Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I've moved!

Bear with me, I'm still getting to grips over there. I've not completely settled on backgrounds and themes and all that stuff. All existing posts here have been moved over, so no content has disappeared, but any new stuff will be only over there. 

See you on the other side!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Update: I hurt.

I was right. I was incredibly sore this morning. I didn't get much sympathy from Rich as I tend not to give it out when he's wincing a bit, he laughed at me. Then he made me a protein shake which is apparently good for it. To be honest, I didn't care. It tasted of chocolate peanut butter milkshake and was fewer calories than expected :) I feel okay this afternoon, probably a combination of shake and ibuprofen!

Still feeling good about being able to swim more often, but not looking forward to morning walks. That however is not new, as I am a lazy bones and get bored before I make it home.

Still onwards then!

Small note. I am looking into moving the blog over to Wordpress as it feels cleaner over there, so look out for changes and hopefully a smooth transition!

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

I've just had an apostrophe!

"I think you mean an epiphany." Why yes, yes I do Captain Hook. Lightning has indeed just struck my brain. If you don't know this quote then quite frankly, get out. Then watch Hook and come back. Incidentally, I found this picture at a famoustache blog which is clearly worth a look. Anyway I digress. Epiphany.

Dear gym bunnies. I FINALLY GET IT!

Don't get me wrong, I still think that people who go to the gym regularly several times a week are a little bit nuts. But I finally get the motivation. I had a code for a day session at our local gym from www.payasugym.com, and Rich was working from home, so I got to skip off down there right when he finished working. It was bliss! I'd go so far as to say fun. Bit of walking, ran for half a mile, and did 11 miles on the bike, all much faster than I expected. Then 11 lengths of the pool and 20 minutes of relaxing in the jacuzzi and steamroom. Not much, but I am incredibly unfit. The fact that I ran at all amazes me. 

Rich rewarded me with boiled eggs and a few oven chips for tea and now we're watching Captain Phillips. Not a bad day all in all. 

Will there be a repeat? Not soon. Aside from the rubbish membership fees, we just don't have enough spare time. I missed bedtime and most of dinnertime with the boys, and Rich dealt with it on his own. He has however said that it'd be fine if I went swimming on Saturday mornings. This however means I will lose any kind of sleeping in. He also offered me Thursday mornings or evenings too, as Henry sleeps in the mornings. I'm a lucky woman, He's very kind to me.

Now, whether I feel quite so happy about the workout/this possible new routine in the morning is another story. I am predicting pain and stiffness!

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Flow Rider Surfing

So, the surfing pictures are back! 
We all had so much fun. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone thinking about it. It was Stella (Rich's sister) and Carl's 20th anniversary so they had a party. Both families were invited and as such we were split between the 2 wave machines, so I only have pictures of the Brown clan as we happened to split down the middle. There was a quick instruction video, and then off to get wetsuits. 
Now, aside from Rich, none of the men had worn wetsuits before. Ethan had a fit of shyness and so asked to change in the shower cubicle. While they were in there, all the blokes got ready and came out. With their suits on backwards. Much fun was poked, particularly at Carl who though he has never worn one before, has a wife who can scuba and has her own suit, so we thought he'd at least remember that the zip goes up the back!

Our lovely instructor Tom showed us briefly how to bodyboard and get up onto our knees, and off we went.
 Stell with Tom

 After Stell's first wipeout :)

 Big Sam (Rich's younger brother) and you can just spot Rich biffing it at the back. We were shown how to glide fairly gracefully to the side to stop, but while it looked simple, it was very much not.

Hence my look of intense concentration! And here I am...

 It is my unfortunate privilege to inform you that in this position, with the water wooshing up and under the board, your...ahem...personal area... gets a little bashed. It wasn't that big of a deal and not really painful but I am assured it was worse for the men. Sorry fellas. Still, an incentive to learn quickly how to get up on your knees!

Despite the look on my face, I really enjoyed it. Even if wetsuits are the least flattering piece of clothing in the entire world.

Rich above, and with his brother Big Sam below.

 I really didn't expect much from Ethan, I thought he'd either refuse to try, or try once, fall off, and then refuse to try. However, he put us all to shame! He had several turns and wants to go again. I was really impressed with how brave he was as it's not one of his strong points. He absolutely loved it and really wants to go again.

