Monthly Archives: September 2016

My parents are a fairytale to my children 

Both of my parents had passed away before my children came along. They’ve never had grandparents provided by me. They’ve no happy memories to share, no stories to pass on to their own children like they have with their grandparents on their dads side.

The effect of parenting without parents on me has, at times, not been pretty. There was always a feeling of inadequacy that I couldn’t give my children the loving grandparents they would have been. I know this is irrational, as irrational as the anger I’ve felt towards my parents at times for not being around. Emotions can be irrational and nonsensical though can’t they, especially when you throw in grief to the mix.

Added to rage and inadequacy are a whole other range of feelings I’ve experienced as a mum without parents.

When the children were babies I had moments of despair where I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I just needed my mum around to ask what the hell I was meant to do about colic!

I’ve felt jealous of people who did get to spend time with my mam and dad, who got to know them and be loved  by them when my children never would.

I’ve been envious of other mums who have their parents to lean on for support and speak of how they don’t know how they’d manage without their help.

I’ve done IT’S NOT FAIR like a toddler.

These are all fleeting feelings though. The only emotion to stick around for the long haul is a sadness. It is really sad that my children never got to meet their grandparents, it’s sad we’ll never get to see how those relationships would have turned out and developed.

My children know of their grandparents though.

My house is full of old photographs, some of my parents. They’ve been up in the house as long as we’ve lived here. They’re familiar to the kids. They’re part of what makes up ‘home’

Mainly though, my parents are fairytales to my children.

They’re a series of stories I tell and repeat.They are faces in the photos.

When I talk to the kids of how my mam made the best pattie and chips and attempt (and fail) to recreate it they’ll giggle at how they hope hers was better.

When youngest boy is watching Only Fools and Horses or Fawlty Towers (he bloody loves them! ) I’ll tell him how my dad loved  them too and find particular episodes he’d made me watch with him.

When the children and I are carrying out our little family Christmas rituals I chat about what we used to do as kids. Through the years we’ve incorporated some old traditions  into ours (post lunch board games and Christmas day buffet tea for example) and that always makes me feel there’s a connection there.

Maybe being a fairytale isn’t so bad, maybe being a familiar character in a familiar story has an endearing charm of it’s own.

My children never knew their grandparents but they do have memories after all I think. Kept alive in my telling them the stories.
After all, fairytales are magical and familiar and comforting and if that’s how the grandparents they didn’t meet feel to them then that’s a whole ‘happy ever after’ of its own.


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Call me a grump but… 

It’s beginning to feel a bit chilly. 

Am I crying for summer back? 

Lamenting the end of  picnics and pretty summery dresses? 

Not at all not one bit. 

We’ve had an odd summer. Now the elder 3 are getting older, they often have plans with their friends rather than wanting to picnic in the park with mum! Added to that small girls holidays with daddy, eldests hols with his pals and other holidays with grandma I feel as though we didn’t really get to spend that much time together really and it left me a bit flat where summer is concerned. I know this is likely how things are going to go now the kids are getting older but I’ll put this year down as a transitionary period and prepare better next year. 

So a chill is in the air and I’m not sad, I like autumn. It’s the kick start to so much good stuff! 

Comfort food 

I like a bbq  as much as the next woman but it  just doesn’t do much for my soul. 

Stew and dumplings, soups, hotpots.. These things make my heart happy! I know! I know! It’s always about the food with me! There’s a whole other kind of giddy reserved for coming in out of the dark and cold to a stew that’s been bubbling away in the slow cooker all day filling the house with yummy smells! 

Even better. . These comfort foods may carry a few more calories than your summer salad but it’s OK because.. . 

Jumpers.. and boots… 

I bloody love a jumper! ! Gone are having to show  your wobbly bits. Fluffy jumper and even the attention seeking boobs are covered up and behaving themselves! Sooo cosy too! OK we all know I’m stuck in a 90s tartan skirt /sweater combo but to mark the start of the season I may treat myself to some new thick black tights!!! Ready for… 

Hull Fair Weather

OK so to those of you not from Hull you’d probably just call this – well weather I suppose. Back in t’day though the week of Hull Fair (early October) was always when your mam would buy you new scarves and gloves. It’s cold, it’s crisp, it’s worthy of gloves but not necessarily a coat! 

I know I’m a Hull bore.. I do I promise. I know I’ve mentioned it’s our  (yes I know I don’t live there  anymore but  it’s still home! ) big City of Culture 2017 year. Should any of you find yourself in the vicinity being culture vultures around October, pay the fair a visit. It’s a spectacle! 

Cosy, dark nights in. . 

