Category Archives: Random Thoughts about Stuff

Absent without leave

Sorry I haven’t been around for a few weeks, but I’ve been having some work done.  Unfortunately, not the liposuction, boob lift, and eyebrow lift I need, but an extension to the house.  We’ve also knocked a wall down, but no worries, it’s not an important wall, just the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.  So basically, for the past few weeks, access to our kitchen has been fairly restricted.  The kids have had half the area to run around that they are used to, so consequently I’ve been out of the house a lot.  And I’ve just not been able to blog quite so much as I’d like.  So here’s some pictures of what we’ve been going through, in the hope that you’ll forgive me for not hopping on here as much as I usually do.






As you can see, we’re getting there.  Just the new kitchen to go in, some fireplace installation, and a LOT of cleaning.  Plaster dust really does get everywhere – I had some on my toast the other day for breakfast.

See you on the other side.

Let’s talk about poo

Before I had kids, I really didn’t talk about poo very often.  You know, there was the odd day where it would affect my life, after a particularly ‘good’ night out, an iffy dinner, or an illness, and I’d mention something vague, in passing, to close friends or colleagues about a ‘dodgy tummy’, but by and large it wasn’t something that overly concerned me.

Now, two children later, I feel like it might be one of my favourite topics.  Precious first born’s nappies were examined with fervour and the colour, consistency and contents duly discussed with other half upon his return from work.  We still talk about the time she did a massive one in the bathroom section of IKEA, about the furthest away from a real toilet as you can get.  And the time we left the house and there was a poonami incident in her carseat which necessitated us diverting to my brother’s house in order to dunk her in the bath and shower her off.  Ahhh, memories.

In fact, all this talk of poo reminds me that on one of my daughter’s first settling in days at nursery, I had to change her as soon as I dropped her off.  And while I was doing so, she put her foot in the poo and wiped it down my white t-shirt.  I was quick with the baby wipes, but there was still a small, but noticeable stain.  So of course, as an oversharer, I pointed out what had happened to one of the nursery attendants, and said I’d intended to go shopping while she was in for the hour or so of settling in, but now I was going to have to go home and change.  And this, no word of a lie is the conversation we then had:
Her “Where are you going shopping?”
Me “Connswater”
Her “Well, sure you’ll be ok then.  If it was Victoria Square I’d say go home and change, but it’s only Connswater, sure nobody will even blink an eye.”
It should be part of their new advertising campaign, surely?  Connswater – the shopping centre where you can shop whilst covered in poo.

So imagine my glee yesterday when bathing the two girls, when the baby stood up, held onto the side of the bath and hunkered down, grunted, then popped out three poops.  Then hilariously, put her bum down into the water and farted so that bubbles came up.  Twice.

Cue hilarious bought of giggling from her big sister, and from myself.

But then imagine my horror as I realise I have to deal with those three little logs.

I’m sure mums all around the world have had to deal with such issues.  In fact, I’m aware of at least one who’s had to pick up little presents from her toddler from behind her sofa.  So in I dove with a hand covered in multiple baby wipes, and I fished them out, and threw them down the toilet.  It was all going well until I realised that in order for my children to remain ‘clean’, I would have to empty the bath of children, drain the bath, clean the bath, run another bath and pop said children back in, all while dealing with cries of ‘I’m cold’ from the older one, and slightly delirious laughs from the youngest.   So that’s what I did.  We were late getting to bed that night, but at least they weren’t covered in poo.  And if you’re ending the day with your children asleep and not covered in poo, you’re doing alright in my book!


