July 2013 archive

Oven Trouble

Oven: An oven is a thermally insulated chamber used for the heating, baking or drying of a substance,[1] and most commonly used for cooking. Kilns and furnaces are special-purpose ovens, used in pottery and metalworking, respectively.

Lately readers I have been tired. Oh so very tired. I think a year of broken sleep and just the mere fact that I have three adorable children and a husband to keep me busy, has finally caught up with me. I do stupid things like put glasses in the fridge, or forget where I have put things…constantly and it wasn’t too long ago that I forgot to turn the kitchen tap off and flooded the floor (which actually proved a good way to clean it!) Well, the other day my tiredness went to epic proportions and caused me to have an epic fail! If you follow me on Twitter then you might have seen me tweet about this particular incident. Here now is the sorry tale in full….

We are trying (and subsequently) failing to sell our house and have been for several months. A prospective buyer came up who was, for a change, actually quite promising and to cut a long story short I had to get the house tidy and cleaned and sorted in just two hours before they came for a viewing. Now, I don’t know what your house is like, but mine always looks lived in. (and that is putting it politely!) I swear my house vomits crap, everywhere, all of the time. No sooner have I tidied something away than I turn around and a whole heap of sh** has appeared in its place. There simply isn’t enough room in this house for the amount of tat we have. I’ve tried to declutter. I’ve tried to sort and put things into the millions of boxes I have bought in Ikea, but it just. doesn’t. work. So tidying and cleaning my house in two hours is no mean feat.

My youngest had gone down for his nap, middle child was at pre-school and eldest was at school so…I got started. Flinging toys into the playroom boxes and shoving clothes into cupboards I worked my way around my house like a whirlwind. (I still can’t find some of the things I tidied away that day, goodness only knows where I have put them) Upstairs was done and the last room to be sorted was the kitchen…and no, it was not a case of saving the best for last. My daughter had recently had an outdoor party for her birthday and I’d gone a bit mad in Asda buying plastic cutlery. So much cutlery in fact that it would not fit in any drawer, or cupboard. The slow cooker had already been put in the back of my car and this is probably where the cutlery should have been squirrelled away to as well. But no. I wasn’t that clever. I put the cutlery in…my oven (you can see where this is going can’t you?!) Not only did I shove the cutlery in the oven, but in also went a massive Tupperware box, my daughter’s pink baking mixing bowl and spatula and various other things that I couldn’t find a home for. I was just hoping they weren’t the kind of prospective buyers who wanted to look in the oven. Or in any of the cupboards for that matter lest they wanted to forever remain in my house buried under a pile of crap that would inevitably fall on them if they opened a cupboard door.

So, very pleased with myself for making my house look amazing in such a short space of time the first thing I did was text my husband to tell him not to use the oven when he got home. (Why I felt the need to do this is beyond me as the man wouldn’t even know how to turn it on, he does not cook!) Then, having neglected to clean myself at this point I hopped in the shower before evacuating the house with my youngest in time for the viewing to begin, still smiling that I’d done a great job. Ha pride comes before a fall yes!

So, later on that day, my children decided they would like jacket potatoes for dinner. I usually start the potatoes off in the microwave before moving them to the oven to finish them off and crisp up the skins. I switched the oven on and put three potatoes in the microwave before returning to the lounge to play with the children some more. When I went back into the kitchen to check on the potatoes I could smell something funny, and stupidly didn’t twig. I thought it was the potatoes and like a complete muppet even wondered why they smelt of burning plastic. I thought maybe a bit of the plastic bag they were stored in had made its way into the microwave. Yet I couldn’t find anything. Five minutes later and I went back in to find the smell had got stronger. Still, I didn’t twig. (remember when I said I was tired!) I inspected, no word of a lie, every potato for signs of plastic and obviously couldn’t find any. It was then, at the moment when I was walking past the oven snd back into the lounge, when I realised what was happening. In slow motion I reached for the oven switches and turned them off before opening the door shouting ‘nooooooooooooooooooo!’

