Water Waster?

Here in the Suki-Lou household, we have been busy streamlining our way of living to help save as much money as possible for The Big Move!

The house we stayed at in France was so remote and as it did not have unlimited water on tap  (it all came from the precious reserve) we had to be aware of how much of the wet stuff we used when we showered and did the washing up.  Now we are back home, I can see how wasteful we truly are when it comes to water!

Then I came across this little water saver:

Water Pebble

With its traffic light warning system, this water pebble notes the length of your usual shower and then, for every shower afterwards reduces it by a fraction, end result being a 6 minute shower, so you are saving water without even realising it!  Genius!

Photo credit: Firebox.com

Summer Holidays

It has been so long since I last wrote, I dont know where to begin….and I am so out of sync of writing, I have just spent 10mins trying to write about my apprehension of the Summer Holidays and just couldnt find the right words.  In times like these, I turn to bullet points!

  • Summer Holidays 2009 = No toddler groups/classes and newly made friends going AWOL until the new terms begins
  • Summer Holidays 2009 = Long boring days / Little Miss just a little bit too young to enjoy any of activities put on
  • Summer Holidays 2009 = Suki-Lou hasnt an igloo and isnt prepared at all!

but….

  • Summer Holidays 2010 = No toddler groups/classes but now have a crowd of SAHMs to hang out with
  • Summer Holidays 2010 = Little Miss old enough to enjoy all sorts of new things.  Every day is a new adventure.
  • Summer Holidays 2010 = Suki-Lou is more clued up this year and has been busy storing up ideas of things to do!

July is always a busy month for the Suki-Lou tribe, it holds many special days:

Eight years ago, my Dad passed away and I still cant quite believe it.  He is still in my thoughts everyday and my only wish is that he could have met Little Miss, he would have been blown away.

Two years ago, Little Miss was born and we celebrate her birthday for about a week!  This year we held a proper little girls birthday party in our garden, the theme being balloons.

Suki-Lou's garden transformed into a party zone

Complete with a chill out tent

I made a balloon wreath (idea from How Does She?), managed to find balloon themed party invites and party bags and of course, lots of helium balloons!

My very own balloon wreath!

As there were 7 children of varying ages at the party, I decided to set up a craft activity, and so bought cardboard crowns and plenty of decorating materials for the kids to make their own regal headwear!  It went down like a storm and was suitable for both the boys and the girls!   Last year, I nearly killed myself trying to make a fab birthday cake, but have now realised my talent is in cupcakes.  As Little Miss doesnt ‘do’ icing, I made these sweet little milk cupcakes with sprinkles baked into the top (for colour) which were a big hit – people were sneaking them from the kitchen before I could get them on the table!  Although I did make a chocolate button cake on the actual day for us to enjoy!

Sweet little milk cupcakes

Chocolate Button Cake

We have also enjoyed spending time with our friends and family during the months of July and August:

At the beginning of July, we went for a day out at Legoland with the lovely Violet Posy and her family and we all had a great time.  Violet Posy wrote a great Tips and Tricks post about Legoland which, if you are planning on going, I recommend reading: I would add the following:

Agreeing with VP about the food, it isnt great, but instead of lugging round your picnic, leave your cooler bag in the car – then pop out to get it when you decide to stop for lunch.  You are allowed to come in and out of the park as long as you get your hand stamped.  I would picnic (either an early lunch or a late lunch to avoid the rush) by Mini Land where there is a big grassy area, ideal for just hanging out – great for checking out the lego models scenes of Europe and USA and also fab for people watching.

On the last day of July, we set off for our South of France holiday, staying in my uncle’s deuxième maison.  We had a fantastic time, I honestly didnt think I would enjoy it so much and I could have easily stayed there for the whole summer.  It is in a remote part of the Ardeche, nothing for miles and that was exactly what the Suki Lou tribe needed, no pressure to do anything – just relax and enjoy.  We stayed with my Uncle M, Auntie P and Nana and indulged in wonderfully calorific meals and amazing tartes locales de fruit.  The simplicity of it all really appealed to me, and if I had bucketfuls of money I would buy a house there just to enjoy during the summer months!