With help from the instructor, and on his own :)

Too fast to snap! 
We were also shown how to do it standing up on special thin wooden boards - a little like skim boards on the beach. However there are no photos of this, even though I managed to stand up alone for a whole ooh... 15 seconds ;)

We did it at The Flowhouse at Xscape, Castleford, and we absolutely loved it, the water was warm enough that we didn't get cold in between turns, and the instructors were friendly and helpful. Now, it's a little pricey at £22-25 for kids and £30-35 for adults, and we were incredibly grateful to Stella and Carl for being so generous as to pay for everyone. There are group deals and multiple session deals, but still it's a bit teeth-suck inducing. I still would go again though, it was tons of fun and for a special treat definitely worth it. And the look on Ethan's face when he'd done it by himself was absolutely priceless. 
So overall, I'd definitely recommend it, even with the price. Hang 10! Surf's up! Kowabunga dude! Yeah, I'm not really pulling that off at all, am I.

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Valentine's day and the end of the chocolate ban

Time has once again slipped by without a post. What can I say? Three children under 6 is BUSY. I also try to abide by the rule of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, where he says to the groundhog, "don't drive angry!" though in this case it's don't blog grumpy, as being hungry tends to make me a little snappish.
I love this movie more than is a normal amount.

So, quick roundup. We've had a fairly uneventful month, although after a week of sleeping through Henry got another cough and it was all over, sad trombone. However, it has now passed again and fingers crossed, he's back on track. 

Speaking of illness, I have got a raging case of tonsillitis. It began a few days ago with a tickly throat and continued with a trip to the walk in clinic on friday night (the big V!) where I was told "Oh yes, that is a lot of pus." Why thank you  grumpy nurse, that's exactly what I wanted to hear about the inside of my throat. Gross. This was then emphasised by the pharmacist who when checking my antibiotics said "so take 2 four times a day.... is it a bad infection?" Clearly that is a large dose of penicillin, for which I am very grateful. Don't worry, there is no picture. This is not that kind of blog.

Last weekend my Dad was up to visit now that he's home from New Zealand which was lovely, I've missed both him and my mum while they've been gone. She's still out there, sunning it up! Dad was kind enough to take the big two boys out on Saturday afternoon so that Rich and I could have a bit of a rest and then we had a delicious chinese takeaway for dinner, naughty but oh so good. So good in fact that Rich and I had it again for dinner when I got back from the doctor on friday... oops. While he was up he took this picture for us, which is I think the first one of the five of us together.

Even though it was taken before I could get my Sunday morning make up on, I still love it.

Valentine's day was a bit drab what with the illness, but it was still nice. I made this for Rich...

Which now I look at it kind of seems like an order, or slightly obnoxious. "Hey, You love me!" At least we all know now who wears the pants... The words in the back are the lyrics to All I ask of You from Phantom of the Opera, which was sung at our wedding. I totally stole the idea from seeing something similar online, but changed the scrabble tiles for keyboard letters, because we've never played scrabble ever, and also because we had an old broken netbook. He loved it, and got me my favourite chocolates now that the ban has been lifted. which segues us nicely into the diet.

So, I've lost 12lbs in about 4 weeks. I cheated once as my sister Sam sent some homemade chocolates over for a belated Christmas gift and they weren't going to last. I'm pretty pleased with myself, that's a decent chunk of weight and I'm almost to the first stone off. All the right places are shrinking, and I feel a lot better about myself already. My end goal is to be able to fit into my wedding dress by our 9th anniversary, which is July 23rd, so I've got plenty of time. In between I've got little goals to get to, the first one being 12st 7lbs, which I beat just over a week ago. The next one is one stone off, which will be 12st 4, only 2 lbs away. I'm not happy with the numbers, but I've decided I'm not ashamed to write them down. They're only numbers, and they don't define me. My body has done amazing things (insert cheesy music here) and grown 3 humans. It has acceptable wear and tear. But just because I'm not ashamed doesn't mean I can't improve.

As for the month of no chocolates and sweets, I thought it would be harder. I'm really glad I did it as it made me realise how I was eating a bit of chocolate here or a few of the kids treats there. I've not felt the need to gorge on it now I can have it. My dad brought me back two large bars of Cadbury's Blackforest Chocolate, which is quite possibly the most delicious flavour ever, with little biscuity and cherry flavoured jelly bits. I ate more than I should have, but not as much as I would have before. It was however still too much for my digestive system since I had my gall bladder out, which it reminded me of with some wicked stomach cramps. Therefore, I still have chocolate lurking about the house and hopefully it'll last me a fair while longer. So, success for now!

Last of all, I'll just mention the amazing family trip out yesterday where I dosed myself up and we all went indoor surfing with extended family. I was however doing the surfing and don't have the pictures back yet so I shall do a proper post on that another time. 

For now, despite the tonsils that are trying to kill me, life is good.