Carnage. Absolute carnage. The plastic cutlery was all melted and fused together.

The pink mixing bowl had completely melted leaving a small part of the smiley face that had been on the side of it grinning up at me, laughing.

Oh the mess. The mess! The plastic had welded to the sides of the oven and dripped back down into the fan at the back. And the smell was horrendous, to think I had thought it was the potatoes! What an idiot!! I flung the back door open and turned on the extractor fan to try and get rid of the smell, which I’d now convinced myself was totally toxic and going to engulf the house. It took hours to finally go, by which point the melted plastic had solidified and I couldn’t get any of it out of the oven.

I eventually did, but it was clear to see the oven was ruined. My husband wasn’t amused. And now, several weeks on I still haven’t found time to buy a new oven. I must get one soon!

Have you ever baked anything you shouldn’t have? Please do tell me in the comments section below so I know I’m not the only tired fool out there x

I’ve decided to link this up with a brand new linky from @The_Doves all about photos telling a story. Technically you’re only supposed to use one photo, but I’m sure she won’t mind that I’ve used three!

The Coin, Part 5

I am joining in with #SummerOfWords and writing my novel one bit at a time! You can read Part 4 here. (and if you’re new to my story then you can start reading it here.)


The B&B was dated but perfectly comfortable. Looking out over the local beach the room was full of items from the sea. Dusty old shells, red and white striped lighthouses and a beautiful painting of a sandcastle sitting alone on a sandy shore. They’d really gone overboard on the seaside theme and it made Megan smile. It reminded her of her son’s bedroom; he loved the beach and every morning woke up asking if they could go.

“No!’ She suddenly said out loud, and quickly that thought was pushed to the very back of her mind. She mustn’t think about them, mustn’t remember what she’d put them through and why she was here, it was too raw, too painful.

Tears pricking her eyes, angry that she’d allowed herself a fleeting memory, she hung her coat up on the back of the door and sat on the bed which creaked and gave way under her. Megan looked out of the window and rubbed her neck, easing her aching muscles that had been tense for so long. She was safe, no-one knew she was here, they were all safe.

The landlady, Mrs Lane, had seemed somewhat nosey earlier when Megan had explained that she didn’t know how long she’d be staying, but had seemed happy to accept payment for three nights. Thankfully Megan had had some cash in her rather worn purse and so was able to book in under a false name, not having to show her real one on a credit card. She really wasn’t ready to be found, not even close so it was important that a gossiping landlady didn’t know anything. Mrs Lane had explained that breakfast was served between 8am and 10am and had recommended a local pub for dinner. Not that Megan was hungry, she rarely was these days and had become gaunt and looked pale. Her physical appearance epitomising the weakness of her mental state. For her brain also seemed pale and was not functioning as it should. It didn’t have what it needed to work. Megan thought of it as something that was broken, that needing fixing, but couldn’t seem to mend it herself.

She reached into her coat pocket and once again twiddled the coin between her fingers. Heads. Tails. Heads. ‘What if it had been tails?’ She thought. ‘Would I still be here, would any of this have happened?’ Shaking that thought off, Megan knew she’d never know the answer to that question. Clutching the coin tightly, she lay down, closed her eyes, and uncomfortably drifted into another restless sleep.


Identity: In psychology and sociology, identity is a person’s conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations (such as national identity and cultural identity). The concept is given a great deal of attention in social psychology and is important in place identity.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Pippa from Story of Mum. at Britmums Live. She was very busy at the front of the venue taking photos of us mums for her website. If you havent already heard about it, this is what her wonderful website and this blog post is all about…

As mothers, it’s not often that we feel seen, heard and valued. Yet our everyday stories matter, and sharing them can inspire others. Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves is a touring programme of exhibitions and events in galleries and online that aims to put mothers in the spotlight.

The exhibition celebrates motherhood, explores the impact of mothering on our identities, and encourages mums worldwide to share their stories in words, photos, collage and film.

Find out more at http://www.storyofmum.com/exhibition.

