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Please return my right arm

Ava’s first day at ‘big’ school has been hanging heavy on both our shoulders this summer and last Wednesday that day finally came.

It was a bright beautiful morning and thanks to having a painter onsite last week (now known as our resident photographer), we were able to get a nice family photograph, as well as some traditional first day of school shots.



It’s going to take a few weeks to get used to the school run but so far so good. The spot I had marked out (not literally) to park in has been free every time I have pulled up and although a little nervous going in, Ava has come out with a beaming smile (apart from the day that the teacher thought she was supposed to stay all day and left her inside at pick up time). I am a very proud Mummy.

Yesterday was Ava’s first full day at school and the real test. Drop off went well but I was left with a very empty feeling inside without my little Madamski. Much like when I first left her at nursery, it felt as if my right arm was missing. From the empty car seat, to the empty coat hook at home, she creates a big hole when she is not around. Her little brother spent most of the morning asking, ‘Where Aya?’ (he still can’t pronounce her name!) and when I asked where he thought she was, he said, ‘at work’. Today he remembered she is at ‘big school’ and this Friday, when I am not at work, I must remember the same.

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Salt Dough Creations

Ever since our shop bought play dough dried up, I have been promising my 4 year old that we would make our very own. That was about 3 months ago and with the last days of the summer holidays upon us, it was time to tick this activity off the list.

We had to settle for salt dough as our local supermarket didn’t stock cream of tartar. So 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water (thanks to my sister-in-law for the recipe!) and some food colouring later and the children were ready to create.


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First School Shoes

Even now I still remember the excitement of the annual pilgrimage to Clarks for new school shoes, only to be left disappointed as my mother would never let me have a pair of patent leather shoes.

School Shoes School Shoes

I gave Ava a choice for her first pair of school shoes and she opted to go for the non patent version. There are still a few extra bells and whistles that I didn’t have – I don’t remember there being fairies inside my shoes or flashing lights (with an on/off switch nonetheless). Do I still sound bitter?

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Our holiday to Italy seems like a distant memory now and with Andy’s impending big hip op, we felt that we wanted to make the most of the summer. Neither of us can quite agree how we ended up glamping on the Isle of Wight and after the first night, neither of us was looking to take credit for the decision. We tried in vain to enforce a 7pm bedtime on our children (two nights running). Who were we kidding? We were never going to be able to enjoy a quiet night for two on the decking, looking out at the stars. It was light out for a good two hours past the children’s bedtime and other kids could clearly be heard playing outside, as noted by our four year old. This also resulted in our 2 year old waking up at 5am two mornings on the trot – yawn! By the third night, we had learnt our lesson and all went to bed at the same time.

We’ve both always enjoyed camping but this was the first time that we have been with the children and neither of us had ever been glamping before. It’s fair to say glamping is a bit of a cheat; yes there is canvas involved but there is also electricity to provide light, charge a mobile phone and to power a television and a hairdryer, plus beds with duvets and soft pillows and cooking facilities.

We soon abandoned the notion that we would cook dinners, although Andy did manage to do some pretty good scrambled eggs on toast one morning. The shower block is however the same for everyone, with the push taps on the showers to make sure you don’t spend too long and the invariably muddy floors and cheap toilet roll. Showers are no fun with a four year old and two year old in tow; I might add on separate occasions, as the cubicles are too small and the threat of little hands unlocking the door at any moment is nail biting. Obviously remembering to take a towel to the shower block is pretty imperative, although it turns out that a top will do just as well to dry off. Also remembering to roll up your pyjama bottoms before entering the shower cubicle would make for a better start to the day; not a mistake that is made twice!

All that said, by Day 3 we were starting to get to grips with glamping and could happily have stayed for a few more days, so much so that we might even look at purchasing a proper tent next year.

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Handy Andy

This is my first blog post dedicated purely to my husband of nearly 10 years. I always said if he did anything blog worthy, I would write about it, so here goes…

I have always detested our downstairs cloakroom since we moved into our house 7 years ago. The yellow walls, the bright border, the blue suite and the worst offence, carpet tiles. Don’t get me wrong, they have their benefits, for example, they don’t show dirt, but toilets, carpet tiles and young children simply don’t mix.

I’m not sure what finally inspired Andy to crack on, perhaps the threat that I would do it myself and blog about it!

Really this post should have been written a few months ago, when the job was complete but much like my dear husband’s approach to DIY, I have put it off for one reason or another.

Anyway, here are some before and after pictures of his handy work. Another professional job well done.

Next on my list, finishing the kitchen woodwork (it’s only been 5 years since Andy put in the ‘new’ kitchen) and decorating the hallway. As you can see, Andy is very handy, when he has the time but as he’ll be forced to down tools until well after Christmas, I’m afraid I have taken the initiative and outsourced these jobs – another first in this household!

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