The Best Parks in East Belfast

We’re lucky to live in a city with so many green spaces, so as autumn starts to blow beautiful copper leaves off the trees, and our parks are littered with acorns, conkers and ‘helicopters’ from the sycamores,  I thought I’d give you my guide to the best parks in East Belfast, and some of their main attractions.  Believe me, I’ve spent a LOT of time in all of these over the past few years…
Belmont Park – The playpark is great for all ages and is enclosed, making it very safe.  The park’s won numerous Green Flag awards and has lovely walks, including one through a wooded area.  Park at the Circular Rd entrance if you want to be close to the playpark and the toilets.
Mo Mowlam Park at Stormont – This is great for slightly older kids as there’s so much for them to play on, including an obstacle course, a zip-line, and loads of slides.  The toddler area has swings, slides, roundabout, tunnel, and a climbing frame.  There are picnic tables, toilets, and a coffee kiosk. If you’ve children of different ages, it can be difficult to keep an eye on both of them as the play areas are so spread out, but you can really spend a good few hours here.
Cherryvale Park, Ravenhill Road – A new wooden framed playpark with 3 different areas for toddlers to pre-teens.  Fenced in, and with plenty of picnic tables and benches, plus a carpark.  There’s also a welcome recent addition in the shape of the Hatch coffee van.
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Orangefield Park – I have to mention this as it’s my local!  The playpark has definitely seen better days, but my kids still love it, and the rest of the park is beautiful.  Great walks, an outdoor gym, tennis and basketball courts, bowling green, a velodrome, and huge playing fields.  Recent additions of fairy doors in the trees have added a bit of extra magic, and the Greenway plans promise an extension to the Knock dual carriageway, and new play areas.  If only the vandals would leave the book box and the fairy doors alone, it would be nigh on perfect!
Victoria Park – take some bread to feed the ducks and other assorted seabirds that flock to the lake in the middle of this park.  Flat paths surround the lake, and the new playpark is great.  Visit in the spring to see the bluebell meadows, but at this time of year it’s great for foraging blackberriesP1350894.
Honorary mentions to Ormeau Park, Lady Dixon, and Holywood’s Seapark, which didn’t make this list due to geography!

Last night I left my baby…

So, yesterday, after 10 and a half long months of constant companionship, feeding, nappy-changing, singing, rocking, hugging, kissing, crying, and hard bloody work, I left my baby.   Overnight.  Actually, it was for more than 24 hours from the time I left until the time I returned.  This was very difficult for me because I’ve been off work and a full-time mum since she was born.  I’ve never been away from her for more than a couple of hours here and there.  Plus she’s been going through a phase recently where she’s become very attached to me, to the point where she will cry if I leave the room.  So you can imagine that I was full of trepidation yesterday as I lifted my overnight bag and prepared to leave the house.  I was expecting lots of crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Instead I got a wee pleasant smile and a slight headbutt.  She really didn’t care much that I was going.

The other one though, who I thought would be waving me off and shooing me out so that she could have fun times with daddy, bounced off the sofa, bounced onto the floor, grabbed me around the ankle and pleaded with me not to go. 2015-08-02 13.28.28

See, I have pictorial evidence of this rare show of daughterly love.  I think she just wanted a night away in a hotel, but still…

Once I extracted myself, (and having left outfits for the baby, meals for kids and husband, and reminder notes to buy milk), I set off into the unknown – a girlie night away in a posh hotel with two of my very best friends.  I don’t think we stopped talking for a minute.  We reminisced, we laughed, we listened to each other moan, and we gave, and got, good advice.  We ate lovely fluffy scones with cream and jam, then we ate some more nice food, retired to our room to talk more and eat chocolate.  Then we had an unbroken nights sleep during which no children cried for us, or climbed into bed with us, got up and had showers privately, on our own with no kids watching or joining in, before eating a hot breakfast that someone else had cooked for us.  We didn’t have to pick up a toy, kiss a sore knee, play princesses, shout, do any housework or shopping, or even tidy up after ourselves for a few short hours.  And you know what?  It was bliss.  I love my kids, but sometimes I need to be away from them.  I’m going to do it more often because I need nights like that, where I’m not just a mum or a wife.  I’m a person with a history, a present, and a future.  A person with memories, problems, and possibilities.

Yes, I left my baby for a little while, but I have no doubt that for the next wee while at least, I’ll be a better mum to her for that.



(Thanks to the Roe Park Resort for the comfy beds, the yummy scones, and the warm welcome.  This post is in no way sponsored by the hotel, my party paid for our stay, but sometimes good service deserves to be shouted about and we had such a lovely time…  We’ll be back!

