Tuesday, 31 May 2016

School Holidays Are Here Again

Well it's been a good day "Clean Eating Alice", wise, actually had a breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe today which went down well with the three out of five members of the family that ate them. I'm missing two of my "Chicks", as Number 1 is staying with his lovely girlfriend in London for the week and since Number 2 passed his driving test a couple of weeks ago (oh the worry), I've hardly seen him.
I think I've mentioned before how hard I'm finding this emptying of the nest and it's so apparent during school holidays! It's such a strange feeling, knowing that they have to be independent, wanting them to be but wishing they still realised they needed you, just a bit.
Number 3 is at that horrible in between age, coming up for 13, thinking he knows everything but in fact, knowing very little and finding everything about me totally un-cool.
 I still habitually make sure I am around as much as possible during the school holidays but find I am, for the most part, redundant. I actually feel like the mother birds nesting in my garden, on hand to feed the noisy chicks but not really achieving much else.
 That's not fair really, she does teach them to fly of course, which, in my own way, I hope I am doing too.  Really wish I'd had a Number 4, but of course I would only be writing exactly the same thing in a couple of years time wouldn't I?
Of course, there are plus sides to all of this....more time with the hubby, more time for hobbies and friends and the ability to get to know your boys as young men and hopefully find that you like them as much as you love them. It's not all bad, but a pause button would be nice at times. EJ

Monday, 30 May 2016

More Wine anyone?

Like many others my age, if my own friendship group and national statistics are anything to go by, I like a drink. I don't believe I have a problem, I don't drink at all in the week but come the weekend I do enjoy a few too many glasses of wine.
Hangovers are definitely getting worse though, leaving me feeling absolutely dreadful all day, sometimes unable to get out of bed until mid afternoon and once I am up, I have no energy at all! Hubby says, often, that if alcohol made him feel like that, he wouldn't drink, but it doesn't make him feel like that, so he can enjoy as many drinks as he likes in the knowledge that he will be absolutely fine when he wakes up the next day.
There is a lot of press coverage about alcohol limits and middle aged drinking at the moment and just this week we watched a programme that suggested taking Star flower Oil before an evening out could limit the effects of a hangover. Well, it didn't work.
Not only did I have a terrible hangover, I also awoke with the terrible guilt of an alcohol fuelled political discussion, which had ended with a lovely friend of mine in tears!!!!
Now before you go thinking I'm a monster, I must stress that said friend would not have cried had she not had too much to drink too and she has assured me that she did not take my comments personally, however, I do feel like said monster and that's a horrible feeling.
So, I'm vowing to not drink again (again) and hope this time I can stick to it but lets be honest (those of you that like a drink), its so boring being sociable with a diet coke!!!! Know what I mean? EJ

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Home From University

So, we picked Number 1 up from Uni today after having spent a lovely day yesterday, sight seeing, shopping,eating and drinking.
 Sorry, Clean Eating Alice, I'm afraid I've strayed a bit this weekend!
We loaded him and the contents of his room and kitchen cupboard into the car and marvelled at how quickly these 2 years have gone. Scary to think that this time next year he'll be finished and looking to go out into the big bad world, armed, hopefully, with an excellent degree and a ton of happy memories. The problem is that he'll also be armed with a huge £27,000+ debt too and we can't be the only parents amazed at how little time our offspring actually spend in front of a tutor/professor/lecturer/anyone!
Then there's the fact that nothing else is included in that £9k per year, everything else costs extra money, gym membership, football training even tickets for end of year celebrations!
Landlords are making a pretty penny out of our kids too. Do the maths. 6 people sharing a very mediocre house for what amounts to 9 months of the year, pay approximately £450 each per month for 12 months. That's approximately £32k a year paid to the landlord !!!!
Parents and students alike should be protesting far louder than we are, especially when government think tanks want to know why kids from poorer backgrounds are choosing not to go to university and they're employing more think tanks to find out why???!!! Madness!
 It's daylight robbery... which coincidentally, I learnt on the historic boat trip we did whilst sight seeing yesterday, was a term coined during the days of window taxes.
 Well at least I've learnt something for my son's £27k!!!!!!!  EJ

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Exam Stress

It's that time of year again, when parents across the country open every conversation with a question about, "How are they doing?"
This is my 5th consecutive year of exam "stress", next year will be the 6th, then I have a year off before having another 3, possibly more if Number 2 and 3 follow Number 1 to university!!
All told, I should be an expert on the whole stressful process, especially if I draw on my own experience from the dim and distant past too.
Thing is.....I'm so not!
You see, I have boys (I may have mentioned that before) and rightly or wrongly, in the main, they don't really stress, not about education anyway.
 I realise that is a sweeping statement and that some boys obviously do worry a lot, but speaking to most of my mum friends over the years and definitely the experience in our home, suggests that when it comes to exams, us mothers of sons get off lightly.
If I'm honest, I'd actually like a bit more stress about the whole thing, at least then I'd have some proof that they were taking it seriously and I could also join in with my "Mums of girls" friends, talking about "coping strategies", melt-downs and trauma.
 The only melt downs and trauma in my home over May and June are mine.
 I'm constantly checking the exam time table, scheduling revision and feeding the boys up before they set off , no matter how early a start they have. I kid myself that this is why they do OK but really I know, they do OK in spite of me, not because of me.
 As mums we can't help ourselves can we?
 We want the best for our kids, its only natural but having been round the block with this a few times I'm beginning to doubt that arm loads of GCSEs and A Levels are what is best. (And don't get me started on Uni fees)!!!!!
Best is what makes our kids happy, healthy, well rounded individuals and for many of us that isn't found or achieved in accademia. Social skills, personality and integrity are far more important skills than an A*. We'd all do well to remember that and I will try my hardest to practise what I preach! Promise.EJ

Is Anybody Out There?

