Posted in Children, Christmas, memories, parenting

Oh go then, it is Christmas…

Hello lovely people.

How are we all doing?

Who’s still in the ‘time twixt Christmas and New Year’ haze?

Let’s check:

🔶 Do you know what day it is? (Erm, well Christmas was on a Tuesday and that was a few days ago-ish, so it’s definitely…….a day ending with y.)

🔶 When is your next bin collection? (Hmm, normal day is Tuesday….. we worked out a minute ago that Christmas was Tuesday so no noisy bin folk… so probably…..hang on what day is it today anyway… I don’t know where the dangly bit of card with the Very Important Reorganised Dates on is. Let’s just keep on an eye on next door, they’ll know…)

🔶What did you have for breakfast today? (Was it standard, run of the mill, everyday, socially acceptable breakfast fare? Or…..not? For example; yesterday I enjoyed Baileys Roulade for breakfast and I’m not even sorry.)

🔶Have you answered any questions with the words “oh go on then, it is Christmas”? (Shall we open another packet of Brie?/ Can we stay in pyjamas all day?/ Drink?/Another drink?)

🔶Are you regularly refereeing Selection Box Ownership battles? (That’s my Fudge bar, he’s had two Crunchies now, she’s eaten my Oreo bar – er nope she hasn’t, it underwent quality control -)

🔶Are you still discovering gourmet worthy ways of serving cold turkey? (We’ve had ‘cold meats and cheeses’, turkey soup, turkey carbonara, Christmas dinner pasta bake, turkey rolls…..)

I think we can safely say that we are all suffering from ‘holiday season hangover’.

So. Christmas at The Circus was fairly standard. We recently got a new oven so it didn’t take 27.6 hours to cook the turkey (and for anyone who remembers the soap opera worthy goings on of last year, you’ll be pleased to know that no wildlife pretested the poultry this time)

Noodle decided to be my sous chef for the Christmas cooking, especially with the very important pigs in blankets. However, he discovered upon opening the bacon that it had been packaged in Suffolk so therefore must be posh. So it transpired that our meaty side dish was to become ‘porkers in ponchos’.

Pickle had the double delight again of her Christmas Day birthday. She was over the moon to receive the only two things that she craved in life; a violin and a microphone.

It sounded so idyllic, ah she wants a violin, how sweet, we shall of course purchase one with haste. Oh how wrong we were.

The Noise. I cannot begin to describe the sound that a five year old can make with a violin.

But this is me so I will, of course, try: imagine a hybrid animal somewhere between a mouse and a hyena (I’ll give you a minute). Then imagine that this creature is forced to walk barefoot on Lego whilst simultaneously having its teeth pulled out with pinking shears. Then. And only then. Will you be any where close to the melodic harmonies that are produced. You live and learn.

All due respect to CircusHusband who remembered my desire for a pyrography kit, and further respect for an afternoon of lone parenting while I sat with three of my fingers submerged in cold water after my first go. In case anyone has ever wondered; human fingers are not designed to withstand the heat required to burn wood (who says these blog posts aren’t educational?!)

The finished article.

So, all in all. Not a bad Christmas period I suppose. I have to be honest, I struggle with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lead up; the music, the lights, the present buying. It’s just the day itself, it always feels a touch anticlimactic, and rushed and chaotic (yes I know, I have control issues which don’t help). But we made it through, and Boxing Day was much easier to digest (it may or may not have had something to do with the discovery of chocolate orange Baileys) so all was well.

The 28th of December is the anniversary of losing my Mum which, even after many years, always clouds my Christmas somewhat. This year we spent it quietly at home and played some of her favourite songs on the Echo (we now have three in the house, if you have never used them as walkie talkies then you haven’t lived). It wasn’t sad, but acts as a reminder to tell people you love them while you can, and to show appreciation to those in your life who deserve it. Everyday is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

A few more limbo days now until we hit the excitement of New Year. What will 2019 bring? In The Circus we are hoping for health and happiness; for CircusHusband’s new career path to continue expanding, for my writing to hit the wider audience (I know, god help everyone), and for lots of laughs.

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas in whichever way you choose to spend it.

Welcome to my world.


Posted in baking, night out, mums, back to school, Children, parenting

And today we baked…..

Today I decided on word association activities.

It was baking (hot) so we baked.

Tenuous possibly but it gives me leeway, imagine a day with lots of whines……

So, anyway, baking and making it was and surprisingly I had a full quota of willing helpers.

The first was easy. Bread. Focaccia bread.

This was a very simple recipe; self raising flour, oil, warm water, herbs and salt. No need to prove.

45 minutes in the oven and it was done

It might not win any prizes (or a Hollywood handshake) but wow did it taste good!

So, what do you need with fresh bread on the hottest day in the history of the world ever……drum roll please……..

Soup. (Yes The Monkeys are decidedly odd)

So we dug out my faithful multi cooker and homemade tomato and vegetable soup did appear.

You can buy really expensive multi cookers but mine is a £20 Wilko’s jobby which does me just fine

The soup was a hit. So much so, that the vat of soup I intended to portion and freeze (yes I’m scared too, the heat must be affecting my domesticity, don’t be alarmed this heat has to give way soon and normal service will be resumed) actually only did one lunch time with a bit spare.

