A Love Letter to My Children

14 Feb

mama 1To My Babies,

Mama Loves You.

I love you so much that sometimes as I watch you sleeping, or engrossed in a movie, or belly laughing at some secret sibling joke, I can feel my love for you pressing on my heart, like a damn wall pressing on my chest.

I love the way you want me to see the Lego you’ve constructed into coffee shops, racing cars & zombies, and your excited faces as you explain each detail.

I love the all crap you bring home from school. Every half-finished drawing, the stones you found in the yard, the Mickey Mouse lid off the yogurt you ate for lunch, the flower you picked when the teacher wasn’t looking, the bouquets of weeds you make for me and the lumps of Pay Doh you’ve stolen from class.

I love the way you won’t go into school without giving me a big kiss and I love the way you all shout “Mama!” excitedly when I come to collect you from school, every day, like I’m a surprise.

I love the way you fight to sleep in my bed, begging me for cuddles and not wanting me to leave you. I love the way we make a giant family sandwich, each of you taking turns to lie next to me as we spoon & together so tightly I feel we become one.

I love the way you laugh hysterically when I sing funny rhymes to you, each of you begging for me to say bum or pooh-head and of course I oblige, I’m a silly Mama, you told me.

I love the way you smell, the way you look, the way you laugh and the way you smile, I even love your ass-kicking tantrums and angry shouts.

mama

Mama loves you.

That is all.

From,

Me x

Growing up… Sucks, really sucks!

27 Jan

IMG_7861kids

Driving the kids to school in the mornings can go one of two ways. The first and most common is frantic, shouty, extremely stressful and late.

The other is a car journey filled with odd questions.

“Mama, do dinosaurs live in Swansea?”

“Mama, can I have sparkly underpants?”

“Mama, is it the weekend yet?” This is generally asked on a Tuesday.

And todays corker came from Ozzy, “Mama, what is school for?”

It got me thinking… so what is school for?

Of course it’s about learning, Mmmm you know my thoughts on that one, socialising and developing, but today, for some reason, all I feel school is for, is to take my babies away from me.

As I stood at the school gates watching the morning chaos of rushed parents and hyper kids I felt a little sad and reflective over where the time has gone.

I’ve been standing at those gates for seven years. Those gates have snaffled up my babies.

Now don’t get me wrong, most Monday mornings I am flinging them in through the gates slightly shaken and with a MASSIVE sigh of relief.

But not today. Today I just wanted to run in and shout, “Hold the hell up, I want my babies back!”

Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

I want to be cuddling them in my arms, breastfeeding them, blowing raspberries on their fat bellies, and smelling their sweet milky scent. Instead I struggle daily with homework, fighting, non-washed willies, questions about aborigines, and shouts of “I hate you, stupid head!”.

Our children grow up, fast, really bloody fast and today it freaked me the hell out.

baby quote

So to those of you still immersed in the baby years, do me a favour today, give your baby an extra cuddle for me, try not to wish the time away, savour it.

Because before you know it your 10 year old child will be prancing around the house wearing your bra, your 8 year old will be more interested in Mario Bros than having raspberries blown on his belly, and your 4 year old will be running into school shouting, “Mama is a poop head!” and you’ll be stood there feeling a bit like me.

Lonely.

Sarah x

All I Want For Christmas is… SNOW and Vodka and a pert butt and a one stitch facelift and Vodka, did I say Vodka?!

5 Dec
Winter Swimming!

Winter Swimming!

Imagine waking up to blues skies every morning, never having to switch the heating on, never wearing winter boots, not even owning an umbrella…

Well that’s me, that’s my life on the always-sunny little island of Gran Canaria. 

The weather in the Canary Islands is pretty unique, this is one of the very few places in the world where the weather rarely drops below 20°C and doesn’t experience any scary weather conditions such as tropical storms or hurricanes, which often go alongside the hot weather of sub-tropical islands.

Lucky me eh?

But I want to leave.

I want to return to the piddley weather of Swansea – officially now recognised as Britain’s wettest city!

I want to see the green mountains of the Brecon Beacons, I want to cwtch up on the sofa wearing a onsie and a thermal vest, I want an open fire and to drink hot chocolate on a cool October morning, I want to see rainfall so heavy that is cleans my damn windows and makes everything smell fresh and bright and alive.

I want to see slugs again.

I long to feel the cold, to get dressed in the morning and leave the house before my make-up slides off my bloody face coz I’m in a bath of sweat!

And I really, really want a pair of red wellies!

But the thing I long for the most is snow, oh my how I miss it.

The last time I saw snow was on a ski holiday pre-kids in 2001, it was, without doubt, my favourite holiday ever and I cherish those fab memories each winter in Gran Canaria as I lie on the beach roasting my boobies off.

