other things that humans find to complicate our lives and make ourselves ‘happy’.