Thanks also to my lovely husband who told me I could stay another night if I wanted to.)


Adult colouring in

I’m not too sure how I feel about these new ‘adult’ colouring in books that seem to be everywhere.  I was in Sainsbury’s last night and they had a whole stand dedicated to them.  But it reminded me of one of the hilarious joke presents my husband got me last year for Christmas (which I actually loved.)  It was a One Direction colouring in book.  I especially like the fact it’s 100% unofficial.

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Well, I’d sort of forgotten about it to be honest, until today when my husband dug it out and let our eldest daughter (nearly 4) loose on it.  I’ve posted some of her artistic efforts on this site before, and in fact, the banner for the site is one of her masterpieces, so I’m sure you’re aware she’s a child genius. ; )  Anyway, first page is a close up of Harry Styles, and prepare yourselves for this work of art:

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The creativity.  The use of colour.  The staying within the lines (mostly).  The green neck and blue and orange face.  He’s truly a dreamboat.

Of course, being me, I had to get in on the action, so I helped her out with the next one.  I did the two on the left, she did the other three.

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Having not coloured in for a while, I can confirm it does have stress-relieving properties.  It’s also a real giggle, especially if you can colour boys in with green hair.  And an immense laugh if your innocent child names them, (from right to left), Smudgy, Cludgy, Poo-poo, Blackie, and… Cliffy.  Amazing.

Of course, I was in true silly mode by now, so the next colouring in project was a close up of Niall.  We decided it was a bit boring so we made him into a lady, complete with tattoos and jewellery.  She added the necklace, and the smudge of Ribena on his t-shirt:

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Then we found the stickers in the middle of the book, and added a couple of those, and then stuck the rest all over a picture of Zayn.  But he doesn’t deserve a photo here because he’s left the band, the traitor.

So yeah, adult colouring in gets the thumbs up from me, especially if you’ve got a hilarious pre-schooler helping.

The best ever game of I Spy

I’m still laughing about this hours later…

So, we’re all coming home from a family trip to IKEA when Little B announces she wants to play I Spy.  And being nearly 4, she has to go first. Here’s how it went:

Little B – “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with G.”

Me and her Dad – “Grass. Gate. Green. Gable. Garage. ”

Her – “Nope. It’s a horse!”

Cue us nearly wetting ourselves laughing…  We’d forgotten she can’t spell. And on top of that, there was no horse.

I went next and decided to do it her way:

Me – I spy with my little eye something beginning with x.”

Little B – “Car. Doggy. Boy. House. Window. Door. Garden. Footpath. Road. Bicycle.” (She’s basically just doing a say-what-you-see.)

Me – “No, Caravan!”

Immense craic.





Technological difficulties

I admit it, I’m a complete luddite.  I know how to use a computer, but when things start going wrong, I’m definitely from the camp of turn it off, and turn it on again to try and fix things.

You may have noticed that I have some upside down pictures on this blog.  It’s doing my head in – I take photos with my iPhone, and if I take them portrait style, I have to edit them to sit the ‘right way up’ on this blog.  BUT.  If they’re edited to sit the right way on the desktop site, they’re the wrong way round on the mobile site.  I thought I found the solution – just take them landscape, all the time.  But oh no.  That was working until I uploaded a post from my phone – cue upside down pictures on the desktop site.  I’ve researched to try and find a solution, but I’m not techy enough to fix it right now, and my host is in the States and requires a phone call to try and sort things out.

So please bear with me until I find a fix.  If you’re out there at all.  I’m not a computer expert and I’m still finding my way with this whole thing.  But I am trying.


Genius child art



Check out this picture my daughter drew of me.  It’s amazing. She’s obviously a complete genius.  It’s like looking in a mirror.

Then she drew one of the whole family:



That’s me on the right.   Originally she forgot to include her little sister but added her in later. She’s drawn herself with ‘Rapunzel hair’.   If you’d like to commission her to draw a picture of your clan, get in touch using my email 😉