Friday Backchat – I hate ants!

 I hate ants with a vengeance! The little blighter’s are hell-bent on making sure I don’t get anymore of a courgette crop. The horrible little critters put on a full-scale attack when a flower blooms, and just when I give a big sigh of relief that the flower is still attached to the stalk, the next morning I get up to find it face down in the mud all nibbled at. What am I gonna do? Big sis suggests I ‘hunt them down and kill em’. But I think they might be hiding out over the border (typical), under the fence in the neighbour’s garden. Any suggestions for this would be MUCH appreciated. 

The scene of ant destruction

It’s generally been quite a strange week, rather busy – I’m feeling a bit like I’ve overdone it to be honest. Don’t give me anymore more to do, or I might want to curl up into a little ball and roll myself behind the sofa not to be found. Work has been mixed, some quite rewarding bits mixed with some crappier stuff. Outside of work I have been dashing round like a blue arsed fly doing last-minute errands for our week-long camping trip starting on Saturday and meeting with friends and family.

Today is no exception, I have got up at literally the crack of dawn to do half a day’s work, before heading out with our friends and their kids. The plan is for them to go home put their kids to bed while we deal with our babe, pack the car, and then maybe they return to our house later for a takeaway and drinks. If I’m not exhausted enough by then, hubby is on about getting up really early tomorrow morning to miss the traffic. I remain skeptical about wether or not he will follow through on that – depends on how much of a boozy evening we have. I’m secretly hopeful that he’ll have a hang over and sleep in 😉 

I even managed to find time somewhere to make some dodgy looking banana muffins for babe – they look rather ominous but she loved them! 

The dodgy looking banana muffins

So I’m away next week, but never fear I have ways and means with which to keep up my regular musings! So please keep coming back and checking out the latest. 

Catch up with you soon.
NCM

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Friday Backchat – Webinars, Bargains and First Harvest…now off camping for the weekend

 This week started (I always count the previous saturday as the start day) with a great day out at the beach. Babe has moved on from eating sand and got more eloquent in her culinary delights, now opting for seaweed and shells. I declined her fine offerings and stuck with the cheese muffin and carrot cake. On Sunday we then headed off to Topsham, a local historic estuary area, to feed the ducks. It should have been a relaxing experience, but it was actually rather threatening, babe nearly got swallowed by a swan and her arm broken by the geese. 

Here’s the start of my summer harvest of not so beautiful home-grown veg. Although I’m not happy, the ants have chewed two of the courgette flowers off their stalks. Another flower has come out today, fingers crossed this one doesn’t become victim to the beastly little ants. The courgette below seems to have been on the cream cakes, I’ve decided it’s time it stopped getting fat and was put in the pot. 

Babe and the courgete

Bargains and nappy time – It has been a bargain week for me, got a gorgeous top from Oasis at less than half price and grabbed myself some great deals on nappies on eBay. I’m pleased that we’ve also got rid of using disposable nappies at night-time. I started this when babe was younger, having two milk feeds a night – when I was too lazy to change the nappy. She’s not been waking up with a fully soaked nappy for some time, so I thought it was high time we moved back to the more cost-effective option of washables. 

Webinar Tastic – After two days of repeated rehearsals for my first hosting session for a webinar, I feel like my headset is now part of my skull. The webinars themselves went quite well, although I nearly got caught out by the postman turning up at the door wanting me to sign for a parcel just as I was about to start my intro. Turns out it was one of the eBay nappy bargains – of all things to disturb the webinar. Luckily I was sat by the window (because I needed a cable connection to the internet for a high-speed connection) and spotted his approach – below is a picture of my temporary office set-up for the webinars on the sofa, with a nice use of the toy box as a desk for one of the laptops. 

My living room webinar set-up 

Off camping this weekend – heading up to a campsite near Glastonbury to try out the new tent. Not sure if I’m looking forward to it or not. Putting up a new big family tent for the first time is always a bit fraught. Last summer (when we first got the tent we’ve just sold) we argued for about three hours solid. Part of that was down to the fact that I’d forgotten the air bed and had to drive home at 7pm to pick it up, luckily we were only about 15 minutes away from the house. After a very stressful evening (as we went after work on Friday), we woke up to a thunder-storm. It was also a very cold night, despite the fact that it was June. Poor babe who was only about six months old at the time, and had to wear socks on her hands – they felt like ice blocks – but surprisingly she didn’t seem that bothered.

