Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams

September. The month that always feels more like a new year than New Year.

The kids are back at school next week and with Artie starting in reception it’s a bit new for all of us.

I decided I needed a project – something new to learn – and thanks to the lovely ladies I met in the craft room at BritMums Live back in June, my wish has been fulfilled.

Coats Craft UK have very kindly started me out on the journey of learning to knit. My mum has tried to teach me before but it never got anywhere and it was, to child/teenage me, impossible and annoying. Then I tried it at BritMums (after consuming wine…) and discovered that grown up me actually quite liked it once someone showed me what on earth to do. (Unlike crotchet, which was horrible even though everyone claimed it was easier than knitting. It so isn’t.)

Coats Craft armed me with this gorgeous Rowan Yarns Big Wool (in Pine Needle), some glittery knitting needles, a how-to book and a super easy pattern for a scarf/cowl.

Now all I need to do is put all the things together and make something!!

The first of September marked day one of the project and I sat down in the evening to do a few rows.

I was surprised at how easily I got the hang of casting on…

  …and then amused/frustrated by my total inability to work out how to do the first row of actual knitting.
After studying the book, a couple of false starts and some amused help from my other half (who apparently can knit…) I got going!

And two rows later realised I was gaining stitches somewhere. Then I lost one again.

This is definitely going to take some practise! However I did end up with what looked like a piece of knitting. It is wonky and uneven but I did it all by myself and I’m sure I’ll get better as I do more.

For my first day of my September Project I think I did okay. 


Today I attended the funeral of my friend, Timmy. It was beautiful and there were many moments of laughter as well as sorrow.

The title of this blog post are John Denver lyrics from one of the songs Tim had chosen himself to be played, The Eagle and The Hawk. It’s a beautiful, simple song and I just wanted to share that, and the following poem which was inspired by Tim’s attitude to life and was read at the funeral. They are wonderful words to live by and exactly what Timmy always did.

Live life how it’s meant to be lived,

To the fullest of your potential.

Regret nothing, live happily, live fully.

Have adventures, take risks,

For we live once and only once.

Accomplish much, be ambitious,

For a mind once opened never closes,

Take advantage of this and fly away –

You were born to live, not simply exist.

In Memory Of

Tim Anderson

5/3/1988 – 21/08/2015

I had my first disaster of the season this week (unless you include my total non-attendance last week, in which case it is my second.)

I’ve never made any of the puddings on the list so it was all new to me.

I intended to make a Baileys and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake and I did follow an official Baileys recipe…

However I ended up with a chocolate tart rather than a cheesecake – it is very solid and dense and needs a sharp knife to get through it.

I over baked the base so that doesn’t taste great (edging on burned to me) and the top is a bit sharp and bitter. Probably from the dark chocolate – I don’t like dark chocolate very much.

It isn’t inedible and it is better when consumed with ice cream. The kids hate it.

I won’t be making it again – I’d rather just drink Baileys and eat chocolate I think!


Mummy Mishaps

The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 is being hosted by the lovely Jenny at Mummy Mishaps and if you hop over there you can take a look at all the other super tasty entries in the linky.

228. We go away for a couple of days and a shiny new shop appears…  

229. I had pretty post this morning. Oh, and my driving licence arrived too!

230. To celebrate my freedom on the roads, I took my Mum out for a girly day exploring Chester.

231. Packing ready to go camping.

Today ended in sadness when I heard that a very good friend lost his fight with cancer. Preparing to camping seemed oddly appropriate though as it was something he loved to do.


232. First dinner on our first camping trip as a family – quick weekend in North Wales to work out what we need to get before we go on a big trip!

233. A ridiculously wet day gave way to a beautiful evening so we made the most of it and headed for Harlech beach.  

234. We took the scenic route home to round off our break. One of my favourite moments was driving across this beautiful toll bridge.

235.  I have no idea what Arthur was doing here but it made me laugh.

236. Today I drove the kids to Attingham Park for an adventure – trying to actually use our National Trust membership at last!

237. Arthur fell in love with Monkey today!

238. Today I treated the Smalls to a cinema trip and a walk down the canal towpath to jump in puddles :)

  239. I got some exciting post today – my project to learn to knit once the kids are at school is one step closer now – I have wool!


240. Today, after living in Shripshire for most of my life, I finally made it to the top of the Wrekin. Better late than never!