Parallel to the real life events, a virtual exhibition is travelling round the world, stopping for mini exhibitions on blogs – like this one!

Participants are asked to choose one item from the existing exhibition, create one item to add to the exhibition, and share their thoughts on these and their identity in motherhood.

And without further ado…here is my exhibition!

I Curated This

What a choice of things to curate! I have spent hours looking through the website and much as I had a wonderful time looking at all of the creations so far, choosing one for my post was incredibly difficult! I got lost in the memorable moment of mum section for quite a while and wanted to curate everybody, such wonderfully moving posts! In the end I settled on a beautiful video from Stephanie at Storybramble.com from the My Mum-Story. She said in her post that she found it incredibly hard to choose just ten photos to capture her story as a mum and I completely understand how difficult this must’ve been, but the photos she has chosen are amazing and she narrates the video beautifully. You must watch her amazing video here.

I Created This

I decided to make my creation from the Mama Mash-Up section, as I guess that since becoming a mum my identity has been a bit mashed up! At first, as indecisive as ever, I chopped up 6 different pictures that I felt represented my identity as a mum. Two of them were pictures of my favourite quotations, one was a picture of my children, one a picture of my family and close friends and the other two photos were pieces of artwork I had made.

A bit of a mess as you can see, which is exactly how I feel sometimes if I’m honest! I then decided to intertwine all of the photos as all of them are intricately interwoven in my life.

But finally, I followed the instructions (for I always get there in the end!) and created this masterpiece for the exhibition from a photo of my children, and a painting I did of some flowers I bought. I’ve entitled it Creations and Creativity.

I love it, and it’s like me…not quite perfect and a bit fragile (couldn’t find any glue to stick it all together!) yet it works! I love that I have created three beautiful children…and that I can still be creative.
story of mum exhibition
BritMums - Leading the Conversation

I’m a BRITAX Mumbassador!

BRITAX: Is a UK-based manufacturer of automotive safety equipment. It began making automotive safety equipment and accessories in 1938, and to import car and motorcycle accessories. During the 1970s, Britax began making childcare safety products, primarily child safety seats and strollers.

If you saw my tweets last week you will know that I am so proud to announce that I am now a BRITAX Mumbassador!

BRITAX are a world famous brand offering fantastically safe and stylish products for you and your family. BRITAX offers the latest state of technology so you know your child could not be in better hands. They sell a wide range of products from car seats to baby carriers, from pushchairs to bike seats.

I am so excited to have been given the opportunity to work with BRITAX and help readers of my blog keep up to date with the latest in car seat safety, offer fantastic competition prizes, and hopefully some honest reviews of their brilliant products!

So keep an eye out for all of the above on my blog and check out my tweets @InstinctiveMum!


Collaboration: Collaboration is working with each other to do a task. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realise shared goals, this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.

So, yesterday was another day. And another debate that has divided Twitter into two camps….those who teach, and those who don’t.

Regularly teachers are criticised, condemned and blamed for everything from too much sex education to giving children chocolate. We are admonished for having too many holidays, too much time off and yes…of course we finish work at three fifteen every day!

Yesterday’s debate started with talk about taking holidays during term time. This is an argument for which I can see both sides. As a teacher it’s a sodding pain in the arse when one or two of your class aren’t there for a fortnight. They miss whole concepts. They miss precious bonding time. They miss routine, being part of a school community and so much more. However, I can also see it from the viewpoint of a parent, why should we have to pay extortionate amounts to take a holiday? Why should we be dictated to and only be allowed to go away at certain times of the year or risk a fine?

But what has got to me today, is that even though it is NOT teachers who have made up this ridiculous law, it is teachers who are being blamed and condemned for it. Being a teacher is endlessly frustrating and for every parent who thanks you for being an inspiration to their child there are a million others quick to criticise. We are criticised for working children too hard, for not working them hard enough, for being too firm, for being too lenient. It is a very very difficult job to meet the individual needs of 30 children, but it’s a hell of a lot harder meeting the needs of their parents.