Exploring the local medieval village

The local fruit tarts were to die for!

We have been busier then ever with our NZ move and so this post doesnt become ridiculously long, click here to get to my NZ Project page for an update.

Even though I havent been able to find any me time in order to sit down and write more regularly on Suki-Lou, I have been able to find 5 minutes here and there to read my favourite bloggers posts, here are just a few of them:

Getting over Myself – Simone at Great Fun 4 Kids opened my eyes when she wrote about enjoying the moment more with her kids and being on the right side of the camera, so that in the years to come her and her family can look back and remember all the fun and adventures they shared together.  Made me realise that I too hide behind the camera lens way too much too!

Blogadesh – Chez Lee posted about the Bangladesh trip which 3 well known UK Mummy Bloggers are taking :: Sleep is for the Weak, Mummy Tips and NixdMinx ::  in order to raise awareness for Save the Children.

Mama Bears – Check out these cute little bears from the creation of BobbyRobbin.  Dang, I wish I would sew like that!

Well that’s it for now, but I’ll be back soon!

Suki-Lou x

Busy as a Little Bee

Another month has just shot by and that means only one thing, half of 2010 is now nearly done!

Summer is finally in full swing here in the UK and we are loving it, spending alot of time in the garden playing with the hastily purchased sand/water tray, bubble machine and pop up tent!  It is so nice to be outside and enjoying the weather, instead of being stuck indoors.  Little Miss’ favourite game at the moment is playing with her toy tea set, I fill up the plastic teapot with water and am then poured lots of cups of ‘tea’.  It is a great way to keep yourself hydrated, as Little Miss is a very insistent tealady!  Go on, go on, go on, go on!

A large proportion of the UK have been suffering with hayfever this year due to the change in seasons being so sporadic, concluding in all the flowers and grasses going mental, the air has been thick with the stuff. As a result, the pollen count has been intense.  Even poor old Black Dog suffered a couple mornings with the wretched stuff and came up with hives all over her eyes and muzzle.  A visit to the vet was definitely in order as the previously prescribed Prition wasnt even touching the sides, and got some hardcore drugs to help get it under control.

As this is our last year in the UK, we have been trying to fit in all the events we would normally surpass, like the local agricultural county shows.  We went to the Cowpie Country Show with Little Miss and Black Dog and had an awesome time, we got there early, before the masses, and so were able to go around and see all the stalls and shows without all the argy bargy!  A couple of weeks later we went to the Surrey County Show, which was massive in comparison, but surprisingly not as good.  Maybe we just out country showed ourselves?

June is also a celebratory month for us, as Hubster and I celebrated our 3rd Wedding Anniversary….blimey, doesnt time fly when you are having fun!  We kept it a low key event and had a weekend of hanging and eating out…lots!  As token gifts were the order of the day, Hubster kindly gave me a bag of teeny tiny love hearts (aahh) and I gave a set of bath crayons to my one and only.  Ok, so bath crayons do not initially seem like a romantic gift, but I saw this at How Does She? and just loved the idea.

Life has been busy with Little Miss, she is such a chatterbox!  I thought I was bad, but blimey, I cannot keep up!  She is so much more confident these days too, sometimes she just astounds me!  We have been going to a great little playgroup on Monday mornings, where its not too busy and everyone is really kind and friendly and they have a great selection of toys.  Little Miss loves it, especially the craft table where there is a different theme each week.  We have made foam ties for Fathers Day, baskets, paper flowers, painted pictures and so much more.  It is so good there, I have decided to volunteer and help tidy up afterwards, to ensure it continues to run!

I must add that Little Miss is now entertaining the idea of potty training.  There has been alot of interest on toilets, potties and nappies of late, and I am sure that she is gearing up for it.  She is more keen on it than me, as I plan to keep her in nappies for as long as I can!