Obviously I can see from the distinct lack of followers and or comments that no one is actually reading this blog. I'm telling myself I don't care as I really enjoy writing it but it would be nice if someone saw it.
Number 2 son suggested following other like minded bloggers, of which there must be loads but they all look so glitzy and professional in comparison, that I'm embarrassed to draw attention to myself. I haven't got a product to sell or a company to launch, just little old me and my observations. Of course it doesn't help that I am a complete" technophobe", as I mentioned before, and have no idea how to promote this or make it look any more interesting. Oh dear, never mind, I'll crack on, and if anyone does actually see this, I'll be chuffed to hear from you.
Am continuing to use "Clean Eating Alice" recipes to feed the family, mixed reactions but in the main it's going down well. Number 3 son isn't impressed but has informed me that he "doesn't like change" and hubby is on board but asks that we have "Fish Fingers, Chips and Beans" as a treat every now and again. Honestly....why do I bother?
 Oh  yes, because it's good for them!
 Number 2 is a fitness fanatic at the moment so he is very enthusiastic about clean eating and Number 1 comes home from Uni this week, a relatively new pescatarian (Code name "Nuisance"), there are lots of fish dishes to try, so hopefully he'll be happy too. And I haven't had a glass of wine for 2 weeks! That could all change this weekend though. I'll let you know. EJ

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Feeling Broody?!

I know. I'm far too old to have another baby but just sometimes I really, really miss the weight of a tiny baby in my arms, little head on my shoulder, the warmth, the smell, the feel of a tiny hand curling round my finger and looking into those loving, trusting little eyes. Sorry, I'm getting sentimental but with three teenage sons you have to remember how lovely they used to be. They're still lovely, but you know what I mean.
Nothing makes you more aware of your age and the fact that you are no longer able to re- produce, than sitting waiting for a Gynea scan, which just happens to be done in the same place as the pregnancy scans, surrounded by expectant young and youngish mums. Some looking really excited, others not so much but all waiting with full bladders, to see an image of their baby on the screen. Wow, that was so amazing and ironically even more so, when fast forward what seems like a very few short years and you're in the same place, same cold gel on your tummy, same sounds, same uniforms but this time no blurry picture of a little person you can't wait to meet but the news as to whether or not your reproductive bits are going to be taken out!
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back to sleepless nights, toddler group, potty training etc etc, I'd just like to still be young enough to have the choice, know what I mean? EJ

Friday, 20 May 2016

Clean Eating Alice

Along with many others, I received my pre- ordered "Clean Eating Alice" recipe and exercise book by Alice Liveing yesterday.
I like to think that I feed the family a well balanced, healthy diet and I try to exercise regularly but recent food scares have made me more aware of what we are eating and the effect it has on our bodies and well being.
As a Macmillan volunteer I obviously meet and speak to a lot of people suffering from or recovering from cancer and until the day when a cure or cause for this awful disease is found, I personally think it makes sense to think about what we are eating. I for one would love to have more energy and really like the fact that this book is not a diet book but a book about nourishing our bodies with tasty, healthy meals. Today I have tried the Portobello Mushrooms with Goat's cheese and the Super Simple Prawn Curry and have to say they were really easy to make and tasted great.
 I'm not sure how strictly I'll be able to stick to clean eating as it would seem that neither alcohol or chocolate figure very highly in Alice's day to day life but I'll let you know how I get on.
Thanks Alice. EJ

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Shoes and Knickers.

What is happening?
I can see no obvious reason as to why two very necessary and previously easy to find wardrobe staples have become so hard to buy!
It happened with Jeans a couple of years ago. Suddenly the cut wasn't quite right and I really had to shop around for a style to suit, what I suppose, is a changing body shape!!
In some respects Jeans were easy as it seems quite common and perfectly acceptable to need a different cut of denim to the one we wore in our 20s, I mean there is actually a brand called "Not Your Daughter's Jeans", or something like that anyway and Lorraine Kelly has definitely addressed the problem over breakfast before now.The problem is though, to date, I have not seen anything that refers to itself as, "Not Your Daughter's Knickers or Shoes". I would say there is a big gap in the market as there is quite a jump from 6" heels and thongs to sensible flats and big drawers......What about those of us caught half way between the two, still perfectly happy in the former for a night out and secretly hankering after the latter by the end of the day, there are, however, a lot of hours where I am finding the choices of foot and underwear severely lacking!!!! Am I alone?? EJ

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Am I being Paranoid?

Has this ever happened to you?
I wanted to use the station cashpoint machine and happily noticed there was just one lady using it. As she finished she asked for directions to a taxi rank and I moved forward to make my transaction...so far, so normal.
As I start a smartly dressed gentleman appears at my shoulder, a little too close for comfort and talks to me about cancelled trains and disrupted journey times, nineteen to the dozen.
I was very aware that he could see what I was doing but I had already started to enter my PIN as he started talking. I took a minimal amount, didn't get an on screen balance but continued to listen as he told me he was now getting money out for a cab.
I glanced back as I walked away....he didn't get a cab.
Convinced that I had been scammed in some way, I hot footed it home to call the bank and block my card.
The lady on the other end of the phone was very helpful, cancelled the card and confirmed that the only transaction made was my own.
"You know, he might have just been a very friendly man." she said.
 And of course she might be right and I'm left feeling torn between wanting to have been wrong but wanting to be proved right.
Sorry smartly dressed man!