And I know, I KNOW, that YOU are their parents and I can hear you screaming at me through my computer. But so many parents don’t trust us to do what is right for their children, they don’t listen. The media and Gove don’t bloody help either, but I can assure you that all we are ever trying to do is what is best for your child, each and every single one of them, every single day. I am very aware as a teacher that children get one shot at school and they deserve their shot to be the very best. Sadly though too many people don’t respect teachers, which in turn results in children not respecting teachers. If the parent doesn’t support the school, then naturally it feeds down.

Anyway, I digress. The debate was about holidays during term time. In my own personal opinion I think family holidays are so important. Time when you can be a family with no pressure of work, commitments or school. To explore other countries, learn new languages and immerse yourself in new cultures. And I would argue that travel firms, who I know are businesses and will therefore function like one, create divides by upping their prices dramatically during the holidays which sadly out prices holidays for many people. I should know, I don’t get a choice and can only go away in the school holidays! I think there are certain times in the year when a holiday in term time could, maybe be ok, at the end of term for example and I DON’t agree with schools fining parents if they take their children out unauthorised during term time or the new law one bit. And what frustrates me more than anything is that everyone blames schools when it’s the sodding government who are responsible for the half the shit we have to do anyway. It is not schools who are banning packed lunches, it is not schools who are banning holidays!! It is the government who are proposing all of these things.

I’m not saying that education is perfect at the moment, far far from it, (that’s another post!) but every single teacher I know could not be more passionate about their profession. Could not be more motivated and enthusiastic to provide children with the best possible education they can. Most teachers at my school get there at half past seven in the morning and have to be thrown out of the building by the caretaker at six o’clock, then only to take masses of work home and sit and do it all evening. And before someone comments that there are some rubbish teachers in the world then yes, you’re right, there are, we can’t all be perfect, but thankfully they are in the minority. Many, many teachers are parents themselves and do for every single child in their class what they would expect a teacher to do for their children. I have become so attached to the children I’ve taught in the past that at the end of the year I have been in tears at the thought of not teaching them everyday the following year.

I just wish for once that parents and schools could work as teams, we’ve all got children’s best interests at heart after all. The whole holiday in term time debate is just another angle for which teachers can be criticised from. It’s such a shame. If we all had a report card about collaboration I imagine it would say…..could do better.

I have also written a post about Gove’s proposed longer school days and shorter holidays which you can read here.

My Pouch

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people at My Pouch asking me if I’d like to review their fab pouches for food on the go.

This idea was new to me as, even though I used the well known pouches in the shops with my second child when we were out and about, I had never heard of pouches in which you could put your own food. What a brilliant idea! I love creating and cooking for my children when they are weaning and so the thought of being able to take this food with me in an easy package was very appealing. I am rubbish with Tupperware and constantly have bowls with no lids or lids with no bowls and even now I have three children am no better at taking home cooked food out with me.

The Reusable Food Pouch is a convenient way to store home cooked food. It is very durable, and can be put in the dishwasher and the freezer. BPA free it’s also very safe and has a cap which cannot be swallowed, very child friendly!

Now my third child can be a pickle when it comes to food and very rarely would take anything puréed from a spoon, so I was interested to see how the pouch would work with slightly lumpier textures. Spaghetti bolognese, a firm favourite with all three of my children, was something he would eat and could with his hands, and something that I didn’t feel the need to purée to a pulp. In short the pouch was fantastic. The wide opening made it easy to fill with the lumpier texture and it was also extremely easy to get out at the other end, perfect!

Also in the hot weather I have been mixing fruit and yoghurt, putting it into the pouches and then freezing them to make a lovely cooling snack. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve also eaten a fruit smoothie out of a pouch…it was very refreshing!

As a mum I wanted to give my child home made food wherever possible, and now whether I’m in the park, at the shops or at the seaside I can!

I would recommend these pouches to use when you start weaning, not only are they brilliant for their very first foods, but they also make useful storage for snacks when they get older. A very convenient way to get healthy food into your children where ever you are!!

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