It’s been a week.

A week of keeping busy, not letting myself stop and think. Hiding from myself.

A week of being okay in front of the kids. In front of everyone. I am not okay.

It is not okay.

I hurt. I want to shout and rage at the world and how it’s all not fair. Nothing was fair.

Why couldn’t life give him a break, eh? Say ‘Okay, you put up a damn good fight through everything I threw at you. Quits. Fair play. Off you go.’

No. It just had to throw that final punch and make a point – that nobody wins in the end. Not even when you fight so bloody hard and refuse to let it all show that people don’t even realise you’re fighting.

I knew. We knew from when we were kids watching you fight and develop your coping mechanisms. We knew you were hurting even when you told us you were fine and we went along with you because that’s what you wanted.

You never wanted life to be about your illness, never wanted it to revolve around you. You didn’t want pity, you wanted life. You wanted to spend time being an idiot with your friends, playing with your cats and riding your motorbike (into hedges…)

You wanted people to remember you for you, not for your illness.

And that’s why I’m not okay.

Because I miss you. I miss you, Tim.

I miss your utterly inappropriate behaviour when we were out for meals (like when you and Jack got utterly outraged when you accidentally ordered a ‘leaf’ pizza. It was unfortunate line spacing in the middle of ‘beef tomato’ but it did say ‘vegetarian’ after it…)

I miss being able to tell you anything and know you’d make it okay by making it funny or being outraged for me.

I miss your godawful spelling – and how you didn’t give a damn about it.

I wish we could have another piss up like old times and be stupid and silly and loud. Or just doss around and play on the Playstation again (I still suck, sorry.)

I just wish we had more time, Timmy.

I’m so afraid of saying goodbye on Wednesday. I don’t know what to do. Or say.

I am not alone in not being fine. I’m not the only one who is not okay.

A lot of people love you, Tim. And we are all a bit lost now you’re not here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Helen and Monkey from Monkey Wellbeing at BritMums Live 2015 and Monkey has come to my house over summer to help Tori and Arthur learn about their teeth and how to keep them healthy.

The dental pack came with a Healthy Teeth activity guide with stickers, a story book about Monkey’s family visiting the dentist, reward stickers and chart, a well done certificate, a little pack containing a toothbrush, egg timer and two disclosure tablets and, of course, a Monkey handpuppet.

The activity guide is slightly too advanced for Arthur (who is four) but Tori (six) loved it and really enjoyed reading it and completing the activities inside. From matching stickers to dot-to-dots and drawing a picture of her own teeth, the activities through the book helped her to process and take in the information better than if it had just been an information booklet.


The subject of tooth decay and the consequences of not taking care of your teeth are sensitively handled in a way that clearly got the message across without being scary or full of over-dramatic horror stories. Tori was left telling me sensibly about how she needs to brush her teeth after eating sugary foods like chocolate, rather than saying: ‘If I eat chocolate all my teeth will fall out. Chocolate is naughty.’ Which I have heard from her in the past after ‘healthy eating’ sessions at school.

The story book was perfect for Arthur though, the photographs and simple text were engaging and encouraged lots of conversation and questions – comparing what happened in the story to our visits to the dentist. Arthur has previously found dentist visits a bit daunting and unnerving but after reading through the story with me and Monkey, he was quite excited to go again – I may have to take Monkey along for reassurance, but that’s fine with me :)

IMG_2666After reading the story, Monkey produced the dental pack and gave it to Arthur and Tori helped me to explain to him about the dislosing tablets and what they were for – Arthur could hardly wait for bed time to give it a go!

IMG_2663Both Tori and Arthur were fascinated by the effect of the disclosing tablets and there was much hilarity as they showed off their purple tongues and teeth to Monkey and I before we got down to business, setting the timer and scrubbing those purple toothy pegs!

Both Tori and Arthur were surprised how much scrubbing it took to get the purple off their teeth and they have promised Monkey that they will use the new timer every time they brush their teeth now to make sure they get them properly clean.

IMG_2676The Monkey Wellbeing Dental Pack is a brilliant way of encouraging kids to brush their teeth whilst teaching them about why it is so important to do. The information about visiting the dentist is great for dispelling any fears they may have about it, too.

Monkey is Tori and Arthur’s new best friend so Arthur is going to be super excited when Monkey shares his Starting School Pack with him too ready for the start of his first term!

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