So at least I’ve got those memories eh!

But my kids don’t.

They’ve never seen snow, felt it or shoved handfuls of it into their mouths and felt it melt on their tongues. They’ve never seen a snowman, had a snowball fight or gone sledging, never felt that red-nosed coldness that has you running inside scattering snow everywhere as you kick off your sodden wellies and frozen gloves.

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If there was one gift I could give to my children this Christmas it would be snow, they ask for it every year, it’s number one on their Christmas lists, closely followed by Lego and Barbie.

So I am crossing my flip-flop clad toes that I will be chosen to be a Mark Warner ski blogger and then I could give them snow. Piles of gorgeous, crisp, freezing cold snow and I promise you, on my bikini-clad bottom that I’ll never complain about living in the sun again!

So until I return to my rainy, cold Swansea or as the poet Dylan Thomas called it “That ugly, lovely city”, I’ll keep wishing for snow in Gran Canaria!

Now tell me, what are you wishing for this Christmas?

Pigs Cheeks with Rosemary, Cider & Apples… Weekend Comfort food

22 Nov

pigscheeks2

Winter in Gran Canaria is pretty shitty as far as my definition of Winter goes.

For me it’s the season to be lighting candles, wearing fab boots, drinking red wine and getting into my jammies at 4 0’clock in the afternoon and without doubt it should be cold, not necessarily freezing my tits off cold, but cold enough to warrant the purchase of a pair of lush black leather gloves.

But in Gran Canaria Winter is more likely to mean, 25°C, beaches, sunshine, flip flops and ice-cold beers.

So in a bid to conjure up a bit of wintry-ness I turn to food and one of my fave things to cook is this slow-braised dish of pigs cheeks with rosemary, cider and apples.

PIGS CHEEKS, I hear you scream, yeah… it’s pork, now get over it!

Imagine the softest, most succulent, unctuous and richest belly pork (minus the fat) you have ever eaten, double it and that’s what pigs cheek taste like.

I have cooked them for lots of people and everyone has been freaked out by how utterly  fab they are, so I really do urge you to give them a try.

You can buy prepared, boned pigs cheeks from any reputable butcher, although they might require a few days notice to order them in for you and apparently the trendy supermarket Waitrose, in the UK, sells them pre-packed.

If you are going to try one recipe of mine this has got to be the one folks.

Obligatory accompaniments for my family are always piles of soft billowy buttered mashed potatoes, jarred red cabbage and a big kick-ass glass of red wine.

Eat it and weep…

What you need

  • Pigs cheeks – depending on size I’d say between 2 to 3 per person (bear in mind they shrink on cooking) Or cook extra this dish freezes amazingly well.
  • 1 Large red onion finely chopped
  • 300g pancetta or streaky bacon cut into small cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 medium sized carrots cut into small cubes
  • 2 wine glasses of cider or red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • salt & pepper

What you do

Trim off any excess fat from the pigs cheeks and season all over with salt & pepper.

(Don’t go mad trimming them, just really remove any sinewy stuff, the marbling throughout the cheeks melts on cooking and it’s what makes the meat so succulent.)

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Seal the cheeks in a hot frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Do this in batches, if you overcrowd the pan the meat will begin to give off steam and it won’t brown.

Just pop them in the pan and leave them for a few minutes on each side and don’t be tempted to fanny around moving them about, leave them sizzle. Set aside.

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In the same pan fry off the bacon until crisp, I bloody forgot to photograph this bit, Grrrrrr… set aside with the cheeks.

Now in a heavy based casserole dish place the cheeks, bacon, onion, carrots, garlic & fresh rosemary, you’ll probably have a few layers. Sprinkle over the flour and give it all a gentle stir, or until the flour has disappeared.

Add the cider or red wine, and another wine glass of  water, season with plenty of black pepper & a good sprinkling of salt. Stir well.

(You might need to top up with a little extra water on cooking. Although you’re looking for a thick, rich juice rather than a load of runny gravy.)

IMG_5746

Cover with a tight fitting lid or foil and cook in a pre-heated oven of 160C/gas mark 3 for about 2 hours.

Check half way through as it might require a sweetening, I either use cranberry jelly or simply a few teaspoons of sugar.

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Once the meat is meltingly tender, check for seasoning and then serve with a pile of buttery mash, jarred warm red cabbage & lots of homemade apple sauce!

The apple sauce is simply cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced, cooked with a dollop of butter and another dollop of brown sugar.

Cook till soft then place into a tall jug and blitz with a hand blender, season with black pepper.

red cabbage

Real mash, made with floury potatoes, hot milk and salted butter, oh dear God in heaven… LUSH!