Finally. It was decided we needed pudding so we put our heads together and an invention was born.

I present to you…..

Nutella (other brands of chocolate spread are available, most notably Aldi’s Nutoka which if you remove the label bears a striking resemblance to the market leader, and apparently passes the taste test of continually ravenous Monkeys…..) and candied mixed peel bread and butter pudding.

For administrative purposes I was forced to test the results (the proof of the pudding is in the eating after all) and I can quite honestly say that if you looked up ‘divine’ in a thesaurus there would be a picture of this dessert. I am known for my modesty so that should give you an indication into the deliciousness of this creation.

To summarise; my kitchen looks like a bomb site, my dishwasher is going on strike for being forced to work beyond normal conditions, there’s no ingredients left for anything else but it was great fun and that’s all that really matters (oh and they inadvertently ate shed loads of vegetables which was probably counteracted by the second course but that’s the way the pudding crumbles).

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children

Organising Chaos.


So, in case this is a scenario that has plagued your mind recently, I would like to share something I discovered yesterday.

Q. When is it ok to not really fancy reorganising the pantry (oh don’t worry it’s not a posh pantry, it’s a cupboard with shelves to make up for having no kitchen units)?

A. Well pretty much all the time really. I mean, it’s boring, tedious, time consuming and, let’s face it, you can guarantee that ten minutes after you’ve finished someone will single handedly undo all your hard work while searching for; peanut butter (Pickle)/ ‘bibbits’ – biscuits to the rest of us (Wombat)/ sweets he claimed he got in a party bag that he most definitely hasn’t eaten and therefore someone else must have (Noodle)/my slimming world friendly tins of mackerel that she’s taken a liking to and I’m forced to covertly hide (Froo)/the meaning of life (CircusHusband).

Q. When is it not ok to not really fancy reorganising the pantry (still a cupboard with shelves)?

A. Erm, unfortunately shortly after emptying the entire contents of aforementioned pantry over the entire kitchen in a method that could be accurately described as ‘haphazard’.

Now I’ve imparted this wisdom let me set the scene.

It’s a Tuesday morning. I have successfully delivered 2 children, 2 backpacks, 1 lunchbag and 1 guitar to school. It is not a nursery day, it is a ‘stay at home with Mummy day’ for Pickle. We have returned home, we have played, we have ‘done jobs’. Pickle and Wombat have requested crackers for a snack (he didn’t know about the existence of the bibbits at this point, he now will not entertain the mere thought of a cracker) and I have announced naptime for the baby, imagine my astonishment when the 3 year old also expresses the desire for a nap (I argued hard….I promise).

Now, I think this is where the problem started you see. I was floating so high from the sheer dizzy novelty of a shared naptime that I got carried away. Instead of making a coffee and watching Jeremy Kyle (I use it like therapy, it reinforces that whatever may be happening it could all be much, much worse) I decided to tidy the pantry to allow me to make the best use of my new spice rack; sorry I should have warned you previously about the excitement level contained within this post, do feel free to take a moment before continuing.

I decided that the best approach would be to clear the shelves so I could see what was what to make reorganising easier. This seemed best achieved by relocating things onto the kitchen table and kitchen worktop. Simple.

This probably would have been a relatively good plan had I not forgotten to take into account that I had a grocery delivery due imminently. Before I knew it I had a weeks worth of groceries for six people piled on top of the pantry contents. Still I was undeterred, at least now I could put everything away at once (in fact while I was at it I should empty and clean the fridge before putting the chilled groceries away – I AM NOT JOKING…I DID THIS)

Approximately 4.6 minutes later I lost the will to live; I was ankle deep in random cereal that had skydived from boxes, Ryvita dust was flying from every angle, the contents of a tub labelled basil smelt suspiciously like sage. I was contemplating tying together the 5628 plastic bags I’d unearthed and attempting an escape, Rapunzel style.

By now you’re probably thinking well at least nothing else can go wrong.


The baby woke up.

Yep an eighteen month old in an already somewhat chaotic situation.

You can surely imagine the rest.

Long story short; the pantry was finally refilled and reorganised thanks to an obscene amount of plastic baskets and my trusty labelmaker. The spice rack was put to use, although I may need to stock up after disposing of some curry powder that predated my eldest child. And I filled the tub that is festooned with the word ‘Haribo’ with slightly misshapen Ryvitas so that should be entertaining.

So to sum up:

Negative points –

  • That’s a couple of hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
  • I’ll never know if the strange toothless man is the father of his sister’s aunties next door neighbour’s lollipop ladies’ chinchilla. (can you watch Jeremy Kyle on catchup?)
  • The hoover may never be the same again.
  • I still don’t completely trust the basil/sage ‘freaky friday’ saga.

Positive points –

  • The pantry in the kitchen finally matches the pantry in my head.
  • The baby didn’t need lunch after spending the best part of an hour foraging.
  • It was all done before the three year old woke up and ‘helped’.

As an added bonus I’m pleased to announce that should this country ever need to succumb to rationing and you find yourselves desperately short of anything, then you’re welcome to come and see me and we can come to a deal. However I may need to restrict some products to one per customer as I’m personally down to my last 7 boxes of dried lasagne sheets and worryingly my last 49 sachets of fast acting yeast. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Welcome to my world