I have also been very busy surfing the web for party ideas as Little Miss turns TWO in July.  I cannot believe she is 2 already!!  I have seen some great ideas, I just have to discipline myself and get on with actioning them before the day is upon me.  I shall let you know how I get on in my next post!

The NZ move is still moving forward and we have now sent off all the paperwork in order to get that visa.  It should take about 4 months and so fingers crossed, all will be ok.  We need to start making big decisions about our current house and *gulp* it is all getting very real and a bit scary.  I have been very busy sorting out necessary paperwork, enquiring about pet shipping, furniture shipping, plane tickets, car hire, house rentals, there is so much the list is never ending.  It is all becoming a bit daunting to be honest!  There have also been talks with family members who are now realising that we are really going.  It is so hard to not feel guilty about leaving and it seems like staying would be much easier than going, but we know that NZ is the right place for us and so must keep strong through these hard times.  Dang it though, we will miss them all.

I think this year has been super hard and without my realising it, I was on a real downer.   I wasnt depressed, just my mood was flat – for months.  It took me a while to figure out that I had lost my mojo!  I decided to forgo going to the doctors as I knew it wasnt something a prescription could help me with and instead visited a reflexologist.  A dear friend of mine had recently wowed me with her own experience of reflexology and so I went for it!  I have now had two sessions and it is amazing!!  As well as kick starting me out of my funk, I have also learnt so much about myself from just my toes and feet.  After giving birth to Little Miss, I realised my mind has little control over my body (it has its own agenda!) and so I am learning to listen to my body and give it what it needs – starting with reflexology!

Finally, to end the month on a high, Hubster and I set off for a long weekend away to enjoy the amazing Glastonbury Festival. We packed Little Miss off to go and stay with the Grandparents whilst we danced the nights away.  It was AWESOME and I’m sorry readers, but I barely took any photos – I was having such a great time, I didnt even think about it!  The weather was exceptional, not a rain cloud in sight and the bands were excellent.  We saw (in no particular order):

The Gorillaz, Mumford & Sons, Shakira, The Dead Weather, Ash, Muse, Scissor Sisters, Keane, Alabama 3, LCD Soundsystem, Bombay Bicycle Club and Ellie Goulding.

Admittely, it doesnt sound like a lot, but sadly so many of the bands I wanted to see clashed with each other, so some hard choices had to be made.  This was Glastonbury’s 40th year and they really went for it with the lineup.

Hubster was a festival virgin and did not like the idea of camping in a field with a gazillion other people, so we went mad and stayed in a luxurious yurt.  We also splashed out and bought hospitality tickets, which meant we had entry to the more exclusive parts of Glasto, though sadly the super duper artists must hang out in a extra special zone, which we had no access to.  I did spot a few well knowns though: the guy from Newsround, Andy Parsons and Michael Eavis (the founder of Glastonbury Festival).   The best bit about the hospitality tickets were the fact that we could escape the crowds and have a sanctuary with clean toilets!  It also meant we could zip through shortcuts to make it from one side of the festival to other in no time at all rather than fight our way through the masses.

Glasto 40 - Our luxurious yurt

Glasto 40 - Sunset on Monday

It was easy to have the Glasto blues when we got back home, but we missed Little Miss so much, it was great to see her again and have our little family all back together again.  Though the Grandparents did an amazing job looking after Little Miss, she was properly entertained and actually more tired than us when we finally got home!

Well, that’s all for now folks, but shall update you all after Little Miss’ birthday party which is just round the corner! I had beter crack on!!

See y’all soon

x

Thirty-something

Well it’s been another couple of weeks and a fair bit has been going on:

:: I turned an omnious 31 and so that’s it, I am now definitely a thirty-something and no longer in my twenties *sighs* I drowned my sorrows with a few beers with mates in the local pub the Saturday before and then on the actual day Hubster took me out for a fabulous lunch, which was delish.  I also did well on the present front, MIL (whose birthday is only a few days before mine) and I decided to save on postage expenses and buy our own present from each other (if that makes sense?!). I was going to buy a Fiona Gibson novel, but Waterstones were doing a buy 2, get one free deal & there was a Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult on the stand which I hadn’t yet read, so I got myself that instead.  Suki-Lou fact: I love Jodi Picoult, though Hubster raises a good point, how does she churn them out so quickly? Typing monkeys complete with cigars is our conclusion – but feel free to post your answers in the comments box below 😉 .  The two other books I got were The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger (one of those classics that is a must read) and One Day by David Nicholls, which was actually a surprisingly excellent book, I got so absored I finished it before the week was out and blubbed like a baby at the end.  This book is a keeper!