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Oh yeah, there must be red wine, absolutely non-negotiable!

Lots of red wine – Cheers x

Now what about you? What’s your ultimate comfort food? 

Me time… A lush facial Peel, Yikes!

20 Nov

self care cup

Ok first things first, I’m a shit blogger.

I haven’t chewed the fat with you guys for ages and I’m sorry.

I’ve been busy, procrastinating.

As well has not looking after my blog, I have I have failed to take care of Sarah and she has started to suffer.

Like most parents I put my family first, I rarely ‘treat’ myself. Actually, I wonder how many of us do take time to pamper ourselves, do you?

Self-care can be as simple as a hot bubble bath without a kid and a naked Barbie for company – throw in some candles and a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc and you’ll be floating around the house like Mary Poppins on Zanax!

But every so often we need a real treat, so when I was asked if I’d like to review a deluxe 90-minute Exuviance facial, I jumped at the chance.

massage_1

The Exuviance facial includes a gentle chemical peel alongside a super-hydrating mask, fabulously called the Bionic Tonic Treatment – with the words chemical peel and bionic in the title I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed.

I arrived at the Feel Nordic Physiotherapy Centre, in San Augustin frazzled and strung out (my general demeanour) to be greeted by my therapist Kelai, from Sweden. After a brief chat, I was settled on the treatment bed and Kelai explained the facial to me.

The Exuviance facial is quite full on, it includes the ass-kicking Lactobionic acid peel, as well as a lymphatic drainage massage, therefore the pre-treatment consultation is pretty in depth enabling Kelai to assess your needs and to also adapt the treatment accordingly.

I wanted to look 10 years younger (I know, it’s a facial not a magic wand, blah, blah), so we went for the anti-age facial, although the Exuviance also treats skin conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, keratosis pilaris and sensitive skin.

After cleansing, the peel was applied with a soft brush, it tingled slightly but there was certainly no pain. The strength of the peel and the length of the application time varies, depending on how many peels you’ve had and your skin type. I begged Kelai to give me the strongest and longest peel she could muster but she was having none of it! As she explained, “the philosophy behind Exuviance is gentle, on-going care rather than harsh evasive treatments”.

After the peel was removed came the ‘extraction’ stage (posh word for zit busting). I was mortified and overjoyed at how thorough Kelai was at removing the nasties from my skin, nothing escaped her high-volt lamp and scrupulous eye.

Then followed my absolute fave part of the Exuviance treatment - the massage.

It was INCREDIBLE. Kelai’s fingers flew across my face and neck area soothing and stimulating every inch. I’ve had many facial massages but I have NEVER experienced a massage like this, my face felt alive and tingly, without doubt my favourite part of the whole treatment!

After the massage came the ass-kicking Bionic Tonic Treatment Mask and a Deluxe Eye Mask, I think I drifted off a bit then and I might have even snored, it was bloody lush!

exuviance products

Finally, Kelai massaged the last of the mask into my skin, “so we don’t waste a drop”, and I was left lying on the massage bed in a semi-catatonic state, so relaxed was I.

Afterwards, my skin was visibly improved; no doubt, it was clearer, smoother and glowing.

Kelai explained to me that the Exuviance peel is “part of an on-going treatment”, which she explains fully on her website. “Unlike Botox or fillers, which simply reduce wrinkles, Exuviance also regenerates cells, tightens and firms the skin, minimises marks or scarring, evens up the skin tone and reduces wrinkles”.

The Exuviance facials aren’t cheap, they range from 65€ for a 60-minute treatment up to 95€ for the de-luxe 90-minute anti-aging facial, but compared to evasive treatments such as Botox and fillers they’re much more economical and the results are better in my view – Check out the before and after pictures of studies done on Kelai’s clients right here – it’s impressive stuff.

I don’t normally write reviews but I was damn impressed with the treatment so I wanted to share it with you guys, I hope you don’t mind?

If you live in Gran Canaria you can go along and meet the lovely Kelai & Linda, the owner and physiotherapist, at the Feel Nordic Physiotherapy Centre, it’s the only centre currently offering the Exuviance Treatment System in the Canary Islands.

Feel Nordic are offering anyone who quotes ‘Losing My Lemons’ a 10% discount on any Exuviance treatment, massage or physiotherapy session, so why not treat yourself to some ‘me-time’ and get yourself looking gorge and feeling great for Christmas! (offer is valid until December 31st)

Call (0034) 638 033 852 to make an appointment

Do you look after yourself, are you a fan of facials or fancy treatments, has anyone tried a facial peel before? Do you treat yourself in other ways? Drop me a comment blow, I’m a nosey bugger and I want to chat with ya’ll!

x

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