So hoping the weather stays decent and we all keep a cool head.

Have a great weekend.

NCM

Friday Backchat – Cider Summer Evenings and Football Frustration

It’s been fantastic summer weather and we’ve enjoyed great evening of walks in the park and drinks of cider. The downside has been the football – read on to find out more…

Arn’t summer evenings great? We’re into Cider at the moment, partly because it’s on special offer at the supermarket and works out cheaper than wine. We’ve also taken to walking to the park as a family after tea (diner or what ever you like to call it) which is great for totally tiring babe out and prevents cabin fever setting in.

Clumsy clot does it again. People who know me well, understand what a hazard I can be to have around sometimes. Lock away your precious items, she’s coming to stay. We bought some brand new expensive mugs at the weekend, to replace two that babe had broken. Just five days in and I managed to chip one while dashing to wash the dishes up in super quick time. I was so angry with myself, and hubby was not pleased yesterday morning when he found the damaged item. I was considering blaming it on babe – but she is an all or nothing kinda gal – she’s not refined enough just to chip a mug, its smashed or nothing at all.

When is the football going to end? I must admit, when England won on Wednesday I did get kind of drawn in. But the other matches I really don’t give a damn about, sadly hubby does – argh kill me now! I can’t even argue that there is other decent TV onto watch, that is going to rival the footie. No Ashes to Ashes, Luther, Old Tricks – not even a decent cooking series. The only upside is that I have extra time for blogging writing in the evenings.

My weekly baking fix has been banana cake (with raisins and pecans) and a Madera cake – the later was not so great, as it turned out a bit too dense. Rather than just softening the butter in the microwave, it was half runny. The first veggies are on the stems, a courgette  and some tomatoes. The aubergine and potato plants are even starting to flower. So harvest time soon, that’s if babe doesn’t get to them first and bite them off.

Work has been MANIC, yet quite enjoyable and satisfying apart from getting dragged into a stupid argument about how we name our distributors/resellers/sales agents. Its amazing how much time something like that can eat up. I have been trying my hardest to side step getting involved, because it’s not my area and to be quite frank – it’s not my place to stick my nose in. That’s my work gripe this week, people who have delusions of grandeur in the workplace and want to stick their noses into everyone’s business. Sometimes I just want to say, shut up, keep out – know your place! I don’t think some people have enough REAL work to keep them busy for the whole day – instead they must meddle in others business. Grrrr

Friday backchat – attack of the bees, long armed toddler reaches for the door and breadmaker ginerbread

My babe has opened the door onto a swarm of bees feasting on gingerbread, playing all the ring tones on my new (second-hand Blackberry) while some are contemplating suicide – that’s this week in a nutshell (well kinda) …

Long armed babe can now open the door
OMG the super tall babe has no figured if she can stretch out fully, she can slip the tip of her fingers over the door handle and pull it down – eeeekkkk. Her almost talking has also really taken off this week, its soo cute – constantly running around shouting dada dada – but what about me I’m thinking, what about mama mama? I guess the milk machine is just taken for granted.

Babe has also found her inner humous love again!

A swarm of bees has taken over my living room
The infernal sound of the crowd noise coming from the football playing on the TV is starting to send me loopy, how long is it till the World Cup ends? Hubby is not a mad footie fan, but entertains it totally during world cup season, much to my misery. He even turns it on if he comes home at lunch time – that’s instead of watching ‘Loose Women’ – he he. I’m not bothered by the fact that this is taking dominance over our TV viewing, it’s the sound like a swarm of bees has invaded our living room that drives me round the bend.

Breadmaker Gingerbread
The baking highlight for this week is Gingerbread made in my breadmaker, its so easy and so yummy. If you’ve got a breadmaker, you must try it! My Fussy (hubby) is not so keen though, all the better for babe and me 🙂Breadmaker Gingerbread...yummy

At least I wasn’t suicidal after my day in the office
Yesterday I spent the day in the Bristol office, something I usually enjoy because I get to catch up on all the latest gossip. I even like the drive up and back because I get to listen to music full blast and not have to think about anything else – no pressure to be the multitasking queen. The poor guy on the Avonmouth bridge obviously hadn’t been doing so well as the police tried to coax him over the ledge from taking his own life as I drove past at 3pm. Although I’d not been that far of meeting a sticky ending  during my drive up, this was after being in fits of giggles while listening to Alan Carr (the very camp squeaky comedian) on the Chris Moyles Radio 1 breakfast show.