:: Little Miss and I have started this term’s TumbleTots and Sing & Sign, which is great as we now have our solid routine back, though I think I did a pretty good job filling the weeks where we had no scheduled activities (it is so much easier to do stuff when it is nice outside), with picnics, trips to local playgrounds & farms, meeting up with peeps and even the odd lunch out.  Shall keep squeezing these in, as they were so much fun and I want to enjoy as much of that sunshine as I can.  You never know, I might actually get some sort of a resemblance to a tan this year!


:: I also spent a day in the garden, not sunning mysel though mind, I was working hard, pulling up weeds, tearing down a wallful of unwanted ivy, mowing our ickle lawn, strimming the edges ( until the damn thing broke)  and tidying up all the bits hubster can’t be bothered to do.. It was exhausting but totally worth it.  Now we can enjoy the garden without feeling like we really should be getting on with chores.  Looking out of our bathroom window, I can see how all out hard work has paid off, our garden looks so much bigger than our neihbours (even hhough they are the same size) as we have tricked the eye with gardening design techniques. Hee hee thank you ….. The only thing left is to sort the shed out *gulp* it is really bad in there, infact the shed is known as The Shed of Doom.  I reckon it will take a day to sort it all out and that means lots of trips to the tip.  I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it, though in a Monica Geller way, I do enjoy organising stuff…sad, I know!

I wish my shed looked like this! That would be awesome!

:: We took a day trip down to our nearest dog friendly beach, Climping, on Sunday.  Black Dog was so excited, it has been ages since we last went down there.  Initially it was great, even though it was windy and a bit rainy, but it warmed up after a while and we collected interesting stones and shells to take home for LM to play with in her new sandtray.  Little Miss soon lost interest though and did not seem to be enjoying our trip so much, so we decided to cut it short & have our picnic in the car (the rain came back) before heading home.  All was well, we had parked by the entrance to the marina so we could watch the boats sailing in & out whilst munching on our sandwiches.  Little Miss had chilled out and so I suggested that Hubster went to go and get the icecreams (can’t go to the beach without having an icecream!).  what a mistake-a to make-a, no sooner had he gone, then bleugh, Little Miss threw up all over herself, me, the inside of our car.  I will spare you the details, but let’s just say there was lots of it and did you know cars have lots of little hideyholes for liquid substances to run into? What a design flaw!  Turns out it wasn’t the beach that was upsetting Little Miss, it was the onset of hand, foot & mouth – a gift from nursery I suspect.  A week later, poor LM is still suffering with bad mouth ulcers, although is sleeping lots which I think is the best way to fight off such nasties.  I imagine we will be back on track next week.

:: Hubster has now had his medical which cost a pretty penny, but is required in order to pass NZ immigration.  It is a bit scary as it covers everything (NZ don’t want folks coming in on visas and start depending on the state’s health service) so ‘aliens’ have to be fit & sound.  Hopefully everything will come back a-ok and we can then apply for that visa!  Talking of NZ, LM’s first babysitter recently moved out there and has just had a baby girl – well done R&J! Am looking forward to catching up with them (& meeting their little bundle of joy) when we get out there.

:: BTW have you seen the Hyperbole and a Half blog…it is too funny!

:: Well I’d better stop rambling on, I have a date with my girlfriends to do a wine tour at Vinopolious this arvo (how very sophisticated!) – I think I am looking forward to the Bombay Sapphire gin cocktail taster the most though TBH!


Sayōnara folks
X

Its been a while

Wow, it really has been a while since my last post!  Whoops!