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Sam the Schoolboy

We were lucky enough to be offered a space for Sam at the nursery attached to Ethan's school before Christmas to start after the break. He went in for a practise session and was less than impressed with me stopping him playing with Postman Pat to get a picture. He also pretty much refused to leave after the hour when no one else was leaving and he'd just discovered a box of Thomas tracks.

He started afternoons just after the Christmas break and loved it, as you can see he was just a tad excited to be off. He's been having a blast and has finally accepted, on seeing it written down on his name card, that his name is Samuel, not just Sammy. He also shared a class with at least two other Sams, so points for originality, me!

Last week we were offered the chance to move him to mornings as I had asked if it would be possible in September when the rest of Nursery will move up to year one and he'll be staying on another year. I said yes and it was all arranged in a day and we swapped over. 

The first day we went in, and he hung up his coat and bag and grabbed his name from the board. Then he looked around, turned to me and said "Mummy, where is Sammy with the black glasses?" I had a horrible sinking feeling, and sure enough, when I explained that Sammy was in the afternoon class and he was now in the morning class, the lip came out.

I felt terrible, and he followed me to the door and asked to come home again. I convinced him to stay with the promise of Thomas trains from his teacher and a fudge from me on the way home. Fortunately he has settled back in fine and loves it again.

Now to the matter at hand, HOW is he old enough for a school uniform? He looks ridiculously cute in it, but he really loves school, even if he gets tired easier and is a bit of a grump in the afternoons. That's one of the benefits of mornings - he can nap after if necessary, and if he happens to nap at the same time as this lively fella...

Well, then the afternoon silence is absolutely miraculous.

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Diets and Weight and Hunger, Oh my!

I hate diets, totally and completely. I'm also not a fan of self loathing or obsession with weight or the size of one's own hips/bum/tum. Especially when it's me doing the self loathing.

However, having had a not so happy relationship with my thighs and belly for quite a while, something had to be done. I don't want to go on an on about it, but I need to write it down so I'm accountable.

First of all, I decided on no sweets or chocolate for a month. That also happened to be on the 14th so I'll get to have a treat on Valentine's Day. I thought it'd be awful as I am always picking at sweets left about for the kids or worse, buying something at the terribly convenient shop 4 minutes from our house that is a 30 second detour from the school run. And also Cadbury's keep bringing out new and delicious varieties of dairy milk mixed with awesome stuff. However I had a (rather unpleasant) epiphany a day or 2 ago. It went a little like this:

Chocolate is a treat, and therefore should be for occasional consumption. 

Mind-blowing right? It was less that though, than the thought that for pretty much the rest of forever, chocolate will now probably have to be a once a week small bar kind of thing. That makes me sad, I miss my 17/18 year old metabolism that let me eat a large bar for breakfast in the sixth form common room with a little pint carton of milk. Let's be honest, I'm lucky to not have type 2 diabetes by now. I actually haven't been craving chocolate or sweets yet, even with sweets in the house. I'm hoping it'll be easier than I thought, though there was an incident with a custard filled choux bun topped with chocolate sauce stuff where I was very very tempted.

Second of all, I'm back doing My Fitness Pal. I love it. It's only calorie counting (with an app), so while there is an irritating amount of packet reading and food weighing, I can still eat fun things in very very small amounts. It's really helping me re-learn correct portion sizes too, and let me tell you, they seem incredibly small. So far I have managed to stay under 1300 calories a day, though my goal is 1200. Any exercise done also earns you calories back to eat more, which is giving me that persistent poking in my conscience to get back to walking in the mornings while Sam is at nursery. So far I haven't but I think it's coming, ha.

So there it is, my rather babble-y written proof of commitment. I'm almost certain I won't mention it again until Valentine's day, and normal service will resume in the next post. Your boredom has been appreciated ;)

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Friday, 10 January 2014

I'm sorry, December was a blur

Sorry folks. We had a mad December, with 5 rolls of wrapping, 4 batches of bread rolls, 3 excitable boys (plus us!), 2 Christmas days, and 1 chest infection. Doesn't quite roll of the tongue like a partridge in a pear tree but hey, it's what we had.

We also had a visit from the reindeer in town, which of course sent the excitement into a tailspin and yet I had no parachute.
 Why yes those are my boys hands reaching for the nose. We avoided any fingers in nostrils scenarios and the lucky reindeer was left unscathed. 