This weekend – second year wedding anniversary and fathers day
I can’t believe it was two years ago since we got wed, how time has flown. After getting married in semi secret at the local registry office with just a couple of old people as witnesses on the way to the library, we flew out to Tuscany in Italy for two weeks baking in the sun – it was sooo hot, not nice when you’re pregnant. The trip was full of troubles too, I lost my purse, hubby reversed the high car into a wall, we got locked out of our hotel one night and had to break back in – then about a year later we got a traffic fine for driving in the wrong lane in Verona. Not quite the relaxing honeymoon we had hoped for, but it was memorable 😉

Sunday should have been a nice day doing something special, but it looks like we have to go to Bristol to exchange our tent which we’ve just sold on ebay. We’re getting a special inflatable new one from Holand next week, can’t wait! So camping is probebly on the cards for next weekend -yeah.

Enjoy the weather this weekend, looks like its gonna be nice (I hope it is where ever you are).

NCM

11th June Friday Backchat – Off to Belfast

Its been a nice steady week, the veggie’s are doing well and we’ve done some baking;  and of course almost a full week at work – except for this afternoon off as we’re flying out to Belfast to visit Dubbey Do (my mum, her prefered name to Grandma). This week we also had a guest blogger, my friend Amy from Texas – more will be coming from Amy in the future (she’s promised).

First of all a BIG ol thanks to the people who have been checking out the blog and making comments, please keep it up and feel free to pass the link onto anyone else you might thinks interested. Now we’ve moved to a new host its MUCH easier to follow, you just find the top button on the right hand tool bar below the title ‘Email subscription’ and click on it – then you just enter your basic details and ‘Bob’s your uncle’, you get notified every time a new post is put up!    

Football Crazy
I had to share this with you – its nuts! Next door but one, are taking patriotism too far  for the world cup – pleased I don’t live over the road from them. 

How not to decorate your house

Steady Week at Work
I’ve been glad to get a bit of a quieter time this week – all home office based…sitting on the kitchen table watching the birdies in the garden, and doing some work (funnily enough). At last I’ve been able to get my head down and do some of the writing that has been mounting up over the last couple of weeks and work on our annual UK conference. Also had another meeting about progressing the company’s corporate blog on Monday, now we’ve got to win the marketing director over (which could be a toughie). 

Potatoes Going Mad
As I no longer have a house rabbit to munch away at the garden, I’ve started growing veggies in gro bags and compost bags etc, I’m really pleased with how well my potatoes are doing – not sure when I need to pull them out though? Do you know how tall the stalks should be? If you could let me know if you do, I’d really appreciate that. 

My potatoes and the babe

Only a Bit O Baking
Every week I like to bake a least one cake, in an attempt to try not to just gorge on chocolate and crisps in the evening – home-made cake seems to be a marginally healthier option. And more importantly I just lurve baking. We made cup cakes this week, lemon ones from Rachel Allen’s baking book – missing one egg (as I only had one left which I didn’t realize until half the mixture has been wizzed up in the food mixer) – doh! Anyway a splash of milk did the trick in the end. DD also enjoys baking too, more for the raw cake mixture that she can smear her chops with, or the opportunity to interfere. The other week we ended up with Garam Masala in the carrot cake, not that Mr Fussy (hubby) noticed and he does have quiet refined taste buds. 

DD tucking into cup cake mixture 

Lemon cup cakes
Off to Belfast this afternoon
Clocking off at lunch today as we are all flying out to Belfast this afternoon to visit Claire the Pear and Jerry the Berry (one of my hubbys nicer nick names for my mum and step dad).  Just over for the weekend, for a flying visit – literally. She’s baked a chocolate cake with her flying saucer cooker (what ever that is) special for our visit, I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve tried it. Mum hasn’t got the best of histories when it comes to cooking. Ah that’s not fair I guess, its more the savory cooking that she’s crap at – I recall many an odd concoction when I was a kid, like Kipper Korma. She’d always say “its divine” – me and my sis learned to go with caution when mum said ‘divine’ about her cooking 😉 

Claire the Pear is an illustrator - this is one of her sample images

Have a great weekend, hope you get good weather!