The best bit of autumn/winter to me. You’ve tummy’s full of lamb hotpot, you’re all in your pj’s on the sofa watching either Strictly or X Factor (or a movie if you’re too cool for that). No Doctor Who this autumn unfortunately. Hot chocolate on laps, curtains shut, lamps on.. 

My little family and I, cosy and snug? Yes that definitely makes an autumn night for me! 
Besides those children have to make up for their summer desertion to needy mum! ! 

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The Curious Case of the Lesser Spotted Teenager.. 

There used to be a quite vocal, very present human being living in this house with us. Quite a charming chap he was. Fun to hang out with, he was especially talented in choosing movies and was very handy for sending out to the shops. 
However, one day, my 16 year old first born developed a social life and ever since he has become a rare sighting in our house. 
He has friends to hang out with, football matches to watch, girls have reared their head (boooo!) and there is always a better way for him to spend his time than chatting with needy mum here! 
Occasionally the lesser spotted teenager will allow us to socialise with him. After exams we were permitted to go out for pizza with his pals. We were all very honoured and I felt like I mustn’t be a TOTAL embarrassment if we were allowed  to chat and eat pizza with the teens. Also of course I was buying the pizza which may have had more to do with it. 
I’m fairly sure he still lives here and hasn’t in fact moved out. Though sightings of him in his natural habitat are rare we often spot signs of life! They usually come in the form of bread, butter and sandwich fillings left out on the side, plates and mugs found by beds. Sometimes if you are up very early you can hear the call of the teen. It sounds very much like “mum where is my?..” it’s often followed up by the sound of milk being splashed on the worktop and cereal being crunched before the slam of the door is heard on his way out to college. 
Thankfully, on the occasions that the male, teenage human decides to spend time with his family it’s a very pleasant experience. Food, TV and chatter is shared. Sibling bickering is at a minimum and I certainly am happy to have a few good quality hours with him before he’s back out with his friends! 
I expect over the next couple of years his siblings will follow suit and this house will become a quieter, stranger place. Thank goodness for small girl. . She’s going to have to be around to keep needy mum company for a long while yet! ! 


Signs your child is a Bake Off obsessive… 

Small girl ditched Cbeebies for the Food Network when she was about 3. She loves any cooking  programme : Jamie, Masterchef, Great British Menu, Matilda and the Ramsey Bunch she’ll watch them all. When she’s ‘grown up’ she wants to own her own restaurant. 

Her favourite, as is mine, is The Great British Bake Off. I always try to encourage the kids interests and if I can share in them I always try too so snuggling watching Bake Off with cake is one of our favourite things.

Even with the big new channel change she insisted she was going to watch. Though Sandy and Noel are in no way as funny as Mel and Sue in her opinion ,she’s stuck with it!!

Though sometimes I pick up on signs that maybe she loves it a bit too much.. 

1) The Great Soggy Bottom Meltdown 

Small girl loves baking, she’s quite skilled. School cake sales or coffee mornings are her favourite when she can bake at home then show off her wares. This is all well and good when it’s all going right, when her pies are perfect, her buns beautiful and her shortbread superb. 

However, when it goes wrong you can  witness a tantrum Gordon Ramsey would be proud of. The most recent one occurred after small girl had been making a cake. I had interfered (because I never learn!) Cake came out most unsatisfactory. Cue the 9yo equivalent of a toddler tantrum ending in her storming into her room with the words “I am not serving that it has a soggy bottom!” 

2)Her life ambitions are a little off the wall 

The phrase “all I want in life is to have an oven with a prooving drawer” has been uttered more than once. A ‘big posh’ food mixer is on her Christmas list! 

3) She is a proper food critic

Indoors at home I find it pretty quirky and  adorable when she comments that the cookies you’ve made are a little overbaked. Eating out is a little more blush worthy though when she becomes food critic  2017. Her chopping up a pie, declaring the pastry too dry makes me feel as though I have one of those unbearable children better placed in a Roald Dahl story. She’s not I promise! All Bake Offs fault! 

4)She has delusions her daddy is like Paul Hollywood 

Small girl maintains that her daddy looks like and bakes like Paul Hollywood. 

She is deluded. . and possibly has been touch of hero worship going on. 

We also must never tell daddy about this , he’d be chuffed to bits.

5) Play doh becomes very competitive 

Play doh out. 

Her soft  toys come out. 

Small girl v mummy at play doh bake off. 

The soft toys play the part of the judges. Strangely though, small girl voices the judges and though their opinion on my play doh cakes are usually scathing they are always very complementary about hers! She’s been even known to get the famous Hollywood handshake for her croissants! ! 

I’m mummy, I find all this quirkiness the cutest thing ever. .  Though I’m also hoping her restaurant ownership comes off, I’d never cook again! !