Time to decorate the tree!
 We got these white lights 2 years ago as a last resort, one of our old strings blew around the 19th of December and I went out to buy more and there were none anywhere. These were in Asda and I actually didn't really like them to start with, they're berry lights, so LED with little balls over, but now I love them. Oh and when I got home and took the old lights off to put them on, it turned out to be a loose connection and they were fine lol! Those now go around the window.
 Placing the star. sidenote - will you look at the legs on that boy?! He's part grasshopper I swear.
 New Christmas jumpers :) 
Not long after this we went down to my Mum and Dad's for first Christmas, where we received many fab presents including this canvas from Jess:
 And this scarf from Mum:
And oh my goodness, the most delicious homemade chocolate fudge ever from Amy. So good that I made it for Ethan's teachers' Christmas presents. I'll add the recipe to the blog soon.

Gingerbread in the hizzle!

 I had help from both boys this year and it was a lot of fun, almost no stress, the exception being those bleeping snowmen. We used cadbury snowballs and mini marshmallows glued together with royal icing. Balancing them was... fun...

More importantly it was delicious, though the boys spared no thought for structural integrity while picking at it over the course of a few days.
Apparently turning it around didn't occur to them and one evening there was a crash as it collapsed. The next morning I was confronted with "Mummy! What did you doooo?!" before the fell back to munching.

This year Ethan was a wise man in the nativity with his cousin Zach

The hat was a little big but he loved it.

Then it was time for Christmas number 2 (on Christmas day this time) at home and the Browns. Ethan was incredibly excited to get his bike, and a new Batcave and lego and allsorts, and Sam was more than happy with the plethora of trains he got!

We also got a soup maker which is totally fabulous and I got the boys to eat actual soup!

New Year's was pretty blah, We stayed up until midnight by accident and were underwhelmed by the London fireworks before getting off to bed, to round out 2013 in our usual lazy fashion!

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Harry Potter Day at Stockeld Park

Last weekend we headed up to Stockeld Park after a tip off from a friend that they were having a Harry Potter weekend. After checking it out online we thought the boys would enjoy it and there were a few free events, so off we popped.

We eventually decided (upon arriving) to get a family day pass to the park, as there was a show in one section and a maze in another that we'd have had to pay for. That was the only negative of the day really, that getting into all the parts of the park was a bit cha-ching, and it wasn't really checked. We could definitely have gotten away with at the very least just buying a pass for me and Ethan. We were only checked twice, once on the way in to the 'Enchanted Forest' and once at the bean planting station (which would only have cost £1 without the pass). The maze and sorting weren't checked at all, which was a bit irritating after we forked out for it!

Anyway, back to the good stuff!

First off we had broomstick training, with 2 wizards and a witch from Hogwarts. They were brilliant. An aside, all the... actors? characters? anyway, they were all from Make a Wish Entertainment (facebook here) and they were amazing. More about them later.

This is Wesley Wizzo, who looks and acts freakishly like my brother-in-law Jonny. So much so that Sam shouted his name. Ethan did some magic spells, the group fought a swamp monster, practised flying, and helped a wizard earn his golden hood.

 There he is flying around, with adults acting as quidditch hoops and the whomping willow. He had a blast, and it was good imagination exercise!

Next there was bean planting, with very dry sparkly soil - points for lack of mess - and a white bean, planted with a wish in a small pot. Simple and enjoyable.

In the same area was an animal rescue/welfare group who'd brought some owls along for the event, and they were lovely about the children touching the owls and they both even got to hold the smallest one.

I can't adequately convey the pure joy this brought them, especially Sammy.

After this we stopped for a snack, and then went into the Maze. We were given a quiz and the answers were hidden in the maze, but, being Harry Potter questions, I knew them already ;)

We loved it, it wasn't too difficult, if you looked at the maps posted here and there throughout. There were a couple of bridges and a tower to see the maze from above too, which was fun. We made it through in about 20 minutes, though we did pass an arguing family who'd been in there an hour! 
 After the maze Ethan went for sorting, which was fab, the hat's face moved and it spoke, and he loved it. He got Gryffindor, so was made up. After this we had the Harry Potter Catwalk, which I have no pictures of because I was Sam-wrangling. All the dressed up kids basically did a fashion parade, with a guy introducing each one. I was impressed that they both had a crack at it, Ethan struck a spell pose, and Sam raced up and down. They were both outdone however by the only girl dressed up as Luna Lovegood. She was spot on, stripey tights, tutu-esque skirt, sprectre specs. She strutted down the catwalk, turned, and dropped into a perfect split. Naturally, she won, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Quick stop to hug a reindeer (Sam is slightly obsessed with these kind of costumed people), and then off to the Harry and Hagrid show in the Enchanted Forest. The show was fun, though Rich had to take Sammy out. When Hagrid called on Harry, he kept shouting "No Hagrid, I Harry Potter!" So they went off to look at the lights in the forest and Ethan and I watched the show. It was great, the actors were absolutely spot on, little bit of magic and great rapport with the kids.

