Category Archives: General

For all the other bits of info on mumof2.com that just don’t seem to fit anywhere else!

A visit to a nuclear power station

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Yes, you are not seeing things and no I wouldn’t call myself completely crazy either. On our recent family trip in South Africa the weather wasn’t exactly playing ball. Mind you, whilst it was pouring with rain and a bit windy, it wasn’t snowing either so we can’t exactly complain.

It made planning to get out and about a little trickier than just heading for the beach as we had to time it in between the downpours. So, one of the days, we decided to head for the Koeberg Nuclear Power station, just outside of Cape Town.

There were lovely trails for the us to ride our bikes in and amongst the springbok, Eland and a couple of other buck. We could also just use the education centre as a spot to get out of the rain and the boys to take in a couple of facts about power. What was great is that it is in interactive learning centre, so the boys could see examples of the various types of power we as people consume.

It may seem like a weird choice for a holiday activity, but I am quite pleased we did it. Apart from studying this particular power station for Geography in high school, I can now say we have been to one (a nuclear one at that) and I hope that the boys will remember it in years to come.

It also makes the Japanese disaster all the more real in seeing how much land there is (or isn’t) surrounding such a facility. We know the world is getting more populated and energy requirements are ever increasing and there are pro’s and con’s to using nuclear energy.

We also stood under the power lines and listened to the non-stop crackle of the electricity over head. It is quite a sensory way of showing just what it means to turn the lights on or play on the wii!

So, as far as a holiday outing with a difference and a spot of learning (and helping to dodge the rain) is concerned – I think it is an option well worth considering.

A Mum to boys

Puncture_mumof2When we were pregnant with our second child, I recall having a discussion with my supportive husband as to whether we find out the sex of our baby (I’ll save that discussion to blog about for another day).  We found out we were to be blessed with another boy and we were/are really happy.

It does mean that I am the ‘only girl’ in the house and they are lucky that I am not a girly girl. It also means loads of BOY stuff. We have bikes, cricket sets, skateboards, footballs, cars, trains (which I might add are also suitable for girls!)…the list goes on.

It also means that sometimes our living room/lounge is transformed into a sort of workshop. Take operation puncture repair above.

We were our riding in the muddy fields today, our youngest son’s bike found  massive thorn and his tyre was completely flat. We had fun giving him lifts on our grown up bikes or swapping with his older brother at times in order for us to get back home. Whilst I am super supportive of all things boys, being a girl means I get confused as to how the lounge is a good place to repair a puncture?

There is a garage, kitchen, bathroom or even garden…but nope the lounge appears to be the most logical place for the repair to be undertaken. Granted – credit where credit is due – they have put something down to protect the carpet, but really?!?! The lounge?

My supportive husband has a saying when women do things he doesn’t understand. He shakes his head and mumbles ‘Women – odd’ and it appears to help him get over his confusion. I, on the other hand, don’t. Love our boys to bits but will have to let them all know that the lounge is off limits as a workshop!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tips on baking Lamingtons

Lamingtons_mumof2

Last night – I spent a number of hours with our 2 boys baking away to make presents for my supportive husband’s birthday today. One of the items was Lamingtons – which are a sponge that has been lightly dunked in a thin chocolate icing and then has desiccated coconut sprinkled lightly over it. Delicious if you are a coconut lover – and well if you don’t like coconut then I wouldn’t include it with your cup of tea.

Here are some Lamington Tips that I discovered during the process…

Ranty post : Parental guilt – yes it’s ok to feel it!

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They are talking about parental guilt on BBC Breakfast this morning and whilst they were having a discussion they were balancing a mother who is well a ‘normal’ mother and a business woman who is also a mother.

I am all for mother’s supporting one another – I have said this before but…yes the but arrived…I was completely floored when the business woman/mother put an argument forward that she feels no guilt whatsoever for having someone else look after her children and that she can work like a man or just as effectively as she doesn’t have to think about all those things that come with having children (ok the last part of the sentence I added as interpretation).

So – it got my ranty side working as my thought process was :

  • That is a bit of an insult to men (and not just dad’s) that they don’t feel empathy or are completely heartless.
  • Most Men / dad’s also like to spend time with their kids /family and carry an enormous sense of empathy,longing to be with their loved ones, whilst at work.
  • If feeling guilt ‘creates a glass ceiling’ for working parents – well then this world is turning into some cold place
  • She also gave an example of when she went to her own children and said that she had a sore throat, that they turned and said ‘get a grip’ and showed no sympathy – whatsoever. Apparently she is proud of them as that is what she does to them. Erm – aren’t we supposed to show our children how to care?
  • I also thought ‘well done!’ to the mom on the breakfast sofa who stood up for herself and said that she wouldn’t want to be heartless or selfish as when her children said ‘Mom – I would have loved you to have been there for my exam’ – she said she wished she could have.

I know that I loved working and having our boys and it was a tricky balancing act to keep going all the time. I think each family and parenting unit do what is best for them as a unit but I completely disagree with the fact that feeling any sense of guilt, when it comes to bringing up children, is something you don’t feel. This to me is a HUGE fib.

Sorry – rant over – I may even write another follow up on this it has made me so mad.

Product Review : Hoops and Crosses

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There was much excitement in our house recently when a surprise package arrived through our door from the cheeky bunch at Walkers. We have been chosen to honestly review their Hoops and Crosses wholegrain snacks…and so we have!

Our 4 year old’s first word when he had finished eating a cross was ‘Deeeelicious’ and I was kind of like ‘ Hmm…not bad..light…and quite tasty!’ He did say the after taste was a ‘bit burny but he still liked them’.

The 2 of us then immediately went into a game of noughts and crosses which I need more practice at !

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as there was only 1 Hoops and Crosses pro today and it was not me!