NCM

4th June Friday Backchat – weekend is nearly here

Yeah it’s Friday…how relieved am I! It’s been pretty hard work both on a work and personal’n’ family level.My poor darling husband has had some tummy upset for the last three days – I argue passionately that it wasn’t down to my roast chicken on Monday because both DD and I both ate it – but then I have a cast iron belly…but babe was OK. So I’ve had two children to look after this week – not much different to any other week then 😉 He’s not discovered my blog yet so I can say this without recriminations, but I know he’ll catch up with it soon – it’s no secret to him as I leave all my note pads with drafts of posted littered all around the house.  

The DD has also been suffering this week with teething and  has been a real mardy bum – throwing a hissy fit any time she doesn’t get her own way. But I guess we all get a bit grumpy when we’re not feeling well.

Work has been very busy, with a full day out at Stevenage yesterday, which was very productive despite getting thrown off the train by the grumpy train manager because I was asking questions and being a time waster. What I’m most miffed about, was in this case I really was being a good girl, I’d bought my full price ticket and I wasn’t trying to cause trouble…which makes a change on the trains to be honest. “You should complain”, said my mum – like I’ve got the time and can really bothered with getting into a debate with the train company.

 

And I feel a bit guilty to be honest about my recent train exploits, recently I went on some long trips up to Birmingham NEC paying only a portion of the fare by buying a ticket just to the next stop (as my destination had no ticket barriers). Karma came and got me on that day though, as I was rushing out of the train station to catch a taxi home I got the heels of my best knee high suede boots stuck in the drainage channel. Not just one heel, but both at the same time. I was stuck trying to balance, unable to just slip my feet out of my shoes, with the heels firmly wedged in the tiny holes. I had to ask a passerby (one of the many very entertained observers) to let me lean on him, while I unzipped and took my boots off. I really mashed up the heels as I yanked them out of the tight metal hole. I wasn’t so bothered about the fact that everyone had seen me in peak time outside the train station make a fool of myself, but more that I had screwed up the heels on my Russell & Bromley boots – I daren’t say how much they cost. Luckily Mr Minute the cobbler did a fine job of repairing them for a nominal price.

I’m pleased to report that the garden is growing well, despite DD repeatedly sitting on the one remaining courgette plant. Check out how well my tomato plants are doing – no blite yet 🙂

Picture 002

Looking forward to the weekend now, not sure what we’re going to do. We did originally plan to go work clothes shopping in Bristol for my hubby….yawn yawn, it’s always so dull and not easy with a toddler. Then we talked about going to a tent show to see some Dutch inflatable tents…but with hubby having been ill, that might change things a bit.

 Have a nice weekend.

NCM

Friday 28th May Backchat…it’s been a crazy week

 

Whoa what a week…talk about action packed!


Veggies on toddler terror alert

Sadly the veggies we planted out last week have not all survived, they are officially on toddler terror alert after a poor courgette plant was beheaded from the soil surface upwards, the tomato plants are all thriving and the potatoes are sprouting – lets hope they don’t fall victim to the wayward toddler.
 
Baked in EdinburghIMG_1332

Last weekend hubby, DD and I jetted off to Edinburgh for the weekend, where it was baking hot – not a city that’s suited for high temperatures. And the hotel room had no air con with rubbish windows that would only open a small crack – so we were officially crispy round the edges by the end of our stay. Just to guarentee the occasion would stick in our minds for ever, the fire alarm also went off very late on Saturday night, which meant we had to evacuate onto the busiest drunk street of Edinburgh (the grass market).

Regardless of the conditions, we still had a great time, but learnt a hell of a lot about taking a toddler on a city break – i.e. think again and go somewhere more child friendly 😉
Work ranks up on the boredom scale

 

I also spent two long days in our UK office for a long dull sales meeting, an even duller appraisal…thank goodness its Friday.  It wasn’t all dull though, its always a good laugh with the sales team – they’re great for a good bit of dirty minded humour.
Carried away with sling success

 

I gotta tell ya how much I lurve my new babyhawk sling, it’s been worth its weight in gold over the last week, particularly in Edinburgh when catching taxis, in the busy airport and around the city. I am definitely a born again slinger, it’s still taking hubby sometime to see the light though, but he does seem to recognize the benefits now. So pleased I bought myself this for mother’s day rather than the Radley handbag I’ve been eying up for the last three months – which I might add was three times the price.

Yeah the weekend

So got a nice long weekend to look forward to as its May bank holiday, looking forward to going swimming, doing some clothes shopping (cause its getting desperate now) and generally catching up on dull stuff like selling old gear on eBay and cleaning the house.

Hope you have a nice weekend.

NCM