Ethan was so excited, it was very cute. 
After we went through the Enchanted forest it was time to head home. There was a small ice skating rink, but it was busy and we needed to get back, which was a shame. Anyway, on our way out to the car, Harry and Hagrid were waiting for a pick up off somewhere else when we bumped into them and another witch (Polly Potions, from broomstick training) and the second we approached, they immediately turned it back on, and were more than happy to spend a few more minutes with the children. They were absolutely brilliant, and made the day. Very good with the children, really happy, enthusiastic and just seemed to really enjoy their work.

Then it was home to bed where two sleepy boys went to bed without Daddy washing off any Harry Potter scars :)

Make a Wish Entertainment apparently do parties and events, and I would absolutely recommend them and as soon as I can afford it I'll book them to do a birthday for Ethan!

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


We were lucky enough to get two chances the dress the kids up this year, for the trunk and treat at church and for trick or treating. So first, for the trunk and treat...
We had last minute vampire who decided he wanted this cape from the 99p shop. Thrifty!

 We also had a last minute gruffalo who refused to wear the ghost costume he'd asked me to make. Still, he had a gruffalo dressing gown and slippers already so all it took was a green felt tip for the poisonous wart at the end of his nose, and we were done. We had a fun time at the trunk and treat, I made a coconut shy with skulls in the place of coconuts in our car boot for the kids to knock down, they got sweets, bosh, done.
Then for trick or treating on our street we managed to get Sam into his ghost costume.
 He's 'woo'-ing. Ethan wore this Harry Potter costume, only with scar and glasses.
 We had a fun time visiting the decorated houses on our street and getting far too many sweets and chocolates, but to be honest the boys enjoyed opening the door the most. Sam spent as much time as possible with the door open, leaning out and shouting "come trickle treating!" across the street.
Henry wore this for both occasions and had no opinion. Unless you count spewing on it, which I don't, considering he is non-discriminatory with his barfing habits.

I did 3 pumpkins,  one of which when I took the 'lid' off the insides were so perfect I saved them for pie.

The pie was delicious and supremely easy, I just googled for a recipe and done. Except for the part where I forgot I had already bought nutmeg and ginger ages ago and bought them again, giving me a cupboard full of it. 

And that was halloween :) Lots of fun, a bit of mess and thankfully no damage done to my hands while carving the pumpkins - a first!

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Magic Chocolate Cake

 I've had a few requests so here it is, the un-killable cake. I made more this week (goodbye waist!) and forgot to take it out of the oven for like 15 minutes, and it was still fine. I'd turned the oven off at least. Right, let's get to it.

200g/7oz self raising flour
225g/8oz caster sugar
1/2tsp salt
25g/1oz cocoa powder
100g/4oz margarine
2 eggs
150ml milk
splash of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 180°c.

Mix the dry ingredients then rub in margarine. Mix the wet ingredients and beat. Combine.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. I usually stick it in what I think is a 9 inch round tin.

This is how the recipe pretty much reads in my book. It originally came from the Be-Ro baking book via my lovely friend Jannine, and I have since had and lost 2 Be-Ro books. They sell for about 80p, but last time I was in morrisons I couldn't find a replacement. Luckily I had it in my recipe notebook, although it looks like this through my terrible handwriting and overuse:

The original calls for 5tbsp of evaporated milk and 5tbsp of water, but Jannine and I both thought, nah, that's just milk, and replaced it. Because evaporated milk is gross, and I never want to buy it. I also usually have to cook it a little longer as the batter is really quite runny. I've swapped butter in for the marg, and I've never used caster sugar, just bog standard granulated, because when I make cake it's usually on a whim, and who has caster sugar just in the cupboard? Aside from you know, grown up people who bake properly.

Now for the icing, because of reasons.

9oz sieved icing sugar
2.5oz butter/marg
3tbsp hot milk
1tbsp cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla

Melt the butter, add the hot milk and vanilla, then the cocoa powder and sugar. Beat it to death, done. If you want it thick enough to spread (like the above picture) add a bit more sugar. I can't tell you how much more really because I just go til it looks right. Also I tend to guess with the cocoa too, but basically, you can't go wrong with this either.  Both last a few days, which is more than enough.

So there it is, make it, eat it, and curse me on the last slice. If you intend to take it somewhere or share, and you have willpower like mine, make it right before you need it, because it is very much moreish.

Also if anyone does manage to ruin it, let me know and I'll make you some kind of award, because seriously, you've got recipe destroying skillz.

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!