Suki Lou’s Thoughts

Back in April I sat myself down and thought long and hard about what I wanted out of Twitter, Facebook & blogging and it became clear:  I want to stay in touch with my friends and family, especially when we move out to NZ and in the meantime, I want to meet up with said folk in real life and have lots of fun, instead of spending my days glued to my computer.

This all came about when I realised I was beginning to resent Twitter and so I knew it was time to stop.  Now I know lots and lots of people love Twitter and so I must say: This Is Not A Rant Against Twitter!  Its just not for me.  I persevered with Twitter for a long time, but it never really gelled, although I did meet some lovely people through Twitter, and hope to stay in touch through the wonders of blogging.

After this revelation, I did a bit of culling on Facebook as well – you know, the people you went to school with, or once worked with or even worse a friend of a friend who you met a couple of times down the pub…these people no longer appear on my friend list and and now I can happily update my status knowing only true friends shall be reading about what I am getting up to!

All of this has resulted in a much more active social life for me and Little Miss, to the point where I can barely find the time to sit down and compose a post for this blog, let alone keep up to date with everyone elses…and I wont lie…I LOVE it!

Meanwhile, I have mostly been…

…busy baking some fantastic cupcakes (my best yet) from this brilliant recipe from Make it Bake It, although I leave out the Neapolitan bit and just have scrummy vanilla flavoured cupcakes – I now only have to perfect making it look great with butter icing.  Anybody know of a good cupcake decorating website?

…hosting a pizza party with friends – whereby we made the pizza dough from scratch, then took it in turns to shape out a pizza each and cover with  fantastic toppings for everyone to share.  We started at 6pm and didnt finish until about 9pm when we just couldnt eat another slice!

…visiting Wing Yip as I have heard so much great stuff about it.  It was awesome, we stopped off for lunch in one of the restaurants and had an amazing chinese lunch of dumplings, dim sum and crispy duck (which LM devoured BTW).  Afterwards we went for a stroll around the supermarket which was a real eye opener.  I wish I knew more about chinese cooking as there were some great ingredients to be had there, I just dont know how to use them!

…spending lots of time at our local park now that Winter is a distant memory….LM and I have been partaking in the odd picnic now and then.  We are also a regular at the duck pond as LM loves to count the cute little baby ducklings!

LM Update

Speaking of which, Little Miss is really into her talking now (she even wowed me with a 2 word sentence yesterday!) and life is noticeably easier now that we can communicate with each other.  A while back I was concerned that LM might be suffering from depression, but after some great advice from my health visitor, I realised I was pushing LM too much to catch up with her peers (who are about 6 months older) and that giving her time and lots of cuddles she would come into her own and she certain has!  LM was a very chilled out baby, and was quite content just to sit and watch – now she is jumping, running, climbing and chat-chat-chatting all day long.    LM is also really into her letters and colours, her favourite toys being the fridge magnet letters and a bag full of different coloured ribbons – she is such a smart little cookie, she amazes me every day and I am such a proud Mummy.

LM has also proved to me in 2 ways that she was no longer a baby and now a little girl:

a) she has outgrown her baby blanket – it barely covers her anymore…I nearly cried when I realised that this blanket she had from birth is no longer needed.  I shall keep it in my keepsake box though to help me remember when she was a wee one.

b) LM no longer calls me Mumma, I am now known as Mummeeee.  This was a shocker to me, as I have always referred to myself as Mumma, but clearly LM disagrees!

NZ Update

I am not sure if I have been organised enough to keep you all updated on our NZ move, so if I bore you by repeating myself – sorry!

We have now hired a visa specialist to help us with the hurdle of getting the Hubster’s family visa, but so far hasnt done much except point us in the right direction!  I have been busy sorting LM’s passports (both UK & NZ) as well as obtaining her NZ citizenship and I am over the moon to be able to say that as of today they have been sorted.  Now it is time to complete police certificates for both me & the Hubster (to prove we arent hardened criminals!!!) and the Hubster needs to arrange his medical certificate.  After that, we shall be getting the Visa Dude to start the visa application process for us!  How very exciting!!