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They are a clear winner in our house and I have a feeling that it will make many a long car journey that much more fun and will await the new argument of ‘he ate my go!’. I like the fact that they are wholegrain and are preservative and artificial colours free. Our boys have wholegrain cereal for breakfast and we generally have wholemeal bread in our house (I see a pattern forming here).

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**Sponsored review**

People watching on the train

spring, tulip, simple, mumof2, people watching

I am currently sitting on a train heading back home after a pitstop trip to London to fetch our son’s passport and thinking I can see why people train hop. It’s peaceful (usually), warm (usually) and there aren’t many children onboard. Oh, and you can’t really do much except sit (or if you are unlucky stand) and watch the world to by, stare at strangers, sleep or force people to listen to your overly loud music blaring from your headphones.( thankfully today I like the song whoever is playing so shall not sigh and stare at them to turn their music down).

I am also in between admiration and shock at people who put their make up on in front of strangers, with a wobbly train/ tube and NOT manage to poke their eye out with their eye-liner or choke on their lip-liner. I would love to secret film them pulling funny faces whilst checking pimples and other things or pulling their eye-brows out with tweezers.

I have tried to sneak a peak as to whether others are watching the performance but not brave enough to stare long enough as I don’t want to catch their eye in case I become to new ‘let’s stare at her victim’. I have to say this is not only women but I have seen some men do it too.

Sorry, back to my original thought process. Yes, the train. I am starting to think I should make it a weekly habit as it will aid and abet my procrastination of housework duties and mean I can legitimately state I have somewhere else to be. It also means like today, that I’ll increase my exercise from just walking to either power walking or running. I seemed to do that a lot today although missed each of my fast trains by 1min.

In fact am making a mental note to myself, should organise a race of sorts to see who can complete a journey in the fastest time by rail/tube with power walking or running. I haven’t worked in the city for a number of years and yep, everyone walks so fast!

How 3 4yr olds made my day!

Gift, weeds, flower, pretty, mumof2.comYou would usually think that a 4 year old may make you a little crazy and that 2 4 year olds was a bit nuts and agreeing to look after 3 4 year olds at once would send me in search of the gin!

I have to say – it doesn’t and I look forward to the days when our son’s 2 friends come over for a play date. This past Wednesday we headed off in search of fun at Duxford Imperial War Museum as the sun was shining.

We were spoilt on arrival with a jet doing some aerobatics and the boys just squealed with delight! It was such a joy to watch their excitement and enthusiasm. What completely made my day was that each one of them went in search of these tiny daisy flowers (yes weeds to most) …they came up to me and asked me to close my eyes and gently placed a flower in the palm of my hand and then asked me to open my eyes.

Their faces were smiling and waiting in anticipation for my reaction and it was a priviledge that they chosen me to give their little gifts to. They would then run off and go in search of another one.

To some these are mere weeds but to me they were in a moment in time and so beautiful. I hope to remind them one day of how thoughtful, kind and complete gentlemen (yes age 4) they were.

Just before we left, the jet went back up and put on another display. One of the boys asked me why and I told him it was just for us. He again asked why and I said because we are so special. His face lit up again and with a big smile he said ‘ Just for us!’ and then ran off to tell the other 2 that it was doing tricks just for them.

Honoured that it was me that day.


Am I on another planet?

Flying Long haul

I am all for mums supporting one another and think we give each other a hard time more often than not but (yes there is a but!)…some times we honestly deserve it!  Controversial statement I know but here comes an exampe that makes me feel all sorts of angry!

The other day my husband flew over to join the boys and I on our holiday. He isn’t the type to comment on things but he said that there were 2 mums that boarded his 11 hour flight with a child each who were about 8-10 years old. He couldn’t believe it when the mums left their children to sit next to each other on 2 seats and went to sit together about 20 rows behind – as in NOWHERE NEAR their children.

The one child asked for their mom on take off but the air hostess didn’t know who they were and on landing the one child was sick and a kind 20-something-year-old man, who had nothing to do with these children, helped the child.

Some may say that the mums were very clever in how they managed to get their children looked after by complete strangers. I, on the other hand, was appalled at the story! Who does that?!?!?! or am I on another planet?

Dear Fellow Passengers

Flying Long haul

It’s funny how the more I fly, the more nervous I become of something going wrong. Law of statistics I reckon. This time, however, I was a bit more nervous of flying as our eldest son no longer has grommets and we have had it on a flight before, where his ear drum burst on take off. We didn’t realise at the time what was happening but discovered the next morning.

So, when we fly now, I have all sorts of things to help him that our ear specialist told us to do. I also tell passengers immediately around us that if they hear either of our boys crying etc, it is not because they are being naughty but that they have problems with their ears and that I will do my best to help them. Most of the time I can see a sympathetic look and others there is a sheer panic of ‘ugh…there goes a peacful flight’.

We had a great flight over to see my mom for her birthday and the boys were fantastic on their 11 hour flight with thankfully no problems with their ears. I kept my side of the ‘good parent’ deal but would like to say :

  • To the guy who had his reading light on the ENTIRE night – thanks for thinking of everyone else around you who was trying to sleep.
  • To the chap who coughed like he was about to die – should you have really been on that flight?
  • To the 2 men who decided that they wanted to chat for 2 hours at the top of their voices – I feel sorry for the people right in front and behind you. Maybe on your next flight when you are trying to sleep someone won’t be as thoughtful as you.
  • To the chap who had his headset on super loud that you could hear it 5 seats away – I know a very good ear specialist and audiologist who could test your hearing. By the way, I don’t know how you studied all night with your light on whilst listening to the movie.

Sometimes, I reckon that airlines should pop a flying etiquette note in their safety speech….

It seems like my flying with kids preparation paid off too.