Although it does feel like our lives are on hold at the moment, instead of hanging around waiting to go, we have been busy preparing ourselves financially, ensuring all the boring stuff like pensions, savings etc are in the right place for us.   And as you know we recently had some work done to the house to make it more ‘rentable’, so the Hubster has been tasked with the unenviable duty of getting the garden up to scratch too.  Luckily it isnt a massive job, as its not a massive garden!

I think reality is beginning to kick in for friends and family who thought NZ was only a pipe dream for us, and now realise that we are dead set on making our move out there.  Most are interested to hear about how are plans are going and although are sad to see us go are happy for us, others though are still very quiet about the subject.  It is a toughie for both us and them.

*********************************************

I keep thinking up great topics to blog about, but whenever I get a chance to sit down for 5 mins, I have normally forgotten about it – apologies that it has been so long between posts and that this one reads a bit like a bulletin, but there was so much I wanted to say I didnt want to scare you off with a big essay to read!   Next one will be shorter – promise 😉

Sayōnara for now folks. x

Snubbed at Playgroup

After a few months of your life as a new mum, your brain starts going a bit stir crazy staring at the same four walls and after taking a deep breath you decide it is time to get yourself out there and sign up for your first ever baby class.   As expected, it was hard work, what with being shy, not knowing anyone and feeling like the outcast.  Everyone else seems to get on really well & then your paranoia kicks in and you assume that they are all tremendous friends meeting up on a regular basis and you are still the newbie, not accepted into the group.  Depression hovers, and although you arent a glutton for punishment, you decide to stick with it and sign up for the second term – the teacher is friendly and makes you feel welcome, and Little One is loving it so much, it would be selfish not to continue, and hell, it’s only for 1 hour a week – so you make a promise to yourself, if it is becomes completely unbearable, you wont go back – the baby will understand.

You start to gain confidence as a new mum, and join other baby classes and although you feel like you are really putting yourself through the paces with the same fears, you learn how to ignore the judgmental glances and keep a friendly smile on your face.  You start seeing the same faces each week and some of the mums strike up conversation.  You are glad you continued, persevering through the tricker times.  Life gets better and a weekly routine develops.

Time passes and suddenly out of nowhere you get an invite to hang out with some of the mums outside of the baby class and even though you are bricking it, you accept and find that actually they are just as shy as you and it becomes as clear as daylight that everyone is in the same boat and your fears were all for nothing!

You begin to branch out and start trying the locally run playgroups, which before were too scary to even consider, you recognise your neighbours, friends of friends and even some of baby class Mums.  Life is sweet, Little One is making friends and so are you.  Happy days.

But as always, there is a fly in the ointment.  One of the mum’s attends two of the same baby classes as you and so with your new found confidence, you try to catch her eye and smile but she pretends not to notice,  clearly she suffers from shyness worse than you do as she doesnt seem to know anyone.  After a couple of attempts her attitude comes across as rude not shy, but you shrug it off, sometimes these things take time.

Then in your quest of finding the right playgroup for Little One, you turn up to what must be her regular playgroup – she spots you in an instant and blatantly does not return your smile.  You cant quite believe it, it was a clear snub.  She cant possibly believe this is stalking, there are only a few ‘good’ classes/playgroups in the area, and so the same mummies turn up in the same places time and time again.  She doesnt seem to have made friends with anyone and must feel like complete shite, you know all about this having experienced it first hand!  So what is her problem?

You realise you see each other about 3 times a week, infact you see her more other than your mates, and now its getting awkward…so what do you do?

What the heck is Xarpie?

So I have started a new blog called Xarpie!

A place for me to blog about all the things I love like: music, films, books, trendy stuff, techie stuff and any other randoms that I come across and want to share that with the world.

Fear not though, Xarpie is not a replacement for Suki-Lou….Suki-Lou shall continue to be my home life blog featuring Little Miss and, of course, our progress on our exciting NZ move!

Here is the link, so you can check it out: http://xarpie.wordpress.com/